After the Future XVIII (PG-13)

He tapped on the door and heard someone move toward it from inside

He tapped on the door and heard someone move toward it from inside. A woman opened the door and Mulder searched his mind for her name, Megan, right.

"Mr., uh, Mr. Mulder. Please, come in."

"Itís just Mulder, Megan. Is anyone else home?"

"Uh, yes, Stan is. I think his daughter, Tricia, is outside somewhere. Iíll get him. Would you like something to drink?"

"Iím fine."

She managed a nervous smile. "Please, have a seat. Iíll be right back."

Mulder moved over toward the couch when she left the room. He looked around. The furniture was holding up pretty well. He didnít see any personal items around, but theyíd only been here a couple of days.

"Mr. Mulder." Stan hurried into the room, with Megan right behind him.

Stan looked like he had played football in high school, and had fleshed out as he got older, then lost weight like everyone else in the last few years. His face still retained some of that fleshiness.

Mulder shook the hand he held out. "I told Megan, its just Mulder. I wanted to make sure you were settling in okay."

"Are . . . are we going to be allowed to settle in?"

Mulder didnít answer directly. "I would like to talk to you, now that things have calmed down a little."

"Of course." He motioned for Mulder to have a seat, then joined him. "You want to talk about Bill."

"Yes. I suppose youíve heard who he is?"

"Yes sir. Scullyís brother. We didnít know that, but . . . "

"But what?"

"We would have helped him get here anyway. He knew the signal, he knew you."

"Signal?" Mulder looked puzzled.

Stan seemed surprised at that. "You, you donít know?"

"Know what?"

"Thereís a . . . a signal, a symbol we use to make sure we know you. You know, like the early Christians?"

"You mean the fish?"

Stan smiled then, "Yeah. The first person draws an X, kind of by accident. Then, if the next person knows, they draw an F. You know for X-Files. Thatís how we know each other."

Mulder sat there, stunned.

"You didnít know?" Megan asked. "You donít know that there are lots of us out there."

"Uh, no I didnít. Are they all planning to come here?"

"No, some are eventually, but we stay in place, to do what you need. When the vaccine got to us, we decided you might need more help here, to synthesize it, distribute it, whatever so it was decided to send us."

"The vaccine got to you? How did you know, itís supposed to be a polio . . . "

"Thatís what it is, polio, unless you know the symbol. Weíre careful Mulder. "

Mulder looked at him for a second, then decided to change the subject. He needed to think about this; talk to Scully.

"So, what did you do, before?"

"I was a line man for the power company. Had been for nearly twenty years. I was the foreman of the night shift and pretty good at what I did."

Mulder nodded, "Iím sure you were. You have a daughter?"

Stan nodded, "Tricia, sheís fourteen. Her mother died in the first wave."

"Was she ill?"

"She hadnít been diagnosed, but she couldnít stop smoking when I did. She had a cough . . . "

Mulder nodded, he had enough for now. "Do you have what you need here?" He looked around the room.

"Oh yes." Megan spoke finally. "Itís very nice. Becky and Marie are doing laundry over at Brittanyís house. There was, there was quite a bit of it."

Mulder grinned, "Iím not surprised."

"Iím not sure where Greg is."

Mulder nodded and rose, "Well, I know youíre busy. Come by the office if you need anything."

Stan escorted him to the door and shut it behind him, then looked over at Megan.

"Stan? Are we, are we staying here?"

"I . . . I was too afraid to ask."


Mulder let himself inside the clinic and spotted Katy showing a man a drawing. She looked up and spotted Mulder. "Daddy!" She ran over to Mulder and he watched the new man rise quickly to his feet and brush off his hands. He didnít extend his hand for shaking as Mulder approached with Katy in his arms.

"Mr. Mulder," he spoke quickly, "Iím the one responsible for Bill being here. I let him join our group. Iím the one that should be exiled. Please, let Megan and the others stay here with you, where theyíll be safe. Please."

"Greg, right? May I, uh, speak to my daughter for just a minute?"

"Oh." Greg blinked, "Of course, I . . . Iím sorry."

