Title: Silent Night File #314
Author: FelineFemme
Rating: PG
Category: Challenge fic, see below
Spoilers: Season 9, The Truth
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters, therefore, are borrowed & will be returned to their rightful owners after I've played with 'em for a bit:-}
Feedback: Yes! Please sign in at the guestbook!

Summary: This is for NeoX's Fic Challenge 12-22-2012! Enjoy!

Dec. 22, 2011.

Outside, it's a picturesque holiday scene, the snow blanketing the sleeping earth, the bare trees standing starkly against the still-falling flakes. The silence is broken by the occasional truck, snowplough or errant child trying out a sled. Inside, however, things are far from the supposed holiday cheer, closer instead to the chill conditions outside.

Finally, she turns to him, the one she thought she trusted. Her eyes flash as she holds herself tightly, still willing the anger to override her tears. "How could you let him go off like that?" She stares accusingly at him. "He was only ten, and his friends not much older than that!" She may be shorter than he was, but hell if she's going to let a little thing like that get in the way of her fury.

"I," the man stutters, his own eyes filled with pain, "I'm sorry."

"Oh, *you're* sorry," she snaps, knowing every venomous word hurt him, but not caring. She was in too much pain herself, and hugged herself tighter. "*He's* in surgery!"

"I," he starts again, then stops. He turns away from his wife, chewing his lower lip, walking down the fluorescent-lit hallway, his mud-stained boots staining the tile floors. The brown-haired man feels horrible, as he passes families with similar, or worse, fates to deal with. Uncomfortable, he keeps his eyes on the floor, wishing for a strong drink.

His wife hasn't followed him. He isn't surprised. But he'd rather be with her than alone with this holiday music that seems so ghoulishly out of place in a hospital. So he walks back, and finds her a rigid pole of unreleased fury and fear. In a way, he's relieved. He'd rather deal with her silence than her words. Wanting to hold her but knowing she'd refuse, he stands an uneasy couple of feet away.

Then their doctor comes out, looking weary. Both parents turn to the middle-aged woman, seemingly smaller in her casual clothes. "I'm sorry," the doctor says.

"No, no, no," Mrs. Van de Kamp says, flinging herself at her husband. "No," she continues to repeat, her fists hitting her husband's chest, while silent tears spill from her husband. "It can't, no, he can't," she chokes.

"I'm so sorry," the doctor repeats lamely. "If you'll come with me," she starts, waving them along.

Slowly, Mr. Van de Kamp picks up his feet, half-shuffling, half-carrying his wife as they go to sign papers, view their son's body, and make arrangements for organ donation and burial.

Dec. 10, 2012.
The National Inquiry.

The bearded man removes his glasses and rubs his eyes impatiently. Sighing, he continues typing his story, hoping to make the deadline. It was nice being a freelance reporter for a while, since that allowed him more freedom to move around, but he kinda missed a steady paycheck, and allowed himself to be moved up in the tabloid hierarchy. Besides, he figured it was time to settle down, sort of.

"Murphy, you mind speeding things up? We don't have forever, you know," his editor leans over the screen.

John Murphy nods, replacing his glasses and resuming typing. Fortunately, he could recall exact quotes and inserted them into his story, saved the article, and handed the disk over to his rather impatient boss. "Happy?" he drones, not expecting an answer and not getting one.

Another day, another dollar. Which is pretty much what it amounted to these days, he sighs, standing and stretching. Not that it was going to matter in a couple of weeks. But he does what he can while it still counts.

Guess I can't stop shouting at the skies, he grins, grabbing his jacket and getting out of the building. Known as Special Agent Fox Mulder in another lifetime, the man currently calling himself John Murphy is still fond of rooting for the underdog and digging up conspiracies, and is about to visit a similar soul.

GenevaTech Labs.

The blonde woman stacks the samples neatly onto the top shelf, hoping against hope that this will be the batch. It's been a couple of years since she's been with this lab, and so far, they've had the most amazing results. She hopes their record will continue, as they don't have much time.

"Dr. Blackwell, some reporter here to see you," the security guard calls over the intercom.

Dr. Betsy Blackwell purses her lips, then closes the storage doors. Only one person would have the temerity to interrupt her work like this. Sighing, she locks everything down, leaving nothing to chance. Still, she glances in the mirror, seeing a blonde doctor with glasses, bags under her brown eyes, jeans and a what-do-you-want look permanently etched on her features. Not bothering to tidy up her appearance, she walks briskly to the lobby. "Yes?" she says, somewhat impatiently.

Murphy pulls out a tape recorder. "I was hoping to get a soundbite or two for the paper," he says, "regarding the research GenevaTech is doing with gene splicing."

