Title: I’ll Be Seeing You

Author: Fox’s Gal

Rating: R (naughty language…)

Classification: SA

Keywords: Scully Angst


Summary: Agent Scully receives letters from a psychopath regarding Agent Mulder.

Disclaimer: Nope, I’m not Chris Carter in disguise. These characters do not even sort of belong to me, I’m just borrowing them for the time being to amuse myself. They really do belong to Chris Carter and 10-13 Productions as well as those Fox folks. The serial killer belongs to XScout who was gracious enough to lend him to me for the time being. Sydney Dawson Elizabeth Morris and Karen Williams are my characters however.

Author’s Notes: This is a sequel to “I Know Someone” by XScout. I would recommend reading it because…well, because this is Scully’s point of view and this isn’t going to make a bean’s worth of sense if you don’t know what she’s responding to. Though I did include the letters in this story, I still suggest you read it. Oh and one more thing: there is no character death in MY story. So go…read it…now. Then come back.

Feedback: Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! Please send any and all feedback to kmarie27@yahoo.com


I’ll Be Seeing You


July 4, 1998

Dana Scully was not enjoying herself. Given the way this Fourth of July barbecue was going, she would almost rather be back in the basement of the Hoover building working with Mulder on that damn profile. Instead, she was at her mother’s house gathered in the back yard with the rest of the Scully clan trying to be personable and cheerful when what she really wanted to do was to tell Bill to shut the hell up for once. Her brother was getting on her nerves more so than usual today with his snide and rude remarks about “that guy, Mulder.” She hated the way Bill said Mulder’s name. He said it so contemptuously; it made her want to start referring to Bill in the same tone. She didn’t because…well, because she was Dana and Dana was a better person than that. That’s it, keep telling yourself that and maybe you’ll start to believe it. Truth is you would really like to tell him exactly where he can shove that boat of his. She smiled secretly and glanced at her watch. It was nearly 6:00. She had somehow, through severe persuasion and intense cajoling, convinced Mulder to stop over and at least say hi. She neglected to tell him that Bill would be there though. Well, I’ll make it up to him and buy him lunch or something. I shouldn’t be the only one to suffer through this shit.

”Earth to Dana, earth to Dana. Are you there Dana?”

Apparently, Bill had been trying to get her attention for a few minutes. She smiled tightly and looked at her older brother, sincerely wishing it had been him who had been out at sea instead of Charlie. “Sorry Bill, I must have been woolgathering. What was that again?”

”I said, is that Mulder guy going to show up or what?”

Scully opened her mouth, ready to spit out a retort when she heard the distant thud of a car door. “I bet that’s him now. I’ll be right back.” She sprinted into the house and opened the front door just as Mulder was about to knock. She surprised him and he gave a little start.

”You seem to constantly be trying to give me a heart attack Scully. What is it, are you trying to prove that my eating habits alone are enough to kill me and you’re just around to help put the plan in motion?”

She grinned and pulled him inside. He was actually wearing khaki shorts and a pristine white T-shirt, his feet clad in boat shoes. (Boat shoes? Since when does he own boat shoes? She wondered.) She had been secretly afraid that he would have shown up in the previous night’s work clothes since he had still been working on their latest file when she left the office that night. He really had been working himself too hard lately. Ever since the fire he had buried himself in his work even more so than usual. They might have their office cleaned up and restored, but there was a scar on both of their souls now that would take a long time to heal.

She knew he hadn’t been sleeping well…well, he never did, really. But he also was barely eating enough to keep a gnat alive. She worried about him, she was well aware of that, but she wasn’t about to admit it to him. He’d probably laugh it off and say she was mothering him. Well, someone has to. She thought.

He looked at her, a twinkle in his eye and a lopsided grin on his face. “You know Scully, for an FBI agent, you’re pretty transparent.”

”How do you mean?”

The grin widened. “Yes I have been home to sleep and I came with my appetite in tact, so lets have some burgers and potato salad or whatever it is you Scullys have for food around this joint.” She turned and led him to the back yard.

She looked over her shoulder at him. “I should warn you, Bill’s here and he’s been asking about you.”

Without breaking stride, Mulder turned around and headed back for the door.

Scully hurried after him. “Mulder, come on. You’re not going to leave me out there with him, are you?”

”Do you really want an answer from a…let’s see if I can get this right. A “sorry son of a bitch?””

”Yes, I want an answer from a sorry son of a bitch. That’s the best kind of person to get answers from.”

”No Scully, I’m sorry. No.”

”Please Mulder? For me?” She tried the pitiful little smile he always gave her to get her to relinquish and give him his way. She wasn’t sure, but she thought he was beginning to weaken.



He looked at her for a long minute, studying her. He took a deep breath, as though he were preparing to face a guillotine. “Okay.” They headed back for the yard together.

Aside from the verbal abuse from Bill, the rest of the evening was rather enjoyable. They all enjoyed the feast Mrs. Scully called a cookout and then piled into cars and headed off to the local high school to catch the fireworks. Rather than squeezing in with Bill, Scully opted to ride with Mulder. She wasn’t sure whether she did it more because she wanted to, or because she knew it would irritate the hell out of Bill. What the hell, why not a little of both?

They sat on the grass together and “oohed” and “aahed” with the rest of the crowd, and for a moment, Scully felt like she and Mulder were just two regular people. They were normal people with normal lives and normal jobs.

It couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Scully pushed that thought from her mind as she concentrated not only on the colorful bursts of light coming from the sky, but also on Mulder’s close proximity. Their knees bumped when they were both sitting Indian-style and their fingers brushed when they stretched out on the grass. It was during one of these finger brushes that Mulder’s fingers brushed her own and in the process, he slid her hand into his, allowing their fingers to intertwine. Scully thought it best to pretend not to notice. Inside, she reveled in the moment.

Once the fireworks were over, Mulder got up and helped Scully to her feet. They made their way back to the car, hand in hand. Mulder leaned his head in the general direction of Scully’s ear. “I need to talk to you.” He murmured.

She nodded.

Once at the car, Scully called out to her mother that she’d be by later to pick her own car up. She and Mulder had some things to take care of. Her mother nodded cheerfully while Bill glowered at both of them. Dana smiled sweetly at her brother and got into the car.

”So, what do you need to talk to me about?”

He took a deep breath. “Do you know anywhere around here where we can sit and get a good cup of coffee?”


She talked him through the narrow streets and led him to a coffee shop that she and her mother frequented when Scully stayed with her from time to time. Mulder parked and they walked across the street to the old fashioned cafe. Mulder opened the door for her and followed her inside. She chose a booth and he sat across from her. He was being extremely close lipped. In all actuality, it was bothering her quite a bit. They ordered coffees and once the waitress left the table, Mulder was ready to spill his guts.

”We have a problem.”

Scully wasn’t sure how to answer that. Yes, you could say that. The Smoking Man, The Consortium, Black Oil, Krycek, Agent Spender, Shapeshifting Aliens…yes Mulder, I think that’s a pretty astute observation. She opted to say nothing and instead allow him to continue uninterrupted.

”This file we were assigned. I’ve been working on it. Putting a profile together and such.” He clenched his jaw and Scully noticed that the muscle twitched.

”And the problem is…?”

”I…don’t…think…” He paused and looked at her, afraid to go on. “I don’t think you should be involved.”

Stay calm Dana. Don’t overreact. She looked at him levelly and raised an eyebrow. “May I ask why not?”

The waitress brought their coffees and Mulder proceeded to overload his with sugar and cream. More than likely, he was doing it to keep his hands busy. He was nervous, she could tell that rather easily.

”I’m learning things about this guy…after taking a closer look at the file already compiled on him…there’s a reason he’s never been caught Scully.”

”What? What is it? Is he like some master of disguise or something?”

He shook his head. “We’re not the first ones to get this case.”

”Mulder, I’m waiting for you to get somewhere with this.”

”Listen, this case started at the Georgetown PD, okay? A couple of missing persons became un-missing in a very unpleasant manner. Three people in as many months had been abducted and found about one month later, beaten beyond belief and murdered. Two detectives were working the case. There’s just one problem though; someone conveniently failed to inform us that those detectives first assigned to investigate this guy had also been abducted. First was a man, Michael Donovan, kidnapped and missing for approximately three weeks. His partner turned up missing at that point. They were found less than a week later.”

”What? Why weren’t we informed of this?”

”Apparently whoever assigned you and me to this didn’t think it was an important bit of information. But Scully, that’s not the end of it. A month ago, when the detectives turned up missing, Georgetown PD turned this over to the FBI. Violent Crimes had it first.”

”Not Agent Murphy…”

”One in the same.”

Scully sat back and digested this. Agent Eric Murphy was an enthusiastic and well-liked agent in the VCS. She had always thought that he didn’t seem the type to involve himself in the kinds of cases Violent Crimes specialized in. On a stakeout about a month before, he went to get some dinner for himself and his partner and never came back. Four weeks later, his mangled and mutilated body had recently been found floating in a water hazard at a golf course 20 miles away from where he had been staked out. It had been a big issue at the Bureau, causing the Assistant Directors to emphasize the importance of staying with your partner. Murphy had been a rather large man too. He had been roughly 6’3” and weighed in at about 200 pounds. What had been done to him had reduced his status to that of a rag doll. She hadn’t done the autopsy, but from what she had heard, he had been so messed up, the coroner couldn’t tell what might have killed him first. The rumor was that judging from the amount of water in his stomach, he might have actually been alive when he had been dumped in the water hazard.

”What does this have to do with us Mulder?”

”Scully, you’re not going to like this…I don’t think you should be involved in this. I really, really don’t.”

”Mulder, this is absurd. We’re partners. You’re intentionally going against the very thing that Skinner has been preaching to us.”

”Scully, you haven’t seen what I’ve seen.”

She was unconvinced. “And that would be…?”

”The autopsy reports and photographs of Francine Taylor and Michael Donovan.” He met her gaze as evenly as he could, but it was hard. The images of what was left of the two people were burned into his photographic memory; a man and a woman. It was nearly more than he could bear, even with his VCS background.

Their lists of injuries were more than he could even stomach. They both had only been dead approximately 12-15 hours when they were found. The man, Michael Donovan, had a shattered left tibia and fibula. His right thigh had been fractured in at least 6 different places; the pelvis had been nearly completely crushed; he had several bullet wounds, two went clean through his right thigh, one was lodged in his shoulder. He had eight broken ribs, several fractures in his skull, and finally the top seven vertebrae had been crushed. The final blow was probably what had killed him. He had suffered from malnutrition to such an extent that his skin was stretched tautly over his bones. The skin had also been cut with either razors or knives in what appeared to be some sort of pattern. Macabre modern art of some sort.

Francine Taylor had been his partner. She had fared no better at the hands of this psychopath. It was she who had convinced Mulder to dissuade Scully from the case. In life, Francine Taylor had been petite, about 5’4”, with light brown hair and blue eyes. All in all, she had been a vibrant, attractive woman with a promising career ahead of her. That career had been squashed; possibly by one of several blows to the head, possibly by the raging infection that had spread throughout the various wounds on her body. She hadn’t suffered the starvation her partner had suffered, possibly because she had only been missing a week. Her torso looked as though she had been beaten with either a switch or a riding crop. She had bruising all over her body; she too had broken ribs, fractures in both legs, one hand had been completely crushed, all of the bones smashed into miniscule pieces. Her skin too, had been marred with a razor, the bloody swipes making some sort of odd pattern. Her face looked nothing like the pictures he had of her. Her bottom lip was split open and her jaw was shattered. There had been extensive sexual abuse, but Mulder hadn’t wanted to hear the details.

He looked at Scully and fought to keep the images of Francine Taylor from superimposing over her face. Unbidden, pictures of Scully in that unfortunate woman’s place kept surfacing in his mind. Fuck Skinner and fuck his damn policies. I’d rather die than see her hurt and he’s just going to have to deal with that. He didn’t realize that Scully had been staring at him, intently. “What?”

”I said, was it the same MO as the others?”

He nodded, “Yeah, pretty much.”

”I’m not doing this Mulder.”

He had misunderstood her, and for a moment was relieved. “I’m so glad because…”

”I’m staying on the case.”

His mouth went dry. “Scully, please…please don’t do this.”

”Mulder, how can you possibly think this is fair? You don’t want me to work with you on this case because I’m a woman. Admit it. That’s the reason.”

He buried his head in his hands. No…no, that’s not the reason. The reason is because I couldn’t bear for that to be you. He sighed deeply. “Fine.”

They sat in uncomfortable silence, nursing their coffees. Scully was glad she had another day in this holiday weekend to get over being so damn angry with Mulder. Mulder was trying to figure out how he could not get his partner involved in this case. He knew it was going to be another sleepless night for him. He looked at his watch: 12:42 a.m. Or another sleepless morning as the case may be. He was feeling restless and planned on going for a good hard run when he got back to his place. That was usually how he came up with his best ideas and theories. Of course, he couldn’t tell Scully this, she’d laugh and say that some of his theories sounded like they had been conceived in the wee hours of the morning while he was running around like a lunatic. This time, he had to figure out how to keep Scully out of this at all costs.

July 5, 1998

2:05 a.m.

After Mulder had dropped her off at her mother’s house, Scully opted to stay the night rather than drive home. There was still a light on in the house and Scully knew her mother had waited up for her. She let herself in and went upstairs to where Maggie Scully was keeping herself occupied by reading a very thick suspense novel. Dana eased the bedroom door open and knocked lightly.

”Come in, dear.” Mrs. Scully patted the bed and Dana sat down.

She glanced at the book her mother was reading. “The butler did it.” She said wryly.

”No dear, the butler’s the one who’s dead.”

”So it was the chauffeur.” She smiled.

”Speaking of chauffeurs, did you and Fox have a nice ride?”

Dana groaned inwardly. “Not particularly.”

”What’s the matter this time?”

”Well, for some reason he doesn’t want me to get any more involved with this case we’re working on.”

”Fox doesn’t want you to work on an X-File with him?”

”Well…” It was such a long story how they even got this case to begin with. “It’s not exactly an X-File. We’re helping out the Violent Crimes Unit and just happened to be handed this particular file. Nothing paranormal from what I can tell. It’s just one sick bastard. A sadomasochistic monster, your run of the mill psychopath from what I can tell.”

”I can’t imagine why Fox wouldn’t want you involved.”

Scully detected the note of sarcasm in her mother’s voice. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

”It’s supposed to mean that I, for one, can see why Fox might not want you to be involved. I’m sure it is a very disturbing case and I’m also sure that he has his reasons.”

”Why do you have to be so logical?”

”Where do you think you get it from, dear? Now, you go off to bed and I’m sure if you give Fox a call in the morning, you two will be able to iron everything out. You usually do. And if you think it will help, invite him over for brunch. My blueberry pancakes can perform miracles on a man. Especially a stubborn one like Fox.”

Scully smiled and hugged her mother. Talks that she had with her always left her feeling better. She couldn’t understand it. She closed the door silently behind her and headed for her old room.

She slept, but there was no rest for Dana Scully. Her mind was filled with images she couldn’t piece together, feelings of intense fear and screams. Agonizing screams that could have well come from the gates of hell itself. She woke up a mere 4 hours later covered in sweat, adrenaline racing, heart pounding. She couldn’t explain it, but she knew she had to talk to Mulder. She was ready to step away from the case for him. Something about him last night had really disturbed her. There was something that he couldn’t tell her, and she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to know. She sat up in bed, knowing for a fact that her sleep for the night was quite over. She got up and made her way silently to the kitchen where she could, at the very least, start some coffee.

The first cup from the coffeepot was in her hands and she looked at the microwave numbers glaring at her in the semidarkness of the kitchen: 6:25. She knew that Mulder wouldn’t have even gotten back to his apartment until at least 2:30, depending on how fast he decided to drive. She hated calling him so early, but somehow she had the feeling he’d be up. Dana grabbed the kitchen phone and quickly dialed Mulder’s home phone. She let it ring until the answering machine picked up.

”I know you’ve probably turned off the ringer, but I wanted to let you know that I’m ready to step away from this for you. Why don’t you give me a call at my mom’s house and we’ll discuss it further over brunch?” She had half expected him to pick up the phone at the mere mention of food, and was disappointed when he did not. He must really be tired…

Brunch had come and gone and still there had been no word from Mulder. Scully assumed that he was probably pouting over their late night discussion and she would have to wait until Monday before she could talk any sense into him. She still tried to call his apartment as well as his cell phone, but there was no answer. By the time she was at her own apartment she gave him one more call before she settled into bed for the night. It was 11:30 and he had not returned a single one of her calls. That was very unlike him.

Scully could not ignore the niggling in the back of her mind that there was something wrong. There was something very wrong.

2 hours later…

Scully was still awake. She knew that sleep was going to elude her until she was sure that Mulder was all right. She sat up in bed and looked at the glowing red digits on her alarm clock: 1:30. She knew that he should be up. He was always up at the oddest times. She grabbed the phone and dialed Mulder’s number. She let it ring, and she let the answering machine pick up, and she left a message.

”Mulder, I know you’re probably mad at me right now. Please, if you are there, please pick up the phone.” She listened to the silence, sighed, and hung up. Her message had not gone unheard, however. The eavesdropper listened to the concern in Dana Scully’s voice and smiled.

July 6th

4:45 a.m.

Scully had made coffee, did a calisthenics routine she hadn’t tried since her days at Quantico, showered, dressed, painted her nails, and sewed a button back onto the jacket to her favorite slate blue pantsuit. There was nothing left for her to do but go into work. She had called Mulder several more times, but this time not even the answering machine picked up. She hung up, tears stinging her eyes. She knew there was something up, and she knew that it went beyond the typical “Mulder-Ditch.” It was time to take action. She grabbed her briefcase and umbrella and headed out the door into the predawn fog.

Traffic was obscenely light as she made her way to the Hoover building. She was going over in her mind exactly what she was going to tell AD Skinner. Somehow, she thought, just telling him that Mulder had disappeared without a trace wasn’t likely to raise any concerns. Skinner was only too aware of Mulder’s bad ditch habit. Scully thought furiously about how she was going to explain to the Assistant Director that she was doing something that she often chastised Mulder for: playing hunches. Scully knew in her gut that there was something dreadfully wrong with Mulder. Not answering his phone; that she could come up with countless explanations for. Not answering his cell phone? That was a lot tougher. In typical Scully fashion, she tried to think of some conclusive evidence that she could give to Skinner that would prove to him as well as to her that something was amiss.

An idea came to her. Instead of heading on into work like she had originally planned, Scully got off at the nearest exit and headed instead to Mulder’s apartment in Alexandria. She found a decent parking spot near his building and noticed, as she made her way up the sidewalk, that Mulder’s car was there. Hope surged up into her chest as she quickened her pace. She waited impatiently for the elevator and after what seemed to be an eternity, she found herself hurrying down the hall to his apartment.

Once there, she rapped on the door several times. Her heart thudding in her ears, she leaned against the door and tried to make out any sort of noise. Scully found that she was afraid to go inside. Her hand trembling, she tried the doorknob. It was locked. She reached into her pocket and pulled out her key ring. She inserted Mulder’s key into the lock and turned it. The lock clicked. Scully held her breath as she pushed the door open.

Oh my God. Oh God, this is bad. This is very, very bad.

The apartment was a wreck. It looked like someone had gone through it with a bulldozer. Books were toppled off of the shelves, drawers were pulled out and their contents dumped on the floor, his desk was on it’s side, his computer lying on the floor in pieces. The couch cushions were pulled from the couch and were lying on the floor, ripped open. Everywhere she looked, Mulder’s personal things had been violently violated. Miraculously, the fish tank hadn’t been touched. Scully wanted so badly to clean the place up for Mulder, but she knew that this was now a crime scene and touching anything would be a severe breach of protocol. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse and glanced at her watch. It was 5:30. This was too important to wait for the AD to wake up and get into the office. She tried his home first. Scully wasn’t surprised when he not only answered the phone but also sounded awake while doing so.

”Hello?” His voice sounded tight over the phone. Perhaps because he knows that good news never comes this early in the morning.

”Sir? It’s Agent Scully. I’m at Agent Mulder’s apartment. I think you should get over here as soon as possible.”

”Is there something the matter with Mulder, Agent Scully?”

”It would appear so Sir. His vehicle is parked outside, his apartment is in shambles and he is nowhere to be found.” She was struggling to keep the panic out of her voice. That’s it Dana, calm, cool, and collected. Keep your head. It doesn’t do anyone any good to get hysterical. She quelled the rising panic she was feeling and took control of herself. Skinner was saying something about being over right away and that he would organize a team as well. He instructed Scully to stay put and to try and get an idea of what, if anything, the person who did this was looking for.

Scully looked around again, trying to force the realization into her mind. Mulder was in danger. Of that, she was completely and utterly sure. She walked around, careful not to step on anything breakable. Mulder’s desk chair lay on it’s side near the overturned desk. She righted it and sat down, trying to absorb what was going on around her. She felt her eyes burn and a sob rise in her chest. She pushed it back away far deep inside her. She willed the tears back from where they came. She realized that the longer she sat there, the harder it was going to be to keep her composure. She got up out of the chair and headed for the door. She would wait for Skinner and his brigade of agents in the hallway. As she walked past the couch, something caught her eye…or maybe it was the lack of something. Mulder’s answering machine was missing. Her mind raced back to the previous night. When did I leave that last message? What time was it? She closed her eyes. She had sat up in bed and looked at the alarm clock…it had been about 1:30 in the morning. She had made her first call to Mulder’s number at around 4:30 or so. The answering machine hadn’t picked up then. That was about a three hour window to figure out who might have done this and when. The longer she stood in that apartment, the more sure she was of the severity of Mulder’s situation. She walked out the door and waited in the hallway.

It wasn’t more than a half an hour later when the AD arrived on the scene. That’s what it is now Dana. It’s a crime scene. It’s not Mulder’s apartment any more. It’ll be his apartment again once he’s back in it safe and sound. She heard herself giving Skinner a full account of what had happened to her knowledge. She mentioned that she had been trying to get in contact with Mulder all day Sunday. She noted the time of her final message to Mulder as well as the next call that did not give way to the answering machine. Skinner nodded, aware of the three-hour window without her having to specify.

Scully felt strange, detached. She felt as though the entire situation was happening outside her body. She wasn’t the one experiencing these feelings of rage and helplessness, it was some other poor woman. Some other woman’s life was being ripped to shreds. Not hers. Not Dana Katherine Scully’s life. Her life was a neat little package all wrapped up with a bow. Granted, the wrapping job might have been a little skewed, but all the same, she liked the wrapping job. A little voice in the back of her head screamed at her that someone had attacked her package and tore the paper and bow off of it, leaving what lay underneath exposed and vulnerable.

Without meaning to, Scully had become lost in a fog. Granted, the fog was in her own mind, but it was still making it very difficult to concentrate. She could barely hear what Skinner was saying to her. Something about her taking some time off. She was too close to this. She shook her head, not so much to disagree with Skinner, but more to rid her mind of the confusion. He was still talking to her. She looked at him and concentrated on what words his lips were forming.

”…time off…be assured…find him…take a step away…go home…”

She swallowed and the apartment suddenly felt very stuffy. She nodded and agreed with everything Skinner was saying. She needed to get the hell out of there.

She wasn’t about to go home though.

Scully got into her car and tried to force her mind to pay attention. This was too important not to. She closed her eyes and took some deep cleansing breaths. She needed to be where Mulder was. She needed to feel him. She couldn’t do that here. She had to go to the basement. Their basement.

Mulder and Scully’s Basement Office

10:26 a.m.

Scully was fighting a major migraine. She had been in the office since nearly 6:30. She wasn’t sure what she expected to find, but she didn’t much care as long as everything was in one piece. Given the security around that place, if their office had in any way been disturbed, surveillance cameras would have picked out the guilty party. Security had been stepped up considerably since the fire. It might have been her imagination, but Scully could still smell the charred scent of smoke as if it clung to every wall of the building. Their work, their quest, their history went up in cinders in what had only been a matter of minutes. On the one hand, Scully wondered how anyone could just waltz into a federal building and set the basement on fire. On the other hand, Scully marveled that They had gone this long without resorting to such tactics.

Everything was gone. The poster. That silly “I Want To Believe Poster.” The first thing she laid eyes on when she first walked into that office. It was the same office, just refurbished with new filing cabinets and new furniture. There was no new poster though. She wasn’t sure Mulder would even want a new one. She probably missed it more than he did.

While she was relieved to find the office in order, Scully almost wished that she had found it disturbed. It would have put her one step closer to finding Mulder, she was sure.

Skinner had already been down. His orders for her to go home were met with deaf ears. Scully didn’t want to consider it. The last place she needed to be was at her apartment. There was nothing there for her. Mulder wasn't there. Mulder was here. He was here in so many aspects: The suit jacket thrown haphazardly across the swivel chair, the open bag of sunflower seeds on his desk, the row of sharpened pencils just waiting to be thrown into the ceiling and the half empty bottle of iced tea sitting on the desk. Scully felt a smile creep on to her lips as she mused where he was hiding a new stash of porno tapes. The smile faded quickly though.

She was adamant that she would stay for only as long as she needed to. Skinner made her promise that she wouldn’t stay longer than she needed to, but the thing was, Scully knew that she would need to stay for a very long time.

At the moment, she sat with several file folders spread open in front of her. She had her glasses perched on her nose as she studied every note taken on the entire case. She read the autopsy reports. Bit by bit, she began to realize why Mulder asked her not to continue on this case. As the pieces came to her, she began to compose a time line. In the process, she also began to compare similarities of the victims.

Apparently, the three missing persons that started the Georgetown PD investigation had not been related in any way, shape or form. Then, two detectives become victims, then a federal agent, and then one more federal agent. Scully digested this and thought there was something odd about Francine Taylor’s involvement. For a moment, Scully excluded her from her notes. Without Ms. Taylor, the victims were all male, law enforcement officers, aged 35-40. All were of impressive stature, and all had female partners. It was this fact that gave Scully a rather sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. All victims, save Mulder, had been missing for approximately one month before they were found dead. They all incurred similar injuries to such an extent, the cause of death had been questionable. Scully glanced at the calendar on the wall. She had four weeks to find Mulder alive.

This realization sparked something in Scully. Urgency took over and grief took a back seat. She began gathering all the information Mulder had accumulated on this case. They’d only been on it for about a week, and he had put together a rather unimpressive file. Inside the file folder were autopsy reports, interviews and the beginnings of Agent Murphy’s work. Scully felt a gnawing in her brain. There was very little mention of Agent Murphy’s partner. She was a new agent, Murphy had been her very first partner. Scully knew her casually, her name was Elizabeth Morris. She was a tall athletic woman with black hair and light green eyes. She was also first on Scully’s list to talk to about this incident. Underneath her most recent notes, she wrote Agent Morris’s name. That would wait a little longer. There were more pressing things she needed to get in order. A trip to Mulder’s apartment was now necessary, regardless of how painful it was going to be. There was something that this killer had been looking for and Scully needed to know what that thing was and if he had found it.

