ARCHIVE NOTE: Lesdean A. Warner's email address has changed.
(08MAY96) Please use the new address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: ALONE (Solitary Tie-in)
Date: 12 Nov 1995
Well, Solitary seemed to be a big hit, and I'm feeeling
again, so I thought I'd give you all a little more insight into those 52
days. Also, a lot of people wrote saying they wanted to see more of Jamie
and his informant--you've fallen beautifully into my trap, btw <cheek>--so
I wanted you to know what *they* had been doing during that time.
While this story is an adjunct to Solitary, it gives enough
into what happened that you wouldn't have had to read the first story to
read this one. Of course, If you didn't read it, I'm highly offended
<grin>, but I should survive--because you can always write me and get me
to send it to you <bg>.
Anyway disclaimer is always the same: All the regulars belong
Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox. The dramatic rights go to the
respective actors. Jamie, Callahan, Mossey, Palladin, etc, all belong to
me, but are borrowable, should anyone wish it (why, I don't know). Please
ask first, however.
All comments to LisdXPhile@aol.com.
Flames taken in their spirit, constructive criticism begged for.
Thanks to everyone who's taken to writing to me about my
stuff. I love to
get email, and am actually responding these days. I appreciate the
constructive criticism I've gotten, and am trying to incorporate it as I
go along. Let me know how I'm doing.
Enough of this stuff, now. Here it comes.
Jamie Barrons followed his knock into the basement office,
lovely redhead leaning against the filing cabinets, staring fixedly at
She started at his voice, staring vaguely at him for a moment, a
thought running idly through her head about how his dark hair, vibrant
eyes, and boyish face reminded her of her partner. Her voice was distant,
self-absorbed. "Hey, Jamie."
Barrons advanced slowly, looking at the file of letters that littered
Mulder's desk. After greeting him, Scully had taken to gazing at the
half-eaten bag of sunflower seeds on the blotter. "Any luck?" Barrons
asked, his voice quiet, respectful.
She slumped into Mulder's chair. She had her own chair, of course, but
his was more comforting. "They found Jerry's trenchcoat in Virginia," she
said dully, shaking her head at his hopeful look. "Not very useful. We
checked around the area, but couldn't find any other clues."
Jamie just watched her for a moment; hair slightly less coifed than
usual, eyes tight, bags growing beneath them. She still hadn't really
recovered from her "illness" when all of this began, and she looked ready
to collapse all over again. She wouldn't though. He knew that. She'd lose
sleep, weight... but never hope. Never strength. He knew from her eyes
that as long as Mulder was out there, she would keep going.
"How long since you've slept?" he asked gently.
She shrugged, a little smile for his concern. She was silent for a
time, looking at the letters before her. They had received another
yesterday--the day after Christmas. Conche had brutal timing.
It's hard to keep some of these agents warm, with all the
snow. The winds
are supposed to pick up this week, and they'll have a really hard time
with it then.
Best Holiday wishes,
"He was supposed to come to my mom's house for
Christmas," she said
finally, barely seeming to notice that there was someone there to talk to.
" He hasn't met my new nephew yet."
Barrons nodded. "We'll find him, Scully."
She rose, shrugging off the mood. "I know," she said, almost
confidently. She turned to him then, her face nearly open. "Did you want
He shook his head. "Got my own file to study. I just wanted to see how
you were doing."
She smiled wryly. "You mean *Skinner* wanted to know."
Jamie spread his hands helplessly. "What do you want him to do? He
can't come back to work for a few days, at least." He smiled ingenuously.
"He's got to have a mole somewhere."
"Well, tell him I'm fine," she said, pasting an almost-believable smile
on her face. "How is he?"
"Cranky as Hell, from what his daughter tells me. She moved back in to
help him out, but he won't let her."
Scully smiled at her AD's stubborness. "No big surprise."
Barrons shrugged pleasantly, turning to the door. "Guess not. Listen,"
he said, facing her at the last minute. "Let me know what you find, okay?"
"You're a snoop, Jamie, you know that?"
He shrugged with a smile and quit the room.
