Mulder looked up as Scully entered the room. "I thought you were going to lunch with your mother."
"So did I. She stood me up." Scully slipped off her coat.
"That doesnít sound like your mother."
"I know." She picked up the phone and dialed her motherís number again. "Still no answer. I wonder if she had trouble with the car. I am definitely getting her a cell phone for Christmas."
Mulder grinned, Maggie Scully with a cell phone? He couldnít really see it. "Hey, did you eat?"
"What? Uh, no."
"Look, why donít we go grab a bite and then run by your motherís house?"
"Would you mind?" Well, she was more concerned than she wanted to let on. It caused a touch of unease to tighten his chest. Mrs. Scully was very special to him Ė his second favorite Scully in the world.
"Course not. Come on. Weíll go get her first, then go get lunch." He decided not to comment on the small sigh of relief she tried to hide from him.
He pulled up in front of Mrs. Scullyís home and caught Scullyís frown. "What?"
"I think her carís in the garage." She was undoing her belt and getting out of the car.
"Scully, wait." He was decidedly uneasy now.
"Letís just take it easy, okay?"
"Why?" Her voice trembled ever so slightly.
"You know me, Iím probably being paranoid. I just want us to keep our eyes open." She nodded.
The car was in the garage. Scully let them in the house with her key. They stood silent for a moment listening. Nothing.
"Mulder?" She whispered.
"Iím just being crazy. Letís just see if sheís here." She nodded and headed for the stairs. He turned toward the kitchen. Nothing out of place, no dishes in the sink. The back door was locked, deadbolted, but the door to the garage wasnít. Was that normal? He turned to check out the rest of the downstairs when he spotted her purse.
Maybe it was an extra, and sheíd transferred everything to a different purse. His mother had done that a lot, always had a purse to match her shoes. He opened it and that hope died. Her wallet was there, license, cash, credit cards. Shit! Something was wrong.
"Mulder!" His head jerked around. Scully? He raced for the stairs. "Sheís not here, but somethingís wrong."
"What?" He looked around.
"The bedís not made. She always makes the bed when she gets up, before anything else. It was a rule, so we wouldnít lay back down in the mornings. I donít think any shoes are missing either, even her slippers are under the bed."
Try as she might, her breathing was becoming more rapid, and the pitch of her voice was rising.
"We canít jump to conclusions Scully."
"What have you got?" She reached for the purse heíd forgotten in his haste to reach her. She searched through it, then looked up at him.
"Somebodyís taken her Mulder."
"We donít know that."
"Yes we do. You knew it when we drove up. Why else would her keys still be in here. Mulder, we have to find her."
"Iím going to call the police, have them get a team over here."
"Canít we. . . ?"
"No. Weíre too close. We can help, we need to help, but someone else needs to lead the investigation."
"Mulder. . . "
"Donít worry. Your motherís a Scully. People donít come any stronger than that." He smiled at her. She attempted to return the smile, but couldnít sustain it. He squeezed her shoulder, then pulled out his cell phone and placed the call.
"Theyíre on the way. We need to look around, but not disturb anything."
"I know the drill, Mulder. Letís get started." He still stayed beside her, she was trying, but she wasnít okay. Together they covered the upstairs rooms. Scully could find no clothes missing and nothing was out of place in any room, except for the unmade bed.
When the police arrived, Mulder brought them up to date and allowed them to take over the investigation. They were reluctant at first since Mrs. Scully had not been missing twenty-four hours, but the evidence of the purse and Mulderís not so subtle persuasion convinced them that there was indeed a case to investigate.
While one of the officers interviewed Scully, Mulder wandered back into the kitchen and out into the garage Ė the one door that had not been deadbolted. He glanced in the car, no garage door opener that he could see. Heíd have to ask Scully about that. He walked around the car and spotted a few drops of liquid on the concrete. Oil? He bent for a closer look and lightly touched his gloved finger into one of the drops.
His heart sank, blood. Definitely blood. This was the first evidence of foul play. The drops led vaguely in the direction of the trashcan, so he stood and opened the can. The smell of blood was powerful. He let his eyes scan the trash, not wanting to disturb evidence, but. . .
Down a couple of layers he saw color peeking through and carefully reached in. A throw pillow, it matched the couch in the living room where he and Scully had sat several times watching TV following a home cooked meal. He lifted it and had to close his eyes. One side was drenched in blood; the other had a small hole with gunpowder surrounding it. Someone had been shot through this pillow and he had a pretty good idea who. How the hell did he go back inside and tell her this?
He stepped to the door and called to the officer in the kitchen. "I need an evidence bag."
