Date: Thu, 6 Feb 1997
Subject: NEW: "Into the Grave"

January 28, 1997

Classification/Rating/Dedication: X, MSR, A. Rated R, with caution to
teens for sexual situations. Spoiler: Fleeting references to
Tunguska/Terma, Avatar, Duane Barry and Paper Hearts.

I am dedicating this story to four wonderful people: Danielle
Culverson and Macspooky who have given me so much support and
assistance, patiently listening to me complain about my writing and
steering me through the rough parts; to Beth Ward, who puts things
into perspective, makes me laugh, and runs my one-person Australian
fan club; and to Jane (Foxcub1121), who thinks that I can actually

Summary: Mulder gets laid, there's a murder, he goes to jail.

Disclaimer: This story is based on the characters and situations
created by Chris Carter, the Fox Network and Ten Thirteen Productions.
As such, the characters named are the property of those entities and
are used without permission, although no copyright infringements are
intended. The following work is for the distribution and
entertainment of EMXC members only. Any further distribution of this
work without the author's consent is in violation of federal law.
Also, I blatantly invented law enforcement hierarchy in Virginia and
legal procedures.

by Gerry Hill (

Fox Mulder's Apartment
Tuesday, 3:00 am

Mulder was on the verge of orgasm, and seeing the lovely face below
him on the bed, her head thrown back, her mouth parted in passion,
moved him even closer. Then he felt her orgasm like surging waves,
and heard his name on those beautiful lips, and he was lost. With a
growl that began deep in his chest, he roared out his own release as
he came.

"Oh...God...Ahhh..." he had never had such an intense sexual
experience. The woman under his body seemed to shimmer, becoming
almost dream-like and insubstantial for a heartbeat in time. Finally
spent, he nuzzled the throat of the woman with his nose and murmured
little reassurances as they both came down from the incredible
overload of sensations.

He was vaguely aware that the telephone was ringing, but he ignored
it. The caller would just have to leave a message on the recorder.
At any rate, it was probably Scully, and he thought he could just
make out her voice as she left her message.

A pleasant lethargy was invading his body and he was content to
snuggle deeper into the bedclothes with this marvelously warm, soft
female. Her head neatly fit against his shoulder, under his chin, and
their arms were wrapped around each other. He must have dozed off,
because when he opened his eyes to an insistent knocking, he was alone
in the bed.

Slightly confused, he sat up and rubbed a hand over his face. He
could hear the door to his apartment opening and Scully's tentative,

Fully awake now, Mulder grabbed his boxers and tee-shirt, slipped into
them, then went to the door of his bedroom.

"Scully?" he said, blinking in the light she had turned on.

Scully was dressed in work clothes; an elegant beige pants suit.

"Good, I'm glad you're here. Skinner has been trying to reach you,
but your cel phone was turned off."

He rubbed a hand across his chest and asked, "What's going on?"

"We have an urgent case. Why don't you go splash some water on your
face and get dressed? We have to leave pretty quickly."

"I really need a shower. Why don't I grab a quick one and then you
can tell me what this is all about while I get dressed?" He didn't
wait for an answer, but turned and headed down the hall to the
bathroom. He had expected to find Rachel there, but the bathroom was
empty, with no sign she had ever used it. He stood, perplexed for a
few seconds, then quickly got on with his shower.

Scully had been amazed that Mulder had actually been in his bed (so he
*did* have one!) instead of on his couch, where it seemed he spent
most of the dark hours of the night. Curious, she peeked into the
bedroom while he took his shower, and saw an unremarkable room. But
that odor - Christ, it oozed sex in here. It came from the tumbled
bedclothes, and she could see two indentations on two pillows - oh,
shit, she had almost walked in on Mulder in bed with some bimbo.

She nervously looked around, afraid that a naked woman would suddenly
burst out of a concealed place, and realized that she was being
foolish. The woman was obviously gone...or was in the shower with

Scully quickly walked into the living room and perched on the couch,
unexpectedly angry and mortified at the same time. But why this
reaction? Mulder was allowed to have sex with anyone he chose; he was
a grownup, single, unattached. She closed her eyes and a plaintive
cry echoed in her mind, "Then why does it hurt so much?!" Deep down,
she recognized the jealousy for what it was.

When did I start caring for him that way? she wondered. She heard the
shower stop, and a few minutes later he came padding down the hall
with a towel around his waist.

"OK, Scully, shoot." He entered his bedroom, clearly expecting her to
hang around near the door and tell him about the case.

She took a shaky breath and moved closer, then began. "Senator Peter
Sanders' wife Elizabeth has been raped and murdered, and their eight-
year-old daughter has been kidnapped. Senator Sanders has asked the
Bureau for help. The director called Skinner and specifically asked
that we be assigned to the case, even though it isn't an X File. He
agreed, especially since he is aware that we have no new cases

She stopped to see whether he wanted to interject some word of wisdom,
but all was silent.

"The crime scene is being held untouched until we get there. They
haven't even moved Mrs. Sanders' body yet. The house is in Virginia,
in fox-hunting country." She smiled.

Mulder strode out of his bedroom, knotting his tie, and sat down to
put his shoes on. Scully leaned over him and straightened an errant
lock of hair without thinking, and was surprised when he jerked away
from her.

Mulder said in an apologetic tone, "You startled me."

Scully shrugged and went to stand by the door, waiting for him. She
was hurt and wondered whether his avoidance of her touch had been
deliberate and if so, why. Her eyes were bright with unshed tears,
so she turned away from him when he headed toward the door.

"You driving?" he asked as they exited his apartment.

She just nodded.

They rode the elevator in silence, walked in silence to the car, and
rode in silence to the Senator's house.

Before they got out of the car, Mulder put his hand over Scully's on
the steering wheel and said, "What's going on, Scully?"

She deliberately misunderstood him, and said, "A murder/rape, and a
kidnapping, Mulder," and pulled her hand away to unbuckle her seat

He sighed and followed her into the large stately home, having to
display their IDs several times along the way. Mulder was thinking
that he shouldn't have jerked away from Scully like that, but he had
been deep in thought about Rachel. He was worried about her - where
could she have gone at three in the morning?

Jill Carver, a young black lieutenant from the Commonwealth of
Virginia's attorney's office, introduced herself and showed them into
the upstairs bedroom where the Senator's wife lay sprawled across the
bed. It always surprised Mulder how much blood the human body could
hold - and lose - when he saw one of these bloody murder scenes.

His eyes met those of the victim, and they seemed to stare accusingly
right through to his soul. "Rachel," he gasped.

Scully's head turned toward him and she saw his complexion go so pale
that it rivalled that of the corpse. He swayed, and Scully led him
into a nearby chair before he could topple over.

Gently but firmly pushing his head down to his knees, she hoped that
he wouldn't pass out. When he finally sat back he was panting, trying
to stay focused. She placed a comforting hand on the back of his neck
and said quietly, "Tell me."

Breathing easier now, but looking sick, he said, "I knew her. It was
a shock." His gaze avoided what lay on the bed, Scully noticed.

Lt. Carver was taking all this in with great interest, and Scully
wondered what she was making of this little display.

Scully gave him a final pat on the shoulder, then walked over to the
bed to do her job. Gloves in place and a canvas apron covering her
suit, she examined the body, vaguely aware that Mulder was moving
around the room, presumably back into investigation-mode.

They eventually met by the door, Scully pulling off and discarding her
bloodied gloves and apron. She threw them into a nearby plastic waste
bag, left for that purpose. Mulder did the same with his gloves, then
asked her, "What did you discover?"

She glanced at Carver and said, "Excuse us a minute," and led Mulder
by the elbow into the next room.

Quietly she recited the raw facts. "Mrs. Sanders was brutally raped;
anally, vaginally and orally. Then she was stabbed repeatedly and
viciously, probably with the butcher knife found on the floor by the
bed. Death was apparently caused by a thrust of the knife into the
heart. I'll need to check when I perform the autopsy, but that was
probably the final of half a dozen stab wounds. I'm figuring the time
of death at 2:00 am, with the attack beginning twenty minutes or so
prior to that."

By the time she finished speaking, Mulder was as white as a sheet and
had fallen back into a nearby chair. "Scully, that's not possible,"
he weakly protested.

Eyeing him warily, she said, "Just a minute." She went out into the
hall and told Carver that the body could be removed. She would
perform the autopsy later that afternoon.

Lt. Carver nodded, and said that homicide detective Anthony Fontanova
was currently the officer in charge of the crime scene and she would
go downstairs and let him know.

"Could you tell me where the daughter was when abducted? Or do you
know that?"

Carver replied, "She was in her room down the hall, probably asleep,
when she was taken." Carver pointed down to their left. "I say that
she was probably asleep, since there doesn't appear to have been much
of a struggle."

"OK, we'll take a look in a minute."

Carver said, "Senator Sanders wants to speak with you and Agent Mulder
as soon as possible. He'll be downstairs in the library."

"Good. We'll want to speak with him, too. We'll just need a few
minutes to discuss the case, then we'll take a look at the daughter's
room, and we'll be down."