The chances of her being able to get into his apartment today were somewhere between slim and none. She knew that Skinner would be down any moment now to inform her that she was going to be forced to take a leave of absence. It was time to make some photocopies for her own reference. She knew that she shouldn't be doing this. She knew that of all the times to follow protocol, this should be one of those times. But she also knew that if she didn't do something, it was going to cost Mulder's life. He had put his life on the line for her before. He had broken rule after rule to ensure her safety. It was time now for her to do the same. She made copies of everything in the inch-thick file folder and slipped it inside her briefcase. Then she returned the file to the file cabinet. She checked her watch and started up to Skinner's office. She would take her leave voluntarily. Anything to give her more time to focus on the situation at hand.

Dana Scully's Apartment

11:48 PM

She was getting frustrated. Of all of the things in that case file, there was scarcely anything that was of use to her. Scully found the profile that Mulder had done as well as some preliminary interviews. Most of what made up the bulk were the reports that the other individuals who had had the case had started. Not surprisingly, there was very little in those reports as well; especially since they practically mirrored each other. Scully resisted the urge to hurl the folder and it's contents across the room. Instead, she took off her glasses and stood up to stretch.

She had gone into AD Skinner's office to notify him that she was going to be taking an administrative leave of absence. He had been surprised, since he had suspected that he was going to have to force her to do so. He had also seemed suspicious of her motives at first. Scully had given him her best "of course I'm on the level here" look. He was so used to Mulder pulling things over on him, he had started to suspect Scully of the same. The only difference is that he doesn't expect it of me. I suppose that works to my advantage here.

For the time being, the main investigation going on was the disappearance of Agent Fox Mulder in conjunction with the other disappearances and murders. The team presently working on the case was not optimistic about finding Mulder alive. Most of them were also afraid of being targeted themselves. Scully didn't doubt the abilities of the team that Skinner himself had hand picked, but she knew that if anyone could find the missing agent, it was she. Or at least, she had thought she knew. At the moment, even Scully was having her doubts. Scully looked at her dining room table, now covered with papers, and felt an overwhelming sense of defeat. She and Mulder had been working that case for a week and this was all they had been able to come up with? A profile and some interviews? Mulder, we did more than this. I know we did. And that's not even the right profile…that one isn't typed up…what the hell is going on here? She sat down and picked up the offending sheet. I distinctly remember looking at the profile you did for this creep, and I distinctly remember it being typed. Mulder, what have you done? She bit her lip and read.

Suspect is at least between the ages of 35-40, clean cut most likely. Muscular build, at least 6'/200 lbs. Probably works out at a gym. He is of above average intelligence, probably a B student in high school, maybe better in college. Might have studied medicine, but didn't pass the boards.

Suspect probably came from an abusive family. Has a history of physical/sexual/emotional abuse. Comes from a well off family, yet there was abuse in the home. His parents were divorced when he was young; pre-elementary school age. His mother remarried shortly afterwards. His stepfather abused him. College and medical school became an escape for him.

He would have tortured small animals as an adolescent. Small dogs and cats mostly. Would later turn to self-mutilation. Probably has scars and tattoos. These markings will be on indiscriminate parts of his body: the back, shoulders, buttocks, upper thigh.

Torture he inflicts on his victims would make a great deal of noise. Suspect probably lives in either a very isolated area or the inner city where no one will hear him or pay him any attention. Not the suburbs, not a town, not an apartment building.

It was pitifully short for one of Mulder's profiles. Scully couldn't get over her surprise at the conciseness of this one. Usually he went into so much more detail. It was almost like he would step into the person's mind and then record whatever came to mind. Scully used to refer to his method of profiling as a "psychotic free-write." It may be short, it may be incomplete, but it's all that I have right now. It will have to do. Scully gathered everything into a stack so that she could comb through every word and jot her own thoughts down. She was no profiler, but there was no time like the present to give it a go. She stood up again to get a fresh pad of paper when her eye caught something on the floor next to her chair. It was a small, yellow piece of notepaper. Scully stooped to pick it up and noticed that there was something scrawled in Mulder's handwriting. What the hell? Where did that come from? She picked up the scrap of paper and looked around for where it might have come from. It had been wadded up and smoothed out. How odd…Just then, she remembered. The week before, Mulder had been over at her apartment and they had just begun research on this case. They had ordered pizza and Mulder offered to pay. He had been sitting where she was right now and began to dig through his wallet for exact change. She remembered the yellow scrap because of what had been written on it.

Meet F.T. 5/29 @ home. Bring PRO.

She had teased him then about meeting a woman and he had shrugged it off, never giving her any explanation. He wadded up the paper and stuck it in the pocket of his jeans. Apparently, he had not stuck it in all the way, since it had been sitting there on the floor. Realization suddenly hit her.

F.T. Francine Taylor. He was meeting with Francine Taylor. But Francine Taylor's dead. Why would he…? She answered the question before she could even finish it. She wasn't dead May 29.

Things were beginning to open up before Scully that she had never expected. She felt a sudden rage against Mulder come over her. Her eyes filled up with tears as she wadded up the paper into a tight ball and threw it across the room. "You bastard!" She yelled, tears coursing down her cheeks. "You knew and you didn't tell me! You Godddamned bastard!" She shouted at the empty apartment. Her anger was so sudden and so intense that it scared her. So many times in their partnership, he had left her to pursue leads on his own. He had claimed over and over again that he didn't want to involve her or put her in any danger. As many times as she had gotten mad at him, lectured him, yelled at him…he continued to ditch her.

But this was too much.

There was nothing she could do by that point but rest her head on her arms and release all of her sadness, guilt, anger and helplessness. That night, she cried long and hard; her heart breaking at what might be the final "campaign of misinformation" her partner would ever willingly participate in. At some point, Scully didn't know when, she fell asleep like that, slouched over the table, resting her head in her folded arms. It was well past midnight; approximately 48 hours since she had last seen Mulder. It had already felt like 48 days.

July 7, 1998

4:38 AM

She wasn’t sure what woke her up. It might have been the feeling of pins and needles that had overtaken her left arm. It might have been the cramping, aching neck and back muscles. It might have been the nightmares. Scully was pretty sure that it was the latter. She had dreamt of Mulder. She was running toward him, trying to find him, but never succeeding. She ran into door after door, wall after wall trying to find him. When she did find him, it had been far too late. Far too late to help him, far too late to apologize for her anger, and far too late to tell him how she felt about him. Every time she closed her eyes now, she saw the bruised and broken face of her partner. There would be no more sleep for her tonight.

Instead, she stood up and listened to the chorus of cracks and creaks that followed. She rubbed her face and wandered into the bathroom to take a wake up shower. She looked in the mirror at herself and soon wished she hadn’t. My God, I haven’t looked like this since…her mind trailed off. Since my cancer. Since Mulder broke every rule in the book and snuck into that secret room and stole the cure. Oh Mulder, where are you? She ran the water as hot as she could stand it and stepped into the shower. She had been running through her last hours with Mulder in her head. The whole thing, his arrival at her mother’s house to their strained ride back home, went through her mind over and over again. Scully’s analytical mind was trying to pick out something, anything that would give her a place to start. Usually as hard as Mulder might have tried to keep things from Scully, she could always see through the facade. She kept trying to pick his words and actions apart. She wasn’t getting anywhere. Instead of her mind analytically picking Mulder’s words and actions apart; she was remembering his warm fingers entwined with her own during the fireworks show. The scent of his musky cologne assaulted her nose, the earnestness in his green eyes as he asked her to step back from the case became clear in her memory.

Dana swiped at the tears in her eyes with a soapy hand, getting soap in her eye in the process. The pain made her curse. Her mind wandered back to her first phone call to what was Mulder’s empty apartment. She had been in her mother’s kitchen joking about Mulder’s stubborn streak being softened by her mother’s blueberry pancakes. Her mother. She hadn’t told her mother. Oh shit. She couldn’t bring herself to do it. Mulder was like a son to her mother. That’s exactly why you need to tell her. You need to tell her Dana, and you know it. Scully steeled herself for what was going to be a very difficult visit. It was time to turn off the water and face the world. This was no time for a simple phone call.

Maggie Scully’s Residence

7:45 AM

Scully let herself into the house. Her hands were trembling so much she could barely turn the key in the lock. She was greeted by the sight of her mother reading the morning paper while enjoying a cup of coffee. Maggie Scully looked up at her daughter in surprise. To say she hadn’t been expecting her would have been an understatement. A smile began to light across her face until she saw her daughter’s expression.

”Dana, what’s the matter? Are you alright?”

Scully couldn’t answer her. Her eyes filled with tears as she bit her upper lip.

”Dear, what’s the matter?” She was up and heading toward her daughter. Mrs. Scully’s face went ashen. “Dana, has your cancer come back?”

Scully swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat and shook her head. I only wish. “It’s Mulder. Mom, Mulder’s gone.”

”What do you mean he’s ‘gone’?”

”He was kidnapped, Mom. He’s gone. Not a trace of him anywhere. His apartment was trashed. He’s…gone.”

”Fox has been abducted? Do you have any idea…? Do you know who’s taken him?”

”I have an idea…but I can’t be sure and there’s no way to find out. Mom…I don’t know what to do. He could be dead already.” Her composure was threatening to break again.

”Dana, do you believe that? Do you believe that Fox is dead? Because, if you do, you’ve lost him half-way already.”

She thought about this. “I don’t know if I think he’s still alive, or if I want him to be alive so badly…”

”Dana, of all of the times you need to have faith that Fox is alive, this is one of the most important.” She led her daughter to the couch. The two women sat down; Maggie pulled her daughter into her arms. Dana’s protective wall began crumbling. It collapsed on itself as Maggie began patting her back soothingly. Dana’s body shook with sobs and unintelligible mumbles. Her mother only continued in her attempt to soothe her.

About 20 minutes later, Dana’s tears had subsided and her trembling had ceased. She sat in silence next to her mother. Her mind was going miles per minute trying to pull herself together.

”Dana, do you have any idea how many times I didn’t know whether your father was dead or alive?”

The question had come out of nowhere. Dana could only look at her mother and shake her head. She didn’t trust her voice.

”It was pretty often actually. More often than any woman should have to deal with. He would be out on a ship and I’d be home with you kids. It was the not knowing that killed me.”

Scully thought about this. She never once remembered her mother betraying any of these feelings in front of the children. Part of her strength, I suppose. “What did you do? How did you get through it?”

”I knew that he wouldn’t leave me. I just knew that he would never desert his family.”


”Dana, it’s all in the mindset. Fox would not leave you. Just like you’d never leave Fox.”

11:38 AM

En Route: Dana Scully's Apartment

Scully hadn't expected the visit to turn out like it had. She didn't know what she had expected, actually. She stayed for awhile, talking with her mother. Mrs. Scully had given Dana hope. She had also done a decent job of restoring her faith that she would find Mulder alive. She was never so thankful to have such a wonderful mother. Dana Scully had no idea that after she had left, Maggie Scully shed tears of her own for her adopted son.

She pulled into her parking space at her apartment complex and noted that the mail truck was just leaving. She glanced at her watch. Early…well, it's here, might as well get it. Scully went to her little mailbox and turned the key. The door swung open and she retrieved the contents that lay within. While walking up to her apartment, she began thumbing through her mail.

"Bills, bills, I might have won $1 million dollars, more bills…" She stopped, not trusting herself to go any further. In her hands was a plain white envelope with her name written on it in Mulder's careful script. The feeling that went through her was a mixture between surging hope and debilitating nausea. She wanted to sit on the floor and read it that moment, but she didn't trust her emotions enough to. She then bolted up the stairs to her door.

Once inside the apartment, she leaned against the closed door and slid to the floor. She carefully opened the letter, sure not to damage the contents within. She pulled out a single sheet of white notepaper. The sight of Mulder's handwriting at once soothed and worried her. She looked at the words without reading them. She was almost afraid to read what he had written. Finally, a voice inside her head told her that she had spent enough time looking at the letter and it was about time to read it.

July 5, 1998

Dear Scully,

It's an ungodly hour in the morning and I've just returned from dropping you at your mother's house. There are so many things I haven't told you about what's going on, and I have decided that it's time for you to know. I have only come to this decision after a lot of thought, because if you don't know what I know…no one will ever know. God, that sounds cryptic, even for me.

If what I have anticipated to happen has happened, then I am gone. Otherwise I would have filched this before you ever got your little hands on it. So, I'm letting you know that I am aware of what's going on. I'm gone. I don't know where I am, and I don't know where I'll be. I do know that you're probably ready to kill me right now though.

I don't know how much you've figured out on your own with this case. I can only assume that you've been forced to take leave, or you've taken it voluntarily. I also can only assume that you're concerned as to my present whereabouts. Trust me, I am too. I've done something that you may never be able to forgive me for, and if you never do…well, know I have my reasons. I hope to be able to explain it all to you in vivid Technicolor. I hope to be able to explain it to you at all.

There is something waiting for you at TLG HQ. God, I hope you know what I’m referring to, or I'm in deep shit. Please go there and get what I've left for you. If you're angry (I know, I know…you're probably mad as hell right now) please don't take it out on them. They have no idea what's going on, only that they have something for you and you'll be picking it up. If you care to share this with them, by all means, do so.

Right now, I'm off to go for a jog as well as to drop this in the mailbox. I need to clear my head. I hope to see you tomorrow, but somehow, I don't think I will. There are things I want to tell you, Scully. Things that I want to say in person. I know I'll be seeing you.

And you'll be seeing me.



She didn't know what to do after reading that. She rested her head against her knees and tried to begin to sort things out. There was a dull throbbing coming from somewhere in her head. A mantra began to keep in time with the throbbing. He did this on purpose. Over and over again, this played in her head. It didn't sink in. It wouldn't sink in. Not even Mulder would do something so utterly moronic. Not even Mulder would intentionally stick himself in harm's way to…Save me? Would he? God, no…no, he wouldn't do that. Her mind snapped back to all of the times she had been the one dying, she had been the one in danger. Donnie Pfaster, Eugene Tooms, Cancer, the shapeshifter who was after that clone of Samantha…Had he really done such a thing? Had he actually sacrificed himself, literally?

Hold on there Dana. Mulder's a bright boy. He must have seen the pattern that was forming in the victims. There was no way…he would never have come after me. I was never in any danger, Mulder.

"Oh Mulder, what have you done?" She hadn't realized she had spoken out loud until she heard the words echo through her own ears. "Great Dana, now you're talking to yourself. Let's see how much further Mulder can push you over the edge this time, shall we?" You won't know for sure how far he's pushed you until you get that package he's talking about. Just the idea that Mulder had premeditated this made her sick to her stomach. She wasn't sure if she wanted to know what exactly was in that package. She couldn't very well let it go though. She had to go see Langly, Frohike, and Byers. Scully only wished the visit could be a happier one.

TLG Headquarters

1:07 PM

Frohike was quick to open the door. Scully watched his face split in a smile at the sight of her. He really has no idea. She actually liked visiting them here; they always made her feel welcome. This time, she wished that the circumstances were different.

"Agent Scully, what brings you to these parts? You've finally accepted your undying love for me?"

The beginnings of a smile bent her lips. She shook her head. "I understand you have something for me?" She was beginning to totally distrust her voice. It was giving out at the most inopportune moments lately.

Frohike nodded and bustled over to a table that held a monstrous piece of computer equipment. Langly was hunched over the computer, typing furiously. Byers was nowhere to be seen. Frohike came up to her, a very large and exceptionally thick envelope in his hands. Taped to the top of the envelope was a smaller white one. Mulder's scrawl was unmistakable across the front of the white envelope.


She took the package into shaking hands that did not go by unnoticed by Frohike.

"What's happened? Mulder came by the other night at some ungodly hour and drops this off for you. He said you might come by and pick it up in a few days. He didn't say a word to us about where he was going or what he was doing. Now, you've shown up and, I'm sorry, but you look worse than you have in your entire life. Where is Mulder?"

Be strong, Dana. "He's gone. I'm not entirely sure of any details, but I believe he's been kidnapped by a suspect we had been investigating for the past week. I'm hoping that this will help me find him."

"Is this a formal investigation?"

"There is one going on, but I don't have the time to wait for them. Frankly, I don't think Mulder has the time to wait for them either."

"That sounded like a loaded statement."

She sighed. This was going to be very hard. "I found a distinct pattern in this serial killer's MO. He kidnaps his victims and tortures them. After a month, they're found dead; their bodies dumped for anyone to find."

"How long has he been missing?"

"I last saw him at about 2 AM, July 5th."

"So he's been missing for about two days."

God, had it only been two days? It felt so much longer. She looked at her watch. 1:15 PM. She did some quick math. She had last seen Mulder approximately 59 hours, 15 minutes ago. She didn't want to correct Mulder's friend, so she nodded.

"If you need us…" He trailed off. Again, she nodded.

"I'll be in touch." She turned for the door.

"And Agent Scully?"


"When you see him again, tell him that this is giving him an unfair advantage over me in acquiring your affections."

She smiled again. She nearly laughed, but not quite. She turned the handle on the door and let herself out. The sunlight was so bright, it was too beautiful a day for Mulder to be in danger. The whole thing was the epitome of surrealism to Scully. After this, there would be no more lost days. There wouldn't be any more lost time between the two of them. Things will be different this time, she vowed. It was time to get back and get to work. It was time to find her partner. She opened her car door and put her new acquisition on the passenger seat. She laid a hand over it protectively, almost afraid that if she didn't, it would disappear from her touch. Much like Mulder had.

Dana Scully’s Apartment

2:15 PM

She got back to her apartment in record time, knowing this time that she had better wait to get into her home before opening the latest letter from Mulder. She wanted privacy. Knowing the paranoiac that he was, the first letter was bound to be vague just in case it had been intercepted in the mail by the mysterious powers that be.

This time around, she was very nervous. She let herself into the apartment and made sure to lock the door behind her. She walked purposefully over to the coffee table in front of the couch where she deposited the heavy envelope carefully. She gingerly tore the white envelope from the yellow one and opened it. This letter was longer and, no doubt, more in detail. She was very afraid for what she was going to find.

She forced her eyes to focus on Mulders handwriting. His careful, yet slightly messy print distracted her and she made herself come back to earth to read what was written. She kept going back to the writing. This had been in his hands. He had thought these words out and wrote them. A lump formed in her throat as she pictured him concentrating on this very piece of paper, chewing thoughtfully on the end of a pen. Again, she shoved the image from her mind. Scully read the words one by one, trying to comprehend as well as read the words.

Dear Scully,

Well, now that you have this…I should be able to find some comfort in knowing that you’re reading these words. I should be able to find comfort in knowing that your fingers are holding this piece of paper. The fact is, if you are reading this (and I hope you’re not. I hope you’re not reading this. I hope you never had to read that last letter. Shit, I’m rambling…)I am in danger.

I have done an exceedingly stupid thing. I have used myself as bait to catch a killer so that hopefully he will not kill again. You’re reading this because at some point in my little master plan, I fucked up. I’ve done some stupid shit in my time, but I think this wins. I’m thinking back to the VinylRight. The moments I spent staring down the barrel of a rifle, protecting that life-sucking son of a bitch. I put myself in danger then. I didn’t have much of a choice then, I thought it part of the job. This time is different. I don’t know why I’m doing this now…yes I do. I’m doing this for you. I’m doing this for all of the times that I had wanted to protect you and couldn’t. I couldn’t only because I do not possess the ability to read the future. So many times I said to myself, “if I only knew…” If I only knew that Donnie Pfaster had targeted you, I could have done something. If I only knew what those bastards had in mind, I could have prevented your abduction. This time, I know. I know that this guy is targeting law enforcement officers. I won’t let it be you, Scully. I won’t let you be Francine Taylor.

By this point, you’ve probably put together that I have been hiding things from you. You’re probably pissed, and you have all right to be. Let me explain a few things from the beginning. This goes way past our involvement in this case. This goes back to Georgetown.

When Michael Donovan came up missing, Francine Taylor came to me. I had done a little bit of profile work for the Georgetown PD a while back and she remembered my name. She let me look at what she had. All the evidence she had collected, all the notes she had taken. You see, when he was taken, Francine began conducting her own investigation. Violent Crimes had it by that point. She was sure though, that if she didn’t do this herself, he would never be found alive. She began receiving letters from the killer. I took them and began drafting up another profile. In total, I did about 3 of them. There’s one in the official case folder that you probably have a copy of. There’s another one that you read a few days back. That one was typewritten and I have it in front of me right now. That one is now in your possession in this packet. The third is one that I put together after reading Francine’s notes and letters. That one is the one, Scully. That’s the one. I met her to give her the profile. She was going to go off searching for him. She disappeared soon after that. She’s dead because of me, Scully. Yet another accident I could have prevented.

A few nights ago, after you had left for the day, I was working late. I had both of their autopsy reports in front of me. Every time I looked at her photo, I saw you. I saw your face with her injuries. I’m not letting that be you. I’m not giving him the option. He’s going to target me. There’s only one difference here Scully, I’m not going to let him kill me. I know that you are going to find me, and I also know that you won’t make the same mistake Francine did when she went looking for Donovan. I don’t know what that mistake is, but I trust you’ll figure it out. You are going to find me, and you’re going to find me alive. I would never die without your permission, Scully. I may be a sorry son of a bitch, but I’m a considerate, sorry son of a bitch.

These are my notes. This is everything I have on this case. Everything. You can do this Scully. I know you can, because I’m here with you. I’m right beside you handing you my bullshit theories for you to pick apart. I’m here, and I’m alive, and I’m waiting for you. We’re going to get this psycho.

This is what I’m going to do, just in case I don’t make it back to my apartment to call you. I want to call you and apologize for being such a jackass. Not just tonight, but always. But, you see, I can’t call you before I go, because you’ll talk me out of going through this hair-brained scheme. So, I’m apologizing now. Then, I will put this into an envelope, drop it off with the 3 Musketeers, drop your first letter in a mailbox, and go for a jog. I need to clear my head and formulate a plan. If, by chance, I don’t make it back…well, I’ll just play it by ear. That didn’t sound good, did it? Whatever it is that I do, I swear to you, I will live through it.

If I don’t make it back, I want you to follow my jogging route. That is the last place I’ll be if I don’t make it back. Please go through my route. That is where you should start. You know where I go, I know you do. You’ll find something there. I don’t know what, but that’s where you’ll find your first clues.

I’m sorry for rambling. It’s not every day I do something this stupid.

I’ll see you soon, Scully.



Her eyes had filled up yet again. Just when she thought she had no more tears to cry, she surprised herself. He didn’t know. He hadn’t picked it up. She couldn’t believe that he hadn’t picked up that she was never in any danger to begin with. He intentionally put himself in harms way to protect her, when she was never in any danger. In fact, Mulder was probably the one being targeted all along. He was just making himself easier to find. Scully could only shake her head in amazement. She scanned the sheets of paper again and then decided it was time to delve into the mysterious packet. She ripped it open and eased the materials out. This collection was more impressive than the first was. Right on top were two profiles. One was the typed one she had read before and the second one was the mysterious “other” profile. If she hadn’t been so worried, she would have been annoyed with him for being so…Mulder. Honestly, why keep all three? She skimmed the newest one, looking for details that hadn’t made it on to the other two.

Male between the ages of 35-40, at least 6’, approx. 200 lbs. Muscular build, works out regularly at a gym. “Clean cut.” Looks like your “everyday Joe.”

Knowledge of medicine, not a doctor though. Failed out of med. school?

The torture and mutilation that he inflicts on his victims would produce a large amount of noise. He lives isolated in the woods, or he lives in the inner city where no one would pay him any attention. Definitely not the suburbs, not a town, not an apartment building.

Uses his knowledge of medicine in his torture methods.

He has a history of sexual and physical abuse. He comes from a fairly well off family, yet there was abuse in the home. His parents were divorced when he was young; pre elementary school age. His mother remarried shortly afterwards. He was abused by his stepfather. College, and then medical school, was his escape.

He would have tortured small animals as an adolescent; cats and small dogs mostly.

He’s of high intelligence. A B-student in high school; did better in college, once he was out of his mother’s home. At least a 3.5 GPA. Didn’t pass the boards between second and third year Ed school.

Used self-mutilation as a form of escape. Will have scars on arms, legs, and/or wrists from self-mutilation.

Will have at least one tattoo. More than likely, he will have two or three. They will be in indiscriminate locations; the back, shoulders, buttocks, upper thigh.

May have a pierced ear, although this is less likely than the tattoos because he can’t hide the earring.

He works for himself. A carpenter or a landscaper. Must have given his services to various golf courses. Victims found in the vicinity of several different golf courses. Perhaps not recently, but at some point in the last few years. He had to have been familiar with the layout of the course as well as the surrounding areas.

Why does he target law enforcement officials? Perhaps he asked for their help when he was younger, and didn’t get any. Something must have happened in his recent past to re-trigger his anger though. I think something happened to a loved one (wife, girlfriend) that the police (G-town?) could not prevent, but which he thinks they could have. His murders of non-law enforcement officials were a way to draw his intended victims into the game. Perhaps his abusive father or stepfather was a law enforcement officer?

The letters he sends to the partners…taunting? Perhaps stemming back to a situation of his own with a loved one? Trying to instill a feeling of helplessness that he’s felt.

The perpetrator has no social life. He devotes far too much time to his victims. He must take time out to work. Probably has a decent job that makes good money.

(Mulder wrote in the margin by this statement: “See description of the room where D is being held. Too much expensive equipment.”)

He is probably slow to anger, but has a vicious temper when provoked. More than likely, he isn’t angry while he’s torturing his victims. He’s enjoying himself too much. However, he probably is prone to losing his temper when things don’t work out his way.

(By this there was another note in Mulder’s handwriting: Taylor’s injuries of a much more violent, angry nature. Not methodical.)

How does he target who he’s after? How does he choose one partner?

This was more like what Scully had come to expect from one of Mulder’s profiles. She glanced at the beginning of the profile and noted the reference to letters. Scully began digging through the papers to find the letters to Francine Taylor that Mulder had mentioned. There were three letters. That’s not right. There should be four. One for every week he’d been missing. Then she remembered that Taylor had gone after him and turned up missing. That had probably been the fourth week. A thought came to Scully and she made some hasty notes in her pocket notebook to find the missing letter, if there was one. She had her first clue. Or so she hoped…she settled back and began to read the letters.

Scully was shaking uncontrollably by the time she was halfway through the second letter to Francine Taylor. Whoever this man was, he was way sicker than she could even begin to imagine. The letters followed a pattern. The first came after Donovan had been missing for one week. It went into detail about how he had been abducted. Then there was a long and detailed list of all of Michael Donovan’s injuries. Scully cross referenced the list to his autopsy report and saw that the list was quite accurate.

