Title: Key To The Kingdom
Author: Penny Evans
Written: April 2006
Rating: R - Some Violent Imagery And Strong Language.
Category: Mulder Angst/Mt/Msr
Spoilers: The Truth / Existence/ Tuguska / Biogenesis/ The End / Within / Without / Closure / Trust No 1 / Requiem / Deadalive / Ascension / Talitha Cumi / Conduit / William / Dreamland / The Erlenmeyer Flask/ Patient X / Three Words...and probably more, but these are the ones that come to mind.
Archive: Please contact me at:- peapods42@hotmail.com
Feedback: Very welcomed :-)
DISCLAIMER: All X File character's belong to CC,1013 & Fox, but have been lovingly borrowed for a while. No profit was made and no copyright infringement intended.

Summary: Post The Truth. Mulder discovers the truth about himself and the outcome for mankind is held in the balance.

Author's note: This is my second story but first attempt at trying to sum things up with The X Files and bring it to a conclusion. NOT an easy task! g This took me just over a year to write. Thank you to Debbie (Waddles) for her editing and suggestions of how to improve upon the tale eg: less UK wording and more USA! g Plus other issues she pointed out, all of which were very helpful. :-) NB: This is my spare time hobby. I'm a singer and if you'd like to hear my version of Bree Sharp's 'David Duchovny' along with 10 other song samples (cover and original) you are welcome to visit my website: - http://pennys-from-evan.co.uk

These wounds won't seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase
When you cried I'd wipe away all of your tears
When you'd scream I'd fight away all of your fears
I held your hand through all of these years
But you still have all of me
I've tried so hard to tell myself that you're gone
But though you're still with me
I've been alone all along
- Evanesence - My Immortal

The words played over and over again in her head, until Agent Dana Katherine Scully could stand it no longer. Her hands trembled over the keyboard as she continued to type on her computer. If she had known back then what she knew now, she would never have accepted the assignment...to debunk Agent Fox Mulder's work. To prove to the outside world that the paranormal was just some high faluting fantasy created in the minds of those desperate enough to wish to escape from a mundane reality. God how she wished her scientific approach towards the answers had been the truth. But the cruel hard facts of the 'Truth' had been something she could never have prepared herself for. Most of the people in the world would continue with their everyday life, never knowing that they had been moments away from oblivion! Yet, the cost to herself and her partner for this truth, would haunt her for the rest of her days!

End of journal.

Scully awoke with a start.


She felt beads of sweat on her soft skin, and realized her long, auburn hair was now sticking to her face, and she was in complete darkness. There was movement beside her, as an arm reached up to turn on the bedside lamp, and a dishevelled mop of brown hair appeared from under the quilt, followed by a handsome chiseled profile and rather concerned hazel eyes. "S-Scully, are you ok?"

"I'm fine. Go back to sleep."

Mulder sat upright. "You don't sound fine."

"It was just a stupid nightmare, Mulder."

"About what?" He leaned across and put an arm around her shoulders.

Scully nuzzled closer and sighed. "About the situation we're in."

"Oh, that."

It was said rather flippantly he realized, but Mulder didn't wish to delve into the subject too deeply. Not yet, not when he'd just been wakened after having a rather peaceful night's sleep. Okay, unusual for him, but boy had he needed it! "Did it involve running from black helicopters, while Anasazi ruins were blowing up all around us? Or me confessing my sins?" he joked softly.

"What sins?" Scully asked puzzled.

"That I'd failed...in every respect." Before she could say anything he quickly added, "but still you believe I won't give up the fight?"

"I know you won't," she replied firmly. "No, it wasn't about any of that. Okay, it involved me at my computer, typing up something about how the world was saved."

"Hey, maybe it was a vision...and so we can all rest easy? We won!"

The grin was false, and she knew it. " We lost," she said quietly. "I mean you and I did."

"Bummer!" Mulder kissed her gently on the forehead then looked across at the glowing green flourescent numbers of a travel clock on the side table beside the bed. "You do realize it's only 3am? So, you've plenty more time to dream up a happy ending."

"Okay," Scully replied absent mindedly, snuggling back under the quilt beside him. Gently she took his hand in hers, whispering "Mulder? Where do we go from here?"

"Let's talk about it in a couple of hours, alright?" He squeezed her hand, and closed his eyes.

Who the hell knew where they were heading now? One thing was for sure. It had to be far away from the United States. Here, he was now an escaped prisoner, with military men after his hide, for a crime he didn't commit. The so-called 'murder' of a military man, that had been carefully devised by certain government officials, some of whom were alien life forms, secretly planning with their race to repossess the earth, which once belonged to them. The 'Mickey Mouse' trial he'd undergone was so far fetched it was like some fucking B-Movie script!

Finally, the verdict had been death by lethal injection. He hadn't expected anything less. Then his former boss in the FBI, AD Skinner along with Agent John Doggett had done their dog and pony act of breaking him out of the prison. Now, that was laughable! How they'd managed to succeed was beyond reason. 'Oh stop analyzing, Mulder' he thought. 'Least right now I'm in a comfy motel room with the woman I love. Scully. When did that happen?. Enough! Go to sleep.' He drew the now sleeping beauty towards him and held her gently. "We'll catch a plane out of here. I'll make arrangements tomorrow." Tenderly he brushed a lock of hair that had fallen across her face. "Love you," he whispered softly.

"Hmmn", she said. That made him smile.

Ding dong the witch is dead The song replayed continuously, as his mind projected flames burning around the wizened, blackened corpse. He thought of the man who had caused him so much pain, yet had played the father figure as well, who told him bedtime stories, while he dug the knife deep into his heart. CGB Spender! May the smoking bastard rot in hell! Mulder turned over, away from Scully, as reality converged with imagination and continued to play out the dramatic scenario. Helicopters. Explosions. The Anasazi ruins... in even more ruins. A jet black bomb flying through the air, straight into his arch nemesis. Watching the skin melt away into a pile of bones, all the while it's skull, grinning. He was the devil himself.

Suddenly there was an almightly crash and splintering of wood, which jolted Mulder from his dream. He'd remembered to turn off the light in the motel room so why were his eyes now being blinded by bright white beams..? Flashlights? He only had enough time to make out silhouettes of men, before he felt rough, strong arms grab him, wrenching him up out of the bed. "What the hell..?"

"Mulder!" a voice shouted. It was Scully. She'd been woken abruptly, to discover her partner was being...abducted. Someone held her down, and she struggled violently. She stopped this futile action when she felt the cold steel barrel of a pistol at her forehead.

"Shut-up! Okay, no sounds, or you're dead. Understand?" The voice sounded meanacing, but she glared at whoever it was anyway.

"Don't hurt her!" Mulder hollered, the anger mixed with fear quite clearly sounding in his voice. He struggled against his captors, but to no avail.

"No one's going to get hurt Mr. Mulder. As long as you come with us."

"Where to?" he demanded to know. Who the hell were these people? *Miltiary*, was his first thought. Well he had been in their custody. So now they were going to haul his ass back to prison? Well, not without a fight they weren't. A sudden sharp blow to his jaw refrained him from thinking any further about overpowering these guys.

"All in good time, Mulder" was the only answer he received, as he was forced out of the room.

Scully watched the whole scene, unable to help in any way. "Where are you taking him?"

The man with the gun smiled at her. "He wants answers, and we know someone who can provide them."

Scully was perplexed by this weird statement. "Answers to what?"

"To the truth."


Before she could continue, he jumped in with," No word of this to anyone, okay? Or he'll be eliminated."

Scully nodded fearfully. "And if I stay silent?"

"You'll see him again...soon. And you'll have the truth."

This was insane, but what exactly could she do? Who could she talk to? How had these men found them? Only Skinner knew the location. Had he been compromised and had to spill the beans? For Mulder's sake all she could do was sit tight, and hope that eventually something would make some sense.

The man handed her a piece of paper. "Here. This has the whereabouts of where we are taking him. Come alone in several hours, and you'll see what all this is about."

She realized it was a letter, written to her, explaining about a rendezvous which was going to be arranged, and how it was important that Mulder be in attendance, how he would finally be given the proof he'd been searching for after all these years. She was warned that she must cooperate, or things could get uneasy for the both of them. Was it just a pathetic hoax, or something definite? Who knew? But these men had guns and meant business, so trying to defend herself and her partner probably wasn't a great idea right at this moment in time. "Okay, I'll cooperate, so long as Mulder's not harmed."

"You have our word." The man moved across to the doorway; the door itself was now hanging off it's hinges where his consorts had made their 'graceful' entrance.

"One more thing", she called. "Why couldn't you have just asked Mulder to go to this so-called important rendezvous, instead of forcing him?"

"Where's the fun in that?"

One thing was for certain. He was damn near freezing standing outside in just a tee shirt and cotton pants. Couldn't they have at least have let him get dressed before taking him to...wherever the hell they were taking him? He noticed the man who'd had the gun, leaving the motel room. "Is Scully..?"

"She's fine. She knows the deal."

"Which is?"

"There's someone who wants to meet you. Apparently he has answers for you."

Mulder frowned. "What the hell are you talking about?"

A large helicopter landed in the field beside the motel, drowning out the man's replies. "You'll see. Just get on board."

"Or what?" he yelled defensively.

"Or we shoot you!"

Okay, that was an abrupt enough answer. Mulder decided to obey and climbed into the machine with his friendly captors. Now that he could see them clearly, he realized they weren't military. No, they were dressed rather smartly in suits. Aliens maybe? He shuddered. Not more fucking experimenting on him, please? Nah. Aliens wouldn't arrive in a helicopter...they'd beam him up to their space ship. Best stay calm and try and go with it...for now. The helicopter took off, and Mulder silently prayed that hopefully the rest of the day wouldn't get any more bizzare than this? Surely?

It hadn't seemed all that long, before the pilot had landed on a heli-pad, on top of a hospital building, in a city... somewhere. Mulder was led to a private cubicle in one of the wards. He noticed it was in Intensive Care. So this 'someone' who he'd been brought to meet obviously wasn't very healthy. "Now what?"

"This is where we part company", one of the suits replied.

"Oh gee, and I was just getting to know you guys", Mulder said, sarcastically.

Another man opened the door to the IC unit. "Go inside."

Mulder shrugged, and stepped into the room, as one of the guys closed the door behind him. He was just about to let some wisecrack about being shut in with some phsyco, slip from his mouth. When he saw just who the man in the hospital room was. The shock he received nearly knocked him off his feet. In the bed, looking like something from a Hammer Horror movie, was the old 'fossil' himself. The cigarette smoking man! "I--I.," he stammered. "No! You are dead!"

"It won't be long now," the old man faltered.

"I watched the whole frickin' Anasazi place blow sky high!" Mulder exclaimed. "There's no way you could have survived that!" And believe me you died in the best way I could think of in my mind, in a fucking great fireball, you son-of-a-bitch!* he thought, angrily.

CGB Spender smiled, showing blackened, broken teeth. "Calm down Mulder."

"Calm down?!"

Mulder started to back towards the door. "I don't fucking believe this!" He took a deep breath and glared at the 'corpse' in the bed. "So, it's you that had your goons drag me out of a nice, warm motel room in the middle of the night, to come to your bed side?" He stopped pacing. "Sorry, I didn't bring any flowers," he added angrily.

The man wasn't listening. "Mulder, I have something to tell you," he said, his voice cracking. "I am dying..."

"My heart bleeds!" Mulder cut him off abruptly.

CGB Spender's voice tightened a little. "This is important."

"What? What is so goddammed important!" He began pacing again. "We all know the date is set for 2012. Our planet will be invaded by the aliens, and there's not a damn thing we can do about it. So, what else is so fucking important?"

"Sit down, and I will tell you," the smoking man demanded, his voice straining into a garbled croak. Slowly a smile began to form on his cracked lips...or was it a sneer? " You have to hear this, because you are 'the' most important part of this whole equation."

Feeling overwhelmed with anger, as well as morbid curiosity by what the man had just said, Mulder sat himself down. Obviously, this wasn't going to be good news.

Dana Scully arrived at the memorial hospital in Roswell, immediatley demanding a nurse to tell her where a gentleman by the name of Fox Mulder was? The poor woman explained that no one by that name had been admitted that night. Scully looked at the piece of paper again. It revealed the address of this hospital clearly written in black ink. He had to be here. Those men had promised her she'd see him again. She began walking up the corridor, feeling very agitated and more than a little worried. Just then someone stepped out of a nearby door and almost ran into her.

"Mulder?" she gasped. There was no reply from her partner. She then noticed how his face had gone rather pale, and his eyes were glazed over. "Mulder, what's wrong?"

No reply.

"Why did those men bring you here?" Concerned by his absent expression, she gathered him into a hug. "Jeeze, Mulder... you're freezing!"

She quickly realized he was in shock. But what on earth had caused it? She felt him shudder and then begin to shake quite violently as tears started to trickle down his cheeks. Carefully she manouvered him to a seat, and lowered him into it. "What's happened?" she asked gently, sitting down beside him.

Mulder's breathing was laboured as he tried choking back his sobs. "I-I can't..." he stammered, the words trailing off.

Suddenly, several medical staff rushed past them and through the ICU doors. Scully heard the low tone sounding out from an ECG monitor inside, and knew instinctively what that meant. She looked at her partner, and took his hand. "Who's in there?" she whispered.

Mulder took a deep breath and replied shakily, "H-He wanted m-me to know the real t-truth."

Scully looked puzzled. "Who did?"

"The s-smoking bastard!" His words were filled with bitterness and resentment, as well as pain.

Scully couldn't believe what she was hearing. "I thought he was dead, for real this time?"

"He is...now," Mulder replied.

"Did you kill him?" She had to ask the question, even though she knew it may cause him stress.

"No." The reply was firm and abrupt. "He was here because he was severly injured...and he was dying."

Scully backtracked her thoughts. "He arranged for you to be brought here?"

"Yes", he said quietly.

"Because he wanted you to know, what?"

Mulder shuddered. "He wanted me to know about something... something he never told me until now." He spat the words out as if they were poison.

Scully squeezed his hand. "Mulder...what?"

He shuddered.. "I guess he wanted me to know the real story behind the conspiracy, the aliens, everything."

"Because he was dying?"



Mulder looked straight into her eyes. "No. It was because he wanted to see me broken...defeated." The tears began to well up again, and he couldn't stop them.

For the first time ever, Scully was afraid for him. She'd never seen him look so totally helpless. "What on earth did he tell you?" she asked gently.

Mulder closed his eyes, and turned away, cradling his head in both hands.


He cut her off, his voice trembling. "He told me all about my 'true' family."

Try as she might, Scully hadn't been able to get him to say another word. So she'd maneuvered him to the rental car and drove back to the motel. The hospital was a public building, and she didn't want to bring too much attention to them; not that anyone seemed to know, or indeed care who they were. All the same, she wanted them both back in the motel room, away from prying eyes. Dana also felt that perhaps Mulder would open up to her once she got him back. No such luck so far so she insisted he at least get some sleep - doctor's orders.

It was around 5.00pm when he finally surfaced, so she'd helped him get dressed and insisted he eat something, after ordering take-out. His movements were almost mechanical,doll-like, and she was growing more and more concerned. But how could she help him if he didn't speak to her? She also felt a little annoyed, and angry at herself for feeling this way. Why didn't he tell her this news he'd discovered? She was his confidant, his touchstone, his true companion... and now lover. So, why the heck couldn't he tell her what was upsetting him so? The sound of the toilet flushing in the bathroom cubicle snapped her out of her reverie. He entered, crossed over to a chair by a table and fell into it, as if it was the last bit of strength he had left.

"Mulder..please talk to me."

Scully walked over to him, and seated herself opposite.

"I've just been sick," he mumbled.

Not really what she wanted to hear, but at least it was something. "Maybe pizza wasn't such a good idea?" she joked, softly.

But Mulder didn't acknowledge the tender jibe. He remained cut off, lost in some dark little world of his own. A world Scully intended to conqueror.

She rose from the chair and went over to him. "Come here". She led him over and gently eased him onto the bed, then sat beside him. He let her, and it felt like she was being a puppeteer. She leaned in and kissed him softly.

He felt her arms go around him, and responded half-heartedly. At least being with Scully allowed him to have 'some' sanity in his life. He felt her push him very lightly down beside her, then something clicked in his mind. Here was a woman who truly loved him, and would do anything for him. Maybe if he opened up and explained his painful secret, she would understand. The smoking man's words re-played in his head like a loop tape, and he shuddered. He felt nauseous again, and realised he couldn't deal with this revelation all alone. It was far too much for one man to handle. On the other hand, what if he told Scully everything, and she couldn't cope with the news? If he lost her, he'd lose all meaning of existence. She was the only thing keeping him going, especially after being given news like that. No. He couldn't lose her! He felt those damn tears welling up again and swallowed hard.



"I-I'm afraid to t-tell you."

She pulled him closer. "Mulder, you needn't be.You know how I feel about you?"

"Y-Yes," he stammered.

"Then you shouldn't be afraid to tell me anything."

He sighed deeply. "I-I know. But...I don't think you'll understand."

"Try me," she replied, gently.

Mulder stared into her eyes, his own now red and filled with tears. "I-I don't want to lose you Scully. I wouldn't be able to carry on."

Scully looked puzzled, and deeply concerned. "You won't ever lose me Mulder. No matter what you have to say."

"P-Promise me," he stammered weakly.

"I promise."

Then Scully remembered what he'd said at the hospital. "You said it's about your true family?"

He had to tell her. He had to share this devastating news with someone or he'd end up having a nervous break down. *Please god make her understand*, he thought. Then he took a deep breath and started to explain, slowly. "You know the smoking bastard had an affair with my mother?"

"Yes?" she replied, quietly, aware this was a delicate subject. "I know he was your real father."

"There was a reason he was so close to her," Mulder added, his voice sounding strained. "She was an important part of the whole thing."

"What do you mean?" Scully felt him shudder in her arms.

"He arranged for her to be...abducted." His voice was hardly a whisper.

Scully frowned. "He...what?"

Mulder hesitated, but continued. "Many times. She was their test subject." The words he spoke made him want to throw up again, but he swallowed instead. "They just picked her out at random."

"W-Who did?" Scully wasn't sure she wanted to hear the answer.

"Who do you think?" Mulder spat the words out. "The aliens."

It had to be alien related didn't it? It couldn't be anything else? "Why?" was all she could say.

*Don't tell her...she won't understand! She won't understand!* The words screamed out in his mind. Mulder felt so sick inside, and leaned in closer, burying his head into her shoulder. "They wanted a human woman for their genetic experiments," he whispered bitterly. He lifted his head. "You know they were trying to create a new species from a combination of human and alien DNA?"

"Yes." Scully sighed, now rather worried about what her partner might say next.

"T-They succeeded, Scully." His words had taken on an edge of definate fear.

"What do you mean, succeeded? We know the secret government was trying to create a vaccine from hybrid cells, against the black oil," she said warily.

"Yeah, and the aliens gave them a fetus of their kind so they could secretly continue the experiments, with the intentions of creating a slave race. Then, there's the hybrids the aliens created who re-created themselves. I think their plan was to maybe overthrow the greys as a new species? Just where humans would fit into all of this, who knows?" Mulder realized he'd spouted the words out in one lengthy monotone, and wasn't even sure his partner was following what he was saying? But it had to be said, if only to try and clarify things in his own mind. " But there's another extremely secret agenda which has been brought to my attention, Scully. All thanks to the smoking bastard!" He'd almost yelled that last sentence out, so took a deep breath trying to compose himself.

