Title: "Undercover Lovers"

 Author: Angela W. 

Category: MSR (Mulder/Scully married) and Skinner/Maggie Scully friendship 

Rating: Strong R 

Summary: Mulder, Scully and their daughter go undercover to help Skinner catch a cop killer. 

Timespan/Spoilers: This is part of my "married" series, which diverged from the "real" XF world about midway through season seven. Assume that everything through "Closure" has happened, but that Mulder was never abducted and that the consummation of the MSR and birth of their child were different from the events depicted in late season seven and beyond. In my series, this comes after "A Day at the Beach". I think the only XF ep referenced is a vague mention of "Arcadia"; there's also a brief mention of "The X-Files Movie: Fight the Future". 

Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They are the property of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. 

Archive: Feel free to archive anywhere!

 Feeback: If it's nice or contains *constructive* criticism, feedback is valued.


Dr. Dana Scully was extracting a bullet from a cadaver while performing an autopsy. Gathered around her were half a dozen students of the FBI Academy, all of whom had a background in medicine or hard science.

"We want to remove the bullet as gently as we can, to avoid destroying any rifling marks it may have on it," she said, placing the bullet in a box beside her. "When the autopsy is over, we'll run a trace on the bullet to see if it matches the bullets retrieved from the victims of any other unsolved homicides in the past five years."

"Why only five years?" one of the students asked.

"Well, at the moment, because that's how far back the nationwide computerized ballistics archives go. But as a matter of probability, it's about a 99 percent certainty that any other murders committed by this same perpetrator would have taken place within that timeframe. It's only in Agatha Christie novels that people seek revenge by waiting 20 years between one murder and the next. Most killers -- even serial killers who move from city to city and commit their murders over a series of months -- usually either quit, get caught or commit suicide within a five year timeframe," Scully answered.

"Where did you get that information?" another student inquired.

"From the criminal profiler who's the head of the FBI's task force on serial killers," Scully replied.

"I've heard him mentioned; that's Special Agent Fox Mulder, right?" the original student said. "You know him?"

"Intimately," Scully replied with a small smile.

"He's your husband?" one of the female students suggested.

Scully was surprised. The woman, an Asian-American by the name of Jenny Okamata, had been her quietest student up to that point.

"You're right," Scully said. "But why don't you explain to the rest of the students how you came to that conclusion."

"It was more of an inspired guess," Okamata said.

"Sometimes inspired guesses simply mean we've assimilated clues faster than our brains can process them," Scully replied. "Tell me what led you to guess that Agent Mulder and I are married."

Okamata was quiet for a moment, then she began stating the facts precisely. "Well, I know that you're married; you wear a wedding ring and you've mentioned that you're only here at Quantico three days a week because you have a baby girl. And you used the word 'intimately' to describe the type of relationship you have with Agent Mulder; that word doesn't necessarily have to imply a sexual relationship but in most cases it does, especially when used by a man or woman in relation to a member of the opposite sex. And you kind of smiled when you said it; like you found it funny to be asked if you knew him. . . and most people would find it funny if somebody asked if they knew a member of their own family."

"Very good," Scully said, impressed. "Anything else?"

Okamata seemed to blush slightly, but it was a bit difficult to tell. "Well. . .I've seen Agent Mulder. He gave a guest lecture in one of my classes last month. He's, um, very attractive. If you were married to another man, I'm guessing your husband would probably object to you describing your relationship with Agent Mulder as 'intimate' since it could create the impression, or at least cause some speculation, that the two of you were, or had been, romantically involved."

"You're showing a remarkable ability to backup your conclusions, Okamata."

"Yeah, but it's *still* just guesswork," a male student grumbled. "Nothing she said would constitute proof that you're married to Agent Mulder or be admissible in a court of law."

"You're right," Scully agreed. "But out in the field, faced with an almost endless variety of choices and possible clues, we have to start somewhere. That often means following the trail that our gut instinct suggests to us. Sometimes we'll be wrong and have to start over again, but a lot of times you'll soon find the proof to back up what your initial impression pointed to. Now let's run these bullets."

About an hour later, the FBI computer began beeping and spitting out data.

"That means the computer found a match; the bullet found in our corpse was fired by the same gun as one used in another unsolved murder within the past five years," Scully said. She crossed the room and looked at the display. She blinked, then double-checked. Then, without hesitating, she grabbed her cell phone and pushed the first number on her speed dial.



Anyone glancing in at Mulder in his private office at FBI headquarters might have been excused for thinking he was dozing on the job. Mulder had his feet up and his eyes closed. However, he was working harder than virtually anyone else in the building at that moment. He was trying to create a profile of a serial killer who was stalking Miami. The process required him to project himself into the mind of a madman. It was nasty, psychologically dangerous work and something he did extremely well.

The ringing of his cell phone startled Mulder out of his reverie. Damn! he thought. Only a handful of people used his cell number nowadays; most of his calls came through his secretary to the landline on his desk and he'd instructed her to hold all calls unless they came from Skinner, from a woman with the last name of Scully -- either Dana or Margaret -- who said it was an emergency or directly from either God or the President.

"Mulder," he snapped tersely.

"Mulder, it's me," Scully said.

"Scully, I'm kind of in the middle of something right now. Is this urgent?"

"In a purely professional sense, yes. It's nothing personal, nothing's wrong with me or Melissa, but I've run across something here in the labs I need your input on and that I think you'll want to be involved in."

"I'm listening," Mulder replied. He had absolute trust in his wife's professional judgment. If Scully said it was important, then it damned well *was* important.

"I just did an autopsy and ran the bullet. It matches a bullet used in another unsolved homicide about three months ago in another state."

"So we're looking at a traveling serial killer. Granted, that's what I do, but I'm guessing there's something more to this than what you've told me so far."

"Plenty, Mulder. Both cases were flagged code red. You know what that means."

"Law enforcement officers. You're telling me we've got a serial cop killer on the loose?"

"That's what it looks like to me, Mulder, but you're going to have to be the one to make that judgment. If it's okay, I'm going to let some of my students sit in on our discussion. They could learn a lot from watching you."

"I'll be there as soon as I can make it, Scully. They watch up until I say so. Then they leave."

As he headed out the door of his private office into the general staff room of the serial killers task force, Mulder barked out, "Chan!"

"Yes sir?" asked an Asian-American agent in his early 30s.

"Come with me. We're heading out to Quantico. Scully's found some evidence we need to look into."

Chan nodded, grabbed his jacket, and followed his boss.


After several hours of going over the evidence related to each case and the background of each officer, Mulder said to the assembled students, as well as Scully and Chan, "Okay, here's what we've got: two law enforcement officers, both shot at close range by guns fired from the same gun. Both were off-duty at the time they were killed. Both were white, middle-aged and married with grown children. Other than that, there are no obviously similarities. One was 49 and a lifelong resident of Tucson, Arizona. The other was 60 and had lived in a variety of different places -- born in Michigan, graduated high school in New Jersey and had spent most of his adult life working as a police officer in Pennsylvania -- but had never lived in Arizona, unless it was for a period of time so brief that nobody bothered to mention it on his background report. So our task is to find out when and where their paths crossed -- presuming they did, at some point -- or find out what it was that they had in common. Any suggestions?"

"Well, some obvious areas are ruled out," one the students suggested hesitantly. "There's an eleven-year

age gap between the victims, so they it's highly unlikely that they went to college or through military training together."

"Agreed," Mulder said. "Keep in mind, those potentialities aren't impossible -- our older vic could have been a non-traditional student or an older recruit -- but you're right that either is highly unlikely."

"How about right here?" Okamata suggested. "In addition to the long course those of us training to be agents take, we all know that Quantico offers refresher courses for law enforcement officers from various localities to learn the latest crime-fighting techniques. Couldn't both of them have been enrolled in one fof the same FBI courses at some point during the last 20 years or so?"

Mulder nodded. "Good call. We'll run their names through our own data base. That's such an obvious suggestion -- to look through our own records -- that it would have been easy to overlook. Any other suggestions?"

"How about something connected to their children?" Chan volunteered. "Just because they were 11 years apart in age doesn't mean they couldn't have kids the same age. Maybe their kids were college roommates or something."

"Okay, we'll check on that. Anybody else want to toss an idea into the ring?"

"Something. . .medical maybe?" suggested one of Scully's male students. "They could have both had some sort of rare disease."

"Scully, you want to field that one?" Mulder asked.

"It's not a bad idea," Scully admitted. "But both victims had complete post-mortems done on them, which included getting their medical records from their doctors. Other than the fact that they both had high blood pressure -- which is a condition you'll find in almost half of all males over the age of 45 -- they didn't have any medical conditions in common."

