TITLE: Necessary Evil
WEBSITE: http://dtg-xf.freeservers.com/ or
KEYWORDS: case file, MSR
RATING: R for a few rough words & situations.
SPOILERS: References to FTF and Field Trip.
ARCHIVE: VS9 for two weeks after release, then
Ephemeral & Gossamer. Anywhere else,
please let me know first.
SUMMARY: Mulder’s profiling genius may finally
have met its match.
DISCLAIMER: Some of the characters in this story
belong to Chris Carter, 1013 and Fox.
No copyright infringement is intended.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: This story was written especially for
IMTP’s Virtual Season 9. Special thanks
go to Bonetree, Michelle, Sally, Ten
and Vickie for sticking with me through
my rapid-fire rewrites. It’s hard to
beta a moving target. <G> Any flaws
that remain are mine alone.
Necessary Evil by dtg
“Please, don’t do this. I promise, I won’t tell
anyone if you’ll just let me go.” She blinked
furiously, trying to clear her vision.
“Down on your knees.”
“No! Oh, please… why are you doing… ” She gasped
with pain as her tape bound wrists were jerked down
behind her back, forcing her to drop to her knees on
“I said, on your knees!”
Hands grasped her ankles and pulled, shifting her
weight heavily forward and driving the sharp stones
painfully into her flesh. She heard another length of
tape rip from the roll and felt her ankles being
bound tightly together. She could see her car, a
tantalizingly short distance away through the trees
where she’d parked under one of the mercury vapor
lights. For safety. She had known that the lot would
be mostly empty when she returned to it. And it *had*
been. The only other car had been parked next to
hers. All that empty space, and the last two cars had
somehow ended up side by side. Someone had been
hidden in that car. Waiting.
“My husband has money. He’ll pay whatever you ask if
you just let me go.” She cried out again as her
wrists were yanked roughly down toward her feet. She
felt the tape being wound around them, securing her
into a bowed position. Exposing her chest.
She could barely breathe now, terror combined with
the awkward posture making it a struggle to pull in
enough air to speak.
“I can get you whatever you want. Please, listen to
me. I have childr…”
The blade plunged directly into her heart. She had
only enough time to turn disbelieving eyes toward her
“You *are* getting me what I want.” Her killer
watched the light fade from those eyes forever, then
pulled the blade free and walked casually back to the
Monday, February 11, 2002
Mulder’s pencil mercifully ceased its mind-numbing
table dance and back flipped into the ceiling. “Isn’t
it a little soon for your closed door sessions with
Skinner to be starting up?”
Scully put down the folder she’d been trying to focus
on since her return from Skinner’s office ten minutes
ago. “He’s worried about you, Mulder. He didn’t want
you on this case any more than I did. He just wanted
to know how you’re doing.”
“So why didn’t he ask me?” Mulder swiveled his chair
to face her with his arms crossed over his chest.
“Better yet, why didn’t *you* tell him to ask me?”
She turned her chair toward him and mirrored his
posture. “How do you know that I didn’t?”
He made a palm up gesture with his right hand and
raised his eyebrows, the unspoken question clear.
*Well, DID you?*
“For your information, I did. But he knows you,
Mulder. That’s why he’s concerned. I guess he’s just
not ready for another of your brushes with eternity
so close on the heels of the last one.” She let the
much-too-fresh memory darken her eyes. “Neither am
Her partner seemed to deflate at that, the irritation
draining out of him. He uncrossed his arms. “I know
that, Scully. But I’m not as fragile as the two of
you seem to think.”
Scully noticed the change in posture and softened her
voice. “It has nothing to do with fragility or
weakness. Skinner just wants to make sure that
“…keeping the leash short enough?”
Mulder finished her thought so accurately that it
made both of them smile. She wouldn’t have put it in
quite those words, but that was essentially what
Skinner had just assigned her to do. Keep her partner
away from the deep end.
In spite of his protests, she knew that Mulder
counted on her vigilance when he worked on cases like
this, but that didn’t completely eliminate his
resentment at being watched so closely. He had to
bristle once in awhile, just to preserve his dignity.
It was a routine they were both familiar with.
“So, what have you got so far?” She gestured toward
the growing stack of legal pads bearing his trademark
He turned back to the desk and began to flip through
his notes. “It’s what I *don’t* have that’s driving
me nuts.” Scully raised an eyebrow at his choice of
words, and he shot back a quick *don’t even go there*
look. “There’s just nothing about the killings that
stands out. A single stab wound to the heart. No
trophies that we can identify. No mutilation. No
sexual overtones. No common locations. Yet they’re
clearly all the work of the same man.” He closed the
pad and looked up at her. “You should tell Skinner to
stop worrying. Even if I *could* get into this guy’s
head, it looks like the greatest danger to my psyche
would be terminal boredom.”
Both eyebrows went up at that. “A boring serial
One corner of his mouth quirked up in a somewhat
abashed grimace. “Another poor choice of words. What
I’m trying to say is that the murders are so damn…
*impersonal*… I could almost believe they were the
work of a contract killer, except that there’s
nothing about the victims that makes that even a
Scully pulled a sheet of paper from the folder on her
desk. “Could there be a connection among the victims
that we’ve missed?” She looked over the list again.
Six men, three women, ages from 18 to 61, occupations
ranging from janitor to psychiatrist, both single and
married. All white with no single ethnic or religious
background predominating. No criminal history for any
of them. Vastly different economic situations from
borderline poverty to conspicuous wealth. Seemingly
nothing in common apart from the way they died. She
handed the list to Mulder.
He scanned it and shook his head. “The computers
haven’t come up with a single common factor and I’ve
had them input every characteristic I could think of.
But there *has* to be one.” He stood up and began to
gather papers together. “There’s a link, we just
haven’t dug deeply enough to uncover it.” He was
rolling his sleeves down, getting ready to put on his
coat. “We need to interview the next of kin of each
of the victims again, starting with the most recent.”
Scully let out a small, resigned sigh. It was going
to be a long day.
Home of Marcy Barringer
4810 Oxford Green
Marcy Barringer’s body had been found three days
previously in a wooded area adjacent to the Reston
Mall. Her husband had reported her missing when she
failed to return from work Thursday night, and a
jogger found her body on his predawn run just ten
hours later. Her murder was number nine in as many
weeks. The task force SAC’s request for Mulder’s
services had arrived on Skinner’s desk that same
morning, accompanied by a recommendation from the
What they now knew to be the first killing in the
series had taken place forty miles west of D.C. on
Thursday, December 13th. Every Thursday night since
then, there had been another murder, each taking
place incrementally nearer to the capitol. Reston was
thirty minutes from the Hoover building, and the
Director apparently wasn’t prepared to wait for the
bodies to start piling up on his doorstep.
The woman who answered the door of the well kept
colonial was dressed in a simple black dress and
heels. Her exasperated expression changed swiftly to
confusion when she realized she didn’t know her
Mulder and Scully displayed their badges for her.
“I’m Special Agent Mulder with the Federal Bureau of
Investigation and this is my partner, Special Agent
Scully. May we speak with David Barringer?”
“He’s not here. I was just on my way to meet him at
the funeral home. I thought you were the babysitter.”
She leaned to one side and looked distractedly behind
them. “She’s late.”
“And you are…?”
“Karen Waters. David is my brother. Is there
something I can help you with?”
“We won’t take more than a few minutes of your time.
May we come in?”
The woman hesitated for a moment, then stepped back
and opened the door so they could enter. They
followed her to a small, cozy room with three book
lined walls. The shelves ran from floor to ceiling
and were crammed with hardcover volumes. She
gestured toward the couch as she sat in the arm chair
“There was a police detective here yesterday. He
talked to both of us. What else do you want to know?”
“Agent Scully and I have just joined a task force
that’s working on a series of killings that may be
related to your sister-in-law’s death.”
“The detective already told us that it was the same
man who’s killed eight other people.” She looked from
Mulder to Scully. “Why haven’t you caught him?”
“That’s why we’re here, Ms. Waters.”
The woman’s posture sagged. “What can *I* tell you
that could possibly make any difference?”
“If it *was* the same man, then there may be
something that all of the victims had in common,
something that put them in contact with the killer.
Did your sister-in-law have any hobbies or special
interests, maybe a club or an organization where she
would have come in regular contact with strangers?”
“You think she *knew* the man?” The thought clearly
“Not necessarily, but she may have come in contact
with him recently.” The killer was planning these
murders well in advance. It was one of the few
aspects of his profile that Mulder felt reasonably
She thought for a moment. “I’m sorry, there was
nothing like that. Marcy is…” Her breath hitched
and she looked away for a moment. “Marcy *was*
devoted to her family. There wasn’t much time for any
outside interests. Her family was everything to her.
She only took the job at the mall for something to do
during the day after Kimmy started school. They
didn’t need the money.” She pressed a curled index
finger to her lips, struggling for control. “If she
hadn’t been working, she would have been at home,
safe, instead of where that animal could get to her.”
The doorbell rang at that moment and the woman nearly
leaped from her chair. “That’s the babysitter. I’m
sorry, I have to go now.” Both agents rose and
followed her to the front door. They waited as she
admitted a teenaged girl who immediately headed for
the back of the house without even glancing at the
Mulder reached into his pocket and handed Karen
Waters his business card. “Please call if you
remember anything that might help. And we do still
need to speak with your brother as soon as possible.”
The woman studied the card for a moment, then nodded
to both agents in turn. “I’ll tell David you were
here. I’m sure he’ll call you soon.”
They had nearly reached their car when the woman
called to them. “Agent Mulder! Wait for a moment.”
They turned to see her coming down the walk with an
envelope in her hand.
“I was just going through the mail and found this.”
She handed the envelope to Mulder. “I don’t know if
that’s the type of organization you were referring
to, but Marcy spent time as well as money on it. I
never would have remembered it if I hadn’t seen that
It was a window envelope addressed to Marcy Barringer
from Helping Hands, Inc. The return address was an
office building in the business district near
downtown D.C. Mulder handed the envelope to Scully
and turned back to Karen Waters. “I’m not familiar
with the name but it sounds like a charity.”
“It is. Marcy told me about the work they do with
needy families. Not handouts but helping hands.
Volunteers visit with the families and help them get
off public assistance by finding them jobs and
Scully exchanged a look with Mulder. “Did she work
with the clients?” If so, it could be how she met her
Karen shook her head. “Oh, no. Marcy did fund raising
for them. It was something she could do from home,
calling prospective contributors and asking for their
help.” She smiled. “She was good at it. Marcy was a
very persuasive woman.”
“May I keep this?”
Karen shrugged and turned back toward the house. “I’m
sure it’s just a receipt or something. If it’s
anything David needs, please copy it and return it to
him. I hope it helps.”
Scully opened the envelope when they were in the car.
It was a receipt for $2,500. “I’d like to get a look
at her bank records to see how often she made
donations like this.” She held it up for Mulder to
He made a noncommittal sound and started the engine.
“Where to next?”
Helping Hands, Inc.
Collier Building, Suite 910
Mulder had mentioned Helping Hands at the next
interview almost as an afterthought, and was
surprised to find that the victim had been a regular
contributor to the charity. When the next two
interviews yielded the same results, it became
obvious that Karen Waters had given them the link
they’d been looking for.
