Title: The Devil's Due I
Author: Quim
Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, The X-Files and all its characters belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions and Fox Network. But everybody knows that. If they were mine, Mulder and Scully would be busy making UberScullys. Since Mr. Carter insists in torturing X-Files fans everywhere with mind games (yeah, I like "Seinfeld" as well), I decided to play doll with them as relief for my frustration, driven solely by the deep admiration and affection that I feel for such characters. Other than that, I am not making any money out of this experience. In summary, No infringiment is intended.
Rating: PG for sensitive issue of religious character. There is some violence and a couple of bad words, but nothing you won't see in the actual show.
Rating: PG-13ish. I tried to make the weird stuff not so gruesome, to avoid a R rating. However, some people might find some scenes disturbing. Be warned.
Classification: X (your usual, weird X-File. No conspiracy.) Spoilers: Multiple spoilers for all seasons, especially the fourth one.It ain't fun otherwise. People might easily recognize in special "Zero Sum," "Gethsemane" and "Irresistible". Very mild references to "Small Potatoes" and "Teliko". But this story stands alone. I will assume that Mulder somehow has escaped alive in "Gethsemane," because considering any option otherwise is downright stupid.
Keywords: Mulder/Scully UST, just hints of MSR. Non-shippers (is there still anyone left after "Memento Mori"???) should be fairly safe.

Summary : Mulder and Scully uncover the connection between a series of children abductions and a satanic cult. M&S investigate the murder of a teenage girl, in connection with the disappearance of babies.

Author's note: Thanks to Penny Daza for incentive. Feedback is welcome.


Countryside Baptist Church
Duluth, MN
May 19th
3:00 P.M.

Rev. Mark Shalinski stepped over the door of his small appartment and looked outside to check the weather. The interminable streak of rain began to take the toll on his nerves. Not only the humidity was bad for his goute, but also his parish was too worried about dealing with the floods to be concerned with spiritual matters. He was quite relieved when he received a call from an old friend asking him to give some counseling on parenting affairs. At least I can still be useful for someone, he thought. He opened his umbrella and started to walk. About 100 m for the church, something called his attention. On the margin of the road, a bunch of clothes lied close to the woods, partially hidden by the bushes. Perhaps a homeless who had been caught in the rain and was in need of help. He cautiously approached the scene and was horrified to see a young girl, about 19 years old, covered with blood. In her back someone had carved the letters "XXVII". Nearby lied a cardboard as the only testimony to the tragedy, its words hanging like the spectrum of death itself: "There is no way out. He cannot be stopped."


FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
May 24th
8:30 A.M.

Special Agent Dana Scully approached the stairs leading to the basement of the Edgar Hoover Building with an almost childish feeling of anticipation. In the last three days, her work had consisted basically of paperwork referring to expense accounts of last cases, plus the rewriting of field reports that she knew would be deemed unacceptable by the Bureau higher-ups. Of course, she did not want to take for granted any help from Assistant Director Walter Skinner, since her partner Fox Mulder had told her that A.D. Skinner would be in a very uncomfortable position due to some obscure maneuvering he had recently done.

The field reports presented an additional intellectual challenge to Scully: turning the wild theories of Mulder, plus the weird, inexplicable forensic evidence she gathered, into some resemblance of order. In the end, however, the reports became as annoying for her as they were for Mulder. Once she got rid the last one, there was this feeling that a new case with some field activity would be almost welcome. Almost, because generally their cases involved some tragedy, gruesome scenes and emotional toll on both her and her partner.

It was not without surprise that she entered the small office on the basement and found her partner already working with his slide projector.

He gave her one of his best smiles behind those glasses, which stirred inside her feelings that she could not quite identify.

"Good morning Scully. How are you doing?"

"I feel fine. What about you? Did you have a good night of sleep, for a change?"

"Well, I expected to have one or two nightmares as usual, but surprisingly enough nothing of the matter happened."

"What, did you watch one or two of those videos that don't belong to you in order to exorcise your demons?"

"No. You had already done that. You know you do this to me, don't you, Scully?"

She blushed and chose to go on with business.

"I see you have got a new case for us."

"Exactly. Are you ready for some action?"

"You may have reached a new low in your concept of cleanliness and order, Mulder. What is this dirty cardboard doing in your desk?"

Mulder reached over the desk and turned the cardboard. Even though the rain had washed away some of the letters, it was still fairly easy to read.

"What does it mean? No way out of what? Who cannot be stopped?"

"I don't know. But this thing has appeared in a murder site just outside Duluth, MN." Scully watched as Mulder turned the lights off and the slide projector on. A picture of a young girl appeared in the wall.

"Evelyn Fowler, 19 years old. Last seen one week ago, when she was babysitting for a friend. According to the Duluth PD, there was a 911 call from the house while the couple had gone out for a movie or something of the sort. Evelyn used to babysit for other couples in the region, so they let their baby girl with her. When the police came to the house, everybody was there. They claimed to know nothing about the call, including Evelyn. Her body was discovered five days ago near a church outside Duluth by Rev. Mark Shalinski when he was passing by the site. This cardboard was found close to the body."

Another picture showed the back of the body, with the letters carved.

"XXVII... Twenty-seven in roman numerals?"

"Perhaps. Could be a message of some kind. Might be nothing."

"Still looks like a conventional murder to me, Mulder. The local police should be able to take care of it. What does it have to do with an X-File?"

Mulder clicked on the control and another picture appeared. A baby smiled to the camera.

"This is the baby Evelyn was watching before her disappearance. Amanda Arneson, two months old. She disappeared two days ago, without a trace. The Bureau took over the case because this is the fourth disappearance in the state last week.

After the investigations came to a dead end, apparently Agent Boggs pulled out some favors and arranged for us to pay him a visit."

Agent Boggs. Minneapolis. The names brought haunting memories of the Donny Pfaster case, but fortunately for Scully, they were so much in the past that her intellectual framework could deal with the unpleasant perspective of going back to the scenes of her would-be demise. Meanwhile, Scully watched, appalled, as the faces of little babies were shown in sequence.

"Brenda Meader, three months... Marla Oakes, one month... Marianne Cassell, two.

All the families report similar stories. They were simply gone. Vanished."

Scully knew her partner long enough to guess what this was leading to.

"I hope you are not thinking of some weird liaison between these abductions and your sister. Are you?"

"No, this looks like something I saw when I worked in the VCS. Serial killers in general target adults. Even when there is a sexually derived motivation, young girls. Babies, because they are so defenseless, are a different story."