"Which is..?" Scully was almost afraid to ask.

"I mean...," he stammered. "That bastard got her pregnant... and they..." *Please god don't let me carry on*, his mind begged. But he couldn't stop now. He had to tell the woman he loved, he had to. "T-They impregnated the fetus...with alien DNA."

*Oh my god...no, please don't be saying what I think you're saying*, Scully thought. But all she could say was, "You mean...you...you're a..?"

Mulder finished her sentence, feeling as if his whole life had come to an abrupt end. "I'm an alien-human hybrid, Scully. They created me...for this whole damn project!" He noticed the stunned expression on her face, and felt so alone right at that moment. "I'm...I'm s-sorry," he stammered, helplessly.

Scully began shaking her head. "N-no," she said softly. The sudden revelation had hit her like a painful slap in the face! This changed everything, everything in her life...and Mulder's. She stopped thinking about herself and immediately focused on the man beside her. The man whose life had suddenly been violently turned upside down.

"I-I'm not who you thought I was. I-I never have been," he whimpered.

"Mulder...none of this..." Scully paused, not really knowing quite how to react. "None of this is your fault" she said, lamely. She received no reply from the stricken man.

Her mind started to flash back to the time when her partner had suffered from a strange anomaly that had given him the power to read people's thoughts. Just like the child chess prodigy, Gibson Praise...who was also part alien. Strange how she was never able to put two and two together when the mind reading ability surfaced in Mulder. Perhaps it was due to denial on her part? For many years she had believed it had occurred due to him being subjected to the alien retro virus, when he'd been a prisoner in Tunguska; forced into being a test subject when the Russians were trying to develop an antidote. But now..? Now he was telling her he'd had this virus within him since he was conceived, just lying dormant, waiting to strike. How and for what morbid reason? "The disease you had...your mind..?"

"Is part of it," he said swallowing hard. Even though he felt so sick inside, there was a small bout of relief in seeing how Scully was coping with the news. At least she hadn't run screaming from the room or called him a freak. But then she had recently discovered aliens 'do' exist and was now much more 'open minded' to the extreme possibilities. He took a deep breath, "Scully...there's more."

"M...more?" she asked, her voice stammering a little.

"Th..the reason why they did this."

"Which is?" She paused, her mind conjuring up visions of the not so distant past. " Billy Miles? Has it anything to do with him and super soldiers?"

"They were the gray's latest creations, so they could form a new alien army from the human abductees." Briefly, he closed his eyes and a lump caught in his throat. "According to the cigarette smoking piece of shit...they have much grander plans in store for me." Mulder's thoughts were also in rewind mode, and the moment in the FBI's parking lot when Skinner arrived on the scene, just in time to prevent Alex Krycek from shooting him, came to mind. *But didn't he hesitate - why?* he thought. " I...I think he knew."

This statment threw Scully completely. "Who...knew what, Mulder?"

"Krycek...he knew what I was. Why they abducted me he must have known." *But didn't his phantom self try and help me escape from that military facility?* he pondered.

Scully took his shaking hand. "What are you saying?"

Mulder was still lost in thought. *Why would Krycek help me from beyond the grave?*

Then again, had he really been there? Maybe Krycek, X , the Lone Gunmen, all of them...maybe they'd just been imaginary allies, phantoms he had created in his own desperate attempt to find a solution; a way out?... So, how had X managed to give him that piece of paper with Maurita's whereabouts printed on it? Too many questions!

Scully could see he wasn't listening to her, so she tried again. "Mulder! What do you mean Krycek knew?"

Mulder looked into her blue eyes, his own still glistening with moisture. "It was something he said, before Skinner shot him. It didn't make sense at the time." He shifted uneasily on the bed. "But..but now it does."

As far as Dana Scully was concerned, nothing made sense. "What did Krycek say?"

Mulder's breathing quickened. "He said it to Skinner. He said, 'It's gonna take more bullets than you could ever fire to win this game... but one bullet...and I can give you a thousand lives.' "Then..." Mulder shivered.


"Then...he told Skinner to shoot me."

"But he shot Krycek." Scully replied, firmly. "He didn't know then, what I know now," Mulder said, his voice no more than a whisper.

"Which is..?" Scully already knew the answer. Mulder had just told her the answer, but she just didn't want to speak it. She didn't want to believe it.

"That I'm the threat...because of what those extra terrestrial bastards did to me." The tears flowed afresh. "It's what CGB Spender told me Scully. That I'll be the cause of the destruction of mankind."

"I don't understand H...how can you..?"

Mulder cut her off mid sentence. "I was abducted so that they could trigger the 'alien' part of me." He swallowed hard, "He said it was my chosen destiny...and that there's no escape."

She'd been lost in a whirlpool of information that was pulling her under into a realm of terror. Suddenly, she came to her senses. "But Mulder, after we revived you, and I admistered the course of anti virals, you recovered...with a clean bill of health. You don't have the alien retro virus anymore!"

Title: Key To The Kingdom (2 of 7) Author: Penny Evans

He could hear the erratic tone in her voice. Oh, how he desperately wanted to believe the anti virals had cured him, but he knew the answer was far from the truth. He'd been told that much by Old Smokey. Quietly, he replied "Scully...it's part of me."

"W...what do you mean? Mulder?" she asked, stammering.

"My DNA...it's part alien. It creates the virus in me... and will do it again."

Scully wasn't going to accept this, not one little bit. Not now, not when she'd miraculously had Mulder returned to her. All right, he'd had to hide for a year in the desert. But now he was here. And nothing was going to tear them apart again, nothing! She had to have an answer, she had to.

"So, we inject you with liquid magnatite...like Jeffrey Spender did for our son. It cured him, and now he's fully human." Tears came to her eyes, as she remembered the day Fox's half-brother had intervened in rescuing William from an alien fate. In reality, it had tragically resulted in her having to give him away to a foster family, so he would be safe.

Mulder sighed, his voice cracking. "Scully, William only had the virus in his system, not in his DNA makeup. Maybe because of you being totally human...I don't know?" He didn't want to say anymore, but it was only fair to explain it to her, the woman he loved more than life itself. "Magnatite won't help me."

She wouldn't give up, no matter what he said. "But we have proved that anti virals postpone it at least." Scully showed clear determination in her voice, even though her world had taken one massive turn into oblivion. "Then I'll keep administering them to you, as long as it takes."

Mulder drew her closer and held on tightly. She was trying so hard to rationalise everything; desperately trying to solve the problem. But the smoking bastard had told him all about his so-called destiny, and Mulder knew the sickening outcome to the whole scenario. "I very much doubt they are going to let me be cured. I'm far too important to them. They need me."

"For...what?" she asked, letting fear once again creep in.

He pulled away from her comforting arms, breathing heavily. He was going to tell her the final part of the story. The final part that would reveal to her as well as himself, that he was a condemned man/alien...whatever! He wanted to scream!

"Scully? The alien DNA...part of me...It will take me over." His words came out disjointed. It felt like someone else was speaking them. "I'll be one of them...incredibly strong ...fearless...powerful. No more Mulder...I won't be the least part human anymore." He swallowed hard. " I'll be their...their key. Key to man's destruction!"

Scully couldn't stand any more of what she was hearing. "T...this c...can't be happening. It just can't be happening," she said stubbornly, refusing to believe, as she pulled him into her embrace.

Mulder stroked her hair softly, and kissed her gently, tears still very much in evidence.

"Oh S...Scully, he whimpered."

He held her as if his very life depended on it, and maybe it did. How he wished they could both just disappear into a warm, safe nothingness far away from the horror which they faced. He hadn't even mentioned to her about how the transformation would occur, because the smoking son of a bitch hadn't been clear on that. It would either be another abduction, or the fucking alien DNA would strike at random, or? He couldn't let Mulder know exactly how his demise would occur (his human side that is.)

No, the bastard had to die in his hospital bed, before that was revealed to him. As he held Scully tighter, feeling her shudder a little in his arms, his parents came to mind. They'd also known the truth about him, but obviously hadn't been allowed to give the game away, or..? They were murdered, the both of them, because they had almost revealed the truth to him. The black-lunged son of a bitch had told him that the conspiracy had given his mother the horrible, disfiguring cancer, and promised no cure. So, she'd killed herself, because she couldn't take it anymore, could no longer live with what they'd done to her son. Since birth he had been observed by the aliens, while they waited for the moment when he would be 'ripe' and ready for the picking.

Then there was Samantha? He'd forgotten about his sister. She was another experiment; another hybrid. Rather than being the 'chosen one' (which was strictly Mulder's role in their game plan), she had been expendable, just an early test subject, to inflict tourture upon until they were done with her. Only the walk-ins had stepped in and saved her soul, transforming her essence into starlight. She had been set free.

*Thank god!* he thought, as he held onto his beloved Scully. *Thank god she was saved.* His body convulsed, as he felt he was losing control. Then the tears flooded from his hazel eyes! He'd believed not so long ago, that maybe there was hope? But now? Now he felt like he was staring into a terrifying, dark abyss. Game over Mulder!

A sharp knock brought him out of his dark reverie. Scully also jumped, and reached for her gun.

"What the hell happened here?" John Doggett entered the room, pushing at the broken door. He spotted Scully, weapon pointed at him. "Whoa! It's just me."

"Sorry", she replied, still reeling from Mulder's terrifying revelation. "Can't be too careful these days."

Two more familiar faces appeared behind him, namely Walter Skinner and Monica Reyes.

"Erm...hope we're not interupting anything" Skinner said promptly, when he noticed his two favourite agents were sitting on the bed together. When he saw Mulder's pale complexion and glazed expression; and the fact the door had clearly been broken off its hinges, he became concerned. "What has happened?"

Scully placed her weapon back onto the side table. "We were paid a visit by the smoking man's henchmen."

All three looked a little stunned, Skinner more so. "What? But he's dead, right?"

"Oh he's dead...but not before he had Mulder dragged to his hospital bedside, so he could tell him the 'truth'," she said bitterly.

"What truth?" Monica asked, also aware that Mulder was looking extremely upset about something.

Scully immediately noticed a look of dread come over her partner's face, so decided to change the subject. It would have to be discussed, but not right at this moment. "So...why are you guys here?"

"We got kicked out the FBI!" Doggett said firmly. "Obviously we weren't pulling our weight", he teased, but his voice was solemn.

"I was called into Assistant Director Kersh's office," Skinner added. "Only to quickly discover I no longer had my position in the Bureau."

"And they've closed the X Files, permanently", Monica said, her tone matching her partner's.

"So, you decided under the circumstances to get the hell away from there?" Mulder asked, his voice sounding strained.

"Circumstances?" Doggett asked.

"Before they turned you all into alien army recruits," Mulder replied. " You know too much to be safe from them now."

Defensively, Doggett jumped in. "We know most of the FBI are in on this super soldier program with the military. It's pretty clear they don't want us on the team anymore because we know their dirty little secret."

Mulder sighed heavily. "Whatever." He was in no mood to start an argument about who was really in charge. He knew the answer. It had been shoved into his face by the smoking bastard. Right now, he'd prefer Doggett's explanation, as the truth. If only?

"You've not mentioned Kersh, or Gibson," Scully spoke up. "Are they ok?"

"I arranged for Gibson to get safe passage out of Washington DC. Then we followed suit," Skinner said. "I still had some pull with people higher up the ladder, who I knew could be trusted."

"Sure about that?" Mulder asked, quietly. He received no reply.

"I don't know what happened to AD Kersh. All I know is Gibson is safe in the New Mexico desert. It was confirmed to me via one of the Navaho tribesmen he's residing with." Skinner's face darkened, as he remembered the scene that had gone down outside Kersh's office.

After being given the heave ho, he was then asked to give the 'powers that be' the whereabouts of Mulder and Scully. This, of course he'd refused. Angrily, they left the room and he followed. They then confronted Gibson, who had been waiting outside the office, along with Doggett and Reyes. They'd been extremely concerned about the assistant director. One of the alien replacements (the one he'd pointed out at Mulder's trial) had grabbed the young boy, staring into his eyes, forcing Gibson to reveal his thoughts to him. He had been so afraid.

"They tried to read Gibson's mind to find out where you both were," Skinner told his two former agents."That's how they knew you were at those Anasazi ruins in the desert."

"And,..and now they know we're here, in Roswell?" Scully asked, worried.

"No," Skinner replied calmly. "Gibson somehow managed to convince them you were hiding out in Canada. I mean that's where we'd told you to head in the first place."

"H...how..?" Scully began.

"I guess he's getting good at training his thoughts. Making other mind readers believe a lie," Mulder replied. *Three cheers for Gibson.* echoed in his mind.

"So if they think you're in Canada..." Monica began, but was interrupted by Scully.

"Then we can't go there."

"So, where do we head, chief?" Doggett asked. Most of what Skinner and Mulder had said about Gibson had gone over his head. He just couldn't bring himself to believe in all this E.S.P mind reading nonsense...or aliens come to that. But he did realise they were in some sort of danger. That was very clear.

"I think we need to get off this continent as soon as we can. I can arrange transportation. I still have some pull with authorities," Skinner smiled. "I can get us flown out of here by private jet."

"Adios America," Monica said softly. "I've never been anywhere but across the States."

"It'll be an adventure." Doggett replied.

The three of them were so engrossed in discussing the journey that lay ahead, they'd almost forgotten their other two friends, until Mulder spoke up. "So where exactly are we going?" he asked.

Scully could tell he was sounding a little tense, but the other's hadn't noticed.

"England is our best bet." Skinner replied.

"Right," Mulder said, the tension building. "Of course, the aliens won't think to look for me...us there!" A thinly veiled line of sarcasm poured from his lips.

*Oh not aliens again!* Doggett thought.

Skinner had heard the slip in Mulder's outburst, and became concerned. "What do you mean 'look for you'?" he asked.

Mulder breathed heavily and turned away. "Nothing," he said in a whisper.

Scully looked at him, then at her former collegues. She felt torn between staying silent about what Mulder had said to her about his true self, but at the same time, she felt that the others should know. It would all come out eventually anyway. How could you keep something this major a big secret? Also, it wouldn't be fair to keep her friends in the dark not when they were doing everything they could to help.

Gently she touched Mulder's arm. "I think we should tell them. They'll understand."

Fear darted through him like he'd been hit by lightening. "No!" he said firmly, pulling away. The last thing he wanted was to have to explain the nightmare situation all over again. "I...can't tell them," he stammered.

"Can't tell us what?" Monica asked, gently.

"P...Please...," Mulder began.

Scully interrupted. "Mulder," she said softly. "I'll tell them."

The two ex-FBI agents and former assistant director sat motionless, as their former colleague, Dana Scully, tried to explain the whole story and what she now knew about Fox Mulder and his kidnapping, which led to the confrontation with the dying cigarette smoking man. She noticed tears begin to well up in her partner's eyes as she spoke, and squeezed his hand gently. He pulled from her grasp, stood up sharply and walked over to the window. He remained in complete silence, his back towards them, as Scully came to the end of her speech.

"So, what you're telling us is...Mulder's an alien now?" The words had come out wrong, but Doggett just couldn't get his head around this one at all.

Walter Skinner was also trying to process this alarming discovery in his mind, but wasn't sure exactly what to say. "Oh God," was all he could manage. He had been made very much aware of the existence of alien life, but never in his entire life could he have forseen something like this.

Monica too was stunned. She'd seen a spacecraft, alien super soldiers, and like the ex-assistant director, she had no choice but to believe in the impossible. "How can we help him?" she asked feebly.

Mulder finally turned and faced them, letting out a heavy sigh. "You can't", he whispered quietly.

Scully could see he was shaking and walked over to where he was standing. She gently put her arms around him, holding his body closely against her own. "Mulder..." she said, softly.

He closed his eyes, allowing a few tears to course down his cheeks, then gently pushed her away. He looked towards the others in the room. Skinner showed concern in his eyes. Monica was giving him a look of sympathy...and Doggett was displaying total confusion but in fairness, his gaze had softened somewhat.

Now the news was out in the open, and Mulder realized that he would have to reveal the whole truth. He looked back at Scully, noticing there was moisture in her eyes, but she gave him a faint smile. "I-I have something to tell you," he stammered. He walked over and seated himself down at the table. Once again looking at each friend in turn he added, "All of you."

Scully frowned slightly. There couldn't possibly be even more to explain. She'd believed he'd told her everything. "What is it Mulder?"

"You all know what I am. You might as well know 'why' I am".

Then Scully remembered what he'd said to her not so long ago. "Mulder, you said that you would be a threat to mankind." He nodded, gazing down at the floor. "I couldn't take it in at the time..."

Skinner interrupted her. "A threat?" he asked nervously. "Why did you tell Scully that?"

Doggett's eyes widened on hearing that. "A threat to us?" he asked.

"To everyone...on this earth", Mulder replied. He felt bile rising in his throat and swallowed hard.

"How can that be?" Monica asked, shaking her head.

He looked over at his former boss, Walter Skinner. "For years I was considered a lost cause with the Bureau; a joke to my peers. Agent Mulder, the guy who runs around chasing little green men from out of space." He forced a chuckle. "Who would ever have thought I'd turn out to be the most important piece of the puzzle in this whole charade?"

"Important piece?" Skinner asked, confused. "How?"

Mulder took a deep irregular breath. "I was chosen...to be a new type of species. The smoking bastard; my dear father ..." He emphasized the word 'dear' as if it was poison on his tongue. "He explained it all to me. The true plan of the grays was to create the perfect hybrid who would mutate to an alien in human form becoming a highly developed intelligent creature who would rule the workers, or drones, of the slave hybrid race...with an army of super soldiers to back me." he said, bitterly. "In other words I'll eventually become so powerful that I will lead the alien race to victory against mankind." His voice weakened. "It's all been foretold. It's a destiny I can't escape."

"Holy shit!" Doggett blurted out. "This sounds like a great idea for a movie script."

All eyes turned on him.

"Well, come on! Do you really expect me to believe this? Do you believe this?"

Mulder's eyes flashed angrily at him. "Why in God's name do you think I would make any of this up, Doggett?"

"I have no idea"

"Then be quiet," Skinner cut in sharply. He turned to his former agent. "Mulder, I believe you. I wish in all earnesty that I didn't, but I do." He took a deep breath. "Now, how are we supposed to stop this?" he asked, rather pathetically.

"Like I told Monica," Mulder replied helplessly. "You can't stop this."

Scully had heard enough of what had been said. She felt both scared and deeply concerned for her partner. "I won't let you quit on me...on us. Not now, not ever." She took Mulder's hand, and felt him shudder. "There has to be a way."

"If I have faith?" he asked her, lamely.

She didn't answer.

Skinner had been pondering a solution, at least something that was a positive move in the right direction. Though it was harder to think straight after Mulder's little announcment. "We have got to get away from here,"he suggested.

"You mean leave for England?" Monica asked, equally confused.

Skinner picked up his cell phone. "Remember those connections I still have?"

Scully nodded.

"I'm going to try and arrange a flight out of Roswell." He headed for the doorway. "I'll get us out of this place, by tonight if I can." Then he left the motel room.

John Doggett felt like everyone had completely lost their minds. At the same time, something was niggling in the back of his own. Why would Mulder make up such an elaborate story? "So, if this is true and that's a mighty big 'if', the plan is to run away and what? Hide Mulder from these so-called aliens?"

"Skinner's right," Monica piped up. "I think we should leave."

"And where do you think it's going to be safe?" Mulder said, quietly.

Scully squeezed his hand. "If we stay here, we definitely won't be."

