Simple Choices 11 (PG-13)

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Mulder headed for his car.  It was late and he wanted to be home.  She should already be there, probably still on her feet, cooking or something.  He had his key in his hand, ready to open the car door when the hand touched his arm.  He was startled when the man he thought of as ‘Deep Throat’ stepped out from behind the pillar next to his car.


“Well, long time no see,” he said dryly and turned back to the car.


“You’ve been ignoring me,” Deep Throat said mildly.


Mulder shrugged.  “You’re the one that disappeared as I recall.  In the meantime, I’ve started on another thread.” 


“I’ve been out of town,” Deep Throat said quietly as he continued to scan the garage.


“Well I hope it was a nice trip.  Now if you’ll excuse me - "


“You got my signal?”


“I did, but since you didn’t respond to my attempts to reach you, I assumed our ‘relationship’ was at an end.”


“I wasn’t exactly in a position to get in touch.  We need to talk.”


“I have to get home, maybe some other - "


“Get home?” the man repeated, obviously amused.  “To the little woman?”


Mulder jerked back.  Hell, no way she wasn’t going to pick up on that.  He tried to send soothing thoughts her way for a moment before facing the older man again.


“Oh,” Deep Throat looked surprised.  “You’re seeing someone?”


“I don’t see where that’s important.”


Deep Throat’s eyes narrowed.  “I thought we had an arrangement.”


“We did, until you left me high and dry in a diner without a word.”


“What we’re working on requires a great deal of . . . dedication.  I thought you knew that.  What is this ‘other thread’ you’re pursuing?  Agent Mulder, do you not understand how critical the work we’re doing - “


“So critical that you can just disappear for weeks?”


“What is this new line you’re working on?” Deep Throat became more insistent.


Mulder hesitated, looking at him for a moment.  “Ever heard of Carson Nelson?”  Mulder wasn’t prepared for the expression on Deep Throat’s face.  Even in the darkness of the garage, Mulder could see how pale the man had become.


“No.”  It was a whisper, but with the intensity of a shout.  “You have to drop this investigation.”


“I beg your pardon,” Mulder said quickly.


“Just let it go, trust me on this, Mulder.  It could be . . . dangerous.”


“For who?”


“For everyone.  You have to believe me,” the man said, looking around the garage again.


“If I’m supposed to trust you, give me one answer.  Who’s my father?”


Deep Throat just stared at him for the longest moment, then Mulder heard a whispered, “Oh my god.”


“News to you too, huh?”


“I, I have to go.”


“Oh no you don’t,” Mulder’s voice was still low, but somehow his gun was now in his hand.  “My car.  Get in.”  Mulder forced the man into his car.  He pulled out and turned away from home.  “Why don’t you tell me why I should not look into Carson’s death?”


Mulder drove toward the clinic, not a nice part of town, but one where he would spot a tail if necessary.  After several minutes, his companion sat up and straightened his tie.  “Agent Mulder, I have no answers for you.”


“Why do I doubt that?” Mulder said conversationally.


“He, he was involved in some research that was . . . unsanctioned.”


“Unsanctioned, or just dangerous to you and yours?”


Deep Throat didn’t respond to that.  Mulder pulled into the parking lot of a seedy looking shopping center and headed to the back toward the employee parking area.  Once parked he turned to look at the older man.  “Why should I not look into Carson's life?”


“It would not be . . . safe, for you or anyone you’re seeing.”


Mulder stiffened.  “Is that a threat?”


“A promise.  They won’t want you looking into Carson’s life or death.”


“So they don’t know yet.”


“You can’t keep something like them from them for long.  If you care about this woman - “


Mulder's hand fisted in his lapel.  “You stay away from her.”


“Even if I do, they won’t.”


“I thought you were helping me.”


“No, son, you’re helping me.  Obviously you didn’t understand that.”


“I suppose they feel the same way about Roger Austin.”  He didn’t imagine the increase in pallor of the older man.


“How the hell . . . “


“Is that important?”


Drop this, Mulder.  You need to believe me.  This is not something you were supposed to find.”


