Title: Games of the Mind
Summary: Mulder and Scully meet a young woman who might hold the key to finding Samantha Mulder. Conspiracy and alien abduction attached.
Author's Notes: Christina Shuy and Chris Wildbore are, at least in this story, figments of my imagination. He and I do exist... *grin* (I discovered later Chris thinks he's a figment of my imagination! Who KNEW! *snicker*)
This story brings up the phenomenon of Multiple Personalities. I refuse to label it a disorder because the people who are MP function quite well. Please note, however, that though the conversations within the system are shown, they can occur within a split second. And sometimes several of them can occur at once. When that happens, believe you me, it is loud and confusing. Most cases of Multiple Personality Disorder (disorder? Not generally) are caused by repeated, sustained, and unpredictable abuse where the child is repeatedly betrayed by someone s/he trusts most. It's usually either the parents or the relatives. The v ariations within the disorder itself are as many as there are people on this planet. The abuse itself does not have to be sexual in nature. Physical and psychological abuse alone is enough to cause something like this to happen. Regardless, it is not an easy thing to either live with or deal with. There will be times where a breaking point is reached and the person living with the multiple minds phenomena will be forced into a hospital. This is never a pleasant situation on themselves or those around them who care. I also need to note that this story might hit a little too close to home for some people. If such a thing happens, I have only one request... please don't scream at me about it. I was trying to be a good storyteller, that's all.
I started this story back in March of 1995. It's a long work, and I thank anyone who has the patience to read the entire thing. It is now finished as of August 1998... and I'm not sure this could be considered a labour of love, but it was quite a labour...
End Author's Notes Disclaimer:
Wednesday 22 May 1996<b>
It was just after sunset in Los Angeles. A dark-haired Asian woman walked out of the tall Physical Sciences building, a black backpack over her left shoulder and a canvas bag over her shoulder, car keys in her right hand. Her dark eyes blinked at t he light conditions in a half-squint. Her glasses, large burgundy wire frames with thin but needed lenses, were perched on her nose left after physics lecture, and she'd decided that she'd need them probably for the drive home, so she'd left them on, even though they kept sliding down her nose.
She wore a black shirt and desert print skirt with black heels on her feet, her hair pulled back by a braid. A Walkman, earphone cord leading into the bag, played softly in her ears. Her lips moved silently with the words to the songs only she could hear.
She sighed to herself, shoving the glasses back onto her nose again.. It had been a long day. "Well, time to go home..." She headed for the parking structure, directly under the building she'd walked from.
Suddenly, a bright light flashed in her face. She shut her eyes quickly from the sharp intensity.
"What the...!?" She'd stopped and tried to turn away.
The light flashed, then vanished just as abruptly. When it had faded completely, the walkway to the the parking structure was empty.
Monday 31 March 1997<b>
She opened her eyes and discovered she wasn't where she thought she would be. Not only that, she was wearing something different, though it was clothing she recognized. Her backpack was also nowhere to be seen, the familiar weight of textbooks not on her shoulder, and her canvas bag had gone as well, though she still had her purse, as well as her walkman, though it was now clipped to her waist. The earphones looped around her neck and not in her ears.
She took time to look around and was amazed at what she saw. Unwittingly, she walked into someone while she was totally engrossed in her own thoughts.
"I'm sorry..." she mumbled, just loud enough to be audible as she looked down at her shoes... which she then noticed were also different.
"It's ok. I wasn't watching where I was going." a strong but soft male voice replied.
She looked up and into hazel eyes, somewhat surprised by the sound of the voice.
He immediately noticed hers were a very dark brown. Something about them seemed strange. It seemed they were continuously changing. They switched from being completely embarassed to strong and angry. Then, they changed again to being bright, inqu isitive and shining. At the very least, his curiousity was piqued.
"Um... hello... My name's Valerie," she said, her voice light but steady, and with a hint of a Canadian accent, reaching out one hand. The speaking voice was disorienting, and she fought to stablise herself.
"Mulder," he said, taking her hand and shaking it, studying her momentarily. He looked at her eyes again.
"You're an FBI agent, eh?" she asked, noticing his badge clipped to the suit jacket of his well-rumpled suit. Along with it, there was a nice, yet loud, silk tie and button-down shirt that was faintly blue.
Mulder glanced at the badge, then smiled as he looked at her. "Yeah." he answered. "I guess you could say I am."
An image abruptly formed in her mind. A young girl. Familiar yet different. With long, dark curling hair. Then another, the same person now old enough to be a woman. The familial resemblance between the woman and the man she was looking at face to face was definitely there. The image of the face overlay what her eyes saw.
"You..." she started but her words caught in her throat. Before she could speak again, she was interrupted.
"Mulder! You forgot to sign out. And who's this?" a red-haired woman said, walking up to them. She wasn't wearing an obvious FBI badge and he smiled, watching her approach. However, he noted the woman beside him stiffen slightly. Something within her changed again, her emotions switching from surprise to fear. And there was also something else... something he couldn't quite put a finger on.
"Well, Scully, you know I have a lot on my mind. I hate tax time." Mulder grinned at the approaching woman. "I'd like you to meet Valerie. I just about ran her over trying to get home in time and get my taxes done. Quite a task considering I haven't even started them yet. Besides, you know how disorganised I am." He turned to introduce Scully to the woman he'd caught up with. "Valerie, this is Dana Scully, my partner."
"It's nice to meet you, Valerie." Scully smiled before turning her attention back to her friend and partner. "Taxes or no, Mulder, I think you should probably watch where you're going. You're always running into things." Scully teased. "Either that or having things run into you. Fortunately this time didn't put you in the hospital."
Mulder flushed and grinned, embarassed.
"He... I... I didn't... uh..." the woman started, then stopped, hoping they'd understand what she tried to say with what she hadn't. Something in her clicked. She straightened and the manner which she held herself changed abruptly, as did her voice. "Excuse me." She turned and fled without another word.
Scully and Mulder watched the woman, wearing an oversized Toronto Blue Jays tshirt and shorts, retreating, as though afraid for her own life.
"What was that all about?" Scully asked.
"I don't know... " Mulder answered, eyes narrowed slightly in thought. "Something strange is going on. There's something about her that's familiar, but I can't be sure."
"Mulder, where are you going?" Scully asked, as he started towards the door.
"I'm going after her. She looks familiar... I know I've seen her somewhere before. And I want to find her to see if she's ok."
"Mulder, I don't think she's an X-File..."
"Anything is possible, Scully, anything."
"But not everything is probable, Mulder..." Scully murmured, and followed Mulder out.
The woman watched her own actions, confused. Her brain felt scrambled and her head hurt frightfully. Stopping, she tried to get her bearings. The babbling voices in her mind wondering what was going on...among other things. She closed her eyes an d tried to think clearly.
<i>'All right... STOP IT, ALL of you!'</i> a sharp voice snapped.
<i>'What the HELL am I doing in Washington, D.C.?!'</i> she thought to herself. Or would have. The thought was not in her own voice.
A sign caught her eye and she paused. No wonder the person she'd almost run over had an FBI badge. The J. Edgar Hoover building was FBI headquarters.
She sighed and shook her head, starting to walk. There were confusing images in her mind. She kept getting odd flashes of things she'd never seen before... or had she? She couldn't be sure either way. Where the hell was her backpack? And how did her clothes change without her knowing?
Taking a gut feeling, she stopped, trying to find something which would give her an indication as to what was going on. Checking the date on the paper in the newsstand, she stopped suddenly.
March 30, 1997. Easter Monday in Canada. Why that tidbit of information occurred to her, she had no idea.
<i>'Considering you are trying to put Canada as far behind you-'</i> A snide voice half snickered.
<i>'Shut up! We have to get this thing solved.'</i> A British accented female voice declared.
The date itself seemed to mock her. Disorientaton swirled through her mind, accompanied by dizziness.
"Are you okay, Valerie?" Mulder's voice was behind her. How she knew who he was confused her, but the entire situation at the moment was doing the same.
She glanced around to see whom he might be talking to before she realised he was addressing _her_. Something which had never happened to her before.
<i>'Gods, not this... not NOW...'</i> someone murmured.
"Um... Agent Mulder, I hate to disappoint you, but, uh, Valerie's not my name..," she said, her heart racing, even as she was turning to face him. Her accent was now faintly Midwestern, though there was a hint of a British accent there as well.
<i>'At least, not the one we all answer to.'</i> a voice spoke up.
<i>'No kidding!'</i> another voice said.<i>'Then again, I suppose we should be grateful we answer to one name at all!'</i>
<i>'Hey, guys... be quiet.'</i> a third answered before the headache could start again.
As he studied her eyes, he noticed the continuous shifting again. She was looking at him a little nervously.
"My name is Christina..." she dug through her purse and found her wallet and driver's license indicating she was from California. "See?"
Mulder studied her carefully. Her features were definitely Asian, but at times looked oddly out of place.
"I wanted to make sure you were ok," Mulder said, his tone suggesting he knew more than he was saying.
"I..." she began. The image in her mind seemed to overlay Mulder's face again and somehow she knew who the person was. "Your sister..." she gasped suddenly, but stopped, blinking away a headache as well as the brightness of the sun. The words had emerged from her lips even before she knew what was actually going on.
Mulder paled visibly. "What about my sister?"
"I..." Mulder watched her struggling for thoughts and words. Once again, there was a mysterious shift in her expressions and she rubbed at her forehead. "I don't know. I'm sorry, Agent Mulder..." and he seemed to regain much of his colour, though the shocked expression remained. "I don't know what is going on with me right now. I'm sorry for troubling you..."
Mulder flinched slightly. She'd seemed to be able to pick up on thought and action, even while not even looking directly at him.
"What's going on here, Mulder? Is Valerie alright?" Scully suddenly appeared at Mulder's side.
"Her name's not Valerie... but I think she could use our help anyway," he said, and Scully looked mystified. "Tell me, Christina, what day do you last remember it being?"
"Ah..." she looked more than a touch embarassed. "May 22, 1996, though I just looked at the paper and it said it was March 30, 1997?!"
"Have you lost this much time before?" Mulder asked.
Scully glanced at her partner, wondering where this was leading.
"What kind of question is that?" Christina's tone was instantly suspicious. Apparently, Christina was wondering the same thing.
"Just a question... What's the last thing you remember?"
"I... I last remember being in California, walking to my car after classes and the next thing I knew, I was walking into you. And I'm aware of the fact that I'm not in California anymore. This is Washington, DC."
"Do you remember mentioning anything about my sister?"
Christina shook her head and looked throughly mystified, even though it had only happened moments before.
"Your sister? Mulder, what would she know about your sister? She doesn't look old enough to know..." Scully said. "Even if she had grown up in the same area you did."
"About a minute ago, she looked in her late 20s. How old are you, physically?" Mulder asked.
<i>Okay, what the HELL is that about?!</i> Valerie's voice, now strictly internal, declared.
"23... but why did you use the word 'physically'?" she sounded alarmed, some part of her was starting to get suspicious.
<i>'Two weird questions... he knows something...'</i> a voice said.
<i>'You're damned right he knows something! Question is, what and HOW?'</i> Another voice asked.
<i>'So he knows something... Fine. Question is, what do we do about it?'</i> Yet another asked.
<i>'Go with him, see what he knows?'</i> The second answered, questioning.
<i>'That goes without saying.'</i> the first voice replied.
At that same time, Mulder moved to manoeuver her back towards the Hoover building and glanced at Scully. She seemed to understand what Mulder was doing. Christina, on the other hand, didn't.
A shudder ran through Christina's body as an image ran through her mind. Her father, standing over her, belt in hand, rage in face. But, more than that, was the feeling that she was in trouble. Serious trouble.
<i>Stop this!!!</i> Someone inside shrieked. Panic spread within.
With an effort, she willed the image and the emotion to the back of her mind and turned her attention back to the present and the FBI agents standing in front of her.
"Exactly what are you doing?" she asked, realizing that he hadn't answered her question yet. The tone of her voice, however, was tense and touched with anger.
"Let's go down to my office so we can talk. I don't know if it's a good idea to talk about this in public," Mulder said, though Christina could tell he was avoiding the question.
She sighed, exasperated. "Agent Mulder, WHY did you use the word 'physically' when asking how old I was?"
From the way she studied Mulder, he knew he had to answer her one way or another before she would go anywhere, at least with him.
<i>'Well, one reason could be that he KNOWS...'</i> Valerie piped up.
<i>'Valerie...'</i> a second voice cautioned.
He could practically see her mannerisms changing right before his eyes. Glancing over at Scully, he saw that she could see it as well, though he wasn't sure she believed what she was seeing. Then again, he wasn't sure *he* believed it either.
"That's part of what I want to talk to you about. Now, will you come with me to my office?" Mulder said.
"Just a minute." Scully interrupted them.
<i>Oh grand. How much trouble are we in *now*?!</i> Valerie's voice asked.
<i>I don't know... and I'm not sure any of us want to know. But maybe this isn't even about us..</i> Christina's own voice reasoned.
<i>Don't be so sure...</i> Valerie answered.
"What's up, Scully?" Mulder asked as she pulled him over to one side. He still kept one eye on Christina, almost as though he were afraid she'd run away.
"Mulder, are you sure this is such a good idea?" Scully asked.
"What do you mean?"
"She's talking like she knows what happened to your sister. She couldn't have if she's only 23. She's not even old enough to know about Samantha! And I doubt anyone would tell her, even if she had friends, or has lived in the same neighbourhood."
"Scully, she needs our help. I don't know how yet, but if we can help her at all, I'd be more than glad to. You know? After all, how is it that she doesn't remember how she got from Los Angeles to Washington?"
"There could be any number of explanations, Mulder. Not everything is paranormal."
"But that's just it, Scully. She's going to need our help in finding out that answer."
"Why us, though, Mulder? What makes this our responsibility?"
"Ummm... well, there could be the fact that we're the first people she's run into, and she looks a little wary of asking anyone for help directly."
Dana Scully looked at Christina a little more closely before she nodded. "You're right. Okay. Let's get her back to the office."
They both turned back to Christina, who by this time was looking somewhat nervous.
"Let's go to my office, okay, Christina?" Mulder asked.
"Why do you need to see me in your office, Agent Mulder?" The defensive tone in Christina's voice surprised neither of them, and Christina herself didn't even seem to be aware of it.
"That way I can help you find out how you got from Los Angeles to here with no memory of the event. If that's okay with you."
"I guess so..." she answered, still bewildered by what was going on both in her own mind and with the two FBI agents who seemed quite interested in her, though for unknown, and separate, reasons.
Upon entering the basement office, Scully went to her computer and started scanning information from the files. Mulder pulled out a chair and Christina sat down in it.
In the meantime, a second conversation had started among the Others within Christina's mind.
<i>'I don't like this... I don't like basements... remember what Dad used to do-</i> A scared little girl's voice murmured.
<i>'Hush! I don't even *want* to hear it. And I don't want to remember being beaten, even if it wasn't very severe...'</i> Christina's own voice answered.
<i>'Besides which, it wasn't a basement... it was just the lowest level of a split-level house. Not that anything ever happened in that house.'</i> a third voice said, one that sounded no older than ten.
<i>'Minimalising again, are we? I don't have the time to convince either of you that what we remember did happen. Look, why can't we turn our attention back to this Mulder person and why we're here now.'</i> An older, British accented female's voice, the same one from earlier, left no room for argument.
<i>'Why the hell is he acting like this?'</i> Christina asked.<i>And are we in trouble again?</i>
<i>'Ask him. He's making us nervous. Police always make us nervous.'</i> the little girl said.
<i>'He's not police. He's FBI.'</i> Answered another who was clearly nervous around authority figures.
<i>'Police. FBI. No difference. Both have authority and both use guns.'</i>
<i>'And guns DEFINITELY make us nervous. People get hurt with guns, as well as without them... and we're tired of being hurt.'</i> That one sounded more weary than anything.
"Okay, Mulder, we're in your office, so tell me why you used the word 'physically' when asking me how old I am?"
<i>'If he knows, then we don't have to hide this from him.'</i> Valerie continued. She had been running commentary since bumping into Mulder about ten minutes earlier. None of it particularly helpful. Many of the rest of them chose to ignore her. Then again, Valerie was the rebellious teenager Christina had never been allowed to be, and her words and attitude reflected that fact.
<i>'Shut up, Valerie.'</i> the British accented woman's voice declared.
<i>'Valerie Kathleen Thompson, you talk too much.'</i>
<i>'I do *not*!'</i>
<i>'Valerie, hush! You're giving me a headache.'</i> Christina's voice interrupted.<i>'Besides, I'm trying to listen to what Mulder has to say.'</i>
"Well, I was just wondering what your reaction might be. I don't know you, true, but from what I've seen... well, I suspect... There is something about you-"
<i>'Agent Mulder, I honestly wish you would get to the bloody point!'</i> the British female spoke up again.
"Oh my God. Mulder, look at this," Scully said, looking at the computer screen at her desk on her side of the office.
