Lightening Shadows I - Far away, Long ago
Elizabeth L. Iacono
Written September 3, 1998
Rating-G. Safe for all.
Safe for both Shippers and NoRomos, but as more parts come, NoRomos start running. I'm a die hard Shipper.
Disclaimer-Every stinkin time we have to go through this. Mulder, Scully, and anyone else pertinent to the X-Files belongs to the Surfer Boy, Ten-Thirteen, and Fox. Shannon, Colin, and Mama are mine.

Summary: Mulder has a recurring dream-or is it a forgotten memory resurfacing? It also makes him question his own past.

Thanks go to Missy and Julie for giving this a first read through for me. Oh, yeah guys remember this one: They were that close! If I have to explain that to the two of you, you two do not deserve to call yourselves Shippers.

Fox Mulder was no stranger to recurring dreams. He'd been having them most of his life. There'd been the one about Samantha, a common one. Most recently, he'd been dreaming about Scully and losing her. But one night in June, Mulder began having a different dream. And it kept coming back. And each time he dreamed he saw more and more of it. Until a hot night in August when the dream finally completed itself.

Mulder propped open the window by his desk with a stack of books. The window, for some God unknown reason wouldn't stay open. And considering that tonight was sweltering and his A/C had finally decided to lay down and die, the closed window would turn his apartment into an oven.

He lay down on the couch in just his boxer shorts; anything else would probably be melted onto his body by morning. The TV was on, replaying last week's Mystery Science Theatre 3000. Those cheesy old movies would have him out in no time, if he could ignore Mike and the robots outrageous comments.

Luckily, Mulder was tired from a hard week and fell asleep immediately, regaining the sleep he'd lost all week. But soon, Mulder realized he was dreaming THAT dream again. The one that never seemed to finish itself. But this time it was different. It finished.

Summer, 1965

The dream always started off with Mulder rolling down a big hill covered with lush green grass. He knew somehow that he was no older than three years old. He kept rolling and rolling down the hill for what felt like forever to a three-year-old, but he soon hit the bottom.

Mulder lay back in the grass and stared up at the sky. Every time he dreamed the day was incredibly beautiful. The sky was a deep blue, with large, puffy, marshmallow-like clouds racing across the sky. The strong, warm summer wind that blew ruffled his thick, oak-brown bangs. Mulder felt he could be happy laying there forever. Then he heard the laugh.

It was a light, joyous laugh, coming from somewhere above him. Mulder turned over and looked back up the hill. There was a young woman, most likely in her late twenties to mid-thirties, Mulder guessed, standing at the top. She had long hair the same color as Mulder's, and it was flying everywhere as the wind tangled it. Her long, loose skirt was pulled in all directions as she stood there. She looked down at him, her clear blue eyes sparkling with laughter.

Next, the woman spoke. "Fox, come back up here," she laughed with a soft, Irish accented voice. In this dream, he was always referred to as Fox. But for some reason, he didn't mind. In fact, he liked it.

Fox now knew it was his turn to speak, same as always. But the words and the voice that came out of his mouth surprised him every time. The voice he heard was one used only as a young boy. "No, Mama. This is fun!" he yelled back, giggling. Mulder knew for a fact that the woman standing on top of the hill was not his mother. At least, not the one he'd known as a child.

Although Mulder felt more comfortable with this woman he'd only met in his dreams than with the mom that raised him.

The woman, Mama, laughed again. "Aye, Fox, I know it is. I rolled down this hill myself as a child. You can come back here later. We'll be here all summer. Right now, though, I have something very important to show you."

Fox felt his eyes light up. "S'it something secret?" he asked, always loving something special.

"Aye, it is. So come back up."

This was where Fox always consented and began scampering up the hill. He leapt over some rocks and logs, even swerving once to get away from an evil looking sheep that had apparently strayed from the rest of the flock.

When Fox got to the top of the hill, he looked up at Mama. She was so much taller from this point of view. Mama bent down and picked up Fox. "That's my boy," she said happily.

"We go now?" Fox asked in his child's voice.

"First, we go tell Grampa that mean old Alma got out of the pen again. Then we'll go get Col and Shan."

Fox moaned and laid his head on Mama's shoulder. "Aww, why, Mama?" he whined.

Mama patted his head lovingly. "They've got to see this too. It'll be special for all three of you."

Fox looked up and saw them getting close to a large house. This was another common feature in the dream. The house was large, with two stories, and made out of light grey stone blocks. Every time there was smoke pouring out of one of the many chimneys and a delicious smell wafting out the open windows. On one side of the house were two wooden buildings, barns Fox had figured out after the first few dreams. On the other side was a large cliff, towering into the sky.

Mama pushed open the door to the large house, walking the two of them into a big kitchen with a large stone fireplace and a big pot of stew simmering over the fire. There was an older woman sitting by it in a rocking chair, knitting something. Mama sniffed the air appreciatively. "Oh, Eveanna, you always make the best stew."

The older woman looked up at Mama and smiled. "Ah, I knew there was a reason I liked you best out of all my children-in-law." They both shared a laugh here. "Colin and Shannon are watching the telly, if you're looking for them." Eveanna always seemed to know what people were looking for. Fox believed that she had some sort of psychic ability.

Mama groaned. "I knew I never should have let Jerome bring the blasted thing here." Mama began walking to the room where the TV was, and then suddenly turned, making Fox dizzy in her arms. "Oh, please tell Da that Alma got out of the pen again."

"I will," Eveanna called after them.

Mama walked into the family room and promptly turned off the TV.

"Hey!" ten year old Shannon and nine-year-old Colin chorused. "We were watching that,"
Shannon whined as only a girl could, "and we don't get The Avengers in America." It was here that Fox had noticed that while most of the older people spoke in some sort of foreign accent, Shannon, Colin, and himself spoke with American accents.

"It's time for that special thing I told you about on the plane," Mama said calmly.

"Awright!" Colin said and jumped out of his seat. "Let's go!" Shannon and Colin raced out of the house and into the yard. Mama followed quickly behind, still carrying Fox. He was now excited too, and the three kids had identical grins on their faces. As a matter of fact all the kids looked nearly alike, with brown hair and sparkling hazel eyes.

Once out in the yard Shannon asked, "Mama, which way?"

Mama raised a long-fingered, elegant hand and pointed to a large boulder at the base of the immense cliff. "To that big rock." The two kids took off for it. Fox began squirming in Mama's arms. He wanted to get there too.

"Mama," he started.

She looked down at the boy in her arms and smiled, an expression that looked so much more comfortable on her face than on the face of the mother he'd grown up with. "You want to run, too?" she asked. Fox nodded. "Okay. Down you go." She placed the boy on the ground and watched as he took off after his siblings.

This was the part where Fox usually woke up. But for some reason, tonight, the dream was finally finishing up. Maybe it was the weather, or the old pizza he'd had for dinner.
Or maybe, it was time to finish.

Mama approached the rock and gestured the kids behind it, where they saw a gaping doorway in the cliffside. Shannon, Colin, and Fox lagged behind, waiting for Mama to go in first. Mama picked up a torch from inside the mouth of the tunnel and lit it with a match. The torch flared to life as Shannon and Colin finally began to edge into the cave, but Fox still waited outside.

Mama bent down to his eye level and said "It's all right to be scared, Fox."

Fox nodded and said quietly "I scared, Mama." With that Mama picked him up and carried him into the tunnel. Fox always felt safe in Mama's arms. As safe as he felt with Scully.

Mama led them through the twisting tunnel until they came upon an underground stream. The stream carried in sunlight from outside and lit up the small cavern with a lovely golden light. Mama put the torch in an iron bracket nailed to the cavern wall. "Can we drink here Mama? I'm kinda thirsty." Colin asked.

"Me too," Shannon chimed in.

"Go ahead. It's safe." Mama turned to the boy clutching her neck. "You thirsty, also?" Fox shook his head no and tightened his grip on Mama's neck.

"This is what I wanted to show you." Mama turned to the far wall of the cavern where the light fell on the rocks. The two stopped drinking and came up behind Mama.

"What's that?" Shannon asked. "It's beautiful." Colin could only nod.

Mama spoke. "It's your father's family history. Every generation comes in here and carves the symbols for everyone in their family.

"Where are we?" Colin asked.

Mama pointed to one of the last sets of symbols. "There's your father. He's at the top because he's directly related to the blood line." She pointed to one attached the father's by a thin chain carved into the wall. "There's mine." Then she pointed to three under those, also attached by finely carved chains. "And there's yours, Shan's, and Fox's."

Fox was soaking up everything. This was the first time he was seeing this in the dream and was amazed at the realism of it. It was so real, it could have been a memory. Then the little boy part of his mind began working again. He'd seen something on most of the symbols and he asked
Mama about it. He tugged on her shirtsleeve. "Yes, Fox?"

He pointed at his father's symbol. "What's that thing that looks like a dog with points?"

Mama chuckled. "You always were more observant than the rest of them." She rearranged Fox's position on her hip so they could get a better look at the symbol. "Well, it's called a dragon. It's in your symbol, too." Fox glanced down at his and nodded. "It's part of an old family story, Fox. The story is that everyone on your father's side of the family has dragon blood in them. No one knows how it got into the family, but just that it's there." She glanced down at Fox, who was listening wide-eyed. "But, then again Fox, it's only a story."

"Like the books we read on the plane?"

"Exactly. It's all just a story." Mama turned to where Shannon and Colin were pointing at the wall.

Fox, though, had noticed something in Mama's eyes when she was telling the dragon tale.

Something deep inside him had said that Mama wasn't telling just a story, but something that had actually happened. And this something both thrilled and scared Fox.

Mama said, "Come on. We can see more of this another day, and maybe your father can tell you some more stories about this place."

Shannon and Colin ran ahead of Mama on the path. "I liked that, Mama," Fox murmured, and laid his head on Mama's shoulder.

Mama placed a comforting hand on the back of Fox's head. "I do, too. You're tired. Go to sleep, Angel." Fox nodded and drifted off to dreamland.

Mulder sat up on the leather couch breathing heavily. That had to have been one of the most vivid dreams he'd ever had. Mulder got up and looked out the window which was, thank God, still open, and began to think.

It hadn't felt like a dream to him, but more like a memory. It was like what had happened when memories of Samantha's abduction had started coming back.

Mulder looked at the picture of the eight year old Sam on his desk. Even though most people don't remember much of their early childhood, it for some reason bothered Mulder that his earliest memory was of his mother bringing Sam home from the hospital. There was the four years before that where he didn't know anything about. He didn't know what his first word was, or when he'd taken his first step. His parents were never ones to be sentimental, and after Sam was gone no one had really cared.

Mulder suddenly smiled in the half-light from the TV. He'd always thought that his parents probably hadn't named him. If they did he'd probably have been saddled with Bill Jr. He shuddered. Just like Scully's brother.

Mulder laid back down on the couch. He was probably delving too deeply into this. It was probably just a dream brought on by reading one too many Internet articles on cases.
Still, Mulder couldn't help but call up part of a song he'd once heard in an animated movie the airline had put on because a large portion of the passengers was a brownie Girl Scout troop. The song just seemed to fit how he felt at the moment.

'Far away, long ago
Glowing dim as an ember.
Things my heart used to know
Things it yearns to remember...'

Mulder dismissed the strange thoughts brought on by the dream and settled in to watch the end of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.

But deep inside, Mulder knew it wasn't over yet. Not by a long shot.

The End

Title: Lightening Shadows II - Glowing Dim As An Ember
Author: Elizabeth L. Iacono
Rating: Still General
Spoilers: Anasazi
Category: Vignette, Mulder-Angst
Keywords: Mulder/Scully UST
Disclaimer: Not mine. CC's, 1013, and Fox's. Mine is Shannon and Mama. The song is from HocusPocus, but it actually fits here so just pretend for a little while.

Summary: The next day, Mulder's dreaming again, and this time, it prompts him to look for a missing persons report.

Author's Notes: All right, I don't know where the heck season six is taking us, so we can just assume here that The End and the movie never happened. I loved the movie, but I just can't make it work in this time line until I see season six. So we'll just pretend it never happened.

Oh, yeah, and Mulder is still not colorblind.

The Next Day

Dana Scully was worried about her partner. It was nine o'clock in the morning and Mulder still wasn't in. This was extremely odd for him. He usually beat her here, due to the fact that he never slept.

She glanced at the small clock on Mulder's desk. Nine-fifteen now. Okay, she thought, if he's not here in fifteen minutes, then I'll call. She had to prevent herself from being too overprotective towards him.

Scully tried to go back to work, but almost every minute she kept looking at the clock.

It was nine twenty-nine when a breathless and flushed Mulder dashed through the door. He slammed the door shut and then leaned back against it. Scully heard the sound of his head hitting the door.

"Mulder? Are you okay?" she asked.

He lifted his head off the door and looked at her. She saw the faraway look in his eyes that disappeared when he focused in on her. "Yeah, I just didn't get enough sleep last night."

"No more than usual?"

Mulder started walking towards the desk. "Try less than usual. I'm sorry, I'm just really out of it today."

Scully took in his disheveled appearance, the tie that hung loosely around his neck, the small cut on his cheek where he'd probably nicked himself shaving, and his tousled hair that just wouldn't lie flat. Just the way I like it, Scully thought, but then put that idea out of her head.

"So what's on the agenda for today?" Mulder asked.

"Not much. For once there's no paperwork, we've got no active cases, and Skinner hasn't needed to see us in days."

Mulder leaned back in his chair and sighed. "Good." He closed his eyes and almost fell asleep immediately. He jerked awake when Scully lightly touched his arm.

"Are you sure you're okay, Mulder?"

"I told you I'm fine. I just didn't sleep well." Scully gave him a look that said 'If I buy that then you've got the bridge real cheap too.'

Scully was getting more and more worried that Mulder was getting sick. She put a hand on his forehead to gauge his temperature.

'Pleasedon'ttakemypulsePleasedon'ttakemypulse' he internally pleaded. His pulse was racing from the simple touch of her hand on his forehead.

After what seemed forever, Scully removed her hand. "Well, you feel normal."

"Told you," he said smugly.

"But, Mulder, if you really don't feel good, please tell me." She was afraid of a repeat of April of 1995 where 'They' had pumped Mulder so full of LSD he flipped out.

Mulder caught the look in Scully's eye. "Don't worry, Scully. I haven't drank tap water from my apartment for three years."

Scully smiled a half smile. "Whatever. So what are we going to do today?"

Mulder smiled. "Well, I figured we could go through some old cases and figure out which ones deserve the title 'total waste of time' or 'boring enough to send up to Colton' or 'actual X-File worth investigating.'" He got up and pulled a stack of files out of a box, took off his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves.

Scully stared at the stack of files. "You have got to be the most disorganized person I have ever seen."

He leered at her. "That's why you like me so much."

Mulder didn't duck in time to miss the post-it pad heading directly for his head.

It was one o'clock. Scully had left to get some lunch for the two of them. Now I might be able to catch up on some of that sleep I lost last night, Mulder thought.

The reason he lost sleep was because of that damn dream. Every time he fell back asleep the dream would keep repeating itself in perfect detail. It was like the dream was trying to tell him something, but he couldn't put his finger on the meaning. Eventually he'd decided not to go back to sleep at all.

Now, though, it was catching up with him, and he was tired to the point of falling asleep head first into a file about bigfoot. Mulder decided it was time to sleep, so he folded his arms on the desk laid his head down on them and immediately dozed off.

He was dreaming again. He just knew it. And judging by the clothes he seemed to be wearing he was three years old again.

Fox looked around. This dream was different than the other one. This time he was in a hallway with a sturdy wooden floor and thick white walls that kept the heat out. The hallway was long, and judging from the window at the other end it was nighttime.

Fox looked to all the doors on the sides of the hallway. One of them had wisps of smoke coming out from under it. Naturally, Fox was curious. He walked over to the door and gently pushed it open.

It was a bedroom, with a large fireplace on one wall and a soft-looking bed opposite that. Something stirred in the bed and Fox walked over to it.

In the bed was the girl from the other dream, Shannon. She sat up when she saw him approach the bed. "Hey, Fox," she said.

"What's wrong?" he asked. He had a vague memory of her spending the past few days in bed, apparently sick.

Shannon's hazel eyes, so much like his own, lit up happily. She grabbed him under the arms and lifted him up onto the bed next to her. Fox snuggled down under the down feather comforter and snuggled into Shannon's side. "You've got to see this!" she said excitedly.

Shannon held out her right hand and placed it on the white of the comforter. To Fox, her hand looked totally normal, but suddenly it began to change. First, the skin grew scaly, and not just a dry skin scaly but honest to God scales. Second, the skin turned an iridescent green, and it shimmered in the light from the fireplace.

Fox gasped. He'd never seen anything like this, not even in any of the X-Files. He reached out a small hand and touched hers. It felt like an actual lizard skin, like the one they had in his pre-school back home.

Shannon continued to speak. "Mama knows about this too." Fox looked up at her questioningly. "Yep, she does, she even helped me the first time."


"Uh-huh. Y'know, Mama's a witch."

"A witch?" Fox knew what witches were. He'd seen the 'Wizard of Oz.' Witches were people who stole dogs and chased little dogs. He actually remembered a line from there, and he told Shannon. "Kinda like 'Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?'"

Before Shannon could reply, a familiar voice came from the doorway. "A good witch, of course."

Fox and Shannon looked up to see Mama smiling at them. "Uh, hi, Mama," Fox said a little guiltily. He knew he wasn't supposed to be in there.

"Aren't you supposed to be in bed now, Fox?" Mama asked in her softly accented voice.

But Fox wasn't going to be distracted that easily. "Are you really a witch, Mama?" he asked.

Mama walked over to the bed and sat down in front of the two of them. "Yes, I am. And I'm not like that one from the 'Wizard of Oz' that I know you're thinking of."

Fox shrugged his shoulders. "She's like Glenda more than anything. Y'know, a good witch," Shannon added in.

"Oh," said Fox quietly. He asked his next question. "Can you do that thing with your hand, too, Mama?"

Mama glanced at Shannon. She nodded in confirmation. "No, I can't, but Shannon's not a witch, like I am. Shannon's got her own talents, just like Da does, and just like you will someday."

Fox's head shot up at this one and his forehead wrinkled in question. He pointed to himself as if to say 'Me too?'

"Yes, you too. But don't worry. You've still got a few years to go. Shannon's time came a little early than both me and Da expected." She shot a look at Shannon, who smirked back.

Mama spoke again. "Now, come along, Fox. It's time for you to get back to bed."

Fox turned to Shannon and kissed her on the cheek. "Night Shan."

She kissed him back and said "G'night, Fox."

Mama picked Fox up and carried him to his room at the end of the hall. She nudged open the door with her foot and placed Fox down in the bed. Before he dozed off he asked "Will I really be able to do that someday, Mama?"

She smiled down at him. "Yes, you will."

"Good." Fox tried to get to sleep but for some reason, sleep was now elusive. "Can you sing to me, Mama?"

"Of course." She leaned down and kissed his forehead. Then, she began to sing.

"Come, little children
I'll take thee away
Into a land
Of enchantment
Come, little children
The time's come to play
Here in my garden
Of magic."

And that was the last thing he heard before he dropped off to sleep.

Scully arrived back in the office to find Mulder fast asleep with his head on his desk. She smiled at the fact he looked like such a little boy when he slept.

She had instinctively knew something was wrong with him from the moment he'd walked in that morning. When he refused to talk about it, she didn't push, God knew she wasn't one for talking about her feelings either. But something was seriously bothering him.

Scully walked over to the side table and put the bags with the sandwiched down on it. She looked over at Mulder once again, positive the best thing to do would be to let him sleep. She did a double take when she glimpsed his cheek.

She could have sworn she saw a scaly patch on his cheek that had a slight iridescent sheen to it. But when she went to get a closer look, there was nothing there but his smooth cheek with that birthmark on it.

Fighting the urge to smooth back his wayward hair, Scully moved slowly back to the side table, but stopped when Mulder awoke with a start. There was an almost scared look in his eyes and he was breathing heavily. His eyes scanned the room, as if he wasn't sure of where he was, until his eyes lit on Scully.

Mulder stood up. "I'm sorry, Scully, but I really can't stay here right now." He pulled his suit jacket off the back of the chair and started for the door. He was stopped by Scully's hand on his arm once more.

"If you need me, just call," she said quietly, handing him the sandwich. He took it from her and gently pressed his forehead to hers for a second, as if to draw strength from her. Then, he turned and left.

Scully got her own sandwich out of the bag and sat down to eat it. She would be waiting for his phone call.

Two hours later, Mulder sat at his computer, staring at the monitor. Ever since the dreams finished, he'd suspected it, but didn't have any proof until now.

On the screen was an old police report from Martha's Vineyard in August of 1965. The police had found a small boy wandering around the beach. He had dark brown hair and hazel eyes. The one distinguishing feature was a birthmark on his right cheek. He only seemed to know one word-Fox.

Mulder reached for the portable phone. He'd have to tell Scully this.

The End

Title: Lightening Shadows III - What Child Is This?
Author: Elizabeth L. Iacono
Rating: PG
Category: Story, Angst, slight hint of Romance
Keywords: Mulder/Scully UST
Spoilers: Paper Hearts, Detour
Disclaimer: to hell with making this interesting, they're not mine. They're CC's, 1013, and Fox's. Mine are Mama, and any of the Vineyard cops

Summary: Mulder confronts Mrs. Mulder about what happened in August of 1965, and has some waking flashbacks.

Author's Notes: This is part three in the series. It would be best if you read the other two first (shameless self promotion here) so you had some idea of what's going on. Basically, what happened so far is that Mulder's had some strange dreams that made him doubt who his real parents are, and then finds a police report from 1965 that backed up his theory.

August 24, 1965

The little boy lifted his head out of the sand and spit some out of his mouth. He ran a hand through his dark brown hair to get rid of the itchy sand in it. He was so lost. He couldn't remember anything. Not where he was, or where he'd came from, or who his parents were, or how old he was. He only remembered one word-Fox. He tried speaking the word. Only with effort was he able to say the word.

He looked around at where he was. He couldn't recognize anything. He looked up at the sky. It was very dark, but still warm enough that the little boy wasn't shivering with cold. He looked down at what he was sitting on. He sifted some of the tiny grains through his fingers. He couldn't remember what these were called either.

Next he looked at his clothes. They were wet with seaspray and sticking to his skin. It was making him colder by the minute. He looked out over the water and saw the sky getting brighter. But he didn't know what all this was called. He was so unsure about what to do he didn't see the man walking towards him.

Officer James Singer was going for his daily early morning walk on the beach. The beaches of Martha's Vineyard were always busy during the daytime, so the best time to take a walk was in the early morning. He was staring down the beach, when he noticed a dark spot on the sand about a hundred yards down from him. As he approached, he realized it was a little boy. He began to walk quicker.

The little boy didn't notice him coming in until he gently laid a hand on the boy's shoulder. The boy jumped and stared at him. Singer bent down until he was at the boy's level. "What's your name?" he asked the child.

The child just stared at him. The little boy knew he was supposed to say something, but he couldn't put his finger on it. So he said the only word that came to his mind. "Fox."

Singer nodded. This was a start. "Good. Do you know where your parents are?" he asked next.

The boy looked scared. The man was expecting him to answer. "Fox," he said once more.

Singer's thoughts took a different turn. Suddenly, he thought that the boy could possibly be retarded. He was going to have to take this slow. He stood up and took the little boy's hand. The boy looked up at him, puzzled. "I'm going to help you, okay. You're going to be fine now."

All the little boy would say as Singer led him back to his house was Fox.

August, 1998

Mulder stared at the police report. This was too coincidental. It just seemed to add up with the dreams, yet at the same time contradicted everything his parents told him. It was time to call Scully. She would know what to do. She would be able to remain calm, unlike how Mulder felt at that moment. He wanted to scream and throw things and yet at the same time curl up into a ball and not come out. He was royally confused.

Mulder picked up the phone and dialed in the office number. She should still be there. It rang twice until Scully picked it up.


He sighed deeply and then spoke. "It's me, Scully."

-How are you feeling?-

He decided on honesty this time. "Not that great. Look, could you come over here? I have to show you something."

-Of course, Mulder. I can take the rest of the day off. I'll be right there.-

"Thanks." Mulder hung up and leaned back into his chair. He wasn't sure as to how to tell Scully this one.

Scully sat down on Mulder's couch and looked at a printed out copy of the police report. "I don't know what to say, Mulder. How did you get this idea?" She was still having a hard time trying to grasp the concept of Mulder's latest theory.

Mulder walked over to the couch and sat down next to her. He wasn't sure what to tell her either. So he decided on a joke. "Do you want the truth or a really good excuse?"

"Mulder." She glared at him.

He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. He searched internally for the best way to explain it. "I've been having these dreams lately that contradict almost everything I've been told about my childhood."

"Maybe it was your subconscious projecting what your child hood should have been like?" Scully suggested, always one for the rational explanation.

"I thought the same thing at first, but sometimes it just seemed so real. More like a flashback, or a repressed memory."

Scully leaned back against the couch. This was really bothering him. She would do anything to try to make him smile a little. "So what is it? Do you think you're some lost alien or something that fell out of its spaceship onto Martha's Vineyard?"

Bingo. Mulder laughed a little and shook his head. "No. Maybe just some lost kid who fell out of a boat. A head injury would explain the memory loss."

