Purification by XenaScully

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Purification by XenaScully

Purification cover

Date: Sunday, June 03, 2001 4:30 PM
Author: xenascully
Title: Purification

Summary: M&S investigate strange behavior… hmmm… and acquire some themselves…


Foreman residence


January 18th 11:45PM

“Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God!” was all he could say as he stared down at his bloody hands, “What have I done?” he frantically wiped them off on his blue t-shirt, ” Oh, God, what have I done?!” he paced the hard-wood floor, tracking bloody footprints as he went. He tried to rationalize it in his head:: I am so stupid! What the hell is wrong with me? he slumped to the floor next to the lifeless body of his former boss. He cringed at the blood emanating from the wound on its head, and how it had soaked its hair and had begun to be absorbed by the neck of his half buttoned dress shirt… and the prints on his neck–as if the blow to the head hadn’t killed him, he strangled him as well…

He looked back down at his hands, Oh, God, The blood stained his hands regardless of how he’d tried to wipe them. The scene started to play back in his head—He was so angry. God, was he angry! But was he angry enough to do this? He couldn’t have— he wouldn’t…In fact, he had set out to tell him off-to give him a piece of his mind. Not something unlikely around here. He could think of a lot of people who would be glad to be in his position right now, except they’d have been half way to Mexico by now. Not him. He wasn’t thinking of how he could get away with it. Or was he? He began to cry. He didn’t know anymore. Most of all, he didn’t know why. He didn’t know why he’d killed him…


FBI Headquarters

January 21st 7:21AM

Scully stepped off of the elevator and towards the basement office door stopping briefly, curious as to why it was locked. She knew Agent Mulder was in there. He had called her earlier and asked her to come in a little early if she could. Of course, she immediately left, as she had planned to even before he’d called. She could hear the computer running as she lightly tapped at the door, “Mulder?” there was a rustling and she heard the doorknob click and turn. Mulder poked his head out and looked behind her.

“Mulder, why was the door locked?” He smiled at her and opened the door to let her in. She entered and turned to him as he closed and locked the door again, “Mulder?”

“Don’t worry, Scully. I’m just making sure we’re not interrupted,” he said as he moved behind her and slid off her coat .

“We’re in the basement, remember?“she explained as she watched him hang the coat on the rack, “And if memory serves me right, we usually don’t get too many visitors.”

“Usually, Scully. Usually we don’t get visitors,” he pulled a second chair up to his desk and held the back of it, edging her to sit in it.

“What’s this about?” she sat, “And why in the hell are you being so courteous this morning?” He sat down next to her in his chair and turned the computer monitor back on. She was still looking at him-his eyes. Something in his eyes— that look he had, like a little boy with a treasure map….*Oh no,*she thought,*He’s got the ‘I’m taking on an unauthorized case’ look on his face,* “Mulder,-”

“Check this out,” he pointed at the screen.

“What am I checking out?” she saw a map, God. I was a little too on track.

“Pearisburg, Virginia,” she waited for him to speak further, but he said nothing. She sat back further in her chair and sighed.

“Okay, Mulder, I’m stumped,” Scully code for ‘continue’.

“It’s a road map, Scully,” he brought her attention back to the screen as he pointed, “From here…to Pearisburg,” again he grew silent.


“And that’s where we’re going,” She raised an eyebrow at him.

“Well, I have to admit I’m a little confused. Usually you tell me what happened before you tell me where you’re dragging me off to.” He smiled boyishly.

“I’m sorry, Scully. I didn’t know you were so dependent on my routine ramblings.” She gave a hint of a smile, “Besides, I was kinda hoping we could leave as soon as you got here, and I could bring you up to date in the car.” Scully raised her brow once more.

“We’re driving? Isn’t it like, a five hour drive?”

“Yeah, ummm…that’s the other thing…”

“What? Oh, wait. I think I already know,” she stood, “This was an anonymous tip off—”

“No, Scully,” he stood as well after shutting down his computer, “That’s not it at all.” Scully looked

up at him and quickly back down, feeling a little guilty from her assumption. “Skinner actually got the tip off,” Her head shot back up again, “Yeah. And he came down here asking that you and I go down there and check it out personally.” She combed through a tangle in her hair with her fingers as she watched Mulder go back over to the coat rack, “Guess the best part,” he picked up Scully’s coat.

“We get the presidential suite?“she paused, Where the hell did that come from? she shot a glance at Mulder, who chuckled. She smiled back.

“No, but close, Scully,” he held her coat open for her and she turned to get into it, “We’re staying at a summer house,” he slipped his own coat on.

“Summer house? Who’s?”

“A friend of Skinner’s. We’re supposed to try and do this confidentially.”

“A favor?”

“He didn’t say as much, but that’s what I’m guessing.”

“So that’s why we’re driving,”

“And that’s why we’re staying at a summer—well I guess it’s a winter house to us.”

“So answer me this, Mulder,” she said as she opened the door.

Oh, God, Mulder almost froze,* Here it comes.*

“Why did you take my coat off at the door if you knew we were leaving right away?” He let go of a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding, grateful that she hadn’t asked what he thought she would.

“I was trying to butter you up—soften the blow of our immediate departure.” She shook her head. “That and you woulda had me figured out if I’d just told you to keep it on.”

“I don’t know what I’m ever going to do with you.”



They took Mulder’s car after Scully retrieved her emergency bag from the trunk of her car, which was an essential element to being Mulder’s partner. Being prepared for a last minute trip turned out to be a smart idea. At least I won’t have to buy anything, she had thought to herself. Her closet had been stocked full of t-shirts and jeans that had been purchased solely on the fact that she hadn’t a change of clothes with her on unexpected journeys with a “predictably unpredictable” partner. Mulder had actually given her the idea since he always seemed to have one in his trunk as well.

She sat hovered over a file full of papers and photos as Mulder explained the case to her, absentmindedly flicking the corner of the file sleeve with her thumb during moments of silence, “So, the first incident happened three days ago,” she asked, more a statement than a question.

“Yeah. That—” he glanced at the photo then back to the road, “That’s Keith Hackett, 39. Born and raised in Pearisburg. Has a wife, Katherine, and two daughters, Jackie and Annabelle. Construction worker. Or at least he was…” She glanced at the employee photo. He looked like an honest, hard-working man. “Until he brutally murdered his boss,” he motioned for her to look at the next picture. The scene was gruesome. The large body sprawled out on the hard wood floor in a puddle of his own blood, “Ethan Foreman, age 47. Not such a great boss according to a number of his employees. But not bad enough for that.”

“So why was he killed?” she looked at him.

“Apparently Mr. Foreman had to decrease his salary due to some kind of budget cut. Maybe Hackett took it a little to personal,” he smirked. Scully tried to ignore the remark.

“Do you think that the reason for the budget cut could have anything to do with it?”

“I’m not sure what the reason was, Scully, but I ‘can’ tell you that it probably doesn’t.”

“Why do you say that?”

“If you hold that thought for just a minute and go to the second incident,” She flipped over to a picture of a woman who looked as though she’d been badly beaten. Her face was bruised up and healing of deeper wounds. As she flipped through, other photos showed the woman’s wrists bruised, “There isn’t a picture of the guy who did this, but Madeline Lewis was raped by a Mike Saunders—both seniors at Pearisburg High School. He’s been missing since the attack two days ago.” Scully flipped back to the head shot of Madeline. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot, from crying she thought. Her eyes began to water and she closed the file. “There have also been reports of numerous assaults in the school, and there was a small business who’s employees all decided to go on strike because, and I quote, ‘they wanted more comfortable chairs’.” Scully snickered at that one.

“I admit that these are all strange, Mulder, but I don’t see the connection in any of them.”

“That’s what we’re supposed to find out.”

“You mean it’s been said that there is a connection?”

“That was implied.”

“Well, Mulder…“she paused,“I think we’re being led—”

“On a wild goose chase?” he smiled as he finished her sentence.


“Why?” She paused a moment.

As if we’ve never been side-tracked like this before, Mulder. she thought to herself,* “If someone knows that there’s a connection to incidents that are in no way similar to each other, then it’s a strong possibility they could know what the connection is.”

