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how big, how blue, how beautiful

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7:12 PM 

Scully’s heels clicked on the aged linoleum floor as she traced the familiar path back to her car. She passed a group of nurses on break, happy to exchange their various weekend well wishes with Dr. Dana Scully who replied in a hurried yet genuinely warm manner. She moved her keys in her hand, eager to return to the comfort of home after an agonizing week of work.

The nine years since Mulder’s charges had been dropped were a period of growth in Scully’s life. She allowed herself to open up to her coworkers. Her previous reputation of mystery and privacy slowly withered away like old chipping paint revealing the underlying wood, leading her to opportunities that advanced her up the ladder. She began to seek out therapy for the trauma of living in secret, losing a son, almost losing Mulder, and almost losing her own life. Multiple times.

Scully went to hot yoga classes, tried to make it to church at least once a month, and volunteered her skills as a doctor at health fairs for people in need.

The difficult part was getting back in touch with her mother, who of course had a few emotional lectures for her daughter for running away as a fugitive without a word.

“I’m back now, aren’t I?” Scully always said like a passive aggressive teenage daughter when her mother brought it up, not wanting to feel the guilt again.

Scully and Mulder ate fancy cheeses with matching wines in France, and went hiking in Thailand. Mulder kissed her at sunset on a balcony in Spain, finally being able to enjoy the full privileges of having a passport. They ‘got out of the car’ like she so desperately wanted. She felt like she had escaped the darkness, but lived with the anxiety that it was always following close behind and would drag her down again in an instant. Up until then their life together always felt fleeting, like the other would be gone the next moment by some inevitable act of fate.

She wanted to be healing and told herself that this is the life she always wanted.

Inescapably there was always a missing piece.

The hollow wound in Scully’s heart left by losing William never became easier to deal with. She saw him in every child that came to the hospital. Each worried mother who kept vigil at their child’s bed made Scully almost jealous of the pain and anxiety they must be feeling. At least they had children to worry over. She watched mothers and fathers soothing their crying children, knowing she and Mulder will never get the chance to be a source of love and comfort for their son.

But she felt guilty over feeling bitter and projecting onto her patients, and quickly buried her feelings in the hole, each time boring deeper into her chest. Until some nights her chest felt too empty that she couldn’t breathe as if her body had no more life force left for breath. She would sob for hours, with no energy to move any muscles in her body. Mulder would hold her through the night, holding back his own pain, deciding it was his place to be a source of strength for her to draw on. He hated himself for being able to do nothing more. He hated himself for not being there after William’s birth. Things would be different, he thought, if he hadn’t left and stayed to protect Scully and William. Things would be different if he hadn’t gone to Oregon that night.

On dusky streets lined by wild grasses, Scully drove home, shortly arriving in front of the rustic house still standing resolutely as a source of comfort for two people who seemed to be fated to attract darkness. Too short for her own SUV, Scully hopped out of the drivers seat and walked inside to hear Mulder’s “Hey, Doc” calling from somewhere in the house.

“Hey,” she kissed her house husband ‘hello’ when he appeared sock footed in jeans and a black sweater. “What’s for dinner?”

“I have no idea. I meant to go grocery shopping, but my phones been spazzing all day, so I took it to get it checked out and got stuck there. Sorry about that.”

“Don’t apologize. Spazzing?”

“Yeah I don’t know what’s wrong with it. Screen just keeps going black,” Mulder responded while opening the fridge to see what he could make from what’s at home. “But I do know my warranty just ended,” Mulder said in a sarcastically innocent tone, making Scully snort slightly. “Really expected better from an Android, but it’s still made by a corporation, I guess,” Mulder said defeated into the fridge before shutting it and turning around, unsatisfied with its contents.

“Wanna order in?” Scully suggested, reading his actions.

Scully changed out of her work clothes, while Mulder ordered Chinese and they both met on the porch to share a blunt while waiting for the food. Smoking weed had become part of both of their routines. They told each other they were just the cool hippie old couple, but both of them used it as a coping mechanism for the unfortunate reality of living with PTSD and endless guilt. They told themselves it was healthier than drinking.

