Colonization (R)

The light came on in the dormitory and an alarm chimed over the door



The light came on in the dormitory and an alarm chimed over the door.  The women began to stir and wake-up noises could be heard throughout the large room.  The short red-head stretched and forced herself out of the cot-like bed.  Along with everyone else, she pulled up the worn sheet and the thin gray blanket.  She 'fluffed' the flat old pillow and placed it back at the head of the bed.  She fell in line with the other nineteen women in the room headed toward the community bathroom.  Five sinks and five stalls awaited them.  The shower stalls, five of them, had water already running to heat it up.


She was near the back of the line.  Tomorrow she'd move up one.  Everyday everyone moved up one, so there was a better chance of at least a warm shower.  It wouldn't be long or relaxing but it would wake her up.


After the shower, which was at best tepid, she hurried to the sink wrapped in the thin towel that had once been white and brushed her teeth.  She headed back to her bed and opened the trunk at the foot of it and pulled out her outfit for the day.  Black slacks, white long sleeve blouse, thin black sweater.  She brushed her damp hair back and pulled it into a ponytail.  She wore no makeup and her pale skin fit in well with the others who also never spent much time outside.  She slipped on her black pumps and joined the line at the door opposite the bathroom.


There had been little conversation so far.  That would pick up some over breakfast in the large cafeteria.  Cafeteria was a misnomer, there was no choice.  Today everyone was given oatmeal, white toast, one pat of margarine and weak, but hot, coffee.


A low buzz of conversation was beginning but she didn't join in.  She wasn't unfriendly, she just had nothing to say, literally.  She hadn't had the nerve to ask anyone else, but she didn't remember her name.  She hadn't heard anyone mention a name.  The women that did talk didn't seem to notice that almost no one listened, they just seemed to need to talk.


And she didn't remember where she'd been before she became the twentieth

 woman in that dorm she had woken in this morning.


She rose with the others after finishing the last sip of coffee.  Again she fell in line and the women moved up the stairs to the non-residential section of the building.  She'd been here three days she thought, that was a little fuzzy too, but the routine hadn't changed.  On the third floor they moved into a large room full of desks with older computers on the otherwise clean surface.  She took a seat at the desk assigned to her and waited for the computer to turn on.


All of the computers turned on at the same time and she pulled the sheaf of papers from the top drawer after it unlocked.  She laid them beside the keyboard and began entering the data on-line.  She didn't think after that, simply moving down the page entering medical information about strangers onto the screen.


The terms were familiar to her but she had decided that was because she saw the words every day as she fed them in.  She didn't think about the fact that she understood the terms.  It wasn't something anyone talked about, so she didn't know if anyone else understood them.  Did it matter?


She worked in a rhythm, her eyes scanning down the sheet, filling in the boxes, one page after another.  This male had had cancer and she noted that a small box in the top right corner of the screen turned red.  Didn't that happen every time the form listed cancer?  She ought to be able to remember, but did it matter?


When it was time for lunch, the computers shut down after saving automatically and they rose to head back to the cafeteria.  Chicken this time, two vegetables that had been overcooked, a slice of bread and water were handed out.  They finished eating and were led outside, each taking a cookie as they exited into a courtyard.


It was partly cloudy but not too cool.  Today the thin sweater was enough.  There was no shade at this time of day.  Some people walked around the perimeter, some stood with their faces to the sky, some stood with other women they considered 'friends' and spoke in low voices.


In exactly fifteen minutes the door opened again, and everyone returned inside and back upstairs to the office.  They resumed their seats and continued inputting information.


After another four hours the computers again saved the information and shut down.  Everyone stacked their remaining forms and returned them to the drawer which locked when closed.


The women filed downstairs and to the cafeteria for the same basic meal as lunch, even down to the cookie as they exited to a large lounge-like room.  There were chairs, a couple of couches, four card tables and a radio tuned to nondescript music.  It was barely audible.  Playing cards were on a side table, but no books or magazines were available.


She picked up a deck of cards and laid out a hand of solitaire.  She began playing but about half way through the deck she lost interest and laid the cards down.


