Title: Connections
Author: Joeba
Written: May 1996 <-- archivist's note: pre "Christmas Carol"!
Disclaimer: Okay everybody, you know the drill. Dana Scully and Fox Mulder belong to the mighty Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and Fox Broadcasting. No infringement is intended. Blah, blah, blah. The characters Abel Johnson and Steven Baines belong to me. They're mine I tell you, all MINE! Heh heh heh. Anyway, hope you enjoy it. And on to the show!!! :-D

Summary: When Scully is kidnapped by an insane abductee who is a suspected murder, memories of her own past abductions resurface in the form of a child named Abel.


Location: FBI Parking lot

Agent Dana Scully trudged her way to her car. It had been a long day. She and her partner Fox Mulder had just finished a case and had mounds of paperwork to finish. She was glad this day was finally over. The only plans she had for this Friday night were to go home, soak in a nice hot bath for a couple of hours, and watch some Brad Pitt flicks with her dog, Clyde. She got to her car, fumbled with the keys awhile, and then after some struggle managed to open the door. She threw in her briefcase and sank into the seat. She closed, then rubbed her eyes. Today had been one horrendous day and she was glad it was over. Suddenly she heard a noise, a faint rustling. She froze. She immediately reached for her gun, but before she had the chance to grab it a strong, lean hand covered her mouth and she felt the cold steel of a knife against throat.

"Scream and I'll slit your throat," the man behind her rasped. She felt him groping around for her gun and his grip tightened around the knife as he found the holster. She could see a faint light reflecting off the gun as he held up to his eye-level, inspecting every curve, every indentation like a kid in a candy store. He smiled and pointed the gun at her head.

"Shhhhh, don't panic. I won't hurt you. Not yet at least," he whispered. "Now start the car. " she jammed the key into the ignition and turned it.

"Gooooood. Now we're gonna take a little trip to your apartment Dana, okay?" How did he know her name? Great, just what she needed, an obsessed psychopathic maniac. "OKAY!?" he growled through clenched teeth. She managed to nod.

"That's better. Now let's move!"


Location: Scully's Apartment

They slowly pulled up to her apartment. She stopped the car.

"Now get this straight Dana. You are gonna escort me in, and if you make it even *look* like I have a gun on ya I'll kill ya. You got me? I won't hesitate, won't hesitate at all. " She nodded. Suddenly she had the urge to throw-up. Who was this guy, and what did he want with her? " Now get outta the car. " She got out, making sure not to cause any suspicion. He got out after her, slammed the car door, and stared at her with his icy blue eyes. His eyes seemed to bore through her. She stiffened as he sauntered up to her. His worn blue jeans, dirty white shirt, and long black trenchcoat rippled in the faint wind. He put his bulky arm around her. She could feel the gun pointed at her side.

"Making it look as real as possible," he assured her. He grinned and bent down to whisper in her ear " Remember what I told ya," he breathed. They walked into the building and up to her apartment, making sure nobody noticed anything unusual. His warning still echoed clear in her ears. They arrived at her door and stood outside for a couple of moments. His head swiveled around as he checked out the place. He turned his gaze to her.

"Well, what are you waiting for?" he asked, annoyed. She opened the door and was greeted by a cute, little, red-haired dog. He bounded up to them, curious of the new playmate. " Cute," he said sarcastically. He shoved the dog aside with his foot. He walked in like he owned the place, his shoulders squared and his blonde head high. She saw his eyes gaze around, surveying the place, making little notes of exits and objects that could be used as weapons. She noticed a small smile tugging at the corner of his thin mouth.

"This'll do," he said under his breath. He turned towards her and pointed the gun at her, *her* gun. " Now why don't you sit down like a nice little girl, okay?" Somewhere within the depths and the darkest corners of her soul she gathered enough courage to speak.

"Where do you want me to sit?" Okay, she had to admit when being threatened by some insane man with a gun that it was kind of stupid to speak, let alone be snippy. She instantly regretted it.

"Oh, are we gonna be that way about it? Right on that chair'll be nice. That way if you try anything stupid I can easily blow your head off! " he growled. She slowly lowered herself into the soft chair. At least she had a comfortable chair to sit in while being held hostage. She grimly realized no one was going to help her. Mulder probably didn't even realize she was in trouble. The man seated himself on the couch and looked at her with those cold eyes.

"Who are you?" she asked meekly. He grinned wickedly, however his smile never reached his eyes. They were still as chilling as ever. Her fate was locked in those eyes.

"Name's Steven Baines, but you can call me Steve."

"What are you doing here?"

"It may seem strange, but I'm not here to hurt you. I need to talk to you."

"What makes you think I'm going to listen?" Oh, now she blew it. His face grew grim and hard. She could see a muscle tensing in his jaw. His face changed again. He smiled.

"What makes me think you're gonna listen? Easy. You may not know it or even remember it, but I know you and you know me."

"I've never seen you before in my life."

"Ahhh, but you're wrong. You had a "missing time" experience, correct?"

"Yes."

"You were gone for three months, right?" How did he know that? Who was this guy?

"Yes." Suddenly he got up off the couch and kneeled next to her, placing a large hand on her leg.

"I was there Dana. I saw how they hurt you. They hurt me too," he whispered. His hand moved up to her shoulder. Suddenly a flood of memories washed over her. She saw a man, who was laying on a table next to her. Blood trickled in thin line out of his nose. He was screaming, his blue eyes wide with terror. The memory was broken by Steve's voice. " You remember, don't you?" This was getting really freaky. This was the guy who was always in her dreams. Her dreams were coming true. The figments and horrors that lived in her dreams were becoming real. She hastily brushed away a tear that had made it's way down her cheek.

"What do you want?" She was scared. She had no idea who this man was, but somehow he knew her. The memories she desperately tried to hide were surfacing. She didn't want to remember. She wanted to go on living as the normal Dana Katherine Scully. This man, this man was forcing her to remember, to come face to face with the demons. She just wasn't ready.

"I've been put in a mental institution. They don't believe me. " I wonder why, she thought sarcastically.

"What do you mean?"

"I told them what happened, they didn't believe me. They know I know too much. The doctors there work for the government. I know I may sound a little paranoid, but they're going to kill me. I know they are. A couple of days ago I saw some guys talking to one of my doctors. They were saying how they're going to kill me, and how no one will ever find my body. The perfect murder."

"Why are you telling me this?" Steve retreated back to the couch and rested his heavy frame into the soft cushions. He sighed and ran a hand through his blonde hair. They stayed silent for what seemed like an eternity. Then he spoke.

"I knew something like this would happen."

"Something like what?"

"I knew I was taking a big leap. I didn't know if you'd remember me. Apparently not."

"How do know who I am?"

"Those three months you were gone, I was with you. I know you don't remember it, but I had to take a chance. I need you to help me."

"Why should I help you? You sneak into my car, threaten me with a knife and my gun, and you want me to help you?" she snapped.

"Okay, I was a little harsh, but ya gotta help me, please. " Suddenly she heard a knocking at the door. Steve looked at her.

"Ask who it is," he hissed.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"Mulder."

"Who's Mulder?" Steve asked.

"My partner. " Steve suddenly seemed angry. His young features grew grim and hard. His eyes froze over.

"Ask him what he wants," he ordered, his voice low.

"What do you want?"

"I need those Nelson files," came the muffled reply. Suddenly Steve stood. He grabbed her, pushed her towards the wall. He pinned her arms against it. She struggled under his grasp. His nostrils flared and his eyes were stone cold. He raised his fist and SMACK, brought it down on her jaw. The pain radiated down her face and chin. He let go of her and she fell down to the floor. He kicked her a couple of times, knocking the wind out of her. He slapped her, sending her back into the wall. He bent down, his mouth inches from her ear. His hot breath scorched her skin.

"Tell him to wait a couple minutes, you're a little busy right now," he said harshly. " Mulder, you still there?" she asked.

"Yeah, everything okay?" Mulder replied.

"Yes. Um, can you wait a moment. I'm not decent. " She knew it was lame, but it would have to do. She rather have a stupid excuse than face the wrath of Steven Baines. She had already had enough.

"Uh, sure. " Mulder answered, confused. Steve nodded in approval. He grabbed her and shoved her into her bedroom.

"Listen, I didn't know you were a fed. If you tell you're partner anything, I'll be forced to kill ya. Got me? I didn't come this far to be turned in by a little red-headed woman with a badge! " he snarled.

"What are you going to do with me?"

"Tie you up." He tied her up to one of the bedposts with a piece of twine he had retrieved from his pocket. He smacked her again. Her face stung.

"Remember what I said," he said quickly and dashed out of the room. What a day this turned out to be.


