Matrix Part 2

cover (2)

Matrix

by Humbuggie

Based on an idea by Roxcatje

(c) 2001

Situation: This story has been written for ‘Virtual Season Nine’.

Rated R for some explicit language

Type: Profiling X-File, M/S UST

Story: New York City’s Finest cannot stop a serial killer from running

havoc throughout the city, leaving his mark on the city. Fox Mulder is

contacted by an old friend and asked for help, thus turning the

killer’s attention on him, and forcing him into a deadly cat &

mouse-game across town. But the agent has no idea the price he has to

pay is very high.

Disclaimer: Do I need to remind you that our beloved FBI duo is not

mine? They belong to CC. But since he’s not using him to the best of

his abilities, the XF fanfic writers are.

Teaser – Recap from Part 1

“Jesus Christ,” Mulder said as he glanced

towards the bellboys that had reached the two

cars. There had been a car parked next to his

rental earlier that morning. It hadn’t been

frozen and it wasn’t from any of the guests.

“Jesus Christ,” he repeated as he rushed out,

to Skinner and Jack’s surprise. Mulder

practically flew, shouting Scully’s name. She

was still on the phone and didn’t hear him at

first. In the back, the bellboy had slid into

the car, putting the key in the ignition.

“Scully!” he screamed as his tired legs

refused to go any faster. She turned, still

holding the phone in her hands. Her eyes

looked at him, surprised. Then she was in his

arms as she dropped the phone and he dragged

her with him, making the decision to save

her. It was too late to warn the bellboy.

The car started. Mulder thought he could

actually hear the click as the device armed.

Then there was another click, followed by an

enormous blast that knocked them to the

ground. He threw himself over her as they hit

the ground, hard. The blast was so big that

Mulder could feel the flames on his back, but

they didn’t scourge him. There was a strange

numbness through his body. Scully lay deathly

quiet beneath him.

The next moment the world seemed to be on

fire, and then all went black.

Part II

Act 1

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

There was panic all around as the bomb went off. Campbell and Skinner

had run towards the vehicle as well, but when the device went off,

both men were thrown against the cold ground. Campbell put his hand

protectively over his eyes, closing his lids automatically against

flying debris.

When he finally opened them again, he saw a dazed AD Skinner lying

beside him. Several people rushed outside from the lobby. The manager

cried out he had called 911. There was a lot of confusion as guests

gathered outside or in the lobby, shocked at the site of the burning car.

Jack got to his feet and stared at the vehicle. Then he rushed

forward, followed by Skinner, as they hurried to the two people on the

ground, seemingly unmoving. The heat could be felt, even at a distance

of about twenty feet, where Mulder and Scully lay down for the count.

Jack knew no one could help the bellboy.

“We have to get them out of here,” Jack said, kneeling beside Mulder

who still lay over Scully like a protective shield. Jack couldn’t

possibly know who had suffered the worst but he was afraid Mulder

might have to pay for his action.

“Mulder …” Skinner said as they turned the man over. One side of

Mulder’s face was covered in blood. His clothes were torn but the warm

overcoat seemed to have taken most of the blow. There was blood on his

arm and leg and several smaller burns all over his body. The agent

looked ashen. Skinner knew there might be severe internal damage, but

they couldn’t afford to leave him there.

Underneath him lay Scully, looking just as ghostly. She was bleeding

from the back of her head. Apart from that, she didn’t have any cuts

on her. But she was unconscious and breathing shallowly. Debris lay

everywhere. Some of the pieces were still burning. Metal was melting

and lay spread over the parking lot.

“We have to move them gently,” Skinner ordered as several men rushed

to the scene. There were sirens heard in the back. Skinner gave the

orders as Mulder’s body was lifted from the ground. “Support his neck

and back. Careful with that leg and arm.”

With united force, the male agent was lifted and moved fifteen feet.

The distance to the lobby was too far. Someone had fetched blankets

and put them on the ground. Mulder was place on them and another

blanket went over him to keep him warm.

A few moments later Scully lay on another pair of blankets. She moved

slightly and then went quiet again.

In Skinner’s car, the second bellboy sat, numb and quiet. It took all

of the helpers efforts to get him out. His eyes were focused on the

burning car and his body shivered uncontrollably. His best friend had

just been blown to pieces and he had watched it happen. He, too,

needed a lot of help.

“They’re breathing,” Skinner said as he turned helplessly to the

others. “Where the hell are those paramedics?”

As if they had heard him, several ambulances drove up to the lot and

rushed to the scene. There were fire department trucks and police

vehicles. Jack looked down at Mulder, praying for his friend to open

his eyes. But Mulder stayed just as quiet as Scully as his body went

into shock underneath the thick blankets.

Then the paramedics took over and examined the agents before preparing

them for transfer to the nearest hospital. Mulder suddenly opened his

eyes with a start. He looked up to the skies as the paramedics shifted

an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth and strapped him onto a gurney.

His eyes sought something. His left hand and arm were immobilized but

he could move his right one.

“Mulder, don’t move,” Jack said, making sure his friend saw him.

“You’re going to be fine. It’s okay.”

“Scully?” The name was nearly unrecognizable but there was so much

worry in his voice that Jack felt a knot in his stomach.

“She’s fine,” he lied. “She’s right here beside you. Look.”

Mulder moved his head slightly so he could see Scully’s body. Skinner

was next to her, holding her hand supportively. Somehow that relaxed

Mulder and he let himself be strapped down, closing his eyes again as

he slid back into the abyss.

“Take them to the same hospital,” Skinner ordered. “If they wake up,

make sure they can see each other. It’s important. Jack, you go with

Mulder. I’ll stay with her.”

Jack sat inside the ambulance beside the man on the gurney. He could

hear the agent’s efforts to breathe deeply. It didn’t seem to work. He

coughed and groaned at the same time as the shock wore off and his

body was struck with pain. They hadn’t left yet. The doors were still open.

Skinner let go of Scully for a moment and stepped inside the ambulance

as Mulder looked up. His voice sounded gentle when he said, “Mulder,

it’s all right. You’re going to be fine. Don’t try to fight it. We’ll

be at the hospital with you.”

Is this what happens when Scully cannot perform the task? Jack

thought. Does Skinner take over then to care for his agent? How many

times before did something like this happen? The cop felt numb, but he

wanted revenge. It was a stupid thought at a time like this, but he

wanted revenge. He couldn’t afford to waste any time.

But when Skinner’s eyes met his, they begged him to stay with the

agent to calm him down. Jack nodded silently and let the doors of the

ambulance close. Mulder had closed his eyes again, drifting away.

“What’s wrong with him?” Jack asked the man sitting next to him.

“His body took a serious blow,” the paramedic explained. “This is a

way for him to deal with it. I don’t think he has any serious injuries

but he’s got several smaller burns and his shoulder is dislocated.

He’s lucky. Had he stood facing the bomb, he might have been killed.

The chest can’t take a blow like that.”

Mulder felt the hand on his wrist. The touch got through to him even

in his hazy state. He wanted to sleep again and forget that his body

was aching all over. But his mind wouldn’t let him pass out. There

were too many confused memories.

Scully! He could still feel her body under his. He saw her knock her

head hard on the pavement. There was blood in her hair and she had

passed out in his arms. He could feel her go limp under him and then

his body seemed to be on fire.

But Jack had told him she was fine. He wouldn’t lie to him. He would

tell if she had died. But what if he did lie? She couldn’t be dead!

Mulder blinked his eyelids and stared at Jack. His friend was there,

talking to the paramedic. They were discussing him. He listened to

their voices. They didn’t talk about Scully.

“She’s dead,” Mulder said underneath the oxygen mask. His voice

sounded hoarse and he could barely speak up as his throat burned. Jack

looked at him and he closed his eyes again, as the inside of the

ambulance became part of a very blurry picture.

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

Skinner sat patiently next to the bed but looked up immediately when

he saw movement. His agent opened his eyes and looked at the white

ceiling. It took a while for him to come to terms with the situation.

“Where is she?” he asked hoarsely. There was a small tube stuck under

his nose to help him breath. His throat ached and his chest seemed to

burn. His entire body felt stiff and sore as if he had run a marathon

within two hours.

“She’s all right,” Skinner said. “She’s resting.”

“Has she woken up yet?”

“No. Don’t think of that right now, Mulder. Concentrate on your own

well being.”

Mulder attempted to smile. “I practically killed her, didn’t I? She

hit her head. I remember. You don’t have to lie about it, sir. I know

she’s in bad shape.”

“She’s not,” Skinner repeated. “The doctor’s are very positive she

will wake up at any moment and she doesn’t need you upset over her.

Take care of yourself first, Mulder.”

Mulder turned his face away from Skinner. His left shoulder and arm

were immobilized. He must have dislocated it. He could feel the dull

pain that struck him every time he tried to move. His legs were

covered with a sheet but he knew he had hurt his left leg as well.

There was a scorching pain, like a knife cutting into skin and bone.

His temple was bandaged and there were several smaller burns that

turned red underneath their separate dressings. His chest hurt, but

Skinner said that was normal according to the doctor. He had no

internal damage.

“How long?” Mulder groaned as he tried to find a watch.

“It’s two in the afternoon. The … accident happened around eight-thirty.”