Despite having arrived at Helping Hands unannounced,
the two agents found themselves being ushered into
the manager’s office with an uncommon alacrity that
had them trading surprised glances. A stunningly
beautiful woman, nearly as tall as Mulder, rose from
behind the desk and shook their hands as Scully
introduced herself and her partner.
“I’m Elizabeth Saxon. You had some questions for me?”
She gestured for them to take the two chairs facing
her desk and returned to her seat behind it. She
leaned expectantly forward, smiled briefly at Scully,
then fixed her attention on Mulder.
“We’re investigating the death of a woman who did
some fund raising work for your organization. Marcy
Barringer. What can you tell us about her?” The woman
met Scully’s question with a blank look, then turned
back to Mulder.
“Marcy Barringer is dead?”
“Yes, Ms. Saxon, her body was found three days ago.
It’s been in the papers. You didn’t know?” Scully’s
tone prompted Mulder to shoot her a questioning
“No, I didn’t. I’ve been out of town. I’m very sorry
to hear this.” Her distress seemed genuine. “What do
you need from me?”
“Marcy Barringer’s death may be related to a series
of killings that we’re investigating. We’re following
up on some information that shows several of the
victims had connections to Helping Hands.”
Scully finally had the woman’s attention.
“What kind of *connections*?”
“Marcy Barringer worked for you. Two other victims
appear to have been regular donors. A third was a
recent client.” Scully watched closely for a
reaction. There was none. She saw Mulder at the edge
of her peripheral vision, his expression as impassive
as usual. He showed no inclination to join in the
“I see. What can I do to help?” The woman directed
her question to Mulder who, to his credit, turned to
face his partner to wait for her response.
“We’d like to see a list of your clients and
contributors. We may need an employee roster as well,
but not at this point.”
Despite the fact that Scully was asking the
questions, Elizabeth Saxon seemed determined to keep
her focus on Mulder. She reached for the phone on her
desk. “Of course. Anything to help.”
While she spoke briefly with someone regarding
Scully’s request, the two agents undertook a silent
discussion of the behavior of their interviewee.
Mulder was amused. Scully, plainly, was not.
“We can pick up those lists, if you’ll follow me.”
Once again, she addressed her comments directly to
Mulder. She came around the desk and waited for him
to stand, then headed for the door.
Elizabeth Saxon led the way down a carpeted hall to a
wooden door marked “Records”. On the other side of
the door was a windowless room lined with filing
cabinets. It smelled of old paper and new plastic. At
a large metal desk in the center of the room sat a
man who was busily entering data into a computer, his
eyes fixed on a copy stand to his right. He looked up
and stopped typing when the door opened.
“Kevin, these are the F.B.I. agents I asked you to
get the information for. Agent Mulder, Agent Scully,
this is Kevin Hawkes. He’s been converting our paper
files to a computer database.” She smiled at the
young man. “It’s going to make our lives much easier.
Or so he tells me.”
Kevin blushed to the roots of his blonde hair. “Um,
it’s going to be very helpful… once it’s finished.
It’s been quite a job.” His lopsided grin was
ingratiating. “It would have made putting these lists
together a piece of cake. Instead, I’m afraid all I
have is a half dozen scratched out pages. They’re
complete but not very user friendly.” He handed a
small stack of pages to his boss.
“Thank you, Kevin. I’m sure these will be very
Elizabeth Saxon moved toward the door and Mulder
began to follow her until he noticed that Scully was
apparently not finished here.
“Mr. Hawkes, how long have you been working on this
The young man swallowed visibly and blushed even more
deeply than he had a moment ago. “Um, Ms. Saxon hired
me a couple of months ago. She, um, she’s been very
kind to me.”
He seemed to lose the power of speech at that point
and his boss came to his rescue. “Kevin came to us a
few weeks before Christmas. He had been living in a
group home and he needed some help getting on his
feet. When we learned of his expertise in computers,
we hired him to help with this project. He’s really
been a godsend.”
She turned toward the door again, seeming as anxious
to leave as Scully was to stay and ask more
“Kevin, do you mind if I ask what kind of group home
you were in?”
The young man raised his eyes to Scully’s. Something
flickered in them for an instant, pure and intense.
Then it was gone. He shook his head and returned to
“Thank you, Kevin.” Elizabeth Saxon opened the door
pointedly and stepped through. When the agents
followed, she closed it firmly.
“Kevin is a very fine young man and I don’t want him
upset with needless prying into his personal
affairs.” She shot a meaningful look in Scully’s
direction before striding quickly back to her office
with the two agents in tow.
When Mulder and Scully caught up with her, she had
already resumed her seat behind the desk. Her hands
were folded in front of her once again, but the smile
“I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t have waited
for a warrant of some kind. I don’t wish to have my
clients or my contributors interrogated.”
Mulder could see the hackles rising and stepped in
before Scully could respond. “If you’d feel more
comfortable, then by all means, wait for the
warrant.” He’d dropped his voice to a throaty,
soothing baritone that gave Scully pleasant shivers.
His eyes were fixed on Elizabeth Saxon’s.
The transformation was amazing. The woman went from
cold fury to flushed pleasure in the space of a heart
“I’m sorry if I overreacted. This has just been such
a shock.” She smiled and walked back around the desk,
holding out the papers to Mulder. Scully, it seemed,
had ceased to exist for her.
“Thank you, Ms. Saxon.” He tried to take the papers
from her, but she held on to them for a moment
longer, touching his hand as she released them.
Mulder, Scully noticed, actually backed up a step.
“We’ll be in touch.” Mulder was already halfway to
the door. Scully gave the woman a curt nod and
When they were safely in their car, Mulder sat back
and blew out a breath that puffed his cheeks. He
turned to face Scully and found her eyes twinkling
“Too bad we can’t bottle that boyish charm of yours,
Mulder. We’d make a fortune.”
His innocent ‘who me?’ expression melted quickly into
a sheepish smile. Scully knew that he wasn’t
oblivious to his own attractiveness, nor was he above
taking advantage of its effect when circumstances
He put the key in the ignition, then sat back and
tilted his head to look at her. “So, what do think
about Mr. Hawkes? I don’t have to ask your opinion of
Scully shot him a quick look. She decided to let that
one pass and answer his first question instead. “I
think Mr. Hawkes bears closer examination. At the
very least, I’d like to know what problem he had that
put him in a group home.”
“I agree, but I doubt very much that he’s going to
pan out as the killer. Call it a feeling.”
“I haven’t seen the profile yet. He doesn’t fit?” She
picked up the lists from the seat where Mulder had
laid them and began to scan for familiar names.
“That’s just it. There effectively *is* no profile.
Everything I’ve come up with to this point could fit
just about any Caucasian male in the city, including
Scully turned and regarded her partner closely. His
words had a defeated air that surprised her.
“Mulder, we’ve only been on the case for two days.
Don’t you think you might be expecting too much?”
He shook his head. “No, Scully. I’m missing something
obvious and it’s bugging the shit out of me. Nobody
who has it in him to murder nine total strangers can
possibly be this nondescript.”
“Well, we seem to be on the right track.” She held up
a sheet of paper. “I’m only two pages into the list
and I’ve got four of the nine victims.” She checked
the page heading. “They’re all contributors so far.”
More page shuffling. She looked pointedly at her
partner. “Kevin didn’t include the employee roster.”
“She didn’t ask him to, Scully. That was a ‘maybe’,
remember? I’ll go back and get it from her.” He had
his hand on the door handle, then paused and gave her
a wry grin. “On second thought, I’ll call and have
her fax it when we get back to the office.”
SAC Wallace Gilmore’s Office
A progress meeting with SAC Gilmore and the rest of
his task force had begun a few minutes ago. The new
information was received with the same odd blend of
relief and irritation that invariably greeted one of
Mulder’s breakthroughs. His genius for asking the
right questions was both admired and resented by his
peers– a fact of life that Mulder, unlike his
partner, had long ago learned to accept.
“This is a pretty obscure connection, Agent Mulder.
Do you really think the killer expected us to uncover
it?” Special Agent Linda Milligan was the only person
in the room other than Scully who didn’t seem to have
been struck dumb by the link Mulder had just laid out
for them. She was sitting forward in her chair and
her gray eyes were alight with interest.
Mulder was pleasantly surprised by her question. “No,
I don’t, which makes it all the more significant.”
The woman opened her mouth to respond, but Gilmore
threw her a stony glance and cut in. “Significant in
Mulder heard the edge in the man’s voice but ignored
it. “If the killer didn’t expect us to make the
connection, he may not have made any attempt to
disguise its link to him.”
Linda Milligan quickly took advantage of the SAC’s
momentary silence. “So, you’re saying he may work at
Helping Hands? What about the man who gave you the
lists,” she consulted the report in front of her,
Mulder looked directly at Scully as he began to
answer the question, turning back to Linda Milligan
only toward the end. “Hawkes is a possibility, of
course. But I don’t think we can afford to focus on
Gilmore picked up the report and tapped it on the
table as he stood up. “Whatever other possibilities
you may uncover, let’s not lose sight of Mr. Hawkes.”
He moved to his desk. “Keep me informed of your
The meeting was over, and the task force members
began to disperse.
Linda Milligan approached Mulder and Scully a moment
later in the hall outside Gilmore’s office.
“I think I may have stirred something up with that
question.” She smiled ruefully at Mulder. “I’m
Mulder touched her shoulder briefly and shook his
head. “It was a good question. I wish I had a better
answer.” He smiled at her and Scully watched the
familiar flush rise in the woman’s face.
“I’m still sorry I asked it in front of the SAC.” She
slapped his arm softly, smiled at Scully and headed
off down the hall.
Mulder and Scully began walking in the opposite
direction. “You should really try to keep a lid on
that charisma, Mulder. I’m beginning to worry about
you.” Her expression was very close to a full smirk.
They reached the elevator and he leaned down to speak
softly into her ear. “*You* were immune for an
awfully long time.”
He stepped quickly into the empty elevator, then
stood there grinning at her. “Skinner wanted to see
us when we got back. I’ll try to rein it in before we
get to his office.”
It was a short, but interesting, ride between floors.
After a brief meeting with Skinner, who seemed to
want nothing other than to see Mulder’s current state
for himself, they returned to the basement office.
Mulder began to rework his profile from this new
perspective, tossing out virtually all of his
previous efforts. Scully’s review of the Helping
Hands lists had turned up the names of every known
victim: three clients and six contributors. While
Mulder factored that into the mix, she put in a
request for Marcy Barringer’s bank records and a
background check on Kevin Hawkes. The results would
be available before the end of business tomorrow.
Two hours later, it took everything she had to pry
Mulder from the office. He grudgingly agreed to go,
but only if she would come home with him for takeout
pizza. Blackmail rarely worked with her, but the
prospect of getting him to eat was too tempting to
Mulder had obligingly consumed half of the pizza
under Scully’s watchful eye before returning to the
profile. For the next two hours, they sat at opposite
ends of his couch while he tried to immerse himself
in the mind of their quarry.
Scully had brought a stack of medical journals along
and was midway through a particularly interesting
article when she became aware that her partner had
begun muttering under his breath. She glanced up just
in time to see the papers he’d been working on make a
high arc over the coffee table and fly in all
“DAMMIT!” The pencil followed, hitting the far wall
before bouncing back nearly at her feet.
