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 19

Arriving in Miami around 2:00 (after an hour's layover in Atlanta), Scully and Morgan rented a car and drove to local field office. They met with Agent Roger Colson. While Scully went to perform the autopsy, Morgan went to the crime scene.

Even though Morgan suspected she wouldn't find any relevant clues, she took her time and carefully examined the scene. She went through each room of the victim's apartment carefully noting everything. She then left to meet up with Scully.

Scully was in the middle of the autopsy when Morgan arrived.

"How is it going, Dana?"

"So far, nothing we haven't seen before. But I'm only about halfway done."

Morgan nodded and sat on a stool next to a counter. She opened her briefcase up and took out a notepad. She began writing.

"What about you? Did you find anything at the scene; any sign of lover boy?"

"No sign of him, but he wouldn't have been romancing Elizabeth Timmons."

Scully looked up and across the bay at her partner. "Oh? Why do you say that?"

"Elizabeth was gay, so our guy wouldn't have gotten anywhere romancing her." At her partner's raised eyebrow, Morgan explained. "There was a single lambda earring in her jewelry box, a Playboy under the corner of her mattress, and the second pillow on her bed smelled of a perfume different from any of her own."

Scully smiled to herself; Morgan was exceptionally observant and intuitive. She continued the autopsy as Morgan concentrated on her notepad.


It was after 8:00 by the time Scully and Morgan got to their hotel rooms. After changing into casual clothes, Scully knocked on the door adjoining Morgan's room.

"Come in."

"What do you want to do for dinner, Jess?"

"We can go out to get something. I want to check out a club tonight anyway. I found a matchbook in Elizabeth's car. Maybe we can find someone who saw something – like a new guy hanging around her."

"But you said she was gay."

Morgan smirked. "That doesn't mean she didn't have male friends. And it's a club for men and women."


Since they were going out, Scully decided to change clothes again, into something a little dressier than her old jeans and well-worn t-shirt. She chose a pair of black slacks, a blue button-down shirt, a black vest (to hide the weapon at the small of her back), and of course high heels. When she returned to Morgan's room, she was a bit surprised at her partner's outfit for the night – pleasantly surprised.

Morgan was dressed in a pair of form-fitting black leather pants, a crisp white oxford shirt with the sleeves rolled up past her forearms, and a pair of black boots. At first blush one would think Jess's outfit more than a bit 'butch.' But as Scully took in her partner's presence and movements as she moved around her room, Dana realized there was no mistaking how graceful and feminine Morgan was. And she definitely liked the way the leather pants fit the brunette's ass.

She licked her suddenly dry lips before speaking. "Where's your weapon?"

Morgan smirked. "I have my backup weapon inside my boot."


After dinner Scully and Morgan went to the Crystal Club. It was a large club, with three dance floors and five bars, and was very popular with both men and women. There was also a significant attendance by straight people even though the Crystal Club was a gay bar.

The two agents made their way to one of the bars. Morgan ordered a ginger ale for herself and a club soda for Scully. They then split and unobtrusively began to question the employees of the club, showing them a picture of the victim, Elizabeth Timmons.

When Scully spoke to a bartender at the second bar a patron overheard their conversation and spoke up. "Are you talking about Beth?"

Scully showed the picture to the patron.

"Yeah, I know her."

"What about anyone she was spending time with?"

The woman shook her head. "I didn't know her well – I just saw her around a lot. But not here. She hung out at the Black Diamond."

"The Black Diamond?"

"Yeah, it's strictly a women's bar, in Ft Lauderdale."

"Thank you."

Scully passed the information onto her partner when they met back up.

"I talked to a couple of people who recognized her as well. They also said the place she frequented was the Black Diamond. Our guy obviously wouldn't have been seen there since it's a women's bar, but we might find someone who knew her well."

"You want to go now?"

Morgan shook her head. "No. It's not open on Monday nights." She paused. "So... you want a real drink?" she asked with a small smile.

Scully returned her smile. "Sure."

"What do you want?"

"Rum and coke."

"With lime?"

"Please."

Morgan flagged down a bartender. "Disaronno sour, and a rum and coke, please."

"Bacardi?"

"Do you have Charbay?"

The bartender smiled in approval. "Yes." He retrieved the bottle of premium light rum and fixed their drinks.

Scully and Morgan picked up their drinks.

"Cheers," Scully said with a light tap of her glass against Morgan's before taking a sip.

"Cheers."

"Mm, this is good."


After a couple drinks, both women had completely relaxed from the 'work day' and were enjoying the music.

Jess tapped Dana on the shoulder. "How about a dance?" she asked with a smile. The full smile she received was enough to speed up her pulse. She took Dana's hand in her own and led her out onto one of the dance floors.

Less than a minute later the song changed to a slow ballad.

Gazing into sparkling grey eyes, Dana felt Jess's arms slide around her waist and gently pull her close. She slipped her own arms around the brunette's neck, the fingers of her right hand tenderly teasing the hair at the nape of Jess's neck. They moved to the gentle rhythm of the music, the people and world around them slowly fading from their awareness. The air stilled. And then their lips met in a light brush, barely felt. Then again. Jess's tongue gently teased Dana's lips so she parted them to grant her entrance. Dana was sure her heart was beating loud enough to be heard over the music.

When the music changed once again to a more rapid beat, the two made their way off the dance floor and out the door. The inside of the car was silent on the drive back to their hotel, though Jess held Dana's hand in her own, resting it on her thigh.

At the hotel, Jess unlocked the door to her room and Dana pushed her inside, kicking the door shut behind her. She immediately started pulling on the brunette's shirt, untucking it from her leather pants, as their mouths met in a passionate kiss. She slid her hand up under the shirt, finding Jess's bra clasp and unhooking it.

Both shirts and bras quickly landed on the floor and the women landed on the bed. Four hands worked at removing leather pants as both toed off their footwear. The holster from Morgan's leg and the one at the small of Scully's back clunked to the floor. Dana pinned Jess's body to the bed with her own, exploring with hands, lips and tongue. She rejoiced at the cries that escaped Jess when she came. Dana kissed, licked and nipped her way back up her lover's body until claiming Jess's mouth in a deep kiss, sharing her taste with her.

Jess maneuvered her hands between them and undid Dana's pants. Once they were gone she rolled the redhead over and proceeded to worship her, relinquishing her place between Dana's thighs only after the redhead begged her to. She moved up and laid her head over Dana's heart; closing her eyes and quickly falling asleep to the sound of her lover's heartbeat.

Dana gently carded her fingers through dark, silky hair. She noted Jess's even breaths, indicating she'd fallen asleep. It was no wonder really; Jess had been going two days without any sleep the night before. Dana tightened her arms around her lover and kissed the top of her head. "Where have you been all my life?" she whispered softly. She closed her eyes and drifted to sleep, utterly at peace.

Outside, in a dark sedan parked across the street, a lone figure sat in the dark.


Dana was awakened by a kiss. She opened her eyes and gazed up into the smiling face of her lover, Jess. "Mm, morning."

"Good morning, beautiful," the brunette replied, her smile widening. She leaned down and kissed the redhead again.

Dana smiled. "Yes, it is good." She then took note of Jess's state of dress. She was in a pair of shorts and a tank top. "What are you up to?"

"I'm going for a run. It's been weeks since I've been running and the weather here in Miami is great. You're welcome to join me if you want to."

Dana smirked. "In all honesty – nope. You go on though. I'll just stay right here."

"Alright. I'll be back. I have my cell if something comes up." Another kiss and then Jess stood up and left.

Dana stretched and then relaxed back into the mattress. Her eyes drifted shut and she replayed the night before. The way Jess looked in those leather pants; the way the muscles of her butt and thighs flexed beneath the butter-soft material; the way their bodies moved together on the dance floor; the scent of the woman – leather and vanilla; the feel of her hand being held by Jess on the way back to the hotel; the heat of their kisses once inside; the ambrosial taste of her; being worshiped by Jess...

Her pulse was racing, her respirations and temperature were elevated. She let out a quiet gasp as her fingers slid through damp curls and she discovered how wet she was. She drew her knees up and then spread them. She imagined the soft touch of her fingers was the velvet of Jess's very talented and tireless tongue. Her other hand kneaded her breast and pinched her erect nipple.

"Oh, Jess... yesss..."

Her body bowed and her muscles locked at she came with a loud groan. Dana rolled onto her side, grabbing and clutching Jess's pillow to her. She breathed in her lover's scent and fell back asleep, a smile gracing her lips.


Morgan ran. It felt so good to stretch and push her muscles. Workouts in a gym felt good, but running seemed to calm her. She was smiling; thinking about the night before and her partner. There had been a palpable shift in the air when she and Scully consciously decided to end the work day and have a couple drinks to relax at the Crystal Club. Agent Morgan and Agent Scully said goodbye and the rest of the night was spent with Jess and Dana. Dana had felt so good in her arms as they danced. And their lovemaking had been passionate.

Jess felt privileged to see Dana so open and unreserved. The professionally dispassionate agent belied the passionate woman within. And Dana was a good influence on Jess. She didn't let her ignore her physical needs, such as food and sleep, too much. And she brought a kind of balance to her emotions. Somehow, despite the frustration and disappointment with the case, Dana's presence had lifted Jess's dark mood. The persistently tough and serious agent was smiling, and laughing.

Jess was falling for Dana. It scared her... and excited her. A smiled graced her lips as she continued to run.


He was glad he'd stayed the night. He was rewarded with the site of Morgan leaving the hotel and going for a run. He very, very carefully followed her in the car, parking and driving ahead of her as needed to remain inconspicuous. He fingered the gun, with silencer attached, in his lap. He could take her down so easily. She'd never see it coming. So much for the highly vaunted Special Agent Jessica Morgan.

He hefted the weapon, held it in his right hand, ready to shoot. He watched in the rearview mirror as she approached. She had a stupid smile on her face. Well, he could wipe that smile away in a just a few more seconds.

 

Chapter 20

Scully woke up and looked at the clock. She frowned. Morgan had left over two hours ago and had not yet returned. Scully got up and retrieved her cell phone. She dialed Morgan's phone... all she got was her voicemail. Why wasn't Jess answering her phone? Scully gathered her clothes and went through the adjoining doorway to her own room. She started a pot of coffee and took a quick shower. Once dressed, she tried Morgan's cell again... still no answer.

Scully frowned. Morgan probably just decided on a long run – after all, she said it had been weeks since she'd been running. She probably just lost track of the time. That happened to Scully sometimes when she ran. But that didn't settle the worry skittering along her nerves. And it didn't explain why her partner didn't answer her phone. She jumped when her cell rang.

"Scully."

"Agent Scully? This is Nurse Lisa Jackson. I'm calling from Miami Memorial to let you know that your partner, Agent Morgan, is here in the ER."

Scully's heart dropped to her feet. "What happened?"


Everything had happened so fast. As far as Morgan was concerned, the ambulance couldn't get there soon enough – there was too much blood covering her hands as she tried to staunch the flow. Finally the ambulance arrived. Morgan explained what had happened as the EMTs quickly and efficiently worked.