Mulder didn't understand. Why would Scully care how she looked? He had already seen her tired, muddy, bruised and beaten up. Something wasn't right. She was in trouble. He could feel it.

"Mulder!!! " he heard he faint voice through the door.

"Yeah?!?!"

"Mulder, help me!!! " Thoughts of Duane Barry, Donnie Phaster, and Eugene Tooms flashed though his brain. He took out his gun and kicked open the door. He saw a small splotch of blood on the wall.

"Mulder, I'm in the bedroom! " Scully yelled. He ran towards Scully's bedroom. He found her tied up to one of the bedposts, a line of crimson blood traced a path from her nose.

"Scully, what happened?" He was at her side immediately.

"Mulder untie me," she whispered. He kneeled beside her and undid the twine.

"Oh my God Scully, what happened?" She hesitated in answering, remembering Steve's words. Suddenly she felt light-headed. She closed her eyes and passed out on the floor.


"Mulder what happened?" she asked. She was laying on her bed. Her head hurt and so did her wrists.

"I don't know. You tell me. " She thought over the notion of telling Mulder or not. Steve's face flashed in front of her eyes. "Whatever it is you can tell me you know," he said quietly. " Who hurt you?" She looked into his hazel eyes. They were full of so much concern. The dams broke.

"Therewasthisguyandhewasinmycarandhehadaknifeandhe...."

"Whoa, slow down. Start over. " She took a deep breath to calm her nerves.

"Okay. There was this guy. Somehow he got into my car. He had a knife and threatened to kill me. We got here and he said he knew me. He said that he was with me when I was gone. He said he saw them hurt me. He needed my help. He said he escaped from some mental hospital or something. When you came he suddenly got mad. He thought I was going to turn him in, so he hit me and tied me up. He said if I told you he'd kill me. It was so freaky."

"You said he remembered you from your abduction. Did you remember him?"

"I don't know. He's the one from my dreams. I don't know. " She bit her lip, and fought not to cry.

"Scully?" She looked up. " You ever heard of Regression Hypnosis?"

"Yes, why?" she asked him warily.

"I was thinking this might be the way to find out who this guy is. Maybe he's a key to your disappearance. What do you say?"

"I don't know... " She suddenly remembered Melissa. She had wanted her to go through this. She had tried, but it was too painful. She couldn't go through with it, not again.

"Scully, this might put an end to your nightmares. " She sighed. There was no winning here. She knew Mulder would get her to go either way.

"Okay. "


The next day- Location: Dr. Wayland's Office

They were sitting in a little waiting room. She looked around the room from her seat in one of the leather chairs. Flower wallpaper, magazines, all the things to make one relaxed. Except she wasn't relaxed. She didn't want to do this.

"Mulder, I'm nervous. I don't know if I..."

"Scully don't worry. He's a specialist. You don't need to worry. Leave that up to me. " He flashed her a lopsided grin. She was glad he was going. It would make it a little easier. Some parts of her didn't want to know what really had happened and some parts did. It was all so confusing.

"Miss Scully, Mr. Mulder, Dr. Wayland is ready to see you. She and Mulder stood up and walked into a small office with a couch and a couple of chairs. Great, a couch. Now it seemed she was in a therapists office.

"Hi I'm Dr. Wayland," the small, plump man said, offering her his hand. She shook it and sat down. " Are you familiar with Regression Hypnosis, Miss Scully?" She nodded. The doctor quickly went over the basics even though she knew what was going to happen. She *had* done this once before. She regulated her breathing and relaxed.

"Okay, are you relaxed?" " Yes. " He began the session, asking her to remember.

"Where are you?" She paused for a moment.

"I don't know, "she finally said.

"Can you describe your surroundings?"

"Yeah. Umm, I-I'm in a small, white room. There are lots of tables. There-there are lots of people. Some are just staring, like nothing's going on. Some are screaming. I-I don't like this place. I want to go home."

"Do you know where you are?"

"No."

"Are you scared?"

"No, no I'm not. I know I should be, b-but I'm not. I-I can't feel anything."

"How did you get there, Dana?"

"I-I don't remember."

"Try," Dr. Wayland urged.

"I-I can't. I can't remember. They won't let me."

"Who won't let you?"

"Them."

"Who's them?" Her breathing became quickened. Her chest heaved with each breath. With each breath came a new memory. " Who's them?" Dr. Wayland repeated.

"I-I don't know. I can't see their faces. Why are they doing this to me?"

"Are they human, Dana?"

"I-I don't know. They-they look human, but how can they be called human when they're d-doing this? How? They don't even care. They don't even care. " Her voice was small, and fragile.

"Dana, why are you here?"

"There is no reason."

"Scully, is Steve there?" Mulder asked.

"No. I wish he was."

"Dana, who's Steve?"

"Steve is Steve," she said simply. Mulder glanced at Dr. Wayland. He just shrugged.

"Where is Steve?"

"I-I don't know."

"What are they doing to you?"

"They-they are..... " Her voice trailed off.

"Dana, what are they doing to you?"

"Make them s-stop. Please."

"What are they doing to you?" Dr. Wayland said again. Her chest rose, and her teeth gritted together.

"They....they're p-poking needles into me. I tell them to stop, but they won't. They just won't. " They were all silent for a moment. " Steve?" Scully asked meekly.

"Dana, is Steve there?"

"Yes. They're bringing him in. Something's wrong."

"What do you mean?"

"He....he's being carried in. He isn't moving. Why isn't he moving?" she asked, panicstriken.

"What's happening now?"

"I-I can't help him. I can't even move. I'm...strapped...down....to....a...table...I can't move. I...I need to help him. " She squirmed around in the chair. " I can't move. Steve? Please be okay Steve. Please. C'mon Steve! Wake up! Please. Please! " she begged. Salty tears poured down her face.

"Dana..."

"No. Stop please! Please! Don't touch me!"

"Who's hurting you, Dana?"

"Them. They...are....p-poking me. Their hands are so cold. Owww! They taking my blood."

"What are they taking?"

"Blood. They are taking my blood. What are they going to do with it?" She asked. Suddenly her breathing slowed.

"Are they still hurting you?"

"No. They stopped. Steve......Steve is so.....so cold. He's barely breathing."

"Are you still in the white room, Dana?"

"Yes. They let me go. I'm with Steve. They're, they're watching me. I try to tell them that Steve is dying. They won't listen. He's just an specimen to them," Scully whispered.

"Dana, what are they doing now?"

"He's so cold, so cold. Steve, please be okay. You can't die. Not now. God, he's so cold!"

"Dana, what are they doing now?" Dr. Wayland repeated.

"They're watching me. I want to go home."

"Where's home?"

"I-I don't know. I-I can't remember," she said quietly.

"Dana, what happened to Steve?"

"They hurt him. He's so cold."

"What's happening now?"

"No! Stop! You can't take him away! Stop, please! " She started sobbing uncontrollably.

"Dana, what are they doing?"

"They're taking him away! Stop!"

"Dana...."

"Stop please! Where are they taking him?"

"Dana....."

"Everyone's screaming. It's....so...loud! Steve is awake. He's yelling. Where are they taking him?"

" Dana, on the count of three I want you to return to that peaceful place. One...two...three. " Her clear-blue eyes opened. She quickly wiped away some of the tears that had made their way down her cheeks. Her breathing was heavy. She was so pale. Her eyes kept darting around the room, remembering the monsters that plagued her dreams.

"I...I have to go. Excuse me," Scully shakily said, exiting through the door. Mulder got up and followed her. He was stopped by a slight touch on his arm.

"Mr. Mulder...."

"Don't explain. Is she going to be alright?"

"I hope so."


Scully sat on a wooden bench outside the office, and just stared. Her breathing was back to normal, and she had managed to stop crying. Everything seemed so unreal, like something out of a bad sci-fi movie. This wasn't happening, she told herself. She would wake up and everything would be back to normal, or what passed as normal. She rested her head in her hands, and started to massage her temples. She had an awful headache, and it only made it worse when she heard the faint footsteps of her partner.

"Scully are you alrig...." She didn't want to talk to him. As far as she was concerned this was all his fault.

"Just take me home Mulder," she said unemotionally.

"But Scully I...."

"Mulder, I said just take me home. I don't feel like talking."

"Fine."


They rode in silence. Neither felt like talking. Scully had a lot on her mind. She didn't want to think about what she remembered. She didn't want to think about what "they" had done to her. She didn't want to. Mulder wanted her to find the truth. He wanted her to come to grips and realize that aliens are real and they had taken her. It wasn't that easy. She had based her career and her beliefs on the notion that all things had a scientific explanation. Now because of what happened to her, Mulder wanted her to forget all that and readily believe in those little gray men he was so obsessed with. It just wasn't that easy.


