Title: Something in the Blood
Feedback: Yes! firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer: Mulder & Scully belong to 1013 Productions, this version of Sherlock & John belong to the BBC, Moffatt, Gatiss & Stevenson, original story to Arthur Conan Doyle & I’m only messing with all of them! Let’s say, timeline-wise, this is post-“I Want to Believe” for XF & during S2 for “Sherlock”. And let’s pretend that there was no previous knowledge of Sherlock Holmes in the X-Files, shall we? We shall!
Summary: While a few may be familiar with “The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire”, I decided to take a whirl – meshing the world of Sherlock Holmes with the X-Files! Go, me! The version of Holmes is the current BBC’s “Sherlock”, as it’s my jam ;D
It’s a typical boring November afternoon, which meant that, in this particular flat, the short, not-quite-stocky man had distracted his easily-irritable flatmate with the promise of possible cases to work on. It also meant the shorter man’s laptop was being confiscated, as usual, this time because the taller, thinner man had literally fried his about a week ago while experimenting for another case.
John Watson, the shorter man, cleared his throat. It’s been over five minutes, which is two minutes longer than his consulting detective friend needed to read and judge the case. “So, what do you think?”
“Hm?” Sherlock Holmes’ pale eyes are scanning absently through more than one window on his monitor. “About your friend’s case?” he mutters in his baritone, not looking at the shorter man standing off to the side. “To do with vampires?” he sneered.
“Vampires, yes,” John said evenly. “Or anyone from the mentally insane who believe drinking blood prolongs their life, to those suffering from porphyria, to those who simply like dressing up like Dracula for Halloween.” He gives a speculative look at his friend’s pale skin, dark hair and oddly-shaped pale eyes. “I think you’d be a good Dracula if you wore a cape.”
“Think what you will,” Sherlock said in a bored tone. Then his tone became more derisive and snobby as he went on, “But none of those categories seem to apply to the lunacy in that ridiculous email. The writer honestly believes in the nonsense that Mrs. Ferguson is actually a vampire, a walking corpse who can only be held in her grave by a stake driven in her heart.” The sneer seemed almost permanently affixed to his face. “And you bother to call it a ‘case’?”
“Yes, yes, I do,” the graying blonde said testily, unconsciously standing at attention, his chest filling out his black-and-white striped jumper. “Well?”
“Well,” his dark-haired friend drawled, and took a deep breath. Then he proceeded in his rapid-fire fashion, “as a G.P., you of all people should know that it isn’t rare for women to develop or worsen allergies after childbirth, and her sensitivity to both the sun and sunscreen are just that. Yes, his second wife is of Peruvian descent, but being from the South Americas doesn’t preclude hormones causing unexpected allergies post-birth, or even post-partum depression, a more-than-likely cause for her sudden mood changes and violence. And it’s the teenaged boy, not your so-called friend, who wrote in with this so-called case. It’s not vampirism, it’s his unhealthy jealousy of his infant half-brother and even more unhealthy obsession with his father and twisted jealousy of his father’s attention to his stepmother that could score some lucky therapist a fancy home in Belgravia. And, if it wasn’t more obvious, no such thing as vampires.” Sherlock rolled his eyes and followed it up with his trademark dismissal. “Boring!”
John’s thin lips flatten. “You’ve already deleted his email, haven’t you?” he said.
“Yep,” Sherlock answered succinctly, popping the “p” like a brat.
“Good thing I kept it on my account, then,” John muttered, grabbing his laptop away from his infuriating friend, who made a miffed-cat face, but he didn’t really care. “Big Bob Ferguson’s son deserves more than a ‘no-reply’ for his troubles, especially if he was worried enough to write in for his father.”
“Your schoolyard nicknames are uninspired at best, undignified at worst,” the taller man rolled his eyes, pulling his blue dressing gown around him before getting up to flop dramatically on the sofa.
John snorted. “That was his nickname when he was a three-quarter for Richmond,” he said. “I was the one who patched up the boys on the Blackheath side, but I splinted his leg once.”
He didn’t see Sherlock’s right corner of his mouth turn up into a half-grin. “I never get your limits,” he said blandly, not betraying his facial expression, “there are unexplored possibilities about you.”
“Sarcasm doesn’t suit you,” John said, his eyes darting between the monitor and the keyboard, his pointer fingers laboriously pecking out a suitably-worded and polite email containing the gist of his friend’s summary.
“Booooored, John,” the other man’s baritone is drawn out. “Is there anything in there that looks remotely interesting?”
The blonde sits back, tilts his head up, and sighs. “I could throw Mycroft at you, see how fast you duck,” he said, then reapplied himself back to the task of email writing.
Sherlock snorted. “You couldn’t even lift him, much less throw him,” he closed his eyes, his hands coming together in something like a prayer position at his chin. “My brother’s minions would stop you before you could get close.”
