Colonization IV (PG-13)

They split up for the evening


They split up for the evening.  Skinner took the parent's room, Gibson the couch in the living room, and Mulder joined William in his room.  He had a twin bed, but there was plenty of room as Mulder spooned around his son.


Surprisingly he had no nightmares that night; maybe William's presence did what Scully's did for him.  He woke to the smell of coffee the next morning and carefully left the bed.  He headed for the kitchen and spotted Walter, slicing something.  Walter turned to look at him.  "Coffee's on the stove."


Mulder headed that way and poured himself a cup. 


"Power's out, but they have a gas stove and water heater, so help yourself while it's available."


"Did you shower?" Mulder asked after a beat or two.


"Yeah.  Gibson's still asleep."


"So's William.  Walter - "


"I know.  You have to get back to Scully.  I'm with you on that.  I'm hoping in a couple of days things out there will calm down enough for William to locate her.  Right now . . . Mulder, I think we need to sit tight for a few days."


"Days?  You expect me to wait days before I - "


"Yes.  We have William and Gibson to look after as well as ourselves.  I don't know how good any of us will be at survivalism.  I don't know a good place to go, I - "


"I have a place."




"I have a place.  I haven't been there in years, Scully doesn't even know about it.  When I first went into hiding, right after William . . . right after I left, the guys helped me set it up."


Skinner watched him a moment and then nodded.  "Where?"


"North Dakota."  At Skinners raised eyebrow Mulder shrugged.  "They don't like the cold, well the ones I knew about didn't.  I don't have a clue what's happened.  Why the destruction?  Why do this?  If the virus . . . "


"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing.  We've got no intelligence on this, so we have to proceed cautiously.  I know the first item of business is retrieving Scully."  Mulder flashed him a grateful look.  "But we need to be prepared if we're going to get across country and then back to North Dakota."


"I'm sketchy on what that entails, but believe it or not, I can follow orders.  What do we do?"


Skinner grinned at that.  "I've already started.  With the freezer off, the meat's going to go bad, so I'm slicing it thin and making hardtack in the oven.  Not the best tasting, but it'll last virtually forever and it's easy to carry.  There're lots of canned goods, all kinds of things, which we'll have to pack up.  We're gonna need a much better vehicle.  I haven't checked to see if there's anything here that will fit the bill."


"There is," William walked into the kitchen rubbing his eyes.  He immediately came to stand next to Mulder and Mulder's arm went around him.  Both men could see him relax slightly at the gesture.  "Dad has an Expedition, the biggest one and it's his baby.  He's got it in top shape."


"Four wheel drive, lots of cargo room.  That should work.  Thanks, William."




"I usually have a bowl of cereal."


"That's probably a good idea.  The milk won't last without the refrigerator."  They all set about their separate tasks and Gibson joined them shortly.  Without power they were only able to use the radio and were unable to pick up anything but static.  William and Gibson were only able to sense terror and panic in the confusion.  Mulder forced himself not to ask again, but Skinner could see the toll the not knowing about Scully was already taking.


Mulder took on the task of packing up the jars of canned food, using washcloths and towels to cushion the glass - they'd need them anyway when they finally made it to North Dakota.  He was unable to keep his mind off of Scully for more than a few minutes at the time, but he managed to keep quiet.  William and Gibson would know, but there was nothing he could do about that.


No one approached the farm in the next few days and Skinner finally commented on it.  "William's idea," Gibson said.  "He just kind of makes people forget it's here, there's no reason to come out here because it's a . . . blank."


"Even . . . them?"


Gibson looked over at William.  "I haven't felt 'them'.  I can't even tell if they're on planet yet."


Everyone looked at William then.  He shook his head.  "I think they're letting panic do what the explosions didn't, but people are calming down.  There are people taking over as leaders and they're organizing rescues."  He shrugged.  "I don't think they expected that, but I'm not sure . . . "


"It's okay," Mulder managed to say.  He was talking less and less and that almost exclusively to William.  Skinner just kept busy, making lists, quietly getting what they needed together.


