Maggie’s eyes widened. “Bill’s son?”
“Mom, we’re going to need to do this,” Scully said.
“Bill is . . . Bill is going to be difficult to approach about this.”
“Because of me,” Mulder said gravely.
Maggie nodded. “He, he never forgave you for, for deserting Dana when she lost, I mean . . . “
Mulder looked directly in her eyes. “Did you?”
“I was confused, at first. I could see how much Dana needed you. I couldn’t understand. I couldn’t believe that if you were alive, you had ‘deserted’ my daughter. But I had to take my cues from Dana, and she never said a word against you or allowed anyone else to in her hearing.”
Mulder looked over at Scully. She didn’t talk about that time; when he had tried, she had simply changed the subject. He really didn’t need to hear her say it; he had seen what she had endured in her face when she saw him that evening. Now instead of meeting his eyes, she pulled Danny to her. The boy’s arms went around her as well.
“That’s when I realized that she had sent you away, to protect you.” Mulder glanced over at Scully, who was watching her mother with wide eyes. Apparently they had never discussed this either. “It never crossed my mind that the baby, that Danny, was alive. Now that surprises me. I should have thought about it. It’s almost as though something kept me from thinking it.
“When she left, I knew it was to join you. I was worried about her, but I knew she had gone to you.” Maggie looked over at Walter. “Do you remember?”
“Yes. The box.”
She nodded. “The doll you gave Dana while she was pregnant with Danny. There was very little taken from the apartment, but the photo album and the doll told me what I needed to know.”
“And Bill,” Mulder asked.
Maggie sighed. “Bill was . . . I made the decision not to tell him about those two things. I’ve tried to ignore his ranting and he rarely mentions any of it to me anymore. I was ready for Monica to contact me. I knew something had happened that meant Dana had to disappear, and I knew it was time to see her again. I’ve felt it for days.”
Mulder met Scully’s eyes and nodded. “I always knew you were special, Scully.”
“Always?” She managed a grin.
“Okay, it helped that you dropped your clothes on our first case.” He winked at her and she shook her head indulgently.
Skinner blinked at that, but Danny was chuckling. There was obviously a story there he hadn’t heard.
“Are you hearing what you’re saying, Maggie? You ‘knew’ something, you ‘felt’ things. Remember when Scully was taken, all those years ago, you dreamed that something had happened to her. I believe it runs in the family.”
“You think I’m psychic or something?”
Mulder smiled at the term, but nodded. “Why not? And that’s the reason we need to check on Matthew. Eventually we’ll check on Will and Sam as well, but we need to move on this.”
“But Bill has never - “
“I would have said the same thing about Scully, and she would have agreed with me. It would explain a lot of things about us. In fact, Danny has gotten right peeved at us at times for not admitting we could read each other’s minds.”
Danny grinned and nodded to his Grandmother.
“But Bill . . . “ Maggie frowned, going quiet.
“We need your help, Mom. Time is getting short.”
Maggie blinked at that.
Maggie paid the cabbie and accepted the suitcase he handed her. She thanked him and moved toward the front door. She hadn’t called but she saw both cars in the garage. Good.
She squared her shoulders. She didn’t allow herself to hesitate as she rang the bell.
“Mom? Mom!” Tara threw her arms around the older woman. “I didn’t know you were coming. Please, come on in. Bill!” Tara called back over her shoulder. She took Maggie’s suitcase herself and pulled her mother-in-law inside.
“Mom? What a great surprise!” Bill took his mother in his arms and gave her a big hug. “You should have called. I would have picked you up at the airport.”
“I know. It was a spur of the moment trip, but I needed to see you. There’s something important . . . ”
Bill’s smile faded. “See us? Is something wrong?”
“No. Where’s Matty?”
“He’s next door with his friend Neil.”
Maggie nodded and allowed them to lead her to the kitchen. She took a seat at the counter and nodded when Tara offered her tea. “I have some wonderful news. I’ve heard from Dana.”
Bill stopped, stunned, and sank into the stool next to his mother. “Dana, she’s okay?”
“Yes, she’s very well.”
Bill’s eyes narrowed. “She’s with him isn’t she?”
“She is.” Maggie’s chin went up.
“Bill, listen to me; they’ve been in a, a witness protection type of program.”
“Witness protection? I don’t - “
“Things are changing and there’s a possibility that they can come back. They need - “
“Mom, I want Dana back, believe me. But as far as I’m concerned, that son of a bitch can go straight to hell and - “ The slap stunned him, the fact that it came from his mother astounded him. Tara’s hand covered her mouth; her eyes were wide with shock.