They were silent for a long moment, Mulder seemingly
as surprised as she was by his outburst. Then he
sagged back against the couch and blew out a huge
breath that took the last of the tension with it.
He looked over at her with a tired smile. “A little.”
He scrubbed both hands roughly over his face and
leaned forward, resting his forearms on his knees.
She moved next to him and placed her hand gently on
his back, rubbing slow circles over the knotted
“You need to get some rest, Mulder.” She squeezed his
shoulder and got up. “I’ll see you in the morning.”
It seemed to take him a moment to process what she
had just said. She had her coat on before he
“It’s late, Scully. Why don’t you just stay here?”
“Would you promise to get some sleep if I did?” She
paused at the door with both hands on her hips.
“Well, not right away.” His mouth curved into a
sleepy grin that made her tingle.
“Our first interview tomorrow is at 8:00 in the
morning, Mulder,” but she was already pulling off her
He stood up and came slowly toward her, his eyes soft
and smoky. “I’ll set the alarm.”
Tuesday, February 12th
“Good night, Harvey. I’m outta here.” Eight hours on
her feet were two more than she’d been ready for
tonight, but then she hadn’t counted on Tim not
showing up. *Next time he wants me to cover for him
so he can entertain another of his ‘friends’, he can
just piss up a rope.*
She grabbed her coat and purse from behind the bar
and scooted out just ahead of the night manager,
Harvey Kendall, as he stopped to secure the back
door. He was having trouble with the lock, as usual,
and was still mumbling curses at it as Micki got into
“Please start.” It was the same prayer she offered up
every time she turned the key on nights like this. “I
promise to buy you a new battery as soon as I get
done paying for your tires, okay?” A 1985 Nova with
180,000 miles on it had seemed like a bargain at
$500. That was before the transmission repair, the
alternator and four new tires had reared their ugly
With both eyes closed, she pumped the gas pedal once
and turned the key, releasing a huge sigh of relief
when the engine roared to life. *Yeah, I hear it.
Muffler’s going, too.*
She was two blocks from home when she remembered the
cats. There had been barely more than a handful of
dry food to feed them before she left for work and
four sets of green eyes had regarded her balefully as
she had divided it among their dishes. There was a
convenience store on the next block. The price would
be outrageous but she was in no mood to drive the
five extra blocks to the all night supermarket.
The small parking lot was deserted and she weighed
the danger of car theft against the likelihood that
the damn thing wouldn’t start again if she shut if
off. With a weary sigh, she left the engine running
and dashed into the store.
She returned with her purchase a few minutes later,
too delighted to find her car still there to take
note of the car that had appeared next to hers. If
she had, she might have wondered where its occupant
might be since she had been the store’s only patron.
He was on his way out the door when the phone on his
desk started to ring. This early, it couldn’t be good
news. Scully had left over an hour ago with her hair
still wet from a quick shower. She’d be on her way to
work by now, but she would have called his cell
phone. He walked back to the desk and snatched up the
receiver with a faint sparkle of alarm tingling along
his nerve endings.
“There’s been another murder.” It was SAC Gilmore.
“I’m having the police preserve the scene for your
“On a Tuesday? You sure it’s the same guy?”
“I’m sure. You will be, too, when you see her.” He
gave the location and Mulder straightened quickly in
surprise. “Casey’s Bar? Do we know the victim’s
“Yeah, Michelle Manrow, 28. She was…”
“She was a bartender.” Mulder’s voice was soft.
“You knew her?”
“Yeah. I knew her.” *Well, I’d say that about does
it, Spooky. Looks like 86 is your lucky number.*
“Be sure you include that in your report, Agent. I’ll
expect it on my desk by this afternoon.”
When Mulder didn’t respond immediately, the SAC hung
up. It was nearly a minute before Mulder replaced the
receiver. He didn’t think to call Scully until he was
halfway to his car.
Scully had been only a few blocks from Casey’s when
Mulder reached her and she’d arrived at the scene a
good twenty minutes ahead of him. He found her
talking with a uniformed officer when he entered the
alley behind the bar. She looked up as he approached,
excused herself from the conversation she’d been
having and crossed to meet him.
“This could be a copycat.” Mulder kept moving toward
the body and Scully fell into step at his side. “Her
hands are tied in the same manner, but the wounds are
different.” When they reached the body, he crouched
next to it and pulled back the sheet. “It’s not
Thursday. And I checked the list, Mulder. Her name
isn’t on it.”
Micki Manrow lay on her left side with both hands
taped to her ankles behind her back. The front of her
shirt was soaked with blood, but most of it had come
from the gaping wound in her throat. Mulder replaced
the sheet gently and stood up.
“If it *was* the same guy, he’s changed his spots.
Was she killed here?”
“No. It looks as if she was killed elsewhere and then
dumped here. The night manager was contacted shortly
after the body was found. He said he watched the
victim drive away about 2:30 this morning.”
Mulder rubbed both hands roughly over his face. “He
must have followed her from here. But why bring her
back? And where’s her car?”
“The police are looking for it now.” She placed her
right hand gently on his arm. “Mulder, I know she was
a friend of yours. I’m sorry.”
Mulder nodded and looked away for a moment. “Who
found the body?”
She gestured toward a middle aged man in a running
suit talking with two detectives. “He was on his
morning run and needed to relieve himself. This was
the first secluded opportunity.”
Mulder smiled and shook his head. “That’s too stupid
to be a lie.”
His partner returned the smile. “I thought so, too.”
“Agent Scully?” One of the detectives who had been
talking to the jogger came trotting over to them with
a cell phone in his hand. “We located the car in a 7-
Eleven parking lot four blocks west of here on the
corner of New Hampshire and H. We’ve already pulled
the security video. The Forensics lab can make you a
copy if you want to stop by later this morning.”
Mulder was already heading for his car. Scully
thanked the detective and followed after him, bracing
herself for the storm she’d felt coming the moment
she’d heard his voice on the phone.
912 New Hampshire Ave
Mulder had wedged his car into the last open area in
the parking lot, leaving Scully to park behind a
squad car at the curb. She found him sitting in
Michelle Manrow’s car, gripping the steering wheel
with latex gloved hands.
His gaze remained fixed on the windshield. “There’s
blood in the trunk. He took her back to the alley in
the trunk of her own car, then drove it here and
He released the steering wheel and began to search
the interior of the car, flipping down the visors,
poking through the contents of the glove box and
shining his flashlight around the litter strewn
floor. His movements were just a little too tight,
skirting the edge of control.
Scully moved away, recognizing his need to deal with
his anger before they could get back on track. She
spotted someone she knew from the D.C. Crime Scene
Unit and spent the next few minutes catching up on
what little evidence had been obtained from the car.
Mulder pulled her aside as she was finishing her
notes. “I’m heading back to the office. I’ll see you
“I won’t be long.”
He gave her a quick smile and left. As far as she
could determine, he hadn’t spoken to anyone on the
scene but her.
Scully had reviewed the records of all previous
autopsies, but this was the first of the victims she
had been able to process herself. The wounds of all
the previous victims looked like straightforward
executions with no hint of the anger displayed in the
killing of Micki Manrow. The killer’s pattern had
changed, but she was certain now that it *was* the
same man. The tape bindings on the wrists and ankles
were distinctive, as was the upward angle of the
chest wound and the type of weapon used to deliver
it. None of those details had been made public, so
the possibility of a copycat was remote in the
Mulder was sitting in front of the VCR when she
returned to their office. He stood up and stretched
when she walked in.
“How’d it go?”
“It’s the same man, Mulder. I’m sure of it.”
Mulder nodded as he aimed the remote at the VCR and
began to rewind the tape. “Not a copycat.”
“The chest wound is identical: an acute, upward angle
into the heart made with a long, thin-bladed weapon.
The throat wound was delivered first, based on the
amount of blood…” She saw him wince and mentally
kicked herself for being so graphic. Now was not the
time for professional detachment. This victim had
been his friend. She softened her tone. “The tape
bindings were the same, too. I don’t think there’s
any doubt it’s the same man.”
He nodded. “I have to agree, but that presents a new
problem. Micki had no connection with Helping Hands.
Either that link is nothing more than a hell of a
coincidence, or the killer knows we’ve made the
connection.” He clicked the ‘stop’ button on the
remote and stared at her. “Maybe he saw us yesterday
at Helping Hands.”
“Maybe we saw *him*.”
His eyes darkened with an expression she knew all too
well. “You think it’s Hawkes.”
“I think we need to talk to him as soon as the
background check comes back.”
He moved to the other side of the desk and lowered
himself into the chair as if he’d aged twenty years
in the past few minutes.
“Mulder, if it *is* him, there’s no way he could have
known that Micki was your friend. Besides, it
wouldn’t make any sense for him to strike out at you.
*I* was the one pushing him yesterday.”
He leaned forward and propped his elbows on the desk,
pressing clenched fists against his eyes. “Whether he
chose her for my benefit or not, she’s dead because
he was still out walking the streets. And we’re not
going to stop him with what I’ve come up with so
far.” He dropped his hands to the desk and regarded
her with weary eyes. “I picked up a copy of the
security tape.” He gestured toward the VCR. “It
confirms the clerk’s statement. Micki came in at 2:40
AM and left six minutes later. The clerk went out for
a cigarette break at 3AM, came back in at 3:12. No
other customers until 4:30, then two D.C. cops
stopped by for coffee.”
Scully leaned her hip against the desk, arms crossed
over her chest. “The clerk didn’t see or hear
Mulder picked up a typed page from the stack in front
of him and handed it to her. “His statement says that
there was a car in the lot when he went on his break.
He thought it was odd since there was nobody in it
and he hadn’t had a customer since Micki left.”
She looked up from the statement in surprise. “Did he
remember anything about the car? Color, make,
“Dark two-door. That’s about it.” He shoved the chair
back from the desk and stood up. “See if you can get
them to rush that background check. I’m going to pay
a visit to Elizabeth Saxon. She’s protecting Hawkes
and I want to know why.”
Scully gave him a half smile. “Well, you’ll probably
get a much warmer reception without me.” The gentle
jab earned her the soft chuckle she’d been trying
Mulder headed out the door, grabbing his jacket as he
passed the coat rack. “Call me when you get the
results of the background check. I’ll see what I can
charm out of Ms. Saxon.” He gave her a wink and
closed the door before she could find something to
throw at him.
His newfound ability to pull out of a mood still
caught her off guard. Just a few months ago, her
teasing attempt to lighten him up would have met with
a very different response.
A sudden rush of emotion made her throat ache and
blurred her vision for a moment. They could so easily
have lost it all.
She shook her head, impatient with her own self
indulgence. This was one of the side effects of their
relationship that she *had* anticipated. She picked
up her notes and turned to the computer.
Her plan was to create a matrix of all the data they
had uncovered, something like the ones she had used
to solve logic problems in college. She was halfway
through typing the names down the left side of the
matrix when she saw it, and her fingers froze in mid
“It can’t be that simple.”
She reached for the phone.
“Agent Mulder.” Elizabeth Saxon crossed to meet him,
taking his outstretched hand in both of hers. “I
heard on the news that there’s been another murder.
