INFO: Written for I Made This Productions Virtual Season 8
EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com
DISCLAIMER: Elvis says put those lawyers down, boy. I
don’t own Mulder, Scully or the King.
SPOILER WARNING: Up through Je Souhaite, but nothing
CONTENT WARNING: None
CLASSIFICATION: X-File, UST
SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully investigate their first Elvis
sighting, and end up questioning nature vs. nurture.
Songs quoted are, in no particular order: “Burning Love”,
“All Shook Up”, “Always On My Mind,” “Blue Suede Shoes,”
“Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “Teddy Bear”, “Whole Lotta
Shakin’ Going On,” and “Suspicious Minds.” Thank God for
Napster, that’s all I can say. Long live the selfish
grabbing of other’s intellectual property, right CC?
The Man Who Would Be King
Honey, please don’t ask me what’s on my mind
I’m a little mixed up, but I’m feeling fine
Just Outside Memphis, Tennessee
February 29, 2000
It was fitting, Janelle Hopkirk thought, that the day
after Donny’s death she could sit on the porch in his
favorite beat-up old rocking chair and watch the rain fall.
Hot, thick rain, the sort that swept in from the far-off
ocean in a dark gray line across the horizon. It was as
close to the sea as she would ever get, this rain, bringing
with it the essence of deep water, of surging waves and
pulling tides. Janelle sometimes thought she could smell
fish, imagine warm sand and shells as pink as a child’s ear.
Out across the farm the first blossoms were appearing on
the peach trees. Disarmingly pretty, they appeared brave
against the backdrop of scoured earth and bare oaks.
Janelle rocked, sipped iced tea, and pondered life without
her husband for the first time in twenty-five years. Donny
hadn’t been a bad man, exactly. He was a good farmer. He
knew his hogs and understood them, but she wasn’t sure if
that was the sort of thing a woman could describe as
comforting in a husband. Janelle thought it might be nice
to find a new man, someone who didn’t go around to the back
door of the old farmhouse to avoid brushing past her as she
did the dishes.
From inside, she could hear the steady thump of the local
country music station coming from the radio in Ed’s room.
Donny hadn’t wanted to take Ed in, especially not this
time, but Janelle had argued that he was, after all, blood.
Just because he also happened to be no-account lazy and
stupid didn’t mean you just abandoned him. Siblings have a
powerful pull, she had learned over the years. It didn’t
matter how low he sank, she would always be there to throw
down a rope. And now, having him here might be a comfort to
her. Might be, she thought, watching the watery sun peek
out from between the dark clouds. Tentatively, the evening
cast the last of its soft light across the pasture in front
of the house. Muted clouds of golden drifting pollen hung
above the tall alfalfa they hadn’t harvested last year,
stirred up by the passing rain. Further out, the road we had learned over the years. It didn’t
matter how low he sank, she would always be there to throw
down a rope. And now, having him here might be a comfort to
her. Might be, she thought, watching the watery sun peek
out from between the dark clouds. Tentatively, the evening
cast the last of its soft light across the pasture in front
of the house. Muted clouds of golden drifting pollen hung
above the tall alfalfa they hadn’t harvested last year,
stirred up by the passing rain. Further out, the road wed little
boy. Janelle wiped her hands on her jeans and started down
the stairs. The rain had mostly passed, leaving a mist
against her skin. He met her half-way, his hand on his
heart, his dark hair tumbling into his eyes.
“Ma’am,” he said. “Ma’am, I need your help.”
“What’s your name?” she asked gently, seeing how he shook,
how his clothing was matted with dirt and sweat and water.
“I…” He stared at her, his lovely face a bit blank. He
blinked once, twice, then cleared his throat and said in a
deep voice: “I don’t know, Ma’am. Guess that’s one of the
things I’d like some help with.”
And in that moment, Janelle knew she would take him in,
heal him. He was a gift to her on this beautiful day, the
first day of her life without Donny. Heck, maybe she’d even
kick out Ed. For the first time in years, plans flooded her
mind and nearly overwhelmed her. She wanted to do so much
for this weary and exhausted man. She wanted for once in
her miserable life, to be really, truly needed.
Of course, it also helped that he looked just exactly like
“C’mon inside,” Janelle said. “I think I’d like to call
you something. Can I call you Pete?”
Maybe I didn’t treat you
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn’t love you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time
Dana Scully’s apartment
October 1, 2000
Mulder waited impatiently outside Scully’s door, his foot
still tapping out the rhythm from the song he’d been
listening to in the car. Something hard and fast, good
driving music, the sort that set his body on edge and made
him want to move.
She jerked the door open on his third volley of knocks,
hitting him with a glare meant to shrivel the gonads of any
intruder, but most especially him. Instead he grinned at
her, knowing he could disarm her easily these days. She
sighed and opened the door a bit further, not exactly
“Hey Scully,” he said, pushing past her into the candle-
lit living room, shedding his coat on her chair as he went.
The whole apartment smelled like cinnamon and was
blissfully cool compared to his own. Something, he mused,
like Scully herself. “I brought you something.”
“Mulder, it’s well past 10, in case you hadn’t noticed,”
she said, picking up his jacket and hanging it in the
closet. He smiled tenderly at her. Lord, but they were
predictable. It warmed his heart sometimes to know that he
finally, finally had something to depend on, something he
could point at and say, yes, I know that.
“I noticed. I was cleaning out the boxes I brought back
from my mom’s and I found something I thought you would
She raised an eyebrow, but stepped forward and sat beside
him on the couch, pulling her thin robe tight across her
chest. He wasn’t sure whether it was meant to hide her form
or reveal it, but it made him want to stroke one finger
down her satin shoulder. “Fine,” she said. “You got me. I
was just sitting here listening to music anyway.”
Nodding, he handed her the small book he’d tucked under
his arm. Well-worn and battered, it made his heart tight
just to see it, to remember the long summer evenings spent
reading it out on the porch of the cabin as his father
grilled their dinner.
“‘The Science of Baseball’,” she read. “Mulder, you came
rushing over here to give this to me tonight?” Seeing his
feeling for the little volume in his disappointed pout, she
began to flip through it. “Thank you,” she said at last.
“It does look interesting.” Then she stopped, her hand
hovering over the book. “Mulder?” she said, and looked over
at him, smiling.
Puzzled, he leaned over and saw that tucked into the pages
of the old book was something he had forgotten. A memento
from his childhood so unexpected he felt as if someone had
knocked him in the gut. Scully pulled out the square black-
and-white photograph and turned it over as if expecting an
explanation to be printed on the back.
“When was this taken?” she asked, holding it out to him.
He didn’t need more than a glance to know what it was. He
left it dangling between her careful fingers.
“1971,” he said softly. “The summer before my 10th
birthday. He took me with him on a business trip and we
went to see the A’s play the Angels. We sat right over the
dugout. The A’s pitcher, Vida Blue, struck out seventeen
men in eleven innings. It was the longest shutout in
American League history. But that’s not what I remember. I
remember that it was the last time he and I went anywhere
alone together before Sam disappeared. God, it was so hot.
Early July and the sun was just amazing. He bought me three
cokes and a chili dog.”
When he paused, she was looking at him, soft around the
edges, her emotions blurred as if they were in motion.
“Take it,” she said. “It’s important to hold onto the good
He nodded, accepting the photo and tucking it into his
wallet, behind his money. “He was a good man then,” he
said, stroking the ruffled edge of the old photo. “At
least, I thought he was.”
She slipped one hand over his and squeezed. “Of course he
was. Look at his son.”
Baby let me be
Your loving teddy bear
Put a chain around my neck
And lead me anywhere
October 2, 2000
Scully sipped her coffee distractedly as she stepped from
the elevator into the basement hallway. With practiced
precision, she made her way around the boxes jutting out
from the walls, the old folded chairs and shelves of
abandoned books. She had long since stopped trying to
battle it back into an organized submission. If everyone
else thought the basement was a repository for useless
junk, then she wasn’t going to argue anymore. There was a
certain security in being thought useless.