Scully felt a chill run over her spine. For someone who was looking for a new case, she was beginning to feel VERY uncomfortable about this one.

Whatever Mulder had in his mind, she was grateful he was sparing her of the gory details, at least for the moment.

"The only lead we have so far is the only adult connected to one of these babies. Evelyn Fowler. We have to interview the priest who found her, and you are going to take a look at the body of the girl. I have got our tickets already. We depart for the very plausible state of Minnesota at 2:00 p.m."


Duluth Regional Airport
Duluth, MN
May 24th
5:00 P.M.

Scully and Mulder reached the Rental Car Agency and were surprised to see Agent Boggs waiting for them. He had brought all the forensics relevant to the case from the Duluth Branch. As they shook hands, Boggs was relieved to see the two agents in apparently good mood. Their body language during their last case in Minneapolis, as well as Mulder's almost desperate drive to save his partner from a serial killer, had given him the clear impression that those two were connected in an almost cosmic way.

"It is good to see you again, Mulder. Agent Scully."

"What brings you here, Boggs? Are things boring in Minneapolis lately?"

"I wish they were. But with all this case with the babies, they pulled me in because, You know, all that crap about being senior agent, having more experience, etc... I was assigned as the agent in charge in this case.

When they showed me the evidence, or lack of, I said, I'll be damned if this isn't a case for the Spooky Patrol." Mulder found quite amusing that for the first time in years he heard the nickname spoken in a non-demeaning, fond-of way. Agent Boggs was a good, simple old man, and he passed a strong impression of honesty and almost innocence regardless of his work.

Scully didn't want to lose time, since autopsies are not exactly fun time.

"I assume you have arranged for me to check the girl's body."

"Yes, we kept the body in the Duluth morgue. While you proceed, Mulder and I can interview the priest. He lives just outside the town. It should not take more than one hour."


Countryside Baptist Church
May 24th
6:00 P.M.

"So, Reverend, did you know Evelyn Fowler before the incident?"

"Yes, I have known her parents since they started dating. Both families attended the church regularly. Evelyn was saving some money to attend College. Quite a girl. Very intelligent and generous. I was devastated when I found the body."

Mulder noticed the priest shivering at the memory.

"Do you have any idea of what the words in the cardboard mean?"

Shalinski's face changed. Now his eyes did not show concern or grief, but the shadow of absolute terror.

"Are you a religious man, Agent Mulder?"

"Hummm, no. I am not. But I have had some... near-death experiences."

"Are you familiar with the Apocalypse or the Book of Revelations?"

"Some of it. A lot of these new religions that have appeared motivated by the end of the century actually use those texts as basic literature."

"Then you know that evil is close. I don't mean it in an apocalyptical sense, but in the personal sense. There are people that lose their tracks and choose a path of destruction. It is very easy for me to take care of my flock, Agent Mulder. I see them every Sunday, at least. Other than that, some of them call me for advice. I know when something is wrong with one of them. But, if someone does not belong to a flock, if they don't have anyone to watch over their spirit, the devil can take charge of such souls.

I believe that is what might happen to those girls. You have to find them, before the devil can take charge."

Mulder felt distinctly uncomfortable. As a psychologist, he knew that he could not take the priest's words at face value. The old man was in obvious distress over the death of the girl, and worried about the missing babies.

Besides, Mulder had already a suspicion that the abductions might have been driven by religious motivation. Perhaps some sicko wanting lambs for a sacrifice. However, Shalinski's words were powerful and intimidating.

They would not leave Mulder's head for quite some time.


Duluth County Morgue
May 24th
6:10 P.M.

Scully adjusted her lab coat one last time for comfort and started the study of the corpse. She had spent the last minutes reading over the original autopsy from the original M.E., so she knew what she was NOT looking for. No need of going over the bruises, lacerations and cuts that had already been detected.

She was looking for something that could lead to the babies. Something that the original autopsy had not detected. Something weird or out-of-ordinary. God, I am starting to think like Mulder, she thought.

"May twenty-fourth, 6:10 p.m. Subject is a caucasian female, 19-years old.

'Rigor mortis' already has taken over the body. The deceased's face is remarkably injury-free in comparison with the rest of the body. No cuts or bruises whatsoever. We will begin the exam there. Examining now the ocular globe..."

Now THIS was weird. The eyes had a intense, bright red color. Scully was reminded of the exam on Samuel Aboah, but that was different. The girl's eyes seemed to be on fire. Scully was so focused in the corpse that she didn't notice when someone came from behind and hit her in the head. She lost consciousness almost immediately.


Duluth Regional Hospital
May 24th
8:00 P.M.

Scully woke up to see Mulder by her side, chewing sunflower seeds. Wherever they were, it looked like a hospital. Mulder concealed his concern behind a tentative smile.

"Hi. How do you feel?"

"I was examining the corpse... Someone hit me from behind."

"Yeah, and you were found in the morgue. They brought you to the hospital.

When Agent Boggs and I reached the morgue, the guard told us you were here.

Ah, and by the way, the corpse was gone."

"Gone??? How the hell does a corpse in a County Morgue disappear???"

"It doesn't. Agent Boggs is checking the administration of the Morgue and the night guard. Looks like someone who has free access to the building. As soon as we have something of a suspect, we put an APB on him."

Mulder realized that his partner was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of being in a hospital bed, so he reassured her. "Humm, listen, the doctors told me it was not so bad. Not even a concussion. I was thinking, maybe we could get out of here and go to our rooms. What do you think?"

Scully felt relieved. She knew that Mulder probably had gone nuts when he was informed that she was in a hospital. She put her best facade and nodded.

Agent Boggs was waiting for them outside the Hospital. "I have contacted the Duluth PD and the morgue's administration. By the morning we should have an idea of who attacked Agent Scully. For now, I am going back to the Twin Cities. I'll be back as soon as possible. The case is all yours Mulder.

Take care you two. Good luck."

After they had reached the Motel, Mulder asked if Scully wanted to go out for some italian, and she complied. The dinner itself was uneventful, except for the surprisingly relaxing atmosphere and the lack of shop talk.

Mulder felt that it would be good for his partner to get away from the case for few hours. This would give her time to psychologically recover from the afternoon incident, and she would go back to her professional, detached self.

Strangely enough, he found himself enjoying just talk. It had been some time since he had really appreciated the fact that he was fortunate to enjoy the company of that beautiful, intelligent woman whom he cared more than anybody.

Perhaps Eddie was right, he thought. I should try to relax a little.

