Project: Truthseekers - http://truthseekers.xphilia.net/
Chapter 2: Missing Pieces
She pulled her hair back into a ponytail as she entered the morgue. She really needed to get it cut, maybe next week. It just meant more time away from Will. Mulder didn't mind, but she did.
Scully picked up the file on the autopsy they had scheduled and flipped it open. She stopped in mid-stride. No, could she do this? She looked over at the table, noting for the first time that the bundle of cloth lying on the table covered a tiny body. A baby.
She looked further in the file, were they trying to prove it wasn't crib death? That wasn't FBI jurisdiction. Who were the parents? The name caused her to drop the clipboard. Mary Hendershot. She hadn't thought of the woman in months. Her son? The child that was born that night? No, the child they **gave** her that night.
Scully forced herself to move over to the table. She closed her eyes for an instant, then steeling herself, pulled the sheet back. The baby looked asleep, his eyes closed, but pale. She had to lean against the metal table for support when her knees threatened to buckle. Her hand shook slightly as she touched his hair.
She jumped as the doors opened and Gary, the technician hurried in. "Dr. Scully, I'm sorry. I was supposed to be watching for you. AD Skinner called. You're not to do this autopsy."
"I'm not sure. The assistant director is on his way. I'm sorry, I just stepped into the men's room - "
"That's okay. I want to do a visual exam anyway."
"I heard them say he was murdered." Gary offered.
"Murdered?" She looked up at younger man. "Why is the FBI involved?"
Gary shrugged as she pulled on her gloves. She carefully and gently began her exam. When she saw the wound on the back of the child's neck and the blood crusted around it, she couldn't move.
"Damn, that looks like, like an ice pick wound." Gary moved in for a closer look. "Why the hell would someone use an ice pick to murder a baby like this?" Gary looked up at her and she forced herself to clamp down on her emotions.
She didn't answer him, but began looking at the rest of the child's body. No bruises, but his hand was injured. It looked burnt, not with fire, more like acid. That made no sense.
"Agent Scully." The deep voice reverberated in the large room.
She took a deep breath and turned to look at AD Skinner. She hadn't even heard him enter she'd been so intent on the child. "Yes sir."
"Did you not get my message?" He looked over at the technician, who actually quailed at the look Skinner shot him.
"I, I told her - "
"Gary informed me you didn't want me to do an autopsy. I haven't. I've been doing a visual exam." She stood her ground, looking up at the bald man. This was her territory, and she could sense he didn't like being here.
"This is not your case." He didn't look at the small body, focusing instead just to the right of her face.
"Gary, could you excuse us please?" She turned to the young man, who nodded and made good his escape without another word. Once the door closed behind him, she turned back to Skinner. "Why not?"
"I am aware of your . . . connection to the victim's mother and - "
"And I have a son nearly the same age. That only makes me more invested in finding out - "
"Dana, no." He glanced over at the baby, then away.
"You know what killed this baby, don't you?" Skinner wouldn't meet her eyes. "I'm curious about this burn."
"Scully - "
"Do you know anything about this burn?" She pressed.
"Let's get out of here, Scully." He reached for her arm.
"And give them a chance to make the body disappear?" Her voice shook with scorn. "Just a minute." She quickly took a swab of the inside of the baby's cheek, then as Skinner watched, two more.
"What are you doing?"
"Gathering evidence." She said shortly. The first swab she labeled with the child's name. The second with a different name, and the third she pocketed. Skinner kept his mouth shut.
She placed the second swab in with the work from another case, then finally allowed Skinner to lead her from the room.
"What do you know?" She rounded on the man once they were in her office, folding her arms across her chest as she leaned against the desk.
"Scully . . . " He sank into her visitor's chair. "You shouldn't be involved here."
"Why are you?"
"Kidnapping." He said shortly. "The baby was taken from his day care. We were called in yesterday evening. The body was found by a homeless man. There was no ransom."
"You know what was used to kill him."
Reluctantly Skinner nodded.
"What about the burn."
Skinner sighed. "When the call came in, there were two bodies."
"Two? Where's the - "
"When the police arrived, that baby was there, but next to him was a pile of green goo."
Scully gasped, "The burn."
