Title: The Forsaken
Feedback: sure why not.Be gentle. this is my first foray into fanfiction.
Summary. Legend has it that whenever a full moon falls on the anniversary of the Siena's sinking, several lights can be seen out in the dark waters off Prince Edward Island. These lights are nearly always a precursor to some misfortune befalling the descendants of the surviving crew." Can M&S stop the curse?
Written for the June Mulder's refuge "All at sea challenge" (winner)
Basement Office. J.E. Hoover Building.
"Laboring sluggishly through heavy seas, the clipper Siena struggled towards the distant safe harbor of Prince Edward Island. As the crew scurried about the deck, a fearsome wall of water some twenty feet high overtook the ship from the southwest. Rolling through the violently churning waves, the Siena's sails filled with wind tipping the craft sharply to the starboard.
The Captain's deep bass voice rang out over the screaming wind, ordering the men below who slipped and stumbled over the nearly vertical deck to cut free the massive sails that were slowly dragging the Siena to her death.
As the sea began to flood through the open hatches, the Captain realized that his ship was lost and ordered the lifeboats to be launched. From his vantage point on the upper deck he could see several passengers, all women and children huddled together by the main mast, their wailing voices raised as one in terror.
Crewmen immediately jumped into both lifeboats and quickly began rowing away from the wallowing clipper. With waves continuing to break over the Siena's side, the Captain ordered the men to return and take the passengers to safety.
Noticing that the second life-boat was still tied to the stricken ship, he grabbed the rope and jumped into the water, managing to convince the men to return for the women, he clambered aboard as they rowed the craft closer to the Siena's stern. Only a couple of feet separated the two vessels when a large wave threw the small boat against the clipper's hull.
The Second Mate made the decision to abandon the passengers and head for shore in an effort to save themselves.
The Captain's anger knew no bounds. He attempted to take control of one of the oars, but his valor was cut short as another sailor brought his oar heavily down against the back of the man's head. As the Captain slumped into the bottom of the boat, the Second Mate sprang forward, cut the rope tethering the two craft together, and turned a deaf ear to the screams from the forsaken passengers.
No trace of survivors from the wreck were ever found, thirteen people including five women and three children were dead.
Legend has it that whenever a full moon falls on the anniversary of the Siena's sinking, several lights can be seen out in the dark waters off Prince Edward Island. These lights are nearly always a precursor to some misfortune befalling the descendants of the surviving crew."
"Mulder!" Scully's exclamation cut across the room.
Lowering the file he had been reading aloud, her partner looked at her over the top of his glasses with an animated expression.
"Are you predisposed to believing every single thing you read?" she enquired, raising a single eyebrow.
"No, not every thing." Mulder laid the file down upon the desktop. "For a start, I have a hard time believing that...Gerald Ford...was clever and that Ronald McDonald isn't the returning antichrist despite those creepy toy giveaways."
One corner of Scully's mouth quirked upwards in a smile. "What did you like to read when you were a kid?"
"Oh you know the usual boy stuff, mystery stories." Mulder's eyes gleamed. "I had a real thing for the Three Investigators books, you ever read them Scully?"
At his partner's negative shake of her head, Mulder continued. "They were written by Alfred Hitchcock you know." His eyes lost focus as he delved into one of his more pleasant memories. "The Secret of the Green Ghost and The Mystery of Monster Mountain." He shook his head and smiled. "I wanted to be one of the Investigators so badly, I figured with one of them named Jupiter Jones, then Fox Mulder would have fitted right in. I think I must have read every mystery story the local library had on the shelves, I practically haunted that place, especially on rainy days."
"And I suppose you devoured ghost stories too, didn't you?"
"The spookier the better." He returned with a grin.
"Did you believe them all?"
"Scully! I was ten or eleven when I read those books, of course I believed them."
"But Mulder, you're not a kid now, you're a long way removed from that ten year old boy, you don't have to believe everything that you read."
Mulder laid a hand on the file in front of him. "It may just sound like a fanciful ghost story to you Scully, but I have a feeling about this."
"Enough of a feeling to get Skinner to sign a 302." The skeptical enquiry brought a smile to Mulder's face.
"Pack your passport Scully, we're off to Anne's Island."
For Scully, the soft tenor of Mulder's voice and the light pressure of his hand over hers was a welcome distraction from the reality of finding herself squeezed into a undersized commuter plane headed for a small island off the coast of Canada. She strengthened her resolve to ignore the overtly loud engines of the tiny craft and focused on what her partner was reading.
"...originally settled by the French in 1603, the Island was handed over to the British in 1763. In 1864, Charlottetown, the Island's capital city, hosted one of the most important meetings in Canadian history, which eventually led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. Even though Prince Edward Island was reluctant to join, it was eventually decided that it was in their best economical interests to join the Canadian Confederation.