"What is it, Scully?" he asked, going over to look over her shoulder at the computer screen.
"There is a young man from Canada who is looking for her. AChristopher Wildbore. He asked for our help several months ago, remember? Even though we were passed this case by the Los Angeles Police Department because of the strangeness of the disapp earance. He's also the one who gave us most of this information about her." Scully answered, though the last part was loud enough for Mulder only to hear.
They studied the screen for several moments, in silence.
At the same time, thoughts raced madly through Christina's mind... voices that belonged to different 'people'.
<i>'Young man from Canada...?'</i> one asked, though she was not even heard through the chaos of the other voices.
<i>'Christopher Wildbore?! *Here?!*'</i> another asked but was drowned out.<i>'What the hell is he doing here? He has no business sticking his nose in where he doesn't belong.</i>
<i>'All right, WHO is responsible for having us blank almost 10 months from our mind?'</i> the British accented voice from earlier demanded.
<i>'And what the hell is that business with Mulder's sister, Valerie?'</i> she heard another ask... one with a lisp.<i>'We couldn't *possibly* know anything about her! We only just met HIM! Hell, we didn't even know he HAD a sister, so you better have a damn good explaination.'</i>
<i>'Hey, don't look at me, Lisa... the aliens are the ones who should be made to explain... as for where the missing 10 months went... well, I don't know either. All I do know is that the aliens somehow had our clothing replicated... so they've obvi ously been watching...'</i> Valerie's voice declared, though everyone else knew she was hiding something.
<i>'Aliens?!'</i> Lisa, the one with the lisp, asked again.
<i>'Just because you're paranoid-'</i> another voice started, but was interrupted by a strong flash of emotion from Mulder... as well as from another source... one that was VERY familiar.
Her heart skipped a beat, then there was a sudden rush of joy from the familiar source, but she wasn't sure... If it was who she thought it was, it was a good sign. It was one of the few things they all agreed on. Even so, some of them were hesitant.
Christina turned her attention back to Mulder and Scully, who were still discussing something in front of Scully's computer. They were speaking quietly, but she heard them anyway.
"Looks like you were right... but there's more to it... She is what you suspected, though the good part is that she knows that she is what you'd suspected, so you don't have to tell her," Scully said. "The person who is looking for her is someone you need to get in touch with. You did tell him you'd let him know if anything turned up... and I think this does qualify." Agent Scully smiled.
"I'll give him a call," Mulder said, picking up his own phone.
"Who? Who are you talking about?" Christina asked, watching Mulder pick up his phone and dial a number.
"It's Mulder... Where are you? Guess what? We found her. Well, actually, she found *me*... Yeah, I figured you might. She's in my office right now. Come on down... Ok... See you in a bit."
With that said, Mulder hung up the phone and smiled at Christina, who looked at Scully with a mystified look on her face. Everything was so confusing... though the strangely familiar presense continued growing stronger, and more joyful, in her mind. There was some muffled sounds from outside in the hallway.
"Who did Agent Mulder just call?" Christina asked. "And who is coming down?"
"Someone has been looking for you..." Scully smiled.
"Christina!" a familiar voice said from the door, though it was breathless from having run down several flights of stairs.
She turned quickly and caught sight of someone she had almost thought she would never see again. In a moment, she was out of her chair and in his arms. He held her tightly against him. They felt tears in their eyes, as well as silent exchanges of 'I love you's. It had been too many months since they had seen each other and relief was evident.
<i>'Oh, yesyesyes!!!'</i> Christina's heart felt as though it was going to explode in joy.
"Chris... oh, GODS... I never thought I'd see you again... It's been so long! And I've missed you." she murmured into his shoulder.
"It's been longer for me than for you, love. At least you didn't have to deal with you disappearing. You don't know how happy I was to sense you near by, even though I kept telling myself not to get my hopes up... Where have you been these last ten months?" he asked quietly. <'I've been frantic!'> was his unspoken thought.
"That's just it... I don't know. I last remember it was May 22nd of last year... and I was in Los Angeles at school... about to go home from physics lecture. I think we were supposed to talk that night, but I don't know... I don't remember anymore. You may not have been home, or whatever...
"I didn't mean to scare you, though I'm glad you realized I wasn't dead. I remember what you said you'd do if I was..," she said, smiling slightly, looking into his eyes, feeling the comfort of being in his arms again after a long time. "What are y ou doing in Washington, DC and how can you be working with the FBI? I thought they didn't allow non-citizens..."
"I got several things worked out with the US government... as well as your mother.."
"My mother?! Chris, what does my mother have to do with this?"
"She was terrified when you vanished."
"That's a switch..." her voice filled with sarcasm, though Chris smiled warmly.
"I'm just happy that you're safe, love," he said softly.
She smiled at him even as an inside conversation started. There was something that didn't feel right, but Christina couldn't hear what was being said.
She kissed him softly before holding him, her expression still one of worry. "I still don't know what I'm doing in Washington... Or how I got here to begin with."
"Christina, I hate to break up this reunion, but I do have a few questions... such as, who's Valerie?" Scully asked.
Christina and Chris looked at each other, exchanging silent thoughts... Christina wasn't sure what to tell either Scully or Mulder, especially since it sometimes seemed quite far-fetched, even to her.
<i>Oh gods... not denial again...</i> Marie groaned.
<i>What else are you expecting?</i> Valerie said.
<i>I s'pose you're right.</i>
"Uh... well... she's an alternate personality of mine... It's complicated..." her voice trailed off.
<i>'Boy, is it EVER...'</i> Valerie groaned.
<i>'Valerie, SHUT up!'</i> several voices said.
<i>'What do you mean "of yours"?!'</i> another voice demanded.
<i>'It's just an expression.'</i> Lisa said, though she also sounded irritated at the use of the word.
<'He's a trained psychologist... and he knows a little bit about you already... I know. I provided him with the information.'> she heard Chris' thought.
"I see." Scully answered, though she looked skeptical.
"Well, if you know already, I don't have to say anything." Christina said, though the tone and manner Chris recognized.
"Jessie..." he murmured. "Don't be stubborn."
He got a 'Jessie' expression from her, then there was another abrupt switch. She turned back to Mulder.
"Fox..." she started, then stopped. The tone and expression had been too familiar to Mulder and he paled. Christina was all too aware of the effect it had on him and the headache flared up in her mind again, this time with extreme guilt as well. The guilt which was accompanied by extreme confusion as to who the tone and expression had belonged to.
"Agent Mulder, I'm sorry..." she started again, then fell silent.
<i>'Well, looks like we've done it again... chronic foot-in-mouth disease... why don't we just shut up and leave?'</i> she thought. At the same time, the pain level spiked.
"Mulder, what's wrong?" Chris asked, seeing Mulder still hadn't recovered from what Christina had said.
"She... she sounded just like Samantha for a moment... my sister Samantha..." Mulder managed to mumble.
"And what happened to your sister?"
"She was abducted 23 years ago-"
"By aliens... Ones you suspect are working with some shadowy force behind the government." Christina stated calmly, though her expression belied the fact that she was surprised that she'd known as well.
<i>What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?!</i> Lisa turned to look at Valerie who had gasped at that statement.
<i>'Oh, HELL!'</i> Valerie declared.
"How did you-" Mulder started.
<i>'Who else knows?!'</i> Valerie's inquiry was voiced at the top of her lungs.
<i>'Aw, fuck it.'</i> an abrupt voice declared.
Before he could finish his line of thought, however, Christina had run out the door. Chris, alarmed, had gone after her.
"Scully, check to see if you can find any reports of unusual occurances or sightings in Los Angeles, California on May 22, 1996. This might help explain what happened to her," Mulder said, getting a hold of his wits momentarily before going after the two who had just left. He could still hear at least one set of footsteps moving away from his basement office as he started after them.
Christina ran from Mulder's basement office at near breakneck speed, heading for the stairway. The elevator had been determined to be too slow. Continuing the pace, she ran out of the building and out into the warm spring of Washington, D. C..
<i>'Get me out of here.... GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!'</i> Christina's own voice echoed through her mind.
<i>'And where would you have us go?'</i> Valerie's voice was heard, but then almost instantaneously muzzled.
<What is going on with me??? Why am I being put through this? This is my fault... somehow it's my fault... it *HAS* to be.> The thought ran over and over and over.
Before she realised what happened, she found herself in front of the Jefferson Memorial, looking into the water and surrounded by strangers.
The headache which had started blooming in Mulder's office some time ago now it with sharp intensity. SHe felt more than faintly queasy. Not only that, her lungs hurt from having run so far so fast, though she had no recollection of where she'd run FROM or where she though she had been headed.
<i>'What posessed you to run?!'</i> Valerie said, finally.<i>'That was a damn stupid move on your part.'</i>
<i>'Shut up and go away, Valerie. As far as I know, you're the one who got us into this mess to begin with!'</i> Christina answered.<i>'Not only *that*, you're sounding far too much like she who claims to be our mother!'</i>
<i>'Oh, no you don't... leave me out of this... that bitch is NOT *MY* MOTHER.'</i>
<i>Well, since you want to take over the rest of my life, you might as well take over *that* as well.'</i>
<i>'What the *hell* gave you the idea that I was trying to take over your life? You screwed up your life. You made your bed, now you get to lie in it.'</i>
<i>'At least I'm not the one hiding something from the rest of us! You've been lying to us from the start of this whole mess.'</i>
<i>'What are you talking about?'</i>
<i>'You're hiding something-'</i>
<i>'I am not!'</i>
<i>'You're lying!'</i> Lisa butt in.
<i>'I AM NOT!!!'</i> Valerie's reply made the headache worsen.
<i>'She certainly didn't make things any easier.'</i> Marie stated.
<i>'Marie, get the hell off my case about this. *She* is the one who ran! It's not like the rest of us had any other choice but to go with!'</i> Valerie's retort sharpened the pain. It did not help.
<i>'Are you saying I'm the one in control? I'll tell you one thing, and I hope this gets you to SHUT UP. I am NOT in control!'</i>
<i>'Oh, yeah? Says who?'</i>
<i>'Like you're some great authority.'</i>
<i>'You certainly aren't!'</i>
<i>'In that case, *prove* it!'</i> Valerie was screaming.
<i>'It's not like you-'</i> Christina started but was interrupted.
"Are you ok?" She heard a stranger's voice to one side of her. She realised her eyes were closed and she was gripping the railing between the monument and the pool surrounding it like a vise. It hurt, but she couldn't loosen her grip. It seemed her fingers wouldn't listen to her brain.
"I... uh... yes. Just a little headache." she managed to say between breaths, her head throbbing. She squinted through the headache but couldn't see anything. "I'll be fine..." She screwed her eyes shut again. The pain was worse than her usual tension/stress headaches and part of her wished she hadn't run off alone.
<i>'Sure... like running away is the solution to everything?'</i>
<i>'Caitlin... I REALLY don't need to hear this. Especially not right now.'</i> the thought felt more like a sigh.
<Dear god... Chris... I'm not sure why I want you around, but I really wish you were here right now...> She heard the thought whirl around in her mind, and there was an ache... a longing ache.
She felt a hand on one of her clenched fists and then felt it gently attempt to disengage fingers from the railing. WHen that failed after a few moments of trying, she felt the same hand, warm, soft and familiar, on her cheek, caressing the skin lightly, wiping away tears she hadn't even known were falling.
<Ask and ye shall recieve.> She heard and felt his presense, even before a word was spoken. The touch of his hand connected them instantly, and she felt him resist the urge to pull away.
"Really hurts, doesn't it, love." she heard Chris' voice ask before he slipped his arms around her.
She let go of the railing and threw her arms around him. Then, the tears began in earnest. The pain, confusion, and fear overcoming what restraints she had built up against them and she felt him stroke her hair gently. SHe was relieved he was one person she could trust in the area, especially since she still didn't know how she'd lost so much of her life.
<i>What the *hell* is he doing here? I remember him saying he didn't even want to be here!</i> Lisa screamed, causing a momentary throb.
<i>I'm just glad he's here... It's either him or no one...</i>
For several long minutes, he let her cry, her tears soaking into the fabric of his shirt, while he held her and stroked her hair, murmuring endearments and continuing to soothe her as best he could. As the confusion eased a little, she could feel the tension ease from both of them in the way in which they'd always helped the other.
"Shh... love, I'm here... I'm always here for you when you need me. After all, I have a lifetime to return the favour..." She heard his whisper and was trying to keep from crying even more.
"I was wondering where I could find you two. You're a hard person to track down, Christina, you know that?" she heard Mulder's voice as if from a distance, and her headache throbbed, making it feel as though her skull were full of cotton batting.
<i>'Go away, Mulder!'</i> she heard one of her internal people declare.<i>'As if we haven't done ENOUGH to hurt you already, you're chasing after us for MORE?!!!'</i> Her thought planes shifted once again, and she felt more than faintly dizzy.
"Agent Mulder, how did you find us so fast?"
<i>'Like I really knew where I was going to begin with...'</i> one voice mused, gloomily.
<i>'Well, if you didn't know where you were going, you shouldn't have run to start with!'</i> answered another, though the tone was far too familiar.
<i>'Look, I've had enough of not trusting my own judgement, so if you wouldn't mind, *shut up*. The body's mother was *not* right.'</i>
<i>'Why would he want to chase after us anyway?'</i>
<i>'Maybe Agent Mulder's got a masochistic streak.'</i> another voice snickered.
<i>'Julia, that's enough! We have enough to deal with right now without having to deal with being paranoid too.'</i> Caitlin's voice cut through the extreme paranoia.
<i>'Are you calling me paranoid?'</i> Julia answered.
<i>'You are. But I don't want to argue about it right now.'</i> Julia shut up, but everyone involved could hear her grumble.
"Chris has a cel phone. He called me right when he found you." Mulder answered.
<i>'Chris has a cel phone?! That's something new.'</i> Caitlin noted, though the smile was also widely felt.
"I'm not sure why you'd want to find me..." Christina sighed.
"I don't understand..." Mulder answered.
"I think she's afraid of having hurt you in some way, Agent Mulder." Chris stated, calmly, readig her feelings and emotions with the accuracy that had always been between them.
"SHe hasn't, Chris. As you know, my sister has always been a sensitive subject with me and I'm surprised she would know anything about Samantha, considering she isn't really physically old enough. It was not something widely publicised at the time. Not only that, she wasn't even in the same area when Samantha disappeared. According to the records you gave Scully and me ten months ago, she would have been-"
"I was six months old biologically at the time your sister disappeared. I don't know HOW I even know you have a sister, especially since we've never met before today, but I do know what I have told you so far..." Christina answered, looking up at Mulder, having regained at least partial composure.
"Do you at least have any ideas?"
"According to Valerie, whom you've apparently met directly for a brief moment, aliens DO have something to do with this, but it is likely only she remembers what happened during the ten months we were missing and she isn't telling the rest of us...
<i>'Even though we generally don't lose time like that!'</i> Caitlin sounded annoyed.
<i>'A minute here, a minute there... you know what they say...'</i> Lisa's voice was somewhat joking. Christina felt the collective groan.
<i>Time and tide melts the snowman?</i> Chris I, all of age 10 giggled. The rest of the collective laughed. Chris I rarely made jokes, but they were wonderful when she did.
<i>I think that was supposed to be 'waits for no man', love.</i> answered a kindly British accented male voice.
<i>Oh! Yeah! Thanks, Andrew!</i> Chris I answered, the bright smile she knew how to give shining on her face.
"The last thing I remember before running into you this afternoon was walking down to the parking garage at the university I attended to go home after class. There was a flash of light so bright it hurt. I have no idea how I got three thousand mile s across the country OR where ten months of my life went. Although, if ending up with Chris again was one of the end results, I'd gladly take it." The last statement was accompanied by a smile.
Upon hearing those last words, Chris leaned in and kissed her along the curve of her neck. She shivered, running her fingers through his hair.
Pausing for a moment to think, Mulder nodded. "I think we should go back to my office. What you've said is similar to one of the Xfiles I remember reading a few months ago in my spare time between cases."
<i>'Sounds like Agent Mulder needs a life...'</i> Valerie spoke up. <<<'Either that or a new line of work.'</i> That last was smirked.
"Going back to your office is a good idea, I think." She ignored Valerie's comments, though she heard a few of the Others telling her to shut up. "I would like to find out where ten months of my life went. It's not fair for me not to know."
"There's always another... possibility... as to why the aliens kept you for so long..." Chris stated, calmly, though this time, his tone of voice bothered her more than slightly.
"I don't know if I want to hear it, especially since I think I *know* what you're suggesting."
<i>'Oh, I hope he ISN'T suggesting what I think he is.'</i> another voice said.
He didn't answer, at least not aloud, but smiled warmly at her in reassurance, as well as giving her a quiet answer before they both turned their attention to Mulder, who was being discretely quiet while still keeping an eye on both of them, possibly being afraid she'd run off alone again.
