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Heuvelmans' On the Track

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He opened his eyes and waited. He was on his couch, and there was a startled feeling in the air. He remembered that it was all very real, and shot breathlessly up, freezing and panting with pain, an inexplicable, undiagnosable pain that came on suddenly in the center of his body. As soon as it disappeared he would forget about it until the next attack. Sometimes in the dark it made him panic, lurching up and wondering if he was going to throw up or die, if it was a heart attack or apnea or some dark abduction, the finger of God finally pressing down upon him. Then it would pass and he would turn on the TV.

Are you scared, Mulder? she asked in his head.

Yeah, I'm scared now. He reached for the glass of water on the coffee table. Pale sunlight had found an angle through his half-opened curtains and was registering time along the wall like a makeshift urban clock. After stagnating all night, water, the universal solvent, tasted of the absorbed flavors of his apartment; chemical salts and bleaches. He gulped noisily. Scully's box of office stuff was against his foot. It had been a rough night and his hand was in the box as he fell asleep.

He was hesitant when he began to clean out her desk in the bullpen, reluctant to disturb her things as she had placed them, but someone else needed the desk. For a moment he considered taking a few continuity Polaroids, dusting the whole thing with Basic Yellow and documenting her touch-placement under ultraviolet light. It looked like a trail of clues, and the FBI didn't care and Skinner said she'd been reassigned, and the cellular customer he was trying to reach had a number that was no longer in service, and her mother's phone went straight to the machine. Mulder was positive Scully had been threatened, and here was the proof: she hated loose ends. She had set up this desk with an attention to detail he found amusing at the time, and which now broke his heart, the stapler and tape dispenser and paperclip holder lined up in a row. There was a photo of her brother’s baby taped to the monitor, which she never would have left behind, and a package of oatmeal-cinnamon cookies in the bottom drawer on a stack of background files, from before the bomb in Dallas. He had complained they weren't chocolate chip.

As he left carrying the lidless file box, he noticed the bullpen people watching him by not watching him, their heads ducked gravely; he was an agent who had lost his partner, the ultimate in FBI tragedy.

In the parking garage Mulder backtracked over Scully's cold trail, roaming out through the cars in the general direction of her favorite parking spot, his flashlight sweeping the dirty concrete. It crossed his mind to quit the FBI, a corrupt, ill-run institution famous for its fumbling, idiosyncratic computer system. As far as Mulder could tell, they had barely looked into the case of arson committed right here in FBI headquarters. They had a file on Einstein as long as your arm; they had tried to deport John Lennon. Skinner had lied to him about Scully, but Mulder sensed that Skinner didn't really know much. Obviously something quite terrible had occurred, if Scully really had walked away of her own free will, which Mulder didn't believe for a scintilla of a second. And even as this conviction firmed in him, his flashlight tripped across a smattering of cigarette butts in the deep shadow of a concrete pillar. He picked one up—a filtered Morley that had been flattened under the twisting motion of a hard-soled shoe. He sniffed the scorched end, and the hair thistled at the back of his neck.

Then he saw the bee. He twitched the light over it.

At times, Mulder knew that all he really had was his faith, a few obscure qualities, and his ability to hang on against horrific odds. He held the bee and the cigarette butt in his palm, dashing the penlight across them. A honey bee, he thought, although he was no expert on bugs. It lacked the heavy electricity of a live bee; it felt desiccated, its golden ruff sparse and the amber body dulled; the black stripes rubbed down to the shine, antennae and legs brittle enough to come right off at a touch. It had been crushed. It must have been in her pocket, or in her clothes; it could have traveled on Scully all the way from Texas, and then met its demise here as the Smoking Man accosted her. Mulder could read a scene like an Indian at a deer lick but understood that it might not appear quite so obvious to others. Still, he was tempted to call Skinner down to have a look.

The file box was beside him as he sat on the couch. It was a comforting denial mechanism, like a dead baby monkey the mother can't stop carrying around. The cookies in their little plastic tray atrophied sedately, and the baby nephew smiled, a Scullyish smile. He pulled out an item at random, a Post-It note that said ‘Swansea, MA, thurs' in her sensible hand. She might as well have carved the words into his heart.

He made himself rise up out of his apathy and roll his stiff neck. He was unnaturally sore in all his joints. He felt as though he'd been taken apart and put back together in a non-functional manner. There was a terrible taste in his mouth, a terribly familiar taste, and there really was something, some kind of poison in his shoulders and knees, and his eyes were dry and scratchy.

