The Next Case (R) - 1/?


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She opened the door to ‘his’ room and looked around.  He was staring up at the ceiling, at the pencils still hanging there.  She waited for her “What’s up, Doc,” but it didn’t come.

 

“Mulder?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Bored?”

 

He turned to look at her and after a moment. “Maybe, why?”

 

She looked at the mark on his forehead, not yet completely healed.  So close, it had been so damn close and here he was ready to charge in again, even if he didn’t admit it.  It had been what he needed, much as she hated to admit that.  She had a fulfilling career now; he needed more than to be here, home alone.

 

She perched against the desk, scanning the wall in front of her.  Samantha’s picture was on the back of the door and out of sight right now.

 

“You enjoyed it, didn’t you?”

 

“What do you want me to say, Scully?  You don’t want me to - “

 

“Hold it.  That’s not what I said.  I said I didn’t want the darkness here in our home.”

 

“With my work, what used to be my work, that was pretty inevitable.”

 

“It doesn’t have to be.  You could investigate . . . other things.”

 

“Like?”  She hesitated so long he sat up, putting his feet on the floor from where they had rested on the desk.  “Scully?”

 

She shook her head, looking at anything but him.  He took her hand, pulling her back to him physically as well as emotionally.  She pulled away and rose from the desk heading for the door.

 

He was on his feet instantly.  His arm went around her waist pulling her to him, her back firmly against his chest.  He leaned around her and seeing that her eyes were closed, said again “Scully?”

 

“William.”  Her voice was so low he thought he’d imagined it for an instant. 

 

He turned her to face him now.  “William?  You, you want me to - “

 

“No, no I don’t.  Forget it.”

 

“Not possible, Scully.  I thought that was out of the question.”

 

“It is, I’m sorry, I - “

 

“How is your patient?”

 

She looked down at her feet.  “It seems to be working.  He's improving.”

 

“And you want to find our son.”

 

“Mulder,” she tried to pull away, but he wouldn’t release her.

 

“He wouldn’t be safe.  Even after all this time, we can’t be sure - “ he started.

 

“I know!  I know, I shouldn’t have said any- “

 

“We couldn’t have him, not with us, but maybe we could know he was safe, happy.”

 

“Stop.”

 

“Scully, where would I start?”

 

She shook her head and pulled away, heading for the kitchen.

 

He followed, invading her space.  What had she been thinking to say that out loud?

 

"Talk to me, Scully."

 

She shook her head and bent down to pull out a skillet.

 

"Scully, stop.  Tell me what you want.  Tell me what you're thinking."

 

"I don't know!"  She turned on him and he actually backed away for an instant.

 

"Scully?"

 

"I, I'm sorry."  Damn, she seemed . . . defeated.  What the hell had he missed?

 

"You've been thinking about it.  Don't shut me out, not about this."

 

"We can't.  You're right, we can't have him.  He'd never be safe.  I just . . . "

 

"How would I go about finding out anything?"

 

Again she shook her head, but said softly, “Skinner.”

 

“Skinner?”

 

“He handled everything.  I couldn’t . . . “

 

He pulled her against him then and held her silently.  They needed words less and less after all this time.

 

*****

 

Mulder opened the door and Kim looked up and blinked.  “Agent, uh, Mr. Mulder.”

 

He grinned.  “Skinman have a minute?”

 

Before she could respond, Skinner stepped out of his office, glowering at Mulder.  “What?”

 

“Just wanted to thank you.”

 

Skinner rolled his eyes but motioned for Mulder to follow him inside his office.

 

“I really do appreciate what you - “

 

“It felt like old times, Mulder.  Scully and me, saving your ass.”

 

Mulder chuckled then and slipped a piece of paper to him over the desk.  Skinner looked down and his eyes widened.

 

Shaking his head, he continued the conversation.  “I hope you’re not here to ask for your old job back.”

 

“No, I don’t think the FBI wants me any more than I want it, but it was interesting working on an investigation again.  Especially an X-File.”

 

“And you’d be available for more X-Files in the future?”

 

“I don’t know.  I think working for myself might be the best for everyone.”

 

Skinner just looked at him then.  Mulder nodded slowly and Skinner’s eyes narrowed.  “Are you sure?”

 

“I might not be successful, but I need to try.”

 

Skinner’s shoulders slumped slightly, but he recognized that look on Mulder’s face.  “What about Scully?”

 

“It was her idea.”

 

Skinner picked up a pen then, and after another moment’s deliberation scribbled something on the paper.  “Be careful.”