Was it the same man?”
“That’s not why I’m here.” His voice and his body
language were all business.
She released his hand and moved to one of the chairs
in front of her desk, gesturing for him to take the
one facing it. “I understand. You’re not at liberty
to discuss it.” She folded her hands in her lap. “You
said you had some questions for me.”
“What can you tell me about Kevin Hawkes?”
Her expression darkened immediately. “Why are you and
your partner so interested in Kevin?”
“Why are you protecting him?
She looked as if she were about to deny it, then
changed her mind. “Kevin is special. He’s very
bright, but he’s not as stable as he appears to be.
None of what’s happened to him is his fault. The way
your partner seems to have seized upon him as her
main suspect gives me cause for concern.”
“My partner had some questions that she didn’t have
an opportunity to address when we were here
yesterday. You seem very confident that Kevin isn’t
the killer and I’m interested in knowing how you can
be so sure about a man you barely know.”
She regarded him levelly for a moment. “I have
excellent instincts about people, Agent Mulder, and
I’m never wrong. I suspect that you operate in much
the same way.” She paused as if she expected a
response but he only gestured for her to continue.
“My volunteer staff here is small and I often have
to help process new clients. That’s how I met Kevin.”
“Does that processing include asking background
questions? Do you know how he came to be in the group
“Kevin has had a very hard life. His parents were
killed in a fire when he was eight years old. With no
living relatives, he ended up in foster care. He was
twelve years old when his foster parents were
murdered in front of him by a man who was never
caught. Kevin was able to call for help but when the
police arrived, he was catatonic. He stayed that way
for four years.”
“Was he ever considered a suspect?”
That seemed to surprise her. “Of course not. He was
only a child. How could he have overpowered two
adults and done something like that to them?”
Mulder tilted his head, conceding her point. “But he
remained under psychiatric care after he came out of
“He had no memory of what had happened. I gather that
there were other emotional problems, but I don’t know
the details. He’s on medication now and will be for
the rest of his life, I suppose.” She reached over
and took Mulder’s hand so quickly that he didn’t have
time to react. “He’s *not* a killer. No matter what
the circumstances seem to indicate. I need to know
that you believe in his innocence.”
Mulder gently pulled back his hand and stood. “I need
to talk to him.”
“He called in sick today. I can give you his
address.” She got up and walked around the desk to
write it down. “He lives in the basement apartment in
Mulder felt a shock of recognition when he read the
address. Hawkes lived only a few blocks from Mulder’s
own building. It was one coincidence too many for his
taste. “I know this area. A little pricey for a man
just off public assistance.”
A faint flush rose in her cheeks. “Well, it quite
literally *is* my building. I own it. Kevin needed a
place to stay and I was having a tough time finding a
tenant for the basement apartment. I don’t charge him
full rent, of course, but it’s better than having it
“He said you’d been very kind to him. I would call
that quite an understatement.” Mulder was impressed
by her generosity, but at the same time, it made him
vaguely uneasy for reasons he couldn’t quite put his
Her eyes grew distant for a few seconds. “He and I
have a lot in common. It felt good to be able to
help.” She gave him an appraising look. “I think you
would have done the same. It may conflict with the
tough image you have to project, but I’ve never seen
such compassion in a man’s eyes.”
Mulder was stunned to feel the heat rising in his
face. She was simply trying to win him over and he
knew it, but she’d somehow managed to hit a button he
wasn’t aware of. Any hope that she wouldn’t notice
the effect she’d achieved withered when he met her
“I’m sorry, Agent Mulder, if I’m making you
uncomfortable.” Her voice and her expression said
exactly the opposite.
His cell phone rang at that moment, and he hoped the
relief didn’t show quite as plainly as he suspected
it did. He nearly snatched it from his pocket.
“Mulder, it’s me.”
He turned his back on Elizabeth Saxon’s satisfied
smile and walked a few steps away. “Did you get the
“No, it won’t be ready until after 3PM. I was going
over the list of victims’ names and I spotted
something that may mean nothing, but…”
“What, Scully?” Her hesitance was odd.
“It’s the names, Mulder. The victims’ names.”
Mulder quickly ran through the list in his head.
Manrow, Barringer, Aldringham, Winchester, Becket,
Dover, Lancaster, York, Dundee, and Greene. All
Anglo-Saxon surnames, but not unusual. Did she mean
“Similar in what way?”
“They’re all… I don’t know… *English*. Like
characters in a Dickens novel. Well, except for the
He was speechless. It had been staring him in the
face for three days.
“I’ll be there in twenty minutes.” He shoved the
phone back in his pocket and glanced back at the
woman whose smile had vanished. “I’ll be in touch.”
“How the hell could I have missed this?” Mulder was
pacing rapidly in front of his desk as he gestured
wildly with the list in his right hand.
Scully was watching him from her seat behind his desk
where she had been when he stormed into the office a
few minutes ago. She rose and snagged his wrist as he
turned to begin another circuit.
“Mulder, sit down.” He sighed heavily and closed his
eyes for a moment, then plunked down in the seat she
had just vacated. Scully pulled a chair up next to
him and turned him so they were facing each other.
“The names are a message, I think we agree on that.
And they’re English, native to the United Kingdom.
After I called you, I looked them up on a genealogy
website. He chose these people from a list, based on
the fact that their names meant something to him. But
He was shaking his head. “There *is* no message,
that’s his point. He chose the names because they
were neutral and unremarkable, just like the way he
kills. No emotion, no meaning. Nothing. That’s why
the profile is so damn universal.” He ran the fingers
of his right hand roughly through his hair. “I’m
doing a piss poor job of explaining it, I know. We’ve
been looking for meaning when the *absence* of it is
“So how will this help find him?”
“I don’t know.” He swiveled the chair back to face
his desk and gave the stack of legal pads a shove
that sent them tumbling to the floor. “A conventional
profile isn’t going to catch this guy.” He tipped his
head back and closed his eyes for a moment, then
turned to the keyboard and began to type.
“Thanks, Mark… No, I’ll pick it up myself in a few
minutes. You’re a lifesaver.” Scully hung up the
phone and turned to see Mulder tapping away at the
keys, as focused as he had been for the past two
He hadn’t heard the phone ring and she knew she would
have to touch him in order to get his attention.
Breaking his concentration when he was like this was
difficult and he rarely welcomed the interruption. It
would be better to wait until he surfaced on his own.
Mark Christiansen had worked at top speed to complete
the background check on Kevin Hawkes, as a favor to
Scully. The undeniably cute young man from the
Records unit had an obvious crush on her and she had
taken a wee bit of advantage of that fact to gain his
cooperation. Like Mulder had done with Elizabeth
Saxon, except that Mulder had seemed less the
instigator in that little interaction than the object
There were a few other names she needed Mark to check
out. All of the Helping Hands employees had to be
screened now, and Scully had just decided to add
another name to the list. Elizabeth Saxon’s gender
made her monumentally unlikely to be the killer, but
there was something about the woman that bothered
She got up and crossed to the door, looking back at
Mulder still huddled in front of the computer as if
it was a roaring campfire. *He’ll never know I’m
The phone was ringing again.
“Dammit.” He spun his chair toward the sound and
snatched the receiver up to his ear. “Mulder.”
Silence for a beat, then “Agent Mulder? It’s
Elizabeth Saxon. I… did I call at a bad time?” Her
hesitant, wary tone made him ashamed of himself.
He took a breath and tried again. “Sorry, I was in
the middle of something. What’s up?”
“I need to see you right away. I’ve come across some
information that I think you need to know about.”
“What is it?”
“Please, I don’t want to talk about it on the phone.
Can you come to my office?”
She must have sensed his reluctance.
“I think you’ll want to talk to Kevin after I tell
you what I’ve found, Agent Mulder. I can keep him
here for you.”
“All right. I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
He scribbled a quick note to Scully and headed for
Elizabeth Saxon’s office
“What did you want to tell me?” Forty minutes of rush
hour traffic had fried his patience. *This better not
be a ploy to get me over here.* As soon as the
thought crossed his mind, he heard Scully’s voice in
his head. *A little full of ourselves, are we
Elizabeth Saxon stood up when he entered the room.
She crossed to meet him, holding out a handwritten
list. “This is what I wanted you to see.”
He took the list from her and scanned it quickly.
“What am I looking at?”
He had left the door open behind him and she walked
around him to close it. “It’s a request I received
from my accountant to verify some overtime payments
to one of my employees.” She came back to stand in
front of him. “These are all for Kevin Hawkes.”
There were a dozen dates on the list, each
accompanied by a start and stop time and the total
hours worked. The first was December 13th. The last
was the night Micki was murdered. He looked up at
Elizabeth and found her swaying slightly, her eyes
losing focus. He dropped the list and grabbed her by
“Are you all right?” When she shook her head weakly,
he helped her to the couch and sat her down.
“I guess it just hit me. Could I have some water?”
She pointed toward a plastic sports bottle on her
desk. When he handed it to her, she took several long
swallows. “I can’t believe it. I just can’t believe
Kevin could do anything like this.”
Mulder tilted his head slightly and watched her for a
moment before turning to retrieve the list from the
floor. He held it out to her. “What do you think this
“Don’t you see? He was here alone on the nights those
people were killed. I always let him use my car when
he came in late at night to work, so he wouldn’t have
to ride the Metro. After he signed in with the guard,
he could easily have left by my private door,
committed the murders and returned the same way.
The guard would testify that he was here the whole
time. It’s a perfect alibi.”
“It’s hardly an alibi. He would have to know that
you’d testify to what you just told me.”
She shook her head. “No, he knows how much I trusted
him. He would expect me to believe in his
innocence… to vouch for him.” She bowed her head.
“And it might have worked.”
When Mulder didn’t respond, she looked up at him.
“Are you going to talk to him now?”
“You said he called in sick today. Is he here?”
The question seemed to surprise her. “I…I called
him and said I needed his help with something. He got
here a little while ago, and I gave him a project
that would keep him busy until you arrived.”
When Mulder turned to leave, she grabbed his arm.
“Please be careful. I’m afraid of what he might do
when you confront him.”
He reached down and disengaged himself. His
expression was neutral. “Is he in the office where we
met him yesterday?”
“Yes, at least he was an hour ago when I gave him the
“I’ll just be asking him to come with me to make a
formal statement. There’s no need for you to be here
if it’s making you uncomfortable.”
She nodded. “If it’s okay then, I think I’ll go home.
I just can’t face the thought of seeing him taken out
of here in handcuffs.”
“I doubt it’s going to come to that.” He almost
She picked up her coat and walked with him to the
lobby. When he turned toward the records office, she
went out the front door.
He had just reached Kevin’s door and had his hand on
the knob when she came running down the hall toward
him, wide-eyed and out of breath.
“He’s gone! He took my car and he’s gone!”
SAC Gilmore’s conference room
The entire task force was seated at the large oval
table, each with a copy of Mulder’s hastily typed
report. SAC Gilmore sat at the head of the table and
A.D. Skinner was at the opposite end, flanked by his
Gilmore closed the report and laid it on the table in
front of him. He folded his hands on top of it and
looked directly at Mulder. “You don’t believe the
evidence you yourself gathered, Agent Mulder?”
