Title: Music Box
Author: Sara Dobie
Written: May 1997
Category X
Spoilers: None
Keywords: Mulder/Scully friendship.

Summary: Mulder and Scully investigate a series of suspicious deaths in which the only causal link is a number of beautiful dolls.


Perrysburg, Ohio

The thunder rocked the immense house to its very foundation. Lightning lit the sky as air fills a room. The rain ricocheted off the house in mad turrents of falling sky, sending a hollow echo throughout the entire structure. The air was warm and humid, as it was every summer in the small town of Perrysburg. The dark clouds stared down at the house in a foreboding gesture of things to come that very evening.

Amelia Bennis walked through her colossal mansion clutching her fluttering candle close to her shaking figure. Her dreams kept her awake on this night. Nothing could calm her. Even her usual cup of warm milk brought her no comfort. A nightmare sent her shivering and wandering through the many staircases of her estate. Amelia glanced into one of the many rooms of the house, thinking that she had heard a sound from its interior. There was nothing. She was truly frightening herself into a frenzy and, once inside, she could never escape from it.

The steps creaked and screamed like howling spirits of the dead as she ascended their antique surface. She frowned and looked over her shoulder, obsessed with the thought that something was following her upon this night. She wiped the sweat from her forehead as she turned the corner and walked down the darkened hallway. She flipped the hallway light switch futily. The electricity had gone hours earlier, and it seemed that it would not return soon. As irony would have it, all of their flashlights were burnt out. There was no hope in having bright light to lead her through the ominous structure as she would have liked.

The house was older than the town. It had been in her family since the beginning of the New World, and it would not slip through her fingers at any time soon. After losing her home in Massachusetts as a child, her father had brought her here to safety from all that wanted to hurt her. She had been brought to the open arms of her loving family with a smile on her face. She loved the house even though it was so immense in size. Almost anyone or anything could be lingering in the shadows, which frightened her. But it was all worth it. The interior was covered with real wood floors and immaculate carpets of all shapes and sizes.

Every room in the dwelling was beautifully decorated in dark antiques and carefully designed furniture from Europe. She loved the old drafty place. She had fallen in love with it as a small child, and she would always love it.

She opened the door at the end of the hall and glanced inside. Her two small daughters lay fast asleep underneath their heavy covers with quaint smiles on their faces. They were such loving children. She couldn't help but feel the utmost compassion towards them both. She had conceived the pair with her late husband, Alfred. He had been such a loving man before his death. They had both been so overjoyed to discover that they were in for twins. What a miracle that had been! Amelia had not always had such luck with her children, but twins had been her dream come true. She had named them after their aunts, Fiona and Angelina. They had even grown up to look like their aunts with their black hair and green eyes. How long ago their birth seemed to her! The twins were thirteen now, both blossoming into beautiful young women as Amelia had expected them to. They would know the truth soon enough.

She shut the door with a smile. The warm milk had helped her to relax, after all.

Amelia felt her eyelids beginning to sag as she walked back to her own room. An enormous clap of thunder almost caused her to drop the candle, but she quickly recovered it before it tumbled upon the priceless carpet. She sighed and moved on. The night was late, and she was in need of a good nights sleep.

Hundreds of eyes watched as the girls slept. The room was filled to the brim with gorgeous antique dolls, each wearing a different expression upon its beautiful face. They all had a story to tell, full of their spirits and their histories. When people died, their souls lived on in what they left the world. In many cases, small children would die clutching their dolls.

In many cases, their spirits may linger........

Fiona rolled over on her bed and nestled her feet into the thick blankets. Her toes were freezing with the cold night air. Her dreams were uninterrupted on this night, but danger lingered in her reality.

Eerie music hung in the air like a dead man on the gallows. It played its mysterious song as the evil crept toward the bed. The musicbox sat unmoving in the dark corner of the room smiling as it sang its melodic aria into the unhearing ears of the slumbering girls. Its smile grew and grew as if it were alive, as if a soul inhabited the beauteous object. Its eyes narrowed.

A scream filled the night.


Washington, D.C.

Dana Scully rolled over in her bed. Her back ached. Mulder had dragged her through the mud, in a matter of speaking, on their last case. It was as she had suspected one of his wild goose chases that led to chasing after aliens with big eyes and gray skin. But what could she expect? Mulder's interest was his interest, and she had to respect him for that. He had taken her to the middle of nowhere to investigate a "real sighting," as Mulder called it.

She had to smile at his hopes. Nothing could possibly have brought him down from the high he was on as they questioned witness after witness. All their stories had matched, all their information had matched, but there was still something missing from the picture: evidence.

Dana had been forced to pull him away from this one after Skinner had contacted them. He had not been happy with their little side trip. Of course, Mulder had whined pathetically at her to let him stay, but she was too used to his pout to let in.

She jumped in shock as a loud knock echoed through her apartment. She groaned.

Scully had not gotten a full night sleep in over a week, and she had planned to spend her weekend off relaxing. She had even made plans with one of her old friends form college to go to a spa! Nothing could ruin her plans. Nothing.

She carefully rose off of her bed, shoving her bedspread onto the floor as she struggled to untangle herself. Let it never be said that Dana Scully was a sound sleeper, for it was quite to the contrary. She grabbed her fuzzy bathrobe off of its hanger in annoyance and shuffled in the direction of the door. She felt a wave of dizziness pass over her like the ocean waves passing over the sands of the beach. She had gotten up too fast. The impatient person at the door pounded heavily upon it with their fist.

She grabbed the doorknob and flung the door open.

Mulder stood outside and smiled. "Did I wake you?" He appeared to have dressed rapidly because his tie clashed with his jacket. He tapped his foot nervously on the tiled floor and stiffled a sneeze. He had noticably been catching a cold for the last week and a half, but she knew he would never go to a doctor.

"Mulder, it's late. I'm tired. Go home." She was about to shut the door when he stuck his foot inside. "Pack your bags, Scully. We're paying a visit to the Buckeye state." He grinned a crooked grin revealing a shallow dimple on the side of his face. His smile could talk her into almost anything.


Perrysburg, Ohio

"So, are you going to fill me in on what we're doing in Ohio?" She shoved a red curl behind her ear and watched the scenery fly by. The small town was to her liking. Little shops lined the downtown area giving it an almost homey look that Dana liked. The trees were violently disheveled. It was obvious that a storm was passing through the area. Dark clouds foretold what the weather would be like during their stay. The ground was covered with puddles that a person could easily disappear into and never be heard from again. A few scattered tree limbs laid on the street as evidence of the high winds that remained in the area.

The winds pulled at the car, drawing its front into their claws.

Mulder smirked. "I was thinking that you could just figure it out as we went along."

He glanced in her direction.

