Title: Help Me: Incandecence
Author: Ophelia K.(ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Rating: PG
Keywords: M/S Romance
Category: VRA
Spoilers: The End
Disclaimer: All characters except for Elizabeth and Ms. Camus are not mine. And sadly, I am not gaining any money by doing this. :(

Note: Yahoo, my second ever story!

Please send generous amounts of feedback .

If you like this, which I hope yo do, please tell me to write more and I will!

So sit back, relax and enjoy my story!


It is raining.

How oddly appropriate, I think.

Almost as if God knows and cares what's going on in our miserable little lives, almost as if He cares that Mulder and I watched as our life's work went up in flames until there was nothing left but smolder ashes, almost as if the rain was sent to cool off the fire and settle our souls.

Because our souls were destroyed then too. As was our hearts, our hopes, our dreams and all that we were. And as I clung to Mulder's stiff and shell shocked body, I could almost feel him dying, I could almost feel that past in him; the countless cases that were now just scattered ashes on the floor, all the lost little pieces which we believed would one day create the most beautiful and complete puzzle ever, all the sheets of stark white paper with harsh, black ink and all the numbing photographs of countless victims, countless dead bodies, countless alien abductees, countless conspirators, countless little girls with brown hair and hazel eyes, all these objects that Mulder had devoted himself to and loved more that anything else in the world. And I could feel the future; Mulder arriving at my doorstep, eyes red and empty, mouth crying out in silent pain and anguish, Mulder watching me

in a busy airport, washing me being swallowed up in the crowd, watching me leave his life and board a plane, watching with his beautiful cat-like green eyes, now so lifeless and empty. Or Mulder lying dead in his apartment, his bright red blood still on his forehead, looking so very red in comparison with his paleness, the paleness of death, his full lips twisted into a half grin, half grimace, his eyes staring lifelessly straight up, his hand clutching both his gun and a short note, the words burning deep into my mind, a short note saying goodbye, nothing more, nothing to read into, nothing to suggest he even thought of me as he raised the gun to his head, no words of comfort or remembrance or apology. Or even worse, no note at all.

And though it seems all the futures I felt in Mulder mean suffering for him, I didn't care. Those five short seconds when I tried to hold him as he stared at his beloved X-Files, caring about nothing else, summed up our relationship in the past five years.

He has been selfish for five long years. It's my turn to be selfish now.

So I hope this rain is God's way of putting out the fire of my old life so I can start another one somewhere else. Without Mulder. For God's sake, because of him, because I let him into my life in the blind faith that one day he would open his damn eyes and for once would notice me, not his skeptic partner, not an alien abductee, not a surrogate sister, not a nurse whose always there to patch him up, just me. Just the person I really am.

And I have given up so much just so that his eyes would be cleared, so his blindness would be healed. There are so many things I can blame him for, but one thing stands out the most, hurts me the deepest. My dream, my dream to have little angels of my own, to teach the right and wrong, to watch them grow up and maybe give them all the things that I had missed in life. And, because of my connection with Mulder, they made me barren, then gave me Emily for an agonizing short time so they could taunt me with what could have been and then took her away just as sudden.

And that is why two months ago I left the X-Files, that is why seven weeks ago, I sold my apartment and moved into a house of my very own, that is why a month ago I started teaching again in Quantico and that is why, just a week ago, I requested to adopt a girl, a young three-year-old girl with cat-like green eyes, white- blonde hair and a hesitant but beautiful smile named Elizabeth.

And that is also why I haven't spoken to him. The last time I heard his voice was the night before I left my apartment. I had quickly picked the phone up, assuming it was my mother. Mulder hadn't said a word to me since the day we watched his office burn, not even when Skinner informed him I was leaving. I assumed that Skinner had finally told him that I was moving.

"Hello?" I had said. "Mom?"

Silence. Nothing except raspy breaths.

"Hello?" I had asked again.

Finally, he answered. "Scully, don't. Don't leave me."

I could barely hear him, but I realized it was Mulder. A feeling of both anger and happiness to hear his voice surged over me. "Mulder?

What do you want?" I asked, a bit impatient.

"Help me."

He was still thinking about only himself, and a wave of anger washed over me. I slammed down the phone and pulled the line from the wall. No one would ever call that number again. I figure if he really wants me back, he'll hunt me down and follow the little pieces of evidence as determined as he had once tried to locate people who are nothing to him but scarps of evidence. He hasn't found me, so I guess he doesn't want me back. I guess he doesn't think of me anymore, probably just about how he's going to continue his precious work. And I would like to say I don't think about him. But it's not true. And the one thing I learned from Mulder is that the truth is the most important thing in the world.

I didn't go looking for Elizabeth, she came to me. A week after I moved in, exactly seven days since Mulder called, I heard a sharp knock at my door. I hurried to it and peeked out. I saw no one. Curiously, I cracked the door open and looked out. And down. Curled up on my doorstep lay Elizabeth, a thin sliver of a girl, her pale face smeared with dirt, her light, silver- colored hair full of leaves and thorns. She raised her eyes, Mulder's soulful eyes and her tiny mouth uttered two words, two simple words:

"Help me."

I remember all this as I watch the rain from my window, phone sitting close at hand. Ms. Camus from the adoption agency said that she would call me with the results of my request in a maximum of three days. The third day is today. I am so engrossed with the rain and waxing philosophical of its meaning that I don't remember that I left the door unlocked and I don't hear it slowly creak open and the soft footsteps of someone entering my house. But I do hear the voice softly call my name.

"Scully?"

I whirl around, startled and knock over a small coffee table in the process. I lookup and see Mulder, his eyes red, his hair unruly and oily, his face unshaven. He stands in the middle of my house. My house. I feel angry that he has found me when I finally realize that I can live without him. I don't know what to say. From the look on Mulder's face, I don't think he knows what to say either.

"Scully, I.." he starts, his voice shaking. He is promptly interrupted by the shrill ringing of the phone, breaking the stillness and the tension that hangs heavy in the air. My heart stops. I look at Mulder with both fear and excitement in my eyes, and I think he understands the importance of this call.

"Hello?" I say picking up the phone, trying to keep both my voice and emotion under control. "Ms. Scully?

This is Patricia Camus from the adoption agency. I'm calling with the results of your request to adopt Elizabeth Cullagh..."

I listen carefully, clinging to every word. I can feel my life changing, my path turning. Towards a much better future.

"I'll be there in ten minutes," I say and this time I can't control my voice and I'm sure it's shaking.

I hang the phone up slowly, my hands are shaking. I turn back towards Mulder, and I wonder whether I should ask him to leave or not. I know this is a much bigger decision that it appears to be. I'm choosing whether I want to have Mulder in my life again or I want to really start over alone. He looks at me and he sees the happiness and turmoil in my eyes and for once in his life, he sees me. He can see I'm about to make a choice, a very important choice and he correctly realizes that it has something to do with the phone call. He correctly determines that I might change, I might be different soon and he spits out what he has to say while he stills knows me.

"I love you Scully."

The words come out fast but the implication of them weighs heavy on me, on my soul. This is it. The moment I both feared and dreamed about for what seems life forever. But I always imagined sun streaming in through clean glass windows, with the smell of roses heavy in the air. Never with rain pouring outside and Mulder standing awkwardly in my living room. But it suddenly dawns on me. I am being given a second chance, a chance to finally live the life I've always wanted too. I feel free.

I push past Mulder and run out of the door and out into the rain. I don't know why, but I just have to do this. I finally realize what the rain is for. It's here to wash away my sins so I will be the perfect mother for Elizabeth. And the perfect woman for Mulder.

I run out to the middle of the empty suburban street, raising my arms to the sky, twirling around in the glorious rain, letting it wash all over me, my face, my hands, my arms, my chest, my back, my begs, my bare feet. I let it soak my hair, I let it soak my clothes, feeling it slowly penetrate my white shirt and jeans and touch my skin. I let it fall all over me, devouring me. And I remember another time I stood out in the rain. I was with Mulder, on our first case. We were in a cemetery, surrounded by dead bodies and we were soaked and trembling. And I was laughing. The memory starts me laughing now and I tilt my head back to the sky, watching the never-ending water pour all over me.

Mulder watches me from the porch for a while, and now he walks carefully towards me. He stands behind me, unsure of what to say and do. I stop and face him, watching the droplets of water run down his face. His forehead is creased, and he looks down at me with concern. I smile up to him.

"I'm a mother, " I reply simply, explaining my pure joy and bliss. He smiles wide and, even though I can tell he does not completely understand what I mean, pulls me into his arms.

