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Dream Weaver (2)


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They made their way slowly to the site where their tents had been ripped by the buck. Scully bent and picked one up, holding it aloft to access the damage. "This ones not too bad. Maybe if we use both of these, it'll make one useful tent."

She and Mulder set to work. An hour later, they had draped the two tents in such a way as to give them adequate shelter from wind and possibly rain. Scully hoped it would not do much of either. Spreading their blanket on the ground underneath the tents, she crawled in and called to Mulder to join her.

"Be right there, Scully." Mulder stood staring at the full moon. He wondered what they would do now should they fall into a dream state. The dreamweaver stone was gone, and they were defenseless against the entity. The only way around it that he could see was to remain awake, but they could only do that for so long. What happened when tomorrow came?

Scully popped her head out of the tent. "Mulder, I've been wondering about something."

Mulder knelt down and crawled in to sit beside her, drawing his long legs up close to his body. He looked at her expectantly, and she continued.

"The roses seem to have some sort of significance. Not just the place where the victims were buried."

Mulder thought about it for a moment. "Well, the victims are fertilizing the roses." he mused.

Scully nodded. "But I wonder if there isn't a rose for every victim."

Mulder raised his brow. "That's rather fanciful for you, Scully," he said, "but I like it."

Scully smiled a little. "You like it?"

Mulder thought about the dozens of people who lost their lives to Isaiah Crawford becoming food to create a glorious bloom that symbolized each one of them, and said softly, "Yeah, I do."

They sat there for a moment longer in silence except for the chirping of the bugs. "Scully, you know we can't go to sleep. Not even one of us."

She nodded. "I know." Suddenly, her hand came out and she grabbed his wrist. "Do you hear that?"

He was instantly on alert. "What?" he whispered, leaning toward the flap of the tent. A distinct rattling could be heard.

"A rattlesnake!" Scully said. She held very still as she saw the bottom of the flap move. It's out there! Carefully, Mulder pulled his gun from his waist and aimed it at the lump under the fabric. Two shots, and the thing lay still. Carefully, Mulder lifted the flap and uncovered the dead rattler.

"Looks like a timber rattler." he said, grabbing it by the tail and flinging it into the woods.

Scully settled back down. "Shit!" she said with feeling. She shifted onto the arm that wasnt hurting. "Now what do we do, Mulder? Were sitting here in the dark, and we can't sleep. Got any ideas?"

"I've got one.." Mulders teeth flashed in the darkness.

"Got any ideas that are likely to happen?" she amended.

Mulder was already berating himself. They should have stayed in the car, where at least they had protection against the elements! The winds were already beginning to pick up, and thunder rumbled out a distant warning. He sat up, his mind and body humming with the need to do something, to take some kind of action. He pulled out his flashlight, holding it beneath his chin, knowing that the effect distorted his face. "Hey Scully, we could always sit around the campfire and tell ghost stories."

She shrugged, matching his posture, legs drawn up. She crossed her arms over her knees in an effort to elevate her injury, though the change in position seemed to give her precious little respite. He watched her in the shadows, noting that she resisted the urge to rub it, knowing that any manipulation would only encourage the spread of the irritating agent. Medical training demanded that she take rudimentary precautions, even in this hellhole where the only rules were that there were no rules.

Mulder already knew there was no way they would make it till morning without falling asleep. He looked at his watch, realizing he no longer pretended to keep track of the date. He frowned, though, when the pale green glow displayed the date. "Scully, we've been gone too long. There should be a search party out by now."

She twisted her neck, popping the much-abused vertebrae, encouraging her body to realign itself. "Yeah, I guess so." She was doing whatever she could to distract herself from some unavoidable truths, and it wasn't working all that well. Mulder smiled, though he had the sense to turn so she couldn't see it. Her comeback notwithstanding, she was having an obvious argument with her own psyche about what they could and could not do.

He slid in behind her, his hands going to her shoulders. When she tensed up, he chided in an intentionally bad Austrian accent, "Ja, we going to pump you up!" His fingers kneaded the knots in her neck and shoulders, and he felt the tension finally begin to slip away. He caught the giggle she tried unsuccessfully to cover up, and his hands moved up to her temples, rubbing circles just in front of her hairline. She automatically leaned back against him, and his grin widened considerably.

"We have to stay awake, Mulder," she repeated firmly. "You're not helping."

He couldn't resist. "Am I putting you to sleep, Scully?"

He could have sworn she was purring by that point. "Maybe," she evaded. "We should have stayed in the car."