In the back of the ambulance Jess closed her eyes and took a few slow even breaths, trying to slow her heart rate. The ride to the hospital seemed to take forever. The ER was a typical scene of controlled chaos. It wasn't first time she'd been in such a scene.

"Agent Morgan?"

"Yes."

"Hi. I'm Detective Singer with Miami-Dade PD. Can you tell me what happened?"

"I was on a run. Everything happened so quickly. I heard a loud screech which made me look, just in time to see the truck and the car collide. I don't know who had the right of way or who was at fault, but it was a bad accident. It took me a couple seconds to react. I ran over and checked on the driver of the truck. He was conscious but a bit woozy. I helped him out because of the pervasive smell of gasoline. Once I had him sitting down someone else came over and stayed with him. That's when I went to the car. The driver was unconscious. It was a struggle to get the door open. When I got to him it was obvious the wound in his leg would be fatal if the bleeding wasn't controlled. I got him out of the car and applied pressure. I got a bystander to give me his belt so I could place a tourniquet. When I fumbled with my phone someone said they'd already called 9-1-1 and requested an ambulance."

"And your arm?" Singer asked with a gesture at the blood-soaked bandaging on her arm.

Morgan shook her head. "I caught it on some twisted metal getting the driver out of the car." She shrugged. "Nothing to worry about; I heal quickly. Why did MDPD send a detective to ask about a traffic accident?"

Det. Singer smiled. "I got the call as an accident with an injured federal officer."

"Ah."

"Well, I'm glad to see you're going to be alright, Agent Morgan."

"Thank you. I just hope the driver of the car will be okay." She reached for her phone, but the nurse stopped her.

"I'm sorry, Agent Morgan, but you can't use your cell phone in the ER. And you need to leave it off."

Morgan nodded in acknowledgement. "Alright. But is there any way I can call my partner? I've been gone longer than expected and she doesn't know what happened."

"If you give me her number I'll give her a call and let her know you're here."

Morgan gave the nurse, Lisa, Scully's name and cell number.

The curtain was pulled aside and a grey-haired doctor approached. "I'm Dr. Lev Weiss."

"Agent Jessica Morgan."

"Well, let's take a look at your arm."


Scully parked in the ER parking lot. Upon entering she flashed her credentials and asked about her partner. A nurse took her back to where Morgan was sitting on a gurney. Her arm was bandaged and there was quite a bit of blood on her tank top. "Jess?"

Morgan turned. She gave her partner a small smile. "Hey, Dana."

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah."

"What happened?"

"I was on my run and witnessed a collision. Had to pull one of the driver's out and start first aid." She paused. "I just hope he makes it."

Dr. Weiss returned at that moment. "He will – thanks to your quick thinking. If you hadn't used a tourniquet he would have bled out from the injury to his femoral artery. Good job, Agent Morgan."

Jess simply nodded.

"Here's your paperwork and a prescription for antibiotics."

"Thank you." Jess signed her discharge papers.


He watched as Scully walked from her car to the ER entrance. With her red hair, she was hard to miss. He wasn't happy. He'd been ready to pull the trigger but the loud screeching of brakes caused him to look. The next thing he knew Morgan was pulling the drivers out of their vehicles and there were just too many people around.

But he could be a patient man.

He perked up when Scully exited the ER with Morgan. The redhead appeared to be steadying Morgan. Scully helped Morgan into the passenger side of the car before getting in the driver's seat. He saw the redhead lean over and kiss Morgan.

Suddenly he was glad he hadn't killed her... yet.


Morgan swayed slightly when she stood up. Scully grabbed her arm.

"Are you alright?"

"Yeah." She took shook her head. "Just a touch woozy. They gave me an injection."

"Well, let's get you back to the hotel." Scully kept her hand on the small of Morgan's back, making sure she didn't get too dizzy. After getting Morgan into the car she got in the driver's side. Before starting the car, Dana looked over at her partner. "I was worried about you."

Jess looked at Dana. "Sorry. I meant to get back at a reasonable time."

Dana reached up and cupped Jess's cheek. "It's alright. I'm just glad you're okay." She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on the brunette's lips. Jess was smiling when she pulled back. Dana ran her thumb across Jess's lips before leaning back into her seat. "Rest."

The brunette closed her eyes and rested her head against the window.

At the hotel Dana got Jess stripped and back into bed. She was out like a light. Scully then ran out to a pharmacy and got her antibiotic prescription filled. With her mind on her lover Scully didn't notice the dark sedan that followed her.


When Morgan woke up she saw her partner sitting in the chair, reading her notepad. "So what do you think?"

Scully looked up at the sound of Morgan's voice and smiled. "Hey. How do you feel?"

"Alright. Sorry I conked out on you."

"Don't be. Drugs will do that," she said with an amused smile.

"So, what do you think?" Morgan asked again with a nod at the notepad.

"Actually, I'm a little confused. You seem to be describing two different people in this profile."

Morgan sighed. "I know. Or at least two very different facets of the guy."

"Do you think he's got a split personality?"

"I don't want to go that far at this point. It's obviously not unheard of... but it's extremely rare in serial killers. Though I can't rule it out. I've seen these kinds of behaviors before, just not in the same suspect at the same time."

"If he does have a split personality, would he be aware of it?"

"It's possible that a personality is aware of the other or others. It's also possible this bastard is just smart and is playing with us. Either way, I'm getting very tired of investigating the deaths of young women." She sat up, the sheet falling to reveal her naked form. "I'm going to take a shower and get dressed. Then we can go." She stood up, grabbed some things from a suitcase and went into the bathroom.

Scully had been unable to take her eyes off the lovely form of her partner when she sat up and then walked to the bathroom. She knew that form, intimately... and wanted to explore it some more. Her phone interrupted her thoughts.

"Scully."

"Agent Scully? This Alan Stillwell. Do you remember me?"

"Yes, I do, Alan. What can I do for you?"

"I was checking on that phone number you and Agent Morgan wanted us to monitor. I didn't catch it in progress, but there was a call placed from that number about an hour ago."

"Where was it?"

"Miami, Florida. I'm sorry I didn't catch in progress, but we really don't have the resources to monitor the usage 24 hours a day."

"That's alright, Alan. We appreciate any assistance you can give us. Thank you."

"You're welcome."

She ended the call.

Morgan was back in the room following her shower. She was wrapped in a typically short hotel towel. God, the more Dana saw of Jess, the more time she spent with her, the more she wanted her! She wasn't able to find her voice until after Morgan had pulled on a pair of slacks and slipped into a button-down shirt. She finally broke the silence.

"Alan Stillwell called while you were in the shower."

Morgan looked at her as she buttoned her shirt. "The guy from the cell phone company. What'd he have to say?"

"There was a call placed from that phone, about an hour ago. He said it originated from here in Miami."

Morgan nodded. "That's not surprising."

"Alan said he'd call if anything else showed up. He's checking the account regularly, but they don't have the resources to monitor it 24 hours a day."

Having finished dressing, Morgan indicated she was ready to get on with their work day. But Scully insisted they eat first. So they left and had brunch.


The two agents spent the rest of the morning and all afternoon speaking with, and interviewing, family and friends of Elizabeth Timmons. None of her family seemed to have a clue that Elizabeth was gay. Only one of the half dozen or so friends they spoke with seemed aware, and she didn't know any specifics – just that she suspected. She'd never actually talked to Elizabeth about it, waiting until Elizabeth herself brought it up... which hadn't happened yet.

At dinner, Scully and Morgan discussed their day.

"Well, it doesn't appear Elizabeth had come out yet. There's a whole part of this young woman's life that her family and friends don't even know about."

Scully frowned. "That must have been sad, and lonely, for her."

Morgan nodded. "Unfortunately, it's a reality for many gays and lesbians. Hopefully we'll find someone at the Black Diamond tonight who knew her and may be able to provide us with a lead."

Scully looked at Morgan, debating about asking the question. Jess must have noticed her expression.

"What is it, Dana?"

"I guess I was just wondering... Did your family know about you?"

Jess smiled. "I was 15 when I came out, so my parents were already gone, but my grandfather knew." Amusement lit up her eyes. "At my graduation from Oxford he talked to a lot of young women, trying to set me up." She chuckled. "He wasn't successful, but the old bugger did end up with a quite a few phone numbers for himself."

Dana smiled at the amusement and affection in her lover's tone. "He sounds like a special man."

"He was." Jess nodded. "He would've liked you," she added with a smile. "What about you? Does your family know?"

"No. The only person I said anything to was my sister, Missy. She was openly bisexual but it was not discussed in my family – which is military and very Catholic." She paused. "Although, I think my mother might have suspected something happened between my college roommate and I," she added in a thoughtful tone.

The brunette nodded in understanding.

Dana focused her gaze back on her lover. She wanted to make sure the woman across from her knew exactly where she stood. "Even though I haven't slept with a woman in a long time, I'm not confused or experimenting with you, Jess."

Jess smiled. "Dana, I may not have known you for very long, but I do know you're an intelligent and strong-willed woman; and I doubt anyone would accuse you of not knowing what you want, or of acting capriciously." Her smile morphed into a mischievous smirk and a spark lit her grey eyes. "And it was obvious it wasn't your first time with a woman when we made love."

Scully blushed, but smiled softly.

 

Chapter 21

After dinner, Scully and Morgan returned to the hotel to change clothes before going out to the Black Diamond club.

"What are you going to wear tonight, Jess?"

"Probably just a pair of jeans and a shirt."

"Why don't you wear your leather pants again tonight?" she suggested lightly.

A dark eyebrow quirked.

She smiled demurely, "I like the way they look."

Jess smiled, pleased. "Alright. I'll wear them. But..."

"But what?"

Grey eyes sparkled. "But I expect you to return the favor at some point."

"But I don't have a pair of leather pants."

"You can do something about that." With a smirk Jess gently pushed Dana into her own room to get ready. "See you in a few."


Dressed pretty much as they had been the previous night, the two agents drove north to Ft Lauderdale.

At the Black Diamond they were stopped at the door by the rather large and muscular middle-aged doorwoman. "Cops. What can I do for you?" she asked challengingly.

Morgan smiled. "Feds, actually." She flashed her badge. "We're not here to bother anyone. Just to ask about this young lady." She showed the picture of Elizabeth to the woman. "We're told she frequented this club."

The woman looked at the photo. "What'd she do?"

"Nothing. She was killed. We're investigating her murder."

"Oh, hell. Her name was Beth, and she was a good kid."

"Do you know if she was seeing anyone particular? Someone who could tell us more about her?"

The doorwoman nodded. "You'll want to speak to Kate. Ask for her at the bar."

"Thank you..."

"Marge."

"Thank you, Marge." Morgan pulled out her wallet to pay the cover charge but Marge waved it away. "Don't worry about it – just find whoever killed Beth."

"We intend to."

Morgan and Scully entered the bar. They were somewhat surprised at the interior. There was a long hardwood bar on the right side of the room. On the left was a very large stone hearth fireplace – with a fire burning in it. Large stuffed leather arm chairs were arranged in a semicircle facing the fireplace, set in pairs, with a small round table for drinks for each pair. In the back left corner was a baby grand piano, currently sitting idle. There were over 20 women present. The two agents walked up to the bar.