Within moments the lights began to dim and everyone began heading for their dorm room.  Within thirty minutes everyone was in bed and nearly half were already asleep.


Everything began again the next morning.  The only change was the order for using the showers.


She blinked when the little box in the top right hand corner of the screen turned red.  She looked back down at the form she was inputting and saw that the woman had cancer.  Hadn't she noticed the same thing yesterday?  The red box, it only lit up for cancer.  What about other problems?  She hadn't noticed anything else, why did she notice cancer?  The thought began to drift away and she continued her work.


After lunch, something that resembled beef today, she took her cookie with her into the courtyard.  The sun flashed for just an instant on the door as it swung shut and she saw the color red.  Red, the little box in the top right hand corner.  She slipped her cookie into her pocket and moved over to a couple of women who were standing silently.


Without preamble she asked, "Does a red box light up when the information you're entering says the person had cancer?"


They both turned to her, seeming to blink as though waking.  "What?"


"The box at the top . . . " 


They obviously didn't understand her question.  The one closer shrugged and she nodded and moved away.  She took the cookie back out of her pocket and nibbled on it as she stood in the sun for the rest of the break.


The next morning it started over, no real change.  After lunch she took her cookie into the courtyard and was bringing it to her mouth when the woman closest to her stumbled.  She reached out immediately to catch the woman and her cookie fell to the ground.  In getting her balance, the woman stepped on the cookie, crushing it into the ground.  It didn't matter.  It was just a cookie, and the woman, now that she was steady on her feet, wandered off without speaking.  The word rude drifted through her mind, and was gone.  She stood in the sun until the door reopened.


At the computer that afternoon she felt cranky, itchy, but continued to work silently.  She saw a couple more forms that caused the red box to come up and saw they too mentioned cancer.  Did other colors come up for other diseases?  She hadn't had that thought before, that she remember anyway.


She glanced around, was she being watched?  Where had that thought come from?  Regardless she carefully looked for a disease in the stack that wasn't cancer.  She found a form that listed diabetes, and carefully slipped it to the top of the stack and fed it in.  A yellow box appeared.  Had that happened before?  What did it mean?


A movement caught her eye and she looked up.  A woman in the next row of desks, two up from hers had just stopped.  A woman had approached her and touched her arm.  She seemed to wake and return to her work.


That was strange.  She'd never noticed anyone else walking around before.  What was wrong with her today?


After dinner she took her cookie into the lounge and sat with the other women.  She moved up again the next morning.  The water was possibly a little warmer; there were five women behind her now, so she had moved up a group.


Just before lunch she noted a small blue box light up in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Blue?  She looked at the form and realized heart disease was on this form.  Had nothing happened before this today?  She couldn't remember.  Why was it so hard to hold a thought?  She had noticed a lot of things after lunch yesterday. 


In just minutes the computer automatically saved and they rose to go to the cafeteria.  She ate in silence, listening with no interest to the women around her.  When finished she rose with the others.  At the door she picked up her cookie.  For just a second she looked at it.  She hadn't eaten the cookie at lunch yesterday, it had fallen to the ground and, and she had . . . thought more clearly.  Drugged?  Without conscious thought she picked up an extra napkin and headed out to the court yard.


She broke off a bite of cookie and pretended to place it in her mouth, but then slipped it into the extra napkin.  In this way she 'finished' her cookie and stood in silence until they all moved back inside.  In the communal bathroom she flushed the cookie and returned to the computer.


Yes, she was thinking more clearly.  Why would anyone want to drug her, she was doing her work, the same as everyone else?  She did notice the color blocks, there were a lot of them.  Red for cancer, blue for heart disease, yellow for diabetes, it went on.  Not every form had a disease, they were scattered throughout, but obviously it was part of the information she was, they all were, cataloging on these strangers.  What was going on and why did she care?  She didn't even know her own name.  If she continued being able to think would that come back as well?


Even as the thought came to her, another of the workers stopped.  She was approached and the woman touched the worker's shoulder.  Had the woman that walked around given her a shot?  A stimulant? 


