Dana Scullyâs apartment
Fox Mulder parked his car a block and a half down from his partnerâs building and killed the engine. Heâd considered double parking directly in front of the building, but decided against it. Heâd already broken so many traffic laws in the last hour without suffering any kind of repercussions from local law enforcement, he felt it was best not to tempt fate.
He took a moment to rummage through his trunk for the emergency overnight bag he kept there. He smiled to himself as he remembered how Scully liked to call it his âditchinâ bagâ after all the times that heâd run off on his own to investigate leads. She hated it when he ditched her, despite his best arguments that it was for her own safety. He knew that whatever had happened tonight, she hadnât intentionally left him out there on his own.
He hurriedly exchanged his torn and bloody shirt for a clean one from the bag, and slammed the trunk shut.
As he approached Scullyâs building, he spotted her car parked in one of the spots closest to the door, the kind of spot you practically had to stay home sick to get, they filled up so fast. He felt the hood as he strode past. It was cold. ** Doesnât mean anything. She just didnât use her car, thatâs all. The metro isnât too far from here. ** Of course, hard on the heels of that thought came the realization that the subway trains didnât run all night long, and they most certainly hadnât been running at three in the morning.
Mulder sighed, and decided to table his internal argument until after heâd located his partner.
When he reached her door, he proceeded to bang on it hard enough to wake the entire building. Everyone in the building that is, except for one Dana Katherine Scully. From inside her apartment, there was no response. He knocked again and waited all of about ten seconds before digging in his pocket for the key she had given him.
She had no way of knowing how long she floated in the darkness. The passage of time, she found, was nearly impossible to judge when one had absolutely nothing by which to gauge it. She simply allowed herself to drift, enjoying the silence, amazed by how at peace she felt. She would have thought that the absence of light and sound and feeling would frighten her, for how would she recognize danger if it approached? Instead, she was filled with the very unscientific certainty that wherever this place was, it was safe, and that in the unlikely event that danger did come looking for her here, she would be able to sense it.
She was so involved in listening to the silence that the fact that it was no longer silent took a moment to register. Eyes still closed, she listened intently, trying to identify the sound. It seemed to be coming to her from far away, but conceivably it was only being distorted by the all-encompassing darkness. A staccato thumping noise, a heartbeat perhaps? A possibility, she thought, but if that were the case, whose? She could feel her own heart beating in her chest, a slow, steady rhythm, nothing like this frenetic pounding she was hearing.
Her mind latched onto that word: pounding. What was that pounding? Before she had completed the thought, the pounding was gone, silence once again restored. This time, however, she found herself unable to relax back into its tranquility, and tried instead to find her way back into the light.
When she opened her eyes, Dana Scully was not at all surprised to find that she was in her own bed, wearing her favorite pair of navy blue satin pajamas. What did surprise her was the fact that her bedside lamp was on and Fox Mulder was leaning over her, an expression of worry knotting his brow.
âMulder?â She blinked at him in confusion. âWhat are you doing?â One of his hands was at her throat and as she pushed it away and sat up, she realized dimly that he had been trying to take her pulse. She raised her hands to rub at her eyes, as if by doing so she could wipe away the sleepy fog that still permeated her brain.
âScully, are you alright?â The sight of her sitting up and talking seemed to relax him somewhat, but his face still wore a mask of concern. âDo you hurt anywhere? Did he hurt you?â
He sat down on the edge of the bed and ran his hands lightly down her arms as if checking her for injuries. When he began to lower the quilt under which she lay, presumably to assess the rest of her, she snatched it back, holding it to her chest. âMulder! Iâm fine! What the hell has gotten into you?â For some inexplicable reason, her harsh words made him smile, the tension draining from his face.
Mulder felt something loosen in his chest, the tight knot of fear that he hadnât even realized was there since first receiving her phone call an hour and a half ago. She was here. She was ok. She was looking at him as if heâd suddenly sprouted a second head, but he was used to that.
He suddenly felt very tired. Without the flood of adrenaline that had kept him going throughout this whole strange ordeal, his body was beginning to realize that it was nearly 5 oâclock in the morning, and heâd gotten two hours of sleep at best. He wondered what Scully would do if he curled up in bed beside her and went to sleep. He figured she would probably deck him, and he had to smother a grin at the thought.
She was waiting for him to explain himself, her best âok-Mulder-this-had-better-be-goodâ look clearly evident on her face. He opened his mouth to speak, to finally give voice to the scores of questions raised by the eveningâs events, but the words died on his lips as he noticed the telephone on her bedside table.
The receiver lay slightly askew in its cradle, the contact not quite enough to close the connection, as if whoever last used the phone hadnât been paying attention to what they were doing. Or hadnât been able to see the cradle in the dark.