“Not necessarily, Scully. This is Pearisburg. I never heard of it before now, and I bet you hadn’t either. It’s a small town, Scully. A peaceful town. When ten percent of it’s normal, quiet population goes bad, there rises up a reason for feeling as though there’s a single undeniable cause,” there was a short pause, “There’s a reason for these strange behavior patterns, Scully. Thing’s may be happening that we don’t know about-that nobody knows about yet. We’re the ones who are gonna have to figure out what this is.” There was an awkward silence. Scully thumbed the file corner again.

She had wanted to add, Well all this ‘confidentiality’ crap-this summer house-there’s enough reason for suspicion there. But she didn’t. There was something about the way Mulder said things that made her want to believe him-that made her as excited as he was about some things. She didn’t know what it was, but it made her open up that file again.


PHS Auditorium


“How are you doing, Sara?” the counselor put a sympathetic hand on the girl’s shoulder. Sara looked up at the other students who had come to the support group after lunch. She noticed them all. They were all friends of Madeline. They were all here to talk about it. She just nodded to the counselor.

“Mrs. Colmwell, how could he do this?” another girl asked.

“Tanya, sometimes there are things that can’t be explained. Sometimes people get confused about life and how they are supposed to live it.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” someone asked.

“Yeah, ” Sara cut in, “How can you call that being confused? Mike was pissed off because Mady wouldn’t go out with her. We all know that.”

“Mady wouldn’t go out with any guy, including me,” the guy next to her rose, “But I wouldn’t be sick enough to do something like that.”

“I know, Thomas,” Mrs. Colmwell sat him back down, “That’s what he is though. He’s sick. That’s why they need to find him. He needs doctors. He needs help.”

“He needs his ass kicked!” Thomas yelled. The guy next to him got up with him.

“He needs to be taken down like the animal that he is!” he said.

“Russell! Thomas! Sit down! I don’t want to hear you talk like that.”

“I’m sorry.” Thomas said.

“Well I’m not,” Russell got up and walked out the door.



There was music playing on the radio, barely coming through due to the fact that they were driving out of range from whatever station had been set there. Mulder flipped through the stations trying to find something clear. Anything. Then he found something—<Do you always trust you’re first initial feeling?> “Hey, it’s Stevie Nicks,“he smiled. <Special knowledge, oh it’s true, best believe it. I turned around and the water was closing all around…>

Scully was engrossed in the paper work in front of her when her head snapped up, “How long until we get there, Mulder?” she said as her thought process took hold of her.

“Uhh….about, say, 45 minutes. Why?”

“I want to call that construction company and find out about that budget cut.”


“Hey, you said there’s a connection somewhere, right?” she looked at him. He glanced at her with a big grin on his face.

God, I love when she gets smart.




The radio was turned up loud. So loud that that was all he could hear as he watched the students pour out of the school. But he had something on his mind besides the music. Come on, you little shit, he thought, Get your scrawny little ass out here, Russell revved his engine. <I, can’t go on living this way..Cut my life into pieces! This is my last resort!> He scanned the yard and found him. Johnny Taller. Mike Saunders best pal. <Suffocation, no breathing, don’t give a …> he pulled out of his spot and followed Johnny until he was clear of the school. He hopped out of his car and caught up to him, “Hey, Johnny boy.”

“Wha-what do you want, Russ?” he was afraid but tried to hide it.

“Where is he?”

“What are you talking about, Russ–” Russell grabbed him and held him by the collar.

“Don’t fuck with me, Taller!” he yelled in his face, “Where the hell is Saunders?”

“I-I have no idea where he is!” he began to tremble.

“Don’t play stupid with me, I know you’re hiding him!”

“No! Honest, Russ!” he almost cried, “I have no clue where Mike is! I swear to God!” Russell dropped him.

“If I find out your lying to me, Johnny boy, you’re gonna get it too!”


“Okay, thanks.” Scully hung up her cellphone as they pulled up in front of Pearisburg High School.

“So, what did they say?“Mulder got out of the car.

“They need to get back to me. They said they’ll call when their main office gets them the information,” she joined him as they simultaneously shut their doors, “So, why are we here again?”

“We’re gonna see if we can get a yearbook.”

“It’s January, Mulder.”


“Yearbooks don’t come out till spring.”

“What about last year, Scully?” he opened the door for her and she walked in.

“Assuming he got his picture taken,“she followed him to the office.

“The way that girl’s face was messed up, I’m thinking his was a big guy.”

“So what?”

“So he could’ve been a football player or something. Football players get their pictures taken.”

“Football players usually get the girl, Mulder. Not beat the girl.”

“Hey, what about O.J?”

“Can I help you?” a man stood behind the desk in the office.

“Yes,” Scully answered as they took out their badges, “I’m Agent Scully. This is Agent Mulder. We’re with the FBI.” The man seemed to straighten up.

“Oh? What can I do for you?” he took his glasses off and set them on the desk.

“We’re looking for a yearbook from last year,” Mulder answered.

“Oh. Um. Hold on a second,” the man picked up the phone and dialed four numbers. Scully shared a quick glance with Mulder, then continued looking around the room. “Mr. Smith? Yes. Do you have a copy of last year’s yearbook. Yes. Okay. Well I’m sending someone down to get it. <pause> Two agents from the F.B.I. <pause> I’m not sure, Mr. Smith. Okay. Goodbye,” he hung up, “If you go down to the end of the hall and turn right, it’s the last door to your left.”

“Thank you,” Scully said, and they walked out, “They seem to pride themselves on their football team,” she said as they walked, “They had pictures up all over the wall in the office.”

“Yeah, I noticed.” they turned right.

“Did you also notice that there were names under the pictures?

“I wasn’t looking that closely, why?”

“There wasn’t a picture of Saunders.”

“Okay, so maybe he plays LaCross.” They came to the last door on the left and walked into the open room, knocking lightly on the door, “Hello?” A small skinny man walked into their sight from a book shelf in the corner of the room.

“Oh, sorry. Come in,” he continued at the shelf, “It’ll just be a sec here. I know we have a copy.” Scully turned her attention to a couple out the window under a tree. They seemed to be making out. Hell, the were stripping down..

“Hey, Mulder…” she motioned out the window. He caught the sight.

“I thought the rule was that the skirt could be no higher than three inches above the knee?”

“Oh, God, not again,” Mr. Smith ran to the window and opened it, “AMY! TOMMY! Get a room!!”

he set the book in front of Scully on a desk, “I don’t know what the hell has gotten into them lately. A week ago they were best friends, now they’re fornicating on school property,” Scully blushed, “So, what is it that two F.B.I agents need with the PHS yearbook?”

“We just need a recent photo of Mike Saunders,” Mulder said. Smith’s eyes grew dark.

“You won’t find it in there,” he said.

“Why not?” Scully’s head shot up.

“Saunders just moved here this school year from Florida,” he headed towards a door on the other side of the room, “But I may have some shots from this year that we’ve been taking as testers for the yearbook here in the darkroom. Hold on. I won’t be a minute,” he disappeared into the tiny door.

“He doesn’t happen to play any sports, does he?” Mulder yelled to him as he shared a glance with Scully.

“Saunders?” He returned, “Heck no. He’s just a scrawny little thing,” he handed them the picture. He was right. Mike was the ‘computer nerd, chess club player, math team leader of the year’ type of guy. “Wonder what happened to him. He was such a good kid. I hate to say it, but Madeline was down right awful to him sometimes,” Scully’s eyebrow went up.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I think Mike was in love with her. But she didn’t pay him any mind. In fact, she brushed him off like a crumb whenever he talked to her. She’s a little stuck up that way. But he just kept on at it. Never gave up. But I never thought….” his voice trailed off in thought, “…it’s just not like him.”


Saunders’ residence


Samantha Saunders hugged the robe around her body as she hurried from the shower to grab the phone. It had been ringing for a good two minutes, so she assumed it was important enough for her to rush from the shower. She’d been waiting for a call from the police. She needed to know about her son… “Hello?”

“Mom?” the voice was silent and whimpering. Samantha’s eyes grew wide.

“Michael? Mike is that you?”

“Yeah. Mom, I just wanted to tell you I’m okay.”

“Michael, I want you to come home right now, okay? I need you to get back here,” she heard him sigh. Then she heard ,what sounded like a truck pass by, “Where are you?”