He hadn't meant to hurt her. God knows he never meant it. He only wanted her to know the truth. The truth behind what really happened and the truth behind the government conspiracy. He didn't want to hurt her. Oh man, he really messed up this time.

Later that night.... Location: Scully's Apartment

She was dreaming. She knew it, and she couldn't stop it. Whenever she was awake she could put away the horrors she had seen, the nightmares she had witnessed. It was different at night. She had no control of her dreams. The same thing happened every night. Her body and mind would separate, her mind floating into the caverns of her memory. The door would unlock, and the painful memories she locked away would rise.

She was in a room, strapped to a large metal table. Every inch of her body was screaming out in pain. Her mind was fuzzy and her senses dulled. She could barely make out the voices screaming around her. She knew, only minutes before, she was one of those voices. Now she lay there silently, wishing it were all over, wishing she wasn't here. She could hear a familiar voice. A man's voice. He was screaming. It was Steve, definitely Steve. She turned her head and saw "them" strap him to the table. He was still screaming and withering around.

"Stop it!! Don't you touch me!! Lemme go!!! " she could barely make out his words. She saw them jam a large syringe in his arm and he instantly stopped struggling. She closed her eyes. She didn't want to see them hurt him. Not again. Not ever again. She could hear him screaming.

"NOOOOOOO!!! AHHHHHH! STOP IT!!! Please, please stop it!! " Suddenly he was silent. She opened her eyes.

"Why don't you help me Dana? What are you afraid of?" he asked softly.

"I-I don't know."

"Dana help!"

"I-I can't, I can't."

"Dana help me!"

"I'm sorry."

"You're just going to leave me here to die, aren't you Dana?" he accused.

"No!!"

"Dana help!"

"I can't. I just can't."

"Dana, HELP ME!!! " She was instantly awake. The dream was still clear in her mind, as clear as the morning sky. She was soaking with sweat and shaking. Why did this stuff always happen to her? She hadn't had a nightmare for a while, so why now? She knew the answer. That darn hypnosis session. She didn't even know why she had agreed to it. She should have never gone through with it. She got up out of her bed and headed for the bathroom. The door creaked in protest as she opened it.

"I really need to fix those hinges," she said aloud. She washed her face, letting the water wash away the last remnants of her dream. She froze. She heard something. No, she was just being paranoid. The door creaked again. She quickly glanced in the direction of the sound. There he was, leaning against the door in the same worn jeans, white t-shirt and black trenchcoat.

"Miss me, baby?"


Location: Mulder's Apartment

Mulder felt really horrible about that afternoon. He had hurt Scully, he knew it. Now he was trying to get some sleep on his leather couch and all he could think about was her. He couldn't stand it. He picked up the phone and dialed the familiar numbers. He let it ring a couple of times before he let his paranoia kick in. Where was she at this time of night? Why wasn't she answering? He hung up the phone in fury. She was probably mad at him. He hopped off the couch and headed for the door. He needed to talk to her whether she liked it or not.


Location: Steve's House

She was in a small room lit only by the soft glow of a kerosine lamp. Did this guy ever hear of electric lights? With her luck he was probably a Kindred. She was tied to a chair, which was rather uncomfortable. He was sitting on a stool, smoking a cigarette.

"Ah, haven't had a chance to enjoy my daily nicotine dose since I was put in the hospital." He not only acted insane and scary, he also looked it. From his wild blonde hair and chilling eyes to his dark apartment and odd furniture. The odd thing about the furniture was he didn't have much. A couple of chairs and a stuffed mattress that lay on the floor. He didn't have any tables, only crates that usually doubled as foot stools. Clothes were piled up in the corner and even though he had a refrigerator the only thing it occupied were old pizzas and some beer. She had to admit this guy reminded her of Mulder. She squirmed underneath the ropes and apparently he noticed because he looked up at her with those ice-blue eyes.

"Are you uncomfortable?" he said wickedly with a small grin. She nodded. " So am I."

"Why did you kidnap me?" He seemed amused by this question. The light of the lamp reflected off his chiseled features and made his blue eyes dance.

"I need someone to listen to me, to understand me. You are the only one who understands me. " She didn't answer. " Okay, it does sound weird. You were there and I know you remember. I need to tell someone my side of the story."

"What good will that do?"

"If you listen and understand then maybe you can get me out of this jam I'm in. I'm not going to hurt you, I just want you to listen. " He paused for a moment. " I was thinking maybe you could protect me. I don't want to die."

"*Me* protect *you*?"

"You'd understand if you'd listen. I-I didn't mean to scare you. I'm sorry," he said quietly. She suddenly felt a little sadness for the guy but she quickly pushed it away.

"Are you going to tell me what happened?" she asked quietly. He nodded.

"I was only seven. Just a little boy. They took me away from my parents and did things to me."

"What kind of things?"

"Poked me, hurt me. That was only the beginning. They bred my mother like a barnyard animal. They would visit me during the night and take me for weeks at a time. My parents blamed each other and they soon got divorced. When I got older I-I went through a lot of Regression Hypno Therapy with this guy named Dr. Jacobson. He told me I was an "abductee" and I had had "missing time" experiences. After that I was "taken" again. All I remember was seeing bright lights, needles, and you. " He looked down at the floor, embarrassed.

"Go on."

"When I got back I was rushed to the emergency room. These men came to my hospital room and asked me what happened. The next thing I knew I was being shipped to a mental hospital. They locked me up and said everything I saw wasn't real. They denied everything but I kept persisting, kept insisting. One day I overheard some of the doctors say that they were going to kill me. They knew I knew too much. I was a threat to them so I got outta that hole and now I'm here."

"And you think I can help you?"

"Yup. Score one for the G-woman!"

"You're really scary."

"Thank you. Do you think I can trust you not to run if I let you go?" she nodded. He kneeled beside her and took out a small pocket-knife. He cut the ropes free. She inhaled deeply, enjoying the feeling of being able to breath just a little bit easier.

"Thank you."

"No problem. " He walked over to the telephone that was laying on the floor. " I'm sorry I have to do this. " He took out the gun, and pointed it straight at her head. " Stand up and walk over here," he ordered. She did so. He grabbed her pushed the gun to her temple. " You do as I say and call your partner. You tell him that there is this guy who's holding you hostage and he wants to be guaranteed that he'll be safe and no one will bother him ever again, including "them". I also want two million dollars, cash. Got that?" She nodded her red-head. " Dial. " She dialed. No answer.

"Where else would he be?"

"My apartment."

"Alright beautiful, dial the numbers and get my request through the lines! "

Location: Scully's Apartment

Where was she? Her apartment was a wreck. Books thrown everywhere. Tables and chairs toppled over. He heard a high-pitched ringing song. The phone! He hastily grabbed it.

"Mulder! " he answered.

"Mulder, it's me."

"Scully where are you?"

"I can't say, not just yet. He won't let me."

"Who, Steve?"

"Yes."

"What does he want with you."

"He said if you don't get two million dollars and ensure his protection he'll kill me."

"Scully, what's his obsession with you?"

"Mulder, I recognize him. He's in my dreams. He wanted me to listen to his story. He doesn't want to live in fear anymore."

"Scully listen to me, try...."

"Try what Mr. Mulder?" a male voice asked.

"What do you want with her! " He didn't answer. " What do you want with her!!! " Mulder repeated.

"Listen. Get your fellow feds and tell them what I want. You don't get her back till then. Got me? Remember, I'm the one who's finger's on the trigger and I won't hesitate to pull it. " <click>. He was disconnected. Mulder slammed the phone down. He lost her once and he wasn't going to lose her again.


Location: Steve's House

Steve lit a match. He held it up to his eyes, and watched as the fire danced. Then he held in front of Scully's eyes.

"You see this Dana?" he asked. The flame licked higher. " This is fire. So powerful, so absolutely powerful. If I dropped it, an accident of course, it would burn away your clothes. Then it would tear through your skin, dissolving every little cell in it's way. The fire would get bigger and bigger. Your whole body would ignite. Your hair would be a pile of ashes. Your skin would be a burnt piece of steak. You'd be the human barbecue. Worst thing is you'd be alive through most of it. Pretty bad way to die. " He moved over to the table and picked up the gun. He ran his hand over barrel. " Now this is a gun. " He held it up in front of her eyes, and waved it around like it was some toy. Cold sweat beaded her upper lip. The gun was loaded. " All I would have to do is aim, and fire. One brief moment of pain, then it's all over. Boom, flash, dead. Not that bad of a way to die. " He retrieved another object from the table. A knife. " This is a knife, Dana. O! ne of the worst ways to die, well next to being burned alive. " He traced little circles in the air with the blade. Then he lowered it to his arm. " More blood this way. The body has five quarts of blood. Imagine all that blood leaking out of you slowly, ever so slowly. " He ran the knife along his hand. Blood oozed out of the cut. He raised his hand to his mouth and licked away the blood. He closed his eyes, and licked his lips.

