Mulder lost no time getting home that evening. Skinner stepped into Danny’s room to give them some privacy, but Mulder called him back. He didn’t release Scully, but he looked Walter over carefully. “You okay?”
“Better, yeah. The kids are looking after me.”
“They will you know. You’re family.”
Walter nodded then. He helped serve up dinner as Mulder took a quick shower.
Dinner was finished without bringing up the day’s events. Katy was in bed when Mulder dialed the number to reach their friends. “Evening,” he said, his voice dripping with irony.
“You’ve been busy,” Langly’s voice sounded over the speaker.
“It wasn’t us. I hate to ask, but are we secure?” Mulder asked quickly.
“We are,” Byers assured them. “Do you know what happened?”
Mulder and Walter brought them up to date on the happenings of the night before. There was a long silence when they finished. It was John that finally spoke. “What do we do now?”
“Try to keep an eye on the people we have left.”
“What about that other thing?”
“I don’t know. Danny didn’t see it coming, so we’re assuming it has a mind shield.”
“Does it know about you?” Monica asked quickly.
Danny met his father’s eyes and shook his head. “Danny says no. And whatever it was, it’s on our side, right? I mean, it was killing the Super Soldiers or trying to.”
“Trying to?” John spoke up.
“The burning didn’t kill them. Danny and Katy had to finish the job. We don’t know if it realized that and Danny didn’t initiate contact with it.”
“Well that’s good,” John said quietly, and then added, “So what aren’t you saying?”
There was a hesitation, as Mulder looked at Walter. It was Walter that took a deep breath and spoke, “They were discussing the nanites; deciding where to use them next.”
Now the silence was at the other end. It was Frohike that broke it. “I thought with that bastard Krycek gone that was over.”
“He didn’t invent the things. The control wasn’t found.” Walter responded.
“John, did you get to go through Krycek’s things?” Scully asked quickly.
“Uh, no, and the murder’s still listed as unsolved.”
Skinner shook his head and gave a grim smile into the distance.
“Do you think you could get to the evidence? No one else would realize . . . well, no humans would realize what it was,” Mulder asked quietly.
“A remote control,” Walter said bitterly. “I was being controlled just like a television.”
No one spoke for a long moment. It was John that broke the silence. “I’ll check the affects tomorrow. If I find something like that, what do I do?”
“Send it here,” Skinner said quickly.
Mulder looked over at him. “Wait. Let the guys examine it, Walter. They’ll know more about what can be done to it than us.”
Walter sighed, “Just find it.”
They continued their discussion of the remaining Super Soldiers, coming to no real conclusion. The call ended with little in the way of concrete ideas, but John and Monica both promised to search for the control that Krycek had used.
It was late, after two when Mulder woke. “Dad?” Mulder sat up immediately. He glanced at Scully, but she was still sound asleep. He realized that he had heard their son at least partially in his head. He slipped out of the bed and motioned for Danny to follow him into the living room.
“That thing - he’s found one of the soldiers, Dick Chambers. He must have gotten the location like we did. He’s planning to kill it. Dad, he still doesn’t realize he didn’t kill the others.”
“Stay back, Danny. Don’t interfere. After . . . after he’s gone, do what you did last night. Just don’t let him know you’re . . . about you or Katy.”
Danny nodded, looking more excited than scared. In a minute he looked up at his Dad. “It’s gone.”
After a moment Mulder nodded. “Go ahead.”
Danny’s eyes were unfocused for an instant, then he sagged slightly against his father. Mulder gathered him up in his arms as the boy’s eyes closed. He carried him into his bedroom already asleep and lay him in the bed. After pulling the covers up, Mulder took a seat beside him on the bed and just sat there, watching him.
He turned when he felt Scully in the doorway. At her look of concern, he rose and joined her, taking her into his arms.
“Is something wrong?”
He shook his head.
“Then why are you up?” she whispered.
He glanced back at Danny, then led Scully back to their room. After they were back in the bed he pulled her against him, resting his chin on her head. “Everything’s okay now. The . . . the alien found one of our remaining friends. He burnt him as well, then Danny . . . cleaned up after him.”
His arms tightened around her at the shudder that ran through her body. She didn’t speak and there wasn’t anything he could really say to make this better, so he held her as she clutched him. They finally slept again.
Mulder let Walter in the next morning. Over coffee, Mulder gave him a short version of what had transpired during the night. “Any idea how he got a location?”
Mulder shook his head. “Danny thinks it picked it up like he did.”
“Are we sure that Danny hasn’t been . . . “
Mulder looked up at the ceiling. “I don’t know. He says not.”