Carver looked as though she were going to say something, then just
nodded and left.

Scully sighed and returned to Mulder. He looked pretty much as he had
a few minutes earlier - shaken to his core with grief and with
something like fear in his eyes.

Scully's voice was harsher-sounding than intended. "What the hell is
going on here, Mulder?"

He gave a tentative smile, then abandoned it for a sobbing, shuddering
intake of air. "It's...difficult."

Scully didn't know if he meant the situation or his telling her about
it. Probably both. She knelt by his chair and lay her hand on top of
his, where it clutched his knee.

He looked down into her eyes, and began to speak. "I met her four
months ago at one of those mandatory cocktail parties given by Senator
Matheson and his wife. Remember; I dragged you along to one of them

She said, "Once."

"Yeah, they're pretty boring. As I recall, you couldn't get out of
there fast enough. Anyway, I was standing on a little out-of-the- way
balcony I had discovered, when Rachel was suddenly there by my side.
She glanced at me, then stood looking out over the city with a
melancholy expression. I figured she was just as bored as I was."

Scully got up and pulled a chair next to him so she could be more
comfortable. He seemed to need a tactile connection, since he reached
out and took her hand in his.

He continued. "We began talking, and from the first, there was a
strong physical attraction between us. She refused to tell me her
name, though, except for 'Rachel,' and I suspected that wasn't what
she normally was called. At one point she pulled my head down and
kissed me on the lips and said, 'Fox Mulder, I'll be seeing you
again.' Then she left. I tried to follow her, but she disappeared
into the crowd. I didn't see her again until this morning at 2:00."

Scully's eyes widened at that. "But..."

"I know. You're placing the time of death at 2:00 am."

He released her hand and sat back with a sigh. "I was asleep for a
change when a knock came at my apartment door. The clock was just
hitting 2:00, and I couldn't imagine who it might be at that hour. I
thought at first that you had come by for some reason, but you would
have called first. When I looked through the peep-hole, I saw Rachel,
and let her in. She was distraught, and threw her arms around me. I
could feel her shaking, so I just held her and tried to soothe her as
best I could."

Mulder hesitated, then went on. "One thing led to another, and we
wound up in bed." Scully closed her eyes, but opened them again when
he touched her arm. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to embarrass you,
Scully. Do you want me to stop?"

She shook her head and said, "You're not embarrassing me, Mulder. I
know this is difficult for you, but you need to tell me everything.
That woman is dead and her daughter is missing. You're saying that
she was lying dead here, while she was also..."

"Fucking me?" He seemed comfortable with the crude word, but Scully
was momentarily shocked with his using it here and now. "Yeah, that's
what I'm saying. I was vaguely aware of the phone ringing, but
ignored it. Finally, you showed up, but Rachel had disappeared; I was
confused, because I hadn't thought she had left the bed."

He paused, then looked puzzled. "I *always* use condoms, Scully; for
some reason, it never even occurred to me that I would need one with
her." He shook his head, clearly at a loss. "It just wasn't my
normal behavior. And contrary to what you may believe, I'm not in the
habit of bedding someone I hardly know."

"Mulder, the victim had bits of skin and blood under her fingernails.
I have to ask; do you have any scratches on your body?"

Mulder's grave stare made Scully cringe.

"Scully, I didn't kill her."

"I know that, but you of all people know that I'll need to check, and
also get a sample of saliva, blood and semen for comparison."

He continued to regard her with an unreadable expression, then stood
up and began removing his tie.

"Wait; you need to do that at the lab so we can get samples at the
same time..."

"No! We do this now. I'll go by the lab later and let them run me
through the whole rigmarole."

His coat followed the tie, then his shirt, then his tee shirt. With
his torso nude, he then started on his belt buckle, but Scully said,
"That's enough, Mulder."

She looked over his strong chest and followed it down to the slender
waist, then walked behind him to see his back. Mulder heard a sharp
intake of breath.

"Mulder, you have some bad scratches on your back."

"Well, what can I say? We were having really good sex, Doctor
Scully." His tone was bordering on nasty.

She picked up his tee shirt and handed it to him. "Get dressed and
I'll meet you in the room at the end of the hall to your left. We
need to see where the little girl was sleeping when the kidnapping
took place. Then the Senator is still waiting for us downstairs."

She left the room, having never once made eye contact with Mulder
during the little speech. But her hands were trembling slightly.

The child's room was much neater and cleaner than most children's
rooms that Scully had ever seen. Of course, this was the daughter of
a Senator. Probably should check with the household staff; this
"country estate" should have several, at least, she thought.

She noticed a smear of blood on the wall near the door, and another
shocking smear, across the white sheet. Scully was willing to bet it
was the mother's blood, but she made a note to have it analyzed. She
prayed it didn't belong to the little girl. What *is* her name!? No
one had mentioned it, but always referred to her as "the daughter."

On the night stand was a book; "Little Women," by Louisa Mae Alcott.
Scully looked inside after snapping on some gloves. The childish
handwriting on the flyleaf read, "Property of Rachel Faye Sanders,
May 21, 1996."

So that's where the mother got the pseudonym of "Rachel."

She hadn't noticed Mulder since they had entered the room. Looking
around, she saw that he was intently studying a photograph of
Elizabeth and Rachel Sanders in a happy mother/daughter pose. His
finger reached out to touch the photo and he moved it slowly over the
features of the little girl, rather than that of the mother. That
surprised Scully, considering the nature of the recent relationship
between Mulder and Elizabeth Michaelson.

"Scully, do you think it strange that she had a photo of her mother
and herself, but none of her father displayed?"

She didn't know what to make of the question. Is he leaping to the
conclusion that the Senator is the bad guy here, just because his
daughter didn't have his picture up in her room? So she answered
simply, "No."

She walked up to Mulder and handed him the book. "Her name is on
the fly leaf, which may be of interest to you. I'm going to check
the closet."

He took the small book into his hands and turned it over several
times, as though getting a feel of it. Then he opened the book and
studied the name written inside, nodding as if he weren't surprised.

"She loved that book, and was re-reading it for about the third time."
The voice came from the doorway, and Mulder looked up to see a tall,
trim man in his late forties, with an anguished expression in his
brown eyes.

Scully suddenly appeared from the depths of the walk-in closet and
approached their visitor. "Senator Sanders? I'm Special Agent Dana
Scully and this is Special Agent Fox Mulder from the Bureau. We were
almost done here and were about to come downstairs to see you."

He started to shake her hand, but saw it was covered in latex, and
arrested the automatic movement. He seemed tightly wound, as if he
would go flying off in several directions at once if the wrong thing
set him off.

And suddenly Scully was very afraid that Mulder would be that wrong

"Senator, didn't the police tell you that this area is off-limits to
everyone but authorized individuals until all the evidence is gathered
and the investigation is complete?"

The Senator just stared at Mulder, his mouth frozen open in surprise.
"Uh, yes, I suppose they did."

Scully quickly spoke up. "We'll come downstairs with you; I believe
we were finished up here anyway." She looked at Mulder with her
eyebrow raised.

He gently set the book on the nightstand with no further comment, and
followed them out into the hall. He saw that the body had been
removed when he passed the master bedroom, and Lt. Carver was talking
with an official-looking guy with a badge and a uniform.

Mulder abruptly made a detour and re-entered the room, startling the
two, who broke off their conversation. They watched as Mulder walked
around the room, inspecting the walls, the carpet and, finally, the
bed. He never touched anything; he just devoured every inch with his

Carver couldn't keep quiet any longer. "Are you looking for
something, Agent Mulder?"

He seemed surprised that she was still there. He focused on her and
replied softly, "Always."

She was caught by the depth of feeling in his eyes, and suppressed a
shudder. If she were the murderer, she would not have cared to know
that Agent Mulder was on her trail. There was so much intensity and
passion in his gaze, as well as a kind of...hunger.

"Excuse me," was all he said, as he left the room to find Scully and
the Senator.

A helpful man in an suit pointed the way to the library, and Mulder
walked in on an interesting scene. Senator Sanders was apparently
sobbing out his grief on a sofa near the fireplace, and Scully sat
next to him, rubbing his shoulder and speaking soothing words.

Mulder stopped dead in his tracks, not knowing what to think. They had
encountered bereavement in so many of their cases, but he could never
remember Scully initiating any physical contact with a family member
of the victim in order to provide comfort.

He approached the sofa and put his hand on her shoulder to let her
know he was there. She shrugged it off. Now he really didn't know
what to think, nor how to act. What the fuck was this all about? Was
this some childish retaliation for when he had reacted to her brushing
the hair from his forehead? Then he felt ashamed for the thought;
Scully wasn't that petty. Something else was bothering her. Then he
staggered slightly from the thought that she might think he actually
could have raped and murdered...

He sat down in a chair that faced the Senator, and said in forceful,
clear tones, "Senator, where were you tonight when your wife was
attacked and murdered, and when your daughter was abducted?"

He ignored the furious look Scully was aiming at him, and concentrated
on the tear-blotched face of the Senator.

