Title: Liquid Memory
Author: Sandra Stringer
Date Mar 18 1997
Email Address: Skirt89@aol.com
Summary: Summary: Mulder and Scully's son, Will, discovers that his parents aren't as boring as he originally thought.
March 1, 2011 8:45 a.m.
Bridgeville High School
Will Sanders was having trouble concentrating on the task at hand. The Calculus quiz in front of him was almost completed, but he was distracted by the smell of Beverly Carson's perfume. He took in a deep appreciative breath, ran his fingers through his flaming red hair, then glanced at the clock. Only fifteen more minutes. Trying to reign in his teenage hormones, he forced himself to take in the final quiz question. When the bell rang he heaved a sigh of relief. Done with seconds to spare. The rest of the class bolted from the room, but Will moved with a languid grace that matched that of his father, dropping the quiz paper into the basket on Ms. Wilson's desk and ambling on to his next class.
The next class was a favorite of his - English. Walking into the class he was momentarily jolted by the unfamiliar face behind Mr. Sanders' desk. A dark haired man wearing glasses and sporting a beard was shuffling through the papers in the desk. Will stood in front of him.
"Is Mr. Sanders sick?" he asked.
The stranger looked up to him, flashing Will a strange look. "Uh, yes, Mr. Sanders is ill. I'll be filling in for him for the time being. I'm Mr. Hawkins."
The bell rang and the last of the stragglers made a beeline for their desks. Will quickly plopped down into his seat and settled into what was to be a very boring hour. One hour of a very boring day.
Bridgeville High School Track Field
The two men sat in the bleachers and spoke in low tones as they watched the young athletes practicing.
"How long have we been watching him?"
"We only located the family a week ago."
"Anything interesting on the boy?"
"Not really. Normal teenage stuff. We have his daily routine down pat already."
"Good. And the parents?"
"We've had to be pretty careful...even now, after all these years, they are constantly checking to see if they are being followed. Both still carry guns."
"They have permits to carry concealed weapons?"
Will sprinted the last quarter mile then walked the field to warm down. He noticed the two men on the bleachers, but - as he had been taught - he kept his body language casual, his eye contact minimal. He thought that his parents were incredibly paranoid, but they had taught him well to know when something was amiss in his surroundings.
He sat on the ground and stretched his leg muscles, his mind working. He had always found his parents deep distrust of everyone and everything downright ridiculous. His father was an ordinary man. He had an ordinary job, working as a researcher at the university. His mother was an ordinary woman. She worked as a doctor at the local free clinic. When he asked them, as he had only a week ago, "What gives, guys? You act like we're on the run from the mafia or something!" His mother had grinned and his father had chuckled. Then his mother said, "I know it seems silly, but we have our reasons to be careful. You trust us, don't you?" And that had been the end of that. Once again. He sighed at the memory and finished his stretching, noticing without appearing to notice that one of the men was leaving the bleachers. He walked to the soccer field, pondering whether or not he should bring up these two strangers to his parents. *Nah* he thought. *If I tell them, they'll probably keep me from going out on Friday night.* For some reason he found himself comforted at the fact that both of his parents carried guns. Before it had given him the heebie jeebies, and then for awhile he had thought it was very cool, annoyed that he had been specifically instructed, again and again, to never let his friends know that his parents liked to pack big, professional heaters with real, live action bullets. Right now he found their armed status very comforting.
Office of Research and Development
Fox Mulder was deep into a computer search when his wife called.
"No. Well...yes. I'm really positive someone's following me."
Mulder sighed. "I was hoping maybe we were imagining things. It's been so long. Have you tried to contact Will?"
"He should be just finishing up with soccer practice. Should I start panicking?"
Mulder thought for a moment. "Not panicking per se, but...can you get away from the clinic? Is it busy?"
"It's always busy here. You know that."
"Maybe we should have given him that beeper he asked for at Christmas."
He could hear the smile in her voice. "Maybe. But right now..."
"I know, I know. I'll leave now. I'm closer to the school anyway."
They hung up simultaneously.
Bridgeville High School soccer field
Will was in the middle of an intense practice game when his father ambled into his peripheral vision. When the play was over, Will stared across the field at his father. He could sense the tension...his father had noticed a man standing to the right of the concession area, looking conspicuously inconspicuous. He looked at Will and walked across the field. He pulled the boy aside.
"You noticed the man by the concession stand?" Neither looked directly at the man.
