Case X-1743: Unresolved

Warnings: None. Safe as the movie was for younger readers, and a good 
deal less violent. 

Cross-over Details: YOU CAN read this story without extensive current 
knowledge of the X-Files or the X-Men, although if you're an X-Phile 
who hasn't at least seen the X-Men movie, you'll be confused. And if 
you're an X-Men fan who doesn't know who Mulder and Scully are, or why 
they were in the basement of the Hoover building, bail now. Otherwise, 
all that you need to know is below, or contained within the story 
itself . . . . 

X-Files details: This is an old-fashioned X File. As such, it's not 
dependent on the larger series mytharc. But there are a few things that 
one can't avoid. If we assume that events in the X-Men film occur (as 
it says) "in the not too distant future," then I must extrapolate from 
the X-Files season (2001). My solution is not to guess too much. Seemed 
safest. But the following details are important: 

- There are three people on the X-Files after 2001­ but Mulder is no 
longer one of them. He was drummed out of the FBI in season 8. The 
current agents assigned to the X-Files are John Doggett, Monica Reyes, 
and Dana Scully (part time). Yet Reyes isn't in this tale, and Doggett 
only briefly.  And yes, dammit, I LIKE Doggett.  He gets only a small 
cameo in Part II because he doesn’t really fit into the story. This is 
a Mulder-Scully piece, though readers do need to know that by Part II, 
Mulder is no longer an FBI agent. 

- Also, Scully had a baby at the end of season 8, which is apparently 
Mulder's, although that was never spelled out in so many words. I've 
assumed here that the two did marry at some point after 2001.  
Naturally, the dynamics of interpersonal relationships among the X-
Files crowd will have altered somewhat in the four years between the 
events of the 2001 season, and the events in Part II of this story.

X-Men details: Anyone who's seen the film should be able to follow 
this, but a few points for clarity: 

- Events here are prior to or consanguineous with the early scenes of 
the movie. That means Rogue and Logan have not yet arrived at the 
mansion and do not appear in this story. 

- As in my "Five Pounds," I follow COMIC canon here, which makes 
Cyclops an orphan. The basic tale of Scott's foster parents is a MUCH 
modified version of "Little Boy Lost" (with thanks to Pugui for putting 
it on the Red Shades archive). As comic fans know, Scott spent years at 
an orphanage in Omaha, Nebraska. 

- Despite this Scott-as-orphan take, I do follow the movie novelization 
in which Scott's power manifested at his senior prom. The scene in the 
screenplay used for the novel was not filmed, but everything you need 
to know about it is related in the story. (Yes, I let Selena grow up in 
"Goddess of the Moon," but this is Selena as she was at seventeen.) 

- The snippet of initial dialogue at the beginning of Part II is taken 
directly from the beginning of X-Men: The Movie. 

This is for Naomi, for a lot of things. Cyke and Mulder in one story! 
And Scott gets a happy ending finally. 

A last note: fosterage is easy to demonize. But there are good foster 
parents, as well as bad ones. And not all foster kids are trouble. This 
story is dedicated to the foster parents who do it for all the right 

Disclaimer: The X-Files belongs to Fox Studios and Chris Carter, Mulder 
to David Duchovny and Scully to Gillian Anderson.  X-Men: The Movie 
belongs to Marvel Comics and Twentieth Century Fox, James Marsden has 
made Cyclops his own, Famke Janssen played Jean Grey, and the amazing 
Patrick Stewart has brought to life Professor X, who will now forever 
have a British accent in my mind.  :-) 

San Diego, California, May 26, 1996 

Fox Mulder loosened his tie ­- the high school bathroom wasn't air 
conditioned -­ and tried again. "You want to run that by me one more 

"Red beams, like, came out of his eyes, dude. Knocked a hole in the 
wall, like, all the way through to the girls' room." 

And there was a hole -­ certainly. One large enough for Mulder to put 
his head through. A double-row of cement blocks reduced to rubble, both 
this wall and one beyond. You could see into the gym. 

"Red beams out of his eyes, huh?" Mulder asked, running a hand over the 
edge of the rubble. No sign of burning. It looked as if someone had 
gone at it with a demolition ball. 

"Yeah, dude," said the kid, one Stan Hensey. "I'm not making this up!" 
His voice was affronted. "You can, like, ask the other two guys who 
were in here, too. Or Selena Ki. She was in the girls' room with some 
friends when it happened. They'll, like, tell you the exact same thing.  
Really friggin' weird, dude." 

Mulder turned from the wall and let his gaze cross with Scully's. She 
rolled her eyes. He gave her a faint smile. Neither asked the kid how 
much he'd smoked up in the bathroom the night of the prom. It sounded 
like something out of Star Trek. Or a bad episode of The Twilight Zone. 
High school senior runs off to the boys bathroom after fighting with 
his prom date, and subsequently blasts out two walls with some kind of 
red death-ray from his eyes. Normally, Mulder would have dismissed it 
all as an elaborate school-boy prank. 

Except that everyone's story matched, including those of the adults 
who'd been in the gym when the wall had exploded outward. 

More, the kid who'd supposedly done the damage was an A-student with no 
history of making trouble. He was described as cheerful and friendly -­ 
well liked. And he'd now been missingg for over half a day, fled right 
after the event even before the cops had gotten there. Fled blind -­ 
eyes shut tightly, according to all rreports. 

It didn't add up. 

Mulder checked the hole one last time, ran a hand over the dust, and 
then made a gesture for Scully to meet him out in the hallway. They 
walked a little ways off from the milling police and students, next to 
a wall covered by institutional tan and overloaded bulletin boards.  
Scully started in before they'd gone ten steps. "Don't tell me you're 
taking this seriously. It's too 'out there' even for you, Mulder." 

"So what do you think it is?" 

"A prank! We have a group of high school seniors pulling a prank at 
their senior prom." 

"Elaborate prank." 

"These are smart kids, or at least the gang leader is -­ the one now 
missing. Scott Summers. Don't tell me you never pulled a prank in 
school, Mulder." 

He grinned, but didn't answer, held up the hand with the crumbled dust 
on it. "Notice anything unusual?" 

"You have powdered cement on your hand?" 


"All right. No, I don't. I see white cement dust." 

"Exactly. Now think about what that kid said: our missing Scott Summers 
shot red beams out of his eyes. If this was a prank, what would you 
think they're trying to imply that the beams were?" 

"That's a serious question?" 

"Scully -­ " 

"All right. It sounds like laser beams." 

"Which are hot, right?" 


He held up his hand again. "You notice any black in the dust? Any 
indication of burning?" 

She looked at his hand again. "No. But I wouldn't expect to. Mulder, 
they weren't using a real laser! They used a sledgehammer. Or 

"Or something. To do that kind of damage, it would have required more 
than a sledgehammer. But if they were so concerned about an elaborate 
prank, don't you think they'd have made some attempt to have it look 
like a laser beam?" 

She thought about it. "Maybe. But there's elaborate and then there's 
elaborate. I doubt they thought that far." 

Absently, Mulder wiped his hand on his suit slacks; it left a white 
streak. "What I want to know is why a kid set to graduate with honors 
and a scholarship to Berkeley ­- a model foster child if you don't count 
a couple of misdemeanors -­ would risk it all to play a prank at his 
senior prom? I've heard of going out with a bang, but this seems 
overdone, don't you think, Scully?" 

He nodded towards the stairwell where a pretty girl of Asian descent 
was standing at the base, giving her statement to the police. "Let's go 
talk to Scott Summer's date, Miss Selena Ki." 

"I don't know!" she was saying as they approached. She was clearly on 
the edge of hysteria. "I told you already! I don't know why he'd do 
anything like this! I didn't have any part in it! We told you 
everything we know. All of us. Why would we all lie?" 

"Because you were all involved?" the police officer -­ a woman ­- 
replied. She seemed bored and tired, straggling brown hair falling into 
her eyes. 

Mulder flipped open his ID wallet. "Can we talk with Miss Ki?" he 
asked, smiling at the police-woman. She rolled her eyes and walked away 
without further comment. Mulder turned the smile on the girl. Beside 
him, he could feel Scully bristle. She disliked his 'charm the 
witness' act. But it served. "I understand that you dated Mr. Summers 
for about a month or two before the prom?" 

"Yes." She was wary. This was a girl used to having men fall at her 
feet. She wasn't going to fall for Mulder's ploy quite so easily. 

He notched up the charm, and the smile. "Let's go get a coke, shall 
we?" At his side, he caught Scully hiking a brow, but they took Selena 
Ki to a local malt shop. 

"Scott and I used to come here," the girl said as they slid into a 
booth, Ki on one side, Mulder and Scully on the other. "We could walk 
to it after school." 

"You didn't have other transportation?" 

Ki glanced at Scully, who'd asked the question. "Well, I have a car, 
but Scott doesn't. He lives with foster parents. Lived with them, I 

"So where is Mr. Summers now?" Mulder asked. Quick. Trying to catch her 
off guard. 

She just glared at him. "I have no idea. He ran away." 

"How was Scott's home life?" Scully asked. The classic approach. 

"Fine," Ki said, dragging at the malt through her straw. "He was really 
grateful to the people he lived with. They were nice to him. They might 
not be willing to buy him a car, but they were nice to him. So if 
you're thinking he was abused, he wasn't." 

Quick kid, Mulder thought. "Do other children live in the same foster 

"Yeah. Two others. Scott's the oldest. There's a girl named Carley. 
She's fourteen -­ a real slut; she tried to come on to Scott once or 
twice, he said. It kinda freaked him out. The boy, Jeff, started as 
trouble, too, but he calmed down. He looked up to Scott a lot." 

Mulder glanced at Scully. "Do you think something might have happened 
with the girl?" 

"Do you mean did Scott run because he was afraid Carley was going to 
accuse him of rape or something?" Ki asked. 

The girl really was sharp. "Or something," Mulder agreed. 

"I doubt it. That's not her style, besides, nobody'd believe her 
anyway. Well, some idiot social worker might, but no one who knows 

"Did he ever make you feel afraid?" Scully asked in her best gentle 
voice. "You're a very popular young woman, yet you were dating -­ " 

"You must be kidding." Ki's expression was pure contempt. "He was All-
Star Volleyball and has almost straight As." She shrugged. "He's cute, 
and has dreamboat eyes. I didn't date him because I was afraid of him, 
Agent Scully. And I'm not defending him now. I'm just telling you what 
I know, because I want you to find him so I can kick his ass. He ruined 
my prom." 

Mulder bit his tongue. Maybe they were asking the wrong 'who was afraid 
of whom' question here. In any case, it was clear that the girl had her 
priorities: athletic, good grades, and dreamboat eyes. Ki hadn't said 
much of anything about Summers' personality. "What was Scott like, Miss 

"I told you," she said. "He was smart and cute. He had a great smile. 
He was funny." She dragged on her straw again, added, "The girls liked 
him ­- a little too much, if you asked me." 

Mulder glanced at Scully again. They'd heard that part of it from the 
other kid, Stan Hensey, an acquaintance of Summers'. Selena Ki's 
jealousy was infamous and the two of them had been quarreling right 
before the incident, because Ki had caught Summers talking to another 
girl and had flounced off in a snit to the girls' restroom. Summers had 
followed, but gone into the boys' room instead because his eyes had 
been hurting. And then all hell had broken loose. 

"What do you remember from that night?" Mulder asked Ki. 

She gave an abbreviated version of the fight -­ one that made her look 
right as rain ­- and then said, "Then I went into the girls' room. We 
were just talking, me and some friends. They were telling me I 
shouldn't take Scott so seriously. He flirts with everybody. The next 
thing I knew, the wall by the mirror just . . . exploded! You could see 
through into the boy's room. There were these red beams coming through 
the hole. They hit the opposite wall and it exploded, too, out into the 
gym. Then the beams stopped and we looked through. Scott was on the 
other side, leaning up against the sink. He had his hands over his face 
and Stan was shouting that Scott was shooting lasers out his eyes. Then 
Scott ran out of the bathroom. I haven't seen him since." 

"You do realize how strange that sounds?" Mulder said. 

"Yes! But I'm not making it up! Everybody saw it! The boys said he'd 
been complaining that his eyes were burning really badly. Then he 
opened them and they were red, all red, not just the whites. A minute 
later, those beams came out." 

"Had he suffered any similar pain in the month you were dating?" Scully 

The girl shook her head, almost emphatic. She drank more malt and then 
frowned thoughtfully. "He did used to get a lot of headaches. But he 
never complained. Scott never complained about much. I guess because he 
was an orphan; he was afraid of pissing people off." She shrugged, then 
looked thoughtful and said the first semi-kind thing Mulder had heard 
from her. "I hope he's okay. He really is a nice guy. But I'm still 
going to kick his ass." 

