by philiater

Category: Skinner/Scully, MSR in context, X-file of sorts, AU
This one is strange
Rating: R
Thanks to Keleka for beta, Rose for angel help and Donna3 for reading all the versions.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

1 : the quality or state of being real

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

The real distinction is between those who adapt their purposes to reality and those who seek to mold reality in the light of their purposes. Henry Kissinger (1923 - )

I was dead when he found me. Not clinically dead. My heart was still beating and my brain was still functioning. My cold body lay crumpled in a field like a discarded milk carton. Not dead, but close enough for government work.

I remembered only snatches of it, like a video on fast forward and all the color leached from the frames. I could remember the cool grass under my cheek and his shadow as he loomed over me. I remembered large hands as they touched my face and reached under me. I remembered being carried against him, his body heat a comfort to my shivering. I remembered light as it glinted off his white shirt and glasses. Somehow, my foggy brain interpreted the light as a halo.

"Are you real?" I'd asked him.

A deep frown was directed at me. "Yes," answered a voice just as deep.

"Are you an angel?"

He stopped in his tracks and gave me an even deeper frown. Somewhere in the back of my mind, a memory stirred. Did I know him?


It took a moment to realize he was responding to the first question, not the second one I'd asked inside my mind. He continued on his way and I buried my face in his neck. The metallic click of a car door opening sounded in my ear as I was gently laid on a car seat. The smell of cool leather mixed with air freshener greeted my nose. A sudden flash of memory, needle-sharp crossed my oxygen-starved mind: a man driving up to my apartment and telling me to get in. I didn't really want to, but did it anyway, responding immediately to the power in his voice.

He was an enemy then. I tried to move away from him, to make a sound of protest, but managed only a whimper. He mistook this for a sound of distress and laid his black coat over me. The pads of his fingers traced my cheek very lightly before pulling the coat up to cover my face. Suddenly enveloped in warmth and darkness I passed into unconsciousness.

The next thing I remembered was a dream, a dream about finding myself wandering lost in the woods. I kept calling for help, but no one could hear me. A real angel suddenly appeared before me dressed all in white, but his wings were velvet black. He told me he could help, but I saw that ebony smoke swirled from him and knew him to be a liar.

I began to scream, but no sound came out of my mouth. He swooped down and enveloped me in his black wings. The embrace felt like sharp knives tearing into my skin.

I woke with a start inside a large room in a bed I didn't recognize. Shadows lay in disorganized puddles around it. I was dressed in a large sweatshirt and pants that clearly didn't fit me. It was deathly quiet in that place and smelled of starch mixed with sweet cologne.

Memories of the previous day flitted across my mind. What part of them were real, and what part were fantasy? The man with black wings--was he someone I knew, or the ugly representation of someone I thought I knew?

A shadow darkened the door in front of me. Instinctively, I crawled backward in fear at this presence. He moved toward me out of the shadows.



Dana? He called me Dana, my first name. He never did that. I stared at him with uncomprehending eyes.

Something passed over his face, something sad that he covered quickly. He crossed over and sat next to me on the bed. He had the demeanor of someone who's been sent to deliver bad news. Fear crawled along my back. None of this made sense.

"Where's Mulder?" I couldn't keep the tremor out of my voice.

He visibly flinched at the question and took my left hand in his. He laid it flat against his palm, and covered it with the other one.


"Don't call me that." I was angry that he would act so familiar, and tried to jerk my hand out of his. But he held on with an iron grip, frightening me more. I started to squirm, and felt the unfamiliar sensation of a ring on my fourth finger cutting into the flesh.

I began to struggle in earnest now, convinced that whatever he was going to tell me was bad.

"Listen to me," he thundered.

I finally stopped, my head hanging forward. It was the commanding voice from the dream. Had I always listened to it like that?

"Dana...Scully, Mulder is dead. He has been for over a year now. You know that."


"Yes. He died when he stole that cassette remember? He was shot."

"No, he didn't die," I screamed. "I shot him, but he lived. He went to New Mexico and was healed."

"No," he said firmly, "Mulder died a year ago. You had a breakdown, and had to spend some time in a hospital. We're married now. Don't you remember?"