She returned to work.  She didn't want to attract attention to herself. 


She worked the rest of the afternoon, careful to draw no attention and rose with the others.  Again she took the cookie and an extra napkin and sat quietly, observing the others.  Yes, her mind was clearer, but it didn't help at all with knowing what the hell was going on.  It only added to her frustration.


She went to bed with the rest and lay as quietly as possible.  She couldn't draw attention to herself.  She kept repeating that in her mind.  Eventually she did drift off to sleep and her dreams.


There were two men, they were known to her though she didn't know their names.  The larger one was older, though not old by any means.  He was bald and had a air of command, authority about him, military?  The younger one was slim and well built.  He had dark hair, but his eyes, his eyes held such pain.  He was so concerned about something, someone?  Her?  They were looking for her?


She woke feeling almost normal.  The dream was still there in her mind.  Those men, they were looking for her.  It was incredible the amount of relief a simple dream gave her, even not knowing what was going on, even without her own name.  Had someone known her at one time?  Would someone be looking for her?


She moved toward the bath, in order and looked behind her expecting to see the tall blonde woman that had been at the head of the line yesterday.  She wasn't there.  But, somehow she had thought that they were rotating.  After you reached the front of the line, you moved to the back and forward again.  Had she been told that?  The blonde wasn't anywhere in the room, but there was a woman at the back of the line she didn't recognize.  Would she recognize all the women in this room?


Who was she that she would think about these things?  Why was she . . . paranoid?


She took her shower quickly.  In just a few days she would move to another group and get warmer water.  But what would happen to her when she reached the first group?


She took her breakfast and looked at it.  Would she know drugs by looking?  There were no cookies to eat after this meal.  Was it in the coffee? Today's powdered eggs?  She had no choice here but maybe in the work room . . .


She ate with the others and took her desk.  The desk unlocked and she withdrew today's set of forms.


Had those other two women been given stimulants?  She didn't feel drugged at this time.  Maybe breakfast was just food.  Did she dare try it?  She really had no choice.


She went still in front of the monitor, her hands resting on the keyboard.  Very quickly a woman appeared at her side.  Neither spoke, but the woman pressed her hand onto her shoulder and there was the tiniest of pricks


Yes, it was a stimulant.  She was careful not to react too much but brought her hands up and began to type again.


She didn't understand the purpose of what she was doing, entering in this medical information, but she continued.  The bigger issue for her right now was where did the women disappear to when they reached the front of the line?  She was headed that way.  Were they taken away in the middle of the night?  Why?  To run tests on them?  That caused a shudder down her spine.  Why couldn't she remember and why did 'tests' scare her so?


Staying away from the others as usual she studied what she did know.  It wasn't much and that frightened her.  She went to bed with nothing figured out and lay awake for quite a while. 


When she did sleep the two men were back in her dreams.  The younger one was so worried about her.  He, he loved her.  Then a young man was with them and he had a young boy with him.  The boy looked like the younger man - his son?  Th-their son?  Yes.  Yes, that felt right.  The man was her husband.  That explained his worry.


They seemed to be asking her something.  What?  Were they family?  Where were they?  Why had she been taken from them?  They were looking for her and she needed to help.  How?  She didn't know where she was.

She woke abruptly when the alarm chimed that morning and her first thought was, where am I?  It had been a dream, but it felt like more.  How could she find out where she was? 


She stayed in character during breakfast and the morning's work.   After lunch she dutifully took her cookie and headed outside.  She wandered aimlessly around the courtyard, at least she hoped it looked that way and spotted what looked like a gate over in a corner.  Without increasing her pace she moved in that direction.  It wasn't a gate, just a wrought iron fence to join the two buildings.  Two buildings?  She hadn't realized that before.  The one to her right was five stories, the one to her left was three.  They'd been joined by this enclosed courtyard but she had only been in the five story building.