Mulder and Scully asked a few more questions, but Mulder had all the 
information he expected to get. Perhaps not all the information he 
needed, but all he expected. They took Selena Ki back to the school 
where her parents could collect her, then headed for their own car. 

It was midday Sunday, the sun high overhead; the prom had been the 
night before. Within hours of the first news coverage, Mulder and 
Scully had been on a plane for San Diego and had arrived early Sunday 
morning. They'd gone straight out to examine the scene of the 'crime' ­- 
it was still being called vandalism -­ and to interview any students or 
teachers who'd been there. 

Unfortunately, the star witness remained missing. No one knew what had 
become of Scott Summers, though how a blinded kid could evade a city-
wide police sweep, Mulder had no idea. He just hoped Summers hadn't 
evaded it because someone had seen him as an easy target and cut his 

"Still think it's a prank, Scully?" Mulder asked, as they reached their 
beige rental Taurus. 

"I can't see that it's anything else, Mulder. Human beings do not shoot 
energy rays out of their eyes. No matter how angry they are at their 

Mulder chuckled, unlocked her door, and opened it for her. Scully 
permitted him these small courtesies since he took her competence 
seriously in other things -­ most of the time. She felt no need to prove 
it in symbols, so she let him open doors for her, and hold her coat. He 
walked around to get in himself, put the key in the ignition, turned 
over the engine, and continued, "But what if someone could shoot energy 
rays out of his eyes. What if . . . something in his body metabolized 
energy, transformed it, and it came back out of his eyes when he was 
sufficiently upset?" 

"'If looks could kill,' Mulder? Be serious. Why not out his hands? Or 
his mouth? Or his nose?" 

"Roll with me on this. We've seen stranger." 

"Stranger, perhaps, but things which could marginally be explained by 
science -­ " 

"And maybe this can, too. If we could just find the subject himself." 

"So where are we going now?" 

"To talk to Mr. and Mrs. Franklin, Scott Summers' foster parents." 

"Mr. Franklin, I'm Special Agent Fox Mulder, with the FBI" -­ he already 
had his badge out and flipped open by force of habit -­ "and this 
Special Agent Dana Scully. We've come to ask you a few questions about 

"Is he okay? Did you find him?" asked a woman's voice from behind. The 
door was pulled wider and Elizabeth Franklin looked out, her face 
stitched with lines of worry and circles shading her eyes. Her voice 
held an edge of barely concealed fear. "You have to understand, this 
isn't like Scott! I don't understand why he ran. He's a good boy. He 
always was. He just needed a chance in life." 

"We're here to figure out what did happen, Mrs. Franklin," Scully said 
from Mulder's side. "We're not accusing Scott of anything." 

'Yet,' Mulder could almost hear her add to herself. She still thought 
the Summers kid had pulled a spectacular stunt. But the more Mulder 
heard, the less sure he'd become of that. 

The Franklins invited them in, brought them coffee with all the 
nervousness of innocent people who fear they're about to get into 
trouble for something, and aren't sure for what. A young boy sat on the 
top stairs and watched as they were ushered in, then scampered off when 
he saw that Mulder had spotted him. A pre-teen girl skulked at the 
edges, half in and half out of the arched kitchen doorway. She looked 
hard already:  used, and ill-used. But Mulder picked up no current 
sense of fear from her, and he'd made his career in the FBI by reading 
people's body language almost instantly. These must be the other two 
foster kids. 

The house itself was an older, middle-middle class two-story that 
showed a few attempts to modernize. Siding had been put on the 
exterior, and a deck added out back. Ceiling fans moved the torpid 
Southern California spring air. But the ceiling plaster still had those 
swirls and iridescent glitter so popular in the 1960s, and there was 
cheap dark-wood paneling in the dining room. The joints of the 
baseboards didn't match at the corners, and the rug was old, stained 
with the passage of time and feet. The furniture was old, too, but 
clean, and despite the family terrier, it didn't smell of animal. These 
people took care of things:  houses, pets, and stray kids who needed a 
home. Good people. "So how long has Scott been living with you?" Mulder 

"We got him when he was thirteen," Gene Franklin said, "so I guess 
that's four years, almost five." 

"We were in Omaha at the time," his wife chimed in. "We took Scott from 
Boy's Town there. Gene was at Offut Air Force Base." 

"You're retired military?" asked Scully, ever the Naval brat. She'd 
perked up. 

"Yeah," Gene Franklin replied. "I retired in '93, after SAC had shut 
down. We moved out here with Scott." He glanced behind himself, "That's 
when Carley came to live with us. And then Jeff, a year after." 

The girl Carley had slunk back into the kitchen to avoid Mulder's gaze. 

"How did Scott take the move?" Scully asked. 

"He was fine. He looked forward to it," Elizabeth said, still puttering 
about from nerves. 

"Honey, sit down." Her husband patted the couch beside him and her 
expression was caught for a moment, then she did as he asked, folding 
her hands between her knees. Gene Franklin said, "We talked to the 
police earlier. Scott's never been any trouble to us, Agent Mulder. He 
tried to run away from the orphanage once, and I understand he went to 
juvenile court ­- but he's never given us an ounce of grief. Not once. 
All he needed was a good home. He's been like our own son. If he hadn't 
been so old, we'd have adopted him." 

"We checked into it a few years ago," Elizabeth added, "but by the time 
the process would have gone through, he would have been almost 
eighteen. And he knew his own parents, so he wanted to keep his 
father's name. We could understand that." 

"He knew his parents?" Scully asked. "Are they still alive?" 

"Oh, no. Scott's an orphan," Gene Franklin said. "His parents were 
killed in a plane crash when he was eight. Scott and his little brother 
were the only survivors, and the other boy was adopted only a few 
months later, but Scott never was. His father had been Air Force, too. 
A test pilot. And no, before you ask, I didn't know him. But we 
connected, Scott and I, almost from the start. I was teaching him to 
fly, and he was ready to go for his license. He's been like the son I 
couldn't have. But he did have memories of his own family and we never
tried to displace those, Beth and I. We thought it important that he 
should remember his parents." 

"Does he know where his little brother is now?" Mulder asked. 

"Adoption agencies won't release that kind of information ­- 
confidentiality issues. Scott himself had suffered a head injury in the 
crash and had some minor brain damage. We've never noticed anything 
unusual, but that sort of thing does put off people. Plus, he was 
older, so he was bounced around to a few orphanages and ended up at 
Boys Town. My wife was a friend of one of the social workers there, and 
Tracy brought him out to one of the air shows that the base holds late 
each summer. That's how Beth and I met him. We took to him right away; 
he was so starved for some affection. We'd never considered becoming 
foster parents, but Scott was different. He needed a family, and we'd 
always wanted a son. He came to live with us Christmas of '91, and 
we've never regretted it for a moment since." 

Mulder exchanged a look with Scully. It sounded like a match made in 
heaven, but -­  "One thing, Mr. Franklin . . . .  You said that Scott 
ran away from the orphanage. Do you know why?" 

"Nope. He never told us. We asked once or twice, but he wouldn't talk 
about it." 

"If you push Scott, he clams up," Elizabeth Franklin said. "He rarely 
speaks about his time in the orphanage, or the accident." She looked 
down at her hands. "Gene and I always had some suspicions that he'd 
been ill-treated somewhere, but if so, it was before Tracy arrived. And 
Boy's Town has an excellent reputation. Still, maybe we should have 
pushed him harder. There just didn't seem to be a reason, and trust is 
hard for him. We were honored that he opened up to us as much as he 

"Since he gave us no trouble," Gene added, "we were willing to let 
bygones be bygones. The only thing we know about his time on the street 
-­ it was about four months -­ is that he ran cons at pool, for money to 
eat, but no charges were ever pressed." 

"There may . . . . Well, I -­ "  Beth Franklin hesitated and glanced at 
her husband. 

"Go on," Mulder said, sitting forward. Gene Franklin just sighed and 

"He knew how to break into things, Agent Mulder. He's popped the car 
door for me when I've locked my keys inside, and he once picked a lock 
on an old truck that we'd bought at a yard sale. So he may have been a 
thief, too. But to our knowledge, he's never stolen anything since 
living with us. Whatever he did back then, to survive, we've never held 
it against him. We were, I confess, a little careful with money when 
Scott first came to live with us. Common sense. We didn't want to tempt 
him. But he's always been scrupulously honest." 

"Scotty's too much the Golden Boy," said a new voice from the kitchen. 
The girl, Carley. "He didn't do nothing wrong never. Spent all his time 
telling me and Jeff how lucky we were to be here." She sneered. 
Definitely a hard one. Mulder wished he knew her story; he doubted her 
life had been pleasant. 

"So you don't think he would have pulled a stunt like this?" Mulder 
asked her. 

"Why would he?" 

Mulder's question exactly. 

"Perhaps he wanted a last chance to set up a scam?" Scully suggested. 
"Or he wanted to impress some classmate? Or his girlfriend?" 

Carley just rolled her eyes and walked back into the kitchen. "Not Mr. 
Goodie-Two-Shoes. I'm glad the son of a bitch is gone." 

Both the Franklins looked embarrassed. "You'll have to excuse Carley ­- 
" Gene began. 

"It's all right." Mulder smiled faintly. "Carley is a bigger help than 
she realizes. And, uh, I saw your other foster son on the stairs. Would 
you mind if I went up to talk to him? Scully probably has some other 
questions for you." 

"Sure, go ahead," Elizabeth said. Scully was glaring at him. He knew he 
was ditching her again, but he wanted to talk to the boy alone. 

Climbing the stairs two at a time, he peered into the three bedrooms, 
found the boy sitting on his bed in one of them. "Hi." 

The kid looked up. 

"What's your name?" Mulder asked, though he aready knew. 


"My name's Fox. Can I come in?" 

"Sure, I guess. And what kind of a name is Fox?" 

Entering, Mulder ignored that as the obligatory schoolboy attempt at 
bravado, took a seat on the other bed in the room -­ by all appearances, 
that of the missing foster brother. It was not a very big room for two 
boys; the Franklins had larger hearts than bank accounts. Scott's 
tastes had been simple, judging from his decor. He liked the color 
green, and he had elaborate models of planes on his dresser, and 
airplane posters over his bed. On the headboard bookshelf sat Frank 
Herbert's Dune series, Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, and Greg 
Bear's Eon. Also a picture of Selena Ki. The other books were science-
related or about planes. Scott Summers clearly had a thing for objects 
that went zoom through the air. "Your brother's into jets, isn't he?" 

"He's not my brother." 

Mulder glanced around at him. "You two don't get along?" 

"We get along fine." Stubborn jut of chin on the other boy. "He still 
isn't my brother." 

"Do you know why he ran away, Jeff?" 

"No." Very sullen. 

"Do you think he did run away?" 

The kid just glared, then abruptly he exploded to his feet. "Why can't 
you just leave Scott alone? He didn't do anything, okay? I don't care 
what they say, he didn't do anything wrong!" 

Mulder kept deliberately calm. "And I'm not accusing him of anything. I 
just want to know what happened and where he went, so maybe we can find 
him before he gets hurt." 

"Yeah, right. You're going to take him away and lock him up again. And 
you'll never find him if he doesn't want to get found." It was said 
with a mixture of resentment and pride. "He won't get hurt. Scott's 

"I wouldn't be too sure of that, Jeff. He may be tough, but there are a 
lot of mean people on the street ­- people meaner and older than he is. 
He's not in trouble right now, but he could be if he stays out there 
for long. He could get killed. We've been told that he ran away blind; 
it's hard to defend yourself if you can't see. Are you sure you don't 
have any idea where he might have gone?" 

The kid chewed that over, then shook his head, sadly. "No." This time, 
Mulder was fairly sure the answer was honest, not merely rebellious. 
"If it were Omaha, I might know. But not here." 

"Where might he have gone, in Omaha?" 

"Downtown. There's some pool halls there and all. Down in the Hispanic 
area. He knows some Spanish." 

Mulder doubted Scott could play pool with his eyes shut -­ assuming 
whatever was wrong with his eyes had lasted -­ but even if the boy 
couldn't hustle pool, he still might return to Omaha if he knew the 
town better, or at least knew how to disappear there better than in San 

Whatever the case, the boy Jeff was acting entirely too skittish. He 
sat with his head lowered, his hands working nervously against each 
other and one leg jiggling up and down. Just waiting for Mulder to 
leave. He knew something he wasn't telling and Mulder had a suspicion 
of what it might be. "Did Scott return home last night, Jeff?" 

The boy must have jumped six inches off the bed. "No!" 