His humor was really starting to get to her. She had been working with him all week.

It he wasn't careful, she might just strangle him. "Did you brush your hair this morning?"

She combed the back of his head with her fingertips. His hair felt soft on her fingers as they ran through.

He jerked away. "Yes, mother."

She shook her head. "So, what's foul in Ohio?"

"Two days ago a young girl died in her bed. No outward sign of death. No evidence of a forced entry. Nothing, notta."

"What's so strange about that?" She knew that he had found something worth following, and she was interested in what it was.

"When I heard about this case, I just knew something wasn't right. Kids her age just don't drop dead. So, I checked into it."

"And?" He was beating around the bush, and it was annoying her. She was short tempered as it was.

"They live in the old Bennis mansion." He glanced at her. When he saw that she had no idea of what he was talking about, he went on. "The Bennis mansion is supposedly haunted by ghosts of the dead."

"Ghosts of the dead? Come on, Mulder. You dragged me up here for this? I'm sure Skinner is just going to love my report."

"This place has a long history in the community of being haunted. Every member of the family that has died, died in the old house. It's got energy, Scully. I think that this girls death is due to ghost activity. Her mother checked on the girls five minutes before she found her daughter dead. No one was in the house. She would have known." Scully looked at him in amazement. He really believed all this! She could see the fire burning in his hazel eyes as he watched the road.

She sighed. "I don't know about this, Mulder. It sounds like another wild goose chase to me."

"I've never heard that before." He smiled.

Scully stared out the window. "Where is this place?" She might as well help him find the house. She was in no mood to get lost.

"666 River Road. Great address, huh?"

"You've got to be kidding me. 666?"

He nodded. "You're not a worried are you, Scully?"

She shook her head. "Let's just find this place."

They searched the road signs carefully looking for River Road. They turned down a few quait little subdivisions before coming upon the creepy mansion. It's roof seemed to touch the sky. It was covered with dark bricks and large windows. It was obvious that the house was old. The design and the structure appeared almost like a Civil War era house. The trees surrounded it like a fence guarding a high castle. The house must have been there for centuries.

Mulder climbed out of the car. "Nice and cozy?"

Scully shook her head. "It reminds me of a haunted house."

"Exactly." He walked away from the car without locking the doors.

Scully stopped him. "Mulder, aren't you going to lock the car?"

"I hear that people don't have to lock their doors in places like this. Wierd, huh?" He walked on towards the hosue without a second thought.

The steps were falling apart slightly. The foundation was still strong, which surprised them both. The ground must be made of clay for such an old house to still be standing so strong. A high wooden door stood tall in front of them. Mulder almost fell back upon Scully as a thin, black feline hissed at them from the windowsill.

Scully stepped in front of him smiling. "A little jumpy, Mulder?"

She waited for his response, but received none. She was so used to his cocky comments that she half expected them. Deep in her heart, she enjoyed his quips. They made her smile.

She knocked on the door with her fist and awaited an answer. The area truly was beautiful. She turned around to see Mulder overlooking the whirling waters of the river below. It was muddy water, yet it was a relaxing sight to see. Dana watched him. He had had just as hard a week as she had. She knew that he usually had it harder than she did.

Sometimes, she worried about his well being. Other times, she was just glad that he was part of her life.

The door opened suddenly, surprising them both. They turned around to see a middle aged woman with red eyes. It was obvious that she had spent her morning crying, but Scully said nothing.

"Can I help you?" Her voice was slow and almost inaudible to them.

Scully smiled and took out her identification. "I'm special agent Dana Scully. This is Fox Mulder. Could we come in?"

"The FBI? Why is the FBI interested in this?"

Mulder stepped forward. "Maybe we're not. We just wanted to check things out.

Your case sounds rather interesting. We might be able to help you solve it." Mulder had always been good with words.

"Oh." She looked up at Mulder strangely for a moment before responding. "Come in." She opened the door wide. They both stepped inside and looked around. The house was even more beautiful inside! The long, twisting staircase was covered with a deep purple carpet as was the rest of the front room. A tiny wall mirror stared at them from the corner as they moved through the area. "I'm Amelia Bennis." She extended her hand and shook both their hands. "The police were already here, and they couldn't find anything."

"We're hoping that we might find something that they missed. Something that may be important. Would you mind if we ask you some questions?"

"No. Would you like to sit down?" She pointed toward the inner room and smiled weakly. She was trying her best to be hospitable, but she was so sick of all the people. She led them deeper into the interior of the old house. They took seats around the circular dinner table. Amelia wrung her hands nervously. "Where would you like me to start?" She knew the drill well enough after al the questions the police had fired at her.

"Could you run the evening back to us?" Mulder sat back in his chair.

"Um, I put the girls to bed at about nine."

"I'm guessing by your use of plurals you have two children?"

Scully sat back while Mulder fired the questions. He was the one who knew most of the details on the case, so she left it to him. Besides, she was tired and without caffeine.

"Yes, two daughters. They're both thirteen. Fiona and Angelina. They would always get along so well. They were the best of friends." Her voice shook, but she went on.

"Anyway, after I put them to bed, I read for a while. After that, I went to bed myself. At about, oh, I don't know, three o'clock, I had a nightmare. Then, of course, the rain wouldn't leave me alone. I can never sleep during storms. I went to check on the girls at about three-thirty. There was nothing wrong, so I returned to my room."

Mulder leaned forward and met her eyes. "You noticed nothing strange? No open windows, no strange noises?"

She shook her head. "Nothing. It was just a normal night in the neighborhood. I laid down in my bed, and heard a scream. Immediately I knew something had happened. I ran to their room, but it was too late. Fiona was already dead. I had no idea what was going on. I just remember that I heard this music, this horrid music. One of the music boxes was on! I glanced around and saw that one of the covered music boxes was out. The dolls are usually covered with glass, but the glass that usually surrounded it was broken on the floor.

But there was no one there. There was nothing strange except that this old music box was playing away like it was brand new. I just grabbed Angelina before she could see her sister and called the police."

"Hmm." Scully could almost see the gears in Mulder's head turning as he thought over what she had just said to him. "Is your daughter upstairs?"

She nodded. "She doesn't know anything. Believe me, I've tried."

"Do you mind if I just talk to her?"

Amelia shook her head. "Go ahead."

He rose from his seat and disappeared into the hallway.

"I'm so sorry this had to happen."

"Everyone says they're sorry, but they really aren't. What could you have done to stop it from happening. You don't have to be sorry for me."

Scully withdrew from the conversation. How does one respond to such a comment?

She wished that she had gone with Mulder to see the child. Amelia nervously tapped her finger on the tabletop and wished that this stranger had gone upstairs with her partner.

