Title: Come Get Me (sequel to "Samuel")
Distribution: Ok to Xemplary, Gossamer, ATXC... all others ask me first
Spoilers: Most of the Scully abduction/Emily mythology arc
Summary: The Sequel to "Samuel". It's a year later and Scully is finally coming to terms with Samuel's disappearance and able to let life go on, until she receives a mysterious phone call.
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully and all X-Files related characters belong to 1013, Fox, and Chris Carter. I don't own them (I wish I did!). Starbuck's belongs to Starbuck's and I'm not a spokesperson for them. *lol*
NOTE: Don't read this unless you have already read "Samuel", http://www.mulderscreek.com/fics/Samuel.htm
Something in the air was not right.
Dana Scully tilted her head skyward and surveyed the swirling mix of orange and pink clouds above her. All around her, tall buildings seemed to form a cage of steel and concrete, which not even the beautiful orange light from above could penetrate. Evening came too early in the city. But it was more than that today. The city felt cold. It felt closed in. It felt like a prison. And the only route of escape was above. Into the sky turned a painter’s canvas by the setting sun.
People passed by her in droves. On their way home from work, on their way to the movies, a night on the town… who knew where their busy lives led them? They took no notice of the small, red haired woman standing in the middle of the street, her head craned at a ridiculous angle toward the sky.
Perhaps at some point she had become invisible. It certainly seemed so, particularly when a passing pedestrian walked straight into her, knocking her onto the cold concrete below.
The passer-by appeared not to notice. He continued to walk in a straight line through the crowded streets.
Weren’t the streets unusually crowded for this time of day? Dana Scully rose to her feet again, eyes drawn to the rapidly fleeing person who had knocked her down. She struggled to find the words to chide him for his rude action, but they would not come. Her feet began to move her through the crowd towards him. Her following presence, it appeared, did not go unnoticed. It took only a moment, and the gaining of a few feet, for the man to turn his face towards her.
She did not know him, but his face seemed familiar. And his eyes… They met hers with a piercing gaze she found disturbing. They bored into her psyche with an intensity that sent chills of fear through her body. With a concentrated effort, she forced herself to look away. But something… something she could not explain coaxed her to look back again. When she did, he was gone.
Vanished, just like that? Or had he simply disappeared into the crowd? Her eyes scanned the crowd, searching for a trace of him. A few feet ahead of her, there appeared to be a commotion. The crowd of people was dissipating. Widening, if you will, as if to make room for something. Scully honed in on the scene. .
The crowd had stepped away to allow room for a young child who had fallen, perhaps in the wake of the rapidly fleeing stranger with the piercing eyes… He lay on the concrete, eyes closed, unmoving. Voices raised in fear above the murmur of the crowd. Yet no one made a move to help the boy. Where were his parents? Was there no concerned mother and father who would rush to the side of their injured child?
"I’m a doctor," Scully heard herself say. She rushed towards the boy, scanning the crowd for evidence of whom the child might belong to. Who would neglect their child like this that he would have to lay in the street alone, injured? The boy turned his head. As she approached, Scully saw the locks of red hair that covered it. She saw the dark hazel eyes and the delicate, freckled face... and her heart seemed to stop cold in her chest.
"Mom?" Samuel said, reaching out to her.
Scully froze dead in her tracks.
"Help me," the boy said. " Come get me."
Dana Scully sat bolt upright in bed. Blankets fell around her, sweat poured down her face. Her heart raced as though she had just run a marathon and a small cry escaped her lips.
She felt movement beside her. She had woken Mulder up, though that was not a hard thing to do. It seemed that these days, he slept with one eye open. Sometimes she wished he wouldn't. His doting love made her feel good, but there was a certain confinement that came with having someone so concerned for your welfare. He had been the same when she had been diagnosed with cancer.
"What is it?" He asked.
Scully shook her head as if to imply that he needn't ask. "Nothing, Mulder. A nightmare. Sorry!" She smiled, trying to acquire the look of someone who felt really silly for what they had just done. "I'm fine," She added automatically. She wiped the sweat from her brow with a blanket and took a deep breath.
"I can hear your heart beating from here, Scully," Mulder said. "Just a nightmare?"
"That's right," she said. "Go back to sleep."
She lay down again, trying to breath slowly despite the demand from her lungs for extra air to fuel her racing heart.
Just a dream, Mulder thought. How many times had in the past year had Scully awakened like this, in the middle of a nightmare, only to try and pass it off as "just a dream"? He knew what was going on.
"Was it about Samuel?" he asked, watching her closely for a reaction. Her lack of reaction was the best evidence he could have hoped for. She did not respond, but continued to stare at the ceiling, unmoving.
"Scully, you know you can tell me if it was. I have dreams about him too." But I never wake up screaming in the middle of the night, he added in his mind. It made sense, though, that this was happening now. It had been almost exactly a year since they had found Samuel, only to have him abruptly taken away from them by forces unknown.
No, scratch that. Forces KNOWN. Spender, Fowley... and another mysterious man whom they did not know. Fowley was dead. Spender had been missing ever since the incident. And no trace of Samuel had been seen for almost a year.
It had been hard on Scully. Her grief at losing another child was combined with the guilt of thinking that if she had left him alone, he would still be living a relatively happy life. Who knew what the poor boy was going through now? He shuddered as he thought of little Emily, and what the horrible experiments had done to her. He thought of Gibson, who had been butchered and nearly killed by who were more than likely the same people. He knew why Scully was upset, but he did not know how to make the guilt go away.
It had been a logical progression for Mulder to simply move out of his own apartment completely. He had spent nearly every night for a month at her place before deciding it was ridiculous to be paying rent.
The neighbors had been glad to see him go. And he was glad to be here. Because for once, Scully needed him, and was willing to admit it. Except when it came to these *dreams* of hers. She would never talk about them. Well, it was time that changed.
"Was it about Samuel?" he asked again. "They're all about Samuel, aren't they?" He asked, after receiving no reply. "What happens?" he added. "Do you see him? Does he talk to you?"
Her reaction surprised him completely.
"Stop it, Mulder!" Scully said, turning to face away from him. "Leave me alone."
Mulder had not been prepared for such a venomous retort. But told him what he needed to know. How could someone as smart as Scully not realize that her reaction was a dead giveaway to what she was feeling? Emotions clouded even the most sensible of judgments.
"Scully, it's *me*" Mulder said. "I've stood by you through everything. I've risked my life for you. The least you could do in return is show me you trust me enough to share your feelings with me. I love you. You can talk to me." This would most likely not work. Mulder knew that the thing which annoyed Scully the most in their arguments was his unwillingness to get angry. She could be angry with him until she the walls shook, and Mulder would remain calm, soothing, and telling her he loved her. He hadn't known where this maturity in the face of conflict had come from, but it seemed to be a recent acquisition. Perhaps it had been just what they needed. If they had both been slaves to their emotions, it was likely that they would not even be together anymore. But sometimes this calmness was the worst thing for an argument. His refusal to get angry often served only to escalate Scully's anger. But he never knew when it would have the opposite effect - she would step back, take a look at herself, and realize she was being silly.
Tonight was, fortunately, one of those nights.
"I'm sorry," she said, to Mulder's utmost surprise. Her voice was suddenly calm, her anger gone. "It's hard for me, you know that Mulder."
"It's hard for me, too," he replied. "But the worst thing we can do is turn on each other. That's exactly what they want us to do. Nothing has ever made us do it before, why now when we need each other the most?"
Scully turned around to face him, snuggling her small frame into him, grateful that he was here. The one constant in her life... the one thing she could rely on. Please don't ever go away Mulder. Never.
"Was the dream about Samuel?" Mulder asked, determined to get an answer out of her tonight. She nodded, her small head bobbing against his chest. The dreams were always about Samuel, and lately they had become increasingly repetitive, and frightening. But how did one admit this? How did one admit that they were scared by something that was nothing but random impulses coursing through the brain while you slept? It did not matter that this night's dream was nothing new. It did not matter that she had had the same dream repeatedly over the past few weeks. Mulder would likely attach more significance than was appropriate to the situation, and she did not need that. It was just a dream. At least, that was what she was trying to tell herself.
"I guess I just have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that we may never see him again," she admitted. That, at least, was the truth. It was foolish to cling to the hope that Samuel would ever be theirs. Even if they were to find him, they would not be able to keep him. The people responsible for his existence would not allow that.
"There's always hope, Scully. Don't ever give up hope." Fine words, coming from Fox Mulder. Nobody she knew could have clung to hope like he did. Twenty years his sister had been missing, and still he had not given up hope. Scully knew that it was likely he would now add Samuel to his exhaustive search for the Truth. And he would likely continue to search long after she had given up.
"Mulder," she said "Don't make him into another Samantha. Even if we do find him..."
"Those responsible for him won't allow it. I know, Scully. I think about it all the time. But that doesn't mean we should just give up. There's always hope."
"I hope.." Scully said, pausing as she realized the irony of her words. "I hope you're right," she finished, snuggling closer to him.
"And we've always got each other, right?" he said tenderly, whispering the words softly into her ear.
"Yes," she said softly. "We've always got each other."
Sleeping was a wasted effort.
The living room floor was cold on Scully's bare feet as she tiptoed towards the couch. It was 5:00 AM. Mulder was still asleep. Most of the world was still asleep -few souls saw fit to rise at this hour on a Saturday morning. Only depressed FBI agents were that desperate.
She flicked on a small lamp beside the couch and picked up a book. After tossing and turning for a good 3 hours, she had come to the conclusion that there was no point. She was sad, she was scared, and she was not going to sleep. Might as well get in some good reading instead of wasting time in bed.
Mulder had not noticed her getting up. For that, she was somewhat relieved. He would become concerned again, and likely ask her to talk to him. Ah, the perils of being loved by a psychologist. Scully did not want to talk. She did not want to think. She wanted to read, to keep her mind off all of the things that were keeping her from sleeping. A good book, an empty room. Quiet. Yes, that was what she needed. She opened the book to its marked spot.
It did not take Scully long to realize that after turning several pages, she still had no idea what was going on in the story. Her eyes were reading the words, but her mind - too full of thoughts - was not taking it in. The dream had been too real tonight.
She had felt the chill evening air on her skin. She had heard the sounds and smelled the smells of the city. And she had felt pain when the careless passer-by had knocked her down. Dreams like that were the hardest to shake. And though most dreams faded after several hours, this one remained vivid in her mind.
She flipped back a few pages in the book, hoping to find her spot and start over. Start over.... a good idea. Wouldn't it be nice to flip back the pages of your life and start over?
The telephone rang. Scully jumped a few inches off the couch, dropping her book on the floor. It landed on the floor, shutting itself and losing her place completely.
There's a life-metaphor for you, she thought. Who would be phoning at this hour? Skinner? A development on a case? No, they had had no interesting cases recently. A new case, then? At 5 AM? It would have to be a serious emergency. A murder, perhaps? She picked up the phone.
"Hello?" her own voice suddenly seemed incredibly loud in the dark, empty living room. She was not prepared for the voice that answered her.
Scully sat frozen in her spot on the couch, unable to respond. Unable to speak. Unable to do anything but sit there as her entire body began to tremble.
"Mom?" the small voice on the other end said again.
This couldn't be.
"Who is this?" she asked. It was a dumb question. She knew who it was. Yet there was something wrong.
"Mom, come get me," the voice said.
The dream. The words.
The *same* words.
"Samuel?" Scully asked, keeping her voice a whisper "is that you? Samuel, where are you?"
"Come get me," the voice said again.
Did he hear her? It didn't seem so. His words were like a tape recorder, though she swore she could hear his breathing at the other end.
"Samuel, where are you?"
"Come get me," the voice said again. It was eerie - almost frightening in it's repetitiveness.
"Samuel, I need to know..."
Click. He had hung up.
Scully held the receiver in her hand, staring at it, feeling fear well up and spread throughout her body like an alien virus.
Samuel had telephoned her. He was alive. But was he? Something had been wrong about is voice. He had not heard her talk to him. He had not responded when she had asked where he was. He had simply repeated those three words. Come get me.
Somehow, she could not bring herself to tell Mulder what had happened. He would believe her, there was no doubt about that. The problem was, she did not entirely believe herself.