Ever Scully, he thought, change the subject, convince yourself that makes it go away. "I was thinking along the same lines. Tell me again, why are we out here in the rag that wants to be a tent, instead of crawling into the back seat of the car?" She was right; they needed to stay awake, and he couldn't think of a better way than to keep throwing subtle and not-so-subtle innuendoes her way. She could trade barbs with him all night, and probably would.

"Because that... thing was there. Besides, Mulder, I've always wanted to spend a night in the middle of nowhere with bears and bucks and snakes and a tent that thinks it's a sieve." She reached up and poked a finger through one of several holes in the fabric. "Just peachy keen," she grumbled.

He dropped his hands to her shoulders, drawing her back flush against his chest, then circling her with his arms. He figured she was going to kill him anyway before the night was over, he might as well die happy. "Well," he mused, "There's always go fish, but I didn't bring any playing cards."

For a moment she said nothing, and he began to fear she'd dozed off in spite of his best efforts. Instead, she craned her neck back to see him. "You know, Mulder, sometimes you choose the wrong time to be a gentleman."

Mulder coughed. "Now I'm dreaming!" he mumbled. "I'm sorry, Scully," he added in a whisper.

"You're not dreaming, Mulder," she sighed. "I'm just in the mood to heckle someone, and you're the only one available. And you don't have anything to apologize for." As an afterthought, she added, "Though I'm beginning to get the idea you're a little too happy for it to be considered torture."

He shifted his weight, trying to create a little space between them, but she followed his movements with her own. She could tell that his frustration level was already through the roof, his nerves frayed, his body making demands for which he believed he couldn't afford the payments. He pushed himself back and away from her, running a trembling hand through his short brush of dark hair. "Don't do this to me, Scully. Not you, please?"

She reached for his hand, puzzled at the sudden shift in his mood. The playfulness had fallen away, replaced by a pain she wasn't sure she understood. She tugged at his hand, drawing him back to sit across from her, his profile subtly mottled by the dim slivers of moonlight sifting through the tattered canvas. "Mulder - ?"

He bit his lip, seeming to stare at the unvoiced question that hung in the air. She wasn't even sure if she was dreaming or awake any more, and suspected he shared the fugue state. "Scully, do you know where the Dream Weaver is?" It was a non sequiter, and yet it was crucially important to him.

She shook her head. "I lost it. Don't you remember?"

"Did you ever have it?"

Scully blinked. "It was in my pocket."

He squeezed her hand. "What if it wasn't real? What if it was just another element of the dream, a phantom talisman created to divert our attention from the truth?" She could almost see his mind at work, could feel the hum of it through his fingers. His intellect was a work of art in itself. And at that moment, she was feeling just perverse enough to kill him for changing the subject.

And then, a niggling thought pushed it's way up through to the fringe of her consciousness. They had each behaved well outside their normal parameters ever since their initial encounter with Isaiah Crawford. They had each one made tentative advances to the other, a reverse tug-of-war that seemed intent on keeping an artificial distance. Even in the close quarters of their makeshift shelter, each made a pass at closeness and the other stepped back. Scully knew Mulder's reaction to her was his own, and she knew he damned well wouldn't have pushed her away of his own choice.

Their entire convoluted dance wasn't their own. "He's manipulating us, Mulder. He's trying to separate us." The lean figure across from her seemed taken aback at her statement. "Think about it," she went on. "Neither one of us has behaved rationally since we got here. We didn't even think to check the motor on the houseboat until how many days afloat? He's pulling our strings and we're letting him. Mulder, I should have thought about this to begin with. We both agree that Isaiah Crawford is someone fundamentally evil. He's the stuff of nightmares, maybe an incarnation OF nightmares. We're trying to fight him on his terms, with the Dream Weaver, but it's not the stone that's beaten him back."

Mulder nodded slowly. "I I think you're right," he mused. "It was never the Dream Weaver, was it?"

She drew up a memorization from her catechism. "Love... 'bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails...' It's from the Bible, a passage from Corinthians."

Mulder had frozen in place. He wasn't breathing for a long moment. "Scully - "

She went on, "I don't think it said love overcomes all things, but I think it's the only thing that will overcome Isaiah Crawford."

"Scully!" His voice was strangled. "Are you saying you love me?"

"There has to be a way," Scully replied to herself. "We're missing the obvious here."

"Scully - "

"I can't help believing that love will defeat him. Okay, I know it's not scientific, but prayer isn't scientific, and I believe in prayer. I believe in God, in His goodness. Why can't love be the answer?" She was wracking her brain, trying to find a way to use love as a weapon against their enemy. Was it possible? She couldn't imagine swinging love around like the dream-sword.