Mulder had trouble finding the girl's room, but he eventually discovered that it was almost directly in front of the staircase. Of course, as luck would have it, it was the only room that he had not checked. He knocked gently on the closed door and waited for a response.

When there was none, he entered cautiously. His eyes widened at what he saw.

He found himself in the midst of hundreds of dolls, old and new, ugly and pretty, big and small. The thing that surprised him was that they were all watching him. Their eyes had all seemed to turn simultaneously as he entered! He stepped inside after regaining his composure. Their eyes followed him suspiciously, but he tried his best to ignore them.

Angelina stood upright on the desk chair. She was a rather plain girl at a glance, but upon closer inspection he could see that she was truly vibrant with beauty. Her long, black hair curled under slightly. She had large, glowing, green eyes that would penetrate any soul with their intensity.

"Angelina?"

She shook gently at the sound of his voice. She had not even noticed that someone was in the room. Even when she knew of his presence, she remained standing upright on her chair. She did not even turn to see who was speaking to her. "They're yelling."

"Who, Angelina?" He glanced nervously around the room avoiding the probing eyes of all the soulless bodies around him.

"Them!" She pointed her finger at all the dolls and shivered. "Can't you hear them?

Can't you hear their screams?" She blinked her eyes rapidly. "I'm next. It's coming for me next. I'm next."

Mulder could see how neurotic her eyes looked, but he played her games to make her trust him. "What's coming for you?"

"It!" She pointed her finger at the odd doll in the corner. Its gentle smile sent a shiver down Mulder's back. It seemed alive, but how could that be? It was simply a doll. "Fiona and now me! It's coming for me!" She paused and froze as if listening to the voices of unseen people. The look she threw Mulder made him shake in fear. Her eyes were wide as was her mouth, but she looked almost pleasureful. "They say that it knows you, too."

An utter silence fell over them. Mulder felt a chill, but no window was open. What had happened to this young girl to make her act this way. She couldn't possibly be telling the truth. Dolls don't talk to people!

Scully's hand on his shoulder made Mulder jump off the floor. "God, Mulder, you look like you've seen a ghost!" A look of true concern spread across her face.

He shook his head and painted a smile on his face. "I'm fine. You startled me, that's all."

Angelina had taken a seat on her chair. Her eyes had not left Mulder since she had warned him of the dolls knowledge of his existence. She stared blankly up at him with the eyes of a corpse.

Scully smiled at the young girl. "Hello, Angel. Can we talk to you, please?"

Angel's eyes widened considerably even though they already appeared to be saucers.

"Stop it! I hear you! I hear you!" She convulsed as the tears started. She shook her head violently. "Stop!" She sobbed and fell to the floor.

Scully backed away in surprise as Amelia ran to her daughter's side. "It's all right, honey. Let's go outside. It's all right. It's all right." She pulled the girl to her feet and shoved her out of the room. "I'm sorry. We'll be out back if you need anything."

"Mulder, I'm going to go with her. I'd like to learn more about Angel."

"I'll be right down. I'm just going to look around for a minute. I couldn't stay in here long, anyway. These dolls give me the creeps." He frowned at the amazing array of dead eyes.

Scully left him there alone to check on Angel's condition.

Mulder's mind slipped back to what the girl had said. She had pointed to the doll in the corner only moments before saying that "It" was coming to get her. Mulder wanted to get more out of the girl, but he knew it was no use. She seemed so psychologically disturbed that Mulder would probably get only mad delusions out of her.

His thoughts were interrupted by the ghostly melody that had just begun to dance through the thick air of the large room. He glanced about searching for the source of the odd music. Only one doll was capable of playing such frightening music, and he knew exactly which one it would be. The doll in the corner stared at him with its porcelain eyes as a hungry animal stares at dinner.

Mulder's ankles shook beneath him as he walked slowly toward the doll. Her curled, brown locks fell in a cascade of plastic over the doll's flawless green velvet gown. Her face was almost completely white, except for the small pink circles on her cheeks. She appeared evil.

Could a doll do such a thing? As he neared it, his hearts pace increased. Why was fear in him, now? It was only a doll! He crouched down in front of it. The marble pedestal that it sat on shined in the light, begging to be gaped at. He did not want to touch its form in fear that he may dirty the material. The music almost disappeared as he linked eyes with the figure. He felt himself being sucked in, but he could not look away. It called to him, and it called with a force like no other.

He gasped in a breath of air as a hand touched his shoulder. He spun around on his heels and looked up.

A young woman smiled down at him. "Hello." She had short, black hair similar to Amelia's. Her face was almost a perfect circle with pale skin to match. He knew those green eyes. She was surely a Bennis. "I'm Cassandra Bennis. Everyone just calls me Cassy, though." She wrinkled her nose as she spoke and extended her hand to him.

They shook hands for a moment. "Fox Mulder."

"FBI, right?"

He nodded. She must have spoken to Amelia. She was so beautiful! He felt himself melting into her eyes as they spoke. "Amelia's sister?"

"You're a good guesser." She stuck her hands in her pockets and rocked back and forth for a moment. "What do you think of all of these?" She gestured to the dolls with a slight tilt of her head.

"Amazing. It must have taken years to collect all these."

"They belong to the entire family. Everyone collects and brings them here. It's the only real bonding any of us have, anymore.

Mulder nodded in understanding. "It can be hard. Do you live around here?"

She nodded. "Yeah, it's a nice town. I would live here, but it's just such a creepy old place." She laughed. "Amelia loves it. She'll never leave."

"If I had a place like this, I'd never leave it, either. I love these old place. They're always so cozy, broken in, dare I say."

"I agree." As their eyes met, a cloak of silence was pulled over them. She pointed at the doll suddenly. "Be careful, Mr. Mulder. You never know when one of them could jump out and get ya!" She smiled.


Way Public Library

Mulder turned the thin pages of the book he had asked for impatiently. He had found absolutely nothing of interest. He knew what he was after. He knew what to look for, but nothing was jumping out at him. He sighed. He had already sent the poor librarian into the dusty basement twice to pick up books for him, and he was not going to pester the poor woman again. He was stuck with what he had chosen first.

"Are you finding everything all right, sir?" The kind woman smiled at him.

"Yes, thank you very much." He shouldered her rudely, but he had to get down to business. He had told Scully to get them rooms at a hotel. He had also promised her that he would buy dinner. He had to be at the hotel by six o'clock, and the time was cutting short.

The name of the next chapter in the book made him smile: Bennis Mansion. He was more than ready to let out a victorious cry, but he thought that to be inappropriate in a library.

He kept it all inside as he read all he could about the old place: The ancient Bennis Mansion it thick with a mysterious history. Death, sickness, and horror is a large part of its life as the house of the famous Bennis family..........

