Date: 26 Dec 1995

"Too Close"(2/2)
An X-Files Story by Jennifer Lyon

Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters therof belong to
Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and FOX network. The
remainder of this story is mine. Consider this taking place
somewhere in the third season. I owe a big thank you to a few
people: my editor, Debbie Hewett; Ann Vanderlaan and Lynne
(Buddyed) for biblical information; and Suzanne (Ecksphile),
Ray (Gylford), Pat (DiRisha) for reading this for me in
progress and encouraging me to finish it. Finally, since I have
never been to the FBI and have little knowledge of its internal
workings, I am exersizing some fictional license, as I am
towards certain parts of the Christian religion. No offense
meant to anyone's beliefs. The story is unrelated to any I have
previously written.
Part Five

Two miles away

Tibbit groaned, rubbing at his aching side. "Damn,
that man can run!"
Harper glanced at his partner with open amusement.
Eyeing his partners short, albeit muscular frame, he teased. "I
think he has about a foot's worth of leg space on you."
Tibbit glared back, always a little sensitive about his
height. He had been an all-star offensive lineman in college,
and being passed up by the NFL because of his height still
rankled. So he was a little short, so what? Harper grinned, then
straightened in his seat, pulling the car up to the side of the
road. "Well, we've certainly lost him." He sighed. "Skinner is
going to have our asses for dinner."
Tibbit frowned, staring around the darkening street.
"This is ridiculous. I can't believe we're stuck playing babysitter
for that kook."
"That 'kook' is one of the Bureau's best agents. I saw
him in action on a case down in Raleigh. His profile was so
dead on that it gave me shivers. It was like he could see things
no one else could. And with three agents already dead..."
"Who's to say Mulder didn't do it himself? I heard that
he had had fights with all three before they got hacked."
Harper shook his head. "Na, Mulder was on the
opposite side of the country when the first two murders
happened. Unless you think he was able to teleport here and
back, there's no way he could have done it."
Tibbit shifted in his seat, stretching out an aching calf.
"Well, considering the way he disappeared right in front of us,
I'd almost believe it."
"Start thinking things like that and you'll end up in the
basement working with Spooky himself." Harper chuckled.
Tibbit frowned. "Don't even think it..." He shivered.
"Still, the man gives me the creeps. Did you see the way he
looked at us before he started running?"
"He was just playing with our heads. Probably got a
kick out of dumping us. Bet you ten bucks he's sitting in a bar
somewhere right now laughing in his beer." He pulled the car
away from the curb, bringing it around in a U-turn to head
back the way they had come.
Tibbit nodded reluctantly. "No bet." He sighed loudly,
then added fatalistically, "Skinner is going to kick our butts."
- - - - -
Office of the Assistant Director
FBI Headquarters

Skinner put down the file he was reading and glanced
at his wrist-watch. Quarter after seven. Stifling a yawn, he got
up from his desk, stretching out the sore muscles in his back.
Definitely time to head for the gym. He liked to work out at
least five times a week, though sometimes his schedule just
didn't permit the time. Still, for a man his age, and one desk-
bound to boot, he had managed to stay in pretty good shape.
Donning his coat, he made sure he had his keys, then
stepped through the door. As he locked the door, he found
himself wondering just how Mulder had reacted to Tibbit and
Harper. Making the assignment had been a difficult decision,
weighing the effect of how it would look - like Mulder really
was a suspect - against the likelihood that Scully's fears for her
partner were real. In the end, the value of Mulder's life had
tipped the scales. With any luck they'd catch the psycho soon,
which would clear the situation. And give Skinner a brief
Striding down the hall, then waiting semi-patiently in
the elevator, the tall, imposing Assistant Director still couldn't
escape a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. This storm was
hardly over, and he couldn't help being afraid for the man
caught in the middle. How had one difficult, rebellious
subordinate come to mean so much to him? Shaking his head
as though to banish the thoughts, he checked out of the FBI
building and headed for his car. Never once noticing the thin
shadow following close behind.
- - - - -

Mulder ignored the stares that followed him as he ran
for the elevator. He knew he was sweaty, the old torn Oxford
tee-shirt sticking tightly to his damp chest and arms. The
sweatpants were stained and grimy, and his hair was very likely
sticking up on end. But his appearance was the least of his
concerns. If he was right, then Skinner was in serious danger.
Bounding out of the elevator, he raced for the AD's
office, only to find it closed and dark. Frustrated, he banged
loudly on the outer door. Come on, damnit, still be there! But
there was no answer; the hallway was silent except for the low
snickers emanating from a pair of agents walking past.
Finally giving up, he leaned one hand against the
door, rubbing at his sticky neck with the other. He had no
proof that Skinner was in any danger, and if he tried to call out
the cavalry and was wrong, Skinner would be furious. But
somehow Mulder knew he was right. Turning around, he ran
back for the elevator. With any luck Scully would still be in the
- - - - -
X-Files Division

Dana Scully dropped into her chair, breathing a soft
sigh of relief. As many autopsies as she had done in her career,
many of them under far more difficult circumstances or on
bodies so horribly damaged as to give anyone nightmares,
conducting one on a man she had once considered a good
friend was worse. Whatever else Tom Colton might have been,
he had been full of life. The pale body laying stiffly on the
metal operating table had been only a shadow of the man, a
broken, damaged shell.
Closing her eyes, she grabbed hold of her professional
detachment and slammed the shutters down into place. But
before she could do anything more, the office door slammed
"Mulder?!" she exclaimed, staring wide-eyed at her
frantic, dingy, sweat-soaked partner. As his intense eyes
focused on her face, he slumped for a moment, then recovered
in a burst of energy.
"Scully, thank God you're still here. We have to find
Skinner!" He hurried over to the desk and began tossing things
"Wait...What's going on? MULDER!" She grabbed
his arm, spinning him towards her.
"Skinner is going to be killed next. Tonight. But his
office is closed and he doesn't answer his cellular phone. We've
got to get over to his home."
"Skinner...but how? Are you sure?"
"Of course, I'm sure!" Yanking out the big yellow
phone book, he placed it on top of a pile and paged through it
urgently. "Skinner....Skinner...Damn, he's not here. And
Operations wouldn't give me his home address."
"Of course they wouldn't if you went in there acting
like this. You've got to calm down."
Mulder met her eyes, watching him with deep
concern. "Yeah,'re right." Running a hand through
his hair, he only sent it into worse disarray, the thick dark
bangs blanketing his forehead, short strands curling against the
back of his ears and neck.
"Look, I know this is just a hunch, but it all makes
sense. Skinner is the next logical target, and I don't think our
killer is going to wait any longer. He's got to be feeling the
pressure. Hell, the whole Bureau is up in arms over this."
"OK, say you're right. What makes you think Skinner
would be attacked anywhere but here in the building? All the
others were done here."
"True, but security is tight, and Skinner is more likely
to be noticed than the others were. It's easier to take him
somewhere else. The deaths and their situation isn't that
important to this guy. It's the choice of victim and the
mutilation that matters."
Scully weighed his words for a moment, then came to
a rapid decision. She'd seen his wild hunches proven right one
time too many not to take this one seriously. "All right, let me
see what I can do."
Mulder sat down wearily in his chair as she reached
for the phone, briefly wondering why he was so upset. There
had been times he could have strangled the AD himself. Then
he caught himself, sickened that the thought had even crossed
his mind. True, he had thought that all of the victims deserved
a good right punch in the nose, especially Colton. But not this.
No one deserved this. Well, almost no one. And besides,
Skinner really wasn't all that bad.
Mulder found himself reviewing his relationship with
his boss over the past couple years. Rocky it had been, the two
men aggravating each other on every level. Still, there had
developed a kind of grudging respect. Perhaps in his own way,
Skinner had tried to protect Mulder. He had given Mulder the
X-Files back, and had been there when he was most needed,
even after Mulder had belted him one. If only for that, Mulder
owed him.
"Got it, thank you Sarah." Scully hung up the phone
and turned to her partner. "I've got his home address, but
apparently he usually goes to the gym on his way home. I've
got that address too."
Mulder got back to his feet. "The gym - why doesn't
that surprise me?"
Scully chuckled, though she grabbed her own weapon
from the desk drawer and carefully examined the clip before
putting it in its holster at her waist. As she followed him out of
the small office, she glanced at him, retorting coolly. "Well,
you certainly won't be out of place."
- - - - -
Capitol Health and Fitness
687 Grand Ave.
Washington DC

