Summary: Mysterious murders in a small town lead Mulder and Scully into a cult of so-called faeries.
Note: Hi from the bottom of the totem pole. This is a story BiaSong (formerly Spright) and I thought of after having a 7-hour X-F marathon at my house. I apologize for the disclaimer, but those 'Remember The Seventies' CD commercials were on and you know how easy songs can get stuck in your head AND NOW ON WITH The SHOW....
Home of Rae and Phalene Walker Pennyville, Maryland August 5th 7:10PM
Rae shoveled the last bit of creamed corn into his mouth, then set the plastic spoon back into its compartment on the TV tray. He stared blankly at the TV screen, watching as a televangelist explained eloquently that if everyone watching the broadcast would send $50 to the address below, their souls would all be saved from the fiery furnaces of hell. Rae picked up the remote and changed the channel.
"Hey, I was watching that!" said his wife Phalene, reclining next to him in her pink Lay-Z-Boy.
"Well, too bad," Rae remarked. He settled on a sitcom and the two watched in silence.
"What the hell was that?" Phalene said worriedly, crouching behind her chair.
"I don't know," Rae said, slowly easing toward the door. He silently slid into his mud-caked Redwing boots and grabbed the flashlight lying next to the door. Phalene hurried wordlessly into the kitchen, taking the empty TV dinner plates with her.
Rae pushed open the front door and stepped out onto the porch. There was an eerie taste to the air tonight, and the Bug-Off machine buzzed even louder than usually.
"Come out, come out, wherever you are," Rae called out teasingly, his gun resting vulnerably on his right side. "Come on," he cooed,"I know your out there."
Meanwhile, Phalene was in the kitchen, polishing a steak knife. As she put down the cotton cloth, she paused to admire her reflection and light reflected directly into her eyes. She squinted, then put the knife down on the table as she reached up to wipe her eyes.
Phalene jerked her head up.
"Rae?" she called out timidly. "Rae?"
She picked up the steak knife and walked out onto the front porch. She looked around, but Rae was nowhere to be found.
"Rae? Rae, where are you? Rae-"
She was cut off by her own scream, and the knife fell, clattering on down the stairs, landing handle-first in the petunia bed.
Dana Scully walked into the office she shared with her partner, Fox Mulder, half-asleep and dead tired. Her mother's birthday had been yesterday, and she'd spent last night at Maggie's house after the party. Mulder had been there too, but he'd left around 10. Paperwork, he'd said. Scully had realized by now that it wasn't paperwork he was interested in after checking last night's Pay-Per-Veiw listings.
She opened the door to the office, finding Mulder's back to her, sitting in front of what Scully recognized was a new computer. Bedside him was several half-empty Styrofoam cups and a package of sunflower seeds.
"Mornin' Sunshine," she said, setting her briefcase on the desk.
"Hey, Scully," Mulder said, barely noticing her entrance.
"I see you got a new toy," she commented, walking over to stand behind him.
"We," he corrected her. "Skinner said that he'd bought a new home PC and gave us the old one."
"Anything interesting on it?" she asked, looking at the screen.
"Not unless you count the very advance Freecell and Solitaire games he bothered to download," Mulder answered sarcastically, picking up a seed and popping it in his mouth.
Scully gave him a little half-smile, then, opening her briefcase, pulled out a large, fat manila folder full of (surprise!) paperwork. She pulled a pen out of her purse, sat down at Mulder's desk, and began.
About an hour later, the phone rang. Mulder, still engrossed in Freecell, made no motion to pick it up, so Scully, after capping her pen, did.
"Agent Scully, I need you and Agent Mulder to report to my office in a half-hour," said a voice on the other end, presumably Skinner.
"Yes, sir," Scully replied and hung up.
"Mulder, Skinner wants to meet with us," she reported, turning to face him.
"Did he say why?" Mulder asked, reluctantly shutting down the computer and polishing off the remaining coffee.
"No," Scully replied, organizing her files back into their respective cabinets.
"Let's not go then," Mulder said, sitting back down in his office chair and propping his feet back on the desk.
"I only wish we had that opportunity," Scully said, then knocked his feet off the desk. The impact sent him spinning. "Let's go."
"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully," Skinner nodded as the two agents came in his door. "Please sit down."
Mulder and Scully complied, then leaned casually back, waiting for instructions.
"Agents," Skinner began,"I received a call from Field Agent Thompson this morning. Apparently, two days ago, a man was found on the front porch of his home, murdered. Several claw marks were found around his body, but so were footprints. I'm sending you to Pennyville, Maryland to find the killer."
"Sir, isn't this more of a VCS case than an X-file?" Scully asked.
"It seems so on the outside, but, as Agent Mulder puts it so well, it has a paranormal scent around it. Besides, the other agents didn't want to do it," Skinner replied, and Mulder let out an amused chuckle. "Your plane for Baltimore leaves tomorrow at 8AM. Contact Agent Thompson at this number when you get there." At this point Skinner pulled out a card from his desk and handed it to Scully, who tucked it in her pocket. "Due to the recency of these events, we've been unable to make any residential arrangements."
"Am I to understand that we're on our own in the hotel way?" Mulder asked, an evil glint in his eye.
