At 11 p.m., Hayes called a halt to Mulder’s effort for the night. "Listen, these men that have come in know what they’re doing. You’ve got to get some rest, or you’re going to be useless. You’ve done the most toward cracking this case, we’re going to need you to be sharp."
"I don’t sleep."
"Fine, you’re still not going to be here. I’ll take you to your motel myself."
"Follow me to the Kincaid’s. Maybe Ashley has some news."
"Fine, I’ll go alone."
"No, no I need to hear this. Come on now."
The lights were still on at the Kincaid house when Mulder and Hayes arrived. Mr. Kincaid opened the door when they knocked.
"Mr. Mulder, we were just trying to reach you. Ashley insisted."
"Where is she?" He followed Mr. Kincaid upstairs to her bedroom.
"Ashley, please, do you know where she is?"
"No, it’s dark and in a new place. But she’s waking up. She keeps saying your name." Mulder closed his eyes in pain. "Grampa’s going to keep trying to find out where she is. He promises."
"Thank…" he had to clear his throat, "Thank him for me. You need to go on to sleep, Ashley. I’ll check back with you in the morning."
She nodded and squeezed his hand, then laid back down. Sheriff Hayes turned away as Mulder wiped his face while leaving her room.
"Okay, she’s coming around, but she still needs medical attention."
"You just believe everything the little girl says?"
"Has she been wrong yet?" Hayes didn’t answer that.
Back at the motel Mulder got back on-line continuing his investigation until his eyes did close. He lay down for a few minutes, but jerked awake with her name on his lips.
Shit, there had to be something he could do. The car was closest to Adam’s Farm. That had the most construction going on. Think, damn it!
The phone woke him again at 5:30. "Mulder, they caught up with Green. He was driving his personal car."
"Where is he?" Sleep gone immediately from his brain, "I need to question him."
"He tried to shoot it out. Wait Mulder, Jerome Ervin was with him. He’s not dead yet, but he does have a mighty big house out at Adam’s Farm."
"I’ll meet you at the entrance in fifteen minutes." He was already half dressed.
They tore the house and garage apart. No sign of her or any stolen goods. Mulder was ready to scream.
"I’m going back over to the Kincaid’s. Ashley’s the only lead we’ve got unless Ervin regains consciousness. Have the men widen the search. I’ll call you."
"Doris, is Ashley here?"
"Yes. We kept her home from school. There’s just too much happening."
"May I talk to her?"
"Of course. Have you had any luck?"
"Not much." He followed Doris to the kitchen, where Ashley was eating breakfast.
"Mr. Mulder needs to talk to you, Honey."
She looked up at him, sympathy in her eyes. "Her head hurts and she’s cold. But mostly she’s very thirsty."
Mulder sank into a chair, rubbing his hand over his forehead. He was counting up the hours she’d been missing. He’d dropped her off at the sheriff’s around four yesterday afternoon, it was almost eight. Missing 16 hours, with a head injury. At least she didn’t seem to be moving, which meant she was here in town. Where?
Ashley had stopped eating again. "Mr. Mulder, what’s a bunker?"
Underground. She was underground, a sub-basement? Would they have spotted that?
"Doris, I hate to ask this, but may I take Ashley out to Adam’s Farm? She’s the only link we have, and maybe she could spot something that her grandfather will recognize through her."
"I guess, with all the police out there, I mean. Yes, I’ll come too. Ashley, run get dressed, we have to help find Ms. Scully."
She was out of her seat immediately and running upstairs. Mulder called the team and had them return to the Ervin house to search for a sub-basement or any underground areas they could find.
He made record time returning to the development and led Ashley immediately through the house they had searched several times now.
"Is your Grandfather here?"
"Yes. He doesn’t see anything he recognizes. But he thinks this is a good idea."
Mulder smiled. "Nice to know he approves. Any suggestions?"
"Not yet." Mulder nodded and they continued their search. Mulder felt the time racing with each heartbeat. Ashley would tell him what she knew, and people could go days without food and water, but he’d had Ashley out for hours now. Deputy Camp was already back with burgers, so they wouldn’t have to interrupt the search for lunch. He couldn’t swallow his own; his throat was too damn tight.
"Mr. Mulder. Grampa had Ms. Scully go to sleep, so she wouldn’t be so uncomfortable."