Hefting the gym bag over his shoulder, Walter
Skinner left the warm and brightly lit interior of the health club
for the chilly darkness of the parking lot. Dressed casually in
jeans, sweater and dark blue jacket he looked less like a federal
bureaucrat and more like a blue collar worker, big muscles still
warmed by exertion, bald head glistening with a faint sheen of
moisture from the shower. His determined stride eating up the
concrete, he sighted his car in the corner and skirted around
the edge of the lot to reach it.
The attack came seemingly out of nowhere, a sudden
sweep of sound behind him, forcing him to turn, arm half-
raised in instinctive protection. But he was not quite fast
enough, and a hard metal object slammed down against the
side of his head with a sharp crack. He staggered, the bag
slipping off his shoulder to land on the concrete, while he
dropped to his knees. Wrapping one arm protectively over the
source of the excruciating pain, his other fumbled at his waist,
reaching for his gun. His assailant was quicker, and chose to hit
that elbow instead, sending a river of agony screeching up his
arm, flooding down to the very tips of his fingers. But Skinner
was a fighter, and he didn't give up easily, twisting aside, he
pushed himself upwards, ignoring his glasses as they hung
unevenly from one ear. He squinted into the shadows, hazed by
a fog of pain as well as the cover of night, tightening his body
into a ready crouch. Turning slowly, all he could make out was
a narrow form, one long arm outstretched, moving towards
him with bitter intent.
Skinner screamed, as it descended again, barely missing the
side of his head, instead bouncing off his shoulder. He fell onto
the wounded arm, a small part of his mind recognizing it was
probably broken, then sliding into blessed unconsciousness.
His attacker breathed a sigh of triumph, only to freeze
at the sound of footsteps behind him. "Federal agents! Don't
move!" cried a woman's voice. Sharp clicks warned of guns
being cocked, and he turned on his heels and dove behind a
nearby car. Rolling over, he stifled a groan as his shoulder hit
the pavement hard, then he picked himself up and ran.
Behind him, he could hear voices shouting, and then
the sound of footsteps racing after him. Drawing in deep drafts
of the cold night air, he burst into a gallop, running as though
the hounds of Hell were behind him, for in his mind, they were.
- - - - -

"Federal agents! Don't move!" Scully shouted at the
first sight of the spindly silhouette, cloaked in darkness, raining
blows down on an unmoving figure on the ground. It seemed
to pause for an instant as she raised and pointed her gun, then
it was gone, disappearing behind the blunt shape of a car.
Mulder raced up and past her, his long legs eating the
ground in pursuit, and she left it to him, knowing she could
never keep up. Instead, she went to the body on the ground,
tucking her gun into its holster and reaching for her cell phone,
even as she came to her knees. Her heart skipped a beat as her
fears were confirmed, the faint light from a lamppost reflecting
off Skinner's shiny head. He was curled up into a ball, his left
arm cradled against his chest.
Stabbing at the phone, she put it to her ear, then
reached down to check his pulse. It was there, beating strong
in his throat, but blood was already trickling down from a
wound on his right temple, and his skin was damp and cold to
the touch. Shrugging out of her coat as best she could, while
shouting into the phone, she demanded an ambulance and back
up, knowing that the words "officer down" would stimulate the
fastest possible response, praying that it would be quick
enough. Dropping the phone in order to get her second
shoulder out of her coat, she wrapped the cloth around the
man trembling at her feet.
He moaned and shifted in place, and she gently, but
firmly, restrained him. "Easy, sir, stay still. Help is on the way."
He reacted to the sound of her voice, his eyes
fluttering as he tried to focus on her face. "Whhhhhh," was all
he got out, and she tried again to soothe him, speaking slowly,
rhythmically, soothing him with the sound more than the
words. Meanwhile, her eyes were darting again and again to
the road, her ears alert for the sound of sirens, her mind
repeating over and over again..."Hurry, please hurry, please
- - - - -
A few blocks away

Mulder ran, suddenly wishing he had not decided to
take such a long run earlier. His muscles were aching and his
lungs felt like they were on fire. He could just barely see his
quarry's shape as it darted through the semi-darkness ahead.
Thin, narrow, covered in a long dark cloak, it suddenly shifted
direction and shot across the street, barely avoiding an
oncoming car. Mulder broke into the street after it, the flash of
the headlights giving him no more than a glimpse of form and
color, the hair was light, the figure tall and straight as a board.
Male, as Mulder had already assumed it to be.
Using the hood of a parked car for leverage, Mulder
leaped onto the sidewalk, and shot off down the alley, slowly
gaining ground on the other man. His muscles complained,
then stretched and accommodated, though not without the
silent promise of vengeance to come. But his body was long
used to running, his penchant for the track developed in early
adolescence. And so he got closer, and closer...
Then he came up abruptly against a brick wall. The
alley was a dead end, but the man had entered, so where...
All thought ended in a lightening bolt of pain, a quick
explosion of agony on the back of his head, then an answering
blow to the back of his shoulders. Darkness shuttered his mind.
- - - - -