He remembered the way sheâd spoken to him on the phone earlier. Her words had been flat, toneless, soft. It had barely registered at the time, but as he was able to replay the conversation now thanks to his eidetic memory, her complete lack of emotion reminded him of someone who was in a trance, or talking in her sleep, perhaps. As he heard the words once again in his mind, he realized something else. Throughout the entire conversation, she never once said âweâ or âusâ. It was always âMulder, she needs youâ or âMulder, you donât have much timeâ.
He hadnât just been defending his partner when he told Officer Phethean that Scully would never leave a crime scene without a word to anyone. He was as certain of that fundamental truth as he was of his own name. To even suggest that she would leave him to apprehend a fugitive on his own while she skipped home to don a comfy pair of jammies and slip between the sheets was unthinkable. It wasnât even remotely within the realm of possibilities. And as one by one the puzzle pieces began to click into place, he acknowledged that she hadnât left the scene at all.
She had never been there in the first place.
He tore his gaze away from the telephone to stare into her bottomless blue eyes, his own hazel orbs wide with amazement at what this revelation could mean. What it had to mean. What other possible explanation could there be? His partner, his favorite skeptic, Special Agent Dr. Dana Katherine Scully, firm believer that nothing happened in this universe or any other without a rational, scientific explanation, had experienced a psychic episode. And from the looks of it, she had absolutely no memory of that event.
Scully was starting to squirm under his intense scrutiny. She gave an exasperated sigh. âMulder, itâs nearly 5 oâclock in the morning. Are you going to tell me why I woke up to find you standing over my bed, or are you going to sit there staring at me until itâs time to go to work?â
He reached out and settled the phone properly on its base. âScully, what was the last call you made on this phone?â
Although her eyes clearly said she failed to see the relevance of his question, Scully knew her partner well enough by now to know that he was leading up to something. âI called my mother, why?â
âWhen was that?â
âAround 6:30 this evening. I was supposed to have dinner with her tonight, but by the time I got home I had the beginnings of a headache, so I called her to cancel.â
âAnd youâre certain you didnât call anyone else after that?â
She nodded. âAfter I hung up with my mom, I took some aspirin, had a long, hot bath, and went to bed. Where are you going with this, Mulder?â
His only reply was to pick up the phone and hit the âredialâ button. Scully gasped and tried to hang the phone up before her mother got an early wake-up call, but Mulder grabbed her hand and shook his head. âJust wait,â he told her. ** I sure hope my theory is right, or else Scully and her mother are going to kill me. **
He leaned close to her and tilted the phone slightly away from his ear so they could both listen. After four rings, a familiar voice answered. âThis is Fox Mulder. Iâm not in right now, so leave your name and number and Iâll get back to you as soon as possible.â
Mulderâs expression was triumphant. Scullyâs was dubious. Obviously he thought this was supposed to prove something, but to her, the only thing it signified was that the âredialâ button on her phone was malfunctioning, and she said as much to Mulder.
âOn the contrary Scully, your phone is working just fine.â
âHow can you say that Mulder, when I just got through telling you that the last person I called was my mother? Are you trying to say that I called you tonight?â
âThatâs exactly what Iâm trying to say, Scully. You called me just under two hours ago, at 3:15 this morning.â
âMulder, thatâs impossible. I was sound asleep at 3 oâclock this morning.â He just sat there, watching her, waiting. She sighed.
âI called you?â He nodded slowly, his eyes never leaving hers. âWell, what did I say?â
He stood up. âWhy donât I go make us some coffee, and then Iâll tell you all about it, ok?â ** Oh Lord, it mustâve been one hell of a conversation if he thinks Iâm going to need caffeine. **
He was being so mysterious about the whole thing, she was really starting to worry about what she might have said. She tried to feel him out. âWhatâd I do Mulder, call you up and tell you Iâm hot for your bod or something?â she joked. He grinned at her from the doorway. âNope, thatâs not it Scully. But for future reference, if you ever feel the urge, you know my number. Iâll meet you in the living room.â
He turned to head for the kitchen when her voice stopped him.
âThat coffee? Make it strong.â
Fourteen seconds. Thatâs how far into the story he got before the eyebrow made its appearance. Mulder knew this for a fact because heâd been expecting it, waiting for it. Timing it. He never ceased to be amazed by the ease with which his partner managed to convey her thoughts without uttering a single word. That eyebrow said it all. That one perfectly formed eyebrow, arched heavenward told of her disbelief as surely as if sheâd opened her mouth and said, âMulder, youâre nuts.â It was a look he would recognize anywhere, having been on the receiving end of it many times over the duration of their partnership. But, to give credit where credit was due, she held her tongue, urging him with her eyes to continue the narrative.