“I remember.” Mulder put his hand to his head and looked at Skinner

again. “You’re not lying about her?”

“I’m not. She will wake up. She’s got head trauma but her vitals are

looking good and first results showed there is no serious damage.

She’ll have a hell of a headache when she wakes up, but all in all

she’s in a better state than you are.”

Mulder leaned back against the pillows. Skinner got up from his chair

and looked outside. From the window he could see the hospital entrance

where a crowd of reporters and interested parties had gathered for the

latest news. The attempt had not gone unnoticed. Everyone knew about

it by now.

Skinner sighed deeply. When and where had this case gone to hell?

“How did you know?” he finally asked as he turned around to face

Mulder again. “You knew this was going to happen. You saved Scully’s

life, but how did you find out?”

“It struck me when the hotel manager spoke about those cars. There was

a car when I went out for a run. I couldn’t see who it was. I found it

odd. The bellboy is dead, isn’t he?”

“Yes. He never stood a chance. When he started the engine the bomb

triggered. You were supposed to have started that car, Mulder. If you

had, you would not be here right now.” Skinner spoke softly as if he

hadn’t realized it yet himself. He had nearly lost his two agents and

there would have been nothing to do about it. Awkwardly he stood in

the middle of the room, not knowing how to proceed now. This case was

over for his agents. He would not allow them to proceed under these

circumstances. He would pull out and hand the case to Jack’s team.

But where was Jack?

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

Alec Thompson sat pale and quietly on his chair in the small office

assigned to him at city hall. Jack Campbell’s fury struck him like a

hammer. Less than five minutes ago his friend had stormed into the

room, accusing him of murder. Thompson’s features had changed into

disbelief. Was Jack actually accusing him?

“Why were you at the office building?” Jack snapped at him. “You knew

Susannah Delaney, didn’t you? Were you fucking or just seeing her? Why

Agent Mulder, Alec?”

Alec froze up when the mayor himself entered the room, demanding to

know what the shouting was about. Jack calmed down and glared at the

mayor. “Two fine people are in hospital because of this case,” he

said. “They’re my friends, and I’m sick and tired of chasing a phantom.”

“I’m sorry to hear about your friends,” the mayor calmly said. “But to

come in here and accuse Alec is a bit far-fetched, isn’t it?”

“Is it?” Jack bit back. “My buddy here has a lot of explaining to do.”

Jack was tempted to slam the door in the mayor’s face but didn’t.

Instead the man that ran the city turned and raised his hands,

ordering his right hand, David Lane, to take care of business. The

mayor walked away leaving Lane to deal with the situation. Lane

appeared surprisedat the scene in Alec’s office but calmly asked if

there was anything he could do for them.

“Yeah,” Jack said. “Leave us alone.” This time he did slam the door,

causing Lane to jump backwards at the last minute. He could hear Lane

curse at the other side of the door but ignored him and turned his

attention back to Alec. “Start talking.”

Alec got up and sighed deeply. “Look, I know my sudden interest came

off as strange, but there is a good reason for it. First of all, I am

very worried about this bomber because everyone is in an uproar. You

know it’s my job as the mayor’s public affairs advisor to keep the

constituents happy. David Lane might be doing just about anything the

mayor orders him to, but I need to make sure no one ever knows the

whole story.”

“You mean that you need to cover up the shit,” Jack said.

“That’s right.” Alec tucked his right hand in his pocket and dug out a

cigarette. “Damn it,” he mumbled, lighting it. “I’m so tired of this

damned bomber. I haven’t slept for days now. It’s getting to me.”

“You’re not the one lying in a hospital bed,” Jack snapped. “I don’t

give a damn about how you feel. If you’re withholding evidence from

me, I’m going after you, Alec. You have the means to find out things

in that damned high society of yours. I don’t have the time to be

polite. I have someone to catch and right now I’m on my own. I want

blood and I’m going to get it.”

Alec frowned. “So you think I’m lying to you?”

“You’re sure as hell not telling the whole truth.”

Alec sat down again, savoring the taste of his cigarette. He had only

started smoking again the day he started working for a man who was

more interested in whom he would find in his bed at night instead of

the business of the day.

“Susannah Delaney was a deluxe prostitute, Jack,” he said. “She might

not have been paid hard money for her services, but she sure as hell

got away with a lot. Tell me, is the mayor on your list of suspects yet?”

“The mayor?” Jack repeated. “You must be joking. He wouldn’t go for a

high profile woman like her. He goes for younger flesh.”

“At times he had women picked out for him by Lane. Don’t you think our

mayor might have been tempted to get rid of her if she started

blackmailing him?”

“Was she?” Jack asked.

“She might have been.”

“I see,” Jack said slowly. “So she was blackmailing them. The mayor

probably wasn’t the only one. But for what purpose? She had enough

money to live two lifetimes.”

“She did it for fun,” Alec smiled. “She told me so herself when I was

ordered by Lane to pick her up for a party. She was supposed to be

there, but she wasn’t allowed to spend any time with the mayor. She

was there at his command, and she waited all night for him to speak

with her. She liked the idea of being in the company of the mayor, but

after that night something changed. She was upset because he refused

to acknowledge her, so the next day she called him and said she was

going to spill the beans. And the next day she was dead. Funny

coincidence, isn’t it?”

“Are you saying the mayor ordered her death?” Jack asked. “That he

sent someone to kill her?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”

“What about Stephen Wells?”

“He was Susanne’s lover. She probably told him what she was doing. And

he might have told his sister, the congresswoman. Rumor has it that

you got her in a safe house. It’s true, isn’t it? And it all adds up.”

“Or you might have killed her and are now trying to put the blame on

others,” Jack said.

“Why would I do that?” Alec said. “Give me one good reason why I would

want to kill her. I hardly knew her. I met her that night and we

talked on a very shallow level. She wasn’t interested in me because

she already had the mayor in her bed. I was too low-level for her. But

I can tell you this – the mayor is going to run for the Senate. Do you

think he wants this out in the open?”

“They’ll know you talked,” Jack said.

“I’m resigning,” Alec said, getting up and taking his jacket off his

chair as if to support his words. “I’m fed up with the way things work

around here. I’m out.”

“Do you think it’s going to be that easy?”

“It has to be.” Alec attempted to smile. “I’ll come in and make an

official statement. I’m through covering for them.”

Jack nodded slowly. “Who do you think killed her, Alec?”

Jack’s old friend smiled ironically. “It doesn’t matter who actually

planted that bomb. The mayor killed her. I’m as certain of that as

I’ve ever been in my life. That pompous man, sitting out there in his

pompous office, has done more damage to this city than good. I’m tired

of defending him to the outside world.”

Alec opened the door, only to bump into David Lane who tried to stop

him. Lane’s voice sounded hard when he said, “We need to talk before

you walk.”

“You can go to hell, David,” Alec said, pushing him aside. Jack and

Alec walked out together. When the elevator doors closed, Jack caught

a glance of Lane’s face. There was anger in his eyes. There was

something familiar about the man. He might be the one.

Outside Alec took a deep breath as if he had just been released from

prison. “I’m a free man,” he said with a happy smile. Jack couldn’t

help but laugh, despite the situation they were in. “Grab a cab and go

to the station,” he said to Alec. “Give your statement and tell them

I’ll be coming over in about an hour. I’ve got some things to take

care of now.”

Alec nodded. Jack got on the phone with Chris Morgan and asked him to

run a check on David Lane. He might be their guy. Morgan’s surprise

was great. Lane was considered a possible candidate for the next

elections. If this got out, it would alert the press instantly. “Keep

it low-profile,” Jack said. “Don’t tell anyone. Try to find out if

he’s got a dirty history. Bring him in for questioning and check his

alibi, and get a search warrant for his apartment.”

“What are you going to do?” Morgan asked.

“I’m going to get changed at home and then head out to the hospital.”

Jack looked down at his dirty clothes. His throat felt dry, as he

realized there was blood on them. Mulder’s blood.

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

Now he knew it was going to be over soon. They were on to him and soon

he would rot in jail. But he could not allow that to happen. If they

were coming for him, he would go out with a blast that would be

remembered for a long time. It would be a blast like the one that

should have killed the two agents.

He took a deep breath when someone knocked on his door less than

twenty minutes after the cop had left. It was Chris Morgan. “You’re

caught,” Morgan said.

“I shouldn’t be. I’m paying you enough to keep me out of that police

station, aren’t I? After all, you did such a good job getting rid of

my mother’s records, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, well, you didn’t tell me that you were putting bombs all over

town, did you?” Morgan said, sitting down angrily. “You’re in trouble

man, and there’s nothing I can do about it anymore. Campbell is on to

you. He’s going to bring you down.”

“Then I’ll just have to make sure that he won’t live to tell, now will

I?” David Lane just smiled. “Just give him a call and you’ll see what happens.”

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

On the way to the hospital Jack got a call from Morgan. “I found

interesting things on our man,” heheard. “I think you should come to

his apartment straight away.”

“Have you got a search warrant?” asked Jack.

“Yeah. Judge Fairchild handed it out. Meet me there.” Morgan got off

the phone. Jack tapped on the cabby’s shoulder anddirected him to

Lane’s address. With any luck he would have good news before heading

for the hospital.