”Score one for you Mulder. This guy does probably have some medical background.” She scanned the rest of the second letter. That one was more emotional. He went into more detail about the deteriorating mental state of Michael Donovan. There was more mention of new injuries as well as infections to the previous ones. The terminology was quite technical and the more she read, the more she was sure that not only was this guy a bona fide psycho, he was a highly educated one. The second letter as well as the first held a very superior tone. That stood out to her quite clearly. There was also something else. Something she couldn’t quite touch on. She went on to the third letter.

The third letter went into even more medical detail about Michael Donovan and his precarious dance on the line between life and death. The author wrote about using Taylor to provoke Donovan’s anger. He wrote about toying with the man as though he were a mere puppet. The thing that Scully couldn’t quite touch on began to make sense. She became quite sure that the two partners were probably either in love or already intimately involved. Or he was to her like Mulder is to you…She read on. He wrote on, proclaiming Donovan’s love for Taylor almost like he was doing them both a favor. Who the hell does this guy think he is? Cupid? She would have liked to read on, however there was no more to read in this collection.

Scully began to be very afraid. However, she had become such a master of hiding her own emotions, she just pushed her fears down deep inside her and continued to concentrate on the task at hand. She began to make her own notes.

Mentions a van – perhaps uses it for work?

Playing Cupid? Maybe he’s targeting the male halves of the partners to work out his own frustrations? Did he have a girlfriend? Maybe she left him for a law enforcement officer. Maybe he killed her? May have been in love once and it ended. She was his first victim.

Why the men? Maybe he wishes he killed himself but is too cowardly to do so, so he kills other men? Maybe he thinks he can relate to these men. He thinks they’re in the same situation as he was, with a woman who didn’t love him? A one sided relationship where the man loves the woman more than the woman loves the man. He thinks that he’s saving the men, as he would have wanted to be saved?

He thinks he’s superior. Sounds overly confident. Enjoys toying with emotions. Considers himself a puppet master.

***Must find FT’s fourth letter.

”God Mulder, I suck at this.” She threw her pen in frustration. She put the letters aside and looked at what was next in the stack. Autopsy reports on all of the victims to date. In order, the victims were a 29-year-old Caucasian woman, a 42-year-old Black male, an 18-year-old Philippine woman, a 32-year-old Caucasian woman (F. Taylor), a 36-year-old Caucasian male (M. Donovan), a 35-year-old Caucasian male (Agent E. Murphy). Scully noticed that the pattern became more distinct after the investigations started. It was almost like he tried to make the first victims random. Scully had her doubts as to how random the first victim was. She jotted down the name of the first woman: Alicia Tibbs. She figured she’d investigate the other two seemingly unrelated victims. The man was named Harold Baker and the younger woman’s name was unknown. She had yet to be identified. She was a Jane Doe, probably a prostitute. Scully knew what that meant. She would have to question some of DC’s working girls to get any inside information on this victim.

Scully composed a “to do” list.

  1. Find FT’s fourth letter
  2. Retrace Mulder’s steps.
  3. Talk to Agent Morris (invite to lunch? Must be unofficial…)
  4. Find Mulder

The first thing she thought she should do before any more time passed was to retrace Mulder’s steps. That was the most important thing because it was so time sensitive. She left the rest of the paperwork to go through later. It was time for Dana Scully to go for a little walk. She pulled on a pair of sneakers, fastened her holster about her waist and put on a lightweight windbreaker to hide her gun. Scully made sure that she brought along some plastic bags, some latex gloves and a tiny set of tweezers. She wasn’t sure if she was emotionally ready to see where Mulder was last, but she was beginning to learn how to ignore those emotions. As this thought entered her mind, she murmured to herself, “I’m becoming more like him every day.” Scully got into her car and backed out of the lot. She headed toward Alexandria and hoped for the best.

Mulder’s Apartment Building

7:48 PM

She parked next to where Mulder’s car should have been. She couldn’t get over how empty the loaded parking lot looked without Mulder’s car. It had probably been towed to a lot where forensics could go over it carefully and gather any evidence. Scully was pretty sure they wouldn’t find anything. She looked around for any agents. Even though she wasn’t really doing anything wrong, she still felt like she was going to get caught doing something illegal. She thought of Mulder being held somewhere against his will, probably beaten and bleeding and she found herself not much caring about whether she got caught. She started on Mulder’s familiar jogging route. Scully kept her eyes to the ground, looking for anything that would lead her to Mulder. She wasn’t expecting a “Post-It” note stuck to the sidewalk giving detailed instructions as to how to find Mulder. She also wasn’t expecting to find what she found.

An alleyway. How utterly unoriginal.

She had found where Mulder was when he had been taken. There was a dark brown stain on the sidewalk. She couldn’t imagine that blood could have sat there that long without anyone cleaning it up. Even a city street cleaner would have picked that up. She wasn’t entirely sure that this was Mulder’s blood, but there was one way to find out. She silently thanked herself for having foresight as she pulled the gloves, bag and tweezers out of the windbreaker pocket. Scully got down on one knee to gather a sample. She was skeptical as to what she would find, but there was something inside her that was screaming out to her, This is what you’re looking for! As she was scraping at the brown spot, her eye caught something else. A shell. Now, the spot here on the concrete might be explainable, but a shell? I doubt it. She gingerly picked it up in her gloved hands and placed it in a plastic bag. She would probably be able to get a make and model of the gun the shell belonged to. She began to scour the alleyway for any other clues. She found nothing. Scully got to her feet and began walking away from the alley, dejected.

”What are ya lookin’ fer, lady?”

The voice startled her and Scully whirled around, pulling her gun out of the holster and aiming it in front of her. She felt quite foolish when she saw who the voice belonged to. There was a young boy in front of her, no older than 10. He was very dirty and very thin. There was a dog of an indeterminate breed sitting next to him dutifully. His eyes had widened in surprise at the sight of her gun and he began to run away. Scully called after him.

”I’m sorry, you startled me.”

The boy had started to run away, but slowed and turned around. If he had seemed hesitant before, he was downright skittish now. He approached her slowly, trying to hide his uncertainty behind what was obviously a false bravado.

”Aw, you din’t scare me.” His tone turned cautious, “Are you a cop?”

”No, I’m not. I work for the FBI.” She showed him her badge and smiled at him. He was quite cute. Bright green eyes poked out from beneath the layers of dirt and grime. Scully knew exactly what this kid needed: a hot meal, and a bar of soap. Her conscience was at war. Don’t get involved, Scully.

He’s just a kid though.

Yeah, and what could he be capable of? You know what kids are capable of these days. You see it every day. Come on, get the hell out of here. You got some evidence. Get out.

But…what if…?

What if, what? What, do you think he was here or something? Come on, get a grip girlfriend.

Would it hurt to ask? I think not.

She ignored what the other half of her mind was saying to her at that moment. “Were you here a few nights ago?”

He eyed her suspiciously. “Maybe.”

Scully realized that she was going to have to do some heavy bargaining. She grinned. “Do you think a hamburger might jog your memory?”

His smile gave her all the answer she needed.

July 8

12:38 AM

Scully trudged into the apartment, tired but pleased. She had learned a lot from the young boy named Charlie. Granted, the double cheeseburger, onion rings, milkshake and hot fudge sundae probably helped him give her the information. Apparently, that alley was where Charlie and his dog (who was named Marvin) usually slept. In the wintertime, they would sleep in a Dumpster, but in the summertime, they would sleep high up in one of the neighboring buildings’ fire escapes. While listening to him, Scully tried to ignore the pangs in her heart at the thought of this boy curling up next to cockroaches and rats for a good night’s sleep. Charlie had gone off on a tangent explaining to Scully how hard it was getting a dog up into the fire escape. Finally, he got back to the story at hand. He had been up in the fire escape the night Mulder was taken. He gave Scully a full account of what he saw.

Charlie had just settled in for the night when a man drove a van up to the alley. He got out of his van and walked into the alley. He had found a spot to sit next to a Dumpster. He sat there until Mulder arrived. Given what Charlie said, he waited for Mulder for about a half an hour. Charlie sat up in the fire escape, unseen. He had just been starting to doze off when he heard the man get up from his spot beside the Dumpster. At that point, Charlie had woken up and became an audience and, Scully hoped, a viable witness. From what the young boy told her, he sat and watched as a man (Mulder) jogged by. The other man stepped out of the alleyway and shot him in the leg. Scully had tried to listen objectively, but her imagination had started to go wild with Charlie’s vivid description of Mulder collapsing to the ground. The amount of blood had been unbelievable, or so he had said. Scully hadn’t lost her composure at all during his synopsis.

”Did you hear anything?” She had asked.

He most definitely did hear something. That something was not a gunshot though. Scully noted that the abductor had probably used a silencer. This had advantages, as Scully found out. Charlie was able to hear everything that was being said. Mostly what he heard was Mulder. Apparently, while he was laying on the pavement bleeding profusely, he began reciting the Miranda Rights. Scully wasn’t sure whether she wanted to laugh or cry. The vision of Mulder being so typically Mulder made her want to chuckle. On the other hand, her worst fears were confirmed. Mulder was indeed kidnapped and was suffering from a severe injury. Scully didn’t even want to contemplate the infection that was probably overtaking the gunshot wound by now.

Scully looked at her watch. It was nearly one in the morning. Common sense told her she should try and get some sleep. She wouldn’t be any use to anyone, much less Mulder, if she wasn’t running on all six cylinders. It had been a very long couple of days. She was physically as well as mentally exhausted. “All I need is a shower. That’ll wake me up.” She murmured to the empty apartment. A nice hot shower was exactly what she needed to revive her. A pot of coffee wouldn’t hurt either.

About an hour later, Dana was still poring over the rest of the contents of Mulder’s packet. She had finished a half of a pot of the coffee and had begun to convince herself she wasn’t tired. She never got into the shower. She didn't want to waste any time that she could be devoting to finding her partner, but Scully’s body was having a hard time keeping up with the demands she was making on it. She found herself seeing double as she tried to concentrate on the words in front of her. Her brain was having a hard time processing what should have been simple information. Instead of giving in to her weary state, she got angry at it. She stood up to stretch in an attempt to invigorate her tired body. Angry tears clouded her vision, which made her even madder. In a rare display of temper, Dana Scully kicked her couch with as much ferocity as she could muster. The pain shot up her leg, but she did not notice it. She had begun to pace around the apartment not unlike a caged animal. She was fighting so many things, she couldn’t even begin to count them. Everything from the FBI to a faceless psycho to herself. She sat down on the couch, noting that her foot had begun to throb. At least the tears had subsided. She leaned back and closed her eyes for what she only thought would be a second. Scully fell asleep sitting up. She had lost the war she had been waging with exhaustion…for now.

She knew she was dreaming.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Dana Scully knew what she was witnessing couldn’t be real. She was so willing to lose herself in the dream though. Mulder, pressing close to her, his warm breath tickling her ear. She wrapped her arms around him vowing never to let him go. The sound of his voice, a sexy chuckle that seemed to envelope her. She could feel his lips, his soft, smooth lips play against her forehead, then her temple, then her jawline, then the sensitive flesh on her neck. His hands buried themselves in her hair as she shivered at his touch. She moved closer to him, her cheek against the smooth fabric of his shirt. She could see him, smell him, feel him, and hear the thud of his heartbeat, could she taste him? She looked up into those familiar green eyes. Those eyes that were always hiding something. They absolutely gleamed right now as she lifted her mouth to his. She felt shudders wrack his body and he convulsed in pain. They two fell to the ground as he begged her to make it stop. She watched helplessly as tears formed in his eyes. Blood seemed to come from nowhere as he continued to beg her to ease the pain.

”Make it stop, Scully. Please make it stop.”

She was still clutching him and could begin to feel a heat spread through his body. She pressed her lips to his forehead willing the fever to go down. He continued to groan in pain as sores began to open up on his skin. Festering boils marred his features. She could hardly absorb what was happening to him. She couldn’t understand it. She could only hold him and promise him she’d fix it. She’d fix everything.

”I can save you Mulder.”

She held his dying body in her arms as he continued to shake and convulse. He was quickly covered in blood from his sores. Scully too, was drenched in blood. Mulder’s blood.

Mulder’s blood on her hands.

Scully sat up with a start, that final thought echoing through her mind. She looked at her hands, searching for any trace of Mulder’s blood. Though she saw nothing, she still felt compelled to get up and wash her hands.

On her way to the bathroom, she saw the time. It was 5:03 in the morning. She had only slept about three hours. That was good. She didn’t want to lose any time on this. She had a lot to do today. She had never gotten around to that shower the night before and felt particularly grimy. Once in the bathroom, she began getting ready to face the day. She got ready quickly, as dawdling only gave her mind time to reflect on the nightmare. She had to drop the blood and the shell off to the crime lab. She had a few favors she could call in to keep this new information discreet. It probably wasn’t a very smart thing to keep this from the investigative team, but Scully really thought she could proceed quicker if she did this on her own.

The Hoover Building

7:08 AM

Sci-Crime Lab

Scully dropped the scrapings and the shell off to Agent Karen Williams. Dr. Williams was an expert in forensics and promised Scully she would have the results of her tests to her by early that afternoon. She knew she could trust Karen to keep this quiet. The two of them had gone to college together and entered the academy together. Over the years, they had drifted apart slightly, but there was still a foundation of friendship that Scully knew she could count on.

”You realize that what you’re asking me to do is a major breach of protocol.” She had said.

Scully could only nod. “If you only knew how often I’ve found myself repeating that very phrase to myself over the past few days.”

Her friend had only smiled. “Aren’t you supposed to be taking a leave of absence?”

Scully had taken a seat on a nearby stool. “Karen, if you only knew…if you only knew all we’ve been through. Taking a leave of absence…that’s just not an option. I can’t just sit by and twiddle my thumbs. I have to do something.”

Agent Williams had nodded understandingly. “I’ll call you by 2 Dana. I promise.”

Scully had smiled at her friend and got up to leave. She had the unfortunate honor of running into AD Skinner in the hallway. He stopped and looked at Scully curiously.

”Agent Scully.”

She nodded in acknowledgement. “Sir.”

”My office, 10 minutes.”

She swallowed nervously. “Yes sir.”

He nodded briskly, turned and walked away.

The sudden surge of adrenaline had left Scully shaky. She walked quickly to a nearby ladies room and leaned over the sink. What she needed was a Mulder-style pep talk. As she looked at her reflection she imagined what he would be saying to her right now. In a far corner of her mind, she heard his voice.

Okay Scully, so he wants to talk to you. You know that he doesn’t have any interest in talking about the weather. Chances are, he wants to either see what the hell you’re doing here when you’re supposed to be sitting on your hands back home. Either that, or he wants to brief you on how the official investigation is going. Now, you know as well as I do that he’s not going to order you to stop your investigation. You know why? Because he doesn’t know you’re conducting an investigation. He knows you’re not doing what he ordered you to do, but hey, what the hell does he expect? You’re my partner. Some of my bad habits have probably rubbed off on you by now. He’s going to try though. He’s going to press you and try to find out what you’ve been up to. Just be a rock. Give him that “Little Miss Innocent” shit you always try with me. Be careful though, he’ll probably have someone following you or some other covert shit. Now, you had better pull yourself together and go in there and be Special Agent Dana Scully, okay? I love you.

Where the hell had that come from?

Scully turned the water on and quickly splashed some cold water on her face. She took some cleansing breaths and headed for Skinners’ office. She found the door open. She walked in and took a seat. Skinner looked at her hard for a moment before he spoke.

”We’re having very little progress in our investigation into Agent Mulder’s disappearance. So far, the sweep of the apartment has yielded no prints. We can find nothing out of the ordinary. His personal papers seem to be intact, for the most part, his belongings seem to be left undisturbed. The search of his car has brought similar results. So far, we’re at a dead end.”

This was not what she had wanted to hear. “This is what you wanted to see me about Sir?” It was hard to talk past that lump in her throat, but she managed.

Walter Skinner leaned back in his chair and thought a moment before continuing. “You were Agent Mulder’s partner…”

”I still am.”

He acknowledged the defensiveness in her tone and continued. “You are Agent Mulder’s partner. You would know better than I or any of my team if something was missing from Agent Mulder’s personal effects.”

”What exactly are you leading to Sir?”

”I’m giving you an opportunity, Agent Scully. I am giving you an opportunity to go through the crime scene. I am giving you full license to examine any and all evidence we’ve collected. The only stipulation is that if you find something that would appear to be important to the investigation, you inform us.”

Scully thought about this for a moment. An opportunity to examine the evidence and crime scene without having to break in was rather appealing to her. She couldn’t help but suspect that the AD had some ulterior motives of his own. She could tell just by sitting there watching him that he wasn’t trusting her and he knew she wasn’t trusting him. They sat there, staring at each other for a very tense minute. He was waiting for her answer. This was too big of an opportunity to pass up. She nodded her assent.

”When can they expect you?”

”I can be there right away, Sir.”

”Fine then. I’ll tell the Special Agent in Charge to expect you.”

She got up to leave. “Who is heading up the investigation?”

”Agent Diana Fowley.”

Scully had a very bad feeling about this. She lifted herself out of the chair and started for the door.

”And Agent Scully?”

She turned. “Yes Sir?”

”If you had been conducting an independent, unofficial investigation, you would tell me, would you not?”

She forced her face to look neutral. “Of course Sir.”

He nodded, unconvinced. “I thought so.”

She continued toward the door. The hallway was a nice change from the increasingly stifling atmosphere of Skinners office was beginning to get to her. Best get used to it Scully. It’s not going to be getting any better. You wanted access. You now have access. Let’s just hope you find something…and don’t kill Fowley in the process. She had respect for the agent who had worked with Mulder before she did, but she didn’t have to like her. In fact, she didn’t like her. Scully didn’t like Diana Fowley at all. She didn’t like the way she pushed herself onto Mulder. Scully still felt something rotten in the pit of her stomach when she remembered nearly walking in on the two of them during what appeared to be an extremely intimate moment. Mulder had explained it all to her later. From what Mulder said, Diana had started to spark something between them that had long since died. Scully still didn’t feel comfortable around her. Well Girlfriend, you’re just going to have to get over it. Just because you find something doesn’t mean you necessarily have to share it.

Why Dana, that would be so dishonest, so sneaky, so…so Mulder! Scully didn’t really like the turn her mind was taking. She was sounding less and less like herself and more and more like her partner. She walked down to her car and sat inside the plush interior and tried to organize her thoughts. She still had to find out as much as she could about the initial victims. Perhaps she’d follow up on that after meeting Agent Fowley at Mulder’s apartment. She still had to talk to Agent Morris. Dammit. And I was here too! Shit. She glanced at her watch and tapped the wheel. I could swing back later and try to catch her either right before lunch or right after lunch, depending on how long I’m at Mulder’s. She started the engine and started on her way to Alexandria.

Mulder’s Apartment

8:10 AM

Scully wasn’t sure if she should knock or just go right in. She tried the knob and found it locked. She knocked softly and waited. There was no answer. She knocked again and waited. Again, there was no answer.

”Well, I’m not waiting all day for this.” She pulled Mulder’s key out of her purse and stuck it in the lock. Within minutes she had gained access to the crime scene and looked around. She was experiencing such conflicting feelings in this place. Every time she turned around, she expected to see Mulder sprawled out on the couch, hunched over the desk or coming out of the kitchen drinking milk from the carton. She wandered around the empty apartment, absently wondering where all the agents were. At least Diana should be there. She silence made her uneasy. She kept an ear open for footsteps that might belong to one of her fellow agents as she started going through Mulder’s things. She knew there was a collection of evidence at the Hoover building, but she would go through that later. There was a lot here she was sure that someone who didn’t know Mulder would have glossed over. She felt like she was intruding as she went through his belongings. She walked over to his dresser and started looking through his things. Clothes, clothes, clothes and more clothes were dumped on the floor. Mixed in with the clothes, she came across a few packets of photos and glanced through them. She wasn’t sure what possessed her then, but she took the photos. She placed them under her shirt in the waistband of her jeans. She looked around guiltily. She saw no one and continued her search. She was looking through the contents of his underwear drawer, which were presently sitting on the floor in a haphazard heap. Scully felt herself blush as she pawed through boxers, tank tops, and socks. She wasn’t sure what she expected to find, the last thing she expected to find though, was a small velvet box mixed in with his unmentionables. She handled it gingerly, Frohikes words echoing in her mind. Something about Diana Fowley being Mulder’s “chickadee.” She wondered how far the term went. Was she married to him? She was afraid to open the box. She opened it carefully. She let out the breath she didn’t know she had been holding.

It was his Oxford class ring.

She looked around again and pulled the ring from the box. She slipped it into her jeans pocket. The cool metal burned against her thigh. She knew she should be looking for things relating to the case, but right at the moment she was looking for things that would ease her sanity. She walked around trying not to step on anything. The apartment looked even worse than it had when Scully found it a few days ago. She felt so disjointed. The apartment was Mulder’s and yet, it wasn’t. There was another pile of clothes, Mulder’s clean laundry no doubt, dumped by the couch. Scully sat down and started putting the clothes back into the basket that had been overturned. From the far reaches of her mind, a voice called to her, telling her not to mess with the crime scene. She wasn’t listening though. She felt the familiar fabric between her fingers. His T-shirts, jeans, socks and boxers that had fallen in a haphazard heap were now being folded and placed carefully back in the laundry basket. God, if he only knew that he’s got you doing his laundry now…

Once the clothes were back in the basket, she lifted a gray T-shirt off of the top of the pile. She held it to her face, inhaling deeply. Past the scent of the detergent, she could smell Mulder. The subtle scent unlocked a gate of sensations she hadn’t been prepared for. The lump in her throat formed so quickly, it nearly choked her. She took a deep, steadying breath and closed her eyes. She looked around quickly and guiltily stuffed the shirt into her purse.

”Okay Scully, let’s get down to business here. Time to focus on the task at hand.” She had found herself talking to herself more and more lately. It was comforting somehow. She had even been able to convince herself it was normal. She began to comb through the crime scene looking for anything. She wasn’t feeling very optimistic at that point though.

12:05 PM

Scully had been sitting sifting through Mulder’s things all morning. She was exhausted and frustrated. She found nothing of any consequence to the case. She did, however, find a multitude of his “Celebrity Skin” issues. She only shook her head and smiled when she found them. She also found a black and white composition notebook: the beginnings of a journal that Mulder had started around the time of Scully’s cancer. She had begun to read, but found after one page she couldn’t read any more of Mulder’s most intimate thoughts. She set the book down. She needed to splash some water on her face to wash away the tears she had shed so far.

Mulder’s bathroom also looked like a tornado had whipped through it. Scully found herself getting irritated at her fellow agents for not caring about what they did to Mulder’s home. It wasn’t much of a home, but it was his home nonetheless. She leaned over the sink and splashed her face with cold water. As she looked at herself in the mirror, her eye caught something in the shower. A tube of shower gel. She had never thought Mulder the “shower gel” type. She had always pegged him as a “bar” man. She turned in the tiny bathroom and retrieved the tube. She flipped the top open and inhaled. Again, memories came rushing to her caused by this simple scent. Mostly, she was reminded of their last night together. She blinked back the ensuing tears. It was silly, but she had to have it. She brought the tube out into the living room with her and stuffed it in her purse with the T-shirt.

Scully looked around her. There wasn’t anything here. She had wished she could have been more help, but knowing Mulder like she knew Mulder, she wasn’t surprised to find nothing in this apartment. She slung the purse on her shoulder and turned to leave. As she reached the door, she heard a key turn in the lock. Scully stopped, startled. She was more startled to see who was on the other side of the door.

Agent Diana Fowley.

Scully froze, as did the other agent. They stood there uncomfortably, staring at each other.

”Agent Scully.”

”Agent Fowley.” She acknowledged this woman in front of her with what could only be referred to as cool professionalism. That was something Dana Scully was an expert at. She felt the need to elaborate. “AD Skinner told me to…”

”I know. He called me. I thought you’d work better if you weren’t distracted.”

She started to smile. “Well, I-I’ve got to leave. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help. There just isn’t anything here. I could find nothing at all.”

”Don’t worry. No one else could either.”

There wasn’t anything else to say and the two women just stood there awkwardly. “Well, Agent Scully…thank you for coming over and helping…I…”

”It’s no problem at all. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I must be going.”

Diana moved out of the doorway and let Scully pass. Scully was halfway down the hallway when she heard Agent Fowley calling after her waving something. Scully turned around as Diana reached her.

”Agent Scully, you left this…it is yours, isn’t it?” It was obvious she hadn’t read the contents of the black and white composition notebook. Scully took it hesitantly.

”Um, yes. Yes, it is. Thank you, I must have just…overlooked it.”

10:30 PM

Scully's Apartment

It had been another long day. She walked into the apartment and, after locking the door behind her, she kicked her shoes off and wandered into the living room. Scully couldn't remember the last thing she had eaten before she'd met Elizabeth Morris for lunch. Scully had dropped back by the Hoover building after the encounter with Agent Fowley. She had gone through the collection of evidence from Mulder's place. There was nothing of any consequence there either. After that, she had found Agent Morris in her office typing up a report on her laptop. She'd invited the taller woman to lunch at the deli down the street. Even though Scully had no appetite, she knew she had to at least make an attempt to eat.

She had listened to Agent Morris talk about her work at the bureau and how she liked things so far. Scully sat, picking at her salad and sipping her iced tea, listening intently. When she brought up the incident with Agent Murphy, Elizabeth had grown very quiet.

"I was assigned to him. He was my first partner…a really great guy. We got along really well. I always considered myself lucky to have a partner I was also friends with."

"What did you do when you discovered that he was missing?" Scully had tried to be as gentle as possible in approaching the subject.

"We were on a stakeout. I remember that we had been assigned to the case on the 25th. It was June 1st. I remember because the next morning, the bodies of the two officers were found. Anyway, we were staking out this one locale. It had come up as an anonymous lead…and ended up being a residence, a very deserted residence. He had called in an order for a pizza at a place down the street. He said he would only be a minute and that he would walk it. After about 20 minutes, I phoned the pizzeria. Our order was still there. He had never picked it up. At that point I called the Assistant Director. I didn't know what to do…I was sure that something had happened to him. It was like he just disappeared off the face of the earth. Not a trace of him anywhere. And no one saw anything either. That's the amazing thing. Washington DC, millions of people, and nobody saw a thing." The bitterness in her tone had been unmistakable.

"What did you do though?"

"Dana, I have never lost a partner before. I wasn't sure how to handle it. I've never lost a friend before either. Trust me, of the two; losing the friend was harder. Then, after about a week, the letters started coming."


"Yes. I started getting letters from someone claiming to be the man we had been investigating. They were horrible disturbing letters…all about what Eric had been going through." Her eyes then clouded over with a misting of tears.

"Did you keep them?" Scully couldn't get over how insensitive that had sounded.

"I included them in the evidence for the case. I'm sure if you get Eric's file, you'll be able to read them for yourself."

Scully had found that she couldn't meet the woman's eyes.



What the younger agent said only came out as a hoarse whisper. "I hope you find Agent Mulder."

"Me too."