For all intents and purposes, the call had never happened. She had tried to trace the call, but the operator had told her that nobody had called their home since the evening before, and had promptly given the number of the Lone Gunmen, who had phoned Mulder shortly after he and Scully had arrived home from work. The call had not happened, as far as the phone company was concerned.
Memories of others she had lost came back to her. She would have sworn on the bible that it had been her father sitting in her living room, after he had been pronounced dead at the hospital several miles away. She would have testified in court as to her sanity when she had seen Emily on the table in the morgue that night almost two years ago. But had any of those things been real? It was a known fact that people saw those that had died after they were dead. Perhaps it was a result of wanting something so much that the power of the desire actually caused it to manifest.
Was that possible?
It seemed so. And it seemed that the phone call last night had been another one of those things. She had crawled back into bed with Mulder afterwards, shakily told him it was a wrong number, and gone to sleep.
Now here they were together the next morning. Saturday morning. The television was on. They should have been enjoying their free time together, but Scully was so shaken that she could barely bring herself to talk to her partner for fear of accidentally telling him what had happened.
He sat on the couch in front of the TV, watching it with a carefree grin on his face. She watched from the dining room table behind him, coffee in hand, as Wile E. Coyote careened across the screen and down a chasm to finally meet his temporary demise at the bottom. She should have guessed Mulder would be a Looney Toons fan. She should have guessed even before they had moved in together. The man had Scooby Doo underwear, for crying out loud.
Scully wished she could blot everything else out and sit down next to him. Have a good laugh at the Roadrunner's antics and forget about everything. How did Mulder manage to do that?
Before she realized it, she was standing up and pulling on her coat and shoes. Mulder looked up from his blissful childlike oblivion and asked where she was going. Scully didn't know. All she knew was that she had to get out of the house or she was going to go insane and have to tell him what had happened.
She couldn't do that. Not until she knew if it had really happened. There had to be a way to find out. Today was not the day to do it, however. Today was simply the day to get out of the house, go downtown. Have a coffee. Maybe get some shopping done.
"I don't know," She said, answering his question. "I feel claustrophobic. I need to get out. Do you need anything from the store?" Thankfully, he didn't offer to come with her. He did, however, look up from his cartoon and gaze at her with those baleful puppy-dog hazel eyes. Suddenly she felt the urge to go over and scratch him behind the ears.
"Some... um... sunflower seeds," he said with a smile. She didn't smile back, but went up to him and planted a light kiss on the top of his head. "Love you," he said.
"You too," she replied.
"Don't look so sad, Scully. Everything will be all right. I promise." It was a silly, romantic thing to say. Nobody could guarantee that everything would be all right. Nobody had any control over it. Still, it comforted her somehow. Enough to make her smile back before she left.
Starbuck's was relatively dead at 9 AM on a Saturday.
Scully felt conspicuous as she sat down at a table in the far corner with her latte. She wondered where in her mind was the twisted logic that a huge, steaming cup of pure caffeine would calm her down. But somehow, sitting there in the quiet of the morning with the warm mug in her hands was comforting.
The morning sun had yet to reach the city streets through the shadow of tall buildings. The streets outside looked cold and dark, and uninhabited. Of course, most sane people were at home sleeping. Or watching Saturday morning cartoons. She smiled as she thought of Mulder. Why could she not bring herself to share her experiences with him? Surely it was significant enough...
No, that was silly. For all Scully knew, it was a grief induced hallucination. Just like it had been with her father. And Emily. I must be prone to these, she thought as she drained the last drop of her latte. What do I do now?
The bell in the door of Starbucks tinkled as it swung shut. The morning air was chilly, and Scully felt it bite at the exposed skin of her hands and face as she stepped outside. She hugged herself, a strangely automatic reaction to cold that really did little to warm her up. She thought of home. Heat turned up, Mulder sitting there by himself. Perhaps a warm bath awaiting? What pleasant thoughts.
Somehow, though Dana Scully wanted to go home, she found herself walking in the opposite direction. She had to get this whole thing out of her mind. It would do no good to go home, be overcome with emotion, and blurt it all out to Mulder. Mulder, naturally, would want to launch an investigation if she told him. An investigation.. based on something which defied rational explanation. That was Mulder's way. He hadn't changed much for being in her company constantly.
Scully kept walking, shivering as she went. Pity that these tall city buildings obscured the sun so. A walk in the nicer area of the city would have been more comforting had it been warmer. She paused in her steps and looked up. The sky was a beautiful array of pinks, oranges, and reds. The sun was shining up there somewhere, creating an effect in the sky that one didn't often see after sunrise. But wherever the sun was, it was not reaching her down here in this cold, concrete prison.
Was there something familiar about this? The sky . The colors. The cold? It brought about an uneasy feeling of deja vu. One Scully was not willing to address for fear she might recognize where it came from. She looked away from the sky and continued walking.
The streets were slowly becoming more crowded as people emerged from their homes and shops began to open. Yes, that was an idea. Go shopping. Mulder needed some sunflower seeds anyway. A little bit of window shopping, some browsing, would be a nice way to forget about things. She hoped.
A sudden jolt to her shoulder knocked Scully off balance and sent her careening into the pavement. She winced as her hip connected sharply with the cold, hard concrete of the sidewalk. Visions of the bruise she would have the next day flashed briefly through her mind. Why had she fallen?
Scully looked up to see a man, in a beige trenchcoat walking haphazardly away from her. He appeared to take no notice of the other people around him, and shouts of "Watch it!" and various profanities followed him as he went. Scully had not been the only person to suffer a fall in his path. But it was not the rudeness of the fleeing man that disturbed Scully. It was the undeniable familiarity of the situation.
Oh god no... the dream.
How could this be happening?
Coincidence. That was all. It had to be. The dream had had such a huge impact on her that she was now seeing it in everything she did. Shame on you Dana! You're supposed to have a level head on your shoulders!
"Ma'am?" Scully turned around to see a young man, about her own age, looking at her. It was then that she realized she was still sitting on the sidewalk where she had fallen. "Do you need help?" the stranger asked.
Scully stood up quickly, trying not to appear as flustered as she felt. "No! " she said. Perhaps a little too aggressively, she thought, noting the young man's stunned face. Great, now he thinks I'm a complete bitch, she thought. "No," She repeated, calmer than before. "But thank you anyway."
She began brushing the dirt of her coat. She opened her mouth to say something more, but instantly forgot what it was as she heard a cry ring out farther up the street. The cry of a small child. Scully turned her head in the direction of the cry, and then back to the young man who had been talking to her.
Did you hear that? her expression suggested. His reaction was one of indifference. Had he not heard it? It didn't matter. Scully turned and hurried down the sidewalk in the direction of the sound.
The scene ahead hit her like a good, hard slap in the face. Welcome to the world of the unexplained, Dana Scully. A young boy had fallen to the sidewalk in the wake of the rapidly fleeing man. People were already crowding around the child to see if he was all right. "I'm a doctor," Scully heard herself say automatically as she approached the small figure half lying, half sitting in the street. She could feel her heart beating in her throat as she approached, anticipating who, or what she would see.
Her heartbeat slowed to normal when she saw the boy's face. Brown eyes, brown hair. Round, chubby cheeks. This was not Samuel. Thank god for reality.
The boy hauled himself to his feet, clearly unharmed. Moments later he was scooped into the arms of a woman who was clearly his mother. The crowd began to dissipate as quickly as it had formed. Dana Scully was once again alone, and unnoticed. She took in a deep, shaky breath and let it out again.
What had just happened?
Her dream had most certainly and inexplicably re-played itself. Right down to the boy who had fallen in the street. But it had not been Samuel. That aside, it still made no sense. How far would one have to take the notion of co-incidence before it became ridiculous?
Still, there *had* to be a scientific explanation for it....
The voice filtered through the everyday sounds of the city to reach Scully's ears. A child calling for his mom. She turned towards the sound of the voice. He was right in front of her.
There was no mistaking it.
The same red hair, the same hazel Fox Mulder eyes. And he was standing right before her in the street, regarding her with a strangely calm expression.
"Samuel..." She whispered. Is this real? Am I imagining this? There was no emotion in Samuel's face. No happiness, no fear. In his eyes she could read nothing.
Still, he beckoned for her to follow. "Come get me."
Did he speak those words, or were they in her head? Was it *all* in her head? Scully closed her eyes tightly and opened them again. He was gone.
I'm going crazy. I'm going crazy. I'm going crazy.
The drive home was almost unbearable. Scully's hands shook so strongly that she could barely grip the steering wheel. Her face felt flushed. Her mind swam with the same thoughts over and over again.
I'm going crazy. Or *am* I?
What if that really had been Samuel in the street? That was impossible. She had only closed her eyes for a split second. Unless they boy could somehow make himself invisible, she would have seen him run. She would have seen *something* But he had simply disappeared.
Her mind drifted back to that day, after Christmas, when her father had died. She would have sworn it was him sitting in her living room before she had received her mother's phone call. She knew that it had not really been Emily on that autopsy table instead of Paula Koklos, but it had still shaken her. It had been so real. As had this.
Her mind reacted this way to grief consistently, bringing back those she loved in an all-too real hallucination.
But this was too much.
"Hey, you look like you saw a ghost," Mulder said appropriately as Scully walked in the front door. He was still seated at the couch watching TV, but craned his head around as he heard the front door open.
I did, she wanted to say. But no, Mulder did not need to know about this. She did not want him to think she was crazy, or blow it out of proportion and take it too seriously. It was more than likely he would do one or the other.
"I feel like shit," Scully said, admitting what was at least part of the truth.
"It's not that alien virus again, is it?" Mulder asked in an attempt to cheer her up.
what *Was* wrong with Scully? Mulder wondered. She had been acting strangely all day. The way she acted when something was wrong that she didn't want to admit. Had that dream really disturbed her so much? Unfortunately, his attempt at humor did little to cheer her up. She simply stood there in the doorway, looking white as a sheet except for her flushed cheeks. Was she shaking?
"Aw, Scully," Mulder said, getting up. "I'm sorry," He reached her side and put his arms around her. Her body remained stiff as a board and unresponsive, but that didn't stop him. Mulder enfolded her small body in his arms and held her tightly.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Mulder asked. Did she ever? She didn't reply.
"Was it the dream?" He asked. He felt a twitch. All right, that was it. She was upset about the dream. That seemed logical enough.
"Why don't you go have a hot bath," he said, trying his best to think of ways to make her feel better. She nodded, finally softening in his arms. "I'll make you some tea..." He added.
"It's OK," She replied softly, her voice muffled against his chest. "I'll just take the bath. I need to... relax."
"All right," Mulder replied, releasing her. "go relax. Can I get you anything?" She shook her head and meandered slowly towards the bathroom. This was not good, Mulder thought as he watched her shut the door behind her. This was Emily all over again.
"I'm going to go lie down." Mulder turned away from the TV once again to see Scully standing in the bathroom doorway, clad in a towel. She was trying her hair absent mindedly. She hadn't been in the bathtub all that long.
"Do you feel better?" he asked.
"I don't know... I... think I just need some sleep. I didn't sleep very well last night." That was a reasonable enough excuse. Mulder didn't pursue the subject. He smiled at her warmly and turned his face back to the TV.
This was no good.
The TV had been on for what - 3 hours now? Mulder had watched an endless barrage of stupid, pointless talk shows and useless, uninformative news programs. He could not remember any of them.
His mind had been on Scully the whole time. Because something was wrong. He could feel it. He had seen Scully grieve before. He had seen her upset, hurt, sad, and even afraid. He had seen her through the worst situations in her life. The death of her father, the death of Melissa, of Emily, her abduction, and her cancer. But he had never seen her like this.
Never so withdrawn. Could that dream really have affected her so much? Scully had had dreams like that before. And scientific "just the facts ma'am" Dana Scully had always been able to dismiss them. She interpreted them for what they were in her skeptic's eyes: a random selection of thought patterns, brought on by a brain which had nothing else to do while it's main outlet shut down for the night. Sometimes they made no sense. Sometimes they brought on issues that were important and affecting the dreamer during the day. An answer to a question we haven't learned how to ask?
Scully knew all of this. And Mulder could not imagine a dream rendering Scully so upset. Had something happened that she was not telling him? He racked his brain. Had there ever been a moment when he had seen her this way? Anything at all to perhaps give him a clue as to what she was going through? Once, yes. It came to him almost instantly.