"Welcome to the Black Diamond. What can I get for you, ladies?" the green-eyed blonde behind the bar asked.

"We need to speak to Kate. Could you direct us to her, please?" Scully asked.

"Can I tell her what it's in regard to?"

Dana flashed her badge. "It's a personal matter."

The blonde nodded. "Alright. I'll get her."

The blonde picked up the phone behind the bar and made a quick call.

A couple of minutes later, a door in the back right corner, on the right hand wall, opened, admitting an attractive brunette and sounds of typically loud dance music and revelry of a club. The brunette was 5'8", brown-eyed, svelte and had an air of authority. She looked to be in her late 20's. She approached the agents. "I'm Kate Rossini. What can I do for you, Officers?"

"I'm FBI Special Agent Dana Scully and this is my partner Special Agent Jessica Morgan. Is there somewhere we can speak privately?" Scully asked.

"Sure, come on back to my office." Kate led the way through a locked door in the back wall. It emptied into a long corridor. They passed a small, unused kitchen on the right. Kate's office was on the left. "Have a seat." She sat down behind her desk. "Now, what can I do for you?"

Morgan handed the picture of Elizabeth to her. Neither agent missed the quiet intake of air.

"Beth. What's happened?"

"I'm afraid Beth was killed two nights ago. We're investigating her murder," Scully said gently.

Kate closed her eyes and her chin began to tremble. A few tears escaped from the corners of her eyes. "Beth and I..." she couldn't continue.

Morgan stood up and walked around the desk. She crouched next the Kate and placed her hand over the shaky one in Kate's lap. "I understand, Kate. If you can't do this right now, it's alright. I know what you're feeling – I've been there. I promise you that Agent Scully and I are dedicated to finding and catching whoever did this. But we need your help. We can come back tomorrow if you prefer."

Rossini swallowed and opened her eyes. She looked down into the grey eyes of Agent Morgan, seeing genuine concern and understanding in them. She wiped away her tears even though more followed. "What do you need?" she asked softly.

Morgan gave her woman's hand a gentle squeeze before letting go and moving back to her chair. "What can you tell us about Elizabeth's social circle? Had she made any new friends recently?"

"Not that I know of. We didn't get to spend as much time together as I'd like. And she was in the closet. She said her family wouldn't understand, and she wasn't ready to tell them."

"That can be hard on a relationship."

"She was worth it."

"How did you meet?"

"Here, at the bar. One of my bartenders was out sick so I was working on the other side."

"The other side?" Scully asked.

"The other side of the bar is the club side – DJ, dancing, pool tables – your typical bar scene. She looked a little overwhelmed sitting at the bar, sipping her drink. We struck up a conversation, and when one of my other bartenders made it in, Beth and I continued our talk in the wine bar. We started having nice talks every time she came to the Black Diamond. We became friends... eventually lovers."

"Weren't you concerned you hadn't heard from her for a couple days?"

"No. I usually don't during the week. She was very driven and committed to her studies. She was close to getting her PhD in Molecular Biology. We limited our time together to the weekends, at least until spring break. We were going to go on vacation together."

"Alright. Thank you," Morgan said. "If you think of anything, anything at all that might help us, do not hesitate to call either of us." She stood and handed Kate her card, Scully followed suit.

Kate nodded.

Scully started to say something, but Morgan silently urged her out of the office. She looked at her partner. "Why did you stop me from saying anything?" she asked, not upset, but curious.

"Because you were about to ask her if she was alright. She's not," she said without reproof and with the certainty of experience.

They arrived back in the wine bar. "Do you want to stay and have a drink?" Scully asked.

"No." Morgan wanted to get out of the bar. But she did recognize the desire in her partner, and in herself, to bring the work day to an end and transition to some personal time. "But I wouldn't mind going for a walk." She smiled. "I understand they have some beautiful beaches here."

"That's right, you have a thing for tropical beaches," Scully replied with a smile. "A walk sounds nice."

When they stepped out of the bar Morgan approached Marge again. "I think it would be a good idea if someone made sure Kate got home safe tonight; maybe stay with her so she's not alone."

Marge nodded. "I'll see to it."

Morgan gave her a nod and then turned back to Scully. They got in the car and drove back to Miami. Morgan pulled the car into a parking lot at a small beach. They got out of the car and, holding hands, walked along the beach.

"Are you alright in your heels walking in this sand?" Jess asked.

Scully chuckled. "I can walk anywhere in heels."

There was a clear sky and a three-quarter moon above, so there was plenty of light.

"So... you like tropical beaches and walks in the moonlight," Dana said lightly.

Jess laughed. "Sorry – I don't mean to be such a cliché."

Dana squeezed her hand and stopped, pulling the brunette to a stop as well. Jess turned to face her. She reached up with her other hand and brushed some hair back from Jess's face. "I don't mind cliché, especially where you and moonlight are concerned." She pressed her lips to her lover's and sighed as Jess responded. They held each other loosely and kissed gently, savoring the softness and emotional connection.

After a few minutes, Jess pulled back, her heart pounding and legs feeling a bit rubbery. "I need... I think I need to sit down." She sat down in the sand, facing the ocean.

Dana knelt down next to her lover. "Are you alright?"

Jess smiled. "Yeah. You just kind of blew me away." She reached up, cupped Dana's cheek, and pulled her into a deep kiss. Wrapping her arms around Dana she pulled the redhead to her as she laid back in the sand.


Sometime later, the two women were sitting up watching the waves. Dana was sitting between Jess's legs, leaning back against her. She rested her hands over the arms wrapped about her waist.

They talked; sharing some of their histories with each other. Finding more and more things they held in common: enjoyment of moonlight and beaches; medical school experiences; a love of seafood, etc. Dana spoke of her relationship with her father and his lack of support for her decision to join the Bureau. Jess spoke of her relationship with her grandfather and the immense feeling of loss at his passing. And they talked about the last five or six years of work subsuming and obliterating everything else in their lives... resulting in a loss of a part of themselves.

Eventually they rose and walked back to the car, arm in arm.

In Dana's hotel room, they undressed each other and came together under the sheets, connecting on more than just a physical level.

Dana lifted her head from Jess's chest and gazed down into shining grey eyes. "Jess..."

"What?" the brunette prompted when Dana didn't continue.

How much could she risk of herself? She gazed into her lover's eyes and found the answer. "I'm falling for you."

A soft smile graced Jess's lips. She reached up, brushed back some of Dana's red hair and caressed her cheek. "I've already fallen for you."

Dana's felt her heart swell and tears filled her eyes. She kissed Jess, gently, thoroughly. Laying her head on her lover's shoulder, Dana closed her eyes. Finally she knew what real happiness felt like. She slept peacefully in her lover's arms.


A phone was ringing. She'd let the answering machine get it... no, it was a cell phone. She'd let voicemail get it. She growled when her human pillow shifted out from under her. She opened her eyes and blearily saw her lover retrieve the offending noisemaker.

"Morgan."

It was amazing how the woman could visibly transform into Agent Morgan, even naked. Scully sat up, holding the sheet to herself.

Morgan sat in the chair. "Why?... I see... Tell me, why now?..." Her jaw tightened and she flashed a glance at Scully. "You know I can't do that... Why not this morning?... Where?... I'll find it." She hung up and dialed the airport, making reservations on the 4:20 flight to Atlanta that afternoon.

"We're going to Atlanta?" Scully asked.

Morgan sighed. "The son of a bitch wants to talk. Wants me to meet him at a bar in Atlanta – Doc's Saloon."

An auburn eyebrow arched. "Sounds like a fine establishment," she said sarcastically.

Morgan let out a huff. "Probably a biker bar." She rubbed her hands over her face. "What time is it?"

Scully looked at the clock radio. "4:23. Come back to bed and get some more sleep."

It was so tempting to crawl back under the covers and snuggle with Dana, but she needed to prepare for what the day would bring. Morgan moved and sat on the side of the bed. She leaned in and kissed her lover. "I'd love to, but I have some work I need to do." She kissed Dana again before standing. "Get some more sleep. It's probably going to be a long day." She picked up her stuff and went into her own room.

 

Chapter 22

When Morgan retreated to her own room, she slipped on a robe and booted up her laptop. She wanted to do some research on a number of things. She needed to find out where Doc's Saloon was and if possible find out what kind of establishment it was. She also wanted to research devices that could distort and disguise a person's voice. The voice on the phone didn't sound electronic per se, but it did sound as if it had been altered somehow. She typed an email letting AD Taylor and the Director know about the contact she'd had with the UNSUB. And she placed a couple phone calls.

Doc's Saloon wasn't a biker bar, but from the history of police calls to the location, it was definitely a rough place.

Morgan found a number of devices that could be used to alter the voice, but they were rather cheap and would have been obvious in their use. And she didn't find any that were specifically for use with a cell phone. What she was looking for could have been a very high end specialized piece of equipment – perhaps even custom built.

She also called the cell phone company and verified the call she'd received had been placed from Atlanta. She had an uneasy feeling.

She and Scully were going to spend the day at the University of Miami speaking with Elizabeth's teachers and fellow students. Then they were going to fly up to Atlanta.

Having completed the tasks she'd set for herself, Morgan rubbed her face and put her laptop aside. She looked at the clock. It was about 40 minutes before Scully's alarm would go off. Or... she could wake Dana up herself. She smiled. It was amazing how the redhead had changed her in a little over three weeks. Before this case she wouldn't even have considered setting work aside for a few minutes just to spend some personal time with someone. She shook her head – it was time to act, not think.

Morgan got up and returned to Dana's room. She stood next to the bed for a few moments, just gazing down at the beautiful woman. She looked so peaceful. Morgan shed her robe and slipped into the bed next to her partner... next to her lover.

Jess tenderly brushed some hair back from Dana's face. She lowered her head and kissed soft lips.

Dana smiled into the kiss that awakened her. She moved her arms up around the shoulders of the one kissing her, pulling her close. Jess was smiling when Dana opened her eyes and looked up into her shining grey eyes. "Good morning."

"Good morning." Jess ducked her head and started nuzzling the redhead's throat and neck.

"Mm, is it time to get up?"

"Not yet. I hope you don't mind me waking you a little early," the brunette replied softly. She latched onto Dana's pulse point, teasing it with her lips and tongue.

Dana's breath caught in her throat as gentle hands caressed and fondled her. "Not... at all."


Content and satisfied, the two women were simply holding one another in quiet lassitude when alarm clock finally announced it was time to get up. So they parted to shower and dress in their respective rooms.

Morgan was closing up her briefcase when Scully entered her room. "Ready to go?" Morgan asked.

Scully nodded. But she set her things down next to the door and turned to the brunette. "Just one thing..."

"What?"

Scully leaned in and lightly kissed her partner. "Thank you for my wakeup call, Agent Morgan," she said with a soft smile. She was rewarded with a beautiful smile.

"You're welcome, Agent Scully." Playfulness shone in grey eyes. "Just trying to be a good partner."

They shared another kiss and smile, then went to check out of the hotel.