"The people that did this didn't know he was human." She glanced around her office, but she wasn't seeing it. "They didn't realize. Oh my god." She sank into the chair beside Skinner.
"John's checking. He's been to the site where the body was recovered, and the daycare. Scully, you're not on the X-Files. This could be . . . dangerous for your family."
"Of course it could!" She shot back at him. "Were you going to keep us in the dark about this?"
"John's running the investigation. He . . . he recognized the name."
"You know Mulder and I are the only ones with any experience - "
"Mulder is not in the FBI. If he - "
"We know how to keep a low profile, but we have to be in the loop on this. Someone killed Mary Hendershot's son, thinking he was extraterrestrial."
Skinner winced, but didn't correct her.
"You know I don't think that is the child that Mary gave birth to that night. I'm sure the baby was switched. That's why I took the samples. I need to run DNA on them. If I can prove that he isn't Mary's biological child . . . "
"If you draw attention to this you could be drawing attention to Will, too."
"And if I ignore it?" Her eyebrow was high and her look mother-fierce.
"Damn, I hate this." Skinner shook his head.
"Yes sir. I need to talk to Mulder. As soon as possible."
Skinner nodded. "Mulder's armed, isn't he?"
She hesitated, then nodded.
"Good. I'll, I'll have Doggett contact you."
"Does Mary know . . . " She glanced toward the morgue.
"She identified the body this morning."
Scully's eyes closed. She felt physical pain at what Mary had endured. She knew that pain--Emily. She opened her eyes to a look of sympathy on Skinner's face. "I'm fine, Sir."
"Right. Go on home. If anyone asks, I've got you on a consultation."
She opened the special lock and let herself into their apartment. She hadn't called, they were careful about things like that.
"Mulder, it's me." She saw him then, at the door to the hall. He lowered the gun to his side.
"Geez, Scully. You're early." He caught her expression then, "What? What's wrong?"
"I never told you about Mary Hendershot."
"Damn it Scully! You could have been hurt, you could have lost . . . " He was on his feet now, pacing.
She sat quietly, watching him. She'd expected this reaction. She purposely had not told him about this. He had enough guilt over what she had gone through in her pregnancy before she got him back, not to mention his distance at the beginning.
After a few minutes his voice trailed off and he looked at her. "Okay, what happened? You didn't come home early and decide to lay this on me for no reason."
She sighed, "No, I didn't. The child that Mary has raised was kidnapped sometime yesterday from his day care. His body was found last night. He, he'd been killed by what looks like a wound from an ice pick."
Mulder stood there, waiting.
"In the back of the neck."
His eyes widened and he sank down next to her on the couch. "Scully?"
"The original call to 911 said there were two bodies, but when they arrived, there was just the baby I saw, and a pile of green goo."
"The baby, the human baby, had burns on his hand where it was lying in this goo when the police arrived."
Mulder was silent at that. He knew she believed now, but to hear her say it out loud like that was still enough to make him pause.
"We need to prove that he wasn't Mary's biological child." She withdrew the sample from her pocket. "Think the guys could run this? Even if the evidence makes it to the lab, I'm not sure we can trust them."
He couldn't stop the twitch to his lips. "I have dragged you to the dark side."
"Full time, Mulder." The smile faded quickly from her face.
She opened her mouth to give him her normal answer, then paused. She shook her head. "That baby, seeing him like that . . . "
He pulled her to him, holding her now. The feeling of security was missing from the apartment now. The sage green walls were no longer relaxing, the homey furniture that they had chosen together less omfortable. He felt her head turn to look toward the nursery where their own son was napping. "You know they can't touch Will. Scully, we can keep him safe. "
"Yes. I can be here with him. I - "
"Not twenty-four hours a day. You have work to do, critical work. Mulder - "
His lips silenced her. "Don't borrow trouble. We're forewarned, and you weren't part of the group that this Mary and her friend were in. We know he's ours."
She nodded then, only Monica had touched Will besides herself before Mulder arrived. Will hadn't been out of their sight while they had both been examined. She shuddered slightly at the memory and his arms tightened around her.
She sighed, "I need to get a sample of Mary's DNA, but I don't want her to know. If I prove that child wasn't her son, I'm not sure we should even tell her."
Mulder hesitated, then nodded. "We don't have to make that decision now."