"No problem." Mulder stepped away from Greg and gave Katy a squeeze. "Were you having a nice time with him?"

She nodded, "Can I go see Kevin?"

"In a minute, Honey. Do you think it would be okay for Greg to live here with us?"

Again she nodded, "He likes plants."

Mulderís smile grew. "Do you know youíre the best little girl I know?" Katy gave him a kiss on the cheek. "Want to see Kevin now?"


"Okay," he laughed and put her down. "If heís asleep - "

"Heís not." She turned and ran toward the door to Kevinís room. Mulder turned back toward Greg, who came to attention at his look.

Mulder gestured toward the couch, "Why donít we talk for a minute Greg?"

Greg waited for Mulder to seat himself then sat across from him on the edge of the chair. If it hadnít been so pitiful, Mulder would have laughed.

"So, youíre married to Megan, right?"

"Yes sir."

Mulder put his hand up. "Iím not that much older than you, Iím just Mulder. I was just over at your place visiting."

Gregís eyes widened, but he kept his mouth shut.

"How long have you two been married."

"We, uh, we got married about two weeks before the virus hit."

Mulder nodded, "No kids?"

"We had talked about it, but when everything . . . we decided it might be better not to . . . "

"It is a scary time to be raising a family. What do you do, or did you do, before?"

"Iíd pretty much just gotten out of the military. I was working in a glass factory, supervising the line. Oh, weíre from Lubbock, Texas."

Mulder grinned, "I had placed you somewhere near there," referring to the accent. The younger man still didnít smile and Mulder sighed inwardly.

"So, youíre used to supervising men." Mulder leaned back. "Know anything about agriculture?"

For the first time, the manís eyes seemed to lighten a little. "Yes sir, uh Mulder. Iíve always been at least a weekend gardener. Everyone always said I had a real green thumb."

Mulder nodded, "Around here, Brittany is pretty much the expert. She occasionally lets me haul compost but Iím pretty sure sheís not even happy with the way I do that."

Gregís eyes again widened, someone living here criticized Mulder?

"What about Megan?"

"She was a secretary at the elementary school." He smiled, "Sheís great. She can handle about twelve things at once and do them all well."

"That could come in handy. Think you and Brittany could get together, see if you can increase our food output for this year?"

"You . . . you mean we . . . youíre going to - " Before he could complete a sentence, or Mulder insult him by laughing, Scully walked over with Walt and Lexie in her arms. Mulder stood and Greg scrambled to his feet.

Mulder leaned down to kiss her and took Lexie from her. "Scully, have you had a chance to really meet Greg . . . Greg, sorry I donít know your last name."

"Harvey, Greg Harvey." He held out his hand to Scully, who smiled and shook it.

"Pleased to meet you. Say, would you mind holding Walt for just a second. I donít want Mulder using that arm and I need to check on Katy."

Mulder thought for an instant the poor man would faint at such an honor. He wanted to shake his head at this tribute, but was afraid Greg would die a natural death. Instead Scully seemed to ignore the whole thing and bundled the boy into Gregís arms. Walt turned to smile up at the man and reached for his nose.

Scully winked at Mulder as she turned away to look for their daughter. "You might try Kevinís room."

She nodded and waved.

"Walt always goes for the nose. I personally think heís measuring them all to find one like mine."

Finally Greg managed to smile up at Mulder. "Youíre really going to let us stay here?"

"Yes. We need good people here, and Iíd like more information about whatís going on out there. I donít get to travel like I used to. "

"Thank you."

"Scully and I will have you and Megan over sometime. Weíd like to know how you heard about us; things like that. Oh, I do have one warning about living here."

Greg grew serious as Mulder looked around the room at the toys and kids and people all over, but giving them space. Mulder leaned in a little closer, so Greg did the same. "People around here are damn fertile. You need to be aware of that."

Greg blinked at him and then broke out into a genuine smile. "Uh, yes sir. Iíll, uh, Iíll watch out for that."

"You better head home, try to reassure everyone that things are okay. Weíd like to know the new skills available and Iím sure Brittany will put you to work before you know it. Just put Walt down there, heíll be fine."

