Title: Reflection
Author: XScout
Classification: VA
Rating: PG
Spoilers: None
Keywords: None
Summary: The most terrifying enemy of all is found within. A killer watches and reflects on the FBI agents examining his crime scene.

Disclaimer: Neither Mulder nor Scully are mine, but if they were, *Iíd* be willing to share. So I think Chris Carter should allow us the same courtesy. 10-13 and Fox Productions as well.

Authorís Note: I just hit a major writing block on a long story (the sequel to ĎFineí for those of you who are curious) and I needed to take a break. This is what Iíve come up with and I probably got more out of it than you will. Please take a moment and let me know what you think.

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Reflection

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I can smell death surrounding this place and a cold chill of pleasure rolls through me at the thought that it was I who caused the black stench. Mixed with the copper tang of blood and the sour odor of fearful sweat is the fresh scent of pine needles and the earthy musk of damp soil.

I shift silently to the left, procuring a better view of the crime scene from behind the large bushes that provide my cover. The trees behind me sway in the violent wind, the air is heavy with moisture. It will rain soon, any evidence washed away by the cleansing water. I planned it that way. I plan everything.

Peering through the dense foliage, my eyes are inexorably drawn to the fluttering yellow tape and the flashing red lights that mark the presence of law enforcement. Men and women clothed in uniforms ranging from the local police department to the county coronerís office are milling about, trying vainly to understand what it is I have left behind for them. But they are inconsequential. I am waiting for someone else.

As I wait, I sit back on my haunches and chuckle softly at their inability to catch me. They almost have, but Iíve been able to evade them thus far. It only took two people to bring the police close to me and that both thrills and disappoints me. I am pleased to have found worthy adversaries and yet I am annoyed that I could not outwit the entire human race. For three months the locals floundered, having no evidence, no witnesses, no leads, nothing. They finally realized they were out of their depth and decided to call in the experts.

Who would have thought that two Special Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation who chase UFOs and ghosts would qualify as Ďexpertsí in catching a serial killer? But I have learned to never underestimate my enemy and that may have been the only thing which has kept me free. It has been an immense and gratifying challenge though.

Theyíve been here for two weeks, admiring my accomplishments, studying my work. The woman has touched my art, delved into it with her own two hands, felt the power which I release as I take my victims. She has remained clinical and admirably detached at all the crime scenes and through all the autopsies. It is only when she regards her partner that her detachment falls away and reveals a depth of emotion which is almost unbearable. He is the one whom I run from in my dreams, tearing the tendrils of his thoughts from my own mind. It is frightening that he knows me so well and yet it is comforting at the same time. I have found a kindred spirit who understands why I do what I do.

He does not deal with it well, however. I have watched as he glides through crime scenes, taking it all in through his pores and his sharp mind calculating every nuance and detail. It is poetry to see him work. Lately though, he has begun to falter. He has lost weight and his unsteady steps tell of sleepless nights and weakening muscles. My mind is a dangerous place to walk and it appears that he may get lost if he is not careful. He is sinking deeper into my madness and it is becoming harder and harder to find his way out.

His partner is concerned; I can tell by the way she hovers near him, her eyes exuding a sense of sorrow, fear, and love all at once. She doesnít understand and that scares her. Each crime scene brings him closer to me, in mind and body. A vacant look haunts his face constantly, my very own thoughts invading and controlling him. I can feel him within my mind and I in his, becoming one and the same.

The crunching sound of tires on wet gravel draws me from my reverie and a shock of excitement runs through me as I see a Ford Taurus pull up. It has begun to rain now and so the first thing that emerges from the vehicle is a black umbrella, popping open and impeding my view of the holder. It rises up and levels off, protecting a small figure from the elements. She is a contradiction of physical limitations and boundless intellectualism, her short stature and Victorian beauty in no way reflecting the usual bland personality or unspectacular mind that is commonly associated with a woman such as her. I watch as she steps around the car, her face clouded with worry for her partnerís well-being. No one else can see her distress, for she hides it well, but I can read her as easily as a childrenís book. My heart pounds in my chest and a soft smile plays at my lips with the very sight of her. She stirs emotions in me which I cannot reconcile and so must ignore, pushing them violently aside before they can overcome me.

Her partner has exited the car and stands next to her, ducking beneath the umbrella to say something to her. Something about this disturbs me, though I cannot say what. At this distance I canít make out what passes between them and the falling rain obscures my vision to a point where faces are blurred. I take a deep breath and lean forward on my toes, anticipating the show to come. She nods at whatever he says and moves off toward the body, sprawled in the mud. He remains where she left him for a moment and then makes his way to a group of policemen. Thatís odd. Usually he surveys the scene first, not speaking with his fellow law enforcement officers until he has finished.

There are other inconsistencies I begin to notice. He looks as though he is healthier, his stride assured and solid, his clothes hugging his long frame perfectly. Something is wrong here. I blink away the rain in a useless attempt to clear my vision. Failing that, I squeeze my eyelids shut and scrub at them with my fingers. All that does is smear blood across my face and catch in the corner of my eyes. I had forgotten that my victimís life fluids still graced my fingers. I absently try to wash them off in a puddle at my feet as I lean even closer so that I may perhaps distinguish what it is that unnerves me so.

The woman stands from where she had been crouched next to the body and then turns in a slow circle, trying to find her partner. She spots him and heads in his direction. Once she reaches him, she waits impatiently for him to finish speaking to the other officers. He turns to her and it is then that I realize what it is that has been unsettling me.

It isnít him.

Whoever that man is, he is not the one who has been closing in on me. It isnít her partner. He has the same build, the same color hair, but his face is wider, his nose shorter, his eyes lighter. What has happened? Where is he? I squeeze my eyes shut as a wave of dizziness passes over me and I place my hands on the ground to steady myself. Once the nausea has passed I slowly open my eyes and am stunned to find him staring at me, his hazel orbs drilling into my soul. I canít move, I am transfixed by the sight before me until he breaks the spell by languidly blinking. No, it was me who blinked.

Wait. Something is wrong. This canít be... I donít... I shake my head in confusion and am terrified as he does the same. A raindrop runs down my face and off my nose, falling into the puddle before me and his face ripples in the water. It is just a reflection. I cry out at the revelation and frantically back away from the puddle, from the sight of my demons.

I slip and stumble, falling backwards to land heavily in the mud. Lifting my hands I see rich earth intermingled with bright red blood and my head seems to explode in pain. My thoughts are jumbled, as though there are two voices screaming at me, warring over my mind. Fear and disgust grapples with anger and a lust to kill, logic and reason combat psychosis. I canít concentrate, everything is so loud and my head is pounding with each raindrop splashing to the ground.

Something deep inside tells me to go to her, that she will know what to do. I dazedly lurch to my feet and stumble out into the open. She has already begun heading this way upon hearing my earlier cry and I thank the powers that be that I need not move far to reach her.

She is jogging towards me now, her eyes frightened and her face in a painful mask of distress. I collapse into the mud, my hands extended in her direction, blood still running off them. She comes right up to me and drops down beside me, her own hands moving up to cradle my face. Her perfect red lips part and her voice is laden with fear.

ďMulder?Ē

I fall into her embrace and wrap my trembling arms around her. Oh God, what have I done??

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End