Mulder was becoming impatient. He glanced at his watch. Five-thirty seven! He had to get a move on. He skimmed down the long page until he found information that truly interested him:

The mansion houses hundreds of dolls dating back to before the turn of the century. Many of these dolls are said to be haunted by the spirits of the dead that once owned them. Perhaps the most frightening doll is the famous Musicbox Dancer.........

The picture showed the striking doll in all her glory for all to see. The horror of her eyes could not be shown in the picture, but the idea of eeriness was still very much present in the photo. The article went on:

Purchased in Salem, Massachusetts during the infamous Salem Witch Trials by Sandra Bennis, the doll holds the souls of those who died there. Sandra was herself suspected of witch craft.

She was burned at the stake in 1645. The doll survived for many centuries until it finally found its home in the Bennis Mansion. Many deaths are said to have been the cause of this dolls terror-filled music. Among those dead, we will find Leila Bennis. The people of Perrysburg say that she practiced witch craft rampantly until her death in 1947. She too died under mysterious circumstances in the room that the Musicbox Dancer called home............

Mulder held his breath as he read the last sentences of the article. Could this possibly be true? It seemed insane for such a thin to be fact. Scully would never believe it. As if on call, his cell phone wrang to life. His heart rate quickened as he reached into his pocket and pulled out the small, black phone. "Mulder."

"It's me. Where the hell are you? You said six o'clock, and my temper is a little too short for you to be late."

Mulder shook his head. "It's not six, yet." He glanced at his watch. Six-fifteen!

Where had the time gone? "I'm sorry, Scully. I'll be there in five minutes."

Bennis Mansion

Angel glared at the small doll as it sat in her lap. She hated the doll with a burning passion. Its smile, its dress, its hair, everything about it, she hated. She shook the doll violently, but not a hair was out of place. Her head ached.

"Stop it! I can hear you! Stop screaming! Stop it, now!" She sobbed loudly as the music began to play. The doll tumbled out of her fingertips and tumbled to the floor. Angel was filled with horror. "NO! STOP THIS!"

She ran towards the door like a mad woman running away from her invisible enemy.

She shook on the door knob, but it would not open. "NO! NO! NO!" She glanced over her shoulder. The doll laid on the floor playing its song of intrigue. Angel pounded on the door, she pounded on the window. She screamed and screamed, but there was no one there to hear her words. "NO! HELP ME!"


Holiday Inn French Quarter

"I'm telling you, Scully, the place is haunted. Just think about the facts!" He poked at the salad angrily. She looked at him as if he was insane.

"Mulder, there are no facts! Mysterious deaths, witches? This is madness, that's what this is." She shook her head and took a sip of her drink.

He sighed. "We've disagreed before, and I've been right. Can't you just trust me on this one?"

"Oh, just like I trusted you on the last case. You almost got us both fired. And what did you achieve? Nothing! Don't you see that, Mulder? You're just psyching yourself out."

"Scully, don't talk to me like I'm a child! What I am saying is fact. Instead of being so high and mighty, why can't you just believe me?" Scully looked away, hurt. He sighed. "I'm sorry, Scully."

She looked back at him. His bottom lip sagged slightly sending a tinge of temptation down her spine. He looked so handsome! "I'm sorry, too. I guess I am being kind of high and mighty."

"No, it's my fault. I didn't mean what I said. It's just been such a long week. I'm sorry, Scully."

She smiled weakly. "That's all right. I needed that little argument. It got a lot off my chest." She sipped on her drink nervously as he poked at his salad. She was not sure she had seen him take a bite of it since they sat down. A thought struck her mind like lightning striking a tree. She knew Mulder would be happy. "By the way, I spoke to Amelia more in depth."

His interest returned to their case as fast as it had been side tracked. "Really? What did she say?"

Scully leaned forward slightly. "It turns out that the family has a long history of psychic ability. They have some sort of link to the world of the dead. Amelia was telling me about how she had spoken to ghosts upon numerous occasions. It seems that Fiona had the same talents. Angel is too psychologically scarred for her to be sure. She's been unstable for years, so I don't think we'll get anything out of her."

"The voices. She was saying that the dolls were yelling at her. Maybe she was hearing ghosts!" Mulder got a look of pure glee on his usually serious face.

"You're right." Scully was actually feeling a piece of his excitement at their latest discovery. "Maybe she hears them the loudest. Do you think that could be true?"

"Maybe." A thought rushed to his mind. "Maybe, she isn't psychologically scarred.

Maybe all this insanity, talking to voices and such, maybe it's all just her talking to the spirits."

Scully almost fell out of her seat as she stood up. "Come on. Let's go talk to Angel. I think that she may be of more help than we ever knew."


Bennis Mansion

The blinking police lights made the hairs on the back of Scully's neck stand up.

Something had happened at the mansion. Mulder threw her a look that said it all. They probably would not be questioning Angel in this life. If anyone was dead, it was undoubtedly her. They both jumped out of the car as soon as it came to a stop.

The front door opened slowly as they neared it. Out of the corner of his eye, Mulder noticed Amelia standing in the front window staring out at them. She had a look of absolute terror on her face, but she was not crying.

As the black body bag emerged from the doors, Mulder's mind went back to the first time he had laid eyes on the disturbed young girl. She had been standing on her chair screamed, "IT's COMING FOR ME! IT's COMING FOR ME!" Whatever "It" was, it had gotten the frightened little girl. Death had laid its cold hand over her soul earlier than Mulder would have liked. He swallowed hard and stepped past the parade of people into the house.

Amelia had disappeared from the window.

He ran up the steps, knowing exactly where she had gone: the girls' room. A few scattered forensic employees combed the area with a fine toothed comb looking for any trace of evidence that they could find. Amelia sat on the bed with a stressed expression on her face.

The Musicbox Dancer sat against the pillows at the top of the bed. Her quaint expression remained, but Mulder looked away quickly. This doll worried him. There was something about her that caused him great worry.

Amelia noticed his presence and waved him over to her side. "She won't be answering any of your questions, Mr. Mulder. I'm sorry." Her expression remained bland.

"Don't be sorry, Ms. Bennis. I'm the one that should be sorry. We could have prevented this."

She laughed. "No one can prevent death, Mr. Mulder. Not even the FBI." She stared out the window as her dead daughter's corpse was loaded into the back of the ambulance. "I'm so used to death it just doesn't affect me anymore. I don't know if that's even human, but I really feel nothing toward death. It's just a phase we go through in this odd lifetime."

He nodded. He wanted to cut to the chase, but he had no idea how to do so. "Do you believe in ghosts, Ms. Bennis?"

This got her attention. She spun around to face him. "Ghosts?" Her eyes were wide and frightening. "Ghosts I know exist. You believe, too. Ms. Scully doesn't, though. Why?"