Capitol Health and Fitness

Tibbit and Harper were the first on the scene, beating
the ambulance by a few long minutes. Scully acknowledged
them with spare glance, her attention focused on the wounded
man cradled in her arms. Harper bent to a crouch beside her,
his eyes wide with shock and concern.
"Will he..."
"He's got a concussion, possibly a fractured skull.
And the arm is definitely broken. It will take X-rays and an
MRI to see how serious the head injury is." Scully reported
tensely, her professional demeanor fighting with her emotions.
For all of the rough times between them, she respected her
boss deeply. He had done his best for her and Mulder, more
than once.
"The attacker?" Harper's inquiry was bareboned, as
the ambulance finally made its screeching way into the parking
lot, its flashing lights throwing an eerie, every changing gleam
across the scene.
"Didn't get a good look at him. He took off as soon as
we got here. Mulder is in pursuit."
"Mulder? Which way did they go?" Harper took
Scully by the arm, helping her to her feet as she relinquished
the still unconscious Skinner to the paramedics. As he was
loaded first onto a stretcher and then into the ambulance,
Scully turned and pointed towards the back of the lot. "That
Then she turned and leaped up into the back of the
ambulance, coolly issuing commands. The door slammed shut,
and the ambulance squealed its way back out into the street,
but even before it turned the corner, Harper and Tibbit had
cleared the back edge of the parking lot, tracing Mulder's steps
as best they could.
- - - - -
In the Alley

A brilliant flash of light from the top of a passing
ambulance fell across the face of the man at his feet, and
Ezekiel found himself suspended in mid-movement, his muscles
frozen in place. He stood there for a moment, unbreathing, like
a stone statue, one arm upraised, the metal wrench clasped in
suddenly icy fingers, his heart stilled within his chest.
Oh no. Ohno,ohno,ohno...Oh Dear GOD, NO! He
never realized he spoke it aloud, would never have recognized
that soul-sick remnant of a voice as his own. The wrench
tumbled out of his numb grasp and clattered to the ground
behind him, while he sank to his knees. Reaching out, his entire
body trembling, he pulled the unconscious man on the ground
closer to him. There was only faint light emanating from a
window above and the street lamp several feet away, but it was
just enough for recognition.
Tears welled in his eyes, and he groaned the sick, low
moan of an injured animal, only to find the sound echoed by
the man in his hands. That broke through the thunderstorm of
emotion, and he anxiously sought and found the pulse racing in
the neck, then felt for the heat of breath passing through the
lips. It was warm and moist against his chilled palm, and he
nearly cried aloud in relief.
"Mulder..." Ezekiel whispered, and received another
groan in reply. The wounded agent shifted, one hand curling up
to reach for his head, but Ezekiel gently restrained him. Pulling
the bigger man up into his lap, he wrapped his arms around him
and sobbed...

...The walk from the alley, where he had left Mulder
curled up unconscious behind an evil-smelling dumpster was
wrought with agony. His heart was pounding in his chest, the
fierce eyes of God and his angels boring into the back of his
head. He could feel the weight of their disapproval and
disappointment. It was an accident, he wanted to scream. But
his mind kept screaming 'my fault, my fault, my fault...'
Still, he kept going, pushing through the dark of the
night until he found his car, set off on a silent side-street, and
gratefully slid behind the wheel. He had a chance to make
things right, and he swore he would not fail again.
Finally, he managed to get the car wedged deep in the
alley with enough room to open the car door so that he could
get Mulder inside. First, he attempted to pick him up with both
arms under his back, but the senseless agent was much bigger
and heavier than expected, with limbs that seemed to go on
forever. Awake and in motion, Mulder was as graceful, as sure
as a panther on the prowl, but in this state, he was nothing but
long loose strands that dragged and caught and flopped. Giving
up on picking him up as one might carry a child, Ezekiel gently
settled him on the ground and shifted to take him below the
arm pits. Dragging him worked well, at least until they got to
the car.
It took at least fifteen minutes of pushing, shoving,
maneuvering, tugging, but he somehow managed to get Mulder
into the car seat...sort of. One leg still trailed outside the car,
and his head fell back between the two seats, but it was a start.
Ezekiel paused to gasp for breath, rubbing at aching elbows
and scraped knees, and bruises that were sure to implode along
every surface of his body. However, he considered it a small
price to pay, only a small measure of the reparation still to
"Mmmm," Mulder groaned and began to shift, his
head falling back even further until Ezekiel reached over and
caught him. Trying to hold Mulder upright, careful of the
wound trickling blood down through the thick dark hair and
onto the fair skin, Ezekiel felt downwards with his free hand
until he found and released the control for the seat back.
Pushing it down as far as it would go, he carefully levered
Mulder into a recumbent position, and moved that one last leg
into the cavern below the dash.
Mulder groaned again, thick eyelashes fluttering
against his cheeks, but Ezekiel soothed him with a loving touch
and soft words. "Easy...take it're ok. I'm going to
take care of you, just rest. I'll take care of you," he promised as
he retrieved the blanket from the back seat and wrapped it
around Mulder's body.
Mulder felt only the comfort of the voice in his ear
and the hands cradling him, and he settled down with a soft
sigh, and a whisper of the one name he had come to associate
with such sensations..."Scully..." he breathed before his eyelids
settled and he fell back into the soothing darkness.
Ezekiel jerked slightly in response, his entire body
tensing and then releasing. Of course, he realized quickly, of
course. Who else would Mulder call for but her - his Mary
Magdalene? The woman he had redeemed and turned to the
cause of God. It was only right, for soon enough Mulder
would be returned to her care. Shrugging off his overcoat, he
tucked it under Mulder's head, then carefully closed the car
End Part Five


From: (Jennifer Lyon)
Subject: NEW: "Too Close" 6/8
Date: 26 Dec 1995 22:31:07 GMT

"Too Close"
An X-Files Story by Jennifer Lyon

Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters therof belong to
Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and FOX network. The
remainder of this story is mine. Consider this taking place
somewhere in the third season. I owe a big thank you to a few
people: my editor, Debbie Hewett; Ann Vanderlaan and Lynne
(Buddyed) for biblical information; and Suzanne (Ecksphile),
Ray (Gylford), Pat (DiRisha) for reading this for me in
progress and encouraging me to finish it. Finally, since I have
never been to the FBI and have little knowledge of its internal
workings, I am exersizing some fictional license, as I am
towards certain parts of the Christian religion. No offense
meant to anyone's beliefs. The story is unrelated to any I have
previously written.
Part Six

