Title: Desperately Seeking Sasquatch
Author: Andra Marie Mueller
Author's page: https://www.fanfiction.net/u/233256/
Summary: Mulder and Doggett go in search of Bigfoot.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: All things X Files are the legal property of Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and 20th Century Fox. This story takes place in the a/u established in my "Reunion" series and takes place six months prior to "Legacy".
Thanks to Shea for the story idea and all the online laughs. If Mulder, Scully and the Doggetts actually existed they would have to sue us for defamation of character ;)
"Some things have to be believed to be seen." – Ralph Hodgson
FBI HEADQUARTERS – WASHINGTON D.C.
All was quiet inside the office belonging to the agents of the X files. Mulder and Doggett were at their respective desks reviewing current case files, while Scully was out to lunch with Doggett's wife Jessica.
After flipping through the papers in the file he was reading, Mulder glanced over at Doggett.
"Have you seen the autopsy report from the Talbot file?" he asked.
"I gave it to Scully yesterday to double check the findings," Doggett answered. "She said she'd have the results later this afternoon."
"I wasn't aware we needed a second opinion," Mulder replied.
Doggett shrugged. "Better safe than sorry," he responded, "and I'd trust Scully's work over a stranger's."
"Considering that the Talbot investigation is my case, don't you think it might have been prudent to ask me before removing anything from the file?"
"I wasn't tryin' to step on your toes, Mulder, and last time I checked all the X files were our cases."
"Fine, but just keep in mind that not everything in this office is meant to be shared."
"Meaning that I think it would be best for all of us if you worked with your partner and I worked with mine," Mulder clarified. "That way there won't be any confusion as to who belongs with whom."
"What the hell's buggin' you today?" Doggett demanded. "You sound like a little kid who doesn't want to share the toys in his toy box."
"It's not my toys I'm worried about sharing," Mulder countered.
The sound of approaching footsteps interrupted their bickering, and the men glanced up expectantly as a couple appearing to be in their early twenties appeared in the doorway.
"Excuse me," the man said. "We're looking for Special Agent Mulder."
"You found him," Mulder declared. "This is my associate, John Doggett."
"Agent Doggett," the younger man greeted, and Doggett responded with a curt nod.
"My name is Frank Barrett, and this is my girlfriend, Julie Burns. We were referred to you by Julie's cousin, Leyla Harrison."
Mulder and Doggett exchanged a look that clearly said, "This should be interesting" before the latter asked, "What can we do for you?"
Frank and Julie stepped inside the office and settled themselves in the chairs adjacent to Doggett's desk, and then Frank spoke again. "A couple weeks ago Julie and I were camping in Occoneechee State Park when we were awakened in the middle of the night by a large creature shuffling around the campsite. At first we thought it was a bear, but when we shined the flashlight on it we could tell that it was standing upright. As soon as it realized that it was being watched, it disappeared into the woods. The next morning we tried to track it, but after several hundred yards the trail became too hard to follow."
"Did you make a report to the park rangers?" Mulder queried.
"We tried, but the rangers just laughed it off. They said that we had probably just seen a bear, or maybe even a moose."
"And what do you think you saw?"
The couple exchanged a quick look before Julie softly answered, "We're pretty sure it was a Sasquatch."
"Excuse me?" Doggett muttered.
"A Sasquatch, Agent Doggett," Mulder repeated. "You know, like Bigfoot."
"I know what a Sasquatch is, Mulder," Doggett replied. "I just wasn't sure I heard her right."
Julie glanced at Frank. "I told you they wouldn't believe us," she said.
"Nobody's saying that we don't believe you," Mulder assured her quickly, and shot Doggett an annoyed glance. "We were just a little surprised."
"Can you describe what you saw?" Doggett requested.
"We only got a quick glimpse of it in the flashlight," Frank began, "but it was very tall and covered with dark hair. And it was definitely walking on two legs, although it was kind of hunched over."
"You said that you tried to follow its trail the next mornin'. Did this thing leave footprints?"