"John's handling the investigation. I'll see what he thinks. I want to go with John to talk to Mary."
She looked up at Mulder. He didn't often attempt to give her orders, but that was definitely an order. "Not as an investigator, Mulder. We have a connection. I was there when her child was born."
"That connection is the reason you can't get anywhere near her or this investigation. That's why Skinner wouldn't let you do the autopsy, right?"
"I know." She closed her eyes for a beat, then met his eyes and let him see that she understood. "John can handle it." She admitted, "I . . . I hurt for her."
"I know." He drew her closer, giving her what comfort he could.
Doggett took a sip of his coffee as he turned from the lunch cart.
He turned, juggling his sandwich, to see Agent Farah beside him. "Joe, what's up?"
Joe fell in beside him. "I hear you drew that case with the murdered baby."
"Yeah." John watched him, for some reason uncomfortable by the agent's presence. "Nasty stuff."
Joe nodded and took a sip of his own coffee. "You gonna have Scully do the autopsy?"
John struggled to keep his face impassive. People didn't ask him about Scully often. He immediately went into auto-protect mode. "No. Not on this one."
"I thought you asked for her on all your X-Files."
John forced a chuckle, "Yeah, but this isn't an X-File. It's a kidnapping gone bad. And, I may be old fashioned, but she's got a kid now. I couldn't ask her, I wouldn't ask any woman to do it, but don't repeat that. I'd rather have Winters for this one."
After a moment Joe nodded. "Well, good luck with the case."
"Yeah, thanks." John watched the agent walk off. That was . . . unsettling.
Skinner needed to know about this.
Skinner tapped on the door and Mulder checked the peephole, then let the man in.
"Sorry for just showing up. Is Scully here?"
Mulder nodded, "Yeah, is something . . . " He stopped. "Want a beer?"
"Yeah, that'd be good."
Mulder moved toward the kitchen, stopping to flip on the CD player on his way. Scully came out of the bedroom and moved toward the music, then spotted Skinner. Mulder came back out of the kitchen then, with three bottles of beer in his hand. Scully met his eyes, and didn't turn the music down.
She sat on the couch and Skinner sat beside her, taking two beers and handing her one. Mulder took the seat closest to the speaker. He looked the question at Skinner.
The older man sighed. "John got some of Ms. Hendershot's DNA." He spoke in a monotone, quiet and low. He pulled an envelope from the inside pocket of his suit coat.
Scully took it and opened it. Several brunette hairs rested inside.
"What happened?" Mulder asked, also quietly.
"It may not mean anything."
Mulder's look needed no explanation.
"John came to me." Skinner hesitated. "He, um, he had an encounter today with Agent Farah."
Mulder looked over at Scully and shrugged. "I don't know him. I mean, I know his face, but I've never worked with him."
"Neither have I." Scully turned back to Skinner.
"John has. On the Haskell case."
Mulder and Scully exchanged looks. "I knew someone would notice the death and connect it to you, but that didn't take long." Mulder sighed. "What did John say?"
"That it wasn't an X-File, and he wasn't going to ask Scully to do the autopsy because of her own baby."
Mulder looked over at her, but she didn't even protest. Hell, it did sound like something Doggett could say and get away with to another male agent. He could see Scully's mind going into high gear. He waited.
"Mulder, the people that took Mrs. Haskell's baby and Mary's knew that the children exchanged were human. They wouldn't make a mistake like this. Whoever murdered that baby didn't expect there to be a body to be investigated. Maybe they saw the first child start to . . . to melt," she suppressed a shudder. "They just assumed that the second baby would . . ." She couldn't finish that sentence, looking down at her hands, watching them clutch one another She didn't need to finish the sentence; Mulder understood..
"So someone else knows about this and is what, cleaning up the mess?"
She looked up, a spark of anger in her eyes, "Mess?"
"Sorry." His voice was soft.
She deflated immediately. He wasn't being insensitive. "How soon can the guys get the information?"
"I'll get the hairs to them tomorrow. It'll take a couple of days. Scully, you already know what they're going to find."
After a moment she met his eyes and nodded. "So what do I do? How do we find out who killed that baby? How do we keep Will safe?" Her voice shook slightly on that.
