Letting off steam I float in a dream,
I can't let go (can't let go)
Follow my wishes, follow the fishes
Down below (down below)
I go swimming …
Peter Gabriel

Mulder had no rational thoughts in his mind as he trudged out towards the water. The song in his ears had taken over every piece of logic and reason he had. He had no physical control over his body or what he was doing. All he knew was that his future was out there in that ocean. He didn't know how or why, but he had to follow it. He had to follow the sound while his mind was entangled with thoughts of Scully. He saw them together, laughing and kissing. He saw a future with her by his side. Just the two of them. And then there was a baby between them. A family. It was everything he never even knew he wanted, yet he was about to get it. He just knew it. He could feel the pull dragging his feet along until he finally reached the edge of the water.

Scully looked around Mulder's room and knew something was very wrong. He just left. And her mind flashed to all the other cases she'd read about where the men just left their houses and didn't even bother to turn off the lights or their TV's. In this case, Mulder had left without his shoes even. She didn't want to believe it, but she feared Mulder was the 7th victim. The one they'd been wondering about and wanting to save. And here it was. Mulder was missing and Scully was pretty sure she had a good idea where to find him. She just hoped she wouldn't be too late. She ran back to her room and grabbed her gun and her things and she went back to Mulder's room to search for the car key's, praying he hadn't left them in his pants pocket. But she found them inside his jacket that was slung over the chair. She jumped in the car and started driving towards the pier.

All sorts of things went through her head as she drove. Why would Mulder follow the music? Wasn't he already happy? They'd just recently proclaimed their feelings for one another. And even though she stopped them from going further with their physical love, wasn't he feeling good and not alone? Why would he be susceptible to the Siren's song? At least she assumed that's what this was. She was buying into Mulder's crazy theory. But what else made sense at this point? Mulder would never just get up and go for a dip in the ocean in the freezing cold. But maybe she underestimated his loneliness? Maybe her rejection of his advances had affected him more than she realized? She just never thought he'd end up being lured by false promises of some sort of amazing future with a mermaid. But that appeared to be exactly what was going on.

She got to the pier and ran to the waters edge. The waves were lapping at her feet and she tried hard to see if she could find a figure out in the darkness swimming for the island. She called out his name.

"Mulder! Mulder!"

She noticed just then a fleeting glimpse of something white off in the distance. Was that Mulder's shirt? She called his name over and over and the figure didn't respond to her. She had to find a way out there.

Mulder swam and swam and he thought he heard someone shouting his name. It confused him. It tangled in with the sound of the song and it made him think it was coming from the rocky shore, beckoning him closer. It had sounded like Scully calling him. He tried to swim faster in order to reach her faster. And in his mind all he could think was, 'I'm coming, Scully. Don't worry, I'm coming'.

Scully found the sheriff's boat and prayed she left the keys inside. There was no time to call her. But a quick search on board showed nothing. Even in a small town like this she supposed the sheriff wouldn't trust enough to leave the keys in the boat. She searched the other boats docked at the pier. She raced around until she found a small aluminum fishing boat with a small trolling motor on it. No keys required for that. She untied it swiftly and jumped inside. She pulled the cord to turn on the motor and it took several tries for it to work. It finally fired up and she set off towards the rocky island, praying she'd get there in time. She could still see the white of Mulder's shirt, bobbing up and down in the water. She called to him again.

"Mulder, stop! Come back!" she shouted to no avail.

The closer Mulder got to the shore of the island, the more confused he became. He had salt water in his eyes and he couldn't see very well, but he saw the shock of red hair and the beautiful alabaster skin seeming to glow in the moonlight.

"Scully…" he murmured as he tried to get closer to her. But the closer he got, the more he realized it wasn't Scully waiting for him on the rocks. The hair was too long and she wasn't wearing any clothes. He wiped his eyes as the waves crashed over him. He tried to get a good look at the woman on the rocks. The singing quieted in his mind as his senses came back to him slightly. Why was he in the water? And who was on the rocks? If it wasn't Scully, then who would it be? What was he doing out there? The woman came into view as the waves pushed him along towards the rocky shore. She held out her arms to him.

"Fox, come to me…" she beckoned with the sweetest voice he'd ever heard.

Part of him was drawn to keep going and the other part of him knew something was wrong and he needed to get out of the water. He was freezing. Just then he recognized the figure on the rocks. It was Sheriff Dunbar. Only her hair hung loosely around her shoulders and she was completely nude.