"What about this destiny thing?" Doggett asked.

"What do you mean?" Scully replied.

"I mean," Doggett began, "if we are to try and believe this is all true are we in fact safe?" He could see the confusion in both Monica and Scully's faces, but the stare Mulder was giving him told Doggett he was on the right track.

"You mean from me," Mulder stated.

"What?" Scully began.

Doggett cut her off. "He said himself that he'll become this powerful threat to the human race. So, let's say we do everything we can to protect him, and it's not enough? Then what?"

"Then I turn on you and rip your throat out!" Mulder's words choked him. "Is that what you're afraid of?"

"I'm not afraid," Doggett replied. However, he knew his statement didn't fully ring true.

"Or maybe slice your head off with a flick of the wrist... like Billy Miles?"

"Mulder," Scully interjected. "Please don't do this to yourself." She turned towards Doggett. "John, he's no threat to anyone."

"Not as long as we keep him from these aliens right?" Monica asked.

"I believe so," Scully replied, looking at Mulder for an answer. She saw the tears welling up in his eyes again.

"Problem solved," he said, but the words rang falsely in his ears.

Just then Walter Skinner entered the room, a look of triumph on his face.

"What?" Monica asked, hopefully.

"I've just got us a private plane as far as Wyoming. It'll be arriving in a few hours, and we'll be landing near Devil's Tower," he announced.

"Wyoming?" Doggett said, glancing over at Mulder. "I thought we had to get away from the States, otherwise the aliens will find us eventually?"

"I thought you didn't believe in aliens?" Monica said softly.

John Doggett wasn't listening. "Oh and Devil's Tower as well. Maybe we can remake Spielberg's movie 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.' Wouldn't that be fun?" he said in a sarcastic tone.

Both Scully and Monica ignored the remark and Skinner carried on with what he'd been trying to say.

"When we get there, they'll be another plane waiting to take us to England."

Mulder, who hadn't been concentrating on much of the conversation at all, turned away and looked out of the window and up at the sky, which was now turning into a glorious sunset over the mountains in the distance. He didn't see the beautiful oranges and reds blending together, just the cold glint of a metallic surface hovering above. His imagination projected the spaceship clearly in his mind and he shuddered. How could he ever be free no matter where they ran to?

The plane touched down on an abandoned airstrip in the heart of a stretch of grassland in the early hours of the morning.

During the several hours of flight from Roswell, Mulder had sat quietly in a window seat, gazing out at the night sky; Scully curled up asleep beside him. He wasn't sure why it should be, considering the frightening circumstances he was in, but the bright pinpricks of light twinkling in all that blackness had offered him some comfort. *Starlight*, he'd thought *that special place where Samantha traveled...where she's safe.*

Monica Reyes had also managed to let herself drift off to sleep, having chosen a seat to herself opposite Mulder and Scully. Both Doggett and Skinner, seated behind them, had remained firmly awake throughout the trip. Every now and then Skinner would glance over at Mulder, but received no response.

*Jeeze, how am I supposed to protect him?* he asked himself.

John Doggett on the other hand had been thinking about a completely different scenerio. *Just how are we supposed to protect ourselves...in this confined space? If Mulder 'changes' ...* He wasn't sure how else to put it. *Then we don't stand a chance in hell of survival!*

To his relief this altercation had never happened, but he still wouldn't feel comfortable, until his feet touched terra firma.

Five figures alighted onto the runway, but there was no one there to greet them. The place was deserted.

"So where's this other plane?" Doggett asked.

Skinner's brow furrowed. "I don't understand?" he stated. He walked over to the pilot of the little Cessna they'd arrived in. "Have you any idea where our connection is?" he asked.

"Sorry sir," the pilot replied. "All I had were instructions to fly you here." He paused then added, "Sir, I do have to return to the base. I can't wait..."

"Okay," Skinner interrupted. "I understand."

"What's going on?" Scully asked, concerned.

"It's not coming is it?" Mulder said, stating the fact more than asking a question. Visions of an alien spacecraft arriving on the scene instead couldn't help but permeate his thoughts. He scanned the sky nervously, but there were no bright lights; only the stars.

Skinner took his cell phone out of his jacket and began pressing numbers.

"Are you certain we are in the right place?" Monica asked him. It seemed to her that they were in the middle of nowhere.

"Yes!" Skinner replied, sharply, making her jump a little. "I'm sorry Ms. Reyes." Frustration showed clearly on his face.

"What is it?" Doggett asked.

"There's no answer...nothing!"

"Who are you calling?" Scully wanted to know.

"Friends involved with British Intelligence", Skinner replied, agitated. "They arranged our transport out of the US."

Mulder sighed heavily. "Looks like someone got to them."

"You mean the aliens?" Doggett asked him. His tone of voice was firm, although he hadn't meant to sound so condecending.

Mulder flashed him a 'look' and said nothing.

Monica decided to change the subject. "You know, it's the middle of the night. Don't you think we'd better try and find somewhere to crash?"

Scully looked around the area, but couldn't see a sign of life anywhere. "And just where are we supposed to do that?"

"Sir." The pilot referred to Walter Skinner. "I do know there's a motel, about a mile or so from here, over that hill." He pointed in a westerly direction. "You could all stay there until you get things sorted out."

*Sorted out* Skinner thought. *What if their plans to get to the UK had been thwarted by the alien conspiracy? Then that would mean they knew where they were. *Best not say anything. I don't wish to panic anyone, least of all Mulder.* "Thanks," he replied.

"No problem, sir." The pilot smiled, then added, "I'd best be going."

The five watched the little plane take off down the runway and disappear into the night.

"We'd better make a move ourselves," Skinner suggested. "It's getting colder by the minute."

The others nodded, and started to make headway towards the hill the pilot had pointed out to them. As they walked, Skinner lead the way while Doggett, Reyes and Scully were not far behind.

Mulder sidled up alongside his former boss. "I know what you're thinking," he said quietly.

Skinner gave him a puzzled, if slightly alarmed look.

"No, I've not read your mind," Mulder assured him. "That alien ability seems to have diminished." His voice sounded bitter. *And I hope to God it never returns.* he thought. Chances were probably likely it would, and then some. But he didn't wish to explore that avenue of possibilities right now.

"What am I thinking?" Skinner asked him, realizing his former FBI agent wasn't someone who you could keep in the dark about most things. His mind had always been one step ahead of everyone else in the Bureau. It was uncanny. Sadly, now he knew why Mulder had possessed this unique ability. It was all thanks to an alien race set on repossessing the earth and using him as their...their what? Weapon of destruction? He shuddered a little.

Mulder placed a hand on his shoulder. "You think they might come looking for us? He faltered slightly and added, "They probably know where we are."

The others had heard this conversation and became alarmed. "If that's true, then we're like sitting ducks out here," Scully stated.

Doggett had a question for Mulder. "But if they are so hell bent on taking you again, wouldn't they be here now, buzzing over this area?" Before anyone could reply, he turned to Monica. "You said that the ship you claim you saw was huge. If it was here, we'd see it right?"

"Without a doubt," Monica answered. Tentively she gazed above her head.

"So they can't know where we are then, can they?" Doggett asked. "Sorry, Mulder but I think you're obviously scared and are jumping to conclusions."

Mulder stopped walking and faced him. But Scully positioned herself between the two men.

"Let's just get to the motel," she suggested. She looked at Mulder. "Please?" Placing her arm around his waist, she squeezed him gently. "There's no one here but us, and I'm cold."

In response Mulder put an arm across her shoulders and held her closer to him as the team continued to walk towards the hill. Every now and then he would glance up, then look out across the expanse of land. *Of course it could always be cloaked* he thought, and felt a knot in the pit of his stomach. But everything remained the same during their short journey to the motel.

After checking themselves in, they bid each other goodnight and headed to their rooms. They discovered there was hardly anybody else staying in this particular motel, so Doggett and Skinner decided to share, while Monica suggested she stay in the adjoining room. Both Mulder and Scully chose the one next to hers.

"I'm afraid it's single beds only," Scully teased gently, trying to alleviate some of the tension.

Mulder didn't seem to be listening.

"Should be plenty of room for us in one of these though... Mulder?"

"Huh?" he said, absent mindedly.

She took a hold of his hand and led him over to one of the beds. "Sit," she commanded lightly.

He obeyed.

"Oh Mulder...honey...,she added tentively, then became lost for words. What could she say? *Oh how I wish none of this were true and you weren't some alien experiment destined to face a cruel fate.* What the hell good would that do? She couldn't even say that everything was going to be all right. So, she just wrapped her arms around him tightly and held him close.

He couldn't register Scully's touching words there and then, the anguish he had locked inside was overwhelming him. Mulder was so grateful to have her beside him though and clung to her as if his very life depended on it. Somehow his tears had managed to stay hidden during the entire trip from Roswell. But once behind closed doors he discovered he could hold back no longer.

Scully felt his body shudder and then heard him crying softly. *We'll get through this* she thought, *Even if I have to kill every single one of those aliens. They are not having him!*

Title: Key To The Kingdom (3 of 7) Author: Penny Evans

As swirling mists parted, all that could be seen was a piercing light which seemed to penetrate his very soul. A flash of cold steel then the pain followed, slicing into his flesh, his world turning a crimson red. Fox Mulder heard himself screaming over and over, begging for someone to hear his cries for help. But no one came. The grays were grouped all around, leaning over his prone body, which was pinned to the chair, with metal spikes that had been driven through both bone and tissue into both wrists and ankles. Their black almond shaped eyes staring down at him, no expression displayed upon their small faces. He heard a screeching, tearing sound, forcing himself to look up. Coming out of the light was a metal arm with what looked like a spinning saw on the end. It was getting closer and closer and with a certain horror he realized it was going to slice into his chest!

"Oh dear God!" he screamed. "Please help me! HELP ME!"

Mulder's eyes darted open as he heard himself yell out in fear. It took several shaky seconds before he realized he was in a bed in a motel room. Fragments of the nightmare were now receding and he felt himself gradually begin to grow calmer, although his body was now bathed in sweat, and his head was starting to ache. Slowly he turned to one side to see that Scully was snuggled up beside him. She must have been really exhausted, as his scream hadn't disturbed her sleep. Taking care not to wake her, he slowly swung his legs out of bed and gingerly walked over to a window. The room was cold and he shivered a little, wrapping his arms tightly around himself to try and keep warm. He looked out and could see twinkling stars in a sky that was starting to grow a little lighter, so it was obviously just before dawn. He realized he needed to get out of the now clammy underclothes he had worn the night before. He took a fresh pair out of his overnight bag. The only items both he and his partner had managed to bring with them were a few changes of underwear and toiletries which they'd had in their possession since the escape to the motel in Roswell. He quickly dressed, glancing back at her every now and then to make sure she was still asleep. Right now he needed to be alone. As he pulled on his shirt, his hand brushed against the deep scar which ran down the centre of his chest, and he shivered. The nightmarish visions aboard the alien spaceship returned but he forced them to the back of his mind.

"No," he whispered painfully. He could shut out the physical torture they had inflicted upon him but trying to prevent himself from thinking about just what they had planned for him in the near future seemed an impossible task.

*There really is no way out of this Mulder* his mind kept repeating. "Oh give me a break", he moaned. Taking a deep breath, he crossed over to the motel door and unlocked it. Giving one more glance toward the redhead sleeping soundly, he stepped out of the room, quietly closing the door behind him.

Outside the air was chilly but fresh and he took several deep breaths hoping this would help to lessen the throbbing pain behind his temples. He noticed a light coming from one of the buildings and began walking toward it. When he reached the place he realized it was the motel's reception area, which also had a little cafe that was open. He noticed there were only a few people inside so decided even though he would rather be alone, he would also prefer to be warmer. He entered and seated himself at a table near the door, wishing to keep his distance from the other clientele. Once inside he noticed there were only four more people occupying the cafe. A young couple was chatting to each other over steaming hot cups of coffee across from him. The aroma was tempting Mulder, so when the waitress came over he ordered a cup. He watched her move behind the counter and could see she was quite attractive, if a little too tall for his liking. Long brunette curls sweeping down her shoulders and eyes the colour of jade, hiding behind very thickly laid on makeup. He was pondering why some women chose to wear so much eye shadow and mascara when it was really so unnecessary when he noticed the third person in the cafe. A young girl, probably in her early twenties, was seated at the table directly opposite him. She seemed of average height, with wavy dark blonde hair reaching to the nape of her neck. He also couldn't help noticing she was very curvaceous.

She looked up from her coffee and smiled in his direction, which made him blush slightly. This unfortunately always happened when a pretty member of the opposite sex showed any acknowledgement to his existence. It was a habit he wished he could break. Also the fact she had those same crystal blue eyes as his partner, didn't help either.

The waitress returning with his cup of coffee made him temporarily break eye contact with the girl as he smiled his thanks. She left and he took a sip of the beverage before him. Mmmn. It tasted rich in flavor and he was grateful for the warmth he felt from it. He realized the headache seemed to be fading now. *So that's all I needed,..a dose of caffeine?* he mused. Taking a larger sip, he looked up and met the young lady's gaze once more and returned a belated smile in her direction. He noticed she was dressed in black jeans and tee shirt to match. It was then that he saw she was wearing a button and took a sharp intake of breath when he realized that the emblem was an alien head in gold, with almond shaped eyes.

"You like it?" she asked, in an amused tone.

"Pardon?" Mulder stumbled out, realizing he must have been staring for a good while.

"I couldn't help but notice you were staring at my button," she replied. "It's an extra-terrestrial."

"I can see that," he said. "Very pretty," he added, his demeanor showing he was far from pleased upon seeing it.

The girl smiled again. "Do you believe in them?"

This completely threw him for a loop. "W-What?"

"Aliens. Do you believe they exist?" she asked, lightly.

"Do you?" He aimed the question directly at her, both curious and also unnerved by this pretty young stranger.

"Yeah." Her reply was firm. "Oh yeah." She paused briefly then added in a whisper, "I've seen them."

Okay. This could all just be a ploy to get him to talk to her? Perhaps she was using it as a chat up line or just needed the company. Still, her voice had sounded rather convincing. He was going to take the bait, but tread very carefully.

"You have?"

"May I join you?" she asked in an innocent tone.

*Polite, but rather abrupt* Mulder thought. "Sure."

The young lady got up and seated herself opposite him. "Hi," she said, extending a hand. "My name's Angelina."

He shook it and smiled. "Mulder."

"Hi," she repeated, rather unsure as to how she should address him.

"Actually it's Fox Mulder...but I'd prefer you just call me Mulder."

"Nice to meet you, Mr. Mulder," she replied sweetly. "So, are you interested?"

"Excuse me?" For a second he thought she was offering herself to him. *You've been watching far too many porn movies* he decided.

"In my story...where I've witnessed these aliens for real?" she replied. "I mean, do you believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials?"

It was as if she had quoted directly from him. A memory surfaced where he had been asking Dana Scully those exact words back when she had first introduced herself down in his office hidden in the bowels of the F.B.I. headquarters in Washington D.C. Little had they known then just where their investigations would take them. Now here in front of him was possibly a fellow kindred spirit in Angelina. She seemed innocent enough, but still he would remain wary. After all, he had no idea who this woman was, and why she should start asking him questions like this? It was almost like she had known it had been his passionate obsession for many years. Only now Mulder knew it was his curse.

"So where did you see them?" He had meant to say it matter-of-factly, but it had come out far too over the top. An actor he could never be!

"You really are interested aren't you?" Angelina stated. "I had a feeling you would be."

Mulder frowned. "How could you possibly think that?"

She smiled. "I've always been a fairly good judge of people." Before he could reply she added. "Also, the way you were staring at the button was pretty much a dead give away. I mean you could have just been staring at my chest, like most men do." Noticing his face turning a crimson red, she continued. "It's okay. I could see you were far more interested in the alien head."

That was Agent Fox William Mulder all right. All his passion aimed at 'little green men' instead of a full-blooded, sexy young lady. Until something, somewhere in his mind clicked, finally enabling him to register his partner, Dana Scully, as such a woman. Call it fate or what you will, but they were now a couple, whatever that meant to him now. Who was he kidding? It meant the whole world to have her fighting beside him, whatever evil they faced.

"It was out by the abandoned airfield," Angelina said, her voice now sounding in awe. "I saw this huge metallic ship. It was glowing...and hovering above the ground. I was so afraid, and ducked down behind some undergrowth...and I just remained as still as I could." She took a breath and pointed at her button. "Then I saw two of these thin, gray creatures..."

Mulder interupted her. "Were you abducted?" he asked quietly.

"No," she answered abruptly, "They never saw me, thank God." She had noticed him shudder when he asked the question. "Why?...Were you?"

He swallowed hard. "Yes."

"I'm so sorry," she replied, softly. "I have heard about other people who have undergone such terrible tests aboard these alien ships. It's barbaric what they do!"

Mulder took a deep breath, briefly closing his eyes. He could feel the tears starting to form and blinked a few times. "It...It was." Then he pulled himself up short. "How do you know about this?"

"My father," she replied. "He's been abducted many times." She paused slightly. "He's formed an organization."


"He knows what these extra-terrestrial's intentions are."

"Which is?" He really didn't want to hear what he already knew himself but he feared he was about to.

"They want to reclaim this earth. They believe it's rightfully theirs, because they were the original occupants."

"My God," he breathed.

"You didn't know?" she asked, almost surprised.

"Yeah," he replied, sadly. "I did know."

"Maybe we can help," she offered gently. Before he could answer, she continued, "Our organization is...well I guess you could say we are a sort of resistance group."

"Against the aliens?" Mulder asked. So, there were people out there who felt the same way as he did, and planned to do something about it, no matter how futile. "How many are you?"

"Not many...about 30, maybe 40 so far. But we're seeking new recruits all the time." She grinned at him. "Like yourself for instance?"

Curiosity was definitely getting the better of him. He was just about to give the young lady a reply when the door to the cafe opened and a petite redhead breezed in looking rather concerned.

She spied him instantly. "Mulder!" Scully hastened across the room and quickly seated herself beside him. "I woke and you were gone. I was worried," she added.

"God, I'm sorry Scully. It was another nightmare. I needed some air. You were asleep and I didn't want to disturb you."

"It's ok", she replied. "I'm just glad you're all right." Then she glanced across at the rather attractive blonde seated opposite her partner. She raised an eyebrow at him, "Mulder, who is this?"

"Angelina meet Dana Scully. My partner."

The girl offered a slightly reluctant hand out. "Hi"

"Mulder, what's going on?" Scully interjected.

Feeling now like maybe there was a spark of hope in his world, he smiled at her. "Scully, we might have found some folks who are on the same wavelength."

From the moment the ex-FBI team had been introduced to Angelina's father and his resistance group of renegades, they were immediately made very welcome in their hideout in the mountains and offered food and shelter. However, even though this group had openly shown that they thought the same way about the up and coming alien invasion, and were grateful for any newcomers to offer assistance, Walter Skinner had questioned his former colleagues as to whether or not they should fully trust these people. Mulder had felt they should be given the benefit of the doubt. If this group of renegades were indeed here to try and thwart an alien invasion then he and his friends would be far better off staying with them than trying to battle on their own. After a debate the others had come to an agreement that they would go along with this group, but remain cautious at all times.

A few weeks had passed by and nothing untoward had occurred, which had allowed them to relax a little. Their only frustration now was attending yet another group meeting to discuss the alien situation in hand.

"It seems like they've penetrated many government agencies all over the States, for control," one of the members told Mulder and the others.