"I don't have time for this," she snaps, turning back to the direction from which she came.

The reporter grabs her arm. "I think you'll have time for this," he says, holding out a clipping of an article as if it were a peace offering.

It appears as if she's barely glanced at it, but her face blanches briefly before she continues on her way back to the lab. "George, escort this man to the door," she says, not looking back.

Once inside the women's room, locked inside a stall, the woman formerly known as Special Agent Dana Scully holds herself, sobbing harshly.


A small crowd of youngsters have congregated outside the store, now that it has closed its doors. The holiday decorations, elevator music, and joyful commercialism mean nothing to the urchins who have found temporary sanctuary under the awning. Like other kids, they chatter aimlessly, as if mindless small talk would keep them warm. Others stamp their feet, rubbing their hands up and down sweaters.

"You're new here, huh?" one youthful panhandler says, finally acknowledging the silent boy.

The freckled boy looks both older and younger than his years, stuffing his hands into his pockets. He says nothing, shrugging.

The other kids don't say it, but their looks clearly say, fresh meat. And they circle him just as hungrily as if he were a cheeseburger. The freckled boy doesn't say or do anything, but his eyes are on those closest to him, seeming to be aware of even those behind him.

Suddenly, they lunge at him, yelling and hollering as if it were a choreographed scene from "Lord of the Flies." Biting and kicking, the smaller ones launch themselves at his pockets, where there's always something good hidden.

After a good few minutes of yelling and screaming, they find themselves fighting themselves. Confused, they slowly disentangle themselves, only to find the mysterious new kid gone. As well as some of their belongings, like a knit cap, some hidden money, and some snacks. Some of them snarl angrily at each other, until somebody says, "It's that ghost kid," and they all quiet down somewhat.

"Can't be," another urchin says, but nobody offers an alternate theory. The mere mention of the wandering boy who appears out of nowhere with in a group of kids, only to disappear, leaving behind some strange adult deaths, is an urban legend none of the streetkids dare to utter just now.

Suddenly, the night is very silent, indeed.

"Taco, where are you?" a girl's voice calls out. "Taco!!!"

"Mina, he's probably hiding someplace warm, which is what we should be doing," her mother consoles her. "Come on, we'd better get home, Daddy will be worried about us."

"No," the girl, her stubbornness derived from both parents, says, her lower lip jutting out. "He's scared an' cold an' lonely. I don't wanna leave without Taco!"

"Fine," her mother shakes her head, taking her daughter's hand. "Taco!" She whistles, but no dog comes running.

As mother and daughter continue to call out, a boy with freckles frowns. He tilts his head, as if listening to something other than the worried owners of a lost pet, then sighs. "Guess you do belong to somebody," he says, petting the ugly mutt affectionately before swatting its rear. "Better go on home, I'll be okay."

The dog looks up at the boy, who nods, then scampers off. It slows down to a trot when it reaches the little girl and her mother, who bends down and scratches the dog with a mixture of bemusement and relief. "Next time you plan on walking the dog, mija, you tell me," Monica Reyes scolds her daughter, reattaching the leash to the dog's collar. "And we really should get a nametag, in case we aren't as lucky next time."

"Sorry, Mommy," Mina says, her hand in her mother's. The small group walks home, as the freckled boy stares after them without expression.

"Where the hell are they?" he wonders, clicking off the safety from his gun. Not that he was worried or anything, but, he narrows his eyes, okay, he's worried. If anything should happen to Mina or Monica, he sighs and forces himself to relax the knots in his stomach. "Knew I should've gone with them."

After a hard day of work, he came home only to pass out on the couch. When he woke up, they'd left a note saying they went for a walk on the east side of town. He'd chuckled, then wonders where they got their love of walking in a winter wonderland from. He hadn't enjoyed putting the new recruits through their paces in the chilly weather, and neither had they enjoyed the outdoor training.

He wonders, not for the first time, if it was such a good idea to have a family, a job, something close to a normal life, on the edge of the end of the world. Or something like that. It's just twelve days away, and the newbies are far from ready. Dammit, he frowns again, where are they?

The door opens and he spins around, his face going from stern to relieved as two snowwomen and a snowdog tromps into the warm little home. "Daddy!" the munchkin calls out, attaching herself to his legs.

He smiles, trying to walk with the bundled girl hobbling him. "Thought I was gonna have to hunt you down myself," he says with a smile, although the look in his eyes tells his wife of his genuine concern.

"John, you're such a worrywart," Monica smiles and hugs him. "We're fine. Taco's fine, too, in case you're wondering."

"Yeah, I can tell," he says, now sandwiched by his daughter, his wife, and the dog threatening to topple them over. "Mind if we move this someplace where there's a soft landing, like the couch?"

