Futures Past 07: Phoenix


I am Arvy, writer of Futures Past. Cool words were revealed 
to me the day I held aloft my magic keyboard, and typed, "By the 
power of..." Sorry. Nostalgia kick ;) NEways, I might look a 
little like CC with the sun at my back, if you squint and tilt 
your head just right, but sadly, the characters depicted 
hereinafter are not, and have never been, mine. They belong to 
their respective owners: Fox, 1013, CC, Rysher, Tristar, 
Paramount, etc, etc. I promise to let them return to their 
regularly scheduled lives after I'm done with them. More or less 

Author's Notes

Well, here it is folks. Finally! The next monsterpiece, as 
promised. And it's been a while in coming, this seventh in the 
series. I'm starting to think it was a good thing I didn't use 
roman numerals to number them. Although the plot is pretty much 
standalone, it does refer to a couple of events in previous 
stories, especially Crossover and Hazel... So if you want to read 
them first, email me at unmai@bigfoot.com and I'll be glad to 
forward them to you. They've already been sent to gossamer, and 
will also be up on my website at http://www.bigfoot.com/~unmai.

Timeline wise, the main parts happen at the same time as the 
movie. When I started getting the idea for this sometime before 
the movie came out, I thought I could somehow weave the story so 
that season 6 and on, sans the mytharcs, might still mesh with my 
universe. But seeing how it's gone so far, I'm not even going to 
try. Way too many inconsistencies to keep track of or explain 
away. So starting from after "The End", my universe veers off 
from canon. I'm still hoping to parallel the series somewhat, so 
if some scenes and situations seem reminiscent of the movie and 
season 6, it's probably because it was intended.

As for the ? crossover, it's fairly minor (no characters 
named, and only a small scene), although it does affect the X-
files universe. I wasn't even sure if I should acknowledge it. 
Anyway, hope you like it.

Now sshhhh... Curtains!!!!


Futures Past 07:
by Arvy 

The Milky Way
The Archean Eon
Approx. 4 billion years ago

They were an old race, already ancient when the universe as 
we know it would have been called young. They had been evolving 
for millennia, and had long since achieved methods of space 
travel. The barrier of interstellar space, had been traversed. 
But in their travels, they started noticing something.

An emptiness. A void as it were, where the intrepid 
explorers were expecting fellow life forms, others to share their 
knowledge, their history with. They already knew that the niche 
in time that their civilization occupied was early in the 
development of the universe. But they had not expected this 

Then it began. It was slow at first, afflicting a few 
hundred among trillions. But soon the race realized it for what 
it was.


The final stages of life as they knew it.

They did not know what they were evolving towards, only that 
it brought about sweeping changes in their biological makeup, in 
their very existence. The ones who were left were determined not 
to lose what remained, especially since no one knew the end 
result of the evolutionary changes. They sent out teams of 
explorers, colonizers, in an attempt to replicate their life in 
other systems.

But their course was not to be denied. Evolution couldn't be 
escaped with a simple change in environment. That was when the 
decision was made.

Seeding. The process of depositing or encouraging life on 
otherwise barren planets. In some cases, the explorers found 
planets that were somewhat hostile towards supporting life. There 
they used terraforming techniques and then deposited the 
necessary proteins and molecules that would eventually evolve 
into intelligent life. In others, they found planets already in 
the beginning stages of life production. There they simply 
introduced their genetic material into the already forming 
biological matrix.

When they entered this particular star system, one that had 
barely formed, ecologically speaking, they found most of the 
planets incapable of supporting life, even with considerable 
terraforming efforts. All except for two, the third and fourth 
planets out from the fledgling type I star. And the thing they 
lacked most was time. So they set about implanting their genetic 
material onto these two planets.

Soon all life as they knew it ceased to exist. They moved 
beyond their corporeal bodies into a higher plane of 
consciousness, becoming beings of pure energy, pure thought. But 
they had left their legacy behind. On several star systems across 
the galaxy, simple protein chains combined to form complex amino 
acids within uncountable primordial soups, single-celled 
prokaryotes divided into multicellular eukaryotes, until finally 
slugs of various kinds started crawling out of their respective 

The beings stood watch as life began to develop across the 
galaxy. Their children would one day roam the stars, as they 
themselves once did. Hopefully, the children would not find the 
galaxy as lonely a place as their parents did.


Wright Field Military Base, OH
Hangar 18
Monday, July 7, 1947
6:43 PM

Dusk fell.

The German Shepherd stuck its head out the side as the jeep 
rolled over the last rise. The vehicle moved about a dozen more 
yards before coming to a stop outside the immense hangar housing 
the craft that had been moved there from New Mexico.

Professor Carlson turned off the ignition, looking to his 
fiancee as Nurse Garland helped the three 'people' out of the 
jeep. She hardly took note when the dog jumped off as well. It 
was quivering with fatigue; it had been almost 17 hours since it 
had last rested. Neither it nor the others noticed pieces of its 
hair get stuck on the floor mat in the back.

"Hurry... Faith, in there," Carlson urged the others 
forward. After saying a final good bye, they entered the hanger 
and headed for their craft. The three 'people' and the dog 
climbed into the ship, finally on their way back home.


Interrogation Room
9:12 PM

"You lost them!?"

The quiet fury in the voice belied the calm expression on 
the speaker's face. His form was shrouded in a miasma of 
cigarette smoke, which dispelled as he got up from his chair.

General Rex Denning hung his head as the other man walked 
over to the table. He stopped, leaning over the table until the 
tip of the cigarette in his mouth was less than an inch from the 
general's face. The big man was not easily scared. But there was 
something about the other... He wasn't a military man, yet 
commanded Admirals and Generals around as if he were the 
President. According to some rumors, this man had his hands in 
events the general thought he was better off not knowing about. 
He shrank back.

"I'm sorry, sir. They surprised us. There was nothing we 
could do."

The other man pulled away from the table with a grunt of 
disgust. "Trust the military to..." he muttered under his breath, 
shaking his head. Both occupants looked up at the sound of the 
door opening.

"Sorry for interrupting, sir." A young captain stood at the 
door, a file clutched in his hand.

"What is it? Have they found anything?"

"No, sir. We still have teams combing the area. But there's 
no trace of them as of yet. We will keep searching, of course."

"Of course, captain." The dark man nodded dismissively. When 
the newcomer showed no signs of moving, he asked, "Is there 
anything else?"

"Yes sir." The captain moved forward, holding the file 
folder out. "These are the results from the preliminary tests we 
did on the craft."

"Good, good." He shifted the cigarette to get a better grip 
on the folder. Before opening it, he turned to the man seated at 
the table. "Good day, General." He waited until the general left, 
then opened the folder and glanced at his contents briefly. 
Turning back to the captain, he asked, "How much of the craft had 
been analyzed?"

"We were able to obtain detailed schematics of one of the 
engines, sir."

"One of the engines?"

"The craft appeared to be powered by two distinct engine 
types, sir. We hadn't had the opportunity to examine both 

"Yes, yes." The cigarette man waved his hand impatiently. 
"What else?"

"There were also various force fields being generated by the 
craft, which some of our best men think may have been used to 
fortify the craft and its occupants for the stresses of flight. 
Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, we didn't get a chance to 
examine anything other than the one engine."

The other man sighed, looking through the file again. "I 
suppose we'll have to do the best with what we have."

"We also found some strange tissue samples in the jeep they 
escaped in." The captain saw his superior's head raise with a 
jerk. "There were a few gelatinous substances on the floor mat in 
the back of the jeep. Initial tests seem to confirm that it's 
organic, and may have been part of something alive once. It seems 
to respond somewhat to electrical activity, but it's movements 
are slowing down. It's almost as if the life, what little is 
left, is draining out of it with time."

"Interesting," the other responded, looking at the 
biological report in the file. "Very well. Contact me immediately 
if you receive any further information. That will be all, 

Captain Wainwright retreated out of the room, shutting the 
door behind him as he heaved a sigh of relief. He'd been uneasy 
the entire time he'd been inside, and the stench of cigarette 
smoke hadn't exactly helped. His mind wandered over the recent 
events. His world, as he knew it, had been turned on its head. 
Now it remained to be seen how the human race would learn from 
its newest experience with extraterrestrial life. And how this 
knowledge could be put to use without the populace suspecting the 
source of the information.

Inside the room, the smoker wondered about the 


Laurentian Mountains, Quebec, Canada
Thursday, May 14, 1998
6:39 AM

The whistle of the kettle roused him from his chair. He got 
up, buttoning up his shirt as he moved towards the stove. He ran 
a hand across his lips, wishing for the hundredth time for the 
luxury of a cigarette. Unfortunately, the local store, or at 
least the one that passed for local in this neighborhood, didn't 
get its supplies all that often. He'd had to ration himself, and 
it wasn't helping his temperament any.

'The bastards,' he cursed, his thoughts wandering to the 
circumstances leading to his self-enforced exile. 'After all I've 
done for them.' They had dared try to kill him. He, who had 
started the consortium in the first place. Sometimes he cursed 
his condition, that he couldn't claim the credit he deserved. 
Yet. No one knew the origins of the shadow organization, not even 
its own members. All they knew was that it had existed as long as 
they could remember.

Except for him. He'd been the spearhead for its conception. 
He'd been the one to nurse it from its infancy to the world wide 
power it was today. He'd been the one to place the ones currently 
in power into the positions they occupied today. Oh, he would 
exact his revenge, all right. He would make sure of that. It only 
remained to marshal his strength until he could strike back.

He already had some feelers out, some ideas for how to make 
his return. And he still had his project to get back to. The one 
he'd spent almost a half century on. He thought about the one 
survivor of the project, the one who'd actually managed to beat 
the odds. Who would have thought she would be the one. Yes, there 
was definitely work he had to get back to.

He approached the kettle, moving it off the flame as he 
finished buttoning his shirt. Suddenly his head jerked up as he 
heard the noise.



Dana Scully's Apartment, Georgetown, DC
Friday, May 15, 1998
6:30 AM


A hand reached out of the covers, hitting the snooze on the 
alarm clock. The owner of the hand turned in her bed, feeling the 
space beside her for a familiar body. Her hand encountered 
nothing but empty space. Special Agent Dana Scully sighed as she 
pushed back the covers and prepared to get out. True, she missed 
Mulder. But both of them knew they couldn't spend every night 
together. They would have to make do with what they could get 
away with.

As it was, they had found a couple of bugs a month in 
Mulder's apartment, and an equivalent number in the basement 
office. They hadn't come across any at her place, which was 
somewhat surprising, but given that most of the excitement 
usually wound up happening at Mulder's place, it was also 
understandable. And although it was possible that a few bugs 
might have been missed, the Gunmen were good enough that it was 
impossible they had missed every single one. At least, she hoped 
that was the case. So, by unspoken agreement, the X-files agents 
had decided to use Scully's apartment on the nights they spent 

Her thoughts floated from Mulder to the memo that had come 
across her desk the day before, the one she had decided to hide 
from him for the time being. She had been requested to join a 
team for a meeting the next day. Something about an assassination 
with international repercussions. But what disturbed her most was 
the fact that Mulder had been specifically rejected from the 
team. Sure, she'd been asked to consult before, both as part of 
the X-files team, and by herself for her expertise. But that 
wasn't the case this time. Now she was just one of many agents, 
providing manpower for this particular case. This time, the SAC 
simply did not want Mulder on his team. Thinking about it, she 
was glad Mulder hadn't come over the night before. She didn't 
know how she would have answered him if he'd asked her about her 
plans for the day.

She didn't know if she should be flattered that she had been 
asked to be on the case, or angry at Mulder's treatment. They had 
just made up after the Pine Bluff scare, when he'd left her to 
work the case by himself. It was only because she had followed 
him that she'd stumbled onto the sting operation. It had hurt 
that he hadn't been able to confide in her, although, she 
amended, he had been under orders at the time.

And then that case with the giant bug... What had he called 
her? His one in five billion. An old joke, repeated this time in 
deadly earnest. And when she'd finally let down her walls to 
believe in what he'd seen... Madness shared by two indeed.

She sighed as she swung her legs out and climbed out. She 
thought about how the rest of the day, and the next week would 
probably progress, and pinched the bridge of her nose in defeat.

Some days it just didn't pay to get out of bed.


J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building, Bullpen
Monday, May 18, 1998
7:41 PM


The elevator doors opened onto the bullpen. He stepped out, 
holding the single file in his hand. He walked forward, just in 
time to see the prodigal son come around the corner. He stopped 
short, clutching the file harder as the younger man walked 
towards him.

"Can I help you?"

He almost smiled at the question. Who was helping who? He 
looked at his newest protege, wondering what he should tell him. 
Did he need to know now? But he'd spent so much time on this one, 
just like another, more haunted man. He couldn't resist.

"Actually, I can help you."

That brought the other man up short. "How did you get in 

In here? Into his very own playground? God, he'd missed 
this. "Access, Agent Spender. It's about access. It's what I can 
give you. It's what can make you." He took in a breath as he came 
to the crux of his explanation. "It's why I'm doing this for 

"Who are you?" The agent was obviously lost.

Who indeed? That question could be answered on so many 
levels. His mentor, his guide, the words were so many. Finally, 
he chose the one that was the furthest from the truth, yet 
encapsulated all that he was to the agent in one single word. 
"I'm your father." He smiled a little at the way it came out. All 
that the statement left out was a final, "young Skywalker."


The alarms chose that moment to announce his recent 
activity. As the agent turned his head in surprise, he walked 
past, satisfied for now. Soon, he would have everything he'd 


A few floors below, the flames licked at the ceiling, having 
already consumed the more important items in the room.


Dana Scully's Apartment
Wednesday, May 20, 1998
7:21 PM

"I don't love you, Scully. I've never loved you. You were 
only a convenient substitute until Diana returned to me. 
Goodbye." Mulder turned away from her and walked out the door.

"NO! Mulder, no! Don't leave...," she screamed. "MULDER!!!" 
Her hands reached out to clutch at him, horrified as her fingers 
seemingly passed through a wraith that had once been her partner, 
her friend, her lover, her soulmate. A ghost that disappeared in 
a spurt of flames, just like the X-files, just like her life. The 
silent scream echoed within her head as she sat up on her couch, 
drenched in sweat.

For a few seconds, the harsh breathing was the only sound in 
the room. "Only a dream, Dana. It was just a dream." She turned 
her head to look at her clock. Almost half past seven. 'Damn!' 
She hadn't meant to doze off, but she'd been so tired, what with 
the constant OPR meetings and the consults with Skinner and 
allies within the Justice Department in a vain attempt to save 
the X-files. What was left of it, anyway, she amended.

She reached for her phone, intending to call Mulder, just to 
talk to him. She dialed his home number, but placed the phone 
back down after four rings. He wasn't home. At this hour? She 
frowned as she picked up the handset again to try his cellular. 
She waited through three rings before it was picked up.

"Uhh... Hello?"

She pulled the handset away from her head and stared at it. 
Definitely not Mulder. The voice on the other end was a woman. 
For a moment she considered that it might be Agent Fowley, but 
she was still in the hospital. Placing the phone back to her ear, 
she asked, "I'm looking for Agent Mulder. Is he there?"

"Oh, I'm sorry ma'am. He's not here. He must have just 
stepped out."

"Who is this?" Her mind was turning cartwheels now.

"I'm Nurse Watkins. I heard his phone ringing, so I decided 
to answer it in case it was important."

Nurse? Where the hell was Mulder? A hospital? All at once 
the answer came to her. Of course. "Nurse, is this Diana Fowley's 

"Yes, it is. Should I call Agent Mulder?"

"No," she replied instantly, closing her eyes in defeat. 
"That won't be necessary. I'll just call back later." She hung up 
the phone with a sigh. Her thoughts flew back to something 
Natalie had mentioned while she had been in Seattle a few months 


DeSalvo's Gym, Seattle, WA
Tuesday, Feb 24, 1998 (3 months ago)
8:57 AM

The hilt of the sword caught in the blade of the other. With 
a snap of the wrist, the weapon flew out of her hands. She backed 
up a little as the blade came to rest at her throat.

Natalie pulled the sword away, leaning down to pick up 
Dana's weapon and handing it back to her. She smiled at her 
friend. "Nick taught me that move a couple of weeks ago. I've 
been dying to use it."

"I hope you got your quota of fun satisfied," her friend 
retorted. But Natalie could see the twinkle in her eye as she 
said that, and took the retort good-naturedly, laughing along 
with her friend.

"Yeah, I think I got my fill. Do you want to quit? It's 
almost nine."

Her friend nodded, and together they walked over to the 
bench to wait for Mulder and Duncan to finish their sparring. 
Dana told her friend what had happened the night before, 
prompting Nat to let out a squeal of delight.

"He proposed? Oh my god! What did you say?"

Dana blushed. "I said yes. What else could I say? I love him 
so much, Nat."

"I understand. The day Nick proposed to me was the happiest 
day of my life. At least, it seems that way."


"So when are you two planning on..."

"Not for a while yet. Like we said yesterday, it would just 
be too dangerous. But the commitment is enough for me, for now 
anyway." She paused, fingering the ring on her right hand 
thoughtfully, then said, "I suppose congratulations are in order 
for you too. When are you two going to tie the knot?"

"Next year. Nick wanted to do it on the anniversary of our 
first kiss. He can be such a romantic sometimes."

"You know, I was wondering. Has Duncan ever been married?"

Natalie frowned. "Hmm..." She shook her head. "Not that I 
know of. Why?"

"Just curious, I guess. Surely after all this time, he must 
have found someone."

"Actually it's not as common as you might think. Most 
immortals don't maintain relationships so well."


"Think of it, Dana. You have two people, at least one of 
whom, according to the rules, is destined to die. After all, 
there can be only one, right? Some immortals can see past that. 
They believe they can overcome the supposed instinctual urge to 
fight all other immortals when the Gathering finally happens. 
Duncan's even told me about a couple of his friends who love each 
other so much, they've been together for quite a few centuries, 
renewing their vows every hundred years or so." She paused to let 
out a breath. "But, it's generally hard to build that kind of 
trust. In fact, from what you told me, you and Mulder have 
something very special. Don't lose that, Dana. Not ever."

She saw the redhead give her a smile in understanding. She 
continued, "Most immortals are either loners, or find 
companionship with mortals, like Duncan usually does. Besides, 
sometimes, being with someone, day in and day out can get boring. 
Some mortal couples claim 50 years of wedded bliss. Who knows if 
the same could be said of a couple of centuries of marriage?" She 
turned to look away, her thoughts obviously turning to the man in 
her life. "Personally, I don't see myself ever getting tired of 
Nick. He still manages to constantly surprise me." Her gaze 
returned to rest upon her friend. She shrugged, "But, it's been 
known to happen." She got up, leaving behind a very thoughtful 
young immortal.


Present Day

'Is that what Mulder wants?' she asked herself. 'Is he 
already getting tired?' She found the thought horrifying. It was 
some consolation that if Mulder were getting bored with her, he 
would be seeking new avenues, not trying to get back to what had 
obviously been a failed relationship. But not much. Now that the 
X-files were gone, for all intents and purposes, he didn't really 
have a reason to stay with her, did he? Sure he'd confessed his 
undying love for her. But what did they know of long term 
relationships? Look at her and Jack Willis. Him and Phoebe. God, 
him and Diana.


An image of Mulder and Diana, in the psychiatric facility in 
Maryland, holding hands like a couple more intimate than just 

She blinked back her tears. No, damn it. She wouldn't cry. 
She'd promised herself. Unheeding, a drop fell anyway.


Mulder looking at Diana's wounded body, then walking away 
to... what? mourn?

She blinked again, trying to push the unbidden memories and 
tears away. What had they been thinking? Did they really expect 
their relationship to last? They had a wonderful friendship 
before. What she had had with Mulder was the best relationship 
she'd ever had. Had they destroyed it for the sake of a few brief 
months of passion?

More importantly, could she live without Mulder in her life? 
Not for the rest of a mortal life, but forever? Is that what she 
was looking for from him? Forever? Could he even give her that? 
Could anyone be expected to?

She glanced at the clock again, deciding she'd given him 
enough time. She redialed his cellular, and didn't know whether 
to be glad at the familiar, "Mulder," or not.

"Hey, it's me."

"What is it?"

She gulped. 'What is it?' Couldn't she call him just to 
talk? Did she only have the right to call when there was an 
emergency or something? "I just...," she began, then let out a 
breath. "I just wanted to talk. We haven't spoken more than a 
dozen words since..." She broke off there, not wanting to be the 
first to say it.

The fire. Neither of them had spoken about it since Monday 
night. She had tried to offer him her support when she'd found 
him in the blackened office, but he'd pushed her away once the 
events had finally registered. "I want to be alone, Scully," he'd 
said. Were those the words of someone in a committed 
relationship? Why hadn't he accepted her offer of help? His next 
words simply made her bite her lip harder to hold back the sobs.

"I... uh... I can't talk right now, Scully. I'll see you 

The click and then the silence at the other end was more 
deafening than anything she'd ever heard. She felt a sharp pain 
as she bit through her lip. Her face crumpled as she hugged the 
phone and curled up on her couch and closed her eyes.


Washington Hospital Center

Across the city, a phone slipped, a head bowed, the face 
hidden behind trembling hands as a man cried.

He had dropped by to see Diana. Curiously enough, he 
couldn't bring himself to stay in her room more than a few 
minutes. He walked down the hall, almost reaching the elevators 
when he realized he'd left his coat in her room. He turned back 
to retrieve it. As he left, he'd wandered into the lounge, not 
feeling like driving all the way back to his lonely apartment.

He'd lost. Totally and completely, this time. He, they, had 
been manipulated from the very beginning, since the moment 
Spender had been assigned the Gibson case. How could he have not 
seen it coming? And now, he had nothing. He'd lost the X-files, 
in more sense than one. But most important, he'd lost Scully.

Reassignment. His breath caught in his throat even thinking 
about it. He'd failed her. Once again. He'd sworn he would find 
out the truth, if only to find out what had happened to her 
during her abduction, what had been done to her. Now, due to his 
own blindness, his stupidity, he'd lost the only means to do so. 
They had taken advantage of his beliefs, once again, except this 
time he hadn't realized it in time to protect himself, to protect 
Scully, to protect the X-files. They had wanted to stop his work. 
What better way than to disgrace the only two people determined 
to continue it?

So when he heard his phone ring, it was with trembling 
fingers that he'd lifted it to his ear.


"Hey, it's me."

Oh, god. It's her. 'What do you mean, it's her? Of course, 
it's her. Who else would be calling you now? Quick Mulder, hide.'

"What is it?"

"I just..."

He heard her pause then continue.

"I just wanted to talk. We haven't spoken more than a dozen 
words since..."

'Go ahead, Scully. Say it. Since I betrayed you. Say it.' 
He'd failed her, just like he'd failed his sister, his father, 
everyone who'd ever depended on him. What would she think of him 
now? When he found himself in his office, staring at the soot 
laden walls, he couldn't even remember how he'd gotten there. All 
he knew was that Scully was standing with her head against his 
shoulder. She wouldn't meet his eyes, and he knew why. She wanted 
to hide the betrayal she felt from him. Betrayal from the very 
government they worked for, from their superiors, their enemies, 
but most importantly from the one person who should never have 
had to enter into that equation. Him. Suddenly he couldn't find 
the courage to face her anymore, not then, and not now.