"In 1908, Lucy Maud Montgomery's novel Anne of Green Gables was published and after potatoes and lobsters, Anne is the Island's most important product." Mulder dropped the guidebook into his lap and turned to his petite partner. "You'll be in good company Scully, they love redheads."
Scully laid her fingers on the file folder. "Just what exactly do you hope to find Mulder? It's a long way to come for a ghost story."
"Don't you think it's a little too coincidental, that all those instances of bad luck I told you about seem to occur only when a full moon falls on the anniversary of the ships sinking?"
"Not necessarily, bad luck could be just that Mulder, bad luck, how many times has the anniversary and a full moon coincided?"
"The Siena sank in 1853, in one hundred and fifty one years, a full moon has fallen twenty three times on the same date. In twenty-two instances, one or more descendants of the seven surviving crewmembers have had some sort of mishap." Mulder's eyes darkened. "These occurrences have ranged from houses being burnt down to livestock mysteriously dying."
"I thought you said there were eight survivors." Scully frowned as she interrupted her partner's recital.
"I did, but Captain Bryant's progeny seem to be immune."
"So we have a case of vengeful ghosts who have a score to settle against seven men, the fact that these men are now dead has not stopped their crusade, instead it has transferred to their descendants. Do you know how absolutely nonsensical that sounds? Apart from the fact that houses burn down and livestock dies all the time, there's nothing terribly ghostly about that."
"It may sound that way to some people." Mulder's mouth tightened. "But try telling that to the Reed family, whose three year old son Christian was a victim of one of those instances of bad luck and who is now in a coma."
Scully drew in a sharp breath. "Mulder I'm sorry, I didn't mean to sound insensitive, it's just...a little hard to believe."
"Yeah, that's the problem isn't it Scully." Mulder shrugged. He rummaged in his pocket before bringing out a well-handled bag of sunflower seeds. Popping one in his mouth, he worked the seed with his tongue for a few moments before shrugging his shoulders. "You know, maybe this will turn out to be nothing at all, if it does at least we'll get to see one of the nicest parts of Canada on the governments tab." Long fingers wrapped themselves warmly around her hand.
The cold feeling of dread that had settled in Scully's stomach as soon as the issue of their belief system reared its head dissipated as the heat from Mulder's hand found its way into her heart.
Safely ensconced in the back seat of a cab, Scully watched the scenery pass by. Open fields with the occasional apple orchard gave way to endless green hills; in the distance, eye-catching red cliffs could be seen.
"So Mulder, what delightful accommodation have you booked for us?" Her partner had spoken to the driver of the cab before seating himself next to her, so Scully did not have the slightest idea where they were headed. Hopefully it would not be too seedy she thought.
His eyes twinkling, Mulder rubbed his hands together. "I booked it on the net before we left actually. We had a choice between the Efficiency Lodge..."
Scully's heart began to sink.
"...the Econo Motel..."
It sank a little further.
"...or this other place, the name of this one caught my eye, it's got all the mod cons too, cable TV etc."
Her shoulders slumping at the thought of yet another one of Mulder's scraping the bottom of the barrel motels, she resignedly asked. "How long will we be here for?"
"Only one night unfortunately, I've booked a couple of days on a boat. The owner, Laurel Potter is going to take us to the exact place where the Siena went down." He grinned in boyish glee. "There's a full moon scheduled for tomorrow night which just also happens to be the anniversary of the sinking."
For a moment all Scully could do was stare at the man sitting next to her, and then slowly one eyebrow rose dubiously. "A boat. Mulder, you and boats don't get on."
"Oh ye of little faith, that was an isolated incident."
"Which one, the time when you hared off to the Bermuda Triangle or when you thought you'd found Big Blue, or what about when..."
"Don't even think about that one." Mulder held his hand up. At the sight of a second rapidly rising eyebrow, he shrugged. "Oh all right, I don't have the best track record when I'm around boats and water, but all those times I was unprepared, this time I've taken precautions."
"What sort of precautions?" She narrowed her eyes.
"This sort. I went to a pharmacy before we left Washington and asked for stuff for seasickness, I've got ginger capsules, Gravol Tablets and this..." He pulled a vibrant blue elastic band from his shirt pocket and handed it to her. "It's called a sea band, it's supposed to work like acupressure. You wear it on your wrist and this little ball exerts pressure on the area that controls sea sickness."
Scully turned the piece of elastic over in her hands. "I've read about these." Taking Mulder's wrist in her hands, she turned it over. "You wear it so the ball presses here, right between the two prominent finger flexor tendons. You do know the studies done on these haven't come back with a definitive result."