“All hail the British government,” John made a face.
Sherlock smirks, his face smoothed out as he’s lulled to sleep by the rhythm of the peck-hunt-peck typing of his friend.
The weather is ridiculously frigid for a fall day in Virginia, Dana Scully grumbled to herself, even though it’s late November. For most of the day, she’s been bundled up in a long coat, her long red hair almost hiding her scarf, and the boots hiding the thick, ugly socks keeping her feet warm. She unlocked the door, and she was looking forward to long, hot bath, a hot cup of tea, and thick medical tomes to soothe her to sleep, not necessarily in that order.
What she found, however, was her tall partner wearing a huge grin, a lined leather jacket, jeans, boots, and a traveling bag. “Hey, Scully, pack your bags,” Mulder (never Fox) grinned. “We’re going to England.”
She blinked. Mulder is still standing there, big goofy grin on his face and travel bag in hand. He’s even freshly shaven, which means he’s determined to do his consulting if it meant crossing the pond to even more frigid weather. Dammit. “Why?” she asked, forcing a pleasant smile on her face and in her voice.
He chuckled. “Awesomely rich client’s paying for our flights and hotel room,” he said.
The redhead stared at him. “I know I said it was fine to investigate a case now and then,” she said, “but I was thinking something within the 48 contiguous states, maybe over a weekend, perhaps give me time to, I don’t know, put in for time off work?” Her arms are crossed by this point, and her stare is pointed.
He holds back a wince, but only just. “Next case, I promise, more time, warmer climate,” he said. “But Scully, vampires,” he breathes, much the same way a child would say “Santa Claus”. Oh God, with him, it might be the same thing, she thinks.
“Vampires in England? What a novel idea,” she drawled, her arms still crossed.
He walks over to her, putting his hands on her upper arms. “Vampires in Cheeseman’s, Lamberley, to be exact,” he said, staring back into her large eyes. “West Sussex, to be less exact. And while we don’t have a projector set up at home yet,” “Yet?” Scully mentally echoes, “here are the emails about the case.” He lets go of her to pull out some paper from an inside pocket.
“Plural?” Scully asks as he hands them over. She skims over them. “Seriously?”
He nods. “Your bag is there,” he nods at the couch, which, she’s just noticed, has her travel bag sitting on top. Of course. Bastard. “Taxi’s coming in about,” and they turn to hear a car honk outside. “Now.”
She made a face, then punched him in the arm. “It’s a good thing work has slowed,” she said, grabbing her travel bag. “Passports?” He pulled them out from another inside pocket. “God, I thought I was going stir crazy, you must’ve had cabin fever.”
He grinned. “Thanks for going with me,” he said.
She smirked. “Who else is going to watch your back?”
And they walked out into the dark November evening to ride the taxi to Dulles Airport.
“What do you think of Dr. Watson’s explanation?” Scully asked as they stood in line. It was only at times like these, spots of boredom that had been circumvented years earlier, that she missed being part of the FBI. When she saw the TSA pull out a dark-complected man, however, she pursed her lips. Stereotypical profiling, even at the FBI, was something she didn’t miss.
“His detective friend didn’t have all the facts,” Mulder said reasonably. “Otherwise, he wouldn’t have dismissed the case so easily.”
“Whereas you have no compunction allowing a teenaged boy to pay for our room and airfare,” Scully rolled her eyes.
“Need I remind you that you’re also travelling on his dime?” her tall partner grinned.
She sighed. “So what got your spooky sense tingling, paid travel expenses aside?”
He grinned at the phrase, but paused as they took their turns getting scanned and grabbing their carry-ons afterward. As they made their way to the terminal, he answered, “You mean, other than vampires?”
“How do you know it’s really vampires at work and not the imagination of a boy jealous for his father’s attention?”
“There are a number of holes in both Jack Ferguson’s and Dr. Watson’s email,” the dark-haired man said thoughtfully. “Some of them can be explained by the initial deception of Jack posing as his father and Watson’s extreme skepticism. Others aren’t, such as your observation of Jack’s jealousy. I’m sure Dr. Watson gave it some soft-shoe mention, but there’s no sign of it whatsoever, which means he edited both emails for our reading. It’s a little insulting to think we wouldn’t be doing our homework, even if we are getting a free ride. I think he thinks he can use us as leverage against his stepmother, but the details he does bring up are suggestive of vampirism.”
“For instance?” Scully smiled.
“For instance,” he smiled back, “while the neck bites on his stepbrother could be due to any number of reasons, the fact that everything around the baby was tidied has been overlooked by the local detective and doctor. You remember our last case with vampires? The slightly OCD need to straighten things out?”
She sighed. “Please tell me you’re going on more than that.”
Mulder’s smile deepened. “Jack Ferguson only picked up on that because it seemed incongruous to the picture of his baby brother bleeding on his neatly-made bedding and blanket, when it was obvious the feeding was interrupted.”