"The only question is, how? How do we use love to defeat Isaiah Crawford?" She was growing increasingly angry at her inability to channel the idea into a plan. How did you use something fundamentally incapable of hurt and turn it into a method of defense?

"SCULLY, DO - YOU - LOVE - ME?!?!?!?!"

She raised exasperated eyes to him. "Dammit, Mulder, of course I love you! Now quit mumbling lyrics to Fiddler on the Roof and help me think! How do we use love to defeat Isaiah Crawford?"

Her voice caught in her throat as his expression finally sunk in. She had just told him she loved him, and he was in shock. She just told him she loved him???? Oh god... She just told him she loved him.

He looked frightened and awed, vulnerable and powerful all at once. His eyes questioned her, and it dawned on her that he didn't believe her, that his own damaged self-image denied the truth she had just shouted to him, the truth she had kept so carefully concealed from him all of these years. Yet his disbelieving eyes begged her to make it true, to fill the gaping chasm in his heart left by all the people he'd lost over the years. She had told herself all along that she was denying herself, that she was merely keeping her distance for his sake. Now, suddenly, she realized that she hadn't only been denying herself. She had denied him, too, shutting him out of her heart when he had a desperate need to love her, and for her to love him.

Scully stopped talking, her mouth slightly open and her eyes fixed on her partner in the dark. He wore a pair of jeans and a pull-over shirt that was unbuttoned, revealing his smooth throat and the dark hair at the top of his chest. Fear and uncertainty flooded her, causing her stomach to turn over, but her eyes met his and the familiarity and affection there gave her the confidence to speak the truth.

"Of course I love you, Mulder. I think you know that." They sat in silence for what seemed like endless moments before Scully moved toward him. Feeling him twitch, she whispered, "Dont pull away, Mulder. That's what he wants."

Mulder stilled himself with an effort as she settled in between his legs, facing him. Bringing her hands to his face, she placed one on each cheek and looked into his eyes.

"You're my best friend, Mulder. My confidante and the only one I can trust completely other than my own mother. You've always been there for me, unquestioning, backing me up, bolstering me, putting yourself on the line for me over and over again." Her expression was soft and tears pricked at her eyes as he watched her, his face full of wonder. "Of course I love you, Mulder. More than words can express. If you asked me to give all I am up for you, I'd do it in a heartbeat. You. Know. That." She emphasized her words as she stared earnestly at him.

His eyes had been moving over her face as he listened to her, his cheek unconsciously pressing into her hand. Her thumbs moved over his skin tenderly and when she spoke again, her voice was unsteady. "Tell me, Mulder. Tell me what you feel for me."

Although Mulder knew very well the strength of his feelings for Scully, he was overcome with fear. The urge to move away and avoid this confrontation was suddenly overpowering, and his eyes shifted away from hers. Scully's heart constricted at what could only be interpreted as rejection, but she pressed her fingers gently into his face until his eyes met hers again. "Are you going to tell me you don't care about me, Mulder, because it would be a lie. I know that you do. He wants you to reject me, hoping that I'll back away. Then, eventually, you're feelings will surface and I'll reject you out of hurt. He will win."

Mulder studied her face, knowing that she was right. He was afraid, and he was suppressing his true feelings. Reaching up, he took her hands from his face and clasped them in his, feeling strength from her touch, realizing it felt the same as it had with the dreamweaver stone pressed between them. It had been the strength of their feelings for one another that had protected them all along.

Scully was waiting for him to say something, her face only inches from his. She scooted closer, until every part of their bodies were touching, her legs wrapped around his waist. This was definitely a position they'd never been in before, and he shivered from the sheer volume of emotions that were passing through him.

She took in her breath sharply as he almost imperceptibly thrust against her, and his hands let go of her own, bringing his arms around her back and pulling her tighter against him. Her cheek rested against his shoulder and she closed her eyes as his words finally came and washed over her like clear spring water.

"I love you, Scully", he said into her hair, and she trembled, tightening her arms and legs about him. If she could pull him inside of her, she would. Her thought was figurative, but as it passed through her mind, a distinct mental picture of the two of them joined in their love rose before her and she gasped, pulling back from him slightly. The ardor in her eyes ignited in Mulders, and the last of his reserve escaped screaming on the wind. Smoothly, he lowered his lips to hers, his tongue lapping gently on her lower lip and then finding its way into her eager mouth.