“I-I’m not really sure exactly. I’m at a gas station somewhere in Roanoke.”

“Roanoke? Why are you— where are you staying?”

“At a friend’s, Mom, just listen. I can’t talk–”

“Do they know why you ran away?” she took a motherly tone. There was a silence.

“No,” he had started to cry.

“I want you to come home right know. Do you hear me?”


“Now, Mike. It’ll be okay. I promise.”



“So, this is it,” Scully looked up at the log cabin and smiled, “I think it’s kinda cute, don’t you?” Mulder pulled their bags from the trunk.

“You mean, for being pretty much across the street from a trailer park, don’t you, Scully?” She turned around.

“You can’t see it, Mulder,” she turned to the cabin again, “I think it’s nice,” They walked to the door and Mulder set the bags down on the porch and searched his pockets for the keys. He was thankful that they had left the porch light on.

“Well, we haven’t seen the inside yet, Scully, so don’t get your hopes up,” he unlocked the door and pushed it open. Scully grabbed her bag and walked inside searching for a light switch. Mulder had stayed on the porch. He didn’t want to say anything, but the place kind of creeped him out. And he thought he’d take his chances on the porch till there was some light in there. She disappeared in the darkness and he searched for his little flashlight he carried around with him, “Hey, Scully?”

“Yeah?” He thought he heard her murmur something like, “What the hell is this?” when the room was filled with the dim light from the ceiling lamp. Suddenly he heard Scully screaming. His head shot to her in a panic. She was frozen in place and screaming towards the light switch, “Scully?!” he ran in towards her, “Scully, what’s wrong?!” he saw it.

“Get it off me, Mulder!” there was a huge tarantula just sitting on her arm. He hadn’t seen her in such a state of panic since the incident in the woods with the tiny green bugs all those years back. Without thinking, he swatted the spider to the floor. Scully backed away from it and clung to Mulder’s arm. The spider didn’t move. Mulder felt her still trembling beside him. He turned to her and took the arm the spider had been on.

“Are you okay? Did it bite you?” he inspected it as she shook her head.

“No-it didn’t bite me,” she didn’t take her eyes of off the spider.

“Well, are you okay?” he dropped her arm and put his hand on her back.

“I’m fine,” she looked up at him and calmed a bit, “I’m sorry I screamed,”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Scully. You were scared, so you screamed. It happens.”

“Not to me. Not like that, anyway.”

“Not like what?” he started back towards the spider.

“Not from a spider,” she watched him as he bent down to the spider.

“Fear can come from past events in your life. Besides, I think you scared him more than he scared you.”

“No way, Mulder. I don’t think so.”

“Well, it’s dead. I think you scared it to death.”

“But you whacked it—“she walked to him.

“Not that hard.”

“Well, damnit, it shouldn’t have climbed up my arm like that!” Mulder laughed at her remark and scooped the spider in his hands. He heard Scully gasp as he stood with it and threw it out the door. He turned around, vigorously wiping his hands on his pants. Then he shut the door and looked back at Scully who had seemed to be waiting for him to further inspect the house. She stood in the same spot looking up at the ceiling and on the walls, subconsciously checking for other creatures, “Okay, Scully. Come on,” he put a hand on the small of her back and led her further into the house, “I guess this is okay,” he said as he pulled the sheets off the furniture in the living room. Cream-colored couch and chair, oakwood end-tables, a raspberry colored indoor-outdoor carpet, and–“Oh look, Scully!!”

“A fireplace!” she brightened up. There was a white-plush rug in front of it. She turned on some lamps on the end tables and walked over to where Mulder was kneeling.

“I think I saw some firewood out on the porch. Why don’t you go check what we’ve got as far a food goes. I was told we would be well stocked in that category. I’ll see if I can get a fire going,” Scully turned around. There was nothing separating the living room and the kitchen. She walked over and reached for the switch, flinching back suddenly, then, after making sure there was nothing there, turned on the kitchen light.

At least the kitchen is spotless,she thought, and opened the refrigerator, Vegetables, Fruit—mmm, strawberries—milk, sandwich meat, cheese, condiments…the usual. The freezer was stocked with meats and even some ice cream. The cupboards tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate mix, soups, really more than enough to hold them over for a good while–….“Hey, Mulder?” she shouted.

“Yeah?“he was carrying wood to the fireplace.

“This kitchen is stocked up enough to last us months,” she picked up a box of matches from the counter and brought them to Mulder, “Does that worry you at all?”

“Uhh…” he looked up at her and took the matches, “Thanks. Yes and no,” She crouched down next to him. “They may have just been over prepared for our stay. Or,” He lit the match and started a piece of newspaper on fire, then threw it on the set wood.


“Or maybe it’s like you said. Maybe this is just a bullshit assignment made to distract us…hold us here for a while. Maybe they just want us out of their way. And you know what?” The fire started up and he shut the gate together, Scully clapping at his achievement, “I don’t really give a damn.” They both sat back in front of the fire. Scully watched him intently, “I’m tired, ” She wondered if he was talking physically tired, or tired of the endless mind games that their job exposed them to. She pulled his head down on her shoulder and they watched the fire dance.

The ringing of her cellphone woke her from her deep sleep. She opened her eyes, and realizing that it was not her room, she took a moment to remember where she was. She felt something weighing on her stomach and she looked down. We must have fallen asleep, Mulder was laying next to her with his head on her stomach. A sudden warmth started in her spine as his hand moved along her side. The fire had been reduced to a few red glowing embers. The phone rang again and she sat up. Mulder just as quickly pushed himself up on his hands. She got her coat from the couch and searched the pockets for the phone. She found it and sat on the couch, “Hello?” she answered. There was a pause. Mulder sat up stretching and stood to walk to the bathroom. Her eyes absently followed him as she listened to the caller, “Yeah. Okay, thank you,” she stood and walked into the kitchen. She pulled the curtains opens and shaded her eyes as the sunlight hit her face. It had briefly snowed last night and the ground was a huge reflector. She turned to the cupboards and took out a coffee maker and some grounds. She heard the toilet flush and Mulder came around the corner, scratching behind his head, “Good morning,” she smiled.

“Morning, Scully. What time is it?”

“7:30 almost. I’m making some coffee.”

“Oh, good,” he opened the refrigerator, “God, I’m starved. You want some eggs or something if I have some?”

“Sure, Mulder. As long as I don’t have to make them.”

“Damn,” he smiled and took out the milk and eggs, “Okay then. But you’re making dinner,” he started to look for a frying pan. Scully poured them both a cup of coffee and set them on the table, “Okay,” he went to the table and took a sip of the coffee, “Where the hell are the pans?” he took another gulp, “Uh, Scully…” She noticed it too. The coffee tasted awful.

“Yuck! Mulder, I think it’s well water,” But they weren’t about to throw it away.

“Maybe if we put some more sugar in it…”

“Remind me to get one of those Brita things today,” She needed that coffee. And there was no way she was gonna let a little after taste ruin her morning. Suddenly another phone rang. They shared a glance. Mulder looked for where the sound was coming from. He found the ancient thing on the wall next to the fridge.

“Hello?” he listened and looked over at Scully, “Okay. We’ll be right there,” he hung up, “Guess we’ll have to eat later. Mike Saunders came home last night.”

The three of them were in an interrogation room. Scully was seated in front of Saunders, and Mulder stood against the wall. There were dark circles under Mike’s eyes, and he smelled like he hadn’t bathed in a while, “Okay, Mr. Saunders,“she said, “I know you’ve been asked this already by some other people, but could you explain to us what happened?”

“I-I don’t know…” he rocked slightly in his chair.

“Well, there’s a girl here in the station who does, Mike,” Mulder said, “And she says you do too.”

“Well, she’s wrong,” he hesitated, “Not entirely though.”

“How’s that?” Scully listened.

“I-remember what happened, but—I’m not sure what—how.. I’m not sure why I did it. I don’t know why I hurt her. It all happened like I was a third person–watching myself– hurt her…” he started to cry. “God, I can’t believe…”

“Can you tell us what you remember about that night?”

