Black and White By Lisa Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the creators of these characters and I don't own them. This is written for non-profit purposes. Note: I also have no medical knowledge so I'm making it all up :) Summary: Monica's the subject of an unusual experiment. DRR

Monica opened her eyes. All around her it was white. The walls, the floor, it was all she could see. If in fact she was seeing at all. Her breathing was heavy and she felt tired. I've been drugged, she thought to herself, trying to sit up. Jesus where am I? She couldn't even see a door. It's another hospital, she believed momentarily. But she hadn't been in an accident.

FLASH!

Monica closed her eyes, blinding her from the huge ball of light that seemed to originate from directly in front of her. When she opened her eyes, the flashing stayed, temporarily blinding her and preventing her from seeing anything else. After several minutes, she recovered, and now everything was black. Everywhere she looked was black. She could hardly see her own hand in front of her face. She backed up against a wall, waiting nervously and fiddling with her middle right hand finger, the one that should have had her ring on it, but it didn't.

*

John opened the door to his home, walking out and locking the door behind him. He felt himself kick something across the other side of the hall, and walked to it, bending over and picking it up. It was a large, silver ring. A woman's. And he knew whose. He looked up, half expecting to see Monica standing there. How did it get onto his porch? He put it in his pocket and went to work. If it wasn't hers, he would return it to the floor that night. After all, someone might come back looking for it.

*

"Scully, you seen Agent Reyes this morning?" John asked as he arrived down in the FBI basement. Scully shook her head.

"No, I haven't. Why?"

"I think I have her ring."

"You think?" Scully asked, raising an eyebrow as if to ask 'how?' Doggett handed it to her. She looked at it.

"Sure looks like it," John said as he handed it to her. Scully was looking at it as closely as she could, as though there was something she was straining to see.

"John do you know why she wears that ring?"

"Nup," he replied.

"I don't think she ever takes it off..."

"I'm sure it carries some kind of significance."

"It has an inscription. Beautiful," she read.

"That it?" Scully nodded. "Well what's that supposed to tell us? Was it only just done?"

"Doesn't look it no, it's faded."

"Agent Scully I'm not following." Scully shrugged.

"Neither am I. I have no idea what I'm meant to be talking about John. Why don't you ask her yourself?"

*

The room flashed white again as soon as Monica started to move, and she fell onto her hands and knees as the impact hit her. It was physical, and she could feel the light blinding her, scorching her eyes even though she held them shut, her hands covering them. It was the fifth time the lights had flashed white. In half an hour or so - she'd lost track of time - it would be dark again.

*

Scully was aware that John was looking at her. She tried to ignore it, but decided it was best to get him talking.

"Yes?" she asked, glancing up.

"I think I should drive around there."

"Okay," Scully replied. She was sure there was nothing wrong with Monica, that she must have rostered a day off for one reason or another. She couldn't see why John was so worried.

"You sure?"

"Yeah, if it'll make you feel better."

*

John walked into Monica's apartment after discovering that the door was open. He walked through. There were no dishes that hadn't been wash, everything was stacked in the drying rack and appeared dry. Nothing new. He walked into the bedroom. The bed was pulled back and slept in. It hadn't been made. Her clothes from the previous day were on the floor. He couldn't find any sign of pyjamas and assumed she'd disappeared during the middle of the night.

In the bathroom the toothpaste was sitting on the bench, and seemed to be out of place. The rest of the bathroom was spotless. It's been cleaned, Doggett realised. Sure enough the cleaning equipment was on the floor behind him. It hadn't been neatly put away. It was sprawled in every direction. John opened the top cabinet and found what he would ordinarily expect to find: women's deodorant, a brush and comb, general medical supplies including bandaids and disinfectant, spare soap, a couple of razors, and those other women's things that Doggett didn't like to dwell on. He closed the cupboard door, turning back. There were no clues as to where she'd gone. The bin didn't have much in it. Mostly tissues. He did, however, find an empty prescription bottle. He read the label. It was hers, all right. He picked up his phone, calling Scully and asking her about the pills.

"It's a drug that was taken by people recovering from eating disorders ten or twenty years ago. Why?"

"Because Monica has a bottle in her house."

"Are they-"

"They're hers. I don't understand; she doesn't have an eating disorder."

"John, I said ten or twenty years ago. What's the date?"

"1985! She only threw it in the bin recently-"

"So she's not there?"