Skinner had been pleased to find several plastic containers of gasoline which were full.  He'd siphoned all of the remaining gas out of the rental car and the Expedition's tanks were full.  The back of the thing was packed full with Gibson's bike and the supplies they had all packed so carefully.


They were at breakfast when William's head shot up.  "They're here."


"Here? At the farm?"  Mulder was already on his feet and Walter was rising.


"Oh, no.  Not here, but on the planet."


"What are they doing?"


"I can't tell, I'm sorry."


Mulder's arm went around him.  "It's okay.  Don't strain yourself.  If you pick anything up, just let us know."  He looked over at Skinner, who nodded to him.


William and Gibson finished eating and went off to William's room.  There was little more that Mulder and Skinner could do.  The place had been stripped of what they considered essentials for the trip and the Expedition was stuffed in any case.  Now they had to wait until the boys thought it would be safe to move.  Skinner had the definite impression that Mulder was going to implode.


He watched as the younger man headed outside one more time to look around the barn, and probably shed a few tears in private.  Neither boy had been able to pick up any hint of Scully, and though Mulder hadn't given up, his veneer of hope was wearing thin. 


Washington, DC, the nearest capital to her had to have been obliterated.  Even as far away as her hospital was, it was nothing to the kind of destruction the boys had described to them.


Skinner was grieving as well, but not with the sharp anguish of Mulder.  Skinner had friends, acquaintances in DC but no relationship that compared to Mulder and Scully.  With a small jolt he realized he didn't know of any other such relationship.  Sharon and he had been good together, at first, but he knew they had not had the bond that these two shared.  The only thing keeping Mulder sane right now was William and his need for his father.


They all gathered again at lunch.  "They're gathering up survivors."  William reported.  "The people seem to think they're with the government and are there to help them."


"Are they shape shifters?  Do they look human?"


William shrugged.  "I can't see them, but people aren't afraid of them, so I guess so.  They think they're being rescued.  They're being loaded into those trucks like the banks use to move money, but there's no money in them now."


"Do you know where they're going?"


William looked over at Gibson, and they both shook their head.  "Once they get in the truck, we can't . . ."


"I think they're being drugged," Gibson said.  "Their thoughts just kind of drift away once they're settled in the trucks."


"But they're not being killed?"


"No, they're still able to think, kinda, but it's . . . muted and not important things.  They're not frantic or, or purposeful after that."


Skinner nodded.  "That does sound drugged.  Are we still okay here?"


"Yeah, they're just outside the big cities.  They have plenty of people to pick up before they get out to a place like this."


"Well, that's good," Skinner said, trying to ease the tension emanating from Mulder.  The boys were watching him and Skinner could only imagine what they were picking up.


They gathered for lunch, eating the last of the refrigerated food.  Gibson looked up at Mulder, then after a quick glance at William, spoke.  "I know we need to get to DC as quick as possible, but Skinner's right.  We need to go to North Dakota first and unload this stuff."


Mulder looked up, swallowing quickly.  He looked over at Skinner.  "North Dakota first?"

Skinner looked uncomfortable.  "Come on, what are you thinking?"  Mulder's voice was harsh now.


"I thought it would make sense.  We're a hell of a lot closer to North Dakota than we are to DC.  We could unload these supplies, which are going to be invaluable very shortly.  Then make our way through Canada rather than around the large cities in the US.  But I knew you'd disagree, so I hadn't said anything."  Skinner turned to glare at Gibson.


"And it's a good idea," Gibson shot back.  "I want to get Scully.  I think she's an essential part of all of this, but we haven't been able to locate her yet.  We haven't given up, we're not going to give up.  But I think DC is probably one of the worst places for Mulder and William to be at the present time.  Hell, it was the center of the free world; you think any alien wouldn't hang out there?"