Skinner nodded and said,"If there are no questions, then you are dismissed."
Scully and Mulder arose from their chairs and walked out. Before Mulder got his foot out the door, Skinner called,"Agent Mulder?"
Mulder turned around. "Yes sir?"
"Don't do anything I wouldn't do," Skinner said, and to Mulder's surprise, he winked. Mulder gave his a little half-smile, then turned to catch up with Scully.
Pennyville Visitor's Station
"Thank you for coming so quickly, agents,"said the chief of police. Mulder nodded curtly, and Scully handed him the report she'd finished reading. "We've never seen anything like it."
"Any idea of the origin of the battering done to the man?" Scully asked.
"No, but we did find these around the body," the chief said, and produced a black evidence bag. As Scully took it from his hand, she noted the weight and shape of the objects inside.
"Feathers?" she asked skeptically. "Could we be dealing with a raven attack or something of that notion?"
"Not by these standards," he said. "These are swan feathers."
"And apparently, swans don't have talons," Mulder said, putting the report aside and examining the feathers. "Do you still have the body?"
"It's still in storage," the chief said.
Mulder turned to Scully. "Are you ready for another autopsy today?"
"it's not exactly what I want to do," Scully replied," but that's what I'm here for."
Mulder turned to the chief. "May my partner here be allowed to examine the body?"
"Sure," the chief said. "Agent Thompson said you probably need a facility, so we got you one set up at the Station. I'll take you there, if you'd like."
"Sir, do you have Mrs. Walker's address?" Mulder asked. "I'd like to ask her a few questions."
Cedar Sets Trailer Park
"So, Mrs. Walker, did Rae have any grudges against anyone that would lead someone to do this?" Mulder asked.
Phalene, dressed in a matronly pink housecoat, shook her head.
"Are you sure, Mrs. Walker? None at all?" he pressed.
"Rae was a big 'people person'," Phalene said. "He was the type of person everyone was comfortable with. He was voted 'Best Personality' by his high school class and served on the FARO council for about a year."
"The FARO council?"
"Faerie Art Restoration Organization."
Mulder gave her a look. She followed up:
"We're not witches or anything, if that's what you're thinking. Just people restoring the ancient Faerie arts . . . it's not the occult or anything, Mr. Mulder. There's no way anyone in FARO would do this to Rae. He was-"
Mulder's cell rang. He excused himself and pressed the TALK button.
"Peter Pan here."
"Oh, hi Tinkerbell. What's up?"
"Defiantly not my mood after being called 'Tinkerbell'. Anyway, I found something on the corpse I need you to take a look at. Do you have the time?"
"Yeah, I'm almost done here. I'll be over there as soon as I can." Mulder ended the call and turned to Phalene. "Mrs. Walker, I'm sorry, but my partner just called to inform me that she has new information that might lead to the finding of your husband'' killer. As you see, I really must go."
"Its okay," Phalene said. She got up and led him to the door. "Do you have hotel accommodations, Mr. Mulder?"
"No, but I'll find something."
"Good luck," Phalene said, opening the door. "FARO is holding its annual convention this week. The hotels are booked up pretty solid."
"I'm sure we'll manage," Mulder said as he stepped out onto the porch.
Pennyville Police Station
"Hey, Scully," Mulder said as he walked through the door. "What did you find that was so 'important'?"
Scully didn't turn around, but said,"Come see for yourself."
Mulder walked up beside her and she handed him a pair of gloves. She took a long, deep breath and turned the body on its stomach.
On the corpse's back were two distinguishing black marks. They were both slightly raised, and positioned near the shoulder blades. Scully looked up at Mulder, waiting for his reaction.
"Well, what are they?" he asked lightly, running his fingers over them.
"At first I thought they were burn products," she said,"but then I noticed the shape. No burn source, no matter how high tech, could ever produce scorch marks in 2 perfect ovals in this position relative to each other."
"And even if they could, that doesn't explain for the raised section." Mulder finished.
"Exactly," Scully said. "Now, Mulder, look at your fingertips."
He looked at them. A gooey tar-like black substance oozed onto his palm. "What is it?"
"I don't know exactly," Scully said. "I sent it to DC for a lab test. The results should be back in a while."
"Do you have any idea of how the marks got here?" Mulder asked.
"No, but the inside of the marks are filled with the same black substance on the outside. Also, a winged joint was found in each mark. These structures are similar to the winged structures found in birds, specifically those of waterfowl. How these got on a human-"
"Is the X-File!" Mulder said, his eyes displaying the glint that Scully knew oh-so-well as Fox Mulder on the hunt.
"There is scientific evidence proving this happening. A cartilage like structure can grow on a fetus's back, subject to a birth defect called-"
"Come on Scully," Mulder said. "This is bone we're talking about. I saw it and touched it. This is no cartilage. I saw it. Besides, this man has no defect of the sort. His medical examination papers from last week prove that."
"Why was he in the hospital last week?"
"Rae was found near the town pond, half naked and freezing to death. These papers say he had no idea of how he got there. Phalene took him in to make sure he hadn't caught anything."
"And the examiner didn't notice the marks?"
"Apparently not. There's no notice of any abnormalities."
"Who was the doctor? Maybe we could talk to her."