"I was...God, I was with George Garrett, my campaign manager. We had
a late session in Washington, then we drove out here in his car, since
Beth...since Beth, my wife, had taken the car earlier to go shopping.
George dropped me off at 2:30 or so, and went home. He didn't come
in." He dropped his head into his hands and took a deep sobbing

Mulder's expression didn't change, and he asked, "Please give names,
addresses and phone numbers to Agent Scully of anyone who can verify
where you have been from yesterday evening, up until now. We'll also
need the list of any household staff, and whether any of them were on
the property up until 3:00 am or so. And I'll have to ask you to let
me check your body for any scratch marks."

Scully was handing the Senator some paper and a pen for the names, but
at the last statement, she started and dropped the pen. While the
Senator leaned over to retrieve it, she locked gazes with Mulder,
slowly shaking her head.

Mulder got to his feet and walked over to Senator Sanders. "Sir, I
need to give you the standard Miranda warning." He proceeded to
recite the thing by rote, while keeping a wary eye on Scully. When
he finished, he gently but firmly held the Senator by the elbow as he
helped him to his feet, then led him toward the door.

"Is there a room nearby where I can check you for marks, sir?"

The Senator seemed dazed, and led the way next door, where he allowed
Mulder to look at his unmarked back. Unsatisfied, Mulder had him
completely strip down, and was disappointed to find nothing more than
an old scar on his knee "from football at Notre Dame years and years

As they returned to the library, they met Carver, Chief Tyler from the
Sheriff's office, and Detective Fontanova coming down the stairs. They
all gathered in the large room, and, after introductions, Mulder said,
"I'm leaving Agent Scully to coordinate things with you. I've got
something to check, and it can't wait."

She watched him while he called for a taxi and made a second call to
someone, then excused herself to talk with him in private outside the
front door.

Mulder's jaw clenched, anticipating the dressing down that was

(Continued in Part II)

Part II

Senator Sanders' Front Porch
8:00 am

As the door clicked shut behind them, and Scully began saying,
"Mulder...," he closed his hand around her upper arm and led her to
the side of the porch where there were some chairs and a table. They
sat down, and he held his index finger up to his lips for a second in
a "quiet" gesture.

"Scully," he began, "there are several things I need to say before you
justifiably chew my butt. First of all, I sincerely apologize for
being an asshole upstairs with you. I was out of line, and I'm truly

She could read the apology in his eyes as well, and could only nod.

"Secondly, I didn't kill that woman, or take her eight-year-old
daughter who, I'm sure you noticed, bears a strong resemblance to

Scully blinked at that. She hadn't noticed.

"I've never been to this house before, Scully. And I certainly didn't
realize that the woman in my bed this morning was Mrs. Peter Sanders,
a U.S. Senator's wife." He briefly closed his eyes, then went on.
"You need to know that I am sure in my own mind that the good Senator
was responsible for this horror, whether he had a direct or indirect
hand in it."

At her intake of breath, he quickly spoke up to forestall what she had
to say.

"I know, I don't have one iota of proof. I'm also afraid that the
little girl is dead, and we may never find her body. We have to look,
of course; there's a possibility she's still alive, but I don't think
so." He looked so sad at this, Scully thought his heart must be
breaking to say it.

"I need to go see someone, and also need to report to the State labs
for the samples they'll need for testing. You can let them know
that," and his head nodded toward the interior of the house. "I think
it would be better to have them do the testing; then there won't be
the suspicion of a coverup as there might be if the Bureau should run
my samples."

Scully started to say, "But what if..." she looked aghast at what she
had begun to ask.

He smiled grimly. "What if everything matches the crime scene, and
they arrest me?"

She whispered, "Yes."

"Well, be prepared. It *will* match, and I'll need your support if
I'm going to make it through this."

He stood as the taxi arrived, and touched her arm again as he said,
"Let them know that I'll have to remove myself from the case because
of my connection with the deceased. And I suppose we'll have to tell
Skinner about what's going on sooner or later. Call me after the
autopsy and we can arrange to meet at the office."

She watched him walk down the steps, then turned and re-entered the
house. She immediately took Lt. Carver and Detective Fontanova aside
and told them that Mulder was voluntarily providing personal forensic
samples to the State since he recognized the victim once he arrived at
the scene. She was someone he knew intimately. Scully told them that
he would remove himself from the case for that reason, but she would
like to stay on it and perform the autopsy as soon as it could be
arranged. Unless there was an objection.

Detective Fontanova had no problem with it, although he obviously
didn't like the situation. Lt. Carver pondered the ramifications and
touched base with the Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney. She told
Scully that they had no objection to the way it was being handled.
They would welcome her expertise in the case, but agreed that Mulder
would have a conflict of interest whether or not he was implicated in
the crime itself.

After a pause in the conversation, Lt. Carver stated, "Agent Scully,
Detective Fontanova, I suggest that we don't tell the Senator about
this development. At least not unless it becomes relevant to the
case. Being told right now that his wife was unfaithful, and with
whom, could send him over the edge."

She received no argument with that plan, and Scully excused herself.

She left a message for AD Skinner at the Bureau, and then drove back
into Washington to interview the campaign manager, George Garrett.
Following that, she needed to perform the autopsy. It promised to be
a long day.


Mulder went back to his apartment to retrieve his car, then submitted
to the unpleasant task of providing the bits and pieces of himself
that the lab would need for their tests. He found the clinical
detachment shown him by the technicians to be welcome; he couldn't
have emotionally withstood a more personal attitude toward him and
his problems right now.

It took Mulder forty minutes to reach Senator Matheson's. His home
was very nice, but quite a bit more modest than his fellow Senator's,
Peter Sanders. After ringing the doorbell, he only waited a few
seconds, and the door was opened. Matheson was dressed informally,
looking as if he were headed out to the golf course.

"Fox - come in." He graciously ushered the agent into a cozy living/
sitting room, and offered him a drink before settling into a chair
across from him.

"Sir," Mulder began, then faltered.

Senator Matheson spoke up. "I've heard about the Sanders case, Fox;
as a matter of fact, I'm the person who recommended you to Peter. I
told him that if anyone could find his daughter and solve the case,
you could."

Mulder was astonished. He had no idea that his mentor had shoved him
into this nightmare. Of course, Senator Matheson probably didn't know
it *was* a nightmare when he recommended him.

So Mulder filled him in on the whole story, including the apparent
time discrepancy. "I realize how this sounds; Elizabeth Sanders was
dead when she was visiting me in my apartment. She was raped and
murdered there in her own bedroom just minutes before she showed up at
my door. That's impossible."

"Sounds like a ghost story."

"Yeah, but the physical evidence is going to turn the investigation
towards me, unless I can prove who committed the crimes."

Senator Matheson studied Mulder in silence, then merely said, "Tell me
what you need."


Scully was furious. George Garrett was a pig. How could he survive
in the 90s with a sexist attitude like that?

She had been talking with Senator Sanders' campaign manager, George
Garrett, at his office, and was ready to get up and walk out. To hell
with the investigation. Then logic took over and she tried once more.

"Sir, what time did you leave Senator Sanders' house?" The man must
have played football when he had been in college; probably a
linebacker. He was huge, and used his bulk to intimidate. Right now,
he was hovering over Scully while she sat in a chair near his desk.

"I wasn't looking at a clock, but it must have been well past 2:00 am;
maybe 2:30 or later. Are you sure you wouldn't care for a drink? A
pretty little thing like you must get tired of all this police work."

"No, sir, but it does get tiring when it's so difficult to obtain the
information I need." She smiled sweetly.

The comment sailed right past his head. He leaned over her, putting
his hands on the arms of her chair. His breath smelled like salami,
and Scully's stomach lurched. She had skipped lunch, and now was glad
of it.

"Excuse me," she said, "I need to get up."

He grabbed her arm and yanked her to her feet, brushing his other arm
against her breasts as he did so. "There you are, little lady. Not
leaving me so soon, are you?" He leered down into her face.

Unable to speak without spitting in his face, she turned, grabbed her
briefcase, and walked to the door. She finally managed, "I have an
appointment," and fled. She had come so close to permanently maiming
the dipshit, but reason had prevailed. Just barely.


Five hours later, the two weary agents met in their basement office.
Each thought the other looked tired and somewhat damaged from the
day's events. Scully, still smarting from the mauling she had
received from Garrett, moved silently past Mulder to go to her desk.
He reached out to touch her more for his own reassurance than
anything, and she flinched. And suddenly she could see something snap
in Mulder's eyes.

"Goddammit," he roared. "All your talk about trust, Scully, and when
the chips are down, you won't have anything to do with the partner who
probably rapes and kills? Is that the idea? You really think that I
could commit such abominable acts?"

With one angry, dismissive motion, he made a disgusted sweep of his
hand, not seeing that she had moved closer to him, concern on her
face. As his hand swept downward, his fingers caught in her fragile
blouse, tangling in his fingers, and it tore like delicate rice paper.
In pulling away, she slammed hard against the file cabinet.

Her eyes were huge, and he staggered back in complete shock at what he
had done. One lacy bra-covered breast was exposed, making her look so
vulnerable in the office setting.