“I’m part of a damn experiment.  They took our sisters, they changed us!”


“Changed you?”  For the first time Deep Throat met his eyes.


“How did you do it?  Why my mother?”


“Listen to me, Agent Mulder.  It doesn’t get more dangerous than what you’re playing with right now.  You’re putting more than yourself in danger, more than me.  Anyone that matters to you could be at risk.”


“At risk?”


“Drop it.  At least let me look into it and let you know what I can.”


“Will you, or will you disappear again?” Mulder asked, his voice hard.


“Give me a little time.  I don’t have a lot of information about this, but I will check, carefully, and get back to you.”


“I’ll give you forty-eight hours.”


“Don’t be ridiculous, Mulder, I’ll need - “


“Forty-eight hours.  I need to know what the danger might be; I know you’re not going to tell me the purpose or how it was done.  I want to keep this under the radar as much as you do, but I have to know what’s going on.  If you want me to drop this, you have to get me information.  Fix it so I don’t need to investigate it anymore, because I'll already know.”


Deep Throat looked at him for a long moment.  “You’ll keep quiet?”


“Yes.  I just want the information.  I don’t want to put these men in danger, but I have to know.”


Deep Throat held out his hand, which surprised Mulder, but he took it and they shook.  “I want to keep you safe; I want to keep all of you safe, so we’re on the same side about that.  I may not have everything you want in forty-eight hours, but I will be in touch.”


“Thank you.”




Dana looked over toward the bedroom, but Mulder obviously hadn’t heard the knock.  She headed for the door, calling over her shoulder.  “We have company.”


“Don’t open - “ It was too late, she was staring at their visitor.  He hurried to her side.


“Rob?  Come in,” she was holding the door for him already.  Mulder took a quick glance out in the hall then closed and bolted the door.  They both looked at the duffle bag Rob carried, then Dana looked him in the eye.  “How did you get here?”


“Bus.  Don’t worry; Mom thinks I’ve gone camping with a friend.  The cell phone doesn’t work well in the woods, but I’ve promised to call her.  We have a week.”


“A week?  Why are you here?” Mulder asked.


Rob faced them and Mulder recognized that stubborn set to his own jaw.  “We have to get her out of town.”


“Excuse me?” That from Dana, though he was obviously speaking to Mulder.


“They’ve found out about her, and they know she’s going to have a baby.”


“Who knows - “ Dana started, but Mulder interrupted.




“Ethan.  They went to the prison and interviewed him.”


“How do you know that?”


“Roger told me.   He’s been watching Ethan for us.”  They both gaped at him, so he waited patiently for a moment or two.  When they still couldn’t seem to decide what to say, Rob spoke up.  “Can I use your bathroom?”


“Wha- oh, of course.”  Dana pointed to the door.


When he disappeared into the bathroom, Mulder and Dana looked at each other.  Without a word, Mulder led her to the couch and seated her.  She didn’t protest.


When Rob joined them, he took a seat in the chair facing them.


“How long have you been in touch with Roger?” Mulder asked the first question.


“Since I found out about him.  I sent him a letter, don’t worry, I didn’t use my real name.  I said it was a school project, but then I taught him a code and now we can talk.  I’m careful, so is Roger.”


“You still shouldn’t - “


“I’m in touch with Stephen and Chuck too.  We needed to stay in touch with each other.  We set this up as soon as we realized she was in danger.  We have to meet them.  Stephen has a place we can stay, where we’ll be safe.”


“When did they talk to Ethan?” Mulder asked, his eyes narrowed.


“Last night, after visiting hours.”


After he’d talked to Deep Throat.  Less than twenty-four hours after he’d talked to him.  Rob was right; they couldn’t wait forty-eight hours.


“We can’t just - “ Dana started.


“I told them you wouldn’t believe me, but it’s safest for me to contact you directly.  I look the least like you, since I’m the youngest so far.  Stephen picked up Chuck and we’re supposed to meet them.  We need to get to the airport.”


“Dana can’t fly,” Mulder said quickly.


“We know that.  It’s a place to leave the car where it will take a while to find it.”