"So. . .it's almost five. Scully and I will take these records home and continue to dig. Chan will contact the local police departments both men worked for and alert them to the probability that we've got a serial cop-killer on the loose. Chan, you'll also check our own files, see if both men were ever students here."

"Will do, boss," Chan replied affably.

"Class dismissed," Scully said.


"Want to just take my car home?" Mulder suggested. "I can drop you back here on my way in tomorrow morning. It seems silly for both of us to fight Beltway traffic."

"Sounds good to me, Mulder," Scully agreed.

On their way home, Mulder noticed that Scully kept shooting glances at him and smiling. Finally he said, "Okay, Scully, my finely-honed profile skills are picking up on those looks. You got something you want to tell me?"

"I was just thinking about something one of my students had said," she replied. Then she relayed the whole conversation she'd had with Okamata to him, ending up with, "So I guess it's a good thing you don't teach at the Academy full-time, Fox. You'd probably have a whole host of nubile young agents-in-training wanting some *very* personal instruction from you."

Mulder chuckled. "Considering you'd be right down the hall to shoot them if they suggested it, I kind of doubt it, Dana. In any case, that sort of thing has never appealed to me."

"What sort of thing?"

"The sort of romantic relationship where the guy is considerably older and more experienced and better educated and everything than the girl or woman he's with. I've always sought romantic partners from among my peers. And now I have you; believe me, sweetheart, you're MORE than enough woman for me."

Scully smiled and reached over to pat his thigh.


Later that evening, after having retrieved Melissa from her Grandma's house and spent several hours eating dinner, playing with Melissa and their dog, and getting their daughter off to bed, Mulder and Scully settled down in their den to work on the case.

"Anything jumping out at you, no matter how insignificant it may seem?" Mulder inquired after they'd spent an hour going over both men's personal and work histories.

"Just one item," Scully replied. "In both their obituaries, one of their surviving relatives is listed as a married daughter in Colorado Springs. It's just barely possible that both men were visiting their daughters at the same time and saw something that somebody didn't want them seeing."

"It's slim, but at the moment it's the only lead we've got, so let's run with it," Mulder said. "I'll call both daughters first thing tomorrow morning and ask them when the last time their fathers visited was. I'll also find out exactly how close they live to each other, things like that."

"Okay," Scully agreed. She was glad she'd come up with the lead for two reasons. One was the purely professional desire to provide a path for bringing a cop killer to justice. The other was her desire for her husband. Mulder had changed into a tank top and shorts when they got home and he'd been munching on sunflower seeds and wearing his reading glasses while they were working and he looked. . . .really, really good. She wanted that oral fixation of his directed toward her, not those damned seeds!

"You ready for bed, Fox?"

"Not really. I may watch TV for a bit. You can go on up if you're tired."

Damn, the man could be dense sometimes! But she wasn't going to fall back into her premarital habit of assuming he didn't want her just because they weren't on the same wavelength at the exact same moment. Leaning over the couch he was sitting on, she wrapped her arms around his neck and nipped lightly at his ear. "I didn't say I was tired, Mulder. I said I wanted to go to bed. Now. With you. I want to make love. I want to be naked with you. I want to. . ." she paused form a moment, trying to decide *exactly* what it was she wanted to do to him and have him do to her, "to sixty-nine."

Mulder was instantly rock hard. He'd pointed out once that just because he *believed* in extra-sensory perception, that didn't mean he was a mind-reader; that things would work better if she'd just tell him what she wanted. She was certainly doing so!

"Come on," he said, reaching out so they could hold hands while hurrying upstairs.

"What put this in mind?" Mulder asked as they reached their bedroom and quietly closed the door. "It's been a while since we. . .indulged in this particular manner."

"Watching the way you work those sunflower seeds," Scully admitted. "It got me to craving your mouth on me. But then I got distracted by your thighs, and thinking about how good it felt to have you in my mouth so I thought. . .why not both at once?"

"Mmm! Why not indeed?" Mulder asked. They were both naked by now, having shed their clothes quickly and carelessly, with the ease of longtime lovers. They hadn't really kissed yet, though, and he remedied that situation immediately, diving directly in for a deep, open-mouthed kiss.

"Oh, yeah!" Scully murmured when his lips finally left hers.

"I can do that somewhere else," Mulder offered.

"Please!" Scully said.

Mulder maneuvered them to the bed and laid Scully down, then crawled over beside her. Ever the gentleman, he positioned them so that her head was on the pillow and his near the foot of the bed. Lying on his side, he lifted one of her legs and licked lightly at the juncture of her hip and thigh, smiling in masculine pride when she whimpered at his action.

Mulder parted her lower lips and smiled. She was open and throbbing. He dove in tongue-first and felt more than heard Scully's gasp of pleasure. Grabbing her ass with both hands, he proceeded to eat at her passionately.

Scully moaned as Mulder moved his mouth against her. Damn, he was good! And as if what he was doing between her legs wasn't enough of a turn-on, he was also flexing his fingers against her bottom, providing a sensual massage to that part of her anatomy.

Wasn't there something she was supposed to be doing? Scully thought hazily. Oh, yeah. Returning the pleasure. Taking that big, swollen cock of Mulder's --- the one that was just inches away from her face -- into her mouth. Turning her head slightly, she licked him up and down like an ice cream cone, then began to slowly suck him into her mouth.

Mulder gave a groan that vibrated against Scully's body, making her shudder in response. Which in turn made her gulp at him, trying to take him in more deeply. This game of erotic tag, with each spouse trying to make the other's pleasure intensify, kept on 'til both were about to explode.

Finally, Scully began to pump herself heedlessly against Mulder's mouth, desperate to reach climax. Just as she came, she reflexively sucked on Mulder as hard she could and squeezed his balls, which she'd been lightly palming. The result was that he came at the same time.

When both had stopped throbbing, Mulder slowly eased around so that his face was next to Scully's on the pillow.

"Sorry 'bout that," he murmured. "I know you prefer to give me blow jobs more as a form of foreplay than as a substitute for the main event, but I got kind of carried away."

"That's okay, Fox," she murmured, on the verge of falling asleep. A killer orgasm always wore her out. "Variety is the spice of life and all that jazz." Then she cuddled closer to him and was out like a light.


Early the next afternoon, Mulder showed up at Scully's office.

"Okay, I think we've got something here, and I've got an idea of how to pursue it, but I want to run it by you first."

"What have you got, Mulder?"

"Both men did, indeed, visit their daughters and grandchildren less than a month before they were murdered. It wasn't at the same time -- our second vic didn't even visit until the first was already dead -- but they have granddaughters the same age and went to a lot of the same places. I think our best bet would be to go out Colorado and act like we're a new family moving into the neighborhood where, apparently, a killer of grandfather-cops lives."

"You want me to ask my Mom to watch Melissa?" Scully asked.

"No, she's an integral part of my plan. In any case, we're talking maybe a month or more undercover. I know neither of us would want to be away from her that long."

"Mulder, I'm not going to put Melissa into danger. I don't care how many cops' lives it might save!"

"Do you think I'd even suggest this if there was the slightest hint of danger to our daughter?" Mulder demanded.

"No. . .no, of course not, Mulder. I'm sorry I said that. What's your plan?"

"We move into the neighborhood. After a week or two "Grandpa" comes to visit. He spends a lot of time taking Melissa out to parks and stuff and makes it known he's an FBI agent. We also tell all our new found acquaintances about "Grandpa's" occupation, just so word gets around. Then "Grandpa" goes back home and is kept under surveillance until somebody tries to kill him. Melissa would never be in any danger. Even you and I wouldn't be in any danger. The only person who would be at risk would be the grandfather and even his killing would happen far away from where we were."

"Okay, the only flaw I see in your plan is that Melissa doesn't *have* a grandfather, much less one that's in law enforcement."

"True," Mulder agreed with a small smile. "But she has an older man in her life who -- as you yourself once pointed out -- she seems to regard as a grandfather. And he just happens to be an Assistant Director for the FBI."


"Unless Melissa has met up with some *other* AD and begun to regard him as a grandfather."

"The problem with that is that while Skinner's in his early 50s -- which is certainly the right age for a man to be the grandfather of a toddler -- he's not old enough to be either your father or mine. Let's face it, Fox, we were both what the doctor politely referred to as "mature parents" when Melissa was born."

"Yeah, but you look younger. You could easily pass for, say, 32 instead of 39. And I doubt that anybody's going to inquire too closely as to Skinner's *exact* age. In any case, some men can and do father children when they're only 18 or 19. He shows up, you introduce him as your father, he refers to Melissa as his granddaughter. . .I don't think there will be too many questions."

"Well, let's run it by him."


A few hours later, both agents were sitting in Skinner's office, outlining the plan to him.