“Obvious?” Scully raised her left eyebrow.
“Obvious,” Mulder repeated, “vampires wouldn’t leave their victim bleeding out. Waste not, want not.”
“I’m pretty sure Ben Franklin wasn’t talking about vampiric exsanguination,” Scully remarked drily.
Mulder shrugged. “I’ve got a lot more reading material in here, background checks for both parents, et cetera,” he pulled out a file from his travel bag.
She shook her head, and he put the file back into his bag. “I’ll save it for the flight,” she said, “I haven’t had a chance to eat yet.” Mulder’s stomach growled, and she chuckled. “Come on, let’s grab some Chinese.”
As Mulder slept on the flight, Scully read through the background check printouts. The fact that Mulder could still do that kind of research outside the FBI either spoke of very little privacy on the internet or not enough security at the FBI, neither of which boded well for the Fergusons. For one, it was rather easy for him to discover that, rather than being part of the tea brokers Ferguson and Muirhead, Robert Ferguson worked as a bat guano exporter for Morrison, Morrison and Dodd, dealing with nitrates rather than caffeine. For another, it had taken Ferguson ten years to get a promotion within that company, while others who had started with him had climbed the ladder more rapidly.
Granted, ten years ago, Ferguson lost his first wife in a subway accident that nearly took the life of his first son as well. Jack Ferguson escaped with his life, but his legs were crippled due to injuries to his spinal cord. The pictures show a young man with delicate features, looking far younger and smaller than his fifteen years. His father looked tall and athletic in an older picture (used to play for some rugby team, she noted), but his frame was leaner and his blonde hair thinner, according to a more recent ID.
The pictures of the first Mrs. Ferguson were a strong contrast of life versus death. Virginia Ferguson was a petite, willowy blonde with blue eyes, and it was clear Jack took after her in height and looks. In contrast, the pictures of the accident and autopsy showed the gruesome remains of what happens when an unstoppable force meets a frail object. She’d been something of a retired pop singer, popular when she was in high school, but not so much afterward. Still, she had enough income on her own to look good to Ferguson financially as well as physically.
The second Mrs. Ferguson, Gabriela, was also a beautiful woman. She had long dark hair, large dark eyes, and a curvy figure, as opposed to the willowy Virginia. She met her husband in Peru three years ago, where he had business contacts, and she was the daughter of one of those contacts, an Ozcar Espinoza. There was a shorter file on Espinoza, probably because he was actually a bat guano dealer. Gabriela had been a jewelry saleswoman back in Peru but was happy to leave home for love, it seemed.
There were other files related to Ferguson’s work in Britain, but Scully only skimmed through those before putting the file back into Mulder’s bag. She yawned, then leaned against her partner before joining him in slumber.
Mulder and Scully had barely checked into their room at the Chequers Inn in Lamberley when Mulder got a text. “Father wants to meet with you,” it read. A 15-digit number was all that identified it, but Mulder recognized the Lamberley area code and made a face. “Looks like we got busted,” he said, showing the message to his redheaded partner.
“It was a ten-hour flight, including the stop in Amsterdam,” Scully yawned, “is he serious?”
Mulder looked at his phone, which had reset itself thanks to the miracle of technology. “It’s 11:21 a.m. here,” he said.
Scully sighed. “Just get me coffee before you get a cab,” she mumbled, wishing she were as well-rested as Mulder. That last hour from Dulles to Amsterdam was a bit more turbulent than expected or wanted, and the leg from Amsterdam to Heathrow was too short to even think about napping.
“One cream, no sugar,” Mulder told the helpful front office worker who’d already pulled out a large thermos and a plastic cup. “Thanks, Maggie,” he smiled after briefly glancing at her tag.
Maggie smiled back, adding the cream and handing the coffee cup over to the redheaded woman who looked dead on her feet. She was about their age, her brunette hair dyed darker than it actually was, but her eyes are bright. “You’re going to have a look in on the Fergusons, aren’t you?” she said.
In spite of her weariness, Scully’s glance at Mulder was alert before she’d touched her lips to the cup. “You know about them?”
The dyed brunette nodded at the window. “They’re local celebrities here,” she said, “the first Mrs. Ferguson was what they call a one-hit wonder, a pretty little singer, the new Mrs. Ferguson is some glamorous Spanish-like lady. Big Bob himself used to play three-quarters for Richmond.”
Mulder smiled a little at the nickname, one of the first things he’d found on his Google search. “I guess once a rugby star, always a rugby star?”
“You know about him, don’t you?” Maggie smiled back. Then the smile faded. “I suppose the rumors are true, then, something odd’s going on.”
“What did the police say?” Scully asked, pretending as if she hadn’t read Mulder’s not-quite-legal results on that topic.