"Verdania Adams. A med. student from Pennyville State. Senior last year."
"Could we talk to her?"
The phone rang. Scully removed her gloves and said into the phone,"Dana Scully."
Mulder tuned out her conversation and began examining the body his own way. He looked inside the bumps, and the goo oozed out.
"Thank you, Agent Thompson," Scully finished her call and hung up, turning to face Mulder. "That was Agent Thompson down at the forensics lab. The sample I sent down there is gone."
"Gone? What do you mean, gone?" Mulder asked, pulling off his gloves.
"I mean gone. The tube I had Fed-Exed is missing. It must have been intercepted on the way there."
"Well, lets just get some more," Mulder said, taking a scalpel and scraping some off into a tube. "Here."
"That's not all he said," Scully said, putting the tools back into a drawer.
"What other 'wonderful news' did he give us?" Mulder asked.
"Verdania Adams was found dead 2 hours ago. Our murder has struck again."
Later That Day
Mulder was snapping pictures on the newest victim while Scully read from the file Thompson had sent along with the corpse.
"Twenty-five year old female, Verdania Adams. Recent graduate of the local Pennyville University, majoring in medicine. Found dead in a canoe, on a lake nearby her residence. Several blows to the neck with sharp objects preceded death. Subject apparently bled to death."
"Rough night," Mulder commented dryly, setting down the camera and strapping on another pair of sterilized gloves. "Scully, help me here."
With joint effort the two rolled the body on its stomach, the blood quickly draining to its chest. Mulder looked up at it shoulder blades.
"Check it out, Scully," Mulder said," Apparently Rae and Verdania died with the same marks." He traced them with a gloved hand.
Scully bent over the autopsy table, skimming her fingers over the marks. A black substance coated her finger. "The same substance covers both sets of marks. It is likely-"
"Though highly illogical."
"That Rae and Verdania both developed the same genetic disfigurement due to exposure,"Scully finished.
"Exposure to what?" Mulder asked.
"I don't know exactly," Scully said. "Did you find out anything at Rae's home that could lead to this?"
Mulder paused. "According to Mrs. Walker, Rae belonged to a group called the FARO-Faerie Art Restoration Organization. When I questioned Mrs. Walker about it, she claimed it didn't have anything to do with the occult, but-"
Scully let out a snort. "Mulder, you think these people were murdered by modern-day Tinkerbells? No wonder you answered the phone the way you did."
"No, I'm not saying that," Mulder said. He reached into his pocket and pulled out two evidence bags, which he laid side-by side on the table.
"Black swan feathers,' he stated, while Scully looked doubtfully on. "According to the information I've gathered and the cases I've read in the X-Files, this is part of a chain of murders stretching over a period of 200 years. Each case has stated a possible link to the Black Swan Faerie story written by Hans Christian Anderson."
Scully raised an eyebrow. "And so, Mulder, were supposed to believe that some psychopath over 200 years old is running around, turning children's bed time stories into serial killings?"
"No, but in other folklore, there have been mentions of this so-called Black Swan Faerie that lead people out of their homes and slaughter them," Mulder explained,"Mulder explained.
"But Mulder, swans-neither black nor white-have talons or claws or anything else that could cause the puncture marks seen on both Rae and Verdania's bodies. Also, the location of these bodies puzzles me. According to this legend and the files, all the victims were found in the open. In a secluded back porch and the bottom of a leaking canoe, don't really fit the description." Scully countered.
"Technically, a pond is out in the open," Mulder replied. "It is also I swan's native habitat. The Cedar Sets trailer park has a small fishing pond in the southern edge, even though it is near a major metropolitan area."
Scully's growing discomfort and fatigue had gotten to her. Finally, after a few moments of silence, she spoke up. "C'mon, Mulder, lets just go to a hotel and leave. We'll work on the case tomorrow."
And for once, Fox Mulder did not argue.
Days Inn Room 103
Hours later, a sleepy-eyed Dana Scully barged into her hotel room, toting her bags and nearly slammed the door on Mulder trailing behind.
"I can't believe there was just one room in all of Pennyville,"she groaned. Mulder just shrugged and said,"At least it was double bedded."
Scully set down on her bed and reached for the phone. Mulder picked up her laptop and plugged it in a jack in the wall.
"Hey mom," Scully said after a few seconds of silence. "Its Dana...yeah... Skinner gave us a new case..."
As Scully continued chatting with her mother, Mulder reached over and took the channel listings, looking for something to perk his interests.
"Yeah, Maryland...uh-huh...-Mulder!" Scully interrupted the conversation and lunged over toward Mulder, catching a firm grip on the remote. Apparently Mulder had done enough channel surfing, for he had settled on a screen that read Mature Audiences Only: Contains Explicit Nudity.
"Mulder...give... me...the...remote" she said sternly, wrestling it away from him and flipping to ESPN. "Hey Mulder, look. The Knicks are on...watch them."
Mulder gave her a disgusted face that plainly told her what a bore she was, then watched with interest as the cheerleaders came onto the screen.
"Sorry, Mom, just Mulder...so, where were we?" Scully was saying.
After the cheerleaders disappeared from camera, Mulder disappeared into the bathroom, presumably to take a shower. After Scully ended her phone call, she flipped channels for a while, landing on CNN.
