Title: Mulder's Creek: 20. Many Unhappy Returns
Author: Neoxphile
Author Email: neoxphile@aol.com
Rated: PG
Category: C
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: Fowley returns from Europe and Scully's dad escapes from jail; each girl is on one side of separate betrayals.



Opening scene-

"..'and that's when Billy noticed that his new friend had green skin.' Well, it should say gray, but we'll forgive the writer, won't we boys?" Mulder asks.

Price, who is lying in Mulder's lap doesn't seem to have an opinion either way, but Alex, who is cuddled up next to Mulder nods wide-eyed. The just turned three-year-old has idolized Mulder since he and Scully rid the boy's room of whatever it was that had been in his closet. "' You're an alien! ' Billy squeaks. Smart kid, that Billy. I suppose we should give him a break since he only looks to be six or seven. ' What planet are you from?'"

Mulder decides that it's sort of fun to babysit again, although he's not actually being held responsible for anything. Bessie and his mother are downstairs in the kitchen discussing recipes for 'summer food' so he decided to offer to keep the little ones occupied out of the way. If any troubles arise he fully intends to hand the boys off to their mothers, but so far everyone seems to be having a good time.

After another fifteen minutes Billy and his little green friend finish their adventure and promise to keep in touch, which leads Mulder to wonder if you can spend a postcard via the space shuttle. As soon as Mulder shuts the book, Alexander looks up at him and says," I like that book a lot. And I like you, too." Mulder smiles and is almost knocked over when Alex throws his arms around him, which, fortunately, doesn't seem to phase Price at all. "I wanna be like you when I grow up," the boy tells him solemnly.

Mulder swallows his laugh before it has the chance to leave his throat. "You know, I think you should tell your Auntie that," he replies instead in an equally solemn voice, though his eyes dance with merriment at the thought of Scully's reaction to that.



Theme song -"Stranded" by Plumb

Saturday 11:30am, Logan Airport-

The bags go around and around on the baggage coral before Fowley finally spots her luggage and grabs it. For a moment she wonders if most "lost" luggage is merely snagged by a person who can easily pretend that its theirs. She shrugs and begins scanning the crowds.

Before she's finished looking, her grandmother hurries towards her and throws her arms around her. "Oh, Fowley, I've missed you!"

Feeling slightly strangled by her grandmother's embrace, she gasps out," I've missed you too Grams, but I can't breath."

Grams blushes and lets go of her. "Oops, sorry. How was your trip?"

Fowley wonders for a moment what the most tactful way to answer that question would be. "It was better than I thought it was going to be."

"Well, I'm glad to hear that," Grams says warmly. "I can't wait to hear what you did in Europe. I heard about some of it from your mom and dad, but I'd like to hear your version of it too, but that can wait until tomorrow if you're feeling jet lag or anything."

"I see you found her first, Mrs. Lindley." A voice says from behind Fowley. She turns around and finds Spender standing behind her.

"Mr. Morgan here was kind enough to keep me company on the ride up," Grams explains.

"That was nice of you, Spender." Fowley tells him, with a smile. "It's good to see you."

"I've missed you." He whispers to her as they walk behind Grams on their way to the car. Fowley blushes.


2pm, the Atlantic ocean-

The sand castle grew to gigantic proportions as Skinner helped Sam work on it. Mulder and Scully had helped her work on it as well, but gave up on it when Doggett and Reyes insisted that they play volleyball. Sam works on making turrets while Skinner methodically digs a moat around the castle's base.

Reed, who is oblivious to both the volleyball game and the sand castle building, lies on a towel and reads Jacob I Have Loved by Katherine Patterson. Scully glances at the cover and smiles, figuring that she should have known that someone who cringed away from any and everything that hinted of fantasy and the unknown would have instead chose a book that explores the perils of the human condition.

The ball gets away from Scully and Reyes when Doggett spikes the ball over the net. "Point our side!" Doggett crows after the girls who run for the ball. They finally caught up to it right before it enters the water.

Scully tackles it, and Reyes nods her head in Reed's direction. "I can't believe Skinner isn't interested in him. He's a nice guy, really sweet-"

"And extraordinarily attractive." Scully adds.

"Scully!"

"Reyes, you have no idea how many girls just 'happened' to start coming to the Ice House regularly during his shifts. I haven't the heart to tell them that they don't have a shot in hell...besides, it's good for business."