It's that night in the office all over again, except this time it's water instead of fire, it's happiness instead of sorrow, it's a ocean of possibilities instead of a flame of destruction and it's him instead of me that's expressing love.

My head rests on his shoulder. I speak the words my mouth has always longed to say. "I love you too, Mulder."

He steps back to look at me and for once I can see that he's truly happy.

"I can't do this alone," I admit, looking into his eyes, deep pools of green.

"Help me."

Title: Help Me: Fire
Author: Ophelia K. (ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Keywords: M/S Romance
Category:VRA
Spoilers: The End

Summary: Scully's thoughts about her past with Mulder and future with Elizabeth.

Notes: Okay, just a note here: this takes place in a universe where FTF never took place.

I don't think you really have to read Help Me to understand this, but I recommend it.


I don't need this.

God, I don't need this at all.

It's the very last thing I need.

I need Mulder, I need his help, his support, his love.

I don't need him standing across the room from me, his eyes blaring with hell's fire, his mouth pulled back into an ugly animal-like snarl, he voice barely whispering but still yelling acidly at me, his words cutting through me so sharp and painful, his control ready to crumble and break down.

I don't need this and I don't want this.

I close my eyes for a second, lying to myself that when I open them, Mulder will be gone.

I open my eyes.

He's still here.

I run my hands through my hair, feeling strands falling out of my scalp at my rough touch and turn away from him, walking towards my room, knowing if

I stay at here anymore, I'll collapse.

Mulder grabs my shoulder and spins me around, his face right up close to mine, his breaths ragged, his glare cutting through me.

"Don't walk out on me again, damn you," he hisses, his voice so quiet and hurtful.

I look up at him.

I'm scared.

I'm scared of him.

I'm scared of what he's become.

I'm scared of what I've made him become.

I'm scared of how I affected him, how I turned him into this cold hearted monster, a zombie without a soul or feelings.

I look down to where his hand is wrapped around my arm. His grip is tight and numbing.

I look up at him with the most innocent, hurt and wide eyes I can muster, the very sweetness I'm faking sickening me.

"Mulder?" I say, voice quiet, barely audible.

"You're hurting me."

He doesn't let me go instantly like I expected.

Like I hoped. Instead, his grip tightens.

Something strange and alien washes over his eyes until they're a mix of brown, green and gold, a hateful, scowling hue.

He bits his tongue and I can see his other hand twitch.

Finally, he lets me go and storms out of the room,

I watch him leave, unsure of whether I should be grateful or feel sorrow for him.

Mulder's been like this for a while, showing up at my house exhausted, falling asleep on my couch.

He would fall asleep on the floor if I let him.

His reason?

"They might be listening at my place."

And I'm supposed to believe that the nameless "they" couldn't have followed Mulder to my house but could have littered his little apartment with close to invisible bugs.

I did believe once.

I did believe that Mulder and I were watched, scrutinized.

I did

believe that "they" were evil and to be feared.

I did believe that we were all that stood between them and their goals, the cloning of aliens and a nation of hosts.

I did believe that "they" were selfish, ready to sacrifice their country, their world just so "they" could survive.

I did believe.

Once.

But "they" just don't care about us anymore.

We don't pose a threat, now with the X-files gone.

And

I was relieved. But Mulder, I don't think he could deal with the fact that he was suddenly unwanted, suddenly unwatched, suddenly unimportant.

Before, he would have done anything to escape their ever scrutinizing watch, but now the thought that they are watching his every move is the only thing that's keeping him sane.

And he's barely sane anymore.

He's been on the edge for weeks, one of the reasons I left him to pursue my own life.

Actually, come to think of it, I don't think he's been the same since his office burned.

That day as I held him, trying to comfort him, I swear I felt a change occur in him, I swear I felt his heart tremble and snap, like a tightened violin string, emitting just a brief, beautiful melodic note before a horrible pitch overtook it, the kind of sound that brings to mind nails on a chalkboard.

And makes it sound like one of Mozart's symphonies.

I wait exactly ten minutes before I shakily open the door and walk out onto the porch.

I run my hand across the painted white wood, admiring its strength.

I used to be that strong, I think.

I used to be strong, and reliable and perhaps a bit distant and I thought that I would always be that way. But ever since I saw my now departed daughter, I felt the change slowly begin.

I felt Emily carefully start a fire within me, growing slowly, melting my icy exterior until my true self was bare.

She died before she could finish, before all the obstacles between us were destroyed.

The fire stopped growing, but was never put out.

I saw it everywhere, in the flames that consumed our office, in Mulder's eyes countless times, and then in Elizabeth's eyes as she gazed desperately up at me.

The fire started burning again at the sight of those eyes, those eyes of that little innocent girl that relied on me.

And now, all the ice is gone.

The similarities between Emily and Elizabeth are apparent, and perhaps that is why I feel so drawn to her.

But it is also the fact that out of all the other houses on all the other streets, she chose my street, my doorstep, me, to come for help.

She reached out to me and showed me that I was needed by someone when I thought I was alone in the world.

The police told me that they couldn't find any of her records, her birth certificate, her address, her parents, nothing.

She was an orphan, in the truest sense of the word.

And I was alone, with love that, at that time, had no conduit.

So I adopted her.

And now, I step off the porch and down my walk, back straight, hands, still shaking, at my sides and slide into my car.

As I pull out of the driveway, I can see the skid marks Mulder left.

I feel sorry for him, but right now I have more important things to think about.

I'm going to pick up my new daughter.

Title: Help Me: Butterfly Wings
Author: Ophelia K.
Keywords: M/S Romance
Category: VRA

Summary: Mulder thinks about how much he either hates or loves Scully.


I watch her go, watch her enter the car and calmly drive down the street and as I watch her, I can feel an undeniable anger race through me, starting at the very core of my soul extending to my fingertips. She drives by without even giving me a glance and, two years ago, that wouldn't cause me to be so damn angry at her, since I was relatively hidden. But now, now everything that doesn't happen the way I want it to, the way it should, no matter how small or insignificant it seems, pushes me closer and closer to my breaking point.

After all, didn't she say she loved me?

Of course, I said it too. And I said it first, maybe her declaration of love was just something she was forced into saying. And, to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if I do really love her. I don't know what love feels like.

My father was never someone who said "I love you, son" when I made some great achievement. My mother, on the other hand, said it so many times to be myself and my father that I think she was trying to convince herself that that was how she felt. Samantha could have been someone I loved, and I think I did back when I was a child. But, for God's sake, she's gone now. With Scully, it definitely wasn't love at first sight. More like wariness at first sight. She looked too eager, too much like someone you would picture as a suck-up. I was wrong with that, at least. I think I first felt love towards her when I heard her voice on the answering machine, screaming for help. It wasn't any kind of romantic love. It was more like "parental" love, I guess. I felt responsible towards her and protective of her. Nothing remotely romantic.

Through the years, Scully's become more and more attractive and I've felt more and more protective towards her. Does that mean I love her?

I don't know. I guess so.

Last night, I dreamt that Scully had wings. The weren't wings like an angel had or wings like a bird, they were butterfly wings, very, very fragile wings. Scully would fly just over my head, waltzing in the air and laughing, looking so happy. But occasionally, the gust of the wind would be too must for her delicate wings and she would flutter to the ground. I would catch her, hold her, make sure she was okay, then push her back up into the air where she would fly just out of reach, looking down and smiling at me, expressing her gratitude. But all of a sudden, her wings changed. They were no longer paper-thin butterfly wings, but strong, feather wings, wings of a hawk. She smiled once at me, and then a sharp gust of wind came. Instead of falling into my arms, she narrowed her eyes, spread her wings and soared away, leaving me alone and crying after her, asking what had I done.

When Scully first left me after the X-Files closed, I hated her. She abandoned me, when everything in the world I ever wanted had been denied of me, when I was so close to dying. She knew, she saw that dead look in my eyes. But she left me anyway.

I haven't asked her why yet, I don't think I really want to know the answer. She'll probably say something about how I was being selfish in being torn apart by the fire that ended my life's work and not paying attention to her. But I think she is the one who was being selfish. She knew that the X- Files were something that was a part of me, a living, breathing part of me that forced me to continue when everything I needed was gone, and the day was as black as the darkest night. But she wanted me to spend time with her, to comfort her. I just needed time alone, to collect my thoughts, like I'm doing now.

And I realize that I can't hate Scully. I never could. She's a human too, with all her faults and errors that she doesn't know are there. And right now, she needs exactly what I needed when the X-Files were lost forever and what she denied me. Well, I won't deny her. I pull out of my hiding position and follow her down the block, staying far enough behind so she won't see me, but close enough so that I can see her.

