Title: Abomination
Author: Jo Nelson
Category: Story, X-File, Adventure, Angst, UST, MSR
Spoilers: Anything up to and including Season 6, esp. the cancer arc and FTF.
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters, but Ten Thirteen and 20th Century Fox do
Feedback: Please! This is my 1st try at fanfiction, so I need encouragement or discouragement. But I definitely need to hear something! I promise to reply to everyone.
Archive: Yes, but please tell me where it's going, so I can visit.

Summary: Mulder and Scully investigate reports of a snowman during a missing persons case.

Author's Notes: I'd like to thank Maria Nicole for beta reading, and for giving me the inspiration to write my own fanfic story. You're the best... THANK YOU! And also, thanks go to Don for the snowman idea.


CHAPTER 1

It was so cold and the ground was covered in white snow. Dana Scully could barely feel her hands. Her face ached and the cruel winds burned into her eyes. Her heart raced, but she had to keep moving. She had to go faster! She quickened her pace, she was determined...

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP!


DANA SCULLY'S APARTMENT ANNAPOLIS, MARYLAND
6:00 AM

Scully awoke, startled by the sound of the her alarm. Her pulse was racing. After quieting the clock, she took a few deep breaths and gently placed her hand against her chest. As she felt the coolness come through her cotton gown, she realized that her hands were freezing cold. She then realized that her feet were also freezing under the bed covers. Hadn't she left the heat on? She tried hard but couldn't remember anything about the dream except for being cold. She just knew it wasn't a happy one.

After running her hands through her ruffled hair, she decided she'd better be getting up soon. Today she and Mulder were supposed to start on a new case. And anyway, it wasn't the first time she'd had a nightmare that she couldn't seem to remember. Especially in the first couple of years after her abduction. Then, she had a few after the whole Antarctica thing too. But she had been doing so well lately. She couldn't even remember the last time she had had a nightmare.

Although her pulse had calmed down, she was still so cold. She didn't want to get out of bed and lose the little bit of heat she had. But her logical mind took over. She got up in a hurry and rushed into her bathroom.



FBI HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON D.C.
8:35 AM

Shortly after arriving at work, Mulder and Scully were called into a meeting with Assistant Director Walter Skinner. He was assigning them a new case. Apparently 7 people had been reported missing in a National Park, next to the Colorado Rockies. These unsolved cases had taken place over the last 2 winters. Most recently, a father and his 12 year old son, who were camping, and a park ranger who was part of a search and rescue team had disappeared. Other members of the search team reported seeing an unidentifiable animal at one point or another. Also, strange footprints had been seen in the areas the disappearances had occurred. The families had been on the authorities' backs for the truth and on top of all that, the press had been making the local authorities look foolish by reporting rumors about a snowman on the loose. Now the park had to be closed down until further notice.

"Agents, your flight leaves at noon. When you get to the Denver field office, check in with Agent Dan Spencer. He can fill you in on the rest of the details. Just be sure to keep me informed on your findings," Skinner recited as he passed the file folder to Mulder who looked irritated. Scully nodded and looked at the A.D. obediently. Mulder looked annoyed. He wasn't looking forward to playing any bureau punishment games. It had been a while since the bureau had assigned him to a bogus case. He had hoped they had gotten over those tricks since he and Scully had been put back on the X-Files.

"Mulder I know what this case sounds like, but 7 people are already missing and probably dead. This case came from the higher ups, and you're the only agents I have for this sort of thing anyway, so let's just find this thing, if it is even a thing. Then we can bring this case to a close and the families can rest." Skinner looked on seriously as the two agents stood up to leave. This time Mulder nodded as the two of them left.



IN THE HALLWAY

Mulder joked on the way back to their office, "So Scully, looks like we're gonna be knee deep in the snow again huh? At least this time you get to be fully conscious if we encounter Frosty." Scully tried to cover her annoyance, but Mulder noticed. "Scully, you okay?"

"Yeah, I just didn't think we'd actually have to go hiking through the winter wilderness on this case. I'm really not looking forward to this."

"Well, how else are we going to find them Scully?"

"Mulder, what even makes you think we can? A whole search and rescue team has looked for them. What difference are we gonna make?"

"Well, for one, we won't be looking for just victims, we'll be looking for... (in a spooky voice)...a snowman." Scully gave Mulder 'the look' as they stepped on to the elevator.


CHAPTER 2

F.B.I. FIELD OFFICE DENVER, COLORADO
10:35 AM

Agents Mulder and Scully sat in Agent Spencer's office while he explained the situation. Mulder who was in his own world, glanced over at Scully who looked tired. It had been a long night. After many delays in the flight, they had finally arrived last night after two o'clock, both tired and jet lagged. They had skipped dinner, checked into their motels rooms and went straight to bed. Mulder was able to sleep well and he had felt refreshed. But after seeing Scully this morning, he knew she hadn't been as lucky. Knowing this was rare for Scully, he was beginning to worry about her. He knew the only times that Scully didn't sleep well were when something was bothering her. He thought about times after her abduction, then when she was sick with the cancer, and just last year after the whole Phillip Padgett fiasco. He decided then that he was going to find out what was bothering her before it was too late.

"Agent Mulder, did you get that?" Agent Spencer said loudly after noticing his distraction. Agent Spencer, who was in his early 40's, was a fairly good looking man. He was tall, rugged and had dark hair. He had been instantly attracted to Scully when he had met her. He had been trying to be extra nice to her all morning and Mulder had noticed right away and became protective. But Spencer didn't know what to think of their relationship just yet. So he hoped for a chance in this investigation to be alone with her, so that he could find out if he had a chance.

"I'm sorry, yes I did. So when do we get going?" Mulder was anxious to get going and he wanted to talk to Scully.

"Once you two are ready, I'll drive us up and we'll meet with Greg Harrison, the Captain of the Search & Rescue team that's been conducting the search. And from there we hit the snow. I hope you're prepared? The weather up there can get rough sometimes."

Mulder looked over at Scully smiling. "Oh I think we can handle it. We've survived far worse situations before."

"That's good to hear. Just the temperatures alone up there scare most people away this time of the year."

Scully interrupted him, "So what were a father and his 12 year old son doing there? I mean didn't they know the dangers of camping this time of year? She was still so tired. She had only gotten about 2 hours of sleep last night. She had awakened to another nightmare remembering this time it was about being in the snow. She thought maybe memories of her time in Antarctica were indeed starting to come back.

Looking at Scully, Spencer answered, "From what we know, they were fairly inexperienced. Maybe they wandered off into one of the off limit areas, or maybe they were attacked."

"Do you believe they were attacked Agent Spencer?", asked Mulder.

Agent Spencer almost laughed, "You mean the snowman right? Those are just rumors. If they were attacked by anything it was the natural wildlife. And if that happened they probably deserved it. There hasn't been a black bear or mountain lion attack reported up there for years. And even the last known attack was provoked in some way." With that Agent Spencer stood up. "Well, if that's all the questions you have right now, I still have a lot to do before we take off. And I'd like to check in with S&R for an update on the weather conditions. With the storm it would've probably been better to have gotten an earlier start."

Mulder and Scully stood up as well. "No problem, how long do you need? I think we could probably use a nap," Mulder said as he slightly nodded to Scully. With that Agent Spencer's eyes grew a little wide.

"Ah, well okay then. How about we start first thing in the morning then, 6 o'clock sound okay?"

Mulder looked at Scully before answering. After she gave him the all clear, "Sounds good. We'll see you in the morning then." With that Mulder and Scully turned to leave.

"Sure thing" replied Agent Spencer. As the agents walked out with Mulder leading the way. Spencer suddenly had an idea. "Um, Agent Scully and Mulder?" Scully turned around to face him. A few seconds later Mulder popped back into the office. "I thought maybe you'd like to join me for dinner later? You too Agent Mulder. I know a great place a couple of blocks from here?"

Mulder knew who he really wanted to invite. So he decided to leave it up to Scully. It was quiet for a moment until she got the hint.

"We'd love to," Scully answered for them.

"Great, I'll pick you up at 6 then." With that the agents left.


RENTAL CAR DENVER, COLORADO
11:10 AM

Mulder drove on the way back to the motel. He let Scully sit in silence for at least 5 minutes before asking, "Scully, are you feeling alright?" Scully shifted in her seat.

"Yeah, I'm fine Mulder. I'm just tired. I didn't sleep well last night." She didn't want him to start worrying about her now. He was already being protective around Spencer and now he was starting to notice that something was bothering her.

"That's why I'm worried about you. Wanna talk about it?" He knew she would deny it, but he had to try.

Now she was getting irritated. "Mulder! Talk about what? I said I was fine."

"Okay, I'm sorry. I'm glad I suggested we nap then."

"Mulder about the nap thing... You made it sound like we... as if we're going to be doing it together or something." <Great now I'm embarrassing myself>

"Is that what you thought Scully?" Mulder was shocked. He knew he could be protective, but in no way was he trying to insinuate that they were more than partners.

Scully took a while to answer. "It's not about what I thought Mulder. Agent Spencer seemed to get it though." She hated having this conversation with Mulder. She knew that they both cared for each other in a more than partnerly way, but she didn't like it when other people assumed they did as well. Especially since they hadn't made any other attempts at discussing their relationship since the hallway/bee incident.