Scully had driven Elizabeth back to the Hoover building and decided she needed to take a look at Agent Murphy's file. An unexplained, missing person's case. Sounded almost like an X-File, since it hadn't been solved yet. She knew better though. She had acquired the file through VCS and brought it back down to her desk.

After examining the file for nearly 2 hours, Scully had come to one conclusion. Sometimes following protocol wasn't a good thing. From what she could tell, Agent Morris had worked on this case instead of being left out of it. Scully had thought that that had been a bad call on whoever made the decision. Agent Morris should have taken a leave of absence just like Scully was asked to. But you haven't taken that leave yet Dana…The deeper she dug into the case, the more similarities she saw between herself and Agent Morris. They both had an extreme respect for the bureau and it's rules. Elizabeth Morris was probably more of a stickler for rules and protocol than even Scully. Following the rules didn't save her partner though.

Scully sank into her couch weighing her options. She could either go find Mulder like Francine Taylor tried to find her partner; or she could sit back and let the FBI do their thing. In both instances, the men still turned up dead. This left Scully with a dilemma. What can I do to get him back? Two women before me have tried the two routes I would have tried, and they both failed. If I go find Mulder like some obsessed vigilante, I risk being killed in the process. If I sit back like I'm expected to do, then Mulder will most surely be killed. She wasn't sure where to turn next.

For a moment, she had nearly forgotten about the folder in her hands. She had taken copies of the letters sent to Agent Morris so that she could cross-reference them to the letters sent to Francine Taylor. There were four letters addressed to Elizabeth Morris. Scully had gone to the Georgetown Police Department to try and find out where the rest of Francine Taylor's mail would be. After a quick flash of her badge, she had gained entrance to the evidence room. The final letter to Francine Taylor was there. Scully got a copy of it, after flashing her badge once more, and saved it for later reference.

She had read all eight letters and there was something she couldn't quite touch on yet. There was something odd about them. There was a little voice whispering in the back of her mind to read them again. She sat on the couch and pulled the sheets of paper out of the manila folder. She paid specific attention to the dates at the top of all the letters. There was something to them, she was sure.

Suddenly, it hit her. Francine Taylor had been missing at the time she received the fourth and final letter notifying her of Michael Donovan's death. However, when they were found, the time of death estimated for the two officers were only hours apart. Scully couldn't be sure, but it seemed to her that this killer was trying to…to what? Is he writing these letters not necessarily telling what has already happened, but what will happen? Francine should have received a letter telling her Michael was dead. But, if they were both killed around the same time, then Michael wasn't dead when the letter was sent. But that doesn't make any sense. Unless, he sends out the final letter then waits to kill them. But why? A chance to let them be rescued? What the hell?

She read the letters over and over again, trying to find similarities. The last letters to both Francine and Elizabeth were exceptionally taunting. Over and over again he wrote that it was okay that they couldn't save him. It was okay, and these men died forgiving them. But when Scully tried to think of these men not being dead yet…that was nearly too much for her to fathom. There was no doubt in her mind though, that Michael Donovan did not die as specified in the letter. The letter telling of his death was dated May 31, a Sunday. Mulder last saw Francine Taylor on the 29th, which was a Friday. The letter was postmarked June 1st and probably reached her house on the 2nd. Their bodies were found early the 2nd and they had been dead anywhere from 12-15 hours. Scully had requested the autopsy reports on them and noted the name of the coroner who had done not only Taylor and Donovan’s autopsy, but Murphy’s as well. It was another old friend of hers, Dr. Sydney Dawson. She would pay Dr. Dawson a visit bright and early the next morning. Perhaps Syd would be able to provide her with a little insider information not only on the two Georgetown officers, but on Agent Murphy as well.

It was 12:30 and there wasn't much more she could do for the day. She had gotten names and numbers of the initial victims' families (all but the 18-year-old woman). That would be an avenue for her to explore tomorrow. It was far too late to be phoning grieving families. She could read the autopsy reports again, just as she could read the letters to Elizabeth and Francine…again. She knew she didn't want to sleep. She knew she didn't want to eat (especially not after she had had such a hard time keeping her lunch down all day.) Scully turned on the TV and flipped through the channels, ignoring the siren call of her purloined possessions. She still felt the weight of the ring in her pocket. She still had Mulder's plain gray T-shirt in her purse along with the shower gel. Scully had also stuffed the photographs in there once she got to her car. She still had the notebook Agent Fowley had mistakenly thought was hers.

Scully turned off the television and dug into her pocket. She retrieved the ring and held it in her hand, marveling at the sheer weight of it. It was a simple signet ring with the Oxford crest imprinted on it. On the inside of the ring were the tell tale marks of an engraving worn away with time. She could make out "F.W. Mulder" and then a date. She couldn't make out the date, but she was sure that it was his graduation date. Scully felt ridiculous doing so, but she attempted to slip the ring on her finger. It fell off of every finger and just barely stayed on her thumb. She sat there a minute, rubbing her finger over the smooth gold. Mechanically, she unfastened her chain from around her neck and slipped the ring on it. She put the necklace back on and touched the ring to her skin. On one level, it felt funny…hokey almost. On another level, a much deeper level, it felt right. She toyed with it a few moments before she got up and got her purse from the counter where she had dropped it upon coming in.

She pulled out the T-shirt and shower gel. In Scully's mind, there was no better time for a shower.

She was unprepared for the onslaught of memories that would assault her when she lathered the masculine scent up and down her arms. It was what Mulder had smelled of on their last night together. She inhaled and filled her lungs up with Mulder. How odd he could be so far away, and yet she was feeling closer to him than she had in ages. After the shower, she wrapped herself in her robe and went into her room. The T-shirt was on the bed. Scully opened her underwear drawer and began rifling through it. What she found next made her freeze.

Boxers. Black, silk boxers. Mulder’s boxers. She remembered how they got there. Mulder’s apartment had been fumigated and Scully invited him to use her couch. They must have gotten mixed up in her laundry. That didn’t matter now.

She snatched them up and slid them up her hips over her panties. She pulled the T-shirt over her head. She ran her fingers through her wet hair and closed her eyes. He was there, around her, with her. Scully didn’t want to open her eyes. She just stood there, listening.

Nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted.

Hope you brought your cowboy boots.

I think it’s bile. –

Is there any way I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?

Come on Scully, it will be a nice trip to the forest.

Whatever tape you’ve found in that VCR, it isn’t mine. –

Good, because I put it back in that drawer with all those other videos that aren’t yours.

We’re exhuming…your potato.

It feels good to put my arms around you. Both of them.

Scully, should we be picking out china patterns, or what?

Have the Father say a few Hail Mulders for me.

You try any of that Tailhook crap on me, Scully; I’ll kick your ass!

I was told once that the best way to regenerate body heat is to crawl naked into a sleeping bag with somebody else who is already naked. –

Well, maybe if it rains sleeping bags you’ll get lucky.

Hey, Scully. Is this demonstration of boyish agility turning you on at all?

I was thinking about this case. Maybe it’s not witchcraft after all. Maybe there’s a scientific explanation.

My one in five billion…

You keep me honest. You make me whole…

Her eyes snapped open. For the first time in days she didn’t feel like crying. Her soul, her body was tired. She was waging a constant battle in herself. She was telling herself that she wasn’t doing enough, but on the other hand, she couldn’t think of what else to do. She had worked tirelessly for days, and for what? She was no closer to finding Mulder than she ever was.

Mulder. She said the name over and over in her mind. How could he feel so close when he was so far away? Scully inhaled and expelled a sigh. How could he not feel close when you’ve got him practically wrapped around you? His scent, his clothes…how much closer can you get to someone without being in his skin?

A lot closer.

As much as he felt like her other half, there had always been something missing. Something intangible that had almost been touched upon once, in a hallway, not too long ago. A sharp sting had stripped away anything that might have been though. One tiny insect changed their path, or had it kept their path from changing? For what wasn’t the first time, Dana Scully contemplated being so close to Fox Mulder. Not only physically close, but emotionally and spiritually close as well. If she thought hard enough, she could feel him in her arms. His forehead had felt smooth and slightly damp with sweat. She remembered feeling his pulse under her fingertips. She could absently remember his thumb stroking the side of her face. She had felt his breath on her face…so close…just an inch closer…

”Dammit Dana, stop it!”

Scully hadn’t realized that she had spoken out loud until she heard the silence afterward. She took a few shaky breaths and decided that she had abused her body for long enough. If she couldn’t eat, the very least she could do for herself would be to get a decent night’s sleep. She walked slowly and silently to her bed. Scully pulled back the comforter and got in, realizing how long it had been since she had been in her bed. The night Mulder was kidnapped.

Don’t you mean ‘abducted?’ Her mind taunted her.

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to…The Mulder voice echoed out from the back of her mind one last time.

Scully nearly turned off the light, but thought better of it. She was beginning to dislike the dark. It was lonely. Scully just lay there, eyes closed, willing sleep to come. She tried deep breathing, counting backwards from one hundred, but nothing worked. She was still wide-awake.


She tried turning off the light. She tried switching positions. She tried getting out of bed and doing jumping jacks, sit-ups and push-ups. Nothing was working for her. As she settled back on the pillows, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was forgetting something. It was that nagging feeling...Scully sat up in bed and, while fingering the ring on her necklace, thought about what she could be forgetting.

Scully got out of bed and wandered about the apartment, checking her windows, and making sure that her faucets were turned off. She saw the light blinking on her answering machine. That’s it. Didn’t check the machine. She hit the red button on her answering machine and listened. One message from her mother, one from Skinner, and the last one was from Karen Williams.

”Hey Dana…I guess if you were there you’d pick up by now. Well, I have those results you wanted. I was thinking that maybe we could get together sometime and have some lunch. I spoke with Sydney Dawson and she’s up for it as well. So, maybe this week or next. You pick the place. I’m sure I’ll see you tomorrow…I have information for you. I can only hope it’ll help. See ya.”

A smile crossed Dana’s face for a moment. She was glad to hear from her friend. She had lived with Karen Williams and Sydney Dawson while she was earning her doctorate. They all ended up being housemates with one thing in common: all three women wanted to join the Federal Bureau of Investigation. It was odd that they ended up not only in the same school, but actually living together. I mean, what were the odds?

Relieved that she had found the annoyance that had been keeping her up. It was only when she turned to go back to her room did she see what had actually been singing the siren song keeping her up. The black and white composition notebook was right where Scully had set it down carefully. Right now, her fingers were itching to read the words. She needed to read the book…to read Mulder’s thoughts.

”Not exactly my style of late night reading…” she picked up the book and went back to her bedroom. She sunk down into the mattress and pulled the covers up protectively across her chest. The notebook lay in her lap, closed. She couldn't imagine what he had been thinking when he decided to keep a journal. Scully steadied herself and opened the book. She began to read Mulder's tiny printing.

Late January, 1997

She has cancer. My young, beautiful, energetic Scully has cancer. I know now that she has suspected it for a while. So why couldn’t she have come to me earlier? I would have been there with her through the tests. I would have given her all the strength I have left in me. Why does she feel she has to do this alone?

We just got back from Allentown. She was released from the hospital early this morning and we drove back with her mother earlier this afternoon. She refused to talk to either one of us about it. About any of it. How are we going to survive this if she won’t talk about it? As we were standing in that hospital hallway after Penny Northern died, all I wanted to do was take her in my arms and kiss all the pain away. But she pulled away from me. For a tiny moment I saw in her eyes the love for me that I know is there, and for that tiny moment I was sure that she was going to open herself to me and allow me entrance into her soul. And then as quickly as it came, it was gone. She had retreated from me as she always does.

If she thinks that I am going to allow her to fight this on her own, then she has another thing coming. It’s because of me that she was abducted in the first place. It’s because of me that she has cancer. It’s because of me that she can never have the children that I know she desires. It’s because of me that she is dying. And if it’s the last thing I ever do in this life, I am going to find the people responsible for this and make them pay.

I swear to you, Scully, that you are not going to die because of me and my fucking quest for the truth. I am going to find a cure for your cancer and you are NOT going to die. I won’t allow it. Call me a selfish shit if you will, but I cannot live without you. And sweetheart, we have too much to accomplish in this life together for you to go and die on me.

Scully found herself breathing heavily, trying to circumvent any more tears from falling. She had promised herself that she wouldn't cry any more, but she wasn't doing well with that promise so far. Of all of the experiences in her life, her cancer was what changed her the most. The cycle of the illness from beginning to end took such an unbelievable toll on her. She still remembered the treatments…Penny's death. Her own journal that she had written like a letter to Mulder. She had planned for him to read it after she was dead and gone, something to ease his pain. And what had he done? He went and read it after she had made the decision to live. To fight the cancer like she had been raised to fight every other adversity she had to face. But no, Fox Mulder had to barge into her deepest, innermost thoughts and read them. Just like you're doing now?

She concentrated on her breathing and waited until the tightness in her chest dissipated. She turned a few pages and started to read again.

February 24, 1997:

I needed to take a few minutes away from our current case, a plane crash in upstate NY, to write some of my thoughts. Yesterday was her birthday. 33 years old. I gave her a key chain. I really don’t know why, of all the lovely and thoughtful gifts I could have given her, I had to choose a stupid key chain. Maybe it was my way of telling her that I expect to be giving her many gifts, better gifts, for years to come. Maybe I just thought it was a pretty cool keychain. She said she liked it…and she had a whole bunch of symbolic things to tie into that key chain, which is good, because I basically suck at the symbolism of gifts. This is not going to be the last birthday gift I ever give her. It’s not the last because she is not going to die. Not from this cancer. Happy birthday, Scully.

The tightness had returned, but the tears had not begun to fall yet. She wouldn't let them fall. She packed her emotions down inside her and willed herself to be strong. She could do this. She flipped further into the book.

April 1997:

She told me tonight that she was given this disease to make me believe. To make me believe in the lie that I have been fed since the day Sam was taken from me. To make me believe that aliens exist here among us. What the fuck!? I already believed! They are killing her to make me believe in something that I already believed in?

When she first told me I felt as though she had reached inside me, pulled my heart out, and stomped her pretty little feet on it. And then I remembered just which one of us is actually dying.

I’m sorry, Scully. I told you that I would help you and I haven’t. It seems as though I am the one killing you. I realize now that we have been going at this all wrong. Scully, I love you, and I don’t want you to die. I want nothing more than for you…us… to have a normal, happy life. Is that even possible with me around? This journal is for you, Scully, and I have labeled it as such. I know that you are going to find it someday…someday after I’m gone? And you will read it. That’s why I haven’t left a note. Everything you need to know about me and how I feel about you is in here. I hope in the end, once you get past all the hurt and the anger that you will feel towards me, that you will be able to read this and find some comfort in my words. I hope, Scully, that you can forgive me. I don’t want to leave you. I want to be with you forever. But that’s not possible right now, Scully. You deserve to live. Have a good life and always remember that souls come together again and again. I will see you again. Of that much I promise.

Goddammit! What I’d give to get my hands on the cigarette smoking, cancer ridden, tar stained son of a fucking bitch. He deserves to suffer like he’s making her suffer. The same way he's making me suffer. Sometimes I wonder if this is what it's all about, to make my life a living, infernal hell. He's doing too good a job at it for that not to be it. They know that I don't give a rat's ass if I live or die. Through Scully is the only way they can hurt me.

Am I a depressing fuck, or what?

Obviously I am still here. Perhaps it was divine intervention on Saint Scully’s behalf. God knows I wouldn’t have chosen myself to live right now. Miraculously, I have been given the chance to help her without having to take my own life. I’ve killed a man and now have asked her to lie. If I could have it completely my way, she wouldn’t be involved in this at all. But this is her life and she deserves to have a part in saving it.

I just got back from seeing Frohike, Langly, and Byers. While she was at Bureau headquarters testifying in front of an FBI joint panel committee, I was with the guys. I gained entrance into the Pentagon’s highest level security and found what I had hoped to be her cure. De-ionized water. Goddamn motherfucking de-ionized water. I sure am one foolish fuck-head. How could I have believed that a cure actually existed? I’m sorry, Scully. I’m so sorry.

She’s dying. She’s really dying this time. She’s in the hospital, and short of a miracle, she’s not going to live much longer. When I walked into the ICU and saw her in that bed hooked up to all those machines, I doubled over in pain. It physically hurt me to see her like that. I felt as though someone had stabbed me in the stomach. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t see straight. It hurts more than anything has ever hurt me before. I vaguely remember Skinner…God, I hope I didn’t hit him…everything’s just…I don’t know…a blur.

Oh god, Scully. I can’t lose you. I NEED you in my life. I can’t live without you. Don’t you understand that? You are the other half of my soul, Scully, and if you were to leave me, I couldn’t survive. Please, Dana, you have to fight this. There are so many things that I want…no, need to tell you and I will be damned if I say them to you on your deathbed. Please don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.

I have been given a chance to save Dana Scully's life. He wants me to join him. I was really considering his offer, to join the men I have grown to despise. I nearly took it too, but once again Dana Scully saved me from myself. She doesn't know she did, but she did. I wanted to see her, to talk to her, to tell her what I was going to do. Why? I don't know if I wanted her to talk me out of it or what. I don't know why I went to the hospital last night. I know that even though it might save her now, if she ever found out what I had done…I think it would kill her.

I realized something today. Somewhere along the way, Dana Katherine Scully managed to work her way into my heart and become the central focus of my life. I used to hold that place for Sam. Never in a million years did I think someone else could take up that space. But Scully has done just that.

I saw my sister last night. At least I think she is my sister. She told me some things that make a hell of a lot of sense and explain an awful lot and yet, there are still so many things that have been left unexplained. For every answer she gave me, I had five more questions. But it doesn’t really matter whether or not she is really Samantha because my sister is no longer the reason I live my life. I don’t think she has been for a long time actually. Scully is the reason I live. It's because of her that I continue to inhale and exhale and keep on keeping on. And now I have the chance to tell her exactly how I feel. Knowing me though…I’ve chickened out before…why should this time be any different?

I don’t know what put her cancer into remission. I don’t think any of us will ever know. I'm not one to believe in miracles, but this instance really makes me think… All that matters to me is that my Scully has been returned to me. I know that remission is not the same as cure. I know that her cancer could return at any moment, but damnit, she’s here with me and I am not going to let this opportunity go to waste.

I only have one belief now. I believe in Scully. Sweetheart (God help me if I ever slip and call you that to your face), I believe in you and I promise you that I will never take you for granted again. You are my life.

The tears she had sworn she would not shed were falling, streaming from her eyes. She had thought there were no more tears left. She had promised herself that she wouldn't be weak any more. She had promised herself that before she had ventured into Mulder's most intimate thoughts. She had found the truth from the man who trusted no one.

Of all of the experiences she had ever had in her life, those few days were probably the ones that had changed her the most. Every minute, every second of those days from Mulder showing up at her apartment late at night, proclaiming it "too crowded" to collapsing right before she could hand the board some conclusive evidence on a silver platter, to Mulder…Mulder there whenever he could be. His being there had always been a comfort and a pain to her. He eased her loneliness and sorrow at a time when it was at it's peak. On the other hand, he caused her pain; immense, crushing, deep pain when she began to consider that she would never again be able to hold his hand. No more would she be able to dash his theories with a raise of her eyebrow. No more would she be there when he called her in the middle of the night, knowing full well that neither of them was sleeping. He had helped her through many hardships in her life, but none affected her like her cancer had.

Scully closed the book. She was still crying, but it wasn't so much the pain of remembering her cancer as it was seeing what the ever stoic Fox Mulder had really been thinking during that time. The gash her soul had been suffering from lately began to throb anew. Scully rested back on her pillows and stared at the ceiling.

"Oh Mulder…where are you?"

2:00 AM

She fell asleep, tears still wet on her face.

She was walking down a dark alley. There was something familiar about it, but she couldn’t quite put her fingers on it. She had been there before. Familiarity struck. The alley where Mulder had been taken.

She felt as though someone were watching her, following her. She started to walk faster, needing desperately to escape the someone or something that she knew was stalking her. Her heart was beating rapidly, her breaths were coming out in short frantic pants, her face became flush with sweat. All of a sudden, she was hit with a massive pain in her forehead. Right where her tumor had been. Her vision became blurry and she became weak. Panic was setting in and Scully knew she needed to escape it. She needed to escape this alley.

She turned a corner. She was no longer in a dark alley. Wherever she was, there was a lot of light. Looking around, Scully saw that she was in a church. Everything before her was seen in muted shades of white and gray except for a few things, which were seen in brilliant color. A lone figure stood at the altar in the front of the church. Next to the figure was a coffin and flowers, so many flowers. She could see that the flowers were brilliantly colored in reds, yellows, and purples. The figure at the altar was in all black, except for a single red rose sitting in a buttonhole.

She walked farther into the church, taking in the scene before her. No one was in the church except for the man at the altar and her. He didn’t seem to notice that she was there. As she got closer, Scully saw who the figure was. It was Mulder and he was crying. She heard him saying things about her. About how much he respected her as an agent, as a human being. He regretted never having said, ‘I love you’ and calling her ‘sweetheart’ to her face. He looked into the coffin and screamed her name. ‘Scully! I’m so sorry.’ He fell to his knees and buried his head in his hands.

She ran up to the front of the church wanting to comfort him. Wanting to take him into her arms and tell him everything was going to be all right. She wanted to tell Mulder that she was here and she was never going anywhere again. She stopped abruptly as she reached the coffin. Mulder was no where to be seen. He had fallen to his knees right there, but now he was gone. She looked wildly around the church. Scully was alone and scared. She had always been afraid of death. It was the one thing that was completely out of her control. The coffin sat silently before her. Slowly, she approached it. She didn’t want to look in that oak box and see herself lying there, but curiosity got the better of her. She held back a scream as she saw the face of the person in the coffin. Mulder.

Scully sat up in bed, her heart racing. She looked at her clock: 3:48. She had only been asleep for a few hours. She wasn't sure if she'd be able to, but she settled back on the pillows and tried desperately to relax. If her body hadn't been so overworked, she probably would have had an easier time staying awake. Sleep claimed her a mere 10 minutes later.

7:00 AM

July 9, 1998

Scully rolled over, sunlight pricking at her eyelids. She opened her eyes slowly and looked at her clock. The glowing digits glared at her, blinking 7:02. She lay on her side and stared at the wall. Images from the night's nightmare flashed in her mind. She didn’t want to get up. She didn’t want to move. She didn’t want to be. All the fight had been sapped out of her. She had been working so hard, so tirelessly for the past few days, and she knew she had a long road still ahead of her. Even after the whopping five hours of sleep, she was exhausted. Her mind hadn’t been resting at all, even while she slept. She looked at Mulder’s notebook that was still on the bed beside her. She closed her eyes and centered herself for a second. You can’t give up on him. It’s only been a few days. He’s still alive, Dana. You know he’s alive. Alive and waiting for you to get up off your lazy ass and find him. So get on with it girlfriend. Heave yourself out of bed and get to work. You have another big day ahead of you.

She took a quick shower, more to wake herself up than anything else. She couldn’t resist using Mulder’s shower gel once more. The subtle scent of sandalwood was comforting to her. She dressed in chinos, a white polo shirt and brown loafers. She figured she would take Karen up on that lunch offer when she dropped in to see her a little later that morning. She only hoped Sydney would be available as well. She really needed some company.

9:30 AM

Dr. Karen Williams office

”Dana, I just want you to know that the only reason I’m doing this for you is because you’re my friend. To say this is against protocol would be an understatement of grand proportions.”

Scully shifted uncomfortably in the padded seat across from her friend. She could tell from the look on Karen’s face when she walked in the room that she had something important to say. “Karen…I just don’t know. I can’t explain it. I know it’s against every rule in the book, but I think I’m the only one who can do this. I’m the only one who can solve this. I’m…his only hope.”

Special Agent Dr. Karen Williams looked hard at her housemate from so long ago. She had never seen Dana so beaten down, so weary, so frustrated. She didn’t want to think what would happen if Fox Mulder’s body was found. She chewed her bottom lip thoughtfully as she considered the best way to tell Dana her news. “Dana…I don’t know how to tell you this…the blood is Agent Mulder’s. There is no doubt at all about that. The shell…I ran it by ballistics and what they have come up with so far is fairly unremarkable. The shell is from a .357 Sig Sauer. There isn’t much ammunition available yet because it’s a newer model. Actually, it’s what a lot of the agents use. I’ve got one, you probably do too, as well as Agent Mulder. There are a few interesting things about this gun in particular.” She picked up the report on her desk and read from it. “Actually, the most useful bit of information I can give you is that this model of Sig Sauer commonly exceeds 12 inches in penetration tests. If you go back to where you found this, I’d be willing to bet that you’ll actually find a bullet. I won’t make any promises, but if you look…” She trailed off. “Dana, if Mulder got shot in the leg like you seem to think he did, the bullet may have gone clean through, possibly shattering the bone. If you find that bullet, that will probably open up some avenues for you. It would also…well, to put it bluntly, if you find a bullet in that alleyway, at least you'll know that it isn't lodged somewhere inside of him."

Scully could only nod. Her mind was whirling. Hearing Karen say these things only made Mulder's situation more real. She felt the gun in her holster. Yes, she had shot Mulder once but it really was for his own good. She couldn't imagine the damage that had been done to him by this stranger. For a moment, her personal mind stepped aside as her medical mind took over. According to what Charlie had told her, Mulder had been shot in the calf. At such close range, it was probable that the bullet did go clean through. However, it more than likely would have shattered the bone in the process. It was unlikely that if Mulder had been shot in the calf at close range, the bullet would have gone through only muscle. She then thought about the infection that would be raging through him by now if he hadn't gotten any medical attention…it was likely that he hadn't. Scully came back to earth when she realized that Karen had asked her a question.

"I'm sorry. I--I wasn't…"

"Dana, it's okay…you're going through an awful lot of stress." Her friend got up from her chair and sat in the seat next to Scully. "I just want you to know that you don't have to go through this alone. If you need anything…protocol or no, I want you to know that I'm here."

Scully swallowed hard. "Thanks."

Karen stood up and leaned against her desk, arms folded across her chest. She was trying to look intimidating but at only an inch taller than Scully, she wasn't doing a very impressive job of it. "Now, Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully, the most important thing here besides finding your partner--alive--is to take care of yourself. I don't need to tell you how you're looking, I think you're well aware of the fact that you look like shit."

"No need to mince words Karen, just give it to me straight."

"Dana…the only way you're going to live through this and find him is if you're at your best. You won't be at your best if you don't take care of yourself first. And that, is where I come in."

"What are you going to do? Eat for me?"

"No, close though. I'm going to make sure you get your one balanced meal for the day. Syd and I are taking you to Kelly's."

"Kelly's? I always pegged you more of the La Brasserie crowd."

"Well, excuse me for saying, but I think the last thing you need is a hearts of palm salad with watercress. You need something with more sustenance. You, my friend, need real food."

"I don't have much of an appetite at the moment."