"So do you have a plan?" Skinner asked the group as a whole, silently praying for a constructive answer.

"As I explained before we are trying to gather as many people as we can who are willing and able to fight back," an older man explained. He had first introduced himself as Jack Wilkinson, an ex-colonel from the United States Army who had formed the group, and who was the father of Angelina Wilkinson.

"But how exactly are you going to fight back?" Mulder asked. "Military weapons are not going to stop them, I can assure you of that." He was wishing the colonel would get to the point. Truth be known he really wasn't in the mood for this repeat discussion. He'd awakened that morning with a mother of all headaches. The pain of which had eased off, but right now he would have preferred to be lying down than in this meeting.

"We know the Russians were trying to develop a vaccine against the Black Oil." Another one piped in.

"Why can't we just nuke the bastards!" Doggett offered. "Whatever they are?"

"You mean detonate the ships?" one of the female members asked. "But you'd have to get close to them to plant the bombs. And just how many spaceships do they have?"

"Plus they always cloak them so you don't know their exact location when they are on the ground," Monica added.

"People, there is an answer. There is always an answer." Jack said abruptly. "The human race will not be made extinct by these creatures from hell."

Mulder was continuing to wonder whether these guys, even though they meant well, were just clutching at straws when he noticed the sheer defiance in this ex-colonel's eyes. This guy obviously meant business. At the same time, he became aware of a slight ringing in his ears. Almost immediately he discovered he could hear voices permeating his mind. *Oh please, not that crap again!* he lamented inside, realizing he could hear the thoughts coming from people in the room. Fear was overlapped with a sudden realization that maybe this could prove useful.

"Do you have the answer?" he asked, realizing one of the mind's speaking was Jack's. The only problem was his thoughts were not discernible, nobody's were...well not yet anyway. He shook his head slightly. *Yeah that'll help clarify them* he said sarcastically to himself.

The man stared at him, and Mulder flinched a little.

"Possibly," he replied.

Mulder, are you ok?" Scully asked, concerned. She had noticed a flicker of distress in his eyes.

He was just about to reply, when without any warning the headache returned in full force, and a searing pain shot through him. Mulder screamed and clutching his head with both hands, fell to the ground.

"Mulder!" Scully yelled, and dashed to his side, quickly followed by the rest of the ex-FBI team. She hurriedly checked for a pulse. "He's out cold!"

"He has the virus." It was more like a statement than a question. Jack crossed over to them and put a hand on Mulder's forehead. "His temperature is rising."

"Yes, he needs a course of anti-virals," Scully blurted out. "It prevents the virus from spreading. But..." she hesitated. "It's never made him have black-outs before!" Her voice was panicking now.

"We have to get him to the nearest hospital," Skinner said.

There had been a lot of murmurs coming from the rest of the resistance party, but no one offered any assistance. Suddenly they all turned to look at Jack with growing concern etched on their faces.

"What? What is it?" Doggett asked.

"It's too far away. By the time we get there the virus may have already broken down too many human DNA cells," Jack said firmly.

Skinner faced him. "You know all about this don't you?"

"It's affected some of our members since their abductions. The aliens are trying to create a new race of human hybrids," Jack told them. "A sickening process that spreads an extra terrestrial-type cancer through the human body, breaking down DNA cells and replacing them with their own."

"We already know this!" Scully said, agitated. "So rather than discuss the symptoms, can we please concentrate on helping Mulder? She was cradling him gently in her arms, and noticed the sweat on his fevered brow. "He's burning up!"

Jack pointed to several of his members. "Take him to the dormitory", he ordered.

"W..wait a moment," Scully said, concerned.

Jack faced her. "Do you want to help him or not?"

Angelina took her hand and looked at the other ex-agents in turn. "My father can help," she said quietly.

"He has a cure?" Skinner asked.

"Please..," Scully began. "He needs the anti-virals."

"We have something similar," Angelina explained. The other members who had been chosen began to lift Mulder and carry him out of the room. "Trust us. We want to help him."

"I'm coming with you," Scully said abruptly. But a firm grasp stopped her from moving. "What..?"

"Not yet." Jack's words were firm.

"Look just what the hell is going on?" Doggett asked.

Jack smiled and released Scully's arm. "Just let us take care of him. You can visit him later."

"Who are you?" Scully asked, a little alarmed by his action.

"A friend. Believe me I'm a friend."

Skinner came forward and faced him. "So you've healed other abductees?" he questioned.

"Not healed as such," Jack said. "But we can slow the process down."

Scully was confused as ever. "With what?"

Jack looked at each ex-agent and began to explain. "While I was still a colonel in the army I was involved in a top secret project. We captured an alien spacecraft and experimented on one of their species. From this, we created a toxin that can counteract with the alien virus. It can mimick cells in the body and recreate a DNA pattern but it's temporary. However, we believe the aliens can reverse the virus completely. But in order to do this ourselves we'd need the full alien technology that only they possess."

"How in God's name are you going to get that?" Skinner asked, impatiently.

"We're working on it." Jack replied.

"So, what you're saying is you can postpone the virus, like the anti-virals seemed to do?" Scully asked.

"Yes." Jack took her hand gently. "Dana, we can administer this to your partner every time he has a seizure." Before anyone could answer he added, "They are going to get worse, but this toxin will prevent things from getting too severe."

"Too severe?" Monica asked. She'd been listening intently to the conversations and had to admit it was begining to sound like a confabulation of the truth. Still this Jack Wilkinson did seem to be showing concern.

"You don't know do you?" Anglina asked.

"Know what?" Scully asked with concern.

The girl turned to her father, who took a deep intake of breath. "This virus not only destroys human DNA, but it leaves the human soul intact. Trapped forever in eternity inside an alien vessel of tissue and organs."

"Oh God!" Scully exclaimed. Sudden fears of her beloved Fox's beautiful mind living in a never-ending torment inside an alien creature were starting to terrify her.

Skinner, though highly concerned for his fellow collegue, had other things on his mind. "Just how on earth do you know all this information? And while we're at it, how did you end up with this toxin on your possession? Did you steal it?"

"Yes, that's why I'm now on the run like you. "That's why I formed this resistance group and why I intend to do everything in my power to help victims such as your friend." Jack smiled again. "All the information was gathered when I was working as a colonel...at Area 51."

"So what happened to these other abductees in your resistance group who were taken over with the alien virus?" Skinner asked.

"Like I said the toxin only temporarily prevents the human DNA from altering to alien. We ran out of supplies, and there was nothing we could do to stop the virus from mutating. We had to burn the bodies, or they would have been a threat to the rest of the humans in the group," Jack explained. "So you found fresh supplies from where?" Monica asked. "I have contacts in the army. They were able to send me another batch but sadly not in time to save these abductees," Jack answered with no hesitation.

John Doggett shook his head. "I'm sorry, but this all sounds a little too far fetched to me."

"For someone who doesn't even believe aliens exist, how can that sound far fetched," Monica teased gently, under her breath. However she was begining to have her own doubts about this colonel's story.

"Look I understand your concern," Jack said gently. "But this is the truth. Take it or leave it? All I'm interested in is keeping our fellow human beings from suffering a horrific future."

Just then the door opened and one of the male members of the group entered. All eyes immediately turned on him. " Mr Mulder's fever has gone down. He's sleeping, but you are welcome to go see him now."

Scully needed no encouragement. Giving a brief smile to her fellow colleagues, she headed towards the door. Just before she left she turned to Jack. "Thank you," she said quietly then followed the man out.

Angelina watched the redheaded woman leave then faced the remaining ex-FBI agents. "I told you my father would help him," she said softly.

"I guess I owe you an apology," Doggett said.

"No need," Jack replied. "Now that you can see I really am trying to help the human race, that's all that matters."

Swirling mists covered his body as he fought to tear himself free from their icy tendrils. Then a bright irredescent light appeared. It was so intense he had to shield his eyes from it's inhumane glare. The ship shimmered above him, all the colors of the rainbow. It was beautiful but deadly as it hovered silently. Suddenly, a beam of light shot out, enveloping him in it's radiant prison. He couldn't move a muscle as he felt himself being lifted up into the air. Terrified with what horrors he knew lay ahead inside the alien craft, his eyes caught sight of figures beyond the mist. They were standing on the ground in a circle, looking up at him with eager expressions. He realized they were human ...not only that but they were the members of the resistance group. Then he realized they were chanting. He could only hear fragments of sentences, but what he heard made him shudder even more.

"He is...salvation...praise...oh revered one...the sacrifice...complete...suffering no more...our freedom...oh praise be."

Mulder awoke with a start!

"Hey, it's ok," a gentle voice spoke softly beside him.

Gazing up into her blue eyes he realized it was Scully. "What happened?" he asked, nervously. The dream fragments were diminishing, and he was becoming more aware that it had all just been another nightmare. "It started again...the ringing in my ears...my head pounding...and the voices. I couldn't make out what was being said. Then..?"

"You had some sort of seizure," Scully stated calmly. "Mulder, they are going to get worse but Jack has a toxin that can act like the anti-virals. It will slow down the virus."

Mulder sighed heavily. "I don't know if I trust him now, Scully."

She squeezed his hand gently. "I'm not sure I do either. He's been explaining to us about this top secret project he worked on at Area 51. Mulder, he says he's prevented the virus from completely taking you over, and will continue to do so."

Mulder snorted. "With this miracle elixir he's discovered?"

Scully sighed soflty. "He told us exactly what the alien virus does to a human being."

"Which is what?" Mulder asked, anxiety creeping in.

"It replaces human DNA, but leaves the human soul trapped forever in the alien body," she told him, gently. "This toxin supposedly stops this...temporarily."

He swallowed hard and cut in abruptly. "Temporarily?"

"He says you'll have more seizures but each time you'll be given more of the toxin. He has supplies sent to him."

"So there's no cure?" Mulder asked alarmed.

"He says he's working on that," Scully said.

"How exactly?" Mulder was getting more and more frustrated by the minute.

"I have no idea," Scully replied. "All I know is that according to him, Jack Wilkinson wishes to save humanity from this vile alien race."

Without any warning the chant began to form in his mind, the one he'd had in this most recent nightmare. He is... salvation...praise...oh revered one...the sacrifice... complete...suffering no more...our freedom...oh praise be.

Mulder shuddered.

"What?" Scully asked concerned.

"I had a nightmare. I was being taken aboard an alien craft." Before she could say anything he added. "Yeah, text book abductee dream. Only this time it was different, Scully. This resistance group was there...standing all around, watching me being taken. And they were chanting...something about me being a savior...a sacrifice for the human race."

"Mulder", she said gently. "You fear being taken again, and the fact we're now mixed up with this resistance group intent on saving the human race? It most likely caused a dream like that to manifest."

"Except this wouldn't be saving the human race...the dream I mean." Scully looked puzzled, and he continued. "Don't you remember, the aliens want me as their savior. Returning me to them would sacrifice all human beings on this planet, not save them."

"You've just recovered from a painful seizure, and it's probably sparked off all kinds of terrifiying things, which you formed into that nightmare." She frowned, wondering why she was trying to convince herself that Mulder's dream was nothing more than that? Perhaps she didn't want to face the consequences that it could have a prophetic deeper meaning. That would be just too frightening to comprehend right now.

"Maybe...maybe not," Mulder replied quietly.

Scully kissed him gently on the lips. "Honey, I suggest you try and get your strength back up by getting some rest."

It was the answer she always came up with, whenever he seemed stressed by anything. Maybe it was only a cotton wool comfort zone she offered, but it always calmed him, made him start to see the positive aspects of a situation. So, perhaps this Jack Wilkinson really was a great guy who turned against military secrets in order to help his fellow humans. He couldn't deny he also liked her endearing words towards him. "Honey?" he chuckled softly. "That's not like you to go all sappy on me, Scully?"

She blushed furiously. "We've come a long way Mulder. If I want to start showing how much I care, then who are you to stop me?"

"Hey! Don't shoot!" he replied, holding his hands up in resignation. "Anyway, I kinda liked it," he teased, a twinkle in his eye. That got him a smile.

"Rest," she commanded gently, pushing him down, allowing his head to fall onto the pillow.

Mulder closed his eyes. "Ok...baby", he mummered. This time he slept peacefully.

Back inside the main headquarters of the alien resistance group Jack was suggesting everyone retire for the night. Scully returned to the building and suggested the men be as quiet as they possibly could when they entered their dormitory since Mulder was sleeping and she didn't want him to be disturbed. Then, one by one, the group headed off to their prospective sleeping compartments.

Title: Key To The Kingdom (4 of 7) Author: Penny Evans

For the next several days Skinner, Scully, Doggett and Reyes were given more insight into the group's determination to overcome the alien race, through the various meetings formed by Jack Wilkinson. They decided to follow their fellow ex-FBI agents' original advice and had started to become less wary and a little more comfortable with these people as time passed by. Fox Mulder on the other hand now found himself suffering from frequent painful seziures. Luckily, Jack's toxin was always on hand, and once in his bloodstream it quickly got to work and helped ease the suffering he was going through. Still, after his ninth bout of seizures with only several hours in between each one, he was ready to quit. Jack had explained that it was the next stage of the virus and how lucky they were to have found him so he could give the toxin to Mulder. But the ex-FBI agent, however grateful for this temporary cure, was still wishing the world would swallow him up whole. On quite a few occasions he'd broken down in Scully's arms and just sobbed until he was so sapped of strength he'd ended up crying himself to sleep against her shoulder. "P...please S...Scully," he'd moaned, his voice sounding hoarse. "I c...can't take this anymore!"

In return all she could do was hold him trying to offer soothing words of comfort until his trembling subsided. But she was hating this constant routine as well, and kept on praying that at one of these endless meetings they would finally reach some kind of result? There had been no definite answers as of yet, which was causing a tiny bout of suspicion to set in. But then Jack had shown concern and had arranged for both her and Mulder to sleep in a spare room in the main building. A few beds had been brought in from the dorms, so she could stay with him through these torturous nights. Now here they were, going through the same painful routine yet again.

Scully gently bathed Mulder's brow with a cold wet cloth, while he groaned softly. "Shhh, my love. I'm here darling." The words of affection were now tripping off her tongue, without any hesitation, and, she had to admit, it felt good to have finally released them.

Moisture glistened in his eyes yet again. "Oh God, when is this going to end?" he lamented.

"I don't know my love...I just don't know," she replied.

Right at that moment she knew he was referring to these painful attacks; seizures that seemed to be increasing in intensity with each bout he suffered. But overall, Scully thought - *just when is this whole nightmare we are caught up in going to reach a conclusion, and hopefully a positive outcome?* She shuddered and held Mulder tighter. The prospects did not look reassuring at all.

Scully shook herself, allowing her thoughts to dissipate. All she could think about right now was offering the man she loved what little comfort she could. Softly, she smoothed his fevered brow with a delicate hand. Hearing his faint whimpers, she squeezed him tighter to her chest. "Hush darling. Try and get some sleep. You need to concentrate on healing." The words sounded hollow in her ears, but she had to say something to stop him from sinking any deeper into despair. She rocked him gently, stroking his back tenderly. "Shhh honey. Shhh. It's going to be ok. Shhh, everything is going to be all right." Just who did she think she was kidding?

Mulder held onto her, breathing shallow breaths, trying to block out the pain in his head. Right at that moment her words seemed meaningless. But at least her presence was beginning to soothe him, somewhat. "S...Scully, I love you," he whispered softly, before allowing himself to slip into the luxury of sleep at last.

"Oh Mulder, I love you too, so much," Scully replied, continuing to rock him gently. After a few minutes she realized he'd finally managed to fall asleep, and was glad that he would now rest, something he greatly needed in her opinion. Carefully she lay him down with his head on the pillow and pulled the covers over him. Leaning forward she kissed him softly on his lips. "Sleep my love."

Feeling rather exhausted herself, Scully crossed over to the other bed and started to undress. Without warning there was a faint rap at the door. Hurriedly, she retrieved her shirt then went over and gingerly turned the door handle. Realizing it was the ex-colonel's daughter Angelina, she let her enter after putting a finger to her lips, indicating that Mulder was asleep now.

"I'm so sorry to disturb you, but it's a matter of urgency," Angelina whispered. "You are a doctor are you not?"

"Yes, I am," Scully replied. "Why? What's the matter?"

"It's one of the women here. I think she's very sick and I don't know what to do. I thought you might be able to help," she replied, her voice raising slightly.

Scully could see the woman was genuinely concerned. "What exactly are her symptoms?" she asked, lowering her voice, fearing that this person could be yet another victim of the alien virus.

"Well..," Angelina began, stammering. "S...She's got a fever...I m...mean I felt her forehead...and it was very hot. She's s...shaking, and keeps vomiting."

"Is she having seziures?" Scully glanced briefly over at her partner, who thankfully seemed to be sleeping peacefully for the moment.


Dana Scully could hear the anguish in the young woman's voice. "Okay. I'll come and look. Just give me a second." Crossing over to Mulder, she leaned down and kissed him tenderly on his forehead. "I'll be back soon," she whispered softly. Then exited the room along with Angelina, closing the door very gently behind her. Fox Mulder didn't stir.

She followed the woman to the ladies dormitory, hoping this wouldn't take too long. She hadn't wanted to leave Mulder alone, as he was vulnerable right now. Scully couldn't put her finger on it, but something was making her feel slightly uneasy since she'd left his side. However, at the same time if someone was sick then she wanted to heal them. It was almost a built in duty she had to obey. Her deepest wish was to cure the man she respected and loved above all else. A tiny part of her believed she would find the answer, no matter what, but right now there was a woman possibly in need of medical attention who needed her assistance. Still, she decided she'd be as quick as she could, then return to her partner.

Dana followed Angelina over to one of the beds, where she discovered the woman exactly as the young lady had described. The poor woman was throwing up in a metal basin beside her. Scully waited, then gently laid her back down, feeling her forehead as she did so. She realized this person was hot to the touch but thankfully, not burning up. Deciding a check up was in order she began to feel her pulse. It was racing. Turning to Angelina with growing concern she said, "I think this woman has been poisoned!"

Mulder stirred from his slumber. At first he wasn't sure exactly where he was then he slowly became aware of the sound of voices speaking very faintly - male voices. Something about an alien resistance group? Ah, yes. He and his fellow companions had been invited to join such a group and they had been staying at their makeshift headquarters. Groggily, he opened his eyes to witness the head of this band of renegades, ex-colonel Jack Wilkinson looming over him.

"How are you feeling Mr Mulder?" the man asked, his voice sounding more authorative than concerned for the ex-FBI agent in the bed.

"Oh, peachy," Mulder replied, with more than a hint of sarcasm. The headache had returned and he really could have done with several more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Letting his eyes adjust more to the light that someone had kindly switched on obviously without a thought in his direction, he turned his head. There had been other voices in this room so who were they? He noticed a younger man also standing beside the bed. At that moment a memory came to the surface. Somehow his face seemed very familiar. "I...I know you don't I?" he questioned. It took only a few seconds as his eidetic memory came into play, allowing him to flashback to a plane traveling to Wyoming with him as one of the passengers. "You...You're the pilot who flew us here," he said shakily. "You were the one who recommended we stay at that motel when our connecting flight never showed up." Suddenly the suspicions he had buried within came floating to the surface. His meeting with the young woman in the cafe which lead to discovering this resistance group. How neatly all that now fell into place. "I was meant to meet Angelina. Wasn't that your plan?" he asked, anger aimed at Jack.

The ex-colonel nodded and smiling down at him said, "Yes, Mr Mulder. I know a lot about you and your past involvement with the FBI and the X Files."

