Title: Mulder's Creek: 19. Moose Mayhem
Author: Neoxphile
Author Email: neoxphile@aol.com
Rated: PG
Keywords: XF/Dawson's Creek crossover. Alternate universe.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership to the characters, except those I've created, as they belong to Chris Carter and Kevin Williamson

Summary: Something is driving the wild animals in Capeside mad. Mulder and Doggett vow to get to the bottom of it, and a reluctant Scully tags along to keep them out of trouble.



Opening Scene-

The strains of a pop song on the cd player make the floor vibrate as Mulder walks down the stairs towards the living room. He'd gone to his room to find something, and didn't expect to see the sight he's greeted by as he pauses on the landing.

Scully and Sam dance around the room, laughing as the song progresses. Mulder sits on the stairs and watches them, awestruck. If someone had told him six months ago that he'd now be watching his sister and his girlfriend spin by in their own joyful orbits, he would have laughed at them, and said it was impossible. Mulder decides that he's had a radical overhaul in his summation of what is or isn't possible.

As Sully sings along to the song " Won't you stay? Won't you stay? Forever and ever and ever," he decides not to, and instead sneaks into the living room and joins their dancing, much to their amusement.


Theme song- "Stranded" by Plumb


Saturday morning, McPhee home-

It doesn't surprise Reyes very much to see that she has a message from FLindley. After going several weeks without hearing from "Fowley" one well worded message has gotten a response soon enough. Reyes settles into her chair, preparing to enjoy reading the message.

6/1

Dear Reyes,

I'm sorry to have made you worry, I didn't mean to. Things have gotten weird, though, so I wasn't able to write back to you. First I got caught trying to send you a message, the risk of which we both knew existed from the outset. They didn't punish me or anything, but they kept me under closer surveillance until I had my baby.

You were right to think that they weren't to be trusted. I barely got to see him before he was whisked away from the room, and I haven't seen him much since. I'm glad that the Mulder's brother is normal, because....my son is not. I think some of the drugs they gave me, since they thought he was one of their hybrid babies, damaged him. It's really too terrible to talk about, so I'm not going to elaborate. I must be a terrible person, but...I can't help but be almost relieved that they are taking care of him, and won't let me have him back. I think it will make returning to my real life easier this way. I'd prefer not to talk about this whole mess when I get home, you know, so I can just put it all behind me as quickly as possible.

Hey, what did you discover about Spender that would make you consider going to the police? I doubt he ever committed a crime, so I don't know what could possibly be in his past that would be so dangerous. If I were you, I think I'd talk to him about it before doing anything rash.

See you soon,

FLindley

Reyes rolls her eyes, and wishes that bad things will happen to Spender. Of all the terrible ploys to keep her from talking to Fowley about this, he has to invent a deformed baby that's too painful to talk about. She supposes that he doesn't claim the baby died because having it alive somehow forwards his sick little game. Well, she thinks, I am going to talk to Fowley when she gets home, you jerk, and I think she'll be very interested in how her life has been going according to you. Maybe I'll even tell her about who you really are.


Sunday morning, Witter home-

When Doggett pads downstairs to look for something for breakfast, he's surprised to see his Dad and brother sitting at the kitchen table, eating pancakes and laughing. Sheriff Witter smiles at his youngest son and says " Hey, let me make you some pancakes. Your brother has a story that you'll love."

Doggett blinks and says," Thanks for the pancakes Dad." Then turns to his brother with an expectant look.

Kersh grins and starts his story. "Ok, so one of my friends who's on the force in Boston swears that he saw this happen when he was walking the beat yesterday afternoon. Seems that some guy lifted an elderly woman's purse, and by the time he caught up to the guy, the thief was screaming bloody murder. Not to mention that the guy smelled like crap and had it all over his hands. Once he got the crook and the old woman to the station, to book the crook and take her statement, he was able to piece together what had happened."

"Which was what?" Doggett asks, dying from curiosity.

