Title: The Human Variant II
Summary: S and M are asked to investigate two deaths. A task that proves difficult to perform. Emily causes problems unforeseen. Dr. Kurtzweil is dragged into the scene to expose even more.
Author's note: If you thought the first part left you with unanswered questions, well then read this. First part can be read separately (if you're not too curious) but the second part needs its prequel.
Mulder's Place Apartment 42
His words still resonated through the room.
Mulder and Scully were both left speechless after Krycek had dumped this on them without warning.
Did he ever warn anybody? This guy did not even warn himself. So damn unpredictable. His reasons a mystery in itself.
"Well Scully, that proves it."
Somehow he sounded as if he didn't believe himself.
"Proves what Mulder? It's ridiculous." Scully said as she turned to face her partner.
"He could be related." Mulder nodded slowly. "Insanity runs in the family."
Scully sighed, clearly annoyed.
"Well, it's good to see your sense of humor hasn't suffered because of all this."
At least Krycek's credibility was zero here.
Scully didn't believe Krycek one bit. How could she? Although at some point in his explanation, Krycek's words did have an effect on her. A peculiar one.
The notion that she had been used echoed in her mind. Used.
After all, Scully had been given this assignment. It hadn't exactly been her choice, or had it?
She had been asked. Requested to join Mulder on the X-Files and she had always assumed that it was to invalidate his work. At the time she accepted that she had to. Until she met him and immediately understood that it would be far from easy.
Who would be mad enough to keep funding research into *SAY IT* her mind screamed, flying saucers?
Scully suddenly remembered they had somewhere to go. The call.
"Mulder, we should go. They're expecting us."
"Yeah," he absentmindedly said. "We'll deal with this later."
He walked forward like he always did, fast, towards the door to get out and go investigate. After a few steps he was held back. Surprised by the weight of the little girl still in his arms.
This was so strange.
She had made a pillow of his shoulder and was resting comfortably on it. He really didn't want to disturb her.
"Scully, what about ...?"
He moved his eyes to indicate Emily while his hand went behind her shoulder blades in protection. He padded her there, lightly as if he'd always been a parent.
Mulder tried to get past this uneasy feeling of holding this new person in his life but he couldn't. He sighed and while he was looking at Scully his eyes blurred, despite himself.
The little girl felt warm. It felt comfortable holding her, though he couldn't say why. Perhaps it was pride.
Scully bit her lip. Swallowed. Noticing the struggle there. At the same time asking herself that same question. What were they going to do? About them? About this child?
She cleared her head from doubt and wonder. One thing at a time. Face things as they come. Don't think about it, just do it she kept saying to herself. Do it.
"We'll have to take her with us, Mulder. I'm not leaving her here."
"We can't always take her with us, Scully. We have to make plans, arrangements."
Scully sighed, dropped her shoulders and gazed at the floor.
"We can't talk about this now, Mulder. We have to get back to my apartment and sort this out. There are more important things to worry about right now and in the mean time, I'm not leaving this girl behind with anyone."
Mulder had thought about dropping her off at Frohike's and he felt ashamed now for even thinking about that option. He felt as if she could sense it. Obviously it wasn't the way to go.
In a frenzy, she went back to get the little girl's papers, folded them carelessly together and stuck them in her panties. At least, now they would have to kill her to get them.
She was that worried someone could still take away the proof that this girl was theirs, take her away from them.
After all, they had been warned.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm not taking any chances, Mulder. They can get to anyone. They can get access to anything. And I think we better hurry. I don't know why but I have a bad feeling about this."
"Since when did that kick in?" Mulder said as he was carrying this new weight carefully to the door.
"You actually having bad feelings about something."
"Mulder, let's just go, alright." she bit back.
Emily came back up, faint eyes, warm and slightly flushed. She had not been sleeping as he suspected.
"She's not," Emily said.
"What?" Mulder answered, smiling. "She's not what?"
"How do you now? She really is, you know."
Emily straightened her back and threw one arm over newly conquered territory: Mulder's shoulder. She turned her head sideways and looked at Scully as if she was dissecting her food before deciding not to eat it.
When Scully's appearance brought her no resolve, she turned her face towards Mulder. He smiled at her, enjoying this conversation.
"Where are we going?" Emily asked, panicking.
What she had just failed to understand scared her. Emily avoided the conversation by suddenly wanting to know why she was being carried through the hallway towards the elevator.
"Mulder, don't mess with her mind."
Scully knew Mulder's behavior had upset Emily to the point where she started to feel uncomfortable in their presence, needing to know where they were taking her. Needing to feel safe.
Something went through his mind just now. He felt he had to talk about it, before he forgot.
"What if they already did ... something?"
He was careful not to add ... to her. Scully would understand what he had meant by that.
They had had four years with her. What had they done to her? What had really happened in those four years? Why had that bastard given her to them now? Why had they let him? Why hadn't Krycek taken her away again?
"What do you mean?" Scully said.
"I'm four years old too," Emily added.
The child was expecting conversation and wanted to be let it on all the details. Someone else was four? Who was this person? She wanted to find out who they were talking about.
She lifted her fingers and had some trouble getting four fingers into the air.
"See," she proudly said, smiling at Mulder.
They found it was best to just smile at her, making her shy. Making each other uncomfortable with this new seemingly relaxed behavior. And smiling again, edging towards one another. Emotional wet ground, the sign said. Danger. No trespassing.
Mulder followed Scully into the elevator.
"I know, Mulder. Let's talk about that later. But it has crossed my mind and I'm not sure if I want to find out."
The doors closed.
The street was perfectly calm when they arrived. As if there had been no crime committed.
"This is strange, Mulder."
Scully looked over her shoulder, to look out the back window of the car. There was nothing new outside. No movement.
Her eyes drifted to see Emily sleeping in the back seat. Exhausted. Her bunny had fallen to the floor.
The typical mommy act, picking up toys, she thought.
When Scully picked it up, the weight of the toy surprised her. She turned it around for no particular reason, perhaps to see if it had batteries to explain the weight. In doing so, she noticed it had been sown back together at the back.
The bunny wasn't that worn, to need re-stitching.
She looked at Mulder, both her hands holding the rabbit. Keeping it tightly to her. Wanting to keep it away from her daughter.
Mulder just stared at her. He couldn't help himself, she was cute. A redhead and a pink rabbit. Where had he seen that before?
"Where are the agents Skinner sent? Where's their car?"
"I don't know, Scully. You tell me."
"Maybe I should call Skinner and ask."
"Don't. Let's go check it out. After all, you live here."
"Yeah, Mulder but somehow I'm not at all glad to be home."
She looked at him.
"Whatever happened to Home Sweet Home, Scully? You know, the nice station wagon, the dog, the white picket fence. The gorgeous husband and the cute little children."
Well, she kind of had a twisted version of that right now but she didn't say anything about it. Best not give him any ideas.
"I'll take Emily," she said.
Mulder nodded, put his hand to the side of his chest to see if his gun was still where it was supposed to be and got out. He waited till Scully had gotten a hold of Emily and for some peculiar reason, Scully was bent on taking the bunny.
That was strange, perhaps she was worried Emily might wake up or something. It seemed odd to Mulder. But, what did he know?
When they arrived at her apartment door, it was open. The agents had disappeared. There was no trace of them. As if they hadn't even been there.
"What's going on here?" Scully whispered.
Emily seemed fast asleep and Scully had some difficulty supporting the girl's weight. Not used to dealing with children, not used to the sudden neediness of a fou-year-old.
"You stay here."
Mulder took his gun and was a few seconds away from entering the apartment when she stopped him.
"Mulder, take out my gun and give it to me."
He hesitated. Saw both her hands occupied with holding Emily. Her knees slightly bent. Scully could never take out her gun if something happened. She would be totally defenseless or she would have to drop the girl.
That vision sped his action.
Mulder reached for her, lifted her jacket at the back and pulled the gun out, took the safety off and pushed it into the hand that was holding Emily's back.
"Thanks." she whispered. "You go in, I'll wait here."
He nodded, put his foot against the door to open it further.
Scully couldn't hear a thing and was desperately hoping it would stay that way and nothing would happen. She looked around the hallway frequently, to catch anything that moved before it would.
A few minutes later, Mulder came out. Surprising her with the loudness of his voice.
"It's empty, Scully."
"What about the bodies?"
"What bodies, Scully? I told you there's no one here."
"But the call?"
She couldn't believe this. Why had they called her? Why had they told her that Mulder's mother was dead and that a guy matching the description of Mulder's biological father was dead also? Why?
Scully was not familiar with this way of doing things. It was not done in her book and so anything else just didn't exist as far as she was concerned. This M.O. she had never been involved with it and so therefore it did not exist. No matter how much Mulder wanted her to believe it.
He held the door for her to come in, then closed it after he took one last look outside. Mulder locked it, just to be sure they'd have no more secret visitors during the night.
"Did you check everywhere, Mulder?"
"Yes. I did."
"The place hasn't even been touched. Everything's in it's place. It's as if no one's been here. I didn't imagine all this, did I?"
Meant as a casual remark, Mulder picked up on it and couldn't help but smile.
"That's what I ask myself all the time, Scully but still I believe what I've seen, what I know is the truth." he looked at her briefly. "Then you come in and accuse me of seeing things."
She hadn't put Emily down on the couch. Somehow in that short time, she'd grown accustomed to holding her and she didn't want to leave her no matter how difficult it was to keep supporting her weight.
"Mulder, I ..."
He brushed her words aside. She didn't need to explain things to him at all. It wasn't the time nor the place.
Scully looked around her apartment carefully, as if she'd never seen it before. Somehow it felt different. Much colder. As if someone had gone through it and had rearranged everything, as if things had been touched and put back. It smelled different too.
"I don't feel comfortable, Mulder."
Scully glanced over her apartment again, slower this time. Checking a second time if everything was still in it's original place. To see if nothing had been taken. Not believing her own eyes. This place all of a sudden was strange territory. No longer hers.
"This is freaking me out, Scully. You know, with the false alarm and no bodies here ..."
"No sign of struggle. Perhaps they left."
He looked at her, questioned her comments with his eyes and smiled. She knew it had been a stupid thing to say but she had to say it.
"And my mother just went with them."
"This isn't right, Mulder."
Her surroundings began to lose their familiarity completely now.
"Well, I'm not leaving you here alone, Scully. That's for sure. I'm not going back home and I don't care what you say."
"Fine, Mulder. You don't have to go. I don't want you to. At the moment, I feel like a stranger in my own place."
He could understand her feelings but he didn't know what was all of a sudden so wrong with the place.
"Great, I think I see a couch with my name on it."
"You're welcome to stay here, Mulder. I wouldn't let you go home even if you wanted too. I don't think it's safe. We need to stay here, together."