"Gee, another fan," Mulder replied with a sardonic smile. "Didn't realize I was such a popular guy. So, why the pretense? Why didn't you just approach me honestly and ask me and my friends to join you? What was this setting me up with your daughter in the cafe all about?"

"It wasn't a set up as such," Jack replied. "I arranged for Angelina to meet you discreetly. You can't be too careful. I mean, you never know who could be listening? We need to keep our existence a secret. Surely you can understand that?"

"Okay," Mulder answered, not completely convinced. "So, what do you want with me?"

"You stand for what we believe in, someone firmly against the gray alien race. We thought you could help us."

Mulder was just about to explain how relying on him for an answer wouldn't be of much help when someone else spoke. The sound was coming from the far side of the room, out of the periphery of his vision.

"We must hurry! You will be given the technology you require when we meet at the rendezvous point."

The booming voice did nothing to alleviate Mulder's distress.

"Can you assure me this will reverse the multiplication of alien cells in these hybrids?" Jack asked.

"You have my word. We renegades no longer believe in what our race wishes...to eliminate the human race."

Mulder tried to put two and two together, although the increasing pressure in his head certainly wasn't helping matters. So, this group had an alien working alongside them it seemed. The first recollection he had of such a thing occurring before was when a race of alien rebels set out to destroy their competitors, the grays, and didn't mind wiping out humans at the same time by setting them on fire. These strange beings had mutilated their eyes, noses and mouths, to stop the infection of the black oil. They had also been responsible for killing the Consortium, which the black- lunged son-of-a-bitch had arranged. So these faceless men weren't likely to aid human rebels were they? But then there was Jeremiah Smith. The one who had planned to help him and the other abductees after they had been taken from Belfleur, Oregon, then returned after the experiments. Maybe this ex-colonel from Area 51 and Jeremiah had teamed up and formed this resistance group. And now they needed his help. But how exactly? Raising himself up slowly, he looked across the room trying to determine who this third person was. As he did so, the figure approached him.

Mulder saw the large frame of the 'man's' physique, the hard square lined jaw, the piercing dark eyes...and froze. "Y... You!" he stammered. Realizing, to his horror, that this was an alien bounty hunter clone, he now knew what it had told Jack had all been a pack of lies, and desperately needed to make him see that this was a trap. This thing was certainly no ally for the resistance group.

Suddenly, he felt a cold cloth being pressed over his face and was aware of a strong medical smell invading his nostrils. Panicking, he tried to struggle, but someone pushed him back down and held him firmly. Jack Wilkinson felt the ex-FBI agent's body go limp and removed the cloth. "Did it have to be this way?" he asked the alien bounty hunter.

"Agent Fox Mulder has always been important to our cause, but sadly he fails to see this. I promise you he will not be harmed. In return you will have your technology to help save your race."

"Yeah, I know you explained to me about Mulder's alien connections, and how valued he is among your renegades as a leader. But did we have to chloroform him? Couldn't we have just talked?" Jack asked, a little concerned.

"As I said, he will be safe with us. He will come to realize just how crucial his alien inheritance will be for our survival - as well as for the human race. 'He' is the key to our existence."

There was nothing more she could do, Scully decided. She had bathed the sick woman with a cold flannel until the fever had subsided, and had held her until the stomach ache had eased. Now she was tucking a clean blanket around her to keep her warm while she slept. "It looks like it was food poisoning," she told the young girl who had stayed and helped. "Thankfully, it's not alien related...just something she ate."

"Thank God," Angelina sighed. She'd been silently praying there wouldn't be another addition to the hybrid program. They'd already lost several other members that way. Sadly it now looked like the handsome ex-FBI agent was following the same fate unless her father could help. She had felt tiny flutters of the heart the moment she'd set eyes on Mulder in the cafe. Secretly heartbroken on discovering he had this beautiful redheaded doctor as his companion, Angelina still had a fondness for Fox Mulder. She certainly didn't want any harm to come to him.

Although the young lady hadn't spoken about her feelings, Scully was thinking along the same lines. Moreso about this alien virus affecting him and how it was getting worse. "She's resting now," Scully said, referring to the sleeping woman in the bed. "I have to get back to him."

"Fox...I mean Mulder?" Angelina asked.

"Yes," Scully replied. "He's very sick," she added, her heart sinking fast.

"My father said that the alien virus is mutating in him," the woman said sadly. "That's why we have the toxin."

"It's only a temporary cure, and I'm probably going to need much more of the stuff," Scully told her. She was worrying just exactly how much more her partner would require to keep the retro virus from doing it's worse.

Angelina gave no reply but deep down inside she believed her father would come up with an answer and possibly 'the' cure.

Quietly, they left the women's dormitory and crossed over to the main building where both Mulder and Scully had been given a room so she could tend to him. When she entered, to her complete surprise and shock Scully noticed the bed he'd been sleeping in was empty; the covers strewn all over the floor. "Angelina!" she cried. "Mulder's gone!"

Panic setting in, she ran out of the room followed by the young woman who was fast becoming her shadow it seemed, and headed for the male dormitory to seek her colleagues out - well two of them at least. As she reached her destination she noticed many of the men were leaving the building. Scully whirled around and grabbed the arm of one of the men, demanding to know where they were going? All she received was a blank stare so let him go.

Ex-FBI agent John Doggett and former AD Walter Skinner were also very much awake and came out of the door, almost running into her.

"What the hell is going on?" Skinner asked her. It was a rhetorical question since he pretty much knew she wouldn't have an answer.

"Mulder's disappeared!" Scully blurted out. "I went to check on a sick woman. When I got back he was gone! Angelina asked me to..." She stopped and faced her. "You told me she needed my help. Was that so someone could get to Mulder?" she asked angrily, gripping the younger woman's arm. "Was it?" she demanded.

Angelina shook her head fiercley. "N...No!" she stammered, a little afraid by this sudden turn of events. "It...It's not like that."

"Then what is it like?" Skinner asked, harshly. "Look at these people, your so-called members! It's as if they are in some kind of trance!"

It was true they realized, as they watched the men, and now women walking past them, all with vacant expressions on their faces.

Realizing that perhaps he should never have lowered his guard with these people, Skinner added, "It's like your father is running some sort of cult. What's he got, some sort of religious fixation? Are these people his congregation who have to bow down and fucking worship him?"

"Please!" Angelina cried, pulling from Scully's grasp. "Let me explain!"

"Yeah! I'd love an explanation as well," Monica Reyes said hurriedly, as she ran over to join them. "There I was sleeping peacefully when I was jolted awake by all the women leaving the ladies dorm. "What exactly is going on?"

"Well, whatever it is, Mulder's involved. He's gone," Doggett said, addressing his former FBI partner.

"Look, he's probably with my father," Angelina replied, sounding a little calmer now, which unnerved the others even more.

"And this is a good thing because why?" Scully asked impatiently. She was getting tired of Angelina's attitude. If she didn't get a reasonable answer soon she was going to slap the woman hard, over and over until she was given a good enough reason to stop.

"My father's plan is only to help us!" Angelina spoke defiantly. "It was an agreement he came to...with some aliens," she added, quietly.

"He's working with the aliens!" Skinner boomed, angrily.

"Renegade!" Angelina stated, firmly. "They also want to stop the hybrid program and prevent the creation of this new species, the super soldiers and other types. They don't want any humans to be harmed," she added, quickly.

"So, these renegades are another form of resistance group against the grays?" Skinner asked, not fully believing what she was saying. However, in the past he had been made aware of a certain race of extra terrestrials, when he'd been working at the Bureau. Mulder had tried to tell him about a group of faceless alien rebels, who had no regard for human life. He hadn't really been able to come to terms with that, either.

"Why didn't you think to tell us this before when we joined you?" Scully asked, knowing what Skinner was referring to. She'd been an unwilling participant who'd wittnessed these faceless men burning people alive, and had no wish for a repeat performance. "Do they have faces?" she added, fearfully.

"Yes," Angelina replied, puzzled by what the redhead had asked her. "And the reason I didn't tell any of you was because it had to be kept from the others."

"What did?" Doggett asked. Both he and Monica had remained silent, as neither understood what Skinner and Scully were obviously concerned about.

"My father bargained with these renegade aliens. They were going to give him their technology, so that the process could be reversed," Angelina replied.

"What process?" Monica asked, curiously.

"The DNA," Angelina said. "They can completely destroy the alien DNA cells in the human bodies and vice versa."

"So, where's Mulder?" Doggett questioned. Once again all this talk of renegade aliens and their DNA was giving him a major headache.

"What was the bargain your father made with them?" Scully asked, fearing the worst.

"I don't know," she replied. "But I do believe that what he is doing is right. I know he would have explained himself when the time was right."

"Where does Mulder fit into all of this?" Skinner asked, his level of anger rising again.

"I don't know. Really I don't." Angelina replied. Tears were starting to form in the corners of her eyes.

It seemed to Scully that this young woman was telling the truth, what she knew of it anyway. But there were other things that had occurred that clearly didn't put this ex-colonel in a good light. "I'm sorry, Angelina," she began. "But that woman I treated had been poisoned. I hate to say this but your father may have administered it to her. It would have been a perfect decoy to get me out of the main building so Mulder could be taken."

"No!" Angelina said, abruptly. "I remember now. We are all supposed to meet at a certain rendezvous point outside. It's not far from here."

"That's where everyone is heading?" Monica asked.

"Yes, and maybe Mulder has already gone with my father."

"But was that willingly, or not?" Skinner questioned, harshly.

"He wouldn't leave without telling me," Scully said.

Angelina cowered a little from the larger man and faced the red head. "I'm sure once we get to this place everything will become clear to you...all of you. Mulder will be there waiting. Then you'll see you've no reason to doubt my father."

Scully secretly hoped those words would prove correct and her fears would be quelled, but deep down she still felt something was wrong about the whole situation. However, it seemed the best thing to do right then was follow Angelina to this so- called rendezvous point.

*This could, of course, be one elaborate trap* Skinner thought. At least they were armed if the need arose. He addressed his former FBI colleagues. "Okay, let's go along with this." The words * for now* echoing in his mind. "Angelina, please lead the way", he added, offering her a gracious wave of the hand.

She could see his gesture was false, and that they didn't fully trust her explanations, but she knew her father was a good man who only wanted to help his fellow humans. When these people got to the rendezvous point they would realize this. They would see there was nothing to fear...and above all, Fox Mulder would indeed be discovered, safe and sound.

The little group left the compound rather reluctantly, following Angelina and the other members down from the mountain, across rubble and dry grasses, which eventually led them to a clearing. This patch of land was devoid of any plant life, as if someone had decided to have one very large bonfire. The burnt area was almost in the shape of a complete circle.

"I don't like this," Scully said in Skinner's direction, but in earshot of the others. She had seen the ground like this before. Noticing a forest of trees was growing around part of the circumference of the sparse ground, she checked them out, and realized part of each one had been scorched. It confirmed her suspicions. "A UFO has been here."

"How do you know?" he asked her, immediately receiving the other's attention.

"Mulder showed me certain things to look for in the past. See?" She pointed to the trees. "See how only the tops are burnt? Then there's the large circular pattern on the ground."

They looked at what she was indicating and sure enough it was like some kind of extreme heat had caused severe scorching.

"Either that, or there's been a huge forest fire," Doggett stated.

"Or, perhaps a ritual sacrifice of some kind?" Moncia suggested, nervously.

Since being recruited into the FBI, this subject had become her forte. Her mind automatically dealt with and understood horrific events, demonic or otherwise. She'd never actually witnessed the raising of a devil as such but she'd seen 'demons' in the metaphorical sense of the word as human beings capable of inflicting such pain and suffering on others that death was all too often an outcome. The subject matter had both sickened and fascinated her at the same time. However, she'd never fully allowed herself to believe in the paranormal monsters until she was asked to join agents John Doggett and Dana Scully with their search for Fox Mulder. After seeing her very first spaceship, her beliefs were fully confirmed. This in turn had led her to becoming part of the X Files division.

"Yes," Angelina replied, looking across at Scully. "A spacecraft has landed here. This is where we formed our alliance." As she spoke, the resistance group of men and women began to gather in a semi-circle and join hands with each other. "Come," she said, taking hold of Scully's. "Join us."

"Ok, this is weird," Doggett said, taking a hold of Monica's hand while holding Scully's other one. "What are we going to do now? The Hokey Pokey...or hold a seance?" The tone in his voice was far from amused.

As one of the other male members of the group took his hand, Skinner reluctantly sidled in between Angelina and another of the females. His eyes darted around everyone, and then he realized certain people were missing. "Where's your father ...and Mulder?" he hissed into Angelina's ear.

"They'll be here," she replied. "Don't worry."

This failed to reassure him. "You had better be telling me the truth!" he warned.

While standing beside the young woman and John Doggett, Dana Scully began to feel more and more uneasy. No one was chanting, but this was reminding her of the nightmare Mulder had several nights before he disappeared. He'd mentioned how he'd heard the group reciting while standing in a circle. Something about a revered one...a sacrifice, and salvation? *It 'was' a prophetic dream.* As she pondered on those disturbing thoughts, she heard a loud rumbling sound approaching and looked up into the sky above.

Almost at the same time, everyone else raised their heads to see a beam of light coming straight towards them.

"Oh dear God!" Moncia exclaimed, her heart rate increasing rapidly.

Doggett squeezed her hand reassuringly. "It's an engine... rotary blades," he informed the others. "Probably military aircraft. That's all."

"It's my father!" Angelina cried out, relieved.

They watched as a black, unmarked helicopter flew over their heads before coming to land just outside of the clearing. The doors opened and a man stepped down, followed by the ex- colonel.

Scully noticed the pilot, and immediately realized who he was. "It's the man who brought us to Wyoming!" she announced above the engine noise to her astonished former colleagues.

"So that's why there was no other plane!" Doggett yelled, also trying to be heard above the whirring blades. "They wanted us here!"

Another passenger alighted from the machine, and Scully realized in horror it was the one her partner had referred to as an alien bounty hunter. At that precise moment Jack Wilkinson leaned into the helicopter, dragging out a very unconcious Mulder, who he hoisted over his shoulder.

"Mulder!" Scully screamed.

"Oh God!" Monica added in unison.

"Jesus!" Skinner yelled, breaking free from the human chain. "Let him go!" he bellowed, starting toward the helicopter. Reaching for his weapon as he ran, he unfortunately discovered he wasn't quick enough.

The ex-colonel also pulled out a pistol with his free hand and aimed it straight at the former assistant director. "Stay where you are Mr. Skinner!" he threatened.

"Dad!" Angelina cried, not believing her own eyes. "What the hell are you doing?"

"They need him," Jack replied, earnestly. "In return we get the cure."

"So this was the fucking bargain you made?" Skinner yelled angrily, stopping in his tracks. "To return Mulder to them? You bastards!"

"Please don't do this!" Scully yelled in fear. "He isn't a renegade alien against the grays," she added, referring to the silent figure standing ominously beside the ex-colonel and Mulder. "He's an alien bounty hunter!"

"Our enemy, you stupid fools!" Skinner spat out the words. Why had he not listened to that inner voice warning him all along? Too late now! "This 'is' a fucking trap!" he yelled.

During all the commotion John Doggett had quietly been planning a way of escape. No one was even looking at him, which was hopefully going to prove an advantage. Leaning down, he quickly retrieved a hidden pistol from his ankle holster, aimed it at the man he'd heard Scully call a bounty hunter and fired into his chest. A thick, green acidic liquid began to ooze from the wound. He fired again, which temporarily threw the alien off balance. As the second shot rang out, every member of the resistance group suddenly screamed in unison.

Seconds later Jack howled in pain. Dropping Mulder to the ground, he began clutching at his face. "Aggh! It burns!" The pilot followed suit shortly afterwards and both men collapsed, writhing in agony.

"Dad...nooo!" Angelina screamed, suddenly terrified.

John Doggett gave a firm nod in Skinner's direction. The former AD knew he only had seconds to spare, but he owed this to Mulder. Besides he had once bravely fought in the Vietnam war, and found himself in many situations that were far too close for comfort. He also knew the ex-FBI agents would cover him. Indeed, as he ran over to Mulder's inert form lying on the ground and dragged him out of harms way, both Scully and Reyes fired their weapons repeatedly at the bounty hunter. This knocked him back, stunning him long enough to give Skinner enough time to carry Mulder away from the present danger.

Suddenly, without any warning whatsoever, an alien space craft uncloaked itself right in the middle of the clearing. The members of Jack's resistance group remained as still as statues.

"Run!" Skinner yelled to his former colleagues, who showed no hesitation in obeying. As they began to flee the scene, Doggett and Scully continued to turn and fire at the alien bounty hunter.

"M...My father?" Angelina whimpered, helplessly.

"There's nothing we can do," Monica replied, sadly. "Come on!"

Grasping hold of the young woman's hand, she began pulling her along with them.

Looking back, all they could see of the pilot and ex-colonel were two bodies lying motionless on the ground beside the helicopter.

Angelina pulled from Monica's grasp. "No! I have to help him!"

She started to run back towards the clearing and the ship but Scully grabbed her, whirling her around to face her. "He's dead! Their blood is like acid to us. We have to get out of here!"

"Nooooo!" Angelina screamed aloud, tears flowing down her face as the redhead led her away from the terrible scene.

John Doggett reloaded his gun and continued firing one bullet after another. His whole take on reality had just come crashing down all around him but his professional instincts told him to keep shooting at this creature that was now trying to follow them. He fired another shot into it's thigh. "Shoot the fucking thing in the other leg!" he yelled to Monica. "'I'm running out of ammo!"

She aimed and fired, hitting the alien in the calf. The green blood poured from many bullet holes, as it stumbled and fell with a heavy thud. "He's down!"

Title: Key To The Kingdom (5 of 7) Author: Penny Evans

Just then the door to the spaceship opened with a resounding metallic clang, and clones of the alien bounty hunter emerged, one after another in single file. They started toward the human resistance group who were still in their trance-like state. As they reached their intended victims, the air started to shimmer. Suddenly the ship, the aliens and the people disappeared completely. It was like a curtain of invisibility had closed all around them.

"It's the shield," Skinner said. "They're inside!" He remembered that fateful night when Mulder had stepped into such a force field. He hadn't been able to see the agent or the ship from where he was standing on the outside. Hadn't even been aware it was there at the time.

"They were set up," Scully exclaimed, "Like lambs to the slaughter!"

"Yeah, and we had better keep running, you guys," Doggett piped up. "That bounty hunter creep is still on our tail."

During the cloaking of the ship, which had trapped the unfortunate members of the resistance group inside, the alien bounty hunter picked himself up and headed toward them at a frightening pace. Doggett fired his pistol again. "Doesn't this thing ever die?"

"He's like a super soldier," Monica added, frustration growing in her voice, as she fired another couple of rounds.

"You can kill him with an alien stiletto weapon," Scully stated.

"Pity we don't have one of those," Doggett replied, sarcastically.

Walter Skinner felt his former agent begin to struggle then heard a muffled groan coming from over his shoulder. "Unnngh!"

"Guys, I think Mulder's waking up!" He held onto him tighter, trying to reassure him. "It's okay. Hang in there, Mulder." However, the bounty hunter was gaining speed and right now he had no clue as to where they could run.

"The helicopter!" Doggett hollered. "Double back and head for the helicopter!"

The team turned and began running in the opposite direction. This seemed insane, as the alien was coming straight for them but it was clear to everyone that there was nowhere safe to go on foot. Their only hope was to fly out.


