She raced back toward the house, heedless of her own safety, even the safety of the child she carried. She had to get Jeremiah!
He met her half-way, as though fleeing himself. She jerked on his arm, turning him toward her. “You have to help him!”
There was no feigning ignorance on his part. “We’ve got to get out of here. Come on!” They raced back toward where he lay, surrounded by quiet, finally respectful, agents.
“Grab him and let’s get out of here!” Jeremiah ordered, but the assembled agents just stared.
“Walter, please!” Her frantic urgency got to him and Skinner grasped Mulder’s body to throw it over his shoulder.
“Are you crazy?” Doggett stepped in front of the larger man.
“Yes. Now help me or get the hell out of the way!” Skinner snapped the order and Doggett fell back, unprepared for the intensity on his superior’s face.
The high pitched vibration from the south caught everyone’s attention then. “Hurry!” Scully nearly moaned in her fear, and Skinner was moving.
Even with the added weight of Mulder’s body, Scully could barely keep up with Skinner. Jeremiah remained beside her and the other agents made the decision that retreat wasn’t such a bad idea in this case.
Skinner practically threw Mulder into the backseat of the SUV he and Scully were driving. She scrambled in after him, Jeremiah took her seat in front and Skinner was moving before the older man could shut his door.
Skinner raced away without headlights and the others convoyed behind him.
When they hit the main road, Skinner grabbed up the walkie-talkie. “Scatter!” was his one word order and the vehicles following did, except for one.
Scully knew John would not let them out of his sight, but she didn’t care at that point. “Jeremiah, can you do anything?”
“He’s not dead. We need to get somewhere stable, then I’ll help him. Try to relax, Agent Scully.”
He could have saved his breath. Scully held onto Mulder’s hand with a grip tight enough to tether him to this world. The two men in front couldn’t hear the words, but knew she was murmuring to Mulder, keeping up a steady stream to try to reach him.
When they reached other traffic, Skinner flipped on his lights and headed for the motel advertised on the first sign he passed. He skidded to a stop, throwing loose gravel in his wake. Leaving the others in the car, Skinner hurried inside and took two rooms. He raced back outside and saw Doggett seemingly standing guard over Scully and the other passengers.
“Let’s get him inside,” Skinner directed John. Scully was already unlocking the first room. Jeremiah held the door for them as she pulled back the covers on the bed.
The two men carried Mulder’s dead weight inside. One look at Scully’s face shut Doggett up, at least for now.
“Jeremiah?” her voice shook.
He nodded and moved over to the bed. Doggett opened his mouth to protest, but Skinner’s hand clamped down on his shoulder.
Doggett looked up at the large man, ready now that they were inside and away from the others, to protest what he saw as dangerous nonsense.
The light startled him and he turned back toward the bed. His eyes widened as the sores and gashes on Mulder’s face began reversing themselves at incredible speed. Speechless, he watched as Scully’s hand caressed the healing face.
Jeremiah stepped back, drawing Doggett’s attention again. “What the hell did you do?”
Jeremiah ignored him, looking over at Skinner. “I need to get out of here.”
Skinner nodded. “Doggett, give him your keys. My car’s bigger.”
Doggett gaped at the man, but Skinner plucked the keys from his hands and tossed them to Jeremiah. “Let me know where to pick it up.”
Jeremiah nodded and stepped toward the door. “Hold it. He’s not going anywhere without an explanation,” Doggett finally regained his voice.
“Stand down, Agent.” Skinner moved toward him.
“Are you - “ Doggett managed to bite down on the word ‘crazy’ but the meaning was there.
“Yes,” Skinner said quietly, meeting the man’s eyes. Doggett looked down to see the gun, not quite aimed at him, but close enough. They heard the door open and close. Doggett kept his mouth shut, but he was fuming.
Scully quietly moved into the bathroom to dampen a cloth. Both men turned to him as Mulder stirred. Doggett’s jaw dropped in surprise. He would have put real money on the man never regaining consciousness.
Scully returned to the room and headed toward him, but Doggett stepped in front of her and took her arm. “You need to stay back.”
“It’s okay, Agent - John. It’s okay. It’s Mulder.”
He still held her back, until the new voice sounded, low and dangerous. “Let her go.”