"Mulder, that kind of complete memory loss is rare. And besides, most people don't remember their early childhood. As you get older you have a tendency to forget the earlier memories."

"But then explain why I couldn't remember then, when I was three?"

Scully raised a hand, then let it drop to her side. "I can't." She looked over to him. "What are you going to do now?"

"I think I'm going to go see my mother. There's just a few questions I have that she'd probably be the best one to ask them to." He stood up, grabbed a bag and began to pack.

Scully stood up quickly. "What do you think you're doing?"

He looked up at her. "Packing so I can drive up and see my mother this weekend."

"Not without me."

He looked puzzled. "What? Why?"

"Look Mulder, you haven't been sleeping enough, for all you know you're going to fall asleep on the road and plow yourself into a tree."

Mulder grinned at her. He loved it when she made such a fuss because of him. He calmly consented. "Okay. Let me pack here, and then we can take your car over to your apartment so you can pack, and then you can drive me up to Greenwich." He said it all in a condescending tone that earned him a punch in the arm from Scully.

Later that night

Mulder sat in the passenger seat in Scully's car. He was apprehensive about going in to confront her about this. He wasn't sure how she would take it.

"You okay, Mulder?" Scully asked.

"Yeah, I just wish I knew how she's going to react." Mulder felt Scully take his hand in hers.

"Well, whatever happens, I'll be right there beside you, okay?" Scully said quietly.

He smiled softly at her. "I know." They reluctantly untangled hands and got out of the car.

Mulder looked up at his mother's home. Now, he was really starting to doubt whether she was his real mother. Slowly, he led Scully up the stairs with the automatic response of putting his hand on the small of her back. With an shaking hand, he rang the doorbell.

Scully looked over towards him. "You sure you're up for this?" she asked quietly.

"I don't think I have any choice."

Mrs. Tina Mulder opened the door, and smiled when she saw Mulder there. "Fox!" Mulder winced. "What a nice surprise." Next, she noticed Scully standing there. "Hello, Ms. Scully. Please come in." Mulder once again gently led Scully into the house. Tina sat them both in the living room. "Would you like anything to drink?"

"Some coffee would be good," Mulder said quickly. Tina walked off into the kitchen.

Scully looked at him, puzzled. "I can't do this," Mulder whispered so low only she could hear. "I just want to run away so bad, but I know that if I don't ask I'll never find the answer."

Scully laid a comforting hand on his back. "It'll be okay, Mulder." They couldn't talk anymore because Tina came back into the room.

Tina handed out the coffee cups and both Mulder and Scully said their thanks. "Well, this is definitely a surprise, Fox," Tina said. "You hardly ever come up here unannounced and on a work night."

Mulder ran a hand through his hair. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the printout of the police report and handed it to Tina. She unfolded it, read it, and sighed.

"I was wondering when you'd find that," she said.

Mulder's eyes opened wide. Tina had known about this. He tried to speak but the words got stuck in his throat. He glanced at Scully, who almost imperceptibly nodded.

"Mrs. Mulder, could you tell us exactly what happened?" Scully questioned.

Tina took a sip of her coffee. "It's all pretty simple. The police report there is accurate. In the early morning of August 24, 1965, a little boy was found wandering around the beach. The officer took the boy, you, down to the local police station to see if anyone had reported a little boy missing. They were afraid that you had some mental problems, because the only word you knew was Fox." She got up and stood by the window, looking out at the oncoming night. "That was how you got the name, the police officers started calling you that, you responded to it at least, and for some reason it stuck. Well, you stayed at the officer's house who found you for a week, and when they couldn't find any information about you or your real parents, they put out a call on the island to see if anyone wanted to officially adopt you.

"One of the first people they called was your fath- my husband and I." Mulder noted the slip, but put it to the back of his head. "Bill had always wanted a little boy. We'd had trouble conceiving before, and Samantha was the first one that had carried to term. The officer knew this, and so he asked us if we were willing to take you in. We agreed, and so you were officially registered as Fox William Mulder, and we raised you as our own."

Mulder took all this in. It was shocking, yet at the same time it made sense. He wasn't sure as to whether he should have felt horrified or relieved. This was going to change a lot of things in his life. "Is that the whole story?" he asked.

Tina turned back to the two FBI agents. "Pretty much. After a while you started talking again. You had decided yourself how old you were and what your birthday was. But anything after that you couldn't remember. We were always expecting your memory to come back, that kind of memory loss we were told was very rare. By the time you were ten, we had pretty much given up that any memory was going to come back. It had been over six years at that point. At the time the police had checked many reports of missing children from all over Massachusetts, but none had ever matched with your description."

Mulder slowly nodded, accepting this. he thought it was odd that Tina never questioned how he'd found this, but had just proceeded to tell him what had happened. "Okay. Thank you for telling me the truth." Mulder knew this was the truth. He knew Tina well enough to tell when she was lying, and this was one of those times.

"It was the least I could do." She bent down and picked up the now empty coffee cups and brought them back to the kitchen. She could tell Mulder needed some time to digest all this.

As soon as Tina walked out of the room Scully kneeled down in front of Mulder's chair. He was staring out into space again. "Mulder?"

He looked down at her. "I'm okay, Scully. Really," he asserted when he saw her raised eyebrow. He continued. "It just bothers me that it took me this long to realize that they weren't my real parents, that Samantha wasn't my real sister..." his voice trailed off.

Suddenly she understood. He was afraid that this news would put a whole new twist on his quest. "Mulder, listen to me." His eyes focused in on her. "You loved Samantha like a sister right?" He nodded. "You believed she was your sister, and I'm pretty damned sure she thought of you as a brother. It's still okay to try to find her, as long as you remember that you thought, hell, you knew she was your sister, and that she felt the same way." She waited with bated breath until Mulder's face relaxed. Scully stood up to give him some space, but stopped when his arm slipped around her waist. In a move reminiscent of a time long ago, Mulder laid his head down on her stomach. Scully ran both her hands through his hair, unable to move anything else because of his arms.

"Thanks," she heard whispered, almost inaudibly, but loud enough to get the point across. Mulder released her waist and went over to stand by the window Tina had just occupied. He let out a slight laugh. "This has been one hell of a day, hasn't it Scully?"

"Yes, it has."

Mulder didn't hear her response. His head was spinning, and he couldn't see straight. The one thing he realized was that the image of the nondescript houses and trees across the street were changing into...

...into a large Christmas tree, complete with all the trimmings. It was late at night judging by the clock on the mantle, and the almost total darkness outside. The only light that fell outside was from the tree, its multi colored lights hitting the still falling snow. The beautiful glass balls hanging from the boughs reflected the lights into his eyes. Fox was so entranced by the sight, he didn't notice the person walking towards him.

"What are you doing up?" Fox's head whipped around. There was Mama, standing tall in a blue silk bathrobe.

Mulder knew for a fact he wasn't dreaming, so what the hell was going on?

Fox fumbled for an explanation. "I wanted to wait for Santa," the boy said. Mama smiled and sat down next to him.

"I used to wait for Santa, too, but then my parents always took me up to bed."

Fox saw his chance. "Then we can wait for him now!"

Mama laughed and pulled Fox into her lap. "But, one night, my parents told me that Santa didn't come unless everyone was in bed. So I went to bed, easy as that. And when I woke up in the morning, I knew that he'd come. All the cookies were gone, and there were some presents under the tree that I knew for sure they hadn't bought."

"I still wanna wait," Fox said stubbornly, his lower lip sticking out.

"Oh, Fox," Mama said. "Come to bed. By the time you fall asleep and wake up it'll feel like no time has passed at all, and in the morning, you'll see that he came."

"Awright," Fox agreed, but still not wanting to go back to bed.

Mama carried him up a flight of wide stairs, and then into a bedroom. As Mama tucked him into his bed Fox asked "Will you watch the gifts tonight, Mama?"

Mama's brow wrinkled. "Why?"

Fox sat up. "The gift eaters."

"Gift eaters?"

The little boy nodded earnestly. "Yeah. Col said that on Christmas Eve, the gift eaters came after Santa and eat all the gifts. And then, they eat the littlest kid in the house," he finished with wide eyes.

Mama groaned and rolled her eyes. "Don't worry and don't listen to your brother when he says things like that. I'll keep the monsters away." She kissed him on the forehead. "Now go to sleep."

"Sing to me please Mama," came from the bed. "It'll keep the monsters away."

The older part of Mulder thought back to a time in a forest, when he wanted someone else to sing to keep the monsters away. He still wasn't sure if it was Scully's singing that kept the MothMen away.

Mama came back to the bed and sat down on the side of it. "Of course I'll sing."

"Can you do a Christmas song?" Fox asked.

"Sure," Mama smiled at him, and began to sing.

"What child is this
Who lay to rest
On Mary's lap
Is sleeping
Whom angels greet
With anthems sweet
While shepherds' watch
Is keeping..."

Mulder was brought back to the present by Scully's hand on his back. "Are you okay? You really zoned out there for a minute."

A minute? Was that all that really passed? Mulder thought.

"Yeah. I'm just really tired. Maybe we should start getting back home?" he asked hopefully.

"All right. Go say goodbye, and I'll warm up the car."

By the time they hit New Jersey, Scully was beginning to fall asleep at the wheel. Mulder was busy staring out the window. "Hey, Mulder, I'm going to pull over and get some hotel rooms for the night. I'm really tired."

"It's no problem. I'm dead on my feet myself."

Scully pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of the first motel she saw that was nice looking. She parked the car and walked into the lobby. Two minutes later she came back with a key. "We're in luck. They've got one room left with two double beds."

"Good," Mulder said. By this time he was too tired to care about much except for settling down for the night.

Scully drove the car down to the room and they entered it together. It was a small room, designed for people spending most of their time on the beach, as shown by the sliders in the back that provided a direct line down to the beach.

Mulder just barely stripped down to his boxers and got into bed before he was out like a light. Soon, Scully followed suit and fell asleep quickly in the other bed.

The next morning, actually a little before since the sun hadn't risen yet, Scully awoke to find the other bed empty. She stopped worrying when she saw the slider door open with the screen pulled across it. Beyond that, she saw Mulder's bare back and him sitting on the sand. She got out of bed, grabbed her bathrobe, and went out to join him.

Mulder heard her approaching and turned around to greet her, and motioned her to sit down next to him. They looked like an odd combination, her in a terry cloth bathrobe and him just in a pair of jeans. Before she could think anymore Mulder began to speak.

"Y'know, I was just thinking. This was where it all started." He waved a hand out at the sea. "Am I going to have to begin here to find out the truth, or will this new path lead us here?" Mulder sighed and looked out at the sky and the bright orange line that was just starting to blossom at the horizon.

Scully turned to him and placed a hand on his cheek. "Well, whatever happens, I'm here, okay." Mulder placed his hand over hers and held on to it tightly. Then, Scully leaned forward and softly brushed her lips with his. It was meant as comfort and received as comfort, but both couldn't help but wonder what more would be like.

"We'll do this together," Mulder said, and they both turned to watch the sun rise.

Title: Lightening Shadows IV-Raindrops On Roses
Author: Elizabeth L. Iacono
Rating: General
Category: Story, Romance
Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance
Spoilers: Slight one for Anasazi (We all know by now that Scully shot Mulder.) And a very slight (Blink and you'll miss it) spoiler for Bad Blood.

Summary: The other side of the story. Shannon Ramsay-Parker dreams about her missing brother.

This story is a little different from the rest of the stories in this series. The others were all from Mulder or Scully's point of view. This one is from Shannon's point of view. Shannon is one of the people in Mulder's dreams. She was in the other stories(Ahem! Hint, hint!). This is what she's dreaming..... .....Oh, for God sakes just read the other stories!

Feedback is always welcome in my home. Any kind can be sent to me at

Oh, here we go again. Fox and Dana are not mine. They belong to the Surfer Boy, 1013, and Fox. Shannon, Mama, Colin, Johnathan, Connor, Sage, and Ryan are mine. I'm pretty sure there's no chance in hell CC would create these characters. Especially Ryan <bg>.

Shannon Ramsay-Parker looked in her little boy's, Connor, room. Well, he wasn't that much of a boy anymore. He was going off to college in a few weeks. Her daughter, Sage, had already been in college for the past two years.

Most people didn't believe she had college-aged kids. She was actually forty-three years old, and had aged well. She had oak-brown hair with some grey only by the temples, and sparkling hazel eyes. Shannon left the doorway and headed back to her own room in the large townhouse and looked mournfully at the empty bed. Johnathan, her husband, was away on a business trip. She never slept well when he was away. That and the fact that insomnia was a family trait. Shannon stripped down her bathrobe to the old Yankees shirt that was serving as a nightshirt and crawled into bed. She couldn't get to sleep without doing some deep thinking on some serious topics.

She was thinking about the little brother she'd lost when he was only three years old. Fox was one of the sweetest little kids she'd known, and most three-year-olds had a tendency to act like spoiled brats when she babysat for them when she was ten. They still hadn't figured out how he disappeared. It was just one day, he had escaped everyone's' sight, and then there was a strong wind, almost unearthly, and then, a minute later when the wind died down, Fox was gone. And they hadn't heard anything about him in thirty-five years.

Shannon dropped off to sleep with a slight tear in her beautiful hazel eyes.

Shannon recognized the place in her dream immediately. It was Gramma's house in Ireland. She found herself rising out of bed, and then putting on a dark blue dress with little pink flowers on it...

Wait a second, she remembered this day. It was the day her and Fox and their other brother Colin had gone out to play in Granpa's rose garden early in the morning.

Shannon slipped on the dress, found her sandals, and went out the door. She found Fox waiting outside the door for her. He looked exactly the same as in the pictures they all had from before his disappearance. The oak-brown hair with the little tuft that just wouldn't lie flat in the front, bright hazel eyes identical to her own, and a full lower lip that he used to pout whenever he didn't get what he wanted. He was ready to go out too. They'd told him about going to the garden last night and Shannon was sure as anything he didn't sleep a wink last night. But someone was missing. "Where's Col?" she whispered.

"I think he's asleep," Fox whispered back.

Shannon nodded and then walked to Colin's room, Fox following closely behind. She opened the door to find Colin dressed to go out, but sprawled across the mattress fast asleep. "That louse," Shannon muttered, and then to Fox, "Wanna help me wake him up?" Fox grinned. She motioned to him to go over to the other side of the bed by Colin's head. Shannon went to the opposite side and grabbed an earlobe lightly. Fox followed suit.

And they pulled.

Colin's eyes shot open, but before he could scream Shannon clamped her other hand over his mouth. She leaned in close and said "Mornin', Sunshine!"

Colin shook his head free of their hands. "I'm up, I'm up!"

"We're gonna be late," Fox said.

"For what?" Colin asked, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

"The garden, silly," Fox responded.

Colin swung his legs out of the bed and hopped down. "Awright, let's go."

The three kids headed downstairs, but they stopped when they came to the big kitchen. There Gramma was standing at the old kitchen table mixing something.

"Morning, Gramma," Shannon said. Colin and Fox were too busy yawning to say anything. She was probably right in that Fox hadn't slept at all last night.

"Ye be going out to see the garden, right?" Gramma asked them.

"Uh-uh," Colin said around a yawn.

Gramma went over to a cabinet and pulled out a wrapped bundle. "Well, just in case ye don't make it back in time for breakfast, here's something for ye." She handed the bundle to Shannon, who was the most responsible of the three.

"Okay, Gramma," Shannon said and they turned and went out the kitchen door that was already open to let the fresh morning air in.

The garden was bordering on the cliff, and surrounded by a thick, four-foot high stone wall. It worked pretty well to keep inquisitive kids like Fox from getting out and falling over the cliff. They got there by a dirt path that their Grampa had put in when he started the garden. Inside the garden was as many different types of roses and other flowers that you could ever think of. On one side, the wall went right down to the edge of the cliff. It left a long tract of bright green grass on a slope that was perfect for lying on.

Shannon reached the garden gate first and pushed it open. The scent of roses overwhelmed her senses and she breathed in happily. The two boys followed in after her. Colin immediately went for the grassy patch.

"Where ya going, Col?" Shannon asked.

He pulled two comic books out of the waistband of his pants. "Reading."

Shannon frowned. "But I thought you were going to help us pick some of the flowers? Grampa gave us permission to."

Colin shrugged. "Picking flowers is for girls and babies," he said with finality and sat down to read.

Shannon felt Fox tugging on her dress. She looked down and saw that his lower lip was stuck out stubbornly. "I'm not a baby," he said.

"I know that but Col gets stupid when you wake him up too early. C'mon, let's go get some of those flowers. I'll show you how to make a chain out of them later."

"Okay," Fox said and headed for a patch of roses. No more than a minute later she heard a yelp come from his direction. She shook her head and headed his way to see what he'd gotten into this time. She found him sitting at the base of a rosebush sucking on one of his fingers.

"What happened, Fox?"

He held out his hand to her. "Something poked me."

She took the hand and concluded that he'd just gotten pricked by a thorn. "It's just a thorn, Fox. Rose bushes are full of them. Watch out for them next time."

"Awright." He turned back to the rose bush and Shannon turned to go back to her own patch, but five seconds later Fox's next question came up. "Hey, Shan, did it rain last night?"

"No, why?"

"The roses are all wet."

Shannon went back over and took a look at the roses. "It's called dew. Sometimes it forms overnight. But it does look like raindrops." Shannon smiled to herself and began to sing.

"Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens."

"Oh, God, she's singing again!" Colin called from over on the grass. "Put a sock in it Shan!"

"Be quiet!" Shannon yelled.

"Yeah, we don't have to listen to you!" Fox called.

"Aw, Fox, you're still sore about Christmas," Colin retorted.

"There is no such thing as gift-eaters, Col!" Fox yelled.

"Oh, be quiet, both of you!" Shannon yelled, exasperated. She went back to picking her flowers and began singing again.

"Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles
And warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages
Tied up in strings
These are a few of my favorite things."

Shannon walked over to the grass where Fox was now sitting with Colin. Fox had dumped his whole stockpile of flowers on the ground in front of him. Shannon added hers to the pile and sat down next to Fox. "I think we have plenty here to make a nice chain."

"How do you make one?" Fox asked. Shannon quickly demonstrated the braiding method for the flowers. And then Shannon began to sing again.

"Girls in white dresses
With blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that play
On my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters
That melt into spring..."

Shannon trailed off as she looked at Fox's hands. The image blurred, and the soft child-like hands changed into slender, long-fingered, grown-up hands, not unlike Mama's. Shannon felt her head spinning and then the dream changed.

She was still in the garden, in the same grassy spot, but this time she was with six other people, and she was her normal age. To the left of her was Colin, and the woman she knew now as his wife. Directly behind her she sensed her own husband, Johnathan. Shannon looked down at what was in her arms, and saw one of the most beautiful babies she'd ever seen in her life. He (Somehow she just knew it was a boy) couldn't have been more than a month old, but he had a full head of dark hair and such bright blue eyes.

She looked over to where she'd seen Fox before. Where there was once a little boy there was now a man. He had to have been taller than Colin, she could tell that even with him sitting down. He had the same oak-brown hair, with that tuft in the front that just wouldn't lie flat. She could tell he had the sparkling hazel eyes, and that full lower lip that was prominent even in childhood. He was bent over a chain of deep red roses that he was forming into a sort of crown. Suddenly he jerked his hands back and began to suck on his thumb.

That was when Shannon noticed the woman lying with her head in Fox's lap. She was small, but with a head of bright red, chin length hair, and the same blue eyes as the baby she held in her arms. Then, the woman spoke. "What did you do now?" she questioned, looking up at him. She took a hold of his hand and kissed the finger he'd pricked. "You have to be one of the most accident prone people I've ever met, Fox."

Fox leaned over her and said with a smirk, "That's why you love me so much, Dana." He leaned over her and kissed her softly.

Shannon heard Colin sigh from next to her. "Oh, cut the mushy stuff, will you? Just because you're getting married in a week doesn't mean we have to put up with all this lovey dovey stuff."

Both Fox and Colin's wife looked up at him. "Bite me, Col," Fox said while his wife whacked him one upside the head.

Fox leaned over and picked up the rose crown and placed it on Dana's head. "See, I told you it would look good."

Dana reached up and felt the crown resting softly on her head. She leaned her head back into Fox's chest and mouthed 'Thanks,' with a big smile on her face.

As Fox was leaning down to kiss her again the baby in Shannon's arms began to cry. Fox straightened up and Dana sat up, but still leaned back against his chest. "Give him here," Dana said.

Shannon complied easily, she felt she was doing the right thing. Dana took the baby and cradled him to her chest. "See, he just wanted his Mom," Dana said, smiling. "Didn't you, Ryan?"

Shannon shook her head, grinning. "Y'know, I never figured out why you two didn't just get married before Ryan was born?"

Fox grinned back at Shannon. "Dana wanted to fit into her wedding dress."

Dana turned around slightly. "Remember, Fox, just because I'm marrying you does not mean I am not afraid to shoot you again."

Colin came to attention. "Wait, what do you mean again?" Shannon grinned to herself. Dana had told her this one before.

Fox pulled aside the left side of his tank top (think the undershirt in Bad Blood) to reveal a round, white scar. "See this? Well in 1995 I kind of went slightly crazy..."

"Slightly crazy?" Dana muttered

He looked down at her. "I was drugged."

"Is that what made you take a swing at Skinner?"

"No, I'd wanted to do that before, I just had an excuse to act on it." Dana rolled her eyes. "Anyway, in order to stop me from shooting someone, Dana shot me in the shoulder..."

Shannon jerked to full awareness with a start. She'd never dreamed that one before. Many times she'd had dreams that were sort of memories of the past, but this one was just too strange for words. She got out of bed and dressed quickly. It was times like this that she grateful that she lived so close to her mother. She'd be able to explain this one.

She headed downstairs to find a note on the fridge saying that Connor had left for the day. This made it easier for her to get to Mama's home. She drove like lightning to the house of her childhood, only by the grace of God she didn't get a ticket. Mama was standing at the foot of the driveway in her standard blue dress waiting for her.

Shannon stopped the car and tumbled out. "What's wrong, Shan?" Mama asked in her Irish accent.

"I had a dream, Mama." She then went on to explain the exact events that had transpired in the dream. When she finished, she asked "Well, what does it mean, Mama?"

"I think it's a sort of prediction. The Dragon's Blood running through your veins gives you all sorts of gifts, maybe this is one of them."
"Could it be predicting that Fox is going to come back soon?" Shannon asked with a bit of apprehension.

Mama smiled at her. "That's what we can hope for. Come on inside. We'll get some coffee."

Shannon shrugged and followed Mama into the house. She just had a feeling that the next few weeks were going to be rather exciting.

Title: Lightening Shadows V - Starting Out On A Journey
Author: Elizabeth L. Iacono
Rating: PG (Language, some uh, non-safe things that SHOULD have happened in the movie. Aargh!)
Category: Story, Romance
Keywords: Mulder/Scully Romance (Finally! It took me too damn long to get here!)
Spoilers: Humbug(Very slight),Quagmire, Folie a Deux
Disclaimer: Of course, can't forget that:P Mulder, Scully, and Maggie Scully ain't mine. None of my original characters appear in this story, unlike the others in the series, but some situations are of my own creation.

Summary: Mulder learns a few things about himself and begins a new journey. Started October 1, 1998

Author's Notes: Well, now we've reached part five. I don't know how the other stories I've posted for this series have done, actually the first story I posted to Gossamer in June still hasn't been put up there yet. Anyway, this is part five. It would be extremely hard to explain the other stories in the series here so here's a basic synopsis-Mulder learned he was adopted through a series of dreams. The rest of the story? Well, read the other stories. I'll list them for ya.

Oh, Yeah, Mulder does have a bedroom in this series. I found a spoiler for a season six episode that actually shows his bedroom, so I'm working it into the story here. I think you'll find it was necessary <gryn>.


Fox Mulder opened his eyes and slammed them shut again. It was too bright out. Thank God it was Saturday. He rolled over and stole a glance at the clock. 8:23. Pretty late for him. He failed to notice the faint ripping sound the couch made when he turned over.

It had been one of the strangest weeks in his life. Learning he didn't know who his true parents were pretty much topped the list of 'Most Shocking Things I've Learned In My Life.' Little did he know it was about to get stranger.

Mulder rolled onto his back again. He heard the strange ripping, scratching noise this time, and lifted up to look at the couch. Where his back had laid was a mass of small rips in the leather. He felt the rips, wondering where they had come from. He didn't think he was that violent in his sleep. Mulder felt an itch on his upper back and hr reached an arm behind to scratch it.

And then he stopped cold.

His back felt strange. It was cool and dry, almost-scalelike?

This was not normal. This was definitely not normal. Mulder got up and headed to the bathroom. He turned around and looked over his shoulder into the mirror, and his jaw fell open in shock. The skin of his upper back was now a mass of glittering green scales. When he shifted slightly the scales caught the weak bathroom light and turned iridescent. The patch ended right where his shoulder blades ended.

Mulder could accept the existence of aliens, flukemen, and bigfoot, but when stuff like out of a fairy tale happened to him, he earned all rights to pretend it never happened. He shut his tightly for about a minute, praying that he was only hallucinating. He opened them again, and looked in the mirror once more. No such luck, the scales were still there.

Maybe it's some sort of skin irritation, Mulder thought, hoping but not really believing that was the answer. He walked back into the living room and sat down on the other side of the couch that wasn't ripped. 'It's time to get a new couch,' he thought.

