Plurality


Title: Plurality
Series: story four in the Resurrection Series
Author: Neoxphile
Spoilers: The Calusuri, The Walk, Closure, William, The Truth
Disclaimer: Chris Carter created the characters you recognize. I created the one you don't.
Author's note: The three previous fics in this series can be found here by clicking the link at the bottom of the page. I think you may need to read them to understand what's going on in this fic.
Summary: Eventually we discovered that our children weren't as unique as we initially believed. (Mulder's pov)



November 20th, 2004

"Fox! Fox!"

My younger sister's voice held a note of panic to it that I hadn't heard before - except during the night that she'd been abducted. Although, I dreamed about that until fairly recently.

I nearly tripped several times in my effort to reach her quickly, and I expected the worst. Had some sinister force come to reclaim her? Heart pounding, I limped into the dining room, wishing that I had my weapon in hand rather than locked away in our bedroom.

Rather than see an eerie light filling the room, I saw Samantha huddled by the sideboard. Her arms were wrapped protectively around Emily, and both girls were staring across the room in shock.

On the other side of the room, William stood easily, giving them a smug look that didn't seem to effect his concentration. Maybe he didn't need to concentrate. I'd never gotten a satisfactory answer from him on that score. Scully told me it might be a while before he can explain what he does, if he ever can explain it.

I reached out and grabbed the plate that was hovering a foot off the table and put it down. Turning to William, I said, "How many times have we told you that plates are off limits? Your grandma gave these to your mother when we got married. She'd be very unhappy if you broke one."

"I wasn't going to break it," William said, looking both earnest and defiant.

"You got lucky this time. Don't do it again," I said as sternly as I could.

"O-kay."

Eventually I realized that my sister was giving me an incredulous look. "How did... how did he do that?" Her voice was breathless and afraid.

"Telekinesis. William is able to move objects with his mind," I explained. Emily wormed out of her grasp and came to wrap her arms around my good leg instead. I guess she thought I was better able to protect her from hovering dishes than her young aunt.

"But no one can do that!" Samantha protested.

"I can," William boasted.

He certainly could; it was a display like this that caused us to get him back from his adopted parents in the first place. No one could come back from the dead, either, so I had to hide a smile at her skepticism.

"William, be nice," I warned.

It was a hollow warning, however. The three of them got along fairly well most of the time. The alienness of Emily and Samantha's return was beginning to wear off, and we were making strides towards becoming a normal family.

Well, as close to normal as we were capable of. As strange as it might seem to you, I took this odd bit of sibling rivalry as a positive sign. Normal kids played tricks on each other, and as far as this one went it was harmless.

"Sam, do you have any homework?" I asked, noticing that her books were stacked now the near grounded plate. We'd finally been able to enroll her in third grade a few days ago, and Scully and I were both determined to help her catch up before Christmas.

"Already done."

"Okay, then. Why don't you guys go ask if there's anything you can do to help get supper ready?"

The three of them left the room grumbling about my request. That seemed normal too.



November 23rd, 2004
7 a.m.

The frantic knocking on the door had me less than anxious to grab my crutches and try to avoid the minefield of toys that were left in the wake of three messy children, but it had an urgency that needed to be responded to. I was waiting for Scully to drive me to work, but I had a strong feeling that she hadn't lost her house key.

I half expected to find the neighbor's home in flames or someone bleeding when I pulled the door open, but there was just a woman standing on the welcome map. She gave me a tight smile. "Agent Mulder. Do you remember me?"

Studying her, I tried to place her. She was too thin and had short dark hair and I had the vague sense that neither was true when I'd last seen her. This woman was tired and older, but I was sure that Scully and I had met her years ago during one of our cases. "Mrs. Holvey?"

Relief flashed across her face, but quickly faded. "I was afraid you wouldn't remember me. Thank God."

One thing about her that hadn't changed at all was the haunted look in her eyes. I was sure she hadn't just dropped by because she'd been in the neighborhood.

"Is something wrong with Charlie?" I asked. In idle moments I sometimes wondered what happened to the people we'd left behind, and the image of her son sometimes surfaced. Perhaps more often than some other refugees from our cases.

The rabbi had admittedly spooked me back when we exorcised Charlie's evil twin, warning me that evil "knew me" now. There were days I wondered if he was right, especially lately. The rest of the time I thought it knew me from childhood.

"No. Charlie is fine. He's at the university now. Here in DC, actually," Maggie Holvey said quickly.

