INFO: Written for I Made This Productions Virtual Season 9
EMAIL: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
RATING: PG-13 to a Light R (adult situations not gone into in
CLASSIFICATION: X, Angst, MT, MSR
SPOILERS: “Je Souhaite”, “Sein Und Zeit/Closure”, “Biogenesis”
trilogy, “Detours”, “Zero Sum”, “Anasazi” trilogy, “Unusual
Suspects”, “Dreamland”, “Demons”, “Grotesque” and “Young at
Heart”. Also there are spoilers for past Virtual Season 9
cases, especially “Hollow Earth” by Suzanne Bickerstaffe,
appearance is made by the red negligee from Kestabrook’s “A
Christmas Peril” <G> and there is a spoiler for my VS8 story
SUMMARY: With his personality and life experiences, Mulder is
an incredibly complex and multi-layered man. But then a
strange form of progressive amnesia starts removing those
NOTE: The dates for various episodes were taken from the
Timeline at the Deep Background website and if a date was
unavailable, I took an educated guess while trying to fit it
in with my plotline.
ARCHIVING: IMTP has a two week exclusivity to all Virtual
Season 9 stories from the day each first appears on the
website. After that, please drop me a note if you’d like to
DISCLAIMER: The X-Files, the episodes referred to, Mulder and
Scully and all other characters from the show belong to Chris
Carter and his team of writers, Ten Thirteen Productions and
Fox Broadcasting, and are used without permission. No
copyright infringement is intended, no profit will be gained.
Characters not recognized from the show are either mine, or
from previous VS9 stories (thanks Suzanne!).
THANKS TO: Susan and Suzanne for having the patience of saints
and for all their help. Also to Mac and Gerry, and to the VS9
crew for keeping the flame burning.
FEEDBACK: Yes, please! I like to know who’s out there in the
Tuesday 1 October 2002
Scully smiled up at her reflection in the mirrored ceiling and
watched it smile back. Last night had been wonderful. And
lying here, holding and being held by Mulder, was just as
good. Her partner was still asleep, but that didn’t matter at
He was well again. Whole again. And in her arms.
In his last brush with serious harm, Mulder had been injected
without his knowledge with neuroelectrical impulses from his
sister’s DNA. He experienced flashbacks of Samantha’s
abduction and experimentation from her point of view. The
flashbacks stopped as the causative drug left his system and
to Scully’s relief Mulder was able to deal with the experience
because he now knew that Sam did not blame him – she knew he
had tried to save her.
The agents had decided to ask for a few days off for a long,
long weekend. Skinner had been happy to grant the leave days,
though unaware of their intentions. “Both of you deserve some
time off that isn’t for illness or recuperation.” It was a
luxury to be lying in this morning on a weekday, together.
After doing day-trips and sightseeing on the weekend and
Monday, today was going to be a lazy one.
They had such a great time on Monday night that Mulder had
teased her he didn’t want anything for his approaching
birthday. “Apart from more of that, of course!”
Scully was pulled back to the present. Her partner was waking
up. “Morning,” she said sultrily as Mulder’s eyes focused on
her. She knew he loved it when she used that tone.
At least, he usually did. But this time Mulder stared at her.
She saw amazement. Astonishment. Shock. The panic face. “S-s-
scully?” he stammered out in disbelief.
He looked around wildly, his eyes growing bigger with
everything they were taking in. Him and her. Naked. In his
He sat up. “What are we…? Did we…?”
“Mulder, are you all right? What’s wrong?”
“You’re…” He floundered, practically nailing his gaze to her
face to avoid his eyes straying downwards. “I-I don’t remember
us going to bed…”
Scully was trying to make some sense out of this. “Well, we
did start off on the couch, so I guess you were tired by the
time we got into the bedroom.”
“No, that’s not…” He ran a hand through his hair. “How many
beers did we have? I thought we only had one each. Not enough
“Beers? Mulder, we didn’t have any alcohol last night.” The
only thing they ‘had’ was each other.
“Yeah, we did have a beer each. But I don’t feel like I have a
hangover. I guess I must be in shock or something, that we
actually…finally…” He was rambling and edging away from
“Mulder, we didn’t have anything to drink last night,” Scully
stressed. Occasionally they had some wine or beers, but that
“We did. I remember one beer each at least,” he insisted.
Scully was desperately trying to figure out what was going on.
She felt his forehead. No fever. She asked, “What else do you
“We were watching ‘Caddyshack’ and you asked me what my third
Scully studied his face. Even though the room was dim, she
could see that he was serious. “Third wish?”
“I used it to set Jenn free.”
“Jenn – the female genie? The jinniyah?”
“Oh God…” she whispered.
“I don’t know what to say…” Mulder’s voice was soft and
upset. He looked at her helplessly. “I’m sorry that I can’t
remember last night…”
Scully sat there, fear welling up in her, trying to find the
words to break to him that his ‘last night’ actually took
place two years ago.
No sign of head trauma. Or trauma to any part of Mulder. No
sign of a virus. Scans yielded no clues. Bloodwork clean. No
needle marks – the injection points from his last crisis and
hospitalization had healed by now. His responses and reflexes
They were still waiting on the results of some tests, but
Mulder seemed to be all right.
Apart from the matter of a two year chunk of his memory having
Mulder was sitting up in his hospital bed. Scully knew he was
trying not to stare at her. Look, yes, but not stare. This was
not the dim bedroom anymore – she supposed he was now picking
up little differences about her that he had not been able to
before. Perhaps a few lines on her skin or a change in the
length of her hair. Markers of time that had passed.
Though ironically those wonderful sessions they had been
having since embarking upon an intimate relationship had made
her feel a lot younger. Scully knew she glowed in the mirror
after each one.
And Mulder’s mindset was back in 2000. Before they became
lovers. So the way in which he had woken up this morning must
be reeling around and around in his brain.
Before he opened his eyes this morning, she had been lying
there, blissfully unaware. She had thought that things could
not get any more perfect. True. But they could, and had,
Scully ached to touch him, but didn’t dare. She did not know
how he would react.
“What you were talking to the doctor about – our last case.
Something about Sam’s DNA…”
She explained what had occurred. “It could be a reason for why
you’re experiencing this amnesia. Actually, Mulder,
considering everything you and your poor brain have been
through over the years, and especially in this last year,
we’re rather spoiled for choice with possible causes. It could
be a mixture of a lot of factors too.”
At his insistence, she filled him in on the possibilities that
he couldn’t remember, and reminded him about the ones that
could be coming back to haunt them. “Don’t worry, Mulder.
We’ll find out what happened.” She took his hand and squeezed
“I could even wake up tomorrow with my memory back, right? Or
you might have to hit me on the head to restore things. Sure
you’ll enjoy that.”
Scully gave him a look but he kept a straight face. She
reluctantly let go of his hand and said, “I’m just going to
talk to your doctor and phone Skinner.” Their boss was in San
Diego for a week of conferences. “I’ll be back soon, okay?”
He nodded. She resisted the urge to kiss him on the cheek.
That would be dangerous in public even if Mulder was at full
But as she was turning to go, Mulder’s voice came hesitantly
from the bed, “So… We were… We are…”
There was no doubt what he was asking about. She nodded
“Damn. That’s something I really wouldn’t want to forget.”
She was sure he wanted to ask ‘when’, but the walls could have
ears and he was still in absorption mode. Was it their first
time? Their hundredth? Or a result of the jinniyah giving him
a free wish for helping her?
Mulder looked miserable. “I’m sorry.”
“Why?” Scully asked. “This wasn’t your fault. You didn’t ditch
me and go running off. Whoever is responsible for this –
*they* will be sorry.”
A trace of a smile and a nod. Some things had changed, but not
Mulder woke up still ‘two bananas short of a fruit basket’, as
he put it. But he was optimistic. “If I don’t get my memory
back, I can still reconstruct it. Two years isn’t so bad.”
Though the pain of his mother’s death and of knowing Sam’s
ultimate fate was still fresh in his eyes. Scully cursed
whoever or whatever had done this to Mulder, causing him to go
through that ‘double-whammy’ of grieving again. It was
something that would always be with him, but he had lost two
years of progression and acceptance.
And a year of complete closeness with Scully.
Half of her was angry when he announced that ‘two years wasn’t
so bad’, wondering how he could just accept the loss of their
But the other half of her countered with some undeniable
facts. They still had each other. He was still alive. They
could rebuild. It would take time though. She didn’t want to
rush him into anything too soon, no matter how much either
wanted it. This Mulder would also be finding it hard to
believe they had actually taken that step – he might have
hoped or longed for it, but at that stage of their lives, a
number of factors had prevented them.
Since medical science was drawing blanks and Mulder was
otherwise fine, the hospital saw no point in keeping him any
longer. Scully felt he should remain in for observation but
She decided to take him home to his apartment, hoping that the
familiar surroundings would help.
In the car, Mulder said, “I’m sorry for how I reacted when I
woke up with you yesterday. I’ve wanted to wake up like *that*
with you for… Hard to believe it’s two years in the future.”
His future. Not hers.
“I understand. It’s okay,” Scully said, trying not to think
about how much she missed his touch. Not just the oh-so-
intimate touching, but the handholds and hugs and kisses. And
how when they were alone he would not have to hide or ‘water
down’ that look in his eyes that said how much she meant to
him and how happy he was.
Now she didn’t know how to act around him and he was unsure
how to act around her. How comfortable or intimate to be with
each other? Two people at different points in their lives,
trying to find middle ground.
“I’m staying with you,” Scully announced as they walked up the
hallway to Mulder’s apartment.
His face held a mixture of emotions. “You don’t have to.”
“I want to.” Scully wondered if he realized she wasn’t just
talking about the rest of the day, but tonight too.
In the apartment, Mulder put his overnight bag down, out of
the way, and stood there, looking around. Scully tried to see
the place as he was – what differences two years had brought.
Oblivious to her scrutiny, he said, “Well, it’s definitely not
as bad as that time I found the waterbed here…” He smiled.
“Do you want a drink? Then I’ll see what I’ve got in stock and
make us something for lunch.”
“I can do that. You should rest. ”
Mulder gave a wry grin. “I’ve rested long enough. I’m sure I
got more sleep than you. Consider it a thank you.”
“All right.” He probably wanted to reestablish some normality,
a familiar pattern.
First, Mulder went to the bathroom, then returned looking
“Decor changed?” Scully asked, mentally picturing that room.
Mulder had never been big on interior design. When his
apartment had mysteriously become neat and graced with the
waterbed and mirrored ceiling back in 1998, he had sworn that
the Gunmen must be behind it.
Now he looked even more shell-shocked. “There’s been some
redecorating, yeah. Nylon stockings hanging in the shower. And
a bra over the bathtub that’s um, torn…”
“All mine.” She could tell he wanted to ask about the
condition of the bra. He hesitated. “Ask about the bra,
Mulder. Before you explode.”