"Yeah, Dad. He was at track practice too. He's not one of the parents, I'm pretty sure."
"He hasn't approached you?"
"No, just watched."
"How soon until practice is over?"
"Probably another half hour or so. And Dad?"
"He's driving a late model dark green Chevy license plate number XTY659, Arizona plates."
Mulder grinned and ruffled his son's hair. "You're a good kid, you know that?"
Will grinned. "Gotta get back to practice Dad."
"I'll be waiting for you when you're done."
Mulder walked back to his car and got inside, pulling out the carphone and dialing a long string of numbers. "Frohike? Mulder. I need a favor..."
1202 Maple Street
Will knew his father was pacing in the living room but he tried to concentrate on his American History textbook anyway. He heard his mother's car pull into the drive and threw his book on the bed. He found himself sneaking down the carpeted hallway moments later, shuddering upon remembering the last time he had been caught eavesdropping on his parents. It had been years ago, he was only nine and they were simply arguing about bills and money, but his had been on restriction for weeks. Now he felt a surge of bravery. He knew his parents. They wouldn't tell him anything, not one thing. And he had to know what was happening. He had a worried, sick feeling developing in the pit of his stomach.
He heard his mother enter the living room. He tried to breathe as quietly as possible. He could hear his own heartbeat hammering in his ear. *Get a grip!* he thought, then he leaned closer to the door. Through the one inch crack he briefly caught a glimpse of his mother, her dark brown hair almost matching the suit she had worn that day.
"Okay Scully," his father opened, "guess what I found out."
"Oh God, I hate it when you get that tone of voice."
"Because it used to always be followed by phrases like "what do you make of this slide?" Or "how's your organic chemistry, Scully?" So what manner of beastie is following our son?"
"You'll be glad to know that, as far as I can tell, this manner of beastie drives a car with an Arizona license plate. And according to Frohike..."
"You called Frohike?"
"Yeah. He sends his love and warm regards. Anyway, Frohike did a little poking around for me. The guy is F.B.I."
"What? You're kidding."
"Nope. And as far as Frohike can tell, that car is checked out to Special Agent Martin Hoebeke and Special Agent Norm Parks. I ran my description of the guy I saw past Frohike, and he says that it was most likely Agent Parks."
"Mulder, first of all how is it that Frohike has access to F.B.I. information? And second of all..."
Scully stopped, turning to look at the hallway. She had heard something, some sound. She moved quietly to the hallway door and quickly pulled it open. No one was there.
"Scully? What is it?" asked Mulder.
"Nothing. I guess my nerves are a little rattled."
Will had sprinted to his room as soon as he had felt the sound slip from his mouth. He knew his mother had the sharpest ears in the world. He sat at his desk with the open American History book in front of him...in case they checked on him. His mind was not on the curriculum though. The F.B.I. was following him, probably following his parents. Why? Were they on the run? Had they done something illegal? They carried guns...his mind started doing overtime as it calculated all the possibilities of his parents' previous criminal life.
He thought about the room, a tiny office that was always locked down the hall from his bedroom. Early on he had learned that it was forbidden territory. Sometimes one or the other or both of his parents would lock themselves in the room. He would occasionally hear the sound of a modem engaging. Now, he wondered...what answers would he find there? He set his jaw. He had to find out what was happening, had to know the truth. He leaned back in his chair and gave the problem his full attention. He suddenly realized how he could get into the room. When this house had been built his parents had made sure that each room had a special feature installed, a ceiling access into the attic. He had never thought about it before; it was just part of the surroundings. Now he realized that it was a unique feature, something he never saw in the homes of his friends. Why? Escape routes? It didn't matter. He realized that not only was it a way out of a room, but a way into a room as well.
1202 Maple Street
Scully opened the door to her son's room as quietly as possible. He lay sprawled on his bed, an open book on his stomach. She smiled, then padded into the room. She took the book from his limp hands and peered at the title - The World According to Garp. She grinned and quietly placed the book on the table. After pulling her son's comforter over his prone body, she cut off the lamp and tiptoed out of the room.
At the click of the door, Will's eyes opened.
Will knew his parent's habits quite well. Under the pretense of going to the bathroom, something he invariably did practically in his sleep at least once every night, he walked down the hallway and checked the locked room. No light could be seen at the bottom. And across the hall, no sounds came from his parent's rooms.