"I... uh... I can't talk right now, Scully. I'll see you 
tomorrow." 'That's right, Scully, tomorrow. In the safety of the 
office, where I won't have to face the hurt that you'll hide 
behind your professional's mask. Not yet, Scully. But I swear to 
you, I'll find a way to make everything okay. I promise.' His 
fingers slid over the phone, cutting him off, severing the 


Margaret Scully's Residence, Baltimore, MD
Friday, May 22, 1998
7:26 PM

"Yeah, mom. He's been resisting the Admiral's stars for a 
couple of years now. Finally, I get to be the captain and order 
everyone around for a change." Bill Scully's eyes twinkled as he 
turned from his mother to look at his friend, and once CO.

"I thought that was what being an XO was all about, 

"I'm not captain yet, Jeff, not for another couple of weeks. 
Or should I call you Admiral now? Besides, the XO may have some 
authority, but the captain's the one who gets to have all the 

"Jeff's fine, Bill." The guest let out a laugh. "And don't 
get carried away with all the fun now. If you let becoming 
captain go to your head, you're liable to run the ship into the 
docks one of these days."

"Ha, ha. Verrry funny, Jeff. He's a regular comedian, isn't 
he, mom?"

Margaret Scully laughed as she gazed at her son with a 
measure of pride. "Now, now, children," she began in a reproving 
tone of voice, smiling when both the men seated before her let 
out snorts of laughter at that. Her eyes teared up at their next 

"To the Eagle." The men held up their glasses in a toast. "A 
worthier ship there's never been."

"And to her newest captain," Margaret Scully's words were 
quiet as she held up her glass as well. "Oh, Bill. Your father 
would have been so proud. I only wish he could have been with us 
to see this."

"Don't worry, Mrs. Scully. Bill will do the Eagle proud. 
Just like his father."

Bill Scully simply smiled at the compliment, raising his 
glass in acknowledgement.

"And now, I do have to get going. Later, skipper." Jeff 
rose, shaking hands with Bill.

Margaret rose as well. "Oh, do you have to leave already? Do 
stay for dinner, won't you?"

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Scully. I have an appointment to keep. But 
how about a raincheck?"

"Actually, that sounds even better. I'll see if Dana can 
come up sometime this weekend. How does Sunday sound? You two 
haven't seen each other in..."

"Seems like forever. Yeah, that does sound good. Why don't 
you give me a call and we'll set things up. You have my new 
number, right?" he asked, picking up his jacket. At his hosts' 
answering nods, he nodded as well. "Good night, Bill, Mrs. 
Scully," he said, heading out into the night.


Arlington National Cemetery
8:03 PM

Rear Admiral Jeffrey Green of the United States Navy let his 
eyes roam over the series of slabs and markers, squinting against 
the dim light as he tried to read the nearest epitaph. 'Rest in 
peace indeed,' he grunted, shaking his head as he checked his 
watch for the fifth time. 'Damn it. He said eight. Where was the 
goddamn son of a...'

"Ah, you made it. I see congratulations are in order, 
'Admiral'. I hope you're settling in well."

"What do you want?" Green hissed, turning to face the source 
of the voice. His eyes tried to adjust to the gloom underneath 
the shaded area. There was a small flare, quickly extinguished 
until the only thing he could see of the other man was the 
burning tip of a cigarette. He waited until the other stepped out 
of the shadows, then walked towards him.

"Now, now, Admiral. Show a little respect. I made sure you 
were transferred off that boat of yours, didn't I? Provost of the 
US Naval Academy is no small feat, let me assure you."

"I only did that to be close to my son. You know that."

"Ah yes. How is little Jeremy?"

"The same. Can we get on with this? I would like to see my 
son before he has to go to sleep."

"Very well, Admiral. I'm here to offer you a deal. On top of 
the promotion we arranged for you."

"Oh, please," Green cut him off haughtily. "I would have 
been promoted anyway."

"Maybe," the smoking man shrugged. "However, this next offer 
isn't something you're likely to come by as easily. Your son is 
dying of cancer, isn't he? Just like your wife."

Green sucked in a breath, then let it out in a pained gasp. 
"Yes," he whispered.

"Intractable, isn't that what the doctors said? You watched 
your wife die so horribly, Admiral. What would you say if I told 
you I could spare your son that pain, that I could cure him?"

Green's eyes widened in surprise. "You can do that?"

"Of course, Admiral. I have certain... resources available 
to me. What do you say?"

For the first time since his wife's funeral almost a year 
ago, Jeff Green allowed something resembling hope to enter his 
voice. "Can he still remain at Lombardi?"

"I'm sorry. The Georgetown Medical Center simply doesn't 
have the facilities little Jeremy would require."

"Then where?"

The smoker held up a hand. "So you agree to the deal?"

He paused, regarding the other man coldly. He knew something 
of the kind of things this man dealt with. But then, what choice 
did he have? Weighed against a cure for Jeremy, was there 
anything he wouldn't do? "Yes," he replied finally. "What would I 
have to do?" he whispered.

"It's actually quite simple, really. You are going to 
arrange a little dinner next week, Monday if possible..."

As Green listened to the details of the deal, he closed his 
eyes in horror. Oh Lord, what had he agreed to? And why did he 
feel like he'd just bartered away his very soul?


Dana Scully's Apartment
Saturday, May 23, 1998
8:15 AM

The sudden ringing of the phone almost caused her to drop 
her glass of orange juice. She'd been reaching for it when it had 
gone off.


"Dana? It's mom. How are things, dear?"

She really didn't feel up to talking with her mother right 
now. She hadn't yet told her about the office, or the X-files. 
She had been hoping there wouldn't be a need to, but with each 
passing day, a little more hope seemed to wash away. And with 
Mulder being so distant lately...

"Everything's fine, mom. How are you?" She tried to inject 
as much nonchalance as she could into her tone, but knew that her 
mother was picking up on some of her fear and hopelessness 

"Dana..." her mother started, then seemed to think better of 
what she'd been about to say. Instead she asked, "Did you know 
that Jeff Green has been promoted to Admiral? He's been appointed 
Provost at the Naval Academy."

"Jeff?" Dana tried to search her memory for the name. Her 
eyes widened as she remembered the rude young boy next door who'd 
grown into a thoroughly charming Commander in the US Navy, and 
then made Captain at 35. The last she'd heard, he was the captain 
of the USS Eagle, her father's old ship. If he'd been promoted, 
that would make Bill...

"Mom, does that mean Bill..."

"Yes. He's due for a promotion in about two to three weeks. 
Isn't that great, Dana?"

"Oh, mom. I'm so happy for him. I'll have to give him and 
Jeff a call sometime."

"Well the both of them dropped by yesterday evening to give 
me the good news. Bill said that Tara and Matthew will probably 
be coming up for the ceremony in a week or so. But the reason I 
called was because I was wondering if you'd like to come to 
dinner tomorrow night and help celebrate. You could bring Fox 
too, if you'd like. I haven't seen the two of you for so long. 
How does that sound, dear?"

"It sounds wonderful, mom. How about I come by earlier to 

"That would be nice. It'll also give us a chance to get 
caught up." She paused. "But won't Fox get bored?"

What could she say to that? Scrambling frantically for an 
answer, she replied, "I don't think Mulder will be able to come, 
mom. He's... uhh.. he said that he might be busy tomorrow."

On the other end, Margaret Scully was silent for a few 
moments. Something was wrong. She'd felt it as soon as Dana had 
answered the phone. If only she would confide in her, tell her 
what was wrong... She sighed. But she had to try. "Dana, are you 
sure everything's okay?"

'Damn. How does she do that?' If there was one person Dana 
could never hide her feelings from, it was her mother. "Yes, mom. 
I'm fine. Everything's fine. I... umm... I'll see you tomorrow. 
Bye." She hung up, a little abruptly, she realized. But better 
that than break down completely on the phone with her mother. She 
drank the last of her juice and headed to the kitchen, her 
original intention to call Mulder forgotten for the moment.


Mulder's car, en route to Georgetown, DC
Sunday, May 24, 1998
7:42 PM

Fox Mulder wasn't ecstatic. He wasn't jumping with joy 
either. But he was more relaxed than he'd been the entire week. 
He'd managed to talk to Senator Matheson, and had procured his 
support in the upcoming Justice Department deliberations. Running 
into the congressman had been a stroke of luck. After his 
informant had told him that the senator could no longer offer him 
any help, Mulder had pretty much given up on him as a helpful 
connection. As it was, the senator didn't have all that much 
sway, but it was better than nothing. He hoped he could convince 
at least a few others to support him when the fate of the X-files 
was finally decided.

He hoped Scully was at home. He couldn't wait to share the 
good news with her. It wasn't much, but it was a start. A brick 
in the wall he was building to put their backs up against. 'Just 
a little while longer, Scully. I swear, I'll make it right.' He 
should have called her, but he'd been excited enough that it had 
slipped his mind. He noted that her car was in its usual place as 
he pulled into an empty space. He hurried into the building and 
knocked on her door. There was no answer, and, after a moment, he 
realized he couldn't feel her either. As he used his key to let 
himself in, he was struck by how different everything was now. He 
would never have dared to enter her apartment so boldly before... 
before Seattle. Now it was almost second nature.

He stepped into the empty apartment. "Scully?" No answer. 
Not that he'd expected one. She'd probably just stepped out. He 
moved towards the couch, intending to wait. He picked up her 
phone, calling his machine for any messages.

"Mulder... It's me. Bill's in town, so I'll probably be at 
mom's all day Sunday, if you need to get a hold of me."

He frowned. She was going to her mother's? She hadn't said 
anything about it to him before. Of course, he hadn't seen her 
since work on Friday. With a start, he realized how little time 
he'd actually spent with her this past week, time outside of the 
office. Suddenly feeling somewhat guilty, he sat back in the 
couch, deciding to wait for her to return.


Margaret Scully's Residence, Baltimore, MD
8:27 PM

Yes, she decided, something was definitely wrong. Margaret 
Scully looked across the table at her daughter, who was currently 
engaged in an animated conversation with Jeff and Bill. To anyone 
who didn't know her, Dana Scully looked the picture of 
contentment, happily chatting with friends and family during 

Those who knew her better, like her mother, would 
immediately note the tightness around her lips and eyes whenever 
the talk wandered anywhere near work. She'd almost bitten Bill's 
head off when he'd casually asked where 'that blasted Mulder' 
was. And she was strangely reluctant to talk about her work when 
Jeff asked her about it, deftly steering the topic to safer 

What Margaret couldn't decide was whether there was 
something wrong at work, or with Fox, or both. Of course, every 
time in the past, the two had always been irrevocably 
interconnected. She would have to have a talk with Fox soon. It 
was a slim chance, but she might be able to pry something from 
him that Dana would never tell her. Sometimes, she found herself 
cursing the secrecy that her daughter's job perforce required.

"Dinner was wonderful, Dana, Mrs. Scully." 

The comment shook her out of her reverie. She watched as 
Jeff rose from the table, moving forward to help her and Dana 
with the dishes.

"A man with manners. Will wonders never cease? I'm surprised 
Bill hasn't picked up any of this after being your XO for so 
long." Dana chuckled, teasing him.

Jeff smiled at the good-natured ribbing. "After that 
delightful meal, it only seems fair." He shrugged, following Dana 
and her mom into the kitchen. "You know, now that I'm going to be 
around here more often, we'll have to do this again sometime. I 
won't say I don't miss the sea, but there's something to be said 
for a homecooked meal, every once in a while."

"You know you're welcome here anytime, Jeff." Margaret 

"Thank you, Mrs. Scully." Jeff looked up to see Bill 
gesturing towards his sister. He nodded. "In fact, I had such a 
wonderful time, I hope you don't mind if I ask your daughter to 
dinner tomorrow night." He turned an inquiring glance from the 
mother to her daughter, his unasked question hanging in the air.

"Say yes, Dana. Don't be rude." Bill chimed in from the 

Dana colored up at the comment, and was about to refuse when 
Jeff added, "Don't worry, I won't bite. I can even make a decent 
lasagna. What do you say, Dana? After all, you cooked for me, 
right? Let me repay the favor."

Dana considered the offer again. Tomorrow night would 
probably be the last night of rest she would get before plunging 
back into the ratrace come Tuesday. She felt a niggling feeling 
of guilt at accepting the invitation without consulting Mulder, 
but pushed the thought out of her mind for now. Knowing him, 
Mulder would probably be out tomorrow night as well, doing 
whatever he'd been up to all of last week. And she'd be damned if 
she was going to spend another night all by herself. She'd 
enjoyed herself tonight, and she certainly couldn't say that 
about the past week. She sighed. "Oh, all right, Jeff. Tomorrow 
night it is."

"Great." Jeff smiled at her. "It's a date." He finished up 
in the kitchen and moved to the living room, followed by Dana and 

Margaret Scully looked at their retreating backs, and 
silently wondered.


9:30 PM

They had spent the time eagerly catching up on the myriad 
happenings in their lives. Finally, Dana rose to put her coffee 
cup up.

"Are you ready to go, Dana?" Bill asked, reaching for his 

"There's no need for you to get up, Bill," Jeff interrupted 
getting up himself. Turning to Dana, he asked, "Will the fair 
maiden allow her willing servant to escort her home tonight?"

Dana blushed. "Still the charmer, aren't you? And yes, you 
may take me home, my good man."

"That's my girl. Come on. I'll see you later, Bill. Bye, 
Mrs. Scully."

The two of them walked out to his car. Jeff, acting the part 
of the perfect gentleman, pulled out the door on the passenger 
side, placing an arm around her, ushering her in. 


Dana Scully's Apartment
9:57 PM

Mulder blinked awake, turning his head to stare at the 
clock. Almost ten, he realized. And Scully still wasn't home. She 
didn't usually stay at her mother's this late, not unless she was 
planning on staying the night. He decided that, with Bill in 
town, and the next day being a holiday, she may very well have 
decided exactly that.

He got up with a sigh, heading for the door himself when he 
heard a car pull up outside. And it was faint, but the laugh 
sounded a lot like Scully's. He moved towards the window, 
reaching it in time to see his partner climb out of a parked car. 
She turned to the man who held the door open for her, giving him 
a quick hug and a peck on the cheek. She waved goodbye, and 
headed into the apartment building. Mulder's eyes narrowed as he 
watched the man stare at Scully's retreating figure for a few 
minutes before he climbed back into his car and drove away.

It wasn't long before he felt the familiar sensation wash 
over him. He turned to see the front door open. Scully entered, 
looking around cautiously, relaxing slightly when she noticed him 
standing next to the window.

"Mulder. I wasn't expecting you." She walked in, putting her 
coat up and heading for her bedroom.

"I can see that."

She stopped midstride, her head jerking around to stare at 
her partner. His tone sounded positively venomous. She flinched 
at the glare he directed her way.

"And here I thought you were going to your mother's to see 
Bill. So who was he, Scully? And don't tell me you have another 
brother that I knew nothing about."

Now he was almost sneering at her. Her eyes widened at his 
tone, then narrowed in anger. How dare he... "For your 
information, Agent Mulder, that was Jeff Green, a good friend of 
mine," she replied through gritted teeth. "He was recently 
promoted, and I was at mom's, having dinner with him and Bill to 
celebrate. How dare you even imply..."

"I don't like the way he was looking at you."

Scully blinked. She couldn't believe he'd just said that. 
How neanderthal could you get? "*What*?" Suddenly the color of 
her hair couldn't compare to the shade of red she was seeing now. 
This was the absolute last straw. "Well, at least *he* takes the 
time to look, Mulder. Which is more than I can say of you. Do you 
want to drag me by my hair to your cave now?"

She watched with satisfaction as his jaw dropped. He was 
speechless. She continued with her verbal assault. "Oh, I'm 
sorry," she drawled, her voice dripping with malice. "Did I say 
something to offend you?" Her voice rose with each syllable. "Why 
don't you go to Diana and cry your heart out? Cause you seem to 
be with her every free moment you get." She was practically 
screaming now. Mulder winced at the volume. "Every fucking day at 
five, ditch the partner to go see the old lover, is that the 
game, Mulder? Huh?"

She saw the flushed look on his face as his expression 

changed from one of surprise to anger. He was livid. "Don't you 
dare... Don't you *dare* bring Diana into this, Scully," he 
shouted back at her. "She's lying unconscious in a hospital room, 
hanging by a thread. I don't even know if she'll be alive next 
week. She doesn't deserve this, least of all from you."

"Oh, and I suppose *I* deserve this? Is that what you think? 
Because I can't live like this, Mulder. I've tried, but for the 
past week, it just seems like I'm extra baggage in your life."

"I should have known..." He let out a derisive chuckle, 
shaking his head. "You knew what my life was like, Scully. You 
knew what you were getting yourself into. If this is not what you 
want, don't look to me to change anytime soon." He bit off the 
last part through clenched teeth, moving past a startled Scully 
as he headed for the door.

She sucked in a breath as his words sunk in. Her heart broke 
in two as the implications became clear. He was telling her to 
get out of his life. 'Oh, God. It's happening!' And she couldn't 
do a thing to stop it all from falling into a million pieces all 
around her. It was as if she was across the room, staring at a 
stranger yelling the words, "Get out, Mulder."

'*NO*! Stop! You don't know what you're saying.' The silent 
screams had no effect on the stranger. "Go on, Mulder. Go to your 
precious Diana."

He paused at the door, turning to face her. His eyes flashed 
a dangerous gold, causing her to start a little. "What do you 
want me to say, Scully? That I love her. Fine. I love her. Is 
that enough? You want more? How's this? I never loved you. I was 
only waiting until something better came along. There. Satisfied? 
Have a nice life." He turned away from her and walked out the 

Inside the apartment, the redhead stared at the back of the 
door, stunned. The nightmare had come true. For a moment, she 
couldn't quite remember what she was supposed to do now. How had 
it gotten to this? As she recalled the last few minutes, the 
tears started. She determinedly wiped them away, but they kept 
falling regardless. She stumbled back until she hit the wall, 
then slowly slid to the floor. She closed her eyes in a vain 
attempt to prevent the tears, and found her head nodding.

Exhausted, frightened, and heartbroken, Dana Scully leaned 
her head against the wall and cried herself to sleep.


Mulder looked at the fist sized hole now gracing the outer 
wall. He'd almost made it to his car before he'd lost control. 
The pain had already disappeared, the broken skin on his knuckles 
healed within moments. If only everything were that easy to fix.

'I never loved you? I was only waiting until something 
better came along?' Where had *that* come from? Suddenly he felt 
nauseous. He'd barely made it to his car before his breakfast, 
lunch and dinner decided to become intimate with the pavement. 
Wiping his mouth, he dared a glance back up to her apartment. 
Seeing the darkness, he slowly hung his head, turning to get in 
his car.

He didn't even notice the tears as they rolled down his 


Fox Mulder's Apartment
Monday, May 25, 1998
7:49 AM

He glanced around his apartment for the millionth time, 
wondering how it had gotten so bad. He remembered what Scully had 
said that night on her birthday. She'd stayed on in the X-files 
division after her abduction because of the work, not him. The 
only reason she'd not left was to bring the men who did this to 
her to justice. How could he have deluded himself into thinking 
otherwise? How could he have thought she would want to stay by 
his side without the X-files to hold them together?

Scully. His eidetic memory played back the last few minutes 
in her apartment the night before, second by second, in 
excruciating detail. He grimaced, feeling the familiar nausea, 
and grateful that he hadn't eaten anything yet to sacrifice to 
the porcelain god. What had he done? He hadn't meant a word of 
what he'd said. Not a one. But the damage was done, wasn't it? 
Could he take back any of it? More importantly, would Scully even 
allow him to? He'd betrayed her one too many times. Looking back 
over the last five years, it seemed to be all he was capable of, 
somehow. Let her get abducted, let her get cancer, let the 
fucking bastards harvest her ova for their experiments. He'd let 
all these things happen to her.

And now, he'd let her down once again. It was only fair for 
her to leave him. He'd been expecting this day, dreading it for 
the past three months, hell, for the past five years. When the 
fates cut the thread that was his life, they'd also unraveled the 
fibers that were his family, his friends. Little wonder that he 
never let anyone get so close to him. He'd already lost Samantha. 
And now he'd made the same mistake over again. He'd let someone 
else get close. In retrospect, it had been inevitable, yet he'd 
blindly let himself fall in love. What could he have been 
thinking? How could he have deluded himself so thoroughly?

He sighed, getting up and reaching for his coat. He couldn't 
stay in here any longer. He hadn't slept a wink the night before, 
and now the apartment walls just seemed to be closing in. On 
second thought, he didn't even want to take his coat with him. He 
ran out, desperate to get away from anything familiar, anything 
that reminded him of her.


Dana Scully's Apartment
5:52 PM

She awoke with a start, lifting her head from the couch. She 
felt the headache even before she opened her eyes, trailing a 
line of fire from just behind her eyes, all the way to the back 
of her head. The events of the previous night came back to her in 
a rush, and the headache only grew worse. She felt a bad taste in 
her mouth, and rushed to the bathroom.

She'd woken a couple of times before, remembering each time 
the vehemence of her words the night before. And each time she 
had to fight to force the bile from rising in her throat. She'd 
even tried to call Mulder, hoping, praying that it wasn't too 
late. There had been no answer, not on his home phone, not even 
on his cell. Knowing Mulder, she was sure he was deliberately 
ignoring it, ignoring her. She had simply consigned herself to 
her couch, trying the phone each time she woke up, too tired to 
even consider doing anything more.

'Over.' The words seemed almost foreign as she thought about 
them. 'It's over.' She emerged from the bathroom, her head still 
pounding. She couldn't seem to think much beyond the fact that 
she would never be the same again.

Her mind ran over her harsh words from the night before once 
again. She flinched as she remembered the way she'd cut him down, 
then asked him to get out of her life. Had she meant it? She 
stopped next to her couch, forcing herself to think about it.

'*NO*! Of course not,' her mind screamed back at her. She 
blinked, accepting the answer. Of course she hadn't meant it. Not 
now, not even as she'd said them. But then he'd said...

She sat down hard, her face blanching at the memory. 'I 
don't love you. I never loved you.' Had *he* meant it? Could she 
allow herself to believe that? 'Oh Mulder. I love you so much. I 
need you, Mulder, please.' Her silent pleas fell upon deaf ears 
as she felt the blessed darkness wash over her again.

The next time she awoke was to the sound of the phone. She 
gasped, hoping against hope that it was who she thought it was. 
Her hands shook as she reached for the handset. She brought it to 
her ear, wishing, praying with all her might for it to be...


She almost broke down in tears. It should have been Scully, 
not Dana. It wasn't him. She blinked, wondering who could 
possibly be calling her now.

"Dana? Are you there? It's Jeff."

"Jeff?" She was still trying to figure out the caller's 
identity. For some reason, the name didn't seem quite right. It 
should have been Mulder.

"Jeff," she said, finally coming to herself. "Listen, I 
really can't talk..."