Startled Doggett turned toward the bed. Mulder, the nearly dead man he had helped carry into the room, was sitting up and looked ready to leave the bed to come after him.
“I said let her go.”
Scully pulled loose then and threw herself into Mulder’s arms, bursting into tears. Crying? Scully didn’t cry, especially around people, but his arms tightened around her. Then she was kissing his face, his cheeks, where the damage was fading. Mulder glanced at Skinner, so much for the discretion she had always insisted on. To his astonishment, Skinner nodded to him. Okay, the hell with it; he returned her kiss, crushing her to his chest.
“Agent Doggett, let’s give them some time.”
Doggett didn’t even seem to hear, his attention solely on the couple on the bed. He started when Skinner’s hand wrapped around his arm.
“Come on.” Skinner led him toward the door. Mulder looked in their direction for an instant, but what he was doing was much preferable. Skinner tossed the room key on the dresser and the two men left them alone.
“Scully? Scully, talk to me. Are you okay?” He heard the scratchiness of his voice. He scanned his memory. A case didn’t come to him. Hell, had he had another concussion? Something had obviously happened to him. He’d never seen Scully like this.
He rocked her until the sobs diminished to hiccups and he realized she had fallen asleep. He had a lot of questions, but no where to ask them right now. No way was he going to leave her. Everything else could wait.
He slipped down beside her making them both more comfortable and eventually dozed beside her.
When he woke the next morning, she was sitting beside him. Her hands were softly touching him as though making certain he was solid. He smiled up at her and her breath caught. “Scully?”
“You’re really here,” she could only whisper.
“Scully, what happened?”
“What do you remember?” she asked gently, not letting go of him.
His brow furrowed. “You were ill. Are you okay?”
She gave him a tremulous smile. “I’m fine.”
He exaggerated the wince, but he smiled too. It faded then as he looked at her closely. “How long was I gone?” His hand caressed her hair.
She took a deep breath. “Three months.”
His eyes widened and he reached for her. He didn’t seem to know what to say.
“You were abducted, Mulder. Do you not remember?”
He went inside himself, his grip on her hand tightening. “Billy Miles was there and Teresa Hoese. There was a light,” he gasped. “The bounty hunter!”
She nodded, searching his eyes.
“You’re okay now.”
“Was I in a coma?” He looked around, realizing the question was stupid. He was in a motel room, not an ICU.
“No,” her voice shook slightly. “You need to eat something.”
He blinked at the change in subject, but after a moment he nodded. She slipped out of the bed and hurried around to take his arm. “Scully, I’m okay.”
She ignored that, assessing him herself. He did seem steady on his feet. Jeremiah had done whatever it was he did, well. She nodded and moved toward the bathroom. He watched her go, then sat back on the bed going over what he did remember.
He took over the bathroom when she emerged, his mood pensive now. When he joined her, Skinner was also in the room. The larger man stepped back from her when he spotted Mulder, then approached him.
Skinner held out his hand. “How are you feeling?”
“I have a lot of questions.”
“I’m not surprised. Mulder, I’m sorry that I didn’t - “
Mulder’s hand stopped him. “You don’t need to apologize. I don’t really remember what happened yet.”
“He helped me search for you,” Scully said, letting her hand rest on Mulder’s arm again.
“I saw what took you.” Skinner faced Mulder. “I can’t deny it.”
After a moment Mulder nodded.
“Let’s get some breakfast,” Scully reminded them.
They left the room and headed for the diner at the far end of the parking lot. The man Mulder had seen when he’d woken the night before was seated in a booth near the door. He rose as soon as he spotted Scully.
Mulder’s eyes narrowed and he stopped, holding Scully from moving forward.
“Who is he?”
Scully and Skinner both turned to see Doggett approaching them.
“I’ll explain later. Let’s just get something to eat,” she said softly, then turned toward Doggett. “John, may we join you?”
“Uh, yeah.” He was making no secret of studying Mulder. Scully’s hand pulled on the sleeve of Doggett’s jacket and he looked down at her, then took her shoulders in his hands. He didn’t see the tension in Mulder’s body at the gesture. “Are you really all right?”
”Yes, John. Thank you.” She moved away from him smoothly, feeling Mulder’s gaze and slipped into the booth.