I follow her all the way to the adoption agency. I follow her out of the parking lot, and into the building, down the halls and, as the woman she was just talking to goes to get Elizabeth, I approach her.

"Hi Scully," I say quietly, placing a hand tentatively on her shoulder. She spins around, surprised.

"I didn't think you were coming," she says tensely, clenching her jaw and narrowing her eyes.

I soften my features as much as I can. "I'm sorry," I lie, knowing what she needs to hear. "I've been such an ass lately. I've been selfish."

She smiles, and the smile lights up her entire face. "You have, Mulder. But I forgive you."

I smile at her, and that feeling washes over me again. I think its love. No, I'm positive it's love.

"Oh, you must be Mr. Mulder," a kindly voice chirps and I turn to see the woman that went to get Elizabeth. She smiles kindly at me, but she looks a bit wary and I wonder what exactly Scully told her about me.

"Come here, dear," she says, motioning to a young girl, hanging back. This is the first time I have ever seen Elizabeth and, for some reason, I feel instantly protective of her. Maybe its those beautiful and innocent green eyes of her's or maybe its that small smile. Or maybe, just maybe, its those fragile butterfly wings I can just sense around her.

Scully smiles so radiantly and I wonder if she's ever smiled at me like that. I don't think so. She bends over and holds out a hand.

"Hi Elizabeth," she says, her voice shaking a bit. "I'm gonna be your new mommy."

Elizabeth returns Scully's radiant smile and for a second, glances up at me, questionably.

"And Mulder here," Scully starts, looking up at me as well, "Mulder here is going to be your new daddy, if he's up to the job."

I nod slowly and gently push the butterfly into the cloudless blue sky, watching her fly out of reach and dance in the air.

Title: Help Me: Aduro Cum Meum
Author: Ophelia K.
Rating: PG-13 for disturbing images
Category: VRA
Spoilers: Emily

Summary: Aduro cum meum, mei aeternus eternus amor-
Burn with me, my eternal love.

4th in series. Mulder's POV


"A frantic feeling, when we know
That what we love shall ne'er be so.
I know not why
I could not die
I had no earthly hope- but faith
And that forbade a selfish death."
- The Prisoner of Chillon by Lord Byron

You see, the sky is on fire.

The once great blue heavens is crimson, fire is roaring overhead, flames rushing and dancing and burning and swirling and filling up the sky, and you can feel the heat, hot, so incredibly hot, you can feel the heat on the back of your neck, like a stranger's voice whispering empty promises, empty threats, you can feel the heat and you watch as pieces of smoldering embers fall from above and spiral down, so gently, so quietly, so delicately, so tenderly, so calmly , so softly, so slowly, so deadly and they fall on you and you wait for the fire, for the embers to burst into flame upon your dry hair, but all you feel is the slick coolness of water on your scalp and down your spine and you watch as others catch fire, limbs failing in the heavy air, faces contorted with pain, melting, melting, and you try to burn too because you don't want to be alone, not again, but you can't and all you can do is cry and moan and try to save the others in vain and the sky is on fire, your allies are on fire, your love is on fire, her daughter is on fire, your sister is on fire, your father is on fire, your heart is on fire and your mind is on fire but you're not on fire and you can feel the heat, so hot, so burning hot, on your neck and you want to die but you can't, so you collapse onto the burnt out shell that was once your love, your heart, your soulmate and you sob and you cry and you weep and you moan and you bawl until your body is drained and exhausted so you just lie there and hold her and feel sorry for yourself and feel the voices of all the dead inside you, crying and yelling and moaning and wailing and howling and shrieking and screaming in pain as they are eaten, consumed, devoured, ravaged, taken in by the indifferent flames, burning through skin, burning through muscle, burning through brain, burning through bone, burning and burning and burning.... And then you wake up.

But of course, you don't have dreams like this. I do.

And they keep me up countless nights, twisting and turning in bed, wringing the sheets in my silent agony, not wanting to wake up because then I have to face a new day with all its murderous twists but not wanting to fall back asleep because then I have to face my nightmares and all their torturing realizations. So I stay in between the two, in a half-sleep that does nothing but keep me occupied for the early and murderously drawn out hours of dawn, it gives me no rest, no conduit for all my grief.

And as I break away from this dream into the just as agonizing waking world, I jolt straight up, grabbing onto the black leather couch tightly, knuckles white with panic. I check the clock on the table. It's 1:16 AM. God, I should go back to sleep. But something's telling me I shouldn't, something's not right, something's out of place. I close my eyes, and bits of my dream play back on the inside of my eyelids. There's Scully, walking calmly towards me, the outline of her slim body ablaze, her silky crimson hair being singed and falling as ashes onto the grass she walks barefoot on, her eyes reflecting her murderous pyre, her palm stretched out to me and I watched in mute horror as her skin melted away like clay in a cheesy movie and revealed the muscles, bones and pulsing veins lying just underneath the surface. Her mouth opens slightly, just enough so that I can see her teeth drop from her gums to the soil, and she speaks to me, but her voice is hoarse and grating, and not hers at all, but its her that's forming the words with her scarlet lips, and she utters

just a few words, a few words in Latin.

"Aduro cum meum, mei aeternus eternus amor."

I force my eyes open, reeling from the vividness of the memory and I'm certain that there was not anywhere as much details in my entire dream than there was in that few second memory. I sigh, bite my lip and glance over at phone. I have to speak to Scully, to hear her normal yet melodious voice confirm to me and my tortured soul that she's fine. And there's a nagging notion in my brain that she might not be fine after all.

So I call her up, pushing her speed dial number. After three rings, she picks up.

"Hello?" she asks, and her voice isn't as sleepy as I imagined it would be, more annoyed.

"Hey Scully, it's me."

"Mulder?

It's..." she pauses as she searches for the clock, "it's 1:18 in the morning. What do you want?" she says, and I can detect her annoyance. I pause, trying to consider how I should explain that I called her because of a disturbing dream, and I hear crying in the background.

I panic. "Whose crying?"

She sighs. "Lizzy. She's had a bad dream."

"Let me talk to her."

"Why?" she asks, puzzled.

"I can help her calm down. I think its fairly safe to say I'm an expert at bad dreams, don't you agree?" I reply, trying to lighten the mood, but I don't even fool myself.

"Whatever," Scully mutters. "At this point, I'll try anything."

I hear Scully bring the portable phone into Lizzy's room.

"Do you remember Mulder?" I hear Scully tenderly ask Lizzy. "Your new daddy?"

Lizzy's cries subside and I can imagine her small and angelic head nodding.

"Would you like to tell him your bad dream?"

Silence again.

"Good," she says. "Hold on a sec," she says into the phone and then there's a faint rustle as she hands the phone over to Lizzy's cherubic hands.

"Hello?" she sniffles.

"Hey Lizzy!" I exclaim, trying to cheer her up. "What's the matter, honey?"

"Bad dream."

"Well, would you like to tell me about it?"

"Okay."

Silence.

"Well, go ahead, tell me, Lizzy."

"Okay. There was fire."

My eyes widen. "The sky was on fire."

My hand clenches the phone. "I was on fire."

My knees lock. "Mommy was on fire, too."

A shiver of terror runs down my spine. "You were there, but you were okay." That mix of shame and fear washes over me again. "And you were sad."

Silence. I gasp into the phone, slowly taking shaky breaths. The dream had shaken me up enough, but to hear it and see it through the wide and innocent eyes of a child.... I was about ready to collapse.

Suddenly, there was a noise and I sensed the phone being taken away from Lizzy. "Mulder?

What's wrong?" Scully's voice demanded, and she seemed more awake than ever.

I inhaled deeply and dropped down into the cushions of my couch again. "How is Lizzy?"

A pause as Scully turns her head to glance over a her. "Okay. Better now. I think she feels relieved to talk about it. She wouldn't tell me, though... why?

Are you okay?"

"I don't know. Scully, Lizzy had the exact same dream as I did."

"Exact same?"

"Yeah, I think so. The dream's the main reason I called you anyway, I just sensed you needed help."

"Well, I didn't need help before, but I think its gonna take a miracle to get Lizzy back to sleep... what was this dream anyway?

How bad was it?"

"Look, is it okay if I come over to tell you?

I could help to help you tuck Lizzy in too..." I suggest gently, afraid I'll be rebuked. Truthfully, I still have the nagging feeling something's wrong, and I need to talk to her anyway.