"Your sister is...using him," Reyes says with a note of disgust in her voice.

"No she's not. He knows that the girls come there to stare at him. Besides, he gets more tips than Skinner and I do put together." Scully laughs.

"Well, I guess that's ok then," Reyes agrees.

Doggett watches as Scully and Reyes slowly walk back towards their side of the volleyball net. "What do you think they've been giggling about?"

"I bet they've been talking about how good we look in our swim trunks." Mulder tells him, while taking a moment to admire theirs.

"I bet you're right," Doggett says, preening a little. Fortunately for them, neither girl hears their narcissistic exchange.


7pm, Potter home-

Scully bounds up the steps and cheerfully picks up Alex from where he's sitting in front of the tv watching Bob the Builder and dances with him around the room. Since the little boy is used to the teenagers in his life acting strange, he takes it all in stride and squeals in delight. After a few moments he demands to be put down.

"Bob's on, Auntie Scully! I wanna watch Bob and Rolly fix the road. I'm missing Wendy and Scoop. Put me down!" His small face looks very indignant, so Scully has to try very hard not to laugh at him as she sets him on his feet.

Bessie walks in the room, her expression unreadable.. "Did you have a good time at the beach?" she asks Scully in an oddly flat voice.

Scully doesn't notice at first so she starts off animatedly," Yes, I had a great time. We played volleyball and helped Sam make a huge, intricate, castle. Mulder took some pictures and promised to get copies for everyone." Scully trails off when she notices how grim Bessie suddenly looks. "So um, we had fun...Bessie, what's wrong?"

"Sit down, Sweetie, I got some incredible news this afternoon." Scully sits down on the couch, wringing her hands and wonders what new disaster has come into their lives now.

Bessie sighs and starts to explain. "After lunch I got a phone call from the prison where dad is-"

"Did something bad happen to Dad?" Scully asks, her voice rising in fear.

"They went to his cell to get him for lunch, and... he wasn't there."

"What do you mean he wasn't there?"

"The best they can tell, he and his cell-mate bribed a weak willed guard into letting them out. They're looking all over the city for them, but they haven't found any signs of them anywhere. The only good thing I can say about it is neither of them is considered to be 'armed and dangerous' so there aren't orders to shoot them on sight," Bessie says, sounding very depressed.

"Why would he do it? He could have gotten out on good behavior, and he threw it all away!" Scully shouts, though not really at Bessie. Alex flinches, and looks away from the tv for a moment, unsure what's going on.

"Come on Scully, he's been in jail for four years, and wasn't going to eligible for parole for another four. Maybe he just got tired of waiting." Bessie says, defeated.

"So now what do we do, wait for him to show up here, then call Doggett's dad to take him away when he does?" Scully asks bitterly.

"Unfortunately, that's exactly what they expect us to do," Bessie tells her.


Sunday 2pm, Shaws Supermarket-

Doggett is pushing his cart through the isles, getting the items on the list and anything else that strikes his fancy. Since his mother trusted him with her debit card, he takes cart blanche when it comes to picking up other stuff. He's about to grab a bag of potato chips when he sees something that makes him do a double take.

"Hey Fowley, how are you?" He crows, walking over to her. "Does Reyes know you're back yet?"

"Hi Doggett. No, I just got in yesterday, so I haven't had time to call her or anyone else yet. I will tonight, though, I think."

"I guess I ought to tell my Dad you're back too, 'cause he wanted to set up another lesson for target practice when you got back."

"What? Target practice?" Fowley asks, having no idea what he's talking about.

"Oh, you weren't here, but after Chad started sending my sister death threats he had us all learn how to properly handle firearms. The funny thing is that Scully was the best shot, even though she'd only gotten out of the hospital a few days earlier. We wouldn't admit it to her, but we boys were all jealous." Doggett says with a smirk.

"Scully was in the hospital? Just how much have I missed since I was gone?" Fowley asks him.

"If you've got a few minutes I can try to give you the condensed version." Doggett says with a grin.

"Sure, why not. A few more minutes here in the store are a few minutes less I have my grandmother fussing over me," Fowely replies, only half kidding.