"So... what should we do, then?" Chris asked, leaving the decision up to Christina, who had already made up her mind.
"We go back to your office, Agent Mulder," she said. "And find out what happened to me."
"See, I knew there would be something," Mulder said, setting the folder down on his desk where Christina was sitting with her head tilted back, a cold cloth Mulder had gotten for her on her forehead and eyes closed. "One of the advantages of having a photographic memory."
<i>'Like I said... the man needs a new line of work.'</i> Valerie's voice held a smirk.
<i>'And as I have said several times today already, Valerie, *shut up*!'</i> Christina retorted.
Valerie was about to say something when both she and Christina felt Marie's presence silently cautioning them not to. And as it was part of Marie's job to keep the peace, they both listened.
Christina's headache ached sharply, then faded mostly into the background. She straightened the chair and then opened her eyes, setting the washcloth on top of her head, trying to wish away the pain. The coolness slowly seeped into her head, relaxing the tension slightly.
Flipping open the file folder he handed to her, she read similar cases of people reported bright lights in their eyes and then disappeared for differing lengths of time.
"Mulder, I found several reports in Los Angeles of people complaining of bright lights flashing and strange sightings..." Scully said, bringing a printed copy of the reports to the three gathered around Mulder's desk. Christina looked them over slowly.
"Considering the people of Los Angeles find more things to complain about in a day than there are days in a year, Agent Scully, I'm not the least bit surprised." Christina stated softly, though her voice contained more than a little bit of sarcasm. Then she sighed. "However, just because there were reports of such things, it does not mean much... if anything."
"Did any match the occurance where Christina went to school? Or even on the same day, Scully?" Mulder asked.
"Actually, several of them do. They correspond to the time and the place, especially since at least two of them are from people who are on staff at that particular university, but I still don't know what you're looking for."
"Agent Mulder, it says here that... ow..." she winced as the intensity of the headache increased. After waiting for it to decrease slightly, she had to refocus her thoughts. "Umm... it says here that the people reporting the light disappeared for different lengths of time... none of them as long as the ten months I was missing.
"Since that is the case, I do not see how there can be a corellation. One similarity or two may be purely coincidental. The length of time I was missing in itself could well rule out whatever else it is that has similarities." Christina said, wishing that the headache would go away and leave her alone.
Her headaches always seemed to be bad when her internal people were arguing with the intensity usually reserved for things like hurricanes. At present, they were getting so loud, it was almost impossible to think clearly.
"Oh no... I've got two of you now..." Mulder grinned sheepishly and Chris laughed softly, reaching out to caress Christina's cheek. She reached out, took hold of his fingers and kissed them, smiling at him.
"Agent Mulder, I am an Electrical Engineering major... well, at least I was when I disappeared... I have no idea what my status may be with the university I was attending at present."
"Once an Engineer always an engineer," Mulder suggested, thoughtfully, with a smile. "Speaking of which, did you happen to notice what all of the reports had in common besides the light and the disappearances for brief periods of time?"
"Yes, but I don't see what you're getting at, Agent Mulder. As you have pointed out, I AM an engineer... or I will be."
Chris was studying the file over her shoulder. "There might be that too, love. Look here... each of the people who reported the light and then disappeared, though for comparably shorter periods, also were in some sort of Engineering field... and all of them were students as well. It looks like a pattern to me."
"Chris, you're stretching for an explaination. I don't know if that data is..." she trailed off and winced as she had a flash of something. A memory fragment or something similar had forced its way into her mind and it hurt. "Agent Mulder, can you or Agent Scully check on the planetary carbon dioxide levels at all?"
"Carbon dioxide?" Scully asked.
"Yes... I don't know why, but I just had a flash of something and it might be important to check the levels."
"Okay, but I don't know what you're aiming for," Scully said, going back over to sit at her computer where she typed in several search commands.
Christina watched as Scully looked for the information she had just requested.
"You see? The planetary carbon dioxide levels on your planet are dangerously high. Therefore, we will take some of it and use it as fuel for our ships. However, you and your people must be careful." stated a strong echoing male voice, though it seemed to be in her mind.
"But what will happen if you take too much?" she heard herself ask, though she didn't feel as though she were the one asking.
"That we don't know yet, but sending up this much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when you and your species are oxygen breathers is not a very wise decision." the voice continued.
"My species might be oxygen breathers, but the plants take carbon dioxide and change it into oxygen. What of them?"
"At present rates," the voice echoed in her mind. "The plants on your planet cannot keep up with the amount of carbon dioxide being put out. There are not enough of them. And with the supply of them diminishing with every passing moment, the oxygen also diminishes."
"I am concerned about this as well... but what is the use of telling me this? It's not like I can do anything about it... short of stopping to breathe!" she protested.
"Christina? Love? Are you ok?" Chris asked, waving his hands in front of her face and eyes. As soon as he touched her on her shoulder, she flinched and jolted slightly.
"Oh... sorry... what?" she blinked.
"Your expression went completely blank for just a moment. What's going on?"
"I'm not entirely sure, myself..."
<i>'Valerie, what was that?'</i>
<i>'One of our friends...'</i> Valerie said, refusing to elaborate.
<i>'Valerie! TELL us what has gone on the last ten months? Did those aliens perform tests on us? Get us pregnant? Put implants in our, unfortunately, shared body?'</i> Lisa demanded.<i>'Why the hell are you keeping secrets from us? Are you trying to get us all killed?!'</i>
<i>'Lisa, SHUT UP! All of you, please, just SHUT UP!!!!!'</i> Christina held her head and squeezed her eyes shut, nausea threatening.
Lisa could be quite the loudmouth when she wanted to be, especially since she was the result of being badly dumped by someone, even though their relationship had not progressed that far. Her personality and tone of voice all belonged to that former friend. Not only that, she ended to over-react to things... a lot.
She slumped a bit in her chair. Keeping at least a bit of control over what was going on inside her own mind was difficult and draining, and she knew she didn't have the energy for it.
She felt Chris' hand on her shoulder and a look of concern on his face, even though she couldn't see it. It did relax her a little, though and the pain seemed to subside slightly. Just enough for her to get her eyes open and slightly focused.
"Would you like an asprin?" Chris smiled.
"Uh... no. Some sleep, maybe... but I don't know where to go about getting a nap... and has my mother been notified that you've found me?" she asked, feeling several switches happening all at once, resulting in yet another headache, which, added onto the one she already had, made her head throb. She saw Chris wince from it and knew he could feel what she was feeling as well. Reaching up, she touched his cheek with her hand and caressed his face gently.
<'I'm sorry. I don't mean to hurt you.'> was her thought.
<'Don't worry about it, love.'> his thought replied as he kissed the palm of her hand. Then, both were smiling.
"Your mother was notified as per Chris' directions. I called her while Mulder was out looking for you," Scully said. "Though I'm not too sure she believed me. In fact, she stopped short of calling me a liar."
"Sounds typical of her." Christina said, immediately, her voice full of bitter sarcasm. Then, suddenly there was an abrupt switch in the tone and rhythm of her voice, as well as her internal thought planes. "What about the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere?" The switch gave her a momentary sense of disorientation.
"Well... " Scully studied the screen closely, though it seemed she wasn't believing what she saw. "This is strange. The levels have actually been _decreasing_ over the last year or so... and it started right around the time you disappeared last year."
<i>'Valerie... it is time you told us the truth. What the HELL is going on? And what are you hiding from us?!'</i> Marie said calmly, though with more than a hint of anger.
<i>'Marie, please... my head hurts enough as it is. Will you please try to calm down? With you and Lisa and who knows who else on the warpath, it makes it difficult for us to function on the outside. You and the others know that.'</i> Christina pleaded.
Christina nodded. "It still may not mean anything, though. One strange incident in itself may simply be a random occurance, nothing at all to note. Am I right?"
"Have you been taking lessons? No, there is no way you could have... you just met Scully." Mulder smiled, flashing an affectionate glance at Scully before looking at Christina.
She and Scully both grinned at Mulder just a little. "Mulder, this is typical questioning for me. I'm a scientist at heart, you know, or should know if Chris gave you the right information about me." Christina glanced at Chris, who nodded. "So... we have one strange occurance with the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere decreasing. What could possibly have caused that?"
Christina blinked again as she could feel internal nudging.
<i>'What about his sister? Samantha?'</i> Lisa asked.<i>'There is still a question as to how we know about her without being TOLD!'</i>
Once again, she winced, this time upon being presented with the clear image of one Samantha Mulder, somewhere in her early to mid-thirties... and dressed in conventional style clothing.
Unfortunately, it also brought about a roaring headache. It was too much for her to handle all at once.
"Your... sister... I... see... her..." she felt her lips move and heard herself say something, but the pain was so intense, blackness overtook her moments later.
She found herself in a place that felt unearthly. Unearthly, yet familiar at the same time. She also noted that her backpack was still slung over one shoulder.
"If I may ask, what is going on?" Christina heard herself ask.
"We need you to get a message to someone who has been looking for his sister for a very long time. We must let him know we are on the trail of those who do have her, and we must do so without putting ourselves in danger. Your people do not yet take alien presenses kindly, which is unfortunate." the strange voice in her mind was resonating again. It was the same voice as before, only she realized it sounded like a bass violin... or, at the very least, a cello.
"Okay..." she heard herself answer. There was, however, still doubt in her voice, and in her mind.
There was the sense of an image burned into her mind and knew that the image would fade once she actually found the person, as well as alerting the people who needed to pass on the message.
"We want to help him get his sister back. The ones who have abducted her have no remorse of what they do to your people." the voice said, though she noticed there was a sympathetic tone to it.
Before anything else could be said, the scene faded.
"Come back to me, love..." she heard a soft voice whisper... a soft, *familiar*, and very warmly loving voice.
She felt a hand on her cheek, caressing gently. Her head hurt and she opened her eyes just a little, seeing Chris smile with relief, though she was a little puzzled as to why he was so near. The last she recalled seeing him was when she'd left after visiting him what seemed to her like about five months before... only something else seemed to be telling her it was longer than five months... a LOT longer.
<i>'Will someone tell me what the *hell* he's doing here?'</i> an angry voice declared.
Another flash. This time, it was of emotional pain. And the sense that there had been lies and betrayal traded. As she pursued that line of thought, she noticed Chris wince. He was also holding her very close and she could feel more than just the warmth of his body against hers. There was something being traded emotionally as well. Momentarily leaning into it, she took comfort in knowing that he felt the same way.
"Christina, are you ok?" Chris asked, touching her face gently. She could see that there were tears in his eyes and she was wondering exactly what was going on.
"Uh... I don't know. What happened? Where am I?" The confusion in her mind was overwhelming and she was so dizzy she didn't try to get up from the floor, but she wished the dizziness away.
"Washington, DC. In my office, in the headquarters of the FBI." Mulder answered quietly.
"What the hell am I doing in Washington... more importantly, Chris, what are YOU doing here? You are supposed to be in Digby recovering from knee surgery... or something... At least you were the last time we spoke... Or is it that you just broke up with-"
"Ah...love, what's the date?" Chris asked, softly, squeezing her hand and gently caressing her cheek a little more. He looked uncomfortable, and it also seemed to her as though the only thing he wanted to do was to take her in his arms and away from everyone and everything so they could be alone together.... away from the messy situation they were in. His eyes pleaded with her *not* to go where her line of thought was taking her. Naturally, for her, it was already too late.
When Christina thought carefully about it, three different dates clashed in her mind, the first approximately twelve months later than the second, and then the third was about ten months after that. Thinking about the time period between the first two dates made her heartsick. There was still the question of the ten months she went missing, but...
"Ummm... March 31, 1997?" she chanced it, the memory gradually returning. She struggled slowly to sit up and Chris assisted after lightly brushing her lips with his own. Christina still held one hand to her head as it seemed to throb with a furious intensity. Chris kissed her lightly on her forehead and she smiled. "Sorry to have scared you for a moment. Memory slips have happened before, but never with a headache this bad." she sighed.
Scully knelt down with a pen-light in one hand. "I'm a doctor. Could I take a look at you? I want to see if you've got a concussion or some other neurological damage?" she asked softly, knowing loud noise only made headaches worse.
She nodded and Scully put one hand on Christina's shoulder to stablise herself before she flashed the light in her eyes. She did the only natural thing she could. She blinked and flinched.
"Sorry." Christina whispered softly.
"It's quite alright. I think that was about one of the most normal reactions I've seen." Scully smiled in understanding.
"Switching headaches can get to be that severe for some people, Scully." Mulder stated. "They could be said to be on level of migraines or something similar."
"But it wasn't just a switching headache, Agent Mulder. I..." she sighed in frustration, trying to explain what she saw and heard. "I saw an image of your sister..."
"I was hoping you were just hallucinating." Mulder looked more than slightly downcast.
"Mulder, you believe everything else, and yet you think I'm hallucinating when I told you I saw an image of your sister? You aren't making any sense."
"Neither are you. Headaches have been known to cause hallucinations of all kinds." Mulder retorted, almost scathingly. Scully frowned, and Christina half-wondered what she'd said to offend him and half-wondered why he wasn't believing her.
"Mulder, one of my Others-"
<i>'*YOUR Others? I beg your pardon!'</i> several of them protested.
She paused, rubbing at her face before continuing. "One of my Others, which is what I call them, was out a few moments ago. One who hasn't been out since before I disappeared... or should I say before I was abducted?!" The words were seemingly pushed out of her mouth before she was aware of exactly what it was she was saying. Then, the realization hit her. Valerie was suddenly deciding to be honest with what happened during their disappearance. That fact suddenly made all the Others very suspicious.
There was a moment of tense silence before anyone said anything.
<i>'You're not serious, Valerie... are you?'</i> Marie asked.
<i>'I am! We were taken by aliens... only, they wanted to show me what kind of damage we were doing to this planet of ours, not run any sort of tests or put implants in this body. I swear they only showed me what they were observing and nothing more.'</i> Valerie answered, finally glad she didn't have to keep quiet now.
<i>'Then why did they keep us for ten months? Or have you forgotten that ten months is a little over the time needed for them to have gotten us pregnant and given birth as well as having the child taken away?'</i> Lisa asked.
<i>'Lisa, why are you so obsessed with maybe having been pregnant?'</i> Christina asked, to which Lisa refused to answer.
"Are you saying you were abducted by aliens?" Scully asked, quietly alarmed, interrupting Christina's internal debate. A flicker of memory causing some fear.
"Either that or I'm going totally out of my mind, which might also be possible..." she shrugged. "I'm not ruling anything out right now."
<At least you're not *losing* your mind. Remember, you can't do that anymore. I keep telling you you're over quota.> Chris' thought flashed into Christina's mind, and they looked at each other, both trying hard not to laugh.
"What can you tell me about these aliens?" Mulder asked.
"It seems these aliens are different. They don't want to take over the planet, they want to help save us from what we've done to it... to our home." Christina said, though she realized she wasn't making much sense to herself.
"I'll believe it when I see it." Mulder grumbled. Everyone nodded agreement.
In actuality, she was pulling the information from Valerie, who was still hesitant. "And they're also looking for Mulder's sister, Samantha. >From the impression I'm getting from Valerie, she thinks that they're looking for her to return her and because they believe the race that does have her, as well as others taken from this planet, has no right to abduct anyone they way they have and run tests on them. Apparently, the race that has her has no remorse for what they do to humans they take."
"That doesn't exactly explain their own abduction of you, though, love." Chris stated, gently.
<i>'Will someone please explain to me why Chris is calling us 'love'?'</i> Julia demanded.<i>'It's been a long time since he's said anything of the sort and I think he wants something.'</i>
<i>'That is a good question, and a good point, Julia. Why *is* he calling us 'love'? He hasn't done that in far too long. There has to be a reason...'</i> Christina answered.
<i>And I thought I was the only one who was paranoid and suspicous. Why don't you ask him why he keeps calling us 'love' then?</i> Julia spat back.
<'How about *because I love you*?'> Chris' mental voice answered, and she looked at him.
'I love you.' His mouth moved, but no sound came out. SHe looked at him in shock.
He nodded and smiled.
"Maybe not, but the fact that Valerie did let them flash Mulder's image into our mind after they told us he was someone we needed to find indicates that there is some truth to this particular line of reasoning. They don't seem malevolent. Besides, which, Valerie doesn't remember any tests being run on us."
<i>'Like that means anything...'</i> Lisa spoke up.<i>'They could have blanked that part of our memory... they had enough time.'</i>
<i>'They could have killed us too, Lisa. That doesn't mean anything!'</i> Christina protested.<i>'Besides, there are a lot of things we don't remember... or have you forgotten *that* little detail? Wouldn't that be something? And we don't need aliens to blank our memories. Especially considering we do that just fine on our own.'</i>
<i>'Speak for yourself!'</i> Lisa's tone was scathing.
<i>'As if you'd be happier if Scott had done that? Especially considering what he very nearly DID?'</i>
"That's an interesting thought," Mulder said, as he watched Chris help Christina to her feet.