St. Mary's Hospital

The search for both Mulder and the suspect was now
under full-swing, though nothing had been found. While Tibbit
stayed with it, working his way down yet another dark alley,
Harper left to make his way to the hospital. He found Dana
Scully sitting in the Emergency Room lobby, one hand
clutching at a steaming cup, the other clenched on the edge of
her chair. Her normally vivid blue eyes were wide and pale as
she recognized him, and she started to her feet.
But he was already shaking his head. "I'm sorry, no
sign of either of them."
She took a deep breath and sat back down, looking
much like an air mattress that has had the plug pulled. She
simply deflated. Harper sat down beside her and remained quiet
for a moment, allowing her to find the words on her own.
"I hardly saw him. He was just a shadow. I know he
wasn't too big, maybe 5'7'' or 8''. And very thin. There wasn't
much light. Skinner was down, and it just seemed right that I
would stay with him while Mulder..." Her voice wavered on his
name, but she clamped down on it so quickly that Harper
couldn't have sworn he had truly heard it. And when she
continued speaking, it was in the voice of a cool and collected
"Skinner has a concussion and a cracked skull, as well
as severe bruising and a broken arm. They're doing X-rays and
an MRI to see if any slivers of the skull were driven into the
brain itself. It depends upon which areas were damaged as to
whether they leave any such fragments in place or try to
remove them surgically." She paused to take a sip of her
beverage, the rich smell identifying it as coffee.
Then she finally met his eyes directly. "He took
Mulder, didn't he?"
Harper shrugged his shoulders, his face grim. "It is a
possibility. We've got men blanketing the area; if they are still
nearby, they'll be found."
Scully gave a broken laugh, the sound as bitter as
shattered glass. "That's IF they are still in the area."
"We'll find them," Harper promised bitingly, his voice
sharp and angry. "There are only so many possible suspects,
and everyone on duty in the FBI during the four 'incidents' is
being located and questioned...again."
Scully smiled, though it was not a happy expression
and her eyes remained as cold as diamonds, diamonds bluer
than the sea itself. "It's still a lot of people, and I doubt our
killer is going to make himself easy to find." She glanced at her
drink and frowned, then put it on the side table with a sigh. "I'd
better go help."
Harper restrained her with a gentle hand on her
shoulder, showing no response when she flinched away,
turning to face him with sharp words on her tongue. But he
spoke first, "No, let us do our job. You're needed here. Skinner
might be able to help when he wakes up, and you should be
here in case he does. Look, I promise to let you know the
"No." Her voice was unyielding, cold as marble.
"Mulder is MY partner, he needs me, and if he is going to be
able to communicate anything to us, I'll be the one he'll try to
Harper nodded. "All the more reason for you to stay
in one place, where he could expect you to be. Besides..." He
swallowed hard. There was no easy way to say this, but
somehow she read it before he could frame the words.
"Those bastards!" she hissed.
"No one really thinks..."
"Mulder was with me, we left the FBI together. There
are witnesses to that. Unless they think I was involved in it
too..." Her eyes flashed dangerously, and Harper instinctively
put up a hand between them.
"No, of course not," he soothed anxiously. "Look,
four FBI agents are dead, and all had had confrontations with
your partner. Now he is missing, right after a nearly fatal attack
on the AD. People are just...upset..." he finished unhappily.
"Yeah, well not as upset as they're going to be if
Mulder ends up dead because they're too busy trying to use
him as a scapegoat instead of finding the son-of-a-bitch who
kidnapped him!" Her voice remained low, and was all the more
formidable for its softness. A man twice her size, Harper still
found himself feeling intimidated by the small fiery-haired
woman standing in front of him, hands on her hips, her rich
mouth pursed into a thin line above a forward-thrust chin.
"We are searching, and doing our best to match up
your description with possible suspects. We will find them,
BOTH of them." He gave her a tentative smile. "Not everyone
thinks Mulder is ... "
"Crazy..." she finished for him, undaunted. He smiled
wryly. "Yeah, well...There are a lot of people in the Bureau
who have a hell of a lot of respect for that man, and regardless
of his reputation, he is still one of us. The FBI takes care of its
own, and that includes Spooky Mulder."
She wasn't particularly consoled by this, but she did
settle back a little. Just enough to let him breath again.
"Sit tight here for a while, and let me know right away
if Skinner is able to talk. If he could identify his attacker, it
would help us a lot."
She frowned, not bothering to even nod her
acceptance, but she finally sat back down and reached for her
coffee. As he turned to leave, she called out after him, "And
you call me..."
"You'll be the first to know," he promised, and then
he was gone.
Scully sat still for a moment, fighting the urge to get
up and run after him. To run out and start searching herself.
But she didn't have a clue where she could start, and that
realization stung hard, even harder than the knowledge that
some fraction of their coworkers really did blame Mulder for
these murders. That simply infuriated her, that anyone could
think her brilliant, compassionate partner could be capable of
these killings. Certainly, he had a temper and core of solid
steel, will-power that sometimes awed her with its strength,
and an edge of darkness born of anguish and bitter experience.
He could be fierce in his anger towards the killers they sought,
ruthless in his determination to find and expose the truth, but
no one who had seen him with the victims of violent crime
could ever doubt the goodness of his heart. He had a way of
reaching out to those in pain that was simply breathtaking; they
would turn to him, trust him, before they would let anyone else
come near. It was as though they could feel without anything
being said that this man not only cared deeply and honestly, but
also *understood* with a sensitivity that ran to the innermost
part of his soul.
"Oh God, Mulder," she moaned under her breath.
"Where are you?"
- - - - -
1846 Magnolia St.
Chevy Chase, MD

Mulder was only barely aware of being half-carried
out of the car and into the warmth of the house. A brush of
cold air assaulted his senses, sending shockwaves of pain
through his throbbing skull and down the back of his spine. No
sooner than he could groan in protest, than he was hit with a
wave of heat and light. Squeezing his eyes shut, he staggered
against the hands holding him up.
"Easy, just a little more..." a voice sounded hazily in
his ear. His feet half-dragged on the thick carpet, not making a
sound, then he was falling...falling... and landing on something
soft and yielding. Reaching up to cradle his head, he curled up
into a ball, his legs dangling off the edge of the cushioned
surface. Again, someone was there, lifting him up, rolling him
over to lay on his back. His legs were lifted up, his head
propped on a cool linen pillow.
Settling down into the welcome comfort, his mind
fragmented, bits and pieces flying across the surface like bright
bubbles. Images, faces, sounds...ideas. But it hurt too much to
focus, each time he tried to reach for one, his hands
unconsciously lifted up to swat at the air, only to be gently
restrained again.
His eyes blinked rapidly, and he shifted again, trying
to sit up. Firm hands took hold of his shoulders and pushed
him down. The edges of his awareness caught the sensations of
his shoes being removed, a warm cover wrapped around him, a
catch of pain in his head as fingers adjusted his position. Above
it all floated a steady sound, a voice, one he knew he should
know, but couldn't place, reassuring and tender, soothing him
down into welcoming darkness.
- - - - -

Ezekiel swept back the dark, silken strands of hair
from Mulder's forehead, then moved upward to probe as gently
as he could at the reddened, already swelling wound on the top
of the semi-conscious man's head. Biting back a cry of
sympathy and anguish, he pulled away and stumbled for the
kitchen. Moments later he was back, clutching a towel-
wrapped bundle of crushed ice, a wet washcloth, and a bowl of
warm water.
Mulder stirred again, but his eyes never opened, his
hands again fluttering at his side.
"Shhh," Ezekiel whispered, brushing the sweaty face
with the damp cloth, wiping away the grime from the smooth
skin. Then he turned his attention to the head wound, wiping it
clean, then pressing the ice-pack to the spot. That elicited a
throaty moan, but Ezekiel held on, until the sound dwindled off
into steady breathing.
Next, he tackled the expanse of arms and chest,
turning the bowl of water muddy with dirt and the faint tinge of
dusty blood. It took two changes of the water, and the
application of scissors to the old tee-shirt, but he finally got the
worst of the scrapes and cuts treated. The bruises were already
beginning to show in purplish relief against the pale skin, but
there was little more he could do.
Wrapping the blanket around the bare chest, he then
contemplated the rest of the job. His hands trembled as he
considered his options, but the wet stain of blood soaking
through the thin cloth on the right thigh forced his decision.
Averting his eyes as his pulled on the black sweatpants, he
somehow managed to get them down those long legs and off.
He pulled the blanket up to protect the modesty of his
senseless patient, then busied himself with the washcloth,
clearing away the still-oozing blood. Luckily, none of the cuts
were serious, though the almost blackening bruises showed in a
distinct band across the middle of the front thighs where he had
struck hard with the metal wrench, unknowing of the identity
of his target.
That understanding broke a sob from his throat, and
even as he adjusted the blanket across the length of the body,
he own chest began to shake. Once done, he remained on his
knees beside the couch, tears streaming from reddened eyes.
Seizing hold of one limp hand, he clutched it against his cheek,
slid down until he was sprawled on the floor, and cried aloud.
- - - - -