He sounded so sad, so tired, like he'd been through this before with me. How was any of this possible? Why couldn't I remember it if it were true? Mulder dead? Me married to Skinner?

I was crying in earnest now, reality crumbling in the wake of so much emotion. As he folded his arms around me, I willed blackness to take me away from there, from the blinding pain of what Skinner was saying. Eventually he faded, and I welcomed the darkness.

Revelation 18:21

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

Sometime later I opened my eyes and found myself on Skinner's balcony. Wind blew through my hair, bringing peculiar smells with it. Instead of seeing the lights of Crystal City, I saw the sun setting on a place ravaged by some great war. Fires burned everywhere and the stench of death hung heavily in the air.

"They're all dead."

I turned to see Skinner standing beside me. He was wearing his standard white shirt, and his arms were crossed imperiously over his chest. He looked like my AD, but with one small difference: an enormous pair of white wings was attached to his back. I didn't feel particularly surprised by this apparition, although I should have. This Skinner was more distant, more reflective than the one I'd left in the bedroom.

"Dead, why?" I was curiously detached from the scene of devastation before me.

"The aliens. This is how it will be when they come."

I frowned. "This is the future I'm seeing?"


"Why? Why am I seeing this?"

"Because you will be asked to remember it later."

Before I could say anything else, he spread those wings and flew away over the city. I felt a sudden loss when he left and called his name. He didn't hear me or didn't want to because he kept flying. I called again and stepped forward in pursuit. I hadn't seen that the protective railing had been ripped away at the bolts by the holocaust, or that I was free falling toward the city.

Blind fear had me flailing helplessly before I was caught.

"Dana, Dana I'm here. I'm right here."

The 'real' Skinner was holding me in much the same way he had the last time I'd seen him. This time he was wearing a faded t-shirt and soft pants; no wings were in sight. He held me away from him and leaned down to look in my face. Without his glasses, he was a little nearsighted.

"Bad dream?"

I nodded silently, still convinced I was part of a 'bad' dream. He gently kissed my cheek, and pulled me into his lap. I went unresisting, too tired to fight him. Chin now on top of my head, he rocked me slowly back and forth while I shook.

"He's been gone for eighteen months Dana." Fatigue and exasperation were getting the better of him.

"I love you," he said softly. "I always have."

I nodded my agreement. That much I knew was true, even from my 'other' past. Soon I was asleep again.

I woke to early sunshine spilling across the bed. Skinner was snoring softly beside me, sheets and blankets askew on his body. Anyone walking in now would mistake us for a married couple.

Except that we were supposed to be married, and it wasn't supposed to be a mistake. I sat up as carefully as possible to avoid disturbing him. I had to get out of there and find out what was really going on.

I stood up and nausea hit me like a cold fist. I was going to throw up. I ran into the adjacent bathroom and nearly didn't make it before emptying my stomach into the toilet.

Wave after wave of nausea kept me vomiting until even the bile stopped coming out. I collapsed down onto the floor and curled into a tight ball of pain. What was happening to me?

I heard Skinner pad into the bathroom and run water into the sink. He knelt down and pressed a cool washcloth to my forehead. He brushed my hair away from my face and held his hand there in reassurance.

"What's happening to me?" I asked weakly.

"Morning sickness. You're pregnant, Scully, don't you remember?"


"That's why you ran away yesterday," he said in a dull monotone. "After you found out, you left the doctor's office and didn't come home. I looked for you everywhere, but I couldn't find you. I thought something terrible had happened to you. When I found you in that field I thought..."

At that point his voice broke, sounding choked with emotion. Skinner, my tough-as-nails boss, sounded like he wanted to cry. Check that. My tough-as-nails husband was going to cry. I reached up and touched the trembling arm that pressed the washcloth to my face.

"I'm sorry."

No Skinner, I don't remember Mulder dying, or getting married to you, or being pregnant. It doesn't matter that the last thing I remember was being sterile and having cancer. But that doesn't seem to hold true here. I don't remember anything that happened last year, so I guess I must be crazy after all. On top of that it seems I've put you through the ringer for all your trouble.

Maybe he should have left me in that field.

