Thursday, June 25th, 1998
Dana entered through the adjoining door between their rooms to find her partner looking disheveled and tired. Her eyes were dull and flat and she was dressed in sweatpants and an old t-shirt. “Nicole, what’s wrong? We have a meeting in less than an hour.” She looked at Nicole, worry evident in her eyes. “Did you sleep at all last night?”
The blonde shrugged, rolled her head around, and rubbed the back of her neck with one hand. In truth, she hadn’t slept well for the last week or so. “I couldn’t sleep. I went for a run, and then…” she sighed. “Then I tried to figure out where the next body will show up.”
“You mean you were out all night staking out trees in hope of catching the killer,” she snapped with irritation.
“I told you, I couldn’t sleep. So why not try to find something to crack the case?”
“Because you went alone! I put up with that crap with Mulder for too long; I’m not going to go through all of that with you! Just when I think you couldn’t be more different from him, you pull something just like he would do!”
The venom in the redhead’s voice set the blonde back on her heels. She wasn’t sure what was fueling her partner’s anger. Dana knew Nicole sometimes had trouble sleeping and would go for runs. Dana also knew that if the blonde had found anything Nicole would have called her.
“Just take a shower and get dressed. If you hurry we can get to the meeting on time,” she again snapped, cutting Nicole off.
Frowning, the blonde simply nodded and headed into the bathroom.
Dana sat down in a chair and pinched the bridge of her nose. She felt guilty for the way she’d acted towards the blonde. It wasn’t Nicole’s fault Dana was having trouble dealing with her inappropriate feelings for her partner. She had to get control of her feelings.
Nicole came out of the bathroom wrapped in a towel. Dana averted her eyes as the blonde dressed. The drive to the police precinct was done in an uncomfortable silence. Nicole stared out the window as her partner drove. She never stood a chance at getting any sleep the night before after having held the redhead in her arms for a little while. It was getting harder and harder to bury her feelings for her partner. And from the way Dana had abruptly pulled away from her, Nicole was worried that the redhead was beginning to pick up on those feelings.
Indianapolis Police Department
Thursday, June 25th, 1998
Nicole listened to her partner’s report about the autopsies she’d performed on the second and third victims. They were the same, except the third victim had two strips of flesh removed her chest.
“So, to sum up, we have two male victims and one female. None of the victims had anything show up in the toxicological tests. And other than the obvious trauma of the crucifixion itself, there was no other sign of trauma on the first victim, Daniel Clifford. The second victim, Alex Jensen, had a single strip of flesh, four inches by half an inch, removed from his chest while he was still alive. There were two strips of flesh of the same dimensions removed from the chest of the third victim, Jessica Moore, also taken while she was alive.”
“Do you have any insight as to who is doing this?” asked a uniformed officer.
“Statistically, serial killers are male, white, aged 20 to 35, heterosexual, and don’t stand out at work or in their community,” Dana answered.
Det. Finneran stood and took over the meeting. As many detectives and officers as they could muster were going to canvas the areas where the bodies were found. Everyone was paired up and given specific blocks to cover.
Nicole looked over her partner’s shoulder at the sheet of paper Dana was holding. “So where are we headed?”
“Not you, Nicole,” the redhead said as she turned around to face the blonde.
“I’m going out with Det. Finneran. You are going back to the hotel and get some sleep.”
An eyebrow arched. “I beg your pardon.”
“Nicole, you didn’t sleep at all last night, and you haven’t been yourself for a few days now. I don’t want you watching my back if you’re half asleep. Go back to the hotel and get some sleep. I’ve already talked to Finneran; we’ll do the canvassing and will call you if we find anything.”
Nicole frowned and tried to figure out what was going on. “Is this about whatever was bothering you last night?” she asked.
Dana was dismayed that the blonde had cut right to the core of the problem with such unerring accuracy. She didn’t want to sit in a car with Nicole all day with nothing to talk about but things she wasn’t ready to talk about. She needed some distance to get her emotions, her thoughts, herself back under control. She went with denial.
“No, no. Not at all. I don’t trust you to be my backup in your condition, any more than you would mine if our places were reversed.”
The blonde saw Finneran headed their way. Despite being highly suspicious of her partner’s words, she was unwilling to make a scene in front of anyone else, so she remained silent. However, her dark green eyes communicated her doubts quite clearly.
“Agent Scully, are you ready?” the detective asked.
“Yes.” Dana turned back to her partner, feeling guilty about the hurt she saw Nicole’s eyes. “We’ll call if we find anything, Nicole. Get some rest.”
Nicole arrived back at the police precinct at 3:00. She had gotten a few hours of sleep at the hotel before she was awakened by the phone. Someone had arrested a suspect and her presence was requested to help with the interview. She arrived before her partner and Det. Finneran, so she wandered around the detective’s office, looking at maps and pictures on the walls before sitting down in his chair.
“Agent Logan! You made it.” Finneran hung up jacket on a hook on the wall. “Hang on, I’ll go get the details of our suspect.”
There was something irritating about the too exuberant detective. She watched as Dana looked at the same pictures and maps she’d already examined. “So, how was your day?” she finally asked.
“Fine. We obviously didn’t find anything.”
“How did you get along with your new partner?”
The redhead chose to ignore the emotion underlying the blonde’s tone. “Fine. He’s an avid basketball fan and talks about it – a lot.” She finally turned and looked at her partner. “Did you get any sleep?”
“Five hours. That good enough for you, Dr. Scully?”
“It’s certainly better than nothing.”
Silence filled the room, both women turning inward, Dana wondering why being alone with her partner was so damned disconcerting, Nicole wondering why her partner was putting up so damn many walls. Both agents startled slightly when Finneran returned.
“Okay, ladies. The suspect is waiting for us,” he quipped too cheerily.
The blonde, leaning against the wall next to the door, silently observed while Finneran and Dana interviewed the alleged suspect. Nicole left the interview room after less than five minutes. She was sitting at a desk going through computer files when they exited an hour later.
“Why did you leave?” Dana asked. “We could have used your help, your insight.”
The blonde sat back, rubbing her eyes and then pinching the bridge of her nose. “It’s not him. He has nothing to do with murders.”
“How the hell can you tell that in less than five minutes and without even talking to him?” Finneran asked snappily.
The blonde stood. “Experience.” She looked at the redhead. “I’m going to get something to eat. Care to join me?”
The redhead hesitated. “N-No. Det. Finneran and I are going to follow up on some leads. I’ll meet you back at the hotel later.”
Nicole didn’t say anything; she simply gave a short nod before turning on her heel and leaving. Dana considered changing her mind and almost followed her partner, but the detective’s words aborted the impulse.
“Are you ready to go, Agent Scully?”
With a sigh she nodded.
Despite having to deal with getting her own feelings under control, Nicole was not unaware of her partner’s continued withdrawal. Perhaps Dana had the right idea. Perhaps pulling away was the answer. Maybe it was time to move on, time to get back to what she did best – hunting and killing monsters.
Instead of going to get something to eat, the blonde decided she needed a run. Back at the hotel she changed clothes. She wasn’t in the mood for any interruptions, so she purposefully left her cell phone in the room.
It was almost 10:00 when Dana got back to the hotel that night. She and Det. Finneran had spent the last few hours canvassing – with no results. Since Nicole had gone to dinner much earlier, the redhead accepted the detective’s invitation to a working dinner. She would have declined if she’d known the only reason he’d asked her out had nothing to do with the case. He’d spent the entire time coming on to her and trying to impress her – neither of which he did very well.
She was looking forward to spending some time with her partner. Even though she had arranged to spend the day apart from Nicole, Dana missed the blonde’s presence. Despite the fact she’d told her partner she didn’t trust the blonde to have her back, the truth was she did trust her partner, more than she ever trusted anyone. Nicole had never let her down.
Dana entered her hotel room and immediately stripped off her suit. She needed a hot bath, but because of the late hour settled for a hot shower. Dressed in her pajamas and towel drying her hair, she tapped on the adjoining door to the blonde’s room before opening it.
No one was there. She looked around for some sign, a note, from her partner. There was no note. The redhead returned to her room and picked up her cell phone, hitting the speed dial for her partner… and heard Nicole’s phone ring in the other room. She walked back into the blonde’s room and located the phone.
“Dammit. Where the hell are you, Nicole?”
Nicole felt tired, in a good way, from her run and subsequent workout in the hotel’s fitness room. She was startled when her partner barged into her room through the adjoining door.
“Where the hell have you been?” the redhead demanded.
“I went for a run, then decided on a workout when I got back. I’ve been in the fitness room.”
Dana took a slow breath in an effort to calm herself down. “You left your phone.” She held said device out to its owner.
The blonde took the phone and shrugged. “You were with Det. Finneran.”
“What if we’d found something? I wouldn’t have been able to reach you.”
Nicole frowned. “Would you have actually called? Because you made it quite clear you didn’t trust me to have your back today. You didn’t call me when a suspect was brought in – someone else called me.”
Dana bit her tongue, cutting off her first response. She hung her head as she rubbed her temples and counted to ten. “Maybe… maybe that wasn’t best choice of words.” She looked up at her partner. “I was worried about you. You really needed to get some sleep.”
The blonde silently challenged her partner with a pointedly skeptical look. Neither woman was quite sure what to say since they both knew there was more to it.
Finally, Nicole sighed. “Whatever. I need to take a shower.” She turned and entered the bathroom.
The redhead sat down on the side of the bed. Dammit! Why is it suddenly so hard to talk to her? She’s my partner and friend. She let out a sigh. Because you’re in love with her, a belligerent voice in her head pointed out.
When Nicole came out of the bathroom she was actually a little surprised to find the redhead still in her room considering what was said and how things felt between them. She put on her pajama pants and a tank top, then sat on the bed next to Dana, who was kneading the back of her neck. The blonde reached up and moved the redhead’s hand away.
“Here, let me do that.” She began to massage her partner’s neck and shoulders.
Blue eyes closed and Dana had to suppress a moan. God, it would be so easy to just melt into her arms.
“So, did you and the good detective find anything to help solve the case?”
The redhead opened her eyes and sat up straight, pulling away just enough to make Nicole’s hands fall away. She shifted to face her partner. “Actually, no.” She sighed. “I was wondering if you had any ideas. I know you were going through files at the precinct.”
“I think we’re wasting time with blind canvassing. I also think were ignoring the obvious.”
