Title: Penny Serenade II
Author: All feedback will be rewarded with profuse thanks! Send all comments to Aubrey
Feedback: annette@ix.netcom.com
Rating: PG-13 strongly suggestive but not highly descriptive passages
Category: X/MSR
Spoilers: through Emily
Keywords: mythology
Date: June 1998
Archive instructions: Permission to archive or list on your web page is granted as long as my name and e-mail address are included. Just let me know where it was archived or send me the URL.
Disclaimer: All characters which have been seen or mentioned on the X-FILES belong to Chris Carter, Ten-Thirteen Productions, and the FOX network, and are used without permission. I do not seek to profit, only to entertain.

Summary: Sequel to Penny Serenade I. Mulder and Scully continue to investigate the nature of their abduction.

Note: In Part I, both Mulder and Scully return from having disappeared for over three months without remembering what happened to them and are surprised by Scully's subsequent medical examination results. Mulder undergoes hypnosis to help him remember what happened while they were gone. If it's been a while since you've read part I, it might be helpful to read it again.

or, the events will come back to you slowly as you read this.

Special thanks to Jeannine, Jojie, and Margaret, who were kind enough to provide me feedback on both Part I and Part II of this story.

Stories in this series:
Penny Serenade
Penny Serenade II
Ice Princess

Scully's apartment
Friday, August 14th
7:03 AM

Scully reached across to the nightstand to grab the ringing phone.

"Hello?" she answered, still half-asleep.

"Scully? Are you awake yet?"

"I am now, Mulder. I was planning to sleep in a bit more." Scully brushed the hair away from her eyes to look at the clock besides her bed.

"Get dressed. I'm coming over to pick you up."

"But Mul-der, you know I took the day off to go to my doctor's appointment and go shopping," she whined playfully.

"I'll go with you, but first you have to come with me. I'll explain when I get there."

Scully sighed and rolled herself out of bed. She was six months pregnant now and getting a bit uncomfortable. She didn't mind though; her son was worth it. she thought fondly as she ran her hand across her swollen abdomen.

Outside Scully's apartment
7:47 A.M.

"Well, Mulder? What is so important?" Scully asked as she got in the car.

"They found someone who's telling our story, Scully. His name's Mark White and he has burn marks on his neck."

"Does he remember anything, Mulder?"

"Yes, but everyone thinks he's crazy so no one is following up on it. He's in the psychiatric ward of Washington General."

Washington, D.C. General Hospital
8:15 A.M.

Scully and Mulder met with Mark White in the ward's visiting room.

"Who are you two?" Mr. White asked suspiciously.

"We're FBI agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder," Mulder responded. Both of them showed the man their badges.

"FBI? Do you think I committed a crime or something?"

"No, Mr. White, we think you were a victim of a crime, just as we were. Can you tell us what happened?" Scully asked.

"Oh, come on! I have told the story over and over. I'm tired of telling it. No one believes me. That's why I'm here." He waved his hand around to indicate a woman in the corner who was having a conversation with the wall.

"Mr. White, Agent Scully and I had an experience similar to the one you described. We are *very* interested in your story."

The man looked down at Scully's maternity blouse. "Did they do that to you?"

Mulder and Scully exchanged looks. "Well, let's just say it happened while we were there. We would like to hear your story first," Mulder insisted.

"O.K, I don't remember how I got there and I can't remember how I got back here. All I remember is the time I spent there. They made me work on a project. I'm a biochemical engineer. They must've known that because they made me work on developing a hazardous substance that would cause temporary paralysis. It could make people freeze in place for hours. After that they'd come to and not remember a thing. They tested it on some of the other inhabitants. I got to watch the testing. They would spray the substance in the air until it was a light fog. It smelled like orange blossoms. The substance I came up with smelled nasty, but somehow they made it smell sweet. The inhabitants would breathe it in willingly; it smelled so good. Then they would freeze in place. It was the spookiest thing I ever saw. " He looked over at Mulder's and Scully's disapproving looks. "They made me do it!" he added defensively. "They would shock me if I didn't do what they wanted me to do. Look at my burn scars!" He pointed at his neck.

"Can you describe what it was like living there?" Scully asked.

"Well you should know, if you were there. The little white rooms with the VCR instruction tapes, the meals in silence, the electric shock collars around your neck and elbow..."

Scully felt shivers run down her spine. She remembered the pain. Mulder took her hand when he saw her wince. "We remember it too well," he told Mark. "Do you remember anything else that would help us identify where this place might be?"

"No, I'm sorry. I even tried to see if the TV would pick up a local TV station, but it only picked up national cable. I never saw anyone either. Hey, can you guys get me out of here? I used to have a great job and a normal life. Now everyone thinks I'm nuts."

"We'll see what we can do, Mr. White. I'm a doctor and I'll talk to the doctor on staff here," Scully reassured him.

