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Rise like a phoenix

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FLASHBACK....

I let out a loud grunt, my chest hitting the hard, cold floor hard, knocking the wind out of me, the sound of the door getting slammed shut, the all too familiar jingle of the keys in the lock making me wince, my hand moving slowly to my stomach, hissing, pain quickly settling into what I know are my ribs, knowing they were still broken from the last time just a few hours ago. Or at least it feels like it, time seeming to move quicker in this place if that's at all possible.

It feels like I've been trapped here for an eternity. I don't even know how long it's been; a week, maybe two, perhaps a lot longer then that. And I still have yet to see his face, it still kept hidden from me underneath that mask, that voice of his speaking very little to me apart from the occasional grunt and the one word, angel. I may still not know who he is or why he's chosen to take me as his prisoner, but I still remember exactly what had happened that day.

Hunter. That's what the newspapers and the news stories had coined him. He had been responsible for the disappearance of a dozen women, all dark-haired, of medium build and height, all in their early thirties. It had only been two weeks after the first woman's disappearance that her body had been found in a dumpster. She'd been strangled, her eyes missing, having been clearly cut out, them having been kept by the killer as some sort of sick memento.

Eleven more women had followed, all with the same injuries, their eyes missing. There was also something else found on the bodies; wounds on their backs, cuts in the shape of what looked like wings. All the victims looked almost identical of the same height and build with long dark brown or black hair.

Somehow, I'd known I could be his next target, me being of medium build and height and a brunette. And naturally, Mulder had been worried, wanting to keep me somewhere safe, not wanting to find my body thrown away like some discarded ragdoll. If only I'd listened.

I remember the feel of the hand going over my nose and mouth, the overpowering smell of chloroform hitting me like a hammer, everything going dark very fast, the sound of my name being shouted the last thing I remember.

I'd tried everything I could to escape that first day only to end up failing everytime. Eventually, I'd just given up both mentally and physically, starting to accept my fate that I was gonna end like Sandy and all those other women he'd butchered.

I slowly push myself up, crying out, nearly passing out from the pain moving so I'm in a sitting position then dragging myself backwards until I feel my back hit the wall, breathing heavily, my eyes closing. It had been a lot worse this time, the torture seeming to go on for twice as long as it usually does, him seeming even angrier then normal.

I can't stop my mind from drifting to the bureau, to the still small seeming office I share with my partner in the basement. I close my eyes tighter, smiling slightly picturing him in my mind, him sat at our desk, his feet up, eating those sunflower seeds of his, his I want to believe poster on the wall behind him.

Was him even still looking for me?. Or does he and the entire FBI believe me dead already?. Am I really gonna die here still so young, my whole life ahead of me before I'd even had the chance to fall in love, start a family, truly make my dead parents proud?.

I let out a sob, my hands moving over my eyes ignoring the pain in my face, starting to feel terrified for the first time since I've been trapped here. But I can't give up, that determination settling in fast making me drop my hands, sniffing. I wipe my eyes on the sleeves of my now dirty and tatty jacket, moving slowly into a kneeling position then getting up off the floor, crying out, my hands moving to my stomach, my eyes automatically looking around the room that's been my prison for god knows how long.

Suddenly, I hear something making me freeze, backing up against the wall, shaking. A few minutes later, I hear gunshots followed by the loud, dull thud of something. The sounds of footsteps coming downstairs makes me automatically cry out, sinking to the floor, burying my head in my knees, my arms covering my head.

The sound of another gunshot makes me cry out, the door getting swung open, slamming into the wall, footsteps coming into the room making me cower away, terrified he had finally come to finish me off.

"No...NO!."

"Cassie, it's okay, it's me. Mulder."

I slowly drop my arms looking up seeing the familiar face of my partner finding he's crouching in front of me, his gentle brown eyes making my fear vanish almost instantly. And I burst into tears, diving forward, wrapping my arms around him, feeling his own wrap around me, holding me close to him, letting me cry into his shoulder.

"H...how long?," I mumble, pulling away from him, still trembling.

"Eight days. We were shocked he'd still kept you alive this long. An ambulance is on its way. Let's get you out of this place," he said softly going to pick me up, stopping hearing me wince.

"It's....it's my ribs. I...I don't think you can carry me. Just...just help me walk."

He nods helping me up, wrapping an arm around me as gently as he can, leading me up the stairs and up onto the upper floor, seeing FBI all over the place. And my eyes automatically land on the body, his mask finally free from his face, seeing what he finally looks like, shrinking away, hissing from the pain, finding he just looks normal, the quite large scar across his right cheek being the only unusual thing about him.

"Hey, it's okay. He can't hurt you anymore," Mulder whispered in my ear, him helping me through the house then out of the front door, the ambulance outside.

I get helped up onto a stretcher, the pain nearly making me collapse, lying down, it getting lifted up into the back of the ambulance, the doors getting closed. And I finally give in, my eyes closing, the last thing I remember before falling asleep being the smile on my face.