They all jumped when they heard Will's cry from down the hall. Mulder rose, "I'll get him."
Scully nodded as Skinner watched him disappear. "Dana, do you have any ideas? Who was there that night, at the hospital?"
"The doctors that met us when we arrived . . . I just don't know. The man that took us from the hospital was that friend of John's, Knowle Rohrer. He knew the truth; he wouldn't have had any reason to kill the child. He's the one that knocked me out to keep me out of the way."
Skinner nodded, then saw Mulder frozen in the doorway with Will in his arms.
"He did what?" Mulder voice sounded strangled, he had heard her last words to Skinner. She sighed, so much for glossing over some of the story.
"Let me have him." Skinner stood and moved to Mulder, reaching for the boy.
The baby recognized his Uncle Skinner and smiled, accepting Skinner's arms around him. Another facet of this new life Mulder was getting used to; big bad Baldy, playing Grandpa and cuddling their son.
"I thought I'd try a bottle." Mulder managed to say. Scully nodded, she loved nursing the baby, but with Skinner there she wouldn't be comfortable, not to mention him. Besides, there was a stash of her milk in the refrigerator for the mornings Mulder kept Will. "I'll get it." Mulder looked over at Scully, his eyes telling her their conversation wasn't over, then turned toward the kitchen.
When Mulder left the room, Skinner looked over at Scully. "You didn't tell him that part?"
Scully looked down at her hands. "I should have."
"Yes. You can't keep things from him, Dana. He needs to know what happened while he was gone. Even the bad stuff."
Skinner looked down at the baby in his arms and smiled. Will's answering smile warmed him. He'd never had children, never thought about them really. And definitely hadn't suspected how much love a child could inspire, even in him.
Scully watched the two, a slight smile on her face. "He's growing so fast. He looks more like Mulder every day." Will's eyes were darkening now, turning hazel like his father. Scully was aware that Mulder was sorry about that, but to her those were the most beautiful eyes in the world. Seeing a small duplicate of her love was perfect for her.
She looked up and found Mulder was standing in the doorway watching her with an intensity that made her shiver. When he realized she had seen him, Mulder stepped into the room and reached for his son.
"Let me." Skinner took the bottle from Mulder. Skinner studied Mulder's expressionless face for a moment, then gestured with the bottle toward the kitchen. "Why don't you two take a minute, we'll be okay out here." He looked back down at the boy and ignoring the two adults, began feeding him.
Scully rose and moved past Mulder into the kitchen. He followed, obviously unhappy. "Mulder, I'm sorry - "
"You're sorry? You didn't tell me the man assaulted you. My god, you were pregnant, you'd just had an amniocentesis."
She nodded, "It's history, Mulder. I made a mistake but I wanted to help Mary. I didn't know how far it extended. I should have. Yes, I put the baby and myself in danger, I - "
At the word 'danger' he moved toward her and clutched her to his chest. "And I wasn't here to protect you."
Her arms went around him, comforting and taking comfort.
"What else don't I know about that time, Scully?" He murmured into her hair.
She looked up at him with the tremulous smile. "We can't keep Skinner here all night. After he leaves, we can talk."
"I want to know every case, every detail." His finger traced her cheekbone.
"You really do know everything, Mulder."
He shook his head, "You think you're protecting me, shielding me, like you did when I first returned. I don't need that, Scully. I have to know **everything**."
"I threw a glass of water in John's face." She offered.
"That's right," he managed a small smile, "Even the good stuff."
Scully looked up as she heard Mulder enter the apartment the next afternoon. He came into the kitchen and she moved into his arms. He kissed her thoroughly, letting his hands cup her ass as he looked around for Will.
"We ran some errands today; he was late going down for his nap. What's this?" She looked at the file he'd dropped on the table.
"Personnel changes at the Walden-Freedman Army Research Hospital over the last year." Mulder handed her the folder.
"How did you - " She saw the quirk to his lips. "Right, never mind. Anything interesting?"
"Fascinating actually. I'm glad I'm not in charge of keeping up with the benefits records over there. The turn-over would kill me."
Scully moved to the table and spread out the information. "Dr. Miryum, transferred . . . this was two days after I was there." She sank into a chair.