Kersh's grin transforms into a broad smile. "Here's where it gets interesting. It seems that the woman was walking her dog when the man accosted her. She told my friend that she hated the idea of carrying around a pooper scooper, and the idea of carrying around a baggie of dog poop was even more horrifying since she often ran into friends while on her walk. So to compromise she'd bought an old purse at a thrift shop, so she could store the offending baggie out of sight until she got home."

"Oh no." Doggett remakes, seeing where this is all going.

"Anyway, this method was working great until the guy nabbed the purse. She tried to yell at him what was in it, but he took off before he heard her. So he gets about a block away and shoves his hand in the purse to find out what he'd gotten. Apparently his prize was less than pleasing to him. My friend figures that's the last purse that man will ever attempt to steal," Kersh says laughing.

Doggett laughs too, finding it surreal, if pleasant to be included in a shared joke between Kersh and their father. He takes the next shift cooking pancakes.


Monday, Capeside high school-

The tv is center stage in the classroom. The man on the screen is middle aged, thin, wearing thick glasses and a blood spotted lab coat. He's outdoors standing next to a wood-chipper into which he is throwing rubber chickens while screaming " It's not a biological imperative!" He repeated this ritualistically, even while a pile of shredded yellow rubber grew next to the machine. At last his screams fade away as does the picture.

The teacher shuts off the television, and begins to address the class. "This is an example of vague symbolism used to manipulate viewers into thinking of worse things, in this case the slaughter of animals. This example is, of course, produced by a group of militant vegans. Other examples of this method include..."

As the teacher drones on, Scully finds herself paying very little attention, which she supposes is normal for June. A sudden scream pierces her thoughts, and for a moment she looks at the television, confused, because its screen is blank. Then she notices that a few of her classmates have just bolted from their seats and run towards the windows. She slides out of her chair and joins the crowd at the windows.

The screamer is a student, who she supposes was part of a class having their lesson outdoors. This student isn't staying with his class however, but is running around aimlessly. Since there are three squirrels with their teeth sunk into his arms, drawing blood, Scully doesn't blame him. Eventually his teacher tackles him and gets the crazed animals off of him without being bitten herself.

Scully's teacher wisely realized that trying to gain control of the class while the drama played itself would have been a futile effort at best, but orders everyone back to their seats as the bitten boy is lead back into the building.


Talk of the boy's strange attack was the buzz in the lunch room when Scully joined her friends at their table. Mulder smiles at her as she sits and goes back to debating with Doggett. "Doggett, I don't think it's normal for squirrels to attack people, not singularly, and certainly not in packs."

"Three is hardly a pack." Doggett scoffs. "And maybe he did something to scare them."

"Maybe," Mulder says grudgingly. "But I still think that there's something strange going on."

Scully shakes her head and turns to Reyes. "What's all that about?"

"Oh, you know, another rousing round of skeptic vs. believer," she says rolling her eyes, then looks more serious. "The kid is suffering the misfortune of being administered a series of rabies shots. I don't think he's going to be back to school for a couple of days..."

"The poor kid," Scully says, then tries to steer the conversation to more pleasant lunch-time topics.


3pm, Leary home-

Mulder puts his bookbag down and wanders over to the kitchen table to see what Sam is working so hard on. From a distance he thought she was doing some of the homework that their mother assigned her, but up close he could see that she was using colored pencils to draw in an art pad. Mulder suddenly remembers his parents making a fuss because she somehow indicated to him that she wanted the paper and colored pencils. So his father when out right then and there and bought the highest quality ones he could find.

Mulder thought at first that it was silly to buy professional quality art supplies for a child, but looking at her picture, he is stuck by how skilled at drawing she is for someone so young. The picture is flawless, and it is creepy. Mulder feels the hairs on his neck rise as he looks at the picture.

In the foreground of the picture there are a lot of pine trees, densely packed, grudgingly giving enough room for a narrow path that leads up to what Mulder assumes to be a cottage. There's something sinister about the way Sam has drawn the cottage, though Mulder can't figure out what about it gives him that impression. There are only a few windows in the cottage, and the pencils' shading makes them all look dark and abandoned. Except one. In one there's a figure half swallowed by shadows, who almost seems to be peering out of the window.