Why hadn't she noticed it before?  Well, maybe several days without ingesting the drugs was helping.  She moved toward the fence and peered through.  Rubble, a lot of rubble in the street and over to the side was a jagged piece of white stone.  As she continued to pretend to eat the cookie she let her eyes wander over the scene.  There had been explosions, lots of them, a war?  That white stone looked familiar . . . the shape.  Oh God!


She turned quickly and dropped her eyes, hoping no one had noticed.  It was what was left of the Washington Monument!  When her eyes had adjusted for the scale she had recognized it.  She was in Washington, DC or what was left of it.  God, what had happened?  Who had attacked?  There was no one she could see outside of this small courtyard.  Surely more people than just these had survived.


Her dreams, were those people alive?  She felt her eyes fill with tears and blinked them back quickly.  She couldn't show that kind of emotion, they'd realize she could feel again, think again and how would she be able to break free again?  It was just luck that the woman had stumbled into her, that she hadn't eaten that first cookie.  But if everyone she had known was dead, did she want to be able to feel?


Without thought she fell into line with the others and returned to the large room for the afternoon of inputting data.  Who were these forms about?  Was she entering the dead into some sort of database?  There were thousands of forms here.  She was probably entering several hundred a day.  How many desks were here?  Carefully she glanced up, ten desks across, twenty deep.  There were two hundred women in this room!  There were ten other dorms somewhere in the complex with women just like her, unable to think.  And the ones at the first of the line, where did they go?  Where did their replacements come from?


Her head was splitting but she continued typing.  The remembered image of the monument nearly blocking her view of the screen.  How could she get any information?  The boy from her dream was back in her mind.  Was he real?  Was he alive?  And his father, the other man . . . why couldn't she remember?  Why couldn't she get the sight of the Washington Monument out of her head?


Finally the computers shut down and everyone ate, then trooped into the lounge.  This act was killing her, pretending to be calm.  She needed to be in the dark, alone so that she could think.


After what felt like an eternity, they returned to the dormitory and went to bed.  She flushed the cookie and curled into her bed, closing her eyes.  The noise of twenty women settling down for the night finally died out and she was pretty sure she was the only one awake.  Knowing somehow that she was probably being watched, she stayed still but went over the view in her mind.


She drifted off from sheer exhaustion finally and immediately he was there, the man she thought of as her husband now.   His lips seemed to be moving but there was no sound.  Somehow, though she was hearing him.  The vision of the Washington Monument was there again and he seemed pleased, even relieved.


There was a feeling as though she had done the correct thing; that she didn't need to worry anymore.  This man would look after her.  Her sleep became calm and she woke rested remembering no other dreams.




It was getting close.  She was in the first group.  In just a couple of days she would be number one.  No one had ever been there after being the first in line.  They were never seen again.  That both excited and frightened her.  The dreams reassured her through the night, but the days were nerve racking forcing herself to fit it. 


She had come to realize that there really was very little surveillance.  They, whoever they were, were confident the drugs were adequate to keep everything under control.  Apparently no one else had had the misfortune of missing that first dose, or didn't realize the difference.  She didn't understand why she had and she couldn't exactly ask the questions she needed answered in her dreams.


Her dreams were always of him now.  Sometimes others were with him, the bald man, a young man with the limp, most often the boy that had to be his son.


Time moved forward and she managed to keep up her act.  At least no one seemed to realize that she was awake and aware.  The only time she relaxed was when she was dreaming of these people.  Was she a fool to think they were real, that they really knew she was in DC?  Yes, but what else did she have?




She was a wreck.  Tonight, she was going to disappear tonight, and her only 'reward' had been a truly hot shower this morning.


What was going to happen?  She was unable to type with her hands shaking so badly, but she kept moving the papers around.  The day alternately dragged and flew and she found herself in the lounge, the last step before bed and . . .


She lay in bed unable to stay still and frightened to move.  She could tell the others around her were asleep, drugged and unaware of what awaited them.


It was late, she'd been lying here at least a couple of hours when she heard the door open.  There was no one else awake, no one to help her even if they could comprehend she needed help.


