Reunion (3/?) PG-13

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Scully -


She woke the next morning knowing where they needed to go.  She jumped out of bed and took a couple of steps before the nausea hit her.  She made it to the bathroom before she got sick, then sat weakly on the floor for several long minutes.  Maybe this was an ear infection, the dizziness, the nausea.  She had no fever and her ears didn’t hurt but maybe a sinus infection.  Aliens affecting her chip was a possibility but even now she instinctively fought that.  Yes, she needed to take the time to check herself out, but right now there was just too much to do.


Feeling somewhat better she emerged and was pleased to see that no one had heard her.  She headed for the kitchen where she heard activity.


“I know where we need to go.”


Frohike and Byers turned to look at her.  “What?”


“I know a place, in Virginia.  Have you heard of Millboro?”


Both men shook their heads.


“There’s a resort there, a lodge with outlying cabins.  It was billed as rustic luxury.  There were fireplaces in the rooms, a woodstove in the main room and I believe in the kitchen.  It had these hand pumps for water.  They had all the luxuries, microwaves, VCRs, running water, but they also had these ‘back ups’ if you really wanted to rough it.”


“When were you there?”


“A few months ago.  Mulder and I questioned the owner about an X-File.”


“Did you stay there?” Frohike asked, confused.


She looked up surprised, “No, the Bureau would never pay for some place like that.  Besides it was close enough to come on home.”


“How far?”


“A couple of hundred miles.”


“Couple’a hundred?” Langly stared at her.  “We have to walk it, remember?”


“We can ride bikes,” Frohike offered and Langly glared at him.


“What about supplies?” Byers asked the group in general.


“We’ll have to take some with us,” Scully said firmly.  “But if there really are no other people, we’ll be able to find plenty of food for now.  What we won’t have is fresh food.  That’s one of the reasons we need to go.  We’ll be able to plant a garden there in the spring.  We should be able to . . . to live there,” she finished lamely.


Byers nodded.  “You’re right.  We need a place like that.  Frohike, do we have any maps?”  He'd taken over the conversation and Scully looked at him with gratitude.


Frohike found the maps and they spread them over the table.  “We need to get over to 81.  We don't have to stay on major highways, we can go the straightest route, but head that way.  There’s likely to be traffic jams if people just got out and then . . . vanished, but with bikes we should be okay.”


“How many supplies to do you think we can carry on our backs while we’re pedaling?  This is insane!” Langly waved his arm toward the window.  “For all I know, we’re all part of a really detailed dream and - Ow!”


Frohike stepped back.  “You still think you’re asleep?”  He pinched his fingers at the taller man who glared at him.  “You know this is real and you know she’s right.  We have to get away from DC.  We live in the middle of a frigging swamp.  Our forefathers were idiots to pick this place.  The amount of ‘yard’ we have wouldn’t grow six stalks of corn and we have to have running water.  If that means hand pumps, then we use hand pumps.  We can’t heat this place any better than we can cool it without power.  Yeah, it’s gonna be a bitch getting there, but if Scully’s right, we've got a better chance at surviving there.”


“There are towns along the way,” Byers spoke up.  “We can pick up what we need; take just what we need for a few days at the time.”


Scully nodded.  "And whatever we take with us will be closer than here if we need to backtrack for it.”  She looked up at John.  “I have to go to my apartment.  There are things there I need.”


“Okay, we’ll head over - “


“No, it’s out of the way.  I’ll go, get the things I need and come back - ”


“No,” Frohike interrupted.  “You’re not going alone.  These two can get things together.  I’ll go with you.”


“Frohike, that’s not necessary.  I’m armed - “


“I will be too.”


“You can shoot?”


“Better than either of these guys.  I’ll tell you about it some time.  We can get over to your place in a day, since we won’t have to take supplies with us.  Coming back might take a little longer.  Guys, I’m thinking no more than three days.  We’ll definitely stay at her place at least one night.”


The other two were nodding even as Scully sputtered her protest.