"It was a busy day." Mulder watched her as she scanned the materials.
"Gretchen Dunstall." She looked up at Mulder, who nodded. "Hospitalized where?"
He grinned; it had taken her no time to spot it. "A psychiatric hospital in Northern Virginia. Seems she had a breakdown that night. Do you remember the name?"
She shook her head, looking back at the material.
"She was a nurse, worked with Dr. Miryum and some of the other doctors that were moved out."
"A nurse? There was a nurse with me when they did the amnio. I didn't pay any attention to her nametag."
"Would you remember her face?"
"Maybe." She hedged; her mind had been on other things that night.
"Okay, I'm working on that." Mulder took a seat beside her. "John says the kidnapper was a woman. The day care is high security, but a strange woman entered with another mother. The mother who held the door for her assumed she was a new mother, they exchanged a few words. That happens all the time. Apparently she turned toward the infant wing, so it didn't seem out of the ordinary. Nobody realized he was gone until Mary came to pick him up. A lot of parents come and go at that time."
"I assume there was a security camera." She looked up at him.
"Lots of them. John's got the tapes, but the 'security procedures' were pretty much an exercise. I guess the people that worked there didn't really think this kind of thing would really happen. They reuse the tapes day after day, so we've got our fingers crossed that what we need is there and not too degraded."
Scully nodded. "Mulder, what do they say caused her breakdown that night? Was it my results?"
"No. No, Scully, this isn't about Will. We don't know for sure where the . . . the baby Mary had was taken, but why not back to the hospital? It's military and it was close. Maybe this Gretchen saw, or heard, more than she could take."
Scully nodded slowly. "Is she still hospitalized?"
"Nope. Got out last week." His smile was grim.
"You're looking for a picture? We could - " she stopped at the look on his face, "**John** could show it at the day care, compare it to the video."
"We should have it tomorrow. And Byers thinks he'll have the information about the DNA results tomorrow too."
He came out of the bathroom in his shorts and paused. She was sitting in the bed, with the file propped up against her knees. She was wearing a tank top and had the sheet up over her legs, and she was wearing her glasses, going over the information again. She looked as young as that day so long ago when she'd entered his office. It felt so right to have her in their bed.
Their bed. They had kept her bed from her old apartment. He'd slept in it with her and without her. With her was better.
He joined her on the bed, bouncing it slightly. "Find anything?"
She let her head fall back against the headboard and removed her glasses, rubbing her nose. "No."
"Come 'ere." He pulled her to him and began massaging her shoulders.
"What do we know, Mulder?"
"That we can prove? Not much. We think the doctors at the Research Hospital were in on it, but they could have been transferred out to keep them from learning anything new. Gretchen's records are out of reach, so far."
"Dr. Parenti was involved."
Mulder's hands halted for a moment. "Yeah. Why was Mary seeing him?"
"The same reason I did. She wasn't in a committed relationship and she wanted a child."
His arms slipped around her. "You were in a committed relationship."
She turned around to see his face. "Yes, but I hadn't allowed myself to know it."
Mulder nodded then.
"He had my ova, Mulder. He had custody of . . . how do I know he was even using my ova for me when we tried the in-vitro, or that he hadn't tampered . . ."
"Scully." His arms tightened. "We don't have to worry about that. Will was conceived by us, with no tampering. You know that, it accounts for a lot . . ."
"What if, what if he used them, my ova? What if there are other babies like, like Emily?"
He closed his eyes and rocked her. He had no reassurances for her or him, but they both needed to relax. Will would be awake soon enough. He moved his hands back to her shoulders and massaged them gently, but very shortly he had moved lower.
"Mulder, my breasts aren't tense."
"Of course not, I take very good care of them." He let his finger trace her nipple.
She reached behind her, "Speaking of tense . . ."
"And getting tenser by the minute." He nuzzled her neck.
"Then I should probably massage it." Her hand tightened and whatever he'd been about to say turned into a groan.
She turned to face him again and her eyes brightened at the expression of love and desire on his face. She hooked her fingers in the elastic of his boxers and tugged them down. He moved in cooperation at the right moment and she slipped them off him. She dropped them on the floor while appreciating the scenery revealed. When she felt his hands at her own waistband, she helped him strip her last garment off.