Pushing open the door with her shoulder, she stepped into
the room already aware of Mulder’s presence, despite never
“Mulder, did you know that for an average, 88-mile-an-hour
fast ball, the batter has less than three-tenths of a second
to decide whether or not to swing?”
He was sitting behind his desk with his feet up, a goofy
grin lighting up his face. She set the book down on her own
desk and smiled back.
“See, I knew you’d like it.”
“I do,” she affirmed. “You were right. For once.”
“I’m often right,” he said sternly, but she caught the
smile hiding behind the gruff timbre of his voice. “You
just never admit it.”
It was then that she noticed he was holding a case file
out to her. This was going to be one of those times, she
thought, where she wasn’t going to want to admit it.
“What’s this?” she asked, accepting it only to find two
words written in black Sharpie across the tab. Two words
she had long dreaded seeing. “‘Elvis lives,’ Mulder? Lives
where? In your eternally youthful imagination?”
“I like to think that a little bit of Elvis lives in all
of us, Scully. But the current pretender to the throne
lives just outside Memphis, Tennessee.”
She opened the file to find no pictures, just a doctor’s
report. She scanned it and rolled her eyes.
“Atrophy of the muscles in the limbs, weakness in
the arms, chronic ear infections… what does any of this
have to do with Elvis, Mulder?”
He stood up and crossed around the desk to stand beside
her. “Space travel.”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” she said, setting the file
behind her with a deliberate smack. “Those could be
symptoms of all sorts of ailments, Mulder, not just
prolonged weightlessness. Where did you dig this one up,
“Frohike,” he answered, ignoring her snort of derision.
“He keeps an eye out for promising sightings. Here’s what
you didn’t take the time to read, Scully. This man has
total and complete amnesia. He can’t remember where he’s
been for the last twenty-two months, much less the last
twenty-two years. According to the doctor, he looked so
much like Elvis Presley that the nurses were calling him
‘King’ just for fun. Frohike believes this might be the
real deal, and I don’t take his tips lightly.”
She crossed her arms and looked up at him. He was so
enthusiastic, so boyish that for a moment she was almost
impossibly angry at him, if only for making himself so
“Mulder, this man is not Elvis.”
“How do you know, Scully?”
“Because Elvis Aaron Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977 of
heart failure after ingesting a potent cocktail of
prescription drugs. And as every school child knows,
Mulder, he died sitting on the commode.”
“Actually,” Mulder said, sounding wounded, “he fell off
the toilet before his death.”
“That’s just lovely,” she said. “So therefore, this isn’t
“Oh come on, Scully, you know all about the conspiracies
relating to his death. Just admit that it could be him.”
“No,” she said firmly.
“You’re certain?” he pressed.
“Very,” she affirmed. “Now, can we see a real case?” She
moved over to the bank of file cabinets and pulled open the
top drawer. “Mulder, there’s a whole rack of legitimate, or
at least somewhat more legitimate cases here, just crying
for your attention.”
“You a betting woman, Scully?”
She sighed and replaced the first file, something about
vampire babies who sucked their mother’s… well, it was
rather ridiculous and grotesque. “Maybe. What’s the wager?”
“If this isn’t Elvis, Scully, I’ll… I’ll book you a
night at the finest hotel in town for our next case. No,
better yet, I’ll book you a suite and sleep on the couch.”
Slightly astonished, she sat down on the edge of his desk
and stared at him. “How could you possibly be that certain,
He smiled, running his hand along the edge of the folder.
“Because of what I want in return.”
“Ok,” she said warily, “what do I have to do if it is
“You have to take me to a baseball game. Good seats,
Scully. Right above the opposing team’s dugout. And no tofu
Mulder was watching her with a combination of hope and
amused resignation that was uniquely his own. Something
about the look moved her, just as it always had. She
hesitated, then decided what the hell. Why not make him
happy? What did she have to lose? Blood-sucking infants,
that was what.
“Fine. When do we leave?”
Lord all mighty, feel my temperature risin’
Higher higher, it’s burning through to my soul.
Girl girl, girl, you gonna set me on fire.
My brain is flamin’, I don’t know which way to go.
October 3, 2000
They were stopped for gas, that was what he told himself.
They were not sitting in the “full service” lane of the
Kuntry Korner gas and grocery trying to get directions to
Janelle Hopkirk’s hog farm, no indeed. He knew exactly
where they were. It was Scully who was a little confused by
Janelle’s directions and phrases like “go past the Jesus
billboard to that little shop that sells deer meat jerky.”
To his left, three gloriously tall black girls wearing
impossibly short shorts and baby tees were arguing with a
certain friendly relish. All were eating something from a
little cardboard take-out container that he suspected might
be hush puppies, but wasn’t sure.
“Look,” one girl said loudly, “I seen ‘Beloved’ and you
didn’t, so you don’t know.”
“Yeah,” one of the other girls replied, licking grease off
her long red fingernails, “but I read the book, so I guess
I know what I’m talkin’ about.”
“Oh, now, you read the book so you’re an expert on
everything, is that it? Well, just ’cause you read it,
don’t mean you know nothing about it.”
The logic was strangely compelling.
“Look, all I’m sayin’ is: I wouldn’t take that scary old
thing into my house. No way, not even if she was my own
blood. Blood don’t mean nothin’ if they’re gonna hurt you,
Mulder pondered this statement and decided she might have
One of the girls looked over to see him watching them. She
nudged her friend, the one who was an expert on everything.
The friend smiled a long, slow, sexy smile and he felt like
whistling, but knew he wouldn’t.
“Nice suit,” she said and from the way she licked her
lips, he was fairly sure she wasn’t really looking at his
Armani knock-off. Then loudly: “You like what you see, Mr.
He laughed a little nervously and turned back to the
suddenly very interesting air bag warning on the rental
The gas station attendant, a skinny boy wearing a faded
Butthole Surfers t-shirt and a pencil thin mustache that
looked more like a caterpillar than facial hair, leaned in
through the window toward Scully and made his third attempt
to look down her shirt.
“Well,” he drawled slowly, “I know where you’re talking
about, but I don’t know how to get you from here to there,
“That’s just great,” Scully muttered darkly. “You’re very
Mulder watched her expression and knew the clerk was about
to get more than an eyeful. Leaning out his window, Mulder
called to the girls still standing by the store’s sign.
“Hey, any of you ladies know how to get to Tarken Road?”
The tallest of the girls, the one who’d licked her lips
and appraised him earlier, raised her left eyebrow in an
expression so reminiscent of his partner, he almost died
and went to heaven.
“Who’s askin’?” she said, strolling slowly over to the
car. She had long, sleek thighs and hair extensions that
slapped against her back when she moved. Beside him, he
heard Scully snort and he knew she’d read his mind as
surely as she would have read his face.
“I am,” he answered and smiled at the girl.
She stood a few feet from the car with one hand on her
hip. “You look like a cop,” she said.
“That’s because we are,” Scully answered loudly from
within the shadows of the car. Mulder winced.
“We’re FBI agents, and we’d appreciate your help.” He
tried another smile.
“Sure you would,” the girl said, tossing her hair. “But
you ain’t gonna get it.”
With that, she and her friends departed, hips swaying
pleasantly. Mulder groaned.
“Sorry I ruined your chances there, Mr. Silk Tie,” Scully
said, her face down as if she were further examining the
map, but he saw the smile. “For once, your best winsome
look couldn’t get you what you wanted.”
“Scully,” he admonished. “It’s not my looks, it’s my
innate intelligence and wit that attract the women.”
“That girl,” she said, raising her eyes to meet his, full
of mirth, “was not looking at your intelligence, or your
wit. I think I know where we’re going,” she added quickly
when he grinned at her. “Take a left at the next light and
I think we’ll run right into Tarken.”
“Right,” he said, starting the car and pulling out onto
the road. The greasy attendant watched them go with one
hand at his brow, as if he were saluting the car. “And I’m
sure that skinny kid was looking at your fine-tuned
scientific mind, right Scully?”
