Her anger was growing the entire elevator ride. She could see people moving away from her; steam must be coming out of her ears. She exited on Skinner’s floor and moved into his office. Poor Angie flinched when she saw her expression. She really must look fierce.
"Is he in?" Angie nodded, resigned to the fact that she couldn’t keep either of this pair out of his office, even if the President himself were in there.
"Director Skinner." He looked up and took in her demeanor.
"Agent Scully." He didn’t rise; he had a pretty good idea why she was here.
"Did you get this memo?" She flung the paper down on his desk. He picked it up and scanned it.
"Yes, I did."
"Well?" She knew from his expression she was over the line, but she couldn’t remember when she’d been more rattled. This was insane and he was being so damn calm about it.
"You know as much about this matter as I do. My copy of the memo was hand delivered about five minutes ago."
"But he had to come through you!"
"Agent Mulder apparently chose to go over my head with this matter. That is his prerogative. Is there anything else?"
She was speechless for a moment. "That’s it? Do you know where he is?"
"No. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have work to do." He’d never dismissed her quite so coldly before. Oh, that one time he was acting in front of Spender and crew, but this was for real. She’d obviously handled this badly but it just couldn’t be true.
She took her copy of the memo back from his desk. "I apologize for bothering you with this." She sounded like a bitch, she knew it, but . . . argh!!!
She took the stairs back to their office to avoid seeing and being seen on the elevator. She might bite someone she was so pissed. She managed not to slam the door and seated herself carefully at his desk. Okay, there had to be some note to her; some sign that the information in this memo was true.
She booted up his computer and while she waited started going through the drawers of his desk. Nothing, not one damn thing! She scanned his email, even the trash. Finally she slammed the palm of her hand against the desk and rose. She snatched her jacket from the hanger and headed for her car.
She forced herself to calm down enough to drive, but still made it to his apartment in record time. She didn’t bother with the niceties of knocking, letting herself in, hoping she’d find him there.
The place was clean, neater than she ever remembered seeing it. If he were going out of town for an extended period, he would do this. His last fish had died last week, so there was no problem in that area.
Why in all hell had he not left her a note, something? Why hadn’t he discussed this with her? This wasn’t right, something was definitely not right. She approached his desk, the picture of he and Samantha as kids was gone. Well, that was something he would take with him if he were going away.
She opened the drawer; her picture was gone too. Mulder didn’t know she was aware of the picture. She wasn’t entirely sure why he had it. He never displayed it, but he had framed it. It was one of the shots Frohike had taken and was actually a pretty good picture. And now it was gone, like the one of Samantha. What did that mean?
Frohike! Surely he would have said something to the guys. Of course until today she would have put money on him telling her. She checked the closets quickly, well a couple of his suits were gone, some jeans and t-shirts. Not enough for a really lengthy stay, but . . . his shaving kit was gone. She slammed the bathroom drawer shut. What she wanted to do was scream, but it wouldn’t help. Find the guys. That was the next step.
She pounded on their door, the cycle between fury and fear shortening with each turn. Right now she was furious again. "Hold on! Hold on!" Frohike got the door open.
"Have you see Mulder?" She stormed into the apartment. Byers and Langly joined them from the back of the apartment.
"Scully? What’s wrong?" Byers’ concern was obvious.
"Have you seen or heard from Mulder?"
"Not for a couple of days." He looked at the other two who agreed with him. "Has something happened?"
"Yes." She pulled the memo out of her pocket and handed it to him. He read it and handed it to Langly.
"Scully this makes no sense. You haven’t talked to him?"
"I can’t find him."
"Whoa Scully, this is not right." Langly shook his head. "Mulder taking an extended leave of absence? Never happen, especially without talking to you."
"Who’s Director Broadbent?" Frohike looked up at her.
She sighed, "I’ve never been introduced to him but I’ve seen him in the halls. Skinner and Kersh report to him."
"Have you talked to him?"
Scully looked at him startled. "Well, no."
"Maybe you should. If Mulder asked for this, maybe he dropped some hints, things that you’d pick up but no one else would."