Christina reached over and picked up the file folder again, studying it carefully. There was various pieces of information which had been gathered for the case over the time span of several years. Christina noticed one pattern, then another, as she flipped through the pages of medical and psychological evaluation. Evaluations which had been present in each of the reported abductees files. Even *before* their periods of disappearance. Those very evaluations had been done both before and after the abduction.
"That's it! It's the link-" she started.
Right then, Mulder's phone rang. "Hold that thought," Mulder said, reaching over to answer it. "Mulder."
Chris and Christina studied each other in silence as Mulder continued his conversation with whomever it was who was on the phone. Christina was actually feeling more than slightly relieved to be looking into Chris' dark blue eyes again after what had been an excruciating time apart. His eyes were as comforting as she'd remembered many months ago. She leaned on his shoulder and sighed heavily. He reached up and touched her cheek gently. Then, she leaned in and kissed him.
"Agent Scully, could you try telling my mother I'm back again? Maybe this time she'll believe you, and then, maybe, I can go home to Los Angeles. If need be, I'll even talk to her and convince her I'm back for certain." Christina half-murmured, putting her head on Chris' shoulder. In truth, she really didn't feel like talking or going anywhere, and her tone of voice made that all too clear to everyone in the office.
"She won't have to." Mulder replied, hanging up the phone. "Apparently your mother called Skinner... the Bureau's assistant director, and she was quite irate. Your find will have to wait. He wants to see all of us in his office. Now."
"What's the meaning of leading Ms. Shieh on about having found her daughter?" Skinner demanded, as they filed into his office a scant few minutes later.
<i>'Oh boy... we are in for it now...'</i> Lisa was trying *not* to look at Skinner, but the rest of them were trying to *continue* looking at the somewhat flustered Assistant Director.
"Sir, we DID find her daughter... or, rather, she found me, though quite by accident." Mulder explained, then gave a little bit of additional information about what had happened in the lobby.
Skinner looked closely at Christina for a moment, then his expression softened as he recognized her from her photo, though only just. The photo he had seen of her had been several years old, but there was enough of a resemblance.
"Christina Shuy, this is Assistant Director Walter Skinner." Scully said.
Christina didn't say anything. Her expression was one where it looked like she had just been caught doing something wrong and then sent to the principal's office in school... though that had rarely happened to her during her life. Another image flashed into place.
She turned to look at the person who had been showing her the environmental damage to the planet Earth. It was someone in a light blue hooded cloak, though a different person than the one who had initially told her about the carbon dioxide levels and what they had planned to do, that much she could 'sense'. Also, from what she could tell, it had been the initial person who had flashed Agent Mulder's image into her mind along with a mental note to look for him.
As the cloak's hood was pushed back, she saw that the person appeared to be female. The hair was dark and curled up around her head and she had eyes that were ice blue, yet friendly at the same time. The face, however, did not look to be quite human.
"Do you see now why you must go back and undo the damage your people have wrought on your homeworld?" she asked in a voice that sounded like woodwinds, though her mouth never moved.
"I'll do what I can," she heard herself say. "But I don't think I can do it alone."
"You are not the only person with your uniqueness we have requested assistance from. Find the others. I'm certain they will help. We have already begun."
"Our people have helped remove some of the harmful gases from your planet, but you are doing so much more damage than simply excess carbon dioxide..." the male voice stated, and when she turned her head, the 'voice' in her mind seemed to be coming from the dark grey hooded figure on the other side of her.
"Excuse me, but what would happen if you removed too much of the greenhouse gases from our atmosphere?" A British accented voice, but from her own mouth. The tone was authoritative and the attitude was obvious. Marie.
However, before the answer to Marie's demanded question could be answered the scene faded just enough so that she couldn't hear it.
Christina blinked and shook her head several times. The flashes of things were getting stranger and stranger. Not only that, it appeared that more than one person knew about what had happened to her in the time she was missing.
<i>'Okay, will someone tell me what the *HELL* is going on?'</i> Christina was more than obviously upset.
"Excuse me, Ms. Shuy, are you feeling alright?" Skinner asked.
She was sufficiently disoriented so that she didn't notice that Skinner, unlike a great many people, had managed to prounounce her last name correctly the first time... without her having to correct him.
"I... " she blinked and the scene mostly faded from the forefront, though like many flashbacks, it continued revealing itself in the background. "I... think so. What did my mother have to say to you? I'm sure whatever it was wasn't very nice..." That last part was muttered under her breath, and Chris squeezed her hand, comfortingly.
"She wanted to know if it was actually true that you'd been found. I told her I would ask the agents in charge of your case." Skinner answered. "That would be Agent Mulder and Agent Scully. I didn't know they would be bringing you along with them."
A sudden thought slipped into Christina's mind, and she frowned. "Sir, why would the FBI be involved in something as simple as a missing persons report? It doesn't make much sense."
At that question, Skinner looked at Mulder to explain.
"Circumstances behind your disappearance were rather... unique, shall we say. The police didn't have any leads but after questioning the people in the area where you had vanished, the Los Angeles Police Department called the FBI and notified me... the agent in charge of the X-Files." Mulder stated, though there was a faint note of pride in his voice, one that made Christina smiled just a little.
"What exactly are the X-Files?"
"They're files the Bureau has created to file reports of unexplained or extraordinary phenomenon, which explains the title of the department... sort of."
"Agent Mulder, if you get any more vague, you're going to sound like one of my Others..." Christina couldn't help but laugh a little. Beside her, Chris smiled in agreement.
<i>'I am *NOT* vague!'</i> someone in her mind protested, but there was also laughter heard.
Before anyone could say anything else, a group of people burst into the Assistant Director's office and surrounded Christina, who held on to Chris and feared for his life... not really worrying about her own. They pulled Chris away from her, setting something off inside when she realized it was _her_ they were after. Anger welled up, exploding like a large bubble.
"What is going on here?!" Skinner turned towards the door to face whomever it was behind the sudden intrusion.
Scully's expression changed to one of partially self-recriminating, partially frustrated. "Oh, no... Mulder, we made a tactical error... The office-"
"Was, and still is, bugged." Mulder sighed, mentally kicking himself. "Shit. We should have known... *I* should have known better."
"What the HELL did I do this time?" Christina's face was a riot of expression changes and almost everyone present could feel the stirring of energy which was always brought about by extreme and rapid switching of personalities within the person who was a multiple personality. Apparently she hadn't heard Mulder's conversation with Scully.
<i>'Marie, don't just stand there... *DO* something!'</i> a young girl's voice cried, and there was the impression that she was about to start crying.
<i>'Quiet, love, I'm working as fast as I can. We have to get out of here. There is trouble... I can *feel* it.'</i> Marie's voice was suddenly tinged with a hint of Scots accent.<i>Be ready, all. We are going to need to probably do something drastic.</i>
A man smoking a vile cigarette stepped into the office and Christina felt the internal mustering of the defenders and the guardians gearing up for a fight. She had no idea who the man who had just come in the door was, but she disliked him on sight, primarily because he reminded her of another chain smoker who had caused the formation of Lisa's personality, as well as her 'appearance' and audible 'lisp' whenever she spoke, either internally or to the outside world. It had been the result of practically being forced into doing something decidedly unpleasant.
<i>'Gah... no more smokers... *please* NO MORE SMOKERS!'</i> Lisa screamed, nausea suddenly welling up at the back of Christina's throat.
At the sight of him, both Mulder and Scully reached for their weapons, but before they could get far, they were surrounded by the troops the Smoking Man had brought with him.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Agent Mulder." the Smoking Man said quietly.
"What are you doing here, you bastard?" Mulder's tone was coldly dangerous.
"You, young lady, are coming with me," he said, taking her arm, ignoring Mulder entirely. His tone was arrogant and only served to inflame Christina's anger. She flinched and attempted to shake off his hand. It had the opposite effect. His grip only became stronger than before.
<i>'Oh no I don't... and oh no *HE* DOESN'T!'</i> a male with a strong British accent, Andrew, though more strongly Scots as well, pushed his way through, leaving a blanket of comfort and protection to those inside who were deathly panicked, most including Lisa.<i>'Lisa, dear, I won't let him hurt you.'</i>
There was the feeling that Lisa nodded, then ran inward. This was not something she wanted to see.
"Let go of me!" she shouted, struggling to get away from him, but his grip on her arm was like steel. "I am not going ANYWHERE with you!"
She turned her head to look at Chris, but two men were restraining him and he was fighting them to get away to help her.
For just a split second, Scully saw the utter terror in her eyes before another personality took over... one who appeared to be looking for the right time to act...
"What is the meaning of this?!" Skinner asked, his expression and tone leaving no room for arguement.
"Mr. Skinner, my people want a look at her." the man who was smoking replied. The calm, authoritative arrogance in his voice infuriated Christina no end, and suddenly everything she saw was tinged with a red fog. "And we do not apprieciate being left out of the loop where she is involved."
While his attention was diverted by Skinner, Christina's entire facial expression changed again, reflecting the myriad of changes going on in her mind. Clenching a fist, she struck him in the stomach.
"I said to let go of me!" her voice thundered, sounding quite unlike her... which was normal in her case. It belonged to another one of her internal people, someone male and quite protective of everyone. The result, however, was immediate. Guns were pointed in her direction, and the man she had slugged got up from the floor where he had landed.
"You can either come quietly or we can make this difficult." the man said in the quiet 'knowing' tone which served merely to aggrivate an already aroused temper. A dangerous glitter appeared in her eyes but was masked by a deadly calm expression a split second later, which made her look all the MORE dangerous.
"We are not going anywhere. None of us are." her voice changed again, this time Marie's British accent slipped through, as she was 'out' and speaking for the rest of them. "No arguements. We are not going anywhere with you."
"I warned you not to make this difficult." The smoker gestured, and someone in the group he had brought along took action.
As she turned and moved towards Chris, someone caught her by the arm and injected something. Blackness descended and she crumpled to the floor, unconscious.
3 April 1997 - 4 days later
She awoke slowly, her body and mind feeling extremely fuzzy. She groaned softly as a headache began pounding in her head. The nausea also started up at about that time. <i>Ah, God, not this again...</i> Lisa's though ran as she recalled what else her mouth tasted like... bringing with it a severely unpleasant memory. <i>'You know... a headache I expected after what happened before... but I didn't think it would be a jackhammer!'</i> Christina thought. <i>'What exactly DID happen?'</i> Caitlin asked.
<i>'As Chris would say, "Not a sweet clue."'</i> Marie answered.
<i>Why are we quoting Chris?</i> someone within asked.
<i>It sounded appropriate.</i> Marie shrugged.<i>Besides, he isn't all that bad.</i>
<i>'Yah, well... you know what they say... live and learn.'</i> Valerie's answer was curiously mature for her. <i>'Are you sure it isn't 'a hand in the bush'...?'</i> someone else answered.
She felt the stifled laughter of several alternates and hoped it wouldn't make her head hurt more. She felt the smile bloom on her lips, and wondered if she possibly looked silly.
"Christina...?" Chris' voice sounded worried. She moaned softly, then felt him lean over and kiss her on the forehead. "I'm right here, love... You've been unconscious for 4 days. How do you feel?" The concern in his voice was more than plainly obvious. As was something else. <i>'I still don't know why he keeps calling us "love"!'</i> Julia mumbled, now recognised as being the one who had asked why they had been quoting Chris. <i>'I'm sure he has a good reason... but I really wish I knew what those reasons are.'</i> Valerie's attitude was waspish.
<'How about *because I LOVE YOU*!'> Chris' thought was instantly in her mind. <'I've said it before. Why don't you just believe me?'>
<i>How about because we don't trust you?</i> Julia growled.
"I'm awake..." she murmured. "Question is, where am I?"
"Georgetown Medical Center." Mulder's voice answered.
Christina's eyes opened with a snap, and she groaned, regretting the gesture instantly and slipping them shut again.
"Mmmph... Owww..." she sighed. "My mother's gonna kill me. There's no way her health insurance is going to cover this, you know. Especially since I'm so far from home. " she immediately replied, opening her eyes just a little and seeing Mulder and Scully to her right and Chris to her left. She favoured Chris with a faint smile.
"You're in the hospital and all you can think of is the insurance?" Mulder asked, half-amazed.
"Knowing my mother... and knowing how expensive medical bills in this country are, she's going to make ME pay for this... one way or another. Especially since I doubt I'm on her insurance anymore, having been missing for ten months. Besides, I was on the verge of being taken off her insurance anyway. They won't pay for it as a dependant afer age 24, and my mother was getting fed up with paying for me anyway..."
"How do you feel?" Scully asked, though there was a professional tone in her voice.
Christina paused for a second to figure out exactly how she was feeling at the moment. Then, she answered as honestly as she could. For once, everyone in the system was listening and not talking.
"I'm fine." she answered.
The reaction was almost instantaneous. Mulder and Scully traded a look which Chris and Christina could only interpret as 'Yeah, Right!'
Mulder leaned in and smiled gently. "Christina, how about the truth?"
"I'm... tired... hungry... and I have a headache. How's that?" There was an amused grin on her face.
"Sounds about normal." Dr. Dana Scully smiled.
"Will someone PLEASE tell me what the hell is going on around here? Who were those people and why are they after me?" Christina asked, her voice sounded desparate, and she looked terrified.
There was a tense moment of silence as Mulder and Scully looked at each other again. At the same time, Chris squeezed her hand in reassurance. Something had to give, she was only afraid of what that 'something' was going to be.
"I know enough of what has happened to me to know that I don't like it. What else is going on that you're not saying, Agent Mulder?!"
"Well... the man who came in after you in Skinner's office did so because of what you have been through. I can't prove it yet, but he has some role in a world wide conspiracy to cover up alien abductions."
"Interesting theory, Mulder, though I'm not sure Agent Scully would agree with you on that point about aliens." she answered. "And it would explain why they came after me... but how would they know so soon? I did only turn up... uh... four days ago." <i>'You still should have told us, Valerie.'</i> Marie insisted.
<i>'There is a good reason I didn't tell you about any of this.'</i> Valerie's voice took on an 'I told you so' tone which only served to irritate everyone else.<i>'After all, take an engineering student and make her an abductee... no one believes her... especially since she doesn't even believe it herself.'</i>
<i>'But the question still remains... do we want to know, and would it be safer if we didn't?'</i> Christina asked. <i>'I don't know about anyone else, but I want to know.'</i> Marie said. <i>'Well, I-'</i> Lisa started.
<i>'You what? You of all people should know how badly we dislike having the truth hidden from us!'</i> Christina protested.<i>'Both you and Valerie, Lisa, have a LOT of explaining to do.'</i>
<i>'It was for the good of all of us.'</i> Valerie reasoned.
<i>'And you know what else they say, Valerie... the road to HELL is paved with good intentions!'</i> Caitlin spoke waspishly. <i>'Oh, Goddess, not this arguement again... so... in your opinion, Valerie, the good of the many outweigh the good of the few or the one?'</i> asked another, more mature sounding, voice.
"That I don't know. He always knows. Probably because the office where you were and where Scully and I work bugged." Mulder answered, eerily answering the conversation inside Christina's mind.
Christina wasn't sure she was listening anymore, to Mulder or to the members of her own internal system. She tilted her head back, sighing softly. She whimpered, though barely loud enough for anyone to hear.
Chris kissed her lightly on the cheek before he moved to sit down again, his hand still holding on to the one of hers which he'd held for the last few days.
"Is there anything you can tell me about my sister?" Mulder asked, seeming a little anxious to find out what was going on with his beloved sister, whom he hadn't seen in over 20 years. He also seemed a touch hesitant, almost as though he didn't want to push for the answers.
"I... All we know, Mulder, is that she is being looked for. The politics of the universe is a very complicated thing... even more so than here on Earth." Christina stated, though it felt someone was speaking THROUGH her, more than usual. It was, to say the least, spooky.
"Ah, good, you're awake." the nurse's voice made Christina feel like screaming as she walked in and removed the IV from her left arm. "Just let me take this IV out and I'll get the doctor."
"It's about time you took this out... and I don't want to see any doctors!" she half-growled, as the nurse left the room. Unfortunately, the nurse didn't seem to hear her. She grumbled. "Deafer than a DOORKNOB." Chris stifled a laugh, though not very successfully. Christina stuck her tongue out at him and then grinned.
"What do you have against doctors? I'm a doctor..." Scully sounded a touch offended.
"Nothing personal, Agent Scully, but doctors... I haven't been to one in years, and I... I don't like them..."
"That's quite alright... I know others who feel the same..." she shot a glance at Mulder while she said that, and he looked somewhat embarassed under her glance.
"You know what they say, Scully... doctors make the worst patients." Mulder grinned.
"That's because they have no patience." Chris grinned, and for a while, they all giggled.
"Look, can we just get the hell out of here already? I would rather not be in here, if you know what I mean," she said, grumbling. "I hate hospitals... probably more than I hate doctors." <i>'Don't we all...'</i> Lisa's voice echoed through her mind, though she could feel the entire collective nod in agreement.