"Oh, this won't take long. I was just wondering when I 
should pop the lasagna in the oven."


"The lasagna. For dinner, remember? Don't tell me you've 
forgotten our date."

"Oh, Jeff. I'm so sorry. But, I really can't make it 
tonight. Something's come up."

"Oh? Don't tell me you have to work on Memorial Day."

"No. It's not that. It's just..." She sighed. "I just got 
some bad news. That's all. I just need to be alone."

"I'm sorry to hear that, Dana. But you really shouldn't be 
alone, if that's the case. Why don't you come over, and we can 
talk or something. Besides, you do have to eat, right? I promise, 
we won't talk about anything that bothers you. But I've found 
that it usually helps to have a shoulder to lean on."

"I don't know..."

"Oh, come on. It'll at least get your mind off your worries, 
if nothing else. You can go back to worrying tomorrow, if you'd 
like, along with the rest of the government employees."

She almost smiled at the hidden quip. She thought about the 
offer. Did she really want to talk to Jeff about her problems? 
Not really, but the food did sound good. It wasn't as if she was 
going to be able to make anything herself, not tonight anyway. 
And maybe, just maybe, the dinner would get her mind off the 
misery she was going through, if only for an hour or so. No 
longer, she promised herself.

"All right, Jeff. I'll be there in an hour. Is that enough 

"Perfect. Just you wait, Dana Katherine. My lasagna's going 
to have you begging me for the recipe."

"We'll see in an hour, won't we? Bye, Jeff." She hung up the 
phone, walking into her bedroom to wash herself up and change.


The Reflecting Pool, DC
6:42 PM

This was his fifth stop of the day. He'd spent all morning 
and afternoon wandering from place to place, but couldn't find a 
single spot that didn't somehow remind him of her. The little 
restaurant around the corner where he'd delightfully wiped off 
the barbecue sauce from her chin, with his fingers this time. The 
bar where he'd taken her dancing once, just to show her he could, 
and to find out to his pleasant surprise that she could dance 
rings around him any day. And now he was at the bench by the 
pool. He'd finally given up trying to find a way to escape her as 
he remembered the many times they'd shared this seat, this view.

He stared at the shifting waters, letting his mind wander. 
Five years of memories coursed through his head, their first 
meeting, and how awkward it had been, the slow buildup of trust 
and friendship. He wondered if he might have been better off 
never confessing his feelings for her that night. They'd been 
good friends up until then, but if this was what taking that next 
step brought, he wondered if they hadn't made a terrible mistake. 
And now, how could they ever go back?

Okay, so she'd left him. Couldn't he live with that, 
continue without her? Sure the months during her abduction had 
been terrible, but he hadn't died from it. His mind conveniently 
edited out the night Melissa had come to his apartment to 
persuade him to come to Scully's bedside, the night when he'd 
almost put a gun to his head. He could survive, he told himself. 
He'd gotten over Phoebe, over Diana. He could do this. All it 
would take was time, something he had plenty of, something he was 
sure he would need plenty of.

But god, he missed her. It had been less than a day since 
he'd last seen her, but he already missed the way her hair fell 
in her face when she tried to hide the smile he'd managed to 
evoke in her. The way she'd look at him, her eyes shining with 
trust that he'd do the right thing, even while arguing full bore 
against one of his crackpot theories. The way she held his hand, 
so gentle, yet so strong. The way... oh god... the way she felt 
in his arms after a night of making love, the way she screamed 
his name as they lost themselves in each other. Hell, he even 
missed the small mole on her upper lip that she usually tried to 
cover up with makeup, something he would never understand.

He thought again of what she'd told him the previous night. 
She'd all but accused him of cheating on her with Diana. The 
woman was in a coma, and the doctors weren't even sure if she 
would ever wake up. What gave Scully the right to insinuate that? 
Was she that petty, that insecure? He remembered her blatant lie 
at the Maryland facility, asking him to meet her at the office 
after he'd clearly felt her presence in the hallway outside. Had 
she totally misconstrued his conversation with Diana then?

He sucked in a breath as he ran the past week through his 
mind. Yes, he'd hardly seen her outside the temporary office 
they'd been assigned to, but that had only been because he'd been 
afraid to face her without any good news to give to her. He'd 
been searching so hard, trying to find some way to defend 
themselves in the upcoming battle. But had he actually lost sight 
of the final goal? Had he given her the impression that he didn't 
want to be with her? How could she possibly think that?

Suddenly the image of his Scully in another man's arms 
floated into his mind. It was all he could do to keep his 
emotions in check. Yes, he admitted, he was jealous of this Jeff 
Green. He'd had more of Scully's attention this past week than he 
himself had had. Of course, he realized, he didn't really have 
anyone to blame for that but himself. Besides, did he really 
think she was going to fall into bed with somebody, just like 
that? Would the Scully he'd known all these years betray him like 
that, no matter what she thought of him, no matter what he did? 
Besides, how was her jealousy of Diana any different from what he 
felt towards this friend of hers?

He jumped up from the bench, reaching for his cell. He had 
to talk to her. He had to apologize, try to convince her how 
wrong he'd been the previous night, the previous week. He cursed 
as he remembered his coat, lying on the couch back in his 
apartment. With renewed determination, he turned and headed back 
towards his car.


Jeffrey Green's Apartment
US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
7:02 PM

Knock. Knock.

The door opened to reveal a smiling Jeff Green. He pulled 
back, letting her pass before he closed the door behind her.

"Something smells nice." Dana walked over to the kitchen, 
smelling appreciatively. Her stomach growled as she realized she 
hadn't eaten anything the entire day.

Jeff laughed at her embarrassed expression. "And I see 
you're just in time. It'll just be another few minutes. Why don't 
you go have a seat while I finish setting up the table?" He 
pointed to his couch, then moved into the kitchen.

Dana glanced around the living room as she waited. Her eyes 
fell on the mantelpiece, sweeping over the pictures Jeff had 
lined up there. She let her eyes wander over them, her mind 
picturing the events they depicted. Memories, captured within a 
five by seven piece of paper. She smiled at the picture of little 
Jeremy, scampering around chasing a balloon. The picture was 
obviously taken in a park somewhere. Her eyes moved past it, 
coming to rest on an older photo, a wedding shot of Jeff and 
Kyra. Her face sobered immediately. Sometimes, photos, and 
memories, were all you had.

She recalled hearing from Bill about his friend's tragic 
loss almost a year ago. She felt a small shiver pass through her 
body. Jeff's wife had died of cancer, and from what Bill had told 
her, it had been extremely painful for Jeff. She had almost 
followed the same course not that long ago. She could almost 
picture Mulder and her in the Greens' place. Mulder... She 
blinked as the thought inevitably led to other, more depressing 
ones. Mulder, and the state of their relationship pressed into 
the forefront, overshadowing all other thoughts.

In the kitchen, Jeff pulled the forks out of the cabinet 
drawers as his mind wandered. He looked down at the silverware in 
his hands, almost as if he couldn't quite remember what to do 
with them. Internally, his thoughts were in turmoil. He could do 
nothing, and nothing would have changed. But then, his thoughts 
turned to his little boy, lying in the hospital, usually so sick 
from the treatments, he couldn't even recognize his own father. 
If there was even a small chance... He closed his eyes, trying to 
bring his chaotic emotions under control. 'Forgive me, Dana,' he 
thought as he picked up the phone, dialing the number from 
memory. "She's here," he said, then waited for the speaker on the 
other end to finish before he hung up. 'Half an hour, and it 
would all be over.' He let out a deep breath, reaching into his 
pocket for the small vial. Upending its contents into one of the 
wine glasses, he gave the table a final once over, then walked 
out of the kitchen.

'What am I doing here?' she chided herself. She needed to 
think. She needed to figure out what she... '*no*,' she corrected 
herself immediately... what they were going to do. She had to... 
Her thoughts were interrupted by Jeff's voice.


He moved out into the living room. "Dinner's ready anytime 
you are." He smiled as he ushered her towards the small dinner 
arrangement in the middle of the kitchen. "I hope you don't mind 
the bachelor's apartment. It's kinda small, but it's more than I 

She didn't miss the pain in his voice as he said that. It 
shouldn't have been more. Sometimes life was so unfair. To 
everyone. She placed a hand on Jeff's arm, squeezing it slightly 
before sliding into the seat across from him. "Dinner looks 
wonderful, Jeff," she said smiling at him. "Now to see how good 
it actually tastes." Her smile widened into a teasing grin as she 
tried to lighten the mood.

"Oh, you wound me, madame. Dig in and find out for yourself, 
why don't you?"

Jeff watched as she brought a piece of lasagna to her mouth, 
blowing on it slightly before eating it. He saw her eyes widen as 
she chewed and swallowed.

"It's good, Jeff. I'm surprised. Where'd you learn to cook 
like this?" Privately she wondered if it might be possible to get 
the recipe from him. It really was good, almost as good as her 
mom's, but different. "And there's something in here," she said, 
her brows pulling together as she tried to figure it out.

"Ah, yes," Jeff answered proudly, "the secret ingredient."

"Well..." Dana waited expectantly. "What is it?"

"If I told you, it wouldn't exactly be a secret anymore, 
would it?" His eyes crinkled as he started in on his plate.

They ate in silence for a few minutes before Scully asked, 
"So where *did* you learn to cook, Jeff? Most men I know wouldn't 
know a dishpan from a broomhandle."

Jeff placed his fork on his plate, moving his elbows up onto 
the table. He interlaced his fingers, resting his chin on them as 
his thoughts flew back to happier times. "In my case, I suppose 
it was the exact opposite. My Kyra couldn't cook worth a damn, 
and at first, neither could I. So it usually ended up being take-
out on most nights. I finally decided that if we were going to 
survive, one of us was going to have to learn." He let out a 
small laugh. "When I suggested it to her, she gave me this glare 
that would have frozen hell over. So, I broke down, and asked my 
mom for some pointers. It took a while, but now I can cook 
lasagna, meatloaf, chicken, pasta, you name it." He shrugged 
slightly, as he turned back to his dinner. "I guess I just had a 

"Some talent." Dana chuckled. "If only you could bottle it."

"Tell me about it," Jeff answered wryly. "Sometimes, Kyra 
would bring her entire clique of friends to try out her husband's 
excellent cooking, just so she could show me off." He shook his 
head. "I used to get so mad at her for making me cook for so many 
people on such short notice. Now..." he trailed off.

"And now, you miss it," Dana finished softly. She knew 
exactly what he meant, and could certainly relate. She had gotten 
so pissed off at her father for fighting with her about joining 
the FBI, and about so many other things they'd disagreed on. Now 
she'd give anything to be able to talk to him just one more time.

"More than anything," Jeff whispered. "I miss her so much." 
He closed his eyes, then let out a small laugh. "Look at me, 
trying to burden you with my problems, when you've obviously got 
enough on your own mind to deal with. Not to change the subject, 
but would you like to talk about it?" He could almost see the 
wall as it slammed down over her face.

"I'd... rather not, Jeff. It's just..." She paused, taking 
in a deep breath before continuing, "It's just too painful right 
now." She stopped when she felt his hand move towards hers, 
squeezing it reassuringly as she had done for him earlier.

"I... understand. But Dana, you know I'm here, right? If you 
ever want to...," he trailed off, smiling wanly at her grateful 

"How...," she began, then seemed to change her mind. "Tell 
me about Kyra," she said instead.

Jeff blinked. He placed his fork down on his empty plate, 
then stood up to clear the table silently. Dana sat at the table, 
watching him go through the motions as the expressions flitted 
across his face. He placed the dishes in the sink, then retrieved 
his glass of wine before he moved to the counter. He turned 
around, leaning against it as he sipped his wine.

"I'm... sorry if I...," Dana began, but Jeff cut her off.

"No." He sighed. "It's alright. You just caught me by 
surprise, that's all. I haven't really stopped to think about 
Kyra too much after she... after she..." He closed his eyes, 
raising his glass to finish draining it in one swallow. He paused 
to refill his glass, then started talking. "Where do I begin?" He 
looked away from Dana, his eyes focusing on something in the 

Following his gaze, Dana spotted the picture in the living 
room, the one of their wedding day. She turned back to listen to 
what her friend was saying.


Fox Mulder's Apartment
7:04 PM

His fingers trembled as he tried to fit the key into the 
slot in his door. After fumbling for a few minutes, he finally 
managed to get it open. He ran inside towards his couch, reaching 
immediately for the phone. He furiously dialed the number he'd 
memorized so long ago, then sat back to wait as the other end 
rang. And rang. And rang.

He uttered a curse, slamming the phone down before the 
machine on the other end had a chance to pick up. He leaned back 
on his couch, his breath coming out in gasps. He waited a few 
moments to get his breathing under control before reaching for 
the phone again. He'd already been a fool once. It was past time 
to rectify his mistakes.

He told himself that he was utterly calm as he dialed her 
cell phone this time. The mechanical voice notifying him that the 
party he'd tried to reach was not responding didn't faze him in 
the least. He simply dialed her home number again, waiting this 
time till her answering machine came on and he heard her voice on 
the recorded greeting.

And then his calm facade cracked.

"Scully? It's me. I'm... I... I'm so sorry, Scully. I didn't 
mean..." He let out a huge breath before deciding. "This is 
ridiculous. Scully, if you're there, pick up the phone." His 
voice dropped, his tone taking on a more pleading note. "Please, 
Scully. I'm so... very... sorry. I don't know what I was saying 
last night. I... God, I feel... I feel so stupid talking to a 
machine. If you're there, Scully, pick up the goddamn phone." He 
waited for a few seconds, then, "I'm coming over there Scully. We 
need to talk."

With that he hung up the phone and reached for his coat. He 
got up and ran out of his apartment, slamming the door shut 
behind him. He didn't even notice the brass 2 as it came loose 
from his door and fell to the floor.


Jeffrey Green's Apartment
7:27 PM

"... so, of course, I had to prove myself now. I mean, I 
couldn't very well let the challenge go unanswered, could I?"

The two of them moved out of the kitchen and into the living 
room. Sitting down, Dana asked, "So? What did you do?"

"I went up to the jerk and pounded his face in." Jeff raised 
an eyebrow at the sudden gasp of laughter from the redhead. "What 
else was I supposed to do? He was drunk and he'd badmouthed 
pretty much every single woman at the party, not to mention 
harassing all the married ones. If he had touched Kyra one more 

"But, Jeff, an admiral's son?"

"Yeah, well, the admiral wasn't exactly around at the time. 
And after the party, everyone seemed to remember him slipping and 
hitting his head against the table. I got more than one pat on 
the back after that, I'll have you know." He shrugged. "I only 
did what every other crewman in the room was itching to do. In 
fact, after the brass had cleared out, the entire crew gave me a 
round of applause."

"And what did Kyra have to say about that?"

"Oh, she was angry as hell. She went on and on about how she 
could handle herself around a moron like that, and how could I 
possibly put myself in such a position by hitting an admiral's 
son, and what if I'd gotten caught."

"I can imagine. It was a pretty dangerous thing to do."

"Yeah," his eyes twinkled. "But then Kyra took me home to 
show me her appreciation."

Dana allowed herself a small smile at the picture as she 
sipped her wine. "You make it seem like you had such a happy 
marriage. Didn't you guys ever fight?"

"Not too often," Jeff admitted, "but when we did, you can 
bet the entire base would be talking about it the next day." 
Seeing his guest's raised eyebrows, he went on to explain. "I 
knew Kyra for a couple of years before we even decided to start 
seeing each other. She was my friend before we ever became 
intimate. So you see, she knew all my buttons, and exactly which 
ones to push. God..." He shook his head, smiling slightly as he 
remembered. "When we fought, it was like the 'Clash of the 
Titans' or something. I remember when we wouldn't speak to each 
other for days."

"But you always made up," Dana prompted. She couldn't help 
noticing the parallels between the Greens' relationship and hers. 
She hadn't had too much experience with serious or long term 
relationships, but what Jeff had just said would probably sum up 
her and Mulder's fight in a nutshell.

"Oh yeah. Making up was always the best part." Jeff's voice 
lowered to a conspiratorial whisper. "In fact, sometimes, the 
making up almost made the whole thing worth it." He couldn't help 
a smile at the blush that rose up his friend's cheeks.

"Thank you Jeff."

The quiet statement took him by surprise. "Hunh? Whatever 
for, Dana?"

"For dinner. For everything. For talking to me about Kyra. I 
know it couldn't have been easy." She held up her hand to 
forestall his protest. "No, Jeff. I think this is exactly what I 
needed tonight. I thought I wanted to take my mind off my 
problems, but I think, in a way, you've indirectly helped me make 
a decision." She glanced up at the clock, then turned back to her 
friend. "I'm sorry to eat and run, Jeff, but I have something I 
need to take care of."

Green looked at the clock himself, frowning when he saw the 
time. "So soon? You barely got here. Dana, I haven't seen you in 
over six years. I thought we could get caught up on what you've 
been doing with yourself all this time."

"I'm so sorry, Jeff. But this is really important. Besides, 
you're not going anywhere, are you? Maybe you could come over to 
my place for dinner sometime. There's someone I'd like you to 

Jeff raised his eyebrows at her statement. "Oh? Is this 
someone special?" Seeing her blush again, he said, "That's a 
relief." When her expression turned to one of confusion, he asked 
tentatively, "Um... Dana? You do realize why Bill was pushing you 
to take my invitation, don't you?"

The look of confusion only intensified. "I was talking about 
my partner from work, Jeff. Anyway, why would my brother have 
anything to do with..."

"He was setting us up, or at least he was trying to." He 
laughed at the expression on her face, which had gone from 
confusion to realization to outright anger and embarrassment.

"I'm sorry, Jeff. I didn't even..." She trailed off as a new 
idea presented itself. "Oh my god, you didn't expect..."

"No, not at all," he hastened to assure her. "Bill's a great 
friend, but he can be a little dense sometimes. I'm nowhere near 
ready for anything in my life now. I've tried telling him a 
million times, but he's seemed to have made it his life's work to 
cheer me up, so to speak."

"That's Bill for you. On behalf of my brother, Jeff, I'd 
like to apologize..."

"There's no need, Dana. I'm just glad you weren't expecting 
something I wasn't prepared to offer."

"Thank you, Jeff. You're a sweet friend." She reached over 
to gently kiss his cheek. "I'll see you later." With that she 
picked up her purse and walked out the door.

Jeff Green shot a glance at the clock and heaved a breath of 
relief. He then raised a finger to trace his cheek where Dana had 
kissed him. Immediately, he rushed to the bathroom and proceeded 
to throw up.


Dana Scully's Apartment
7:28 PM

His hands reached into his pocket, fingering the keys on the 
ring as he walked up to her door. His mind was rapidly sorting 
through various scenarios as he debated what his first words 
should be.

'I'm so sorry, Scully...'

No. That wouldn't work. How about, 'What I did last 
night...' or 'Every one makes mistakes...'

He shook his head. No, not those either. None of them 
sounded right, for some reason. His steps slowed as he approached 
Scully's door. He swallowed quickly, steeling himself as he 
pulled out the keyring. Which was when he realized it. She wasn't 
at home. He frowned as he pushed open the door, entering the dark 
apartment. Where could she have gone? He walked in, moving to the 
couch. Sitting down, he leaned back, trying to calm himself.

Debating the various possibilities, he finally picked up her 
phone and dialed her cellular again. He almost jumped at the 
sound of the ringing behind him. He hung up, reaching behind him 
to come up with her coat and the cell phone within. She hadn't 
taken it with her, wherever she was. Meaning she was someplace 
she considered safe. 'Think, Mulder. Where would she go, 
especially after what happened last night?' His eyes came open as 
the answer came to him. 'Of course.'

He picked up her phone again, dialing another familiar 
number. He frowned when he heard a male voice pick up, then 
realized who it probably was.

"Bill? Could I speak to your sister?"

"Who is this?"

"Fox Mulder. I'm her partner."

"I know who you are, Mulder. And I'm not going to disturb my 
sister on her day off. You can talk to her at work tomorrow. Good 

Mulder flinched as Bill abruptly hung up on his end.


Margaret Scully's Residence

"Who was that on the phone, dear?"

Bill turned from the phone to see his mother standing in the 
doorway. "No one, mom. Just a wrong number."

Margaret nodded, then turned to head back when the phone 
rang again. She paused, listening as her son picked up the phone 

"Listen. I told you not to call here," she heard him whisper 
harshly. "I won't have you taking over her life..."

"Bill? Is that Fox?"

"What? Umm..." Bill looked up, embarrassed at being caught.

"Let me talk to him." She moved forward, taking the phone 
from him.

"But, mom!"

"Not another word from you, William Scully, Jr. Now don't 
make me make you go to your room." Her eyes flashed, emphasizing 
her threat. Hanging his face, Bill reluctantly turned around and 

"Fox? This is Maggie. Is something the matter? Is Dana 

"She isn't there?"

Maggie frowned at the puzzled tone in his voice. "No. She 
was supposed to be having dinner with a friend tonight." Her 
frown deepened at the sudden intake of breath she heard from the 
other end. "What's wrong? Dana seemed a little preoccupied the 
last time we spoke. Is everything all right at work?" 'And, more 
importantly, between you two,' the silent question hung in the 

"Mrs. Scully." Mulder paused, steeling himself. "I think... 
I think I've made a terrible mistake."

"Oh, Fox. What happened?" Mentally, Maggie prepared herself 
for the worst.

"I... We... we had a fight, Mrs. Scully. A really bad one. I 
don't think... I don't know if we..."

"What about?"

"I don't... if she hasn't told you... I don't think I 

Maggie closed her eyes, shaking her head. 'Of course not.' 
She should have known better than to think Fox Mulder would break 
a confidence. Maybe she could approach the issue indirectly. 
"Fox. Listen to me. Have you talked to her about this yet?"

"No," the reply came in a small voice.

Maggie let out a silent sigh. That was the main problem with 
these two. For all the closeness between them, neither of them 
really talked. They knew each other inside and out, and at the 
same time, were almost clueless about the simplest of things. 
Sometimes it almost made her want to scream in frustration.

"So, tell me. What are you going to do about this?"

The unexpected question caught him by surprise. "Mrs. 

"You heard me. What are you planning on doing now? Staying 
in your apartment and sulking? Or are you going to go out and 
find my daughter and try to climb out of whatever mess you both 
have gotten yourselves into this time?"

The sharpness of her tone almost threw him for a loop. She'd 
never spoken to him so harshly before. He almost couldn't find 
the words, but managed to say, "I... I'm in her apartment now, 
Mrs. Scully. I've been trying to find her. But I don't know where 
she is. I know she's angry with me, but she didn't take her cell 
with her. And she didn't leave any messages or anything. And, 
after the way I treated her, I'll be lucky if she doesn't request 
a transfer come tomorrow..."

"Fox...," she interrupted. "Fox, you're babbling. Now we 
both know that my daughter is not going to request a transfer. 
She wouldn't have stayed with you for so long if she was that 
fickle. I'm sure she wants to work this out as much as you do." 
She paused, her voice growing softer as she continued, "Why don't 
you wait at her place till she comes back, then talk to her about 
it. You've always worked out your differences in the past. Will 
it be any different now?"