Mulder's cell phone rang. Reaching into his coat pocket, she pulled it out and said,"Scully."
"Agent Scully?" came the commanding voice. Scully cringed when she thought of all the things running through the AD's mind at that time, but recovered quickly. "Yes, sir?"
"Isn't this Agent Mulder's line?"
"Yes, sir," Scully replied, proud that her voice did not wobble.
"Normally, I would ask for an explanation as to why you're answering his phone, but I think I'll skip it today,"Skinner said, and Scully breathed a silent breath of relief. "Where is Agent Mulder?"
Scully was about to reply, but Mulder stepped out of the bathroom, dark hair damp and towel wrapped loincloth style around his hips. Obviously Mulder was not one for modesty. She handed him the phone, mouthing 'Its Skinner' to him. He took it and said,"Yes, sir?"
Scully leaned back on her bed, eyes focused on the television set but using her peripheral vision to scan every inch of her partner, thinking unpartner-like thoughts that she chided herself for thinking, but kept doing it anyway.
"Yes, sir. I understand sir. I'll fax you our evidence report as soon as possible,"Mulder clicked off his phone and tossed it over toward his suitcase. Scully gave him a 'you slob' look as she went over to pick it up and put it in his discarded suit pocket.
"Expecting to sleep in your clothes Scully?" Mulder teased. Scully raised one copper-colored eyebrow and walked into the bathroom with her suitcase.
Mulder chuckled and seized the remote Scully had unsuccessfully tried to hide. He flipped over to one of his favorite channels, but it didn't really interest him since he knew Scully was in the next room. In fact, it made him feel uncomfortable.
<Shit, Scully> he thought to himself, and gritted his teeth. She always had a way of getting under his skin, consciously or unconsciously. But, that was part of what made him feel so attracted to her.
Scully stepped out of the bathroom, with the same nightgown he had seen during the Falls at Arcadia case, with the same terrycloth headband. But, something was missing.
"What happened to the alien-green face mask?" he taunted. She rolled her eyebrows and retorted. "I forgot it. Besides, aren't aliens gray?"
Mulder grinned into his pillow, then rolled over quickly. "Hey, Skinner said that he's sending us the lab results on that substance you sent down to forensics."
"Did he say what they found?"
"Nope,"Mulder snuggled close to the pillow. " He wouldn't say much, just that you'd be surprised."
Scully got into her bed and flicked off the TV. "Pleasantly or not?"
"Like I said, he didn't say much,"Mulder said, and flicked the TV back on. " Keep it on. I fall asleep to this stuff."
Scully flicked it off. "I can't sleep with it on. Keep it off. "
Mulder flicked it back on. "Like I said, I can't fall asleep with out it."
"Like I said, I do," Scully said, annoyed, and flicking it back off.
A few silent seconds passed and Scully thought she'd won the battle. She snuggled back into the covers and then as she was on the brink of consciousness when-
"AND FOR FIFTEEN NINTEY-FIVE YOU CAN OWN THIS MARVOLUS CHINA SET, MODELED AFTER THE SET BOUGHT BY QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECONED ON HER 35TH BIRTHDAY---"
"TWENTY-FIVE HUNDRED SATISFIED CUSTOMERS SINCE DAY ONE-"
Home of Phalene Walker and the late Rae 7:15 AM
"According to Phalene's taste in décor, she seems to support your theory fully,"Scully commented as she sat down to the dining table.
"You know I hate to say this,"Mulder said smugly, and Scully mouthed sarcastically "I told you so.'
Scully, exhausted from not getting enough sleep last night, countered,"But what makes you so sure that we're dealing with these so-called faeries. Why couldn't it be some deranged serial killer of something out for revenge? Taking insurance on past grievances or plotted revenge against an old enemy?"
Mulder opened his mouth to answer, but before he could, Phalene walked in with a skinny, well-scrubbed teenage girl with sunbeam-colored hair and a mouthful of wiry braces, toting a tray with a pink plastic pitcher and four glasses on a tray. "I brought you some lemonade you can sip on while we talk."
Mulder nodded and picked up a glass, filling it to the brim before passing it to Scully, who gave him a look before passing it back to the un- identified girl.
"Agent Mulder and Scully, I'd like you to meet my niece MaryBeth Evans. I'm her legal guardian since her parents died in a tragic accident a couple years ago."
"Tragic," echoed MaryBeth looking out the window listlessly. Mulder and Scully exchanged glances.
"Mrs. Walker," Mulder began. "My partner and I came here today to discuss further details of your husbands death. This is valuable information that possibly will be used in a court of law. Now, Agent Scully and I are going to ask you and MaryBeth a few questions that we're going to record on tape, alright?"
They both nodded. Scully produced the recorder from her pocket and flicked it on. "This is Agents Mulder and Scully reporting on case 859013. The focus of this case is the death of one Mr. Rae Walker of Cedar Sets Trailer Park, located in Pennyville, Pennsylvania. Subjects of interrogation are Ms. Phalene Walker, wife of the deceased, and MaryBeth Evans, niece of the deceased."
Scully placed the recorder softly on the top of the table, carefully not to bang it loudly. Mulder started with the first question.