“I didn’t say that. I believe the evidence, I just
don’t think it makes Kevin Hawkes the killer.”
Mulder’s tone was mild and reasonable. Skinner had
been on the receiving end of that calm, infuriating
equanimity on many occasions and he could see it was
having the same effect on SAC Gilmore. He cut in
before Mulder could further fuel the man’s
frustration. “We’ve got the police looking for
Elizabeth Saxon’s car and we have the suspect’s
apartment under surveillance. I’m sure Agent Mulder
means that the evidence, while compelling, is largely
If Mulder appreciated his boss’s intervention, it
didn’t show in his expression. “It’s all too
convenient. All but the last victim are connected to
Helping Hands where there just happens to be an
emotionally disturbed man with full access to the
victims’ names and addresses. This man also just
happens to have the use of a car and documented proof
that he wasn’t at home when the murders were taking
place.” Mulder picked up his report copy and flipped
it toward the center of the table. “All that’s
missing is a video of him committing the crimes.”
Gilmore wasn’t swayed. “And he fits your profile,
Agent Mulder. To a tee.”
“So do at least a quarter of the men in Virginia,
including you.” Mulder’s tone was treacherously close
to insolence. This time his partner jumped in.
“I agree with Agent Mulder in that the evidence seems
too convenient, but we won’t really be able to make a
determination until we can talk to the man.”
“Which you did yesterday. Agent Mulder’s report
indicates that *you* suspected Hawkes almost
immediately and requested a background check, the
contents of which are nothing if not disturbing.” A
copy of the background check was included in Mulder’s
report. It confirmed what Elizabeth Saxon had told
him. “The suspect’s flight would seem to validate
your first impression.” Gilmore looked pointedly at
Mulder who returned his gaze levelly. “He may in fact
be in the process of killing his next victim as we
speak, a possibility that could have been prevented
had you been allowed to act on your instincts when
you first talked with the man.”
Skinner looked from Mulder to Gilmore, his expression
unreadable. Then he pushed his chair back and stood
up. “I’m sorry, but I have another meeting.” He
looked at Mulder. “Keep me informed of your
progress.” He turned and left the room.
Gilmore frowned slightly at Skinner’s abrupt
departure and also stood, signaling the end of the
meeting. “We’re covering all avenues of egress as
well as we can with the resources available. There
will be a progress meeting here tomorrow at 3PM,” he
again directed his gaze at Mulder, “unless something
happens before that.”
The room began to empty. Mulder and Scully, being
farthest from the door, were the last to leave. When
they went out into the hall, Gilmore was waiting for
“Agent Mulder, I’d like a word with you,” he glanced
at Scully, “in private.”
Mulder nodded at Scully. “I’ll catch up with you.” He
read the caution in her eyes and acknowledged it with
The SAC wasted no time in getting to the point. “This
case too normal for you, Mulder? Is that the problem?
Because if it is, I want to know before somebody
*else* dies while you’re busy ignoring the obvious in
search of the bizarre.”
“Sir, I don’t believe I’ve proposed any theories,
bizarre or otherwise. All I’ve said is that the
evidence is too pat to be anything but contrived.”
“Contrived by whom? And for what purpose?”
“That I can’t answer. But the killer *does* have a
goal, and when we find it, we’ll find him.”
Gilmore looked at him for a long moment. “You already
found him, Agent Mulder. And you let him get away. I
hope no one else has to die before you acknowledge
Scully was waiting next to Mulder’s car when he
reached the parking garage.
“What did he want?”
Mulder unlocked his door and leaned one elbow on the
roof of the car. “The usual. He wanted to remind me
that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, or something
to that effect.” He gave her a small grin. “It’s
okay, Scully. I’m used to it.”
She hesitated for a moment, biting her lip. “Mulder,
what makes you so sure that it isn’t Kevin Hawkes?
The evidence points overwhelmingly in his direction.”
“That’s part of the problem. It’s all too cut and
dried. When have you ever seen a case this perfect?”
“He even fits your profile.”
“Such as it is, yeah. So does Skinner. So do I.”
She studied his face for a moment. “Why don’t you
come over tonight? We could make popcorn and watch
old movies.” Her hand rested on his arm.
“You worry too much.” He took her hand and squeezed
it gently. “Go home and take a bubble bath.” The
corner of his mouth quirked up. “I’m thinking of
doing that myself.”
“Get some rest, Mulder. I’ll see you in the morning.”
She matched his smile.
Mulder got in his car and watched as she walked to
hers, then pulled out of the garage and headed for
Shell Service Station
He only had four dollars in his pocket. If he pumped
more than that, he was screwed. As the numbers rolled
closer to the mark, he began to let up on the handle
every couple of seconds, treading the fine line
between being financially embarrassed and getting
enough gas to make it back to Alexandria. This would
buy him no more than a quarter of a tank but it was
better than the fumes he was running on now.
He released the handle with a flourish as the price
rolled to an obliging stop at $3.94. Close enough.
It was a busy night. There were four people ahead of
him in line for the only open register, and every
damn one of them was buying lottery tickets. He was
weighing the merits of just tossing his money on the
counter when the sound of his name made him look up.
There was a police scanner somewhere behind the
counter and Kevin couldn’t believe what he was
“…wanted for questioning Kevin Jerold Hawkes, 24.
Subject is five nine, one hundred fifty pounds …”
What the hell? He looked furtively at the other
patrons and saw no sign that they were paying
“…ten murders have been attributed…”
He reached the front of the line as the dispatcher
began to give a description of the car he was
driving. His boss’s car.
He paid for the gas and speed walked to the car,
trying very hard not to look like a fugitive. The car
was a liability, but leaving it abandoned at the pump
under the glaring fluorescent lights would be worse.
That BITCH! ‘I can help you,’ she’d promised him.
That sweet, beautiful face… smiling with her eyes,
lying with her heart.
He tamped down his fury with an iron will. It
wouldn’t do to draw attention to himself… not now.
He pulled carefully into traffic and headed for
Four hours and thirty minutes into a four hour
stakeout, tempers were wearing a little thin, but
that wasn’t the only reason she was ready to throttle
her smirking partner.
“Why are you so fascinated by all this, may I ask?”
She flipped the empty paper cup onto the floor of the
bureau issued sedan and fixed him with steely gray
“I’m not ‘fascinated’, it’s just that I’ve had fifty
bucks in the pool for the last two years. The last I
heard, it was worth over two grand. I think Rawlings
is just sucking up the interest.”
“I’ve never understood why Mulder and Scully, above
every other couple in the Bureau, draw so damn much
attention. Who the hell cares if they do it or not?
They wouldn’t be the first and they damn sure won’t
be the last.” She peered up and down the street for
the tenth time in the past thirty minutes. “And where
the hell is our relief?”
“They’re late. And no, they wouldn’t be the first.
A gunshot from inside the building had both agents
out of the car and running. They were halfway to the
building when the front door flew open and a woman
wearing nothing but a short, untied robe came toward
them at a dead run.
“He tried to kill me! Oh my God, he tried to kill
Agent Linda Milligan reached the woman first,
grabbing her by both shoulders to drag her to a halt.
Her momentum was such that it pulled them both around
in a half circle before it dissipated, leaving the
woman facing the building she had just fled.
“Who tried to kill you? Was it Hawkes?”
“YES! Kevin Hawkes. He’s in my apartment, third
floor.” She was crying now, the hysteria changing
rapidly to shock. “He’s dead. I killed him! I killed
Elizabeth Saxon’s green eyes glazed over and rolled
back as she crumpled to the sidewalk.
The call from SAC Gilmore had been terse and vaguely
gloating. Scully was certain that his pleasure at
telling Mulder the news must have been exquisite.
She pulled up just as doors on the Coroner’s van were
being closed. She got out quickly and held up her
“Just a moment, please.”
The attendant gave her a weary look, opened the doors
and stood back. Scully rolled the stretcher out
partway and unzipped the plastic bag enclosing the
remains of Kevin Hawkes.
There was a neat, round hole in the middle of his
forehead and his expression was one of utter
astonishment. His shocked blue eyes stared back at
her above a mouth still open in surprise. The image
of him blushing at her question yesterday afternoon
put a lump of pity in her throat, and she quickly
closed the bag.
“Thank you.” She stepped back and watched the van
She went directly to the third floor apartment and
found it filled with people. CSU techs were
everywhere, taking photographs, slipping pieces of
evidence into plastic bags, dusting every surface for
prints. They threaded through the crowd with the
grace of toreadors. At the center of their dance was
the yellow tape outline that marked where the body
had lain, a scarlet spray decorating the center.
Mulder wasn’t there, although she had seen his car
out front. Gilmore was. He smiled broadly when he
turned and saw her.
“Agent Scully, glad you could make it.”
“Yes, Sir. Where is Agent Mulder?”
Gilmore smirked shamelessly. “He was here a minute
ago. Check out the killer’s apartment down in the
basement. Mulder’s no doubt down there trying to
disprove his death.” He clearly found himself
Scully turned on her heel and left the apartment,
stiffening her back against Gilmore’s undisguised
She found Mulder in the basement apartment which was
a wasteland compared to the one she’d just left. With
Hawkes having already been identified as the killer
to everyone’s (with one notable exception)
satisfaction, there was nothing left to investigate.
He was crouched in the middle of the sparsely
furnished living room with one of the CSU techs. They
were poking through the contents of a cardboard box
with latex gloved hands.
Mulder looked up and smiled in her direction. As he
often did, he seemed to have sensed her presence
before she even entered the room.
She returned his smile. “What’ve you got there?”
He fished a roll of duct tape out of the box and held
it up for her. “A smoking gun?”
The tech braced his hands on his knees and stood up.
“Looks that way.” He looked down at Mulder. “You seen
Mulder dropped the tape back into the box and rose
effortlessly to his feet. He peeled off the latex
gloves and dropped them into the box. “It’s all
The tech picked up the box and headed for the door.
Scully stepped back to let him by, then crossed to
“Go ahead, Scully.” He smiled. “You *did* tell me
“You’re only right 98.9 per cent of the time, Mulder,
by your own calculation.”
He chuckled softly at the memory, which was the
reaction she’d been hoping for. She reached for his
hand and gave it a gentle tug. “Come on. Let’s get
out of here before Gilmore drops by. One more smirk
and I’ll deck him myself.”
They threaded their way through the mass of news
media people in front of the building and reached
“I could come home with you… make you some tea?”
Tempting though her offer was, Mulder had something
more pressing. “Thanks, but I want to stop by the
hospital for awhile. I’ve got some questions for
Scully couldn’t hide her dismay. “Why, Mulder? What
will questioning her accomplish now? The killer has
“There was physical evidence in his apartment and he
was shot trying to kill his boss. You can’t seriously
think he *wasn’t* the killer.”
“It’s too damn tidy, and I’m not just saying that
because it looks like I was wrong about Kevin Hawkes.
As for the physical evidence, *I* have a roll of duct
tape in my apartment as does every man in America. I
just want to talk to her and clear up a few details
while it’s all fresh in her mind.”
“She’s being treated for shock. How reliable do you
think her memory is *now*?”
“Better than it will be tomorrow.” He placed his hand
lightly on her shoulder. “Look, there’s no reason for
you to stick around and join me on Gilmore’s shit
list. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Scully extracted a promise from him to keep his visit
short and inconspicuous, then got in her car and
Mulder watched until she turned the corner, then
headed for his own car.