"I'm willing to do it, agents. In fact, I'd enjoy the chance to do some undercover work again, especially if it's going to put a cop killer behind bars. But I think we've overlooked one aspect of the situation."

"What's that, sir?" Scully asked.

"Both the men who were killed were married and brought their wives -- the children's grandmothers -- with them to Colorado Springs on their visit. I'm not married. I suppose we could try to find a mature woman agent to go undercover with us."

"I've got what I think may be a better idea," Scully suggested. "Why don't I just ask my own mother to come out at the same time? The two of you can both be visiting us and, of course, Melissa calls her Grandma. That would solve the nagging problem of why Melissa doesn't actually say 'Grandpa' when talking with you; we can just say the whole family -- even your wife and granddaughter -- call you Skinner."

"Works for me, if you think your mother would be game for it," Skinner replied.

"We'll go now and ask her," Mulder said. "It's about time for us to head over there, anyway."

As they got into the car, Scully noticed that Mulder was trying -- but not completely succeeding -- in hiding a grin. "What's so funny, Mulder?"

"I'm just thinking of Bill Junior's reaction to all this. He thinks it's bad enough that I get his sister involved in my schemes. What's he going to say to the idea of his mother and favorite niece going along for the ride?"

Scully giggled. "He'll survive. And, unless I'm very wrong, I think my mother will get a kick out of the idea."


Once they had arrived and greeted Melissa, Mulder and Scully explained the plan to to Maggie.

"It sounds like fun, sweetheart," Maggie said. "Being as Colorado is landlocked, it's one of the few states I never had a chance to visit during all my years as the wife and mother of Navy officers. The only thing is. . .Mr. Skinner and I. . .I mean, if I'm supposed to pretend to be married to him. . ."

"Just in public, Maggie," Mulder assured her. "We'll make sure we get a four- or five-bedroom house -- it's an upscale neighborhood and most of the houses have that many bedrooms anyway -- so you'll have your own private sleeping accommodations. When the five of us are "at home" so to speak, you and Skinner can treat each other like the casual acquaintances you are."

"You might, possibly, be called upon to let him hold your hand or call you 'honey' or something when the two of you take Melissa out to the park or McDonald's or someplace like that," Scully said, "but I can't see that it would be anything that would violate your religious beliefs. For heaven's sake, Mom, it's not like he's going to bite you!"

Scully was never quite sure, but she thought her mother whispered "pity" under her breath to that last comment.


A couple of weeks later, Mulder and Scully put the first part of their plan into action. After three days of driving cross country with Melissa and Elvis, their dog, they arrived late one afternoon at their new "home"; a fancy, five-bedroom house in the same upper middle class neighborhood of Colorado Springs where the daughters of both the victims had lived. They'd selected the house over the internet and had leased it from the builder for six months with an option to buy.

A couple of movers were already in the process of unloading their new furniture from a van. Because they weren't really moving -- just going undercover in the neighborhood for, they hoped, no more than a month or two -- they'd left almost all their own things at their home in Maryland and arranged for the bureau to ship new furniture to the new house. It could always be used in safe houses or something of that nature at a later time. The few boxes of personal items they'd felt they couldn't do without for any length of time were in their trunk, along with their suitcases.

Since the idea was to set Skinner -- in his own identity as an Assistant Director of the FBI -- up as a possible victim for the cop killer, they hadn't altered their own identities too much. Mulder had suggested that he just continue to work as a criminal profiler out of one of the FBI field offices in Colorado, but it was eventually agreed that having both Mulder and his erstwhile father-in-law working for the FBI might be regarded as suspicious. Instead, a series of high level negotiations between the Justice Department and the military had netted him a temporary post as a civilian psychologist performing evaluations for duty at the Air Force Academy. It would be real work -- the Air Force would actually make job assignments based on his assessments of the candidates -- but it would end as soon as Mulder's presence in Colorado was deemed unnecessary.

Scully had been offered the choice of working or not during the weeks they were undercover. One of the victims' daughters had been a full-time homemaker, while the other had worked part-time, so neither choice was deemed essential to their assignment. She had opted simply to take the role of a stay-at-home mother during the time they were there.

For the most part, they were using their own names and backgrounds. He was still Fox William Mulder and their daughter was Melissa Samantha Mulder, as always. However, for the length of time they were in Colorado, Dana's last name was officially Mulder and her maiden name had been Skinner, not Scully. He was an Oxford-educated psychologist, but he'd done consulting work -- not criminal profiling -- prior to moving out west. They were still arriving from Maryland, where they'd lived not far from her "parents". Dana's own professional background -- should anyone ask -- was still in medicine, but she'd switched herself from a doctor who'd taught at Quantico to a nurse who'd worked in an emergency room prior to giving birth and embarking on full-time motherhood. Mulder's birthday was still the same; Scully had kept the same date and month but had knocked off six years so that she was -- just barely -- officially young enough to be Skinner's daughter, should anyone bother to check their mutual ages.

"Wow, this is nice," Scully said, wandering around the house. It was certainly bigger than anything she'd ever lived in growing up or than their house in Maryland. And brand new, too. There were four bedrooms and two full bathrooms upstairs. Downstairs was the master suite, a half-bath, a large living room, formal dining room, spacious kitchen with breakfast nook and two other rooms that could be used as dens, playrooms, exercise rooms or whatever.

While the movers were still unloading, a few of the neighbors knocked on the door to introduce themselves. Like Mulder and Scully, they were professional couples with small children. One family consisted of a husband, his *very* pregnant wife and their three-year-old daughter, while another consisted of a husband and wife with twin boys a few months younger than Melissa.

After the movers and neighbors had left, Mulder looked at Scully and said, "You certainly seem to be enjoying this".

"Well, moving into a new house -- even if it's only for a month or two -- brings back lots of memories for me, mostly happy ones."

"Memories of when you were growing up as a Navy brat, you mean?"

"Those, sure. But also memories of us; times we've done something similar to this together."

Mulder looked faintly puzzled. "Something similar to this? The only time I can remember us doing something even *vaguely* similar to to this was that time we went undercover in Arcadian Falls, about a year before we got married."

"That's part of what I was remembering. That was fun. But I was also thinking of the time we went out to Hawaii shortly after we were married. In some ways -- I guess this sounds kind of silly -- but I still sort of think of the bureau-maintained apartment in Honolulu as our first home. It was the first place we  ever lived openly together."

"That doesn't sound 'silly' Dana; it's very sweet. But I do object to your description of the week we spent in Arcadian Falls as 'fun'. It was the most frustrating experience of my entire life!"

"It wasn't exactly easy for me, either, Fox."

"You could have responded positively to one of the 8,000 sexual innuendos I made that week. Then neither of us would have been frustrated."

"I didn't know you were serious; I thought you were just teasing me. How was I to know you really wanted to my lover?"

"If there was one thing that whole experience in the Stepford Subdivision made clear to me, it was that I *didn't* want to be your lover!"

"Huh?" asked Scully, now thoroughly confused.

"I wanted to be your husband. I didn't want a temporary, clandestine sexual relationship with you. I wanted an on-the-record, out-in-the-open, for-long-as-we-both-shall-live sexual relationship with you."

Scully couldn't think of an answer to that, so she kissed him instead. It was beginning to deepen -- she'd just slipped the tip of her tongue into his slightly open lips -- when a small hand tugged at her leg.


"Umm, what Melissa?"

"Daddy bye-bye?"

Scully laughed softly and bent to scoop up her daughter. "No, sweetie, Daddy's not going bye-bye. Mommy just wanted to kiss Daddy. Because I love him."

"Lissa kiss!"

Scully promptly began covering her daughter's chubby cheeks with kisses while the little girl giggled. When she finally stopped, Melissa said, "Daddy kiss!" and reached for her father. Mulder repeated the process and then sat down in an easy chair, pulling both Melissa and Dana into his lap.

"Do you know I can't believe that for years I thought this would be boring?" he inquired, nuzzling Dana's ear with his nose while tousling Melissa's hair with his hand.


"Marriage, kids, pets, the whole shebang. I would have never believed that a single hour of being a Daddy would provide more thrills and satisfaction than an entire career of alien-busting. But it does."

"You just needed to reach the time in your life when you were ready for it, Fox. You probably wouldn't have been a good father -- or not *as* good of one, anyway -- when you were in your 20s or early 30s. Same for me. If I'd gotten married right of high school, had my first baby at 19, the way my mother did. . .I would most likely have resented my child. There were other things we both wanted to accomplish in our lives before we tackled parenthood."

Melissa, apparently bored with this conversation, scrambled off her father's lap and toddled across the living room. "Tairs!" she announced at the foot of the staircase.

"Oh, heck, I guess we need to put up safety gates at the top and bottom, like we have at home," Scully said as she followed her daughter and hovered over her.