Both men rose and Greg carefully placed the boy on the rug, then shook Mulderís hand and left. Mulder could see that he was running by the time heíd left the porch.

He turned as Scully came up behind him. "Not bad for an ex-FBI agent, Scully."

"I figured you wanted to know all you could. I saw you talking to Katy, but I didnít want to interrupt."

"Katy says he likes plants. Maybe he and Brittany can whip up some gourmet eating around here."

"Tired of fish, huh? Come on, help me feed the kids before the crowd gets here."


After the kids were fed, Mulder looked around at the crowd eating and realized immediately that Walter and Mom had not joined the group. Rather than say anything to Scully, he gave her a quick kiss; "I need to head over to the office for a little while. Pick you guys up here later?"

"Donít forget us." She warned and turned as MJís cup hit the floor.

Mulder escaped, shaking his head. This woman could do anything and it never seemed to faze her, from performing an autopsy to giving birth alone to running after what looked like a dozen kids at once. He sure as hell had lucked out.

Instead of turning toward the office once outside, he headed for Walterís house. He tapped on the door, but let himself in.

"Oh, hi Mulder. Everything okay?" Walter came out of the bedroom at the sound of the door closing.

"That was my question." He looked past Walter at the closed door.

Walter sighed, "She didnít feel like going out."

"Physically or emotionally?"

"Yeah." Was Walterís reply. "Mulder, we have to do something. This is killing her. She wonít go see him, but she wants to."

"Then she should. He is her son. No one is going to think anything about her loyalty or commitment to this place. My god, Walter, sheís worth twenty of him."

"Youíre not telling me anything new. Mulder, Iím afraid Iím going to lose her."

Mulder stopped then and looked closely at the man standing in front of him, seeing clearly for the first time just how shaken he was. "Weíre not going to let that happen. I think the two of you need to baby sit Walt and Lexie tonight."

Walterís eyebrow rose, but he didnít protest.

"We also have to make a definite decision about what to do with the man. And Iím sure hoping youíve come up with an idea."

"Thanks." Walter grimaced. "Iíve actually been avoiding it."

"Yeah, me too. But letís face it, weíre in charge."

"Whatís this Ďweí crap, Kemo Sabe?"

Mulder grinned, "Yeah, Dad, we are."

Walter rolled his eyes, but didnít dispute it. Mulder moved toward the door, "Mulder?" Mulder stopped, "You think Walt can help?"

"I hope so." He let himself out. Now what?


"You really think itís a good idea for Mom to get the little ones tonight?"

"Walter will be there. If anyone can help her . . . "

"Walt, I know."

"Mom doesnít really believe that heís able to . . . anyway, spending a couple of hours with them wonít hurt. Even if Walt were just a Ďregularí kid, heís a sweetheart and his grandma would feel better from being around him. Right?"

"Right. You want to eat here or at the clinic?"

"What if we sent Katy along too and ate here?"


"Whatever you want to call it, Scully?" He grinned at her and she actually blushed. "Oh yeah, Katyís going to visit Grandma and Grandpa tonight too."


"Hey, whatís the point of having in-laws so close if you canít use them sometimes. Pack the diaper bag. I need to head over to the clinic for a few minutes."

"What for?"

"I, uh," He shrugged, "Iím going to talk to Bill."

"Mulder, donít."

"The sooner we make a decision, the sooner Mom can start to heal and we can get back to normal. Having a prisoner in the clinic isnít good for anyone."

She seemed to slump against him, "I know."

He kissed her forehead and let himself out. His steps had gotten a lot slower by the time he made it to the clinic. Beth looked up from reading to MJ and Missy. She took in his posture, "Mulder, are you okay?"

"Yeah. Gotta go upstairs."

"Oh. Anything I can do to help?"

"Iím up for hearing some suggestions."

She looked down at the kids. "Iíll catch up with you if I get any."

He nodded, "Kevin okay?"

"Kevin is great. Iíve never seen anything like it. He was out of bed, sitting in the chair earlier."

"Youíre kidding."

She shook her head. MJ tugged on her arm. "Weed!"