"Jeff, you need to tell me the truth. I'm not here to arrest Scott. 
Like I said, I'm trying to find him before he gets hurt. But you have 
to help me. If you know where he went, or saw him after the prom . . . 
. " He trailed off and waited. The atmosphere in the room grew heavier
and heavier. Finally the kid caved. He was just a kid, after all. 

"Okay, yeah, he came back last night. There's a tree outside our 
window. Last night, he climbed up it to knock on the glass. I let him 
in and helped him pack his things 'cause he couldn't see. He had his 
eyes all squeezed shut and said he couldn't open them or he'd hurt me. 
I didn't understand what he was talking about but he was scared and 
really nervous. He said he had to get out of here and asked me to put 
some of his clothes in his backpack, and get his money. He had some 
saved. He made me order the bills, too, so he knew how much he had ­- 
fold the corners and stuff, in different ways for ones and fives and 
tens and twenties. Then he had me get him some scissors, duct tape and 
his sunglasses. But honest to God, he didn't tell me where he was 
going. I asked, but he wouldn't tell." 

"What time was this?" 

"I don't know. Not long after the accident, I think. We hadn't heard it 
on the news yet, and the police hadn't come. Nine o'clock? Ten o'clock, 

Mulder nodded. The high school wasn't that far from the Franklins' 
house. If the Summers kid had come home as fast as he could get here, 
he might have managed to make it before anyone had figured out what was 
up and come after him. "And he didn't open his eyes while he was here? 
Not once? Even by accident?" 

"No, sir. He said he'd hurt me bad if he did. He was all white, like a 
sheet. I've never seen him that scared." 

"What else did he say?" 

"Nothing, really. He said something awful had happened at school, and 
he was in trouble again so he was leaving before he hurt me or Gene or 
Beth -­ um, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin. We call them ­- " 

"That's fine, Jeff. Please go on." 

"That's about it. Most of the rest of what he said was 'get this' or 
'get that.' He was in a big hurry. The scissors and duct tape was the 
weirdest, until I heard what happened at the school. I guess he put it 
over his eyes, didn't he?" 

"Probably so." 

And at that moment, Fox Mulder decided that he liked Scott Summers. 
Panicked as the boy had been, he'd been thinking of how to keep himself 
from hurting anyone else by accident. 

"What kind of clothing did he take?" 


"What kind of clothing? Did he take warm clothes, or summer clothes? 
Did he take a jacket?" 

"Just t-shirts and jeans and stuff. But yeah, he took a jacket. And his 
red hooded sweatshirt. He likes that stupid thing even though it has 
holes under the arms, calls it his lucky shirt." 

Mulder stood up, fished a business card out of his wallet, wrote his 
cell number on the back and gave it to the boy. "If Scott comes back 
home, even briefly, I want you to call me. See if he'll talk to me, but 
if he won't, you call me just the same. I think you realize that I 
don't want to hurt him." Mulder caught the boy's eyes and tried to put 
all his conviction in that look. "Tell Scott that I know he didn't 
destroy that wall on purpose. I want to help him. Will you tell him 
that for me?" 

The kid accepted Mulder's card and studied the front. "Yes, sir. And I 
know he didn't, either." 

Mulder left the room, gathered Scully with a glance and they made their 
farewells to the Franklins. "So?" he asked her as soon as they were in 
the car. "What did you find out?" 

"Lots of stories about what a good boy he was. Not much else of use, 
but I took copious notes. You can review them later. I'd still like to 
know why he ran away from the orphanage the first time. And you?" 

"I found out that he went home right after the dance, had the younger 
kid pack him clothing, his money, some duct tape, scissors, sunglasses, 
and then took off for parts unknown." 

Scully smiled. "And you're always telling me that you don't have a way 
with kids, Mulder. But -­ duct tape and scissors?" 

"For his eyes, Scully. To tape his eyes shut. You still think this is a 

She didn't reply. After a moment, Mulder added, "I think he's 
protecting them. That's why he ran. Did you get a picture of young Mr. 

"About twenty of them." 

Mulder smiled. "Any of him in sunglasses?" 

Scully didn't reply, just studied Mulder's profile. "So if he's not 
going home again, where is he going?" 

"Back to Omaha. It's the one place where he knows how to live by his 

Scully didn't question that. Before taking over the X-Files, Mulder had 
worked as a profiler in the Bureau, had built a reputation on his 
instinct for second-guessing the criminal mind. Trouble was, Mulder 
didn't believe this boy's mind was criminal, just confused and 
frightened, and he hoped that his instinct was still leading him in the 
right direction. He wanted to find Scott Summers before anyone else 
did, anyone inclined to see him as a potential weapon. 

Still, the kid was not going to be easy to find. Mulder would bet his 
next paycheck that however Summers might have spent the last four years 
with the Franklins, he was inherently distrustful of authority, and now 
was desperately frightened, too. If he contacted anyone, he'd contact 
the boy Jeff. Mulder didn't think he'd take Jeff's word and call Mulder 
directly, but Mulder had covered that contingency anyway. What Mulder 
did hope was that Scott would listen to Jeff long enough so that when 
Mulder did finally catch up with him, he wouldn't bolt before Mulder 
could get past introductions. 

That Mulder would catch up with him, Mulder never doubted. 
Omaha, Nebraska, June 1, 1996 

"Any luck, Mulder?" Scully asked, as he slid back into the passenger 

"Not yet." 

"And how many places does this make?" 

"Eleven. But we've still got a few to go, plus the downtown." Mulder 
checked the map. "Head to Farnam Street and then east to 13th . We'll 
ask around the Old Market. Probably too high class a neighborhood, but 
you never know." 

The Old Market was a revitalized area of downtown Omaha, off the Leahy 
Mall Park, not far from the old railroad yards by the Missouri River. 
Interesting area. High class, despite the age of the brick buildings, 
some of which dated almost back to the city's founding. Omaha, dead in 
the middle of the Heartland, had been the new gateway to the West after 
St. Louis had become too settled. Corn and cattle country, and 
surprisingly hilly here on the very edge of the Great Plains. For 
several days now, Mulder and Scully had canvassed the bus and train 
stations and the low-rent districts, with no luck. Now, they walked 
around the Old Market with a picture of Scott Summers, asking a lot of 
questions. Some, they asked each other. 

"Are you sure he came here, Mulder?" 

"I'm sure of nothing but death and taxes, Scully." 

"And little grey men." She grinned, almost against her will ­- one of 
her trademark Scully-smiles that so delighted him. 

"I'd say the probability's high that this is where he'll turn up," 
Mulder told her. "Nonetheless, we may have beaten him here. We had the 
advantage of plane tickets, and he's traveling blind." 

"You seem awfully convinced of that." 

"Why else take duct tape?" 

"What if this is just an elaborate ploy to get away from his foster 

"Like the girl Carley said, Scully -­ why? It doesn't add up. He was 
about to graduate from high school with honors. He had a college 
scholarship waiting for him. If someone can give me a good reason why 
he'd pull a prank like they're crediting him with and then run, I'll 
entertain the idea. Until that time, I'm going to assume he ran because 
he's scared and doesn't think anyone's on his side, even his foster 
parents. They're foster parents, after all. No matter how sincerely 
they care, he'll doubt them. He spent a long time on his own; he's 
going to revert to that. We need to find him before someone else does. 
I doubt we're the only ones looking for him. Can you imagine what
Cancer Man could do with a kid able to pulverize a wall just by looking  
at it?" 

He caught her shudder out of the corner of his eyes. 

It was later that same afternoon when they finally ran across someone 
who'd seen Scott Summers. 

"Yeah, I remember the kid. Blind kid, right?" The speaker was a 
caricature artist who'd been working the Market sidewalk for several 
years. "He showed up two nights ago -­ first time, sat around playing 
guitar for spare change. We get us a lot of musicians here; they all 
kinda blur after a while. But I remember this one. People stopped to 
listen to him. He in some kind of trouble?" 

"No. We just want to talk to him," Scully assured the man. "Do you know 
if he'll show up again tonight?" 

"No idea, ma'am. You sure he's not in some kind of trouble?" 

"No, why do you ask?" 

"Well, there was another guy here earlier, asking if anyone had seen a 
blind kid. He didn't have a picture, though." 

Mulder and Scully traded a glance. "This man asking about him," Mulder 
said, "did he smoke? Was he thin, with graying hair and a long, kind of 
craggy face?" 

"What? No, not at all. Guy was in a wheelchair. Bald as home plate, 
too. Real well-dressed sort, y'know? Old money. Biritish accent." 

Mulder blinked. He'd never met, seen, nor heard of anyone in the 
Consortium who matched that description, but he was under no illusions 
that he knew everyone. "Thank you for your time." And he and Scully 
walked away. 

"So, we wait for tonight." 

"Who do you think the guy in the wheelchair is, Mulder?" 

"Your guess is as good as mine. As long as Krycek doesn't show up with 
him, I'll be happy." 

They went back to their hotel, and Mulder left Scully at the door to 
her room. "Dress casual. If we're not the only ones seeking Summers, I 
don't want to draw attention to ourselves. But let's get there early. 
I'll pick you up at five." 

She nodded and they parted. At five, they met again in the hotel lobby, 
in jeans and khakis and long-sleeved shirts. Their guns were holstered 
out of sight. Mulder prayed they wouldn't need them. "Ready to find our 
mystery kid?" She made a wordless gesture towards the door and they 
went out together. 

Even so early, the Market was crawling with people by the time they 
arrived. It was a lovely June evening, the Midwestern sky a clear blue 
quartz overhead, though a few clouds shaded the western horizon, and 
the wind had picked up. "Might rain," Mulder said. Scully just looked 
at the sky, and raised an eyebrow. "This is Nebraska, Scully. Want 
different weather? Wait fifteen minutes." 

"And what would you know about the Midwest, Mulder? You grew up on 
Martha's Vineyard." She paused and looked around. They stood outside a 
restaurant with an old train trolley parked beside it. 'The Spaghetti 
Works,' announced the sign. The man at the hotel desk had said it was a 
fixture, then confided privately that the food wasn't all that good. 
"Go to the Upstream," he'd said. "They brew their own beer." Across the 
street, three horse-drawn carriages had parked, ready to take young 
lovers, or families with kids, on a nostalgic road trip through the 
brick-laid streets. "Do you want to split up?" she asked. 

"We'd probably cover more ground that way. You go north and west; I'll 
go south and east. Keep an eye out for that guy in the wheelchair. Or 
Krycek, for that matter. If you find Summers, call me before you 
approach him." 


"Just trust me on this one." 

They parted and went their separate ways. Mulder had been moseying 
around the sidewalks for about half an hour while the sky overhead had 
gotten dark, when he thought he caught sight of a wheelchair half-in 
the doorway of a wine shop. But by the time he got through the crowd 
and over to the shop to see, he found no one. He was about to phone 
Scully, to let her know, when the cell rang in his hand. He flipped it 
open, "Mulder." 

"It's me. I've found him. He's got his guitar and is wearing a red 
sweatshirt. I'm at the corner of . . ." ­- she paused to look -­ "Howard 
and 12th Streets." 

"I'm on my way." 

"Hey, Mulder." 


"He really can sing." 

"Be on the look-out, Scully. I think I saw a guy in a wheelchair." 


Mulder had already been moving in the direction of Scully; now he 
closed the phone and slipped it back into his belt holster, picked up 
the pace, jogging a little. It had begun to sprinkle and overhead, 
lightning split the dark sky. A deep excitement thrummed in him. He 
felt on the edge of learning something remarkable. It was the same sort 
of feeling that often gripped him near the end of a chase, but on the 
X-Files, there was the added element of wondering just what they'd 
find. This was what he lived for. 

Mulder arrived at the corner of Howard and 12th just as the skies 
opened up with a heavy rain. 

But there was no blind boy in red with a guitar. 

And there was no Scully. 

There was not even a man in a wheelchair. 

"What the hell?" He turned round and round in his tracks. "Scully!" he 
called out. "Scott Summers!" It probably wasn't smart to alert the kid 
that there was someone here who knew him by name, but maybe it would 
scare him into bolting. 

Unfortunately, nothing moved beyond the slow rolling pace of the 
crowds. People eyed him sideways, opened their umbrellas, and continued 
their peripatetic evening despite the weather. Mulder stood in the 
street while rain filled his leather loafers, and cursed. 

He finally found Scully a block south, wandering aimlessly. Grabbing 
her arm, he hauled her to a stop. She looked . . . drunk. "Scully?" 

"Mulder?" Abruptly, she came back to herself, shook her head. "Where 
are we? What's going on?" She shook her head again. 