He returned to his own room and went about the slow, patient task of entering the attic access in his room without making any noise. He was hyper aware of every sound he made as he navigated with the flashlight. He took each step across the attic floor with painful caution. Every minute felt like an hour, but he eventually found the access he was looking for. He sat and oriented himself to the room for a moment, counting the various access points around him and comparing them to his internal map of the house. He pulled a small can of oil from the small pack he had clipped around his waist, pilfered earlier from the utility closet. He greased the hinges and slowly...slowly opened the hatch. Lowering himself down, he swept the room with his flashlight. He then stripped off his pajama top and pushed it against the bottom of the door to block out the light just in case. He turned on the lamp and turned in a circle, awed at the sheer volume of material in the room. There was barely room to move around. He counted twelve file cabinets and five bookshelves. One corner was stacked to the ceiling with file boxes. And a desk with a computer with paper piled high in his father's signature sloppy style.
He began with the file cabinet, opening the first drawer. Here he found ordered and numbered stacks of files, all with F.B.I. Eyes Only stamped at the top, all obviously xerox copies, and all filled with the strangest things. The same names were on most of the files - Agents in Charge: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. He stopped - the nicknames. His father called his mother Scully. His mother called his father Mulder. He moved along from drawer to drawer, pulling files at random, letting his shocked eyes run over the details...he read of aliens, of a fat sucking murderer, of demonic rituals of...he gasped. He read of Dana Scully's abduction and found pictures of her upon her return. He stopped, stunned. Dana Scully really was his mother...his mother with red hair. Her red hair...he had always known she dyed her hair, but that it was so red...for some reason this tiny detail shocked him most of all. He had always assumed it was to cover gray hair. His father has silver hairs popping up all over his head. He ran his fingers through his own red hair. And in these later files he began to find pictures of both his parents taken at crime scenes. He was struck by how very young they looked, but it was unmistakably them. Often in the pictures his parents were only partially seen or standing in the background as the photographer captured the scene of a gruesome or strange death.
And then the most shocking file of them all - the file on his arrival into the world. He read every word of the file and then read it again. With a grim face he pulled his pajama top from under the door, unlocked the door and walked to his parent's room. Without preamble he opened their door and flicked on the light. Both of his parents had guns in their hands a few seconds later, squinting against the sudden light. His mother was the first to falter. Her gun arm lowered and dropped. "Will?" Mulder placed the gun, with trembling hands, on the bedside table.
Will walked to the foot of the bed and dropped the file folder at his parents' feet. He crossed his arms across his chest and said, quietly, "Explain it to me. Are you my father? Are you really my mother? Should I believe that file?"
Mulder nervously set about making coffee. Scully sat across the table from her son. She took a deep breath and then began.
"Will, please hear me out all the way. This is...difficult."
"It's not really all that easy for me either, Mom."
"I know. I...we found you when you were two years old. You were with several other children who had simply appeared one day walking down a highway in Minnesota. Your father and I...we were assigned to the case. At the time we were both..."
"F.B.I. agents. I know."
"Yes. God, this is hard." Mulder set a mug of coffee at her elbow and took over the conversation.
"Will, your mother and I made a living of investigating the more unusual cases. We found you among 17 children who were perfectly normal in every way, except that when they gave the names of their parents...it was the same in every case. The children named their mothers and the women invariably didn't realize they had a child. The name you gave was Dana Scully. Scully...your mom had no memory of giving birth, but she had been...this is going to sound crazy..."
"I know she was abducted. I've read the files. I read that file very carefully. Is it for real Mom?"
"I don't have any memory of that time, Will. I was gone then I was back. Your father always maintained that I was an abductee. I'm not so sure. A lot of questions are still unanswered."
Mulder continued, "At any rate, we had the D.N.A. test done. We proved that your mother was really your mother, but the D.N.A. tests were...inconclusive as to the...nature of..."
Scully interrupted, "We don't know who your father is, Will. Mulder realized that if he didn't pretend to be your father that you could conceivably be taken from us right away. We married and then..."
Mulder said, "And then we dropped out of sight. Several of the children that were with you...they disappeared and I had sources...they seemed to think that it wasn't another alien abduction, but a government abduction. That those kids were being studied and..."
Scully said, "We decided that you were not going to end up in an experimental government laboratory. We were partners then, we were friends. Your father decided to use every available resource to make us disappear. Our files were wiped from F.B.I. records, from C.I.A. records, from every conceivable source we could think of. I know you've wondered again and again about our names. I remember when you were eight..."