"Mulder," Skinner said, watching him, "we can go on to DC."


Mulder looked up at him, then over toward William.  "Is she alive?"


"I don't know," the boy said, his tone showed how much he wanted to say what Mulder needed to hear, but he didn't lie.


At the statement, Mulder seemed to deflate.  "I guess North Dakota would make more sense."


"Daddy - " Mulder's head shot up.  William hadn't called him that before.  He'd kind of avoided calling him anything.  "I'll keep trying, I promise."


Mulder reached for him and the boy leapt into his arms, holding him as tightly as he had that first day they had met.  Skinner glanced at Gibson and they both quietly left the room, giving them some privacy.


In a few minutes Mulder came looking for them.  "Come back and eat.  If we're going to leave at dawn, we have a lot to do today."


"Where are we going?" Skinner asked.


"North Dakota.  We won't be staying long, but you're right about these supplies.  We'll need them when we get back with Scully."


Skinner nodded and they followed Mulder back to the table.  After lunch William found the atlas for Skinner and they began planning their route.  Mulder's place was outside of Beldon, close to the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.  It was roughly a ten hour drive, but the only place they needed to avoid was Rapid City.  With three drivers, they could make it in a day, stopping for any refueling opportunities only.


William held Mulder's hand tightly as they headed to the car the next morning.  The house had been pretty much cleaned out and William knew he would never be back.  Mulder looked down and caught his looking back one more time.  *Do you want me to ride in back with you?*


William shook his head, but didn't speak.  He crawled in beside Gibson in the limited space and Skinner pulled out of the driveway.


There was no traffic this early, and the boys were tuned into what was ahead to the best of their abilities.  Skinner kept things at an easy fifty miles per hour, conserving fuel.  They all knew that they would have to go off road occasionally and didn't want to race up onto a tangle that had no one around to warn them.


It took less time than they'd hoped to reach the first roadblock, but true to their plans, Mulder emptied the smaller of the fuel cans into the Expedition and they checked the abandoned cars for whatever was available.  Gibson had become the master of siphoning, and he replaced the gas that Mulder had emptied while William pulled snacks and a surprising number of drinks and supplies from the cars.


After a few hours they switched drivers, Mulder taking over.  He had more trouble staying at the lower speed, but no one mentioned it.  They had to backtrack a few times, when bridges were the tie up, but usually they were able to shift enough cars to squeak through.  The paint job wasn't as pristine as William's adopted father had always maintained, but that was no longer a top priority.


Ten hours had been a generous fantasy, but they didn't stop.  With three drivers at least one could nap while they traveled.  It was still full dark when they arrived at Mulder's compound.  It had become increasingly eerie that no one was around, but it wasn't mentioned.  Mulder thought fleetingly that the boys were still keeping people away from them, but for now that was a good thing.


Mulder was driving when they arrived in Belden.  He'd only been here once, but was able to rely on his memory to find the roads in the absolute dark.  He tried to imagine that everyone was home, safely in bed,  but it was too early for that and the street lights actually used to stay on all night, even here.


He skirted downtown and headed out to the northeast of town.  He pulled up to a gate and Gibson hopped out to open it.  The layout was a fairly large farmhouse and barn, with several other outbuildings scattered around.  Skinner looked over at him uncertainly.  "Mulder, I was really thinking you were talking about something a little easier to defend."


"The guys picked this.  Come on."  He pulled into the carport and cut the engine.  "Anyone around?" he asked William.  The boy shook his head and they got out.  Mulder pulled a nondescript key from his ring and opened the back door.  It wasn't even a dead bolt and Skinner's mood dipped even further.


It was too dark to make out any features, but Mulder opened one of the cabinets and located the hurricane lamp left there for him.  He pulled a book of matches from his pocket and lit the wick.


Everyone was able to look around then.  It was a typical farm house, wooden table and chairs, painted white in the middle of the kitchen.  Older appliances, quiet with the lack of electricity.