Frohike was right. She wasn’t thinking clearly, just reacting. She nodded at him. "I’ll be in touch."
"We’ll start a search in the meantime Scully. Don’t worry, we’ll find him, whether he wants us to or not."
She managed a small smile at that. Would he want her to? She was going to, regardless.
Once back at the office she headed for Director Broadbent’s office – new territory for her. At the secretary’s desk she removed her ID and handed it to the woman. "May I speak with Director Broadbent for a moment?"
"I’m sorry, the director is out of the country for the next several weeks. I could make an appointment for when he returns."
"Out of the country? When did he leave?" Temper Dana, don’t antagonize this woman.
"He left first thing this morning." No offer of further information. But the memo was dated today. Dana pulled the memo from her pocket, it was beginning to look quite crumpled and she attempted to straighten it out.
"I received this memorandum this morning. Did Director Broadbent not send it?"
The woman took the memo from Scully’s hand. "Oh yes, this was on my desk this morning. He must have typed it up himself after I left. He had signed it, so I had it delivered."
"Could he . . . are these his initials?"
"Yes, they are. He often does this Agent Scully. He puts his own memo in the computer, prints them out and leaves them for me to handle. Is there a problem?"
Scully managed to hang onto her composure. She wasn’t sure exactly what she said, but no one had hauled her away so she must have handled it okay.
He woke slowly, he felt groggy, weak. This wasn’t . . . this wasn’t his apartment. This was a hospital. What the . . . ? The door opened and a nurse entered, she didn’t even glance at him, looking instead at the monitors around him.
"Where am I?" At least that’s what he tried to say. It came out more as a croak.
The nurse whirled toward him startled, dropping her electronic pad and stylus. She stared at him for a second, then vaulted from the room. What the hell was going on? He tried to sit up but was too weak. He didn’t remember being shot, hell, he didn’t remember a case. Where was Scully? Had she been injured too? He tried again to rise and actually lifted his head at the thought that she needed him. He was struggling to maintain it when the door burst open.
"Oh god, you were right." The man, obviously a doctor, approached the bed. "Mr. Mulder, how do you feel?"
Mulder had collapsed back in the bed. "Where . . ." He had to rest again.
"What do you remember?"
He shook his head, "Where’s Scully?"
The doctor glanced away for an instant and back. Mulder saw the movement and fear caught and began growing in his body. He grabbed the doctor’s wrist. "Tell me."
"Mr. Mulder – "
"Agent." He tried to tighten his grip.
"Agent Mulder, you’ve been unconscious for quite some time. You need to give yourself – "
"How long?" The adrenaline was helping now. "Answer my damn questions!" That much speech took everything he had.
"I want you to calm down Agent Mulder. I can’t talk to you if you’re going to get excited. Please."
Mulder had been watching him and missed the nurse coming up to him on the opposite side of the bed and injecting something into his IV. When he did notice he tried to jerk away, but it was too late. What? What was so bad that they had to sedate him? Where was Scully?
"Mr., excuse me, Agent Mulder, can you hear me?" He managed to nod, "Good. We want to run a few tests, but I’m going to tell you what’s going on. You’re in the Brookhaven Long Term Care Facility outside of DC."
Long-term? He wanted to get angry, but the drugs were making that impossible.
"You’ve been in a catatonic state Mr. Mulder. You’ve had excellent care, massage, physical therapy." The man’s eyes flittered away again, "But frankly we never expected you to wake up. You’ve caught us a little off-guard here. We’re trying to locate your original records. In the meantime we want you to remain calm."
"How long?" It wasn’t his first question, but maybe they’d answer it now.
"Well, huh," he took a deep breath, "twelve years, Mr. Mulder."
Twelve . . . twelve years? Oh god, they were lying to him. They had to be lying to him. Where was Scully? Scully would tell him the truth. Where was she? He tried to stop them as the nurse injected even more drugs into his IV and he began slipping under again. Scully!
He struggled to wake. He’d had the most horrible dream and . . . oh god, it had been a dream, hadn’t it? No. He was still here. He turned his head and the nurse sitting at his side rose. "Agent Mulder? Can you hear me?"