She pauses, and I know she's thinking about last week, when I threatened her physically. Contact's been relatively minimal since then, and I hate to admit it but I think she's actually semi-fearful of me and my mental state.

"Fine,"

she sighs. "I need to talk to you, anyway."

I grin and nod. "I'll be there in five minutes."

Title: Help Me: Ocean
Author: Ophelia K. (ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Rating: PG-13 for disturbing images
Category: VRA
Warning: M/S Romance
Spoilers: Emily

Summary: Scully is forced to talk to Mulder about their relationship. 5th in series.

I hate the night.

I suppose a lot of people do, but I hate it with everything I have, I hate it with a vengeance.

Days aren't necessarily easy though, not at all. My waking hours are full with concerns, fears, glimpse of the hatred and destruction mankind is capable visible in the gruesome bodies I examine, sightings of girls who remind me so much of Emily, because even though I have Elizabeth now, my wound from my brief time with her is still relatively fresh. But everything I see, everything I hear, everything I experience, everything that happens to me during the day I can run away from, turn away from, or bury deep inside me.

See, I can't do that a night.

Because the dreams I have, the nightmares, are part of me and not something I can escape. They are the products of my cowardly behavior during the day and are inside my head. There's nothing I can to fight it back.

So I completely understand why Lizzy is so tormented by this dream, but I can't even begin to understand Mulder's desire to come over to talk about it. I've had pretty bad ones, and I haven't told anyone about them.

Like, for instance, the one I was having until Lizzy woke me up with her crying.

I was dreaming I was in a ocean, a deep, sapphire abyss of an ocean, Mulder was attached to one leg, Lizzy to the other, and they were slowly dragging me under and I was kicking and screaming and clawing at the air for something to grab hold to, and at the very last possible second before I was completely under, my foot connects sharply with Lizzy's head, and she floats to the surface as Mulder lets go of my leg and I look over at Lizzy's still body and I realize the water is slowly turning red...

I shake my head in a failed attempt to somehow rid myself of the dream. I wonder why all three of us have had such horrific dreams tonight. I'm blaming it on that meatloaf I attempted to make...

Lizzy shuffles into the room, clutching the large rabbit I gave her as a sort of "welcome" present. She moves towards me, looking so safe and secure in her pink pajamas with feeties and her hair pulled back and I feel so damn guilty for something my subconscious forced onto me. She comes and sits with me on the couch and looks up. All I can see in her blue eyes is the ocean.

"Why is Mommy sad?" she whispers up at me, her feet dangling off the side of the couch.

I smile at her sweetness, and stroke her hair. "Mommy's not sad, sweetheart. She's just upset that you had a bad dream."

"Then I wont have anymore bad dreams, if they make Mommy upset," she says solemnly, frowning slightly.

I gaze down at her tenderly, and I see the strength, the courage that was once me in her face. I draw her to me, hold her to my chest, surrounding her small body with my warm arms, cradling her, comforting her, consoling her, soothing her, promising her in unspoken words that I would always be there for her, that I would comfort her, make every wrong right and love her forever. At that second that I made that vow, I realized she was my daughter. Not a term to be thrown around loosely anymore. While Lizzy may not be my flesh and blood, she was as much of a part of me as Emily was, and more, for I had grown to love and cherish this girl unconditionally, while there was still a bit of awkwardness with Emily. God, I would die for this girl, and I've only truly known her for two weeks.

Suddenly, the doorbell rings.

Lizzy jumps in surprise, pulling away as she does so and the feeling is ruined. She looks at me with a trace of a smile and, still clutching her rabbit, retreats back to her room. I watch her go, bemused and the doorbell rings again impatiently. I sigh, get up and carefully open the door. There stands Mulder, wearing a T-shirt and jeans, and looking like he's freezing.

"I'm freezing," he reports, pushing his way by me and into my house.

"Jeez, Mulder," I mutter, closing the door and turning to face him as he makes himself comfortable on the couch. "So what is this all about?"

He inhales deeply, and I come and sit next to him on the couch, curling my legs up underneath me and pushing my hair back out of my eyes. He grimaces. I think the very sight of me pains him for some reason.

"Look Scully, I think we need to talk," he says, looking straight at me.

I nod slightly. "We do. But I never thought you were into talking."

Other than about your sister and your cases, of course I think to myself, and old pains, pains that made me leave him in the first case, resurface.

He bows his head, and gnaws at his lip. "I've been thinking, thinking a lot actually, about that day I finally found you. You know, when I told you I l-"

He stops suddenly and closes his eyes. "Well, that was an important day, and I was tired and wasn't thinking straight and well, what I'm trying to say is..."

"You want to take it back, don't you?" I venture, angling my neck so I'm looking into his eyes that are twisted down to his hands his white knuckles.

His head snaps up. "No, of course not!," he replies in a burst of energy. He is quiet for a second and he holds his breath. "What I'm trying to say is, I'm kinda afraid of love, you know?

I mean, I guess I'm more afraid of the commitment than actually being in love, but I'm also afraid of the risks that come with."

He stops and reaches forward and grasps my hands in his own. "I care for you so much, I don't want you to be hurt because of anything I might do."

At that moment, as I stare into those deep, vibrant eyes of his. I feel my heart being lost to him. Once, not so long ago, I thought I was free, I could love and give myself and my hear to anyone, and completely trust them. Now I feel our two souls join, until there is no real Dana Scully anymore. And I panic.

"And that's why I wanted to talk to you," I say, trying covertly to wrench my hands from his grasp and failing. "I care for you too, Mulder, a lot. You're such an important part of me, you've been my best friend for five long, difficult years. And that's exactly why we can't be in love."

"What?!"

he exclaims, dropping my hands like a pair of hot potatoes. I advert my eyes, not wishing to see the pain I know my words will cause, in both him and me. "Since I was young, I've been basically a loner. I was never an overly popular kid, I probably had two or three good friends growing up and that's all. I always enjoyed running through the woods and finding peace and stillness than gossiping with friends about boys or such. That's just the way I am , you know?" I risk a look at him, and his sad eyes are twisted downward again. "Anyway, for most of my life, it's just been 'Dana', not 'Dana and John' or 'Dana and David' or anything like that. I've always found it easier that way. But you," I look up again, and grasp his rough cheeks with my small hands, forcing him to look at me. I started out with the intention to free myself and break his heart. But I just can't bring myself to say the words that are lies and will crush both of us. "You changed all that. For five years, it was 'Scully and Mulder' and it took sometime getting used to. If it's ever going get father than that, like 'Dana and Fo- Mulder', I mean, you just have to give me some time, okay?"

"Isn't five years enough time?" he whispers pathetically and I regard him sadly. In my heart, I know it is, but I can't bring my mind to terms with this.

"Give me just a little more time," I whisper back, stroking his face. "Just a little more."

He closes his eyes, bits his lip and nods. I smile graciously at him, and pull him towards me in a warm hug, accepting all that he is, all that he wants to be and all that he never will achieve. He pulls back slowly, and there seems to be tears in his eyes.

"Hey, so where's Lizzy anyway?" he asks, cocking his head and wiping desperately at his eyes.

"I think she went into her room," I answer, getting up off the couch and pulling him along with me, leading him towards Lizzy's room. Her door is closed, and I carefully push it open, making sure it remains silent. Both of us peek in. There lies Lizzy on her bed, her arms wrapped around her rabbit, her face twisted into a smile, asleep.

Mulder laughs and puts an arm around my waist. "At least one of us gets some sleep," he chuckles, looking down at me.

I grin at him, then rest my head on his chest. " You know, for some reason, I think I'm gonna sleep pretty well tonight too."

He flashes me a brilliant smile. "Me too."

Title: Help Me: Progressing
Author: Ophelia K. (ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Category: VRA
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None

Summary: What if the cure is worse than the cancer? 6th in series. Scully's POV. "And your hands are really shaking something awful
As your worries crawl around inside your clothes
Oh, how long will you been sitting in the darkness?
Heaven knows"
- Crazy Baby by Joan Osbourne

I think my life is finally coming together, becoming the life I've always envisioned. It's taken me so many years, so many heart-breaking years where I've teetered so close to death, just one breath would have pushed me over, but now I've finally reached it. I have my Lizzy, my beautiful baby girl, I have my house, I have my job and, as an added bonus, I have Mulder.

Before, when we first started working together, all I wanted was Mulder. He seemed to be so passionate, so protective, so strong. But over the following years, the illusion fell away, and I saw he was simply obsessed, controlling and stubborn. Somehow, I've been able to accept his faults, as he has mine, and I've tried with everything I have to better him, to right all his wrongs, to make him happy.