"Daddy!" Mina cries out again, oblivious to the danger, hugging his legs tighter.

"Mon, a little help here?" Doggett begs his wife.

"Wuss," she smiles, not breaking off her hug grip either.

Then Taco nudges them in the wrong direction, and Doggett calls out, "Timber!" as they collapse on the floor. "Ow," he groans, glad none of his recruits have seen him harassed by a little girl, a dog, and his wife. "Think I can call in sick, recovering from serious injuries?"

"Silly daddy," Mina giggles, crawling on him, while her mother grins. "Daddy's big and strong."

"Normally, yes," Reyes agrees, "but I think Daddy wants to be a big baby." She doesn't move from her spot, pinning the rest of him down with her weight.

He grimaces at her before launching into his offensive--a tickle attack.

Dec. 12, 2012.
The National Inquiry.

"I've got a lead on a story," Murphy tells the editor. "A new urban legend, some ghost kid killing off random people in various states."

"Doesn't anyone have any *Christmas* related shit?" Ben Bradlee rolls his eyes. "Jeez, does Santa have to crash his fat ass into somebody's living room? I told you, get something related to the holidays, but you're still digging up the weird shit. Not that I don't appreciate it or anything," the large man shrugs, "but you can't do this freelance stuff anymore. You're regular string, remember?"

"I do the ghost kid, and I'll do a conspiracy theory on Santa being an alien," Murphy says.

"Really?" Bradlee raises his thick eyebrows. "On top of the random astrology, chicken fried lizard expose, the real reason behind Val Kilmer's reelection, and celeb facts thing? Okay."

"Okay," Murphy grins briefly, "great."

"No," his boss huffs, "great is when that copy is on my desk by deadline, no amateur errors or stupid pictures. We run a class act here," he says, as if the wall hangings of the Bat Boy and alien autopsies are works of art. He blinks. "I don't see you working on your stories, Mr. Murphy."

Murphy nods and leaves. That was easy. In fact, duck soup compared to the hedging he'd had to do at the Bureau. At least he doesn't have to worry about backstabbing coworkers. Then he passes one of the denizens of the morgue, or the archives, and revises his mental comment. Never mind.

He frowns, pulling out the crumpled article he'd shown Scully earlier. A boy, fitting William's description, was killed in a hunting accident in a small Wyoming town last year around this time. He hopes it *was* just an accident, but now that he's got his boss thinking he's working on a gazillion stories, he's got time to check this out.

In a soup kitchen.

"You heard about Dog?"


"They found his body all frozen an' shit. Said they hadda use a fuckin' drill to peel his fuckin' body off the sidewalk in front of Macy's. Fucker was half-gone already, like he'd melted or some weird shit."


"Heh, glad that fucker's gone. He was one scary fuck."


"Hey, you heard that one story, that some kid's whackin' off people?"


"Yeah, it don't matter if they're famous or street, this fuckin' ghost kid just looks at 'em an' that bastard is gone!"


"Yeah, fuckin' crazy world we're in, huh? They say it's supposed to get all global warming and shi+, but we're freezin' our fuckin' asses off out here! What the fuck?"


"So, if you see that freaky-ass kid, just run, okay? He might not know you're a nice guy like me, see? You see a ghosty little fucker, make tracks, buddy. 'Cause you're my bud, and I don't wanna see you all frozen an' dead an' shi+, okay?"


Dec. 15, 2012.

John Murphy is having no luck. Neither is Fox Mulder, but it's been years since Mulder's been lucky. Finding his son's grave was depressingly easy. Chasing down this ghost child, a new "phantom hitchhiker", is another matter. Oh, he's had no problem digging up information on the bodies, which all have mysteriously vanished under some pretext or another. It's actually finding an intact body and some corroborative evidence of the crime.

Unlike some of his desk-bound compatriots, Murphy is actually a working reporter, and his stories, for the most part, are true. "Now I know how Kolchak felt," he sighs, leaving his fifth city and fifth empty morgue. The thing he hadn't told any of those morticians, coroners or medical examiners is that he's seen this type of thing before. In fact, if they weren't attached to this "ghost child killer" legend, he'd take it as something else.

A sign.

A sign that the timetable is on.

A sign that the end is near.

John Murphy looks up, absently scratching his rough beard, and checks to see if the sun is blood red.

"Dr. Blackwell?" a voice breaks into the distracted thoughts of the small blonde, and she turns.

"Yes?" she asks, seeing it's her colleague, the unfortunately named Dr. Dewey Leak.

"How is the current batch coming along?" he asks in his high, nasal voice.