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

She didn’t move an inch when he touched her hand. He sat in the

wheelchair looking at her form. She could have been dead, but the

monitors said that she wasn’t. Her head was wrapped in a thick, white

bandage. She had stitches, the nurse said.

. Her life wasn’t in any danger. The doctors were optimistic about her

improvement. What improvement? Mulder thought. She’s still out cold.

There’s nothing to show for her recovery.

Skinner had protested when Mulder insisted on being taken there. His

agent could barely stand on his feet, yet he insisted on seeing her.

Mulder had gone as far as threatening his boss. Skinner knew he didn’t

mean a word of it.. Finally the AD gave in and went to fetch a

wheelchair, against the doctor’s approval.

Skinner excused himself as Mulder’s wheelchair stood next to her bed.

He had a strange knot in his stomach as if something was about to go

wrong. The morning had started literally with disaster being blown up

in their face. Now it seemed as if there was more disaster to come.

He reached for his cell phone, only to be reprimanded by a nurse. He

walked to the nurse’s station and dialed Jack’s cell phone number.

When the cop didn’t respond, Skinner cursed under his breath and

called the local Field Office, asking them if he was there. When they

said no, his sense of unease grew. After calling the police station

and talking to Jack’s direct boss who didn’t know where he was,

Skinner knew he had to find the man quickly.

He walked back to Scully’s room, startled by Mulder who opened the

door suddenly. The man stood in the doorway barefoot with the IV-bag

in his hand. He looked deathly pale.

“Mulder, what -?” Skinner started, only to be stopped by his agent who

grabbed the doorpost. With two steps Skinner stood beside him and

helped him back into his wheelchair. The effort had exhausted the

agent. He had difficulty breathing.

Skinner pushed the emergency button and glanced at Scully who was

still unconscious but didn’t seem changed. She wasn’t in any danger.

But Mulder grabbed Skinner’s wrist and groaned, “Where’s Jack? He’s in trouble.”

“I don’t know,” Skinner said desperately.

Suddenly Mulder let go and sunk back in his wheelchair. He looked

forward as the color of his eyes darkened and his body tensed. “He’s

dead,” he said. “Jack’s dead.”

Skinner opened his mouth to protest. Jack couldn’t be dead. But a

nurse walked into the room and said there was someone on the phone for

Skinner, wanting to speak to him urgently. Skinner glared at Mulder.

The agent slumped forward a bit, staring at his hands.

And then Skinner knew too that Jack Campbell was dead.

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

The moment he’d entered the apartment building, Jack knew he was close

to resolving the case. He would see what Morgan had to show him.

Chris, however, wasn’t there . Following the book, Jack telephoned him

on his cellular, becausewithout the search warrant he couldn’t get in.

But Chris didn’t respond. Jack hung up, debating what to do.First, he

tried the door, which was unlocked. He pushed it open and glared

inside, his gun ready. He stepped forward. Suddenly he felt something

cold and steel against his temple. In a flash he stepped into his

attacker’s mind and watched as a hand pressed the barrel of a gun

against his face.

It was a setup, he thought.

And then the world turned into everlasting darkness.

Act 2

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

The body of Jack Campbell was found shot to death, lying face down in

a dumpster behind a large apartment building, about three blocks from

the hospital. He had been moved there after his death. One bullet that

entered the skull from the side and through his head had effectively

put him down. . Jack had probably never known what happened to him. He

had not even been facing his killer.

No matter what Skinner did, he couldn’t keep Mulder inside the

hospital. With Scully still unconscious, there was no one to stop him.

Against medical advice, the agent discharged himself. When Skinner

confirmed the news he refused to show Skinner what he was feeling. He

simply got out of the wheelchair, effectively ignoring the pain that

had settled into his body like a constant companion and limped on foot

to his own room.

As long as Scully was safe, his first priority now had to be to find

Jack’s killer.

And so Skinner had no choice but to contact AD Smythe and ask him

tofly into New York to assist on the case. He needed help,what with

Jack and Scully out of the picture, they were running out of

resources. Smythe agreed and would be there within three hours.

After making the necessary calls, Skinner returned to the agent’s room

to see that Mulder was partly dressed. A doctor and nurse stood in the

roomand tried to talk him out of going, but Mulder didn’t listen.

Stubbornly he continued to dress himself.

The agent was extremely pale and obviously in pain. His arm still

rested in a sling, but the nurse helped him to pull a sweater over it.

There was a haunted look in the agent’s eyes that Skinner didn’t like.

He wished Scully would wake up and tell her partner to stop doing this

to himself. Skinner knew his agent wouldn’t listen to him.

“Let’s get out of here,” Mulder said, dressed in a set of clothes that

Skinner had picked up for him during a short run to the hotel. The

jeans and a black sweater he wore made him look even paler. His

temple was still bandaged and he limped when they walked down the corridor.

“What about Scully?” Skinner asked as they entered her room. “Are you

really going to leave her?”

Mulder stroked her face and touched the bandage over her hair and

whispered something into her ear that only she was supposed to hear.

Then he looked up and said, “She’d want me to go after the man that

did this. It’s my duty to do so.”

“She’d want you to heal and stay with her.”

“I can’t. Jack’s dead because I -” Mulder stopped with a bitter taste

in his mouth. “I challenged that bastard and this is where it got us.

I’m the one to blame.”

“You didn’t put the bomb in that car,” Skinner said hard. “You didn’t

pull the trigger on Jack. You were doing your job.”

“And look where it got us,” Mulder retorted bitterly. “Jack’s dead,

and Scully’s hurt. I played by the book during this case, but now I’m

through. I’m going after him with every means I’ve got. He’s going down.”

“You were hurt too,” Skinner said, wondering if Mulder actually

realized that. “You shouldn’t be doing this. It’s not your job. Let us

worry about catching him.”

“No, I need to be out there and find the guy that did this to her,” he

argued all the while looking down at Scully as she remained so still.

“If I stay, then I’m admitting that I’m weak. I can’t let him stop me.

That’s exactly what he wants. He wants to toy with me. I’m not going

to let him.” Mulder’s voice changed tone as he looked at Skinner,

hoping for some understanding. The numbness inside of him changed into

pain and desperation.

Skinner put his hand supportively on the agent. “I understand what

you’re going through. But you won’t be of any use like this. Rely on

us. I’ll help you as much as I can, but you need to trust in me. I

need to know everything about this case – about Jack. We can work from

here if you like.”

Mulder’s anger subsided but he shook his head. “I need to see Jack.”

“I’ll take you there then.” Mulder turned and looked at Scully. A

nurse entered the room. She promised to call them as soon as there was

any change. An agent from the Field Office would come over to stay

with her so that she wouldn’t be alone when she woke up.

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

Jack’s body had been brought to the morgue down in the hospital

basement where it was rested on a cold slab. Mulder felt a shiver run

down his spine as they walked through the chilledhallway. Skinner

didn’t speak a word knowing he wouldn’t be able to get his agent to

change his mind.

The coroner waited for them and brought them to a separate small room

where the detective would be autopsied. Standard procedure, so the

coroner explained. The body was covered with a white sheet and

stripped of all its clothes. Things happened quickly once you were

pronounced dead. The autopsy would take place in the late evening, but

it was obvious that Jack had been shot to death.

Mulder nodded and the coroner removed the sheet. The agent looked down

at the porcelain face of the man that had been with him earlier that

morning to assure him all would be well; the man, who had confided in

him only days ago about his psychic ability; it was an ability that

had not saved him. That extraordinary man was now gone.

Mulder touched his face. If it weren’t for the bullet hole in his

temple and the blood on his face and hair, Mulder could have thought

Jack to merely be asleep. The bullet had been effective.

But Jack’s spirit was gone, leaving his body a shell. There was

nothing about him now that seemed recognizable. Nothing that could

remind Mulder of the man he used to be.

And Mulder had felt him go. He had felt Jack’s spirit slip away from

him, as if the man’s last effort had been to warn his friend that this

had happened to him. That he would not be able to help him any longer.

And that their friendship had stopped before it had the chance to pick

up again.

Mulder turned his back to the slab and closed his eyes. They left the

room without saying a word.

“I’m sorry, Mulder,” Skinner said. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am.”

Mulder nodded and allowed his boss to take him upstairs. He seemed to

be in a trance,which worried Skinner. But there was nothing he could

do right now.

Day Five, December 12, 2001

New York City

Quietly, Mulder sat next to Skinner as they drove to the police

station. When they got out and walked in, there was a quietness that

only occurred when one of their own died. The commissioner was waiting

for them in his office. Jack’s immediate superior was there too.

“I’m sorry, Agent Mulder,” the commissioner said. “I know Detective

Campbell was a personal friend of yours.”

Mulder accepted the condolences and looked through the glass at the

policemen behind him. They were all discussing Jack’s murder. The

moment the call came in that his body had been found, the entire

police squad had been turned upside down.

“I want to know what Jack did today,” Mulder said. “I need to know his

every move.”

“We know he went to the mayor’s office and spoke for quite some time

with the PA guy, Alec Thompson. Several witnesses have confirmed

thathe also had a very brief chat with David Lane. Jack apparently

left the mayor’s office alongside Alec Thompson, who then got into an

argument with Lane. Apparently Thompson quit his job and Lane didn’t

like that. We’re running a check on Thompson right now. He’s gone missing.”