Mulder is seized by an urge to ask Sam if this picture has any significance to her, and her kidnapping, but he knows what will happen if he does. She'll look up at him with luminous hazel eyes, so like his own, and give him an innocent look that gives nothing away at all.

Instead he runs up to his room and grabs his camera, intending to take a picture of her drawing. His parents gave him the camera for his birthday, after he expressed interest in photography, and it's as high in quality as Sam's art supplies. As Mulder is rushing back down the hallway, he hears a noise from Price's room, and looks in the open door. Price, who has apparently just woken up, gives Mulder a sleepy look through the bars of his crib. Mulder blinks, and realizes that Price's eyes are still midnight blue. Though his parents assume that the baby's eyes will change to brown or hazel like Mulder's and Sam's, there is no indication yet that his eyes actually will.

Price gives a small yawn and falls back to sleep even as Mulder watches him. He's tempted to take Price's picture too, but fears that his mother will kill him if he wakes the baby up, so he trots back down to the kitchen. Sam doesn't even seem to notice that he takes her picture. She's concentrating that hard on the drawing.

Thursday 5pm, the video store-

Doggett is stocking the shelves with newly returned videos when he hears the bell on the door jangle to announce that a customer has come in. He turns towards the door and tries to keep his welcoming smile from sliding off his face when he sees Krycek walking towards him carrying a large bag over one arm.

"Hey, Witter, just the person I hoped to run into," Krycek says, grinning broadly.

"Hi. What's up?"

"Well, since you were so helpful with finding a way for me to convince Sandy to go to the prom with me, I wanted to thank you and show you my tux," he says, unzipping the garment bag.

As Doggett looks at the black and white tux, he figures that Krycek will look as much like an overgrown penguin as anyone else there that night. "Looks good, man."

"Thanks!" Krycek exclaims. "For everything, I mean." He gives Doggett a good-natured cuff on the shoulder and leaves the store. Doggett stares after him. Did that really happen? He thinks, shaking his head in bewilderment.


9pm Friday night, McPhee home-

Reyes brings a huge bowl of freshly popped popcorn into the living room. Skinner sniffs appreciatively, and Scully looks up and smiles.

"It wouldn't be movie night without popcorn," Reyes says, putting the bowl on the coffee table.

"You know, Scully, around these parts, Reyes' skills as a popcorn maker are renowned."

"So my ears deceive me? A compliment from my brother? Why thank you, Skinner."

"You've earned it. It took a lot of work on your part to garner the necessary skills. Remember the first time to tried to make popcorn-"

"Skinner," Reyes says with a note of warning in her voice.

"- and you accidentally knocked the cover off the air popper, and the popcorn exploded all over the room while we scrambled to unplug it?" Skinner finishes with a grin.

"Anyway, let's start the movie," Scully says, hoping to distract them from an argument that could lead to bloodshed.

"Sure," Reyes says happily. "I love 'Drive me crazy'. "

"Because it reminds you of Doggett's attempts to drive you crazy, I bet." Skinner says leaning as far away from Reyes as possible.

"No hitting!" Scully admonishes Reyes as she leans over Scully and tries to swat her brother. "I wonder if Mulder and Skinner are having a good time, too." Scully muses.

"Who cares? It's time to start the movie," Skinner says, settling back against the couch as the credits roll. "Ow! I thought you said no hitting!" Skinner says to Scully as he rubs his shoulder. Both Reyes and Scully stick their tongues out at him.


11:30pm-

Fishing poles poke out of the rear passenger window as Doggett's borrowed car sails down the highway back towards Capeside. Mulder turns his face towards the open window, enjoying the rush of night time air.

Doggett turns down the radio to get his attention. "Looks like we'll get back home before curfew."

"For once," Mulder says with a snort. "Do you think we'd ever get busted?"

"You maybe, if you're by yourself, but me? Forget it. As soon as they see my face they say 'dammit, Witter, go home!' There are some perks to being the sheriff's son," Doggett says with a grin.

"Just don't say that in front of your brother. He'd probably force his friends to write you up to spite you."

"Duly noted," Doggett says. "Hey, you know how the prom is tonight?"

"How could I not? Most of the older girls in my classes spent the day saying 'oh no, how could they be so cruel to assign homework this weekend? The prom is tonight!' " Mulder says, rolling his eyes.

