Title: Ghost Tears
Summary: Mulder and Scully go to Boston and meet Ally and Co., a ghost, and someone even more spookier - Ling.
Authors Note: I originally posted this over a year and a half ago to Gossamer. I wrote this in 1998, and for those of you who know things have changed quite a bit on Ally McBeal, not to mention XF. ;) I also changed my e-mail and made some minor adjustments to the story.
This story is dedicated to the mushy at heart. And for poor Billy who died this year. I miss him already. It only adds weight to the empty hollow that our fav G-man has left. Come back soon sweet Mulder.
Additional Note: I hope people reading this story will get it. I pretty much have an odd sense of humor, which would explain why I love Ally McBeal. I really didn't want to go into too much detail. I really dislike it when trying to introduce character's that are already so established. I recommend that people who have never seen Ally at least take the time to view it to understand the events here. But I think it can stand alone. Hopefully.
Oh, and one more thing. Just remember, "An imagination IS a terrible thing to waste."
Be sure to use it. ;)
"I don't laugh weekdays."
"Cause I'm a woman! Yeah! W.O.M.A.N. I said a woman! W.O.M.A.N.!"
The small woman hummed to herself as she laid in a tub full of bubbles, hair pulled up in a plastic shower cap, wine glass in hand. After another long day of putting up with whiny people, maxing out credit cards and staring at catalogues, she felt the need to pamper herself.
She laid now in the expensive tub. In the expensive hotel suite that she had rented for the night. All in preparation for a most important event.
She smiled to herself. Yes. Soon she would be up front. On that stage. The spotlight shining down on HER, while she gave the 'Why I'M better than all of you.' speech.
She smiled again widely, lifting her wine glass. "Cheers to me, and all of ME!"
Ten minutes later, the woman emerged from the steaming bathroom, wrapped in a fancy silk robe and matching feather slippers, brushing her long flowing black hair.
Walking over to the floor length mirror, she stood in front of it and examined herself, dropping her robe. "Perfect." She told it. "As always." She smiled to herself and blew a kiss at her reflection.
But suddenly, her happy expression turned serious as she noticed some kind of object behind her, and a light being reflected in the mirror.
Turning quickly, the woman froze in utter shock and fright, unable to move.
"HAVE YOU SEEN HELLEN?" the presence asked.
The woman didn't even have time to respond, and her last thought before she passed out was. <This carpet better be clean!>
Shifting around in her seat, Dana Scully tried unsuccessfully to find a comfortable position to settle in to. Ugh. Why did the passenger seat seem just a little too confined today? Perhaps it was due to the fact that she didn't sleep much last night. Glancing over at Mulder in the driver's seat, Scully gave up her comfort attempts with a "Hmph." How did he do it?
"What's this woman's name again?" she asked with a sigh.
Mulder looked over at her, studying her for a moment before answering. "Her name is Ling Woo."
"Yeah." She sighed again.
Mulder eyed her. "Something wrong?"
Scully arched a famous eyebrow. "Wrong? Oh no Mulder there's nothing wrong." She paused before continuing. "We're going to Boston on yet another case, one which Rasch refused us, again, and if he finds out, will get us into deep doodoo, solely for the purpose of your having a hunch because of a newspaper article out of Boston. By which you still haven't told what it was about." She paused again to add sincerity. "Oh, what could possibly be wrong?"
Mulder stared at her. <Doodoo??> "And how many times have my hunches been wrong Scully?"
She sighed again.
"None," he teased.
"Those were different, Mulder."
He decided to brave it and tease her a bit more before shielding off her attack. "Really? How so?"
Too late. She turned to face him, and in doing so, Mulder felt the hair on his neck prickle. He could've sworn he heard a growl emanate from somewhere within her, her eyes narrowing.
"Sorry." He felt like a whimpering puppy dog.
"What's the address again?" Mulder asked as he and Scully made their way through the streets of Boston in their usual rental car.
Scully flipped through the file. "It should be just up this road." A sudden break from Mulder caused her to drop the file, the papers scattering throughout the floor. "Dammit." She grunted. She yelped as one of the papers ripped.
Mulder watched her, his eyes concerned. "Everything ok?"
Giving up at attempting to neatly gather the papers, she shoved them all into the file in a rush, her breathing growing rapid. She blew a stray strand of hair off her face, looking at him out of the corner of her eye. "Just drive Mulder."
The elevator doors at the Cage & Fish law firm clinged open, and a small woman emerged. Her face stern. Lines straight. Her hair artistically pulled into a small bun; the dark locks set into a fancy braid.
Strutting into the pull-bit, Ling Woo quickly made her way towards the office of Nell Porter. This day the small oriental woman actually felt good. However that mood was cut short when she was approached by Elaine Vassel.
"Ling." Elaine called out, her voice sarcastically displaying joy.
Ling stopped in her tracks, rolling her eyes. "Elaine." She didn't bother to smile.
"So, anyone lucky enough to expect the company of your presence, today?" Elaine asked, a wicked smile gleaming.
"I'm here to see Nell," Ling said simply.
Elaine gave another sarcastic smile, and without further notice, turned and strutted away.
This time Ling did smile, happy to be rid of the annoying office administrator.
Walking over to Georgia, who noticed the two women's confrontation, Elaine sighed.
"What does she want?" Georgia asked, frowning.
"To take our souls probably."
"Do you want to take the elevator?" Mulder asked as he and Scully made their way into the building.
"Sure. Fine Whatever."
Mulder eyed her once again. "Scully, are you sure you're alright? Cause you know, you didn't have to come with me if you didn't want to."
<Oh no he didn't.> Scully thought. Turning towards him, she gave him her best LOOK, eyes on fire.
Mulder felt like he was melting at the look of fury in her eyes. He coughed and turned his eyes towards the front as they made their way into the elevator, wondering why he kept hearing a growl come from somewhere.
The elevator doors at Cage & Fish clinged open once more as Mulder and Scully emerged. Looking around, the two observed the pull-bit.
"This it?" Scully asked.
"Can I help you?"
Both of them turned to find a pleasant looking blonde standing before them, a smile on her face.
Elaine beamed at the two Agents, most especially the tall one.
"Yes." Mulder answered. "We're looking for a Richard Fish, or John Cage?" He pulled out his badge. "I'm Agent Mulder, FBI, and this is Agent Scully."