When I thought I could move without causing another round of vomiting, I squeezed his arm.

"I can get up now."

He nodded and helped me to stand by increments. I felt as weak as a kitten as he helped me back to the bedroom and toward the bed. I balked at the edge of it.

"What's wrong?"

"Can't I leave this room? It's depressing."

He seemed to consider it and nodded. He picked me up in his arms without a word and walked out the bedroom door. He descended the stairs effortlessly with the grace and strength of a big cat.

"Couch okay?"


He set me down with great care and covered me with a pretty blue afghan. Skinner saw me fingering the soft angora fringe.

"I bought it for you two months ago because it matched your eyes." That ever-persistent sad tone was back. "I don't suppose you remember that either."

Did he want me to lie? The afghan obviously meant a great deal to him, and evidently was supposed to mean that much to me. He probably gave it to me when I was sick and feeling vulnerable. Maybe I rewarded him with a kiss. Maybe more than a kiss.

"How long have we been married?"

"Two months."

Two months. He gave me the afghan two months ago. We've been married for two months. I was two months pregnant.

He hadn't told me that but it felt right.

"Honeymoon baby?" I asked.

He smiled sheepishly then, the first sign of something playful in his demeanor.

"Something like that."

I didn't understand that either, but it didn't matter. I had a crude timeline to work from now.

I recited it in my head as I watched him retreat past the dining room table piled high with files to the kitchen. Mulder died a year-and-a-half ago. I've been married two months. The baby is two months along. Skinner gave me a blue afghan two months ago.

That was it. Try as I might I couldn't remember anything else from this past.

My other past was something else all together.

A year-and-a-half ago, I shot Mulder. He went to New Mexico and was healed by Albert Hosteen. A year-and-ahalf ago I found a computer chip in my neck. Two months ago I was told I have cancer. Two months ago my chances for becoming pregnant disappeared like Mulder's sister, never to return. Two months ago I had a nosebleed that turned one of my best suits into a worthless piece of clothing.

I wondered what this divergence meant. The mental hospital Skinner had hinted at could be a place I'm in right now. At this very moment, instead of lying on the couch watching my husband bring me breakfast, I could really be strapped to a gurney inside a mental institution, Haldol and Thorazine my breakfast instead of weak tea and dry toast. Who wouldn't prefer an alternate reality to that?

But I would never want Mulder dead in any reality, no matter how painful my situation was. To be without him was unthinkable.

Skinner stood over me until he was sure the first bits of toast weren't going to come back up and spoil his special afghan. With my permission he ran back up stairs to take a quick shower. He must have thought I was too weak to try and run away again. He was right.

A few minutes later he came back down dressed casually. He sat beside me on the sofa and took the cup and saucer away.

"Better?" he asked


Dark eyes watched me carefully behind the protection of glasses. He stroked the back of his hand across my cheek and gave me a tiny smile. He leaned forward and kissed me chastely on the mouth. He wanted to do more; I could feel it in his lips. But Skinner would never force me to do anything I didn't want to.

He kissed me again and waited for permission. When I didn't give it, he sighed and rested his forehead on mine.

"Get some rest."

I watched him walk over and settle at the dining table to do work. He's staying home to watch me. Through sleepy eyes, I watched him work, looking for all the world like the stern boss I remembered so well.

As I looked on, something physically changed in him. White light began to shimmer around him and the wings I'd seen from the balcony appeared. Later, when he took a break, I watched as he leaned back and stretch his arms above his head. The wings followed suit, fanning out in surreal imitation.

Who or what have I married?

Romans 8:31-39
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God

We fell into a routine of sorts. Every morning I was sick and every morning he cleaned me up and gave me breakfast. I was tired and stayed tired. I'd nap periodically throughout the day hallucinating or dreaming Skinner-asan -angel and the apocalypse that was coming.

Occasionally, I'd have enough strength to sit at the table with him and help a little with the paperwork. I didn't recognize anything that passed in front of me. Skinner was no longer part of the X-Files, and neither was I. He never said anything, but something told me I was thrown out of the X-Files when Mulder died. And if I didn't have any medical benefits, Skinner probably footed the bill for my treatment.