“Umm…” he cleared his throat, “I was…driving home from school, and…there she was. Walking down the street. She was almost home actually. But I asked her if she wanted a ride home anyway. ‘Why don’t you just leave me alone, Sandman!’ she said. That’s what she called me. I could never figure out why she started calling me that, but I was sure it wasn’t a term of endearment. For some reason it made me really mad though. Particularly that day. I remember being so pissed. I mean she never gave me a chance! Never!” his fists clenched, “So I stopped the car. This is where it starts getting weird, because I could never see myself doing this. I picked her up—right off the ground—threw her in my trunk, and drove–I can’t even remember where–the woods I think. I…pulled her out. She was…trying to fight me off…” he cried harder now, “But I just…I was holding her down…and I—I…”

“You raped her,” Mulder finished. Mike looked up at him, then back down and nodded, “What did you do after that?”

“I took off. Just left her there and drove as far away as I could. I stayed with some friends for a while. Then my mom convinced me to come back.”

“What did she say to make you come so quickly?” Scully asked.

“It was the guilt. I’d known in my head all along that I shouldn’t have left in the first place.”

“Why did you, then?”

“I was afraid. I was terrified. Not necessarily because of what could happen to me, but because I was afraid of what I had done. I was— I am afraid of myself…” Mulder and Scully shared a glance.

“Okay, Mike. I think that’s—”

“Wait,” Mulder stopped her, “Just one more thing,” Mike looked up at him again, “We were told that you’ve recently moved here from Florida. How do you have friends in Roanoke?”

“I used to live with my mom in Roanoke before I moved to live with my father in Fort Myers. When he died, I moved back here with my mom. She’d moved to Pearisburg out of the old house my parents were together in.”

“Okay,” Mulder responded as he looked off. Scully shared yet another glance with him, as if asking if it would be okay with him now to end the questioning. He nodded to her and they left.

“Where are you going, Mulder?” Scully called to him in the parking lot.

“I’m going to drop you off at the station. I want you to search for anything you can find out about this guys father,” he got in the car, “Then I’m going to talk with Mrs. Saunders and see what she knows about this.”


Saunder’s Residence

“I told you everything I know, Tom,” Mrs. Saunders explained to the deputy that accompanied Mulder to the home, “There’s nothing more to it.”

“What about your ex-husband?” Mulder asked.

“What about him? He’s dead. What does he have to do with this?”

“I was hoping you could tell me,” he answered. She gave him a glare that he could not describe.

“Tom, could we hurry this up? I’d like to go see my son,” she said and Tom nodded. Something caught Mulder’s attention from the corner of his eye. He looked out the window. There was a shorter, balding man looking from the side of the house next door. When he saw that Mulder had seen him, his eyes grew wide.

“Who’s this guy?” Mulder asked her.

“That’s Ben, my neighbor,” she seemed to have cooled down, “Why?”

“Is there something wrong with him?”

“Hahaha! Oh, Lord, no. Not unless being nosy and paranoid counts,” Mulder looked back to the man, and Ben took off to the back of his house. Mulder headed towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Tom asked.

“Just gonna go ask Ben a few questions. It seems to me that maybe he knows something about this,” Tom nodded to him and turned his attention back to Mrs. Saunders. Mulder exited the house and made his way to the front door of the house next door. He looked around to the back to assure himself that he did, indeed, go into the house. He knocked on the door, “Ben?” he looked in the window, then knocked again, “Ben, my name is Agent Mulder. I’m with the F.B.I. Open the door, please,” there was no answer, “Sir, I know you’re in the—” suddenly a shot rang out…


Station 11

“Come on, Mulder. Pick up,” Scully said into the phone. The sheriff stood by her, in wait for the same thing. His radio went of suddenly.

“Go ahead, Tom,” he answered into it.

“Sir, we have an officer down! I need back-up! Some lunatic just shot Agent Mulder!”

“What?!” Scully slapped her phone shut.

“Are you still at the Saunders residence?”

“Yes, sir, the neighbor shot him—he’s got a gun and he’s shot three rounds. I’m not sure how many of them went into Mulder,” Officers at the station were already in preparation, “There’s an ambulance on the way, but I’m gonna need some help with this guy!”

“Okay, Tom. We’re on our way,” they all scrambled out the door.

“I got him, sir! I got him!” Scully heard from the sheriff’s radio. They were nearly there, but Tom had managed to get Benjamin Burns to give up. When they pulled onto the street, the lights from the ambulance could be seen, and Ben was being out in the back of the police vehicle.

“Where’s Mulder?” Scully asked the sheriff, “Ask him if Mulder is okay,” she wanted to know before she got there.

“What’s Mulder’s condition, Tom?”

“I don’t know, sir. They’re working on him right now. I couldn’t say.”

Ohgodohgodohgod, she thought. If they were working on him—that could mean anything—that could mean—he wasn’t breathing—or that he could—he could die…

She ran directly to the ambulance when the car stopped, “Mulder?” she yelled above all the noise that took place in front of the house. She pushed her way through the crowd. Relief almost—ALMOST caused tears to come to her eyes as she saw him sitting up, smiling at her.

“Hey, Scully,” he said calmly as they wrapped his thigh.

“Mulder, what happened?”

“He came up behind me. It’s just a flesh wound—it’s not really that bad.”

“When you didn’t answer your phone, I thought—”

“My head hit the sidewalk when I went down. I was out for a few minutes,” there was a moment of silence between them as she looked over his wound. He watched her as she tried to tuck away her recent fear into a place where he would never see it, “They said I don’t even need to go to the hospital. They said I’m okay,” he said, trying to reassure her.

“I’m going to take you back to the house,” she said, helping him to his feet. They walked to the sheriff, “I’ll be right back. I just want to take him home,” the sheriff looked him over.

“Okay, you can meet us back at the station to do the interrogation.”


Summer House

30 Minutes Later

“You’re sure you’ll be okay?” she said as he sat on the couch.

“I’m fine, Scully. I just don’t understand why you’re not letting me go with you.”

“Because, Mulder, you need to rest. You lost some blood and you really shouldn’t be on your feet for a while. So promise me you’ll stay in the house. That you’ll be here when I get back,” she looked seriously at him.

“Okay, Scully. I promise. Scout’s honor,” with that, she went out the door and made her way to the station.


Station 11

“Why did you shoot at my partner, Mr. Burns?”

“I don’t know…”

“Don’t give me that bullshit, Burns! You had a gun, you staked him out, and you shot him when he rang the doorbell to your home!” she paused in thought though Burns was speaking.

“Please—I don’t know! I was afraid—afraid that he was going to—”

“That’s enough,” she turned to the door, “Sheriff,” he came and let her out, “Did anyone search Burns’ house?”

“Well, no. Burns shot from a different location, and the house had been locked up. There didn’t seem to be a point. Burns was brought in for assault with a weapon. Nothing more that would warrant a search of his home.”

“Did it ever occur to you that Mulder may have been shot to protect something Burns had in his house? Something that may still be there—that, sir, warrants a search.”


1 Hour Later


“Nothing ma’am. We searched the place top to bottom. There’s nothing unusual about this place. Nothing that indicates he’s done anything wrong—except of course, the blood on the front porch from Agent Mulder,” Scully looked down.

“Okay, deputy. Why don’t you head back. I think I’m gonna have another look around.”

“No problem, Agent Scully. Here’s the house key. Just be sure to lock up on the way out,” he shut his car door and rolled down the window, “Oh, and if you need anything, gimme a call,” she nodded to him, smiling, and returned to the house.

There wasn’t really anything there. Nothing. But she looked again anyway. The refrigerator was practically empty. Just a jar of pickles and some expired milk. The cupboards were filled with boxes of crackers and peanut butter and some cereal. The stove looked untouched. This was a typical single man’s kitchen. Nothing really out of the ordinary.

She made her way to the bedroom. The dresser was her goal. She opened each drawer, inspecting its dull contents; old tee shirts and jeans—a porn magazine, “Lovely,” she said to herself at the trampy looking woman on the front. She through it back down into the drawer and opened the next one. More clothes, and the same in the next one. The bottom drawer was looking the same until she moved the contents around a bit and revealed an envelope. She pulled it out and was disappointed to see the Water Company name on it. Just an overdue bill.