"How would you like to die?" he whispered, fixating his gaze on her. She didn't answer. " Three choices. Fire, gun, knife. Which one?" She remained silent. " Fine, be that way. I'll choose. Gun. " He again picked up the gun. He raised it to her head, and closed his eyes. She knew she was going to die. All she could think was not now. She had so much more life to live. Not now. She couldn't die now. He put his finger on the trigger. All he had to do was pull. She'd be dead. Over and done with. She closed her eyes. A lone tear escaped from her tightly shut eyelids. She felt the gun slowly leave her temple. She opened her eyes. He was sitting on a chair, shoulders slumped and his head was in his hands. He raised his head and stared deeply into her eyes.

"Thank you," she whispered.

"I spared you once Dana. I found a little room in my heart, but next time you won't be so lucky."

Location: Basement Office

With each hour that passed, Mulder got closer and closer to the brink of insanity. He couldn't stand it. He had no leads. He had nothing. All he had was his faith, his faith to keep looking. Right now that was all he really needed.


Location: Steve's House

"Take a chance," Steve said as he displayed a deck of old, dog-eared cards. "I make the rules. " He bit his lip, and his eyebrows arched in thought. " Let's see, if you get the high card you get to leave and go home. If *I* get the high card you die." He said it so simply, like it didn't matter to him. Of course they weren't gambling on his life. He shuffled the deck and laid it in front of her. "You go first."

She swallowed her fears and withdrew the top card. Four. She closed her eyes and silently cursed her luck. A fist curled up in her stomach. He shrugged and placed his hand on the deck. " You're life is teetering on the brink on death. One card can affect the existence of your whole world as we know it. One card. " He picked up the card, and held it up for her to see. Five. She gasped. One number off! She suddenly felt sick. She was going to die because of some stupid card game. She was going to fall victim to chance. She was so in-depth in her! own thoughts of death and defeat that she barely noticed when Steve struck a match and ignited the card, which instantly went up in flames. He dropped it on the floor and stamped it out.

"Tell you what, I'll give you one more chance. If I get high card you die. If you do, I answer any one question you want. I draw first. Look here, a seven. You're turn. " With shaking hands she took the top card from the deck. She said a silent prayer and stared into the threshold of death. A ten! She got a ten!

"Hmmmm, not bad. A ten! You win. Remember one question. Better make it good. " She thought a moment.

"What do you want with me?" His eyes grew colder. Shadows cast out across his face.

"I-I need someone to listen to me, to understand. I want out and you're the only way. I can't keep living in fear: fear of being tracked down. I don't want them to take me back, they can't. " He lowered his head and ran a hand through his wild blonde hair. She felt sympathy for this man. Wherever, or whatever she knew him from she did know him. She understood him for the first time. The smoke and smog of doubts had finally cleared, revealing the truth. She knew she could trust him.


Location: Basement Office

Mulder was at the point where he would try *anything* and *everything* if it meant getting her back. The only thing was he had already tried.


Location: Steve's House

"Why is it so dark in here?" Scully asked. The lights were all off in the tiny room. Even the kerosene lamp was turned off.

"The lights aren't on," Steve replied dryly. " You want to know the real reason?" She nodded. He got up and turned away from her, hands clasped behind his back. " When I was little I used to shut off all the lights in the house, and pretend I wasn't home. I used to think that they wouldn't come for me if they thought no one was home. Man, was I wrong."

"Why do you still turn the lights off if you know they'd come for you anyway?"

"Hope."

"I don't understand."

"You wouldn't," he said harshly. He faced her, noticing the slightest hint of shock and pain on her face.

"I was taken too. I do know what it feels like to be gone for three months and not have any recollection of what happened. You're not alone."

"If I'm not alone then why do I feel like I am? No one can ever know how I feel. No one."

"That's not true."

"Yeah it is. No one knows. No one will ever know. " He walked over to the table and turned on the lamp. The whole place lit up. Their shadows danced on the wall.

"You can trust me," she said quietly. He paused for a moment, and she swore she saw a tear in his eye. He nodded, and opened his mouth to speak.

"I was always alone. Until now."


Location: Basement Office

Mulder watched as the dark figure approached him. This was his last resort. Other than Scully, he was Mulder's only ally. His only link to the secrets that the government was hiding. He didn't even know the man's identity, or even his name, but it didn't really matter. It was the information he gave Mulder that mattered.

"Mr. Mulder, I do not appreciate being woken up at this time at night. Whatever it is you need it better be good."

"My partner's missing. I was hoping you knew something."

"I don't know why she was taken, but she will be returned."

"When?"

"When the police find him and blow off his head."

"What does he want with her?"

"How should I know?"

"What...."

"Mr. Mulder, all you need to know is that you're partner will be found, he will be killed, and everything will have a somewhat happy ending. " The man turned on his heels, and stalked off into the night.


Location: Steve's House

Scully was still in the same chair, still tied up. He was off dozing on the horrible excuse for a mattress. This guy had more mood swings than a pregnant woman. He would be sincere and sad one moment, mean and cold the next. He groaned in his sleep and turned over. He was having a nightmare, she knew it. His face, etched with pain and anguish, was so familiar. Yet she didn't know the man behind the face. She only saw the face. In her dreams and flashbacks. His eyes popped open suddenly. He looked much nicer asleep. He didn't look as scary. He sat up and rubbed his gruff features. He looked at her, his eyes seeming to see right through her.

"Hungry?" he asked. She nodded. " Well, then let's see what we have. " He got up and stretched his arms above his head. A huge yawn escaped his lips. He hobbled over to kitchen, or what looked like a kitchen, and rummaged around a bit. He came back with a can of corn and some beer. He shrugged.

"Only thing I got," he said casually. He pried open the can with his knife. He untied her, but still had the gun close at hand in case she tried anything. " You know you can trust me. I'm not here to hurt you. You know that. You know how I feel. Why don't you trust me?"

"I trust you, but sometimes I'm just not sure. " Suddenly he threw the corn off the table and jumped on top of it. He held the knife in his hand and he placed it right under her chin. His face inches from hers, and his icy-blue eyes freezing her skin.

"Listen here, you have one heck of a mouth. Let's put it this way. I want my demands and quite frankly I'm tired of having to babysit you. Get on that phone and call Mulder. Tell him where we are. Tell him I want to talk with him, get everything in order. Tell him if he tries anything stupid I'll kill you. Got it?"

"Yes."

"Do it!"


Location: Basement Office

Mulder was working in his darkened office, trying furiously to find any leads. He ran a hand through his brown hair and in one motion pushed everything off the desk. He was so sick of all this. Sick of running around. Sick of all these psychos. Suddenly the phone rang. He rushed to pick it up.

"Mulder."

"Mulder, it's me."

"Scully are you okay? Where are you?"

"I'm fine. " He heard a click. If he was disconnected one more time he swore he'd pull his hair out.

"Hi ya Mulder!"

"Who are you? What have you done with Scully? Where are you?"

"Whoa, hold on. One question at a time."

"Who are you?"

"Don't you recognize my voice? It's me Steve."

"What do you want?"

"I want *you* to come *here* and we can have a little chat."

"Where are you?" Steve gave him the address. " Hate to tell you Steve, but that's in the middle of nowhere."

"You don't think I know that? I'm a psycho on the run. I can't exactly afford the Hilton!!"

"I'll be right there."

"Mulder, if you try anything stupid I'll kill her, got it?"

"Yes, just don't hurt her. " <click>. Disconnected again! He cursed and dialed. He'd have every squad car on that house in no time. He picked up his gun and headed out the door.

"Time to take a little drive."


Location: Steve's House

He held the gun to her head. His other arm held tightly around her stomach, pinning her arms down. His face was so close to hers that she could feel him breathing. His cold eyes fixated on the door. They both heard the rapping at the door. She saw a smile creep across his gruff features. The door flew open. There stood Mulder, looking tired and rumpled.

"Ah, so you decided to join us Mr. Mulder. Put your gun down. Yes, that's it. Gooooood. Now step forward, and close the door. Good job Mulder. Not bad for a G-man. " He took the gun off her head, letting her breathe a little bit easier. He pointed it at Mulder, and she tensed up again.

"Sit down in the chair. NOW!! " Mulder moved to the chair and sat down. " Now stay there. Dana, sit down in the other chair. " She also sat. " Goooood. You two are pretty well behaved."

"Why are you doing this?" Scully asked.