"Ok...you left right after Christmas, but if I remember what Reyes told me, you haven't seen anyone since Christmas Eve, right?" He pauses long enough for Fowley to nod her head. "I'll start from there then. That night Scully finally got the nerve to kiss Mulder, right under the mistletoe, though she claimed that she was just following 'the rule.' Reyes and Skinner saw their mother with disastrous results. Their mother was snippy to Reyes and mistook Skinner for his dead brother, Tim. Then you left, which caused a stir, and Mulder became convinced that his driver's ed instructor was a murderer, but he was just being an idiot, because the so-called body turned out to be a CPR dummy. Scully and Reyes started to hang out together right around then, which surprised everyone since Scully had never shown an interest in female friends before then. Then, on MLK weekend, Mr. McPhee and Mr. Leary decided to take me, Mulder, Scully, Reyes, Skinner, and Skinner's then-boyfriend, Ethan, on a ski trip, but we headed towards the slops before the grown ups and ran into an unexpected blizzard, which threw us off course. We waited out the storm in an abandoned lodge, which Reyes and Mulder are convinced is haunted. Scully and I still maintain that even though there was weird stuff going on in there, it was probably done by a squatter, not a spirit. Right after we got back Scully took up some baby-sitting, and came down with vacillic pneumonia, which is the type that comes from chickenpox complications and is fatal in more than 1 in 4 people, and ended up in the hospital for just about forever, more than a week. It scared everyone, especially Mulder and Bessie to death. It was just a few days before Valentine's day that Skinner and Ethan officially broke up, and my sister's stalker tracked her to Capeside, and my dad made us all learn how to properly handle fire arms like I said. A new boy named Reed moved into town, started working at the Ice house, and seemed to be treating Skinner like a jerk, but it turned out that he was just shy around him because he found him interesting. Valentine's night Mulder schemed with Bessie to bring the valentine's day dance to Scully, who was still home from school because of doctor's orders. He asked her out that night, and they've been dating ever since, not that they told me right away." Doggett pauses for breath, and Fowley tells herself, I am not jealous. I didn't want Mulder, and I have Spender anyway. I'm happy for them, or I will be, and maybe this means that Scully and I can finally get along.

Doggett finishes panting, and starts his tale again. "So a few days before my birthday, Mulder and I start to find evidence of what he claims was bigfoot. We saw something on my birthday, but I still think it was a hoax, though I haven't been able to prove it. Yet. After that nothing of interest happened for a while, except for a grade-wide poetry assignment that you were lucky to avoid, though Scully did manage to write a nice poem for it. After that the lone gun men, which is what Byers, Langly and Frohike are calling themselves these days, published a weird 'interview' with Mulder and Scully about the two of them having seen an alien posing as Santa Claus back on Christmas Eve. You can make of that what you will, it just makes me more sure that those boys are nuts. Not long after that a pair of FBI agents came to talk to Scully and Mulder about that kidnapping case from November that you and Reyes helped my brother crack. Scully told me that she doesn't think that they were actually agents, though, because they saw a movie preview about some sort of agents who look just like the people they talked to. Right after that we all went on a field trip to the zoo and I was forced to spend the day with Scully, which to tell the truth, wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and I convinced Krycek to climb into the monkey exibit after he asked me for advice for impressing girls, and that turned out to be very funny, mostly because he didn't get hurt but got into a boatload of touble. "Doggett smiles at the memory." Reed followed poor Skinner around all day, and Skinner finally had to tell him that he just wanted to be friends, which has turned ok between them. After that I actually started to get along better with Kersh, and Scully and Mulder discovered that her nephew Alex's fears about something being in the closet were not entirely unfounded because they really was something living in there. And Krycek thanked me for my 'good' advice, since the garbage I told him actually convinced that idiot girl he was trying to impress invite him to the prom. Then Skinner made us all hike to the summit of a mountain, and Krycek and idiot girl invited themselves along. Before they got too much on our nerves they took off, and Krycek fell in the river, which was also funny. A few days later Mulder's brother Price was born, and, most shocking of all, his sister Sam who had been kidnapped as an infant, showed up from locations unknown. So now he has two siblings after having spent most of his life with none."

"Wow." Is all Fowley can think to say.