Mulder picked up the phone and decided to call Scully, she was the doctor, not him. Before dialing, he looked at the clock. 8:30 on a Saturday morning she would probably be sleeping. Oh, well, he thought, this qualifies as a medical emergency to call so I'm perfectly within my rights to call.

The phone rang once, twice, and finally Scully's sleepy voice echoed over the line. -Mulder, this better be important.-

He grinned. "How'd you know it was me?"

-Only you would be crazy enough to call on a Saturday morning at- she paused, obviously looking at the clock. -8:30. So what's up?-

Mulder hesitated. This was another situation he was going to have trouble explaining. Oh, well, I'll just show her when she gets here. That should be explanation enough, he thought. "Uh, do you think you could come over for a little while? I need you to take a look at something for me."

-Mulder, this better not have anything to do with work. It's Saturday, one of the few days we don't need to work...-

Mulder quickly cut her off to pacify her. "No, no, nothing like that, just, please?"

-Yeah, okay. Do you need me to bring anything over?-

"Maybe some of your old Med school books."

He could just picture the puzzlement on her face as she said -Sure, I'll be over in an hour.-

"Great, thanks," and with that Mulder hung up. He now had an hour to put his apartment into some semblance of neatness, and get dressed. He ran a hand over his upper back once more. If those things could rip up his couch, forget about trying to get a shirt on.

Exactly an hour later, just as promised, the doorbell rang. Mulder looked around at his apartment, and down at himself. He was right, he wasn't able to get a shirt on; he'd ripped two in the process. 'Oh, well, time to face the music.'

He opened the door to find Scully dressed in a casual T-shirt and jeans, and holding a stack of thick books in her arms. "Morning, Mulder," she said. "What do you need me to look at?"

He ushered her in, turning quickly so she wouldn't see his back. He was so nervous about this he didn't speak for a few minutes. "Mulder, what's wrong?"

She in fact was getting a little distressed at the fact that he was standing thee without a shirt on. 'Why do I do this for the schmuck?' she said to herself. 'Because you love him,' a little part of her mind said back. Scully pushed both voices to the back of her head. "Mulder!" She waved a hand in front of his face, and he finally jolted back to her. "You said you wanted me to take a look at something?"

"Yeah." Mulder took a deep breath and then turned around and revealed his back to her. He heard a slight gasp and then a "What the hell is that?"

"I have no clue," Mulder said softly. He heard her put the books down on the floor, and then lightly touch the scales on his back. For all the roughness of the scales they were still sensitive to her touch. In all honesty he loved the feel of her hands. "So what do you think it is?"

"I don't know." Scully went around to the front of him. "Y'know, I don't think I've ever seen anything like this, ever. Come over by the light, so I can get a better look at it."

The two walked over to the window by Mulder's desk. "That's why I asked for the med school books. Maybe there's something in there," Mulder said hopefully.

Scully raised an eyebrow. "Well, there are some diseases that cause a person's skin to take on a scale like appearance, we've seen that, but those have been genetic mutations, present from birth. When did this appear?"

"Sometime in the night, I guess. It wasn't there when I went to sleep, but when I woke up, it was there and the couch was ripped." He turned around, displaying his back again to her.

This time, rather than with shock, Scully viewed his back with a clinical eye. "It doesn't look like it's been attached to your skin in any way. It's almost like it just...just..."

"Was always there?" Mulder suggested.

"Exactly." Scully tugged his arm and pulled him over to the couch. They both sat down, Mulder careful not to let his back hit the leather. "I'll tell you, Mulder, it almost looks like..." Scully trailed off. Mulder noted she was biting her lip in nervousness.

He leaned in closer. "What?"

" snake scales, or lizard scales," Scully said. Something struck a chord in Mulder's head, something out of his dreams lately. "Dragon scales," Mulder whispered.

"What?" Scully stared at him. He couldn't have said what she thought he said, could he?

Mulder stared out the window nervously, this was going to be another hard one to try and explain. "Okay, Scully, just hear me out on this one before you dismiss it, please?" he asked, almost pleadingly.

Scully put a hand on his bare shoulder. "Okay," she said nervously, not sure if she wanted to hear what he had come up with.

Mulder took a deep breath and began. "I told you about those dreams I've been having lately. The ones about my past. Well, this same thing, the scales, it happened to a little girl in one of the dreams. Except she was able to control it. But it was the exact same thing. It was dragon scales."

Scully stared at him. "How are you so sure it was dragon scales?" was the only question that she could get out that wasn't questioning to his sanity.

"I really don't know. I remember hearing that there was a sort of dragon's blood within the family, that it was a part of all the family members..." Mulder trailed off, searching for the right explanation.

"Mulder, I don't have to tell you that the existence of dragons is about as valid as the existence of the Loch Ness monster."

Mulder stood up and began pacing. "I know, I know, but it just seems to fit in with the dreams!" He ran a hand through his hair. "I can't explain this, even scientifically, but this just seems to be the most likely explanation for what's happening."

Scully stood up to face him. "This is why we have the medical books. We're going to go through every one and find out exactly what this is."

Mulder stared at her and sighed. "You're right. It's just this whole week had been so out there, the dragon thing just came to mind as a possible explanation."

Scully sat back down on the couch and patted the seat next to her. Mulder sat down and leaned back, his head lolling back. Then he jolted forward, remembering the scales. Scully saw that some of the leather came forward with him. "It's time to send this couch to the scrap heap, Mulder," Scully said around a laugh.

"Yeah, I think one of the cushions has a bad spring in it. It keeps poking me while I'm sleeping."

Scully grabbed one of the books off the floor and placed it heavily in Mulder's lap. "Now start reading. We'll find out what's going on with you."

"I always thought it was just simple insanity."

"That wasn't the case, Mulder, they already tried to put you in the nuthouse, and it didn't work."

Mulder aimed his pouty look at Scully and she countered with a pillow to Mulder's smirk.

It was now two p.m. and almost all of the medical texts were exhausted. None of them had something mentioning symptoms like Mulder's. Scully flipped another book shut and sighed. She let her head roll against the back of the couch. "How many books was that?" she asked.

"Nearly all. I think there's only one left. And it only took us four and a half hours," Mulder muttered, rubbing his forehead. The scales were still on his back, and besides for the problem of getting a shirt on without ripping it, there was no side effects.

Something in the time struck a chord in Scully, and she looked at the clock. "Oh, no!," she moaned.

Mulder pulled his head out of the book and looked over her way. "What's wrong?"

"I'm supposed to meet my mom for lunch in a half hour. I'll never make it there in time."

Mulder felt horrible for taking up her day with his problems. "Don't worry, go to lunch. You can call her in the car and tell her you'll be late. I'm pretty sure she won't mind."

Scully looked at the clock. "You're probably right." She sighed and shook her head. "Okay, but I'll come back right afterwards. I want to find out what this thing is."

"I'll have the Chinese food waiting," Mulder smiled at her. Scully grinned back, accepting his unspoken invitation to dinner at his place.

She grasped his hand tightly for a moment. "Thanks." She got up and walked to the door. "I'll be back in a few hours," she said, and let herself out.

"I'll be waiting," Mulder said to the closed door.

Scully tried to concentrate on what her mother was saying, but her mind kept drifting back to Mulder. He was right; those scales couldn't be explained in anyway, scientific or paranormal.

She wondered about his dragon scales theory. It was so out there, it couldn't possibly be true. But there was something...she wasn't so sure that it wasn't the right answer. It just might be the truth, she thought. She wasn't going to tell him, but she could swear that the scales on his back looked like the scales she'd thought she'd glimped on his cheek that day they went up to see his...well, for lack of a better word, she thought, adoptive mother.

"Dana? Are you all right?" Maggie Scully asked.

She came back to herself with a jolt. "Yeah, I'm fine, Mom. Don't worry."

When Mulder didn't answer the doorbell, Scully let herself in with her key. She found the cartons of Chinese food on the kitchen counter. They had to have been freshly delivered; they were still warm.

Mulder was stretched out on the couch (on his stomach this time) sleeping soundly. Scully hated to wake him. She knew his sleeping patterns of late had been disrupted. She sat down by his head and ran a finger down his cheek softly. She loved this man so much, sometimes she was scared of what she felt for him. Scully didn't have a chance to think much more because at that moment Mulder's sleepy eyes slowly opened.

"Hey," he said, smiling.

"Have a nice nap?" Scully asked.

Mulder moved an arm under his head. "Yeah. I got you dinner."

"I saw. Tell you what. You stay here, I'll dish up the food."


About a half an hour later, the plates that were filled with Chinese food were now lying empty on the table. Mulder was still in the same position on the couch, and Scully was on the floor with her head only inches away from his. At that moment she decided to take a chance.

Mulder had stopped talking for a minute and was now staring into her eyes. Scully let her head fall forward and kissed him softly, but held it there. It wasn't like the kiss on the beach from earlier that week, but much more passionate.

Oh my God Dana Scully is kissing me, Mulder thought elatedly. He was happy, shocked, and dizzy all at the same time, and had a little trouble returning the kiss.

Scully pulled back from his lips. She saw the shocked look on his face, but mistook it for the wrong thing. "I'm sorry. I really ought to be going." Quick as anything she had gotten up and was getting ready to leave.

"Wait!" Mulder called and jumped off the couch. He wasn't letting her go now. He caught up with her by the front door. Scully turned around and began to speak in a rush.

"Look I'm sorry, Mulder, that was uncalled for."

"Scully, wait," Mulder began, but Scully was too agitated to notice.

"It's just been a very long day and..."

"Scully," Mulder pleaded for attention, but still Scully was otherwise occupied. Time for plan B, Mulder thought, and swiftly brought his lips down on hers and kissed her.

Scully froze in his arms, but then relaxed, and kissed him back. After a few minutes, they pulled apart and Mulder said "Sorry, but that was the only way I could think of to shut you up."

"Did you mean that?" Scully asked softly, almost afraid of the answer. With one word her fears were diminished.


She leaned up and kissed him once more.

The next Morning

Scully opened her eyes when the sun hit them. She stared around the unfamiliar room. Oh, yeah, she thought, Mulder really does have a bedroom. She felt a heavy weight on her chest and was sure for a second that it was Queequeg. But, hold on, Queequeg had been gatorbait for over two years. She looked down and saw Mulder's dark head borrowing her for a pillow, and she smiled, running some fingers through his soft hair.

She thought of a song she'd heard the other day on the radio, and how, especially now, it seemed to fit their lives perfectly.

"We were strangers
Starting out on a journey
Never dreaming
What we'd have to go through
Now here we are
And I'm suddenly standing
At the beginning with you."

The soft motion of Scully's fingers working their way through his hair brought Mulder to full consciousness. He looked up to find Scully smiling down at him. "G'Morning," he whispered, and reached up to kiss her.

She kissed him back and kept a hand running through his hair. "Morning."

Mulder stared into her eyes. "So what would be the best word to describe this situation?" he asked her. "Shock, awe..."

"Love," Scully interrupted, smiling at him with her whole face.

Mulder smiled back. "Love." He leaned in to kiss her again, mouthing the words 'I love you' against her lips. 'I love you too' she mouthed back. The kisses grew deeper until Scully ran her hand down his back, and then she pulled back. "What's wrong?" Mulder asked.

"Your back. It's back to normal." Mulder ducked his head so that Scully could get a better look at his back. It was now just his smooth shoulder blades, tanned nicely from all those hours of playing basketball in the park. "I don't know how the hell to explain it, but it's gone."

"Just as quickly as it came," Mulder muttered against her shoulder.

Scully lifted his chin up with a finger. "But it's gone now, and if it comes back, we'll handle it then. But right now I think you have more important things to worry about."

"Like what?" Mulder leered at her, knowing perfectly well what she was talking about.

"Well, we can start with you kissing me, and then taking it from there."

"With pleasure," Mulder said, and kissed her again.

The End

The song is "At the Beginning", and it ain't mine. I think that the whole song describes their relationship perfectly, and trust me, if you heard it, and you're a shipper, you'd think so too.

Title: Lightening Shadows VI - Two Viewpoints
Author: Elizabeth L. Iacono
Rating: PG
Category: Story, Angst, Little bit of Romance
Keywords: Pre-XF, Mulder/Scully Romance
Spoilers: None

 Disclaimer-Not mine. If they were, I wouldn't be working off of this old computer whose CD-ROM drive and sound card doesn't work. They do belong to CC, 1013, and Fox. I own Catriona and Jerome Ramsay, Shannon Ramsay and Colin Ramsay, and anyone else mentioned in the part that takes place in Ireland. You're welcome to borrow them if you want, just send me an e-mail.

Summary: How two different families, the Ramsays and the Mulders, handle the loss of their children.

Author's Notes: Okay, I lied. I said there was a big part coming up next, but there's a little thing called writer's block that's been plaguing me for weeks when it comes to this series. So this is just a little piece as to how the two main families in this series, the Mulders and the Ramsays, handle losing a child. If you don't know who the Ramsays are, I suggest reading the other stories in the series.

 In this series, The End, the Movie, and all of Season Six so far never happened.

 If Mulder's dream sounds a little familiar, that's because it's based on scenes from Susan Proto's Life Cycles: The Unveiling, one of the best series I've ever read. If you haven't, trust me, go read it.

 Warning! There is some child abuse in this story, and if it bothers you too much don't read this. It's not vital to the series, so you won't be missing anything.

 August 24, 1965 Ireland
10:15 a.m.

The unearthly wind died down, bringing with it a fresh smell of the sea. Catriona Ramsay straightened up from where the wind had forced her to hunch over the bundle of flowers she was holding.

Today, they were setting up for a big party that her mother in law, Eveanna Ramsay, was holding for the sheer sake of celebration and the desire to see her family. It would be a fun occasion for all. Catriona lifted her face towards the sky. Something was different, now that the wind had passed, but she couldn't put her finger on it. Even with all of her talents, natural and supernatural, she couldn't pinpoint what was causing the uneasiness in her soul.

"Mama!" Catriona heard her son Colin yell. She whipped around scanning the big yard scattered with various tables and other stuff needed for the party. She saw him running towards her from near the cliffside that towered into the sky, which made up one of the boundaries of the extensive Ramsay land. The other boundaries were the other cliff, where the land dropped off abruptly into the sea, a road, and a fenced in grazing pasture a good distance from the main houses.

"What is it?" she yelled over the distance Colin was diminishing rapidly.

"Fox is gone!" he said as he skittered to a stop in front of her.

"What?" Catriona gasped, not truly comprehending what she just heard. Fox, her other little boy, was...gone?

"He's gone! I turned around to get the ball that the wind kept blowing away, and when I turned back Fox was gone. It wasn't even thirty seconds! He was there, and then he was gone. I lost him!" Colin cried, breaking down into tears, even though he believed nine years old was too old to cry.

Catriona kneeled down and hugged her son. "It's okay. It's not your fault." She wiped the tears off his face. "We'll find him, okay?"

He nodded, still too upset to speak. At that moment her daughter, Shannon came tearing around the corner of the house, still carrying the vegetables from the garden in a basket by her side. "What was that?" she said. "I heard someone screaming."

Catriona stood up, and took Colin's hand in hers. "Fox is missing, and we're going to go find him." Shannon's eyes went wide and she froze in her steps. "Don't worry," Catriona assured Shannon. "We will find him." Shannon just nodded and ran to her mother, throwing her arms around her waist. Catriona put one arm around Shannon's shoulders, and used her other to bring Colin into the hug also. "You two going to be okay enough so we can find Fox?" she asked gently. She felt them both nod against her stomach. "Then let's go get Da, okay?" The three of them made their way slowly to the main house.

As the three walked through the doorway, Catriona felt another pair of arms go around her waist from behind, but these arms were stronger, and much older. She turned around slowly, still guiding Shannon and Colin, into the arms of her husband, Jerome. He then managed to get his arms around all three of them. Jerome whispered into Catriona's ear with his soft Irish lilt. "I saw it, and I heard all of it. Don't worry, Cat, we'll find him."

"I hope so, Dragon Boy," she whispered back.

Eveanna was tiptoeing around the family, until Catriona finally pulled away and started walking to the phone. "I called them already," Eveanna said. "They should be here any minute."

"Thanks," Catriona said softly.

 Three days later...

"Look, Catriona, we did all we could. We got the bloodhounds out searching for him throughout the county, there are officers out interviewing anyone who could have possibly seen him, we've even got the boats out dredging the pools around the foot of the cliff. I think it's time you face the truth, Catriona," an officer of the local police force and longtime friend of the family, Christian Walton.

Catriona stood up, towering over Christian while brushing off Jerome's hands that were trying to calm her down and keep her sitting in her chair. "What the hell are you saying?" she said while giving him a look that would have killed him.

Christian leaned back in his chair, surveying the kitchen where they were all gathered. Jerome and Catriona were sitting at the large table with him, while Shannon and Colin were sitting in their grandparents arms by the fireplace that was lit for the unseasonably cold weather. "I think you should stop believing we'll find Fox and accept the fact that he probably fell over the side of the cliff and got swept out to sea."

Before Catriona's fist could reach Christian's face Jerome wrapped his arms around her thin waist and pulled her into his lap. "Calm down, Cat," he spoke into her hair. "Just keep believing we'll find him, and we will." She nodded, and said what she was planning to before.

"It would be nearly impossible for Fox to fall over the cliff, Christian. No one saw him for a period of no more than thirty seconds. Fox can't run that fast, and it takes Colin a good solid minute to reach it while running at top speed. And Fox would have had to climb over the wall to reach the cliff, which is at least a foot taller than he is and smooth stone!" she finished and slumped back in Jerome's arms.

Christian sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Okay, Catriona, we'll keep looking as long as we possibly can, but..." he trailed off, knowing anything else said would get him a black eye.

Jerome spoke, his cheek leaning on Catriona's oak brown hair. "Just don't sign any death certificates or anything. We're always going to be hopeful." He looked around the room. "Where are the kids, Ma?" he asked Eveanna.

"Shannon went up to her room, and Colin went outside," she spoke in a voice laced with anger, not at her family, but at Christian for bringing bad news to the family at such a time.

Jerome sighed. "You want to see to Shannon, and I'll get Colin?" he asked.

"Okay," Catriona said, and they both went to their children.

Catriona knocked on the door to Shannon's room. "Can I come in?" she asked.

Shannon sniffled and let out a soft "Okay." Catriona pushed it open slowly to find Shannon huddled on the bed, her fingers playing around on an invisible spot on the bed cover. Catriona sat down on the bed on the bed in front of her. "Are you okay, Shan?"

A few tears started making their way down Shannon's face. "I hate Christian!" she sobbed. "How can he say Fox is gone?" she turned a sad face up at her mother. Catriona stretched her arms and pulled her daughter into them.

"It's all right, sweetheart, I know and Da knows that we will find Fox, that he's not gone."

Shannon buried her face into shoulder and kept sobbing. "But why does it hurt so much, even if Fox is gonna come back?"

"It's supposed to hurt. You're not supposed to have to go through something like this," Catriona whispered.

"I'm tired, Mama," Shannon sighed, the tears finally tapering off.

Catriona laid down, pulling Shannon with her. "I'm tired too. We'll stay together, then. I love you, Shan."

"I love you too, Mama," Shannon said, and they both dropped off to sleep.

Jerome finally found Colin sitting on the wall surrounding the rose garden, staring out at the sea. He climbed up on the wall beside him and put a hand on his shoulder. "How are you doing?" he asked quietly.

"I lost him," Colin said almost inaudibly.

"What?" Jerome asked, not believing his ears.

"It's my fault he's gone! I was supposed to be watching him, but I turned away to get the ball that had kept rolling away from us and when I turned back he was gone! I took my eyes off of him for a few seconds and now he's gone! I lost him," he finished with a sob.

Despite all of Colin's pleas that he was too old to cry he broke down, tears spilling down his face. Jerome gathered Colin up into his arms and set him down on his lap, slowly rocking him back and forth. "It's not your fault, Col, remember that. It will never be your fault."

"But Mama told me to keep an eye on him. Now you two are going to blame me for losing him, and you're not going to love me anymore," Colin cried into his father's shirt.

"It doesn't matter. It is not your fault. Mama and I don't blame you for losing him, we never will. We will love you no matter what happens," Jerome spoke into Colin's hair.

"But Fox is still gone," Colin whispered. Jerome sighed, knowing what he said was true. He looked out over the sea into the night that was growing steadily darker, almost like the darkening of the past three days.

'When will these shadows lighten?' he wondered to himself.

 December 19, 1973
Martha's Vineyard
7:23 p.m.

Bill Mulder pushed open the door to the empty house and stalked inside, his wife following closely behind, leaving the young boy standing out on the porch in the cold weather.

Fox Mulder sighed and walked into the house, locking the door behind him. He was finally out of the hospital, after lapsing into a coma for a few weeks after Sam's disappearance, and now his parents dropped him like a hot coal. He knew they blamed him for everything, even though they hadn't said anything yet. Fox was just waiting for the blow-up that was inevitable at this point.

He walked into the kitchen, avoiding the family room. Fox didn't want to see the last place he saw Sam. It was too painful, and would probably be for a long while.

Once in the kitchen, he searched for some food. The fridge was bare, save for some old bread. No one had eaten here for ages. While he was in the hospital, his parents had usually ate out if they ate at all. Mostly his dad lived off of his favorite bottles of liquor, and his mother had become very familiar with Valium. Fox searched the cabinets, and finally came up with a can of chicken noodle soup.

Fox made it quietly and ate it the same way. He had been feeling that, ever since he woke up from the coma, that something was missing from his memory. It was hard to pinpoint, but he just knew it had something to do with Sam's disappearance. He was sure he knew something, saw something, but whatever it was, it was gone from his memory now.

He finished the soup and cleaned it up, not wanting to do anything to make his father mad. He wasn't up to fending off a beating this soon after getting out of the hospital. Fox went upstairs to his bedroom and changed into his pajamas. Right now all he wanted to do was sleep.

But sleep was not going to come anytime soon. Just as Fox was settling into bed his father threw open the door to his room. He noticed Bill's eyes were glazed over with drunkenness and had an evil glint to them. "You son of a bitch," he growled towards Fox. "It was your fault. You lost my little girl."

Fox began to shake. He knew what was coming, and that it would be made even worse by the amount of liquor he'd consumed. Bill stormed over to the bed and jerked Fox out of it and threw him into the closet door.

Fox gasped, feeling the pain course through his shoulder where it had hit the door. "Dad, please..." he began to say.

"Don't 'Dad' me you little bastard!" Bill screamed at him and kicked him in the stomach. Fox turned his head to try and call for his mother, but he heard the noise from the TV in their bedroom loud and clear. No chance that she would save him from his father's wrath.

Bill kicked Fox in the stomach once more, and then bent down to his level. He whispered savagely to him "You lost her you little bastard, and don't think I'm ever going to let you forget it." Then, he started punching Fox in the face, bruising him and opening new cuts.

Throughout the whole ordeal Fox just kept silent, knowing from past experiences that it was best to keep his mouth shut. When Bill finally felt that he was finished, he gave Fox one last kick in the back of the head, and then stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him.

After a while, Fox finally managed to get himself off the floor, wincing with every move he made. He made his way to the bed slowly. Fox reached into the drawer of his nighttable, where he had taken to keeping a supply of Band-Aids and disinfectant and a hand mirror to clean himself up after such a time.

Finally, after he was cleaned up, he got back under the covers. But sleep was hard to find, and only then, did the tears he's been holding all night began to fall silently.

 September 3, 1998
Dana Scully's apartment
11:30 p.m.

Dana Scully looked at the tears coursing down Mulder's face while he was sleeping. He must be dreaming something horrible, she thought. Scully decided to wake him up from where he'd fallen asleep on her couch before from a late night of back paperwork.

'This is a great way to spend a Friday night,' she thought with a twist to her lips. 'I'm here with the man I love and we spend our Friday nights doing paperwork.'

She kneeled down and brushed her lips to his, and then shook him gently. "Mulder," she whispered in his ear. It didn't work, so she shook him again and kissed him a little harder. Finally Mulder came to and kissed her back. After a few minutes of that Scully pulled back and he opened his eyes.

"Why'd you stop," he pouted sleepily.

"What were you dreaming about?" Scully asked gently.

Mulder grimaced. It wasn't something he wanted to talk about, but it was nothing Scully hadn't heard before. "Just my father being a jerk again, that's all," he said with a shrug. Scully winced, knowing exactly what he meant. She reached up and softly brushed the tears off his face.

Scully stood up and pulled Mulder to his feet. "C'mon G-man, let's go to bed," she said and turned to the bedroom.

Mulder wrapped his arms around her waist from behind. "But I already got some sleep, Scully," he whined. "I'm not tired anymore."

Scully tilted her head back and grinned at him. "Who said anything about sleeping right away?"

Mulder grinned back at her and leaned down to kiss her again. "I like the way you think, Scully."

 The end

Title - Lightening Shadows VII - Destiny=Chance, Free Will, And Necessity
Author-Elizabeth L. Iacono
Category-Story, Romance (and an X-File in  there too!)
Keywords-Mulder/Scully Romance Spoilers-Detour, Squeeze, Eve, Redux II
Archive-Please do, Gossamer especially, just tell me where it goes.

 Summary-A seemingly routine X-File introduces Mulder and Scully to two kids that can lead them to Mulder's past.