"I... I don't know, Mrs. Scully. But I *will* wait for her, 
I promise you that. Can you tell me where she went?"

"She was invited to dinner at Bill's friend's place. In 
fact, she should be back in an hour or so," she said, glancing at 
her clock. "Fox, don't worry. And don't give up on Dana. She's 
never given up on you."

"Thank you, Mrs. Scully. What you said... it meant a lot. 
I'll talk to you later."

"Good night, Fox."

"Good night, Mrs. Scully."

With that, Fox Mulder hung up, leaning back and awaiting a 
new lease on life.


US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
7:31 PM

It was so clear what she had to do. She walked towards her 
car, her mind trying to sort through the various scenarios. Maybe 
she could swing by his place, or... maybe, she could call him. Of 
course, it would have helped if she'd remembered to bring her 
coat along, she chided herself. Not only was she missing a phone, 
but her sword as well.

'What was I thinking?' she asked herself, flinching as the 
answer presented itself in all its glory. The fight, her cutting 
remarks, the way he'd left, his parting comments, scathing in 
their intensity. Had he meant them? She hoped he hadn't. She 
herself had said things she desperately wished she could now take 
back. The memories raced across her mind, each one in chilling 
clarity. It took her a few moments to realize that the bright 
lights swinging across her field of vision were not her 
imagination, but the too bright streetlights that lined the 
sidewalk. She stumbled, her hands reaching out to grab a pole. 
She shook her head to clear it and steady herself before turning 
back towards the parking lot.

Jeff had been right. When you loved someone as much as she 
did Mulder, you knew exactly which buttons to push. And boy, had 
they been pushed. It was almost scary, the amount of power each 
of them had over the other. But then, it was dealing with that 
power, wielding it not to cut, but to build that defined a 
healthy relationship, didn't it?

God, she hoped so. Mulder was the one thing that mattered to 
her in this life, the only thing. The one constant. And she would 
be damned if she'd let him go so easily. 'Not without a fight, 
Mulder. Not without one hell of a fight. You're not getting out 
of this so easily. If you even want out...' And she didn't 
believe that, not when she thought about it. Really thought about 
it, that is. The man had asked her to marry him. Twice! Surely, 
he wouldn't have done that if he hadn't meant it.

She squinted against the bright streetlights, trying to 
figure out where she'd parked. For some reason, the light from 
the streetlights was almost blinding. She could hardly make out 
the shape of the cars in the lot, let alone figure out which one 
was hers. Had they been this bright when she'd parked her car 

Through a haze of confusion, she remembered what she'd 
promised Mulder all those months ago. Forever. And one thing Dana 
Katherine Scully had never been accused of was going back on her 
promises. She looked around, her vision clearing up just enough 
to allow her to recognize her car a few yards away. She headed 
towards it, resolving to give Mulder a call as soon as she 
reached home. A few feet from it, she stumbled again. With a 
small moan, Dana Scully fell to her knees, trembling hands trying 
to hold herself up. A few seconds later, they gave way as she 
quietly slid down to lie on the concrete. She never noticed the 
figures hurrying to her side, lifting her and placing in the back 
of the van. And in her current state, nor did she notice the man 
climbing into her car to follow the van as it slid silently out 
of the parking lot.


Dana Scully's Apartment
8:32 PM

By now, he'd almost worn a trench in her floor, going by the 
number of times he'd paced across her living room. He'd finally 
given up a few minutes before, calling the Gunmen for any 
information on a newly promoted Jeff Green of the United States 
Navy. He rushed towards the couch when he heard his phone ring.


"We found him," the gruff voice of Frohike answered back. 
"Captain Jeffrey Green, late of the USS Eagle, newly promoted to 
Rear Admiral. He's been appointed Provost at the Naval Academy in 

Langly cut in then, "And, listen to this, Mulder. He's been 
offered the Admiralty and a transfer three times, but he refused 
each one. This last time, he was the one who requested to be 
transferred off his ship."

"Any idea why?" Mulder asked.

"Apparently, his son's sick. Cancer. He wanted to be close 
to him."

"Did you guys find anything suspicious in his file?"

"Only the Provost posting," Byers voice filtered through the 
speakerphone in their office. "The post was made available for 
him pretty quick, just when his son was admitted to Georgetown 
Medical. Other than that, this boy's as squeaky clean as they 
come. Although, here's another interesting tidbit. His wife died 
of cancer too. A nasopharyngeal tumor. Sound familiar?"

Mulder pinched his lower lip in thought, then asked, "Do you 
have an address and phone number for him?"

A few moments later, Fox Mulder waited as the phone rang on 
the other end. He frowned after the sixth ring, then hung up the 
phone and reached for his coat.


Jeffrey Green's Apartment
US Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD
8:57 PM

Knock. Knock.

The door opened to reveal a scowling Jeff Green. He leaned 
forward, blocking Mulder's view of the apartment behind him.

"Whatever you're selling..."

"Admiral Green? Fox Mulder, FBI," Mulder interrupted him, 
holding up his badge. "I tried calling earlier. I was told that 
Dana Scully was supposed to be here. I'm her partner. Could I 
speak to her please?"

"Dana?" Green blinked, as if surprised at the question. He 
then nodded, "Sorry, I must've been on the phone. But, yeah, she 
was supposed to meet me here for dinner." He frowned. "But that 
was a couple of hours ago. She never did show up. I'm sorry, 
Agent... uh, Mulder... did you say your name was? But as you can 
see, she's not here," he said pulling back as if to show Mulder 
the empty apartment behind him. "And if you'll excuse me, I'm 
late for an appointment." With that, Green stepped back into his 

Mulder's eyes narrowed at his statement. Something didn't 
feel right. He could sense it, but couldn't quite put his finger 
on what it might be. He followed the other man into the 
apartment, watching as he retrieved his coat from the nearby 
closet. "You haven't heard from her at all? She didn't call to 
cancel or anything?"

"Hmmm...? No...," he replied, shaking his head as if in 
thought. "No, she didn't. I was actually starting to get worried, 
but what with her being an FBI agent and all, I decided that she 
must have been called on a case or something. Is she all right?"

"I'm not sure, Admiral. That's what I'm trying to find out." 
He fished in his pocket for his card. "I'd appreciate a call if 
you hear from her," he said, handing over the card.

"Oh, sure, no problem. If that's all, then..."

"Yes. Thank you for your time, Admiral. Good...," he froze 
as he realized what had been bothering him all this time. Lilacs. 
It was faint, but unmistakable. He'd bought her that perfume 
himself. And after the trouble he'd gone through to get it for 
her in the first place, there was no way he'd forget that scent 
anytime soon. Scully had been here, of that he was reasonably 
certain. With a growing sense of panic, he finished, "... night."

"Agent Mulder...?" Green stared at the agent, getting more 
nervous by the second.

"Admiral Green?" Mulder hoped he got the reverberation, or 
cadence, or whatever it was, in his voice correct. "Are you sure 
you haven't seen Agent Scully today?"

The other man frowned. "I've already told you, Agent Mulder. 
I haven't seen her since yesterday, when I had dinner with her 
over at her mother's. And now, I'm really getting a bit behind. 
If you don't mind...," he trailed off, ushering Mulder towards 
the door. He exited behind the agent, locking the door behind 
him. "Good night, Agent Mulder."

A dumbfounded Fox Mulder watched as Jeff Green walked 
towards the parking lot and got into his car. It should have 
worked, he was almost sure of that. Which left two possibilities. 
Either Green was telling the truth, or he was a resistor. And 
with his, luck, he knew which one he'd bet on. Quietly, he walked 
over to his car, deciding to tail his one and only suspect for a 


Georgetown University Hospital, DC
Lombardi Cancer Center
9:28 PM

He hoped he wasn't too late. With a prayer, he pulled into 
the Leavey Center Garage, then raced into the hospital. He never 
noticed the nondescript Taurus as it pulled into a parking space 
close to his. He entered the hospital, and ran past the various 
nurses' stations, right into the ICU. He stopped short at the 
sight of the empty bed.

He spotted a nurse walking by, and grabbed her shoulder. 
"Nurse. My son. He was supposed to be in here. Where...?"

"Oh yes. His transfer papers were just signed. They moved 
him about 4-5 minutes ago. If you hurry, you can probably still 
catch them," she said, pointing towards the service elevator at 
the back of the wing.

With a hastily uttered thanks, Green rushed away. He was 
just in time to squeeze into the elevator as the doors were 

"Where are you taking him?" he managed breathlessly.

"That is not your concern anymore, Admiral." One of the men 
wearing a doctor's coat turned towards him. "He will be taken 
care of, as promised. Please return to your home. You will be 
contacted shortly."

Green frowned at the doctor's words. "No. I'm coming with my 
boy. After what I had to do for that smoking bastard, it's the 
least you can do."

The four men surrounding little Jeremy's cart leaned in and 
whispered amongst themselves. Finally, one of them pulled out a 
cellular phone and spoke into it for a few seconds. "Very well, 
Admiral. You may come with us," he said, hanging up the phone. 
"However, we cannot guarantee how long you will be allowed to 
stay with your son. You have duties here that you have to get 
back to in order to avoid suspicion."

Green grunted in reply, bending down to brush the hair off 
his son's forehead. "You're gonna be all right, Jeremy. Just you 
wait. Soon, we'll go to DisneyWorld, just like I promised you." 
He leaned closer, brushing his lips against the boy's forehead. 
"Just you wait, son."

The other men looked silently at each other. Meanwhile, the 
boy slept on, oblivious.


A few miles out of DC
9:55 PM

"Dammit, Frohike. I need that information now!" Mulder 
turned the corner, then came to a screeching halt. "Shit! I'll 
call you back." He turned off his cellphone and stared at the van 
that had pulled over a few feet ahead. More importantly, he 
watched as the three armed soldiers slowly approached his car.

"Keep your hands where we can see them and step out of the 
car, sir. Slowly." Two of the soldiers moved closer, while the 
third stayed next to the back of the van.

Mulder squinted against the bright flashlights as he stepped 
out. "I'm a federal agent...," he began as he felt himself 
roughly shoved against the side of his car. He felt one man pat 
him down as the other removed his ID and guns. "I want to know 
what you're carrying. I want to know who's in that van." His 
shout was abruptly cut off as he felt a sharp blow to his side. 
He winced, watching as his badge was tossed to the third soldier.

"Step away from the vehicle, sir."

He felt the two men beside him step back, aiming their guns 
squarely at his chest. He looked towards the third, standing 
beside the van, examining his ID, when he heard it. His head shot 
up in surprise. It was so faint, but... There! His eyes widened. 
He heard it again, a slight moan. Coming from the back of the 
van. 'Scully!' He held his breath, glancing at his captors 
warily. He saw their eyes move away from him, watching their 
superior fold his ID back. He made his move.

With a grunt, he grabbed the two nearest him, swinging 
around to toss them across the road. Snarling, he lunged forward, 
aiming for the third man. He had less than a second to note the 
startled look on the soldier's face. Before the man had a chance 
to raise his rifle, Mulder swatted him aside. He didn't stop to 
watch the body land, moving instead to the rear of the van. He 
grasped the handle, roughly tearing the door open...

... and looked into the startled face of Jeff Green. He 
glanced past the Admiral, noting the small body shifting 
restlessly on the gurney. He had all of two seconds to take this 
in before he felt the sting right above his heart. He was still 
staring into the van in shock, his hands moving up, his fingers 
brushing his chest in surprise. He looked down, staring numbly at 
his bloody fingertips, when he felt the second sting.

Fire! Lancing through his head. He whirled, his head 
snapping around with the strength of the bullet as it glanced off 
his skull, ripping away pieces of bone and flesh in the process. 
His knees gave way, his body sliding noiselessly to the ground. 
The last thing he saw was the fourth soldier coming around the 
van, walking up to him through a red haze. With a soft groan, Fox 
Mulder closed his eyes, and died.


Fox Mulder's Apartment
10:05 PM

The man pulled his trench coat tighter around him, glancing 
around warily as he moved quietly to the apartment at the far 
end. He walked up to the door, his eyes moving down from the 
number on the door to the brass figure lying on the floor. He 
bent down to pick it up, holding it up against its neighbor.

'Forty-two. The answer to everything.' He allowed himself a 
slight smile at the thought. Not quite what he had in mind, but 
close enough. He clutched the figure in one hand, his other 
moving up to push open the door.


10:43 PM

At this time of night, especially this far out of the city, 
there was no one around to hear the strangled gasp from the side 
of the road. The lone body jerked, the head snapping up, drawing 
in deep lungfuls of air. For a long moment, the figure simply 
breathed as the memories came back. The van, the soldiers, the 
bullets... and then, nothing.

With a sigh, the figure rolled over and sat up. He shook his 
head, immediately regretting it as a bolt of pain shot through 
his skull. No matter how many times he died, it still felt like 
hell, he thought, trying to stand up on shaky legs. He looked 
around, then glanced at his watch. Damn. Almost an hour. Wherever 
the van was headed, they were certainly long gone by now. He 
finally spotted his car a few meters down the road and off to the 
side. Wearily, he ambled over, dusting himself off before he got 
in. He pulled out his cell and punched redial, starting his car 
up while he waited.

"It's me. Turn off the tape."

"Mulder. Thank god, man! We were starting to get worried. 
What happened?"

Mulder winced at the panicked tone in Byers' voice, his own 
fear barely under control. He sighed. "I lost them. Any luck on 
the van?"

"Nah. Without more information to go on...," Byers trailed 
off. "But we did get something on the Admiral's son. He was 
supposed to be transferred out of Georgetown Medical sometime 

"I think I figured that one out myself," Mulder replied 
wryly, rubbing the side of his head. His fingers came away 
encrusted with blood and flakes of dead skin. "Any idea where 

"It says private care in some nursing home in Virginia," 
Langly chimed in, "but from what you told us, I think we can 
pretty much assume that that part of the transfer order was 

"Damn." He hit the wheel in disgust. "The one solid lead I 
had." And worse, Scully hadn't even been in the van. He'd have 
felt her otherwise. Of course, the realization came too late to 
actually do him any good, he cursed himself. The feeling of dread 
was slowly growing, constricting his chest. Frohike's concerned 
question didn't help any.

"Mulder? What are you going to do?"

"I don't know, Frohike. I just..." Mulder lowered his head, 
rubbing the palm of his hand into weary eyes. "Give me a call if 
you guys find anything." The dread finally blossomed into full 
fledged panic, and the phone slipped out of his hand. He lowered 
his head onto the steering wheel, his body shaking with quiet 

It was almost a minute before he thought of checking his 
machine. He drew a long shuddering breath before reaching for the 
phone again. He could almost hear her frantic voice in his mind 
from that night so long ago. Four years, an eternity, but 
fleeting nonetheless. 

"Mulder...! I need your help!"

He blinked, reliving those agonizing moments once again.

The sound of glass breaking, then...


He blinked again, the memory almost surreal in its 
intensity. He could almost hear the scream echo in the hollow 
confines of the car. He felt a shiver run through him as he 
remembered the message on his machine, the one he'd been too late 
to respond to. "Not again, God... please...," he whispered in 
anguish, even as his machine finally picked up.

One message. Trembling, his finger brushed against the 
playback button.

"Sometimes, Agent Mulder, the answers can be in the most 
unlikely places. I'd pack light if I were you. And remember not 
to get lost. The world can be a pretty big place."


Fox Mulder's Apartment
11:31 PM

The voice was so familiar, but Mulder couldn't place it for 
the life of him. He stepped across one of the overturned chairs, 
walking towards his machine. He played the message again, for 
what seemed like the millionth time.

He'd hoped and prayed that Scully had simply gone for a 
drive or something to clear her head. Lord knew, after the 
debacle of the day before, both of them needed it. But he'd 
already tried every single place he could think of. He'd had the 
Gunmen check out some of the places around DC that he knew she 
frequented, while he called Skinner, Mrs. Scully, and just about 
everyone he or Scully knew.

Nothing. No one had seen her that day. No one could 
corroborate her leaving her apartment, or arriving at Green's. 
But, she'd been there, he would swear to it. And now, this 
message, just when he needed it. It only served to compound his 
fear, notching his already blooming panic up the scale. He heard 
the faint click as the tape finished rewinding.

"Sometimes, Agent Mulder..."

He sank into his couch as the voice droned on one more time, 
supposedly telling him what he needed to know, yet as cryptic as 
any of him informants had ever been.

"... pack light if I were you..."

He almost knew it by heart now; he'd played it so many times 
already. He allowed his gaze to roam around the room, his eyes 
taking in the books hastily pulled out of the shelves, lying on 
the floor.

"... pretty big place..."

The lamp lying on its side just beyond. The mounds of papers 
scattered across the room. He'd even managed to pull out some of 
the stuffing in his couch trying to find anything, any clue, even 
one small piece of the puzzle that the message on the machine 
hinted at. He reached over, hitting the replay button one more 

"Sometimes, ..."

His eyes fell on his computer, the cursor blinking at the 
end of the file he'd been reading, hoping that some sort of 
message had been left on it. His eyes came to rest on the various 
objects cluttering the rest of his desk, the small clock, the 
brass '2' lying between the globe and his computer, the various 
books... the brass '2' next to the globe...

"... The world can be a pretty big place..."

His eyes narrowed. He reached forward to rewind again.

"... The world can be..."

With a start, he jumped up, his legs hitting the coffee 
table, knocking down most of the objects on it in his haste. He 
ran towards his desk, and with trembling hands, reached forward, 
slowly picking up the globe. It had to be this. He was almost 

It still didn't prevent a small cry from escaping when he 
saw the small X inked in red. Right in the middle of the South 
American continent. He leaned in closer, his eyes barely making 
out the small numbers and letters etched in beside the mark.


The Andes Mountains
Somewhere in Peru, South America
Tuesday, May 26, 1998
5:15 AM, local time

She could feel the vibrations as the table slid into the MRI 
machine. God she hated these tests. With a passion! The chemo 
made her sick to the stomach, and then the nausea during the trip 
through the NMR imaging machine was enough to make her cringe at 
the thought of more treatments. Sometimes, at the worst of the 
treatments, she could almost convince herself that she must have 
been given this cancer because of some past life transgression. 
Surely nothing she'd done in this life merited this harsh a 
punishment. 'Mulder would be so pleased,' she almost smiled to 

She opened her eyes a crack, expecting to see the smooth 
interior of the imaging chamber. Her eyes widened in shock at the 
sight of the white ceiling in its stead. The room... Her head 
spun as she turned her head ever so slightly. She could feel the 
movements, the vibrations traveling through her body. She tamped 
down on her panic and the ebbing feeling of nausea, trying to 
calm herself enough to try to remember why the place seemed so 

'Of course!' The train car. She'd been here before. Or 
another one just like it. Memories, old ones, started coalescing 
in her mind. Not only the ones about the incident with the leper 
colony and that Japanese doctor. What was his name? Ishimaru. No, 
these memories were from before, almost four years old. Perhaps 
it was the familiar feel of the movement of the car, or maybe 
just the atmosphere, but whatever it was, it had triggered a 
spark of recognition, a memory long buried, now resurfacing. She 
recalled her vague memory flashbacks from before, but she was 
sure now. She'd definitely been here before during her abduction.

The shock of realization sent a shiver of horror down her 
spine. 'Not again.' She had no doubt what had happened to her. 
She'd been taken again.

She tried to sit up, only to find herself restrained, her 
hands and feet held down to the table by thick straps. She could 
still feel the lingering presence of drugs in her system, the 
signs evident even in her confusion. Other than the nausea, her 
movements were ever so slightly off, her surroundings swimming in 
a drug induced haze. She tried to crane her neck forward, trying 
to get a better feel of her surroundings when she saw some 
movement out of the corner of her eye.

"Not yet, Agent Scully," she heard the voice float over as 
the man moved closer. "We still have a ways to go," the voice 
continued, the tone almost condescending. "Here, let me give you 
something to help you relax." His hands moved up, pulling off the 
cap of a small hypodermic needle.

"No," she managed in a low whisper, shaking her head 
slightly. She felt the tiny pinprick just below her elbow.

"Just relax, Agent Scully. Let us take care of everything. 
You just rest..." The rest of his words were lost as the drug 
took hold once again, and she fell back into a troubled stupor.

The train moved forward, resolutely winding its way through 
the emptiness of the jungle and up the face of the mountain, 
surrounded by the chirps of birds and animal calls signifying the 
start of a new day. 


8:09 PM

The next time she awoke, she came to with a gasp. She 
blinked, her lungs greedily sucking in oxygen. She lay still for 
what seemed to her an eternity, trying to bring her breathing 
under control.

"Right on schedule."

The voice came from behind her. She tried to turn around to 
get a better look, but found that she was still tied down. She 
struggled for a moment, trying unsuccessfully to escape the 
straps before lying back down. She took the opportunity to take a 
look around. She was in a room this time, bigger than the train 
car from her last memory. She lay on a table, her clothes 
exchanged for what looked like a hospital gown. Just beyond her 
table, there were what appeared to be various tanks filled with 
murky water. She glanced past the tanks, her eyes taking in the 
lab apparatus just beyond, searching for the source of the voice.

"Glad to see you alive again, Agent Scully. I was afraid 
that last treatment might have been a bit much for your system to 
handle." The voice came closer.

She recognized it from the train earlier. How long ago had 
that been? He'd said 'alive again', implying she'd died recently. 
If so, how long had she been 'dead'? She felt the movement next 
to the table. She turned her head, watching as the man moved 
beside her. She sucked in a breath as she recognized the face. 
Someone she didn't think she would ever see again.


She was shocked at the weak voice that emerged from her 
throat. Suddenly she felt the nausea and dizziness from whatever 
medication her system had been plied with. She lay her head back 
against the table, closing her eyes tightly to bring the spinning 
room under control. When she felt the nausea recede slightly, she 
chanced opening her eyes again. She almost flinched at the 
flashlight shining into her eyes.

"You remember me! I'm honored, Agent Scully." The doctor who 
had supervised her cancer treatments almost a year ago, and who'd 
probably had a hand in killing all the Allentown women, pulled 
the flashlight back. He put it in his pocket, walking over to 
check on some readouts from the medical equipment beside her 

"What do you want from me?" she managed to whisper, her 
throat scratchy and hoarse. She coughed from the effort, her mind 
already contemplating worst case possibilities. He obviously knew 
about her immortality, although he wasn't one himself.

"Would you believe the answers to life, the universe, and 
everything?" He had an almost gleeful smile on his face as he 
turned away from her to study his equipment again. "Seriously 
though," he continued, still turned away from her, "do you 
realize what you carry inside you, Agent Scully? Imagine if we 
could somehow duplicate what we did to you. Just think of the 
possibilities. No more sickness. No more death." He paused, 
leaning in to observe a readout closely.

"I'm sure you only have the good of humanity in mind," she 
managed sarcastically. She could almost feel her strength 
returning as the drugs were slowly wiped from her system. "What 
have you done to me?" Her voice was a little stronger now.