"Of course you don't. It's 9:45 in the morning. You have plenty of time to work up an appetite. Don't you have some other appointments around this place? AD Skinner has been asking about you. Now, you've been working with him for…nearly six years? He knows something's up Scully. He asked me if I had seen you recently."

She looked panicked. "What did you tell him?"

Her friend smiled. "I told him the truth of course. I told him that if you're doing anything that's not kosher, I sure don't know about it." There was a wicked gleam in her eyes. Scully felt her limbs get heavy with relief. "But Dana, be advised that he's checking up on you. If you're going to do this, do it right. If he calls, talk to him. Don't brush him off because that'll just pique his suspicion. If he wants to meet with you, meet with him. Act normal and he'll leave you alone. I think he's concerned about you though. It wouldn't surprise me if he had assigned an agent to you.


"Dana, look at it from his perspective. He's lost one agent, he doesn't need to lose another one. To the untrained eye, it looks like you're falling apart. To someone who doesn't know you…" She trailed off. "Listen, I know we're practically in different worlds in this place. I'm doing what you had initially wanted to do…and you're…doing something you never dreamed you'd be a part of. But even though we're floors apart, I hear things. I've heard about Mulder. I heard about Chicago and VinylRight. It looked to everybody that he was unraveling then. He was pretty hot gossip for a while. You know, the stress finally got to him and all. What I'm saying is, Dana, don't give in to appearances. You might feel like you're falling apart. You might not feel in control. Don't let anyone know that. If you can convince the world that you're calm, cool, and collected, then you've got the hardest part down."

At that point, Scully resolved to keep it together. She had made similar promises to herself during this ordeal, but hadn't done a very good job of keeping those promises. Come on Dana, you're the Ice Queen, act the part. She nodded and cleared her throat. "So, what time are we meeting for lunch?"

"It'll be less crowded if we go around one."

"One it is then." Scully got up to leave. "I have to go see Sydney. I'll mention it to her when I see her."

"Who do you think suggested it?"

Dr. Sydney Dawson's office


Scully could hear Sydney before she saw her. Apparently someone was on the receiving end of the agent's anger.

"Well when you can explain to me…no, I don't much care. Now, if you can explain to me how a man can be shot…for God's sake, will you let me finish?!?! Then explain…don't go giving me your…oh, that's bull and you know it. The man was shot. I do an autopsy 12 hours later and…well I would if I could only…okay, this is what I want to know. I want to know how a 21 year old man in perfect health can be shot and less than a day later, I do an autopsy and it looks like a friggin' maggot fest! If I hadn't known for sure that he was shot that morning…No, I don't know why he was rushed over here…well, she would have if…Sure. Fine. Whatever."

Scully heard the phone slam down on the receiver accompanied by an irritated sigh. She chose that minute to enter. The scowl on the agent's face vanished and was replaced with a smile filled with relief.

"Finally, a sane person."

"What was that all about?"

She pushed away from the desk and tucked a stray lock of brown hair behind her ear. "Okay, here's the deal. There's this hostage thing that went down in North Carolina a few days ago. Disgruntled employee or some sort of thing. Anyhoo, this moron tries to be Mr. Macho-Hero-Stud and got shot. Okay, now here's where it gets weird. For some reason unbeknownst to me, the powers that be want this guy's autopsy, like, yesterday. So, it goes to me. It was supposed to go to you…don't ask me, I don't know…but you're on leave--supposed to be on leave--so I guess I'm the next best thing or something. So I beat feet over to the morgue and do my slicing dicing schtick. I got no further than the "Y" incision when I stopped. The guy was totally rotten inside! Decomposition that would lead me to believe he had been dead…anywhere from 36 to 72 hours at least. The body didn't look that bad. I mean, it was bad, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't THAT bad. I would have guesstimated he'd been dead…oh, 24 hours or so. And even that…I mean, when do you mistake someone who's been dead 12 hours for someone who's been dead for 24 hours?" She paused and took a breath. "I know what you're here for. So, how about a little privacy?" She got out of the chair and closed the door. She went back to her desk and sat down, busying herself with trying to find something on her desk.

"Look at the back of his neck."

Her head snapped up and she took off her reading glasses. "What?"

"Your 21 year old man. Examine his neck."

"And what, pray tell, will I be looking for?"

"A puncture wound. Have you gotten any tox screens back?"

"Not yet."

"If I'm right, you'll find a toxin in his system."

"Dana Katherine, where are you going with this?"

"I…I saw something similar to it once."

She shrugged, "Okay…though I can't say that I know what I’m looking for."

"You'll know it when you see it."

Sydney looked at her and raised her eyebrow. God, she picked that up from me. "Dawson, trust me for once." There was a beat of silence, then her friend nodded.

"Okay. Now…you." The glasses went to perch on her nose again. There were several manila folders on the desk. Scully could see the names typed on the labels. Two of them had come from the Georgetown PD. One of them was Agent Murphy's. She had already seen the autopsy reports for Taylor and Donovan. She had waited to look at Agent Murphy's until she was with Sydney since Sydney had done the autopsy. Scully sat down across from her friend. There was one trait about Sydney she liked. The woman never minced words…well aside from a little bit of incessant babbling when she was frustrated.

"What killed him?"

"You're asking my professional opinion as a coroner?"


"Drowned. No two ways about it. The boy drowned."

"You're sure?"

"Dana, come on!" She whipped the file folder open and began pointing things out. "First of all, there was significant irritation of the mucous membranes. There was also mucous in his windpipe. He had some sort of water plant, possibly a stem of a water lily or something, grasped in his hand. There was an inordinate amount of water from the water hazard in his stomach and if that wasn't enough, I compared the chloride content and the magnesium content in the right and left ventricles of the heart! He drowned, Dana."

"Calm down Sydney. I just needed to know because…well, I'm not one to listen to rumors or anything but…"

Up went the eyebrow again. "What did you hear?"

"That you had a difficult time determining the cause of death."

Her voice softened as she took of her glasses. "Dana…why do you think I made sure? Why do you think I went so far to prove he had drowned? I had to do it for myself. When I got Murphy…God, that was one of the hardest things I ever had to do… Well, just from looking at him, I would have been sure he had died from his injuries or perhaps internal bleeding or from an infection…but once I saw the plant in his hand, I had to dig deeper and make sure. I had to make sure there was no question about it. Eric Murphy was alive when he was dumped at that golf course. Now, just a personal opinion, I don't think he was very alive. In fact, I think it might have even been possible for his murderer to have thought he was already dead. I also think he was unconscious when he was dropped in the water."

"Why the plant in his hand then?"

"The shock of the water probably woke him up."

"Have you told anyone this?"

"Dana, it's all right here in black and white. If anyone questions what I found, then all they have to do is take a look at what I did and what I found. I know, the AD knows and you know."

Scully digested this information. "Have you looked at the other evidence?"

"No, I just did the autopsy."

"I think you need to look at something with me."

"Scully, what do you need me for? You made better grades than I did. You're just as good a doctor…"

"Syd, I just want to make sure I'm not going crazy. I want to make sure that I'm not grasping at straws…I want to make sure that if I have found what I think I've found…well…"

"Well what?"

"I need to find out why no one else has found what I've found, that's all."

"Dana, you're not usually so damn cryptic. What's going on?"

"I don't want to get into it right now. Later tonight, you need to come to my place. Everything I have is there. We need to pick this apart from a totally medical point of view. I think that's the key here."

"Dana, pardon my French, but what the shit are you talking about?"

Scully stood up, mumbling to herself. "I think I may just have found something…I'm not sure though. Listen, I'll tell you guys more about it at Kelly's. And then we'll work on it tonight." She headed for the door. "I'll meet you at Kelly's at one." And she left, making her way to her car.

She was nearly there. So close, just a bit closer…

"Agent Scully!"


"Agent Fowley." She acknowledged her fellow agent with a curt nod. "Has anything turned up in the investigation?"

"A few things, nothing too solid, but a few potential leads. Actually, that's what I wanted to talk to you about. Do you have a minute?"

She glanced at her watch. It was only 11:05. She had two hours to kill before lunch. As much as Scully might not have wanted to talk with Agent Fowley, the woman was the SAC in Mulder's case. She was working just as hard as Scully was trying to find him. This woman was her friend, her colleague, her…

Competition? Come on Dana, get a hold of yourself. She's trying to find a missing agent, just like you are. She's working just as hard, losing just as much sleep, getting just as frustrated. You're being unreasonable. The woman is just doing her job.

"Agent Scully, I'm glad I caught up with you. I was wondering if you'd mind answering a few questions for me?"

"Questions?" Scully was perplexed. Of course, you were the last one to see Mulder. They'll probably want as many details as possible to try and find him. "Sure, not a problem."

"Well, we could either go up to my office or maybe do this over a cup of coffee…"

"Well, as long as we're here let's just go up to your office." Dana followed as Diana turned and headed into the building. They made small talk during the short trip and both of them were feeling extreme sensations of awkwardness. Once in her smallish office, Diana took a seat behind her desk and Dana sat in one of the other chairs facing the desk. Scully crossed her legs and patiently waited for the questions to begin.

"When did you last see Agent Mulder?"

"July 4th, 1998."

"Around what time?"

"Well, we were together for a good chunk of the day. Actually, I last saw him at about 2 AM, July 5th."

Diana paused and took a few notes. "You said you spent most of the day together. Were you working on this case?" She sounded very uncomfortable.

"Not entirely. My mother invited Agent Mulder over for dinner with the rest of our family. She often worries that he works himself too hard. He came over for dinner and accompanied my family and me to a fireworks display at the local high school. After that, he wanted to discuss the case we were working on. So from about 10:30 until roughly 2:00 we discussed our case."

"Had you made any headway?"

"Basically, we discussed the injuries the victims had sustained. Really we just rehashed a lot of things we had already discovered. We discussed the importance of…" Here, her voice thickened, "the importance of watching out for each other considering that the pattern that was emerging later."

"The pattern?"

Scully was sure Fowley knew what she was talking about, she just wanted to hear it with her own ears. "The pattern of this killer targeting law enforcement officers. Agent Mulder had expressed concern regarding this pattern."

For another hour, the questions continued. Scully hadn't expected Agent Fowley to have so many questions for her. Scully answered each one dutifully and honestly. Sure, she glazed over a few fine points but nothing important. Surely, Agent Fowley didn't need to know that Scully had swiped a tube of shower gel from the crime scene. She also didn't need to know that she herself had removed something from the crime scene as well. Scully noticed that the dark haired agent had been sniffing the air nonchalantly during the interview.

"Well, thank you very much for your time Agent Scully. I'll let you know of any developments should they arise." She was beginning to look for something. Dana speculated that she was probably looking for the source of the smell.

"I hope what I have been able to tell you will help."

"I'm sure it will. So, unless you have anything you need to add Agent Scully…"

Scully raised her eyebrows and shook her head. "No…no, that's about it. But do keep me up to date on any developments, please."


Scully got up to leave.

"Agent Scully?"


"This may seem like an odd question…but…do you smell something?"

"Like what?"

"Well…as absurd as this might sound…it smells like…well…" she trailed off.

"Like what?"

"Men's cologne. It's very subtle…but I can definitely catch a hint of…sandalwood every now and then."

Scully shook her head. "I'm sorry, no I don't." It wasn't until she had closed the door behind her when she realized that Mulder's shower gel had a very distinct, masculine scent to it, edged with hints of sandalwood. She had become accustomed to it and wasn't aware that she was smelling of "eau de Mulder." In all honesty, Scully was surprised that Diana hadn't picked up on the scent herself. She shrugged and looked at her watch. It was just about time for her to meet Sydney and Karen at Kelly's. While Dana usually enjoyed the pub atmosphere, she wasn't in the mood to eat. Over the past few days, her meals had come to consist of a banana here or a slice of toast there. She had hardly been able to keep her lunch with Agent Morris down at all. The very idea of a greasy hamburger was exceptionally unappetizing at the moment. They were, however, her friends and she knew they were worrying about her. She would show up and make a valiant effort…even if that valiant effort came back later to haunt her.

Kelly's Irish Times

F Street

1:06 PM

Scully pushed the door open and was greeted with a savory smell. She looked around for her friends and spotted them in a corner booth, far away from the hub of activity otherwise known as the bar. She maneuvered through the crowd of people and flopped down onto the seat. Karen was sipping on a Sprite and Sydney was drinking what probably was a Diet Coke with a slice of lime in it. It was her favorite non-alcoholic beverage for as long as Scully could remember. Occasionally, she'd really mix it up and throw a slice of lemon in there, but not often.

As Scully sat down, the beginnings of a joke involuntarily popped into her head. A blonde, a brunette and a redhead walk into a bar…She looked at her old housemates. Karen had light brown, nearly blonde hair and blue eyes framed with lashes Scully would have killed for. Sydney's brown eyes were often hidden behind reading glasses or were otherwise obscured by stray locks of hair that often fell from her smooth bob. They were good friends to her and knew her nearly inside and out. They were the only people she knew of who didn't participate in the infamous office pool at all. She marveled now how three people so different could live under one roof without killing each other. She and Karen were the most similar though, both being neat and orderly people. Sydney tried, but oftentimes, her mind was in so many different places at once…she forgot herself and tended to be a bit more on the messy side.

Sydney was intense and chatty. Her moods could be, at times, mercurial. She was also quite impatient which, in her line of work, had it's advantages. She liked things to happen quickly and had no tolerance for people who couldn't keep up the pace. If Karen hadn't been in the house to act as a buffer zone at times, they wouldn't have ended up being so close for so long.

Karen was a different book altogether. She was more patient, more methodical, and frankly easier to be around. However, she also loved being right and Scully shuddered at the intensity at some of the debates the three of them had had. She was also quite stubborn, though Scully would never say so to her face. As sensitive as Karen was, Scully knew saying such a thing to her would have bruised her ego to say the least.

Differences aside, she valued her friendship with the two women. She had even learned to deal with the hungry look that would come across Sydney's face whenever a certain Agent Mulder was in the room. It reminded Dana that he was indeed, a damn fine looking man and it wasn't just her imagination.

A damn fine looking man who happens to be missing.

Dana jolted back to reality. She had lost herself in her reverie and for a split second had thought her life was normal. Her insides twisted and she wanted Mulder there so badly she actually felt physical pain. She found that she couldn't focus on anything. Vaguely, she became aware that there was a waiter at the table taking their orders.

"Grilled chicken salad for me, no tomatoes." Like the Diet Coke with lime, some things never changed with Syd.

"I'd like your grilled chicken on a Kaiser bun. No pickles, please."

"Turkey club on wheat, toast the bread please." Scully figured that was bland enough for her stomach to handle.

Lunch would have been fun had Scully not been elsewhere. She picked at her sandwich, putting down half of it and saving the other half for later. Karen and Sydney did not try to cheer her up, thankfully. They sat and talked about everything and nothing at all. They philosophized and theorized when finally they approached the taboo topic.

"Listen, I have a few things I need to check out later, but I need you two at my place. I don't trust myself right now…I'm afraid I'm going to go looking for things that aren't there. I would like you there to ground me. And keep in mind that this is what is probably the biggest breach of protocol you'll ever be involved in, so if you're not comfortable with that, tell me now." When she got no response, she continued. "I have some very confidential papers that need to stay between us. I had only intended for this to be for my eyes only, but I can feel myself getting…too far. And with no one to reel me in…" She looked imploringly at her friends, putting as much trust in them as she would in Mulder at that moment.

Sydney answered her question. "Are you looking for some temporary backup? Because if you are, I think you might have come to the right place. I'm up for some covert operations any day. You should know that by now."

"Syd, this is a little more serious than stealing the answer sheet to our final exam."

She smiled. "The higher the stakes, the sweeter the victory. I'm in."

"Count me in too. Just one question…why, Dana? Why are you doing this? I have to know why you're not…well…helping. I'm sure if you told Agent Fowley…"

"I can't officially aid in the investigation because I'm supposed to be taking a leave of absence. I'm sorry, that's not an option right now. I also think…"

Karen finished her sentence for her. "You think you can find him quicker than they can."

Scully only nodded. When she found her voice again, she could only manage a few words. "See you around eight?"

Dana Scully’s Apartment

6:00 PM

She came in and flopped on the couch. She couldn’t remember ever being so tired. Her body was physically exhausted. Her fingers came to rest on the ring strung on her necklace. It would be so easy…her eyes drifted shut. I’ll just nap for a minute or two.

It was so dark. She felt around her and could only feel cold, damp walls. A basement. The musty smell assaulted her nose. In an effort to see, she opened her eyes as wide as she could but still could not see through the thick darkness. Unable to rely on sight, she closed her eyes and concentrated on the sounds around her. She heard breathing; labored breathing. Something that sounded like keys clinking together. Scully got on her hands and knees and felt around on the floor for something that would clue her in as to where she was. Her fingers came in contact with and grasped what felt like a thick chain. She followed the length of chain slowly until she came in contact with a hand. She felt the long fingers and knew instinctively who it was.

”Mulder.” The word came out as a whisper.

”Dana…Dana…Scully? Where are you?” He sounded delusional.

She scooted closer to him and put a hand to his forehead. She felt the fever immediately. She touched the damp pieces of hair stuck to his forehead and ran her fingers through them soothingly. “It’s okay Mulder…I’m here. We’re going to get you out of here.”

”Scully…Scully…” On and on his hoarse whisper repeated her name.

She moved around in the dark, once she could feel him she sat next to him. He lay down, resting his head in her lap.

”Oh God Scully…I didn’t think you’d come. God, don’t let me die here.”

She could only hold him attempting to soothe the sobs that were escaping his lips with increasing intensity. “Shh, I’m here Mulder. I’m here. Don’t worry, I’m here.”

Scully awkwardly wrapped her arms around him, willing whatever strength was left in her to transfer itself to Mulder’s weakened body. “Be strong Mulder. I will find you.” She pressed her lips to his head and kissed the salty temple. He turned his head and she kissed his forehead, burning with fever; his cheeks, inflamed from the infection ravaging him; then his lips, parched with thirst. Those lips began to move, forming words with only a whisper behind them.

”Scully? Scully, I’m sorry. So sorry I didn’t…didn’t tell you…”

”Tell me what?”

”That I…”

Scully jerked awake. She looked around for whatever it was that had snapped her from her dream. Then, the knock at the door came again. She hefted herself up from the couch and hurried to the door. She flung it open to be greeted by the sight of Sydney and Karen. Sydney carried a large brown bag that smelled suspiciously of Chinese food and Karen carried 2 six packs of cola. They were going to need all the caffeine they could get.

The smile that had been on Sydney’s face vanished. “My God Dana…what happened?” She rushed into the apartment, dumping the bag on the kitchen counter. Karen followed into the room and upon taking one look at Scully, engulfed her in a hug.

”Oh Dana…I’m so sorry…”

Gently, she pushed Karen away. She looked at Sydney, quite sure the girl had lost her mind. Then she felt it. She felt the moisture tracking down her face. She brought a hand up to her cheek and looked at it. Her fingers were shiny with newly shed tears. She turned and bolted for the bathroom. One look in the mirror shocked the hell out of her. Her eyes were swollen, her nose was red, her face was soaked with tears. She licked her lips and tasted the slightest hint of salt on them.

”Oh my God…”

”Dana? Dana, are you alright in there?” Her friends were right outside the door sounding quite alarmed.

Scully cleared her throat before answering. She had started not to trust her voice. “I’m fine guys. Why don’t you get some plates and set up the food on the coffee table?” She turned the cold water on and rinsed her face. The cool liquid did wonders for her flushed cheeks and tear stained face, but her eyes were still quite red and swollen. “Oh well…that’ll do for now.” She muttered. She exited the bathroom to see Karen with a plate of rice and chicken lo mein. Sydney was busy forking shrimp lo mein on her plate. There was a small container next to what she assumed was her plate. She didn’t have to ask, she knew it contained an order of Mongolian Beef. The scent might have caused her to salivate, but Scully had no appetite. She decided she would put some on her plate and pretend to pick at it. Then she would put it back in the refrigerator for when she was really hungry.

Scully grabbed the file folder off of the dining room table and sat down Indian-Style on the floor. She began going through it’s contents.

”Okay, we’ve got autopsy reports, photographs, letters, interviews, a profile and lab results courtesy of Karen.”

”So, what exactly have you found so far?” Karen swallowed a mouthful of lo-mein and took a swig of cola.

Scully looked at her legal pad. The conclusive evidence she had found so far was pretty unimpressive. She had found where Mulder had been shot, the make and model of the gun, an eyewitness account as well as a few wild theories even Mulder would have been proud of. “Mulder was shot in an alleyway not far from his apartment. He was jogging past at approximately 3 in the morning, possibly later or earlier. Judging from an eyewitness account, a man parked a van nearby and waited in the alley for Mulder and shot him as he jogged by. I have not had a chance to go back to the crime scene to look for any trace of the bullet, but given what Karen has told me about the gun, the likelihood of the bullet being lodged in his leg are pretty slim. The most interesting thing I’ve noticed is what I wanted to talk to you about. I was reading the autopsy reports you did on Francine Taylor and Michael Donovan, Sydney. Taylor’s probable cause of death was a blow to the head, correct?”

”Well, her situation is remarkably similar to Agent Murphy’s. I did find a significant amount of water in her stomach as well as slight irritation of the mucous membranes.”

”So,” Karen theorized, “she might have been alive when he dumped her body too?”

”Well, I think it was the blow to the head that ultimately killed her. Putting her in the water hazard…he probably did that right after one final kick to the head. She wouldn’t have lived regardless, but the water certainly didn’t help any.” Sydney spoke while thoughtfully chewing on her rice.

”And what about Donovan?” Scully began spooning the Mongolian Beef onto her plate.

”Same thing. He was probably dying when he was dropped in the water, but it wasn’t the water that killed him.” She picked up the report. “See…it’s right here…the top seven vertebrae were crushed, however there was some water in his stomach too. My guess is that this guy broke Donovan’s neck, dumping him into the water hazard immediately afterward.”

”Well, what about the other victims?” Scully asked.

Karen picked up a few sheets from the pile on the coffee table. “Well, you said yourself that the first three victims didn’t follow any sort of pattern. And…there’s no note of any drowning symptoms anywhere in these reports.” She ate another forkful of rice. “Of course, that doesn’t mean anything…the coroner could have deduced that they died due to their injuries and just dismissed the water because they were found in the lake.”

”Water hazard.” Scully corrected her.

”Whatever, I don’t play golf.”

”So,” Scully took a drink of soda. “Judging from what we have here, it would be conceivable that the law enforcement officers might not have been dead just yet when they were dumped in the water.”

”More than just conceivable, Dana. It’s quite likely. Why?”

Scully pulled the copies of the final letters to Elizabeth Morris and Francine Taylor out of her folder. “According to these final letters, the men were already dead.”

Sydney took the letters and looked at the date. She handed them to Karen to look at. “That’s not the right date.”

”No, it’s not.” Karen agreed. “But…maybe by putting them in the water, he thought to make the time of death more difficult to determine?”

Scully took that as her cue to show her counterparts Mulder’s profile of the killer.

Sydney looked at it quietly. “Medical training…well, I can see why he didn’t pass the boards if he thought that putting bodies into a body of water in the middle of summer would make the time of death difficult to determine. I mean, maybe by a few hours, but not two days.”

”Now ladies, here’s the million dollar question.” Karen leaned back against the cushions. “Why hasn’t anyone noticed this little anomaly before?”

”I have a theory.”

”By all means, Dr. Scully, share that theory.” Sydney smiled humorlessly.

”I think that he’s counting on the fact that no one will be paying much attention to his victims. He keeps moving on to bigger fish. Perhaps he figures if he keeps the pace up, no one will be able to keep up. They’ll be too involved in trying to find Agent Mulder alive, they won’t go back to the history of his crimes. He doesn’t think the law officials are smart enough to pick up on his clue. Think about it…you read the letters looking for clues. You read the letters over and over and over again until they’re practically lodged in your memory, never once paying any attention to the dates.”

”He doesn’t think we’re very smart, does he?” Karen mused.

”He doesn’t know what he’s dealing with yet though.” Scully’s faith was beginning to return slowly. “Okay, so what we’re finding is that the final letter is supposed to arrive when? Is it supposed to be…what is it supposed to be? What is he trying to do?”

Karen’s undergrad work in psychology came in at this point. “I think he's playing a game with you, Dana. It's not the victims that he is interested in at all. It's the survivors left behind. Donovan and Murphy…they were just the means towards an end. With the exception of Francine Taylor, who is simply a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, all the victims have been men…with female partners. Dana, this guy has an obvious hatred towards women. Mulder alludes to it in his profile. I think he is post dating the last letter as his one final twist of the knife in the stomach of the woman he sends it to. I wouldn't be surprised if he had somehow watched Elizabeth Morris as she read the letters. He's a psychopath, Dana. He gets joy out of seeing others suffer….and he knows that you will suffer more thinking that you could have saved Mulder than you would if he just killed you.”

This was something that Dana hadn’t thought of. She had started to think that maybe this guy had a vendetta to work out. She hadn’t considered that, in the end, Mulder would be right again. She was the one being targeted…and there was no way for Mulder to prevent it. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “What makes you think he was watching Agent Morris?”

”Well, first of all he sent them to her home address. Second of all, I don’t know…it’s just the impression that I get when I read these. He sounds close to her. He takes on a tone of familiarity.” She looked up from the letters. “Dana…be careful.”

Scully could feel things turning, and she wasn’t sure if that was good or bad.

July 14, 1998

7:18 PM

The past three days had been waking nightmares. Every day Scully checked the mail dreading the arrival of the first letter. Today was no different. She returned home after another meeting with Charlie. With everything going on, she found that being with the young boy soothed her. She had treated him to lunch and brought him a new change of clothes. He had been thrilled, of course. He had been even more thrilled when she informed him that she knew of a way he could have a family. An honest to God, real family. She had made an appointment with a social worker for him. Charlie would have a last name before the week was out.

After taking Charlie to lunch, she returned to the Hoover building. She had found the remains of the bullet and was awaiting results from ballistics. There was nothing for her yet though. She stopped in to see Karen and found out that Sydney was in Boston on an out of town case. She left when the discussion turned to Scully’s health. It was nice to have a good friend who actually gave a shit about her, but Dana was in no mood to hear about how she should be taking care of herself. She couldn’t eat and hadn’t been sleeping more than 3 hours a night lately.

She walked up to her mailbox and unlocked it. There was a single letter in the box. Scully felt all the air rush out of her lungs. She stood there a moment, afraid to touch it. She knew what it was, and she could guess what it contained. Her body and mind on auto-pilot, she took the letter out of the box. Slowly, she closed the small door to the mailbox and made her way to her apartment. It took several tries to get her key in the lock but finally, she was able to open the door. The steps it took to get to the couch seemed to be too many for her to handle. She sat on the couch and carefully opened the envelope. The letter was two pages long; the text, typewritten probably done on a word processor. Scully felt herself begin to shake as she read.