"Good. What's wrong, then?"

She wrung her hands while staring at my crutches. "I...you have to see to believe. Out in my car."

I tried to smile away her apologetic look. "I'm pretty good with these crutches." After more than a month on them, I'd better be.

Besides hers, my car was the only one in the driveway, not that it saw much action lately. Scully had taken Samantha to school, and Will and Emily to daycare. The girls were doing better than Scully and I could have hoped, and we'd had no bad reports come home for either of them. I guess they struck other people, who hadn't known them before their deaths, as normal little kids.

It probably took me three minutes to hop my way there, but the effort to get there seemed to cost Maggie much more than me. She trembled like an autumn leaf as she walked beside me.

Given her strange terror, I half expected there to be evil rampaging in her car. Perhaps the poltergeist had returned. Or something scaly. Or furred.

The car just sat there like the inert lump it was supposed to be when there was no driver behind the wheel. Maggie Holvey motioned with her hands, silently directing me to look in the car. She seemed too afraid to tell me what it was. Or as if she was worried that it might hear her talk about it.

After a few more clumsy hops, I looked through the window. My mouth folded down into a frown. Rather than some preternatural horror, the backseat held only a car seat with a sleeping toddler in it. A little boy, I thought, despite the long blond hair.

Looking over my shoulder, I said, "You decided to have another child." She had to be nearing fifty, so no wonder she looked tired. It couldn't be easy to have a baby in your late 40s.

To my surprise she shook her head hard. "No!"

So he'd been an accident, I concluded, but before I could find a more or less tactful way to ask, she began to speak again.

"It's Teddy! I don't know how, or why, but the doctor said that it's my little boy." Tears began to roll down her cheeks. "My lost boy."

I stared at her, dumbfounded. Two-year-old Teddy Holvey had died in a tragic accident more than nine years earlier. He'd been dead. Like Luke Doggett. Like Emily and my sister. Like me too if I'm brutally honest with myself. I liked to think my case was different than theirs, though.

She didn't seem to be calming down, so I had to gain control of the situation. No matter how inexplicably and reluctantly I'd become their guardians, I had Samantha and Emily's welfare to think of, and having the neighbors hear Maggie freak out on my front lawn wasn't in their best interest. "Maggie, bring him in the house. We'll talk there."

She just continued to stand there like a rodent frozen before a predator. I narrowly resisted the temptation to prod her with one of my crutches. It wasn't that I couldn't empathize, but Scully had worked too hard to create a plausible cover story, and I wasn't about to let it get blown to hell now. I leaned down and tugged at the door handle which got some response out of her. But unfortunately all she did was open and close her mouth without saying anything.

"Bring him in the house." This time I made no effort to disguise my annoyance.

Finally, she pulled the car door open and gingerly removed the boy from his seat. She didn't rest him against her shoulder, but held him at arm's length, as if she held something that repulsed her. Maybe she did.

Once we were in the house she immediately put him on the couch - and then sat as far away from him as possible, in an armchair. Seeing that made me sad. Emily and Samantha were still giving Scully and I the occasional disquieting moments, but never to this extent.

"How long?" I asked, pointing at Teddy. "When did you get him back?"

Her eyes briefly lifted to connect with mine right before I sat down next to the sleeping child. "Halloween."

I stared at her. From the way she was acting, I'd been sure she'd say a day or two. If she was this disturbed after three weeks, what had she been like the first day?

"Last night...the news had a story about your girls. After I watched it I thought to myself 'Thank God. There's someone who can understand.' Everyone else, they just get hung up on how impossible this is. They don't get that it's real, and has to be dealt with."

A week. When Scully had give that interview, we'd wondered how long it would be until the national media picked up the story.

I tried to focus on the rest of what she'd said. "I know no one understands. How did you get him back? What happened that night?"

She shuddered. "Now that Charlie is away at school, I give out Halloween candy by myself. That night I did, and turned out the light when trick or treating was over. A little while later, I hear crying. Outside. Some child might have gotten lost, I thought, so I went to see if I could help. And there was Teddy, sitting on the steps, crying his heart out."

"Wow."

She wanted to know what had happened to us when our kids came back, so I gave her a second hand account of Scully and Reyes' experience that night. Theirs seemed far more disturbing to me, but Maggie Holvey didn't seem to think so. Then again, she wasn't an X-Files agent. At least the four of us were better equipped to deal with the unexplained.