Atlantic Medical Center
11:15 A.M.

"Well, Dana and Fox, the baby is doing fine. Everything looks normal," Scully's doctor told them.

Mulder and Scully smiled at each other. They were both excited at the prospect of raising a child. Scully took Mulder's hand as he kissed her tenderly on the forehead. "Time to go shopping for baby things!" Mulder announced.

Fox Mulder's FBI basement office Next morning

"I don't understand it, Scully. So far we have only found one person that has returned besides us. There has got to be more."

"Well, look where he ended up. Maybe that's why we don't hear about any others, Mulder."

Mulder smiled. They were going to be raising their child together but they were still calling each other Mulder and Scully. Old habits are sometimes impossible to break. "Dana?" he asked intentionally. Scully smiled at the way he caught himself calling her Scully instead of Dana. "What should we do, take an ad out in the paper?"

"Sure, *Fox,*" she responded somewhat awkwardly, "I can just read it now- 'Wanted: Former inhabitants of little white rooms that used to wear shock collars. Please contact Mr. Spooky at the FBI.' Well, I suppose we should get some work done, Muld... Fox." Scully laid out their latest case file on his desk. Although Mulder had turned in his resignation from the X-Files when they returned from their abduction, they had later decided to stay on to find out the truth about what happened to them and why. The baby was their main motivation for this. Neither one of them wanted to raise this child with the fear of having him taken away from them. The most painful part of this was continuing to maintain separate residences and not getting married. This was the only way they could continue working together under FBI policy. Of course, Mulder spent all of his nights at Scully's apartment. There was no way he would leave her alone very long.

"What is it this time, Scul... Dana?"

"It's O.K. if we continue to call each other Mulder and Scully, you know."

"Yeah, I suppose it makes it easier for us to pretend that things are still the way they were before we were abducted," he added, although that was the last thing he would want. He had never been happier in his life then he was at this time.

Scully read the case file summary. "Here's one where a young boy reported that his parents were frozen... Mulder! This is what Mark White described this morning. The boy said that they woke up hours later and couldn't remember what happened to them. The parents, a Mr. and Mrs. Jordan, reported day turning instantly into night."

"Let's go talk to them, Scully."

In the car on the way there, Mulder asked Scully if she ever watched the Twilight Zone, or the Outer Limits. "Sure, Mulder."

"Funny. I never thought that you would have. I mean..."

"Mulder, I can appreciate a little fantasy every once in a while."

Mulder gave her one of his seductive smiles. "Mmmm... How about tonight then, Dana?" She smiled back shyly.

"Why do you ask, Fox? I mean, about watching Twilight Zone and Outer Limits?"

Mulder began to talk to himself out loud. "I got her to call me Fox again. I wonder if there is correlation between being turned on and the name she calls me." He began to imitate her, "'Oh yes, Fox, yes!' I think there must be. I don't remember a 'Oh yes, Mulder, yes!'"

"Mulder! Why did you ask?"

"Oh right, it's just that I remember episodes in which time stopped for some people who just stood there, frozen in place."

"I think I saw a few of those episodes, Mulder," Scully responded, noting that she sometimes wished time would freeze during the moments Mulder was just describing. "But this time, it isn't time that stops- it's the people that are becoming paralyzed by the orange blossom spray. What are you getting at?"

"I just thought that maybe someone wanted the same effect- to freeze time momentarily," he said softly and suggestively. Mulder began having the same thoughts that Scully had about moments he would have liked to stop time. He took his eyes off the road to look over. He gazed at her in the way he looked at her when he was about to pull her into her bedroom. Scully sensed his mood and sighed.

"Mulder, our relationship has changed but we still want to be able to work together. We have to be professional."

"Scully, I'll try, but it's always been the same between us, even before we were abducted. We just didn't admit it to ourselves, or talk openly about it."

"O.K. this isn't easy for me either." She looked away from him, attempting to hide the fact that he was getting her excited. It didn't work. He sensed that she was in the same mood he was.

"Alright. Let's get this out of the way so we can work." He pulled the car over to the sidewalk. He moved closer to her and kissed her deeply. They held each other close for a minute. "There, that ought to hold us until tonight!"

Old Town, Virginia
9:30 A.M.

Mulder and Scully walked up to the old house listed in the case file. Mulder extended a hand to help Scully walk up the steps, which were in need of repair. He was surprised as she willingly took his hand.

Mulder rang the doorbell and a woman answered. "May I help you?"

Both Mulder and Scully took out their badges and held them up for her to see. "Ma'am, I'm Agent Fox Mulder and this is my partner, Special Agent Dana Scully. We're from the FBI. Can we come in and talk with you for a few minutes?"

The woman looked a bit concerned, but then extended her hand to motion them in. "Is this about what happened a few weeks ago?"