“The crucifixions themselves,” Dana said, nodding.
“Who would likely fixate on the crucifixion?”
“Someone highly religious…”
“But what about the removal of the strips of flesh?”
Her eyes widened in realization. “‘And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me,'” she recited. “You think he’s eating the flesh?”
The blonde shrugged. “It’s a theory. We won’t know until we find him.”
“Do you have any suspects in mind?”
“Not specifically, but I would like to see a list of any clergy that have been victims of a violent crime.”
“Okay. That’s what we’ll do first thing in the morning… you and me,” she added, clarifying who she meant by ‘we.’
Friday, June 26th, 1998
A 4:00 am phone call woke the agents and let them know a fourth body had been found. They were at the scene within 30 minutes. Dana took a cursory look at the body before it was taken to the morgue.
“Two strips of flesh removed again,” she observed.
“We may have a real lead this time,” Finneran said. “Someone reported seeing a large car, probably a Cadillac, possibly dark blue or black. I’ll have DMV run a printout, but it’s going to be a long list,” he finished with a sigh.
“Maybe we can pare it down. Agent Logan has a possible theory.”
“Oh? What’s her theory?” Finneran wasn’t really impressed with what he’d seen of the blonde so far, and it showed in his tone of voice.
Dana didn’t care for the man’s tone of voice and she bristled at the implied dig at her partner. “Just get the list,” she snapped and walked away.
Trinity Lutheran Church
Nicole’s theory didn’t pan out… exactly. They didn’t turn up a clergyman who had been a victim of a violent crime, but they did happen upon an unusual case that involved Reverend Hugh Sirianni. Six years previously his wife, Catherine, had presented with stigmata. Investigated by a number of clergy, her wounds were deemed self-inflicted and not of divine cause. She died in a questionable car accident days after being declared a fraud.
Rev. Sirianni didn’t hide his belief that the ‘skeptics’ and their opinions had led to his wife’s death… and he drove a dark blue, late model Cadillac.
Inquiries were made and a warrant obtained when it was implied by a church member that the good reverend had his 17-year-old son held hostage somewhere in the church.
Dana and Nicole led the police officers assigned to help take down the reverend to the church. After ensuring all of the exits were covered, the two agents entered through the front doors with Finneran and two uniformed officers. They searched the church finding no one. However, the door to the vestry was locked and indistinct voices could be heard within.
Nicole exchanged a look with her partner, receiving a nod in return. Dana positioned herself to the side of the door as the blonde prepared to kick the door open. With gun drawn, Nicole raised her foot and kicked with more than enough force to propel the locked door open.
Dana watched in slow-motion horror as a loud gun shot rang out and Nicole was thrown back through the air, hit with a sickening thud against the altar, and landed in a crumpled heap on the floor. Dana turned to the now open doorway to see Rev. Sirianni holding a .357 magnum handgun on his son, Tim.
A uniformed officer rushed over to the blonde’s fallen body and called for an ambulance.
“Put the gun down, Reverend,” Dana ordered.
“His is to be the final sacrifice!”
“No! No one else is going to die.”
The reverend’s finger started to pull the trigger. Another shot rang out, this time coming from Dana’s weapon. Rev. Sirianni fell back, a bullet hole through his heart. Det. Finneran moved in and secured the revolver that fell beside the body. He then ushered the teenager out of the church.
Dana turned back to where her partner’s body lay, paramedics already working on her. Having already removed the agent’s bulletproof vest, the first medic was performing chest compressions while the second medic prepared the defibrillator.
“Charging… charging… clear!”
Nicole’s body spasmed.
“Still V-tach. Dropping one of epi. Clear!”
Her body spasmed again.
“Still V-tach. Trying atropine… Clear!”
Once again her body spasmed.
The two medics shared a disheartening look.
“How long has she been down?” Dana asked.
“Since the shot,” someone replied.
“Let’s get her loaded,” the first medic said. They would continue CPR even though they didn’t think she was going to make it.
Dana didn’t hesitate; she got in the back of the ambulance with her partner, and assisted with the CPR, using the ambu-bag, as the paramedic continued chest compressions.
St. Vincent’s Hospital
Once Nicole was rushed inside to the ER, Dana was told to wait in the waiting room. She paced, unable to sit down. She barely took notice of the arrival of Det. Finneran, not listening to him as he told her that doctors were checking out Tim Sirianni to make sure he was alright. Don’t die, Nicole, don’t die. I’m not ready to lose to you!
“Agent Scully!” Finneran said for the fourth time and grabbed her arm, halting her pacing.
She glared at him. “What? What’s so important, Detective?”
“I just want to know where you want to go for lunch.”
Dana was livid. “They’re in there fighting to save my partner’s life and you want a lunch date?!”
“I… I didn’t think you were close. I mean, you did everything you could to avoid her yesterday.”
Before she could tear him a new one, a nurse entered the waiting room. “Agent Scully? The doctor will see you now.”
“Don’t be here when I return,” she told Finneran and then turned on her heel, following the nurse back into the trauma bay.
The doctor was filling out a chart when the redhead approached with the nurse.
“This is Agent Scully, Dr. Kagawa – Agent Logan’s partner.”
The doctor looked up from her chart. “Agent Scully, I know how cops can be when it comes to their injured partners. Fortunately, you are listed as Agent Logan’s doctor, so I don’t have to worry about doctor/patient privilege.”
“How is she?”
“Stabilized, and lucky to be alive. I understand she was shot with a large caliber weapon, but was wearing a vest.”
“Yes. A .357 magnum.”
“It’s obvious from the bruising that it struck her directly over the precordium and brought on commotio cordis.”
“It stopped her heart,” Dana said, nodding in understanding. “Myocardial contusion?”
“Not severe, but I’m sending her up for an echocardiogram to be sure. We’ll also monitor her by EKG for the next 24 hours.”
Just then a couple of nurses pushed the blonde’s gurney past on the way to testing. She was still unconscious.
“You can see her once they get her settled in a room.”
“Thank you, Dr. Kagawa.”
St. Vincent’s Hospital
The blonde moaned, announcing her return to consciousness. She took only shallow breaths since it hurt to do more than that. When she opened her eyes she saw her partner’s watery eyes looking down at her.
“Hey. How do feel?” Dana asked gently.
“Like I was kicked by a mule.”
The redhead nodded. “A .357 magnum mule.”
“No wonder my chest hurts.” She closed her eyes against the pain for a few moments and felt Dana squeeze her hand.
“Your vest stopped the bullet, but the impact actually stopped your heart. They had to do CPR on you all the way here until they got your heart started in the ER.”
“I’ll let you get some sleep then. I’ll go to the precinct and finish up the paperwork. In the meantime I’ll have the nurse give you something for the pain.”
Dana gave her partner’s hand another squeeze before letting go. “I’ll be back later to check on you.”
Indianapolis Police Department
Dana returned to the police precinct and handled the paperwork. While they would never know definitively why Rev. Sirianni crucified four people, he had never been the same since his wife’s death. A search of the rectory turned up a slice of the missing flesh taken from one of the victims. It was stored in the refrigerator.
The son, Tim, said he knew nothing about his father’s actions or the reasons behind them. He would be placed in a foster home until his 18th birthday – only four months away.
Dana then headed to the morgue to perform the autopsy on Rev. Sirianni. Obviously, the cause of death was known, but there were other answers that could be found within the body.
With a sigh, Dana closed the file folder and handed it to the orderly who’d been assisting her. “Please file that, and make sure the copies I’ve made get sent to the notated parties.”
“No problem. Is there anything else I can do for you, Dr. Scully?”
“No, thank you.”
She went into the locker room and took a shower before dressing. She then drove to the hospital to check on her partner.
St. Vincent’s Hospital
She felt the touch of a familiar hand checking her pulse. The corners of Nicole’s mouth curled in a small smile and she opened her eyes. “Hey.”
Dana smiled down at the blonde. “How do you feel?”
“Sore… and sleepy.”
“You’re going to be sore for some time, Nicole; your body’s been through a significant trauma. The sleepiness is from the medication.”
The blonde forced her eyes open again since they had drifted shut. “So, anything new with the case?”
The redhead sighed. “I did the autopsy on Rev. Sirianni. I found evidence of ingested human flesh in his stomach contents.”
“I was hoping I was wrong about that.”
“I also found something else. He had a meningioma of the right lateral ventricle with extension into the corpus callosum and periventricular white matter.”
“He had a tumor in one of the structures containing cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. It had invaded the longitudinal fissure that connects the left and right cerebral hemispheres which facilitates communication between the two halves of the brain, as well as a composite structure of the hypothalamus. In short, the tumor brought on his psychosis.”
Dana gave her partner’s hand a squeeze. “Get some sleep. I’ll be right here.”
“No reason for you to stay and be uncomfortable. Go on back to the hotel.”
“Okay. I’ll be back in the morning.”
The blonde was asleep as soon as her eyes closed.
Saturday, June 27th, 1998
It was 2:30 in the morning when a figure wearing a dark hoody entered Agent Logan’s room. He’d waited until after the nurses had made their rounds. He looked down at the blonde who should have been dead. She was sleeping, but he wanted to make sure she didn’t wake up. He poured ether into a handkerchief and held it over her mouth and nose. Sure that she wouldn’t wake up, he turned off the machine she was hooked up to and removed the leads and IV line. Picking her up, he hefted her over his shoulder and snuck out of the room.
Trinity Lutheran Church
Nicole came to only to find herself unable to move… and nude. Her torso, arms, and legs were tied down tightly to a rough-hewn wooden slab. With the drugs in her system she could barely manage to move her head to look around; she didn’t have a chance of breaking free of her bindings.
“I’m not ready for you yet.”
The voice came from the opposite side she was looking and was followed by an ether-soaked handkerchief being held over her mouth and nose. Darkness claimed her.
A hand reached out from under the covers to snag the offending noise maker – her phone. “Scully.”
“This is Dr. Penworth at St. Vincent’s. I’m calling about Agent Logan.”
Dana sat up abruptly, fully awake. “What wrong? Is she okay?”
“I’m afraid she’s missing.”
“What the hell do you mean she’s missing?”
“Sometime in between 2:00 and 3:00 she disappeared from her room and we haven’t been able to find her anywhere in the hospital.”
The redhead looked at the clock on the nightstand – 3:45 am. She was dressed and on her way within five minutes.