They all sat down to eat breakfast. Skinner watched both Mulder and Scully carefully, as though making sure they cleaned their plates. When Mulder laid his fork down, Skinner did the same.
“I imagine you have a lot of questions.”
Mulder looked over at Scully. “I think I’ll let Scully answer them.”
Skinner nodded. “If you could give Doggett and me a ride to the airport, I’ll leave the car with you. I think the drive back to DC will give you time to decompress.”
Doggett gaped at him. “You’re not serious. I’m not leaving Agent Scully alone with - “
“Yes, you will,” Skinner interrupted.
“How do you even know it’s really him this time?”
“Agent Scully knows. I trust her.” Both men seemed to have forgotten that their subjects sat within arms length.
“You’re going to bet her life on female intuition?” Doggett sputtered, still not backing down.
“John, please.” Scully put her hand on Doggett’s arm. “It is him. You don’t have to worry.”
Doggett turn to look at her then. She did truly believe the man was Mulder. She wasn’t the trusting type; he’d already learned that, but she was so sure.
“Agent Scully, I just want to cover your back. It’s my job and - “
“I know. I appreciate it, John. We’ll be okay.”
Doggett looked past her to the man she was so confident was her former partner. The look of growing animosity did nothing to reassure him.
“Agent Scully is a veteran agent and I have confidence in her assessment. Let’s get our bags.” Skinner’s expression did not need any explanation. Still John looked down at Scully one more time.
She smiled up at him. “Thank you. I will be okay.”
Doggett took a deep breath and finally followed Skinner from the restaurant.
Scully turned back to Mulder and took his hand. “Why don’t we check out and get started too?”
“I’ve got a lot of questions.”
“I know. Let’s get out of here first.”
They returned to their room and got her things; he had none, then met Skinner and Doggett in the lobby.
Skinner drove to the airport with Doggett in front beside him. Mulder and Scully sat silently in the back, though Mulder spent a lot of time staring at Doggett. The older man had to have felt it, but he made no comment.
Once at the airport they unloaded their suitcases. Skinner took Scully aside and whispered something to her. When he stepped away, Doggett turned to her but Mulder’s hot gaze caused him to close his mouth. Shaking his head he followed Skinner into the airport.
When Mulder continued to stare after the man, Scully took his arm and turned him toward the car. “Want me to drive?”
Her lips quirked slightly. “No, I think I should drive this time, Mulder.”
He grunted but made no comment, slipping into the passenger’s seat. Scully pulled out and headed for the highway.
They were quiet and he asked no questions, which surprised her. Since he seemed comfortable not talking, she left it for now.
After they had traveled for an hour, Scully turned on her signal and left the highway. “Scully? Do we need gas?”
“No, I need to stretch my legs.”
He nodded and waited in the car. The second time she did this, another hour later he looked surprised, but decided to take advantage of the stop himself. They both got bottles of water and some snacks but didn’t stop for a meal.
When she stopped again the third hour he looked as her questioningly. “Scully, are you . . . “ He stopped, then looked around. “Why don’t we stop here tonight?”
“Are you tired?”
He pointed over toward the hotel down the street from the service station. “I don’t want to be traveling while I ask my questions.”
She tensed slightly, but nodded. When traffic allowed, she crossed the five lanes and pulled into the parking lot of the hotel. “Let’s get checked in, then we should get you some things.”
He nodded and followed her into the lobby. She took one room and Mulder led her to the elevator. When she returned from the bathroom Scully found Mulder looking out the window. “Mulder? Are you hungry? We could get a bite, then buy you some supplies.”
“Skinner knows about us?”
She blinked at the sudden question. It wasn’t the one she expected. To stall for just a moment, she took a seat in the chair. “Yes, he does.”
“And he . . . approves?”
Her face softened then. “He understands.”
“Tell me what happened. I remember going back to Washington State with Skinner.”
“Now? Don’t you want to . . . “ She stopped at his expression. “Yes. The two of you went out into the woods, where we had, where I collapsed.” He jerked slightly, then moved to the foot of the bed and took a seat. “In just seconds, while Skinner was looking away, you vanished. Before he could look for you, a wind kicked up, then he saw a light in the sky. He says he saw the ship that took you.”
He looked in her eyes for a long moment. “Do you believe him?”
She nodded. “I’ve seen too much.”
“Who is Doggett?”
