“I don’t know what you think you’re going to find, but I can assure you that my daughter died in an accident and my wife was so distraught that she had not looked after her more carefully, that she took her own life. Those are the facts and I would appreciate you leaving me and my acquaintances alone.”
Scully would have believed him under other circumstances. If Megan hadn’t told her what he was really like. He was charming, standing there in his thousand-dollar suit. The only jarring thing about him was the man that accompanied him. The suit on him didn’t quite take away the goonness of his appearance.
Mulder obviously wasn’t intimidated and that gave her an uneasy feeling. This man had already murdered two people that they knew about. Now that he was so high profile, he might not do the dirty work himself anymore, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t still have something done.
“If there’s nothing to find, Mr. Forrester, then I don’t understand the problem.”
“You are harassing me and therefore distracting me from my duties. I don’t want to have to go to your superiors, but if you do not cease in this campaign to embarrass me, that is what I will do.”
The goon took a step closer to Mulder who watched him impassively. Mr. Forrester made a slight movement with his hand and he stopped.
“I trust I won’t be hearing from you again.” He turned and started toward the door. He stopped suddenly, and his companion had to shift his weight suddenly not to knock into him. The man's eyes widened in shock. Mulder glanced over at Scully and they both moved to see what had caused such a reaction.
There on the floor was Megan, in a crumpled position, a pool of blood under her head. There was dead silence for a moment, Mulder turned to look at Scully who had turned away from the sight. The two men were mesmerized and unable to speak.
“Mr. Forrester? Is everything okay?” Mulder asked.
“What?” He managed to choke out.
“Is something wrong?” Mulder took a step toward them and she vanished from the floor.
“What? No, no nothing’s wrong.” The man tried to regain his composure. The goon couldn’t even try; his eyes were still bugging out of his head. “I’m late for an appointment. Excuse me.” His steps grew steadier the farther from the room he got.
Mulder waited until he heard the outer door close then turned to Scully. “Well, that seemed to have had an effect.”
“Did you know she was going to do that?”
“No. But it was damn effective.”
“Are you mad at me?” They both turned as Megan joined them.
“No Honey, but . . . but you should have warned us. We could have blown it by letting on that we saw you too.” Mulder put his hand on her shoulder.
“Oh. I didn’t think of that.”
Mulder grinned at her, “But it worked great. Wish I’d thought of it.” She relaxed a little and gave him a shy smile.
“Did you know the man with your father?”
“Yes. That’s Gary, he’s always with Daddy. He lives over the garage. He never had anything to do with me, but he knew me.”
“So he probably recognized you. Did he help your father hurt you?”
“No. He mostly ignored me. I think he tried not to think about me.” She shrugged and leaned toward Scully. “Are you mad at me?”
“No Megan, I’m not mad at you. That was an interesting stunt. I guess I’m wondering why you need us if you can do that.”
“You are mad at me. I just wanted to help.”
"Come here." Scully held out her arms to her. "You need to let us handle this."
Megan was quiet. Mulder watched her; it was as though she were weighing options. “Megan, what are you thinking?”
She looked up startled, “Nothing. I need to go.”
“I need to talk to Chester.”
“Megan, wait a - “ but she was gone.
He heard the knock, “Come on in Scully. It’s open.” He heard the door open and her footsteps in the entry. “I’m trying to get information on this Dr. Haggins, see if he was paid off or anything by our pal Spencer. Hey, what do you think of - “ he turned then and saw her. He was on his feet instantly, moving toward her. He seated her on his couch. “Scully, what happened?”
She had a tissue to her forehead, but he could see the blood. She was limping and shocky looking.
“Just a little bump up.” She wouldn’t look at him.
“A car accident?”
“No. No, it’s more than that. Talk to me.”
“Let me splash some water on my face.” She started to rise and he took her arm. She allowed it rather than argue with him. Before she could move, he had knelt in front of her and removed her shoes. She watched him for a moment, then took a deep breath and headed for his bathroom.
After several minutes he tapped on the door. “You okay in there?”
“Yeah Mulder, I’m fine.” She opened the door for him. She had washed the blood from her forehead. He reached past her and pulled a box of band-aids from the top shelf. “Thanks.”
“You want to talk about it?”
“He ran me off the road.” She started back to the living room.
“I’m not sure.” She sank back down on the couch.
She glanced up at him and away. “Gary.”