"Anyway...The strangest thing happened yesterday while I was at work. Krycek came in and thanked me profusely for that bad advice I gave him about that ditz and showed me his tux."

"It doesn't seem that cold out for June..."

"What on earth are you talking about?" Doggett asks, confused.

"Hell froze over, didn't it?" Mulder asks with a grin.

Before Doggett can retort, the police ban radio on the dashboard comes alive with a squawk. "...accident...rt 212...Capeside..."

"Looks like we ought to expect a delay," Doggett says with a sigh.

Five miles later they come to the scene of the accident. There is a scatter of red and white glass ahead of the car, which has sustained heavy damage to the front end. Doggett is about to drive by when he sees the car's occupants huddled by the side of the road, waiting for the police. Doggett pulls over to the side of the road.

"What gives?" Mulder asks.

"Did you see who it was? Krycek and his date. I don't like them, but I'm not going to leave them here all alone until the police show up," Doggett says, getting out of the car. Mulder sighs and scrambles out after him.


The heavy bass of a southern rap song spills out from the damaged car, because no one has thought to turn off the radio. Krycek and Sandy look alert, if upset, as the boys approach them. "You guys ok?" Mulder asks as they get nearer. Sandy is huddled next to Krycek, her face streaked with tears, but she's not crying now.

"Yeah, we're fine," Krycek tells him. "Just bruised."

Doggett stares at him. "You have a nasty gash on your arm, Krycek."

Krycek looks at his arm, his expression dumb with surprise. Apparently he hadn't noticed his injury before now. "Oh."

"We heard on Dad's police ban radio that the police are on there way. I'm going to go back to the car and use the CB to tell them to send an ambulance too, ok?" Doggett asks.

"Yeah, sure," Krycek says, sounding a bit vague. As soon as Doggett walks away he turns to Mulder with a stricken look. "I'm not going to get the deposit back on the tux, huh?"

"Probably not."

Once he's back in the car, Doggett puts on the car's emergency flashers, and grabs the CB from off of the seat. "This is sheriff Witter's son, Doggett. My friend and I came across the accident scene reported a few minutes ago. Over."

"Is the cruiser there yet? Over."

"Not yet. There's a minor injury also, one of the two passengers is going require stitches. Over."

There was a momentary pause, then the voice came back. "An ambulance is on the way. Over."

Doggett grabs a flashlight and runs around the car to the trunk, hoping that what he'd seen in there a week ago is still there.

Mulder stops his attempts to reassure Krycek that his mother won't kill him when Doggett rejoins them, carrying an unopened water bottle and a pair of gleaming white handkerchiefs.

"My dad's aunt sends him these by the truckload, so I'm glad to have found an unopened package of them in the trunk. Krycek, help is on the way, but I think we should try to slow the bleeding while we wait." Krycek nods. "Mulder, can you roll up gently his sleeve?"

Krycek winces as the fabric goes over his wound. Doggett pours some of the water on the cut to wash out debris, then carefully wraps the handkerchiefs around the cut. "That should help some."

"So...what happened?" Mulder asks.

Sandy, who looks more together during a crisis than either of them would have ever dreamed of giving her credit for, explains. "We left the prom a little while ago, and were on the way to an after party, when suddenly a moose-"

"There aren't any moose in Capeside," Doggett objects.

"There was one today," Sandy insists."A moose ran out in front of the car, so we stopped dead in the road, figuring that we'd wait for it to cross the road. After a couple of minutes it left, so we started driving again, then the damn thing dove out in front of the car, like it had just been waiting for us to move to attack."

"It was the strangest thing I've ever seen," Krycek adds.

"That does sound strange..." Mulder says, give Doggett a "is that possible?" look. Doggett shrugs slightly.

The ambulance suddenly arrives, killing all further conversation.


12:39 am, Leary home-

Mulder stifles a yawn as he opens the front door. He cringes as he hears his father's footsteps, and braces himself for being lectured. To his surprise, his father doesn't raise his voice, but instead calmly asks " Why weren't you home a half hour ago?"