He choked, "Oh, my God. I'm so sorry, Scully. I didn't mean for that
to happen." He took his coat off and put it over her shoulders,
careful to avoid touching her trembling body.

He collapsed into a chair and put his head into his hands.

Scully's quiet voice reached him.

"I'm sending a forensics team to your apartment, Mulder. And I'm
going to ask Detective Fontanova to send someone to take you into
custody. The autopsy and all the tests show that you were the person
who had intercourse with the victim, and your skin and blood were
under her fingernails. I suggest that you get a lawyer at this

He just nodded, not moving his hands from his face. Then he was aware
of her nearness and felt a gentle touch on his wrist. He moved his
hands and saw that she was kneeling in front of him with a troubled
expression on her face.

"Mulder, I know you didn't commit those crimes. You could never do
something like that. Please believe me when I tell you that I'll do
everything in my power to get you cleared and find the answers."

"You know that I don't deserve you," he huskily replied. "I act like
a real ass to you, then I rip your clothes and shove you around, and
you still stick by me."

She smiled and said, "I never said I was smart. And the caveman
approach has it's merits."

Mulder took in the picture of his half-dressed partner, kneeling in
front of him, one hand on his knee. She was aware of his scrutiny,
and he saw that she had seen it, and looked as though he expected to
be slapped, but gave her a shaky grin of bravado instead.

She gave him her Scully-look and, using his knees as a fulcrum, got to
her feet. "Sex fantasy number 72 is now over. I need to make some
calls, and I have to tell you about my interview with the campaign
manager." She looked down at herself. "But first I had better take
care of this."

She retrieved her suit jacket, put it on, and buttoned it all three
buttons. She made some shifting and adjusting movements with her
blouse, but it didn't look right.

"Turn around, Mulder."

He complied, although protesting all the way. "I've seen you in your
bra before."

Ignoring him, Scully took her jacket and blouse off, tossed her blouse
into the garbage, and put her jacket back on. With the buttons
fastened, it would work, although her breasts were tantalizingly
exposed just enough to make the outfit very sensuous.

"Ready yet, Scully?"

"I guess so."

He turned around, and breathed deeply at the sight. He placed a hand
over his heart and said, "I'm in love."

She flushed a becoming pink, then turned to pick up her notebook.
Turning the pages, she told Mulder that neither the Bureau nor the
local cops had come up with any clues as to the whereabouts of the
little girl, Rachel Sanders.

He frowned, and said, "Tell them to concentrate on the grounds of the
Senator's estate. Dead or alive, I don't think there was time to
transport her body any great distance."

She made a note, then said, "I talked with Skinner. After I filled
him in, his first question was to ask how you were holding up." She
smiled at his surprise to hear that their boss was concerned about his
most irritating agent. "But then he slipped back into character and
demanded that we keep a handle on the media."

Mulder gave a snort of amusement. "Yeah, good Bureau publicity,
having a rapist and murderer on staff, who also claims to fu...
experience intercourse with ghosts."

Scully noted the change in wording, and realized that he had been
aware of her shock at the language he so casually used for his
relationship with the dead woman.

"Mulder," she began, "What is your theory for what happened here?"

"You really want to know?" he replied, with a wry expression.


"Well, I think that Elizabeth felt a strong connection to me. When
she came to see me this morning she told me she was in an abusive
relationship and it had gotten out of hand; it probably extended to
their daughter, which may have been the last straw for her."

He started pacing. "In any event, something precipitated the rape and
murder. It may have been that Elizabeth was going to leave him
finally. She was probably killed before the daughter. In an attempt
to get me involved - with our emotional connection and my job at the
FBI she may have thought I could save her daughter - she made the
transition from death to a substantial ghost in my arms." At Scully's
incredulous stare, he said defensively, "You asked!"

"Why didn't she help her daughter?" Scully asked, not buying into the

"I don't know. Are ghosts omniscient? Maybe Rachel was murdered
while we were...busy. Elizabeth may have been so devastated by that
discovery, she went on to wherever ghosts go when they leave this
plane of existence." He shrugged.

Scully's look of disbelief was not a new expression to Mulder. He
said, with a sidelong look at her for a reaction, "What's so hard to
accept, Scully; the ghost, or the fact that she could be interested
in me?"

Her quick reply of "Both, Mulder," pleased him for some obscure

"I'll go turn myself in, Scully; save them the trip." He got up and
began slipping into his suit coat, and paused, turning to his partner.
"Just tell me, Scully; why did you flinch when I touched you just

There was such pain in his voice, along with an underlying fear to
hear the answer, that she went to him and reassuringly put her hand
on his arm.

"Mulder, if you had just spent a half hour with the man who invented
the term 'chauvinist pig,' you would be jumpy, too."

His smile lit up his face, and he asked, "You didn't deck him, did

"Mentally, but not in reality, darn it."

"You have better armor against the bastards of the world than I have,
Scully," he said, and she was reminded of the times he had lost his
temper and punched Krycek and Roche when they were prisoners. Yes, he
had a temper that was becoming more and more difficult to contain.
She hoped he could keep it in check over the next trying days and

"So, you coming along to watch the fun?" He looked a little nervous,
as if he hoped she would be there to give him some support.

"Of course, Mulder. I have to show off my new fashion to the media
and law enforcement, don't I?" She gave a lopsided smile, and he had
to laugh.

"There'll be more than one chauvinist pig panting over your bodice
today, I guarantee."

"Bodice? Don't tell me that you read those silly romance novels or
something, Mulder? Bodice!?"

"What! You'll just hit me if I say bazongas."

As they walked to the elevator, she asked about his lawyer. "I have
Dave Rodgers on standby. He's a criminal attorney I've know since
Oxford, and he just set up practice here in D.C. He had been in
Boston, but decided there were more crooks in politician- land."

The elevator door opened, and they were suddenly inundated with
badges, handcuffs and guns. There must have been a dozen law
enforcement officials surrounding them, reading Mulder his rights,
patting him down, removing his gun from the waist holster and the one
from his ankle holster. Scully was shoved against the wall in the
crowd, but her eyes and Mulder's met and held for a long poignant

Then he was ushered back into an elevator, leaving Scully with an
apologetic Detective Fontanova.

"Sorry, Agent Scully, but the orders came from on high to get him
under lockup immediately. There was no time to set up anything

"We were on our way to your office so he could give himself up,"
Scully bitterly said. "I need to see the Assistant Director..."

"My boss is up there right now, filling him in on what's happening.
We can follow your partner in my car if you want to come along."

"Yes, please. I'll call his lawyer on the way; he can meet us."

As it turned out, Scully wasn't able to see Mulder again until the
next morning, in his cell at the temporary State holding facility near
Fairfax. He was waiting for the paperwork to go through, and then he
would be transferred back to Washington, D.C., to the Federal lockup.

Scully went through the standard frisking and finally stood before the
cell door, seeing Mulder in a familiar pose. He was sitting on the
narrow bed, elbows on knees, head in hands. The difference this time
were the shackles on his ankles with a chain linking them. He looked
up when the guard opened the cell door, and a beautiful smile lit his

"Scully," he said, as he stood and she came towards him.

Ignoring the guard who she knew was watching, she put her arms around
his waist and hugged him to her. Mulder seemed to crave the physical
comfort, as his arms went around her shoulders and his head lay
against hers for a moment.

They separated then, but he kept a firm grasp of her hand as they sat
side by side on the bed.

"How have they been treating you, Mulder?" she asked. "And why do
they have those things on you when you're in a cell?" she said
bitterly and nodded down at his ankles. He ducked his head and
shrugged his shoulders, not meeting her eyes. "I guess I gave
them a little trouble earlier. But it's OK now."

Scully supposed that meant they had run him through the full gamut of
humiliating, demeaning, and sadistic procedures. At least they hadn't
put him in with the general population; a fed wouldn't last long, and
they both knew it.

"I tried to stay with you last night, but they wouldn't let me
anywhere near you. Did your lawyer ever get in touch?"

Mulder nodded. "Dave didn't get here until a couple of hours ago; he
had been over in eastern Maryland, visiting family, and that was the
quickest he could make it. He's trying to have me released for the
time being." He fidgeted.

Scully was positive that something beyond the obvious was bothering
Mulder, and he would tell her about it in his own good time.
Pestering him would make him clam up more, she knew.

He turned to look at her then, his eyes dark with some emotion.
"Scully, I have to get out of here. It was a mistake to put myself
into their hands so agreeably; I should have fought it. I won't get
out of here alive. Sanders is too powerful, and he knows now that I
was involved with his wife. He also knows I didn't kill her and is
afraid that I can expose him as the murderer."

"What can I do, Mulder?" she asked, worried with this new development.

"While Dave is working his end, try to get Senator Matheson on the
phone; he's already up to speed on this case. He was going to do some
digging on Sanders from his colleagues' points of view, but now I'll
need his influence to set me loose as his first priority. You might
see what Skinner can do, also. You never know."

The guard came to the door and told Mulder that his attorney was
waiting to see him again. There was a secure visiting room, and
he was to accompany him there. Scully was invited to leave.