“Did I do that? Am I usually that…rough?”
“Actually, you had me so excited and eager that *I* did that.”
The look on his face was priceless. Finally he managed to say,
“When you said you’d be staying I wasn’t sure if you meant
overnight – I guess I still don’t. If yes, I was wondering if
I had a spare toothbrush you could use and thought that I
could lend you a t-shirt to sleep in. A t-shirt which I would
then treasure for the rest of my life.”
Scully couldn’t help laughing. “I have a supply of things
here. Bathroom and bedroom.”
“And I am staying tonight. But I won’t take advantage of you.”
“Fair enough. Do you need a t-shirt or something to sleep in
Scully mentally frowned. She had just told him she kept a
supply of things here, so why would he be… Then she
realized. After waking up with her as naked as the day they
were born, he was probably wondering if that was their
standard night attire now… “I’m covered,” she replied.
“Oh.” With that cryptic comment – disappointment, relief? –
Mulder set to work in the kitchen. While they ate, he asked
questions about the last two years and she filled him in as
best and as honestly as she could. Not just about their
relationship, but the X-Files and other experiences too.
After a while, Mulder wanted to go for a jog, probably both
for the exercise and to ponder everything that he had been
told, but he must have picked up on Scully’s hesitancy. “We
could both go,” he suggested.
It was on the tip of her tongue to say ‘It’s not my favorite
form of exercise anymore’. The last year had certainly had an
effect on her innuendo gland. Instead, she said, “I’m not sure
if running would be such a good idea at the moment. How about
a walk instead?” It could bring back memories of the places
they went together. He agreed.
Mulder had come home from the hospital wearing casual clothes
and sneakers, so he didn’t need to change. He watched the
sports news on TV while Scully slipped into the bedroom to get
The bed was how they had left it yesterday morning. Rumpled
and unmade. Scully stood there, gazing at it. Not for long
though, because tears threatened to fall.
Automatically she began straightening up the sheets and
blankets, then wondered if she should change the sheets
altogether. After all, Mulder might end up sleeping in here
They went for a long walk, but nothing triggered off Mulder’s
memory. Scully had doubted it would work, but was still
disappointed. She hid her feelings. They still had other
She suggested that they visit the Gunmen, who were doing their
best to get to the bottom of their friend’s plight. The visit
turned out to be entertaining, despite the trio not being able
to provide any leads yet.
Her partner laughed so hard at one of Frohike’s jokes that he
ended up spilling his drink on his pants leg. When Mulder and
Scully returned to his apartment, he went to his bedroom to
Mulder’s bedroom door was closed, but now he opened it and
looked in for the first time. His gaze was caught by the
ceiling. “I still have those mirrors up? I always thought
about removing them, but it would have been so much effort…
And a messy ceiling as a result.”
“You ended up really liking them.” Both she and Mulder had
agreed soon into their relationship that the mirrors really
‘added’ to the experience.
A slight flush appeared on his face as he realized how she
probably knew this information.
Scully turned to go back into the living room to let Mulder
change in private. But then he opened a drawer and went,
“Either in the last two years I became a cross dresser, or
these are yours.”
Scully crossed the room to find Mulder was contemplating the
drawer, which was full of her underwear and lingerie, of types
both ordinary and bedazzling. Two years ago his undergarments
had graced this space.
“You think these might be yours? They’re a little small on
you,” Scully pointed out. “I told you before that I’m
“I’m not so sure about that if you’re wearing that red one.”
Mulder pointed to a red lacy negligee.
“I bought that for Christmas. Um, you now keep your underwear
in this drawer here.”
Her partner quickly retreated to the designated drawer and
found that it too had a number of garments in it that had
clearly been bought with fun and games in mind. Mulder then
hurried off for a shower that he definitely needed, though
Scully doubted the hot water system would get much of a
Hours were also spent going over the medical test results and
Mulder’s medical history and any X-Files that could provide
leads to his condition. Finally, bedtime came.
“I’ll take the couch,” Mulder said.
“No way. I’ll take the couch.”
“You won’t find it comfortable,” he warned.
I usually do when I’m curled up with you, she thought.
“You have the bed,” Mulder insisted. Then a thought struck
him. “Just might have to check how clean the sheets are…”
“We changed them a few days ago. They’re okay.”
“Oh, okay. Well…” He hesitated. He looked like he wanted to
kiss her, but didn’t dare.
She felt the same. In a way it would be easy, oh so easy, to
take him into the bedroom and show him the joys of the last
But not tonight. It would not be fair to either of them. Not
They were exchanging awkward ‘Good night’s when they met each
other’s gaze and then started laughing at the situation. The
tension eased and both headed to their respective beds.
Scully curled up in the sheets, inhaling Mulder’s scent, lost
in vivid memories. Her reflection was just visible in the
mirrored tiles. One body where there should have been two. She
could hear that Mulder had the TV on. In the last year, often
the only ‘white noise’ he had needed of a night was that of
her breathing and heartbeat.
Was it better to be the one left with the memories or the one
who had lost the memories?
I still have Mulder. What about that woman in the paper last
week – her husband went off to work and was killed in a car
accident. Never to come back. Our Christmas Day could have
easily ended up like that.
She shuddered at the memory, then reminded herself of the
happy ending and focused on trying to sleep instead.
Before going to their separate beds, Scully had asked Mulder,
“How are you feeling?”
“No memory of the last two years, but it could be worse.”
It could be, and next morning it proved to be.
Scully padded out of the bedroom into the living room as
Mulder was stirring. He opened his eyes and although they were
unfocused, she could see a great sadness in them.
Then he noticed her and sat up, startled. “Scully, what are
you doing here? Are you all right?” He saw the overnight bag
on the floor nearby – neither of them had gotten around to
putting it away last night. “Sorry … I didn’t hear you
knock. Did you want me to take you to the hospital after all?
I can be ready in ten.”
Scully stared at him. What was he talking about? He knew
perfectly well that it was *his* overnight bag. She had bought
it for him as a gift in 1998. “To take *me* to the hospital?”
she asked in confusion. “Me? Why?”
“For the tests.” The sadness in his eyes was different from
that of the last two days. But recognition of it came
nonetheless, as Mulder continued reluctantly, “The tests your
oncologist wanted to perform.”
“For my cancer?” Scully was amazed that her voice did not
“Yeah…” Mulder looked like he wanted nothing more than to
come over and hold her, but the only thing he was holding was
himself – in check – as if afraid she would rebuff the
gesture. And she saw the effort it was taking. An effort she
had often missed because during that dark period of their
lives when she was sick, she had often been afraid to keep his
gaze for very long. She had felt too vulnerable. “Scully, are
you all right?”
She could not help the tears from falling. Not again. It could
NOT be happening again. Wait – she could be wrong. With Mulder
thinking this was 2000, he could simply have gotten confused
about when her next check-up was, and not realized it was a
few more months away.
“Mulder, what day do you think it is?”
“Humor me, please. What date do you think it is?”
Still half-asleep and rattled by her behavior, Mulder fumbled
for the answer. “April 1997. The twenty… Um… Something-
She said softly, “Yes, a trip to the hospital would be a good
idea.” But not for the reasons he thought.
“So, you don’t have cancer anymore? You’re in remission? Have
been for ages?” Mulder had asked that several times. It was as
if he wanted to believe her affirmative reply, but kept
worrying he had misheard.
“Yes. No more cancer. You saved me. I’ll tell you all about it
when we’re at the hospital.”
His own condition was more of an afterthought to him in his
relief and happiness. “I forgot two years of my life and now
I’ve lost another three? It’s actually 2002?”
While on the way down to Scully’s car, Mulder caught his
reflection in one of the polished elevator walls. The
carnival-mirror exaggeration effect probably didn’t give him
any startling clues to the years that had passed – and Mulder
had always looked young for his age – but it was clear he had
serious bed hair. Scully had insisted they head for the
hospital right away as she threw on some clothes and shoes, so
there had been no chance for grooming. So in the elevator
Mulder made an attempt at finger combing, frowning a little.
Scully tried to remember how he had his hair in 1997. Was he
thinking it was shorter or longer now?
He did his best and parted the hair that fell onto his
forehead in the middle, so that it now hung as bangs. Of
But, apart from that, he was far more interested in looking at
her. She surmised that when he woke up and saw her there, he
had been too dazed to take in much about her actual
appearance, just her presence.
“I look a lot older, right?” Scully said.
“You look healthy.”
She thought that the last few days of worry had probably not
done her any favors, but her complexion had always been on the
“You don’t look as thin and gaunt,” Mulder continued in
amazement. “Your hair’s…brighter. Perhaps you’re a clone. I
don’t think so. I hope not anyway.”
In the car she asked him to clarify what tests she had been
going to have at the hospital.
His voice was matter of fact, though she could sense the
undercurrents. “Your oncologist was worried that your tumor
was growing larger, so he wanted you in the hospital for
tests. I wanted to take you to the hospital, but you insisted
you’d get there by yourself.”
Scully had been about to turn the key in the ignition. She
stopped and faced him. “I really wanted to let you. I should
have. I was just so scared. And at that time, instead of
opening up to you, I held back. I wanted to be in control and
independent. It wasn’t until later that I could admit that
being so entrenched in that attitude wasn’t worth it. Not in a
situation like that.”
Mulder stared at her in shock. Here was a Scully that was not
only cured, but also far more open than he was used to.
Mulder seemed in good health, but Scully couldn’t help asking,
“How are you feeling?”
“It could be worse. At least I’m the one in the hospital bed
instead of you.”
“I’d change places with you in a second if it meant that you
would be okay.”
“I know.” He paused, then asked, “Did I have a stroke? Or do I
have a brain tumor?” His manner appeared calm, but Scully knew
“No. There’s no evidence of stroke or a tumor,” she replied.
“Is it Alzheimer’s disease?”
“No. The tests have come back negative for that. And you’re
not experiencing the sorts of degeneration that accompany it.
Physically you’re in good health. Everything appears fine
“Though it isn’t. There must be something, something that the
instruments and tests just can’t pick up or don’t recognize,”
“We’ll keep looking. The only aspect about you that is going
backwards is your memory.”
“Onion amnesia. I keep losing layers,” he joked. “You once
told me that I kept unfolding like a flower.”
She had phoned Skinner. He said he would leave San Diego
immediately and return to Washington. Scully convinced him to
stay where he was. As much as she appreciated the gesture,
there was nothing he could do.
And when Skinner heard about the point Mulder had regressed
to, there had been silence. Scully was not surprised. Mulder
was back at a time when Skinner had been firmly in Cancerman’s
Scully was pulled back to the present by Mulder shifting
around in the hospital bed. There were EEG wires attached to
his head. The setting up of the equipment had just been
completed. Scully and the doctors wanted a reading when and if
Mulder experienced another memory loss. And to make sure his
brain was operating the way it should be in the meantime.
“Scully, do you have any idea what might be causing these
‘setbacks’?” Mulder asked.