"Unforeseeable circumstances," Mulder says, aiming for levity. Mr. Leary doesn't smile. "We were on the way home when we ran across an accident scene. It was two kids from our school, so we didn't feel right just leaving them there, so we waited with them until the cops and the ambulance came," Mulder explains.

"Someone got hurt?"

"Yeah, but not badly. He just needed some stitches for a gash in his arm."

"What happened? Was there drinking after the prom or something?" Mr. Leary asks, his brow furrowed in concern.

"No, nothing like that. But it's the strangest thing... Sandy claimed that she and Krycek were on their way to the prom's after party when a moose attacked their car."

"There aren't any moose in Capeside."

"Yeah, that's what I thought too. The police pointed out thick brown fur caught in the car's ruined front end, though," Mulder told him, not bothering to add that the officer only showed them to earn brownie points with Sheriff Witter.

"That is strange," Mr. Leary agrees as Sam pokes her head into the room. Mulder blinks in surprise, he hadn't heard her come down the stairs. "Oh, that reminds me...I agreed to let your sister stay up until you got home. She has a surprise for you."

"For me?" Mulder asks, and Sam smiles broadly and nods vigorously. Sam leads him up the stairs and into his room. She snaps on the light and he immediately sees the surprise. The top of his dresser, which usually had nothing on it, now had a five gallon fish tank, with a bright blue base, sitting on it. Inside the tank there is a blood red Siamese fighting fish, and a small gray catfish.

"Wow, Sam, thanks!"

"I think she saw how hurt you looked when Scully and Reyes accused you of only liking fish to 'torture' them." Mr. Leary uses their euphemism for fishing. " So she drew me a picture and insisted we go to the pet store," Mr. Leary says with a fond smile at his daughter. Sam grins back and her hands dance- first in a circle near her face, then swimming away from her body, thus signing 'pretty fish.'

"You're right," Mulder instantly agrees. "They've very lovely fish. I guess I'll have to name them..." Mulder thinks for a moment, then his face brightens. "I know, Ebert and Roper!" Mulder decides that Scully might be having a bad influence on his sister as she pulls her hands on her hips and rolls her eyes.


Dusk, Sunday-

Mulder twinned his fingers around Scully's as they took a peaceful walk at the tail end of a relaxing weekend. Mulder was happy to have time alone with her, since it seemed that his time over the past few weeks was being booked on him before he had any say in it.

"What are you thinking about?" Scully asks, breaking their companionable silence.

"You," he tells her truthfully.

"Oh? What about me?"

"I was thinking about how it's almost summer, and how it will be nice to be out of school and spend more time with you. And wondering if you'd ever dye your hair blue."

"Why would I dye my hair blue??" Scully asks sounding very puzzled.

"Why would anyone? I saw a girl on TV with her hair dyed blue last night."

"You're weird, Mulder."

"Thank you. What were you thinking about?"

"Oh, how nice it is that after I get home I'll still have a couple of hours to study for finals before Bessie brings Alexander home from our aunt's house."

Mulder stops and gives her a serious look. "I think the romance is dead, Scully."

"You," she says, throwing her arms around his neck. Mulder laughs as his arms go around her waist and pull her close enough to smell her flowery shampoo. After a moment Scully disappoints him by pulling away. "What's going on over there?" she asks, a note of concern in her voice.

Mulder turns around and sees a flurry of black-tipped wings. Then he realizes that the seagulls seem to be dive bombing a couple who is having a picnic in the park. The man throws a jacket over his and the woman's heads as they try to avoid the sharp beaks.

Mulder and Scully notice that there's some sizable sticks laying around, so they grab them and rush at the birds, hoping to drive them away. After a few angry parting shrieks, the birds fly off.

"What the heck happened?" Mulder asks the man.

"I don't know. We were just sitting here having our picnic when they flew at us. We figured that they wanted the bread, so we threw it to them, but they ignored it and attacked us instead."

"Are you hurt?" Scully asks, not seeing any blood.

"I don't think so," the woman says, giving herself and the man a look-over. " If you hadn't shown up when you did, I bet we would have been."

"Yeah. Thanks a lot," the man adds.