Naturally, this turned the usually harmless jokes and sexual innuendo into a dangerous game. Eventually sensing the danger, both Mulder and Scully silently agreeded that unpartnerlike thoughts that arose should be stored for further reference. After he took her back to her room, the lovely night was shattered by a quick nosebleed. Scully noticed in Mulder's eyes the full range of emotions that she had instilled the last four years.

Worry. Concern. Guilty. Respect. Affection.

And something else she couldn't quite define...

Although he did not push after she talked him out of his usual guilty trip, she knew that the issue would resurface, and she decided to be considerate and not to avoid the topic. She trusted him with her life. A little overprotectiveness was something she could handle.


Motor Lodge Motel
Duluth, MN
10:13 P.M.

Scully left the shower and put her blue silk pajamas, ready for tucking in the bed. Although her head was still a little sore, a good night of sleep should help. She heard a knock on the door and knew exactly who it was.

"Who is it?" she asked already knowing the answer.

"Steven Spielberg-!" The playful, almost childish way he said it always managed to bring a immensely delightful smile to her face.

Mulder felt very awkward, but managed to blurt out, "Hi. Just checking on you. How is the nose?"

"After I washed, the nosebleed stopped. Nothing extraordinary happened after that." She could not avoid adding, "Thanks for the lovely evening. What are you doing?"

"There is no basketball game tonight, and there is nothing else worth watching in the TV, so I felt like reading a little."

"What, they don't have the Playboy Channel here?"

"I don't need it after seeing you in these silk pajamas."

"What are you reading?"

"There was one of these old Bibles in the drawer, so I started reading it."

"You surprise me, Mulder. Since when do you read the Bible?"

"I may not have a Catholic upbringing like you, Scully, but I have no problem with reading. Especially if it can be work-related."

"Do you look for clues in the Bible?"

"There was something bugging me about the numbers in the girl's back. Twentyseven. What could it mean? Besides, in my interview with the priest today..."

Scully sensed Mulder's words trailing. Something bothered him. She did not know how to proceed, so she let him decide.

"Hum, I... didn't tell you before because I was not sure if it was the case, and I didn't want to upset you. I think these abductions may be religiously motivated. Sorry, I realize I should have not kept you in the dark."

She did not answer. He knew she would become angry by the minute if he did not explain his motivation.

"You told me how uncomfortable you felt in the last dinner with your family, they pushing you to talk to your friend... Father McKeown. And I know how you were shaken by the Kevin Kryder case one year ago. I may not have shown back then, but I did notice."

She didn't know if she should be infuriated for him being overprotective, or grateful for him sparing her feelings.

"So you decided to spare my feelings of unwelcome confrontation with the Church? Is that why you didn't tell me?"

"No, I wanted to tell you. But if my hunch had no foundation, it would be unnecessary. Now it is necessary. I am telling you now, and I want you to know that I value your insight even if it might be clouded by personal...

problems. I need you, partner."

Scully realized that proceeding in this awkward path would just make them both more uncomfortable, so she decided to postpone the issue for the sake of the practical. She sat on the bed by his side and looked idly at the files.

"What did you find that made you sure?"

"Look at the picture of the carving in the girl's back. Don't you notice anything unusual?"

"Huummm... I don't know. The letters are not very regular, but I would not expect 'handwriting' to be good in a mobile support like human skin. Other than that, the only thing I notice is that the second 'X' and the 'V' are sort of separated. Perhaps he didn't want to write on the vertebrae."

"That's what I thought the first time I noticed it. Don't you see Scully?

This is not one number. It is two numbers! Twenty, and seven."

"How do you know? Why can't it be twenty-five and two?"

"This is where my chat with the priest enters. He was quite upset, and tried to talk me into assuming a role of saviour for the babies. He said something about evil being close, and quoted the Apocalypse and the Book of Revelation. When we came back from the Hospital, I found that Bible and took a look. It was not difficult."

Scully went to a drawer in her room and found another Bible. She felt strange in opening the book after such a long time.

"Revelation, Chapter 20... Verse 7... And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison."

Scully felt a chilling run down her spine. This was becoming more than the usual, creepy X-File. This was becoming sinister.

"Mulder, I... I certainly feel strange saying this, but there was something weird I found in the corpse before I was attacked. The girl's eyes... They were bright red. They seemed... on fire."

"I know. I heard your tape recorder while I was waiting for you to wake up in the Hospital."

Seconds passed as Scully came to the full realization of the implications.

However, her analytical mind refused to accept that all was real, and not something out of some cheap horror comics.

"There is something else, Scully. How many months do we have until the End of the Millenium?"

"Hummm... Two years... 24 months. We are in May, so... 31 months."

"Not quite. According to Nostradamus, the World will end in August, 1999.

The Moon will get away from its orbit giving rise to a series of cataclismic events. I know it is a leap, but this is also the 27th month before the end of everything. Regardless of us believing the profecies or not, whoever is behind this, he has quite a good sense of timing, doesn't he?"

"I can't believe you really just said that! Do you think that whoever took the babies will slain them in order to let the Devil loose??? That's crazy Mulder!!! There is no physical evidence supporting that!"

"Of course it is crazy. I don't believe it more than you do, Scully. But we still have to figure out where the babies are. In order to catch a nut, you have to think like the nut. What if this guy has read the Bible, made a couple of calculations and decided that this is quite a convenient moment to carry on profecies? This is not about what I believe. This is about what he believes."

Scully let out a sigh and looked down at the files. She hated to admit it, but it made sense. And wacky clues were better than none.

"If this is true, then we don't know how much time we have. The babies might be already dead."

"Exactly. In any event, we should start think about hurrying. Tomorrow morning we will interview Evelyn Fowler's family. We might get a break then. Come on, try to get some rest." He gave her a small rub in the back, as to reassure her that he trusted them to succeed.

She pursed her lips and nodded. His touch was always wonderful to feel.

Mulder got up and headed towards the door. Scully tried to ease the tension a little, so as to let him know he was forgiven. She gave him one of her enigmatic smiles.

"Aren't you going to tuck me in the bed?"

"Nope. You are too dangerous in those pajamas, and I don't want to be tempted.

I'll see you in the morning. Bright and early. Good night, Scully."

"Good night Mulder."

Title: The Devil's Due II
Author: Quim
Keywords: Lots of Mulder/Scully UST. However, non-shippers should be safe.

Summary : Mulder and Scully uncover the connection between a series of children abductions and a satanic cult. Two interviews, a pile of corpses and an unbelievable MulderLeap later, they find themselves in a race against time to avoid a tragedy of apocalyptical proportions.