And I think its finally working.

I don't see him as much as I used to, not now since I'm working at Quantico, but since the X-Files are closed, he's requesting a transfer to the Behavioral Science Unit here. At first, I wasn't sure if it was the best idea because for a while I was worried about his mental state, but my fears have all been obliterated. Mulder's pulled himself away from the edge and is now better than ever.

Everything's perfect.

A little bit too perfect.

There's a certain tautness in the air, the kind of muted panic that turns footsteps in a hallway ominous and menacing and silence into thousands of stifled screams of agony, where all you can feel is their hot breath on your face. A certain tension that makes you look over your shoulder. My life has always been full of illusions, and I've become accustomed to the feel and appearance of them. And something tells me that this happiness is a illusion.

It's sad, really. When I finally become content in life, I become overly paranoid. I suppose I'm used to anguish and silent tears to the point where its all I know. Sad.

I pull my legs up into my chest and rest my head on the arm of the couch. I glance out the window in anticipation of Mulder. He's late. Again. I sigh, and turn my head to check Lizzy. She's still in "her" chair, the only piece of furniture I saved from my old apartment, the chair where I saw my Ahab that night. I close my eyes at the memory. So many deaths... I'm jolted out of my reflection by a sudden and intense pain in the back of my neck. I instantly move my hand there, thinking it was perhaps an insect, like a mosquito or bee. I feel a slight wetness on my fingers. I draw my hand away victoriously, believing I have killed the annoying bug. I hold my hand out in front of me and gasp. It's blood. MY blood. I hurry to the mirror, turn around and pull my hear of my neck. On the center of the back of me neck, bright red against my pale skin, is a perfect circle of blood, the size of a pinprick. I hastily wipe the blood away. What could have caused that?

Then I realize. My necklace. The clasp of my necklace must have cut me somehow, I reassure myself. However, I don't believe that at all.

There are two sharp knock at the door, and I hurry to answer it, fixing my hair as I go. I open the door cautiously. It's Mulder.

"Oh, it's just you," I say distracted, moving away from the door back to the couch and I start to slowly wake Lizzy.

"Hey, nice to see you too," Mulder chuckles as he hangs up his coat and goes into the kitchen to get something to drink like he does every day, and his bright mood annoys me. I glance down at Lizzy and notice my hands are shaking. Lizzy slowly wakes, peering up at me curiously through sleepy and half-closed eyes. I smile tenderly and shakily at her, and pull her into my lap. She rests her small head on my chest, slipping back in a light sleep.

"What's the matter, Scully?"

Mulder asks, coming through the kitchen doors, popping upon a can of soda. His sudden voice startles me and I jump.

"Nothing. I'm fine, Mulder," I reply, my eyes adverted to me feet, knowing that he knew that I was lying.

Mulder says nothing and for a while he just stands there and regards me carefully. Then he leans over, and without a word, scoops Lizzy into his arms in one motion, carries her to her rooms without waking her, lays her down, goes to the kitchen and brings out a cup of coffee. I look at the cup. From Dunkin Donuts. He must have bought it for me on the way home.

"Now, Scully," he says tenderly, cupping my face with his now gentle hands and making me face him, "What's the matter?"

I look up into his eyes and I realize that no lying or excuses will get me out of this one.

"It's nothing, really," I say, trying to make my voice confident and self-assured. "Just that everything's so perfect, and I have this nagging notion in the back of my head that something bad is coming."

It's the truth. Not the whole truth, but its still the truth.

He smiles kindly at me, and I realize he knows that I'm keeping something from him. "Now you know how I always feel," he jokes.

I smile graciously at him, relieved he deiced not to question me any future. I move away from him slightly, shattering the intimacy on purpose. I need space. I can tell Mulder is disappointed and a little discouraged, and I feel sorry but I just need space.

"Hey, you never told me about that dream, you know,"

I say lightly, trying to pass off my intense curiosity about his dream as a conversation piece.

"Oh, it was nothing," he says, and now its his turn to turn away be uncomfortable.

"C'mon," I edge him on. "It was pretty bad the night you called me.

He sighs, and shifts on the couch. Finally, he turns to me. "Everything and everyone was on fire. Except me."

"Fire?" I ask, aware of his intense phobia of fire.

"Yeah. Everyone. Everyone," he stresses, but his implication is lost to me.

"I wonder why Lizzy had that dream. I don't think she's as afraid of fire as you are," I muse, glancing off in the direction of her room.

He sighs, annoyed. "It's not about fire," he replies testily. "We both saw the same people on fire. People she doesn't even know. My sister, my father..." he trails off and then stares into my eyes. "You."

"Me?" I question meekly, my voice trembling at the intensity in his eyes.

"Yeah," he confirms, looking away and out the window.

"And her too. But not me."

I take a deep breath, trying to slow my racing heart and calm my pounding head. I unconsciously reach up and rub the back of my neck, and Mulder catches the action. He narrows his eyebrows in confusion, and I limply drop my arm to my side.

"I'm sorry," I manage. "I know you didn't want to think about it."

"No, it's okay. I'm glad to finally get it off my chest", he replies, and gets to his feet and goes to the kitchen for something else to drink. I watch him go tiredly. There's a slight bounce in his step. He's given me the burden of his dream and all its horrible implications.

I take a sip from my untouched and yet still hot coffee, trying to figure out what his subconscious is trying to tell him when I suddenly feel it again. That intense pain. Except this time it isn't as short as it was before, not by a long shot, and is now at the base of my spine. My hand falters, and I spill the contents of the cup onto my bare leg, burning me. I cry out at the combined pain, but I can make no motion to get the coffee off of me, almost as if I'm paralyzed. And in this moment of pain and confusion, one clear fact sends spasms of fear throughout my body: There is something inside me.

Whatever the source of the pain is, its moving around inside me, one second brushing up against my skin, the next second, touching a nerve. The pain subsides, but I can still feel whatever it is making its way around in my body, slowly, so incredibly slowly. Mulder runs to me, and Lizzy starts to cry at the sound of my cry, and Mulder's in front of me, face frantic and worried and he's asking me something, but I can't hear him. All I can hear are my baby's cries, but I'm frozen in fear and I feel like tearing at my skin, and ripping this thing out of me. Suddenly, the world begins to spin and turn to black, and I mutter one thing, two simple words before I slip into unconsciousness.

"Help me."

Title: Help Me: Waxing Moon
Author: Ophelia K. (ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Rating: PG
Category: VRA
Warning: Possible Character(s) Death
Spoilers: None

Summary: Mulder's worst fears are realized. 7th in series. Mulder's POV. You gotta help me, baby
Help me, baby
Help me, baby
Help me, baby
I just wanna a little lovin' before you pass away."
-Help Me by Joan Osbourne

Why does it seem that I always end up back here at the hospital, running alongside Scully's pale form as she's being wheeled down endless, sterile hallways, tightly grasping her hand and praying to the God she so passionately believes in to save her, to spare her one more time?

This time, tough, a different feeling hangs over me. I should have seen this coming. There were so many warnings; the dream, the pained expression on Scully's face, her abnormal paranoia. She knew something was happening; how come I couldn't detect it?

Oh God. If anything happens to me, its my fault, I know it. The stretcher seems to be going even faster now, and I urge my confused feet to go faster and shift Lizzy in my arms. She sniffles and continues sucking her thumb and watching her mother fail in her sleep, burying her face into my chest and clasping her ting hands behind my head. I tighten my grasp on her, and she looks up at me with bewildered and teary eyes.

"Is Mommy gonna be okay, Daddy?" she mumbles, her words barely coherent because of the thumb in her mouth. I glance down at Scully again. She's breaking into a sweat and her lips are contorted into a little "o" of pain and panic. Her small hands are clenched into fists at her side, and her toes flew back and forth almost as if she's fighting something inside her.

"I don't know, honey," I confess honestly, and I reach forward and delicately wipe the sweat off her smooth skin. At my slight touch, she flinches, her body jerking yet her arms don't move a inch.

The stretcher is rolled by the staff into a room, and the nurse gives me a look that tells me I shouldn't even try to go in after Scully. Not that I want to. Whenever I see her in pain from anything I've done or haven't done, as it is in this case, a piece of my soul dies a little. I think by now, almost 75% of my soul should be dead. God. It's all my fault. I take a shaky breath, trying to steady myself and keep the tears that I feel forming in my eyes and not out. I can't cry in front of Lizzy. She's being so strong. If I cry, she might begin to cry too. And I don't want her to have as bad as a childhood as Scully and I have. Damn. Is that what's going to happen to her?

