Title: Lhaskhyi
Author: Michele Tucker
DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know what I am doing is bad, Mr. Carter and all X-Files affiliated production companies [not the least of which is the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions], but I love your show too much to restrain myself from writing my own X-Files episodes. My apologies to you, and no, I will not profit from any distribution of this story. No infringement was intended. Please don't sue me-I'm only sixteen, and I have no money anyway. Mulder and Scully and Skinner are not mine [sigh], they are Chris Carter's, but all the other characters in the story belong to Yours Truly.
Genre: Case File, with a little humor and UST [I'm a devoted 'shipper, I won't deny it, but this "spooky tale" is completely safe for non-shippers]; nothing an episode of the show wouldn't have.
Spoilers: None
Rating: PG, due to a little violence and some tame obscenities.
Also, if you want to post or archive my story somewhere, I probably won't have a problem with it, but I want to be notified first, and please, keep my name attached

Summary: Mulder and Scully are called out to investigate an X-File in Minnesota, involving a mythical creature who is terrorizing a family.

And now....[drumroll]....my first attempt at fanfiction! ~*~*~

FBI Headquarters Basement
Friday, 12:20 p.m.

Special Agent Fox Mulder leaned back in his chair, his eyes intent on the television before him. Absently tossing a sunflower seed into his mouth, he chuckled softly at the screen. It had been a slow day at the X-Files, and, he reasoned, with Scully out at lunch and he on his break, there was no reason why he couldn't use the small business-only TV for his own purposes.

As if in response, the door opened and Special Agent Dana Scully entered, carrying two small bags. Smoothing her deep red hair with one hand, she glanced at Mulder with an amused expression on her face. "Making the most of your break, I see."

He looked at her, deadpan. "This is educational stuff, Scully."

She walked over to him, studying the screen for a moment. "Yes. Now I understand perfectly. The Twilight Zone. Educational."

He grinned at her. "Consider it work-related."

Scully watched the screen before her. A possessed child was threatening someone. "Come to think of it, Mulder, wasn't that kid an X-File?"

Mulder tore his gaze away from the screen to give her a small smile. "So, where'd you go?"

"Fast food. I didn't feel like waiting around." She dropped a bag in his lap. "Hamburger, fries. I know they're two of your major food groups."

"The other two being...?"

"Iced tea and sunflower seeds."

He grinned again, looking guiltily at the half-chewed seed in his hand. "You know me too well, Scully." He turned off the TV and sat up. "Thanks. You didn't have to get me anything."

Scully seated herself demurely at her desk. "Mulder, if I hadn't, you'd sit here in the basement all day without anything to eat." She watched him take a bite of his hamburger and cleared her throat. "By the way, I saw Skinner in the hall as I was coming down here. After our break, he wants to see us."

"Maybe he'll have something interesting," Mulder replied hopefully, his mouth full.

Scully shrugged and began to eat.

Mulder examined the papers, shuffling through them. "This actually sounds pretty good, Scully."

She raised her eyebrows at him. "Oh, come on, Mulder. A "supernatural creature" living in the walls of a house in Minnesota with a family of five? I'm surprised Skinner even glanced at this case."

"How else do you explain what's been happening there, Scully?" he replied absently, still looking at the file. "It says here that the family dog was found almost dead, practically torn to shreds after being left alone in the house one night. And the family-- including the parents--verifies that they've seen something. According to this, the creature looks like a small human, with claws and fangs."

Scully rolled her eyes. "It could be anything, Mulder. They say they've only seen it at night. Attacking the dog? It could have been a fox, a raccoon-"

"Nearly killing a Great Dane? That'd have to be one hell of a raccoon. And they say it speaks. In ...some type of unidentifiable language."

A small smile formed on her lips. "The dog?"

"That'd have to be one hell of a dog," Mulder replied, grinning back at her.

Scully sighed. "Fine. You win. Tell Skinner we're on the next flight to Minnesota."

The drive from the St. Paul Airport to Johnson Heights was long and the scenery irritatingly uniform as far as scenery, with Mulder driving carefully through the downpour of Minnesota rain. Scully studied the map. "Johnson Heights should be about 45 minutes from here."