And it did seem to help, to an extent.

Mulder hadn’t been able to hold down a job, years of trauma seeming to all crash down on him the past few years. He kept a small friend circle of mostly smoking buddies and did volunteer work for the local AIDS center, something he took in pride in. He always had a heart for helping those who had been pushed down by the system, so he offered two days out of his week to help the local HIV+ community gain access to healthcare, rent assistance, and food. His therapist was proud of him for getting out of his house. But besides that he had trouble functioning outside of their home. He spent most of his time stoned.

Even Dr. Scully attested to marijuana’s health benefits. Besides it made for fun times between them, and better sex.

“Oh!” Scully exclaimed as she remembered something. “I forgot to tell you. Guess who called today?” she asked with slight laughter bubbling at her lips.

“Who?” Mulder asked, always interested in what makes Scully laugh.

“Skinner-he’s getting married.”

What? To who?”

“Oh, you don’t know about his girlfriend?”

“No?” Mulder said, still shocked, and offended he was left out of the loop. Skinman’s found love. Aw.

“I told you before a couple months ago, remember? Elaine. She works at the bureau too. She’s in charge of one of the labs, I can’t remember right now,” Scully explained, amused.

“Wow, fraternizing with other agents. Scandalous.”

She playfully slapped his chest with the back of her hand and rolled her eyes.

“They post pictures on Instagram. You should get an Instagram, Mulder,” Scully made fun of him, knowing he hated social media, expecting some tangent about everybody making it easier for the government to spy on them, but all she got out of him was a proud “No, thank you”. Scully grabbed the nearest phone-Mulder’s-and began to show him a picture of Skinner and Elaine holding celebratory champagne glasses of when the screen suddenly went black.

“God, see! That’s what I’m talking about,” Mulder said, frustrated. “Whatever- it’ll go back to normal in a couple of minutes.” He put his phone back and laid down with head in Scully’s lap. She moved her hands to his hair and began running her fingers through the silky strands. His hair was longer now. Aged away from his clean cut, hard lines, and sharp suits G-man look, he evolved into someone more shaggy and soft. Comfy sweaters (that Scully loved to cuddle into), 60’s music, army jackets and Vans sneakers. He hadn’t worn a suit in years.

She saw Mulder stare off into the distance and then shiver in disgust.

“What?” she asked.

He was laughing quietly again. “Just the thought of Skinner romancing a lady. Skinner having sex.”

Scully laughed with him. “Imagine.”

“Why are you imagining? You know everyone thought you and Skinner were fucking back in the day?” Mulder messed with her.

“Yeah but Mulder! I didn’t actually sleep with him.” Scully laughed, some surprise in her voice.

He looked at her with mock disbelief at her words, and she laughed and gently pushed his head out her lap, and he broke into laughter too.

They watched a Ramones concert documentary with dinner. Mulder set the TV on mute as Scully fell asleep on his shoulder as the high wore off and slowly lulled her into unconsciousness. Mulder remained watching silently until his limbs felt too heavy to get up from the couch and wake Scully to sleep in bed and he surrendered to his fatigue and fell asleep next to her.

Mulder’s phone screen turned black again. The darkness had caught up to them.

“Mulder!” a faint, staticky voice emanated from his phone on the table.

Scully softly looked around before nudging Mulder awake to investigate the noise that disrupted her sleep.

“Mulder! Is this Fox Mulder?“

They both stared in confusion as Mulder lifted the phone from the table, quickly becoming more awake.

All of the muscles in Mulder’s face froze in shock as he saw the static-clouded face of a ghost he had seen before. Scully’s mouth fell slightly open in disbelief, as her brain began rapidly firing through possibilities. She laughed at herself in her mind when she could only land on a video chat from the other side as an explanation.

"Langley?” Mulder questioned aloud, unable to look away

“Um… I believe you knew me as Langley. Richard Langley. ‘Ringo’ Langley.” The impossible video continued. Scully briefly thought this had to be a prank, albeit a cruel one.

"Lone Gunmen Langley?” Mulder questioned again. He wondered if it was really his old friend, and why the presumed Langley did not seem to recognize himself.