Elaine's beaming smile suddenly turned into one of concern. "Oh, is something wrong?"
"No," Scully assured her. "We just need to speak to him about a client, a Ling Woo?"
Elaine's beaming smile that turned into one of concern, now turned into a wicked beaming gleam. This oughtta be good. "Oh." She smiled. "In that case, let me personally escort you." Her grin turned toothy. "By the way, I'm Elaine Vassel." She practically drooled as she extended her hand towards Mulder.
Scully had to fight from rolling her eyes.
"Hello." She politely shook Scully's hand as well.
"The lawyer's are in the conference room. I'll let them know you're here." She turned and flipped her hair. "If you'll follow me."
Scully and Mulder exchanged a look, Mulder grinning.
As Elaine turned to show them the way, she stopped dead in her tracks, and frowned at Ling, who now stood before her. "Where's Nell?" she asked.
"Ling." Elaine emphasized the 'L', knowing how much Ling hated people pronouncing her name roughly.
<Success.> Elaine smiled. "If you'll excuse me, I'm escorting these people."
"This is..." Mulder began, but was cut off by Ling.
"Yes, I'm not interested in as to why you're escorting the bizarre, looking tall man and his smaller, paler, companion. I asked a simple question as to the whereabouts of Nell. If you can't answer the question please let me know now so I will not have to waste another moment in your presence"
Elaine stared at her, wishing, as often, that she could just grab her and squish her like the tiny little bug she always made herself to be. But not one to be easily coaxed into viciousness, Elaine merely gave a slight grumble and answered. "Ling." She dragged out the pronunciation again. "If you'll follow me, you'll have your answer." This time she smiled.
Ling smiled in turn, pleased. "Thank you."
Mulder and Scully remained quiet throughout the entire ordeal, merely observing the smaller woman's aggressiveness.
Ling took notice of their observation and gave them her best glare, and was shocked when Scully gave one in return. "Amateur," Ling muttered.
Mulder watched them, swearing that he now heard two growls emanating from somewhere, he even looked around in an attempt to find the source.
Elaine smiled at the display before her, opening the door to the conference room.
"Richard. These are Agents Mulder and Scully here to speak with you and John about a client," she announced.
"Agents?" Richard asked.
Mulder and Scully made their way over to him while Ling went over to Nell.
Elaine stayed at the door. There was no way she was going to miss this.
"Mulder and Scully?" Richard asked again.
"Yes." Scully smiled.
"I'm Richard Fish, senior partner. These are the lawyers. " He gestured to each of the gatherers. "Ally McBeal, Billy and Georgia Thomas, Nell Porter, and this is John Cage, my partner." He noticed Ling. "And you've met Ling I presume."
"Yes," Scully responded again. This time she didn't smile.
Richard looked over at his companion, a goofy smile in place. "Jellybean."
Ling merely glared at him.
Richard turned his attention back to Mulder and Scully. "What can I do for you?"
"We're here to talk to you about a case," Mulder said.
"A case?" Richard asked, curious.
Scully continued to showdown with Ling. "I believe =she= is the woman we're looking for."
Ling raised an eyebrow, but continued her glare. "Me? What do you dry suits want with me?"
Scully raised a brow, and Mulder smiled at her reaction.
"Ling?" Richard asked.
"What DO you want with HER?" Ally spoke up.
Ling quickly turned to give her a warning growl.
Ally merely narrowed her eyes, already used to the bite.
"Ok. Fine," Richard concluded.
Scully stared at him. "Aren't you going to ask 'why'?"
Richard drew his eyebrows together, tilting his head to the side. "What do you mean?" he asked simply.
Scully's eyebrows went skyward in surprise. Was this guy for real? "I mean, you're not even going to ask why we're here?"
Richard looked to the side, pondering the question for a moment. "Oh. Ok. Sure. Why are you here?" .
Scully looked irritated, and opened her mouth to speak, but closed it again when she realized SHE didn't know the answer. She looked over at Mulder, the expression still on her face.
Mulder gulped. "Yes, well..." He lowered his voice, staring at the ground. "Agent Scully and I.." He hesitated, looking over at her from the corner of his eye. She looked neutral. "We're doing some extensive research on cases and how they pertain to the, um, paranormal."
The room went silent.
And Scully wished more than anything that the floor beneath her would open up and swallow her whole.
With Mulder not far behind. Although she believed he'd be spit back up.
"The Paranormal?" John broke the silence.
Mulder cleared his throat. "We saw this article in the newspaper about Ms. Woo's lawsuit, and ..."He trailed off as he noticed Scully's expression.
"Wait a minute." Georgia spoke up, looking at Richard. "What does Ling's lawsuit have to do with the paranormal?"
He kept silent.
Nell smiled, looking down at the table.
"Richard." Ally stepped in. "You said she was suing a hotel. What's going on?"
The room went silent again for a few seconds before a slight humming sound from the corner of the table broke it. Everyone turned to stare at John who had his hands clasped in front of him, humming a nondescript tune. "Poppy seed." He mumbled quietly.
To the unknowing observers, Mulder and Scully, this act came as a complete question mark. They stared with their eyebrows raised. But to the other's, they knew what this reaction from John was all about.
"Why is John troubled?" Ally asked, part warning.
No one answered.
Finally, Ling got tired of all the unnecessary time wasting. "I'm suing the hotel chain because I saw a ghost that caused me to scare while in the shower, therefore causing me to scream outright, causing my vocal cords to lose strength, upon which I could not talk at my 'Ruler's of the Future' club the next morning, upon which I lost customers." She flipped at her hair. "Plus the ghost was a male. It saw me naked. I fainted. Sexual Harrassment. I'm now traumatized." She concluded, noticing the other's reaction to her explanation. "Can't you tell?" she asked in disbelief.
"Are you sure YOU didn't scare IT?" Ally asked wickedly.
"You saw a GHOST?" Georgia asked, contempt.
"Yes," Ling said simply.
"Why didn't we know about this?" Georgia looked at Richard.
He shrugged. "You didn't ask. Bygones."
Ally turned towards her. "Look on the bright side, at least he didn't saddle you up this time."
Georgia gave her own glare. "Funny."
Nell smiled at their reaction towards each other. "No. He saddled me," she said it dryly.