She smiled at him, tightly, and shrugged. “What’s the use
of being genetically blessed, Mulder, if we can’t even get
It’s comin’ closer, the flames are now lickin’ my body
Won’t you help me, feel like I’m slipping away
It’s hard to breathe, my chest is a-heaving
Lord have mercy, I’m burnin’ the whole day
Janelle Hopkirk’s Farm
Outside Memphis, Tennessee
October 3, 2000
At last, they had found the right place. At least, she
hoped the stench in the thick blanket of air outside the
cool confines of the car was, in fact, from pigs. If not,
it spoke of dead things and other unspeakable horrors.
Spilled sewage came to mind.
“Woo-eee!” Mulder declared beside her, wrinkling his nose.
It must be tough, she thought with a mental smile, to have
that nose on days like today.
“I think it’s Soo-eee,” she replied and he grinned weakly,
like a man who is attempting to breathe through his mouth.
“I’m betting this is the place,” he said and led her up
the stairs of the old farmhouse. Standing on the wide front
porch, she realized she could see right out to the back
yard. A low breezeway extended right through the center of
“Mulder,” she said, “look at this.”
“Ah,” he said with a knowing glance, “a dog-trot cabin.
The channel down the center divides the house into a
sleeping area, and a living and eating area. The
circulation of air through the channel keeps the rooms
cooler, and the separation of the kitchen from the bedrooms
kept the old wood-fired stoves from overheating the…” He
trailed off as the door opened.
“Yes?” A tall, blond woman, still striking, despite what
was obviously a poor diet and hard life spent out in the
sun, greeted them with a suspicious look.
“Mrs. Hopkirk?” Mulder asked politely. At the woman’s nod
he continued. “I’m Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully
from the FBI.”
The woman sighed and nodded reluctantly. “C’mon in,” she
said. “I was expectin’ y’all yesterday. Actually, I been
expectin’ y’all for months and months.”
Scully shrugged at Mulder and they stepped into the house.
The front room was at least fifteen degrees cooler than the
outside air, and yet it was still unbearably hot. An old
clock ticked loudly from the mantel, it’s darkened back
reflected in the age-grayed mirror behind it. Scully could
see herself there as well, her hair unnaturally bright in
the dim room.
“I’ll just go get Pete,” Janelle said slowly. “Then you
can ask him whatever you want to know.” She backed out of
the room, untying a faded flowered apron as she left.
Alone in the heat, Mulder pulled at his tie beside her and
shifted from foot to foot. She could feel the nervousness
coming off his body like cologne. “Moment of truth,
Scully,” he said as they heard footsteps on the back porch.
A deep Memphis accent drifted toward them.
“They’re in the parlor?”
“That’s right,” she heard Janelle reply. “You go on in and
just tell ’em whatever they ask. Don’t worry about nothin’.”
“I won’t, Nell. You just go see ’bout that sow. I think
it’s a breech birth. I left my glove and the gel over by
Mulder winced and shot her a knowing look. She wiggled the
fingers of her right hand at him menacingly before dropping
back into her best agent stance.
The man who entered the room looked exhausted. Sweat
plastered his dark hair to his forehead, and his eyes were
“Ma’am, Sir,” he said, extending a hand that had just been
wiped clean on his jeans. Scully reminded herself that her
own hand had been in far more disgusting places than the
vaginal canal of a pig and shook it politely.
“Agents Scully and Mulder with the FBI,” she said. The man
nodded. He did, if she were forced to admit it, look a damn
lot like Elvis.
“Janelle calls me Pete,” he said softly. “Don’t know what
else to call myself, so I figure that’ll do.”
She nodded. “Pete, I understand you are suffering from an
advanced case of amnesia?”
“So they tell me,” he said, wiping his hair back with his
hand. She saw Mulder’s eyes widen in surprise. All right,
she thought with irritation. He does look a lot like the
King. A lot. So what? That doesn’t prove a damn thing. “All
I know is, I don’t remember anything before I woke up in
that irrigation ditch out front. It was rainin’ and I was
cold. The first thing I saw was Janelle, walkin’ toward me.
She sure was a sweet thing to see.”
Mulder smiled. “And since then, you haven’t remembered
anything about your previous life?”
“Oh sure,” Pete said, nodding. “Bits an’ pieces. I
remember someone talkin’ to me. I remember music playin’
somewhere. I remember bein’ underwater.”
“Underwater?” Scully asked, feeling Mulder shift beside
her in triumph.
“Yeah, only the water was real thick and heavy, more like
goo. And I was tryin’ to move and I couldn’t. And I
remember someone came in and stuck me with a big ol’ needle
and I couldn’t stay awake any more.”
“That’s all you remember?” Mulder asked.
“That’s it,” Pete affirmed. “Doesn’t help much, does it?”
“Oh, I don’t know…” Mulder began, but she silenced him
with a look.
“Pete, I’d like to take your fingerprints, if I may?” she
asked. “I’d like to run them through our database, see if
any matches turn up.”
He nodded and smiled sadly. “If I do turn out to be a
wanted man, Miss Scully, you’ll go easy on me, won’t you?”
His gentle face was so sad she found herself reassuring
him, patting his hand as if he were a child. His dark eyes
twinkled at the contact and she realized she was being had,
just a little bit. What a charmer, she thought, and then
chided herself. “I’m more worried that someone may have
reported you missing, Sir, than that you might be a
“Well,” he said, “that is reassurin’. I’d hate to have to
Well bless my soul, what’s wrong with me?
I’m itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree .
My friends say I’m actin’ wild as a bug.
I’m in love, I’m all shook up.
Outside, Mulder watched the sun set slowly over the flat
expanse of the delta. Recent rain had refreshed the rich
land, forming patches of vibrant green between the long
lines of oaks and alders snaking beside the irrigation
ditches. The evening sky was clear and promised to be
starry and brilliant. He felt a temptation to howl at the
sliver of rising moon, silver in a deep blue suede sky.
He heard the door creak open behind him and Scully emerged
carrying the little canvas bag she kept their
fingerprinting equipment in. Really, it was just a special
stamp pad and some ink. She smiled at him and extended her
hand, the tips of her fingers dyed a soft blue, despite the
fact that he knew she had washed them. Resting on her palm
were two red plums, so dark they were almost black, like
blood after it was exposed to air. He accepted one, popping
it into his mouth.
“Janelle says Pete signed her up for the Fruit of the
Month club for her birthday,” she said, by way of
explanation. “I don’t know if he’s Elvis, Mulder, but I’ll
tell you one thing: he’s sweet on Janelle Hopkirk. No doubt
Mulder nodded, his mouth filled with the tang of the
fruit. Scully was nibbling at hers, biting off precise
little bits of plum. A thick drop of juice hovered on her
upper lip and he sighed as she reached up, swiped it onto
her thumb and licked her fingers clean.
Turning from him with a small smile, she looked out over
the farm and nodded, approving. “This place is actually
quite beautiful, Mulder. When you’re up-wind.”
“I can certainly see the appeal.”
Scully regarded him with a skeptical eyebrow. “Oh, come
on. You? On a farm?”
He shrugged and leaned closer. “Sure, Scully. I love to
work with my hands.”
She rolled her eyes, but didn’t move away. “See, that’s
the difference between you and I, Mulder. I can understand
the emotional draw of the pastoral, but I know my own
character enough to see that in the end, I’m a city kind of
Mulder was glad someone knew her character well enough to
make sure pronouncements, since even after all their time
together, he certainly didn’t. Of course, he was well aware
of the attraction the mysterious always held for him.
“But how do you know that the need for a corner stand with
a non-fat steamy latte isn’t the direct result of
conditioning, rather than character, Scully? In terms of
your innate personality, I can really see you out here.
There’s something eminently practical about a farm. The
predictable science of the growth season, of weather and
crop rotation. There’s no room here for the fantastic,
for the surreal.”
She hesitated, then licked her lips and spoke. “And maybe
that’s why I wouldn’t like it, Mulder. Maybe I’ve developed
an insatiable desire for the paranormal.”
Mulder stared at her for a moment, suddenly feeling very
“Insatiable desire, Scully?”