Mulder grinned; at least the people here kept his ego in place. He turned and headed upstairs.

Langly was reading outside of the room. "Hi, here for a family visit?"


"Want company?"

"No, Iíll be okay." He opened the door. Bill was reclining on the bed, but the cuff was now around his ankle, leaving his hands free. He had a book in his hand, but it didnít look like he was reading it.

"Mulder." Bill looked up.

"You doing okay?"

"What do you care?"

"For you? I donít, but you should know Mom is not doing so well."

He straightened up, "Sheís sick?"

"Not physically, not yet. Bill, having you here is hurting her. Iím sorry, I hate saying that to you, but itís the truth. She loves you, and she feels guilty about what you did. Weíve all told her that none of us blame her, but she canít seem to hear it. She wants to come see you, but . . . "

"But if she comes here, sheís being disloyal to you."

"I donít feel that way, I donít think anyone else does, but . . ."

"She does." He leaned back, "I suppose I should be honored to be the brother-in-law of an icon, a cult leader."

Mulder didnít respond, just watching him.

"To be honest, Iím not sure I was coming here to kill you."

"Well thatís a real comfort."

Bill gave a harsh chuckle. "No, I mean it. I wanted to get Dana away from you; yeah I knew sheíd be wherever you were. I didnít know Charlie and all were here, but I knew the kind of sick hold youíve had over Dana for a long time."

Mulderís eyebrow went up, but he kept quiet.

"But then I actually started out for DC. I kept running into people that knew you. It was weird; it was like I was drawn to them. Did you know they even have a secret signal to weed out "non-Mulder" people? Oh yeah, they think youíre going to rise up and smote the . . . the . . . "

"Aliens." Mulder supplied.

Bill closed his eyes for a moment. "Okay, aliens. Anyway they see you as some kind of savior. I wanted to get Dana away from you. But the longer I hung around these geeks, the worse it got. They really believe in you, they . . . and I had to pretend that I was one of them. When I hooked up with the group I arrived with . . . God, Mulder, those stupid fools think you can walk on water!"

"You know better."

"Youíre damn right I do!" But Mulderís agreement seemed to surprise him, taking a little of the wind out of his sails.

"You and I both know I was a screw up at the Bureau. Oh I was smart enough, and I did seem to have the ability to get into pervert sicko minds, but I sure wasnít headed for the fifth floor. Of course part of the problem was that I didnít want the fifth floor. I wanted to work on the X-Files. I wanted to know what had happened to my sister. That was my whole life . . . until I met Scully. Scully is the real reason people come here. Do you know that?"

Billís eyes narrowed.

"I donít want to be an icon or a leader. You canít imagine how glad I was to see Walter Skinner when he showed up. He knows about leading men, like you do.

"But Scully has domesticated me. Now Iím a husband and a father and, yeah people that donít know me see me as a symbol. They just want to own the earth again. I canít give them that; you and I know it.

"I do know that the people that are counting on me, or what they think I am, are willing to try to keep the planet."

Mulder sighed. He hadnít learned anything and for the first time he truly envied the abilities of the others in his family. He didnít want Scully or the kids anywhere near this . . . this man, but he needed answers.

The man came here with an agenda. Yes getting Scully away from him was part of it. But would he really have traveled this far to Ďrescueí his sister, instead of spending his energy finding out what had happened to his son?

Mulder had always known they were different kinds of men, but he had looked for his sister for over twenty years. If something were to happen to Katy, Walt or Lexie, heíd never quit.

Heíd wasted his time here. Katy said the man was dead. Thatís the angle they should be investigating.

He hated to ask, but Scully needed to give this man . . . Bill, a complete physical. He hadnít been thinking like an investigator, heíd been thinking like a . . . a brother-in-law.

Bill was watching him, trying to read him, just as Mulder was to him. He shook his head, then rose and, without another word, left the room.

Langly wasnít there, but Mulder knew he or someone else would be there as soon as they realized Mulder had left Bill alone.

He took a deep breath, he should get home and help Scully get the kids over to Walt and Momís.