The wind was driving him crazy. The sound of it rolled right
up to the
walls and through the ground. He had been trying to figure out for a while
now how he could be getting the wind without getting the light. If he was
outside, or marginally outside, he should be able to see something: the
moon, the sun--*something.* But the dark remained as black as death. The
nightlight in his watch had become his best friend the past seven days.
And it smelled. Not that it was really his fault--what was he going to
do in a box slightly smaller than his body--but it smelled. And it was
cold, and he was thirsty, and that *goddamned wind* would *not* stop
Mulder took a deep, fetid breath, trying to collect his thoughts. That
had become increasingly difficult of late, but he had to try. He was a
little surprised that Conche would be so audacious. He had been a ruthless
drug dealer, and he was a definite psychopath, but to abduct a federal
agent in the Bureau *garage*? That went beyond madness.
His headache hadn't died yet. A week was an awfully long time--long
enough for the pain to subside. But something was prolonging it.
<You idiot,> part of him said. <Of course something's prolonging it.
How about being stuck in a box in the dark and the wind? How about being
fed nothing but water? How about sitting in your own mess in a space that
barely fits your entire body, smashed in a corner?>
He had to admit, that might have something to do with it. He had
maintained his mental focus for as long as he could, and found his mind
drifting again. It's first stop was a thought he knew well from the last
Where was Scully? Had she found any clues? The attack had been sudden,
swift. Would she even know where to start looking? Did he?
No, he told himself, as he always did. She'll find you. Just sit tight.
She's not stupid like you--not so stupid that she'd let her partner be
taken from her for months on end, only to end up half-dead in a hospital.
She's good enough to find you.
A little voice, increasingly loud of late, added its two cents as the
wind rose again. <You're just not good enough to deserve it.>
The sound woke him. A little scratching near his box--a
He took a breath and waited.
The darkness above him grew as the top of his box came off. He would
have tried to get away, but nine days of cramped spaces with no more than
water for sustainance defeated him. He was pulled from the box, lifeless
as a rag doll.
The water was freezing, but it somehow refreshed him. He heard more
water being run somewhere, but his ears wouldn't focus on a location. He
was so tired. He couldn't stand when he let him go, just fell to the
floor, feeling the water wash over him in a freezing torrent.
The beating woke him up. It was completely silent--no grunts from his
attacker, no puffs of effort in the breathing--just the sound of fists
He couldn't even defend himself.
Jamie Barrons waited for her call. He had signalled that they
speak, had waited patiently while she took her time. He was sick of
waiting now. He needed her to call.
As if on cue, the phone rang in his darkened apartment.
"What's the problem, Barrons?" her voice, lovely and youthful as
always, held a touch of annoyance.
His held a great deal more. "You know exactly what the problem is."
"They weren't taken by *them,* Jamie. I can't help you."
Barrons stood, pacing in the dark. "Come on, Palladin. Come on. You've
got to be able to find out *something!*"
"You're the FBI, Jamie," she said calmly. "Not me."
"Look," he said, desperate. "It's been two weeks! We need to find them.
You said Mulder was important to your plans--are you just going to let him
rot? Scully and the others have found nothing--"
"Are you doing this for me, or *her?*" the women called Palladin asked.
Barrons was quietly red-faced. "Palladin, please."
Her voice turned to steel. "It's not my problem, Barrons."
"But if Mulder turns up dead, the syndicate wins." His tone was
"Don't try to manipulate me, Jamie," she said sharply. "From what we
know of Conche, he's probably already dead. It's unfortunately--but hardly
devastating." Her voice was implacably cool. "Don't think I have all my
eggs in one basket, Jamie. Even you're replacable."
He stared angrily at the phone as she cut off the connection.
Scully was breathless by the time she reached the lab.
"What have you
Aldred held a plastic bag in his hand. She took it eagerly, not
noticing how her hand shook when she identified its contents.
His watch. The crystal was smashed, a dash of blood graced the band,
but it was his. She looked up, a spark coming back into her eye. "Where
did you find it?"
"Side of the highway, just outside of DC."
