Title: Jordon
Author: Pamela Olumoya

Summary: Circumstances bring Mulder into contact with a former girlfriend who is convinced that Samantha Mulder was involved in the birth of her six-year-old daughter.

It had been six hours of driving without a break. The last hour and a half had been particularly bad because of the tremendous downpours. A couple of times Beth knew it would be wise to pull over and wait but she didn't dare stop. It would not have been too safe for a woman alone in the middle of the night and besides, she could no longer postpone facing the fact that her marriage was over, nor facing the custody battle her husband was planning to mount. Such spite. Such a mean-spirited, evil thing to undertake and all to punish her. Everything would work out she told herself. Mulder would not disappoint her. She pushed the scan button again on the radio. Not only did this give her something to do, but the inane comments of the all- talk radio host could only be tolerated in very small doses. "I should be in range, " Beth decided as she dialed his number.

"Fox Mulder," he answered, almost whispering, having been awakened. It's 4am, he thought, this can't be good.

"Mulder, God I'm glad your home. This is Beth. Beth Janson."

"Beth?" Beth. The name and voice recognition finally sank in. Where are you?"

"I'm here. I have to see you."

"All right, sure. What is it?" Mulder now had the phone in his lap, his feet on the floor. It only took seconds for anxiety to push sleep away.

"I will tell you when I see you."

"Where are you?"

"I'm about fifteen minutes away, I think."

"I'll put the coffee on."

In the time it took to get dressed and get the coffee started Mulder had a chance to reminisce about the person belonging to the voice on the phone. The last time he'd seen Beth was what? almost 3 years ago? His mother had said she and her husband had attended his father's funeral. She always looked good in black-- another reason he was sorry he had been unable to attend the funeral a year ago. She was about 5'6" Her complexion, flawless and very touchable. He smiled recalling how her mid-length dark brown hair always smelled like strawberries. He remembered beautiful large brown eyes with lots of lashes.

There was a rapid knock at the door. Mulder checked to see who it was then admitted Beth. She was dripping wet.

"Mulder, I don't know where to begin. I'm sorry to get you up."

"Here, give me your coat," Mulder said, as he checked the hallway behind her and closed the door almost in one motion. "Have you been driving all night?"

"Just about. I know. I must look bad. I just --I don't know what to do next. I didn't want to involve you but, here I am."

"You never look bad- that's just not possible," he said. Well, she didn't actually look bad but it was clear to him that Beth was physically not doing too well. As he hugged her he could feel that she was extremely thin. He brushed her wet hair from her face and stared for a moment into her eyes made even more prominent by the gauntness of her face. "What happened?" he asked.

"Mulder, it's just so incredibly unreal what has been going on in my life for the past six months." Very close to tears, Beth began to pace the living room.

"Here, this coffee will warm you up," Mulder said, handing her cup. I'm listening."

"Thank you--I hope this is decaffeinated because I haven't slept in days."

"Maybe I'll just turn up the heat," Mulder said, taking the cup from Beth's shaking hands.

"It's about Jordan, Mulder."

"Go ahead."

"James thinks Jordan is your daughter."

Not missing a beat Mulder said, "Why would he think that, Beth?"

"Tests show that he is not her father. Here are pictures of her," Beth said, pulling three of them from her wallet.

"The resemblance is startling I must admit," he said, moving to have a better look under the light from the lamp on his desk. "If I got my mom to give me a couple of pictures of me at this age, I think we'd be quite a match. She's about six now, right? But, we both know she is not my daughter. If James isn't her father, who is?"

"I don't know who is. I just know who isn't."

"Meaning what? That there are more than a couple of possibilities here?"

By now Beth was no longer pacing but sitting on the couch. Mulder sat next to her. "No, no not at all. I was shocked at the test results. I have had them repeated four times. I don't know who Jordan's father is because to my knowledge James is the only person I have slept with in eight years."

"To your knowledge? So, something obviously happened without your knowledge. What? What do think happened?"

Beth was unable to answer him, she wanted to but the words would not come.

"Do the tests show that you are her mother?" Mulder asked, trying a different approach for the moment.

"What?" For a second Beth thought Mulder was not taking her seriously. She looked at him closely in order to read him. Other people found him difficult to know but she had never had that problem. Relieved to see sympathy and not sarcasm in his eyes she continued, "Yes, they do. Actually, that was my first thought too. You know, that at the hospital there had been some kind of dreadful mixup--the kind you only read about- but she is mine. I know it's truly bizarre. .." Mulder and Beth's eyes locked as if the word bizarre was a buzz word that immediately crystallized what was at the heart of this conversation. Beth said, "She isn't yours, I know. Maybe...maybe she is Samantha's."

Now he missed a beat. Mulder stood up. He needed some distance to better process what was being said.

"I spend my days now," Beth continued, "convinced that I am losing my mind and I need someone to believe me - that's why I am here. I would never do anything to dredge up memories of Samantha, you know that. But, I knew if anyone could believe me, it would be you."

"Where is Jordan now?"

"She's with my mom at home."

"What about your husband?"

"I'm not sure where James is. I haven't seen him in about two weeks. He is convinced, of course, that you and I conceived Jordan. That we have lied to him - that I have lied to him and continue to lie. He can't live with it and I can't blame him. I made the mistake of telling him that I thought maybe this could somehow be related to Samantha's disappearance and so now...not only am I an adulterous wifein his opinion but insane to the point of believing that aliens had something to do with Jordan's birth. Can you help me?"

"Mulder, I was just about to call you," Scully said, sitting at her desk in their office. "Late night?"

"Early morning, as a matter of fact, A friend of mine dropped by," Mulder said into the phone.

"Oh, that's nice. Well, I need your notes from that last interview. .. are you coming in?"

"No, do you think you can come here?"

"Are you sure everything is all right?"

"Yeah, I'll explain."

It took Scully twenty minutes to reach Mulder's apartment. Five minutes after that, she returned her gun to its holster, having determined it was not needed. She did not understand the circumstances that had motivated her partner's request. Fortunately, he did not appear to be in trouble. She asked, "What's going on?"

"It's an X-File. My friend, Beth Janson, is here to get help with a problem. Her husband is not her daughter's father and she doesn't know who is."

"Oh, is *that* what the "x" stands for? Scully asked.

"Take a look at these," Mulder said, handing her Jordan's pictures.

"Who is this? She looks like...Mulder? Is there something you forgot to mention?"

"That's what Beth's husband thinks."

"And, of course, he is mistaken."


"Well, if you believe her when she says there was no one else, there is obviously a major emotional or physical trauma preventing her from remembering."

"No doubt that's part of it. Beth thinks Samantha is involved."


"I had this in my personal files but I never connected it to Beth because of the different last names," Mulder said, handing Scully a folder.

"James Colby?" Scully asked as she inspected how the dark brown folder was labeled.

"Her husband," Mulder clarified.

"Hi, you must be Dana," Beth said as she joined Mulder and Scully in the living room.

Mulder knew that a couple of hours of sleep could do a person a world of good. but he hadn't seen such dramatic proof in a long time. A pair of his jeans and one of his shirts only enhanced that certain appeal Beth always possessed. In a room full of people, this is someone he would always be drawn to. The short hair was different than what he'd been used to but very becoming. She could easily gain 10 pounds and still be at the weight she was in college. The lack of make-up made her look like 20 instead of 30 and oh so vulnerable.

"Yes, Beth, hello," Dana said, shaking Beth's extended hand. "Your daughter is lovely, despite the resemblance to Mulder." Too late, Scully realized that this joke was not the most appropriate one. Moving on she asked, "When was she born?"

"Thank you." Beth smiled a very strained but forgiving smile. "Jordan was born on April 23rd, 1989. I know how it must sound. You probably know that Mulder's sister's disappearance was never solved. I knew Samantha when we were children. When she was abducted like that right, out of her home... Well, I have followed the story for a long time and I believe she was taken by...visitors."

"And you think you were too?"

"I don't know. I have no memories of it, but would I?"