For a moment I found myself wondering what it would be like to be a normal person whose son had risen from the dead. My very next thought felt like being drenched with a bucket of ice-water. "Was Teddy alone?"

She looked surprised by the urgency in my voice. "Yes, there was no one else there. I didn't see who brought him."

I shook my head. "I'm sorry, that's not what I meant...did just Teddy come back?"

"I don't know what you mean. No one else I know has-"

She made me say it. "Just Teddy. And not Michael."

Maggie Holvey looked horror-stricken, and I didn't blame her. "No, not Michael."

"Okay." Although I was glad to hear that her stillborn son hadn't reappeared too, considering how much trouble she seemed to be having coping with Teddy, I was surprised too. Why had the two-year-old been returned, but not the infant?

After what she said next, it took me a while to return to that thought. Calmer than before, she looked me in the eyes and asked, "Do you ever think about...hurting them?"

Sure that I misunderstood, I repeated her. "Hurting them? You mean Samantha and Emily?"

She nodded vigorously. "Yes."

"Why would I-"

"These children are unnatural!" She got up to pace, waving her hands as she spoke. "The dead are supposed to stay dead!"

As worked up as she was, I don't think she noticed that I had picked up her sleeping son. I had a sinking feeling that I knew where the conversation was heading, and I wanted to be prepared. The little boy sighed, but didn't wake up.

"They're evil!" she added. "Like Michael was when he came back. Teddy glowed when I first saw him. It's proof."

Three minutes. Five at the outset. Then Scully would be home. "I don't think this is the same situation," I said carefully. "At least it hasn't been for us. Besides scaring my wife when they first reappeared, they haven't done anything hurtful or even been any naughtier than my son. Has Teddy been bad?"

Keep her talking, Mulder. Keep her talking. Crutches wouldn't provide much defense if she totally lost it and attacked Teddy.

"It's unnatural," she hissed, which made me even more nervous. Maggie Holvey was hanging on to rationality by her fingernails.

The doorknob wiggled, and I looked at it both shocked and relieved. I hadn't even heard Scully's car over the volume of Maggie's ranting. Ranting that Teddy slept through.

Without saying anything, Scully came and sat next to me on the couch. Her gun brushed against my hip. It was strangely reassuring.

"I've thought about drowning him," Maggie confessed remorselessly. "Just holding him under water until he stopped struggling. But I'm afraid to. What if he won't go away? That's why I brought him to you. You sent him away once, you can do it again."

The eager gleam in her eyes made me sick to my stomach. Trying to push that away, I forced myself to speak gently. "Maggie, why hasn't he woken up?"

"I drug him," she said completely matter of fact, as if she was discussing why she hadn't cut his hair. "He can't hurt anyone while he's sleeping."

"How often do you drug him?" Scully asked, matching my tone.

"All the time. I keep him quiet all the time."

Three weeks. She'd been abusing him for three weeks. Why hadn't anyone noticed?

"I'm glad you brought him here. Mulder and I will take care of the problem for you." She stood up and took Teddy from me, and motioned for me to get up too.

"You'll stop him? Make sure he doesn't hurt anyone else?" Maggie looking relieved. "I'm not strong enough, but I knew you were."

"You don't have to worry any more. We'll take care of this for you," Scully told her as she carried the sleeping child out of the room. I struggled to keep up with her.

As soon as she led me into the den, she locked the door. "I take it that she believes Teddy is evil. Or maybe that he's Michael come back to plague her a second time."

"You knew it was Teddy, just like that?" I was supposed to be the one with the photographic memory, not her.

"This case haunted me for a long time." As she spoke she examined the limp toddler. "Did she get him back when we got the girls back?"

"Yeah."

"Can you hand me the phone?"

I did, and then followed her instruction to let her know if Teddy began to have trouble breathing or threw up. I cradled him in my arms while she called the police and for a pair of ambulances. He was still a baby, hardly any older than Reyes and Doggett's little girl, Tabby. Mere weeks older than William was when we got him back from his adopted parents. Even if Teddy wasn't conscious to know it, someone should treat him gently. None of this was his fault.



Union Hospital
Two Hour Later

It had not been an easy scene when the police arrived. Scully managed to get a paramedic into the den before we'd had to barricade the door to keep Maggie out. It was the first time Scully had ever unholstered her gun in our house.