She closed her eyes and felt them at her bed, two, one of each side.  She felt the prick and with it a moment of panic, if she was drugged . . . but then she realized it was a stimulant like they had given her in the computer room. 


She opened her eyes and one of the women that she now recognized from the computer room was beside her.  The woman placed her hand under her arm and helped her to her feet.  No one spoke, they moved her out into the hall and handed her clothing to put on.  This wasn't like what she had worn before, this was more of a uniform, the term 'scrubs' came to her.  Then shoes, but no socks.


She was led to a door she had never used before, that led outside.  There she was placed in a line of other women dressed exactly as she was.  Had these women also reached the front of the 'line' in their dorm?  They walked toward a large heavy vehicle and again a name appeared in her head, 'armored car'.  It wasn't a car, it was a truck, a large one and the back was open.  The woman at the beginning of the line was already climbing into it.  Where would they take her?  What would happen to her?  The women around her were so damn compliant, did they not realize what was happening to them?  Did they not care?


Suddenly all activity stopped.  The handlers stopping in their tracks, their faces even more blank, if that was possible.  The women didn't seem to notice or care, standing still until they were urged to move forward again. 


A movement on the far side of the truck caught her eye and a man, the man she now thought of as her husband stepped out from behind it, looking around to ensure that no one was noticing this activity and motioned for her to come to him.


She didn't hesitate, it was him.  He took her hand, holding it tightly, but her grip was just as tight in return.  He and the bald man, who had remained hidden behind the truck, hurried her around a corner and toward a vehicle identical to the one they had kept her from entering.


"It's okay; we 'borrowed' this one.  Come on."


She nodded and scrambled into the back.  The little boy, his son from the dream was already there.  The young man with the limp was in the front seat.  The man she thought of as her husband climbed in beside her, and the bald man took the wheel.  They were moving before the back door was completely shut.


"Give us a few minutes," the man was speaking to the little boy and he nodded.


They were all checking the windows.  No one could see inside, but they were obviously watching to see if they were being followed.


The bald man drove carefully but swiftly, as though laws didn't apply to him.  She kept quiet; it had been the right thing to do to go with them, but . . .


After several long minutes, in which he never let go of her hand, he turned back to her.  His eyes, she'd been right about one thing, this man loved her.


He pulled her against him, burying his face in her hair.  He was murmuring something she couldn't quite get, "sully"?


He kissed her tenderly and let his fingers explore her face as though reacquainting himself with the feel of her.


"You must have a thousand questions," he finally said when she remained quiet.  "Go on, I'll try to answer them."


After a moment she nodded, she had to do this.  "What, what's my name?"


She felt the vehicle swerve slightly as the bald man looked in the mirror, and the others turned to stare at her.  He was frozen in front of her.  "Scully?"


"Is that it?  Scully?"


"Oh god."  He looked at the little boy, obviously asking questions, but not speaking.  "Scully, do you know me?"


She shook her head slightly.  "I, I think you're my husband."


Relief flooded his body.  "Yes, I mean, we're together."


"Is this our son?"


"William, yes."  She looked at the young man.  "That's Gibson, Gibson Praise, he . . . works with us.  And that's Walter Skinner.  He's a very good friend."


Her hand reached for him, but didn't touch him.  "I'm Mulder."




"Fox Mulder, you call me Mulder and I call you Scully."


She looked puzzled at that, but didn't know the question to ask.


"We were partners, we worked in the FBI.  That's how we met."


"I work at the FBI?"


"You did, we both did.  We've been away from it for a while."  She didn't say anything for a moment.


"We, we left together?"


"It's a long story.  I will tell you everything, I promise, but I need you to trust me for now."


"I . . . I do."


The smile he gave her startled her, but she responded with one of her own.


He carefully took her back into his arms.  He couldn't seem to get enough of touching her, but she didn't mind.  It felt safe in his arms, and her headache had vanished at the sight of him.  She'd had it so long she hadn't realized it was a constant until his touch removed it.


He looked up, not releasing her and looked at the boy.  "Is it gone?"