July 12, 1998

Dear Agent Scully,

I know someone who has an amazing tolerance for pain. As you can imagine, I was amazed and overjoyed at this discovery. He kept up a stoic front for days, throwing back witty remarks at my threats and refusing to eat any of the food I gave him, knowing it was drugged. That was a week ago.

Now he is too weak to talk and too tired to resist crying out as I...play...with him. He still is stubborn enough to lash out at me on occasion, even when he can hardly move from the pain or is about to pass out. Remarkable man.

He was, however, pathetically easy to acquire. You would think that a man as paranoid as he would be more cautious while running. What was he doing jogging at three in the morning anyway? Wasn't even paying attention to his surroundings, just running along and staring into space. I simply stepped out of the alley and shot him. I had a silencer of course, it wouldn't do to wake up any potential witnesses now would it? Hit him right where I aimed I am pleased to say. Went clean through his calf muscle, shattering the bone.

He actually stumbled forward a few steps before he collapsed, his leg crumpling underneath him. I walked up to him and introduced myself as the man that you both had been seeking for the previous eight days. You know, he didn't seem surprised at all. Maybe he wanted this to happen, maybe he had gotten so far into my head, he wanted to be with me. I must say, that profile he wrote on me was eerily accurate, spooky you might say. Oh, sorry about the mess I made in his apartment, I had to search it for anything that might incriminate me, you understand.

I'm rambling. Back to the night this all started. There he was, lying on the pavement, bleeding all over the place, and acting like I was the one in trouble. He started reading me my rights. Such tenacity. It took a few good kicks to the head to shut him up. His head must be as hard as granite. You should have made sure he ate better though, he was astonishingly lightweight for a man of his height. I slung him over my shoulder and tossed him into my waiting van. Not a soul in sight the entire time.

Brought him to my private little 'Shop of Horrors' and gave him the most comfortable room available. Stone floors and shackles included free of charge. You know what the first word out of his mouth was when he woke up? Your name. How sweet. I watched him for a while through the camera I installed a while ago, modern technology is wonderful don't you agree? He searched for an escape route, a weak spot in the chains that held him to the floor, a weapon to use against me. Even tried to get up, somehow he must have forgotten about his useless leg. Must have hurt like hell when he put weight on it because he let out the most agonizing sound I have had the pleasure to hear. I decided that was my cue to bandage the wound up. Couldn't have him die too fast.

It really is amazing what a little iodine and bandages will do. He passed out when I was done 'cleaning' him up. Lasted longer then I thought he would. We spent the next few days having 'sessions', as I like to call them. They consist of me inflicting as much nonlethal pain on him as possible. Quite fun really, you should try it some time. And there are so many different ways to cause pain. I intend to try them all before I am through.

She couldn’t breathe. All the air had left her lungs and she couldn’t fill them up again. The letter had fallen from her hands and landed on the floor. She wanted—needed to get up. She didn’t trust her legs as she pushed herself off of the couch. Scully wasn’t registering anything except that she was cold. She hugged her arms to herself and rocked back and forth. Her worst fears had been confirmed. Of all of the things she had found, this confirmed her fears the most. She closed her eyes and dared the tears to come. Behind her lids her mind conjured up an image of Mulder. He probably had a terrible concussion and an uncontrollable infection in his leg. Oh God, his leg. The bone was shattered…and it wasn’t getting set, nor was it going to get better. A dull throbbing came from the vicinity of her temples. Scully opened her eyes and found herself blinded by tears. It was then when she snapped.

”MOTHERFUCKER!!!!! GODDAMN SONOFABITCH!!!! YOU FUCKING SICK PIECE OF SHIT!!!” The rage she was experiencing was beyond any she had experienced before. The adrenaline was rushing through her veins, causing her to shake even more. She whirled around, wanting to throw things, wanting to destroy everything. “FUCKING BASTARD!!!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. “I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!!!” Without realizing what she was doing, she felt the weight of a lamp in her hands. She hefted it across the room and watched at it shattered against a wall. Pain spread through her body. Crippling, debilitating pain that made her double over. She sat back on her haunches and tried to calm herself down. At that point, Karen’s words echoed somewhere in the back of her mind that had, until this point, remained sane. I wouldn't be surprised if he had somehow watched Elizabeth Morris as she read the letters. She stood up. He was watching her. He was watching her and enjoying her pain. She pulled her gun out of her holster and held it out in front of her. “Where the fuck are you, you sick bastard? WHERE ARE YOU!?!” She went through her entire apartment and searched for an intruder.

She did not notice the silent figure watching her from his vantagepoint outside.

She sat up all night, her gun on the coffee table in front of her. She kept her ears trained for any noise that didn’t belong. All the time she was sitting there, she had to concentrate on the simple effort to breathe. Her teeth chattered, the noise reverberating through Scully’s body. She looked at the clock on the VCR. It was 3 in the morning. She hugged her arms to herself and tried to warm herself up. Try as she might, the shivering wouldn’t stop. Better judgement screamed against it, but she wasn’t listening to her better judgement when she pulled the bottle of whiskey out of its hiding place in a bottom cabinet. She swallowed the drink, willing herself to warm up. As the alcohol deadened her nerves, she began to feel warm again. This warmth accompanied a fuzziness she couldn’t think through. As she imagined familiar arms around her, she lay down on the couch and wept. Soon after, she passed out drunk on the couch.

”Scully. Wake up there sleepyhead. Come on Scully, wake up.”

From deep in her alcohol-induced fog, Dana became aware of someone shaking her awake. She forced her heavy lidded eyes open. Her mouth felt sticky and dry and she had to swallow before she could manage any words. Her eyes were focusing, adjusting to the light around her. She rubbed at her face and attempted to collect herself. Hands helped her to sit up.

”You never could hold your liquor.”

The familiarity of the voice startled her. Instantly alert, she looked next to her. Mulder was sitting next to her, right there on the couch.

”Mulder!” She gasped. “You’re here…but…”

He leaned toward her, his thumb wiped away the tears she hadn’t realized she’d been shedding. He looked at her, his eyebrows furrowed together. “Look what he’s doing to you. God Scully…I’m sorry.” He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her close to him.

”Mulder…Mulder, he’s going to kill you.”

”No he won’t. I won’t let him.”


”Go ahead, ask me why. Ask me why I won’t let him.”

”Why won’t you let him kill you?” Tears choked her words.

”Because I’m not going to die without your permission. We’re going to get through this Scully. I promise you that. We’ve faced bigger things than this.”


”Say it Dana. Say ‘you’re not going to die, Mulder.’”

”You’re not going to die, Mulder.” The words she had no idea she had spoken out loud woke her from her slumber. She looked around for Mulder and the contents of the letter came rushing back to her. “That’s one hell of a defense mechanism.”

July 21, 1998

Scully’s Apartment

It had only been a week ago that Scully got the first letter. In that week, she had taken more steps toward finding the killer who had Mulder. She made a copy of the first letter and gave the original to Diana. She had spoken briefly with the agent and was disturbed to hear how they were conducting their investigation.

”Right now, we’re looking into the reasons why this individual would be targeting male law enforcement officers. We’re thinking maybe he might have a vendetta against them and we’re checking out as to whether the victims might have something to do with one criminal in particular.” Agent Fowley had explained this to Dana calmly and coolly, ignoring the obvious fact that Scully was falling apart. Scully had started to get the feeling like Diana was talking to a 3-year-old.

Scully had listened to the progress (such as it was) that Diana’s team was making. She had sat there in Skinner’s office, listening to her give a status report. It was getting harder and harder for her to listen to her though and at one point, she excused herself from the meeting. She blindly went up the stairs to Karen’s office. Luckily, the agent was at her desk working on some paperwork when Scully had walked in.

She had told her about the progress of the case. She had told her about all of her dreams. She had told her that she was desperately afraid that Diana’s team wasn’t on the right track and that she couldn’t say anything about it because she wasn’t supposed to be involved.

”Dana,” Karen had said, “I think you, me, and Sydney need to do a little undercover work.”

That’s when they three had started to go golfing. Karen and Sydney theorized that if Mulder’s profile was accurate, and it probably was, this guy probably did work for various golf courses in the area. They excluded the two that bodies had already been found at. Scully already knew how to play golf. She and Sydney taught Karen, who was a exceedingly fast learner. They were keeping their eyes out for anyone even slightly matching the description in the profile. The “eerily accurate” profile that Mulder had drafted.

While it was supposed to be therapeutic as well as informative, the experience was hurting Scully on a very deep level. She and Mulder had just got back into town after a particularly trying case. It had affected Scully more than any other she had ever worked on and she found herself getting restless, needing to do something to get out of her head for awhile. Somehow, she had talked Mulder into playing golf with her. They went to a course not far from her home called “Fox Run.” Scully had chosen it because she got a kick out of the name. Mulder had hated it for that same reason. They played and she won and they went out for beers afterward. The next day, they were assigned this case.

That day, Scully, Karen and Sydney played at Fox Run. They hadn’t seen anyone. Scully returned home, feeling defeated.

Then she checked her mail.

Again, she got the simple white envelope. Her name and address printed carefully on the front. Common sense screamed from the back of her head to just hand the letter over to Diana. That same voice told her that she was playing into his hands.

She couldn’t listen.

Once she got into the safety of her apartment, she sat down, opened the envelope, and began to read.

July 19, 1998

Dear Agent Scully,

I know someone and he cries for you. He lies awake at night and dreams of you, some good, others quite horrific, judging by his desperate pleas echoing in the darkness. Doesn’t sleep much, that man, mostly he just lies there and talks to you, telling you his deepest, darkest secrets and wishes, as though you can hear him. Crazy bastard.

I pity him sometimes. Like when he was lying in a pool of his own blood and vomit, after a rather long session, he called your name and started thrashing about, trying to get up, despite the broken bones. Had to hold him down until it passed. Damn, the man is strong when he’s insane.

That’s how I figured out how to get to him. Through you. The very mention of your name sends him into a rage, threatening to kill me if I lay a hand on you. He tells me to leave you out of this, that you had nothing to do with it. How chivalrous. As if he could stop me. But don’t worry your pretty little head, I have no intention of having you join our party. Sending you these notes is probably more painful than any physical injury.

Speaking of which, would you like a list of his injuries? A vivid description of every scratch and bruise he has acquired over the past two weeks? I thought so. I’m sure your medical mind will create images in glorious Technicolor. I hope you’re sitting down, this may take awhile.

You know about the bullet wound to his calf, as I have already mentioned, but now it is magnificently infected, gangrene setting in a few days ago. Good thing he won’t be needing his legs again. Ever. I’m afraid that when I kicked him in the head I gave him a concussion, which seems only to have worsened over time. The man can’t turn his head without almost vomiting, his balance completely off kilter. He has second degree burns covering his left arm and shoulder, a few more on his right. He is terrified of fire, did you know? Of course you do, how silly of me. His fear was invigorating, filling me with indescribable ecstasy. His back looks more like ground beef than anything else, I got a bit carried away with the coat hanger. His chest is decorated by several artistic cuts, carefully drawn with a razor blade over a span of two days. A work of art if I do say so myself. And though I readily admit I am no doctor, I think his right collarbone is broken. At least the grinding sound it makes when he moves makes it seem broken to me.

Other than being dehydrated and suffering from malnutrition, added to the list above, he is perfectly fine.

His injuries clear in her mind, Scully felt her emotions check out. I’m going to kill you, you sick, crazy, fucking son of a bitch. For the first time in nearly a month, she felt nothing. Nothing but pure white anger, seething through her, seeping to the very marrow of her bones. She knew, for a fact, that she was going to kill this sorry excuse for a human being. She would kill him for everything he had done to her and everything he had done to Mulder.

”Mulder…” She said softly, her fingers trailing up to the ring on her necklace for what was probably the millionth time that day. She showered and changed into Mulder’s T-shirt and boxers and sat on the couch with all of the notes she had collaborated. It was time to do some heavy thinking. There was something she wasn’t picking up on. She didn’t know quite what it was, but there was something. There was something about this guy. He sounded so familiar with her. It was as if he knew her, or had at least met her at some point.

She was tending to disagree with Agent Fowley. There was no way this guy was carrying out a vendetta against the male officers. His hatred was too focused on her as well as the other women he had sent letters to. He was indeed a very intelligent individual for realizing that what he was putting her through was more traumatic than what he was putting Mulder through. She contemplated for a moment how Mulder would be reacting if it were Scully who was missing. Since it had happened before, she was pretty sure it would be safe to say he too would be at the end of his rope by now.

There was something about this that was bothering her, but in her considerably weakened state, Scully’s mind wasn’t performing at its top level. She sat there, on the floor, her back against the couch. She sat there working, reading through the file and writing whatever came into her head until 5:00 in the morning when her head tilted back against the couch and she dozed off.

A beautiful, bright day. She had just gotten back into town after racing all over the state of Louisiana looking for what Mulder had been calling a "psychic rapist." Eleven young women from various parts of the state had woken up from a good night's sleep only to find that they had been raped. Scully had insisted that this man had used ruphinol, commonly known as "rufies" on them. It was a powerful drug often used in cases of date rape. Mulder, stubborn as ever, had refused to accept this. 'The victims were unrelated', he had said. 'There were no signs of a break in', he had said. 'None of the women recognized the man', he had pointed out. Bad lead after bad lead had finally brought them to the truth. He had been right.

Damn him.

A day off after the case, their report filed and their expense report sent off, both of them had found that neither wanted to be alone. The case had been a little too disturbing. She had found him at her front door, bored. She'd suggested they do something other than eat pizza or rent movies.

"Like what?"

"Ever play golf?"


"You're gonna learn."

She had found a course, "Fox Run," and they went. She had played before, long ago, with her sister. Teaching him was a different story. She had found her patience wearing thin. She wouldn't have traded it for anything. She had stood there on the vibrant green coaching Mulder on his swing.

"No…follow through. Like this."

His brow furrowed in concentration, the end result being a quite comic look. She had burst out laughing.

He had looked at her, his eyebrow raised. "Do you know what golf stands for?"

"Excuse me?" The laughter was beginning to abate.

"It's an acronym. Do you know what it stands for?"

"I'm afraid to ask."

"Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden."

"Well it's probably because they didn't want them to know how badly they were playing." She had laughed, not hearing his witty comeback. Then, a funny feeling.

They were being watched.

Mulder, still trying to hit the small white ball on the tee, was oblivious. She looked around, seeing nothing out of the ordinary. Lots of golf carts. Caddies dragging clubs around. Groundskeepers were weedwhacking along the far borders of the course. Situation was normal. She had been unable to shake the feeling though.

Much later, they were walking back to the clubhouse. He had been complaining for the last half-hour about how badly she had been beating him. Finally, their 18 holes were done and she had been victorious. They stood there, returning their rented clubs.. Mulder, since he had lost, had ended up paying for the rental of the clubs as well as the 18 holes. A man was there…looking at her. She had felt herself begin to blush, uncomfortable under the scrutiny. They walked toward the door, his hand on her back. The man was waiting outside putting his equipment into his vehicle.

He nodded at Mulder. "Your wife plays a pretty good game."

"Oh, we're not married." He had said…almost wistfully? "She's my partner."

"Oh, you're police?"

"No, FBI." She had told him curtly.

He had only nodded.

They were nearly at her car when something clicked. Scully tried to get her mind out of its dreamlike fuzz. She turned around and looked at the man. He was watching her. She tried to force her feet to go back to him, but to no avail. She was rooted to the spot. She looked over her shoulder at him. That’s when she heard the ugly voice echo through her head,

"Listen, you little bitch. I can slice you and dice you any way I please. And he can't do anything about it. At least this way, you can eulogize him."

6:30 AM

July 22, 1998

Scully forced herself to wake up. She blinked at the sunlight that was beginning to fill the room. Something about her dream shook her. She had been golfing with Mulder at Fox Run. And she had seen him. She couldn't explain it, just like she couldn't explain a lot of what had been going on, but somehow she just knew.

Whoa there, wait a minute Scully. What? What, exactly, are you thinking? Are you thinking you can actually consider this conclusive evidence regarding Mulder's disappearance? Because, if that's what you're thinking then allow me to be the first to welcome you to the land of the insane. You sound just like Mulder, for God's sake! That's about as nuts as thinking you are actually communicating with him via dreams.

Astral projection, the Mulder voice that had been quiet as of late, spoke up.

I don't care what you call it, it's nuts! You can't communicate that way. You just can't.

Yeah, and you thought those women were drugged. The Mulder voice became more insistent.

So, what are you going to do? Go to Skinner and tell him to be on the lookout for a man because YOU DREAMED HIM? You'll be lucky if he doesn't have you committed.

But what if you're right?

Well, Skinner's not going to buy it; that's for damn sure. I'm not even sure if I buy it.

So don't tell Skinner. You've come this far on your own.

But I have to tell him something. He's getting suspicious. He knows I'm up to something that I’m not letting him in on.

So tell him to stake out golf courses. Or why don't you get lists of contractors from all of the golf courses and see if any names come up more than once. You know, Scully. It doesn't matter if anyone believes you. Don't be afraid to look like an idiot. I'm not.

"Okay girlfriend, you have officially snapped. You're conducting conversations in your head between you, yourself and Mulder. Okay…now you need a tiny dose of reality." She stood up and headed for the shower.

AD Skinner’s office

7:45 AM

”Exactly what was it you needed to see me about?”

She felt bad for him. He was trying so hard. He was lost somewhere in that gray area between keeping a safe distance and getting too close. He had known Mulder far too long not to be affected by this though. Scully strained to keep her voice neutral. “Sir, I have been doing some heavy thinking and I think it would be a good idea if you had Agent Fowley’s team stake out local golf courses.”

”May I inquire as to why?”

She spoke slowly, deliberately. “Sir, it is my belief that the killer might work at one or more local courses. Mostly, because the bodies were dropped in water hazards. An individual would have to have access to the course as well as a familiarity with their layouts. It was Agent Mulder’s belief that he might even be a contract worker of some sort. He alluded to it in his profile.”

”That’s it?” He was trying to keep the edge out of his voice, she could tell.

”Yes Sir.”

He nodded. She took that as her cue to leave. Her temper was climbing but she vowed to keep her cool here. She couldn’t crack like she had been lately. She had to stay strong, be a rock.

”Agent Scully?”

She turned. “Yes Sir?”

”I’ll be sure to tell Agent Fowley.”

”Thank you, Sir.”

It was time to see Sydney and Karen.

Karen Williams Office

8:30 AM

”Okay, consider yourselves privileged to be on the receiving end of my lunacy.”

”What’s the matter Dana?” Karen was concerned. Dana had rushed into her office and insisted she call Sydney down as well.

”I…” She found that she didn’t know what to say and for the first time, she knew how Mulder must have felt so often. She had something to say and she just couldn’t be sure how it was going to be taken. “I’ve been having…dreams. Very disturbing dreams.” She waited for their reactions. Both seemed to be hanging on her every word.

”Well, it’s only natural for you to be experiencing nightmares Dana. It’s your subconscious’s way of dealing with trauma.” Karen was choosing her words carefully.

Scully shook her head. “No…no that’s not it. It’s different. Have you ever had a feeling? A strong feeling you just can’t ignore?”

Both women shrugged, kind of like a “yes and no” answer. Dana plunged ahead.

”I have this feeling. I can’t ignore it. I have this feeling like I need to be somewhere. Now I know this sounds totally crazy and I know you both probably think I’ve gone insane but if you’ll just listen.” Again, she paused. “Before we got this case, Mulder and I went golfing at Fox Run. I didn’t think anything of it then but there was…someone there.” She watched for their reactions.

Neither of them seemed sure of what to say. Sydney found her voice first. “Well, sure there was someone there. It’s a public course. There were lots of people there.”

Karen silenced Sydney with a look. “What I think she’s trying to say, Dana, is that you might be remembering something simply because you want to remember it.”

”So, let’s go and I’ll find out if I’m imagining things or not.”

”Dana, I can’t. I’ve got to catch a plane at noon for San Antonio.” Karen tried to tell her friend this as gently as possible.


”Give me a tee time and I'm there.”

10:00 PM

Dana Scully’s Apartment

She was beginning to dread coming home. There was nothing for her to do but sit around and wait. Wait for a phone call telling her Mulder’s body had been found, wait for yet another sick letter from a psychotic killer, or wait for someone to show up with a straitjacket for her. She couldn’t eat, she could barely sleep and she was starting to lose her grip. She could feel herself jump at every noise, so when a knock came from her door, it was no surprise she nearly had a heart attack. She took her gun out of its holster and eased over to the door. She felt like a fool once she looked through the peephole. She opened the door.

”Assistant Director Skinner, what brings you to my humble abode?”

”I think we need to talk, Scully.”

She put the safety back on and set the gun down on the coffee table as she settled on to the couch. Skinner took a seat in a nearby armchair.

He looked very uncomfortable and for a moment, Scully was afraid he had come to tell her that Mulder’s body had been found. Finally, he spoke.

”You realize that we’re doing all we can to locate Agent Mulder alive.”

Scully nodded.

”So…if you had been, hypothetically, conducting your own investigation, you would share your findings?”

”Sir, what are you getting at?”

”I talked to some people down at Georgetown PD. You were seen there not too long ago asking about Francine Taylor and Michael Donovan.”

”Yes, that’s true.”


”Because Sir, with all due respect, I was working on this case before Agent Fowley. I can’t just sit by and watch. I can’t be a spectator this time. I have to do something.”

”Scully, you had your orders and your orders were to take a leave of absence.”

This was too much, even for her to handle. It was time to lay her cards out on the table.

”You wanted me to take a leave of absence? Did you honestly think that I could do that? Did you really, for even a minute think that I could just take a seat and twiddle my thumbs while people stumble around in the dark trying to find a needle in a haystack? You should know better than that. You really should.

”Right now, I’m trying to get through every day. I’m trying to remember to breathe. I’m trying to remember how to keep my heart beating. It’s getting harder as the time goes by. As I get letter after letter telling me about what my partner is going through. I can’t just sit back and be passive Walter. There’s no way that’s going to happen.

”Yes, I disobeyed your orders. Yes, I’ve been trying to find Mulder’s ki…” She stopped herself. She had nearly said “killer.” She swallowed hard and continued. “…to find Mulder’s kidnapper. I’ve found nothing though. Nothing conclusive.” She threw her hands up in the air. "All I know is that this individual is very, very sick and that Mulder is in danger. He is in serious, serious danger. I don't know where to find him, I don't know where to look. I just have to sit here and believe that he's still alive. Do you know how hard that is for me?"

Walter Skinner looked at Scully. She was usually so composed, so together. Now though, she looked as if she were holding on to her existence by a very thin, fraying thread. Her arms fell limply by her sides and for a moment she looked like the frail woman she wasn't. He couldn't help but notice that her stubbornness was fading and her spark, her will, was diminishing. This bastard was killing her.

"Agent…Dana…please just tell me what you've found so far. I'm only doing this because I get the feeling that you're probably actually getting somewhere with this case whereas Agent Fowley's team is doing nothing but running into dead ends."

She took a moment to center herself. This was one of those times when she had to give in. She had to tell him. She had to trust him. "I'm convinced that he does work for area golf courses. Per Mulder's profile, I think, after reading all of the letters, he probably does have some medical background. I think he's an intelligent man as well. I don't think he has a violent temper, per se, because I am of the opinion that he's enjoying himself. This whole thing is a game to him. However, taking into consideration Francine Taylor's autopsy, I think he's capable of having a vicious temper when provoked. He claims to realize he's a monster, so he's in his 'right mind', so to speak, when he does these things. I also think, after reading the letters he's sent me, that he probably uses his van for work. Something that blends in, probably a white van. Since I think he has access to so many different local courses, I am also of the opinion that he does contract work or works for himself. Either that or he gets fired a lot, but I think that would have come up right away in the investigation. That's it. That's all I have. Oh, and one more thing though I think Agent Fowley has probably already deduced this. The victims weren't dead when they were dumped in the water hazards."

"How do you know this?" He seemed surprised. She guessed either it was classified information or they hadn't figured that out yet.

"I spoke with the coroner who performed the autopsies. She informed me that while Francine Taylor and Michael Donovan definitely died due to the severity of their injuries, there were signs also that they were probably just barely alive when they were dumped in the water."

"What about Agent Murphy?"

"Drowned. He definitely drowned. Again, I spoke with Agent Dawson, who performed the autopsy. She told me that the murderer probably thought that he was already dead when he disposed of the body."

"There's something else."

For a moment, she felt relieved. "The dates?"

He nodded.

So, they have picked up on that. "After conferring with the coroner, we deduced that there's no way those men died when the letter claims they died. In all three cases, the individuals had been dead about 12-15 hours by the time they'd been found. If the letter was right, that time would be significantly greater. You see, the way I see it, the letters are dated on Sundays. He would have mailed them early Monday morning and they would get to the women on a Tuesday. That's how it's been in my case. It is my theory that he writes the letter Sunday, mails it Monday morning and disposes of the body Monday night. The body is found early Tuesday morning and has been dead for approximately 12 hours or so. I think he puts them in the water hazards to insure that they're found."

"Do you think he's staying true to a pattern?"

"So far, yes."

"Do you think you can predict when he will bring Agent Mulder to a body of water?"

"If he sticks to his pattern, then possibly the first of the month, perhaps the second or third. The problem is, by the time I'll get the letter…" The reality of what she was saying sunk in suddenly and she could say no more.

"It will be too late."

She nodded.

"And that's why you came to my office this morning wanting the team to stake out various golf courses."

Again, she nodded.

"I'll have Fowley get right on it."

"Thank you."

He stood up to leave, Scully got to her feet to walk him to the door. He was just about to exit into the hallway when he turned. "We're going to get him back Dana. If I make one promise, that's it. We're going to get him back."

”God, I hope so.” She managed a small, sad smile and closed the door after him.

Scully went to her room and changed out of the sweaty clothes she had worn while playing golf with Sydney earlier that evening. She took a cool, soothing shower and put on a clean, white T-shirt and sage green, jersey shorts. She needed to take the evening to reflect on the day. She found that if she took that time to settle, her thoughts got clearer and she had an easier time remembering things. At that moment, she was reflecting on her earlier near-slip.

I can’t believe I nearly said that. My God, I nearly said…no. He’s not dead. He is not dead.

Damn right I’m not. What the hell were you thinking anyway? How many times have I told you that I won’t die without your permission? How many times, Scully? How could you think that I’m dead? Goddammit, I’m alive.

The voice that she had been hearing for nearly a month now had arisen again. While she was glad to have Mulder as her conscience for now, she was uncomfortable with how angry her conscience sounded.

I know. I know you’re alive. I know that. But you’ve been gone so long. If anything, I’m beginning to doubt myself. I’m beginning to doubt as to whether I am going to be able to find you in time.

You’ll find me, Scully. You will. I have faith in you.

She looked at the clock again. She found that she had been doing that a lot lately. Watching time slip past her. She sighed heavily.

The golf game had been uneventful. Sydney had kept her smiling with her quick wit and smart-aleck remarks, but neither could ignore the fact that there just was nothing going on at the course. They were lone players, which was rare enough, but for there not to be any maintenance people at all…that was downright spooky.