She looked at Mulder with the worry clear in her eyes, and he pushed
his own fears down to give her a tentative smile, saying, "It's OK;
just try to get things rolling for me."

She was ushered down the corridor behind Mulder and two guards, who
were forced to go slowly because of the shackles. Scully's temper
flared at the thought of how they were treating him. His feelings
were fragile at the best of times, and she hated to think what this
was doing to Mulder.

At an intersection in the hallway, Mulder was turned toward the left
branch, and Scully toward the right. She looked back over her
shoulder and saw the trio enter a room, and the door was slammed shut.
But not before she caught a glimpse of Mulder violently recoiling
from something, and his muffled cry.

(Continued in Part III)

Part III

Scully immediately turned and ran to the door, her escort close
behind, saying something that sounded like, "What the hell...!!?"
The door was locked, of course, so she confronted the guard,
demanding that it be opened instantly. He said, "The prisoner is
with his lawyer and isn't to be interrupted."

"Bullshit. They're violating my partner's civil rights at this
very moment, and if you don't let me in there, you all will land in
jail cells of your own."

He looked indecisive for another moment, then punched some numbers
into a keypad by the door. There was a "snick" sound, and the lock
was released. When Scully pushed the door open, she and the guard
with her could only stand frozen in shock at the scene before them.

Then Scully reacted by grabbing the stunned guard's weapon from his
holster and screaming at the other two guards, "Get away from him
now!! Release him or you're both dead!!"

They had stripped Mulder and handcuffed his wrists together behind his
back. What looked like a sheet had been twisted into a thick rope,
and a loop had been tightened around his neck. One of the guards held
the end of the sheet pulled taut from across a conference table so
that Mulder's naked torso was held flat against the table's surface.
The other guard was preparing to rape the helpless agent. Mulder was
feebly struggling for air.

The guard standing behind Mulder turned toward Scully and leered at
her. "Hold your horses, I'll get to you, too, babe." He turned back
to Mulder. Scully moved quickly, slamming the gun against the side of
the guy's head. He fell bonelessly to the floor. The guard with the
sheet dropped it from his hands, but Mulder was still entangled in the
noose and was in serious trouble with his breathing.

"Get some help!" she yelled at her escort, who was still standing like
an idiot, gaping. He obediently turned and ran out of the room,
hopefully to do as she asked.

"Get that thing away from his neck," she instructed the guard at the
conference table. He slowly reached out and untwisted the material,
finally pulling it free.

"Now turn around and put your hands up against the wall. Then stay
there and don't move; I'm so close to shooting you, asshole, that
you'd better not even twitch." She watched while the guard complied,
then reached Mulder's side. She was relieved to see that he was
shakily taking in gulps of air and would probably be OK.

Scully picked up Mulder's discarded institutional clothing, and found
that the pants had apparently been cut off with a knife, probably to
get them over the shackles. The shirt appeared whole, so she wrapped
it around Mulder until she could find something better. She leaned in
close to his ear and whispered, "It will be all right, Mulder. I'm
getting you out of here. Just hang on a little longer." She ruffled
his hair and stood up straight as half a dozen people entered the

One very tall, sandy-haired man in a dark suit hovered over Mulder,
barking out orders to release the handcuffs, to get his own clothes
for him, to let him lie down...he finally was satisfied for the
moment, and his eyes sought out Scully's. He walked over to her
and put a hand on her shoulder.

"I'm Dave Rodgers, Fox's attorney, and I'm going to get him out of
here, I promise you that." His normally open, friendly face was tight
with anger and his eyes didn't try to hide the contempt he was feeling
for the officials responsible for this inexcusable event.

"Can you give me the details on what happened?" he asked Scully.

She told him, and added, "I believe that Mulder was right; he told me
earlier that Senator Sanders would have him killed while locked up in
here. The Senator somehow paid off those guards or brought in his own

Rodgers' shocked look made her pause, but her mind was busy working
through what must have happened. "They were making it appear as though
Mulder were raped by prisoners, then either hanged himself, or was
murdered by the rapists. They were probably going to leave him
hanging from something like the overhead pipes in the shower." She
took a shaky breath.

"I need to make some calls," Scully continued. "Senator Matheson and
Assistant Director Walter Skinner can bring some pressure to bear on
this situation, and I need to tell them what's going on. Let Mulder
know that I'll be right back; I'm not leaving him." She looked over
to see that Mulder was sitting on a chair with a blanket around
himself, head down so she couldn't see his face.

Rodgers nodded, the concern for Mulder lingering in his expression,
and led her down the hall to a telephone before returning to take
care of his client.

Scully lucked out and got both the Senator and Skinner on the first
try. They expressed their shock at the treatment Mulder had received.
Skinner said he was calling the Director immediately to see what could
be done, and the Senator told her to look for a fax shortly which
would be a judge's order to release Mulder. She thanked them both and
hurried back to find her partner. Scully was more worried about his
state of mind right now than any physical harm he may have suffered.

She discovered that Rodgers had taken him to a private room with a
shower, where Mulder had been able to get cleaned and dressed. He was
shrugging into his suit coat when she walked in, and she was amazed he
could look so professional after what he had been through. Mulder
wasn't wearing his tie, she noted, as his neck and underside of his
chin were red and abraded. She told Rodgers about the imminent fax
and he went off to find it, leaving her alone with her partner.

There was an awkward silence, then Scully crossed the room to stand in
front of him. For the first time since the incident, his eyes met
hers. She had to wince at the haunting pain she saw in them.

Without warning, he turned and smashed his fist into the wall, then
drew back and did it again. He swore some horrible obscenity, then
hit it a third time before Scully could grab his fist and hang on.

"How can people be so goddamned cruel, Scully?" he demanded, as she
looked at his bruised and scraped hand. "I've seen so much of what a
human being can do to other human beings, and I'm sick to death of it.
You saw how Elizabeth was beaten and savaged before she died; how many
times have we seen that and much worse? God!" His eyes were wild and
he rubbed his undamaged hand across his face.

She had to release him when he turned away and retreated to the wall
near the door, where she could literally see him reinforce the shields
he was so good at hiding behind. His eyes became unreadable, and his
arms were crossed as he leaned against the wall. She had seen this
pose before, and it always followed a traumatic experience. Scully
had received the "leave me the hell alone" signal, loud and clear.
What made this worse was that he was probably embarrassed to have had
Scully see him in such a humiliating situation earlier.

There was a "tap" on the door, and Dave Rodgers walked in carrying
some papers in one hand and his briefcase in the other.

"We got 'em, folks!" he said triumphantly. "Walking papers, Mulder.
The judge's release is all processed. That was probably the quickest
action to turn a prisoner free in the history of criminal law. Your
friends are pretty powerful, once they decide to move. There is one
stipulation; that you be accompanied by an officer of the Commonwealth
of Virginia. I recommend that we accept the stipulation; we have
nothing to hide and it will be added protection. Lt. Jill Carver will
be coming with us when we leave."

His face grew serious then, and he added, "One of the guards just
died." He looked at Scully. "They think the blow to the head from
your gun might have killed him."

Scully, taken by surprise, could only shake her head. Finding her
voice at last, she said, "I didn't hit him that hard. I made sure he
was going down, but he was very much alive when we left the room."

Rodgers shrugged. "Well, he's definitely dead now. The other guy is
being held in a cell until the charges are written up - which reminds
me, both of you, we'll need your sworn statements as to what happened

Mulder was looking at Scully with an odd expression in his eyes, then
he just nodded, his eyes closed as if in weariness.

"Come on, let's go. If it's all right with you, Agent Scully, you can
make the statement from Mulder's place as well as from here. Lt.
Carver is waiting for us outside. She'll take her own car."

"All right. And we need to talk about what we'll do to give Mulder
some protection from the Senator; he will no doubt try to have him
killed again, since this attempt failed."

When they reached Rodgers' full-sized Oldsmobile, Mulder climbed in
the back seat, sprawled out with his jacket folded under his head, and
closed his eyes. Scully took this as a hint, and resignedly sat up
front in the passenger seat. Rodgers waved to the beige sedan's
occupant who was parked across the street, and they pulled out into
traffic, with the sedan following.

The conversation with Rodgers mostly consisted of his asking her about
her job, but Scully's mind wasn't really on her replies. Her thoughts
were with the events of the day, and she suddenly made a connection
that caused her to grab Rodger's arm and say, "That guard was

He looked questioningly at her, and she continued. "If I had been
thinking clearly earlier, I would have realized...When I hit that
guard with my gun, I *knew* it wasn't a fatal blow. Someone else had
to have hit him again later, which caused his death. We need to get
someone to check on the second guard and make sure he's all right.
The killer will likely get rid of him next, so there won't be anyone
left as a link to the Senator."

Rodgers reached the authorities on the cel phone and had a long
conversation, during which time Scully looked back to see how Mulder
was doing. His eyes were still closed, but she could tell that he was
listening by the way he held his body - the slight tenseness to his

"Shit!" Rodgers' raised voice startled her, and he slammed the phone
back down as she turned to him.