Frank and Julie both nodded in confirmation.
"Huge footprints," Frank told him.
"I don't suppose you managed to get any pictures?" Mulder prompted.
"Of course not," Doggett mumbled under his breath.
"Well, thank you for bringing this to our attention," Mulder said, and rose to his feet. "Agent Doggett and I will look into this and if we find anything of importance, you'll be the first ones to know."
"Thank you, Agent Mulder," Frank replied. "We appreciate your time."
The group exchanged farewells, then Frank and Julie exited the office just as Scully and Jessica returned from their lunch. Frank did a double take at the sight of Jessica, earning him a swat on the head from his girlfriend as they headed down the hallway to the elevator.
"Ladies," Mulder greeted. "How was lunch?"
"Fine," Scully answered. "Who was that young couple we just passed?"
"The girl is Leyla Harrison's cousin and the kid with her is her boyfriend," Doggett told her. "Leyla referred them to us."
"For an X file?" Scully prompted.
"In a manner of speakin'," Doggett evaded.
"They saw something questionable during a camping trip in Occoneechee State Park a couple of weeks ago and they've asked us to look into it," Mulder explained.
"Let me guess," Jessica interjected. "An unidentified flying object darting across the night sky?"
"Actually it was an unidentified creature that paid them a nocturnal visit," Mulder corrected. "They seem convinced that they've seen a Sasquatch."
"A Sasquatch?" Jessica echoed. "As in Bigfoot?"
"Unfortunately," Doggett confirmed.
The beautiful blonde shook her head. "I'm not even going to ask for the details on this one," she said, and glanced at Doggett. "Will you be home for dinner?"
"We'll probably be pretty late," he told her.
"Okay. You boys be careful and give my regards to Bigfoot."
"Very funny, sweetheart."
Jessica bid them farewell and left the office as Scully addressed Mulder.
"Are you seriously going to make the trip to Clarksville and investigate this?" she pressed.
Mulder shrugged. "It wouldn't be the strangest case we've ever worked on," he allowed. "And in all fairness, Scully, there has never been any definitive proof that such a creature doesn't exist."
"They've never definitively proven that there's no Santa Claus either," Scully countered, "but that doesn't mean I'd be willing to take a trip to the North Pole in search of a jolly fat man and his contingent of toy making elves."
"I'll second that," Doggett replied.
"Come on, Scully," Mulder pleaded. "Aren't you the least bit curious?"
"The X files are your baby, Mulder, so if you and John want to go traipsing around a national park in search of some quasi mythical creature, knock yourselves out. I'm staying here to get some real work done."
"Ouch. That hurts, Scully."
"Have fun, Mulder."
OCCONEECHEE STATE PARK
Mulder and Doggett arrived at the park, and after inquiring at the gate for directions, made their way to the Park Rangers' main office. A young man in his early twenties was minding the front desk when they entered, and glanced up expectantly as they approached him.
"May I help you?" he asked.
The agents flashed their badges as Mulder said, "Agents Mulder and Doggett with the FBI. We're looking for Ranger Frank Gray."
"You've found him," a masculine voice declared from behind them.
Mulder and Doggett turned around to see a man about their age and wearing a park uniform standing a few feet away.
"I'm Frank Gray," he confirmed. "What can I do for you gentlemen?"
"Mister Gray, we're here in regards to a report we received from a young couple who were camping here a couple of weeks ago," Mulder began. "It's our understanding that they received a nocturnal visit from an unusual creature that they were unable to positively identify."
"You're referring to those kids who claim they saw Bigfoot," Gray said.
"You remember them?" Doggett queried.
"Oh, yeah. Nice enough young couple. The last night they were here they ran into a bear rustling around their campsite and the next morning were swearing to the heavens that they'd spotted Bigfoot."
"So you've confirmed that it was a bear," Doggett replied.
"I haven't confirmed it was anything," Gray countered. "Might have been a bear; might have been a moose. Might have been nothing at all."
"Or it might have been a Sasquatch just as they said," Mulder returned.