"That's an understatement," Doggett grins. "Anyway, that bring us up through mid-May. In the last month Mulder's sister has been as mysterious as ever, because she doesn't talk, and if anyone knows where she's been for more than twelve years, it's her. Mulder is determined to figure it out, but no one seems to have a clue. Oh, and just recently there was a string of weird animal attacks. Even Krycek got hurt, which for once wasn't funny. Mulder, Scully and I thought it had to do with the place his dad works at, and inadvertently figured out what was going on. It was all being caused by a former behavioral scientist who had snapped and was doing illicit experiments on all sorts of animals, including ones that he imported just to mess with. They arrested him and took care of the animals. I think that's about it." Doggett finishes.

"I never thought it was possible to miss so much in just six months." Fowley says, feeling overwhelmed.

"Ha. I'll bet, " Doggett says. "Well, now that you're back you'll be in the thick of it all again, instead of hearing things second hand all at once. I'll talk to you later, my mom will pitch a fit if I don't get home with this stuff soon.. Bye."

"Bye!" Fowley calls after him faintly.


5pm, Leary home-

Mulder holds Price up over his lap and the baby gives him a dubious look. It might have something to do with what Mulder is saying to him.

"Mul-der. Come on. Mul-der. You can do it," Mulder encourages him.

Mrs. Leary starts to walk by with a basket of laundry, the stops and laughs. "Mulder!" she says, reaching down to gently ruffle Price's dark shock of hair. "He's only five weeks old, don't you think you're jumping the gun a little?" Sam shoots her a look, as if to say "that's what I've been trying to tell him."

"Maybe a little," he replies sheepishly. "How old are babies when they start to talk, anyway? Three or four months old?"

"Oh dear. Maybe you should read some books on child development, son. They usually don't start talking until they're at least eight or ten months old."

"That old?? It'll be practically forever before he's talking!"

"Mulder, trust me, eight months goes by in a blink of an eye. He'll be mangling your name before you know it," Mrs. Leary says with a fond smile.

Mulder counts out the months to himself in his head. "So there's no chance he'll be talking by Christmas then?"

"Well..." she says, taking Price from him. "Maybe your brother will be especially brilliant and talking at seven months old." As she walked out of the room she called to him," Hopefully he won't be the only one with something to say by then."

Mulder quickly looks at Sam, and is not surprised that she has a scowl on her face. He walks over to her and gives her a quick hug. "It's ok, Sam, don't talk until you're good and ready."

It hurts him a little that she seems to shrug off what he says, and stalks out of the room as well. Mulder shrugs his shoulders and reaches for the abandoned laundry basket, and carries it to the laundry room. It's only as he's dumping the clothes into the washing machine that it hits him. When his sister was five weeks old, she'd been missing three weeks, and they had already stopped looking for her, at least according to Thaddeus Quinn's article. For a moment, as he's dropping tiny garments into the machine, he wonders why he didn't think of it three weeks earlier, and is sort of thankful he didn't.


Mulder picks up the phone in his room and dials. "Hey Scully. Can we talk?"

"Of course. What about?" she asks, teasing Fox with the phone cord as she talks. The puppy leaps at it, seeming to think that it's moving of its own volition.

"Sam. I inadvertently did something that lead to my mother saying something to upset her."

"What did you 'inadvertently' do?"

"I um...tried to get Price to say my name," Mulder confesses sheepishly. " Which was fine, then Mom and I started to speculate when Price would start to talk..."

"Then your mom said something snide about Sam not talking?" Scully guesses.

"More or less. She actually said maybe he wouldn't be the only one talking by Christmas. Suppose she does, though, do you think it will take her long to catch up?"

"Probably not. I mean, look at Alex, all of the sudden he's gone from 2-4 words strung together to intelligible sentences, all in the matter of a month or two. She's older, and very bright, so once she starts talking, I bet she'll sound like any other kid her age. Although that assumes on thing, Mulder."

"And what would that thing be?" He can't help but sound slightly nervous.

"It assumes that she can't already talk. I don't know about you, but I sort of have this feeling that I can't explain, but I seriously doubt that she doesn't already know how to talk and just doesn't want to," Scully explains.

"I've thought of that too, but what reason would she have for not wanting to talk?"

"What are your parents going to want from her the second she opens her mouth?"

"An explanation of where she's been, what's been done to her, and by whom." Mulder replies automatically.