Mulder had to laugh at that as they pulled up in front of the motel. He turned to her "Look Scully, I'm sorry. It was stupid of me to say that, but I assure you, I meant nothing by it. Besides, you know I wouldn't want to mess up your action." He regretted it as soon as it came out.

"What's that supposed to mean Mulder?" She was furious now. <How could he even think I'd want someone else?>

Mulder turned off the engine. "You telling me you didn't notice Agent Spencer's interest in you?"

"No Mulder. I can't say that I did, and if he was, I'd prefer to handle it myself." She got out of the car then and slammed the door. By the time he got out of the car, Scully was headed towards her room. He decided to let it go this time. She'd probably feel better after she got some sleep. He hoped.


SCULLY'S ROOM

Scully laid across the bed trying to fall asleep. She and Mulder had already packed all they would need for their trip that morning, before the briefing. But she kept thinking about the argument she had with Mulder. She didn't mean to blow up at him, and she knew he didn't mean to upset her. But she couldn't bring herself to apologize either. So she decided that she'd apologize and make it up to him later. When she was finally able to relax, she shut her eyes, and sleep followed fairly quickly.


THEO'S RESTAURANT DENVER, COLORADO
6:34 PM

Agents Spencer, Mulder and Scully sat at a quiet booth towards the back of the restaurant. Agent Spencer had been doing most of the talking. Mulder's mind was elsewhere because he didn't know if Scully was still angry with him. And Spencer had been talking directly to Scully most of the time anyway. He could tell Scully was just trying to be nice because somehow she kept involving Mulder in their conversations.

"...So right now I'm without a partner, but I guess I like it that way. How long have you two been partners?" Spencer asked after taking a drink.

"Six years and counting," answered Mulder.

"Wow, that's a long time," Spencer commented. "My last partner's husband got jealous when were partnered together for a year. Said she spent way too much time with me. You married Agent Scully?" <There, I said it>

Scully almost felt like lying, "No."

<Yes!> thought Spencer.

"How about you Agent Mulder?" Spencer asked, just to include him.

"No," Mulder knew Spencer had just gotten the response he wanted from them. "You ever been married Agent Spencer?"

"Please agents, we're not working, call me Dan. Can I call you Dana and Fox?" He was avoiding the question.

Mulder spoke up right away. "No offense, Dan, but we prefer to be called by our last names."

Spencer went on, "That's alright with me. So Scully..."

That's the way the rest of the night went as Dan, although subtle, continued to learn more about Mulder and Scully's relationship. After dinner, Dan drove them to the motel and patiently waited to see which rooms the agents went into. After Mulder and Scully went into their separate rooms, Dan smiled in satisfaction and drove off.


MULDER'S ROOM
8:45 PM

Mulder decided to wait about a half an hour to allow Scully to settle in before he tried to apologize for his behavior earlier. He took off his coat and tie and loosened his shirt before knocking on the connecting door to her room. "Scully?" he called. When he got no answer he tried again, knocking harder this time "Scully?" He knew the door was probably unlocked, but he didn't want to go in unless she invited him first. He tried one more time and when he got no answer, he turned the knob and opened the door.


SCULLY'S ROOM

Upon entering her room, Mulder noticed the bed, she had already pulled back the bedcovers. But she was no where in sight. Then he heard a noise come from the bathroom. <She's in the bath, of course> He was about to turn to leave when something on the night stand next to the bed caught his eye. He sat on the bed. It was a an opened bottle of small white pills. The bottle was unlabeled and half full. He couldn't remember Scully taking any pills before. Except for when she was sick. But she had told him she was fine. <But she always says that.> He hoped that she wasn't sick again and just afraid to tell him.

Before he knew it, Scully was coming out of the bathroom. He put down the bottle and stood up. Scully was startled in his presence. She was wearing a bathrobe. "Mulder, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Scully, I wanted to talk to you. But when I knocked on the door you didn't answer, so..."

"So what, Mulder? You thought you'd come in and wait for me to get out of the bath?" She couldn't believe he'd stoop to this.

"No, I got worried so I came in. But when I heard you were in the bath, I was on my way out. Until I saw this." He picked up the bottle of pills and held them up.

Scully looked relieved. "Oh Mulder."

Mulder was scared of the answer, but in a small voice he managed to ask, "Scully, are you sick?"

"No, Mulder, no. I just needed some help getting to sleep. They're just sleeping pills." She had to assure him. That little voice had broken her heart. Mulder just nodded his understanding. Then his mind begin to wonder some more.

"Scully, how long have you been taking sleeping pills?"

"Oh you know. I've taken them in the past when I've had trouble sleeping before. But I don't take them regularly Mulder." She took the bottle from him.

Mulder nodded some more. "So, what's keeping you awake Scully?"

"I don't know. Nightmares, memories maybe, I'm not sure. Mulder, I don't really want to talk about them right now."

"Why not? It might help."

"It might help if you just let me go to bed and get to sleep too. I've already taken a pill and with any luck I hope to be out soon." She motioned toward his connecting door.

Mulder got the hint. "Fine then, if that's what you want."

"Yes, it is," she replied waiting for him to leave with her arms folded.

"Alright Scully, sleep well..." he said as he reluctantly returned to his own room, closing the door behind him. Scully let out a deep breath and sat down on the edge of the bed. She opened the bottle and took out two pills. She swallowed the pills before washing them down with a cup of water she had on the nearby table. She hoped sleep would find her soon.


MULDER'S ROOM
11:07 PM

Mulder laid back in bed watching TV. He was tired of hearing about the storm on the news. He flipped the channels to look for something else. His mind was on Scully, too. It had been an hour since he had heard anything from her room. He figured she was in a deep sleep by now. He knew if she was taking pills to help her sleep that those dreams or memories must be serious. He was no stranger to nightmares himself, but it would always help him if he could talk about them with Scully. He figured that the least he could do was to help her with hers. Maybe he could get her to talk about it tomorrow.


CHAPTER 3

PIKE NATIONAL FOREST PUEBLO, COLORADO
10:22 AM

Finally arriving at their destination had been trying for the agents. It all started when they woke up. Mulder had awakened late to find that the power had gone out overnight, and his room was an ice box. He was surprised when he realized he had awakened first, then he remembered that Scully had taken the pills. So in a panic, he had rushed into her room and after many tries finally managed to wake her up. But she was still so groggy that he had to practically help her into the bathroom so that she could shower. By the time that they were ready to hit the road, Agent Spencer had already waited for them for
30 minutes. His questioning looks didn't get past Mulder either who wasn't in his best mood this morning.

Agent Spencer, Mulder, Scully and Captain Harrison stood in the cold open air looking out into the vast wilderness of the forest. Captain Harrison was the oldest of everyone. He looked like he could have been a grandfather with his receding white hair and weathered face. He wasn't too thrilled with their tardiness. Lecturing them immediately on the importance of keeping on schedule and following the rules in the forest. Spencer already knew Harrison, so his all business attitude didn't seem to bother him one bit. Mulder who wasn't having the best day was irritated by the man, but, Scully took a liking to him almost immediately. He reminded her of her father in so many ways. She wondered what Ahab would look like now if he were still alive. And the way he had taken on the leadership responsibilities as when they had arrived, it was no doubt he was a Captain. Ahab had been the same way. Always ready to take charge, no matter what the situation.

Everyone was more than prepared for the outing with their huge and well insulated waterproof coats, boots and gloves. When they finally set out, Harrison took the lead followed by Spencer and then Mulder and Scully. The conversation was kept to a minimum as suggested by Harrison. Mulder was instantly reminded of their time in Antarctica. He wondered if Scully was thinking about that now. He still thanked the higher powers for allowing them to make it home. Although it wasn't under ideal circumstances, he still felt that he and Scully had grown closer from the experience. If she only knew how he had felt when she had opened her eyes and said "I'm cold". He had been so afraid that he would be too late. Too late to save her and himself, and that he would never get a chance to finish what they had started in his hallway.

After about 2 hours of hiking, Agent Spencer interrupted, "Agents, take a look at this." He pointed to the ground where the snow showed recent animal footprints.

"Do you recognized the animal?" Mulder asked Harrison.

Harrison shook his head. "It's definitely not a bear, and the imprint is too big and deep to be human."

"They look pretty fresh," added Spencer.

Scully studied the prints then added, "It has too many digits."

"What?" Harrison asked.

"Look seven digits." Scully pointed.

Mulder mumbled, "Curiouser and curiouser" Then louder, "They go both ways." He pointed to one set of prints going in one direction south into trees and vegetation, and then the other set going the opposite way towards the higher elevated areas leading to the mountain. "Maybe there's two of them."

"As in snowmen, Agent Mulder?" Harrison asked suspiciously.

"If that's what you want to call them. At least we know they do live in the snow, but with the evidence so far it's not a man we should be looking for."

"I've worked here for over 30 years now, and I have never seen anything to substantiate that rumor. It's just an old folktale made up by children and paranoid people."

"Actually the abominable snowman is a legend that goes back centuries with the people of the Himalayans. For years a large hairy ape like creature has been spotted regularly by the natives."

"And you think it's here in Colorado now? Harrison asked Mulder, who just looked at him seriously. "Well, if it's out here, we'll find it. But whatever this thing is, I'm sure there's a logical explanation for it, that doesn't involve a legendary snowman."

