Title: Everything's the Key
Author: Rachel Wilder
Written: May 2002
Rating: R for strong language and violence
Keyword: AU
Spoilers: Most of the Series
Disclaimer: The characters included in this story were created by Chris Carter and 1013 Productions. The real people all worked for said production company. No harm is intended to either group.

Summary: Hey, somebody had to be the "key to everything."

Author's Notes: This story was written for the I Want to Believe "Ima Believer" challenge, round 2. For more about Ima, and her great writing, check out http://www.iwtbxf.com/ima.htm

This story is dedicated to Jamie, Sandy, Lynne and Marie...all of whom stuck it out longer than they thought they should. By the way, I'm really not this bitter. My apologies to the real people who appear in this fic...

She had to keep a closer eye on him. In the last week William had come up with an earring, her good Parker pen and a Sacajawea dollar...and put them all in his mouth. He had suddenly discovered his hands and was scooting around at about one hundred miles an hour. It was times like this that she wished she had become involved with a more conventional man...at least one who might have been able to stick around rather than live on the lam from super soldiers from outer space.

She shook her head and sighed...she didn't really mean that. She loved Mulder and missed him desperately, but on a day like today, when she had been on baby duty for three days straight with a total of ten hours of sleep, well, it was harder to excuse his absence. Quest or no quest, she needed some help.

"William, what are you doing in there?" she called as the baby pulled his hand from the aquarium. It was his newest trick...he would climb up on the couch and launch himself toward the fish tank in hopes of catching one of the fish. She assumed it was the combination of the Scully naval genes and Mulder's seeming obsession with keeping a few of the creatures around at all times. It had been his only real request...she could do whatever she wanted with his apartment or any of his belongings, but he asked her to please watch after his fish until he returned...and keep a closer eye on the mollies this time, please.

She walked over to where the baby was pulling something from the tank and heading toward his mouth. She desperately hoped it wasn't the Mollie she had just replaced three days before.

"William!" she called.

Startled, the baby began to cry and dropped the small piece of metal he had pulled from the tank. Scully quickly moved to pick the child up and comfort him.

"It's okay...Momma just didn't want you to eat one of Daddy's fish. It's not like sushi."

Cuddled in his mother's arms, William quickly quieted and began to suck his thumb. After a moment he pointed at the object that had fallen to the floor.

"Maa...kee...." he squealed and pointed to the floor.

He didn't really talk, but she was always pleased to hear his verbalizations. She did think he really was trying to say "mama" when he squealed "maaa!" She looked down where the baby was pointing, and there did seem to be something there. She leaned over and picked it up. It was a small metal key.

She didn't remember Mulder saying anything about a key in the fish tank and she had no idea what it might unlock. It was small, and rather indistinct. It was probably the key to his footlocker of porn, although why he would keep the key in the tank was a mystery to her.


"Yes, William, it's Daddy's key," she said as she held it up to the light, turning it, trying to solve the mystery of its origin.

The baby kept babbling and reaching for the key. Finally she brought it close enough that he could touch it.



Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore, she thought to herself as she turned, looking around at the street she now found herself on. Only a moment ago, she had been sitting in her apartment in Georgetown, but now she was standing on a street that could be in any city in America. She and Mulder had been on similar ones week in and week out of their lives. The baby squirmed slightly, twisting in her arms.

"Where are we, Will? What happened to us?" she asked, holding the baby a bit tighter.

There were people everywhere, but no one seemed to find it strange that she had just appeared here on this street, in the middle of what appeared to be a movie set.


She turned to find a middle-aged man with a beard coming toward her.

"Gillian, I wanted to go over this last scene. Chris and I were just talking and we think that what this scene really needs is a good voiceover."

Scully turned and looked behind her. The man seemed to be talking to her, but she had no idea who this "Gillian" person was.

"Why are you still holding the baby?" he asked, reaching for his walkie talkie. "Can we get the nurse over here to pick up..." He stopped talking and leaned toward her, "which one do you have, Gill?"

She looked at him with great confusion. Who was he and who was this Gillian person he kept referring to? She pulled William even closer, fearing that this strange man was going to try to take her baby from her.

"Just let me take him, Gillian, you need to get into make-up."

"Who exactly is this Gillian person you keep referring to and I don't know about any make-up, but you're sure as hell not getting your hands on my baby, whoever the hell you are," she spat at the strange man.

"Hey, so you're into Method now, that's great Gill, but we're going to lose the kids in about a half hour and we've still got to shoot the exteriors on this house," the man said, now steering her down the street by her elbow. She tried to squirm free, but the man seemed hell-bent on getting her toward this movie set. She had her weapon, but it was too hard to pull it with the baby in her arms.

"Spotsy, I thought you'd gone back to the trailer, what's the hold-up?" asked a tallish man with a twang that seemed reminiscent of a West Virginia trailer park. "I've got the white trash background extras ready to go and the Mulder double is threatening to walk if we don't get this in the can immediately. His wife is in labor or some crap like that."

The bearded man reached again for William, but she was able to step back and keep her grip on the baby.

"Gillian, I realize you miss your kid, but this is getting nuts, you have got to give me that baby. It's California law!"

"I don't know exactly who the hell you are, but my name is Dana Scully, Special Agent Dana Scully of the FBI. This is my son, William, and like hell I'm handing him over to you. You don't look capable of handling a thirteen week run of a science fiction/fantasy show, let alone a child!" Her voice continued to rise until she was finally shouting. By the time she finished everyone on the set had fallen silent and was now looking at her.

"Five minutes ago I was sitting on my couch in my apartment in the District of Columbia. Could somebody please explain to me what the hell is going on."

She stopped talking as a tall, balding man started moving toward her.