Mulder was frankly alarmed; what had happened to Scully? "Scott 
Summers, remember? We're in Omaha, looking for Scott Summers. Mr. 
Laser-Eyes from San Deigo." 

She shook her head again and rubbed at the bridge of her small Roman 
nose. "I . . . feel like I've had two pitchers of beer on St. Patrick's 
Day, Mulder. Scott Summers -­   I don't ­-   Oh yes, I remember now.  We 
were . . . . My god, where is he?" She started swinging her head 
around. "He was right there, dammit! But this isn't even the same 

"No. We're about a block away. What happened?" 

"I don't remember." 

"Did you see a man in a wheelchair?" 

"What? No. Nobody in a wheelchair. Scott was sitting on a little 
folding chair against a wall, playing, the case open in front of him. 
It was easy to get near him under pretense of listening. He appeared to 
be okay, but you're right -­ he had on dark glasses and acted as if he 
were blind. I called you immediately, and the next thing I knew, here I 
am. What is going on?" she asked, peeved. Scully hated to be played for 
a fool. 

Now, Mulder looked up and down the street, though he didn't really 
expect to see anything. "I don't know. But I'm sure as hell going to 
find out." 

Famous last words. For two more days, they searched Omaha with no luck, 
and Mulder became increasingly convinced that Scott Summers had been 
abducted -­ but not by aliens. The man in the wheeelchair had managed, 
somehow, to drug or mentally confuse Scully, and then get to Summers 
before Mulder could show up. A mere matter of minutes. The more Mulder 
thought about that, the more anxious he became. Who was this guy? And 
more importantly, for whom was he working? 

Exactly two days after they lost Summers in Omaha, Assistant Director 
Skinner phoned, recalling them to Washington. "The case is closed, 

"What! On whose authority?" 


"Mr. Skinner -­ " 

"No arguments, Mulder. I want you and Scully back in Washington by 
tomorrow, and your reports on my desk the day after that. This case is 

"And unresolved. Sir." 

"And unresolved. But I see no further use in having two of my agents 
chasing shadows in Omaha." 

"We saw him, sir; that's not a shadow. Why is this case being closed?" 

"I said no arguments. Get back to Washington, Mulder," and Skinner hung 

"Damn," Mulder said, snapping his phone closed. 

"What'd Skinner have say?" Scully asked from where she'd been working 
at the table in his hotel room, typing notes into her computer. She 
often worked in his room, so they could share the file. 

"He's closed the case and wants us back in Washington by tomorrow." 

Startled, Scully glanced up. "But we haven't found the boy." 

"And we're clearly not supposed to, Scully." Mulder collapsed on the 
side of his bed and bitterly related his full conversation with 

"What do you think he's covering up?" Scully asked, when Mulder was 

"I've no idea. And I doubt he's going to tell us, either." He got up 
and paced around, his way of releasing his frustration. 

"Do you think they have Scott ­- ?" 

'They' didn't need to be defined. 'They' were the faceless men in the 
shadow conspiracy whom Mulder and Scully had been fighting since the 
beginning of their time together on the X-Files. 

"I don't know," Mulder said now. "Maybe." But in truth, he doubted it. 
Even the Consortium couldn't muddle Scully's memory in a matter of 
moments and whisk away a street musician without causing a public 
scene. Whoever the man in the wheelchair had been, he had resources and 
abilities even more alarming than those of Cancer Man. Mulder could 
only hope that the boy, Summers, didn't wind up his pawn in some 
elaborate, concealed power game. 

It was a few days later, once back in his office in Washington, that 
Fox Mulder called the Franklin residence to inform Scott's foster 
parents that he hadn't been located, and that the Bureau had closed the 
file. "But why?" Elizabeth Franklin asked, sounding lost. 

"I'm not sure, Mrs. Franklin. Those orders came from over my head. But 
if you should hear from Scott again, please call me immediately." It 
might be the leverage he needed to get past Skinner's block on the 

"I will," she said. "And Agent Mulder?" 


"If I sent you a letter, for Scott, would you keep it? Just in case you 
find him? We want him to know that we're not angry at him, that he can 
come home. We'd like to know if he's okay." 

"Sure, Mrs. Franklin. Send me the letter and, if I find him, I'll be 
sure that he gets it." 

"Thank you, Agent Mulder."

Floor of the US Senate, Washington, DC, Spring, 2005 

On the television, a theater-sized screen slid closed silently behind 
the speaker, a pretty woman in a fire-engine red suit and hair that 
glowed soft auburn under the high, bright lights. She concluded her 
'. . . . We are seeing the beginnings of another stage of human 
evolution. These mutations manifest at puberty and are often triggered 
by periods of heightened emotional stress.' 

'Thank you, Ms. Grey. It was . . . quite educational. However, it fails 
to address the larger issue, which is the focus of this hearing. Three 
words:  Are mutants dangerous?' 

'I'm afraid that's unfair question, Senator Kelly. After all, the wrong 
person behind the wheel of a car can be dangerous.' 

'Well, we do license people to drive.' 

'Yes, but not to live. It is a fact that mutants who have come forward 
and revealed themselves publicly have been met with fear, hostility, 
even violence. It is because of that ever-present hostility that I am 
urging the Senate to vote against Mutant Registration. To force mutants 
to expose themselves --' 

'Expose themselves? What is it that the mutant community has to hide, I 
wonder, that makes them so afraid to identify themselves?' 

'I didn't say they were hiding.' 

'Well let me show you what is being hidden, Ms. Grey. . . . '

Mulder sighed and got up off the couch -­ his old black leather couch, 
which he'd insisted on bringing to their new home along with his fish. 
Scully hadn't quibbled. Much. "He's eating her alive," he muttered to 
his wife, as he passed behind Scully's chair to get cold pizza out of 
the fridge. Married three years and he still hadn't changed his eating 

Seeing the pizza box, Billy chanted, "Pizza, pizza, pizza!" from where 
he was playing with a wooden Brilo train set in the rec room. 

"He's definitely your son, Mulder," Scully said without looking up from 
the paperwork she was doing at the kitchen table. 

"Was there any doubt?" 

Scully just grinned. These days, it was a joke. Once, it had been 
anything but. 

"And," Scully went on, "I think Dr. Grey is doing quite well, 

"Considering what? That Kelly is a jackass?" 

"That, among other things. Her position may be reasonable and perfectly 
scientific" -­ high praise from Scully -­ "but it's hardly popular. 
People aree easily frightened, Mulder. As we both know." 

Sighing, Mulder got out two slices of Little Caesar's Italian sausage 
for himself and one for his son, heated them in the microwave and 
brought them into the rec room where the television had been set up. 
The nice couch was in the living room. His couch was in the rec room. 
He never spent time in the living room anyway. "Pizza," he said, and 
set down Billy's plate beside him, along with a tippy cup full of 
"green juice" -­ that is, Tropicana kiwi/white grape flavor. How the kid 
drank that stuff escaped Mulder. It looked vile. But he'd long ago 
concluded that child taste buds were a true X-File. 

"Mulder!" Scully said from the kitchen table. "Did you get napkins?" 

"Yes, ma'am." And, in a stage whisper to Billy, "Be careful or Mom'll 
skin us both." 

Billy just blinked up at Mulder, then took plate, tippy cup and paper 
towel and -­ with exaggerated care ­ brought them in to the coffee table 
so he could join his father on the big black leather couch. Watching 
him, Mulder wondered idly if their miracle baby would turn out to have 
this mutant X-gene. And if he did? It wouldn't matter to Mulder, but it 
wasn't something he'd wish on anyone, especially his own child, in the 
current socio-political climate. There were always reasonable people, 
but fear made a ready weapon for the hate-mongers. Given the peculiar 
circumstances of Billy's conception and birth, Mulder had no idea what 
to expect as his son aged. Already, the boy showed signs of advanced 
talents -­ better than average fine-motor skills for a four-year-old, 
especially a boy; better than average verbal skills, especially for a 
boy. But neither Mulder nor Scully were average, so why should it 
surprise if their son was exceptional, as well? Who needed mutant genes 
for that? Or alien DNA, for that matter. 

He returned his attention to the television. The Senate hearings had 
fast devolved into a rhetoric platform for Senator Robert Kelly. Dr. 
Grey had been silenced, and stood, frustrated, on the speaker's bema, 
the podium. She couldn't get a word in edge-wise. There was much 
shouting from the floor. "Bastard," Mulder whispered under his breath, 
then, louder, "You just know that jerk is going to run for president." 

"Probably," Scully replied from the kitchen table, but her voice held 
no interest in pursuing it. 

Mulder crossed his arms and sulked in front of the television. Kelly 
annoyed him, and he needed a good argument to release the tension. 
Scully wasn't giving him one, and Billy was too young. Mulder sighed 
loudly and flipped the channel, listened to Cokie Roberts analyze first 
Dr. Grey's points, then Senator Kelly's points. She was perceptive as 
always, but it still bored him because he didn't get to participate. He 
flipped to another channel. It showed Dr. Grey leaving the platform, 
disgust written all over her fine features as she exited into the 
hallway. Outside, she was assaulted by reporters but turned her head 
down and pushed through. There was a young man waiting to help her keep 
the reporters at bay. A pretty boy with model looks and a pair of 
stylish red-mirrored sunglasses. Seemed odd for a genetics researcher 
to have a bodyguard dressed in GQ-casual. 

Abruptly Mulder sat up while his brain did one of its famed abstract 
tap-dances across the synapses of his memory. He knew that face, 
dammit. He knew that face. Not Grey's. The man's. 

From where did he know that face? 

It hit him full on just a few moments later when the good doctor and 
her companion were met outside at their limousine by a balding man in a 

"Oh, my God . . . ." Mulder said. Then, "Scully!" 

"You want what?" said the gravelly voice on the other end of the phone 

Mulder switched his cell phone from one shoulder to the other while he 
sorted laundry. "X-File number one-seven-four-three. There's a letter 
in it. I need that letter." 

"Mulder, you know that releasing material from a federal case file ­- " 

"Shove it, John. The letter doesn't belong to the government. It 
belongs to Scott Summers. I put it there for safe-keeping." 

"Fine. But you wanna tell me why you're so sure a guy you saw for -­ 
what, a minute? ­- on C-SPAN this morning is the same kid who went 
missing nine years ago?" 

"It's the same kid. I'm sure of it." 

A heavy breath from John Doggett on the other end. "Okay. I'll release 
the letter. But I'm giving it to Dana." 

"Doggett ­- " 

"Don't push me, Mulder. The letter goes to Agent Scully. You do this 
her way. You can't just go busting into these people's lives. If it's 
been nine years, don't you think he's contacted his family if he wanted 

"Maybe. Maybe not. Consider the current climate for mutants. If he is a 
mutant -­ and that'd explain a hell of a lot -­ he might not want to have 
run the risk. Some kids are getting kicked out by their natural 
parents. He was a foster kid." 

"So what makes you think his foster parents would want to talk to him 
now, if he is a mutant? It was nine years ago, and as you said, some 
natural parents are rejecting their own kids. Myself, I don't get that, 
but I know it happens. Wouldn't it be cruel to set him up to get 

"It's not going to happen. Trust me." 

"Mulder, it really worries me when you say that. 'Trust me' is usually 
followed by some hare-brained stunt that gets somebody hurt or almost 

"This isn't that kind of situation ­- " 

"Maybe not. But I'm still giving the letter to Dana. She's the one with 
the badge." 

"Mulder, please relax. You're twitching like a long-tailed cat in a 
room full of rocking chairs." 

Mulder tried to glare at his wife but couldn't suppress a grin. After 
nine years, the hunt was back on and he stood the width of a single 
door from his quarry. He might not have the badge any more, but he 
could still feel the thrill. "Knock, Scully." 

She sighed and did so. There was a long pause. No doubt the people 
beyond weren't expecting visitors. They counted on hotel security and 
privacy acts to protect them from intrepid reporters. And normally, 
such things would. Scully's badge jumped a lot of hurdles. 

The door opened. It was Dr. Jean Grey looking a bit dazed, as if she'd 
just woken up from a nap. Her auburn hair was mussed in a tracery of 
fine webbing around her face. "Yes?" she asked, cautious. "How may I 
help you?" 

Scully flipped open her badge. "I'm Special Agent Dana Scully. This is 
my husband, and former partner, Fox Mulder. Could we have a few words 
with you, Dr. Grey?" 

Grey looked shaken, but opened the door to let them enter one of the 
more ritzy suits at the downtown Hyatt. Thick carpet and forest green 
curtains. Decor in tasteful wood. "Of course." 

Mulder grinned at her as he passed. She was a stately woman, pretty in 
a dignified way, mouth and eyebrows distinctive and well formed. Maybe 
a little stubbornness about the chin. "What is this about?" she asked 
as she closed the door. 