She nodded, trying desperately to think, but unable to with that blood
staring at her. She handed back the bag. "Any clues?"
"Just that it was placed there deliberately," Aldred said quietly. He
seemed to look around vaguely, as if expecting his partner to back him up.
Jerry's daughter had had her birthday yesterday, but nobody felt like
celebrating. "There are boot tracks--we're assuming they're Conche's--same
shoe size--leading up to it, along with finger indentations that indicate
he just walked over and set it down."
"They're alive," she said quietly. Aldred looked at her questioningly,
and she turned hard suddenly. "He's playing with us. Mulder's watch,
Jerry's coat... He wants to spur us to keep looking."
She remembered a phrase of Mulder's... one he'd used early on in their
partnership: "Sometimes the need to mess with their minds out-weighs the
millstone of humiliation." Or the fear of capture.
"To screw with us," she said angrily. "To mess with our minds."
Aldred ran a hand through his hair. "Why leave us the items? He knows
we can't track them?"
She remembered Conche's first note: "One day, people will understand
that the legal system is more brutal than the 'criminals' they
Her voice was dead. "To prolong the pain."
He wondered if Mom and Dad knew he was gone yet. Probably, he thought as
he drained the water from his little tin cup. Probably. Probably they were
glad. Probably they knew he deserved it.
That little voice in the back of his mind kept telling him that someone
would find him. Someone cared about him, and she would find him. He knew
it was lying. Sam was the only one who had cared about him, and now she
was gone. And it was his fault. And *he* didn't even care about himself,
so why would anyone else?
Part two posted simultaneously.
From: email@example.com (LisdXPhile)
Subject: ALONE (Solitary tie-in) 2/2
Date: 12 Nov 1995 00:32:58 -0500
Part Two, as promised.
Disclaimer in part one.
Jamie Barrons really was terribly young. College at the
age of sixteen, through Quantico by twenty-two. At twenty-four, for all
his ruthlessness, he was too young to deal with this situation. Every time
he checked in on Scully, every time he saw that haunted look in Callahan's
eyes, every time he saw Skinner's jaw clench, he winced, knowing he should
be able to do *something,* but totally unsure about what that might be.
He waited for the call.
The woman called Palladin sat in her darkened office,
Mulder would be a big blow. It was survivable, but it would hurt her
plans. Scully was more important. She was the key the syndicate
needed--and she was about to be lost.
She remembered her own loss, felt again the pain when she had found out
about his death. The man Mulder had called Deep Throat was more than a
player in the game--he was one of her trusted confidants. He had had such
faith in Mulder, felt the young man was capable of such action. She hadn't
agreed then. But after Purity Control, after New Mexico, she knew that
Deep Throat had been right.
And still she was mated at every turn. Each advance had been countered,
every check had been balanced. They knew Mulder too well. At times, he was
as much a liability as a help. She hated to sacrifice her pawns, but the
bishop who had functioned as his partner was, by far, more important.
And Barrons? Jamie was shrewd--but he was young. He knew how to play
the game, but sometimes she feared he didn't have the balls to carry it
out. He would always be useful, but she had to forgo his move this round.
She reached for her purse, heading into DC with purpose.
Walter Skinner sat at his desk, shifting his plastered leg
and considered the situation. He had kept tabs on Scully and the others,
had spoken to Tallor about Callahan and Aldred. They were getting nowhere.
The case was dying. And still, he couldn't find the heart to pull them
He hated to lose agents--especially good ones. Mulder had the quickest
mind he had ever seen. He was dangerous, a loose cannon, hopelessly naive,
But he was trusted. Like Barrons. Skinner knew that whatever happened,
Mulder would always err on the side of justice. His troubles were such a
large price to pay for that justice, but Skinner knew that, in the end, it
would be worth it.
He still couldn't bring himself to believe that his agents were dead.
His intellect told him they had probably been dead for days, but he
couldn't listen to it.
His brooding was interrupted by a knock at his door. "Come in."
The sight of the woman before him pulled him to his feet. "Ma'am," he
Palladin smiled. "Don't 'ma'am' me, Walter," she said with a smile.