It had been a case involving the death of four severely handicapped young girls. Scully had seen - or thought she saw - Emily on the operating table. He had seen how shaken her resolve had been after that. Scully did not like the implications of such a vision. On one hand, it could have been a paranormal event that her
science couldn't explain away. On the other hand, she could have been hallucinating. Or going crazy. It had happened to her once before, too, on the night of her father's death. And though he had assumed it had shaken her, he had not known her well enough to tell.
Had Scully seen Samuel? Outside of the dream? It made sense.
The TV screen flickered in front of Mulder, bringing him back into the real world for a moment. He couldn't wait anymore. He had to talk to her.
Mulder stood up and went into the bedroom. He would have to overlook the fact that she might be sleeping. At this point, it didn't concern him. They needed to talk about this. They were in this together and he hated it when she hid things from him. The bedroom door swung open silently. Scully lay on the bed, curled in a fetal position as though she was trying to protect herself from something. She had the blankets pulled up tight, close to her face. And she was sound asleep. Her chest rose and fell steadily and lightly.
He hated to wake her. But he had to know. How could they be a team if she would regard him as an enemy? "Scully..." he said softly, shaking her shoulder gently. She didn't stir. She must really be out cold.
"Scully," Mulder repeated a little bit louder. He shook her shoulder more aggressively. Still nothing. What was up? Was she ignoring him?
Slyly, he pulled the covers down from around her neck and snaked a hand under her pajama top, tickling her. "Scully..." He said mischievously as he did so. She remained fast asleep, chest rising and falling evenly. Dammit, Mulder thought. Scully was a light sleeper. She would wake up if someone slammed a door across the street. Why couldn't he wake her up now?
There was really only one explanation. She had probably taken one of those damned sleeping pills again. Mulder had come to know Scully's habits well over the last year, and as far as he knew. Scully did not take those sleeping pills for the purpose they were intended. That is, going to sleep. She had kept him awake many a night with her insomniac's tossing and turning, without even entertaining the possibility of taking a sleeping pill.
She took them when she was depressed and did not want to face reality. Some people drank. Some people did drugs. Dana Scully took sleeping pills. Same problem, different solutions, all of them wrong. Mind you, she didn't do it often. Scully would have to be really, *really* depressed to do it.
"Fuck," Mulder said out loud.
He hated nothing more in this world than to see Scully do this to herself. Why couldn't she just... *talk* to him? The world's cruelties always seemed less harsh when one had someone to confide in. Scully had always denied herself that. Tomorrow. He would confront her about this tomorrow.
"No Mulder, I'm fine."
This was going to be harder than Mulder had thought. Sunday morning. Scully had risen late, groggy and looking like she had slept too much and too late. Such a thing had never stopped Fox Mulder from getting to what was on his mind. Still, he had tried to word his questions as gently and unaccusingly as possible, perhaps paving the way for her to respond without feeling threatened. Though the very notion that she would feel threatened by him made his stomach churn.
"Scully," Mulder replied. "I know you better than anyone. I know you're not fine. I can see it every time I look at you. Why can't you tell me what's on your mind?"
"I told you Mulder, I was just upset from that dream. I'm fine."
"Upset enough to start popping those sleeping pills again?" The words left his mouth before his mind had a chance to approve them. He immediately felt like an idiot. If he wanted Scully to talk, that was the wrong way to go about it. Way to go, Fox.
"Since when is that any of your business?" she asked.
That took the cake. It became my business when I fell in love with you six years ago, Scully. "I care about you Scully," He said out loud. "I want you to trust me enough to talk to me when something's bothering you. I want to be able to help."
"Nothing is wrong, Mulder. It was just a dream." Damn! She was stubborn.
Why was it so hard to tell him? Wouldn't it be easier to just blurt it out? Mulder, it wasn't the dream. I keep hearing Samuel's voice and seeing him on the street. Something I can't explain is happening. Either that, or I'm losing my mind. And I don't like either option. If anyone, couldn't she trust Mulder with her feelings? He would not judge her for it, she knew that. He had never judged her for anything.
She opened her mouth to tell him. Yes, this was it. Tell him everything. "Nothing is wrong, Mulder. It was just a dream." *what*? No, that wasn't right. Tell him. Tell him the truth.
"Scully, do you think I'm a complete idiot?"
Too late. "What?" She asked, her eyebrow raised.
"I've known you for almost seven years, Scully. We've been through everything together and I *know* when something is wrong. You must think I'm a pretty low watt bulb to think I'll believe that crap about you're being fine. People who are fine don't come home from a walk downtown looking white as a sheet and then pop a sleeping pill so they can go to bed in the middle of the day." She opened her mouth to speak, but he wasn't finished. "I trust you more than anyone in the world Scully. No scratch that. You're the *only * person in the world that I trust. Why can't you trust *me* enough to tell me when something's wrong?"
Why indeed? It wasn't that at all, really. She trusted Mulder. What she didn't trust was her own emotions.
"Because there's nothing wrong with me Mulder." Damn. That was her last chance, too.
Mulder was fed up. He stood up from where he had been sitting, on the living room couch and went for his coat and shoes. "What, you're taking off because I can't tell you exactly what you want to hear?" Scully heard herself say.
"I'll be back in a few hours," he said before he shut the door.
It seemed like hours before Mulder finally looked up from his feet to see where he was. He had been walking steadily in a straight line since he had left their apartment, seething with anger the whole time. Why was that woman so damn stubborn?
I put my trust in you, and only you, Scully. Why can't you give it back to me? He still did not believe her consistent assertions that nothing was wrong. Something *was* wrong. It became all the more apparent the more she insisted that she was fine. If you're fine, Scully, they why do you act like you're not? Mulder looked at his surroundings and laughed when he saw Scully's favorite Starbuck's hangout across the street to the right of him.
He had been so wrapped up in his thoughts, he had walked all the way downtown - a ten minute drive - without noticing it. He looked at his watch. It was noon. It had taken him an hour and a half to walk here. He shook his head. It was amazing, the feats one could pull without realizing it. He continued to walk, hoping that soon this feeling of anger and complete frustration would leave him. It was peaceful walking downtown on a Sunday. Most of the stores were closed, save for the occasional 24-hour convenience store. Very few people were out today, and the gloomy gray clouds hanging over the city did very little to help that. Mulder glanced at the clouds nervously, hoping that it wouldn't decide to rain before he got home.
He turned his gaze back to the street in front of him. And stopped in his tracks. Every muscle in his body froze. His heart began to pound in his throat. *Who* was that, standing just up the street from him?
A small boy, no more than 5 years old. Red hair. Delicate features. Freckles, and sad eyes. Mulder stared at the small figure for a moment, waiting to see if he would be proven wrong in his assumption. There were probably many small red-headed boys out there.
Only when the boy beckoned for him to follow did the doubt leave him. "Samuel?" Mulder called, approaching the child.
Samuel, if it was indeed him, did not move, but contented to stand in that same spot, watching him and beckoning. It was eerie. Mulder didn't like it one bit. It reminded him of those expressionless, emotionless clones they had made of his sister Samantha. Nevertheless, it was worth checking out.
Mulder's temples throbbed with the force of his heartbeat as he approached. Words exploded in his head. "Come get me!" But the boy had not actually said them.
"Samuel?" Mulder asked again, but as he drew close enough to the boy to make a definitive decision, the child turned and ran. "Wait!" Mulder called, giving chase immediately. The boy skidded around a sharp corner onto another street.
Mulder followed at full speed. There was no way the boy could outrun him. But why would Samuel run? Mulder didn't have time to answer that question as he barreled full-force into a huge police officer who was standing just around the corner. He fell to the ground, his head ringing with the force of the impact. The police officer, a good head taller than him and built like Skinner, stood over him and regarded him with interest.
"Where are you going in such a hurry?" he asked. Mulder reached inside his coat for his ID, but the gesture sent the police officer reaching for his gun.
"No, no," Mulder said, quickly producing his badge. "I'm FBI," he added breathlessly. The police officer relaxed, his hand leaving his gun. Mulder realized with embarrassment that he was still laying on his ass on the pavement. He got up quickly, trying to salvage what was left of his dignity.
"Chasing a suspect?" The officer asked. Was that sarcasm in his voice? Ah well, it was routine for FBI agents to get cynical comments from the police.
"No, actually," Mulder said. "A little red-headed boy. He's umm... been reported missing," whew - that was a stupid explanation "Did you see where he went?"
Now the officer looked confused. He looked at Mulder for a moment, and then looked behind him as if checking for fleeing children. "He didn't come this way," he said, returning his gaze to Mulder.
That was impossible.
"But I saw him turn this corner..." Mulder said, his voice trailing off. For all intents and purposes, Samuel - if it had been Samuel - should have run smack into the police officer, as Mulder had.
"I've been here for the last 20 minutes," The officer said, shaking his head. Something strange was going on here. Was that really a surprise? These sorts of things never were surprises anymore.
"I must be mistaken," Mulder said, putting his ID back in his coat. "Sorry," he added, turning around to leave before the officer could ask him another question. Where had the boy gone? He couldn't have just vanished into thin air. Mulder laughed as he realized what he was saying to himself. You work on the X-Files, Mulder. You've seen stranger things than small boys vanishing into thin air. Had that really been Samuel? If so, what was he doing in the middle of downtown DC, acting like a phantom? It didn't take long to put the pieces together, though. Scully had probably seen the exact same thing.
"Scully!" Mulder called as he raced in the front door of his apartment. He collapsed against the door as he shut it behind him, trying to catch his breath. Running all the way home was not the smartest thing he could have done that day. "Scully!" He called again.
Scully emerged from the living room, a questioning expression on her face. "Where have *you* been?" She asked.
"I went for a walk," he said, between gasps for air. "Scully..." he stood up straight again and approached her, pulling her to him. "I'm sorry!" He said, holding her tightly.
"Sorry..." She said, echoing him. "Me too, Mulder."
"And I understand what you've been going through, Scully."
Was that possible, Scully wondered? How could he possibly understand? "You do?" She asked in a disbelieving tone.
Mulder ignored it. "I saw him too, Scully". It was a gamble, approaching the issue like this. It was entirely possible that Scully would not know what he was talking about. But it was more than likely that he had hit the nail on the head. When Scully pulled away from him violently, he knew that he had.
"What are you talking about?" She asked, her blue eyes burning into his with questioning.
"I saw Samuel, Scully. Downtown. You saw him too, didn't you? Yesterday morning? That's what this has all been about, hasn't it?"
"But... how...." Scully stammered, for once at a loss for words.
"He was standing on the street Scully. Motioning for me to follow. I followed him, but he disappeared."
A hand came to Scully's face, covering her eyes. She drew in a deep shaky breath and remained in that position for a moment, saying nothing. When she finally did speak, it was the exact admission of Truth that Mulder had been looking for.
"Did he tell you to come get him?" she asked without moving her hand or raising her head.
"Yes, that's exactly what he said."
"Oh god," Scully said, suddenly losing her footing. Mulder caught her before she ended up on the floor. Dana Scully had experienced something paranormal - and could not explain it away. Soon they were both on the floor, arms around each other tightly. Scully was sobbing, and Mulder felt tears coming to his eyes as well. Not for himself but for Scully. He was so relieved to see that she was finally able to let out the fear she had been feeling for the last two days.
What was happening to them?
"I thought I was going crazy," Scully said, through tears, which she was trying desperately to restrain. "God, Mulder... I thought I was losing my mind!"
"I, on the other hand, lost mine a long time ago," Mulder said, laughing in spite of the tears that were coming to his eyes.
Scully drew in a deep breath and sat up, looking him in the eye again. "But how is this possible, Mulder?" She asked. "How could we *both* Have seen him? How could it have been Samuel?" She asked.
"I don't think it was," Mulder replied, voicing something he had thought about at length on his long run home. He hastened to explain. "Not in the physical sense." That old Scully skeptic eyebrow that Mulder loved - and loved to hate - so much, was back.
"Mulder, what are you saying?"
"I'm saying that I don't think it was Samuel... Not his physical body, anyway. I think it was some kind of manifestation."
"yes Scully. Maybe Samuel is trying to contact us."
"Mulder I think that's a bit... far fetched."
