***Chapter Five***



Radisson Inn



I could feel the blood pouring over my hands, followed by the lighter waters, the waters of life as they flowed from the screaming woman. It was rich and warm and cleansing, cleansing me and her and the innocent one. Her screams were changing now. They were louder, deeper . . . they were coming . . . coming from . . . me. Strong arms were gripping me gently, firmly and it was warm, as warm as the blood . . . no!!!

"Fox. It's okay, Fox. It's all right. I'm here. I'm here. Shh." The arms were rocking me. I felt lips on my head. The screaming stopped and I opened my eyes to an unfamiliar room. I could see Scully in her robe, looking worried. The arms gripped me tighter. Whose arms? I saw black coat sleeves. I began to panic again.

"It's all right. I'm here." Walter. It was Walter's voice. He was here. He was holding me. I was safe.

"Walter?" I twisted around on the couch so I could bury my head on his shoulder.

"Yes. It's Walter. Shhhhhhh. It's all right." He began to stroke my hair. "It's okay. Everything will be okay, Fox. I'm here." My heart slowed to normal as I held him tighter.

I relaxed into him. It's hard for me to do this. It's something I'd learned to not need since I was a child. My dad would come to my room and look disappointed. *His* son would not react that way to a mere dream. Sometimes he'd scold me, sometimes he'd make me dress and sit up with the television, sometimes he'd say nothing and take away the nightlight and leave me alone in the dark. My mom never came to me at all. Sam would at first, but Dad found out and that stopped.

Walter doesn't think twice. I need him, he's there if he can be. This time it felt like magic, or even one of Scully's miracles. Scully was still there in the room. That was okay, too. Walter or Scully equal safety.

"Mulder? Do you want some water?"

I nodded against Walter's shoulder, and pulled myself away. I raked my hair away from my face. It was soaking wet from sweat. Scully poured some water into a glass and handed it to me. She must have noticed that I was still shaking, because it was only half-full. I took a careful sip.

"Thank you."

"Do you remember anything?" Walter got up to take off his trench coat, and Scully took his place next to me, with a gentle hand on my shoulder.

I stared into the water glass. It was cool in my hands, and hard. I focused on how different it was from what the dream had given me, the heat and the softness.

"Mulder?"

"Fox?" I could feel Walter settling in next to me, how crisp his shirt felt next to my skin. I began to shiver. I couldn't hold onto the glass anym