"Mulder - "


"Wait."  He moved to what looked like a broom closet and opened it.  As Skinner had imagined, a couple of brooms and a mop stood inside.  Mulder pulled them out and propped them against the counter, then he pulled the back wall loose and propped it beside them.  For an instant Skinner had expected a stairwell or something, but he saw only pink insulation and his shoulders slumped.


Mulder reached up and to the right and moved a section of the insulation aside, exposing a keypad.  Skinner's eyes narrowed.  "What the - "


"It's not electronic.  The guys didn't expect electricity."  He tapped in the code and Skinner recognized it as one of those outdoor key holders.  Mulder removed that key and bent down, moving another section of insulation aside.  Gibson moved the lamp to give him better light, then Skinner heard the deadbolt he'd been expecting earlier.  Mulder pushed and the entire pink insulated wall swung up, revealing a staircase.


Skinner shook his head as Mulder held the wall and motioned Gibson to move on down with the light.  Mulder let the wall swing back into place and he followed them down.


"This is bigger than the house," Skinner said looking around.


"Yeah.  The owner put in a bomb shelter back in the Sixties, we just 'improved' it.  Come on."  He took the matches back out and lit a second lamp.  Skinner looked around, appreciating the mirrors and metal decorations on the walls that expanded the light in all directions.


"There's not a lot of privacy but some."  Skinner could see doors now off of the main room.  "Bedrooms, three of them.  Not big, but adequate.  The bathroom is over there.  The largest area, back there is storage.  The guys figured up what was necessary for a year for each of us.  They were planning to be here too . . . " His voice trailed off for a moment.  "What we brought in will come in handy, because I'm sure they packed a lot of MRIs."


Skinner snorted at that.  "If Frohike helped with the menus, I know there's some scotch around here and I could use a drink."


Those words brought a grin to Mulder's face.  "Not a bad idea."  He moved into the kitchen area of the main room and started opening cabinets.  Skinner had been right, one cabinet held a good supply of booze.


"This is no 'year's worth' for Frohike," Skinner commented, taking the glass Mulder offered.


"No, but I'm sure there's more around somewhere."  He took a sip of the amber liquid.  "Gibson?"


"No thanks.  I'm more a beer kinda guy if I drink."


Mulder looked over at William. "No alcohol, but I saw some soda."


"Yeah, that'd be good."  He took the can Mulder offered him and continued to look around.  This side of the room was obviously the kitchen and eating area, the other side looked like an office and there was a sitting area away from the stairs with a couch and a couple of chairs.


"This took some money," Skinner was looking around too.


Mulder shrugged.  "To keep Sc-Scully safe . . ." His voice trailed off and he turned away.  William was at his side immediately, the others quiet.


Skinner cleared his throat after a moment.  "I know we're all tired, but I think we should unload the car, not put things away, but get them down here."


Mulder nodded and they headed back upstairs taking one of the lamps with them.  After being reassured that no one was around, they began moving things into the kitchen and then on down to the main room.  Once the car was emptied, Mulder locked them in for the night.  The insulated door held three locks, the deadbolt that he had unlocked as well as two other major sliding bolts.  Skinner wasn't surprised; he'd been to the inner sanctum of the gunmen's lair on one occasion.


After that they all stumbled off to find beds.  They weren't made up, but it wasn't important at that point, and they fell onto the mattresses with blankets around them;  Mulder and William taking the largest of the rooms.  Gibson in what turned out to be a bunk room, and Walter in the smaller single.


They all slept late the next morning, though underground that wasn't hard.  Energy bars were scattered on the table when Mulder stumbled out the next morning.  Skinner was in the store room and most of the boxes they had unloaded were gone from the bottom of the stairs.  Mulder grabbed up a bar and headed for the storage room.


"I would have helped."


