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In the Moment

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"You have to get out."

Frowning, Ulises Diaz Pena held the phone away from his head and looked at it, then brought it back to his ear. "Excuse me?"

"Listen to me, you have to get out."

The voice was female, American, and under a sufficient amount of urgency that Ulises believed her almost without question. Well, he had questions, but this was Mexico and he was a Federale and frequently the best thing to do was keep one's mouth shut. Arturo Machado Henriquez drifted by the office door, glancing at Ulises as if he were just passing by on the way to get coffee. Ulises half-smiled and swung around on his chair to face his computer. "Que onda?"

"I wouldn't call you on this line, but there isn't any time left. You have to get your family and get out."

"Como?" Ulises asked, watching Arturo move back from the door, obviously assuming he was out of Ulises direct line of sight. Which he was, except that long ago Ulises had arranged his office so he could see people reflected in his computer screen, the commendations on the wall, the framed photograph of Carolina and the children. "Go where?"

"Su casa, senor. I'll call you with mo- "

"Okay! I'll be there shortly. Adios, amigo," Ulises carefully placed the phone in its cradle. He stood and stretched, finished the rest of his bottle of limeade. He grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair and with one last look at the monitor - Arturo was still there - took the three steps to the filing cabinet in the back corner of his office. Crouching down, he opened the bottom drawer as silently as he could, removed the spare handgun and slipped it into the back of his pants. A complete cliche, but needs must, as his high school guidance counselor used to say. Ulises was pretty sure this was not the situation Mr. Foster had had in mind. Slipping into his jacket he was grateful he always wore body armor, even at Headquarters. If nothing else the bulk of it would hide the gun at his back.

Ulises made it home without incident. He couldn't believe he had been able to leave his office without be stopped. He'd casually nodded  at Arturo, barely acknowledging Arturo's empty coffee cup. For a brief moment Ulises had contemplated stopping to get another juice from the machine, just to prove he was relaxed and unsuspecting. Ultimately he'd decided against it. Each choice he made had the potential to, to, he didn't even know.

"Carolina!" he called, locking the door behind himself. The gates were also locked, and he hadn't seen any strange cars, vans, or trucks on the street, either. The house wasn't in the most fashionable neighborhood, yet it was secure enough. There hadn't been any kidnappings in the past three years, nor burglaries beyond what one might expect of house cleaners and gardeners.

The house was very quiet.

"Caro?" he called, releasing the catch on his hip holster. "Are you home?"

"We're in el salon, caro mio."

Que? Caro mio? Ulises frowned and slowly made his way to the living room. Carolina was fluent in Spanish, but she was not inclined towards cuteness, at least not towards him, and certainly not when there was company around. Rounding the corner, he saw Carolina perched on the edge of the couch, her eyes wide, her smile slight. Tension didn't exactly drain from her, yet he could tell his presence eased her. The backpacks they used for hiking were on the floor, all stuffed near to capacity. Alejandra and Octavio were on the other sofa, pretending to do homework, and there, sitting on the desk where the computer normally lived, was Dana Scully. She looked little different from the last time he had seen her; her hair was blonde, now, and her tee shirt was navy blue with ADIDAS printed in bright yellow. Her jeans were still threadbare. She wore the same tattered Huaraches, and this time her toes were bare of nail polish. He said, "Hello."

"Mulder's upstairs," she said, lifting her chin towards the hallway.

"What is it you want."

A grim smile appeared on her lips. "You. Your family. Anything that'll get us back to the US."

He snorted. "And that's because…?"

"Because Noriko Takahara called and said you would receive further instructions when you got home. And here we are."

Ah… "The voice on the phone sounded familiar. She didn't me much."

Scully nodded. "We're going to Seattle, and from there Washington, D.C."

"And what about my family?"

She jerked back a little, eyebrows creased. "You're coming with us."

He shook his head, folded his arms. "No. No, whatever trouble you're in, we don't want to be involved."

If one could make an upside-down smile, that's what Scully did. Oh - she pitied him? No, she was making an effort for him, even though he'd given her no reason to do so. Any Federale who knew her history would do the same.

"You…if you want your family to live, you must come with us," she said very gently. "Mulder."

Ulises spun around, one hand on his gun. Mulder stood behind him closely, holding up his hands in the universal 'unarmed' gesture. Ulises backed up, aimed himself towards the children. "Why?"

Scully hopped off the desk. "What Mulder and I have feared has come to pass. It's an invasion. Now it's time to make a stand."

"You don't need me for that. I'll help you cross the border into Norte America, but that's it."

"Ulises," said Carolina. She glanced at Scully, then stood, wringing her hands together. "If what they say is right, we can't stay here. There'll be panic in the streets! Ulises," she repeated. "I'm taking the children whether or not you want to come."

 He couldn't believe it - his Caro, who'd always had the worst to say about America, now wanted to go there on the word of a madwoman? "No. No!"

"She wants your children to live," Scully said. "Don't you?"

"You can't ensure that!" he spat.

"They'll have a better chance up there than down here."

Thing was, he wasn't sure she was right. Oh, sure, Los Estados Unidos was more law-abiding, their Military bigger, their Police bigger still. And yet…the natives had endured the Spanish invasion, devastating climactic changes, fire and earthquake and volcano and mudslide. Here, once they were out of the city, they could go farm in the foothills all year round. There was community, and tradition, folk healers. But Caro was from Germany, she didn't understand the way he did. She'd never lived in America, whereas he had, he knew what could happen there, had seen it time and again in his own neighborhood in Los Angeles. They would stick out like sore thumbs - no, he would stick out. Caroline was white, with pretty, light brown hair and crystalline blue eyes. The children were redheads and white enough to not make a difference. In fact it was their mere ordinariness to American children would see them through, even if the worst happened to himself and Carolina.

"Scully's got a big family," said Mulder. "Her mom will make sure you settle down, that your children are safe and well."

Ulises shook his head again. He couldn't - he couldn't -

"Come on," said Scully. She hopped down off the desk and walked towards him slowly, deliberately. "You've been so good to us. Let us return the favor."

His resolved crumpled. There really was no reason to stay beyond some sense of patriotism to Mexico. He wasn't going to make a difference here, not in the way that he had hoped. Now it was time to take care of his family. Noriko had always sad they would do anything for their friends, even the ones they knew very little.

'"A strange contradiction," Noriko had said, an amused little frown on her face. "They say 'Trust no one', when the truth is that they trust a hell of lot until you prove to them you're not worth it. If they say jump, I don't even ask how high."'

"Okay. Okay," he said. "We'll go."