Both Scully and Monica reloaded their weapons and opened fire, riddling the bounty hunter with more bullet holes. He was starting to look like a colander! They all charged past him as the girls' bullets forced the creature backwards. They ran as if the hounds of hell were on their heels. A frightened Angelina clung to Scully for all she was worth. Skinner was ahead hanging onto a very woozy Mulder. Doggett followed behind them pulling Monica alongside. Dana was trying to catch up, but Angelina just couldn't run as fast as the former agents had been trained to do at Quantico. As she ran past, the bounty hunter suddenly swerved on his heel, his hand flying out with alarming strength toward the two women. As it reached its target, the hand flattened, cutting through the air at a frightening speed, instantly slicing off Angelina's head!

Scully was still running when she felt the young woman stagger and fall. The weight of the body forced her to stop and turn around. "Oh my God!" she screamed, dropping the now lifeless hand she had been holding. "She's dead!" Scully was stunned by that sick revelation only for a moment. Doggett had retraced his steps and was firing his final round into the alien bounty hunter just as the creature took another vicious swipe in Scully's direction. It hit him in the left eye making him automatically shield his face. Doggett took the opportunity and grabbed the red head firmly by her arm.

"Scully, come on!" he yelled, pulling her along behind him.

Green ooze poured in between the fingers as the alien clutched one hand to his face, staggering over Angelina's corpse, causing it to lose it's balance. The ex-FBI team and former AD kept running until they finally reached their destination.

"Everyone inside, quick!" Skinner ordered.

Both Monica and Scully piled into the helicopter, at the same time helping Skinner lift a dazed Mulder into the machine.

"So, I take it one of us knows how to fly this thing? Moncia asked.

"Well, I've put in some time in a simulator," Doggett offered.

"You'd better learn how to pilot a helicopter fast then," Scully said. "That damn bounty hunter is on the chase again!"

"No problem!" Doggett replied, leaping into the cockpit.

Skinner followed suit and seated himself on the passenger side. "Okay, lets get this thing off the ground," he barked. "Now!"

The alien made a speedy recovery from it's facial wound and was now almost within easy reach of the helicopter.

"We'll never make it!" Monica screamed.

"Oh yes, we damn well will!" Doggett replied, starting up the engines.

The rotary blades began to turn, getting faster and faster but the alien bounty hunter was gaining speed as well.

"Jeeze! Hurry!" Scully yelled.

The helicopter began to lift off the ground, and she prayed they'd be able to get away in time. She'd managed to prop Mulder up in a seat against the wall of the machine, close to the doorway. Suddenly she felt him jerk beside her. With a certain horror she realized the bounty hunter had caught up with them and was trying to pull him out of the helicopter. "Monica, help me!" she yelled, grabbing hold of her partner. Her fellow FBI colleague responded instantly; leaning over and pulling on his arm.

Fox Mulder was by now a lot more lucid since the drug, which Jack had injected into his system had almost worn off. "Get the fuck off me!" he yelled, kicking out at the alien. That seemed to do the trick as the creature lost his hold. Mulder pulled back, falling across Scully's lap as he did so.

Without the bounty hunter holding on, Doggett was finally able to get the helicopter to ascend and the 'bird' took off as fast as he could get her to go. "We did it," he said, glancing over at the former AD.

"Yeah...only just," Skinner replied, breathing a sigh of relief. Deep down he was still angry for letting himself believe that the alien resistance group had their best interests at heart.

In the back of the helicopter, Mulder lifted himself up off his partner's lap. "What in God's name just happened?" he asked, alarmed. Scully proceeded to explain what they had just witnessed as they continued to fly away from the whole terrifying ordeal.

He listened intently, realizing just how close he had been to being returned to the grays. Letting out a shuddering breath, he closed his eyes, allowing the woman he loved to hold him in her arms, while she related how they had managed to escape. When Scully reached the part where Angelina's cruel fate was sealed, he opened his eyes, which were now filled with tears. "She didn't have to die," he said, sadly.

Scully held him tighter. "She had no idea of her father's real intentions involving you. She just trusted and loved him unconditionally."

"None of them knew the truth," Monica said. "And they all died because of it."

"They aren't dead." Mulder spoke very softly, remembering his ordeal aboard the alien spacecraft once more. "They'll be more recruits, super soldiers for the grays," he added, solemly.

"Human souls trapped forever in extra terrestrial bodies," Scully said, letting Jack Wilkinson's words play over in her mind.

"Yet he gets to escape that eternal suffering. Doesn't seem fair." Monica added.

"None of this is fair," Mulder said, a melancholy tone in his voice. "None of this whole goddamn situation is fair."

From the cockpit of the helicopter, Doggett turned toward the former AD. "So, where to now chief?" he asked quietly.

Walter Skinner had no idea exactly what plan of action to take. But right at this moment he decided the further away they could get the better. "Just get us out of this place."

John Doggett was still trying to get a handle on what he had just witnessed, but found his only explanation involved something he had firmly disbelieved in all his life...up until this point. "T...They are real aren't they; the spaceships, the aliens? It's all fucking true?"

"Yes," Skinner replied. "It's real."

"So, Mulder's been right all along?" he asked, incredulously.

"Yeah." That one word summed up his feelings about the way events had turned out for him. Ever since Fox Mulder had opened the X Files, Walter Skinner had refused to believe in the paranormal, writing it off as fantasy; allowing his agent to pursue these far-fetched notions of his, while keeping him on a tight rein. But somewhere deep inside in his subconcious he must have kept an open mind? When he witnessed the ship that abducted his favourite agent, he'd then been forced to see that everything Mulder had tried to justify to the FBI and to his boss had been the truth all along. He'd been too late to help the agent at that time, cursing himself for being such a fool but now he intended to assist Mulder in any way he could. These damned aliens had to be stopped! If he could now believe in the paranormal, something he had thought impossible, then why not believe that they could and would eventually escape from this up and coming alien invasion? After all, it seemed just as equally impossible.

Several weeks had passed since the ex-agents and former assistant director of the Bureau had escaped from the alien bounty hunters, who had brought an end to the resistance group run by an ex-colonel. Fox Mulder sighed deeply as he looked out of a window at barren land with cold gray mountains in the distance. At least his former AD had found them an abandoned wooden shack, a good few hundred miles from the now deserted headquarters. There was no way they could have remained there, since the grays knew all about that location thanks to Jack Wilkinson. He just hoped his friends were safe, for now. As for himself? The outcome was looking more and more ominous. There was still a fear that he might turn on his former colleagues should they be unable to stop the retro virus from completely taking him over. That prospect was looking highly possible. On arrival, another seizure had hit him hard. However the fearful prospect of losing his soul to an alien hell was thwarted when Scully revealed she managed to salvage some of the miracle toxin, and had kept it on her person. She had only been able to hide several vials in the inside pockets on her jacket. Soon there would be none left, and no way of knowing how to manufacture or find any more of the substance.

Mulder shivered, pulling his arms around himself. Without the temporary cure he certainly had no hope of stopping the alien DNA from taking over his body. Letting forth a deep shuddering breath, he crossed over to a bed and seated himself on the edge. His eidetic mind flashed back to when his real father, the cigarette smoking man, had revealed all about his family tree. Mulder was glad the evil bastard was dead, but secretly wished he'd pulled the trigger when he'd had opportunities in the past. *No point crying over spilt milk* he thought, the age old saying bringing a forced smile to his lips.

His reminiscing was brought to an end when Scully entered the room. "The others have gone to bed," she stated, receiving a half-hearted nod from her partner. *Mulder, what's wrong?* seemed the most ridiculous thing to say. So she seated herself next to him and without a word, pulled him close to her.

For a good while they remained in each other's arms, just feeling their warmth enveloping each other. Mulder tried to stay contented, *but it's only temporary comfort* he told himself. *Like everything else in my life.* "You're running out of toxin," he said, quietly.

His eyes locked with her own and she saw and felt the hidden pain there. "We'll find some more even if I have to march into Area 51 itself," Scully suggested, knowing her words sounded so futile.

"If anyone can raid that place, you can," he said, a flicker of a smile crossing his lips. He'd always admired the sheer determination this wonderful woman had, no matter what they had faced in the past but he knew the obstacles they were up against now were the most powerful they had ever encountered in their entire lives. Most likely the infamous Area 51 was now closed for business. On top of that, the grays must know of its existence.

"Doggett thinks he and Skinner should go back to the compound where we met the resistance party," Scully told him.

Mulder shrugged that idea off. "It's too dangerous Scully. Those fucking aliens know about the place. They'll most likely be waiting in case we do return. I can't let either of them risk their lives for me," he said, in a whisper. "Besides, the helicopter has run out of fuel."

As he spoke those words a searing pain shot through his body. Screaming in agony, Mulder collapsed onto the bed, shaking violently.

"Jesus! God! Not again!" Scully lamented. Hurriedly she reached for her jacket and took out a vial then transferred the liquid to a syringe she'd found in the medi-kit on board the helicopter. Rolling up his sleeve, she found a vein in Mulder's arm and gave him the shot. After a short while he began to relax. His breathing slowed down, and he slept.

Scully couldn't stop the tears from falling down her cheeks. Resting her head on his chest she murmured to herself, "There're only three vials left." Taking hold of her partner's hand she started to utter a prayer. "Please God, help me to find some more - please," she begged to the deity she firmly believed in. Surley He would help her find an answer. Otherwise, there would be nothing more anyone could do for this man. "Please, don't take him away from me...not again," she sobbed.

Fox Mulder awoke in bed to yet another pounding headache and groaned inwardly. He noticed Scully, dressed only in her underwear, had slipped under the sheets. His head now rested in her lap and she was stroking his hair.

"You had another..." she began.

He cut her off immediately. "Don't," he whispered, plaintively. "Please don't tell me." Slowly he raised himself up and leant against the headboard.

Straight away Scully made him lean forward and placed a pillow behind his head, then gently lay him back down, stroking back a few strands of hair that had fallen over his eyes.

"Yeah, I need a haircut," he joked half-heartedly.

Realizing he was suffering from one of those damned headaches which always occurred after a seizure, all she could do was offer useless words of comfort. "Mulder, I'm sorry, my love," she confessed. "I don't know what else I can do."

"Got any asprin?" He managed a smile then winced. Right at that moment he could easily have downed a whole bottle. But it wouldn't have had any effect whatsoever, as this had been attempted in the past. It seemed the alien retro virus wasn't going to let a few pain killers relieve his suffering. "How many...how many are left?"

She knew he was referring to the vials of toxin and sighed heavily. "Three."

"So, three more seizures to go...and then?" He couldn't finish the sentence.

Dana Scully discovered she couldn't take this any more, that complete feeling of helplessness so decided to pull herself out of it. There had to be an answer...a light at the end of this very dark tunnel, and she was damn well going to find it! "We're going to get through this, okay?" she told him, allowing that spark of determination to ignite once more. Entwining her fingers with his she added, "Mulder, you have my hand...and you have my strength." Realizing she was getting no response from her gesture, she squeezed his hand gently. "Mulder, talk to me. Tell me exactly how you're feeling?"

"How I'm feeling?" he replied, curtly. "That's a good one Scully. How about...I feel like crap?"

"Don't hide behind that witty sarcastic self, not now," she pleaded softly.

"Okay," Mulder said. "You want to know how I'm feeling deep down in my gut? I'll tell you," he stated firmly. "I'm feeling like..," A brief hesitation, then he continued. "Like I want this all to be over. I don't want to become what they want me to be. But I am, or I will be their fucking savior, 'the' fucking super hybrid of them all once they get their slimy hands on me...or the virus takes it's final hold!" The anger he'd been keeping at bay suddenly erupted inside him. "Oh fuck!" he yelled. Fear was gripping him now and wouldn't let go. What if this was the next part of the progression into becoming an alien? What if this meant he would soon turn on his friends at any given moment? Did this mean Scully could be in danger?

"We won't let that happen, and we certainly won't let them take you back," she told him, determination building once more.

Mulder swallowed hard. "Scully, I..I don't think you should be here...with me."

"Why?" she queried.

"Because I'm...I'm worried it might...'I' might hurt you," he said, his voice sounding weak.

Scully realized where his train of thought was leading, and tried to reassure him. "Mulder...you won't hurt me," she said softly. Looking deep into his eyes she added. "I just know you won't." How she'd managed to convince herself of that, she had no idea. She just believed at that precise moment he could never harm her in any way, no matter what happened.

"You know it hurts to know your life has been one big fat lie," Mulder blurted out, changing the subject. Scully's reply had been said with such strong conviction, that he decided he should go with it, and refrain from thinking about the 'what ifs' for now. "That's what my world has been...a complete fabrication," he added, mornfully.

Remembering she had been trying to get him to discuss his inner feelings, she replied, "Apart from when you met me?"

"We were never a lie," Mulder said, looking up at her. Turning his head away, he added," It's what happened to us ...that led us up the proverbial garden path. Your abduction, your cancer from the experiments, finally choosing you as my mate like some fucking zoo animal so we'd create William." *Thank God that plan of the aliens had failed and our child is now a normal human being * he thought. "Then there was my abduction, those experiments so they could kick start their ultimate goal...make me their fucking leader." He took a sharp breath contemplating what he'd just said. "And they knew. My mother and the man I thought was my father knew all along what I was."

"They were afraid to say anything," Scully started to say.

Mulder finished off her sentence. "Because they feared for their lives. So he murdered them because they were going to tell me the 'truth'!" He felt his cheeks redden from the anguish within himself. "That son-of-a-bitch smoking bastard father of mine sure put a stop to that didn't he."

Seeing him suffering this way made Scully ever more determined. "Your parents were murdered because they loved you and stood up to them, and we have to fight these aliens for all it's worth!" she announced.

"With only the five of us?" Mulder replied incredulously. "Can't get any help from that resistance group anymore," he said, sharply. "Now, we have no one to turn to. It's just us against the alien race. We are on our own."

"So what, we just give up?" Scully asked. "Is that what you think we should do? Just calmly give in?" Gently she placed her hands on his shoulders, making him look at her. "I can't believe there's no point in trying anymore...I won't believe it, Mulder."

Returning a sorrowful gaze, he replied. "I...I'm tired of fighting, Scully...and I'm tired of being the victim...yet also the hero. I never wanted to be a hero, certainly not for them. I was quite happy in my office in the basement of the FBI building pursuing my X Files, my unsolved mysteries. But no...I had to be thrust into the limelight. Had to be 'the' one. The truth had to be 'me'!" Pulling back, away from her, he fell against the pillow with a soft thud.

"Mulder, what are you saying?" Scully asked, trying to understand his confused ramblings. Noticing he wouldn't look at her, she tried again. "Mulder...please."

"That there's only one way out of this," he replied solemnly. The words poured out of his mouth before he'd really considered why he was saying them.

Scully was surprised. "But I was under the impression you'd decided we had nothing to fight for?"

"There's always a way out." He spoke very quietly, still refusing to look at her. "Just not necessarily a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for all concerned," he told her profoundly. He knew he was referring to himself and suddenly realized why he'd mentioned that he had a way out. Subconciously he must have decided this means of escape days ago but had forgotten to let his conscious mind in on the secret, until now.

"Mulder, I'm not following you," Scully said, confused. "What are you getting at?" She didn't like the way he had gone from anger to displaying an eerie calmness.

He wasn't ready to explain the whole deal to the woman he loved, not yet. "If this works then they'll have to go back to the proverbial drawing board. Years of planning down the drain."

"If what works?" she asked, totally perplexed.

"I take away the key...which in this case is yours truly," Mulder replied.

This time he faced her but she couldn't read anything from his expression. It was like he was looking straight through her and she didn't like it. "That's what we've been trying to do, to hide you from them. *Speaking of hiding?* she thought.

"You can only physically hide me for so long. Eventually they will find me." *Then again they might not need to abduct me, not if the virus 'changes' me anyway* he thought, miserably.

"So we'll never stay in one place. We'll just keep on moving so they can't pinpoint our location," Scully suggested, a plan forming in her mind. "Then we can carry on with our lives...together."

She was being ever the rational one once again, and he used to admire that greatly in this woman but life had thrown him a curve ball that now made him pretty sure he wasn't going to win this game. "What life?" he asked her, but didn't wait for a reply. "Scully, remember when you told me how you wanted to get out of the car and settle down? How you wanted the normal life with a husband, the 2.4 kids, little house with a white picket fence...maybe a rose garden?" He realized his tone had turned sarcastic and maybe it wasn't fair of him to bring all this up. But he had, without thinking, and was now forced to continue.

"I don't remember it quite like that, Mulder," Scully stated, nervously. She did not appreciate why he'd gone off onto this tangent. "But..?" she began.

He cut her off abruptly. "Normality!" It was almost a yell, but he kept it under control.

Scully stared at him, and felt his hand tremble a little beneath her own. She started to protest, wanting to understand what on earth he was trying to say. But he refused to let her in.

"I think by now we've established you will never have that with me?" It came out as a question, but sure didn't feel like one. "Because I'm not even a human being. I'm part of a plan that doesn't include the little house with the white picket fence, rose garden and 2.4 kids," he said bitterly. "If you want that with me, you've got the wrong...guy." He stumbled over the last word, an ache from within piercing him deeply, almost causing him to lose the false bravado he had tried to portray earlier.

But Scully had noticed a chink in that armor plated exterior. *You are hiding something, Mulder.* she thought. *And I intend to find out what it is.* Reluctantly she half-heartedly agreed with his last statement. "So we may never have that. The main thing is that we have each other. That's the strength we have here, Mulder, you and me."

He took a deep breath whilst shaking his head. "That's what I've been trying to tell you. I don't have any strength left, Scully."

Mulder's words had sounded so wounded, making her tread carefully. "Yet you said you've thought of a way out?" she replied, softly. "Please explain to me what you meant by that?"

"Well it's not the truth, that's for certain. The truth will not help now. It never could. And you know why?" he asked, not waiting for an answer. "Because the truth is I'm an alien-human hybrid experiment created by them to help take over the human race, with an alien army to back me. That's the fucking truth, Scully!" One hand clenched into a fist and he slammed it onto the quilt cover.

Scully hadn't expected this sudden reaction, and it made her jump. Grabbing him by the wrist she yelled, "Mulder! That's their truth. Ours is to fight this and win!"

He looked straight at her, his eyes not giving anything away. "Yeah, and like I said, I know a way out."

"Which is? she demanded.

Mulder's tone changed dramatically to almost a whisper. "It's a way out for you, for Skinner, Monica and Doggett, maybe even a way out for the human race. So it could be a great answer for humanity."

"What could? What is this answer you seem to have?" Scully asked, impatiently. She was getting even more concerned now. Why was he holding back? Whatever he had to say didn't he realize she'd understand?

Heaving a heavy sigh he once again turned away from her and began to try and explain but the words came out mumbled and disjointed. "The truth is that," he began. His mouth suddenly felt dry and he swallowed hard. "That I'm tired... and I don't think," His eyes started to sting and he blinked, refusing to let any tears form. "I feel completely lost, Scully. I really don't know if...if I can cope anymore."

The look of worry was now clearly etched on Scully's face. "Mulder, you're scaring me," she admitted. "Of course you can cope. You've got me honey. I'm here for you, and I won't let you feel defeated," she said, gently squeezing his hand.

She was rushing to his rescue like she always did, her forever gallant knight persona fighting to save his pathetic damsel in distress routine. In the past he'd secretly relished those moments where he could feel safe and secure because she was beside him but it was different now, and there would be no galloping up on a pure white horse to save the day. "Scully, I know you're here and I know you're trying to help, and I appreciate it, I really do." God this was sounding so lame. " The fact of the matter is we can't win by endlessly running away to some safety zone because it doesn't exist. No matter how much we want it, we can never ever win this way."