"Ah good," Scanlon muttered to himself, looking at his 
equipment and adjusting the monitor one more time before turning 
back to her. "Tsk, tsk. All these questions, Agent Scully. Or can 
I call you Dana, like I did before?" He moved towards her, his 
face breaking into a malicious smile. "It's quite simple really. 
What we're trying to do here," he said, gesturing around to 
indicate the facility, "is to replicate immortality. Did you know 
that about one in every 10,000 people has the potential within 
them to become immortal?"

With her slowly clearing mind, it took her a few seconds to 
understand what that meant. She took in a sharp breath at the 
implications. Almost a half a million people worldwide...

He didn't miss the look of realization on her face. "Ah. I 
see you understand. But there are so many variables, you see. For 
some reason, the presence of family seems to inhibit the final 
crossover into immortality upon the individual's first death. 
There are, of course, other factors. Immortals seem to think of 
their inability to have children as some sort of side effect of 
their condition. It's actually the other way round. The ability 
to have children is another factor that inhibits the crossover." 
He had been looking around the lab, almost as if giving a lecture 
in front of an audience. His eyes came back to rest on her, his 
voice lowering as he continued, "Of course, in your case, we took 
care of *that*, didn't we?"

He almost seemed oblivious to the expression on her face, 
one combining shock, then anger at what had been done to her, and 
the reason behind it, humiliation at the violation of her body, 
and hatred at the people who would conceive of such acts in the 
first place.

"You, Dana," he went on blithely, "were our first success. 
Our only success, actually. Unaided, less than a percent of those 
with the potential actually become immortal. We never expected 
the chip to work for you as well as it did. It never had before. 
Can you imagine how pleased we were that you survived your 
episode with cancer? We still haven't figured out exactly why 
that particular side effect of the initial gene resequencing 
occurs." He paused, as if considering his next words. "It's too 
bad you were the only one, though. Makes the confirmation of the 
correct genes we need to alter and splice that much more 
difficult." He reached behind her, retrieving a hypo similar to 
the one he'd used before on the train. "And now, Dana, it's time 
for you to go under again. We still have so much to do." He held 
up the syringe, measuring the correct amount of fluid.

Her eyes widened at his actions. She did *not* want to go 
through this again. Before he could inject it into her, she 
interrupted, "I'm going to be missed, you know. There'll be 
people looking for me." She stared at him, her eyes daring him to 
reply to her challenge.

Scanlon paused, looking up to meet her gaze. His next 
sentence, delivered in a measured tone, sent a cold chill down 
her spine. "They couldn't find you the last time. What makes you 
think they will now?" He moved back, his hand coming up to point 
the syringe at one of the tanks she'd seen earlier. "Besides, 
this time, I don't think you'll be missed all that much."

Scully followed his gesture, looking at the tanks herself. 
At first, she couldn't see anything through the dirty water. Then 
she spied some movement. She took in a sharp breath. A hand! She 
could have sworn it was a hand, brushing up against the outer 
edges of the tank. The next movement masked any horror she might 
have felt earlier. She saw what lay in the tank. A body, floating 
in the water, some kind of breathing apparatus attached to its 
face. But what horrified her most was what lay behind the mask. 
Under the floating cloud of red hair, she saw a very familiar 
face. Her own! She turned back to face Scanlon, her face 
mirroring her dread.

"Yes, Agent Scully. A clone." He was still staring at the 
tank. "So beautiful, even if I do say so myself." He turned to 
look at her, his mouth curling into a thin smile. "Once she's 
been programmed with your memories, no one will ever know the 
difference. Quite ingenious, don't you think?"

In her shock, all she could do was stammer one word. 

"Ah, yes. Your partner. Don't worry. We have something in 
mind for him as well." The smile was bigger now, the syringe 
moving closer. "He'll never even know you're gone."

She felt the sharp prick as the needle found its mark once 
again. She could almost feel the drug working its way into her 
body, deadening her muscles, clouding her thoughts. She shook her 
head, trying to clear it. She had to stay awake. She had to 
try... She bit her lip to keep the tears from escaping. She 
managed one final question. "Why me? All this just to keep Mulder 
in line?"

"My my, you certainly have a high opinion of your partner, 
don't you, Dana? Not everything is about Fox Mulder, my dear. You 
would have been taken regardless of your partnership with him. As 
I said, your fate was determined the moment you were born, and 
there was nothing you, or Agent Mulder, for that matter could 
have done to change that." He pulled out the syringe. "Now rest. 
We have so much to do, Dana. But then, we have all the time we 
need, don't we?"

She could barely hear him through the haze that seemed to 
envelop her. For what seemed like the umpteenth time, Dana Scully 
let out a sigh as she slowly closed her eyes.


The Andes Mountains
Elsewhere in Peru, South America
10:25 PM

The quiet of the night was unbroken except for the incessant 
chirp of cicadas and other nightlife. Suddenly the hum of noise 
stilled as twin beams of light pierced the endless darkness. The 
car rounded the bend, heading deeper and higher into the jungle.

The man behind the wheel gripped it tighter, his eyes 
straying from the road every few minutes to glance at the GPS 
receiver on the seat next to him. 'Almost there. Just a little 
further,' he thought to himself, almost as if the mantra would 
somehow calm him down or make the journey somehow shorter or 
easier to endure. It had taken him almost a day to get this far, 
but the distance he still had to travel was quite considerable.

"I'm coming, Scully. Just hang on," he whispered.

In his wake, the jungle resumed its nocturnal vigil, 
seemingly oblivious to the temporary intrusion.


The lab
11:37 PM

"I'm coming..."

She could almost hear the faint whispers, his voice, echoing 
around the vast corridors as she ran down them, trying to elude 
her pursuers. She knew he was around here somewhere. She had to 
find him. He would save her. She was sure of it.

"Just hang on...," the voice whispered.

'I'm trying, Mulder. I'm trying so, very, hard,' she 
silently cried, the dream coalescing in her mind, then fading as 
she quietly came awake into reality. Slowly she became aware of 
her surroundings, and the others in the room.

"You promised you wouldn't hurt her!"

She kept her eyes closed, not allowing the frown to show on 
her face. That voice... Not Mulder, but still so familiar. And so 
out of place, especially where she thought she was now. She could 
hear the footsteps coming closer. And she could now feel the 
presence of another immortal nearby. She kept her face blank, not 
giving any indication of her consciousness. Any advantage, she 
thought to herself...

"What have you monsters done to her?"

"Calm yourself, Admiral."

She almost betrayed herself with her shock when she heard 
the new voice, one she hadn't heard for quite a while. She would 
never be able to forget that throaty rasp. Cancerman! But didn't 
Mulder say he'd been shot? And the other voice...

'Damn you Mulder,' she cursed silently. 'Even at your worst, 
you still have to be right, don't you?' She didn't know if she 
hated Mulder for being right, or her friend for proving him 
right. The voice she'd recognized as that of Jeff Green continued 
to protest. She could feel the tears building behind her closed 
eyelids, threatening to expose her. 'Oh Jeff, what have you 

"I've indulged your demands thus far, Admiral. Do not 
presume to overstep your bounds. You are here merely because I 
have allowed it. What we do with Dana Scully is no longer any 
concern of yours."

"Why you..."

"Really, Admiral. Such anger does not become a man in your 
position, especially towards your benefactors. Shouldn't you be 
more concerned about your son? We have kept our part of the 
bargain, have we not? Your son will be treated for his cancer."

"How? I haven't been allowed to see him since we were 
brought here. I want to see him now."

"I'm sure that can be arranged, Admiral. In a little while. 
In the meantime, I'd advise you to return to your quarters. Now, 
if you'll excuse me."

She heard the footsteps recede, then fade away. She almost 
opened her eyes when she felt a slight touch. She felt the 
fingers brushing her hair away from her face, then trail down her 

"I'm so sorry, Dana."

She'd almost convinced herself that she would never again 
forget Mulder's old adage about trusting no one. And then Jeff 
had to go and screw it up. She was shocked at the wretched tone 
in his voice. It was one that belonged to a broken man.

"So very sorry. But I had to do it. They told me... they 
told me they could cure Jeremy. He's so young, Dana." He paused, 
almost chuckling to himself. "Of course, you've never seen him 
have you?" His hands trailed down to clasp her hands in his. 
"He's so beautiful. Did you know that, Dana? When he was happy, 
his face just lit up so." The voice held a distinctly wistful 
note. "He hasn't seen much in the way of happiness in so long. I 
swore I'd give him that once again, but dammit..."

She felt him squeeze her hand tightly. She almost gave 
herself away, but held off at the last moment.

"That god you believe in certainly has a cruel sense of 
humor, doesn't he?" Green snorted ruefully. "I mean, I've just 
made a deal with the devil, just so my son can live a while 
longer. Can you imagine a worse kind of justice? Sometimes life 
can be so unfair."

"Very unfair..."

Green almost jumped when he heard her soft voice. He looked 
at her face, shocked to see the twin tear tracks coursing down 
her cheeks.

"Oh god! Dana..." His face paled at the sight.

"Help me, Jeff," she whispered, straining against her 
restraints. "Get me out of here, please," she pleaded.

"I... I can't, Dana," he replied in a tortured voice. "God, 
I'm so sorry. But I just can't." Her tear filled visage was now 
mirrored on his face. "I have to think about Jeremy. I have to 
give him every chance at life."

"Jeff, please. Don't let them do this to me. Don't let them 
do this to *you*." She raised one hand as far as she could, 
trying to reach for him. She let it drop back down when he 
flinched away, turning his face away from her. "We can always 
find a cure for Jeremy. But do you really think you can live with 
this on your conscience?" she asked softly.

"Don't you think I've thought about that?" he almost 
screamed at her. "Don't you think I've tried every possible 
treatment for my boy? The doctors could do nothing to save Kyra," 
he hissed. "Nothing. Do you know..., god...," he broke off, 
almost crying. "Do you know what it feels like to see half of 
your soul disintegrate slowly before your very eyes? What it 
feels like when you can do nothing whatsoever to stop it? I 
couldn't let that happen again, not to Jeremy, not to my little 

He swallowed, then straightened up, almost as if he'd come 
to a decision. "Every fucking night my nightmares keep me awake, 
Dana. Every day I tear myself apart wondering if I made the right 
decision. I'm so sorry, but I'd do anything to have my boy back. 
Anything..." With that, he turned and strode away from her, not 
looking back once.

Behind him, the figure lying on the table closed her eyes 
again, desperately trying to staunch her tears. She hated Jeff 
for what he'd done to her, but worse still, she empathized with 
him. He was where Mulder had been almost a year ago. Desperate, 
and ready to do anything, including murder, or betrayal, to save 
a loved one. 'Was this what Mulder had had to go through? For 
her?' Mulder had almost sold his soul to the cancerman in return 
for that chip. If that smoking bastard hadn't been shot, who knew 
where Mulder would be now. Probably filling Jeffrey Green's 
shoes, no doubt, she concluded. Just as she would if it had been 
Mulder in her place.

Blinking back the tears to clear her eyes, she glanced 
around. She appeared to be alone in the lab, but just to be on 
the safe side, she tried calling out softly. When no one 
answered, she tried once again to pull herself up, straining 
against her bonds. No luck, just as before, but she noticed that 
her left hand was slightly looser than it had been. Wriggling 
slowly, she tried to pull her hand out of the restraint. After a 
few minutes of fruitless struggle, she almost gave up, beads of 
perspiration dotting her forehead.

She lay there for what seemed like an eternity before a 
thought occurred to her. She'd seen it often enough both on TV 
and in real life. Besides, in her case it was certainly easier. 
She closed her left hand into a fist, her thumb surrounded by the 
other fingers. She bit her lip, softly moaning as the pressure 
increased. Squeezing harder, her teeth drew blood as she felt the 
crack. She almost cried out at the pain, but managed to squelch 
it with a grunt. She slowly opened her palm, her broken thumb 
dangling uselessly from her wrist.

She could feel the heat as her body frantically tried to 
repair the damage. Before the thumb straightened itself out, she 
gave a sharp tug. With a sickening crack from the already broken 
knuckle, her hand came free. She lay her head back, breathing 
heavily. When she felt the pain recede, she reached over and 
unsnapped the restraint on her other hand, then sat up to undo 
her feet. With trembling legs, she slid off the table, holding on 
to it for support as she righted herself. She was free!

She glanced around the room once again, her eyes taking in 
its size for the first time. She could now see the rows upon rows 
of tanks in the room, instead of just the three or four she could 
see before. Quickly making a decision, she moved towards the 
tanks. Many of them were unoccupied, and the ones that were, they 
contained people... clones... with faces she'd seen before. 'What 
had he said his name was?' she frowned. Her face cleared as she 
remembered the name. Kurt Crawford. Mulder had mentioned meeting 
the other Crawford clones at the fertility center. This must have 
been what he'd seen, she realized. Looking up, she moved towards 
the tank she feared the most. Coming up beside it, she steeled 
herself before looking down at her doppelganger.


Scanlon slid his card through the reader, waiting for it to 
acknowledge his presence before opening the door. He glanced at 
his watch as he walked inside. Past midnight, he noted as he 
walked towards the center of the room, pleased to see his newest 
patient still sleeping on the table.

He walked up beside her, pulling out his flashlight to 
examine her eyes again. He pulled back on the lids, satisfied at 
the vacant look in the eyes hidden behind them. 'That last shot 
really wore her out,' he thought to himself. She would probably 
sleep till morning. 'Which is what I should be doing,' he added, 
stifling a yawn.

He moved back towards the door, entering the small office 
there. He hung up his coat, then with a last look around the 
room, shut down the lights and exited the lab.

Behind him, a figure detached itself from behind the 
cabinets, moving out of the shadows. The light from the computers 
glinted off her red hair as she moved towards his coat. Reaching 
in, she found what she was looking for. She pulled out a magnetic 
card, slipping it into a pocket on the smock she'd found, then 
left the room quietly.

She didn't even spare a glance at the perversion of her 
body, now lying where she had been a scant hour ago.


Wednesday, May 27, 1998
12:13 AM

The car came to a screeching halt about a hundred yards away 
from the fence. Quickly shifting into reverse, the figure behind 
the wheel backed away, then turned to the side of the road and 
into the jungle. Once behind the cover of the trees and the 
darkness, he got out, pulling out some of the underbrush in a 
crude attempt to hide the vehicle and its tracks from the road.

A few minutes later, he sat back to survey his handiwork. 
Satisfied, he took off in a quiet run towards the fence he'd seen 

He almost ran into it in his haste. Coming close, he reached 
up to grasp it, intending to climb over it, when he heard a 
slight hum coming from it. Quickly stepping back, he found a 
small twig to throw at the fence. The small shower of sparks 
confirmed his suspicions. He pulled out his GPS receiver, 
squinting to see the readout in the pale light. He still had a 
few miles to go, past the fence.

Straining to hear anything out of the ordinary, he moved 
back towards the fence. With a nervous glance around, he 

... and almost overshot his mark by a good 40 feet. His 
heart thudded in his chest as he looked down at the fence, and a 
good piece of jungle, from almost 50 feet in the air. With a 
gulp, he forced himself to calm down as he slowly descended on 
the other side. Once down, he darted into the cover of some 
nearby bushes, hoping desperately that he hadn't been discovered. 
Vowing to brush up on his flying skills once this whole thing was 
over, he glanced one more time at the receiver, then ambled 
towards the location now burnt into his mind.


Back at the lab
12:32 AM

It had now been almost an hour since she'd woken up. She'd 
tried following Scanlon, but he'd gone through a door beside the 
lab that required voice identification. Probably his sleeping 
area, she mused, moving past the door and down the corridor. The 
room she'd been held in and Scanlon's room had been at the far 
end. Now, turning the corner, she came up short against an 

Not seeing a switch, she looked around until her eyes came 
to rest on the almost invisible slot next to the door. With a 
smile, she pulled out the card from her pocket and slid it in. 
She glanced around while she waited. The entire place seemed like 
a tomb, especially this late at night. It almost reminded her of 
the basement at the FBI when she and Mulder stayed late to finish 
up paperwork.

She snapped out of her reverie at the sound of the elevator 
chime. As soon as the door opened she slid inside. Looking at the 
floor readout, she almost smiled at the irony. She was currently 
in the upper basement level. Quickly sobering up as she 
remembered her situation, she glanced at the sparse number of 
choices she had in front of her. The lower basement was 
definitely out, as was the roof. The exit would be on one of the 
remaining two choices, either the first or the second floor. She 
pressed 'one'.

She hoped she'd made the right choice as the door slid shut 
in her face.


Outside the compound
12:33 AM

Unfortunately, the GPS receiver had failed to mention that 
not only was the final location a few miles further in, but also 
at least a half mile above him. Still, he had to admit, he'd made 
good time.

He hovered a few feet below the edge of the road and against 
the side of the cliff, slowly rising up as he kept watch for any 
sign of life. Hearing and seeing nothing, he cautiously climbed 
over the railing and onto the road. He turned and looked down the 
way he'd flown, swallowing nervously at the steep drop. He 
thought that it was probably a good thing he'd not looked down 
while flying up.

Turning around, he crossed the road, coming up against the 
face of the mountain on the other side. With a sigh, he jumped up 
once again.

This time, he landed on what seemed like the edge of a small 
forest. The wall of trees loomed in the darkness just a few feet 
beyond where he stood. A glance at the receiver told him that he 
was just a little over a mile away from his goal. Cautiously, he 
made his way into the woods.

As expected, after about a mile, he saw the trees thinning 
out in front of him. Coming to the edge, he took cover behind a 
tree. He could make out the compound just a little under 500 
yards away.

There was another fence around it. Beyond that, there 
appeared to be three buildings forming a triangle, with a massive 
fourth building right at the center. Behind the compound, the 
mountain rose again, its summit lost in the darkness, and 
probably the clouds as well, Mulder guessed.

The outer buildings seemed more like military barracks than 
anything else. And he was willing to bet that the entrance to the 
main building was teeming with security. Which left him with one 
choice. He checked the receiver one final time, getting the 
location readout as 450 yards away. Having made his decision, he 
got out from behind the bushes, running towards the fence. He 
hoped his choice of dark clothes and his speed would help him 
blend into the night as he easily vaulted the fence and headed 

Halfway to the main building, he launched into the air once 
again, heading for the small ventilation grate he'd spotted 


Inside the compound
12:34 AM

She wandered down the corridor, heading in what she hoped 
was the direction of the nearest exit. She turned the corner and 
came to a halt.

A dead end! Another locked door. All the ones she'd seen so 
far had required voice identification. She silently fumed, and 
almost turned back when she saw the small outline of a card slot. 
Just like the one next to the elevator. Crossing her fingers, she 
inserted the stolen cardkey in. With a soft sigh, the door in 
front of her slid open.

She stepped inside, moving quietly. Once past the door, she 
realized her error. Instead of a way out, she'd entered another 
lab. This one was similar to the one she'd been held in 
downstairs. Curious, she walked in further.

She came up to the nearest wall, her eyes sweeping across 
the canisters of green fluid lined up on the shelves there. She 
leaned closer, trying to read the small labels on the canisters. 
Her jaw dropped at what she read. 'What the... It couldn't be...' 
She moved to the next one, her eyes widening at each successive 
label. 'Elizabeth Hagopian... Penelope Northern... Oh God!' She 
almost cried out when she came to the ones at the end. 'Dana 
Scully.' She froze in horror. Through the liquid, she could see 
embryos, floating. No, she amended, they were fetuses. The one in 
her canister just barely qualified as one, her clinical mind 
supplied automatically, estimating its developmental stage at 
somewhere between six to eight weeks. This room was some sort of 
incubation chamber, she realized. But what brought tears to her 
eyes were not the names on the labels, not even her own. Her eyes 
wandered to the line below the one that read, "Donor : Dana 

To the line that read, "Emily II".

With trembling fingers, she reached out to touch the sides 
of the container. 'Not again!' She could feel the tears as they 
fell. She let them. Pain burned inside her; her anger blazed 
white hot at the men who would perform such acts of atrocity for 
their own reasons. She heard Mulder's voice in her head, telling 
her about "genetic experiments being done," and about "children 
being created." Was this what she'd helped steal from the Fort 
Marlene facility during the incident when Deep Throat had been 
shot? She hadn't wanted to believe Mulder when he'd told her what 
he'd found in the retirement home in San Diego. But now, with the 
proof right in front of her eyes...

She stood staring at the canisters for what seemed like an 
eternity. With difficulty, she pulled herself away, moving beyond 
the shelves to the refrigeration units. Still reeling from her 
discovery, she pulled the doors open. The billowing smoke from 
the condensation cleared to reveal several rows of small drawers. 
She gasped as she realized what they were. She traced a finger 
along the labels until she came to one with her name on it. 
Taking a breath, she slowly pulled it open, uttering an 
involuntary, "Oh, God!" at what she found. She reached in to pull 
out the vial that lay inside. Her ova! She glanced at the names 
on the other cells, noting those of the Allentown women, 
interspersed among others she didn't know.

She gripped the vial tightly, moving back to close the 
drawer and shut the doors. She looked down at the thin tube she 
held in her hand. Another version of immortality, one she 
wouldn't ever get to experience. She closed her eyes as she 
stepped back, almost stumbling before she came to rest against a 
desk. She put a hand behind her, steadying herself. She stood 
there, taking in deep breaths as she strove to understand what 
she'd seen.

But she couldn't, dammit! How could she? They had taken 
something that had been uniquely hers, something to be cherished, 
and perverted it for their own goals. How could she reconcile 
that with her notions of justice? How dare they...? What right 
did they have...? She couldn't complete her thought, her body 
trembling with rage. She bit her lip to keep from crying out, to 
keep from giving in to the urge to let it all out right then and 

She didn't even look up when she heard the footsteps enter 
the lab. She knew, somewhere in the recesses of her mind, that 
she had to take cover. But, in her present state of mind, she 
couldn't bring herself to care enough. All she could see were the 
floating fetuses... thousands of them, pleading with her to set 
them free, to save them.

"What the hell! What are you doing in here?"

Her head snapped up. She saw the man in the lab coat run 
towards the wall, his hands punching the intercom.

"Security, intruder alert! Security to lab one. I repeat, 
intruder alert! Intruder... uhh..."

Before she could move, she saw the dark shape fall out of 
the ventilation grate in the ceiling and land behind the man. She 
watched as the lab tech's eyes rolled back in his head as he 
slowly slumped to the floor. Behind him stood a sight she had not 
thought she would ever see again.

"Oh, Mulder..." The crack in her voice betrayed her 
happiness at seeing him, coupled with the horror and sadness at 
her discoveries. She slowly took a step towards him.

"Scully..." The soft whisper conveyed words, thoughts, 
beyond measure. He stepped over the prone body in front of him, 
walking towards the other half of his soul. Coming up next to 
her, he pulled her into a hug.

'So tight,' she thought, 'don't let go, Mulder. Don't ever 
let go.'

"Never, Scully. Never again." His hoarse voice washed over 
her as she realized she'd spoken her thoughts aloud. He pulled 
out of the hug, his hands coming up to cup her cheeks. He raised 
her eyes to his, his own tears starting to flow at the sight of 
hers. He rained delicate kisses on her forehead, her eyes, his 
lips trying to capture every drop of moisture on her face.

"I'm so sorry, Scully. I was so stupid. I love you so much. 
You are my soul, Scully. My other half. Without you..."