She explained that there was a long list of suspects –
incidents as well as people. “I’m going over your test results
and medical records, and I’ve got the Gunmen digging too. Any
clues, and we’ll find them. There are some X-File cases that I
want to go back over. Also, and it may be too early yet to be
anything more than a coincidence, there is one thing,” Scully
said. “Both times that you have regressed, it is to a date
that is the 27th. The month and year varies, so far without a
pattern that I can pick up. The significance of the 27th,
however, could be…”
“That it was the day that Sam was abducted. November 1973.”
“Exactly. So it could tie in with some strange side effect of
a drug you were given last month. It was giving you flashbacks
of the night of your sister’s abduction, but through her
eyes.” She opened her mouth to tell him more about that case,
expecting more questions.
He didn’t jump on the ‘hows’ straight away though. “You think
it could be sending me back towards that night? Back to twelve
Or even eight years old, Scully thought, since he had
experienced Sam’s memories after being injected. “Perhaps.”
Mulder sighed. “I was a cute kid, Scully, but I really don’t
want you to find out in this way. Perhaps this is someone’s
twisted idea of giving me back my lost childhood. The
Consortium might have watched that Tom Hanks movie – what was
it called? ‘Big’?” Then he started asking the questions she
was expecting. “How could I experience the abduction from
Sam’s point of view? How did I get injected with the drug?”
She opened her mouth to explain but found herself hesitating.
Mulder seemed so relieved about her health that before now he
hadn’t asked about his mother or sister or other questions
that could bring upsetting answers and so much pain. The fact
that his quest to find his sister had ended as it did… The
2000 Mulder had a hard enough time dealing with the knowledge.
How would the 1997 Mulder react at this point of his life?
The hospital’s tests had so far shown no link between the drug
that he had been given last month and his progressive amnesia.
But should she lie to Mulder about it or withhold the
If she withheld it, someone else might slip up. Or she could
be holding back a piece of the puzzle that Mulder might need
to be able to put things together. He was still a brilliant
investigator – he could be the one to work out the reason for
his own affliction.
At the very least, he would sense if she were holding
something back. Although since he was entrenched in their
‘Cancer time’, he was probably expecting such behavior and
would be less likely to call her on it.
Scully took a deep breath and opened her mouth again, but then
a nurse appeared with some folders. “These are the medical
files you requested, Agent Scully.”
“Thanks, Bette.” Scully added them to her pile.
Mulder looked at the folders. “Are they all mine?”
“Yes.” She selected a file, worry about the ‘Sam talk’
momentarily forgotten. “This is the one I wanted to have a
read through first.”
“Which is it?”
“When you became an X-File, Mulder. Back in 1999.” She
explained about the UFO in Africa and what it had set off. The
memories were painful for her to recall. And Mulder with his
crown of EEG leads was also reminding her of that time, though
at least this Mulder was not comatose. “When you were exposed
to the rubbing from the artifact, your brain – your *whole*
brain – was engaged. It opened up entirely. This is the
reverse, in a sense. Now it’s closing down – the memory area,
He started questioning her about the case. Instead of
answering, Scully first addressed the fear that he was doing
his best to hide.
“We got through the cancer, Mulder. Together, even though
sometimes it didn’t seem like it. We’ve gotten through a lot
of things. We’ll get through this.”
He nodded. He believed her.
Then they went back to their work, with the hospital room
standing in as their office (with occasional interruptions
from hospital staff), going over that case and its sequel in
the space station. Mulder was amazed. “I got into outer
“Yes.” Her partner had always been a space fan, absorbed with
the exploits of astronauts in childhood even before his
interest in the paranormal.
“I always thought that the odds of me going into outer space
were the same as us…” He stopped and went red.
As us getting together.
Scully realized that this Mulder had even less an idea that
they were an item than the 1997 Mulder did.
Again – to tell or not?
Mulder caught a look at the time on her watch as she sat
there. Immediately he forgot about the awkward blip in their
conversation. “Scully, you need to rest. You can’t go running
yourself into the ground like this! Not in your condition…”
Again Mulder halted. He gave a sheepish grin. She recalled all
the ways that Mulder had cared or tried to care for her during
her illness. Often subtle by sheer necessity. He shrugged and
said, “This is going to take some getting used to. But
seriously, cancer or no cancer, you should have a break.”
“I will. Soon. There is a lot for us to talk about though. A
lot has happened.”
“I can imagine.”
Her look told him there was even more than he would dare
“Fill me in. Starting with these memories of Sam’s.”
The ‘filling in’ had been one of the hardest conversations
they had shared in their life.
Mulder took the news about his mother fairly stoically. Scully
decided that could be due to a mix of things. More of a
reaction could hit later. To him, it had also not been long
since she had suffered a stroke and he had been braced for her
death. And to him it was also not very long ago that he had
gotten holes drilled in his head and demanded answers from his
mother about her relationship with the Cigarette Smoking Man.
That had created a rift it took a while to heal.
Sam’s fate caused him to curl up in Scully’s arms, crying. She
and one of his doctors ended up giving him a sedative. Scully
wondered if the Paper Hearts case – again, a recent case to
Mulder’s mind – had affected his reaction. And also her own
Because just before he let the sedative take him under, Mulder
had whispered, “You’re okay…” and it had sounded more like a
mantra than a comment.
When Mulder woke up he was more composed but the sadness was
back in his eyes. He took a deep breath and Scully had an
image of him shutting a few doors in his mind, in a ‘too
painful, will deal with later’ gesture.
He looked at all the files and notebooks she had spread out.
He reached for her hand. “Back to work.”
More tests. More waiting. Mulder even talked Scully into
finding a hypnotherapist to come see him. “There’s hypno-
regression therapy, where you go back into your past. Let’s
see if a therapist can do that with my missing years, even
though to me, it feels like my future…”
It didn’t work. The Gunmen found another hypnotherapist, but
the same story. There seemed to be a ‘block’ in Mulder’s mind.
Scully went back over previous X-Files that could be connected
to Mulder’s plight. Often the scientists or people involved
were already dead or had disappeared. Research and equipment
gone or destroyed…or experiments unable to be replicated.
Mulder had pitched the idea that if he had been injected with
Sam’s memories in the last case, then his own memories should
be ‘gathered’ now, so that if he lost ground again he could be
re-injected and brought ‘back up to’ 1997.
Scully had to reject that idea. It only worked with certain
strong memories; it was not a total recall. And it would need
triggers to keep setting them off. While Mulder had the drug
in his system, bright lights had triggered the flashbacks to
Sam’s abduction and the experimentation on her – but the
memories and feelings were overwhelming, incapacitating even.
Scully still went over the case carefully and consulted with
the surviving researcher, but they ended up at a loss.
It was morning. Another 48 hours was up. Scully was sitting by
Mulder’s bedside, watching him sleep. They had tried
everything they could think of in the timeframe, to no avail.
Now all she could do was wait while continuing to think the
problem through and see what reality he woke up in. She had
kept the lights in the room dim, not wanting any significant
changes in her appearance to hit him in the moments he woke
A few minutes ago the EEG had shown a change in the frequency
of Mulder’s brain activity, before going back to normal. Mu
rhythms only happened in sleep, but the chart had displayed a
lot more of them, as well as the usual delta sleep activity.
His breathing and heart rate did not alter – nothing to bring
the staff racing into the room.
When Mulder had been afflicted by the rubbing from the African
UFO, Scully researched extensively about the brain, trying to
find answers and a solution. And she had kept up with that
field since, just in case. While the appearance of a greater
than usual number of runs of mu activity was not the dramatic
breakthrough she was hoping for, it was
the only thing that was unusual. The trouble was, no one knew
what mu rhythms represented…
When Mulder did wake up, he was confused. “Why am I here?
What’s this for?”
Scully grabbed at his hand – he was about to yank one of the
EEG leads off. “Mulder, it’s okay! I’ll explain. You’re in the
hospital for observation.”
“For what? I’m fine. I’m not sick anymore – I’ve been running
around West Virginia!” Then his tone went from impatient to
concerned before she could get a word in. “And whatever’s
going on, your mom needs you more right now.”
Her tone took him by surprise. “Oh no, she’s not blaming you,
is she? If Melissa’s death is anyone’s fault, it’s mine.”
Scully had to remember to breathe. Mulder was peering at her
worriedly through the gloom, his forehead furrowed, trying to
judge her emotional state and also most likely puzzled about
the change in her hairstyle, but not game to ask such a
trivial question as ‘When did you get a haircut?’ at a time
She asked him what day he thought it was.
27 April 1995.
The day after Melissa’s death.
Gently Scully told him he was experiencing amnesia and what
the real date was.
He stared at her, clearly worried that grief had affected her
mind. “You’re kidding me.”
She boosted the lights. Mulder looked at her. Scully knew he
was trying to rationalize any changes he was seeing to be a
result of her grief.
She looked around, seeking a mirror, then realized there was a
quicker way. “Mulder, take a look at your shoulder. The
shoulder that I put a bullet through. Check out the scar.”
“It’s not a scar just yet, Scully. It only happened about
thirteen or so days ago. But actually, my shoulder isn’t
hurting…” Puzzled and curious, he lifted the collar of his
hospital gown to take a look and was suitably stunned. “It’s
healed. It’s still there, but it’s so faint. Like…”
“Like years have passed.”
His next question came swiftly. “Was I abducted?”
“No. Not you physically. Just your memory.”
And so the next hours brought more tests and questions – or
rather mostly the same tests and questions repeated, like:
“So, after all this study, is there any sort of pattern to my
brain deciding to go retro, apart from the fact it seems to
happen every 48 hours or so?”
The doctors and specialists studied Mulder’s EEG and confirmed
what Scully had thought. No one could tell what it might mean,
even experts from outside D.C. that she contacted.
Nor could they come up with a reason or factor as to why the
regression was happening at those intervals.
And once again there was the task of Mulder and Scully
adjusting to each other from their different ‘vantage points’
or time periods. This Mulder was dealing with Melissa’s death,
his father’s death, his own near death, the fact that his
water had been drugged, the fact that his father had been
involved in some way with Cancerman and his cronies…
Mulder’s discovery of Sam’s file in that gigantic storage
system and that it had his name on the label underneath Sam’s
Her partner seemed poised for Scully to be grieving or for
blame to come his way about Melissa, despite being reassured
otherwise. When told that Maggie Scully was coming to visit
him and in fact that a bunch of flowers was from her, Mulder
At the end of the next 48 hour period, the EEG repeated the
characteristic rhythm, but Mulder kept sleeping. Whatever year
he had dropped to, he wasn’t sharing it so quickly this time.
Scully sat and waited. And waited.
All the readouts were normal – Mulder was just sleeping in,
unaware. She was tempted to wake him, but things were going to
be hard enough when he woke. She could handle few more hours
of blissful ignorance.