With a shy grin, she reached up and ran her thumb over his
lower lip, ostensibly to capture some spot of juice he had
“Insatiable,” she said, and slipped the thumb between her
Ooh, I feel my temperature risin’.
Help me I’m flamin’, I must be 109.
Burning, burning, burning and nothing can cool me.
I just might turn into smoke, but I feel fine.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Memphis Field Office
October 4, 2000
Scully shifted uncomfortably, resting one sharp corner of
her pelvis on the edge of someone’s desk. Mulder lounged in
a chair beside her, his jacket off, his tie loosened to the
point where she expected it to slide off at any moment. At
least he wasn’t wearing khakis.
“Damn, it’s hot,” he remarked to no one in particular.
“Air’s broke,” commented an agent, sliding past in a linen
suit that made Scully sweat with envy.
“So,” the kid sitting in front of the computer said to
her, “you just want to run it against this one print?”
“That’s right,” she said. “Just tell me if it’s a match,
then if it isn’t, we’ll start running it against the rest
of the database.”
“Ok,” the kid said, hesitant. “Can I ask who’s print I’m
comparing it to? This isn’t standard Bureau issue.”
She glanced at Mulder, who was pretending to examine the
wall behind her head with great interest. She sighed.
“We’ve obtained it from… other sources. It’s classified,
The kid nodded and shrugged. “Gimme ten minutes.”
“Come on, Mulder,” Scully said, slipping off the desk and
back into her now far-too-tight shoes. “Let’s go get some
They pushed open the door to be hit by a wall of wet heat.
Mulder groaned. Across the street, Scully saw the familiar
shape of a Sonic drive-through.
“They have these frozen things,” she explained to Mulder
as he jogged after her. “These ice-drinks. My Dad used to
Three minutes later they returned with two plastic cups
and faces bathed in happiness.
“I can’t believe you’d buy a bubble gum flavored anything,”
Mulder was saying. “That just goes against everything I
know of you, Scully.”
“Maybe you don’t know everything about me, Mulder.” At his
disappointed face she said: “Wanna taste?”, holding her own
straw up to her lips and taking a small sip.
Mulder blinked and then nodded. She offered the drink to
him and watched as a clump of pink ice rose slowly up the
straw to his lips.
“Oh, God,” he said suddenly, backing away. “That’s the
worst thing I’ve ever tasted! Scully,” he admonished. “No
one should drink bubble gum. That’s just wrong.”
Warm wooden benches beckoned them to the shade beneath the
local office’s broad concrete awnings. Scully perched
delicately on the edge of one, attempting to keep the near-
bare skin of her legs off the superheated metal rivets that
held the seat together.
“So what’s your theory, Scully, if he turns out to be Joe
Blow from Des Moines?”
She turned and examined Mulder briefly. He seemed
“Well, total amnesia is almost always faked, Mulder.
Medically, it does happen, but the cases are extremely
rare. My guess is that he’s some sad, middle-aged man who’s
run away from home. Maybe the responsibilities of life were
too much for him.”
“I don’t know about that,” Mulder said, sipping his drink
and watching the passing pedestrians. “He doesn’t seem like
a man shirking responsibility to me.” There they were, she
thought, just two Feds sitting on the bench during their
break, sipping drinks. It was good for a moment to be this
deeply anonymous, even to Mulder. How wonderful it was to
be able to occasionally discover something unexpected in
one another. Mulder glanced down and smiled at her toes.
“No,” she had to admit, “he doesn’t.”
“You know, when I came out to Graceland…” He stopped
suddenly and looked away. She wished fervently he wasn’t
thinking about what she knew he was thinking about. He
cleared his throat and continued. “Elvis didn’t really love
Priscilla by the time he married her. He had been working
with Ann Margaret and the two of them really hit it off.
They were crazy for one another. Priscilla was so jealous
she actually dyed her hair red in an attempt to compete.
But he did marry her, giving up on his romance with Ann
Margaret. He married her because he’d promised he would.
Even if it was misguided, there’s something to admire in a
man who keeps his promises.”
He looked back at her, his face undisturbed. Whatever had
happened to them that week in Philadelphia, Mulder had put
it behind him. Or he had simply buried it too deeply to let
it surface without pain.
“I know,” she said. “I’ve always admired fidelity in a
man.” They were both silent for a moment before she spoke
again. “Maybe he just wanted to start over with someone who
loved him. That’s no crime. And if this fingerprint shows
what I suspect it will, I think I’ll just leave well enough
“You won’t run it against the criminal database?” Mulder
asked, clearly surprised.
She shrugged. “He’s not hurting anyone, and Janelle needs
him. The hogs need him.”
Mulder laughed, then, a joyous bark in the still air. “The
hogs need him, Scully?”
Before she could reply, a hand touched her shoulder,
causing her to jump. The kid from fingerprinting was
grinning at her.
“Hey, you were right,” he said.
“What?” Mulder asked, glancing to her in a moment of true
She realized then that he hadn’t really believed it. The
force that disappointment held over their lives was
staggering. The kid looked from one to the other and then
shrugged, finding them inexplicable.
“It was a match,” he said.
In the shocked moment that followed, she heard Mulder drop
his drink to the concrete.
We’re caught in a trap, I can’t walk out
because I love you too much, baby.
Why can’t you see what you’re doin’ to me,
when you don’t believe a word I’m saying?
We can’t go on together with suspicious minds
and we can’t build our bridge on suspicious minds.
“Mulder, this can’t be right,” Scully was saying, brushing
her hair back from her face, where the car’s full-blast air-
conditioning was pushing it. The car was still hot, as if
someone had heated it with a blow drier. At least it was
drying the sticky film of root beer flavored ice that had
soaked through his left sock.
“Hey, you saw the results just like I did, Scully. Except
for that scar, the fingerprints were exactly the same.”
“Scars do not just disappear.” She was rationalizing
frantically, her stunned eyes blinking against the steady
stream of air and disbelief.
“You don’t know how fresh the cut was when he was first
fingerprinted, Scully. It could have healed to the point
where the latest test didn’t pick it up. For God’s sake,
you’re a doctor. You know the significance of
fingerprints.” He felt like banging his head on the
“I know,” she huffed, “that people do not just disappear
and reappear twenty-two years later without having aged a
“Scully, you’re the one who wrote your thesis on Einstein,
She slumped back against the seat, her eyes clamped shut,
her brow pinched. “This is completely impossible.” When she
lifted one hand up to rub her temples, he saw it shake.
“No, it isn’t,” he said, excitement growing in his
stomach, replacing the earlier incredulity. He was often
right, but he was never, ever this right. “It’s perfectly
possible. Time isn’t a universal invariant, Scully, as you
well know. It varies from person to person, just as
Einstein said it would. For Elvis, it’s been traveling at a
rather accelerated rate. Twenty-two years passing in just a
few short days in space.”
“Oh God,” she said and he turned to stare at her. “I think
I’m hyperventilating. Mulder, do you understand what this
could mean, for the scientific community? For the world?”
“More bad imitation leather jumpsuits and come-back
“This isn’t funny.” She was pale, her skin covered in a
thin veil of sweat. Mulder pulled the car over to the side
of the road and touched her, stroking one hand down the
damp curve of her neck until he felt her racing pulse calm
beneath his finger tips.
“Scully,” he said softly. “This isn’t the end of the
world. It’s the beginning of something very big, sure, but
you need to take it one step at a time. We’ll take it one
step at a time.”
Outside, a chorus of cicadas stopped and started on cue,
sounding like lawn sprinklers. Kudzu draped the tree beside
Scully’s window and crawled across the grass, making the
old oak resemble a giant, moving through a lush carpet of
green water. If the world were going to become somewhere
extraordinary, he thought, it would have to happen here.
Her soft voice drew him back to the car. “Thank you,” she
said. And then, so quietly he could barely hear it, she
said: “Thank you, thank you verra much,” in a deep tenor he
The need to touch her was so intense he had to remove his
hand from her neck or give up completely.
“Come on, Scully. Let’s go tell Pete and Janelle. I’m
itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree.”