"Ms. Scully believes only what science can explain. Ghosts are not in that category."

She smiled. "A life lived with no belief is a life not lived. She should believe in ghosts. They exist. I'd bet my life on it." There was irony in her words, but she did not respond to it. "Listen to them." She reached out suddenly and grabbed his hand tightly in her own so that he could not escape from her grasp.

His mind spun with terrifying images and ear-piercing screams of agony. They were calling to him, and some knew him by name. They yelled at him and begged for him help.

He tried to rip his hand away, but she would not allow it. She wanted him to see all that she saw, and she would not release him until he understood her pain. His mind was torn to shreds as the voices tortured him. Now he understood why Angel had gone insane. To live hearing such noises would cause any human being to lose their sanity.

Amelia saw the pain in his eyes as she forced him to live the hell she lived. She felt the pain that he was going through every hour of every day, and she wanted to share it with him no matter how much it hurt. He yelled out, and she let go. His knees almost buckled beneath him, so he rushed to take a seat on the side of the bed. His breath was heavy and sharp. He had never known such agony in his entire life.

She sat next to him softly and put a hand on his knee. "Do you understand now? Do you see why my dear Angel was crazy?"

He nodded and met her eyes. They were so full of pain that he had to look away. The Musicbox Dancer watched them carefully.

Mulder left Amelia alone upstairs after he had regained his strength. He still felt woozy, but he had to go on. He felt sympathy for the poor woman who felt such amazing agony throughout her life. He even wished that he could help her, but he knew that was impossible.

"Mulder?" Scully's voice rang out behind him. He turned toward her. "Where were you?"

"Upstairs, talking to Amelia." He hoped that she could not see the pain written on his face.

"Oh." She had not noticed the pained expression on his face. "I think you'll be interested to see what I found in the library."

"Will I?"

"Yes, follow me." She led him through the long and twisting hallways of the immense house until they found the room covered in books. "I was just looking around the house when I stumbled upon the Bennis family book store. There is quite an array of interesting novella in here."

"Really?"

She nodded. "Look at this." She pointed to a book with a black binding with no words written on the outside. She picked it up and opened it to the front cover. The words Witcraft and Spells was scrawled onto the first page.

Mulder extended his finger at the name carefully written on the cover: Leila Bennis.

"That's Amelia's mother. You don't think that she's a witch, do you?"

Scully shook her head. "Witches don't exist, Mulder." She smiled almost slyly.

"Of course they don't." She put a finger to her lips saying, Be quiet. She mouthed the words Later and put the book back where they had gotten it.

Mulder turned left on the crowded street corner.

"I'm sorry about all that mystery. I didn't want to talk about it there. I wanted to make sure that no one was listening before I spilled my ideas." She brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes.

Mulder could see that she was nervous about something. "But, witches don't exist, Scully." He put extra stress on the phrase to make her feel worse about how she had called him insane earlier that evening.

"Of course, they don't, Mulder." She actually smiled at him. "I want to run by the town registry. Why don't you go to the library. Dig up everything you can about the Bennis family history."

"Town registry?"

"That's right. I want to find out how many Bennis family members lived here in good old Perrysburg before we make a single move."

"What are you thinking, Scully?" He raised his eyebrow and smiled.

"I'm thinking that maybe these mysterious deaths have something to do with that house. I'm thinking that everyone that has died, died in that house."

"Pretty unorthodox, don't you think, Scully?"

She slapped him on the shoulder playfully. "Like you should talk. Woah, drop me here."

He pulled the car to a stop in front of a large and dimly lit building. "Let's say I'll pick you up at about eight?"

"All right." She slammed the door and ran into the building. The rain had started up again, and it was pouring!

The library was almost completely empty except for a few librarians wanting to go home. Water dripped down Mulder's forehead as he hurried toward the card catalog. He gasped as the lights blinked and went out. This could not be happening! He felt like solving this case, and he knew that if he found what he was looking for the case would be over. The librarians groaned around him as they hurried to find their flashlights. Just as flashlights blinked to life around the library, the lights switched on. More groans. Mulder went back to his mad search.

Scully sifted through the thousands of pages of names and addresses that the registry beheld. She almost yelled out loud at her annoyance! There were no Bennises registered in Perrysburg. She must be going insane. She searched through her purse until she found a rubber band. She yanked her hair back into a tight bun that stretched the skin on her forehead making her appear almost Oriental to anyone that saw her. Her hair had been getting in her way all day, and she couldn't take it any longer.

Her fingers stopped on a name: Leila Bennis. She let out a sigh of relief. At least she could find one! She read quickly over her records:

Born: 1903

Died:1942 (Inconclusive)

Inconclusive! What did they mean inconclusive? That was not the answer she was looking for! She shuffled madly through the papers in search of another Bennis.

Mulder turned the pages violently as he took in all the amazing information he could.

He was sure Scully would never find as much amazing information as he did. Amelia had to be a witch! He was almost sure of it, now. Her entire family had been almost completely wiped out at the Salem Witch Trials. Only few had survived and lived on to practice their religion. The entire family had had special talents that allowed them to be one with their religion. They had an amazing aptitude for spells and rituals that no family in history had ever possessed, and this made them more dangerous than any family.

He read about object possession and spirit control. The family was feared for their amazing talents of spirit control. They were infamous for locking souls in inanimate objects.

Souls had been locked into dolls, toys, and stuffed animals for centuries. There was no record of such souls to escape from their prisons, but it was obvious that one had achieved this. It was all falling into place! As Mulder closed the book he was struck with a ghastly thought: all the dolls were collected because each housed a soul! Each doll, every single doll, was a prison for an immortal soul! He grabbed his coat and ran out of the library.

As he drove through the pouring rain, he thought that he recognized one of the poor souls that had to walk home that hideous day. He rolled down his window. "Cassy?"

The young woman turned toward his voice and smiled. "Hey, Fox!"

"Do you want a ride?"

She smiled. "Do I look like I want a ride?" She climbed into the car and shook her hair. Water flew all over the interior of the car. She laughed. "Sorry about that."

She looked too happy to know what had happened. "Angel died."

She frowned. "I know. Isn't it awful?"

He nodded. "Aren't you worried?" He turned toward the house and put his foot down heavily on the ignition.

"Worried? Why would I be worried?"

"I don't mean to scare you, Cassy, but it seems that something it killing off your family, one by one. You never know which of you could be next."

She smiled weakly. "I'm not worried about me. I'm not worried about Amelia. I'm sure we'll be fine. It's you I'm worried about." Her voice turned solemn.

"Me? Why should you be worried about me?"

"It knows you, Fox."

He felt a surge of anger. "That's what Angel said. What the hell do you mean, it knows me?"