The front office worker didn’t answer right away, but her eyes searched the area before answering, which was an answer itself. “They say it looked like the new Mrs. Ferguson went mad and attacked her newborn,” she said in a low voice, “but she denied it. She’s locked herself up in her room, and Big Bob had Mrs. Mason, the housekeeper, watch over the baby. They also said the new Mrs. Ferguson attacked the boy twice! Can you imagine? Attacking a cripple?”
Mulder and Scully shared a look. In spite of the domestic problems being an open secret, it was clear that nothing had been done, except to fuel rumors about an unhappy family. So far, nothing about vampires –
“Between you and me,” Maggie’s low voice fell deeper into a whisper, “I think the new Mrs. Ferguson’s gone mad and infected the rest of them. I mean, can you imagine, vampires?” The last word is hissed, and her eyes dart around again, as if saying the word would make one appear. She seemed nervous enough to think so.
“We’re just here to help,” Mulder said vaguely, also speaking in a low voice. Then he smiled, and said in a normal tone, “What’s the number for the local cabs around here?”
Maggie blinked, but rattled the number off by rote. He thanked her, then called in for a cab. Once that was settled, Maggie sent for a porter to bring their bags to their room. They followed Billy upstairs to a simple but well-furnished room, and they freshened up in the ten minutes it took the cab to get there. Scully tried not to look at the single bed longingly, but her effort only earned her a smirk from Mulder. Jerk.
The weather was chilly and damp, the sky a dull gray as the cab drove down rural Sussex roads. The house at the end of the long and winding lane looked like it had seen better days at least a couple of centuries ago. It was obviously a farmhouse that had been converted into something like a manor, each addition a testament to its time. Mulder was sure he’d see at least a dozen different architectural styles inside as well, if the outside was anything to be believed.
They paid the cabbie, and rang the doorbell. Mulder looked down and grinned. “Hey, Scully, I think I know why this place is called Cheeseman’s,” he said, and the brick tiles at their feet showed the pictures of a cheese and a man. Before she could reply, Ferguson himself answered the door, and they followed him through half-paneled walls that looked like they were from the seventeenth century, with faded nineteenth-century watercolors and dim twentieth-century lighting, into a liberally-curtained living room with Peruvian alpaca décor and a fireplace with an honest-to-God fire burning. Mulder wasn’t surprised to see the iron screen reading “1670”, but his attention was drawn to the master of the house as he sat down next to a smaller figure.
Robert Ferguson looked thinner than the last photo Mulder had of him, his shoulders drooping, his chest almost concave, and his short blonde hair merely a ring around his head, as his pate had given up growing anything. He sighed. “I’m sorry Jacky wasted your time,” he said.
“Dad,” the blonde teen pouted, looking and sounding more like ten than fifteen in the chair that seemed to engulf him, even as its twin merely enfolded his father. “I’m not making this up, you’ve got to believe me!” His thin hands flailed, and he almost knocked over one of his crutches in the process.
The older Ferguson gave his son a fond, but tired, look. “And I’m sorry you had to fly all the way out here to this dark house in this small part of Lamberley,” he went on, “but after Jacky told me what he’d done, I wanted you to see for yourself what’s going on.”
“And what exactly is going on?” Scully asked, as carefully as she would to a hurting but stubborn patient.
Ferguson sighed. “Absolutely nothing.” In response to the blonde boy’s squeak of protest, he went on, “Nothing out of the ordinary after childbirth. Gabriela almost died giving birth, and I’m afraid the allergies,” he motioned to the thick curtains, “will stay with her longer than her mood swings. She’s still recovering her strength, or she’d be here to see you, too.”
“If they can get past that guard dog Dolores,” Jack’s delicate features twist into a sharp grimace.
His father’s lips tighten slightly, and the boy subsided. “Dolores has been Gabriela’s maid from childhood,” he said, “she’s understandably been very protective of her charge since Bobby was born.”
“Where is Bobby?” Scully asked, now leaning forward. “Can we see him? I’m a doctor,” she added, in case Ferguson wasn’t aware.
Apparently, he wasn’t. Mulder sighed inwardly as Ferguson called for Mrs. Mason. It seemed Jack had given his father the bare bones of their visit, and it seemed to be a habit with him. Were lies of omission a self-defense mechanism, or what he grew up with?
A matronly woman came out, holding the small baby with his bottle in her arms. She pursed her lips at the newcomers, but they expected that. “Mrs. Mason, I’m Dr. Dana Scully,” Scully said, and the housekeeper’s features softened a little, “may I see Bobby?”
Mulder could almost see his partner shift into something more motherly, more welcoming, when the infant was placed in her arms. It wasn’t the first time seeing Scully with a child reminded him of their own son, and it probably wouldn’t be the last. Even as she tucked the bottle into a comfortable position for both herself and the baby, he could see her examining the child, and yes, the bite mark on the baby’s neck was still visible after a week.