Author's Note: They always say you should write about what you know, so I'm sending our favorite agents to Staten Island. And my apologies to Notre Dame Academy and High School. In reality, they're all girls schools, but for literary sake I'm making them co-ed.

 Some notes about the story: It's an alternate universe where "The End" and the Movie never happened. I started this before the season premiere, and I couldn't make them fit in this world. So after Folie a Deux this splits off into a whole 'nother universe.

 Mulder is not colorblind. Why? Because I don't want him to be.

  And thanks to all the people who sent me such encouraging feedback on the first six parts. And to Abigail, for being a great beta reader on my first long project.

 Oh, yeah, I forgot. The X-Files, Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, and Walter Skinner are property of CC, 1013, and Fox. However... I do own Jerome and Catriona Ramsay, Colin and Juniper Ramsay, and their kids, Alec and Robynne, Johnathan Parker and Shannon Ramsay-Parker, their kids Sage, Connor, Brian, and Juliette, and Molly Addison and her family. The rest are minor characters I don't feel like giving names to right now. If you want to borrow the characters, just e-mail me.

 Part One - Sleeping Beauties and Witches

 Thursday, September 24, 1998
5:50 a.m.

"Mulder," Dana Scully sighed, trying to rouse the sleeping man. It wasn't her fault Skinner had called up at 5:30 in the morning for a new case for them. She'd already gotten ready (by the grace of God in twenty minutes no less), and now set herself to the hard task of rousing Mulder from his sound sleep. "Mulder, get up!" she said louder, but to no avail. As a last ditch resort, in order to get him up quickly, she reached out and yanked hard on his right ear.

That finally worked. Fox Mulder's eyes shot open, and searched her out. "What time is it?" he asked groggily, rubbing his ear.

"Almost six a.m. We've got to be at work in half an hour. Skinner's got a new case for us."

Mulder groaned and pushed himself up off the mattress. "All right, I'm awake."

Scully smiled. "Go take a shower. I'll make some coffee."

As she walked out of the bedroom, Mulder called out to her. "Hey, Scully, why'd you pull my ear to wake me up?"

She looked thoughtful for a second. "I don't know. I guess I just felt like it. Why?"

He shrugged. " just felt familiar somehow."

"Another dream?" Scully asked. Mulder had been open with her about his dreams, and what he remembered about the almost four years of his life before he was living with the Mulders. Unfortunately, it wasn't much; there were no names, dates, or anything else they could investigate.

He shook his head. "No, just a really strong sense of deja vu."

 6:35 a.m.
Skinner's office

"Come in, Agents," Skinner said, and they walked past him to the familiar chairs in front of his desks. Skinner followed them and also sat. He reached into a large envelope and pulled out a file folder with the traditional markings of an X-File.

"You started an X-File on this, sir?" Mulder questioned, puzzled.

Skinner looked up at him. "I think you'll see it fits in the X-Files." He opened the file. "Since September 4th, four kids, from the same class at the same school, have been found in the woods surrounding the school in what appears to be a catatonic state."

"Have any of the victims died?" Scully asked.

"No," Skinner said. "The police officer who called the FBI, a Captain Paul Avery, had said there was no change in their states since they were found."

"So where are we going?" Mulder asked. Scully could see that tell tale gleam in his eyes that spoke of eagerness to get started on the case.

"Staten Island, New York. You have a flight into Kennedy airport that leaves at 8:30 this morning, and you're to meet up with Captain Avery at Precinct 121, on New Dorp Road. The directions are in here." Skinner handed over the file.

"Is that all, sir?" Mulder said.

"Yes, you're excused, Agents." Mulder and Scully got up and walked to the door. "Oh, and Agents," Skinner said, making them turn. "Please behave, not like how you were in the video store." Both agents blushed furiously and rushed out the door.

"He's not going to let us forget that, is he?" Scully muttered to Mulder.

Mulder grinned back. "I sure won't."

What had happened was one night, a few weeks ago, Mulder and Scully had decided to go rent a video at the small place near Mulder's apartment. While they thought they were alone, they shared a rather hot kiss. Neither one noticed when Skinner, of all people, walked down the row and began to smirk when he saw them in a lip lock. They finally separated when they heard someone clear their throat-and then they saw Skinner.

You can only guess what happened next.

But through all the excuses Skinner just raised a hand to stop them. "I won't say anything if you don't. And frankly, it's about time," he said, smiling and walked off in the other direction.

Mulder and Scully looked at each other, and smiled.

 10:25 a.m.
Precinct 121, New Dorp, Staten Island

Scully stepped out of the car and looked up at the police station. It looked like one out of an old movie, with wide stairs leading up to wooden doors set in an all brick building. Mulder walked up beside her, placed the customary hand on her back (usually the only physical contact they allowed while on duty), and guided her up the stairs into the bustling precinct.

They stopped at the front desk, where a uniformed cop, who actually looked at little young to be a cop, was sitting with his feet propped up on the desk, reading a newspaper. Mulder put his hand down rather heavily on the desk, and the cop looked up at him. "How can I help you?" he asked.

"We're Agents Mulder and Scully with the FBI. We're here to see Captain Avery," Mulder said in his most amiable tone.

"Oh, yeah," the young cop said and reached for the intercom. "Captain, the FBI's here to see you."

The intercom crackled to life. -Okay, send them in.-

The young cop pointed to a closed door with a brass nameplate behind him. "Right through there."

"Thank you," Scully said, and they set off between the many desks of the bullpen of the precinct. When they reached the door, Mulder knocked, and quickly it was answered by an older man of average height with greying hair in a well made suit. "I'm Agent Scully and this is Agent Mulder," she introduced.

Avery stuck his hand out to both of them. "Captain Paul Avery," he said with a pronounced Brooklyn accent. "Good to have you here," he said, and ushered them to the seats in front of his desks.

As he sat down, Mulder idly wondered how many other officers had sat in those seats getting a chewing out from their captain for something they did wrong. He laughed a little to himself. It was a situation he was very familiar with.

Before Mulder's thoughts could linger any further, Avery began to speak again. "I've got to tell you, this case has us all stumped."

"What exactly are the details?" Mulder asked. We looked at the file you sent us, but it doesn't hold too much. No suspects, no possible motive..."

"There aren't any. We're not even sure it's a person doing this." Scully saw Mulder's eyes light up but before he could follow that train of thought Avery continued. "It's possible it's some kind of virus or disease."

"Do you think it will be possible for us to see the kids?" Scully asked. She wanted to verify if in fact this was a virus.

Avery nodded. "That can be your first stop. I've already informed the parents of the kids that there will be FBI agents dropping in soon."

"What about the kids?" Mulder asked. "Is there anything special about them that would make them targets?"

Avery flipped open his own version of the file Mulder and Scully had. He began reading off the kids' names and the dates when they were found. "Jenna Dreiser, found September 21st, Adam Douglas, September 16th, Michelle Sellers, September 4th, and Peter Lanson, September 10th. They're all in the same Junior class at Notre Dame High School. There's nothing here that indicates they were major figures in anything. Average students, all involved in extra-curricular activities, but none in any position of note."

"What about the woods where they were found?" Scully questioned.

"It's hardly a woods. Just a small part of a forest that's privately owned by the people who live there on the side of Grimes Hill. The school kids usually use it as a short cut to get down to the bus stops on Victory Boulevard and Silver Lake Park. We've already went through the place with a fine tooth comb-nothing."

Mulder looked up from where he was paging through the file. "Is that how all the victims were found, by other kids passing through?"

"No, the first one was found in there by police; she'd been missing for a few days and believed to be a runaway. The next two were also found in there by us; we'd made a lucky guess. At that point though, we hadn't told anyone save the parents of the kids and the force where exactly the kids were found. The fourth one was found by a Molly Addison this past Monday afternoon. If you'd like, we have her address here and you can interview her tonight. She works during the afternoon."

"Okay, thank you, Captain. We'll keep you posted on our progress," Scully said as she and Mulder got up.

"Hey, it's no problem. I'm just glad someone's going to find out what's wrong with the kids. They don't deserve to have this happen to them," Avery said as they departed.

"No, they don't," Mulder said, and shut the door behind them.

 11:00 a.m.
Staten Island University Hospital

Mulder groaned as he navigated the gravelly parking lot, looking for a space. Luckily, they found a spot close to the hospital.

Scully winced as she stepped out of the car, her ankle twisting on the loose gravel. For not the first time, she wondered why the hell she felt it was necessary to make up for her lack of height wearing 3-inch heels. Especially when it prevented her from walking through gravel parking lots without breaking her ankles. She looked over at Mulder in his classic <low-heeled> business shoes, and sighed.

He looked over at her with a strange look on his face, but then shrugged it off. "So which one do we start with?" he asked.

"I figure we start with Jenna Dreiser. I'm planning to do another tox screen on her, there might be a better chance of finding anything inordinate in the system. The parents gave us permission for tests."

"I'm sure they want their children back," Mulder said, a little absently, his thoughts wandering back into the past.

Scully looked over at him and noticed the faraway look in his eyes. She reached over and took his hand. "Fox, stay with me here." He glanced at her, still a little spaced out. "We've got a case to solve, which we can do." He smiled slightly. "I need my partner here with me, not twenty-four years in the past." She rubbed the back of his hand, wishing she could offer him more, but they were in a public parking lot.

Mulder shook himself out of his stupor and straightened up. He squeezed Scully's hand back then reluctantly released it. "Let's go find out what's wrong with these kids," he said with a determined edge to his voice.

At the front desk they asked for directions to the ward where the kids were, and then swiftly followed the nurse's directions.

They reached Jenna Dreiser's room and knocked on the door gently. A short woman with curly blond hair and a tired face opened it. "Yes?" she asked wearily.

Scully took the lead first. She had a better talent for dealing with the families of the victims. "Mrs. Dreiser, I'm Agent Scully and this is Agent Mulder. We're here about your daughter."

The woman nodded. "Please come in." She shut the door behind them and offered them the two chairs in the room.

Scully took a look around the room. In the bed near the window lay Jenna, her blond hair gleaming in the sunlight. Her chest moved up and down every few seconds, breathing regularly. Jenna's parents had all but moved in. The other bed in the room had been slept in, and various clothes, books, and other household items dispersed between the get well cards and bouquets of flowers. "How has she been the past few days?" Scully began.

"Fine," Mrs. Dreiser said tiredly. "It's just like she's been in a really long sleep."

"What was she doing right before this happened?" Mulder took up the line of questioning.

"She was on her way to field hockey practice. The shortest way to get to the park is straight down the side of the hill, so the girls say," Mrs. Dreiser commented, running a hand through her hair.

"The girls?" Mulder asked.

"The rest of the field hockey team. They all regularly use that way."

Scully looked down at Jenna's medical chart, then back up at Mrs. Dreiser. "Mrs. Dreiser, you gave us permission to do some bloodwork on Jenna. Is it okay if we do that now?"

"Sure, whatever you need to. Just try and get her better," she said with tired eyes.

Scully and Mulder stood up. "We'll be right back to take the blood," Scully said, and they walked out the door.

"So what do you think, Scully?" Mulder asked as soon as they got out of the room.

"I don't know. From the charts it appears they're in a state of deep sleep."

"They are," came from a voice behind them. Mulder and Scully turned around to see a young doctor in lab coat and jeans. He walked up to them and stuck his hand out. "I'm Doctor DeLuca. I'm the doctor for the four kids."

Mulder and Scully both shook the doctor's hand. "You were saying something about the kids being in a state of deep sleep?" Scully said, echoing DeLuca's statement from before.

DeLuca nodded. "According to the tests we ran, there is nothing physically wrong with them. Their brains, though, appear to be in a state of deep sleep."

Mulder recalled a bit of information from the file. "So the first one, Michelle Sellers, she's been asleep, so to say, since at least September 4th?"

"Yes, and with no change," DeLuca said with a straight face. "We've tried waking them up using various methods, chemical and physical stimulants, but none have worked."

"Doctor, the parents of the kids have given us permission to run some blood tests. Is there a lab here where I could possibly get the results?" Scully asked using her nicest voice.

"Yeah, just check in with the nurses desk at the end of this hallway and one should be in shortly to take the blood."

"Actually, I'm a doctor so I'll take the blood and perform the tests myself," Scully said, not trusting anyone's results but her own.

"No problem. The nurses'll give you the equipment then."

"Okay, then, thank you for your time," Scully said. DeLuca nodded and walked into the room of another patient. Mulder looked over at Scully.

"I'm going to go talk to the other parents, see what they say about this, and how they're coping," Mulder whispered to Scully.

"All right, I'll take care of these tests. I'll check in with you in a little bit." They walked off in separate directions, each to take care of their jobs.

 5:45 p.m.
Dragon's Den Bookstore, Manor Road

The Dragon's Den Bookstore was the ground floor of an old Victorian style building. On the top of the building, carved into the brickwork was the date 1887, signifying when it was built. Inside the Dragon's Den, the store was well furnished, from its dark wood-paneled walls with matching shelves lining the walls and taking up place in the center of the store. In the front of the store, in front of the big bay windows, was a few tables and comfortable chairs where people could relax and read if they so wished. The store was simply decorated, the only outstanding thing was on the back wall. It was a large carving of a very regal looking dragon, painted in with vibrant colors, so vibrant, it seemed the dragon was a real, living, breathing, creature.

Molly Addison sat at the lone cashier in the in the store, her feet propped up on the counter the cashier rested on. Her flaming red hair was pulled back sleekly into a ponytail. In her lap a history book rested, now ignored at the prospect of delving into a new novel that had just arrived.

Suddenly a voice cried out from the storage room in the back. "Molly, get in here now!" the voice of a woman called to her. Molly dropped both books on the counter and ran for the back, her long legs covering the distance quickly.

She skidded into the storage room to see a stack of boxes close to tipping over. The only thing keeping them from falling to the ground was a tall, brown-haired woman bracing them from one side. "Molly, make sure they don't fall!" Shannon Ramsay-Parker spoke through gritted teeth.

"Okay," Molly said, and stared hard at the wobbling stack. For a second, nothing happened, but then, the irises of Molly's grey-blue eyes began to move like the sky before a storm. The boxes that were teetering now steadied out and slowly glided to the floor, landing neatly in a row. Her eyes cleared up and she grinned at Shannon. Sometimes it was good to be a Witch.

Shannon straightened up and dusted off her hands. "Yet another example of why being a Witch is at sometimes better than being a Dragon," she muttered Molly's way.

"We can't help how we're born," Molly tossed over her shoulder as she walked back into the store. "Hey, Shannon, d'you think I could leave now?" she asked as Shannon followed her back into the store. "I've got that history test tomorrow."

"Oh, yeah, the one Alec's been whining about all week." Shannon paused for a second. Alec was her nephew, and Molly's best friend, both of whom worked in the bookstore. "Do you know why he took off today? He didn't give me a reason yesterday."

"There's a track meet today. For some reason, the school tries to ignore the fact that the track team is doing stellar compared to how our usually all-star varsity football team is doing. No one really brings it up when there's a meet," Molly said with an ironic grin on her face.

"You got to wonder about these people," Shannon said thoughtfully. "Go on home. I'll close up here, and be out by 6:30."

"Thank you," Molly said gratefully, and ran behind the counter to get her backpack. She tossed the history book in there, zipped it up, then reached for her beat-up denim jacket, and then slipped it on over her plain blue tank top. "I'll be here tomorrow, right after practice."

"Gotcha. See you then," Shannon called as Molly ran out the door and down the street to get home as quick as possible.

Part two-Memories and Chocolate Ice

6 p.m.
Staten Island University Hospital

Down deep in the lab of Staten Island University Hospital the painted cinderblock walls soaked up the fading light coming through the high windows. Scully sat on a stool heavily and pushed a hand through her hair. The tox screen was very disturbing, she couldn't make heads or tails of it, and the hunger pangs were starting to bug her stomach. At that moment Mulder walked through the door, bringing a welcome respite from the results.

"Find anything interesting?" he asked, popping the customary sunflower seed into his mouth.

"I don't know what the hell this is," Scully sighed.

Mulder walked over to her and leaned over her shoulder to look down at the print out she was holding. "What's this?"

"This was found in all the kids systems. At first glance it looks very similar to the poison digitalis, but see that extra compound in there?" Scully pointed to a spot on the sheet.

"What's different about it?" Mulder asked, popping another seed into his mouth.

"That's what makes it different from digitalis. Whatever it is apparently puts the kids into a state of deep sleep rather than outright killing them. The thing is..." Scully trailed off.


"I have no damn clue what it is. It's organic, but beside that there's nothing like it. I looked through all the lists the CDC has put out, but there's nothing that's even remotely like it."

"So you're saying it's extra-terrestrial?" Mulder said with an eager look on his face.

"I never said that. I just said that there's nothing like it in the books. It probably just hasn't been identified yet. There are many plants that haven't been identified yet either," Scully said with an exasperated edge to her voice. "It is organic. The elements making up the compound are very earthly, but have never been seen before in this combination. Now I don't know if it's this compound itself, or the compound combined with the digitalis, but this is what's putting the kids in a state of deep sleep. Now we just have to find the antidote. I've sent a sample to the CDC to see if they have any better knowledge of this compound than we do!" Scully finished, close to yelling.

Mulder grinned down at her. "I love it when you talk like that," he leered.

"Mulder," Scully rolled her eyes, even though she couldn't disguise the small grin on her face. "So where do we head next?"

"I figure we still have some time left, so we can go interview Molly Addison." Almost imperceptibly, Scully groaned. "Don't worry, we can go get dinner after that," Mulder said.

"Thank you," Scully said as she picked up her coat and walked out through the lab door Mulder was holding open for her.

 22 Athena Place Manor Heights
6:30 p.m.

The car glided to smooth stop in front of the brick house. It was an average house, with two stories, and all the windows framed by brown shutters. To the left was a large window that looked in on a living room, and to the right was a smaller window. Even further to the right of that was the garage.

Mulder and Scully got out of the car and started up the walkway to the front door. "This is the place," Scully said.

"Welcome to suburbia hell," Mulder muttered.

"Actually I think that's New Jersey," Scully retorted as the climbed the stoop and Mulder rang the doorbell.

The doorbell echoed throughout the nearly empty house. "Molly, can you get that, please?" Kathy Addison yelled from the kitchen. "I've got my hands full with Cassie."

Molly sighed. Cassie was the one-and-a-half year old girl her mother babysat for on a regular basis. Today was one of those days, and most of her attentions were focused on the playpen set in the corner of the kitchen.

She put down her history book none too gently, gave it a kick for good measure, and pushed her tall frame up off the couch. She went first to the window, to see who was at the door. Molly gently pushed the curtains aside to get a better look at the people who were out there. There was a short, red haired woman and a tall, dark haired man standing on the stoop, both dressed in trenchcoats.

"Probably the FBI," she muttered. Her mother had received a call from the police earlier in the day while she was at school to say that some FBI agents would be stopping by sometime in the next few days.

Molly did a double take, though, when she got a better look at the taller agent. He looked a hell of a lot lake Alec...

She walked to the door, unlocked it, and carefully pulled it open.

The door opened to reveal a very tall girl, standing there in a pair of jeans and a plain blue tanktop. She was not what Scully had expected. The girl had to have been at least 5'9", a very slim figure, with flaming red hair pulled back sleekly in a ponytail, and grey-blue eyes.

"Molly Addison?" Scully asked.

"Yeah. You must be the FBI?" she asked, still holding the door halfway open.

They pulled out their badges. "I'm Agent Mulder, this is Agent Scully," Mulder said.

The door was opened all the way. "Come on in," Molly said, and showed them into the front hallway. "Hey, Ma, the FBI's here!" she called down a hallway to a kitchen.

Mulder took a good look around the place, as they were taught to in Quantico. Directly in front of him was a staircase leading upstairs, and the hallway leading to the kitchen. They were both wallpapered in a small stripe pattern. To the right of him was a study with a desk, computer, and a few bookshelves.

Molly led them into the room on their left, the living room. On one wall was the window, on the side wall was a large brick fireplace, and on the wall furthest to the right of them, the one with the other door into the kitchen was a big cabinet, holding the customary stereo system, VCR, and a TV that was showing a rerun of 'Northern Exposure' on A&E. The episode was one where Fleischman and O'Connell were stranded in the great Alaskan wilderness, and for some reason they began kissing in their sleep, even though at that point in the series they were most definitely not an item. Mulder grinned to himself. He should have tried that last year when they were stuck in the Florida woods. Maybe it would have gotten their own relationship moving along much faster. Then Mulder wondered how the hell he remembered that from only a few seconds of footage. He hadn't seen the show in years. In front of the window was an over-stuffed green recliner, and opposite the fireplace was a long couch, covered in a sturdy material that had probably through years of child raising.

"Have a seat," Molly directed, taking a seat on the end of the couch closest to the TV and folding her long legs up under her. Scully sat down on the opposite end and Mulder sat down on the recliner.

Before they could begin their questioning a voice called from the kitchen. "Can I get you some coffee?" the voice eagerly asked.

Mulder looked at Scully to make a decision, but Molly butted in. "Just let Donna Reed in there do her thing," she said in a low voice, "And this'll be easier for you." Scully looked at Mulder once more.

"Okay," she said. "Coffee's fine."

Molly leaned her head back over the arm of the couch. "Okay, Ma, coffee's good!" she hollered back, then straightened up. "She thinks it's a little insulting when her attempt to be a good hostess is thwarted," she explained.

"It's no problem," Mulder said. Within two minutes Mrs. Addison had coffee ready on a perfectly set platter and handed it out to Mulder and Scully.

"I always wonder how she does that so fast," Molly muttered.

Mulder looked over at Scully and she pulled her little note pad out of her purse. "Can you tell us what happened when you found Jenna?" Mulder asked.

Molly nodded. "Okay. Uh, I had stayed after school a little while to get some help with my history homework. I had field hockey practice after that so I went to the locker room, got changed into some clothes better suited for practice, and took off into the woods. There are some roads cutting through there; we use those to get down to the street during a snowstorm and the buses can't make it up the hill, but those are behind the Academy and it would be a waste of time to go to them rather than just cutting through the woods.

"Anyway, I had gone into the woods, and had started running down the hill. By that time I was really late so I wasn't exactly looking where I was going. My foot caught on something, and I fell face first into some pine needles. When I picked myself up to get my bag, I saw that it was lying on top of someone's arm, which was a bit gross, if I may say so. I brushed off the body, and saw Jenna there. By the time I recovered enough, I ran back to the school, got my history teacher, and then we called the cops. And you know the rest of the story from there," Molly finished with a shrug.

"Did you notice anything strange about the area where you found Jenna?" Scully asked, while she finished writing up the notes from Molly's last response.

She looked thoughtful for a second. "Uh, nope. Same old trees," Molly said.

Mulder looked over at Scully, using that unspoken communication they were so good at. To Scully, it seemed that ever since they became a couple that it was easier to talk like that. Right now Mulder was saying that they'd gotten all that they could from Molly Addison and that he was getting hungry and it was time to find a place for dinner. Internally, Scully smiled, and Mulder saw the smile in her eyes. "Okay, thanks for your help, Molly."

"Sure," Molly said and stood up. "I'll just show you to the door."

Mulder and Scully stood up and followed her to the front door. In the front hallway Scully stopped. "Molly, do you know any good places for dinner around here?" she asked.

"Uh, yeah. Denino's, on Richmond Avenue. They've got some great pizza there. And for dessert go to Ralph's Ice across the street.

When they got to the door, a baby began crying from the kitchen, and then Molly's mother called out from another direction. "Molly, calm Cassie down, will you? I can't get to her right now."

Scully saw Molly roll her eyes heavenward. "How do you want me to do that?" she yelled back.

"Try singing to her," Mrs. Addison called.

Molly turned to the FBI agents. "Just, hold on a second, please?" she pleaded. With Mulder's quick nod she dashed off to the kitchen. In a few seconds, Molly came back holding a toddler with curly blond hair. With one arm, she reached for the keys next to the front door and unbolted it. "Well, I'm glad to be of help," she said hurriedly.

"Thanks for your time," Scully said, and they walked out onto the stoop. But Mulder paused in his tracks when her heard Molly sing. It wasn't her voice, but her words that halted his steps.

"Come, little children
I'll take thee away
Into a land
Of enchantment.
Come, little children
The time's come to play
Here in my garden
Of magic..."

Scully looked at Mulder frozen on the landing from the bottom of the stoop with a puzzled look on her face. She had no clue as to what the hell was going on.

Before Molly could shut the door, Mulder turned back towards it and began to speak. "Molly, what song was that?" he asked calmly.

Molly was taken aback at the question that didn't fit in with anything else she'd been asked that day. "Uh, it's just an old Irish lullaby," she said a little nervously.

"Thank you," Mulder said, and started walking back to the car, brushing past Scully in his rush. Scully looked up at Molly, still standing in the doorway holding the toddler, and then walked after Mulder. She got into the passenger seat and then turned to Mulder.

"What the hell was that?" she asked him.

Mulder's hands tightened on the steering wheel, searching for the right words. But he chickened out. "I'll tell you later, Scully. Right now, let's just get dinner," he said, flashing his most winsome grin at her.

Scully looked over at him. "Okay, but that doesn't mean you're getting out of telling me whatever that was about."

"Deal," Mulder said, and started up the car.

Molly looked at the FBI agents' car pulling away from the curb. She felt a little guilty about not telling them the whole story. But then again, they probably wouldn't have believed her anyway.

She couldn't tell them that the forest where she'd found Jenna reeked of evil. An inhuman evil.