“My tongue gets tied when I try to speak, my insides shake
like a leaf on a tree.”
“Scully, I’m all shook up.”
“Let’s just stop that right now,” she said, grinning, one
small hand on his arm. “Before it gets completely out of
“Right,” he agreed, returning the grin as he started the
Well it’s one for the money,
two for the show ,
three to get ready
and go, cat, go!
Janelle Hopkirk’s Farm
Outside Memphis, Tennessee
October 4, 2000
As they pulled up in front of the battered old house, she
had reached a sort of liquid equilibrium. So they had found
Elvis. So what? How did that compare to space aliens,
vampires and mutant fluke men? Mulder was unconsciously
tapping his restless fingers against the steering wheel.
Neither of them made a move to get out of the car.
“You first,” he said. She nodded and pulled her jacket
tight over her breasts. This was it.
Her fist made a hollow ponking sound against the front
door. Mulder twitched beside her.
The man who answered the door wasn’t Pete or Janelle,
though he bore a faint family resemblance to the latter.
“Yeah?” he said. He wore a greasy white undershirt and
jeans that looked three sizes too big for his non-existent
“We’re looking for Janelle or Pete,” she said, feeling the
adrenaline drain from her body like sweat.
“They ain’t home,” the man replied. “You two must be the
FBI. Janelle told me you might be by later. They went to
get groceries. Told me to have you wait in the living room.”
He opened the door and motioned them in. Mulder entered
first, eyebrows raised in an expression she recognized as
“And you are?” Scully asked as she slid past him. Clearly,
he hadn’t bathed in days.
“Ed Beers, Janelle’s brother,” he said, shutting the door
and standing nervously beside them.
“Ah,” Mulder said, moving slowly into the living room.
“And you help around the farm, then?”
Ed laughed and shook his head. “Hell no. I don’t touch
those dirty hogs. Nah, I run a business over the Internet.”
Scully felt, rather than saw, the glance Mulder shot her
way. “What sort of business?” she asked.
“Oh, you know…” Ed drifted off. Then he smiled
nervously. “Gotta get back to work. Say…” he began
suddenly, his hand on the door to the opening in the center
of the house. “You two don’t investigate porn, do you?”
“Porn?” Mulder said, innocently. “Not unless there are
minors involved. Why?”
Scully could barely contain her laughter as Ed’s face
relaxed and he said: “Nothin’. Just wonderin’. Well, y’all
can hang here till Janelle gets back. Holler if you need
After he left, Mulder eyed her speculatively. “What do you
think Ed’s business entails, Scully?”
“Celery,” she replied, smiling.
“Celery?” he asked, clearly puzzled, leaning forward to
hear her response.
“When Melissa and I drove down to San Diego from her place
in Portland to see my dad… it must have been in the late
’80s. I can’t remember exactly what year… anyway, she
brought along some celery sticks to snack on.”
“That sounds like Melissa,” he admitted. “I’d have brought
She smiled indulgently. “Well, we’d forgotten about the
produce check at the California border. It was too late to
just pull off the interstate and throw the celery away. So
we started this joke, as we were waiting in line at the
checkpoint. The guard would walk up and ask: ‘Ladies, do
you have any fruits or vegetables?’ To which we would
reply: “No, Sir, no celery here.’ ‘But I didn’t ask you
about cel…’ he would begin and we would be shaking our
heads frantically. ‘No celery in this car!’ It was very
Monty Python. You would have liked it.”
“So what happened?” he asked, grinning.
“We drove up to the guard, rolled down the window, and he
said: ‘Ladies, do you have any fruits in your car?’ To
which we, with great solemnity, replied: ‘No Sir, no fruits
at all.’ We laughed all the way to San Diego.” She sighed,
remembering her sister’s warm, throaty voice telling their
father the story. That they were both gone was nearly
inconceivable. She shut the little, disbelieving part of
herself away under Mulder’s gentle smile. It astonished her
how easily he read her emotions now, despite her fruitless
struggle to contain them.
“I’d say Ed’s working with some serious celery in there,
“It’s astonishing to think he’s related to Janelle,” she
said, banishing the subject but not the mood.
“Maybe he’s adopted,” Mulder said. “Or maybe his mother
had an affair.” Though it was there for a moment, his smile
faded as they lapsed into silence. She knew what he was
thinking about, could read it in his tight face. He had
long since given up the effort to keep himself hidden from
“Do you miss your mother?” she asked, and he looked up,
“Sometimes,” he said quietly. “Now that she’s dead, I
sometimes find myself missing the person she could have
been, but wasn’t. Does that make any sense?”
She nodded. “Perfect sense, Mulder. I often wonder who
Melissa would have been if she had survived, or Emily,
grown from a child to a young girl.”
Mulder rose and stepped to the mantle, running one
tentative finger along the wooden curves of the clock
resting there. Yellowing family photos stretched out to
either side of his hands, branches of Janelle’s family
tree. His eyes met hers in the darkened mirror. “Who would
you have been, Scully, if you weren’t you?”
Smiling, she shook her head at him. “Only you could ask
that question, Mulder.”
“And only you could attempt to answer it,” he said.
“I don’t know…” she said slowly. “I suppose I’d probably be
somewhat like my mother. Married with children, a family…
Like my brothers. That’s the way everyone in my family has
Mulder stopped caressing the clock and smiled gently,
acknowledging all she wasn’t saying about her own
choices. “I would have played pro ball.”
She returned the smile, feeling tentative in the dim light of
the shrouded room. “Isn’t that rather presumptuous?”
“Don’t rain on my parade, Scully. I would have hit .385
lifetime and stolen more bases than Ricky Henderson.”
She rose to stand behind him, startled by how bright her
own reflection was beside the darkness of his suit jacket.
“Who’s to say you wouldn’t have been a plumber? I’ve seen
you in action, Mulder, and I think you’d be a natural.”
Mulder turned to face her, and tipped her chin up with one
finger. “And who’s to say you wouldn’t have been the celery
on one of Ed’s websites?” They could only look at one
another for a brief moment before she burst out laughing.
“I think that’s a bit unlikely,” she said, though he was looking
at her as if he disagreed.
Mulder shrugged and let his finger drift along her jaw.
“Maybe in our other lives, Scully, maybe in our other selves,
we get to be who we should have been. I get to play all day
on the warm, green grass of summer and you have the
family you deserve, whole in every sense.”
For a moment, she felt the strength of his words and was
too moved to speak. He cradled her left cheek with his
palm. “I wouldn’t want to be anyone else,” she told him at
last. “And I’m selfishly thinking that I happen to like how you
turned out too.”
The sound of footsteps on the stairs startled them apart.
Janelle opened the door to the hall, followed closely by
Pete. At least, that was what he was to be called for now,
Scully thought and shook her head in wonder. How could it
be possible? It was like meeting… Einstein? No, that didn’t
quite compute either. Pete didn’t look any different to her,
Janelle set her purse down on a small table and called out.
“Mr. Mulder? Miss Scully? Are you in there?”
“Right here,” Mulder answered.
They watched as Pete carried a bag of food past them into
the kitchen, unable to look away.
“We have the results of the fingerprint test,” Scully said
slowly, entranced by the dark fall of hair over Pete’s
forehead. That was Elvis. Elvis Aaron Presley. She was
startled by Janelle’s nervous face suddenly appearing in
front of her. Janelle’s deep blue eyes were teary and terribly
frightened. She stared at Scully for a moment and seemed
placated by Scully’s careful smile.
“Let me just help Pete put those things away,” she said
quickly. “He still doesn’t know where I like things to go.”
Mulder nodded. “We’ll be right here,” he said. “Take your
When Janelle had stepped into the kitchen and put one
hand on Pete’s shoulder, Mulder leaned over and
whispered in her ear just what she had been thinking: “My
God, Scully, this will change everything for them.
She hesitated before replying, afraid of her own thoughts.
“Yes, but is that a good thing?”