She sighed then. “He’s my partner.”
Mulder jerked forward then. “He’s what?”
“Agent Doggett was assigned by Kersh to find you. When the trail went cold, he was permanently assigned to the X-Files.” She waited, but he didn’t speak. “He’s a good man, Mulder. He’s covered my back.”
“And he believes?”
She did smile slightly then. “He can be a little rigid, by the book. You can’t imagine how hard that is to work around.”
His lips quirked at that. “You’re right. I can’t imagine such a thing.” He sobered then. “You’re close? He, he seemed awfully protective.”
“He’s concerned about me. Early in our search for you he thought he saw you. We were in Flemingtown, Arizona. We found Gibson Praise, but ‘you’ took him. John chased after you and forced you to release the boy, but you threw yourself over a cliff.”
“That doesn’t sound like me.”
“No,” she said softly. “I knew it wasn’t you. It was one of the shape-shifters. It later changed into me and nearly killed one of the agents on the team. Then it turned into Walter.” She shook her head. “I, I had to shoot,” she swallowed convulsively at the memory. “I shot him through the throat. He melted.”
“You were exposed to the fumes?” Mulder sat forward quickly.
“Uh, no. I mean I wasn’t affected.”
“How is that?”
“I don’t know. Walter was hospitalized. I was very worried about him, but he doesn’t seem to have suffered any long term effects.”
“You seem closer to him as well.”
“He has felt very guilty about what happened to you, especially since I sent him with you to keep you safe,” she said gently. “Maybe I’m used to hanging around guilt-filled men.”
He rolled his eyes, but changed the subject. “I was gone three months. So were you. Why was I not in some hospital?”
“Jeremiah Smith,” she responded.
“Jere - “ his voice seemed to fade away.
“He’s been helping the returnees. Teresa Hoese was returned just a few days before you. Jeremiah and a, a human,” Scully smiled ruefully at the description, “Absalom were gathering the returnees and healing them. Jeremiah was with us last night at the motel. After he worked on you, Skinner gave him John’s car and told him to get away.”
Mulder processed that information silently. Finally he met her eyes again. “What are you leaving out?”
She looked puzzled then. “That’s pretty much everything.”
“No, you’re holding something back. Scully, please, be honest with me. I need to know everything. I’m not sick, you can see that. Jeremiah knows his stuff, remember. Don’t . . . protect me.”
She looked away and he stood, moving closer to her. “There is something, I knew it.”
“The uh, the illness I had just before you . . . “
His hands grasped hers now and he squatted before her. She couldn’t help the small smile that appeared on her face. His panic face was in evidence for sure. He loved her; he had for a long time. She could tell him the rest.
She leaned forward and kissed him, then tugged him up to take his seat again on the bed. “I wasn’t ill, Mulder. It was . . . damn this is harder than I thought.”
“What’s harder? Scully - “
“I’m not ill,” she interrupted. “Mulder, I’m pregnant.”
There was a long silence as he attempted to process the words she had spoken. It drew out so long that she was beginning to become concerned. He rose from the bed finally and after squeezing her hand, released her and walked to the other side of the room.
“Mulder?” She stayed in her seat, suddenly afraid. She was watching him closely. She realized she was torn between amusement and annoyance. She could swear he was actually counting on his fingers.
He finally faced her. “It, it’s mine.”
“Technically I believe it’s ours,” she said dryly.
For the first time his eyes seemed to lighten a little. He nodded, then was serious again. “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’ve tried to be very careful. This is important to me.”
“Careful . . . you’re still working in the field.” That statement seemed to harbor fear, and a touch of incredulity.
She nodded. “I am being careful. Mulder, I had to search for you.”
“Does Doggett know about the baby?”
She shook her head.
“You kept vital information like that from your partner?” he sounded outraged at the thought.
“I thought you didn’t want me partnered with Doggett.”
“I don’t! I mean, shit!” He ran his hand through this hair.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly and rose but was hesitant to approach him.
“Who does know?”
“Walter, the guys.”
“Skinner knows?” She couldn’t read his tone then.
She took a deep breath. “Yes. I had just found out when he returned from Washington. He was so upset and I was, I was in shock. I had to talk to someone.”
“And you chose Skinner.”