Indianapolis Police Department
Saturday, June 27th, 1998
Dana called Skinner, who in turn rattled some cages. As a result, every available detective was working on finding her missing partner. But as negative report after negative report came in, she was starting to get a little frantic.
Unable to sit still, she left the bullpen and went into the break room. She poured herself some coffee, but winced at the bitterness. She would have given anything to have her partner walk in and hand her a mug of tea.
“… know if I find this damn FBI agent I’m going to give her a piece of mind for pulling this disappearing act and making me come in on my day…”
The voice passing by the break room in the hallway pissed Dana off. She knew Nicole didn’t just get up and walk out of the hospital… which meant someone had to have taken her. But who the hell would have taken her? And why? We’ve only been here three days working on the case… She rubbed her temples as she tried to reason it out. The case… the case… Who involved in the case would want to do anything to Nicole? Sirianni is dead. “Dammit!” she exclaimed when it hit her.
Dana tossed the full cup of coffee into the trash and rushed out of the building. She snagged a pair of uniformed officers who had just pulled up, ordering them to follow her.
Trinity Lutheran Church
When Nicole awoke again, she was still groggy from medication given to her at the hospital and the ether that had been used on her.
She couldn’t help but scream when a knife cut into her chest above her right breast.
“Good, you’re awake. You should be awake for this; it’s an honor to be sacrificed. Since you died and were reborn your sacrifice will be even more special.”
“Don’t do this!”
The knife sliced deeply into her flesh again and again. She didn’t even try to remain silent.
Trinity Lutheran Church
When she found the church doors locked, Dana shot the lock then kicked the doors in. She and the two uniforms searched the church, but found nothing. Then she thought she heard something… coming from next door. She headed out a side door, stopping to listen. She definitely heard a woman’s scream. It was a cry of pain and it was coming from a lit basement window of the rectory.
“In here!” she yelled to the officers and ran into the house. Following the screams, she found the stairs to the basement in the kitchen. With gun drawn she made her way down the steps, the cries she now recognized as Nicole’s spurring her to get to her partner as quickly as possible.
She found Tim Sirianni, knife in hand, slicing into the blonde’s chest just above her breast. Three deep, four-inch cuts had already been made, angled from Nicole’s right shoulder toward her sternum. Blood was flowing onto the wooden slab she was bound to. Tim was making another cut, perpendicular across the slices to make strips, using the tip of the knife to pry up one end of a strip to peel her flesh away.
Tim looked up with a feral smile and a crazed look in his eyes. “I have to finish!”
“Drop the knife or I’ll shoot!”
“She must be sacrificed!!”
“I said drop it!”
Nicole cried out again as he tried to continue.
Dana didn’t hesitate. She shot the young man in the shoulder, knocking him back. He stared at her wide-eyed, disbelieving she’d actually shot him. He lunged towards the blonde, but was stopped by a second shot from one of the uniformed officers that had arrived.
The two uniforms rushed forward to secure the young man while Dana went to her partner. She removed her jacket and covered the blonde, then looked for something to staunch the bleeding. Finding nothing she placed her hands over the wounds and pressed, eliciting a cry of pain from her partner.
“I’m sorry.” The redhead looked at the officers. “Call an ambulance and get something to cut her loose,” she ordered.
One uniform, Officer Miller, radioed for two ambulances while the second, Officer Barker, went back outside to the patrol car and got out the first aid kit. Barker returned, handing the kit to the redhead. He then cut the bindings while Dana placed a large field dressing over the wounds, again applying pressure.
“Don’t try to move, Nicole. An ambulance is on the way.”
Nicole’s eyes closed, but tears continued to trail from the corners.
When the ambulances arrived, two teams of paramedics descended into the basement. One team started working on the boy, the other on the blonde. Since Tim, with two gunshot wounds, was more critical, he was the first to be taken out and transported to the hospital. It was unknown whether he’d live or not.
Then they got Nicole onto a gurney. Despite the care with which the paramedics moved her and carried her up the stairs, everything little bump made her wince. Once again Dana got into the back of an ambulance with her partner. This time, she held Nicole’s hand, squeezing it, and talked to her, telling her to she was going to be okay.
St. Vincent’s Hospital
The blonde moaned softly as she began to waken. Dana jumped up from the chair she’d been resting in and took her partner’s left hand in her own. She waited for Nicole to open her eyes.
“Hey there. How do you feel?”
“Getting a little tired of waking up to that question.” She groaned as she shifted, a little surprised to find her right arm immobilized.
“Easy, Nicole. The wounds were deep.” She squeezed the hand she was holding. “You’ve had to have surgical repair done to your pectoral muscle. It’ll be a few weeks before you’re back to normal.”
Dana hit the button to raise the head of the bed. Once Nicole was almost upright, she poured a glass of water, put a straw in it, and held it so her partner could sip.
Having wet her throat, the blonde felt a little better. “It won’t take me long to get back in shape. I heal fast, remember?”
The redhead set the water down and sat on the side of the bed facing her partner. “Nicole, don’t downplay this.” She felt her eyes sting as they watered. “I need you to take care of yourself. You were shot today and almost died. Then you were abducted and seriously wounded. I’ve lost one partner, I don’t want to lose another one.” A single tear spilled over and ran down her cheek.
Nicole reached up with her left hand and tenderly wiped the tear away. She gently cupped Dana’s cheek. “It’s okay, Dana. I’m alright; I’m not going anywhere.” She slipped her arm around the redhead shoulders and pulled her close.
“I don’t want to lose you; you mean too much to me,” Dana murmured as they hugged.
She tightened her arms around the blonde as more tears trailed down her cheeks. She felt Nicole yawn, so she let go of her and helped her to settle, lowering the head of the bed.
“Sorry,” the blonde apologized.
“Don’t be. It’s the drugs, and you need to sleep anyway. Just relax; I’ll stay here with you.”
Her eyes closed and Nicole was asleep.
Sunday, June 28th, 1998
Dana jerked awake when someone entered the room. She straightened up and watched closely as a nurse took her partner’s vitals.
“Everything looks good. She’s doing just fine,” the nurse said softly when she turned to go.
The redhead gave her a small nod. Dana gazed at the blonde as Nicole continued to sleep. It had been a couple of rough days. She’d come so close to losing Nicole… it drove home just how much she cared for her partner. Dana tried to imagine her life without the blonde in it – the thought made her heart ache.
Dana still felt the loss of Mulder. One couldn’t know the man and not feel his absence. But most of what she felt about it was guilt. Guilt, because she didn’t see his deterioration as a warning. Guilt, because she didn’t prevent his suicide. Guilt, because she preferred being Nicole’s partner. And guilt, because her life was better without him.
Her life wasn’t one of conspiracies and paranoia – it was full of promise and joy and she was alive to enjoy it. She no longer dreaded going to work for fear of what their next case would be. The X-Files Division was enjoying a new found respect as its two agents impressed everyone they worked with, with their professionalism, tenacity, and unparalleled success rate. The name-calling and whispers that she had pretended not to hear for four years had morphed into praise and respect. The division was no longer a running joke within the Bureau. Instead, it was known as the division that handled unusual, hard to solve, and strange cases. They got results when other agents and investigations were at a standstill.
Rather than wondering when the next reprimand, censure, or suspension was coming, her personnel file now boasted letters of commendation and a recent, significant raise. However, even with all the changes for the better, Dana couldn’t bring herself to feel regret for the years she worked with Mulder. If not for him, his drive, and their experiences she would not be who she was today. With him she had seen and experienced things she never would have otherwise. And even though their work had exposed her to the darker and seedier things in life, it gave her an appreciation of the good in people and the world. It crushed her naiveté, but imbued her with the confidence that she could withstand whatever life brought.
A small smile formed as Dana’s thoughts turned to what life had brought, or rather who. Nicole was more than she could have ever hoped for in a partner, or a friend. After knowing her for a year Dana knew that she’d never meet anyone else like the blonde. She also knew that her partner had completely captured her heart.
Dana had struggled with her feelings for Nicole for some time. At first because she was dying and knew it was futile to even think about getting involved with anyone, and then because she wasn’t dying and was afraid of losing the blonde as her partner and friend. However, the last couple of days really drove home the fact that were no guarantees in life. She could lose Nicole whether she said anything about her feelings or not.
The redhead was pulled from her musings when Nicole shifted in her sleep and a stab of pain invaded her sleep, waking her.
Dana got up and went to her bedside. “Hey there.”
“You’re still here?”
“Where else would I be?”
“A comfortable bed at the hotel.”
“I’m not taking my eyes off of you until we leave Indianapolis. Bad things keep happening to you here.”
“My bodyguard,” the blonde murmured with a sleepy smile.
“Yep.” Dana gave Nicole’s hand a squeeze as her voice cracked a little.
Nicole didn’t miss the emotion in her partner’s voice, but before she could say anything the redhead spoke again.
“Do you need some more pain medication?”
“No, but I’d be more comfortable if my arm wasn’t immobilized.”
Dana shook her head. “Trust me, you wouldn’t be. There was some major damaged done to your pectoral muscle. You’ll be in a sling for a while and will have to undergo some physical therapy.” Nicole didn’t say anything, but Dana could see in her partner’s green eyes that the blonde wanted to refute her words. She reached out and brushed her fingertips through fine, corn silk hair at Nicole’s temple. “You’re out of work for at least a week, after that you’ll be on light duty.” She moved her hand and gently cupped the blonde’s cheek. “You can’t fight me on this – I’ve already informed Skinner.”
Nicole took a breath and slowly let it out. “Will I at least be able to go home tomorrow?”
“We’ll see what your surgeon says.” Her thumb lightly caressed the blonde’s cheek a moment. “Try to get some more sleep, Nicole.”
Monday, June 29th, 1998
After obtaining her partner’s paperwork from the doctor, Dana returned to Nicole’s hospital room. The bed was empty but light was coming from around the bathroom door which stood ajar. She turned away when the blonde exited the bathroom wearing only her jeans.
Nicole had struggled to get her jeans on one handed, but finally managed. However, there was no way she was even going to try to put on a bra. She picked up the button-down shirt from her bed, holding it up awkwardly and trying to slip it on her good arm. She dropped it. “Dammit.”