Author's note: Thanks to Penny Daza for incentive.


Fowler family residence
Duluth, MN
May 25th
10:00 A.M.

Harry Fowler observed as a blue Ford Taurus stopped in front of his lawn.

A well-dressed couple using black coats left the car and approached him.

Their faces were serious. Mulder approached him and flashed his badge.

"Good morning Mr. Fowler. My name is Fox Mulder, and this is my partner, Dr. Dana Scully. We are with the FBI. Can we come in?"

The man didn't seem to look forward to the next few minutes, but he obliged.

"Mark called us yesterday. He said we should expect the FBI." He was clearly upset, and decided to cut the chase. "Have you found who killed my daughter?"

Scully noticed the anger in the old man's voice. It was quite understandable.

"No, sir. We were hoping that you could provide us some information that might help us determine what happened. Did Evelyn have many friends? Schoolmates?"

"Very few. You know, she always had her mind set on grandeur dreams. She wanted to go to Wisconsin or Michigan to study medicine, and perhaps go to Europe later. She always said she wanted to discover the cure for cancer or something like that... Do something to help mankind... Oh God..."

The man was in the verge of tears, and Mulder noticed it in his voice. After giving Fowler some time to recover, Scully spoke.

"We are very sorry for your loss Mr. Fowler. Do you remember if Evelyn talked to someone on 19th, or the day before that?"

"Hummm... No, except for Elijah Varney. He is a young man who lives three blocks from here. He and Evelyn were dating for a while, but they broke up months ago, when she decided to leave town and go to College. Evelyn never gave me details, and I wouldn't intrude. I assumed it was the normal teenage stuff."

Mulder and Scully looked at each other. Questions and answers flew between then in the space of seconds.

"Did they end their association in good terms?"

"Yeah, Elijah really liked Evelyn. He understood her very well."

The rest of the interview was little productive. In the end, Mulder asked: "Mr. Fowler, do you know where we can find this kid... Elijah? He might have seen Evelyn prior to her demise, or he might have some further information."

Fowler nodded and gave them Elijah's address. They went back to the car and left. Scully looked curiously at Mulder.

"What is going on Mulder? Do you think the boy might have done it?"

"No, Scully, Fowler was genuinely fond of the boy. It looked like he really trusted Elijah Varney. But we have to check anyway. There is something else bothering me."

"Like what?"

"Like how in Mr. Fowler's first interview by the local P.D., the name of Elijah Varney is not mentioned even once."

Scully took the folder and opened the page where Mr. Fowler had given his statements. Mulder was right. How could any officer miss that? One of the misconceptions in law enforcement is that, whenever the murder victim is a female, it is automatically assumed that the husband or boyfriend is one of the suspects. Scully knew that such an attitude carried a lot of sexism. But any detective knew the drill. So the name of Elijah Varney should be in the first interview. Either the local P.D. had made a really sloppy job, or... She saw it in Mulder's eyes. Someone might be trying to cover up evidence. No matter how paranoid Mulder was, the whole ordeal started to make sense.


Varney family residence
Duluth, MN
11:10 A.M.

They stopped the car in front of the address. They rang the bell but nobody showed up. That was when Mulder saw with the corner of his eye someone leaving the house in a hurry from behind. Mulder jumped like a cat.

"FEDERAL AGENT!!! STOP!!! RIGHT THERE!!!"

The guy gave no sign of intending to stop. Using his longer legs, Mulder sprinted towards the suspect and knocked him down. While Scully caught them up, he was handcuffing the guy. He turned him.

It matched the description of Elijah Varney.

"Sorry dude. You will miss your appointment with the dentist."

Mulder turned his head to see Scully's nose bleeding again. She had not noticed.

"Scully..." She saw in his eyes what was going on.

He handled her his handkerchief. She accepted it. She was embarrassed, but was grateful he didn't make any comment. She quickly started to clean, always looking at the boy. Her eyes grew wide with what she saw.

"Oh my God... Mulder, look at that... His eyes..."

The kid's eyes were bright red. Scully coudn't believe it. He started to suffer convulsions. Mulder tried to hold him still.

"How is it possible? Is it any allergic reaction?"

"I... I don't know, it looks like he is high on some kind of psychotropic."

Mulder would not let it go easily. As a psychologist, he knew that people high on drugs might be susceptible to suggestion. He decided to give it a shot. He forcefully took Elijah's head in his hands and made him look at him.

"Elijah! Listen to me. What can you tell us about what happened to Evelyn?"

"Evelyn... They killed her. She didn't want to take the babies..."

At last a break. The murder WAS connected somehow to the babies.

"Elijah... Did you take Evelyn to meet your friends?"

"Yeah... We spent one or two nights high on drugs there... It was cool.

But Evelyn wanted to stop. She told me it was no life. I was afraid, too.

They were weird... They wanted to do bad things to Evelyn... She would not let them... So we got away from them. Away from the Church..."

"Do you know what they intended to with the babies?"

"Kill them... To set the Devil loose... Destroy everything as we know..."

Scully was not liking this. She tried to catch the boy's pulse.

"Mulder, his pressure is dangerously low. I can barely find his pulse.

He is our only witness. We have to take him to a hospital."

Surprisingly, Elijah managed to say, "It doesn't matter. You cannot stop them. You cannot stop Him."

He was interrupted by the sound of a shot. Mulder and Scully jumped back as Elijah's chest exploded, leaving him in a puddle of blood.

The shot had gone straight to the chest. Mulder quickly got his cell phone and dialed 911, while Scully tried to stop the bleeding.


Duluth County Morgue
3:30 P.M.

"May the twenty-fifth, three-thirty p.m. Deceased is a caucasian male in his twenties. Cause of death was a gunshot through the left lung. No distinct marks except for a tattoo of the number twenty-seven in roman numerals, located at the chest. This suggests a connection to the previous murder of Evelyn Fowler."

"The pupils are severely constricted. Both the iris and the conjunctiva are bright red. The veins in the neck are showing, suggesting a powerful vasodilating reaction. This is suggestive of some kind of drug abuse."

Mulder was in a corner chewing sunflower seeds and talking on his cell phone. They had already lost one body, and there was no way in hell he would let it happen again. He let her finish the autopsy, and spoke.

"Seems that we have some answers. The detective who did the original interview with Fowler has disappeared. Also, he matches the description of the man who took the body, according to composites obtained from the testimony of janitors and night guards of the morgue. Looks like someone is really interested in covering up what's going on in this town..."