"This is about the report that was made about your son claiming that you were frozen in place and that you didn't remember what happened, just that day suddenly turned into night," Scully explained.

"Yes, that's right. In fact, my son is home from school today. He wasn't feeling well. Let me get him. Please sit down on the couch there." Mulder and Scully sat down. The woman returned with an adorable little boy who looked shyly back at Mulder and Scully. He looked about seven years old. "Hi there! What's your name?" Mulder said in his most friendly voice. Scully watched him interact with the little boy, looking forward to the time when she could watch him and their son together.

The little boy responded, "Jimmy."

"Jimmy, could you tell us what happened to your mommy and daddy the day you found them 'frozen'," Mulder asked.

"Well, they weren't really frozen. I mean they weren't cold. They just didn't move at all. I was really scared. I kept trying to move them to wake them up, but they were really stiff."

"What time of day did this happen?" Scully asked.

"When I came home from school. My mom and dad are usually home when I get home but they didn't answer the door. I had to find the key we keep hidden outside to get in."

The woman interjected, "My husband works from 6 to 2:30 and he is usually home with me when Jimmy gets home. We only keep the key out there in case we were late getting back from the store or something so Jimmy wouldn't have to wait outside."

Jimmy continued, "They stayed that way until after it got dark. When they finally woke up, they called the police to report it." The boy pointed down at Scully's stomach. "Is there a baby in there?"

"Yes, in fact, it's a little boy." Scully turned to his mother. "Mrs. Jordan, did you and your husband get examined by a doctor after this?" Scully asked.

"No, we were fine and frankly, I don't think the police believed our story," Mrs. Jordan answered.

"Jimmy, where did you find your mommy and daddy?" Mulder continued.

"They were in the kitchen, sitting at the table."

"Can we see your kitchen, Mrs. Jordan?" Mulder asked.

"Sure." She led them to the kitchen. Mulder pulled out a chair and stood on it to examine the light fixture. He then moved it over to the kitchen cabinets. He placed gloves on his hands and then ran his hands along the surface above the cabinets. He stopped and pulled out a small box that was hidden in the far corner. It had a faint orange smell to it. He held it away from himself and pulled out a plastic bag to wrap it in.

"What is that?" Mrs. Jordan asked.

"We will need to get it analyzed to tell you that," Mulder answered. "Tell me, Mrs. Jordan, do you remember that morning at all?"

"All we remembered was the air freshener smell."

"The air freshener smell?" Scully asked.

"Yes, it smelled like someone suddenly sprayed the citrus air freshener I have in the bathroom in the kitchen. When I checked later on, the can was still in the bathroom that day. No one could have sprayed it."

"Thanks, Mrs. Jordan. Thanks, Jimmy."

Mulder and Dan left the house. "Let's get this to the lab."

Scully's apartment 8:30 P.M.

"Scul-ly?" Mulder asked playfully from the couch in Scully's apartment.

"Yes, Mul-der?" she responded as she sat down next to him.

"We are off work now. Tell me what fantasy you want to act out tonight."

Scully smiled and spoke softly in his ear. "Mulder, I want to pretend that we're married and have normal jobs and house with a white picket fence..."

"Scully- is that what you really want?" Mulder asked with a hurt expression on his face.

"No, all I really want is to be able to continue to work with you this way. I want to share your passion, not just in the bedroom, but out there- searching for the truth. It is what attracts me to you and if we were to become "normal" (whatever that is!) I don't think we wouldn't be attracted to each other anymore." Scully looked into his eyes when she said this.

"But what about our son? How will we raise him continuing to work this way?" Mulder asked.

"We'll find a way. We aren't the only ones in this world that don't lead a "normal" life. In fact, I don't know of very many people that do," Scully added.

"Then why the fantasy of a normal life, Scully? Do you really want us to get married?"

"Someday, Mulder. Not right now. I guess every woman has that fantasy. But tonight, I just want it to be our fantasy, Mr. Mulder."

"OK, Mrs. Mulder. Or should it be Dr. Mulder?"

Mulder thought it might be nice to settle down in a small town to raise their children. He pictured himself with an apron on standing on the porch calling the kids in. Scully was coming home from seeing her patients at the office. Scully kissed him on the cheek as he helped her with her doctor's bag.

Scully noticed the faraway look on Mulder's face. "Penny for your thoughts, Mulder."

"Can I wear an apron Scully?"

"So much for normal." She smiled at him and they ended the conversation with a long, slow kiss.

Scully's apartment
The next morning

"Mulder, do you think I'm unattractive?" Scully asked as she looked at her naked form sideways in the mirror. He sighed as he walked up behind her and put his arms around her. "I know, I'm pregnant and need reassurance."