Mulder got up and stood beside them, then shook his head. "I don't think so. There are only six steps to the landing, which is nice and broad, then another six steps to the second story. Both the landing and the area at the foot of the steps are covered with deep, soft carpet. We'll watch her and try to help her climb the stairs, but if she tumbles, it's not like she's going to do herself any serious damage. She's got to learn how to go up and down stairs at some point; she's almost two."

Scully opened her mouth to protest, then said, "Yeah, I guess you're right."

"You mean I win? Just like that? Without any argument?"

"Mom actually said something to me the other day about being an overprotective mother; that I needed to loosen up. We'll consider this the first step in me untying the apron strings just a tiny bit."

That night, when they tried to put Melissa to bed, she cried and clutched at them.

"I think she's nervous being in a strange house," Scully said. "We'll let her sleep in our bed with us tonight. I don't like this floor arrangement as much as the one at home, anyway. Here the master bedroom is downstairs."

"There's an intercom," Mulder pointed out. "We can hear if she wakes up in the middle of the night."

"I just think, for tonight, we'll all be more comfortable in the same room."

Mulder opened his mouth to protest, but promptly shut it again. Scully had given in to him on the stairgate issue, so he'd let her be the parent to decide this situation. Besides, he admitted to himself, his motives for not having Melissa sleep in their bed were mostly selfish. The past two nights -- long days of driving followed by nights sleeping in the same motel room with both their daughter and their dog -- hadn't exactly provided much chance for romance. After the kissing and conversation earlier this evening in the living room, he'd been looking forward to making love with his wife tonight. But he could wait another day or two, if necessary. At least this time around -- unlike the whole fiasco in San Diego several years earlier -- he knew that he'd eventually get lucky.

As the three of them cuddled together on the brand new, king-sized bed in the master bedroom, Mulder said, "You don't suppose this is going to do any kind of psychological damage to Melissa, do you? I mean, uprooting her from her home for a couple of months, then going back?"

"I sincerely doubt it, Mulder. To a child under the age of three, 'home' is wherever their parents are. Melissa's not going to differentiate between the fact that we're supposedly living here and the times we've spent a week at the beach house in Rhode Island or a few nights in a motel room. She's got Mommy and Daddy with her, that's all that really matters to her at this point in her life. But that is the main reason I elected just to be a full-time mother during our stay here. We would have had to put her in some sort of formal daycare if I were working even part-time, and I'm not ready for that."

Mulder shuddered slightly. "Me neither. Call me paranoid if you must, but the idea of anybody but us or your Mom looking after Melissa scares me to death."

"In a year or so, we'll probably need to seriously consider some sort of nursery school or Mother's Day Out program, for at least one or two mornings a week. Eventually, she's going to have to be entrusted to the care of someone other than family members."

"We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. Hey, you said that was the *main* reason you elected not to have a career as part of your cover. Was there something else?"

"Mostly I just wanted to spend more time with her. I guess this sounds silly, but sometimes I get almost. . . jealous of my own mother. She spends just about as many of Melissa's waking hours with her as I do and I sometimes feel that Melissa is more attached to Grandma than she is to Mommy."

"No way, Dana! Having a loving, involved grandmother like Maggie is a blessing for Melissa, but it's always been obvious to me that the two of you have a wonderful mother-daughter relationship. I've seen the way Melissa's face lights up whenever you come into a room."

"She loves you, too."

"Yeah, I've noticed that."

By this time, the object of their discussion was sleeping. Her eyelashes lay still against her cheeks and her breathing was soft and regular.

"Are you tired?" Scully asked Mulder, reaching out to run her foot gently along his shin.

"Not particularly. Why?" He was trying not to get his hopes up, but Scully had *that* smile on her face; the one that was usually a prelude to a suggestion of something that had nothing to do with work or parenting.

"Did you see the size of that Jacuzzi in the bathroom?" she asked. "I'm sure it's big enough for two."

Mulder slid quietly out of bed and walked into the bathroom. He'd only been wearing his boxer-briefs and he slid those off as soon as he started the water. Scully was right behind him, unbuttoning the sleep shirt she'd been wearing and letting it pool around her ankles before stepping out of it.

They scrambled into the oversized tub and snuggled together, Scully sitting on her husband's lap, her back against his chest. Mulder leaned over her shoulder and captured her mouth in a deep kiss. After they'd turned off the water, however, she switched positions so that they were face-to-face, straddling his thighs with her own.

"I want to see you tonight," she explained. "To look into your eyes when we make love."

"Whatever you want, sweetheart." He captured her face with his hands and kissed her again, teasing her lips with his tongue until she gave a feral growl and wound her arms around his neck to get full access to his mouth.

"You've got the prettiest breasts," he murmured, caressing them as they floated lazily atop the water.

"They're -- mmm! -- so little. The only time they were ever of a decent size was when I was pregnant and nursing Melissa."

"They're perfect," he assured her. And because he thought so, she quit arguing.

"You look so sexy like this," she said. "Just your head and shoulders and about half of your bare chest visible above the water. . .leaving me to speculate on what's going on below."

"Like you have any doubts?" he asked, pulling her slightly forward so that her auburn curls bumped against his rock hard erection.

"Is this really going to work?" Scully inquired. "I mean, with both of us, um, submerged?"

Mulder shrugged. "We'll try it and see, I guess. If it doesn't, we'll move out of the tub."

Scully lowered herself onto him. After a few minutes of wiggling and arching, she said, "Fox, this feels good but somehow. . .I'm not getting enough. . .traction or something."

"Here," he said. Wrapping one arm securely around her hips so that they remained joined, he used the other to lever himself up enough so that he was sitting on the marble edge surrounding the tub, with his feet and the lower portion of his legs still in the water. The stonework was surprisingly cold against his naked butt and thighs; however, it provided an intriguing contrast to the heat surrounding his feet and his cock.

Scully wrapped her legs all the way around his waist and squeezed him tightly. Their bodies were still wet and slippery, but now she could maneuver a bit better. Mulder also began to vibrate his thighs, bouncing her gently. However, it wasn't until he hauled her tightly against him and bent her upper torso back enough so that he could latch onto one of her breasts and lave her nipple with his tongue, while lightly pinching the other nipple with his fingers, that she came.

"Wow!" she murmured when she'd stopped throbbing and panting.

"Can we kind of switch positions?" Mulder asked. "So that you're sitting on the edge of the tub and I'm above you?"

"Sure," Scully agreed. But she gave a little gasp when her bare ass settled on the cold marble.

"I know," Mulder said. "It's cold after being in the warm water. But you won't notice it after a minute."

Scully was pretty sure that after a minute she wouldn't have noticed if an elephant had marched through the bathroom. Mulder was smiling down at her and thrusting into her at a hard, steady pace. She grasped his biceps and hung on; her ass skittered against the marble with every thrust but damn it felt *SO* good! He came with a harsh groan of her name.

"You're going to have to watch that, you know, while we're undercover," she murmured, covering his face with gentle kisses.

"Watch what?"

"Calling me Scully. It's not officially part of my name for this assignment. I'm Dana Katherine Skinner Mulder now."'

"I mostly call you Dana nowadays anyway."

'That's true, you do. So why'd you growl 'Scully' into my ear just now?"

"Doing a bit of time traveling, I suppose. Thinking about that time in Arcadia and how much I would have liked to have done this with you then. And I always called you Scully back in those days."

"Mmm. Ready for bed?"

"Sure am."


The next week past quickly and pleasantly for the Mulder family. They attended Mass at the local Catholic church, signed up for a trial membership at a health club their neighbors recommended and learned their way around town. Dana was especially fond of an open air farmers market she'd found just minutes away from their house and a park with a special toddler-scaled playground. The weather was delightful -- crisp and cool enough for jeans and long sleeves, but sunny and not cold enough to make staying outside for hours at a time uncomfortable, even for Melissa.

"So, do you like it here?" Dana asked her husband on Friday evening.

"It's a nice change from Washington," Mulder admitted. "It's kind of enjoyable to use my psychology skills to work with people who are basically normal and just find out whether or not they're up to the rigors of, say, flying supersonic jets, rather than spending all my time analyzing the minds of wackos and deviants."

"Do I sense a 'but' at the end of that statement?" Scully inquired.

"I remember what you said the first night we were here, about this situation reminding you of our time in Hawaii. I feel that way, too. I mean, it's hard to imagine two states more dissimilar than Colorado and Hawaii and our personal situation is different, as well; there's a big difference between being newlyweds hiding our marriage from the bureau and being an openly acknowledged  married couple with a daughter who's nearly two. Yet the *feel*of it is the same. It's our real life yet, at the same time, our real life is what we'll be going back to in Washington when this case is over."