The elevator dinged, faint and distant, and his eyes went to the bar of lemon light on the wall until hope had risen and fallen again.

He heard a number of shuffling feet outside in the hall, then a whispered pause. A jaunty triple knock rattled the door. Mulder jumped, despite having braced himself. He ground his molars as he traversed the hall.

'Don't look so thrilled to see us, Mulder,' Frohike said, with a shrewd look, as they all pushed past him. Langly twitched the curtain and checked for a tail.

‘What do you have?’ Mulder asked.

'We were up before dawn going over the parking garage with a ten power hand lens,' said Frohike.

'Yeah, Mulder, you owe us breakfast. And you owe us beaucoup kudos for tracking down that honey bucket,' said Langly, jittery, hands folded under his armpits, his black frames catching the morning light.

'Tanker,' Mulder said. 'What've you got, fellas?'

Byers held out the vial containing the bee.

'We scoped the spot where you found the bee,' said Langly. 'Frohike shot a whole roll of film.'

'Let Byers talk,' said Frohike.

Mulder uncapped the vial and shook the bee into his palm like an aspirin. They all leaned close. 'It's a feral honey bee, superfamily Apoidea,' Byers said quickly. 'It's been hybridized with an Africanized honey bee, your so-called killer bee. There aren't any in the Eastern U.S.'

'Time of death: approximately forty-eight hours,’ added Langly.

Mulder sighed. The bee's polleny ruff stirred. 'We got into a swarm down in Texas,' he said slowly. 'Do you think she was stung?'

'The venom sack and stinger are still intact.' Frohike's eyes, distorted behind his glasses, hadn't left Mulder's face.

Mulder recalled suddenly that he had been stung in that strange bee dome. It was only the mild teasel scratch of a honeybee's sting, and he hadn't given it another thought, especially with the prospect of machine gun fire from the helicopters. 'Her mom’s not answering the phone,' he said.

'Her FBI file's still online; we can’t find evidence of reassignment.'

‘She said she was quitting,’ Mulder said wearily.

'You've got to get in touch with her, Mulder,' said Frohike. 'This thing is dangerous. If she's infected, we won't have much time to act.'

'There's a car down the street,' said Margaret Scully. She stood at the sun room window with her cordless phone, near the abandoned cluster of her daughter’s houseplants. Without enthusiasm, Dana had rented an apartment in Charles Village and had moved there in body if not in spirit, but continued to appear at her mother's for dinner, remarking that her flat smelled of paint. There was propitious favor in the moment she appeared at the kitchen door; knocking politely and calling 'Mom?' as she came in, her Edwardian beauty counterposed against a suit that wouldn't have been out of place on Charlie Chaplin. As her father used to say, privately, when the kids couldn't hear—Starbuck: a wonder of the world.

Sometimes, watching Prime Suspect together, or tying a quilt for the church raffle (suturing, Dana called it), Maggie might look over and see that her daughter was somewhere else entirely, locked trancelike inside herself. At any mention of her FBI partner Mulder, she retreated to the ledge of a hazardous brink, cheeks sucked in, her eyes unseeing, a mirror-flash of pain. She was a textbook middle child, and had always been the most difficult of the four Scully children to comfort.

'How is it parked?' Dana asked crisply.

'Other side of the street, a block past our house,' Maggie said, leaning slightly past the drapes. 'Facing away.' The tradecraft was underhanded and absurd, like the histrionic games of children.

'That's him. He's watching in the mirrors. Is it a Crown Victoria?'

'Dark gray or blue.'

'That's him,' Dana said.

They had a contingency plan for just this moment, but, now that it had arrived, a stillness came over them both. They had expected Mulder to storm the bastion, calling for answers, and they had planned exactly what must be said to him. Dana had warned that he would be predictably unpredictable, whatever that meant; Maggie supposed this subterfuge represented an example of it. She really did not feel up to matching wits with this high-strung crime fighter who seemed to love her daughter with a sort of medieval fire in the belly.

It was a hot afternoon, and a misty empty spot hung over the street. Maggie felt caught between the initiatives of two people who communicated with such illusive sophistication that, to the untrained eye, their relationship barely registered. One of them sighed tensely in her ear, the other sat spying on her house. Yet they were so fervently linked that Maggie felt herself to be simply the fraught wire through which an impulse passes.