"And that's why you're here?" Billy asked the two Agents.
"Apparently," Scully answered through clenched teeth.
Mulder cleared his throat. "We won't interfere with the case. Like I said, it's just..."
"Research." Scully concluded.
Mulder gave a weak smile.
Richard nodded. "Fine. Ling, Nell, meet with them would you?" He moved to stand by Ling.
She shrugged him off as he placed his hand on her shoulder. "Don't. I just bought this outfit. You'll ruin the newness."
Richard smiled. "I promise Lemondrop, if you're the least bit uncomfortable, just let me know and I could sympathize."
He got a double growl for that. "Why do I even have to talk to them at all? Look at her hair. Exposure to bright colors affects my eyesight."
Ally and Georgia bit down a laugh, as did Mulder, but each of them looked down as they noticed Scully's reaction. She was about to blow.
"Ms. Woo," Scully said through tightly clenched teeth. "I'm sure the feeling is mutual. Exposure to viciousness might give me a wrinkle. I'm sure you can attest."
The other occupants watched in silence as Scully and Ling continued their staring showdown. They could practically see the red warning lights going off at triple speed on top of their heads.
Mulder wondered if they had a bomb shelter in this place.
From her place at the door, Elaine let out a small giggle. Oh, this was her meal ticket to the head of the gossip club.
Mulder decided that they better leave. NOW. Before Scully decided to pull out her weapon. He tugged at her elbow, applying a little more pressure, unable to budge her.
"We'll talk to Nell first if you don't mind?"
Nell nodded. "I think that's probably a good idea."
"We'll be right back." He finally succeeded in pulling Scully out of the conference room, continuing to stare at Ling.
She finally turned to Mulder and slowly, ever so slowly, a devilish smile appeared on her face.
She looked around and noticed that Elaine was staring at them. "Is there someplace we can go to talk in private?"
Elaine smiled wickedly."Yes. The unisex is just down that hall."
Scully gave her a puzzled look.
"Don't worry. It's a good place for privacy."
Shaking her head, Scully pulled Mulder towards the restroom by the arm, squeezing just a little too tightly.
Elaine waited until they entered, then quickly ran to press her ear up against the door. She wasn't missing this either.
"I should pull out my gun and shoot you where you stand!" Scully yelled in anger and irritation at her partner.
"Sorry?" Mulder wanted nothing more than to run into a stall and hide, unfortunately that wasn't much of an option. She'd probably find a way to flush him down the toilet.
Scully started to pace the floor. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this!"
He could only stare at her as she roared, the thought of <Please don't shoot me-again.> repeating over and over in his head.
"You owe me big time! And what the hell is this about a ghost?!"
"It's legitimate Scully," he said hesitantly.
She stopped and turned to look at him.
<Please don't shoot me-again.> "Well, apparently this hotel has been in the newspapers recently stating that a ghost does haunt it." He stuttered the words, not daring to look at her, but instead focusing on the floor.
Scully cooled a bit, just a bit. "And?"
"And. Other people have claimed to have seen it."
She folded her arms.
"And there have been investigations by local psychics and para-psychologists, but nothing too serious. No one ever thought something like THIS would come up."
Scully let out a frustrated sigh, tiring from the boiling blood rush. "Mulder. Why this?" She slumped against a stall door. "Couldn't you have just picked out another Loch Ness Monster or something?"
Mulder smiled. It seemed safe now. "Slow day."
Despite of all that just happened, Scully smiled back, slightly. "Well, as long as we don't have to put up with She-Devil out there, I suppose this isn't new."
Mulder smiled again. "I think you handled her pretty well."
"I've never seen anyone so-bitchy before."
Mulder assumed that it was safe to tease. She seemed back to normal. "Are you sure?"
He assumed wrong. "Sorry."
Scully narrowed her eyes.
Mulder quickly made his way to the door. <Help me! Help me!> He opened it quickly and let out a surprised gasp as Elaine tumbled into him.
The blonde smiled at them, brushing at her hair as she straightened. "Hi." She walked past them and disappeared into a stall.
Scully rolled her eyes. "Let's go."
Mulder wondered just what 'leash' size would best suit him.
Elaine smiled again wickedly as she watched them exit, her head peaking though the top of the stall opening.
"She basically just wants the hotel to not charge anything for her stay because of the incident." Nell stated.
Mulder and Scully sat in front of the statuesque blonde as she explained to them the reason for Ling's lawsuit.
"Then why bring the suit at all?" Scully asked.
Nell smiled. "You don't know Ling."
Scully scoffed. "I think I had a very good impression earlier."
"Well....yeah. And I feel I should apologize for her behavior. She's my best...friend, and that's just how she ...well....that's... Ling."
Scully arched an eyebrow.
"Do you have any current articles about the incident?" Mulder asked.
Nell nodded. " I think I might. Of course you know I can't share with you any documentation. Client. Confidential" She explained.
Mulder nodded. "That's fine."
"We appear before the judge tomorrow morning."
Mulder stood. "Well, thank you for your time Ms. Porter. We'll be there."
"You're welcome. And here are the articles." She reached into her desk and pulled out the papers.
Scully stood as well, nodding. "Thank you."
Nell stared at the two of them. "If you don't mind my asking? Does the Bureau really investigate incidents such as this?"
Scully looked over at Mulder. <Go ahead.>
Mulder smiled. "We do." The 'We' was directed more towards the two of them.
Nell nodded. And she didn't quite believe that was true.
Mulder and Scully made their way out into the pull-bit.
"Do you believe they're buying this 'extensive research' thing?" Scully asked quietly.
Mulder shrugged. "Somehow I don't think these people will go running off to the police." He smiled.
Scully smirked. "Right. They think we ARE the police."
Mulder let out a long sigh. "Well, we have until tomorrow. And we can't really ask around."
Scully nodded. "You hungry?"
"Nah. Still getting over that drive through place." He rubbed at his stomach.
"Oh yeah," she agreed.
Mulder's amused expression suddenly turned sour, and he bit down hard on his bottom lip. He knew what had to be done, and he dreaded telling Scully. Not just for fear that she definitely would shoot him-again, but for fear that she may very well go on a shooting spree, being sure to take him and a certain other little woman first.