"Glad we could help..." Mulder says faintly, thinking that something smells rotten in Capeside.


5:30 Monday morning, McPhee home-

The twins make an effort to spend quality time with their father before school once a week. This week the morning is a bleary Monday so, with the exception of Mr. McPhee who is dressed except his tie, it's a pj breakfast type of morning. Skinner, dressed in an Incubus t-shirt and sweat pants, pours out three glasses of orange juice, and yawns. Reyes, wearing bright orange Tigger pjs that she'd rather die than have anyone outside the family see her in, pulls cinnamon buns out of the oven and puts them on a plate to cool. Mr. McPhee tunes the small tv that lives on the kitchen table to the morning news.

They're eating breakfast when something the monotonous news caster says catches their attention. " ...the latest animal attack took place a few hours ago when a pair of rampaging black bears attacked a bus full of nuns, who were on their way home after a spiritual retreat, when the bus stopped at a rest area so people could stretch their legs. None of the passengers was seriously hurt, but driver was bitten badly, and received 28 stitches before being released from the hospital. The bears could not be found after the accident. Local scientists are baffled as to why so many normally peaceful animals, like raccoons and deer have suddenly taken to attacking people. And in Red Sox news..."

Skinner looks at his father, intending to ask him his opinions on the attacks, but Mr. McPhee speaks first. ""You know that they're still going to lose this year. Every year they start off strong, then piss away their lead..." For a moment Skinner is baffled, then concludes that his father must be talking about baseball.

Skinner shrugs. "You don't think that they could win the world series this year?"

"I don't think they'll ever win one in my lifetime. The curse of the bambino," he says ominously.

Reyes shakes her head and heads up stairs to get dressed.


Mulder slings his back pack onto his shoulder, and he's about to leave the house when he hears his father on the phone. The older man's angry tone intrigues him, so he decides to take a minute to indulge in his favorite pastime- eavesdropping on his parents. For a moment he wonders if it has anything to do with the mystery people who had Sam, but after a moment he realizes that it's about a completely different mystery all together.

"...I don't know where you got your information, but I assure you that Candling industries has nothing to do with the animal attacks," Mr. Leary says heatedly, then listens to the person on the other end. Mulder wishes he could hear the other side of the conversation, but decides that beggars can't be choosers. "The accusation is as unfounded as it is absurd. Candling has no more created genetically altered animals than it has done anything to cause animals to run amuck. Yes, you can quote me on that." Mr. Leary slams the phone down, and Mulder decides that it's a good time to walk out the door.

It's Mulder's conclusion that whoever called must be a reporter who has gotten the idea that Mr. Leary's workplace is somehow responsible for the string of bizarre animal attacks. Mulder sighs deeply as he makes his way down the stairs; as much as he'd like to take his father's word on it, that's proven to be a mistake in the past, so he wonders if Candling has more to do with the animals than his father's angry statements would lead people to believe.


As they're leaving school that afternoon, Mulder throws his arms around Scully and Doggett's shoulders. They both give him suspicious looks. He ignores that and says,

"Neither of you has plans for tonight, do you?"

"Why?" They ask him in unison.

"I think tonight would be a good night for an adventure." Mulder grins.

"You think the night before the first day of finals would be a good night for an adventure?" Scully asks him in disbelief.

"Why yes, yes I do. What are you worried about anyway? You're going to ace the next three days of tests just like you have every other test you've ever taken," Mulder says, an exasperated note in his voice.

"Mulder does have a point, you know. You're a genius, what do you have to worry about?" Doggett says with a smirk.

"I suppose that you're all set to go off on this adventure, without even knowing what he wants to do," Scully says sharply.

"You know me too well. Anything to avoid studying."

Mulder interrupts. "Anyway, a little bird told me this morning that my dad's company might have something to do with animal attacks, and I thought a little snooping might be in order."

"You mean trespassing," Scully says flatly.

"Let's not quibble over words," Mulder tells her. "So Doggett, are you in?"

"You bet, Man. Sounds like fun."

"Scully?" Mulder asks.

Scully sighs deeply. "Yes. If only to keep you two out of trouble."