Gray shot him an even look. "I'll admit I'm confused as to just what you gentlemen are doing here," he said. "I would imagine that the FBI has more important things to worry about than a couple of kids inventing stories about Bigfoot."
"Actually we're with a specialized division that investigates unusual phenomena," Mulder explained patiently. "Would it be possible for us to have a look at the site where the alleged sighting took place?"
"I'll be happy to take you out to the campgrounds, but frankly you boys are little overdressed to be traipsing around the park. We've got some old clothes we keep here at the station in case of emergency, and can probably find you something to wear. But you'll need to get your own footwear. The visitor's center has some hiking boots that should work quite nicely."
"Fine. We'll change into more appropriate clothing and meet you back here in fifteen minutes."
"Okay," Gray conceded, and glanced at the kid behind the desk. "Jimmy, take these gentlemen to the back office and rustle them up some civilian wear."
"Right away, Frank."
Frank retreated outside to wait for Mulder and Doggett as they followed Jimmy through the office. Once they were out of Gray's earshot, Doggett glanced at Mulder.
"This little foray into the wilderness was your idea so you're buyin' the boots," he declared.
"No problem, Agent Doggett. Just another item for my tax write offs."
Doggett snorted. "Right; two pair men's boots purchased for the sole use of trackin' down Bigfoot in a national park. Dollars to doughnuts even your CPA wouldn't buy that one."
"Has anyone ever told you that you're beautiful when you're cynical?"
"Shut up, Mulder."
Fifteen minutes later, Mulder and Doggett had traded their suits for flannel shirts, blue jeans and hiking boots, and had rejoined Gray at the ranger station. They had also taken the precaution of obtaining small utility belts, to which were clipped a small bottle of water and a fanny pack with snacks. Noticing they had their guns tucked into their belts, the ranger gave them a questioning glance.
"Do you gentlemen really think you'll need your firearms?" he asked.
"Bureau regulations require that we keep our weapons in our possession at all times while on duty," Doggett told him.
"We appreciate your assistance, Ranger," Mulder began, "but I'm certain you have other duties to attend to. So if you could just give us a map of the park and point us in the right direction, I'm sure we can find the campsite on our own."
"Suit yourselves," Gray said, "but I suggest you take along a pair of walkie talkies. The park's a pretty big place, and it's easy to get lost if you don't know your way around. And those high tech cell phones you Bureau folks are so fond of don't work in some of the more remote areas."
"Do you have a pair of walkie talkies we could borrow?" Mulder asked.
"Sorry but I'm all out of extras," Gray answered. "But you can pick them up at the visitor's center for a fairly reasonable price."
"Just another item for your tax write offs, right, Agent Mulder?" Doggett prompted dryly.
Mulder shot him a look that clearly said he was not amused and returned to the gift shop to purchase the radios before returning to Doggett. Handing one to his partner, he tucked the other one into his belt as they started up the trail
"I still think this is a waste of time," Doggett muttered.
"Come now, Agent Doggett," Mulder chided. "A Southern boy such as yourself should relish the chance to spend some time in the great outdoors."
"I have no problem retunin' to nature as it were," Doggett responded, "but wanderin' around the woods lookin' for Bigfoot ain't exactly my ideal choice."
"Well frankly I'd rather be here than back at the Bureau listening to Kersh complain about his issue of the week," Mulder returned.
"Maybe if you followed his orders more often he'd have less to complain about."
"Conformity is the refuge of a stagnant mind, Agent Doggett."
"John. That's my name. Try usin' it once in a while instead of my title."
Mulder chuckled. "Sounds like my lovely little sister has been exerting her influence over you," he remarked.
"Jess is a very persuasive woman," Doggett allowed.
The men fell silent then, and maintained the quiet as they steadily made their way up the trail and into the woods. It was a cool day, and the sky over the lake was overcast. They reached the campsite where Frank and Julie had stayed in about twenty minutes, and upon arriving discovered another couple had set up camp. Their dog announced the agents' presence with a cacophony of barking, and the man rose to his feet, silencing the dog as he addressed the other men.