While she examined Bobby, he examined the others in the room. Mrs. Mason looked a little more relaxed, the combination of “female” and “doctor” giving the stout housekeeper a little peace of mind. Scully murmured a few sentences, low enough so that Mulder couldn’t quite catch it, but Mrs. Mason could, and the older woman nodded. Robert Ferguson, for his part, looked a little besotted with his infant son, his light blonde hair and dark eyes an interesting combination of both parents. It was interesting to see how the gaunt man lit up seeing his infant son, but perhaps, most fathers would do the same.
A sound caught his attention before Mulder could turn back to analyze Jack. Apparently, that same noise caught the boy’s attention as well, for he picked up his crutches and hobbled over surprisingly fast into the hallway. “Carlo, Carlo!” he cried, falling to a stop in front of a white spaniel with brown ears.
“What’s wrong with him?” Mulder frowned. The dog tried to raise himself on shaky legs, and nuzzled his nose into Jack’s outstretched hand.
Ferguson turned, and the corners of his mouth drooped. “The vet thinks it’s spinal meningitis, but he’s not sure,” he admitted. “The symptoms come and go, but we’re hoping he’ll pull through.”
The blonde boy, however, didn’t look as optimistic as he hugged the shaky spaniel to himself. “You’re a good boy, Carlo,” he said, tears pouring unashamedly down his face, sorrow clogging his throat. “You’re a good, good boy.” The dog whimpered, his tail thumping slowly.
Bobby seemed to pick up on the distress and started to fuss, and Scully handed him back to Mrs. Mason, who looked torn between comforting one boy and the other. The housekeeper chose to return to her quarters, jogging the infant in her arms, but making a point to stoop down to murmur something to Jack, who clung tighter to the dog in his arms. As Mrs. Mason’s shushing noises disappeared around the corner, the blonde boy sniffled, then managed to pick up the spaniel and hobble to his room, which was in the opposite direction of the housekeeper’s, judging by the heavy sound of his crutches.
Ferguson inhaled deeply, then sighed shortly. “Carlo is dying,” he said succinctly when they couldn’t hear the sound of crutches, “the dog knows it, and my son, somehow, knows it. He’s an old dog for his small size, but my Jacky loves that dog fiercely, even as he hates his owner just as fiercely.”
“Gabriela,” Mulder said, and the bald man nodded. “Thanks for having us here, even if your son was overly paranoid about his stepmother.” He ignored Scully’s blink of surprise as he went on. “It’s beautiful country out here, Mr. Ferguson.”
“It is,” and Ferguson allowed himself a small smile. “If you’re looking for an honest curiosity, go see the Green Man. Oh, they call him Long Man of Wilmington,” he corrects himself. “Now that’s a mystery for the ages.”
“I was planning on it,” Mulder returned the smile, then shook the other man’s hand. Scully did the same, and they took a cab back to the inn.
“What the hell was that all about?” Scully glared, when they were back in their room. She sat heavily on the bed, waiting for an answer.
The fact that you managed to keep that in from the handshake to the room was amazing, Mulder thought, as he had expected her to explode in the cab. “Getting a bigger picture,” he said.
“Mulder, the bite mark on that baby was a human adult’s,” she stared at him with her green-blue eyes. “I hope you have a good explanation as to why you think he’s safe, other than the fact that no new bite marks have appeared.”
“That’s exactly why I think he’s safe,” Mulder replied, “Mrs. Mason seems to be doing a good job on her own. And perhaps Dolores is a formidable guard dog for her mistress as well.”
“So, what do you think of the Fergusons?” Scully asked.
“You’re thinking that Dr. Watson, and by extension, his detective friend Holmes, are right,” Mulder said.
“I’m not asking you what I think, or what other people think, I’m asking you what you think,” she pushed on.
Mulder sat down next to her. “I think it’s a good thing we came here,” he said. “Like Maggie said, something odd is going on, and it may or may not have anything to do with vampires.”
Scully’s expression turned from defiant to pensive. “We didn’t see Gabriela Ferguson,” she said. “I thought you’d push for that.”
Mulder’s expression turned sheepish. “Actually, I thought you would,” he said, “but I figured we pushed our luck with both the baby and the dog. Ferguson’s inclined to only give us so much, and the fact that his older son’s crippled doesn’t make me want to push anyone’s buttons too soon.”
The right corner of Scully’s mouth turned up. “Getting hesitant in your old age?” she teased.
He returned the half-smile. “Let’s just say I’m less willing to let collateral damage happen for a hunch these days,” he said.
Scully nodded. The last official job they’d done with the FBI resulted in the death of one of the leading agents, even as they’d saved the last victim, but it had left a sour taste in Mulder’s mouth. These days, he was an author and freelance consultant dealing with the paranormal, which meant he was doing the same job he used to, only for less money and less governmental oversight. This wasn’t the first job since their FBI days that had taken them overseas, either, but it was the first one that had paid for their room and airfare. She supposed that had a lot to do with the case as well.