“Mr. Forrester’s man, Gary. He ran me off the road. Then he stopped to make sure I saw him before he took off.”
“I’m calling the police.”
“And tell them what? You only have my word that I saw him.”
“The car, the paint - “
“Mulder.” She was watching him now; she looked weary. “We both know it was probably a stolen car. And he’ll have an airtight alibi. Come on, we’ve been at this long enough to know how protected some people are. Do you have any aspirin?”
“Yeah, sure.” He was pacing. This was personal now; the son of a bitch had attacked Scully. Maybe he hadn’t run her off the road himself, but nevertheless, it was him.
His mind was moving in a dozen directions at once as he put water on for some tea for her. He’d pulled the bottle of aspirin and had a glass of water ready. He turned and nearly dropped it all when he spotted Megan standing just behind him.
“Geez, Megan, don’t do that.” He said it quietly, hoping Scully wouldn’t hear.
“Sorry. Is she okay?”
“Yeah. Yeah, she will be.”
“I don’t want you to help me anymore. I want you to forget about me. Chester can help me, I can . . . “
“What? What are you planning to do Megan?” They both turned as Scully joined them in the kitchen.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry he hurt you too.” She was crying as Scully bent to take her into her arms.
“It’s not your fault Megan, and I’m okay.”
“He won’t stop. He’s a very bad man. I think he likes hurting people.”
Scully glanced up at Mulder, but didn’t dispute the girl’s words.
“Megan, can you fix it so only certain people can see you?” Mulder helped Scully back up and handed her the aspirin. Her eyebrow was high, but she kept quiet.
“I don’t know. I can try.”
“What are you thinking Mulder?” Scully put the glass back down on the counter after swallowing the medicine.
“I was just wondering what would happen if Megan showed up at a few meetings, and only Spenser saw her.” He shrugged.
Megan smiled widely, “I need to talk to Chester.” And she was gone.
Scully shook her head, her hand rubbing her eyes. “I can’t do this Mulder.”
“Mulder, I don’t believe in ghosts.” She held up her hands to forestall his comment. “How do I know this isn’t an elaborate dream I can’t wake up from?”
“A dream? Scully how often do you earn frequent flyer miles in a dream, or get a gash over your eye.”
She seemed to wilt in front of him. He put his arm around her and pulled her into his embrace. He was mildly surprised, but mostly relieved, she didn’t seem to mind.
“Even if it is a dream, Scully, we have to help her. And get this guy off the streets.”
“I hate it when you’re right.”
He looked down at her, one eyebrow raised. “Are you insinuating that I have, on occasion, been wrong?”
“Where’s that tea, Mulder?”
Spencer had been as good as his word; Mulder and Scully had been pulled from any investigation, warned to stay away from the man, and basically read the riot act by Skinner.
If Skinner was surprised at how well they took it, he kept it to himself.
They moved on to other investigations, but began to hear rumors of strange goings on about Spencer Forrester. Nothing was substantiated, but the word was he had disrupted a couple of meetings with his bizarre behavior.
It was after they had heard of a third such incident, that Megan joined them at Scully’s apartment. She just came out of the bedroom as Mulder was removing his jacket. “Uh, Scully . . . “ He called her back from the kitchen. “You’ve got company.”
“What are you . . . Megan.”
“From what we’ve heard, you’ve been busy, Honey.” Mulder approached her and she hugged him.
She couldn’t hide the gleam in her eye. “The people he works with are beginning to think he’s crazy.”
“He is Megan. He wouldn’t have hurt you or your mother if he wasn’t sick.” Scully joined them and took the little girl in her arms.
“Will he ever go to jail?”
Mulder and Scully exchanged glances. “I wish I could say he would, Megan, but I don’t know.”
The child sighed, “That’s what Chester said.”
“Megan, what are you planning?”
The child shrugged.
“Please, we don’t want you - “
“I’m already dead. What else can he do to me?”
Scully flinched and turned away. Mulder put his hand on her shoulder.
“I’m sorry, Scully. But you guys can’t help me.”
“Then why are you here, Megan?” Mulder asked quietly.
“Well, there’s going to be a press conference on Friday. A lot of TV cameras will be there and . . . and I want this to be over.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Why don’t you come watch?”
“Just be there. You’ll understand what’s going on, even if the other people there don’t.”
“Only certain people can see you now?”