She could, but her bladder couldn’t. Skinner had come back
from San Diego by this stage and had dropped by to visit. He
took up position by his agent’s bed while Scully hurried to
the bathroom attached to the room.
She had finished and was splashing water on her tired face
when the chaos started.
“I can’t be lying in a hospital bed while Scully’s missing! I
have to be out looking for her!”
“Mulder, she’s here! She’s fine! Scully!”
She raced back into the room. Mulder was half out of bed and
half out of some attachments, grim-faced, fighting against
Skinner’s hold. His focus was on his boss. “Let me GO!” he
yelled with a fury and determination that rocked Scully.
Instantly Mulder stopped struggling and turned. “Oh God…
Scully?” His eyes darted to Skinner as if to confirm that this
was not a hallucination.
“It’s me, Mulder. I’m here.” Scully hurried over to the bed
before Mulder could try to make a leap over to her. Skinner
let go and stepped back.
Her partner was staring at her like she was an angel come to
And like most of those angels, she had a message to impart.
But not just yet.
Several hours later, events had been explained and
possibilities were being gone over, many for about the tenth
time. Reeling from the news, Mulder was doing his best to
“I don’t want to forget you, Scully. That would be death.”
This from Mulder – a Mulder who was from a time well before
they had admitted and acted on their feelings. Though he was
from a time where his emotions were close to the surface, even
if they were unnamed.
He did know now that they were lovers in his future.
“When you forget me, you won’t even know,” Scully found
“I’ll know that something is missing. Though I probably won’t
be able to believe that I’ve found my soulmate. That I could
love and be loved. But you… You’d be the one *to* know.
Though perhaps that’s for the best. Then you would be free of
me and I don’t want you staying out of obligation to -”
Dana Scully reached her boiling point. She nearly decked him.
She did yell at him. “After all these years I thought we got
the whole ‘You’d be better off without me’ spiel out of your
system! Especially after Christmas! And -” She stopped and
sighed. “Of course you don’t remember any of that.”
At Mulder’s stricken look, she moved towards him. “It’s okay.”
She embraced her partner. “I’m sorry, I forgot.”
“That should be my line…”
His expression was still somewhat shell-shocked, both because
of her outburst and because of this unexpected and rare – to
him – display of such affection from his partner.
She felt Mulder stiffen slightly as her arms went around him,
then his arms slipped around her. His hold was tentative, like
a man freed from a dungeon finally stepping into the light,
wanting it, but tensed that the contact might burn him alive.
She imagined that there was also probably a residue of worry
along the lines of: ‘She’s just back from her abduction – I’ll
hurt her’ in there.
She kept remembering two things in particular that he had said
during two separate, difficult, times of their lives.
“I believe that what we’re looking for is in the X-Files and
I’m more certain than ever that the truth is in there.”
“I think that the truth will save you, Scully. I think it will
save us both.”
Something in the X-Files…
Looking for a cause or trigger was proving futile – too
inconclusive. But looking for a cure…
They could be two separate things.
The first idea that had sprung into her mind days ago was the
African UFO – the artifact with its pieces and the rubbings.
Even if that whole ordeal was not the cause of Mulder’s
current affliction, if a simple rubbing of a piece of it had
been enough to expand Mulder’s mind back then, what if they
could locate one of those pieces now?
A rubbing that had been in the case file produced no effect
when given to him at intervals over several days.
There was another possibility – one she had kept to herself
and on hold because of the logistics and distance to travel.
And in the hope that science and logic would have come through
for her and Mulder by now.
But they had not, and her mind turned to an alternative that
was definitely ‘out there’.
Mulder had regressed again. Scully had feared that this jump
might send him to a time before he knew her, however he ended
up in 1993. His mindset was that he was still on the case
where they had met Max Fenig.
She had lost some ground and time herself too – stress and
overwork had caused her to pass out and a doctor had sedated
her so she would get some rest. She was not a happy camper
when she awoke.
The irony was that she had passed out before she could do
anything about her ‘extreme possibility’. Now she was no
longer in a hospital bed herself, but would have to wait until
that night to get her plan rolling. At least the enforced stay
in bed before the staff would let her up had given her time to
plot and go over things.
She had to act now, before her partner regressed again, this
time probably to a point where he couldn’t remember her.
Mulder was awake, staring at the wall. He turned when she
“Hey.” He smiled at her. “Are you all right?”
“What time is it?”
He blinked and said, “Midnight? What’s up? You should be -”
“I’ve come up with something – someone – who may be able to
help us. But we’ve got some traveling to do to get there.”
“I’ll explain on the way. In another 30 or so hours, you’re
going to lose more of your memory, and chances are that…”
“I won’t be able to remember you,” Mulder finished bleakly.
“So I’d prefer that not to happen in mid-transit. It could
make life difficult. I’d prefer it not to happen at all. If we
go now there should be plenty of time to reach our destination
and find your friend.”
“My…?” Mulder curbed his questions, with an effort, she
“You’re going to have to sign out against medical advice.”
He shrugged. “I’ll still have my primary physician with me.
Are we going to tell anyone where we’re going? The guys?”
Earlier he had been surprised that Scully knew the Gunmen.
After all, in his mind, he hadn’t actually introduced her to
them yet. She had made up a little photo album of pictures to
show him of various people, more proof of time passing for
when he ‘jumped’, and he was amazed at a picture of her with
the Gunmen, Frohike making sure his arm was around her. “What
about Skinner? Can we tell him?”
“We can’t, not specifically. I’ll leave Skinner an email at
his work addy from my hotmail account. Then he shouldn’t read
it until sometime in the morning. I’ll use a code we worked
out once for times like this, so he knows it’s genuine.”
“He’ll be thrilled…”
Scully imagined Skinner’s reaction. He would have to wonder
whether it really was her who checked Mulder out. At least the
hospital’s security cameras would not have their lenses spray-
painted over, not that it would be much reassurance.
But this had to be done. And now.
Mulder asked, “What about your parents? Or will this be a
short trip and they won’t have time to worry?”
“I’ll send my mother a hotmail message too, telling her I’ll
be away this week. Um…my father died soon after Christmas in
“I’m sorry…” He already knew the fates of his own parents.
Once out in the car, Scully debated about turning her cell
phone off or not. She didn’t want their location to be traced,
but at the same time, if the Gunmen or Skinner or anyone came
up with information on Mulder’s condition… Finally, she
turned it off.
Mulder ran a hand through his hair, partly, she suspected, to
smother a yawn. But she could not tell for sure, only catching
a glimpse in her peripheral vision.
“So, care to fill me in?” he asked.
“We’ve got a red-eye flight to catch.”
“You think the car is bugged?”
“It could be, but then again we could just as easily be
followed or traced by many different means.” She thought of
the chip in her neck. And even though she was going to book
their tickets under false names and with cash, if someone was
looking for them, she and Mulder would probably be easily
noticed at the airport even if they tried to alter their
appearances. Airports would be one of the first places to
look. But Skinner would have no reason to realize anything was
up yet. And to get to California quickly, driving was
definitely out. “No one may be bothering. It’s impossible to
tell.” She would keep an eye out for a tail anyway. “I’d
prefer not to tell you our final destination. Not yet.”
He frowned, then laughed. “I’m getting a taste of my own
medicine. All those times I hauled you off to mysterious
locations and cases at a few minutes’ notice. So I guess I can
roll with this one. But is there anything you *can* tell me?”
“We’re going to see someone you met once.”
“In which of my pasts? The past that I actually can remember
“The past you can’t remember. ”
Mulder was less successful at disguising his next yawn – it
cut off the start of his next question.
“Get some sleep,” Scully told him. “A quick stop to get some
things we need, then on to the airport. We’ll be on the flight
His head was back against the seat. “But I want to know… And
I doubt we’re going to discuss it on the plane…” A few
seconds later he was asleep, his body overriding even his
The fear went through Scully that he would wake up and not
recognize her, even though another lapse was not ‘due’ yet.
She stopped briefly at her apartment to do things like sending
short emails and grabbing a store of cash she kept. She had
already gone to Mulder’s apartment before midnight to grab
suitable clothing for him. At the airport, when Mulder saw the
tickets she purchased with the cash, he said, “California,
huh? Don’t suppose you packed my Speedos?”
At San Francisco they changed flights for Redding. Scully knew
that Mulder wanted answers but he was so tired he spent most
of the travel time asleep or dozing. She took the opportunity
to catch up on sleep herself, knowing that she probably
wouldn’t get any the next night. The payoff she was hoping for
would more than make up for the exhaustion.
When they changed into a rental car at Redding and loaded in
the camping gear and supplies she had ordered, she knew it was
time for explanations.
Mulder thought so too. “Are we nearly there?”
“This is the final leg of the trip. It’s a little remote.
We’re going to the town of Manzanita Lake. Or rather the
Lassen Peak Volcanic National Park, which is near it.” She
waited to see if this sparked any flicker of memory in her
partner, but he shook his head. An irrational hope remained in
her that when they got there, everything would come flooding
“Okay, I know the where. But NOW will you tell me *why* we’re
“We came here several months ago on a case.”
“So why didn’t you let me read the case file on the plane?
Were you worried someone would read it over my shoulder?”
“There isn’t a report on it. Well, not of what really
happened.” At his raised eyebrows, she continued. “Skinner
gave us a case regarding some less than upstanding residents
who had gone missing from a town in Kentucky. A town that
proclaimed itself the home of Bigfoot. There had been
sightings of a large man-like creature that glowed. Even the
sheriff claimed to have seen it.”
“So why aren’t we in Kentucky?”
“Because then unpopular people disappeared from Manzanita Lake
and it also coincided with similar sightings. We came here and
stayed at the police captain’s cabin, near one of the
sightings. That night, you saw a tall glowing man and raced
after him. All you got was a sprained ankle. Yes, in that way
you’re still a klutz after all these years.”
Mulder gave her the wounded puppy dog look, which also had not
changed over time.
“Then Skinner called and told us that one of the missing men
in Kentucky had been returned. Not only that, but with a
complete attitude adjustment. I went back to Kentucky to
interview him – Purdy. He swore he had seen the error of his
ways and would do his best to be an upstanding citizen.”
“Because a ten foot tall glowing man in a toga had taken him
and his friend to a world beneath the earth. An amazing and
advanced place where their host said they would remain until
they learned the error of their ways.”
“Hearing a theory like this coming from you, Scully, I gotta
admit…” He trailed off with a grin.
“That it’s a turn on?” she asked.
He shrugged, almost apologetically.
“Anyway, you remained at the cabin near Manzanita Lake. And
you got to have a close encounter. One of those giant men came
to you and healed your ankle by touch.”
“So you think he could do the same to my mind? My memory?”
“I don’t know for sure. I hope so. The mind is a much more
complex and complicated thing than an ankle, but Purdy
underwent such a radical personality transformation… Last I
heard, he really was making good on his new leaf, and his
missing friend had also reappeared and seemed determined to do
the same. Another man from there still has not been returned,
to my knowledge anyway, but Purdy said he was a much harder
case. And one of the men from Manzanita Lake was returned a
month or so ago. He also seemed ‘rewired’, for the better.”