"And like billions of men before me, I will give you the same response. There is nothing more beautiful to a man than the woman that is carrying his child." He turned her around to face him. "You have never been more beautiful to me than you are at this moment." Scully smiled at this. In a way she felt that Mulder was saying it because she needed to hear it, but his eyes conveyed sincerity.

Mulder's cell phone rang. "Mulder. Ah, yes we are. We're stuck in traffic." He covered up the receiver with his hand and spoke softly to Scully. "Skinner. He thinks we're on our way in." He spoke into the receiver again. "Sure, we can just head straight over there now." He turned off the phone. "Get dressed, beautiful. We've found another inhabitant."

Washington, D.C. General Hospital
9:27 A.M.

"Dr. Gates, why was this woman admitted to the psychiatric ward? I thought we straightened this out the other day, " Scully protested.

"I'll tell you what, if you sign the release on this one, I'll let her go too," the doctor replied a bit impatiently.

The doctor led them once again into the visiting room. "This is Jean Rosewater, a mechanical engineer working for a major defense contractor. Turns up after missing for over three months. This is the second time she has turned up after being missing. The first time was a couple of years ago. Oh, and one more thing. She's 8 weeks pregnant."

Mulder and Scully exchanged open-mouthed glances. Neither one could speak for a full minute. Ms. Rosewater looked despondently away from them. Scully broke the silence. "Jean, please tell us what happened." There was no response. Scully added, "We believe that you were in the same place we were taken."

Jean looked up at Scully's maternity blouse. "Do you have a chip in your neck too?"

Scully shivered. Here was someone who shared all of her experiences. "Yes, I do."

"Then you know all about the tests and the shock collars and the videotapes. Why aren't you locked up here like I am?"

"We'll get you out of here. Could you help us by telling anything else?"

"I never saw anyone and I don't have any idea where I was. One thing that I can tell you is that they had me design this atomizer for them."

"An atomizer?" Scully asked. "You mean like a spraying system?"

"Yes, it was basically an aerosol can in a box that could be activated by remote control. That was my job. They shocked me if I didn't do what they asked me to do." She rubbed her neck.

"We just need to know, well, how did you get pregnant?" Mulder asked. He felt awkward asking the question, but he had to know. He regretted asking it even more when Jean started sobbing quietly.

"Mulder, this is too painful for her," Scully insisted.

"No, it's OK. I guess I need to talk to someone who can relate to what happened to me. He must still be there. They let me go but I don't know where he is."

"Where who is?" Mulder asked.

"His name is Mark White. We were put in the same room. They made it almost impossible for us not to have sex with each other. It was obvious what they were doing. Finally we couldn't stand it anymore. I mean..." She blushed. Scully was tempted to stop her but Mulder put his hand in front of her to signal Scully to let her continue. "Well, we were very attracted to each other and, well now I'm pregnant and he is probably still there."

Mulder and Scully exchanged glances. Finally Mulder nodded at Scully. "He was brought here, but he didn't mention you. Maybe he didn't remember you. We didn't remember what happened to us at first either." Scully was trying not to hurt the woman.

"Can you reach him and let him know I'm here? I probably wouldn't have mentioned him either if you didn't ask me how I got pregnant."

Scully and Mulder called Mark White and asked him to come back to the hospital for a meeting. He agreed to come down while they waited for him. When he walked into the ward and saw Jean, he hesitated for a moment before he recognized her, then ran to her arms and held her tight. "I was so afraid that you were still there! I'm so glad you're safe," he told her.

"Mark, they told me I'm pregnant," she disclosed.

"That's wonderful, Jean! But you told me that you were infertile!"

"They must have reversed the condition somehow," she added, content with his acceptance of her pregnancy.

Fox Mulder's FBI Basement Office
3:30 P.M.

"Well, more pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place, but there is still no big picture to see. Let's see- we have two engineers that were tasked to build a spray system to temporarily paralyze people. These same two engineers are also used to test the reversal of the infertility that resulted from previous tests performed on one of them. Then we have two people who were used to test the effectiveness of the orange blossom freeze spray." Fox Mulder's voice increased slightly in volume as he stated this, reflecting his frustration.

"We still don't know who did this, why they did it or where they did it. Not even a clue. They're good, Mulder." She paused to watch him think. "You don't think that they're aliens do you?"

"Little greys, Scully?" he asked with his charming smile. She loved the way he smiled at her. "I don't know what to think. All we ever saw was machines. Neither Mark nor Jean saw anyone either." He snapped his fingers and shook his hand. "That must be it, Scully!"

"What, Mulder? Invisible aliens?"

"No, Scully- there are only machines!"

"OK, Mulder. It's possible. But someone must have programmed them. This isn't a case of who came first, the chicken or the egg; people came first before the machine."

"Yes, but what if the machine were part of some military defense intelligence project left to run wild on its own, unattended. It could task people to do its work, just as we were tasked to do things."

"Interesting, even plausible, theory Mulder. I just see it as a bit farfetched."