“So, we’re going to wait it out until the situation escalates?” she said.
He looked away. “It’s going to escalate anyways, just more so, now that we’re here,” he said.
“Better charge your phone,” she said, and he nodded, then got up to dig out the phone charger and its accompanying adapter plug. Then she joined him and dug into his travel bag to pull out the files. She sat back on the bed, rifled through the papers, then pulled out the police reports on the recent attacks. Her large eyes narrowed. “There was no clear indicator of an aggressor,” Scully said, looking at the photos and then at the typewritten reports. “Both Jack and Gabriela sustained injuries, offensive and defensive, and their stories conflict.”
“No broken bones, no sustained injuries,” Mulder quoted from memory, “and bruises and scratches fade. Those attacks happened a couple of weeks after the honeymoon, when the couple returned to Cheeseman’s. Great recipe for unhappy step-family dynamics.”
Scully nodded. “People seemed only too happy to blame the violence on the new wife’s cultural background, but Jack’s rather emotional himself and a lot stronger than he looks.”
Mulder rejoined Scully on the bed. “Those wiry arms have to carry him around on those crutches,” he said, “and in spite of his size and disability, he’s still a teenager.”
She sighed, then returned the reports back into the file folder. “I hope we see Gabriela before things get bad,” she said. He gave her a look, and she groaned inwardly. Of course things are already bad, or they wouldn’t be there. “Shut up,” she said, as he made a mock-offended face, “let’s just get something to eat.”
“Mulder, you were right,” are Scully’s first words once he answered his vibrating cell phone.
Mulder smiles from his perch in the tree. “You just said the magic words, Scully,” he said, readjusting his night vision goggles.
“Ha, ha.” Scully rolled her eyes, thankfully in the back of the cab so she could do just that. Then she sighed, taking her time now to read through the stolen files from St. Marcellus’ Hospital. It was nice to know that even Mulder couldn’t hack into paper records, but a little disheartening to find that she could simply walk in with a white coat and take those same records. “Judging by the changes in physiology before and after birth, I can understand why he wouldn’t let us see his wife,” Scully said, “what I don’t understand why he looked so terrible himself. Why would him su--,” then she paused, aware that the cabbie might spill the beans, “saving his wife take such a toll?”
Mulder sighed, putting away his woodcarving knife and rough stakes for the time being. “He’s probably a newbie himself, and the vamp who made him wasn’t considerate enough to tell him how to safely feed. Bastard probably expected Ferguson to make a dumb move and get himself killed.” He made a face. “It’s nighttime. Do they seriously need to close the blackout curtains now?”
“It’s cold out,” Scully sighed, “with that old house, they need all the insulation they can get, and her circulation’s probably even worse now that she’s a mother.” She’s proud that she didn’t even stumble over the large lie.
Mulder smirked. “I can’t wait for you to join me on the stakeout so we could maybe bust a stake out or two,” he said. “Then we could go for some steak out.”
She rolled her eyes. “If that doesn’t kill them, nothing will,” she groaned.
He chuckled. “How far away are you now?” he asked, now scanning the landscape. He was in one of the trees on the edge of the Ferguson place, having come under cover of night an hour and half ago, the same time that Scully arrived at Hospital.
Scully wasn’t fazed by the sudden change of conversation. “About twenty minutes. Is something happening?”
“They pulled the curtains open about a foot. I can’t tell if it’s the maid or someone else who did it, but it looks like the wife is just lying on the bed. Guess she needs to save her energy if she can’t be drinking blood all the time.”
“Mulder,” Scully sighed.
“Kidding, kidding,” he said lightly, although he was serious. “Scully, is the baby normal?”
She blinked. “Yes, he is,” she said, “he didn’t display any of the sensitivities or irritation of his parents. Do you think she’d do that to her child?”
“You saw the bite marks,” Mulder said.
“Then that was an uncontrollable impulse, if what you said is true,” Scully said carefully. “I don’t think she was in her right mind when that happened.”
Mulder sighed, leaning forward to try to get as much of a view as he could through the foot or so of vision between the curtains as he could. The room was surprisingly bare, from what he could see, so either this was a new prison for the wife post-vampirism, or they’d removed items that could prove harmful for anyone within reach, including the wife herself. At this point, it was hard to tell which. “If she’s a newly-made vampire like I think she is, she won’t be in her right mind for a while. The fact that they all feel she has to be locked up says something about how strong her urges are versus her humanity.”
“Do you think things will get any better?” Scully asked. “You saw what the husband looked like.”
“Yeah, I did. But I also shook his hand. He’s not about to roll over just yet.”