Despite what she had said, she really didn't want to stay here at all. But her mind was already trying to dismiss the bad vibes she was having as silly, illogical. Maybe the effect of knowing her place had been occupied by complete strangers while she had been gone.
Scully went to her bedroom, wanting to put Emily to bed, but then she realized something. Not really. The bad vibes grew.
She went back into the living room and put Emily on the couch. The sleeping form didn't protest.
Mulder was getting a drink in the kitchen and he seemed to have forgotten what had happened. He hadn't been able to find anything, so he pushed his head under the tap.
Scully went up to him, touched his shoulder slightly, then edged her face closer to him and went for his ear.
He couldn't swallow. He thought she'd wanted to kiss him. Then he heard her talk. Whispering.
"Mulder, I don't think we're safe here either. I can't explain it but I feel watched. This place never has before, but now it's giving me chills. It's cold and it doesn't smell right."
She backed up. Mulder took the hint.
He bent to whisper in her ear.
"Don't take anything you didn't come here with, Scully. Not a damn thing. No clothes, not even fresh underwear. We need to disappear and if we're watched, we need to give them the impression we're just going out. That we'll be back."
Mulder followed her into the living room, trying to be as normal, as inconspicuous about this as he could be. It wasn't easy.
"Scully, I think we should go back to my place."
"Uh ... Emily's belongings are there and if she needs something here, it's ... you know ..."
"Ok then, let's go." she sighed.
Mulder went over to the couch, to find his daughter. Tried to find a way to pick her up that wouldn't disturb her. She didn't wake up as he lifted her into his arms. He was being so careful it was funny.
"Mulder, it's ok. She's fast asleep."
He looked up at her smiling face.
"Well, she doesn't have my genes when it comes to a good night's sleep. That's for sure. But the couch seems to agree with her. That unmistakable quality, Scully, is mine."
"No doubt about that."
Scully's smile grew until she reminded herself quickly of their situation.
They left in silence. Mulder holding the girl. Scully clutching the furry animal.
The old man, supposedly dead, lit his cigarette as he watched the three of them leave her apartment from an old black and white monitor.
"What did you do wrong?" he asked to Krycek in a calm manner.
"I didn't do anything wrong."
The old man looked at him intensely, not believing him.
"You haven't ... warned them ... by any chance, have you?"
Krycek grew uneasy. Didn't quite know how to respond.
"Could be they just don't like the place."
"Don't play games with me, son. Is the other place secured."
Krycek sighed. Obviously he hadn't thought of that. Maybe he had even made sure of that.
"You didn't tell me to."
The old man got up, moved to the doors and was seen coming out of a black van, parked between some bushes.
Mulder had taken a detour. A few odd streets here and there. Had stopped the car a few times to see if they weren't being followed.
Not as far as he could tell.
After about half an hour, Scully -who had been miles away thinking- finally noticed.
"Where are we going?"
"Hard to tell. I think I'm lost."
"No, Scully it's alright. A minute ago, I thought I'd lost my way. But we're ok now."
"Trust me, I know what I'm doing."
"I get that a lot from you."
"You'll see when we get there. What's with the bunny, Scully?"
She'd been determined to take it with her. She had taken it from Emily and she had been pulling the fabric in the car. She'd turned it, held it upside down, shaken it and had tried breaking the stitches.
"I'll tell you later, when we get to wherever you're taking us."
Us. Mulder smiled.
The Lone Gunmen's Quarters
The guys were awake.
Creatures of the night had just risen to a new day. Yes, they were like that. Lived completely off schedule.
Everything more or less seemed to indicate they had gotten up not so long ago. They looked rested. Not ready for bed. There was no other explanation for three guys dragging themselves around in their pajamas at this hour in the evening.
They had looked slightly surprised at Mulder when they saw him come in holding a little girl in his arms but they knew better than to ask questions. They wanted to know, though and would hover over them until they got their answers.
"This kid thing might be an ongoing trend." Langly said.
Frohike punched him in the ribs and tried a different approach to get information from them.
"Mulder. Scully. Who's this?"
"Long story." Mulder replied.
"Yeah, well, as usual ... we have all night." Langly pitched in.
"Where's your daughter?" Scully asked.
Frohike made a strange gesture with his hand and sighed. It meant, kids! You know. Kids!!
"You know where!" Frohike shouted.
"Who are you gonna call at this hour, Mulder?"
"Scully, it's Wednesday. Tomorrow is another day at work. I really do need to call Skinner. Maybe have our work transferred to us, cause we're such good agents."
His tone of voice told her to leave him alone. Not that it ever held her back.
"What exactly is it that you're gonna tell him?"
"I don't think I should tell him anything about what went on here tonight. That's the only thing I'm sure about."
He looked at her and she made him feel like he needed an excuse.
"It would just take me too long to explain, Scully. We don't have any evidence. What should I tell him? It sounds ridiculous. He'd call 0900-straight jacket."
"What are you gonna tell him, Mulder?"
She was getting angry, impatient for some kind of answer from him. She knew she was about to be dragged into another one of his schemes and as usual she had serious doubts about whether or not she should go along with it.
Did she have a choice at this particular time?
Well, no. Not if he kept doing what he wanted without telling her anything first. Scully was just tagging along, like always. Usually under loud protest if something didn't agree with her.
"I think we both have ... the flu?"
Scully nodded. Not going along with it but realizing that there was little she could do about it.
"I'll tell him we'll be camping out here. If he's smart, he'll know what that means."
Mulder handed Emily over to Scully to make the call. It wasn't as easy as you'd think. The exchange awkward.
Scully walked towards the couch and put her daughter down on it.
She could sleep through anything. No, she wasn't like him at all, she thought. Then corrected herself on such a silly mistake.
How easy was it to believe, to want to believe that he was this girl's father. She wanted him to be. At least it would make it all bearable.
Scully walked back to where she'd left Mulder. Apparently, he had to defend himself to Skinner. He was restless. Pacing. Nearly furious.
She tried to listen in but as soon as she'd focused on what he was saying, he terminated the call.
Frohike, Langly and Byers had moved to one side of the work space, so as not to disturb them. Needing the room to speculate on what was going on before they wanted to find out. Kind of a game they played to see how good they were at guessing.
But it wasn't all like that.
Instinctively, the guys knew when to keep out of things. So, they left Scully and Mulder to talk on their own for just a few minutes at least. Before they would join them on the couch with chips and drinks and with more curiosity that any other threesome.
No, correction. It was all like that.
"Mulder, what are we gonna do about this?"
Finally, they could talk about what they had wanted to talk about when Krycek had left the apartment. The bastard had left them with more questions than before.
"I don't think he's told us the truth, Scully. More lies. That's how he operates. One lie after another. I can't believe all this is happening."
Mulder went to sit on the couch, slowly lowered himself on it to make sure Emily didn't wake up.
"Mulder, she won't break. Just try and be casual. Act normal. It's like you're afraid of her. You're making me edgy behaving like that."
"Well, I'm sorry but this isn't something I had planned, you know."
"Funny you should say that, Mulder. What am I supposed to give as an excuse? What can my excuse be? I don't have any choice here."
He'd never known what it was like even to hold a child, yet there already was this bond between them. This feeling of pure warmth, like being caught in an early ray of sunshine. Delicately warm. Uplifting.
It was there, he just didn't know how to deal with it.
Scully was restless, going over Krycek's words again. How she had been used, sent to Mulder to be used. For him. He was what it was all about and she was ... She was ... Who the hell was she? How did she fit into this?
It somehow no longer felt right being there. Outcast.
There he was, Mulder, next to her on the couch. Him and a little child sleeping, their so-called daughter. His daughter for which she had only been an instrument. Used for her creation.
She remembered all of Krycek's words. "For the sake of the child". This child was all that mattered. Why?
It was preposterous to try and imply they had been planning this since the beginning. But Mulder and his family were much involved in all of this. It was so mind boggling that it all fit. Somehow.
Was it the truth or were they trying to pull them apart? Pull them apart, she thought. It kept going through her mind so fast that she couldn't focus on anything else.
"Scully, what's wrong?"
She refused to answer, finding it difficult to talk to him about this without sounding ... distant ... angry ... betrayed.
"Scully, talk to me."
Finally, she gave up resisting it. They had been through too much together already. That kind of bond was harder to break than a mere sexual one. They each depended upon the other completely.
What if they hadn't counted on that?
The men had made that mistake. The mistake in thinking that their relationship was like any other male-female relationship. Superficial. But they had seen too much, shared too much and she was unable to turn away from all of it just like that.
Scully walked around the place for a while, then went to sit down next to Emily. She didn't want to look, furtively glanced at the small sleeping form between them. Mulder saw it. Knew she was having doubts about this arrangement that really was none.
"It's ok, Scully. I'm not even used to this myself. Krycek handed her to me. What was I supposed to do? Not take her from him? I don't know why but I couldn't stand it when she ran to him, it felt ..."
She nodded, tried to place her hand on his shoulder briefly, but the distance between them was too big.
Mulder stretched his arm towards her and she took his hand, for a few seconds. Understanding.
"Let's go over what we know," he said
Abandoning her thoughts, she decided to talk.
"What he said was that I was used to create a child for the project because your parents were both involved in it? But why, Mulder? Why would they do such a thing?"
"Scully, my work might not have been a threat to these people, not before you joined me."
"I don't understand."
He sighed, decided to come clean.
"Before you started to work with me, Scully, I was only involved in the paranormal, in finding evidence of it. In finding proof to alien life. I believed in all of it. Without question, because that was my conviction. I hunted down every tip I got."
He paused briefly. The frown on her face said it all.
Scully didn't understand. She didn't quite see that because of her, he had abandoned his beliefs. He wanted to believe, but she had made it clear that there were reasons for this belief. Reasons with their own operation. With their own agenda. She had yanked him to reason and had made him see how dangerous believing could be.
"Scully, you made me prove what I already believed in. I believed in it without question. Because you made me prove everything to you, you showed me that there was more to it. That these men used this so common belief to hide their projects. To hide their involvement. I'm sure they would have still liked me if I believed without question. All they had to do was feed me a story and I would investigate it and never question it. You never believed, you wanted to know."
"Are you saying, I'm the reason they want to close us down. That I was used to keep the department in check. To keep both of us in check and not your parents."
"They would do anything to try and get me to quit now and I guess you've become the means to that end. They must have had this planned when they realized you backed me up. You didn't dismiss my theories, you didn't but you encouraged me and we became stronger. Together."
Would she be able to see it that way and accept it or would she actually turn on him and get as far away from him as possible.
"Mulder, I don't ... What are you saying?"