"You don't like this neighborhood, do you?"

"It's not as bad as Arcadian Falls with all their rules and regulations," Mulder replied quickly. "But I prefer the multiethnic, multigenerational composition of our neighborhood in Maryland; with a black family next door and an elderly couple across the street. I mean, you *have* noticed that everybody in this neighborhood is pretty much a clone of us, haven't you? Everybody's white, all the adults are in their 30s and 40s and everybody has one or two children under the age of 12. I keep wondering where all the old people are, where all the teenagers are, where all the racial minorities are?"

"Well, it's a brand new neighborhood, Fox," Dana pointed out reasonably. "You'd have to expect it to mostly be populated by younger families with small children. As for racial minorities. . .there simply aren't as many of them in states like Colorado and Utah as there are in the D.C. area. Also, it's an expensive neighborhood; although there's been a lot of progress in narrowing the gap during the past couple of decades, non-white families are still less likely to have income levels in the upper brackets."

"Dana. . . .if you really like this lifestyle. . .I mean, there are houses and neighborhoods similar to this in Maryland and Virginia. And it's not as if we can't afford it; God knows, my parents left me more than enough money to live as lavishly as we might wish."

"No, I like our house. I like our neighbors. We live close to where we both work and close to my mother. It's just that, unlike you, I can see the upside to a neighborhood like this."


"If this was my actual life. . .if I really was going to be a full-time, stay-at-home mother for the next several years. . .I think I'd want to live in a neighborhood similar to this. I've met more mothers with kids near Melissa's age during the one week we've been here than I have in the past 18 months in Maryland. But at home that's not so much of an issue. I work three days a week and mostly just want to hang out at home with Melissa or need to run errands on the days I'm off."

Mulder nodded. "So, what time are your Mom and Skinner getting in?"

"Monday at three. Melissa and I will pick them up at the airport and your 'in-laws' should be waiting at home to greet you when you return from work. Do you have an itinerary of where we're supposed to take them?"

"Yes, Chan faxed it to me at the office today. He's spent several hours over the past week talking with the victims' daughters and widows. He's cross-referenced every place both men went while they were here. Parks, restaurants, stores, museums; most of them are in this neighborhood or are recognized tourist attractions, so it won't be considered at all odd for us to go to them with Skinner and your Mom."

"I hope this works although, at the same time, I worry about putting Skinner's life in danger. He's not just our boss, he's our best friend. As we said when we began this, he really *is* the closest thing to a grandfather Melissa has."

"Both the victims were shot in the chest, while off duty, within a week of returning from Colorado Springs," Mulder pointed out. "During that time, Skinner will wear a bulletproof vest at all times except, I guess, when he's in the shower. He'll also be kept under surveillance by other members of the bureau. And let's remember that he didn't make it through a tour of duty as a Marine in Vietnam, then another 15 years as an FBI field agent, by being stupid or careless or weak. He's tough and he's smart and he knows what he's up against."


Maggie Scully was having the time of her life. Although she'd never really been bitten by the women's liberation bug that had effected so many middle class women back in the 1970s -- being a Navy wife and the mother of four children had always been more than enough of a "career" for her -- she'd found her younger daughter's profession to be fascinating and had sometimes daydreamed of what it would be like to take part in one of her undercover assignments. . .and here she was, doing it exactly like that.

Having an attractive man in the vicinity of her own age pretending to be her husband was a nice bonus. Maggie had no serious desire to marry again; she had a full, happy life with her children, her grandchildren, her siblings, her friends, her church activities and her voracious reading. But sometimes she simply got tired of being an older, unescorted woman. Unlike women accompanied by men, or young, attractive women, or even elderly women who were obviously in need of special attention, middle-aged women traveling by themselves were often routinely ignored in restaurants, stores and other so-called "service" establishments.

She'd often thought that Dana and Fox's boss was a nice-looking man. There was nothing more to it than that. He was a good seven or eight years younger than she was and she was well aware that attractive, professional men in their early 50s dated -- if they chose to date -- women in their 30s or 40s, not 60-year-old grandmothers.

"So, I suppose we should get to know each other a little better, if we're going to be believable," Skinner suggested.

"Yes, that's a good idea, Mr. Skinner."

He chuckled. "First of all, it's just Skinner. That's what Mulder and Scully, er, Dana and Fox, call me. Even Melissa calls me that, or tries to; she actually says Kinner."

"What's your first name?"

"Walter, but I hate it. It was my grandfather's name and I always thought it belonged to someone of his generation."

"You were married at one time, weren't you?"

"For quite a while," he replied. "I've been divorced for the past six years."

"No thoughts of marrying again?"

Skinner shrugged. "My job keeps me pretty busy. Hell, Mulder alone keeps me pretty busy! I'm not saying I wouldn't consider it, if I happened to meet the right woman, but at the same time. . .I wasn't successful at marriage the first time I tried it, and I don't really know that I've changed, so the end result might not be any different."

"You and your ex-wife never had children?"


"Were you childless by choice?" Maggie asked, then -- before he could answer -- added, "I'm sorry, Skinner. That's a very personal issue and it's none of my business. Please forgive me for even mentioning it."

Skinner smiled slightly. "No forgiveness is necessary, Maggie. In fact, although it's not an issue I've discussed with many people, I don't mind talking about it with you. We were childless by Sharon's choice, not mine. I would have welcomed children."

"She didn't want children?"

"I can't accuse Sharon of deliberately misleading me. What she actually said, back when we were engaged, was that she wasn't sure if she'd ever want children. I chose to interpret her statement as meaning she didn't want children within the first couple of years of our marriage and I was okay with that. I figured that, as time went on, she'd eventually decide she wanted them. Or we'd have an 'accident' that she might initially be upset about but would soon adjust to and be happy about. But neither of those things ever happened. Her career was going great guns and the time just never seemed right -- in her opinion, anyway -- to start a family. And she was careful; she took care of all the birth control, never asked me to assume responsibility for making sure our marriage remained barren."

"So that was what led to your divorce?"

"When she left me," Skinner said slowly, "she said it was because I was too obsessed with my career, didn't share enough with her, wasn't home enough. All those things are probably true; I'm not going to claim that the problems within our marriage were all her fault. It's just that, after about a decade, rushing home every night so we could hit the hottest new restaurant and discuss our careers began to get boring. Maybe if we'd changed the focus of our lives, added children, I would have wanted to spend more time at home."

The two of them spent the rest of the flight engrossed in conversation so that by the time they landed they were easily able to carry of the illusion of a long-married couple. It was helped by the fact that as soon as they disembarked they were met by Melissa, who gripped both their necks in ecstasy; neither one of them had to "pretend" that they loved her.


When Mulder arrived home that evening, he was greeted by Melissa and Dana, as usual. As he kissed them both he asked -- while standing in the doorway and in a voice loud enough for any of the neighbors who happened to be outside to hear -- if her parents had made their flight.

"Yes, Mom and Dad got in right on time," Scully replied, her own voice slightly louder than usual.

Mulder entered the house and said, "Hi, Maggie," giving her a kiss on the cheek. He vaguely wondered if their whole plan might be undermined by the fact that -- unlike, apparently, the vast majority of men in the world -- he was honestly happy to have his mother-in-law come to visit.

"Hi, Skinner," he said.

"Hello, son," Skinner replied. The two men greeted each other as they always had, with a handshake.

"Son?" Mulder asked.

"It's what my father-in-law always called me," Skinner said with a shrug. "Like you, I dislike being addressed by my first name and it seems a little odd for an older man to call a younger family member by his last name."

"What did your wife call you?" Scully asked. It was a question she'd been curious about in the past, but they'd never been an appropriate time to ask it before.

"Walter occasionally, but usually Honey or Hon," Skinner answered. "Right near the end of our marriage, I sometimes think she was tempted to add 'Attila the' in front of it."

Mulder chuckled.

"Mom cooked," Scully said. "I told her she didn't have to, but she insisted."

As they were eating, Mulder asked a question that he'd occasionally wondered about over the years. "Maggie, if Dana's father was still alive, do you think he and I would have gotten along?"

Maggie and Dana looked at each other for a long moment. Then Dana raised one eyebrow slightly and sort of nodded at her mother as if to say: the question was addressed to you, so you field it.

"Probably not at first," Maggie said. "It wouldn't have been anything personal, it's just that he didn't think *any* man could ever possibly be good enough for either one of his precious daughters. But Bill Junior is a lot like his father and I think the relationship would have preceded along much the same lines. Once he got accustomed to the idea -- and especially once he saw how happy Dana was with you -- he'd have become attached to you."

"Do you think your parents would have liked me?" Dana asked.