"Ahh! Scully the skeptic labeling one of my theories "plausible," music to my ears!"

Atlantic Medical Center Maternity Ward
Friday, November 20th

"Breathe, Dana!" Mulder held Scully's hand and tried not to wince when she squeezed it as hard as she could. "How are you doing?"

"I've told you a thousand times! I'm fine!" she stated, the pain showing in her voice. The contraction ended slowly and they both relaxed.

Labor continued on for a few more hours. Scully wanted Mulder to go get something to eat but he wouldn't leave her side. Her labor had intensified and she was in a great deal of pain.

The doctor determined that the baby was ready to be born and announced that he was about to deliver the child. Mulder continued to stay at Scully's side, holding her hand.

"Go ahead and push, Dana," the doctor instructed her. After letting out a scream, Scully heard another scream- her son's cries.

"You two are the proud parents of a healthy baby boy!" Both Scully and Mulder had tears in their eyes as the doctor handed the baby to them.

Mulder kissed Scully briefly and they continued to look into each other's teary eyes. "I love you both so very much, Dana."

"I love you both more than I can say, Fox!"

Scully's new house
Two days later

"Welcome home, Fox, Dana and little Sam!" Everyone exclaimed as Mulder brought Scully and the newest member of their family into their new home. Scully had insisted that they call the baby Samuel, after Mulder's sister Samantha. They had recently purchased the home, under Scully's name, so that they could have a bigger place to store all the baby paraphernalia. Mulder continued to keep his apartment so that they wouldn't break any FBI rules about working together. Of course, they were both under family leave for a while, so this really didn't matter to them.

All of Scully's family was there, except Charles, and Mulder's mother had come as well. Skinner had come as well. Out of respect for the new mother and her child, who both needed their rest, no one stayed very long.

Bill Scully and Tara were last to leave. It seemed that Bill couldn't resist a chance to upset Mulder one more time. "Well, Mulder- when are you going to marry my sister? Don't you think it's about time you two gave up chasing little green men and thought a little bit more about the welfare of my nephew?"

Very calmly, Mulder answered, "Well actually, Bill, we thought we'd have Sammy join us in the chase- once he learns how to run, of course." Mulder smiled at Bill and extended his hand. To both Tara's and Scully's surprise, Bill's look of disdain changed to a slight smile and shook Mulder's hand.

"I know you won't let anything happen to them, Mulder. You know how it feels to be a father now," Bill added.

"I do. And I won't let anything happen to them." Their smiles had changed to serious looks as they parted.

"Mulder, thank you." Scully told him as he shut the door.

"For what? Not responding with what he really deserved?" Scully sighed and brought him over to the baby's crib.

"Look at him. He is truly an angel. I can't believe he came from us," Scully spoke softly.

"Well, I can believe he came from you, Dana. You are truly heavenly." He smiled at the way she enjoyed his romantic comments. He never felt comfortable saying them for some reason, but he always made the effort because he could see how much she enjoyed them. They kissed quietly in front of the little angel who had started to awaken for his feeding.

Wednesday, March 3rd
FBI Building
AD Skinner's Office

"How does it feel to be back at work, you two?" Skinner asked them.

Mulder and Scully looked at each other. "Well, we are a bit nervous about leaving Sam," Mulder answered.

"But your mother is watching him, right Agent Scully?" the Assistant Director asked.

"Yes, but we were just so used to being there with him all the time. We'll get used to it," Scully reassured them, and herself.

"I miss him terribly and I offered to quit work, marry Scully and play househusband but she wouldn't let me," Mulder whined.

"I said I would think about it," Scully played along. At some points in the past few months, she actually believed Mulder would be happy staying at home, changing diapers and watching daytime TV- for a while at least. She knew it wouldn't last for either of them. She needed to work just as much as he did. Even though she missed Sam. The past few months had been the best of their lives, but it was time to go back to work.

"Well, get back to work or you both won't have a choice in the matter," Skinner said teasingly as he handed Scully the case file.

Both returned to Mulder's basement office. "At least someone dusted the place while we were gone, Scully." They were both happy to be back. Scully laid out the case file on Mulder's desk.

"Hmmm... what is it this time? A monster in the sewers of New Jersey again?" he asked her playfully.

"No, Mulder, this time it's a machine gone crazy."

"Uh, oh... You don't suppose this could be related to my plausible theory, Scully?"

"No Mulder, this time it's not a computer, it's an automobile."

"Scully, they have computers in them. What did the Christine car do?"

"Well, it apparently took off by itself and drove itself off the cliff," Scully answered.

"Well, Scully, was it a new car or an old car?"

"You mean an old car, like Christine, Mulder?"

"No, I mean was it a new car with a computer?"