Mulder leaned back, easing his grip on the steering wheel. "I hope this rain lets up. I don't want it to ruin our dream vacation to Minnesota," he said, the corners of his mouth turning up in a sarcastic smile.

She glanced at him. "Would you like me to drive for awhile?"

He looked at her as though she were joking. "You know I never let you drive, Scully. I'd never get the seat back to the right position."

Scully turned away from him. Mulder glanced at her out of the corner of his eye, amused by her expression.

"This looks like the county we're looking for," he noted as they passed a sign welcoming them. "Yarwaith. "

The house belonging to the Richards family was large, three stories high, with peeling white paint on the outside. Despite its' modest paint job, the house was really quite beautiful, causing Scully to lean forward and examine it through the rain running down the windshield as the car pulled up into the large driveway. As a child, she had once dreamed of owning a house like it.

Mulder interrupted her thoughts by sitting up and grabbing his umbrella from under the seat. "Nice house," he said briefly. "Should I get our bags?"

"We can get them later. It might stop raining."

He shrugged, opening the umbrella and getting out of the car. He walked over to Scully's side and they approached the house together.

As they stepped up on the front porch the door opened and a smiling woman in her thirties looked out at them. "You must be Agents Mulder and Scully. Thank you so much for your trouble."

"It's no problem, ma'am," Scully replied. "Are you Mrs. Pamela Richards?"

"Yes, that's me," she answered cheerfully. "Please, come in."

The house's front hallway was large and shadowy, with mirrors lining the walls. "Please forgive the smell," Mrs. Richards apologized. "We've been staying with relatives for the past week, and it gets musty here when we're gone for too long."

Scully frowned, sniffing the air. " So you and your family haven't been here for the past week? Not at all?"

"No," the woman answered. Then, lowering her voice, she added, "We were concerned for the children's safety with- that thing in the house. We even brought Michael's pet mice. And the dog, Duke, is in an animal hospital."

"We read about what happened," Mulder confirmed. "Have you seen the creature since you've returned home?"

"We just got back this morning. It seems to only come out at night." She glanced at them nervously. "You'll be staying here with us, then?"

"Yes, ma'am," Scully replied, businesslike. "We have our luggage in the car."

Mrs. Richards looked relieved. "That's great. We'll feel so much better with you two in the house. If you'd like, I'll show you your room."

"Room?" Scully repeated. She glanced at Mulder, who gave a small shrug.

Mrs. Richards looked apologetic. "I really don't think it'd be safe if you two were in separate rooms. Our children- Michael, Melissa, and Cynthia- are sleeping with my husband and I, in our room. Melissa and Cindy usually share a room, which is down the hall from ours. It has two twin beds. I thought that would be the best and safest place for you two to sleep."

Scully looked ready to protest, but Mulder jumped in, "That sounds fine, Mrs. Richards." "Please, call me Pamela." "Pamela."

Scully tossed her bags down on one of the twin beds. "I still don't think there's anything out of the ordinary here, Mulder. This supposed "supernatural creature" hasn't done any damage to the house while the family was gone, and they haven't seen it since they've returned." "Give it a chance to show itself. If it is indeed nocturnal and carnivorous, it wouldn't have shown itself yet today or while the family was gone," Mulder replied coolly. "We'll stay two or three days. If nothing shows up, then we'll just chalk it up to that bloodsucking raccoon of yours."

"Fair enough," she sighed. " Though I'm not staying longer than two days. We do have more worthwhile cases that require our attention in D.C, you know." He raised his eyebrows. "I don't know, Scully. A nocturnal wall-dwelling creature sounds pretty worthwhile to me." She rolled her eyes. "Only you, Mulder."