“Mulder I-I need to know. Am I dead?”

Mulder and Scully instinctively looked at each other. All of their senses heightened at this dark development.

“If I am… They know that I know. You have to find him,” Langley eerily continued.

“Know that he knows what? Find who?” Scully whispered quietly, afraid to interrupt the event unfolding before them.

Mulder’s hypnotic attention was quickly ripped away when he was startled by a board creaking on the other side of the room.

His head snapped towards the noise, and then towards the door, which was slowly being opened. Like a flip of a switch, inevitably turning back into who he used to be, Mulder’s brain snapped back into his defensive fugitive mode. His muscles had always been prepared for someone to find him.

Go!” Mulder yelled in a whisper to Scully, sudden adrenaline flowing through his veins.

Scully matched his energy and leapt off the couch, going for the handgun she kept in a chest drawer near the hallway.

Mulder pushed the couch towards the door, successfully shutting out the intruder and buying enough time to run upstairs for his own gun he kept in his bedside table.

Her hands moving faster than she could comprehend, Scully grabbed the hand grip of her gun and lunged under the breakfast nook table which she flipped on its side in front of her as soon as she was under it, acting as a wooden shield between her and whoever was behind that door.

A shotgun shell went through the doorknob of the back door, knocking the couch just enough to let two men into their home.

They were dressed in all black complete with leather boots. One was wearing a black ski mask while the other kept his face and long grey hair exposed. Hit men.

Scully stood up from behind the table barely high enough to aim at the intruders. She fired three shots, hitting the masked one, making him go down. The unmasked man seemed unprepared for their targets to defend themselves, and quickly ducked behind the couch after seeing his partner unsuccessfully take them out.

Scully was safely behind the table again when she heard the front door slam open. She had just killed someone, and had no time to process what was happening, simply prepared for more.

Another masked man entered and immediately began targeting the breakfast table with blind shot, trying to take out Scully behind it. She began to pray for Mulder’s interference at this point and slid closer to the kitchen cabinets hoping to be difficult target.

Another two gunshots when she thought she heard the man fall and suddenly heard Mulder’s voice. Thank god, she thought, realizing it was him who had shot the second masked intruder. “Scully? You all right?”

“There’s one in the room! Behind the couch,” But before Scully could finish warning Mulder, the one with the long grey hair had already escaped with his life through the back door.

Mulder slid the second intruder’s gun away from him. “Two down, all clear.” His voice sounded just like an agent on a case. Muscle memory. It was 1998 again. They had both immediately fallen back into their FBI roles of protecting each other, using the rehearsed plan in case anyone were to ever find them at their home. As fugitives they had planned plenty of defensive strategies, and today was the day they had to utilize them.

The both looked out the window and saw a car driving away, presumably with the third lucky assassin.

“Mulder. Mulder, am I dead? If I am they know that I know. You have to find him.” Langley’s message continued from Mulder’s phone.

Scully couldn’t stop herself from her mind was going.

You have to find him .

She could only think it was William, but she pushed the thought out of her mind, telling herself this was not the time to think about her son. Someone just tried to carry out a hit on them, and she had no idea why. But her instincts told her otherwise, a part of her believed for certain Langley was warning them William was in danger and she could not repress that thought. Most of her trains of thought usually led to William. A wound that never healed. An emptiness that can’t be filled.

When the adrenaline was slowly winding down as the presence of danger seemed to go away, Mulder spoke. “Better call it in from a landline,” prompting her to report it to the police before someone else did.

Mulder moved towards the enigmatic phone, knowing he had to keep it hidden. He was going to leave that detail about receiving a message from a ghost out when talking to the police.

Mulder paid attention to Scully’s professional voice talking to 911 while he searched for a hiding spot, “I’m calling in an incident where multiple gunshots were exchanged. There are two suspects on the ground.” Mulder ultimately decided on the oven mitt hanging from a kitchen cabinet. Good enough. Scully shot him a warning look. He responded with a dry smile, knowing she disapproved.

He moved over to the second assassin he had shot, carefully using a pencil to examine his gun.

“You’re careful not to taint that, but you’re willing to conceal this?”