"That they want to make you turn against me now. That this is what they've been planning. Scully, I can't turn back time. They forced me on you, Scully. I feel like I raped you."
Scully started to cry. Tears fell down her face and there was no way she could stop them.
"Mulder, it's not your fault. You're not to blame. It wasn't your idea. You're as much of a victim as I am. If this is true ... I have no ... This is just too ..."
"Much like me to say such things?"
She nodded, lifted her face to look at him.
Mulder moved his arm to her face, took his thumb to gently rub the tears from her eyes. He couldn't say anything.
When the guys came back, they saw them sitting on the couch, quite exhausted and decided to offer their beds to them. They would take the couch after they had done their work, what they had gotten up for in the first place.
For once, Mulder didn't protest.
He saw Scully take the bunny to Frohike. Strange, he thought, when he saw her whisper something to him.
"What was that about?" he asked later.
"Nothing, just something I want checked out."
"I don't know yet, perhaps it's nothing."
Scully looked at him, not wanting to discuss this now.
"Mulder, not now. Look, your mother was supposed to be dead. Now, there's not a trace of her. We should have told Skinner. We're out of our league here, Mulder."
"No, we're not."
"Did you tell him?"
"I told him my mother went missing again. He told me he'd take care of it, Scully. Don't worry. I haven't lost my ability to think here."
"It's not doing your mother any good. We need to find her. We need to find your fa ..."
"Don't say it, Scully!"
"Then what do I say?"
"Say bastard. Bastard is better."
Mulder was tired of having this conversation. How had they gotten themselves into this mess? Who were these people that claimed to have such a strong hold on them? Why were they doing it and whatever the hell for?
"Look, Mulder. All I know is that right now, all we have to go on is your mother. What she told us. I do not even for one minute believe Krycek. I think we're being used now, that this is meant to divert us, meant to keep us off track. To slow us down."
"What do you suggest we do?"
She sighed, glanced over her shoulder at Emily.
"As much as I want to believe that that little girl is ..."
Scully looked into Mulder's eyes for a few seconds and found it difficult to go on. She should not have started that sentence but it came out somehow, despite herself.
Mulder's hand came down on her shoulders and he bent forward more, to look at her more intently while she attempted to finish what she had wanted to say.
"... That that little girl is ... ours ... I ..."
He straightened himself, lowered his head and sighed.
"You need to be sure."
His intonation dropped and he averted his eyes from her gaze, not sure what she meant by all that. He felt as if she was rejecting him and Emily. Somehow. But he knew that wasn't her intention.
She needed proof. To investigate this. So there'd be no doubt. She was the one, who didn't trust anyone. Not him. That's the first time he actually saw it that way.
She put her hand on his forearm and yanked it a few times until he looked her in the eye again.
"I'm ... I have to run some tests. I need to ..."
Scully looked at him in a way he'd never seen before. He had no idea what that look meant. She seemed a bit embarrassed, then looked down at his pants and he realized.
"Oh, no. Scully!"
This definitely was something he never ever imagined he would ever have to do. He sighed, turned his head to the left and brought his hands to his hips. Bowed his head.
"Ok. How? Where do you want me to ... to ...?"
He could see her hand come out of her jacket. She held out a little round container for him to fill.
"You come prepared don't you?"
Mulder took the container from her and lifted his head slightly to look in her eyes. Thank God she wasn't laughing.
No, there definitely was no trace of a smile anywhere.
The next morning, Emily was gone.
Scully had been sleeping right next to her and when she woke up, she was no longer there. Emily was nowhere to be found. Not in the room they had been sleeping in.
Mulder wasn't there either.
She checked her watch. It was 11.30 AM. Oh, my God, she thought. Work. But of course. Not today.
Scully made her way down and halted herself at the door, when she heard happy sounds coming from the gunmen's workplace. Laughter and cosiness.
She peeked round the corner and saw her partner in a baseball cap, trying to teach Emily to play. With an improvised aluminum ball and a huge colorful winter mitten from Frohike.
The laughter made her smile.
Scully had to hold her hand to her mouth and tears were forming in her eyes. This she could never have imagined.
She had no idea how long she had been standing at the door, but it seemed endless. Until she heard someone come stomping down the stairs. That got her out of her dream state.
Someone strange she had never seen there before headed towards her. With sunglasses on. Tired. Not happy to be up. Rough looking.
"Hi." the stranger said in a long drawn out voice. As if too little sleep had nearly emptied her batteries.
The weird looking girl dressed in army boots, wide pants and a torn T-shirt slowly took off her glasses and tried to acquaint herself with the world around her by squinting even at the absence of daylight.
Scully smiled, remembered college days and army days all at once by looking at this wild creature before her. She shivered in recognition.
"You could say that."
"You're Frohike's daughter?"
"Yeah, don't tell me you're gonna make jokes about that too. I've had my share of that from your partner."
"I can imagine."
The young woman stretched her hand towards Scully and she took it.
"Pleased to meet you. I'm Dana."
"Pleased to meet you too."
The girl tried to smile but her jaws were jammed shut the way her eyes wanted to be.
Roxanne took one small step further into the door opening, brushing past the spot were Scully had parked herself. She looked at the scene and immediately smiled.
They were both there, next to each other overlooking what was still going on. A small girl playing ball and a big man trying to keep up with her.
"I think the kid's wearing him out."
"Good. Now he finally knows how I feel."
Roxanne smiled. She liked the redhead and there were only a handful of people she could instantly like. This said lifelong friendship.
"Think we should crash the party, Dana?"
Scully liked this young woman. She wasn't really that much younger than Scully was, but Roxanne had kept the attitude and mannerisms of a healthy teenager.
In a way, she reminded her of what she had been like when she was younger. An army brat. Never doing what her parents wanted her to. How that had all changed over the years, she couldn't figure out.
By the time they stepped into the room, Mulder was dragging himself towards the couch, out of breath.
Emily had undying energy and she had found a new willing candidate for baseball in -who would have guessed- Byers. The two of them seemed to get along.
Scully smiled in Mulder's direction and immediately went over to Frohike, not even stopping to tell him good morning.
Frohike had been busy all morning, working on something he didn't want the others to find out about just yet.
He'd had more than enough trouble already trying to keep the others from finding out what he was working on and he was in a lousy mood as a result of it.
She turned and looked around the room, waited until they were all busy again, with whatever it was they were doing.
"There is something terribly wrong with the bunny."
Frohike had the same sense of humor than Mulder. No wonder they got along.
"I don't know yet."
He pointed to the furry animal's stomach contents.
"What is that?"
"I've never seen this before, that's for sure. I really should ask the others."
She nodded, went over to sit next to Mulder on the couch to explain what she had found out.
Frohike had stuffed the bunny with some cotton wool and had sown it back together, so Emily wouldn't notice the difference. He knew how kids reacted when you took something from them.
He had given it to agent Scully, so she could hide it in the couch.
"There was something in the bunny?" Mulder asked her, surprised about that.
"Frohike doesn't know. I don't think he's seen it before. They need some time to figure it out. He's gonna ask Byers and Langly to take a look. Perhaps his daughter. It's quite new, maybe she knows."
After about thirty minutes, Frohike came out of his corner. It had not been easy claiming a part of the workspace as private, but now it wouldn't matter.
He'd had to admit, in shame, to agent Scully that he knew nothing about this piece of equipment. If that was what it was.
Langly saw Frohike approach him with a black rectangle. Very thin, looked like a walkman but had no headphones, or wires with earplugs. It looked futuristic, flat and digital.
"What is that?" Byers said as he rushed over.
Langly sighed and wished for something more exciting.
"Well, I was hoping I'd get that answer from you guys."
Frohike displayed the box before them. There were no screws it it. It couldn't be opened and it made a low sound. Humming almost. Like it had current going through it.
"Maybe it's some recording device." Mulder suggested as he stood from the couch to join them.
Scully and Emily were now on the couch. Byers had managed to calm the little girl down. Her energy level was slightly lower than it had been before and she had gone to sit next to Scully, although there wasn't much space left.
Roxanne was asleep again, on her belly. Her body roughly splayed on the couch.
She really did not care at all about how that looked. She hadn't even bothered to take off her boots. It could vaguely remind you of someone who'd passed out in mid air. Bits of her had fallen on the couch in random order.
Langly saw her and burst into laughter. The sight of her instantly dragging him back to college days. That girl was something.
She hadn't changed much. Her habits were still the same and he was glad about that. You have no idea how glad and Roxanne probably had no idea either.
Frohike prodded him, telling him to behave and keep his eyes off his daughter. And besides, they had other matters more urgent to attend to. At least, that could be his excuse in case his buddy asked about his motives for hurting him. If he cared to hide them.
"Leave my kid alone." he gnarled.
"Hey, she's old enough!"
"That's what worries me."
"But she used to be much younger." Langly replied.
That vision was one his friend had problems dealing with. Just how close had they been? He wondered but he didn't want to worry about what the answer to that could be. He cleared it out of his mind.
"Yes," Byers agreed. "That's probably what has us all worried."
Byers was mumbling to himself more than sharing that with them.
They had forgotten about Mulder, who was still standing next to them, wanting an answer to what it was that Frohike had had to pry out of that bunny so disgracefully.
Emily hadn't even wondered about her furry pet and in a way that was good. The last thing they all needed was a temper tantrum from someone underage.
"Maybe it's supposed to record stuff." Frohike said, in late agreement with Mulder.
"Like what?" Byers replied.
"Voices, you ass!"
Langly delivered the last blow.
Frohike was sick and tired of this and pushed Langly out of his way to get to one of the windows.
He actually went to stick his head out the window. Maybe to help the brain cells. Right. As if oxygen could transfer the sudden ability to understanding new technology into his head.
"This is not something that's on the market. If it was, we'd know about it," Byers said to Langly.
"Yeah, definitely. This is some heavy shit. I don't like it one damn bit."
Langly picked it up, shook it then held it next to his ear. When he did that, the noise inside grew louder. The sound of a changing form. Of flesh moving. Of something reaching for him, trying to hang on to his skin.
Shit in your pants scary.
He quickly stretched the device out before him, but there was no change in the form and the noise had gone.
Langly swallowed, was shaking. Couldn't speak and that was a first.
Whatever it was, it was made by no hands of man. Whatever was in that box was firmly attached to its surroundings and was desperately looking for a way to expand.
"I think there's something in here." Langly whispered.
"There's nothing in there."
Byers looked at his friend and didn't understand him at all, lifted his shoulders and took the box from him. Put it on the table before them as if he didn't care. Actually, he didn't want to leave it lying around either.
The small black rectangle was put in a bigger box, to be sealed. If it did in fact record things, it wouldn't be able to. If it confirmed Langly's fear it would eat him alive, well then let's hope it could be held back.