“I don’t know if I hope you’re right or wrong, in this case,” Scully said.
“Me, neither,” Mulder said honestly.
“I’m at the drop off,” Scully said, pulling out her wallet to pay the cabbie. “Don’t start anything without me.”
Those happened to be famous last words, as a scream tore through the chilly night air, and Scully tossed stealth out the window as she jumped back in the cab and barked, “Straight to Cheeseman’s front door, NOW!”
As for Mulder, he practically fell out of the tree when he heard the scream, but fortunately had enough padding with the jacket and longjohns to somewhat cushion the blow. He scrambled to his feet, straightening out the night vision goggles as he ran towards the house. He couldn’t even tell if the lights were on inside, that’s how thick the blackout curtains were, and he pulled out his flashlight just in case. He tried the door, and found it was locked. Fortunately, it was pretty damn old, and he didn’t hesitate to kick it in. There goes stealth, he thought ruefully, and ran inside.
He ran through the first floor, but only found Mrs. Mason running out with little Bobby in her arms and a baby bag on her shoulder, and Jack clutching a sleeping (perhaps closer to death?) spaniel in fright. Mulder only had time enough to continue to shoo the housekeeper out of the house, and harangue the teenager to do the same. Then he ran upstairs.
Meanwhile, Scully saw a round woman puffing her ways towards the cab, followed rather closely by a smallish teen hobbling behind her. “What’s going on?” she asked them.
“He told us to get out,” Jack Ferguson gasped, and Scully reached behind for a nonexistent gun out of habit. Dammit.
“Yeah, you do that,” the redheaded doctor said, “get in and go to the Chequers.” To her relief, the teen got into the cab, but the housekeeper still lingered.
“What about the Fergusons?” Mrs. Mason cast a fearful look back at the house.
“We’ll take care of it,” Scully assured her, practically shoving her and the baby inside. “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” As soon as she shut the door, the cab peeled off. She didn’t give herself the luxury of shaking her head, but ran towards the danger.
“Mulder! Where are you?” she called out. She pulled out her flashlight and shone it about, as the dim lights weren’t on and she didn’t have the night vision goggles her partner had splurged on a couple of years earlier. Vampires aside, the old house would be appropriately creepy enough for any number of Halloween-like situations. She strained her ears and eyes for an answer, but none seemed forthcoming.
“Dammit,” she hissed, and ran upstairs. “Stupid Mulder.”
Mulder, however, is stuck between a psychotic maid bleeding from her neck and a vampiric husband in the wife’s current room. “My wife is a doctor,” he tried to calm them both down, his eyes darting rapidly behind the goggles to see if either of them would make any sudden moves. “She can help you.”
“No one can help her,” Dolores glared at him, still standing in spite of the blood running down her neck. Emotion made her accent thick, but vampire victim aside, she seemed fairly strong and intelligent. “That demon husband did this to her!”
“I know what he did,” Mulder raised his hands, trying to look as peaceable as possible to lower the tempers in the room. Scully yelling downstairs only heightened the fact that there was another intruder in the house. “But the baby is safe. And Jack is safe.”
That seemed to calm Ferguson down, at least. He sagged against the wall. “Thank God,” he sighed, the glow from his eyes fading a little “thank God.”
“Why would you thank God, you devil?” Dolores hissed. “You made Gabriela want to kill herself with your evil blood!”
“I saved her life!” the older man shot back.
“No, you did not!” the maid shot back.
A thump caused them both to whip their heads around. “Forgive me,” a weak voice said from the floor, “please.”
“Gabriela,” Ferguson said, starting for her.
The maid blocked his way. “Don’t touch her,” she hissed, “you already touched her and look what happened!”
Gabriela is sobbing, and the tracks of her tears glow as brightly to Mulder’s night vision goggles as the trail of blood down her mouth. She wiped her mouth and instinctively licking the blood off, which set off a fresh round of tears. “Kill me,” she begged her maid as both she and her maid looked horrified by her actions, “Dolores, if you love me, kill me!”
“NO!” Ferguson roared, his eyes flaring back to a bright glow.
Mulder threw himself at the vampire to keep the maid from killing him instead. “God, how long have you been a vampire?” Mulder huffed, wrestling him to the ground.
“A week longer than Gabriela,” Ferguson grunted beneath him.
Everyone stared at the pinned vampire. “Seriously?” Mulder asked. Ferguson must’ve been more desperate to keep this wife than he previously thought.
“I didn’t want her to die,” the once-athletic vampire whimpered. “But it’s so hard to live.”