"They've already gotten to him. He just 'committed suicide' in his
cell." He glanced at Scully. "I also asked about the guard who
witnessed the attack with you, and he's being sequestered somewhere
for his protection."

Scully opened her mouth to comment, but it turned into a loud "Look
out!" instead when she saw the semi bearing down on them from the
driver's side. Then the truck hit them with a violent impact and they
were slammed around in the car for what seemed to Scully a very long
time. The mangled car finally came to a crumpled rest against the
side of a brick building, after first taking out a parked car and a
small tree.

The hiss and tick of steam and metal were the only sounds for a long
moment, then someone was screaming.

Scully gradually realized that she was conscious, and seemed to be
lying on a bed, only not as comfortable. A slight movement of her
head caused dizziness, but she had to see what was going on.

When she was able to look to her right side, she realized that it was
a gurney on which she was lying, and there was the rear door of an
ambulance slightly behind her. But more importantly, a still figure
lay on the ground nearby, blood soaking through the covering over its
body. Her breath caught in her throat, and she tried to get up off
the gurney.

She had reached a sitting position, about to pass out from the pain
and nausea from a head wound, when an EMT materialized next to her,
concern on his face. "You have a concussion, ma'am, and possibly
other injuries. You need to lie down." He saw where her gaze was
riveted, and he said, "That gentleman died instantly; he was driving
the car and the main impact was at that point. I'm sorry."

Scully's eyes went to his face and she whispered, "What about the
other man? He was lying down in the back seat."

He sighed and looked away, toward a point beyond the first body.
Scully could see that another body was being zipped into a black
bag and was being loaded into a second ambulance.

"No!!!" she screamed, as she tried to get off the gurney, but the EMT
firmly held her in place. A wail escape her throat, and it sent a
chill through him as he succeeded in forcing her to lie down. Scully
didn't have the strength to fight him anymore, and she let the welcome
blackness swallow her.

Scully first became aware of a grayness, like some sort of thick fog
enveloping her. Then her surroundings gradually coalesced into a room
with someone standing over her. Scully snapped fully awake when she
finally remembered what had happened, and she saw Skinner's concerned
face above her own.

Her eyes reflected the despair she felt, and Skinner took her hand in
his. "Agent Scully, there's something I need to tell you." She
turned her face away from his and a wrenching sob shook her small
body. His hands tightened on hers.

"Please, I can't talk too loudly or we'll be overheard. You have to
hear this." He leaned down so that his mouth was next to her ear,
and quietly said, "He's alive."

Those words sent an electric shock through her, and Scully sounded
breathless when she said, "Sir?" afraid she had heard him incorrectly.

He smiled and nodded at her. And was rewarded with a full wattage
Scully smile.

Continuing to speak in a low tone next to her ear, he said, "I had
Garcia and VonBelk tail you from the lockup, to make sure you got home
safely. When they saw the 'accident,' they decided to let everyone
think Mulder had been killed. It would buy us some time to smoke out
the assassins. They apparently had quite a time convincing Lt. Carver
to go along with the scheme, but she finally agreed until she could
talk with the judge and with her supervisor."

"Where's Mulder?" she couldn't keep from asking.

"Grumbling and complaining at my apartment. Garcia is probably ready
to toss him down the elevator shaft. He wants to confront Sanders,
but that would get us nowhere. And his first priority has been you -
can you believe he nearly disobeyed me completely to be at your side
and make sure you were all right?"

Scully had to smile at his indignant expression.

"I had to promise to be here for you myself, just to keep him tucked
away for the time being. Here's my cel phone. You might give him a
call to let him know you're in the land of the living; he won't
believe me."

Still smiling, Scully took the instrument and punched in Skinner's
numbers as he gave them to her.

The phone was answered instantly. "Yes?"

She recognized Garcia's voice, but could hear a more familiar one in
the background, demanding, "Is that Skinner?"

Scully said, "Hello, Agent Garcia."

She could hear the smile in his voice as he answered, "It's good to
hear from you. I'll let you talk to the guy on my back who is beating
me over the head to get to the phone."


"Yeah, Mulder. It's me. I thought you were dead." She couldn't keep
the tenseness from her voice.

"Not yet. They wouldn't tell me anything about your condition, and
I've been going crazy, penned up here, not knowing."

"I heard that Dave didn't make it. I'm sorry, Mulder."

"Me, too. I shouldn't have dragged him into this mess."

Oh, no, she should have known he would blame himself for that death,
too. Trying to distract him, she said, "I think I just have a minor
concussion, nothing seems broken." Skinner nodded affirmation.
"How about you, Mulder?"

"Broken little finger and some bruises. Garcia put a splint and a
bandage on it."

"What? Garcia has no medical knowledge, at least none that I'm
aware of."

"It'll be fine, Scully. It doesn't even hurt. Ow! Except when I
accidently bump it against something."

She just shook her head and asked, "What's the plan now?"

"Sanders thinks he succeeded in killing me, hopefully. While I lay
low, Skinner, Garcia and VonBelk will investigate Sanders and all his
closest associates to see if they can dig up something interesting.
They've already discovered that his first wife died under mysterious
circumstances; Elizabeth was his second marriage."

"Mulder, I let the campaign manager, George Garrett, run me off before
I really got substantive answers. I'm going to ask AD Skinner if he
could do a follow-up interview with him. I would really like to know
what his relationship to the Senator is. And I doubt he would try to
sexually harass our boss like he did to me."

She raised her eyebrows at Skinner, who looked amused with the notion.

Mulder chuckled, then said, "Take care, Scully. This could get worse
before it gets better."

"You too, Mulder."

She disconnected and handed the phone back to Skinner.

"Garrett's business address is 521 SW Grayson, 5th floor. He really
is a creep, sir."

Skinner nodded, and said, "Just take it easy, Agent Scully, and get
well. I'll let you know how things are going." He gave her hand a
final pat and left to see Garrett.


Mulder was slowly driving Garcia insane with his pacing and muttering
and clicking the television channels around and pacing some more.
VonBelk was oblivious to it; he seemed to be able to tune out anything
under the level of a nuclear blast. He was currently sitting out on
the balcony, enjoying the view. Lt. Carver just kept out of the way,
using her cel phone to talk with her office and various other people.
Mulder caught her staring at him several times with what appeared to
be revulsion in her expression.

Garcia was experiencing a strong sense of deja vu, because the last
time he had worked with Mulder, it was on a very similar case. The
bad guys were after Mulder, and he had to play dead for a while in
order to gain time. That was a disaster, and Garcia wasn't too happy
with the prospect of a repeat performance. *This* time, things were
going to go by the book, if he had any say in the matter. His
shoulder still hurt where he had taken a stab wound on that case.

Finally Garcia couldn't take it any more, and planted himself directly
in Mulder's pacing path, arms folded across his chest, a determined
expression on his face. On Mulder's next circuit of the living room,
he realized that a substantial body was blocking his way, and
automatically began to detour so he could continue without
interruption. But the body detoured with him, forcing Mulder to stop.

"Give it a rest, for my sake if not for your own, Mulder," Garcia

"We need to get out there and break that guy," Mulder said, appealing
to Garcia's obvious intelligence.

"Mulder, you know we're waiting on some information from the database,
then VonBelk and I will go out there and kick some butt. In the
meantime, you need to lie down for a while and get some rest. You
wouldn't eat any dinner, and you must be exhausted. Get some rest,
for all our sakes, OK?"

Mulder finally relented and went into the spare bedroom. He kicked
off his shoes and lay down with a sigh. To his surprise, he *was*
tired, and soon felt a drowsy feeling take over his senses.

"I'm sorry, Fox," was breathed into his ear, and a cool breeze ruffled
the hair on his forehead.

His eyes snapped open, and Elizabeth was leaning over him, as
substantial as anyone else in the apartment. For just an instant,
terror ripped through his mind, but that faded, to be replaced by
a lethargic peace.

"Elizabeth," he whispered.

"I thought you could save her. I'm so sorry that I got you involved
in this. He is evil, and he will hurt you even more if you go after

"I have to, you know that," he said with regret.

She sighed and a gust that reminded him of a warm spring breeze
fluttered across the room, caressing him as it passed. "Rachel is
buried in the horse stables, under the floor of the last stall."
Tears fell as she spoke, and his heart broke along with hers.

He held his arms out to her, and she nestled against his body. He
began drifting off again, and heard her say from a great distance,
"Goodby, Fox." He wanted desperately to keep her with him, but he was
unable to do anything but drift in that bodiless state, her last
touches so insubstantial they were like memories of gossamer wings on
his body.

(Continued in Part IV)

Part IV

Skinner arrived back at the apartment a little later and went
immediately to the spare bedroom to apprise Mulder of what was
happening. He stood in the room for a moment, looking down at the
sleeping agent, noticing the dampness on his cheeks. It occurred to
him that he had never seen anyone cry in their sleep before. He
decided to force Mulder to take some time off when this stressful
case was over. He and Scully both needed a break.

Mulder woke up with a gasp when Skinner turned on the lamp,
illuminating the dark bedroom. He lay blinking in the glare as his
supervisor began telling him what he had discovered in his interview
with the campaign manager.