"Exactly. What way to keep your secrets than to make everyone around you believe you can't reveal them? Like I said, she's very bright. And I'll tell you something else, Mulder, I bet she talks to you before she talks to your parents."

"I hope you're right, Scully. I hope you're right," Mulder says, then thanks her before hanging up.


Monday morning, Lindley home-

Spender carries a box of donut holes and containers of chocolate milk in with him from his car. Grams waves to him as he comes up the walk, but doesn't say anything to him because she's running late.

"Where is she off to in such a hurry?" he asks Fowley as he gets to the house.

"Oh, she's doing another volunteer project with her church," Fowely says, taking the food from him. "You brought breakfast?"

"Yup. It seemed like a good idea at the time." He grins.

"I love donut holes."

"And I love you," Spender says in a teasing tone.

"Oh, do you?"

"Sure, let me show you," he says, throwing his arms around her.

Finally, Fowley thinks as she snuggles against his chest, everything is all right.


That afternoon, Ice House-

Reed is whistling to himself as he wipes down tables when he hears Skinner try to smother a burst of laughter. He straightens up, and looks over towards Skinner, the cloth still dangling from his fist. "What?"

Skinner grins broadly and points out the picture window. "Yon fan club approaches."

"Oh no." Reed groans.

"Hey, go back to wiping down the tables. If they get a nice look at your butt, I bet they'll tip more." Skinner suggests.

Reed is tempted to give him the bird, but the girls are already coming in, so he just directs a dark look in Skinner's direction. Reed really does need to finish wiping down the tables, but now feels subconscious because he knows there are eyes on him.

Out of the corner of his eye he sees Skinner approach the table where the four girls are sitting, and hears faint murmurs of disappointment coming from that direction. He gives a small smile as he escapes to the back room to help Bessie get lunch ready.

"They're back." he informed her as he started making the salads he had heard the girls' order right before he'd left the dining room.

"So I take it you're hiding?" she asks him lightly.

"Well..." he hedges.

"It's ok," Bessie says, patting him on the shoulder. "They're here nearly every day, so I don't blame you for wanting a break once in a while."

"Thanks for being understanding."

"No problem. Scully said she thought it bothered you, and I think that's a bit ironic," Bessie replies.

"What's ironic about that?"

"It's ironic, because she has never in her life noticed that anyone is staring at her, and it happens every single day. Mulder should be thankful for that." Bessie laughs.

"I bet he is," Reed says with a broad grin, partly because of what Bessie said, and partly because Skinner is calling back that the girls have decided to have their meals to go.


Tuesday morning, Lindley home-

Fowley lets Reyes in, and hugs her. "I'm sorry that I wasn't able to talk to you much until today. Things have been so busy since I got home."

"Hey, that's ok. You've only been home for 72 hours, right?" Reyes says as they curl themselves up at either end of the couch. "So...are you sick of the questions about what you've been doing up until now?"

Fowley laughs. "A little, but go ahead. I'd rather get the questions from a good friend, and saving randomly shouting ' I don't want to talk about it!' at strangers."

Reyes hopes she doesn't look as nervous as she feels. "So, um, your grandmother said that you were in Europe with your parents?"

"Yup. As you saw when they took me, I was very un-thrilled to be going with them. But I agreed to, if I wanted to continue to living with Grams..." Fowley made a helpless gesture with her hands.

"I remember," Reyes says, thinking of that terrible late December morning.

"Anyway, I sulked for about a week, and wouldn't even talk to them on the plane, which I still think they deserved," Fowely says with a grim smile.

"But after that?"

"After that I slowly warmed up to the fact that they'd brought me to I'd have been thrilled to be in, had I been in anyone else's company."

"So eventually you forgave them and spent the next several months in a lovely paradise over the seas?" Reyes asked.

"Ha. You know, the view we get of Europe from books and so on is fairly romanticized. I don't know if it shows, but I lost about ten pounds due to not liking the food." Fowley answers with a laugh. "I liked Paris, though, it was nicer there in February than it is here."

"What about England?"

"Well...the accents on those boys there is to die for, but the food...at least meat, potatoes and Yorkshire pudding is safe. It rains a lot there, which, gauging from the state of the grass, is something we could use here, huh?"

"Yeah, early warnings about droughts have been coming in already. You don't regret being back here, in that case, do you?"