“Didn’t he leave with Jack?” Mulder asked.

“We don’t know. We’re trying to find out if they took a cab or

Thompson’s car. I’ve put an APB out on him.”

“And David Lane?”

“He has already called. It’s been all over the news. Lane was worried

and told us about the quarrel with Thompson. He said that Jack

practically accused Thompson of the bombings and told him to go

downtown with him. That’s the last time anyone ever saw them.”

“So Thompson killed Jack and dumped his body,” Mulder said slowly. “Why?”

“Because he’s our man, and Jack knew it.” the commissioner said. “It’s

as clear as that.”

“No, Thompson was a friend of Jack’s,” Mulder said. “He wouldn’t kill

him. It would be too obvious. He’d already showed up at the Wells’

site. Jack said he might have wanted to explain something. He knew

things that he wanted to share with Jack. It would be too ridiculous

if he killed Jack now.”

“It’s been known to happen,” Jack’s boss explained. “It’s a clear-cut

case now. If we nail Thompson, we’ve got our bomber and Jack’s killer.

This whole thing has been played out wrong. Jack should never have

gone to confront him on his own. But they said he was angry and upset

with the attack this morning. It was a judgment call and he lost.”

“As simple as that?” Mulder interrupted him bitterly. “It’s over and

done with then?”

“Would you rather have our bomber walking the streets without us

knowing his true identity?” the commissioner asked. “It would

literally be like having a walking time bomb out there. No one would

be safe.”

“No one is safe, sir,” Mulder spoke. “I don’t believe it was Thompson

that Jack was after. And as soon as you find Thompson’s body, you’ll

know I was right.”

“His body?”

“Yes, sir. Thompson is dead too. It would be ridiculous to say that

he’s not. It will probably look like a suicide, and our bomber will

step back into anonymity, happy that someone took the fall for his

actions. I guarantee you that we will not hear from him again, because

he has satisfied his needs for now and will move on.”

“I think we should end this conversation now,” the commissioner said.

“Before it gets out of hand.”

“Did you know that Jack Campbell was psychic, sir?” Mulder continued,

ignoring the commissioner. “Did you know that thanks to his ability,

he solved many cases? That he was in psychic contact with the killer

but didn’t dare tell you because he was afraid for his reputation?”

The commissioner got up, trying to end the conversation. “I won’t have

you destroy Detective Campbell’s good reputation, Agent Mulder, by

spreading rumors about him. He was a good man and a good cop. He

doesn’t need you to bring your foolish paranormal stories to this

department. I know about your line of work at the FBI. Did you really

think that you would find something for your X-Files here?”

“Jack asked me because he wanted to find a way deal with it,” Mulder

said angrily, ignoring Skinner’s warning looks. “He would have been an

even better cop if he had found a way to handle it. He wouldn’t have

had to die for his trouble..”

“He died because you screwed up, Agent Mulder.” The commissioner hit

his hand on the table, refusing to settle down. “You challenged the

bomber and you got your wish. I hope you’re happy.”

Mulder swayed on his feet. “No wonder you want to stop the

investigation with Alec Thompson. You’re too short sighted to see what

lies in front of you.” This time Skinner got his attention by grabbing

the agent’s arm before he fell down. The Assistant Director pushed him

onto a seat and forced his head forward.

“Easy does it,” he said and his cold hand lay in the agent’s neck as a

wave of dizziness came over Mulder. The commissioner settled down

immediately, mumbling an apology. With feverish eyes the agent looked

up, realizing he too had gone too far. Here they were, bitching about

who got the blame while there was a killer still on the loose.

“I think I need to lie down,” Mulder said weakly, for the first time

admitting he was not well.

Skinner didn’t show how worried he was. He didn’t give a snap remark.

“I’ll drive you back to the hospital,” he simply said. Efficiently, he

helped the agent on his feet. The man could barely stand up straight

and looked even paler, if that was remotely possible. Slowly they made

their way to the car, helped by Chris Morgan who had come in.

Mulder leaned back tiredly in the passenger’s seat and closed his

eyes. By the time Skinner got him back to the hospital, the agent was

unresponsive. Skinner muttered a curse and drove the car to the ER.

Within half an hour, his agent was hooked back on an IV and resting

comfortably in a private room.

Skinner knew Mulder would have to stay in for at least a night, which

meant he would too. There was work to do, but he couldn’t leave him

alone. He knew Mulder was bound to take off again as soon as he woke

up. There had to be some middle ground, but as long as Scully was

comatose, there was no one else that the agent would listen to.

Skinner sighed deeply when a knock on the door made him turn around.

Assistant Director Frank Smythe walked in. “I came to discuss the case

with you and Agent Mulder and heard you brought him back in. Is he all right?”

“He will be if he starts becoming sensible. It’s difficult under the circumstances.”

“I can imagine. How far along are you on Jack’s murder?”

“His colleagues are all over it, but Mulder believes they’re going

after the wrong guy. The problem is that he’s the only lead they’ve

got right now. With Jack gone and this guy Thompson missing, we’re stuck.”

“I see,” Frank frowned. “Do you need more guys on it?”

“Mulder’s determined to see this case through. We both know that he’ll

do anything to find Jack’s killer. I’m pretty sure that he’ll be up

and about again in the morning.”

“Can we afford to wait that long?”

“Do we have a choice?” Skinner said, worried.

“You stay here for awhile, and I’ll go back to the bureau,” Smythe

said. ” Just give me all you’ve got and I’ll see what I can do. I’ve

been kept abreast of the progress in this case, and I’ve read Mulder’s

profile. I’ll talk to the mayor tonight. I know him quite well. I’ll

see what he knows about Thompson.”

“Good,” Skinner said gratefully. “Thanks, Frank.”

Smythe nodded and left. Skinner sat a few more minutes before he left

to walk to Scully’s room. When he entered, the doctor told him she was

showing signs of waking up. It was looking good.

As if to support his words, Scully blinked her eyelids and looked up.

She moved her head slightly and groaned in pain. Her eyes sought out

something in the room. Skinner moved to the bed so that she could see

him. She seemed to panic and opened her mouth. Skinner knew what she

was going ask.

“Relax,” he said. “You’re in a hospital. You’re going to be fine.

Mulder’s okay too. He’s resting in another room.”

“Where?”

“On the same floor. He’s fine, Scully. He’ll see you in the morning.”

“Now,” she said.

“I can’t do that. He’s resting.”

“No. Take me to see him.”

Skinner put his hand on her wrist. “I can’t, Scully. You’re not up to

it. Why don’t you rest now? I’ll get a doctor to see you.”

She nodded but he could see the regret on her face. He wondered about

his agents again and felt a sting of jealousy surge through him. The

bond that these two people had was unique. He didn’t belong here. But

when he wanted to leave, Scully wouldn’t let him. Weak she put her

hand on him and said hoarsely, “Do we have him?”

Skinner shook his head. He wanted to tell her the truth about Jack but

knew she had to hear it from Mulder. “I’ll be right back,” he said and

she let go. Skinner hurried out until he spotted a nurse and asked her

to inform a doctor that Scully had woken up.

After a thorough checkup the doctor seemed satisfied, saying Scully

was doing fine. She responded to all questions without hesitation. She

remembered where she was, what had happened, and what day it was. But

she seemed nervous and on the edge.

“You’re a very lucky woman, Dana,” the doctor said. “I think you’ll be

up and about in a few days. It seems that the worst has passed now. I

you to try your best to get some sleep tonight,” the doctor said. “I’m

afraid we’ll most likely be interrupting your beauty sleep ever couple

of hours or so, but the more rest you get, the faster you’ll heal.”

Scully didn’t refuse the proposal but she was still distraught about

Mulder, asking the doctor again if she could see him. “In the

morning,” the doctor assured her. That seemed to satisfy her. Skinner

stayed with her until she fell asleep. He was apprehensive about her

state of mind. Again she had not said a word.

He finally left her room to checkup on Mulder again and found the

agent in a deep but restless sleep. It was around midnight, and

Skinner chose Mulder’s room to spend the night, sleeping uncomfortably

on the small plastic chair.

Day Six, December 13, 2001

New York City

You bought this on yourself and it’s high time you left it there

Lie here and rest your head and dream of something else instead

Don’t slide.

The ground underneath the agent’s feet was hot. He looked down and

noticed that his feet were bare and he was standing on an underground

of coals. The fire blistered his feet, yet he didn’t feel any pain.

His eyes focused on his friend who stood before him, his hands crossed

over his burning body.

“You’re on fire, Jack.”

Jack smiled and flames spit out of his open mouth, showing his white

teeth as the flesh got eaten away by the fire. “Haven’t you been

paying attention, Mulder?” Jack said. “I’m dead already.”

“What is this place then? Hell? Why are you burning? You got shot, for

goodness sake.”

Jack smiled. “Hey, this is your nightmare. And it’s not hell. This is

the abyss you’re heading into of your own free will. You’ve always had

this place inside your mind but now you’re opening up to it. I know

you’re eager to jump in here with me, but you can’t. You have work to do.”

“I need you, man,” Mulder shouted desperately as the flames licked his

feet. “I can’t do this thing without you. You need to come back with

me. How am I supposed to live with the guilt?”