"I think you know. " He walked up to her and touched her temple. " Remember Dana," he whispered. Her eyes closed. Flashes of memories. Pieces of the truth, broken down to tiny fragments of the reality that couldn't possibly be the reality. She saw them all at once. She saw herself. Him. She saw others, the others who had no names. She saw "them". She could feel the intense pain as they poked and prodded and hurt her. She could see "them" hurting others, others who would probably never again see another day. She could hear their screams, their pleas for help. She saw him screaming and crying as they poked at him. She could see the pain and anguish on every face. Her face held the same. She saw a young man screaming in utter pain and then with a start she realized she was screaming too. The memories, the flashbacks, ended as quickly as they started. A solitary tear carved a path down her smooth cheek.

"Why are you doing this to me?" she whispered, her eyes still closed. He remained silent. "Why?"

"Because I need you're help," he said quietly.

"STOP!! LET THEM GO!! MOVE!! HANDS UP IN THE AIR!! NOW!! " Steve swung around in disbelief.

"You called the cops on me!! " he yelled. He pointed the gun at Mulder. " You called the cops on me!!"

"Put it down! " yelled one of the officers. " PUT IT DOWN!! " He dropped the gun and raised his arms. He turned on his heels and faced Scully.

"Why don't you help me?" he asked. Suddenly she remembered her dream. " Why don't you help me? I need your help. " Mulder looked over. Her eyes were wide. She was as white as a sheet, looked so small and so scared. It didn't take a brain surgeon to see that. One of the cops grabbed Steve by the shoulder, slipped a pair of handcuffs on him, and pushed him forward. "Ahhh, get your hands off me! Let me go!! You won't get away with this!! Ahhhhh!!! Let go!!" They pushed him out of the room.

"Scully, you okay?"

"Mulder, he didn't do anything wrong."

"Scully, what do you mean? He kidnapped you."

"He had his reasons."

"Scully are you okay?"

"Mulder, he's scared. He needed help. He thought I could help him. I remember him. Mulder, I believe him. I think we should help him. " Mulder was stunned. She *believed* him. She *believed* in his story.

"Scully, do you know what you're saying?"

"Yes, I'm aware."

"Good. Now let's go pay a visit to our little jailbird. " He walked up to one of the police officers.

"Do you think we could talk to him?" Mulder asked, pointing at Steve.

"Yeah, once he's snug in his handcuffs."

"What do you mean?"

"He's wanted for murder. A couple out in Annapolis."

"Murder?"

"Yup. " Mulder talked with the officer a couple more minutes and then walked back to where she was sitting.

"So when are we going to talk to him?"

"That might take a little finagling."

"What do you mean?"

"Do you have any idea what he's wanted for?"

"No. What?"

"He's wanted for murder. A couple in Annapolis. Fingerprints, DNA, all over the crime scene. " He heard her take in a sharp breath.

"I had no idea."

"You think anyone set him up?"

"I don't know. He said he heard some doctor say he was going to kill him."

"Now bear with me here, Scully. What if...."

"Oh no, not the "what ifs"."

"Just listen a minute. What if he found out something he shouldn't know. " He saw Scully roll her eyes.

"What could he possibly know?"

"Something about the government's involvement in alien abduction."

"Okay, let's just say he did see something. Why would they stick him in a mental hospital? And why would they frame him when they could just kill him?"

"I don't know. Maybe he was put in the hospital because they didn't know what he knew. They could easily frame him. If he was an abductee then the government would have samples of his DNA."

"Okay, I see where this is going. Let's just blame the government. It's always their fault anyway. Why don't we just speak to Steve first."

"Sure. Fine. Whatever."


Location: Maryland State Penitentiary

They walked into the small room. Steve was sitting there, perfectly calm. He was wearing an orange short-sleeved shirt along with matching pants. He had handcuffs around his wrists, and was sitting behind a table. She sat down across from him. Mulder stood.

"Nice of you to join me, G-man," Steve sneered. Mulder just nodded.

"Tell me about these murder charges Steve," Mulder said.

"I didn't do it."

"Your fingerprints were all over the crime scene."

"I didn't do it."

"Samples of your DNA were picked up."

"I didn't do it."

"That alone could convict you."

"Didn't convict O.J."

"This is not the trial of the century and we're not the dream team. Give us the facts and we'll help you. You can trust us."

"I didn't do it. Dana you believe me, don't you?"

"I don't know. One minute you're tying me up, next you're telling me your life's story, then I find out you're charged with murder. Which should I believe? I need to know everything if you want me to help you. I know you can trust me. " Steve just stared at her.

"I was framed. " He said it so simply, so non-chalant. Like this was an everyday thing.

"Who framed you?" His gaze moved upwards, towards the ceiling.

"Them."

Location: Scully's Apartment

The conversation with Steve was no help. He wouldn't tell them everything. He still didn't trust them. She knew he wasn't guilty. Even when he had kidnapped her he didn't really hurt her. He didn't *want* to hurt her. She thought she could get through to him like he had gotten through to her. She was wrong. She turned on the t.v. in her apartment. Luckily this case was close to home so she wouldn't have to stay in some stuffy hotel room. The phone rang.

"Scully, It's me."

"What's up Mulder?"

"Scully I think you should come down here."


Location: Maryland State Penitentiary

As soon as she got the call she rushed to the prison, and ran to his cell. Mulder was standing there.

"Mulder what is it?"

"Just look Scully. " She looked over at the cell. At first she couldn't see him. She glanced right. In the corner was a quivering, half-naked man, head in his hands, rocking back in forth, whimpering. She noticed the back of his neck was bleeding and he was pale. Contusions decorated his body. The cut on the back of the neck bothered her most. The implant! The one she had found in the back of her neck. The blankets and the cot were burned. Intense heat. Half-naked. Cuts. Testing. He was abducted. Though she never jumped to conclusions this answer seemed right. She could feel it. She pushed past two of the guards and entered the cell. She kneeled next to him. He was mumbling something. She bent closer to hear.

"Don't let them take me again. Don't. Please don't. Don't let them hurt me. Stop. Please. Don't let them take me again. Needles. Don't let them take me again. Please. Please."

"Steve. It's me. What happened?"

"Don't let them hurt me, make them stop. Please."

"You can tell me. You can trust me. I believe you. " He stopped rocking. His hands moved downwards and he raised his head. He just stared for a few moments. His head slowly turned. She gasped. His cold eyes weren't cold, but scared. His brow was furrowed in worry. Sweat dotted his forehead and upper lip. A line of blood ran from his nose and down to his mouth. Unidentified objects found in the nasal cavity. His jaw worked up and down soundlessly and his eyes were glazed and distant. His gaze moved to her.

"Don't let them hurt me."

"I won't, I won't."


Location: Prison Infirmary

He wouldn't let anyone touch him, but her. She cleaned his cuts. That was basically all she could do. His gaze was distant. He didn't speak. Not even to her. Just sat and stared. He was wrapped in a blanket and sat on a cot in the infirmary. She had tried to talk to him, but he never would respond. She walked in and sat next to him.

"How are you feeling Steve?"

"Like I went through a meat-grinder. " Now he was speaking. She was off to a good start. If you called that good. At least he was talking.

"You want to tell me what happened?" Silence. Not this again.

"You know what happened, Dana. " Why couldn't he just tell her what happened? What was his problem? He was being so stubborn, but why? Was he afraid? Or maybe he was angry? Why wouldn't he just tell her? He knew he could trust her.

"You know, you have a lot of nerve Steven Baines. If you just told me, maybe I could get you off the hook. This would all be a lot easier if you just talked."

"It's not that easy. If I talk I'll get in trouble. You won't believe me anyway."

"I will believe. Just trust me."

"It's kinda far-fetched."

"Try me. " Silence again. He sighed and ran a hand through his blonde hair. " You can trust me," she added.

"You know what happened. " Argh! She was getting so mad. If he didn't just answer she swore she'd rip his lungs out.

"Are we at this again? Why can't you just tell me?"

"Okay, you want to know what happened? They took me up to their little labs, stuck things in me. They poked and prodded. I was just laying there powerless, not able to do anything. Knowing when they returned me, I would have to live in this hole, and the way it looks now I'm going to be here a long time. You don't understand. They treat *me*, they treat *you*, they treat *abductees*, like science projects. Like, why don't we stab here and see what happens, or why don't we inject this into them and see how they react, and they get away with it. If I told everybody I met that I had been abducted by aliens why do you think they'd react, huh? They would give me the "okay-I-know-you're-insane-so-I'll-just-walk-away-slowly-and-maybe-you-won't-hurt-me" look. Or the "what-funny-farm-are-you-from" look. It's not easy telling what happened. And now I'm even doubting that *I'm* right in the head. I don't like spilling my guts because people make fun of me and ridicule me.! I already have enough to think about. I'm being charged with two murders that I didn't commit.