Does your memory stray to a bright summer day when I
kissed you and called you Sweetheart? Is your heart filled
with pain? Shall I come back again? Tell me dear, are you
Janelle, Pete and Ed sat in a line on the old horsehair sofa,
their faces stunned and disbelieving. Mulder realized he
was staring at Pete, trying to see the spark, the thing,
whatever it was, that made him the star he had once been.
He saw nothing but surprise and exhaustion. Perhaps he’d
been robbed of it during his missing time. Had they done
something to him? Did his lost memory hold the key? Did
memory itself create the people we become, he wondered?
And what did that say about himself, about Scully, with their
pattern of missing time? Was it the experiences they
remembered best that made them who they were? Or those
they couldn’t remember at all?
“You’re sayin’ I’m Elvis?” Pete repeated. “Are you people
nuts? What the heck kinda operation is this?”
Mulder felt Scully tense slightly. She hated doing this, giving
into the paranormal. “Insatiable desire”, my ass, Mulder
thought and nearly laughed out loud. It was too surreal.
“I know it seems impossible,” Scully was saying, “but I
assure you, it’s the truth. Your fingerprints were an exact
“Dear Lord,” Janelle said. “I can’t believe this. He’s… he’s
been dead since I was a teenager!”
“There are… circumstances we haven’t been able to work
out,” Scully admitted.
“What does this mean?” Pete whispered. “I mean,
assuming you two aren’t on some sort of drugs.”
“Assuming a DNA test proves conclusive,” Mulder said,
“then you’ll have to take steps to reestablish your identity
with the family. Your… um… Priscilla has amassed quite a
considerable fortune from the profits at Graceland. It’s all in
Lisa Marie’s name, but once they know you aren’t dead…”
He drifted off after seeing the glazed look on Pete’s face.
“Lisa Marie?” he whispered. “Jesus in heaven.”
Scully gave Mulder a look that told him he was rushing
forward too quickly. It was a look he was intimately familiar
“Pete,” Scully said carefully, “do you remember anything
else? Anything at all about the time you were gone?”
Pete shook his head. “Just what I told you before. This can’t
be right. It don’t make no sense! Where did I go? And if I’m
Elvis, shouldn’t I be old and gray by now? I don’t suppose
anybody’s got the answers, do they?”
It was a rhetorical question and they all knew it. The room
was unbearably hot. Sweat trickled down Mulder’s sides
and pooled at his waist band. The back of his shirt seemed
permanently fused to his skin. No one moved for a moment,
still absorbing the news. What did it mean, in the end? This
man, whomever his fingerprints might say he was, wasn’t
going to suddenly release a comeback album. He wasn’t
going to start touring Vegas. Mulder was fairly sure Pete
wouldn’t even want to do those things. Deeply absorbed in
this conundrum of identity, Mulder actually jumped when
Janelle stood suddenly and rushed out of the room, her
apron lifted to her face. Either she was going to be sick, or
she was crying. Either possibility made him nervous.
“Janelle!” Pete called, starting to rise.
Scully held out one hand, her face calm in the rising storm of
the room. “I’ll go,” she said quietly.
Pete sank back into the couch, defeated. Mulder thought for
a man who’d just found out he was rich and famous, Pete
looked about as miserable as… as a hound dog. For a
moment, the three men simply stared at one another. Then
Ed spoke, his voice high and slightly shrill. “Well, guess we
don’t have to worry ’bout those damned dirty hogs no more,
Now the stage is bare and I’m standing there with
emptiness all around. And if you won’t come back to me,
then they can bring the curtain down.
Janelle stood on the back porch, arms around herself, her
large eyes filled with tears.
Scully stepped up and gently touched her arm. “Janelle, I
realize this is a lot to absorb right now…” she began as the
older woman turned to stare at her. Her skin was patchy
and red, her hair had been loosened from the bun she had
wrapped it in and floated, nimbus-like, around her face. In
her faded jeans and battered denim shirt, she was the
picture of despair.
“You don’t know what it’s like,” she said, miserable. “I
waited years to meet a man like this. All my damn life, I
think. Someone who’d protect me, and care for me. He
listens to me, Miss Scully. He cares what I think about
things. Hell, even Ed never gave a damn what I wanted,
what I thought. After Donny died… well, this just seemed like
a fresh start.”
“He’s still going to care about you,” Scully offered carefully.
“That won’t stop just because he’s… he’s… someone
Janelle gave her look that said she understood very little
about the situation, but thanks very much. Scully winced.
“Look, you don’t get it,” Janelle said slowly. “You’re a real
pretty girl, Miss Scully. Any man’d want to be with you. But
what do you think Pete’ll think of me when everyone starts
throwin’ themselves at him? How long do you think he’ll want
someone like me when women who look like you start
Scully sighed and cleared her throat. “Look, Janelle, Pete
loves you, that’s obvious. I don’t think that’s going to change
just because he’s suddenly presented with shallow
opportunities. That just doesn’t seem to be his character.”
Janelle sniffed and wiped the back of her hand across her
nose. “You think?”
“You know him better than I do,” Scully said gently. “And you
do love him, right?”
Janelle nodded. “More than you can imagine.”
“Oh, I don’t know,” Scully said, placing a hand on Janelle’s
arm and leading her back inside the house.
Mulder and Pete stood up as they entered. Scully glanced
at her partner’s worried face and smiled. “You’d be
surprised what I know about love,” she said so only Janelle
I said, “Come on over baby, there’s a whole lotta shakin’
goin’ on. We ain’t fakin’, there’s a whole lotta shakin’ going
on.” Said “Shake, baby, shake.”
Mulder watched Scully as he drove back toward their hotel.
She seemed subdued, especially compared with this
afternoon. Both hands were neatly folded in her lap, and her
chin nearly touched her collar bone. Janelle’s reaction to the
news had shaken them both. It hadn’t occurred to Mulder
just how much this would alter one lonely woman’s life.
Perhaps, he thought, he could find a way to make that
alteration work in her favor.
“So, how much does our genetic make-up determine who
we are, Scully?” he asked, breaking the silence between
them. Something had been playing in the back of his mind,
though he couldn’t put his finger on what it was that
Scully replied after a brief pause. “Genetics is merely the
road map, Mulder. Everyone’s journey is different.”
“But the destination is always the same, right?” he said.
She smiled. “The destination is unique to each individual,
Mulder, no matter who they were born. I think you’ve run too
far with that analogy. You’re asking me if Pete is still Elvis,
without his experiences.”
“Exactly. Does the mere fact that he is genetically Elvis
Presley make him the King?”
Shrugging, she settled further back into her seat. “Genetics
isn’t the only thing that determines how we turn out, as you
know, but no one understands the exact proportions
required within that equation.”
“So I might not turn out to be my father, just because I’m
descended from him.”
She turned to look at him then, her eyes narrow in the dark
car. He knew she was carefully formulating her reply to be
as impersonal as possible. “You’re bothered by the idea
that we might be doomed by genetics to repeat the same
sets of mistakes as our parents, right? That Pete might
have to live up to being Elvis because his parents created
him that way?”
“I suppose so,” Mulder answered truthfully.
Frowning, she reached across the car and touched his arm.
He felt comforted immediately. It wasn’t that she touched
him, it was that she wanted to make him hear her,
“Well, Mulder, it just isn’t that simple. Genetically, you aren’t
simply the descendant of your mother and father, but also of
your grandparents and their grandparents. Genetics isn’t
just a matter of ‘a plus b equals c’, but a complex battle for
dominance by traits that may only surface once in a
thousand generations. You could be, genetically, more like
your great-great- grandfather than your father. I, for instance,
could just as easily have been a violent alcoholic like my
uncle Ted. Perhaps something in my decision to join the
FBI and carry a gun is related not to my father’s inherent
heroism but rather to my uncle’s need for false security and
bravado. There’s more than one way to skin a Scully,
Mulder smiled and squeezed her hand within his own. “Why
does that sound so obscene?”
Scully returned the caress, then slipped back to her own
seat. “We’re discovering so much about the roles genetics
plays in our lives, Mulder. Just a few months ago I read an
article about a study involving breast cancers in identical
twins. Did you know that even if your identical twin gets
cancer, your own chances of getting it only go up thirteen
percent? Someone who is genetically identical to yourself
and yet their life, the outcome of their experiences, can vary
greatly from your own.”