But, as the Richards' family and the two agents settled down to an informal pizza dinner that night, Scully found herself actually having a nice time. Pamela and George, her husband, took every available opportunity to make Mulder and she feel at home, and the children were duly impressed by the two FBI agents, examining their official identification and barraging them with questions. As the family drifted into the living room to watch TV, Mulder grinned at her, taking a generous slice of pizza for himself from the kitchen counter and biting into it. "Look on the bright side, Scully," he said conversationally, chewing thoughtfully. " This is better than what your weekend would've been like in D.C. Having a little pizza, quality time with your partner, spending the night with him in an unfamiliar room in Minnesota..." Scully matched his sarcastic tone. "Surrounded by people I've just met, waiting around for a fictitious "supernatural creature" to show itself....just the way I've always dreamed." He shrugged, leaning down next to her. "All right, I know I can't make you a party animal overnight, Scully. But let's not bring the creature into this, okay?" He pretended to look hurt and turned to go into the living room. Scully frowned to herself, wiping her hands on a napkin and standing up. Outside the window, the sun hung low in the almost darkened sky. This supposed "creature" should appear soon, if it appears at all, she thought to herself. As if in response, a movement behind Scully startled her. She whirled around. "Mulder?" There was nothing behind her, only a deserted hallway. "Just a shadow," she said uncertainly to no one in particular. Feeling a little irritated at her own nervousness, she spun on her heel and headed upstairs to relax.

"Scully." A voice, speaking to her quietly.

Scully mumbled something unintelligible in response, then turned away.

Her name was said again, more insistently this time.


She sat straight up in her bed. Mulder was leaning over her. "Mulder, what is it? What's wrong?"

"Sorry to wake you. You must have fallen asleep while you were reading."

Scully looked down at her rumpled clothes and nodded, smoothing her hair. "Well?"

"I found something out-something I thought you should hear."


Mulder moved up to sit on his bed. "The Richards' kids went to bed about an hour ago, and I think I have a lead."

Scully frowned. "What could this have to do with those children, Mulder?"

"Not something involving them. Something one of them said to me. The youngest."

"Cynthia? The little blond girl?"

"That's the one. Anyway, right before she went upstairs to bed, she called this creature something. She identified it with a name."

"A name? What's so unusual about that? Young children are often disposed to addressing otherwise unidentifiable animals with names and the like." Scully automatically put on a skeptical expression.

Mulder shook his head. "Not a given name. This kid could barely pronounce this word-I'm not even sure if she did correctly, anyway. This was more like a classification. This little girl had heard this word somewhere, Scully. I don't know where. A friend, maybe, or a teacher. A book. I questioned her parents later, but they didn't seem to know what she was talking about."

"What did she call it?"

He paused. "A 'Lhaskhyi'."

Scully sighed. "So you think this little girl knows something."

"I don't think she knows something, per se. But I am going to-"

Suddenly a loud crash from down the hall startled them. Mulder instinctively grabbed his gun and they ran toward the noise. It was difficult to see in the darkened hall, but both agents distinctly saw one thing.

A small black shape crossed in front of them, running on two feet down another hallway.

Mulder took one look at Scully and ran after it. Scully went into the room from which the thing had come. Flicking on the lights, she saw that it was the son's room.

Walking over to the desk, Scully found that a cage was tipped over. She righted it, seeing that the center section was broken through.

Inside lay two writhing mice, bleeding and mewling. She picked one up and inspected it, frowning. It was scratched, frightened, but otherwise all right. She was mystified.

Mulder entered the room. "Whatever it was, it's disappeared."

She nodded absently.

He turned to her. "That was no raccoon, Scully."

She only nodded again, speechless.

The next morning, Scully awoke to find Mulder's bed empty and the house silent. Thinking back to the previous night, she sighed and shut her eyes again. Punctually enough, a knock came at the door at that moment.

"Scully? Are you awake?"

It was Mulder. "Yes," she answered, yawning. "Come on in."

He came in, grinning at her. He was dressed in his typical shirt, tie and suit pants, with his tie loosened and his sleeves pushed back. "Good sleep?"

"Mmm-hmm. What time is it?"

He inspected the clock over her bed. "Eight-thirty."

"How long have you been awake? Did you need me for something?"