"My mother *did* like you," Mulder replied. "The last few conversations I had with her centered specifically around when I was going to get off my duff and make that pretty partner of mine into her daughter-in-law. As for my Dad. . .sure, I guess so. I don't think fathers have as much emotional investment in who their sons marry as they do with their daughters, or as mothers do with kids of either gender. Dad just would have been glad I was married and a father; that was always kind of important to him. . .carrying on the family name and all that jazz."

After dinner, Skinner said, "I need to talk with Mulder -- and Dana, too, if she feels she has anything to add -- about the case."

"You can just talk with Fox," Dana said. "He's already shared his theories with me. On this part of the case, I'm really more window-dressing than an active participant; I haven't done anything in the labs since my initial autopsy and ballistics match-up. Mom and I will clean up the kitchen and then get Melissa ready for bed."


As Skinner and Mulder closed the door and settled down in the den, Skinner asked, "So what are we looking for? Any ideas *why* these cops were killed?"

"My best guess, at this point, is that the perpetrator had a grandfather in law enforcement and suffered some sort of abuse -- probably sexual -- at his hands. So now he or she is trying to 'save' other children from the same fate by killing off grandfather cops."

"He or she? You don't even have an assumption of whether or not the killer is male or female?"

"Not on this case," Mulder replied. "The vast majority of serial killers are men, so I'd be inclined to say male simply for that reason. But the younger victim had only one grandchild and she was a girl, so maybe we're looking for a female killer."

"Do you have *any* kind of profile of the killer?"

"Almost certainly white. The victims were both white and serial killers very rarely choose victims from outside their own race. Probably young. Intelligent, but most likely an underachiever who is working in a job far below his or her actual abilties."

"So what am I supposed to do, just run around announcing to anyone who will listen that I'm an Assistant Director with the FBI and I'm here visiting my granddaughter?"

"Well, don't be quite so blatant about it but pretty much so, yeah. My guess is the killer will probably try to engage you at conversation in some point, so be on the lookout for that. Wear your gun; the bulge under your jacket will be an indication that you're in law enforcement."

As soon as Melissa had been put to bed -- an event that took quite a while, as she wanted each adult present to rock and sing to her and kept getting up and moving to another lap as soon as she started to grow sleepy -- Mulder, Scully, Skinner and Maggie sat down in the living room.

Mulder was uneasily aware that he didn't actually know what to *do* with houseguests. Maggie lived close enough to their house in Maryland that she rarely spent the night. When Charles came into town, he and Christa stayed with Maggie, not with Dana and Fox. Mulder himself had no family other than his wife and daughter and his only friends, other than Skinner, were the Lone Gunmen; and they, like Maggie, lived too close for overnight visits.

"Umm, so does anybody want to play cards?" Mulder suggested.

"Play cards?" Scully echoed, confused. She remembered that Bill Junior had taken Mulder to a poker game once when they visited him in California, but that was the only time she could ever remember her husband showing any interest in cards.

"It's what my parents usually did when my grandparents visited when I was a kid," Mulder explained.

Maggie, feeling a little sorry for her son-in-law in his role as inexperienced host, said, "Sure, Fox. That sounds like a lovely idea."

When it was finally time for bed, Skinner noticed that Dana had strategically placed him and Maggie at complete opposite ends of the upstairs hallway, with Melissa's room, both bathrooms and an empty bedroom between them. Did she think his temporary role as Maggie's 'husband' might tempt him into an attack on her mother's virtue? he wondered with silent amusement. Maggie Scully was a very nice woman -- he'd really enjoyed talking to her on the flight out -- but he couldn't imagine being sexually attracted to a post-menopausal grandmother.


Over the next few days, Mulder continued to go to work at the Air Force Academy while Scully took Melissa and her "parents" to various tourist attractions, the park and other places of interest.

On Thursday afternoon, Mulder wasn't met at the door as per usual. He supposed he was getting spoiled, but he'd become accustomed to having his wife and daughter fling open the door as soon as his car pulled into the driveway and greet him with kisses. He knew everybody was home, because Dana's car -- one they'd leased for a short terrm while undercover in Colorado -- was in the garage.

When he walked in, he found Skinner and Dana sitting in the study. Skinner was talking on the phone, asking for a background check and giving details.

"What's up?" Mulder asked in a whisper to his wife. "And where are your Mom and Melissa?"

"Mom and Melissa are upstairs, playing in her room. This is business; we think we have a possible lead."

"What happened?" Mulder asked, drawing her out into the hall after Skinner shot them a stern look and gestured at the phone he was holding.

"The four of us went to the park this afternoon as soon as Melissa woke up from her nap. While we were there, a blonde woman in her early 20s began chatting with us. She seemed *very* interested in the fact that 'Grandpa' was an assistant director for the FBI. We asked her name and now Skinner's requesting a background check on her. Of course, that's presuming she gave us her real name. If she's our killer, she might not have."

"How'd she give it?" Mulder asked.

"What did you mean?"

"Did she hesitate or ask you why you wanted to know or anything?"

"Nope. Skinner introduced himself first and then introduced me as his daughter, Mom as his wife and Melissa as his granddaughter. I asked her name and she gave it -- Kellie Dupree -- without any hesitation at all."

"Probably her real name, then. And serial killers tend to be arrogant. She might even get some sort of thrill out of introducing herself to potential victims."

After Skinner had finished his phone call and the three agents had discussed the situation for a while, they decided to go out to dinner. There was only one place left -- a rather upscale steakhouse -- on the list of places that both victims had visited while in Colorado. While it seemed less urgent now that they had a lead, they'd go ahead and have dinner there.

Dana and her mother decided to dress up for dinner and to dress Melissa up as well.

"She looks adorable," Mulder said when his wife brought their daughter down stairs a little while later, wearing a gingham dress with a starched petticoat. "Is that a new dress?"

"Yes, Mom bought it for her at the mall where we went shopping yesterday."

"It's fun having a little girl to buy pretty things for," Maggie said with a smile.

"Didn't you get enough of that with two daughters of your own?" Skinner inquired.

"Not really. For one thing, with four closely spaced children and living on a junior Naval officer's salary, we didn't have a lot of money to spend on clothes when the girls were this little. I tended to look for 'cheap and durable', rather than 'adorable'. Also, *one* of my daughters," here Maggie shot an amused glance at Dana, "started refusing to wear the pretty little dresses I bought her any place other than church practically as soon as she was old enough to talk."

"How come she didn't fight about wearing a dress to church?" Mulder asked.

"Because I knew it wouldn't do me any good," Dana replied.


As soon as the five of them were seated -- Melissa in a high chair -- at the steakhouse, their waiter, a college-aged man, walked up to Skinner and said, "Sir, you have what appears to be a firearm under your jacket. State law prohibits anyone other than law enforcement officers carrying weapons in places where alcohol is served, as it is in this establishment".

"I'm a law enforcment officer," Skinner answered.

"If you're going to continue to wear your weapon while dining here, I'll have to see your identification and make a note of your badge number," the waiter replied.

Skinner nodded and pulled out his FBI identification to show it to the waiter. "Wow, FBI," he said. "Are you in the local office?"

"No, I"m an assistant director at FBI headquarters in Washington ," Skinner said.

"Why are you here in Colorado? Or is that classified?" the wide-eyed waiter inquired.

"My wife and I are here visiting our daughter and her family," Skinner answered, gesturing toward Scully, Melissa and Mulder. One thing his long years as a field agent had taught him was that you never back down from a cover story you've established until the case is over. The waiter was close in age to their suspect and the town wasn't that big; for all any of them knew, he could be Kellie Dupree's boyfriend.

After establishing Skinner's right to be armed, the waiter actually turned quite friendly. He played peekaboo with Melissa over the top of the menus, recommended specific dishes and urged them to try the microbrew beer the restaurant had on tap.

"This is really *good* beer," Mulder said as he took an appreciative swallow. "Do you sell it in bottles to take home?"

"No sir, I'm afraid it's only available here at the restaurant," the watier answered. "Keeps the customers coming back. Would you like another?"

"Better not; I'm driving," Mulder replied regretfully.

"Toss me your keys and you can have as many beers as you like," Skinner suggested. Mulder gave a quick glance at Scully to make sure this idea met with her approval and, at her barely perceptible nod, did as his boss had suggested.

Scully and her mother each had a margarita; just one apiece, but they were big and potent drinks. And considering that both women were on the petite side, Skinner figured that by the end of the meal the only two completely sober people at their table were himself and Melissa.

Melissa began her "toss a kiss game" while they were eating dessert. Normally, Mulder and Scully would have discouraged her from playing it in a public place, but they were both a bit. . . mellow. . .by this point.

"Mommy!" Melissa said.

"Yes, Melissa?"