Is Lizzy going to have to grow up without her mother?

I can't let that happen. Never.

Lizzy, almost sensing my thoughts about her, slips out of my arms and lowers herself carefully to the floor. She looks up at me, smiles, and reaches up and takes my hand with her small one. I gaze down at her, my mind ablaze with fear, confusion and sadness and I can almost see where the flames scorched her tiny frame.

"Let's sit down, Daddy," she says, speaking so precisely and so much like an adult, almost more mature than me. I nod tiredly at her, and close my eyes and let her lead me back to the busy waiting room. I collapse into a hard plastic chair and she climbs up into my lap, resting on my, using me like a chair and she soon slips into a peaceful sleep. I'm envious of her. Doesn't she know what's going on?

'Course she doesn't. I sigh. Sometimes I wish I was as innocent as a child again.

I lean my head back on the uncomfortable chairs and, trying to make myself believe Scully will be fine, glance around the waiting room. Across from me are two sniffling Chinese women, each clinging tightly to the other for support, both physical and emotional. And next to me is the skinniest and saddest looking girl I've ever seen. Her bones are showing and all the skin on her looks like it's been pulled tightly, too tight. There are horrible lines underneath her eyes, and her hair is slowly falling out. Next to her is a woman, presumably her mother. She looks like she's been through hell.

I turn away. In all of their eyes are things I've seen so many times in so many people, so many victims, so many orphans, so many killers, along with my father and... Scully. I seen Death in their eyes.

I squeeze my eyes closed, trying desperately to somehow hold the tears inside. God. Why Scully?

She's been through so much... she can't die now. I take a deep breath, trying to think reasonably. I don't know what's wrong with her, it could be something minor, nothing life threatening. But I can't shake the feeling of lose and the premonition of my dream. That damn dream is gonna ruin my life.

I sit in that chair for God knows how long, cradling Lizzy and trying to think of nothing yet thinking of everything. Finally, after what seems like years, I hear my name called.

"Mr. Mulder?" the same nurse who glared at me before calls out, glancing around the waiting room. "Over here," I reply nervously, and I stand up, scooping the still sleeping Lizzy into my arms. Jeez, this kid can sleep through anything.

The nurse regards me with a narrowed eyebrow, her gaunt features becoming even harsher. 'This way," she says, gesturing for me to follow. I do so, and I as I get closer and closer to where Scully waits, my heart beats faster, my breath becomes quicker and my knees become harder to stand on.

"Is she okay?" I manage.

The nurse turns and glares again at me. "Doctor Fontakis will answer any questions you have," she says, pointing to the door where Scully disappeared into before.

Taking a deep breath, I push the door open, summoning up all my courage and enter the room.

The first thing I see is Scully, dressed in the all too familiar hospital gown and lying on a hospital bed. Doctor Fontakis, a elder, round man with balding hair stands over her, flipping through some papers he's holding.

"Doctor Fontakis?" I ask and he looks up at me, surprised.

"Oh, sorry, didn't hear you enter," he chuckles and glances at Lizzy still sleeping in my arms. "Why don't you put that angel down in this chair here?" he suggests, pulling a chair over. I do so, and Lizzy stirs slightly in her sleep. Doctor Fontakis grins grandfatherly at her. "Is this Ms. Scully's daughter?"

"Yes," I answer hastily. "How's Scully?

What's the matter with her?"

Fontakis grimaces a bit, and rubs his wrinkled forehead with a sweat, pudgy hand. "As you can see, Ms. Scully is now resting comfortably. After some medication, she slipped easily into a restful deep sleep."

"But what was the matter before?" I question, annoyed at the lack of information.

"Well," he starts, searching for words, "It appears that Ms. Scully was suffering from acute pain."

"Brought on by what?"

He bites his lip. "Before she fell asleep, she was complaining of something in the base of her spine, something moving back there. So we took some x-rays, and we found this," he says, pointing to an x-ray hanging on the wall. I move with him over to inspect him, and he indicates a small "thing" in the back of her neck.

"What is it?" I muse. "It couldn't be cancer, could it?"

"No," he replies, taking another x-ray out of a folder and hanging it up next to the other one. "Look at this one." I glance over at the next one. "It moved," I observe.

Fontakis nods. "I'm not sure what it is. At first, I suspected perhaps some kind of ringworm, but upon closer inspection, I realized that whatever this thing is, it's much more complex than that. And it's not behaving as a ringworm would at all. There's no cut or indication where it might have entered. My guess is that it formed inside of her, a sort of mobile cancer."

I gulp in fear. "Is it lethal?"

Again, he grimaces and turns back to look at Scully, sadly. "It is very similar to cancer- it seems to be almost turning her own body against her, controlling her nervous system and her muscular system. I can only assume that eventually this thing will grow worse-" he pauses, regarding me cautiously, "perhaps to the point of death."

My world is collapsing around me, and I feel my knees grow extremely weak. Fontakis helps me to a chair, where I bury my head in my hands. No. Why does this have to happen now?

Everything was finally coming together, God dammit. I finally had her, we were finally together and now, now I'm going to lose her. I don't even care that Fontakis is watching me awkwardly and Lizzy is beginning to wake up. In the corner of my eye, I see Fontakis slowly pick up Lizzy and bring her outside, leaving me alone with Scully. I drag my worthless body over to where she lies, kneeling on the cold, hard floor. I stare down at her face, looking so peaceful, so calm, so serene, so..... dead. I break down then, sobbing uncontrollably, tightly clasping onto her arm like if I just hang onto her, if I just believe, I can fix her, heal her with nothing but love. "Scully," I whisper hoarsely into her ear. "Scully, I love you. Come back. Don't leave me alone. Not again. Not now. Not ever."

I begin to cry again and I barely notice that Lizzy has entered the room, fully awake, before she's at my side, tugging on my shirt.

I pull her into a warm hug, holding her so tight, fearing I might lose her too.

"Daddy?" Lizzy says, her words muffled by my fierce hug. I hold her at arm's length, gazing into her lost eyes.

"Mommy's not okay, is she?" she asks, her face shrouded with sadness.

I don't know what to say.

Title: Help Me: Untouchable
Author: Ophelia K. (ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Rating: PG
Category: VRA
Spoilers: Redux II
Warning: Possible Character(s) Death

Summary: Scully considers the life of an untouchable. 8th in series. Scully's POV.

"An exile now, O God, O God.
No one to help. I am alone"

At this point in my life, at this frightful, dire, ghastly, grim, at this horrible point in my life, life doesn't feel like living anymore. I feel dead, empty, like something once so beloved tossed aside for a minor flaw. I'm afraid of myself, afraid when the next time I'll pass out from the pain will be, afraid that I'll be alone when it happens, afraid that this "thing" might soon control me, make me do or say repulsive things.

They let me out of the hospital, mainly because they can't figure out what to do with me, and neither can anyone at home. Mulder always regards me carefully, almost as if I'm not in control of my actions, like I'm possessed almost. I think we both know what this thing is: a result of the "cure", the metal implant in my neck. We never questioned the \ of putting unknown metal into my body, just if it would save me or not. It might have saved me then, but it's killing me now.

Mulder insisted I go to the hospital regularly so they can monitor the progression of the thing as it slowly travels down my spine. Every day, I feel it. I feel it squirm through my body, sending chills throughout my body, torturing me. I refused to go back, however. After that doctor who first treated my cancer... well, I'm just not as trusting anymore.

My mother comes to take Lizzy every day, and make sure I have everything I need. Just to see the fear and repulsion, repulsion at me in her eyes is enough to want to die. It's heartbreaking when the woman who gave birth to you is afraid of what's inside you, afraid of you.

But it's even worse when the man you love more than anything else in this world and the man who promised to always care and love you can't even look in your eyes without turning away.

It's enough to make you want to die.

Over the years, I've been so close to death I could have reached out and touched it, and I did many times. But I always fought back, sensing it wasn't "my time" yet. However, over this past week, this tortuous week full of long hours alone, suspicious looks, and intense pain and fear, I've realized that my time has come.

And yet if Mulder was to only hold my hand, to stroke my hair, to look deep into my eyes and not be repulsed by what he sees there, to look lovingly at me and tell me to hang on, that he'll find a cure, I would do so.

But he hasn't.

And he won't.

When I came home, Mulder said he wanted to talk to me. We sat down on the couch, where I was when the thing first knocked me out, and he looked at me steady and took

my hand in his. And he didn't see a single word. He just stared at me, his mouth a bit open, almost as if he was staring in a mix of horror and fascination at me, waiting for the thing inside me to take over. I finally got up and walked away, and he continued staring blankly into the air.