"No, I figured I'd wake you around eleven or so. I took a look around Michael's room; I didn't find anything. I thought we could investigate the rest of the house after you've eaten and dressed. I'm going out later to see if I can find anything about this 'Lhaskhyi' creature."

" I'm surprised you aren't out already. Did you find anything else?"

He shook his head. "No dice, Scully."

She sat up in bed, yawning. "So, whatever is attacking these animals is doing a pretty good job of covering up its tracks. That much we've established." She began to pull off her covers, and Mulder instinctively turned around as she yanked on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt.

"I wanted to talk to the Richards some more," Mulder said, idly staring at the wall, "but they had things to do. Michael was pretty shaken up about his mice. The kids went to their grandparents' house--they took the mice, too-- for the rest of the weekend. Mr. Richards had someone he had to see, and Mrs. Richards is at work. So we're on our own for the day." He turned back to face her.

Scully attempted a weak smile. "I don't suppose you made breakfast," she sighed.

He grinned. "I hope you like toast and black coffee, Scully."

After Scully had showered and donned one of her usual suits , the two agents set about searching the house to see if they could find the mysterious vandal of the previous evening. Mulder opened a small door. "This looks like it leads into the basement, Scully."

She forced a smile. "So we should feel right at home."

He grinned back at her. " If there's one place a nocturnal creature would be in this house at this hour, it's down here."

She nodded and they descended into the black, cavernous cellar.

Mulder shone his flashlight down the stairs. " Actually, this might have our office beat. Watch your step."

When they reached the bottom, Scully noticed a strange odor. "What is that?"

He glanced at her. "What?"

"The smell."

He sniffed the air and coughed. "Mustiness?"

"No, but that's what Mrs. Richards said yesterday, too. When we first arrived. Remember?" She sniffed again. "I don't know what it is, but it's a lot stronger down here than upstairs."

Mulder shrugged, then smiled mischievously. "Follow the scent, Scully."

Scully, ignoring him, did just that. "It's really strong over here, Mulder," she said to him. "But" -she circled wildly- "where is it coming from?"

Mulder, taking his cue, took one look at her and pointed down near her feet. "Look."

Scully looked down. "What?"

"Not your feet. The wall. Down near the floor. There's a hole." He approached it. He knelt down and shone his flashlight in as Scully stepped back to watch him.

"It doesn't look like there's anything-"

Suddenly Mulder shushed her. "Listen." He put one ear against the wall and gestured for her to do the same.

Scully did as he said. At first she didn't hear anything, but then slowly a low muttering from behind the wall became audible to her. She couldn't understand what the voice was saying. Mulder grinned at her when he saw her expression. Then, as she strained to hear the voice again, she heard scurrying movements and the voice began to fade away until it could no longer be heard.

Mulder stood up. "Whatever that was, our suspect is definitely not a raccoon, Scully."

She rolled her eyes at him. "I get it, Mulder, I get it, okay?" She glanced back at the opening in the wall. "What are we going to do about that? It's obviously this creature's entrance to the house. Shouldn't we try to block it, or seal it somehow?"

Mulder shook his head. "This thing has other ways of getting into the house, Scully. I'm sure of it. "

"We checked all three floors, not including down here. I didn't see any others."

He raised his eyebrows at her. "If it can talk, it can open a door or a window. We want to catch this thing, not chase it away."

"I was planning on talking to the local animal control today, but..." she trailed off. "I guess that wouldn't do me much good."

He grinned at her. "Come to the library with me, Scully. I'm going to do a little research. One word in particular."

"Let me guess," she said as they walked up the stairs. "'Lhaskhyi'?"

"You got it."

She looked at him and shrugged. "I guess I don't have much choice, do I?"

"Not a chance."

Mulder paged through the flimsy book, a preoccupied expression on his face. "Listen to this, Scully." He began to read. "Minnesota was originally settled by the Dutch. The settlers were notorious for their superstitions and legends, many of which they applied to their lives in the states. Many of the original folklore tales and beliefs are still held today by people in some rural Minnesota areas."

Scully sighed, idly flipping through a book herself. "Knock yourself out, Mulder, but I don't think this is going to get you very far."