"I know the feeling." Mulder nodded as he and Scully headed for the door. "We'll see what we can do," he said, as they walked out of the room, following the nurse.
As she clenched and unclenched her left fist, she felt the sore spot where the IV had been inserted and sighed. <'Great... Another bruise... just like the last time we were in a hospital and in need of an IV. '> the thought raced through the collective mind.
She felt Chris' hand on her cheek in an infinitely tender caress and looked up a him with a smile. She'd been lost in thought for a while and had almost forgotten where she was, as well as who was still there with her. Who would *always* be there with her. Even after what had happened... His expression held concern and caring. And an emotion that went far deeper than even love ever could. It was what had always been between them.
"Are you okay, love?" he asked, noting her clenched fist, which she immediately relaxed. She gave him a half-smile and he leaned over to kiss her lightly.
"Yeah... more or less... right now, I want to get out of here and maybe go back to L. A. for a little while and get my life together before... well, before I decide what the Hell to do next... I'm probably not in school anymore... been gone too long. You know how university bureaucracies are..."
"Well, I suppose you could move in with me..." his tone was quite serious. "I do have a place of my own now, and everything. I love you and I'm sorry for ever hurting you."
She smiled at him. "Thank you... As for moving in with you, I'd like that. But I want to find out what happened to me... This is about as frustrating as trying to dig through my blank childhood... "
"We will... we will... I promise you we will." his quiet determination was breathtaking. "Remember, I have a stake in this too."
She smiled lovingly at him. "I know," she said, before she kissed him softly.
The room door opened again and there was a tall female standing in the door who was wearing a white lab coat and carrying a metal clipboard. A stethescope peeked out of one pocket. <i>Oh no... oh gods no...</i> a collective groan, and she sighed.
Christina grumbled as the doctor finally left the hospital room where she'd been staying for the past four days.
It was bad enough that she was still *in* the hospital, but the fact that some of her alternate personalities were chafing at even just the thought of the medical exam had her wishing she were out of the area so that the doctor wouldn't have to worry about getting her head ripped off by an overly protective alter, or an overly angry one or even a combination of the two.
Chris helped her to her feet and she clung to him closely before moving a step. She felt his hands caress her gently and she refamiliarsed herself with the feeling of him as well. Reluctantly, she finally let go of him, but it was almost as though neither wanted to.
"Wait a minute... this aren't my clothes..," she said as she gingerly stepped over to the chair where clothes were piled and picked up a white shirt.
"Nope... It's something I got for you a while ago. Your stuff is with my dirty laundry." he answered.
"Well... thanks..." She sighed. "Now if only that physical exam had gone a little better..." she paused almost sourly, a somewhat annoyed expression on her face.
"It didn't go that badly..." Chris' expression was one of amazement as he watched her pull on her clothing piece by piece and then run her fingers through the tangled mess of her hair. Christina'd managed to convince the doctor to allow Chris to stay because during her checkup because she'd warned that he was the only one who could keep her temper under control.
"Yeah, right... I hate being poked and prodded like I'm some sort of lab specimen..." She turned to look at him for a moment, a mischevious gleam in her eye, suddenly. "Besides... there are other things I'd prefer to be poked and prodded with..." Christina grinned at him, tucking a stray lock of hair under her ear as she finished dressing.
"Oh? Like what?" Chris' eyebrows rose in amusement as well as feigned innocence. It didn't fool either of them and both knew it.
"Oh, I dunno... something of yours, maybe..." she grinned, wrapping her arms around him and meeting his mouth with her own.
Just then, Mulder and Scully came back in with the nurse who had all of the release papers. For a moment, Chris and Christina were too preoccupied with each other before the nurse cleared her throat, interrupting them.
"Just sign these and you'll be out of here." the nurse said, handing Christina the clipboard with various forms on it.
"I hate paperwork..." she grumbled, flipping through the forms and signing them, laughing lightly as each of her signatures looked vastly different.
One by one, she finished signing them and then the nurse breathed a sigh of relief, though Christina was certain the nurse was relieved to have her out of there. "Okay, then, you're out of here. Just heed the doctor's instructions and get something to eat. Start slowly, though. You've been on fluids for four days. However, I do think you will feel better once you get some food into you and get a little more rest. You may have been unconscious, but I do not think it was all too restful."
"Right... We'll make sure she gets something to eat." Chris said. Christina shook her head, smiling. Chris would probably end up feeding her to death... or something. Their eyes met and after a moment, both were fighting down laughter. They were close enough now that they could communicate without verbalising and often did.
"Where do you want to go now?" Mulder asked.
"Los Angeles. I have some business to wrap up... After that, I'm going to have to figure something out." **
5 April 1997<b>
She had been back in Los Angeles for about a day now, getting the third-degree from her mother, who couldn't quite believe she was back yet. Not only that, she kept getting asked questions, even the most basic of which, she couldn't answer. Fortunately, Chris kept her from wringing her mother's neck.
Eventually, Mulder and Scully drove Chris and Christina out to where she'd disappeared. By now, Chris and Christina were inseperable, though Christina just wanted to get away from everything. Being asked questions she still had no answers to was not easy for her to handle because most of those questions were still coming from herself.
"I was coming out of physics lecture getting ready to go home when it happened," she said, as they were approaching the building where the physics labs and lectures were held. She felt a touch odd, as though there was something she needed to be doing. "I was right at this spot when-"
Right as she spoke those words, they reached the exact spot where she had been standing when she had been blinded the last time and a bright light flashed again.
The last thing on her lips was "Oh no, not again!" as the blinding light overwhelmed her senses. **
"You brought him with you... good." a familiar voice echoed as the near-blinding whiteness receeded. It had not been a 'verbal' voice, but heard in everyone's mind.
"Him...? Who...? What...? Excuse me, but will SOMEONE please tell me what the hell is going on around here?!" Christina spoke with some exasperation as she looked around. The surroundings looked strangely and eerily familiar, but she wasn't sure. Her heart was pounding in her ears.
"Dearheart, you must remember to relax..." the voice intoned.
"Relax?! I don't know what's going on, who you are, and what you've done to me and you expect ME to _RELAX_?!" <i>'And why the *hell* are they calling us "dear heart" anyway? We don't even KNOW them!'</i> Lisa piped in.
Two robed figures walked towards them and by the presenses, Christina felt she 'knew' them somehow. It was the same feeling, or nearly so, from when she had run into Mulder. Only it was more than familiarity. A not-so-small part of her knew them. They were somehow behind the mystery of her ten month absense.
"Erm, Christina, love, where are we?" Chris asked, and it was then she became aware of the fact that she wasn't alone.
"Chris, I'm not certain you'd believe me if I told you..." she murmured, and heard his ascent in her mind.
"So... this is the inside of a real flying saucer?" his tone was part amazement and part joking. "Or am I dreaming?"
"If you're dreaming," Mulder was amazed as he looked around. "Then hope you never wake up because this is one hell of a dream... and I hope we're all dreaming this together... what do you think, Scully?"
"I don't know what to think..." Scully answered. "This isn't like the last time..."
"Agent Scully, we are not they who abducted you last time." the female figure said drawing back the hood to reveal sapphire blue eyes studying the four recent arrivals.
Scully's eyes widened at the statement, but was silent.
"I'm not certain I trust you..." Christina said, feeling dizzy as the Others began with a riot of questions. She was torn between wanting to have a screaming fit, or running away and crying. "And I would like an explaination as to what is going on and why you found it necessary to not only abduct me, but keep me from those I love for such a long time." She felt a wave of reassurance from Chris.
"Be patient, dear heart. All will be explained soon." The female seemed to speak with her eyes. Her lips didn't move at all, though Mulder, Scully, and Chris were hearing her as well.
"Who is to say you won't turn us over to the associates of Mulder's friend who smokes?" Christina heard the suspicion in Chris' voice and sent support to him through the link they shared.
"First of all, he isn't my friend, Chris... Speaking of him, though, Krycek works for him... and I wouldn't trust Alex Krycek as far as I could throw him..." Mulder sounded bitter.
Scully stood silent for a moment, pondering what she knew about Krycek... and the death of her sister Melissa. Suddenly, she remembered something she'd seen before she'd met Mulder personally.
"Mulder, I just realized something. When I first got my assignment to be your partner, that man who smoked was there also... he didn't say anything," Scully said. "He just stood there and smoked, as if he knew something... looking back, I would bet on it."
"That's interesting..." Mulder mumbled, looking at Scully. "Especially since he was also behind your abduction." Scully looked at Mulder in shock.
"Mulder, are you sure you know what you're talking about? I... I mean sure, he has been there every time one of our assignments turns up twisted, but that doesn't mean he'd be part of it." Scully protested.
"I am not saying he's *part* of it... I'm saying he orchestrated the whole thing. You said yourself that you remember humans being partly responsible for your abduction."
"Mulder, I'm really not sure that is the same thing."
"Think about it, Scully. He's never denied it."
"He's never admitted to anything either!"
"Scully, you *know* he's turned up every time evidence either went weird or vanished."
"Yes, but would that mean he was running it?" Scully asked again.
"I wouldn't put it past him." he admitted. "Regardless of which, what he has done thus far is immoral and probably illegal."
"At the moment, I don't know what to believe." Scully answered.
"Great... now I really don't know who I'd trust..." Chris' voice was dryly sarcastic.
"You can trust me..." Christina murmured before planting a kiss on his cheek. He smiled at her and briefly hugged her. She squeezed him tighter when she heard his whispered 'love you' in her ear.
"We have already stated that we have nothing to do with those associates. I understand why you don't trust us or believe us, but understand we are doing what we can to aid humanity, not destroy your people. Or even control them.
"My apologies for being rude." the other figure said, revealing his face finally. "I am T'Kenn, and this is my associate K'Nara. We are here to assist humanity, not to abduct and test and harm..." When he spoke, his lips did move, but there was the sense that he did so only to make the four in front of him more comfortable. <i>'I'll believe that when I see it!'</i> Lisa spoke up.
<'I think that makes all of us, love.'> Christina heard Chris' voice in her mind.
"Well? I want an explaination... NOW... " Christina's voice took on the clipped tones of Marie's voice inflection and accent.
"We thought it best that you were saved from remembering, especially in light of your unique situation..." K'Nara began.
"What 'unique situation'?! I've got Multiple Personalities. I'm still highly functional, so I don't call it a disorder. What I want to know from you is why you found it necessary to blank 10 months of my memory considering you claim nothing remotely terrible happened to me! Explain THAT to me!"
<'I think he was referring to your mother, love.'> Chris' mental voice reminded her, though she barely heard it through her anger. <i>'That I highly doubt...'</i> Caitlin's voice was clear and steady.
"Perhaps we showed incorrect judgement..."
"That's a FUCKING understatement..." Christina growled, glaring at both K'Nara and T'Kenn. "And why did you land me in Washington, D. C.? Last I saw, that was NOT Los Angeles." <i>'Even though we can't stand the place.'</i> the mature voice from earlier smiled. <i>'Linda, don't even THINK about starting...'</i> Marie's temper was fit to be tied.
"But we thought it was the only way for you to return to where we found you with Agent Mulder. Otherwise, you might have returned alone, and all would be for nothing... especially since we do have a message for him regarding his sister-" T'Kenn continued.
"What about my sister? Where is she?" His voice held both anger and desparation. Scully took him by the arm.
"Mulder, I think that is what they are trying to tell you."
"We are looking for her, Agent Mulder. We have leads on where she is, but we needed to get your attention in order for us to be able to tell you this information." T'Kenn answered. <i>'That was an evasion of the truth if I ever saw one.'</i> Caitlin answered.
"I don't like this twisted game you're playing. I want the truth. I want answers. NOW." Christina's voice took on another tone and Chris recognized it.
"Easy..." he murmured into her ear. "Anger will get you nowhere."
"That's easy for you to say." She shot him an indignant look before turning the full force of it on T'Kenn and K'Nara. "What the HELL gives you the right to determine what is right and what is wrong?"
"We needed your help, dear heart."
"And don't call me that... not unless you have a damn good reason." <i>'Even if they do have a good reason, I still don't like being called that.'</i> Caitlin grumbled.
"It is only a term of endearment." T'Kenn explained.
<i>'Liar!'</i> Valerie's voice was sharp.
"Yes, but *you* are not very endearing to me..."
"I'm sorry. We did manage to teach you a great deal about the condition of the world, and the universe. It *is* what you wanted, is it not? Why would you have agreed to it otherwise?"
"Not at this price. I didn't want to be away from the people who love me, and whom I love," she shot a look at Chris. "For so long. Not only that, you are *still* evading the truth. I have very little tolerance for people who do that... human or not. And right now, you are trying my patience." <i>'It's better than them having tried other things.'</i> someone who refused to identify HIMself smirked. It was not Chris, however.
The dirty looks being traded within were nearly explosive.
"I think we should get started on why we brought you all up here. There is information on Mulder's sister that we have managed to find from sources throughout the local sector of space." T'Kenn explained.
"This is impossible. Space travel can't happen. Given the distances required, the fuel requirements-" Marie's accent stood out.
"That's why we remove a percentage of the carbon dioxide of planets which have too much... "
"And I asked you before: What if you take too much from the planet and misbalance the system?" Marie's curiousity was evident. The echo of thoughts, however, made her dizzy. <i>'What do you mean 'asked before'?'</i> Christina asked. Marie shrugged.
"That has yet to occur."
"T'Kenn..." Marie's voice was icy. "Simply because that has yet to occur does not mean that in time it will. WHat you are doing may well end up misbalancing the ecological system of more than one planet. Simply because humanity exploits its homeworld does not give you or anyone else the right to do the same!"
"Exactly what is it they do?" Mulder inquired. "And where the HELL is my sister?"
"Mulder, you haven't listened."
"That's because you haven't told him anything." Christina's voice was waspish. "You keep saying you have information on his sister, but when pressed, you change the bloody subject again!" Abruptly, there was an all-too-clear mannerism change. "How is he supposed to believe anything you say... how are ANY of us supposed to believe you when you continue to give only vague rumours?" Christina's mannerisms seemingly familiar.
"She has a valid point," Scully said.
"How about we get to the point of *why* you have brought all of us here right now."
"Well, the main reason we brought you here was in order to inform Agent Mulder of what has been going on with the search for his sister. My people are tracking her down even as we speak." T'Kenn stated.
"THat's not good enough. If you wanted to tell Agent Mulder, you should have just taken him. WHat is the point of taking both myself and Chris? Neither of us has anything to do with that. For that matter, there was no point in my original abduction to begin with! So tell me, why did you take me in the first place?"
"Insatible curiousity, dearheart."
"I told you *NOT* to call me that! And what hell is that supposed to mean?"
"I think they mean that this is the opportunity for all of us to learn what they have found so far," Scully said, though she sounded somewhat skeptical. <i>'That still doesn't answer my question.'</i> Valerie pouted.
<i>'Oh, shut up, Valerie.'</i> Christina grumbled.
"By involving myself and Chris? Why? The information Mulder needs does not even involve us. And don't give *any* of us that shit about how you needed me to find him to give him that information. You could have found another way. There is *ALWAYS* another way." Christina's temper was in fine form.
"Actually..." T'Kenn began. "The information we managed to store in your mind will affect more than just Agent Mulder. It affects you as well. You will to have to stay away from the Cigarette Smoking man."
"And just *how* does it affect me? You used me to find Mulder. Fine. I can deal with that. But how can my finding Mulder for you place me in any danger? Unless you really are working for that asshole chainsmoker and have been lying to me this whole time!" Christina didn't even attempt to control her voice or temper.
"The Cigarette Smoking man wants to control all information. You now know what he only theorises, therefore you are in danger."
"T'Kenn," Christina's voice took on Marie's tones and inflections again, and Marie was not happy. "*That* is a bloody obscure explaination if I ever heard one."
"I agree." Chris spoke up. "Thus far, we have heard nothing from you except evasion. Even I've learned it's best not to lie to anyone... least of all Christina. Actually... most *especially* to her."
There was a traded glance between Christina and Chris, and the one look spoke volumes.
"We have not been lying. The situation is very complicated-" K'Nara attempted to start an explaination.
"Fuck you. Fuck *both* of you. I don't want to hear it anymore. I want the *TRUTH* NOW. Stop lying to me!" As soon as the words left Christina's lips, Chris looked at her in shock. Her tone of voice was been angrier than he had ever heard her. Even during the times he'd heard her quite angry. At him.
"Whoa... Christina, what brought that on?" Mulder turned to look at her. "I thought you were glad to help in any way possible?"
"Shut up, Mulder, you have no idea what you're talking about. I still haven't gotten an answer as to WHAT they did to me to get me to forget what happened during those ten months. You seem willing to let that slide. If it had been Agent Scully, what would you have done? Demand answers or act like the weakling *idiot* you are?!"
Mulder's jaw dropped in shock and Scully was stunned into silence.