That was the easy part. Mulder decided to venture into more obscure paths.

"What do you make of what he said before he was shot?"

"About the cult? Release of the Devil? He was tripping, Mulder.

You saw it. We cannot take anything he said into consideration."

"You said yourself he was our only witness Scully. We can not simply dismiss him. What can you tell about the drug that was found in his blood?"

"I sent a sample to the laboratory. We should have the results tonight.

However, I suspect it was an allucinogen of some kind. This might explain Varney's delusions and the red color in the eyes."

"How?"

"The use of certain drugs is associated with strong variations of pressure on the capillaries, giving rise to hemorragy of the ocular globe. If the reaction is strong enough, this might account for the bright red color in the conjunctiva. I cannot explain the red color in the iris and the pupils, but it is conceivable that some new kind of drug could produce such an effect."


Motor Lodge Motel
Duluth, MN
6:15 P.M.

Mulder walked back and forth in his room. He frantically spoke to his cell phone, growing increasingly aware of the passage of time.

Scully was worried about her partner. She had seen Mulder like this before, when he desperately had hunted and killed John Le Roche before the sicko could add another paper heart to his macabre collection. In times like this Mulder was tortured by a feeling of abandon and uselessness. He had to DO something, and not wait for more clues to appear.

Meanwhile, Scully was occupied with her own cell phone, talking to the laboratory and taking notes of the results. Finally, they were finished.

They turned towards each other. Mulder spoke first.

"The detective was found dead in a motel room thirty miles from here.

The bullet that killed Elijah Varney matches the caliber and the marks of the detective's gun. The detective's eyes were bright red, if you are interested."

"This makes sense. The detective probably was part of the whole operation.

He was in charge of cover the evidence, and that's why he stole Evelyn's body from the morgue. He might have killed her himself."

"As he did with Elijah Varney. What did you get from the lab?"

"Toxicology analysis revealed a high concentration of a substance identified as a powerful allucinogen related to phencyclidine. This seems to match the boy's reaction, because phencyclidine may cause hypotension. However, the drug's onset time was unusually short, if compared to phencyclidine or even fentanyl. The final psychotropic effect is similar to that of heroine."

"These guys are really in for a trip. I bet they watch 'Fantasia' in video every week to get in the mood."

Scully immediately knew which sequence he was referring to.

"And what do you suggest we do now? Call an exorcist?" He chuckled when she quoted her favorite movie.

"Nothing so gross, but similar. I have to call The Lone Gunmen. I asked them to see if they could find any clues about this group." He dialed the familiar number and waited.

"Hello? Who is this?" The voice of Byers sounded as paranoid as always.

"You can turn off the tracer boys, it's me. Did you find anything?"

This time Mulder recognized the cheerful voice of Langly.

"Hi Mulder. Took some time, but we got something. You will love this.

The Creators of Tomorrow. They are nuts who founded a new religion two years ago. Quite organized. They even have a Website with several mirrors.

The things they claim are enough to give you the creeps. Real fanatics.

Their activities reportedly involve teenage rape and satanic cults. Ick."

Byers took over the report, looking for something more practical.

"The leader, Chester Harron, was in the blacklist of the IRS for sonegation for years. Later he got support from some misterious group of international investors and was let loose. One year ago, he disappeared in a fire near Council Bluffs, Iowa and was supposed dead. However, the group doesn't seem to have lost cohesion."

"Does the name of the group have any special significance?"

It was Frohike's turn to answer.

"Their philosophy, if you can say they have any, is based on profecies about the Apocalypse. Looks like they are preparing the world for the arrival of their messiah or something like that. I thought this kind of thing only happened in California."

"Thanks guys. Frohike, you can choose any one of my videos. Personal gift."

"Gee, thanks. Can I choose that one with the petite redhaired girls?"

As Frohike asked, Mulder turned back to see Scully taking off her high heel shoes. Her shining auburn hair was falling to one side, and as she leaned down, her usually modest cleavage gave Mulder glimpses of her silk underwear. His view was drawn to her legs. She didn't notice his stare.

This vision would keep him awake for weeks.

"No, that one is off limits. Bye guys. See you in the weekend."

Mulder turned his cell phone off. Scully observed him suspiciously.

"What is off limits?"

"Ahh... Nothing, it was just a joke. Listen, there is something wrong here.

We know that Elijah was in contact with this group, and that Evelyn was killed because she didn't want to collaborate in the group's activities."

Scully slowly began to feel the puzzle pieces falling into place.

"That could explain why Amanda was the last baby to disappear. They were planning to take all the babies at once, but something went wrong."

"I think that Evelyn might have chosen to babysit that night on purpose. When the would-be abductors reached the house, she was gone with Amanda. It was probably Evelyn who had made the 911 call, to scare the abductors. When the parents returned, she was already back there with the baby. When the police came, the parents themselves didn't know anything about it. But Evelyn lied, perhaps wanting to spare them."

Not everything matched, but Scully had to admit it was a good story.

Mulder continued. "They discovered that Evelyn had ruined their plans for that night, and ensured she would not do it again. They returned three days later, and took Amanda."

"Still this is all speculation Mulder. And it is based on the testimony of a suspect, while high on drugs. Why did Elijah try to run away when we went to talk to him?"

"He might have been afraid that we were members of the cult coming after him... It is even possible that he killed Evelyn while high on drugs. But he seemed in a lot of pain when he told us..."

Scully felt Mulder's voice trail. For a moment he seemed oblivious to her and everything around him. Mulder's eidetic memory started to replay Elijah's testimony inside his head.

"The Church! He said they got away from the Church! Evelyn was found near...

The Church! The detective lived in this town! The babies are in the Church!"

Mulder reached for his coat and headed towards the door. Still surprised, Scully hadn't quite grasped the logic, but she knew that no matter how weird, Mulder's leaps were in general more accurate than any forensics or profile. She distinctly remembered how, months earlier, he had saved her from Gerry Schnauz with no clue other than a snapshot. The memory still gave her the creeps.

She grabbed her gun and her cell phone.

"Go ahead and start the car. I will call the Duluth Branch and ask for backup. We don't know how many of these people are there."

Title: The Devil's Due III
Author: Quim
Rating: R for violence and the scene of the MulderAngst trip. Some people might find such scene (as well as the final standout) disturbing. I did scare myself. Be warned.
Keywords: Mulder/Scully UST, borderline MSR. However, non-shippers should be safe with a slight exercise of their famous denial abilities. Anti-shippers in general should bail out and go see a psychiatrist to figure out what's wrong with them. However, some might want to stay depending on their sensibilities. This X-File is worth it.