“Forget it, Dana,” Byers stopped her.  “You’re our responsibility until we hand you back to Mulder.  If that’s offensive, so be it.  I’m all for women’s lib in principal, and you’re undoubtedly the smartest of us, but you’re a woman and physically smaller even with your training.  Later you can train us, but you are not going anywhere alone.”


Scully opened her mouth, but then shut it without a word.  They were wrong, but their hearts were in the right place.  She would need them, and they would need her.  After a moment she nodded.  “We could leave now.”


John looked outside.  It was well before lunch.  “Do you think you can get there before dark?”


"I think so.  We're not taking anything."  Frohike looked over at Scully who nodded.  "Okay, then.  We'll see you guys in a day or two."


He ducked into his room and returned with his revolver.  He checked it to ensure it was fully loaded, then tucked it into the back of his waistband.  Scully watched with no comment.


They picked the best two of the bikes that they had accumulated and stacked near the door to the building and took off.


They saw and heard no one, both keeping their eyes peeled for anything that moved. 


Scully knew she was in pretty good shape despite her current illness and she was mildly surprised at how well Frohike was doing.  She was fighting exhaustion and she knew Frohike had noticed.  It was still light when they got there.  Frohike helped her off her bike and supported her to the door.


"We need to get the bikes inside."


"I'll do that after you lie down.  Don't - " he interrupted her when she opened her mouth to protest.  He led her to the bedroom and yanked down the covers as she kicked off her shoes.  She was asleep before he left the room.


It was dark when she woke confused.  Home?  Had it been a dream? She reached for Mulder, but his side of the bed was empty.  Not a dream.  Damn.  Slowly she sat up, testing for dizziness.  She was okay.  She headed for the living room and found Frohike in the kitchen.  There were candles burning on her coffee table and kitchen table.




"Hi, you okay?"


"Yes.  I guess the ride took more out of me than I thought.  What are you doing?"


"Well, I started packing for you.  I've cleaned out the refrigerator and freezer.  I made dinner with what was left."


"You didn't have to - "


"Not a problem, Scully.  I took all of your personal pictures out of their frames as well.  I've put them in a file, lighter to transport.  I found your stash of matches and candles and put them in bag with the stuff I took out of your bathroom."


She just looked at him, moved and slightly embarrassed at the emotion that was tugging at her.  "Thanks."


He winked at her.


"How are we going to get this stuff back to your place?  I don't have backpacking equipment."


"Oh, while you were busy sawing logs I made some improvements."




He moved past her into the living room and to the front door.  The bikes were now in the hall and attached to the back of each of them was a grocery cart.


"I admit I don't know how it will hold up long term, but it's a start.  It'll slow us down but we can start earlier and take our time.  I did pick the carts with decent wheels to start out with." He grinned at her.


She chuckled as she turned to the kitchen.  She was starving.  The ride had taken a lot out of her and she knew she'd be sore tomorrow, but there was still a lot to do tonight.




The carts worked a lot better than she would have thought.  She hadn't bothered with any of her work clothes, taking her more sturdy clothing, jeans, sweatshirts and boots.  Her winter coat and long underwear also made the cut.  Frohike had packed her medical supplies and spices into bags to ensure nothing would fall through the cart.  They grabbed a few hours sleep but were up and ready to leave before six.


It was chilly which gave her the excuse to wear a few more layers and not bother to take things out of the cart.  They were slower, but not excessively so.  It was early afternoon when they got back to the building. 


They were ravenous and made quick work of the food Byers laid out for them.  The others hadn't been wasting their time, getting as much together in as small a package as they could.  Seeing Frohike's new invention with the grocery carts sent them both out to acquire more, replacing the two that had taken that day's abuse and loading up the others.


They sent Scully off to bed after a second meal, promising everything would be ready when she woke.  They had no illusions about reaching Millboro in less than a couple of weeks, but they agreed it was time to leave.