"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully, perhaps it would be easier to explain to you what we know of the missing Samantha first, then we can possibly all understand better what has happened." T'Kenn said, diplomatically.
"Yeah, right, I'm not even sure we can trust you!" Christina retorted. "As a matter of fact, _I_ *don't* trust you... or anyone *else* around here right now!" The tone of voice far too faimliar to Chris.
"Not even me?" Chris' inquiry was low and murmured, but she heard it anyway. She turned to face him, eyes blazing in anger and desparate paranoia.
"What are you expecting from me? Implicit trust? I can't *do* that!" she raged, on the edge of hysteria. "And you of all people know damn well *why*." <i>Whoa, Julia, what the *hell* are you doing?</i> Erin asked, preparing drastic measures. Julia, as expected, didn't answer Erin directly...
"Christina... what's wrong? I've never seen you this upset before." Chris' voice was low and warm in her ear. She felt her thoughtplanes switch again.
"Ummm..." Christina's voice started to waver. "Could you... could you all excuse me for a moment... I have the sudden urge to be alone."
Chris looked hurt. "Alone?"
"Well... you're welcome to come along if you like." she smiled, though he could see tears already forming in her eyes.
"I can show you to one of the meditation chambers, if need be. You spent a lot of time in one of them the last time you were here." K'Nara said. "You said it helped you get closer to the one you loved most."
Christina nodded, she well remembered missing the one she loved most, and K'Nara began to move towards one of the far doors.
<'And who would *that* be?'> Chris' thought came through loud and clear. Christina just turned and smiled at him, dragging him along while K'Nara proceeded to lead the way.
<'Who do you think?'> She sent the thought back to him and felt his hand squeeze hers.
At the same time, Mulder and Scully turned back to T'Kenn who was preparing to show them things even Mulder would probably find unbelievable. **
K'Nara lead them through the ship and over to the area set aside for strictly medatation processes. The area itself seemed to vibrate with the soft gentleness of relaxation. With a brief bow, K'Nara left.
As they entered the meditation chamber, the doors slid shut behind them and they were embracing almost ferverently.
"Is it just me or does she remind you of someone?" Chris smiled into her hair.
"Ambassador Delenn. Babylon 5. Except for the fact that I'm not sure I like her as much as I do Delenn." she murmured into his shoulder.
He wrapped his arms securely around her. "You're right... and I'm not so sure I like her much either... K'Nara I mean... I do like Delenn. Of course, I *love* you." She felt him plant a kiss on her cheek, his breath warm on her ear, sending shivers through her. "You do know that I love you... don't you?" <i>'Oh, thank the gods... this isn't a dream... he's really here, and we're really holding him...'</i> Caitlin's murmured litany brought tears to the eye.
"I'm scared, Chris... really really scared," she said, aloud.
<i>'That's putting it mildly...'</i> Marie sighed.
"I know." He rested his chin on her shoulder, rocking her back and forth, gently stroking her hair. "But you still haven't answered me. You do know I love you, right?"
Christina smiled at him. "I know. And I love you too."
"Oh, good." his tone was teasing, even as he held her tightly in his arms.
"I'm *so* glad you're here... so very glad."
"Me too. I almost thought I'd never get to hold you in my arms again." he answered, and she could hear the tears he was holding back.
"I'm kind of glad you're holding me too..."
"Only 'kind of glad'?"
He lifted her chin and then leaned down to meet her lips with his. They held the kiss for several moments before drawing apart only slightly. He still held her close, almost afraid to let go of her.
She looked into his eyes and for a while, they were speaking without words.
"I've missed you so much, love."
"Missed you too, even if it doesn't feel quite as long. We haven't had time to be together since you left to go back to Nova Scotia... and then there was-"
Chris looked decidedly uncomfortable. "Can we not talk about that? I *really* don't want to talk about that person. Or Lise, for that matter. It's over and done with, remember? Has been for a long time. You were on the phone with me a few days after it happened. It's *you* I've missed more than anything. I've wanted to be with only you for so long... You're here, I'm here... No one else."
Momentarily, she studied his face and his eyes. He leaned over and whispered a kiss at the juncture between her shoulder and neck before looking into her eyes again.
She smiled at him. "I guess I found out what would happen if I vanished. And this wasn't even willingly. I was going to ask about getting you to Los Angeles for a visit, remember?"
"I do... but then you vanished on the night you were supposed to call me. I called and your parents told me you hadn't arrived home yet. I felt something was wrong..."
"You always have been good at that... just like I have with you."
"Yeah. And I meant what I said earlier. I'm sorry about lying to you and hurting you. I never wanted to do that. Ever. Those months you were missing... I missed you so much."
"I'll get through this... After all, you had ten months to get through this... I feel like I'm only facing this after being betrayed and stuff a few months ago..." she sighed. "I'm just glad you're here. I thought I'd never get to see you again... never get to make love to you again... never-"
He tilted her chin up slightly and silenced her with a kiss, brief but with the promise of more. She felt the light touch of his tongue to her lips and moaned softly.
"I love you." he murmured, drawing back just slightly, his lips trembling.
She pressed her mouth to his for a moment before she withdrew, pouring all her feelings for him into the kiss. This time, it was far from light, but shiningly brief for all its intensity.
"Love you too." she smiled at him.
"You know... how about we use this chamber for more than just *ahem* meditation."
She smiled. "Okay."
He lifted her chin and met her lips with his once again, this time more passionate than the last. **
"Agent Mulder, please accept our apologies for not getting into contact with you directly, but we have little or no contact with most of the people on your planet, and we're not even certain how anyone would react to the discovery of our presense here. The few people we have managed to contact have generally compartmentalised the contact-"
"Christina mentioned that she had found a link. We were interrupted before we could hear what the link was. Let me make a guess, though... each of the people you took has some severe case of dissociation, right?" Scully asked. "This is why you were saying they compartmentalised the contact between you-"
"As well as why Christina can't remember ten months of her life." Mulder finished.
"Well... yes. As you know, the members of our race are highly telepathic, so it was easier to find those who were higher up on the scale of what your people consider disocciation, most especially Multiple Personality Disorder, though we understand Christina and several others have dropped the 'disorder' part. And for good reason. For them, it generally does not interfere with daily funtioning."
"I am aware of all the latest psychological studies done." Mulder said. "That still doesn't explain exactly what you are doing or where my sister is. Even though you claim that is why I was brought here."
"As I have explained to both of you, as well as Christina, there is information we have uncovered regarding Agent Scully's missing months from three years ago. Also, we are in the midst of looking for Mulder's sister-" K'Nara attempted to explain.
"You still haven't answered me. Why have you brought me here, and where is my sister?"
"And exactly what do you know about my abduction three years ago?!" Scully's anger was suddenly far too obvious. "I'm not sure I like all the evading of the truth. You even refused to tell Christina what was going on."
"I do not understand why you are so upset with us, Agent Mulder." K'Nara said.
"Why don't you try telling them the truth for once... as well as telling *me* the truth." Christina's voice rang from the other side of the room where she and Chris had just entered. "What did you do to me for those ten months, and what are your intentions towards all four of us. After all, there was no reason to bring Chris here at all."
<'Was so. I didn't want to be away from you again. It's been entirely too long.'> She heard his voice in her mind, and she pulled him close for a light kiss. <i>'Gods, I knew there was a reason we loved him.'</i> Caitlin smiled. <i>'How about 'because he's a great kisser'?'</i> Lisa teased.
<i>'Hey, I'm not complaining.'</i> Valerie shrugged.
<i>'Even though that's not the reason we love him... but I'm not complaining either.'</i> Christina giggled.
"There is a reason your friend is here as well." K'Nara was attempting to explain. This caused Christina to break the kiss she had been holding with Chris and turn to K'Nara, a testy expression on her face.
"Okay, what is it? I'm still waiting to hear your explaination." Her tone of voice alone indicated that she was *not* happy.
"We had remembered when you would go into some hopeless moods about the young man beside you, therefore when we saw him with you, we decided that it would be better if we brought him along as well." K'Nara looked a touch chagrined.
"So you *did* miss me!" Chris' voice was murmured into her ear.
<i>'I'm still not sure I like that reason...'</i> Christina mused.
<i>'That's because it still sounds to me like they're avoiding something, or lying!'</i> Valerie spoke up. <i>'You would know, Valerie...'</i> Christina's voice cut in.
<i>'WHat the hell are you talking about?'</i>
<i>'You have been the one I have felt lying about this entire incident from the beginning. You know at least part of what these people are capable of, yet you won't tell us the truth!'</i>
<i>'Maybe this is to get back at you for running off somewhere-'</i>
<i>'Oh, please... that is ridiculus. You know how uneasy and uncomfortable we all get when we are either lied to or kept from the truth... remember the incidents before?'</i>
Valerie gave an indifferent shrug and Christina sighed.
"I'm still not sure that answer is acceptable," she said.
<i>'It may not be acceptable, but I get the feeling it is the only bloody explanation we're going to get out of them.'</i> Marie said. <i>'WHy don't you just ask them if they decided to try getting us pregnant?'</i> Lisa hissed.
"And to answer your question before you ask it, no, we did not attempt anything like impregnation. I have already mentioned that we are not that sort." T'Kenn stated, calmly. "We are more teachers than anything else. Sent around the galaxy to educate and subtley direct races away from their self-destructive tendancies." <i>'I'm still not certain I trust them.'</i>
<i>'I *know* I don't trust them. So what else is new?'</i>
"Look, as far as any one of us knows right now, we might not even be able to remember what happened during this time and will appear to anyone else as though I've been missing again... only I'll be out of whack date wise yet again. Really, T'Kenn, for claiming to be such a smart race, you really are dense," she said waspishly.
"We had work-" T'Kenn began.
"And that's another thing I have yet to figure out. Why the hell did you have to blank my memory if you've got nothing to hide? After all, by blanking my memory on events, you are essentially telling me that you have something to hide. Not only that, it is a pretty effective scare tactic, having me disappear from one coast in one year and having me reappear on the other coast in another year."
"I was wondering when you'd get to that point." Chris said.
"Christopher..." she murmured. "I think I'd prefer your support..."
He looked at her, then swept her in his arms and planted a deeply passionate kiss onto her lips.
<'You've got it, love.'> his voice echoed through her mind.
"Ahem, did you have something to say, or..." Mulder cleared his throat and tried to interrupt.
"Agent Mulder, the way my life has been lately... you really don't want to know what I wanted to say..." Christina said.
Chris gave her a look and she had to laugh. "Christina... you should tell him what you wanted to say." he murmured.
"Okay, well, I'm not happy with still not being told what is going on, as well as who the hell came up with the idea of blanking my memory. If those ten months are so damned important, then why the *HELL* would we agree for you to remove the memory of what happened in those ten months from my mind?!" <i>'Valerie...'</i> Christina's voice sharpened.
<i>'I didn't agree to it. It just happened!'</i> Valerie protested.
<i>'Right. Just like you were the one who was out when we met Agent Mulder.'</i> Caitlin said.
"Now... that is complicated in and of itself." T'Kenn said. "As for 'blanking' your memory... we did not do any such thing. Apparently someone within your system found the ten months you spend with us to be traumatic." <i>'They're lying again... and hiding the truth. I can tell!'</i> Valerie said. <i>'So can I... Their answers keep changing, and I don't like it.'</i> Erin's voice was stern. It was obvious she wasn't happy.
"Will you please stop lying to me! I'm not a child to be coddled and protected. If you know me *half* as well as you claim, you know damned well that hte last few times I've been lied to in order to protect my feelings, I've reacted violently."
"Uhh... Christina, a word with you..." Chris tugged on her arm and she turned.
"What?! Are you in the frame of mind to divulge another lie? Such as what you and Lise-" She turned on him, fire blazing in her eyes.
"Oh, quiet." Chris said, abruptly. He pulled her close and kissed her soundly. It certainly shut her up.
<I love *you*... I am here for you right now. I want to be with you for the rest of our lives. Is *that* clear?!> his mental voice had the tinge of tears.
"That goes for you too, Julia." Chris murmured, pulling away slightly. "I meant what I said. I love you. *All* of you. I thought you told me you were going to get through this." She felt his fingers tangle in her hair, and took hold of his wrist to get him to continue the caress.
"I'm trying, but the pain keeps getting thrown back in my face. ANd I don't even know if I can trust you anymore. I told you. Once a trust is broken, it is hard to get back to that level. Ever."
"Now you're starting to sound like me." Mulder muttered, though loudly enough that she heard it.
"ANd you know as well as I do that sex and physical acts can't solve everything. I want you to be honest and truthful with me. Right *now*, Christopher." She looked into his eyes, deciding for the moment that Mulder could be dealt with later, even if he was kind of right in his assessment. She could feel Julia forcing part of her behaviour and knew she needed to be pacified.
Chris grimaced. This apparently wasn't going to be as easy as he had wanted. "Okay... the truth, though you already know it since we've talked about this over and over... Natasha dumped me. This you know about, since I was on the phone and IRC with you shortly after it happened. Lise tried to get back together with me, but I don't want anything to do with her. You went missing, and I came looking for you. Why? Because *I LOVE YOU* and only you. And because I can't imagine my life without you. I've tried that. It hurts too much. And as for your trust... I'll earn it back." he touched her face and then leaned to kiss her lightly. "I want to. All you need to do is give me the chance."
"I'm working on it... I think you got Julia to shut up." she smiled at him. Her features had abruptly changed again.
"I should have figured it was her... I still love her, though... like I said... I love *all* of you, always have, and I'm here." <i>'Now that is the truth... and a relief.'</i> Erin spoke for the rest of the Guardians, and they all nodded.
Christina smiled at him and then turned back to the others. "The truth, T'Kenn. *Now*. Or else I am going to demand that you send me and Chris back to Earth and do whatever you want with Mulder and Scully here."
"I beg your pardon?!" Scully turned to look at the pair, who were still entwined in a secure embrace.
"Ok, fine... do whatever the HELL you want with Mulder... put the rest of us back on the Earth." Christina said, waspishly.
"Our people have been taking others with similar traits to you and specializing in Engineering fields." K'Nara started. "Largely because people in Engineering have the best chance of saving the planet-"
While K'Nara had been trying to explain, Christina had somehow managed to get her hands on Mulder's gun. SHe interrupted K'Nara by tackling her and then holding the gun to her head.
"The truth... *NOW*," she said, though teh voice, tone, and carriage was clearly not hers. **
"I want the truth... *NOW*." Christina was sitting on K'Nara, holding a gun to her head.
"Christina! What are you doing?!" Chris asked, rushing over to her.
She stayed on K'Nara, but turned the gun to Chris. "YOu stay out of this. I am demanding that this alien bitch tell me the truth. You've done nothing but interfere in my life, and quite frankly, I'm sick of it!"
"Love... I don't understand..." he said, trying to be understanding.
"You wouldn't. HOw dense can you be?! Can't you see that they've all been playing us for fools. They're lying. They do work for that bastard chainsmoker who put me in the hospital. They're going to kill us... *ALL* of us!" There was a note in her voice which was frightening to hear. Even to her own ears. <i>DO something!</i> A young girl's voice screamed out.
<i>What do you want me to do? With the situation as it is, I'm not sure there's anything I can do!</i> Caitlin's voice answered.
It was then that Chris, and most everyone else, caught a literal glimpse of a red-haired woman with blazing green eyes. The expression on her face was definitely not a happy one.
"Julia..." Chris' voice was a whisper, his tone somewhat anguished. "Oh, gods... Julia..."
"I don't know how or why any of them put up with you. I certainly don't, and quite frankly, you are dense, stupid, and you *bore* me." Her tone was cruel, cutting, and utterly malicious. It was everything Julia was. The look on Chris' face was one of pain, shock, and anger. <i>Who the hell let her take control?</i> Marie's voice betrayed her shock. <i>Oh gods... how much trouble is this going to cause?</i> Caitlin asked, though everyone knew it was a rhetorical question. <i>I don't know, but it wasn't me.</i> Christina turned her eyes to Marie's and the two exchanged thoughts.
With a flash of pain, it was obvious that there was another switch in personality. Christina backed off K'Nara, gun still in hand, as if saving for future use. Almost absently, she tucked it into the waistband of her skirt, as though her mind had no idea what her hands were doing. <i>Who's in control now?</i> Marie asked, clearly frustrated that it wasn't her... at least not yet.
"Ohhh..." There was a dazed tone to her voice, and she wavered as she got to her feet. She put her empty hand to her forehead. "Chris?"
Chris stood up stiffly and turned away. His expression was neutral, but Christina, who knew him best, knew that there was pain in his heart.
"Chris..." She turned to walk towards him, her head feeling somewhat dizzy. "Chris... wait."