"Do your recall anything strange happening or time unaccounted for near the time of Jordan's conception?" Scully continued her questions.

"No nothing."

"And was the pregnancy and delivery uneventful?"

"Yes, she was full term. Weighed seven pounds. Labor was long, about 22 hours. Is any of this consistent with...is it called hybrid births?" Beth stared intently at Scully, as if she knew a fully comprehensive answer would be forth coming.

That intense look that demanded an answer caught Scully off guard and she shifted her gaze to Mulder.

Mulder, reacting to Scully's discomfort responded, "Beth, there hasn't been enough data to formulate any kind of statistics or to rule anything out. What can you tell me about Jordan's personality?"

"She's a regular kid. She really doesn't stand out in anyway. She's bright gets a long well with her peers and with adults. Loves animals, does well in school... Do you think they will come back for her? I mean, if she is part of some kind of experiment I don't care because I love her so much. It really doesn't matter to me at all. But, you see, if they come back for her...if they come back for her..." Beth suddenly stopped talking, sat down, folded her arms, and slowly began rocking back and forth. "I would not want to live without her, that's all."

Mulder's and Scully's eyes met. Mulder know instantly that Scully would be inquiring about Beth's psychological health status as soon as they were alone. Before she could finish her inaudible sigh, Scully knew full well that Mulder was going to, once again, seek another truth when *the* truth was already as plain as the nose on his face.

"Come lie down for a while. We will talk more later," Mulder said as he led Beth back into the bedroom.

A few minutes later Scully asked Mulder, "Who are you calling?"

"I'm calling Beth's aunt. I don't want to leave her alone."

"Mulder, I am concerned that Beth needs to be under a doctor's care - not necessarily spending time with her aunt. She does not sound very stable."

"It just so happens that Beth's aunt is a doctor. How could she relay what she just told us and NOT sound unstable. Trust me, I know."

Scully raised her eyebrows, folded her arms and nodded-there was no arguing with that.

"As soon as she comes we can leave," Mulder said. "Let's see what we can find out about James Colby from the Department of Agriculture. That's where he was employed. We can save the tax payers money if you ride with me."

"What's in this file that makes you believe her? Scully asked sitting in the passenger seat. "You know that if we compare Jordan's and Samantha's medical data the findings will be inconclusive. And as for locating her husband, that could take months, especially if he doesn't want to be found."

"I know. See for yourself."

Scully read: Ridge Lake Gazette--July 11, 1988

Be The Best Foods Company, based in Ridge Lake, Vermont not only employs the latest in bio-tech to produce, care for, and market their beef, the company has now instituted the latest in psycho-tech designed to keep the cattle happy while they are in residence. Nearby residents have reported seeing an irregularly shaped machine that dispenses a pink, sunrise-type light that, in effect makes the calmest part of the day for the animals, last virtually all day long.

"Pink light? Is this for real?" Scully asked.

"Jason Colby wrote the report. Notice the date? He was there near the time of Jordan's conception. It's my guess, Scully, that this pink light is generated from a non-earthly source."

"Mulder, there are pink lights on stages across America. That doesn't mean that 'visitors' are providing entertainment. I'll admit it sounds weird but maybe this company is involved with some legitimate research."

"We've got to get you out more - you don't know the half of it." Mulder teased. Let's see what we find out."

"Do we have a picture Mr. Colby?" Scully wondered out loud.

"Yes. It should be in the folder."

"Mulder, we just passed this guy a couple of blocks back."

"You're kidding. I guess this means he wants to be found, Scully."

Two u-turns later their car was stopped in front of a tall, balding man, wearing a long black leather coat. He was alone and appeared to be waiting at the bus stop.

When he would think about this later Mulder knew his instincts should have told him this situation was wrong-they didn't. Mulder got out of the car and showed his badge over the roof of his red Ford. "Mr. Colby, I am Fox Mulder..."

The gun appeared from nowhere. The shot grazed Mulder's left temple. Stunned, Mulder crouched beside his open car door and reached for his gun. Scully, knowing that she offered an even better target decided to take her best shot. Her first shot missed, diverted by a street sign. Her second shot hit him center chest.

"Mulder! How bad are you hit!"

"It's not bad, It was close, but it's not bad," Mulder said, holding his hand to his face. "Are you ok?"


Satisfied Mulder was not underplaying the seriousness of his injury, Scully walked over to the body lying on the ground. She kicked the gun away, checked for a pulse and then checked his wallet before she confirmed, "This was James Colby."

"How is Beth?"

"She's coping. Now that James is not forcing the issue Beth doesn't want to discuss it anymore.

"So, that's it?"

"That's it for now," Mulder said, sitting down at his desk.

Taking a break from the paperwork related to the shooting Scully asked, "Mulder, why do you suppose Beth looked at me the way she did? It was as if she....Anyway, I have been thinking. What if there was an explanation that didn't involve Samantha at all?"

"Like maybe my father, or my uncle or a cousin?"

"Did you check that out already?" Scully asked.

"I did. The timing is just not in sync. And, there are not that many family members for me to eliminate."

"That's not what I was going to say," Scully informed him.

Mulder looked up at her with added curiosity, glad he could still be surprised by her thinking.

"Let's look at this; we have Samantha, we have aliens, we have a former love interest, we have a child who looks like you but is of unknown paternity. Any one of these elements is enough to pique your interest. All four together must be..."

"...a nightmare come true," Mulder said, completing her thought. "You think this was somehow orchestrated for my benefit? But that would mean Beth is lying. No, I believe her."

Scully felt a little irritated because nothing she offered seemed to provide Mulder with an alternative perspective on things. Seeking to understand why she probed,"You two seem to have some sort of special bond."

"Scully, you know how some things you just keep to yourself your whole life?"

"Yeah, of course. If that is the case now, just say so." Scully's body language did not support her statement. If the two desks weren't between them she would have been practically in his lap. As it was, the edge of her desk pressed into her rib cage as she strained to get closer to him. Up to now their personal past had not been a topic for discussion. She was more than a little curious.

"This is going to sound...but you're used to it by now. Beth and I got together for about 2 months the summer I came back from Oxford. We'd known each other growing up-same high school. I was on the rebound because things had not worked out with Phoebe. Beth knew this and offered to be my "distraction" -- that was her word. We both knew it would not go anywhere because, basically, I was in love with someone else. One night, we were lying there and I looked over at her and I swear I saw Samantha. After that, everything felt too uncomfortable. I just stopped seeing her and she accepted that it was simply time for me to move on. That's why even a *sentence* with both Beth and Samantha in it gets my immediate attention."

"Mulder, you were in your home town, upset over the breakup... unhappy memories can have strange effects," Scully attempted to explain.

"Scully...." Mulder's tone said, 'don't even try it.' He stood up, preparing to leave.

"Never mind that. Beth's truth could still be the truth that someone else wants you to have."

"It must get uncomfortable, Scully," Mulder suggested.


"Riding that fence. First you think that Beth is an unstable yarn spinner, and now you think she is a pawn in the master conspiracy. "

"The scary thing is, she could be both," Scully said, leaning back in her chair.

"Or, she could be just-telling-the-truth." his voice separated the last four words so that even his lips could be read if all other communication methods were closed.

"Or, Beth could have found a way to have her husband murdered," Scully said to herself, after Mulder had left their office and closed the door behind him.

"Mulder, I changed the sheets and put my mother's number by the bed."

Mulder listened to Beth as she spoke to him from the bedroom. He pushed play on his cd player in the living room and the apartment was filled with music.

She came out and stood in front of the stereo. "I haven't heard that one in a long time," Beth said. "Is there anything more life affirming than music?"

Mulder had come to stand behind Beth. He circled his arms around her. He gently kissed the right side of her neck. "It's high on the list, but I can think of others."

Beth faced him to better return his embrace. "Thank you so much. You have been a true friend through all of this," she said, gingerly touching the wound her recently deceased husband had caused. "Will you come see us?" she asked.

"Definitely," Mulder replied.