He ignored her, adjusting his glasses and turning to the back of the book to scan the index. "Lhaskhyi. L-A-H...damn. How do you spell that?"

They had been at the Johnson Heights Public Library for almost two and a half hours, surrounded by books detailing the folklore and mythology of the town, the state, and the Netherlands. The poor librarian had been barraged by questions from Mulder since he'd arrived, and it only made her more nervous when he identified himself and showed her his FBI badge. Scully had snorted at his arrogance and seated herself while Mulder had proceeded to give the perplexed woman the third degree. He had looked at the fidgety woman seriously. "Have you ever heard the word 'Lhaskhyi' before?" he questioned. The mousy librarian had shaken her head violently, apologizing over and over for her supposed ignorance.

No sooner had the woman piled nearly twenty books in front of the two agents then Mulder decided that what he really needed to do was look at all of the library's news reels, which dated from the 1940's until the present. The librarian had dutifully complied, then scurried away to her office. Mulder, alone, his stomach growling, had gone through about half the reels when Scully took pity on him and helped him search for a while. To Mulder's disappointment, they had found nothing.

Now they sat at a small table, looking through seemingly ancient books for something-anything-to satiate the voracious appetite that was Mulder's curiosity. "Maybe you're right, Scully," he sighed now. "Maybe it was just a word the kid made up."

She cringed. She hated that defeated tone of voice. "Well, let's look in a few more books, Mulder. If we don't find anything, we'll go back to the house and see if we can uncover anything else." She smiled feebly at him in support.

He gave her a thankful look, rubbed the bridge of his nose tiredly, and went back to what he had been doing. They were silent for several minutes.

"Wait a second...Mulder, I think I've found something," she said suddenly. "Here- it says 'Lhaskhyi' in the index. Spelled L-H-A-S-K-H-Y-I. Do you think that could be it?"

He leaned over her shoulder eagerly as she put her reading glasses on and turned to the page. "Cross your fingers, Scully."

"All right...here it is," she said, clearing her throat and beginning to read. "Lhaskhyi. One of several species of carnivorous dwarves who are characterized by their nocturnal habits. Lhaskhyis are tiny creatures, about the size of a small dog- hairless, with claws and fangs. They possess an extremely long life span-roughly three hundred years." She raised her eyes to give Mulder a skeptical look. " They only take pleasure in eating and sleeping, and are easily irritated and very territorial. Often will retaliate against those who disturb or otherwise offend them. They have been known to attack humans and even kill, though usually this is not the case. Lhaskhyis have an advanced spoken language, but have never been known to speak any human languages. They require frequent hibernation, often stumbling around in a confused-and potentially dangerous-daze and talking to themselves if not given a place to hibernate. Their nests can usually be found in burrows- in fields and forests." Scully, finished, looked up at Mulder, who was grinning like an idiot.

Scully arched her eyebrows disapprovingly. "I don't know what to say, Mulder. I'm having a hard time with this. A dwarf? "

"Give me the benefit of the doubt just this once, Scully," he began in his excited, 'I-have-a-theory' voice.

She resisted the urge to remind him she usually gave him the benefit of the doubt.

He continued. "You heard what I heard earlier today, in the basement, and you saw what I saw last night. It matches up. It all fits."

Scully bit her lip, too weary to argue with him. "Well, we'll find out the truth tonight, I suppose. "

He looked at her gratefully, understanding that she wasn't going to debunk his theory, at least not at that moment.

"But you do realize, of course, that I would really prefer not to write anything about a dwarf in my field report."

He grinned at her. "I actually think it'd make one hell of a write-up. Maybe Skinner likes dwarves."

Mulder took a large bite of his hamburger and glanced at Scully trying to do the same with her small mouth. Juice dribbled down her chin, and he smiled as she wiped it off demurely with a napkin. "So, what do you think, Scully? You read it. This Lhaskhyi almost exactly fits the profile in the book. Do you think that maybe someone in the Richards' family disturbed it somehow, and that's why it's retaliating?"