Mulder -


Mulder heard the pump action of the shotgun and winced.  They’d missed something in their hurry to get somewhere warm before dark.


“Just hold up there.” The voice was that of an older man. 


Skinner raised one hand, holding the reins with the other.  “We don’t want any trouble.  We were just looking for shelter.  There’s a storm coming.”


“Yeah, there is.”


“We have our own supplies, but we need to get the horses settled.”


The man took a deep breath and lowered his weapon slightly, not releasing his hold on it.  “Take the horses into the barn.  I’ll meet you there.”


Skinner nodded and turned his horse toward the imposing building to his right.  The wind was unforgiving already. Mulder looked back at Patti.  He could feel her shivering with cold even through her heavy clothes.  They rode the horses inside and Mulder lifted Patti down.  She looked exhausted but helped with unloading the horses and picked up a brush for one of the pack horses.


“I’ll do that, Little Miss,” the older man joined them.  He still had his weapon, but he propped it by the door.  “Get yourself inside, Missy.  I’ll help these men.  There’s a good fire going in the woodstove.” 


“Is she safe?”


“Yeah, no one to bother her here.”


Patti looked over at Mulder and after a moment he nodded.  “We’ll see you in just a few minutes.  Don’t worry.”


He didn’t get too close, but he took the fourth horse and after unloading their things, began wiping her down.  “My name’s Hal.”


“Walter Skinner, this is Fox Mulder.”


Mulder nodded but didn’t approach the man.


After all of their practice, the unloading took little time.  The best part was being able to give the horses the feed they so desperately needed.  Mulder looked around the barn.  It was large, but only three horses besides their four inhabited it.


“Before we go inside, I need to know, where did you come from?” Hal watched them.


Skinner looked over at Mulder.  “We were in Bellfleur, Washington when . . .” He shrugged.


“You’ve come a ways.  Seen anyone else?”


Both men shook their heads.  “We found Patti at one of our other stops.  That’s it.  I’m sure there are others, but we didn’t . . .”


Hal shook his head.  “Do you know what happened?”


This time Skinner didn’t look at Mulder.  “Theories.  What did you see?”


“Let’s get inside and warm first.”


“You’ve decided to trust us?”


Hal shrugged.  “You looked after your horses first.” 


Skinner nodded and they followed Hal toward the house.  Patti was watching the door and when she saw Mulder and Skinner entered unharmed she visibly relaxed.  She’d removed her hat and gloves, and unzipped her ski jacket but hadn’t removed it.


“Get comfortable, I’ll get you something warm to eat.”


“Hal, we’re armed.”


His eyes narrowed but he didn’t lift his shotgun back up to aim at them.


“We’re, we were FBI agents.  We were in Washington on a case.”  Skinner offered his shield, one of the few unnecessary items they still carried.


Hal looked it over silently, then looked the two of them over once more.  “What did you see?”


Skinner looked over at Mulder, so Hal followed suit.


“There was a hum, a vibration, did you feel it?”


Hal shook his head.


“It came from the sky.  I didn’t see anything but I, we both heard it.  We saw people run outside to see what was happening and then a bright light was there.  It was painfully bright; we couldn’t see where it came from.  Then it was gone and the other people weren’t there.”


Hal gaped at him then turned back to Skinner for confirmation.


Skinner nodded.  “I started toward it myself.  Mulder stopped me, he saved me.”


Mulder looked over at him startled, but kept quiet.


“What about you?” Skinner asked.


“Let me get the vittles on while we’re talkin’.”  He turned toward the kitchen, but was back quickly with a sauce pan which he placed on the woodstove.  “This’ll get you warmed up,” he said stirring.  “I’m a passin’ fair cook, used to be I went on all the round ups as cook, last couple of years I’ve stayed here but got the supplies together.  Boys said they missed me.”


“Smells good,” Mulder said.


Hal nodded his thanks.  "When it's this cold my guys always wanted chili.  Hope it's not too hot for you, spicy I mean.  We should go ahead and eat the crackers we can before they go stale."