"Wow, that was just a little bit too much Scully for me," joked Mulder.

"What?" asked Scully.

Mulder smiled and answered, "Nothing... Look, I think we need to split up to follow these prints."

"Oh no!" objected Harrison. "I never split up my teams. That's why my people always make it back. We can follow one set and double back around to the next."

Spencer stepped in to help, "By the time we do that, there's no guarantee that the prints will still be here when we return. Especially if it snows again. And we'll cover the territory in better time anyway if we split up."

"I agree. The sooner we find this thing, the sooner we can locate the people. And if there's still a chance that they're alive, we need to move as fast as we can," Scully added.

"Well, it seems like I'm outvoted then. I suppose we should split up, but Agent Spencer and I will lead since we know our way around this area better."

"Why don't Agent Scully and I follow the northeast prints toward the mountain. While you and Agent Mulder follow those south toward the lake." Mulder wanted to object, but Harrison beat him to it.

"No, I think Agent Scully should come with me to the southern section. It'll even out our chances, just in case someone gets injured. She's a doctor and with your medical training..."

Scully cut in, "Really? I wasn't aware of that. What kind of medical training?"

Spencer blushed, "I was an EMT before I joined the F.B.I. I keep my license updated."

"I see... He's right then, we'll go south and you and Mulder go north."

"We need to move fast, we've only got about 5 1/2 hours of daylight left. We'll follow the prints no further than 9 miles out and then head back. If you run into trouble the radio should reach those distances. But keep in mind it will take us some time to get to you."

"I understand, excuse me..." Mulder pulled Scully away from the other men. "Scully, you okay with this?"

"I'll be fine Mulder. You just be careful out there." She patted his shoulder. She wanted to tell him more, but now wasn't the time."

"Okay then, let's get this show on the road." Mulder announced as they rejoined the others.

Spencer approached Scully and nodded a goodbye, "Agent Scully..." Mulder, who was standing right behind him, winked at Scully then walked away. That caused her to smile one of those rare smiles and Spencer mistakenly thought he was the cause. <Oh my God, she's beautiful!> he thought. Then Scully just nodded back and joined with Harrison as they started on their way.


CHAPTER 4

After an hour, Mulder and Spencer were still following the prints. There was no sign of the creature or of any other animals for that matter. Mulder was tired, but he was also determined to find this thing. He quickened his pace, annoying Spencer.

"Agent Mulder, don't you want to rest yet? We've been at this for over an hour now."

"I'm sorry, do you need a rest?"

"Just a few minutes if that's okay with you." Mulder slowed down before stopping near a fallen tree and sitting down. He tried to slow his rapid breaths as he relaxed a little. Spencer sat down next to him, pulling out his thermos and drinking some water. "I'm starting to think that we should have taken the low road."

"I wonder how they're doing?" Mulder said as he begin to day dream, remembering how Scully had smiled at him. "Let's call them." He tried to pull the radio from Spencer's belt. But Spencer stopped him.

"Wait... Only for emergency calls remember? If we get stuck out here we'll need to save as much as the battery as we can. I'm sure they're fine. They would have called if they found anything. "Spencer noticed Mulder's worried look, "You're really worried about her, huh? Don't worry, Harrison won't let anything happen to her. He's strictly by the book."

"Believe me, Scully can take care of herself. I'm just used to being the one there to back her up. You about ready?" Mulder started to get up.

"Yeah, I guess so." The two men went back to following the prints.


Harrison took the lead as Scully followed from a good distance behind him. They had made good time and were only about 5 miles away from the lake when Harrison suddenly stopped in his tracks. Scully quickened her pace to caught up with him.

"What is it?" Scully asked, breathing heavily.

"The footprints are gone."

"What?" She looked around. "They couldn't have just disappeared like that."

"They were here and then... gone." He pointed at the last print. Scully looked around for an explanation.

"Maybe we should follow these back. Is it possible we picked up old prints?"

"We've come this far already. And we're only about 5 minutes away from the lake. We should go on ahead and check out that area first, then we can double back and check the prints on the way back."

"Right," she said finally. Harrison once again, began to lead the way through the darkening woods.

After walking a moment, Harrison slowed down to walk next to Scully. "So tell me Agent Scully, do you really believe that there's a snowman responsible?"

"I don't know what to believe. I know that people are missing, and I know that those prints don't belong to anything classified as human."

"So your partner is the one with the wild imagination then."

"Mulder has... we've both experienced a lot of strange things in our work. But Mulder tends to have more of an open mind when it comes to investigating the unknown. I wouldn't count out any of his theories though."

"I didn't request the FBI's help with this matter you know."

"No kidding," Scully said under her breath as she was almost sure that Harrison would try to solve this whole case on his own if he could.

"They think I'm too old these days to do my job. If they would have let me handle the situation from the beginning, Fields wouldn't be missing now... and Agent Spencer is..." Scully noticed the lake as they approached it. The icy stream flowed quickly in one direction.

Scully cut him off as she announced, "It looks like we've arrived."

Harrison paused while he studied the lake. "It seems to be all quiet here. If you need to rest, now's the time." He pulled out his thermos and took a drink.

Scully sat on a rock nearby by stream and drank some water from her thermos. Harrison followed her and after refilling his thermos, sat across from her. "Where does it lead?" Scully said, motioning with her head to the lake.

"Down the mountain. The streams run all through this range. Spencer and your partner should come across a few of them."

"I guess that's one way not to get lost," Scully mumbled before she noticed Harrison staring at something behind her. She immediately turned around to see what it was. "What is it?" She began to reach behind her for her gun. But before she could pull it out...

"Agent Scully... You can give me the gun now." When she turned around, Harrison was holding a gun to her. She reluctantly gave him her gun.

"What do think you're doing?"

He took the gun away from her and with some effort, put it in his own pants. "What I'm doing Agent Scully, is saving your life."


CHAPTER 5

Mulder and Spencer trekked down the steep hill. They had followed the tracks until they couldn't see them anymore. Along with the snow, the wind was starting to pick up now and Mulder was more than ready to meet back up with Scully and Harrison.

"How much further do we have to go?" asked Mulder.

Spencer looked at his compass and watch. "About another 2 miles. If I know Harrison, they're already heading back."

"Good... I think I'm actually looking forward to a cheap and warm motel bed tonight."

Spencer didn't try to hide his laugh. "I'll bet."

Mulder was getting tired of this. "Look Agent Spencer... Whatever it is you keep trying to insinuate about Scully and me..."

"Wait, don't tell me! There's nothing going on between the two of you, right?"

Mulder nodded. "Right... Agent Scully and I are partners and... best friends."

"Good."

"What?" <I can't believe this guy>

"I mean, you know. That's good news for me then. Because I really like her and I think maybe we can hit it off."

Mulder still couldn't believe his ears. Of course he knew that Spencer was interested in Scully. But he had never thought he would admit it to him.

"What do you think Mulder? Doe's she like me?"

Mulder still couldn't believe it. "Scully?"

"No, yeah Scully. Come on, she must have said something to you about me?"

"Actually, we haven't had much time to talk lately."

"Well, you know her."

"Yes..."

"So do you think I have a chance?"

Now Mulder was just starting to get angry. "I think that's none of my business. If you're interested in Scully, I think you should take that up with her." A couple of yards away, in a tree a large white animal watched the agents approach. From the corner of his eyes, Mulder was only able to spot the animal running away.

Mulder went for his gun. "Did you see that?"

Spencer followed. "See what?"

"I just saw something behind those trees," he whispered as he approached the tree.

"What did it look like?" Spencer whispered back.

"I don't know... A bear maybe. But not like one that I've ever seen." The two agents walked through the woods with their guns drawn. Mulder went one way, Spencer went the other. After a silent search, suddenly Spencer let out a loud yell. When Mulder heard shots being fired he ran towards him. Spencer was lying on the ground clutching his right leg. Mulder searched the area before going to him. "Spencer?!"

"Over here!" Mulder ran over to him and bent over to assess his injuries.

"What happened?"

"It came from behind me! Started pulling me... Ahh, I think I hit it." Spencer spit out. He was trying to be brave, but it was obvious to Mulder that he was in pain.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah, but I'm pretty sure it's broken."

"Don't move... Did you see which way it went?"

"Over there somewhere, that way." Spencer pointed in the direction of more woods and a large cave. Mulder pulled out his flashlight and inspected the dirt closer.

"It looks like you did hit him. There's a trail of blood leading into that cave."  Mulder immediately started heading toward the cave.

"Wait! We need to contact Harrison and Scully now." Mulder stopped and nodded his approval as Spencer grabbed the radio out of his coat pocket. "Charlie 3 to Charlie 1... Charlie 3 to Charlie 1 come in... Come in Harrison... We found something here... Captain Harrison... this is Spencer come in... Come in Scully..."

Mulder's worried look broke through. "What's happening?"

"I'm not getting a response. Maybe they're out of range."

"To be out of range they'd have to be over 10 miles away. They would have had to break their route. They would have of called. You said Harrison followed the rules."

"He does... Well the battery can't be dead already. Maybe it's just malfunctioning. Let's not assume the worst, Mulder."

"There may be another one out there. We gotta head back." Mulder tried to help him to his feet. He didn't want to consider what could be wrong. He just knew he had to get to Scully.

"No, I need to keep the weight off of it for now. Anyway, if something is wrong, I'll only slow you down. If I stay here, at least I can keep an eye on that thing."