I also wondered what it was costing him to stay home with me. He had a seemingly endless flow of files that couriers were forever delivering and taking away. I found myself softening toward him by small degrees.

For his part, Skinner never complained or asked anything of me. He seemed content to wait and let me come to him, like I was a wild animal that needed to be tamed. He gave me small touches but never pushed anything. He stayed on his side of the bed until I slid over one night and wordlessly asked him to hold me. Even then he didn't take advantage when he could have, when I probably would have let him if he'd asked me.

But he wouldn't ask. He was waiting for me to make that move no matter what I did.

He got his chance a month after I found myself staying there.

I had a particularly bad dream one night. The black angel reappeared and said he was taking me away from Skinner. When he took hold of me his hands cut into me like needles. Blood poured out of a dozen wounds. I could feel my life ebb slowly away.

"The baby, the baby, baby...Skinner, Skinner."

"Scully, Scully wake up. I'm here."

Skinner was holding me tightly and rocking me back and forth. I told him about the dream, but didn't say anything about the other angel dreams I'd had. All the while he held me close and let the emotion play itself out.

He finally lay me back down and spooned up behind me. And then I felt it. When I wiggled around to get more comfortable, his erection prodded at my back. He hissed when I accidentally brushed against it.

I turned over in his arms and looked up at his face. Desire, sharp and clear, etched his features. He wanted me. Still wanted me even if I was sick every morning, had demonstrated homicidal tendencies, and was quite possibly mad in the bargain.

I reached up and put steady pressure on his neck, bringing him down to me. I kissed him softly, opened up to the velvety softness of his tongue. I moaned into his mouth.

He was good at this, I thought, and we made a baby doing this. Why couldn't I remember it?

I pulled at his shirt and ran my hands across his chest. I looked into his eyes so he could see the desire there. I'm sorry Mulder, I thought. I really do want him.

He finally seemed to understand that and took control. He undressed me slowly, kissing every inch of skin he could reach. He paused his large hand over my belly, stroking back and forth across the tiny mound of flesh. I wasn't really showing yet at three months, but the reverence in his face told me he'd wanted to touch me there for a long time to confirm it for himself.

"No regrets," I said. "I'm tired of regrets."

We made love slowly and sweetly. I was finally surrendering to this reality, acknowledging my part in it, and it was more than acceptable.

A new reality started to form now in Skinner's bed. He was thrusting into me, sweat beading along his forehead. Despite the exertion of his body, his face wore the expression of undiluted ecstasy. His head was thrown back, mouth slack in pleasure. He was so big, so magnificent to behold. I called his name and he looked down at me with soft brown eyes. Some deep emotion flickered brightly in those dark eyes. Was it the love he always spoke of?

Behind him I could now see his large white wings spread as if in flight. They shone brightly around him and were beautiful to behold. Sweet pleasure washed through both our bodies, bonding us, sealing us together. After he came, his large body relaxed over me and the wings enfolded us like strong, soft arms.

Under the white shimmering light of him, I asked, "Are you real?"

"Yes. You have made me so."

Lu 15:10
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God

When I woke again, Skinner was lying next to me on his stomach. One muscular arm was draped across my waist, tucking me into his side. Our nude bodies had tangled the sheets into unsightly piles on the bed.

A vaguely sticky sensation and dull ache between my legs confirmed that the sex had been real, if nothing else. I ran my hand over his broad back and felt hard muscle ripple beneath my palms. No evidence of wings there. No sign of a bony outcropping near the shoulder blades to suggest that they ever had.

The word 'ala' sprang to mind as I touched him. 'Ala' means 'wing'; there are several bones in the human body named for wings, including the shoulder blades.

He stirred beside me and made a deep groaning noise that vibrated the flat of my hand. His face nuzzled into my neck and began to kiss it softly. The arm that had been slack now moved with purpose to cup my breast.

This seduction lacked the dreamy quality of last night's. The sensations were sharper, clearer, purer than what I remembered.

If it was a memory.

In spite of accepting this life, I was beginning to doubt again. Mulder's innate suspiciousness was now inside my mind once more. The only consistent reality I'd had was experienced inside Skinner's apartment. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't reconcile this place as the one true reality.