 9 p.m.
Holiday Inn

Mulder unlocked the door to Scully's hotel room and pulled it open. He turned around and saw Scully digging another spoonful out of the small pint of chocolate ice she'd picked up to take back to the hotel from Ralph's Ice. "You are going to share that, right?" he asked as she brushed by him into the room.

He shut and locked the door as Scully kicked off her heels and laid down on the bed, her back propped up on the headboard. Mulder took off his suit jacket and laid down next to her. He reached out towards the container of ice with a finger, but before he could get a bite Scully jerked it away with a grin. "C'mon, Scully, you had some of that before," he said with a pout.

"So did you," she said, pointing her spoon at his mouth. "The cherry flavor stained your lips." Mulder jerked away and rubbed his hand rapidly across his lips as Scully laughed.

Mulder shot her an evil look and Scully finally relented. "Okay. I'll share-" Mulder's look brightened, "-if you tell me what got you so riled in the Addison's house before," she finished. Mulder made a face and slumped down on the bed. He was hoping very hard that she'd just forgotten and would let the subject die gracefully. No such luck.

"Okay. It was the song Molly was singing to the girl."

"What about the song?" Scully asked, handing the spoon to Mulder.

He reached for the container and took a bite. "I heard the exact same song in one of my dreams. Mama was singing it." By this time, Scully was very familiar with the cast of characters in Mulder's dreams. "But Molly said it was just an old lullaby."

"Nothing that would provide any significant clues to your family, huh?" Scully said, running a hand through his hair.

"Nope. I don't know...I guess it just got to me," he said, taking another mouthful of ice.

"You going to be okay?" she asked gently.

Mulder looked up at her and smiled. "Yeah." He got a devilish gleam in his eyes. "Hey, you got some ice in the corner of your mouth." Before Scully could wipe it off Mulder reached up and kissed it off. "Behave, Mulder," Scully said sternly, although with a grin.

He let his head drop down to her shoulder. "I know, I know. Not while on duty." He pulled away from her and retrieved the case folder. "I think we should go over this once more, though."

Scully sat up straighter and put the ice down on the nighttable, immediately going from personal to professional. "Yeah, if we're going to be sitting in on the class tomorrow, I don't want to walk in there without any background on it."

Together they looked through the file and prepared for tomorrow.

Part Three - Dragons and High School Magic

 Friday, September 25, 1998
7:56 a.m.
Notre Dame Academy and High School

The playground on the side of Notre Dame Academy was still in the early morning air. Sunlight flickered through the trees surrounding the yard, dotting the concrete with gold flecks. It was the perfect place to arrive unnoticed.

From high up in the sky what looked like a leaf suddenly circled and landed behind the big oak tree in the corner of the playground. The thing shook itself out, and turned into a boy of about 5'11" with oak brown hair and bright green eyes that glowed in the sunlight falling through the leaves.

Alec Ramsay exhaled explosively and leaned against the trunk of the tree. He hated being late for school, especially when he couldn't get a ride. His father, Colin, was on a business trip in Palm Springs, and Mom had decided to go along for the ride and the sunny weather.

His face broke out into a grin. Sometimes it was definitely handy to be a Dragon. Flying to school was much easier than making a mad dash to catch the next public bus up to school. Although the form of Dragon he'd used to get to school more resembled a five inch fire lizard more than a true Dragon. A lizard, especially one that small, was much less conspicuous than a full-sized Dragon.

He glanced down at his watch and his eyes bulged. It was 7:59. He was already four minutes late for homeroom. His teacher would kill him, not to mention what Molly would do to him when she heard the excuse he was coming up with as to why he was late.

With that, Alec set off at a dead run towards the high school.

 8:00 a.m.
Mrs. McCready's Class

Mulder and Scully stood near the teacher, Mrs. Christine McCready, by her desk, surveying her first period class. This was the class that all the kids had disappeared from, although it hadn't seemed to affect the rest of the students in there. They were still just as rowdy as any high school class that were stuck in uniforms that were too warm for the early fall day. Mulder looked up at the clock. The first period bell had rung five minutes ago, and everything seemed normal.

Scully turned to Mrs. McCready, who had a rather agonized look on her face. "Is something wrong?" Scully asked gently.

Mrs. McCready looked at the door to the classroom, and then back at Scully. "One of the students isn't here yet." She felt Mulder come up behind her.

"Do you think he or she could be the next victim?" Mulder asked.

Mrs. McCready shrugged. "I don't know. Alec, that's who's missing, had mentioned earlier in the week that he was staying at his grandparent's home because his parents were on a business trip. It might be further from here than his home is."

Scully looked up at the clock. "Well, if he's not here in fifteen minutes we'll go out and look for him."

None of the three adults noticed Molly Addison lingering around them, listening in on their conversation.

Molly rolled her eyes and looked up at the clock. Alec was late, she thought angrily. She knew that he wasn't attacked by whatever it was in the forest, he'd just turn into a Dragon and scare the crap out of whomever or whatever it was.

No, he wasn't in any danger, just extremely late. And he promised me he'd be here on time, she thought, gritting her teeth together. She smoothed down the short, itchy, black plaid skirt, trying to look cool even though she was about ready to kill someone. Someone whose name was Alec Ramsay.

Alec turned the corner into the hallway where his classroom was, his Doc Martens skidding on the freshly polished floor. Molly was going to rip out his heart with her bare hands if he didn't get there within five seconds.

When she had called him up that morning she said she had something very important to tell him concerning whatever was in the woods. Finally the door to the class loomed in front of him, and he jerked on the handle and pulled the door open just as his feet slid past the door.

Mulder, Scully, and Mrs. McCready looked up at the sound of the door almost jerking off his hinges. Scully saw Mrs. McCready let out a breath of relief. This must have been Alec, not injured or in a coma, just very late.

The door opened fully and Scully had to fight to keep her mouth from dropping in surprise. Alec Ramsay looked incredibly like Mulder, or at least how Mulder would have looked during his high school days. Alec was pretty tall, about 5'11", with bright green eyes that had a strange glitter in them, and hair that was the same shade as Mulder's, but just a little longer. His white polo shirt was untucked, and his black wool pants were dusty, showing he'd run quite fast to make it to class. That and the fact that he was panting with his forehead propped up against his left forearm that was resting against the doorjamb. She looked over at Mulder, but he didn't seem to notice the resemblance between himself and the boy, even though he was looking straight at Alec. He just looked relieved that there wasn't another victim.

Scully looked from Mulder to Alec once more and concluded that there was a piece missing in the whole situation, but she just couldn't figure it out.

Molly's eyes shot from Alec to Mulder and back to Alec. This is just too damn spooky for words, Molly thought. They could have been twins, or father and son. Or maybe-uncle and nephew?

Her mind immediately shot to a story Alec's grandma, Catriona, had told her about a little boy named Fox who had disappeared into thin air one day. Stealing a glance at Mulder, Molly decided she'd give anything to know his first name. Maybe, just maybe...

Her thoughts were cut off by a heavy hand coming down on her shoulder. She turned and looked slightly downward into the face of Kevin Silvers, a friend of both her and Alec. "What?" she asked.

Kevin angled his chin towards where Alec was still leaning in the doorway facing Mulder, Scully, and Mrs. McCready. "You remember what happened last time McCready asked him why he was late?"

Molly's pale face became even paler than was imagined humanly possible. "Oh, no," she moaned. She looked over at Kevin, and the two mutually decided to go over to Alec to stop the mess they both knew he was going to get into.

Mrs. McCready turned to face Alec fully. "Do you have a good reason as to why you're late?" she asked him sternly.

Mulder looked at Alec and caught the slight quirking up of the corner of his mouth. He recognized the look as one he'd used often, usually when he was pissing off Skinner and other senior agents. He couldn't wait to see what the kid had come up with.

Scully saw the glimmer in Alec's eyes. Suddenly a memory from one of their earliest cases came into her head. 'Sometimes the need to mess with their heads outweighs the millstone of my humiliation.' She just instinctively knew that he was going to say or do something truly outrageous--except maybe for Mulder.

Alec pushed himself off the doorframe and walked to face Mrs. McCready. Scully's eyes were drawn to his left arm. There was a patch of skin that appeared scale-like in the fluorescent lights of the classroom. It almost looked like the same thing Mulder had on his back over a month ago.

Scully watched Alec's face break into a sly grin, an expression she was all too familiar with. "Well," Alec began, but that was all he was able to get out.

Kevin's hands had wrapped around Alec's upper right arm. Molly clamped her left hand over Alec's mouth. She glanced down at his forearm, which was coming up to pull her hand off his mouth, and saw the patch of scales. So that was how he got here so fast after he missed the bus, she thought with a groan, and quick as lightning covered the scales with her right hand.

What she didn't notice was Scully watching her movements with a sharp eye. Molly knows what the scales are, Scully suddenly concluded.

"What he was saying," Molly began with her sweetest smile, "was that he is truly sorry for being late, and he'll try not to be late again."

Mrs. McCready looked at Alec with a doubtful look on her face. "Really?" she sneered. Alec's head bobbed up and down rapidly beneath Molly's hand. Mrs. McCready sighed and waved a hand toward their desks. "Whatever. Just sit down now. I've got to begin class." With that, Kevin let go of Alec's arm and Molly took her hand off his mouth, but didn't release her grip on his arm, and they walked to their desks.

Mulder looked around the room with a grimace. The rest of the kids didn't notice the commotion. From what he could guess this wasn't the first time this had happened. He rolled his eyes. High School was just soooo much fun the first time, he was really looking forward to spending more time there, he thought ruefully. Right, and if you believe that then you've got the bridge real cheap too.

He let his eyes travel around the room, slowing down when they came to rest on Alec. There was something about that boy, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

He looked over at Scully with a slight grin, and they headed over to the seats by the windows where Mrs. McCready had said they could observe the class from.

"So who's the stiffs in the suits?" Alec asked Molly as they headed back to their desks.

"Those're the FBI agents I told you about. They're here about what happened to Jenna, remember? I told you about them when I called this morning," Molly said.

"Oh yeah," Alec muttered, remembering the conversation from that morning. He shook his head distractedly. His memory was usually very good, but over the past few days his mind was becoming the equivalent of meatloaf. Maybe I'm getting the flu, he thought, although he wasn't really convinced that was the case.

Molly looked over at him staring into space, a strange habit for him that was becoming more frequent over the past few days. That and if he noticed something about the male FBI agent were two questions in the forefront of her mind. But right now there were more pressing matters to be taken care of.

Still holding his left forearm, she asked in an innocent voice "Hey Alec, how'd you get here this morning? After all, I know you missed the bus and your grandparents second car is in the shop, and your grandfather left for work earlier this morning, even before I called." She looked over at him slyly to see his face pale underneath his fading summer tan.

"Uh..." he stuttered.

Molly lifted up his forearm and pulled her hand back to reveal the patch of scales. Alec's eyes bulged almost comically as they sat down into their seats at the table they shared. "Oh," he murmured, holding his arm under the table.

"Nice try, Dragon Boy," she muttered, grinning.

"Laugh it up, Fuzzball," Alec muttered, all the while subtly shaking his arm underneath the desk in order to get the scales to shift back into normal skin. That had never happened to him before, and he'd had the full Dragon powers for a good few years now. He really must have been coming down with something. Or that instinctively he knew something major was going to happen soon. He'd have to ask his Gramma when he got home.

Well, whatever he was doing wasn't working because the scales were still on his arm. "It's not coming off," he whispered to Molly. "What am I gonna do?"

She looked at him thoughtfully for a second and then reached for her purse. She pulled out a compact full of pale ivory cover-up. "Last ditch resort?" she grinned.

"No way in hell I'm wearing makeup. Try again," he whispered fiercely.

Molly sighed resignedly and placed her hand over the patch on his arm. She closed her eyes tightly for a few seconds, then pulled her hand back. He looked down and sighed with relief-the patch was gone. "Thanks," he whispered. "Now what was that thing you wanted to talk about? You know about..." he trailed off suggestively.

"At lunch. I don't want anyone else hearing about this."

 11:30 a.m.

Can't we go out for lunch?" Mulder whined under his breath to Scully. The class right now was just filing out of the room on their way eat lunch in the school cafeteria.

Scully looked over at him with a look that seemed to say sorry. "I wish we could, but we have to watch the class at all times."

"What if the class hasn't done anything so far?" he grumbled. It was true. So far the class really hadn't done anything out of the ordinary. Of course, the kids weren't exactly normal in themselves, but then, no high school kid ever was.

Pulling a bag out from under her chair, Scully took pity on Mulder. "Look, Mulder, I got some subs for us when I went to check in with Captain Avery earlier today so we don't have to eat the drivel they serve for lunch here."

"Good," he grinned, taking the bag from her. Together they walked to the cafeteria and took a seat in an out of the way corner so they could keep an eye on the room.

When they were seated and eating, Mulder pulled out the notes he'd been taking the first half of the day. He looked over them briefly and then bit his lip. "Well, so far I'd have to say that whoever is causing the kids to become catatonic is not in this class.

"I think you're right," Scully said, looking around the room. Her eyes came to rest on Molly Addison and Alec Ramsay sitting a few tables away from them underneath a window. "But there's something about those two."

"Which two?" Mulder asked, twisting around in his seat to get a better look at the cafeteria. He followed Scully's gaze to land on the two kids. Inside he knew something was up with them also, including a very uncanny resemblence to him, but he was intrigued to learn Scully felt the same way, and even more eager to find out her thoughts on them. "What about them?" he said.

Scully shook her head. "I don't know, I just keep getting a feeling that they know something about what's going on." What she didn't mention was that she wanted to know if he saw anything familiar about Alec. Truly, though, she wasn't surprised he didn't see anything. The man had no concept of how he looked.

Mulder suddenly broke into a grin. "Agent Scully has a feeling?" Scully reached out a heeled foot and kicked him in the shin. "Yeah, yeah," he mumbled although still with a grin on his face.

Molly and Alec settled down at an out of the way table to eat lunch. She didn't want anyone else hearing what she was about to say. Although they probably wouldn't have known what she was talking about anyway. She glanced around, and the only ones within any close distance were the two FBI agents who, even for all the resemblance to Alec, she wasn't really worried about them understanding what they were talking about.

Alec got out his sandwich and took a bite. "So what did you want to talk to me about?" he asked. She reached down into her backpack and pulled out what looked like her algebra book to the normal eye. But she and Alec weren't normal. His eyes bulged out when he saw past the algebra book glamour. It was a fairly large volume bound in dark brownish-red leather, with gilded pages and gold etchings tooled into the leather. "That's one of the books from Aunt Shan's shop, isn't it?" The upper floor of Shannon's bookstore held all books that were for the reference of the Dragons and Witches that resided in the northeast. Basically, if you weren't a Dragon or a Witch, you had no clue those books ever existed.

"Yep," Molly nodded. "She let me borrow it last night. Y'know, there's some real interesting stuff in here," she said cryptically.

"Like?" he urged her on.

Molly sighed and leaned back in her chair. She opened the book on her lap and began flipping through pages. She looked up for a moment, her eyes connecting with Agent Scully's. Suddenly she got a chill down her back as Agent Scully stared at her and the book she was holding. Molly shut her eyes quickly, breaking off the connection. Inside her head Molly suddenly realized that there was much more to Agent Scully than what met the eye. And if her guesses were correct something major was going to happen very soon.

She started when Alec began nudging her calf with his foot. "Hey, Mol, you okay?" he asked gently. She shook her head to clear it; she'd think about Agent Scully and her partner Agent Mulder later. "Yeah. Where was I?"

"You were baiting me with the information in the book," Alec grinned.

"Oh, yeah. Well, I just remembered last night that I'd read about the things that are happening to Jenna and the rest of them."

"In one of the books while you were training?" Alec said, wrinkling his brow. He wasn't familiar with the extensive things Witches have to learn when they come into their full powers.

"Uh huh." Molly looked down at the book again, and found the right page. "It's called a Cader-Ieran."

"What exactly is a Cader whatever you call it?"

"I think it's one of those creatures that survived from a long time ago, probably by hiding out and adapting," Molly shrugged, trying to make some sense of the old fashioned writings.

"Like Dragons?" Alec questioned, making a connection to something they could relate too easily.

"Yeah. From what I can tell it says here that Cader-Ierans have an ability to appear as humans. Maybe that's how they survived so long?"

Alec wrinkled his brow. "So they're like us, Dragons, they're humans with not so human abilities?"

Molly bit her lip and stared hard at the yellowed, crackling pages. "I don't think so. I think they're creatures who can disguise themselves as humans." She looked up at him with a scared look on her face, her grey-blue eyes beginning to cloud over. "They've got no human qualities at all. They take one soul, life force, whatever you want to call it, once a year for food. That's all they need to eat, no real food at all. The rest they just kill for pleasure..." she trailed off, her voice dropping to a whisper, her eyes boring into his.

Alec placed a hand over hers that was gripping the top of the book tightly. "You okay?" he questioned sincerely.

She sucked in a deep breath. "Yeah."

"Look, if you don't want to continue I can just take the book home and read it later."

Molly shook her head. "I'm okay. There's only a little bit left anyway." She turned her eyes back to the book. "Apparently the only other thing they eat is a plant called Foxglove, which combined with a natural venom their bodies produce, is what puts the kids to sleep and drains," she said, searching for the right word that wouldn't make her start crying at the horror of the situation.

"So what are we going to do about it?" Alec said with determination. Molly's head jerked up, shocked, and he grinned. "Well, nobody else is going to have any clue as to how to stop this thing," he looked over his shoulder at the FBI agents, "and the G-men back there ain't going to be able to help."

"I'm not so sure about that," Molly muttered under her breath.

"What? Never mind. What I'm saying is we've got more info on this thing than anyone else, and that we've got the power to stop it."

Molly smiled weakly at him. "You're right. But we'll figure out what to do after school. I'm too emotionally exhausted right now to think coherently." She leaned over and put the book back in her backpack. "I'm gonna go use the ladies'. I'll be right back." She stood up and shouldered her backpack. As she walked by Alec he stuck his hand out, caught hers, and held it tightly. She looked down at him, her grey-blue eyes meeting his glittering green ones. "I'll...I'll be right here if you need me," he said, not what he had originally planned but all he could get out. "Thanks," she whispered, and walked out of the cafeteria. Alec looked after her for a few seconds, and then turned back to his lunch.

Neither one noticed a minute later that Agent Scully had gotten out of her own seat and followed Molly into the bathroom.

Scully looked around the room again, having taken a break from her conversation with Mulder. Her eyes landed on Molly and Alec, two kids she was beginning not to trust, besides Alec's resemblance to Mulder. Her eyes fixated on Molly, holding a math textbook in her hands.

Scully blinked, and got a better glimpse of the book she was holding. It was now slightly larger, and bound in a dark colored leather, with gold worked on the cover. She shook her head slightly and blinked again, convinced she was seeing things. But the book was still leather bound. Then, right in front of her eyes, the cover of the book shifted back into the algebra textbook as Molly placed it back in her backpack.

She sighed and rubbed her forehead with her hand. This whole case was getting too weird, from Mulder and Alec's likeness to seeing things that weren't really there (or so she thought).

"Hey Scully, you feeling okay?" Mulder questioned, concern in his eyes.

"Yeah, just a headache." Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Molly slip off to the bathroom, and in a split second decided it would be the perfect time to question her in private. "I'll be right back, Mulder. I'm just going to go take some aspirin."

"Okay," Mulder said, relaxing.

Scully walked off to the ladies', an itch forming in her head to find out what exactly Molly Addison was hiding.

 Part four-The Curiousness of Destiny

When Scully walked into the bathroom she almost collided with Molly coming out of one of the stalls. "Oh, sorry, Agent Scully," Molly said and walked over to the sinks. On the same counter as the sinks was Molly's backpack, conveniently open.

"Hey, Molly," Scully said as Molly turned on the taps, "can I ask you a few questions?"

"Uh, yeah, sure. No problem," Molly said as she grabbed a paper towel to dry her hands with.

Scully leaned slightly and looked into her backpack. "That's an interesting book you have here."

Molly craned her neck to look into her backpack. The sinking feeling in her stomach sunk even further when she realized that Agent Scully was talking about Shannon's book. Thoughts sped rapid fire through her head. 'She saw through the spell--Few ordinary people can do that--What if she's not ordinary--Witches and Dragons are always connected--If she's the Witch who's the Dragon--Witches and Dragons always work in pairs--she's working with---'

The string of thoughts was broken through by Scully. "Molly? The book?"

Molly focused her eyes back on Scull and got a properly puzzled look on her face. "My Algebra book is interesting?" she said, keeping up with the glamour, all the while praying the FBI Agent wouldn't question her too much.

Scully looked into her backpack and saw an average collection of school textbooks. But oddly, there were two algebra books. Suddenly something shifted in her head. Her vision blurred. One of the algebra books became the leather bound one. "This one," she said tapping a finger on the leather.

With a great effort Molly managed to keep her mouth shut. In her head she searched for a response that was true but didn't give away the whole story about the book. "It's just an old book I borrowed from a friend who owns a bookstore. I had wanted to show it to Alec."

Scully looked up at Molly, feeling contempt for her lack of height once more. Somehow instinctively she knew she wasn't telling the whole story, but she wouldn't get anymore answers even if she pressed further.

"Uh, Agent Scully?" Molly broke into her thoughts. "Why're you so interested in the book?" she asked innocently, brushing a wisp of red hair behind her ear. "Does it have something to do with the case?"

Scully shook her head. The girl was right. The only connection to the case was through Molly Addison. Nothing to truly validate an investigation save for a very extreme hunch. Molly herself wasn't even a suspect. "No, I was just curious." She turned and began to walk out of the bathroom.

At that moment Molly made a decision. A decision to determine the true nature of Agent Scully, even if Agent Scully herself didn't know it (where did that come from? Molly thought). She called out to her in the language all Witches knew, even if they knew they were Witches or not. It was likened to a form of telepathy, and the only other people besides Witches who could understand it were Dragons, and then only after an extensive amount of training. ''Is curiosity a good thing?'' Molly called.

The FBI agent turned around in slight surprise at the girl's question, but then couldn't help breaking out into a slight smile. It reminded her of something she would have asked at Molly's age. ''Curiosity is usually a good thing, but don't be so curious that it gets you into trouble,'' she warned, and then walked out of the ladies' room.

Molly collapsed against the pale green tiled wall. If Agent Scully wasn't a Witch she was doing a damn good job of hiding it. No, she was a Witch, ordinary humans couldn't learn the language at all, and she'd understood the question and responded in like without even realizing it.

The puzzling thing was that there was no Dragon in the area. Alec would have certainly noticed that, even if his mind was turning into meatloaf. But would he recognize a Dragon that didn't know he was a Dragon? Her back straightened against the tiles. The pieces were all beginning to fall into place. If Agent Scully was as smart as Molly thought she was she would make some connections, although not the mystical ones. And if Molly's hunches were correct all this started with Agent Mulder.

With a determined look on her face she picked up her backpack and rushed out of the bathroom, leaving the door swinging behind her.

Mulder followed Scully out of the cafeteria with his eyes. To kill some time he let his eyes wander around the room once more, only to come to rest on Alec.

'Scully was right', he thought. 'Those two kids know something.' But Mulder doubted it had anything to do with the case. They had an air about them that made it seem like they were carrying a perpetual secret.

He shook his head slightly. They had no real reason to suspect them, let alone haul them in for questioning. Mulder, yet again, seemed to be jumping to conclusions. Although many times his jumps to conclusions were correct jumps.

Mulder glanced over at Alec again. Scully probably thought he was being dense, but he did notice the resemblance between himself and Alec. A big resemblance. But that wasn't the main thing that was bothering him. What was bothering Mulder was that there was just something about Alec, something right below the surface, that he couldn't put his finger on.

He was pulled out of his thoughts by Scully sitting down in her seat. "Feel better?" he asked sincerely.

"Yeah," Scully said. "Anything happen while I was out?"

Mulder shook his head. "Nah, just someone screaming about finding a rat in the kitchen," he kidded. Scully just rolled her eyes, but smiled a little with the corners of her mouth.

Molly walked back into the cafeteria trying to look as nonchalant as possible. She reached the table and stood over Alec, who was munching on some potato chips. "Alec, we have that project to do in the library, remember?" she pleaded. At the same time she was asking another question with her eyes.

Alec picked up on the silent question and mouthed 'What?'

'In the library,' she mouthed back. "The one for French class. It's due Monday," she said to keep up with the act.

"Okay," Alec said amiably, and they walked out of the cafeteria calmly. But when they got out into the hallway Molly grabbed Alec's arm in an iron grip and began running full tilt for the library. Alec, the one on the track team, had to struggle to keep up with her.

When they hit the library, which was luckily almost empty save for the sole librarian replacing books in the far corner, Molly pulled Alec into one of the small little rooms used for private research and study and locked the door behind them. Alec collapsed against the wall and Molly against the door, panting in an effort to catch their breaths. When he could finally breathe again, Alec straightened up and walked over to Molly. "Okay. What the hell's up with all this? You drag me to the library pretending to do a French project we don't even have. What's up?" he asked, his voice getting calmer.

Molly stood up straight and looked him in the eye. "It's the female FBI agent, uh. Agent Scully."

"What about her?"

"She saw the book."

Alec's brow ruffled. "So? She saw what looked like your algebra book."