Mulder considered that for a moment. "Are you sure? I can help you."

"Yeah, go on and bring back help. Do you think you can find your way back?"

"Yeah, no problem. I remember landmarks and I used to be an indian guide if that's any consolation to you... Wait a minute." Mulder walked over to the cave and walked around it to the other side. When he came back about 2 minutes later, he seemed satisfied. "It looks like there's only one way in and out."

"Great. I'll be here waiting if he comes out." Spencer waved his gun in the air momentarily. "You be careful Agent Mulder."

"You too... And keep your radio on just in case. We will be back for you." Mulder left Agent Spencer against a large rock where he could see the entrance to the cave. As he jogged back, he couldn't keep the images of Scully being hurt out of his mind. <I knew she should have been with me> <why does this always happen to us> <I'm coming Scully, hang on...>


Scully stood across from Captain Harrison with her hands up in the air. He held his gun on her cautiously. "Agent Scully, I don't believe that you and Agent Mulder know what kind of situation you've gotten yourselves into here, do you?"

"I believe I know that it's against the law to hold a Federal Agent against her will."

"Well, I'm glad you're here to tell me these things... Let's go." He lead her off.

"Where are we going?"

"To meet some old friends of mine... This way."

After a short hike they arrived at their destination. A small cave on the opposite side of the river.

"Here we are."

Scully looked around. "What is this place?"

"You'll find out soon enough. Now, after you." The opening was small as they both had to duck their heads to enter. Once they were inside the dark cave, Harrison pulled out his flashlight. Scully, beyond annoyed now, turned to Harrison for directions.

"Stand back now..." Harrison bent down and dusted the dirt off of the cave floor to reveal a metal door. He opened the heavy door. A ladder led to below. Harrison nodded in that direction. "Let's go...and don't try anything, I'm watching you," he warned.

They finally reached the bottom after about a three minute descent to end up going through another door that lead to a small room. This brightly lit room had four walls and an old elevator that, according to the rusted dial went 10 stories down. It looked run down and deserted to Scully.

"Where are we?" Scully couldn't help but ask.

Harrison pressed the call button on the elevator. "An old undercover mining facility. Only a select group knew of it's existence, so it's not on any map." The elevator arrived accompanied by loud knocks. Harrison motioned her on. She complied and got on.

"Is this even safe?"

"It's safer than staying out there," Harrison said as the doors closed.

When they arrived on the 4th level, there were many doors. Harrison lead Scully to one room, inside was only a bunk bed and a chair. "This is where you'll stay. I'll bring you something to eat later."

"What? You're just going to leave me here?

"I have to... That monster will only kill you. And if it doesn't, they will."

"What do you mean they?"

"Look, I don't have time to explain right now. I've got to get to your partner and Spencer before it's too late."

"Captain please... Tell me what's going on." She thought maybe it was time for a different approach. "I mean if you're doing this to save me, I need to know. You don't need to hold me against my will. I can help you, you know."

"There's nothing you can do." He sat in the chair near the door and motioned with the gun for her to sit. She sat on the bottom bunk immediately.

"Why not?"

"It's the government don't you see? They made it, and now they can't control it."

"The snowman?"

"Yes... or whatever it is! It's nothing I've ever seen before. This thing doesn't exist in nature. They let it out and it hunts people."

"You think the government has let this thing get out of control?" Scully didn't know what to think. She figured that either Harrison was completely crazy or that there was some truth in his story since she was certain that he believed it if nothing else.

"No, I think they're studying it. They let it kill, and when those campers two years ago accidentally saw it, they had to kill them to keep them quiet. And then those kids last year, if the creature didn't kill them, those bastards did."

"Their bodies were never found."

"It doesn't leave any."

"And the father and son?"

"They're okay... They're here. I saved them like I saved you."

"You're holding them against their will too?

"No, not anymore. They understand now. They know that their lives are in danger. The boy photographed the creature. They would be dead right now if I hadn't grabbed them when I did. They're still looking for them."

"What makes you say that?"

"I've seen them."

"And you know for certain it's the government?

"Who else could it be? They come in their government vehicles and helicopters, and they have special permits. They have a section that's off limits to anyone but them."

"I want to see Mr. Brown and his son."

"You don't believe me."

"I want to, but I can't until I talk to the Browns. And you have to let me call Mulder. He's going to come looking for me soon anyway."

"Agent Mulder and Agent Spencer most likely won't even make it back to our meeting point." Scully looked to him for an explanation. "The creature... That's where it always happens."

"You let Mulder and Spencer go there knowing this?"

"I didn't have a choice. It was either that, or lead you and Spencer to your deaths. Look, Agent Spencer's my friend, but he's a man. And I couldn't willingly put a woman in that kind of danger. Besides, for all I know, you and Agent Mulder could be working with them. How do I know that if I turn over the Browns to you that you won't give them up?"

"Because if you knew anything our work, you'd know that this is what we do. We're not here to harm them. We're here to find them and bring them home. We can even put them into protective custody if needed. We fight for the truth, against these kinds of conspiracies. I assure you, the only reason that we were assigned this case at all is because of the snowman rumor. We investigate the unexplained and unusual. That's all."

"So you honestly don't know about the snowman project?"

"No... But if it is out there, Mulder will find it. Captain, give me the radio, we've got to warn them."

"The radio won't work down here."

"Then let's go."

Harrison hesitated momentarily before giving her gun back. Scully was relieved now that she had managed to win his trust. She felt just like a child again. She remembered trying to convince Ahab to see things her way. She had been in trouble many times, but just one look into those eyes and he had always had a soft spot for her. She remembered that, at times, he would even end up feeling bad for just disciplining her. Funny that Harrison still reminded her of her father after all he had done. Maybe because Ahab had had the same effect on her... She was a daddy's girl and on many occasions, when he had left for sea, she had been so furious with him, that she had promised to never speak to him again. But after he would explain to her that he was doing something that saved and helped millions of people, she would always forgive him. She had forgiven Harrison too. Afterall, he had been only trying to help.

"What about the Browns?" asked Harrison.

"They can't come with us. It's too dangerous. We'll let them know what's going on and then we'll come back for them later. Where are they?"

"Right down the hall."

"Then let's do it, we may not have much time." Scully was definitely starting to worry. She prayed that Mulder was safe and not too worried about her yet.


CHAPTER 6

Mulder had been walking now for an hour. He was tired, but he wasn't even close to considering stopping. It had started to snow even harder now and all the prints from before were now definitely covered. It didn't matter to Mulder since he had already recognized the area he was passing. He was sure that he was going in the right direction, but he still had so far to go. He estimated it would be at least another hour before he got to their original starting point. All he could think of was Scully now. If something happened to her, he would never forgive himself. Partly because he knew that he should have stayed with her, but he also knew that she wouldn't have appreciated his overprotectiveness at the time. But mainly because of his fear that she would never really know his true feelings for her. Sure, he had told her he loved her once, but he was almost certain that she didn't take him seriously. Why hadn't they discussed their true feelings about one another by now <Why Scully? Why do we keep doing this to ourselves?> He was so deep into thought that he almost didn't notice the figure move a short distance ahead of him. Mulder stopped in his tracks. Then he saw it... The eyes, large and yellow. And then the thick fur of dull white surrounding the large chest. And the hands and feet, many digits. For a minute he was paralyzed as he and the creature locked eyes. As Mulder prepared to be attacked, he reached for his gun and suddenly, the creature took off running, almost jumping away from Mulder in the other direction.     Mulder went after him using the creatures footprints as a guide when it ran out of sight into the woods. Nearby, he heard a frightening shriek followed by a gunshot being fired. Mulder picked up his pace immediately. When he found the source it wasn't what he was expecting. The creature lay dead in the snow. Three men in full military get ups were standing around it. With his gun pointed down, Mulder slowly walked over to the dead creature who was now bleeding onto the snow.

"Hold it right there!" said one of the soldiers as they raised their weapons. Mulder raised his hands.

"I'm a federal agent." One of the men took his weapon away from him. "Special Agent Fox Mulder. My I.D.'s in my pocket. I'm investigating reports of this creature." One of the men searched him and took his I.D. out and looked at it, then took his back up weapon as well. Mulder began to become annoyed, and when he didn't get any reply he asked, "Who are you anyway? Military?"

"I'm going to have to ask you to come with us, Agent Mulder."

"Not until you tell me who you are."

"Is anyone with you?

Mulder thought about it for a second. If these guys weren't official, he wasn't going to put Scully in any danger. "My partner... He's injured though, about three miles up. Can you help him?"

"Oh, don't worry, we'll take care of him." For some reason that wasn't exactly what he had wanted to hear.

"That was a little too cryptic for me guys," Mulder tried to joke. "Where are you taking me?" Before he knew it, the men had surrounded him. He felt the sting, but didn't realize what was happening until it was too late and the darkness had consumed him.


Scully and Harrison had made it back to the meeting point with no sign of Mulder.

"Well, this is it," Harrison announced. They had already talked on the radio to Spencer and learned about the attack. So they knew Mulder was on his way back to find them as well. Except he should have beaten them back there already according to Spencer. Scully was starting to worry. She pulled out her binoculars and scoped out the area.

"Still no sign of Mulder... He should have been back by now."

"You don't think he went looking for us, do you?"