“Just be there.” And she was gone.
Mulder finally noticed Scully’s grip on his arm. “Mulder, what is she going to do?”
“I think she’s going to drive him mad on national television. Scully, she’s right, he can’t hurt her any more. And . . . and let’s face it, the system is never going to punish the man.”
She started to turn from him, but he turned her back and folded her against him. To his surprise, her arms went around him as well and they stood that way for a little while.
Friday morning, Mulder held the door to allow Scully to enter the room before him. The cameras were already being set up, and reporters milling around. There was more coverage than they had anticipated, apparently they weren’t the only ones to have heard the rumors.
They took seats in the back and waited. They were quiet; he didn’t know what to say to her. This case was hard on her, she didn’t believe in . . . but she couldn’t deny this one. He placed his hand on her knee, for support.
She looked up at him and smiled wanly. “What do you think she’ll do?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know.” He looked around, “but it’s going to be public.”
She took a deep breath. People were taking their seats now and it looked like there weren’t going to be many empties.
A murmur went through the crowd as the door at the front of the room opened and Spencer Forrester entered. They had only seen the man once, but there was a distinct difference in him. Even from where they sat in the back, they could see a slight tremor in his hands and his eyes were . . . haunted. Mulder wondered how much was hidden by the makeup he was wearing.
Mulder looked over at Scully and she nodded.
Forrester took a deep breath and stepped to the podium. He gripped the sides. “I have a short statement, then I’ll take questions.”
His voice sounded nearly the same, but some of the arrogance, the power, seemed to be missing. As soon as he finished with the statement, hands went up all around the room. He pointed to a young woman near the front.
“Sir, how are you feeling?”
“There have been . . . remarks made that you might be unwell. Will that delay the project?”
“I appreciate your interest in my health, but I am fine. The project will - “
“Why did you beat me?” His head swiveled toward the sound.
Mulder tensed and touched Scully’s arm.
“You’re not here.” Forrester spoke to Megan, his eyes narrowing. Scully rose from her seat and saw Megan, standing to the right of the room, near the front row of seats.
The reporters looked where he was facing, but there was nothing there. “The next question please.” He pulled himself together and looked out at the assembled media.
“Why did you beat me, and my mother?” Megan continued.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t beat anyone!”
“You beat me and threw me down the stairs. You didn’t even miss me when I was dead.”
“You fell down those stairs! Your mother wasn’t looking after you, it was her fault.”
Mulder was on his feet now too. Megan stood there facing her father, blood running down her face.
“She wasn’t there. You had hit her too and she was on the floor in the other room. But I don’t know what we did to you. Why were you so angry?”
“I never hit your mother! I never . . . “ He startled back then, remembering the crowd around him.
“Ex . . . excuse me.” He turned as though to leave the room.
“Mr. Forrester! Who are you talking to?” That question came from several people at once and the cameramen had zoomed in for a closer view of the sweat now on the man’s forehead and the look of fear in his eyes.
“Hey, who is she?” The reporter who had been seated closest to where Megan stood, suddenly jerked back. For an instant she was visible, shimmering there, then as the cameras swung toward her, she vanished. Forrester bolted from the room.
“That may have done it Scully.” Mulder whispered in her ear. She nodded.
They watched as several of the reporters began doing quick stand ups, reporting the man’s breakdown.
“Let’s get out of here.” Mulder took her arm and moved toward the door. Once out and away from the crowd, they slowed down.
“What’s going to happen now?” Scully looked up at him.
“There will have to be an inquiry. His sanity will be in question now. And he talked about beating his wife, denying it when no one had ever mentioned it. That’s got to raise several thousand flags. We better warn Mrs. Allen.”
Rather than go to the office, they returned to her apartment. As Mulder suspected Megan was there, waiting for them.
“How did I do?”
“You were masterful. You sure you’re only six years old?”
Megan grinned at him. “Yeah. He looked really scared.”
“Why was he so freaked, Megan? You’ve been showing up at meetings, haven’t you?”
“I stayed away for a couple of weeks. I wanted him to be really surprised.”
“Well you got that.” Scully commented dryly.
“Want to see the aftermath?” Mulder moved toward the TV and flipped it on, then joined the two of them on the couch, Megan between them.
It was all over the news. The White House had issued a statement of support for their cabinet member, but refused to answer any questions other than Forrester had been seen by a doctor and was resting comfortably.