Summary: Mulder and Scully uncover the connection between a series of children abductions and a satanic cult. Mulder faces the Big Bad Guy himself.

This is a cliffhanger (literally!) not suitable to people with heart conditions. Be warned.

Author's note: Thanks to Penny Daza for incentive. Feedback is welcome.


Chapter III

Countryside Baptist Church
Duluth, MN
May 27th
7:20 P.M.

Mulder and Scully were speeding along the streets of Duluth heading to the Church. The weather was miserable, and the rain was growing stronger.

"Mulder, are you sure you don't want to wait for backup?"

"There is no time for that, you said yourself that the babies might be already dead. You already called the Duluth Branch. They will reach Agent Boggs, and he will get the cavalry here. We just have to make sure they arrive in time to save the babies."

"You are still thinking that it is your responsibility to protect them, aren't you?"

Mulder didn't answer. Scully let out a sigh of frustration. If he was going to do this anyway, he had better have her by his side.

The blue Ford Taurus stopped in front of the Church and Mulder and Scully stepped outside, already handling their guns and looking for cover. They had no idea of which kind of reception they would meet.

As they entered the Church, the lights were off. Both noticed the organ playing at full blast.

"Looks like we just made it to the midnight mass."

As Scully slowly advanced toward the altar, her legs tripped in some large obstacle. She pointed her flashlight to the floor to find Rev. Mark Shalinski covered in blood. She called for Mulder.

"Oh my God. The reverend is dead. Watch out Mulder."

Mulder acknowledged and proceeded. While they approached the altar, Scully saw a large table. There lied the babies, apparently unharmed.

Always the doctor, Scully carefully checked each one of them. She suddenly became aware that they were not alone.

"Mulder..."

They found themselves surrounded. Several men, wearing ugly masks and red robes, cut every possible escape. It didn't matter nonetheless, because they both wanted to run, but neither could find in the heart to leave the babies. One of the men hit Mulder from behind. Scully turned her gun towards him and fired, but two other men grabbed her.

"Mulder!!!"

"Scully!!!"

Both struggled fiercely, but they were by far outnumbered. Suddenly everybody in the room stood still and the door of the parish opened.

They faced Chester Harron. He was dressed in a red robe. His eyes were glassy, and it seemed like he was on drugs.

"Now it is the time for the Creation of Tomorrow. He is coming."

Harron's face was dark. He was handled a syringe by one of the cult's members. I am not going to like this, Scully thought. Harron spoke again.

"You have attempted to stop us. Now you must face Him."

Mulder struggled, but the guys holding him were too strong. He felt a stinging pain as the needle penetrated his arm. Scully called him, trying not to sound desperate. One of the Creators turned towards Scully, but Harron made him stop. He looked at her neck and caught a glimpse of her golden cross. He looked at her face and saw disbelief.

"No. Not her. We will keep her for our blood sacrifice. After the babies are gone, the Master will have to be appeased. Nothing better than a nonbeliever. The terror of the realization in her face. It will be better than raping her body. He shall rape her mind."

Scully couldn't believe this was happening to her. This was supposed to be the 20th Century, not the Middle Ages. Only God knows what they would do if they saw that stupid tattoo on my back, she thought. She knew that in this situation, panic was equal to death. She tried to regain her composure.

"Mulder... Remember that this drug will give you an hallucination.

You just have to hold on for some minutes." She knew her advice would not help him in any way, but she felt like reassuring him somehow.

The Creators took them to a another room. Mulder felt dizzy. He was bracing himself for the trip. At least that stupid experiment with Dr. Charles Goldstein had given him some recent experience.

Scully's voice was the last thing he caught from the real world.

"Mulder!!! LISTEN TO ME DAMMIT!!! IT IS NOT REAL!!!

REMEMBER IT IS ALL an hallucination!!! Mulder!!!"

But his mind had already started to adrift.


Ecce spectaculum dignum,
Ad quod respeciat Deus.
Ecce par Deo dignum,
vir fortis cum mala fortuna compositus.
(Seneca, 'De Providentia.' Sec. 4)


Mulder suddenly felt like drowning in a sea of fire. Crap, I hate fire, he thought. Strangely enough, he felt cold. Colors changed and whirled and flowed around him like a surrealist dream. He tried in vain to move.

"Noooooo... I can't... Give up..."

Mulder was confronted by the ugliest face he had ever seen. He didn't know if it was really the Devil or some construction of his twisted imagination.

"Why do you resist? You know you will die anyway."

"Not before you get your ass back to where you belong."

Mulder watched, terrified, as the monster's face morphed into his own.

He was smiling, and his red eyes made him look... plain evil. Somehow he was not surprised when the monster spoke with his own voice.

"You know you can't stop me. You are weak. Worthless. You were no good for your sister. You were no good for the babies. They will be killed, and I will reign again. It is inevitable. It is over."

"No... You are lying... I have to... fight... It is not... over!"

"You know I am right. You were no good for your father... You were no good for your partner. Ahhh, I see... You find her attractive. She is the only one you trust. She is your strength. She will be killed, too. And I will enjoy to tear her body and her soul apart."

Mulder saw an image of Scully floating above him. Her eyes were closed.

Her face had never been so beautiful, so luminous, so peaceful. The Monster extended his arm. His hand morphed into horrible, deformed claws, and he slowly reached to her face. Like cancer itself.

The horror of Mulder's anticipation took over him.

"NOOOO!!! LEAVE HER ALONE!!! GO BACK TO HELL!!!"

Coming out of nothing, a gun appeared in Mulder's hand. He used his last strength to point it at the monster and shoot. Once. Twice. Three times.

He lost count.

With a horrendous cry, the monster was sucked by a vortex of light.

Everything that remained was darkness. Scully had disappeared. Fox Mulder was, again, alone. Lost in his own darkness. To conquer it or to be swallowed by it. For the moment, he felt victorious. He took his head on his hands and sobbed, powerless, completely overhelmed.

"You can have me asshole. But not her. Go back to Hell where you belong."

"Leave us alone. Leave me alone."


Countryside Baptist Church
May 27th
10:13 P.M.

Mulder's eyes opened with some difficulty. It was still dark. Trying to focus, he blinked twice. His vision cleared and he saw Scully holding him.

He had tears in his eyes, and she was gently rocking him like a baby.

"What... What happened???"