She frowned at his sudden outburst. "The spirits know you Fox. All I'm saying is that you should be careful. I don't want anything happening to you."

He turned toward her. She really was serious. She was worried about him!

"I live near Fort Meiggs. I'll give you directions. Just take me home, please." She was silent the entire way there. She just pointed this way and that, saying this and that about everything.

Her concern worried Mulder. Something was out to get him, now, and he hated not knowing what. Everyone around him seemed to understand it all. Why couldn't he?

"Right here." Her voice broke through his thoughts.

"Here?"

"Yes, here." She climbed out. Mulder was perplexed! The only thing in sight was the high walls of the fort. The entire area was flooded from the pounding rain. The area was completely bare except for a few swaying trees and a few passing cars. She smiled at him and winked. "Thanks, Fox. I'll see you later. Good luck. Be strong." She slammed the door without another word.

"Mulder, I am going to kill you!" Scully was angry. It was eight-thirty, and Mulder was nowhere in sight. She had begun to walk back to the mansion at a quarter after, and she had not looked back since. The ground felt wet beneath her feet as she sloshed and kicked through the muck. Her high heels were surely ruined.

She pulled her coat tighter around her waist and stared into the sky. She was thankful that there was no thunder or lightning. With her wonderful luck that week she would probably be struck in the forehead. She itched nervously at her chin. Something had happened. What? She was not sure. Mulder wouldn't have just left her there unless something had happened to him. Had he found something that he shouldn't have? Had Amelia gone after him? Was he in danger? She trudged on through the weather with these thoughts whirling through her mind. Her red hair almost appeared to be painted to her head.

It was lying flat upon her head. She said a silent prayer hoping that the rubber band keeping the hair out of her face would hold until she got to the mansion.

The house sent a shiver down her spine. When they had first arrived she had remarked that it looked like a haunted house, and now, as she looked at it, she saw the truth behind her statement. Perhaps, Mulder was right. The house was haunted. She ran towards the door. One of her heels stuck in the mud. She flipped it off her foot and ran onward towards her goal. The shoe was ruined already. It was pointless to care about losing it now.

She knocked angrily on the door and kicked at it with her feet. She was so angry at Mulder! She almost hoped that he was in trouble. He deserved it! He had left her standing out there in the rain all that time. He might as well be dead! She gasped at her own thoughts.

How could she think such things about him? She took back all she had thought, hoping that is would not come true.

The door opened suddenly and Amelia stuck her head out. "Ms. Scully? My God, you're going to get an awful cold!" She pulled her inside and took off her coat. "Come inside.

I'll get you some tea." Amelia pulled her into the kitchen and forced her into a chair. "You just sit there. I'll get you a blanket. What in the world happened?"

Scully shivered. "Mulder left me. Do you know where he is?"

Amelia shook her head as she came toward her with a thick wool blanket. "No. I hope he's all right. The weather is deadly out there."

Scully found herself laughing. "Damn right. He said he would pick me up at eight, and he wasn't there. I don't know if I should be worried or just plain mad."

Amelia set a cup of steaming coffee in front of her. "Here, drink up. It's an old recipe of my mothers." She smiled and sat down across from Scully.

Scully lifted the cup to her lips and stopped. It's an old recipe of my mothers. She almost dropped the mug, but caught it before it spilled. "You're mothers?"

"Yes." She just kept smiling.

She looked so innocent that Scully almost forgot Mulder's suspicions. She set the glass on the table and looked up at Amelia. "Are you aware of all of your family's history?"

Amelia looked concerned. "What do you mean?"

"I don't want to sound as if I'm accusing you of anything, but your family has a long history of witchcraft."

Amelia went silent as a mask of innocence was pulled over her face. "It's all rumor, Ms. Scully. Who believes in witches, anyway? It's a bunch of wish-wash if you asked me."

Scully glared suspiciously. "I found the books in the library, Amelia. I found the books of spells. Your mother was a witch, and so was her mother's mother, and so on. I know the history, Amelia."

Her attitude became harsh. Her voice lowered considerably. "You know nothing!"

She suddenly rose to her feet and screamed out as if she was fighting with an invisible force.

Scully rose to her feet and backed toward the door. Something was not right. "You know nothing!"

Movement to Scully's right caused her to glance toward the rack of cooking utensils.

She could not believe her eyes! They were moving! They were actually moving as if an unseen hand was struggling to pick them up.

"Nothing!" Amelia was moving in odd convulsions with fire in her eyes.

Scully backed away in shock as the utensils flew out of their can and into the air.

"And you shall die knowing nothing!" As Amelia's hands moved, the utensils moved with her.

Scully's mouth opened wide as she screamed. The sharp tools were coming straight at her! It was as if they were riding a strong breeze as they flew toward her. She slipped and almost fell in her tights, but she reached the door with mere seconds between life and death.

Amelia's screams filled her ears as she ripped open the front door and slammed it tightly. The sharp tools smashed into the door in a clamorous wave of sound. She ran out into the rain and back to town in panic.

Mulder drove rapidly through the rain. He had gotten lost on the way back from Fort Meiggs, but thankfully, he had asked someone for directions who knew exactly where he was trying to get: the Bennis Mansion. They had directed him to the house without even having to look at a map. He glanced at his watch. It was already nine. Scully was going to kill him when she found him. She had told him eight, and he had arrived at nine. He glanced at the front steps of the building and saw no one. He rode on. He was so full of anger that he did not care if Scully was all right. He had to get to that house.

He slammed the front door behind him and stepped into the house. "Amelia! Where are you?" He ran up the steps in hopes of finding her, but he had no such luck. She was nowhere in the house, and he knew that without looking around. He ran into the kitchen in hopes that Scully would be there. Only a spilled tea glass occupied the quiet kitchen area. He hurried back into the front hallway. He did a double take as he walked through. The front door was impaled with kitchen utensils! He had missed something interesting, he was sure.

His curiousity disappeared as the music reached him. The doll, again! Where was she this time? When he had gone upstairs, he had not noticed her dead eyes watching him. She had to be there somewhere. He walked with long and impatient steps throughout the entire first floor, searching for the doll that he did not want to see. His eyes searched the area from ceiling to floor in a desperate search for the forbidden doll. He thought of all the souls upstairs. They were trapped there. Their terrible cries were sounds that he wished to never hear again.

"Where are you?" He screamed at it as if it was human, and it answered. The doll suddenly appeared on the couch! Mulder jumped as he saw it. He had searched this entire area, and he had found nothing. Now, she appeared in front of him taunting him with her quaint smile. "Who are you?" He picked up the doll angrily and yelled at it loudly. "What do you want?" His hands shook as he said this. They shook like they had never shook before.

The doll smiled as it fell to the floor with a hollow thud.