"No, it looks like she got up in the middle of the night and cleaned the bathroom, it's spotless, and never got back to bed." Scully sighed.

"All right. See if she has any pictures of herself with this ring on her finger around there. I want to make sure it's hers."

*

Scully looked frantic when Doggett arrived back at the offices. Skinner and Follmer were down there as well.

"I got the pictures," John began, before he saw everyone standing there. "What's happened?"

"You got sent a tape, Agent Doggett," Follmer started. John handed the photographs to Scully, who picked up the ring and sat directly under the desk lamp.

"Looks the same," she said quickly. "I'd say it was hers."

"So the ring was delivered to your house, and this was delivered to your desk-" Skinner handed John the tape.

"What's on it?" he asked. They didn't answer him. "Why didn't you call me?"

"You were on your way," Scully said. John put it into the video player. Everything was black and for a moment John thought it was a fault with the player. Then there was a loud noise, and Monica was in the corner of the room, huddled. She didn't move for a very long time, and the light started flashing again. Black, white, black, white. John turned to Scully.

"What's making that flash?" She shrugged.

"We're working on it." Doggett turned back to the video, watching closely as the light flashed on and off. It appeared there was another figure walking up to Monica, bending over her. Then the room flashed white again, revealing her huddled in the corner, just as she had been before, with not another person in sight.

"Is she alive there?" Doggett asked. Scully nodded.

"Yes, she's breathing from what I can see. Keep watching." After several more minutes her head lifted momentarily before falling back into her knees, which were drawn to her chest. Everything went silent, and as soon as she tried to lift her head the lights flashed off again, and everything went black. Follmer hit 'stop'.

"That's all there is," he said.

"How did it get here?"

"I don't know," Scully replied. "I went to get some details on this ring and when I came back it was there. I need to get this tape to the light experts."

"What did you find on the ring?" John asked as Skinner took the tape away with him to get it analysed.

"It's not as old as I thought, it was made by a New York jeweller that a friend recognised. I rang the jeweller, and he looked that batch of designs up in his books. It was made the same time that you all were in New York."

"Does he remember that particular ring?"

"No. Any idea why someone would want Monica?"

"No," John replied.

"It has to be something connected to us. Maybe you. Do you remember that ring?"

"You think the ring has something to do with it?"

"Perhaps."

"I don't know anything about the ring," Doggett said.

"Are you sure?"

"You think I wouldn't tell you if I did?" He exclaimed, becoming agitated. "Just because she got it in New York! Why don't you ask Follmer, he was there, he was closer to her than I was!" He walked out of the office as Scully picked up the phone.

*

When Doggett returned, he found Scully talking over the phone to who he guessed were the light experts. She hung up when she saw him.

"They don't know what's causing the changing lights, but they think it could induce some form of hypnosis."

"Hypnosis?"

"Yeah, a type of hypnosis that's more like the rapid eye movement stage of sleep."

"They're making her dream? Didn't look like it."

"Not dream. I think she's in some kind of trance."

"And?"

"And if she hasn't been protecting her eyes properly, she could have damage."

"What kind of damage?"

"They're not sure. They can't get the frequency of light right because of the video. As well as that, the figure you think you see when the lights start flashing rapidly, it's not actually there, it's an illusion."

"An illusion?"

"They used infra-red and Monica shows up, this other figure doesn't."

"Can they get an outline?"

"They're working on it."

*

Monica kept her head down as she heard footsteps. Lights began to flash on and off in front of her again and she felt someone grab her. They dragged her across a distance, the world becoming black then white then black then white. Throwing her to the ground, she felt something pierce her side.

*

"What else did Monica work on in New York?" Scully asked Follmer. He shrugged.

"Lots of cases- We-"

"This would have been something big. It would have affected her in some way."

"I'm really not sure."

"Did you get her the ring?"

"No, she just wore it one day. Told me she'd bought it for herself." Scully nodded, thinking.

*

Doggett sat in Monica's kitchen, thinking. She had to be somewhere. Where would she be? He stood and walked around the house again. He hadn't touched anything apart from a few photographs that had been in the top drawer near her bed, ones that he had brought to Scully earlier. He opened the drawer again, flicking through them. There were several of Monica with Follmer, others of when she was much younger. He realised that she didn't have any others since she'd come to Washington. None of the background scenery was familiar. The only thing she had was a newspaper clipping featuring herself and Doggett in a black and white picture. It was an article that Doggett remembered well, bagging the purpose of the federal security agencies.