"I know, I was just up and needed something to do."  Skinner stretched and looked around.  "Those guys did a good job.  This is practically tinfoil on the walls in here but it maximizes the light."


Mulder nodded.  "Did you see the computer?"




"Yeah, they got one of those $100 laptops with the crank, the ones that are being used in third world countries.  You don't need electricity.  You can't store much on it, but we've got thumb drives with as much of the internet as Langly could download in the desk.


Skinner shook his head, chuckling.  He sobered then as he scanned the room again.  "We can take these MRIs with us on the road.  That'll be easier than having to do a lot of prep for meals.  Faster too."


"We're still going."  It wasn't a question, but Skinner responded anyway.


"Yeah.  The trip yesterday was reassuring.  The boys know what to look for and we were able to get the fuel we needed.  I think we're actually a little ahead of the game right now.  Mulder, we can't head out today.  We need to get organized, plan our route."


The younger man nodded silently and returned to the main room.  Eight days.  It had been eight days since he'd had any contact with Scully.  Sometimes he could go for minutes without realizing that, but not anymore.  According to the boys, the aliens were gathering up survivors, anyone that hadn't been killed instantly by the destruction would be with them or dead by now.  The boys hadn't mentioned any rescue effort other than by humans.  And they hadn't been able to locate Scully, even though Gibson was familiar with her mind, and William had no doubt learned more about her from Mulder's mind that was probably healthy for a kid or a son.  He still had to go, he had to find her, or find out what . . . Find her.


He felt William's hand slip into his.  He hadn't even heard the boy approach.  "I'm going too."  Mulder closed his eyes and squeezed the little hand, nodding.


"We're all going."  Skinner had stepped into the room and even without the ability to read minds, had figured out what was going on.


"I could take the bike - "


"No."  That was all Skinner said, but it was enough.  After a moment Mulder nodded and picked up one of the few remaining boxes, taking it into the storage area.


Once they had that all cleaned up and stored to Skinner's satisfaction, they headed upstairs.  The sun was high and the weather good as they looked around the property.  The barn was empty of animals, but sturdy and still held quite a bit of food for livestock.  Mulder led them to another trap door and opened it.  "This is where they stored the fuel.  It's underground, less chance of fire or damage if there's an accident."


Skinner looked in, speechless at the store of plastic gasoline containers.  "Damn," he said softly after a few minutes.


Mulder nodded.  "So their paranoia wasn't such a bad thing?"


"Who knew they were survivalist on top of that.  They certainly looked like city boys to me."


"Yeah, I think Langly had a hand in this.  He wasn't always city as I understand it.  He spent time on his grandfather's farm or something as a kid."


"Well, I'd say they've saved our butts.  Come on show us the rest."


After the tour, they returned to the house and explored it.  They hadn't left it empty, there were linens in the closet, furniture, dishes, just as though the family had walked out.  Maybe in the future, they could move up here and enjoy a little more space and of course, windows.


They had stored Gibson's bike in one of the out buildings, as hidden as they could make it, the plugs pulled to save the battery and the tank full.  They kept the SUV hidden in the barn rather than out on the carport once it had been emptied.  Now the only thing they needed to do was decide when to leave to look for Scully.


There was no more discussion of leaving anyone behind, but the continued lack of any evidence of Scully was wearing on Mulder.  After dinner that night, Skinner laid down his fork.  "I say we leave in the morning.  I've been looking at a route through Canada; head up toward Winnipeg, skirting it, then east over to Timmins.  I don't know which cities might have been destroyed, but there are no big cities except Winnipeg on this route.  We have to turn south then back toward the US and it gets more complicated, a lot more cities - Toronto, Pittsburgh, etc.  We'll have to punt from there."


Mulder sat quietly, but everyone had turned to watch him.  After a moment he met each of their eyes.  "Thanks," he said quietly.


Skinner nodded.  "We have the tanks completely full as well as the extras.  We need to gather up what food we're going to need for the trip and hope we can come back with more supplies.  The store room looks full right now, but without a regular grocery store run . . ."