Holiday Inn

Scully fell onto the bed. Hot tears lined her face. Their warmth had kept her going as she ran the way to the hotel. She felt the lingering fear in her chest as she sat on the bed trying to regain her breath. "My God!" She covered her face and fell to the floor, shaking with emotion. She just kept seeing the look on Amelia's face as she threw the tools at her back. What had happened? It had not seemed like Amelia when she screamed at her, but who else could it have been. It looked like Amelia, and it sounded like Amelia. It could be no one else.

Scully jumped at the gentle knock on the door. She sighed. She silently thanked God that Mulder was all right. After what had happened to her, she had been worried for his safety. She felt terrible guilt over what she had wished for him. She did not wish him dead.

She was worried about him!

She climbed to her feet and opened the door expecting to see Mulder's smiling face looking down at her. Instead, she cringed back in fear. It was Amelia! Scully was about to let out a scream when Amelia reached out a hand and touched her shoulder. It was almost as if she was a different person.

"Scully, it's me. It's not the person you saw earlier. It's me."

Scully backed away from her and fell onto the bed. She grabbed her gun from the night stand and pointed it at her. "Sit down and don't move."

Amelia shut the door gently and did as she was told. "Scully, it's all right. It's me."

"And who was that earlier?" She kept the muzzle of the gun pointed directly at Amelia's chest.

"Dana, you are going to have to listen to me with an open mind. Mulder said that you wouldn't believe me, but I'm going to tell you anyway." She took a deep breath as if clearing her mind. "I know about my family history, Dana. I know how evil we all used to be, but things have changed since then. It's all different now, Dana. You have got to believe me."

"What happened earlier?"

"The dolls, Dana. The dolls are the key. All those years ago, we bought dolls because we locked the souls of our enemies inside of them. We were more powerful than any of the others, so we could do this easily."

"The voices that Angel said were yelling at her?"

Amelia nodded slowly. "The souls."

"That still doesn't explain all that has happened."

"There was a strong one, Dana. My ancestors had to watch him carefully. He had the power to escape if we weren't careful. He had the power to kill, he had the power to possess."

"Possess?"

"Yes. He could escape from the doll if someone touched the doll. He could jump bodies, let's say. When you were at the house, I had touched the doll. I had to fight him to win my body back. He is evil, Dana, and if he gets out the end is sure to come."

Dane felt her heart beating in her chest. "I don't believe a word of what you're saying.

How could it be true?"

"Dana, believe for once in your life. It could save your life. This thing is more powerful than all of my kind put together. He could ruin us all. We have to ruin the doll.

Then, his soul will be tossed into oblivion." She looked so truthful that Dana felt herself slowly believing the woman's words. It had to be true. It explained it all.

"Your mother?"

"He killed her. It was horrible for all of us. It was then that we knew he could escape."

"Why didn't you just ruin the doll then?"

"It's just not that easy. The only way to do it is to ruin the doll while he is in the body of another. That's the only way." She shook her head sadly. "But, it's just too dangerous to try. We can't do it."

As Scully was about to react, the phone wrang. She sighed and put the gun down on the bed. She had no need for it. She picked up the receiver. "Hello?"

"Dana? It's me, Mulder. I'm at Amelia's. I was so worried. Are you all right?"

There was deep concern in his voice.

"Yes, are you all right? When you didn't come and pick me up I was sure something had happened to you."

"I'm fine. Why don't you bring Amelia over here when you come? I think we need to talk."

"Oh, don't worry. She just explained it all to me. And, as unbelievable as it sounds, I believe her."

Mulder let out a dry laugh. "That's new!"

"We'll be down in a few minutes." She hung up the phone with a smile. "That was Mulder. Did you bring your car?"

She nodded slowly.

"Let's go."

"How did he know I was with you?" She eyed the phone suspiciously.

"He probably just guessed. Let's go." She tucked her gun into the back of her pants and pulled Amelia after her.


Bennis Mansion

"Mulder?" Scully called through the house.

"In here, Scully." His voice came from the living room. The house's silence was eerie.

Amelia walked in slowly after Scully with a concerned look on her face. She glanced into the room at Mulder and smiled weakly. She seemed so unsure of herself all of a sudden.

Scully walked toward Mulder. "Amelia should tell you everything she told me. As strange as it may sound, it all makes more sense than anything I could have concocted. I need more proof, of course, and so will Skinner, but for now, her story will have to do."

Mulder's eyes were clouded. He stared at Amelia constantly. He never even glanced at Scully as she spoke to him. "I understand." He nodded and smiled warmly.

Scully glanced over her shoulder at Amelia who was still lingering in the doorway.

"Amelia, is something wrong?"

She shook her head. "Nothing. Nothing's wrong." She walked quickly to the other side of Mulder. His eyes followed her as she went. "I guess I should tell you everything." She sat on the couch uncomfortably.

"I guess you should. I'd like to be filled in on all that is happening here. It's all rather confusing, actually."

"I know, and I'm sorry about that." She began with her epic tale. She told him of the old days and how things were better now. There was no evil any longer. Mulder simply smiled at her and nodded his head the entire time. Scully sat on the steps behind them and listened to the story a second time remembering all the details to write in her report.

As Amelia went on with the story, her eyes stopped on something underneath the couch. Something green was stuffed below Mulder's seat. Her eyes froze as did her mouth.

The silence was as thick as molasses. She stood up suddenly with eyes wide. Mulder stood up with her and stared at her strange expression. As Scully noticed the silence, she looked up.

Seeing them standing up, she rose from her seat and moved to the couch. Mulder glanced in her direction with a worried expression on his face. He was just as confused as Scully.

Amelia said slowly, "Dana, get away from him."

"What?" She found herself trapped in between them. "What are you talking about?"

"Get away from him, Dana. Come to me." She extended her hand to her.

"What are you saying? It's Mulder."

She shook her head violently. "It's not Mulder. It's him!" She looked truly fearful, now. "Come here, Dana."

Her eyes moved from Amelia to Mulder. He looked worried. "Scully, it's me. I don't know what she's talking about. She's insane!" He shook his head.

She looked into his eyes. It was him in there, wasn't it?

"Dana, listen to me! He's going to hurt you! Come to me."

"Scully! Please, what are you doing? Have I ever hurt you before? It's me! She's talking crazy. Why wouldn't it be me? She's the one you should be afraid of. You know me, Scully. You trust me. Not her!" He took her hand gently in his and gave it a squeeze. She felt the calm and friendly love that radiated out of him whenever he was around her. She felt his energy. "Scully, I love you." He smiled.

Dana ripped away from him and backed away. He stepped toward her. "Mulder, it's not you! Stop! Fight it, Mulder! Fight him!" He was coming right at her, and she had nowhere to go. As her back hit the wall, she felt the gun she had tucked into the back of her pants. She grabbed it rapidly. "Mulder, don't move!"