The boy shook his head.  "All of her memories are still in there; they've just been . . . blocked off.  I didn't realize, I didn't think to - "


"No, it's not your fault.  No one thought to even check.  If it's still in there, we'll get it back."


She tentatively reached out and stroked the boy's hair.  "Please don't blame yourself.  I want to know you.  I'll work on it, okay?"


"Uh, actually you don't know him, at least you haven't seen him recently," Mulder offered.  "It's another thing I'll tell you."


"Who are we at war with?  Who bombed Washington?"


The man, Mulder, exchanged looks in the mirror with the bald man.  "Scully, the, the planet was invaded."




"By aliens."


She stared at him.


"Yeah, I know, we've been here before."  He managed a sick sort of smile.  "Look, it's the middle of the night.  Why don't you try to rest?  Everything will look better in the sunlight.  I promise, okay?"


His words made her realize how exhausted she was, both physically and emotionally.  She was too tired to even be worried at this point.  She nodded and gestured to the young boy.  He smiled and took her silent invitation to curl up next to her.  She lay her head on Mulder's thigh and made herself comfortable.


She didn't wake even when they changed vehicles.  When she finally stirred, her head was on his jacket and she was lying on the floor of a panel van.  Gibson was at her feet.  William sat at her head, staring at the blank panels of the van.  Skinner was in the reclined passenger seat probably asleep.


She immediately withdrew her feet and sat up.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to - "


"It's fine," Gibson said quickly, smiling slightly at her.  Mulder looked around and smiled when he saw she was awake.




Just the word made her stomach rumble and she blushed.


He chuckled.  "I guess you are."


The young man, what was his name, reached around for some food.  "Gibson," the boy said as he handed her a protein bar.


She nodded, curious that he had answered her question without her asking it.


"I can read minds," Gibson said quietly.


Skinner opened his eyes and looked over at the young man.  He shook his head.  "Could we let her ease back into this?"


Gibson grinned.


She looked anxiously at Mulder.  He looked up in the mirror and saw her expression.  He immediately pulled over.


Skinner took his seat and pulled back out, even as Mulder closed the door to the back.  "Too much, huh?"


"What's going on?"


"We're on our way to a safe place."


"Why did we change cars?"  She looked around.  This vehicle was a lot less comfortable.  She was sitting on a sleeping bag but she could feel the metal of the floor beneath it.  And it was overstuffed with boxes of . . . well, she didn't know what was in the boxes.


"We couldn't be sure that truck wasn't being tracked, and this one was already packed."




"With the supplies we're going to need."  She still looked completely lost.  "You're right, I need to start at the beginning, but right now I'm going to give you what's happening now.  The rest is in there, and we'll get to it.  A few weeks ago, Skinner and I left to find William.  You and I had discussed it, and Skinner agreed to help."




"You, we gave him up for adoption in order to keep him safe."


"Keep him safe?  Because we work at the FBI?"


"It's a . . . complicated story.  I'll go back later.  We knew we'd need help finding him, so first Skinner and I caught up with Gibson."


"Because he can read minds."




"Okay, no more questions.  You talk."  She wrapped her arms around her legs and leaned against the wheel well.


"You know, I never thought I'd hear you say that."   He smiled then and gave her a small kiss.  He touched her face with a finger, then curled his hand around her cheek.  "We hadn't found him when . . . It wasn't the kind of attack I had thought would happen.  I expected a virus taking us over, but instead cities were destroyed.  We didn't see much, we weren't in a city.  The word we got was capitals were destroyed first - DC, London, Moscow, Beijing, Mexico City, then large cities, New York, Dallas, Tokyo, Rio.  That was the hardest," he hesitated then, and his grip on her hand tightened.  "I had left you behind, so close, too damn close to DC and I couldn't . . . "


Her hand tentatively caressed his cheek and he pressed into her hand.


"I wasn't in DC?"


"No, we were living in northern Virginia.  It was closer to your hospital."


"My hospital?"