"Fox, you're almost here. Come to me. We can be together. Everything you ever wanted. Just a little closer," she murmured sweetly, filling his head with fog. He couldn't think straight.

"Liz?" he questioned with a confused stare.

"Shh, just come a little closer."

He tried to resist but the current was pushing him towards her. She reached out and grabbed his arm and yanked him halfway up on the rocks with her.

"Liz? You're the Siren?"

"Just listen to my song, Fox. All is well. Nothing to worry about," she cooed at him.

But he wasn't being taken in by the song anymore. He could still hear it, but it was a distant echo in his mind. He was resisting her and trying all he could to get out of her grasp. She was stronger than human and it made it difficult for him to get her to let go of his arm.

Just then he heard someone call his name.

"Mulder!"

He tried to search the water for the source of the sound and saw a small aluminum boat glistening in the moonlight.

"Scully!" he yelled out.

"I'm coming for you. Just hold on!"

This angered Liz and she quickly grabbed hold of Mulder's shoulders and tried to plunge him underneath the water.

"No one resists the song!"

He was fighting her and sputtering and coughing and trying not to get water in his lungs.

"Liz stop! Please! You don't want to do this!" he tried pleading with her as his head bobbed up from the cold water.

"Shut up! You're mine. You were supposed to be mine!" She shoved him under again and Mulder saw nothing but black water all around him.

As Scully got closer she recognized the sheriff immediately. "I knew it!" she shouted to no one in particular. "I knew there was something not right with her!"

She drew her gun and pointed it at Liz. "Stop! Let him go or I'll shoot!"

"You can't have him. He belongs to me!" she shouted back as she tried to keep Mulder under the water, but he was struggling too hard. His head bobbed up again and he took a huge breath of air into his lungs.

Scully got closer to the rocky shore with the boat and still had her gun aimed at the sheriff. "Let him go. I'm warning you."

"He's mine," Liz hissed at Scully, as she tried to push Mulder down again.

"You're wrong. He's mine. And you need to get your hands off him or I'm gonna shoot your ass," Scully told her venomously.

With one swift move, Liz grabbed Mulder and shoved him under the water hard. Scully stood in the boat and shouted off another warning. "Let go of him!"

Liz made no attempts to let go so Scully fired off a shot. It hit Liz in the shoulder and she screamed out in the night, clutching her wound. Mulder sprung up from the water and began pushing himself away from the shore and trying to get to where Scully was in the boat but the current was too strong to make it easy. Liz stood up on the rocks and let out a shrill shriek that hurt Mulder and Scully's ears. Then she leapt into the water and disappeared. Scully searched the water with her flashlight and saw nothing. Mulder was worried she'd grab him from underneath the water so he tried to scramble to the boat as quickly as he could. Scully reached out and grabbed Mulder's shoulders and lifted him into the tiny boat. He lay there gasping for air.

"Did you kill her?" he asked breathlessly.

"I only got her in the shoulder. I don't know where she went."

Scully drove the boat around the island, shining her flashlight but saw no signs of Liz anywhere. She was just gone.

Mulder was shivering and shaking and Scully realized she had to get him out of there. "You're gonna be okay," she reassured him.

"I'm so cold."

"I know," she said, taking off her jacket and putting it over the top of him. She knew it didn't take long for hypothermia to set in and she had to get him back to the hotel and into a warm bath.

"I was right, Scully," he smiled up at her. "It was a Siren."

"It appears so." She hated to be wrong. "But I was right too. I told you there was something I didn't like about Sheriff Dunbar."

"Yeah, turns out she really did want me huh?"

"Not in the way I thought, but yeah. You were supposed to be number seven."

"I resisted though. I resisted the song. Maybe not at first, but in the end, I resisted. That means she won't come back."

"Maybe. Although I'd feel a whole lot better if I knew where she went. She's wounded so I don't imagine she could get very far."

They finally reached the shore and Mulder was so cold he couldn't stop shaking. His lips were tinged with blue and Scully contemplated taking him to the hospital.

"No, I don't need a hospital. Just a warm bath. I'll be okay. I hate hospitals," he had protested.

Against her better judgment, she relented and just took him back to the motel. She was a doctor. She could take care of him. They got to her room and Scully opened the door and ushered him in.

"Just wait right here. I'm gonna get the bath going," she told him as she walked into the bathroom and flipped on the light.

She ran the water and let the tub fill up. Mulder came in and stood behind her as he peeled off the layers of wet clothes that were stuck to his body. He was down to his boxer briefs when Scully looked and realized he was half naked.

