Title: The Better Part of Valor
Author: N'kala99
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, and Skinner are not mine. They belong to Chris Carter,
1013 Productions, and Fox. The other characters you don't recognize come out of my
own warped mind. g If I have offended anyone else, I didn't mean to. Obviously, I do
not own McDonalds, Marvin the Martian, Best Western, or Eatin' Park and their
Breakfast Smile. I hope I covered all of the bases. I really don't want to lose that quarter
I finally earned.
Spoilers: Grotesque, Detour, and Kill Switch
Rating: PG-13 or R for 'adult language' and explicit description. You'll know when you
see it.
Author's Notes: Basically, I just picked a city and threw in whatever I wanted. This is
definitely not accurate. Also, I don't know if the information I have in here is accurate.
Also, this is just one of my interpretations of what it would be like if Mulder, Scully, and
Skinner went on a case. Not an x-file, though. I hope you like it!
Also—thank you to all who sent me such glowing reviews. This is for all of you.
Summary: Kids are being kidnapped and murdered. With no other choice, Mulder is
called in to assist the VCS and investigate, with Scully and Skinner along for the ride.

The Better Part of Valor
1/9

FBI Headquarters
April 21st
9:45 a.m.

Thunder rumbled and shook the ground as lightning lit up the dark sky. Black clouds
billowed, giving the morning an appearance of night. Rain, light at first, pounded on the
near-deserted streets of the nation's capital as helpless passers-by scrambled for cover.
The storm, though not unexpected, had appeared rather quickly and those not prepared
were soaked within seconds.

In the basement office of the J. Edgar Hoover building, the overhead lights, the desk
lamp, and the computer screen flickered and steadied. The incident did not phase the sole
occupant of the cramped and cluttered room as he sat hunched over an open file, happily
chomping away on sunflower seeds.

It was Saturday morning, and the building was nearly deserted. Since he was officially
off-duty, Special Agent Fox Mulder had taken the liberty of going to work dressed
casually in jeans and an oversized cotton sweatshirt, much more comfortable than the
strict suit-and-tie as was the dress code.

Mulder stared at the case file in front of him. It was a case that was being investigated by
the Violent Crimes Section, and one of the agents working on it had secretly and
'unofficially' asked for his help. Mulder had worked in VCS for three years before
transferring out and starting up the X-Files, but there were several occasions where his
assistance was requested. Mulder hated working for the VCS. He had always worked
too hard and had always gotten too deep into the criminals' minds. The VCS had almost
destroyed him, yet here he was, working on yet another profile.

Several pictures and recent articles surrounded the file, and on the computer screen were
the most recent pieces of information that he had asked the agent, who requested his help,
to find.

The case was high profile and extremely delicate. It was also four months old. What
made it so unique from the other cases was the simple fact that the victims were all
children.

Boys and girls.

Ages two to six.

The murders occurred once every week. The children were abducted from a daycare
center in broad daylight. The week was spent torturing and molesting the child, followed
quickly by gutting the victim alive. Each child was found back at the daycare center,
without his or her internal organs.

Except for the heart.

The tiny organ was left untouched.

Mulder, all in all, was surprised that he hadn't been called in earlier. The agent who
contacted him, Kevin White, had mentioned that his presence had been requested several
times, but for some reason, the requests were denied. But with the situation growing
more and more desperate, White had no other options other than to involve Mulder.
Without anyone's knowledge.

As he read and reread the profile, Mulder couldn't help but think that he should have
become involved sooner. Maybe he could have saved a few of the children.

The profile stated that the killer was male, in his thirties, and lived alone. He was unable
to keep a job and had no family, at least none to turn to.

Mulder thought that the profile was wrong.

Based on what information he had, Mulder believed the killer to be in his late forties and
fairly well to do. There was something else . . . something he couldn't quite put his
finger on . . .

"Now, why did I think I'd find you here?"

Mulder jumped at the voice and looked up to see Scully standing in the doorway. He
quickly shut off his computer and began to shove the papers and photographs back into
the file.

"Scully!" Mulder exclaimed. "You almost gave me a heart attack! What are you doing
here?"

Scully calmly approached Mulder's desk. "I could ask you the same thing. What's
that?" She reached for the file, but Mulder pulled it out of her reach and clutched it to his
chest. Scully frowned.

"Mulder, what's going on?" she asked.

"Nothing." Mulder suddenly became very interested in the surface of his desk.

Scully's blue eyes caught sight of a photograph on the ground. Remembering it falling
there when she'd walked in, she stooped down and lifted it to her eyes. When she saw it,
she felt herself grow weak.

"Oh God, Mulder, no," she whispered.

Mulder snatched the photograph from Scully's hand and tucked it into the folder, but the
damage had already been done. Scully was looking at him, horror mingling with concern
on her face.

"How long have you been working on this?" she asked.

"I got it early this morning," Mulder replied softly, still not meeting her gaze. "They
asked for my help. They don't have any new leads."

"Dammit!" Scully yelled, at the same time slamming her palm down on the desk.
Mulder was startled at the sudden burst of anger. "Dammit, Mulder, why you? You
don't work for them anymore!"

"Scully, my help is unofficial," Mulder protested. "Only one other person knows I'm
doing this, and he needs me. They need me. I can't stand by and watch innocent children
die when I know I could've done something. I would have become involved sooner or
later. I wish it was sooner, but I can't change that. You knew that this was bound to
happen."

Scully nodded. "I did," she admitted quietly. "But I was hoping to be there with you
when you opened the file. You shouldn't have to be alone on a case like this. No one
should."

Mulder smiled faintly. "Thanks," he said.

Scully returned the smile. "I came by to ask you if you wanted to grab a late breakfast
with me. We can discuss the case."

"Agent Scully," Mulder teased. "Are you asking me out on a date?"

Scully laughed. "In your dreams, wise guy," she retorted. "Come on, my treat."

"Really?" Mulder stuffed the folder into his briefcase, pulled on his jacket, and followed
his partner from the room. "I wasn't aware that McDonalds served breakfast so late- ow!
Geez, Scully, anyone ever tell you that you're stronger than you look?"

Their laughter echoed off the walls of the hallway, giving the dank basement a feeling of
warmth.

end 1/9