My thoughts scattered like leaves when I felt him suckle a nipple. He groaned with pure pleasure in this task, and switched to the other one at my urging. I reached between us and stroked the hard length of him. His body was nearly perfect, and so fine to touch.

At least this was consistent; this was still so good. Sex with Skinner was surprising to say the least, but we both thoroughly enjoyed it.

Afterward, I fell asleep in his arms again, drifting contentedly into dreams once more.

Lu 20:36
Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

The placid scene of a playground greeted me in sleep. I heard snatches of childish banter, lifted my face to blue sky and felt sunshine dance on my closed eyelids. Childhood memories were surfacing in my dreams now, pleasant memories with Melissa still alive and full of mischief.

I laughed in my sleep.

Acts 12:15
And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

I woke to an empty bed and the sounds of someone showering. I was still sticky and a little ripe. No morning sickness this time at all. I found it suspicious that my physical ailments seemed to disappear the more I accepted my surroundings and the story it suggested. Had I been brainwashed? Of course it could simply be that I was getting over the worst of the morning sickness, moving into my second trimester and leaving it behind.

I rose and wrapped his robe around my nude body. Without much thought, I went downstairs trailing the robe after me. I felt strangely whole, well in both body and mind. The foggy confusion of days past was gone. I recognized the living room, kitchen, and the work table. It was all much sharper, clearer in the morning light.

Curiosity getting the best of me, I opened the sliding glass doors and stepped out on the balcony. No Armageddon, no funeral pyre of a city lay on the other side, only more buildings, blue sky, and the sounds of a city going to work.

Gentle wind played with my hair making me smile. I sat on the iron patio furniture Skinner never used, picking a chair shoved into the corner. It felt good to be outside again, and I decided to make Skinner take me to a park somewhere today. Of course, I'd have to get dressed first. The old Scully never would have gone out onto a terrace half dressed even if no one could see her.

"Scully, Scully!"

I could hear Skinner's panicked voice calling for me echo off the condo walls. He sounded frightened.

Suddenly he appeared on the balcony, evidently seeing the door open. A mixture of horror and disbelief were painted on his face. He wasn't looking at me at all, but at the railing. Did he think I jumped?

"Skinner?" I asked weakly.

He turned toward the sound of my voice. My heart lurched to see the amount of pain in his expression. He came over in one stride, pulled me out of the chair, and crushed me up against him. My face was forced sideways against his chest.

A tremor ran through his body and reverberated across his shoulders. He was wearing his dress slacks and an undershirt. I smelled sweet soap and cologne on the fabric. Confusion at his behavior kept me mute.

I let him hold me like that, waiting for an explanation. I'd never seen him in a state like this before. I'd always thought of him as being fearless. It was an unguarded moment and rare in appearance.

I felt a change come over him and he stood straighter, taller, but kept his arms around me.

"Such fragile creatures," he murmured against my hair.

One of my arms was smashed in an uncomfortable position. I wiggled it out and moved it up his back so I could hold him more firmly. My hand bumped against something solid but soft on his back.

A surprised grunt issued from him when I touched it. Feathers. It felt like feathers on his back.

Before I could think about it any further, he turned toward the patio door and moved us through it. The filmy gauze curtains blinded me for a moment before the familiar lines of the condo appeared.

He set me gently on the sofa and walked over to the work table. He leaned forward onto it heavily as if all his energy had been drained away. I watched in fascination as the wings of my nightmares folded, shrunk, and disappeared.

Strangely enough, my vision became fogged again and my energy was gone. I fought unconsciousness for as long as I could, all the while watching Skinner from across the room. He turned around to face me and an expression of profound sadness etched his face before blackness descended.

Mt 13:49
So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

I dreamed of death and the end of the world again. The Skinner/angel took me out on the balcony to show me the scenes of destruction once more.

"You must prevent this," he said.

"This?" I asked incredulous. "How?"

"The baby. The baby will know." He reached out to touch my face caressing it softly, love shining in his eyes. "I love you. I will always love you."

He flew away again, just like before but this time I didn't try to follow. My heart felt like it would shatter with his leaving. Somehow I knew this was the end of my angel past; that it was time to go back to the FBI, the real Skinner and Mulder.