Scully studied his sudden changed expression and a knot formed in the pit of her stomach. It was his patent 'I may be a fool, but PLEASE don't shoot me-again' look. She felt her eyes narrow, and her eyebrow arch. A simple reflex.
Mulder bit down harder on his lip, and his fingers started to twitch involuntarily. The whole atmosphere seemed to close up on him as he absorbed one hell of a 'Scully look'.
Deciding that it might be best to say it quickly, Mulder took a deep breath and plunged forward, making sure to avert his eyes. "We have to talk to Ling."
Bracing for impact, Mulder waited, but after a few moments of silence, he looked back up, having gained some nerve to face her. She was still wearing the same expression, and she didn't seem angry-not overly so.
Relaxing a bit, he let out a small smile, and was relieved when she smiled in return.
But what he didn't know was that, mentally, Scully already had marked out a plan of explaining to the hospital how Mulder managed to get bruised in a certain spot....
Ten minutes later, both sat in the conference room, Mulder discreetly rubbing at yet another Scully inflicted bruise, trying hard not to grimace and smile at the same time.
"Why am I here?" Ling questioned, not hiding her disdain in the least.
"Unfortunately we need to ask you some questions." Mulder still rubbed at his bruise.
"About the incident," he said, ostensibly.
Ling rolled her eyes. "Ok, but just make it quick, I'm bored already."
Ling took notice and was about to retaliate when a strange feeling came over her, and she instead studied Scully curiously. There was something about the way the air felt around she and her partner. Her eyes started darting back and forth between the two.
Scully arched a brow as she observed Ling's changed expression. She looked over at Mulder who was mumbling to himself, still rubbing at his bruise, not noticing the display.
Suddenly, it dawned on Ling; the answer coming to her with a <ping>. A sinister smile formed on her lips.
"So..." Mulder finally began.
"Something is up in this room." Ling interrupted him yet again.
"I'm penile psychic. I can tell." Her smile continued.
"Tell what?" Scully asked, perplexed.
Ling's smile became even more wicked. "Birds do it, bees do it, even government employ-ees do it." She stared at Mulder.
"What are you talking about?" Scully asked, annoyed by her evil expression.
"Penile psychic'?" Mulder added, not sure if he liked where this was going.
"Yes. I can tell when people, or rather, men, are thinking with their 'units'." The smile got even more evil.
"Excuse me??" Mulder choked.
Ling groaned. "Nevermind. Whatever is going on, or should I say, is going 'up', with you two is none of my business. Just get on with it." The evil smile tripled.
Mulder cleared his throat and looked down.
Scully turned to him and noticed his discomfort, then it finally dawned on her what Ling was talking about, and she blushed. She could hear the hissing sparks fly off of her as she felt her face fry.
Ling smiled yet again. This time she was pleased.
Not five minutes later, they emerged from the conference room, Ling first, with Mulder once again trying to restrain Scully.
"What's the matter, the Midol not strong enough?" Ling grunted at Scully.
"You tell me?" Scully fought back.
"Stop it!" Mulder referried.
Richard noticed the action and quickly made his way over to the three. "Bygones. What's up?"
Ling smiled wickedly once more. "Ask him," she said, looking in the direction of Mulder's =stomach= area.
Mulder groaned, feeling more than just a little embarrassed at the situation. He noticed Richard's expression at Ling's comment and couldn't help but feel his face burn as well.
Richard went over to him and patted his shoulder. "She can tell." He looked at Scully and smiled.
This time both Agent's felt their faces sizzling.
"It's nice to know even the government keeps it's standards up." He patted Mulder's shoulder again. "America the beautiful, be safe."
Ling rolled her eyes and turned to walk away, but not before giving one final snarl at Scully.
Scully returned the look and gave a slight lip curl for effect.
Richard still stood beside them, smiling as he watched Ling strut away. "She's so sweet, isnt' she?"
He quickly moved to catch up to her.
Mulder and Scully watched them as they made their way into Richard's office, then Scully turned back to Mulder.
Mulder felt himself shrinking again, in more than just one area, and he closed his eyes for the blow that was about to come.
Both turned to the voice that suddenly sounded behind them.
"Ally, right?" Scully asked.
<Saved. Thank you Reticulan.> Mulder thought.
"Yeah. Ally McBeal." She extended her hand to each of them, making the introduction official.
Mulder and Scully smiled at her as she shook their hands, Scully introducing them both. "I'm Dana Scully, and this is Fox Mulder."
Ally arched her brow. <Fox?> She did a mental examination <Ok. Fitting.> She smiled and looked to Scully. That poor woman. "Sorry about-Ling. She can be very..."
"Vicious? Bitchy?" Scully concluded.
Ally giggled. "Oh yeah. And more. Believe me." She studied them for a moment, they seemed like nice people. "So, how long will you two be investigating?"
"Extensive research," Mulder corrected her.
"Oh. Right." Ally apologized. <Yeah. Right.>
"We're not sure," he said.
She nodded. "Well, I hope your research goes well. And.." She turned back to Scully. "Stay away from the bad seed." She smiled.
Scully smiled in turn. "I'll note that."
They watched her walk off.
Mulder looked back to Scully. "We should get back to the hotel and settle in. It's dark out now."
Scully nodded. "Thank god. For some reason I'm drained." She smiled.
Mulder smiled too, following her into the elevator. "Can't imagine why."
"By the way Mulder?"
"This elevator has an emergency stop, and I don't think anyone will be able to hear you scream."
Mulder gulped. <Help!>
"Hey Scully, look at that," Mulder said as he and Scully made their way through the ground floor, this time rubbing at a bruised arm.
"There's a bar downstairs."
Scully moved to stand next to him. Numerous people were walking up and down the stairs. Various business suits scampering ahead.
"Looks busy." She observed.
"Want to check it out?" Mulder asked curiously.
"Oh right Mulder. The last thng I need right now is a 'bar scene'."
Mulder and Scully once again turned to the voice behind them.
"Ally, hi." Scully greeted.
Sure enough there was Ally, standing next to another woman. "Are you coming downstairs?"
They looked at her, uncertain.
"You should." She invited. "All of us at the office usually come."
She and Mulder exchanged a look. He nodded. "Oh."
"Come on." Ally convinced.
Scully mentally grunted. <Oh well. Nothing like drinking your troubles away> "Well, I guess so." She gave in slowly.