"Why? Because I know too much. I know about their tests and I know about their government connections. You know what I did before this disaster? I was a photographer. Ever since the first time I was taken I wanted to prove what they were doing to me and my mom, and the hundreds of others out there. I had proof that would bust the conspiracy open. I had the pictures. I had the proof. That's why they locked me up. That's why they framed me for murder. I didn't do it. They did. The government did. Plain and simple. I didn't do it. " She was taken aback by his sudden outburst. She knew he wasn't lying. The way he said it, the way he spoke with such passion and anger. He was scared. Scared of what he was. Just like her. Where did that come from? She realized that she was just like him. Scared and angry and not wanting to know what happened. Like her, he was hanging on to his last threads of what used to be, trying not to think of he was now. An abductee. ! Like her, he was trying to keep his sanity. The way it looked, he was already too late. He didn't think of what happened for fear of ridicule and finding out something that would rip the last bits of his old life apart. Just like her. Not accepting what happened. Too afraid to accept what happened. Just like her. She was just like him. He was just like her. That's why he came to her for help. She had to help him. He needed his old life back. Just like her. " Dana, just leave. Right now you're on the road to becoming me. They know you know too much. That's why you were taken. You knew the truth. You were a threat. They take what they need. They silence those who speak out. Get out of this while you can. Don't follow in my footsteps. Just leave when you can."

"I can't do that."

"Why not?"

"Because you need my help. I do believe you. I can help you. So can Mulder."

"You mean Mr. All-American can help *me*?" She tried to ignore that comment.

"Yes he can."

"Well, then what are you waiting for? Chop, chop, woman! Get me outta here. As fast as you can! " She had to smile. At least he had a sense of humor.

"I'll come back later. Call me if you need me."

"No problem. And Dana?"

"Yeah?"

"Be careful."

"I will. After all, I don't want to turn into you," she teased.

"Very funny."


Location: Maryland State Penitentiary

Steven Baines was dreaming. He didn't dream often. Yes, he had nightmares, but never dreams. He was in a bright room. Hospital beds were scattered about. Peaceful pictures of the ocean and seagulls and trees and even one with a little boy and his dog. Soothing pictures. Made to calm the nerves. Then he saw a kid. Small, probably eight. He had brownish hair, light eyes. Steve stepped closer to him. He instantly could feel the power. It was intense, almost blinding. He knew the kid was aware of this because he just stared and smiled. He could feel him in his thoughts.

"I'm coming. Do not be afraid any longer. I will be here soon. Make her aware. I will be here soon. Do not be afraid," the little boy said. Suddenly he faded, like he wasn't even there in the first place. Then the rest of the scene faded. The pictures of the trees, and the ocean all faded away. Almost like ghosts. He woke up suddenly, his shirt soaked with sweat.

"That was one weird dream! " he said aloud. That's when he felt it. Another presence in the room. His head shot up. On the edge of his cot perched a small, eight-year old boy, with light eyes and brownish hair.

"Who are you?" he asked. He didn't speak. " Who *are* you?"

"Abel. " and then he was gone.

Location: Scully's Apartment

She rolled over in bed, still unconscious of the presence in the room. Then, as her groggy mind refocused she realized someone *was* in the room. She immediately grabbed her gun off of her nightstand. What she saw surprised her, actually more like frightened her. A little boy, probably not more than eight years old, was sitting in a chair across from her bed. He looked up at her and smiled. A white light surrounded him. He didn't move from the chair, just stared at her. He had intense eyes for such a young child.

"Who are you?"

"I am Abel. Are you frightened of me Dana?"

"How do you know my name?"

"I know a lot of things."

"Why are you here?"

"I am here to help. " Suddenly, as quickly as he appeared, he disappeared. She rubbed her eyes. Abel, that was his name. Did she really see him? Was Abel really there? She was half-asleep, she could have easily imagined it. She laid the gun back on the nightstand and noticed something odd. Her watch had stopped. She picked it up and looked it over. That was odd. It just stopped. A glimmer of light caught her eyes. A glimmer of light reflected off something shiny, something that wasn't supposed to be there. She looked closer. It was a pair of dog-tags. Of all things, why dog-tags? She looked at them more closely. There was a name inscribed in them. Abel Johnson. She gasped. It wasn't a dream! Suddenly, she heard a whispering. She couldn't tell where it was coming from, but it seemed to be coming from inside her head.

"Wear them. They'll make you feel safe. " The whispering stopped. She gripped the dog-tags. She had to talk to Mulder.

Location: Mulder's Apartment

Somewhere in the conscious world a phone was ringing. His phone. He growled and picked it up.

"Mulder," he mumbled.

"Mulder, it's me. " He was instantly awake.

"Scully, you okay?"

"I'm fine. Mulder, something weird just happened."

"What's new?"

"No, something *really* weird."

"What?"

"Mulder, an image of a little boy, surrounded by light, appeared in my bedroom. My watch stopped and a pair of dog-tags appeared on my nightstand. Weird enough for you?"

"Dog-tags?"

"Yes."

"You're right."

"About what?"

"That is weird."

Location: Scully's Apartment

Mulder had insisted that he come over to her apartment.

"So, you have no idea who Abel is?"

"None at all."

"Then why would he be here?" Mulder asked exasperated.

"I have absolutely no idea. " She absently fingered the dog-tags. She just didn't understand it. What did he want with her? Suddenly heat scorched her hand. It felt as though someone stuck a heated rod in her hand. She screamed and hastily dropped the dog-tags.

"What is it Scully?"

"The dog-tags. They're hot. " She rubbed her burnt hand. " They burnt me! " Mulder bent low and touched the pair of searing hot dog-tags. He quickly recoiled.

"Ow! They are hot!"

"Mulder, this is getting way too weird!"


Location: Maryland State Penitentiary

They had tiredly gone over possibility after possibility. They had no idea who Abel was, how he got in her bedroom, and why he was there. They still had no idea why the dog-tags suddenly heated up. She knew Mulder had some crazy theory for this. Quite frankly she didn't want to know what it was. She just wanted this all to be over. They had decided to talk to Steve about it, even though she didn't think it would turn anything up. They walked to his cell, finding him pacing back and forth.

"What is it Steve?" Scully asked.

"There you are! I need to talk to you."

"About what?" Mulder asked.

"Last night I had this funky dream. This little boy was staring at me. It was so intense. He felt so powerful. He said he was coming, and that I shouldn't be afraid. Then when I woke up he was on my bed. It was so freaky!"

"Was his name Abel?" asked Mulder.

"How'd you know?"

"The same thing happened to me," Scully said.

"Funky. So G-man, this an X-File?" Mulder ignored him. He was about to say something to Scully, when the lights went off. Static electricity pierced through the air, making the hair on the back of her neck was stand straight up. A bright light momentarily blinded them all. When they recovered a small boy was standing, hands clasped behind him, outside the cell. Mulder instantly knew it was Abel. The boy looked at them, his light eyes calm and peaceful.

"Did you get my message?" Abel asked. Scully walked towards him.

"Who are you?"

"I am Abel. I am here to help. " Mulder also walked towards Abel. He knelt beside him. If he was right, Abel wasn't real, but more like an image. He thrust his hand out and tried to touch the boy on the arm. His hand went straight through.

"Abel, you're not real are you?" Mulder asked.

"Yes I am."

"Then how come I can stick my hands through you?"

"Because my mind is here, but my body is somewhere else."

"Astral Projection?"

"Yes, that's what you call it."

"Where is your body?"

"It is sleeping."

"Where?"

"I don't know. My body will be here soon. I've come here to help you. I can help you."

"Abel, how did you know we needed help?" asked Scully.

"I felt it. I have connections. " He pointed at the dog-tags around Scully's neck.

"Connections? How?"

"Through the dog-tags. You do need help, don't you Steven?"

"Yes."

"Then why are you complaining?"

"Abel, we just..." Abel held up his hands.

"I must go. I will see you soon. My body is almost here. " He faded away. The lights flickered back on.

"That was definitely weird," said Scully.


Location: Basement Office

"Scully, I think Abel can astral project himself."

"Mulder, you're saying that this kid can make his mind move somewhere while his body is somewhere else."

"Scully, you saw what I saw. How else can you explain it?" She stared at the wall. They were in the office. Right away Mulder had documented this case. He didn't even need a reasonable explanation. Of course what good is a reasonable explanation when you can make one up?

"What do we do now?" she asked.

"We wait."


Location: Unknown

Abel Johnson looked around the darkened, empty street. There was nobody here. Not a soul. Good. He knew Steve's cell would be heavily guarded. He was prepared. He knew Steve thought he was just some psychic kid, but he knew much more. Oh, so much more. He wasn't really human. Well, what usually defined humans. He had no parents. They didn't die or anything, he never had any. He wasn't born.