Scully's sigh was swallowed up in his kiss, her breathing suddenly far less necessary than the need for her beautiful partner. Her fingers tangled into the dark silk of his hair, a small pleasure she had craved for what seemed like forever. His five o'clock shadow sanded her delicate face, raising it to hypersensitivity, and for a moment she allowed herself to think of what sensations his jaw could arouse if he brushed it against even more sensitive regions.

As though commanded by her thought, his lips and tongue and teeth explored her throat, her ears, her hands, and he repeated what she thought of as his 'peanut butter maneuver': her fingers were drawn, one at a time, deep into his mouth, his tongue and lips lavishing attention on each one individually.

She fought against the tide of his passions as fear assailed her again, but this time he held her firmly in place. His body's response to her was blatant even through both pairs of jeans, and he made certain that her own responsive center remained in close contact with the evidence of his hunger. His fingers slid beneath her cotton tee shirt, playing a tactile symphony in every cell he touched. He was gentle and demanding, giving and taking without waiting for her permission, his need making him recklessly wanton.

She gasped when he brushed the backs of his fingers over the fullness of her breasts, and a part of her arced toward him even while her heart jumped to her throat. What are we doing????? she thought desperately. Then his mouth dipped to nibble at her belly, and her mind was pretty much voided of all thoughts except the intensity of the unhurried contact. She was literally bent over backwards, her thighs still straddling his waist, her head and shoulders draped back onto the blanket.

A low, guttural growl escaped his throat and he shifted, stretching her out on the ground, his own lean legs locking hers beneath him. His shadow rose above her now, silvery moonlight silhouetting the muscles that yanked off his shirt and tossed it aside in a powerful motion. She was growing more and more frightened, even while her own desire flared white hot. "Mulder..." she whispered, her hushed voice quavering.

He leaned over and his mouth found hers. "If you really want me to stop, I will," he murmured against her lips. "I won't force you. Just say the word. Just tell me no, and I'll quit." Even while he spoke, his hands had loosened the clasp on her satin bra, and the flimsy lingerie was being pulled free and discarded. Her body stood at rigid attention in twin peaks beneath the puckered tee shirt.

"Nooo..." she gasped, and he froze, bitter disappointment painted in his expression. He drew a shuddering breath and sat up, but she reached up and caught his neck, dragging his face back to hers. "No..." she repeated, wondering how it was that she could still speak at all. "Don't quit. Whatever you do, don't quit!!!!"

Mulder swallowed, his mind and body on overdrive. He didn't know if this was live or Memorex, but it was definitely his most treasured dream playing havoc with his senses. God, it certainly felt real! If it was a dream, he'd happily murder anyone or anything that woke him up.

He felt her move beneath him, felt the warmth of her body against him, and he wondered for a moment if it was possible to die of pure sexual overload. He smiled. If it was possible, he couldn't think of a better way to go. The pale illumination spilled over the delicate lines of her face, highlighting a want in her eyes that matched his own. Her fears didn't stop her sweet responses to him. And she was so incredibly responsive... His hands shook as he cupped her face and tasted another kiss. Her fingers splayed over the muscles of his back, moving along the natural lines of sinew and bone. He found himself actually wondering if her touch alone could raise him to a climax, without doing anything else.

He wasn't going to find out tonight, not without repaying the luxury. He smoothed his hands over her rib cage, sliding upward, raising her tee shirt over her head, his lips claiming hers in the same motion, and he reveled in the heat of her bare skin against his. She was still frightened, but his own fears had melted away with her definitive orders.

Her jeans were the next to go, then his. The odd pieces of clothing had never been the real barrier between them, anyway. They had always held their personal spaces like holy sacraments, never invading, never yielding. Only tonight, those barriers had been obliterated, and each had willingly and knowingly crossed the lines onto territory that was anything but neutral.

His thumb played over her lip briefly and he kissed her, then his mouth moved to claim new territory. His lips, teeth, and tongue branded her body as his, climbing and vanquishing the peaks of her breasts, exploring the lines of her belly, delving into mysteries that left her gasping and writhing beneath his ministrations. She fought for control; she never had a chance.

By the time he finally joined himself to her, she had already cried out his name in connection with several deities. He was already shaking with need, but he had waited for far too many years to let such a precious occasion be rushed. He focused on slow, deliberate movements, his body and his words offering up her name in worship. Her own lithe lines glistened with a subtle sheen of sweat, her breath coming in syncopated gasps as she met him with equal fervor.

He felt Scully's body convulse in arrival, and her voice wept out that she loved him. His own conclusion followed immediately, and he clung to her as though his soul depended on it, his face wet with tears too long denied. He was too overwhelmed to even respond to the form of Isaiah Crawford ripping through the tent, until Crawford's claw clamped onto Scully's arm and yanked her upward.