"Oh, OK, we're back to the plausible theory. Yes, it was still under warranty in fact," Scully added. "It was found to be mechanically sound. No signs of failures or malfunctions."

"Did they check the computer controlled circuitry?" Mulder didn't actually believe that this was related to their case, yet.

"No, they didn't Mulder. At least there is no mention of it here."

"Come on, Scully, let's go find that car."

"It feels just like old times, Mulder!"

Paterson's Garage
10:45 A.M.

"Here's the microprocessor you're looking for. Could be no good, considering. But we can't figure out what happened. It's a good thing no one got killed." The garage mechanic was about 20-25 years old and had dark curly hair. For some reason, maybe Scully looked at him too long, Mulder was a bit jealous.

"Come on Scully, let's get going." He grabbed a hold of her arm.

"Don't you think I should stay and talk with him some more? You could return the chip to the lab if you're in a hurry, Mulder."

"What is it about him that you're attracted to, Scully? What does he have that I don't?"

"Mulder, stop it. I'm not attracted to him. Oh alright, I think he's cute, but that's it. You're much better looking! I can't believe how insecure you are. What's wrong with you all of a sudden?"

"I guess I was used to having you all to myself for the last few months, Scully, and now I am back to sharing you with the world."

"Well, you are a very attractive man, and I guess I feel the same way you do!"

"You have nothing to worry about, Dana. You know that."

"Well, neither do you."

FBI Crime Laboratory
2:13 P.M.

"I've compared this chip to the other chip and it is definitely not the same," the technician noted.

"What's different about it?" Mulder asked.

"I can't tell because it's inoperable now, but the patterns are slightly different- see?" He moved away from the microscopes he had set up side to side. Mulder and Scully took turns looking at the two chips.

"Thank you," Scully told the technician. Both Scully and Mulder returned to Mulder's basement office.

"This doesn't make sense. No one was hurt. In fact, none of the people involved had any enemies. No one had any reasons why they would want to hurt them. The car goes off a cliff empty. Why?" Scully asked.

"Another test?" Mulder asked. "Maybe my plausible theory is very plausible after all."

"I'm not convinced this has anything to do with your theory, Mulder."

"What we need now is another ex-inhabitant ASIC engineer who was tasked to modify automobile computer chips," Mulder added.

Scully sighed. "I guess I don't want to believe this has anything to do with our abduction because I was so happy to have put that behind us these past few months."

Mulder put his arm around her and kissed her on the forehead. "Me too."

Mulder's cellular phone rang. "Mulder... Yes, we're back in business. Sure. We'll be over as soon as we can get there." Mulder turned off his cell phone and grabbed his papers. "It was the Lone Gunmen. They say that they have evidence that a computer has independently taken another computer over and they are tracing it down. Let's go."

On the way there, Scully thought about Mulder's theory.

The three Lone Gunmen let Mulder and Scully in. "Mulder, we've almost got it! Another 10-20 hours and we should have the exact location of the computer that took the other one over," Frohike exclaimed. Byers was at the screen. Mulder asked him what the compromised computer was. "It's only a small firm that manufactures automobiles in the Midwest, but this could be just practice for bigger and better things."

Scully looked over at Mulder and smiled weakly. It was a long first day back. "Was it the same automobile firm that manufactured the car that went off the cliff?" Mulder glanced over at the screen and nodded yes. He explained the connection to the three Lone Gunmen.

"Well, I guess we'll check with you in the morning to see if you've found the location. Right now, Scully and I need to get back home to our little boy."

"Give him a kiss for us, Scully." As Mulder and Scully walked away they could hear Frohike saying, "Lucky little boy."

Langley immediately responded with, "Frohike, get over it! Remember who the father of that little boy is."

"I'm sorry, I just can't bring myself to believe it..."

Scully's house
5:30 P.M.

"Here's Mommy and Daddy!" Maggie greeted Mulder and Scully at the door with Sam in her arms.

"How was he, Mom?" Scully asked as she and Mulder took Sam into their arms to hug him.

"Oh, he was OK. A bit cranky before his naptime, nothing out of the ordinary. I'm going to go home now and leave the three of you to get reacquainted."

"Thanks Mom."

"Oh, it's my pleasure." Mrs. Scully kissed Sam and left.

"Mommy and Daddy missed you, sweetie!" Scully told her smiling baby. "Mulder, let's order in and watch an old movie."

"Sounds good to me." Mulder felt a bit strange. Life was too perfect and when things got that way, you worried that someone or something would come by and take all your happiness away from you.

The Lone Gunmen's Place The next morning

"Here it is Mulder. Somewhere in the middle of the Arizona desert," Langley handed the paper over to Mulder. Mulder looked over at Scully. They both knew what this meant. Mulder would have to leave her and Sam behind to go there. They both knew it was bound to happen sooner or later, but they didn't think it would be the second day back on the job.