"Oh, yeah.  When we first met you were a pathologist, after we left the FBI you returned to medicine, as a pediatrician.  You worked at a small private Catholic hospital near there."


She didn't comment, so he continued.  "We were too far away.  I won't let that happen again, Scully.  Skinner convinced me that we had to finish what we'd started.  We had to find William, then you."


"You found me."


"They found you, William and Gibson.  Skinner and I got them here, but they found you."


“Was it the dreams?”


After a moment Mulder nodded.  “We didn’t know if it would work, and it didn’t at first.  The boys tried to contact you, to see if you could tell us your location, but nothing.”


She looked up then.  “The drugs.  When I stopped taking the drugs, I started having the dreams.  I didn’t remember them, not really, but I saw all of you.  Then, yes, you asked me where I was.  The next time I was in the courtyard, I looked through the gate and, and I saw the Washington Monument.”


Mulder nodded, smiling.  “That’s when we made the plans to get you out.  You knew about the rotation of the women.”


Gibson nodded.  “We were able to get a lot from you.  You may not remember everything, but you’re still an FBI agent.  You observed a lot of stuff.  They were taking women out everything night.  We only had to wait a couple of days, once we got here, before it was your turn.”


"Just in time.  I don't know where they were taking us, what they were going to do to us."  She felt Mulder shudder and she took his hand, comforting him.


“Those women, the ones that supervised you, they didn’t know either.  They’re drugged as well, just milder,” Gibson explained.


Mulder looked down at their hands intertwined.  "You're stronger than I am."

She looked confused, but he squeezed her hand.  "Tell me what you did while we were apart.  What you remember."


After a moment she nodded and told him about the women, the dormitory, and the computers.


"You were entering medical records?"  Mulder mused and looked up at Skinner.  Skinner could only shrug.


"There's a convenience store ahead," Gibson said quietly.  "We should stop.  It's deserted."


"Good idea," Mulder agreed.  Once they were there, Will took Scully inside and they used the facilities, then began gathering up things they might need, cigarette lighters, batteries, and juice.  They found a box, and Will helped her load it up with the things they had decided were most important.  By the time they were finished the other three had joined them, having managed to pump enough gas to fill the tank on the van and the spare canisters they carried.


"We should stay here tonight," Gibson said, looking around.  "Yes, it's safe," he responded to Mulder's unspoken question. 


The others washed up, while Will and Scully cobbled a meal together.  Scully realized that Will was watching her, and she stroked his hair.  "I'm sorry I can't remember . . . "


"You do," he said quietly.  "They've just blocked you from getting to it, temporarily."


"Can you and Gibson help me get it back? "


"We don't know, but Mulder doesn't want us to try out here.  When we get to where we're going, we'll try."


"Where are we going?"


"Mulder knows a place.  I've never been there.  Gibson might have that time they were in hiding."


"In hiding?"


"Don't worry about it, please.  Mulder will keep you safe, there's nothing more important to him than you."


"You're his son, our son."


Will smiled.  "Yes, but he hasn't known me very long."


She looked like she wanted to ask more questions, but the others joined them then and they ate the food that had been gathered.  Skinner pulled the van up to the back door and they settled in for the night.  It was only dusk, but they had driven through the night before.


Mulder pulled Scully back to a more private corner, while the others settled down out of sight closer to the back.


"You doing okay?" he asked, watching her eyes.


"I guess so.  I want to know what's going on.  I want to remember you and Will and what happened."


"Will and Gibson say that will happen.  Maybe whatever they drugged you with hasn't worn completely off yet.  It's enough to know it's all still in there.  Hey, maybe it's better if you don't remember all the times I've pissed you off or disappointed you."


"Have you ever disappointed me?"


"Too many times, I'm afraid.  Way too many times."


"When I was dreaming of you, it didn't feel that way.  It was the only time I felt secure."


He closed his eyes and pulled her close.  "We're headed north.  There's a place set up for us.  I hope we'll be safe there.  Whatever happens, we’ll be together, all of us.”


She relaxed against him.  He was right, whatever she had to face, she trusted him.





Donna's Stories

Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.