"Yes sir." He brought one over and whistled as Mulder placed the cushion inside. They exchanged a wordless look, and Mulder headed to the living room where Scully was still talking to the detective in charge.
One look at his face had her on her feet. "Mulder? What, whatís wrong?"
He took her arm before he answered, which caused her eyes to widen with fear. "Scully, we canít jump to conclusions, but. . . but I found this in your motherís garbage inside the garage." He drew the bag from behind his back letting her see but not touch it.
He watched the color drain from her face. The detective took the bag from him and he grabbed her other arm as her knees buckled. She didnít pass out, but he lowered her to the couch and gently eased her head down. Her grip on his arm had become painful, but he didnít care.
When she could speak she looked up at him. "My motherís dead, isnít she?"
"We donít know that Scully. We have to have this analyzed." He couldnít tell if she understood the words. Her eyes were so bleak, so empty. "Scully, please."
"What am I going to do? How can I tell Bill and Charlie?" Mulder cringed himself at that. Having Bill here? And Bill would find a way to make this his fault. But what was the motive? Nothing had been taken; there was still cash in her purse. She was obviously not involved in anything illegal, though this was beginning to look like a hit. Wait, wait! It hadnít been determined that her blood was on the pillow. But it was.
He realized that Scully was watching his face. Reading him. She had taken hold of his hand and her knuckles were white. "Try to relax Scully. Donít jump to any conclusions."
"Mulder," He looked up and recognized Detective Waltos, the man in charge of the investigation when Skinner had been accused of murder. "Can I speak to you a minute?"
Mulder looked back at Scully. She nodded and forced her hand to release his. They retreated to the kitchen, leaving a uniformed cop in the room with her. "I just want to go over what weíve found." He got the attention of the other police in the room. "Look, weíre running on empty here, we have one piece of evidence and Spoo. . . sorry, Mulder found that for us. I want this house gone over with a fine toothed comb. Especially the garage. Prints?" He turned to one of the men in front of him.
"Weíve lifted a lot, but havenít run them through yet. I donít think weíre going to find anything. This was too clean." Mulder nodded in agreement there.
"Well run them anyway. Did she give us her motherís blood type?"
The first detective on the scene flipped through his notes, "Yeah, A+. The pillow is already on its way to the lab. Weíll know the type soon, donít know how long the rest of it will take."
"Okay." He took Mulderís arm pulling him from the group as they turned back to whatever they had been doing. "Look, I know you, youíre going to come up with some weird theory any minute. I want in on it, no matter what. I want to be kept in the loop with you."
"You will be. Iím not in charge of this one. Iíll be working on it, but itís too close. She has to be my priority." The detective nodded. "I need to call Skinner."
Detective Waltos sighed and turned back to his own people while Mulder dialed. "Angie, itís Mulder, I need to talk to him now. Itís an emergency." There was a short pause.
"Mulder, whatís going on? I was in a meeting."
"Scullyís mother is missing and it looks like foul play."
"Come again? Scullyís mother?"
"Yeah, she missed an appointment with Scully, so we came over to check. Sheís gone but everything else is here, car, ID, cash. I found a cushion covered with blood in the garbage, a bullet hole through it."
"Is Scully alright?"
"Hell no. The police are here now."
"What do you need from me?"
"Nothing yet, but Iíll let you know. Iím not sure when weíll be back in the office."
"Keep me informed Mulder, and tell Scully Iím thinking about her." Mulder disconnected and turned back to Detective Waltos.
"Do you need anything else from us? I need to get her out of here."
"No, I know where to reach you. Donít forget to keep me up to speed Mulder, Iím serious." He nodded and headed back to the living room.
Scully looked up as though her radar had detected him. Her eyes were red and swollen now. His heart ached for her. "Where have you been?"
"I called Skinner. Whatever we need, weíve got." She nodded and continued shredding the tissue in her hand. "Come on, Iím going to take you home."
"No! No, I need to be here."
"Weíll be in the way, Scully. They know what theyíre doing and Detective Waltos is in charge."
"But. . . "
"You need to get out of here. Iím taking you home." She seemed to have zoned out, so he helped her to her feet and walked her to the car. He had the impression of moving a large doll, no resistance, but no cooperation either. He sat her in the car and reached across her to buckle her in.
He spent more time watching her on the ride to her apartment than he did the road. This was not the reaction he had expected from her. She was always so in control, but look how he had been when his father had been murdered practically in front of him. At one point she lifted her hand as though to reach for him and he took it eagerly. She was cold, her fingers icy. Definitely going into shock. He needed to get her settled somewhere and see what he could do for her.