He carried Lexie and the bag while Scully had Walt. Katy skipped ahead of them. Katy opened the door to let them in, the idea of knocking had never occurred to her. Scully looked over at Mulder and rolled her eyes.

"Itís a good thing, Scully."

"Unless she walks in on something we donít want her to see."

Maggie was already hugging the child when they got inside. "I hear Walter and I are the designated babysitters tonight."

"I hope you donít mind Mom."

"No, but I do think youíre worrying too much about me. Iím not stupid Dana. Youíre trying to . . . I appreciate your concern."

"We love you, Mom. We want you out and about."

Maggie just shook her head at the two of them. She looked around as Walter joined them. Mulder handed Lexie to him and put the bag on the floor next to the couch. Scully put Walt in her motherís arms.

The baby immediately reached up and patted her face. Mulder and Scully exchanged glances as Maggie smiled down at the boy.

"Donít worry about the kids." Walter spoke, patting Lexie on the back as she jabbered to him. "And you," he looked over at Mulder, "remember, sheís my daughter now. Behave yourself."

Mulder grinned hugely, especially at Scullyís blush. "You keep an eye on them, Iíll watch after Ďyour daughterí."

"Oh god, Mom, can I stay here?"

Maggie chuckled, "I donít think so. Weíll see you in the morning."

"Hey, we werenít planning to leave the guys here all night."

"Well do. I havenít had custody of them in ages."

"Mom are you sure?" Scully looked at her closely.

"Positive. Katy, you want to spend the night here, donít you?"

"Yeah! Hey Mom, can we stay?"

"Now thatís cheating." She shook her head at her mother, but already the woman looked . . . brighter. "Okay, but if you give them any trouble, Iím going to make Grandpa promise to bring you home."

"Weíll be good. Iíll help with the babies."

"Okay then." Mulder leaned over and kissed Katy, then the little ones and took Scullyís arm. Walter walked them to the door.

"Thanks, I think I owe you one."

"You keep the kids all night and Iíll consider it paid." Mulder winked at him and they headed back to their own place.

Once inside, Scully looked up at her husband. "I canít believe you did that."

"What?" He asked innocently.

"You and Walter had gotten together - "

"No, honest Scully. We hadnít. I think when he saw Walt touch Mom, he wanted them to stay. I donít blame him, but I canít help but be grateful."

She shook her head at him.

"What? I canít still have fantasies about you?"

"Weíve been married for years."

He grinned, "Yeah, finally. Maybe when weíve been married as long as Iíve lusted after you . . . no, Iím always gonna feel this way about you. Might as well get used to it."

She moved into his arms. "It is good to know you still want me after all this time, after having a couple of kids and - "

"And you couldnít be more desirable."

"Well then prove it Agent Mulder." She took his hand and tugged him toward the bedroom.

"Be gentle with me, Agent Scully."


Much later, as he held her in this bed where they had first consummated their relationship, he nuzzled her hair. "I need to ask a favor."

She shifted and looked up at him. "Favor? This isnít enough?"

He grinned. "Never enough, but this is something else."

She pulled away from him slightly to look into his eyes.


"I need you to do a physical exam on Bill. We need to know why Katy thinks heís dead."

"I . . . I donít know, Mulder. I donít think heíd agree to it."

Mulderís smile was almost feral. "Not a problem. If he wanted to kill me because he was fed up - "

"Fed up? He tried to stab you because he was fed up?"

"Okay, it drove him over the edge. He wasnít completely sane before he started hearing about me. Heíd lost Tara and he still doesnít know what happened to Matthew. He never will, but he quit trying in order to come after me."

"Thatís what you talked to him about this afternoon?"

Mulder nodded and pulled her back against him. "Enough of that. What if I try to make you feel good again?"


"Who knows when theyíll offer to keep all three of them again?"

"God, Mulder . . . "


The next morning they stopped by to pick up the kids on their way to the clinic. Walter opened the door and actually laughed at their relaxed expressions.

"Iíd say weíre even."

"Will you two stop it!" Scully hissed at the both of them and moved passed them inside. She missed the high five they exchanged, which was just as well.