Dana was at work at the naval hospital in Bethesda, in the basement of the building, and Maggie tried to picture her there now, in a lab coat, holding a portable phone, in those windowless rooms among the dead. It struck her that she did not understand her own daughter, or rather, that Dana was a person more complicated than most. The Scullys were a stern people, and not easy to love; Maggie had learned that the hard way. They bred true with their grimness and their hard blue eyes; Dana was certainly no different than the rest, but somehow, something to do with this man and his trial by fire had taken her beyond all that, and she had been pushed and hardened, raked by the teeth of death; she wore black, chopped her hair short, and had the attitude of one who has developed an inextricable mindset. It seemed obvious now that Dana had got herself tragically in love, and not in a beautiful way, not in a way that promised all the sweet things of life, but in some modus dark with ruin.

In the suspended afternoon they exchanged a few words, and Maggie did not register what was said, rising to the task at hand. She put down the phone and went out the kitchen door. As she walked down the driveway with the sun in her face she felt the attention of the watcher in the street. A newspaper had missed the neighbor's box a few days before, and it lay under the hedge on her side, and even though she had ignored it until now, a real fury at the paperboy arose. She reached down under the hedge and picked up the sodden, disgusting chunk of Wall Street Journal, with its superfine soft paper, and stuffed it in the neighbor's paper box. Rather blindly, she stalked into the middle of the street. The trees were above her now, and as she stood in the hushed avenue, staring hard at his car, her indignation concentrated on his sulky ambuscade. She was an upright person, and would absolutely not tolerate this subterfuge.

Maggie began to walk, pulling her cardigan close. She walked up the middle of the street, looking sharply into his side mirror as she approached. Never forget that he’s a trained manipulator, Dana had said. As Maggie came up, he slumped lower in his seat, tilting his face away as if he were trying to remember something. She rapped on the glass with the hard diamond on her knuckle, and he jumped.

'If you would like to speak to me, please come up to the front door,' she said, as he rolled down the window. 'You're lucky the neighborhood watch hasn't reported you.'

He looked up into her eyes. She had expected to see misery; she only encountered Special Agent Fox Mulder on the occasions when the world as they both knew it had come apart. In addition to the deep black misery in his eyes, he had a clammy tint, and a rough, blackened jaw.

'Please, Mrs. Scully, I need to talk to her,' he said quickly. His voice had a husk. 'I need to know she's all right.'

'I have a message for you, and then I need you to leave,' she said. She felt her wet fingers drying where she held them curled under her arm.

He nodded quickly.

'She says, for your own sake, stay out of it.'

He was still nodding politely, as if he had yet to hear any instructions worth following. He had not taken his eyes off her face. His eyebrows slanted upwards like a worried bloodhound. 'What about for her sake?' he asked, and Maggie knew, suddenly, that he understood Dana, that, unlike everyone else in the world, he both understood and liked her complicated daughter. 'We're worried she may be infected,' he said. 'Tell her if she feels sick to contact our associates.'

'What kind of infection?'

'Tell her it's something to do with the bees.' He reached for the ignition but did not turn the key. 'Dana will know what I'm talking about. And tell her...' He readjusted his rear view mirror, and cleared his throat. He closed his eyes and sighed, sharp and fast, a striation flickering in his jaw. Then he straightened up and pulled himself together.

Maggie found herself reaching in, as if he were a child who needed tending. She put her hand on his shoulder, and he tried to smile, embarrassed, and dropped his head. Through his T-shirt she could feel the beefy warmth of his shoulder, which made him seem more pathetic. 'She's just trying to keep you safe, Fox,' said Maggie.

He looked up at her quickly. She had just gone wildly off-script, and he knew it. 'Mrs. Scully, it's probably good for her to distance herself,' he said, surprising her again. As he said it, he seemed stunned at what had emerged from his mouth, and he put his hands on the steering wheel and stared straight ahead.

Maggie straightened up, and looked up the street toward her house. With its dormers, the house that she and her husband had chosen together had a human expression that mimicked a far-seeing resignation and patience. Fox Mulder must have this house-face well-impressed in his mind.

‘I’ll tell her that if you like,’ she said.

He glanced at her wistfully, as if looking for something else in her face. Looking for Dana, who had somehow come from her, but was not her, oh, not at all.