She set down her half-finished hamburger and studied him for a moment. "It's a stretch for me to consider this theory at all, Mulder, but if-" she emphasized the word carefully-"if we were dealing with a 'Lhaskhyi', it does seem like the only reason it would enter the house would be if it was inconvenienced somehow. The book did state that they didn't attack for pleasure." She sipped at the un-sweetened iced tea that Mulder had ordered for her when she had gone to the ladies' room. She ripped open a few sugar packets from the center of the table and emptied them into her drink. "God, I'm starting to sound like you."

He gave her an enigmatic smile. "You wouldn't want to turn into a believer, now would you?"

She ignored his comment, pushing her abandoned hamburger at him. He picked it up and began to eat again, talking to her absently as he chewed. "But what could someone have done to upset it?"

"What if it's place of hibernation was disturbed?" Scully suggested suddenly. "The Richards' family owns a lot of land around their house. Maybe we should check some of the fields, or talk to Mr. Richards. He's a farmer, isn't he?"

Mulder allowed her a small smile. "Scully, I'm impressed. Now all you need to do is get rid of the whole 'skeptic' bit, and you'll be just like me."

She rolled her eyes. "Just like you, huh?"

He raised his glass in a silent toast, grinning.

Scully attempted an ironic smile as she silently cursed the idea she had given Mulder earlier. The two very inappropriately dressed agents were slowly making their way through one of the many fields that lay on the massive acreage of the Richards' lot. The field, much to Scully's irritation, was full of weeds and wet from another recent rain. Finally, when she felt it beginning to sprinkle again, she grew angry and stopped walking.

"Mulder--" she began, yanking her feet from another muddy puddle, "we could have at least changed our clothes before you decided to have us do this."

He looked back at her, uncomprehending for a moment, wearing the pre-occupied expression he so often did when investigating. Then he ruefully glanced down at his own mud-streaked suit. "These suits are made for walking," he intoned, a hint of a smile crossing his face, then falling as he looked at her miserable expression. "Sorry."

"At any rate, what exactly are we looking for?"

He gave her his hand to help her tiny figure through the mess of tall, wet grass. "I'm not sure myself, Scully."

She exhaled audibly, an irritated sigh escaping her. "This is not endearing you to me, Mulder."

"I've already endeared myself to you, or you wouldn't be here," he replied coolly, smiling faintly back at her.

She yanked her hand away and proceeded to turn in another direction. "I'm going back to the house. If there is anything out here, I doubt we're going to find it in this mess of weeds and mud." She began to walk toward another, newly-mowed field that lay in the direction of the large white house.

Mulder shrugged and continued the way he had been going. "I'll be in in a little while, Scully."

She didn't reply, and all was silent for several minutes, the only sounds that of cars passing by on the road and the sprinkle of rain. Then Mulder heard Scully call his name in a panicked voice. "Mulder!"

He immediately ran toward it, wondering what could have happened. When he reached the edge of the other field, he saw her trying desperately to disentangle herself from what looked like some kind of large, muddy hole. He went to her, and saw that she was, indeed, stuck in the mess.

"See what happens when you don't stick with your partner?" he berated her casually, after lifting her out. "No pun intended." "Thank you and shut up, Mulder," she replied in an equally casual tone. "What is this?" She inspected the opening, which looked as though it might have originally been some type of large rodent's nest. She shuddered at the thought of her having been in there.

"It looks like it's been mowed over," Mulder said thoughtfully. "But it was definitely some type of nest." Scully wondered if she had actually spoken her thoughts out loud.

"That's a big nest, though..." he trailed off, his voice distant. "What kind of animal used to live in here, do you think--before it got mowed over?" His eyes inspected her carefully as he waited for her to reply.

" I don't--" suddenly she realized what he was getting at. "No, Mulder," she said forcefully. "It does not belong to a Lhaskhyi, if that's what you're thinking. It could be a groundhog, or a family of rats, a whole bunch of things. Lots of rodents live in burrows like this." " That's a pretty big burrow for a groundhog, Scully." She sighed. "I'm not going to argue with you. Neither one of us knows anything about the wildlife around here. We'll ask Mr. Richards when he gets in," she said in a final tone. "He's the farmer, not you or me." Mulder's eyes challenged hers. "Fine with me, Scully." She nodded back at him. "Fine."