"That's why I bought the Gravol and the ginger capsules. Be prepared, that's the Boy Scout motto."
The automatic retort to that particular statement was cut short as the cab slowed and pulled into a wide driveway. Scully peered out the window at a Victorian style country estate. Extensive lawns and gardens surrounded the main building and several other smaller cottages. She turned to her partner and eyed him questioningly. "This is the other place, the one you liked the name of?"
"Yeah, it's called Kindred Spirits Country Inn."
"This is a bit outside the Bureau's standards isn't it?"
"Way outside Scully, but I figured if we were coming all this distance, there was no way I was going to spend a night somewhere that would fit within the Bureau's budget. Also I thought you might enjoy being able to indulge yourself in a hot tub after the plane trip."
His words had the desired affect, as Scully gripped his coat. "Mulder, stop talking, pay the cab driver and point me in the direction of our room."
New London Bay, Prince Edward Island. 7am
The water in New London Bay sparkled brightly in the warm summer sun, Mulder lifted his face up to the vibrant blue sky and felt the warmth seep into his body. Scully stood next to him, her eyes wide with interest, taking in their surroundings, the white washed buildings lining the edge of the dock and the numerous boats moored in the quiet waters of the bay. There were a few people milling around, shopkeepers preparing for the days trade, early morning joggers and boat owners readying their vessels.
A gentle breeze blew in from the ocean, Mulder breathed in deeply filling his lungs with its clean fresh scent. He exhaled with a sigh, drawing Scully's attention.
"Mulder?" She queried laying a hand on his arm. "Something wrong?"
"Wrong, no Scully, I was just appreciating the intoxication of really fresh air, so different from what we get at home."
"What we get at home could not in any reality be called fresh." Scully took a deep breath. "Mmm, I've always loved the tang of salt air."
Pulling his hand from the pocket of his jeans, Mulder folded it around Scully's smaller one. "You're enjoying yourself then."
Her blue eyes sparkling in the sun, she squeezed his hand. "Enjoying myself, Mulder you're spoiling me." She tipped her head to one side and looked up at him. "You do realize of course that I shall require accommodation of the same quality whenever we go on a case now."
"Oh yes, I can just see it, we're in the back of nowhere and we roll up at a Mom and Pop motel." Mulder thrust his hand out in front of him. "No excuses my good man, we shall have your best room, the one with the hot tub and views out over the water."
The corners of her mouth twitched upwards. "I think I could be persuaded to forgo the water views occasionally you know."
"Scully, you heathen." Mulder proclaimed in mock horror. "Would you pass up on the chilled white wine and fruit platter too?"
"Definitely not, that shall be a standard requirement in the future too thank you."
Mulder laughed and pulled her into a hug.
They stood in the warm sun for a few more minutes until a woman approached them. Tall and slender with long dark hair hanging to the middle of her back, she held out her hand. "Agent Fox Mulder I presume."
"Ms Potter." Mulder returned the handshake, momentarily surprised at the firmness of her grip. "My partner Agent Dana Scully."
"Please, call me Dana." She glanced quickly at her partner. "But you have to call him Mulder."
"In that case, I'm Laurel." She ran an appraising eye over Mulder. "I hope you brought some cooler clothes than what you're wearing, they're forecasting very warm weather for the next few days."
He nudged the bags at their feet with the toe of his sneaker. "Came prepared, shorts and t-shirts."
"Good, got hats too?" She glanced at Scully's fair skin.
"Sun cream!" Mulder received an elbow in his ribs. "I didn't see any sun cream."
"Ooof, Scully!" He rubbed his side. "I remembered the toothpaste." He offered weakly.
"Toothpaste is not going to protect me from freckles mister." Scully glared at him.
"But they look so adorable across the top of your cute nose." He playfully reached out a finger only for Scully to brush it aside.
Laurel directed Scully to a small store across from where they stood. As she strode away muttering under her breath, Mulder shrugged his shoulders. "Well I do think they're cute."
"Only a man would say something like that to a redhead." Laurel shook her head in amusement. "You two are clearly more than work partners."
"That obvious huh?"
"Even a blind person could see that you two are made for each other." She gestured to the bags on the ground. "Come on, my little boat's this way, we'll pick Dana up on the way past."
Aboard Mon Beau Vaisseau
Laurel's little boat turned out to be somewhat bigger than Mulder had expected. At thirty-six feet long, it was not as large as others dotted throughout the harbour, but it was by no means the smallest either.
After a quick tour, the agents were left alone in their cabin to change while Laurel prepared the boat for departure. Scully bounced on the wide double bunk set against the wall and watched as her partner dug through his carry-all. "What are you looking for?"