Since the day he bought me home, he hasn't touched me once.

Not once.

After all, I've become an untouchable.

I've become a social outcast, a monster, an abnormality, a goblin, an anomaly, an oddity, a demon, a freak. No one can bear to look at me, let alone touch me.

And that fact is more painful than all the discomfort this thing inside me could cause. It's more painful to realize that perhaps I'm not loved after all.

Perhaps I never have been.

Perhaps.

I sigh. Mulder did love me, once. Once upon a time when everything was going his way, when I was happy and he could afford to care about someone else besides himself. But now, now he's too busy feeling sorry for himself to think about what I must be feeling right now, the intense terror I feel at whatever is inside of me.

The doorbell rings. I slowly and carefully drag my tired body off the couch and to the door. It's my mom.

"Hi, Dana," she says, smiling at me, trying her best to look comforting. Lizzy, worked up after a day at her Grandma's, pushes past both of us and dashes to her room. I grin as I watch her go, glad for her company.

"How are you feeling?" Mom says carefully.

"Fine actually. It hasn't bothered me all day," I lie.

She smiles. "Well, that's good."

She glances at her watch. "I'm sorry I can't stay today, Dana, I have a date with one of my friends."

"Go ahead," I say. "Have fun."

She smiles graciously at me, and turns and hurried back to her car, waving goodbye to me once before quickly driving away.

I exhale sadly, and firmly close the door. "Hey Lizzy!" I call out. "How was your day?"

Lizzy obediently returns from her room and sits with me on the couch. "Fun," she replies thoughtfully. "But I miss you. Why can't I stay here?"

"You're grandma would like some time with you too, you know," I reply, trying horribly to lighten the mood.

Lizzy nods. "Are you gonna die, Mommy?" she ask, cautiously.

I bite my lip, trying to hold back tears. "Why?"

"Grandma said you're sick and if something happened I could stay with her."

I take a deep breath, swallowing my anger. Has my mother given up on me?

"Would you want to stay with Grandma?" I ask.

Lizzy wrinkles her forehead in thought. "No. I would want to be with Daddy."

I sadly look down at my daughter and wonder how good of a father Mulder would be alone. I'm not sure he'd even accept the job. "Why are you asking, Lizzy?"

"Because I would miss you. I don't want you to go. I love you, Mommy."

Oh God. The first time she's ever said 'I love you' to me. I start to cry a bit, and I pull her into a hug.

"I'll try not to, Lizzy. I love you too."

Lizzy smiles and snuggles into my arms. I think about the first day that I came back, when I did some research and I found some former abductees with the same unexplained illness as I did. I had called one of them, and he had given me the number for a doctor in New York City that had some success with other patients. I ought to give him a call, I realize.

"I'll try."


Title: Help Me: The Hyades
Author: Ophelia K. (ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Rating: PG
Category: V
Spoilers: None

Summary:

The

Hyades- 1. Gr. Myth six daughters of Atlas supposed to bring rain. Dionysus as a baby was entrusted to them by Zeus, and to reward them for their care he set them among the stars. 9th in series. Other's POV.

I careen my neck carefully, peering through the glass window, silently watching sister as she sits on the floor, concentrating on a picture she is drawing with broken and dulled crayon stumps. The colors mix with each other, until the picture is a chestnut brown instead of the intended colorful reds and blues. A woman, a very slight woman, slowly walks into the room, approaching sister almost as if Death was waiting for her in that living room. Her hair is limp and tousled and full of dead ends, and the color is beginning to be mixed with subtle shades of gray. I study the woman's face, a weary face that reminds me of an ice statue that has been left in the sun for too long, hard at some places, sagging in sorrow in others, and full of lines all over. Despite the fact that the woman's footsteps make no sound, sister looks up and sees the woman, but doesn't see the tortured look on her face.

"Mommy!" sister cries, pushing against the rug and propelling herself upward. She runs to the woman, her small arms encircling her non-existent waist. This gesture of love brings a genuine smile to the woman's mouth and tears to her eyes. It is only then when I see the smile light up her face, pushing the features of her face back into proportion do I realize who this woman is. Dana Scully. So sister made it, after all.

"Hey Lizzy," Dana says, her voice dropping into sadness again, despite all her efforts keep it up. I grin slowly. So that is what they have named her. "What are you up to?"

"I made this picture for you," Lizzy replies, leaning down and grabbing the piece of construction paper on the floor and pushing it into Dana's hands.

Dana takes the picture and looks at it with distant eyes. "What is it, honey?" she asks, tentatively, her forehead creased with puzzlement.

"The lab," Lizzy reports nonchalantly, sitting back down and reaching for a new piece of paper and the box of crayons.

I instantly stiffen and I can sense my eyes grow wide. I glance back at Magdalene, and she nods, her right hand clamped tightly on the ear piece. She bites her lip with fear and meaningfully glances down at the tape recorder and then back at me. I shrug helplessly, but we both know what will become of sister if we deliver the tape, and what will become of us if we don't.

"The lab?" I hear Dana question, and I turn back to watch them. Dana has sat down next to Lizzy, gazing curiously at her and I notice she is beginning to look more and more like her old self, the inquisitive and bright soul that we had deemed trustworthy enough. "What's the lab, Lizzy?"

"Where my family is," Lizzy replies without even glancing up from her new picture. Dana lets out a deep breath of disappointment that she seemed to be holding for a very long time, so long she has forgotten she was holding it at all.

"Your parents?" she asks, not wanting to hear the answer.

"No," Lizzy replies, "You're my mommy and Mulder is my daddy. My sisters are at the lab."

I hear Dana let out the breath she was holding in relief.

"You have sisters?"

"Yes."

"Do you have a lot of sisters?"

"Yes."

I realize my breathing has increased in speed, and I try to calm my racing heart down. This was never supposed to happen, Lizzy was never supposed to remember, let alone talk about us. I feel a hand on my shoulder, and I glance quickly back. Magdalene is looking back at me with the same sense of panic and confusion in her eyes that I know she sees in mine.

"McKayla," she whispers desperately. "It's not taping."

I look at her quizzically. 'That's good then, right?" She shakes her head. "They're listening"

she mouths frantically. I spin around, eyes searching for the slightest sign of their presence. On the end of the block, a white van starts up and drives away. A man across the street exits his house and, while talking on his cellular phone, enters and sits in his car without moving. A helicopter flies quickly overhead. A woman jogs down the street with headphones on. Magdalene glances back at me, her green eyes wide with fear and panic. Inside, the phone rings.

Magdalene panics, tearing out the ear piece and sprinting down the block. "Magdalene!" I call out, forgetting to be quiet. I glance back once more at Dana and Lizzy in the house, and I'm shocked to see Lizzy staring straight in my direction.

"McKayla!" she exclaims, happily, recognizing me. In fear, I look over at Dana and notice that she's staring at me confused, with the phone clutched in her hand. We regard each other carefully. And then I hear the loud slam of a car break. I spin around, and a few houses down is the white van again, blocking Magdalene's way. She backs up slowly, glancing to the left and right, looking for an escape. A man in a suit exits the van and at the sight of him, she turns and begins to run, reaching out towards me desperately, calling for help. Behind me, I hear Dana forcefully hang up the phone and run to the front door. I glance back to see her and Lizzy watching Magdalene running towards us, and she suddenly sprints to her car, dragging Lizzy with her. I watch all this frozen by fear for my own safety, by my selfishness. The man across the street on the cell phone suddenly starts up the car and tears down the street straight at Magdalene. She freezes again, turns around to see the van coming at her from behind, looks back to see the car coming at her from the front and begins to madly dash left and right, running as though her legs were on fire and she was trying only to escape them, not caring where she went. She stops for a moment, and her forehead creases with thought. Then an idea dawns on her and

she slowly and very deliberately turns around to face the van and draws a shiny gun from her pocket. I cry out wordlessly in panic. By showing the gun, she has now become a threat. I know they'll kill her without any remorse. Dana, her hand on the door handle freezes, mesmerized by the boldness and insanity of the girl. Slowly, so painfully slow, Magdalene draws up to her eyes, cocks it, pulls back the safety, aims, places her finger on the trigger and...

The man in the car racing towards her back noticeably speeds up at the sight of the gun. I stare dumbly as he nears her, heading straight for her frail body, and I begin to scream, trying somehow to draw her attention to the car so close behind her. Dana roughly covers Lizzy, drawing her close so she can see the events unfolding before her. My scream gains volume as the car draws closer, closer, 10 feet, 7 feet, 5 feet, 2 feet, merely inches...