Turning the hurricane of emotions into a rush of
activity, Ezekiel handwashed Mulder's clothes and his own,
then dropped them into the dryer. He started a pot of herbs
boiling on the stove, using one of his mother's old recipes for
healing tea. Watching it begin to bubble, he remembered her
clearly, her mouth pursed as she spoke of the evils of modern
medicine, certain that it was the devil's work designed to
interfere with the plans of God. But still, her teas had been a
comfort to all the sick and dying of the parish, and she had
dispensed them with kindness and the love of God. Surely, her
son could do no less for the earthly angel lying wounded in his
As the pungent smell of the herbs boiling on the stove
top permeated the air, he checked briefly on Mulder, only to
find him sleeping peacefully, the lines of daily care and trouble
eased from his face, leaving the sharply defined features with
an innocence that was startling in its simplicity. Ezekiel
adjusted the blanket over the slumbering man, unconsciously
trailing his fingertips across the neck and jaw.
There was more yet to do, and he attended to it with
meticulous concern. First the bath had to be run, and food
prepared for later. And then he sat down beside the couch and
patiently cleaned his gun yet again, stopping every so often to
gaze with shining eyes at his sleeping guest or race into the
bathroom to check the tub. Finally both tasks were done, and
after a quick trip to the kitchen to retrieve a mugful of the
boiling tea, he knelt down in front of the couch.
Holding the steaming mug in one hand, he reached
out with the other, tentatively, to touch Mulder's shoulder.
"Sir...Agent Mulder...Mulder..." he urged, ever so gently
shaking the sleeping man.
Mulder muttered, shifted, curled over onto his side,
then jerked awake, his hands clutching at his head.
"Be still," Ezekiel warned, sliding his hand under the
back of Mulder's skull, supporting it as it fell backwards.
Mulder turned to lie fully recumbent, though his now partially
opened eyes were focused tightly on Ezekiel's face.
"Withers?" he whispered in a raw voice.
"Yes, sir."
Mulder's eyes opened wider. Licking at his dry lips, he
asked, "Where?"
"Safe." Ezekiel replied. "You are safe."
Mulder's eyes flickered around the room, then back to
the younger man's face, focusing hard. Ezekiel felt that
penetrating hazel gaze drive right through him, and knew in
that instant that he had indeed been right from the beginning -
that Mulder did indeed have the sight of God. Mulder's next
words were only confirmation, the question altering into
certain knowledge as he spoke. "You? It was you."
Ezekiel smiled for the first time that day. It lit up his
narrow face, taking away the sharpness of the mouth and eyes,
making him look even younger than he usually did. "Of
course." Relief that it would all be open between them at long
last made the blood course hard though Ezekiel's veins. Barely
restraining the need to pour it all out, all the years of waiting,
the anxious days and nights, the joy of triumph and the anger at
those still deserving of vengeance, he lifted up the strong-
smelling cup of tea.
"Here, I made this for you. It was my mother's recipe,
and will help your headache. Do you think you can sit up?"
Mulder watched him for a long breath, then pressed
both hands down into the cushions, pushing himself upwards.
A low groan emanated from between his clenched teeth, but he
made it to a partially upright position. He was about to sit up
further, when Ezekiel reached out to hold down his shoulder.
"I think that's enough for now. Here drink this, while I
check on the bath." He held out the mug careful not to spill the
hot liquid. Mulder closed his hands around it, accepting it, then
he sniffed at the contents, his mouth pursing tightly.
Ezekiel chuckled, getting to his feet. "I know it smells
a little odd, but it will take the pain away without making you
sleepy. Go on, it will make you feel better." Mulder shot him a
suspicious look, and Ezekiel's face softened into gentle
understanding. "I'd never deliberately hurt you, you have to
know that. I want to help you, to keep you safe." His eyes
turned liquid, pleading.
Mulder nodded tensely, still clutching at the mug with
both hands. His own eyes were wide and vivid, green tints
sparkling in the darkened irises. He slowly pressed the edge of
the cup to his mouth and tipped it slightly, only to draw it away
sharply. "It's hot," he said hoarsely.
Ezekiel nodded. "Take your time. Drink as slowly as
you need to. In the meantime your bath is almost ready. Excuse
me," he turned and left the room.
Mulder sat motionless, though his eyes darted around
the room like those of a hunted animal seeking shelter.
Searching for whatever answers he could find, he assessed his
surroundings. He was on a long couch along one wall of a
square room. There was a small vestibule off the right, and a
hallway that obviously led to other rooms. The furniture was
simple, mostly plain, solid wood, with little in the way of
comfort outside of the sofa he was on. The walls were covered
with religious pictures, bright colored scenes depicting biblical
events, filled with the glowing figures of angels and saints,
mixed with several large crosses. Where he would have
expected a television to sit was instead a small table which
supported half-circle of candles in ornate holders and a pair of
photographs. Peering through the haze of his injuries, Mulder
could see that one was of an unsmiling woman, blond hair
framing a nearly emaciated face, the intense eyes the only
source of light in the picture. He turned his attention to the
other, and nearly gasped aloud at the sight of his own face
staring back at him. In the photo, he was turned slightly to the
side, looking to the left of the camera, his face intent and
Without getting up to look closer, he knew he
wouldn't be able to see any more detail, and even the slight
shift in position to get a better angle to look sent waves of pain
crashing through his temples. Sliding down into the embrace of
the couch, he took a careful sip of the tea, and felt the heat of it
rush down his throat. He took another, feeling it numb his
throat, and he closed his eyes, fighting another wave of
He was still sitting sprawled on the couch, the still hot
mug clutched to his chest, when Ezekiel returned, a heavy
terrycloth robe over one arm. Coming to halt next to the
couch, he looked at Mulder anxiously. "The bath is
you feel up to it? I think it would make you feel better."
Mulder's eyes opened and he tried to sit up further,
grimacing. "I...I think so." He kept trying to focus his thoughts,
but they skittered around. He was worried about Skinner and
Scully, and knew he had to find out more of what Withers was
up to. He was in no shape to try to fight physically, and one
memory that was clear from the alley was the loss of his gun as
it fell out his fingers in response to a blow across the back of
