RATING: Strong R
SPOILERS: Anything up to and including season 8 is fair game. Anything involving mytharc has probably been hunted, skinned, cooked and eaten already ;) However, it is set from shortly after How the Ghosts Stole Christmas.
SUMMARY: This, Scully thought as she watched him, this changed everything. This was everything.
NOTES: I have taken HUGE liberties with the timeline and mytharc– but given the show's general run toward inconsistency, I don't think that really matters anyway! This story begins shortly after How the Ghosts Stole Christmas – probably early January. From there, I've cut and pasted and sewed the episodes of Season 6 (and a few other seasons) together to twist this fic into existence.
In this reality, Mulder isn't colour blind. I think it's a waste to have him unable to appreciate Scully's hair. A most unfortunate plot device – one of many unfortunate plot devices -P
More notes at the end.
Because it is personal, Mulder. Because without the FBI personal interest is all that I have. And if you take that away then there is no reason for me to continue.
From the outside, the small cathedral looked exactly as he remembered it – dark and regal with a sweeping roof and intricate architecture. A fenced cemetery to the side was bordered by thorny rose bushes and falling leaves. Mulder followed the fence until he found a small white gate that swung open on soundless hinges when he touched it. He could see her in the distance, her red head bowed and shoulders dropped with grief.
It started to rain, a soft drizzle that hardly did more than stick to his skin and tickle his eyelashes.
She spun around quickly, stunned to see him striding toward her.
"How did you find me?" she demanded when he was close enough to see the slight smudging of wet mascara under her eyes.
"I guessed," he admitted. "What's going on?"
She stared at him, silent, her eyes as grey and indecisive as the tumultuous clouds in the sky above them, unsure of whether to thunder and rage or spill apart in a flood.
"Scully?" he pressed gently, stepping toward her. She turned from him and looked toward the grave she was standing in front of.
The thick smell of dirt mixed with the soft drizzle – she was standing at a new grave. His gaze settled on the small headstone: David Headley. Four years old.
He didn't look at her when she spoke. "There are more of them, Mulder," she whispered softly. Above them the thunder growled and charged across the sky, chasing lightning bolts that skittered over the clouds. But still the clouds hung, oppressive, only the misty drizzle escaping to the earth.
He stood beside her and waited, staring at the grave as her words rolled through his body with the raw power of thunder.
More of them.
I linger in the doorway
Of alarm clock screaming
Monsters calling my name
Let me stay
Where the wind will whisper to me
Where the raindrops
As they're falling tell a story
"I thought you'd have stayed with your brother," Mulder commented idly, loosening his tie with one hand and dropping his overnight bag onto the foot of her bed.
Scully felt her lips tug in a rueful half smile at his words. "It's easier not to," she offered by way of explanation. She sighed, blowing the air out between her lips and running a hand through her rain dampened hair, wincing as her fingers caught in several tangles.
"What are we doing here, Scully?" Mulder asked.
"I left you a message," she said, turning to stare through the window. "I didn't tell you to come here."
"You leave a cryptic message on my answering machine telling me not to worry, and what am I supposed to do?" he responded.
"Not worry?" she suggested, raising her eyebrows at her reflection in the glass. Outside the rain thundered down, a sheet of water distorting her perception of what lay beyond the glass.
"I have to be back at the Bureau bright and early Monday morning," he said, ignoring her words. "Kersh wouldn't let me have leave – suggested there was an ulterior motive in me requesting leave the same time you requested it."
"And then said he hoped we weren't doing anything against express orders, such as working on anything related to the X Files. Is that what we're doing here, Scully?"
She sighed. "I don't know what we're doing here, Mulder," she admitted, turning to face him. "I found some papers on my desk yesterday morning. A file with photos and names."
Unbidden the pictures flashed before her. "Children," she said. Children with innocent blue eyes and freckles and strawberry blond hair.
He sucked his breath in with a hiss she heard from the opposite side of the room. "Like Emily?" he asked.
She nodded. "They're dead, Mulder. All three of them. Died of a rare autoimmune disease that's not entirely understood."
"Jesus, Scully," he breathed.
"I'm okay, Mulder," she said, anticipating his question. She offered him a slight smile to prove it.
"Are you?" he asked gently.
"I am," she repeated. "But I want it to end. I don't want them to do what they've done to any more children, Mulder."
He nodded, frowning, and she could see his mind working as the expression in his eyes flickered and changed. "You said there were names in the file," he remembered.
"The same clinic where Emily was treated. A different doctor though. I'll get the file."
"Have you spoken to this doctor yet?" Mulder asked.
"No, I spent yesterday afternoon finding the children's families. And this morning I went… I went to see Emily, and David was buried at the same cemetery," she said, her fingers curling around the file and pulling it from her bag. "Here."
He flicked through it quickly, and then shut it when he looked up at her. "This is going to take longer than a day and a half, Scully," he said, meeting her gaze.
"That's why I requested leave."
"I can't get leave," he said in frustration. "Where did you get this file?"
"I told you, I found it on my desk. Someone left it for me, Mulder, I don't know who."
"I wonder who it was," Mulder said, "and why."
Scully nodded, relieved to move the topic away from the children. "I'm worried about it," she admitted. "Not knowing who sent me that information, and why they want me to have it. It makes me suspicious."
"Do you think it's a set up?" Mulder asked.
Scully shrugged. "Well, if Kersh really did warn you about getting involved in any cases… it could be," she pointed out.
Mulder flicked absently through the file again. "What were your plans for the rest of the day, seeing as it's still early?"