"More far fetched than what we already know to be true? Come on Scully! You met Gibson. You saw his abilities. What if Samuel has a similar ability?"
"I think..." Under any normal circumstances, she would have argued. This time it was not possible. She quickly told Mulder about her prophetic dream, and about her mysterious phantom phone call the previous morning.
Mulder's eyes widened in surprise. "a phone call?" He asked.
"Yes, but it was untraceable. As far as the phone company was concerned, it didn't happen."
"But it was Samuel's voice," Mulder added.
"It sounded like him." Mulder shook his head, almost unable to believe what was happening. "What if it's a trick Mulder?" Scully asked.
"A trick?" Mulder asked. "so you think the people responsible for this have a mysterious, disappearing boy on their staff, running errands for them?"
Scully didn't know whether to laugh or yell at Mulder. She opted for the former. "No," She said, chuckling. "I just..."
"Scully, it's amazing what's just happened. I think we should look into it."
"How, Mulder? How do we do that?"
The solution was simple, of course. Go back to the scene of the incident. Go back to where they had seen Samuel. Only this time, go together.
Night could not come quickly enough for Mulder and Scully. They had agreed without incident that they should go back at night, when there were likely to be less people around. There was no point in drawing attention to themselves.
There was nobody out tonight. Not even a prostitute to be seen anywhere, though they didn't really tend to hang out in this area of town. Still, they couldn't help but feel conspicuous as they left their vehicle and walked down the quiet, empty street. Neither of them could explain the feeling. Perhaps somewhere out there in the dark, someone was watching them.
"Where was it?" Scully asked. She remembered where she had seen Samuel, but she still had yet to confirm that Mulder had seen him in the same spot.
Mulder pointed ahead of them, to an area of sidewalk just ahead of the street where he had encountered the police officer.
Things were harder to recognize at night, but there was no doubt. They had both seen him in the same spot.
"He's not there," Scully said, sounding disappointed, as though even through her skepticism she had allowed herself to hope they would see him.
No, he was not there. There was not a soul out tonight. Had they wasted their time? They continued to approach the spot in question, and walked right over it without incident. Were they *both* losing their minds?
"I don't..." Mulder started to say, but an idea overcame him. He beckoned for Scully to follow as he rounded the corner where he had run into the incredible hulk that afternoon. A narrow side road lay ahead of them, branching off into several dark alleyways. Mulder squinted in the dark, surveying the poorly lit street for a sign of movement. Of anything.
"Mulder," Scully whispered suddenly.
He turned to her. She pointed ahead of her. "There he is."
Mulder followed the invisible line between her finger and where she was pointing. A small figure stood in the shadows, barely visible in the light filtering in from the main street.
The figure moved, and raised it's hand once again to beckon them. What to do now? Would he run if they approached? Would he disappear. Maybe it was best to let him know of their intentions.
"Where do you want to take us, Samuel?" Mulder asked. The beckoning stopped. The boy - or whatever he was - seemed to regard them for a moment. Would he vanish again?
No, no this time. He and Scully had made it clear that they knew what Samuel meant to do. They believed in him now. They knew he was not a figment of their imagination. The figure of Samuel turned around and began walking in the opposite direction. Into the darkness of the city streets.
Mulder and Scully followed.
They were led down the narrow street, side-stepping broken bottles and other city- related debris as they walked. All around them was darkness, barely penetrated by the glow of the city's lights around them. Who, or what, could be lurking in these shadows at night?
Scully drew her gun, just to be safe, though neither she nor Mulder dared take out their flashlights. They didn't want to do anything to frighten or disturb their guide.
He led them to the end of the road they were on and turned down a dark alley. Light spilled into the alley from an adjacent street, allowing the two agents to finally see where they were going. Ahead of them, at the end of the alley, stood a large warehouse. That was where Samuel was leading them.
Warehouses were not an uncommon sight for Mulder and Scully. To them, it seemed like sinister things were always being conducted in warehouses. And it appeared that this case was no exception. The tiny figure of Samuel had led them to the end of the alleyway, to the main entrance of a decrepit warehouse.
A sign on the front of the building clearly displayed that it was condemned. Samuel approached the door and pointed to it, nodding his head slowly. He wanted them to go in.
"Samuel," Scully started to say.
The small figure looked at her for a moment. He put a small finger to his lips to indicate she be quiet. Then Samuel vanished into thin air.
"I told you, Scully," Mulder said as he jiggled the decaying door of the warehouse.
"He came to lead us here," Scully finished for him. She was still shaken by the day's experiences, particularly the fact that she had just seen what appeared to be her son vanish into thin air. "I don't understand how..." She added, but Mulder interrupted her.
"Surely you can think of a scientific explanation," Mulder added, finally succeeding in opening the door. "You've thought of explanations for far more unusual things," He added, smiling.
"Well," Scully said softly "There are theories that the human mind is capable of far more things than we perceive. Perhaps Samuel inherited some of these abilities... and is trying to draw our attention to something."
Mulder smiled again. Whether the experience had been paranormal or not, he was glad that Scully was not trying to deny it's occurrence. They had both seen Samuel. Samuel in what form, they did not know, but they had seen them, and that was enough.
"There's nothing here, Mulder," Scully said, once again sounding disappointed as she and her partner surveyed the massive warehouse they had been led to. Indeed, the building was not only condemned, but completely abandoned. The cement floors were littered with dirt and debris, the walls were crumbling and many had holes in them. Not even a rat saw fit to call this place home. It was empty.
"Don't give up yet, Scully!" she heard Mulder say from a distance. He was on the other side of the room. She could see the small beam of his flashlight roving back and forth across the length of the huge building as he searched for something... anything to indicate that they had been led here for a reason. Suddenly, the beam of light vanished.
"Oh, Shit! Sculleeeeee!!!" She heard Mulder cry. This was followed by a ""thump" and a sharp cry of pain.
"Mulder!" Scully cried. She ran towards where he had fallen, taking care not to trip on anything beneath her feet. "Where are you?" She called, scanning the floor with the beam of her flashlight. There was no sign of him.
"Here!" His voice was distant, coming from below.
A beam of light suddenly seemed to shoot up from the floor itself, resting on the ceiling. Scully found herself at the edge of a small, square hole in the farthest corner of the warehouse. The hole was barely noticeable until you were nearly on top of it, which explained why Mulder had not seen it.
His flashlight beam danced on the ceiling above her. He turned it off when he saw her, allowing her to shine her own beam down upon him. where he sat. The drop was not far, but far enough. She hoped he wasn't hurt.
"What are you doing down there?" She asked, half smiling.
"Hurting," he said. "I think my arm's broken."
Broken? Shit. Mulder didn't need this to happen now. "Oh Jesus, Mulder!" Scully said, not sure whether to be concerned for him or exasperated at his carelessness. "How did you..."
"I was looking the other way and I fell in, OK?" He said, laughter in his voice, indicating how silly he felt. "Come down. There's a ladder. I think there's some kind of tunnel in here." Of course there was a ladder. Now that she saw it, it was hard to miss. If only Mulder had seen it.
Taking care to keep her balance, she climbed down. Mulder sat at the bottom of the ladder. He still held his flashlight in his right hand, but had his left huddled in an awkward position against his body.
"Here," Scully said, propping her flashlight under one arm to free up both hands. She reached out for him. Mulder's face contorted in pain as she touched his jacket. He muttered a long string of profanities.
"Relax, Mulder!" Scully said, trying to examine the arm without hurting him. It was a bad break. She could feel part of the bone pressing upwards against his flesh. That could mean only one thing- the bone was broken right in two. "This is really bad, Mulder. We have to get you out of here."
"Oh come on Scully," Mulder said through clenched teeth. "It's just my arm. I'll live."
"Mulder, if we don't get this set and in plaster soon it won't heal properly. You'll...."
"Shut up, Scully," Mulder said, touching her face tenderly with his uninjured arm. "You're always telling me you're fine. Well, for once I'M fine. We're not turning back now. I think we may be on to something here."
Scully sighed. Well, there was no stopping Mulder when he was on to something. "Well, we need to set it somehow. Have you got your pocket knife?" she asked.
Mulder nodded, reaching into the right hand pocket of his trenchcoat and handing it to her. "You aren't going to amputate, are you?" He asked with a smile. "I don't want to end up like Krycek." Scully smiled at his silly little joke.
"Are you attached to this coat?" She asked.
"Not as attached as I am to my arm," Mulder replied with a grin. She admired his ability to remain in good humor in the face of adversity. It was probably the only quality that had kept him sane through the years.
"Did you ever see 'The Severed Arm'?" Mulder added.
"Mulder!" Scully said "you're going to make me laugh, and then I might accidentally hurt you!"
Mulder calmed himself down. "Sorry," he said. "I get giddy when I'm in a shitty situation." Scully smiled as she gently cut through the material of his coat with the pocket knife. She succeeding in removing the item of clothing from him without too much trouble, though Mulder did end up cursing every time she brushed his arm.
As Mulder gritted his teeth, she lay his arm gently in the coat and tied the sleeves behind his neck. "One makeshift sling coming up," she said, running her hand through his hair. Mulder laughed shakily.
"Are you going to be all right?" She asked.
"Yeah, if I don't think about the pain I'll be fine. Where are we?" Scully handed Mulder his flashlight back and shone her own ahead of them into the darkness. All around them were brick walls, save for the side facing away from the ladder. It was an underground tunnel of some sort. And it appeared to go on for miles. Shining her flashlight down it, Scully could not see the end.
"Do we do this?" Mulder asked.
"You have two choices, Mulder. We go that way-" She gestured ahead, into the tunnel "Or we go back up that ladder and get you to a hospital."
"Let's go, then" Mulder said, walking ahead of her into the tunnel.
"Does this go on forever?" Scully asked as they pushed forward. The tunnel seemed endless. It had continued straight for what felt like miles, then turned sharply to the left and continued for what felt like more miles. Scully was beginning to wonder if they were going in circles.
"I'll wager not," Mulder said, "It has to lead somewhere. We're not here for nothing, Scully."
"Where do you think it goes?" She asked, not expecting him to know, but feeling as though she had to fill the silence.
"I'm not sure," he replied. "Let's just keep walking."
It was a door.
At the end of this ridiculously long underground tunnel, was a door. It was made of steel, and looked like it belonged in some high-tech fortress or bunker. Other than that, it was just a door. The strangest thing about it, though, was that it was unlocked., Mulder reached out with his good hand and opened it with ease.
They found themselves in a huge room, not much smaller than the gigantic warehouse which had led them here in the first place. But this room was not abandoned, nor did it appear condemned.
The floor and walls were cement, and above them, green lights cast a strange luminous glow throughout, illuminating it's contents. Scully was unable to believe her eyes at first. She closed them, took a deep breath, and re-opened them, but what she saw did not change.
Filling the space of the entire room were cylindrical shaped storage units. They were transparent - made of glass or some other such material, and filled with a clear liquid. Each unit rested under one of the strange green lights. And each unit contained a small figure of some kind. Something Scully had seen before.
Why, she had traded something like this for Mulder's life nearly six years ago. It had been recognizable as a fetus of some kind, but it had not been human. Scully had been unable to determine what it was before it had been taken from her. But Mulder's life had been more than worth it. She had not thought about it since. But the ones she saw now... these were not exactly the same. They looked more human, but still... there was something wrong with them.
"Mulder..." She whispered, shining her light on one of the organisms within the cylinder nearest to them. As the beam from her light struck it, it moved. Scully and Mulder both jumped.
"I don't believe this," Mulder said. He had seen similar spectacles. He had seen hints and glimpses of equally shocking things, but never this. Scully took a few steps forward and approached the nearest cylinder. Just below the glass holding the developing organism, she saw a label. Scully bent down and peered at the it closely. She was not prepared for what she saw.
"Mulder..." She said, straightening up, her voice shaking. "Come look at this. You've got to see this."
There was no reply.
Scully turned around and shone her flashlight in Mulder's direction. He was gone.
"Mulder?" Scully called, her voice rising in panic. She swept the beam of her flashlight around the room. It illuminated nothing but cement walls, and the ghoulish cylindrical devices which filled the room. Where had he gone?
She had seen nothing. Heard nothing. He had been right behind her. "Mulder!" Scully called again, still trying to keep her voice low. What if someone heard her? Someone she did not want to alert her presence to? No answer.