She fights the urge to retort flippantly, instead answering, "So far, they're progressing like the others. In a couple of days, we should know." Which is what *he* should know, she thinks, wondering when nepotism would end. The fact that he got this job still amazes her, but at least he's competent. Mostly.

"Good, good," he says, as if dismissing a servant, and waddles out.

She sighs, and thanks God that her job, for the most part, keeps her out of his way. More than once, she's wanted to test *his* DNA to see if he isn't the product of some experiment with farm animals, or at least, an incompetent alien clone. Blackwell can't recall if the aliens she encountered were that irritating, but at least they had the decency to be honest, if cold-bloodedly so.

Speaking of cold blood, she blinks, and resumes her task, removing the samples from the centrifuge machine. After placing them in their stands, she takes out a notepad, and then a burger. Munching away, she absently rubs the bandage on her arm before putting her half-eaten meal down to take notes on the blood samples. Please, please let them work this time, she prays a familiar refrain.

Monica Reyes has the same expectant feeling she had while expecting Mina, but she's tested herself twice with no signs of pregnancy. She sighs, knowing it's an expectation of something much worse. "John," she murmurs to herself, absently twisting her wedding ring. She knows he's working hard to train those who will be the first line of defense against the coming invasion, although neither of them are certain how effective that will be. Still, better to try than to roll over and give up, right?

Which is what she tells herself as she continues to work as an FBI agent in the Syndicate-riddled organization. By herself, it would be impossible, but there are some other honest agents who haven't been bought out or replaced, and she's currently assisting on a VCU-related case. These days, the X-Files are permanently closed, but it doesn't mean she's stopped investigating the "spooky" cases.

Such as this case, in which a serial killer who's struck in several states within the space of several months has left behind deteriorated or nonexistent corpses. That in itself wouldn't be too unusual, except for the description of the killer, who has been described as a "ghost kid," a "phantom," and "spooky." So of course, Reyes jumped on the investigation.

The clues are sparse, the evidence scant, and the corpses, well, Reyes sighs. She's tried to get into the basement office several times, but with no success. She's started to despair that all the files have been disposed of already, if they haven't been reshuffled in the wake of the second terrorist attack on the building. But she knows there's a clue in those files that will help her case.

Or, she pauses in mid-pace, she could always ask John. He'd read through the entire files at one point, he may not have a photographic memory, but surely the details would stand out, a memory would leap out. And hopefully she'll have more leads on this frustrating and intriguing case.

John Murphy sighs. He wishes he had his old partner back, have somebody to bounce ideas off of. He tried replacing her with several people, but they were either too willing to follow his lead, or too entrenched in their own beliefs to entertain another idea. So he'd gone it alone. And alone he is, tracking down this ghost kid killer, who's defying the usual lore of sticking to murders in one location. Splashing his face, he checks his reflection in the bathroom mirror. Yup, looks just like a crazy college professor, he grins, with the requisite wild eyes, unkempt hair and beard, and lousy jacket.

The speakers beep, and a voice says, "Please return to your seats and fasten your seatbelts. We will be landing within half an hour."

Drying off his face, Murphy returns to his seat, bringing his briefcase with him. Chalk it up to perpetual paranoia, but he's got not only his official reporting equipment inside, but also a change of clothes inside, as well as a loaded gun. It's not like his FBI days, but it's never stopped him from encountering the strange, bizarre, and life-endangering.

Speaking of which, he's surprised he hasn't encountered the killer ghost kid yet. Maybe it's because the kid doesn't stick around in the same city once he's killed, which is something he expects from a serial killer, but not an apparition. So he revises his theory, especially in light of the evidence left. The killer only singles out alien hybrids, or aliens themselves, but not the new alien replicants. Probably because the stiletto weapon's easier to manufacture than carrying around a boulder of magnetite, Murphy figures.

Or the killer is an alien replicant itself, unable to kill that which shares the same physiology as itself.

10:34 p.m.

Reyes comes back out into the living room, awake after her brief nap from reading Mina to sleep. "John?"

"Hm?" He puts down the paper to look up at her. When he sees the look on her face, he pushes himself away from the computer.

"I was hoping to pick your brains about a case that might be related to something I'm working on," she says, sitting across him with the chair back facing towards him.

"I'm guessing from the X-Files," he says, and she nods. "Okay, shoot."

"Do you recall cases in which bodies disappeared?" Reyes crosses her arms over the chair back. "The only thing left is some odd trace residue, like green slime or moss. Initial lab reports say the slime has some odd mix of plant and human physiology, which doesn't make sense." Her brown eyes pick up on her husband's expression. "But it makes sense to you."