“It’s too late for me, Mulder. I’m already gone. But I know your

destructive side. You’ve always had it, even when we first worked

together. You stop at nothing to find your man even if it means that

you have to fight off the rest of the world.” Jack’s burning body

stepped forward. Mulder could smell the disintegrating flesh. The

image was so vivid that it scared him, butut he didn’t back away either.

“So you want me to stop?” the agent asked eagerly.

“No,” Jack said. “I died because I screwed up. You won’t do the same

even though your entire being screams for punishment right now. You

were always the stronger one, Mulder. You can continue and finish

this.” Jack laughed. “And you always got the girls too.”

Mulder smiled.

“Look,” Jack continued as he sat down on an invisible seat. “We all

make mistakes in life. Don’t make mine. That’s what I came to tell you.”

“I killed you!”

“No, you didn’t. He did. Don’t take his guilt and put it upon

yourself. If anyone’s to blame, it’s him. Now go back and get that son

of a bitch.”

Mulder blinked his eyelids. “I won’t go back without you,” he said

stubbornly, stretching out his hand so he could touch Jack’s burning

skin. It hurt! The agent withdrew his hand and stared at the blisters

on his fingers, crying out his pain.

“You can’t take me with you, Mulder,” Jack said sympathetically. “It’s over.”

“No,” Mulder yelled angrily, but Jack’s body simply disintegrated.

There was nothing left but ashes on the spot where he had been

standing. Mulder stared in shock at the coals and remained where he was.

Then he opened his eyes and stared straight into Skinner’s. His boss

had been trying to wake him up.

Day Six, December 13, 2001

New York City

Breakfast was a piece of toast with jam and a talk with Skinner.

Mulder leaned quietly against the pillows. He hadn’t wanted to spend

the morning in bed, but he admitted that he was still very tired.

“What did you dream about?” Skinner asked.

“Jack,” Mulder said, chewing on the toast. “He gave me a message.”

“What did he tell you?”

Mulder didn’t respond and put down the second piece of toast he had

been chewing on. His eyes were dark and depressed. “May I see Scully now?”

Skinner nodded and took him to her room down the hall. All the

monitors were disconnected so Scully was able to sit up and finish her

light breakfast. She would be released that day if she continued to

improve.

When the door opened she looked upand for the first time that morning

her eyes brightened. Skinner watched as she embraced Mulder, taking

his head between her hands. The moment felt too personal. The nurse

excused herself and Skinner turned his back, finding an excuse to

leave as well.

When they were gone, she kissed her partner softly. Her lips lingered

long on his and then moved over his face, kissing his cheeks and

closed eyelids and forehead. Last night’s bandage had been replaced

with a smaller version covering his temple. The bandage that had

covered her head the night before was replaced with a smaller one as well.

“I’m so glad you’re all right,” she whispered as he hoped his eyes

again. “I thought -”

“I know,” he responded. “So did I.”

“What happened, Mulder? I remember being on the phone, walking to the

car. And then you came and the next thing I remember was lying

underneath you before everything turned blacked. I saw you, but you

didn’t move. You were lying on top of me and I couldn’t get you to move.”

“I thought I’d killed you,” he whispered, caressing her face. “You hit

your head because I pushed you underneath me. I thought you were gone.”

She smiled. “You can’t get rid of me that easily. I’m so glad -”

He let go of her and turned his back to her.

“Mulder? What is it?” she asked, stepping behind him as she put her

hands on his back. To her surprise, his body was shaking. She turned

him around. There were tears in his eyes, yet he didn’t cry. He just

stood there and his voice broke when he whispered that Jack was dead.

“No,” she said, shaking her head in disbelief. “That can’t be …”

He told her the whole story of what had happened during the course of

the day. She listened in disbelief as he explained that he had seen

his friend’s body, and how he had been killed. Scully stared at the

floor. She could still hear Jack’s voice. She had known him for just a

few days and had already left his stamp on her. She had liked him, and

had liked the way Mulder had been with him. There had been a comfort,

an ease that her partner didn’t have with many people. They had been

friends, and now he was gone, just like that.

When he looked at her again, the tears were gone. He moved on.

“There’s work to be done.”

“I’m coming with you.”

He shook his head. “No. You need to rest. I’m going on my own.”

“Forget it.” Scully’s voice sounded just as determined as his. “I’m

not letting you out there by yourself. I know you, Mulder. I know what

you can do to yourself.”

He turned his face away from her. “I’ve made up my mind. I want you to

go back to DC. I’m finishing this case by myself.”

“If you think I’ll let you go, you’re crazy. You can’t just dismiss me

like I’m your servant. I’m here to stay.”

“You’ve been hurt enough, Scully,” Mulder spoke desperately. “Don’t

you see? I’ve screwed up. I have to finish this but I can’t do that

while I’m worrying about you. You were nearly killed once. I can’t

allow that to happen again.”

“So you’re sacrificing yourself instead?”

“I’m not,” Mulder said hard. “I’m doing what’s right. I’m doing what

Jack would want me to do. We’re so close to the murderer, Scully. He

wouldn’t have killed Jack if he hadn’t figured out the truth. Jack

disappeared after visiting the mayor’s office. It’s someone from that

office; someone so high in rank that he would have the means and

influence to do this.”

“All the more reason for me to stay and help you,” Scully said.

“Mulder, I’ve never backed away before from a case. Don’t expect me to

do so now. We’re constantly in danger. This is another step along the

way that we take together. So you’ve got a choice. If I walk, you’re

walking with me. If not, we’re getting this thing over with today.”

“Are you going to discharge yourself?”

She smiled. “Of course I am.”

Day Six, December 13, 2001

New York City

Jack’s small office was being cleared, awaiting the next cop that got

a promotion. The place had been cleaned out as if he had never been

there. His personal belongings were packed away in boxes. The only

things that remained were the stacks of files on top of the desk.

Chris Morgan stood in the middle of the room looking at the desk. .

Just moments before, he had been talking to the commissioner who

proposed the promotion to him. Morgan had always known he was second

in line of course. The assignments had become more important during

the past six months, and Jack Campbell had increased his responsibilities.

And now this was it.

He smiled wryly at the thought but his expression quickly neutralized

as he turned around when he heard the agents walk in. Mulder stepped

forward and noteded the boxes on the floor and the files on the desk.

He fingered the files and saw that the bomber’s case was on top. It

was stamped ‘closed’.

“Why?” he asked simply.

“Alec Thompson’s body was found floating face down in the river. He

killed himself. Case closed, Mulder,” Morgan explained easily.

To Jack’s colleagues Thompson was the killer. His death was too easily

explained by the idea that he had killed himself. The commissioner was

able to ignore Mulder’s prediction and closed the case. He already

called for a press conference to inform them of that fact during a

carefully arranged meeting. Within the hour everyone in the country

would know Alec Thompson, Public Relations Aide to the mayor, was the

bomber. He had a secret crush on Susannah Delaney and killed her and

her lover in a jealous rage.

How convenient, Mulder thought. Another killer caught, another case

solved . And the real kicker was that it was the locals who’d solved

it, not the Feds. The commissioner could be pleased with himself.

It didn’t matter that Alec Thompson had a good reputation. They had a

bunch of ill-fitting puzzle pieces that they were determined to fit

together. Jack had last spoken to Thompson and confronted him with the

murders, so as a result, he had killed his old friend. Now he was

dead too, so they could blame him, no matter how poorly the pieces fit

together…

It didn’t matter that Jack screwed up , by allowing himself to be

guided by friendship and had trusted his friends so much that he let

down his guard. They said he had been upset that his friends had been

nearly killed. He had let his emotions take over, therefore forgetting

all his skills.

Of course no one admitted Jack had been psychic because that would

damage his good name. Now he would get a proper burial with half the

town in attendance. They would honor his work and career. And perhaps

one day, they would give him a statue or name a school after him.

Mulder picked up the file and looked into it. As expected a report had

already been typed up to close the file. Chris Morgan had signed it.

Mulder looked at the cop that had helped them out before. “Are you

following in Jack’s footsteps?”

“Yes, I am,” Morgan said even though the promotion still had to be

confirmed. “I’m sorry, Agent Mulder.”

Mulder smiled faintly. “Don’t be. You didn’t kill him did you?”

Morgan blushed, trying to read into the agent’s eyes but he couldn’t

see what the man was thinking. Mulder put the file down. “It’s over

then,” he said. “You guys closed it.”

“We found our killer. That’s the best we could do.”

“It probably is,” Mulder said and he turned to leave the office still

limping. Chris Morgan said goodbye to Scully as he escorted them both

out and shut the door behind him. Scully followed her partner outside

and watched as he picked up the phone and called the local Field

Office, requesting a list of all the calls Jack made on his mobile

phone the day before.

Scully looked at him surprised. “They must have checked that list.”

“Yeah, they must have.”

The realization struck her hard. “Are you saying a cop was involved?”

“I’m not saying anything.”

“What did you read in that report, Mulder?”

“Lies,” Mulder said. “Nothing but lies.”

“The case is closed. They closed it. There’s nothing more we can do

about it. It was under Jack’s authority and they closed it with his death.”