No one argued with that.


They left the table then, Mulder and William had clean up that night.  William wanted to pump the water and Mulder helped him a little, but let him run the show.  Skinner and Gibson packed the supplies they needed.


Mulder went to bed with William, but lay awake beside him, casting his own thoughts out there, looking for her with his mind.  Exhausted he finally fell into a restless sleep but was still up before dawn and ready to go.  The others made no comment, just loading up and heading out as soon as everyone was in the car.  Skinner was driving for now, Mulder reclined his seat and closed his eyes.


He didn't sleep but rested, awaiting his turn to drive.  He was confident now in the boys' ability to keep others out of their way.  Skinner began to look for a place with cover to pull over a little after ten.  Mulder took over driving then and they were barely moving again when he heard William gasp.


"What?  William, are you okay?"




"What?"  Mulder pulled over and looked back at William.  "What?"


"I think, she's fuzzy, but . . . I don't know."


"What did you feel?"


"I'm not sure.  I'll keep listening."


"I know you will.  William, if you can't . . . don't hurt yourself."


"I won't, Dad.  I'll watch for her."


"I'll help, Mulder.  Go on, get us to DC," Gibson said.


Skinner called a halt after eight hours.  Mulder protested, but the others outvoted him, convincing him they could search more effectively with a little rest.  It was past time to eat as well and check for gas.  Mulder did his best to calm down.  They had a point, but if contact had been made . . .


They broke into a house that had a place to hide the SUV and fixed a meal.  There was no electricity, but they found candles and managed to settle in for the night.  Mulder did get more sleep than the night before, but only due to exhaustion.


Skinner was first up the next morning, and since coffee wasn't available, room temperature soda provided the caffeine and they got on the road.  It was again around 10 a.m. when Mulder heard William's intake of breath.  "Mom," he breathed.


"You can feel her?"


"Wait - " Gibson spoke.  "Let me get this."


Mulder opened his mouth again, but Skinner hand on his arm stopped him.  He bit down on his lip and managed to keep quiet.


After a few minutes, Gibson looked up.  "I see what he means about fuzzy.  She certainly didn't seem to know we found her.  She's confused, but not scared."


"Does she know I'm, we're looking for her?"


"She wasn't thinking about it.  She, she was thinking about a cookie."


"A cookie?"


Gibson shrugged.  "Maybe William got more.  It's the first time I've tried this."


In a few minutes William looked up.  "Okay, I have a good hold on her mind now and she's clearer than yesterday but still awfully fuzzy.  It is her, isn't it?"  He looked over at Gibson, who smiled.


"Yeah, that was Scully's mind.  I've been there before."


Mulder frowned slightly at those words, but then shook it off.  "Where is she?"


"Uh, we haven't gotten that far, Dad, and she's not exactly cooperating.  I was thinking maybe tonight after she's asleep I would try to reach her better."


Gibson nodded.  "I do think she's in the eastern time zone though.  It seemed to be lunch related, the cookie she was thinking about, and that would put her relatively two hours ahead of us."


"Okay, that's good information.  Thanks, guys."  Skinner turned to Mulder.  "Okay, we continue on, but we need more information before we turn south.  We'll be in more danger then and we'll need a definite plan."


Mulder nodded and closed his eyes.  She was alive.


It was only seven p.m. their time when William looked over at Mulder.  "She's asleep."


"Okay, let her know we're coming, that we're going to rescue her.  Try to find out where she is."


"I think I better just do the 'we're coming for her' tonight.  As fuzzy as she is, I don't want it to get too complicated."


"Yeah, okay.  Let her know we're on our way."


They were quiet as first William, then Gibson, closed their eyes.  It wasn't long, but William nodded when he opened his eyes.  "We'll have to wait until morning."


"Did she seem okay?"