Inova Mount Vernon Hospital
Room 320 10:55 PM
Mulder found Elizabeth Saxon flat on her back,
staring blankly up at the ceiling. She raised her
head up when he entered the room and smiled when she
saw who it was.
“Agent Mulder. What a nice surprise.”
She reached out her right hand to him and he had the
absurd impression that she wanted him to kiss it. He
gave it a brief squeeze.
He pulled a chair close to the bed so she could see
him in her supine position. “Do you feel up to
answering a few questions?”
“I’m okay for someone who was almost killed by a man
she trusted.” She shook her head and looked away.
“I’m sorry, that was uncalled for.”
“It’s all right. I understand.” He waited until she
turned back to him. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“I’ve already given a statement to the police. What
else do you need to know?”
“I’ll get a copy of the statement. Is there anything
you’ve remembered since the police were here?”
“No, I haven’t. Like I told them, he was already in
my apartment when I came out of the shower. Maybe I
left the door unlocked, I don’t know.”
“He attacked you?”
She closed her eyes. “He never said a word, just came
at me. I ran to the desk and got my gun. I shot him.
Then I ran out of the building and found two FBI
agents right out front.” She turned to face him
again. “That’s really all there is.”
Mulder stood and touched her shoulder briefly.
“You’ve been very helpful. If there are any more
questions, I’ll contact you at your office.” He
turned to leave.
He turned back at the door.
“I’m sorry it was Kevin.”
“Yeah. So am I.”
Wednesday, February 13th
Mulder had come in to the office cloaked in one of
his introspective moods with little to say about his
visit with Elizabeth Saxon. Long experience told
Scully not to press him. His instincts had failed him
this time, and she would just have to let him work
There were several passably interesting cases waiting
to be reviewed, and they spent the morning going over
them. As lunch time approached, Scully suggested that
they go out for a change.
“How about something greasy and unhealthy, Mulder?
That ought to boost your spirits, not to mention your
He brightened noticeably. “Now, that’s a…”
The phone rang and he rolled his eyes at her
comically as he brought the receiver to his ear.
He glanced at Scully and mouthed *Elizabeth Saxon*.
“No, that’s all right. What’s up?” He listened for a
moment. Whatever she was saying seemed to be making
him slightly uncomfortable.
“Uh, I’m sorry, I already have plans.” Another pause,
then he began to shake his head. “No, not at all.
Maybe another time.” He hung up and sighed audibly.
“You seem to have made quite a conquest.” This didn’t
seem to be amusing him as much as it had the first
time. She suddenly regretted teasing him.
“Not funny.” He closed the folder he’d been working
on and stood up. “I’m starving. Where are we going
They wound up at Casey’s and Mulder spent the whole
time talking about Micki Manrow. Scully had known
they were friends, that he would stop by Casey’s to
see her from time to time, but nothing specific.
Hearing him now, having his own private wake in her
memory, touched her in a way she couldn’t explain.
“I met her at a very low point in my life, right
after the OPR hearing on the Dallas bombing. Skinner
had just told me we were going to be blamed for it…
and you had just asked me if my heart was still in
the work.” He had been studying his hands as he
talked, but he looked up at her now to let her see
in his eyes what he couldn’t put into words. “She was
a good friend.”
By the time they left to return to work, his mood had
lightened. As they walked back to the Hoover
building, they resumed their debate on which of the
pending cases they would work next. Mulder’s
preference was the six unexplained deaths in western
Montana. It was Scully’s *least* favored for a number
of reasons, not the least of which was its disturbing
similarity to the case a few weeks ago in Elmwood,
Ohio. The one that had nearly killed him.
“Scully, six perfectly healthy women between the ages
of twenty and thirty, found dead in their cars with
no discernible cause of death. In a town with a total
population of 473. You don’t think…”
They both stopped and turned toward the voice,
directly into Elizabeth Saxon’s adoring gaze.
Tuesday, February 19th
“I’m not sure this is a good idea, Mulder.”
Elizabeth Saxon had begun calling him at the office
the day after their ‘chance’ encounter. She had then
called him twice on Thursday and three times on
Friday, her excuses becoming more transparent each
time. He’d come in to the office this morning looking
grim and exhausted after a three-day weekend spent
dodging the woman’s calls and hoping she would take
the hint. Scully had spent *her* weekend helping
redecorate her mom’s kitchen. As much as Mulder hated
the smell of paint, he’d spent all day Sunday helping
her, just to avoid the phone.
When the calls had resumed this morning, he’d agreed
to meet the woman for coffee after work. It had
become apparent that nothing short of the unvarnished
truth was going to get through to her.
“I’ll admit that I don’t have much experience
discouraging crushes,” there was a definite twinkle
of mirth in his eyes, “but I *do* have a degree in
“Psychology isn’t going to do you much good in this
situation. A woman as smitten as Elizabeth Saxon
appears to be isn’t likely to welcome being told
“Delusional, Scully? She’s delusional because she
finds me irresistibly attractive?” His exaggeratedly
wounded look was not totally feigned.
“You’re *completely* irresistible, Mulder. I think
I’ve conceded that on a number of occasions.” That
got her a grin. She’d recently spent Valentine’s Day
(and night) demonstrating just how irresistible she
found him. “I’m just saying that you’re not going to
be able to talk her out of feeling the way she does.
It doesn’t work that way. And she obviously thinks
you are attracted to her, too. If you do manage to
convince her you’re not, she could become an even
greater problem than she already is.
“‘Hell hath no fury’? I think that will be less
likely if I use a little charm when I discourage
“Would that be the same charm that got you into this
in the first place?”
The bubbles were going flat all around her, deflating
in a quiet chorus of hissing pops. And the water was
becoming too cool for comfort. Scully opened the
drain, stood up and turned on the shower to rinse the
soap off and wash her hair.
When she shut off the water a few minutes later, she
heard the phone ringing. Mulder, no doubt, reporting
on his meeting with Elizabeth Saxon. She quickly
toweled off and donned her robe. If it had gone as
badly as she expected, she was going to invite Mulder
over for some tea and sympathy.
The machine was cutting off at the end of his message
as she reached the living room. The phone rang again
an instant later as she was reaching for the
receiver, but it wasn’t Mulder’s number on the caller
id. It was a trunk line at the Hoover building. She
was frowning slightly as she picked up the receiver.
“Agent Scully, it’s Mark Christiansen. I was just
leaving you a message and the machine cut me off.
Must have been a little long winded. I’m sorry to
call so late but you said you wanted the results as
soon as possible and I just finished.”
She smiled into the phone. “Mark, are you still at
She could almost hear him blushing. “It’s okay, I had
some other work I had to finish, too. This took a
little longer than I expected. You didn’t mention
that I’d be searching databases in London.”
Alarm tingled through her. “What do you mean?”
She heard him shuffling paper. “Elizabeth Saxon, AKA
Elizabeth Dresser, AKA Elizabeth Masterson, born
Elizabeth Alice Baker on June 14, 1963 in Sisters of
Charity Hospital, London, England.”
Scully’s mouth went dry. “She’s a British citizen?”
“Not any more. Married Henry Masterson in 1989, a
psychiatrist at the clinic in Boston where she spent
a few years as a patient after college. She renounced
her British citizenship shortly after they were
married. He died in a fire two years later, leaving
her a very wealthy woman. She then married Walter
Dresser, an IBM executive from her old hometown. She
moved back to London for a couple of years, then came
back to the states when Walter met an untimely end in
a car accident. She changed her name legally to Saxon
a little over a year ago, just before she set up the
charity she runs and, from all appearances, largely
funds from her own money.”
“Mark, where did she go to college.”
He flipped some pages. She already knew the answer,
but the word still hit her like a physical blow.
Elizabeth Saxon’s apartment
Scully was right. This wasn’t going to be as easy as
he’d hoped. He had agreed to meet her for coffee, but
telling her at Starbuck’s had felt wrong. So he
agreed to have dinner with her. Then the table at the
restaurant had seemed too, well, *public* for the
conversation he had in mind. So here he was, in
precisely the last place he wanted to be, and she
seemed way too happy to have him there.
“I’m such a klutz with a corkscrew. Could you give me
a hand, Fox?” Her voice floated out from the kitchen,
soft and warm with the invitation that had been in
her eyes all evening. And now she was calling him
He looked heavenward for a moment, then rose wearily
from the couch and went out to the kitchen. She held
out the corkscrew and a bottle of wine.
“I’m cutting up some fruit and cheese. Why don’t you
take that out to the living room and I’ll be with you
in a moment.” She gave him a radiant smile and turned
back to the counter.
Mulder was starting to feel a little sick. He set the
bottle and corkscrew on the table and walked over to
put his hand on her shoulder.
“Elizabeth, we need to talk.”
She must have heard something in his voice, because
she froze in mid chop. She spoke without turning
around, just the tiniest tremor in her voice.
“Why do I not like the sound of that?”
He took her gently by the shoulders and turned her
around to face him.
“Look, I’m doing a terrible job of this. The reason I
agreed to meet you is that I think I’ve given you the
wrong impression about…”
She reached up and pressed her fingertips against his
“Please don’t say it, Fox. We’ve only known each
other for a few days. You haven’t given it a chance.”
“Elizabeth, I’m sorry. This has nothing to do with
you or how long we’ve known each other. I’m not
interested in pursuing a relationship with anyone.
Not at this point in my life.”
She looked into his eyes for a long moment, her
expression blank. Then she smiled sadly. “I knew you
were too good to be true.” She turned away from him
and leaned against the counter. “It’s okay, Fox.
Really. I guess it doesn’t matter that I caught your
killer for you, at the risk of my own life.” There
was a slight edge to her voice and her back had
Mulder took a step backward. “You didn’t do that for
me, Elizabeth. You said he was going to kill you.”
All of his internal alarms were going off
“I did more for you than you’ll ever know.”
It happened so quickly and in such close quarters
that he had no chance to react. One moment, she was
resting against the counter with her head bowed. The
next, she was flush against him, pressing both hands
into his chest. There was incredible, numbing pain in
her touch and he felt his legs buckle. He couldn’t
feel his arms at all. The pain radiated out from his
chest, into his belly then down his legs and up into
his head. He began to sag toward the floor, but it
seemed to have disappeared. And he just kept
She’d hung up with Mark and dialed Mulder’s number.
It rang twice and then the machine came on. She
waited for his message to play out, then called out
to him. “Mulder, it’s me. Pick up if you’re there.”
Clearly, he wasn’t.
It was almost eight thirty. He was meeting her at
Starbuck’s at six. Where the hell could he be?
She punched in his cell phone number. *Answer your
It didn’t even ring. She heard the first words of the
wireless company’s “Customer is out of range” message
and hung up. Why would his cell phone be turned off?
She felt the first flutter of panic and took a deep
breath. What she’d learned about Elizabeth Saxon was
disturbing, but it didn’t necessarily make her
dangerous. She was two years behind Mulder in college
and probably never even saw him. He certainly didn’t
know *her*. It was nothing more than a coincidence.
So where the hell *are* you, Mulder?