"Good morning," he greeted. "May I help you?"
Mulder and Doggett withdrew their ID's and presented them as Mulder said, "I'm Agent Mulder and this is my associate Agent Doggett with the FBI."
"I'm Carl Stevens, this is my wife, Ann, and our furry welcoming committee is Gus. How can we help you?"
"We're looking into an incident that occurred here a couple of weeks ago."
"The Bigfoot sighting?" Stevens prompted.
"You heard about it?" Mulder returned.
"Oh, yeah. It's become sort of an urban legend around here. My wife and I actually chose this spot because we were hoping to get a look at it ourselves."
"So you believe it exists, then," Doggett said.
"We're open to the possibility," Stevens allowed.
"Do you mind if we have a look around?" Mulder requested.
"Not at all, but I doubt you'll find anything. They had a pretty good rainstorm here a couple of days ago and any evidence that may have been here was washed away."
"How long have you folks been here?" Doggett asked.
"Almost a week," Stevens answered. "We're heading back home tomorrow."
"Have you seen or heard anything out of the ordinary since you've been here?" Doggett pressed.
"Unfortunately not. There have been a couple of false alarms; a pair of raccoons and a family of bears. But so far no Sasquatch."
Mulder nodded. "Well we appreciate your time," he replied.
Bidding the couple farewell, Mulder and Doggett made their way past the campsite and into the main woodlands behind them. Once they were out of earshot, Doggett addressed his partner.
"They were right about that rainstorm washin' away any evidence," he said. "Even if there had been footprints or other signs of this alleged Bigfoot, after a heavy rainfall they'd be long gone."
"You assume too much, brother-in-law o' mine," Mulder chided. "The weather may actually work in our favor. Mud will retain footprints much longer than dry dirt."
"I'm sure that would prove helpful if we actually had a trail to follow," Doggett responded.
As if on cue, something on the ground caught Mulder's attention, and he knelt down for a closer look. "Well what have we here," he said, and pointed to an indentation in the semi-dry mud. "Looks like a footprint to me."
Doggett bent at the knees to look at the impression. "I'll agree that it's at least a partial print, but nothing about it indicates it belongs to a creature the size of a Sasquatch. It could belong to that Stevens guy we met back there or any of the other hundreds of people who have traipsed through these woods in the last two weeks."
"It's a fresh print, Agent...John," Mulder countered. "Look at the depth and clarity of the impression. Whatever left it walked by here within the last 24 hours."
"I'll grant you that it's less than a day old, but I say again that there's nothing here to prove it was made by anything other than a human being."
"Why would a human being be walking around the woods barefoot, especially in this cold weather?"
Doggett sighed. "We're wastin' time arguin' about this," he replied. "Let's keep goin' and see if we can find any more prints."
Falling into a tense silence, the men resumed their trek into the woods, traveling in the direction they assumed the person or creature responsible for the print had taken. After only a few minutes they reached the edge of a small river, and down by the water's edge they discovered a trail of footprints similar to the first one they had found.
"More footprints," Mulder observed. "Looks like Bigfoot walked this way."
"Or maybe Mr. Stevens walked this way."
Mulder glanced at him in annoyance. "If you're such a skeptic, John, why are you even on the X Files?" he asked. "It's the same thing on every case: whatever happens, you refuse to think outside of your own little box."
"I think you need to find a surgeon to remove the bug you have up your ass," Doggett retorted. "You've been in a bad mood since before we left the office."
"I've been in a bad mood since I came back from the dead and discovered you'd taken over my life," Mulder responded. "My job; my partner."
"Is that what all of this is about? You got a problem with me workin' with Scully?"
"My problem is that before Jessica came back into your life you were harboring feelings for Scully."
Doggett shook his head. "I can't believe I'm havin' this conversation," he muttered.
Mulder continued as if he hadn't spoken. "You were taking advantage of Scully's vulnerability during her pregnancy to increase her dependency on you and force yourself into her life," he said.