"I-I should give you some privacy," she said awkwardly.

He laughed slightly. "I'm not shy, Scully.

He stripped off his underpants and climbed into the water while Scully turned her head. For some reason it felt wrong to look even if she knew he'd gladly show her and she wanted to see. But not like this.

"It's probably best you hid your blushing eyes, Scully. I was just in a freezing ocean. I wouldn't want you to think this is all I have to offer," he said with a smirk.

"What do you mean?"

"Shrinkage. Big time shrinkage. In fact I think my balls crawled back up inside my body to find warmth."

She started laughing and realized Mulder was going to be just fine. He was already acting like himself with the crude comments designed to make her blush. He was good at that.

"I hope everything returns to it's normal size and crawls out of hiding," she told him, shaking her head.

"It will. Thanks to you anyway. How'd you know to come find me?"

"I-I went to your room and you weren't there. You just left the place wide open. I knew something had to be wrong."

"Why'd you come over?"

"I decided that it was silly for us to sit in separate rooms when we could at least keep each other company."

"Did you change your mind about the other thing?" he wondered.

She took a moment to answer him. "I'm not sure. I just knew that I wanted to be with you. I was going stir crazy."

"Me too. I kept wondering what you were doing over here all alone."

"I wasn't doing anything really except pacing around and wishing I hadn't let you go to your room. Maybe none of this other stuff would have happened if I hadn't of sent you away?"

"It's alright Scully. At least we got to the bottom of the case. We solved it. Maybe it was for the best?"

"Maybe. I just wish you didn't get sucked out into the ocean. What if I was too late?" She hated to think about that.

"Yeah, but you weren't too late. You had my back. Just like always," he grinned at her. "I'm starting to feel better already, you know. But I could use something warm to drink. Can you make some tea or coffee?"

"Sure thing, Mulder," she smiled at him. She kissed him on the top of his head and made her way out of the bathroom.

She turned on the coffee pot and let the hot water heat up for their tea. While she was waiting she took Mulder's room key out of her pocket and went next door to get him some clothes to change into. She just grabbed his bag and figured he'd pick what he liked. She brought the bag back to her room and set it on the bed. Mulder came out of the bathroom wrapped in a robe and saw Scully getting their tea ready.

"How do you feel now?" she asked him.

"Much better. Still a little cold. Could you turn up the heat in here?"

"Yeah." She went to the dial and pushed the heater up for him. "I brought your bag so you could find clothes to wear. Something warm and dry at least."

"Thanks." He rooted through the bag and found a sweatshirt and a pair of pajama pants. He went back into the bathroom and changed into them, then he came back out and sat on the bed.

"Here's your tea." She handed it over to him.

"Scully?"

"Yeah?"

"Can I get under the covers? I'm still a little cold."

"Go ahead."

He got himself all snuggly in her bed as he sipped his tea and noticed Scully still fully dressed sitting over at the table.

"You know, you should get out of those damp clothes yourself," he told her.

She had been so focused on Mulder she hadn't paid attention to the fact that she was wet too. She nodded her head and grabbed her bag full of clothes. She wasn't sure what to change into at first. Mulder was dressed for bed. And it was about 1am at this point. She should just get ready for bed too. She sighed and pulled on her silky pajamas and put fresh dry socks on her frozen feet. She made her way out to the bedroom and put her stuff down.

"Don't you look cozy," Mulder smiled at her.

"So do you."

"I'm spending the night, Scully," he informed her. "I don't want to go back to my lonely cold bed alone."

She smiled at him. "I don't want you to go back to your cold, lonely bed either. Because that would just mean I'd be stuck here by myself in a cold lonely bed."

"Well then what are you waiting for?" he asked as he picked up the blanket and motioned for her to come crawl inside with him.

She walked over and snuggled herself under the covers. Mulder put his arms around her.

"Keep me warm," he whispered into her hair.

"Mmhhmm," she murmured back to him.

It felt so nice being snuggled up in his arms. So right and so perfect.

"Mulder?"

"Yeah?"

"Are you happy?"

"Well right at this very moment I'm quite content."

"I just meant are you really happy? Because the Sirens song lures men who are lonely and not happy with their lives. You said the song promises them happiness and everything they ever wanted. I-I'm just wondering why you followed it," she asked quietly.

"It tricked me. I didn't really know what I was doing. I'll admit that in the moments before I heard the song I was feeling really lonely. You had just shooed me out of your room. I didn't wanna go."

"I never meant to make you feel lonely." She felt badly about that.