Mulder re-broke into Scully’s apartment. He was groping along in a quietus, his mode of investigative immersion, led by the genetic whiff of Scully he'd received from her mother. In his bereft state it was the only place he could bear to go. Her apartment was a war zone of stepladders and paint cans. He trod noisy swaths of plastic. The refrigerator, humped beneath a dropcloth, was in the middle of the kitchen. The rooms felt bigger, and all the fixtures and trim were masked and deadened. He was in no mood to see Scully's place hastily painted over as if she were something to forget.

The bathroom smelled of wrenched copper and the slimy scent of open plumbing, and the U-joint from the sink lay in the bathtub. In the mirror he saw that his panic face was indeed as bland as that of an Egyptian god.

He went to the window in the empty bedroom, and put his forehead to the glass. He deduced that Scully was nominally within reach, probably in the Baltimore area. Mrs. Scully, who looked like she had a lot to deal with, spoke of her in the present tense, as if they spent a lot of time together. And Scully herself, anticipating his appearance, had prepared a message for him.

He looked down at the street. He was trying to see through her eyes. She would have looked out at this view every day, standing here in her pajamas, half-awake, and he tried to imagine the things she knew; her experiences had been different than his, although he always hated to admit that. She was autonomous. She was coming from somewhere else. She had been threatened with something, he was sure of it. The Smoking Man wasn't dead, he was sure of that, too.

Mulder fidgeted in a circle. It occurred to him that Scully had blown town with some of his books. He was a little bewildered when she asked to borrow some of his cryptozoology: Scully, meeting him on his own turf! To give her credit, from time to time she looked in on the depths of their métier. Perhaps she was seeking the terminology with which to deepen her sarcasm. In truth, she was aware of her limitations when it came to understanding and second-guessing some of the situations they encountered; she was a scientist preparing herself. 'You have the open mind of a researcher,' he had said encouragingly; she had begun to look rueful as he loaded her up.

He was glad she had his books, because she was conscientious, and it created a loose end. He had never adequately admitted that her experiences were her own. He tended to feel that everything that was happening to her was happening to him, too, as if she were the pricked voodoo doll and he the one who experienced pain.

His hand was unsteady as he held the blinds open and looked down into the twilit trees along the street. A long grey car had settled noiselessly at the curb beneath the chestnuts.

He had a bee, a few half-smoked Morleys, a missing partner, and this horrible taste in his mouth, as if he had a sewer fluke in his liver. This was her view of the street. Scully was on her own in the world, so separate from him. This was her view. He needed to look out through her eyes, and plan a path through the world, think like a tracker.

The car's silvered rear window slid downward. Mulder, staring down, looked directly into the long courtly face of the éminence grise, and the arrogant eyes with their brisk command.

Stay out of it, she whispered in his head. He thought: You and I found each other in this cold world of strangers. I'm already in it.

When Mulder came down the front steps, the Englishman was standing beside the Bentley.

'Mr. Mulder.'

Mulder nodded tightly.

'Please,' the Englishman said, holding the rear door.

'I think my mother warned me about just this scenario,' Mulder said, but he slid into the foreign car with its polished leather seats. The Englishman positioned himself at the other end of the seat, angled towards him, legs crossed, smelling of rosewater and cigarettes. No seatbelt. As if awaiting a starter pistol, something like 500 brute horsepower muscled beneath them, and the chauffeur stirred the wheel. Mulder could have sworn they swept.

'It may interest you to know that your young friend has been spared,' said the Englishman.

Mulder's heart nearly stopped. 'What are you saying? Where is she? What have you done with her?'

'These sorts of impulsive decisions are always so difficult to defend. We reached consensus in committee, but a blunderer was sent to do the job. At present I would consider her to be perfectly safe.' The old man had an ostentatious blink. He looked like he had a basement full of Nazi war plunder, a stable of hunters and hacks, and a familial love that was at war with his antipathies.

Mulder felt an oozing crawl in his stomach. 'What had you hoped to accomplish?'

'To discredit you, of course. You saw the bodies at the Bethesda Naval Hospital.'

'You don't think I'm having enough success discrediting myself on my own?' Mulder asked derisively.

'Young man, you've made everyone amply aware of your great capacity for meddling in affairs you don't understand.'

'I think I have enough understanding to know what it is you're trying to prevent,' Mulder said.

'Colonization,' said the old man grandly, stating each syllable.