“Now listen to me, and listen good, Bill. They need your help to return. I want my baby girl back and want my family together. You have to listen to me and then I want you to let me arrange a meeting for you with Dana and Fox. Do you understand me?”
He rubbed his cheek. “Explain it to me.”
“There are things I can’t tell you, not here and not now. Fox and Dana have to explain . . . things. Time is short and it’s important, Bill. I’m sorry I struck you, but you have to listen to me.” He realized then that fright was behind the blow.
“Has he hurt you? Mom, did Mulder - “
“Bill, please! He’s trying to save us.”
“Save us? From what, little green - “ Before Bill could finish the question, the back door opened and slammed shut.
Matthew ran inside. “What’s wrong?”
Bill held out his hand to the boy. “Nothing, Matty. Everything’s fine. Look, your Grandma’s here.”
The boy looked over at his Grandmother, but didn’t approach her. He looked between his mother and father. “Everything’s okay? Really?”
Maggie closed her eyes. The boy had been next door. He couldn’t have heard their altercation, but he had felt it. Fox was right.
“Matty, why do you think something’s wrong?” Maggie asked gently.
“I, I don’t know. It just felt like it.”
Maggie nodded. “You’re very perceptive Matty. We are okay,” she assured him as she hugged her grandson.
“Matty, your mother and I need to talk to Grandma for just a couple of minutes. I need you to go play on your swings. Stay in the back yard.”
“Dad - “
“Now, Matty,” Bill’s voice brooked no argument. The boy looked over at his mother. She nodded and he started to turn away. Maggie took his hand and squeezed it. He gave her a little smile and let himself back outside.
“Okay, Mom, tell me what’s going on.”
“I told you. Dana and Fox need your help. I need for you to take a couple of days off and meet with them.”
“A couple of days? Mom - “
“Bill, this is vital,” her voice was strained.
“What is . . . is he holding Dana hostage? Is that what’s going on?”
Maggie drew back, startled. “No! Bill, Fox would never hurt Dana.” His expression grew hard then. “Please I need you and your family to come with me to see Dana and Fox.”
“Tara and Matty? No way. Even if I did decide to go, I wouldn’t take them, not to see that lunatic.”
“I’m handling this wrong; I know that, but Bill, please. Please call your office and tell them you need a couple of days. I don’t ask for things like this. You know that. I wouldn’t ask now if it weren’t vital.”
Bill looked over at Tara. “I . . . I guess I could ask for an emergency leave.”
“No! You can’t draw that kind of attention to yourself. Just, just call your office and tell them I made an unexpected visit and you want to take a couple of days. Tell them you’ll be here and they can call you for anything.”
“You mean right now?” Bill gaped at her.
Bill blinked at that and again looked over at Tara. “Mom, Tara and I need a minute.”
Maggie started to speak, then nodded. “I’ll be out back with Matty.” She opened the back door with a shaking hand. She’d bungled it. She’d actually struck Bill, but she hadn’t really taken in how deep his hatred of Mulder was. Of course he was remembering Missy too, but she had to make this work.
She joined Matthew at the swing set and pushed him, trying to listen to him instead of watch the house.
They didn’t take long. As soon as Maggie saw Bill in the doorway she took hold of Matthew’s hand and moved in that direction. Bill glanced down at his son, then at his mother. “I don’t like this, but Tara says we need to trust you.”
“Thank you, Bill.”
Bill looked away and sighed. “I can call in, get a day or two. So, are you going to call them and have them ‘drop by’?”
“You call your office. Tell them you’re going to pick me up at the airport. Don’t let them know I’m already here. I’ll call Dana.”
Bill looked away, but Maggie didn’t care. They were going to meet. Suddenly she felt a light caress on her brow. She glanced over at Matty to see him brushing a non-existent fly away from his forehead. She closed her eyes in relief.
Within the hour everyone was packed for at least a two-night stay. Bill was the hold up again. “If we’re leaving, why did you have me tell them they could reach me at home? I thought Dana and . . . I thought they were coming here.”
“No, but we don’t want anyone to realize you’re out of town. If anyone calls, they will reach you on this phone.” She scrambled in her bag and handed him a cell phone. No one will know you’re not right here in the house. It’s safer for everyone that way.”
“Safer,” he spat. “Forget - “
“Bill.” She stood up to her full height. “You have agreed to do this. Please just put the things in the car. Don’t open the garage.”
Bill opened his mouth to protest once more, but Tara’s hand on his arm stopped him. Shaking his head, he carried the suitcases out to the car and shoved them in the trunk.
“I’ll have to stop at the ATM.”
“No. I have money. Just get in the car. Tara, you get up front with Bill. Matty and I will be in the back.”
“Mom,” Tara started to protest, “you can - “
“No. I can’t be seen, you can. Come on.”