Dana turned at the quiet outburst. She quickly scooped up the shirt. “Here, let me help you.” The redhead supported Nicole’s right arm as she removed the sling and then carefully slid the shirt sleeve up her arm before replacing the sling. Helping the blonde the rest of the way into the shirt, Dana began to button it up from the bottom. When she finished, she couldn’t keep her fingertips from straying to the bandage still visible in the V of the shirt. She felt a lump form in her throat.
The blonde reached up with her left hand, capturing her partner’s hand from where it hovered and giving it a squeeze. “Hey.” She waited until the redhead’s eyes met hers. “I’m okay.”
She couldn’t speak around the lump in her throat, so Dana settled for nodding. Letting go of Dana’s hand, Nicole sat on the bed. She took out a pair of socks and her running shoes from the bag her partner had brought for her. It was obvious that the blonde needed help, so Dana took the items from her and knelt. She helped Nicole on with her socks and tied her shoes for her. By the time she was done Dana was able to find her voice again.
“Are you ready?”
She rolled the requisite wheelchair over and Nicole sat down in it, holding her duffle in her lap.
Their flight left a little after 3:00 in the afternoon. After a plane change in Chicago, they landed at 7:00 at BWI. The blonde slept in the car as her partner drove from the airport.
Dana opened the passenger door and crouched down. She reached out and gently shook her partner’s leg. “Time to wake up.”
Dark green eyes opened but appeared dulled by pain medication and sleep. “Where are we?”
“Your place. Come on, sleepyhead, I’ll help you get settled.” She steadied the blonde as she exited the car. Slipping her arm around Nicole’s waist, Dana walked her up the porch steps, unlocked the door for her, helped her inside, and planted her on the living room couch with orders not to move.
After bringing Nicole a cup of fresh hot tea, Dana returned to the kitchen and began cooking dinner for the two of them. When she returned to the living room she found Nicole asleep on the couch with Lyssa curled up on her stomach. Lyssa lifted her head and looked at Dana, looked at Nicole, and then back at the redhead again, meowing softly. Dana swore she could see concern in the small cat’s hazel eyes.
She knelt next to the couch and petted the small, white cat. “Yes, she was hurt, but she’s going to be okay, Lyssa. And we’ll take care of her, won’t we?”
Lyssa meowed and pushed her head against the redhead’s hand. She then laid her chin back down on the blonde’s stomach. Dana went out to the car and retrieved her bag. She took a quick shower and put on some shorts and a t-shirt. She then returned to the kitchen to finish dinner. She set the kitchen table.
Dana went back to the living room and sat on the edge of the couch, laying a hand on her partner’s good shoulder. “Nicole.”
The blonde opened her eyes and looked up at her partner. “Mm… guess I conked out on you.”
“It’s okay; dinner is ready though.”
“Okay.” She started to sit up but winced as the stitches in her chest pulled.
Dana helped her to sit up. After dinner Nicole cleaned up and changed into pajamas. She then lay down on the couch, with her head on Dana’s lap, as they watched a little TV. She, of course, fell asleep.
The redhead looked down at her partner where Nicole slept with her head in her lap. Dana tenderly caressed her brow and ran her fingers through fine, blonde hair. “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I should have been there with you. You got hurt because I didn’t have your back. I won’t let you down like that again, I promise.”
After a while, Dana woke Nicole enough to help her into the bedroom and into bed.
“Sorry I fell asleep on you.”
“It’s okay,” she said with a smile. “You’ve got some pretty strong drugs in you.”
The blonde started to lie down but Dana stopped her. “Don’t lie down yet. I need to change your dressing.” She helped Nicole remove her top and then carefully removed the bandage from her chest. She found herself face to face with the rows of stitches on the blonde’s chest. The dark nylon thread and swollen, red edges of the wounds marring her otherwise flawless skin.
“Hey, what’s wrong?”
The redhead startled at her partner’s voice and she finally tore her eyes away from the ugly blemish that symbolized her failure. “Nothing. I’m fine.” She started to pull away.
Nicole almost rolled her eyes as her partner fell into old habits. She refused to let Dana pull away. “Dana, don’t,” she said as she pulled her partner down to sit next to her.
As her throat constricted painfully and her eyes welled, Dana finally met the blonde’s dark green gaze. “I’m so sorry, Nicole.”
The blonde frowned, confused. “Sorry for what?”
“For not being there when you needed me; for not having your back like I should have.” A lone tear escaped and trailed down her cheek.
Nicole reached up with her left hand and gently wiped the tear away before pulling Dana into a hug. “You have nothing to apologize for.”
“I should have–”
“What? The case was closed, Dana. There was no reason to suspect anything would happen. No one expects you to be omniscient. We both have been doing this long enough to know that sometimes shit just happens.” She felt the redhead’s breathing become more normal.
Dana pulled back, suddenly embarrassed about breaking down in the arms of her half-naked partner. She became hyper-focused on the task of very gently cleaning and then re-bandaging Nicole’s wounds. By the time she was done, the blonde couldn’t keep her eyes open. Dana helped her partner lie back, noting that Nicole was already asleep.
After making sure the house was locked up, she slipped into the other side of the bed and turned off the light.
“Night,” the blonde mumbled.
“I’m here if you need anything. Goodnight.”
Tuesday, June 30th, 1998
In the morning Dana got up and dressed for work. She was almost ready to leave when Nicole woke. She sat on the side of the bed. “Hey there. How do you feel?”
“Not too bad.”
“Well, make sure you get plenty of rest. I’m going into the office to file our reports and stuff. If you need anything, call me.”
“Okay. Let me know if we get a new case.”
“I doubt Skinner will assign us anything for a few days. He said he wanted you to get better.”
“I’ll be good to go in a couple of days.”
“No, you won’t. You’re off for the rest of the week. We’ll see how things go before a decision is made about next week.”
Nicole gave her a sleepy smile. “A few days are all I’ll need. You’re not getting rid of me that easy.”
“Getting rid of you is not on my list of wants. Now take care. Give me a call if you need anything, or if you want me to come by after work.”
“Thanks for last night. I owe you a dinner.”
With that Dana left for work. She spent the day going over their reports and turning them in. She met with Skinner who praised their work and inquired about Nicole’s condition. She then did paperwork the rest of the day. She also spoke to her mother on the phone. Maggie made Dana promise to bring Nicole to the family picnic on Saturday, so she could see for herself how the blonde was doing.
Saturday, July 4th, 1998
Dana had made it a point to check on her partner each day after work. More precisely, she made it a point to visit her partner each day after work, fixing dinner for them both. She’d stay until Nicole fell asleep on the couch and then make sure the blonde made it to bed before going home.
The redhead’s attentiveness wasn’t really necessary, but Nicole enjoyed the evenings spent with her partner. It reminded both of them of the time they’d spent together on Great Thatch, only their roles were reversed.
Even though Nicole’s shoulder was a lot better, Dana made her wear the sling when she picked the blonde up Saturday afternoon.
“So where is this shindig?”
“Fort Smallwood Park. My brother reserved a spot near the water so he can take his boys fishing.”
“I didn’t think Bill had a kid old enough to go fishing.”
Dana smiled. “He doesn’t – I’m talking about Charlie.”
“You mean I finally get to meet this phantom brother of yours?”
“He’s not a phantom; he’s been stationed overseas. He’s just been assigned to Pax River. This is the only chance we’ll really have to get together as a family because Bill is stationed in San Diego and is only here TDY – on temporary duty. Tara and Matthew flew in this week and have been staying with Mom. They all go back to San Diego next week.” The redhead looked over at her partner and noticed a tightening around her eyes. “What’s wrong? Are you in pain?”
“No, no. My shoulder’s fine.” She paused for a couple of beats. “Are you sure you want me there? It’s a special family get-together.”
“Of course I do, so does Mom. She said she’d disown me if I didn’t bring you along today.” She reached over and gave the blonde’s hand a quick squeeze. “Relax and have good time.” She was rewarded with a smile.
Fort Smallwood Park
Anne Arundel County, MD
Maggie Scully looked up and smiled as she saw Dana and her partner walking towards her. “Dana! Nicole! I’m so glad you made it.” She hugged her daughter and then pulled Nicole into a warm, gentle hug. “I was so sorry to hear about you being injured, dear. I would have come to see you, but Dana assured me she was looking after you.”
The blonde returned Maggie’s hug as best she could with one arm in a sling. “Thank you, Maggie. And yes, Dana’s been taking good care of me.”
When they parted Maggie cupped the younger woman’s cheek as she gazed into dark green eyes. “You are okay, right? Don’t lie to me.”
“Yes, I am. Don’t worry, I heal quickly.”
Maggie gave her another hug. “Good. Next time, try not to get hurt; I worry about you girls.” She slipped her arm around the blonde’s waist and turned to walk her to where a blanket was laid out in the shade of a tree. “Now, you just have a seat and relax while we finish setting up the picnic.” Her tone brooked no argument, so Nicole obeyed, sitting down next to a sleeping baby in a car seat.
Dana smirked at the expression on her partner’s face. She had no doubt that if she had tried that Nicole would have objected, professing to be fine. She poured some lemonade into a cup and took it to Nicole. “Be a good girl,” she teased.
Nicole accepted the plastic cup with a perturbed look, which only served to widen Dana’s smile.
“And who do we have here?” Nicole asked, looking at the sleeping baby.
“That’s my nephew Matthew; Bill and Tara’s son. He’s seven months old.” She turned back to help her mother. “So, where is everyone?” she asked Maggie.
“Bill and Charlie took the boys out on the jetty for some fishing. Tara and Lisa ran to the store because Bill forgot the marshmallows.”
Maggie smiled, “For later – s’mores.”
“I haven’t had s’mores in ages.”
“You always loved them when you were a child. I seem to recall a time when you beat up both of your brothers once for stealing one of your s’mores.”
Dana blushed at the childhood memory, but a small smile graced her lips.
“There they are now,” her mother said with a nod towards the parking car. When the two women joined them, Maggie introduced the newcomers to Nicole.
“Tara, Lisa, this is Dana’s partner Nicole Logan. Nicole, this Bill’s wife Tara, and Charlie’s wife Lisa.”
After standing, she offered her left hand to shake.
“Are you okay?” Lisa, a nurse, asked as they shook hands, indicating the sling.
“Oh, this is nothing. Just a little something that happened at work. I’m just fine.”
Dana felt herself bristle at her partner’s answer, but didn’t say anything.