"Wuv ooo!" Melissa said, kissing her palm and blowing at it in her mother's direction.

"I love you, too, Melissa," Scully said, blowing a kiss back.


"Yes, Melissa?"

"Wuv ooo!" she replied, blowing a kiss at her father, who returned the gesture and comment.


"Yes, Melissa?"

"Wuv ooo!"

Maggie played along.


"Er, yes, Melissa?"

"Wuv ooo!" she said.

Skinner was more touched than he would have been willing to admit. It was the first time he'd ever been on the receiving end of such a gesture from a small child.

"I love you, too, Melissa," he answered. Then, to the amusement -- and utter amazement -- of Mulder and Scully, he kissed his palm and blew it at Melissa.

It was dark by the time they left the restaurant and Skinner insisted on carrying Melissa to the car, with his other hand tucked solicitiously against the small of Maggie Scully's back.

Mulder and Scully were a few paces behind the older couple. Initially, Mulder had his hand in the same position on Dana's back as her 'father' had on her mother's back, but then he allowed his hand to drift downward and gave her ass a squeeze. Scully let out a tiny squeak in protest.

"Fox, stop that," she whispered.

"Why? We're married. And this time around we're *really* married, not like that whole exercise in frustration in Arcadian Falls. And one thing you've never been, my darling Dana, is the kind of wife who doesn't like her husband to touch her."

"Yes, but Mom and Skinner are only about two feet away from us!"

"Dana, I may be a little tipsy but I'm not drunk enough to have forgotten that he's not actually your father. I don't think he cares if I grab your ass."

"I may be a little tipsy myself, Mulder, but I'm not drunk enough to have forgotten that he's our boss! I don't think he wants two of his agents getting frisky in a parking lot!"

"How about the back seat?" Mulder asked with a wicked grin, holding the door open for his wife.

Actually, the backseat proved to be less interesting than Mulder might have hoped. He *had* been drunk enough to have temporarily forgotten that Melissa's car seat was right in the middle of the back; he and Scully sat on either side of their daughter and the most contact he could manage with her was a mild game of footsie on the floor boards.


Melissa had fallen asleep in the car on the way back home and Dana quietly tiptoed upstairs with her and slid the pretty new dress off without completely waking her. She figured Melissa could just sleep in the petticoat and her diaper.

"Well, I hate to be a party pooper, but I think I'm going to follow Melissa's lead and head for bed," Maggie said with a yawn. "That margarita packed quite a wallop and I'm also a bit worn out from all the running around we did in the park this afternoon."

Skinner glanced at Mulder and Scully. He knew they both thought they were being discreet, but he'd picked up on the nudging and winking going on between the two them in the backseat. It was pretty obvious that they had both slipped out of "agent" mode and were regarding each other strictly as husband and wife at the moment.

"I'm not particularly tired," Skinner said, "but I think I'll probably go on up to my room and get some reading done."

"If you're sure there's nothing else we need to discuss about the case, sir," Scully said. He wasn't sure *what* mode she was operating in now. . .somewhere between efficient-yet-horny agent and tipsy-but-still-trying-to-be-polite hostess, he assumed.

"I can't think of anything. Good night."

""Night, Skinner," Mulder said.

As soon as Skinner had disappeared up the stairs, Scully turned to Mulder and said, "Ready for bed, G-man?" She assumed she already knew the answer, but her husband surprised her.

"We'll get to bed eventually. I want to make out on the couch for a while first."

"The couch? Why?"

"Because this whole situation -- riding home in the back of the car, having your 'parents' upstairs -- reminds me of being a teenager and that's what teens do; they make out on the couch."

"Mulder, teens make out on the couch because their parents won't let them go into a bedroom and close the door! We're married grown-ups. We've got a bed."

"So, no couch?" Mulder asked giving her his best puppy dog look.

Scully bit her lip in vexation. Mulder had now tossed the ball squarely into her court. He did the same thing to her in their marriage that he'd done to her during the years they'd worked on the X-Files together: forced her to think outside the box, to consider possibilities other than the usual. But, just as he'd never insisted she accept his theories regarding aliens, mutants and psychics, he never forced her to go along with his sexual suggestions. However, she'd learned that she was usually happier when she did so.

"For a little while," she agreed. "But we move into the bedroom before things get too far along."

Mulder grinned, pulled her down onto the couch beside him, and curved an arm around her shoulders. Then, surprising her for the second time in as many minutes, he flipped on the TV.

"Fox, what are you doing? I thought you wanted to fool around, not watch TV!"

"Horny little thing, aren't you?" he asked with a grin. "We'll get to the make out session soon enough. I'm just setting the stage. TV on, with the volume turned up just loud enough to make your 'parents' think we're watching a show, and to cover up any noises we might make; it will also provide a little bit of illumination. Otherwise, lights off." he reached up and clicked off the lamp.

"Who's going to be making noise?"

"You are, Scully."

She nearly moaned right then. Mulder did have the capacity to cause her to make the most amazing sounds. Moving into his lap, she settled down comfortably, then stretched up to kiss him. After a long minute, she moved her mouth to his ear and whispered, "You're damned right I'm horny, Mulder. What are you going to do about it?"

"Tease you 'til your almost out of your mind, then carry you into the bedroom and make love to you so good that your climax rocks the Richter scale."

Before Scully could reply, he latched onto the side her neck with his mouth. She squirmed in his lap and gave a little gasp of delight. He let one of his hands drift across her breasts in a feather light caress.

Scully went to his shirt and began to unbutton it. Then she slid her fingers inside and caressed the warm, hair-sprinkled vee of skin that was bared to her touch.

Mulder maneuvered them so that they were lying on the couch. He was half above and half beside her. They kissed some more, long and lingeringly, while their hands glided over each other's backs and bottoms. Scully rubbed her breasts restlessly against Mulder's chest, but as they were both still fully clothed it didn't provide the relief she was seeking.


Skinner was bored and thirsty. He wasn't really tired, he'd simply offered to go up to his room so that Mulder and Scully would have an acceptable excuse to retire to their bedroom. He figured they were asleep -- well, in bed, anyway -- by this point, so he'd go down and get himself something to drink, then maybe watch a little TV. He'd stripped down before getting into bed; now he pulled on a pair of pajama bottoms, but remained bare-chested. There was always the off chance that someone would get up to go to the bathroom or something, and he didn't want to be caught wandering around naked.

As Skinner reached the last step and walked into the living room, he noticed the TV was on. Maybe too many years behind a desk at headquarters -- or too many years without a wife of his own -- had wreaked havoc on his investigative skills or his ability to decode the subtle signals between spouses. Maybe Mulder and Scully hadn't been anxious to get physical with each other, after all.

Just at that moment, two heads popped up over the back of the couch; one dark, the other bright red. He heard Mulder's husky, slightly drunken laugh and Scully's tipsy giggle. Good Lord, he'd never have pictured Scully as a giggler! He was so startled that he he barked out the first thing that came into his mind, "Don't you two *ever* get enough of each other?"

Mulder and Scully turned to look at him over the back of the couch. Scully flushed an even brighter red than she had before but Mulder looked, if anything, proud of himself.

"We thought you were in bed," Scully said.

"That's where I assumed you two were," Skinner replied gruffly.

"We're headed in that direction," Mulder said. He stood up and pulled a wobbly Scully against him with an arm wrapped tight around her shoulders and walked the few steps down the hallway toward the master bedroom.

"Goodnight, Dad," Scully said, then dissolved into giggles again as Mulder shut their bedroom door.


Mulder turned to Scully and scooped her up in his arms to carry her to the bed. It was only about three feet away, but the gesture was important to him. As soon as his knees hit the bed, he dropped her and flopped down on top of her. They kissed some more and Scully tried to get his shirt the rest of the way off. But something -- alcohol or lust, she wasn't sure which -- was dulling her normally sharp fine motor skills. Finally, she muttered, "Oh, fuck it!" and yanked the shirt off. Buttons popped loose and made soft plopping noises as they fell on the thickly carpeted floor.

"Fuck *it*, Scully? I was under the impression you wanted to fuck me."

"Mmm!," Scully said with a nod. "Want you. Inside me. Now!"

Mulder chuckled and kissed her. He vaguely remembered wondering once, years and years ago, if a bit of the "sizzle" would go out of their relationship once she was no longer forbidden fruit. It hadn't happened yet. They were going on four years of marriage, all but the first ten months of which had been openly acknowledged at the bureau. Familiarity had only deepened, not lessened, the intensity of their desire for each other.

He stood up and stripped his remaining clothing off. Then he quickly removed her clothing as well. He'd noticed that Scully, who was such a neatness freak about many things, never EVER complained about waking up to find their bedroom strewn with clothing. Scooping back the covers with one hand, he lifted her with the other and scooted them so they were under the sheets.