“So I got to meet ‘Bigfoot’ and all I got was a lousy healed
Scully said, “Not quite. You told me the giant man – Lathos,
his name was – communicated by telepathy. He took you to his
world and explained that his people, the Agarthans, were
trying an experiment. They were seeing if it was possible to
change the destructive habits of humans. To enlighten the scum
of the earth, then work their way up. By doing so they could
help the planet, which in turn would mean their world would be
“Did they come from outer space originally? Are they aliens?”
“I don’t know. But what happens to our world affects them.
Lathos was worried they would be discovered, since the
sightings were attracting a lot of attention. He could sense
that you were a believer, so sought you out to explain. You
came back with your ankle healed and also looking like you’d
spent weeks at a health farm, and we cooked up a report that
would keep Lathos and his secret, his world, safe.”
“So you didn’t get to see that world, or him? Geez, THAT
“I didn’t get to see ‘Hollow Earth’, like a lot of theories
have described it. I almost got to meet Lathos – I just got a
faint glimpse – but I was so exhausted and just waking up
under a tree, so I guess the two of you decided that your
reappearance, alive and well, would be enough for me to deal
with. Though I could have done with a zap of that healing
“What were you doing asleep under a tree?”
“I was out in the forest, looking for you. Purdy had said that
these beings were telepathic, so I went and sat and hoped one
of them could ‘hear’ me and bring you back to me.”
“But, you don’t believe… Well, ‘my’ Scully doesn’t.
“Things changed over the years. And I believe in it enough to
take you back there. It’s our best shot. You said at the time
that we should come back here one day, and that if we hung
around long enough in that area, Lathos should be able to
sense our presence and come for us. There’s no way we could
find the place by ourselves.”
“But what if I regress before he comes?”
“Then I had better do some very quick talking and hope you’re
in a receptive frame of mind. It’s an isolated spot, so you
can’t exactly go to a payphone and call the police on me.
There’s my cellphone, but it might not work in the woods
themselves. The cabin was in a clear spot. And the Agarthans
usually appear at night – so hopefully one of them will come
before dawn tomorrow.” But she remembered how Mulder had said
it could be a few days before their presence was felt. They
would just have to see. There were plenty of supplies anyway.
She had debated about whether to borrow the police captain’s
cabin or to camp in the forest itself. In the end she had made
sure a tent was included in the supplies and damn the cost.
The weather report was good, and she did not really want the
captain to wonder why they were back in the area. It wasn’t
like they could pretend they were on a holiday. Though Captain
Lopez had seen how she reacted when Mulder was missing, and
Lopez *had* asked her if they were more than partners.
Her partner made a ‘hmmmm’ noise. “Well, just in case I do
regress, I’d better write myself a note now. I believe in a
lot of things, so it will be interesting to see if I believe
Scully pulled over to let Mulder rummage in the trunk for a
legal pad and pen. When they got underway again, he sat and
thought for a while. “It’s funny, trying to profile myself. To
work out what to say that will convince me.” Then he started
writing. A few minutes later he tore the page off, folded it
and put the sheet in a pocket of his coat.
“Among other things, like what the hell is going on, I told
myself that you are a very special woman and that I can trust
you. I should be able to sense that anyway…”
“You thought I was a spy at first.”
“Not for long,” he countered. “Though if I ever get to
encounter my future self – the one with you – I’d like to give
him a kick for waiting so damn long to…y’know. But I guess
it did happen eventually.”
The weather was fortunately good enough that the tent, good
sleeping bags and appropriate clothing would suffice without
the addition of a campfire or cabin. So Scully did not stop at
the combined police-and-fire station. Besides, she thought
that Lathos would be more likely to appear to them out in the
forest itself instead of the cabin.
Carrying the tent, their sleeping bags and enough supplies for
a day, the partners went to the spot where Mulder had first
met Lathos. It was not a clearing as such, however there was
more than enough room to pitch the tent.
“And now?” Mulder asked.
“We set up the tent, then settle down and wait. And
concentrate on Lathos, I guess. It might bring him to us more
quickly.” She spread out a ground sheet next to the tent,
under a tree to have a comfortable place to sit. It was the
same tree that she had spent a lonely night under before. “I
don’t think anyone will stumble across us out here. The
walking tracks and tourist areas are just far enough away.”
Once their camp was made, Mulder sat down beside Scully on the
ground sheet. Not close, but not a mile away either. He looked
into the tent, at their sleeping bags. “Someone told me once
that the best way to conserve warmth was to crawl naked into a
sleeping bag with someone who is already naked.”
She nodded. “You told me that.”
“And did we?”
“We were stranded out in the woods on one of your monster
hunts. We were lost. We had no provisions, let alone sleeping
bags, it was night and cold and you were injured.”
His tone did not change, but his grin grew a little wider. “So
“I just told you -”
“You said that I was injured, not that I was dead.”
He did have a point. “No, we didn’t. We weren’t lovers then.
Not in that sense. You did, however, sleep in my arms, fully
clothed.” She decided not to mention the singing. He might
expect an ‘encore’. And she did not want to risk scaring
Lathos away… “But when we were investigating the ‘Bigfoot’
sightings several months ago, you and I spent the night out in
the woods in Doob Creek, Kentucky, on a stakeout. THEN you got
“Hmmm, mixing business with pleasure. Hope we weren’t
caught by anyone.”
“Well, in the morning we found large footprints nearby, so one
of the Agarthans might have got an eyeful.”
Mulder looked at the two sleeping bags that were laid out in
the tent, side by side – though with a respectable gap in-
between – then at her. “I guess I’d better keep myself
‘chaste’ until my remembering night, right? Like any good
“I was afraid you’d say that.”
“As soon as you’re well again -”
“Well, there’s nothing actually physically wrong with me,” he
supplied helpfully with a grin. “But mentally… I guess if it
took us eight years to get together in that way and I’m back
at year one… Must be hard for you though. I mean, you can
remember us as lovers.”
“Difficult in ways, yes. But also glad to have those
“I’d like to ask…about us… Feels weird though, like I’m
intruding or being nosey, yet it’s *about* you and me.”
“You can ask me about it. It’s okay. What do you want to
He hesitated, then he began asking questions. Not so much
about their physical intimacy but the other things they did
together and enjoyed together.
“I watched chick flicks with you? Geez, I must have been in
It hurt to hear him say that in the past tense, as though the
man next to her had fallen out of love with her and was
talking as though they were two exes who had met up again in
the mall one day. Mulder could not help that though. Losing
his memory was just as awful as being the one watching it
unravel, even if he could not remember the process.
Scully defended her choice of movies. “You watched them with
me. I didn’t say it wasn’t without a certain amount of
complaining and whining, though I think a lot of that was for
show because you actually did find yourself enjoying some of
them but wouldn’t dream of letting me know. Or instead of
complaining you’d do your best to distract me. And not just in
the way that you’re thinking of now. Though your arsenal of
diversionary tactics certainly increased once we did get
together. And I found some ways to get your attention when
sports were on TV.”
“Yeah. You didn’t mind. At least you knew that your team would
In-between their talks, they ate and spent time concentrating,
trying to summon Lathos or his friends. But eventually night
fell and steadily progressed, and there was no sign of any
sort of glow apart from the stars beyond the light of the
lamps Scully had turned on. She and Mulder were inside the
tent by this stage, sitting on their sleeping bags. The walls
of the tent had windows of clear plastic in them, so the
agents could still watch the forest as they waited.
At one point, Mulder chuckled. “It’s hard to believe that
we’re trying to summon someone that you yourself never
actually got to see, from a place you never got to go. From
what I remember, even when you saw things, you wouldn’t let
yourself believe in them. But I appreciate you doing this for
me. No one else would.”
“I would have done this for you during any of the years we’ve
“That’s right – from what I remember of my rescue from Ellen’s
Air Base, you sure hauled me out of the fire. Not many people
were willing to take hostages for me… Though by the sounds
of all you’ve lost along the way…”
She spent some time reassuring him, then said, “Lie down and
get some sleep.”
“But when I wake up, I might not be able to remember you.”
“We tried keeping you awake but whatever happens still
happens. You’re exhausted. If you don’t remember me in the
morning, then you’ll be easier to reason with if you’ve had
Mulder said, “I’m always easy to reason with! Though you
haven’t gotten any sleep either. How are you going to reason
with me when you’re… What am I saying? No matter what the
circumstances, you’ll be the voice of logic and reason.”
“Lathos should be here soon anyway.”
Mulder nodded. He went to speak, but either he could not find
anything to say, or the words he wanted would not come out. He
leaned across and kissed her on the lips. They clung that way
for a minute, then reluctantly he settled down in his sleeping
bag, on his side, facing her. Scully held his hand, and ran
her other one through his hair. And kept running it gently
through, even after he fell asleep.
Please, Lathos, hear me. You brought him back to me once
before. Please be able to do it again.
She concentrated until her head ached. Sometimes she stared
out at the forest as she did this, but most of the time she
spent looking at her partner’s face.
He had one nightmare, around three in the morning, calling out
Samantha’s name. Scully soothed him, and Mulder settled
without properly waking.
Mulder was back at a time of his life where Samantha was the
main subject of his nightmares. Before Scully’s own abduction,
the cancer, the mutants and monsters, the losses of so many
family members and friends, before Cancerman and the
Consortium were known to him or them…
But even before Mulder’s work on the X-Files, his nightmares
and burden had been horrific enough. Samantha’s loss, his
family’s disintegration, and the cases and human monsters he
had encountered while profiling.
He had never really had a particularly easy path through his
adult life, whatever the year.
Gradually light appeared, but it was that of the approaching
dawn, not of anything paranormal.
Scully felt like crying. She had dragged Mulder out here. And
it could well have been for nothing. How much longer should
they stay here?
She was broken out of her thoughts by Mulder opening his eyes
and staring blankly at the sleeping bag he was in.
“Mulder?” she asked softly, hopefully.
He nearly jumped clear out of the bag. His hand slapped at his
waist, seeking his gun. It wasn’t there. “Who are you? What am
I doing here?”
“You don’t recognize me?”
Her heart broke. But she forced herself to sweep it and her
tears into a corner. For now. “Mulder, I’m Special Agent Dana
Scully. I’m also a medical doctor. You’re suffering from a
form of amnesia and I’m trying to help you.”
He studied her proffered badge as he freed himself completely
from the bag. He remained in a half-squatting position out of
arms reach, as if ready to bolt. Mulder eyed her carefully.
“Where are we?”
“Lassen Peak Volcanic National Park in California.”
He took in his surroundings from his crouch, still very wary
of her. “Why? And what the hell do you mean ‘amnesia’? Okay, I
certainly don’t know you, but I know who I am.”