He froze in his steps. "You're going to shoot me, now? Are you insane?" He looked seriously afraid. Had she been wrong?

"Dana, Fox is not there!" Amelia's voice broke through to her. "You know it's not him, Dana. It's not him."

She ran to Amelia and hid behind her back, keeping the gun trained on him carefully.

She was full of fear, and not sure of what to do. All she knew was that the man in front of them was not Fox Mulder. Fox Mulder never would have said that he loved anyone. Amelia had been right the entire time!

"You shall die like the filthy being you are!" Amelia screamed with all her might as the thunder echoed through the house. "Your time has come!"

Mulder laughed. "You'll never get rid of me. I almost had Ms. Scully in my arms, for God's sake!"

"We'll see about that!" She flung the air at him as if it was a weapon.

He held his hands in front of him. An amazingly bright light flashed in their eyes as a force field surrounded him, protecting him from anything they could throw at him. "Who is weak, now, Amelia?"

Amelia fell to her knees at Scully's feet. She screamed out for help that Dana could not give her. What could she possibly do that would help her?

"Dana, help!" she screamed pathetically to her. "Help me, please, Dana!" She held her hands toward her, her face wrinkled in agony.

She stared helplessly at Mulder. What could she do? He smiled at her as the light disappeared from around him. "Ms. Scully the fearless! You could join me, you know. I know you don't want to be on the side of a loser." He waved toward Amelia's crumpled figure on the floor. "Come with me, Dana." Mulder's satiny voice seduced her into its warm interior. How she wanted to just give up, but she knew that she could not do that.

"Never." She took aim and pulled the trigger. It struck him directly in the ankle, making him fall to the floor in a heap. Mulder held his ankle in pain, but it was not really Mulder. She frowned suddenly in fear. Would Mulder die?

Amelia rose slowly to her feet and stared down at the fallen figure that had once stood so tall above them. "You have fallen." Her voice was barely a whisper, but it was enough.

Out of her fingertips, shot bright light that lit the room. The figure on the floor cringed in agony as it slowly killed him. He yelled out for help, but Scully could not give in. This was not Mulder calling out to her. It was a being of utter evil. He meant nothing but harm to her, and she knew it.

A roar made them both jump. They spun around the see the doll. It had moved to the couch instead of underneath. It's evil face burnt in the sudden burst of flames. It seemed to scream a sound too high to hear as its death occurred. It disappeared in a puff of smoke.

The house was swallowed by silence.

A groan behind them caused them to spin around.

"Mulder!" Scully fell to her knees next to him and touched his face. "Are you all right?"

"Other than the fact that there's a bullet in my leg?"

She nodded and smiled. It was obvious that he was all right. He closed his eyes and fell away into oblivion.


That Morning

The clouds slowly cleared out of the sky of Mulder's mind. The darkness had covered him since the night before. He winced at the sudden pain. A striking agony had made a home directly above him eyes. He touched his forehead gently with his fingertips to make sure that it was still there. The pain was beginning to make him feel numb. His ankle throbbed as well, but he knew that there was nothing he could do about that.

His mind was blank. He remembered nothing of the night before. He knew not why he had a bullet in his ankle. He knew not why he had been unconscious all night and into the early morning. All he knew was that something had happened, and that Scully would undoubtedly tell him about it later that day.

A hard touched his cheek tenderly. "Wake up, sleepy head."

He opened his eyes slowly and was met by a smiling face. It was Cassy. "Hello."

"At least we know you can speak English. You had quite an evening, Fox." She ran her fingers through his hair, sending electricity down his spine. "Do you remember anything?"

He shook his head, not wanting to speak.

"Good. I don't think you really want to remember." Her hand returned to his cheek and caressed it gently. "You did a good joy, Fox. I'm very proud of you. I knew I was right choosing you." She kissed his forehead and stood up slowly. She smiled and left the room, leaving the door open.

"Mulder?" Scully poked her head inside.

"I'm awake." He struggled to sit up.

She hurried toward him. "Hey, don't sit up. You need to stay lying down." She looked stressed beyong belief.

"What's wrong?"

"Do you remember what happened last night?"

"No, why?"

She shook her head. "No reason. I'll tell you about it later. I was so scared for you."

She took his hand in hers and held it as insurance that he was safe. "I didn't know it I would ever see you again. Actually, I was almost sure that I wouldn't."

"Hey, I'm all right, now." He sat up slowly so he wouldn't upset her further.

A tear rolled down her pale cheek. "I just kept saying that you were going to die. I just kept thinking that you were dead already." Another tear.

"Oh, honey." He wrapped his arms around her small shoulders and pulled her close to him. She gratefully accepted him hug and laid her head on his chest, listening to his steady heartbeat. She touched his cheek with her hand and closed her eyes. She liked feeling his arms around her. She liked feeling him in her arms. She nestled her nose in his neck and just savored his warmth. He kissed her forehead lightly, allowing his lips to linger there for a moment before he let her go. "Whatever happened, I'm sorry you had to go through it."

She smiled through her tears. "I'm the one that should be sorry for you. You're the one that went through everything." She sniffed softly and returned to his arms. They held each other all morning.

The sun was high in the afternoon sky by the time they were ready to leave. Their emotional levels had been through the roof by the time they had been able to let each other go.

Mulder looked out over the horizon with a lump in his stomach. Scully had started to tell him what had happened, but he had stopped her before she was done. He really did not want to hear about all that had happened yet. He just wasn't ready. They gathered up their things and packed everything into the car. They would both be happy to say goodbye to Perrysburg, and that was a sure thing.

They both shared one last embrace with Amelia before they stepped out onto the front porch. She was sad to see them go. They had been through so much, and she was not sure they could carry such a heavy load. She smiled as they walked toward their car.

"Amelia?"

"Yes, Fox?" She smiled at him.

"I would really like to say goodbye to your sister, if you don't mind."

"Who?"

"Cassy?"

"How do you know Cassy?" She looked suddenly concerned.

"I met her after Fiona had died. She came upstairs. Didn't you see her there? She came and talked to me about how terrible it was that she had died."

"Are you sure?"

"Sure, I'm sure. What is it? You're looking at me as if I was insane!"

"Fox, Cassandra died ten years ago. She died upstairs in the bedroom when no one was home. She lived in the room the girls lived in. We buried her at the Fort Meiggs cemetery a long time ago."

Mulder swallowed hard. Dead? He left it at that. He did not want to develop an explanation of all that had happened. He did not want to analyze everything. It was over, and he was content. As he stepped into the car, a strong breeze picked up, flopping his hair across his brow. He smiled slightly and threw it back into place. The car pulled away in the distance.

The End

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