She sat on his abdomen, letting his cock press against her ass as she leaned forward to lick his nipples. He watched her and marveled that she would allow him to move things in another direction so much easier now.
Then without warning, she rose and impaled herself on him. He gasped, and struggled to keep some control. His eyes narrowed. "Dangerous Scully."
Her grin was evil. "Johnson didn't seem to mind, besides I thought you wanted a massage." His eyes widened as she proceeded with her plan to drive him over the edge.
She rose, as though to leave him, but his hands closed on her hips and brought her back to him, even deeper. She caught herself with her hands on his shoulders, her lips twitching. "Oh, you want me to continue?"
He growled, and she relented. Her thumbs caressed his nipples as he set the pace, never allowing her to leave his body completely. She leaned forward slightly to bring him in harder contact with her clit and her eyes widened. He grinned, knowing what was coming and tightened his grip to support her. He moved as well, changing the angle slightly and saw her eyes grow round as her breathing caught. "Come for me, Baby." He whispered as she tightened around him. He held on for a moment, watching the blush add pink to her breasts and nipples. His eyes met hers and the love he saw there overwhelmed him. He poured his essence into her, sealing their bond once more. Her cry of delight drew a chuckle from deep within his chest as he rolled to his side and tugged her up against him.
Mulder stepped away from the desk and Langly, and grabbed the ringing phone from his coat pocket. "Mulder."
"Mulder, where are you?" Doggett's voice was tense.
"John? I'm with . . . what's wrong?"
"My man tailing Dunstall lost her."
"Where?" Mulder bit out the word.
"She was in Georgetown. Isn't this the morning Scully's home with Will?"
"Yeah." A feeling of dread washed over Mulder. The worry in John's voice didn't help.
"I'm on my way over. I don't know that's where Gretchen's headed, but - "
"I'm closer. I'll meet you there." The look on his face brought Langly to attention.
"Mulder, you need anything?" Langly asked quickly, Byers and Frohike looked up from across the room.
"I need to get home." Mulder was already running before he hit the street.
"Okay, Will, dishes are done, now we can change your sheets, then give you a bath. Want to get in the tub?"
He babbled at her, thoroughly enjoying the conversation. She tucked her hair behind her ears and lifted him from his seat. She carried him to his bedroom and sat him in his bouncy chair while she stripped the sheet from the crib. She jumped slightly as the Pooh and Tigger mobile began moving. She wanted to believe she had brushed against it, but she knew better. Will was moving it again. She found herself wishing Mulder were there. Strange things weren't as frightening when he was holding her. She hurried to remake the bed and tossed the used sheet in the basket. She'd do the laundry when Will went down for his nap.
The mobile slowed and stopped as she turned and he focused on her. "Bath time Willie Winkie." She cuddled his precious body against hers and hummed to him as they moved to the bathroom.
She lay him on the rug and began running the bath for him, then secured the rubber feet of his seat in the tub. She stripped the boy and lifted him into the tub. He wasn't quite sitting up alone, but with the yellow ring around his waist, he could lean forward and reach the water. He immediately began to splash and babble even more excitedly. Mulder was confident that he'd be a competitive swimmer soon. She wasn't going to dispute it.
She washed him; his hair was coming in thick and dark with beautiful red highlights when the sun hit it just right. Her own miniature Mulder. They played for a few minutes, then she lifted him kicking and chortling from the tub. She lay him on the towel and put on his diaper.
Scully had left the bathroom door open, so she heard the lock on the front door disengage. "Daddy's home early." She smiled down at the boy and his answering smile caused her heart to clutch. **They** had done this, they had created this much love. She wrapped the towel around Will and held him to her chest.
She walked out to the living room, and heard him in the kitchen. "Mulder, I think you're right about those swimming lessons. He loves - "
Scully froze as the woman stepped into sight from the kitchen. "Gretchen." The word was only a breath, but the woman heard her.
"You know me. You know why I'm here. Give 'it' to me." Gretchen stepped toward Scully. Scully retreated holding Will closer to her. He began to fuss, whining but thank goodness not throwing a fit as he had with Kersh.
"Gretchen, you're wrong. My son is human." Scully realized her gun was in the bedroom. Why the hell was she not wearing her gun? Why should she have felt she was safe just because she was in her own home?