"The seaband I bought, I had it in my coat pocket..." He pulled clothing out, dumping it in a pile next to Scully.
"Mulder." She chided, picking up shirts and folding them neatly.
"Ah! There it is." He exclaimed, stretching the bright blue elastic over his wrist. Scully took his hand and moved the band slightly.
"It needs to sit here, three finger widths below the wrist joint." She positioned the ball so it was correctly placed. "Are you sure about this Mulder?"
"Elaborate for me Scully, 'this' is a fairly broad subject."
"I'm talking about us...you...being on this boat, with your propensity for getting seasick, I'm worried that you are relying a little too heavily on this miracle cure." She tapped his wrist gently.
"I used to sail all the time when I was a kid back on Martha's Vineyard, I never had a problem then. What makes you think there is going to be trouble this time."
Scully sighed and swung her feet back and forth. "Don't laugh, but I've got this feeling."
Mulder did not laugh, he chortled with delight as he swept his partner up into his arms. "Scully, my rigid, scientific, rational Scully, you've just made my day...no make that my month...my year!" He twirled her around the cabin. "My Scully has a feeling!"
"I said, don't laugh." She retorted, vainly trying not to smile.
"I'm not laughing, I'm rejoicing, I'm exultant, elated, jubilant."
"You're also making me dizzy."
Mulder swept the neat pile of his clothes aside as he deposited Scully on the bunk and sat down beside her; he leaned back stretching long jean-clad legs out in front of him. "I'll make you a promise," he said sincerely. "At the very first indication of any sort of queasiness, I give you full permission to say 'I told you so'. What do you reckon?''
"I reckon the sea air has gone to your head. How about as well as that, you promise to take stronger medication and not grumble."
"Scout's honor." Mulder held up two fingers.
"You don't know how much that reassures me." Scully reached over and pried another finger loose. "By the way, Scouts salute with three fingers."
"Hey it's the thought that counts."
"Well, how about you give some thought to getting changed, I want to get some sun."
A short time later up on deck, dressed for the sun in shorts, cotton shirt and sneakers, Mulder watched Laurel as she guided the boat through the harbor.
"Might as well take a seat." She gestured to the seating around the edge of the cabin. "Nothing much to look at until we clear the headland."
Seating himself directly behind her, Mulder stretched one leg out upon the soft maroon cushions. "How long have you had this boat?" he enquired.
"She belonged to my father, he died a couple of years back, I spent some of my inheritance doing her up and I've been running charter tours ever since." Laurel looked over her shoulder. "I didn't realize that the FBI had ghost chasers in its ranks."
"We're not solely ghost chasers, Scully and I focus on cases that can't be solved using normal means. Unusual phenomenon, unexplained sightings, that sort of thing."
"Seen any UFO's?"
"More than I care to admit to." Mulder tightened his expression at Laurel's lighthearted question. "Have you seen the lights?"
"Not personally no, but I know a couple of people who have."
"Did they say what they look like?"
"I've heard various stories, but the most common one is that the lights were in a row, there was eight of them, they weren't bright, more dull almost like an old fashioned lantern."
"Why only eight, thirteen people were drowned." He mused.
"Popular belief is that it's the spirits of the eight women and children who have been responsible for all the misfortune because they were abandoned by the male crew."
Mulder pondered the new piece of information until Scully climbed up from their cabin. He whistled under his breath as he caught sight of her in a pair of skimpy navy blue shorts, a striped tee and white sneakers. "Goodness me Agent Scully, I almost didn't recognize you." He patted the seat next to him.
"It doesn't feel right." She admitted. "We're supposed to be on duty but it feels like we're on a pleasure cruise."
"You must admit that it makes a nice change from slogging through sewers or chasing mutants through the forest though."
"I'm not denying that this is one of the more pleasant cases that we've had." Scully smiled. "It'll just take a little while to get used to being dressed so casually."
"All right everybody." Laurel spoke up. "You may want to hang onto something, it gets a bit rough going through the entrance here."
Mulder peered over the side of the cruiser, waves slapped against the hull as they negotiated through the sharp rocks that jutted up out of the water. He grabbed hold of the railing as the boat began to rock back and forth.
Scully wrapped an arm around his waist. "You okay?"
"Yeah, no problem."
"You'll let me know if you feel sick won't you."
"I said I would." Mulder sighed. "Don't worry, I'll be fine, just relax and enjoy yourself."
"I'm not good at relaxing."
"Sure you are." He tucked her head under his chin. "Sit back, feel the sun on your face, the wind in your hair. It's just you and me Scully, no one else for miles around."
"Mmm, you're good at this." She murmured closing her eyes.