Her mother came out of the kitchen with Lexie in her arms. "Morning Sweetheart. The kids are fine, you didnít have to rush."

Scully looked at her mother, trying to hide her amazement. She looked more like her old self and . . . and rested.

"Uh, we didnít rush, but we did think youíd be ready to be rid of them."

"Nonsense. Katyís helping me with the dishes, the babies have been playing with the pots and pans."

Scully smiled, "Sounds like they had a good time. Weíre headed to the clinic. Beth and family stayed over last night."

"How long do you think Kevin will have to stay?"

"Actually, heís doing so well Iíd be thinking of releasing him if we were still in the old world. Since he lives alone, I want him to stay at the clinic. He canít run after Katy yet, but it shouldnít be long."

"Youíre a good doctor, Dana."

"I had a lot of help." She took Lexie in her arms. "Hi, Sweetheart, did you miss me?"

The baby smiled at her and did her best to tell her about what sheíd been doing since theyíd last been together.

"Dana, this one wants to talk so bad. Sheís got a lot to say." Maggie played with the babyís toes. "Let me get their coats."

"Will you be over later?"

"Yes, Dana Iím feeling a lot better and . . . and I need to see Bill."

Scully nodded. "Iím going to be doing an examination of Bill this morning. Make sure he doesnít have anything that could - "

"Dana? Youíre not worried about contagion. You would have checked him out first thing."

Scully wouldnít meet her eyes.

"You and Fox are looking for something, arenít you? Walter told me his blood was red."

Scully looked a little startled at that. What did she know about these things? Lexie squirmed and drew Scullyís attention. Mulder and Walter had bundled up the other two and were waiting at the door.

"See you at the office later?" Walter asked Mulder.

"You donít need a nap, Grandpa?"

Walter narrowed his eyes, "If you canít behave Iíll sic your mother-in-law on you."

Mulder mock cringed, then leaned over and kissed the threat. "You wouldnít hurt me, would you Mom?"

"Both of you get out of here. I have housework to catch up on. Dana, Iíll see you in a little while."

Mulder held the door for Scully as he held Walt. Katy scampered ahead, hurrying to see Kevin. Once the door closed behind them, Mulder turned to Scully. "Do you believe that?"

"No." Scully looked over at the boy in Mulderís arms. "But Iím grateful. She said she was coming over to see Bill."

"Maybe she should wait until after the exam."

Scully nodded, "I mentioned that to her. She seemed to know more about things than I had thought."


"She asked what I would be looking for since he had red blood."

"Interesting. But she is married to Walter. Whether he ever admitted it or not, he knew about the things we had found."


Kevin has sitting out in the front room with the fire; Katy beside him when they got there.

"Nice to see you up man." Mulder shook his hand and then seated Walt in his lap. The baby reached for his bandage. Mulder and Scully looked at each other.

Walt jabbered at Kevin, smiling. "Well, while you men bond, Iíll go nurse Lexie. It doesnít look like I have a lot of doctoring to do on this crew."

After a minute, Mulder followed her to her office. "I want armed guards while youíre with him."

Scully thought about it a moment, "Who?"

"Todd and . . . and Frohike."

"Walterís a better shot, if thatís what youíre going for, Mulder."

"Yes, but heís also the manís father-in-law. I donít want anyone to hesitate to take him out. Todd and Frohike have no emotional attachment. If he makes a move to hurt you, you will be the only consideration."

After a moment Scully nodded. "Heís not going to like this."

"Imagine how much I care." He grinned. "Iíll go see whoís on duty upstairs."


Bill wasnít happy, but between the cuffs and the guns around him, he held his comments. He shuffled into the exam room, wearing boxers and a robe they had found for him.

"What is this about Dana? Iím fine."

"Iím sure you are Bill, but our families are here. If youíre going to be around we want to make certain."

"Like Iím going to be allowed around your precious families." He sneered.

"Just relax Bill. I am a doctor; how can it hurt for me to make sure youíre healthy."

His eyes narrowed, but he shut up. He glanced over at Todd in the far corner, then back to Frohike near the door. He gave a derisive laugh at the small man. "At least youíre not really worried about me hurting you, not with these guards."