It was too late. You were there too late in the evening. You need to get there earlier. Get there nice and early tomorrow. Go to the driving range and practice. Practice, and keep those baby blues of yours peeled. You’re going to find something tomorrow. I know it.

Scully just realized that she didn’t know whether it was her “Mulder-conscience” that was speaking to her or her own conscience. She began to get the distinct feeling that she was taking on some of Mulder’s traits. Scully wasn’t sure whether that was a good thing or not.

July 28, 1998

2:00 PM

For some reason, this one had caught her off guard. She knew it shouldn’t have, but it did. She had forgotten it was Tuesday. It had been a rough day. Hell, it had been a rough week. She had had an appointment with Skinner on the previous day. He had wanted her in on Agent Fowley’s briefing. Scully hadn’t slept the night before, but that was getting to be commonplace. She showered and attempted to dress. The difficulty of that task was severely increased when she found that nothing fit. Not one skirt, suit, not one pair of chinos, not one single solitary pair of jeans fit her. Finally, she found a belt she could slip around her waist to make her pants fit…well, sort of. The suit had hung on her and she felt like a scarecrow. She had noticed that whenever she got together with Karen and Sydney, food was often included at some point of the visit. Food just had not been an option for her. Every time she ate something, she’d be sick and end up vomiting.

She had gone to the meeting and felt all eyes watching her. The sympathetic look Agent Fowley had given her did nothing but anger her. The fact that there had been little success in the investigation did nothing for her mood. While Agent Fowley had listened to Skinner and included Scully’s suggestions, nothing had come from her ideas. They were staking out golf courses and investigating huge lists of suspects. The letters had yielded no prints, no clues, no nothing. They had been printed on a common inkjet printer. Finally, Scully had heard enough. She got up and walked out of Skinner’s office and went straight to her car. She couldn’t go see Syd or Karen. She just couldn’t.

She had been to the golf course nearly every day for the past week. Usually she would go and play a game with either Sydney or Karen but more and more often she was finding herself needing to be alone. She would go and hit the driving range, looking closely around her for any clues. Her theory on the white van was dissipating since every time she went there she saw at least five of them. Some had logos others did not. She recorded their license numbers and ran them through the FBI computer. The search brought nothing though. She had also acquired a list of contractors the course had hired within the past three months. The list was enormous, consisting of dozens of names and phone numbers. Some of the numbers were out of service, other numbers led her to answering machines and voice mailboxes. Again, she had run the phone numbers through the FBI computer and found nothing. Most belonged to legitimate businesses and the others brought up nothing. No data found. Scully had taken to talking to her computer by this point.

"What do you mean, 'no data found'? This is supposed to be the FB frigging I for chrissakes." She had been more than slightly irritated.

While she was driving home from the briefing, her mother had called her on the cell phone. Stifling a sigh, she told her mother to meet her at her apartment. It was obvious to her that she was worrying about her. Scully was willing to do anything to prove to her mother she was still holding on and being strong. This was bound to be the performance of a lifetime.

She had wanted to beat her mother to her apartment. She wanted to change into leggings and a T-shirt. Something that would hide her emaciation. She didn’t have that kind of luck though. Maggie Scully pulled in at about the same time her daughter did. Dana smiled and waved to her mother as she got out of her car. She watched as her mother walked to meet her. If she had noticed her daughter’s weight loss, she said nothing of it. She came up to Dana and hugged her fiercely.

”Why don’t we get inside out of this heat?”

Dana only nodded her assent. As they walked into the foyer of the building, Maggie noticed that the mailman was stuffing the small metal boxes full.

”Dana, why don’t you get your mail? You never know, you might have won one million dollars!” She was trying to ease the painful look that had settled over her daughter’s eyes lately. For a second, the sadness lifted only to return soon after. Dana shrugged. “Okay.”

Now as she stood in her living room, the letter in her hands, Dana Scully felt things crackle within her. As much as she didn’t want to read it, her eyes scanned the page involuntarily.


Dear Agent Scully,

I know someone and he called your name, either your first or your last, a million times and still you never came. He ignores me now, whether on purpose or because of the fever clouding his mind, I don’t know. He just curls into a ball – for such a tall man it is incredible how small he can make himself – and whimpers quietly as I play with him. Each time my hand or foot comes in contact with his body, he whispers your name, as though drawing strength from the very thought of you. How touching.

I’m afraid that the infection in his leg has spread to most of his other wounds and the resulting fever spiked at 106 degrees. I have never seen a seizure before but it looked agonizing. It was beautiful. Though it probably didn’t help his broken ribs or collarbone any. Yes, I fractured at least seven ribs, maybe six, I can’t be sure without X-Rays. Well, after his seizure subsided I decided I had better cool him down or else my fun would be over fairly quickly. Dumping him into a tub of ice water woke him up like a bat out of hell. He actually made it out of the tub and on top of me before I could jab him in one of his sore spots. Definitely a remarkable man.

At night he lays in his cell, shivering miserably and calling out to you, begging you to come and find him. Rescue him. You would think that he would realize that you've abandoned him by now. But no. He doesn’t resent the fact that you haven’t come, that you cannot end his pain. You could probably kill him yourself and he would go on loving you just the same.

You heard me. Loves you. The man hasn’t said it in so many words, but I can tell. You think it is impossible for a monster like me to recognize love? Any fool could see it. You are soul mates, you two, I envy you. Yet, I pity you too. Without each other, you are only half of a whole, a dismal echo of yourselves, incomplete. He is your strength and your faith, your believer. You are his guardian angel, his protector and partner in so many things, but you couldn’t protect him this time, could you?

Her knees gave out just then. It was too much. She saw the floor rush up at her, but didn’t feel it when she hit. She rested her head on her arms, willing her weak body to pick itself up. Her brain was sending the message to her legs, but her legs weren’t responding. She felt herself get to her feet, only half aware of the strong hands that guided her.

”Come on Dana. That’s my baby girl. One step at a time…there you go…”

Scully was coherent enough to know her mother was guiding her to her bed. Her mind protested, but her mouth couldn’t form the words. No! No, I can’t go to bed. I have to find Mulder. Mulder! MULDER! Mulder, dammit, answer me!

The voice she had been hearing so often lately, had fallen silent.

Maggie Scully eased her daughter out of her ill-fitting suit. Carefully, she slipped a sleep shirt over her head. She was instantly reminded of when Dana was a little girl and would fall asleep with her father in front of the television watching the late, late movie. She blinked away the tears that gathered at seeing her daughter, who was usually so strong, fall to the floor in an exhausted heap.

She wanted to know why.

Once Dana was sleeping soundly in her bed, Maggie went into the living room and picked the letter off of the floor. She found a few others on the coffee table. Setting them with their counterparts, Maggie Scully set about straightening up her daughter's apartment. Dana was usually so neat, the current state of disarray was unusual to Mrs. Scully. She had every intention of reading the letters, she just didn’t want to just yet.

It wasn't until about 2 hours later that she sat down and arranged them all by date. The other two were photocopies, but were clear and easy to read. She almost wished they weren't so clear. Sheet after sheet her eyes scanned the words. She almost didn't believe what was happening. Her Fox, her adopted son, her daughter's best friend was being submitted to things she couldn't--or didn't want to--comprehend. The thought of him laying somewhere hurt or dying enraged her. She covered her mouth with her fist and fought the tears that were inevitable. This excuse for a man wasn't only tearing Fox's life apart, but everyone who Fox's life touched as well. For a moment, her thoughts spun to Teena Mulder. She couldn't imagine what the woman must be going through. If she even knows. I'd be going crazy…oh thank God it wasn't Dana. She knew it was a selfish thought and chastised herself for even thinking it, but she had already lost one daughter. Losing the other would have been too much.

Hold on there Maggie. Fox isn't lost yet. He's still with you. Dana's a smart girl and I'm sure Walter has all of his best agents combing the city looking for Fox. He's a strong boy, he'll survive this. You just be strong for Dana because you know she's having a rough time of it now.

She steeled herself and put the papers, which had grown to be as heavy as lead weights, back on the coffee table. She looked around and decided that if there was any time for her to be there for her daughter, this was one of those times. She knew Dana hadn't been taking care of herself. It was painfully obvious to her that she had lost a significant amount of weight and probably hadn't slept a full eight hours since Fox was taken. She would let her daughter sleep while she did more straightening up around the apartment. She turned the ringer down on the phone so that she could still hear it whereas it wouldn't wake Dana. Then she went to work.

She felt warm, safe. Without opening her eyes, she just knew. She was laying back on something warm and soft, a familiar sound resonated in the background, Curiosity became too much; she opened her eyes.


At least, she was pretty sure it was Hawaii. The white sandy beach stretched out as far as she could tell and the water ahead of her was…magnificent seemed too weak a word. The dark blue horizon morphed into turquoise water that came to a white foamy end as it crashed into the shore. The air smelled heavenly, tropical, the light scent of coconut laced with the salt water. She was so engrossed, the next thought that came to her mind jarred her.

What the hell am I doing here?

She looked down at herself and saw she was, aptly enough, decked out in a simple navy blue bikini. She looked around and saw no one, nothing for miles. She got up off of the thick, plush towel that was spread out on the ground and surveyed the area. If she didn't know better (and she supposed she didn't) she would swear that it looked like she was on a deserted island. Well, deserted except for a…cabana?

Raising her eyebrow, she stepped carefully into the shade of the bungalow. The change in the light made her blink but eventually she adjusted. There, sitting with his feet up on a lounge chair drinking a margarita, was her partner clad in baggy khaki shorts and…was he shirtless? Indeed he was. He looked lean, tanned and healthy. He also looked a little buzzed.

Exactly how one is supposed to look on vacation, she thought.

Mulder looked at her and smiled. He swallowed and set the glass down on a nearby table. "Quite a spread, isn't it?"

"Mulder, what are we…"

"Doing here? Well, my guess is your subconscious is giving you a break. A well-deserved break, I might add. I can't believe you're killing yourself over this." He relaxed in the chaise as a familiar smirk crossed his features.

"What?! You're kidding me, right? Tell me you're kidding. Mulder…do you know what I'm going through? I know what you're going through, but do you have any idea what it's like to lie awake at night thinking about all that you're going through? To not be able to do a damn thing about it? I can't do anything, Mulder. I can't do anything and…I can't find you. Mulder, I need to find you."

"Yes Scully, I do know. I know the pain you're feeling when you wonder whether you'll ever see me alive. I know the emptiness you feel when, for some silly reason or another, something reminds you of me. I know. You'll find me, Scully…actually…I think your subconscious wants me to start calling you Dana. So…You will find me Dana. I know it. I know it deep within the fiber of my being that you will find me and I'll survive this. Though I still don't know if I've forgiven you for your little slip earlier." Again, he smirked. "I'm not dead, Dana. Really, I'm not. Trust me on this one. Now, on to more pleasant tropics…er topics. This is your dream and you have a stocked bar. What would you like me to make?"

"What is this? Some warped fantasy of mine where you're my cabana boy?"

He shrugged. "Hey, it's your dream. Whatever."

"Well…I guess…no! No. Mulder, I need to wake up and I need to find you. I can't sleep any more. I need to find you." She turned and headed toward the door. Just as she was about to step out of the cabana, she felt hands on her shoulders. They gently turned her around and embraced her, pulling her into him; the shelter of his arms within the shelter of this little house.

Tears slid down her face as she tucked her head underneath his chin. She wrapped her arms around him as they stood there silently. She couldn't get over the sensations she was having. This dream was far too real to be a dream. She could feel his sun-warmed flesh against her cheek, she could smell the mixture of salt and cocoa butter on him, she was aware of him nearly crushing her with his arms. She pulled away from him and looked up at his face. His cheeks too, were stained with tears.

"You're going to find me, Scully." He looked down at her and touched the ring that was still hanging from her necklace. A smile quickly graced his lips. "You've got a part of me here with you right now."

A thought entered her mind and as quickly as she thought it, she began to feel him getting closer. She could feel his uneven breathing coming out in short bursts against her face. His cheeks were flushed, whether it was with alcohol, sun, or something else; she wasn't sure. His eyes were closing and then it happened. Their lips met. Finally after time after time of near misses, their lips finally met in a kiss. She savored the feeling of finally connecting with him on a physical level. The taste of tangy lime and tequila on his lips made her close her eyes and pray that this dream never ended.

She heard his voice in her head, yet again. It whispered to her, invitingly. "This is your dream Scully. All yours. Whatever you want…it's yours. So what do you want?"

Again, as soon as the thought flashed in her mind the action followed. Mulder pulled away and took her face in his hands. "I know you'll find me, and I have faith you'll find me because I love you."

10:00 PM

Mrs. Scully walked hesitantly into her daughter's bedroom. In the dark she could make out the still lump that was huddled under the covers. She was sleeping on her side, curled into a tiny ball. She looked so cozy, so comfortable she didn't want to wake her. She knew, though, that it was time for the girl to eat. She had fixed some tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. These items along with a glass of iced tea were balanced on the tray in her hands. She set the tray down and gently shook Dana's shoulder.

"Dana, wake up. Come on Dana, rise and shine. It's time to get up."

Mulder vanished. The cabana vanished. Hawaii vanished. She was in her bed in her apartment and she had been sleeping for nearly eight hours. She looked up and heard her mother's voice. Instinctively, she reached over and switched the bedside light on. Something smelled good. "Mom, what are you still doing here? It's late."

"I'm aware of the time Dana. I wanted to stay with you. To…to make sure you'd be all right. I also wanted to make sure you ate something. You're not looking well Dana. In fact, you look quite ill." She picked up the tray and set it on Dana's lap.

The mingled smell of grilled cheese and tomato soup did wonders…it actually made her mouth water. She picked up the sandwich and bit into it greedily. As she ate, her mother looked at her, smiling.

She was glad to see her eat. Not only that, but she was glad that she was eating with relish. Maggie had to talk to Dana. She had to talk to her about everything going on.

"Dana…I…I read your letters."

Scully stopped in mid-chew. She swallowed the last bit of sandwich, which was in her mouth and nodded slowly. She wasn't sure what to say to that. She hadn't told her much of what was going on with the investigation and she certainly hadn't told her about the letters.

"Now, I want you to know that…I understand why you didn't tell me. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm not…upset that you didn't tell me, it just means that I know you had your reasons. Now…now Dana…how are you doing?" She didn't know how to ask her daughter what she really wanted to know. She really wanted to know…well, everything. She wanted to know how things were going in the search for her adopted son. She wanted to know how her daughter was taking everything. She knew Dana was strong, but she tended to take everything on her shoulders, thinking herself strong enough to handle the load alone. She wanted her to share that load with her.

"I'm doing…" She didn't know what to say. I'm not doing fine. I can't lie to her. "I'm getting by. It's hard…harder than anything I've ever done; but I'm…surviving."

Her mother nodded.

Scully chose that time to take the steaming mug of soup into her hands. She was feeling chilled at the moment and she took a deep drink of the liquid in order to warm her insides. Ignoring the scalding that was inevitably going on in her throat at the moment, she continued to drink the soup. When she set the mug down, it was half gone. She brought the glass of tea to her lips and took another big drink.

If there's an iced tea in that bag, it could be love.

The Mulder voice had piped up again at a most inopportune time. The tears rushed to her eyes and her throat constricted. She forced herself to swallow as she set down the glass on her nightstand. She could feel her eyes brimming with tears as she looked at her mother. Scully leaned into the older woman's waiting arms.

The protective shell she had been working so hard to construct shattered into millions of pieces. She had shut off all emotion since that night when she got the second letter. Had it only been a week ago? It felt like a year.

"Mom, I just don't know what to do." She whispered. "I know he's still alive. I know it. I can feel it. But I don't know where or how to find him. I don't know if I'll be able to save him. I don't know if I'll find him in time. And every night as I sit out there on that couch trying to find some clue as to his whereabouts, some mistake that this psychopath has made that will lead me to him, I sit there and I wonder why not me? Why him and not me? And then I wonder what I could have done to keep this from happening. If I had only listened to him that night when he told me to back away from the case then maybe things would be different. If only I had gone home that night rather than stay at your house, maybe something would have changed. If I had called him earlier, I could have kept this from happening. I keep thinking about all the things I could have done differently that would have kept this from happening. I could have changed it. I could have saved him before all this. Why didn't I?"

Hearing her daughter say these things twisted Maggie's heart. While she was well aware that Dana would willingly give her life for Fox, she had a hard time hearing her say so. She stroked the top of her daughter's head, smoothing the sleep-tousled hair. "Dana, it's not for us to ask why these things happen and it's not for us to wonder how we could have changed things. It is only for us to try and survive the trials we encounter through our lives. We have to go by day by day and live. I know that in a time like this, just living is probably the most difficult request you can make of yourself right now. Promise me you'll try though. Don't let this guilt rule your life. What happened to Fox isn't your fault and you couldn't have stopped it, short of being his shadow for 24 hours a day. And even in that case, all you would have done was put yourself in danger with him."

"But at least if I were with him…we'd be able to get through this together. Together we can get through so much. But when we're split up like this I feel so powerless, like I need him to complete me. He makes me whole." She realized as she said the words, she was echoing a sentiment he had shared with her some time before. Damn bee. Her mother sat there, looking at her with an expression she couldn't read. "What? What's the matter, Mom?"

"I always thought so, but now I'm sure. You do."

Scully bit her bottom lip. She knew. She had never vocalized it, but she knew. Now her mother knew. She took a breath with which to better communicate the words that were forming in her brain at the moment. "Yes. Yes I do." It was time to say it. If not to him, then at least to someone. "I love him."

July 31, 1998

9:00 AM

Sydney Dawson's office

"Okay Syd, give. What's the deal? Why are you sitting there with that look on your face?"

"Do you know what you're looking at? Do you have any idea?"

Scully raised an eyebrow. "I have an idea, but you wouldn't like it."

"You are looking at your new best friend."

Scully wasn't sure how to react to that. She started to feel nauseous. No, don't tell me I'm assigned to be her partner. Don't tell me Mulder's dead and she's my new partner. Oh God…now hold on a minute Dana, she looks far too happy to want to tell you that. Jeez, calm down will ya? Scully gave herself a mental shake. "Elaborate, please?"

"Guess who AD Skinner wanted in his office first thing this morning?"

"Oh let me guess."

"And guess who is now your own personal covert liaison to this investigation?"


"That is correct. C'est moi. I don't know why, but I'm sure he had his reasons if you catch my drift. He told me he wanted a fresh set of eyes looking at the forensic data they've collected. However you know as well as I do that there are plenty of pathologists here. The man had his pick of the litter. Any coincidence he picked the one who happens to play the links with you?"

Her mouth was dry. "So, what does this mean?"

"This means that…you've got ears everywhere Dana Scully. This means that you can start to put a degree of trust into this investigative team. This means that if you have any theories, you'll have someone to come to." Her usually intense friend had softened. "Dana Katherine, I won't let you down."

She swallowed the lump that was taking up residence in her throat. "So," she took a deep breath. "any good gossip to share?"

"Well, believe it or not Fowley is handling this quite competently. I'm almost impressed. However, she's stubborn. She focusing on something and I just don't think it's the right track. But, she's disagreeing with my little theory—well, our little theory actually."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, she's compiled a list of potential suspects based on common perps Mulder, Murphy and Donovan have investigated in the past. A short list as you can imagine. She totally gung-ho on the theory that this guy's got a hankering for some revenge. Now, she's trying to cross reference that list with another list of potential suspects who might have something to do with golf courses." Sydney shook her head. "I told her what I thought. You know what she said? She said that she was the profiler here and I had best stick to my slicing and my dicing. Apparently she doesn't think very highly of the idea that this guy has it in not for the men, but their female partners. She said it was too 'theatrical', 'unreasonable', 'unlikely', and 'improbable.' So there, you see what I'm working with." She rolled her eyes. "I've got the case folder here. I'm going to comb over it tonight. I should think with all that you've found and shared with Karen and me I would be able to piece something together. This is…it's so like a puzzle, you know? I mean, we know the pieces all fit together somehow. The trick is making them fit. I really feel like putting all you've found with all they've found together, we'll have ourselves a regular Reece's Peanut Butter Cup: two great tastes that taste great together."

"Good analogy. Well," she sighed, “if you find anything we haven't found yet…give me a call."

"You know I will."

10:45 AM

It had been an interesting talk with Sydney. It restored her belief that sometimes even Skinner was on her side. She stopped by Karen's office on her way out but noticed the office door closed and locked. Probably out of town again. Scully figured for a moment that Karen and Sydney were probably, like her, on a first name basis with the girls at the travel agency. She sighed and for a moment wondered what her life would be like if she had never joined the Bureau. It wouldn't have been nearly as eventful, was the only thought her mind could produce at the moment. As she got in the elevator, Skinner had stopped her.

"I just thought you should know that Agent Mulder's apartment is…no longer off limits. If you feel the need to go there…" He had trailed off, uncomfortable. She had managed a smile and thanked him for letting her know. It was no longer a crime scene.

It'll be his apartment again when he's in it safe and sound.

She got into her car. It was a cloudy, stormy day and for some reason, she was actually feeling good. She wanted to do something. She laid back in the car seat for a moment and allowed her mind to wander. She contemplated millions of things. She couldn't go to the golf course to look for the mystery psycho, that was certain. She didn't want to go back to her apartment. She couldn't sit in the parking garage all day…

I bet my place could use a good cleaning…

The Mulder-conscience had become a permanent fixture in her mind. She stopped wondering about it, stopped questioning it. She just heard it and imagined him saying such a thing, that damn smile teasing his lips. Those damn lips. Her mind decided to torture her a bit by flashing Mulder upon her inward eye. Fox Mulder, tanned cabana boy teased her with that damn smile. Fox Mulder, FBI agent, standing in his hallway with every intention of kissing her. Fox Mulder, injured, his head in her lap as she sang "Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog" (off key, no less.)

"Okay, I guess that settles it." She said out loud to no one in particular.

She didn't expect it to be easy, but her hand was absolutely shaking as she tried to get the key in the lock. It took a few times but she steadied herself and took it very slowly. The key slid in, she turned it; the lock clicked open. The noise seemed to echo in the deserted hallway but she turned the knob and eased the door open quietly.

The sight of the demolished apartment hadn't failed to affect her yet. Her breath still stopped, her throat tightened and she felt like she was going to be sick. She closed the door and leaned against it, sinking down to rest on her heels. She surveyed the scene for what was actually the third time, though it felt like so much more.

There were boxes deposited in the middle of the living room floor. Upon further inspection, they were filled with things that the investigative team probably considered evidence until they dug deeper. The pillows on the couch were still ripped open; his television had fallen to the floor and was lying on its side. The computer was thrown to the floor as well and every book, magazine and newspaper the man might have owned was strewn about the floor.

Not exactly impeccable, but that's not the "I" in "FBI" now, is it?

As she chuckled, she felt herself sinking further into lunacy. "Okay, it looks like I have my work cut out for me." She went into the kitchen and got several big garbage bags. She attacked what was obviously trash. The pillows were unsalvageable; most of the newspapers were ripped to shreds. Carefully, she chose to pitch things she was sure Mulder would have no use for. Two hours later, she lugged bag after bag down to the trash. She also threw out the television. She was sure he'd be devastated, but she had one she could lend him in the interim.

She returned to the apartment after the final trip to the Dumpster. The place looked a little better without all the crap littering the floor. She put all of his important papers as well as any books and magazines that hadn't been destroyed in a pile. The next order of business was the shelves. Scully worked tirelessly putting every book, knick-knack and miscellaneous object back on various shelves. It was a long, tedious process, but she was sure he'd appreciate it. The longer she worked on it, the more sure she became that she was going to get Mulder back, in one piece and breathing. By the time she had put everything back on the shelves, she was whistling.

The third thing she tackled was his clothes. Everything in his closet had been ripped from the hangers and all of his drawers were pulled out of the dresser. Methodically, she hung everything back up, occasionally letting her fingers trail along the material of his suit coats. She noticed for what wasn't the first time, what a great dresser he was. He had long since ditched the goofy ties he wore when she first started working with him. He dressed to kill and she as well as nearly every other female in the building had begun to notice. As she hung up his heavy black wool trench coat, she got an idea. Looking around as if to make sure no one was looking, she tried it on.

It was absurdly big for her. The jacket pooled on the ground due to her lack of height. The sleeves went far past her fingertips. She couldn’t help but chuckle, knowing how utterly ridiculous she looked. Scully returned it to the closet on a hanger. She then focused her attention on the collection of clothes dumped from the drawers. She was glad to see that the laundry she had folded the last time she was there remained untouched. Getting down on her knees, Dana picked up the drawers that had been taken out of their slots and returned them to their rightful place. Afterwards, she carefully returned every stitch of clothing that had remained on the floor as well as what she had folded in the laundry basket. She looked around to survey her work. She felt she had done a pretty decent job of tidying up. There were things that she wasn’t sure what to do with and she had stored those things neatly in a box for Mulder to go through when he was able.

Did you hear that? Did you hear that thought? You said ‘when’ and not ‘if.’ I must say, Dana Scully, you’re beginning to sound like you’re expecting him.

It was nearly 7:30 by the time she was done. She had fed his fish (though she suspected that Frohike, Langly or Byers had been feeding them in the meantime), checked his mail, and cleaned out his refrigerator. When she had cleaned out the bathroom she made a mental note to pick up some more shower gel for him as well as a new can of shaving cream and some new razors. The bathroom had been conspicuously void of those items. Satisfied with the job she had done, she grabbed her purse and left the apartment, locking the door behind him. She felt strangely optimistic as she walked out to her car. It felt as though restoring Mulder’s apartment had brought him to her for at least a little bit.

On her way back to the apartment, she stopped at the grocery store and picked up some milk, raisin bran, antibiotic ointment as well as some razors and shaving cream. The gel would have to wait. She wouldn’t be able to get to the bath store in the mall anytime soon. As she walked into the apartment, the feeling continued. Usually this was the loneliest time for her. She would sit and work until fatigue overcame her. Tonight, though, was different. She took a long bath, bathing with what was left of Mulder’s gel. Again she donned the black boxers and gray T-shirt and again she fingered the ring on her chain. She knew the final letter would be coming soon. She knew that it was going to be a race to find him before it was too late. She knew that the next few days were bound to be rough. But tonight the voice that had been resonating through her head for so long seemed to insist that she relax. So insistent was it, she actually found that she couldn’t resist. She headed for her bedroom with the black and white journal and the packets of photos. Poignant though the entries may be, she knew there would be no tears of sorrow for Fox Mulder tonight.

She settled in bed, the photos to the right of her and the journal lying in front of her. Taking an invigorating breath, she picked it up and flipped toward the end. She had not read it in its entirety and was in the mood to get inside his head tonight. She was curious as to what the final entry in the journal was dated. There was no date, but Scully remembered the day vividly.