I watched until he was nothing but a dot on the horizon. "I'll always love you, too."

Genesis 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

The park was quiet so early in the morning. An infrequent jogger would run down a bike path, with an occasional dog in tow. The air was sweet and clean, with the promise of spring just around the corner.

He didn't want to meet me here, but I'd insisted. I'd never had the chance to walk in the park with him. I waited for almost an hour and feared he wouldn't show. Come on Skinner, I thought, I'm nothing to be afraid of. I'd been back for over a month, plenty of time for him to read the reports, both official and unofficial.

When I looked up again, he was striding across grass. He wore a black suit and the edges of his black coat fluttered in the wind. Even with dark patches under his eyes, he was handsome. My heart skipped a beat and the baby gave me a fluttering kick.

"Yes, he's here," I said, placing a hand on my belly.

He was scowling like he was angry and stood before me imperiously. "Agent Scully."

"Sir." I stood up automatically, nervous in his presence. Even standing he dwarfed me. "Did you read the report?"

He looked away from me. "Yes."

"Shall we walk then?"

We fell into step side by side, silent for several minutes. I could almost feel him rehearsing what he wanted to say. And what could he say?

Officially, I'd disappeared for three months. One day I was at work and the next, I'd simply not shown up. No amount of searching had located me, and after a week Mulder had gotten desperate. He tried to bribe, steal, and burgle information from several government offices, to no avail.

Skinner took a leave of absence to work from home so he could search for me on his free time. Technically then, we were both gone from the FBI for three months.

Despite numerous leads, nothing was ever found. Then I turned up in a field outside Georgetown and it was Skinner who found me.

Officially, I had amnesia for the entire three months, unable to give any details about where I had been or who had kidnapped me. My pregnancy was discovered by accident during a thorough workup.

DNA tests on the fetus confirmed it was a boy and that Skinner was the father. This was also found by accident. We'd all had our DNA profiled at one time or another. Someone decided to run a check and came up with a match. I wasn't surprised when they told me.

My cancer was completely gone and had left no residual effects. The doctors ran more and more tests, simply disbelieving the results. After debriefing and more testing I was released to go back to work.

That was what the report said officially. Unofficially, it was a different story all together.

Rumors began to circulate about Skinner taking me, drugging me, and holding me hostage in his apartment. He'd only returned me when it became obvious I was pregnant. Some said he kidnapped me when he found out I was pregnant and kept me until I was too far along to get an abortion. Others said I lost my mind, moved in with him, and we did nothing but screw for three months.

The rumors were ridiculous, but fueled by the AD's refusal to speak about any of it. No one, after all, ever went to his condo except the couriers who dropped off work. Even Mulder asked me if this could be true.

Poor Skinner probably really didn't remember anything unusual at all. He stuck to his story of working at home, and had the completed files to prove it.

When I tried to tell Mulder the real story, he blew up. He simply couldn't reconcile my condition with stories of angels and immaculate conceptions. It took him a long, long time to accept it, and even longer to act normal in my presence. Our friendship stayed intact, but anything we may have felt beyond friendship died the day he found out about the baby. I think some part of him would always believe I'd run away and had an affair with Skinner, X-File or not.

And I waited for Skinner to come to me so we could discuss it. I had my own theories about what really happened, but I wanted to talk them over with him. There were a few gaps he could help me fill in. I waited, but he never came.

I finally decided to type up my recollections and theories; make it a real X-File. Why not? It would be my third appearance.

I hand-delivered the report, waiting outside his office for hours. His secretary kept saying he wouldn't see me, but I persisted. He didn't come out until I had a pain. At nearly five months, I'd developed odd pains that caused me to double over. The doctor had assured me they were harmless, and to only worry when they wouldn't go away or I started bleeding. Growing pains, she'd said.

I lay down on the floor waiting for the pain to subside, sweating, shaking, and crying. I felt a cool cloth pressed to my face. Kim had gone home hours earlier, leaving me to wait on my own.

"What's happening to me?" I asked, remembering another time and place when those words held far more meaning.