“Did you get any sleep?”
“Some. What if I bring Katy in here when I leave? You mind giving her a bottle, letting Scully sleep a little later?”
“Of course not. Is she doing okay? “
Mulder shook his head. “I don’t know.” He rose then, and walked heavily down the hall. Katy was still asleep when Mulder placed her in Walter’s arms. “I’ll see you tonight.”
There was no activity during the day. A short email let them know that nothing had been found, so there was no contact that night. They went over the list of remaining names one more time as though they might learn something else, but it was just an exercise.
It was late, but not as late as the night before when Danny woke Mulder. Mulder followed him back into his bedroom again. “Another one? Which one?”
“Was he close to Dick Chambers? I mean nearby.”
“No. Dick was in Seattle, but Perry was in St. Louis.”
“So he’s moving around the country?” Mulder visualized the list. Something was bugging him, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. He knew he wasn’t sleeping well. He’d been relying on Walter, but now with the added threat of the nanites . . . he sighed. “Get some sleep, Kiddo. We’ll see what we can do in the morning.”
He tucked Danny back in, kissing him, then crawled back into bed with Scully. She didn’t wake this time. He drew in the comfort of her and finally drifted back into a restless sleep.
He reluctantly left Walter with his sleeping family the next morning after bringing him up to date.
Mulder stopped just outside of the door. That was strange; it wasn't latched. Had Danny left it ajar when he went for Walter? Instinctively his body tightened and he slowly pushed the door open. His hand craved a gun to hold.
"Shit." Walter was sprawled in the middle of the living room floor. He was unconscious and his face was bloody. Scully! Where were Scully and the children? He found a pulse, then rising, stepped over the large man and ducked into the kitchen. No one.
He found Scully in their bedroom, on the floor beside the crib. Katy was lying in the crib, sound asleep and making baby snoring noises. He sank to his knees beside Scully, seeing the blood on her face as well.
"Scully? Baby, can you hear me?"
She stirred and opened her eyes, then gasped and her arms went out, defending herself.
"It's me. Scully, it's me. What happened?"
"Katy! Danny!" She struggled against him.
"Katy's right here. She's asleep. I haven't seen Danny."
Her hand clutched his as she started to pull herself up from the floor. "Take it easy, Baby."
She shook her head and rose. His arm held her close as she looked over at the crib. "I have to - " She moved away from him, checking the sleeping child's vitals. A shaky breath later, she leaned against Mulder. "She's okay. Where's Danny?"
"I'll find him. Walter's in the living room, unconscious."
“Oh God.” She headed in that direction. “Find Danny.” She dropped to her knees beside the large man.
Mulder nodded and ducked into Danny’s room, then the bathroom.
“Coming.” He took a deep breath. Had Danny gone off on his own again? He knew how upset they had been when he had taken off for the church that afternoon. *Danny!* He called for him mentally, but no reassuring touch came to his brow. He closed his eyes for an instant, then hurried into the living room.
Walter was groggy and Scully was attempting to help him to his feet. “Don’t! Let me.” He pulled Walter’s arm around his neck and moved him to the couch.
“Danny?” She looked at him. Her face paled and she sank into the chair beside the couch.
“He’s done this before, Scully. Don’t assume the worst.”
“You think this is like that time?”
“I don’t know. I’m going to get the first aid kit, just sit there.”
“Mulder?” Walter’s voice was muffled. “What about Danny?” He had his eyes closed but he’d obviously been listening.
“He’s not here.”
Walter’s eyes flew open as he jerked forward. His grimace brought Scully back to the present. She rose from her chair.
“Wait, what are you - “ Mulder reached for her.
“I need to clean up, then patch up Walter.” She squeezed Mulder’s hand that came out to her, but didn’t stop.
When she returned in a few minutes, her face was clean. A warm cloth and the first aid kit were in her hands. Once his face was cleaned off she realized that, like herself, Walter had no wound.
“Scully, stop. I’m okay.” Walter took her hand and brought it down.
Mulder pulled Scully back against him. “Tell me what happened.”
Walter shook his head. “The door was locked. Danny was in his room. Scully and the baby were in your room. Then he was standing there, hell the door was still closed. I never saw it open. He didn’t touch me but I was on the floor. I couldn’t even call out to warn them. Mulder, I’m - “
“You couldn’t have done anything.” Mulder scrubbed his face with his free hand.
“Mulder, can you feel him? Has he contacted - “ Scully’s voice shook.