Doggett nods. "Early cases Mulder and Scully worked on dealt with hybrid clones, they'd melt away once they were killed. Only left some kinda nasty-smelling green stuff behind." He looks at her. "The clones bled green, just like the," he pauses, "aliens."

She smiles, "Still getting used to saying that word, huh? Well, apparently the clones are still out there, or were. This serial killer is singling them out. If the killer is alien, I'm not sure what the motivation is, since one would think they'd appreciate the help in the takeover," she muses.

"Unless it's something else," Doggett counters. "Don't forget those supersoldiers."

She nods. "Or the alien rebels. Or," she sighs, "God knows what else in the mix. Because we've also been getting reports, rumors, really, about some ghost kid being responsible."

"Ghost kid?" Doggett raises his eyebrows. "That's a twist."

"Yes, well, it's not like we have any other leads," she slumps over on the chair. "Perhaps someone's mistaking a grey for a child. It's not an uncommon assumption."

He snorts. "Yeah, people would rather believe some kid, a dead kid, is killing folks rather than some alien from outer space. Monica, this world is getting weirder by the second."

She grins suddenly. "When you put it that way, yeah, it is," and gets off the chair to push his aside. "Excuse me, but there's something I need to look up."

"Oh?" Doggett pretends to be miffed, but stands up good-naturedly.

"The tabloids," she says, taking his seat, "well, one in particular."

1:12 p.m.
Dec. 16, 2012.

Dr. Blackwell rotates her neck, sighing as she closes her eyes. She's running out of time. Hell, they're all running out of time. She can't believe he's wasting his time writing trash while there's still time to fight, still time to hope, but somebody's gotta be in the trenches. She thinks of Doggett and Reyes, how they've managed to have the most normal lives of them all, and how much they stand to lose once the invasion begins.

The machine stops whirring and beeps, and, muttering a quick prayer, she removes the first tube. Negative. Second. Negative. She sighs, expelling the breath she's been holding. Not that she's surprised, but it still would've been nice to see some good news, for once. She continues to inspect and read the results, recording them diligently, with no success. Dammit, she's been against the gun before, trying to find an antidote, why can't she find anything now?

The petite blonde grabs a syringe and pushes up her sleeve. There are needle marks that make it look like she's a junkie or been abused, and she stops just short of inserting the needle. Her eyes widen as she takes in this realization, her breath catches and she puts the needle down, sobbing. I can't do this alone, she sobs, collapsing by the side of the table, not caring if anyone walks in, I can't do this any more.

After a good several minutes of silent, body-wracking sobs, she wipes her nose, then walks over to the sink and washes up. Sniffling, she makes sure she looks presentable in the mirror, and clears her throat a few times while planning her next moves. She picks up the phone, dialing an all-too familiar number. "CDC? Yes, this is Dr. Blackwell with GenevaTech. There's something you should know about this new virus strain," she begins.

4:30 p.m.

The bell rings, and children spill out of the classrooms and off the field. It's a typical afternoon in this neighborhood, the scene replayed at elementary schools across the nation, and Mina Reyes races out, along with her friends and classmates. Breathless, she comes to a stop at the driveway, along with a handful of her friends, and they huddle for warmth together. Soon, one of them has the bright idea for a "big smoke" contest, and they are busy huffing plumes of warm air for the biggest cloud in their circle.

The freckled boy watches dispassionately as other children are being picked up by parents or guardians from after school programs or extracurricular activities. The children seem to instinctively shy away from him, even if they don't entirely recognize him as an out-of-towner, some racing to their parents as their cars slow down.

It doesn't bother the pale boy, and his eyes continue to roam around, searching for that someone or something he's drawn to. His hazel eyes light on the small circle of girls, their warm breath fogging the air above them. Expressionless, he walks toward them, and the crowds of children part wordlessly, it's as if he's Moses parting the Red Sea.

"Mina," a male voice interrupts their game, and the girl looks up with wide eyes.

The little girl looks up and breaks into a gap-toothed smile. "Daddy!" she says, raising her arms and being lifted up onto her father's shoulders.

"Gah, I'm gettin' too old for this," he sighs as her friends giggle. "*You're* getting too old for this, too."

"Uh-uh," Mina disagrees. "Walk Giant Mina to the car."

"Fine," her long-suffering father says, the troop of girls following like dwarfs behind them.

"Giant Mina says stop," the girl declares, and Doggett unlocks the door before hefting the girl off his shoulders.

"Giant Mina should be Regular Mina right about now," Doggett says, opening the door and she and her friends pile into the van.

"Thank you," Mina says, and her friends chorus the same.