Scully and Morgan spent all morning and a good portion of the afternoon at the University of Miami. They interviewed Elizabeth's fellow students and her professors. They were both frustrated and disappointed as they left for the airport. No one knew of any new person in the victim's life. No one stood out; no one didn't belong.

Morgan sat down in her airplane seat with a sigh.

Scully settled next to her. She patted her partner's arm. "We will catch him, Jess."

Morgan nodded. "I know. I'm just afraid of how many more women will die before we do."

Scully was going to express her concerns about the alleged meeting in Atlanta, but Morgan closed her eyes and was soon napping.


In Atlanta they rented a car and checked into a hotel. It was over dinner Scully finally confronted her partner.

"Just what exactly are your plans for this meeting tonight?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, just what exactly are we going to do? What if he doesn't show up? What if he does? What kind of backup are we going to have?"

Morgan put down her plastic fork and pushed the remnants of her meal away. She wasn't looking forward to this conversation. It was, in fact, the reason she'd suggested takeout to begin with, rather than dinner at a restaurant. "Not we, me."

"What?" Scully asked with arch brow, not sure she'd heard correctly.

"We are not going. I am."

Morgan knew the Scully would be angry, but she wasn't quite prepared for the full wrath of the redhead. She sat silently as the livid woman gave vent to her anger. The truth was she'd be just as angry if their places were reversed, but there was no way she could let Scully go to the bar. Finally Scully wound down.

"Well?! Are you going to say something?" Scully demanded from across the room where she'd been pacing.

"He said he wouldn't show if I didn't go alone." Before Scully could go off again, Morgan continued. "And he said he kill you on sight, Dana. It's not a vague threat anymore. It's an explicit threat against your life."

"I'm not quitting this case!"

"I'm not asking you to."

Morgan's quiet response took some of the wind out of Scully's sails. She sat down on the end of the bed.

"I am asking you to trust me."

Scully ran a hand across her eyes and tried to rein in her ire. She reminded herself that Morgan wasn't Mulder, she wasn't an unreasonable person. Morgan had always been professional and respectful of her; the least she could do was hear her partner out. "Alright, talk to me, Jess."

Morgan nodded. "Okay. First off, please remember that this isn't my first time to the rodeo. I'm an experienced agent and have a history of dealing with these cases."

Scully nodded.

"I'm going to Doc's Saloon tonight, but I won't be alone – and neither will you."

"What do you mean?"

"I placed a call early this morning to a local detective that I've worked with before. He's going to be at the bar." She looked at her watch, "In fact he should already be there. And his partner will be with you."

"With me?"

"I'm not naïve enough to discount the possibility this is just a ruse to get me out of the way so he can come after you, Dana."

"Or it could be an attempt to isolate you so he can kill you, Jess."

Morgan nodded. "That is a possibility, although I honestly don't think it's the most likely."

"Why not?"

"None of his threats have been directed at me, only you." She paused. "Dana, I know you don't like it, but you have to let me go without you."

"Damn it, Jess. You made me promise to be careful and not take unnecessary risks." She stood up, walked back over to the small table and knelt next to her partner... her lover. She took the brunette's hand in her own. "I need you to make me the same promise, Jess. I don't want anything to happen to you. Please do not take any unnecessary risks."

Morgan looked down into bright blue eyes full of earnestness and naked emotion. She gently caressed Scully's cheek. "I promise." She then bent down and kissed her and with her hands on Dana's shoulders, Jess stood up, pulling the redhead up with her.

Scully pulled out of the kiss. Sapphire blue gazed into sparkling grey. "What time do you have to leave?"

Morgan glanced at the clock. "Bobby's partner should be here in a couple hours. I won't leave until he gets here."

"Good." Scully claimed Morgan's lips with her own.

The next thing Jess knew, she was on the bed with Dana pinning her down.


Morgan looked through the peephole when there was a knock on her hotel room door.

"Agent Morgan? It's Detective Gene Franco, Bobby Marinelli's partner." He held his shield up.

Morgan opened the door. "Come on in, Detective."

"Just call me Frank," he replied as they shook hands.

Morgan introduced the detective to her partner. She then grabbed her weapon and slipped it into the holster at the small of her back.

"Bobby's been at Doc's for about two hours. He said a couple fights had already broken the last time he checked in with me, so keep your eyes open, Agent Morgan."

"Will do." She turned to Scully. "I'll see you later." And then she was gone.


As Morgan walked into Doc's Saloon all of her senses were on high alert. She knew what a risk she was taking, but she honestly didn't think the Reaper would try to kill her. Even his previous invasion into her hotel room had been timed to ensure she wasn't present. And he'd apparently followed her, as evidenced by the break in at Scully's apartment, giving him ample opportunity to kill her. No, she didn't think he want to kill her.

She'd dealt with his kind before. They wanted a foil to parry against, test and demonstrate their superiority. She had been that foil on more than one occasion.

But she wasn't dumb enough to dismiss the possibility of a trap, for herself... or Scully. So when she'd been told to come to Atlanta, she'd called an old contact there. Bobby Marinelli was a detective on the Atlanta P.D.'s night shift. He was a good detective and had several years experience in both undercover work and the in the homicide division. And in a worst case scenario, he was someone she knew could more than handle himself and back her up.

Morgan spotted Bobby almost immediately. His 5'9", lanky frame, unshaven and unkempt appearance belied the sharp intelligence and unexpected strength of the man. The brown-eyed man was doing a good impression of a sleepy drunk, conveniently sitting in a spot that allowed his field of vision to cover the entire room. Neither one acknowledged the other.

Morgan went to the bar and ordered a Jack Daniels. She didn't care for the amber liquid, but Doc's wasn't a place one ordered ginger ale, and she could nurse the whiskey for quite some time.

Morgan had been sitting at a table for over an hour. She'd had to fend off some unwanted advances and had been called quite a few choice names. Finally a man sat down at her table who wasn't trying to hit on her. He looked her up and down before speaking.

"You're Morgan."

"And you're not the person who called me," she said with instinctive certainty.

He smirked. "No. But I was sent by him."

She arched an eyebrow. "I was told be here to meet with him."

"There's something he wants me to give you."

"What?"

He looked around. "Not here."

"Well, I'm not about to go anywhere with you."

"You misunderstand – I just mean not right here." He jerked a thumb toward the back of the bar. "There's a room in the back, more private."

Morgan weighed her options. The man in front of her was large – at least six foot and 225 pounds. And he was not fat. But she also knew that she could take him if it came down to it. She gave a slight nod. "Alright." As she stood she made an inconspicuous gesture with her hand, signaling Bobby to stay put but keep his eyes open. She didn't have to look to know Bobby caught her signal. She followed 'the hulk' to the back of the bar.

 

Chapter 23

As soon as Morgan stepped through the door, a heavy object came down on the back of her head. When she came to, she was tied to a wooden chair with her hands tied behind the back of the chair. Her feet were also tied to the legs of the chair. Suddenly cold water was thrown in her face. She sputtered a little and raised her head. She was rewarded with a fist to her left cheek.

She tasted blood where the inside of her cheek was cut. And she was dizzy.

"Hey! I said not to do anything until she woke up!"

"She is awake."

Footsteps marked the approached of a second man. "Well, well. What have we here?"

Morgan glared the second man.

"You are a feisty one, aren't you? Well, that's why we're here."

"I'm gonna love teaching you a lesson or two, bitch," smirked 'the hulk' just before he smashed the side of her face again.

Morgan spit some blood on his shoes. She then looked back up at the second man. He was clearly the brains of the duo, but that also made him the more dangerous. "Look... if I'm supposed to be learning something here, wouldn't it better if I knew what the hell the lesson was?"

She received a blow to the opposite cheek for her impertinence.

"Gag her." The second man walked away as 'the hulk' gagged her.

Even with Morgan's strength, it was difficult to break the bindings on her hands without good leverage. But since it was obvious these two wanted to beat her rather than kill her, she knew she could last long enough for Bobby to realize something was wrong.


Bobby was a patient man. Too many undercover cases taught him that to act too soon could blow someone's cover. But his instincts were telling him it was time to check on Morgan; she'd been gone too long.

Unfortunately, as soon as he made his decision to go check on her, a bar fight broke out – in seconds it encompassed the entire place. He jumped right in – in an attempt to work his way to the back. He also got his phone out and hit the memory dial for his partner.

"Frank, got a problem here. Send some ba–" His call was cut short when someone smashed a particularly heavy liquor bottle over his head, knocking him out.


Scully had waited exactly ten minutes after Morgan left. She then tucked her weapon in the small of her back, slipped on her blazer and headed to the door.

"Um, Agent Scully? Where are you going?"

She gave Det. Franco a determined look. "To back up my partner. You can either stay here or come with me." She opened the door and walked out of the hotel room.

Det. Franco was on her heels doing his best to stop her, but finally saw there was no way to sway the redhead from her course of action. He indicated he'd drive his car so she didn't have to hail a cab. He did get her to agree to wear one of the Kevlar vests in his trunk and to his plan to park a certain distance from the bar so that they weren't obvious in the parking lot. He assured Scully that his partner would call him if there was a problem he felt he and Morgan couldn't handle.

They'd been sitting in the car for a quite a long time when Frank's phone rang. "Franco... Bobby?... Bobby?" He slapped his phone shut.

"What's going on?" Scully demanded.

Instead of answering her directly, he picked up the mike to his radio and called in, requesting backup. Since he wasn't starting the car and getting them there, Scully started to open her door to get out and cover the two blocks on foot. Frank caught hold of her arm barely in time to keep her in the car as he turned the key in the ignition. Quickly pulling up short of the front door of the bar they both jumped out of the car.

Frank reached to open the door, but before he could a body came crashing out of a painted over window. Scully and Frank exchanged a look and headed inside with determination. What greeted them was one of the biggest and roughest melee's either had ever encountered. When Frank spotted his partner unconscious on the floor he pushed and shoved their way to him. Scully knelt down next to Bobby and checked him out. He was alive and his pulse was strong. But he had a bleeding wound on the back of his head.

"He should be alright. He's bleeding but it's not a bad wound. Head wounds always bleed a lot."

Frank took off his over shirt, folded it up and pressed it against Bobby's head wound. Scully stood up to try to find her partner.

"Where's Jess?"

Bobby came to. "Back..."

"What?" Frank asked.

"Morgan... back room..."

Scully tried to work her way to the back of the bar, but the fighting around her threatened to engulf her as well. She found an overturned chair, set it upright, stood on top of it and fired three quick shots into the ceiling. The noise level dropped dramatically and nearly every head in the place turned toward her. "Everyone settle down, sit down and shut up!!" Several objections started but she fired another shot. "Now!!"

The battlers, for the most part, obeyed. She looked at Bobby and Frank who indicated they would take charge of the room. She quickly made her way to the back of the bar. She was not, even in the most remote way, prepared for what she found when she entered the back room.


Morgan realized that something had gone very wrong. Bobby wasn't coming. It was solely up to her to deal with the situation she was in. Despite the blows she'd taken to her face and body, she continued to try to break the bindings holding her arms and hands behind the back of the chair. Finally they gave. Morgan didn't waste any time. She surged up, surprising both men. Her features shifted in an instant. She kicked her legs free as she ripped off her gag. A very hard and well placed punch knocked out the 'brains' of the duo. That left the hulk.