 

“Who me?  I always am.”  He grinned at Skinner and took the paper as he rose.  “Don’t want to take up too much of your time.  Again, I want to thank you.”

 

“I hope you still feel that way later.”

 

*****

 

He pulled the paper out of his pocket after he was in the car.  It was the name of an agency, nothing more.  Well, Skinner couldn’t have given him much with both of them being so careful.  Even Skinner hadn’t tried to make him believe there was no reason for such caution.

 

He’d wanted to argue, Mulder could tell, but knowing Scully had instigated the search, he’d given at least a clue.  International World Adoptions.  International?  They hadn’t sent him overseas?  No, no people in America were adopting from all over the world, other countries didn’t send people over to adopt American babies, did they?  Shit. 

 

He headed home, his mind racing.  Now, did he say anything to Scully?  Could he even hide anything from her now?  At least he had a little time; she wasn’t home from the hospital yet.  He got online immediately and began his research.

 

Skinner hadn’t gone far, the main office was in Virginia.

 

*****

 

He’d waited until the end of the day.  Now was the time.  He pushed open the door to the agency.  The receptionist looked up and her eyes widened.  He turned on his most seductive smile and moved toward her.  “Good afternoon.”

 

She nodded, not yet speaking.

 

“My name is Byers.  I was wondering if I could have a minute with Ms. Medford.  I know it’s late in the day, but I’ve driven quite a ways and I only need five minutes.”

 

“I’ll, I’ll check.  Just have a seat.”  She picked up the phone and turned slightly away from him.  “Becky, there’s someone here to see Ms. Medford,” she dropped her voice.  “Get up here and see this guy!”

 

Mulder looked down at the magazine in his hands.  Well, at least he had her in his corner.  Quickly a young woman entered the lobby from the hall to the right.

 

She looked at the receptionist who nodded toward Mulder.  Becky turned toward him and smiled.  “Good afternoon.  Do you have an appointment?”

 

“No, I’m sorry.  But I only need five minutes.  I realize it’s late in the day . . . “

 

“Let me check.  Come on back to my office.”  She glanced over at the receptionist who hit the button to reopen the door to the hall.

 

He followed her.  There were no cameras and most of the doors were open.  They all had small removable plates to the right stating whose office was whose.  There was also a conference room, and what he was looking for - the file room.

 

Becky indicated he should take a seat in the small waiting area of her office and ducked into Ms. Medford’s office.  She returned quickly followed by an older woman with steel gray hair cut in a masculine style.  “I’m Ms. Medford, the director of the agency.  May I help you?” She indicated that Mulder should follow her into the office.

 

“I’m Melvin Byers.”  She took a seat behind the desk and looked up at him. He took the seat in front of the clean surface.  “I understand that my son was placed for adoption by this agency.  I need to know what actions to take to find him.”

 

Her face went impassive at his words.  “I’m sorry, Mr. Byers, but that’s impossible.”

 

“Impossible?”

 

“Yes, sir.  This agency has a well earned reputation for complete privacy.”

 

“I was not consulted when my son was placed for adoption - “

 

“That’s something you need to discuss with the child’s mother, Mr. Byers.”

 

“Funny, she said the same thing about you.”

 

Ms. Medford gave him a tight smile.  “Believe me, I do have sympathy for you, but it is quite impossible for me to give you or anyone any information.”

 

“I have ID - “

 

“I’m sure you do, and I am not doubting your claim of paternity.  That isn’t the issue, Mr. Byers.  I have a duty to protect the child and the child alone.  We do extensive work prior to placing a child and do follow ups for years.”

 

“If I got a court order . . . “

 

Again that tight smile.  “You can certainly try.  Before you spend the money, you might want to see how others attempting the same thing have done.  Please take my assurance that your son is in good hands.  I realize that isn’t enough, but it is all of the information that I can give you.  What I can offer you now, is to take your contact information and when your son turns eighteen the information can be made available to him.  Then if he decides to contact you . . . “

 

“Eighteen?”

 

She nodded quietly.

 

He hung his head, acting the part.  No way was that going to be enough for him.  Scully had asked him to try.  She might not know he had taken up the challenge, but he would do more than that.  “I’ll have to get back to you.”

 

“I understand.  I wish I could do more, but remember we are acting for the benefit of your child.”

 

Mulder didn’t respond, nodding slightly.  She rose and he belatedly stood as well.  She escorted him to the door and out into the hall indicating the door at the far end.  She turned then and moved down the hall in a different direction.