"But weren't you lonely too? You said you were going crazy, and you are the one who came next door to seek me out."

"You're right, I was lonely. I missed you."

"I missed you too. And I guess that was just enough to make me susceptible. But the whole time I was going out there, I kept thinking of you. In my confused state, I thought it was you calling me," he admitted to her.

"You thought it was me?"

He nodded. "I thought you were calling me and we were gonna have this great life together. Better than I could have dreamed. That's why I followed the song. I wasn't going after the Siren. I didn't know that's who was calling me," he tried to explain.

"Well Mulder, I'd never make you swim in a freezing ocean just for me."

"I know that now."

She snuggled down closer to him and just closed her eyes, relishing the feel of his body next to her. They were generating some good body heat now and neither one of them felt cold.

"I can't wait to get home," Scully said softly.

"Really? Because I'm pretty happy right where I'm at."

"I didn't mean that, I just meant I'm glad this case is over. I just have no idea how we're gonna explain what happened in our report."

"Worry about the report later. For right now, just be in this moment, okay?" He kissed her softly. "Let's just enjoy this and worry about everything else later."

She nodded her head and curled up closer to him. She realized just then how tired she really was. She drifted off to sleep in Mulder's arms and dreamt of their future together now that everything had changed. It was a bright future. No more lonely nights for either of them. Just more of this. The snuggling and the warmth and the kisses and so much more. Mulder peeked down at the sleeping woman in his arms and noticed a smile on her face. That made him smile too. He kissed her forehead and let himself drift off into a blissful sleep too.

Epilogue:

Washington DC- One week later

Mulder and Scully sat in Skinner's office waiting for his reaction to their report about the killer mermaid in Maine. Although they had conveniently left out that little bit of information. The report read that the subject had hypnotic powers that lured her victims to their deaths, but made no mention about Sirens or mermaids. Sheriff Dunbar had disappeared and was presumed dead. The tiny town was reeling that the killer was their beloved sheriff. No one could believe it. Mulder didn't think she was dead though. He thought she just moved on to another spot. But he kept that bit of info out of the report too. Skinner looked up at them and rubbed his temples.

"You were hypnotized?" he asked Mulder.

Mulder nodded.

"How did that happen?"

"Sir, we're not really sure how she did it but it was apparent that all the victims were under some kind of hypnotic trance," Scully explained.

"And you say the suspects motive was unknown?"

"We're not really sure why she did it, no. But she wanted to claim some kind of ownership over the men," Mulder tried to explain.

"What else are you not telling me?" Skinner asked.

"Off the record, Sir?"

"Off the record."

"Well we believe that the killer was something called a Siren who lures men to their deaths with a song. I heard the song. And if not for Agent Scully saving me, I would have been victim number seven."

"A Siren?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Isn't that like a mermaid?"

Mulder nodded his head.

"Alright, I've heard enough. This report will do just fine. You two are dismissed." Skinner knew sometimes it was better not to ask questions. The hypnotic trance mumbo jumbo was weird enough, he didn't really need to hear the full story.

Mulder and Scully exited the office and looked at one another. "So do you believe in killer mermaids now, Scully?"

"I don't know what I believe. I believe in killer sheriff's who like to sit naked on a pile of rocks and drown people."

"Oh come on. You know she's a mermaid."

"I never saw a mermaid tail. I just saw a naked woman."

"She's a mermaid. I guarantee it."

"Well whatever she is, she appears to be gone. So I say yay us."

"You wanna get a drink to celebrate?"

"I was actually thinking about going home and crawling into bed."

"It's only 6pm," Mulder looked at his watch.

"I never said I planned to crawl in bed alone," she said with a raised eyebrow.

"Scully, are you suggesting what I think you're suggesting?" he asked with mock surprise.

"I don't know. But if you want to find out you can come home with me."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes I'm sure."

They'd waited long enough. Scully wasn't scared anymore. She knew it was silly to be scared in the first place. She just didn't know what it would mean for them if they took things to another level. But so far all she could think about was sleeping in Mulder's arms just like that night in Maine. And she was pretty ready to see what he was hiding in those boxer briefs too. At least now that it wasn't shrunken from the ocean. She was ready for all of it. And by the look on his face, he was more than ready too.

"You lead the way," he smiled at her.

They walked out of the building together and headed towards their future. There was no reason they couldn't have it all. Happiness with each other and still remain partners. No one would have to know. It would be their little secret. And sometimes secrets like that were the best kind. Neither one of them would be lonely again.

The End