"Yes. I need to talk to . . . " His voice was certainly no stronger.
"Dr. Cassidy. I’ll page him now." She held a cup with a straw to his lips and he sipped gratefully. "Just relax, he’ll be right here."
He didn’t see or hear her do anything, but shortly the door opened and the doctor from before entered. "Agent Mulder, how are you feeling?"
"What’s going on?"
"I understand. I’ve gone over your files and I hope I can answer your questions."
"Twelve years?" He heard the weakness in his voice and despised it, but there it was. If it were true he was . . . 51 years old? "Mirror?"
The doctor gave a slight grin and had the nurse roll the tray table over in front of him. She opened the well of the tray and after raising the bed slightly, slanted the mirror so that he could see.
He stared fascinated at this older man. His hair was closely shorn but still more salt than pepper. He had dark circles under his eyes and . . . and he looked old.
"His blood pressure is rising doctor." The nurse looked up from her instruments.
"Agent Mulder, I need you to try to stay calm. I know this is a lot to absorb. We need you to take it easy."
"AD Skinner – have you contacted him?"
"I tried. He retired two years ago and . . . and died of a blood condition shortly after that. I’m sorry."
Dead. Skinner was dead. "Scully?" He feared this answer. Twelve years – she’d probably married, left the FBI and hadn’t thought of him in a decade.
"Agent Mulder – "
"Why won’t you answer me about Scully?" He wanted to shout but it was more of a whisper.
"Agent Mulder, you’ve been at this facility for two years. Prior to that you were in a psychiatric hospital in Maryland. Your – "
"Psychiatric?" So he’d finally gone around the bend for real. Too bad he hadn’t had any money in the pool about when he would crack. He did hate that so many people had probably been delighted that their predictions had finally come true.
"According to what I read there was a shootout. You apparently shot . . . "
"Shot who?" And why was the hair standing up on his neck.
"It seems that you mistakenly shot Agent Scully."
He’d known what the doctor was going to say. But knowing it didn’t help. "Was she . . . was she badly hurt?" The fear of hearing this answer was sapping what little strength he did have.
The doctor was looking at the file now. "She was shot twice in the abdomen. She died two days later. I’m sorry . . . "
Mulder had switched off again. Gut shot? He’d gut shot Scully, killed her? Why had he woken up? Twelve years wasn’t enough. Why hadn’t he died? Surely he’d tried; they had to have put him on suicide watch. Wasn’t he smart enough to get around that? He’d murdered Scully.
"Agent Mulder? Can you hear me? Agent! Open up that IV."
Oh he could hear him all right. The words wouldn’t quit. ‘You shot Agent Scully . . . died two days later . . . shot twice in the abdomen . . . died."
He’d never told her how he felt about her. He’d never confessed his feelings – even when it had been thrown in their faces time and again, he’d pushed it aside. The one time he had slipped she’d dismissed it out of hand. Had he said anything while she lay dying? Dying from his gunshots?
No one would know. No one that would have heard was still around, even still alive. Mrs. Scully? Was she gone too? She wouldn’t want to see him in any case. He’d caused the death of both of her daughters. He’d killed Scully. No wonder he’d been in a psychiatric hospital before coming here.
He felt rather than saw the medication being added to his IV and this time was grateful for the oblivion it brought. With a little luck it would be an overdose and he’d never wake again.
"Scully, could you get over here?"
"Fro . . . yeah." She hung up quickly. He’d never called her at work before. It had to be important. Word about Mulder? It had to be, she had to find him. She had to know he was okay. If he had left town on his own, to get away from things . . . from her, well if that was the reason she needed to know. She powered down her computer and headed for the guys’ apartment.
They’d obviously been watching for her, Langly opened the door before she had a chance to knock. "Have you found him?"
Langly and Byers exchanged glances. They had watched this woman suffer; she’d lost weight, refused assignments. She wasn’t herself. They wanted to have found him for her sake as well as his. "Talk to me! Have you found Mulder?"
"It’s . . . it’s possible. Frohike has gone to check. We knew you’d want to be here."