The best defense is a good offense. Mulder admired that. "We're here on 
some very old business," Mulder said. "A case from nine years ago, in 

Grey had tipped her head sideways. "I can't imagine what that would 

Scully sighed grandly and elbowed Mulder. "Ignore him, please. Dr. 
Grey, this isn't an official investigation, and we haven't reopened the 
case. We've come only because we have some information that may be of 
interest to one of your associates. I also want to say -­ while I have 
the opportunity -­ that I found your presentation this morning quite 
fascinating. I'd love to talk to you some other time about your 

"Talk to me about it?" Grey was still wary. 

"I'm a medical examiner, and I've worked with some . . . unusual cases 
. . . for the Bureau. I'd love to discuss your research into mutant 
chromosomes and the possible ranges of mutant manifestations." 

"Ah." Grey was relaxing a little. Trust Scully to know how to put 
another woman scientist at ease -­ compliment her research, not her 
dress. Mulder grinned. 

"For seven years, my husband and I worked together in a section of the 
FBI called the X-Files," Scully continued. "We dealt primarily with 
cases concerning unexplained phenomena." 

"And you've come to talk to me about one of those cases? You think it 
might have involved a mutant?" 

Mulder's grin widened. "We're fairly sure it involved a mutant, but 
actually ­- " 

"Mulder!" Scully snapped. 

He ignored her, " ­- we've come to talk to the young man I saw you with 
outside the Senate house the morning. A guy in glasses? Kind of clean-
cut? Is he here?" 

Grey's face blanched. "Scott? What do you want with Scott?" 

It took every ounce of Mulder's control not to crow in victory. After 
nine years, he'd finally tracked down Scott Summers. And right under 
his nose in Washington, too. Beside him, Scully hastened to assure 
Grey, "He's not in trouble, doctor. But we think he may have been 
involved in an old case file, and my husband has some information for 

Grey sat down on the hotel suite's couch as an older man in a 
wheelchair motored out of one of the ante-rooms. "Agents, please," he 
said with a faint smile. "I'm afraid you're alarming Dr. Grey. Jean, 
they mean us no harm." 

Mulder narrowed his eyes at the man. "Who are you?" 

"Mulder!" Scully snapped again. She had a way of making him feel like 
an errant child at times. 

But the older man just came further into the room, joining the three of 
them by the couch. The faint smile had grown to one of genuine 
pleasure. "I'm very pleased to meet you at last, Mr. Mulder. Assistant 
Director Skinner has told me a great deal about you. My name is Charles 
Xavier, though most of my students call me Professor X. You've come 
looking for Scott Summers, I believe. You have a letter for him." 

"How do you know that?" Mulder snapped. Then, "You were in Omaha, nine 
years ago, weren't you?" 

"Indeed, I was. I apologize, Mr. Mulder, Dr. Scully. But at the time, 
it was imperative that I make contact with Scott without outside 
interference. He was . . . in a delicate frame of mind." 

"What did you do to me that evening?" Scully asked, frowning. Mulder 
knew that look and usually sought cover when it showed up. 

"Absolutely nothing permanent, I assure you. It would be very much 
against my ethics. But I was born with certain gifts." Then, continuing 
in Mulder and Scully's heads, Like Scott Summers, I, too, am a mutant. 

"My God -­ " Mulder muttered, unsure if he was more alarmed, or more 
delighted. After all, he'd been briefly telepathic himself, even if it 
had nearly fried his synapses. Whatever the case, he found himself 
grinning at full wattage. 

"So you were the one who had Skinner call us off the case and close it 

"Yes," said Xavier, "I am sorry but it was critical that the case be 
closed and left unresolved. There were entirely too many people 
interested in you at the time, Mr. Mulder. I had to deflect any 
attention from Scott. He was already being pursued by a man named Jack 
Winters, another mutant ­- but one inclined to use his mutation for 
harm. He had read about Scott's mutation manifestation and was on the 
hunt to use him for his own criminal purposes." 

"You realize his foster parents were worried -­ " 

"Scott writes to them once a month," Jean Grey interrupted. "They know 
he's fine." 

"So he doesn't need this." Mulder fished out Elizabeth Franklin's old 
letter -­ a little yellowed now- ­ from his raincoat and held it up. 

"Ah, but he does, Mr. Mulder," Xavier said, smiling a bit 
enigmatically. That smile could start to get on a guy's nerves, Mulder 
decided, even as the letter lifted itself out of Mulder's fingers and 
floated across to the hand of Jean Grey. 

She was smiling, too. "My mutation." 

"I should have guessed," Mulder said. "Or guessed that you were all 
mutants, in any case." 

"Does that bother you?" 

"No," Scully said firmly from Mulder's side. She'd been keeping mostly 
silent, observing. "But if Scott keeps in touch with his family -­ " 

"-­ why would he need the letter?" Xavier completed her question. He 
glanced at Grey, who'd risen to take the letter over to her briefcase ­- 
"Jean, a moment" ­- then his eyes flicked back to Scully. "Because while 
he writes to them faithfully, he refuses to put a return address on the 
envelope. I think it time for Scott to quit running from his past." 
Mulder could see that Grey's back had stiffened. She clearly wasn't 
comfortable talking about Summers this way behind his back. From that, 
and a few other clues ­- not to mention the diamond on her finger -­ 
Mulder was fairly sure that Scott Summers was more to her than a 
sometimes bodyguard and fellow staff member at this private prep school 
that Xavier had told them about and which he directed. It was a subtle 
affection, but Mulder knew personally just how deep that kind could 
run. Grey would protect Summers by choosing the time and place to give 
him the letter. 

And Xavier was not going to let her get away with it. "Please bring 
that back, Jean. It's not yours to deliver. Mrs. Franklin entrusted it 
to Mr. Mulder, and I think he should be the one to give it to Scott." 

Grey spun around. "Professor -­ " But she didn't go further. The two of 
them stared hard at one another a few minutes, and Mulder exchanged a 
glance with Scully. Was Xavier speaking to Grey telepathically? Mulder 
could see that Scully was wondering the same thing. Then again, maybe 
they didn't need telepathy. Maybe they simply knew one another very 
well, the same way Mulder knew Scully. 

In any case, Grey's lips had gone thin in annoyance, but she brought 
the letter back to Mulder and handed it over without any display of 
mutant abilities. A mark of her reluctance to let go of it. 

"When will Mr. Summers be back?" Mulder asked as he took it. 

"He won't," Xavier said, and Mulder jerked his head up. 

"Scott went back to Westchester," Grey said, sitting down. "He drove to 
DC last night, so he could be with me this morning, but he can't leave 
the school for long and he went back right after we had lunch." 

Xavier had been resting elbows on the arms of his wheelchair, and now 
folded his hands in front of him. "Scott runs the school in my absence, 
you see -­ although in truth, he runs it most of the time." He smiled 
faintly, a smile that Grey echoed more fully. "Forgive me, a slight 
private joke. Scott's organizational talents are famous ­- or infamous, 
depending on whom you ask. But the school simply would not function 
without him. I am too often occupied with other matters, and he is 
effectively our headmaster even though my name is still on the school 
brochure. I should probably change that one of these days." 

"You should," Grey said and Mulder had the impression that she was 
using his and Scully's presence as covert cover to deliver an overdue 

"So," Mulder said, holding up the envelope and getting back around to 
the main point. "If you want me to deliver this, just how am I supposed 
to do so if he's not here?" But truth was, he wanted to deliver it, 
wanted finally to meet the elusive Scott Summers face-to-face. 

"By coming to Westchester, Mr. Mulder. Jean and I shall ourselves 
return tomorrow morning -­ I fear that we have accomplished all here 
that we currently can. It would be my pleasure to show you both around 
Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, if you and Agent Scully would 
care to accompany us back to New York. Given your interests, I believe 
you would find it quite . . . educational. And," he added, glancing at 
Scully, "it would give Dr. Scully a chance to discuss research with Dr. 
Grey." He smiled warmly. "The two of them can cloister themselves in 
the basement with the microscopes while the rest of us enjoy the sun, 
tulips, and hyacinth in the garden." 

Mulder chuckled, because Scully and Grey had each turned beet red, and 
in both cases, it clashed with their hair. 

Despite the invitation, Mulder and Scully couldn't simply pack their 
bags and go, as they might once have done. That was the flip side of 
having a child; they needed Margaret Scully to take Billy for the 
weekend. And both agreed even without discussing it that ­- as benign as 
Xavier might seem ­- they were not about to take Billy to Westchester 
without knowing a good deal more about the mysterious professor. Undue 
suspicion perhaps, but it was a suspicion dearly bought. Xavier had not 
quarreled at all, simply given that annoying enigmatic smile of his and 
said that they were welcome any time. Mulder was sure the man knew why 
they weren't bringing their son, and equally sure that he was amused by 
it. But the mutant community tended to be wary, too, as witnessed by 
Grey's public concealment of her own mutation. 

"Dammit," Scully had said later that same evening while crawling up on 
the kitchen counter to reach a Corning dish on a top shelf. "I want 
that woman's gift! She's tall. What does she need telekinesis for? She 
can reach her dishes!" 

"I'm sure she finds a use for it," Mulder had replied, slipping a hand 
past Scully's shoulder to nab the out-of-reach cookware even while he'd 
swung her down off the counter. "And I saw her eying your red hair. 
Jealousy, thy name is woman." 

She'd popped him -­ hard -­ with the back of her hand. 

So it wasn't until Friday that they were able to leave for Westchester 
County, New York. Before departing, Mulder made a visit to Skinner's 
office. For someone no longer an active agent, he still spent a god-
awful amount of time in the Hoover building. Skinner returned from a 
meeting to find Mulder waiting in his outer office. He raised an 
eyebrow. "Can I help you, Mulder?" 

"Five minutes." 

"Mulder, I ­- " 

"Charles Xavier has invited Scully and I to Westchester." 

Breathing out sharply, Skinner made a gesture for Mulder to follow him 
into his inner office, then shut the door behind. Mulder sauntered over 
to lean insolently against Skinner's desk. "So what do you know about 

Skinner didn't reply immediately, then grunted, "Not a lot," and came 
over to take his seat behind his desk, pushing files around. "You're in 
my way, Mulder." 

Mulder turned and bent over the desk, placing one palm on top of 
whatever file Skinner was trying to hide in, forcing the AD to look up. 
"Then how long have you known him?" 

"I'm not sure I'd say that I 'know' him now. More know of him. He has a 
great deal of influence." 

"Like Cancer Man did." 

"No, Mulder, like a man with money does. I've never seen anything that
would lead me to believe that Charles Xavier is dangerous in the same 
way as the Consortium. Rather the reverse." 

"He's a mutant telepath. That's not dangerous?" 

Skinner dropped his pen, or really, threw it down, and gave up on 
trying to work. "Don't tell me that you, of all people, buy into the 
current mutant hysteria." 

Straightening up, Mulder crossed his arms and glared absently at the 
couch on the far side of Skinner's office. "Of course not. But I 
dislike secrets." 

"Tell me something I don't know, Mulder. As for Xavier, the few times 
he's had dealings with the FBI, it's been to assist in the apprehension 
of criminals with mutant capabilities." 

"And sometimes, to protect them -­ like Scott Summers nine years ago in 
Omaha, Nebraska." 

Leaning back in his chair, Skinner just studied Mulder a minute. 
"Xavier has occasionally asked that we deep-six certain cases involving 
mutant teens and the unintentional accidents arising from the 
manifestation of their powers. As with Mr. Summers. Sometimes, those 
have been X-File cases. More often, they haven't. But I've never heard 
of Xavier interfering in a true criminal investigation in order to 
protect a mutant who was using his powers for harm. Remember Robert 
Modell? The Pusher? He was a mutant, Mulder, had the gift of 
autosuggestion. I hadn't met Xavier the first time Modell showed up, 
but the second, in '98, I did know Xavier. In retrospect, I should have 
called him in on it immediately, but I didn't fully realize, at the 
time, what that man can do. When I told him later about Modell and 
Linda Bowman, he wanted absolutely nothing to do Bowman, was glad to 
see her put away. Charles Xavier, Scott Summers and others like them 
are not Robert Modell and his sister." 

"Can you be certain of that, sir?" 

"Go to Westchester and meet Summers for yourself. You ought to like 
him. He's a Knicks fan." 

"Of course he doesn't, Mom. You have to make him go sit on the potty or 
he'll forget and wet his pants." Pause. "Yes, Mom, I know. We'll be 
back Sunday, or maybe Monday. Love you, too. Bye." 