She slumped down on the corner of the bed and her foot hit something under it. She bent over and discovered the small shoebox. She opened it and sifted through the pictures and the papers, but her mind wouldn’t let her think anymore tonight. She closed it with a sigh and tucked it under her arm as she walked out the door, locking up as she left.

As she drove, she became frustrated. The case was at a dead stop—nothing was happening—nothing would permit answers. All they were getting was, ‘I don’t know why,’ a lump was growing in her throat. She felt helpless. She hated feeling helpless.

She pulled into the driveway of the summer house, turning the car off but not leaving her seat. She could no longer hold back the tears, ‘Mulder could’ve gotten killed today. He could’ve died, and I would still be at this same point. He would’ve died for nothing—for no reason, and I wouldn’t have been there with him,’ the tears came more fierce now.

“Scully?” her head shot to the passenger seat where Mulder had silently slipped in. His hand was on her shoulder, “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” Her eyes didn’t leave his. Though tears ran down her face, so far she’d made no attempt to hide them, “Please don’t cry, Scully,” his hand moved to cup her cheek and his thumb brushed away the wet streaks, “Please tell me what’s wrong,” he repeated. As much as she wanted to stay in that moment—with his hand on her face—she left it and turned away.

“I’m fine, Mulder,” she felt a little better, “I’m just—frustrated is all,” she looked down at his hand which now rested on his knee, “I thought I told you to stay in the house?”

“Oh,” he opened the door, “Well I heard you pull up, and when you didn’t come in…” he didn’t need to continue. He stepped out and turned to look at her again, “Come on, Scully. It’s colder than hell out here.”

Scully set the shoebox down on the coffee table and noticed the fire roaring in the fireplace, “Mmm,” she felt the heat surround her, “Maybe I’ll stay down here a while and warm up, “Mulder sat down in front of it, up against the side of the couch.

“C’mere,” he said, motioning for her to sit with him. She did. “So what were you so frustrated about?” she looked down.

“It’s this case,” she looked at the fire, “It’s going nowhere. And it’s not making sense.”

“Fuck the case, Scully,” Her head shot to him.


“Fuck this case if it’s bothering you this much. I could call Skinner and we can be out of her tomorrow if that’s what you want,” She smiled at him.

“No. No it isn’t. You could’ve gotten killed today. I want to know why,” Mulder smiled at her now. Then, seeing she was uncomfortable on that part of the couch, he pulled her to sit in front of him between his legs so she could lay back on him instead of the hard arm of the couch. She didn’t seem to mind. He wrapped his arms around her and his hands settled across her stomach. Not long after, her hands settled on his. He breathed in and could smell her hair—he didn’t know what the scent was in particular, but it smelled good.

Scully felt his breath on the back of her neck and it made her close her eyes. She felt something suddenly—something she hadn’t felt in a long time. A pleasant sensation traveled up her abdomen and settled just about where Mulder’s hands were. She felt him pull her tighter to him.

Oh, God, Mulder’s breath caught as she was pressed against the zipper of his pants. He wanted to touch her—he always had. But right now, he couldn’t help it. He needed to. Scully felt his thumb trace circles on her stomach, and his nose dropped to her shoulder, smelling her scent more deeply. Then he turned his head and placed a kiss on her neck. Her head fell to the side, giving him more room, and she let out a breath she didn’t know she’d been holding. He took that as an invitation to kiss it again.

His tongue grazed the hot flesh just behind her earlobe, nibbling it softly. His hand came out from under hers and ran over her fingers once before it sought out the bottom hem of her shirt, “God, Scully, I wanna touch you so bad,” Scully groaned as his words were whispered into her ear. Her stomach muscles quivered as his fingers grazed over the skin there. His other hand followed under her shirt and found the clasp on the front of her bra. He slowly opened it and grasped her breasts in his hands.

Suddenly she was afraid. She froze—breath and all. Her back was arched off of him, “Scully, relax,” he kneaded her breasts in his hands, “It’s okay,” her eyes closed again and she slowly settled back into him like a hot bath, “Scully,” his thumbs grazed her nipples, “If I’m making you uncomfortable, tell me to stop, okay?”

“No,” she moaned, “Please don’t stop, Mulder,” their breathing quickened. One hand left her breast and went down to unbutton her pants. His hand slid easily down the front of them over her panties.

God, she’s wet. She wants this as much as I do. Mulder brought his hand up and back down again, under her panties and felt her hands clench to his thighs. He rubbed her a few times then slid a finger inside her.

“Oh, God—” she managed to get out. She felt him growing harder under her. Another finger went in. Her hips bucked into his hand as he moved them slowly. He sped up a little. Her cries approved. He felt her walls convulse around his fingers as she called his name out.

Coming back from her high, she felt his erection at her back again. When he removed his fingers from her, she spun around in his lap and straddled him. They looked into each other’s eyes briefly. His were darker then usual—clouded over with desire. His mouth was opened slightly as he tried to steady his breathing. She closed the space between them and kissed him furiously. He pulled from it only when she began to rock on his ever-hardening erection. “Sculleeeee…” he managed as she pulled of her shirt and bra. He cupped her face in his hands and kissed her again. His hands made there way to her waist and pulled her tightly against him and laid her down on the plush carpet. She pulled his shirt over his head, then somehow pulled her pants off and kicked them away. Mulder hovered over her for a moment. Then came down and took a nipple in his mouth. Her head tilted back as his tongue played with it and sucked it. She moaned at the sensation and she could feel his erection on her thigh. He pushed back up, rubbing his hardness between her legs. He wanted, so much, to be inside her.

“Mulder,” she pushed him back up and rocked on him again. She undid his jeans and grabbed ahold of his now throbbing member. She stroked it slowly.

“Oh, God, Scully…Oh, God, yes—” he was so hard it hurt. She nipped at his neck as she stroked him firmer and rolled him with her other hand, “Scuhh—Scully—” he needed to stop her before it was too late, “Stop!” he grabbed her hands, “I need to be inside you, Scully,” She kissed him and pushed him down on his back. She pulled his pants and underwear off and he winced only once at the pain in his leg.

“Sorry, Mulder,” she said as her panties dropped to the floor. The sensations went right back to his groin. He instinctively grabbed himself and started stroking, “No!” she swatted his hands away, “Not yet.”

“Oh, God, Scully. I need you,” she was on top of him and he squeezed her to him as she kissed him. Then he felt her grab hold of him again, except she sat up and guided his tip inside her. His hips bucked up and he was halfway in. She gasped as she sat all the way down on him, “You feel so good, Scully,” he twitched inside her.

“We fit together,” she began to rock, “Oh, Mulder,” she closed her heavy eyes. She bounced on him faster now as she felt her orgasm building. He sensed it as well and he grabbed her waist and thrusted up to meet her hips, “Mulder!” it started, “Oh yeah…oh fuck yes, Mulder!” she yelled as she rode off the climax.

“You’re so beautiful, Scully,” Mulder rolled over so that he was on top now. He whispered into her ear as he slowly thrust into her, “Shit, you are so tight…I have to stop for a minute…”

“No, Mulder,” she bucked her hips up to him. He groaned.

“Scully, I’m about to ruin this.”

“No, Mulder—” she kissed him again and bit down on his lower lip, “I want you to fuck me,” she coaxed him.

“Scully…God…don’t do this…I’m gonna…”

“Fuck me, Mulder.”

“Oh God…” he couldn’t stand it any longer and he thrust himself into her over and over, holding her hips against his harsh thrusting. She was surprised to feel another orgasm building.

“Faster!” she started again, “Fuck me, Mulder! Oh, God, yes!”

“Shit, Scully,” he said through clenched teeth, “Ohfuckohfuck—ooohgodyeeeeaahh!” and other inaudible words as he came into her over and over again.

When her eyes finally opened, she saw Mulder lying next to her, a tear rolling down her cheek. He turned to her and smiled, “I didn’t know it could be like that,” he said. She smiled, indicating she felt the same, “C’mon,” he sat up, “Let’s sleep on the couch tonight. I wanna hold you,” they got up and spooned on the couch. Mulder pulled a blanket over them, accidentally knocking the shoebox from the coffee table. No one seemed to care. There was a silence as she closed her eyes, “Scully?”

“Hmm?” she said sleepily.

“I love you,” there was another pause.

“I love you, too.”