"Water proof and sound proof. Beat that," Byers jested.
Langly tapped the box. It had been thought up and constructed by his friend Byers.
Byers was smiling. He took pride in his unique design.
Frohike was close to the couch, where Mulder had rejoined Scully. They were both watching Emily play with the bunny and didn't seem at all to get bored. Not even slightly.
"Kids do that to you." Frohike quietly mumbled to himself.
Somehow it brought him back to when his kid was little, then his eyes drifted to where she was lying on the couch in an unappetizing way. Snoring. And that took care of that fine, untarnished memory. Contrast had just killed it.
Frohike held his hand to his face, covered his eyes. Sighed and shook his head. No. Blame it on that, he thought. Contrast.
She was old enough. Way past being a little kid. Seeing Emily had made him regret his daughter had ever grown up. He had missed so much of her upbringing but he'd always respected the choices she'd made.
Watching her there, reminded him of himself. That was the hardest part. Perhaps that made him cover his eyes more than anything else. Of how she lived. Of how much she was like him. In a way, it only frightened him. More than he realized.
He loved his little girl. But that was obvious.
Roxanne woke up, dragged herself into an upright position by trying to grab at the couch and pushing herself. Eyes glued shut. If you had stumbled in on her like that, you'd think she had a hangover.
She didn't, though. She kept late hours and for some reason was always like that in the morning. Everyone else around her hated her for getting up. Lousy mood enhancement.
Scully watched Roxanne struggle with herself to escape from sleep. She smiled, understanding.
It brought her back to the days when she'd been more like Roxanne. She was a tough one. Kicked her brother's butt in nearly all outdoor activities. He'd always hated her for that and she'd learned to make it clear that she should be dealt with and not overlooked.
If Mulder only knew about how much alike they both where. But how could he? He hadn't known her then and he wasn't familiar with that side of her. It's not like you could tell from looking at her.
Mulder turned his head towards Roxanne.
"You're my hero, you know that."
Yeah, she'd get that.
"... Oh ... Yeah ... and .... you're fucking prince charming."
She looked like she was about to fall asleep again, rubbed her eyes frantically and rearranged her hair by rubbing her head, scratching it as if she had a high ranking itch.
"By the way, what's your IQ?" Mulder asked her.
Roxanne looked at him, her face twisted in disgust. That was no question to wake someone up with. But it had her undivided attention.
Scully had no idea where that came from. Why ask that, she thought and she hoped he wasn't building up one of his jokes. Blood would flow if he tried that.
"666, N° of The Beast," she said.
"I guessed as much."
Mulder turned his face to the other side, to where Scully was. He could barely hold back laughter.
Scully didn't understand.
"What's going on in your mind?" she asked.
Something sparkled between them. An exchange of glances.
"I might be dreaming here, Scully but I think I just met you when you were a teenager."
She smiled at him. He was good. But then, you don't get to become a profiler, you don't even want to become a profiler if you don't know people, if you don't understand the human condition.
"And here I was doubting your capabilities." she jested.
"Never underestimate me, Scully. Actually, it was a lucky guess. I can imagine you being worse."
"I was worse, Mulder. I was a bad girl."
He flinched. That surprised him. He'd actually only said that to keep the conversation going.
Scully moved her eyes in the direction of where Roxanne was hidden in some pillows.
"Except I grew out of it faster."
"A shame really."
Scully hit him with a pillow, which almost ended in chaos because, of course. Emily wanted to play.
Later, when Roxanne was fully awake she was sent to buy them new clothes.
Roxanne didn't much like to be sent out on errands like any other girl. She hated doing domestic things, because it was a waste of her valuable time. Time she could spend generating code. And frankly, she knew nothing about how normal people lived. But when Scully had asked, she couldn't very well refuse. She felt she couldn't.
There were vibes coming off this woman that said, don't mess with me. Roxanne knew. She was like that herself and she recognized the quality in others. Better do what she'd been asked. Why not? Never too late to make a complete fool of yourself.
Neither Mulder nor Scully had the slightest intention to get back to their apartments.
Scully doubted if she ever would return there. But it was to soon to think about that.
To try and believe that she could run from these people was silly. They would find her again, just like that, if she moved. They would find Mulder. They would never be safe. Couldn't even blend in with other people. Ever.
But then there was Emily.
Where would she go? How exactly did that little girl fit into all of this? Could she fit into her life? In Mulder's? How?
Part of her thought about it. The life. Together. The other part quickly decided she couldn't ask this of Mulder. Actually, she was afraid of what he would say. Deep down she knew he'd want to do all he could for them.
Yes, it frightened her. To finally have to admit it to him, to have to face up to it and force herself away from that safe and comfortable position she had with him. Everything had been so easy between them. Too precious.
Better not talk about it, she thought. See what happens. Perhaps if they were lucky they would just smoothly ease into it. Into this role of parenting.
What was she saying? There was no certainty that Mulder was this child's father. Not at all.
What was she doing? What was she thinking?
Hoping. Secretly and desperately hoping that he would be Emily's father. Wanting him to be.
Scully looked at him, smiled warmly.
"You look happy!" he said, jokingly.
She felt happy and tried to hang on to the feeling.
Mulder's Place Apartment 42
The old guy was frantically searching the premises. He was unable to find what he was so desperately looking for and it antagonized him. He became restless. Angry. Lit up another cigarette.
"Where is it?"
Teena Mulder brutally grabbed Krycek's wrist and pulled it hard. She wasn't about to let go. Not until she got her answer.
He would answer her, she would make sure of that. She had to make sure of that. Orders and protocol.
Krycek was tough. They had known that about him ever since he was a little boy. Unlike Mulder, he couldn't be manipulated. Sometimes they still had difficulties in getting him to pursue their goals exactly the way they wanted him to.
Mulder could easily be manipulated. He really thought he had lost his sister, he had been an impressionable little boy. Too humane.
He cared about people in a way that few people do. They had been able to use that. At least, the most honorable Dr. Kurtzweil had done something with that.
The big brother had been used, injected, treated, brainwashed into thinking his cute little sister had been abducted by aliens.
There never had been a little sister but the sanity needed to come to that conclusion had been driven out of him. They had kept him on drugs until he was sixteen.
Teena Mulder had been used for the project. But she was no victim.
She didn't care about the children she had brought into the world. She was like that. She could shut herself off from human emotion. In a way she was lacking, but not to these people.
Mulder kept the alien myth going. Had frequent conversations with little green men. The cute, designer like little aliens as you meet them in bad science fiction. The material, we have all seen at some point. Big flying saucers.
How things had brutally changed with the arrival of Dana Scully. The young agent fresh out of Med. School, with undying ambition and a devotion to him that was beyond understanding.
She had made him question and that hadn't been good. She had made him question his every move, the sources of the material he was being provided with.
It had gone downhill from there, so they saw no other way to get rid of her. No better way than use her and hope she would die from the side effects.
Killing her would have solved nothing. She had to go quietly. An abduction seemed to be the only answer. They would have new material for their project. The Mulder genes would live on. The cancer would take care of the rest.
It didn't. Mulder had persisted no matter what, to find a way to help Scully and he had even managed to corrupt one of the project's better agents. So, he had gotten the chip in the end and it had made the cancer go away.
You could say that the more they experienced, the more they became closer as partners. The more they sank their claws into each other.
Over the years, from witnessing this, the men had become gradually more scared of how dangerous Mulder could become. There was no telling if what they had done to him could be reversed. And Dana Scully had long since proven to be a bad influence.
They could have fixed that, were it not that they had seriously underestimated the power that drove them. That had kept them together throughout the years.
Krycek was less traumatized than Mulder. He had no weaknesses to exploit. None. His mind couldn't be reformed and in the end, he only did what he wanted to. There was no telling if he would obey or not.
Even when Mrs. Mulder stuck her gun to his chest, he didn't even flinch.
"Where is it?"
She grabbed his throat. Hard.
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
"Let me refresh your memory."
Mrs. Mulder dragged her son to the couch and pushed him on it. If he was afraid of one person, it was his mother. She had always had a strange hold on him.
"No, you stop acting like a little brat. The box, where did you hide it? You were here last night. That's when you took it. Let's go over this place so you can show us where you left it, shall we."
"You won't find it."
"What makes you think that."
"I'm telling you. You won't find it here."
"Ok, then let's go."
The smoking man was standing by the door, waiting for them to leave this place.
Mrs. Mulder moved her gun to indicate him to get up and he did.
They walked to the door quietly.
Krycek sensed that she'd let her guard down when he saw the old guy communicate something to her with his eyes. He took advantage of the situation.
He kicked his leg backwards, hitting Mrs. Mulder in the hip once, causing her to fold and drop her gun.
His fist lunged forward, imprinting the cigarette into the man's face, leaving him too shocked to find his gun.
By the time, they had reestablished their position, Krycek had run out of the apartment leaving them to recover.
When they tried to run after him, they saw the door leading to the stairs clap shut and stayed there. Deciding not to follow.
She looked aimlessly about, not sure what to do next.
The man just smiled at her briefly, felt the hunger inside him rise and started checking his coat for cigarettes.
"Tell me what's going on? How could he possibly have managed to get the box?" he asked.
"Emily was given into his care when she was born. We never told him who she was. You took Emily to our son, that's not his fault. That's something you and me agreed on. I don't even have any idea why you insisted on saving her."
"I have my reasons. He must have somehow found out who she was and he's now using it against us. She was to be rescued. We never intended for him to take the box with him."
"It could ruin the project. Question our loyalty all over again and I don't want to go through that again. We need to get the box back, I don't care how. This can't come out."
"Well, we should have thought of that earlier. Obviously, my dear, we did miscalculate."
He responded as if automated.
"Emily's with them now. If it's not here, he must have planted it with her."
"He was here last night."
"Maybe we're overlooking something."
"He might have done it sooner."
"Before you took her and brought her here?"
"Perhaps it's something she came here with."
"Could be, but what?"
He quickly changed the subject.
"I cannot imagine how hard this must be for you, dear."
He didn't differentiate between Emily and the object they had been looking for. He did that on purpose, thinking that that was exactly what this woman was about. Insensitivity. Indifference. But she hid it so well, he couldn't but admire her.
"You pig. You think I don't care. That's my grandchild. This has to stop."
The man smiled. She really had no idea. She couldn't understand in what way little Emily was so like Mulder. She was guaranteed by these men to grow up just like him. But she needed to be around her father to keep the quest alive.
They hadn't come here for the girl. Only about the object. About the instrument that would allow people to mutate. The virus. The black oil held in it's own little container. The only proof this project existed.
"Don't worry about it. He will lead us right to it."
He reached into his pocket to take out his pack of cigarettes. It was empty.