“This is an X-File,” Mulder interrupted. “If we can prove that, I can

reopen the case. It will fall under our jurisdiction.”

“How are you going to do that, Mulder? Jack never told anyone. He only

talked to you about it. They only have your word for it and that won’t

suffice to convince the commissioner.”

Mulder’s eyes lit up. “I have an email. Jack sent me a short message

before he came to DC explaining he has paranormal abilities. That

should suffice, should it not?”

“Enough to make a case,” Scully said with a smile as excitement surged

through her body.

Day Six, December 13, 2001

New York City

Skinner frowned as he read the email and listened to Mulder’s story.

He wasn’t so convinced. He knew Mulder needed his approval. If not, it

would be a long, hard battle. “They’re not going to be happy about

this, Agent Mulder,” he said, seated behind the desk of the small

temporary office. “You’re basically rejecting their findings and

reopening a sensitive file.”

“I have good reason to do so, sir,” Mulder said, feeling very tired as

he sat back in his chair. “This case has been closed, but it has not

been resolved. . I can tell you that one day this bomber will kill

again. It’s in his nature to do so. I don’t want to have that on my conscience.”

“You’re taking this too personally,” Skinner remarked. “It’s over.”

“You can’t, sir. It is an X-File.”

“Based on a single email?”

“No, based on Jack Campbell’s psychic connection with the killer. That

connection has led us very close to him. It helped us save a woman’s

life. We cannot deny that. This case should never have been under

police investigation in the first place. It should have gone straight

to us.”

“You won’t be able to count on their help anymore. You do know that?”

“I don’t care at this point,” Mulder said bitterly. “As far as I’m

concerned, Jack was our interface. With him gone, I see no reason to

go over this with them once again. They’re close-minded and blind to

the obvious. I wouldn’t be able to work with them if my life depended

on it.”

“Just know what you’re doing, Mulder,” Skinner said as he signed his

approval under the official request his agent had typed out.

“It’s our job to close this case in a proper way, sir. That’s my first

priority. The rest of it can go to hell. Yes, I take Jack’s death

personally. I want to do everything I can to catch his killer. But my

first priority still lies with the people that have died and the

killer that holds psychic abilities, which he used to murder them. I

guarantee you results.

Mulder got up and left the room with the document in his hand. Scully

froze in her seat, rubbing her eyelids. She was so tired. This day had

been a freakish mixture of emotions and promises that might not be

kept. Skinner seemed worried. “Get some rest, Agent Scully,” he said.

“You shouldn’t even be here.”

“I’m not going to rest as long as Mulder’s running about.” She smiled

faintly. “Someone’s gotta keep an eye on him.”

“I can do that,” Skinner offered.

“No offense, sir, but I don’t think he’s going to listen to you this

time. As long asthe real killer remains at large, he’s not going to

rest. Maybe I’ll be able to get through to him in some way. Who knows,

at some point he might even listen to me.”

Day Six, December 13, 2001

New York City

Evening fell and Mulder and Scully received the case files as well as

the results of Jack’s autopsy, albeit with difficulty. The

commissioner got on the phone with Skinner, explaining his discontent

with the FBI’s official takeover of the case. All files and reports,

pictures and statements were to be released. The entire file arrived

at the Bureau by special courier.

At first sight everything was there. Mulder scrolled through the

documents and statements and read everything from the beginning to the

very end. Jack’s handwriting was on several documents. He had signed

various statements as well. He had put his stamp on the entire file

and had been in full control. Little had he known this would be his

last case.

Would things have been different had Jack known? Mulder wondered.

Would he have refused the case or left the FBI out of it? The agent

sighed deeply as he realized that what ifs didn’t matter anymore. Jack

was gone and his legacy was still there. It was almost unbearable.

Suddenly Scully rushed into the office and waved with a piece of

paper. “I’ve got something that you might want to hear,” she said,

nearly out of breath. Mulder glanced at her, recalling her very pale

features and wondered why she hadn’t gone back to the hotel to rest.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Your phone list shows that Jack had been in contact with a colleague

before he died. And guess who that colleague was?”

“Let me take a guess. Chris Morgan?”

“Exactly. He lied, Mulder.”

“But there’s a phone list in the file as well. It doesn’t show that

call. Wait a minute.” Mulder scrolled through the file. “Here we go.

You see? The number is not on it. According to this list Jack didn’t

make any calls all afternoon.” The agent’s eyes changed color when his

grip on the document changed. “Wait a minute. It’s been altered. You

see? It’s a photocopy. He erased the last line and then made a copy so

it wouldn’t show.”

“Do you think Morgan did that himself?”

“Who else? Who else benefited from Jack’s death? He takes Jack’s seat.

He was involved in the case. Jack contacted him and told him who it

was. We were both in hospital. He couldn’t have contacted us. So Jack

called the one person that he trusted, the one other person that was

already involved in the case who knew all the details.”

“But to kill a friend for promotion?” Scully asked in disbelief.

” Murders have taken place for less, Scully.”

“You do know you can never wave this under the commissioner’s nose.

He’ll bite back. They’re never going to accept that one of their own

is capable of doing this.”

“Then we’ll have to convince them, won’t we?” Mulder said, grabbing

the phone. Within ten minutes Skinner listened to Mulder’s story and

set up the trap.

Day Six, December 13, 2001

Upstate New York

Despite the late hour the city was still tingling with excitement, but

in his house upstate David Lane didn’t notice any of that. He had

decided to get away that night and not stay at the apartment, despite

the early meeting the mayor had set up in the morning.

Something was about to go down. He could feel it in his veins. It

buzzed through his mind like a bee swarming above his head. He

listened to the buzz and knew that he was going down. His mother had

once said that she too felt it when the cops came for her to put her

away for good. She had explained in prison while waiting for her death

sentence. He had listened and learned.

Soon they would come to take him away. He wouldn’t run or hide for it

wasn’t in his nature to do so. But he wouldn’t go with them. He had

something set up for the FBI agent that would come to arrest him. It

would be a thrill. The feeling would be almost as good as it had been

when he destroyed Jack Campbell’s life, blowing his brains out.

They both got what they deserved.

Act 3

Day Six, December 13, 2001

New York City

Despite the late hour Chris Morgan just couldn’t drive home. Too many

thoughts were rushing through his mind, making it impossible for him

to calm down and relax. He trembled when he picked up his cup of

coffee and drank. What he wouldn’t give for a real drink right now,

but he couldn’t give in. He had to keep his behavior exemplorary,

especially now that every single move could potentially betray him.

He sighed and rubbed his eyes. He was so tired. If only Jack wouldnt

have just let it go.

He shouldn’t have told Lane about it, but what choice did he have? The

moment Lane got caught he would have been caught too. He was in too

deep already. He might not have killed Jack himself, but he had the

man’s blood on his hands. And he shivered when he recalled the bloody

blanket used to transfer Jack’s body; he had shoved the blanket into

the huge trashcan behind the Marriott hotel. What if someone found it

there? What if some homeless guy pulled it out? Would it lead straight

back to him?

And what if they figured out that Jack’s body had been moved in his car?

A hard knock on the door shook him up. Morgan looked up, startled when

Mulder entered the room. The FBI agent was alone. “Agent Mulder,”

Morgan said, after gathering his wits. “What brings you back here?”

Mulder didn’t speak at first, but walked in and closed the door,

shutting out the rest of the world. “We need to talk, Chris,” he said

in a friendly tone as he sat on the edge of the desk. “I figured I

might find you here.”

“Really? How so?” Morgan asked nervously.

“A young man in his early thirties with no family to go to usually has

nothing but his job to keep him occupied. And since you’ve been trying

to kick your habit, you wouldn’t go to any bars, now would you?”

“What habit?” Morgan asked. “What are you talking about?”

“Come on, Chris. Jack told me all about it. He said you had some

problems in the past that you’re trying to deal with right now. So I

figured that you’re trying your best not to fall off the wagon again.

Am I right or wrong?”

“You’re a liar,” Morgan said flustered. “I haven’t got any problems.

If Jack told you that, he’s a liar too.”

“Is he? Well, we can’t ask him, can we? You made sure the one man that

knew about your problem is gone. Since you killed him, he made way for

your promotion, too. How convenient for you that he died at the right

time. Did you pull the trigger or did you have someone else do it for you?”

Morgan shot out of his chair, livid with anger. “Get the hell out,

Agent Mulder. You’re grasping at straws. I didn’t kill him and you

know it! Even if I do have a drinking problem, why would I shoot him?

I liked him! He was a good cop and one of my best friends!”

Mulder took a copy of the phone list out of his pocket and threw it at

Morgan. “Explain to me then why you manipulated this list? But you’ve

got a habit of doing that, don’t you? You manipulated David Lane’s

records too. Did you really think we wouldn’t find out about you, Morgan?”

“You’re lying,” Morgan shouted hard as his face turned red. “If you’re

accusing me, come up with the evidence and arrest me. But you can’t,

can you? There’s no proof.”

“We have proof. We have the original phone list.”

Mulder remained calm as he moved away from the desk and walked towards

the window, looking down on the lively city. “One would kill for this

view, wouldn’t he?” the agent whispered. “Tell me Chris, when did Lane

start blackmailing you? Did he meet you at a bar where you hung around

till you passed out? Did he manipulate you at once or did it start

with simple gestures, like erasing the connection between his mother

and himself so that he would have a clean sheet to present to the

mayor? Did you know that he was the bomber right from the beginning?”