“Mulder - “
“I guess your mother is pretty upset with me.” He stared down at his hands.
“She doesn’t know.”
“You haven’t told your mother?” Now he was staring at her. “You told Skinner and, and the guys and not your mother?”
She seemed to wince at that and he immediately regretted his tone. He took a step toward her, but then stopped when she tensed.
“Shit, this is going well.” He took the chair she had vacated.
“Mulder, we never talked about, about your role if . . . and then it wasn’t an issue anyway. You certainly don’t have to - “
“That’s not - God, Scully!” He ran his hand through his hair again.
“I’m sorry. This is not what I - “
“Do you want my baby?” He asked quietly.
“Yes! How can you ask me that?” She looked stricken.
He closed his eyes for a moment, then moved toward her. “I’m sorry. I’m blown away, Scully. I don’t know . . . Scully, where are we? I mean, us.”
“We’re here, together. Maybe we should go get that meal now. I need to eat.”
Concern colored his face then. “Right, you should eat on schedule now.”
She blinked at that. “I should what?”
“Oh, uh, when we, when we tried the IV, I did some, uh research.”
She just looked at him, stunned silent for a moment. “Research,” she finally said.
“Well, I couldn’t go into something like that blind. It was too important.”
Her expression softened at those words. She held out her hand and he took it. His arm went around her and they walked to the car.
He was quiet as they ate, but he kept watching her, scanning her. Finally she called him on it. “Are you okay, Mulder?”
“What? Yeah, I, I just - “
“You’re still ‘blown away’, right?”
He glanced back down toward her stomach. “Yeah, I am. After . . . I guess I did give up on that miracle.”
“I think I did too. I’ve had three months to get used to the idea. You’ve had an hour.”
He managed a small smile then. “True. I’m not usually the one that has to be convinced of things though.”
She took his hand and squeezed it. “Give it a little time.”
He nodded, suddenly unable to speak, though he took a tighter hold on her hand.
“Eat, Mulder. Then let’s get back to our room.”
He nodded, still too emotional to speak and managed to eat a little, though he urged more on her. They stopped on the way back to pick up some basic supplies for both of them, then settled in the room.
“Why don’t you take a shower, Mulder? It would help relax you.”
“It would relax me even more if you took it with me.” He met her eyes and she couldn’t look away. After a long moment she nodded, and his eyes lightened. She moved toward him and took the hem of his t-shirt in her hands. He winked at her and lifted his arms to help her.
He heard her hastily stifled gasp and looked down. The scar on his chest was fading even as she watched. His hand came up to touch the healing flesh and he froze as a memory flashed through his mind.
“,,,der, Mulder? Can you hear me?” Her hand on his arm brought him back to the present. “It’s okay.”
He looked up. “Is it?” His breathing was more rapid now.
Her lips parted as understanding flooded her. “What do you remember?”
“The blade. It was spinning. It came at me and - “
“Mulder! Look at me. You’re back, you’re safe.” His eyes locked on hers but he looked haunted now. She slipped her arms around his waist and pressed her face against his chest. He tried to pull away but her arms tightened. “I think we should go ahead with that shower, Mulder. You need to relax.”
He shook his head, but didn’t stop her when she unbuttoned the waistband of his jeans and lowered the zipper. He watched her, not helping, but not hindering her either.
“Take off your shoes and socks,” she whispered. He looked positively frightened but did as she bade. She lowered his jeans and boxers once his shoes were removed. There were other scars but they were healing as well. “Come with me.”
She led him into the bathroom and turned on the water. He was focused inward, on himself. She needed to distract him. As nervous as she was about the changes in her own body, she was pretty sure it would work.
She unbuttoned her blouse and saw that he was watching her. She let it drop to the floor, then reached around and unhooked her bra. She let it fall away as well and watched his hand twitch to touch her. Her breasts were fuller than when he had last seen them and the nipples much larger. She stepped closer to him and took his hand, bringing it to her breast.
“Are they sensitive?” his voice was husky, low.
“A little, but I know you would never hurt me. Come on.” She quickly removed the rest of her clothes and followed him into the shower. He adjusted the temperature then turn to face her.
His eyes dropped to her abdomen. In her clothes he hadn’t been able to see the swell of her belly. Now it was obvious and his hand caressed it gently. She smiled, she had his attention now.