The woman blinked, her hand coming up, displaying the ice pick she held. "You were there, you saw, you **know**. We have to kill them, get rid of them."
"Gretchen, I don't know what you saw, but I wasn't part of it. My son wasn't born there and he wasn't 'exchanged'. Only the woman that delivered him, his father and I touched him. This is the baby I gave birth to, I swear."
"You were Dr. Parenti's patient. I saw that on your chart."
"He was involved?" Scully asked quietly, she needed to engage Gretchen, get her to talk.
"I didn't know it, not until that night. He's gone, and Dr. Miryam, all the others. But I saw what they brought back after you took that woman out. I wasn't supposed to, but I did. They didn't see me, but I saw them, I saw **it**."
"Gretchen, why do you want to kill the babies that aren't . . . aren't like what you saw?"
"They can, can change." Gretchen shuddered and looked away; her knuckles went white around her weapon.
Scully looked down at the ice pick, but Will was in her arms. She couldn't rush the woman, but if she could keep her talking . . .
"They dissolve." Gretchen said with wonder, "You can't tell until you puncture their neck. But I saw what happened."
"Who, who was the other baby? The one with Mary's son?"
Gretchen looked up at her, her eyes narrowed. "Why do you care?"
"Mary's baby was human. He didn't dissolve."
Gretchen blinked at her obviously caught off guard by that information. Emotions warred on her face for a moment, then she straightened her shoulders. "Mistakes may be made, but we have to kill them. The little ones that are human are innocent, they'll go to heaven. The others, they're not human and they have to be destroyed. Give 'it' to me."
She moved toward Scully again. "Gretchen, we're on the same side. I don't want aliens here either, but you can't do it this way. Let me help you. Tell me where you found the other baby. Tell me what you know." Thank God she hadn't come in earlier while Will was playing with the mobile. Seeing that would have completely deranged the woman.
Gretchen didn't speak, but took a step closer, her grip tightening on the ice pick in her hand.
"He's not an 'it', Gretchen. He's a boy, a human boy." Scully pleaded, bouncing Will slightly to calm him.
"You can't be sure, not if Dr. Parenti was involved. Give 'it' to me!"
"Is that how you found the other baby? Did Dr. Parenti deliver him? Please Gretchen, let me help you."
Gretchen's arm came out to take Will. Scully retreated.
"I'm not giving you my baby." She couldn't turn her back on the woman, but that meant that Will was between them. Her arms tightened around the boy as his agitation grew. She glanced down and Gretchen lunged toward her.
Scully jerked away, but the point of the ice pick caught her left arm. Will howled in fury. She felt the wetness on her shirt and realized she was bleeding, but the pain didn't register. Will was in danger.
She couldn't let Gretchen close enough to touch him, not while she was holding that ice pick. Even if Will could protect himself, the woman was armed and who knew if he could injure her as he had Rankin. She couldn't chance it, not with her precious baby.
She darted to the right, toward the bedroom, clutching Will desperately. The woman was insane; she'd seen things she couldn't accept. Scully knew if she didn't get to her gun, she and Will were in terrible danger.
Gretchen moved with her, blocking her. "Give 'it' to me and I won't hurt you. We have to kill them, we can't let them live!"
"You're not hurting my baby!" Scully screamed in Gretchen's face, causing her to fall back a step.
Scully heard the door burst open behind her, but she didn't dare turn away to look. Gretchen glanced at the door, then lunged at Scully again, the ice pick raised to slam into whatever she could reach.
The sound of the gunshot, so close to her ear, froze Scully. Gretchen cried out as she was slammed into the door frame. Blood blossomed on the arm holding the ice pick. "No! We have to save ourselves! We have to kill them!" She crumpled to the floor, clutching her arm and crying.
Scully felt Mulder directly behind her. "Scully."
"We, we're okay." His arm went around her, keeping her on her feet as he touched the blood on her arm.
They both saw Gretchen stagger back upright and Mulder raised his gun to warn her off, shoving his two loves behind him. The sound of a second gunshot caused Mulder to jerk violently as blood and tissue blossomed on the wall behind Gretchen, spattering him lightly. The woman was dead, her brains now decorating the pale green paint.