He scrunched it and threw it to the floor.
Emily had initially been just a model like her father had been. A mold. A life form to build new life with. For the creation of humans adapted and carefully modulated to fit the new world.
However, she had been so like him that they were using her in the same way they had been using Mulder all of his life.
Mrs. Mulder had absolutely no idea what was really going on. She thought she was saving her grandchild but she wasn't. That was just the motivation for her action, agreeing Emily be taken to her mother and father.
While she had still been in Scully's apartment, her former partner had been able to take the girl out of the facility. Yet, she didn't even wonder about how that could be done without anyone noticing.
The man had persuaded her it was the right thing to do, after her son Krycek had come to get her from her house. He'd frightened her and she had defended herself, thinking he was a burglar.
She didn't know Emily had already been trained by Dr. Kurtzweil and had been conditioned to fit the program. That there was a reason for handing her to her parents.
How many people can one base form destroy?
Lone Gunmen's Quarters
Krycek saw someone leave the place.
A young woman dressed in party clothes. All black and tight. Big boots and attitude. Fearless. Not a care in the whole wide world. Enjoying herself already, even before she had reached her destination. Singing.
He liked that.
Krycek decided to follow her and made sure he went about it the right way. He kept his distance, tried to be casual and inconspicuous. Tried to give the appearance he was occupied by things more important than her.
He wondered how she figured into the picture. What she had to do with all of this. Why was she coming out of Mulder's secret hide-out?
"Oh, why don't I just go ask?" he mumbled to himself.
Roxanne felt uneasy and she had noticed him getting out of the car, had seen him look at her from the corner of her eye. Wondering what this was all about, she decided to play. She was up for that and ready and prepared too.
All of a sudden she smiled. How ridiculous this was.
If that was the best this guy could do, well it sure wasn't much. Too damn obvious, announcing himself. Hey girl, I'll be your stalker tonight. She didn't give a rat's ass who this creep was. Yeah, she'd show him.
Mulder and Scully had gotten back from the lab right at that moment and had just turned the corner into the street.
Scully noticed Roxanne. Smiling.
"That's new." Scully said.
"Yeah, something's not right."
Then he noticed Krycek was following the girl. All too obvious.
Mulder wanted to get out of the car, but he couldn't. Scully didn't let him. She put her hand on top of his on the steering wheel.
"I think she's got it covered."
"Why? Scully, no ... I can't let this happen."
"Don't you trust me?"
"I think you'll be amazed."
Mulder parked the car at the corner of the street.
They could see Roxanne come running towards them in big wide paces. Not even straining herself.
This girl sure was strange.
She had noticed them and everything in her manner indicated she did not need them. She felt safe enough.
Krycek was right behind her, picking up the pace.
Roxanne ran like a professional. Like she had been trained just for this. Her smile had gone though. Not sure what this guy could possibly want with her.
Mulder and Scully watched from their car. It looked as if Krycek was gaining on her. Obviously she was getting tired. The distance rapidly closing.
Just then, as if she'd sensed this, she stopped rather abruptly, her face red with effort and closing itself in dark angry wrinkles and sudden anger. She was tired of this.
She quickly turned and kicked him in the shin.
In the car, Mulder's jaw dropped.
Krycek shouted while she took a few steps back and smiled, then she turned and ran off.
He limped behind her, still trying to catch up with her but not getting his initial speed back. As if that could ever happen now he'd been kicked like a dirty dog.
Mulder and Scully looked at each other. Emily was laughing out loud in the back seat of the car. Amused at this, thinking it was some sort of show.
Her parents, in utter disbelief, suddenly burst out laughing.
"What was that?" Scully asked.
"Well, she's great. I like her a lot." she announced.
"Yeah, you'd better not hate this one. I happen to like my body parts."
Roxanne made it to the car, barely. Tapped the window.
She was completely out of breath and just managed to get in before Krycek arrived at the scene.
He held up his arms like he surrendered.
"... N ... eed ... t ... alk ... you ... " he gasped.
Scully rolled down her window for Mulder to say something.
"We'll meet you at the door."
The car drove off, to park in front of the warehouse.
They had to wait for Krycek to arrive at the door and none of them were willing to stay in the street long enough just to see a sweating, exhausted, limping man push himself to get there.
When Mulder stepped inside last and had turned his back to the street, he heard screeching tires.
He froze just then and before he could turn around to see what was happening, a gun went off.
Krycek was down on the ground and he seemed to be alright. He just didn't feel like getting up immediately.
Mulder was hoping it would be that, cause he sure didn't want to go back out to help him up. Even if the man was supposed to be his kid brother.
Scully joined Mulder at the door without any hesitation, at first thinking he had been shot.
She stuck her head out the door and looked around carefully to see if nothing stirred while Mulder went over to hover over his brother.
Krycek ran to the door with Mulder beside him, both heads bent and their backs nearly as horizontal as the ground. Shielding their faces with their jackets. As if that would stop a bullet.
This man was in no condition to be let loose. And if the men that commanded him knew that and anticipated his every move, what did they have? Global vision?
Scully insisted on checking Krycek over, much to Mulder's surprise. He didn't much like that happening but what could he have done about it?
She made sure he got a shower and some fresh clothes, Mulder's, and let him rest for about an hour. That's as long as she would give him before she would come down on him hard, demanding some answers.
Meanwhile Scully and Mulder had more time to talk things over.
"How long till the results?"
Scully had dropped off her medical records along with the container and some blood samples of Emily at an independent lab. She had asked a colleague and an old friend of hers for a favor. Anything to keep this out of the bureau.
Mulder hadn't wanted to go in with her and he'd stayed in the car the whole time.
"He'll call me. He has my number."
Mulder felt as if he'd been hit with something large and blunt. His eyes conveyed exactly that sentiment. He flinched.
It made Scully laugh.
"I gave him my cell phone number."
He nodded, moved his hands to his hips. Ooh, dangerous ground, he thought. Get off. Run. Booby-trap. Kill Mode. Change subject.
That really meant, give in to panic and get into something even more humiliating.
Mulder lowered his voice and stepped closer to Scully.
"I can't tell you how bizarre I felt when I had to give you that jar this afternoon."
"Are you kidding, Mulder? I didn't much appreciate that little show you put on this morning. I'm not a child. I had to practically pull that piece of plastic out of your hands."
"How would you feel?"
"How do you think I feel?"
"I know, Scully but it doesn't make me feel less ..."
He vaguely remembered himself thinking it looked more empty than full. Maybe it was a big jar. Add some water and shake. Not funny.
"It doesn't make me feel less ..."
He motioned his hand as if he was trying to pull his words out.
"Embarrassed?" Scully attempted.
"That's not embarrassing, Mulder. Embarrassing is the image I now have in my head of you entertaining yourself in the bathroom trying to fill that jar."
He didn't quite know what to do with that piece of information.
"You have no shame."
Mulder brought the palm of his hand to his chest, still not sure how to conduct himself.
"I have not much of anything right now, Mulder but I could use a mental block."
They smiled. And the smiles brought ideas.
"You could have helped."
"I've done my share."
She padded him on the shoulder while walking past him and left him there.
They had not just returned from the lab, but they had also made a quick stop at the bureau to pick up the case Mulder needed. The one they still hadn't re-opened.
Skinner had been there. Down in the basement. Mulder noticed that someone had been rearranging his papers.
He was like that, messy. Messy with a reason. He planted his files in random order on his desk. To others it would be a pile of documents and no more. Thanks to this infallible system, he could always tell if someone had been snooping around.
The important stuff he took home, but he'd had a bad feeling about this. So, this file he had copied and taped to the bottom drawer of his desk when Scully had gone upstairs to get the lab results on the blood found at his mother's house.
Mulder found a note stuck to the top document of this paper pile mountain. It read: "What the hell is this? In my office when you get back, agents! AD Skinner."
A warm welcome.
A few other notes ordered the both of them to finish their report on their previous case and clean up their desks.
With all that had happened in the past few days, it would be hard accomplishing those tasks. They had been dragged into this and they couldn't have foreseen the outcome.
Someone in the bureau must have known that Mulder was looking into the case. Someone who knew about its existence and who suspected that Mulder couldn't pass up the chance to find out. About his past. About his sister. About what had happened to his partner.
Now, suddenly there was ... his daughter.
After a rather unsatisfactory meeting with Skinner, they both had to leave in a hurry. Scully's colleague was waiting for them.
An old friend from Med. School, who was all too willing to help. All too willing.
Mulder remembered the important stuff.
Now here they were, all huddled together. A pet zoo. Every species hopefully accounted for. Human. Canine. Feline.
Mulder saw something he didn't like and ran up to Krycek, grabbed him by the shoulder.
Krycek was holding Emily and she seemed more comfortable and more at ease with him. What did you expect? The girl didn't even know that Mulder was her father. Still, Mulder couldn't stand that image. The image of a stranger holding her.
He himself was that stranger.
"It's time you and I had a little chat."
"Yeah ... really!"
Krycek let go of Emily, who immediately ran over to Byers. He was nice to her and the only person so far who actually managed to stay calm. Byers made her laugh.
Roxanne offered to spend some time with her instead, because she was now without party, on a Thursday evening and didn't have anything better to do.
Mulder's cell phone rang.
His environment only heard this.
"Who are you?"
Then he hung up.
Apparently some guy called Kurtzweil had just called. Said he could provide him with an explanation far better than his mother could ever give him.
Funny, he thought, how these guys knew his number. They had even bugged his phone and how the hell had that happened?
His thoughts traveled to Frohike and he caught himself searching for his friend as his mind wandered.
"Mulder, who was that?" Scully asked.
"I don't know."
He faced Krycek, not happy about having to ask him anything.
Krycek lifted his shoulders.
So, Mulder didn't trust him. Well, you couldn't blame him. But he had other people to worry about. People he had trusted all his life. Truths he had trusted. That he had taken to be self-evident.
Mulder and Scully burst into the waiting room, not expecting to find anyone there.
They were greeted warmly by two friendly faces, smiles originating from two women in late stage pregnancy.
Scully thought these women were probably thinking about how great they looked together. Mom. Dad. Child.
She felt happily coordinated but at the same time quite out of place as one of the woman dug her gaze into the cute family picture they made.
Matching dark suits. A little girl. A second one probably on the way, one of the women thought. Which is why they would be here.
Somehow she didn't feel comfortable at all with the picture this woman seemed to project on her. Maybe because this image of happily ever after had recently been so brutally dumped upon her. Upon the both of them.
By the way, here's the child we cultivated for you. No refund for the ovaries, I'm afraid. Please come again.
And this Kurtzweil guy? Was that even true?