Once in the car, Maggie and Matty lay down in the backseat, so as not to be seen from the outside. Bill closed his eyes for a moment, telling himself that this was his mother and he could have her examined by one of the base doctors when they got back. “I feel like I’m being kidnapped by my own mother,” he muttered.
“Abducted,” she said too softly for him to hear. Matthew looked over at her and grinned.
When they got out of the neighborhood, Maggie and Matthew sat up again. “So, where are we going?” Bill asked over his shoulder.
“Las Vegas,” she replied.
“Las - Are you crazy?” Bill started to pull over to the side of the road. “That’s a five hour drive!”
“I can relieve you when you get tired,” Maggie said dryly.
“Keep driving, Bill. Don’t call attention to us.”
He opened his mouth, but Tara’s hand on his arm stopped him. “Just go, Bill. Something is obviously wrong. If Dana needs us . . . “
Bill looked over at Tara and huffed out a breath, but he kept driving.
He pulled into the parking lot of the hotel Maggie indicated and parked. “Bill, get the bags. I’ll check us in.” Maggie was already moving toward the entrance. Bill shot another look over at Tara and she shrugged.
“Thank you, Mrs. Stevens. Do you need help with your bags?” the man behind the counter offered.
Maggie glanced around and saw Bill. “No, we’re fine. Thank you.” She took the key cards the young man offered and moved toward the elevators. Bill and family followed her.
Once in the elevators and alone, Bill turned to her. “Did he call you Mrs. Stevens?”
“Yes.” Her chin went up, and nothing else was asked.
Bill let them into the two bedroom suite and looked around. “I know you can’t afford this, Mom.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
“So, what do we do now?”
”We wait,” she said quietly.
Again Bill opened his mouth to protest, but the shake of Tara’s head stopped him. He rolled his eyes and took his mother’s bag into one of the bedrooms. When he returned, he flopped down on the sofa and picked up the remote. “This place better have ESPN.” Matthew joined him on the sofa and Tara looked around the suite. Maggie merely looked down at her watch.
Less than thirty minutes later they heard the knock at the door. Maggie was moving that way immediately and looked through the spy hole in the door. She saw a large man wearing a baseball cap and took a relieved breath, then opened the door.
“Mom - “ Bill rose to his feet, but Maggie was already hugging the unknown man.
“Is everything okay?” she asked quickly.
He nodded. “You did great.”
Maggie sighed with relief and leaned against him for an instant. Then she straightened up and looked over at Bill. “Do you remember Mr. Skinner?”
Walter stepped toward him, holding out his hand. “We met when your sister was in the hospital.”
Bill nodded and after a moment, shook the man’s hand. “You . . . I heard you were - “
“Dead?” Walter grinned.
“Not exactly. I’ve been working with your sister and Mulder.” He saw the expression of disgust that grew on the younger man’s face. “We appreciate you coming here to meet with us.” Walter turned to Tara. “Walter Skinner. I’m pleased to meet you.” She tentatively held out her hand and he shook it. Then he turned to Matthew. He looked the boy up and down. “I’ve heard a lot about you, Matt. I’m very glad to see you.” He held out his hand and Matthew shook hands with him as well.
“Where is Dana?” Bill moved closer, as though separating the two of them.
“Not far. Come on.”
Maggie immediately turned toward the door, but Bill put his arm out, halting Matthew. “That’s what I thought before we drove to Las Vegas.”
“They’re just down the hall. Follow me.” Walter took Maggie’s arm and they left the room. Tara moved over to Bill and took his hand. He nodded to her, then held out his other hand for Matthew.
They only traveled a few feet down the hall, then Walter knocked on the door one suite down from them.
The door opened and Walter led Maggie in. Bill hesitated at the door, but then followed them inside. Mulder was behind the door, holstering his gun. He stepped forward and gave Maggie a quick hug. “Thank you.”
Maggie nodded and looked over as the bedroom door opened and Scully joined them. She looked up at Bill, but hesitated to approach him.
“Dana? I, I thought I’d lost you too,” Bill said, his voice husky at the sight of her. His oblique reference to Missy was ignored
At that she moved to him and he took her in his arms. “I missed you, Bill.”
She hugged Tara as well, then turned her attention to Matthew. “You’ve gotten so big.” Scully caressed his cheek, then hugged him too. “I’ve missed you all so much.”
“You didn’t have to leave,” Bill’s voice grew harsher.
“Bill, don’t,” Scully spoke immediately.
“You left us for him, the man who abandoned you when you lost your - “
“Bill!” Maggie voice was sharp.
Scully’s shoulders slumped and she moved to Mulder. His arm went around her as she leaned against him. “Don’t worry about it, Scully.”