"Nope, no regrets at all. Here I have Grams, you, and Spender, so I'm happier. I mean, I guess I love my parents, not that they've ever made a lot of effort to know me, but you three..." Fowley trails off, wondering what she said to make such a strange look appear on Reyes' face. "Did I say something wrong?"

"No, no. I just...thought of something else. I'm glad you're happy to be back." Even as she says that, she worries about what is going to happen when she tells Fowley the truth about Spender. "Hey, we should go shopping for sandals this week. This is no weather for hot feet." Fowley nods at her, and Reyes hopes that she's already forgotten her reaction to what she said about Spender.


Wednesday 1am, Potter home-

Scully was walking down a wooded path that seemed somewhat familiar. It was only as she approached the cottage at the path's end that she remembered where she has seen it before. Instead of tar paper or wooden shingles on the roof, there were large peppermint hard candies nailed down. The siding on the cottage was made of chocolate wafer cookies, and the flag stone walkway were neco wafers, which Scully hated. As she got closer she saw that the shutters on the window were made of gram crackers, and knew, without even tasting it, that the windowpanes were made of a sugary substance that had hardened.

She put her hands on her hips and looked hard at the cottage. She knew it was that cottage. The one she and Bessie helped their mother make, as they tried to celebrate that last grim Christmas before their mother's death. It had been mere weeks before her death, and she had been so weak that the cottage was her only contribution towards decorating their home. Most of the decorating fell to Scully, who would have, under any other circumstances, been thrilled to be included and allowed to make decisions on the decorations for the first time in her life. Instead it hurt more with every box she opened.

Scully was baffled as to how the cottage had gotten out in the middle of the woods, and even more so by the fact that it was now the size of a real dwelling. She walked around the house, pondering its impossibilities, when she thought she saw movement from within the structure. She rushed to one of the windows and peered in, not surprised that there was no furniture, since they hadn't put any in it when it had been a mere gingerbread house. For a second she thought that she saw a figure rushing through a doorway that shouldn't have existed, and she thought that from behind, even in that dim lighting, it looked a lot like her mother-

"Come on Scully, wake up." A hand gently shakes her shoulder, so she finally opens her eyes to see Bessie looking down at her. For a moment she wonders if she was supposed to get up early for something, then realizes it's still dark out.

She sits up in bed. "What's going on, Bessie?"

Bessie snaps on the light on Scully's night-stand, and the light causes them both to wince a bit. "I thought you should hear this from me, before anyone else, like Doggett maybe, tells you. A couple of hours ago, they caught the other prisoner, the one who broke out with dad. Apparently he wouldn't say anything for a long while, but they finally got him to say where he thought Dad was headed. Here."

"I thought we already knew that," Scully says, annoyed.

"We suspected it, but now it's more or less confirmed. I know it's a hard thing to do, but if we see dad around here, we need to call the police and turn him in," Bessie says gently.

Scully only nods and lies back down as Bessie leaves the room. Hard for you, maybe, she thinks. You grew up believing he was a good man, but me? I only got to think so for twelve years of my life. Then I found out he was having an affair while Mom was on her deathbed, and that he was selling drugs. No, it wouldn't be that hard at all.


Wednesday morning, McPhee home-

Reyes waits until she hears Skinner stirring in his room before she works up the courage to knock on his door. She spent most of the day before trying to figure out what to do about Fowley and Spender and came to no solid conclusions.

"Come in," Skinner calls through the closed door. "Hey, what's up? I thought it was dad."

"Nope, it's just me," Reyes says with a fleeting smile. "Do you think I could ask you some advice?"

"Shoot."

Reyes settles herself into his desk chair. "I'm not exactly sure where to start...Ok, so I have this friend, and I found out some really terrible things about her boyfriend, and I'm not sure if I should tell her or not."

"This a girl from school?" he asks, and she nods." I guess it depends on what sort of things you found out about him. Has he been cheating on her or something?"

"No, nothing like that. He's been, um, spreading all sorts of rumors about her that aren't true. And she thinks that things are still great between them."

"I think you owe to her to tell her, then. She might get mad at you, but she'd be even madder if she found out later that you knew and didn't tell her, right?"

"I guess so. Thanks, Skinner."

"No problem. So...are you up to watching a movie?"

"Can it be Labyrinth?"