The End

Title: Above All Else
Author: Pamela Olumoya
Written: March 1996
Disclaimer: I nspired by Chris Carter's X-Files, 1996. (etc.)

This story is about Maggie and Scully coping with grief, its aftereffects, and love.

Many very kind people have given me support and direction in this, my second story. Thank you all! Please let me know what you think.

She wanted to stay here. The home she had lived in for 20 of their 32 year marriage was the home she wanted to live in forever. It was a Georgian style house with two white pillars in front that supported the very small, but usable balcony. Maggie stood, arms folded, in the upstairs hallway looking through the glass balcony doors. The snow had started and she usually enjoyed watching as their two acres of land were slowly painted white. Not tonight. The forecast had called for fewer than four inches, but it seemed to be more than that already. It was almost dark. She worried if Dana would make it safely.

Charles, her younger son, had come to live with her after her husband's death. The house was too big, she was too alone, and the rent was the right price he had said. He was the one who had begun hinting that she should sell the house. His intentions were good, she knew, but he could never understand what moving would represent. Hadn't she lost enough already?

Bill's death had been so sudden and less than two years later she had to endure a second unexpected death, the murder of her older daughter. A weaker woman would have not been able to handle it, all of her friends had said, and her priest told her that her faith was serving her well. But, no one really knew her anguish. Least of all Charles who was 28 and busy living his own life.

Maybe she should get dinner started? Maybe they should order out? Maybe they should go out? Maggie, now in the foyer downstairs, peered through the glass panes near the side of the door to see if Dana was coming. Dana will decide. God knows that making a decision now days was a bit of a challenge for Maggie. Some days she'd lie in bed for hours deciding when or if she should bother to get up.

She paused to look at the carefully arranged pictures on the round, cloth-covered table to the right of the door. At the center was a picture of Bill and herself on their wedding day. Surrounding it were various photos including a family photo taken five years ago, Melissa alone, Dana graduating from medical school, the girls, the boys, Bill Jr. and his family, and her grandchildren. Maggie casually outlined each frame as her mind focused on these happy memories.

Looking into the mirror that hung above the table, Maggie saw the remnants of an attractive woman of 59. Drawing her hands to her face, she examined the additional gray in her hair and the lines around her eyes and mouth that seemed to have deepened in the past months. No matter which angle she considered, the change was evident. Oh well, she thought. It really didn't matter.

"Mom, I'm home!" Dana announced, swinging open the door and stamping her snow-wet feet on the indoor mat.

Just the sound of Dana's voice was enough to make Maggie smile. She was so happy to see her. She looked at Scully and saw this mature, competent woman and she wondered for a moment where had the time flown? Dana was actually drop dead gorgeous she thought, recalling a phrase from her youth. When did that happen? Hugging her, then stepping back to look again Maggie said, "You look great! Red definitely works for you, Dana. Once again you defy tradition. To tell the truth, I always wondered about those brown suits you seem to like so much."

"I know. A little drab, but business-like. You know what it's like out there, Mom," Scully said setting her bag down. "I work for an agency that up until a few years ago employed men at ratio of 4 to 1. Sexist attitudes abound. What's a woman supposed to do?" She shrugged.

"The best you can, I suppose. So, red is just a change of pace for the moment? Is that it?"

"Yeah, I think I was starting to feel a bit drab like those suits. Let me look at you. How are *you* doing? You look just a little tired."

"Oh, come now," Maggie protested, "Why would I be tired? I'm fine. You're here now so I couldn't be finer. How are things at work? How's Mulder?"

"Mulder's fine. Work is keeping me so busy, but being busy is a good thing for now. Where's Charlie?" Scully asked, always preferring this version of her younger brother's name.

"Charles is away skiing this weekend with Carla," Maggie said and frowned as she checked her memory for accuracy, "or is it Deidre? I can't keep track," she admitted. "Anyway, it's just us girls".

"Sounds good to me. There were a couple of things I wanted to talk to you about."

I hope Charles hasn't sent you here to talk me into moving, Maggie almost said. But, "OK. Let's talk as we get dinner ready," is what came out instead. Any confrontation could wait. "I don't think we should get out in this weather unless you just want to, she continued. I've got this chicken garlic recipe I've been wanting to try, if we wanted to stay here, that is."

"Are you kidding? I eat out more than I want to think about," Scully said as she hung up her coat. "Besides, I'm home now. I don't want to be anywhere else. Let me take these things up, and I'll be right down."

Scully, bag in hand, walked slowly up the stairs. At the top to the left was Melissa's room. She would have to walk past it to get to hers. She tried to do just that, but could get no farther than Melissa's doorway where she stood for a moment before she felt compelled to go in.

Her sister's old room was an egg nog yellow with white accents. Even in the evening dusk, it was very clean, very ethereal somehow. Scully had been sitting on Melissa's bed for about five minutes before she even noticed the boxes stacked near the foot of the bed. She sank to the floor to go through their contents. Predictably, the boxes contained Melissa's things from her apartment; some clothing, jewelry. candle holders, pictures, and several crystals.

Scully, holding one of Melissa's most cherished crystals, had not heard Maggie come up the stairs. She startled at the sound of her voice. "After we closed her apartment, I didn't want to get rid of everything, although we did give most things away. I didn't know....maybe there was something of Melissa's you would want?"

Scully could only nod tacitly, her shoulder length red hair swaying with each motion. The pain that caused tears to flow quietly and steadily down her face as she had looked through Melissa's things, soon gave way to complete grief which allowed her to cry like she had done when she was five years old--with everything she had. "Mom," she sobbed, "I thought when we finally caught the bastard that shot her, it would get better. It hasn't gotten better. I don't think it ever will."

Maggie, having no words to soothe her daughter, pulled her close, and rocked her as her own tears silently fell.

Later, Scully joined her mother in the kitchen.

"There you are. Are you feeling better, now?" Maggie asked as she handed Scully a glass of wine.

"I am. Thank you. The shower helped," Scully said. "Let's see," she said, reading the recipe. "Whoa! Six cloves of garlic?? More vampire sightings?"

Maggie laughed at the old family joke. "Your father would have loved this, wouldn't he? Nothing could ever have too much garlic as far as he was concerned."

Glad to have something to smile about, Scully moved on to the business of cooking, "Are you up for pounding or do you prefer mincing?"

"I've decided a little pounding might just do the trick."

Scully looked at her mother with surprise--was she making a sexual reference? No, not *her* mother. She decided she must be projecting her own thoughts. She turned away to hide her broadening smile and took another swallow of wine. "Ok...it says..mince half the garlic and reserve. Pound the chicken breasts with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and season with pepper. Did you get the rice started?"

They busied themselves for several minutes finding and measuring the necessary ingredients as they chatted about things in general. Then Scully, wanting to leave well enough alone, but giving in to that nagging feeling that something had been left unsaid, commented, "I know how hard it has been, Mom. I know how alone you must feel. I really understand."

Maggie's furled brow registered doubt. "Do you? I mean I know you have lost just as much as I have, but Dana--"

"It's not the same, it's not exactly the same. You're right," Scully interrupted. "Losing your life companion and then a child is unfathomable. Every single night before I sleep I think of them. I lie there and I feel Dad's love and I ask Melissa's forgiveness. If only she hadn't been in my apartment..."

"No, no we are not going to cry again," Maggie declared, shaking her head and throwing up her hands to ward off any more sad words. "That part of the evening is over." To better make her point she put both hands on Scully's shoulders and waited for her daughter to look directly at her before she spoke, "Honey, just know that I have never blamed you for one second, and I swear to God, I never will. Now, come on. Let's eat. Help me set the table."

Needing to find a lighter subject, Maggie said, "Dana, take a look outside. Our 'less than four inches' of snow is slightly less than two feet!"

"Why do I get the feeling that there is chaos all over the Baltimore metropolitan area as we speak? At least we don't have to worry about going out for awhile," Scully replied as she lit the candles.