“He’s never going to - “
“Scully, we have to do this.”
“Do what?” Bill demanded.
Mulder looked over at Walter, and he nodded. The bedroom door opened and Danny came into the room carrying Katy. The whole room went silent. Danny approached his parents and handed Katy to Mulder, then took Scully’s hand.
She took a deep breath. “Bill, this is our son, Danny and our daughter, Katy.”
“Yes.” She looked him directly in the eye.
Bill glanced over at Mulder, who met his look head on.
“Our son,” Scully said. “Mulder’s and mine.”
“But I . . . “
Mulder moved toward the table and took a seat. Scully squared her shoulders. “When Danny was born, we realized how much danger he was in. I asked Mulder to take him and keep him safe, keep them both safe. He did as I asked. When things escalated, they came to get me.”
“Escalated? What ‘escalated’?”
Scully looked over at Mulder. Bill followed her gaze. “Aliens,” Bill spat at her. “Little green men again? Are you still - “
“Bill, the children,” Maggie said mildly.
Bill turned away, disgusted, as Tara tried to take his hand.
“You don’t believe in aliens, do you Uncle Bill?” Danny looked up at the large man.
“No. I do not,” but he softened his voice a little, addressing the boy.
“I guess I don’t blame you. Oh, that special wrench you’re looking for is under the bench in the garage. You knocked it off when you put that new box of rags on the bench.” Danny kept looking him straight in the eye.
“What are you . . . you couldn’t possibly know - “
“But I do. Like I know that right now you’re ticked off because you realized you didn’t pack your favorite running shoes, because Grandma rushed you so much.”
Bill managed to hold his ground, but he looked around the room to see the others’ reactions. Only Tara seemed stunned at the boy’s words. “What, what’s going on? How did you - “
“I read your mind. I apologize, it’s rude without asking permission, but I needed you to know.”
“You read my mind.”
Bill looked around the room, obviously looking for another explanation, any other explanation, but his sister, his mother, Skinner, even Mulder were just watching him calmly.
“You don’t believe that,” he finally spoke to his sister.
“Yes, I do believe it, Bill. I know it.”
Danny moved over to Matthew and said hi. Without any other words they moved away from the adults. The tense silence grew on one side of the room, but the boys talked, well, Matthew talked, not realizing that the questions he was answering were nonverbal.
It even took Scully a moment to notice the boys’ ‘conversation’. She took a relieved breath. Mulder noted it and looked in that direction as well. It looked like Danny at least was making headway. Mulder turned back to watch Bill.
Bill moved over to Tara, shaken.
“You mean like X-Men? You’re like Dr. Xavier? You’re a mutant?”
“We’re not mutants, Mom says we’re ‘evolved’. Whatever, Katy and I can read minds and we’re hoping you can too, since you’re our cousin.”
“Are you - really? You think I could read minds?”
Danny watched the thought drift through Matthew’s mind. “You’d have to be trained. I could help you with that. The thing is you have to be real polite about it. Sometimes you can learn things you aren’t supposed to know. If it’s someone on a bus with a bomb, you should do something, but if it’s someone having a fight with their friend, it’s none of our business. You know?” He scanned the boy again, and made note of some things that needed to be stressed during the training.
“Let’s get out of here,” Bill turned toward Tara. “I don’t have to listen to - “
The knock on the door to the suite drew everyone’s attention. Mulder handed the baby to Scully and with his hand on his weapon, approached the door. He stopped and looked over at Danny, who nodded, then checked the peep hole and opened the door. A man joined them. “Enough of this, we need to get down to business.”
“Who the hell - “ Bill started, but the older man interrupted him.
“I’m an alien and I’m working with your family to try to save this planet.”
Bill gaped at him for a second, then gave a harsh laugh. “What the fuck is this?”
“And we’re not little green men, we’re gray.” At that Jeremiah morphed into his true self.
Bill stumbled back, knocking over a chair. Scully took hold of Tara’s arm and Walter took Maggie into his arms.
“What the hell is this?” Bill finally looked over at Mulder.
Mulder shrugged. “He’s an alien.” Mulder looked over at Jeremiah. “Could you please turn back into Jeremiah? This isn’t helping.”
“It got his attention.” But the gray morphed back into the older gentleman he had been when he entered the suite.
Bill looked over at his sister. “What is he?”
“He told you, he’s an alien; one of three or four types that I’m familiar with. Jeremiah is working with us against the, the beings that want the planet for themselves.”
“I don’t believe - “
“Want me to change back again?” Jeremiah interrupted.
Bill tried to glare at him, but it didn’t quite come off.
“Please, Captain Scully, take a seat. We need to talk.”
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.