"Great." Ally smiled. "Oh, this is my friend Renee Raddick." She gestured towards her best friend who stood silently beside her.
"Hello." Renee shook their hands. "Ally told me about your investigation."
"Extensive research," Mulder corrected once again.
"Sure." Renee smiled.
"Well, let's go find a table." Ally prompted. "The other's should be down shortly."
Mulder smiled once more at Scully and she shot him a warning glare as they followed Renee and Ally down the stairs. As they descended, the noise from the bar became louder, and they noticed that there was music playing, and singing.
As they approached the bottom steps, they could see that the place was in absolute uproar. All around, business suits clattered the room. The atmosphere was dark and solitude, but there was an air of cheerfulness. At the front of the bar, a stage was set up, and they noticed a woman sitting at a piano, a band, three backup singers at the corner of the stage, and people dancing in front.
The woman was singing a tune that Mulder knew very familiarly, although he noticed that it was being sang in a nice upbeat, catchy pop- rock soulful style.
'...They said you was high class, well that was just a lie! Yeah! They said you was high class, well that was just a lie! You aint never caught a rabbit and you aint no friend of mine!'
Mulder turned to look at Scully and smiled. He was pleased when she smiled back.
"Come on." Renee prompted them as she followed a waiter to a table.
Ally noticed Mulder and Scully's reaction to the atmosphere. "Nice, huh?"
"It seems liberal." Mulder commented as they sat down.
"It is." Ally commented.
Scully was focused, as nearly everyone was, on the woman singing.
"That's Vonda Shepard. She's great isn't she?" Ally asked.
"Yeah." Scully listened intently to the catchy music.
"Hey guys I see you've recruited two newcomers into our little circle." Elaine smiled as she took an empty seat beside Mulder, flashing him a special smile as she did so. "The other's will be down shortly." Her smile turned into a frown. "Unfortunately Ling is also coming."
All four women groaned.
Elaine smiled wickedly this time. "It must be that time of the month for her. She feels like fun."
Renee and Ally laughed at the comment, but stopped as a sudden feeling of negativity and darkness took hold of them.
"Do you feel that?" Ally's eyes were wide with shock.
"Yeah." Renee placed her hand on her heart.
"What?" Scully asked, concerned by the looks on their faces.
"What's wrong?" Mulder asked, also concerned.
By this time Elaine started to feel it too. "Yes. I do. Something...."
Suddenly, a feeling came over Scully as well as she watched them. "Mulder.."
"What??" He was starting to look panicked.
Scully focused on the three other women. "There is something there, but...."
"Who invited the bizarre looking tall man and his smaller paler companion?"
All three turned once more to find none other than-Ling, standing behind them, Nell, Richard, and John beside her.
The three women turned to look at each other. "She's HERE." Renee, Ally, and Elaine chorused in a sing song of the 'Poltergeist' motto.
Mulder immediately focused on Scully. Her eyes were locked with the other small woman's. The growl's and glare's were now full force.
"Ling," Scully said her name roughly, dragging out the L.
Ling's glare could've put molten lava to shame. "It's pronounced with a soft 'L', not..." Whatever she said next was cut off as Nell pulled her arm, dragging her away from the table.
"Come on Ling. There's not enough room." Nell hurried.
"Ow. Don't tug me." Ling whined.
John moved to take a seat beside Elaine, smiling at the two Agent's. "Hello."
Richard stood staring at the two Agent's, then looked to Scully. "She's usually more direct. Bygones."
She stared at him.
Richard stared at her neck. <Waddle. FBI. New challenge>
Ally and Elaine recognized his look. That 'look'. The one when he spotted new skin neck to finger. A new waddle. They knew what was coming next.
Elaine looked down as she tried to suppress her smile.
Ally groaned. "Richard." She warned.
Richard smiled. "Agent Scully you've got something on your neck."
"Richard." John also cautioned.
Mulder focused on Scully, leaning in to see what Richard was talking about. "What?"
Scully's eyes widened as she became concerned, placing her hand on her neck. "What is it?"
"I don't see anything." Mulder squinted.
"Yeah. Right there." Richard persisted. "I have excellent vision. I'll get it."
"Richard." Ally warned again.
Elaine and Renee were now fully giggling, trying their best to hide it.
Any other warning from Ally went unheeded as Richard leaned in towards Scully.
Ally watched him as everything seemed to slow in motion. She placed her hand on her forehead and looked down as well, shaking her head. <Oh. God.>
Richard braced for impact. Almost there.
Scully could only watch in surprise as he leaned over, studying his goofy smile.
Mulder merely watched in curiosity as he observed Scully's neck, still trying to find what Richard was talking about.
Elaine and Renee continued to giggle.
Finally, there was contact.
Richard smiled widely as his finger brushed Scully's neck.
She looked sideways at Mulder, who still observed the area in question.
"Got it." Richard pulled back, holding out his finger in front of him. Without another word, he turned and walked over to Ling and Nell who were seated some ways away.
Ally watched as he walked off, sniffing the finger that touched Scully's neck.
Scully rubbed at her neck, her brows drawn together. She looked up at Mulder who simply shrugged.
She turned to look at the others and noticed their reactions. "What is it?"
"Um, so have you decided what you want to drink?" Ally knew she had to change subjects quickly before Elaine and Renee totally broke down, and before she could run over to strangle Richard, or better yet, tell Ling of what just occurred and let him wrath that hell. The man really needed to get over his waddle fetish.
A sudden humming caused them to turn towards John, the small man had been humming to himself this whole time, pinching his temple. He looked up as he noticed them staring at him. He shook his head. "I apologize."
Mulder and Scully regarded him curiously. They looked to Ally in hopes of an explanation. She merely smiled.
A sudden roar from the crowd caused everyone to turn to the front of the bar. Vonda was finishing up a song, and just beginning to start up another one.
"Hey guys." Georgia greeted everyone as she and Billy approached.
"Hi." Ally greeted back.
She noticed that Richard, Nell, and Ling were sitting far off. "What happened?"
"The claws came out." Elaine explained.
Scully gave her a small glare.
Ally smiled and nodded.
"Ooh. I love this song." Georgia changed the subject as Vonda began singing again.