Scully snapped closed her cell and slipped it back into her purse, 
looked out the car window at the passing Maryland countryside: leaves 
budding again on oak and maple after winter hibernation, and dogwood 
and cherry in bloom -­ brilliant white and pink -­ on the little square 
lawns of little square suburban houses. "If she tells me one more time 
how all four of us were toilet trained by the time we were two, I think 
I'll scream." 

"Billy's toilet trained," Mulder said, defensively. He didn't like it 
when anyone criticized his son, even Margaret Scully. 

"Billy is likely to use the toilet if someone catches him in time and 
makes him try. That's not quite the same as toilet trained, Mulder. He 
just wet my mother's good couch." She looked off out the window. "Mom's 
right. He should be better trained by now. He'll be four in a month. 
This is ridiculous. We've been lazy. We let him use diapers too long 
because it was easier and we were busy. Toilet training takes a 
concerted effort." She sighed. 

Mulder didn't reply immediately, just hunched his shoulders and kept 
his eyes on the road. "Well, this is a vacation. You don't need to be 
calling your mom every few hours about Billy." 

She smiled faintly. "Only you, Mulder, would consider a trip to visit 
Mutant High a 'vacation.'" 

"Don't tell me you're not looking forward to getting your hands on Jean 
Grey's research." 

Her smile deepened. "Oh, I am. But that doesn't make this a vacation. 
If it were a vacation, I'd be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, not gray 
wool Amanda Smith with matching heels." 

Grinning, Mulder popped a sunflower seed into his mouth and bit down on 
the salty shell, said around it, "Your choice, Scully." He wiped salt 
off his fingers onto his blue jeans, pushed up the long sleeves of his 
t-shirt and adjusted the New York Knicks cap on his head. He glanced 
behind him as he swung off the access ramp onto I-70, accelerating to 
match traffic. "Feels like old times, doesn't it?" 

"Yes, it does. Except we only need one room now." 

"Wow," Mulder said, at their first sight of Xavier's School for Gifted 
Youngsters, off in the distance down a little private roadway. 

"Mmm," Scully agreed. "Wonder who mows their lawn?" 

The 'school' was actually a mansion on an extensive estate not far 
outside Salem Center, New York. 1407 Greymalkin Lane. He and Scully 
pulled up on the main drive circle in their Honda Pathfinder and just 
stared at the front for a bit. "I think we're under-dressed and under-
carred, Scully." 

"You're under-dressed, Mulder. I told you to wear a suit." She popped 
her door. "Let's go." And she was out before he'd turned off the 
engine. She seemed eager. But then, once they'd all gotten past the 
initial shock and wariness in the hotel earlier that week, Scully and 
Jean Grey had hit it off like a pair of long lost fraternal twins. 
They'd sat on the couch and chatted in medicalese for an hour until 
Mulder's eyes had crossed. Himself, he felt a bit more ambivalence. He 
couldn't shake a lingering annoyance at Xavier's long-ago interference 
in his case. 

And maybe, just maybe, he was afraid finally to track down something 
extraordinary -­ afraid that if it held still long enough for him to 
satisfy his curiosity, it would lose all sense of wonder, turn out 
anti-climactic. Scott Summers was just a man, after all. A mutant, 
true, but still a man. He taught math at a private high school, coached 
basketball, and kept the school's books. What was so extraordinary 
about that? 

Scully had stopped in the middle of the walkway at the foot of the 
steps, to look back at him, still standing by the car. "Come on, 

"Yes, ma'am, G-woman." 

"Oh, I like that," said Jean Grey from where she stood in the now-open 
doorway at the top of the stairs. "You have him well-trained, Dana." 
Then she leaned back in the door just a little to call behind her. "You 
hear that, Scott? He comes when she calls!" 

"Yeah, yeah," said a voice from the depths of the mansion. 

Grey was grinning. "Please, come in." And she stood aside to let them 
enter Xavier's School. Hand in its customary place at the small of 
Scully's back, Mulder followed his wife inside. 

His first impression was of expensive oak paneling everywhere. A wall 
of great windows behind them let in the butter-yellow light of a late 
April afternoon. This appeared to be a den-turned-game-room for the 
kids. There were a few students hanging around, sacked out or sprawled 
on couches watching the television, or playing table hockey. They 
glanced up as Mulder and Scully entered, then went back to whatever 
they'd been doing. Judged and summarily dismissed as Too Old to be of 
interest. Mulder grinned. The kids seemed to be normal teens. One had 
blue hair, but Mulder wasn't sure if that owed to a mutation or to a 
peculiar notion of fashion sense. 

"Once an FBI agent, always an FBI agent," said a pleasant tenor voice 
laced with good-natured amusement. "Canvassing the place?" Mulder 
looked down to meet the eyes of the speaker. 

Well, not quite meet them. The other still had on the eye-wear Mulder 
had noted in the hallway outside the Senate ­- fashionable sunglasses 
with shiny red lenses and what looked like dull-metal blinders to 
either side, enclosing his eyes completely. Must be hell on his 
peripheral vision. Otherwise, he had the boy scout good looks of Middle 
Americana as dressed by L. L. Bean. Coal gray cardigan over a black 
turtleneck, dark hair, pale skin, small nose, dimple in the chin. He 
held out a hand to Mulder. "Welcome to Westchester, Mr. Mulder, Dr. 
Scully. It's good to have you both." It seemed sincere enough. 

And after a nine-year chase, Mulder reached out to clasp the hand of 
Scott Summers. "Thanks." 

Dana shook his hand, too. "And it's Dana, please." 

He nodded. "Call me Scott." Then he gestured to Mulder's hat. "You're a 
Knicks fan?" 

"When the Knicks are playing," Scully said, "all life stops and rotates 
around the television." 

"As it should," Summers replied with an irrepressible grin that made 
Scully smile back automatically, as if dazzled. And Mulder found 
himself wishing for a very big truck to drop on Summers. 

Maybe we should put a collar and leash on them both. Came an unexpected 
­- and very feminine -­ voice inside of Mulder's head. She likes his 
smile, he likes her hair. 

Mulder jerked his chin upward to stare at Jean Grey. The professor 
isn't the only telepath, I see, he thought back. She only smiled. 

Aloud, Summers said to Scully, "They're talking about us behind our 

"They are?" Scully seemed surprised. 

"Jean has a thing for subversive telepathic commentary. She forgets I 
can still hear her." 

"I don't forget. I meant you to hear that." 

"So what did she say?" Scully asked, glancing around at the taller 
woman -­ a little doubtful. 

"She said that you like my smile and I like your hair." Scully blushed, 
but Summers seemed mostly amused. "She's right. I do. You have very 
pretty hair." 

"Thank you. I think." 

"Um" -­ Summers clapped his hands together and glanced at Mulder. -­ "You 
need help with your luggage?" 

Mulder blinked. From telepathic side-commentary to unloading the car . 
. . this had gone past anti-climax into suburban blasé with head-
spinning rapidity. Grey seemed to pick up on that. "Slow down, Scott. 
And Dana, Fox -­ we're sorry. We're so used to our gifts, we forget 
other people aren't. And yes, like the professor, I'm also a telepath, 
if not one so powerful. But I never read people's thoughts without 
their permission. In fact, I try very hard not to." 

"You didn't just read my thoughts?" Mulder asked her. 

She smiled, showing pretty dimples. "Well, I read the ones you 
projected. Please" ­- she gestured towards the door behind Summers -­ 
"let's go into the kitchen and get some coffee. And talk. We can unload 
the car later," she said, glancing at Summers. Slightly embarrassed, he 

They were led down a long, wide marble-paved hallway to an industrial 
kitchen. Off to one side, near a large set of windows, was a pair of 
eat-in tables. Grey seated them at one while Summers set about making 
cappuccino, frothy milk and all. "It's the only thing in a kitchen he 
can handle," Grey confided in a stage whisper. 

"Hey! I resemble that remark!" 

Mulder exchanged a small smile with Scully. Grey and Summers were 
trying very hard to put them at ease. 

When Summers was done with the four cups, he brought over two himself 
and Grey lifted the other two without moving from her seat, set them 
down one each in front of Mulder and Scully, then followed with the 
sugar bowl. Scully was grinning with a kind of childlike delight. "You 
didn't spill a drop. I told Mulder the other day that I want your 

Grey smiled back. "Actually, it took a long time for me to learn to do 
that. It's easier to shove things around than move them gently. When my 
powers first manifested, my parents thought they had a poltergeist. I 
was throwing chairs into walls, ripping down the curtains, breaking the 
dishes. It was terrible." 

"So you think most poltergeists are mutants?" Mulder asked, curious and 
leaning forward. 

Scully gripped his hand on the tabletop and squeezed tightly, "Shut up, 
Mulder," then to Grey and Summers. "Excuse him, please. Mulder is never 
off-duty, even though he's not in the Bureau any more." 

"That's okay," Grey said, grinning over the top of her cappuccino cup. 
"Scott's never off-duty, either." Summers elbowed her, but lightly so 
she wouldn't spill her coffee, and took a sip of his own. 

"I doubt," Scully said, "that being on duty for Scott includes alien 
abductions and little gray men." 

Summers actually snorted coffee out his nose all over the white Formica 
tabletop, apologized and wiped it up with a napkin, then glanced at 
Mulder. "Alien abductions?" 

"This from a guy who shoots laser beams out his eyes?" 

"They're not laser beams," Summers corrected. "They're optic blasts. No 
heat, just force. And I don't blame them on little green men." 

"Little gray men," Mulder corrected. Remembering the crumbled bathroom 
wall at a San Diego high school, he leaned his elbows on the table. 
"All right. I've been waiting nine years for this. Just how do these 
'optic blasts' work?" 

". . . and awaaaay we go . . . . " Scully muttered beside him, rolling 
her eyes. "He has the bit in his teeth now, folks. But I confess I'm 
curious, too." 

"It's okay." Summers was smiling. "Jean should probably be the one to 
explain this, but essentially, my body metabolizes solar energy and 
transforms it into force beams, which are then released through my 

"Why the eyes?" 

Summers shrugged and sunlight flashed off the red of his glasses. "You 
got me. It's damn inconvenient." 

"That's why you wear the glasses?" 

"Yes. I sustained brain damage as a boy, in an accident. Well, I guess 
you know; it was the plane crash that killed my parents. My brother and 
I were the only survivors. My parachute caught on fire when it opened, 
so I hit the ground hard, had a cracked skull and a bad concussion. The 
part of my brain that normally would have controlled my mutation was 
damaged. So the beams are stuck in permanent on. I can't turn them off. 
The glasses ­- they're ruby quartz ­- dissipate the force of the blasts, 
so I don't hurt people, pets, the furniture, the wall, the ceiling . . 
. . " He gestured absently to encompass everything. 

"You have to wear them all the time?" Scully asked. 

"I have to wear them all the time," he answered, nodding, then tilted 
his head. "The professor told us that you and Dana were the FBI agents 
sent out to investigate what happened at my high school, the, um, night 
everything hit the fan." 

"Yes, that's right. We chased you all the way to Omaha. Then your 
professor intervened." He couldn't quite keep the irritation out of his 

Frowning, Summers ran a thumb up and down the side of his white mug. He 
wasn't looking at Mulder, and didn't reply for a long minute. Grey 
watched him, then reached beneath the table to pat his knee. "I know 
it's not exactly kosher," Summers began, "what Charles did, but you 
have to understand, I wouldn't have listened to you. I'd have been too 
scared to hear anything you said. And you probably wouldn't have known 
what to say, anyway. You wouldn't have known what was happening to me. 
Not many people did, in '96." 

"That was before the public became aware of mutations," Grey put in 
smoothly. Her hand still rested on Summer's knee. "Scott and I were 
some of Charles' first students. Charles taught us what we were, helped 
us learn to control our powers, and most of all, taught us not to be 
afraid -­ or ashamed -­ of being different. If you saw my presentation - ­" 

Scully and Mulder both nodded. 

" -­ then you know that mutations typically manifest during adolescence 
under the pressure of a stressful situation. In fact, it's a build-up 
of stress, triggered by one specific, tense event. In my case, my 
mutation manifested very young. At ten, I witnessed the death of a 
childhood friend from a car accident ­- I felt her die, through my 
telepathy, and went to pieces. I spent years in and out of sanitariums 
diagnosed as schizophrenic because of the voices in my head. No one 
could help me until I met the professor. By contrast, Scott's powers 
manifested quite late." She stopped to glance at him, let him tell his 
own story. Or not. He stared out the window instead, and the silence 
hung heavy for a while. Dust motes danced in the slanting light, and in 
the distance, Mulder could hear the voices of students, rising and 
falling. He remembered what Elizabeth Franklin had said, years ago. 
Pushing Scott didn't get far. Grey hadn't quite pushed him. She'd just 
walked him right up to the edge and was going to see if he'd jump 
across on his own. Mulder doubted that he often did. 