Mulder blinked, the boy was right.  It was the kind of thing he’d think of, to throw someone off his trail.  "How long?"


"Stephen got the place for a month."


"A month!  You can't be away - "


"Is a month long enough?"  Mulder was asking Rob this, ignoring her protest for now.


"Isn't she ripe when her belly button sticks out?" Rob asked innocently


She glared down at him for a moment, but he just grinned at her.  “We can’t just leave.  We have jobs.  I can’t leave the clinic without coverage,” Dana protested.


Both of them turned to look at her then, suddenly joined in a common goal.  “Rob, Dana and I need to talk.”


Rob nodded and headed for the bedroom to give them some privacy.  As soon as the door closed she turned to him.  “No, Mulder, we cannot just - “


“Yes, we can.”


“Just like that?” she looked scared and confused.


“We all want you to be safe.  We need you to be safe.”


She just looked into his eyes for a long moment.  Finally she nodded.  “I, I don’t know what to pack.”


He relaxed then in relief.  “Thank you.”  He glanced toward the bedroom door.  “Can you believe they’ve been in touch?


“I just hope they’ve been careful,” she said.


“Your safety seems to be their top concern, and they’re bright kids.”


“Take after their big brother?” she tried to smile at him and he grinned.


Her smile faded.  “How do we work this?”


“You call your office.  Sherry has been wanting you to start your maternity leave anyway.”


“Without warning?”


“No, just say you have the sniffles and won’t be in, or I won’t let you come in.  She’ll believe that.”


Dana rolled her eyes but couldn’t dispute it.  They both looked up when Rob joined them.  “Well?”


“You guys have obviously been working on this longer than we have.  I suppose you have some suggestions,” Mulder watched Rob.


“Yeah, we do.  Everything of Dana’s needs to be packed up and taken with us.  I’ve started on that in the bathroom, but I need a box.  We don’t want anyone to know she’s even been here.  You won’t need as much, jeans, t-shirts.  It can’t look like you’re going to be gone but a few days.”


“You guys have been planning,” Dana said, appraising the boy.


“We need to get started.  We have to meet Stephen and Chuck in a couple of hours.”




“After we ditch the car, we take the shuttle to the train station.  They’ll meet us there.”


“Okay, let’s get started,” Dana looked between the two.


“We can do this,” Mulder offered and she stopped him before he could make another comment about her putting her feet up or something.


“No, I can pack my own things.  You can help after you get your stuff together.”


“I’ll wipe the place down,” Rob offered.




“We have to get all of Dana’s fingerprints out of the place.  Then you need to go around and touch everything so they won’t realize what we’ve done.”


Mulder blinked at the kid.  “I’m glad you’re on our side.”  Rob grinned and headed for the kitchen.  Mulder stopped him.  “You used to call her Dr. Scully.”


Rob nodded, “That was before I knew she was my sister-in-law.”


Mulder chuckled and didn’t correct him.  That’s what she was for all intents and purposes.  He headed for the bedroom.


It didn’t take that long to get her things together.  She made some comment about when things were folded and put away, but Mulder ignored that and made another sweep of the bathroom to ensure that all of her cosmetics and creams were packed.  Rob tossed him her prenatal vitamins from the kitchen.


Mulder had pulled out his larger suitcase and added some of her things to his.  Rob stuffed the laptop into a briefcase and handed Mulder the clean remote.  Mulder grinned and started around the room, touching the normal surfaces several times.


After Mulder was satisfied with re-establishing a more normal mess to the place, he took a load down to the car.  Rob was checking the clock when he returned.


“We need to get moving.  The guys have our tickets.  We have to go together.”


Mulder looked over at Dana who was standing with her hands on her hips, surveying the place.  “Anything else?”


“No, I think between the three of us we’ve covered everything pretty well.”  She grinned.  “I even put the seat up.”


Mulder chuckled and took her arm.  “The perfect woman.”




The airport parking lot was only moderately crowded in the long term lot, but Mulder insisted on letting Dana and Rob out at a shuttle stop with all of the luggage.  He parked and jogged back before the shuttle arrived.