"Can he do that?" His voice was a little shaky.
"Yeah, for some reason she always goes to sleep when he gets near her."
Twenty hours and counting. There had to be something else.
"Mulder, there’s nothing here. We’ve looked everywhere there is to look."
"Did this Ervin guy own any other property or houses? Or did Green?"
"Green didn’t, and his house has been searched three times now. I’ll see what I can find out about Ervin. If he does, it’s not common knowledge." Hayes headed off toward his car. More time was lost in that search and Mulder found he only had the patience to speak with Ashley.
Doris finally approached Mulder. "Mr. Mulder, I really need to take Ashley home. She’s been here since early this morning."
"No, Ashley, she’s right. You’ve been a tremendous help. But right now, at least, there’s nothing you can do."
Doris had to turn away from the despair in his eyes. They started toward the car.
"Mulder!" They looked up to see Sheriff Hayes’ running toward them. "Ervin did own three other houses. It took awhile to shift through the ownership."
"A couple of streets over. Come on!"
Mulder and Ashley both turned to Doris. She wanted to laugh at their matching expressions. "You heard the man. Let’s go!"
They both smiled at her and raced toward the cars.
His other three houses were together, two under construction.
She climbed out of the car and headed toward the first house. She circled it and continued to the second house. Mulder trailed her, beginning to lose hope again. Instead of approaching the house, she headed toward the third, the completed house.
"Those baby trees. Grampa’s seen those baby trees before." She pointed to a newly landscaped area behind the house.
Hayes turned and looked around. "Oh lord, where’s my brain. This was old Mr. Lail’s land; he had an old bomb shelter in his backfield, from back in the 50’s. I haven’t thought of it in thirty years, but it’s around here somewhere.
Mulder was running toward the trees. He found the entrance quickly and yanked it open. He pulled out his flashlight and started down the stairs. Over in the corner, he spotted her on the floor.
"Get the paramedics!" He yelled back up and was by her side. "Scully, can you hear me?"
"Mul…" she swallowed. "Mulder, he said you’d find me."
"Don’t try to talk. Here, drink this." He held the water Doris had tossed down to him to her lips. Allowing her only a few tiny sips at the time.
When the paramedics had her strapped to the gurney, he helped them get her up the stairs and watched them ready her for transport where more light was available.
"Fox, is she going to be all right?" Ashley grasped his hand.
He picked her up and hugged her. "Yes, Sama…Ashley. She’s going to be fine, thanks to you." He handed his keys to Doris. "Here, I’ll go with the ambulance."
She nodded, "I’m so glad…"
"I know." He turned to climb in after her, but stopped. "How did you know my name was Fox?"
"I don’t know. I just did."
He nodded. "I’ll call you."
The next morning Doris and Ashley arrived at the hospital early. Scully was awake and smiled at them as they entered, then put her finger to her lips and pointed to the sleeping Mulder in the chair.
"You’re looking much better." Doris whispered.
"Thanks. I’m feeling better too."
Ashley approached the bed and they hugged. Mulder awoke to the sight of his Scully and the beautiful eight-year-old in each other’s arms and froze, unable to process the image.
"Fox? Are you okay?" Ashley sat up to look at him.
"Yeah." He cleared his throat." Yeah. I’m fine. How about you, Scully?"
"I’m good, Mulder. Did you find Green?"
He glanced at Ashley. "They got him."
"You want to explain what you said to me when I found you?"
"What did I say?"
"That ‘he’ said I’d find you."
"Oh that. I kept having this dream, where this man told me my husband would find me. I told him over and over I wasn’t married."
"Who was he?"
"I don’t know. I’d never seen him."
Doris was scrambling in her purse. "Was this him?" She handed Scully a photo.
"Yes." She handed the picture to Mulder.
"That’s Paul Hickman, my father."
Mulder and Scully locked glances. Scully looked away first.
"Why does he keep insisting we’re married?" Mulder turned to Doris.
"I tried to explain that you weren’t." Ashley was the one who answered. "He keeps insisting that you are, in your hearts."
Doris watched them studiously avoid looking at each other, but she saw her touch his hand where it lay beside her on the bed. He grasped it and Doris smiled.
It looked like Dad had a good handle on things after all.