It wasn't too much later that the two agents, now clad in more appropriate outfits, went back out to the same field with Mr. Richards. Mulder had a look of excitement on his face as they made their way out to the nest anew. Scully, trying hard to be patient, forced a smile when Mulder glanced back at her.

" I'll be damned," Mr. Richards exclaimed when he saw the tattered nest. "Yeah, I remember this thing. My tractor almost got stuck in here when I was mowing this field down." Mulder nodded. "Do you know what kind of animal might live in a nest this large?" Mr. Richards scratched his head. "Damned if I know. If it's big enough to almost take down my tractor, then it isn't any animal I know of." Mulder looked triumphantly at Scully. She rolled her eyes at him. "Mr. Richards," she began, "Isn't it possible that the nest was swollen and destroyed by the rain, or that it just belonged to a large family of rodents?" Mr. Richards looked back and forth between the two agents. "Could be," he nodded. Mulder appeared to be thinking. " When did you mow this field down?" "About two weeks ago. Why?" "Mr. Richards, when did the problems with the Lhask- er, creature begin?"

The man thought for a moment. "Roughly the same time, maybe a few days later. Do you think the two things are connected?"

Mulder looked amused. "I do, yes, but my partner doesn't agree."

Scully jumped in to defend herself. "I need some proof of this, Mulder." He smiled at her, just a small enigmatic one that made her wonder what the hell was going on. "Stick around, Scully. Maybe the proof will come to us."

"Pizza for the second night in a row. It's just like home," Mulder said to Scully as he flopped down on his bed, full from dinner.

Scully looked up from her book to reply. "You could have eaten something else. They did make tuna casserole. It was you that had a craving for re-heated pizza."

He sighed. "I haven't eaten tuna casserole since I was nine. I don't plan to start again now." Scully smiled and went back to reading. After a few moments, she glanced over at Mulder again, who looked restless. She set down her book. "Bored?" He stared off into space. "No. Just thinking." He sat up to look at her. "Do you want to hear my theory? The unabridged version?" She examined him for a moment. "Actually, yes, I do." He lay back down again. Finally he spoke. "I think that the nest out there did belong to a Lhaskhyi. I think that, obviously, the nest was destroyed when Mr. Richards mowed down the field. The Lhaskhyi was wakened from a hibernation period, and needed somewhere to go. It found this house. Any living thing needs sustenance while it's awake. Bears, before they hibernate and immediately after they hibernate, need nourishment. That's just a fact." Scully nodded. "Go on." "But it wouldn't make sense to attack a human, not when there are other, smaller food sources around."

"The dog? The mice?" He smiled. "Exactly. This Lhaskhyi, before it goes to sleep again, is going to need a food source, Scully. Both an attempt on the dog and the mice have failed. Now, if the dog and the mice weren't both gone, I'd say the Lhaskhyi would make another attempt on them. But they are gone." Scully tried to get his meaning. "So you think it'll give up now?" He shook his head. "This house provides some pretty damn good shelter. I don't think it'll leave, not when there are other options."

"Are you implying that it's going to start attacking humans?" "That's exactly what I'm implying. And whether or not you agree with my theory, I think you'll at least agree that Mr. and Mrs. Richards should stay somewhere else tonight." She sighed. "Actually, Mulder, I can believe everything you're saying, except for the Lhaskhyi part." He looked up at the clock. "It's nine 'o clock now. Last night it showed up at about ten. Let's get the Richards' out of here."

She nodded wordlessly.