“Yes, but what year do you think it is?”
Mulder had regressed further this time than she had thought he
would. This was even before he had heard of the X-Files!
“What date is it?” Mulder asked. When she was slow to answer,
he demanded, “What date is it?”
She told him.
“No!” He leapt up. “I don’t know what mental hospital you
escaped from, but it is NOT 2002!”
“Look. Here’s a magazine I bought on our way here. Look at the
His expression was contemptuous. “That can be faked. And it’s
not October. It’s May. Oh, who cares about which month – even
if it *is* October, it is not and cannot be 2002!”
Silently she produced a mirror from her bag and offered it to
him. His reflection gave him a start. Mulder poked at his
face, as if hoping the changes were simply make up.
“I guess…” he said quietly.
“I do feel… Um, fitter. More muscular than when I went to
bed. But that’s…”
“You told me that there were a few times when you were
profiling or on some bad Violent Crime cases where you were on
a constant treadmill of cases. With no time to use a gym
Mulder was feeling the size of one of his biceps and absently
nodded at her words, too dazed to pick up and comment on the
fact she had said profiling in the past tense. “I squeeze in a
jog as regularly as possible, but never get to do weights as
much as I want to…” He shook his head to clear it and
started putting his boots on. Scully was still wearing hers.
Mulder asked, “When did this start? My amnesia?”
“Nearly two weeks ago.”
“Then what the hell am I doing out here?”
“We’re looking for a cure or treatment here.”
“Cures don’t grow on trees. Well, perhaps in the Brazilian
rainforest, but this doesn’t look like that. And if it is
Georgetown Hospital, then their Emergency wing has really
changed its decor!”
Scully tried to explain, however her partner was focused on
his boots and not listening. Then he exited the tent. Scully
was right behind him, but Mulder had only gone a few paces,
Scully said, “We have to stay here for now. It’s a long story,
but you believe in extreme possibilities. I’m hoping that one
of them will come and help us.”
Mulder was not looking happy. “How do you fit into all this?”
The pieces of her heart were not lying quietly. They were
stabbing inside her with each breath. That and Mulder’s
complete non-recognition of her were causing tears to rise up
in her eyes, despite her best efforts at calm and control.
“I’m your partner.”
“Partner as in ‘work partner’ or as in…”
She knew that with him in this frame of mind it would be
easier to just say ‘work’, but she could not lie to him. Not
about this. Not after years of withholding her feelings.
“Oh.” He looked on the verge of making a Mulder-remark like
‘It looks like I still have good taste in my later years,’ but
then his sensitivity came to the forefront. He dug around in
his pockets and offered her his handkerchief. “I’m sorry, but
I don’t… I can’t remember you…”
“I know.” She nodded at the handkerchief. “Thank you.” She
couldn’t tell if he was buying her story or not though.
“So does the whole Bureau know about us, or what?” His tone
was not caustic or amused. It was simply curious.
“And there’s a note in your coat. The right-hand pocket. Take
a look at it.”
Mulder kept some space between them and didn’t take his eyes
off her as he reached into his pocket. But then he took a few
paces back and read the note.
“That does look like my handwriting…” he conceded. “But…
This is too weird.”
Words she never thought she’d hear from her partner.
“How do I know you’re not some kidnapper or serial killer? Or
– and I don’t mean to sound arrogant or crass – someone from
the secretarial pool wanting some action? Besides, Reggie’s
going to be wondering where I am, and Bill Patterson borrowed
me to do a profile. I’ve got people counting on me, including
dead ones. If I screw this up, a killer goes free and keeps
killing, and I lose my chance at a spot in Behavioral Science.
Catching the killer is higher on my list of priorities
“Mulder, you don’t work for Violent Crimes or Behavioral
He looked at her in frustration. “What do you mean ‘anymore’?
I *haven’t* worked for BSU – this is just a ‘show us what you
can do and we’ll see’ job.”
“You did work for them. Like the note says, time has moved
“So did you convince Reggie – or Patterson, if I’m working for
him now – to let me come on this jaunt, or what?”
“Reggie died in 1994.”
Mulder stared at her. “And Patterson…?”
“He died in 2001.”
She braced herself for the questions that would lead to the
causes of death. What was Mulder going to think of Patterson
dying in prison, a serial killer? And that Mulder himself had
been the one to catch him?
Her partner’s jaw set. He was digging in his pockets again.
“I’ve heard enough. Where’s my phone?”
“We didn’t bring it. I’ve got mine, but there won’t be a
signal.” She had tried yesterday.
He stared at her phone. “That’s a cellular? It’s tiny…
You’re lying to me. This is just some kid’s toy or something
that operates as a calculator.”
She had forgotten that difference. The last few ‘jumps’,
Mulder had been cocooned inside the hospital, so technological
advancements like that had not been encountered or not noticed
due to everything else going on. Or perhaps the changes
weren’t as obvious as this one.
Mulder looked like he was at the point of bolting off into the
woods, away from this crazy woman. Scully said, “You told me
you think it’s May. The 27th?”
She thought back over his history. “So, you wouldn’t have had
the regression hypnosis yet. With Doctor Werber.”
Mulder gaped at her. “How did you know about that? It’s
supposed to be confidential!”
“And your appointment is in a week, by your mental calendar,
Mulder scuffed the ground with the toe of his sneaker. “If I
don’t cancel first,” he muttered.
Scully knew he actually would cancel, then later change his
mind, and be booked in for June 16, which would be the day he
actually did end up going through with the regression. And a
quest would be born.
He had always looked for Samantha – first as a teenager,
looking at girls of the right age he came across. Then as an
FBI agent, examining the evidence he could find from the old
records of her disappearance. Then in Violent Crimes,
wondering if any of these killers or crazies had also been
responsible for his loss.
So perhaps the actual quest to find his sister had not been
born with that regression tape, but his slant on the
perpetrators had certainly been shifted.
Scully said, “I know the events that led up to you making the
appointment. Suzanne Modeski. You met the Lone Gunmen for the
“The who?” he interrupted. Suzanne Modeski he did know, and
his surprise at Scully’s knowledge of her was clear.
Scully reached back into the tent and pulled out a knapsack,
glad it was not further away, in case Mulder decided to run
off. She produced the mini photo album. “These guys have
become great friends of ours. They help you with research and
When she produced the correct photo. Mulder nearly choked with
laughter. “Those guys from the Expo? The ones I wouldn’t trust
to change a light bulb – they’re a help? The world is
doomed… You’re not making a very strong case here, you
“When you found them at the warehouse you were sprayed with a
hallucinogen you think may have started to unlock memories
from your past. Memories about your sister’s disappearance.”
Scully braced herself for questions about Samantha. About
whether his twelve missing years had produced his sister or
the answer to what happened to her.
But Mulder, as amazed as he was at what she knew and his
reflection in the mirror, was still not quite buying her
insistence that time had actually passed. He considered Scully
gravely for what seemed an eternity, then came and sat down on
the groundsheet. Mulder was still a distance from her, but he
had decided to stay. For the moment. “Well, I guess there are
worse things than being stranded with an attractive woman in
the woods. So, while we’re ‘waiting’, tell me this story about
what’s going on and just what we’re waiting for.”
“Let’s have some breakfast while I do that.”
They sat under the tree. She told Mulder about how he and she
worked on the X-Files together, and that the cases were about
paranormal phenomena. He looked bemused. His working world was
full of serial killers, not UFOs. He was still a curious and
passionate man, but his thirst for the paranormal was only
just starting to make its presence felt in his subconscious.
So when she explained their Hollow Earth case, Mulder was
giving her the skeptical look that she so often wore.
“Some giant toga guy and his pet elephant?”
“Pet mammoth,” Scully corrected.
“You dragged me out here for that?”
“I couldn’t sit there and watch you disappear.”
“And what if these creatures can stop what’s happening to me,
but then can’t reverse it? Then I’m an almost twenty-eight
year old stuck in an almost forty-one year old body, and I
have no memory of you.”
“It would be worth that if it saves you,” she said frankly.
“You care about me that much?”
“But…” Mulder was at a loss.
“I know you’re not used to anyone feeling that way towards
you, but I do.”
Mulder took a deep breath, then asked, “And if the cure won’t
‘stick’ unless I remain in Hollow Earth, then what?”
“From what you told me, there are worse places to live. It’s
like a paradise.”
“So you’d be happy to come visit me?”
“I’d stay with you. After coming up with a good cover story
for our vanishing act. And as long as I could visit my mother
Then she realized that Mulder wasn’t listening to her. Or
looking at her. He was staring past her. She turned. There was
a glowing through the trees. This was not the sun as it
climbed into the sky. This light was nearby, amongst the
trees, and coming towards them. She heard Mulder curse and
knew that he had automatically gone for his gun again.
“I hope you’ve got your weapon,” he said, but his voice was
distracted. The weapon was just a precaution. Her Mulder, or
the Mulder of the X-Files, would see a light like that and
think he was close to aliens and the truth about his sister or
conspiracies, and head right for it.
But this Mulder was on the cusp. He had not undergone the
hypno-regression yet to fixate on alien abduction as the
answer to Sam’s disappearance and the focus of his quest.
However, it was a mystery, and this was still Fox Mulder.
Then they saw the source of the glow. A man. A nine foot tall
man was coming towards them, dressed in robes.
“Who…?” Mulder gasped out.
Scully said, “Well, he and I didn’t actually get introduced
last time, but I believe – and hope – that this is your friend
The glowing man stepped fully into sight. And the glow was not
from a lamp or any similar light source. His hands were raised
and they were empty. It was his skin that glowed. His face
looked human and was very serene.
Mulder stepped in front of Scully. Some things never change,
she thought wryly, and stepped around to stand beside him. She
pushed through her awe and amazement to get to the task at
hand. The Hollow Earth race was real. Thank God. And Mulder
was counting on her, though he didn’t really know or accept
that at the moment.
“Are you Lathos?” she asked. Then she wondered if she should
have thought her question instead, seeing as this giant was
supposed to be telepathic.
But the man smiled and nodded in response.
That’s right, Scully thought. Mulder had said that they could
talk, but they preferred to use telepathy. And if she thought
her question, then Mulder would not hear it.
As for Mulder, the surreal nature of the situation and
probably his own fear brought his inimitable wit to the
surface. “What, no mammoth?”
Then Scully heard Lathos speak, but his lips did not move. ‘I
am pleased to see you both again.’ She had heard it in her
mind. And from Mulder’s gasp, he had heard it too. ‘This time,
Miss Scully, we actually meet. Though you are almost as tired
as you were last time.’
Mulder swore, then said incredulously. “He’s real.”
‘You do not remember me, Mr.. Mulder? You should have retained
at least some memories. Especially since your brain is more
open and advanced than most.’
“Um, thanks, but I’m afraid it isn’t anymore. According to
Miss Scully here, I can’t actually remember the last thirteen
or so years.”