The change in Morgan's features may have stunned Jerry (the hulk), but he quickly recovered while she focused her rage on his partner. After knocking Bill out, she turned back to him. He met her with a fist to her face. But it wasn't enough to stop her. She lunged at him. Jerry met her lunge, grabbing one of her arms and yanking it behind her with all his strength. They both heard the pop when it dislocated.

Morgan let out a yell when her arm was twisted and her shoulder dislocated. It also caused her already high adrenalin levels to spike even higher. With a roar she spun, landed a punch to his jaw which she followed up with physically shoving him into the wall with her own body. She grabbed his throat with her right hand, lifted and squeezed. Suddenly the door flew open.


Scully froze as she took in the appearance of her partner. Morgan's face was bruised; she had blood running down her face from the corner of her left eye and below her broken nose; her left arm hung useless at her side; and her wrists were chafed raw from being tied up. All that was a shock, but wasn't what gave her pause.

What rooted Scully to the spot were Morgan's black eyes and fangs! And she was holding a 225 pound man a couple of inches off the floor with one hand around his throat!

While the newly arrived redhead distracted Morgan, Jerry saw his chance and took it. He broke the grip Morgan had on his throat and threw as hard a right as he could to her body, following it up with a left to her head.

All three heard the snap of ribs breaking and the forceful expulsion of air from her lungs. The blow to her head stunned her. Morgan dropped to her knees. As Jerry raised a broken chair leg, preparing to bring it down on her head, Scully was finally spurred into action.

"F.B.I. Freeze!"

He didn't.

A shot rang out.

The bullet struck Jerry in the chest knocking him back... but he didn't go down. With a yell he still attempted to attack Morgan. A second bullet ended his life.

Morgan was on the floor. Scully moved toward her. Pain was clearly written in her features. It was with grey eyes she looked up at her partner. Before she could say anything Bobby and Frank appeared in the room.

"Fuck!" growled Bobby while Frank stepped out and called for a couple of the EMTs that had just arrived. Bobby knelt next to Morgan while Scully checked on the unconscious man on the floor. "Take it easy, Morgan. You're going to be okay."

Scully sat down on a couple of stacked boxes. She simply didn't know what to think or say. Did she really see what she thought she did? Could Jess really be a monster in disguise? What did it mean?


Once Morgan was able to catch her breath and answer the EMTs' questions, she was helped up from the floor and, at her own insistence, walked out of the back room, through the bar and out to one of the ambulances.

Bobby went with her, still holding a cloth to back of his head. "I'm sorry, Morgan. I got blindsided."

Morgan sat on the gurney in the back of the ambulance and the EMT began to check her out more closely and prepared her for transport.

"It's not your fault."

"Did you find out what you needed to?"

She let out a sigh. "The guy I'm after wasn't here, but apparently I was being taught a lesson, punished."

"For what?"

"They wouldn't say." She winced a bit when the EMT gently examined her nose. "I still have to question the second one in the morning."

"Sorry, Agent Morgan. I'm going to put you on some oxygen and start an I.V. Then we'll get you both to the hospital."


At the hospital Morgan was quickly examined and x-rayed. She was given a muscle relaxant and pain medication before her shoulder was manipulated back into place.

As soon as Bobby got a few stitches in the back of his head, he joined Morgan. "You look like shit," he said with a smile.

"Thanks a lot." Morgan looked around making sure no one was currently paying attention or listening to them. "She saw me, Bobby," she said softly.

He sat on the gurney next to her feet with a sigh. "I'm sorry. If I'd been more careful it wouldn't have happened."

"It's not your fault. I knew I was taking a risk agreeing to the meeting. And she agreed to let me go without her."

"Frank said she waited ten minutes before leaving the hotel. He couldn't stop her so they parked a couple blocks down the road."

She shook her head. "I should have known. It's not like her to back off."

"So now what?"

"I'll continue to work the case and move on when it's over."

Bobby placed on a hand on her leg and gave it a supportive squeeze.


When Scully finally arrived at the hospital she once again flashed her credentials. She inquired about the condition of Morgan, but didn't go back to see her. She took a seat in the waiting room.

Frank on the other hand, went back to check on his partner. He, of course, found Bobby with Morgan. After making sure they were both going to be okay, he left and returned to the precinct to help process the three dozen, or so, people arrested at the bar.

Scully sat in the ER waiting room, trying to sort out her thoughts and feelings. What the hell had she seen? What was Jess? What did it mean for their partnership?

What did it mean for them on personal level?

 

Chapter 24

Morgan had to fight with the attending physician, but she vehemently refused to be admitted into the hospital for observation.

"Agent Morgan, you have a concussion, your ribs are broken and your shoulder was dislocated–"

"All of which you can't do a damn thing about at this point."

"Agent–"

"I'm a doctor – I know you can't make me stay. And I'm not going to. So go get the damn paperwork I need to sign so I can get out of here."

The paperwork was brought and she signed herself out A.M.A. (against medical advice).


Scully stood up when Bobby and Morgan both came out. "They're not keeping you overnight?"

"I'm fine."

Morgan's reply received a highly arched eyebrow in response. Scully clearly didn't believe her. The brunette continued on her way out the door.

Scully exchanged a look with Bobby, but then they followed.

"Det. Franco brought me in your car," Scully informed Bobby. "It's over here." She took the lead.

Bobby helped Morgan into the back seat and then got in the front with Scully. "We need to make a stop on the way back to the hotel," he informed the redhead.

Scully nodded and Bobby pulled out of the parking lot. When he pulled the car into a parking space Morgan looked at where they were.

"What are we doing here?"

"You know why we're here," replied Bobby.

"Forget it, Bobby. I just want to go back to the hotel."

Scully turned slightly and looked at her partner, and noted the irritated expression on her face.

Bobby turned around to look at Morgan. "I didn't say anything about want. This about need, Morgan, and you damn well know it," he snapped, not giving an inch.

Morgan glared at him. "I don't–"

"I know."

When she didn't reply he opened the door and got out of the car.

Scully watched Morgan. The brunette was obviously not pleased. In fact, she seemed downright sulky; something she hadn't seen in Jess before. She was uncomfortable with the heavy silence in the car, but she didn't know how to break it. She didn't know what to say to Morgan. Hell, she didn't know what to think.

Morgan, on the other hand, did know what to think. She knew as soon as Scully had seen her at the bar that it was over. Dana had seen something Toni never had; she'd seen her other half. She closed her eyes and mourned what was apparently not to be.

Bobby returned to the car after only a few short minutes. He lightly tossed a small brown paper bag to Morgan in the backseat. They exchanged a look before he turned back. "Now we can go to the hotel."


At the hotel, Bobby helped Morgan up to her room. Scully watched silently as Morgan stiffly walked into the bathroom with the paper bag in her hand and closed the door. She was clearly in pain.

In the bathroom Morgan opened the bag and took out the plastic container within. She removed the lid and drank the still warm blood. She looked in the mirror at her own visage, obsidian eyes looking back at her, mocking her. The half of her heritage that had saved her life... had just lost her the chance of being happy again.

When Morgan came out of the bathroom she threw the paper bag, with the empty container in it, at Bobby. He caught it and, with a nod, left without a word.

Morgan began to unbutton her shirt with her right hand. She carefully shrugged it off, exposing her bound left arm and ribs. She then undid her jeans and managed to push them down and off. She didn't bother with pajamas as she moved to the bed. Scully was transfixed by the visible damage, the bruising, on Morgan's body; evidence of the brutality she'd withstood. She startled a little at the sound of her partner's voice.

"If you don't mind, turn off the light on your way out, please. I'll be sleeping in late." Morgan was lying under the sheet, her eyes already closed.

Silently, Scully turned off the light and retreated through the connecting door to her own room, locking it behind herself.

The snick of the lock as Dana turned it was as loud as a jail cell door slamming into place, locking her heart away. It was the first time the adjoining door between their rooms had been locked. A single tear escaped and rolled down the side of her face and into her ear.

Scully tossed and turned the rest of the night. Sleeping poorly, and having disturbing dreams. She dreamt of eyes black as night and sharp fangs... and blood. She dreamt of monsters and Mulder and being caught in quicksand, unable to escape. She dreamt of eyes sparkling grey and full of warmth and understanding. She dreamt of happiness and passionate lovemaking.


Since it was after 3:00am by the time they got done at the hospital and back to the hotel, it was a little after 10:00 when Scully woke. She awoke to find herself clutching the second pillow to herself and wondering why it wasn't Jess she was holding. Jess...

Everything from the night before came flooding into her mind, including the dreams. She didn't know what she had seen meant, but she knew she had to find out.

Scully got up, showered and dressed. Having braced herself for the coming conversation, she unlocked the adjoining door and stepped quietly into her partner's room. She was not prepared for what waited for her.

Nothing.

Jess was gone... as was her luggage. Scully was absolutely livid! She never thought Jess would ditch her like Mulder had done countless times. "FUCK!" She whirled around to leave the room, but something caught her eye. There was a folded, white piece of paper taped to the door adjoining their rooms. It had her name on it. She took it down and opened it. It was definitely Jess's handwriting.

Dana,

I've cleared it with the Director – there's no need for you to continue this case with me or to stay on the taskforce. You're free to do as you please and have your choice of assignments in any division, at any location you want. Good luck with whatever you choose.

With my highest regards,

Special Agent Jessica Morgan

Scully stalked back into her own room, the note crumpled in her fist. She was so angry she was having trouble thinking clearly. She closed her eyes and counted to ten, trying to calm herself down. She pulled out her cell phone and called Jess. Not surprisingly Scully got her voicemail. She was too angry to leave a message though. Scully went to her nightstand and picked up the business card Det. Bobby Marinelli had given her. She dialed his number.

"Marinelli." He sounded half asleep.

"Det. Marinelli, it's Agent Scully. I need to speak with you."

"Umm... alright." He gave her directions to his place.


Scully knocked on the detective's door. The door opened and she stepped into a rather dark apartment. All the windows were covered by blinds and heavy drapery. The only light in the living room came from a lamp standing next to the couch.

"Come on in, Agent Scully."

"Thank you. I appreciate you meeting with me."

"Would you like something to drink? Coffee?"

"Coffee would be great."

"Come on into the kitchen." Bobby led Scully into the kitchen and started a pot of coffee as she took a seat at the kitchen table. He sat down across from her. "Now, what can I do for you?"

"How long have you known Jess?"

"Let's see, the Stevenson case was in '91, so almost eight years." He gave her a hard look. "Is something wrong?"

"I'm trying to figure out what's going on; what's happened." She took a breath and let it out. "What was that all about in the car last night between you and Jess? What was in that paper bag?"

"I think that's something you should ask her. It's not my place to tell you."

"I would, except she's gone!" Scully snapped.

Bobby sighed. "I didn't expect that... but it's still not my place to tell you."

"What can you tell me?"