How could he have just disappeared like that? Without a sound? "Mulder!" She called one last time, no longer wary of who might be listening. Oh god, where was he? She made a full circle again, shining her flashlight in every direction, every remote corner. Nothing.
Suddenly, she felt afraid. Dana Scully, afraid? Well, yes. There was no denying it. Alone, in this dark room, filled grotesque devices growing what could have been Mulder's much talked about alien/human hybrids. They were a live, yet not alive. They gave her the chills.
Scully was afraid. And Mulder was gone. Vanished without a trace, his arm badly broken. He would be in pain - the natural pain suppressant that came with adrenaline would not hold it back for long. Soon the feeling would come back and he would be in terrible agony. What would he do then?
They had been stupid to go on. Stupid to continue. They should have left the moment they realized his arm was broken. You're a doctor, Dana, you should have known better! Should have gotten him out of here right away. But Mulder was stubborn. A more stubborn man did not exist. He would have gone on anyway. And it was too late to worry about that now.
Find Mulder, that was all that mattered. But where to start? She did not even know what direction he had gone in. For a moment, she glanced back at the reason she had called Mulder's name in the first place. The label on the cylinder before her. She had wanted him to see it. It had been a significant discovery - one that explained a lot of things. *Subject code 1013* it read. *Subject name, Samuel.*
It wasn't much of a surprise. After all, both of them had suspected something like this. This was most likely where the children like Emily and Samuel were "grown" - oh god, wasn't that an awful way to put it? - before being brought into a world that would never treat them like anything more than human lab rats. The reason Samuel had led them here was revealed. And Mulder was not here to see it.
"Right under our noses," Scully mused, forgetting for a moment her panic and fear. Right under their noses, though they had gone to the other side of the continent to find Emily, and Samuel. It was infuriating in it's irony.
Scully regarded the figure in the cylinder a moment longer, feeling many different emotions flow through her. Pity, remorse, sadness, anger, and yes, even disgust. The thing in the cylinder did not appear to be human. It's head was too large, and strangely shaped. Much like the fetus she had traded for Mulder's life so many years ago. It was tiny - indeed, not much bigger than her hand, but even so, it was clear there was nothing normal about it. This subject in particular appeared to be malformed in some ways as well. It's body was misshapen, it's facial features off kilter. And closer inspection revealed that it's limbs were not exactly in the right places.
Was that an arm growing out of it's chest?
Yet it lived. They were keeping it alive. This was appalling. Horrifying. Horrifying even more to think that children like Samuel and Emily had been created in this way. What a way to start a life. Children who had not been created in love. Who were never meant to be loved or cherished, or even to grow up.
Forced to grow in a cold, glass cylinder. And after that, Scully assumed, they would be transferred into the bodies of unsuspecting women, like those at the retirement home Mulder had discovered while searching for evidence of what had happened to Emily. Created for experiments, born of mothers who spent the entire time asleep -who did not even know of them. These children were better off not existing at all.
Emily was lucky to be gone. Samuel... would likely have been better of never born. It was a horrible thing to think, and yet it seemed right. This went against every scientific convention, and all of the bounds of human decency.
"These children were never meant to be," Scully whispered, echoing Mulder's words to after Emily's death. However, the evils that lay in front of her were becoming the least of her worries. She had to find Mulder.
There was a doorway on the other side of the room. This Scully discovered as she crept, heart pounding, around the entirety of the huge cylinder-filled chamber. Evidence on where Mulder had gone did not present itself, but the green light shining from above gave the room a supernaturally eerie quality, and the shadows thrown form the piercing beam of her flashlight only served to cause Scully more tension. More than once, she caught herself jumping at movement that turned out to be a shadow. Stupid. You should know better Dana.
The room beyond the doorway was small. It did not, however, contain Mulder. Scully felt her heart sink, although in reality she could not have imagined him getting all the way over here in such a short time. He was nowhere to be seen. But it was full, from top to bottom of every wall, with filing cabinets. Lots and lots of files, Scully thought with a smile. She shone her flashlight across the faces of the cabinets, and then thought better of it and reached to the left of the entrance, fumbling for that familiar small, plastic device that most rooms feature on the wall beside the door.
A light switch? An interesting concept. But she found one, and flicked it. Light flooded the room. It was unfamiliar after all of this darkness. Scully squinted for a moment, waiting for her eyes to adjust, turned her flashlight out, and looked around.
Each drawer was labeled - in alphabetical order. That was convenient. On a table in the center of the room sat a computer, turned off. It was plain what needed to be done here.
But what if time was running out for Mulder? What if he was hurt badly (more so than he had already been hurt?). What if he was... No, don't even think that. Scully pulled open the first drawer labeled "S" that she found. It didn't take her long to find what she was looking for. 6, no wait, 7 manila file folders, all labeled with the name "Samuel." Why that particular code name for only these 7 subjects?
Scully opened the first file and skimmed through it. There, she found her answer. On a plain white sheet of paper as ominous and foreboding as the very first one Mulder had shown to her, over a year ago. To think that all of this had started because she had been depressed about losing Emily. And Mulder, in his infinite sweetness and then unconfessed love for her, had done everything in his power to ease her curiosity and make it better. If both of them had known the outcome, would they have made that trip to Vancouver? Dammit, I've got to find him! She thought. But she couldn't force herself to put down this file without looking. She allowed herself to skim it.
Subject name: Samuel Number : 1021 Maternal DNA: Dana K. Scully Paternal DNA: Fox W. Mulder Status: Deceased
Deceased... but this could not be Samuel... *the* Samuel, could it? Could he be gone, just like all of the others she had seen on the list Mulder had shown her last year? These children never lived very long, Scully was certain of that. What were they trying to do here? It was apparent that they efforts were far from successful - Emily's sickness and early death had been evidence of that. But Samuel had been different. He had not been sick, he had been intelligent.
Was it possible that he had been the success they were looking for? She ventured into the other files.
Each test subject read the same. The same name, the same parents - all of them deceased except for two.
Subject #1013 : Test Failed. Test failed. Callous, unfeeling words for the unfortunate life that was sadly, still going on inside that cold glass cylinder in the other room. A life created from her own DNA and that of the person she loved most in the world, therefore making them partly responsible for the atrocity. Scully shuddered and read on.
Subject #1121: Living. That was the Samuel she was looking for. That was the Samuel she knew, and had come to care for in the short time he had been with them. She breathed a sigh of relief, although in this cruel, shadowy world it was questionable as to the connotations of "alive". The fact that he was living did not necessarily mean that he was all right. Was this it? Was this what he had wanted her to find? It seemed such a small thing, after all they had been through.
And now she couldn't leave. Mulder was missing. She had to find him. She grabbed all of the files, put them under one arm, and made her way back to the doorway. But something stopped her before she could leave. Without really intending to do it, Scully turned around and headed back towards the filing cabinets. Towards the drawers marked "E".
She had not commanded her body to do this. Had it even crossed her mind? She did not think so, but all she knew for certain was that she was doing it. It didn't take her long to find the files she had not really thought about looking for. Six of them, all labeled "Emily". Of course, now that she had found them, she could not resist. These files were arranged in exactly the same format as the ones on Samuel.
Subject Name: Emily Number: 807 Maternal DNA: Dana K. Scully Paternal DNA: Fox W. Mulder Status: Deceased
"Oh My God," Scully whispered. She could not believe what she had looking at, though she supposed that somewhere in her heart, she had suspected it. Emily, Mulder's child as well.
Of course, they had suspected it from the moment it had been discovered that Mulder was Samuel's father. It made sense. If it was done with one group of children, why not another? Neither of them had given the matter any further thought, nor bothered to pursue it. What would the point be? Emily was dead. But in their hearts, perhaps both of them had known what the outcome would be.
One question remained: why? Why make these children out of both her and Mulder's DNA? Why Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, specifically?
Coincidence? No, that was ridiculous. To use against them? Perhaps to draw her and Mulder - most likely Mulder - deeper into the conspiracy? To create yet another tactic to use against him. To strike at him deeply. After all, hadn't every strike that had been taken at she, herself been an indirect strike at Mulder? He was the only person passionate enough to pursue those who would commit such evil deeds as this.
They needed a way to get to him, and until now it had always been Scully. Why not create a few children too, just to drag him deeper into it? He had many enemies, and Scully had always believed him to be slightly paranoid in his assumptions that there were specific actions being taken against him. Lately, she had begun to believe him.
"Why would they do this?" She asked, as though Mulder was there to hear her. As though what seemed like every possible answer had not already gone through her head.
"To get at me Scully," Mulder would have replied. "That's what it's always been about. They knew we'd find these children somehow. And when we did, they would use them against us. Use our feelings of remorse and responsibility against us. " Scully smiled. She knew Mulder so well she didn't need him to be there to hear his answers.
His name ran through her mind as though it had been spoken. On the table in front of her, the blank computer screen gleamed invitingly. No, this was enough. Scully stuffed the Emily files carefully under her arm and left the room.
Things were growing stranger and stranger by the moment. Scully circled the large central room for what felt like the hundredth time. She had been around it, and through it, and now felt that she could navigate it with her eyes closed. Yet she had found no exits, save the one they had come in, and the small room where she had found the files.
Mulder could simply not have vanished into thin air. Had he gone back the way they came? That was unlikely. He would have said something. He wouldn't have just left. But...
What if he had been forced back the way they came? But shouldn't there have been some noise? And if he was forced, why not her as well?
Scully opened the door to the tunnel they had come from and peered out, shining her flashlight out ahead of her into the blackness. She really did not like the idea of traversing that tunnel on her own. Yet it seemed the only explanation.
Thinking better of it for a moment, she closed the door and turned around. What had Mulder done once he had entered the room? She herself had gone straight ahead to the nearest cylinder in front of them. Hadn't Mulder done the same? He had been right behind her.
Trying to retrace Mulder steps, she began to walk slowly towards that same cylinder again. Scully, in her scientist's temperament, had focused on one singular thing and gone for it. Mulder, on the other hand, would have been taking in everything at once. Walking slowly, looking around at all of the objects in the room, trying to absorb as much as possible.
Scully felt her heart leap into her throat as she took her next step and found that there was nothing beneath her foot. She heard herself cry out as she realized she was not going to regain her footing, and allowed herself to fall.
It was comfortable, as falls could go. Scully found herself sliding along a metal chute, and which reminded her somewhat of a laundry chute. They had had a laundry chute at home when she was a child. She and her brothers would hide in it, slide down it... They had chutes like this at hospitals. Huge ones, large enough for a grown human to fall through. This explained where Mulder had gone, but it did nothing to ease her mind. Falling down a chute in a place like this, having no idea where you were going to end up, was hardly a situation to put one's mind at ease.
Before she could think about it, she realized she was no longer sliding on anything solid. She had reached the other end.
She landed with a slightly disturbing "crack" on the cement floor below. Oh Jesus, have I broken something now? Scully wondered, trying not to think about the pain in her hip as she tried to figure out where she was. Was that a supply chute she had fallen down? If so, it had been a strange place for it. In the dim light of the above room, the hole had been nearly impossible to see. Poor Mulder. He had fallen more than his share of times today. But there was no telling if he was here, or where he had landed. Her flashlight, apparently had not survived the fall. Either that or it remained dozens of feet above her. The former seemed more likely, and Scully pictured it lying somewhere a few feet away, the batteries falling out or the bulb broken. Not to mention that she had most likely lost all of the files on Samuel and Emily that she had been carrying.
This was not good.
In the dark. No idea where she was. No flashlight. Scully hoisted herself up into a crawling position, wincing as she did so. The fall had not injured her, but after that fall on the street yesterday and this one, her left hip was going to be a deep shade of purple come the end of the weekend.
If they made it to the end of the weekend.
Come now, Dana, don't think like that. You've been in worse situations than this. Much worse. Scully groped ahead of herself in the dark, searching the damp concrete floor beneath her for something resembling her flashlight. Groping around in the dark was not a nice feeling. What made it worse was the sensation of not knowing what you would grab at next...
Or what would grab at you...
Oh stop that Dana, Scully scolded herself, and made a mental note to stop reading Stephen King books really late at night. Searching blindly in the darkness yielded nothing. Scully Forced herself to stand up. If she shuffled around enough, perhaps she would find it with her foot. A foot with a shoe on it was a far better tool for searching unfamiliar, dark floors, than a bare hand.