'The sun is shining, there's plenty of light. A new day is dawning, sunny and bright. But after I've been crying all night, the sun is cold, and the new day seems old. Since I lost my baby Oh, since I lost my baby....'
"Come on honey." She tugged Billy towards the dance floor.
Billy smiled. "See you guys later. And it was nice to meet you." He looked at Scully and Mulder.
"Yes." Georgia agreed. "And sorry about-Ling." She frowned.
"Used to it." Mulder added.
Scully's 'look' returned.
"I feel like dancing too." Renee spoke up. She looked slyly at John. "Come on you."
John stared at her and rose up obediently as she grabbed him by the tie, leading him out to the dance floor.
Ally giggled as she watched them go, then turned back to the Agents and Elaine.
A short time later they were all sipping drinks.
"So.." She began after a moment, I guess this is kind of out of the FBI's policy? Sharing drinks with the attorneys who's clients are under investigation?"
"You're not under investigation," Mulder pleaded again.
"Ling?" Elaine asked, looking hopeful.
Scully shook her head. <Unfortunately.>
"Damn." Elaine mumbled.
"Well, shouldn't you be out catching bombers or congressman instead of following-Ling around?" Ally questioned.
"I've often asked myself that same question in other circumstances," Scully replied dryly, sipping her drink.
Mulder eyed her.
"No offense." Ally began hesitantly. "But why waste tax dollars on something like this?" She frowned. "Why spend ANYTHING on-Ling.?"
Scully smiled. Putting down her drink, she folded her arms on the table and looked intently at Mulder.
Mulder felt a little irritated that she wouldn't defend him. Them. The X-Files. He knew Ally knew nothing of their work, and that her insult was directed more towards FBI standards, but it still made him feel a little angry, and offended.
"We do?" he asked. "But it's usually the small incidents such as this, that gives us the ammunition we need in our mandatory investigations. You never know what you're going to find in the smallest of corners," he said matter of factly.
"On this case?" Ally questioned, disbelieving.
She looked curiously at him. "Why? And HOW?"
He shrugged. "The paranormal is nothing to be made fun of. It's important as well."
Ally scoffed. "You can't be comparing ghost tears to real ones when there are hundreds of parents weeping each year for their missing children?"
"I don't think he said that." Scully stepped in. "I think what he meant was that unexplained phenomena shouldn't just be swept under the carpet like it was nothing at all." She turned suddenly and noticed Mulder smiling at her. She smiled back. <What are partners for?>
"I agree," Ally said. "But I just never thought something like this would concern the-'FBI'!" She emphasized the word.
"So you personally don't believe in phenomena?" Mulder queried.
Elaine let out a small snort. "Please. You're asking someone who practically lives in her own dream world."
Ally shot her a look, then smiled embarrassingly as she noticed Mulder and Scully's expression. "I do believe." She absently answered.
"Really?" Scully asked, slightly surprised at the answer.
"Yeah," Ally said softly.
"In all phenomena?" Mulder asked, genuinely interested.
Ally thought for a moment. "No. I guess not so much in the whole aliens and ufo stuff. Not that I would rule it out." She added quickly. "But, I guess more in the way of earthly unexplained occurrences." She suddenly laughed. "I know. Who's to say any phenomena is 'earthly', right?"
The three other's smiled at her.
"Yeah," she continued. "A girl's gotta have her dreams."
"And unicorns." Elaine added.
"And rainbows." Scully contributed as well, touched by the moment.
Mulder smiled widely at the three women's expressions. "Yeah, with everything screwed up in this world, sometimes it's better to live, and believe in your own."
Now all three women smiled at him.
"I'm beat." Scully groaned as she made her way into her hotel suite, Mulder following behind. "Aren't you?"
He responded by yawning.
"I'll take that as a yes."
"Nope." Mulder playfully challenged.
Too tired to respond, she made her way over to her bed and threw herself face own onto the mattress.
Mulder studied her, a grin on his face. "What do you think?" he asked after a moment.
"About what?" Her voice was muffled.
He opened his mouth to answer, but then shut it quickly as he noted that they hadn't really done much, in fact, ANY, investigating on the fact of why they were here in the first place. They instead spent the entire evening with Ally and her friend's, and Ling, at the bar.
"I don't know." Mulder shrugged. "We should go to the hotel tomorrow after Ling's hearing. Find out what's going on there."
"Sure." Scully didn't move a muscle.
Mulder focused on her again. She was out of it. Must've been that challenge the gals proposed, insisting that they dance and enjoy themselves. Of course, at the time, they had been full on wine and screwdriver's. The room wasn't the only thing that spun.
"Maybe I'll go there tonight," he said teasingly.
Mulder made a move for the connecting door and opened it.
"Bye Scully." He closed it.
"See ya'" She didn't budge.
Mulder laughed softly and made his way out of the room quietly.
Ten seconds later Scully was asleep.
Mulder continued to smile as he entered his own room. Naturally it took more than ten seconds for him to pass out.
It took sixty.
"Your honor Ms. Woo is not asking for any extra expenses besides the pay for one night in which the incident occured." Nell firmly argued the reason for Ling's lawsuit.
"The.." The judge looked down at the file. "Seven hundred and sixty three dollars?"
"Your honor the hotel is not at fault for Ms. Woo's...incident." The opposing council replied.
"The hotel knew about these happenings before and did nothing to warn new customer's your honor." Nell continued.
"You're talking about your client seeing a ghost." The judge argued.
"Apparition." Nell corrected. "And?" She prompted.
"And?" The judge replied.
The judge, Nell, and the opposing litigant continued to argue for some time.
Mulder and Scully sat in the far back of the courtroom, watching the proceedings. Mulder made sure to keep Scully as far away from Ling as possible. The small woman had greeted them as...naturally...as ever.
"Your honor this is ridiculous!" The defending attorney pleaded.
The judge sighed.
"Who's to say it's ridiculous." Nell argued. "I happen to know one of your judge's recently ruled to let a man, who claimed he saw a unicorn, keep his job, despite the fact that his employer thought that he was on the verge of a mental breakdown." She stated as calmly as ever. "And to let a sick, dying woman live in a dreamworld by inducing her to coma."
"I'm not that judge."
"Well maybe you should take pointers from her." Nell looked directly at him. "Maybe we all should."