"And sit down. You're keeling to one side, and it's making me seasick."
Skinner settled himself awkwardly in his chair. Her brown eyes surveyed
the fading bruises on his scalp. "How are you feeling?"
"Fine," he said, almost tacking on the 'ma'am' despite himself. She was
another of those people Mulder called the shadow government. Skinner was,
as always, unsure of what side she played on, but she had helped him in
the past, and he had come to trust her--as much as he trusted anyone in
the CIA. "What can I do for you?"
"Your missing agents," she said, a drop of sympathy in her youthful
voice. "How is the search going?"
"Not well," he admitted, watching warily as she ran a hand through her
black hair. She had to be nearing sixty--he knew that--but she didn't look
a day over thirty-five. Not a single grey hair graced her head. "Conche
was very thorough."
She nodded, considering. "Are you sure it's advisable to keep their
partners on this assignment?"
"Ma'am?" he questioned carefully.
"They're getting sloppy, Walter," she said calmly. "I've had reports."
She watched his jaw tense, hoped he wouldn't fight her too hard. The trick
for her now was to get Scully somewhere where she could be
contained--somewhere where she wouldn't end up as driven as her partner
had been. Where she could be manipulated. "I think it's time you took them
off the case, Walter."
He straightened. "I'm not prepared to do that, ma'am."
She stood gracefully, her slim lines fluid. "Well, I am." She met his
rebellious gaze. She had been playing hardball with the big boys almost
since Skinner was born. She was infinitely better at it. "Take them off...
or I'll arrange to have them removed for you."
He stared up at her defiantly, his trust of her waning. Another
manipulator, looking for an easy mark. He opened his mouth.
"They have you, Walter, and you know it," she said sharply. "The
albatross you've got around their necks was never big enough to cause them
too much trouble. They know that as close as you are, you're not close
enough to take them down." She gestured to the ashtray behind his desk.
"You could take *him* down, but the syndicate would still survive." She
leaned in to him, intense. "I've protected you this long, Walter. Don't
make me think it's a mistake."
Skinner's jaw clenched brutally, and she was idly fascinated that he
didn't break any teeth. After a moment's consideration, he punched his
"Yes, sir?" the voice echoed slightly as the woman just outside his
door answered the page.
"Get me agent Scully immediately." He looked up at the woman before
him, rebellion and acceptance warring in his eyes. "You'd better leave."
She nodded gracefully, slipping out the side door. He knew she didn't
Scully was tired. He could see it written in every line that
her young face. His jaw clenched in anger. "They want you off the case."
Her eyes flashed as she jumped to her feet. "Sir, I--"
"All of you, Scully," he said tiredly, pulling himself to his own feet.
His voice was slightly defeated. "Callahan, Aldred, all of you. The
investigation will continue, but..." His eyes met hers, and he fought the
urge to tell her what he thought was really going on. He couldn't stand
the anger he saw there. "It's been decided that the four of you are too
close to it."
He watched her mouth work furiously, unable to tell him to go to Hell,
as he was sure she wanted to. She gave him a betrayed look, as if he were
giving up on them, as so many others had. "Scully," his concerned voice
was little more than a whisper. "They'll find him. But you can't just
waste your time running around in circles."
She was going to fight him. He could see it. He wanted her to. That
woman wanted her off the case--and she'd get it, but only officially. He
took a deep breath, doctoring his words, vitally aware of the woman
waiting outside. "I'm asking you to cooperate."
His eyes met Scully's, and he could see the betrayal give way to
confusion, then to anger. She drew herself up, reminding him forcefully of
a marine grunt about to tell off his l.t. Her words were formal. "May I
ask what my duties will be now, sir? The X-Files aren't really cases that
should be handled by one agent."
His shoulders dropped slightly. She was angry now, but her mind was
going. He tried to think of a way to get her to understand. He knew he'd
never get a chance to explain it to her. He had to make her see it now. He
tried to convey it all in his relaxed voice.
"You'll be doing consultation for Quantico and Violent Crimes," he
said, his voice turning gentle as she stared at him, puzzling it out.