"Yes, and Charles brought in plenty of firewood before he left, so we are nicely set for some cozy winter evenings," Maggie added.

"I'm looking forward to them. Here's to you and this fragrantly tasty meal." They clicked glasses, said grace, and began their meal.

"What did you want to talk about, Dana?" Maggie asked, feeling strong enough to settle a few things. Dana, gathering her thoughts, took another bite and decided their fare was indeed tasty. It was not easy for a private, self-sufficient person like herself to reach out. It wasn't that she and Maggie were not close in their own way, and they certainly loved each other. But, unfortunately, there had been no precedence in their relationship to help prepare her to discuss something this personal. She reached for her third glass of wine and decided to jump right in.

Nervously she began, "I need to talk about Mulder and me. Mulder and me, sounds like a sitcom. doesn't it?" Scully tittered, never looking up from the wine she slowly swirled. Taking a deep breath she went on, "I love him and I don't know what to do." There, she'd said it. She looked up and met her mother's gaze. She needed to gauge her mother's reaction as much as she needed to face the truth of her spoken words.

"Pour me another glass of that please," Maggie said indicating the wine. "I always did have to brace myself when I asked you a direct question. I'm out of practice, and I'll admit that's not what I expected." Without warning, a grin began to spread from ear to ear. "You're in love, Dana!" her voice reflecting the wonder of it all.

Scully grinned back and suddenly could not keep her head from bobbing up in down in joyous acknowledgement. "I'm in love! Ahhh! What am I going to do?!!"

"That feeling. It's an amazing feeling, isn't it? Maggie asked, filtering through her stored emotions, hoping, if only fleetingly, to rediscover her feeling for Bill when their love was brand new.

"It *is* amazing! I live in a constant state of amazement! So much of it is new to me! Maybe that is why I'm at a loss. I can't think straight."

"I know. It's wonderful! Maggie was delighted and sympathetic, not to mentioned thrilled that someone was actually expecting something from her. That hadn't happened in a while. Thoughtfully, she took a sip from her refilled glass and then remarked, "Well, I knew there was an astoundingly deep friendship between you two, but I didn't sense the romance. How does he feel about you?"

"He loves me, I am sure of that. I just don't know if it is the kind of love that leads to a complete commitment."

"Marriage?" Maggie wondered hopefully. She knew a career was a great thing to have, but there was nothing more important than having a family.

"Yes, I'm tired of coming home to just Yappi. I'm feeling like I think you're feeling, Mom. I have lost so much that I've lost my bearings. I need someone to hold on to. Someone to tell me oh.. I don't know... that my beauty could make hearts stand still. Someone to make love with. Someone who I can actually discuss the latest developments in molecular biology."

"You mean how the latest developments in molecular biology explain the latest mutant," Maggie said, joking about Mulder's penchant for the 'unusual.' "Seriously Dana, you have to be careful. You are very vulnerable right now. I hate to say it but almost anybody could be the 'somebody.' Are you sure Mulder isn't just convenient? After three years of seeing him practically everyday, why now?"

"Mulder lives here," Scully said, tapping her heart. "I know he will always be a part of me. I knew that right away and the feeling only grows."

Something else occurred to her. "I know it's not like you to act impulsively, but Dana, be sure this isn't a restless phase you're going through. That this 'need' isn't something that can be alleviated by taking a few advanced courses or a trip to Spain perhaps. Coming with your heart out-stretched ready to take what you need to fill those empty places makes me wonder what you'd be able to give back. When you know and when you're sure, talk to Mulder. Tell him how you feel."

"I'm pretty sure I won't have a problem giving back." In fact, the idea inspired all sorts of pleasurable thoughts. "I've been thinking it was a passing phase for about a year now. I've come to the conclusion it isn't. But Mom, what if he doesn't love me that way? Will I merely be mortified or will I have crossed a line that will change our relationship forever!"

"I wouldn't worry," Maggie said, taking Scully's hand across the table. "The thing about Mulder is that he accepts everything about you. When you tell him this, it will become one more facet of you. Your shared friendship is a rarity in and of itself, you know. Many people never have that much. You live in his heart too. I am sure of this from the time we spent together when you were in the hospital."

"Isn't acceptance the most anyone can really ask for? Just to be taken as I am with no apologies or excuses rendered?" Scully inquired.

Maggie responded, "It would be nice if it was, but when is anything in life ever that simple? Think about this a little longer then talk to him."

"What should I say?"

"Dana, sweetheart, you'll know what to say," Maggie assured her.

Smiling, Scully said, "Yes, I think I will know. Thanks, Mom." There was a gentle silence for a minute as both continued to hold hands and absorb all that had transpired. Then Scully asked, "Who do you talk when you need to think things through? I know Charlie is practically never home. Do you still see the Fleckers?"

"No, Penny and Manny have been traveling a lot lately. Anyway, we generally got together for couples outings," Maggie said, fidgeting with her fork, trying to fight her feelings of defensiveness.

"Oh. Well, what about your work at the high school? Are you still volunteering?"

"I --no. I kind of got out of the habit of going," Maggie stated.

"That's too bad. I'm sure they miss you. So who do you talk to? Who do you hang out with?"

"I am talking to *you* and *hanging out* with you, Dana. I feel energized now that you are here. Don't be solicitous." Maggie stood and began clearing the table, hoping to signal an end to this topic.

It didn't work. Scully stood too and began to help. "I *am* worried, Mom."

"What has Charles told you?" Maggie sighed, deciding there was no escape. "Just that you have seemed a little out of it lately. Actually, he said you have been sleeping a lot more than usual and that you have turned down every social opportunity that has come along in the past two months. He thinks a smaller, more intimate community might be better--a change of scenery and all."

"No! That is out of the question! I am *not* selling our home!" Maggie informed her definitively and rather loudly.

"I told Charlie that. I also told him that I would try to convince you to talk to someone...a doctor."

"You think I need a psychiatrist?" Maggie asked, valiantly maintaining her composure as she took care of the leftovers. It was unsettling, to say the least, to find out your family had concerns about your mental health. She didn't know whether to feel angry, hurt, embarrassed, or grateful.

"A psychotherapist. Her name is Dr. Bivens. She's wonderful. She taught at Maryland when I was there and she moved her practice here a few years ago. Please think about it."

Maggie handed Scully the container of chicken and walked out of the kitchen. Feeling and thinking about nothing was much less confusing.

Scully put the chicken in the refrigerator and sighed. She folded her arms and stared through the window at the snowfall for several minutes as she considered what to do. Her mother's quiet exits were legendary. They meant she was upset and that it was probably in everyone's best interest if they left her alone. Normally Scully would have done that, but something about this particular night would not let her. Maybe it was the fact that tonight they had talked about things of substance instead of the usual mother/daughter fluff. Maybe it was the cleansing nature of the snow; it represented a chance to start again. Maybe it was the wine. Whatever it was, she couldn't let it drop.

Scully entered the family room, sat on the hearth and watched her mother tend the fire for a few moments. She hadn't planned exactly what to say, but somehow her words flowed. "Mom, I'm not going to let you hide away in this big old house and let life pass you by. I'm having the best evening I've had in ages, and I want to know that I'll have many more.

Maggie did not look at her. Not sure what, if any impact she was having, Scully continued, "It's important to me that you take very good care of yourself. It's selfish of me, I know, but no more changes, please. I honestly don't think I could handle anything else bad happening to this family. I need you to be the person you have always been, the person you are tonight. The loving, generous, funny, woman you are."

Still there was no response, no eye contact. Almost ready to give up, but not quite Scully said, "Mom, Mom let's do this: I'll talk to Mulder. You talk to Dr. Bivens. Say yes, Mom. What could it hurt?"

Calmly, Maggie returned the poker to its stand, turned to Scully and said, "How about I talk to Mulder and you talk to Dr. Bivens? Something tells me Mulder could handle a relationship with an older woman."