his shoulders. This time he had forgotten to attach the second
gun to his ankle, and even if he had, he supposed it would have
been taken from him already.
Ezekiel reached out to steady him, and Mulder
couldn't help leaning into the support. "Withers..." he
murmured, then he pushed at his memory, reaching for and
finding the first name..."Zeke..." he began.
"No, my name is Ezekiel!" Mulder started slightly at
the vehemence in that response, then had to swallow a cry of
pain as the sudden motion caused a resurgence of agony behind
his eyes. Ezekiel saw the reaction, and he was instantly
solicitous. "It's okay," he soothed gently. He sat down on the
edge of the couch, wrapping his arms round Mulder's shoulders
to hold him still. "My classmates at Quantico thought my name
was funny, so they shortened it. I put up with it from them, but
I didn't like it much."
Mulder almost nodded, but stopped himself in time.
He did give a low chuckle. "Yeah - I know the feeling."
Ezekiel smiled at him. "I'm not ashamed of my name, it is a
good name. The name of a prophet. Yours is a good name too.
The fault is not in the names, but in the people who would use
them as insults."
Well, that was hard to argue with, though Mulder was
never going to like his first name. He didn't reply directly,
instead he caught the other man's eyes and asked the one last
question - the important one. "Why, Ezekiel? Why?"
Ezekiel didn't bother skirting the question, he
answered immediately and directly. "To protect you."
"Protect me? I don't understand. Why me?"
"Because of who you are." Mulder frowned at that,
and Ezekiel almost laughed. "It is hard for you to see yourself
properly, and that too is the way it ought to be. Only a true
chosen one would not see his own worth, being humble before
God and man is a rare virtue these days. Still, I knew the first
time I saw you. All of my life I had prayed, begged for a
chance to see an angel, and had never once been blessed. And
then suddenly there you were. You glowed with the light of
God, it streamed through you, almost blinding me with its
power. Yet, I doubted, fighting against the will of God until I
was forced later to see it clearly. Then I could no longer doubt
the evidence of my own eyes."
"Memphis?" Mulder again made an intuitive leap,
sensing he was only confirming the other's beliefs, yet unable to
stop his mind from making the connections it was bound to
Ezekiel nodded. "You saw the evil and stood against
it. The others, they struggled against you, most out of disbelief
and fear. But a few...I could see the taint of evil in them. Not
quite as dark as the demon you sought there, but still agents of
the Devil placed in your path to confuse and misdirect. They
worked hard to spread lies against you, to make others believe
you were crazy, when you were only walking the path that
God had set out for you." His face shone with joy, his voice
bright with excitement, the words running into each other in his
need to have Mulder understand. "And then I knew that was
why I had been sent there too. Why I had seen you again, and
then been privy to their vile acts against you. And saw you
accept it all without striking back, taking the burdens upon
yourself as only a true saint would."
Mulder opened his mouth to speak, but Ezekiel
rushed ahead. "I know you could not do otherwise. You could
not soil yourself with their blood, nor lower yourself to their
level. You had the work of God to do. You had to focus on
that, your very nature made it a necessity. That is why I was
put here, to sweep your enemies aside to allow you to do what
you must without their interference." He smiled as though all
was now clear.
Mulder took a deep breath, trying to reach for the
right words. "Ezekiel, I am not some kind of saint. I'm just a
man like you. And they really didn't harm me, I mean I know
they were bastards, but what you did wasn't necessary..."
Ezekiel looked at him with patient understanding and
warm affection. "You don't see it yet, perhaps you never will.
But that doesn't really matter. I know what needs to be done,
and so will you in time. But for now, you need rest and
healing. Come on, let's at least get you into the bath.
Afterwards, if you feel up to it, I'll heat up some dinner for
The thought of food did not go over well, the nausea
that erupted in Mulder's stomach destroying his attempt to
argue further with his attentive 'captor.' Gagging slightly, he
leaned forward, struggling to keep from vomiting helplessly.
Thin, but surprisingly strong arms tightened around him,
cradling him as he bent his aching head towards his knees, then
convulsed as his stomach's needs overcame him, forcing out
the remnants of his earlier meal and the few swallows of tea
taken more recently.
Ezekiel held him until he was done, then picked up the
washcloth he had used earlier and gently wiped Mulder's
mouth. Shaking slightly, Mulder could only stay leaning down
onto his knees, gasping softly.
"There, there, you don't have to eat anything until you
are ready. In the meantime, we should get you cleaned up."
With that Ezekiel took Mulder by the arms and lifted him
upward. Mulder muttered under his breath, still fighting the
dizziness, but he went willingly enough. He was too tired to
fight, and a part of him had to admit that the idea of getting
into a hot bath sounded pretty good.
He would never remember much of the trip to the
bathroom, or of being settled onto the toilet seat, but once he
was there, he found himself focusing weakly on Ezekiel who
was staring at him with a slightly confused expression. Mulder
looked up at him, then down at himself, a slight blush of
discomfort tingeing his face as he realized he was dressed only
in his underwear.
Ezekiel stared from him, to the full tub, then back,
then blushed bright red. "Ummm, do you think you can..."
Mulder blinked, nodded, then wished he hadn't.
Stifling a low groan, he answered with more confidence than
he felt. "Sure," he replied, gaining a look of pure relief from the
young man.
"I...umm...I'll go clean up in the living room. Just call
if you need help." He edged backwards towards the door,
gasping as he collided with it. He took hold of the door as
though hanging on for dear life, then slid back into the hall.
Closing the door partway, he leaned in again, "I'll leave it open
so you can call for me, okay?"
Mulder lifted his right hand in a mock salute,
unconsciously holding his breath until he was alone. Then he
buried his face in his hands, threading his fingers up through
the dark bangs covering his forehead. He remained crouched
there, bare legs sprawled outward, elbows resting on his knees,
head pressed down into his arms, his entire body shaking. The
bruises were coming out in sharp black and purple splotches
across his shoulders, arms and legs, with a large yellow region
marking the lower right edge of his rib cage. A further probe of
the top of his head tore tears from his eyes.
End Part Six