"Maybe..." Scully knew Mulder would be worried enough about her to go after her. But she also knew that they would have seen him on the way back. Afterall, he did have a map of the route they took. "But we would have seen him."

"He could have gotten lost."

"No, not Mulder. I think we need to look for him."

"What about Spencer? We can't just leave him there."

"I know... We'll take the stretcher with us and head in that direction. Hopefully we'll run into Mulder."

"I'll call Spencer." Harrison pulled out the radio. After he couldn't get an answer, he tried again with no luck. "He's not answering."

"It could be the battery."

"No, something's wrong." With that the radio crackled on with a hiss.

"Charlie 1... Harrison? This is Spencer... Were you just trying to call me?"

Harrison looked relieved. "Yes, I read you. We couldn't find Mulder, but we're coming for you."

"I thought so... I just saw the helicopters and I set off a flare. Now that's what I call fast work! How's Agent Scully?... I sure could use her help with... "

Harrison cut him off as Scully walked over to hear better. "Spencer what are you talking about? What helicopters?"

"You're not with them?" Spencer sounded surprised.

"No!" Harrison looked at Scully, "It's them... Spencer, listen to me... Those people are dangerous. Stay away from them, hide!"

"Maybe Mulder's with them." Spencer tried to find a reason not to flee.

"No Spencer, get out of there!" The radio was disconnected soon after.

"Spencer! Spencer!" Harrison yelled helplessly into the radio.

Scully tried to calm Harrison down. "Captain, come on, let's go. We've got to find Mulder before they do."


CHAPTER 7

Mulder awoke to the sound of loud machinery moving all around. His head was throbbing and he felt nauseous. The room he was in was cold and dark. He tried to move his arms first and then his feet before he discovered that he was tied up. Then it all came back to him, how he had gotten there. He remembered the creature, the men, and the sting of the needle. He had to get out of there and get to Scully before they figured out that it wasn't just him and Spencer working on this investigation. <Oh no, Spencer, what have I done?> Mulder tried to clear his mind to think of a plan, and the door opened. The lights were turned on and it caused a terrible pain, but Mulder tried to ignore it and concentrate on the older gentlemen. "Agent Mulder, I must say, it's nice to finally meet you. I had heard so much about your little adventures, that you we're beginning to sound like nothing more than a fictional character to me. I never would have thought I'd get the chance to meet you in person like this. And certainly not under these circumstances."

Mulder wasn't in the mood to play games. "Who are you and why are you holding me here?"

"Oh I'm sorry, Agent Mulder. My name is Jackson, that's all you need to know. It seems you've stumbled on to our little private study here."

"The snowman. What exactly does this study involve?

"That's confidential information, Agent Mulder."

"What about my partner..." Mulder caught himself, "Agent Spencer? Where is he?"

"Oh don't worry, as you can see, he's safe. For now anyway." Mulder strained to turn his head and look behind him on the other side of the room for the first time. Agent Spencer lay unconscious and bound in the corner on the floor. "And since you mentioned it, your partner, the lovely Agent Scully, and Captain Harrison..." Mulder looked surprised, and Jackson seemed to be enjoying this... "Yes, surely you didn't think we'd believe you'd travel alone on this kind of a case? Mulder didn't answer. "You see we have this amazing little scanning device that allows us to pick up all radio frequencies in the area. Anyhow, we expect to have them in custody very soon." Mulder's worst fears were coming true.

"Who are you people?"

"Let's just say that our checks are signed by the same person."

"But they sent us on this one."

"Apparently. Someone in the ranks is obviously trying to expose us and bring our project to an end. So they decided to send none other than the legendary Fox Mulder to put a stop to us. But, they'll soon find out that it's only going to get him and his partner killed," Jackson said matter of factly.

"Scully hasn't seen anything. Why don't you just leave her out of this."

"I'm truly sorry, I would love to. But we can't be sure what she's seen until we talk to her. And once we talk to her, well... I'll leave out the details."

"You son of a bitch! If you lay one hand on her I'll kill you."

"Well, it seems that the rumor's true then huh? You and the beautiful Agent Scully are more than just partners." Mulder ignored that remark. "Lucky for you, I'm a hopeless romantic. Don't worry, I'll see to it that you get to say your goodbyes first." And with that he left the room leaving behind nothing but darkness.

"So is it true?" Spencer's pained voice came from behind.

"Spencer?" Mulder was glad to hear him.

"Yeah, who else? I'm okay... My leg's killing me though, but I think I'll make it." Mulder almost winced at that remark. He wasn't so sure about that.

"Good... How much did you hear?"

"Enough, to know that we've got to figure out a way out of here."

"Know anything about these people? asked Mulder.

"Not really... I mean, the military has always had full reign of the farthest northern range. It's been off limits to everyone else for as long as I can remember. But if these disappearances have something to do with them, why couldn't they handle it? And why call in the FBI?"

Mulder agreed, "Especially when they have something to hide."

"I'm surprised Harrison didn't know anything about this. Somehow, he's always been able to find out something about what they're doing up here. Even if it was top secret."

"Maybe he did know."

"And what? Didn't bother telling us?"

"I don't know. I just know that if we don't get out of here soon, we may never get a chance to ask him. And if they find him and Scully, it won't even matter anymore."

"Well, at the moment, I don't believe there's anyway for escape... Unless of course, you're some kind of escape artist?"

Mulder tried a little sarcasm, "Yeah, that's why I'm sitting here, in pain, with my hands cuffed and feet tied."

Spencer laughed, "It looks like we're going to have to wait for that perfect opportunity then."

"At least we have something to look forward to."

"Some of us, a little more than others, according to Jackson... So, is it true?"

Mulder knew what he was talking about. But he thought he'd play dumb for a while. "What?"

"That you're in love with Agent Scully?"

"Spencer look..."

"It's okay, I think I understand now."

"Is that so?" Now Mulder had to hear this.

"Yeah, I've seen the way the two of you look at each other.  At first I thought it was just because you've been partners for so long, but then I recognized that look. It's just plain and simple love. But then there's nothing about being in love that's simple anyway is there? And I think you're afraid for anyone to find out because you're partners. It's against policy, the FBI would separate you. So I figure either you're covering it up because of that, or that you both have a serious case of denial going on."

"Actually, it's more complicated than that."

"Are you saying I'm wrong?" Spencer had to laugh.

Mulder was tired of playing games now. He wanted Spencer to understand the relationship he had with Scully. Even if it was only to stop all his assuming. "No, the fact is... I do love Scully... And I know she loves me too. But I don't know if she's in love with me."

"You're kidding right? It's so obvious."

"But we've never discussed it. It's been important for both of us to keep our partnership professional from the start. And we've managed to do just that. But during these last few years together, we've both been through so much pain, loss and suffering, that we just became more to each other. I wish I can say I knew when it happened, but I don't. I just know that if she leaves the X-Files, or if something happened to her, I don't know if I could go on."


Scully and Harrison, breathing heavily, hid quietly behind the trees, deep in the forest. Harrison stared through the binoculars looking to the two helicopters that circled the area. "We're never going to be able to get up there."

"Not if they keep circling like that," Scully agreed.

"I could try the radio again."

Scully stopped him. "No! Don't use the radio. It's more than likely they're scanning all frequencies anyway." Harrison felt kind of stupid that he hadn't thought of that already.

"You're right."

"We're going to have to go back for back up," said Scully reluctantly.

"What about Spencer and Mulder?"

"I know, I don't want to leave Mulder either, but I don't see any other way around that now." She just hoped that he would be alright until she got back. She prayed that he wasn't hurt already. <I'm so sorry Mulder, I never got a chance to tell you how much I loved you.> She promised herself that if they both made it through this, things were going to change. But, she'd been promising herself that everytime something happened lately. She just needed to find the strength within her to go through with it this time.

"Don't you think they'll see us?"

"That's a chance we're going to have to take... Let's go." And with that, they headed back down hill towards camp.

They hadn't been on the run for 10 minutes before the helicopters moved in on them. This time in the clearing there was nowhere for them to hide. "Stay where you are," said a voice from above.

Scully stopped in her tracks, turned around and before she realized what Harrison was doing, it was too late. He pulled out his gun and took off running in the other direction. Scully saw the four men come out of the trees and approach him in the nearby distance. She yelled, "No! Captain!" and tried to catch up to him, but it was too late.

"I'm not gonna let them take me! Run, Agent Scully!" And took off in the other direction, with the men following him.

Scully decided to take this opportunity and ran as fast as she could. It was snowing even harder now, and she could barely see anything other than the white of the snow everywhere. Her heart raced, but she had to keep moving. She had to go faster! She quickened her pace. She was determined. She realized then that she was experiencing dejavu. <At a time like this?> Then it hit her, it was the dream. The terrible dream that had been keeping her awake the past few weeks was now coming true.

When Harrison saw that Scully had gotten a good distance away, he raised his gun and fired at the helicopter. Scully heard the shots, stopped in her tracks and closed her eyes when Harrison fell to the ground face first. <Oh no, Captain. What we're you thinking?>

There was no escaping now, another helicopter surrounded Scully now, and since she knew better, she surrendered her weapon and her hands went up immediately. All of her thoughts turned to Mulder as she waited to be taken into custody.