Scully's eyes widened briefly until she sensed that the tension had been dissipated by her mother's playful wit--which was also legendary. "Mom!" she said, "That's it! Two glasses of wine is your limit!" They held each other a second time, but this time they laughed. In that moment, above all else, it felt wonderful to be alive and to be able to give and receive love. She could not wait to talk to Mulder!

The End

Title: Untold Truth
Author: Pamela Olumoya
Written: May 1996
Disclaimer: Inspired by Chris Carter's X-Files, etc.

Summary: This story in the sequel to Jordan and Above All Else, my other two stories. Reading both would give you a fuller understanding to this one, but it's not absolutely necessary. In Untold Truth, Mulder and Scully, at Mr. X's suggestion, look into a former girlfriend of Mulder's claim of an inter species or hybrid birth (Jordan). While this case is unfolding, Scully has to decide if she should tell Mulder that she is in love with him or not (Above All Else).

Thank you Bruce, Kathy, Pat and Friday for being there for me!! I appreciate it so much.

Comments are welcome.

Mulder slept fitfully. He had been having vivid dreams recently and, unknown to him, he was in the midst of another one. He felt aroused. The person responsible had her back to him. He thought that the look, feel and smell of the skin that he kissed was familiar but, for some reason he feared the face of this person would not match his perceptions.

He tried, but was physically unable to focus on the the hair color. It was brown, maybe auburn but , then again, the lighting or lack of it could be affecting the color. Scully? Strangely enough, in his dream she was an acceptable guess.

From somewhere, the radio perhaps, he could hear a whispered conversation that he couldn't understand. He sensed it involved more than two people. He felt annoyed; the radio should be turned off if reception was that poor. Someone obviously said something funny because a chorus of laughter rang out from the whisperers. This distraction interrupted his lovemaking, He thought to reach around to caress the breasts of his partner in an effort to get back on track.

"Will you come see us?" the voice put him at ease. It was Beth's voice, but what was she asking? Oh yes, she'd asked the same thing several months ago when she had come to see him.

"Definitely" that had been his same response before and he knew that it was required again, the way you just know these things in dreams.

"Come now then," Beth said.

"That's what I was trying to do," he responded, instinctively knowing she had switched back to the topic at hand. The sensual status he had enjoyed initially was still just out of reach. "Wait, turn over" he said.

"OK , if you really think that's best," Beth said.

The strange formality of her reply, even in his dream state, demanded that he not continue without fully understanding what was going on. "I need the light for a sec," he said. In his dream, he reached for where he thought a lamp should be. There was nothing there.

He woke, lying on his stomach, sweat-soaked and his heart pounding. Waiting for reality to settle in around him, he didn't move. That's when he heard it, someone had just closed the front door. Did they come in or go out? He couldn't be sure. He quietly fell to the floor and reached for the gun he always kept near.

Accessing the situation, he knew he had darkness on his side. That was until he heard the light come on in the living room and saw it filter under his closed bedroom door. Someone turning on the light struck of familiarity, but when no one called out to identify him or herself, Mulder thought that the intruder must be a novice; veterans like himself rarely bothered with the them. He shouted "I've got a gun!" He was poised on his knees, elbows on the bed, ready to shoot if necessary.

"You're going to need that and a lot more," came the reply from Mr. X.

The stream of expletives flowed for a good 30 seconds before Mulder felt he had expunged enough of his anger to make it reasonably safe to go out and engage in conversation.

Mr. X, suited in his standard attire, stood in the kitchen with a glass of orange juice in hand. "What a lovely invitation, but I can't stay," Mr. X explained in response to Mulder's tirade.

X's no nonsense approach returned as he quickly reduced the distance between them from twelve feet to two inches. He was close enough for Mulder to count the number of white hair in his salt and pepper beard. "Three things. Hear them well because there will be no second chances: She's extremely ill. But, she knows what she needs to do. Help her."

"Scully?!" Mulder asked, his heart sinking. He instantly remembered thinking that same question only minutes ago in his dream.

"No, Beth," Mr. X said. Then he left.

Mulder stood there, empty juice glass in hand, staring at his front door wondering why he bothered having a door at all, not to mention locks that never seemed to be able to serve their function.

Although Mr. X's intervention gave it more credence, it was still an unofficial case like last time. He had involved Scully then, so he could not, in good conscience, exclude her now. She'd taken some vacation days to spend time with her mother. Maybe she'd opt out.

At the same time, he was not sure he could trust his emotions if he had to do this alone. Beth had come to him for help because she thought her daughter, Jordan, was a hybrid birth, part human/part extra terrestrial. At the time, it had been so much easier just to get lost in Beth's arms again than it was to untangle the net of confusion surrounding Jordan's birth, especially when Beth herself had changed her mind about pursuing it.

He would make plane reservations for two, just in case, and call Scully in a couple of hours, as soon as it was light.

With the sunlight settling into her bedroom at a different, brighter angle, Scully logically had to attribute it to the change in seasons, and not to the carefree feeling of happiness that being in love was rumored to cause. She smile anyway. Even the birds seemed to be happier than usual. Their chirping beckoned her to the window. As she looked at the snow-trimmed branches that surrounded her family home, she was forced to debunk another myth-- the birds were hungry, not happy. In fact, they seemed very disappointed with this early spring snowfall.

Pulling on her white terry cloth robe, Scully glanced at her reflection in the mirror and smiled; oddly enough, she didn't *look* like Snow White. Heading for the kitchen she reviewed the events of yesterday. She and Mulder had closed another case. Doing so required seemingly endless phone calls, but by 5:30 she was on the beltway heading for the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. She was ecstatic to have four whole days at home and therefore, unfettered by the rush hour traffic.

The evening with her mother was one she knew she would remember all of her life. They had shed tears for Melissa and her father which had a much needed purging affect. Her mother had agreed to see a psychotherapist to help her cope with this double loss that was causing her to slowly withdraw from everything and everyone around her. *And* they had talked about Mulder. The man she was in love with.

Saying those words out loud to her mother last night had been a catalyst for her. She knew she had to tell him how she felt. She wanted to. The clock in the kitchen said 5:31. Was he awake this early on a Saturday? She'd give him to 6:00, she thought as she measured the coffee into the filter. She had waited long enough.

Scully had just located the bird seed in the bottom of the pantry when the phone rang. "Hello," she answered.

"It's me, Scully," Mulder said, music to her ears.

"Hi." Well, that an auspicious beginning she decided, unable to believe how nervous she suddenly was.

"Hi. I've got two seats on a 9:40 departure out of BWI. Can you meet me there? I'll understand if you can't. "

"Umm... "

"I can't go into much detail. This may take a few days though," Mulder said, knowing that he had not been able to tell her all she needed to make an informed decision.

"I'll need to take care of some things here. I'll try." She didn't want to leave her mother after only one day, but she really wanted to talk to him.

"Don't try Scully. Either come or don't come. What's it going to be?"

His tone and abruptness radiated stress. Things rarely got to Mulder, especially to this extent. Scully knew immediately what her answer would be.

"I'll be there, " she said, realizing she had happened upon the perfect antidote for romantic reverie: work.

On the flight to Martha's Vineyard, Scully watched Mulder drink 4 cups of coffee - one for each Advil he'd swallowed earlier in the terminal. He sat silently, eyes closed for practically the entire flight.

He had filled her in. She knew who, what and where now. The "why" related to Beth, Jordan and James eluded them. But, of course, that was the purpose of this case. In November of last year she had shot and killed, James, Beth's husband because he had shot at Mulder.

That day reminded Scully of the other days she had trained herself not to think about. She refused to think about the implant discovered and removed from her neck or to think of the ufo organization members who "recognized" her as a fellow abductee. The way they looked at her was the way Beth had looked at her that day. She could not let those memories penetrate to a conscious level; to do so would threaten her sanity. The ramifications were simply too unwielding to comprehend. She was scared about what they were about to face, then the revelation hit her--Mulder's own fear was masquerading as stress. "Fuck me." she muttered under her breath.

"You say something, Scully?" Mulder asked.