"Shh...," she placed a finger to his lips. "Just hold me, 
Mulder." She burrowed further into his chest, her tears soaking 
his shirt. "I'm sorry too, Mulder. What I said was... I never 

He silenced her with a sudden kiss, cutting off her attempt 
at an apology. "Much as I'd love to do this right now, Scully, 
we'll have to take a raincheck on the mutual confessions and 
apologies." He glanced back at the body lying behind him. 
"Security will be here any minute now. We have to get out of 


He'd already turned away, headed towards the door, when the 
one word from his partner stopped him in his tracks. He whirled 
around to face her. "Scully..."

His words were cut off as she grabbed his hand, dragging him 
towards the canisters. Anything else he might have wanted to say 
died on his lips as he saw the incubation tanks. She felt his 
gasp when he came to the one... hers... He reached out a 
trembling hand, gently caressing the outside of the glass. He 
turned towards Scully, his eyes filled with sorrow and pain, his 
mouth opening and closing a few times before he could get the 
words out. "I'm so sorry, Scully. I never... Oh, god! What have 
they done? What are we..." He saw the look on her face. His voice 
dropped to a whisper. "What do you want to do, Scully?"

She swallowed a few times, trying to get the courage to tell 
him what she wanted. "We... we have to...," she broke off with a 
choked sob, a hand tightly grasping Mulder's. She felt his hand 
squeezing back, assuring her of his presence, his comfort, his 
support. She took a deep breath, then, "We have to kill them, 
Mulder." He could almost feel her heart breaking as she 
continued, "If they are anything like Emily... We... I... I can't 
allow them to be, Mulder. Not again. They don't deserve to live 
like that. They don't deserve to be used, to die like that."

"Can you do it?"

She blinked, surprised at the matter-of-fact tone in his 
voice. She looked up into his eyes, and realized something. He 
had to do this. He had to distance himself from this, else he 
would succumb to his grief. Just like she would if she wasn't 
careful. There would be time to grieve later. For now... she bit 
her lip, then nodded.

He nodded in reply, then jerked his head up. "Someone's 
coming. Probably in search of the intruder. I'll distract them. 
Will you be all right?" 'Will you be safe?' his eyes asked 
silently. 'More importantly, are you okay with this?'

"Yes," she replied, answering both his questions at once. 
She saw that he still seemed hesitant to leave her. She whispered 
one word, "Go," then resolutely turned to face the task she'd set 
for herself.


"All the preliminary tests are done, sir. We're ready to 
move the boy anytime."

He looked at the screen in front of him, the cigarette smoke 
whirling around his head. "Good," he rasped. "I'll be expecting a 
report tomorrow afternoon."

"What about the father, sir? He's still here. Do you want 
him to go along with the boy?"

"No. Send him to his quarters before you start the transfer. 
I have something else in mind for him."

The man on the screen nodded, then turned away, breaking the 

He sat back, but before he could bring the cigarette back to 
his mouth, his attention was diverted by the blinking red light 
on the console. He turned on the speaker, frowning as he heard 
the words, "Intruder alert."

'She couldn't have...' He flicked on a switch, bringing the 
monitor in the basement lab to life. He allowed himself a sigh of 
relief when he saw the woman still strapped down on the examining 
table. 'But if not her, then...' Of course. He should have known. 
He got up and turned towards the door.


Mulder saw her turn away and move towards the chemicals on 
the other side of the lab. Taking a deep breath, he turned and 
headed out the doors. Turning the corner, he'd barely gone 
halfway down the corridor when he ran into the squad of guards.

As soon as he saw them, he moved, his figure almost blurring 
with speed as he crashed into them. Silently, but efficiently, he 
disarmed all five soldiers, rendering each one unconscious. He 
was just beyond the range of Scully's quickening when he felt 
another immortal, moving towards him. Even with Scully's final 
warning about the presence of an immortal in the building, he was 
still shaken that one of them would be a part of the consortium. 
He looked down the corridor, then back the way he'd come. If he 
went back to the lab, the immortal would surely catch up with 
them before Scully was finished. Making a decision, he stood 
above the guards, his hand reaching for the sword hidden in his 
coat as he waited for the immortal to come to him.

"It's somewhat ironic, I think, that you would die your 
first death in my absence, yet you consider me your greatest 
enemy. Wouldn't you agree, Agent Mulder?"

If Mulder thought the presence of an immortal in the 
consortium was surprising, the identity of the immortal knocked 
him speechless. But then, he *had* survived the shooting, hadn't 
he? He watched as the cancerman walked up to him, the ever-
present cigarette clutched between his fingers.

"You...," Mulder allowed the breathless whisper to escape. 
The moment of surprise was all he allowed himself as a blank 
expression settled on his face. His eyes narrowed as he got a 
tighter grip on his weapon. "I suppose it's no use hoping that 
you'll keel over from lung cancer anytime soon." Before Mulder 
could unsheathe his sword, the other pulled out a gun, aiming it 
squarely at his chest. "What's the matter? Scared now that I've 
got something that can actually kill you?"

The taunt simply served to add a smile on his opponent's 
face, one that sent chills down his spine.

"Do you know how long I've looked forward to this day, Agent 
Mulder? I'm not about to jeopardize it by taking unnecessary 
risks. This...," he said, nodding at the gun, "is just a simple 
precaution. Now, if you'll be so kind as to walk this way..."

He stepped back against the wall, his gun following Mulder 
as the agent walked past him. Away from the lab, Mulder noted in 
relief. "Where are we going?" Mulder asked as they came up to the 

"Somewhere where I hope I can convince you...," he trailed 
off as they stepped into the elevator.

"Convince me of what?"

"I think I'll let the evidence speak for itself."

The elevator stopped on the second floor, the doors opening 
to reveal a short corridor into... Mulder stepped out, his eyes 
roaming around the area in awe. The entire second floor was one 
huge room, the ceiling almost lost in the darkness above him. The 
center of the room was occupied with what seemed like an immense 
hole. It had to have been at least a hundred feet in diameter. 
Suspended above the hole, an intricate network of electronics and 
cables gleamed in the artificial light.  Looking around, Mulder 
could see the array of sensors and monitors that adorned the 
walls of the room. Just walking in, he could feel the power that 
thrummed under the floor beneath his feet.

"Impressed yet, Mulder?"

"What... what is this place?" he whispered, tearing his gaze 
away from the room to focus on his longtime adversary.

"Your truth, Agent Mulder. That which you've been searching 
for your entire life. Proof."

"Proof?" Mulder turned to follow the cancerman as he walked 
past the agent and towards the center of the room.

"Proof, Agent Mulder." He paused, his voice lowering into an 
excited whisper. "Of extraterrestrial life." He walked to the 
railing around the hole, turning and beckoning Mulder to his 
side. "What do you know about the 1947 Roswell incident, Mulder?"

An eyebrow went up, even as the eyes narrowed in distrust. 
After being lied to and deceived so many times, he'd grown almost 
ambivalent about this particular topic. "Supposedly, a UFO 
crashed there, and the government covered it up. From some of the 
things I've seen, I assumed the event actually did take place. 
That is, until I spoke with Kritschgau."

"Ah yes, Michael Kritschgau." A slow smile settled once 
again on the cancerman's weathered face. "An excellent piece of 
disinformation, even if I do say so myself. When I concocted the 
story he fed you, I never thought the others in the consortium 
would use it against *you*. I tried to tell you, if you remember, 
that his story was nothing but lies. And that, Agent Mulder," he 
said, waving his hand around to encompass the hole in the center 
of the room, "is the truth. A large scale replica of the engine 
from the Roswell UFO."

He turned to face Mulder, an almost manic gleam in his eyes. 
"It's a deuterium based fusion reactor, Mulder. Alien technology. 
Would you believe that this single piece of equipment could power 
this entire compound for the next hundred years without 
refueling? That the original engine could, and has, powered craft 
at speeds close to a quarter light speed? Think of it! Anywhere 
in the solar system in less than a day. Imagine the 
possibilities. Imagine the power that would belong to the ones 
who possessed this technology."

"Power. It always comes down to that, doesn't it?" Mulder 
let out a derisive snort, shaking his head. "Besides, from what 
I've seen, you haven't exactly gotten this technology to work 
properly, have you?"

The cigarette man let out a sigh. "You are right about that. 
Unfortunately, before we could examine the alien craft more 
thoroughly, they managed to escape." He raised his head, aiming a 
glare at Mulder when the agent laughed at his admission. "The 
alien craft somehow used an inertia dampening system to reduce 
the effects of acceleration, and some form of advanced force 
field technology to contain the radiation. The radiation's the 
reason the reaction chamber is buried almost a half mile down 
that hole."

"What about the planes? The pilots? How do you protect 
th..." Mulder trailed off, the answer obvious. "Of course. 
Ellens, and the other planes..." Memories of one of his first 
cases with Scully, images of pilots with what were probably 
radiation burns flitted across his mind. "You don't tell them 
about the dangers, do you?" he asked, horrified. "Is that why 
even military test pilots die from testing these planes? From the 
acceleration? From the radiation?"

"For every step forward, Agent Mulder, sacrifices must be 
made. Those men gave their lives to further the project. They 
were nothing but a means to an end."

"You bastard," Mulder spit out. "You would let people die, 
just like that? How can you call yourself human?"

"I am not... human...," he replied, his face conveying the 
impression that saying the word was somehow distasteful. "I am 
immortal. The end result of millennia of evolution. Mortals are 
but  experiments of nature, trying to perfect the immortal 
genome." He paused, taking a puff from his cigarette before 

"You don't believe me, do you? I can see the doubt in your 
face." He took a step toward Mulder, his grip tightening on the 
gun he still held against the agent. "I want to assure my place 
in history, Agent Mulder. If this is the way, then so be it. I 
have no wish to die in the Game. And if you were smart, you'd 
realize that. I offered you the chance to join me once before. 
The offer still holds." He paused, his face turning thoughtful as 
he considered his next words. "You are an immortal, Fox Mulder. 
You are as far above mortals as they are above dogs. And with the 
information that I need, that I'm going to get from your partner, 
we will be invincible. No one, immortal or mortal, would dare 
stand in our way. What do you say, Mulder?"

"And who are you going to get to replace me in the FBI? 
Another pre-immortal, like I was? That idiot, Spender? Don't 
think I didn't see you talking to him in that hospital garage. 
And what information are you talking about? What have you done to 

The smoker blinked, a thread of suspicion running through 
him. Something was not right; he could almost feel it. But he 
couldn't quite put his finger on what it might be. There was just 
something about Mulder's reaction that seemed out of place. 
Shaking his head, he pushed the nagging feeling to the back of 
his mind. "Despite the various stories you may have heard, Agent 
Mulder, there have been only a handful of alien visitations to 
this planet of ours. The one in 1947, the meteor carrying the 
black oil organisms, and a few others including the one you ran 
into in Chicago."

Mulder sucked in a breath as he recalled the case that had 
almost sent him into a mental institution a couple of weeks 

The cancerman let out a small laugh as he noticed his 
reaction. "Oh yes. We finally managed to catch up with it in 
Missouri, after tracking it for almost ten years. All thanks to 
you, Agent Mulder. But, getting back to what I was saying...," he 
trailed off, walking away from Mulder and around the central 
opening. His hands brushed the railing as he stared down the 

"We managed to get samples of DNA from the aliens, Mulder. 
You've seen the effects of grafting this DNA onto immortal genes, 
haven't you? The bounty hunter clone was our greatest success. A 
shape shifting ability combined with an immortal's invincibility. 
Unfortunately, we haven't been able to do anything to remove the 
vertebral vulnerability or the relatively short lifespans of 
these clones. Now do you see why we need your partner, Agent 

"I still have no idea what you are talking about." Mulder 
reached into his coat again, fingering his sword. The action 
seemed to pull the other man out of whatever train of thought 
he'd been immersed in.

He shook the gun at Mulder, indicating that the agent keep 
his hands at his side. "Dr. Ishimaru, the man you knew as Shiro 
Zama, helped me perfect the results of the DNA hybridization. We 
had one success, albeit a horribly disfigured specimen, and he 
immediately stole the result. Of course, I immediately had him 
killed. I never did figure out why the man I sent didn't save the 
experiment. He said he'd gotten there too late. Apparently, not 
too late to save you from the bomb though. I thought the results 
of the experiment were lost forever. Little did I know Agent 
Scully's procedure actually worked. My one *true* success."

Mulder sucked in a breath. "The branched DNA," he whispered, 
"it was from the hybridization. You grafted immortal DNA onto her 
own, didn't you?"

"Now you understand. Yes. We exploited her inherent tendency 
for immortality, gave it a boost, so to speak. None of the other 
women we tried the procedure on survived. If we could just figure 
out how your partner did, we could then replicate it in our 
clones. Think of it, Mulder. The secret to eternal life. An army 
of soldiers who cannot die, loyal to no one but me... us. Our 
current hybrids are invincible, and we can grow them to whatever 
age we want, but they never survive for more than a few years 
after incubation. You saw the result with Agent Scully's 

"How can you be so callous, you son of a bitch?" Mulder 
screamed, cutting him off. "Don't you feel even a shred of regret 
at what you've done? How dare you presume to act as god with 
these people's lives? What gives you and the consortium the 

"Careful, Agent Mulder. Before I reconsider my decision to 
ask you to join me. A conscience is not an asset in this line of 
work, and you'd be well advised to remember that. And no one else 
in the consortium knows about immortals. They are merely a tool 
for me, for us. Once I have the secret of immortality, they will 
go the way of all the other mortals who've stood in my way."

"Like my father?" Mulder hissed. "I suppose he stood in your 
way too? Like Scully's sister?"

"Oh come now. Surely you don't believe he was your real 
father? Don't you know about immortals, Mulder? No family, 
remember? I placed you and Samantha with your parents, but yes. 
Bill Mulder was nothing more than another tool, discarded when he 
tried to betray me. As for Ms. Scully's sister, that was simply 
an unfortunate accident. My men were supposed to scare your 
partner, not try to kill her, and certainly not kill her sister." 
He paused, almost as if he were trying to draw out his next 
words. "Join me, Agent Mulder. Join me, and I'll return your 
partner to you once we're done with her."

"What about my sister? What about Samantha?" There was a 
desperate note in Mulder's voice that had been absent before. 
"Will you return her as well? Was that really her in that diner?"

The other man grew silent, his eyes narrowing at Mulder's 
question. The feeling of wrongness grew. Mulder's reaction to his 
news about Dana Scully was totally different from what he'd 
expected. It almost seemed as if he didn't care that she'd been 
taken again. Had they had some sort of falling out? But, if he 
didn't care for her, a small possibility considering their 
relationship over the last few years, why would he have come 
here, gone through so much trouble to find her?

After the incident with the first Samantha clone, he'd 
figured that Mulder's partner had become almost as important to 
the agent as his sister, if not more. Which made his current 
attitude all the more incongruous. He considered his response to 
Mulder's question. The agent had seemed almost indifferent to 
Scully's second abduction. If he was simply putting up a false 
front, maybe what he needed was another shock to break him. And 
if he really didn't care, then he had as good as joined his 
agenda anyway. He wondered whether the truth about his sister 
would shake him up more, or a lie. Taking a breath, he made his 

"She's dead." He paused at the strangled cry that escaped 
the agent's mouth as he staggered back. He saw the color drain 
from Mulder's face as he clutched the railing, his knuckles 
turning white from the strength of his grip. Another push, and 
he'd surely go over. "She's been dead for almost 20 years, 
although she lived long enough to supply us with the raw material 
for her clones. You've been chasing a ghost all this time, 
Mulder," he went on, his voice almost taunting. He watched the 
transformation on the agent's face with fascination. In the span 
of a few seconds, expressions ranging from disbelief, horror, 
anger and hurt raced across Mulder's face. When it finally 
settled into a mask devoid of emotion, he started to feel the 
first niggling strands of doubt. When Mulder reached in to pull 
out his sword, the doubt solidified into realization. He'd gone 
too far.

"I am Fox Mulder," the words came out, soft yet laced with 
anger and pain. "And you are hereby challenged," Mulder whispered 
quietly, drawing his sword.

The smoker raised his gun, pointing it unwaveringly at his 
opponent's chest. "After all I've done for you, this is the 
thanks I get? I made you what you are, Mulder. How sharper than a 
serpent's tooth..."

"You are about to find out," Mulder spat out as he lunged 
forward. He didn't flinch at the report as the gun went off. He 
barely felt the bullet lodge within his body as he easily knocked 
the weapon out of his tormentor's hand.

The cancerman staggered back, shaking his hand to get the 
feeling back in it. Standing up, he watched in surprise as Mulder 
came towards him, obviously unscathed. He couldn't have missed, 
could he? Not at this range. He reached into his coat to pull out 
his own sword. "I am sorry you feel that way, Agent Mulder. We 
would have made a great team. However..." He pulled the sword 
into a defensive stance, waiting for the first strike. "David 
Williams, and I accept your challenge."

When it came, he was still unprepared for the ferocity of 
the attack. He could tell that Mulder was still in the grip of a 
tremendous rage, the clumsiness of the lunge clear proof of that. 
But the agent more than made up for his inefficiency with speed 
and power. For the first time in more than a century, the man 
whose real name had long since been forgotten felt the faint 
stirrings of panic.

Turning around to face his opponent again, Mulder uttered a 
cry as he raced forward once more. Their blades met with a 
resounding clash, sparks flying off where steel met steel. 
Despite his agility and superior strength, Mulder felt himself 
slowly losing ground as his hated enemy slowly pushed him back, 
away from the center of the room. He knew what lay behind him, 
the bank of controls, arranged in a small semicircle. If he was 
pushed back that far, he would be trapped, his movements 
restricted. Taking control of his rage, he tried to remember what 
both Duncan and Connor had drilled into him since his crossover. 
He felt a sense of calm overtake him as he distanced himself from 
his turbulent thoughts. With an almost elegant grace, he pulled 
up his sword to meet his opponent's onslaught.

The machinery in the room cast an almost eerie glow on the 
two men as they battled. Mulder pressed forward, swinging his 
blade as he tried to press his advantage, but the older man 
effortlessly blocked his swings, his moves tempered by 
experience. Any ground Mulder gained, he immediately lost as the 
other pushed him relentlessly back towards the corner. With a 
desperate cry, Mulder ducked a lethal swing, then pulled his 
sword up, aiming for his opponent's torso.

 The sword swung across empty air, and Mulder immediately 
knew he'd made a mistake. He instinctively pushed himself back, 
but not before he felt the other's sword rake across his face. If 
he'd been a fraction of a second slower, he would have lost his 
head. As it was, he knew he'd been hurt bad when he felt his 
entire face on fire. Worse, the sword had cut across his eyes, 
effectively blinding him as the blood coursed down his face. He 
blinked trying to clear his vision, his sword moving up to meet 
the other's swing almost on instinct. The swords met, the blades 
caught, and with a tug, Mulder's blade was pushed away. He barely 
managed to keep his hand around its hilt when he felt it.


Or hell. That was how he'd describe it. He felt the steel as 
it slid through his stomach, and he could almost imagine it 
sticking out of his back. He threw his head back and screamed. 
His muscles spasmed around the unwelcome intruder as his body 
tried desperately to repair itself. He felt his face 
transforming, his fangs sliding out almost involuntarily, even as 
he knew his eyes had taken on an unearthly hue. He opened his 
eyes, trying again to clear them, but to no avail. He decided to 
keep them shut, straining instead with his other senses as he 
tried to pinpoint his location within the room.

His opponent was taken aback, the blood draining from his 
face. His hand on the sword still embedded in Mulder's body, he 
simply stood there, his mouth agape. "What the hell are you, 
Mulder?" he whispered hoarsely.

"The stuff your worst nightmares are made of," Mulder spat 
at him, tightening his grip on his weapon. With a yell, he pushed 
forward, unmindful of the sword running through him. His body 
slid up the blade, coming to rest up against its hilt. When the 
blade ran out, he kept pushing, moving them both towards the 
center of the room. Still blind, he felt them both come to rest 
against the railing. He pressed forward, jamming the hilt between 
his body and his enemy's, preventing the other from pulling out 
his sword.

"There can be..." Mulder tightened his grip on his own 
sword, raising it above his head. His eyes still closed, he moved 
his other hand up. "... only one," he finished, bringing the 
sword down in a double handed overhead stroke. He felt the rush 
of air as the blade swung. He felt the cancerman still trying to 
disengage his sword, and he thought he felt him raise his other 
hand in a futile effort to ward off the inevitable. Mulder felt 
his sword catch slightly as it cut through flesh and bone, 
swinging across, then down to his side. He felt a tickling 
sensation as the sword slid out of him, pulled out by his 
opponent as his body fell back.

Mulder staggered back, his strength spent. He raised a 
trembling hand to his face, wiping it clean and finally managing 
to open one relatively undamaged eye. He frowned, one hand over 
the other eye as he scanned the deserted room. His face cleared 
as he realized what had happened. He stepped forward, leaning 
against the railing as he looked down the hole. He thought he saw 
something, a faint glow perhaps, but he couldn't be sure. 
Suddenly he saw the faint crackle of electricity, arcing across 
the walls of the shaft an almost impossible distance away. The 
cancerman *had* said that the hole was almost a half a mile deep. 
Mulder allowed himself to feel a perverse sense of satisfaction 
at the idea that he wouldn't be saddled with the black lunged 
bastard's quickening. Not at this distance, anyway.

His head shot up when he saw the room darken. He looked 
around, taking in the sight as console after console abruptly 
darkened. The blackout swept across the room, and before long he 
became aware of a slight increase in the ever-present rumbling 
beneath his feet. He felt the tremors increase in strength, and 
he cast his eyes back down. As he watched, he saw the glow in the 
shaft brighten, slowly increasing in intensity. The shaking was 
threatening to shake him off his feet now. All around him, pieces 
of equipment crashed to the ground, electrical sparks and shorts 
running rampant as several of the consoles exploded. He sucked in 
a breath as he remembered exactly what was down the shaft, and 
the probable effect of any kind of disturbance on said equipment. 
He thought he saw something moving up the hole, and when he 
finally made out what it was, his eye widened in horror.

Below him, a wall of flame moved up the shaft, the terrible 
brightness consuming the oxygen in the hole at an incredible 
rate. Mulder had barely a second to step back before it erupted, 
flames leaping out of the shaft in a grotesque recreation of his 
very own private armageddon. That was the last thought running 
through his mind as the fire enveloped his body, the force of the 
blast enough to propel his charred and broken carcass across the 
room. He felt the incredible pain as layers upon layers of skin 
were simply seared off before the nerve endings were mercifully 
cauterized. He saw more than felt his eyeballs burst, the vivid 
red the last thing his brain processed before the severed optic 
nerves broke the connection to his eyes. He could feel his bones 
grinding against one another, bending in horribly wrong 
directions before breaking under the strain. But he barely felt 
the pain, his nerves already deadened to it, and didn't even have 
the time to realize it as his body first lost consciousness, then 


1:25 AM

She looked through the computer one last time, her finger 
trailing across the screen as she read off the chart line by line 
until she came to her own.