"Go to the clinic, see if we can find this doctor," Scully said.
Mulder nodded. "I'll book myself a room, and then we can go."
Transgen Pharmaceuticals had changed very little in the year since Scully had been there. The immaculate lawns were still as green and lush as they had been the first day she saw them, despite the middle of winter chill and heavy downpour. Inside, the simple elegance screamed big funding and success, but in the black marble Scully saw only the crimes committed by men.
"Agent Scully, Agent Mulder," Doctor Markham greeted, rising to his feet and motioning towards two leather chair in front of his desk. "Please, take a seat. How can I help you?"
With greater care than she normally used, Scully placed the pictures of three children on his desk, pushing them toward the doctor. "Do you know these children, Doctor Markham?" she asked.
He looked at the pictures briefly, and then met her gaze steadily. His eyes were brown, a deep rich chocolate that looked far too warm for a man involved in experiments on children. "David Headley, Anna Lucas and Thomas Little," he said. "They were patients of mine up until recently."
"What happened to them?" Mulder asked.
"They suffered from a rare blood disease," Markham explained. "They all passed away fairly recently."
"That's strange, don't you think?" Scully murmured.
"What is?" Markham asked, frowning.
"That they'd all die so soon after one another."
"This disease is still largely not understood, Agent Scully," Markham said. "Patients very rarely live to be older than four to five years of age. It is also more likely that death will occur during winter, given the cold and the weakness of these children's bodies. I don't find it strange that they all passed away around this time of year."
Scully nodded. "Are there any other children at your clinic currently undergoing treatment for this disease?"
"No, Agent Scully. As I said, it's an extremely rare disease. I was fortunate the families were willing to move to San Diego for the research program we're running here."
"I spoke to their families yesterday," Scully commented, sitting back in her chair. "Were you aware that all three children were adopted?"
"Yes, I was."
"Don't you find that co-incidence rather odd as well?"
"Agent Scully, if you don't mind me asking, what exactly is it that you're investigating?" Markham asked coldly.
"The deaths of these children, Doctor Markham."
"Their deaths were a natural result of their disease. There is no mystery as to how those children died."
"Maybe not, Doctor Markham," Scully agreed, rising to her feet. "But I'd like to have a look at their medical files none the less."
Markham rose to his feet, the chocolate of his eyes cold and hard now. "I can't give those to you without consent from the families, Agent Scully," Markham said. "You'll have to get that first, and then I can give them to you."
"Already done," Scully said, producing the paperwork. "I told you, I saw them yesterday."
Markham nodded stiffly. "I'll have my secretary get the files for you."
It was raining again, the droplets splattering heavily on the windshield as Mulder negotiated the Taurus through the Saturday afternoon traffic.
"Anything?" he asked as she shut the files on her lap and let her gaze drift to the road ahead.
"No, these files are clean," she said, sighing. "We knew they would be. I ran a search on Markham and the other names last night, but I couldn't find anything on them."
"I called the Gunmen," Mulder said, "told them what we'd found. They'll run a check on them as well, and call me tonight."
"I don't see what the reasoning behind sending me that file was," Scully said. "Why let me know of three more children who have all died, and give me the names of their doctor? What are we supposed to find?"
The ringing of Mulder's cell phone interrupted them before Mulder could answer. "Want me to get that?" Scully asked.
"Yeah," Mulder agreed. "It might be Frohike."
Scully pulled his coat onto her lap from the back seat, fished his phone out of a pocket and answered it.
"Who is this?" a familiar voice asked.
Scully felt her stomach drop. "Agent Scully, sir."
"Agent Scully," Kersh said slowly. "Why are you answering Agent Mulder's phone?"
"Because he's driving, sir," Scully explained, closing her eyes.
"Where are you?"
"I was under the impression that you were on vacation, Agent Scully," Kersh commented.
"Yes sir, I am."
"Then why are you and Agent Mulder running a supposed FBI investigation into the deaths of three children in San Diego?"
Scully swallowed and didn't answer.
"Consider you vacation over, Agent Scully. I want you and Agent Mulder back in DC and in my office tomorrow morning first thing."
"Yes, sir," Scully said, the soft beeping of a disconnected call her only response.
"That didn't sound good," Mulder said.
"It was Kersh. He wants us back in DC by tomorrow morning."
Mulder cursed loudly, slamming his hands on the wheel in frustration.
"What are we going to do?" Scully asked, looking at him.
"Go back," he said.
"You said it yourself, Scully, we have nothing here at the moment. Maybe if Frohike and the boys dig up something on Markham or his associates we can push this further, but three dead children is no proof of anything. We'd throw our careers away for nothing if we ignored Kersh now, Scully."
"Since when do you care about your career?" Scully demanded.
"It's not just my career I'm worried about, Scully," he returned. "It's your career as well. If we throw everything away now it's a waste. Let's wait until we have something more concrete before we do anything."
She wanted to argue with him. She wanted to tell him that her career wasn't that important. She wanted to tell him that she didn't care about the FBI anymore, and her employment there meant nothing anymore. She wanted to tell him all that mattered was finding the truth. Her truth. About what had happened to her and her children.
The thought solidified around her, dark and heavy, and suddenly she wasn't okay.
The children were real. She might not have seen them or touched them or heard them, but they were still hers. Her flesh. Her blood. Her pain.
Stolen from her. Like Emily.
The pain was sharp and sudden. Rather than betray it to Mulder she remained silent and let him drive her back to the motel.
Thanks for reading. As soon as the next couple of parts come back from the beta's, I'll post them. I promise, this fic is actually finished!