“You said taint,” Mulder retorted dryly. “This may not be related to that,” he subtly tried convincing Scully to not hand the phone over. Making sure no one but him investigated Langley’s message was his top priority right now.

“Yes, but we’re not gonna know unless it’s properly investigated,” Scully, continuing her old role of always playing by the book, wanted to avoid whatever cogs were turning in Mulder’s mind knowing it would get them in trouble. Unavoidably, deep down she wanted to support Mulder’s hunches and follow him into whatever darkness this would lead to. William. Something deep down told her it was about William, almost instinctual, like every strand of DNA in her body was programmed to believe it was about her son. Langley’s unfathomable “You have to find him” kept repeating in her mind.

It’s not about him, Dana, there is absolutely no evidence it is about him. But she couldn’t fight that she wanted it to be. She kept up her front which included countering everything ‘Agent’ Mulder offered to her.

Mulder suddenly escalated, frustrated that Scully didn’t understand the importance of Langley’s message. “Scully, ten minutes ago, we received a message on this phone from a man who’s been dead for 16 years, and now you want me to hand it over to evidence, where it’s gonna sit in a locker for what, two, three years? Look, I was gone back then. Could-could Langley be alive?”

“No. I was at the Lone Gunmen’s burial in Arlington Cemetery. Their bodies were incinerated.” Scully replied, unwilling to entertain the possibility.

“Scully, it’s gotta be connected. That-that whatever Langley message and this? ‘They know he knows’? Who’s ‘they’? I mean, it’s too much of a coincidence.” He looked at Scully with a new seriousness. “Look, I think the Langley message was warning us that these guys were coming.”

Scully ran out of logical possibilities to counter Mulder and secretly agreed to the supernatural nature of this whole situation.

She wanted to trust Mulder. She did. In an instant she abandoned what she knew she should do, and committed to following Mulder into the darkness again.

“What do you think it was?” she asked.

Before Mulder could answer, high beam headlights shined through their windows. They both braced for more, drawing their guns close with both hands, ready to aim. It wasn’t over yet.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what I think. But I’ll tell you what I do know,” Mulder released the safety on his gun as the vehicles approached closer. They both prepared every muscle in their body for round two. The events unfolding before them made the conspiracy part of Mulder’s brain light up.

You have to find him.

Mulder couldn’t bring himself to admit it to Scully, knowing she did her best to keep him safe, but a voice in his head he couldn’t ignore was telling him this was about William. He was in danger again, for reasons he was unsure of, but every part of his being was sure he was going to fight until the end to protect him this time around. He owed his son that much.

An impossible supernatural kink in the fabric of reality. One the living were willing to kill for.

And their unremarkable humble home was right in the middle of it.

Mulder looked at the broken furniture and then at Scully. “We got a take a trip to IKEA.”

Scully observed the cars outside. They were two dark and unmarked military vehicles. Definitely not what was dispatched by 911. They carefully observed their movements, desperately trying to identify them.

“What is that? A Critical Incident Response Group Maneuver?” Scully realized they were dealing with something astronomically out of their league. Military? CIA? The same dangers of 17 years ago finally caught up to them. Mulder and Scully weren’t allowed peace. She began to spiral and silently panic.

You have to find him.

She took a deep breath, coaching herself on staying calm and focused on getting out alive.

“I got fourteen rounds,” Mulder soberly informed her, his sarcastic front gone.


Both of them looked around the room, calculating possible escape routes and defensive strategies.

The home phone rang; its shrill sound marking the next stage of this continually strange night.

“Don’t answer the phone,” Mulder warned, “If we use the phone, they may be able to pinpoint our exact location in the house.”

The ringing continued.

“Identify yourself!” Mulder shouted to the group outside.

“Can’t hear you! Answer your phone,” a man with a Russian accent replied. Mulder racked his brain for reasons the Russians would be involved, but all he could settle on was the general knowledge that the conspiracy they had dealt with previously was an international one. They had only managed to bring down parts of the American faction, and Mulder and Scully had no idea how deep it truly went across the border.