"I can tell you that Morgan is the best damn cop I've ever seen. She has great instincts and really cares about the job, the cases, the victims. I'd work with her anytime, anywhere. She's already saved my life once, back in '91." He got up and poured two cups of the freshly made coffee. He set a cup down in front Scully before retaking his seat. "Morgan is as good a person as they come. I was pleased she called me for help. Although in the end, I didn't turn out to be much help," he added regretfully. He lightly touched a hand to the back of his head. "I got blindsided."

"It can happen to anyone."

"You said Morgan was gone. Did she indicate where she went?"

"No. She was gone when I got up – just left me a note saying it wasn't necessary for me to continue to work with her, that I was free to do whatever I wanted."

"And what if what you want is to continue to work with her?" He paused for a couple of beats. "Or, do you?"

Scully looked down into her cup of coffee, feeling a little ashamed. "I don't know," she said softly. "I need to know what's going on before I can determine that."

"Then you need to talk to Morgan."

"Yeah. But she left."

Bobby let out a snort. "Well I can tell you she didn't walk out on the case. And I don't imagine it would be all that hard for you as an F.B.I. agent to find her."

After a few seconds of silence, Scully put her cup on the table and thanked Bobby for his time. She then left.

Bobby poured the remnants of the coffee down the drain. He opened the refrigerator, pulled out a container of blood and put in the microwave to warm it up. "What in the hell are you up to, Morgan?" After the microwave dinged, he took out the blood and started to drink it. It would be hours before the sun set and it was safe for him go out, but he could make a call. He dialed Morgan's number.

"Hello, Bobby. Isn't it a bit sunny out for a creature of the night like you?" she quipped.

"Up yours, half-breed. What the hell did you do, Morgan?"

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, you disappeared without telling your partner where you were going."

"I told you, she saw me, Bobby."

"So?"

"So it was best for me to continue working the case without her. I gave her a glowing and well deserved review, and made sure she has her pick of assignments."

"What if she still wants to work with you?"

"I highly doubt that."

"Why?"

"Because most people don't take it too well when someone they've gotten involved with has deceived them. And I can tell you that Dana is not a woman who takes kindly to being lied to or misled."

"Involved w– You mean– Damn, Morgan."

"Yeah, well..."

"So, where are you now?"

"Why?" she asked suspiciously.

"Keep your knickers on. Scully was just here asking questions about you."

Morgan sighed. "What did you tell her?"

"Well, I didn't tell her you're a half-breed. But you need to sit down and have a talk with the woman. You owe her that, Morgan."


Scully placed a few phone calls. Morgan had returned to Miami. She didn't know why, or where the brunette would be staying, but she decided to go and see if she could get the woman to talk to her.

 

Chapter 25

After Morgan heard Scully lock the door between their rooms she made a decision. She knew she couldn't bear the rejection. She had opened up to someone for the first time in years, but she'd ruined it. It wasn't Dana's fault. Jess was the one who had deceived her, who didn't tell her about herself.

But then, how does one go about telling someone her kind of secret? Not even her parents knew – only her grandfather had known. He was the one who explained to her what was going on when she realized she was different from everyone else. He was the one who explained to her what she was, who she was, and what she needed to do.

Her family gave her privilege, her heritage that gave her power... and it was her grandfather who taught her the responsibilities required of her. And one of those responsibilities was to not inflict herself on an innocent person. Actions had consequences. So, she set the alarm to wake her at 6:30 to make some calls and travel arrangements.


Morgan was feeling better physically when she got up in the morning. But she really should have had more time to recover. Although her ribs were no longer broken they were still very sore. At least her shoulder only had a twinge in it. And there was only faint bruising remaining on her face. Another pint of blood and some more sleep and she'd be good as new.

She made her phone calls and then went down to the precinct to interview the brains of last night's escapade. Bill Simon was little more than a low level criminal. Her interrogation of the man produced only the confession that he'd been hired, by phone, to 'teach some uppity bitch' a lesson. He'd received a picture of her and $3000 in an envelope with no postage in his mailbox. For a mere $500 he hired Jerry Brunson to do the actually beating – because he didn't like to get his hands dirty, and because Jerry enjoyed beating women so much.

Not expecting to find anything more from this lead, she turned over the follow up to the locals. Morgan then caught the 9:45 flight back down to Miami. Once there, she rented a car. Since she was on her own dime, she'd made a reservation at the Loews luxury hotel that had opened only two and half months earlier.

A discreet symbol on the concierge desk (visible only to those of a certain breed), let her know that she wouldn't have to leave the hotel to obtain the pint of blood she needed. She placed her order and retired to her room. Not ten minutes after arriving in her room there was a knock on the door. She took delivery of her order. Even though it wasn't even 1:00 in the afternoon, she drank the warm, thick liquid and then went to bed.


Morgan got up at 6:00 feeling pretty good. She changed into some shorts and a tank top, and went for a long run. She enjoyed the run. Back at the hotel at 7:30 she showered and changed. She went to dinner and then drove up to Ft Lauderdale.

Morgan was on downtime for a couple days because of what had happened. She hadn't told the Director just how badly she'd been hurt since she knew she'd be fully recovered in a short time. Unusual for her though, she was actually going out for the evening just to be herself and relax. She had liked the Black Diamond wine bar when she and Scully went there during the investigation. So, on this Thursday night, she headed to the Black Diamond.

Marge, the doorwoman, recognized Morgan. "Good evening, Agent Morgan."

Morgan smiled. "Good evening, Marge. And tonight it's just Jess."

"Any luck with finding Beth's killer?"

"I can't discuss the case, but don't worry, we will get him."

Marge nodded. She waved Morgan's money away when she tried to pay the cover charge. "I told you, no charge for you."

"I'm not working tonight, Marge."

"Just go in. Kate wouldn't want me to charge you."

"How is Kate?"

Marge sighed. "Hurting. But she's a strong woman, she'll be okay."

"She's not in, is she?"

"No. Although she would have been if we hadn't all threatened to walk out on her if she came in."

Morgan nodded. "She'll need some time to mourn, but she'll also need to keep busy. Don't be too hard on her if she needs to work."

The older woman recognized the sound of experience of in the agent's voice. "Don't worry; we'll take good care of Kate. Have a nice evening, Jess."

"Thank you, Marge."

Morgan entered the bar. There was a different bartender on duty and there were only eight customers present. She went to the bar, ordered a glass of wine and took a seat in one of the leather arm chairs.

After a couple of glasses of wine, Morgan wandered to the back corner of the bar, to the baby grand piano. While at Oxford she worked part time at a quiet little pub called The Squire. She had played the piano there. It had been a much more innocent time in her life. It had been a long time since Morgan sat down to play the piano, because no matter how she tried, her emotions always came out in the music. If she was angry, so was the music; if she was happy, so was the music; if she was melancholy, so was the music. She placed her fingers on the keys, caressing them, but not yet applying any pressure.

"Go on."

Morgan looked up at the softly spoken words.

"Go on and play something," Marge gently encouraged her.

"Taking a break?"

"No. I was just filling in for Barb who was running late. I'm not actually working tonight." Marge sat on one of the stools placed around the piano. "So, play something," she said with a smile.

Morgan let out a slow breath, caressed the keys a moment, and started to play. Her eyes drifted shut as the melancholy notes mingled, formed a coherent union, and wrapped themselves around her. Morgan wasn't sure how long the music had carried her, but when she opened her eyes again, there were five or six other women also sitting on the stools around the piano. She felt her face color and she dropped her gaze as she let her hands fall away from the ivory.

"No, don't stop."

"That was beautiful!"

"Please, play some more."

"Yeah."

"Play some more."

Morgan looked at Marge who was smiling.

"I think you'd better play some more before they get rowdy," Marge said with a smirk.

Morgan played the baby grand piano for over two hours. The women commented on the beauty of the music, though not the melancholy woven within it. Finally she took a break. She grabbed the latest glass of wine that had been purchased for her and moved back to one of the leather arm chairs. Marge sat in its companion, sipping a mineral water.

"You play beautifully, Jess. But I have to ask, why so blue?"

Morgan sighed. "Just things catching up with me, I guess."

"Things?"

Morgan had had enough wine to loosen her tongue more than usual. "I'm tired of investigating the murders of young women; tired of crawling around in the minds of the sick and evil bastards that rape, murder and molest; tired of trying to catch monsters after they've wreaked havoc in the lives of innocents..." she trailed off. "Tired of being afraid and alone... and of not being happy," she added softly.

Marge placed her hand on Morgan's forearm and gave it a squeeze. "I can't imagine a beautiful woman like you ever having to be alone... if she didn't want to be."

"I don't want to be... not anymore..." She took another sip of wine. "I miss her," she said, thinking of both Toni and Dana.

"What happened?"

Morgan's mind played out the scene of Toni's murder... and the locking of the door by Dana. Right at that precise moment, she wasn't sure which hurt more. She let out a sigh. "Bad things happened."

Marge didn't press Morgan for more detail, but she did keep her company throughout the evening.

Around 2:00 Morgan decided it was time to go. She had long since surrendered the keys to her rental car. She turned to Marge. "Time to call a cab."

Marge smirked. "Where are you staying?"

"The Loews."

Marge stood up and offered a hand to Morgan. "Come on. I'll drive you." She helped Morgan up, who wavered just slightly. The bartender tossed Morgan's keys to Marge when she asked for them. Marge got the tipsy agent into the passenger's seat of the car and then got behind the wheel.

"How old are you, Jess?"

Morgan, who had been gazing out the window didn't catch the question. "What?"

"I asked how old you are."

"Ah. Just turned 33 a couple weeks ago."

"Then regardless of what's happened in your life, you're still young enough to set yourself on the path you want to follow."

Morgan frowned. "You sound as if you think you're too old to do that for yourself."

Marge chuckled. "It gets a little hard when you're in your 50's."

"50's? I'd have thought 40, 42 tops."

"Thanks. And I'm not complaining about my life. I don't have many regrets."


When they arrived at the Loews Marge insisted on seeing Morgan up to her room.

"I'm not that drunk, you know," said Morgan.

"I know," Marge replied with a smile. "Besides, I wouldn't mind a look at Miami's new luxury hotel. I hear it's pretty posh."

"The suite I have is definitely nice. It has a great big claw foot tub and a separate marble shower," the agent said as they walked inside.

"Suite? And the feds pay to put you up in a place like this?"

"No. I'm here on my own dime."

When they neared the door to Morgan's suite, she heard something... from inside. She froze instantly, and tried to concentrate through the effect of the wine. "Marge," she said softly, "move to the side of the door and don't make a sound." She reached down and retrieved her backup weapon from her boot.

Marge's eyes got large. "What's going on?" she whispered.

"I don't know yet. But stay put," Morgan cringed at the snick of the electronic lock releasing. As quietly as possible she slipped into the dark interior, her eyes shifting so she could see.

"We need to talk."

Morgan spun around and aimed her gun at the source of the voice. She quickly pulled up though. "Bloody hell, Dana! I could have shot you!"

Scully turned on the lamp on the table next to the end of the couch she was sitting on. "Nice room."

"It's okay, Marge," Morgan called out. "Come on in."

The older woman peeked around the door and then entered. "Everything alright?"