"Ms. Walker, did you know of anyone who might have held a grunge against any member of your family, yourself and MaryBeth included?"
Phalene sighed. "Mr. Mulder I already answered that question when you first came here."
"This is for the purpose of the legal- case, Mrs. Walker. Now, do I need to repeat the question?"
"No, I know what its is,"Phalene said stubbornly. " Like I told ya earlier, I don't know of nobody who'd hurt any of us."
"But you did say that you belong to a profiting, widely unknown organization, correct?" Scully queried.
"Would you state the name?"
"The FARO. Faerie Art Restoration Organization. MaryBeth here belongs to it too, don't you MaryBeth?"
"Yes, Aunt Phalene." MaryBeth spoke in her listless southern drawl, still staring out the window.
"Could you tell us what the FARO does, exactly?" Mulder asked.
"Sure, MaryBeth here will help me, won't you MaryBeth?"
No reply. MaryBeth was still gazing out the window oblivious to the goings around her.
"Well, Vivian Raqovich, she's the group leader, helps us restore all these old Faerie legends and stuff 'round here. Real convincing stuff, too. I never would have imagined I'd get involved in all this witchcraft hocus-pocus, but she can sure make a body believe in that stuff!"
Scully switched off the tape recorder when Mulder nudged her in the side. "Mrs. Walker, do you have this Vivian's address?"
"Sure do. Why, y'all want to interview her too?" Phalene asked.
"Sort of,"Mulder said, and they all got up. As Phalene waddled out of the room to get Vivian's address, he turned to Scully. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"
"Probably not,"Scully said. " But it's worth a try."
3.4 miles from the Home of Vivian Raqovich
"So, as far as we know, this Vivian could be in your case a mad-dogged- Tinkerbelle and in mine a deranged serial killer?" Scully asked on the way there.
"How about this,"Mulder asked. " We compromise and it'll be a serial Tinkerbelle?"
"Be serious, Mulder,"Scully reproached him.
"I am being serious," he replied innocently. "I think if both of our theories could find a common link we'd both be right."
"Sure, like that's ever going to happen," Scully muttered as the pulled into a winding boulevard of trees that lined the driveway to a sprawling Victorian gingerbread farmhouse.
"I'd like to can Vivian the 'head faerie, if I may," Mulder said to no one in particular.
"Mulder, why do you keep on insisting that we're dealing with faeries here? Faeries are purely myth and legend. You know that, I know that, even the Gunmen know that, although I wouldn't put it past Frohike."
"But apparently the members of FARO don't,"Mulder said precisely. "Besides, I doubt the Gunman, even Frohike, don't either."
"Yeah, I forgot what an influence you have on them,"Scully half-growled. Even though not many people enjoyed arguing with their partners, it had become a routine, almost normal circumstance surrounding their relationship. Scully, as Lydia had picked up, enjoyed this aspect, especially when she came out on top.
The car stopped and Scully and Mulder stepped out, slamming the car doors shut.
"Nice place,"Mulder commented. He picked up the miniscule tape recorder Scully had custom-ordered from one of the Bureau's nearest office and pinned it on the back of his tie, turning it on.
They walked up to the front steps and Scully rang the doorbell. She turned over to straighten his tie, but Mulder swiped her hand away, whispering,"Stop it. "
The door opened, and a short, chubby, pleasant-looking woman in a black uniform answered the door.
"Hello, I'm Agent Mulder with the FBI. This is my partner, Agent Dana Scully. We were sent here to make contact with one Vivian Raqovich, who we were told lived here. "
"Yes, I'll get her," the woman said, opening the door wider. " Please come in and make yourself comfortable in the library. I'll get Ms. Raqovich. Straight down the hall, two doors to your left." Then the little woman disappeared down a long, dark and narrow hall.
"Somehow I feel like Twilight Zone music should be playing in the background now," whispered Mulder to Scully as they made their way down the hall.
"Here's my first question,"Scully whispered back. " How does the president of a little club like FARO be able to afford a maid with no other work credits?"
Mulder shrugged as he opened the door to the library.
Inside were numerous armchairs strategically placed in groups of 3 around the room. Several oil lamps lit the room, and sunshine poured in from an opposing wall. It gave Scully the chills as she remembered how many horror flicks she had seen as a teenager had started in similar rooms, but then rebuked herself for thinking such childish thoughts.
After Mulder and Scully were settled in opposing armchairs, the door creaked open and a pale, tall dark- headed woman stepped in. She had piercing eyes that could only be called violet, and her hair fell to the small of her back. When Mulder stood up to greet her, the top of him head came to her chin.
"Vivian Raqovich, I assume?" Mulder said and the woman nodded. "I'm Fox Mulder with the FBI and this is my partner-"
"You can skip the introductions," Vivian interrupted in a low, throaty voice. " Estelle told me who you were. We can sit down now."
As they were seated, Scully felt the hairs on the back of her neck tense up. She'd never felt so nervous interrogating a suspect until Luther Lee Boggs, but even then she was under personal connection leave from the case. There was something about this woman; some sense or something that caused Scully to be on her guard at all times. She could tell Mulder felt it too, when his muscles tensed up underneath his suit.