But this time, he sighed and said, "I was under a lot of pressure about 
school." He'd gone back to rubbing a thumb up and down his cup. "I 
couldn't go to college without a scholarship; my foster parents sure 
couldn't afford to send me. They'd already given me more than I'd ever 
expected. I had a rap sheet, and even though juvenile records are 
sealed when you turn eighteen, I wasn't eighteen yet. On every college 
application, I had to explain myself, convince people that taking a 
chance on me wasn't a mistake." 

"But I thought you were accepted at Berkeley?" Mulder asked. "That's 
pretty prestigious." 

"Yes. But I kept expecting the admissions office to call me back and 
say there'd been a mistake, they hadn't realized everything I'd done 
wrong. When you're an orphan, you get used to having the rug yanked out 
from underneath you." 

Grey had, Mulder noted, slipped her arm around the back of his chair 
and now patted his back unobtrusively. Consciously, he seemed 
oblivious, but his body language had relaxed again and he'd quit 
rubbing his cappuccino mug. These two knew each other as well as Mulder 
knew Scully and he wondered how long they'd been together. Summers was 
younger than Grey -­ notably so. Grey must have been graduating from 
medical school when Summers was graduating from high school. 

"The fight with my date at the prom wasn't that important," Summers 
continued, "just a last straw kind of thing. When I blew out the 
bathroom wall, I didn't understand what had happened, but I was sure no 
one would believe a JD if he said he hadn't done it on purpose. 
Everything I'd planned on was shot to hell. So I ran. That's why I 
wouldn't have listened to you. I needed someone who could explain to me 
what I was, what had happened and ­- most importantly ­- someone who 
could fix it, give me back a chance to show I wasn't a screw-up." 

Looking from Summers to Mulder, Grey said, "That's why Scott is so 
effective here. More than half our students are run-aways, or have 
criminal records. He can talk to them in a way I can't. He understands, 
on a completely different level, what they're going through." 

"And I can usually catch them at whatever they're planning before they 
pull it off, too," he added with a smile. "They think I have eyes in 
the back of my head." 

"No, they know you have a telepathic fiancée." 

"You didn't have that much of a criminal record, Scott," Scully said. 

He shifted in his seat, glanced at the table. "No, not really, not 
compared to some. I have a little more perspective now, but when you're 
a foster kid, there's an assumption going in that you'll be trouble. It 
doesn't take much to justify that assumption in people's eyes." 

"I thought the Franklins were supportive?" Mulder asked. 

"They were. Very much so. I owe them a lot. But it's one thing to be 
supportive when your foster son stays out of trouble and brings home 
As. It's another when he wrecks his high school bathroom. That was a 
whole different level of trouble from a few arrests for shoplifting or 
theft when I wasn't old enough to know better. Without the professor, 
I'd have lost my scholarship, and Gene and Beth would've been stuck 
with me living there until I could get some kind of two-bit job. I'd 
have been a burden on them. I didn't want to be that." 

It was said with complete frankness, not as a plea for pity, and struck 
Mulder hard. He shared a quick glance with Scully, and reached behind 
him to fish in his jacket pocket, pulled out the letter that had been 
waiting for nine years. He laid it on the table ­- face up so that "For 
Scott" was clearly visible in Elizabeth Franklin's fine handwriting ­- 
and pushed it across to Summers. "I don't think they'd have seen it 
that way." 

Summers stared at the letter a minute, as if Mulder had set down a 
viper in front of him, then laid a hand down on top of it. "How'd you 
get this?" 

"During the course of our investigation, we interviewed your foster 
parents. The first thing out of your foster mother's mouth when we 
arrived at the door was, 'Is he okay? Did you find him?' She wasn't mad 
at you; she was worried. When we found out that the case had been 
closed -­ by Xavier, I now know -­ I called them to explain. She asked if 
she could send me this letter, to give to you if I ever did find you. 
It's been nine years, but . . . this is yours. She wanted you to know 
that you could come home. Call it a hunch, but I doubt that's changed 
even after nine years." 

Summers grabbed the letter and stood up so fast he almost knocked over 
his chair, then he was gone. Grey watched him go, turning back after a 
moment to smile softly. "Thank you, Fox. This means more to Scott than 
you can guess. If you'll excuse me?" 

"Certainly."  And she left them to themselves at the table. 

As it turned out, Xavier had to show Mulder and Scully around his 
school, as Summers and Grey remained missing. The professor brought the 
tour to a close at their guestroom. In the meantime, a pair of students 
had carried in their luggage, and parked their car. "Do I tip the 
valet?" Mulder asked the boy, who Xavier introduced as Bobby Drake, 
when Drake handed over Mulder's keys. 

"Only if you don't want me to freeze your underwear," Drake replied, 

"Master Drake is our resident ice man," Xavier explained as Drake 
turned to Scully and gestured for her to hold out her hand. She did so 
and he placed his over it. Mulder watched Scully's eyes go wide and her 
mouth open in surprise. When Drake took his hand away, there was a 
single, perfect ice rosette nestled in the cup of her palm. 

"It's beautiful," Scully said. 

"It's how I welcome all the girls." He was still grinning. "Even the 
married ones. Enjoy your visit, Dr. Scully, Mr. Mulder." He nodded to 
them both and took off down the hall to join the other student, a young 
Indian named Neal Sharra. 

"I'll leave you both to rest. Dinner is at seven o'clock, and after 
that, I believe Jean will have time to show you around her lab, Dana." 

"I look forward to it," Scully said, still holding the rose, which had 
begun to melt from the heat of her skin. Xavier motored out and Scully 
shut the door behind him, smiled down at the rosette and then went to 
lay it in the bathroom sink. When she came back out, Mulder asked, 
"Well, what do you think, Scully?" 

"That we walked into a permanent X-File? Or no, if this were an X-File, 
they'd be disappearing into the woodwork without an explanation, not 
giving me ice roses, parking our car, or making us cappuccino in their 

"Yeah." He turned around in place and studied the room. Very nice. Very 
Victorian. And very expensive decor. 

"How do you feel about it, Mulder? This must be like a dream come true 
for you. The X-File you got to solve." 

He shook his head. "We've solved a lot of X-Files, just not with 
reports that the directors wanted to read. This is more up your alley: 
scientific explanation and documentation for the apparently impossible. 
Human beings really can shoot force beams out of their eyes, at least 
if their bodies absorb solar energy. He sounds like a plant ­- mutant 

She took off her suit jacket and sat down on the bed, patted the cover. 
He sat beside her and she rested her palm on his knee. It was, Mulder 
thought, an unconscious repeat of Grey's earlier gesture with Summers. 
"So what do think of Jean and Scott?" she asked. 

"He's younger than her. By more than a few years, too." 

"Don't be archaic, Mulder. And y'know, he reminds me a lot of you." 

"He does?" 

"Mmm, yes." 


"Oh, little things. I get the feeling he might chew the erasers off his 
pencils, too." 

"So I should worry about Mr. Ultrabright Smile, huh?" He was only half-

She just laughed at him. "You don't need to worry about anything, 

When he and Scully arrived in the mansion dining hall for supper, they 
were introduced to more students and a teacher named Ororo Munroe, a 
black woman with spectacular white hair and an even more spectacular 
bust line that she didn't seem to mind showing off with a push-up bra. 
Scully caught Mulder eying the woman's cleavage and glared. The two of 
them then ate dinner at a table with Munroe and Xavier while the 
professor explained his hope that one day, mutants and non-mutants 
would be able to live together peaceably. Xavier had clearly taken a 
page from MLK, but Mulder found himself nodding along. Neither Summers 
nor Grey turned up until supper was almost over, when Grey came in 
looking miffed. She helped herself to some garlic bread and a cup of 
coffee, and joined them. "Don't tell me," Xavier said by way of 
greeting, "Scott is being stubborn." 

"Completely unreasonable." She sat down, a little bonelessly, between 
Xavier and Munroe. "I need some aspirin." 

Scully fished in her purse and pulled out a bottle, set it in front of 
Grey. "Here. I always carry some." She thumbed at Mulder. "He's no 

Mulder wisely kept his mouth shut as Grey sighed and poured out three 
white tabs into her hand. "Scott can be the king of angst, sometimes." 

"He would not be Cyclops, otherwise," Munroe said enigmatically from 
Grey's other side. She had a slight African accent. 

"Cyclops?" Mulder asked. 

"Cyclops is his nickname," Xavier explained. Then, to Grey, "I take it 
that he is still refusing to call the Franklins?" 

"Yes. He's convinced they won't want anything to do with him, since 
he's a mutant. The letter was written nine years ago, he says." 

"But he's been writing to them himself in the meantime," Scully said. 

"Yes. Scott's like that. He writes so they know he's okay ­- just in 
case they're worried -­ but then convinces himself that they don't want 
anything to do with him. Classic double-think. He's very good at it, at 
least when it comes to his own irrationalities." 

"Most men are," Scully muttered with a sidewise glance at Mulder. 

Munroe put a hand over her mouth to hide her smile, and rose. "Please 
excuse me. It was nice to meet you both, but I promised to chaperone 
some of the students to a movie, and we must depart soon. So until 
tomorrow . . . ." She glided off, gathering students in her wake with a 
few glances, as serene as a goddess. 

Jean pushed away her uneaten garlic bread and rose, too, coffee in 
hand. "Dana? Shall we go deal with rational DNA instead of irrational 
males? At least DNA behaves in consistent fashion." 

"The males don't get any better, either, the longer you know them," 
Scully said, also getting to her feet. "You just get used to their own 
unique brands of irrationality." 

Mulder glanced at Xavier. "Isn't this supposed to be our conversation 
about the opposite gender?" Then, to Grey, he asked, "Where is Scott?" 

"He went jogging down by the lake." She turned away. "See if you can 
talk some sense into him, Fox." And she left with Scully. 

"Do you mind?" Mulder asked Xavier, who made a gesture of gracious 

"By all means. You do remember how to get to the lake trail? Or never 
mind, how foolish of me. Fox Mulder forgets very little, I think." He 
winked. "We all have our own unique gifts, don't we? Mutant and non-
mutant alike." 

Going back to his room, Mulder changed into his jogging sweats, then 
headed outside. It was almost dark, despite the fact that the time had 
recently changed over to Daylight Savings. The lake wasn't big, but the 
trail around it measured about a mile. Mulder stretched out while he 
waited for Summers to approach in the distance, then jogged out to meet 
the younger man. Summers was sweating under his baseball cap, but a 
long way from worn out. Even in his preppy clothes earlier, it had been 
clear he was in good shape ­- better shape than Mulder these days. "You 
run, too?" he asked as Mulder caught up to him. "Or did Jean send you 
to chastise me?" 


"To which?" 


Summers laughed and didn't reply further. They circuited the lake twice 
before stopping. Summers had brought water, which Mulder had forgotten, 
and they shared it. "I usually only do five miles," he said as he 
stretched to cool down. "That was five for me. You can go on if you 

"I usually run in the morning," Mulder told him, "so I've already done 
mine for the day." 

"In short, I'm not getting away from you that easily." 

Mulder just put the cap back on the water bottle and handed it to him. 

"Charles said you have a psych degree from Oxford," Summers went on. "I 
should probably run screaming into the hills before you psychoanalyze 
me." But he just collapsed in the grass. 

Mulder collapsed across from him. "I have a B.A. in psych, which is 
generic enough to mean nothing at all. My masters is in criminal 
justice. So unless you're a serial killer in disguise, I'm not going to 
play counselor." 

"And if I were a serial killer?" 

"I'd just recite you your rights and arrest you." 

Summers didn't reply to that, grinned faintly and looked off. His 
glasses had been replaced by a funny-looking contraption that strapped 
over both ears and across his nose, but appeared to fit more securely 
on his face. It had one long, narrow aperture of red quartz instead of 
dual lenses. Mulder pointed to it. "Is that why they call you 

"Wha-­?" He appeared startled. "Who told you that?" 

"Ororo Munroe called you Cyclops; Xavier explained it was your 

"Oh. Yes." He tapped the right ear-piece. "The glasses just stop my 
power. This allows me to control it. The visor also has less of a 
tendency to come off, when I'm doing anything active. So I wear it, or 

Mulder gestured towards the visor. "Will you show me what you can do? I 
confess, I've been curious ever since I first saw the wall in your high 
school bathroom." 