She leaned back and let the water sluice down her hair and shoulders. She saw as well as heard his quick intake of breath, then he pulled her to him and held her close. “Let me wash you,” she said.
Reluctantly he released her and turned. She soaped his hair, massaging his scalp and then rinsing it thoroughly. She turned him toward her then and gently soaped his chest. The scar seemed even fainter than when she’d seen it in the bedroom. He watched her, her eyes, her hands as she moved over him. When she reached his lower abdomen he tensed and started to move back.
“Trust me, Mulder.”
That drew a quirk to his lips but he relaxed slightly. When she took his cock in her hand her own smile grew as did he. “Sc-Scully?”
She just smiled and continued bathing him. The hiss he gave as she reached sensitive areas was music in her ears, bringing to mind other encounters with this man.
When she had finished rinsing him off, she turned off the water. He stepped out into the steamy room and took her hand to help her out. She drew one of the large towels from the rack and held it open to dry him off.
“You first.” He took the towel from her and caressed her body with it, drying her tenderly. He didn’t realize she hadn’t turned her back to him. When he was satisfied that she wouldn’t be too cool, he submitted to her massaging him dry.
“Let’s get ready for bed. We can be comfortable while we talk.”
Talk? His immediate reaction to her words was disbelief. The shower had assured him that he truly was healing.
She followed him into the bedroom and he pulled a pair of boxers from the shopping bag and slipped them on, then sat to watch as she pulled a nightgown from her bag. “No pajamas?”
“The waistbands were getting too tight and I haven’t had much time to go shopping.” She pulled the pillows out from under the covers and settled back against the headboard. He smiled at the memories that brought up and joined her, pulling her against him.
“What do you want to ask me, Mulder?”
“Right this minute, nothing. I just want to sit here with you, holding you.”
She lay her head against his shoulder. It was several minutes before he realized she was crying. He pulled away and tilted her face up to him. “What?”
She shook her head. He leaned down and kissed her lips tenderly. “Tell me why you’re crying.”
“I, I was afraid to believe this would ever happen.”
“It is happening. This is real.” His hand came to rest over their child. “Damn real.”
She gave a shaky chuckle and placed her hand over his.
“Have you had an ultrasound? Whatever tests you’re supposed to have?”
“Yes, but . . . “
“What?” he tensed.
“Oh, nothing was wrong. I, it was lonely. I wanted you there to see with me, to hear the heartbeat.”
“I’ll be there the next time.” He pulled her closer, letting his hand lightly massage her shoulders and down onto her back. His hand stopped then and she tensed. “What is that?”
“It’s nothing, Mulder.”
“Nothing? It’s a scar. What happened?” He pulled away from her slightly and turned her to get a look at whatever his fingers had discovered.
”Mulder - “
“Jesus, Scully! What the hell happened to you?”
“I, uh . . . I went on a case, with no backup. I didn’t trust John and I made a very serious mistake.”
He looked pale and shaken when she finished. His grip on her had been painful at times during her rendition, but she had kept quiet. “You could have - “
“I know. I did learn my lesson. I was much more careful after that.”
He closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them and turned her back to him. He kissed his way down the scar.
“Mulder - “
“I’m back now. You don’t have to look for me anymore. You can take it easy, let me look after you.”
“I’m not helpless, or sick. I can continue to work - “
“No. You mean out in the field? Doing what we do?” he sounded stunned at the thought.
“Well, Kersh probably will have you on desk duty for awhile. If they put us back together - “
“Mulder, you know you’re not Kersh’s favorite agent.”
“We’re partners,” he stated flatly.
“We are, but we might not be allowed to work together.”
He blinked at that, but after a moment her words sunk in and he relaxed slightly, holding her against him. “But we are partners.”
She smiled then and let her hand brush through the curling hair on his chest. “Oh yes.” He watched her hand move down toward the elastic waistband of his boxers. When a finger dipped below the elastic his hand covered hers.
“Is it, is it okay, if we . . . “
“Very okay. I’ve missed you.” He heard the quaver in her voice.
He leaned over and nipped her neck, kissing it as he pressed her into the bed.
She watched him dozing beside her after making love. Jeremiah had obviously done an excellent job of healing the man. It was a good thing her energy had come back in her second trimester; she was going to need it.
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.