Could it be? Could it be that one of her colleagues was involved in this? In such a way? This wasn't real, it was science fiction!
No doctor could forsake his oath and be involved in a project like this. A project they had no evidence existed, had ever existed. There was nothing to go on but what these people told her.
Then of course there was Emily.
Scully smiled at her daughter and squeezed her hand.
They didn't believe what these men had said, it is that they wanted so much to believe that that girl was theirs. They needed her to be. It was a role they had just naturally assumed since she had been given to them and whatever the outcome would be, Mulder thought, he was that girl's father.
No wonder, Mulder wasn't anxious to tell Skinner. It was too damn preposterous! Yet, here they were with only Emily to go on.
It was careless of them to do this by themselves.
If, in fact, the tests came back positive and he was the child's biological father, then why would they want to hand her to him?
All that raised more interesting questions on Krycek. Had he done something to their advantage by handing over the child, by not taking her away, or were there reasons for it?
Mulder suspected reasons or they would long have found a way to separate them.
A large, friendly lady came up to them while one of the pregnant women went into Kurtzweil's office.
Not to draw too much attention to themselves, they registered as Mr. and Mrs. Jefferson. When they had filled out the form completely, Mulder went to hand it to the lady who had resumed her place at the reception desk.
They would just have to wait their turn but neither of them liked it and they'd both been grateful that the women hadn't started casual conversation. They didn't have the first clue what to say.
The one pregnant woman left in the room with them, stood and walked across the room, tired of sitting. Her hand over her belly, gently rubbing as she swayed her body from side to side. As if she wanted to get out from under the weight.
Mulder had never seen anything like it and he stuck his finger between his collar and neck, to loosen things suddenly tight.
He felt warm, vaguely uncomfortable with the sudden display of intimacy the mother had shown for her unborn child. It brought him somewhere he was afraid of going. But the territory was familiar.
He imagined her standing there. Like that. She had been like that. If what his mother had said was true, then Scully had carried their child and not some stranger. Like that, although she couldn't remember any of it.
Mulder was taken aback by the image, just stood there in the middle of the waiting room, pinned to the floor.
He regained motion, walked back to where Scully was sitting.
She brushed Emily's hair out of her face and smiled at her, again. It seemed so natural for Scully to do and in a way he felt as if he wasn't even supposed to be there but barging in on the two of them. Disturbing. That he should not be, that he would never be part of this.
"... reschedule for tomorrow ..."
It was a fragment Scully picked up on and she saw the woman leave. In a way, she was sorry.
They would be next.
Kurtzweil's office was like any other doctor's office and why wouldn't it be?
The doctor was handed a new folder by the nurse, which contained the form Mulder had filled out and some blank paper for note taking.
Mulder grabbed it off his desk, even before Kurtzweil could touch it.
The nurse didn't seem at all pleased but the doctor gestured to her to leave them alone without questioning the strange man's actions.
So, she went back to her desk trying in her mind to complete this awkward scene. People just didn't raise their children the way they were supposed to these days, she thought.
Mulder ripped the papers to bits and threw them about.
"I see you're eager." Kurtzweil commented.
"Cut the crap!" Scully said, getting laughter out of Emily, who now started repeating the word crap to infinity.
Mulder was instantly reminded of the first time she'd used those words. She'd used them on him and he could see them coming down those steps. Him running to keep up with her.
"What is it you need to tell us?" Mulder asked.
"Don't you recognize me?"
"Why would I?"
Mulder didn't like the smile forming on the man's face.
Kurtzweil's smile proceeded towards laughter and he leaned back in his chair.
"I seem to have done a great job on you."
"What do you mean?"
Scully's voice sounded mean and angry.
Kurtzweil shoved some pictures in front of him, extending his arm fully as he did this. Pictures. Mulder's mother and the smoking man. His father. Of Kurtzweil and his mother. Of his sister and him when they were little.
Mulder went to sit next to Scully, in front of the doctor's desk.
"She's not who you think she is." Kurtzweil stated.
Scully took the photograph from Mulder as he handed it to her.
"Then who is she?" she asked.
"One of the children we had no home for. Mrs. Mulder was willing to take her off our hands until she could be used."
"Used?" Mulder asked.
Scully's anger grew. She didn't much like this man and what he had to share with them was so outrageous she just as soon pick up Emily and leave them both sitting there, talking crazy.
This was unbelievable, even Mulder refused to believe this. In an instant, he jumped out of the chair and leaned over the desk to reach for Kurtzweil.
"Would you rather fight me and not find out?"
Mulder released his grip on the white coat and sat back down again. A puppy in the puppy dog world.
Kurtzweil's features tightened. This was the point where the man would get serious and confess. Yes, he would go through with it, he thought.
"Your mother didn't tell you everything."
"What makes you say that? You don't know her."
"But I do, agent Mulder. Have you looked at the photographs I just gave you? I believe there's one of me and Teena."
Mulder bent his head over the desk and found the picture Kurtzweil was referring to. It looked real enough but that was first glance.
"How do you know her?"
"Let's not drift off, shall we. I was talking about how she forgot to tell you important things. Things I think you have a right to know about."
"Why do you think she didn't tell me."
"How could she, agent Mulder? How could she tell you that she does not care about you at all. She doesn't. She had you, yes but as part of a project in anticipation of alien colonization."
"Oh, so now I'm an alien."
Kurtzweil burst out laughing.
"I see you haven't lost your sense of humor."
"Funny," Mulder said, "some people don't even think I have one."
He moved his head to look at Scully but she was far to busy staring straight ahead, no doubt figuring out how to get out of there fast and without offending anyone more than she had to.
"So, what does that have to do with me?"
"We watched your development and you were an extraordinary child, not quite like the others. I'm sure agent Scully over here is well aware of your capabilities."
Scully crossed her arms and looked angry.
"Go on," she said.
"We could spare one child from the project for a specific reason. This child would be used to preserve the work, to safeguard it. To keep it from getting out. We needed to keep someone in a place high up the suit factory. To be used, manipulated."
"My mother? You used me to control my mother?"
Perhaps Krycek was telling the truth, Mulder thought.
"No. Still, you fail to understand. We used you agent Mulder. We are still using you. We've been using you all along. You just never realized it."
"I don't believe this!" Scully shouted.
Kurtzweil just looked at her, then continued.
"Believe what you want, agent Scully but I no longer have anything I wish to hide and you were wise to take me up on the offer to listen to what I had to say."
He paused for a few seconds. Tired of having to explain all this to people who didn't want to believe him.
"Your partner was originally intended as a base form, agent Scully. A human variant. These are the children used for cloning purposes. But he responded so well in training, we could actually see him taking on a far greater responsibility."
"So, what are you saying?"
This was now completely beyond Scully. It went in one ear and out the other. This wasn't even information. This was a joke. This was all just one big joke, she thought as she saw herself packing a suitcase. Yet, she managed to keep this charade alive by her questions.
"He was conditioned. Since he was just a few months old, we treated him. We trained him like you would train your pet. You have no idea how well he responded."
"Is this true, what you're saying?" Scully asked.
"Why would I be lying? I'm exposing myself here. That weird habit of yours ... The sunflower seeds are no coincidence, agent Mulder. They are a sign. Our stamp. We gave you that obsession. Just like we gave you the obsession with the paranormal and with the search for alien life."
He ignored that remark but tried to get his hand out of his suit pocket gently and hoped no seeds would stick to it as he drew it out.
"What about my sister?"
"The person you believe is your sister was taken, alright. Just not the way you think she was. It was staged. Meant to look like an alien abduction. We needed you to believe."
Now Mulder was laughing. This was ridiculous. Obviously they wanted him to doubt himself because he was again close to uncovering things.
"By the time you were twelve, we knew you inside out. I treated you with chemical cocktails. Experimental stuff. Mind altering drugs and hallucinogenics. A careful balance of various substances. I could just as easily have told you you were a bird. You would still be flapping your little wings."
Kurtzweil stopped and directed his attention to Scully.
"You know as well as I do, agent Scully that it doesn't take much to imagine your partner in a white vest. It doesn't take much for him to cross that line ... That's why he's such an excellent profiler. He knows the human form inside out and he thrives on instinct, that's what he likes. That's his strong point. Of course, he's never wrong but you knew that too."
She knew Mulder could be easily influenced, manipulated even at the expense of common sense. She knew that. She also knew he was clever to the point of genius and at the same time something had always held him back, this quaint obsession with the paranormal, with aliens. Why?
"Unfortunately, agent Scully here talked you into reason."
"Get on with it Kurtzweil."
Mulder was through playing nice.
"You changed, agent Mulder."
It was funny how he insisted on using that
, even though this guy said he'd known him since childhood.
"I changed in what way?"
"You changed so fast because of her and you had always been so damn predictable before that. We always knew exactly what you were working on. We put you there to protect our interests in the project. You see, as long as we could blame it on the mythical gray beings -all those people disappearing for no apparent reason, suffering memory loss and gaining a deadly illness- no one stuck their noses in. Agent Scully here managed to open your eyes and that ..."
Kurtzweil paused to laugh to himself.
"... and that I thought wasn't possible. Well, there you go. Love is funny that way. It can accomplish many great things. Of course, others didn't seem to think it was that great. That great to want to preserve."
Scully felt very uneasy hearing those words and tried her best at pretending she hadn't heard, which was rather difficult under the circumstances.
Unfortunately Emily had recently developed a liking for four letter words and repeated to herself the word love until she grew tired of it about five minutes later.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I see you're still at that stage. Well, that sure wasn't what I expected."
"What stage would that be?" Mulder asked.
Mulder got up and took Emily with him.
At least some truth had come out of him, Mulder thought as he was guiding Emily along. Having to walk too slow for his liking, he picked her up and quickly exited the building.
Fresh air would do them both good.
Scully moved to stand but Kurtzweil had not yet finished.
"Did she carry something with her?"
She almost bit off his words.
"The box must be kept away from ..."
"Away from who?"
Her trend persisted.
"From Emily and from agent Mulder and from anyone else you care at all about."
"What is it?"
"It carries the black oil. It's the alien virus, the life form that will use the remaining humans like a shell to grow in. The ones that have not been created by the project to resist it, to overcome it will have to die."
"He was exposed to it before. He didn't die."
"He was given an anti-dote."
"So, where's the anti-dote?"
Scully looked around for some vials or medication that he might have put somewhere, but she couldn't find anything.
"It's quite useless, agent Scully."
"What do you mean?"
"It's been taken out of it's test phase. They gave up on it. On the attempt to make an anti-dote. It turned out it didn't work on everyone in quite the same way."
Kurtzweil rubbed his forehead, tried to pull the wrinkles out by kneading the flesh. He pulled off his reading glasses and leaned back into his chair. Sighed.