For a few minutes there was silence as Laurel concentrated on her course, Mulder found his thoughts drifting back to the previous night and he gave a small snort of pleasure.
"What is it?" Scully enquired softly.
"Oh nothing, just thinking."
"Are you thinking what I think you're thinking?" she asked in a husky voice.
"Oh yeah." Mulder nuzzled against her ear.
Laurel's voice rang out over the sound of the engine. "Okay, rough ride's over, clear sailing ahead."
"How long will it take us to get to the site?" Scully sat up straight.
Swiveling her seat around to face the two agents, Laurel tipped her head to one side. "About five hours on a direct run, but we've got plenty of time so we can stop for lunch if you like. There's a pretty place on the way called Magdalen Island, it's got a nice sheltered cove we can drop anchor in."
Agreeing to the plan, Mulder reasserted his embrace around Scully's waist and leaned back in perfect contentment.
Chapter 6 Mid afternoon
A huge yawn cracking his jaw, Mulder forced his eyes open against the glare of the sun. They had enjoyed a leisurely lunch and now he felt the food and the previous nights activities catching up with him.
"Go and have a nap." He blinked as Scully nudged his shoulder.
"You're falling asleep Mulder, why not go and do it in comfort."
Another yawn erupted as Mulder rubbed his eyes. "All right, I will if you will."
"In a little while, Laurel and I were having a talk."
"Oh, girls stuff, right."
"Not even close Mulder, we were talking about the Navy, Laurel's father was a Captain too." Scully tugged on one arm. "Go on, keep my side of the bed warm."
"How can I refuse an invitation like that?" Mulder smiled tiredly as he headed for their cabin.
At first, the gentle rocking of the boat had been soothing and Mulder had slipped easily into a light sleep, but now what had seemed a calm sensation was in actuality making him feel quite ill. He crawled out of the bunk and pulled his bag out of the narrow cupboard. Squinting at the two bottles, he dropped the ginger capsules back, twisted the cap off the Gravol and swallowed two tablets dry. Lying back down, he closed his eyes and curled onto his side willing his stomach to settle. He lay quietly trying to think about anything except how the boat was rocking back and forth...up and down.
Suddenly his discomfort overwhelmed him and he launched himself out of the cabin on shaky legs and into the tiny bathroom. Falling to his knees he managed to reach the toilet just as his stomach finally rebelled. Midway through a particularly drawn out spasm, he came to the conclusion that the food he had consumed for lunch was nowhere near as good coming up as it was going down.
Finally, after an eternity of wrenching convulsions, Mulder sat back on his heels and wiped a trembling hand across his sweaty face. He reached across to the basin and wet the cloth draped over the edge, wiping his face and neck. His mouth unaccountably dry, he pushed himself wearily to his feet and cupping a hand under the faucet, he rinsed and spat several times before swallowing handful after handful of the cool water.
Cautiously Mulder made his way back to the cabin, using one arm to support himself against the wall, the other curled protectively against his protesting stomach muscles. He found the bottle of Gravol and managed to choke another couple of tablets down his throat before sinking limply down onto the end of the bunk. The small cabin window caught his eye and from somewhere a faint memory surfaced about keeping the horizon in sight if afflicted with seasickness. The only problem with that theory Mulder discovered was because the movement of the boat was uneven and unpredictable, his perspective kept shifting; his body was sending his brain different signals to those he perceived visually. Mulder screwed his eyes shut as his vision began to gray out around the edges but he quickly found that closing his eyes was even worse than keeping them open as nausea threatened again.
An overpowering desire to be on deck in the fresh air assaulted him and Mulder made the longest journey of his life as he stumbled up the three small steps and weaved his way to the side of the cruiser.
"I will not puke in front of Scully...I will not puke in front of Scully." Silently he repeated the words hoping that sheer willpower would be enough to outweigh the churning in his gut. His hands were clenched with a white knuckled grip on the boats railing as he kept his eyes fixed upon the distant horizon.
"Mulder?" Scully's enquiry, even though murmured softly took him by surprise and he swiveled sharply. The movement had the unpleasant effect of increasing his queasiness and he quickly put a hand to his mouth.
"It's not working is it?" Scully asked gently, touching the brightly colored band on Mulder's wrist.
"Urrp." Mulder closed his eyes and shook his head in negation.
"You should have said something before it got so bad." She chided lightly. "Have you taken anything stronger?"
"Tablets don't work," he moaned. "Tried 'em before, threw 'em up."
"Everything okay over there?" Laurel called.
"Mulder's feeling a little sick," Scully replied.
"A little sick." He thought hazily. "I haven't felt this bad since...forever."
"You need to lie down."