'Of the planet!' said Mulder. The driver made a sound, and Mulder turned to watch him. The driver sat motionless, waiting for a traffic light, his gaze avoiding the rear view mirror. Mulder was pretty sure that he was the one who had tried to kill Kurtzweil.

'True success, as I would have it, would be for my grandchildren to never know dominion,' said the Englishman.

'What do these men want with Scully?'

'Everyone involved has sacrificed someone significant to them. Small sacrifices for the greater good. You're truly a part of it now.'

'Let her go,' Mulder said. 'I'll walk away. We don't want any part of this. Just let her go.'

'It may surprise you to know that you yourself were promised at birth. And you may yet be of value to us.'

'We want nothing to do with you!' Mulder had his hand on the door handle. 'Damn all of you and your bigoted, soulless plans for a future only you intend to survive!' There was no reaction in the enured, waxy face. 'I want to get out,' Mulder said, plucking at the latch, his stomach burning.

'Driver!' said the Englishman, and they swerved into the tow zone.

'I refuse to sacrifice her!' Mulder shouted, the pavement still rolling beneath him as his foot hit the ground. He slammed the silky grey door. The car flashed its silver like a ruffled dove and slipped back into the stream of traffic.

He thought that if he didn't talk to Scully soon he would go mad. He walked among the bistros, hoards of effusive people around tables on the sidewalks, and he walked glancing impassively from side to side, hands in the pockets of his jeans. Someone was following him, he could feel it, but they were good. The pain in his stomach was a wet knotted rope drawn through a clutching hand. Probably he'd forgotten to eat. The knot fluttered briefly, an insect spasm. He ground his teeth. Live music came out of the open doors, and people were laughing, their arms around each other. People were mad. He hated people, in an electron ripple that carried himself at the center.

As it grew darker he turned into a public park, clutching the iron palings in the fence, his face chilled and sweaty. Something was going really wrong. His hands were icy and he could barely stand, and a foul, mucky bubble rumbled up, the mephitic taste of his own stomach.

There was a flickering inside him, as of something independent, a sour stirring, as Jonah had made the whale queasy.

Progressively sicker, he left the path, holding his stomach, dark spots coming and going before his eyes. His ears were fizzing. He wanted to walk out ahead and leave himself behind. He was ill—he must have eaten something bad, but he could not remember eating anything. He seemed to be getting the flu. He tried Scully's obsolete cell, the phone shaking in his chilly fingers, but her number was still disconnected.

He pushed on, his knees rubbery, weaving up a slope among topiary creatures set like obstacles. Then his stomach cramped hard and he bent over and heaved, and went down on his knees as it all came up, blood and lumpy matter in his throat and everything spraying out surprisingly hard. His eyes were closed for a long minute and his hands kneaded the dewy grass.

He wove on his hands and knees, his inner ear out of whack. A seagull cried, coming off the river, carrying with it a chill that floated up the back of his neck. He was melting with Ebola. He gripped the grass. If only Scully knew that he was sick and lost and it was getting dark. If only she knew.

He opened his eyes and saw it there in the twilight, and maybe he was hallucinating, but he knew what it was as soon as he saw it, that tiny silver body that fluttered at the extremities. He closed his eyes and shivered.

When he looked again, its short legs were folded in and the oval eyes showed dark through translucent lids. Mulder could imagine how he himself must look, kneeling above it in perfect shock, mouth open, staring at the slippery grass.

It was dying, nerve tremors making tiny rat-like twitches. It was maybe two inches long, very tiny, very perfect. Mulder shook his head and sat back, wanly clasping his ankles, salty water flooding his mouth. He'd gone icy, and he shuddered hard, staring.

Someone was coming up the knoll among the hedge-animals. Mulder turned, spat, and unsnapped his holster. The shadow climbed rapidly toward him, familiarity in its forward list. The grin came first, like a cat drawn long ago.

Krycek took the pictures Krycek-style, one-handed, holding the camera out sideways, rapid-firing the shutter, advancing the film with his thumb. He was off-center, balancing against his missing arm. He was laughing in the dark. The flash glanced coldly off Mulder's sweaty face. He put his head on his knees.