"Great!" Mulder exclaims. "Let's meet at 7..."


7pm-

"It's the next building. Park next to the other vehicles so it'll look less suspicious," Mulder tells Doggett.

"What could look suspicious about three teenagers just happening to find themselves at the genetics lab that one of their parents works at?" Scully says sarcastically.

"Hey, at least he didn't order us to where black and put on ski masks," Doggett quips.

Mulder sighs. "All we're going to do is look in the windows and see if we notice any animals matching the deceptions of the attacking ones."

"Right. Look for moose," Doggett says, nodding.

The three of them walk softly around the dark building, and shin lights into the windows. After the peer into the windows of every room on the first floor, they admit defeat. Mulder's shoulders slump as they walk back to the car. "They wouldn't keep animals about the first floor, right?"

"Squirrels, maybe. But I'd like to see someone get a moose or bear up a flight of stairs or in an elevator," Scully tells him.

"I don't get it. I was sure from how angry my dad sounded that Candling was involved some how."

"I don't know Mulder," Doggett says. "What was that?" He jumps when he hears a crash.

"I don't know," Mulder tells him, switching on his flashlight. "Wait, I think it's over there."

They approach the source of the sound quietly and soon find themselves about a hundred yards from half a dozen raccoons. "Don't make any sudden moves," Mulder whispers.

"What do we do now," Doggett whispers back as the raccoons begin to walk away.

"Follow them," Scully suggests.

"What??" Doggett and Mulder ask, shocked.

"You promised me an adventure, and frankly, this has sucked so far. If we follow the masked bandits over there, we might find out what's really going on." Scully tells them. "Besides, Bessie makes me carry pepper spray, so if they get to close we can douse them before we get bitten or scratched."

"Well, you heard the lady," Mulder says, and they begin to follow the raccoons at a safe distance.


To their surprise the raccoons do not scamper off into the woods, but instead they take a left out of the parking lot and walk slowly down the road. Not knowing what else to do, the kids shrug and trail after them.

After a mile or so they become concerned that they'll walk too far away from the car to be able to get back to it without being completely exhausted, but then the whisper to one another that an animal with short legs probably won't be going too far. As it turns out, they're right.

Eventually the raccoons turn onto a dirt driveway and begin to mull around a small white house.

"Did you hear that," Doggett whispers.

"Hear what?" Mulder asks.

"That high pitch whine."

"Nope," Mulder says with a shake of his head.

"You must hear it though," Doggett says to Scully.

"Sorry. I don't hear anything either."

Doggett pulls at his ears. "It's painful, I can't believe you guys can't hear in."

"Guess you have bat ears," Scully tells him with a grin that soon fades. " Bat ears...Doggett, how bad is the noise?"

"I dunno, what do you mean?"

"Does it annoy you enough to cloud your thinking?" Scully asks.

"Not really, but if I heard it all the time it might drive me crazy." Doggett tells her. "Wait..."

"What if there's a noise that most people can't hear driving the animals nuts?" Mulder asks, catching on. "How would we prove it, though?"

"Look for moose," Scully tells him, as if it's the most obvious answer in the world.

The house is dark except for a light on the third floor. Figuring that who ever was up there wouldn't be able to get to them quickly even if they were spotted, they confidentially roamed the property.

It wasn't long before they found the moose out in a shed. Other sheds littered the property, and peering into their depths revealed many other animals, of all different sorts, both wild and domestic. Mulder leaned against a window, hoping to catch a better look when Doggett tugged on his arm.

"We've got to go. Now."

"Why?" Mulder asks unhappily.

"Because the noise stopped and I think someone is looking at us from out that window," Doggett says urgently.

Mulder pulls Scully away from another shed that she's looking into the windows of and explains what's going on. The three of them run out of the yard and make their way back to the car. As soon as they're there, Mulder lends Doggett his cell phone so he can call the sheriff.


Tuesday lunch time, Capeside high-

"... and my Dad said that the guy used to work for Candling doing animal research, but was fired when his behavioral experiments became unethical. Apparently he decided to keep experimenting on his own, and didn't care who got hurt or what the animals did." Mulder concludes, finishing filling people in on what he'd learned that morning.