Summers' infectious grin had come back. "Sure." Getting up, he looked 
around. "Let me find something . . . " He came back with a couple of 
fallen tree branches of differing sizes. They were almost rotted from 
the passage of winter. "Here. And, um, you might want to move back 
behind me so I don't hit you with splinters." 

Then he showed Mulder just how he'd blasted a hole through a concrete 
wall ­- only with a good deal more control and precision. He cut up the 
branches into little pieces with red beams ranging in size from the 
width of a straw to the size of Mulder's thumb. "Maybe I'm the one who 
should run screaming into the hills," Mulder said when he was done, and 
realized immediately that it was the wrong thing to say. Summers had 
turned away, his face coloring slightly. 

"I won't hurt you, Fox. I've spent nine years of my life, learning how 
to avoid hurting anyone." 

Mulder set a hand on his shoulder. "Sorry. Sometimes my mouth gets 
ahead of my brain." He wasn't normally good at apologizing, but felt it 
was crucial here for a variety of reasons ranging from Summers' obvious 
insecurity to Xavier's earlier expressed hope that non-mutants could 
learn not to fear mutants. 'Most people,' Xavier had said, 'want to do 
the right thing, want to be good people -­ regardless of their DNA 
makeup. Most people are not monsters, and power need not corrupt, 
unless it's feared.' 

God knew, Mulder had seen his share of monsters down the years, seen 
enough of them to know that it didn't take a mutation to make one, and 
seen enough of them to know that Summers was about as far from a 
monster as it was possible to get. But a simple apology wasn't going to 
cut it. "Hey, at least 'Cyclops' is better than 'Spooky,'" Mulder said. 


"It's what they used to call me at the Bureau. Spooky Mulder." 


"My penchant for chasing little gray men from outer space." He waved a 
hand dismissively. "Well, not at first." Then he pointed to the dock. 
"You want to go out there?" 

Summers shrugged. "Sure." They grabbed towels and water and went to sit 
on the dock, watch the stars blooming now that the sun had set. "So why 

"When I first started at the Bureau, I worked in Violent Crimes, 

"Ah -­ the serial killer crack." 

"Yeah. I did that for a couple years, till I burned out. I can take a 
lot of diverse information, let it stew in my head, and something pops 
out that's usually right. I make unconscious analogies and connections 
that don't make sense to most people. But they make sense to me. It's 
the weird way my brain works." 

"So they called you Spooky." 

"So they called me Spooky. I didn't exactly make friends. I was a 
little too good, a little too young, and a little too cocky about it 

Summers snorted but didn't reply immediately, slapped away a bug. "I 
can do that, with tactics. Well, I do it with trigonometry, too, but 
that's related to the mutation. My ability with tactics isn't. I think 
it runs in the family. I come from a long line of military officers, 
and inherited whatever they had. I didn't realize it until college, 
when I kept beating the pants off my friends at war games." 

"You do war games?" 

"Yup. You?" 

"Occasionally. You want to play, later?" 

He grinned. "Sure. Jean'll make fun of us, though, for playing with 
action figures." 

Mulder chuckled. "So will Scully." 

"What is it about red-headed women?" 

"Red-headed doctor women." 

"Red-headed doctor women with tempers who swear up and down they don't 
have one." 


"'You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em,'" Summers sang 
in a fair Kermit imitation. "'There's just something irresistible-ish 
about 'em.'" 

Which laid out Mulder on the dock, laughing. After a while he sat back 
up. Summers was drinking from the water bottle, passed it over. 
Somewhere out in the lake, a fish jumped in the dark. "Y'know," Mulder 
began, "this is really none of my business, but I think you should call 
Elizabeth Franklin." 

"I had a feeling you weren't really going to let me get out of this 
conversation. So I'll tell you the same thing I told Jean. It was nine 
years ago. Whatever Beth thought then is a lot different from me 
calling her now. I'm a mutant -­ one who can't pass. Not for long. 
This" -­ he tapped the visor again -­ "pretty much guarantees me my own 
seat on the subway. Even at rush hour." 

"Not all people are fools." 

"Maybe not. But a lot are." It was very bitter, and Mulder could hear 
an embryo of his own highly developed sarcasm in Summers' young voice. 
And Mulder wanted to abort it. 

"One thing I've seen, over and over," he told Summers, "is that when 
people lose something they care about, they start reviewing what's 
really important." He hesitated, then went on, "We didn't think Scully 
would ever be able to have a baby." He didn't bother to explain why; it 
was too weird, too convoluted, and wasn't important to his point. "When 
she did get pregnant, it was . . . a miracle. Plain and simple. But it 
was also completely unplanned for. When Billy was born, it meant she 
had to give up a lot of what she did for the Bureau. The section we 
worked together for seven years -­ the X-Files -­ is being run by 
different people these days. But that doesn't matter. Billy's worth it. 
He's worth everything. If getting pregnant hadn't been an issue, 
though, we might have been a little less sanguine about an unexpected 
pregnancy that threw our lives into disorder, made me lose my badge, 
and changed both our jobs." 

Summers had turned his head to listen, but it was hard to tell what he 
was thinking -­ and not just because of the visor. He had a good poker 
face. "You're saying that a brush with tragedy rearranges our 

"Something like that. Not exactly an original insight, but true 

"That still doesn't mean the Franklins are going to want to hear from 

"I think they will. Remember, I have this 'spooky' ability to profile 
people. Trust me on this one, Summers. The people I talked to in San 
Diego aren't going to give a damn if you're a mutant or a little gray 
alien. They'll want to hear from you." 

With a small smile, Summers turned away to stare out across the lake. 
"I'll consider it." 

"You do that." 

Mulder enjoyed his visit more than he'd thought he would, but couldn't 
escape the feeling that he was being sized-up by Xavier. And he came 
away convinced there was a hell of a lot more going on at that school 
than teaching mutant kids a bit of history, math, grammar, and how to 
control their sometimes catastrophic powers. Yet his suspicions gave 
him none of that hair-raised-at-the-nape-of-the-neck feel that 
Consortium business always did. Whatever Xavier and his teachers were 
hiding, it wasn't sinister. And Mulder was content to play their game a 
bit ­- bide his time -­ in part because he was fairly sure that Xavier 
knew he'd put two and two together and come up with six . . . and had 
gone poking around the mansion after dark on Saturday night before they 
left on Sunday. He still hadn't found anything. And he was sure Xavier 
knew that, too. The man was uncanny. But not creepy. Quite. 

It annoyed Mulder nonetheless. There was something here to be found. 
For instance, the little sub-basement infirmary where Scully and Jean 
Grey had whiled away most of the weekend was too suspicious. And Mulder 
had caught Summers coming up from the sub-basement once with grease all 
over his hands -­ and Mulder was pretty damn sure he hadn't gotten that 
from fixing medical equipment, whatever his lame excuse. One didn't use 
engine grease on CAT scanners, and besides, according to Scully, 
everything ran perfectly. When Summers had said he'd been fixing broken 
equipment, Mulder had simply looked him in the eye (behind the glasses) 
and replied, "Of course you were," then walked away. He'd heard Summers 
chuckle behind him. 

So nobody really fooled anyone, but everyone politely pretended that 
they had. For the time being. On Sunday, Mulder and Scully packed their 
bags, loaded their Honda, and prepared to go rescue Margaret Scully 
from an energetic pre-schooler. "We hope that you will return soon," 
Xavier said to them as Summers shook Mulder's hand and Grey leaned 
against Summers' shoulder -­ one of the more open displays of affection 
that Mulder had yet witnessed between them. Like he and Scully, they 
didn't need to touch to convey that they came as a unit. It was in 
their posture, in the way they leaned a little towards each other, or 
were always aware of the other's placement in a room. They didn't need 
to touch any more to claim ownership. 

"Bring your son next time, too," Grey said. "We'd like to meet him." 
Summers nodded. 

"We will," Scully said, and hugged Grey, though she had to reach up and 
Grey had to bend down. The woman wasn't that much shorter than Mulder. 

And Mulder and Scully went home. They agreed, privately, that they 
would be back to snoop out whatever was going on up there. 

It was a few weeks later that Mulder was once again watching television 
from his black couch in the rec room. The incident at Ellis and Liberty 
Islands was all over the news. "A mutant attack on world leaders!" was 
the New Special Headline, with looping repeat footage of the bizarre 
white light that had spread out across the bay towards New York City 
and Ellis Island from Liberty Island, but had never reached its 
targets. There were also half-baked analyses to fill up air-space and 
conceal the fact that nobody really knew what the hell had happened. 
Scully was in the kitchen on the phone with John Doggett, who'd been 
called in to assist with evacuation and mop-up ­- not as head of the X-
Files, just as a warm body because they'd needed a lot of them. After a 
while, she moseyed back into the rec room and sat down beside him on 
the couch. 

"So what'd John say?" he asked. 

"They still don't know what happened, exactly. John's old friend Craig 
Downer led the securing of Liberty Island. The statue is missing her 
torch and some peculiar machine was put up in its place. The inside of 
the head is trashed, too, metal all bent up, and there are three huge 
gauges in one of the statue's headdress spikes. Very bizarre. A man was 
left behind, unconscious ­- an elderly man, apparently a mutant--­ and 
some rather peculiar orders came down the pike to Downer not long after 
they found him. The man should not be permitted to wake until he was 
secured in a cell made entirely of plastic. No metal within some given 
amount of distance, I don't remember how much. Now, I wonder -­ from 
where did those orders originate?" 

"His name begins with X?" 

"Mmm. No one's saying, but I bet Skinner knows. In any case, the real 
question is, Who left Metal-head conveniently unconscious and all 
trussed up like a Christmas turkey, for the FBI? Downer is as curious 
as a cat who smells tuna. And now John's suspicious, too. But I don't 
think Xavier could get to the top of the Statue of Liberty, do you 

"I'm not putting any limits on what that guy can get to." 

"Well, let me give you the last interesting tidbit. This mysterious 
machine that had been installed where the torch had been? It was 
blasted apart. Downer described it ­- and I quote John ­- 'It looked like 
a cannon had hit it. But no evidence of burning.' And witnesses said 
that they saw a 'red blast' coming out of the statue. Sound familiar, 

"Scott Summers." 

"My thought exactly. Just what are they doing up there, at 

"Playing mutant vigilantes, it sounds like." 

"Maybe it is time to visit them again. But should we warn them about 
John, or take him along, do you think?" 

"Maybe we should ask Xavier first." 

Yet when Mulder tried to call, all he got was the school answering 
machine. For three days. And no reply to his several phone messages. On 
the fourth day, Ororo Munroe answered finally. "The professor is 
currently unavailable," she said. "But we do have your messages and 
shall have him call you as soon as he is able." 

"Let me talk to Scott," he said. 

"Scott is currently unavailable, as well. But I can have him return 
your call." 

Frustrated, Mulder just hung up. "Dammit. Prep schools aren't supposed 
to give you the run-around." 

When he'd waited three more days with no return call, he tried again. 
This time, he got Jean Grey. "I thought Scott was supposed to call me? 
Or doesn't anybody get his messages up there?" 

"Hello, Fox," Grey said, amusement edging her voice. "It's nice to hear 
from you, too." 

"Don't hand me that. I've been trying to get in touch with Xavier, or 
Summers, for days. Where's Scott?" 

"He's in San Diego." 

That stopped Mulder cold. "San Diego? How long has he been in San

"Since yesterday." 

"So he called his foster parents finally." 

"Yes. We had . . . a little excitement around here. He decided it was 
time to quit putting it off before he didn't have a second chance. They 
were tickled pink, and wanted to see him immediately. Of course." 

"Of course. And as for the 'excitement' -­ Scott blew up a machine on 
the Statuue of Liberty, didn't he? And then left a fellow named Erik 
Lehnsherr for the FBI to find." 

Complete silence for a good ten beats. Finally Grey said ­- clearly 
shaken -­ "Scott didn't exaggerate. You do put puzzles together on spit 
and a shoestring. But it's a little more complicated than that." 

"Yeah? Well, tell Scott that he has some explaining to do, when he gets 
back from California. Or I'll sic John Doggett on him and he'll wind up 
as another X-File." 

A tinge of amusement again. "I shall tell him." 

"Tell him, too, that I'm glad he called the Franklins." 

"So am I, Fox. So am I. Good-night." 

"Jean -­ " 


"It's Mulder. Nobody calls me 'Fox' except for Scully's mother." 

A laugh over the phone line. "Noted. Mulder. Good-night." 


Yes, obviously, I plan to write another cross-over story at some time. 
I still haven't done my Scully - Jean Grey X-File. But I won't do it 
just yet. If anyone else has a hankering to write X-Men/X-Files, I'd 
certainly encourage it. 

Feedback is always welcomed and greeted with ecstatic squeals of glee.