Wait. Hold on. Scully nearly laughed at her own forgetfulness. She would have laughed, had she not been terrified beyond the ability to do so.
What about the pen light in your coat pocket, Dana? She did have to smile as she reached into her coat pocket to withdraw the small light she always kept for situations like this - though she didn't think she had ever been in a situation exactly like this.
Damn, where was it? She was so intent on finding it that she almost dismissed the hand on her shoulder as her imagination.
When she realized it was not, she screamed. When was the last time she had screamed? Not since she was a child. But she screamed now, before she realized it, and then grabbed for the hand, ready to fling it and it's owner over her shoulder in one of those throwing moves she had learned in martial arts class.
"Oh Jesus!" Scully said, all her breath leaving her at once. She grasped the hand tighter and turned around, pulling the owner close to her. "Mulder, what are you doing?" her voice was full of frustration.
"The same thing you're doing, groping around in the dark," he said, his voice indicating that he was smiling.
"Why didn't you say something sooner?"
"Scully, I didn't know you were here until I ended up grabbing you just now."
Well, she hadn't really made much of a sound, had she? And the acoustics were not great in this underground maze. Their voices did not reverberate against the cold brick walls. "Have you been here the whole time?" Scully asked.
"Just waiting for you to save me, Scully," he said. "Lost my flashlight in here somewhere."
"Me too, " Scully said. "I was trying to get my pen light," she said, reaching back into her pocket to search for it. Finally, she felt it's familiar shape and pulled it out of her pocket. The first thing she did was shine it in Mulder's face to make sure it was really him. She knew his voice, she knew his touch and everything about him, but something was reassuring about seeing his face smiling back at her. He squinted, and gave her a look that implied "why'd you go and do that?"
"Thank god," she said, leaning into him. "I was so worried. How's your arm?"
"It hurts like hell," Mulder said. "But not any worse for the fall," he bent down to kiss her softly. "Thanks for coming to get me," he whispered.
"Mulder, you won't believe what I found!" Scully said. She relayed to him all of the information she had gathered since the moment he had disappeared.
"so we were right," Mulder said after her tale, standing in the glow of the pen- light, looking pensive.
"To use it against you?" Scully asked, voicing Mulder's explanation before he had a chance.
"That has to be it, Scully," Mulder said. "There's no other reason for it."
"But why do you think they're making these children in the first place, Mulder?"
Mulder regarded her for a moment. Would she believe him? He didn't think so. Not yet. "I'm working on a theory," he said with a smile. "Let's see if we can find those files."
Mulder's flashlight had not survived the fall. In the inadequate light made by Scully's pen light, they found it laying several feet away, in pieces. Scully's however, was nearby, and it's apparent cause of demise was the fact that the batteries had been dislodged from the casing. It was easy enough to fix and soon they were once again blessed with a light bright enough to navigate by. Unfortunately, Scully did not have the pleasure of locating the files she had taken such care to bring with her. They were nowhere nearby. Nothing, not even a single sheet of paper.
"We'll find them later," Mulder said. "I believe you, anyway," he added, Smiling.
They were in another tunnel. This tunnel appeared to be much the same as the one in which they had begun this whole mess. Brick walls. Cement floor. Cold. It stretched out to the right and to the left of them, and in both directions the darkness yielded no indication of where it might lead them. Scully shone the flashlight upwards, and after much searching finally discovered the chute through which each of them had fallen. It ended in a rounded metal lip, several feet above the concrete floor.
"Think we could crawl back up there?" Mulder asked as Scully shone her light into to the chute.
"With your arm?" Scully asked. "I doubt it. There's got to be another way out of here. If this place is used by anyone, they don't come and go by that chute."
"Well, it could be a way of keeping things exciting for them," Mulder said, in his characteristic way of trying to make light of every serious situation. Scully tried not to let him see the corners of her mouth curl upwards in a smile.
"Which way should we go?" Scully asked, though she appeared to already be considering going right. "Left," Mulder said. Scully smiled as she remembered the last time they had done this. On that occasion, they had been in a car. And they had had one more option: straight. This time they did not. What the heck, why not go with Mulder? He had good instincts. He was usually right about these things.
"OK, left," Scully said. "Why not?"
Left, it appeared, had been a fair choice, for they had not walked far when they came upon a series of doors decorating the left side of the hallway. Each of the doors were identical in design to the first door they had seen in this place. The one at the end of the first tunnel, which had led them into the room with all of those... horrible... cylinders. Scully shuddered when the thought crossed her mind. Mulder had not seemed disturbed by her descriptions of the unfortunate test subject in the cylinder, but he had not seen it with his own eyes. She assumed he would find it far more disturbing if he had.
Mulder picked a door and turned the knob with his good hand. Locked. In fact, it appeared that all of them were locked.
Down the line of doors they went, trying every one, only to be met every time with that familiar, disappointing sound that told you the doorknob was just *not* going to open. But when Scully came to the last door, she was not disappointed. The doorknob gave way easily. It turned with a creak and the door swung open for her. Scully gasped and put a hand up to shielded her eyes as a blindingly bright, white light spilled from the room, assailing her eyes.
"What is it?" Mulder asked, rushing to her side, memories of bright lights and his sister screaming his name suddenly filled his mind. What was happening? Was Scully all right?
It was not, however, some alien force spilling through that door. Not at all. It was simply very, very bright light. And as his eyes, accustomed now to the dark, adjusted to it, he was able to see into the room beyond. Scully noticed this too, and moved her shielding arm away from her eyes. Nothing to be afraid of. Just a room.
"After you," Mulder said, a silly grin on his face.
Nothing to be afraid of at all, Scully thought as she entered a barren room with linoleum floors and spotless white walls. Above them, shining down from the high ceiling, were huge, high powered lights. The polished white of the floor and walls did nothing but intensify the glare, and Scully felt a dull ache behind her eyes as the bright glow assaulted them. Other than that, the room was bare. Except for a table in the center of the room. No, not a table. More like a stretcher. It lay directly under those imposingly bright lights, and was flanked on either side by some strange looking metal trays.
Without thinking about it, Scully approached the stretcher. As she got closer, she realized what it was. An operating table. The very kind they used in hospital ORs. And it was set up and ready to go, by the looks of things. Medical instruments adorned the trays, some of which she recognized, but most of which seemed like horrific instruments of torture. Scully could not take her eyes off these things. >From that point on, she noticed nothing else about the room.
"I've been here before," Scully said softly.
"What?" Mulder asked, trailing along behind her. He had taken his time surveying the room as he walked in.
"I've been here," Scully said, her voice raised, as if she was trying to stifle a significant emotional attachment. Mulder approached her in concern. Her face was white as a sheet, and it appeared as though she was no longer seeing him, but looking right past him. What was happening?
It all came back at once.
First there had been a bright light, then nothing. The next memory after that was a rocking, moving sensation. A squeaking sound. The squeaking of the wheels of the stretcher she lay on as she was wheeled into a strange, bright and disturbingly sterile looking room.
The room she was in right now.
She remembered the sting of the bright lights above her on her open eyes. Open, her eyes had been open. Had she been awake through the whole thing? All around her were men - men in white haz-mat suits, wielding the familiar and unfamiliar instruments she had seen on the trays beside the table. There was a smudgy window on the other side of the room. Beyond it were the stretched, distorted shapes of more spectators. Men in business suits, talking amongst themselves. She could hear the voices. They were strangely magnified and distorted.
"Proceed as planned," Another voice had said from above her. A woman's voice.
She had turned her head to her side and saw the face of a woman she had not yet known at the time. She had not thought to place this face with the woman she had met. A woman who had resurfaced two years earlier and taken over the X-Files. A woman who was now dead, by Mulder's hand.
But Fowley was not alone. Standing next to her was a man whose face was all to familiar. She did not even need to see his face to know it was him - all that was needed was the acrid smell of cigarette smoke that followed him like a cloud. Why had they let him smoke in this room? No-smoking bylaws did not seem to apply to this man.
Strange machines had been strapped to her. There was discomfort. Pain. They were not handling her gently. A strange device had been lowered from the ceiling. They had attached it somehow to her stomach, and could scarcely imagine what they meant to do with it. Within the machine, something that sounded like a rapidly spinning drill began to whirr.
No, this is horrible! Let me go! She felt herself trying to cry out, but nothing came. The air stopped at the end of her windpipe as though it was blocked by some invisible force.
That was when she had felt the needle puncture. The dreamy darkness it brought to her was a relief.
But that was not the only time it had happened. She had been brought back to this room many, many times. The scenario had happened countless times before she had been returned to that hospital in Washington, presumably to die, from the horrible things they had done to her.
"Scully?" she heard Mulder's voice break through the dreamy mist, bringing her back to reality. She soon came to realize that she was still standing before that stretcher, staring straight ahead at Mulder. Right through him.
How long had she been doing that? Mulder was just approaching her now. Had she remembered all of that so quickly?
"Are you OK, Scully?" he asked, laying a hand on her shoulder. There was no point in beating around the bush with Mulder. Not now. Not anymore.
"It happened here, Mulder," She said. "This is where they brought me." Mulder looked around the large, empty room. Hadn't Scully said this same thing once before? Yes, she had, and he remembered exactly when.
"I thought you said it happened in a box car... on one of those trains," he spoke up.
Scully shook her head. "No, " she replied. "The train was similar. I thought so at the time but... I was never certain. I never felt the way I did just now, Mulder! *This* is where it happened. I remember it Mulder! I remember everything! That cigarette smoking guy was there... and Fowley... she was with him."
"Wow..." Mulder replied, speechless.
"Mulder, I tried everything to make me remember this, but walking into this room - was like digging into my subconscious and bringing it all back. I'm absolutely certain it happened here."
"Let's keep going," Mulder said. "There's another room beyond this."
This was the room where the smudgy men in business suits had stood, talking in the low, slurred, magnified voices above Scully's nightmare. There was nothing to behold in this room, it was quite simply a viewing room for the evil men and women who wished to observe their hellish experiments taking place. Beyond it, however, was a door, and another room.
A control center, perhaps?
The room housed a few desks, bookcases, and filing cabinets. Each desk was home to a computer terminal, which in turn all appeared to be linked to one another in the mess of wires and cables running throughout the room. And all of them were on. All of them had their monochrome screen savers running.
All except for one.
It was open to some kind of program, and the cursor blinked at them menacingly as they approached, indicating what they had hoped to not have to deal with. Someone was here. As if to emphasize what they both expected, a noise came from the other end of the room.
Mulder gasped. Scully jumped.
A figure stood in a doorway across the room. It was not a menacing figure by any means. It was a young man, dressed in a white lab coat, eyeing them with a look that suggested he was not at all surprised to see them. And aside from that, he looked oddly familiar.
He was a handsome man. Tall, and thin. His eyes were sad and dark in color, and his hair was a disturbingly familiar shade of red. But his familiarity was not the most disturbing of all. It was the words he spoke next.
"Mother, Father," he said. "I knew you'd come."
The words echoed through Scully's mind as though they were mocking her, laughing mercilessly at her confusion and yes, fear. The young man that stood before could not have been younger than sixteen. Sixteen. His hair was the same shade as her own. And his sad hazel eyes were Mulder's, without a doubt.
But no... that was impossible. He was *too old*.
The abduction had only happened five years ago. There was no way a boy in his teens could have been made from the same DNA that produced Samuel and Emily. No possible way.
Perhaps he was lying.
Trying to trick them.
Or perhaps something had happened that they did not know about. And there was no time to stand around looking dumbfounded.
"Who..." Scully began. Who are you? She had meant to ask. Who are you and why did you call us "mother and father", and why in God's name is nothing making sense to me anymore? Just when I thought I was figuring it out...
The words were barely out of her mouth when the young man spoke again. "You know who I am, but you may not believe me," he replied. He had answered her question before she had voiced it. Easy enough, Scully thought, trying to regain her sense of stability. A co-incicence. An obvious answer to the most obvious question. *you know who I am....*
Did they? She glanced sideways at Mulder. He had no response for her, and his attempt at a comforting smile only served to unnerve her more.