Once at her apartment he parked, but she didnít seem to notice. He again was moving her, helping her walk. He let them into the apartment and sat her on the couch. He pulled the afghan from where it had been draped across a chair and wrapped it around her. No response. Then he headed to the kitchen and made her a cup of tea with a generous dollop of honey. He needed to warm her up, get her functioning again.
"Scully?" He wrapped her hands around the mug of tea. "You need to drink some of this."
She blinked, seeming to notice the tea for the first time, then looked around the room. "When did we get here?"
"Just a few minutes ago. I think youíre going into shock Scully. Please drink the tea. I need to warm you up." She dutifully took a sip, but seemed to appreciate the warmth in her hands more.
"Iím sorry. I didnít mean to go away like that."
"Itís okay Scully. You needed to shut down for a little while." She pulled the afghan tighter around her and he moved closer to her on the couch. She leaned against him, neither speaking and he put his arm around her. What could he do to make this better? In reality, nothing, but god how he wanted to try.
"I need to call the boys. Bill and Charlie." He winced inwardly at that. Call Bill? He couldnít even offer to help there, getting this news from him would send Bill into orbit.
"You could wait until we have more news."
"No. They need to know whatís going on. And they need to be here, in case we have to make. . . arrangements." Mulderís arm tightened around her, but he kept quiet.
She sat the mug on the table and picked up her mobile phone, dialing Billís number from memory. "Tara? Hi, itís Dana. Is Bill there by any chance? Can I speak to him?" She looked up at Mulder and tried to smile. He tucked the hair back behind her ear and made no comment, just watching her.
"Dana? What are you calling about in the middle of the day?" Mulder could hear his booming voice with no problem.
"Bill, Iím sorry to call you like this, but itís Mom. Sheís missing and, and there is evidence of, of foul play. I think you need to come in."
"What do you mean foul play? Missing? Is this another Melissa thing? God, what have you and that fucking partner done now!"
"I swear if you two have put her in danger or caused her harm. . ." He left the threat dangling, but Scully had gone dead white. The phone slipped from her hand and landed on the couch. Mulder grabbed it up and started to reply but one look at her stricken face was enough. He turned the phone off without a word and pulled her into his arms.
"Scully, forget the bastard. Heís upset and angry and didnít know what he was saying. Look at me Scully, thatís not what happened here."
"What if it is?" She barely whispered the words.
"Scully, no. Donít do this. You know Bill, donít let him get to you." Her eyes were so big and wet and full of pain. Why had Bill done that to her? Why would anyone intentionally hurt this woman? They sat in silence for a moment or two, then Scully rose from the couch.
"Where are you going?"
"I just need to splash some water on my face."
"Iíll be okay." He watched her leave the room, her hand touching the furniture and walls as though she would lose her balance and fall if not in contact with something solid. He could wring Billís neck, and enjoy the hell out of it!
He heard the water, then the toilet flushed and water again but still she didnít return. What was she doing in there? He waited a couple more minutes, still nothing. He rose and stood at the door, finally tapping on it. "Scully?" No answer, should he go in? Hell, should or not he was going to. He turned the knob and slowly opened the door.
He spotted her immediately, sitting on the floor under the window, her back against the wall, her knees drawn up with her arms pressing them into her chest. She was shaking violently.
"Oh Scully." He joined her on the floor, pulling her into his lap. He rocked her like a baby, murmuring in her ear, trying to comfort her.
"What if Iíve killed my mother, Mulder? How do I live with that?"
"Scully, donít do this to yourself."
"But Billís right, Melissa would be alive except for me and now. . . "
"Melissa might be alive instead of you, how would I live with that Scully? You canít do this. We still donít know that the whole thing isnít a set-up."
"You know that was her blood. I should never have come to the FBI, I should have been a pediatrician or something."
"And what would I have done?" She looked up at that, heíd said it so softly.
"You would have been better off too." He shook his head and gave her a sad smile.
"You know better than that." Her trembling had lessened and her breathing was only hitching occasionally now. "Whatever we have to get through, Iíll be here. You know that donít you?"
"I want you to lie down for a little while. Do you have anything here to help you sleep?"
"I couldnít sleep, not now."
"I donít expect you to, just something to relax you, let you get a little rest. Youíll feel better and think clearer."
"Would that be a good thing?"
He gave her a sad smile, "I donít know."
"I have to call Charlie."
"No. Iíll do it. Iím serious, you need to lie down. Let me look after you for a while."
"You always do." He barely heard her.
"Not well enough. Come on." He got her on her feet, but kept his hand on her while he rummaged through her medicine cabinet. "Here, some of that PM medicine. I seriously doubt itíll put you out. Donít argue with me, Scully."