Mulder shook his head. “Not yet, but he will. You have to believe that. We just have to wait.” He put his arm around her and she rested her head on his shoulder. “He knows how to reach us.”
“If he can.” Her voice broke then.
“Don’t. Scully, he can look after himself. How many times has he proven that?” Walter leaned forward, letting his hand touch her knee gently for just a moment.
Mulder took a deep breath as his arm tightened around her. “Maybe we should call the guys, give them a heads up.”
Even as he looked toward the phone it rang. They all jerked and Mulder grabbed up the receiver. “Yes?”
“Agent Mulder, it’s been a long time.”
“Long time?” He looked over at Scully and shook his head. He knew the voice, but from where? He quickly pressed the speaker button.
“And Agent Scully. I never believed the official story on either of you. I knew that neither of you would harm yourselves; not while the other lived.” The speaker had known instantly when he had changed the phone.
“Who are you?” Scully demanded.
“I thought you would recognize my voice, Agent Scully. We worked together more recently than Agent Mulder and I.”
“Cut the crap. Where’s Danny?” Mulder demanded.
“I haven’t hurt him. Please trust me on that.”
“Why? We don’t even know your name.”
“Forgive me. You know me as Jeremiah Smith.” Walter jerked forward, his question in his eyes, but not speaking. Scully’s mouth fell open as she looked up at Mulder.
“You used to be on our side,” Mulder stated flatly.
“I assure you, Agent Mulder, I still am. I suppose some contact with your son would mean more than my words.”
Immediately the familiar touch on their brows was felt. Walter had not experienced this before, and his hand came up as though to meet Danny’s hand.
“Let me speak to him,” Mulder immediately insisted.
“He’s not physically near the phone, but he is safe.”
“Is, is that why you took him? To keep him safe?” Scully’s voice was low, but steadied now that she had felt her son’s presence.
“Yes and no, Agent Scully. Danny was in no immediate danger from the beings that you’ve been fighting most recently. He proved that to me in Chicago and over the last couple of nights. But he needs training for what is forthcoming.”
Scully and Walter had spoken together, but Mulder had slumped back into the chair, his eyes closed.
“Yes, Agent Mulder.” Jeremiah addressed him even though his questions had been silent. “He is strong and unafraid, a true son of such a couple as you and your wife. With me, he can strengthen his mind shield, detect things he has never known to look for - "
“He’s a child.” Mulder sat up.
“Yes, but he has spent his entire life knowing about what is coming. You and your wife know more than any other humans about that future. He has always known what you had to learn. He is ready to learn more, then he can pass this knowledge on to his sister and, at least in part, to you. I believe I finally understand why they have feared the two of you for so long.”
Mulder and Scully stared at each other for a long moment, memories and truths shared in that instant.
Jeremiah cleared his throat, “Mr. Skinner, I understand from Danny that you are still plagued by a technology that was misused. I believe I’ll be able to assist you with that shortly.”
Walter glanced at Mulder, but didn’t speak.
“Bring him home. Please, if he needs this training, we can talk, but - "
“Agent Scully, I do have sympathy for you, but the type of training that your son needs cannot be taught at home.”
“He’s just a little boy!”
“I know that he looks like a little boy to you, you are his mother. In reality he’s a special child of brilliant parents. He will need the skills I can teach him. Since he is a human child though, I will allow him to contact you every night at bedtime, so that you can stay in touch. I’m sure you will be able to see a difference very quickly.”
“Don’t do this. He deserves a childhood,” Scully tried again.
“Ah, human guilt. You feel that Danny has not had a happy childhood; that because of the circumstances of his birth and the first few years when he was on the run, his childhood was tainted. I can only tell you that this is not true. I know your son and he feels that he has had a wonderful childhood. He knows, better than any other child, how loved he is. He knows the sacrifices you have made for him and he is secure with you.”
That brought a silence for a moment as Mulder absorbed these words. Finally he leaned forward. “We want him home. To hell with saving the world. These are our children, not your warriors. No.”
Scully squeezed Mulder’s arm, trying to calm him.
“Actually, Agent Mulder, you are not in a position to dictate terms. This will not take that long.”
“How long?” Scully spoke before Mulder could.
“A week, two at the most. I did say he was exceptional.” They could hear Jeremiah sigh, “I have already promised that he would be in touch on a daily basis. That is the best I can do. I will be in contact soon.”
“Wait! Don’t hang - “ the connection was broken. Mulder slammed his hand down on the table.
“Mulder.” Scully’s arms surrounded him and Walter’s hand pressed into his shoulder. They sat in silence together.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.