 

He started down the hall after nodding to Becky, then pretended to remember something and turned back.  “I left my umbrella in her office.”

 

“Oh, I can get - “ He pushed the send button on the phone in his pocket and her desk phone rang.

 

He waved and stepped back into the office and picked up the small black umbrella he had purposely left under the chair.  Then he was out again before Becky finished saying ‘hello’ to no one on the other end.  He waved the umbrella at her and moved on down the hall.  When he heard the receiver hit the phone, he pressed the send button again. 

 

There was no one in the hall so he quickened his steps and opened the door to the reception area.  She turned to look at him and smiled.  Again he pressed send, this time on three phones, causing her small switchboard to go crazy.  She whirled away from him and began picking up phones.  He ducked back into the hall and hurried to the file room.  She’d seen him, and with luck she would think he had slipped out while she battled the phones.

 

He ducked into the file room, pushing the door nearly closed.  He turned to look at the room.  Files, lots and lots of files.  Paper-less society, my eye.  He flipped off the light and groped for the first cabinet in the pitched blackness.  He followed it around and down the second corridor formed by the files.  There he squatted down to wait.

 

It wasn’t long.  He heard the door open.  “Well, who knew someone can actually save some electricity.”  She shut the door completely and he heard the lock turn.  There was the sound of feet in the hall now, heading out.  They didn’t seem to be losing any time leaving.

 

Still he waited; someone could still be working.  He waited a full fifteen minutes before approaching the door.  He pulled on his latex gloves and turned on the pen light in his hand, checking the door.  The hall light was out as well and he could hear nothing.

 

He carefully closed the door again, making sure it was locked, then turned on the light.  Damn, he could use Scully on this, but since she was unaware . . . Now, what was the system?

 

He quickly found the files for 2002.  He didn’t know the exact date Scully had turned William over to them.  One of the things they didn’t talk about.  It was just too painful for both of them.  It had been spring; he did know that so he started in March.

 

There were no names on the files, only case numbers, which was going to slow him down.  He let his intuition lead him and he closed the first drawer and opened the second.  He began flipping through the files.  He came to one that was so thin he almost missed it.  He pulled it out and opened it.  There was a picture of a baby, six or so months old, but the name of the mother was also a code.  He flipped through the pages clipped to the file.  It was the word ‘Skinner’ that caught his eye.  They hadn’t bothered to code that. 

 

They obviously had not done the same follow up for him as with other children.  After his placement, there had been nothing more.  So much for his best interest. 

 

They wouldn’t miss this file.  It hadn’t been touched since it had been added to the drawer.  The other files were worn slightly; this one was as crisp as when it was taken from the box.  He wanted to read it, and he wanted to take his time. 

 

He turned to the birth certificate and scanned it.  Father unknown.  He closed his eyes in pain at that.  Even knowing it was for the protection of all three of them didn’t help.  William was his son, despite realities, he wanted the world to know that . . . someday.

 

Wyoming.  He couldn’t move; his son had been sent to Wyoming.  Okay, this information was six years old but he knew something now.  He grasped the cabinet to steady himself.

 

He moved to the computer in the corner and booted it up.  Of course there was a password.  Mulder looked around the desk, finally flipping the mouse pad upside down.  Yep, there it was.  He fed it and then William’s file number into the search block.  Van de Camp.  Oh God, a name.  He felt lightheaded.

 

There was little more information there than in the file, so he pulled up the number referring to Scully.  Her medical records were there but incomplete.  There was no mention of her cancer at all.  Yeah, they did a great job here.  His first impulse was to erase both files, but that might only draw attention to them.  Instead he fed in the last thirty numbers that had been pulled up, burying both of their numbers deep in the memory, then he deleted the memory and the cookies.  He fed back in ten more numbers.  Okay, that should at least make it difficult to recreate, if anyone realized someone had been on the computer. 

 

He powered down and rose.  Tucking William’s file into the back on his slacks, secured by his belt, he adjusted his jacket and moved quickly to the door. 

 

He carefully opened it and looked out.  The only light was the exit sign over the door to the reception area.  He took a deep breath and closed the door, checking to ensure that it was locked, then moved to the exit door in long strides.  There was a light on there, behind the desk, but the room was empty.

 

He wasn’t going to be able to lock the door behind him, but hopefully that wouldn’t be noticed until tomorrow morning.  He lucked out again that no one was in the hall, and he hurried to the stairs.  At each floor he cracked the door to see if there was activity.  He finally found some on the third floor and opened the door, slipping the gloves off and stuffing them into his pocket.