"Just think, if it hadn't been for my good high pitch hearing, we might not have figured it out." Doggett adds with a grin.

Reed looks at Mulder with a concerned look on his face. "Are there any adults in this town who aren't completely nuts?"

"You sound really jaded for someone who has only lived here for four months," Reyes says, with a smile.

"So, what's going to happen to the animals now?" Scully asks anxiously.

"Well, he didn't do anything to psychically change them or really hurt them, so they took the wild ones to be released, and sent the domestic ones to the shelter so they can get decent homes. Hopefully."

"Oh..." Scully says, tuning out the rest of their conversation.


Wednesday afternoon, Potter home-

Scully opens the door and lets Mulder in, but he's startled as something small and reddish runs over his feet and nearly makes him loose his balance. Mulder looks at Scully and raises his eyebrows. "What is that?"

"He, not it," Scully says sounding slightly indignant as she reaches down and scoops up the wriggling bundle of fur.

"That still doesn't tell me what kind of animal HE is." Mulder points out.

"Oh, Mulder." Scully sighs and runs her fingers over the little animal's head, which it seems to enjoy. "It's a puppy, obviously."

Mulder didn't think it was obvious. "What's his name?" he asks, staring at the puppy's pointed little muzzle. In fact, he thinks, if he didn't know better he would have thought it was a very large-

"I named him Fox."

-fox kit. "How could you have named the poor little animal Fox? That's so...goofy."

"I think it has a certain charm to it," Scully says, thrusting the animal into Mulder's hands. "Don't you think he's sweet?"

As Mulder struggles not to drop him, he can't help but agree. "He is...but how did you get him?" Mulder wonders how an animal that weighs a fraction of what his brother does could be so much harder to hold.

"Well, last night I told Bessie how bad I felt about how your dad said that all the animals being sent to the pound for new homes. And I told her that there was a Finish Spitz and her puppies there...and when I got home from school Fox was waiting for me."

"Oh, so that's what kind of dog it is," Mulder says, snatching his fingers away from the puppy's pink tongue. "And what you were looking at when I pulled you away from that shed." Mulder realizes with a grin.

"Yup. Bessie said that since we were living here without any 'menfolk' it might be nice to have a protective dog around. I think that's an excuse, though, since Fox isn't likely to get big enough to scare anyone, probably only 30 pounds or so that the most. She really did it to make Alex and I happy, but won't admit it. It might even be that she's feeling guilty that she's sending Alex off to preschool this summer, but whatever the reason, he and I are both thrilled. The vet said Fox about eight weeks old and healthy as a horse, so to speak, so he should be around for a good long time."

"I think she made a good choice picking this particular puppy...Fox does just about match your hair," Mulder says with a grin as he reaches for the new leash hanging by the door.


Thursday afternoon, Leary home-

The afternoon that school ends is a bright sunny one, and Mulder itches to be outside, doing anything at all. Mrs. Leary smilingly agrees that the fresh air would do everyone some good, so she puts some sunscreen on the baby, and has Sam and Mulder help her put up a hammock that is meant as a Father's day gift for Mr. Leary, deciding it'd be criminal not to give it to him a couple of day early.

The three of them make short work of it, and take turns testing it, while keeping an eye on Price. Price is less interested in what his family members are doing than in what the fauna in the yard is. A flurry of butterflies amuse themselves as Price watches from the comfort of his baby seat. Mulder looks over and decides that his brother is probably attracted to the bright colors, because he remembers something from his health class's child development unit, about young babies being able to see bright colors better than dull ones. At any rate he decides that his brother looks quite content as the insects continue their complicated dance far above his head. One with wings as blue as Price's eyes dips down and nearly lands on the infant's nose, then flits away again. It bothers Mulder, for a reason he can't quite put his finger on, that the butterflies scatter the moment Price's eyes droop and he falls asleep.


Credits

Produced by CC, KW and Neoxphile

< Voice Over>

This episode of Mulder's Creek featured music from:

Kylie Minogue ("I can't get you out of my head")

Tori Amos ("January (Black Dove)")

Outkast ("The Whole World")


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