"No." She looked at what had become her favorite profile--side burns precisely trimmed at mid-ear level, brown hair too short in front to curl and to long to lie flat, skin that she wanted to touch. She wanted to say let's catch the first flight back, get in the car, and drive until we disappear into masses of regular people who don't spend large portions of their lives searching for something that will only pull them closer in, not free them, as the truth was supposed to do. She sighed and turned to look at the clouds instead.

Mulder waited, resting against one of the twenty or so possible rental cars. He breathed deeply. The cool air chilled his nose, throat and lungs, but it also revived him in a way the coffee had not been able to do.

He watched Scully approach with her hands in her pockets and chin tucked in the collar of her green coat to capture as much warmth as possible. He continuously surprised and berated himself for not being able to stop these non-paternal and un-partner-like feelings that seemed determined to grow. He found it amusing in a cynical sort of way that life would throw this at him at this time in his life and career. To say his plate was full, was an understatement.

"Which one?" he asked when Scully was in earshot.

"We've got a blue Camry, second row."

"I'll drive," he said.

"No, I'll drive. Your head must be killing you."

"It's better. Besides, I could find Beth's place in my sleep."

"That's comforting," Scully said with more than a tinge of sarcasm. She handed him the key.

The cars exiting the airport were forced to trickle through two lanes instead of four because of road construction. The slow pace gave Mulder a chance to say some of the things he wanted to say.



"I haven't said much because until we know exactly what we are dealing with, there's nothing much to say. I know we kind of left that whole event with Beth unexplored. But, if there is anything you want to discuss now..."

"I just want to go home with some answers this time, Mulder. I want to know why I ended up taking someone's life. I want to meet Jordan and see if I can actually detect something alien in her makeup--which, I don't believe for a minute will be the case. It would be nice, however, to know that Beth did not manipulate her husband's death by creating a ruse we both fell for."

Mulder squinted as the light colored sedan pulled up to the curb. That's them," he said.

Glancing at Mulder to make sure they were in sync, Scully instantly went into her "secure the area" mode that had been a part of every FBI agent's training. X's involvement was confusing to her. Was there really something important going on here they were supposed to learn? In any case, it wouldn't be smart not to cover all the bases. Someone not familiar with FBI procedure would think they were a regular greeting party. Unfortunately, Scully knew that if they were being observed, it was by people who knew exactly what she was doing.

"Mulder? Hi Dana! Mulder, you remember my mom, Eileen Janson. And , this is Jordan," a weak but congenial Beth started the introductions.

The last time Mulder had seen Beth, her closely cropped brown hair had been lustrous and her huge brown eyes had flashed with a zeal for life that was never suppressed. It was the thing that always had drawn him to her. Today her hair was dry and brittle, her eyes were almost listless. Mr. X was right, she was clearly very ill.

Eileen Janson was about Scully's height and quite heavy. She looked about 60. Her hair was completely white, she wore it pulled back into a French knot. She wore no make-up or jewelry but was dressed in an ornate, short sleeve white blouse and black slacks, her own sense of style coming through the choices she made. She could have been the stereotypic head nurse or dean at a girls' school. She was approachable, but at the same time one could detect an emotional-social barrier that one dared not cross without invitation.

Jordan looked liked a potential ballerina; leggy, slight in stature and delicately blessed with grace. Her Mickey Mouse sweat shirt and jeans depicted her as a regular seven-year-old. She had long dark brown hair that had just enough natural curl to make anyone jealous. She had green eyes, and a narrowly tapered nose that rounded at the end, and was a tad too large for her face. As far as Scully could see, that was the end of the Mulder family resemblance, but that was enough - she looked just like him and the pictures she had seen of Samantha.

Greetings were exchanged as Mulder helped Beth climb the porch steps. "Wait just a second. It's the nausea," Beth explained, "It's bad and nothing they tried has helped." Her brow and upper lip were wet from the effort of going half-way up the steps.

The house that appeared from the outside to have the floor plan of any 60 year old house held a delightful surprise. It had been gutted and completely renovated. Sunlight from six overhead skylights bounced of the many shiny surfaces,including the silver blades of the four ceiling fans and the gleaming hardwood floors in the massive living space.

Scully, looking around, was convinced that every kind of flora known to mankind had found a home here. There were two rooms on either side of this center space. Beth slowly made her way, with Mulder's help, to the one on the right.

"Mom, Mulder will help me get settled. Maybe they'd like some lunch?" Beth said, wanting some time alone with Mulder.

Scully, sensing that Beth and Mulder would need some time together, followed Jordan and Mrs. Janson straight back, past the stairs that led to an office loft and into a charming kitchen. There was a stone fireplace on the wall to the right, with the table and chairs placed before it. Two more ceiling fans were in this room, one over the table and one over the u-shaped food preparation area, which was the first thing you came to as you entered.

Six black framed pictures decorated one of the white walls. They were pictures of Beth, James, and Jordan. They were shots of them cooking or at dinner or birthday parties with their guests around the kitchen table. Scully, hands behind her back, took some time before each picture. She turned to make a comment and found Jordan staring at her with a coldness that actually sent a chill down her spine.

"You killed my father," Jordan said to her with hatred in her voice.

"Shhush now, that' s no way to talk," her grandmother scolded her.

"It's true, Grandma."

"You may leave the room, Jordan," Mrs. Janson replied, never prepared to tolerate disobedience.

"You killed my father...God may forgive you, I don't have the heart to."

Perplexed, Scully watched her go. She unconsciously fingered the cross she wore as she wondered if that outburst was a healthy emotional release or a statement of biological fact.

"She is not the same little girl since her father's death. And, now with her mother's illness, she must be extremely frightened. Forgive her, but I think she is coping the best way she can."

Scully nodded in acceptance of this as one possible theory. "You and Beth have discussed her father's death with her. I'd like to talk to Jordan and explain that I had no choice."

"No, Beth said something to her about a mugging. I stayed out of it. Jordan can sense things though, she's got a gift."

"Oh, I see," Scully replied. "Mrs. Janson, may I have some tea?" Maybe that would remove the chill Jordan had left behind.

Meanwhile, Mulder, having started the bath water at Beth's request, sat on the side of the tub. "Do you know why I'm here?" he asked.

"You said you'd come see us. I'm glad you decided to come now," Beth said, leaning against the door frame.

Her phrasing reminded him of his dream again. "I'm here to help you, Beth. You came to me before and I'm sorry I didn't do more then. What do we need to do?"

"We need to help me out of these clothes. Don't forget the bubble bath. Beth took his tub-side seat and Mulder began his help by taking off her shoes.

"Did they rule out gall bladder problems?" Mulder asked.

"Yes, and every other cause they could think of. I know what it is, though." She stood, undid her pants and let them fall. Mulder eased them down and off.

The last time he had engaged in this activity he had to remind himself to take slow, deep breaths so things would not move too quickly. Undressing her now evoked no lust, no romance, just latent nursing skills. "You know?" he asked.

"Yeah, I had symptoms like this before, the first time I was pregnant." She got her panties started, but Mulder had to help her finish.

"Pregnant with Jordan?" Mulder lifted her top up and off. She hadn't bothered with a bra. He helped her ease herself into the sudsy water.

"No, before Jordan. The summer we were together."

"What? What are you telling me?"

"I was pregnant. I lost the baby. I didn't tell you because I lost it early. I was only a couple weeks late. Anyway I had symptoms--"

"You actually had this confirmed by a pregnancy test?"

"I took a test. It came back negative."

"Go on."

"I was so sick, just like now. I remember lying there thinking that I was going to die if I didn't get to the hospital soon."

"Where was I? I don't remember any of this. Was I there?" He wanted to know if she had been pregnant, was it his child, but that would mess with his emotions way too much and to what end?

"You were...I don't remember where you were. Maybe you'd gone out. I don't know. I don't know what happened. Maybe I fainted. When I woke up I was lying naked on the bed, not even under the covers, on top of the bed with nothing on. I wasn't sick anymore. I found out a week later I wasn't pregnant - but I wasn't sick anymore either.