From: (Jennifer Lyon)
Subject: NEW: "Too Close" 7/8
Date: 26 Dec 1995 22:37:13 GMT

"Too Close"
An X-Files Story by Jennifer Lyon

Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters therof belong to
Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and FOX network. The
remainder of this story is mine. Consider this taking place
somewhere in the third season. I owe a big thank you to a few
people: my editor, Debbie Hewett; Ann Vanderlaan and Lynne
(Buddyed) for biblical information; and Suzanne (Ecksphile),
Ray (Gylford), Pat (DiRisha) for reading this for me in
progress and encouraging me to finish it. Finally, since I have
never been to the FBI and have little knowledge of its internal
workings, I am exersizing some fictional license, as I am
towards certain parts of the Christian religion. No offense
meant to anyone's beliefs. The story is unrelated to any I have
previously written.
Part Seven

Listening to the faint sounds of motion in the other
room, every sense acutely tuned to the potentiality of footsteps
in the hall, Mulder finally lifted his head and examined his
options. Weapons? None. Could he walk? Possibly. Could he
fight his way out? Not likely. Using the back of the toilet as
support, he got to his feet, then staggered back down onto the
seat. Ruefully, he realized that the answer to question number
two was less possible than he had thought.
So what now? While every bone in his body that
wasn't screaming in pain was yelling at him to get the hell out
of there, his instincts told him he was not likely to be in any
immediate physical danger. However, the same could not be
said for anyone else at the Bureau. Had Skinner survived the
attack? Mulder felt a deep rush of guilt. For all of their
troubles, he had at least respected the man. And Scully? Where
was she? Was she looking for him? Would she be the next
Too many questions and not enough answers. Which
meant he had to get Ezekiel talking. And keep him distracted
long enough for Scully to track them down. And that meant
dealing with the question of this bath. He eyed the big white
tub and its steaming contents, a part of him admitting it looked
incredibly inviting. But he was loathe to leave himself naked
and defenseless in Ezekiel's hands. That thought brought up
another possibility - just how fixated on him was the kid? He
Mulder groaned in frustration, stared at the slightly
open door, then came up against one simple fact. If he didn't
get himself into the tub, Ezekiel was going to insist on helping.
No sooner had he thought that, than he found himself moving
much faster than he would have considered himself capable of.
Off went his underpants and over he went into the tub. Right
into a large amount of very hot water.
*Sigh* God in heaven, it felt obscenely good, and
Mulder sank down burying himself as deeply as he could. His
body was far too long as usual, and he had to compromise by
dunking one section of himself after another. Propping his feet
up on the edges, he slid down until his entire head went under,
drawing in a mouthful of the clean water, then expelling it in a
stream of bubbles. Pushing himself back upwards, he drew his
feet down, bringing them under the surface, allowing his knees
to stick up out of the water.
Closing his eyes, he leaned back, pressing his arms
into his chest and twisting his knees sideways. He remained still
in the water for a long moment, not even opening his eyes in
response to a soft tap on the door. It was only when he felt the
presence of eyes staring directly down at him, that he let his
eyelids lift slowly.
Ezekiel was standing above him, staring wide-eyed
like a startled doe and something clicked in Mulder's mind.
"Quantico. You were in one of my lectures at Quantico,
weren't you?
The young man's gaunt face lit up into a brilliant
smile. "Yes." He sat down on the edge of the toilet, draping the
previously forgotten bathrobe over his arm, his fingers toying
nervously with the edges of the thick, knotted fabric. "After
that lecture I read everything I could find by you. Papers you'd
written at Quantico, case reports on file in the library, your
publications. I even sent off to Oxford for your doctoral
dissertations. They were both brilliant!"
Mulder half-smiled. "Thanks." His expression turned
grim, his usually full mouth tightening into a thin line. "Ezekiel,
they are going to find you sooner or later. You've killed
three...four..." he stumbled over the change in number, finding
it difficult to accept Skinner as a victim. "Four federal agents. I
can't protect you from this."
Ezekiel waved his hand in dismissal, though his voice
was sincere and certain. "I know that. I knew from the
beginning that once my work was done it would be my time to
fall. I accept my fate. In fact I'm almost looking forward to it.
I'll get to see my mother again, and all the angels. Death does
not have to feared, for Heaven awaits those who serve God."
Mulder bit at his lower lip in concentration. Finding
the right words was not easy, he needed to get through without
setting the kid off into another killing spree. He unhappily
settled for another question. "And now your 'work' is done?"
"No." Ezekiel shook his head vehemently, his face
brightening, though this time it was with the gleam of pure
rage. "No, I have one more task to complete..." Then he
abruptly relaxed, the tension leaching from him, and he smiled
warmly. "But first, I need to take care of you..."
"Take care of me? I'm fine." Mulder protested warily,
his bright hazel eyes hardly blinking, as though he was afraid to
lose vision for even a split second.
"I'll help you wash your hair and your back, then we'll
get you into bed. And later you can maybe eat something. You
have to keep your strength up, you know. Besides, I don't want
Scully thinking I didn't take proper care of you."
"Scully?" Mulder tensed, "She's my friend, not my
enemy. Ezekiel, you wouldn't..."
Ezekiel paused in the process of retrieving a bottle of
shampoo from the cabinet, and turned to give Mulder a
wounded look. "Harm Scully? Never. She's proven her loyalty
to you. You redeemed her, turned her path to that of the
righteous. Women can be dangerous, they all carry the seeds of
Eve's betrayal within them. But you saved her, brought her out
of the arms of demons like Colton. You took a harlot and
made her into a servant of God." Ezekiel's pale eyes burned, his
hand incongruously waving the bottle of shampoo as though it
were a holy relic.
Relief mixing with the knot of panic in his belly,
Mulder forced himself to nod slightly. "Yes...umm...Scully is of
great help to me."
Ezekiel smiled and came to sit to on the edge of the
tub. "I know," he replied gently. "So have no fear for your
handmaiden, I will send her to you when the time is right. For
now, let us tend to simpler tasks. Such as getting you clean in
body to match the purity of your soul."
"Cleanliness is next to Godliness..." Mulder quoted
dryly, half expecting another tirade, but he got only a smile and
the pressure of hands on his shoulders urging him forward.
Deciding he had better not push his luck, he followed
instructions, leaning up into a sitting position, clasping his
hands around his calves and resting his chin on his knees.
The shampoo was cold on the top of his head, but the
warm water turned it rapidly into suds, and Ezekiel's touch was
both delicate and tender. In fact, Mulder found himself
wondering why had never bothered to get his hair washed
when he got it cut. Or why he hadn't ever taken up Scully's
offer to cut his hair on the occasions it got long enough to
annoy him, instead of rushing off to a barber who would spray,
cut and get him out the door in about fifteen minutes flat. The
nearly erotic sensation of having gentle fingers caressing his
scalp convinced him that if he ever got an offer again he was
not going to turn it down, and further, that this was something
he was definitely going to explore the next time he managed to
find a woman interested - and interesting - enough to explore it
He chuckled lightly against his knees as Ezekiel began
washing the shampoo out of his hair, feeling the suds trickle
down his back and shoulders, even across his face and arms.
As far as being kidnapped by a psychotic killer went, this really
wasn't all that bad. In fact, as Ezekiel began washing his back,
delicately over the bruised areas, kneading the muscles in the
few areas not sore, he decided that he could *almost* enjoy
this. That thought tipped him over into hysteria and he began
to shake, water splashing around him as he rocked back and
forth, giggles forming in his throat and bubbling out of his
mouth like soap bubbles.