"Thanks, you guys. I'll let you know what I find," he told them.

"You aren't going by yourself, are you Mulder?" Byers asked.

"I can't bring Scully with me. She needs to stay with Sam."

"Mulder, I need to get back into a normal routine eventually, why not now."

"No, Scully. What if this is the place where they took us? What if something happens to both of us if you come too? Who will take care of Sam?"

"Mulder, we've discussed this before. I thought we agreed..."

"Scully, just not this time, please. I have a bad feeling about this."

They stopped by the house to pick up Sam. They drove to the airport. With Sam in her arms, Scully kissed Mulder good by as he left to catch his plane. "Mulder, I know I don't say it enough, but I love you. Please come back home to us as soon as you can. "

"I love you two so much!" With teary eyes, he left the two of them for the first time.

Phoenix Airport
Later that night

Mulder picked up a rental car and map and drove out to the location that the Lone Gunmen had pointed out. There was nothing there but a vast area of sand. It was already dark and he thought he might have missed something so he drove back the way he came. He called Scully to see how they were. "We're OK. We just miss Daddy, that's all."

Reassured that they were OK without him, he called the Lone Gunmen to see why they had led him astray. "Mulder, use the GPS receiver we gave you. Drive towards the coordinates we wrote down and call us back."

Mulder did as they instructed. He was still out in the middle of nowhere. Frustrated, he called them back. "Well? Where the hell is this place?"

"It is right underneath you, Mulder! The facility must be underground," Langley stated. Mulder got out of his car and looked around. He continued to walk around until he heard a strange metal noise underfoot. He took out his flashlight and brushed the sand away to expose a metal door of some sort.

"I got lucky, guys! I found a door. Wish me luck." With that he shut the cell phone off and lifted the door up. It was dark inside and he descended down a ladder for quite some time. There was a loud mechanical fan noise that would prevent anyone from hearing him. However, a flashlight might have been seen.

After quite some time, he got to the bottom of the stairs. He felt a wall and walked along side of it like a blind rat, making sure to remember the way he had come.

He reached a door and opened it. A blinding light filled the room. He was back.

He quickly shut the door again. He opened the door and went in. There was no one around. He remembered that Scully and he thought they found the control room behind Room 375, where they were taken for the tests. However, he also remembered that Room 375 was locked and that they had to open the electric lock with a discharge from their collars. Mulder pulled out his stun gun. This ought to do the trick.

He moved quickly down the empty hallways, hoping that it was sleeping time. Of course, he always suspected that only some of the inhabitants were on the same clock, so that still might not mean that he had much time. He found the eating area where he had first found Scully. He remembered the bittersweet feelings he had about finding her there. He felt good about her being there with him, but bad about her being subjected to harm.

>From there he knew where Room 375 was. He remembered how tortured he felt when Scully left him to go there. It turned out that they made it possible for them to have Sam there, so it wasn't all bad. Sam. He really missed that cute smiling face right now.

Scully's house

"It's OK Sammy, baby. Daddy will be home soon and he will make those funny faces and strange noises you love." Scully was worried and couldn't sleep. Usually it was Mulder who couldn't sleep, but this was his first night away since they had the baby and she missed him. As if that wasn't bad enough, she began having horrible thoughts about him being back in that place alone.

The phone rang. "Hello? Is he OK? What do you mean you don't know? OK. Thank you for calling, Frohike."

That night Scully watched the Cary Grant movie "Penny Serenade" again. She remembered the first time she and Mulder had watched it together. It had a strange parallel to their recent life together. First losing the ability to have children, then having difficulty adopting a little girl, then losing the adopted little girl. Finally, they adopt a little boy. This time, she cried at the happy ending, because Mulder wasn't there to cry with her.

Somewhere in the middle of the Arizona desert

Using the stun gun to deactivate the lock, Mulder made his way into Room 375. This time there were unconscious people strapped to the gurneys. Tubes ran into and out of them. Some were on respirators. No where was there anyone attending them. Having been caught from behind the last time, he stayed up against the wall with his gun drawn. He made his way over to the control room door. As he opened the door, he smelled the orange blossom smell, but it was too late...

The Lone Gunmen's Place
The next day

"No one has heard from him. You have got to tell me where you sent him. We have got to send the ATF in. I don't know why he didn't do that in the first place! Damn him!" Scully stamped her foot on the floor like a spoiled brat.

Langley immediately provided her with the GPS coordinates. "His car should be right there and the door he found was very close by," he assured her. We will do whatever it takes to help you find him, Scully."

She used her cell phone to summon help. However, it wasn't easy for Scully to convince anyone to go out there. After all, her story was considered bizarre. "I'll go out there myself if I have to."

"You won't go out there alone. Let one of us go with you," Langley offered.

"OK, Langley, you can come with me." She called her mother and asked her to spend the night with Sam.