"Scully was right; Garrett is a real creep, to use her words. My
description of him would have been a little stronger, like 'lying
slimeball son-of-a-bitch.'"

"You thought he was lying about Sanders' alibi?" Mulder asked.

"I'm positive he's lying about anything I asked him. Are all campaign
managers as unscrupulous as this guy?" Skinner wondered.

Mulder sat quietly in thought for a few moments, then said, "I wonder
if, by lying, he was giving Sanders or himself an alibi? Or maybe

Skinner raised an eyebrow in question, and Mulder went on, "When I
examined Sanders for any scratches on his body, I found none. The
killer had to have been marked by Mrs. Sanders' fingernails because
of the forensic evidence. Now I'm wondering if Garrett wasn't the
killer, protecting his boss and his career by getting rid of Mrs.

"But why?"

"What if Mrs. Sanders found out that the good Senator had murdered his
first wife, and she decided to go public and/or to run?"

Skinner pondered that, and said, "I'll get some people started on
digging up that old case and see what we can find out."

"Sir...there's something else you should know. The daughter, Rachel;
her body is concealed under the floor in the last stall in the horse
barn." Skinner looked stunned at that information. "Mulder, there's
no way you could know that unless..."

Mulder sadly shook his head. "No, I didn't kill her. Just take my
word for it; she's there."

"I'm not leaving here until you tell me how you came by that
information, Agent Mulder," he said, with a grim expression.

So Mulder told him the whole story, leaving nothing out. A ghost
story told in all seriousness by an otherwise highly intelligent man.

Skinner was silent for a long moment, then startled Mulder when his
fist crashed down on the nightstand by the bed.

"Why isn't anything ever easy where you and Agent Scully are
concerned? How the hell am I supposed to sell a story like
that? We'd all be committed!"

He had gotten to his feet and was pacing back and forth, unconsciously
imitating Mulder's previous actions. Mulder's eyes were dark with
unreadable thoughts as he watched Skinner move across the room.
Finally the pacing slowed and his supervisor once again sank into the
chair near the bed.

Skinner sighed, then said, "I can't help but remember how you stood up
for me when I was seeing the vision of that old woman, and I was
accused of murder. I know there are strange things out there and in
our own minds which aren't explainable by science. I guess what I'm
trying to say is that I can't dismiss your story out of hand, Mulder."

"Now if you can only convince Scully, sir," his agent said with a

"I doubt that it would be possible, even if she saw it with her own
eyes. And I'm not saying that I wholly believe it, either. Now try
and get some rest while we follow up on all these avenues of
investigation. There's absolutely nothing you can do right now,

Reluctantly, Mulder nodded his head, and Skinner left him to his


At 9:00 that evening, Scully decided to check herself out of the
hospital and go home. She could lie around there as well as in the
hospital. The doctor gave her a little static, but was too busy to
argue for very long. She had tried to call Skinner's number several
times, but kept getting a busy signal. Scully finally called a cab
and arrived home close to 10:00 pm. Wearily she made her way up to
the door, unlocked it, and felt on the wall for the light switch. A
gasp was the only sound she made as a strong hand closed over her
wrist and pulled her into the dark apartment. Then a fist crashed
into her face and she fell once more into total blackness.


While Mulder was hopefully sleeping or at least resting, Skinner had
Garcia, Lt. Carver, and VonBelk go out to the Senator's to search the
horse barn, specifically, the last stall. Officially, the search for
the missing daughter was continuing, and they had a right to be on the
crime scene without a warrant.

"Have the medical examiner and forensics send someone out there to
meet you. I have a feeling that you're going to need them. Also
coordinate this with Detective Fontanova, and the Senator's staff.
Do it by the regs."

Skinner could do nothing but wait, then, and settled down on the couch
and tried to relax. It was after midnight, and he should have been
tired, but he was too wound up. He found himself wondering about
Mulder's "ghost," and quickly pushed away a stray thought that the
physical evidence pointed directly to Mulder, that the daughter did
resemble photos he had seen of Mulder's sister, that he had no alibi
for the time of the murder, and if the child were found where he told
them she was buried...

Dammit! He would not believe that Fox Mulder had been responsible for
anything like the horrors involved with this case. He knew him too
well. While flaky at times, as well as pig-headed, egotistical, and
short-tempered, he was also kind, unselfish, loyal, extremely
intelligent, and untiring in his constant search for the truth. No,
he would never lose it to the degree the murderer in this case had
done. But if someone else were the killer, he would have to accept
the "ghost" story.

He was surprised to find that he had dozed off, and Mulder was now
sitting in the overstuffed chair opposite him, head back, eyes closed.
He looked at the clock on the wall and realized it had been four hours
since Garcia had led the group out to look for the body. The sound of
the key in the lock came to his ears then, and he rose to his feet
expectantly. He had told them not to telephone, but to come back to
the apartment in order to report any progress.

He could see from their faces that they had found the girl.

Garcia said, "My God, she was beaten, raped and stabbed, just like her
mother." He was still shaken, and went out to stand on the balcony,
his back to the room. VonBelk didn't say a word, just stood there
with a paler face than usual. Lt. Carver pushed into the room,
however and confronted Mulder, who was still slouched in the chair.
She was so upset, she was shaking.

"Listen to me, you bastard. I believe that you brutally raped that
woman and then stabbed her to death. I believe that you went into the
daughter's room and saw the resemblance to your sister and you took
her. She fought you, so you beat and raped and killed her, too. Then
you concealed her body in the barn before you ran. You are going to
prison where I sincerely hope you get treated the same way you treated
Mrs. Sanders and her daughter, you son of a bitch!" She was
practically spitting in his face by the time she finished.

Mulder hadn't moved a muscle since she began her impassioned diatribe;
his elbows were on the arms of the chair, his fingers tented together
and resting on his mouth, and his eyes were dark and unreadable, never
leaving Lt. Carver's face as she spoke her mind.

Finally he rose to his feet, which forced Lt. Carver to back up a few
steps. He didn't say a word, but went into the bedroom to retrieve
his suit coat. When he returned, he told Skinner, "She's about to get
me sent back to jail. Before that can happen, I'm going out to the
Senator's place. I might be able to find proof of his involvement and
get a lead on the murderer. Most of all, I need to see that Scully is
OK first. I haven't been able to reach her on the phone. She
released herself from the hospital hours ago to go home. The recorder
is on at the apartment, and her cel phone just rings."

Skinner shook his head. "Mulder, you know you have to lie low right
now. I'll have someone check on her."

Mulder was becoming increasingly agitated. "I'm telling you, if they
were trying to kill me, they were also trying to get rid of Scully.
They think I'm out of the way; they're going to go for her and finish
the job."

Skinner was trying to reason with him. "Mulder, they want everyone to
think you killed Mrs. Sanders. With you supposedly dead, the whole
thing would eventually be dropped. Why would they care what happens
to Agent Scully?"

Mulder agitatedly ran his hand through his hair as he kept up the
pacing, forgetting about his broken little finger. He winced and
quickly moved his hand away from his head. "A United States Senator
would have access to our backgrounds and history with the Bureau. He
would know that I would tell Scully my theories and that she wouldn't
believe that I killed his wife and daughter. Once I was 'dead', she
would go after the murderer, both for vengeance and to clear my name."

Skinner picked up the telephone and punched in a number, but
apparently didn't get an answer. He tried another number before
looking at Mulder in resignation.

"All right. Take Garcia with you."

With a growled curse, Mulder moved toward the door, hollering at
VonBelk to go to Scully's apartment and check it out. He and Garcia
would go to Senator Sanders' place, since his instincts were telling
him that's where she would be.

Lt. Carver was loudly objecting to this scenario, insisting that
Mulder was going back to jail after she called the judge and her
supervisor. Skinner held his hand up and said, "We'll go with him.
If Scully turns out to be fine and we don't dig up anything to
implicate the Senator in this, you can arrange for the re-arrest."

From the opened door, Mulder asked Skinner to get some backup out to
Sanders' estate. Skinner replied, "Lt. Carver and I are going to
follow you out there as your backup. Let's keep as low a profile as
possible, under the circumstances."


When Scully regained consciousness she was only aware of the
enervating pain radiating throughout her head. Then other pains
became evident as she was jostled around on a lumpy, hard and
uncomfortable surface. She realized that she was lying in the trunk
of a car, on some kind of plastic sheet. Her mouth was taped shut,
and tape was wound around her wrists at her back. An unreasoning,
overwhelming panic assaulted her senses as she thought that Duane
Barry once again had taken her captive. She wasn't sane for a few
moments, screaming behind the tape, terrified of being subjected to
god-knew-what kind of testing again. But she couldn't stay conscious,
although she tried, and found herself sliding back down into darkness,
whimpering in fear.

The car finally stopped and rough hands pulled her out of the trunk
and onto the ground. Her body was next tossed over broad shoulders,
and she was carried inside.

The cessation of movement brought Scully around. She was lying on a
bed with her wrists still bound behind her and her mouth taped. With
a chill, she suddenly knew where she was; Elizabeth Sanders' bed,
where she had been raped and murdered. She could see the yellow crime
scene tape on the carpet over near the door. The bloody sheets had
been taken to the police lab, but she was lying on the gory mattress.