CHAPTER 8

Mulder and Spencer sat in the dark contemplating their situation and his relationship with Scully. Mulder had filled Spencer in about some of his and Scully's adventures over the years. He had even told him about Scully's abduction and her cancer and how he still felt responsible for it today. Spencer had been surprised that Scully had stayed with him for this long.

"You know what I think?"

"No, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me."

"I think you should tell her what you just told me. You're a lucky man. You two are great together. I mean, why else would she stay with you through all of that if she didn't love you? And neither of you are getting any younger. I say why waste anymore time?"

"I guess I just have to be sure that she wants this too. I don't want to ruin what we already have. She means too much to me, and the X-Files."

"Well it looks to me that the only way to find out, is to ask her. Look, I hate to say this but, it seems like a good time for a now or never. Tell her now while you still can."

"That's easier said than done."

"But if you don't tell her, she'll never know. Could you live with that? Especially now, knowing that we may never get out of this alive? It's up to you, Agent Mulder, it's now or never?"

"Now or never huh?"

Before Spencer could come up with anything else, the door swung open. Jackson and two of his armed guards walked in. "Well, Agent Mulder, I have some good news for you. Go ahead, untie them both." Jackson gave orders to one of his guards.

"Oh, just when I was starting to get used to it." The guard took off Mulder's handcuffs and untied his feet and then went over to untie Spencer. Mulder was sore, but he felt so much better.

"Don't get too funny Agent Mulder, I might change my mind about letting you see Agent Scully."

"Where is she?"

"She's here... The poor Captain didn't make it though. I have her in the infirmary now, but as soon as she regains consciousness, I'll make sure she's moved in here with you." This alarmed Mulder right away. But he had to think clearly if they were ever going to get out of this one. Then he got an idea.

"Agent Spencer could use some medical attention."

Jackson wasn't surprised. "I thought you might ask."

Spencer turned to Jackson immediately. "Fuck you! I don't need shit from you!"

"Spencer, yes you do. Even if it's only for a short time." Mulder tried to give him the code with his eyes. The one Scully would have gotten with little effort. When he seemed to get it, it surprised Mulder, but he nodded to Spencer.

"As I said, I'm a generous man. In a few hours all of you will be dead. But I can provide a little comfort in the meantime... Take him to the infirmary and have his leg looked at," Jackson ordered. Then the guard helped, or rather shoved, Spencer to his feet and helped him limp out the door. Mulder's heart raced. As usual, he was worried about Scully. <What did they do to her, that she ended up in the infirmary?> He just hoped it wasn't serious. And he hoped that Spencer would take advantage of his time there and check up on her.


After Spencer had arrived at the infirmary, the nurse looked at his leg and after cleaning it and wrapping it up, confirmed it as just a bad sprain. The doctor over the facility had already gone home for the day, so Spencer took the time to do some thinking. He was going to figure out a way to get out of there. Scully still layed unconscious on a nearby table. He had known it was her right away. There was only one other sleeping patient and he was obviously a big man of military standing. So her small frame and unmistakable red hair had given her away instantly. <Mulder is a lucky guy.>

The nurse approached him again. "Do you need something for the pain sir?" Nurse Nancy had been really nice to him but nervous with the guards. It was almost as if she regretted working there. She was in her early 40's and not too bad looking to Spencer. He didn't notice a wedding ring, so he figured she was single. He was thinking that perhaps she would help if she liked him. So, he had turned on the charm almost immediately.

"Yes, please..." After she brought him a couple of pills and some water, Spencer smiled. "Thanks Nancy." He then motioned over to Scully's sleeping form. "Can you please tell me what's wrong with her?"

The nurse looked around the room nervously and whispered, "Did they bring you in with her?"

"No, but I know who she is... She's good friend. Is it serious?" Spencer whispered back.

"No, she's just sleeping off the effects of the drugs. She had a bad reaction."

"Thank God."

"She was calling out to someone earlier... She kept saying 'mother' I think."

"May I?" Spencer got up to walk over to Scully's bed.

"Okay, but then you're going to have to go back with the guards. I was just supposed to treat you and send you back." They had been waiting for him outside of the infirmary the whole time.

"I appreciate it." Spencer grabbed Scully's hand and squeezed it.

Scully's eyes opened. "MMMullldderr?"

"No, it's me Spencer. Mulder's okay too. Relax, you're gonna be alright."

The nurse came over to give her a drink of water. After taking a small sip, Scully asked, "Where's Mulder?"

"They'll be taking you to him soon."

"What is this place?"

"I don't know, some secret military facility I suppose."

"Captain Harrison, he's..."

"Shh, I know... we know. They're holding us here. And I don't think they plan on letting us walk out of here either."

"We've got to get out of here."

"I know... and I've got a plan." The nurse looked nervously toward the door and then directly at Spencer and Scully.

"I know a way out, I can tell you how to get there, but you're going to have to find it on your own. They'll kill me if they find out I helped you."

"Nancy, you can come with us."

"I can't, I'm afraid of not only what they'd they do to me, but of what they'd do to my family."

"We could protect you and your family," Scully added.

"My family already thinks I'm dead..." She looked to the door again obviously scared.

"Nancy, can you tell us what's going on at this facility?" Scully asked her.

"You don't know? I thought that's why they brought you here."

"We were investigating the recent disappearances."

"They came for us after Mulder and I came into contact with the snowman. I got hurt when it attacked, but I think it was just trying to protect itself," added Spencer.

"What exactly is this snowman," Scully whispered.

"That I don't know. But I do know that they've been trying to train them for some kind of extreme weather warfare or combat. But the creatures aren't vicious enough though, I think that's the problem."

"Just how many are there?" asked Spencer.

"Two."

Scully was very curious. "Can you show us where they're kept?"

"I can only tell you, I'm not allowed there."

"Sir..." started Nancy.

Spencer corrected her with a smile, "Please, just Dan."

"Okay, Dan... I need you to get back on the table and lay down and pretend to be asleep." Seeming more relaxed now, she went over to the door and opened it. Scully and Spencer heard her lie while they pretended to be asleep."

"Excuse me? I'm going to have to keep the man a little longer. His condition is worse than I thought. I just gave him a sedative, so he'll be out the rest of the night at least. You can take a look at him if you want, but I just thought you'd want to know."

The two guards looked at each other. Then one of them said to the other, "I'll go inform Jackson, you stay here just in case." Nurse Nancy watched the one guard go and went back into the infirmary. After a few minutes passed the other guard came in and took a look at Spencer before leaving.

He spoke to Nurse Nancy in an almost threatening tone. "I'll be back for the woman when she wakes up."

After he was gone, Nancy walked up to Scully's bed. "They've been waiting for you to wake up so they can take you away."

Spencer had turned his head to the side and opened his eyes already. "They're going to take you to Mulder, they promised him. Tell him I've got a plan and I'm going to get us out of here."

Scully whispered back, "What exactly is your plan?"

"I don't have time to go into it right now. Just tell Mulder that I said it's now or never and he'll know what I'm talking about." And then he smiled, winked and closed his eyes again.

Scully mouthed now or never and nodded her understanding. She hoped he knew what he was doing. And now that she was going to see Mulder, things were actually starting to look up. But she also knew how quickly that could change. In a low voice she said, "Be careful, Agent Spencer."

"Good luck to all of you..." Nancy added. "I'm going to call them in now okay?" After they were set, she walked over to the phone and made the call.


CHAPTER 9

When the door opened, Mulder couldn't have been more relieved to see Scully standing there behind the big guard. "Scully!"

"Mulder!" She practically ran to him, when the guard left the room. They embraced for a few seconds before regretfully letting go.

"Are you alright."

"Yes, I'm fine Mulder... How are you?"

"Much better now."

"I didn't know what had happened to you."

"Scully, I saw the snowman."

"Mulder I know."

He sat down on the cot and she followed, sitting on the other side. "You saw it too?"

"No, but Harrison did, and he told me what's been going on."

"Harrison? They said he was dead."

"He is... He tried to shoot at them, but... I couldn't stop him, he didn't want to end up here."

"I think I know why." Scully just looked at him puzzled. "You check in, but you never check out."

"That's what he said. Mulder, the Browns are still alive. They've been hiding out at an old secret mining camp that Harrison knew about. He showed me where they were, said he was saving them. They didn't deny his allegations either."

"They're responsible for all those disappearances Scully. And this whole fiasco is being funded by none other than our government, as usual."

"Skinner never did tell us how we got this case."

"I don't think he knew Scully. It was planned from the top, to put this operation away. Who else are they going to get to uncover a conspiracy like this without completely ruining their careers?"

"But why create this creature anyway?"

"I don't know, I haven't been able to get any straight answers yet."

"At least now we have some idea of where they're keeping it, we can always come back. That is, if we can get out of here."

"I'm beginning not to care about anything else except for that. They're going to kill us if we don't figure out something soon."

"Spencer's working on that."

"What? Did you talk to him?"

"A nurse in the infirmary is helping us. He says he has a plan."

"That good to hear. Any idea what he's planning?"

"He said you'd know... Something about it's now or never." He didn't say anything, but she could tell he was in deep thought.

"What is it Mulder?" She moved closer to him.

He grabbed her hands and held them. "Scully, do you think we'll make it out of here alive?"

"Mulder, what are you talking about?"

"Well?"

"Yeah, you know we've been in worst situations."