Dr. Blackwell sighs, hoping she did the right thing. It's been years since she's been put into a position like this, and the same rush of being in charge, of being put into a life-or-death situation, floods back. Not that she entirely trusts the CDC, but they're the only organization with worldwide contacts she's able to reach at this point. Besides, if even a small portion of the population gets her vaccine, it would be worth it. She hopes.

And that's what this damn venture is based on, her hopes. She'd given up on Mulder being able to do anything in his fugitive status, as well as Doggett and Reyes in their "model citizens" role. This will be a big task, she prays the ball gets rolling before it's too late.

Before anyone panics. Before the countdown hits zero. Before the world goes to hell.

"So what's the story this time? That Santa Claus's been kidnapped?" her boss smirks. Both Kersh and Skinner were gone, only to be replaced by the new Syndicate toadies, if not outright replicants. The man leaning in his expensive leather chair before her is a mere human, but it doesn't make him any more endearing.

Reyes shoots him a look. What John Murphy had written was eerily close to describing some early X-Files, in terms of the victims' remains, or what's left of the remains. And which happens to confirm the FBI's reports of the "phantom child killer"'s M.O. "No," she says, her expression chiding. "That your killer is a boy between the ages of 11-15, his weapon is a sharp object, a stiletto of sorts, and that he chooses his victims genetically."

"What do you mean, genetically?" he frowns at her.

"I mean," she says, "that all his victims had something in common--they were either partly or completely of extraterrestrial origin."

"Aw, no," the older man rolls his eyes. "See, this is what gets you in trouble. This is what keeps you a field agent, if not fired outright. Your crazy ideas."

"Do you have any better profile?" she demands. "Quantico's been going through what's left of the victims, and they tell me the composition is unlike anything they've seen before--outside of the X-Files."

"Here we go again," her boss sighs. "Look, just because there's some weird goo left behind doesn't make it alien. It could be some kids' idea of a prank."

"In several different states?" Reyes raises her brows, smiling a little. "And with the exact chemical makeup? That's some prank."

He shakes his head. "Okay, so maybe it's a team effort. Who knows. But you can't just go assuming it's E.T.'s dead brother's leftovers every time you can't explain something."

"I didn't assume." She smiles, walking out. "That's why I had the remains checked out by different labs."

Dec. 18, 2012.

"Agent Monica Reyes?" says a man looking more FBI than the FBI at the door, clean cut, nice suit, built like a truck. In fact, he's got a partner looking just like him, except with sunglasses. They both have mics wired to their ears, and now everyone in the office is looking nervous. They don't wait for her to identify herself from the rest of the agents, in fact, they home in straight to her cubicle.

"Yes?" Reyes says, standing as she looks at one clean-cut man and the other. Secret Service, she sighs inwardly, I don't think I've pissed off the president yet.

The first man with the oddly nondescript face says, "There's been a break-in at the White House." His partner, the man with the sunglasses, simply nods.

"You're joking," right? Reyes automatically smiles, and her smile fades as the men continues to stare steadily at her. "What happened?"

"Come with us," they say, and she doesn't argue as she finds herself being shepherded out of her cubicle, fueling more gossip for the mill than usual.

At a Certain Distinguished White Building in Washington D.C.

"Mon, what's going on?" Doggett frowns at his wife as she's being marched in to the brisk, but opulent, room. He didn't like being dragged from the exercises, especially so close to D-Day, and he's been fighting bewilderment, frustration and annoyance ever since he got here.

She only shakes her head, wanting to ask him the same thing. She's tried asking the nice men with wires attached to their ears, but they've said nothing the whole trip. And to both her and Doggett's amazement, another familiar face has been brought in, looking as displeased as Doggett, if not more so.

"Agent Scully?" Reyes stares at the woman, who seems to have aged harshly within recent years.

The blonde woman sighs, then chuckles mirthlessly. "I haven't been that woman for quite some time," she says, "you can call me Dr. Blackwell." She remains standing, as do her former compatriots.

"As in Elizabeth Blackwell, one of the first female doctors in the U.S.," a man interrupts their reunion. He's obviously not the president, but the president has followed him into the room and locked the door. "I assume you all know why you're here."

"I assume you're Ruben Koenig, head of CIA," Reyes says smoothly. "All I've heard was that there was a break-in here."

"There's been some kinda national emergency that hasn't made the news yet," Doggett adds.

Scully, or rather, Dr. Blackwell, says nothing, looking hard at Koenig, who's obviously enjoying this little meeting. She's so sick of people playing mindgames, and this man with the toupee apparently knows about the deadline. Whoop-de-doo, so does she.

"We understand you have some information regarding a particular visitor," Koenig goes on, nodding briefly at the president, who's seated himself, "you might recognize him."