Hearing herself be called ‘Miss Scully’ was surreal.
Scully forged on. “Somehow Mulder has been afflicted with a
form of amnesia. This is the twelfth day, and he has
progressively forgotten more and more years of his life. He
doesn’t even remember who I am anymore. Our medical and
scientific communities are at a loss. They can’t say for sure
what caused it or how to help him. So, I hoped…”
‘That I might be able to.’
Lathos kept speaking in her mind. ‘You have kept knowledge of
our land secret. We are grateful for that. We know Mr. Mulder
has a good heart. I will see what I can do.’ Lathos moved
forwards. ‘Miss Scully, please keep watch. It is unlikely
anyone will come across us at this early time, but it is best
to be vigilant.’
Scully opened her mouth to ask why they did not go somewhere
like Hollow Earth or to a cave where they would be even less
likely to be seen, but remembered that from Mulder’s
description it had been quite a trip. Also, the ankle healing
had come before the trek – not to mention essential for Mulder
to be able to walk any distance at all – and the healing
process had been very swift. So Lathos was going to see if he
could heal Mulder as quickly now. Perhaps they would not need
the ‘expansive’ effect that Hollow Earth itself had on the
Lathos came forward again. Mulder looked half fascinated and
half like he wanted to back away. ‘Spooky’ Mulder won out, and
he held his ground. It also seemed to unnerve him slightly
that here was someone who actually towered over him instead of
the other way around.
Mulder threw Scully a quick glance, nodding at her cross. “Now
would be a good time to start praying.”
“I’ve been doing that for twelve days.”
Lathos put his hands on either side of Mulder’s head. The
agent shut his eyes. Lathos concentrated. The glow around the
giant became even more pronounced, though not enough to make
Scully need to close or shield her own eyes. She could pray
just as well with them open.
Time passed. Scully tried not to get worried. Ankle healing
had only taken around a minute, supposedly, but this time the
brain was being dealt with.
Then she saw the frown on Lathos’ face and did get worried.
Lathos concentrated again and glowed even brighter, but then
resumed his ‘normal’ glow and removed his hands from Mulder’s
Mulder opened his eyes and regarded the two of them. No words,
telepathic or otherwise, had to be exchanged for the trio to
know it had not worked.
Scully turned to Lathos. “There’s still a chance, isn’t there?
If we take Mulder to your world we can expose him to the
atmosphere there. That’s how you were able to cause such a
change in those men, right?”
‘They became enlightened. But I do not believe we have
encountered anyone with this particular condition, whether
Agarthan or human. I need to discuss this with the others and
they need to examine Mr. Mulder. We will journey to Agartha
and pursue a cure there. Come with me.’
Scully hesitated, looking at their supplies. “What should we
‘Whatever food and water you wish for the journey. You will
not require your portable bedding; we will not travel for that
long. We should go now, before any of your kind encounter us.’
Scully hastily gathered items she considered necessary. She
and Mulder were in warm enough clothing for a hike.
Mulder, who looked like he still couldn’t work out if this was
really happening or not, spoke up. “Agent Scully said you and
your kind tended to stick to nocturnal wanderings. Though that
glow would ruin the low profile you want.”
Lathos simply gave him a look and started walking. It was an
overcast morning, so not as light as usual, even this early.
Lathos moved fast. Scully was thankful she was used to keeping
up with long legs. “I was worried that you wouldn’t come,” she
‘I was delayed. I knew you wanted to see me urgently, but
could not sense that it was a medical problem.’ Lathos did not
elaborate any further on his lateness or seem to think he
should keep up a conversation with his guests, so Mulder and
Scully stayed silent for a while and concentrated on not
lagging behind. Scully seemed to get a second wind, not as
tired as she thought she would or should be. She wondered if
it was to do with her proximity to Lathos and his glow…
Eventually they came to a rocky area and to what appeared to
be a solid rock wall, but Scully realized there was an
entrance with a very well blended-in opening. They went
through the opening, and then down a steep path through
beautiful caverns. Mulder and Scully marveled at the sights
they encountered, as they followed Lathos through the twists
and turns and more caverns.
Mulder turned to Scully.
“Still sure about this, Agent Scully?”
“Scully. You usually call me ‘Scully’.”
“Oh. Even after all those years? Anything to do with me not
liking my first name?”
“Yes. Although you let me call you that sometimes.”
“Okay… So, are you still sure about this, Scully?”
“When you told me about your first encounter with Lathos, you
mentioned how he was actually able to blank or suppress your
memory at certain stages of your trip to his land, so you
wouldn’t be able to retrace the route. To do that indicates a
sophisticated knowledge of the workings of the brain. You said
that he made a gesture at your head and then there was a gap
in your memory.”
That intrigued Mulder. “Sounds like he can blank my mind
easily enough then. Let’s hope he’s as good at retrieving.”
At this Lathos turned and actually spoke to them. “It is too
much for me to undertake alone. I am hopeful that the
atmosphere of Agartha will be beneficial, as well as a healing
circle with others of my kind. That is how we help enlighten
those we take. What one may not achieve alone -” He made a
wide, sweeping gesture with one hand.
“- a committee might,” Mulder finished. “Let’s hope you’re
right, and that it sticks. Actually, you said something before
about my mind, but I wasn’t sure if you were being serious or
not. But I can see you aren’t a flippant type of guy. You said
my brain was more open and advanced than most. Did you mean
‘open’ as in my supposed ability to accept the paranormal? Or
does my eidetic memory make me ‘advanced’ in your way of
Lathos reverted to telepathy. ‘Both of those characteristics
are a factor, yes. But there is also something else. We
Agarthans use a much greater proportion of our brains than
humans do. When we bring humans to our land, they are able to
function on a higher level while they are there. We realized
that at some point in your past, Mr. Mulder, before you even
came to Agartha, your brain had an intense period of operating
at full capacity, past even what we are capable of.’
“I have? I did?”
Scully nodded and said, “Yes, it was a few years ago. Mulder
can’t remember it now, thanks to this amnesia, but it was so
intense and overwhelming that he couldn’t function properly.”
Mulder was staring at her and nearly hit his head on a
stalactite in the process. She outlined the case. “You started
to hear people’s thoughts, Mulder. But when you were around a
lot of people it was too much for you to handle or filter out.
Your mind became more ‘unlocked’. You ended up catatonic in a
hospital bed. Your brain was running so hot it was inevitable
that your body would not be able to withstand the strain for
long. And apparently you were aware of people around you, but
you couldn’t respond. The medication they gave you to try to
slow your brain waves down may have caused that effect. Or you
were starting to master your ‘gift’, but the drugs were
“And how was I cured?”
She explained about him being kidnapped and turning up in the
“Geez. Too bad none of them came for me while I was in the
hospital this time.”
Scully continued, “What happened to you when you started
hearing the voices may be linked to a retrovirus you were
exposed to years beforehand. You believed it to be alien in
origin. All this, plus whatever was done to you at the
Department of Defense… Mulder, there are so many
possibilities for what could be happening to you now. It could
be a combination of things.”
“Or my brain getting fed up with the way I treat it.”
Scully told Mulder and Lathos about what Mulder and his poor
head had gone through, even in just this last year.
“I was implanted with Sam’s DNA?”
“Involuntarily. Her memory impulses.”
Lathos remarked that he had sensed some sort of change had
occurred when he had touched Mulder’s head in the forest
today. ‘Perhaps it is related to that. But I cannot be
Not long after that:
“I let a quack doctor drill a hole in my HEAD?” Mulder nearly
“Two holes, actually. Voluntarily.”
‘Perhaps you are not as intelligent as I thought…’ came from
“Obviously not,” Mulder agreed.
She told Mulder and Lathos her theory about the DNA injection
now making Mulder mentally drop back towards the age of
“I’d prefer not to let it get that far…” Mulder said.
The discussion had kept Scully from dwelling too much on the
surreal nature of her current situation. Here she was, with a
partner who was shedding years mentally like a stripper
dropping items of clothing and also accompanied by giant man
from an advanced tribe down in the earth, traveling to a land
beyond her comprehension. Hard to believe. Hard to swallow.
Unbelievable. But life without Mulder was unthinkable, so she
She wondered if Chimene, the guilt vampire she and Mulder had
once encountered, was originally from this race or somehow
shared a common ancestry with them. Chimene possessed unique
powers that enabled her to sense guilt and take it from a
person’s mind and had alluded that she had lived an extremely
Lathos halted. Scully could not see another opening in the
rock, but knew that didn’t mean there wasn’t one. She thought
that the giant was giving them another rest break, but then he
raised his hand and made a gesture. Her eyes closed.
And when she opened them, she was sitting in a strange room.
Her mind started to process what she was seeing but her heart
jumped over that and she looked frantically for Mulder.
She did not have to look far. He was sitting next to her, his
eyes open too. Their eyes locked, looking at each other
intently, making sure they were all right, then their FBI
training made them do a quick scan of the room even as their
mouths were opening to ask ‘Are you all right?’ and provide
But even as Scully was doing this, she was aware of other
things. When she first opened her eyes, she had only had the
briefest of impressions of her surroundings before seeking
Mulder out. Yet as she looked at him and also reassured
herself they were alone in the room, her brain was able to
recount to her the details of the wall she had been facing,
including the intricate designs painted on it.
I’m a trained investigator. I’m supposed to notice my
surroundings. It’s an unconscious reflex.
That’s what Scully told herself, but she knew there was more
to it than that.
She was recalling the wall and its murals while at the same
time scrutinizing her partner with great care, neither thought
sequence interfering with the other. And she was recalling
other details of the room at the same time, after a quick
A person can rub their stomach while patting their head… But
this is odd, like my brain can and is operating on more
levels. Or am I imagining it?
And what a room…
The colors were incredible. So bright and clear to her eyes.
So this is Agarthan art… But then she realized almost
instantaneously that it wasn’t just the interior design. It
was her vision. The colors of Mulder’s hair and eyes were so
well known to her – things she had gazed upon countless times
over the years. Yet here as she beheld him, the colors seemed
to have a life of their own, as if she could fall into them.
“Mulder, the colors…”
Now that he seemed reassured that she was okay, he turned his
head back to where they had been facing – the mural wall.
Mulder nodded. “It’s fantastic…”
Scully tugged at his hand. “All colors. Isn’t it wonderful?
Every strand of your hair…”
“Doesn’t my hair look different to you? My eyes?” She realized
that she was asking this question of a man who could only
recall an acquaintance with her of a few hours, not years. But
still, surely he could see the difference? It was like being
used to string all your life, then being presented with gold
thread instead. Like having a veil lifted from her eyes. And
touching Mulder usually sent pleasant sensations through her
body, however in touching his hand now it was like all her
senses were magnified, not just her vision. It felt
There was a noise and Lathos walked into the room. ‘I believe
that Mr. Mulder’s amnesia may be interfering with his
perception somewhat. But that may change the longer he is
here. Welcome to the city of Lesser Shamballa. It is a major
city in our land of Agartha.’