"Scully, if we don't get out of here... I want you to know that... I need you to know how I feel about you." He couldn't remember ever being this nervous before.

"Mulder..."

"No, Scully, let me finish."

He took a deep breath, and looked at her seriously. <It's now or never.> "Scully, I love you."

She didn't want to assume too much, so her answer was simple. "I know... I love you too." <We're best friends remember?>

He had to make sure that she knew exactly what he was talking about this time. "No... What I mean is that... I'm IN love with you Scully."<There, I said it.>

Scully couldn't believe what she was hearing. "Mulder... I... I don't know what to say." <Oh my God, is this really happening?>

"You don't have to say anything, Scully. I just needed to tell you that. I'm just sorry it took me so long."

So it was true. She knew this time would come eventually. She guessed that now was as good a time as any. Afterall, most of their revelations usually came in times of trouble. <It's time to face the music Dana.> Scully closed her eyes and took a deep breath to calm her nerves before replying, "No Mulder, I'm sorry... You have tried to tell me before. I guess I just didn't want to believe it then. I kept telling myself that it was just your way of trying to keep me around."

"Well, at least it worked then." They're eyes met for a moment, and then there was an awkward silence and Scully's eyes moved around shyly.

"Mulder, I could never leave you. Because I know I'm needed on the X-Files, but mostly because I'm in love with you too." Then, when she got the nerve to look at him again. "I have been for a long time now."

Mulder couldn't hold back his smile and Scully soon joined him, followed by a long embrace. And then there was just silence again as the held on to each other. They broke the embrace and looked into each other's eyes. It was the hallway all over again. But this time there was no bee to stop them. As their lips met, time seemed to stand still. And then after a moment, the door opened, and neither one of them heard it.

"Well, well." Jackson interrupted them. They pulled away from each other, leaving a respectable amount of distance between them. "I see you're using this time wisely?" Jackson was obviously enjoying his little interruption.

"What do you want Jackson?" Mulder was getting angry.

"I just figured it would be proper to meet the lovely Agent Scully in person. After all, I am the one authorizing your terminations. Agent Scully, it's my pleasure." Jackson held his hand out to shake Scully's. She just ignored him. "Well, have it your way."

"You won't get away with this, you know." Scully finally offered.

"Oh but I will, and fortunate for you, you'll never know the difference. I'll give you the rest of the night."

Mulder and Scully looked at each other then.

"Try to have a good night. Sometimes it's a blessing to know how much time you have left." And with that Jackson left the room leaving it in darkness once again. Mulder grabbed Scully into his arms.

"We can still get out of here, right Scully?"

"I know we can."

"I was hoping that they wouldn't have found you."

"Mulder, I'm right here where I belong."

Then Mulder helped her to lay down on the cot next to him. "Are you cold?" He pulled the wool blanket over the both of them.

"Not as long as you keep holding me." He tightened his grip around her waist as Scully snuggled in to his embrace.

"I never wanna let go."

"Mulder?" Something was still bothering Scully.

"Yeah?"

"What is Spencer's plan?"

"I still have no idea."

"Now or never?"

"Well, you know how much Spencer likes to talk... Well that's all we managed to do before they took him away. But he let me talk for once and helped me discover the truth I've been denying to myself, about us."

"And you thought he was interested in me."

"No, I think he was, but then he realized the truth about us. He said that we were just too scared to admit it. And that I should tell you how I feel about you, before it's too late."

She understood now. "And in our current situation, that meant now or never."

"Right. And I choose now."

"I never thought we'd get to this point. What'll we do now?"

"Let's not think about that right now. I just want to be with you now, for how ever much time we have left."

"Mulder, you're not trying to say goodbye to me are you?"

"Never."

"Good, because when we get out of this, I'm going to want to finish this conversation."

"It's a deal then."

They didn't talk much over the next hour as they stayed in each other's arms. At first Mulder stayed awake listening to Scully breathe for a while until she fell asleep. And when he was sure that she was resting, he soon followed her in sleep.


Later that night, Agent Spencer was well on the way of successfully completing his escape plan. He limped quietly through the long hallway that lead to the holding rooms, where Mulder and Scully were being held. His leg was feeling better but he still found it rather difficult to walk. With Nancy's knowledge of their schedules and help, they had been able to overpower the 2 guards that were posted in the hallway. They had tricked them and then injected them with enough drugs to keep them out for hours. Then left them in an a maintenance room. But he still needed to be as quiet as possible to avoid a run in with any of the other guards. Spencer approached the door to Mulder and Scully's room and reached into his pocket to grab the key.

In the room, Mulder heard the key turn in the lock and gently shook Scully awake. "Scully... Somebody's coming in?" he whispered.

Scully, who was startled, mumbled "What?"

"The door."

When her mind had cleared, she asked, "What time is it?"

Mulder illuminated his watch. "3 o'clock."

When the door opened, all they could see was the dark outline of a tall man. When Spencer turned on the lights, all he could see was the shock in Mulder and Scully's eyes. He couldn't believe his eyes. They were still laying on the cot together.

"Please tell me that I wasn't interrupting anything here?" Spencer announced.

"Spencer?" Mulder couldn't remember the last time he had been so happy to see any other agent besides Scully.

"Last time I checked. That is if you don't mind postponing your little snuggle session." He closed the door behind him.

"Not at all." Scully quickly answered as they both got up off of the cot. "How'd you get in here?"

"It's a long story. I'll tell you about it later. After we get the hell out of here... Here, take these." He pulled out two 2 guns from under his jacket, and passed them to Mulder and Scully. "We don't have much time."

"What about our coats, it's freezing out there?" asked Scully.

"Were going to have to stop by the infirmary before we go. I've got all that waiting for us there. And Nancy, if she decides to come."

Mulder didn't want to waste any time. "Let's go then."


CHAPTER 10

At the infirmary, Nancy paced nervously and looked at the clock while waiting for Spencer to return with Mulder and Scully. She was looking forward to meeting this partner of Agent Scully's who had seemed so special to her. Spencer had told her that Mulder and Scully belonged together and he had to get them out of here, even if it was only for that reason alone. She had really started to like Spencer after that. She had always thought of herself as the romantic type, before getting caught up in all of this. But she had given up on all hopes of ever settling down lately. And now that Dan had come into her life, she was starting to feel a little hopeful again. <Maybe I should go with them.> The main door opened and Nancy hid behind one of the empty beds. Then she heard Dan's voice.

"Right in here... She said she'd be waiting. Nancy?" he whispered loudly.

She knew it was safe to come out then. "Dan, thank God." She looked over at Scully and then Mulder. "You must be Agent Mulder?"

"Yes, nice meeting you. Thank you for helping us."

He was good-looking and polite. She could see what Scully saw in him already. "Don't mention it. I have all the gear you'll need in here." She walked over to her office and opened the door.

Scully was the first to follow her, "Nancy, I still think you should come with us."

"I agree." Spencer added as he and Mulder entered her office. "The FBI will be bringing back a task force once we notify them. And you'll be taken into custody with everyone else unless you come with us now. You can still be cleared." The agents put on and fastened the large insulated coats Nancy had stolen for them.

"It's now or never Nancy." Mulder added looking at Spencer, who smiled and nodded at Mulder.

Nancy thought about it for a few seconds. "Okay."

"Good." said Spencer

Scully help her put on one of the coats, "Nancy, you made the right decision."

"I hope so."

"Let's go, we only have about three hours until sunrise. We're going to have to move fast," Spencer announced and then were on their way out.


They had been on the run now for a little over two hours. They were making good progress considering. The whole time, Mulder had been helping Spencer walk through the thick snow, with his injured leg. Nancy had stuck close behind Scully the whole time. She had been impressed by her strength from the start. She had always admired women who chose professions dominated by men.

"Are we almost there now?" Nancy asked feeling a bit overwhelmed.

"We still have about 3 miles left. I'd say let's rest but we can't afford that privilege," answered Spencer.

"I understand... I know they'll be coming after us when they figure out we're gone."

"All the more reason for us to keep moving," Mulder added.

"Do you think they've found the guards yet?" Scully asked Nancy.

"If it all goes well, they won't even suspect anything until the shift change."

That's when they heard the helicopters in the distance. Mulder let go of Spencer and looked back towards the mountain. "Tell me I'm just imagining that," Mulder said to no one in particular.

Nancy was scared now. "Oh no!"

"It's okay. We just need to get out of the open like this. We're going to have to make a run for those trees." Spencer pointed ahead to an area surrounded by trees.

"Let's go." Mulder helped Spencer again as they all ran to the tree filled area. With the helicopters slowly approaching, Scully and Nancy took the lead.

Once they were covered by the tall trees, they stopped to hide. While they were hidden in the tall trees the helicopters flew above them. And after circling for a while, they left the immediate area and then proceeded to move further away from them.

Mulder and Spencer we're hiding together, they had gotten separated from Scully and Nancy. After seeing the coast was clear, Mulder wanted to make sure that Scully was alright.

"Scully!" When she didn't answer, he went looking for her. "Scully, where are you?"

"Mulder, here! I'm okay." Scully approached.

"It looks like we fooled them for now."

"Where's Nancy and Spencer?"

"He's over there. Nancy's not with you?"

"I guess we got separated." They walked over to Spencer who sat down resting.

"Where's Nancy?" he asked immediately.