Mulder tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. “Elvis had
a twin brother, you know, who died at birth. I wonder who he
would have been, had he lived?”
She was quiet for a moment, then she shrugged, her profile
lit by the setting sun. “Just because someone is a twin,
Mulder, doesn’t make them an exact clone.”
It struck them both at the same moment. He felt her stiffen
beside him and heard her open her mouth then close it with
an audible smack.
“My God,” she said at last, her voice filled with a new
excitement that set his own blood racing, “it explains
Well you can knock me down, step on my face, slander my
name all over the place. Do anything that you wanna do, but
uh-uh, Honey, lay offa them shoes.
They could hear the argument in progress from the
driveway, rising above the stench of the hogs in the bright
red light of the sunset and swirling around them, capturing
Scully’s attention by the notes of sheer desperation.
Janelle’s voice reached them clearly as they approached
the open door. “How could you call a record producer, Ed?
Are you out of your mind?”
“This could be an opportunity for us!” she heard Ed whine.
“Do you know how much this guy is worth? All he’d have to
do is go on TV a couple times and we’d be rollin’ in dough.”
“I don’t want to be rolling in dough,” Janelle said. “I was
“You were?” a deep voice asked and they heard footsteps
across the wooden floor of the living room.
Janelle’s exact words were lost, but Scully caught the tone
well enough to imagine what she had said.
“Ed, get out,” Janelle said loudly at last. “Take your things
and get out.”
“Janelle,” he shouted, obviously flustered, “I’m your brother.
Your own flesh and blood. You can’t throw me out!”
“Blood don’t mean nothin’ if they’re gonna hurt you, does it?”
Mulder said quietly beside her. Scully glanced at him and
raised an eyebrow. He smiled back. There was a pause
from within the house and then Janelle’s voice. “Hello?”
“Janelle, it’s Agents Scully and Mulder,” Scully called. “We
need to talk to you.”
“Go away,” Janelle said, suddenly standing behind the
screen door. She twisted the edge of her apron in her
hands and glared at them. “You brought us enough bad
“It’s all right, Nell,” Pete said, his hand on her shoulder. He
nodded to them, and sighed. “These folks don’t mean no
harm to us, do you?”
“No,” Mulder said quickly. “In fact, I think we can help you.”
Janelle reluctantly opened the door to let them in. Ed sulked
in the corner, his hands thrust in his jeans’ pockets, nearly
dragging them off his skinny frame.
“I thought I told you to get out,” Janelle said firmly as they
passed him. He slinked out the door toward his room.
“Please have a seat, agents. We’d love any help you could
Mulder hesitated, then leaned forward slowly. “Pete, Agent
Scully and I think we know who you are. I know we told you
that you were Elvis Presley, but I think it’s actually more
complicated than that.”
“Oh,” Pete said wearily. “So now I’m not Elvis?”
“Not exactly,” Scully said. “We believe you are a clone of
“A what?” Janelle said, staring at them blankly. “Like that
“Precisely,” Scully nodded. “Most people aren’t aware of it,
but there are scientists who have developed the ability to
clone human beings. This work is not sanctioned by the
scientific community, but it can be done. I don’t know quite
why someone would clone Elvis then abandon that clone,
but I’m almost sure that’s what has happened here.”
“Strange enough, that does make some sense to me.
Maybe,” Pete ventured quietly, after a moment’s
contemplation, “they found that whatever it was that made
him, you know, Elvis, wasn’t there in me.”
“Maybe,” Mulder admitted. “But there’s nothing wrong with
that, Pete. Elvis died of a drug overdose, miserable and
lonely. You don’t have to make those same mistakes. You
can be whomever you like.”
“You mean I can stay here with Janelle? I don’t have to go
be a singer?”
“No you don’t. You never did, if it comes down to it,” Mulder
said. “But this means you can stay here if that’s what you
want to do, and no one can say anything about it.”
Pete sighed and stood up slowly. Scully winced as his
knees cracked loudly. “I appreciate that, Mr. Mulder. I been
so heartbroken since you told me who I was. All I could think
was that I like it here. I don’t want to go nowhere else.”
With that, he took a step forward and held out his hand.
Mulder rose to shake it, but as he gripped Pete’s hand, the
older man stumbled slightly and then slipped to his knees,
nearly pulling Mulder down beside him.
“Pete?” Janelle cried. “My God, Pete?”
“Call an ambulance!” Scully shouted, kneeling beside the
now-prostrate Pete. “I need to elevate his feet. I think he’s
going into shock.” As Mulder reached for a foot stool, she
saw him shut the living room door in Ed’s face. She
applauded the sentiment.
Well my hands are shaking and my knees are weak I can’t
seem to stand on my own two feet. Who do you think would
have such luck? I’m in love, I’m all shook up.
Memphis Memorial Hospital
October 5, 2000
Mulder reached out and stilled Janelle Hopkirk with his
hand. She had been pacing for over an hour. Looking down
to where he sat, her face was blankly terrified.
“Agent Scully will see that Pete gets the finest care
possible,” he reassured her. “She’s a doctor too, you
know.” He didn’t mention what state her patients were
usually in. “She’s been my doctor for years.”
Janelle sank down beside him on the couch and sighed. “I
just worry.” Her hands had not ceased their constant
twisting of the apron she still wore. “He’s the most important
thing I got. I never thought I’d want a man more than I want
my own flesh and blood, but it’s true. I’d kick Ed out in a
second if it meant I could stay with Pete.”
Mulder smiled at her, gently. “I know what you mean.
Sometimes someone you love means more to you than any
genetic relation. They become your only family, because
that’s all you need.”
“Blood don’t mean nothing if they’re gonna hurt you, ain’t
that what you said?” Janelle asked. “Makes sense to me,
Mr. Mulder. Makes sense to me.” Janelle watched him for a
moment, then cleared her throat. “You and her…” She drifted
off as the door to the waiting room opened and Scully emerged.
Mulder stifled the urge to grin in gratitude.
“How is he?” Janelle asked.
Scully sat primly on the seat beside the couch. Mulder could
see her exhaustion, but marveled that it was probably
hidden from everyone else. He had begun to take delight in
the things only he could see, the moments anyone else
“He’s going to be all right in a few weeks,” Scully said.
“A few weeks?” Janelle asked, her face concerned.
Scully sighed. “Though I’ll never convince those doctors of
this, I believe Pete is suffering from Dolly Syndrome.”
“Named after the sheep?” Mulder asked.
“Exactly. Clones made from adult genetic samples age with
greater rapidity until they reach the same age as the
Janelle blinked. “So he’s agin’ too fast?”
“Just until he catches up with the original Elvis,” Scully
reassured her. “Then he should resume normal aging. I
think you two will have plenty of time to spend together.”
Janelle sighed with relief. “When can I see him?”
“You can come on back now,” Scully said, standing.
Mulder saw her arch slightly to crack her back and smiled at
her. As they followed Janelle down the corridor, he leaned
close and whispered to her. “Speaking of aging
prematurely…” He let one hand drift up under her suit jacket
to push at the sore muscles in the small of her back. “When
was the last time you had a good night’s sleep, Scully?”
“Hush,” she whispered back, but he didn’t miss the way she
pressed back into his fingers.
Pete was sitting up in the bed as they filed in, his dark hair
falling over one eye. The nurse grinned at him and patted
his cheek before she left. He blushed and looked quickly to
Bending, she kissed his lips swiftly, as if she were
ashamed. He smiled tenderly at her and patted the spot
beside his hip.
“Agent Scully tells me you’re gonna be just fine,” Janelle
said, settling next to him. It was a familiar tableau. So
familiar, in fact, it made Mulder’s heart ache.
“I’ll be home to help you out before you know it,” he agreed.
The room lapsed into silence as the two stared deeply into
each other’s eyes. Mulder felt Scully shift next to him and
briefly caught her eye. There was something tender there,
something for him. He smiled back.