"Yeah." Morgan replaced her weapon in the holster inside her boot. "Everything's fine. Marge, you remember Agent Scully? Agent Scully, this Marge Grayson, from the Black Diamond."

"I remember."

"Hi."

"Well... I'll be on my way, Jess. If you need anything while you're in town, you have my number."

"Wait." Morgan walked out into the hallway with Marge. She insisted on giving the woman money for the long cab ride back to Ft Lauderdale. "It's the least I can do, Marge. Thanks for everything tonight."


Scully had been surprised to see Marge, the doorwoman, enter Morgan's suite. But then a lot of things were surprising her where the brunette was concerned. She could hear them speaking quietly just outside the suite in the hallway, but couldn't hear what they were saying. Finally Morgan came back in.

"We need to talk, Jess."

"Perhaps. But not tonight." She continued, cutting Scully off, "Because I've had either too much to drink, or not nearly enough, to do this tonight." She closed her eyes. Morgan took the keycard out of her back pocket and dropped it on the desk. "You're welcome to the room. I'll see you in the morning." With that she turned for the door.

"Jess, wait!" Scully got up and moved a couple steps towards her.

Morgan looked over her shoulder. "What?" she replied a little snappishly.

Scully wasn't sure what to say. When she didn't speak, Morgan continued to the door. "I need... I need to know what's going on, Jess. I saw... what I saw..." she trailed off, at a loss.

Morgan turned back around and looked at her. "What you saw was this!" Her features transformed. Eyes shifted to fathomless obsidian, fangs elongated, and an aura of power radiated from her. She took a step toward Scully and stopped when the redhead took an instinctive step backwards, away from her. She shook her head. "I'll see you tomorrow." With that she turned and walked out of the suite.

Morgan went downstairs to the main desk and checked into another room. Once in the new room, she stripped naked and crawled into bed.


Scully stood, without moving, for a full minute after Morgan's exit. She couldn't believe the transformation that had taken place right before her eyes. Jess's sparkling grey eyes changed to the black eyes from her dreams; her canines elongated into sharp fangs; and the very air about her became charged with... power.

Scully saw it. She watched it happen. But ever the scientist, her mind struggled to find a rational explanation. Even transformed, Scully couldn't miss the hurt in her partner's eyes when she took an involuntary step back from her. Or the melancholy that settled around the brunette like a cloak as she turned and left.

And that hurt.

Finally Scully went into the bedroom. She retrieved a t-shirt from Jess's suitcase, bringing it to her face and inhaling her scent. She stripped, put on the t-shirt and crawled into bed.

 

Chapter 26

When Scully had finished talking with Det. Bobby Marinelli, she returned to the hotel and placed some phone calls in an effort to find out where Morgan had gone.

Scully called headquarters and spoke to AD Ben Taylor and then the Director himself. The Director congratulated her on the glowing review she'd received from Jess. He then asked what assignment she wanted. When she expressed her desire to stay on the taskforce he expressed his concern over the threat against her life. Scully reassured him she didn't want to leave the case and he finally agreed. However, since he wasn't aware of any issues between the two agents, he didn't tell Scully where Morgan was; and she felt it was best not to ask him.

Scully ended up calling the Lone Gunmen and asking them the favor of trying to track her down.

"But I thought you were working a case with Jessica," Frohike said.

"I am. It's just... well, we've had a bit of a misunderstanding. When I got up this morning she was gone. She left a note, but it didn't say where she went."

"You mean she ditched you like Mulder always does?" Langly asked incredulously.

"That doesn't sound like Jessica," Byers added.

"Look, I know you guys care about her. So can you help me out?"

"What do you need, Scully?" Frohike asked.

"Can you check her credit cards maybe, and see if there's any activity on them that would tell me where she's at?"

She waited for them to work their computer magic.

"The only thing we can find was that she took a flight from Atlanta to Miami," Byers told her.

"No idea where she's staying?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Wait a minute, let me check something," Frohike yelled in the background. He worked on the computer for a couple minutes. He then cleared the screen and the cache so no one would know what he'd done. He took the phone from Byers. "Guys, I need to talk to Scully privately." He waited until the other two left before continuing. "Uh, Scully?"

"Yes?"

"I have to know – is Jessica in some kind of trouble?"

"No, she's not." She sighed. "Something happened last night, Frohike, and I didn't handle it well. She left before I could talk to her about it. She left a note that said I didn't have to work with her anymore."

"So she thinks you're mad at her."

"Something like that."

"Are you?"

"I'm more confused than anything. Which is why I need to find her and talk to her."

Frohike hesitated. He didn't want to do anything to betray Jessica. If she didn't want anything to do with Scully... But he knew Scully and knew she was a good and honest person. "Is it personal or work related?" he asked.

Scully bit her lower lip as she considered her answer. "Both, Frohike... but mostly personal, I think."

After a pause, he spoke again. "Hopefully she won't kill me for this."

"What?"

"She's staying at the Loews hotel in Miami, but not under Jessica Morgan."

Scully could hear the hesitancy in Frohike's voice. "What name is she using?"

"Lady Essington," he replied softly. "You cannot tell anyone about that, Scully. I'm breaking a long held confidence by telling you that. Swear to me you won't tell anyone, Scully."

Confused by Frohike's words Scully nonetheless promised. "I promise. I won't tell anyone."

And now, she was lying in bed, in Jess's room, unable to sleep and still not sure what was going on. She saw Jess change, right before her eyes. But her rational, scientific mind was having trouble wrapping itself around what appeared to be the obvious explanation.

She thought back to the case she and Mulder worked in Chaney, TX the year before. Mulder had been convinced Ronnie Strickland was a vampire – he even put a stake through his heart. They never had any proof he actually was a vampire since he had fake fangs and his body disappeared. Although Scully thought she might have seen Sheriff Harwell's eyes glow, she had been drugged and couldn't rely on her memories of that night. And she couldn't go by anything Mulder said since he'd been drugged as well.

She didn't believe in the existence of vampires... but what other explanation was there for what she'd seen?

She rolled over again, pounding her pillow in a vain attempt to relax enough to sleep.


When Morgan woke up in the morning she wasn't looking forward to the day. She had been thrown by Scully's presence in her hotel room, especially since she'd used the Essington account to pay for it. Very few people knew about her familial ties and it wasn't in her personnel file at the Bureau. She'd made it a requisite of her joining the Bureau that certain information about her not be in the files. She rubbed her hands over her face and shook her head. But then, Scully was an excellent investigator and she really shouldn't put anything past the woman.

Morgan then realized that she didn't have a change of clothes with her. Her bag was in the suite she'd left Scully in. She didn't want to go walking through the hotel hallways just in one of the provided robes, so she put on her clothes from the night before.

Time to face the music.


When Scully heard the knock on the door she looked through the peephole. Tugging on the bottom of the t-shirt in an effort to cover herself more effectively, she turned the doorknob. As soon as the door was open she retreated to the bathroom to get one of the robes.

Morgan entered, and didn't miss seeing Scully retreat into the bedroom. Nor did she fail to recognize her own t-shirt on the petite redhead. She quirked an eyebrow when Scully came back out, securing the robe around herself. "Where's your stuff?"

Scully blushed. "In the car."

Morgan picked up the phone and called down to the concierge desk. She requested they send someone up to get Scully's car keys and then retrieve her luggage from the car. In three minutes flat there was a knock on the door. Scully tossed the keys to Morgan who opened the door and gave them to the bellhop.

"The car is..." Morgan turned back to look at Scully.

"A dark blue Mercury Sable," the redhead provided.

"Not a problem. I'll take care of it, Lady Essington."

"Thank you." Morgan closed the door. She sighed when she turned around again. She gestured toward the bedroom. "Would you mind if I got a change of clothes so I can go take a shower. I feel grungy in last night's clothes."

"No. Of course not."

Morgan walked into the bedroom and got some stuff from her bag. When she returned to the living room and headed for the door, Scully stopped her.

"You don't have to leave, Jess. You can take your shower here; this is your room after all."

Morgan visibly hesitated.

"It's not like you'll use all the hot water," Scully quipped, trying to lighten the heaviness in the air between them. "Go on, Jess, take your shower."

With a silent sigh, Morgan returned to the bedroom and entered the bathroom.

Scully sat down on the couch when she heard the shower start. She felt nervous and confused... and angry. She wanted answers, but didn't know what she was going to do with them once she got them. She went to the door when there was a knock. Answering the door she found the bellhop with her bags. "Wait a moment," she said as she moved to get her purse so she could tip him.

"No need, ma'am. Have a good day." He left, closing the door behind him.

Scully took her bags into the bedroom. She didn't notice the shower had stopped, so she was surprised when Morgan came out of the bathroom, wrapped in towel and started to dress. She stood silently, unable to move. She couldn't take her eyes off of Morgan. Gone were any traces of the beating she'd taken. Even the gash on her left arm that she'd gotten rescuing the driver from the accident was gone. She was in perfect condition.

Scully shook her head. "Sorry," she murmured when she realized she'd been staring.

Morgan simply finished dressing and retreated to the living room.

Scully took a long shower. She was putting off the coming conversation... and she knew it. She was the one that demanded they talk, but was afraid of what the outcome may be. Finally, she turned off the water, stepped out and dried herself. Morgan was nowhere in sight when she entered the bedroom. She quickly dressed and went out to the living room. She was afraid Morgan had once again disappeared, but then she spotted her out on the balcony. She took only two steps toward the balcony before Morgan turned around and looked at her through the open sliding glass door.

"So, what did you want to talk about?" Morgan asked flatly.

Scully's jaw dropped. "What did I– How the hell can you even asked me that?" she snapped. "You know what we need to talk about!"

With a sigh, Morgan came back inside. She walked over to the mini-bar and took out a cold bottle of water. She spoke after taking a drink. "I'm just not sure what you want to accomplish, Dana. I can't change what's happened or who I am."

"Well, for one, you could tell me why the hell you ditched me yesterday in Atlanta! I expect that kind of bullshit from Mulder, but not from you. I expected better from you! I expected some consideration from you!"

"Consideration? Why the hell do you think I left? I left out of consideration for you!"

"I don't count being unceremoniously dropped from the case consideration. An impersonal note from you and it's a done deal? I don't think so!"

"I didn't just get you dropped from the case. I got you your choice of assignment – anywhere in the damn country! I did what I thought was best for you."

"Any assignment except working on the task force to stop this killer! And who are you to decide what's best for me? Don't you think that should be up to me?!"

"What the bloody hell do you want from me?!"

"I want to know what the hell is going on and I want to know what you are!"

Morgan turned away, flinching at the 'what' in Scully's demand. She'd expected it... but it hurt more than she anticipated. Her eyes watered until she reined in her feelings and erected another wall around her heart. Her face was an expressionless mask when she turned back around. "Come on, Dana. You're a smart woman. Do you really need me to spell it out for you? I'm a bona fide X-File! I'm half vampire!"

"But vampires aren't real."

"HA!" Morgan barked bitterly. "Then I guess I don't exist!" she snapped as her features shifted.

Scully recoiled, taking a step backwards.

"And that's why I left! You're afraid of me."

"I'm not afraid of you!"