The judge frowned. He didn't like some young barbie-doll hotshot attorney telling him what he should and shouldn't do. But this woman had flare, brightness and intelligence. He admired her for it.
He looked back and forth between the two litigants, still hesitant.
"Alright. We'll reconvene tomorrow upon which I'll hear from the witness."
"Oh victory." Ling stood, beaming.
The opposing litigant looked at the judge, shocked. "Your honor?"
"By a thread." The judge responded.
Nell and Ling continued to smile.
And from the back, Mulder and Scully stared open-mouthed, stunned by the ruling.
"I don't believe it," Scully said.
"Me neither." Mulder admitted.
"Will you two be here tomorrow?" Nell asked the two partner's as they stood outside the courtroom.
"I don't know." Mulder answered. "We're going to start looking into the hotel's accounts."
"Too bad." Ling grunted.
"Yes," Scully answered in the same tone.
Mulder and Nell stared at each other, an amused look on their faces. Here we go again.
"Come on Ling. We should share this with the other's." Nell quickly led her away.
Ling went hesitantly. "Her hair seems to get brighter with the glare of light." They heard her say as she walked away.
Mulder quickly stepped in front of Scully to prevent her from charging.
"Good thing I removed the clip from my gun this morning." She and Ling continued to lock gazes as she walked off.
Mulder laughed, putting his arm around her shoulders. "Come on. Let's get some early dinner." He turned her away. "I think you need some ICED tea."
Scully smiled. "You mean late lunch."
"Mulder, do you know that there have been over twenty incidents of people reporting that they've seen not one, but two ghosts roaming those fancy halls."
He and Scully sat in their ever present rental car as they made their way to the hotel. It was now late, but he insisted that they go.
Mulder pulled into the visitor parking area.
"Which floor?" Scully asked as they made their way into the building.
"The top." Mulder looked around. It was little wonder why ghosts would want to haut a place like this. Why anyone wouldn't. "You think we'll see the Howells?" Mulder asked playfully.
"Wouldn't doubt it," Scully responded, equally floored.
"Was Ling on this floor?" Mulder asked as he and Scully made their way out of the elevator at the top floor.
"Yeah," Scully answered.
"Spazzy," he commented.
"She's rich Mulder." She smiled slyly. "The only good thing about her. She can afford to pay people to like her."
Mulder snorted at the vicious comment. Go girl.
"Which room Scully?"
"Number twenty I think."
They both followed the huge hallway, looking at the numbers.
"This place reminds me of that place in 'The Shining'?" Mulder asked.
Scully shuddered. It did.
"Here," Mulder said as they approached the door.
They stared at each other.
"When did all this take place?" Scully asked.
"About a week ago. I saw the newspaper the day after."
"You think anyone else is in there now?"
"I don't know." Mulder looked hesitantly at the door.
Scully raised her eyebrows. She knocked.
She tried the doorknob.
It was locked.
Mulder sighed. "We have to get someone to open the door."
They were about to both turn away when the door suddenly swung open. What they saw there caused Scully to let out a small yelp, jumping back a step.
The observer did the same.
Mulder squinted. He knew what was to come next.
"What are you doing here?!" Ling angrily snapped at the two of them. She was standing at the door, wrapped in a black silk gown, complete with feathers, and a bright green face mask, a towel wrapped around her head.
"Ling," they chorused simultaneously.
"Yes." She sounded annoyed. "Isn't it enough that I'm traumatized once in the past week.?!"
"It certainly shows," Scully grunted.
Ling glared at her through the green goop, the growl not far behind.
"Alright." Mulder intercepted. "Ling, why are you here?"
She shrugged. "The hotel offered me a free week to make up for that one night."
"But you're suing them," he said matter of factly.
"So? I never said I wouldn't. Besides, I'd be crazy to give up something like this." She smiled at him. "I'm sure you know the feeling."
This time it was Scully who smiled when Mulder shot her a glare of his own.
"Now if you'll excuse me, I was about to enjoy a nice relaxing bath to sooth my perfect skin." With that, she planned to shut the door but instead froze, her eyes going wide, staring at something behind them.
Mulder and Scully stared at her, a sudden chill coming over both of them.
"What is it?" Mulder asked her, gulping.
Scully's eyes went wide as well as she felt it. "Mulder..."
Ever so slowly they both turned around.
Behind them stood a bright incandescent form, hovering just above the ground.
All three stood completely paralyzed, mouths open, unable to move or speak, hearts starting to pound faster.
Suddenly, the object beamed brighter, and the three observer's could feel their hair prickling as they waited for what was to come next.
"HAVE YOU SEEN HELLEN?"
Mulder started to feel his knees quiver.
Scully stopped breathing, her intelligent brain quite simply going-poof.
Suddenly the panic hit them full force. The ghost spoke. They each felt like they wanted to open their mouths and scream as loud as they could, but remained completely frozen in place. They couldn't. And they didn't have to. It was then that they realized that Ling had done it for them.
"AAAHHHHHHHH!" Ling screamed at the top of her lungs.
The noise prompted life back into the two Agent's and they quickly pushed Ling back into her room, scrambling in themselves, and slammed the door shut.
"Mulder.." Scully found her voice first.
"I don't believe it." He mumbled breathlessly, still trying to absorb it.
Ling paced the room "Twice! I don't believe it! Twice!" She walked over to Mulder and grabbed him by his coat lapels, pulling his face down to hers. "Why? Why me? Why must I suffer?" She looked traumatized.
Scully rolled her eyes, Ling's actions bringing her back to reality. "Don't you mean why should IT suffer?"
Ling's innocent 'why me' face quickly turned back to normal as she one again glared at Scully.
Mulder straightened. "We need to get out of here Scully."
"You can't leave me here!" Ling pleaded.
Scully took pity. "And let the ghost suffer more?" Ok, so it wasn't really pity.
Another glare, another growl. "Maybe we can use your hair to blind it."
"Maybe we can use your mouth to scare it."
"Maybe we can use you to marry it, you're pale enough to be mistaken for one."
"Alright!" Mulder called foul.
They gave one final glaredown.
Mulder moved over to the door and opened it a crack.
"Is it gone?" Ling asked anxiously.
"I think." He opened the door fully.
"It's gone," Scully agreed.
"We have to go after it," ...... said.
"What?!" Scully exclaimed.