Janelle sighed loudly and picked at the edge of the hospital
blanket. “This is all a relief,” she said at last, addressing
everyone, “but it don’t solve what I’m gonna do ’bout Ed. He
still thinks you’re the real thing. I don’t want a bunch of
record producers wanderin’ in and out of the house all day
Mulder stepped forward. “I think I’ve got the answer to that
problem,” he said. He’d been pondering that very problem
while he watched Janelle pace the waiting room floor. Pete
nodded and he continued. “Elvis had a twin brother who
died at birth named Jesse. I’m sure you’ve all heard about it.
Anyway, I was thinking that maybe we should revise history
“You want me to tell people I’m Elvis’ long lost twin brother?”
Pete asked with no small amount of amusement. “That’s not
gonna cause a bit of a stir?”
“It’s better than actually being Elvis, right?” Mulder said and
watched as Pete nodded slowly. “I mean, the media may be
interested, but once they see that you’re just a hog farmer
from Tennessee, they should back off. I’m sure some
celebrity will do something stupid and they’ll forget all about
“Yeah, well, I guess anything’s better than bein’ Elvis,” Pete
said at last. “I never wanted to be nothin’ but a hog farmer
“I never thought I’d hear anyone say that,” Mulder said and
grinned widely as Pete chuckled, his hand linked tightly with
Maybe I didn’t hold you all those lonely, lonely times. And I
guess I never told you I’m so happy that you’re mine. If I
made you feel second best I’m so sorry, I was blind. You
were always on my mind.
Bank One Ballpark
Sometime in the Future
Drenched in sunscreen and feeling pleasantly pink, Scully
watched in awe as the massive cantilevered roof slid slowly
forward to block out the insistent Arizona sun to the strains
of Beethoven’s Ninth. “The Romans would have loved this,”
she said to her partner, perched beside her, his face also
raised. He’d also developed a bit of color, bringing out the
intense green of his eyes. She could see a pale line of
demarcation just inside the neck of his shirt. It made her feel
“Aside from the fact that historically, there would have had
to be more carnage to interest the Romans, like maybe a
bloodbath in the hot tub, the roof is one of the reasons I
picked this one,” he said. “That and Randy Johnson
pitching against Greg Maddux.”
“So that was why I got that e-mail marked ‘urgent’ last
week,” she said, smiling at him. “A pitching duel. Just what I
wanted to see.”
He turned to look at her and she poked his elbow playfully
with her own. “I’ll have you know you’re watching pitching
history, Scully. Two of the greatest pitchers of our time.
“I can’t help but watch, Mulder, with these seats.”
“Yeah, Scully, I’ve been meaning to ask you about that. How
the hell did you get seats this good that fast? What’d you
do, kiss the governor?”
She smiled coyly and shrugged. “I just happen to know
someone whose kung fu can get him into the Ticketmaster
site faster than you can spell ‘hacker’.”
He laughed and turned back to the game, watching the
players make their way out onto the field.
“Is that how you got that hotel room?” she asked. “I’ve never
seen a tub that big indoors. I’m just glad I brought my suit,
“No, I didn’t take advantage of Frohike’s charms,” he
admitted. “I just paid through the nose for that one.”
“Mulder,” she said, grinning, “if anyone has the nose…”
He silenced her with a hand on her knee and a look that
made something inside her melt, even in the heavily cooled
“I love it when we both win,” he said after a moment of
“Well,” she said, “it depends on how you look at it. He both
was, and wasn’t, Elvis. So either we both won, Mulder, or
we both lost.”
“I always prefer to think we’ve won, Scully.”
They were quiet for a moment, watching Greg throw a
couple warm up pitches from the mound.
“So, Scully, hot dogs? Ketchup and mustard only? You sure
I can’t talk you into some kraut?”
She shook her head and admired him as he slouched down
the aisle in a pair of faded jeans and his Roswell Greys
shirt. It was nice to see Mulder so happy, she mused. It was
even worth a promise of candlelight and Italian food to a
very bemused Frohike.
Beside her, a father and son sat, heads bent over the
scorecard. The boy didn’t look any older than Mulder had
been in the photo of him with his father. They had matching
baseball hats and a big styrofoam hand that read “Number
“J-O-H-N-S-O-N,” the father was saying. “That’s right. I’m
going to go get us some food, ok? I’ll be back in a few
minutes. You want a pretzel?”
The boy nodded, his head still bent over the card. After a
moment he looked up and met Scully’s gaze. “Excuse me,”
the boy said. “Do you know how to spell Maddux?”
The first inning passed quickly, one batter after another
sulking back to the dugout. The boy marked the pitches
dutifully on the card for his father. Scully leaned back and
enjoyed the cool air and festive atmosphere. It was good to
relax. Only Arizona would have a hot tub in a ball park. She
smiled at Mulder’s image of death and gore superimposed
over the big breasted women in bikinis trying to get on the
giant screen by bouncing up and down in the bubbling
Mulder reappeared at the top of the second, bearing two
trays of food and a bag of popcorn he dropped into her lap
with a grin.
“Extra onions and relish, just like the lady likes it,” he said,
handing her a hot dog with only ketchup and mustard.
She rolled her eyes at him.
Beside them, the little boy looked anxiously down the aisle.
Mulder nodded to him and leaned close to Scully. “Where’s
“He went to get food just after you,” she whispered. “Do you
think we should say something? Maybe he doesn’t know
how long those lines can be.”
Mulder eyed the boy for a moment, then shook his head. “I
think you’d only embarrass him, Scully. I remember at that
age how brave I wanted to be all the time.”
She watched as he then devoured half his hot dog in a
single bite. “I’m sure you were,” she reassured him. “You
still are the bravest man I’ve ever known.”
Mulder seemed astonished at the compliment and smiled
with his mouth closed around his food. It made him look
rather endearingly like a giant, tanned chipmunk. She
reached over and patted his knee to let him know she
understood. He closed one hand over hers and left it there
as he finished the hot dog.
She took a tentative nibble at her own and found it tasted
smoky and wonderful. Beside them, the boy waited, his
anxiety increasing until he was practically bouncing in his
seat. At last his father appeared, carrying a tray of food and
a beer. He sat down beside his son and handed him the
food. “Darn, the line for beer was crazy…” he began. He
froze when the child suddenly burst into tears. Something
tore in Scully’s heart and she felt Mulder’s hand squeeze her
own. “Oh, hey now,” the father said, flustered and surprised.
“Don’t cry. Hey, now, I wasn’t gone that long, was I?”
The child didn’t answer, sobbing in relief and
embarrassment. The father slipped his beer into the cup
holder in front of his seat and slid one arm around the boy’s
shoulders. “Now come on, it’s not so bad now, I’m here.” He
leaned over the child and hugged him close. “I’ll never leave
you, son. We’re family. Family don’t just up and leave. I
wouldn’t let you go, not for the world.”
Scully turned to see tears in Mulder’s eyes, just before he
blinked them carefully away. She leaned over and kissed
him gently on the cheek, smelling his aftershave and the
warm scent of her own sunscreen.
“The game,” she said, pointing to Randy as he stretched
toward the second doomed batter.
“I know, Scully,” he said quietly. “I was just thinking about…”
He met her gaze and sighed, his face softening. “I was just
wondering if we’re looking at a chance for another crack in
Roger Clemens’ armor. It’s possible we’re looking at a
twenty K game here, Scully. You wouldn’t want to miss that,
She touched his cheek and shook her head. “Not for the
world, Mulder. Not for the world.”
My tongue gets tied when I try to speak, my insides shake
like a leaf on a tree. There’s only one cure for this body of
mine, that’s to have that girl that I love so fine. She touched
my hand, what a chill I got. Her lips are like a volcano that’s
hot. I’m proud to say that she’s my buttercup. I’m in love, I’m
all shook up.
Author’s Notes: Yes, I’ve been to Bank One Ballpark and
witnessed the jiggling women in the hot tub, but that isn’t
where I saw the little boy and his father. That was at
Candlestick. It was one of the sweetest moments I have
ever seen. Thanks to the team at VS8 for taking good care