'Jesus, Mulder—looks like you aborted that mission!' Krycek shoved the camera in the pocket of his bomber jacket and leaned over, rather lit up, stepping hard on Mulder's shoe and taking a firm grip on his arm. He kept his head mowed like a shark's bullet, for forward motion. Mulder rose to his feet gasping, blood on his lip, holding his stomach. Krycek waited for him to get his balance; they stood with their arms across each other's shoulders, staring down at the smeared bleb drifting in globules of slime. The little monster twitched and Krycek jumped and gave a bark of disbelief. Mulder gagged again, but nothing came of it. Krycek stuffed the back of his hand against his own mouth and bit down on his leather sleeve. 'You've been fucking around on me, Mulder?' he asked, grinning in Mulder's face, his lip shiny with a streak of saliva.

'It happened—' Mulder paused to spit, and drooled woozily, clutching Krycek's greasy horsehide jacket. 'I think it happened after I got stung by a bee.' A pink strand dangled from his lip, and he swiped at it. It was annoying that Krycek could feel him shaking.

It was dark under the trees now, and in the hollows beneath the topiary animals. 'Come on,' Krycek said, his prosthesis biting into Mulder's back. They started down the slope among the rumpled snails and unicorns, until they found an asphalt path.

'Are we just going to leave it?' Mulder asked.

'What the fuck do you want to do? Dress it up for Montessori? Don't you understand? It's a rapid-growing parasite. It was going to kill you! Fuck—!' Krycek said, at a loss for words, his motorcycle boot jingling as he stamped his foot. He rubbed his thigh as though erasing some foul substance.

'Yeah?' Mulder asked. They passed through the wrought-iron gates of the park's entrance.

'Except you've been vaccinated against it.' Krycek heaved him onto a bus stop bench and stood over him.

'Just call me a cab; I can take it from here,' Mulder said, trying to sound hearty. The sweat on his face was growing chilly.

'You might be bleeding in your stomach,' Krycek said callously, glancing up and down the street.

Mulder looked up. 'Actually, I feel a lot better. Can I ask you something? Would you tell me if there was something I needed to know about Scully?'

Krycek grinned his python's grin, pleased. He sat down beside Mulder. 'When have you ever listened to me, Mulder?' Mulder looked hard into the slight insanity of Krycek's eyes. He was listening now. 'I bet there are a lot of things you'd like to know about Scully,' Krycek said. 'Makes you wonder how well you really knew her, doesn't it? Or what she was up to the whole time with you?'

'Just answer the question, Krycek,' Mulder said, keeping all feeling distant.

'You could say there was some talk about what to do about her.'

Mulder struggled upright, agonized. 'What to do about her? She's not any kind of threat to anybody! You tell them that!'

Krycek, who was never still, wavered a knee in Mulder's periphery. He reached into his jacket and slid a photograph from its warm cache. 'They always wanted her to work against you. Can't you see, Mulder, that you put her at risk by getting her on your side?'

Mulder took the picture and tilted it toward the streetlight. 'Yeah, but she never believed me for a second,' he muttered. An alien fetus lay on a towel, massive trauma to one side of its body, green flower juice at the edges of the wound, and a gloved hand fingering back a flaccid eyelid to expose the shiny black eye. The hand reached in from the left side of the picture, a hand that he knew like his own; the thumb with a pronounced backwards arch, the familiar gold crenelated watch band. The watch band across those two tendons beneath her wrist, between the top of the nitrile glove and her coat cuff—pelty black—jolted him. She would not wear her watch during an autopsy, nor her coat, so the circumstances must have been a bit extreme. 'Why are you showing me this?' he asked, hardly able to breathe.

'Leadership's breaking down, and they're crazy not to cut you in on more of it. And every last one has his head up his ass.'

‘Is she working for them?’ Mulder asked.

‘The trouble with you, Mulder, is you never get back far enough to take in the big picture. You're off doing your own thing, while cities burn.'

‘At least I'm not just their obligate toady, like you or Marita—'

'Or Scully,' Krycek added, with an oily look. Mulder kept his eyes on the ground between his feet. 'You ever asked yourself, Mulder, you ever wonder why the prettiest bitches are the most fucked up?'

'Who doesn't ponder that, from time to time?' Mulder said blithely. 'Why are you following me, Krycek? And doing a piss-poor job. I had you made back on Fourteenth.’ He tried to keep the photograph, but Krycek took it back.

'Jesus, Mulder,' Krycek said admiringly, standing up again. 'If I get you a cab, will you shut the fuck up?'

'I come with no guarantees,’ Mulder said wearily.