Could it be that Mulder had no explanation? That was the strangest thing of all. *you know who I am...* the words rang through her mind again.
No, that was absolutely impossible. Samuel had only been four years old when they had last seen him. A year ago. "Samuel?" That was Mulder's voice.
Yes, of course, Mulder would be the first to admit he was thinking that. Scully would have preferred to shove the notion deep into her subconscious where it would not rear its ugly head and threaten to question the science she had come to rely on so strongly. The young man smiled and nodded in response to Mulder's question.
It came as no surprise to either of them. Whether or not it was true, however, was another story. And Scully was not going to leap in and believe it blindly, as Mulder was most likely doing right now.
"That's impossible," she heard herself say, realizing as the words came out of her mouth that she sounded bitchy, and obnoxious. But what else could she do? She was supposed to believe that this was Samuel? That this young man had grown from a boy of five in only a year? It was ridiculous. She could believe in the genetic experiments, she could believe in the abductions and she had even begun to believe that there might have been some truth to Mulder's stories of aliens. But this took the cake. She could not believe this.
"You don't believe me," the young man... Samuel?... said, his voice calm and soothing, as though he had expected this.
"Of course not!" Scully replied. "It's ridiculous! You expect me to believe that.... That a young man could grow form a boy of five, in just over a year? That's insane! I don't care what kind of experiments are going on here, it's insane."
Samuel, if that was indeed who he was, regarded Scully sadly for a moment, and then turned to Mulder. "And you," he said "I sense doubt in you too, father, though I have been told you are very open-minded about things that you cannot explain."
Mulder said nothing. He did not question *who* had told Samuel this. It didn't seem necessary.
Yes, it was true, he was far more open minded in these kinds of situations than Scully. And there was very little doubt in his mind that this young man was telling the truth. But Scully, clearly, was not willing to accept. Mulder suspected that fear was her reason, more than anything. And perhaps it was Scully's own unwillingness to believe that was fueling the glimmer of doubt that burned in his subconscious.
"Sit down," Samuel said suddenly, gesturing to the multitude of desks and chairs that were scattered about the room. "I will explain everything I can to you."
Mulder perched himself on the nearest available surface - the corner of a desk. Scully remained standing, arms folded across her chest, eyebrow raised. Fort Knox Scully, Mulder thought. The wall was up and it was going to be remarkably difficult to break it down now. "Samuel" would have to have an extremely convincing story to make her believe.
But what Mulder did not know was that Scully *wanted* to believe.
More than anything.
But there was too much standing in the way. Everything she had learned, and everything she had come to hold true in her scientific studies, was at risk. She had to question. She could not accept this blindly the way Mulder would. She would lose too much. After all, what was left when she could not rely on science anymore?
Ignorance? Grasping at threads of evidence the way Mulder often did? But more than anything, she wanted to believe that the young man standing before her was Samuel. Her son. *Their* son. "I'm afraid I cannot offer much that will convince you of who I am," Samuel said, still standing in the doorway. "Most anything I could say to you, could have been told to me by anyone. It is difficult to find proof when I was with you for such a short time."
"If you *are* Samuel," Mulder spoke up, "How do you explain... your age?"
"Yes, that is what is standing in my way the most, isn't it?" Samuel said, flashing a purposeful smile at Scully.
"Agent Mulder..." He said, then corrected himself "Father. How much do you know of the experiments that are being conducted here?"
Mulder thought for a moment, searching his mind for all of the information he had gathered over the years. There was so much that sometimes it became a jumble and stopped making sense to him. He often wondered if the answers were there, in his own mind, and in the muddle of information he was unable to access it.
"I know that women were being abducted," he began "That experiments were done on them, and that their ova was taken to make children. I don't know why."
"But you suspect," Samuel said.
"Yes," Mulder replied "I... well, I believed... I was *told* that it had something to do with alien colonization. The creation of an alien-human hybrid."
"You are closer to the truth than you know," Samuel replied, his voice suddenly grave. "They *were* seeking to make a hybrid. Abducting innocent people from their homes to use them as subjects, or to steal their reproductive mechanisms for the same purpose" he paused for a moment.
"I am one of those hybrids," He said. That came as no surprise. Mulder had known it, and Scully, though she was skeptical, knew there was something different about Samuel. "I honestly cannot say what we are being created for," Samuel continued "But I do know that these people... the people responsible for this, are in contact with this particular race of aliens. And these aliens require a hybrid. The exact purpose, I do not know. I live here, I stay here day-in, day-out to maintain their computer systems for them, to make sure everything is running. But they tell me nothing of the purpose. All I know is what I have deduced on my own: that once they can give me to the aliens, they will begin colonization. I know that the prospect frightens me. And I know is that I am sickened by this whole thing. The experiments are horrifying, and inhumane."
"So you are one of these 'alien' hybrids?" Scully prompted. There was sarcasm in her voice, but it was dwindling. Mulder could see the confusion on her face. She wanted so terribly to believe Samuel, but she could not let herself.
"They have been trying for decades to create a perfect hybrid. Every attempt has failed so far, until me."
Mulder perked up. "you?" he asked.
"Yes, I am the perfect specimen they were striving for," Samuel replied. "You see, they have made hundreds of children in the same way they made me, but every one of those children was a failure. They grew sick and died before they reached maturity. Those who did reach maturity seemed to go mad. I am the only one who has reached maturity and survived, with all of my senses intact. I am the merger they were seeking with all of the best alien and human traits."
"But your age..." Mulder persisted.
"Father, you have seen the aliens. You have seen how quickly they gestate. Would it not make sense that a hybrid like myself would mature as quickly as the aliens do? It happens to all of us. We grow rapidly when we reach the age of five years. It is a painful process, to grow so quickly, but once it is over, well..." He gestured to himself as if to demonstrate. A perfect specimen.
The one they had been striving for.
And Scully, standing there with her arms still folded over her chest, said absolutely nothing.
"But who is responsible for this?" Mulder asked. "Who is behind this?"
"I think you know," Samuel replied. "You've met him many times. Him and his group. His syndicate." Mulder did not need to question any further. The image in his mind was accompanied by the pungent odor of cigarette smoke, so strong in his imagination that it almost seemed real. Of course that man was behind it. He was behind everything. "there was a woman involved, too," Samuel continued. "Fowley, her name was. She was his 'right hand man', so to speak, for years."
"Years?" Mulder asked. Just how long had Diana been involved in betraying him? "How many years?" he asked. Had she been involved right from the beginning?
"I don't know the answer to that, father. I'm sorry."
It didn't matter anyhow, Mulder thought. She was dead. She had been dead for a year and whatever she had done was in the past. All that mattered now was that she *had* betrayed him. When it had begun or why was of no importance.
"What about that other man... Agent Spender?" Mulder asked. Spender had not been seen since he had taken Samuel a year ago.
"I saw him once or twice after he brought me here," Samuel replied. "I think he was very naive. He didn't know what he was getting into. I believe they killed him when he finally came to his senses."
Mulder shuddered. Spender, dead? Well, hadn't he spent many a day wishing for that to happen. Now that it *had* happened, he couldn't help but feel some remorse.
"They do the experiments in that room out there?" a small voice interjected. It was Scully. She had said nothing for so long. She had simply stood there, taking everything in. And now that she spoke, her voice was uncharacteristically weak and quiet. Was the wall breaking down?
"Right there," Samuel replied, pointing behind them, "is one of the facilities. there are many others, scattered throughout the world. But this one, as far as I can tell, is the one you were brought to, mother."
Scully nodded, drew in a shaky breath, and said nothing more. She had known what Samuel's answer would be, but some part of her had needed confirmation. And for some reason, now, she was able to believe what Samuel said.
"Why us?" Mulder asked suddenly.
"Why you?" Samuel asked.
"Yes, why Scully and I specifically. Why *our* DNA mixed together?"
"Not for the reasons you may think," Samuel replied.
"Not to use it against us?" Mulder asked. Samuel shook his head.
"No, quite a coincidence, I believe. They test all of the DNA they bring into the facility, to determine which is the best match. The best matches, after all, produce the best specimens."
Mulder knew what was coming next. "Yours was one of the best matches," Samuel finished. :"According to their calculations, your DNA would produce some of the finest subjects."
Who knew? Mulder thought. And why not? He and Scully were a perfect match in every other way.
"The Mulder family passes genetic muster," he said with a slight chuckle, glancing sideways at his partner. He thought he caught a hint of a smile. That was good. Perhaps the Scully wall was coming down after all.
"Yours was not the only DNA that matched, of course," Samuel hastened to explain "There were many others that were used, but they all had to match well or the subjects would not be perfect."
"Unbelievable," Scully said softly, though it did not seem that she was unwilling to believe any longer. Rather, it seemed she found herself unable to believe the atrocities that had taken place here. She had seen them with her own eyes, but somehow hearing the words from the mouth of this... this boy, who claimed to be her son, reinforced them.
"It is," Samuel replied, agreeing with her. "I am sickened to be a part of it."
"That's why they were so persistent in taking you from us," Mulder said as his mind reeled with deductions, answers and many, many more questions.
Samuel nodded. "They could not let their specimen go. I was always kept under close surveillance. My foster parents knew nothing of it, really. It was Dr. Freedman who was supposed to keep an eye on me."
"Dr. Freedman," Scully said quietly. "He was a part of it, then?" It made sense. After all, both she and Mulder had both sensed that their adoption of Samuel had gone far too smoothly. There had been something wrong, right from the beginning.
"Oh yes, a major part. But Although I never knew him, I think that he grew tired and revolted by what was going on. Letting me go to you.,.. letting you into the picture... was his way of getting revenge, so to speak. He paid dearly for it."
"Very dearly," Mulder mused. It was so much to take in at once. He wasn't sure if his exhausted mind could process it all.
One question, however, remained.
And thankfully, it was Scully who chose to ask it. "Why did you bring us here?" she asked. "And how?"
At least she wasn't denying that it had happened. She couldn't reject what she had seen with her own eyes. But Mulder knew that Samuel's unusual way of contacting them could easily be explained with Scully's science. There were scientific theories about mental telepathy, She had no need to be afraid of it.
"Hybrids like myself have pronounced..." He paused as if searching for the right word "pronounced mental abilities. I was able to contact you - to manifest myself in your dream, to make you see me... I thought it would be the most effective way of getting your attention. It is nothing unusual. We can all do it." He paused again. His face grew sad, and suddenly he looked ten years older than the sixteen or seventeen years Scully would have placed him at.
This was no boy. She could see that now. He was somebody's creation. Someone's brilliant creation, with an exceptional mind, and she loved him. He was her son. Yes, her son. There was no denying it. There was no point in questioning whether it was Samuel or not. The evidence was overwhelming. But even more overwhelming was the sense of *knowing*. She did not need proof. She *knew* that this was Samuel. Scientific possibilities be damned. But even so, he did not belong to her, and never would.
"I brought you here," Samuel said finally "Because I wanted you to know the truth. And I wanted to see you one last time... before I destroy this place and everything in it."
Destroy everything in it... I wanted to see you one last time... The words swam through Scully's confused mind, twisting and turning and making no sense to her. He meant to destroy the building, that was clear. But what did that have to do with seeing them one last time?
Where did he mean to go?
Surely he didn't mean to... oh no... "You don't mean..." Scully spoke up, but again Samuel answered her before she finished the question. Pronounced mental abilities indeed, for it appeared that he was hearing her thoughts before she voiced them.
"Yes, *everything*," Samuel replied. "This process these..." his voice was sharp and disgusted "experiments... are inhumane. We are like lab rats, all of us. Myself and the other children, we were never meant to be. Never meant to be loved, or cared for. I referred to myself as a specimen, and that's all I am. That is all any of us are. And we were never meant to have life." Good lord, he meant to destroy the building, and himself along with it.
"But why you?" Scully asked, feeling her throat clench as tears threatened to come up. "You could come and live with us again, you know that..."
"No," Samuel replied. "I couldn't. And *you* know that. They would hunt me down and find me again, just like they did before. I will never be able to have a normal life." He's right, Scully heard a voice in her mind say. God dammit, he's right. "And as I said before," Samuel continued "Once they give me to the aliens, they will begin colonization. We cannot have that, and I am the only one right now in the position to stop it. There is nobody here. They rarely come here since father destroyed their settlement in Antarctica. I am here by myself and I am in a position to end this all."