Mulder ran one finger in a zigzag pattern down her chest and belly, flicking lightly over each of her nipples as he went by. Then he slid his finger into her. She was definitely ready; hot, creamy and open.

Without think much about it, he lifted her legs up over his shoulders and crossed her ankles behind his neck. The position lifted her ass from the bed while, at the same time, drawing their faces closer together. Balancing his weight on one hand, he used the other to guide himself into her.

Scully gave a loud moan as he entered her. Unsure if it was totally from pleasure, he murmured, "Is this position uncomfortable, sweetheart? Would it be better if your legs were down lower?"

"This. is. fine," Scully groaned out. Her legs were spread wider than they usually were and maybe it was the position but he felt even larger than normal. It was intense, but erotic. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to stay like this for a long period, but she sensed they were both pretty close, anyway.

"Open your mouth and close your eyes, Dana."

"Fox, I think I already have my 'big surprise'. And it's not in my mouth. Not tonight, anyway."

"C'mon, just do it. Trust me."

"I trust *only* you, Mulder," she murmured, paraphrasing the words he'd spoken to her years ago. Then she did as her husband had requested and let her eyelashes flutter gently down to her cheeks while parting her lips.

Mulder begin fucking her and kissing her at the same time. Each time he thrust into her, his tongue darted inside her mouth. Scully was convinced she'd died and gone to heaven. Every time she thought they'd experienced every possible variation of loving sex, he came up with something new.

He was speeding up, licking at her more, now, rather than stopping and starting separate kisses. Scully didn't often climax in the missionary position, but she was about to this time. When Mulder used the hand that wasn't supporting his weight above her to capture both her breasts and squeeze them, then ran his thumb over her nipples it was the last straw. She reflexively tightened her legs around his neck and drew him more fully into both her mouth and her lower body as she started to pulsate relentlessly around him.

Mulder gave a groan and came at the same time she did. When the world had stopped spinning, he gave her one last, lingering kiss, pulled out and lowered her legs. Spooning her beside him, he whispered, "Good night, Dana. I love you."

"I love you, too, Fox," she replied before slipping off into a contented sleep.


The next morning, while Dana was getting breakfast for Melissa and putting on coffee, and just after Mulder had come in from his run, Skinner came downstairs.

"About last night," all three of them began simultaneously.

"Let me go first, agents," Skinner said briskly. "This is, even if it's only temporarily, your home. What the two of you do together on your own couch on your own time is not any of my business. I'm sorry if I embarrassed either of you. Please accept my apology."

"Apology accepted," Mulder said. Scully nodded her agreement.

This was Maggie and Skinner's last day in Colorado; Dana and Melissa took them to the airport around noon. Melissa cried herself to sleep on the way home, which Dana figured was just as well, since it was around the time she usually took her nap, anyway. Scully herself had mixed feelings; she'd enjoyed the visit, but it would be nice to have their home -- even if it was, as Skinner had said, only their temporary home -- to themselves again.


Mulder and Scully spent the next week going about their business as usual in Colorado. Dana discovered a local branch library with a special story hour for toddlers one morning a week. Their pregnant neighbor gave birth. Life went on.

Exactly a week after Skinner and Maggie had left. Mulder's cell phone beeped in the middle of the night. "Mulder," he answered immediately.

"We've got him," Skinner's gruff voice said. "The agents who were shadowing me caught him red-handed as he shot me in the chest while I was returning home late last night.. Luckily, the bulletproof vest I was wearing under my shirt saved my life; I've got a bitch of a bruise, but otherwise I'm fine The two of you can pack up and head on home as soon as the Air Force Academy is done picking your brain. In fact, if you're not urgently needed there within the next day or two, Mulder, I'd like you to fly back to Washington and do an initial interview with our perp."

"You said him. So I'm taking it that Kellie Dupree wasn't the shooter?"

"Kellie Dupree has been under surveillance since the day we met her and has had her background thoroughly investigated. Apparently she's simply a friendly young woman who reads a lot of mysteries and found the idea of meeting a real, live FBI agent fascinating. But I did recognize the shooter."

"Who was it?" Mulder asked.

"Remember the waiter in the steakhouse? The one who insisted on checking my credentials when he noticed that I was armed? It was him."

"Shit," Mulder said.


A few days later, Scully and Melissa met Mulder at the airport as he returned to Colorado. "I'm not sure what I'm supposed to say," Scully murmured when Mulder let her up for air after greeting her with a passionate kiss. "It seems silly to say 'Welcome home', when you were the one who was *at* home last night while Melissa and I stayed here."

"Welcome home would be correct, Dana. 'Home' isn't the house we own in Maryland. It's wherever you and Melissa are."

"Daddy home!" Melissa said.

"Yes, Melissa, Daddy's home," Mulder said. He held Melissa tightly in one arm and wrapped the other one securely around Scully shoulders. "We should be able to wrap everything up here by the end of this week, leave to start driving home on Saturday. But we're not expected back at Quantico and Headquarters, respectively, 'til the following Monday so we can either take our time driving home -- maybe make a little side trip or something -- or zip on home within three days and spent the rest of the week just vegging out there. The choice is yours, Dana."

"Can I think about it?"

"Sure. You don't even have to decide 'til we're on the road, if you want to wait. Just whatever mood strikes you."

Once they'd arrived home and Melissa was occupied with playing with Elvis in their fenced backyard, with her parents watching her through the sliding glass door of the den, Scully slipped temporarily out of "Mommy mode' and into 'Agent mode'.

"So, why was the waiter killing grandfather cops? He seemed so nice -- so sweet to Melissa, especially -- the night we were having dinner there. It's hard to believe that was all an act."

Mulder shook his head. "It wasn't an act, Scully. He truly *was* concerned about Melissa. That's why he tried to kill Skinner. I talked to him for quite a while yesterday. He had a sister a couple of years younger than he was. She'd always been kind of a screwy, mixed-up kid and nobody ever knew why. Their grandfather died a few years ago and she revealed, after his death, that he'd been sexually abusing her ever since she could remember; apparently it began when she wasn't much older than Melissa is now. Told her he'd shoot both her and her brother if she ever told anyone. So she never did, at least not when the grandfather was alive. Once she told her parents and brother what had been going on, they got her some help, but it was too little, too late; she committed suicide about eight months ago."

"Oh God, Mulder! That's awful!"

"Yeah, it is. And it sank her brother into the deep end. He somehow decided that *all* grandfathers in law enforcement would sexually abuse their granddaughter if they got the chance. He decided to kill them before it could begin. He was smart. He realized that this was a booming town, one in which a lot of young families without roots in this area were moving to. And his job as a waiter in an establishment that served alcohol gave him the perfect excuse for inquiring if any of the older men carrying firearms whom he saw with young girls were in law enforcement; even for asking to see their IDs' and making note of their badge numbers. Then he'd find out as much as he could about them, ask for a few days off work, use the internet to find a cheap airfare to whatever city they lived in and shoot them. He still doesn't really understand why I wanted him in custody. He's honestly convinced he saved our daughter from a fate worse than death; or, rather, an experience that was so difficult to deal with that death would seem a preferable option. And you know what the really scary part is, Scully?"

"The similarities to your own situation?" she suggested.

"Got it in one. I mean, I can totally *relate* to the idea of a man dedicating his whole life to avenging something that happened to his little sister when they were kids."

"You never killed anybody, Mulder."

"I've killed several people over the years in the line of duty, Scully. You know that."

"Yes, but you never took it upon yourself to act as judge, jury and executioner of a man who didn't even know what hit him. You killed suspects only after identifying yourself as an FBI agent and only in order to save your own life or that of someone else. Not to protect children from theoretical abuse they might suffer at some time in the future."

"I know, but I still. . .I love you so much, Dana. What I said all those years ago in the hallway still holds true. You've saved me and made a whole person. Without you, I'd probably on the opposite side of the padded doors."

"I love you, too, Fox. Don't ever think that it's all been one way. Not everything you said in that hallway was true. Maybe you do owe me everything, but it's not accurate to say I owe you nothing. You saved me, too. Saved me from a life of loneliness and purposelessness. You gave me a cause -- and a man -- worth believing in."

Mulder framed Scully's face with his hands and looked deeply into her eyes. Then he kissed her; deeply, but tenderly. It wasn't a passionate kiss so much as a loving one. Scully smiled softly at him . . .then they were interrupted by a sound of barking and banging on the sliding door.

"Melissa and Elvis want in," Scully pointed out, pivoting in his arms to open the door.

"Know what, Melissa?" Mulder asked as he scooped her up.


"You're cuter than a bee."


Author's e-mail addy: tapw63@yahoo.com