He was created. By "them", the government. He was created from DNA samples. Half from humans, half from "them", the aliens. He didn't like using the word alien, after all he was half alien. He liked to use the word humanoid. Humanoids had created him. He was half humanoid and half human. They had created the perfect being. Smart, strong, the works. They gave him special gifts. Psychic gifts.

Some would call him a hybrid. However he was too engineered to be a hybrid. They had made him special. He could trace back his human genes to five single humans. They had combined the DNA of these five, creating a perfect person. He even had feelings, even though he wasn't supposed to. They never had feelings. That was why they made hybrids, but again he was different. He wasn't supposed to have feelings whereas hybrids were, but he did have them. The psychic powers, all the other things that he just dubbed "gifts" were given to him from the humanoids. They wanted him to learn about humans, and teach the hybrids. He didn't want to do that. When you create a being with feelings, he's bound to feel rebellion. He had already felt it. He saw people being tortured, being hurt. If he stayed with them he would only be increasing that pain. For the first time he had felt pain. Now he had to help Dana and Steve. They didn't know it, but they were part of him. He knew they were in trouble. He could feel it. He had connections to them. After all, they were his parents.


Location: Maryland State Penitentiary

Steve was laying on his cot, unable to fall asleep. Ever since he'd met Dana and her spooky partner he never had be able to get to sleep. If you asked him her partner was scary. He and all that psychic/paranormal stuff. He didn't care what Abel was as long as he helped him. He heard one of the doors open. Who could be visiting at this hour? Then he heard the voice. It wasn't inside his head like the last one, but he immediately knew who it was.

"I am here!"


Location: Scully's Apartment

They were at her apartment going over files. They were trying to find out who Abel was with the little information they had about him. If this guy Abel wanted to help her he should just show himself so they wouldn't have to go on some wild goose chase. There was a light knocking at the door.

"Who could that be?" she asked.

"I don't know," Mulder answered. He took out his gun and motioned for her to open the door. She got up, unlocked the door, and slowly opened it.

"Miss me, baby?"

"Steve!? Abel?! How..When....What....uh....How?"

"Shhhh. Go inside. We'll tell you when we get inside," Abel said. She let them in, and noticed Mulder giving her a very smug look.

"So, what brings you two here?"


No matter how many times Abel told the story it still seemed incredibly impossible. DNA experiments by the government to create the perfect human. Though she would never put it past the government. They had done some really barbaric things. Like tests, and experiments on the innocent. Things like that. Another thing that was bothering her was the fact that a man who is being charged with murder was sitting in her living room drinking coffee. It wasn't that she believed he was guilty. It was just that she didn't want him to face more charges when they found out he escaped. She got up off the couch and headed for the kitchen.

"Okay Abel, do you know the exact people who's DNA you're made from?" Mulder asked.

"Yes. I have tried to help them. My superiors didn't like that idea. They told me I shouldn't be interfering."

"But you did anyway, right?"

"Yes. I had too. They were getting hurt."

"Who are your superiors?"

"The government. The things you call "aliens". They are my superiors."

"So, the government *is* working with aliens."

"Correct. For a long time."

"Abel, do you know who your parents are?" He paused for a moment before answering.

"Yes."

"Do they know who you are?"

"Maybe. I don't really know. Most likely they know who I am, but don't know that we're related."

"Are you afraid to tell them you're related?" Mulder asked.

"Yes. I'm afraid they will hate me. I'm afraid they will not want to see me."

"Why would they hate you?" Scully asked. She had just walked in, but apparently she had heard the whole conversation. She sat down on the couch, next to Mulder and Steve. Abel sat in the chair across from them.

"They would hate me because I am a constant reminder of the ones who hurt them. They would be ashamed that their genes were in me. I am half alien. When they saw me they would think immediately that their child was half alien. That their child wasn't really there's but four others. Then they would look at me and remember the faces of the men, the aliens, who hurt them. It would be too much for them. *I* would end up hurting them. " They were all silent for a moment. Abel looked up at them.

"Who are your parents?" Scully asked. He was silent.

"If I told you something would you promise not to hate me?" He looked at Scully, his light eyes pleading.

"I promise. " Abel got up and turned his back to them. He stayed there for a couple of minutes, just staring at the wall.

"Dana?"

"Yes."

"You really want to know who my parents are? Because I only know the names of two. The others I can't remember. " He was lying, but he knew they couldn't tell. He wasn't allowed to give the names of his parents away. Not to strangers. But these people weren't strangers. Well, Mulder was, but Dana and Steve weren't. He took a deep breath. He had to get on with this. He had to tell them.

"That's okay. Just tell us what you know," Mulder said.

"Dana, you and Steve are my parents. "

She just sat there silent. Well, that's all she could really do. Steve's eyes practically bulged out of his head. His jaw dropped open. All she could think was that this wasn't happening. This was all a dream. This boy, this creation, was not her son. She knew he was telling the truth, but she couldn't bring herself to accept it. This couldn't be happening. This was all a dream.

"Huh?" asked a flustered Steve. Abel turned around and faced them.

"Your DNA was used to create me. Yours and Dana's and three others."

"Y-Your m-my, uh, my s-son?" Scully stuttered.

"Yes. When you were taken they took samples of your DNA, blood, genetic make-up, etc. The same with you Steve. Then they combined those samples. Then they added that with their DNA and that's how I was made. " Abel looked at them. They looked pretty freaked out. "I have characteristics of every one of my parents, including you two. They consider it an honor for you to be a part of me."

"So you mean some jerk in a lab coat glued my DNA to four others and stuck it in some talking science project?" Steve yelled.

"Calm down Steve," Mulder said. " Scully, you okay."

"Uh-huh," she answered.

"Something tells me she's lying," Steve sneered.

"How else am I supposed to act? Should I start screaming like you?" Scully yelled.

"I'm sorry," Abel said quietly. " I was just trying to help. I thought you'd want to know. I thought you needed to know. I can still help you. I still want to help you."

"How did you know we needed help?" Mulder asked. He looked over at Scully. She looked pale.

"As I said, I felt it. I have connections, almost psychic connections, to Dana and Steve and my other parents. I can *feel* when they're in trouble. The dog-tags act like a bridge."

"A bridge?"

"Yes, so I can project myself. " Scully was about to say something when a white flash lit up the room, burning their eyes. The light faded. Mulder's head was spinning, and a dull throb pounded in his temples. As the room stopped spinning he realized something was wrong. Something was very wrong.

"Where's Scully and Abel?! "


Location: Unknown

Scully's eyes slowly opened and registered her surroundings. Where was she? She tried to move but a searing pain shot through her head and down her spine. She groaned. She closed her eyes and opened them again. Then the grim realization hit her. She was in a room surrounded by machines. She was strapped to a table. Her breath quickened. This couldn't be happening again. Not again. She screamed even through she knew no one would be able to hear her.


Location: Scully's apartment

Mulder held his head in his hands. He had lost her again. She had been whisked away right in front of him and he couldn't help her. What if he never saw he again? What would he do? What would her mother do? Losing her only remaining daughter would be tough on her. Margaret Scully had always been like a second mother to him. He couldn't let her down. He had to find her. He stood up quickly and started pacing around the room. What was he going to do? How was he going to find her?

"Would you get a grip! " Steve growled. He was sitting on her couch, smoking a cigarette. He seemed so non-chalant, so uncaring. His behavior enraged him. How could he act like this when she was gone? Did he even care? He swiped the cigarette out of his mouth.

"Yo, G-man! What's your problem?"

"Do you even care that she's gone?"

"Yes I do. And Abel too. Going ballistic isn't going to help anything. You should know that!"

"We have to find her!"

"Yes we do. So, where do we start?"

"At the beginning."


Location: Unknown

Why didn't they just stop? Why did they have to hurt her? She had been there, strapped to the table, for over an hour. She tried to ignore them as they touched her with their cold hands. She tried to ignore the excruciating pain. Why was this happening to her? Why did these things always happen to her? What she would do to be with Mulder following some lead on some unexplainable case. Anything was better than this. Anything.

"Why are you doing this to me?" They didn't answer. They just stared at her with their cold, dark, uncaring eyes. " Why are you doing this to me? Why? Answer me! Please! Just answer me! Pleeeease. " She started sobbing. Tears of frustration, pain, and anguish rolled down her cheeks. Why?

"Don't worry child. You will be okay," one of them said.

" You will be okay," another one added. Somehow she didn't believe them.


Location: Unknown

Abel ran through the hallways of the research center. This was all his fault. He had inadvertently lead them to his superiors. He had to find her. He knew she was in pain. He could feel it. The pain of loss ripped at his heart. He couldn't let them hurt her. He walked up to one of the many metal doors lining the hallway. He pushed it open and burst in. Two men were sitting in a chair. One was smoking. One looked surprised. The other remained calm and took a long drag on his cigarette.