"So, what did you need to discuss with me?" Vivian asked, arranging herself in a black armchair with three fluffy pillows she had acquired after they were laying dormant on a library latter.
"Actually we were sent her to interview you,"Scully said, awakening her tongue.
"Don't you mean interrogate?" Vivian asked saucily.
"What do you mean?" Mulder asked. Vivian let out a hearty laugh.
"What do you mean? I'm not stupid. I read the news, I watch television. I know you're here about the deaths of two FARO members," Vivian answered, resting her head against the bridge of the chair-top.
"Well, since you know why we're here," Mulder said testily,"then maybe you could go on and give us testimony."
Scully shot Mulder a warning glance. She knew Mulder better than anyone else, and she off all people knew that Fox William Mulder DID NOT like being bossed around.
Vivian laughed, her head rolling back. "Well, just a little quick to the gun, aren't we?"
"No," Mulder replied, annoyed. " Just a little impatient. Excuse my manners."
"It's alright," Vivian said. Scully watched, perturbed that Vivian did not make amends but rolled right over Mulder's moods, ever the woman steamroller. That was one quality that Scully admired, even though she did not exactly approve of. "Where shall I start?"
"How about where you were the night of each murder?" Scully said, glancing at the device hidden under Mulder's tie. He gave her the slightest of nods and she turned back toward Vivian.
"Well, on August the fifth at around seven I was watching television in my bedroom. I'm an early sleeper, and I had to be prepared for the upcoming FARO planners meeting the next morning."
"Do you have anyone who can confirm this alibi, Ms. Raqovich?" Scully asked.
"Estelle came in to turn off the television at seven-thirty and she had sent me in my room at seven."
Mulder glanced at Scully ever so slightly. Scully, who had mentally cleared Vivian of that murder already, proceeded to the next question.
"Where were you the day Verdania Adams was killed?" she asked. Vivian gave a luxurious yawn and answered,"I was in the garden, working on the tomato patch. Several people were with me, including some non-FARO members."
Scully stood up. Obviously, in here mind, Vivian was cleared. Mulder stopped her. "Scully, could I have a moment alone with you?"
"Can't it wait, Mulder?" she asked, eager to get back to the hotel room where the fax from Skinner was waiting. He looked at her urgently, and she reluctantly walked into the hall with him.
He shut the door behind him. "Scully, the woman is obviously guilty."
"Guilty, Mulder?" Scully asked, surprised. "How exactly do you explain that?"
"I'll tell you later," he said, pulling her closer. " I don't feel really safe all of a sudden."
Scully felt an eerily cool wave pass over her. She shivered. "Me neither, Let's get out of here."
Neither agent noticed the little woman in a maid's uniform slip coyly down the hall.
Days Inn Room 103
Mulder looked up from Scully's computer when she came barging in the hotel room, toting two large bags.
"Any luck on that background check?" she asked, throwing down the bags and removing her suit jacket.
"Yeah," Mulder said, clicking on the send button. "Byers just sent me a whole truckload of stuff an this chick. Did you know her favorite food is broccoli?"
Scully didn't bother looking up as she spread the papers over the two beds. "Anything helpful?"
Mulder clicked on the new message that had appeared on Scully's inbox. He scrolled down. 'Vivian Georgina Raqovich. Born April 22, 1960. Never married, suspected of a homicide- turned murder case in '88. She has a steady income, but Langly said no source has been found yet, unless you count a subscription to the National Family Opinion Service. Any luck with you?"
"That substance found of the victim's shoulder blades has been linked to five different chemicals, all originating from a plant not far from here. It could be just an allergic reaction."
"Since when do allergic reactions have talons?" Mulder asked. "Bye, the way, Frohike wants to discuss threats to the country over coffee next week."
"That guy never gives up, does he?" Scully asked, smiling for the first time in days. "Tell him my schedule's kinda full."
The room was silent for a few hours, with nothing but the shuffling of papers and the tip-tap of keyboards, along with the vast exchange about Frohike and the other Gunmen occurring rarely.
After awhile, Mulder connected the computer to the printer and it spat out several word-splattered sheets, which he handed directly to Scully, commanding,"Read."
She skimmed it then looked up. "So Rae's obituary had a mistake in it and Vivian's birth certificate can't be located. So what?"
"The mistake in the obituary wasn't any little mistake,"Mulder said. " It said that Rae had died a whole day earlier."
"And your point is?" Scully asked, putting her glasses back on. Mulder flicked on the tape recorder.
"-On august 5th around seven I was-"
He clicked it off. "How could she have known that Rae died August 5th if she wasn't the murderess?"
"He belonged to her organization, Mulder,"Scully explained patiently. " Mrs. Walker probably called."
"No she didn't," Mulder said, whipping out another sheet. "This is Phalene's phone bill up until now. No calls were made to Vivian's house."
"What if she came over?" Scully asked, still dismissing the fact that Vivian killed them both.
"I talked to her," Mulder said. "She never came over."
"Ever heard of word of mouth?"
"Yeah. Only MaryBeth knew until the day before the funeral and you know her.."
"She could have been at the funeral."
"No register signature. It was required at the door,"Mulder said, grinning. He loved it when he knew he would win an argument with Scully. Plus, this X-File, which should have been routine, was rapidly turning into that sensational throb that ran through his veins whenever he was getting ready to solve a bona-fied X- File.