"Shhh... It's ok Mulder... You had a violent reaction to an allucinogen they gave you."

He reached out to touch her face. He was still afraid. Confused.

"Scully... Thank God you're ok. Where are we?"

"Locked in a room in the Church. They left us here after you were drugged."

"Drugs... Yeah... I remember. I had an hallucination."

"So I figured. I have never seen you yell like that. You had seizures, and you wrecked the room as if you were fighting something. I had to take cover myself not to be hit. It must have been horrible. Wanna talk about it?"

"I would rather not give you details. Maybe later. Suffice to say, I most likely will not sleep for one week. What happened to the babies?"

"Nothing so far. You were right, this guy has quite a sense of timing. Today is May, the twenty-seventh. They intend to kill the babies at midnight."

"Twenty-seven... What time is it???"

"Huummm... Past ten. You were unconscious for almost two hours after the seizures stopped. I think you were in shock. Heavy trip Mulder."

"We have to do something Scully. We can't allow them to kill the babies."

He was right, and she knew it. The question was, could they do it? "Yeah, but... Are you up to it? You look exhausted."

"We are the last chance the babies have. We have to break loose somehow."


May 27th
11:00 P.M.

The Creators of Tomorrow started the final preparations. This would be a night to remember.

Chester Harron motioned two of the members to go get Mulder and Scully.

They would witness the end of everything. The beginning of everything.

As the assistants reached the room, Mulder and Scully set their minds into taking any opportunity. They knew they were running out of time.

They were never given a chance. Two of the Creators immediately knocked Mulder down, while two others held Scully. They were both injected with a drug, that Scully recognized not to be the same that Mulder had been given before. The color was different. One of the Creators approached her.

"Don't worry. This will just paralyze you. You will be able to watch every step of the cerimony. After all, you are expected to participate."

Somehow, she was afraid he was not lying.

Mulder noticed that they were all more relaxed after the injections. The drugs could start to work at any moment. Now this is really my last chance, he thought. Running on pure adrenaline, he managed to knock down one of the nuts. Scully promptly attacked the one who was closer to Mulder, so as to give him some extra seconds. She succeeded. Mulder immediately caught one wooden chair and viciously smashed it on the third guy's head. The next few seconds, Scully managed to put into good use the karate lessons she had had at Quantico, while Mulder punched the remaining Creator.

"I can't believe we were outnumbered and still got out of this. What now?"

"I don't know, but I don't intend to stay here for the communion. Let's try to go back to the altar. If something is going to happen, it is happening there."

They cautiously examined the corridor ahead. Nobody at sight. They advanced, step by step, towards the Church. Mulder scanned the path ahead looking for any trouble, while Scully covered his back.

Scully realized she had to use her brain while she still had control over it. So she started to analyze their odds.

"Mulder, we don't know how much time we have until these drugs paralyze us. Could start at any minute. And we don't have our guns. Whatever we have to do, we had better do it fast."

"That's what I love about you Scully. You are always thinking positive."

They reached the altar, and Mulder peeked around the corner of the door.

The altar was empty. As they entered, Scully saw the babies on a large table. She held her breath as she feared the worse, but one of the babies moved. Thank God, she thought.

"We have to get out of here before they discover the others, or someone comes back here. Thank God they were waiting for midnight."

"Talk about seeing too many horror movies. And people call me Spooky."

Scully reached for the babies. She caught Amanda and Brenda in her arms and stared at Mulder. For a moment he was not sure what she meant him to do. Then he understood.

Trying to look as little clumsy as possible, Mulder quickly caught Marla and Marianne and headed towards the exit of the Church. Scully followed.

When they reached the outside, both noticed the rain was harder. And...

"Crap." It was all Mulder could say. The car was gone.

Scully heard noises coming from the Church. They were quickly running out of options. She was also starting to feel slightly dizzy.

Mulder realized they could not stay there as sitting ducks, storm or no storm.

"We have to save as much time as we can Scully. Agent Boggs must be arriving at any minute. Let's climb the hill and get as far as possible from this place."

She nodded. Together, they traveled under the storm.

Five minutes later, Scully was beginning to feel really dizzy.

As they walked, she looked up to Mulder. He didn't look much better.

"Mulder... Do you know where we are going?"

"No. And I don't care. I just want to go on as much as I can. Ooooops!!!"

"Mulder!!!"

Suddenly Mulder felt his feet loosing ground. Perhaps the drugs were already beating his resistance. He looked down and saw the threatening sight of a deep cliff. Barely managing to keep his balance, and hanging the babies for dear life, he managed to go back just enough to face a terrified Scully.

"We can't go on Scully. Don't move. We are trapped here."

A lightning bolt stroke dangerously close. Seconds later, a thunder rumbled.

Mulder looked back and saw lights leaving the Church. Torches.

"Shit," it was all he could say. Now they were really in trouble.


11:21 P.M.

They were trapped on the top of a cliff. There was no way out.

They had no guns to defend themselves.

Scully was afraid she would lose consciousness at any moment. She knew this would not end without loss of life. Instinctively, she gathered all the strength that was left in her and embraced Amanda and Brenda more forcefully, taking care not to hurt them. Mulder realized what she was doing. Although he was growing more and more dizzy, he managed to do the same with Marla and Marianne. The babies were surprisingly quiet, even though the rain and the lightning grew stronger by the minute. Protected by the coats of the two adults, they were kept from soaking despite the rain.

So that's how it ends, Mulder thought. He knew neither he nor Scully would survive the next half an hour. He didn't give a damn about his own life, but the babies... It was not fair, they should have a shot at a life. With his balance beginning to fail him, he only could drop to the floor. The drugs were starting to blur his vision and reality and allucination were no longer discernible.

My God, Clyde was wrong, Scully thought. She knew neither she nor Mulder would survive the next half an hour. She didn't give a damn about her own life, but the babies... It was not fair, they should have a shot at a life. With her balance beginning to fail her, she only could drop to the floor. The drugs were starting to blur her vision and reality and allucination were no longer discernible.

As they both collapsed, their senses lost in the fury of the tempest or impaired by the drugs, Mulder and Scully found themselves facing each other.

For each one, the vision of the partner was one last reminder of who they were, where they were and their purpose. They managed to slowly get closer and closer to each other, until the babies were protected from the rain.

Another lightning bolt. Thunder.

Mulder's face touched Scully's. Now, he no longer cared about what was real or not. He was going to die. Worse, she was going to die. His last thoughts had been saved for her. His noble, stubborn, brilliant, skeptical partner.