John heard a crash behind him and drew his gun, running back to the front of the apartment. Monica was lying on the ground, unconscious. Someone must have just dropped her there. He glanced out the door, but didn't see anyone. He wasn't going to run after something he couldn't see when Monica was lying there, and he could see she needed help. He called for an ambulance as he checked her pulse. It was steady, if not slightly faster than normal. She was in a dark singlet top and loose shorts. They were too big for her and whoever it was had obviously allowed her to be changed before being returned.

Scrawled on her right arm was a message: Leave the blindfold on for 48 hours and she'll be okay. John focussed on her face. There was a dark panel lying across her eyes and the bridge of her nose. A band of elastic that was tied behind her head held it there. He touched her cheek briefly, then her forehead, as sirens were heard in the distance. She wasn't overheated or cold, but she seemed clammy. Probably, he guessed, she was dehydrated and malnourished.

*

Scully entered with Skinner and Follmer. Monica was still unconscious and John was sitting next to her, glancing at a file. He turned to see them.

"The doctors want to take the blindfold off," Scully stated. "I'm not sure that they shouldn't."

"No way," John replied. "It said not to take it off, and I believe it." Monica's arm had been washed and the marker had been removed, but it had been photographed beforehand. "What came back from tox?"

"Tranquilliser. We think she was injected with it to start with, taken to wherever and it appears as though that's what she's under the influence of now."

*

Monica took a deep breath and John noticed it. He took her hand and felt her respond, whereas previously she hadn't. Her lips parted and she took a moment.

"John," she choked. "Water." She was connected to a drip that was administering fluids but John supposed her mouth was dry, and got her a cup, with a bent straw. She took only a sip, before leaning back into the pillows. She went to touch her face but Doggett took her hand.

"No, don't do that," he spoke. "You've got to keep it on, all right?"

"Keep what on?" she asked, turning her head slightly to look at him.

"You've got a blindfold on, Monica."

"What? No I don't, I can see you. How-"

"You can see me?"

"Yeah..." She took another deep breath.

"Just take it easy."

"Yeah, I can see you."

"Can you touch my nose?" Monica nodded, reaching out with her free hand and touching John's nose with her index finger, letting her hand slip and run down his cheek. Doggett took her hand.

"How can I see you?" she asked. She sounded scared, and John squeezed her hand, gently bringing it back down to the bed.

"I don't know Monica, but you've just got to rest. We can't take the blindfold off for another day." She nodded. "Do you know who took you?"

"No..." Her voice shook as she tried to sit up further. Doggett helped her.

"Don't cry, it's okay," he whispered to her as he got extra pillows to help support her better and lay her back against them.

"I'm not crying," she snapped. John sat back down, but not before kissing her forehead briefly.

"Just rest. Scully's going to come and help us work this out soon."

*

"What's your opinion?" John asked Scully as they stood outside in the hallway. The doctor was in with Monica for the time being.

"I think she's seeing through the blindfold," Scully replied.

"How? It's a dark piece of cloth?"

"I don't think that's all it is. Whatever it is, Agent Doggett, it could be the answer to a possible cure for some forms of blindness. She should have suffered severe nervous damage. Even watching those lights flash on tape was bright enough."

"I know."

"So we'll take it a day at a time. I can't know anything until we actually get a look at her eyes, and we can't do that until tomorrow morning."

*

"Here," Doggett stated as he sat down next to Monica that night. "Is this yours?" He held it up for her to see, even though she was still blindfolded. Monica took it from him and held it in her hand.

"Yeah," she replied, slipping it back on her finger.

"Where'd you get it?"

"New York, I bought it one day."

"You got it engraved?"

"What? No..." She took it off again. "I...I can't see any inscription." She handed it to him and John looked at it.

"Jesus," he whispered, handing it back to her. "It's gone."

"What's gone?"

"It said 'beautiful' on the inner band."

"It never has," Monica whispered, watching him through her blindfold. "You think it's connected?"

"Could be. You have no idea who did this to you? Or what happened?"

"I don't remember anything. The last thing I remember was that I was cleaning the bathroom."

*

"Is it possible that when we saw what we thought was her awake, on the tape, she was actually asleep, and asleep the whole time?" Doggett asked Scully. She seemed to nod.

"I think she was asleep the whole time. I think it was an experiment with her sleep. But there's something else, because that ring was engraved, I'd swear it, and now...now it's not?" John nodded.

"And why Monica?"

To be Continued...