Scully took responsibility, "It's my fault, I lost her. But she couldn't have gone too far. Let's find her and get out of here before they come back." Then she and Mulder walked back to where Scully had been hiding to look for her, both shouting out her name. "Nancy!?"

"Nancy!" Mulder repeated.

It was then that he saw four men headed their way. "Scully!" he grabbed her, pulled her behind a huge tree trunk out of the view of the men and said to her quietly, "Foot patrol, lets go!"

Then Scully saw they had a gun to Nancy's head, "Oh my God Mulder! They've got her. We've got to help her."

"I think we should get to Spencer first." Scully just nodded her agreement and they went back to where Spencer rested. "We've got visitors."

"How many?" Spencer seemed up to the challenge.

"Four, as far as I could tell...And they've got Nancy."

"Great... Think we can take them?"

"Yeah, but not without risking Nancy's life."

"Well, it looks like that's a chance were going to have to take if we still want to get out of this alive."

The plan was to surprise the men, so Mulder, Scully and Spencer took cover and waited for the chance at an ambush. When the men approached, one was pointing his weapon at Nancy. Mulder signaled, and all three agents, pointed their weapons at the men.

Mulder did the honors, "We have you surrounded, drop your weapons... Now!"

The men we're startled at first, but when they looked around and didn't see Scully or Spencer, who were well hidden, so the leader gave a signal and two of the men began firing in Mulder's direction. And with that gunfire emerged from everywhere. Scully fired hitting one of the men in the chest, and Spencer shot two other men, but not before one of their bullets reached Mulder. Mulder fell over, grabbing his stomach in pain, and when Scully saw this she wanted nothing more than to go to him immediately, but she noticed the man holding Nancy was distracted. So she took advantage of it and shot him. Nancy was just as surprised as he was when he fell over in pain. Scully ran up to her, "You alright Nancy?"

Nancy was still shocked and too out of breath to even answer, so she just nodded.

Scully was glad she was okay. "Good... Here, in case they get up." Scully took the gun from the fallen man, and gave it to Nancy. Then she ran over to see about Mulder, who was already being helped by Spencer.  Spencer wasn't surprised with Scully's concern when she sat down next to him.

"Oh my God, Mulder?"

"Scully..." he moaned.

"It's not bad Scully, minimal bleeding, no exit wound..." Spencer informed her.

"Let me see." It wasn't that she didn't trust Spencer's diagnosis, she just had to see for herself before she could relax. Spencer wasn't surprised, he got up and walked over to Nancy. She looked over Mulder's wound. "Try to be still Mulder." After her examination, she did feel better. She took a deep breath, "He's right Mulder, it's not bad. But we've got to get you out of here."

Spencer and Nancy walked up to them. Nancy was feeling much better now. "Three of them are dead, and he's not going anywhere." The other man was unconscious and obviously in worst shape than Mulder was.

"The good news is that we have a jeep now." Spencer motioned to the unconscious man. "He said it was just a half of a mile north of here." Then he looked at Scully. "I think you and Nancy should go get the jeep, and bring it back. Then maybe we can finally get out of here." Scully looked reluctant at first. "Look, Mulder shouldn't be moved, and you know I'd only slow you down."

Mulder didn't want Scully to worry so added his encouragement, "Go ahead Scully, don't worry about me."

"Mulder..."

"Scully please, it's the only way." He tried to hide the pain in his voice. Scully looked at Spencer and he got the hint to leave them alone. He walked over to talk with Nancy.

"Mulder, I 'm going to go okay? I just need you to promise me you'll be here when I get back."

"Oh, that's easy. Where shall I go Scully?"

"I love you... You know that don't you?"

"Yeah, I kind of figured that." And all she could do was smile at that remark. She bent down and gave him a gentle kiss before getting up.

"You ready Nancy?"

"Yeah." Nancy shouted, holding up the keys she had taken from the man. "You all set?"

"It's now or never," answered Scully. Both Mulder and Spencer looked surprised at her remark.

"Be careful ladies," Spencer said as they set off for the jeep.


FBI HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON D.C.

Skinner sat at his desk barely looking over some reports. He was particularly distracted this morning because he hadn't heard anything from his two best agents in almost 48 hours now. And he had made it clear to them to keep him posted on their progress from the start. He had expected a call from them last night, but when they didn't call he just figured he would talk to them this morning. So now, the whole morning, he'd been worried. He had asked Kim to try and get a hold of them at the motel that they were staying at, but she had been unsuccessful. And she had also failed to contact Agent Spencer at the Denver Field Office. So once again, Mulder and Scully were possibly in trouble and if he didn't hear something soon, he was going to have to go find them himself. And that was something he wasn't looking forward to. Kim entered at that moment. "Excuse me Sir, I just got a call from the Seattle Field Office. They found Agents Mulder and Scully."

"What happened?"

"I'm not sure. They're on a chopper in route to Denver right now, University Hospital. Would you like for me to book you on the next flight sir?"

"Yes, thank you Kim." Skinner couldn't help but wonder what they had gotten into this time. He had gotten used to visiting them in way too many hospitals over the years. This time he felt almost responsible, since he was the one who had assigned them the case. It was the least he could do to show up at the hospital. He had a feeling this case was going to end up being so much more than a simple missing person's case. <Somebody's got some explaining to do.>


CHAPTER 11

UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL DENVER, COLORADO

Mulder awoke in his bed to find Scully's blue eyes staring down into his. She was smiling at him, one of those rare big ones. All he could do was smile back. He couldn't remember how he had gotten there. He just figured that everything must have went smoothly after Scully and Nancy had returned with the jeep.

"How are you feeling?" Scully ran her hands through his hair.

"Better now that you're here."

"I've been here, what took you so long?"

"What's time is it?"

"10 AM... They removed the bullet, you're going to be fine."

"I don't think anything can stop that now."

Skinner entered the room, "Well, look who's awake... Agent Scully."

"Sir." she sat up and returned his greeting.

"Well Agent Mulder, congratulations. It looks like the two of you managed to put another conspiracy to rest."

Scully corrected him, "Three."

Mulder was curious now. "What?"

"The facility where you were being held has been cleaned out entirely. And according to my contacts, that was the main reason behind being given this case."

Mulder was getting angry, "Great, it's nice to know we're still being used... What about the snowman?"

"There was no evidence found that supports that there was ever even a creature of the type that you and Agent Spencer described."

Mulder was disgusted. He wanted to change the subject. "How's Spencer?"

Scully answered that, "He's fine. In his own room now... Nancy's been keeping him company."

"No, protective custody?"

"We didn't think it would be necessary anymore, under the circumstances," Skinner replied.

"Anyway, Agent Spencer has decided to personally look after her during his medical leave," Scully added, slightly blushing.

"I bet he will."

"Well, Agents I have a flight back to D.C. in an hour. I'm glad I was able to see you in a more alert state. Get well soon Agent Mulder."

"Thank you Sir, I will."

"Then I'll see you both in a couple of weeks?" Skinner said before leaving.

Scully was shocked, "Sir?"

"I know you've both been through a lot on this one and once again the order came from above to give you both some well deserved time off." He looked at Scully then, "I'm sure you could use the rest Agent?"

"Yes, I could actually."

"Hey Scully, I'm starting to really like those higher ups," Mulder joked.

"Well, Agents... I'll see you back in D.C."

"Have a safe flight Sir." Scully added as he walked out and moved back over closer to Mulder.

"When was the last time you slept, Scully?"

She crawled into the small hospital bed with him. "Let me see, I believe the last time I slept, I was wrapped up in your arms."

"Well, maybe it's time you got some more sleep then."

"I was thinking the same thing."

"Is it just me, or do we have bad timing?" Spencer was asking Nancy as she pushed him into the room in a wheelchair. Scully got out of Mulder's bed. "It's nice to see you're awake again, Mulder."

"Spencer, hey, just the man I wanted to see."

"Whatever for?"

"To thank you... Without you, we might not have ever gotten out of there alive."

"Don't mention it. Now remember, it was my hide on the line too."

"We appreciate everything you did for us... Both of you." Mulder looked at Scully and grabbed her hand and then looked back at Spencer. He seemed to understand.

"Just glad I could help."

Nancy spoke, "I should be the one thanking you guys. Who knows where I'd be now, if I wouldn't have met you."

"You made the right decision." Spencer comforted her, rubbing his hands up and down her arm.

Scully wanted to thank him too, "We owe you one, so if you need anything, don't hesitate to ask... And I want to see you both for dinner at my place once we get out of here."

It wasn't hard convincing Spencer, "Sounds good to me. I haven't visited D.C. in a while."

"I've never been there," added Nancy.

"Then I'm going to have to show you around," Spencer informed her.

Then the nurse walked in and announced, "I'm sorry folks, visiting hours will be ending soon, and Agent Mulder really needs to get some rest now."

"Alright, alright, I'll see you two later then," said Spencer. Then he turned to Nancy, "Let's go babe." Nancy just laughed, waved and wheeled him out of the room. Mulder just stared at Scully for a while and then when the nurse finally left...

"Mulder we still need to talk ...about us."

"There'll be time for that later, Scully. You're tired and besides, you heard the nurse, so let's get some rest now."

Scully suddenly realized that she was very tired. "I thought you'd never ask." And then she crawled into bed with him again and soon they were both fast asleep. And no nightmares awakened Scully for a long time after that.

THE END

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