He grabbed the phone eagerly, wanting desperately for it to be her. He listened to the words and felt the shields slam down around him. The shields. He'd almost forgotten them. He'd grown strong, thick shields to protect himself when he was younger. He hadn't realized they had been missing until they closed back tightly around him. "I'll be right there."
"What happened?" Frohike's voice sounded very far away, but full of concern.
"Maryland State Police. They think they've found Scully." He spoke matter of factly. Another trick he'd learned years ago. Don't let anyone see the depth of the devastation.
"Is she okay?"
"No, uh, they think maybe I should come down and ID the body." He slipped out of the apartment before they could ask anything else. He was unaware he had left them speechless, in shock and already mourning - for him as well as for her. None of the men moved for the longest time.
Frederick County Morgue. He pulled the car into a space and threw the car into park. He was here, but he had no memory of the drive over. He'd been on autopilot - if he allowed himself to feel, he'd shatter. He knew it was coming, he could feel it's hot breath on his neck - true insanity. And he knew without a doubt that he would not recover from this one. Get through this. Don't let anyone see. Shatter when you're alone and can't hurt anyone else.
He raised his head from the steering wheel and shoved the car door open. Keep moving, don't shatter yet. The car swerved toward him and he became aware of external stimulus.
"Can't talk to you right now." He leaned down toward the man that had started this nightmare.
"They're watching you. Now get in before you get us both killed."
"That's an interesting choice of words. My partner may be dead."
"That's not my concern."
"The hell it isn't. We're here because of you!" No, don't lose it yet. Stop visualizing this fuck with a neat bullet hole between his eyes. He didn't kill her, you did.
"Keep your voice down."
"Who are you? Who do you work for?" Get a name, someone to take out before you take yourself out.
"You're wasting time. While you're chasing your partner, they're destroying the evidence."
"Who - "
"Just follow the evidence. If you don't, by tomorrow the responsible parties will be out of your reach."
No more words, he had to get to her. Even . . . even dead, he owed her that. Instead of speaking he kicked in the car door and turned back toward the door that would lead him to her body. He didn't even register the sound as the car squealed off.
The hall was interminable. Was he making any forward progress? The lights went on forever. Then the man in the white coat was there, as though he'd materialized in front of him.
"State highway patrolman found the body off a rural highway at approximately 2 p.m., nude, shot in the forehead." Mulder closed his eyes, but the visual was there now, forever in his memory. The man was so matter of fact. He had the spiel down. Maybe he gave lessons. White coat reached for the blinds. "Are you ready?"
"Let me do that." His hand took hold of the wand. He wanted to take a deep breath but found that he couldn't. He closed his eyes again for an instant then opened the blinds. What he saw with his eyes crashed and clashed with what he had already seen with his heart and it took him several seconds to absorb the difference. Not her, not her, not her! His lungs inflated again, his heart beat.
"It's not her. Somebody has to call her mother." He was already moving. She wasn't dead, that wasn't her body. She was out there somewhere and he had to find her.
"We already tried. We weren't able to reach her."
"She's not answering her phone?" Mrs. Scully? No, she would be waiting for his call unless . . . Scully was there. He had to get to her, he had to see her, make sure she was truly okay. He wasn't going to analyze this, not yet. Maybe, maybe there was no need to analyze it.