“It’s nice to meet you, Nicole,” replied Tara.
“Looks like the boys are hungry,” Maggie said as she spied her sons and grandsons.
Nicole was introduced to Dana’s brother Charlie and his two sons, Tommy and Bobby. Bill was the only one to have met Nicole previously, having been to the hospital to see Dana after her disappearance.
Fort Smallwood Park
Anne Arundel County, MD
Saturday, July 4th, 1998
Everyone enjoyed the picnic. It was a relaxed and entertaining atmosphere. The grown siblings took turns trying to embarrass each other with childhood stories. Nicole particularly enjoyed the ones about her partner. She also felt a deep sense of contentment observing a family that cared greatly for each and every member.
Dana reveled in the camaraderie with her family. It wasn’t all that long ago that she didn’t think she’d ever be able to spend time with her family again. Before she got cancer Dana didn’t go out of her way to keep in touch with her brothers. She let work take over practically every aspect of her life. She walked out of more than one dinner at her mother’s just because Mulder called about a case. Having come so close to dying, she had a new perspective on life and family and work… and the priority of each.
Dana and Nicole went for a walk along one of the park trails.
“It’s really nice to see you smiling and laughing and joking around with your family,” the blonde said with a small smile.
The redhead took in a slow, deep breath and let it out. “It feels good. Thank you,” she said softly. She paused for a beat before continuing. “Ever since I was a child, I’ve never allowed myself to get too close to people. I’ve avoided emotional attachment. Perhaps I’ve been so afraid of death and dying that any connection just seemed like a bad thing… something that wouldn’t last. But I don’t feel that anymore.” Feeling more than a little emotional, Dana sat down on a nearby bench. The blonde sat down next to her.
“I don’t have the words to thank you for everything you done for me. You’ve given me a second chance – and I’m not just referring to you saving my life. I have a second chance to have a life. Thank you.” The two partners hugged.
They parted and Dana gazed into dark green eyes. “Nicole–”
“Aunt Dana!” “Aunt Dana!” Charlie’s two boys, Tommy and Bobby, came running up and grabbed a hand each.
“Come on. It’s time for s’mores!” said Tommy.
“And Grandma said no one could have any until you were there,” Bobby explained.
“Yeah, so hurry up, Dana,” Lisa said with a chuckle from about 20 feet away. “My husband demanded we retrieve you so he and Bill can have their s’mores.
“Yeah, Aunt Dana, let’s go,” Tommy urged, pulling on his aunt’s hand.
The redhead exchanged an amused look with her partner as she let her nephews lead her back to where her family was gathered.
Dana looked around and felt warmed by what she saw – Tara, with Bill’s protective arm around her; Charlie and Lisa, both with wide-eyed, wonder-filled boys on their laps; her mother gazing down at the sleeping grandson in her arms; and her partner, Nicole, relaxing against a tree and watching the fireworks over the water. Everything felt so… right. The day had been perfect.
This is the way it’s supposed to be. Enjoying time spent with family and loved ones, enjoying life… not constantly looking over my shoulder and keeping everyone at arm’s length. She smiled and let out a soft, contented sigh as she returned her gaze to the colorful show in the night sky.
Once the fireworks were over, Tommy and Bobby were finally coming down off their sugar highs and were ready to go to sleep. Everyone helped to make sure the area was cleared and that no one left anything behind before leaving for their separate destinations.
Dana drove Nicole back to her house, parking at the front curb. She smiled at her partner. “I’m really glad you came along today.”
The blonde returned her smile. “So am I.” She paused for a beat. “You want to come in, have a glass of wine?”
The redhead turned off the car and the two women went inside. Dana made herself comfortable on the couch as Nicole turned on some music and then went to the basement to retrieve a bottle of wine.
In truth, Dana was glad that Nicole had invited her in. She’d wanted to talk to her partner all day, but had kept putting it off, waiting until the time was just right. Well… she did try the one time during their walk, but then the boys arrived, interrupting her. The time’s not ever going to be just right if you don’t make it so, she told herself. She knew she was taking a big risk. Depending on Nicole’s reaction, Dana could lose the best partner she could ever hope for.
Nicole returned with wine bottle, corkscrew, and glasses in hand. The redhead’s tension didn’t escape her notice. More than once during the day she’d wondered what Dana had wanted to say before the boys had interrupted them. Part of her felt some trepidation. Despite the huge strides the redhead was making in opening up, Dana still had some pretty thick walls when she wanted to, so the blonde hadn’t been able to tell what was on her partner’s mind. On the other hand, she had a feeling that Dana wanted to talk about whatever it was, but that she wasn’t quite sure how. So Nicole promised herself she’d be supportive and patient.
Dana took the wine bottle from the blonde and uncorked it. She filled the two glasses and sat back. When she turned to hand a glass to her partner, she was surprised to find Nicole was trying to remove her sling.
“You really should keep the sling on.”
“I wore it all day and I feel fine. It’s okay. Remember, I heal fast – it won’t take me as long as you think to fully heal. Trust me, Dana, I won’t overdo it.”
The redhead’s concern showed in her eyes, but not wanting to be a nag she held her tongue.
With a silent sigh, the blonde gave in and left the sling on. Nicole lightly clinked her glass against her partner’s. “Relax and enjoy the wine,” she said with a soft smile.
Dana couldn’t help but return the blonde’s smile.
As they sipped wine and talked, both women grew more relaxed. Despite the tension hiding her feelings caused Dana, she truly was at ease with the blonde, no matter the situation.
It was time.
“Nicole… I need to talk to you about something.”
Dana took a deep breath and slowly let it out, hesitating.
“Hey, whatever it is it’s okay. You can talk to me about anything, Dana,” Nicole said as she gave her partner’s hand a squeeze.
“I don’t…” She stopped and searched for the right words. “Your friendship and our partnership mean a lot to me, and I don’t want to do or say anything to lose either one.”
“Dana, there’s nothing you could possibly say or do that would make you lose my friendship.”
“I do hope that’s true,” she murmured softly.
“It is,” the blonde softly replied, trying to convey her sincerity in her eyes.
Dana gazed into dark green eyes and saw the truth of it. She swallowed and drew in a fortifying breath. “I love you, Nicole.”
Nicole smiled. “I love you, too.”
She reached up and tenderly cupped her partner’s cheek. “No… I’m in love with you.” Dana felt the blonde’s reaction as Nicole took in a quick breath of surprise. Time seemed to stretch and warp as she waited for Nicole to say something, to give some indication of where they stood.
The blonde felt her heart skip a beat and she had almost jerked back in surprise. She never expected Dana to feel that way about her, much less say something about it. She wondered briefly why her partner’s expression was changing to one of sorrow and disappointment… then realized how much time had passed and that she hadn’t said anything in response. Tell her how you feel, you idiot!
Nicole caught Dana’s hand as the redhead pulled it back and dropped her gaze. “Dana…” With a couple of crooked fingers under her chin, Nicole gently nudged Dana’s gaze back up. “I fell in love with you some time ago,” she said softly but clearly.
Dana couldn’t believe her ears. What she felt was mutual! Now what?
A smile broke out on the blonde’s face as she let out a soft chuff of amusement. “‘Now what?’ Now this…”
Oh, God, I said that out loud! Dana blushed.
Nicole leaned in and gently pressed her lips against the redhead’s. Dana took the blonde’s face between her hands and deepened their kiss, her heart racing when Nicole responded in kind. They continued, slowly exploring each other’s mouth.
Feeling lightheaded, the blonde broke the kiss and rested her forehead against Dana’s. “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time,” she murmured with a soft smile.
Dana returned the smile as she caressed Nicole’s cheek.
“In fact, I want to do that again… and again,” she said with grin, but instead of kissing Dana again, the blonde pulled back and gazed into crystal blue, her expression turning serious. “Are you sure about this, Dana?” Nicole had to know Dana was sure before they took things any further. She’d already lost her heart, but it would be better to stop now than to pass the point of no return and then lose the redhead.
Dana saw apprehension in beautiful, dark green eyes, and realized that she wasn’t the only one taking a risk. She also saw what Nicole was truly offering. All she had to do was say yes and she’d get everything she ever wished for – unconditional love. She smiled.
Nicole was amazed. As much as she had hoped that her feelings would be returned, she had not really allowed herself to believe it was possible.
Once again, the redhead reached out, gently cupping Nicole’s cheek. “Yes, I’m sure. I’m in love with you, Nicole.”
The blonde took Dana’s hand in her own and stood. A small tug on her hand prompted the redhead to stand. Smiling, they kissed… then walked down the hallway to the bedroom, hand in hand.
In Nicole’s bedroom the blonde turned on the small lamp on the nightstand then turned to face the redhead. Dana put her hands on Nicole’s shoulders and gently directed her to sit on the side of the bed, planting a lingering kiss on her lips before carefully removing her sling.
Nicole scooted back from the edge of the bed, lying back and smiling as the redhead, with hands and knees on either side of her, crawled onto the bed. Dana captured soft lips and lowered her body onto the blonde’s. Nicole wrapped her left arm around the redhead’s shoulders, pulling Dana’s body down tight against her own, and rested her right hand on Dana’s waist. Their legs scissored, their bodies fitting together like puzzle pieces.
Dana trailed kisses along the blonde’s jaw line and down her throat, finding a particularly sensitive spot at her pulse point. Nicole ran her hands down Dana’s back, slowly bringing them up under her shirt. The redhead moaned softly at the feel of Nicole’s hands against her skin and arched into them. As their bodies moved against each other’s in a sensual rhythm, the redhead was lost in the sensation of Nicole’s touch. She craved more; she wanted to be closer, to feel the blonde’s skin against her own.
She brought her knees up on either side of Nicole’s hips and then sat up, straddling her thighs. She unbuttoned the blonde’s shirt and then slipped her hands under Nicole’s neck and shoulders, helping her to sit up. Sitting upright, Nicole tilted her face up, accepting a deep kiss as she felt Dana’s hands gently remove her shirt from her left shoulder and arm, and then ease it from over the bandaging on her chest and down her right arm.
“Are you okay?” Dana asked quietly as her fingers lightly traced over the bandage.
Dana trailed kisses along a clavicle as she reached around and unhooked the blonde’s bra. She hooked her fingers in the loose straps and slid the bra down and off, dropping it onto the floor. With her hands behind Nicole’s neck and shoulder, she gently guided the blonde onto her back again. She placed a soft kiss on Nicole’s lips before sitting back up. She unbuttoned her own shirt, one slow button at a time, and smiled at the look of obvious want in dark green eyes.