Molly shook her head. "No. She was past the algebra book glamour and to Shannon's book."

Alec's eyes bulged. "But that's impossible. No ordinary person could see past a Witch's glamour, right?"

She took a deep breath. 'Here's where's the impossible stuff comes in,' she thought ruefully. "But what if she's not ordinary?"

"What are you saying?" he said, beginning to get the picture.

"What if she's a Witch?" Molly finally said aloud.

Alec shot her a strange look. "I don't know. I mean, there are a few ordinary humans who can see past spells."

"Yeah, but they have to be made aware of said spell by the Witch that cast it. D'you think I'd tell a woman who I don't even know that I put a spell on a book," Molly said, trying to keep her voice under control. She winced a little. There was one important piece of this puzzle that she'd forgotten to mention. "I also asked her a question in the Witches language. She answered me back in the same language. But she didn't even know she was speaking it! I don't even think she recognized that I'd even spoke to her differently. She understood the language instinctively. Which only happens in Witches."

Alec scratched his cheek. "I hate to say it but you're right."

"Thank you," Molly grinned smugly.

A flash of thought came to Alec. "Wait a sec. Where's the Dragon, though. If there's a mission a Witch always works with their other half-the Dragon, like me and you, or my grandparents. And I haven't sensed any new Dragons in the area for weeks.

Molly waved a hand in the air. "I don't know. First-I think she's here because the FBI assigned her to it. Second-I'm pretty sure she doesn't even know she's a Witch."

"A Witch without full powers at her age? That's impossible!" Alec said slumping down on one of the chairs in the sparsely furnished room. He ran a hand through his oak-brown hair tiredly.

'Impossible is becoming his favorite word of late,' Molly thought. "There are a few loopholes," Molly said, sitting down to face him. "Like if the Dragon hasn't come into his full powers yet either." Alec opened up his mouth to retort, but Molly cut him off at the knees, her grey-blue eyes beginning to shift like the sea. "I know you're going to say how impossible that is but just hear me out. Witches and Dragons come into their powers at the exact same time. Witches, though, sometimes don't realize it because they haven't met any Dragons yet to tell them and help them realize exactly what they are."

"So what you're saying is that she's got the powers but doesn't know it because she hasn't met a Dragon yet, more specifically the other half of her pair," he posed.

She bit her lip. Now comes the hard part. "Kinda. No, actually, not at all. What I'm saying is that maybe, just maybe, the Dragon doesn't even know he's a Dragon yet."

Alec raised an eyebrow. "Another near to impossible case."

"Near to impossible, but not totally impossible. You told me that in order for a Dragon to come into their full powers they need their mother with them, right?" Molly asked, looking towards him for confirmation.

"Actually, Dragons have a Witch nearby during the first time, more likely than not their mother or father," he said, biting on his fingernail.

Molly leaned back in her chair. "I remember your mother and grandmother telling us exactly what would happen." Here Molly began to choose her words more carefully. This was where the conversation could begin to get a little hairy. "But what if the Dragon got separated from their family at a really early age? Y'know, as people get older the memories of the earlier years start to fade. What if they forgot their memories of being with their real family, the Dragon family? And what if their new family was ordinary? Isn't it possible then to be a Dragon but not have the full Dragon powers?"

Alec bit his lip. "I...have absolutely no clue. I suppose it's possible. We've know each other since kindergarten and pretty much grew up being prepared for what we would become. My Gramma sensed that you were the Witch, it's one of her gifts, and began to train you herself. But if someone was separated really early and didn't have any clue as to who they were I suppose the powers would stay buried." He fell silent for a minute, thinking deeply. "So who do you think she knows who's a Dragon, maybe a boyfriend, husband, really close friend?"

Molly bit her own lip and stared around the room. Before wasn't the hard part, this was. "Uh...I...ah... actually I think that...uh...Agent Mulder is the Dragon." She waited for Alec's onslaught of words.

But the onslaught didn't come. He was still calm. "You do? Where's you get that idea from?"

She exhaled sharply. She revised her opinion-the last two parts weren't the hard ones, this one was the mother of all hard parts. "Did you get a good glimpse of how Agent Mulder looks?" she said, skirting around the subject.

"I guess. He kinda reminds me of my father, only a good five to ten years younger," Alec said, unaware as to what Molly was getting at.

Molly gripped the arms of the chair, her short, neat fingernails digging into the dull wood. "He looks a hell of a lot like you," she said softly and seriously. "And everyone always said you looked like your uncle," she said, and then settled back for the imminent response.

The light finally clicked on in Alec's head. "You have got to be kidding me!" he yelped. "Yes, I'll admit there's a strong resemblance, but I don't see how the hell you come up with an idea like that!"

She crossed her arms over her chest. "You can't tell me it's not possible," she retorted.

Alec leaned forward and rested his arms on his knees. "But think of it-what are the chances that this person who could possibly be my 'long-lost' uncle ending up here to investigate a case that is being caused by a creature from the non-ordinary world?"

Molly shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, maybe it's destiny."

He snorted. "Destiny?"

"Yes. Destiny-equal parts chance, free will, and necessity."

"That's a novel theory," Alec said. "Where'd you come up with that?"

"I got it off an old episode of 'Mighty Max'", Molly sneered back at him. "But think of it-" she began ticking off points on her fingers, "-Chance-the Cader-Ieran chose these woods to attack from. Free will-the FBI chose to investigate the whatever you want to call them. Necessity-it's necessary to prevent anymore kids from losing their souls. It makes more sense than you think."

Alec exhaled sharply. This was swiftly becoming too much for him to handle. He got up and paced around the room for a second, then leaned his back against the wall. "An old episode of 'Mighty Max'"? he questioned.

"Yeah," Molly smiled, got up out of her chair, and walked over to him. "What're we gonna do?" she asked.

He shook his head. "I don't know. I don't think we should tell anyone about this idea of yours yet. I don't wanna get Gramma's hopes up when we're not sure of anything."

"That's a good idea," she said. Molly reached out and took both his hands in hers. "And I'll be right there when you have to break the news to them," she said, leaning her face in close to his.

Alec smiled brightly, his green eyes lighting up with flecks of gold, and gripped her hands tighter. For a few moments they just stood there like that, staring at each other.

At that moment the door to the room opened. Molly and Alec's heads jerked around to see Kevin Silver walking in. Kevin grinned and commented "Y'know if I was anyone else I wouldn't buy the 'just friends' argument."

Suddenly they felt awkward and let go of each other's hands. Kevin noticed the shift in their actions and rolled his eyes, wondering when those two would realize what everyone else was beginning to see. "What are you doing here?" Alec asked.

"I was looking for you two. Someone said they saw you guys headed this way. I came to tell you school's out for the day," Kevin said.

"Why?" they chorused.

"They found another kid in the woods," Kevin said.

"Do they know who it is?" Molly asked.

"If they do they haven't told us yet," Kevin muttered.

Alec shot a knowing look at Molly and she nodded slightly. "Let's get home then," Alec said, and the three exited the small room.


 Part five-Evacuation, or Welcome to the land of the

 late, great, plot device

The normal childlike raucousness of the playground was now replaced with the noise of ambulances, police cars, assorted members of the police force, and two F.B.I. agents.

Scully rushed up to an EMT and gave him an order to take to the hospital. "Tell Dr. DeLuca as soon as the bloodwork for this kid comes in to get us a copy of it down at the police station."

"Yes, ma'am," the EMT said, and pushed the gurney holding the small child into the waiting ambulance. The sound of the siren starting up was hardly heard over the already loud din made by the assortment of kids beginning to gather at the now barred off entrance to the playground. Scully noticed that Molly and Alec were in this crowd.

Scully's eyes followed the ambulance for a few seconds, then they went on to where Mulder was once again talking with Captain Avery. Her feet followed and soon she found herself face to face with the two men. "How's the boy?" Mulder asked.

"Same as the others. Did you find out who he is?" she asked, looking between the two men.

Avery nodded. "Yeah, but I don't want to go into it here. Let's wait till we're back at the station," he said, motioning with his head at the throng of students milling around, shouting questions at whatever officers were in hearing distance.

"Are all of the students out of the schools yet?" Mulder questioned, looking at the students.

"I'll find out," Avery said and called to one of his officers. "How many students have been sent home so far?"

"Well, the high school has been let out, but the academy is still in session," the officer said, looking almost too eager to finally be out working on a case.

"Thank you," Avery said, and the young officer walked off.

"Well, there's not much else we can do here until the forensic team arrives, we might as well let the school know they can go home. It would probably make the team's job easier," Scully suggested. Mulder shrugged his concurrence.

"Sounds good to me," Avery stated. The three began to make their way through the throng of students that seemed to have multiplied in a matter of seconds.

They walked up the large front steps of the school and entered the building. The walked to the principal's office in the front hallway and knocked on the door. The principal, another nun, pulled it opened and looked at Avery, the only familiar face out of the three. "Yes?"

"There are going to be more people coming to investigate here so it would be best if you dismissed the rest of the students for the rest of the day," Avery said.

The principal nodded. "That's fine, but we're going to have to go around and tell the classes ourselves. The P.A. system is down today."

Avery and the principal went off into the back wing of the school, past the cafeteria, and Scully and Mulder took the two classes in front of the building.

Mulder knocked on the door to the kindergarten room and waited for the answering call from inside. When it came he pulled open the door to see a bunch of small, uniform clad kids crowding around the windows to find the source of the sirens. Watching over them was a matronly, grey haired woman dressed in a simple blouse and skirt. The light glinted off her reading glasses, efficiently hiding her eyes. "Yes?" she asked him.

"The students are being dismissed for the day to make the police's job easier," Mulder said, still standing in the doorway. "The buses should be here in about twenty minutes."

"Thank you," the grey haired woman smiled at him. Mulder nodded, feeling slightly awkward, and closed the door.

The grey haired woman, Helen Calvert, stared at the door a few moments after the young man closed it. When she first saw his face her mind jumped years back into the past, to the face of a little boy she'd only had for one year in one of her earliest preschool classes before he mysteriously disappeared. Even after all these years she was still friends with the little boy's mother, Catriona Ramsay.

That man seemed like he could have been the little boy, Fox, all grown up. Could it be after all these years, by pure chance...that it could be him? In a split second Helen made the decision to tell Catriona about this man, maybe to alleive some of the pain she'd carried for thirty-five years. 'But right now,' she thought as she turned to the kids scrambling for their bags and jackets, 'I've got these children to worry about.'

"Is our bus coming any time soon?" Molly whined as she scanned the bustling parking lot with her hand over her eyes to block the sun.

"We're not taking the bus," Alec said decisively as he walked up the Academy stairs to get a better look at the school grounds. Molly's eyes followed him up the stairs with a look on her face.

"We're not?" she repeated snidely.

He looked down at her apologetically. "I called Gramma when you were getting your stuff. She said to go to the bakery, along with Robynne, Brian, and Juliette. Which means..." he trailed off.

Molly's face grew sour. "Damned mass transit," she muttered.

At that moment two kids came rushing down the stairs, the smaller crashing into Alec's legs. "Where's the bus?" Juliette Parker asked as she untangled herself from his legs.

Alec glanced down at his eight-year-old cousin, and then to her ten year old brother Brian. They both had classic Ramsay looks, taller than most with hazel eyes, but hair darker than his inherited from their father's side. "We got to take the public bus today. Gramma wants us to go to her bakery because no one's going to be home to take care of you."

"Can't we go to Mom's bookstore instead," Brian whined.

"And miss out on free food?" Molly grinned, trying to get him to come without argument.

"Good point," Brian conceded. "So why aren't we walking to the bus stop?"

Alec grimaced himself and began to look around the school grounds once more over various statues of saints, grass, and parking lots. "We're waiting for Robynne."

Juliette giggled. "There're people and cops going around saying we can go home because the P.A. died again. I don't think they figured out yet that there's classes in the cottage."

Molly looked up at Alec. They both sighed and simultaneously sat down on the steps, resigning themselves to a long wait due to the incompetence of the N.Y.P.D.

Mulder walked over to where Avery and Scully were standing in the front part of the principal's office. "I think that's it," he said.

"Okay, let's get back to the station then," Scully said. "I'd like to take a look at the blood work on the latest victim."

The principal walked into the room. "Did you remember the kids in the cottage?" she asked.

Mulder glanced at Scully, who gave the unspoken equivalent of an 'Uh-oh.'

"Cottage?" Avery said, voicing all their concerns.

The principal nodded. "That little building to the right of us. There are a few classes in there. Can I assume you didn't tell them yet?" she asked as she crossed her arms over her chest.

Mulder, Scully, and Avery looked at each other and reached a mutual decision. "I'll got tell them," Mulder said, and walked towards the big double doors.

Robynne Ramsay was bored. Make that really bored. One of the most bored eighth graders on the planet. She stared out the top floor windows at the school grounds-slash-parking lots, and twirled a strand of golden brown hair around her index finger. The grounds were bustling full of most of the population of N.D.A., yet Sister Anne Marie still persisted to teach. Her hazel eyes glinted in the light from the sun. Something was happening down there, and she wanted to be a part of it. She was smart enough to figure out the commotion was probably because all the cops and feds that had been crawling around the place since this morning, and randomly over the past few weeks, at least according to what Alec, her older brother, had told her.

Sister Anne Marie began to drone on once more. "Okay class, can anyone tell me--" she was cut off by the sound of a sharp rap on the door. Robynne glanced up at the sky, as she often did, and mouthed 'thank you'.

Like every other student in the class, Robynne turned to see who was at the door. The door was pulled open by Sister Anne Marie to reveal a tall, dark haired, hazel eyed man. "How can I help you?" she asked.

Robynne's jaw dropped and she stared at the man. He could have been Alec's twin brother, except about fifteen years older. 'Okay,' she thought, 'there are coincidences, and there are coincidences, and then there's this. It's just too damn spooky.'

She didn't hear any words that were spoken between the man and Sister; she was too busy lost in thought and staring off into space. By the time she came back to herself she realized the room was empty and Sister was standing over her.

"Day dreaming?" Sister asked in an icy cold voice. Before Robynne could respond she spoke again "Class has been dismissed for the day. Get out of here." Robynne grabbed her bag and vaulted out of her seat for the door. Her first step would be to find Alec. He was going to have to hear about this one.

She took the cottage stairs three at a time in her haste, and then burst out the door to the warm, early fall day. "Where are they?" she muttered, standing amidst students bustling around her trying to find their parents, buses, siblings, and the like. Robynne quickly spotted Molly's flaming hair that stood out sharply, and where one was, the other usually wasn't far off. She ran over to them, arriving breathless and panting.

"Calm down, Robbie," Alec said, standing up.

"You are not gonna believe what I just saw," Robynne gasped out. "One of the FBI agents--"

"Let me guess," Alec said, looking over at Molly, "tall, dark haired, looks a hell of a lot like me?" he asked wryly. Alec and Molly began walking off the steps to leave the school property. "We know," they chorused.

Robynne looked at Brian and Juliette, then up at the sky. "Can't we just marry them off already?" she pleaded to the sky. Brian and Juliette giggled, and then they all ran to catch the public bus.

Back at the 121st precinct the people working on the case were gathered in a conference room to discuss the latest developments.

Avery stood at the head of the room and opened the file he was holding. "Latest victim is Jason Ericson, age ten. Preliminary exam says he exhibits the same symptoms as the others."

Mulder broke into Avery's speech. "Whoever this is broke his pattern." He looked at Scully and she nodded slightly, she'd seen the differences too. Mulder continued. "This latest victim is only ten years old and in the fifth grade class. That's a far cry from the other victims. It's also been less than a week between attacks. The other attacks had at least seven days between them."

Avery's second in command, Lewis Fishman, a tall, African American man with thinning hair, spoke up. "So whoever is poisoning these kids is becoming less selective with his victims."

"He's escalating," Scully said. "Meaning we better find this guy before he speeds up even more and gets more random with his victim selection."

There was a knock on the conference room door. "Yeah," Avery said gruffly. A small woman in a flowery dress opened the door with a wary expression on her face.

"Sir," she began, wringing her hands together nervously, "there's a reporter from the Advance outside. She wants to ask you some questions about the boy who was found behind N.D.A. today."

"Shit!" Avery exploded and slammed his fist down on the table. "I thought I had called for a media blackout on this whole situation." So far no one who wasn't involved with the case or the victims hadn't heard about the first four attacks, but now it suddenly changed.

"You did," Fishman reassured. "But we can't control who the high school kids talk to. One of them probably mentioned it to someone, and somehow it got to the press."

Avery took a deep breath and unclenched his fist. He turned back to the group. "All right. The media blackout is still on. Anyone asks any questions-no comment!" Hearing this the woman in the flowered dress shut the door to go deal with the reporter. Avery sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "Now how are we supposed to catch this bastard?"

"I think," Mulder started "we're going to have to catch this guy in the act. The only things that indicate the kids were attacked are that they're left in relatively the same spot. As gruesome as it sounds we're going to have to catch this guy mid attack."

"It's going to be a bit hard to stake out a forest though?" another voice spoke up.
"A forest that size? It's going to be very hard to surveille that inconspicuously," Avery said, biting his lip. "The thing is we've got to get people out there as soon as possible."

Mulder felt a strange buzzing, whirling feeling inside his head. Discretely he leaned back against the conference room wall and shut his eyes. An idea, from somewhere unknown, began to form in his head. But this wasn't a normal idea, though, it was more of a feeling. A feeling that something was going to happen.

Eventually, or in the space of a few seconds, he found his lips were forming a word. 'Tomorrow,' he kept mouthing, and then suddenly his eyes popped open and his head cleared.

Whatever or whoever it was was going to attack again tomorrow. He straightened up and looked over at Scully, poring over the latest tox screen that was just delivered. Avery was staring at a map of Grimes Hill frustrated, trying to find exactly where would be the best place to position his men.

"Dammit, we're not going to be able to get this many people out until Sunday," Avery muttered, mentally calculating how many men it would take to provide a good watch over the forest.

"Scully and I can go out there tomorrow," Mulder piped up. Both Scully and Avery looked at him, the former with a 'what the hell are you talking about' look on her face, the latter with a 'you have two heads' expression. "Hear me out," he said. "Scully and I haven't gotten a good look at where the other four kids were found yet. We'll go out to look at those, and it we run into anything, we're armed and we have our cell phones."

Scully bit back a comment about how many times he'd lost his gun and his cell phone.

Avery shrugged. "What the hell. It can't hurt. Just be careful and carry extra bullets. I've got enough problems with this case already."

"Okay," Mulder said. Scully walked over to him with a stern look on her face. He just knew that she was going to say something about it.

"Can I speak to you for a sec, Mulder?" Scully asked, jerking her thumb to the door to the conference room.

"Sure," Mulder said, and they walked out of the room. Scully led them down the hall to one of interrogation rooms. Once in there she turned to face him with fire in her eyes.

"What the hell is going on Mulder?" she asked with an edge to her voice.

"We've got to be out there tomorrow. This thing is going to attack again tomorrow and we've got to be out there to stop it," Mulder insisted.

"But how do you know?" Scully asked, pushing her face close to his.

"I've got a feeling," Mulder said, looking down at her.

"A feeling?"

"Yeah. I know it sounds like a weak idea, but I've got such a strong feeling that this thing is going to be out there again tomorrow, and we can catch this creature," he pleaded.

"Why don't you just ask Avery for some men to come with us then for an informal stakeout?" Scully asked, trying to urge him to think rationally.

Mulder sighed and propped himself up on the table in the small, dark room. "I would ask them but I honestly don't think they'll be able to help us catch this creature."

"It's a creature now?" Scully asked, puzzled.

"Call it Fox Mulder's spooky sense," he grinned. "And it's telling me that we have to be out in the forest behind the school tomorrow, early tomorrow morning, in order to stop the creature."

Scully was still wary, but Mulder's deep conviction in his feeling was something she knew to trust. "Okay," she conceded. "But if this feeling of yours lands you in the hospital again, I won't be responsible for my actions," she finished sternly.

Mulder hopped off the table, grasped her by the upper arms and placed a light kiss on her forehead. "Don't worry," he said softly. "Everything will be fine."

"I hope so," she said, but even that couldn't allay the sense of foreboding building in her stomach.

 Part Six-Battle Plans

"Thanks again, Helen," Catriona Ramsay said as Helen Calvert left the bakery. Cat sighed and turned back to where she was working on decorating a cake for a special occasion.

Helen had come to her that day tell her about one of the F.B.I. agents that was roaming around school because of that poor little boy that was found behind it. Helen said that this man reminded her of Fox. He'd had the same eyes, Helen remarked.

That was all Helen could say though. A guess based on a few second glimpse. But it gave Cat hope. If she combined this idea of Helen's with Shannon's dream of a grown up Fox with a red haired woman named Dana from a few weeks ago, she just knew that something was about to happen. Her witch's senses knew that soon she would see her little boy again.

At that moment five kids came into the bakery, led by a tall, oak brown haired, green-eyed boy. "Hey, Gramma," Alec Ramsay called out to the bakery, devoid of customers but inhabited by Cat and one of her helpers, Bryn Harrison.

The five walked behind the bakery counter and dropped their backpacks in a corner, their bodies following the bags down to rest on the floor. "What are you doing here?" Cat asked, even though she already knew from what Helen said. She'd decided not to tell anyone of this development from Helen, she felt things would come out in the open in their own time.

"Remember all those kids they found in the woods?" Alec said, coming over to Cat's side to take a swipe at the frosting on the cake. She gently slapped his hand away and Alec pouted. "They found another kid, so they sent us home so the cops and the feds could investigate."

Cat looked up into her grandson's eyes, and then over to where Brian, Juliette, Robynne, and Molly were slumped on the floor. "Bryn," Cat said. Bryn looked up, her curly hair bobbing around her face.


"Why don't you take Brian and Juliette in the back and show them where the fresh cookies are," Cat said smoothly.

Bryn walked over from her side of the counter to the door leading to the back room. "C'mon guys," she said. Juliette looked over at Brian. They knew Gramma, Alec, Molly, and Robbie were going to talk Dragon business, and until her and Brian became full Dragons they wouldn't be included in these talks. They resignedly got up and followed Bryn into the back room.

When they were out of sight Cat quickly wrapped up the cake and stuck it in the fridge. She motioned the other three over to a table by the display window. They sat down and began their war conference.

"Okay, do you have any idea who's doing this?" Cat asked them, more specifically directed at Molly who was pulling the leather bound book out of her backpack.

Molly flipped open to a bookmarked page. "Well, from what we can guess from what happened to Jenna it's a Cader-Ieran, one of the soul stealers."

Alec looked over at his grandmother. Her blue eyes glinted in the bakery light. She looked much younger than her sixty-two years. Her oak-brown hair, liberally streaked with grey, although still predominantly brown, was plaited and piled up on her head. Her voice still held the Irish accent, and it didn't lose any of its intensity ever since her and her husband Jerome came over from Ireland in 1957. Cat's face bore wrinkles from age and hardship, but ever since he was a little kid he could always remember her having a great beauty about her. Now, Cat was in her element as protector of the innocent.

"That's impossible," Cat said. "Cader's don't run loose any more because they're a danger to humans. The ones that are in existence are isolated on an island off of Norway and kept under strict watch."

"Like a prison?" Robynne asked.

"More like a preserve," Cat said. "It's not right to exterminate an entire species, so we isolated them, but permit them to breed, and feed them when they need to eat."

"But they eat..." Alec began with a disgusted look on his face. Cat had to bite back a smile as to how much Alec looked like Fox did when he was a little boy. It was the very reason Alec had earned the middle name Fox.

"Do they volunteer?" Molly asked, looking sick for the second time that day.

"Actually they get fed criminals who've committed serious crimes. They're not to discriminating about the souls they take. I know it's rather unorthodox and unethical," Cat shrugged, "but these are criminals who can't be punished by any court of the ordinary world. This way, we know they won't harm the world again."

"Then how did it get here?" Alec said.

"I wonder," Cat said, and leaned back in her chair. "If a Cader escaped there'd be an alert and we'd have all heard about it." Unless...she began to think.

Alec's brow ruffled and it was clear he had an idea. He looked over at Molly, but she didn't see him as she was staring down at the table looking slightly green and taking deep breaths. The conversation from before had made her slightly sick once more. "Hey, you okay?" he asked, putting an arm around her shoulder.

"I'll be okay," she said, breathing heavily.

Still keeping an arm around her Alec opened the book and paged through to another section. "Here," he said, pointing to the parchment. "I was looking through this on the bus, and I noticed this-a time slip."

"What's that?" Robynne said.

Cat broke in. Alec was thinking along the same lines she was. "It's where there's a rip in time. Normally, time is linear, moving from one second to the next. In a time slip, though, you can jump from one point in time, like five a.m., to another, say twelve p.m., in the space of a second."

"Like the book 'A Wrinkle In Time'?" Molly asked. Alec nodded. "So you think the Cader jumped from some time in the past when they weren't penned up, and is now feeding over here, in this time?"

"That's probably our best bet," Cat said. "Though I wonder, Cader's hardly feed, and there have been five kids in less than a month. So there's either more than one Cader, or this slip moves to different time periods."

"Maybe," Robynne began, "maybe the Cader's creating the time slip. Like, when it's time to feed the Cader makes the slip and gets its food from here. And maybe it developed a preference for sixteen-year-olds, so every time they pick one of those," she shrugged, capping off her idea.