Even through the door, I could hear Maggie Holvey scream to the heavens about how she'd been betrayed. First by God for allowing Teddy to return to her, and then by us for refusing to kill him. Despite her lunatic rantings and wrestling with the police and paramedics, she was surprising respectful of our belongings. I'd braced myself for a mess, but she hadn't thrown anything at anyone.

Eventually they managed to force a straight jacket on her, and dragged her into one of the ambulances. I rode to the hospital with Teddy in the other one. I suppose he could have gone alone, but I was afraid that he'd wake up alone and frightened.

It was a baseless worry. Two hours later he still hadn't woken up.

We were still in the waiting room when a frantic young man practically ran up to us. His brown hair was disheveled, but that seemed to be the style these days, at least judging by actors his age. More telling were the rumpled clothes he wore. This is someone who'd gotten here with great haste.

The first words out of his mouth were "Please tell me that she hasn't killed Teddy."

Scully sat up straighter. "Charlie Holvey?"

"Yes. Please, has she hurt him?"

I really wanted to lie to the kid, but it wouldn't make things any easier on him in the long run. "Unfortunately, she has. We're waiting to find out if he'll be okay."

Charlie collapsed into a chair and covered his face with his hands. After a while he finally looked up. "I kept asking her if she needed me to come home, but she insisted that school was too important to miss and she was coping okay...I thought things were okay." Charlie's voice cracked. "I had an exam this morning, so I missed her message. Didn't hear it until I got back to the dorm. She said she was going to get rid of him today one way or the other. I got here as soon as I could. What did she do?"

"I don't think she meant to hurt him...she brought him to us expecting we'd, um, help her. She just gave him some sort of drug to make him sleep," Scully explained. "She won't say what it was, and doctors are having trouble rousing him."

"Laudanum," Charlie said quickly. "Have them test for that."

"Are you sure?" Scully looked dubious. "That's hard to find in this country, and you need a prescription. No doctor would prescribe it as a way to sedate a toddler because it's too easy to overdose."

Charlie's expression darkened. "She gets things from relatives overseas. The old country, she calls it. She gave it to me once in a while when I was a kid."

Scully got up saying that she was going to speak to the doctors treating Teddy. Once she was gone, I fixed him with a look. "Charlie, you need to give some serious thought to what happens now, with Teddy. At the moment there's no reason to think he won't make a full recovery, so you need to think of what will happen once he's cleared to leave the hospital."

"I know. My mother probably will go to jail either way, won't she?"

"It doesn't look good for her," I admitted. "They're going to admit her for a psych evaluation. I don't think she'd ever be able to have custody of your brother again, even if she had a change of heart and actually wanted it."

He sighed and leaned back in his chair. "Maybe it's for the best if they commit her. As for Teddy... my friend Ashley has a little girl, she's one and a half. Anyway, I know there's special housing on campus for people raising kids, and a daycare. I'll get someone from the housing office to help me sort that out."

"I take that you don't share your mother's opinion - that Teddy is evil," I said casually.

Charlie looked shocked. "Jesus, no. Teddy's just a little kid. My mother hasn't been right since my dad died. If not this, something was going to set her off eventually."

The hard, resigned look on his face looked hauntingly familiar. "It's a hard cross to bear, and a hard way to grow up. I lost my sister when I was twelve, and my parents were never the same afterwards."

He ducked his chin in a slight nod. "I got through things okay. I don't remember most of what happened around the time Dad died, though. But I remember you, saying goodbye...afterwards."

"I'm kind of glad you don't remember it all clearly. I'm curious, though. Is what happened to you then why you're accepting your brother's apparent resurrection?"

To my surprise, he shook his head. "Beyond knowing for certain that the unexplained happens, not really."

"Then why?"

"Because every day for nine and a half years I wished this. At first I used to pray for God to give me my little brother back, but grown ups worked hard to convince me God didn't operate that way. So I just wished it instead. I don't know what heard and granted my wish. And I don't want to."

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," I murmured. "I had the same wish about my sister."

He smiled a little. "And you have her back now, too, don't you?"

"We do."

"We're both blessed then."

His zen-like statement took me aback. How could his mother believe that it was evil that brought her son back to her, while her older son thought it was divinity?

"Charlie?" We both looked up, started. Scully seemed pleased. "Teddy's awake. They think he's going to be fine."

Charlie stood up so fast his chair wobbled. "Can I see him?"

"Yes."