Once Dana had her shirt completely unbuttoned she reached behind her back and unhooked her bra, slipping both off and tossing them aside. She let out a quiet gasp as warm hands came to rest on her waist and then slowly slide up her ribcage, barely brushing the sides of her breasts. She lowered herself down on top of Nicole, capturing her soft lips in a passionate kiss and moaning at the exquisite sensation of the blonde’s bare breasts pressed against her own.
Nicole rolled onto her left side, taking the redhead with her. Four hands worked to removed two pairs of jeans, followed by their panties. Both women moaned at the feel of skin to skin contact the entire length of their bodies as they rolled back. Nuzzling Nicole’s neck, Dana slid her hand up the blonde’s ribcage until she reached the swell of her breast, which she gently cupped.
The redhead’s touch was liquid fire flowing through Nicole’s veins, heating her from within… it gave her chills and goose bumps, making her shiver. Dana’s touch stayed light even as she began to gently knead Nicole’s breast, feeling the nipple harden against the palm of her hand. She kissed and licked her way down the blonde’s throat and chest until she took a hard nipple into her mouth, eliciting an erotic moan.
Nicole arched up into the redhead as she suckled, sending electric bolts from her nipple straight to her center and making her shiver with arousal. A velvety tongue trailed over to her other breast, circling her nipple. She then felt the moist warmth of Dana’s mouth close over her nipple and begin to suckle. She sank her fingers into silky, red tresses. Nicole’s breath was ragged and her heart was beating loudly beneath her breast. Dana kissed her way back up and claimed the blonde’s lips in a kiss. Though her kisses were passionate, they weren’t demanding… they were giving.
As hands roamed and hips ground together soft moans mixed with whispered ‘I love you’s. Dana slipped a hand between their bodies, sliding down to trail her fingertips through downy curls. Nicole sucked in a quiet gasp as knowing fingers discovered her wet desire. Dana trailed kisses along the blonde’s jaw line and nuzzled just behind her ear as she gently pushed a couple of fingers inside of Nicole.
The blonde let out a moan and her body arched up into Dana’s. It had been so long since she’d been with anyone. She moaned and then called the redhead’s name as she came. She fought to catch her breath as she collapsed back on the mattress. Despite being more turned on than she ever remembered being, her orgasm had surprised her. She felt Dana’s lips place tender kisses along her clavicle, up her neck, along her jaw line, and up to her temple.
Feeling more than a little embarrassed about her apparent lack of control, Nicole opened her eyes and looked up into bright blue eyes. She started to say something, but Dana smiled and tenderly placed a finger across her lips.
“Shhh.” She leaned in and replaced her finger with her own lips. After thoroughly exploring the blonde’s mouth, Dana licked and kissed her way down, pausing at Logan’s breasts for a few minutes before continuing down the flat plane of her abdomen. Her mouth watered at the prospect of tasting her new lover for the first time. It had been too long since she’d taken a lover, even if for a one night stand – and even longer since she’d felt anything even remotely resembling genuine like, much less love.
Dana gently caressed and placed light kisses along Nicole’s inner thighs. Finally, she pressed her lips to the blonde’s center, extending her tongue and exploring between Nicole’s lips, lightly, gently, like a first kiss should be. As the blonde raised her knees and dug her heels into the mattress, Dana wrapped her arms around Nicole’s thighs.
When the blonde approached orgasm again, Dana slowed down and backed off, trying to draw out her lover’s pleasure. She slid her hands up the mattress and covered Nicole’s hands where they were fisted in the sheet. The blonde relaxed her grip and their fingers interlaced.
When Nicole climaxed she cried out Dana’s name and squeezed her hands. It took her several seconds to catch her breath and slow her thundering heart. When she opened her eyes again she looked up into emotion-filled blue eyes. The redhead smiled down at Nicole before ducking her head and tenderly kissing her, allowing the blonde to taste the trace of herself on Dana’s lips and tongue.
With her arms wrapped around Dana, Nicole rolled them over. She trailed open-mouthed kisses along the redhead’s throat, focusing on a particularly sensitive spot she discovered. She slid her leg between Dana’s, who moaned at the contact and pressed herself against Nicole’s thigh. The redhead’s arms tightened around Nicole as their bodies slowly rocked against each other, falling into a sensual rhythm.
Nicole slid a hand down between Dana’s legs and through damp auburn curls. She slipped two fingers inside of Dana, eliciting a gasp followed by a moan from the redhead. She trailed kisses down the redhead’s chest until she took a hard nipple into her mouth. She felt Dana’s fingers fist in her short hair as the redhead’s inner muscles squeezed around the fingers inside her. Nicole continued to push her fingers in and out of Dana until she cried out with her orgasm.
Before Dana could even catch her breath she felt the blonde’s velvety tongue trail down her torso. Her hips jerked when she felt Nicole’s mouth and tongue on her. Her body bowed and she pulled the head between her legs tighter against her. Her breathing grew heavier and the heat between them intensified, melting the two into one.
Nicole didn’t relinquish her place between her lover’s thighs until Dana begged her to after two powerful orgasms that left her euphoric and spent. Nicole slowly kissed her way up and lay on her left side next to Dana with her head on the redhead’s shoulder. She felt soft lips place a kiss on her forehead as the arm around her shoulders gave her a gentle squeeze. She took a long, slow, deep breath.
“I love you, Nicole,” Dana said softly.
“I love you, too.”
They held each other as they drifted to sleep.
Sunday, July 5th, 1998
Nicole took a breath as she woke up. A small smile graced her lips as she enjoyed the warmth and curves of the body she was snugged up against. Soft lips kissed her forehead and then her cheek.
She opened her eyes. “Good morning. How long have you been awake?” the blonde asked.
She moved her head from Dana’s shoulder and laid it on the pillow.
Dana brought her hand up and gently caressed her lover’s cheek as she gazed into dark green eyes. She could feel her heart rate increase as she was filled with love for the beautiful blonde in her arms. She leaned in and kissed Nicole, thrilled as the blonde immediately responded. After a few minutes Dana gently slipped her fingertips past the damp curls she could feel against her thigh and tenderly caressed Nicole’s already slick folds as she nuzzled her throat.
Nicole’s hips jerked and her neck arched as she hissed and moaned in pleasure at Dana’s touch. The redhead held her close as she recovered from her orgasm, running her fingers through Nicole’s hair.
The blonde drew in a slow, contented breath. “I love you, Dana,” she whispered.
“And I love you,” Dana whispered in return.
The intimacy of the moment was shattered as someone’s stomach growled loudly. They both chuckled.
“I guess we should get up so I can feed you,” Nicole said with a smile.
Dana returned her smile and kissed her. “Let’s go out for something.” She paused. “If you feel up to it.”
Nicole continued to smile and nodded. “Sounds good.”
They got up and dressed. Dana helped Nicole on with her shirt when she winced. “Do you want some pain medication?”
“No. I’m okay. The stitches just pulled a little bit.”
Dana slipped the blonde’s prescriptions in her pocket before they left so she had them just in case.
They spent a relaxed day together – a late lunch, a walk in the park, a stop at Dana’s apartment to pick up clothes for the next day, and a candlelit dinner prepared by Dana. After dinner they watched a little TV before turning in.
Nicole approached Dana from behind as she washed her face in the bathroom sink. She gently ran her hands along the redhead’s back and waist.
“Mmmm…” Dana dried her face and turned around with a smile.
Nicole slipped her arms around Dana’s waist as she captured her lips in a soft kiss. Dana responded and slipped her arms around Nicole’s neck, deepening the kiss. She didn’t realize they had moved until she felt the back of her legs bump against the bed. They laid down wrapped in each other’s arms.
Monday, July 6th, 1998
In the morning, Dana got ready for work as the blonde watched. She then sat on the side of the bed. “If you need anything call me. And make sure you take your antibiotics – you have to take them all.”
“I will. I’ll see you after my physio and the doctor’s appointment.”
“Only if she clears you for light duty, otherwise you need to take it easy.”
Nicole smiled at her lover’s protectiveness. “Yes, Doctor.” She reached out and caressed Dana’s cheek. “I’ll be fine, Dana.”
The redhead smiled, then leaned forward and kissed the blonde. “I’ll see you later.”
Dana looked up with surprise when her partner entered their office. “The doctor cleared you for light duty?”
Nicole smiled as she handed over a copy of her doctor’s release. “Yes, she did.”
“And what about the sling?” she asked pointedly. “With your injury I’d expect you to be in a sling for at least two more weeks.”
The blonde carefully removed her blazer and hung it on the back of her chair before sitting at her desk. “She said as long as I took it easy I could go without it, and if my chest gets too sore I can still use it.”
“If you have it with you,” Dana challenged.
“It’s in my briefcase,” she replied with a knowing smirk.
Midafternoon Dana received a call requesting she do an autopsy for DC Metro, so she packed up her stuff and prepared to leave. She stood at the side of her partner’s desk where Nicole was busy catching up on her paperwork and emails.
“Promise me you won’t work too late today. You have plenty of time to get things caught up – you’ll be on light duty for some time.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” Nicole replied without looking up from her computer screen.
Dana put her palms on the top of the blonde’s desk, leaning on them. “Hey.” She waited until her partner met her gaze. “I can’t help but worry about you – I love you.”
Nicole was warmed by her partner’s words, tone, and the look in her eyes. She smiled softly. “I know; I love you, too. I promise I won’t overdo things.”
The redhead returned her smile as she bent down and gave Nicole a soft kiss on the lips. “I don’t know how long I’ll be, but I’ll give you a call later.”
When Dana returned to the office she was glad to find her partner was not there. She was pleased that Nicole had kept her promise to not work late. After filing her copy of the autopsy report she started to pack up for the day. She picked up her phone and called the blonde.
“Nicole, it’s me.”
“What’s up?” The blonde sounded distracted.
“I was about to call it a day and wondered if you wanted me to pick something up for dinner and bring it over.”
“Oh. Uh, not tonight.”
Dana frowned. “Are you okay, Nicole?”
“Yeah. I just don’t feel up to anything tonight. I think I’ll go to bed early.”
“Okay. You should take care of yourself and get plenty of rest. I’ll see to you tomorrow. I love you.”