Scully leaves for a weekend vacation tomorrow morning. This bothers me for some reason. It’s not like we spend every minute of our days off together. In fact, we rarely see one another on the weekends unless we are working on a case. So why is this any different? What am I going to do with myself for two whole days? 48 hours. 2880 minutes. 172800 seconds. A whole lot of nanoseconds. Maybe I’ll call her. Yeah, I’ll do that. She said to only call if it were an emergency. I’m sure she wasn’t being serious though.


Well, I guess she was serious. I can’t believe she hung up on me though. Scully hung up on me! She never does that. She’s not supposed to do that! I was just trying to be helpful with that decapitation remark. After everything we have been through together it would be just our luck for her to pull a Jayne Mansfield. I just want her to come back to me in the same condition she left. Is that really too much to ask? Apparently she seems to think so.

Scully, Scully, Scully. I thought you were on vacation? I thought you weren’t making or receiving calls? I know what she was thinking when she called. She heard something in the background and called me on it. I’m sure she thought I was watching one of those videos that aren’t mine. While I concede that the title is rather suggestive of a certain genre that she seems to think I have a penchant for, I must state for the record that “Alien Probe” is nothing of the kind. It’s actually a documentary shot during the late ‘60s documenting a series of mysterious and unexplained abductions, and the scientific methods that were used to investigate the case. I will have to share it with her some time. I think she will get a real kick out of it.

Who exactly am I trying to kid here?

Jeez, what kind of a pervert am I anyway? Not only was I watching a cheap pornography tape in our office, but also I didn’t even bother to hit mute when the phone rang. What if it had been the Attorney General? Oh, that would have gone over real well with Janet. “What is it exactly that you do down there in the basement, Agent Mulder?” “Well, you see Janet, may I call you Janet? The work I do is stressful. I don’t get a lot of respect from my peers. My family is non-existent. My social life is hanging by bare threads. Every once in a while, I just like to untuck my shirt, kick back, put my feet up on my desk, and pop a porno in the old VCR. It helps me unwind. I think you should be grateful I get off on sex and not by pulling a disgruntled postal worker move on you.”

And did Scully really need to do that to me at that moment? I’m talking about her spiel on witchcraft, of course. As if I weren’t horny enough already. Wonder what she would have done if I had asked her what I really wanted to know instead of asking her to marry me? “Scully, want to help me solve the mystery of the horny beast?” She probably would have reached through the phone line, ripped my balls out and then squished them with her tiny little feet. Ouch. Not much more to say to that.


You know you are leading a pathetic excuse for a life when the only food item in your refrigerator is 4-month-old orange juice.

I’m starting to see some things that I never really noticed before. I respect Scully. I know that she has saved my ass more times than I care to remember. I know that she is an intelligent human being who is a great asset to the X-files. I know that she keeps me grounded. She keeps me sane. She makes me whole. She validates my existence by accepting me. In many ways, she is my wife. (And Scully, if you ever read this I mean it in a totally figuratively way) I know all these things. I have known all of these things for a very long time. What I didn’t know, what I am just now starting to understand, is that she has become such a part of my life that I cannot function without her. Is this what a normal marriage is like? I have heard stories of wives going away for weekends and leaving the husbands to hold down the fort. I have also heard of the same wives returning home to find their husbands buried alive on the recliner under a pile consisting of dirty laundry, dirty dishes, potato chip crumbs, and the occasional dog or child. I always just assumed these tales were myths; stories told by women to scare men into behaving while they were gone. I’m beginning to wonder. It’s a good thing I don’t have a recliner…or a dog for that matter.

I can’t believe Scully is doing an X-file without me. And she keeps hanging up on me! When did Dana Scully suddenly turn into…turn into…well, turn into me? She’s just NOT supposed to do that!

Okay, I have watched naked women gyrating and twisting into anatomically impossible positions for two days now. I have done some work in the office. I cleaned my refrigerator. I went outside and played a little b-ball with the guys. I came inside and played a little b-ball by myself. I spackled the hole I made in the wall whilst playing b-ball by myself. How many more hours until I see Scully again? I never thought I would look forward to a Monday so much. That still leaves me a half a day tomorrow before she is due in at work, though. We don’t have any cases to work on anymore. What to do, what to do. I have some pencils that need sharpening. That should hold me over for a few minutes.

For the first time in nearly a month, Dana Katherine Scully was laughing. Hard. So many of her suspicions were validated on those final pages. She wiped a tear from her eye and cradled her stomach, now sore from the giggles. Once they subsided, she allowed her eyes to linger on his writing. She smiled and ran her fingers over the ink. She took a deep breath and closed the journal. She was actually feeling almost good. Her eyes wandered over to the packet of photos on the bed next to her.

Now, what on earth…?

She pulled out the thick collection of glossy photos and began flipping through them.

”How did he…?”

At first, she couldn’t remember where she was in the pictures. Then, slowly it came back to her. That stupid seminar she and Mulder were railroaded into going to. This was after the Mothmen incident and Scully could only wonder why they weren't so lucky the second time around. She would have rather battled camouflaged predators with glowing red eyes than eternally perky FBI agents. These photos were from that seminar. She tried to remember who had a camera since Mulder most certainly hadn’t. She gave up though; figuring Frohike was somewhere in the crowd doing Mulder’s dirty work. Instead, she flipped through the pictures. Most of them were only of her, though there was one she particularly liked. They were sitting down and Mulder was resting his arm on the back of her chair. There was nothing special about it other than the fact that they two looked so comfortable with each other.

Do we look this comfortable to everyone? Or is it just to me because I miss him so much?

She missed him with a funny feeling in her heart. She took a deep breath and expelled a sigh. She had promised her mother she’d at least attempt to take care of herself. That meant trying to get a little sleep. Restless though she was, it was time for her to rest. Time to recharge the ol’ battery. She settled back into bed and switched off the light. Before she closed her eyes, she looked at the clock: 11:02.

11:48 PM

Scully hovered somewhere between slumber and awakening. Distantly, she became aware of noise. Pounding. Slowly, she opened her eyes and looked at the clock. Not even midnight yet and someone was at her door. She got out of bed, not bothering with her robe, and stepped silently to the door. She looked through the peephole and immediately opened the door.

”Sydney? What’s wrong?”

Her friend was at the door, her face pale except for her cheeks, which were very bright. Her eyes were wild and her hair was plastered to her head from the storm raging outside. She sounded breathless, like she had sprinted all the way up to her apartment. When she spoke, her voice was urgent, her tone not one to argue with.

"Get dressed and get your gun. We need to go."

She calmed the rising panic with a lift of her eyebrow. "Exactly what the hell is going on here?"

Sydney pushed past into Scully's apartment. For a moment, the agent's behavior was reminding her of Mulder. "You need to get dressed and we need to leave now." She pulled her cell phone out of the inside pocket of her nylon jacket. She stabbed at the numbers and waited impatiently. "Goddamnit to hell, where the fuck is she?!" She hung up and looked at Scully. Taking a deep breath, she steadied herself. "Scully, we were wrong. There was a pattern to those letters but not what we originally thought. We paid too much attention to Francine Taylors letters and not to Elizabeth Morris'. Her final letter was dated June 30th. Murphy was found on June 1st which was the same day the letter was postmarked. He made a little mistake there. But that's the pattern. He's going for the last day of the month. We need to get moving. Now." She spoke rapidly and it only took a second for the words to register in Scully's brain.

"Oh my God." She ran to her room and emerged minutes later clad in jeans and a gray FBI T-shirt, sneakers on her feet, shoving a clip into her Sig Sauer. "Let's go."

The two women hurried to Scully's car. Once inside, Sydney kept trying to call Agent Fowley. Scully could tell that she was having no luck given the blue streak she was swearing. She hung up the cell phone and looked at Scully, who was driving through the deserted streets like a madwoman.

"You know where we need to go." It was a statement rather than a question.

"Fox Run."

"Dana, tell me you're sure of that."

She looked at her friend in the glow of the dashboard light. "Surer of that than anything else."

Sydney only nodded.

Within minutes, they were pulling into the parking lot of the golf course. Scully felt a burning sensation flow through her body when she saw it: the white van. The same white van from her dream. She didn't know how she knew that since so many white vans looked alike, she was just sure of it. She pulled up next to the van, which was void of any life.

"Call an ambulance. Get Skinner and keep trying Fowley. I'm in pursuit." She got out into the driving rain and ran into the darkness of the course.

She ran hard, for a brief moment she was reminded of chasing after Mulder in Chaney, Texas. This time though, she was saving Mulder from a killer and not the other way around. She stopped for a moment atop a hill. She needed a second to get her bearings. She looked around; wishing the place was lit. Then, a clap of thunder and a flash of lightning answered her prayers, if only for a moment. She could see everything almost like in daylight. In those few seconds, she could see where she was and where she needed to be. The water hazard was about 250 yards from where she was.

Then her heart stopped. She could see him clearly if for only a moment; he had Mulder thrown over one shoulder. The lightning subsided and she was thrown into darkness again. Guided only by her memory, Scully bolted in the direction of the water hazard never pausing to catch her breath. She slowed slightly after going about 100 yards. She jogged along; straining to see what was ahead of her when lightning flashed again. She could see how much closer she was now. He had only just reached the water hazard. Mulder was on the ground in a lifeless heap. Scully felt recharged with a newfound energy. Heedless of any potential danger in the situation, she sprinted the rest of the distance, her eyes adjusting to the darkness. She felt the secure weight of her gun at her side, her hand reaching for it when she was only 50 yards away. Weapon in hand, she continued running getting closer and closer. Finally, she was only 20 feet away. She squinted to see past the rain and darkness in time to see Mulders nearly lifeless body being tossed into the deep water.

Rage spread through her entire body. You sonofabitch. "FREEZE, FEDERAL AGENT!!!!"

The man whipped around and saw her. Surprise registered over his features. Slowly, he smiled. It was an eerie, empty smile that disturbed her deeply. From the corner of her eye she could see Mulder begin to sink. The smile widened.

"It's him or me. Make your choice."

She could feel her jaw clench and her heart race. "Both." Before she was aware of it, she had already fired four shots into him. Once she was aware of it, she fired off another three. It all happened so fast, she was heading into the water, the gun empty and hot in her holster. She swam out into the water. She couldn't find him on the surface so she had no choice but to go under. Holding her breath, she submerged and felt around for his limp body. Her fingers came in contact with something--his shirt presumably. She grasped at it and grabbed on to the arm and body that came with it. Finally she felt his solid weight in her arms and she kicked ferociously for the surface. She knew she wasn't very deep but it seemed to take ages to reach the surface.

Scully gasped once she broke the surface of the water, filling her lungs up with fresh air. She struggled awkwardly with her unconscious partner, half dragging him, half carrying him to the grassy shore. She lay him down on the grass and checked his neck for a pulse. She didn't dare breathe as she waited for the tell-tale thump under her fingers. There it was. So faint, hardly even there, but definitely existent.

"Come on, Mulder…come on…" She urged the pulse to get stronger but it didn't. It weakened.

Scully pressed her mouth to his, filling his lungs up with air. Then she pumped determinedly at his chest. She counted along as she pressed. "One…two…three…" Again she breathed for him. "One…two…three…" She continued the CPR growing more and more frustrated. "Where the FUCK is that ambulance?!?!" Scully pumped his chest for seconds that felt like hours. The strain of the month caught up with her and she felt herself getting very, very mad. "GODDAMMIT MULDER YOU DO NOT HAVE MY PERMISSION TO DIE, DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME?!?!?" This time as she went to press her mouth to his again, he began to cough weakly, finally breathing on his own.

Relief enveloped her and made her shaky. She sat on the wet grass and gathered Mulder into her arms. She held his head in her lap, rocking back and forth, whispering to him.

"I've got you Mulder. I've got you. You're going to live partner. You are. Come on Mulder, for me…live for me. Come on, just keep on breathing. That's it Fox, inhale and exhale. That's it." She hadn't heard the ambulance arrive but soon she was surrounded by paramedics and FBI agents. The men and women went about their work, carefully strapping Mulder onto a gurney. Before she could blink it seemed they already had an IV in him and a mask on his face. Someone helped her to her feet. It was Skinner.

"Why don't you go and get cleaned up, then meet us back at the hospital?"

Scully nodded absently. It had all finally come to an end. The nightmarish month had drawn to a close, the killer dead on the ground only a few feet away and Mulder on the way to the hospital. She started walking to her car when she felt someone next to her.

"Care to give a fellow agent a ride to her car?"

"Not at all."

10:45 AM

Mercy Hospital

Intensive Care Unit

It had been another sleepless night for Dana Scully. Somehow she had made it to her apartment where Sydney convinced her to at least get a shower. Scully hadn’t seen the logic to that seeing as how she had been soaked to the skin already. She had, however, relented and took a quick shower. Sydney was gone by the time she had gotten out and she got dressed swiftly in the silence of the apartment. She had tugged on a dry pair of jeans and a black polo shirt, slipped her feet into a pair of black loafers and sped off into the dark morning. When she arrived at the hospital, Skinner met her to tell her that Mulder would be in surgery for the rest of the night and well into the morning. He encouraged her to get some rest.

She waited.

It had been about 1:30 when Mulder got to the hospital. He wasn’t out of surgery until nearly 6:30. She had been waiting when he got out. While she was only too familiar with hospital regulations, this time it was her turn to use her badge to gain access somewhere she might otherwise not be allowed. She stayed there by his bedside watching him take breath after breath, amazed at the miracle that was Mulder.

There hadn’t been good news for her once Mulder got out of surgery though. The doctor who had operated on him asked to speak with her in the hall. He had seemed more than just a little perplexed.

”Agent Scully, I understand that you are a medical doctor.”

”That’s correct.”

”Then you understand the delicacy of Agent Mulder’s situation.”


He nodded. “First and foremost, he’s suffering from severe malnutrition. He’s got a concussion that’s been left untreated, several fractured ribs, first and second degree burns over much of his torso, I’m not sure what’s been done to his back but I can only surmise that it was done with something wire like…”

”…A coat hanger.” She choked.

He nodded. “Probably something like that. His clavicle is broken, he’ll have significant scarring over much of his chest due to the depth of some of those cuts, and he had a pretty nasty infection spreading through him as well. We were able to treat the infection with antibiotics and pretty much everything is treatable. Don’t get me wrong though, he’s nowhere near being out of the woods yet.”

”What about his leg?”

He looked uncomfortable for a moment, then took a deep breath. “The bullet passed through, which in this case was a good thing. However, the tibia and fibula are both shattered. We’ll have to put pins in it. The…unusual thing though is…any symptoms of gangrene were limited to the surface. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s like his body had built up immunity to it. I was afraid that we would have no choice but to amputate, but upon further inspection…it’s truly a miracle that…that happened. I have no explanation for it. Had he been treated with anything? Any experimental drugs of any sort?”

Scully shook her head slowly, thinking. “Could a virus have stepped up his immune system?”

”No virus I’ve ever seen.”

But maybe a retrovirus? “So, his leg will eventually be okay?”

”Yes, it’s his head I’m most concerned about right now. Luckily, his skull wasn’t fractured. That boy must have a hard head to withstand what he did. Anyway, from what I can gather, he probably suffered several small concussions in succession. I can only judge by the superficial injuries to his head and guess that there was at least a day between them, maybe more. I don’t know what the damage will be until he wakes up though. It’s possible that he might be fine or he might not remember anything. He’ll probably suffer from headaches for a while, that’s a given. Worst case scenario: muscular weakness, temporary paralysis, difficulty in speech…these symptoms will disappear with healing but there’s always the possibility of permanent effects such as depression, decreased mental alertness or permanent paralysis. He’s very lucky he didn’t hemorrhage and that there were no fractures to the skull or else we’d be looking at a pretty severe case of meningitis.”

”There’s nothing to do now but wait?”

”That’s about the long and short of it. I just want you to be prepared. He might not know you when he wakes up.”

She knew that. She knew the things that come with brain injuries. She just hadn’t wanted to think about that. She could only nod her head and walk slowly back to Mulder. She sat in the chair she had pulled up next to his bed. She could only hold his hand and pray.

She stayed that way for another three hours.

2:00 PM

He moved.

At first she wasn’t sure, then he moved again. His fingers twitched and gently grasped her hand. Scully’s head shot up. His breathing had gotten stronger and his eyebrows began to twitch. Scully watched him closely, her heart pounding in her ears. She hadn’t been aware that she was squeezing his hand so fiercely until she heard him.

”I might be needing that.”

It might have been no more than a whisper, it might have been hoarse and strained, but it was the most welcome sound to Dana Scully’s ears.

July 4

One year later

Fox Mulder rubbed at his eyes, blinking in the semi-darkness. He was restless and it was time to get up. He sat up and stretched, massaging the stiffness out of his calf. The scarring had faded, if only slightly. He got off of his couch, continuing to rub his face in an effort to rid his brain of the last vestiges of sleep. He moved about his apartment, first showering, then getting dressed, and then grabbing an onion bagel from the half dozen he had picked up the morning before. It was 6:00 by the time he was on his way. It was time for him to open some old wounds.

The past year had been trying for him. He had pins holding his leg together and he couldn’t remember why. He had faint scars all over his body and he couldn’t remember why. He had horrible nightmares about being tortured in the dark, and he couldn’t remember why. He was missing a month from his memories and it was killing him. He had tried everything from conventional therapy to hypnosis and still the month of July 1998 remained repressed. He had even tried to talk to Scully about it, but couldn’t get the details he had wanted. She only told him that the man they had been searching for turned the tables on him and kidnapped him. She wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him any more. The scars on his body told him that she was holding something back.

Scully. Her very name evoked an emotion that was getting harder and harder for him to pinpoint. He would never have survived the year had it not been for her. Her constant presence in his life eased his frustrations. She was with him every day during his stay in the hospital. She brought him into her home and watched over him while he struggled with the cumbersome plaster cast on his leg, driving him to and from physical therapy and staying there while he struggled to walk again. She had been there soothing him when he woke up with terrifying nightmares, stroking his damp forehead and whispering to him that it had only been a dream. She stood by him in silent resolve, giving him strength and hope. She had helped him get back to his old life in his old apartment, helping him move back even though neither of them wanted him to leave her home. She had gone there and fed his fish, watered his plants and kept the dust from piling too high. She had, during the past year, become more of a part of him than she had been before.

So he was patient. He remained patient for a year. He went through his physical therapy, ignoring the doctors who said he’d never return to the field. He did his deskwork, pushing his luck with everyone in the bureau to insure that he’d be able to get back to the X-Files. He had made a miraculous recovery stunning everyone from his doctors to Scully herself. Now, it was the weekend before he returned to the field. He had something he had to do if he were ever to attempt to get back to his normal life.

He wasn’t surprised to find the building empty. Not only was it a Sunday, it was also 6:30 AM on a Federal Holiday. He’d have the privacy he was craving. He parked the car and made his way to VCS. After a few minutes of searching, he found the case file he had been looking for. He brought it down to his desk in the basement. He was sure he’d need comfortable surroundings for this. He sat down and opened the file folder. He found letters to Francine Taylor. He remembered those. He remembered reading them and compiling a profile for her. He met her and gave her the profile…and she was found dead several days later. He found letters to Elizabeth Morris regarding Agent Eric Murphy. They were similar to Francine's letters. A knot began to form in his chest. He rifled through the rest of the papers until he came to another set of letters. These were addressed to Dana Scully. Dawning comprehension settled over him as he realized what must have happened. Hands trembling, he picked up the letters and began to read.

By the time he had finished the third letter, tears were pooling in his eyes and spilling down his cheeks. Reading the words brought the memories back to him in such a violent manner he could only compare it to slamming into a brick wall. Six simple typewritten sheets of paper did what hours of hypnotherapy couldn't. Recollections flooded his brain with such an intensity, he felt physically ill. He had nearly died and the only person to hear his deepest secrets was a bloodthirsty lunatic. His emotions had been as wide open as his wounds and there had been no one there but his would-be killer. He had a vivid memory of laying on that cold stone floor after vomiting while trying to stand. He had passed out on the floor and began to either dream or hallucinate; he couldn't remember which. He’d had a warm, safe dream about Scully in Hawaii. That had become his safe place, the place he’d retreat to within himself.

He put the third letter down, perplexed. There should be four here…then he found it. It was still in the envelope and sealed. No one had read it yet.

Someone was about to.

Slowly, deliberately, he opened the envelope. He held his breath while he read the typewritten words.


Dear Agent Scully,

I know someone and he died with your name on his lips. His confession of love for you the last words he uttered. How tragic. If he had told you before any of this had ever happened, would htings be different now? Perhaps you would both be safe and sound, happily married with a house, dog and 2.5 kids. Perhaps not.

I’m not sure what finally did him in, whether it was the internal bleeding or the fever ravaging his body, but it was a very slow and painful process, I assure you. He moaned and groaned for hours, his arms wrapped around himself as though that could alleviate the agony, praying that you would come. Finally he gave up. He rolled onto his back and cried the first tears I have seen since he arrived here.

He cried for about an hour, until his weakened body couldn’t take it any more and force him to stop. The tears left him gasping for breath and soon he began coughing up blood, his insides convulsing with each spasm. What little strength he had remaining fled with his hope. He knew you wouldn't come. So he lay on the floor, his eyes closed, blood dribbling down from his mouth, and he whispered "I love you Dana."

Then he died. Died because you couldn’t save him.

I know someone and he forgave you.

He wasn't sure what he was feeling after he read the letter. Upon delving further into the file, he found out that the perp had taken him to a golf course to dump him in the water hazard like he had done with all the other victims. He had been close to death by that time and would surely have drowned had Scully not arrived just in time to shoot the killer (seven times, he noted). She had then rescued him from the pond and administered CPR to him, saving his life. He also found out that the guy did contract maintenance work for golf courses all over the DC and Alexandria area including the one he and Scully had gone to once. It was this same one they had played at that was to be where he would have been found. He sat there for nearly an hour and a half reading, absorbing what had happened to him. A lot of events in only one month. He couldn't say he was surprised that his brain had wanted to protect him from such a traumatic event.

Finally, he closed the file and swiped at his eyes. That final letter had proclaimed him dead, but that's not how it had happened. Oh, it was pretty damn close, he was sure of that. It just hadn't happened in exactly that manner. He had been so close to death, and several times he had wanted to give in and die. He had wanted to rid himself of his broken and battered body and immerse himself in an eternity without pain or suffering. He couldn't. He couldn't make himself do it. He couldn't leave Scully without at least saying good bye. He had tried to say his good byes to her in his dreams but instead he had found himself wanting her to not give up, to find him. The amazing thing was, she had.


That voice was the last one he had expected to hear. Her voice, the voice of his champion, his protector, the reason he was still drawing breath to this day. He turned to see that the expression on her face matched the tone in her voice: shocked.

He gestured to the file on the desk, "Doing a little recreational reading." He tried to smile and hide behind his wit. "I…" He trailed off, unable to finish. His throat had tightened and he swallowed hard to rid himself of the sensation. "I couldn't…remember. So I read the file." He took a steadying breath. "I remember. Scully, I can remember everything."

Scully closed her eyes. She had known that being the way Mulder was, he wasn't going to settle for her abbreviated synopsis of events. She had suspected that he would have come here to read the case file. She just hadn't guessed he would have gotten there before she did. Tears constricted her throat as she tried to speak. She cleared her throat.


He looked overwhelmed. He got up from his swivel chair and approached her, wrapping his arms around her shoulders, pulling her in to him. "Thank you. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for saving my life. Thank you for standing by me through this. Thank you for everything. You're the reason I’m standing here right now Scully. You realize that, don't you?"

She looked down, focusing on a button on his shirt. She felt moisture fall on to her cheeks and she buried her face in his shirt. "God Mulder, I don't know what I would have done if you…" She found that she couldn't say it.

He tilted her face up to look at him. "But I didn't. I didn't die Scully. And you know why?" His lips had begun to form a half smile through the tears.


"I didn't have your permission."

The sentiment echoed what her Mulder-Conscience had been telling her. She hadn't told him about that. She hadn't told him much about that time, much less about her dreams. She was still trying to comprehend as he started to speak again.

"One thing I have to know…I have to know this." He let her go and went to the desk where he picked up the final letter. "Why was this sealed?"

She looked at the letter and envelope, taking a cleansing breath before she spoke. "I got that while you were in the hospital. I hadn't checked my mail for a few days, so I don't know exactly when I got it. I knew what it was though. I knew what it was and I knew what it said. I didn't have to read it. I didn't want to read it either so, I gave it to Skinner. I presume that he put it in the file."

He nodded, absorbing all of this. There was still one thing he needed to know. "How did you know? You know…that he would have gone to Fox Run?"

"He was there that same day we played, Mulder."

"What?" His eyes widened as a door leading to new possibilities swung open.

"Do you remember us going there and playing?" He nodded. "He was there that day."

"How did you know that?" He just couldn't grasp the possibility…

"I don't know…I just did."

His only response was a raise of his left eyebrow.

"So, did you find…what you were looking for?" She hadn't wanted him to read the letters, but she knew in the long run that she couldn't stop a headstrong Mulder.

"I found what I needed, yes."

They stood there in uncomfortable silence. They both had so much to say, and nowhere to start.

"You want to know how I got through it."


"You." One word, so simple…

Scully found that she couldn't speak. He looked down at her, green eyes locking with blue.

"You got me through every day. You were there with me, urging me to live, helping me see any glimmer of light. You were there with me doubting yourself, but I had faith in you Scully. I had faith that you could find me because you're a damn good agent and I had faith in you…" Scully experienced a distinct sense of deja vu as she felt his hands come to rest in her hair, cradling her face. "I had faith in you because…because I love you."

She closed her eyes and allowed herself to absorb the emotions raging within her. "Oh God Mulder, I love you too…" The choked whisper caught him off guard, but Mulder continued.

"You were my one thought when I got shot, and when I woke up later. My first thought when I opened my eyes and the only thought when I closed them to sleep. I found comfort in the thought of you as I felt my bones break, you brought me comfort when I couldn't turn my head without vomiting. You were there, Scully. I could see you, feel you, hear you, smell you…" He trailed off long enough to wipe the tears that were coursing down her cheeks. "There is one thing I couldn't do." Without waiting for a response, he lightly touched his lips to hers. What started out as an innocent, chaste kiss increased in intensity as a scenario both had contemplated actually played out.

The kiss ended and Mulder found that all he could do at the moment was hold her tightly to him, afraid if he let go she'd disappear. He tucked her head under his chin where it seemed to fit so neatly and ran his fingers through her hair. They stood like that for a few moments, two as one. Then Scully spoke, her voice thick with emotion.

"We have a cookout to go to you know…Mom's expecting you."

He opened his arms and released her, still holding tightly on to her hand. "Can't let Mrs. Scully down…come on, let's get some potato salad. Then…fireworks?"


They headed up to the parking garage in companionable silence. They were nearly to their cars parked side by side in the deserted garage when finally Mulder spoke up.



”I've got a question.”


”What do you think about Hawaii?”

***** End

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