"What did you do with her?" he yelled.

"Abel, nice of you to join us," the one smoking said.

"What did you do with her?!"

"Abel, calm down."

"I won't calm down until you return her to me. She didn't do anything wrong."

"Yes she did. She interacted with you. You know the rules. You shouldn't interact with any of your parents. It's better off that they didn't know. You know that."

"I can't do that."

"Abel, what's happened to you?"

"I don't know."

"You have feelings, don't you?"

"Yes. I think that's what they're called."

"An unfortunate side effect."

"I feel for them. I-I feel weird whenever they are around. Like I'm more of myself. I-I don't understand it. It's like I *need* them."

"Abel, somehow your body chemistry didn't work out. It back-fired. You originally weren't supposed to have these feelings."

"But I do and I don't want them to go away."

"Abel, they have to go away. How can you function with them?"

"I'm doing just fine."

"Abel, you have no choice. We have to get rid of them."

"No you don't. I want to feel. I want, I-I want to love."

"You can't. You weren't designed to have feelings."

"That's too bad."

"We can't let you continue this charade. We can't let you go and save everyone of our abductees. You can't save them. You can't save you parents. If you don't stop this now we will have to destroy you."

"You can't do that. What you're doing is wrong! You have to stop!"

"Abel..."

"You have to stop. Let her go! Don't piss me off!"

"Abel! Where have you been? What do you know? Who did you talk to?"

"I met some people. Some of the people you assigned me to watch. They fear every day, every night, because of you! How can you live with yourself?"

"What we do preserves humanity."

"Ha! All lies! All lies! You created me to be your little dog. Do this, do that! You created me to do the dirty work. The stuff you didn't want to do. You made me do it because you thought I didn't have any feelings. You thought I didn't know what I was doing. But I did. I did. No one, not even you, will stop me. I will put an end to this! I will! " he sneered. He ran out of the room and slammed the door behind him. One of the men turned to the man smoking the cigarette.

"What are we going to do?" he asked. The man took another long drag.

"We'll get him. We know where he's going. We'll get him."


Location: Scully's apartment

They were nowhere. They had no leads. They had no idea what had occurred. Nothing seemed to fit. Mulder ran a hand through his already messed up hair. He sighed. Why her? Why not him? She was just following him around. She didn't even believe. So why had they taken her? For insurance? To shut him up? It was more like a warning. If he got any closer they would take her. His head pounded. Steve lay asleep on the couch. He didn't like the man. He was arrogant and just a major jerk. Mulder knew that Steve thought he was a mental hospital reject. Actually, that was what most people thought. Suddenly, the door burst open. A bunch of people with guns ran in. Steve was instantly awake.

"HANDS UP IN THE AIR!! NOW!! C'MON BAINES!! UP IN THE AIR!!! GIVE IT UP!! NOW!! " Steve practically fell of the couch. He held his arms up. One of the officers ran over to him and slipped a pair of handcuffs on. Mulder could hear him reading his rights.

"You have the right to remain silent..."

"Yeah I know. I watched enough cop shows in my time! Don't touch me! Lay off man! Yeah you! Don't touch me! Geez, man!"

"Sir, you okay?" an officer next to Mulder asked.

"Yeah."

"Glad we caught him. Scoundrel. " Steve walked past him. He turned around and looked at him with those chilling eyes.

"I'll be okay. Just find her. Got it?"

"Yeah, I got it. Wish me luck," Mulder answered.

"Man, you don't need luck. She's one lucky lady," he said and winked. What was that supposed to mean? " You ain't so bad Mulder. Now I see why she stays. See you around. " He was escorted away. Maybe he misjudged the guy. Nah.


Location: Unknown

She couldn't move. Not that she wanted to. She was still strapped to the table. They were still doing things to her. Horrible things. She closed her eyes. She tried to imagine a time where everything was normal. Where everything was okay. Suddenly, she heard a crashing sound. Her eyelids flew open. Abel! He was standing in the room holding a small, iron bar. He swung the bar and it connected with one of the machines. Sparks flew everywhere. He brought down the bar on another machine and another. They tried to stop him. He turned his anger on them. He brought it down on one of their heads. The man slumped over, and didn't move.

"You wanna try something? You do and you'll end up like him. Got me? Good, now let her go! " They didn't move. " I said let her go!! " One of them moved to the table and unstraped her. Finally, Scully could move. She was free.

"All of you leave! Go now!! " They all scurried out of the room. Abel walked over to her. His eyes were full of sadness. The same eyes that had been full of rage only moments before. " Are you okay Dana?" he asked. She nodded. Suddenly, a bright, white light filled the room. They covered their eyes with their arms. The light grew brighter. She saw his eyes widen.

"Run, while you still can. They've found me. Go! Before they get you too."

"What about you?" she asked. His profile was illuminated by the intense light. He looked like a ghost. Like a spirit. Like an angel.

"Just go. Forget about me! It's better that way."

"But.."

"Just go. " She ran for the door. She turned back to look at him. He was just standing there, waiting for death. He turned his head and saw her looking at him, tears in her eyes. He was crying too. " Just go. Forget about me. Keep the dog-tags. It's the only way I can communicate with you, no matter how far away I am. Whenever you feel lonely or sad hold them and think that someday I will be back. Now go," he whispered. She turned around and ran. He had risked his life for her's. She would always remember him. Always.


Location: Maryland State Penitentiary

Steve buried his head in his hands. He hoped Mulder would find her. She had been the only one willing to listen to him. The only one who gave him a chance. Now she was gone. His heart felt empty. He heard footsteps approaching his little "cage" as he called it.

"Got a visitor Baines," said the guard. He unlocked the door and held it open for the man. Steve looked up at him. Something about him was familiar and not in a good way. The man pulled out a pack of cigarettes and withdrew one. He lit it and took a nice long drag on it.

"Not supposed to me smoking in here."

"Mr. Baines, I don't follow the rules. I make them. " The man pulled out a gun from inside his blazer. Steve's eyes went wide. The man pointed the gun at him. He pulled the trigger. <Boom!> He felt an intense heat at his shoulder. The man shot him! He shot him!

"GUARD!!! " Steve yelled. The man smiled. <Boom!> This time the pain was at his stomach.

"I'm doing this nice and slow. A nice painful death for you, Mr. Baines. A long and painful death. " <Boom! Boom! Boom! BOOM!!> Steve slumped over. Blood dripped from the wounds that were now all over his body. He groaned. The man dropped the cigarette and crunched it with his heel. He calmly left the cell, and nodded to the guard.

"How did it go, sir?"

"Quite well."


Location: Mercy Hospital

She had been brought here about an hour ago. They had done tests, made sure she was okay. Physically she was. Mentally was another story. All she could think about was Abel's scared face as she left. The only thing left of him was the dog-tags. His bridge. He had projected himself through these. She had barely known him, her *son*, and now he was gone. She choked back the tears. Mulder had heard news that she had been brought here and immediately drove over. The minute he got there he started yelling at the nurses. It took awhile to calm him down and assure him that she was alright. Good old Mulder. He was now calmly waiting in the waiting room, along with her mother. She still had to see the doctor to get some more tests. She hated tests. Now only did they take too long and tell her what she already knew, they reminded her of her abduction. She shivered. The trauma room next to her suddenly filled with doctors. A man was rushed in. Curious, she got up and looked closer. Steve! That was Steve! She ran out of the room and pushed past some nurses.

"Oh my God, what happened to him?"

"Do you know him?" asked one of the doctors. She nodded. She rushed forward and grabbed his hand. He had been shot. Six times.

"Ma'am you're not allowed to be in here," one of the nurses said.

"I'm a doctor and a federal agent! I'm also a friend. I think I have a right to be here! " she snapped. Steve groaned. " Are you okay, Steve? What happened?"

"Dana?"

"Yes, it's Dana."

"Listen to me."

"What is it, Steve?"

"Dana, what ever you do, don't end up like me. Your headed down that path. Don't. Just turn around and walk away. Forget about the truth. Forget about it. Get out while you still can. Don't end up like me."

"Steve..."

"Just promise me that, Dana."

"I promise. " She didn't notice the tears flooding her eyes and threatening to spill over her cheeks.

"Dana?"

"Yes?"

"Thank you. " His head felt backwards. <BEEEEEEEEEEP> His eyes drifted closed, never to be opened again. She gripped his hand, trying to squeeze the littlest bit of life out of it. Tears flooded down her cheeks. He was dead. She hadn't been able to help him. He had trusted her and she had let him down. She pounded on his chest, and begged him to wake up. She slumped over, sobbing. Every sound slowly faded away, except for one. Steve's voice, small and far-away.

"Thank you."

THE END


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