Dana stared at the phone, confused by the dial tone and Nicole’s abruptness.
“That was rather rude, wasn’t it?”
Nicole turned around. “Well, under the circumstances I can’t exactly risk her coming over, now can I?”
“I know, but–”
“Drop it, Ian.”
“I know you love her, pet.”
“I said drop it.” She set her cell phone down and removed another weapon from the wall rack. “Just how sure are you that he’s here in the city?”
“Nothing is ever for certain where Fritz is concerned. He moves around and always keeps his nest a secret. It’s part of how he’s survived longer than any other vampire.”
“Can you trust your source?”
Ian nodded. “Yeah, he’s a good bloke. No one can say definitely that they’ve seen him, but the prevailing rumor is that Fritz Klingemann is here.” He paused before continuing. “How close did you get to him last time?”
“Not close enough,” she growled.
With that they left the vault and Nicole locked it back up. Upstairs in the kitchen they finished their preparations.
Nicole stepped out of her bedroom and heard a loud wolf-whistle. She just gave Ian an unamused look.
“Looking good, luv. You do wear leather well,” he said with a cocky grin.
She picked up a knife from the table and tucked it away in her boot. “Let’s go.”
Tuesday, July 7th, 1998
Dana’s anticipatory smile faded when she entered the X-Files Division office and found it empty. It threw her. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d beaten her partner in to the office. Unless Nicole was off, the blonde inevitably arrived before she did, handing Dana a hot mug of tea as she arrived. The redhead looked at the coffeemaker and noted it was empty – no soothing tea in the pot.
She frowned. First Nicole had sounded distracted and was short with her on the phone last night, and now the blonde was ‘late’ coming in to work. Maybe her partner had come back to work too soon following her injury.
It was five minutes until the hour when Nicole finally arrived. Without comment the blonde set her briefcase down on her desk, grabbed the pot from the coffeemaker, and left to fill it. Dana watched silently when her partner returned, prepared a pot of tea, and then settled behind her desk.
“Are you okay, Nicole?”
“Did you sleep well last night?”
Nicole’s ringing desk phone cut off any other question Dana would have asked.
“Logan… Alright, I’m on my way… Thanks, Kimberly.” She stood as soon as she hung up. “Skinner wants to see me.”
Nicole returned to the office less than ten minutes later.
“So what did Skinner want?” the redhead asked her partner.
“I have to go interrogate a prisoner at the Women’s Correctional Center in Goochland,” she replied as she gathered her things.
“That’s a two-hour drive one way.”
“Yeah. Looks like it’s going to be a long day. No telling how late I’ll be tonight.”
“Give me a call when you leave?”
“Sure. Talk to you later.” The blonde was out the door before Dana could say anything else.
It was almost 9:30 that night when Nicole arrived back at her house. Ian was waiting for her when she walked in.
“Your girlfriend called.”
She shot Ian a sharp look. “You talked to her?”
“No. She left a message on the machine.”
“I already talked to her when I left the prison,” she replied as she headed into her bedroom to change.
A couple of minutes later she returned, dressed in her hunting apparel. They headed out for a second night of trying to hunt down Fritz Klingemann.
Wednesday, July 8th, 1998
When Dana beat her partner into the office a second day in a row, she knew something was up. Of course, the distance she’d been sensing from the blonde since Monday night was hard to overlook as well.
Nicole showed up late – only by five minutes, but it was something that had never happened before. Dana watched silently as the blonde made a pot of tea and then began working on her case file from the prison interview. Finally, she couldn’t take it any longer. Dana pushed her chair over to her partner’s desk.
“Hmm?” the blonde replied without stopping typing or looking away from her computer screen.
“Nicole.” Dana waited until her partner looked at her. “What’s wrong?”
“What do you mean?”
“You haven’t been yourself since Monday. You’ve been distracted on the phone and you were late this morning. Are you okay?”
Dana was really beginning to hate those two words. She opened her mouth to say something but was cut off by Nicole’s ringing cell phone.
“Logan… No… Hold on a minute.” She looked at the redhead as she stood. “I’m sorry, but I have to take this call.”
Dana’s couldn’t believe it when her partner walked out of their office to take the call in private. Nicole had never done that before. She honestly didn’t know what to make of the blonde’s behavior. It felt like everything had changed between them since… since they’d slept together. Dana sighed. Maybe it was a mistake after all.
Out in the hallway, Nicole moved several yards from the office. “Okay, I can talk now.”
“I got a call from Lance.”
“The bloke who told me Fritz was here. He’s got a lead, but…”
“Well, I can’t exactly go check it out since it’s daytime.”
“Alright, give me the information. I’ll see what I can do.”
After getting off the phone with Ian, Nicole called Skinner’s office and spoke to Kimberly, requesting a meeting with the assistant director about a personal matter.
“He’s not available right now, but I will call you when he has an opening.”
“Thank you.” She hung up and went back into the office.
Dana was back at her own desk and working… silently. Nicole didn’t miss the tension in the air. She knew the redhead was confused by her behavior, but she needed to keep some distance between them for the moment – she could not risk Dana getting pulled into things and hurt… or even worse. The blonde shuddered at the thought. She’d do anything necessary to protect Dana. I need to find and finally kill Fritz.
About an hour later, Nicole was on the phone talking to someone at the women’s prison when Dana’s desk phone rang.
“Scully… Yes, I’ll tell her… Thank you.” When Nicole got off the phone, Dana passed on the message. “Kimberly says you have a meeting with Skinner in ten minutes.”
“Alright, thanks.” Nicole finished up her notes, saved her work, and headed out of the office to go see Skinner.
Dana was surprised when her partner returned only a short while later. She couldn’t have met with Skinner for than a couple of minutes and be back so soon. Nicole immediately started packing up her briefcase.
“What’s going on?” the redhead asked.
“I have to go.” Nicole barely glanced at her partner as she turned to leave. “I’ll see you in a few days.” She was gone before Dana could even think of a response.
Chuck E. Cheese
Nicole stood outside and looked at the unlikely meeting place Ian’s contact had chosen. She shook her head and entered. She wasn’t too pleased to find a large gaggle of screaming kids running around. The balloons, presents, and cake made it clear there was a birthday party going on. At least she was going to the area of the arcade that presented the more challenging skill games – fewer kids to get underfoot.
She no sooner started playing the designated game when someone started playing the game next to it. She took his measure before he addressed her.
She dropped all pretense of playing the video game and arched an eyebrow as she pinned him with a hard look. “Elf.”
He smirked. “Call me Lance.”
“Ian said you had some information for me – information about Fritz.”
The young looking man turned back to his video game. “How about a wager? You beat the high score I posted on that game,” he nodded to the video game she was standing in front of, “and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know.”
Nicole grabbed his shoulder and turned him to face her. Anger flashed in her eyes. “I don’t have the time or patience for your elfin games or trickery. So tell me what you know and I won’t grab you by those sensitive, pointy, little ears you have hiding under that shaggy hair.”
“You wouldn’t dare. Not in here in front of witnesses.”
“Want to bet,” she replied evenly. Her hand snapped out faster than he could track it, grabbing the tip of his left ear. She applied just a little bit of pressure – a warning.
Looking into her eyes, Lance decided discretion was the better part of valor. It wasn’t wise to piss off a Virtue – they weren’t Heaven’s champions for nothing. He told her what he’d heard about Fritz.
She glared at him. “That had better be the complete and straightforward truth.” She gave another squeeze of warning. “Or else.”
“It is! It is!” He let out a sigh of relief when Logan let go of his ear. “Just out of curiosity… or else what?”
She simply gave him a predatory smile.
Lance suddenly paled. Nope, he definitely didn’t want to piss off a Malakim. “I swear I told you everything I know. And if I hear anything else I promise I’ll pass it on.”
Since Nicole had been going since Monday morning without any sleep, she dropped into her bed as soon as she got home. She would be able to get a good eight hours of sleep before the sun went down.
She didn’t feel like moving when she woke up that evening. Sensing a presence, though, she opened her eyes. Ian was sitting in the chair, sipping tea, and smirking. She took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “What?”
Ian reached over, picked up a mug from the nightstand, and held it out to her. “Morning, luv… or evening – depending on your point of view.”
She let out a disgruntled grunt and shifted from her stomach onto her side. She sat up as she yawned and then took the mug from him. “What time is it?”
“9:30. Your girlfriend’s been calling – she left a couple of messages on the answering machine.”
She just looked at him over the rim of her mug.
“You going to tell her what’s going on?”
“You know, keeping secrets isn’t the best way–”
“Ian, I can’t afford to let Dana get pulled into this. Fritz is too dangerous and too underhanded. If he knew how I felt about her, he wouldn’t hesitate to use it against me.”
“That’s true,” he conceded with a nod.
“I’d rather her feelings get hurt than for the likes of Fritz to get a hold of her.” She paused long enough to take a fortifying swallow of tea. “You never told me that your source was an elf,” she said challengingly.
“Uh, yeah… about that…”
“Do you trust him?”
“Well, Lance can be very irritating – all elves can – but yeah, I do. He’s always been straight with me.”
A blonde eyebrow arched skeptically. “That you know of.” Elves weren’t known for taking anything very seriously and they often told fibs – or more accurately, misleading truths. It was all a game to them. Not unlike the Irish leprechauns of folklore. Of course, Nicole knew the legends and tales about leprechauns were actually inspired by the antics of a particular clan of elves. She shook her head. Elves weren’t evil, but they could be a real nuisance. The only sure way to get the absolute truth from one was to squeeze the sensitive tips of their pointed ears.
She stood and headed to her bathroom. “Give me a few minutes for a shower and to get dressed, then we can head out.”
Ian’s jaw dropped when Nicole entered the kitchen. She was dressed in leather, which wasn’t unusual. But she was not in her usual hunting apparel. Her Kevlar laced top was replaced by a revealing leather halter top, leaving her midriff bare and vulnerable; her heavy, leather boots that laced and buckled to the knee were replaced by mid-thigh length, kid leather boots; and her durable leather pants were replaced by a short leather skirt. To top off her outfit, she wore a leather collar.
“Uh… Nicole?” he managed after picking his jaw up off the floor.
“Where are you hiding your weapons?”
She shot him a look that was half smug and half perturbed.
“And, uh, what happened there?” he asked, pointing to the rows of stitches on her chest which were only partially obscured by the halter top.