William looked over at Gibson and it hit Mulder again, the boy hadn't seen her since he was an infant.  "Yeah, Mulder.  She's okay, but I agree with William, she's drugged.  I think she's figured it out, that it's in the cookies."


Mulder managed a small smile.  "She'd figure that out."


Skinner cleared his throat.  "Let's go on to bed.  It's too dark to do any exploring tonight.  We can look for supplies in the morning."


Mulder took comfort from knowing that she was alive, and got several hours sleep that night.  William joined Mulder and Skinner in the kitchen with a grin the next morning.  "She got it."


"Got it?  What?" Mulder tensed in his chair.


"She dreamed about you and Mr. Skinner.  I thought that would be the easiest, since she knows you two better."


"Where is she?  Does she know a way to get out?"


"Mulder," it was Gibson that answered, "she's drugged; she doesn't even know we're in contact at all.  She did feel relief when she thought about the dream."


Mulder sighed.  "I know; you're doing great.  I don't mean to push."


"I know that, Dad.  We'll get the information."


"Yes, you will.  I know that and I'll try to be patient, even without her poking me in the ribs."


William chuckled.  "We'll push a little more tonight.  We know she's in DC, but I've never been there, so I'll need pretty good landmarks to find her."


"We need to know if we're going to have to go in guns blazing to get her out, or if she can get out."


"Mulder - " Gibson said.


"I know, I know, pushing.  Get what you can."


They continued on after liberating what supplies they could.  The SUV was going to get crowded again, which was not a bad thing.


The boys concentrated on her again the next night.  They had seen no one on the drive.  Skinner wanted to ask if that was the boys' doing or if there really was no one left, but didn't and they didn't offer the information.


"Hey, she's thinking about the other women," Gibson nodded at William.  "She noticed something.  There's a rotation in the room, every day everyone moves up a space in the line.  I didn't understand that the first time, but apparently the closer to the beginning of the line, the warmer the shower.  For some reason she thought the one with the hottest shower moved to the back of the line the next day, but this morning she noticed that the woman who was at the front of the line yesterday isn't at the back this morning.  She's gone and there's a new woman at the back.  She's still drugged, the cookies aren't the only way, but she's better today than she was yesterday."


They were finished packing the SUV with the day's haul when William looked up, Gibson's head went up right after his.  They were both grinning.


"What?" Mulder looked ready to shake them.


"She's getting better.  She noticed that other women were getting stimulants when they were over drugged.  She pretended the same and they gave her a shot.  She's good."


"Yeah, she is," Mulder said softly.


The next morning the boys advised Mulder and Skinner that they had inserted themselves into her dreams and she had recognized William as their son.  Mulder closed his eyes at that information, searching for her mentally himself.  It was later in the day, Skinner was driving, when Mulder saw the boys exchange looks.




"She's just spotted what's left of the Washington Monument.  It's on the ground and she didn't recognize it at first, but now we can zero in on her location."


"The monument's been destroyed?" Skinner's hands tightened around the steering wheel.


"Uh, yeah.  I'm sorry."


"So am I," the older man breathed, then concentrated on driving.


After looking over at him, Mulder turned back to the boys.  "Can you reach anyone else in the city?  We need to know what's going on if we're going to blend in."


The boys again exchanged looks and Mulder felt mild irritation that he couldn't be part of their conversation.  William looked up apologetically.  "Sorry, Dad.  It's just faster and - "


"Don't apologize.  It's only envy.  I want to feel her mind too."


"It won't be long.  We know where they're keeping her and we'll find out what's going on around her so we can sneak in the best way."


That night he dreamed of her.  He couldn't get close enough to touch her, but she could see him and he talked to her, assuring her he was on his way and thanking her for giving them the clue about the Washington Monument.  She seemed to hear him and she smiled, then he was awake.  He turned to look at their son.  Had he done that?  Had he taken Mulder's words to heart and let him touch her mind?




Donna's Stories




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