"It's not effective?"
"60% mutated despite it. Even years afterwards. Especially years after the infection. After they'd been first exposed to it."
"Are you saying there's a chance Mulder might still ..."
She didn't finish her sentence and a long silence followed. When she finally looked up, Kurtzweil nodded. Pushed his lips together for a second to indicate he was sorry.
"It's just an anti-dote and it was administered to him before he was infected with it but whether or not it's cured him, there is no way of knowing. We can't even foresee what will happen. There's an individual response and no two bodies are equal. And that goes double in this case."
Krycek had been exposed to it. Mulder had been exposed to it and her little girl had carried the box containing the threat to which both had been exposed.
Kurtzweil hadn't finished.
"The hybrids can resist the virus. They are the only ones who will survive. Agent Mulder wasn't cloned. Emily was, at first, but her form was too unstable and she was about to be rejected but someone decided to save her. I'm sure she's ok now."
Be sure to keep it that way, he seemed to convey to her. Did this man have some say in that? She doubted it.
"Why are you so sure this will ever happen."
"Colonization, agent Scully? It will happen. It will. You can be damned sure of that. We know that for a fact. We've known that for years. Whether you want to believe it or not is not my concern."
Scully looked at the empty chair beside her and wondered why he had so suddenly left. Could he -maybe- have remembered something from his childhood? Would he want to remember?
"So according to you Emily is real?"
"She's human. She's yours but I guess you already know that she has your genetic material. She has agent Mulder's too."
"We've been told that was the case," she said, not showing emotion.
"What do you mean by lucky?"
"To have had her delivered to you. Let me guess, our boy Krycek?"
No, but why tell him that.
"I don't think that's the issue here."
"New technologies used in the project allowed us to mass produce children. Not like in early days. But, these human children had to be placed. They had to belong to a family, not to draw attention to what we were doing. We couldn't very well keep them and feed thousands of children without having to answer some major questions."
"Go on," she said as she noticed a hint of hesitation.
"In recent years, we were running out of options. So, we tried the black oil, the virus on half of the human children. There were simply too many of them. Still, it was rather unfortunate that almost all of them died. Only 10% survived with no visible signs of mutation and we have yet to figure out why. Of our adult group, 60% died. The death rate in children appears to be much higher than we anticipated."
Emily, Scully thought. The box.
"You killed innocent children! Children!!!" she shouted.
Her face was red with anger and frustration.
"The sacrifice was necessary. They would have died anyway with the start of colonization. So, agent Scully, this hardly classifies as ... murder."
Scully got up and left Kurtzweil in his office.
She found Mulder outside with Emily. They were both busy eating ice cream, waiting for her.
"Well, Mulder. Another one of those nice people we frequently have the honor of meeting."
"Yeah, I get what you mean."
"Me too," Emily said to participate.
"He's nuts, Scully."
"Nuts." Emily kept repeating to herself.
"Mulder, you said you have never seen your mother pregnant. That you don't have those memories. You don't remember."
"Yeah well, there's lots of things I don't remember, Scully."
"Yeah well." Emily replied.
"Yeah well," Mulder said looking at the little girl, "Let's go back to uncle Melvin."
She laughed. She liked uncle Melvin and Mulder liked saying it to his face to ruin his day.
The Lone Gunmen's Quarters
"Maybe you should rename the brat, you know ... might be easier for her to forget about what happened before she was brought to you."
"Are you nuts," Langly shouted. "She's not a dog."
Langly and Roxanne were sitting at the round dinner table, having a cup of coffee and comparing notes in programming.
Meanwhile, Scully was keeping an eye on her daughter while Mulder was writing up the circumstances of his mother's disappearance. What could have happened to her after he'd left her at Scully's apartment?
"Do you have any theories on what happened there, Scully? After I left my mother to go to my apartment?"
"I can tell you, if you want," Emily said.
This wasn't what Scully had expected. Not so soon. For this little girl to confide in them.
Mulder didn't think she knew.
Scully went to sit next to her on the floor, tried to move slow, in fluent moves not to destroy the talkative mood but she didn't move too close to her for fear the sudden intimacy might strike her dumb.
The woman with the red hair was funny, Emily thought, but she liked her. She had liked her instantly but she was also afraid of her, in a strange inexplicable kind of way.
"Why don't you tell me what's really going on." Scully asked in a quiet soothing voice.
"Are you sure you want to know?" Emily asked.
This little girl sounded awfully mature for her age and that took her by surprise. Roxanne was immediately there to listen in, scooting to the front of the couch and smiling. She liked this kid.
"Yes, I do."
"Well, I'm not sure I should tell you."
Emily was dead serious.
Scully's jaw dropped. She would have expected an answer like that from someone completely different. But a child could easily absorb it's surroundings and become fascinated by words, word use. Especially this one.
Roxanne hid her burst of laughter behind her hand and had to apply pressure to her lips to keep them together.
"Well, Mulder. I think we now know she's your kid." Frohike said.
"Oh yeah," he replied. "Then explain THAT to me."
Mulder pointed his finger at Roxanne.
"Freak of nature." Frohike replied. "Anomalies happen."
A pillow went flying towards his head.
** Dr. Kurtzweil's Practice Friday, September 17, 1999
The call had been quite a shock.
Again someone had reported a death through her phone, the same someone Scully knew from before, from when this man had reported the smoking man and Mulder's mother as being dead.
This time it was Kurtzweil and he was really dead.
They were the first to arrive and after some time, Mulder realized that whoever had called them hadn't alerted the police but had used them to find the body.
"He's dead alright," he said.
Dr. Kurtzweil was bathing in a pool of dark blood, his outstretched hand clutching a scrap of paper.
Mulder bent down to look at it but couldn't get the man's hand to relax it's grip.
This was no fresh body, that -I guess- was certain.
"So much for tickling." he commented.
"Tickling can be very relaxing, Mulder. I'm sure of that, but it's useless when you're doing it to the dead."
"Trying to tickle my sense of humor is no smart move. Can you see me laughing, Scully?"
She ignored him.
"Where's the police? They should have been here by now."
"They haven't been called."
"Well, call them."
"I don't think so Scully."
Scully was still sitting on her knees next to the body and got up to help get this conversation on the right track. Get some sense into that partner of hers.
Mulder was opening drawers, patting shelves, taking out books and leafing through them. Looking for anything loose that would fit into his jacket, preferably with some solid answers on it.
"Well, Scully," he explained, "I think whoever called you wanted to give us the chance of coming here first. This guy wants us to find something."
"Mulder, this man called me before. He reported two deaths and we found no bodies."
"It doesn't mean they're not dead, does it Scully."
She had forgotten about that possibility a long time ago. Even after filling out a missing persons report. Still, she was his mother and she had been taken from him again, like his entire family or the illusion of one had been taken from him.
"It's alright, Scully. Don't worry about it. I could use some help with this."
She didn't hesitate because she felt slightly guilty. It couldn't hurt to look around.
"I don't understand, Mulder. What are we supposed to be looking for here?"
Scully dropped one of the books when she heard her cell phone.
He called out to her when she remained silent on the phone.
The conversation didn't last very long.
"Take out the drawer and look at the back." the voice said. "Oh, and by the way. You have five minutes to get out of there. I think you might have company."
The call was disconnected.
"We have five minutes. The drawer."
Mulder's favorite hiding place. How could he have missed it? He had seen this before. Could vaguely remember a man speaking to him, stern. An image of papers being shoved down a drawer. A loud bang. A drawer closing. Fragments of youth.
He found it. An envelope.
"What about him?" Scully asked.
Confused by some long lost fragment, he really couldn't care less about Kurtzweil right now.
"Never mind him."
She couldn't believe what he had just said but it was too late to get into it now.
Mulder pulled her sleeve and ran towards the front door.
As Scully turned around to take a last look at the place, the angle presented her with a new image. The nurse had been shot.
She ripped her sleeve from Mulder's hand and went to check if she was dead. She was.
When they left Kurtzweil's office, it was too late.
There were voices. A man's voice and a woman's.
"My mother." Mulder whispered, not sure he should be glad about it.
Scully pointed to a door. It read "storage". They had to squeeze in to get it to close enough not to cause suspicion.
Mulder was stuck in the back of the small square room, a broom in his back and his head bent not to hit the lamp hanging down from the ceiling. His head right next to Scully's, peering over her shoulder, breathing next to her ear.
He was forced in a position he had often fantasized about. He could never have imagined it would be so embarrassing. Humiliating almost. To be trapped in a small confined space. Breathing heavy, he felt like a dog in Summertime.
Scully didn't pay much attention to him, far too busy analyzing the effect he had on her right now. At the same time trying to focus on what was being said.
"You better pray to God that document is still there."
"Or what?" the man said.
Mrs. Mulder pulled out her gun and used it to push the man's chin up, causing him to lift the cigarette from his mouth.
"Or I won't have much choice."
"Let's not overreact just now, dear."
They were a match made in heaven.
Mulder had heard his mother shout. This was her alright. He'd had known her to shout at him like that. Only now the tone seemed more distant. Perhaps it was the way she talked to this guy. As if she had always known him.
They were no strangers.
He recognized the signs of a long standing partnership. Familiarity she'd never had with her children.
"Dear?" he whispered in Scully's ear.
He felt her tense.
She grabbed his hand and squeezed hard, wanting him to shut up so she could listen.
He didn't insist.
Scully waited until she saw them disappear into Kurtzweil's office and wanted to run out of the storage room fast but Mulder had other plans.
He pulled her back when she attempted to take one step forward. He pulled her to him to whisper something in her ear.
"Scully, I need to tell you something and it might as well be now. I know we haven't discussed things. There hasn't been time but ... I want you to know. No matter what. No matter what, Scully. Who ever that little girl's father is ... I want to be in your lives. In both your lives."
"Mulder, we have to get out of here."
"Listen to me."
She tried to escape his hands, moved her hand to push the door again but his words stopped her.
"I love you ... Scully."
"Don't say anything. You don't have to say anything now. And I know it's not romantic or what you would expect from a guy ... but I mean what I said, Scully. I've loved you since we first met and I've wanted to tell you for so long but there was never any need to. You, Scully, you were there. Beside me, always and ..."
They heard noises for a brief moment and decided at the same time to exit the room.
Mulder pushed her forward and closed the storage room behind them.
They exited the building and had almost forgotten about what they had witnessed until they saw a police car drive in their direction.
So, was the man on the phone talking about the police arriving within five minutes or Mulder's mother?
They hurried back to the car.
"Mulder, I need you to drop me off at the office."
"Just do it."
"Can't I come with you?"
"No, you check out what's in that envelope and I'll join you at Frohike's place later."
"I knew this would happen."