"Sure."

"' It's not fair.'" Reyes quotes.

"' You say that so often. I wonder what your basis for comparison is.'" Skinner replies as they go to find the movie.


3am Thursday, Potter home-

Scully's eyes snap open, and she's not sure why she's awake. After a few moments she decides it's a good time to go to the bathroom, anyway. While she's washing her hands she notices that she's really pale, and has dark circles under her eyes. At least it's summer, so I can sleep late, she thinks, switching off the light.

She peeks in Alex's room on her way down the hallway, and notices that he's curled up in a ball on his bed, and his thumb is half in his slack mouth. Bessie has been trying to get him to stop sucking his thumb, but he still does it at night some times. Scully wonders if he's feeling their stress too, even though he's too little to have any idea what's going on.

She sighs as she crawls back into bed and pulls a thin blanket back up over her. Even though it's technically summer, she can't sleep without a blanket and never has been able to. She lets her thoughts drift to the weekend just past, and how much she liked Mulder's swim trunks.

Its as she's just about to give herself to sleep that she hears it. A sharp rap at her window. For a second she remembers her childhood fears of monsters, and is afraid to look at the window. Then she wakes all the way up and realizes what it must be. Her father's unshaven face is pressed up against the glass.

"Scully! I thought you'd never wake up. Could you let me in, sweetie? I don't have a key any more." His muffled voice filters through the glass.

"Bessie changed the locks anyway."

"That's ok, but let me in all right?"

"Yeah, sure, just a minute," Scully says.

Instead of heading to the door like her father expects, Scully runs down the hall into Bessie's room. "Bessie, Bessie, he's here!"

"What? Who? Oh. Dad's here?" Bessie sits up with a yawn.

"Yeah, he just asked me to let him in."

"You didn't, did you?" Bessie asks, her voice raised in alarm.

"What are you, crazy? Of course not."

"I've got to call Sheriff Witter. I'm sorry, Scully."

"Why are you sorry? I'm not sorry. I...I hate him, Bessie," Scully says slowly.

"You don't mean that, Scully," Bessie says, even as she fumbles for the phone.

"Yes I do," she replies, but Bessie doesn't hear her because she's already talking to the police.

There is a cruiser on patrol only a mile or so away, so it only takes them two or three minutes to get to the Potter house after Sheriff Witter directs them to go there. Scully listens as the officers tackle her father, and put him in cuffs. There's a lot of swearing as he's read his rights. She can hear Bessie crying in her room, but Scully's own eyes are so dry that they burn. She drifts to the front door and watches from the doorway as they stuff him into the back of cruiser.

Just before the car door swings shut, Mr. Potter notices her watching and screams out

"How could you turn in your own father?!"

How could we not? She thinks as the officers back out of the yard. How could we not turn in a father like you? The air night seeping into the house is cool for June, but her heated emotions keep her warm.


1pm McPhee home-

"Hello?" Fowley's voice calls.

"I'm in my room." Reyes calls back. She gives her computer a woeful look, then takes a deep breath.

"Hey, you said you had something to show me on your computer?" Fowley asks as she enters the room.

"Yup, it's all set up," Reyes says, moving out of the way so Fowley can read the screen. She watches, and immediately sees a puzzled look cross Fowley's face.

"I don't understand." Fowley tells her.

"Read them all." Reyes urges her.

It takes Fowley fifteen minutes to read through all of the e-mails to and from Flindley. When she's done she stares at Reyes. "I didn't send these to you."

"I know. I mean, now I know, but I didn't until about a month ago."

"Do you know who sent them to you? Who was pretending to be me, and telling you such a sick story about me?" Fowley asks, sounding upset.

Reyes looks at her feet. "Yes," she says, finally looking up.

"Who??" Fowley demands.

"Someone who claims to be an early product of such an experiment. Although I know now that that isn't true either. "

"Don't #$%@ around, Reyes. Tell me who it was," Fowely says, beginning to get angry.

"It was Spender, ok? When he got to your house right after your parents took you away he told me everything you supposedly told him about being targeted for some sort of genetics experiment. I guess that was a set up for sending me messages from you. I finally began to wonder if it was true or not, so I got some of Mulder's friends who are good with computers to look into it, and found out that the e-mails were being sent from his computer," Reyes says in a rush, refusing to look Fowley in the eye, so she doesn't have to see the pain there.