Why, oh why, did he have to be so right? Scully's mind questioned desperately to an invisible force that would not answer. And why did he have to be so noble? She could not argue with him. No words would form in her mind that would convince him to abandon his plan.
It needed to be done. And neither her nor Mulder had to say anything. Samuel knew.
"Good," Samuel said. "I am glad you understand. I would not have told you my intentions but... you deserve to know what I am going to do. "
"Do you want us to help?" Mulder asked. He suspected not. Samuel would likely have worked the whole thing out himself. Mulder was not surprised when Samuel shook his head.
"I have a network of chemical explosives set up," He replied " I have only to flip a switch to set them off." Chemical explosives? What sort of chemicals? Mulder wondered. He neglected to ask Samuel, however, for there was a more pressing question on his mind.
"Won't it damage the city above?" Mulder asked. Indeed, how would he manage to destroy this place without wreaking havoc on Washington D.C.? Samuel responded with another shake of the head.
"Chemical is the operative word," he said with a smile. Of course, being here, Samuel would have access to all kinds of sinister things that Mulder and Scully would never have heard of. It was plain that he had given this much thought, and he intended to do it. There was awkward silence for a moment. Mulder looked over at Scully again. She seemed to have relaxed, to have accepted the circumstances for what they were. She had unfolded her arms and now rested them at her sides. The wall was down. She was no longer unbelieving.
"There is one more reason I wanted to see you before I did this," Samuel said, breaking the somewhat awkward silence. He reached into his pocket and fumbled for a moment, finally producing a small vial . He glanced it over and then approached Scully slowly, holding it out to her.
"I wanted to give you this," he said. Scully did not flinch. She accepted the small green vial from him without hesitation. She regarded it with questioning, and turned it over in her hands. It was labeled with her name. Why did that not surprise her?
"It is what's left or your ova," Samuel said. Scully looked up from the vial and stared at Samuel quizzically. The implications of this were almost incomprehensible to her at the moment. Her ova. If it had been stored properly, and it was really her own, it was quite possible that... It was too marvelous to imagine, so she put it out of her mind. She would think about it later.
Samuel, however, had a different idea. "If you take it to a proper clinic," he explained "you will quite possibly be able to conceive a child of your own." And those were just the words Scully had wanted to hear. She turned to Mulder with a smile, and he smiled back. But the happiness of the prospect was dampened by what was going to happen in the near future.
Samuel was going to die by his own hand. Samuel, the second child of her own that she had known. The only child she and Mulder had known to belong to both of them. And the second child she was going to lose.
Yet he was not her child. His words had been true: he and the other children were never meant to be. And Samuel did not belong to her any more than Emily had.
"You don't seem as happy as I thought you would be," Samuel said, sounding disappointed.
"I am... happy.." Scully protested as she slid the small green vial into her pocket. She made an attempt to smile, but the tears in her eyes reflected how she felt. "It just seems wrong... knowing what's going to happen."
Samuel smiled at her, taking her hand. He didn't need to say anything. She knew. It was for the best. "Come, " Samuel said "Let me lead you out of here. As soon as you are safe, I will destroy the building."
Mulder stood up from his perch on the edge of the desk, shuddering. In the excitement of the night's events, he had forgotten it , but suddenly his arm was throbbing with an intensity he hadn't felt since... since the last time he had been shot.
He could feel the pain pumping through his arm and into his chest, into his head, and throughout his entire body. If he didn't do something about it soon, it was likely that it would not heal properly. If he made it out of here without passing out.
"Your arm is in bad shape," Samuel said, as if he had realized this for the first time. He gave Mulder a concerned look, but Mulder simply nodded and brushed it off.
"It's bad," Scully piped in, needing to focus her mind on something other than Samuel for a change. "We should have taken him to a hospital right away, but..."
Her words were cut off by a resounding crash from the hallway behind them. Someone was here.
Scully drew her weapon on instinct, and she saw Mulder fumbling with his, though with his one good arm, he appeared to be finding it difficult. Samuel simply stood in the same spot, still holding Scully's free hand, his eyes widening.
"No," he said softly. "Not now...." his hand tightened around Scully's. "Let's get out of here! *quickly*!"
"Why?" Mulder asked "What was that?"
"Someone is here! They came sooner than I thought. Go! quietly " he gave Mulder a push before he could ask Samuel who he had been expecting, and the three of them crept as quickly and quietly as possible from the room.
The sound had come from somewhere in the network of tunnels beyond. Scully listened carefully as they crept through the office, and into the bright, white room where the horrible experiments had taken place. She tried to shut her mind as they entered that room again, doing her best to ward off the horrible memories that flooded through her simply from being in the room.
She pushed them from her mind and focused on the sound. Now it sounded like a large group of people moving together. There were voices, and the sound of hurried footsteps. They grew louder as the three of them approached the door to the room, which still sat open from Scully and Mulder's first entrance.
Samuel was the first to poke his head around the doorway and peer cautiously into the hallway. Scully could see from behind him that the hallway was now ablaze with lights. She was not surprised. It had seemed strange that a building such as this would be kept in darkness. Perhaps Samuel kept the lights off for his own reasons.
"It's clear. Quickly! Come on!" Samuel whispered, darting out into the hallway. It appeared that whoever was making the racket was out of their viewpoint for a moment, and Samuel made it to the other side with no problem. He unlocked the nearest door and motioned for Mulder and Scully to follow him.
Scully kept her eyes focused straight ahead, trying not to look as she ran as fast as she could across the hallway to where Samuel stood. If someone was going to suddenly appear and start chasing her, she did not want to be distracted.
Mulder followed close behind her, trying to ignore the pain in his arm. He reached the doorway without incident, but...
"Hey you!" a voice called from down the hall as Mulder threw himself through the exit and out of view.
"Who is that?" another voice called.
"They've spotted you!" Samuel said, his voice an urgent whisper. "Run!" he added, gesturing towards a long staircase that lay in front of them. "Run now!"
They ran up the staircase, as fast as they possibly could. The stairway seemed to go on forever, and still they kept running until Scully felt like her lungs wound burst. She could hear Mulder gasping for breath behind her, already weakened by the pain in his arm.
Samuel, however, did not appear to be affected by the run. He did not show any signs of fatigue at all, for that matter.
The perfect specimen, Scully thought.
When they reached the top of the seemingly endless stairs, Samuel located a small, red button on the wall and slammed his hand against it. Mulder and Scully watched in amazement as part of the wall disappeared before them. It slid slowly and silently open, revealing another room beyond. Beyond the panel, Scully could see an eerie green glow.
The cylinder room.
The room they had started this whole mess in. There *had* been another way out, after all. Samuel urged them into the room, following closely. Behind then, the panel in the wall slid shut and disappeared as if it had never been there.
"They will be right on our tail," Samuel urgently. "I cannot let them get me. If they get hold of me, everything I have tried to do will be in vain. You understand that, don't you?"
He regarded Mulder and Scully with pleading in his eyes. They nodded in unison. They understood all too well.
"The switch is here," Samuel said, pointing to a contraption beside them. On first glance it looked like nothing more than a fire alarm. But from it's base ran a thick network of black wires which ran throughout the room, and into the walls beyond. Scully remembered seeing the strange contraption on her first inspection of the room. But at that point in time, she had been so intent on finding Mulder that she had barely noticed it. And she had certainly not given any thought to it. Little had she known that it was set up specifically for the purpose of destroying everything she saw before her.
"If you are still here when I pull it," Samuel said, pointing to the switch "Cover your mouths and run. Don't breathe until you are past the door, " he pointed to the door through which they had first come.
"What sort of chemical is this?" Mulder asked, eyeing the strange network of wires nervously.
"Just humor me," Samuel said. "I have no time to explain. I am sorry. Goodbye, and thank you for everything."
He suddenly approached them, and pulled them both to him in a tight hug. They stood there for what seemed like an eternity, arms locked around each other, in an embrace that at the moment, felt as though it would never break. But it had to. It had to end, and it had to end now, or everything Samuel was striving to do would be in vain.
When Samuel finally pulled away, there were tears in his eyes. Scully felt her own tears welling up again at the sight of Samuel's face. He seemed so strong, so together and yes, almost emotionless. To see tears in his eyes was positively heartbreaking. It implied that he was more than just the perfect specimen. He was human, too, and if had never been more apparent to Scully than at this moment. She did not want him to die, but there was nothing she could do.
"Thank you," Samuel said "For everything you have done for me. You let me know that there was someone out there who thought of me as more than just a lab rat." Scully felt a sob escape her lips. This was too much. She had lost Emily. She had lost Samuel once, and now she was losing him again. But it was for the best.
He had told her himself: he was never meant to be. "Go," He said. "There's no more time. I love you both." And he was right. There was no more time. They heard a metallic click behind them, and a faint sliding sound. And before they had a chance to move, the panel in the wall slid open.
They were dressed in business suits, these men who had been chasing them. Five or six of them emerged from behind the panel, all impeccably clad, and all frighteningly generic in their appearance. Mulder sized them up, looking for a familiar face, but he did not recognize any of them,. Wherever his cancerous friend was, he was not among this group. He should have known. The opportunity to kill that bastard would never present itself easily.
"What are you doing, Samuel?" The man at the front of the group asked, his voice harsh and accusing. "Who are these people?"
"Go! Now!" Samuel yelled to Mulder and Scully, who were simply standing nearby and staring at the men who surrounded their son. Leave now? Without telling Samuel how much he was loved? How much he would be missed?
They had no choice.
Samuel was not going to wait a moment longer. He reached out and pulled the switch on his explosive rig.
And that was it. All at once, it began to happen. Loud explosions sounded throughout the room, and a putrid stench began to fill the air.
"Go!!" Samuel yelled again at his parents.
"What have you done?" one of the men in black asked . "What..." he meant to ask again, but another voice interrupted.
"Stop them!" the second man yelled, pointing to Mulder and Scully. There was no more time. They two agents broke into a run.
Behind them, they air was growing smoky and dim. Scully remembered what Samuel had said and quickly pulled the corner of her trenchcoat up over her mouth, hoping beyond hope that Mulder remembered Samuel's warning as well. Whatever was filling the air not only smelled bad, it was having a strange effect on everything around them.
As they ran by, Scully could see the glass cylinders melting away. The glass turned to a liquid-like substance. The water spilled from them and the creatures inside them began sliding to the ground. And then they, too, began to melt.
The smell was unbearable, and the thin fabric of her trenchcoat did little to shield her senses from it. Far behind them, she could hear the shocked yelling of the men Samuel had tried so hard to stop. Their voices were raised in fear and panic.
The voices of the damned.
They would never get out of here alive. And neither would Samuel.
She could only hope that Samuel would accomplish what he had set out to do. That was all she could hope for now: that Samuel would achieve what he had wanted.
After what seemed like an eternity, they reached the exit. Without a moment's thought or hesitation, they opened the door and dashed through it as fast as they could, leaving all of the atrocities they had seen behind them, forever. But Scully could not help what. Whether it was morbid curiosity, or just a need to know, she took one last glance back in the direction they had come.
The room was melting. Literally melting away from itself. Everything around them was pooling on the floor in an unrecognizable mess. At the back of the room, several figures lay on the floor. Whatever this horrible substance was, it had knocked them unconscious.
She saw the motionless figure in the white lab coat laying among them. That was enough for her. She shut the door. As the last crack of the door closed behind her, she heard the powerful sound and felt the intense heat as the room burst into flames.
It was over.
Samuel was gone.
There would be no more experiments, no more children created for the sole purpose of making those hybrids Samuel had talked about. Was it all real? Was everything that Mulder believed - and everything Samuel had told them - true? It had to be. There was no more simply *wanting* to believe it. It would be utterly stupid not to. She had seen the evidence, and she had heard the proof from someone she could not help but trust.
"Scully," She heard Mulder's voice behind her. "Let's go."
"Samuel...." She said softly. Sadly, as she listened to the sound of the flames behind the door.
"I know Scully," Mulder said, placing his good hand on her shoulder. "I know, but it's what he wanted, remember? It's for the best. Let's get out of here."
Scully turned away from the door and towards Mulder, and nodded. Without another word, the two of them ran down the hallway into the darkness.
They did not look back.
They would never look back.