 

He moved to the elevator then and pressed the button to call it.  A couple of women came out of one of the offices and joined him, waiting for the car.  He felt their eyes, but they didn’t speak so he kept quiet as well.

 

All three exited on the first floor and Mulder held the door open for them as they moved out to the sidewalk.  He turned away from them and headed for his car a couple of blocks down.

 

With a little luck, no one would even know he had been in the building.  He’d been careful to leave no trace.

 

*****

 

He looked at the picture from the file again for at least the five hundredth time.  The only pictures of William he’d ever seen were the two that Scully carried.  One was of the three of them together, one of just William and him.  The baby had only been a couple of days old.  Scully had seen him older like this, he never had.

 

He looked up as the alarm chirped.  Scully had opened the gate.  He glanced at the clock.  She was running late and would no doubt be exhausted.  Dinner was ready, thanks to the crock pot.  He headed for the bathroom and turned on the hot water in the tub, then moved to the front door.  He opened it and stood on the porch watching her.

 

“What’s up Doc?”

 

She looked up with a tired smile, climbing the stairs to stand at his side.  She leaned against him, soaking up some Mulder strength before standing upright again and heading inside.

 

“Long day?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Wanna talk about it?”

 

“Sorry.  I’m just so angry at Father Ybarra.  He’s encroaching more and more outside of his area.  He should not be making medical decisions for these children, for this child.  I don’t know why he’s started this.  When I began there, he listened to my diagnoses and theories.  Now, now it’s as though . . . “

 

“As though you’re spooky and he doesn’t want to look too closely at that?”

 

She looked up clearly startled.  “Why do you say that?”

 

“I don’t know.  I was wondering why all the push-back myself.  Does he know about our little jaunt with the FBI?”

 

“How could he?”

 

Mulder looked down at her then and she had the grace to blush.  “It’s been so long, Mulder.  Is that always going to haunt us?”

 

He pulled her against him and her arms went around his waist.  “I’m afraid so, Scully.”

 

She sighed and tightened her hold on him.  “Then it’s a good thing I still have you.”

 

He chuckled and kissed the top of her head.  “Can I get that in writing?”

 

She swatted at his chest as she stepped back.  “Dinner?”

 

“In the crock pot.  Your bath is running now.”

 

She looked up startled.  “Bath?”

 

“Thought you might be tired; you are late.”

 

She let her head fall back against his chest.  “Remind me to thank you later.”

 

“Will do.  Go on.”

 

He watched her walk toward the bathroom, her steps already lighter.  When he’d given her a little time to get settled in the hot water he knocked, but entered the bath without waiting for an invitation.  He handed her a glass of the red wine she liked so much and took a seat on the toilet.

 

“Okay, out with it.  Is there another woman?” she asked, taking a sip.

 

He blinked.  “Excuse me?”

 

“Well, dinner ready, a hot bath, wine?  You’ve obviously done something you think needs forgiveness,” she pinned him with a look and he smiled.

 

“Who me?  Let me know when you’re ready to get out and I’ll dish - “

 

“Just sit here with me for a little while.”

 

“Gladly.”  He moved to the tub then and began rubbing her shoulders, moving farther down with each stroke.  He grinned at the moan she tried to stifle.

 

“I’ll give you an hour to stop that,” she murmured.

 

“Still think there’s another woman?”

 

“Mmm, no.  I’ll repay you later.”

 

“I’m gonna hold you to that.”  He continued his attentions and she lay her head back against him and let the tension of her day disappear. 

 

When the water cooled, she allowed him to hand her out and drape the towel around her, continuing the massage until she was dry.  Then he handed her the white terry cloth robe and opened the door.  She trailed him to the kitchen, still more bemused than anything else, and took the seat he indicated as he took up the salsa chicken and rice.

 

“Eat.  Maybe we can go to bed early,” he winked at her and she chuckled.

 

Whatever had put him in this mood was worth it.  He’d been quiet the past couple of days, so to see him like this was . . . stimulating.

 

They ate, enjoying the quiet, the company until suddenly Scully looked up, her fork dropping into her plate.  “You found him.”

 

“No,” he laid his fork down, “I found a name - “

 

“Mulder!”

 

“I haven’t gone any further.  I wanted to know, for sure, what you wanted.  I can pursue this, but I want us together on it.  Together all the way.  You have to tell me what you feel, not just what you think.  All of it.”

 

Her eyes looked huge in her face, the fear warring with the hope.  What did she want?

 

 

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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.