"I wouldnít push it Bill. You donít have a clue what youíre up against and you definitely donít want to find out. Sit here on the table."

She began with a visual exam, removing the robe from his shoulders and paying special attention to this neck. There was no evidence of an implant. She took his blood pressure, heart rate and temperature as a matter of course and scribbled the information on a pad. Then she checked his throat and ears, finally having him lie back to palpate his abdomen and listen to his heart.

Beth joined her and checked his reflexes. So far nothing stood out. Hopefully the blood work would tell them something. Scully drew his blood over his mutterings.

"Come on Dana, you not going to do a full exam? Maybe Mulder doesnít satisfy you any more and you want big brother to make it better."

Scully looked up startled. The brother she remembered would never make a comment like that. They both heard the round that Frohike ratcheted into place. "Watch your mouth around the ladies."

"You want to shoot me for that?"

"No, I just want to shoot you, but I can use that as an excuse. Now shut your mouth."

Bill looked up at Scully to see if she was going to make a comment. She met his eyes then, but held her peace. He made a rude noise, but offered no further comments during her examination.

Bill was watching Scully and didnít see Beth come up on the other side and slip the needle into his arm. "Ow! What the hell?"

"Sorry, I thought you knew I was here. Itís just a polio booster."

Billís eyes narrowed and he rubbed the injection site. Beth glanced over at Scully, who nodded.

"Bill," Scully looked up from her notes, "you seem to be in pretty good shape. A little underweight for you, but your appetiteís good."

"Right, can I go back to my cell now?"

"Yes." She looked over at Todd, who nodded and moved closer. "Do you mind if Mom comes to see you?"

Bill looked over at her as though she had distracted him, "What? No, Iíd like to see her." He rose heavily from the table and seemed to stumble slightly.


"Iím fine. Leave me alone, okay?"

"Sure, fine, whatever." Scully and Beth stepped back from the door and allowed Frohike to exit first, followed by Bill and Todd. The two women moved out into the hall to make sure that Bill gave them no problem.

Scully noted that his pace was uneven, but that might be due to balance, with his hands bound behind him.

When Frohike called down an all clear, the two women returned to the examining room. "You took a lot of blood. What tests are you planning to do?"

"The normal ones, but knowing Mulder and Byers, theyíll come up with something and I didnít want to ask for seconds."

Beth nodded, "Was he always . . . "

"No, and I want to apologize for his rudeness."

"Donít Dana. You arenít responsible for him or for anything thatís happened to him. Iíll get Byers for you."

"Thanks, Beth."

Byers entered almost immediately. "Got something for me, Scully?"

"Yeah. Billís blood."

"Wow, what tests are we planning to run?" He surveyed the vials in from of him.

"The normal ones. But knowing you and Mulder, I figured youíd want to run something I hadnít thought of. I did not want to double dip him."

Byers grinned. "Good thinking. Iíll get started and put the rest where itíll stay fresh."


It was about an hour before Maggie arrived. Scully had sent Beth home, but MJ and Frohike were hanging around with Mary and Missy, so that Beth could get some sleep. Langly had headed home as well, and Todd had replaced him upstairs.

Kevin had gone back to bed, and Katy was keeping an eye on Ruthie, while Anne straightened up the kitchen.

Maggie looked around the room and shook her head.

"What is it Mom?"

"I feel like a hippie sometimes."

"What?" Scullyís brow furrowed.

"Itís like Iím living in a commune."

That startled a light laugh from Scully. "Commune huh?"

"Well, look around." Then the smile faded slightly. "Iím going upstairs."

"Do you want me to go with you?"

"No. I can do this, but thank you. And thank you for last night. Iím not sure . . . it doesnít matter, but I hope you explain it to me sometime."

"Youíre just the worldís best grandma and being around them makes things better."

Maggieís eyebrow went up in a gesture that Mulder would have recognized instantly, but she didnít speak, turning toward the stairs.

Scully stepped out of her office toward the main room. She looked at the front door as it opened and spotted her nephew Sam. She started to smile at him when a womanís scream shattered the air.

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunmen and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement in tended