Scully awoke with the sound of the shower running. She smiled when she realized what had actually happened the night before. She pulled the blanket to her nose and breathed in the scent Mulder had left there. Then she stretched and sat up, seeking out something to cover herself with. She found Mulder’s shirt and threw it on as she made her way to the kitchen. She pulled out the Brita container from the fridge and poured herself a glass of water. She hadn’t heard the shower turn off.

The water was much better than what they’d made the coffee with. She gazed up at the clock over the sink. It was still early. She could take a shower after Mulder. Then she felt hands on her waist and she jumped at the suddenness of it, “Morning, Scully,” Mulder’s breath was hot against her ear. He pulled her to him, hugging her from behind.

“Good morning, Mulder. Did you sleep well?” she smiled as he nudged his nose behind her ear.

“Better than ever,” his hands went to the hem of her shirt.

“Me too,” she said as his hands went up under it.

“Why, Scully,” he said surprised, “You aren’t wearing any underwear under my shirt,” he turned her around to face him.

“No. I’m not. That’s very observant of you,” she smiled, “What are you gonna do about it, Mulder?”

“Mmm,” he kissed her, “I’m not sure yet,” she set her glass down on the cupboard and buried her hands in his hair as his hands explored under her shirt, “But I have a few ideas,” he said between kisses.

“Oh really? What might those be?” she giggled as he tickled her neck with his tongue.

“Well, I thought maybe I would do this—” he picked her up and sat her on the cupboard, sliding easily between her legs. He was glad he decided not to dress yet. Towels were so easy to get out of. Scully’s hand went to the knot that held it up, then pulled it free. The towel fell to the floor.

“My my, Agent Mulder. We certainly are ready for this,” she said, smiling at him exposed hard-on.

“We?” he said mischievously, “Well that would mean that—” his hand went up her thigh and found her heat, “Ah, yes—you were right,” he kissed her again as she gasped from the movement of his fingers. But this time she was impatient. She didn’t want to wait. Her hand went down and grasped him, slowly guiding him into her, “Ahhh….God, Scully…..what are you trying to do to me?” his breath was so quick and heavy it was making her even more wet. He thrust against her, knowing she wanted it that way—knowing she liked it to be hard—like last night.

“Mmm,” she moaned against his hungry mouth. His hands pressed her hips more firmly to him as he worked, “God, Mulder…just like that…oh yeah…” her moaning made him suck in his breath through his teeth. This would be over soon. Too soon. But he knew she wanted to come, and wouldn’t let him stop till she did. His hand went down and his fingers found her clit and pressed it in time with his thrusts. That did it.

When her screams subsided, she noticed that he had stopped. She looked at his face. He was wincing—trying so hard to control it. She was patient. When he opened his eyes and saw her beautiful smile at him, his hips bucked against her involuntarily, “I had to stop, Scully. I’m sor—”

“Sshh,” she pulled him back into her and pressed her lips gently against his, “I know, Mulder. So let’s carry on then,” she said just as the phone rang.

“Shit,” Mulder looked at her, “Let’s just not answer it.”

“We have to, Mulder,” her logic took over again, “They know we’re here,” he sighed and reached over for the phone.

“Mulder,” he disguised his voice to sound as if he just woke up.

<Agent Mulder, this is Skinner.>

“Oh,” Mulder’s fingers pinched the bridge of his nose, “What can I do for you, sir?”

<I was just checking up on you two. Seeing how things are coming.>

“Oh, well, things are coming—I mean—we’re doing—well, sir, honestly we haven’t gotten any solid leads yet.”

<I heard you were shot, Mulder. Are you okay?>

“Yeah, I’m fine. I have Dr. Scully to take care of me. Plus it wasn’t much more than a flesh wound.”

<Glad to hear it. Well, if you find out anything, be sure to let me know.>

“Will do,” with that, he hung up the phone.

“Skinner?” Scully asked.

“Yeah. I’m almost not in the mood anymore,” he said seriously. Scully looked disappointed at his eyes, “I said ‘almost’, Scully,” he smiled and pushed against her again as he covered her mouth with his.

“I know you just got out of the shower, Mulder, but would you care to join me in it again? We could save a lot of time,” she smiled at him brightly.

“As if you’d have to make it sound better, Scully,” he smiled back at her. Then suddenly the phone rang again, “Damnit,” he picked it up, “Mulder,” he said a little more perturbed.

<Agent Mulder?>

“Yeah. Is this the sheriff?”

<Yeah. I need you to come down here if you’re up to it.>


<This guy, Burns, has been asking to speak to you all night. We were just going to ignore him, but…> his voice trailed off.

“But what?” he was growing impatient. Scully made her way to the shower as he spoke.

<Burns hung himself this morning. He’s dead.>

“Shit,” Mulder pounded down on the counter and Scully spun around.

“What? What happened?” she came back over to him.

“Burns is dead,” he said to her, “Hung himself in his cell this morning because they didn’t CALL ME LAST NIGHT!!” he half said to her and to the sheriff.

<Listen, we didn’t think you would want to come. You had been shot by this guy. We didn’t think you’d wanna drag yourself out here at nearly midnight to listen to him rant and rave.>

“You know what?” he pursed his lips, “Just—just forget it—I’ll be there in a minute,” he hung up the phone, “I’m sorry, Scully. I have to go down there. You stay here okay?” he threw on his clothes faster than Scully thought possible.

“You don’t want me to come with you?”

“I don’t think you should. You’ll just stop me from saying what I really want to say to that asshole,” he buttoned his shirt and gave her a small smile. She smiled back.

“Please don’t hit him, Mulder. Just promise me that much,” she said as he kissed her cheek.

“I promise, Scully. Just for you,” he kissed her mouth now, then forced himself to pull away before it turned into what was supposed to happen in the shower, “We can finish what we started when I get back.”


Station 11


“Now I know you came here to bitch me out, Agent Mulder,” the sheriff met him halfway up the sidewalk to the entrance, “But just hear me out, okay?” Mulder said nothing, which caused the sheriff to continue, “Burns was being psychotic last night, and I didn’t know exactly how bad you were. He was just a crazy man, Mulder. He was insane! I didn’t call you because I thought you’d be pissed if I even brought it up.”

“Ha!” Mulder smiled, “That’s really funny, but I don’t get it. What if he had something to tell me? Something important about why all this stuff is happening in your town?”

“And ya think he was telling you by trying to kill you yesterday?” Mulder didn’t respond, but continued walking again, “Whatever is happening in this town, that man didn’t know a goddamn thing. He’s a retired water purifier. He sat at home on his computer all day looking up triple X sites and worrying about how high his grass was getting. I can assure you this guy knew nothing.>


Summer House


Scully emerged from the steamy bathroom, drying her hair with a towel as she made her way to the couch. She sat down and folded up the blanket, laying it on the arm, when she noticed the splayed items from the fallen shoebox all over the floor. Sighing, she bent down and began picking them up. She put several of the papers back into the box, then came across a photo. For some reason, she kept looking at it. As if some force were trying to tell her that this was the answer. Everything you need to know is right here in front of your face. Then it clicked. She picked up the phone.

Mulder was about to respond to the sheriff when his cell rang, “Mulder,” he answered.

<Mulder, it’s me,> Mulder calmed at her voice, <I think I found something,>

“What do you mean?”

<About this town. I think I figured out what might be the source of the problem.>

“Well spill it, Scully.”

<This box I brought home from Burns’ house, it contained a photo. He’s in it. And so it Keith Hackett and some other people. It was taken if front of Foreman’s construction site.>

“But Burns didn’t work for Foreman. He wasn’t on the employee list.”

<Neither was Hackett. They both worked for that water company I called before we got here,> there was a moment of silence and then she continued, <Guess what else I found?>

“I’m all ears.”

<Mike Saunders’ father was stationed in DC., right?>

“Yeah, so?”

<So, before he retired, he was working at a well water company right outside of town. He wasn’t the only one to retire though. Nearly 28 more officers left that same year.>



“I’m gonna check something out. I’ll call you right back.”

<Well, why don’t I come down there?>

“Um…no. No, I won’t be here for long. Meet me at the restaurant across the street from the station in about a half an hour. We’ll get some breakfast.”

<Okay.> she said. He hung up and stuck the phone back in his pocket.