Scully, DK 13.10.94

Fetus: Emily
status: hybrid - donor samples S222-7.7.47, I171-27.9.73
life expectancy: 3 years, terminated

Fetus: Emily II
status: hybrid - donor samples S223-7.7.47, I171-27.9.73
life expectancy: 5 years

status: hybrid - donor samples S226-7.7.47, I171-27.9.73
count: 2400 viable

She bit her lip, the words blurring in front of her eyes. It 
took her a few seconds to realize that the reason was the tears 
starting to flow down her face rather than any shortcoming on the 
part of the computer monitor. Dammit, she'd resolved to hold her 
emotions in check until this thing was over and done with. She'd 
already cried far too much the last few days, but there was only 
so much hurt a human psyche, albeit an immortal one, could take 
before it started to break down. She'd been hoping against hope 
that perhaps some of her ova at least could have been salvaged. 
Unfortunately, all of hers and the others' had been hybridized.

She'd already destroyed the incubation tanks, taking care to 
add enough cyanide to kill the fetuses, quickly and painlessly. 
She'd also raised the temperature on the refrigeration units 
until all the ova became unviable. All that was left was the vial 
of her own ova that she'd retrieved earlier. She looked down at 
it, her fingers stroking it as she thought about the 
possibilities that could now never be. Swallowing back a choked 
sob, she undid the clasp and pulled out the cap. She reached over 
to the solution she'd prepared earlier from the supplies she'd 
found in the lab. Picking up the dropper, she allowed a couple of 
drops to fall in, feeling like a murderer even as she watched the 
solution in the vial grow murky.

She had barely finished when saw the monitor turn off. She 
looked up just in time to see the lights in the lab flicker, then 
die down. A few seconds later, the emergency lighting came 
online, bathing the room in dim orange light. At the same time, 
she felt the rumble beneath her feet. She jumped out of the 
chair, moving against a wall as she felt the entire room start to 
shake. She glanced around, watching in shock as several of the 
incubation canisters fell off their shelves. One after another, 
they fell, the sounds of glass shattering echoing around the 
empty lab. Across the room, several monitors and consoles burst 
into flame, even as the floor beneath her threatened to push her 
off her feet.

She barely had the time to wonder if this area was prone to 
earthquakes when she felt the floor tilt beneath her. The vial 
fell from her hand, shattering against the hard tiles. She looked 
up to see an entire section of the wall buckle, then lean towards 
her. The last thing she saw was the widening crack along the wall 
as pieces of both it and the ceiling fell on her.


1:37 AM

She came to with a gasp, realizing immediately that she'd 
only been knocked unconscious. Her eyes flew open, taking in her 
surroundings. Amid the irregular strobes of orange light, she 
could barely make out the pieces of ceiling that lay atop her 
small frame, propped against each other, providing a sort of 
crude overhang. It had protected her from all the other debris 
that she could see once she dragged herself out from under it.

She stood on shaky legs, turning around to survey the 
damage. Her eyes widened as she looked up. This was the first 
floor, with at least one more above her. Yet she could see the 
stars shining above her head. Her jaw dropped. Whatever had 
happened, the entire second floor of the building now occupied 
the same space as the first. Looking around, she stepped over 
various pieces of debris, giving the room a final once over 
before heading out into the corridor. She had one thought in her 
head. To find Mulder.

Having decided to retrace her steps to the elevator, she was 
halfway down the corridor when she heard the faint groans. She 
froze, her eyes darting every which way, painfully aware that she 
was weaponless should someone decide to pose a threat. When she 
heard the pain that laced the next groan, she turned, moving 
towards the sound. A few doors down on her left, she paused. When 
she heard it again, she made up her mind. With a grunt she threw 
herself against the door, easily breaking it open now that most 
of its supports had given way. She stumbled in, then stopped at 
the sight that greeted her.

On the ground in front of her, a bruised and battered 
Jeffrey Green lay under what looked like an entire section of the 
outer wall. Uttering a small cry, Scully rushed forward, kneeling 
beside the inert form. She dug her fingers under the block of 
concrete, desperately trying to raise it. She stopped when she 
felt the faint brush of his fingers across her wrist. She looked 
down, watching his eyes flutter open as his mouth started to 

"I'm so sorry, Dana. For everything..."

She could barely hear his faint whisper. She pressed two 
fingers against his throat, feeling the thready pulse there. 
"Don't you dare die on me Jeff," Scully pleaded frantically. "Let 
me just get this thing off. You'll be fine. You still owe me that 
lasagna recipe, remember?"

The shattered mouth stretched in a grotesque imitation of a 
smile, then went limp. "Too late...," he breathed, then coughed, 
blood spilling out of his mouth. "I just wish..." He was 
interrupted by another bout of coughing. Scully could easily make 
out the sound of the fluid that was rapidly seeping into his 
lungs. "... Jeremy..." The one word came out in a whisper as his 
body finally stilled.

"*JEFF*!" she screamed, her fingers trying to find a pulse 
without success. 'Not again!' she cried to herself. 'Not someone 
else I care for. How many more?' she railed against a god she had 
difficulty believing in at the moment. She wiped her eyes, then 
slid a hand over his face, closing his eyes. Hanging her head, 
she stood back up, turning to leave the way she'd come. Surveying 
the damage, she knew that there could be no way little Jeremy had 
survived this. She resolutely moved towards the center of the 
complex, still trying to find Mulder.

She paused at the end of the corridor, gaping at the amount 
of damage in this section of the building. Here, nothing was left 
standing except for a few walls. But the piles of debris more 
than made up for the lack of obstacles in her path. Absently 
scratching her hands, she moved around the pieces of rubble. When 
she felt the itch start up all over her body, she paused, 
frowning. She looked down at her hands, her eyes widening in 
shock at what she saw. She immediately recognized the signs... 
radiation poisoning. What exactly had happened here?

Ignoring the itch for now, she walked towards where most of 
the wreckage lay. With their luck... Her intuition paid off, her 
eyes catching a glimpse of a hand jutting out from beneath a 
mountain of debris. She looked around for something to pry the 
rubble off. Picking up a piece of railing, she hooked it under a 
piece of concrete, managing to lever it off the body underneath. 
She gasped in horror at the sight in front of her.

She almost had trouble recognizing the body as Mulder's. 
Most of his face and body had been burned off, his limbs 
occupying positions unattainable by the human form. She knelt 
down beside him, lifting his hand and caressing it gently. Her 
head jerked up when she heard the noise. She looked up, just able 
to make out the faint outline of a helicopter in the distance, 
silhouetted against the moon.

She looked back down. Finding his sword not too far away, 
she tucked it within what was left of his coat. She briefly 
wondered at the identity of the other immortal that Mulder must 
have fought with. 'And won, thank god,' she silently added with 
relief. "Sorry about this, Mulder," she muttered, then grabbed 
his hands and pulled up. Standing up, she placed one of his hands 
across her shoulder, then dragged him as she moved down the 
corridor to where she'd seen a possible exit. Reaching the hole 
in the building's outer wall, she managed to pull Mulder through 
it and out onto the compound ground. She tried to remember what 
Mulder had told her about the layout of the place, but gave it up 
when she saw that she couldn't make out anything in the darkness. 
Wherever the chopper was coming from, they hadn't been here when 
the explosion had occurred. The entire compound, what she could 
make out of it anyway, was now a total loss, and she was sure 
that other than herself and Mulder, not one person had survived.

She could barely make out the outline of some woods in the 
distance, and decided to head for them. She trudged across open 
ground for what seemed like an eternity after climbing through a 
gaping hole in the perimeter fence, dragging Mulder's dead weight 
behind her. She almost let out a hysterical laugh at the 
appropriateness of calling his body "dead" weight, then sobered 
when she heard the noise from the helicopter come closer. She'd 
barely made it to the woods when she saw the bright searchlight 
play across the compound and its surroundings. She saw the light 
move in her direction. Protected though she was by the overhang 
of trees, she still let out a breath of relief when it veered off 
just a few feet shy of the two agents.

Quickly turning around, she pulled Mulder deeper into the 
woods, hoping to find a method of escape on the other side. It 
was slow going until she noted the thinning trees as she came to 
the opposite edge, then almost let out a cry as she froze at the 
steep drop just past it. Another couple of steps and she'd surely 
have gone over. She backed up to behind the tree line, trying to 
figure a way out. She couldn't carry Mulder much farther, his 
body already weighing her down, tiring her. As it was, every 
muscle in her body complained at the abuse she was putting them 
through. And, for all intents and purposes, Fox Mulder had yet to 
rejoin the land of the living.

She let Mulder slide down to the ground, then bent down, 
hands on her knees as she drew in several deep breaths. The sound 
of her breathing seemed almost deafening in the silence. Suddenly 
she realized that she couldn't hear the helicopter anymore. That 
meant two possibilities. Either they had landed, an unlikely 
possibility considering the evidence of the explosion, especially 
if they knew about the radiation. Or, more likely, they had gone 
for reinforcements, which meant that soon the entire area would 
be crawling with men in radiation suits, and resources better 
equipped to investigate the explosion. 'And search for 
survivors,' the voice at the back of her mind needlessly echoed. 
She was running out of time.

She glanced back down at Mulder's prone body, and came to a 
decision. She remembered something Natalie had mentioned back in 
Seattle. The topic had come up in idle conversation, but she was 
quickly running out of ideas. Taking a breath, she kneeled beside 
Mulder, reaching in to pull out his sword. She held it over her 
wrist, her fingers trembling over the hilt. Closing her eyes, she 
gritted her teeth as she pulled the sword across her hand. She 
flinched at the sharp pain as she severed the veins in her wrist. 
Quickly, she put the sword aside, pulling down on Mulder's jaw, 
laying her wrist against it. She watched as drop after precious 
drop fell into his mouth.

After a few seconds, she felt the wound close up. She placed 
two fingers against Mulder's throat, feeling for a pulse without 
success. With a sigh, she repeated the procedure. Her wrist 
brushed against Mulder's lips, this time sending an almost 
electric tingle up her arm. She felt a faint warmth against her 
hand, a faint tingle as she felt the field of his quickening 
brush against hers. Looking down, she saw the dry and cracked 
lips part slightly, allowing the liquid to flow through. Her eyes 
widened in shock as she watched the fangs slide down from their 
sheath. His mouth moved forward, his teeth latching onto the open 
wound, sucking greedily.

She felt the sensations coursing through her, her body 
almost shutting itself down at the incredible feelings it felt. 
She threw her head back, her eyes closed tight, her teeth biting 
down hard on her lower lip to keep from screaming. As it was, she 
couldn't hold back the moan that escaped her lips.

'Ohhhhh!!! GOD!!!' The hunger. Unimaginable pleasure. 
Unbearable pain. Sheer ecstasy warring against stark terror. A 
fire in her, reaching from the tip of her toes to the roots of 
her hair. The doctor in her mentally cataloged a possible toxin 
in Mulder's saliva, some sort of endorphin or other peptide 
hormone, triggering the opiate receptors in her brain. The rest 
of her threatened to fall into a delirium of ecstasy.

But all this was eclipsed by the one feeling that shot 
through her, striking her to the very core of her being. She felt 
his essence, enveloping her, cocooning her within itself. She 
felt the depth of his love, sweeping through her body, causing 
her to almost cry out at the intensity of the emotion. She knew 
he loved her. She believed it with every breath of her being. But 
if this was what he felt, she wondered how he withstood it every 
moment of every day. How had he survived for five years, so close 
to her, yet standing across an unreachable chasm for all intents 
and purposes? She shuddered at the loneliness he must have felt 
all his life, being denied someone to share his heart, his very 
soul with. Suddenly she felt almost ashamed of her actions. Not 
that Mulder didn't share some of the blame for their behavior the 
past week. But she could only imagine the kind of torture he must 
have gone through when he'd left her apartment.

She made a silent vow to herself never to let that happen 
ever again. Never to let it get this bad. She wasn't sure Mulder 
would survive it. And she wasn't entirely sure she'd survive his 
loss either. Two beings, two lives, so intricately interwoven 
with each other. Almost inconceivable in its terrible beauty. 
Ironic that a god that could create monsters that killed and 
destroyed lives with such impunity could also create something so 
wonderful. Ironic, yet somehow infinitely appropriate.

'SCULLY!!!' The scream tore through the haze surrounding 
her. Her eyes snapped open, her hand automatically reaching for 
his mouth in an attempt to quiet him. She was already feeling 
somewhat lightheaded from the blood loss. The fog lifted as she 
realized that his mouth was still closed around her wrist. She 
frowned. He hadn't screamed, but she'd heard him, hadn't she? She 
certainly recognized his voice. She saw his eyes blink once, 
again, then almost recoiled at the angry red that seemed to light 
up his face in an ethereal glow. She reached forward to disengage 
herself from his mouth.

"Mulder," she whispered, even the low volume not quite able 
to keep the tremors out of her voice. She could still feel the 
intense emotions coursing through her, emotions that she was hard 
pressed to keep under control. She tried to pry apart his jaw, 
but she could hardly keep her eyes open. Damn! Natalie had warned 
her about this, about the hunger, but she'd thought she could 
control him. Obviously she hadn't been able to. This wasn't an 
experience she'd forget anytime soon, she thought as she lost the 
struggle to stay conscious.


Thirst! That was the first thing she was aware of when she 
opened her eyes. It was still dark, and she had no idea how long 
she had been unconscious. She felt a slight movement next to her, 
and realized that the tickling sensation she was feeling was 
Mulder's arm slung across her stomach. Licking her lips in an 
attempt to wet her mouth, she managed to find her voice enough to 
whisper a faint, "Mulder?"

She felt the body beside her stir, felt the arm tighten, 
pulling her closer. With a regretful sigh, she pulled herself 
loose, immediately feeling a sense of loss as she left his 
embrace. She saw Mulder lying beside her, his eyes closed. His 
body seemed to have healed a little, the horrible burns not as 
visible now as they had been before. But he was still a sight, 
flaked and burnt areas still evident as they formed a patchwork 
across his body. She delicately ran a hand over his face, 
thankful that it had almost returned to some semblance of his 
former visage. Most of the hair on his face had been singed off, 
and what remained on his head looked like someone had taken a 
weed whacker to it. 'Not unlike some of his haircuts,' she mused 
with a slight smile. Well, she consoled herself, it would grow 
back. It always had before. She ran her fingers through the dry 
bristle with a wistful sigh.

She was wondering how much time they had before somebody 
found them when she was startled by her partner coming around. 
"Mulder?" she whispered again, kneeling beside him as her hands 
caressed his face. "Hey partner," she asked softly, "how are you 

"Like I've been on a tour of Bikini Island at the wrong time 
of the century," the hoarse voice whispered back before subsiding 
into a fit of coughs.

"Whoa! Easy there, G-man." Scully helped him to a sitting 
position, leaning him against a tree, then settling down to sit 
beside him. "You may not be too far off. The compound is pretty 
much destroyed by what seems like a small scale atomic explosion. 
Anyone not killed in the blast would surely have succumbed to 
radiation poisoning by now."

"Fusion, Scully," he corrected. He raised his hands to rub 
his eyes. "Cancerman said he had a fusion reactor...," Mulder 
trailed off, blinking as he finally opened his eyes. "Scully?" he 
ventured faintly, his voice almost... frightened. His head darted 
from side to side as he tried to focus on her face. His partner 
watched his movements with confusion, then shock as she realized 
something. "Scully, where are you? It's too dark. I can't see 

"It's not that dark, Mulder." Scully reached forward to lift 
his chin, her heart thumping painfully when she saw him flinch in 
surprise at her touch. She waved her other hand in front of his 
eyes, eyes that still glowed red in the darkness. Her heart sank 
as she registered the lack of response. At his questioning 
glance, she replied softly, "The stars are out, Mulder. I can see 


"Mulder, your eyes haven't healed yet. You're still blind."

He took in a deep breath. He closed his eyes, nodding slowly 
as if accepting his condition.

It didn't fool his partner one bit. Scully could clearly see 
the slight quiver in his lip, something she knew only happened 
when Mulder was close to losing control. "It's okay, Mulder. I'm 
here. You're going to be all right," she said reassuringly. She 
moved beside him, cradling his head against her chest, hugging 
him close to her. "Both Nick and Duncan said that eye injuries 
are one of the hardest to heal. Give it time."

The raw terror that assailed her almost caused her to flinch 
at its vehemence. When Nick had mentioned that a vampire's bite 
initiated a faint mental connection between the parties involved, 
she had written it off as unfounded fantasy. She was rapidly 
revising her notions now. The overwhelming feelings coursing 
through her when he'd bitten her, the spark inside her that was 
Mulder, a part of him that remained with her even after their 
connection was severed... all the side effects that both Nick and 
Natalie had cautioned her about, only magnified a thousandfold. 
They had thoroughly understated the effect, especially now that 
she was in physical contact with him.

For his part, the fear was the only thing Mulder could think 
of. The last thing he remembered was the wall of flame rising, 
coming toward him. Pain, and then blessed blackness... permeated 
with images of his sister floating away, ensconced in a bright 
light, images of Scully being taken by Barry while he stood by 
helpless, images of the office, his beloved files, his life's 
work, whisked away in a flash, images of their fight... He'd 
desperately fought the cloying darkness, the battle seemingly 
hopeless until he felt it... her... his Scully. He could feel her 
presence, almost tangible, yet somehow ethereal. A spark, the 
essence of what was Scully somehow reached him through the 
darkness surrounding him, lighting the way to his salvation. As 
soon as he was able, he yelled out for her, his grip tightening 
around what he knew instinctively was her. He felt himself 
sinking into sleep, one less troubled now that he was with her.

But to come awake to this... this endless darkness that 
somehow seemed to reach into the very depths of his soul, 
terrified him. He abruptly felt his partner move closer, pulling 
his head against her body, her warmth suffusing him, her love 
pulling asunder the grip that his fear held over him. He could 
feel her calmness surrounding him, giving him strength. "I'll be 
okay, Scully. I just..." He felt a shudder run through his body, 
causing his partner to hug him that much tighter.

"I love you, Mulder." She bent her head, her lips grazing 
his temple.

And for the first time, not only did he just believe her 
words, he knew them, felt them ring true to the very core of his 
being. Flashes of what she had done for him, searching through 
the lab, the trek through the woods, and finally lending him her 
own life-force to help him heal... the images came to him across 
their bond, faint, yet unmistakable. And above it all, he felt 
her love, unconditional and absolute. He'd waited his entire life 
for someone like her. How could he have possibly thought 
otherwise? How could he have even considered the notion...? 
Looking back, it seemed so ridiculous in the light of the raw 
emotion he was now feeling. 'Never again,' he promised himself, 
even as the tears streaked down the slowly healing cheeks.

Suddenly, his head jerked up in her arms. When he heard 
Scully start in surprise, he raised his hands to her face, 
placing a finger against her lips as he concentrated. "I think... 
yes," he murmured. "Scully, I can hear choppers. At least a 
couple of them, maybe more. They're getting closer." He heard the 
quick intake of breath, then the shuffling as she got up. He felt 
her hand reach for his, pulling him to his feet, clutching him to 
her when he almost keeled over.

"We have to get out of here, Mulder. Right now, we're at the 
edge of a small forest, and a few feet away there's a steep 
cliff. It was pretty dark when we came out of the compound. Do 
you remember seeing any other ways out?"

"I remember this place. I think I flew up this cliff and 
came through this forest to the compound. There was a road 
winding up the mountain, with some train tracks beside it in 
places. I think I remember seeing the road behind one of the 

"I remember being brought here in a train. But I don't 
remember any barracks."

"That's what they looked like. The small buildings inside 
the compound."

"I never saw the compound or the surrounding area when I was 
brought here, Mulder. And in this darkness, I stumbled across 
this forest more by sheer luck than anything. I'd be surprised if 
there's anything left standing back there though. Do you think 
you can fly back down the cliff?"

Mulder still leaned heavily on her. She felt his weight lift 
ever so slightly for a moment, even as his breathing became more 
labored. She briefly wondered at that, considering that he didn't 
really need to breathe, then chalked it up to his body's 
instinctual response rather than a physical need. When his weight 
came crashing back on her, she almost staggered.

"Damn. I can't even get my feet off the ground, Scully. I 
think we'd better make for the road I saw earlier."

"Hang on, Mulder." Scully took his arm and placed it over 
her shoulder, half dragging him back the way they'd come. It took 
a little less time to retrace their steps, with Mulder helping 
more this time around, before they reached the other edge of the 
woods again. Considering that she still couldn't hear the 
helicopters, she surmised that they had a good chance of getting 
to the barracks Mulder had mentioned without getting caught. That 
thought in mind, she set out in what she hoped was the right 

After ten minutes of stumbling and more than a little 
cursing on Mulder's part at his inability to see where he was 
going, the agents finally reached the building on the far edge. 
Now that the cloud cover had eased somewhat, Scully could see the 
road beyond in the moonlight. Much of the building had been 
destroyed in the explosion, and Scully could clearly make out 
several vehicles and bodies inside. "Wait here, Mulder. I'll be 
right back." She stopped when she felt him grip her arm tighter, 
the sense of panic flaring out again. He still couldn't see, and 
she could feel his terror at being left alone again. "It's okay, 
Mulder," she whispered, pulling him back towards her, her arms 
going around him, hugging him tight.

"I'm sorry, Scully, it's... I'm..."

"I know. I'm here, Mulder. I'm not going anywhere. I'm right 
here. Just relax, Mulder. I'm going to see if I can find a car in 
there, okay?" She paused, feeling his grip on her arm slacken 
slightly. She peered up into his face. "Mulder? Will you be all 
right?" She could still feel his terror, but there was a small 
region of calm now. She saw him nod, then reached up to brush her 
parched lips against his bruised and cracked ones before she 
slipped out of his grasp.

He felt the burst of panic flare again before he reined it 
in. She was no longer near him; he could hear her as she climbed 
over a wall and walked into the building. But he could feel her, 
within him, her presence from the... 'joining', for lack of a 
better word... still inside him. He traced the edges of the 
presence in his mind, much like tracing a filling with one's 
tongue. But this was like reaching out and touching Scully 
herself, yet not... He felt her answering message of reassurance 
and love, fainter now, but there nonetheless. 'Hurry, Scully,' he 
mentally prodded her, painfully aware of the approaching 

Scully stepped over the bodies inside the barracks, noting 
that most of them exhibited definite signs of radiation exposure. 
Of course, most of them had died long before the effects had set 
in, victims of the explosion that had caused all the damage. She 
sighed, walking over to the back, towards the garage area. She 
could see a few military vehicles, a couple of jeeps, a suburban, 
and a few vans. Most, if not all were covered by debris from the 
caved in ceiling. She meticulously checked each, but found none 
that still worked. All had suffered severe damage from the 
explosion. She walked to the back of the garage, almost giving up 
hope when she spotted it. Taking a deep breath, she resolutely 
walked over.

Mulder heard the footsteps get louder as Scully moved 
towards him. He frowned. He'd expected her to be driving out, but 
instead she seemed to be dragging something along with her. He 
waited until she came up beside him. He raised his hand, his 
fingers grazing hers as she reached out for him. He slid his hand 
down hers, moving down until he came to the object she clutched 
in her other hand. His eyebrows shot up as he realized what it 
was, an expression that clearly said, "You've got to be kidding," 
plastered on his face.