This time I received no answer from the large hands on my face. Skinner carried me into his office. His familiar scent was like a balm and the pain began to ease almost immediately. He sat with me in his lap waiting for me to make some sign, I suppose.

When the pain was completely gone, I felt myself relax for the first time in days. Even if this Skinner didn't know anything about what had happened to me, he still had the ability to heal me in any case. I was reluctant to move out of his arms and decided to stay until he made me move.

I was still holding the report in my hands, and felt him remove it. Fatigue kept me from protesting too much. I slowly drifted to sleep, lulled by his heart beat and quiet breathing. When I woke, I was home in bed with the morning alarm sounding shrilly. The only indication I had that I hadn't dreamed the entire episode was Skinner's handkerchief clutched tightly in my hand.

And the report was gone. I assumed it was with him. All I could do was wait. And wait, and wait.

While I waited, the pain would come. On a whim, I called his home, but lost my nerve to speak when he answered. But strangely, just hearing his voice caused the pain to subside. Perhaps it was a Pavlovian response to hearing his voice. A part of me thought the baby was telling us to be together even if we couldn't think in those terms.

When a week had gone by without any word, I called him again. I told him to meet me in the park in the morning and hung up before he could protest.

And so we found ourselves walking side by side like two inmates on death row on the way to their executions.

Out of the blue he asked me a question.

"You're saying I was possessed by the spirit of an angel?"

I smiled. So much for subtlety. "Not all the time. Sometimes I felt it was really you there with me."

He gave me a smirk. "Except when I sprouted wings?"


"What makes you think that I'd believe any of it?"

"The baby."

I heard him suck in a quick breath. "Yes, the baby," he murmured. "I can't explain that."

I considered this for a moment. I had a theory on that as well, but decided to keep it until later. Skinner was skittish right now and I didn't want to lose him to something he'd consider wild speculation. Well, no more so than I'd already written in the report.

"I have a favor to ask."

He stopped and turned with a frown. "What's that?"

"Will you take me home? I mean to your home?" I hadn't been back since my 'visit' there.

I thought he was going to turn me down and my heart sank. The baby made the decision for him and hit me with another pain. This time it was so bad, I passed out completely.

1Co 11:10
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

When I woke, I was lying on his couch, an angora blue afghan draped over my body. Blinking the sleep away, I could feel Skinner's breath stir my hair. He was lying behind me with an arm draped over my waist.

I felt his hand smoothed back and forth over my stomach, searching for the little mound of flesh he'd created with me.

"You did that before...I mean the other you." I turned over onto my back so I could see him.

"Did I?" he asked absently. He seemed far away, deep in thought, trying to remember when his hand had passed this way before.

"Yes. And you were so gentle. You see, it had to be you." I smiled at his bewilderment.

"I lied," he said abruptly. "I did remember some of it. A lot of it really."

Surprise at this admission made me ask, "Why? Why did you lie?"

"I thought...I thought..." He stopped and couldn't seem to finish.

I pulled his face up to look me closely in the eye. "You can tell me. I know you can tell me."

Closing his eyes and leaning his face into my shoulder he whispered, "I thought it was just wishful thinking on my part."

I smiled. Finally. Finally he knows, and so do I.

He continued quietly. "I thought I wanted you back so much I'd created you out of thin air. Some days you were there by my side and other days I didn't see you at all. And you were so sick some days, I thought it was the cancer and not the baby. I didn't question any of it because it made me so...made me so happy to have you there. And somehow I'd hallucinated that we were married to make it all right. Sometimes it did feel like I was two people, especially at night. I worried for my sanity."

I smiled. I'd worried about my own.

"Why Scully? Why did any of this happen?"

"I don't know. The angel said the baby would know. I guess we'll have to wait until he can speak to tell us himself."

"Can he prevent colonization?" He had read the report.

"I hope so."

"What do we do now?"

"Just live I suppose. Will you acknowledge the baby, Skinner?"

"Of course. You have my word."

I smiled up at him, knowing he would keep his word. Knowing that he'd be there for me and the baby, and for all the strange and crazy things this life of mine could give us.

"I love you Scully. I remember telling you that. It's still true."

"I remember. I love you too."


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