"When I asked you about your driver's license," said Will, "Why your name was Anna Sanders on the driver's license but Dad always called you Scully. You said it was a nickname. This is so amazing. And that Dad's nickname was Mulder. I can't believe how stupid I've been." Will stood and paced the room. "My parents, the very boring Anna and James Sanders are really Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, F.B.I. agents. By the way, Dad, it's a much more interesting name." Will shook his head as if to clear it. Then he looked at Mulder. "You're not really my father though."
Mulder looked shaken. "Not in the technical sense, no." His voice dropped. "But I love you as my son. I feel as bound to you as I do to your mother."
"It's a lot to process, guys."
"It is," conceded Scully.
"I have one more question." Mulder and Scully looked at each other then back at Will.
"Shoot," said Mulder.
"Why am I being followed by F.B.I. agents at school?"
Mulder couldn't help it. He grinned and looked at Scully. "You know, Scully, he'd make a great investigator."
"Shut up, Mulder," she said, smiling herself and then chuckling. "To answer your question..." she sighed. "We were discussing this earlier. We think that they discovered our whereabouts several days ago. They haven't attempted to take you, but then they haven't really had the opportunity.
Mulder said, "And we want to make sure that they don't have that opportunity. We're not quite sure what to do, but the fact that you know what's going on - it simplifies things immensely."
Scully reached across the table and took her son's hands into her own. "We're going to have to run, Will. We're going to have to disappear. Again. I know you don't remember the first time...it's not an easy process. We have to leave all of our things behind. The files in the office...we really want them to be saved. We have almost all of them typed or scanned into the computer. We thought we had time...we've got to get the rest on disk. Those files are important."
Mulder chimed in, "They're my life's work, son."
Will gave his father the classic Scully look of disapproval. "Really? And here I was thinking that you enjoyed being infested by various and sundry weird parasites and aliens." Scully and Mulder smiled at each other, then looked at Will with such a look of love and affection that he felt a good cry welling up in his throat. He fought the lump in his throat down and said, "So what's the plan?"
March 8, 2007
Bridgeville High School
Mr. Hawkins was droning on about Shakespeare. Will was having a hard time concentrating. He hadn't been getting much sleep lately, and it showed. His nights had been filled with copying old fashioned 3.5 computer diskettes onto the massive hard drive of Will's homework computer. His parents had been diligently slaving away, attempting to get everything on disk when Will suggested transferring everything to his computer.
"Why are you even using those things? They're from the stone age, Mom!"
"You have a suggestion?"
It was then that Will gave his parents a demonstration in the latest thing in computers - the hard drive on his laptop school computer had the new "liquid" memory, capable of storing every file in the overflowing office and then some. "Get with the 21st century, would you?" he teased. Little did he know that he would be set to the task of copying all of the files onto his computer. He knew the system of his computer backwards and forwards and there wasn't time to really train his parents.
His thoughts were interrupted by Mr. Hawkins. "Did you hear me, Mr.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?"
Mr. Hawkins let out a long suffering sigh. "Mr. Sanders, I would like to have a word with you after class."
Will made every attempt to stay focused on class. When the bell rang he sidled up to the teacher's desk.
"I'm sorry I've been a little out of it, Mr. Hawkins."
"Is there anything wrong? Something going on at home that has upset you?"
"Uh, no, not really. I just..." Will thought fast. "I just, you know, can't stop thinking about girls. There's this one girl..."
"It's that obvious?"
"Oh, yes Mr. Sanders. To the trained eye it is." Hawkins smiled at the boy. "Well, you know, if you have any questions...I know I'm new around here, but I'd be more than happy to, you know, talk about things."
"Thanks, Mr. Hawkins, I'll keep that in mind. Listen, I really have to go..."
"Yes, of course! Off to class with you then..." Hawkins watched the young man amble out the door. The expression on his face changed from one of pleasant openness to a hard look of calculated coldness.
Bridgeville High School Soccer Field
Will was in the middle of a spirited practice. Sweat pouring down his face, he pushed aside a stray lock of hair and went after the ball. Left, right and then he watched as his friend Martin kicked the ball, too hard as usual. The ball went spiraling off into the woods. Will went after it.
Scully stood leaning against her car, watching the action on the field. The agent who had been tracking her son sat on the bleachers, looking noncommittal and comfortable in blue jeans, t-shirt, a light jacket and tennis shoes. She saw Will go into the woods and peered askance through her sun glasses at the agent on the bleachers. He made no move to follow her son. She relaxed. But as the moments turned into minutes she felt the rise of panic in her chest. The soccer players were shocked to suddenly see the mother of Will Sanders run across the field with a gun in her hand.