Tears sprung in Morgan’s eyes, as he stood powerless before the desk

that was supposed to become his. It was over. There was no sense lying

anymore. He had been living with the lies for two years and a part of

him felt relief that it was finally over and done with. At least now

he could raise his head in pride and tell them he was no longer

playing Judas.

“He was looking for someone to manipulate and it became me,” he

finally spoke hoarsely. “It happened two years ago. He found me and

fed me booze until I nearly passed out. He said he knew I had a

problem and that he would keep his mouth shut if I did him a favor. It

started with his mother’s file. Then I had to do little jobs for him.

I had to tell him about cases we were working on. I didn’t understand

why at first, but then I figured out he was trying to see through our

means of operation. When Susannah Delaney died, I just knew it was his

doing. But by then he had started to pay me off for my services. He

said that I shouldn’t have to work for nothing. The money allowed me

to buy things I could never afford with my cop’s income.”

“And you enjoyed it, didn’t you?” Mulder spoke bitterly. “After all,

you told him that Jack was after him. Jack suspected he was the one

and he called you because you needed to find things about him. Instead

of going after Lane, you went after Jack. Didn’t you?”

“I did,” Morgan admitted, raising his head and straightening his

shoulders. “I knew Jack was in the way, so I lured him to Lane’s

apartment. Lane killed him with a silencer. We moved the body out into

my car, and I dumped him in an alley. We took a huge risk, but to be

honest, I enjoyed the thrill.”

“What about Thompson?”

“Lane knew that Thompson would be the perfect patsy and I called him

up as well. As it happened he was on the way to the station. I met him

outside, before I’d left to kill Jack. I lured him into my car telling

him that Lane was already under arrest and had been brought to another

police station. Thompson needed to go with me to give his statement.

When we drove off, I knocked him out. Lane killed him with the same

gun and dumped him in the river to make it look like a suicide.”

“And you filed a report stating that you were following leads in

regards to this case as Jack had requested you to do. If you hadn’t

manipulated the list, we wouldn’t have known,” Mulder said.

Weakly Morgan straightened his shoulders once again, feeling very

cocky now that the truth had come out. “I don’t care anymore,” he

said. “Lane has destroyed my life and as far as I’m concerned I’ll be

sitting in jail watching him die at the stake. But I’ll be out in a

few years and able to lead a normal life again.”

“No, you won’t,” Mulder said softly as anger left him. “I’ll make sure

that you get the maximum penalty for what you’ve done. You’ll burn

too, Morgan.”

Morgan’s fear became obvious as his eyes focused on the FBI agent.

“I’ll deny ever having given this confession then,” he muttered. “You

won’t stand a chance of convicting me – not without proper evidence. I

mean, what have you got, really? A phone list, which I’ll deny having

manipulated? So-called proof, that I have a drinking problem? What are

you going to base your claim on? Everybody knows you would do anything

to grab the killer. You would accuse anyone.”

Mulder smiled as he reached underneath his shirt and dug out the small

wire that had sent the entire confession to a meeting room where

Scully, Skinner, and the commissioner sat, shocked, along with three

other colleagues. “I don’t like these things,” the agent said

thoughtfully, “but sometimes they do come in handy. You’re through, Morgan.”

Mulder turned and left the room, closing the door behind him as he

walked to the meeting room. Inside Morgan looked outside at the city

below and knew he would never see a sight like that again. It was a

thought he couldn’t bear. Morgan reached for the gun on his desk and

grasped it in his hand. He closed his eyes as he brought it to the

side of his face and pulled the trigger.

In the meeting room everyone was shocked as the blast shook up the

office. They hurried out to find Mulder standing in the middle of the

hallway, turned around to face the door of the office that had

belonged to his friend. The agent’s face remained blank.

Day Six, December 13, 2001

New York City

“We’ve got him,” the commissioner said, but his voice didn’t sound too

happy. He didn’t like it when his cops made a mess of things and

that’s exactly what had happened just now. One of his own men had been

involved and he would have to explain that to the press in the

morning. Therefore he wanted to arrest Lane tonight and get it over with.

“Not yet,” Skinner said. “Do you know where he is?”

“He has an apartment in town. We’ll go there and arrest him now.”

“No,” Mulder said. “Not like that. We need proof that he’s our guy.”

“We’ve got the tape and Morgan’s confession. He pointed him out. Isn’t

that enough?” the commissioner said angrily. “Even though this is your

case, Agent Mulder, I want to make the arrest. We’re too personally

involved now.”

“You’ve got a confession of one criminal pointing the finger at the

other,” Mulder said. “That’s not enough. If Lane suspects anything

he’ll be on the run by now. We need solid evidence that he’s our guy.”

“And how are you going to do that?” the commissioner asked. “Use your

paranormal expertise and scare the truth out of him?”

Mulder ignored the sarcasm. “I don’t think he’ll be here in town.

He’s got a house upstate. I want to go there and confront him like we

did with Morgan. We’ll need a search warrant for the house and the

apartment just in case. That’s all we can hope for right now.” Mulder

looked at Skinner and Scully. “I’m going alone.”

“Like hell you are,” Scully groaned.

Day Six, December 13, 2001

Upstate New York

When the doorbell of Lane’s Victorian house rang around midnight, the

owner didn’t seem surprised. “It’s okay, Henry,” he told his faithful

family butler who hadcome downstairs from his private quarters on the

second floor to open the door. “Go back to bed.”

Reluctantly the butler obeyed and retreated as Lane walked over, fully

clad as if he were about to go to a party. When he opened the door, he

saw Mulder, alone, flashing his badge to be let in. Lane stepped aside

and looked at him. “Agent Mulder, what a pleasant surprise. What

brings you here this time of night?”

“We need to talk,” Mulder said. “May I come in?”

“Of course.” Mulder looked around, noting the finer details of the

grand house. Lane had perfect taste, decorating his residence with

paintings that varied in style, and antique furniture, which he had

selected himself. Mulder glanced through the open French doors into

the living room which adjoined the library. The fireplace was in use.

Two leather chairs were facing it and on one of them lay a novel by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

“Do you like what you see, Agent Mulder?” Lane asked amused as they

entered the library together. Mulder faced the man and realized he had

been standing there for a few moments with nothing to say. The agent’s

mind was numb. He took in all the smaller details and realized he

couldn’t believe a man like this went about town setting bombs.

“It’s nice,” the agent finally sat, without being invited to do so.

Mulder chose the second leather chair and looked at the fireplace. He

felt cold. The drive through the snow had taken a while and he

wondered about Scully who sat with the others outside in their cars.

“I’ve come to arrest you,” Mulder said as Lane took the other seat and

carefully put his bookmark where he had stopped reading, closing the

book before he put it down.

“Really?” Lane asked with a tone of mockery in his voice. “Then why

aren’t you?”

“We need to talk first.”

At ease Lane walked to the bar. “Can I get you a drink?”

“No, thanks.” Mulder’s head swirled from lack of sleep. He wanted to

get it over with soon, but there were too many unanswered questions.

He wanted answers first.

“Are you feeling okay?” Lane asked with a sense of strange worry that

seemed inappropriate.

“Yes, I am. I found my killer.”

“Really?” Lane smiled. “I’m sure it must have cost you some effort.”

“Yes, it did. But we’ve got a solid case and we’re taking him down.”

“I see.” Lane poured a brandy and gulped it down. The fluid burned in

his throat all the way to his stomach. To Mulder’s delight the man’s

hands trembled when he put the glass down and turned his back to

Mulder. “So what brings you here then?”

“Let’s not play games about this, Mr. Lane,” Mulder spoke. “It’s time

that you face your executioners, so to speak. You’ve toyed with

everyone. You got your wish. Now you have to pay the price.”

David Lane smiled and then laughed. “Are you saying I did this? Is

that why you’re here?”

Mulder nodded slowly. “I’m here because I want to talk to you first. I

told the others, who are waiting outside, that you would go quietly.

After all, you wouldn’t want to give me a lot of headaches since the

world knows by now you’re responsible, now would youMr. Lane?”

The man who wanted to become the next mayor of the city of New York

paled and frowned. The moment had come. That buzzing feeling inside of

him had not failed him. His eyes focused on Mulder, the FBI agent who

had done everything in his power to destroy him. It didn’t matter how

they had gotten to him. It was no use trying to talk him out of it.

And the others who came to back him up were outside, waiting in their

cars. They would come in before too long and take him to face the music.

With regret David looked around and took in all the beautiful pieces

he had selected over the years. He thought of all the years that he

had tried to fight his destiny by denying who and what he was. He

thought of his mother who had gone through the same thing. Had she

fought off her executioners once she knew it was over?

Suddenly David caught Mulder’s eyes. The agent seemed ill. Externally,

his expression was one of utter control. But internally the man was

trembling with anger and hatred towards the man who had killed his

friend. David smiled, realizing he was still in control.

Even while the agent was here to arrest him, he still had full control

over the events at hand. As long as he could toy with him, he would be

able to manipulate.

“Are you sure you’re all right, Agent Mulder?” Lane asked once again.