A loud sigh from the doorway startled them all. “For heaven’s sake,” Scully muttered. “I’m glad you both have enough humanity to keep from feeding on the general populace, but haven’t you heard of blood banks? Dogs and babies are not sound alternatives, and even Dolores would keel over sooner or later.” She flipped on the light switch, which only lit up a weak, flickering bulb in the corner of the Spartan room. “You’re acting like kids, when you should be worrying about your kids! You’re all going to have to come clean to Jack and Mrs. Mason, and you’re going to need to work something out with the local hospital. That baby needs his mother,” and she glared at Gabriela, “and your son needs his father,” and she glared at Ferguson, “you’re supposed to be adults, act like it!”
The once-formidable maid looks shaken. “But, but,” Dolores stammered.
Mulder sighed. “She’s right, you know,” he said, “now, are you going to come with us to the hospital peacefully to get transfusions, or will I have to tie you both up to behave?”
Ferguson looked to his wife hopefully. “We’ll behave,” the bat guano trader said, and his wife nodded.
“Dolores, I’d like to bandage your neck, please,” Scully said.
The darker woman’s had time to gather her wits, and shook her head. “I can do it,” the maid waved her off, and the doctor shrugged.
“Fine,” Scully said, “let’s get the happy couple to the hospital.”
“So, what kind of write-up will you do for this case?” Scully asked as they were en route back to Virginia.
Mulder shrugged, but doesn’t stop typing on his laptop. “You suggested they keep a low profile, so I’m going to hold off on writing anything about them for a while. When I do, it’ll be the usual ‘names and places changed to protect the guilty’ sort of thing.”
“I hope they’ll keep a low profile,” Scully shook her head. “And I’m relieved we were the only other ones Jack contacted.” Especially since there was less people to ask about the unexplained and “unattended” death of one of the orderlies at St. Marcellus’ Hospital, one who was unwise enough to think he could outsmart two former X-Files agents. Seeing the original vampire being dispatched so quickly and efficiently may have had something to do with the Fergusons’ continued willingness to behave.
Her partner smiled at her crookedly. “You’re a good woman, Scully.”
“Thank you,” she said, nonplussed.
“No, I mean it,” he went on, “after all that craziness, you want them to work on being a family. You do realize that there’s still a chance that Jack could flip out big time, or that Mrs. Mason would fly off the handle, or baby Bobby could turn out to be a dhampir.”
“But there’s a chance that those kids could grow up healthier than they would without parents, and Mrs. Mason seems to have a good head on her shoulders,” Scully said steadfastly. “If we’d gone in guns-a-blazing, yeah, we could’ve taken care of the problem short-term by taking out the parents. But long-term, everyone else’s lives would be a mess.” She looks past him out the plane window. “Remember Cheney, Texas? The sheriff said they led quiet lives, at least, until that one kid started acting stupid and we were called in.” She looked back at him. “I’m hoping the Fergusons will learn to live quiet lives, or at least, learn to live with each other.”
“Now that half of them are technically dead, that is,” Mulder couldn’t resist adding, and Scully punched his arm. “Ow.”
“You’re going to keep tabs on them, aren’t you,” Scully said, less of a question and more of a statement.
Mulder smiled a little. “Yeah. It’s not very often that we see something like this get a happy ending. Or as close as they come.”
Scully exhaled, then leaned against her partner. “You’re getting mushy in your old age, Mulder.”
“Says the woman who gave a tough-love speech to a newly-vampired couple,” Mulder teased. “Some therapist is gonna have their hands full, I can tell.”
“And you don’t want to be that lucky man?” Scully grinned.
“Hell, no,” Mulder said, “there’s enough going on Stateside to get my attention.”
She closed her eyes, content, and after a few minutes of saving his file and stowing away his laptop, Mulder does the same.
It’s been a couple of weeks since that ludicrous case proposed by a hysterical teen came through, and Sherlock had practically forgotten about it. Well, he would have, except a text from an unfamiliar number came up.
The thin brunette narrowed his already-narrow eyes, and exhaled, then deleted the text and erasing its footprints from his mobile. With his luck, Mycroft wouldn’t find out about this until later in the day, but he can only hope for so much.
Now that he’s properly paranoid, he won’t even bother searching for this Mulder person on either his or John’s laptop, but then, the number of international supernatural detectives is rather small. He frowned, then laid down on the sofa, closed his eyes, and searched his mind palace on information regarding this Fox Mulder. Apparently, his specialty lay more in aliens, but had more than a passing familiarity with a variety paranormal and supernatural types, having survived his fair share of attempts on his life, human and otherwise. Interesting. And from the few personal details John shared, the American managed to come up with the correct diagnosis as to what he actually was.
His pale eyes snap open. Well. He’s not bored now. He’s got one more person to keep an eye out on his radar, stated good intentions aside. Only his meddling brother and the mercurial Moriarty come to such a dangerous level, and not even Moriarty knows this about him. Well, he hopes not. For all his meddling, Mycroft does know how to keep secrets, especially one he shares with his brother.
“Fox Mulder,” he droned into the empty flat, and promptly closed his eyes again, waiting for Mycroft’s call.