"It's not a very time committed job, Agent Scully. I hope you'll take some
time to yourself..." he relaxed further as he saw it click for her.
"Process what's happened."
He smiled a little relief at her as she stole a cautious glance at the
door to his left, nodding carefully as she straightened further. "Yessir,
I'll try to."
He thought she got the message, hoped she did. She was one of his
brightest, and Mulder and the others probably didn't have a chance without
her. Skinner sat heavily, cursing his broken leg. "Thank you, Agent
Scully," he said quietly, face impassive. "You can go."
The woman stepped back into the room after Scully had left. "I've
spoken to Tallor," she said calmly. "He's agreed to speak to the others. I
thought you should tell Scully yourself, though. Now that Mulder's gone,
you're the only one she trusts."
With good reason, Skinner thought, as the woman slipped out quietly.
Jamie walked into the office, not bothering to knock.
"Hey, Scully," he
said quietly. "What are you working on?"
"Just finishing an autopsy report for VCS," she said, sliding a piece
of paper into the folder before her.
"How is the case going? I hear you guys got pulled off."
She mustered some contempt at the manuever. Actually, though, she
seemed to be making a little more headway now. Maybe Cancerman *had* been
blocking them. Or maybe she could just take a little more time to think.
"I *guess* it's going about the same. They got a new letter from Conche
yesterday." She didn't have to fake the shudder as she passed him a xerox
"Thought you were off the case," he said, smiling slyly. There seemed
to be something bothering him. He had an angry crease in his forehead.
"They send me daily reports." Actually, Skinner was doing that, but she
had a feeling he hadn't even told Barrons, who seemed to be his most
trusted agent. That idea had been giving her thoughts lately.
"'Dear FBI,'" he read carefully, "'I guess these guys were the best you
had, huh? Three weeks and you still haven't found me. Oh, well.
"'It's kind of nice having them all around, actually. Kind of like my
own little fed farm. Unfortunately, they don't actually *do* a whole lot,
but they're nice to go in and take a look at occassionally. Like a petting
zoo.'" He stopped, anger closing his throat. He looked up at her, saw her
shrug, just as angry as he. She really was beautiful, even with her cheeks
as drawn as they were, even with her eyes that dead cold. He tried to
smile, and she returned it.
"I'm sorry they pulled you off the case," he said finally. "I tried to
talk to Skinner, but..."
Her eyes froze even more. "He had his orders."
Jamie rose suddenly, a thought building on the anger inside him. "I'm
sure he did," he said shortly. "I'll, um, I'll see you later, Scully.
There's something I have to do." He turned at the door. "Keep the faith,
Scully," he said gently. "They'll find him."
"*You* pulled them out!" he cried angrily over the
"Barrons," Palladin returned quietly, dangerously. "You are getting
very close to being expendable."
"I was expendable before," he spat. "You said it yourself."
"The agenda *has* to be perserved, Barrons," she said coldly. "Losing
Mulder was a difficulty, losing Scully would be tragic... Losing you would
"Useful?" he asked bitterly.
Conche closed the door on Mossey, smiling in demented
satisfaction. It was
finished, finally. They were all lost now, and he could give it up. Mulder
and Prevan wouldn't survive the week, and he could go to his punishment
knowing that he had paid a large portion of that eternal suffering back.
He pulled the needle out, studying it calmly. His own private
concoction. Basically just a variation on what he had dealt his torturers,
but infinitely more lethal. He smiled coldly, slipping the needle in, his
mind full of the many days of suffering he'd given them.
"Get ready, Satan," he said bitterly, as he pushed the plunger home.
"Here I come."
That really is the end of Alone, so I guess you have to read
<evil laughter>! Anyway, I know I left a lot of loose ends, but it's
intentional. The shadow government saga will continue, after a short break
for a revision of one of my previous works. I'm glad you stuck with me
through this one, and I hope to find out what you thought of it. I think
I'm getting into a groove with this Palladin thing, but please feel free
to let me know if it becomes a rut, and I'll move on--maybe <g>.
Anyway, guys, thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the ether,