"It was the only thing I could find, Mulder. And I was lucky 
at that. None of the other vehicles made it through the 
explosion. It's either this or walk down the mountain. Have you 
ever driven one of these?"

"Scully, it's more than a few hours by walk, most of it 
through South American forest. But, a motorcycle, Scully?" he 
groaned, incredulous. Then, with a sigh, "Yeah, I've driven them 
a couple of times, but I'm hardly in a condition to drive one 

"Good. It can't be harder than riding a bike, right? Just 
tell me how to make it go. I'll handle the rest."

He gave her a look that clearly said she was going to be 
finding out exactly how hard it really was, the hard way. "First 
you gotta start it. You do have the key, right?"

"Yeah, I found it in the ignition."

"Good, okay." He proceeded to give her the basics, then 
stood by as she straddled the bike. He almost let out a smile as 
she let out a small yelp. A second later, he heard her jump away 
as the bike crashed to the ground.

"Not a word, Mulder. Not a word, or so help me..."

He raised his hand in surrender. "Did I say anything?" He 
couldn't help the small chuckle, however, as she hefted the bike 
and sat on it once again. He had no doubt that she was glaring 
daggers at him. He heard her try to gun the engine a couple of 
times before giving up in disgust. When he heard her call to him, 
he moved towards her. She reached out a hand to guide him toward 
the bike. He placed his hands on her shoulders, then sat himself 
behind her.

"I need you to hold the bike up while I start it, okay?" She 
felt the bike steady itself as Mulder placed his feet on the 
ground. She kicked the starter, cautioning, "Hang on tight, 
Mulder," as she revved the engine.

Mulder obligingly held on for dear life as, with a slight 
fishtail wobble, the bike roared off down the road. If he'd 
thought riding a bike was exhilarating when he'd done it before, 
it was just as terrifying now. The wind in his hair that had 
given him a sense of freedom before now whipped his face, the 
chill biting into the still healing burns. He tightened his grip 
on his partner, praying that they got through this ordeal without 
further incident.

It was still dark, and Scully had no idea how long she had 
until daybreak. According to Mulder, they were somewhere on the 
Andes Mountains in Peru. He had described the area where he'd 
hidden his car, and she was fairly certain she could find it once 
they reached the base of the mountain. For now, however, all she 
cared about was keeping the speeding vehicle from careening out 
of control. She was rapidly finding out exactly how like, or 
rather, how unlike riding a bicycle this was. For one thing, the 
motorcycle was heavier, although once she got it running, it 
wasn't quite as hard to keep it steady. But she was still unused 
to the accelerator being in the wrong place. Her unfamiliarity 
with the vehicle caused it to swerve alarmingly a couple of 
times, eliciting scared gasps from Mulder before she straightened 
out again.

Thoughts similar to Mulder's coursed through her head. She 
mentally crossed her fingers, hoping to make it down before the 
helicopters arrived. Unfortunately, their luck didn't quite last. 
Not a few minutes out of the compound, they saw the helicopters, 
three of them, silhouetted against the moon as they moved towards 
the speeding bike. Two flew over them, headed in the direction of 
the compound. The third took its place directly above them, a 
bright searchlight flaring out to catch them in its path.

"Pull over to the side of the road," a voice blared out over 
the din of the chopper's blades.

Scully resolutely ignored the warning as she took a hairpin 
bend at alarming speed. The bike almost skidded out of control 
before she had it headed back in the right direction. The sound 
of gunfire behind her caused her to momentarily close her eyes in 
fear. Then resolution set in as she began to weave the bike from 
one side of the road to another, hoping to create an erratic 
target for their hunters. Another hairpin bend, and she lost 
sight of the chopper for a moment, hidden as she was behind the 
mountain. Before it could follow them around the bend, she 
disappeared into a tunnel. She heaved a small breath of relief, 
feeling the arms around her waist tighten ever so slightly.

She looked ahead, but could barely make out the end of the 
tunnel in the dim light. The moment she was out, however, she 
heard the chopper take up the pursuit again. The streak of 
gunfire razed past her, throwing up stones from the road to 
strike her legs. She flinched when she felt one stone open up a 
gash near her ankle, a small gasp escaping her lips. But then she 
felt something she dreaded even more. Liquid splashed against her 
leg, bathing her wound in fire. She immediately felt the effects 
as the bike became more sluggish to handle. The brake line must 
have been hit; she couldn't slow down.

She squinted in the darkness, the searchlight that dogged 
them providing just enough light to make out the next hairpin 
bend. She tried adjusting her course but she knew she wasn't 
going to make it. She removed one hand from the handlebar, 
bringing it to her stomach to caress her partner's hands. She 
tightened her fingers around his, screaming a frantic, "Hold on, 
Mulder," trying to be heard above the noise of the bike and the 
helicopter tailing them.

Instead of crashing against the railing, mercifully halting 
their wild skid, the front wheel of the bike hit the very edge of 
the metal bars. The ends, where the railing was anchored to the 
ground, acted like a ramp, lifting the front of the bike. The 
vehicle followed, climbing up the makeshift ramp, then launching 
into space.

For a heartstopping moment, they hung there in space, 
seemingly motionless, as if crystallized in the amber of the 
night sky. Then gravity inexorably exerted its hold on them, 
demanding they obey its wishes. The front of the bike dipped, the 
rest following suit as they passed the top of their arc and 
started falling.

She felt the bike slip out from under her, felt Mulder's 
arms tighten enough to almost choke her. She turned in his grasp, 
facing him as she placed her own arms around him. Together they 
fell towards the dark forest below. She could feel him trying to 
exert his flying abilities, could feel themselves slowing ever so 
slightly. But she knew it wasn't enough. The wind whipped around 
the two of them, chilling them to the bone as they fell to the 
darkness below.

She saw Mulder twist so he was below her, and frowned. By 
the time she realized what he'd done, it was too late. They 
crashed into the trees, branches breaking as they broke their 
fall. Mulder took the brunt of the impact, as he'd intended. She 
heard and felt more than a few bones break as they descended to 
the forest floor.

He had slowed them enough, and absorbed enough the impact 
that she hadn't lost consciousness upon landing. The same 
couldn't be said of him however. Most of the injuries that had 
healed simply reappeared, compounded by a myriad of broken bones 
and contusions.

Scully winced as she felt her broken limbs mend themselves, 
then stood up. She'd gotten a good glimpse of the forest on her 
way down. Having spotted the road and the perimeter fence not too 
far off, she was confident she could make her way there. With a 
sigh, she leaned down and hefted her partner's unconscious body, 
hoisting it as she trudged off into the jungle.


La Jaula Rota Hotel, Lima, Peru
Wednesday, May 27, 1998
8:46 PM

She stepped out of the shower, running the towel over her 
wet hair as she walked into the room. She crouched next to the 
bed, pulling out her nightclothes from the suitcase. It had taken 
them almost till noon to reach civilization once she'd found his 
car. Neither of them would have won awards for their choices in 
apparel, what with her lab smock covering the thin gown she'd 
woken in the night before, and him in his tattered coat, what was 
left of it anyway. Both of them uttered a silent prayer of thanks 
for Mulder's forethought in packing an overnight bag as they 
quickly dressed themselves, then fled the forest.

As it was, they'd had a trying time getting money wired to 
them from the Gunmen through the local post office. They'd eaten, 
then made reservations for their flight the next day before 
checking into the hotel for the night. Now, both of them were 
tired, ready to fall asleep within moments.

She sighed as she dropped the towel on the bed, then called 
out for her partner. "Mulder? Do you remember when our flight 
leaves tomorrow?" Not getting an answer, she looked around trying 
to find him. She felt him, standing not too far away. She moved 
toward the balcony, pulling aside the glass doors to step 
outside. "Hey, whatcha doing out here, G-man?" she asked softly, 
coming to stand beside him.

Mulder leaned against the railing, his head tilted up to 
glance at the heavens. "Are the stars out, Scully?"

His partner followed his gaze towards the sky, then 
answered, "Mmhmm. It's beautiful out here tonight." She leaned 
into him, smiling when she felt his arm go around her waist to 
hug her close.

"I could see the sunset, Scully. Just barely, but I could 
definitely see it."

She turned a startled gaze towards him, the shock quickly 
turning into pleasure as she pulled him into a hug. "You can 
see," she said, smiling as she pressed her cheek against his 
chest. It was a statement, a fact to which he nodded his head.

"It's slowly starting to come back. I can just barely make 
out your face." His chin rested on her head as he took in the 
slight scent of the complimentary shampoo. His eyes shut, he 
simply stood there, taking in her scent, using every bit of his 
other senses to augment his limited vision.

"We need to talk, Scully," he finally said, no trace of 
lightness left in his voice. A sudden quiet descended on the duo 
as they hugged each other, each basking in the presence of the 

Scully finally broke the silence. She took a deep breath, 
then nodded against his chest. "Come to bed, Mulder," she said, 
pulling away as she brought her hands down to meet his. Palms 
clasped, she pulled on him slightly, moving them both indoors. 

Before they reached the bed, Mulder pulled out a small 
microcassette recorder from the suitcase and popped in a 
cassette. He could feel his partner's quizzical gaze on him. He 
smiled in what he hoped was her direction, details still 
difficult to make out in the limited light. Moving towards the 
bed, he held it out to her, then slid in beside her.

"That was left on my machine back home while I was out 
searching for you. I had to hear it a few times before I figured 
out who it was." He paused, then prompted quietly, "Play it, 

He heard the whirr of the recorder, then the click before 
the words played once more. "Sometimes, Agent Mulder, the 

Her eyes widened at the voice. "Mulder... that's..." She 
looked up from the recorder, and saw Mulder leaning against the 
headrest, his eyes closed again. He nodded slightly. "But...," 
she stammered, "I saw him die, Mulder. I saw him shot."

"If Cancerman was an immortal, Scully, why not him? But 
then, it's not as if they need to be immortal to fake their 
deaths. I never did get close enough to the funeral at 

"But why, Mulder? After all this time..."

He shrugged. "Who knows? Maybe he faked his death because he 
wanted out of the consortium. Maybe he was tired of it all," he 
answered wearily.

"Mulder...?" she began questioningly, her hand reaching out 
to squeeze his nearest shoulder.

"It's just... I almost... I..."

She was shocked at the sudden sob as his voice broke. She 
moved closer, leaning into his side, holding his hands 

Finally, he managed a deep breath before continuing, "I 
almost lost you, Scully." The weary tone had changed to a 
frightened one, one that trembled at the mere notion of what he 
said. "All over again. After I swore I wouldn't ever allow that 

"Mulder, this wasn't your fault."

"Oh?" he replied incredulously, not without a hint of 
sarcasm in his voice. "You were abducted again, Scully. Because 
of the X-files, because of this... this quest we're on, because 
of me. I love you so much, Scully. I shudder to think what my 
life would be like without you in it. But sometimes I wonder what 
your life would have been like if you'd never met me." He felt 
her about to interrupt, but continued on before she could do so. 
"You could have become a doctor, Scully. A family... a living 
family. A husband, 2.3 kids, the whole white picket fence deal."

"In case you hadn't noticed, O brilliant psychologist," she 
replied wryly, "I joined the FBI long before I met you."


"Guess who else I saw in that facility?" she blithely cut 
him off.

He blinked at the abrupt change in subject.

"Scanlon." She could feel him tense up beside her at the 
mention of the doctor's name. "Scratch one bad guy, I guess. 
Anyway, do you know what he told me, Mulder? I asked him the same 
question. Why all this? Whether it was necessary to do all this 
just to keep you in line." She waited for him to digest what she 
was telling him. "He said, Mulder, believe it or not, that not 
everything's about you." She let out a small bark of bitter 
laughter. "Imagine that, a bad guy with some brains."

"Oh?" Mulder hissed, the sarcasm evident in his voice now. 
"And I suppose they took you just for the fun of it. You didn't 
really believe him, did you?"

"Damn it, Mulder," she shot back, the anger rising in her 
voice. "Do you blame yourself for the abduction of the Allentown 
women? Do you honestly believe that you could have done anything 
to prevent their being taken?"

The question brought the agent up short. Reluctantly, he 
shook his head, a quiet "No," escaping his lips.

"Then why the hell do you blame yourself for my abduction? I 
was taken for the same reason they were, the same reason all the 
others were. Because of my goddamn DNA."

She saw that he still had that stubborn look on his face, 
the one that said that nothing could possibly relieve him of his 
perceived guilt. "Talk to me, Mulder," she whispered. "This 
silent communication deal is all well and good, but if we don't 
give voice to our feelings, we're inevitably going to get mixed 
signals. It's like using smoke signals when you could just as 
easily pick up the phone."

"They took away the X-files, Scully. They took away any 
reason for you to stay. It was all my fault. I didn't want to 
lose you, Scully. I worked so hard to get them back; I thought if 
I could just show you... that you'd stay..."

"Aaargh! You're not listening, Mulder. What happened between 
us that night should never have happened." At the mention of the 
dreaded fight, both of them drew in a slight breath. She had 
meant to approach the topic more delicately, but seeing as it had 
to come out some time... "All I wanted was for you to be okay, to 
tell me you still needed me. But noooo, not you. You had to duck 
behind your usual litany of guilt, didn't you? *God!!* Do you 
even know how irritating that's getting to be? It makes me want 
to just come up and slap you. Why in heaven's name does 
everything *have* to be your fault? Do you get off on it or 
something? Please, enlighten me, because, honestly, it's beyond 

She saw him about to interrupt, but cut him off with a 
scathing, "I'm *NOT* finished!" Her voice immediately dropped, 
becoming more tender. "Mulder, I was duped just as you were. I 
fell into the same trap you did with Gibson Praise. The 
consortium dangled a prize in front of us, and we reacted in 
exactly the wrong manner. And I still can't think of one thing we 
could have done differently. Not with Gibson's life at stake."

"But still, the files... I betrayed you..."

"*Our* work, Mulder. Not yours, not anymore. Don't you think 
I might have liked a say in getting the files back? God, seeing 
the office... seeing it like... like that... don't you think it 
drove a knife through my gut too? I thought we were partners, 
Mulder. You never had anything to prove to me. I hate it when you 
think I wouldn't forgive you for something. Even when there's 
really nothing to forgive. That's not what love is about, Mulder. 
Not one bit. You know what they say about love meaning never 
having to say you're sorry? That's just crap. But it does mean we 
forgive each other, Mulder."

"I know, Scully. And I do need you. Desperately. I wanted to 
show you that I could get the files back. That all our... all 
your sacrifices hadn't been in vain."

She let out a sigh, moving down to rest against him. She 
reached out to grab his hand, holding it between hers. She 
lightly stroked his palm, tracing meaningless patterns with her 
fingers. Her voice was soft as she asked, "Do you really think me 
that shallow, Mulder? That I was only staying because of the 

"That's what you told me back in Seattle," Mulder rejoined, 
his voice quavering, "on the night of your birthday."

"Oh, Mulder." Her voice carried all the love she felt for 
this man. "You poor, poor fool." At his startled reaction, she 
continued, "That was then, Mulder. A lifetime ago, it seems like, 
sometimes. I had just been returned. I didn't want to admit that 
I might be staying because of my feelings for you. The work was 
as good an excuse as any. I couldn't even be sure of what I was 
feeling for you then." She paused, her hands tightening their 
grip on his arm. "But I sure as hell am sure now," she added with 
measured determination.

Her face had been lowered as she'd confessed this, her eyes 
locked on their clasped hands. She now turned to face him, and 
was shocked at the tears coursing freely down his face. She 
leaned toward him, gently kissing each shining drop before moving 
to his lips. She grazed them ever so slightly, then returned for 
a more forceful claim.

He pulled back finally, his tone full of wonder as he said, 
"I love you, Scully, so much it scares me sometimes."

"I hope you remember that the next time, Mulder."

"I hope there doesn't have to be a next time, Scully," he 
shot back dryly.

"Good answer, Mulder." Her eyes shone with unshed tears, and 
even Mulder could make out the smile that seemed to light up her 
face. "But, I know better than to ask you to promise that."

She was gratified to hear a small chuckle escape his lips. 
"I guess you do. But how about a resounding 'I'll try my best to 

"I guess that'll have to do. Now what say we get some shut 
eye? We need to get up early if we're gonna make that flight 
tomorrow." She slid down in the bed, pulling him down beside her. 
She turned to face away from him, snuggling back into the warmth 
of his body as he spooned her from behind.

She lay there for a few minutes, then ventured hesitantly, 
"Mulder?" A quiet grunt let her know that he was still awake. 
Screwing up her resolve, she asked, "How'd you know about Jeff, 
Mulder? You weren't fooled by him one bit, were you?"

"Aw, come on, Scully. With a name like Green? That in itself 
was points against him," he replied with a smirk.

"Be serious, Mulder," she chided gently, then paused. "You 
know who he reminded me of?" When she felt his arms tighten 
around her waist, she bit her lip.

"Who?" His voice was hoarse, an inkling of her reply already 
forming in his mind.

"You know, don't you? You. He reminded me of you, of the day 
you told me about Cancerman's offer about the chip."

"Funny," he replied, his voice devoid of any humor 
whatsoever, "that's exactly who he reminded me of too. I could so 
easily have been him, Scully. I was this close to giving in to 
the smoking bastard's demands."

"I know." Her hands stroked down his arms. "He was a dear 
friend, Mulder. Even when he... when he took the deal that you 
didn't, I still felt sorry for him. They offered him the same 
thing they offered you, you know. A cure. For his son. Just so 
they could get their hooks into him. They certainly didn't need 
his help to abduct me again." She paused, swallowing slightly. 
"Mulder... I don't know that I could have refused in his place. 
Not if the price was you."

"Let's hope we never have to find out then."

They lay in silence for a while, each considering the 
possibilities. Finally, Mulder let out a small sigh as he asked 
softly, "Scully? Why do you always call me Mulder?"

"What?" The unexpected question startled her, causing 
memories of a long ago stakeout rushing through her mind. 'I even 
made my parents call me Mulder.' She wondered what answer he was 
looking for, what he expected her to say. Deciding to make the 
answer as simple as possible, she ventured, "Because you think 
it's a stupid name for someone to be saddled with?"


She felt him nod against her back. She could almost make out 
the disappointment in the soft sigh. Her answer was the one he'd 
expected, just not the one he'd wanted. She decided to try again. 
"And because it reminds you of your sister," she added quietly. 
She knew she'd answered correctly when the arm around her tensed.

"Cancerman told me that she was dead."

"What!? And you believed him? He's lied to us so many times, 
Mulder. What about the person you saw in the diner?"

"He had no reason to lie, Scully. Not after revealing all 
that information about the alien technology."

"Did you ever think that he might have said anything to keep 
you there? And I'm still not convinced the technology was alien."

"Quarter light speed propulsion is not exactly current 
technology, Scully. Not even for the consortium to have come up 
with by themselves." He paused, his tone switching from dry to 
somber. "He said Sam had been dead for almost 20 years. I suppose 
the person at the diner was a clone too. All this time, I'd 
always hoped... But, now, I don't have any..."

The choked off sob caused her heart to lurch. She could 
almost hear the unasked plea in his voice, his tone desperately 
asking her to understand, yet unwilling to give voice to the 
request. "Hush. You'll always have me," she replied, then added, 
"Fox." A silent promise, given, and accepted. She felt his lips 
against her neck, caressing, silently thanking her for her offer, 
and her promise.

He said nothing, but she could tell how much that request 
had cost him. He'd kept faith through the years, almost a quarter 
of a century, more than could be asked of any human being. He'd 
lived with the conviction, hoping against hope, of one day 
reuniting with his sister. Asking her, albeit silently, was his 
way of telling her how much she meant to him. He'd as effectively 
reassured her as she had him. And it was her turn to make him a 
silent promise. 'You'll never be alone, Mulder. Not as long as 
I'm here. I promise you that.' The final oath ran through her 
mind as she heard his slight snore before slipping into dreams 


46th Street, New York City, NY
Thursday, May 28, 1998
6:14 PM, local time

"How many survivors?"

"None, except for the boy. He was being transported when..."

"And our man in the FBI?"

"His body was not recovered, although it is believed he 
perished in the explosion as well."

"That has happened before. Make certain of it."

"Yes sir."

"Any indication on what he was working on in the facility?"

"Not yet, sir. All we know is that it was a side project 
outside the group's mainstream. With the loss of all the records, 
it will take us years to piece together what really happened."

"And what of the reports of Agent Scully's abduction?"

"Unknown. Our associate made no mention of his plans after 
his return. We know that Agent Mulder left the country early 
Tuesday morning, but we lost his trail at one of his transfer 
points. However, we do know that he returned with Agent Scully 
earlier today. Their flight originated from Jorge Chavez 
International in Lima, Peru."

"But you cannot confirm that they were at our facility?"

"No sir. The response helicopters did mention two 
individuals fleeing the area. However, we have it on good 
authority that neither survived the incident. Apparently, they 
fell off a cliff. We are in the process of locating their 

"Good. Then all that remains is that we maintain plausible 
deniability regarding the incident. We wouldn't want to lose the 
cooperation of the Peruvian government. See to it. And see to the 
boy's examination as well. As for our intrepid agents, we won't 
have to worry about them for a while."

The End
Futures Past 07:
by Arvy 


End Notes

Ok, now how many of you are wondering what I did with that 
first scene (the 4 billion years ago thing)? I thought if CC can 
do arcs, well why not me? I'm planning on having these little 
scenes scattered throughout the series, hopefully building into 
their own 'cohesive' arc. Of course, they are also connected to 
the main story itself in some way, again, hopefully.

And how many of you thought Scully didn't have nearly enough 
resolution or closure about what she had to do at the facility? 
Yeah, me too. I just didn't have the heart to force more angst on 
her after the shock she'd been through. I am planning on a couple 
of future stories that will deal with the fallout from this one. 
I also plan on resolving the fate of the X-files, hopefully a bit 
faster than CC did with season 6.

For my next story, I'm planning on jumping around the 
timeline a bit. I want to get some of the stories I have in mind 
set in the far future out of the way. If I go chronologically, I 
might never get to them. In case you hadn't guessed, the ? 
crossover was with Star Trek: Deep Space 9, specifically the 
"Little Green Men" episode, a favorite of mine. The 'people' 
mentioned are, of course, Quark and co. and it's Odo's DNA that 
kickstarts the entire bounty hunter saga, in my universe. Makes 
you think, ne? Anyway, I'm thinking of maybe a Star Trek:TNG or 
Voyager crossover next, although nothing's finalized yet.

So, until the next one, I hope you enjoyed the series so 
far. And of course, may the force be with ye!!! ;) Send any and 
all feedback to unmai@bigfoot.com. Ciao!

Futures Past Chronology:

01 - The Awakening        (Oct 1997)
02 - The Light of Day     (Jan 1998)
03 - My Funny Valentine   (Feb 1998)
04 - Crossover            (Feb 1998)
05 - Flying Lessons       (Feb 1998)
06 - Hazel + Gold = Green (Mar 1998)
07 - Phoenix              (May 1998)