The reporter that thought he had seen something at the press conference had recanted, saying that he had been influenced by Forrester’s words and he hadn’t seen anything.
“Think I’ll have to do it again?”
“You might want to attend a doctor’s visit. That should seal the deal.”
She smiled up at him. “That’s a good idea.”
“Megan, what are you going to do? I mean, after . . . “
“I don’t know. I wish I could see my Mom again.”
“What do you think happens after you die?”
“I . . . I don’t know. I thought you . . . I thought my loved ones that had already died would come and get me and I would go to heaven and be with them.” Scully looked away.
Mulder closed his eyes. He’d ruined this for her too.
“I better go. I hope I get to see you again.”
“Megan - “ but she was gone.
“Scully, I’m sorry.”
She shook her head and rose from the couch. She headed for the kitchen and after a moment’s hesitation, he followed.
“Mulder, I’m okay.”
“No, you’re not. This is not what . . . I know you’re upset and - “
“Mulder, I know you want me to discuss this with you, but I really can’t talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it.”
“It might make you feel better.”
She gave him a sad little smile. “I doubt it. Listen, I’m not coming to the office today.”
“We could just hang out.” He offered. She was already shaking her head.
“I think I’d like to be alone for a little while.”
“Please. I’ll be okay.” She brushed a quick kiss across his cheek, surprising him a little, but he made no comment. She walked him to the door and let him out without another word.
She answered when he called around eight that evening. “Hello Mulder.”
“How did you know it was me?”
He chuckled at that, then sobered. “Feeling better?”
“Yeah, a little.”
“Where did you go this afternoon?”
“Who said I went out?”
“This isn’t my first phone call.”
She glanced over at her machine, no messages but she should have known.
“I, uh, I went to church.”
That statement rendered him silent.
“If you, if you want to come over, I haven’t eaten yet.”
“I can be there in twenty minutes. What can I bring?”
“Nothing, it’s already cooking.”
“Home cooking? I can be there in fifteen. Thanks.”
“Be careful.” She broke the connection and turned back to her kitchen.
He was a little more than fifteen minutes, but still quicker than she had expected. The bottle of wine in his hand was a surprise. She grinned at him, “Eddie?”
His smile warmed her, “Not this time. Didn’t know whether to bring red or white.”
“This is perfect, come on in.”
He followed her to her kitchen. “Have you checked the news lately?”
“No, go ahead if you want.”
“I’ll wait. Looks like dinner is ready.”
She nodded and the cork came out of the wine bottle. They spoke of other things during the meal, her mother, her nephews, his latest visit with the Gunmen. They were comfortable, just being together. He didn’t ask about her visit with her priest, it was none of his business, but he was pleased she was feeling better.
After they had loaded the dishwasher together, they retreated to the living room and turned on the news. It was the lead story, of course, and some enterprising photographer had gotten a picture of Forrester being led away in a straight jacket. It was a still picture and slightly fuzzy, but would probably win the man a Pulitzer.
“Wow.” She looked up at him. “I guess she did attend a session.”
“Yeah. I had him spilling his guts.” Megan spoke from behind them.
Scully jumped and Mulder’s arm went around her.
“Don’t do that, Megan, please.” Scully took a deep breath.
Megan came around the couch and stood in front of them. “Sorry. I just wanted to say goodbye.”
“Goodbye?” Mulder asked. He could see the smile growing on her face.
“I’m leaving.” Her smile was brilliant now. “And my Mom came to get me, just like you said. She’s waiting, but I wanted to tell you. Scully, you were right. And . . . and I have a message.”
“A message?” Scully was holding her hand now.
“From Emily. She said she was happy, and not sick anymore, and for you not to worry. She would see you again, because she was your daughter.”
Scully’s eyes were huge and Mulder could see the unshed tears in them. He moved closer to her on the couch.
“Well, I just wanted to say bye.” She threw her arms around Scully and gave her a hug, then did the same for Mulder. “Thank you.” She whispered in his ear.
“No, Megan, thank you, and take care.”
She smiled and stepped back, then was gone.
Scully sank back against him and his arms tightened around her. “You okay?”
She didn’t speak, just wiped at her eyes.
“Do you want me to go?”
She shook her head then. “Please don’t.”
He relaxed then and pulled her a little closer, pressing a kiss into her hair. “I won’t.”