An hour later, Mulder and Scully both found themselves alone in the house. Mr. and Mrs. Richards, though confused about why exactly it was suddenly so dangerous for them to be in the house, had easily complied, and the two agents, once they had ascertained that there were no other food sources in the vicinity, had carefully set out some meat in the kitchen in hopes to trap the mysterious carnivore. They turned out the lights and situated themselves behind the long drapes that connected the living room and the kitchen. "I feel ridiculous, Mulder," Scully whispered to her partner, who stood a few inches away. He looked at her, grinning. "It's like when I was a kid. Stakeouts behind curtains and toy guns." Damnit, Scully thought when he mentioned the word 'gun'. "I left my gun upstairs," she said to him, embarrassed. "I'll go with you," he replied. "It isn't safe for you to be alone without it." "It'll only take me a minute, Mulder. Besides, this thing could come down here while I'm gone. I wouldn't want it to get away." Mulder looked dubious. "Are you sure?" "Absolutely."

"Fine," he replied, "but scream if anything happens." "I don't think I'd forget to do that," she smiled, and slipped out into the darkened kitchen. Silently, she rushed up the carpeted stairs and into their room. Fumbling around in the dark for her gun, she paused for a brief moment as she listened closely.

She froze as she heard the door close and lock behind her.

Then a sound she'd heard that very morning.

In the basement.

She whirled around and called out for Mulder.

Mulder, downstairs, hearing her cry, grabbed his gun and ran up the stairs as fast as he could go. When he reached the door to their room, he found that it was locked.

Scully called for him again, her voice muffled.

Mulder, panicking, called out, "Hang on, Scully!" Pausing for only a moment to size up the door, he threw his weight against it as hard as he could.

The door cracked from the pressure, but remained sealed.

He threw himself at it again.

This time the door burst open, and he saw Scully desperately struggling to remove a thrashing animal from her person. She was bleeding, Mulder saw, but otherwise was still all right. Not knowing what else to do, he aimed his gun at the ceiling and shot.

The thing darted away from Scully and went for the door.

He shot again.

In the darkness, he couldn't be sure if he had gotten it's chest or not. It ran out between his legs, leaving a trail of blood. Mulder didn't follow it. Instead he went over to Scully. "You okay?" She stood shakily with his help and nodded. "I'll survive." She showed him a gash on her arm and a few cuts on her face. "That's the worst of it." They looked in unison at the trail the Lhaskhyi had left behind.

"It lost a lot of blood, Mulder," she said. "For being the size it is, it isn't going to live." He examined her. "Did you get a good look at it, Scully?" "Honestly, Mulder," she sighed, "I have no idea what it was." "It wasn't any raccoon, though, was it?" he said, the corners of his mouth forming a small smile.

She couldn't help but smile at him in return. "No, Mulder, it wasn't a raccoon."

The next morning they followed the trail of blood. It went across the house and out the door, where it disappeared into the grass.

"It's dead," Scully said flatly. "You shot it point blank, Mulder. Something of that size couldn't have survived that."

Mulder nodded slowly, looking a bit dubious. " I guess there's nothing else to do...." he trailed off dejectedly.

"We should call the Richards. "

After a moment's hesitation, staring off into the fields, Mulder nodded.

She pretended to look stern. "You tell them about the ceiling and the rug. I wasn't responsible for that."

He chuckled. "Okay. I'm sure the FBI will compensate them for it. After all, I did kill the big bad dwarf, didn't I?" "Lhaskhyi," Scully corrected him, smiling. "Not that I believe all of that, mind you." "Of course not," he said meekly.

Mulder and Scully went back into the house.

Somewhere out in the fields behind them, a creature that bore no mortal wounds fell into a deep slumber in its' new nest.

The End

Okay, let's roll them credits!

I have a few thank-yous to dish out...this story would be a hideous discredit to my name were it not for the goings-over of my very cool Aunt Robbi, who is a devoted X-Phile and gave me much character insight. Endless gratitude to my beta reader, Jill Selby, a distinguished fanfic-er herself, who helped me polish this baby right down to the last word.Thanks also to CC for bestowing the public with Mul and Scull in the first place, and also a huge thanks to my Grandma Cathy, who gets the FX channel and devotedly tapes X-Files for me five nights a week...now that's love.

"Maybe it's other people's reactions to us that make us who we are. "

-Mulder, Small Potatoes

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