"Leave me alone." There was a note of pain in his voice, though he hadn't needed to say a word for her to know she'd hurt him. Badly. <i>Julia, you are a class A *bitch*! How could you DO that?!</i> Caitlin's glare was deadly. <i>It's not as though it isn't the truth.</i> Julia's snide comment was one filled with a smug satisfaction. <i>Damnit, you *know* as well as I do that it isn't. You just say things like that to hurt people. And you always hurt those you care about the most.</i> Valerie spoke up.<i>In fact, I'm certain that is exactly what you're doing!</i>
There was the impression of something more than that and Julia abruptly silenced.
"Christopher, please-" Christina started, eyes filling with tears.
"I said go away. You obviously think that way about me... so what does that make you... a liar, just like everyone else-" She could hear the tears in his voice he was struggling to keep back. "You're going to leave... like Von... Like Natasha... like Tillie, and Grampy." He lowered his head, and she knew he was struggling to keep tears at bay.
The riot which was starting inside her mind was dizzying and painful. Her headache worsened, and she had to fight to keep aware enough to get through to him. <i>No No NO!</i> someone within wailed, clearly distressed at what he had just said. <i>How DARE he compare us to those other two! Tillie and his Grandfather I understand, but-</i> Christina raged. <i>Dear Lord... I am sorry, love... *really truly* sorry...</i> a mournful voice murmured. <i>Gods... he's got the same issues we do. Remember? We don't like being abandoned either!</i> Caitlin sighed. <i>Fine...</i> There was a dangerous gleam in Julia's eyes.<i>Then let me do this!</i>
<i>Julia, no!</i> Erin moved to stop her, but it was too late.
"And you??? How dare you compare me to either Yvonne or Natasha. You left me *FIRST!* FOR Natasha! And then you *LIED* to me about her. For over a MONTH and a *HALF*! So turnabout is fair play." Christina's voice was filled with the pain and rage she'd felt for what felt like six months to her even though it had been much longer.
There was an abrupt wrenching and Julia was pulled back. In her stead, Erin commented on what had been said. If she hadn't, there would have been war within the system.
"You've lied to me too. And you *know* how Julia is. She's cruel, cutting, and manipulative. I can't do anything about her because she is everything about me I would rather not have. I"m trying to accept her for what and who she is, but this time she's gone too far. I don't think you're stupid, a bore or dense. She was taking the pain for when you were still lying to *ME*-"
Whatever else she had meant to say was cut off as he turned, pulled her to him and held onto her, tightly. They were both trembling. He stroked her hair even as tears streamed down both faces.
"I'm so sorry for that time. Really, truly sorry. I do love you. And not a day goes by when I don't regret hurting you. Most especially breaking up with you... You are the love of my life. I've known that for quite some time now, and I want to continue where we left off. I love you so much..." His voice was wavering through his words and his tears.
She felt the tears begin to dampen the shoulder of her shirt, even as hers did the same to his shirt.
"I love you, too. That is one thing I've never lied to you about. And we never really 'left off'. We just kept getting stronger. I know this. You know it too. Julia, however, doesn't quite placate so easily. I need time. I told you this already. Julia herself, though, is another problem. I know how cruel she is and can be... the question is, can *we* take it?" There was a hint of a smile on her lips.
"Always." he smiled as he leaned closer to kiss her gently.
After a while of reveling in cutting through the pain of betrayal yet again, they realised they were alone in the room... a room with a bright view of the earth spinning below them.
"You know... we've got to stop doing this..." Christina closed her tearsticky eyes and turned back to murmur into his shoulder.
"Doing what?" Chris asked, giving her a gentle squeeze and kissing her at her hairline. "Screaming at each other all the time? You know, when I said before that we never fought, I didn't expect you to be holding this sort of thing against me. I am sorry... and you were right... about both Lise and Natasha. But what do we have to stop doing?"
SHe laughed softly before answering. "Causing a storm of emotion and then making up the way we have been... gonig into a severe paranoia fit... and what the hell were you thinking comparing us to Von and she who shall not be named?" Her tone of voice was still light, but there was also pain in her voice.
"I had to find a way to get you back to your senses. Julia had gone too far and I needed to make you aware of that too."
"Oh, I was well aware of it. I still am. I know Julia went too far, but that still doesn't excuse what you did. That hurt."
"So did what you said to me." She felt him kiss her forehead, and she smiled.
"Not as much as what you did... As I said before, it's going to take some time... I didn't want you to leave me when you did, and now, with being compared to both Yvonne and Natasha-"
There was pleading in his eyes. "Please don't talk about this anymore... I am here... with you... right now. And here is where I want to stay. If you'll have me. Regardless of what Lise may have said to you in the past. As for Julia-"
"I heard what Julia said. She never said she didn't love you."
"But she never said she did either..."
<i>But she does love you!</i> Valerie's voice was almost gleeful. Julia hadn't said a word, but from the impressions she had been able to gather, she'd formed that conclusion.
"So what does that prove? *I* love you... The rest of us love you. As a matter of fact, if it weren't for the pain, I think Julia does too." she murmured into his shoulder. <i>So what if I do? You're never going to get me to admit it!</i> Julia was suddenly very defensive. Everyone else within had to stifle the smile. <i>Oh, Julia....</i> Caitlyn sighed.<i>I am aware of your paranoia... I just wish you *weren't* sometimes.</i>
<i>You'd be better off asking the wind to stop blowing and Chris to stop loving us...</i> Christina murmured, though she had to keep from laughing.
<I do love you, you know.> his voice smiled in her mind. <Very much.>
"I love you too," she said, aloud, pulling him closer and kissing him. "And I'm never leaving you. Ever." **
"I think you were right. We did need to leave them alone." K'Nara commented.
"How about giving them their privacy?" Mulder asked. "And telling us what is going on. Where is my sister?"
"Your sister is alive, though unfortunately, there are forces standing in the way of your reunion with her... ANd We are not certain where she is."
"I wish you would stop stringing us along. I am getting really tired of this. I want to know where my sister is or what you intend on doing to find her!"
"Agent Mulder, we are aware of the actions of the person who is apparently in control of many things which occur on your planet. The one you often see who is smoking a cigarette. I know I do not need to tell you this, but you really must be careful where he is concerned."
"Tell me something I don't already know." Mulder growled.
"Look, since you've tried to talk to us about this, you've given us absolutely nothing to go on," Scully said.
There was suddenly a shaft of light extending floor to ceiling before all of them. The earth circled lazily in it.
"What's this?" Scully asked.
"If you will recall, we mentioned that we had found a way to remove the excess carbon dioxide from your atmosphere. We use it as fuel in our ships."
"This was part of the reason why we needed the engineering knowledge of the students we took. Yes, we admit that taking them without prior consent was not a wise idea, but as your government has convinced the public as a whole of the lie that your people are the only ones in existence, it was the only way to go about it." K'Nara said.
"But there is the danger of taking too much from an enclosed system, isn't there?" Scully pointed out. "It could throw the entire system out of balance."
"We will continue doing so, and monitor the situation on your planet. If need be, we can replenish your planet's oxygen supply. As well as our mission to influence the scientists." K'Nara stated.
"I still don't understand how one relates to another," Mulder said.
"Technology, Agent Mulder. You don't think that your people would pick up the technology they have without people like Christina, do you?" T'Kenn said, though he sounded a little uneasy.
"So you abducted the best of the Engineers so you could influence where they would take technology? What's the catch?" Mulder asked.
"Not necessarily influence... just allow them to see that their ideas are quite viable." T'Kenn explained.
They were interrupted by a sharp shout from the other room, where Christina and Chris still stood. The monitor screens still held their images for the others to see.
"You know, guys, for claiming we're not prisoners or test subjects, you certainly are treating us like lab experiments... Where did you go?" Christina's voice was sharp through the speaker.
"I think we should head back to them. If I remember correctly, they've both got tempers we don't want to deal with," Mulder said.
They all agreed and headed back to the other room.
"So what you're telling me is that you wanted to influence me to help with the environmental problems that this planet is facing?" Christina's voice was filled with doubts.
"That's one thing, yes." K'Nara answered with an inclination of her head.
"But what about this mess with Samantha Mulder? How does that involve me?"
"We got information during your stay with us on her whereabouts. You were the first one available to pass on the information, and we asked you several times if you were sure after we asked you to help us."
"And I agreed?! Who the *HELL* agreed to this?!" Christina's voice jumped in volume. There was precedent in her anger. Several years ago, she had been forced to take medication, and the medication level had been altered without her memory of it. Prior to that, there was a certain conversation with a former friend after which he claimed they'd discussed things that she had no memory of.
<i>Who agreed for all of us?! This was supposed to be a joint agreement! One I don't remember making!</i> Marie declared.
"Yes, actually... you all agreed." K'Nara said. However, she spoke a little too quickly, and everyone noticed. She seemed to be trying to push an agenda all her own.
"Forgive me for saying this, lady, but I don't believe a damned word you're saying." Lisa's voice, angrier than anyone had ever heard it, emerged.
"I figured you might not." K'Nara answered.
<i>That's because you just don't remember it. </i> Valerie insisted.
<i>And what makes you so sure you did? What if they just implanted the memory of our having agreed to this to manipulate us into helping them? I keep telling you they work for that bastard chain smoker... but no one believes me. </i> Julia griped. Still highly paranoid, this time there was the sense that others within were of like minds.
<i>That's because we all know of your paranoia, Julia...</i> Valerie answered, though there now seemed to be no one who believed that Julia was all paranoia and little proof. Recent events had been a little too close for comfort in that regard. Even Valerie and Caitlin had doubts now which were louder than before.
"Apparently none of us do. And the one of us that does knows that it might have just been an implanted memory... After all, things like that aren't difficult to do." Andrel's stilted accent, hinting at Romulan, appeared. It was the first time anyone had heard it. There was a hint of calm, but also a lot of paranoia and suspicion.
"I don't know what else to say to convince you." K'Nara answered.
"Then do me a favour and say nothing. I don't believe you or anyone else who says that this was all agreed to. If we had all agreed to it, we would not have found the need to blank out the memory of our having agreed." The inflections went from nasty and suspicious to neutral and somewhat emotionless. "Logic dicates that had you nothing to hide, the memory of our granting of permission would still remain free and clear in our minds.
"Logical argument." Chris murmured, taking hold of her hand again. It was then that she felt something shift within him.
She started to open her mouth and say something, but he covered her mouth with two fingers, and at the same time he pulled her close to him again. It seemed to her that he liked having her that close.
"No one else need know..." he murmured into her ear, breathing on her ear and sending shivers through her. "No one... please, love."
She nodded. It was a secret best kept between them only. Besides, she'd only found out recently when they'd been alone in her room together what other similarities drew them together, and it had caused the trust level between them to grow even more than it had previously. Things were getting better between them, even though they'd been fighting and raging through the entire incident.
"You agreed to help us. Honestly, I do not understand why you would not remember having agreed to help." K'Nara said. <i>Do we have to do this again? I already said: I don't *remember* agreeing!</i> Lisa said.<i>This is exactly what Scott did... claiming that we'd discussed... *something* after that thing he made us do.</i> There was a sense that Lisa grimaced at the memory she held most strongly to. <i>I won't argue there, Lisa. </i> Valerie answered.<i>Especially considering what Scott did. </i> There was some anger in Valerie's voice, but that was to be expected considering the circumstances. What had happened between them and Scott had not been pleasant.
"What do you suppose we should do about that, then? If you don't remember agreeing, we might as well ask again. Are you willing to help us find Samantha Mulder as well as stop those non-terrestrials on your planet from doing your race any more harm?" T'Kenn asked. <i>I don't know about this. I don't like the feeling we're all getting from this at all. </i> Caitlin mused. <i>That feels like trouble knocking... and trying to break the door down.</i> Christina's jaw tightened.<i>And that is not something I want to see.</i>
<i>That applies to all of us, I think.</i> Valerie sighed.
"As it still stands now, the decision is still Christina's." Chris pointed out, giving her hand a squeeze at the same time, and she flashed a smile at him.
"Give me some time to think about it, will you? I have to think about this. Anything this big requires a lot of thought. Rather like marriage. It's not to be entered into lightly. After all, I'd be letting you use me to pass along information... and I would have no way of knowing if I were passing along erroneous information... and I might well be putting myself in danger."
Chris glanced at her and gave her a strange look. She turned and smiled at him. 'Marriage?' he mouthed at her, and she nodded.
<Been thinking about it a long time, love.> she sent, hoping he heard her. <Since you first asked me a few years ago. Remember? I agreed... Before all the unpleasantness with->
<I get the picture! I do remeber asking...and what happened later too.> he growled back, suddenly. <Let's not talk about it. I don't want to.>
Abruptly, he swept her into his arms and held her close, trembling slightly. "I love you, damnit. And I'm really sorry about what happened. We would have been married by now, you know..." he whispered into her ear, and she nodded, also hearing subtle shifts in his voice.
"I know. I wish we were... Always have." she murmured back, returning his embrace equally. "You have always been my husband... even through the worst of it, even when you had said you didn't want to be in that type of relationship with me anymore. For better or worse. From wedding vows... ones I have taken for you. I mean those vows, Chris... and I guess I've always been your wife, or, at least, always wanted to be." She felt him nod, and hold her to him tighter.
"Me too, love... me too..." She felt a kiss on her head.
"Very well, then." T'Kenn continued. "I suppose we should be able to give you some time to consider it. In the meantime, we brought all of you here for more than one reason. Would you like to see the progress of our efforts to stop your planet from warming too quickly? That particular project our people started about the time the noninterference directive began to fall apart."
"And you're sure that's all you're doing?" Mulder asked.
"That is the primary project, yes. Would you like to see our progress thus far?"
"Of course. Lead on." Mulder nodded, though his expression was mostly unreadable.
They returned to the original control room where the information was quickly called up on the various computer screens.
Christina studied the datascreens in front of her and furrowed her brow in thought
"We have attempted to balance the system." K'Nara explained.
"But according to this, you're doing the same sort of thing with your fuel that we do on earth. Burn carbon. And you're also removing carbon from the closed system that is the earth's environment, even if you are systematically reintroducing oxygen at the same time."
"It is the only way to stop the buildup towards global warming your people have already begun."
"What you're doing is dangerous-"
"Not ncecessarily. It may seem so, but part of the oxygen replenishment is also going towards the patching of the ozone layer thinning." K'Nara sounded defensive.
"That's all well and good, save for one thing. I don't believe you." Christina said. At the same time, she felt Chris place a supportive hand on her shoulder and give a tight squeeze. <i>Are we going to go through this again?</i> Christina half sighed.
<i>Don't we always?</i> Caitlin's reply was accompanied by a shrug.
<i>It's better to be suspicious and wary rather than suffer the consequences of a lack of vigilence.</i> came Andrel's tightlipped answer.
<And how is that *not* like paranoia?> There was a gentle, yet impish, tone to Chris' mind-voice, as well as a smile and a glimmer in his eyes.
"Since when do you eavesdrop on our internal conversations?" she murmured.
"Since I can apparently hear them, love. Either that or they're no longer solely in your mind." Chris flashed her a quick grin.
"Christopher, you're being ridiculous." she grinned at him.
"And you love me for it."
"I'll grant you that... and a little more."
"Oh, good!" he said, leaning in to kiss her gently. <I was afraid you'd hate me for it.>
<Never.> she answered by thought, returning his kiss with equal tenderness.
In the mean time, Mulder and Scully continued to study what they'd been shown.
"Anything interesting?" Mulder was heard asking, though the question was directed at his partner.
"Aside from the fact that the levels of carbon are still holding steady even with its removal from the earth's environment... yes, actually." Scully answered.
She'd been studying the database of reports of alien abductees, part of her still not quite believing it all, as well as any reports of bee attacks which were proving fatal. There was also information listed on all of the alien abductions which involved people reported to be strongly dissociative. Mulder looked at the information over her shoulder and was shocked at what he saw.
"You're not the only ones interested in people who are highly dissociative," Mulder said, his voice only barely controlled. "It seems so are the members of that Consortium who seem to like to get in my way all the time."
"And how would you determine that?" T'Kenn asked.
"I myself am highly dissociative. I determined that and had it confirmed while I was studying for my psychology degree and there is a notation in your records that I was taken too... about the time Samantha was, only I was returned!" Mulder suddenly sounded decidedly petulant. "Were you the ones responsible for taking her and/or me?"
"We could not help you or your sister, Agent Mulder." T'Kenn's voice was apologietic, and he spoke aloud instead of directly telepathically. "And we were not the ones to have taken you. That was the work of another group." There was regret in his features as well as in his body language. "At the time, we were unable to stop them."
"And why not?" Mulder's voice was calm. Too calm. Scully, as well as everyone else, could feel the anger radiating off him.
"We were under a code of non-interference at the time. Observe only. Do not interfere. That changed starting in your earth year 1990 when incontrovertible proof was obtained of the fact that the code was not working. Others from outside this planetary system were already interfereing with the development of your people."
"I'm not sure I believe that." Christina said.
"Nor I." Chris agreed.
The two of them still had their hands clasped together, and neither appeared to believe what had just been said. In fact, Christina looked exasperated.
"Don't be overly paranoid-" K'Nara started.