She finally nodded, leaving her protests mute. She swallowed the capsules and turned toward her bedroom. She sat on the side of her bed and seemed at a loss as to what to do next.
Mulder knelt in front of her and removed her shoes, then rose and helped her out of her jacket. He became aware she was watching him.
"What Scully? Spinach in my teeth?"
"Thank you for being here."
"Do you think I could be anywhere else? Lie down, try to rest. Iíll call Charlie." She obeyed him, not taking her eyes from his face. He pulled the covers over her and kissed her forehead. "Iíll be in the next room. Call me if you need anything." She nodded and watched him leave the room.
He pulled the door nearly closed and let his shoulders sag. If Mrs. Scully were dead what would happen? Would Bill be able to get her to leave him? He would play on her guilt Ė real or imagined Ė and try to rip them apart. Bill wasnít above using a tragedy like this to drive a wedge between them.
Charlie. Heíd never met him. Did he hate him as much as big brother Bill? Well, this wasnít about him. He had to spare Scully any more pain right now. He pulled her address book from her top desk drawer and opened to the Sís. Charles Scully, he checked his watch. He should be at work now. Mulder chose that number and dialed.
"Charles Scully please. This is Fox Mulder."
Very quickly a man picked up the phone. His voice didnít have the booming command quality of his older brother. "Mulder? Fox Mulder? Is everything okay? Dana?"
Mulder liked him better immediately; this one was actually worried about his sister. "Scullyís, sorry, Danaís okay. Iím with her here, but I do have some bad news for you."
"Itís, well itís your mother."
"Sheís missing, and thereís evidence at the house of foul play."
"Foul play? You mean as in, as in murder?" His voice had gone up an octave.
"Thereís been no body found, so sheís presumed missing at this time, but there was blood and evidence of a gunshot. Iím terribly sorry to have to call you."
"Why didnít Dana call me?"
Mulder cleared his throat, "After she spoke with Bill I thought it would be better if she rested for awhile."
"What did that SOB say this time? Nevermind, I can guess. Listen, Iím Charlie and Iím not. . . Bill and I donít have a lot in common. I appreciate you looking after Dana. Iíll see when the next shuttle is and get down there. I assume I wonít be able to stay at the house."
"Right. Itís being considered a crime scene. Would you like me to get you a room?"
"No, I can do that. You just keep an eye on Dana, and Mulder, donít let Bill get to you. Heís got his own problems, donít take them on yourself. Not easy advice to follow I know, it took me years, but it can be done."
"I look forward to meeting you Charlie. I just wish. . . "
"I know. I kept telling Mom Iíd finally meet you at the wedding."
"The one Momís been planning. . . nevermind. Iíll be there in a couple of hours. Thanks for calling." Charlie broke the connection and Mulder sat there looking at the phone. Well, three out of four Scully children werenít bad Ė better odds than those Mulder kids.
He walked softly to her door and when he heard nothing, went into the kitchen and fixed himself a sandwich. Heíd feed her when she woke up; they never had made it to lunch. After eating he called the station, but the only new information was that the blood on the pillow was indeed A+.
Mulder was zoned out on the couch having been unable to find anything on TV. Why didnít she have the Sci Fi channel on her cable? The knock on the door startled him and brought him back to the present. Charlie couldnít have gotten here that fast, and thank goodness Bill couldnít. He rose and looked through the peephole. Father McCue?
He opened the door. "Iíve come to see Dana. Is she here?"
"Yes, sure, come on in. Sheís lying down."
"I donít want to disturb her, could I wait a little while."
"Of course. How did you . . . ?"
"Her brother Charles called me. Do you have any more news?"
Charlie, he really was different than Bill. Mulder offered the priest a seat on the couch. "No, nothing yet."
"Maggie is a wonderful woman, Iíve been praying for her." Mulder didnít really have a response to that and was saved from having to make one as the bedroom door opened.
"Father McCue?" The priest rose and took her hands.
"Charles called me, he thought I might be able to be of some help."
"That was good of both of you. Thank you." She looked over at Mulder, but he shook his head. The priest smiled faintly, heíd heard Maggie often talk about their communication abilities. These two young people were very close, it was obvious.
"Scully, while you and Father McCue visit, why donít I go get some dinner? You didnít have lunch and -"
"Youíre going to leave?" She hadnít meant for it to come out like that, but the thought of him not being there was somehow frightening to her. That was silly, she shook herself a little.
"No, I donít have to go. I could have something delivered. What do you think you could eat?"
"That was stupid, Mulder. Of course you can go. Get whatever you want, Iím not hungry." The priest watched this interplay between the two of them and his estimation of Mulder rose when he responded.
"Iíll be in the kitchen placing the order. Do you like Italian, Father?"