Mulder and Scully both turned, stunned, toward the door, in time to see Agent Farah lower his gun. Before they could speak, they heard racing footsteps and Doggett appeared in the door, his chest heaving.
He stopped beside Farah, taking in the scene. "I heard the shots. Are you okay?" He was looking at Scully. She nodded as Mulder holstered his weapon and took both Scully and Will into his arms. He sat Scully on the couch, not attempting to take Will from her.
"Can you get me a towel?" He aimed the question at Doggett, but didn't look away from Scully.
John hurried to the bathroom and returned with a towel, then pulled out his cell phone. He placed a quick call to 911. It was obvious that Gretchen was dead, but Scully's arm needed attention.
"Joe," Doggett finally acknowledged the other agent. "What are you doing here?" He noted that the agent had remained at the door, not coming inside, not getting close to Will.
"I heard your suspect had slipped her tail."
"So what brought you to our apartment?" Mulder's voice was steady, but it was obvious he was shaken.
Farah shrugged, "Just a hunch, Mulder. It's a good thing I got here when I did. She was coming at you."
Mulder nodded, but didn't speak. He'd had his gun out and the woman was injured. Farah had been sent here to kill Gretchen. Mulder had no doubt of that.
"I'll wait for the ambulance downstairs," Farah offered. He glanced once more at the boy, who hadn't taken his eyes from him since Farah had made his presence known. Farah's face was carefully bland, but Will continued to just stare, tears dry now.
"Yeah, thanks." Doggett nodded, watching Mulder. When Mulder made no further comment, Farah left the apartment.
Doggett closed the door behind him, then turned to the two people holding their son. "What the hell happened here?"
Mulder spread the blanket out near a clump of trees and helped Scully to sit on it, then sat Will beside her. The sun was warm, but the fall nip in the air couldn't be ignored. Will immediately reached for a brilliant red leaf that was drifting down toward him. Scully was wearing a light jacket, mostly to cover the bandage on her left arm. Mulder stood as a sentry, not looking the least casual despite his clothes, hovering over his charges.
"Mulder, please, sit with us."
He looked down and after another look around, forced himself to sit on the blanket with her. He didn't relax his observations and she didn't call him on it. When John and Monica approached them, Mulder stood again.
They were dressed in jeans as well, as though a couple taking a walk. Monica joined Scully and Will on the blanket. She tickled Will and grinned as he laughed and clutched at her hand.
"How are you, Dana?" She finally looked over at Scully.
"I'm fine, really." Scully glanced up at Mulder; his face was carefully blank.
Doggett looked at Mulder, "Farah's gone, vanished. He hasn't been seen since he left your apartment. His place is empty."
Mulder met Scully's eyes but didn't comment.
"I don't understand!" Doggett exploded. "The man wasn't involved in the investigation; there was no reason for him to have been at your place."
"Farah's an alien, like Rankin." Mulder spat. "That's why he didn't come inside the apartment. He didn't want to get close to Will. He was there to clean up the Gretchen problem. But his actions brought him out into the open. How many more? Rankin, Livengood, now Farah . . ." He shook his head. His voice was grim and his lips were compressed into a thin line.
"Mulder - " Scully started.
"They wanted to witness Will's birth. They didn't try to take him but if they had, there was nothing you or Monica could have done. They were watching us and when Gretchen broke in, they came to your rescue. They also happened to get rid of a witness before we could find out what she saw, who the second baby was, how she got a key that would work at our apartment, and anything else." His fury and frustration were obvious. "The records of Gretchen's therapy sessions are gone. They were cleaning up someone they missed. They hadn't realized what Gretchen knew, and Scully and Will were protected by their interests."
Monica looked back and forth between Mulder and Scully. She couldn't dispute Mulder's claims. "So what are we going to do?"
Scully looked down at Will, then up at Mulder. Their eyes locked on each other. Nothing was said, but after a moment, Mulder relaxed.
"We need to get Will home, Mulder."
He nodded and helped her to her feet, then forestalled her by picking up Will himself. Monica rose and shook out the blanket.
"We'll do what we always do." Mulder's arm went around Scully and he cuddled Will against him. "Stay in touch guys."
Mulder and Scully walked toward their car.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.