"I suppose it's possible," Cat commented. "Cader's are reasonably intelligent. If one of them managed to get their hands on a spell book I'm sure they'd be capable of opening a time slip."

"There's just one problem with that," Alec said. "Brian told me that the last boy the found, the one from today was from his class."

"So either the Cader's getting hungrier or..." Robynne trailed off, leaving someone else to finish what her brain couldn't.

Molly suddenly sat up straight. "Or there's another Cader." Three pairs of eyes looked her way. "Okay, look. Try this scenario. What if when the original Cader who opened the slip was being watched by another Cader, and the next time the slip opened this other Cader jumped in along for the ride and that was the one that took the soul of this last boy."

Cat looked thoughtful for a second. "That's a good guess, but I'm pretty sure that the same Cader's causing the trouble. Either way you've still got to stop it before it eats anymore souls from this time."

Alec leaned forward, removing his arm from around Molly's shoulders. "Hold it. We have to do this as in," his eyes glided around to look at Robynne and Molly.

"As in the three of you," Cat confirmed. She smiled reassuringly at them. "Look, the three of you will be powerful enough to defeat it," she said, voicing a reassurance for one of their biggest fears. "Your best bet would be to disable the Cader, find the spell book which should be carried on its body, get the souls back. There is a way to do that, but we've got to do some searching for it. That'll be Molly's department." Molly nodded, knowing the actual physical defeat of the Cader would be up to the Dragons, Alec and Robynne, and it would be her job, the Witch's job, to cast the spell that would retrieve the kids' souls. "Then you send it back through the time slip and that should be it."

"Gee, it sounds so simple when you put it that way," Robynne said sardonically. "So when do we pull this off?" she asked.

"Tomorrow," Alec suddenly said. The heads swirled to look at him. "We have to be out there early tomorrow morning. That's when the next slip will be."

"Are you sure?" Cat asked. She knew each Dragon had abilities that were exclusive to them. Alec's ability was that he had abnormally strong instincts that sometimes turned into predictions for peoples' actions and when some things would occur.

He nodded. "Yeah, tomorrow morning."

Molly slammed the book shut with finality. "Well that settles it then. Tomorrow we go hunting."

At that moment Bryn returned with Brian and Juliette in tow. The war conference was over.

 Part Seven-Preparations for the battle between

 good and evil

 Saturday, September 26, 1998 5:00 a.m.

In the darkened hotel room Mulder twisted and turned on the bed. He didn't notice it though, being in a state of deep sleep. He was dreaming again.

He was on the hill again where the first dream started. He wasn't three years old this time, he was his regular age and dressed in a grey t-shirt and jeans. He found himself walking up the hill slowly, not dodging any wayward sheep.

When he crested the hill, the view was the same. Ahead and to the right of him was the large stone house, to the left, the towering cliffs. He stopped halfway in between each, unsure of where to go next.

He heard a small sound behind him. He whipped around, the wind tugging his hair in many directions. His eyes lit on the stone wall bordering the land between hill and cliff. They glided up the grassy hill, to come to a stop right in front of him, looking down into the hazel eyes of his younger self.

The boy and the man just stared at each other, neither one daring to do anything more than breathe. Suddenly the silence of sound and motion was broken by another child seeming to come out of nowhere and stop behind the boy. Mulder recognized her as Shannon, dressed in a dark blue dress with bare feet.

She looked up at him, placing her hands on the little boy's shoulders. "Tomorrow," she said with confidence. Her wavy oak brown hair swirled around her face.

Mulder cocked his head in a questioning manner. Shannon nodded and smiled brightly. "Tomorrow. Everything will be right tomorrow."

Without warning the wind picked up. Mulder lifted his hand to his eyes to shield them as the wind blew faster and faster. It reached a frightening speed, when suddenly he felt himself falling back. Back, back, back, until...

Mulder's eyes popped open. He was still in the hotel room, tangled up in the sheets. He looked over at the clock. It was only 5:10. He still had fifty minutes until it was time to get up. But he knew there was no chance in hell he'd be going back to sleep now.

He pulled himself out of bed, and regardless of the fact he was only in boxers, opened the door connecting his and Scully's room. To his surprise she was already up. The light next to her bed was on and she was reading a book. She put it down when she saw him coming through the door. "What's up, Mulder?" she asked.

He walked over and sat himself down on the bed next to her. "Couldn't sleep either?"

She looked over at him. "I just got up about ten minutes ago. I didn't think it was worth it to go back to sleep. Your excuse?"

Mulder sighed. "Another dream. This time I was in the same place as the first dream, the one with the big hill and the cliff. I walked up the hill, and stopped halfway between the house and the cliff. Then I heard something behind me, so I turn around and I see myself as three years old standing there. We're just staring at each other. Then Shannon-"

"Your older sister from the dreams?" Scully broke in with a question.

"Yeah. She suddenly appears behind the younger me and says that tomorrow everything will be right. Then there's a gust of wind and I woke up." He looked over at her with puppy dog eyes. "What do you think it means?"

Scully bit her lip, deep in thought, and Mulder had to exercise extreme will power not to kiss her at that moment. "Well," she said, "maybe it means you'll find your real family soon." She looked over at Mulder who was staring down at the comforter. She inaudibly sighed, trying to figure out how she was going to tell him her latest thoughts. "Hey, Mulder, did you notice the other day that boy Alec?"

"The one that looks incredibly like me, you mean?" his head turned back to look her in the eyes.

She shrugged. "Maybe he's a relative of yours. I mean, aside from some slight differences and the difference in height the two of you could be identical."

"Yeah, but what's the likelihood of that? Even if we are related what's the chance of looking as alike as that?"

Scully laughed. "I keep forgetting you haven't met my family. Let me just say it is very possible for family members to look that alike. One day, after Christmas a few years back, my brother Charlie's sister in law called him up and told him there was a picture of him in the local paper returning gifts. That was impossible because Charlie avoids malls like the plague during return season. He went to check the paper, and it turns out that it was another cousin of ours, one of at least five who look incredibly alike. So yes, Mulder it is possible for family members to look that alike."

"I guess it's worth checking out after the case is over," Mulder said hesitantly.

Scully smiled and interlaced his fingers with hers. "Good. Now, we have to get up and get moving. If we're going to get out this early you're treating me to breakfast." She tossed back the covers and moved to get out of bed. As she got out of the bed she was jerked back upon it by her waist and fell on top of Mulder, who was grinning at her.

"Breakfast? This early?" he mumbled while kissing her neck. She gently pushed his head away and turned around in his arms. She laid her forehead against his and wrapped her arms around his neck.

"I promise as soon as this case is over we take a vacation. No FBI, no annoying older brothers, just you and me," she whispered close against his lips.

"Okay," Mulder muttered. "I'll go get in the shower, and then treat you to breakfast."

"Good," she smiled, and they both went to prepare for the long day ahead.

At the same time somewhere across town Shannon Ramsay-Parker sat bolt upright in bed, startled awake from a dream. In her dream she saw her brother Fox, actually two versions of him. She herself was only about ten years old, and she was standing behind the little Fox. They were both staring at a man she just knew was what Fox looked like now. From what she could tell he'd grown up to be a good-looking man, even more handsome than Colin, and she remembered he was such a heartbreaker in school.

She also remembered herself telling him that tomorrow everything would be right. Did that mean that she would see him tomorrow? Shannon could only hope that's what the dream meant.

Shannon felt a stirring in the bed next to her. Her husband Johnathan sleepily opened his eyes and stared at her. "What are you doing up at this hour?" he asked in a barely awake voice.

She looked over at the clock. 5:15. Might as well get up. "I've got to meet Alec, Robbie, and Molly at the store. Remember? They're fighting the Cader today."

"Oh, yeah," Johnathan muttered, propping himself up on his elbows. "D'you need my help with anything?"

Shannon leaned down to brush a kiss on his lips. "Nah, Molly's got the spells covered. Just watch Brian and Juli today. And..." Shannon faltered, not sure of what she should be saying, "just...just be prepared for anything, okay?"

Johnathan wrinkled his forehead. "Why?"

"I've got a feeling, okay. Just be prepared," she smiled at him.

He let his elbows go out under him and flopped back on the bed. "Sure. I was a Boy Scout. I can do prepared..." He trailed off, quickly falling back to sleep.

Shannon smiled and got out of bed. She pulled on a t-shirt and a pair of jeans. She'd taken a shower the night before so she could sleep later in the morning. She did a quick once-over in the mirror, applied some lipstick, quickly brushed out her hair, once again mentally thanking the people at Manor Rd. Salon for removing all traces of grey from her hair. She pulled on a pair of boots and rushed down the stairs as quick as possible without waking any of the sleeping inhabitants.

She opened the garage door and gasped at the temperature. The warmth of the early fall day that was yesterday had changed overnight into a biting cold day. She pulled a heavy sweater out of the coat closet. She opened the garage door and pulled her car out into the early morning.

The car screeched to a halt in front of the bookstore. Shannon unlocked the door and raced through the bookstore to the stairwell in the back room. She climbed the stairs past the second floor meeting hall and up to the third floor library where the Dragon and Witch's books were.

The library walls lined with shelves that held all sorts of books of different colors and sizes. On one wall, between the shelves was a fireplace and on another a window. The three kids were already in the room. Robynne sat at the table in there, tugging at one of the two braids her hair was plaited into. Molly was looking at the books, her still wet hair pulled back into a ponytail and dripping down the back of her sweater. Alec was pacing in front of the window. All three had dressed for the colder weather and the storm they could just tell was brewing. At least according to the weather report the night before.

Alec stopped pacing when he heard the door open and saw Shannon enter. "Okay, what can we do?" he asked.

Shannon began walking over to the bookcase near Molly. "Your job is going to be easy. Knock the thing out. Disable it. Molly's going to have the hard job." She pulled a selection off the shelves and dropped them onto the table with a bang and a puff of dust. Robynne jumped back slightly, waved a hand in front of her face and coughed.

Molly dropped down into a chair along with Shannon. Alec looked over Molly's shoulder. "So what am I going to have to do?"

Shannon flipped open to a page in the first book and turned it to Molly. "Here's the spell to retrieve the souls of the others. It's a bit complicated, so it would be best to have the thing unconscious. Any disruptions would not help."

Molly's eyes scanned the page and sighed heavily. "Oh, this is gonna be real fun," she muttered. She looked up at Shannon. "What else is there?"

"If the time slip the Cader made is there, just send him back through, and close it up." She picked up another book and picked another page. Shannon's photographic memory enhanced by supernatural talents let her remember the content of every book stored in the library. "This is the spell that'll close the slip." She handed the book over, and Molly groaned when she saw it.

"I'm going to need a three day nap to recover from this," she whined. She looked up at Alec behind her, then at Robynne, and then at Shannon, who sat looking innocent. Too innocent. "There's more?!?" she yelped.

"Only if the Cader closed the slip behind him. Then you have to open it as well." She turned the book in front of Molly one page back. She looked at the page and slumped back in the chair. Alec placed both hands on her shoulders and rubbed. Molly's hands went up to cover his. Robynne shot a knowing glance at Shannon, who rubbed a hand over her face to hide a smile.

Molly leaned over and pulled a red, spiral bound notebook out of her backpack. "Let me just copy the spells down. I'm not lugging all those books with me." She took out a special fountain pen she used only for writing spells and began to copy them down in the notebook in bright green ink.

When she was finished she slipped the book back in her backpack, stood up, and shouldered it. "Well, we better get going then, before too many people wake up." Robynne stood up next and the three moved to the door.

"Good luck," Shannon called after them. When they were gone she turned to the phone sitting on the table. She punched in the familiar number and waited for someone to pick up. "Hi," she said after two rings. "Yeah, I know it's not even six yet, Mama, but I have to tell you about this dream I had last night..."

 6:45 a.m.

Mulder parked the rental car in the parking lot for Sliver Lake park and the crossed the street to the entrance on the base of the hill. As Mulder unlocked the padlock on the small gate in the stone wall Scully looked up through the forest. The sky which should have been growing lighter was beginning to brew with storm clouds. She could see the faint outline of the back of the school through the leaves still not changed from their summer green.

Suddenly the sound of the padlock shattered the early morning stillness. Mulder pulled it open and dusted his hands off on his jeans. "After you," he said with a smile. Scully walked through and Mulder followed, shutting the gate behind them. They began to hike up the small paved path leading up the hill.

Scully pulled her jacket tighter around her in the cold, early morning air. "Did we really have to come out here this early?" she asked, trying to keep the whine out of her voice. She felt Mulder's comforting hand on her back.

"Yeah, I think we have to be out here." He looked down at her, "I know it's early and it's cold, but it'll be over soon, and then we can go home," he said, his voice distant.

She looked up at the sudden hollowness of his voice. She turned around and stopped in front of him. "Are you okay?" she asked. He pulled his steps up short.

"Yeah, I'm okay," He wrinkled his brow in puzzlement. "Why?"

She shook her head. "You just seemed really distant again." She rubbed a hand over her forehead. "I'm sorry. I'm...I'm just tired. I need a good night's sleep," she sighed, dismissing her actions. She wasn't really tired, but that was the only was she could explain the growing sense of apprehension in her stomach.

Mulder wrapped a sweater-clad arm around her and they began walking up the path once more. "You were right before. I think we both really need a vacation." She let out a low laugh and he smiled at her. "So where's the first site?" he asked.

Scully pulled a hand drawn map made by one of the officers. "I think--" she broke off abruptly. "Look at that," she said, pointing a hand into the trees.

Mulder looked over her head and looked into the forest. He didn't see anything out of place, but then his eyes lit on a bright flash of red that wasn't supposed to be there. Then he saw the shape of three people. Two of them being Molly Addison and Alec Ramsay. "Well, well, well, what have we here? Think we ought to go find out what they're doing here?" he asked, removing his arm from her shoulders, becoming consummate professionals once more. They began to move off the path and into the trees.

The three kids hadn't heard them coming, they were still talking amongst themselves when Mulder and Scully were only about five feet away from them. "Fancy seeing you here," Mulder said calmly.

The three jumped around, Molly yelping in surprise. "Wha-what are you doing here?" Robynne managed to stutter out.

"The same could be asked of you," Scully said, crossing her arms over her chest.

Molly looked at Alec. They hadn't expected any intrusions or unexpected visitors so they didn't have any prepared cover story. Alec's look told her that she should take the lead. "Uh...I had lost a book out here when I found Jenna so we were just out here looking for it." She smiled her most winsome smile.

Mulder glanced down at his watch. "At five to seven on a Saturday morning?"

Robynne broke in with the next lie. They couldn't tell the agents why they were out there, they'd be tossed in the loony bin for sure. "There's a field hockey game later. We thought we'd get an early start."

Scully and Mulder looked at each other. Captain Avery had told them that all school activities were canceled over the weekend because of the stakeout. "Nice try," he said and Robynne shrugged. "So what exactly are you doing out here?" The three didn't say a word but looked at the trees, ground, anywhere but at them. Mulder sighed. He looked at Scully and caught the meaning of her glance. "All right you three, let's go."

"Go where?" Alec asked, a stubborn look on his face. Scully thought that at that moment he looked too much like Mulder.

"Up to the school," Mulder said. "We've got to have a little chat." The boy and the man stood there, both refusing to budge. Molly looked at Robynne, then at Agent Scully, who she found had a look of amusement of her face similar to the one that was on her own. Molly rolled her eyes and Robynne looked skyward and muttered something unintelligible. Something shiny caught Robynne's eyes. Her head turned towards it, but all she saw was more trees. But there was something there. She was positive of it...

"Fine," Alec eventually said, clenching his teeth. He turned around and began walking up the hill, Mulder following closely. The three women hurried to catch up with them.

Suddenly Robynne's eyes saw the shiny thing again, a few feet ahead of Alec and Mulder. Before she could shout out a warning the shiny thing flashed and they all found themselves being pulled at, as if they were in a giant wind tunnel.

 Part Eight-Battle of Revelations

The group felt themselves being pulled in all directions. Scully forced her eyes opened to find she couldn't see anything, it was all darkness. She reached out to Mulder blindly, and felt his hand take hers. She couldn't see him, but she just knew it was his hand.

Suddenly something gave and they felt themselves falling. Within seconds they made impact, the breath rushing out of them.

Alec rolled onto his back and gasped for air. Without even opening his eyes he knew something was not right. Next to him Molly was struggling to get her arms to prop her up, all the while spitting out grass. Robynne was holding her aching head in her hands.

Scully pushed herself off of where she landed on Mulder and stood up. She reached down and pulled Mulder to his feet. He was rubbing the back of his head where it hit the ground. She checked him over briefly to make sure he didn't have a concussion. Then she turned to the three kids, who were standing on shaky legs. But then, they all got a good look at where they were.

They were still on a hill, but this time it was covered in green grass. The formerly near stormy sky was now a bright, clear blue. At the bottom of the hill was a large, nearly still lake that had an almost silver gleam to it. In the distance they could see the ocean, and to another side mountainous hills. "Oh, man," Mulder breathed.

"I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," Alec quipped. Molly looked over at him with an unbelieving look on her face. How could he joke at a time like this, she thought. But Molly's thoughts turned back to more important things. She was almost positive what they encountered was the time slip. They were in the exact same spot as they were in the forest, but this was before the forest grew in. And that was Silver Lake down that way. Her train of thoughts was interrupted by Scully's voice.

"What's that?" she pointed to a thing near the lake. A thing that was beginning to move in their direction. The three kids gasped. This proved that their guesses on what was causing the kids to lapse into comas was right. What was approaching them was a Cader-Ieran, and even from their distance away they could see its teeth bared in anticipation.

The three turned around to look at Mulder and Scully, who stared back. "We really should move," Robynne said.

"Why?" Mulder began to ask, but he was stopped by Scully's hand on his arm. She saw the creature that she couldn't identify for the life of her approaching at a faster and faster speed. He saw it and him and Scully began edging backwards.

Molly looked over her shoulder and saw the large body of the Cader gaining speed. "Run!" she screamed, and they all turned and ran up the hill as fast as they could.

Before they could get anywhere though the light flashed again, and once more they found themselves in darkness, being pulled in all directions by unknown forces. This time when they landed they fell into piles of dirt and fallen leaves. The impact wasn't as bad as the first time, so they managed to pick themselves up quickly. Now, they realized they were back where they first started, in the forest behind the school. Molly saw that the backpack she dropped when she first felt the slip pulling them in was still lying on the ground. When Mulder got his breath back, and after checking to see if Scully was all right, he turned to the three kids, leaning against a tree while they caught their breath.

"What the hell was that?" Mulder demanded.

The three looked at each other. They were trapped. They didn't know what to do. If they told him the truth, he'd think that they were crazy. They didn't know that he'd been known to have some crazy ideas of his own but that wasn't the point. Alec noticed that the two girls were glaring more and more pointedly at him. "Uh..." he stuttered.

From out of nowhere a large mass struck Mulder from the side and they both went flying, landing in between two large trees.

"Fox!" Scully yelled, to her immense surprise. Molly heard the word and shot another pointed glance at Alec, who let his head hang for a second in concedence. Suddenly Molly grabbed her head in pain. Somehow the Cader's thoughts were making their way into her head. Through the jumbled mess in her head Molly was able to distinguish why the Cader was attacking Agent Mulder-the untapped Dragon energy would fuel it for a long time. Pieces to a thirty-five year puzzle were beginning to fall into place.

Next to Molly Scully began to run where Mulder was to try to pull whatever it was attacking Mulder off of him. She was stopped, though, by Molly's outstretched arm. Scully glared angrily up at her, but Molly shook her head no. Then, Molly turned her head to look at Alec, and they nodded in sync.

Scully stared at Alec, her mouth dropping open. The boy's skin began to change into a deep, glowing, green color, and took on a strange texture. Alec crouched down, placing his palms down flat on the ground. Suddenly his body began to change. With a flash of green light a Dragon stood next to Molly. Scully saw that the Dragon's scales were the same color as Alec's bright green eyes. But then, she figured, the Dragon was Alec. Even crouched down, the Dragon was as tall as Molly. Scully could only imagine how big he was standing up.

The dragon let out a loud roar. And at that moment, all hell broke loose.

Meanwhile, Mulder saw the creature over him, clawing at his clothes. Deep inside, he knew this was why they had to be out there. That it was up to them to defeat this thing which was somehow harming the kids. He pushed his hands against the body of the creature, trying to prevent the sharp teeth from coming anywhere near him.

Suddenly he felt a energy course through his veins from sources unknown. His hands began to clench and unclench against the creature's furry body. He felt his eyes begin to burn. If he was looking in a mirror, he would have seen his eyes glowing a bright hazel color. He felt the energy center in his arms. From somewhere he heard a loud yell, almost a roar. Hazel eyes flashed, and Mulder gave the creature a mighty push and sent the Cader flying off of him.

The Cader landed in a heap a few yards away from him. Mulder's eyes widened when he saw the creature be attacked by what appeared to be a Dragon. A living, breathing Dragon, like something out of a fairy tale. He was too achy to move at the moment so he just stared at the fight.

Scully saw the creature go flying off Mulder. She thought she was seeing things, but she could have sworn Mulder pushed it off of him. Without a second thought she ran over to where he lay on the ground gasping for breath and staring at the fight. "Are you okay?" she asked breathlessly.

Mulder reached a hand up to caress her face. "I'm okay. A little achy, but okay." His eyes looked past her to the two creatures. "But what the hell is that?"

"I've got no clue," Scully said.

Molly looked at Alec and the Cader embroiled in a fight. Luckily it looked like Alec was winning. She glanced at Robynne standing next to her. It didn't seem as if they would need her Dragon abilities right now, so Molly bent down and whispered to her. "Why don't you go over there and help Agent Scully with Agent Mulder. And while you're at it, drop a few subtle hints."

Robynne looked up at her and nodded, picking up on what she was saying. She skirted the fight and rushed over to where Scully was trying to prop Mulder up against a tree. She knelt down next to the partners and took one of Mulder's shoulder's and helped Scully get him upright. She caught Scully's look of thanks, but then it changed to a questioning one. "What is that?" Scully asked of the two creatures fighting.

Robynne shrugged. "A problem." When Mulder was leaning against the tree trunk she turned her eyes back to the fight and began the 'subtle questioning'. "So, I'm guessing your first name is Fox judging by what she called out."

"Yeah," Mulder said, the question evident in his voice.

Robynne shrugged. "I had an uncle with that name once. Disappeared, though, about thirty five years ago, when he was three."

Mulder and Scully shared and incredulous glance. Could this girl be saying what they thought she was saying. Scully grabbed hold of the arm of her windbreaker, and Robynne looked up at her. "What did you just say?" Scully asked.

Robynne just smiled a knowing smile and brushed her braids off of her shoulders.

At that moment there was a crash. Three heads turned to see the creature sliding down the now slightly bent trunk of a tree, falling in an unconscious heap on the ground. The Dragon stood back, and to Mulder's immense surprise turned into Alec, who collapsed on the ground, breathing hard. Robynne got up from Mulder's side and ran over to Alec, muttering "I should be a nurse."

Mulder looked up at Scully. "What the hell is going on?" he asked. Scully just shook her head, and they turned their eyes once more to the scene enfolding.

Molly ran over to the fallen creature, dropping to her knees as she pulled a notebook out of her backpack. After that she pulled out a small glass bottle with a cork stopper. She quickly flipped open to a page and began reciting words under her breath that neither Mulder nor Scully could understand. As her words went on, the creature's body began to glow with a sickly color. Suddenly the sickly color shifted and it began to pour itself into the little glass bottle. When it was finished, Molly quickly grabbed the cork, stopped it up, and slid it into her backpack.

She turned her attention back to the creature. Mulder and Scully saw the irises of Molly's eyes begin to cloud over as she whispered more unintelligible words. They stared wide-eyed as the creature began to lift up in the air without any help. The creature floated over to where they could now see a patch of something shimmering in the air. It went through the shimmery patch, and disappeared.

Molly suddenly stood up, holding her notebook in her hands and backing away from the shimmery patch. She recited more words, ending the sequence on a shout. The patch flashed brightly, blinding them all for a few seconds. When their vision cleared, the shimmery patch was gone, and Molly had rushed over to where Alec was still trying to catch his breath.

Mulder scrambled to his feet and walked over to the three kids, Scully following quickly behind him. The kids had managed to get Alec to his feet, but he was still being helped to stay upright by Molly's arm around his waist. "Why did you tell me that story?" Mulder demanded.

"What story?" Alec asked, puzzled and still tired.

"The name thing," Molly said, not looking at him. Alec rolled his eyes and rubbed a hand over his face.

"Yeah," Mulder said. "Why did you tell me a story about some long lost uncle of yours who coincidentally has the same name as me?" Mulder was purposely acting a little ignorant to find out what they knew. Mulder knew that the reason they told him the story was because of the name Scully had called out, which was the same one as a lost family member of theirs. The pieces just seemed to fit together.

Molly looked at him incredulously, then to Alec, and back to him. "Look at the two of you! You guys look too damn alike! Try and tell me there's not some connection here," Molly almost yelled.

Scully looked at Mulder and shrugged her shoulders. Her look was telling him that what Molly just said mirrored what she herself had said that morning.

"Look," Robynne said. "Why don't you come with us to see our aunt. She'll be able to tell know...if it's true."

Mulder looked at Scully this time. Both were unsure as to what to do with the offer. "It can't hurt," Alec broke in with a smart-ass smile on his face. "We're not going to turn into serial killers on the way there so what can it hurt?"