Scully was so wishing he'd come to the point, as this attitude he was displaying was starting to drive her crazy. "So what way can we win? You seem to have an answer, yet refuse to tell me, like you refused to tell me about the date of the final invasion during your phony trial. Mulder, don't you trust me?"

"How can you say that?" Her words had cut into him deeply, and it hurt. "I trust you above all else, Scully but this is not an answer you'll approve of." Before she could utter any sort of reply, he added. "They've broken me, Scully. They have ripped me apart and reduced me to... "His voice faltered and he couldn't continue.

His reaction caused her to soften somewhat. "That's why I'm here, and always will be," she said, pulling him into an embrace. "Whatever this 'way out' is, you know I'll back you all the way."

"I doubt that," he replied. His words were hardly discernible.

She felt him shudder in her arms. "Please just explain, that's all I ask."

"All right," he whispered. Resigned now to the fact that he was going to have to tell her exactly what was on his mind he continued, but with trepidation. "All right...The way out is..." Once again he faltered on his words.

"Is...what?" she asked.

"Is for me to commit suicide."

Title: Key To The Kingdom (6 of 7) Author: Penny Evans

This was something she was certainly not prepared for. Feeling as if she'd been suddenly doused in ice cold water, she pulled back with a start. "What?!"

"I told you, you wouldn't approve," he replied, half-heartedly.

Scully was shocked. "Mulder! This is no joke!"

"Who's joking?" he stated, firmly. Leaning back against the headboard, he closed his eyes.

She wasn't going to let him get away from that announcement. "Mulder, you can't be serious? Listen to me..."

He sat up sharply and faced her, hazel eyes glistening with moisture. "No, you listen!" he yelled. The protective walls he'd built around himself were crumbling now, and he could do nothing to prevent them from collapsing. "I don't think I can carry on, no matter what you or anyone else says. But the point is they need me to carry on don't they? So I can be their fucking savior! But without me, then they'll have to grow another specimen from scratch. Without me, they lose this battle and humans go free, at least in our lifetime."

She didn't want to let her pent up anger out on discovering her partner's intentions, but felt right now she had no choice. "So, you kill yourself and all our prayers are answered?" she blurted out, frustrated.

Without thinking, Mulder took hold of her hand. "Scully, you said yourself we have to try and stop them."

She pulled from his grasp like she'd been stung. "And the only way to do this is for you to die? What, you want to be some kind of martyr? Like Jesus Christ on the cross? I'm not buying that, Mulder."

"Scully, I don't want to be anything", he said, voice trembling. "I don't want to be a martyr. I don't want to be a God. I just want to be left alone." He swallowed hard, his breathing quickening. "But they'll never leave me alone, Scully. They've already hurt me beyond reason. I'm so screwed up inside...I don't think I'll ever function normally again," he said bitterly, allowing the anguish to take a hold.

This time she took his hand and held it tight. "Baby, please..," she began, making him acknowledge her. "If you let me, I can help you get over the nightmare you suffered on that ship."

He shook his head, as his hand gripped hers. "No!" he exclaimed. "You can't help me, Scully. I won't ever wake up from that!"

"Mulder, please stop this! Please don't just give up on yourself," she pleaded. She felt the blood circulation was being cut off in her fingers.

His reply was abrupt. "I'm not giving up. I'm providing an answer."

*Some answer* she thought. *He's not even thinking rationally anymore.* "So your outcome will be that everyone on this planet will be saved, except you?" she asked.

"No, that's where you're wrong, Scully." He relaxed his grip a little. "I will be saved. I'll be out of this hell." He paused then added, "I'd be free, like..Samantha. Sh...she escaped," he stammered, mositure glistening in his hazel eyes.

Scully's clinical approach came into play. "She's dead, Mulder," she said, firmly. She hadn't meant to sound so abrupt. But facts were facts, and his sister's case had been closed long ago. Hell, he'd even signed the documents to prove it.

A tear slowly traced its way down his cheek, and he gently pulled his hand from hers and wiped it away. "I know her spirit is free," he said, calmly. "That's all that matters."

"You told me she was content in the starlight or whatever? So, you think you'll receive the same fate if you end it all? She was now starting to understand where his thoughts were heading, and certainly didn't approve. "Oh, God, Mulder. You think you'll be reunited with your sister?"

"I can but hope," he answered, voice starting to crack.

Gingerly she put an arm around him, and felt his body trembling slightly. "Honey, you can't just give your life in the vain hope that you'll be reunited with Samantha. I mean do you honestly think there will be some glorious heaven waiting for you?"

He couldn't believe she'd just said that, and it pulled him out of his emotional state. "So, now you're denying you're own religious beliefs? Don't give me that crap." Refusing to let her reply he continued with, "So why can't I have my own idea of Heaven...my idea of finding some damn peace at last?"

"Because it isn't based on reality," she replied, gently.

"Oh, and your heaven is?" he asked, surprised.


"All right, but I firmly believe that suicide is not the answer. Taking your own life can only lead your soul in one direction, and that certainly isn't Heaven," Scully told him, realizing she was now sounding like her own priest in a confessional.

Mulder let out a sigh of remorse. "Can it be any worse than the hell I've been living in lately? Or the eternal damnation I'll be sent to when those grays have completed the process?" he said, bitterly. "Living as a fucking alien with my human soul imprisoned till the end of time?" He shivered at the mere thought of it. "Fuck that! I'd rather be dead!"

"Can you do it?" she challenged him. "Pick up a gun and end this life?"

Mulder hesitated before replying, "Not with a gun."

"Well, with what then?" Scully was starting to question whether he could actually go through with this.

He looked straight into her eyes. "You're a doctor?"

"Yes." she stated. *And why are you asking me something you already know?* she thought, worried now about where this might be leading.

"Then you know about lethal injections," he said, abruptly.

She just couldn't believe what she was hearing. "So you think I'll get hold of some morphine or some such thing and give you an overdose?" she asked, now angry with him for even suggesting this. "Forget it, Mulder! There's no way on God's earth I'll help you kill yourself."

"Well, I've proven myself right about one thing. I said you wouldn't be able to help me," he said, sharply.

Dana felt like knocking some sense into him, literally. "Mulder, that is not fair!" She turned away, unable to look at him right at that moment. " I can't believe you even suggested this. It's completely insane!" If he didn't stop this madness right now she was going to leave the room, and he could sleep alone for the night. Of course she realized she could not actually do this. But she was also getting highly agitated with his self-destructive attitude.

He continued to stare at her, but she was refusing to acknowledge him. Letting out a heavy sigh Mulder leaned back and rested his head on the pillow, hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling. "Maybe I want to die, Scully," he said in a melancholy tone. "Have you thought that perhaps I want this? That maybe I want out of this sorry excuse for an existence?"

"After all we've been through together, you just want to throw in the towel?" Her words were little more than a whisper. "So that's it? Adios and goodbye?" The tears were starting to invade her own eyes now. "It's not the way out."

"So what the fucking hell is the way out then?" he asked, the tension rising once more as he tried unsuccessfully to ignore it.

Dana Scully was still trying to get a handle on this latest turn of events. "I told you," she said. "We should just keep on the run."

*Yeah, that's just the perfect solution,* he thought to himself. "Forever?" he exclaimed. "Till we die of old age? Well we won't get there, I can assure you of that!" he said, frustratedly. *Especially if I attack you and kill you all!* He shuddered at the thought.

"Mulder..?" she began but he cut her off instantly.

"Scully, when they eventually find me they won't hesitate to kill you, Skinner, Monica and Doggett. Hell, they most likely will make me do it after my rebirth. Yeah, wouldn't that be icing on the cake for those little gray bastards!" Feeling the anger rising, he took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Scully had, had just about enough. "Okay!" she yelled, throwing her hands up in desperation. "You die and..?"

"They lose. The human race is saved and everybody lives happily ever after," he replied, matter-of-factly.

"Except you and me, because you'll be dead," Scully stated, firmly.

"Yeah, there is that drawback." He knew that must have sounded to her as if he was past the point of caring but the truth was he was trying to keep himself under control. Another burst of rage from him would surely result in a nervous breakdown...or at the very least he'd have another one of those damn seizures, which might then lead to his final transformation.

"Drawback?" she said, incredulously. "Mulder, why are you behaving like this? Why are you being so flippant? I can see this is all an act, you know?" She reached out and cupped a hand under his chin, making him turn his head towards her. She stared into his eyes, trying to read behind that false exterior he was blatantly now displaying. "Look at me and tell me honestly...do you really want to die?"

He couldn't avert his gaze from those deep pools of blue, so remained transfixed. Then he felt his bottom lip begin to tremble, and unable to stop the tears from stinging his eyes he blurted out, "I've just had enough, Scully. I've reached the proverbial end of my rope, and if this is the only way I can hopefully save humanity, then so be it. I'll have done something worthwhile, and then I'll be free."

"You said 'hopefully', so you don't actually know if killing yourself will save mankind? And what makes you think you haven't done important things with your life?" Before he could answer, she added, "And we're back to claiming your freedom again."

"Well, let's see?" he began. "Okay, I finally convinced you and others that extra terrestrial beings exist. Big deal!" he said, harshly. "Look, without me they lose their key specimen. They need form...leadership, or they cannot function as a whole."

"So, you think that by committing suicide it will ruin the gray's plans and maybe bring them to an end? That's a big 'maybe', Mulder. Then what? Your reward will be to reunite with your sister in the afterlife? Starlight? Whatever?" Scully was getting more and more frustrated. "Mulder, what if there isn't anything there? What if you find when you're dead, that's it?"

"Scully, you believe in God. So you believe in a Heaven," he stated, firmly.

She felt like they were going around in circles with this conversation, and it was doing nothing to convince her partner from being so adamant about killing himself. Scully was going to have to try a different approach. "I 'believe'..," she emphasized, "That I can't go on without you." Had she really just admitted to that?

Mulder pulled her into an embrace, so she was resting her head on his chest. "Ah, the truth is finally out," he whispered, swallowing back the tears that were threatening to fall. "Scully, you will. Because this world will be saved and you and everyone else will carry on."

Raising herself up slowly, she let out a long sigh. "You 'hope', Mulder." He was acting like a needle stuck in the groove of an old record, endlessly repeating the same refrain for all eternity. "So what do I do with you gone? Find another man and settle down in my little house with the picket fence and rose garden, with him and my 2.4 kids?"

"Yes," he replied. "I'd want you to be happy."

"Happy?" she said, astonished. Pulling herself up straight, she once again made him look at her. She'd had enough of this. "Mulder, why don't you try being honest with yourself, and stop talking complete bullshit! You're imagining me in some perfect fantasy life. Plus, you now seem to be using this 'saving the human race' crap as an excuse." Grabbing him firmly by the shoulders, eyes blazing into his, she added, "Tell me the damn truth! DO YOU WANT TO DIE?"

Her outburst had taken him completely by surprise, piercing through what had already become a very fragile outer layer of his psyche. It had been offering him protection, but now those walls came crashing down all around him. "They tortured me, Scully. Mentally and physically abused me. The seizures are much worse. I'm running out of toxin...and...? He hesitated, feeling hot tears starting to fall down his cheeks. "I...I'm ...so a-f-r-a-i-d."

Gathering him into her arms, she held him tightly, feeling him tremble against her. "Oh, Mulder, suicide is a cowards way out," she said, soflty, stroking his hair.

"So..? I'm...a...coward," he replied, in between sobs.

"Like hell you are, baby," she said, defiantely. "You're one of the strongest people I've ever known."

"I...I, don't want to die, Scully", he admitted. As soon as he'd uttered those words, a tiny bout of relief flowed through him. Suddenly all the tension that had built up since he'd begun this conversation with her, spilled out of him in big, wet, tear drops of complete exhaustion.

*Finally, the truth,* she thought to herself as he convulsed in her arms, body shaking violently. She rocked him gently. "You go ahead my love. Get it all out of your system. You need to cry."

"Why did they do this to me, Scully?" he wept, bitterly. "Why?"

Both of them knew the answers to that question, but Scully felt she had to give him some sort of a reply. "They 'chose' you," she said, gritting her teeth in anger.

"I...I don't know what to do anymore. I just don't know what to do," he stammered, helplessly.

She had no answers for him right at that moment. "Just hold onto me, Mulder," she said, tightening her arms around him, as he continued to cry. "Shhh, my love. Shhh," she soothed as best she could.

"I wish someone could help me," he whimpered. "I mean if God really exists then why can't he help me? Why won't he listen to me?" he demanded, tears choking him.

"It doesn't work that way, baby," Scully replied, softly. "All we can do is have faith." Where had that come from? She realized what she'd said was true though. If you lost your faith then you had nothing. It's what she'd been brought up believing and it's what had kept her going throughout her whole life.

"Wonderful!" Mulder said, sarcasm dripping from his lips. "'Fraid that's not my resolution, Scully." He knew he had lost all faith, and hope. Completely resigned to the fact that there was nothing to face now but this alien destiny in hell, his despair increased in intensity.

For a good long while all she could do was hold him, stroking his hair gently, as racking sobs shook his grief stricken body. A tear fell down her cheek, and she prayed.

*Dear God, please get us through this,* she begged deep inside.

Time seemed to pass by slowly and for Scully, became the worst minutes of her life. Till eventually Mulder's sobbing began to subside, for which she was greatly relieved. As she listened to his faint whimpering, a solution started to form. She had been remembering the talk they'd had about the starlight. Without questioning why this had come into her mind, she whispered softly into his ear. "Mulder?"

He stirred a little but wasn't responding, so she tried again. "Mulder?"

"Y..yes?" he replied, his voice now hoarse from crying.

"Maybe you should try calling her?"

"W...Who?," he asked puzzled. "C...Call who?"

"Samantha," Scully suggested. "Your sister." Before he could say anything she added, "She came to you in this starlight once before. Maybe she'll come back. You and she obviously have a strong connection, alien related or not. Perhaps you can use this bond to reach out to her?"

Slowly he released himself from her protective embrace, and gave her a very confused look, his eyes now red from crying. "But I...I thought you didn't believe in all this starlight intervention stuff?" he questioned, shakily.

Tenderly she wiped his tear stained face with her fingertips. "It doesn't matter what I do or don't believe in. You believe...so call her. But not with your voice, with your heart." She had no idea exactly what had possessed her to speak this way; however, if it could shine a tiny beam of light into the shroud of darkness he'd been engulfed in, (and something was telling her it could) then it needed to be said.

What had he to lose? Not so long ago he'd felt there was nothing left to turn to. So, why not try and call his sister? Sitting upright, he closed his eyes and began to concentrate on an image of Sam. Almost immediately his eidetic mind took him back to the moment he'd found himself surrounded by the spirits of the little children. Then, when he'd called out her name in complete bewilderment, she'd come running into his arms, a smile on her face. Letting him know she was safe. *Samantha, come back to me,* he heard himself say. *Please come back.*

Opening his eyes, he realized nothing had changed, and it was still just him and Scully in the bed. He shrugged his shoulders. "Got any more bright ideas?" he asked her, forlornly.

She was disappointed that nothing had happened, but at the same time not really surprised. *What was I thinking?* Not wanting to show him how annoyed she was with herself, she opted for a practical response. "Yeah, it's late and we need to get some sleep."

Once again your answer to everything." A tiny flicker of a smile appeared then it was gone.

"I'm sorry, Mulder," she said, quietly.

"It's okay. I know you were just trying to help. But you never expected it to work, not really?" he said, sadly.

"I don't know. I guess..." Scully discovered she couldn't answer the question, and felt confused. She'd desperately wanted to help him, and had succeeded in coming up with a completely crazy idea...and yet?

"Scully? It's alright," he said, quietly. "You tried." Letting out a melancholy sigh he added, "Maybe we should get some sleep."

Mulder settled himself down, head resting against the pillow, and closed his eyes. She snuggled next to him, pulling the quilt up over them both, and stroked his hair softly. "Please tell me all that stuff about killing yourself and saving mankind is finished with now?" she asked, hopefully.

"It's finished," he replied in a whisper.

Leaning over him, she kissed him gently on his lips, and was glad to feel him respond to her touch. "I love you, Mulder," she said, softly.

The heavy sword of doom still loomed over his head. But tonight he'd discovered that at least there was one thing keeping him from the executioner's fatal blow, this beautiful, intelligent woman lying beside him, Scully. She was his light in the darkness and always would be, no matter what he believed would happen in the future. "I love you too. Goodnight, Scully."

"Goodnight, my darling. Try and have sweet dreams." He let out a tiny sigh, hardly noticeable, but she heard it. Gently she coaxed him into her warm embrace and rocked him gently. "I'll hold you to till you're asleep, my love," she soothed.

He stirred, then slowly opened his eyes, immediately becoming aware of a dazzling bright light in the room, which made him blink a few times. His breathing quickened as a sudden fear darted through him. *Oh dear God* Mulder thought. *They've found us* His limbs felt heavy and he realized he was so terrified he couldn't move. He could only lie there on his back, waiting for the grays to abduct his now tired and exhausted body. He felt a hand upon his own, but there was no threatening movement, just a gentle touch. Slowly he turned his head, and came face to face with his long lost sister. "Sam? Samantha?" he stammered in complete surprise and shock. "I...I thought it was..."

"Shh, Fox," she soothed. "It's all right, there are no aliens, no spaceships. You are quite safe dear brother."

He allowed himself to calm down and take in this new phenomenon. Her small figure, the fact she was still only fourteen years old, with long ebony hair cascading down over her shoulders. Exactly the same as when he had come across her with those other 'spirit' children, after searching for a missing girl...with Scully. Turning the opposite way he realized his partner was sleeping soundly beside him and didn't have the heart to wake her. Feeling a lump in his throat he faced his sister once more. "Th...This isn't a dream?"

She smiled at him with those big brown eyes of hers. "That depends on how you define the word 'dream'," she replied, sweetly.

"I mean...you're not real," he said, confused.

Samantha smiled again. "I'm real to you Fox. That's all that matters."

"So you're a spirit?" he asked, trying to justify this latest strange occurrence.

"Fox, don't try to find explanations for everything." She laid a hand on his chest. "Just feel...with your heart."

Taking her hand in his, he squeezed it softly, discovering it was warm to the touch. Feeling the pinpricks of tears at the corners of his eyes, he swallowed hard. "Sam, why are you here?"

"You called for me," she replied, softly. " Fox you were so lost and needed me...so I came."

The words *It worked, Scully* entered his mind, filling him with a sense of relief mixed with bewilderment, and a tear slowly trickled down his cheek. "I spent every hour of every day looking for you, Sam," he lamented. "The only reason I got caught up with investigating the paranormal was because I wanted to have you back in my life. It became my quest, my obsession, nothing else mattered to me." Another tear fell, and he wiped it away with the back of his hand.

"Please, don't cry," she said, gently. "You had to discover about the starlight before a link could be made between us."

"A link?" he said, puzzled. "What, you mean a connection... or a doorway? A portal to another existence?" he queried.

"Oh, Fox," she chuckled, lightly. "Let go of those terms. They are not important."

"Okay," he said, taking a deep breath. "Do you know why I called for you?"

"You had lost all hope, had nothing left to turn to. You were suffering so much pain," Samantha replied, in a melancholy tone. A brief pause then she added, "It was the starlight that sent me to you brother."