Mulder gave a minute shake of his head. "No, can't, everything keeps moving." His stomach heaved again at the thought and he lost the battle to keep his dignity, retching over the side of the boat.
An eternity passed before Mulder straightened again wincing at the renewed protest from strained muscles. He became aware of Scully's small fingers stroking over his clenched hand with soothing rhythmic strokes.
"Mulder, I want you to come and sit down."
"Don' wanna move...gonna be sick."
"You've got nothing left in your stomach, come on, just take a couple of steps over this way."
Mulder reluctantly let go of his unyielding grip on the railing and let himself be maneuvered a short distance sideways. He felt something behind his knees and collapsed limply onto the padded seat, leaning back he let his head drop against the soft cushions.
"Just stay here Mulder, I'll be right back."
"I don't think I've ever seen quite that color in a complexion before." Laurel winced.
"That good huh?" He pried open his eyes and peered up at her.
"Well it's not what I would have chosen." She grinned.
"Me either." He winced and let his eyes slide shut again.
"Okay Mulder I'm back." He felt the small movement in the cushion as Scully sat down and took hold of his wrist. "Your pulse is still a bit fast, but better than it was."
"Stomach hurts," he moaned.
"It's quite probable that you've pulled a few muscles." He felt a hand behind his shoulder. "Can you lean forward for me?"
Somehow, Mulder managed to make his arms cooperate enough to push himself upright, however as soon as he opened his eyes he was overwhelmed with vertigo. His stomach spasmed insistently as he clumsily draped his head and shoulders over the railing and gagged repeatedly. Dimly he was aware of someone rubbing a hand across his shoulder.
Eventually he managed to slump back into the seat and wiped an unsteady hand across his mouth.
"Mulder, wash your mouth out." A bottle was held against his lips. "Don't swallow, you'll only bring it back up, just rinse and spit."
He felt marginally better once his mouth was free from the taste of bile. "Hey Scully, you can say it now."
"Say what Mulder?"
"I told you so, we agreed remember."
"It doesn't matter, the main thing is to get you feeling better."
"Oh good, 'cause I'm sick of listening to myself toss my cookies."
"I've got some Dramamine..."
"Not drugs, no Scully." Mulder struggled to sit up.
"Listen to me Mulder, it's a patch, it releases a minute amount of Dramamine into your system, just enough to take the edge off so you can function."
"I won't get wasted?"
"You shouldn't, I know how susceptible you are, so I'll just use one patch." Concern laced Scully's expression as she noticed the sheen of sweat coating his gray features. She reached for the buttons on his shirt and began undoing the top ones.
Mulder brought his hand up to cover hers. "I don' wanna play around Scully." His lips tightened as nausea swirled again.
"Keep still, I need to put the patch on your back." She bared his shoulder and stuck the little adhesive square firmly on his left shoulder blade. Pulling his shirt back up, she lowered her voice, speaking into his ear. "You'll feel like playing around soon."
"Promise?" Mulder grinned weakly.
"I want a repeat performance of last night, before we go home." Her voice was a sultry whisper.
Mulder's sigh of agreement turned into a moan as his stomach heaved in time with the boat. "Scully...is it my imagination...or is the boat moving more than before."
Bright blue eyes scanned the water, noting with some unease the clouds building further out to sea. "Must be your imagination partner, it doesn't seem to be any rougher."
"Okay...I think I'm gonna close my eyes for a bit."
"Good idea, give the patch some time to work." Scully carded her fingers through thick brown hair watching as the tensed muscles eased and the lanky frame sprawled against the seatback.
"Mmm feels good...don' stop." A barely audible appeal broke past his lips.
"Sshh, just relax." She soothed.
"How's he doing?" Scully jumped slightly as Laurel whispered her question.
Keeping an eye on her slumbering partner, Scully moved a few steps away. "Better, I've used a Dramamine patch on him, he should be feeling more human in a little while."
"His colour has definitely improved, green didn't really suit him."
Tucking a stray strand of hair behind an ear, Scully smiled. "No, it's not his shade at all." She glanced out at the clouds again. "Did you notice them?" She pointed out to sea.
Laurel lifted her eyes and scanned the sky. "Yes I did, I've been keeping an eye on the barometer, it's dropped a little but nothing much to worry about."
"How much further do we have to go?"
"About an hour and a half, until we get to the actual site, the moon should be rising about an hour or so after that."
Scully had felt an instant liking for the other woman and upon finding out their shared affiliation as Navy kids, that affinity had deepened. "Tell me Laurel, what do you honestly make of this situation?"
Green eyes regarded blue ones for a minute. "Honestly, I believe in the whole state of affairs, even though I haven't personally witnessed the lights myself, I have seen enough things to make me believe in what people are saying." She tipped her head slightly. "I take it you are a bit harder to convince."