He hands Doggett a black-and-white security photo, at the usual odd angle of such cameras, of a light-haired, freckle-faced boy. He smirks when the military man doesn't recognize the subject, passing it on to his wife, who likewise draws a blank. When it reaches Scully, however, there's a slight hardening of her jaw before she hands it to the president.

"The resemblance is there, if faint," Koenig says, folding his arms. "Last night, young William Van DeKamp, nee Scully, managed to make his way past security, only to appear on camera in the president's bedroom. He brought a message very unlike that of Marlowe's ghost, however," he says cheerfully.

National Institutes of Health.
Bethesda, MD.

In front of a public entrance, a modern-day Jeremiah is calling out to the crowd. "The end is near!" a haggard man calls out, waving a placard bearing the same words. "It will come when you least expect it!"

A bearded bystander shakes his head. We already know it, he sighs heavily, we just don't want to admit it. He watches as people line up for the new vaccine against AIDS, a motley crew that barely scratches the surface of those at risk, or those who think they're not but are. John Murphy knows better, having hacked into the CDC's files on this particular new wonder drug said to put all those previous cocktails to shame.

He calls out to the stranger, "Hey, can I talk to you for a second?"

The previously unacknowledged prophet pauses in his tirade, and the crowd is immensely relieved when he joins the bearded man on the other side of the street. "Yes?" he asks in a creakier, worn-out voice, his sign slung over his shoulder like a rifle.

"I'm with the 'National Inquiry,' mind if I ask a few questions?" Murphy says in a semi-drone, holding up a mini-tape recorder.

The older man looks distrustfully at the small gadget, then at the bearded man's face, only to see a kindred spirit. "Yes," he says finally.

"Mind if we chat in the bistro? I missed breakfast," Murphy lies smoothly, and the old man doesn't argue as they make their way into the small eatery full of good smells and good food.

Impatiently, Doggett glowers at the smug man with the toupee. "So what the hell did he have to say?"

"The world is about to end," the president interrupts Koenig's little posturing. "Aliens are going to invade on Dec. 22 of this year." He looks hopelessly at the small group. "Helluva Christmas present, don't you think?"

"You don't really believe in little green men, do you?" The CIA head turns to the military man.

"They're gray," Doggett corrects him, and a smile crosses Reyes face.

"Anyways," the toupeed man goes on, "we brought you all in because you apparently have a connection with our B&E artist. And, he glances at the president quickly, you have some idea of what's going on at that date."

"What the president said," Reyes says, "extraterrestrials have been planning the invasion ever since Roswell, if not earlier, and will take over in a joint effort with FEMA and the mass panic to overtake the world's population by means of a virus, a black substance called Purity. The X-Files were originally designated for unusual cases, as you know," she shoots a pointed look at Koenig, "but eventually uncovered the plans of a conspiracy working with aliens for eventual takeover".

The president nods. "We read the report on the late Agent Mulder's trial."

Scully stares at him. "Late?"

Now the commander in chief looks apologetic. "Forgive me, Dr. Scu--Blackwell, but we've received word of his passing. Unfortunate, since it was his quest, and his child, who's made us aware of this matter, and he flickers a look of disapproval at the CIA head. I would've liked to have had his input."

"Well, you've got us," Doggett says, and you know what we've been doing."

The president nods. "Very commendable efforts, but I'm not sure if that would help."

"You do what you can." Scully nods. She stares levelly at the others. "We can all roll over and die, or we can fight."

Dec. 20, 2012.

Various world leaders have contacted each other by various means, all having seen and heard from the mysterious boy with the message of doom. All have come to a consensus, for once, without the input of the United Nations, any psychotic Third World nation, or other international pressures.

All have agreed to destroy the world in a nuclear holocaust, rather than submit to the slavery and domination by inhuman visitors. All have decided not to inform their people, but somehow, the word gets out.

Worldwide, people are panicking, rioting, committing numerous acts of atrocity and desperation, knowing that yes, the end is near. Others, however, are doing acts of love, even repentance, in the hope that somehow they will escape the hell the earth has become. The prophet Murphy talked to earlier has killed himself in despair, and the reporter buried him, along with some others.

A handful, like Doggett and Reyes, are going around the globe, trying to defuse the bombs set to destroy the earth. Blackwell vainly tried to dissuade the president, but to no avail. Even Murphy, going by the dead prophet's name of Rendlesham, tried to enlist the ground-based Consortium members, only to find them in various stages of black oil takeover.

The nuclear clock finally reached midnight.

Dec. 21, 2012.

Unlike the infamous R.E.M. song, yes, it *was* the end of the world, but nobody felt fine.