"K'Nara, go to Hell... and take your faction of this fight with you. Actually, let me rephrase that...whatever little war you and the others are involved in and waging, get OFF our planet. This is *our* home, not yours."
"They do have a point, K'Nara."
"T'Kenn, in case you have forgotten, we are here to do a job as well as to observe."
"I am well aware of the job we were sent to do, K'Nara. As well as your own motives in this case. I told the Council you were too personally involved, but they sent you anyway. And I know why." <i>Would this be a bad time for a temper tantrum?</i> A younger voice spoke up. <i>Isn't it always?</i> Caitlin's voice was dry and ironic.
"Look, I don't know about any of the rest of you, but I think I want to go home." Mulder spoke up, suddenly. It interrupted T'Kenn and K'Nara's telepathic debate, which they had taken to the privacy of their minds.
"Which brings us back to the reason why we brought all of you here." T'Kenn said. "Agent Mulder, I believe we have found your sister."
"Well, it's about time we hear something of the truth from you." Christina said.
Then they all waited for someone to start.
"Have you? Have you really?" Mulder said, when he realised no one was saying anything.
K'Nara nodded. "My government believe we may have located her, though we are not certain of either her current location or whether it is actually her."
Mulder looked at them both in disbelief. "Please explain," he said, finally, though the tone was one Scully recognised. Mulder was losing patience. Fast.
"She was taken off planet at the age you suspected. We know about your efforts to recover the memory that was lost to you when you were twelve. The information we have been given is that those who took your sister are the same ones who are working with those in your people's society who want to make the planet you inhabit a new colony." T'Kenn answered.
"Christina, you were right to request that we 'get the hell off' your planet. That is part of the battle we are waging. Those whom we are battling against are the colonising force which we are attempting to have leave your planet. T'Kenn mentioned that I had an ulterior motive in coming here to attempt to help you. I do." K'Nara said, finally.
"What's that?" Chrisitna's voice was still tinged with disbelief.
"I have had family members killed in this fight by those very forces - the shapeshifting aliens Agents Mulder and Scully have already encountered, as well as others - who would prefer to enslave your people."
"Whatever you say... I'm sure you believe it. But why help us?" Mulder asked.
"The noninterference directive we were under orders of has said that in your own time, you will join the Intergalactic community... if you do not kill one another before then." K'Nara began. "It has been foreseen."
"Agent Mulder, we are looking for your long lost Samantha. And we are doing what we can to bring her back to you. Alive and in one piece. You must never give up the hope that we will." T'Kenn finished.
"I suppose I will hold you to that." Mulder looked a little uneasy.
"It's... well, it is the least we can do, Mr. Mulder. The group who had taken your sister to begin with has little or no remorse about what they do to those they do take. In the same vein, they have treated her like property, and have also taken her far from where she came." the cello-like voice was in Mulder's mind, but everyone else could hear it as well. "Therefore, it will take some time to locate her for certain, but, be assured, we WILL find her and bring her back to you."
"Even if it takes a great deal of time..." K'Nara assured him.
Christina and Chris listened to this, but there were still some unanswered questions for them.
"T'Kenn, why did you take me to begin with?" Christina asked.
"Because, dear heart, you have the best of intentions, as do all the people who study the art form you do. Though you, as well as the others within you, do not believe what you study to be an art form, it is... and it is also a matter of perspective on that subject."
<i>There they go again. Calling us 'dear heart' when we told them not to.</i> Julia sounded peeved. Then again, it wasn't all that different from how she usually sounded. Julia's normal state of mind seemed to be one of either upset, annoyance, paranoia, or any combination of the three.
"Would you mind telling us why this entire situation you had to set up took you ten months?" Christina asked.
"That in itself is a complicated question. Your perception of time is apparently very different from our own. Those within your mind wanted to learn a great deal and set about doing so. You also did so while considering the question to help us find Agent Mulder. By the time we realised that we had to send you back before the situation became dire, ten of your months had passed."
T'Kenn paused for a moment before continuing.
"Also remember that the ones who exist within you are there for a good reason... they should be nurtured, not feared." T'Kenn grinned at her, and one of her Others knew... <i>'I rather figured that...'</i> Marie smiled.
<i>'And we shouldn't fight so often either... we know.'</i> Valerie grinned.
"Indeed, Valerie, you should not. Fighting brings nothing but trouble." T'Kenn said, speaking to them all, though what Valerie had said had not been spoken aloud.
Christina glanced at Scully, who wasn't entirely sure what to believe, and her facial expression indicated the fact that she was quite curious to figure out what was going on.
"Penny for your thoughts, Agent Scully?" Christina asked, the questions in her mind when she had first met Mulder and Scully now answered, even though some of the answers brought new questions.
Dana startled for a moment. "I was just wondering how exactly this would fit properly into the explanation of things governed by science. I have had times in the past where things have happened that challenged my beliefs in strict science, though this..."
Christina smiled and looked more than slightly relieved. "Sounds about right... I feel the same way... like this can't all be real because then things we have learned about the way the laws of the universe work are probably a load of BS."
<'Well, magick can't usually be explained scientifically either, love, you know that...'> Chris' thought was immediately in her mind and she grinned at him with a slight nod of her head.
Scully raised an eyebrow at her due to her reaction, and Christina continued. "Sometimes, I wonder if being a scientist/engineer is all it's cracked up to be. And then there are other times where I wonder if anything is even worth it..." she sighed softly and looked at Chris again with a half-smile. "Even living."
<'Hey, no thinking like that... remember my promise... and yours...'> his thought was in her mind, and she nodded, reaching out a hand to touch his face before he leaned slightly to kiss her.
"You're still young, dear heart." T'Kenn's companion said. "And from what we have seen, your mind is as it always has been. Brilliantly intelligent, despite what your biological parents might have told you."
Christina, still amazed at T'Kenn and K'Nara themselves, as well as what she'd learned lately, was not surprised the topic of her biological parents had come up.
"They're right, you know..." Chris spoke up.
"And so are you. As I seem to remember, you've said that to me on several occasions as well." She smiled at him.
"So... now what?"
"Now, we send you home and continue to look for Agent Mulder's sister. We *will* find her. It is only a matter of time." T'Kenn said. "We have had to expedite matters due to something our sensors have picked up on your planet. There is no time to explain, but I must warn you that the danger to all of you is now greater than it ever has been... however, this is no guarantee it will not escalate further."
"Oh, grand," Christina muttered. "Just what we need to hear."
"We apologise for the urgency and need for this, but the situation we have been monitoring has escalated. We need to start preparations to stop what we know is coming." T'Kenn said. There was a touch of fear in his voice, and his eyes. "We know what is coming because we have seen it happen on other planets. First the sweet convincing, then..." He gave a visible shudder, and it was plainly obvious that he was angry, and afraid.
"Which is why we need your decision, Christna. Immediately." K'Nara urged.
"How will you be in touch?" Mulder asked.
"Through Christina. Valerie has agreed-"
"Hold it. Valerie may have agreed, but it is not her body." Marie's accent cut through and right to the chase making it obvious who was speaking from Christina's internal system.
"Very true. You can't just keep using her against her will. The consent must come from all of them." Chris said.
"Well, then, we give you the choice... all of you. We shall do our best to give advanced warning so that we can keep you updated on exactly what might be going on. However, there will be times, most times, when we will need to get to you before we can give you advanced notice."
"I don't like this... but I'm not sure I really have much of a choice."
"There is always a choice." Chris prompted gently.
"Chris... that's what I keep telling *you*... but you never seem to believe me."
"Are we going to blow up again?" Chris' expression was wary.
She laughed. "Only if you don't kiss me."
He grinned, then swept her into his arms and kissed her... much to the delighted laughter of everyone within the system, as well as the other people who were in the same room. <i>Perfect!</i> Erin laughed, as she felt his tongue caress her lower lip.
"I love you... and I never said I didn't believe you... I just... uh... never took your advice." he smirked.
"Same thing, Christopher..." she raised an eyebrow, but still grinned at him.
"Christina, we need your decision."
"Well, I'll put it to you this way... *if* you use me without warning me first, I reserve the right not to like it and let you know... *loudly*." she answered, turning to face them.
"Fair enough. " T'Kenn answered. "And now... we send you home."
There was another flash of light, and a groan was heard. Then, they were gone again. **
8 April 1997 <b>
They found themselves back on the grounds of Cal State Los Angeles. The moon shone brightly overhead as they all blinked from the brightness.
"Are we all still here?" Christina mused, and she felt a gentle kiss on her hair from Chris. It was all she needed to know from him.
"I hope so. Was all of that real?" Scully asked.
<i>What is real and what isn't?</i> Lisa mused.
<I'm real... and the fact that I love you... that's real.> Chris' voice echoed in her mind.
"It has to have been. Of course, we could have been brainwashed..." Mulder sounded dubious. "Does anyone want to check for the date?"
In reply, Scully drew out her cel phone, and her eyebrows rose in surprise. Mulder noted her reaction and checked his watch.
"We've been gone for over a *day*?" Christina asked, upon seeing the screen on Agent Scully's cel phone.
"Now we know what they meant by 'insatiable curiousity', Christina." Chris said, thoughtfully. "Time really does fly when you're in 'fast learn' mode." He smiled at her, and she grinned tiredly at him.
"I don't know about anyone else... but I want to go home." Christina sighed. She leaned into Chris and took several deep breaths. The experience had worn her out and the only thing she wanted to do was to go and sleep.... and be with the one she loved most. After all, they had finally worked through most of the pain between them, and had a lot of catching up to do.
"Done. That way we can figure out what to do next," Mulder said. "And we also need both of your statements for our casefile."
<i>Aw, Hell... I guess this makes us an X-File.</i> Valerie groaned, though there was laughter behind that.
<i>Maybe that isn't so bad. After all, didn't we want to do something memorable?</i> Caitlin asked.
<i>Yeah, but ending up in a casefile in the FBI?</i> Christina asked.<i>That's not something I quite wanted, you know?</i>
"Agent Mulder, if you don't mind... I'd like to wait until I get a good night's sleep before any of that happens.
"I guess that's fair." Mulder nodded. "You've been through quite a bit lately. We all have."
"Then let's go home." Christina sighed.
2030 Del Mar Avenue<b>
Christina draped a tired arm over Chris' chest, kissing his neck even as his arms wrapped around her. "That was wonderful." she laughed softly.
"Yeah... it was." His tone was languid and touched with fatigue.
"Wanna do that again?" An impish smile appeared on her face.
"You're insatiable, woman." Chris grinned, kissing her forehead.
"Can I help it if we have a lot of lost time to make up for?"
"You know, we still haven't figured out what to do next... where do we go from here?"
"As Robbie Cantor would say: Onward and downward."
"I knew there was a reason I always liked Robbie... and Shaun and the rest of them."
"Great minds think alike, eh?"
"I'm serious. You can't live here anymore... your parents are worse than even *I* remember. Especially your mother."
"Hey, you didn't have to put up with her most of *your* life."
"True. Right now I'm just wondering how you did..."
"Likewise. I forgot exactly how insufferable my mother can be. And I didn't want to live here anymore anyway."
"Where are you going to go, then?"
"Well, I remember you saying that I could move in with you...."
"Glad you remember, but I'm not sure I want to live in Washington anymore."
"Fine by me. I don't want to live in Los Angeles for much longer either."
"We can go apartment hunting when you get readjusted to missing ten months."
"Chris, love, I'm not really *missing* ten months... I'm just feeling like I've been either in prison or something for that length of time. Then again, I can't remember much of anything that happened during that time either, so maybe I still am missing ten months... I don't know anymore."
"That confirms it, then. You still need to readjust. And I'm more than happy to help."
"Mmmhumm." she answered, pulling him close again.
For a while, they didn't talk anymore.
Russell's - Old Town<b>
"Thanks for showing up." Mulder grinned, as Christina and Chris walked in the front door about half an hour late. Dana said nothing but took a sip of coffee.
Christina blushed and looked over at Chris. They both looked a little dishevled, but neither was apologizing for it. They both had a healthy glow about them and just a look between them would get one or the other blushing. That look was not lost on either agent, and they grinned at each other, noting similarities but saying nothing.
"I would have called, but apparently your celphone is dead." Chris said finally.
"Wouldn't doubt it. I think I left it on the ship." Mulder grinned. "Did you get enough sleep last night?" <i>I wouldn't call what we spent most of last night doing 'sleep'.</i> Caitlin's amused voice half-yawned. <i>Well... we did sleep... after.</i> Valerie snickered.
<i>Is that something they really need to know, Valerie?</i> Christina's tone was of restrained laughter.
<I won't say anything if you won't.> Chris' mental voice laughed. That set both of them blushing again.
Mulder led them to the booth in the corner where Scully sat with both laptops, which had been plugged in to the wall to conserve battery power. >From the look of both screens, field reports were already in mid-generation. **
Field Report - Special Agent Dana K. Scully
The missing persons case which had been accompanied by several other reportedly unexplained occurances has been resolved, and the missing person, one Christina Shuy, has been located and reunited with her family.
What transpired during her ten month absense is still a subject for debate. The investigation uncovered the fact that she was kept relatively and apparently unharmed during that period. There is evidence to suggest that she was in the midst of doing research for her area of interest similiar to what she was doing the day she vanished from the campus of the California State University she was attending.
Her memories of those ten months still have yet to be fully recovered, although flashes of memories have resurfaced. Perhaps the details of her experiences may never be fully recovered.
Adding to the difficulty is the manner in which her mind is set up. She is, as has been previously noted, highly dissociative and proved to be a multiple personality, as has been observed by this witness on several occasions.
It is said that the phenomenon of muliple personality is rare. The observation from this witness is that perhaps it is only those whose lives are disrupted by it in a severe fashion who are the rare cases.
Christina and Chris slipped into the half of the booth which was unoccupied. The server appproached with a coffee pot with which she refreshed Mulder and Scully's coffee cups and an empty cup, in case either of the new arrivals wanted coffee. Chris nudged Christina and they traded glances, grinning.
"Coffee for him, please." Christina turned to the server. "And water with lemon for me."
Smiling, the server set the cup down in front of Chris and he reached for an Irish Creme creamer and two packets of sugar. When his morning coffee was properly mixed, he took a long sip of it, licked his lips, took another sip and then leaned over to kiss Christina, who returned the kiss with fervor, at least briefly. They were, after all, in public.
"The *only* way to have coffee." Christina giggled, explaining her actions to the two FBI agents in the seat across from them.
"Hey, Scully, maybe we should try that." Mulder grinned. Scully said nothing, but raised an eyebrow at her partner. "Well... I meant the creamer and sugar." He blushed slightly.
"I've already tried it, Mulder. You're the only one around here I know of who likes his coffee black." Scully answered, smiling.
The server returned and they each ordered breakfast. Mulder and Scully ordered the conventional breakfast, though both of them had discovered Russell's hash browns with cheese and onion from their first morning eating there and continued to order them. Chris and Christina had each ordered pancakes, bacon, and hashbrowns. Russell's was an old familiar place to them both, and they already knew what was good.
Once the server left, Mulder and Scully resumed taking down Christina's statement before taking Chris'. Scully typed up the statements while Mulder worked on his field report, pausing to ask questions after reading over what had been answered.
Field Report - Special Agent Fox W. Mulder
I have never had a case quite like this one, where the immediate resolution came from the subject in question walking directly into me. It was a strange missing persons case with the person now back home, though if she has any say in the matter, it seems she will not be living in the family home for much longer. From what I have heard from her and seen of her family, that decision is probably for the best.
What followed during the time Agent Scully and I worked to help her resolve exactly what it was that had happened to her is somethign not soon forgotten. Even though I'm still not entirely certain as to what did happen.
It may have well been a hoax, or a shared mass hallucination. The only thing I am certian of is that from the time the first bright light flash was seen - apparently taking us away from the campus of the California State University at Los Angeles - to the time a second flash was seen - which returned us to the same place we had been taken from - a period of approximately 30 hours elasped.
On a note of personal amusement, I do believe this is the first time I myself have been added into a file I was investigating. As for Scully... I think it's wise that I not bring up the fact that she's in another X-File. Hopefully, this will be something both she and I can look back on and at least smile about.**
The breakfasts arrived quickly, and they started in on eating, though not before the statements were finished. While breakfast was being eaten, they spoke of more mundaine things. Their lives, how they'd even *found* the X-Files, and various other subjects not related to the case at hand.
Christina occaionally leaning in to kiss Chris lightly. Soon enough, the field report was finished. Scully closed both laptops with a satisfied *click* before Mulder turned to them.
"Now that this thing is done... what do you want to do next?" Christina asked.
"I'm going to Disneyland!" Mulder grinned, holding up four passports to the Magic Kingdon. "Wanna come?"
They all agreed it sounded like a wonderful idea, and they went.
-End of Story-
End notes: Okay, it's been a long, crazy ride, and I thank you for having the patience for hanging around. Fire up those email programs and please send feedback!