They were shocked again when the man who had been watching their practice for days pulled a gun from under his jacket and ran to follow her.
Will was having a hard time finding the ball. When he finally found it, he bent to pick it up and stood to find Mr. Hawkins standing in front of him. More shocking was the gun Mr. Hawkins had pointed at his chest.
"Hello Will. It will go much more easily if you'll just come along."
"Mr. Hawkins...is that really your name? Who are you? What do you want?"
"We can discuss that later."
"No, we can discuss it now. You won't shoot me."
"Oh really? Don't be naive."
"Listen, if you'll just tell me what this is about, I'll go with you, no problem."
"Sorry, but this is not the bargaining table." Hawkins moved closer to Will until the gun was pressed to Will's temple. "Now, boy."
Will thought for a beat then moved to comply. At the same moment, they both heard the sound of movement in the woods. Hawkins stopped and listened, surprised when Will took advantage of the moment. Hawkins suddenly found himself on his back, his gun thrown several yards from his hands. "Dammit," he growled, moving quickly to retrieve his weapon. Will didn't wait. He had been trained carefully to fight, but he had been trained even more carefully to run hard and fast. And run he did.
Scully came upon the man just as his hand was curling around his gun. "Freeze!" she screamed. Hawkins froze. Scully was lightly shaking with anger, but she was in control. "You move a muscle that I haven't specifically instructed you to move, and you're dead. Do you understand?" Hawkins nodded. "Where's my son?"
"I don't know."
It was then that Scully was distracted by the sound of a pursuer crashing through the woods behind her. She suddenly knew what it felt like to be a trapped animal. She froze when she heard the voice behind her.
"I am Special Agent Norm Parks. Where is the boy?"
Scully turned slowly, keeping her gun trained on Hawkins as best as she could. She sighed in relief when she realized that the agent's gun was pointed not at her, but at Hawkins.
The agent moved to her side, his focus entirely on the man on the ground. "Where is he?"
"I don't know," snarled Hawkins.
Agent Parks kept his eyes and his gun on Hawkins. "Scully, I think you'd better go find your kid."
Scully hesitated for several moments, unsure of what to do. She decided not to move. She simply screamed, "Will!" and waited. Her voice echoed through the woods. Parks didn't move a fraction. "Mister, you'd better just move away from the gun now. You're gettin' on my nerves. Good boy. Scully, you can trust me. I swear I'll keep him here."
Scully didn't move. "Why should I trust you? You've been watching my son for two weeks now."
"I had my orders."
"What were your orders?"
It was then that Will Sanders walked upon a sight that he would remember for the rest of his life. He stopped and simply watched. No one had yet noticed his presence. He listened.
"My orders were to watch over and protect your son."
"Who gave you that order?"
"Director Skinner. Straight from the top, lady."
Scully paused then quickly moved away from the agent, putting distance between herself and both the men. "Then take this man out of here and let me find my son...on my own."
The agent took a deep breath, then moved closer to Hawkins. "Get up. We are walking back to the soccer field, you and I. And if you think I won't plug you, guess again."
Scully kept her gun trained on the two men as they left the woods. When she could no longer hear the sound of feet on leaves, she turned to begin her search. And found her son standing only two yards from her.
"Mom?" She crossed the small space in a heartbeat and hugged him hard.
When they parted, she looked into his eyes. "You're alright?"
"Mom, I just want to say to you that every time I ever complained about giving up Saturday cartoons for martial arts practice...I take it back, every word. It sure came in handy today."
Scully looked into her son's startling multi-colored eyes and smiled.
"Let's get out of here."
April 21 8:03 a.m.
Lainard High School
"Class, I would like all of you to welcome a new student to our class, Will Reynolds. Will, stand up so everyone can see you."
Will quickly stood and then just as quickly sat back down. The teacher immediately launched into a discussion on the Spanish American War. Will flipped open his notebook and...was immediately distracted by the scent of perfume. He tried to act casual as he looked over at the girl sitting next to him, only to find her staring back at him with a smile in her eyes. Startled, he quickly stared at the teacher, feeling the blush rising in his cheeks. New town, new school, new house, new name....but some things remained the same.
"South Carolina is too small for a republic and too large for a lunatic asylum."
James Louis Petigru, on being asked if he would support South Carolina's secession from the Union, 1860