Scully sighed. "Mulder can believe in ten impossible things before breakfast." She grinned at Laurel's snort of amusement. "I want to see hard evidence first."
Scully would remember the exact moment everything went to hell, one minute she had her hand resting on her slumbering partners shoulder, the next she was picking herself and a bleary Mulder up off the deck as a huge wave hit the Vaisseau side on.
Laurel, who was also knocked off her feet, pulled herself upright on the helm and held on tight as another wave pushed her boat sideways. "Dana, Mulder, are you okay?"
"What the hell?" His mind still blanketed by sleep, Mulder found it difficult at first to coordinate himself.
"Mulder, grab my hand!" The rapidly increasing wind whipped the words from Scully's mouth as she held her hand out. Kneeling on the deck, she snatched three life jackets out from under the seat, thrusting one in Mulder's direction. "Put this on." Staying long enough to secure her own jacket and make sure Mulder's was on correctly, Scully made her way over to Laurel and handed one to her. "Where did this come from?" She shouted above the screaming wind.
"Don't know, there was no indication of anything until the barometer suddenly bottomed out." Laurel yelled back. "How's Mulder?"
Scully glanced over her shoulder at Mulder who huddled on the deck had wedged himself into the corner of the seats seeking protection. "I'll go and check on him, are you all right here."
"I'm better protected from the wind under the canopy, you might want to get him below."
"Can we turn back?"
"Not while the wind is coming from this direction, I have to keep the bow heading into the waves otherwise I'll lose her."
Reluctantly Scully agreed with Laurel's decision and carefully made her way back to her partner's side. The waves were huge and gray and the spray being blown off them felt like needles were being driven into her skin. The noise was phenomenal and Scully had to press her mouth almost against Mulder's ear to make herself heard. "Are you okay?"
Saturated brown hair flopped across his eyes as Mulder nodded. "Where did the storm come from?"
"Don't know, Laurel said the forecast was for clear weather."
"Maybe we got too close for their comfort." Mulder shouted back.
It took a couple of moments for Scully to decipher what he was talking about and when she did, she shook her head crossly. "It's just the weather Mulder, it has nothing to do with any ghosts."
"How do you know Scully?"
"Because ghosts can't influence the weather."
"You don't know that."
"Mulder..." Scully stopped, realizing the futility of trying to conduct a rational conversation while the weather raged around them. She brushed her dripping hair off her face and regarded her partner. His eyes were tightly closed, the small line between his brows and the grim set to his mouth indicating how much discomfort he was experiencing. "C'mon." She urged. "You'll be better off out of this weather."
Opening one eye, Mulder schooled his face into an expression that clearly conveyed exactly what he thought of that suggestion.
"Don't be so stubborn, neither of us need to be out here." Scully argued, wiping water from her eyes. "We have to ride the storm out, we might as well do it somewhere dry." A sudden shiver rocked her small frame.
Quite determined to stay right where he was, reasoning any movement on his part would only exacerbate what the boats pitching was already doing to his stomach, Scully's involuntary shudder instantly wiped Mulder's resolve away. He nodded once, pulled Scully's body firmly against his and rose to his feet in one smooth motion.
The deck pitched wildly beneath them as Laurel fought to keep her boat from being swamped by monster waves; as fast as one was behind them another swell was rearing up to take its place. The wind squalled around them violently, driving sheets of pelting rain against unprotected skin. Bouncing madly, the Vaisseau hit the bottom of a trough, unable to see clearly through the barrage of wind and water, the sudden buildup of a massive wave took Laurel completely by surprise. With barely enough time to give a warning, she opened her mouth and screamed. "Hang on!" Like a wave at the beach with a high curling face, towering over the struggling craft, it dumped down upon them with a screaming fury.
For the longest moment, the Vaisseau seemed to stand upright, its bow pointing skywards. The violent movement sent the two agents tumbling towards the stern; Mulder tightened his grip on Scully wrapping his arms about her body in an effort at protection. Their freefall was stopped as abruptly as it began when Mulder slammed back first into the seats; he arched in agony as Scully's weight was compressed against his ribs and his lower spine took the brunt of the collision. A low moan forced its way up from inside his chest as his vision tunneled and began to grey at the edges.
"Mulder, stay with me!" Scully's voice worked past the fear and exhaustion that blanketed him as he struggled to take a breath. Blinking water out of his eyes, he stared up at the night sky just as and the clouds parted and the brilliant full moon came into view. Faced with the threat of Scully's and his own mortality in the ocean depths, he struggled to sit up as comprehension dawned.