"Okay," Mulder said, making the final decision. "We'll go. Just tell us how to get there."

"Uhhh..." Molly stuttered. "D'you think you could give us a ride maybe? We took the bus here."

Mulder rubbed a hand over his eyes. "Whatever. Let's just get going."

The group made its way down the hill, out the gate, across the street, and to the car. As he was nearing the car Mulder suddenly gasped and grabbed his head. Scully rushed over to his side. "Are you okay?" she asked, grabbing onto his arm.

Mulder carefully nodded. "Yeah. Just a sudden headache. I'll be okay."

Scully looked doubtful, but she said "Okay. But I'm driving. We don't need you passing out over the wheel." She held out her palm for the keys and Mulder, almost a little reluctantly, handed them over.

They all got into the car and it began to make its way through the streets of Staten Island. Soon, they pulled up in front of the bookstore. 'Dragon's Den', Mulder noted the sign, 'There's got to be some significance to that.'

They left the car and headed towards the building. Alec, Molly, and Robynne went in first, only to find Shannon pacing in circles in front of the cashier. "Where are they?" she asked when they got through the door.

"Who?" Alec asked, knowing full well who she was talking about.

"Don't give me that crap. You know--." Her words were cut off at the sight of Mulder and Scully coming through the door. At her first glance at Mulder she knew he was the same person as from her dream, and that things were going to happen. NOW.

Mulder stared at the tall woman with oak brown hair and hazel eyes and felt his head begin to buzz. There was something so familiar about her. He found his mouth forming a word before he realized it. "Shannon?" he said, and then his head went blank and he fell to the floor, out cold.

Scully saw the resemblance between Mulder and the woman and began to make the connections. When Mulder had asked her name her ideas were confirmed, but then he fell to the floor. "Mulder" she gasped out, and fell to her knees beside him.

Shannon bent over next to her and peered down at Mulder. "Should I call for an ambulance?" she asked.

Scully shook her head. Something strange had happened when she began examining Mulder for a head trauma. She could feel something in her fingers that came from Mulder that told her he was fine. "," she said. "I think that his memories are coming back. That's why he collapsed. Maybe the sudden shock of it caused it. An ambulance wouldn't help at all." she said shakily.

Shannon looked over at Scully. She could tell this woman knew Fox much better than she did, and that she should trust her. But she knew she could help. "We should get him out of here."

Scully looked up at her, puzzled. "Where should we take him?" she asked before she could question Shannon's motives.

"My mother's house. It's not five minutes from here. When he wakes up, if he's got any questions, Mama's the one to ask." Scully caught the same term Mulder used to refer to his mother from the dreams, and that made something inside her become sure that this was the thing to do. Dimly she noted that her faculties for logic were scampering off into the sunset.

"Okay," Scully nodded. She looked up at the three kids standing off to the side, looking intensely curious and frightened at the same time. "Help get him into the car," she asked them, and the kids came over and between the five of them managed to lift Mulder's prone form up enough to make it through the door and into the backseat of their rental car.

"I'm going to go with them," Molly suddenly said. "I'll show them the way to get there." Scully was a little surprised by this, but right now she was still a little in shock from all the developments.

"Okay," Shannon said. "We'll meet you there." Shannon, Alec, and Robynne piled into her car and drove off.

Scully and Molly got into her own car, and Scully started it, soon following the same path Shannon took. "I guess this is a bit of a shock," Molly suddenly said.

Scully sighed. "You could say that."

"Do you think it's true?" Molly asked.

"Think what's true?" Scully said, puzzled.

"That he's-" she jerked a thumb into the back seat to where Mulder was still out "Shannon's brother. The 'long lost' one."

Scully bit her lip. She wasn't sure Mulder would like her telling this strange girl things that he remembered that they both considered personal. But from all outward signs this girl knew more about the story than Mulder did. "I suppose it could be true. He'd had some dreams with a girl named Shannon in it. I'm guessing from his reaction that she more than resembles this Shannon here. He also mentioned a woman named Mama, and that's what Shannon called her mother. Does Shannon have a brother named Colin?" Scully asked hesitantly.

Molly grinned and nodded her head. "That's Alec and Robynne's father. He's out of town right now though. Any other questions you have can probably be answered by Cat, uh, Mama."

Scully ran a hand over her face. "I guess that I'll get to meet her too, right?"

"Yeah. We'll be there soon. I personally want to get there and get to sleep," Molly sighed, leaning against the car door.

"Tired?" Scully looked over at her with a confused look on her face. "It's not even eight yet."

"Yeah, but those spells really took it out of me," Molly said.

Scully's brow wrinkled. "Spells? As in magic spells?" she asked with an incredulous tone to her voice.

Molly suddenly smiled brightly. "You'll find everything out as soon as we get there. You two have a lot to learn."

Almost imperceptibly, Scully's foot pressed the gas pedal harder.

 Part Nine-'There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy'

Catriona paced back and forth in front of the side door to her home. Any minute now she would see the two cars pulling up the long, sloped driveway. She knew exactly what those two cars contained: six people, one of which was currently unconscious and had a bed made up for him on the couch in the family room. Her brown plaited hair had come loose from its knot and the long braid now dangled well past her hips.

Thirty-five years. It had been thirty-five years since Fox disappeared. And now, those thirty-five years seemed like they only spanned a minute.

Finally the two cars pulled up. One was Shannon's that she recognized immediately. The other car was a non-descript dark blue Taurus. From Shannon's car she, Alec, and Robynne got out. From the other car came Molly and a smaller redhead she didn't recognize. In the back of the car Cat knew was the man her little boy had become. Suddenly she noticed the cold wind whipping around and burrowing its way into her bones.

"Come on in!" Cat suddenly cried. She saw the smaller redhead start, ('That's probably Dana,' Cat guessed) probably at her accent. Most people didn't expect to hear it coming from her mouth. Although she figured a name like 'Catriona' would give them a hint. "It's frigid out here!" With that she turned and walked in through the wooden door, leaving it open in invitation for the others to come in.

Scully stared after the older woman walking into the house, her skirt flaring out behind her. 'Was that Mulder's real mother?' she wondered.

Suddenly Scully sucked in a deep breath and pressed her palms flat against the car door. 'What the hell am I doing?' she thought frantically. 'I'm following people I don't know at all with a partner who could be seriously injured--'

'But what about what your gut is telling you? That all that's wrong with Mulder is that he's getting his memories back. That you know deep down that this really is his family,' that little nagging voice popped up in her head. Scully pushed the voice back down and went on with her mental tirade.

'And I'm willingly, willingly following people I don't know, don't trust because of a hunch. A pretty damn extreme hunch.'

That little voice popped up once more. 'You do trust them though, on an instinctual level. They're Mulder's family, they would never do anything to hurt you.'

She mentally kicked the voice for jumping ahead and assuming that this was Mulder's real family, although she wouldn't admit to herself that the voice was probably right. A hand came down on her shoulder. Scully turned to see Shannon's hazel eyes ('Mulder's eyes,' it occurred to her) staring down at her. "We really should get him inside. It is getting cold out here."

Scully looked at Mulder, stretched out across the back of the Taurus, and then up to Shannon once more. "Yeah. That's a good idea," she said, placing a trust in unknown sources that this situation would not turn out badly. "Should we carry him inside?"

Shannon looked over at Molly, who rapidly shook her head. "Nah-uh. No way." She backed up a step and tripped on a loose piece of gravel and stumbled, the only thing preventing her from meeting the ground was Alec's arm suddenly going around her waist.

"I guess we carry him then," Shannon said. She moved over to the door by Mulder's feet and pulled it open. Scully moved over to Mulder's head. She saw his eyes moving rapidly under closed eyelids. She gently ran a hand through his hair, and he seemed to relax at her touch.

"So how do you want to do this?" Scully asked, at a loss as to how to get Mulder out of the car without hurting him.

"Uh..." Shannon stuttered, at a loss for an idea. Finally, after a few minutes of gentle pushing and pulling, Mulder's body was out of the car and being carried by the five people to the house.

They got him through the door, and Scully found herself in a short hallway. The hallway almost immediately opened up to a large room with a dark, wood-beamed ceiling and white walls. To the right and left of her the walls were embedded with windows. The ones on the right, the front side of the house, looked out over Staten Island, and the one on the left facing the back of the house looked out on a garden, grass, and trees. Her eyes then flew to the couch facing the back window, made up with pillows and sheets and had the woman standing at the head of it. "You can put him right here," the woman said. The five moved over to it and gently laid him down.

 The group began to disperse. Robynne began to walk into another hallway opposite the one they entered by, saying "I'm going to get some breakfast, Gramma." Alec went over and turned on the TV and sat himself down on the loveseat facing it, slouching down with an exhausted sigh. Molly bent down and unzipped her backpack. She pulled out the little bottle that had the sickly looking color contained in it, shifting and swirling within its glass confinement, and handed it to the woman Scully had determined was Shannon's, and possibly Mulder's, Mama. "Got it," Molly grinned at her, handing her the bottle.

Cat smiled and took the bottle from her. "Perfect," she whispered. She walked over to one of the front windows and pushed it open. She placed the bottle on the windowsill and uncorked it. The sickly color flowed out of the bottle and dissolved into the air.

"What the hell is going on?" Scully suddenly broke in. Shannon and Cat turned to her, with puzzled looks on their faces. Scully continued. "I mean from their unexplainable stunt in the woods," she waved a hand back at Alec and Molly who were both slumped on the loveseat, oblivious to the conversation that was taking place because they were both on their way to falling asleep, "to why I'm here following people I don't know just because of Mulder and his uncanny resemblance!"

Cat walked over to the couch and sat down on the floor next to it, near Mulder's feet, showing surprising agility for her older age. She patted the floor and looked at Scully. "Come on and sit down."

Scully looked wary, the conflicting feelings being reflected in her eyes. She wasn't sure she should, but something inside her knew that this older woman was to be trusted. Cat suddenly grinned at her. "You feel it, don't you," she said. "That feeling inside of you that says I'm not going to hurt you." Scully's mouth slowly opened, wondering how this woman knew what she felt. Cat nodded. "I know. I've felt that feeling many times myself." She patted the floor in front of her once more. "Come sit down and I'll tell you my story."

Scully slowly sat down, crossing her legs. Cat's accented voice began to take on a singsong quality as she began to speak. "Alec called here before while you were in the car and told me how you had called your partner by his first name, Fox. I had a son named Fox, who disappeared when he was almost four years old. I remember the date, August 24, 1965."

'That was the date that Mulder first appeared on Martha's Vineyard according to the police report,' Scully thought.

Cat looked at Shannon. "Get the picture from the mantle, please," she asked. Shannon nodded and retrieved the picture, handing it to Cat. Then she sat down a distance away from them in an easy chair. "This is him," Cat said handing the picture over to Scully. Scully took it gingerly.

The picture was a black and white picture of a little boy, no more than three years old, sitting on a big reclining chair, still dressed in his pajamas. The little boy had dark hair that stuck up all different angles, with a wide smile that had an mischievous look to it, and there was a noticeable birthmark on his right cheek. Scully reached into her jacket pocket and brought her wallet out. She pulled a picture out of it that Mulder had given to her one day. It was taken when Mulder was about eight years old, and was of him and a four year old Samantha at the beach. Aside from the wet, slicked back hair of the young Mulder, and the slight difference in age between the boys in the picture, they could have been identical.

She handed both pictures over to Cat. "That picture is of Mulder, Fox, when he was eight years old," and let her fill in the rest of the blanks.

Cat nodded. "The resemblance is incredible."

Scully shook her head and rubbed a hand across her forehead. "This is..." she couldn't finish her sentence.

Cat smiled sympathetically. "It's a lot to take in."

Suddenly both women were distracted by movement on the couch next to them. Scully's head whipped around to see Mulder's body moving restlessly on the couch. And shortly after that, his eyes opened.

Mulder's mind whirled. His head was filled with images both unknown and yet familiar at the same time. A birthday cake with a three on it. Walking down a rocky beach holding onto the hand of his father. Playing a game of catch with an older boy who looked like him, his older brother. A tall, dark haired woman with sparkling blue eyes, Mama, singing him to sleep. The memories all of a sudden broke through the haziness of his memory, and he felt his body twist on the couch. He now knew exactly who he was before he forgot, who he grew up to be, and who he was now. His eyelids suddenly burst apart and he found himself looking up at a dark, wood-beamed ceiling.

Scully's face appeared above him. "Are you okay?" she asked worriedly, her hand stroking the side of his face.

"I...I remember everything," he said in a breathy, whispery way. He sat up abruptly, staring wildly around him. His eyes fixated on Cat, staring into hers. "Mama," he whispered, and Cat smiled a wry grin. Mulder let out a deep breath and slouched against the back of the couch.

Scully sat up on her knees and touched his face with her fingertips. "What's going on, Mulder?" she asked.

"I remember everything," he said, staring her in the eyes. "Who I was before I was with the Mulders. It's all back in my head." His eyes wandered around the room once more. "I've been in this room before."

Cat's voice spoke up from behind Scully. "Well if you are who I think you are you've spent quite a lot of time here. You grew up in this house."

Mulder and Scully looked at her, and then back at each other. "I think she's right," Mulder said. "I think she's..." he couldn't finish the line, out of fear or hope or maybe a combination of both.

Scully nodded. "I think you're right." Mulder smiled slightly with surprise at her quick acceptance, but he had figured something had happened while he was taking a little trip into his memories. "But I think we should do a blood test, just for confirmation." She looked over at Cat.

"I've no objections to that. It's best to be positive. Although I'm sure that Mulder here is my dear, sweet long lost son," Cat smiled serenely.

"Sweet?" Scully said disbelievingly, and Mulder pouted. "I can think of plenty of words to call you, but sometimes sweet isn't one of them," Scully grinned in a playful way.

"Oh believe me, he was no angel as a kid either," Cat spoke up, and Mulder and Scully sat back to listen to her. "The amount of trouble this one got into had me running around frantic a good part of the day."

Scully looked pointedly at Mulder, and he hung his head, trying not to laugh at her expression. Cat's description sounded decidedly Mulder-like. By this time Mulder and Scully were sure that he was Catriona Ramsay's son, even without the proof of a blood test. And Cat knew it because of the bond that is shared between all families.

Cat spoke up, voicing an observation she had come to from watching the short interaction between the two F.B.I. agents. "So you two are just partners, huh?" she asked, her crooked grin signifying she thought otherwise. Mulder and Scully both blushed and looked at the floor.

"Is it that obvious?" Mulder asked.

"The way you were acting in here it is. Outside, though, is probably a whole different story." Cat winked at them. "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone who's not supposed to know."

Mulder straightened up, swinging his feet onto the floor next to Scully. "I've got a question though. What the hell was going on in that forest? I've seen some-" here he glanced at Scully, "-pretty strange things in my time and I've got to say that this was one of the strangest."

Cat primly folded her hands in her lap. "In short, a Cader-Ieran, a soul stealer, was coming into the woods through a time slip, a sort of bridge between times, and attacking those five kids because he needed their souls for food," she said bluntly.

Scully gaped at her. "You expect us--" she began to say out of habit, but then she realized exactly what she saw in the forest that morning and revised her question. "What about the Dragon? I know I wasn't hallucinating this morning and I saw Alec physically transform into a Dragon, a creature of myth and legend."

Mulder's mind thought back to some of the dreams he had, and some of the story began to come together. "I had some dreams about this," he said. "About you showing me, Shannon, and Colin a diagram of the family tree in a cave and you telling us a story about there being Dragon blood in the family. Seeing Shannon make her hand get covered in scales, Dragon scales. And you telling me that you were a Witch." Scully sat in silent agreement, having heard what happened in his dreams before.

Cat nodded. "Those things all happened, and it's all true. The Ramsay family is one of the few families in this world that are descended from Dragons. No one knows the logistics of this, but somehow, the blood running through the veins is part Dragon. That includes you."

"But Dragons have never been proved to exist," Mulder said. "Most medieval accounts of Dragon sightings have never been considered accurate."

"Some are. Some are of people using the Dragon side of their heritage, whether it be for transportation or like Alec was doing this morning, to defeat some evil that needed to be defeated. Some are actual Dragons, not people with Dragon blood. The appearance of an actual Dragon is rare, they don't come out often because they don't have the human blood in them, and can't blend in with ordinary people. And some...some are just the delusions of people looking for explanations of ordinary things."

Scully looked up at Mulder, the fantastic tale astounding her and making sense at the same time. He sat, the wonderment obvious on his face. "What about you being a Witch?" was Mulder's next question.

Cat shrugged. "I am. Not a Witch in the Disney sense of the word, the evil witches whose sole purpose is to be bad. And we're not like Wiccans either. This kind of Witch is someone who is more in touch with the world around them. Basically we can communicate with nature. We can talk with everything from trees to the ocean. When we cast spells we're asking nature to help us. Sometimes nature will help us without our even asking, a Witch just realizes exactly what's going on where an ordinary person wouldn't. Our powers are there from birth. You can't predict which family a Witch is going to come from. It's not like Dragons, where the blood is passed down from generation to generation, they just appear. There have been some theories saying that Witches evolved as a balance for Dragons. Dragons are notoriously hot-tempered, whereas a Witch is more prone to think things through. When a mission is undertaken, like this morning, a Dragon and a Witch always work in a pair to form a balance."

"So how do I recognize a Witch?" Mulder asked. Scully sat back, knowing that the questions more applied to Mulder than herself. She was content for the moment to sit back and soak this newfound knowledge in.

Cat let out an exasperated breath. She was surprised he didn't figure out who the other Witch was yet. "It's instinctual," she shrugged. "Neither a Dragon nor a Witch is ordinary, and they can each sense that quality in the other. That and the fact that Witches and Dragons are naturally drawn to each other." Cat began to stare pointedly at Scully.

Scully caught the stare and shrunk back a little uncharacteristically. "What are you looking at me for?" she asked shakily. Mulder looked down at her too, worrying about her sudden discomfort.

"Have you had any experiences recently that would be considered out of the ordinary?" Cat asked calmly.

"You think I'm a Witch?" Scully gaped incredulously.

"I think it's highly possible," Cat said softly, trying to calm the agitated Scully down. She knew, though, just from looking at Scully that she was indeed a Witch who had a connection with her son. "Still, has anything that's out of the ordinary happened to you very recently?"

Scully bit her lip, deep in thought. One incident in a school bathroom came to mind. She felt Mulder's hand stroke her shoulder. "What is it?" he asked, close to her ear.

She closed her eyes and then slowly re-opened them. "Yesterday, up at the school, I had confronted Molly in the bathroom, and in her backpack, I saw one of her books turn into another book. It was different from the school textbook; it was leather bound, with gilded pages."

Cat nodded. "Molly cast a glamour on the book, an illusion to disguise the true nature of some things from ordinary people. It's not so easy to hide things from a fellow Witch."

Scully sat back against the front of the couch and crossed her arms in front of her. Mulder slid off the couch to sit next to her and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. Cat reached over and rubbed Scully's arm comfortingly. "Don't worry, you'll get used to it. Most Witches realize their abilities when they're very young. And the young accept these things much more easily than adults do."

"I think I've got to get used to some things myself," Mulder whispered in her ear, and Scully let out a small smile and leaned her head against his.

"I've got a question," Scully said, still leaning against Mulder. "What was that thing that Molly pulled out of that creature? What she had in that bottle?"

"Those were the souls the Cader-Ieran had taken. You can't destroy a soul, so they're imprisoned inside the Cader until the Cader dies. At that time the souls go back to their original bodies, if they're still alive. If they're not, well, it's believed they have a choice to go on either to the afterlife, or to be reincarnated into another body. What Molly did was move up that process a little bit. It sounds a little brutal, but when she pulled the souls out of the Cader, she effectively killed it. What I did was release the souls so they could find their way back to their respective bodies." Cat smiled at them. "Any more questions?"

Mulder smiled an identical grin back at her. "You know it."

At that moment, the five kids who were comatose, Jenna Dreiser, Adam Douglas, Michelle Sellers, Peter Lanson, and Jason Ericson, came back to life, their souls restored to their bodies.

 Part Ten


 Friday, October 9, 1998 10:30 p.m. Staten Island

Mulder guided the car along the highway easily, the late hour saw not too many people driving. He glanced over at Scully peacefully sleeping in the passenger seat, and he smiled. The past two weeks had been pretty hectic, and this was the earliest they could get away for vacation.

After that fateful Saturday they had spent a few more days in Staten Island, running tests on the newly awakened kids. Of course, nothing abnormal could be found in their systems, and all traces of digitalis and the strange compound were gone. Mulder had figured that it was a residual effect of having their souls returned to their bodies.

Back in D.C. they had to deal with the usual paperwork that's left when a case is finished. They did put in for vacation though, and managed to get a Monday off for a three day weekend.

They decided to head back up to Staten Island. Cat had invited them to come over any time, so they decided to take her up on the offer. In the past two weeks though Mulder had spent a good hour of every night on the phone playing catch-up with Cat and his father, Jerome, and Shannon. It would also give Mulder a chance to meet the relatives that weren't there two weeks ago, Shannon's two older kids, Sage and Connor, who were away at college. He'd also see his older brother Colin and his wife, who didn't come back from their trip until after they left for D.C.

Mulder sighed quietly as he found the right exit. Things were so different now. In the space of about two months he found out things about his past that he never remembered happening, found his original family, and found out about abilities he has that he didn't even realize existed.

One of the best things that happened was that he and Scully had finally admitted their feelings for each other. Mulder reached over and caressed Scully's cheek with his hand. Scully sighed softly in her sleep and nuzzled into his hand. It was the first time Mulder felt himself truly in love, not like the love he thought he had in past relationships. His and Scully's was a love that had evolved from a basis of respect and friendship that eventually became a love deeper than either had ever experienced before.

A major concern of his was his relationship with Tina, the woman who had raised him and was his mother for many years. He had no intention of severing all ties with her, he still loved her. In essence she had helped make him into the man he was today. But, ever since she had told him about when he was found on Martha's Vineyard, whenever he tried to call her she always seemed distant. Mulder knew he was going to have to find a way to balance both his families, even though the Mulder family was pretty small.

Samantha was another sore point. Since that contact during that hellish time right before Scully's cancer went into remission, he hadn't had anymore contacts with her. He kept thinking about how she wasn't his real sister, and wondering what Cancer Man had told her about him. Mulder assumed that Cancer Man knew he was adopted, since he knew Bill Mulder since, well, before he was living with them. The thing with Samantha was that he surely considered her his sister. He was afraid that finding this lost part of him would make him forget about one of the major things that had guided his life.

Then, there was the Dragon thing. He'd had trouble believing it at first, this was something truly fantastic, even for him to believe. But the next day, that Sunday, Alec had took him out flying. It was an incredible sensation. Even though the Dragon body he was in was no bigger than six inches, the feel of being in the shape was strange but intensely familiar, like the knowledge of it had been in his bones since before time.

Scully was also learning about being a Witch. Cat, Shannon's husband Johnathan, a fellow Witch, and especially Molly were helping her cope and learn about her newfound powers. He had the feeling she'd been practicing, ever since she fell in the toilet one morning because he left the seat up (it was his apartment, he was still getting used to being a couple and having someone else share his living space) and he found his pajamas suddenly doused with water--without any sink or faucet or incriminating cups nearby. That and the wicked grin Scully had on for the rest of the day gave him a hint.

There was a stirring in the seat next to him, and Mulder's eyes moved slightly to see Scully stretching out the kinks in her neck. "Are we almost there?" she asked.

Mulder looked out the window at the street signs. "Almost. I think another five minutes." He shot a sly grin at her. "Hey, at least we'll get to share a bedroom here," he quipped.

Scully mock glared at him, but then rubbed a hand over her face. "I can't believe I haven't told my mom about this yet."

Mulder shrugged and took her left hand in his right. "Maybe it's better that they don't know about this just yet. They're closer to all our enemies down there, as bad as it sounds maybe they've got a close watch on them because they're your relatives. But I wouldn't worry about it. When the time is right, we'll tell her together, and then you can protect me from your older brother who I'm sure would want to see me six feet under after that announcement," he smiled at her.

She laughed softly and pulled his hand to her mouth and pressed a kiss to his knuckles. "You know, I don't think I'm really ready to tell them yet either. I like having this special secret." Mulder smiled at her and rubbed her face once more with his hand.

Mulder peered out the front window. "I think that's the driveway." He turned the car onto the long, sloping driveway. When he pulled up he saw Cat, Mama, standing at the side door wrapped in a long shawl, with her eyes sparkling in the light coming from the doorway, and her bright smile on her face. He stopped the car, and him and Scully got out. The hands that weren't carrying their overnight bags interlaced and interlocked fingers as they walked up to where Cat was.

Mulder saw his mother standing in front of him and Scully standing by his side, and he finally realized where he was.

Fox Mulder was finally home.


 Wow! I finally finished this thing after six months of hard work, and I think it was worth it. It came out much, MUCH longer than I had planned, but if I had made it any shorter, I think the story would have lost something. Don't worry, there will be more stories in this series, I don't think I could leave it off here when there are still so many more things that could be done with it.

 Please send feedback and tell me what you think of it. My addy is

 Thanks go to my sister, Melissa, for helping me out and for her love of Dragons. To Julie, for reassuring me that the story was good. To Rosie, for bugging me as to when I would finish the story, and to all the other people whose comments made me get the story out faster. Thank you so much!

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