"Starlight?" Mulder frowned. "Why? So you could help me... how?" His head was so full of questions.

She looked into his confused hazel eyes. "Listen, Fox." Placing a finger to his lips, she kissed him softly on the cheek. "Listen to your heart...not your mind."

Mulder closed his eyes and took deep breaths, trying to still his racing thoughts. He heard the beating of his heart and concentrated on its gentle rhythm. As he did so, he felt a warm sensation wash over him, and colors started to dance behind his eyelids. After a few moments had passed, he opened them. Becoming aware that he was a lot more focused, he said, "You're...you're here to set me free."

A pained expression came over her face. "I remember the suffering too. They inflicted more and more upon me. They made me cry as well. Then..."

He completed her sentence. "The starlight rescued you...and can do the same for me."

"As it did for Mom and Dad," she told him.

Mulder flinched a little. "Dad?" he questioned, nervously.

"Bill Mulder," she replied. "He and mom are together and happy now."

He couldn't help but breathe a sigh of relief. For one horrible moment he thought that the cigarette-smoking bastard, C. G. B. Spender was the one she'd been referring to, but that man had been the cause of such terrible suffering in the Mulder family, especially to his sister, Sam, and to him...his own flesh and blood. There was only one place he had been destined to go after he shuffled off this mortal coil, where his soul would burn in hell for all of eternity. The man didn't deserve peace. Mulder pondered on those thoughts, then had to ask. "Sam, are you dead?" However, before she could reply, he answered his own question. "It depends on how you define the word right?"

"You're catching on, Fox," she smiled, displaying that cute grin he'd always loved seeing when they were growing up together.

His eidetic memory began to take control and he was back with the psychic who had been searching for his son. The man was telling him all about the starlight phenomenon. "I thought it was children's lost souls?" he asked his sister. "That because a terrible fate was going to befall them they were saved, and their matter was transformed into starlight?" He noticed her eyes widen as he spoke, her eyebrows raised. "Sorry, I'm trying to rationalize again aren't I?" he said, sheepishly.

"Fox," she said, and paused briefly before continuing. "I'm here to take you home. To reunite you with our family." She leaned towards him and whispered, "The secret wish you've always wanted."

It was true. Buried deep inside he had carried with him what he'd believed to be a hopeless dream, to be part of a loving and caring family with his mother and the father he was raised with, along with his sweet sister, Samantha. It was a far cry from the childhood he had been blessed with in reality. Could it now become the truth? "Home?" he asked, his voice trembling slightly.

Lifting his hand, she placed it over her heart. "Home," Samantha replied, softly.

Mulder felt someone move beside him and heard a small sigh. "Scully," he whispered, turning to see the woman he loved lying curled up beside him. His eyes began to moisten once more as he watched her continue to sleep. Then he looked over at his sister. "I...I can't leave her," he stammered. "She is my family."

Samantha smiled again. "You won't be lost to her," she told him.

"But..." Mulder began, becoming concerned. "If I leave and go with you into this starlight, and Scully remains here... how can we be..?" He paused unable to go on.

"Together?" Samantha asked.

"Yes," he replied, hoping for a solid answer, not a metaphysical one.

"Fox, she has your heart as you have hers. What better connection is there?"

*Didn't think I'd get a straight answer* he thought, sadly. "Connection?" he said, repeating her word. "You said you and I can connect because I know about the starlight? Well, Scully is also aware. She doesn't believe ...least I don't think she does." He was rambling now but couldn't refrain from doing so. "But she knows about it. So we'll have that kind of connection?" He was trying to convince himself that he could understand what his sister was trying to explain, and failing miserably.

"Fox..." she said, gently.

"I...I know, I'm being rational again. But..." He stopped, and glanced back at the redhead sleeping soundly, snuggled up to him. Tears started to well up in his eyes, and he swallowed hard, trying to hold them back. "But...I can't say goodbye," he admitted. Reaching across, to brush a strand of auburn hair that had fallen across Scully's face he added, "I...I just can't."

"Fox?" Samantha asked, her expression one of concern.

He turned around to face her. "Yes?"

"The choice is yours."

Her words held no bitterness or sadness in them, and he realized she would not push him to go with her, or make him feel guilty if he stayed with the woman he loved. The choice really was his to make. He remembered the conversation he'd had with his beloved Scully not so long ago. How he'd almost chosen suicide over being with her, telling her she'd find someone else she could have a future with. He now knew that had been incredibly selfish, but he'd been at his wit's end and hadn't been able to see a way of escape, except death. Then there had been his moral reasons for suggesting he take his life so that the alien race would hopefully be defeated. Without him as their 'key' it could lead to their destruction, the human race would survive...and most of all, Scully would be saved. "The aliens?" he began.

"Yes," Samantha replied. "They will lose their key to the kingdom of Earth and it will be their downfall," she added, triumphantly.

"How did you know I was thinking about that?" Mulder asked her, curiously.

"I just did," she replied, softly. "Besides, it's been a heavy burden for you to carry for such a long time, Fox."

He sighed heavily. "So, I can continue to let it weigh me down? I can try and battle against an alien race, with no real hope of winning" he said, wistfully. "Or, I can free human civilization, and Scully...and myself?"

Samantha's reply was a gentle nod of her head.

Mulder swallowed back more tears that were trying to surface. "Th...Then I have to do this," he whispered.

Feeling as if his heart was going to shatter into a million pieces, he let go of his sister's hand and faced Scully once more. He wasn't going to be able to stop himself from holding back the emotional torrent that had been threatening to be released. Sure enough his bottom lip begin to tremble, and the tears followed. One fell onto Scully's cheek as he leant down and kissed her softly on the lips. Discovering he couldn't find any words to say, he remained silent. With one hand stroking her auburn hair, he rested his head upon her chest so he could hear her heartbeat close to his own. For a few minutes he laid there, eyes closed, just feeling the rise and fall of her gentle breathing as he cried softly. All the while, Scully remained asleep, unaware of the choice he was about to make. Mulder knew she would be devastated when she finally awoke and discovered he was gone, and that tore him apart inside. But it wouldn't be forever. *It's for the best* he thought. *It's for the best* Giving her one last kiss, he then sat upright and climbed out of the bed. "Okay," was all he could bring himself to say, in a broken whisper.

Title: Key To The Kingdom (7 of 7) Author: Penny Evans

Dressed only in boxer shorts, he was starting to feel the cold until his sister took her hand in his and that pleasant warmth began to flow through him once more.

"Fox?" she said, aware of the painful decision he had just made. "It will be fine. You'll see."

Giving her a brief nod, he abruptly wiped away the tears that were still in evidence. "So what happens now? Do we wait for Scottie to beam us up?" he chuckled half-heartedly.

Samantha smiled. "You and your science fiction," she teased gently. "I never could understand all that until..."

"Until it became our reality," he answered, squeezing her hand.

Suddenly Mulder started to become very light headed. It felt similar to those social nights in a bar when he'd consumed far too much alcohol, although those times had been few and far between. Then his whole body began to go numb. It was like experiencing that moment when you are on the verge of sleep but not quite there yet.

"Just let yourself go," Samantha told him aware that he had tightened his hold of her hand. "You're quite safe."

He knew his sister was right there beside him, but now her voice seemed to echo all around. Then the room started to fade, as a swirling luminescence began to engulf their bodies. It reminded Mulder of a galaxy full of stars. *It...it's beautiful* he heard himself say, although he hadn't actually spoken the words out loud.

"I know," Samantha replied.

Dana Scully stirred then woke with a start. The vision she was met with held her transfixed, as she witnessed a whirlwind of twinkling lights at the foot of the bed. What on earth was happening? Then she noticed the outlines of two figures in the center of this maelstrom, and immediately recognized them as Fox Mulder and Samantha! Her eyes widened in shock on seeing this revelation, but she discovered she couldn't move. She was rooted to the spot. Suddenly the swirling luminescence began to fade, taking the man she loved and his sister with it. "Mulder!" she screamed, as the light disappeared completely, plunging her into darkness.

Leaping out of the bed she hurriedly threw on a skirt and sweater. Then still in bare feet, ran from the room. Without knocking she barged into the adjoining one, where both men had retired for the night. John Doggett awoke with a start and reached for his gun, then realized he still had no ammo Walter Skinnner grunted roughly and opened his eyes, annoyed that he had been disturbed. Both men quickly became aware of a very disheveled Scully.

"What's wrong?" Doggett asked, concerned. The woman seemed to be in a state of shock.

Just then Monica Reyes entered. There had been only two bedrooms in this little shack. One had revealed a double bed (which was allocated to Mulder and Scully), and the other had two singles, which would be right for Doggett and Skinner, so she'd opted for the couch in the living area. "What's up?" she asked sleepily, trying to take in the situation at hand.

"I...It's Mulder," Scully stammered, weakly.

"Not those fucking aliens!" Skinner retorted, starting to climb out of the bed.

"N...No!" she replied, abruptly. Then without another word she ran out of the room.

The remaining ex-FBI team watched for a few seconds, unable to understand just why the redheaded doctor was in such a state. Then both Skinner and Doggett began hurriedly pulling on their pants. Monica had already thown on an overcoat she'd found hanging on the kitchen door, and the three followed Dana out of the living room door which led to the outside. They noticed she had now stopped, and was staring up at the sky.

Monica hadn't heard the altercation in the 'boys' room. "Please, tell me this doesn't involve spaceships, and while we're at it, where is Mulder?"

"H...He's gone!" Scully stated, eyes brimming with tears.

"They took him?" Monica asked, nervously.

"No, she said it wasn't aliens," Skinner replied. Walking up to his former agent he placed an arm around her shoulders, to discover she was shaking. "Scully...tell me what happened. Where is Mulder?"

Dana jerked her head, indicating he should also look up above him. "Lost souls..," she began, solemnly. "Lost souls searching for new homes." Her eyes were begining to sting then a solitary tear fell down her cheek. "Well he'd damn well better find one...somewhere where he'll be safe."

It dawned on Skinner just exactly what Scully was referring to now. He remembered she'd explained to him about this very subject during the time when Fox Mulder had been abducted. "Starlight," he said quietly, not really registering what he'd just said. Then he faced her. "He's in the starlight?" he questioned.

She nodded her head briefly, turned, and fell into the ex- assistant director's arms crying bitterly. "It's my fault!" she said, helplessly. "I told him to try and contact her. He was suffering so much, I just couldn't bear it any longer!" she sobbed.

Doggett glanced up at the night sky, seeing billions and billions of stars reaching into infinity. "Mulder's in the starlight?" he queried, a little puzzled by this statement.

"What exactly do you mean by that?" Monica asked, also gazing at the tiny pinpricks of light.

Scully looked over at them both, her eyes now red from crying. "His sister, Samantha...he found out she had been rescued by the walk-ins, the old souls searching for new homes...new beginnings." Realizing she was receiving yet more puzzling looks from both her friends, she added, "Samantha was going to suffer a terrible fate in this life. So...so her matter was transported by starlight so she could be saved," Scully blurted out, returning her gaze to the heavens.

"Her essence was transformed into energy?" Monica asked, amazed.

"So...she's dead?" Doggett spoke calmly, not wishing to upset anyone, but he wanted to understand this new revelation. *Is this what Scully was trying to say has happened to Mulder* he thought.

Scully whirled around and faced him. "No!" she stated firmly. "He's' not dead!"

Skinner held her closer. "It's okay, Scully," he soothed. Turning to Doggett he added, "He's in a better place."

*Isn't that the same thing?* Doggett thought, but decided to stay quiet.

"At least he's not suffering anymore," Monica spoke, gently. She had been a witness to many of Mulder's seizures and along with the others, had wished she could have made the pain stop.

"No, he's not," Scully replied. She had to believe in what she'd just said. "He's with his sister...and..," She took a deep breath, "and...he's free."

Doggett had been forced to become open minded about infinite possibilities on this latest journey. Due to this unfound knowledge he was now starting to put the pieces together, slowly but surely. "So are we." He realized all eyes were upon him. "Well aren't we?" he asked, not waiting for a reply. "Didn't Mulder say that without him the alien race would not be able to carry on...or some such thing?"

"He said, he hoped it would ruin their plans for colonization," Scully replied, sorrowfully. "He was their 'key'." Things were now starting to fall into place, though she didn't welcome this revelation. "So without him they hopefully wouldn't be able to unlock the kingdom."

"Kingdom?" Monica asked.

"Earth," Scully replied.

"You mean they'd have to go back to the proverbial drawing board and start all over again?" Skinner queried.

"Yes." Thoughts were still jumbled in her head and she was trying to rationalize them. *But surely he would never have made such a drastic decision like that, only with the hope that humans would be saved?* Scully thought to herself. Turning to her friends she explained what had come to mind. "I believe Samantha knew the outcome. She must have told him that mankind would be free."

John Doggett noticed his former partner and friend had mositure glistening in her eyes, and gently placed an arm around Monica's shoulders. Looking up at the stars, he gave a nod then a wink. "Thank you, Mulder," he said wistfully.

Monica felt a lump forming in her throat and swallowed back the tears. "Thanks," she said, softly then allowed Doggett to lead her back inside the little shack.

Walter Skinner rested his former agents head on his shoulder. "Are you okay?" The words came out of his mouth before he realized it was a pretty dumb thing to ask but truth be known he was also extremely saddened by this unexpected turn of events. However, he did not wish to convey those feelings to Scully. She was suffering enough and he did not wish to add to her burden.

"No." Her reply was soft but abrupt. "But I...I understand..." Her words trailed off and she gave a shuddering breath as another tear threatened to fall.

The former AD gazed up into the starlit sky. "He was a wonderful man. A pain in the ass sometimes, but a caring soul." He nodded thoughtfully, remembering how for all those years in the FBI his favorite agent had been a joke to his peers, a crazy person off in his own little world chasing invisible aliens. Oh, how wrong they had all been! "The whole world will thank you now Fox William Mulder."

"'Is' a wonderful man," Scully corrected him. Gently pulling away from Skinner's embrace she added, "The whole world will never know the sacrifice he made, and it must stay that way. I don't want everyone to know about the starlight and lost souls being saved. There will be investigations into it, people searching for an explanation." She faced him her eyes, still full of tears, were now showing sheer determination. "Please, let's keep it an unexplained mystery," she pleaded.

"You got it Scully," Skinner said, firmly. Taking hold of her arm he added gently, "Come on, let's go."

Dana Scully glanced up at the night sky one more time and blew a kiss at one of the twinkling lights. "I'll never stop loving you," she whispered softly, allowing a tear to fall down her cheek. Then she let Skinner guide her back inside the building.


Most of the people in the world would never know that they had been moments away from oblivion! Yet the cost to myself and my partner for this truth will continue to haunt me for the rest of my life!

Dana Scully reached the end of her personal journal and stopped typing. A year had passed since that fateful day when her beloved Fox had made the ultimate sacrifice and in doing so saved the world from an alien invasion. Now, life had pretty much returned to normal and she was carrying on as usual, but deep inside, her heart still ached from losing him. She had found a job working as a medical doctor. Now, she was working in a laboratory for human diseases. Although nothing would ever compare to the alien retro virus she had been privy to, when she'd tried desperately to cure Mulder after he had been thought dead, then miraculously resurrected. Scully remembered how through her knowledge of science she had discovered how mere anti-viral drugs acted as a temporary shield against the virus. She probably would have received a Nobel Prize for such a discovery, had it been made public. However, she had never spoken of it since the grays had made their retreat.

All of the ships seemed to have just vanished from Earth as silently as they'd arrived. The humans that had survived the encounters and had fled from the impending doom by going into hiding, had returned to their homes. Scully had rented a new apartment in Georgetown and had been living there for several months. She remained alone, not wishing to date anyone. Occasionally she'd received visits and phone calls from her mother, and the friends she held dear, Walter Skinner, John Doggett and Monica Reyes. The four of them had been through so much together and had a bond that could never be broken. Her former assistant director of the Bureau had been allocated a top position as deputy chief of the FBI, ever since the alien recruits had made their exit. Doggett and Reyes had returned as special agents only in the crime division. It had been Scully's wish not to return to the FBI, and to make sure The X Files would never be re-opened. Skinner had respected her decision and it had been carried out, since he now had the power and authority to do this.

Dana preferred to be alone in her apartment most of the time. She had once bought a tank and filled it with rainbow fish, hoping their shimmering colors would soothe her, but all it managed to do was bring back memories of Mulder, since he had kept fish in his apartment, at Hegal Place in Alexandria, Virginia, and many times she had found herself feeding his pets, especially when he'd gone and ditched her during their X File assignments. That all seemed like a lifetime ago. Her life had taken so many twists and turns since she'd first set eyes on Fox Mulder down in the basement of the Bureau. Some unbelievable events had taken place and she had been center stage along with her friends and FBI agents. Briefly scanning the final passage she had typed, she leaned forward, switched off her computer then proceeded towards the bedroom.

Once settled under the sheets she closed her eyes knowing that she would dream of him again. Scully could always find him there, and it comforted her somewhat. As she slipped into unconciousness, she immediately felt his presence. He was right beside her, those soft hazel eyes checking out her every move with that cheeky grin he'd always displayed whenever they were together on their supernatural cases. She felt that same tender touch as he reached out and took her hand, entwining his fingers around hers, protectively. As the dream faded she thought she could still feel his gentle caress. Allowing her eyes to adjust to the darkness of the room, she suddenly found herself staring straight into his loving gaze.

Dana blinked several times. She must still be asleep? The reason for assuming this was because Mulder now stood beside her bed! *That's impossible!* she thought, but it was brief. Denying her clinical explanation, she turned to the paranormal. Her discovery had been rather a shock, but the most important realization was the man she loved and would continue to love was right here in her room. "D...Did the starlight bring you to me?" she asked, feeling tears prick at the corners of her eyes. The rational part of her mind still had to ask a question. "Or is this all just a beautiful dream?"

Fox Mulder smiled down at her. "It's whatever you wish it to be Scully," he told her, squeezing her hand gently.

"But I...I don't understand," she stammered, slightly. "Mulder, are you...are you dead?" Now she was letting confusion get the better of her.

"I know you never really understood or even believed in the starlight intervention, my love," he said, softly. "But I came to realize it's not something you have to clarify or rationalize...just accept."

"Accept what?" Scully asked, eyes now brimming with tears. One started to fall down her cheek.

Mulder leant down and kissed it away. "That I'm here for you ...and always will be. All you have to do is believe."

Scully felt his arms go around her as his lips touched hers and she closed her eyes, wanting only to be surrounded in his warmth and protection.

A sudden gust of wind blew open the bedroom window making Scully jump with a start. Her eyes flew open and she realized she was alone. The room was empty but no longer dark, as a crescent moon shone outside, casting a beam of light onto her quilt cover. Letting out a melancholy sigh, she climbed out of bed and walked slowly over to her window. Looking up into the sky she could only just make out the pinpoints of twinkling lights trying to shine above the neon streetlights and silhouettes of the buildings on her street. As she continued to gaze, a shooting star streaked across the velvet night, leaving a diamond trail behind. Scully touched her lips with her fingertips, remembering Mulder's gentle kiss. A tear formed, catching a moonbeam causing it to sparkle like starlight, as it fell down her cheek. She watched until the shooting star had disappeared from sight, then smiled to herself.

"I believe, Mulder."


We have walked together where angels go
And we found a place inside us that only we could know
So I still walk on
Through the night and through the rain
I would give it all
Just to be with you again
It's a lonely road
And my heart is still in chains
But I live my life
Just to be with you again
Lionel Ritchie - Just To Be With You Again


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