The woman whom he trusted more than he trusted himself. She would not live to fight the cancer. She would not live to see her mother or her brothers again. She would not live to enjoy motherhood, as she wanted so much.

He would never have her.

Scully's face touched Mulder's. Now, she no longer cared about what was real or not. She was going to die. Worse, he was going to die. Her last thoughts had been saved for him. Her noble, stubborn, brilliant, crazy partner.

The man whom she trusted more than she trusted herself. He would not live to fight the Consortium. He would not live to see her mother or The Lone Gunmen again. He would not live to find his sister, as he wanted so much.

She would never have him.

"Hail Mary, full of grace... The Lord is with thee..." Her words left her mouth, almost a whisper, so faint that she didn't knew if he was hearing.

"Blessed art thou among women... And blessed is the fruit of thy womb..."

Mulder knew the pray would probably not help. But he didn't care.

He just made sure he heard every word she was saying.

Thunder. Another lightning. Another thunder swallowed her words.

"...Pray for us sinners... Now and at the time of our death... Amen." It was a pray for herself and Mulder, as much as it was a pray for the babies.

Mulder couldn't move. His legs failed him as the drug slowly overhelmed his senses. He was afraid he would drop one of the babies at any moment.

"I love you Scully. I am sorry..." The fury of the thunderstorm devoured his tears, and he didn't know if she was hearing.

Scully didn't know if she was allucinating. She no longer cared.

"Don't be sorry Mulder. I love you. See you in Heaven... Soon."

Mulder didn't know if he was allucinating. He no longer cared.

Lightning. Thunder.

The Creators of Tomorrow finally approached the scene, certain their preys were defenseless. They raised their guns and pointed them at their targets.

Now it was the time of Creation. There was no way out. He was coming.

BANG!!! BANG!!! BANG!!!...

BANG!!! BANG!!! BANG!!!...

Both Mulder and Scully lost consciousness almost immediately.

Everything turned black.


E venni dal martirio a questa pace.
(Dante, 'Paradiso'. Canto xv, l. 148)


Duluth Regional Hospital
May28th
8:00 A.M.

Scully slowly regained consciousness several hours later. Although she was still confused, the sunshine outside, plus the fact that she found herself in what looked like a hospital bed, gave her enough evidence that she was not dead.

She turned her head to see a nurse walking past her room. She attempted to get up, but a stinging pain held her to her original position.

Minutes later, another nurse entered the room and noticed she was awaken.

She quickly exited the room and returned seconds later, followed by Agent Boggs. Now I know for sure that I am not dead, Scully thought.

"Agent Scully. Good to see you are recovering. I trust you have an idea of what happened to you?"

"We were drugged... We were followed by those fanatics... I must have lost consciousness. Why have I not been killed???"

"We arrived at the Church and immediately saw the light of torches. When we climbed the hill and approached the scene, we heard several shots. There was a shootout. Some of those thugs committed suicide, others escaped in the woods, but we will catch them soon."

So it was really over. Nevertheless, Scully still felt a little tense.

"We found you and Mulder, each hit with three shots, in the top of the cliff. You both were seriously hurt, but luckily I had brought a team of paramedics with me."

Again she tried to get up, and again the stinging pain precluded her.

With her head clearing by the minute, realization and fear stroke her.

"Mulder... Where is Mulder??? Is he alive??? Where is he???"

Boggs remembered when Mulder had led the investigation one year ago in Minneapolis. His concern for his partner. He knew he had to reassure Scully.

"Relax Agent Scully. He is in another room. You were lucky, two of the shots just scratched you. He was hit in one leg and twice in the back.

He lost a lot of blood, but he's out of the woods now. The doctors already extracted the bullets. He is now sedated for the pain, but he might be waking up at any moment."

"The babies... What happened to them???"

"They are safe. Not a scratch. We took them to the nursery of this hospital, under heavy guard. They will be returned to their families in the next hours.

Meanwhile, Assistant Director Skinner asked me to tell you and Mulder to take at least two weeks off and rest. But he expects you to turn in your field report as soon as possible. He is a tough man. I for myself have talked to the governor. I tried to make sure you and Agent Mulder will receive the due credit for saving the babies. I can see two condecorations in the future. Another score for the Spooky Patrol."

Scully felt like laughing, but the latest events had her still too terrified to allow anything besides a smile.

"Thanks Agent Boggs. I am sure Mulder really appreciates your support."

"He had better, because every time you guys come up here I have to mobilize the state police, paramedics and fireworkers to get you. Not to mention the damn press running after me. Please, tell Mulder that next time we'll just have lunch and chat over football, ok? I am getting too old for this."


Duluth Regional Hospital
May 28th
10:13 A.M.

Mulder woke up to see the beautiful face of Dana Scully smiling at him.

She was sitting by his bedside, wearing just a white hospital gown and her golden cross. Her face had never been so beautiful, so luminous, so peaceful. He was reminded of his allucination and started to wonder if it really had happened. Perhaps he had really gone off the deep end this time.

"Wow. I see an angel. Now I know for sure I am dead."

"Hey you. How are you feeling?"

"Happy that you made it."

"Made it? What do you mean?"

"You asked me for a date, remember? Although I never expected Heaven to smell of ether like that. Looks like a Hospital."

Scully chuckled. Her wounds still hurt, but having Mulder all for herself for some minutes was worth it. He noticed the pain in her face.

"Are you ok?"

"Yeah, I just got sore muscles from gunshots and emergency surgery. I am getting used to the pain."

Only then Mulder realized he was not feeling pain. Or anything else in his body, for that matter.

"How many holes did they put in me?"

"Three. Nothing that some rest and lots of chicken soup won't fix. Looks like my mother will have two patients to take care of for two weeks, with cumpliments from Skinner."

He had still problems in separating reality and hallucination.

"And the Devil?... Is he gone?.."

"You sent him back to Hell, where he belongs."

Scully reached out and took Mulder's hand. She didn't know if they had any future, but at least for the moment, they were safe. And together.

She would not have it any other way.


Felices ter et amplius
Quos inrupta tenet copula nec malis
Divulsus querimoniis
Suprema citius solvet amor die.
(Horace, 'Odes'. Book i, ode 13, l. 17)

T H E E N D


End note: Although I bear a Catholic upbringing like Scully, I did not mean in any way to impose my religious beliefs (whatever they are) upon anyone...

It is simply my understanding that critical events in anyone's life, especially life-threatening situations, make people more fragile and with tendency to turn to God (whatever God you believe in).

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