"Come on." He went out into the hall.
Scully took a deep breath and followed.
"Wait." Ling squeaked. "You can't leave me here."
"Them come on," ...... said.
She frowned. "Oh yeah. Looking like this? Are you mental?"
"Then stay!" Scully snapped.
Ling grunted, she hated when other's were right. "Alright I'm coming." She slowly went out into the hallway with them.
Slowly, they followed as Mulder led the way, peeking around ever corner. When they reached the end of the hall, a sudden high pitched whining sound caused them to turn.
Ling gasped as they saw it.
At the very end of the hallway, the bright object appeared to be...sitting...in one of the hall chairs. They stared awkwardly at each other as they realized what it was doing.
IT was... crying.
"Mulder, it's..." Scully began.
"Crying," Ling finished, looking more irritated than surprised, scratching at her face mask.
Suddenly, the apparition looked up, observing them.
They froze. Again.
"HAVE YOU SEEN HELLEN?" It spoke again.
Mulder stuttered. "Should we answer it?"
"Why are you asking me?" Scully replied, annoyed.
Ling continued to scratch at her face mask.
The air continued to stay still as all three watched the glowing object, still staring at them.
"What do you think it wants?" Mulder asked again.
Ling rolled her eyes, scratching more heavily at her mask. Suddenly, she grunted and emerged from behind Scully. She stood in front of Mulder and stared back at the ghost, crossing her arms, studying it in turn. "I don't really care Mr. Mulder. I've had enough with this annoying haunting little object. My face mask is starting to itch. I've left it on too long." She marched over to the ghost until she was standing just in front of it.
Mulder and Scully stared at each other in shock.
"Ling," Mulder cautioned.
"Please Mr. Mulder. Anyone can see that this poor soul has merely lost it's way and is looking for his love named Helen?" She looked to the object. "Am I right Mr. Ghost type thing?"
The ghost simply stared at her.
"Alright listen Casper. I'm gonna make this quick because quite frankly you're starting to annoy me and this whole haunting thing is way too old, be sure to tell your friends that when you get to the other side, k?" She smiled at it. "Now," she continued. "First of all, you're dead. Gone. Crossed over. Poof. Whatever."
Mulder and Scully continued to watch her, completely dumbfounded by her actions. What was with this woman?
Ling continued. "Nobody likes a whiny ghost honey. It's annoying. Why do you think they have priests and exorcists? Hello!" She sighed. "I don't really care how you kicked the bucket." She stopped and looked at the ghost. "Drugs?"
The ghost actually shook it's head.
"Yeah that one always takes the cake. Sad." She frowned. "Ok, my point is that no doubt you have seen some kind of glowing object. A light perhaps?"
"Good. It's there for a purpose. And unless you need glasses in the afterlife, my suggestion is that you move into it. And no doubt there you will find this Hellen person."
She clapped her hands together. "Do we understand our lesson today?"
"That's a good ghost." She smiled. "I'm so pleased." She scratched at her mask again. "Well, love to stay and chat, but I have better things to do." She turned back to the two Agent's. "All done." She beamed.
Mulder and Scully could only continue to stare open- mouthed.
"Oh, and one more thing." Ling added, turning back to the object. "Let the other's know that it's not a good thing to beam too brightly. It affects people's eyesight." She smiled wickedly. "I'm sure Red here can testify to that."
All three watched as the apparition stood and dissappeared into the wall.
"Well..." Ling scratched at her face again. "I need to go wash this off." She started to walk back to her room, but noticed that Mulder and Scully still stood watching the place where the ghost had been with wide eyes.
Ling frowned. "Bizzare indeed."
She trotted happily back to her own room.
Mulder and Scully regained feeling ten minutes later.
"I don't believe you," Ally said to Mulder.
"It's true," he retorted, having explained the situation to the gatherers.
"You too?" Renee questioned Scully.
Of course, ever the skeptic. "I saw...something."
"Well, leave it to Ling to frighten it off," Elaine commented.
"Even a ghost doesn't escape the viciousness," Georgia added.
They all smiled and looked to the dance floor where Ling was dancing with Richard, and Nell was enjoying a swing with John.
"She actually smiles?" Scully asked, shocked.
"Only on weekends," Elaine answered.
"So, you guys leaving tommorrow?" Billy asked the two newcomers.
"Yeah. We've been called back for another case."
Scully bit her lip. The real truth was that Kersch had phoned them, finding out about their little excursion into Boston without permission. No doubt they'd be in deep again when they got back home.
The other's grunted.
"Too bad," Ally said.
They smiled at the other's reaction. In some way, they too were going to miss this place.
Somewhat. Ling had to do with that.
Scully gave one final mental glare as she recalled those little events.
Just then, a familiar song started up.
'I've been down this road walkin' the line that's painted by pride and I have made mistakes in my life that I just can't hide......'
"Ooh. Come on Billy. We can't miss this one!" Georgia exclaimed, pulling her husband up from his chair.
"It was nice to meet you," Billy told them.
"Same here," Georgia agreed.
Ally studied them, deciding to make it a fond send-off. "Come on you two! Out to the dance floor! This is your last day here!" She stood.
"Yeah. Come on." Renee stood as well.
Mulder and Scully smiled shyly and began to shake their heads.
"Come on," Elaine prompted, moving out to the dance floor.
They looked to each other.
What the heck.
Mulder stood and extended his hand to Scully.
She smiled and let him pull her up.
"Alrrrright!" Renee smiled happily.
"Come on." Ally led them to the floor.
They began to dance with the other's, moving with the rhythm of the song.
Scully smiled as Mulder twirled her, then brought her back into his arms.
"By the way, Scully."
"Aren't you glad us government employees do keep up our standards?" He smiled slyly at her.
Scully felt herself give a slight blush. "I am."
'......One by one, the chains around me unwind
I've been searchin my soul tonight
The participants continued to dance, Mulder and Scully included, the cheerfulness of the bar contagious.
And from somewhere in the corner, two ghosts danced at the foot of the stage, content with finally being together at last.
'.....I've been searchin' my soul tonight
"This is NOT 'normal' therapy!"
"You're not a 'normal' person!" -Ally McBeal and Tracey, her therapist.
"Crazy people can be very persuasive."
-Mulder and Scully.
-Billy Allen Thomas, on love. :)