"Any explanation before I write this up?" asked Scully, closing a three- pronged notebook. Mulder looked at her, shocked.
"You're giving up this early?" he asked, dumfounded. She nodded. "I figured I owed you one. So, anything?"
"I do have a theory on how the people were abducted," Mulder began. Scully took off her glasses and leaned back up against the headboard.
"First, Verdania gathered together this group of people,"Mulder began. " She lead them to believe that they're really faerie's out there.."
As Mulder droned on and on, Scully felt her eyelids droop. She tried to stay awake, to pay Mulder the same curtsy he had given her while she explained her theories, but she was just...so...tiered...
Mulder finished his speech and looked over at Scully. Instead of seeing her with her skeptic look, he saw her asleep, sprawled halfway on his bed, papers kicked astray on the floor, conveniently leaving just enough space for a person Mulder's size to fit.
He looked around, like he felt he was a naughty child getting ready to steal from somewhere, and curled up next to Scully, his arm wrapped around her waist.
It felt good, almost natural to be cuddled up next to Scully, with the top of her head a comfortable spot to rest his chin, and her hand touching his (how did that get there anyway? :)) He snuggled up closer, listening to her soft breathing as she lay floating in Dreamland, another dimension where secret hopes and passions lay, where the key to unlocking one's mind was fixated inside, only to be unlocked by one...if only he could be that one...
He shivered, and pulled up the comforter with his free hand. He had always hoped to do something like this with is partner, whom he had 'worshipped from afar' for the past seven years. He hated that cliché, but somehow it expressed how he had felt about Scully since they had been paired together. He had also hope she would be awake, but he kept reminding himself small steps lead to giant leaps.
Scully murmured something and unconsciously snuggled up closer to Mulder. He wrapped his grip around her more securely, never wanting this moment to end...
Scully awoke slowly, as she became aware of sudden pressure on her body's side. Instead of unfamiliarness, she recognized it as Mulder's body heat, projecting toward her as she mentally noted the pulled up comforter, the arm wrapped around her waist, and his face buried in her hair. She squeezed his free hand ever so gently as to not wake him, and lay there basking in the glow of her affection for the sleeping man lying next to her.
She had no idea how he'd gotten there, and didn't really care. She pulled his hand up to her lips and kissed it gently, then rested it against her cheek. She had wanted to do this ever since that stakeout on the Tooms case, but work and different clauses always wormed their way in. She slowly shifted her legs, and Mulder stirred slightly.
"Mulder?" she asked softly into the abyss of night. There was no answer from the sleeping form lying next to her.
"I love you." There, she had said it. She had spent nights alone in her apartment thinking of that night after Mulder was hospitalized after the Queen Anne incident. She had never forgiven herself for not returning the sentiments he had declared to her, and had made her mind up after the quarantined account with Diana Fowley that she would let him know.
The moment had never seemed right beforehand, though she had wanted it to be. Oh, how she had wanted it to be.
Mulder awoke once again. This time, he sensed that Scully was awake, even though the lights had been turned out. He didn't want to move, and Scully seemed to convey positive body language toward the situation.
He squeezed her hand and she jumped, but settled back in to her position.
"Do you want me to move, Scully?" he breathed quietly, hoping she'd say no.
"No. Just hold me. " she replied, and he kissed her hair, savoring at the moment.
Time passed. Eternity could have come and gone and the two agents could have never missed it.
"Mulder?" came the voice, softly.
"Yes?" he said back, hugging her tightly to him.
"I love you."
He felt a smile spreading over his face. She tensed up, but then he quickly said,"I love you, too."
She shifted around so she faced him and brought her lips to his.
To Mulder, all the bombs in the world could have just exploded and colonization could have begun, but he didn't care. There he was, kissing Dana Katherine Scully, the woman he loved more than any in his life. He never wanted the moment to end, and as he sat there kissing her, he couldn't believe what he had missed out.
Scully remembered as a young teenager what her sister Melissa had told her about her first kiss.
"Fireworks explode, the world turns upside down, and everything just fades away," she had said.
Well, Dana wished that Melissa could have been there because when she kissed Fox William Mulder, she saw the fireworks, she felt dizzy, and the whole world rejoiced. She couldn't believe what she had been missing out of the long seven years.
** Sometimes you drown it out With all your rage and thunder. Sometimes you drown it out With all your tears. And then one day You wake up and you wonder 'Where in the world have I been?'
So listen with all your heart Hold it inside forever. You may find all your dreams Have already come true. Look inside and find the part That's leading you. It's a beat of a heart **
Room 103 9:25 AM Scully slowly awakened, checking her still-on watch. 9:25.
"Mulder?" she called out. "Mulder, you there?"
Somewhat disappointed that he wasn't, Scully got up and went to the bathroom to shower and change. When she returned, Mulder still had not returned.
Scully sighed and opened up her laptop, going to try and finish the report before they left. She couldn't believe that he had ditched her so soon after what had happened last night, but this was Mulder she was talking about...
When the screen on her computer was cleared from the screensaver, she noticed a message box at the bottom of the screen. She clicked on it and began to read.