Skinner smiled.  "Won't be too hot for me."  He took a spoonful and closed his eyes in appreciation.


Mulder followed suit.  "Yeah, this is better than anything you cooked," he smiled at Skinner.  Then he looked over at Hal, "What did you see?"


 “I didn’t see anything.  I’d gotten in the supplies for winter and was puttin’ things away.  I was in the root cellar and the dang light went out.  Nothing’s darker than down there when the light goes out.  I fumbled around and found another bulb and changed it.  It didn’t help, so I headed upstairs.”  He fell silent for a moment.  “No one, there wasn’t no one here.  And no one showed up.  Those three horses in the barn were inside, tied up.  Used to be a herd of several thousand cattle on the place.  Don’t know if any of them are still here or not.  I’m not young enough to go lookin’ for ‘em alone.” 


Everyone was silent for a moment, then Hal shook himself.  “Where you headed?”


“DC,” Mulder said quickly.


Washington, DC?  Are you kiddin’?  On horseback?”


“We don’t have a car.”


Hal gave a slight chuckle, “No, guess you don’t.  That’s a far piece and you were right about a storm coming.  You’re welcome to sit it out here.”


“Thank you,” Skinner nodded.


“There’s hot water in the boiler.  I’ve got a hand pump so if you take your time, there’ll be hot water for everyone to wash up.  Little Miss, you could go ahead now.”


“It’s Patti,” she said quietly.


“Miss Patti.  There’re towels in the bath, right through there.”


She looked between Mulder and Skinner, then back to Mulder.  They both nodded to her so she picked up her bag and headed where Hal had pointed.


“Any guess on when we could get moving again?” Mulder asked.


“Nope.  It’ll be several days at least.  We don’t get that much snow, but we get major cold and wind.  Be glad you’re here.  You’d die out there.”


Mulder’s eyes closed.


When Patti was through in the bath, Mulder took his turn.  Patti excused herself and went on to bed, exhausted and wanting to get under the several layers of blankets she’d seen on the bed Hal offered her.


Hal looked over at Skinner.  “His wife in DC?”


“She’s his partner, FBI partner, but yeah.”


Hal nodded.  “He that sure she’s still around?”


“He can’t think anything else.  And to be honest, if anyone could have figured this out and survived, it would be her.  They’ve been together a long time.  He knew immediately what was going on.  She would have recognized it as well.”


“It’s gonna be a while before he sees her again.”


“I know.”




Morning came late; the sky was completely overcast with a freezing mix blowing wildly outside.  Mulder lost the coin toss and went with Hal to the barn to check on the horses.  The wind was making the horses restless, but they had food and water, blankets and clean stalls when the two men bundled back up to return to the house.


Skinner and Patti had a hot breakfast waiting for them when they returned.  After they were finished, Hal leaned back.  “I was thinkin’ about your travel plans.  This time of year I just don’t know how far you could get before the next storm.  You wouldn’t even necessarily find another shelter in a day’s ride.  Like I said, I’d just gotten in supplies for winter.  That’s supplies for the ranch, twenty-five full time hands.  I don’t know if you want to sit out winter here, I don’t know that we could get along, but you might want to think about it.  That little girl couldn’t make it, not this time of year.”


“We could head farther south, it wouldn’t be - "


“There’s no place you can reach on horseback in a couple of days heading south.  With perfect weather, moving at top speed, I’m talking at least a canter the whole way, you might reach the Triple Bar in a day, but that’s heading due north, not east.”


Mulder looked away, so Hal directed his comments to Skinner.  “You can’t count on several days of good weather this time of year and you sure as hel-heck can’t count on finding supplies and shelter.  I’m not holding you prisoner, you do what you need to do, but you’re welcome here.  Personally, I’d like the company; it’s been lonely.  You don’t have to decide today; it’s pretty obvious you’re not leaving now, but I wanted to put it out there for you.”


He rose then and took the dishes into the kitchen to wash.




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