"I was takin' care of my partner while tryin' to recover your sorry ass from wherever it was you disappeared to. I promised Dana that I'd find you and I did that. If I managed to earn her respect and friendship along the way, so much the better. But I sure as hell wasn't doin' anything inappropriate to our workin' relationship."
"I don't hear you denying your feelings for her," Mulder pointed out.
"I don't know where you're goin' with this, Mulder, but since it has obviously escaped your notice allow me to remind you that I am happily married to another woman. Your sister, no less."
"Not when you were working with Scully and searching for me," Mulder countered.
"This is ridiculous," Doggett replied. "You want me to admit that for a time I had feelings for Dana? Fine; I admit it. She's an intelligent, sensitive, beautiful woman. And before I reconciled with Jess, I did wonder what it would be like to pursue somethin' with her beyond friendship. But as soon as you came back into her life it became obvious that her heart belonged to you. It never occurred to me to try and change that."
"So out of the goodness of your heart you just squashed your feelings for her and moved on?"
"More or less."
Their argument was interrupted by the sound of the bushes behind them, and the agents glanced over just as a mother bear and her cubs wandered out of the woods.
"Something tells me that mama bear isn't goin' to be real happy we're here," Doggett whispered. "Maybe we should beat a hasty retreat."
"She won't attack unless she feels her cubs are threatened," Mulder responded. "Just stay very still and quiet and she should go away."
As if to mock Mulder's declaration, the mother bear suddenly shifted her gaze to them and with a growl of displeasure, rose up on her hind legs as she started toward them.
Shooting his brother-in-law an 'I told you so' look, Doggett immediately bolted for safety, Mulder a step behind him. As they made their way through the woods, they could hear the bear crashing through the bushes in pursuit.
"What are we going to do if she catches us?" Mulder asked between breaths.
"Run faster," Doggett responded.
As they rounded a large tree, Mulder noticed a large gray mass hanging from one of the lower branches a split second before Doggett knocked it out of his way, causing it to break free from the branch and fall to the ground.
"Oh, shit," Mulder muttered. "You just took out a wasps' nest, John. Keep running!"
On cue a large swarm of angry buzzing wasps flew out of the broken hive and began to attack the men. As they flayed their arms about in an attempt to ward off the angry insects, they got too close to the edge of the trail and tumbled down the muddy slope to land in the river. The water appeared to deter the wasps and they flew back in the direction they had come. The mother bear arrived then, coming to a halt at the top of the slope that the agents had fallen down. She grunted a couple of times to make her point, and satisfied the men were no threat, retreated back into the woods.
"That's it!" Doggett declared. "I've been chased by a bear, stung by wasps, listened to you whine like a baby about my friendship with Dana and now I'm sittin' in the river covered in mud and freezin' my ass off. I'm done with you, Mulder. Never again am I gonna let you drag me out on some wild goose chase in search of aliens or Bigfoot or whatever the hell else falls into your lap. Next time you can take Dana or Monica and search for monsters until the cows come home. I'm goin' back to the Ranger Station to get cleaned up and go home to my wife."
Doggett whirled on him as he rose to his feet. "Shut up, Mulder!" he snarled. "Don't say another word, or utter another syllable, or by all that's holy I'm goin' to deck you."
"I was merely going to apologize for objecting to your friendship with Scully," Mulder replied. "For some reason it made me jealous, and I reacted without thinking."
"And the Pope's Catholic," Doggett retorted. "I don't hear you apologizin' for the other stuff."
"It's what we do."
The other man snorted. "It's nothin' I ever did until I met you," he muttered.
Without waiting for a response, Doggett walked out of the river and started back toward the woods, with Mulder following at his side. Moments later a large, hairy creature emerged from the brush on the other side of the river. Walking erect, it stood in place for a moment, staring silently at the backs of the men as they made their way upriver. It remained there until they had disappeared from sight, than stepped to the river's edge and took a few sips of water before retreating back into the woods as quietly as it had emerged.
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