âYour voice sounded funny, monotone almost, and you wouldnât answer any of my questions. You told me that I had to hurry, that I only had about fifteen minutes. Then you gave me one last warning, and hung up.â
âA warning? About what?â
âIâll get to that later,â he said. âYou never said where you were calling from; I just assumed that you were already down there at that building somewhere and needed my help, so I grabbed my gun and was on my way. To make a long story short, I got there just in time to see a young woman being pulled from her car and dragged towards the entrance of the abandoned bakery you described. The guy had a gun, just like youâd said he would. I confronted him, and he gave it up readily enough. I sent the girl to call for backup, and thatâs when things got weird.â
He didnât think it was possible, but the eyebrow went up another notch, letting him know quite explicitly that in her opinion things had been weird since the beginning of this tale.
âAnywayâ¦the guy was crouched down on the ground fiddling with his shoe. He was completely unconcerned about the gun I was pointing at his head. I started to feel like Iâd forgotten something, something that would explain why he was behaving as if I was nothing more than an annoyance. I didnât get it until it was almost too late. He jumped up and lunged at me just as I remembered your warning. Except it wasnât like I was remembering it; it was as if I was hearing it again. I heard your voice, as plain as day, inside my head.â
She looked away abruptly, turning to stare across the room. The eyebrow was gone, and in its place was another expression he knew quite well. His words had triggered something, some memory within her, and she was trying to figure out what it meant. He could almost hear the gears turning in her head as she tried to find some logical explanation for whatever it was sheâd remembered.
âScully? What is it?â
She shook her head. âItâs nothing. Go on.â
âUh uh. I know you better than that. Tell me what youâre thinking.â
âYou just reminded me of a dream I had, thatâs all. Iâm sure itâs not relevant.â
âA dream you had tonight?â She nodded. âTell me about it.â
âI donât really remember much of it. Just that you were there, and someone was going to hurt you, but you didnât know it. I wanted to tell you, but you couldnât hear me. And then it was like you did hear me, because you jumped back at the last second.â
She was concentrating hard, trying to catch hold of the fleeting images before they disappeared completely. âYou got cut, with a knife, I think, but not as badly as it would have been if you hadnât moved in time. Right here.â
She reached out a hand to his stomach. He watched her blue eyes open wide with surprise when she felt the bandage through his shirt. âMulder? What is this?â Her eyes met his, and her confusion was apparent. He pulled up the tail of his shirt to show her.
âThis is what you warned me about, first on the phone, and then again at the crime scene.â
âI â I donât understand,â she stammered.
âYour last words to me on the phone were, âDonât forget the knife, Mulder. Remember the knife,â as if you already knew that I wouldnât check for another weapon once I got his gun away from him. And any other time, any other day, I would have, but this one time I forgot to check. I didnât frisk the guy, and I almost paid for that mistake with my life, but you warned me again. Just as that guy was gearing up to carve me like a turkey, I heard your voice telling me again not to forget that he had a knife. You saved me, Scully.â
She was shaking her head in denial. âMulder, this is crazy. How could I have â have called you and told you those things? I donât even know where Taylor Avenue is! How could I possibly have known what was going to happen? Iâve been asleep since 9 oâclock. I certainly donât remember picking up the phone and calling you!â
She thought for a minute. âYou said you were asleep when you supposedly got this call, right? Maybe you dreamed it. The fact that you went down there and stopped a crime in progress is just a lucky coincidence.â
âNice try, Scully. You sound like the cop I gave my statement to at the crime scene. But what about the redial button on your phone? You called me.â
âWell, Iâm sure that before that call to my mother you probably are the last one I called from this phone. Maybe for some reason the phone didnât record the call to my mom.â
âScully, why are you so determined to find another explanation for this? It happened to you. You. Not to some stranger who may or may not be telling the truth. And you know that I would never make something like this up, right? So why canât you believe? Something incredible happened here tonight, Scully. What happened, that can only be described as a âpsychic eventâ!â
She sighed. âMulder, of course I donât think youâre making anything up. You know that I trust you. But this story youâve told, itâs just so unbelievable, so completely outside the realm of possibilities. I have no recollection of any of it myself, except for a few scattered fragments of a dream that may or may not be related. Why are you so determined to believe, when there are much more plausible explanations for what happened tonight?â
âOk, Ms. Skeptic, let me hear one of your plausible explanations.â
She fiddled absently with the left sleeve of the navy blue robe sheâd donned earlier as she considered possible explanations. âWellâ¦maybe it was someone else who called you. Someone who only sounded like me.â
He gave her a look that clearly said, âyou can do better than that!â âScully, how many times in the length of our partnership have we spoken to each other on the phone? Hundreds? Thousands? I know your voice better than I know my own. It was you. Besides, that still doesnât explain that pesky redial button.â
âWell Mulder, maybe whoever called you intended for you to think it was me. Maybe â maybe they used a sound-alike or something. Someone who intentionally impersonated my voice, or used some sort of computer simulation.â He was shaking his head at her and pointing to her phone. âMaybe they â uh, broke in and made the call from here while I was asleep.â
Mulder had to laugh out loud at that. âScully, your plausible explanation is sounding more and more implausible by the minute. And you forgot one tiny detail. How did they sneak in to use your telephone and then manage to re-chain the door behind them when they left?â
âHey, thatâs right! How did youâ¦â She broke off mid-sentence, looked at the door, then back at her partner. âMulder!â
âDid I forget to mention that I broke the chain on your door getting in here? Donât worry, Iâll fix it for you later. Do you have any other plausible theories before I give you mine?â
Mulder had a knack for saying the word âplausibleâ and letting you know that in his mind he was actually substituting the word âridiculousâ. It made Scully want to wipe the smirk off of his face.