‘Thank you,’ Scully sent to him. Then she turned to Mulder.
“Mulder, I can feel that my brain has ‘opened up’. Can you
remember anything? Is anything different?”
“Yes, in a way. But I still can’t remember what you said I’ve
Lathos drew their attention to a table which was full of food
and beverages. Some fruits Scully recognized, but they looked
like they were twice the size that she was used to. Dazed, she
got up and looked around the room again.
Draperies hung at intervals around the walls and Scully could
tell from the light that one at least was some sort of doorway
to outside. If one could actually be ‘outdoors’ when under the
‘I thought it best to introduce you to your surroundings
gradually,’ Lathos explained.
There was a tiny fountain in the wall. At first Scully thought
water was issuing from it, but then she realized it was light.
“What’s that humming noise?” Mulder asked.
“Our mode of transport.”
“I always wanted to see a flying car,” Scully said.
Both Scully and Mulder went to a window and peered out. They
saw the ‘flying cars’. And Scully found herself instantly
understanding them – how they worked, their method of
propulsion, even though there was nothing like them at home.
Lathos drew them out of their staring. ‘I have sent word for a
gathering of those I believe most able to help you, Mr.
Mulder. They will examine you and then we will see what they
“How long will it take them to gather?”
Scully knew that time was different here, but when Lathos
informed her that it would take two ‘reta’, she found herself
instantly knowing how long that would be, both in Agarthan
time and converted to her time. “About twenty minutes.”
‘You may wish to go out on the balcony or eat and rest. I will
return with the others. If you need me in the meantime, tap on
this chime.’ Lathos departed.
The room was so beautiful. If it were an exhibit in a museum
at home, Scully knew it would take her hours to go over every
little detail. Yet here that scrutiny was effortless. Though
colors were so bewitching now that she could spend five
minutes marveling at a shade of green.
The walls themselves generated an artificial light. The bed
against one wall had a cover it would take a village of people
ages to embroider. And the food tasted delicious.
Mulder turned to Scully. “Well, even if I don’t get cured,
thanks for the trip!”
They went out on the balcony, gazing at the sights in wonder.
At the appointed time, which came very quickly, Lathos lead a
group of Agarthans into the room. There were four males and
five females. All were tall and serene-looking too.
Lathos put Mulder’s chair in the middle of the room, in a
space that was completely clear. ‘Please sit, Mr. Mulder. We
wish to examine you.’
“Clothes on or off?”
‘We will examine you telepathically. There is no need to
remove your garments.’
The ten Agarthans formed a circle around Mulder’s chair. He
sat there, quiet and motionless, staring out at Scully, who
was standing. If an Agarthan happened to block their view of
each other, Scully would shift a step or two, back into his
line of sight.
The Agarthans closed their eyes. Their glow did not increase,
but Scully heard a sound in her head. It was a humming and
seemed to be coming from the circle.
All the ten giants spoke in harmony. ‘Your memories are not
lost. They merely need to be made accessible again. And kept
Scully felt herself comprehend. The drugs that Mulder had been
injected with had somehow left a build up, untraceable to
conventional medicine. Something that was interfering with the
transfer of his memories into his conscious mind. It was not
doing any physical damage as such, but had properties that
were causing the regressions. It had to be removed. Vibrated
away to nothingness.
This time the glow of the giants did increase and blend, and
it and the humming became so intense that it blocked out
everything, even consciousness.
Scully woke up. She was lying on what felt like a bed. Her
head hurt, but she made herself sit up. Mulder was her focus.
He was lying next to her, apparently asleep. “Mulder?”
He murmured and shifted.
“Mulder?” She shook him gently. Had it worked? Her brain was
not ‘multi-layering’ to such a degree at the moment, perhaps
because of what had happened at the ceremony, but she knew
that they were alone in the room and they were still in
It seemed a very long wait before he opened his eyes and
looked up at her. He blinked.
Then she saw a rush of feelings and knowledge go through his
eyes. And what remained there was the look she wanted to see.
“Scully. My Scully.” He hugged her. “I’m back.”
“You are?” she asked hopefully, gently pulling away a little
to regard him.
He proceeded to give her a list of things, including things
she had not had time to ‘update’ the 1989 Mulder about. Things
that only she and the 2002 Mulder knew.
She let out a cry of relief and gratitude and nearly choked
him with her hug.
Lathos entered the room and came up to the bed before they
were even aware of him. Scully went to get off the bed and
stand up, but he shook his head. ‘Remain there. Please. The
healing circle was successful.’
Mulder said, “Thank you. But will my mind remain ‘open’ once
we head back into the wide blue yonder, away from the
specialness of this place?”
‘We are very confident that it will. The congestion has been
cleared without harm.’
Scully could have hugged him. She thanked him instead. Lathos
gave them a brief healing treatment to banish their headaches.
It worked very quickly. Scully could feel colors ‘kicking in’
Lathos then offered to take them on an extensive tour.
At that, she hesitated. “As much as we would love to, we had
better go back to our world very soon. There are people who
will be looking for us. I don’t want to worry them any more
than we already have.”
“Next time we come back, we’ll make sure that no one will miss
us for a while,” Mulder said. “Then we can have a nice long
holiday and sightsee. There are things here that I’d love to
Lathos looked regally regretful. ‘That visit will probably not
be permissible for a long while.’
“Why? Have we done something wrong?”
‘Saving people in this manner is not our mission, even though
we are capable of it. It is important that humans learn their
few limitations and their innumerable capabilities. We were
willing to help this time, especially since you were dealing
with something unknown to you, but we cannot do it again. The
time has not come for us to reveal ourselves in such a
Lathos produced a device that looked like an hourglass, only
it did not have the tapering section in the middle. The grains
simply hovered at the top of the container and gradually
drifted down like in a snow globe. ‘Rest until this finishes.
Then we will leave here and you will get to see some of the
city on the way out. Then you will be back on your world a
single-day cycle after you came with me.’
Scully could tell that this version of an hourglass would last
for two human hours. She checked her watch, which still seemed
to be functioning properly, and rapidly did some calculations.
“I think we’ll be back ‘on’ earth for your birthday, Mulder.”
“You’ve given me a great present already, Scully.” And she
knew he wasn’t just talking about his restored memory.
“Thank you, Lathos,” Scully said again. “How can we ever repay
He spoke. “Keep our secret.” He inclined his head and left the
Mulder moved up close against Scully and put his arms around
her. They held silently for several minutes, reveling in the
closeness and sensations. He ran his fingers through her hair,
then lifted a lock and studied the strands, fascinated by how
vibrant the color was.
“Soooooo… Our brains are working at a higher capacity,” he
remarked. “They can take in a lot more. Not just knowledge,
but all the senses are enhanced.”
“So, what sort of an affect do you think that would have on
something like…” He paused and ‘casually’ picked a word out
of the air. “…Sex?”
Her reply was deliberately just as casual. “I’m not sure,
Mulder. I have wondered that myself, though only briefly,
being somewhat more concerned and occupied with other matters.
But now that you’re all right and have raised a very
intriguing question, I guess the only way to find out is to
put it to the test.”
“Do you think that they’d think we were being rude if we put
out a ‘do not disturb’ sign for a while?”
“I think they’d understand.”
Scully blinked. Mulder was in her arms, also stirring.
Awareness came to her in pieces: forest. Day. Early. Not long
after dawn? The tent. They were lying on top of one sleeping
bag, with the other over them like a blanket. They were
Scully blinked again. They were back in the national park. But
how? There were memories… Some she couldn’t quite grasp,
some stronger than others.
But the main thing…
He sat up enough to meet her eyes. He knew exactly what she
was asking in her one word question. “I’m here. All forty-one
years of me, both in body and mind. Though I feel like a
thirty-five year old!”
That was true. Just like after his first visit, Mulder looked
fit and tanned and glowing, and from the look in his eyes, so
did she. Scully certainly felt great. But that could be
explained by how relieved and happy she felt.
She hugged him fiercely.
One strong memory was the incredible-on-every-level-and-plane-
of-existence-and-then-some lovemaking they had shared in
She couldn’t remember it anywhere near as clearly as she knew
she should. Just like Mulder when he had returned the first
time. Either a quirk of not being in that beneficial
atmosphere anymore or Lathos had selectively tinkered with
“I’m glad he left our ‘session’ intact.”
Scully knew her partner was not referring to the circle of
healing. “Mulder, I think our ‘session’ was such a vivid
experience that it was seared into our brains.”
She could recall aspects of the city, but knew there was a lot
more. It did not matter though. She had what she wanted.
Scully stretched. “I guess we’d better get up soon and get out
of here, hopefully away from the town before any earlybirds
get a good look at us. Then decide where and when to start
spreading the news that we’re back and okay… First on the
list is my mother.”
Mulder’s face fell. “I’m sorry. She’s one of the last people I
wanted to cause more worry for.”
“She’ll be happy that you’re okay.” Scully checked her watch
as they stood up. It was definitely after dawn. “It’s the
13th. Happy birthday!”
“Thank you. Perhaps we can tell her we went away for a private
“And this was the day that you were due to ‘drop back’ again.
But you haven’t.”
“Things are looking up. No cobwebs on the brain. Thanks to
you.” He picked her up by the waist and swung her around in
In San Francisco the agents went to the FBI field office there
and found Paul Kells, an agent they and their A.D. knew. In
Kells’ office they called Skinner, then handed the phone to
the agent so he could corroborate to their boss that they were
alive and all right. They would face Skinner’s unique blend of
wrath and relief in D.C. when they reported to him next
morning. He was glad that Mulder was now okay – though wanted
to see for himself.
But they were able to spend that night in Scully’s apartment.
The jetlag they expected did not arise, and Mulder attributed
this to their ‘post Agartha glow’. Other things, however,
certainly got to arise…
“Happy birthday, Mulder.”
“It certainly is so far!”
They might not have been able to have the ‘all encompassing
Agartha experience’ again, but neither of them minded. They
had the memories. And what they had just shared was quite a
slice of heaven as is.
“And at least I’m fighting fit,” Mulder bragged with a grin,
“able to make up for all those days of abstinence.”
“True, but sometime in the next few weeks, you’re due for a
“No, I think it would be a good idea.”
“I’m in perfect health! And you’re telling me that out of all
that time I spent in the hospital when I was losing layers
like an onion, that nobody bothered to update that shot then?
Out of all those zillions of jabs I did get?”
“We didn’t want to do anything that might adversely affect
you, especially when we didn’t know what was happening with
He let loose a put-upon sigh. “One thing,” he said after a few
minutes of drifting.
“Where are we going to tell Skinner that we spent the last few
“At an amazing secret health spa that only caters for
exclusive clientele. Or something like that. We might have to
powder down our golden tans though.”
“Thanks for the memories.”
“Even the bad ones?”
“You make them worth remembering.”