Mulder asked, "And yesterday? You had a pregnancy test and it came back negative?"

"Yes, but my symptoms are the same, except this has been going on for days, I really think--"

"What about an ultrasound?" he interrupted, desperate to gather facts so he could understand.


"But you were not sick like this with Jordan, right?"

"No, I wasn't. But I think that's because they got it right. Something has gone wrong this time, just like it did the first time. Mulder?"

"Yes?" Was she going to say something make all the pieces fit?

"Turn off the water, please."

Mulder needed to talk to Scully. Maybe together they could make sense of this. He was engulfed in questions. He had heard Beth detail a series of of alien impregnations, hadn't he? But where was the proof? And, there was just no way he could have been present at a second abduction! What were the odds of lightning striking twice?!!

Or, maybe someone was really orchestrating this to watch him twist in the wind like Scully suggested the first time Beth reentered his life. Was this some sick bastard's idea of a joke? Maybe he was the experimental subject in some psychological study related to abduction?

There was only one question left to ask: "Beth, if they came," he had to search for the right words, "and took care of you before, why haven't they come now?"

"That's what I was going to say. I think they can't get to me here because of the web."

"What web?" Thoughts of spiders and long term psychiatric care occurred to him almost simultaneously. Who would benefit most by it, him or her? He couldn't be sure yet.

"The fiber optics the telephone companies are installing for improved access to the web."

"Oh--that web," was his only reply. He would need time to assimilate, to sort fact from fiction if he could.

On his way to the kitchen, Mulder looked up to see Jordan staring down at him from the loft. It was almost like seeing Samantha all over again. It stopped him dead in his tracks. He postponed talking to Scully and walked up the the stairs. He didn't say anything for some minutes, Jordan didn't either. They just looked at each other. He realized that, although he hadn't known exactly what to expect, nothing was happening. Finally he said, "Your mother's very sick."

"I know," Jordan said.

"Scully and I came to help her," Mulder continued.

"Do you know how? The doctors don't," she stated with honest curiosity.

"Do you know?" he asked.

"Did you ask her? She knows," Jordan informed him.

"I will. I'm going to eat lunch now, are you hungry?" he asked, needing to find Scully.

"No, I want to take a nap with Mommy before we go."

Mulder nodded. He didn't bother to ask where they were going. It was a lot like being swept up in an under current. Sometimes you sink below the surface, which was how he felt now. There was nothing else to do but hold his breath and wait to break above the surface again.

"Hi." What's good?" Mulder asked Scully, observing the spread on the kitchen counter: various lunch meats, potato salad and fruit.

"I suppose it's all good, but I just don't feel like eating. I'm having tea. Want some?"

"No thanks. I think I'm gonna need my strength," he said as he began constructing a sandwich." Care to join me outside for a minute? Once they had both exited the back door, Mulder asked, "What do think of Jordan?"

"The resemblance is real," Scully began. "Her grandmother says she can 'sense' things. This must be a new development or else Beth forgot to mention this trait back in your apartment. That's all I know except she hates me for killing her father. What are your impressions?"

"Based on physical appearances Jordan could be a Mulder, but, objectively speaking, she looks enough like Beth that it could all be coincidence. Jordan told me we would be leaving soon. I have no idea what that's about."

"And Beth? Scully asked.

"Beth thinks she is experiencing her third inter-species pregnancy if you get my drift. The first and this one have run amock. That's why she is sick with this severe nausea," Mulder summarized.

"You believed her when she told you that before. Why not now?" Scully wanted to know.

"Before it was only about Jordan. She didn't mention the first pregnancy. I want to trust her but at the same time, I need something more than Beth's word to determine the validity of all this. Is there any reason a pregnancy would be undetectable with an ultrasound and the usual chemical tests?

"I don't know what would be able to mask the chemical indicators a urine or blood test would detect, but I suppose it's possible. An ultrasound would most certainly show a fetus, if it was growing in the uterus, or some other place in reasonable proximity."

Mulder paused to bite, chew and think. After some moments he said, "I think maybe you were right."

"About what? You mean about someone playing games? But, what about Mr. X's involvement. Tell me verbatim what he said."

"He said, 'She is extremely ill. But, she knows what to do. Help her.' I thought he was talking about you, but he said no, it was not you. It was Beth."

"Could he be telling you--us--that alien cross-breeding is some concocted fantasy with no basis in reality? Maybe an up close and personal look is what you needed to finally see for yourself," Scully suggested, well aware of how much wishful thinking on her part was involved in this suggestion.

Mulder shrugged and exhaled a long sigh. "There's so much duplicity, Scully. X told me before that I was his tool, that he used me at his discretion. Maybe the people he works for want us to think we are being fed misinformation. This sucks, I'll tell you that much. I don't like being toyed with. In any case, Beth 'knows what she needs to do.' I don't know what else to do except see it through. Let's just see it through and sort it out later."

Beth told them she wanted to go to the cabin in Vermont where Jordan was conceived, where she and James had honeymooned. Mrs. Janson had sent them off with the valerian root that she insisted Beth take. It had worked; Beth slept most of the trip. They had packed several barf bags but hadn't needed any of them.

At some point during the car trip, Scully glanced over at her favorite profile, from the other side this time. She watched Mulder as he talked to Jordan. Luckily, or not, (she hadn't decided) Mulder and Jordan seemed to have hit if off. They talked about basketball, and their favorite Star Trek Next Generations episodes. Jordan had insisted on bringing the computer because otherwise, she would have nothing to do. She had several games she planned on showing Mulder.

The wood was stored in a tool shed only feet away for the cabin, however, it was necessary to dig through the snow that had accumulated in order to get to it. After doing that, Mulder began the process of stocking up. Jordan decided to help him.

Inside, Scully helped Beth settle close to the fire and opened up some chicken noodle soup she had found in the meagerly stocked cabinets. Luckily, inside the freezer she found a couple of loaves of baked bread. One for tonight, and one for tomorrow's breakfast. It would be time to shop after that was gone. She put one loaf in the oven and set it to low. A few minutes later Scully brought Beth and herself soup and bread on a tray.

"What are those two doing that's taking so long?" Beth wondered. They both could hear the conversation and the dropping of wood on the porch periodically. "I don't think we are going to be here *that* long. I'm thinking a day or two is all I will need."

"Mulder told me about the pregnancies. How is it you are so sure about them?" Scully asked.

"I remember the aliens explaining things to me when I was with them, but for the longest time, I couldn't recall what it was they were telling me. Now I can, most of it. The rest Jordan tells me."

Of course, what else would she say, Scully thought. She too had read all of the alien abduction accounts that said the same thing. Of course, they didn't mention receiving information from a "hybrid" child. Scully then asked, "Beth, what about your husband. Why did James have to die?"

"He told me he was planning to take Jordan from me. He was going to divorce me and prove that Jordan was not his biological child, and that I had deceived him all these years. He loved her and was her father in every other sense of the word. I could not make him see how much he would hurt Jordan in the process. He was blinded with rage. I was afraid a judge might side with him--that's why I needed Mulder's help. I didn't think it would turn out the way it did. I thought that Mulder could help convince him that my story was plausible. I 'm sorry you were involved."

Mulder and Jordan made a noisy entrance just then, laughing and shaking off snow and bringing an end to Scully and Beth's conversation.

"Scully, are you baking bread? I haven't seen this domestic side of you," Mulder said, extending his playful mood to include her.

"I have many sides unrevealed, Mulder. Remind me to show them to you sometimes."

Turning his attention to Jordan, Mulder said, "Honey, maybe you should get into some dry clothes. You don't want to catch a cold."

"Mulder, I haven't seen this domestic side of you," Scully said, taking her turn.

"I have many sides unrevealed, Scully." If you let me, one day, I will show them all to you. He hoped Scully could read these thoughts in his eyes and in the way he looked at her. For now, they could be conveyed no other way.