A hand pressed against his chest making him gasp. "Keep still Mulder, you might have a broken rib."
On most occasions, ignoring his partners' erudite advice was second nature to Fox Mulder and this instance was no different. He turned and faced the rear of the boat, peering owlishly out through the streaming rain. As the Vaisseau climbed out of a trough, he glimpsed what he had come searching for; a very faint line of lights strung out one after another was barely visible.
"The lights Scully!" He wheezed pointing a shaky hand in their general direction.
"What?" Scully yelled past the shrieking wind.
"Over...there, the lights, I...ahh...can see 'em." Pain lanced across Mulder's chest.
Scully's head whipped around, dragging her sodden hair out of her eyes, she stared out where Mulder was pointing. "I can't see anything."
"They were...there, I know...wh...what it is...th...that they...want."
"What who want?"
"Them, the lights..." Mulder made an effort to climb to his knees, his eyes locked on the position where he had glimpsed the apparition.
Hands white with cold, Scully supported her panting partner. "Mulder come on, there's nothing there."
The jostling of the Vaisseau eased for an instant. "Yes there is...there, see them...oh, shit!" Mulder clutched his hand to his chest and sank limply back against Scully.
"I see them Mulder!" Laurel cried out from behind them.
Torn between an unproven apparition and her partner, Scully resolutely ignored the fantastical and focused her attention on the physical. Mulder's face was ashen and his chest hitched as he gulped in tiny breaths. Her earlier diagnosis of a broken rib was confirmed but it looked now like it was more than one.
"Did...you see them...Sc...Scully?" Glazed eyes peered into hers. "They were...there."
Unwilling to disappoint him, Scully ignored the question and asked one of her own. "You said you knew what they wanted." She prompted.
'Uh huh, it's so...simple." Mulder breathed. "They want...rec..unnh...recognition, closure, they need...a funeral."
Scully sat back on her heels, stunned at her partner's statement; it was several moments before she realized Laurel was calling her. "Sorry...what?"
"He's right, I can understand, and you know what." Laurel jerked her head skywards. "I think they agree."
Scully looked up at the sky, it dawned on her that the storm had died down, almost as if it had exhausted its fury, the full moon rode high in the rapidly clearing night sky. She glanced at Mulder who was slumped in either exhaustion or unconsciousness. "I didn't see them." She whispered.
"I don't think it matters." Laurel crouched down beside them. "We know what has to be done."
Two days later. New London Bay Wharf. Early afternoon.
Mulder watched as the last of the group made their way up the pier, they were subdued but nearly everyone had a peaceful expression.
He turned his attention back to the dock where the Vaisseau was docked, his eyes searching the boat for one particular person. A small figure stood up and Mulder's eyes went wide with delight as she turned and waved at him. Levering himself with caution out of the seat where he had enjoyed an afternoon in the warm sun, he carefully made his way down the wooden planks to the Vaisseau's berth. "Ahoy, first mate Scully." He grinned reaching out an arm.
"Hey there landlubber." She took his fingers lightly, using the strength in her knees to jump down to the dock.
"How did it go?" he enquired.
Scully looked up at him, eyes sorrowful but full of serenity at the same time. "It was beautiful Mulder. Someone from each family cast a wreath into the water, white daisies for the children, white daisies and a single blood red rose for the women." Her voice softened. "A sunbeam hit the water just as the last wreath landed."
Mulder tucked his arm around the petite shoulders. "Sounds like acceptance to me."
"There was more good news, Christian Reed has come out of his coma, his father was at the ceremony."
"I should have been there Scully. Seasickness be damned."
Easing out from under his arm, She reached up and took his face in her hands. "You were there Mulder, in every ones hearts." Light fingers ran up his cheeks and tangled in his hair. "Especially mine."
Lowering his head, Mulder pressed his lips against hers feeling her mouth open under the slight pressure. A low moan reached his ears and he looked into a pair of brilliant blue eyes.
"We can't Mulder, your ribs."
"Are going to be fine." He finished. "Besides, I thought you might like to know, as an expression of gratitude, we have been offered a two night stay at one of the local inns."
Both eyebrows lifted in a hopeful expression. "Am I thinking what I want to be thinking?"
"Are you up for an encore?" he asked.
"Oh definitely." She purred huskily. As they made their farewells to Laurel, Scully sounded a quiet exclamation.
"I saved this for you." She handed Mulder a small sheet of paper. "I particularly liked this part."
"We will miss you, we will learn from the tragic circumstances of your passing; we will remember you always." Mulder's voice low and solemn read the words she pointed out. As the last words faded, they both turned to look out at the ocean.
"We will," Mulder intoned.
"Yes, we will," Scully echoed softly.