"But Dana, it's dangerous!" her mother protested.

"What I was doing before was dangerous, so nothing has changed," Scully relied.

"But you have a son now, Dana."

"Mom, many people with dangerous jobs have children. Mulder and I made the decision to continue working. I've got to find him. He's my partner."

Her mother relented and let out a deep sigh. "Be careful, dear."

"Give Sam a kiss for me Mom."

Scully and Langley drove out to where Mulder's car was and began looking for the metal door he described.

Inside the facility, Mulder found himself once again in the familiar little white room with the VCR. "Oh, no!" he shouted as he discovered the collar around his neck. Without Scully, there was no way he could short it out so that it wouldn't shock him. His clothes were gone and he was back in the hospital garb/prison uniform. Of course, his gun and stun gun were gone. He stuck the tape in the VCR. The familiar voice spoke.

[Welcome new inhabitant. Please remain calm. What follow are the rules for your stay. You will awaken each day at the sound of the bell. You will take a shower and change your clothing...]

Mulder shut the tape off. He had heard it all before.

The bell rang and the door opened. It was time for a feeding session. Mulder followed the others to the feeding area. He almost jumped out of his chair when he saw both Scully and Langley sitting at another table.

Scully and Langley looked over at Mulder. Scully gave him a reassuring look. She adjusted her collar. She showed him that it was cut. The feeding session was over and once again, Scully followed Mulder to his room. Langley disappeared.

Once inside with the door closed, Mulder couldn't stop hugging Scully. At the same time he was angry with her. "Why did you come?"

"I needed to find you before they used you as a stud for some other woman."

"That isn't funny, Scully. What about Sam?"

"He's fine with my Mom, Mulder."

Scully had a bag underneath her clothing. She had wire cutters that she used to cut his collars off. She and Langley had used them earlier on a couple of inhabitants that they had stunned with a stun gun to steal their clothing and collars from. She also had two guns with her.

"Where's Langley, Scully?"

"He went back to the car to wait, just in case we aren't successful in getting you out of here. But first, we are going to get these people out of here and nuke that control center."

It was their sleeping period and they were forced to spend the time in the small white room. "Scully, all my memories of this place aren't bad."

"Do you realize that this is our first night alone without our son, Mulder?"

"I guess we really don't have a choice but to enjoy it. Want to tango, Scully?"

"We don't even need a rose this time, Mulder..."

They awoke to take their showers and get dressed. "I can't believe we actually found this place and came back here, Scully! It's almost like the castaways ending up on Gilligan's Island again after being rescued."

"Mulder, we need to get ready to go over to Room 375. Here, take a gun. We'll take our collars off as soon as the others can't see us, just in case some of them have been programmed to turn us in."

"But Scully, what about the orange blossom spray?"

"Thanks for reminding me, Mulder. I had the lab provide me with both the analysis and an antidote. Here take these."

"You never cease to amaze me, enigmatic Doctor Scully."

She smiled and kissed him. "This is why I want to work, Mulder. It would be a waste of talent if I didn't," she added jokingly.

The doors opened and they waited until everyone had moved over to the feeding area. They quickly made their way over to the 300 series hallway and over to Room 375. "Now Scully, I have to warn you, there are people on tables with tubes and wires running in and out of them."

"And this is supposed to bother me, Mulder? I cut up dead people."

They shorted out the door lock and went in, back to back so that they couldn't be taken from behind. The tables were empty.

They made their way slowly to the control room door, once again. This time there would be no mistakes made. Mulder opened the door and the orange spray scent filled the air. Although it irritated their eyes a bit, they continued to move into the room. Mulder reached what looked like the main control panel and placed the timed explosive on it. They quickly moved towards the feeding area with the cutters. "It's time to free everyone!" They shouted, using the cutters to cut everyone's neck collars away. They could keep the elbow collars on until later, since they were useless without the neck collars. They led everyone to the exit, where Langley was waiting with the ATF. The ATF moved in and made sure all the rooms were emptied.

Scully and Mulder drove their vehicle to a safe distance away from the facility to watch the explosion. "Scully, that was where our son was conceived. Don't you feel just a bit of sadness?"

They both looked at each other and said, "No!"

"Let's go home!"

On the airplane home, Scully asked Mulder, "Why is it that whenever we solve a case, it leaves so many questions unanswered. Just once, I would like to know all the reasons why things happened, who was responsible, etc." Scully looked at Mulder who was just smiling back at her. "I know, that's why they're X-Files... Mulder, will you watch Penny Serenade with me tonight. I watched it the other night without you and it just wasn't the same."

"Sure Scully. Right after we give that wonderful baby of ours a hug and a kiss goodnight!"

Scully snuggled up next to Mulder. Giving up a marriage certificate wasn't much to be able to have it all. They could wait.

Please send me feedback! annette@ix.netcom.com


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