Elizabeth Saxon’s apartment
Awareness returned with a stinging slap that rocked
his head to the side and left the taste of blood in
his mouth. He was propped against something soft and
his hands were bound tightly behind his back. He
opened his eyes and found Elizabeth Saxon kneeling at
“You’re a real piece of work. I can’t believe I let
you do this to me twice.”
He blinked, trying to focus eyes that felt like they
were coated with sand. “Eliz…”
She backhanded him with his own gun.
“*DON’T* you dare pull that ‘concerned friend’ crap
with me again! I’ve had all I can stomach.”
She rolled back on her heels and stood up, towering
over him with hatred blazing from every pore. “You
and I are going to take a little drive to the
She grabbed a fistful of his shirt and hauled him to
his feet. When his knees started to buckle, she
tightened her hold and jerked him upright.
“If you pass out on me, I promise you won’t like what
I’ll do to bring you around.” She held on to him for
a moment, watching him shake his head trying to clear
it. Then she backed up a few steps and felt behind
her for his topcoat draped over the arm of the couch.
She hung the coat over his shoulders. “Wouldn’t want
you to catch your death.”
“What makes you think I’m just going to follow you
meekly to your car so you can kill me?”
“What makes you think I’m going to kill you, Fox?”
She smiled. “We’re just going to find somewhere out
of the way so we can talk.” The smile slipped. “Just
like old times.”
“Old times? We don’t *have* any ‘old times’.” The
effects of whatever she’d used on him was wearing
off. He began to work on loosening the tape around
his wrists, hoping the coat would cover the movement.
“Wrong again, Agent Mulder. But don’t worry about
that now. We’ll have lots of time to reminisce when
we get where we’re going.” She picked up her own coat
from the couch and slipped in on. “Move very
carefully out to the parking lot. If you try to get
away from me, you die.”
“Two murders in your apartment in the same week might
generate some attention.” He stiffened his stance but
softened his voice. “Look, untie me and we can talk
right here. You can even keep the gun for now.”
“That’s very generous of you, but I’d be willing to
take my chances with the law. I’m a very convincing
liar and I’m not afraid to give myself some equally
convincing injuries to back up my claim of self-
defense.” She pointed the SIG at his head. “Don’t
test my resolve. I promise you’ll lose.”
Mulder quickly reviewed his options. If he pushed
this woman, she would kill him. If he went along with
her, she’d probably kill him anyway, but it would buy
him some time. Scully had to be wondering where he
was by now. Eventually, she’d come looking for him.
“Where are we going?”
“Somewhere private. Now, move.”
They walked quickly to the parking lot. Mulder turned
toward his captor’s car, but she grabbed his arm.
“We’re taking *your* car.” She pulled his keys from
her pocket and opened the passenger door. When she
had him situated and firmly buckled in, she moved to
the other side and got in behind the wheel. She
placed the gun in her lap.
“Sit back and relax. We’ve got a long way to go.”
“Hello. This is Elizabeth Saxon. I can’t come to the
phone right now. Please leave a message.”
Scully pressed the ‘END’ button and worked on
leveling out her breathing. Mulder’s car was not in
the parking lot, but she hadn’t expected it to be.
She was here to see the last person she could be
certain had been with her missing partner.
She had finally called Skinner as she was driving
here from Mulder’s apartment. She had quickly
summarized all that she knew, including how she had
found Mulder’s apartment empty and undisturbed. The
background check had alarmed their boss as much as it
had her, but she could sense his discomfort as he
asked the obvious question.
“Are you certain that Mulder isn’t… well, *with*
this woman somewhere? I don’t mean to be indelicate,
but if she’s as attractive as you describe… ” He
left the rest unsaid but clearly understood.
“Sir, I’m not certain of much at this point, but I
*do* know that Agent Mulder is not on a *date*.”
At Skinner’s stunned silence, she had apologized for
her tone and promised to call him with an update
after speaking with Saxon.
She listened at the door for a moment before she
knocked. When there was no response, she efficiently
picked the lock and entered the living room.
A single light was burning in the kitchen off to her
right. The living room was in shadows. She reached
along the wall, found a switch and flipped it.
The coffee table was shoved out of place, sitting
perpendicular to the couch. In the kitchen, she found
two empty wineglasses and an unopened bottle of
Beaujolais on the table. A cutting board on the
counter held sliced apples and cheese.
Scully quickly checked the bedroom and bath to assure
herself that she was alone in the apartment, then she
returned to the living room and began to search for
evidence that her partner had been there. She found
it almost immediately when her toe brushed against
something tucked just under the front edge of
the couch: a black leather wallet holding Mulder’s
badge and ID.
State Route 50 E
45 miles E of D.C.
He’d been leaning forward to ease the pressure on
his shoulders, but the position was making the
muscles of his lower back clench in protest. He
winced as he moved back against the seat and Saxon
“We’ll be turning off the highway in about an hour. I
can let you stretch your legs for a bit then if you
promise not to make me shoot you.”
Mulder turned toward her, leaning half against the
car door. “Where are we going?”
She looked at him appraisingly for a moment, then
looked back the road ahead. “I don’t suppose it
matters at this point. Who are you going to tell?
We’re going to a cottage I have in Rehoboth Beach.”
“And then what?”
“And then I’m going to tell you a story, Fox.” She
smiled at him again. “After that, I guess we’ll just
have to see.”
“It’s me, Frohike. Hurry up.” Scully stood at the top
of the open metalwork stairs listening impatiently to
the clank of innumerable locks and bolts being
disengaged. The door finally opened and the little
man stood back as she pushed past him into the lair
of Mulder’s favorite paranoiacs.
Byers, dressed impeccably as he always was no matter
what hour of the day or night she saw him, stood next
to the congenitally rumpled Langley.
“You said it was an emergency. Where’s Mulder?”
“That’s what I need you to help me find out.” She
handed Byers the folder she’d stopped at the office
to retrieve. “This woman,” she pointed to the black
and white photo that had come with Mark
Christiansen’s background check, “has taken Mulder
somewhere. I want to know where.”
Three sets of eyes lingered for a moment on the
undeniably beautiful woman in the picture, then rose
as one to look at Scully. Byers spoke first.
“Did he, uh, did he go with her willingly?”
Frohike glared at him. “Of course not.” He turned to
Scully. “Who is she?”
She quickly outlined the profiling case and Elizabeth
Saxon’s connection to it, describing her apparent
attraction to Mulder as objectively as she could. “I
couldn’t reach him on his phone, so I went looking
for him. I found this under the couch in her
apartment.” She held out his badge.
“So what can we do?” Langley moved to his computer
and cracked his knuckles.
Forty-five minutes later, Scully was on her way to
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware with a copy of Elizabeth
Saxon’s real estate transfer in her hand, more
certain than ever that Mulder’s life was hanging
in the balance.
Route 404, 3 miles NW of Denton, MD
“I’m pulling over here to use the restroom. You’re
coming with me.”
It was a small rest area with a single wooden
structure and room for about two dozen cars. The only
other occupant was an idling tractor trailer rig
taking up one entire side of the asphalt lot.
Elizabeth walked around the car and opened his door.
“Try to get away and I promise, you’ll regret it.”
She pulled roughly on his aching shoulder until he
stood next to the car, then she prodded him in the
back with his gun until he moved toward the building.
He stopped opposite a pair of doors and looked at her
over his shoulder.
“The Women’s, of course.” She reached around him and
opened the door, insuring his cooperation with another
“I can’t afford to take my eyes off you, so I’m
afraid modesty will have to go by the boards.” She
placed him against the wall next to the first stall
and unzipped her jeans with one hand, keeping his gun
pointed at him with the other. She backed into the
stall and used the toilet.
When she was finished, she wrestled her jeans back up
and approached him cautiously. “Do you need to use
He shrugged the coat from his shoulders and twisted
around, sticking his bound hands toward her. “Yeah.
She smirked at him. “Nice try, Fox. If you need to
go, you’ll just have to let me help you.”
“No.” The revulsion on his face was echoed in that
Her expression went utterly blank and the gun wavered
for an instant. When she spoke, her voice had lost
all inflection. “I won’t touch you.” She motioned him
toward the exit and waited until he moved before she
picked up his coat. She placed it back on his
shoulders with an odd gentleness and opened the door.
When they were back in the car, she started to turn
the key but stopped and turned to face him.
He was shocked by the tears coursing down her face.
“You’re such a bastard.” Her voice was a husky
whisper, thick with tears. “But you’re so damn
“Elizabeth, I…” She cut him off.
“I knew you wouldn’t recognize me. I didn’t want you
to. But I thought… after you talked to me… ” Her
eyes grew distant for a moment, then turned back to
him. “I’ve loved you for half of my life.”
Mulder’s brow was knitted into a deeply puzzled
frown. “Elizabeth, I have no idea what you’re talking
“You were in love with someone else. Someone who
didn’t deserve you. But the things you said to me,
the way you touched me…” She took a hitching
breath. “I thought you could love me.”
“Please believe me, Elizabeth. Whoever you’re
thinking of, it wasn’t me. I…” The fury in her eyes
made him stop.
“IT. WAS. YOU. You have no idea what I’ve been
through, no idea what I’ve done for you… to change
my appearance, my voice… my LIFE! I’ve done things
that no one should have to do, just to bring us
together. I thought that once you saw me again, once
I helped you get your job back…”
“What…” Mulder’s mouth had suddenly turned to dust.
“What are you saying?”
“Just shut up and listen to me.” She swiped furiously
at her cheeks. “On June 14, 1985 you went to a
friend’s graduation party at a pub. It was my twenty-
second birthday and I was there celebrating alone.
You and I had had a couple of classes together that
term, but you didn’t even recognize me. You told me
later that I reminded you of someone you had lost,
and that’s why you approached me. We talked for hours
while you tried to drink yourself into a coma. Then I
took you home with me, and we made love until dawn.”
Memory flooded back.
He hadn’t wanted to go that night, still raw and
bleeding from Phoebe’s most recent betrayal, but the
lure of alcohol induced oblivion had overcome his
desire to lick his wounds in private. He had arrived
late and spent the first hour trying to catch up.
He’d just drained his fifth pint of dark ale when
he saw her, alone at a table in the corner. What had
drawn his attention was her long, brown hair and the
way she was curled in on herself, as if the world was
Two hours later, his brain sodden with way too much
ale and his wounded ego seduced by her obvious
adoration, he’d gone home with her and fucked her
until he passed out.
Remorse and a killer hangover had arrived
simultaneously, and he’d left before she awoke. He
never saw her again, in part because he was trying
not to, but mostly because Phoebe was suddenly back
in his life. Until this moment, he’d completely
forgotten the entire incident.
He struggled to find his voice. “Elizabeth…” But
what could he say? ‘I was drunk.’? ‘I needed somebody
to fuck Phoebe Greene out of my system.’? ‘I didn’t
recognize you because you’re pretty now.’? He tried
again. “Elizabeth, I…”
She continued as if he hadn’t spoken.
“I followed your career, read all about the fame you
were earning with your profiling ability. And then,
it was all over. You lost it all and ended up with
nothing. That was when I realized how I could help
you. I knew you would be grateful, and I knew that
once you saw me again, saw how I’d changed myself
into a woman you would love…” Her expression
hardened along with her voice. “But you’re just like
every son of a bitch I’ve ever known, aren’t you,
Fox? You never cared about me. I was just something
to do until Phoebe looked your way again. I know that
now.” Her eyes took on a distant expression.