"You humans don't even know what copulatin's fer," he drawled, his features distorted in the moonlight. "My animals hump to continue their kind, but you two.." he shook his head, looking disgusted.

Scully stood uncertainly beside him, her knees weak from lovemaking. Her chest was heaving and her hair mussed; the remnants of a joyous smile still on her face. As things became clear, her expression changed, and she looked at Isaiah Crawford with hatred. Yanking her arm from his grasp, she stepped away from him, just as Mulder grabbed his gun and crawled out to stand at her side. Scully stooped and grabbed his T-shirt, pulling it on. Thankfully, it covered her to her knees.

Mulder held his gun on the man, who pointed a knarled finger at him. "Haven't you learned a thing yet?" He backed away into the shadows, his eyes glowing red like coals in a fire, and Mulder advanced on him, only to lose him in the blackness of the woods around them.

"Where'd he go?" he called over his shoulder to Scully, who quickly joined him with her weapon and flashlight.

"I don't know," she swung her head around, casting the beam of light into every corner, looking for the old man. She was ready to give up when she felt the ominous presence manifest and encircle them.

"Mulder, it's here" she whispered, and he moved toward her. Still completely nude, he stood in the dark forest, his arm wrapped around and pulling Scully to him as goosebumps crawled up his flesh. The thing was there with them; he could feel it desiring to consume their very souls. It was the most terrifying thing hed ever felt, and he swallowed convulsively, trying to get a hold on his courage. Scully wrapped her arms around him, pressing against his body, and he tightened his grip on her.

Oddly, the fact that she'd never done this before didn't escape his notice, even in this dire situation. She was scared out of her wits, and they had entered a new phase in their relationship. He didn't think for a moment that she couldn't hold her own, but in this case, they were both totally vulnerable. He had no doubt at all that she was holding onto him as much to protect him as for her own protection. The ground beneath them seemed to reverberate and Scully caught her breath as something took her by the waist and physically pulled her out of Mulders grasp. He made a lunge for her hand, but she was yanked away so fast that he missed.

The thing that was Isaiah Crawford sat a distance away, nursing the festering wounds that burned along his invisible limbs. The two humans clung to each other, their sickening love growing stronger with every minute. He had always divided his victims, even family members. The Andersons had been a challenge, granted, but this duo was more than that. They were an abomination to his kind, the sort of creatures for whom love intertwined souls. He had never anticipated this, not when he'd placed the Dream Weaver in the woman's bag. Shared dreams always gave rise to arguments, and for a while it had worked; the twosome had argued, had maintained a distance. Then, to his abject disgust, this couple had come back together in a big way. Crawford squatted on his haunches, dirty black claws picking away at the decaying flesh that clung to his fangs. He was hungry. He needed to feed again. He wasn't truly immortal, not like his demonic cousins; he had to feed occasionally, and the emanation of love ate away at his essence like an acid. He supposed it was possible that he could die, though death was rather an esoteric thing for him, since he wasn't technically alive. He would, under the right circumstances, merely cease to be.

He rose to surprisingly unsteady feet, his features twisting into a sneer. He couldn't be defeated by these two creatures. They were mere humans! Humans could always be counted upon to act on their base instincts, no matter how much they professed love for one another. His lovely, evil forest manifestations had hurt them, but they had discovered the tool to undo all of his wonderful mayhem. He had even pulled out the stops, appearing to them in the rather laughable skin of a monster, his hideous jester's attire. That one had really been enjoyable in and of itself. He'd been rather disappointed to abandon it.

The wounds on his scaly skin were growing deeper, and he growled, stomping his taloned foot. The ground shook beneath the assault. He was unaccustomed to his own pain. He inflicted it, he didn't receive it! This was unacceptable, and he was going to stop it.

He glared at the Dream Weaver and the souls it contained. It had been his weapon for millennia, yet this Mulder and Scully had turned it against him. It was almost more than he could fathom. Perhaps it was the woman's faith that gave her the strength to fight, but what possible power motivated the man? Crawford's eyes narrowed and his mouth curled into a sneering abuse of a smile. Yes, the man... Now THERE was a target. Mulder was so delightfully perverted himself, actually. If Mulder could be turned, then all was not lost, not yet.

Scully shivered despite the warmth and humidity of the night. A heavy pall still enveloped them; the entity hadn't gone, it had merely moved off to regroup. She wrapped her arms around Mulder, fighting the urge to weep, fighting the urge to lash out at her partner, who had committed no wrong.