"I don't believe you."

"There's more, as well. Mulder found out that the same people who kidnapped his sister took four other kids, and all but one of the kids besides her was returned to their homes." Reyes pulls up the article on the computer screen, and takes Spender's kindergarten class picture out of her desk drawer. "This is the boy who was never returned. Four year old Scott Martin. And this," she holds the other picture up next to the screen," Is five year old Spender Morgan."

Fowley looks at the pictures and shakes her head in disbelief. Though her eyes are telling her that the boys in the picture are without a doubt the same child, her mind is frantically denying the evidence. "I'm not listening to any more of this. Goodbye."

Reyes watches sadly as Fowley storms off, and wonders if she's just given their friendship a fatal blow.


Fowley's feet bring her to the dock. The same dock Spender once fell from and drown. Although that turned out not to be the case. For a moment she's grabbed by the urge jump off it herself, but then tells herself not to be so melodramatic. Even if what Reyes told her is true, which is something her mind is working its way closer to accepting, it's not the end of the world.

The more she thinks about it, even though it hurts to do so, the less she can concretely say she knows about Spender. Or at least the Spender that turned up alive and well in November. All she has to go on about what he was doing those months after his "death" are plausible denials that he was dead and a handful of conflicting reports he presented as the truth about happened to him. For all I know, she tells herself darkly, he could have spent that time as one of Mrs. McPhee's floor-mates at the mental hospital.

Even if nothing Reyes says is true, it doesn't change the fact that I don't really know him. So how can I love him? She asks herself. She feels her heart start to break as she decides what she has to do.


4pm Swan Pond-

Mulder has his arm around Scully's shoulder as the watch the stately swans and, in his opinion detestable, ducks swim through the water. Scully turns her head, and he's tempted to kiss her, but he senses he shouldn't because she has something she needs to say. "She just doesn't get it Mulder."

"You have to look at it from her point of view. It's hard for most people to accept that one person hates another of their relatives. Most people like to believe, that deep down we all love our family members because there is some sort of biological imperative that says we must. They tend to gloss over the fact that there are breaches of trust that are so significant that that sort of instinct to love can be ignored."

"She feels guilty about this whole thing, even though she did what was right. And she's mad at me for not feeling guilty. "

"You can't win." Mulder sums it up.

"Nope," she says, sighing, and letting her head sink to his shoulder.

"I'm sorry," Mulder says, wishing he could give her better advice.

"I know. She and I will get through this, Mulder. Thanks for being here for me," Scully tells him, and tightens her embrace.

"I'll always be here for you," Mulder tells her, and finally kisses her.


Friday night, Lindley home-

"I'm sorry that you and that Morgan boy aren't seeing each other any more." Grams tells her. "I know how upset you must be."

"I'm fine, Grams. You worry too much," Fowley tells her, then kisses her cheek.

"Well, all right, dear. If you want to talk about it later..."

"I'll keep that in mind," Fowely says lightly as she walks out of the living room. She broke up with Spender three hours before, and for some reason it hurt her even more that he almost seemed prepared for that to happen, despite the fact that she didn't bring up a single thing that Reyes told her. It makes her angry as well as heartsick.

Once she's in her own room, she quickly gets undressed and puts on a well-loved pair of summer pjs and sits down on her bed. She carefully brushes out her hair, not so much because it needs it, as to calm herself. That doesn't have any effect on her mood, so she sighs and puts the brush away.

She glances once at the door to make sure that Grams isn't planning to come in for any last minute platitudes, then begins to rummage through her dresser. In the bottom drawer she finds what she is looking for: a package of Morley 100's that only has one cigarette missing. She'd tried them once, and hadn't liked it, so she'd just put them away and forgot about them. Now, however, she was willing to give them another shot.

She skips tracks on a cd until she finds the song that had been on her mind since finding out about the whole mess with Spender. Then she lights the cigarette, settles herself on the bed, and fumes about the way life turns out some times.


Credits

Produced by CC, KW and Neoxphile

< Voice Over>

This episode of Mulder's Creek featured music from:

Cool for August ("Hey you")

Dishwalla ("Policy of Truth")

And

Fastball ("Slow Drag")

Stay tuned for scenes from the next Mulder's Creek


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