“We have a lead—sort of. I need you to help me look for something.”

“What’s that?” the sheriff followed him into the building.

“I need to know everything about the local well-water company and what neighborhood’s are receiving it.”



“Sorry I’m late, Scully,” Mulder said as he sat down at the booth she’d gotten, “I found what we’re looking for I think. Most of it anyway,” he handed her the file.

“So what were we looking for?” she flipped open the folder.

“Well water,” he said. Scully arched a brow for him to continue, “In 1999, a small neighborhood had succumb to several personal disasters; from suicides, rapes, and homicides to sudden drops in school grades and attendance. Local officials were anonymously tipped off about a crackhouse in the heart of the neighborhood, so they made a huge bust and blamed the fiascoes on drug addictions to crack cocaine and LSD.”

“You disagree,” she stated simply and he smiled at her.

“Listen first, Scully. Then mock. During that time, Master Sgt. Kevin Saunders was posted at a nearby well water company, as you already know. But ask yourself why 28 Airforce Majors are needed to guard a well water station. Ten to one that same neighborhood was supplied with water from that company.”

“I don’t understand. Well water doesn’t cause homicidal behavior, Mulder. It doesn’t cause any sort of behavior change for that matter. People can get sick from drinking it but other than that…”

“I’m not saying it was the water. I’m saying that it was something in the water. Some kind of drug of something.” Scully’s eyebrow arched again, “Think about it, Scully. Saunders was honorably discharged for manic depressive behavior—not retired as we’d come to believe. He moved to Florida with his son and killed himself.”

“All this happened during the course of their separation though. He was getting a divorce. Why? Do you think the water caused his mental disorder?”

“Yeah, but I don’t think anyone knew that until it was too late. Most of the other officers and workers at that plant suffered strange behavior patterns, but were treated for it somehow.”

“But don’t you think they would have refrained from drinking the water if they knew what was wrong with it?”

“Maybe that’s just it though, Scully. Maybe it wasn’t just the water. I think they were exposed to the same thing that the water was exposed to.”

“But why?”

“I don’t know. Maybe as an experiment. Or maybe—maybe it was an accident… something they thought they’d covered up. But now it’s back again, and they don’t know it yet. That’s why we’ve got to find whatever this is, and fast.”

“I—I don’t really understand how it would’ve gotten here…”

“I think Mrs. Saunders might be able to help us with that one.”



After being informed of Mrs. Saunders’ lack of knowledge about her ex-husband’s actions, Scully and Mulder went to talk once again with her son. They sat in the interrogation room awaitng his presence. When they brought him in, he sat quietly in his chair and looked at the two of them. He didn’t look like a rapist. But then again, how could you put someone into that category?

“Mike,” Mulder began, “I’m just gonna get straight to the point. I have reason to believe that whatever caused you to do what you did, has something to do with your father’s position in the military.”

“What do you mean?”

“We believe he was exposed to some kind of—experimental drug. And that that’s why—he killed himself—not because of the experiment—but the effect the drug had on him.”

“Um,” he looked at him as if he were speaking Greek, “That really doesn’t make any sense.”

“Well either does what you did to Madeline. You don’t know why you did it. But you wanted to then. Didn’t you?” Mike’s head went to his hands, “Didn’t you?” Mulder repeated.

“Yes. I did.”

“Mike,” he looked back up at him, “There are a lot of people who are being affected by whatever this is. Now if there’s something you can help us with—”

“I don’t know what this is! If I did, I’d sure as hell tell you! At least it would show everybody why this happened.”

“Okay,” Scully said, “Then was there anything strange about your father when you first moved with him? Anything he—had—a pet or anything? Something you brought back with you?”

“Um—yeah. I had a pet pinktoe.”

“A what?” Scully asked.

“A pinktoe,” Mulder said for him, “A tarantula,” and then he paused for a moment in thought.

“But she escaped…like a couple months ago.”

“She escaped?” Scully said, as Mulder drifted in thought.

“Scully, you remember the tarantula at the house?”

“How could I for—oh—oh my God,” she went to the door and called someone to get Mike.

“This is the entire layout of all water mains and lines. This is the whole city,” the deputy spread the maps on the table as they looked them over.

“Okay,” Mulder said, “So which one of these was the construction company conflicting with?”

“Uhh..” the deputy looked it over, “This one,” his finger landed on the right side of the paper.

“And these purple lines indicate where it feeds to?”

“Yeah,” he looked at the lines with him, trying his damnedest to figure out where this was going.

“This here,” Mulder pointed to something and for the first time, noticed how close the man was standing to him, “This is Elderwood, right?”

“Yes it is.”

“And these streets—Dale, Arbor, and Kentworth?”

“Uh huh.”

“This is Patton Avenue—where Saunders and Burns live?”

“Yeah…” his voice trailed off. Mulder turned to Scully.

“Every reported incident, Scully. All these people; Hackett, Burns, Saunders—they all get their water supply from this place. Can you take us up there?” he asked the deputy.

“Well, yeah. Let me just get the keys to the place.”

The sky became dark as the rain began to pour down. The deputy’s blazer slid to a halt in the mud before the red-rusted tank, “Wait here,” he said as he opened the door, “I’ll go unlock it so you don’t have to wait out in the rain,” he slammed the door and ran to the tank, almost falling on the way up. Mulder was going to make a smart remark about it, but when he turned to Scully, she seemed lost in thought.

“You okay, Scully?” his hand grazed her back.

“Yeah..um…” she glanced to him and tried to smile, “I was—I was just thinking, Mulder,” she swallowed, “That neighborhood—those streets you called off—that was all generally surrounding where we are staying.”

“I—yes it was. But we having shown any signs of homicidal behavior,” he tried to assure her.

“But it’s not just homicidal, Mulder. It’s behavioral changes. Changes, Mulder. Of course people aren’t going to report sudden consensual sexual encounters to the police.”

“Are you saying that—what we did—how we feel—”

“Could be from the water we drank. If you’re right, Mulder, about this water—what we did could be the product of a drug induced state,” she looked at him, almost in tears. Mulder looked away and got out of the car, running to the deputy, who’d just opened the tank. She went out after him.

“This is the entire layout of all water mains and lines. This is the whole city,” the deputy spread the maps on the table as they looked them over.

“Okay,” Mulder said, “So which one of these was the construction company conflicting with?”

“Uhh..” the deputy looked it over, “This one,” his finger landed on the right side of the paper.

“And these purple lines indicate where it feeds to?”

“Yeah,” he looked at the lines with him, trying his damnedest to figure out where this was going.

“This here,” Mulder pointed to something and for the first time, noticed how close the man was standing to him, “This is Elderwood, right?”

“Yes it is.”

“And these streets—Dale, Arbor, and Kentworth?”

“Uh huh.”

“This is Patton Avenue—where Saunders and Burns live?”

“Yeah…” his voice trailed off. Mulder turned to Scully.

“Every reported incident, Scully. All these people; Hackett, Burns, Saunders—they all get their water supply from this place. Can you take us up there?” he asked the deputy.

“Well, yeah. Let me just get the keys to the place.”

“Sir? Yes, this is Scully,” she yelled into her cellphone as the deputy made several calls in to the sheriff to get some clean up crews in, “You told us to call you if we got any leads. Can I ask you a question?….Who’s house are we staying at right now?…. Yes I know it’s a friend of yours, but…..no, sir…..no, I didn’t…okay. Well, have you heard anything about a project in Washington, DC a few years back? About a clean up job they did in a well water company?….Well, here’s Mulder’s theory why you didn’t hear about that, sir…”

“…And now you think that’s exactly what’s happening in Pearisburg? But how? And why for that matter?….an accident?…When do you expect you’ll be finished there?…Okay. Well let me know how it turns out,” Skinner hung up the phone and his eyes focused to the thin line of smoke that traveled up in front of him.

“Is it true?” the smoker asked.

“Mulder says it’s the same thing. So, I suppose you’ll be sending someone in?”

“Oh, that’s not necessary,” he took another drag, “We have someone there now who will take care of everything,” his wrinkled face contorted into what seemed to be a smile as he put out his cigarette.