Everything I did… it was all for nothing.”
His stomach was rolling. “Elizabeth, what did you
She focused on him, smiling. “You know, Fox. I can
see it in your eyes. I killed those people for you.”
Scully gripped the wheel with one hand, holding the
cell phone away from her ear with the other in an
attempt to lessen the damage from Skinner’s booming
“Sir, I couldn’t wait. Mulder is in serious danger, I
“Agent Scully, we have an A.P.B. out on Mulder’s
car. The police will pick them up. You’ve put Agent
Mulder *and* yourself in danger with this stunt, and
you’ve given her a hell of a head start.”
“Mulder knows she’s delusional, Sir, but he has no
idea she’s a killer. I have to get to him before he
finds out the hard way.”
She could hear him pacing. “You are NOT to enter that
house without backup. I’ll have the police go there
now and stake it out. Contact me when you get there.
I’m on my way.” He hung up.
She disconnected the call and slammed the phone onto
the seat with such force that it bounced off the
dashboard toward her face. She flinched reflexively.
When she looked back up at the road, there was a car
directly in front of her, pulling out of the rest
area to her right. She braked sharply and fought the
wheel for a moment to get the car under control.
It was Mulder’s car.
Mulder turned quickly in the seat as the headlights
bore down on them. Elizabeth Saxon glanced casually
over her shoulder and stepped on the gas, leaving the
skidding car in their wake.
Scully’s SIG was in her hand. She had no memory of
pulling it from her holster. In the brief flash of
her headlights, she had seen Mulder looking back from
the passenger seat. She knew he hadn’t seen her.
She could follow them all the way to the house and
risk setting up a barricaded suspect with a hostage.
Or she could stop the car somehow and risk getting
Mulder killed in the crossfire. As she was weighing
these equally unappealing options, the car ahead
switched abruptly to the left lane, opening the lane
ahead of Scully.
“Elizabeth, what are you doing!”
She had switched lanes with eyes riveted on the rear
“It’s your partner, Fox. I’d recognize that red hair
He turned to look in the side mirror. Without the
glare of the headlights coming directly at them, he
could see the car. It was Scully’s, and he felt cold
fear for the first time since this nightmare had
Scully slowed to let Mulder’s car pull ahead and to
give herself time to think. If the woman had seen
her, she wasn’t giving any indication. Scully was
helpless to do more than watch them pull away,
knowing that her partner’s life depended on her not
provoking a confrontation while he was so vulnerable.
She picked up her cell phone to dial Skinner’s
number, her eyes riveted on the passenger side of the
Mulder turned to Elizabeth. “It’s over, Elizabeth.
Don’t let what I did to you ruin the rest of your
She glared at him. “Too late, Fox. The damage is
“No, it’s not. You can be helped. *I* want to help
you.” He glanced back at Scully’s car, and Elizabeth
saw the look in his eyes.
“You’re afraid for her, aren’t you? It’s written all
over your face.” When he turned back to her, she
twisted her lips in disgust. “Are you fucking her,
“NO!” He answered too quickly and she sneered at him.
“Maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong.” She
picked up the gun from her lap and thumbed off the
Mulder was thrown forward as she stepped hard on the
brakes, bringing Scully’s car abruptly alongside. His
partner’s startled face turned toward him and their
eyes met for an instant.
From the corner of his eye, he saw the SIG coming up,
pointing at Scully’s head from a distance of less
than ten feet.
He threw himself at the gun.
Scully barely had time to register the flash of brake
lights. Before she could react, Mulder’s car was next
to hers and she found herself looking directly into
his eyes. An instant later, he was moving to his
left. The sound of a gunshot and the accompanying
muzzle flash turned her blood to ice.
The gun discharged, blinding them both with the
flash. His momentum was transferred to Elizabeth and
she jerked the wheel to the left as she fell toward
the door. The rear end slid to the right and
continued around until the car was skidding
backward at close to fifty miles an hour.
Elizabeth pulled desperately at the wheel and
succeeded only in sending it into a 360 degree spin
that carried it over the median and across the
opposite lanes into the dark trees beyond.
Scully watched in horror as Mulder’s car spun out of
control across the road. When it reached the opposite
shoulder, it caromed off a utility pole and flipped
end over end into the dark, throwing sparks and
shards of glass and metal in its wake.
Anne Arundel General Hospital
Wednesday, February 20th
She was just coming out of Mulder’s room, on her way
to the nurses’ station to raise a little hell, when
A.D. Skinner’s voice turned her around. He was coming
toward her at his usual brisk pace, his face creased
“How is he?” Skinner came to a stop at her side and
placed his hand on her shoulder.
“He hasn’t fully regained consciousness yet, Sir, but
he’s going to be fine. I was just on my way to speak
to his nurses.” She did not attempt to disguise her
irritation. “Why don’t you go in and see him? I’ll be
She turned on her heel and continued on her mission.
When she reached her goal, she grabbed the first
nurse she could reach and explained, in no uncertain
terms, her opinion of the LPN who had just fled
Mulder’s room in terror after badly bungling an IV
insertion under Scully’s watchful eye.
“I want a new kit brought to me. I’ll handle it
The nurse regarded her calmly and explained that the
LPN had already told her about the ‘problem’ in room
318. She would be sending another nurse down shortly.
Her tone was so kind that Scully immediately
regretted her outburst.
“I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be difficult, but the
woman hurt him trying to insert a simple IV and I
don’t want her near him again.”
The nurse smiled a bit stiffly. “You’ve earned
something of a reputation in the past few hours, Dr.
Scully. I think she was just nervous. I’ll come down
and take care of the IV myself. Would that be okay?”
Scully smiled back. “That would be fine. Thank you.”
When she returned to Mulder’s room, she found Skinner
leaning over his bed. He looked up with the same
concerned expression he’d worn in the hall.
“He’s in a coma?”
“No sir, he’s unconscious. He’s been awake a few
times, not enough to know where he is yet, but his
vitals are all good. He has a concussion and some
cracked ribs, but he’s going to be fine.”
Skinner’s relief was evident in the way his entire
posture relaxed. “That’s good news.”
The nurse Scully had spoken with earlier came into
the room with a fresh IV kit.
“Sir, let’s go out to the lounge for a few minutes.”
She smiled at the nurse and received an understanding
nod in reply. Truce was declared. She really didn’t
want the nursing staff in an uproar. Mulder would be
having that effect on them himself soon enough.
They walked a few steps down the hall to a small
waiting room and sat on the couch.
“Agent Scully, you have some explaining to do.” With
his immediate concern for Mulder resolved, his anger
over her actions had apparently returned full force.
Scully nodded. “Yes, Sir. I know that. But I want you
to understand that I had no choice under the
circumstances. Mulder had no idea who this woman was,
or how dangerous she could be. If I had allowed them
to reach their destination, I’m certain she would
have killed him.”
“You allowed her to get a head start before you
“That wasn’t my intention, Sir. It just worked out
He snorted at that. “We’ll discuss this tomorrow
morning in my office.”
There was a brief, awkward pause.
“So Kevin Hawkes wasn’t the killer after all.” The
concern was back in his voice.
She shook her head. “No, sir, he wasn’t. Mulder was
right about that from the beginning. Hawkes was just
another of her victims.”
He shifted uncomfortably and glanced toward Mulder’s
room. “I understand there were journals found in her
apartment which seem to indicate that she planned
these murders to… attract Agent Mulder.”
“One of the task force members stopped by a little
while ago and told me about them. I gather that
Elizabeth Saxon was quite specific about her plans.
She apparently believed she would come out of this as
the heroine who found the killer, and that it would
somehow bring Mulder to her.”
“She thought killing ten people would bring Mulder to
“She was a textbook sociopath, Sir. I… came across
her medical history when I was trying to find where
she had taken him. Sociopaths are totally devoid of
remorse or compassion, willing to do whatever it
takes to get what they want. Killing those people was
nothing more to her than a necessary evil.”
“Where the hell did Mulder come in contact with her?
And how could he not have recognized her when he saw
“They were both at Oxford at the same time, though he
clearly didn’t remember that. I would guess that
she’s changed her appearance drastically over the
years.” Scully sighed wearily. The tension of the
past few hours was beginning to catch up with her.
“When he finds this out, you know what it’s going to
do to him.” Worry was etched deeply into his face.
“Yes, Sir. I do.”
“Dr. Scully?” The nurse they’d left in Mulder’s room
was standing in the door to the waiting room. “I’m
finished, if you’d like to go back to the patient’s
“Thank you.” Scully and Skinner stood.
“I’ll see you in my office at 8:00 AM tomorrow.” He
tried for another stern look, but his heart was
clearly not in it.
They parted at Mulder’s door and Scully resumed her
place at his bedside. He was very lucky, though she
doubted he’d agree for the next few days. In addition
to the concussion and cracked ribs, he had a head
laceration that had required twelve sutures. There
were also two burns on his chest which she suspected
had come from a high voltage stun gun. That would
explain how a 120 pound woman had been able to subdue
an armed FBI agent.
“Skinner is *really* pissed, Mulder.” She caressed
the stubble on his pale cheek and ran her thumb
gently over his swollen lips. “I think I’m in for a
taste of what he usually saves for you.”
She reached for his hand and brought it up to her
lips for a soft kiss. Then she turned her head and
rubbed his knuckles against her cheek. “Come on,
Mulder. Wake up.”
“I’m awake.” The sound of his voice brought her head
up so quickly that she accidentally bumped the newly
inserted needle in the back of his hand, making him
wince in pain.
“Oh, Mulder. I’m sorry.” She rubbed the spot gently
in the way she knew he loved. “How do you feel?”
He looked at her with such sadness in his eyes that
it made her throat ache. “Scully, it was her. She
killed all those people. She killed Micki. For me.”
His voice was tight with pain, not all of it
physical, she knew.
She cupped his cheek, then moved her hand up to
smooth the hair back from his forehead. “I know.”
He swallowed painfully. “What happened to her?”
“She’s dead. She was thrown from the car. Her body
was found crushed beneath it.” The woman would have
killed him without a second thought. Scully felt no
regret at her death, but the pain in her partner’s
eyes made her cringe at what she’d just said.
“I knew her… a long time ago. I…”
“At Oxford.” Her voice was very soft.
“For one night… I didn’t know how much pain she was
in, and I didn’t care. I treated her like…” He
couldn’t finish the thought but she read the rest in
“Mulder, you were what? Twenty-two? Nothing you could
have done would justify what she did to those people.
Or to you.”
He took a deep breath and immediately regretted it.
“Ribs hurt?” She laid her hand softly against his
“A little.” He shifted uncomfortably and Scully
reached for the call button. A nurse appeared shortly
and injected pain medication into his IV port. His
eyes began to drift shut almost immediately.
“You sleep, Mulder. I’ll be right here.”
He mumbled something and reached blindly for her
hand. The fierceness of his grip surprised her.
“…needed a friend…” and he drifted back into the
dream he’d been having before he awoke… about a
sad eyed girl with curly hair, sitting alone in a pub
on a warm summer night.