Mulder sighed. He didn't regret what he'd said to her but he didn't really understand what had made him say it.
"You're avoiding me."
"I'm doing no such thing."
"Yes you are and you know it, Scully but I'm not gonna back down. I'm not. Too much has happened and I'm not losing you over this."
"You are probably the only person to lose something they never had. How could you do this to me Mulder. Why now?"
"Scully, I just ..."
"Mulder, shut up. I don't need this. Get me to the office now. I'm not telling you twice. Just do it!" she shouted.
He did what he was told and decided not to push his luck.
FBI Headquarters AD Skinner's Office
The AD had a late meeting, the secretary told her.
Scully was offered a seat and used the occasion to finally call and check on the test results.
"Hi. It's Dana. I was wondering if ..."
"Of course. Yes, just tell me. Fax me the results later."
"Thanks. No. I appreciate you telling me over the phone. Yes, the number I gave you but ... could you wait until tomorrow?"
"Ok ... bye."
It took another fifteen minutes for Skinner to get back and she was starting to wonder if she should even be here. But it turned out she had made the right choice.
"Agent Scully? I'm surprised to see you here."
"Sir," she said as she stood, "I need to talk to you."
Skinner seemed to pick up on her intention, looked at his secretary and then back at Scully, wondering if he'd understood correctly.
"Let me just get my things."
The Lone Gunmen's Quarters
"Where's agent Scully?" Langly bothered to ask.
"We were just about to eat."
"Let's. I'm starving."
They looked at him as if he'd said something he wasn't supposed to.
"I'll get her a pizza later." Mulder clarified.
"What the hell is that smell?" Roxanne asked her father. "No, no! Don't tell me. I don't want to know. I don't even want to guess. I'll wait for pizza."
Emily had fallen asleep on the couch and Krycek was sitting in the far corner gaping at the TV as if he'd never seen anything like it in his life. Laughing like a kid. Loud and not caring about how much his behavior resembled that of a pig.
And this guy was dangerous?
Mulder shrugged his shoulders, took off his jacket and threw it on the couch. He sat down and wondered about Scully. What had made her go to the office? They hadn't asked for any test there.
What could possibly make her go there? Not the paperwork.
Just then, a knock on the door.
"Hey, it's your boss!" Frohike shouted.
Oh no, Mulder thought, of all the things she could have done, she should not have done this.
That's when he realized he hadn't even opened the envelope yet.
Krycek ran off upstairs, followed by Roxanne.
"Well, isn't this nice agent Mulder."
"No, don't get up."
Skinner nodded to the guys and stepped closer to the couch.
"What the hell is going on here, Mulder? I'm hoping that you have a better story because, frankly, what agent Scully just told me sounds ridiculous."
He spat out the last word, raising his voice.
Frohike, who was watching this, nearly bit his tongue from shock.
"I told him everything, Mulder."
Mulder buried his head in his hands, sighed.
"I hope at least you have something to back up these wild theories of yours."
"Well ..." Mulder began.
"Agent Mulder, don't mess with me."
Emily woke up, startling Skinner.
"She's my daughter."
"Agent Scully, I thought she was dead?"
"It's a long story, Sir." she replied.
"I want some answers. I don't care who has to give them to me."
Skinner turned to face the gunmen, who immediately went into some kind of apologetic posture. No, they didn't want to have anything to do with this. Hear not. See not. Talk not.
Mulder had opened the envelope to discover what they had needed all along. Proof in an envelope. Just a stamp short of being mailed out to them.
What Mulder had in his hand was a contract. A pact made by every member in the project. He'd seen some of the names before but he could not remember where he'd seen them.
His mother's name was on it, his father's name. Kurtzweil's name was there. Spender's name. Fowley's name. All along. She had been one of them.
Not Krycek. Had Krycek been a victim?
"Where is he?" Mulder asked Frohike as he handed the paper to his boss.
"Upstairs." Langly said, not really caring.
While Skinner read the document in silence, sharing the pages with Scully as he went to sit down on the couch to read, Mulder quickly ran upstairs to find his alleged baby brother.
"So, what does this prove? This doesn't even seem real. It's like a giant hoax. This can't be real, agent Scully. That would mean ..."
"Sir, what about Emily? What about the time I was taken. Whatever was done to me, the procedure that gave me cancer is the reason why I can never have children. This procedure is described in this document. Emily is a result of that procedure. I have that evidence. She is my child and agent Mulder's and she didn't come into this world the way she should have."
Just then Krycek and Mulder walked into the room.
Scully's last sentence had Mulder nailed to the floor. She is my child and agent Mulder's and she didn't come into this world the way she should have. The way she should have. The way she should have.
Well, that said so much more than he could ever have hoped for.
"So, you're telling me that the girl and agent Mulder were part of this project. You were too."
"Yes and don't forget me." Krycek interrupted.
"My God. Who the hell do I talk to about this."
"I'd rather you didn't, Sir. There has to be another way."
"I don't know." Scully answered.
"What about you?" Skinner asked Krycek.
"What about me?"
"Don't play smart with me."
"I managed to get the girl out before they could start using the virus. If I hadn't gotten her out, there's a big chance she would have died. They were about to inject her."
"Why did you save her?" Mulder asked.
"I had to. I've seen too many die."
"So, why did you lie to us before? Why did you tell us Scully had been used to feed the project. Obviously she ..."
"But she has been used. We've all been used. I'm here to take care of the shit work and you got to sit in an office feeding people your little alien stories until you found a better way to spend your time, trying to see things the way your partner saw them. That's when the trouble started."
He quickly changed the subject before Mulder could get angry.
"What did you do with the box?"
"Why?" Frohike asked.
"I need it."
"What for and what is that thing anyway?" Langly went up to Krycek and blocked his path.
"It's none of your business. Just hand it over."
"No, we won't." Langly said.
"If you don't get that thing out of here, they'll come looking for it."
"So, tell me. Why would they have waited until now to come get it, wise ass!" Langly shouted.
"Well you sure know how to pick your friends, Mulder. I'll grant you that."
"Nobody is handing anything over to anyone here, but me. Thank you agents for getting me involved in this mess."
Skinner stood and waited to receive the box, then left taking the evidence with him.
"You have no idea what you just did, Mulder." Krycek said. "Your cute partner trusts the wrong people."
Mulder didn't appreciate Scully running off to Skinner to inform him of everything.
"Oh and I suppose we can trust you?"
He'd gotten the girl out. Orders from someone smoking.
"I saved your daughter, Mulder. I earned that trust but you don't see it that way. You don't even realize how badly you have been used and manipulated by these men to keep an alien myth going so they'd have something to hide behind and you just gave your only piece of hard evidence to the man who kept your department alive. Kept it alive no matter what."
"Oh my God." Scully said.
Then Mulder saw what Krycek meant.
"No, Scully. There's still Emily. She's the proof we need."
Krycek started laughing. Loud.
"Are you stupid?! You are stupid, aren't you! She's proof? But of course she's proof, Mulder. Of what? You think anyone cares about agent Scully claiming not to have been pregnant? This child proves one thing and one thing only. She's yours. You're her parents. That's all. You think these men haven't worked it out that way? Besides now you will do just about anything to keep that little girl safe. They know that too."
Krycek was furious. At least if they'd given the box to him. He'd have been able to get rid of it. So this box could never have been used again.
"We'll expose these men eventually and you along with them."
"Well, you would if your precious FBI motto hadn't suddenly changed from Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity to Fuck my Beautiful and Intelligent partner. Because that's what the world will think when you go public with this. They'll think you're making all this up to get away from the life you don't like, away from the reality that you have a child with your partner. A healthy human child. I'd like to see you try it, Mulder."
"You bastard. You planned this all along. That's why you brought her to us. To try and stop us."
"She's pretty cute for hush money." Frohike said.
Mulder grabbed Krycek and pushed him towards the door. He could no longer stay here with them.
Frohike let him out and secured the door.
This couldn't be happening but unfortunately, it already had.
"Such a nice way you do business." Skinner coldly remarked.
He handed the box to the smoking man. And the documents that had been handed to him by Mulder.
"It seems you have no choice in the matter, Mr. Skinner. I don't make these rules and you know it."
"I don't have to like them."
"As long as you obey them, we don't have a problem."
"If you come near my agents again, you bastard, I will personally see to it that you never draw breath again. You understand? We clear on that."
The smoking man smiled. Showed his teeth.
"We understand each other perfectly. Of course I can't guarantee the exact same thing for the girl."
"You stay away from the three of them, you hear."
"Mr. Skinner, I would highly recommend you leave decision making to the other three letter section in the alphabet."
He slowly walked away, leaving Skinner behind.
Quick footsteps came up behind the old man. Accelerating. He heard but he wasn't in the least bothered by them. As if he knew who it was, as if he had been expecting someone.
"And, did he hand it to you?" the voice said.
"Of course he did, son. He always does. How did things go at your end? Have you bugged the premises."
Krycek swept away sweat from his brow using his entire forearm. Of course, lying made even him slightly more edgy.
"Good? What's good? They don't trust me. I don't see how I'm ever gonna get any closer to them."
"But you stayed there for quite some time. They let you stay there, didn't they."
The old man smiled, exposing his teeth and turned toward his son.
"Well, that says it all now doesn't it? As long as there is doubt, son, that's all that matters. That's what we do. It's what we're good at. You and me."
"What about my mother?"
"What about her?"
"Where is she."
The man smiled.
The Lone Gunmen's Quarters
"How long have you known?"
"I called from the Federal Building earlier this evening."
They were both on the couch. They had the entire place pretty much to themselves. The guys had voluntarily gone out, persuaded to do so by Roxanne.
Emily hadn't been able to sleep and was sitting with Roxanne who was playing some computer game. A pile of sunflower seeds were next to the keyboard.
Mulder brought his arm round her and bent his head but she refused to look at him.
"I don't know what to do, Mulder."
She lifted her head towards him. Sadness in her eyes.
What he did then, he couldn't classify, he couldn't name.
He had wanted to tell her that it was alright, that it would all work out somehow but he couldn't tell her. He couldn't convey that kind of emotion in words.
Mulder kissed her. Gently. Lingered on her lips, hoping for some kind of response.
She hung onto him. Pushed her face up to his and brought her arms around his neck to pull him closer.
This had been their first kiss ever and Emily had never seen anything like it. She didn't know what it was and tears rolled down her face as she left Roxanne and moved to the couch slowly.
It made her sad.
Mulder went to pick her up and she didn't protest but just stared at him. Stared at Scully when he took her to her. Stretched out her tiny arms and looked for comfort.
Scully took Emily from him and held her so close.
They would need the strength that bound them. For the sake of the child and for the sake of future generations.
Someone out there knew that.