HE'S GONE BECAUSE HE KNOWS TOO MUCH
It was signature-less, but Scully knew who it was. She scrolled down to the bottom of the document where a set of coordinates were typed. She got out her map from her pocket and studied it carefully.
She got up and went back through the room, picking up Mulder's cell phone and her own. She made a quick call to the local PD (which wasn't much considering Pennyville's population), requesting back up. Then, she got into the waiting car outside.
"I'm coming, Mulder," she said to herself. " Hang on."
Scully pulled up next to Pennyville's pond. She checked the coordinates on her machine, and then stepped out of the car, casually resting a hand on her holstered Smith & Wesson.
"Mulder?" she called out, walking toward the water's edge. "Mulder, can you hear me?"
"He can't, ' replied a familiar voice, and Scully watched a tall figure slink out of the room.
"Vivian," she said quietly. " What the hell did you do to him?"
Vivian laughed, her wicked lounging laugh that echoed through the forests and sent shivers down Scully's spine. "Oh," she said casually, letting her eyes drift to the shimmering water," he's around."
Flabbergasted, Scully followed Vivian's gaze, and after realizing what she meant, ran to the water's edge. On the way, she tripped and started falling face-first into the shimmering waters below.
BAM. Scully felt shivers retract back into her elbows, and she looked at the surface she had hit. It was till the lake, all right, but not the 'water' she'd expected. This substance was more like glass than water with no permeation and a damn good punch.
"Shit," she said, then stood back up. "Vivian, where the hell is he?"
Vivian still stood there, her faux manufactured perfume leaking over toward Scully and filling her nostrils. She sneezed and repeated again her request, except a little more louder and frantic,"VIVIAN, TELL ME WHERE The HELL MULDER IS OR I'LL KILL YOU!"
Vivian, ever the calm one, still stood there, taunting,"I doubt it."
Scully sat there, lungs burning from her most recent outburst, wondering why the hell the police hadn't gotten here yet. She fumbled for her gun and upholstered it, facing it point-blank at Vivian's chest.
"You, know Vivian, I've known some sorry SOBs in my life, and I think you're going to join them if you don't do as i say. Now, Tell...me...where...he...is...." she breathed, finger poised on the trigger. She wasn't going to take the chance of loosing him, not after what had happened last night.
Vivian smiled coyly, but instead of replying, there was a brilliant light. Scully turned, and shielded her eyes. When she looked up, Vivian was no longer there.
Instead a beast only described as a black swan/human hybrid stood there, fingertips sprouting black talons, poised and ready to lunge at Scully's throat. Scully fired her gun, but it didn't faze the creature, but seemed to anger it. It began to run toward Scully wildly.
Scully sat there, her body tensing up but still steadied her feet and kept on firing. The creature didn't slow down and Scully felt that she would have to bail before...
"Stop," commanded a loud, hearty voice. The creature stopped and turned around and Scully craned her neck to see who it was.
It was MaryBeth Evans. Shy, listless MaryBeth, whom both Mulder and Scully had dismissed as pure fluff, was now gazing right into the eyes of the terrifying creature, commanding it to stop.
The creature looked from Scully and MaryBeth quickly, as if trying to decide which she should harm first. After lingering its gaze on Scully, it decided that it could finish off this little wisp of a girl and come back for Scully later, It staggered toward the girl.
Scully gasped as she watched the creature's fingers contract, realizing what it planned to do to the girl. MaryBeth made no motion of escape. Scully reached for her gun on the ground, but MaryBeth looked at her, her eyes telling her to put it away. She did, and sat there watching.
When the creature reached MaryBeth, it raised its claws, poised to strike, and there was another brilliant flash. Scully closed her eyes and shielded her face with her forearm.
A few seconds later, it was all over.
Scully slowly opened her eyes, blinking to regain her sight. When everything came into focus, she knew something was wrong. Vivian was no longer there, but a white swan, cleansed of its dark heart was swimming happily in the pond. MaryBeth was no longer the quiet girl they had seen at Phalene's farmhouse, but a being only described as a Faerie.
Scully looked around dazed, and saw Mulder resting at the water's edge. She looked up at MaryBeth and whispered,"Thank you." The medium nodded, and vanished into a volume of light.
Scully scrambled to the water's edge, where Mulder was reviving himself.
"Scully?" he asked, looking into her face. "What happened?"
"You were right," she said, and leaned down to give him a kiss.
Mulder lifted his head up to meet her lips, but before they kissed, he managed a small,"I told you so."
I hate the "This is my first fic excuse, but its true for this one, so don't be to harsh. :)
The song "The Beat of A Heart" excerpt in this fic is from the Where The Heart Is soundtrack. I think it's by the Warren Brothers, but I'm not sure
PS. I know in Beyond The Sea Scully fell asleep with the TV on, but lets just ignore that for the purpose of this fic
PPS: For all you paperback XF readers, yes, I do realize the part about Frohike and Scully discussing threats to the country over coffee was mentioned in EBE. I happened to like that book, though, so it was a little homage to it.
PPPS:(Just one more thing before the Goss volunteers get really ticked) You can visit Spooky152's Shipper Haven at the following: www.geocities.com/marajadeskywlker/shippers-haven,html Have Fun!