The only connection is the phone. All he knew was they had to protect their material connection to Langley. Mulder’s profiler brain felt stuck. He was rusty, getting too old for this. The stakes, he felt, had also never been higher.

William would be seventeen now, he thought.

“Should I call Skinner?” Scully whispered, feeling outmanned and out of options.

“Yeah,” Mulder whispered back, also realizing they needed something to leverage.

“We are armed! Identify yourselves!” Mulder shouted again to the men outside, reverting back to his most basic FBI training, trying to understand who was targeting them. This may not, after all, be related to that.

“Hold on, hold on,” the Russian man outside replied, “See the ‘we are armed” thing. That is a problem for you. Put down your guns.”

Mulder paused, buying time while Scully got a hold of Skinner, but Skinner was no help. Scully felt hopeless after a short, abrupt phone call where he advised Scully to surrender if they wanted to get out alive. He seemed to know exactly who they were and what they wanted, but would not offer any help because he was fearful himself. Whoever these Russians are, they were above the FBI. Just like the men of the Syndicate were.

“Waiting! The only chance you have is to put down your weapons and surrender them,” the Russian man continued, echoing Skinner’s warning.

“Skinner says surrender,” Scully whispered to Mulder.

“Why should we surrender? To who? Why are we under suspicion?” Mulder angrily whispered back, tightening the grip on his gun.

With no way out and not enough firepower to fight off the threat, their stalling time was up. Several foreign agent dressed in full tactical gear broke through the front door. Four of them immediately disarmed and knocked Mulder and Scully to the ground. Both of them tried to wriggle free, but they were completely restrained.

Handcuffs clicked around their wrists, Mulder and Scully looked at each other both wishing the other would offer hope, but both of them only offered fear to each other. The men had silently taken control of the room.

The man with the Russian accent who had been communicating seemed to be the leader. He stood in the middle of the room, looking at the corpses. He seemed young, in his early 30s, blonde and cocky. He thought of himself as above the highest of law and he was—a fact he loved to flaunt.

“Identify yourselves!” Mulder tried again, which got him a kick in the chest from the agent restraining him. Scully winced.

“Identify ourselves?” the Russian leader looked at Mulder. “We don’t need to identify ourselves. What world are you living in?” He grinned.

He looked around the room, and paused at Mulder’s signature “I want to believe” poster that was hanging in their living room wall.

“‘I want to believe’? Here’s what I believe,” the leader confidently spoke, “We would’ve saved lots of money and headaches if we only knew Americans would have been just fine losing the Cold War if they could only make a little money off of it,” he grinned again, mostly to himself.

Scully had a feeling 911 was never going to arrive.

His casual demeanor quickly turned hostile as he marched towards Mulder. The commander held his face inches away from him—an intimidation tactic which had little affect on Mulder.

“Where’s your phone, bro?” he menacingly asked in a low voice.

Mulder wasn’t about to let some little Russian prick try to intimidate him in his own home. “Easy for Orwell to say,” he replied, not giving the commander the satisfaction.

“Mulder!” Langley’s voice faintly continued, and Mulder swore under his breath. “They know that I know!”

The commander smirked before commanding his troupe to find where the noise was coming from. Mulder and Scully watched on for several minutes as Langley’s message played quietly and stopped again as they tried to locate it. Cabinets were pulled out of chests, couch cushions were flipped out, and each box and bag had its contents ungraciously spilled out on to the ground.

“You guys do real delicate work,” Scully said to the room, but she was ignored.

One man in the corner of the room took a phone call, and passed a message to the commander who let no expression on his face hint at its content.

“Got it!” an agent in the kitchen finally said, grabbing the phone out of the oven mitt. Mulder squeezed his eyes shut in defeat, though he didn’t believe that he would’ve gotten away with it. Another agent placed it in a paper evidence bag and gave it to the commander.

“Better luck next time,” he told Mulder and Scully smugly.

“Get up,” he then demanded. They both reluctantly stood up as their restraints were partially released, wondering if the only thing left was getting shot in the head.

Black hoods were placed on their heads.