“Work-related injury I got last week. I’ve healed the deep tissue, but I can’t heal the rest without raising too much suspicion by Dana.”
He grinned. “Well I think it completes the look actually. But, um… that’s not your usual hunting attire – not that I don’t approve.”
“I can’t exactly go into The Mission as myself – I’d be made in nothing flat. So, I’m going as your… pet.”
Ian’s mouth opened and closed a couple of times in a good impression of a fish. “Um… okay. But, uh… can you do submissive? I mean, as a Malakim, you’re the epitome of a warrior.”
Nicole ducked her head, smiled coyly, and batted her eyelashes. “Of course I can. It’s called going undercover – which I’m good at.” She took out a gold chain, clipped it to the ring on her collar, and handed the other end over to Ian.
He audibly gulped and muttered, “I’m going to go to hell for enjoying this.”
The blonde smirked. “Just remember it’s a cover. I can still kick your ass anytime I want to.”
When they arrived at The Mission, Nicole kept her eyes down as Ian led her by the leash. However, she was quite aware of the appraising look the doorman/bouncer gave the two of them. They must have passed inspection since he granted them entrance.
The interior of the club was dark, but not so dark to hinder navigation. They found a table and Ian ordered drinks. The night was about recon. They needed to verify that Fritz did indeed frequent the club, and they needed to get a feel what other kind of opposition they would face – Fritz invariably picked up several ‘groupies’, both vampire and human. If he did show up, it would be the closest Nicole had ever gotten to him.
Just before midnight, Fritz arrived. They observed him from a distance as he moved through the club. Fritz had an air of authority and power that was typical of a master vampire. He was the oldest of them all… and the deadliest. When Fritz, and three others, retreated to a private room, Ian and Nicole moved from their table. They wanted to get a better idea of the layout of the club and scout for exits other than the main entrance.
Ian and Nicole stayed at the club until closing, but they never saw Fritz come out of the private room.
Thursday, July 9th, 1998
“Do you think he’s still at the club?” Ian asked.
“He could be. Or he could have gone out another exit we don’t know about. I’ll call Thea and have her dig around, see what she can find out on the building’s blueprints, and what’s not on them.”
Nicole waited until noon to call Thea since the brunette was in Los Angeles. The brunette assured Nicole she’d find out whatever she could about the club, the building it was in, and the owners of both.
“Do you need me to come back? I can be there by sundown tonight.”
“I appreciate the offer, Thea, but I don’t want you near this one. It’s too dangerous.”
“I don’t like the sound of that. What the hell are you up to – exactly.”
The blonde closed her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. She knew how Thea would react. “It’s Fritz Klingemann. He’s here in DC.”
“WHAT?! You can’t go after him alone!”
“You need backup.”
“I’ll be on the first fli–”
“Althea!” Nicole finally snapped.
“What you can do to help is get me the information on that building. Ian’s here to help me, so there’s no need for you come.”
“I could help – I am a witch, you know.”
“And the only magic effective against a master vampire is dark magic. I can’t let you do that, Thea; it’s not who you are. That’s not a path you want to go down.”
Thea knew Nicole was right, but she was concerned about the blonde. It was her job to have her friend’s back. Her clan had always helped Nicole’s clan. “I know,” she finally sighed. “Just promise me you’ll watch your ass.”
“You called me Althea,” she griped.
Nicole let out a soft huff of amusement. “You weren’t listening; I had to get your attention somehow.”
“Don’t do it again.” She sounded a touch petulant.
“I’ll get whatever I dig up to you as soon as possible. Call me if you have any questions.” She paused for a beat. “And tell Ian to be careful, too. I’ll dust his ass if he lets anything happen to you.”
The blonde couldn’t keep from smiling. “I’ll tell him. Bye.”
With that taken care of, Nicole headed to bed.
AD Skinner’s Office
When Dana reported to work Thursday morning, she found a note telling her to come to Skinner’s office when she got in. Kimberly told her to take a seat when she arrived. She only had to wait about five minutes before the door to Skinner’s office opened and he ushered her in.
“Good morning, Agent Scully.”
“Good morning, sir.”
“Have a seat.”
She sat in one of the two chairs facing his desk.
“Baltimore PD has requested our assistance with a case. They’ve had an unusual number of cases where hospital patients are going into comas and then becoming brain dead.”
“It’s not unheard of for a spike in statistics.”
He shook his head. “Not like this.” Skinner handed a file across his desk.
When Dana opened it, she skimmed the initial report. “No known common factors in the cases, and no one person who treated all the patients,” she commented.
“I want to you go down there and see what you can find. You and your partner have the best record in the Bureau for solving cases.”
“I could use Logan’s help – she’s exceptionally observant and adept at reading people.”
“I’m afraid she’s taking some personal time.”
Dana looked up in surprise. “Personal time? When will she be back?”
“I don’t know. She said she would call me as soon as she knew. You’re our best pathologist, I know you can handle it. That is all.”
“Yes, sir.” Recognizing the dismissal, Dana stood and left.
Home of Margaret Scully
After a very long day of questioning hospital personnel and performing two extensive autopsies, Dana didn’t feel like driving all the way back to DC. So, she called her mother and said she was coming over. Maggie was more than happy to have her daughter stay with her while Dana was working a case in Baltimore.
Dana pulled up and turned off the car with a sigh. She was tired and sore and wanted to take a nice, long, hot bath. She got out of the car and retrieved her bag from the trunk. She slipped her key in the front door and entered. “Mom?”
“Dana!” Maggie came out of the kitchen. “I was just going to heat up some dinner for you,” she said as she gave her daughter a hug.
“That’s great, Mom, but I’d really like to take a hot bath before anything.”
“That’s fine. I’ll wait until you’re ready.” Maggie looked towards the front door. “When is Nicole getting here?”
“She’s not. I’m working this case on my own,” Dana said as she headed to the staircase. “I’ll be down in a while.”
After a relaxing bath, Dana went back downstairs. She found her mother sitting at the kitchen table drinking some coffee.
“Oh, let me put your dinner in,” the older woman said, and put a plate of food into the oven. “It shouldn’t take very long to heat up.”
“Thanks, Mom. I appreciate it.”
“Anytime, dear. Would you like some coffee?”
“Actually, do you have any tea?”
“You know I try to keep some on hand for Nicole.”
Dana smiled. “I guess she’s rubbed off me. I rarely drink coffee anymore.” What she really wanted was some of her partner’s soothing tea – it never failed to make her feel better.
“So where is Nicole? Why isn’t she working this case with you?” Maggie asked as she put water on for the tea.
Dana couldn’t keep from sighing. “She’s taking some personal time.”
“Oh? Is everything okay?”
“I don’t know, Mom. She didn’t even tell me she was taking time off. I found out this morning from Mr. Skinner.” She frowned. “I don’t know why she didn’t trust me enough to tell me.”
Maggie moved from the counter, where she’d taken out the tea, to stand next to her daughter’s chair. She put her hand on Dana’s shoulder, giving it a squeeze. “Oh, Dana, I highly doubt it was matter of not trusting you.” She sat down across from the redhead.
“I just don’t understand why she’d take off without saying anything to me.”
“I don’t know, dear. But considering everything Nicole has risked and done for you, I can’t imagine she’d do anything without a good reason.” She paused a beat and captured her daughter’s eyes with her own. “I trust Nicole. If she didn’t tell you it was because she had a good reason. There’s something very special about her.”
Her mother’s complete faith in her partner made Dana smile. “Yeah, there is.” She took a deep breath and let it out. “And I’m sure you’re right. I’ve just gotten used to her being so open with me.”
“Not at all like Fox.”
“No, not like Mulder. He always had secrets and hidden agendas.”
“I don’t mean to speak ill of the dead, but have to say I feel so much better knowing that Nicole is your partner. I’ll always worry about you, but I worry less with her watching your back.” Maggie got up and retrieved Dana’s dinner from the oven. She placed it on the table in front her daughter before refilling her coffee and sitting back down.
“Mmmm, this is delicious, Mom.”
After a few bites, Dana wiped her mouth and sipped some tea. “You know, at first I didn’t know how two women being partnered together would work out, but now I can’t imagine being partnered with anyone else.”
As Dana was finally crawling into bed, Nicole and Ian were preparing for their night out.
Despite the risk of being made when they went to the club, Nicole dressed in her normal hunting attire. However, to offset the risk, they hired a couple of escorts to pose as their ‘pets’ and accompany them to the club. Once they verified Fritz’s presence they would have the escorts leave.
They carefully studied the blueprints that Thea had dug up on the building. It showed a secret exit that was not on the plans on file with the city. There was also a basement that wasn’t on the official blueprints. It was possible that the basement was where Fritz was staying – his nest. If that were the case, there could be a several other vampires there.
“This could get a little sticky,” Ian observed.
“I know.” She looked up from the blueprints. “I’ll admit I’m glad you’re here to help.”
He smiled. “Wouldn’t have it any other way, luv.”
It was time to go.
Nicole and Ian met up with their escorts and headed to the club. Once again, they were granted entrance without any problem. They claimed a table and waited.
Fritz was a no show. And without knowing where he was, they couldn’t risk making a move. They would have to regroup and try again Friday night.
Home of Margaret Scully
Friday, July 10th, 1998
After the end of another long day, Dana returned to her mother’s home.
“You look beat,” Maggie said from across the dinner table.
“I am. After five autopsies in two days I’ve figured out how the perp has been killing the victims, but…”
“I can’t get a clear read on some of the possible suspects.”
“I’m sure you’ll figure it all out.”
“Yeah… but it would be easier with Nicole helping. She’s so good at reading people.”
“That may be, but I know you’re an excellent judge of character, dear.”
Dana smiled. “Thank you.”
Nicole and Ian didn’t bother with hiring escorts when they once again returned to the club. Since the doorman/bouncer recognized them he let them in, even though they didn’t have their ‘pets’ with them.
They sat in a booth in the back to escape any unwanted attention.
At 11:45 Ian smacked Nicole’s shoulder. “Look,” he said with a nod at a table across the room.
Fritz was sitting at the table with three women.
“That son of a bitch is going to die tonight,” she ground out lowly.
Ian put a hand on her arm, easily feeling the tension in her body. “Easy, luv.”
They would wait until their target went into the back – there were too many people around that could get hurt… or worse.