âAnd what theory would that be, Mulder? Would that be the one in which you tell me all about how there was a time in Manâs early stages of infancy when the ability to grasp beyond the reach of the five senses was inherent to all human beings? Where you explain how experts in the field of the paranormal believe that this gift, from which we have weaned ourselves through thousands of years of genetic evolution, still lies within all of us, dormant, waiting only to be awakened and relearned? How somehow, in my sleep, that gift was reanimated in me, and my subconscious mind was able to reach out across time and distance to perceive a danger not yet known even in the mind of the one about to perpetrate it? That most likely this ability was revived due to some extreme event such as a near death experience, alien abduction, high fever, severe blow to the head, or some other stress-causing occurrence and now that the door is open I can train myself to forge a communication pathway with my subconscious to be able to utilize itâs knowledge at will? Well? Mulder?â
Her partnerâs eyes glazed over as he stared at her in mock-adoration. âScully, what do you think of Graceland for our honeymoon?â
She rolled her eyes skyward and shook her head. âLook Mulder, I have no idea how to explain what happened tonight. But the idea that Iâm suddenly psychic? I donât buy it. I just canât.â
She spread her hands wide in an apologetic gesture. âAll I know right now is that Iâm tired, and you look exhausted. Did you get any sleep at all?â
âI got a couple of hours,â was his reply, as he tried unsuccessfully to stifle a yawn with the back of his hand.
Scully got up to take their now-empty coffee cups to the kitchen. âGo home and get some more sleep, Mulder. Skinner wonât start looking for us until at least 9:00am. If I get in before you, Iâll just tell him you were up late investigating an X-file,â she grinned.
âIâm not sure that explanation is too far off the mark, Scully.â
At her warning look, he raised his hands in acquiescence. âOk, Iâm going, Iâm going. But if you start having visions of tonightâs winning lottery numbers, feel free to call and wake me.â
She chuckled and pushed him out the door. âIâll see you later, Mulder. Get some sleep!â
Scully closed the door quietly and turned the deadbolt. She automatically lifted her hand to engage the chain, and then sighed at the hole in the doorframe where one end of the chain used to be. ** I hope he means to fix that later today rather than later this year. **
She turned out the living room lights and walked down the short hall to her bedroom, intending to follow her own advice and get a couple more hours of sleep before officially starting the day.
She took off her robe, hanging it on the back of the closet door. Something snagged the left cuff of her pajama top, and she realized sheâd forgotten to take off the bracelet sheâd been wearing all evening. She removed it absently, placing it on her dresser as she reflected on the story Mulder had told her. Moving towards the bed, her eyes focused on the telephone. ** Could I really have called him? ** she wondered to herself.
Suddenly, the need to know was overwhelming. She picked up the phone and dialed.
âFBI switchboard, how may I direct your call?â
She identified herself and requested to be transferred to the Special Communications division. A moment later, the phone began to ring. A quick glance at the clock made her reconsider her decision to call. It was only 5:25am, after all. Maybe no one wasâ¦
âHi Dave, this is Dana Scully.â
âWell, isnât this an unexpected surprise! To what do I owe the pleasure, Dana?â
âI need a favor. I need to know if there was a phone call made from this number at or around 3:15 this morning, and if so, what number was called.â She gave him her phone number. âWould that be possible?â
âSure Dana, I can get that for you. Itâs going to take a little while though. There probably wonât be anybody over at Bell Atlantic for me to hassle for another hour and a half or so.â
âThatâs no problem. You can just call me at the office with the results later if you donât mind. I should be in around nine.â
âOk, will do. Talk to you later, Dana.â
She thanked him and hung up the phone, wondering how she would ever get back to sleep. But as she turned out the light and lay back on the pillow, exhaustion won the battle over curiosity, and she drifted off almost immediately.
End Chapter Two