They were forcefully led out of their home and into the back compartment of one of the military vehicles. Mulder and Scully were seated on the opposite sides of each other, both surrounded by two agents on either side. Scully’s repressed panic was making a comeback. She imagined the men driving them out to middle of the forest and forcing them to dig their own graves. Standing by Mulder’s side one last time as they were shot in the head, turning into the dust they were unceremoniously thrown into. No one would know what happened to them. They would never find who Langley wanted them to find.

Mulder tried to concentrate on the amount of time they spent driving and what turns they were making. It felt like they were driving on dirt roads—back roads through the properties of Farr’s Corner. Then a turn and smooth road. Mulder guessed twenty minutes had gone by, counting seconds to himself.

Mulder closed his eyes, trying to focus better.

A moment passed before a cloudy image kept pulling at his brain. He tried to ignore it until it became so strong he couldn’t. He felt like the inner layer of his skull was suddenly buzzing, an unnatural feeling, too powerful to push away like he wasn’t in control.

He thought for a moment this was something their captors were doing to him, when suddenly a familiar feeling stuck deep inside him—the same feeling he felt when he heard Langley say “You have to find him”.

He somehow knew with extraordinary certainty swelling up in every fiber of his being that this was a message from whom they were meant to find.

Like a vision he saw the back of a hooded young man walking away from him. His mind’s eye was being pulled with him, compelled to follow.

The buzzing became stronger and Mulder wanted to clutch his head but was restricted by his handcuffs.

He followed the hooded figure as he continued through a dimly street. He was skinny, average height with narrow shoulders, wearing a black hoodie. Someone young. A teenager, Mulder thought to himself. He knew exactly how old he was. The figure seemed to look back as if to make sure Mulder was following, but Mulder couldn’t catch a glimpse of his face though he desperately tried to.

The figure stopped at a flower shop-St. Joseph Flowers. Mulder followed him up the three cement steps leading up to the door and watched the figure open the door and step inside.

As soon as Mulder entered the shop, the vision stopped and he snapped back to the present moment. He was suddenly aware of the rough driving again and opened his eyes to see nothing but the black hood over his face. Mulder let out a breath he didn’t realize he was holding.


Mulder had never been so sure of anything else in his life. It felt like an innate fact. He knew he had to get out of here alive tonight and began to focus again, trying to memorize the route they were taking.

Suddenly they slowed down and came to a stop. Mulder guessed thirty minutes. Washington, D.C? Langley, VA? After pausing for a minute, they proceeded again. A security gate, Mulder thought. His hope returned that they weren’t going to die tonight. Imprisoned maybe, but not killed.

They were led inside a quiet building, went through an elevator, a few more turns, and finally were sat down on cushioned chairs.

Their hoods were taken off.

Mulder and Scully both squinted, trying to adjust their eyes to the light. They were in an office. The furniture in the room was sleek leather and minimalist. The room’s grayscale color scheme and lack of windows created an unsettling environment. Every item on the shelves behind the main desk was a white binder, offering no hint to where they were.

The commander appeared in front of them.

“You’re lucky. You would have been dead by now, but my boss wants to talk to you,” he said plainly, his smug demeanor from before gone.

The commander and the four guards stepped back against the wall, all silently waiting for “the boss”.

She was short brunette woman, in her mid-fifties. All the guards stood up straighter as she entered the room. Mulder slouched.

“My name is Erika Price,” she spoke eloquently.

Mulder and Scully remained silent. And?

She smiled before she continued, “I used to work with a man I believe you knew. You called him The Smoking Man,” she stated, knowing she had gotten their attention now.

Scully immediately tensed at hearing the words—The Smoking Man. She felt engulfed by the darkness she spent nine years trying to heal from, changing her mindset from earlier. She wanted nothing to do with the darkness. Not again.

“But I’m not like him,” she said in response to the change in Scully’s expression. “I’m going to save us all some time. I know you aren’t dumb, so I’m not going to treat you that way. I know you knew about the alien conspiracy, about the Syndicate. I was impressed, really, with your work on The X-Files. But I also know you two have retired now. I respect that,” she continued in a kind manner that seemed contrived and artificial. Scully didn’t believe her attempts at flattery. Both Mulder and Scully were at a loss at what this woman wanted or where she was going, but their suspicions that William was involved were becoming closer to confirmed at the mention of the The X-Files.