The sky became dark as the rain began to pour down. The deputy’s blazer slid to a halt in the mud before the red-rusted tank, “Wait here,” he said as he opened the door, “I’ll go unlock it so you don’t have to wait out in the rain,” he slammed the door and ran to the tank, almost falling on the way up. Mulder was going to make a smart remark about it, but when he turned to Scully, she seemed lost in thought.

“You okay, Scully?” he asked.

“What? Yeah I’m fine,” she got out of the car, running to the deputy, who’d just opened the tank. He went out after her.

They entered the darkness of the tank and heard the deputy fumble with his flashlight. He turned it on and pointed it at the wall in search for the light switch, “Okay, here we go,” he said, and pushed the lever up. The lighting came on with a loud snap, and they all jumped at what they saw.

“Oh, my God,” Scully backed up. The outer edges of the tank were infested with pinktoe tarantulas. They began to scramble from the sudden outburst of light. She ran out, and Mulder and the deputy followed close behind. The door was slammed shut.

“What the hell is going on?” he stood in the rain with them.

“I don’t know,” Scully said, “But I need a sample of the water…And we’re gonna need to get one of those spiders,” she looked at them expectantly. They all exchanged looks, as if neither of them was willing to go back, “Oh for Christ’s sake!” she grabbed open the door and retrieved a bag, “I’ll do it myself,” she headed back into the tank.

They watched her go in, “That lady has got some guts,” the deputy said to Mulder.

“She’s a tough cookie,” Mulder said as he started walking towards the door of the tank, just to be sure she was okay. A few moments later he called out for her, “Scully?” there was no answer, “Hey, Scully, are you okay?”

“Yeah, Mulder,” she walked out of the tank as she snapped off her gloves. She dropped the bag to the ground and threw the gloves away from her, swiping at imaginary shivers that racked her skin, “No thanks to you guys,” she shook her hair with her hands, “They aren’t on me, are they?”

“No, did you get one of them?”

“Hell no. They can come back for that later. Let’s just get this stuff analyzed.”


Station 11—Lab

1 Hour Later

“Agents Mulder and Scully,” a woman in a white lab coat called to them, “I’ve finished the tests. Could you come into my office?” They stood and followed her to a large work area and stood on the other side of a table.

“So what did you find?” Scully asked.

“Something quite strange actually. I was hoping that since you know a lot about this sort of thing, maybe you know something I don’t.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, take a look at it,” she directed her to a microscope, and she looked into it. Her eyebrow raised as she backed away, “I’ll take it you don’t know either. That’s what I thought. I’ve never seen anything like it. But there was something I could make out.”

“What was that?”

“Well, you said there were tarantulas in this water tank; what I found in tests, is a mixture of a fluid that is excreted with pinktoe egg-laying, with this unknown substance. Technically, this fluid is a protective layer around the eggs to ward off enemies, causing a sort of poison to smaller animals and other insects. But in humans there have been reports of effects it has on the psyche.”

“Such as?” Mulder leaned forward in his chair.

“Such as temporary depression or anxiety; but there have been very few reports. An extreme case happened a few years ago—I was working on a case in DC. Someone had turned himself in after killing his neighbor’s dogs. He said he didn’t know what happened—why he did it. But we ran a drug test on him and found a large amount of this stuff in him. Not this other substance, but the fluid.”

“So this fluid can cause abnormal behavior patterns,” Mulder asked.

“Theoretically, yes. But like I said, that was the only case we came by.”

“But it was found to be the cause for his mental state?”

“After the stuff cleared his system, he seemed perfectly normal, yes. But that doesn’t narrow the field to that particular psychological event. It could cause anything from suicidal, to homicidal, or even simple changes…it simply increases an emotion that already exists. Anywhere from the urge to kill, to the urge to have a sexual encounter…” Scully and Mulder shared a quick glance, “…which may explain Mike Saunders’ case. And actually all these cases. Where did you get this?” she asked as the agents made there way out the door.

“In the middle of the chaos.”

“Sheriff, we need to shut down that tank and evacuate the inhabitants of this neighborhood as soon as possible,” Mulder rushed towards the exit.

“What’s going on? I heard the place is infested with—”

“There’s no time for this—you need to get a clean-up crew out there. You’re townspeople are being poisoned.” The sheriff did a double take and yelled some orders to a deputy and threw on his coat as he headed off after them.

Russell walked up the path with several friends from his school. He was poking at the ground with a walking stick and kicking rocks as he walked by them. Most of them turned at the sound of a vehicle coming up the road. A white van got closer and closer to them, and finally Russell looked as well, just as the side door came open and someone pulled him inside and took off.

“HEY!!” his friends yelled at the speeding van, “Russell!! Hey! You can’t do that! Heeeyyy!!!”

“Mike’s pinktoe tarantula—it must have somehow been infected with this stuff–maybe even addicted—when she escaped, she looked for more of it. Well water being her first clue—seeing as it has the same basic taste.”

“But Mulder, tarantulas don’t even like water. In fact they stay as far away from it as they can get. They prefer dry climates; dry housing.”

“But this is different, Scully. She was feeding an addiction. She needed to stay with it. As close as she possibly could. What better place to find it then right there?” there was a long moment of silence.

“You heard what she said, right?” Scully’s head was down now.

“About what?”

“You know what I mean.”

“Do you believe that, Scully? Do you honestly believe that what we did last night was the product of this spider shit?” he glanced at her then back to the road.

“I-I don’t know, Mulder.”

“Oh come on! Don’t give me that, Scully!” he pulled the car over and pushed himself out of it. Scully got out after him and walked up behind where he had made his way up the road.

“Well it’s a possibility, Mulder. You can’t just say that it was—”

“That it was what?” he spun around, “That it was real? Well maybe it was, Scully! It was for me anyway!” he grabbed her right below her shoulders, “I don’t regret what we did. And I sure as hell hope you don’t either,” he calmed his voice a bit as the rain trailed his face, “All those kids, Scully. All the people here, they all regretted what they did. They didn’t know why they did the things they did. But I know why I did this,” he looked into her reddening eyes, “I love you, Scully. I told you that. No drug could do that,” his hand went to her cheek now as her eyes frantically searched his face.

His gaze was suddenly averted as three black explorers made there way past them, “What the hell is this?” he watched them go up the road as he and Scully made there way back to the car.

“Hey!” the sheriff pulled up behind them, “Where they with you?”

“No,” Mulder quickly got back into the car with Scully, “Fuck!” he sped back into the road.

“Aww shit! What the hell is this?” they pulled up to the tank which had been surrounded by several workers in contamination suits. Mulder got out of the car, “Who are you?” he yelled to the men. They ignored him and went about their business. Scully and the sheriff joined up with him.

“Any luck?” the sheriff asked him.

“No. But I think I know why they’re here,” he looked at him then at Scully, then back to the men, “They’re covering it up all over again.” Flames shot out from the opening of the tank…


1 Week Later

FBI Headquarters

“I don’t know about you, but I think Skinner was just a little information we had on this case,” Mulder said as the elevator doors closed. He held his suitcoat over his shoulder with one finger.

“I noticed,” she said simply, “But I honestly could care less. This case is over,” the elevator doors opened and they walked towards their office.

“Is it?” he said close behind her.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean do you think it’s really over?”

“Yes, Mulder, I do,” she said as she turned to face him. He closed the door and leaned up against it, “The townspeople were all screened for this stuff and it’s all made its way out of their systems.”

“Well what about Kevin Saunders? Why was he still affected after so long?”

“Well whatever he was exposed to was a totally different type of substance. I think that the unknown substance that we found was actually some sort of experimental drug based on the same fluid that these spiders produce naturally—maybe that’s why they were so drawn to it.”

“So what you’re saying is that they wanted to see the effects of a major dose of this spider goop?”

“Basically, yes. But when the pinktoes ingested it, it must have been a more diluted form. Something that could be digested without permanent effects or damage.” There was a moment of silence and she looked up to see Mulder looking at her. He stood away from the door and made his way towards her.

“But I still feel it, Scully,” he was close to her now, “I still feel the same as I did then,” he took her hands. They looked into each other’s eyes for a moment.

“So do I,” she said, and he smiled at her. His face came down to hers and he kissed her. His arms went around her and pulled her to him tighter.

“I’m glad,” he smiled again.




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