"Thank god, Skinner, please tell me what's going on," she pleaded. Skinner reached for her elbow and steered her away from the bearded man and the West Virginian exile.

"I know they've been long days and you miss being with your kid, but you have got to get a hold of yourself, Gillian. Yeah, I know you thought it would be easier without David, but who the hell wants to be on the ship while it's sinking. At this point I'd get off if I could and they don't even make me work very often. I can hardly imagine what it's like for you to come in here on a daily basis and watch it all go to hell. Now that I think of it, it might make me crack up, too."

"What are you talking about, Skinner..," she said slowly, trying to slip her hand from his. He wasn't making any sense. Sinking ship? Did he mean the X-Files? She was hardly involved with the X-Files any longer, but there was a certain sense of pride...

"I'm Mitch, not Skinner," he replied, reaching up to touch her forehead. "You're not feverish. Have you fallen, hit your head?"

She shook her head. None of this made any sense. It was more bizarre than any case she and Mulder has ever investigated.

"Tell me more...Mitch," she said, hoping he might give her a clue. "Tell me about you...and me...what this is all about."

Skinner shook his head, but started talking anyway. "I'm Mitch Pileggi, I've been playing Walter Skinner, your boss, on the X-Files for nine years now. You're Gillian Anderson, you play Scully. The show had quite a bit of success at one point, but is now cruising on a downward spiral towards humiliation and ultimately cancellation. We used to work on the show with David Duchovny who played Mulder, but now he's been replaced by Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish as Agents Doggett and Reyes. They do a fine job, but the magic isn't there anymore."

She nodded, thinking about Skinner's strange description. It shouldn't make any sense, but in some strange way it did.

"And this David...who 'played' Mulder, where is he now?"

"Playing golf, I assume, or making another 'great' movie or boffing his wife. It's hard to know with David."

"And this 'show', this X-Files, who's responsible for this?"

"Well, Spotsy," Skinner pointed to the bearded man. "And Vince," he pointed to the tall thin man standing next to him, "and Chris, of course. It was all Chris' idea."

"Chris?" she asked.

"Chris Carter," he responded, pointing to another man, standing on the edge of the crowd. She craned her neck slightly and could finally see him. He wasn't overly tall, but he had a perm that should have been shorn years ago. He looked like a washed out hippie, kind of like the old surfers who used to hang out on the beach in San Diego when she was a kid, the kind who had burned their brains out on acid long before their bodies would go.

"And this was all his idea?" she asked.

'Skinner' nodded.

"Here, please hold him," she said, handing the baby to him. She walked across the lawn to the old surfer.

"Are you Chris Carter?" she asked.

"Of course, Gillian," he answered, looking confused.

"And you did all of this?" she asked, her arm sweeping across the yard of the house where they were filming.

He nodded.

"You edited out my old boyfriend, Ethan? You nearly got me killed by that mutant, Tooms? You got me abducted, experimented on, sterilized and gave me cancer?" she screamed.

He nodded again.

"You gave Mulder concussions, appeared to kill him every spring, made him drill his head, killed his parents and turned his sister into stardust?"

Again, he nodded.

"You made my brother an asshole, killed my sister, gave my little brother a bunch of kids and then disappeared him, and made my father disappointed in me?" She pulled her Sig from its holster and pulled the trigger back.

"You finally let me get Mulder in the sack and then abducted him. You complicated my pregnancy and made me not even miss him. Then you took him away from me without even one more night of love and made my kid into a freak!"

"Gillian, Scully, please, we can work this out. We'll give you more time off, a new trailer...bigger than David's ever was..."

She shook her head and looked at him, her eyes cold and hard. "I've given you everything Carter and what have I gotten in return? This shitty little key!" She held up the small key from the fish tank.

The men all gasped, the accented one letting out a quick girlie scream.

"It's the key...the key to everything!" the bearded one shouted. "It's the answer to all of your questions!"

"You have got to be kidding!" Scully responded. "First I thought Gibson Praise was the key, then Cassandra Spender was, then you tried to tell me it was my son. I believe once you even purported that Mulder would be the savior of us all, but I think I've solved this little mystery of yours."

She pulled the trigger and the man staggered back.

"You ruined my life, Chris Carter!!!!" she screamed as she emptied the clip into his bloated, tanned and dyed body. As he fell to the ground she turned back to the stunned crowd.

"Well, that's taken care of," she said as she smoothed her hands down against her pants. "Would you kindly give me back my baby and that key he's trying to eat again. Now that we've all decided that it's the key to everything, you can cancel your damn show and let me back to my life."

With that she picked up the key and BAM!

"Where did he find that?"

Scully looked up as Mulder reached over and took the little key from William's hand.

"I've been looking for that. It's the key to my diary."

"You keep a diary, Mulder? Wait, what are you doing here?" Scully asked, looking around the living room. It wasn't her living room, or Mulder's. What had happened now? Where was she? On another set? At least this seemed to be a house, it had a ceiling and there were no signs of strange-acting men with walkie talkies.

"Of course I'm here, Scully, where else would I be? I'm here, and William, and Emily should be home from school pretty soon. She was stopping by Melissa's to see Charlie and the kids."

Emily? Melissa? Charlie? His kids? What was going on now? The strain of it was getting to be too much.

"Where are we, Mulder?" she asked, looking around the room again.

"Our house, Bellefleur, Oregon. We came here on our first and last case together. Don't you remember? You came in my hotel room, you bared your ass, I bared my soul, we had hot sex. Is this ringing any bells?"

"Ever hear of Chris Carter? Someone called Spotsy? John Gilnitz?"

Mulder shook his head and reached for her, enveloping her in a warm hug. "Nope, never heard of any of them."

The End

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