“But Spender and I—we disagreed when it came to ideology,” she continued, “He wanted to destroy humanity. I want to save it. I want to take it to new heights. Use extraterrestrial DNA to save us from the problems that plague us—war, poverty, disease. We’re on the same side, really. Your friend, Richard Langley, worked with us.” Mulder didn’t trust her words, choosing to trust the words from Langley’s message.

“I believe you received a message tonight, from your old friend. But it wasn’t really him, not really. I must apologize for the imposition early tonight.”

“You mean when you tried to kill us?” Scully finally spoke, anger right under the surface, which had since replaced the fear.

She smiled in embarrassment and apology (artificial movements, again), “An automatic security protocol, I’m afraid. You see, Richard was part of top secret program before he died. He volunteered to have a sort of,” she paused, choosing her words carefully, “ a scanned version of his consciousness uploaded into an artificial intelligence program. It’s only his likeness really, essentially just a computer program. Somehow you were targeted by his part in the system. His old memories of you coming through. An interesting and fascinating development, truly. But due to its secret nature, a group was automatically deployed to protect the knowledge of the program before I could call it off.”

“Why did you call it off?” Mulder asked.

“I knew you could be trusted,” She stayed silent for a moment, wanting the full effect of her words to sink in.

She leaned closer across the desk, “I want to offer you the same opportunity your friend Richard chose. As I said, I was impressed with your work on The X-Files. Impressed with the way you dealt with our security tonight. I was especially the scientific discoveries you made, Dr. Scully,” She looked at Scully specifically, who was astounded that the woman in front of her was impressed at the killing of her own men.

“We decline,” she stated flatly and quickly.

“Are we free to go?” Mulder asked in the same tone of voice. They weren’t buying what she was selling.

Erika Price looked down in disappointment and sighed. “I suppose. But you’re going to have to sign a few non-disclosure agreements which if you breach you’ll be visited by us again and I promise you will not make it out safe and sound next time,” she said as if threatening death was something she did casually all the time.

Mulder and Scully looked at each other before they both signed the papers placed before them.

“Sorry, you know the drill,” she shrugged as the guards placed the hoods over the heads again and escorted them out.

The Russian commander stayed behind as the door closed behind Mulder and Scully and their escorts.

“Why did you do that?” he questioned Price.

“Oh, I knew they weren’t going to accept. We already patched the hole Langley created. Those two want nothing more than a quiet life away from any conspiracies or shadowy government groups. They won’t bother us,” she stated as she began filing their signed papers.

The commander still looked confused.

"We can use them, Al,” She looked at him, frustrated at his dumbfounded expression, “They’re gonna lead us to the key we need.”


3:23 AM

Mulder and Scully stepped into their home again, relieved the night was over. The bodies were gone, though the blood remained. All Scully wanted was to take an Ambien and go to sleep, deciding they could clean up tomorrow. She would just have to throw out the rug.

“Did you believe a word she said? Erika Price?” Scully asked him.

“Sorry, I signed a NDA,” he said, trying to lighten her mood. Scully just rolled her eyes and smiled slightly, appreciating his attempt at trying to cheer her up a little. “No, I don’t,” he said soberly, “I trust Langley, he-his likeness-whatever, tried to warn us. ‘They know that I know’? Know what? And I mean why would he agree to work with them? There’s so much that doesn’t make sense.”

Neither of them mentioned William.

“Come on, let’s get to bed,” she said softly, rubbing his back.

“Yeah I’ll be right up,” he said nodding her to the stairs.

“No Mulder, not tonight,” she warned him. She knew he was about to fall into a conspiracy hole and not stop till he finds an answer. She worried about him when he got like that. “Don’t do this. Get some sleep.”

“No, don’t worry.” He assured her, “Just give me a second.”

She gave a final warning look, before heading upstairs, deciding she would just come get him in five minutes if he didn’t come up.

Mulder watched her go up the stairs before he opened up Google on his laptop. He typed in St. Joseph Flowers.