“You seem uneasy.”

Mulder looked at the man he was about to bring in and smiled. “I’m a

profiler and have studied psychology, Mr. Lane. If there is anything

you cannot do with me, it’s manipulate me. I’m here to ask you to tell

me the truth. I want to know why you killed Susannah Delaney, Stephen

Wells, Jack Campbell, and a young bellboy named Jay Noames.”

“You’re grasping at straws, Agent Mulder.”

“That’s funny,” Mulder smiled. “That’s exactly what Chris Morgan said

before he blew his brains out.”

Lane paled. “Who is Chris Morgan?”

“You should know. You’ve been blackmailing him for two years. He’s

dead,now. He couldn’t live with the guilt and died by his own hand.

Just like you now, he tried to deny everything that happened. And just

like you are about to do, he paid for his involvement.” Mulder got up

from his chair and glanced around. “You have a beautiful house,Mr.

Lane. You had a great job and a fantastic opportunity to step into

politics yourself, but you just couldn’t help yourself, could you? You

had to do what was in your nature to do”

Mulder noticed the startled expression in Lane’s eyes. “I’ve read the

files, Mr. Lane. I know all about your loving mother. She was a

killer and so became you. You had to try it out and see what it felt

like. Did you enjoy watching those bombs explode? Did it feel good Mr.

Lane? Did you get off on it? ”

Mulder’s hand touched the holster that held his gun. He stepped

forward as if he was trying to extract the guilt from the killer’s

mind much like Lane did to determine his next victim. His eyes locked

onto Lane’s and wouldn’t let him go. For the first time Lane felt like

he was going to lose control.

“Are you here to kill me, Agent Mulder?” he asked as he tried to stay

calm. “Is that why your colleagues aren’t in here? Are they allowing

you to take justice into your own hands?”

“It would be serving justice, wouldn’t it?” Mulder sighed deeply.

Lane paled even more.

“No, I’m not here to kill you,” Mulder said. “I just want to know the truth.”

“All right,” Lane said. “If you want the truth, you’ll get it. I

killed them all, yes. Does that make you feel better, Agent Mulder?

Does it please you to know that I set the bombs and destroyed their

lives because I liked the kill?”

“Why did you choose Susannah?”

“She seemed the perfect victim. And she fucked me like I was one of

the others she had in her bed.”

“You couldn’t bear that, could you? You hated the fact she didn’t love you.”

“That’s right, but only because it gave me permission to kill her,”

Lane said as his eyes left Mulder’s. The agent had sat down again.

Lane stared at the doorway and continued, “I loved the kill, just like

my mother. It’s in our blood. I needed to know how I would feel, and I

liked it. So I killed again.”

“How did you select Wells?”

Lane smiled. “Now that’s a story right up your alley. After all,

you’re into that paranormal crap, aren’t you? I’m sure you got off

when you figured out I had psychic abilities, didn’t you?”

Mulder didn’t give an answer.

“Yes, I did it all,” David Lane said, stretching out his hands. “And

now you can arrest me and bring me in. After all, you’ve got your

killer now, haven’t you?”

clip_image002

Mulder looked sharply at the man and got up. “Good,” he said, taking

out his cuffs, which he moved to place around Lane’s wrists. Suddenly

Lane’s eyes focused on Mulder’s once again. There was a sharp pain

inside the agent’s head, ripping him apart. Mulder groaned as the

cuffs dropped to the floor and his hands automatically reached for his

head, trying to get that horrible pain out of it.

A strange sense entered Lane’s mind as well as he received the image

of a woman that looked very familiar to him. It was his partner, the

small redhead that had been with him when they spoke before. She was

the most important person on his mind and the one he thought of now

when he thought he was going to die of sheer pain.

“Are you fucking her, Agent Mulder?” Lane asked in disgust.

In a flash the sharpest of pains was over, and Mulder reached for his

gun. He aimed it at Lane, holding his left hand against his head, as

he tried to focus on the here and now.

In the following moment, something came towards him from the side. The

agent wanted to fire his gun but it was already too late. The next

instant, he was lying face down on the soft carpet of the living room.

The gun fell from its holster onto the ground.

David watched as his butler Henry knocked Mulder off his feet, using

the antique bronze statue from the hallway. Then he looked down at the

agent lying face down on the carpet. He was bleeding from a deep gash

right above the ear. Lane knelt down and touched the agent’s throat.

He was still breathing.

“He tried to kill you, sir,” Henry said apologetically. “I had to do

something.” The butler awkwardly picked up the gun and aimed it at the

agent’s head. “Should I call the police?”

“No,” Lane said. “I’ll handle this.” What a mess, he sighed; realizing

all too well he only had a few moments left to finish this. “Help me

move him .”

The butler nodded though he was uneasy with what was going on, as he

turned over Mulder’s body. He had no idea who this man was or what

he’d wanted, but he couldn’t just let his employer be killed, could

he? The agent’s eyes remained closed as the butler grabbed him by the

legs and Lane took him by the shoulders. Together they transferred the

agent to another, smaller room, and closed the door. At the same time

the front doorbellrang out, followed by a banging on the wood.

Lane grabbed Henry’s arm and said, “Don’t open the front door, but get

the hell out. You’ve been good to me, Henry, but now it’s time to

part. You’re no part of this. They’re here to arrest me, and I’m not going.”

Henry frowned as he looked down at the unconscious agent. “Is he

police, too?”

“Yeah, he is.”

“My god.” Henry glared at the door again. He was ripped apart between

loyalty and fear. And he still held the man’s gun in his hand. “I

can’t go,” he finally said. “I hurt this man, didn’t I? They’ll want

to punish me.”

“Stay then,” Lane said impatiently.

The banging on the door persisted and in the following moment the FBI

and police were inside the house. Lane listened to the orders that

were being handed out while his skilled hands prepared the handmade

bomb that would finish it all. On the floor Mulder groaned and moved,

opening his eyes in the process.

Lane glanced at him and finished the bomb that was now attached to the

door. The moment anyone would try to bust down the door, the device

would go off. Lane smiled as he knelt down beside the agent, ignoring

his butler altogether. “The moment I open this door, it will be over

Agent Mulder. You have the choice of dragging your friends into death

with you or to die alone. What’s it going to be?”

Reality struck the agent as he nodded slowly and stood up with the

startled Henry shoving a hand under his armpit to support him. The

agent swayed on his feet and stared at the device attached to the

door. Behind the wood he heard familiar voices.

Then there was a banging on the door and he heard Scully’s voice speak

out his name.

“Scully,” Mulder answered in response with a voice that seemed too

dark. “He’s got a bomb in here, ready to go off. Get everyone out now.

It’s set to go.”

“Mulder,” he heard on the other side, “is he in there with you?”

Mulder waited for a second. “Yes, he is.”

“Can we reason with him?” Skinner asked through the door.

“No. Get out now or you’re all dead.”

Lane didn’t speak a single word when there was an order to retreat

followed by a shuffle of footsteps and a lot of noise. The men inside

the small room could only imagine what went on outside. Mulder looked

at the only window that gave access to freedom.

“It’s over then, isn’t it?” the agent asked.

“Yes, it is,” Lane smiled, ignoring Henry behind him. “Don’t worry,

Agent Mulder. It’s a painless death. It’s over before you know it.”

Lane’s hand touched the doorknob.

Mulder’s hand fell on the floor, chilling as he rested his head

against a bookshelf. He looked up, his feverish eyes staring at the

bomber. “You’re right,” he said. “It is over.”That was their cue, and

it all happened very fast. The glass of the only access window in the

room shattered and splintered, sending large pieces inside the room.

Just as suddenly, the barrel of a gun was aimed at Lane’s back. He

turned and let go of the doorknob.

One single shot rang out through the library. The bullet coming out of

the gun held by Henry hit Lane full in the back, sending him forward

to the ground. Lane tried to pull open the door in the process of

falling, but a second shot stopped him in his tracks. David dropped to

the floor, his eyes wide open and staring into nothingness.

Mulder looked at Henry who nodded slowly at him. “In the end, it

couldn’t go on,” Henry whispered. “Could it?”

Epilogue

Day Eight, December 15, 2001

New York City

She watched from a short distance as he was the last to put a single

flower on his friend’s casket before it was lowered into the ground.

No one else had a right to be there, she thought. This was his moment

alone. But suddenly he looked at her and smiled.

She moved forward until she stood by his side, and he grasped her hand

and pulled her near him. Together they watched as the casket came to a

halt at the bottom of the grave.

“It’s funny,” Mulder said, “but I dreamt of Jack again last night.

I’ve always believed there’s a place we go to after this one, where

things are better and life is just the way you want it to be. With

Jack, I’m pretty sure he’s living the good life right now.”

She smiled. “Did he have a messagefor you?”

Her partner looked at her and embraced her. “Just that we shouldn’t

mourn the life he left right now, but to cherish the one where he’s

waiting for us. I’m pretty sure that we’ll see him again one day.”

“I like that,” Scully said, mesmerized.

“Oh, yeah, and he did have another message.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s about time we share a motel room.”

She grinned. “Nice try, Agent Mulder.”

Mulder shrugged his shoulders, holding onto her as they walked to the

car, hopefully on their way to that vacation they had promised each other.

– The End –

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