The last thing I saw before we finally went home was Charlie gently rocking Teddy in his arms. Charlie's lips were moving, but I couldn't hear what he was saying. I'm sure it was kinder words than Maggie had had for him. Teddy was smiling.



Scully helped me put my crutches in the car. "Does it make me disloyal for wanting to know how we got the kids back?"

"Why would that make you disloyal?" She looked puzzled.

"Charlie told me that he wished every day that he couldn't undo his brother's death, and he doesn't question how his wish came true."

"But he's more directly responsible for Teddy's death," Scully was quick to point out.

"You mean Michael was."

"Michael worked through him, there had to be a lot of guilt either way," she told me. "I think you're right to want a look behind the curtain."

"You do?" We'd never really talked about that, but spent most of our energy on adapting. When she nodded, I pulled a scrap of paper out of my pocket. "I think we need to revisit a handful of other cases."

I watched her face as she read the names I'd written down one of the times she was speaking to the doctors, before Charlie had arrived.

Amber Lynn LaPierre
Trevor Callahan
Andrew Piller

Three other kids in connection with our cases had died over the years. I really wanted to know if they were still dead.



Hoover Building
November 26th, 2004

The day after Thanksgiving found me and Reyes in the office by ourselves. I was resigned to it, but Reyes was less pleased. "I still don't see why I couldn't have gone with Dana and John. Unlike you, at least I'm ambulatory. No offense."

"Some taken," I told her with a smirk. "I can't wait to get this cast off. But you are probably even more eager to have that baby."

Doggett had used her pregnancy as an excuse to leave her behind with me while he and Scully visited the LaPierres, the Callahans, and Harold Piller. It had seemed reasonable to have two of us stay behind in case other people contacted us in the same way Maggie Holvey had, but even I could see that Doggett's reasoning was less than diplomatic.

She rubbed her rounded belly. "Actually, not yet. It'll be another couple of months before I'm so sick of being pregnant that I'll want to scream. At least based on what I remember from expecting Tabby."

"How are Tabby and Luke getting along?" What I really wanted to know was "How are you coping with having an undead step-son?"

"Fine. She's too little to have any idea what's going on. I think. She follows him around like an adoring puppy, and he seems to like her too."

"How are you and he getting along, though?" I asked.

She was the only one of the four of us who wasn't blood related to our little Lazaruses. I even suspect that Emily might be mine, but Scully hadn't been receptive the one time I suggested DNA testing. She shied away from any mention of testing Emily, not even wanting to discuss the possibility that Emily's anemia might resurface. So far she was healthy, and I hoped it remained that way.

"Good. He's a good kid." Reyes looked sincere. "And he makes John so happy."

I knew what she meant. The only time I'd ever seen him look joyful was the night he took Luke home with him. I'd been thrilled beyond words to get William back, but I'm sure that nothing like his look of wonder had been on my face.

Our discussion was interrupted by the ringing of the phone. It was Scully calling from Maryland, a destination that had Doggett and Reyes arguing loudly because of its nearness. She reported that General and Francis Callahan had indeed had their young son Trevor returned to them on Halloween night.

"But how are they?" I asked, trying to keep my voice low in case the couple was listening to the conversation on her end.

"Grateful," Scully said simply. "They think it's a gift from God."

Maybe they were right. I however, wasn't willing to take it on faith.



November 29th, 2004

Scully and Doggett flew to California the following Monday, to visit the other two families. Given it was afternoon, I suspected that they would call Reyes and I before long and report that the other two children had come back too.

While I waited for Scully to call me, I tried to encourage my sister to get her math homework done. She'd always hated math more than any other subject, and I was experiencing flashbacks to our mother cajoling her to finish it and get it over with.

I even felt like I was channeling my mother when these words found their way out of my mouth: "Come on, Samantha, this is an easy one. Twenty-one divided by seven."

She closed the book and grimaced. "I hate third grade."

"You're doing fine, almost caught up already," I encouraged. Honesty, though, I was less than impressed by my sister's scholarship. She was a bright kid, but she just wasn't trying very hard. I didn't know how to fix that.

"I wish I was in high school. I should have picked that when I had the choice to."

"What do you mean, when you had the choice to?"

At first I thought she was just talking big like kids do, but her expression said otherwise.

"Samantha, what did you mean by that?"

Realization came like a blow. The questions we were searching for answers to - my little sister knew them.

But she had no intention of talking about it.

The End. For now

End Note: Harold Piller's son isn't named in the episode, so I picked one for him.

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