The gun goes off.

The car continues on its course, passing over Magdalene, the crunching of her bones and body sounding like a simple speed bump. The van stops, the driver slumped over with his eyes glazed over with death. The car seems to speed up, leaving the bloody mess that was once my sister behind and heading for the van, swerving at the last second, but not soon enough as the two cars crash, exploding into a brilliant flower of fire which reaches high for the heavens and licks the street with its deadly tongue. I watch the now conjoined van and car burn in silent agony, angry that Magdalene's murder would not be avenged by me or any of the others. Suddenly, I feel rough hands on my arms, pulling my hands back and I feel the sharp pain of cold handcuffs slapped around my trembling wrists. I turn my head and see the woman who was just jogging by minutes before. I pull away from her grip, and begin my own flight, hoping against hope that mine will end better than Magdalene's.

I start down the street, away from the fiery pyre, and I can already hear the woman behind me, gaining, coming closer. Suddenly a car pulls up in front of me, blocking my way. My eyes widen with terror. Will I suffer the same end as my sister?

My mind is set on fire with panic and I come to a screeching halt. The back door swings open and I see Lizzy sitting there, gesturing for me to enter.

"C'mon McKayla!" she cries, her voice sounding older and wiser than her years and hinting towards her superior knowledge. I dive headfirst into the car, and Dana in the front seat pulls away before I can get the car door closed. I glance behind and see that the woman has abandoned the chase. I turn back, sighing heavily in relief.

Dana drives the car quickly away, not saying a word. I stubbornly wipe away tears growing in my eyes. What Magdalene did was stupid, I remind myself. She was half-crazed by panic. But still.. she was my sister. Then again, there were others to worry about. And bigger problems than her death.

Lizzy looks over at me, her blue eyes curious and sympathetic. Slowly, she extends a hand and reaches for my necklace. I glance down at it, almost like I was seeing it for the first time. Lizzy smiles, and the gold glow from the cross plays across her face. Dana suddenly stops the car and turns to look back at me. Upon seeing Lizzy inspecting my necklace, her face twitches in sorrow but she quickly composes herself. She studies my features, my bluish-green eyes, my reddish curly hair, and I can almost see a flicker of recognition go across her face.

"I think you have a lot of explaining to do, McKayla."

Title: Help Me: Anthill
Author: Ophelia K. (ImRatgirl@aol.com)
Rating: PG or PG-13
Category: VA
Spoilers: None

Summary: 10th in series. Elizabeth's POV.

Things are okay now. Just like Mary said it was gonna be. And Mary knows everything. Even Alexie was kinda scared of her. But not McKayla.

Mommy looks scared. She is breathing funny. I don't want her to get sick and die. But Mary said that might happen. Because of me, she said. And because of my sisters. She said it mean. We all cried when she said it, 'specially Erin and Elisa. But not Emily. That was 'cause Emily had already gone away. Emily was always kinda quiet. I didn't miss her.

Mary was always yelling. At everyone. She was old. Old as the Smelly Man. The Smelly Man had bad breath and looked at us funny. He was like a dragon, 'cause fire came out of his mouth. I like dragons. Alexie told me not to like the Smelly Man, though. He said he was mean.

Meaner than Mary? I asked

Much meaner, he said.

I miss Alexie. He left too, like Emily. McKayla cried. I never saw her cry before. She is almost crying now. Magdalene has just left. In fire. The dream.

I look at McKayla. She is wearing the necklace. McKayla told me and my sisters that when we saw the necklace, we are safe. Always look for this necklace, she had said.

I touch it. It is so pretty. Very shiny. Mommy has a necklace like this. So I knew it was safe with her. But she came back home not wearing it.

Mommy stops the car. She looks at us in the back and says, I think you have a lot of explaining to do, McKayla. This makes her very sad. She nods and gets out of the car. So does Mommy. Mommy comes and carries me out and puts me down on the ground.

What were you doing spying on us? Mommy asks. She looks mad. And very scared. I don't know why. Mommy is older than McKayla.

McKayla looks down at me. She picks me up. She puts me down on the top of the car. I am taller than both of them now. I smile. I like it better up here. I feel strong. McKayla smiles at me, but Mommy frowns at her.

We weren't spying on you, McKayla says. We were checking on Lizzy. We called her Elizabeth. At least I did. They called her E 65.

Who's they?

Mommy asks.

The Smelly Man, I say. I remember him calling me E 56. He got mad 'cause I didn't know he was talking to me.

The Smelly Man? Mommy asks. She turns to look up at me. I feel like her Mommy now.

He breathed smoke, I tell her. Like a dragon.

Mommy's eyes get big. She looks at McKayla. Are you working for them? she asks.

McKayla looks down again. I look down too. There is nothing down. 'Cept a little ant. It goes into a the ground.

McKayla is my sister, I tell Mommy. I think that means that McKayla's mommy is my Mommy. I do not say this. I do not want to be wrong.

Mommy looks very closely at McKayla. McKayla smiles. But she looks sad. Mommy puts her hands on McKayla's face. You look so much like Mulder, she says very quietly.

A big, whirly dragonfly comes over us. It is called a chopper, I think. That word was not in the last upgrade. Anesthetized, incinerate, consternation and poignant were. But not the word for the big, black machine. But I heard Alexie said it once. So I think it is right. Mommy and McKayla look up. They look scared. Anxious, like the upgrade told me.

We should go somewhere else, Mommy says. McKayla nods. Mommy reaches for me. She stops. Her hand twitches.

Come on! McKayla screams. She is almost in the car. But Mommy does not move.

Mommy?

The chopper stops. McKayla looks up. It is just hanging there, up in the sky.

Mommy does not move.

She does not blink.

Mommy?

Mommy?

Mommy!

Mommy?

Her hand grabs my arm. She hold me tight. It hurts. She pulls me down. She pulls me close to her. The chopper does not move. It looks like it smiles.

Something is put on my head. Just a little above my ear. My left one. Not the hand I am supposed to write with, I remember. The thing is cold. It hurts. Mommy pushes hard. It is shaking.

McKayla looks very scared. Terrified, like the upgrade taught me. Mommy turns to look up at the chopper. I can not see McKayla anymore. I wonder what the thing is. And I wonder what Mommy is doing. God, what do you want! Mommy screams very loud at the chopper. Something wet hits the top of me head. I don't think it is raining. Leave me alone! Mommy screams. Don't make me do this!

I hear s click. Next to my left ear. The thing pushed into my head is really shaking. So is Mommy. I look up at the chopper. I think I see the Smelly Man. But I don't know. I want to ask McKayla what is going on. I want to know why she is scared.

A loud noise goes off. Mommy screams. McKayla screams. I am quiet.

The chopper moves back. Something hit it, but I did not see anything. The thing against my head goes away. SO does Mommy's grip on my arm. I turn around. I want to know what is wrong.

Mommy is standing in front of me. She is holding something against her head, where the thing was for me. Smith & Wesson, like the upgrade showed me. She is crying. Her arms is still shaking.

Make them stop! she yells loud. I do not know what to do. Her other hand tries to force her hand with Smith & Wesson down. But she can't. God, she says, help me.

McKayla comes and pushes her down. A loud noise goes off. I scream. The noise hurts my ears. McKayla is holding Mommy down on the ground. Mommy is crying. McKayla gets up. Mommy stays down. She looks like she wants to follow the ant under. I go to Mommy. I do not know what to do. Mommy sits up so her legs are not showing. She hugs me. She is shaking and very wet. Smith & Wesson is on the ground. It is far away. McKayla looks upset. The chopper is coming back. They just want me! she yells. It is hard to hear. The chopper is loud. Mommy does not hear her. I do.

McKayla moves away from us. A man comes down from the chopper. He picks her up. She does not look scared. She looks sad.

Mommy looks up. She sees McKayla. She gets up. McKayla! she cries.

The man and McKayla go up to the chopper. I start to yell McKayla! with Mommy. I do not want her to leave. I do not want her to leave like Emily and Alexie and Magdalene. But she goes up into the chopper. And the chopper leaves.

Mommy does not say a word. We are both quiet. We are scared. I know McKayla will be okay. She is hard. Resistant, like the implant trained me. But so was Emily. And Alexie.

Mommy stand up. She is still wet. But she is not shaking. She picks me up. She walks back to the car. We stop at Smith & Wesson.

She looks at it.

She looks at me.

She kicks it away.

We go home.

The End

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