Morgan marched toward Scully, following her as she retreated until her back hit the wall. Morgan planted her hands on the wall, boxing Scully in. She glared at the redhead before dipping her head and sniffing the side of the redhead's neck before raising her head and looking into her eyes again. "Perhaps you should be, after all, I do need blood now and then," she growled. Then she forcefully shoved herself back from the wall and Scully, turning and walking away. Her features were back to normal when she turned back around. There was bitterness in her voice when she spoke, "Don't worry, I've never taken human blood and I'm not about to start with you."

Scully eyes flared with anger. "Then what the hell was that about?!"

"Making a point. You can't help but recoil from me. Fear, revulsion, disgust; it doesn't matter why. Forcing us to work together won't do either of us any good. Being partners was only temporary anyway."

"Well, for your information, I spoke to the Director – I'm still on the taskforce. I'm not a quitter!"

"So you're still on the taskforce. Great. Last I heard they were headquartered in DC. I suggest you join them!"

"And what about us?"

"What about us? It was great while it lasted."

Scully was felt hurt and betrayed by Morgan's dismissive words. But she was more angry than anything. So angry she simply saw red. She turned and stalked into the bedroom, grabbed her bags and marched out of the suite, slamming the door behind her.

Scully drove to the airport and caught the first flight she could find back to DC.


Morgan stood still, breathing heavily as Scully walked out and slammed the door. Her breaths soon turned to quiet sobs. She dropped to her knees and cried. It hurt so much... but it would have been worse, would have hurt more, to have to work beside Scully and see the revulsion in the redhead's eyes.

 

Chapter 27

On the plane, Scully laid her head back and closed her eyes. She fought to hold back her tears; tears of anger, tears of frustration, and tears of a breaking heart. What had she been trying to accomplish by confronting Morgan? Get the brunette to admit she was something other than human? Well, she'd accomplished that. Get Morgan to tell her why she ditched her? That, too, was accomplished. Determine where they stood personally? Well... she got that answer as well, didn't she?

But then what did she expect?

Morgan had warned her that she wasn't a good bet. But Scully had still pressed, encouraging Morgan to take a chance on what she felt between them.

Scully drifted to sleep even as her thoughts of Jess continued.


Morgan allowed herself fifteen minutes to mourn. After that, she clamped down on her feelings, erected walls around her heart and focused on the job. Just as she had done for the last six years. "What's done is done. Back to work, Morgan," she told herself out loud.

She retrieved her laptop and opened up some files. Unless something new turned up in the case, she was going to return to DC the next day. In the meantime, even though she was on downtime, she would immerse herself anew in the case files.


Since it was still early afternoon when Scully landed at Reagan National Airport she reported back to the Hoover building. At the end of the day she drove to the safe house. When she closed the door behind herself, it struck her just how empty the place felt. She went to her room and changed. Then she started a load of laundry. After she was done with the laundry and ate a lonely dinner for one, she decided to retire for the night.

Without thinking about it, she bypassed her bedroom and went into the bedroom Morgan had used. She came to an abrupt halt when she realized just how empty the room was – all of the Morgan's things were gone. Someone had packed up and removed her stuff. She pulled the covers back and laid down, pulling the covers up and clutching the second pillow to herself. She could just make out the faint scent of Jess. Silent tears soaked into the pillow as she drifted to sleep.

Outside, a dark sedan drove past the house and turned at the corner. It parked three blocks away. A lone figure made his way back in the shadows. He watched the house from the cover of a hedge.


Morgan was surprised when her hotel phone rang. She wasn't expecting any calls, certainly not on the hotel phone. "Morgan."

"Good evening, Jess. It's Marge."

"Hey, Marge. What's up?"

"I was wondering what your dinner plans were."

"Uh, I was just going to order something from room service."

"It's Friday night and you're in Miami. I can think of much better places to have dinner than your hotel room. I'll pick you up in an hour."

Marge hung up before Jess could respond but she didn't miss the good humor in the older woman's voice. And, Marge did have a point. She'd probably benefit from a nice dinner out, knowing she'd likely not bother with dinner if she stayed in her room.

Morgan was ready when Marge arrived.


"How much longer are you going to be in Miami?" Marge asked over after dinner drinks.

"Actually, I'm going back to DC tomorrow."

"So, does that mean you're giving up on Beth's case?"

"No! Of course not." She paused. "This is the only case I'm working. But the answers aren't to be found here in Miami."

Marge took a few moments to think about Morgan's response. "Beth's case is related to another," she concluded thoughtfully.

"I really can't discuss it with you, Marge, but rest assured I'm doing everything I can to find the person who killed Beth."

Marge nodded. "Fair enough." She took a sip of her drink. "So, where's your partner, that cute little redhead?"

Only Morgan's years of experience allowed her to keep her features schooled in an impassive mask. "Agent Scully and I were only temporary partners. She's from another division."

Marge smirked. "I wasn't talking about your work, Agent Morgan. I saw the way you two looked at each other. There's more than just work between the two of you," she finished with confidence.

"I'm not sure what you think you saw, Marge, but Agent Scully and I are not together," Morgan replied evenly.

It was obvious Marge didn't believe her.


It was after midnight when Jess got back to her hotel room. Marge hadn't pressed her any further about Scully, but the redhead hadn't been far from her thoughts all night. Once she was back in her room alone, she packed, showered and went to bed. She was awake for a long time before finally drifting to sleep.

Morgan dreamed of sparkling, blue eyes and silky, red hair; soft kisses and passionate lovemaking. And she dreamed of gunshots and blood pooling... and the ghostly pale face of Dana.

Morgan came awake with a yell. "NOOO!" She was struggling for breath and covered in a cold sweat. After a several gasping breaths, she looked at the clock radio on the nightstand: 4:37. After that dream there was no way she was going to get anymore sleep. She placed her feet on the floor and stood up. Might as well start the day.

Morgan called the airport and rearranged her flight to an earlier one. A quick shower, a change of clothes and she was good to go.

She landed in DC at 10:15 and went directly to headquarters. She received a few nods from the agents present in the bullpen as she passed through to her office. When she entered her office, she found her luggage, which had been at the safe house, in the corner. She would worry about where she'd stay later. She picked up a couple folders on her desk and started to read.

It was after 1:00 when a figure appeared in her office doorway. "Welcome back."

Morgan looked up and saw AD Ben Taylor as he entered. "Thanks."

"I understand your 'meeting' didn't go so well." He paused for a beat as he sat down. "Agent Scully told me things got a little out of hand. You could have been really hurt, Morgan, or killed."

"It was a calculated risk, one worth taking. Besides, killing me wasn't the point. Teaching me a lesson was."

Taylor reserved his judgment on the matter. "So what was the lesson?"

She shook her head. "They didn't say, but I suspect it was to demonstrate that our guy can get to anyone he wants to, whenever he wants."

"What did you find out about the men who attacked you?"

"Bill Simon was contacted by phone and hired for $3000 to 'teach me a lesson.' He received payment via his mailbox, though the envelope containing the money and a picture of me wasn't sent through the mail. He in turn hired Jerry Brunson, the dead guy, for $500. Brunson had a penchant for, and a history of, beating up women. He had a record of domestic abuse and assaults. But he wasn't very imaginative. He was a follower."

"What about the guy in custody?"

"Bill Simon is small time. A few cons, receiving stolen goods and the like. Anything that made him money without getting his hands too dirty. Of the two he was the brains of the outfit, but that's not really saying much. And, unfortunately, since he had no direct contact with our guy, he's pretty much a dead end. I did order the money he had left from the $3000 be checked for prints and see if the serial numbers could be traced. I'm not holding my breath."

"So, care to tell me why I received a call from the Director telling me Agent Scully was off the taskforce and then another one telling me she was back on? Or why she came back to DC before you did?"

Morgan carefully measured her words and tone. "A direct, explicit threat was made against her life. Given the circumstances I felt it was best not to risk her further by having her continue working the case. The Director agreed. It's my understanding that Agent Scully expressed a strong desire to remain on the taskforce, though, until we catch this guy. However, I do not see the need for her to accompany me in the field, especially considering the threat against her. So she returned. Since I was on enforced downtime, I chose to delay my return until today."

Taylor had been in the Bureau more than long enough to recognized Bureau-ese double speak. Something had happened between the two agents, possibly a major disagreement of some sort. He had no idea what, but with the glowing review Morgan had submitted on Scully, he suspected it wasn't anything he'd get Morgan to reveal. It was obvious she considered it a closed matter. "I see," he grunted. He stood up. "Well, we're getting some new blood. Six more agents have been assigned. They'll be here Monday. If nothing takes you out of town, I'd like you to bring them up to speed."

"Alright."


Morgan worked in her office until late evening. She then left and checked into a hotel, using the Essington account to prevent anyone from tracking her.

Sunday passed with Morgan holed up in her office as well. As a result, she didn't see Scully until she walked in Monday morning.

Scully was sitting at a desk and talking on the phone. Morgan simply entered her office and closed the door. After a few minutes she reappeared, only to head into Taylor's office.

Scully felt her stomach tighten and her breath catch a little when Morgan arrived that morning. She hadn't seen the brunette agent since she'd walked out on her in Miami Friday morning. Though she had dreamt of her extensively. She had spent the weekend trying to reconcile her feelings about the beautiful agent.

Though a skeptic, she had seen enough working the X-Files to know that there were extraordinary people and things in the world; people and things that defied logical explanation. As a scientist, she had always been driven to find answers and explanations. So even though she'd been coming to terms with the reality of what Morgan was, she had a lot of questions and wanted answers. And the fact that she had allowed Morgan to get close to her, that she'd opened her heart and took such a risk on a personal level, intensified that desire for answers.

Scully hadn't opened up her heart in longer than she cared to remember. It was just her luck when she'd finally taken a chance and risked her heart that she came face to face with one of those extraordinary things she'd been investigating for the past five and half years.

She needed to talk to Jess again. Scully couldn't take her eyes off of Morgan when she exited Taylor's office and headed to the elevators.


Morgan's desk phone rang. It was Taylor, who asked her to come to his office. Once there, they discussed the imminent arrival of the six new agents. When the call came that the new agents had arrived, she headed to the elevators and went down to meet with agents and escort them up to the taskforce bullpen.

Once she brought the new arrivals up, she gathered them in a corner of the bullpen, and, with visual aid of the white boards with pictures and facts of the victims, brought the group up to speed. Most of the agents already present joined the group of new agents to listen to Morgan's briefing. She covered everything that had happened in the case, including her encounter at Doc's Saloon in Atlanta. Morgan then took some questions, answering them to the best of her ability.

"Each of you were added to the taskforce because of your individual abilities. I want to hear your ideas, thoughts, theories. You are the ones with the fresh eyes. If you have questions or ideas my door is open, and if I'm not available AD Taylor is." With a nod Morgan dismissed the assembled group. She turned and started toward her office.

"Agent Morgan."

She turned back to the agent who called her name. "In my office." Once they both entered her office she closed the door and turned to him. A smile lit up her face. "God, it's good to see you, John."

They hugged and held each other closely.

"It's been a long time, Jessica. Too long."

They let go and kissed before fully parting and sitting in the chairs at the work table.

Part 28

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