She nodded. By the time they heard Frohike at the door she felt like she’d worn a rut in the carpet. She forced herself not to rush him or draw her gun. She was gripping the computer desk to hold herself in place.
Frohike glanced at his friends then back at her. "Where is he?" She knew her voice shook, but it didn’t matter.
"Scully, it’s not what we thought."
What did that mean? Had he really left on his own? Had he wanted to get away from . . . from her? Oh god, had he found someone he wanted to be with?
"Scully, he’s in a . . . a facility." At her puzzled look, "a psychiatric hospital." Her eyes widened and Byers stepped closer to her. She took a steadying breath.
"Did you . . . did you see him?"
Frohike looked at Byers for a lead. "Uh no, I’ve got a buddy who recognized the picture we sent out."
"It might not – "
"He got his fingerprints to make sure. It’s Mulder. He’s . . he’s non-responsive."
"Non-responsive?" Why couldn’t she get her voice under control?
"Scully, he’s catatonic, vegetative right now."
"We have to get him out of there. Something was done to him; he wasn’t like that when I last saw him. He has to be drugged." Her mind was racing, trying to come up with ideas on how to handle this. What could have happened? And why didn’t Skinner know? Had he been lying to her? No, not for this long. Surely she would have known.
"Not according to my friend. They don’t have him on anything of consequence. There’s been no medication to sedate him, just occasionally to let him sleep. He’s being evaluated for shock therapy."
"Shock? No! We have got to get him out of there. Please! You’ve got to help me. I have to get him out, I know I can help him."
Byers took her arm then, "Dana I don’t think – " If she heard him use her first name, she didn’t acknowledge it.
"If you can’t help me I’ll find someone who can." She moved away from them, thinking, making lists. "My apartment might not be safe. I’ll have to take him somewhere we’re not known. Maybe his father’s house on the Vineyard, no one uses it this time of year. Yes. We’d have seclusion, I could bring him back gradually."
"Dana, you can’t handle him alone." She paused then and looked at the trio. "He can’t walk, he can’t take himself to the bathroom, he can’t do anything for himself. He needs twenty-four hour care. He might be better off where he is for now."
"No!" That wasn’t an option. "This was done to him. We were together on the Friday night before he disappeared. I got the memo the next Monday morning. No. We have to get him out of there. Can your friend help us?"
The three exchanged glances again and Byers nodded. "We need to have a place ready. Do you really think the house on the Vineyard would work?"
"I’ll head up there and check it out when I leave here. I’ll be back tonight."’
"We’ll have a plan when you get back. What about keys?"
"I have them."
She waited in the hearse, huddled in her lab coat and long brown wig. Byers didn’t try for conversation; he could tell how nervous she was. When Langly and Frohike rolled the gurney with the sheet covered body toward them he could feel her tense even knowing he wasn’t really dead.
Byers exited the hearse and opened the back doors for them. Scully slipped into the back without exiting. The less people seen the better. He was placed in the vehicle quickly and they were out of there. Scully pulled the sheet from his face and couldn’t quite stifle the gasp of dismay. What had they done to him? It was like he had aged twenty years – dark circles under his sunken eyes, his hair was closely cut, but it looked white, not the beautiful dark brown she was used to.
"Mulder, can you hear me? It’s Scully, you’re safe now. Please open your eyes." There was no response and Langly had to look away from the anguish in her face.
She took a deep breath and centered herself. "Are you sure your friend won’t get into trouble?"
"Yeah. If he’s questioned all he saw was two men from a funeral home pick the patient up. He didn’t call and hadn’t even been told the patient had died. We signed for the body and he helped load it on the gurney. That’s all he knows. The funeral home forms we used were from Virginia, so they’ll be looking in the wrong direction if they search. Don’t worry Dana, we were thorough."
She nodded; her eyes had never left his face. Her grip on his hand tightened though he did not respond.
It was a quiet trip north, the guys respecting her silence. She tried to keep her guilt at bay. She couldn’t have prevented his kidnapping – that’s what she was calling it now – and she had begun her search immediately. But it had taken her weeks to find him. What had they done to him, to his mind, while they were apart?
*****Broken Lives 2
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter,10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.