At that time of day the shuttle was empty which was a good thing with the luggage they carried.  All of Mulder’s luggage had been put to use, even a couple of older pieces he didn’t use but hadn’t thrown out.  When they arrived at the terminal, Mulder secured a cart and he and Rob loaded it down.  He spotted a wheelchair and Dana caught him looking at it.


“Don’t even think it.  It will only draw attention, which we don’t want.  Mulder, I’m fine!”  She was whispering but he heard her loud and clear.


Walking leisurely, they still made the train station in plenty of time.  The porter got an extra tip after surveying what needed to be loaded.


They entered the train, Rob leading the way.  Mulder close behind Dana, holding her arm.  Chuck rose when he spotted them, a smile splitting his face.


He already looked better.  His acne was clearing up; his hair had been cut and even styled a little.  His posture was definitely better.  If she was right, he’d put on a few pounds as well.  She returned his smile and saw the other man, Stephen turned toward her.


A smile grew on his face at the sight of her.  He scanned her body and his eyes widened slightly.  This one was more easily recognizable as Mulder, younger of course, but definitely her Mulder.  She held out her hand.  “I’m very pleased to finally meet you.”


He nodded.  “You’re exactly what I expected.”  He looked over at Mulder.  “I told you she fit.”


Mulder nodded and tried to make her comfortable.  Her back was overloaded and nothing worked very well for long.  The wince on her face drew everyone’s full attention.  “Are you - “


“I’m fine.  The baby’s just very excited that we’re all together.”


“What?” Mulder’s hand came to rest on her abdomen and his eyes widened.  “Doesn’t that hurt?”


“Not hurt exactly, but it’s . . . noticeable,” she finally decided on a word.


“Has he ever done this before?  What about your blood pressure?”


“Yes, a few times.  When we met Chuck he pulled this stunt, but he was a lot smaller then so it wasn’t as . . . “ she shrugged.  “Don’t worry about my blood pressure, don’t.” Her finger came up stopping his next words.


After getting settled, Mulder began questioning the guys on this place they were taking her.  He’d seen the look of surprise on Stephen’s face at just how pregnant she was.


“I didn’t check out hospitals in the area.  I just didn’t . . . The cabin is fairly remote, but not drastically so.  And the word cabin is a misnomer, it’s a luxury house made to look rustic.  We don’t have to worry about transportation, a van comes with the house and it’ll be waiting at the station for us.  I have all of the keys we need, they overnighted them to me.”


“So how did you pay for this place?” Mulder asked.


Stephen glanced at the younger guys, “All of our ‘parents’,” he used his fingers to put quote marks around the word, “are wealthy.  And all of our parents would rather send us money than spend time with us.  We all had a stash.  When Rob contacted me I decided to get a little more.  I emailed ‘Dad’ and told him about this great opportunity for a campus-based seminar and I needed a little cash for the registration.  He transferred a thousand into my account.  Cash and an excuse to be out of town.”


“If you’re making large withdrawals - "


“Give us a little credit, Bro.  When we get money, we transfer it out immediately.  Littlest brother here had over a thousand under his mattress,” Stephen smiled.  “We pooled our funds into the account I’d set up.  That’s what we used, and before you asked, the account isn’t in any of our real names, neither is the reservation.”


“How do you know about this place?”


“A guy in the dorm was talking about it.  He’d been here with his parents last year.”


“You asked - "


“No, I remembered the information and got on-line.  I have this great memory, remember?”  He grinned.  “There’s no way to trace it to me.”


Mulder just stared at his younger brothers.  They’d done all of this?


“It’s sounds very nice, Stephen and we do appreciate all of the work you guys have done for us,” Dana squeezed his arm.  “And don’t worry about a hospital, I’m not due yet - “


“But you’re close and we have to keep an eye on your blood pressure,” Mulder interrupted.


“Yes to both,” she said quietly, “but I know with this group looking after me everything will be fine.”  That seemed to put an end to that part of the discussion, though Mulder made a note to himself to check out an exact route to a hospital as soon as they arrived.



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