In fact, it took repeated bombings of thermonuclear as well as biochemical weapons to get the earth to a suitable state of desolation and death. Desperately, people went underground, only to have the ground torn up around and beneath them. Screaming, cursing, bleeding, praying, everyone from every nation, ideology, ethnicity, language and sex went to their graves. John Doggett, Monica Reyes, Fox Mulder (or John Murphy), Dana Scully (or Dr. Blackwell), and all others who had given their lives to save the world from this catastrophe, found themselves standing at their own personal ground zeroes, unable to quell the tide of fear and death that now overcame the world.

Artificially induced earthquakes and floods, fires and plagues swept the planet, sparing nothing and no one. No living thing, not even animals or microorganisms, were safe from the mass extinction brought about by the politicians' fear of the inability to counter the brutal domination from above.

Finally, the earth cloaked in a stained, sooty haze, there was peace on earth. A silent, permanent night enveloped the once-thriving little planet. It spun silently, with no evidence of its lifelessness, on its preset orbit around the sun, along with other similarly empty planets.

Dec. 22, 2012.

As promised, strange alien vessels land on the now-barren planet. In various states of development, black oil, bloodthirsty reptilian and small gray form, the aliens step out of their unearthly craft, ready to take over the world.

However, the world is not as they wished, no hybrids, no slaves, not even bacteria with which to bond. One of the aliens sighs, its wide black eyes taking in the desolate scene. "I told you we should not have trusted those conspirators," it tells its compatriot.

"Mars all over again," the second creature agrees. "Dammit." As one, all the would-be world dominators re-enter their craft and power up to depart.

As they leave the silent, dead planet, a tow-headed boy with freckles standing out on his pale face stares upward, sticking his hands in his pockets.


For NeoXPhile's Fic Challenge 12-22-2012:

*This challenge will come in two versions - Regular, and Super. Regular will involve just the first six goals. Super will involve the

first six goals *and* up to all four of the extra challege goals. You can pick which version you'd like to do.*

As we know from The Truth the date of the alien invasion is set for December 22nd, 2012. So in this fic we'll be writing about the invasion. As with all challenges, there's a lot of wiggle room. You could write angst, a snark fic, a mytharc, a casefile, romance or what have you. It can also be of any length from one-shot to novel as well. BUT to make it more of a challenge, you must abide by the following guidelines.

Regular challenge goals - Your Fic (must/do include all 6):

* Must be a brand new stand-alone - not connected to any other fics you've written (although it could be the start of a new series, if you like)and not anything already started.

* Must involve William in some shape or form. Alive or dead; with M&S, the Van Dekamps or neither; hero, villian or victim; minor character or major; whatever you want as long as he's addressed in the fic.
All of the above;D

* Can be Shippy OR Drippy, (or neither) but NOT both - even at the end of the fic. I know, so hard to pick! But pick you must.

* The main story (prologue and flashbacks excepted) must begin no earlier than New Years 2011, and end no sooner than December 22nd, 2012. It can end any time later than that, but it must go through the invasion date at minimum.

* Must involve the invasion (Duh, right? lol)
See last post;p

* And just for fun, must include a scene with some sort of animal. Sweet or "when animals attack" is up to your discretion.
Taco the dog (Mina Doggett's pet).

Those are the requirements for everyone, but some people like even *more* of a challenge, so...

***Optional*** extra goals for people who want even more of a challenge - Super challenge goals (pick 0-4):

* Involve the return of a character once believed dead.
Bummer, never mind;}

* Involve a child other than ones on the show (not William, Luke, Emily, Gibson etc)
Mina Doggett.

* Involve a song you think(or hope) might still be memorable in 2012
The title, "Silent Night."

* Pair up characters other than the traditional pairs of M&S and D&R (Scully and Doggett, for example, or Maggie and Skinner)
Don't think so, unless you count the Van DeKamps.

Lessee... other stuffs... oh yeah!

The storyline was based on both Mulder's fears from "The Truth" as well as the disturbing implications from Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring." And kind of on that World War II incident between an Allied troop & a German troop, where they had a truce during Christmas before resuming their battle.

John Murphy -- investigative reporter on the Kecksburg incident (the 2nd Roswell, if you believe the SciFi & History Channels)

Dr. Betsy Blackwell -- one of the first female American doctors

Ben Bradlee -- editor for Woodrow & Bernstein on the Nixon story

Ruben Koenig -- evil e-mail investor

Rendlesham -- supposed UFO invasion site in England

And that's about it. Sorry to end on such a bummer, but that's where the story was going. Thanks for reading, & I hope the other challenge fics are happier!

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Post-Col Childhoods
Grandpa Mulder and Grandma Scully
William's 13th Birthday Challenge
2012 & 2012 Revisited Challenges
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