There were angry voices in the hall, and she recognized the Senator's
as one of them. They were arguing about bringing her here, without
setting up an alibi for their whereabouts first. "Why didn't you just
take care of her there?" "Aw, where's the fun in that?" With a wave
of fear washing over her, she heard the voices coming closer. They
were entering the bedroom.

George Garrett and Senator Sanders approached the bed, and Garrett ran
his hand up Scully's thigh, under her skirt, and his fingers busied
themselves investigating, moving, probing...

Scully stiffened and made a sound of protest, and Garrett laughed. He
opened Scully's jacket and ripped her blouse apart with his hands.
Then her bra flew open with a flick of his fingers on the clasp. He
gazed at her now-exposed breasts admiringly, then pulled her shoes off
and threw them aside.

Scully looked desperately at the Senator, but he was standing with a
heavy look on his face, lips parted, eagerly watching Garrett as he
went about his violation of the lovely red-headed woman.

Her skirt and half-slip came off next, then her pantyhose and panties.
Now essentially naked, she was trembling with what would come next. A
breeze blew across her exposed body and she shivered.

She closed her eyes as she felt the bed dip with Garrett's added
weight. He was kneeling between her legs and she prepared herself to
fight him as best she could. When nothing happened for a minute, she
opened her eyes again and nearly choked in terror at what she saw in
the room. The two men were transfixed and staring with horror at the
apparition moving slowly toward them.

Elizabeth Sanders stood about ten feet from the group, wearing the
beautiful, long white negligee Scully had seen lying shredded and
bloody on the floor at the crime scene. The only difference now was
that it was whole and clean. She looked lovely, but her gaze was full
of pain and hauntingly sad.

Her husband whispered, "You're dead."

She slowly nodded and said, "You can't hurt me anymore." Her eyes
turned to Garrett, who was visibly shaking next to Scully.

"But I can hurt you both. I can kill you both." She said this with a
chilling sweetness, then disappeared before their horrified eyes.

Sanders started screaming to the empty air, "George raped and murdered
you, Beth! I didn't have anything to do with it! Please! I love
you!" He fell onto his knees, wildly looking around, his breath
coming in gasps. Scully thought he might have a heart attack.

Her attention on the Senator was cruelly interrupted when Garrett's
hand smashed against her jaw, whipping her head in the opposite
direction. She saw a million flashes of light, and the pain in her
head was even worse than before. She could vaguely hear a voice
telling her that she was to blame for the bitch coming back. It
sounded insane.

Forcing her eyelids open a little, she saw that Garrett very likely
had gone mad. His eyes glittered, his face was red, spittle fell from
the corner of his mouth unnoticed. He still knelt over her, and she
saw that he was fumbling with his belt.

Scully tried to lift her knees and put her feet against his body,
intending to shove him as hard as she could, and hope for the best.
But in her position and with him as close to her as he was, she
couldn't manage it.

And then Elizabeth invaded her body. All at once, a coolness spread
through Scully, and someone else's thoughts were uncomfortably mixing
with hers. Scully found herself opening her mouth and speaking, but
the words and voice weren't her own.

"George, I'm sending you to hell. You murdered my little girl."

He scrambled backward on the bed, letting out one blood-curdling
shriek after another. Without taking his eyes from Scully/Elizabeth,
his feet hit the floor and he backed away from the bed, still emitting
his hair-raising shrieks.

Scully felt the spirit leave her, and then all hell broke loose.
Lamps, books, telephone; anything not fastened down flew at Garrett,
most of it making a solid hit on his body before falling to the floor.
He ran from the room and tore down the stairs like a madman. In the
den he frantically grabbed a hunting rifle from the gun rack on the
wall and began firing wildly.

The Senator had seen and heard all this, and was now truly having a
heart attack. He lay on his side on the floor, clutching his chest
with both hands, his face a mask of horror and pain.

At this point, Mulder and his entourage arrived at the house.

They heard the rifle-shots begin as they started to get out of the
car. Garcia, Skinner and Carver dropped behind the open doors of the
car for the protection they afforded, but Mulder went charging up to
the house with his weapon in his hand. Skinner saw his pain-in-the-
butt agent take off and yelled, "Mulder! What the hell are you

Since it was obvious what he was doing, Mulder didn't bother to
answer. He stood to one side of the front door, then broke out the
sidelight window with several blows from his gun. He reached through
the opening and turned the deadlock and doorlatch. So far so good, he
thought. By that time, Skinner, Carver and Garcia had reached his
side, and they went in together.

And stopped dead, since Garrett was standing in front of them, a rifle
pointed in their midst. He was smiling and completely insane.

Garcia did what he was taught to do; he yelled, "Federal agents! Drop
your weapon! Drop it now! Put your hands in the air!"

Garrett moved the barrel of the rifle ever so slightly toward Garcia
and his finger tightened on the trigger. The rifle discharged into
the floor, however, when the chandelier hanging over the entry hall
came crashing down directly on his head. They all distinctly felt a
soft breeze rush past them through the door.

Mulder didn't waste a second on the obviously dead man; he took the
stairs two at a time with only one concern on his mind. He called,
"Scully!" as he reached the upper hallway, and then decided to check
the master bedroom first.

He nearly tripped over the Senator as he barrelled through the door,
and stooped to check his pulse. Nothing. The bulging eyes and
terribly twisted facial muscles told him that he hadn't died an easy

He straightened up and glanced around the room, his gaze coming to
rest on the bed. And then he recognized what it felt like when your
heart stopped. He knew immediately that it was Scully, even though
the woman had her back to him and was in a curled up in a fetal
position. Her hands were bound with tape behind her back, and she was
essentially nude, with her jacket and blouse ripped back off her
shoulders. The mattress was covered with soaked-in blood, and he
prayed that it was all old blood, and not new.

Afraid to find her murdered like Elizabeth, he approached the bed
slowly. He whispered, "Scully?" There was no response. He took
his coat off and placed it over her as he drew closer.

Mulder gently brushed her hair away from her face and winced when he
saw the bruises and abrasions. She still wore a bandage on the left
side of her forehead, probably from the car accident, he figured. But
a whole new collection of injuries had been inflicted on the delicate
features. She was breathing, thank God.

Hesitating, but having to know that she didn't have any life-
threatening injuries, he pulled the coat back and checked for wounds
or broken bones. She seemed to be OK, except he was terribly afraid
of what had been done to her that wasn't immediately evident.

With his pocket knife, he was gently cutting the tape from her hands
when Skinner entered the room.

"Oh my God," he whispered, when he saw the dead Senator, and beyond
him, Scully. "An ambulance has already been called, Mulder. Is

Mulder's stricken eyes looked over at Skinner, and he said, "She's
alive, but she's unconscious and I can't wake her up." He removed the
tape from around her wrists as gently as he could, then began working
at pulling the tape from her mouth.

Skinner barely heard Mulder's next words, so he moved closer to the
bed. "...probably raped her, but I don't know." He gathered her into
his arms and held her against his body, tears running down his face.

Skinner was at a loss; he could only try to reassure him that she
would be all right.

Mulder looked at him with a grief-stricken expression, and shook his
head. "I don't think either one of us will be all right any more.
I've been a real shit to her lately, ignoring her feelings and
opinions. It's always because of me that she gets hurt. I love
Scully; I think I've always loved her. But I can't tell her, and it
kills me to pretend otherwise."

Although Skinner was not surprised to hear this revelation, he
supposed Mulder was too distraught to realize what he was saying
and to whom.

"Mulder, things will seem better after she's taken care of and you've
had some rest. I've known for a long time that you love each other,
but I didn't think you knew it yourselves."

Mulder bowed his head and gazed at Scully for a quiet moment, then
murmured, "After this high-profile scandal, you're going to have to
take some action. I suggest you fire me and transfer Agent Scully to
Quantico. I can go underground through my sources and keep searching
for my sister. At least Scully will be safe."

Skinner just stared at his block-head of an agent and finally said,
"For an intelligent man, Mulder, you are the dumbest SOB I've ever
known. First of all, there are no charges that could be brought
against you anymore in this case; it's obvious that the Senator and
his cohort are the guilty parties. When all the evidence is in, we'll
probably have a solid case against them. Secondly, you would likely
kill Scully yourself if you dropped out of sight and left her. It
would be a slower and much more agonizing death than if some perp just
shot her in the heart, but the result would be the same. And last of
all, the U. S. Government has entirely too much invested in you to
lose your services before you've reached your potential with the

He could see Mulder's throat work as he tried to respond, but nothing
came out but a sob. Skinner put a hand on his shoulder and said, "I
hear the ambulance's siren down the road. We'll talk about this
later. Let's get Agent Scully taken care of, first. Promise me
you'll sleep on it?"

A nod satisfied Skinner, and he left to show the EMTs where to find
them. He glanced back from the doorway, and saw that Mulder had laid
his cheek against Scully's and that the corners of her lips were
slightly turned up in a sweet smile.