"I'll set you two a place," Beth volunteered. "After that I'm going to get the computer set up for Jordan. I can't believe how good I feel. I haven't thrown up anything in the last three hours."

"Life doesn't get much better than that," Mulder said.

Jordan emerged from the only bedroom, wet clothes exchanged for dry ones. "It's freezing in there, Mom," she said. "We need to get the stove started."

"We will, sweetie. You must be hungry. Come eat," Beth said to her daughter.

"OK." Jordan took a seat at the kitchen table, across from Scully and next to Mulder.

"Were having hot chocolate, Jordan. Would you like some?" Scully asked. extending a peace offering. Mulder had found the instant packets in a cabinet too high for Scully to see them.

Jordan, however, was not to be bought that easily. She looked at Scully, then at Mulder and silently ate her soup.

Scully's look said, 'well, I tried.' "Since you guys worked so hard outside, I'm going to get some wood in the stove and get that bedroom warmed up." Anything to get away from her. Jordan made her uncomfortable, no doubt about it.

"Thanks, Dana. That will give me a chance to finish this. There, everything's connected, let's turn it on."

Instead of the usual Mac ding that announced successful start-up, there was a high frequency squeal and the smell of an electronic fire. Later she and Mulder would debate if that sound had come from Beth or from the computer.

"Beth!" Mulder yelled. By the time he and Scully reached her, Beth's left arm dangled as she lay slumped on the keyboard.

"Get her to the floor!" Scully instructed, but Mulder had already begun what was obviously the thing to do.

"She's not breathing!"

Positioning Beth's head, and pinching her nose closed Mulder began to breath into her mouth. Her diaphragm rose but she did not breathe on her own. Scully began cardiac resuscitation. "Jordan, call --" she remembered then there was only their cell phones, and no time to explain where they were. They worked in tandem for almost ten minutes before making eye contact to confirm the truth; Beth was dead.

They turned to find Jordan still sitting at the table. It was shock, that had to be the reason she had not budged the entire time, despite the urgency of the situation.

"Jordan? Mulder, get some help out here. I'll sit with her," Scully said.

"Jordan?" Finally, she looked up at Scully. "Jordan, I'm not sure what happened here, but I promise you we'll find out."

"I'm cold. I want to sit by the fire," is all Jordan said.

A siren came gradually closer. Two police officers, arrived in an blue car. They entered the cabin and began to gather the usual information: name, what happened, and next of kin. One left and returned with a camera and began to take pictures. The other one said someone would be out later to examine the computer.

A second siren came gradually closer. Two paramedics arrived in a blue and white ambulance. They brought a stretcher in, and took Beth's body out.

"Where will the body be taken? I'd like to perform the autopsy," Scully said to one of the policemen.

"Sullivan Medical Center. That's about 10 miles north, in Sullivan," he informed her. "You're welcome to ride with us."

"I think I will. Mulder... " Where was he?

She found him standing just inside the door. She followed his line of vision to see what had him enthralled.

Mulder watched the three men gathered near the back of the ambulance. He could not hear them clearly, only whispers. Then, obviously someone said something amusing because everyone laughed.

"Mulder? I'm going to ride with the them to the hospital."


"No? I want to do the autopsy."

"Don't go, Scully."

Confused, but never distrustful of her partner she said, "OK, if you think that's best. Officer, I 'm going to follow you in a few minutes."

"We can wait if you need more time."

"No. That's not necessary."

"All right then. Go to the second intersection and make a left. It's a straight shot from there. We'll be going then," the police officer said.

As soon as the party of four left Mulder said, "Let's get the computer in the car and get the hell out of here." He was shaken by the constant unfolding of his dream. What the fuck was going on here!

It took less than five minutes to get the computer loaded and the fire put out. It was taking longer than that for Mulder to zip Jordan's jacket. Scully watched them in disbelief, then she noticed the door knob turning. "Get down! she whispered aiming her gun at the door. In walked Mrs. Janson.

"Grandma! " Jordan nearly knocked Mulder over trying to get to her grandmother's out-stretched arms.

"Jordan, my love. Come here!"

"Grandma, Mommy's dead just like Daddy!"

"Yes, my Jordan. I know. I'm going to take of you. I promise you. Don't worry. She's coming home with me now, " Mrs. Janson said without preamble. "Go get in the car, Jordan."

"I have to go now, good bye," Jordan said and left.

"How did find out about Beth so quickly?" Scully said.

"I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen. I left about 30 minutes after you did because I just couldn't let that feeling go. Instinct is a powerful thing. When I saw the police and ambulance a few minutes up the road from here, I knew she was gone, I just knew it. What happened?"

"She collapsed. We're not sure why. There will be an autopsy. I am very sorry," Scully said.

"Mrs. Janson, Beth told me some things. I need to talk to Jordan. Do you think..." Mulder said.

"No, that's not a good idea. I don't know what Beth said but I'm not subjecting Jordan to anything else. Is that clear?"

"Please let me explain. Once you understand the magnitude of this, I'm sure you will want to cooperate."

"This is my grandchild. That's all I need to understand."

"Mrs. Janson"--

"Mulder, let them go," Scully said, touching his shoulder. "Maybe later--this isn't the time."

Scully was sitting next to a man who, once again, had been denied satisfaction; not only was Jordan gone, they had discovered there was no Sullivan Medical Center in Sullivan. Emotional stress was part of the job, but no one could have adequately warned her about today. Should she commiserate, soothe, or ignore Mulder's state of mind? Twenty minutes into the trip to the airport she told him she needed to go to the bathroom. It was a lie but she couldn't take it any longer.

The restaurant that had the bathroom was located in front of a motel. She hadn't paid any attention to this until the car was heading in that direction instead of back to the highway. She didn't have to ask.

"You don't mind if we check-in here, do you Scully? I want to get a look at that computer," Mulder said.

Thank God, she said to herself. We both need some time to ourselves, that will be best. She thought she had made her escape when he said, Do you have a nail file or tweezers or something?"

She had both, but that meant she had to enter the "work site" as it were and there was no graceful way to exit. Let the only autopsy she was going to get to do tonight begin: The circuit board was completely chard. The heat damage, they concluded, was caused by a high voltage electrical surge. "Could Beth have been electrocuted?" Mulder asked.

"A voltage high enough to electrocute someone would have completely melted the computer. But, it's possible the electrolyte imbalance caused by her dehydration could have affected her heart to the point that even a relatively mild shock could have fatally disrupted her heart rhythm. The "then again, we'll never know" was left unspoken. The reality of it was too depressing to be given voice.

It was after 11:00 when Scully finally closed her door on the craziness of the day. Looking at her dismal surroundings, she realized she didn't want to be alone after all. She phoned home. "Hi Mom. It's me."

"Dana, hi sweetheart. Are you OK?"

"It was a lousy day. One of the lousiest days in recent memory and, as you can imagine, that's saying a lot" Scully kicked off her shoes and fell across the bed.

"That bad, huh? You want to talk about it?"

"No, not really. I just wanted to....I just wanted--Mom, you know what we talked about? I'm not going to tell him how I feel."

"You're not?"

"You know, it's not about saying it, it's about showing it. I just read some where recently that love is an action verb. As it turns out, I can love him better by saying nothing."

"You mean, you are doing the noble thing by not asking anything of him?"

"I don't know how noble it is, but this, the X-Files, it's his life, Mom. It consumes him. He consumes it. I don't think he could survive separation from it. Every once and awhile I forget that. It's easy to do that when the cases are less intense. It takes a day like this one to remind me."

"I don't know, Dana. Maybe he needs another option. Maybe he's waiting for one."

Mulder had heard enough of Scully's half of the conversation. There were walls that were thin, and there were walls that were paper thin. He needed to walk and think and to find some more Advil. He slowly put on his coat and followed the bright, blinking, pink lights. It was too bad, he thought, that the only reason the lights were there was to advertise the fact that the restaurant was open all night and not there with the ship that would reveal to the world what he had known for some time to be true, but remained untold.

The End

(Would love to hear your thoughts, questions and comments!)

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