Ezekiel paused, then stopped, dropping the soap bar
and moving to tighten his hands on Mulder's upper arms, trying
to hold him still. Mulder continued to rock, his laughter turning
harsh, and Ezekiel leaned closer, wrapping his arms around
him, ignoring the water as it flooded up over them both in
violent waves.
"Mulder!!!" Ezekiel cried out, hanging on to him
tightly, his own face screwed up in fear and anguish.
Just as suddenly as Mulder had started shaking, he
stilled, seeming to even stop breathing. Then he took in a
rasping gulp of air and jerked his head around to stare into
Ezekiel's eyes, the only reflection of the pain of that motion
lost in the burning intensity of his eyes. "Skinner is dead, isn't
Ezekiel felt pinned by those eyes, like a specimen
under a microscope, but he couldn't escape them. "I don't
know for sure, there wasn't time to finish. I'm sorry if I failed
"Failed me? Do you think I wanted you to kill those
men? Thou shalt not kill, Ezekiel. Thou...shalt...not...kill."
Each word was punctuated, sharp-edged and cold.
"I know, but that only applies to humans. They were
demons with human faces, put on earth to torment you. You
know that. I saw the pain they caused you."
"They never really hurt me," Mulder protested, but
this time his eyes faltered and Ezekiel correctly read the
"You hide it well, but I could see it in your eyes, your
face, even the way you held yourself. Every blow they
delivered you felt deeply. I've seen that look before. After my
mother died, I went to live with my grandmother in Florida.
The man who lived next door used to beat up on his wife.
Everyone knew it, but no one did anything. I saw the same
expression in her eyes that you get sometimes. Like you know
the blow is coming, but you are resigned to it - accept it. I
don't know about her, but I do know that YOU never deserved
Mulder swallowed hard, his eyes darkening in color.
This hit too close to some open wounds in his soul, and he was
hard put to deny a truth he was long familiar with. The
admission flew out of him before he could stop it. "Yes, of
course it hurts sometimes. I hate the way they look at me
sometimes, like I'm one step from being carted away by men in
white suits. But it's not that important, Ezekiel. It doesn't really
matter what they think as long as I'm free to do what I know is
right. I can cope with them, and they don't really mean harm,
they are just blind. Or afraid."
"Yes, most of them are afraid," Ezekiel nodded in
understanding. "I was afraid too at first, until it all came clear.
But some of them are different. Those vengeful spirits were
bent on tearing you down. You have to see that."
"Perhaps," Mulder met Ezekiel's eyes again,
desperately trying to find the center of sanity in the young man
still cradling him against him, as though terrified to let go. "But
it is my fight. I have to cope with them, I have to find my own
way through the obstacles in my path. I knew the choices I
made would not make life easy. I knew there would be people
trying to stop me. Perhaps they are God's way of testing me.
Or maybe God is letting the Devil challenge me for reasons of
His own - a trial of faith. Either way, I must face it myself.
Mulder's mouth trembled slightly, his eyes pleading,
giving Ezekiel his utterly best, well-practiced, 'convince-the-
no' look. It had worked on almost everyone he had tried it on -
with the one noticeable exception of Scully who was a sheer
terror when she was in her medical mode. It had an effect this
time, he could see Ezekiel react to it, a softening around the
eyes, and an answering tremble around the mouth.
Closing his hands around Ezekiel's shoulders, he
insisted again. "Please, no more killings. Please."
Ezekiel wavered, emotions tumbling around in his
head. He let go of Mulder and stumbled backwards, grasping
onto the edge of the tub to keep himself from falling to the
floor. His knuckles turned white, while all color fled from his
face. Mulder watched him with dilated eyes, still curled into a
tight ball in the bathtub, water dripping from his soaked,
disarrayed hair in rivulets down his face and neck. "Ezekiel" he
whispered, but the young zealot was unable to cope with the
possibility that he had been wrong, and his face shuttered hard,
his mind closing down against the unbearable. Getting to his
feet, he seemed to pull into himself, then he shook slightly, and
turned to Mulder as though the conversation hadn't occurred.
"Come, we must get you out of there and into bed."
Reaching for the robe, he held it up in front of him, averting his
eyes. Mulder drew a deep sigh, then pulled himself to his feet
and stepped out of the tub. He took the robe and wrapped it
around him, feeling the moisture soak from his body into the
thick cloth.
Ezekiel took him by the arm and led him out into the
hall, Mulder braced himself against the doorframe briefly for
support, then took a deep breath and shoved hard against the
smaller man. Ezekiel cried out in surprise and went sprawling
onto the floor. Mulder turned on his heels and ran back down
the hall. Crashing into the living room, his eyes lit on the front
door and he raced for it desperately, the ends of the too-short
bathrobe flapping wildly across his thighs. Seemingly inches
from reaching the door, his wet feet slipped as he left the
carpet for a stretch of polished wooden floor.
He tottered, fighting for purchase on the suddenly
slick surface, reaching desperately for the doorknob. His hand
found it, but his balance was already lost, and his entire weight
pulled him down, the determined grasp of his hand on the knob
spinning him around so that his back slammed hard into the
unyielding heavy oak door. Down he went, bouncing against
the door, the impact on the back of his skull sending shock
waves of agony through his brain.
He groaned, his head coming to lay limply against his
still outstretched right arm, the fingers still pinned to the knob.
Pushing the other hand against his knee, he tried to pull himself
back upward, but he was struck by a wave of dizziness.
Staggering in place, he sunk back down, this time giving up on
the doorhandle in favor of cradling his wounded head. There,
Ezekiel found him, curled up into a fetal position, arms
wrapped tightly around his throbbing skull.
"Dear God," Ezekiel whispered, sitting down to take
him into his arms. Mulder protested weakly, ineffectively trying
to push the other man away, but Ezekiel ignored his attempts.
"Be still," he warned. "You're only going to hurt yourself
Mulder ignored him, still trying to push him away,
forcing Ezekiel to grab both of his arms and hold them tightly.
"Stop it!"
"Go to hell!" Mulder retorted angrily. "Let me go!"
"I can't!" Ezekiel paused, drawing in a ragged breath.
His voice turned soft and pleading. "I know you're hurt and
afraid. But I can't let you go now, not like this. You need rest
and care. Let me get you into bed, then I promise I'll call Scully
and have her come look after you."
"Mulder, please. You can barely stand up, and you've
probably aggravated the wound on your head. You need to be
resting. I've got the guest room all prepared for you. Please
believe me, I am not going to hurt you. I want to take care of
you." Ezekiel began to babble, the words tumbling over each
other while he cradled Mulder in his arms like a hurt child.
Mulder gave one more half-hearted attempt to push
Ezekiel away, twisted his head to take one more desperate
glance at the door, then moaned as pain lanced through his
temples in protest of the change in position. "Ok. All right."
His voice broke into Ezekiel's tirade, causing it to break off in
Mulder stared wearily into the thin face only inches
from his own and sighed. "Maybe lying down for a while
would be a good idea." The sun dawned on his captor's face,
teeth flashing into beaming smile.
"Yes, you'll feel better after you've slept for a while."
Supported by Ezekiel's firm grip, Mulder managed to get his
feet underneath him, but the dizziness struck again, sending the
world spinning around him in violent circles. Mulder blinked,
then shut his eyes tight, grabbing hold of Ezekiel to steady
"I've got you. Hold on, we'll take it one step at a
It was indeed a slow progress, and Ezekiel ended up
half-dragging Mulder into the hallway. Partway, the dizziness
eased slightly, and Mulder was able to take the last few steps
down the hall and into a small bedroom on his own. Again the
furniture was simple and plain, a white coverlet on the
mattress, the one chair and bureau made of unvarnished wood.
A painting of Jesus on the cross was prominent above the
metal bed frame, and a small wooden cross took the place of a
mirror above the bureau. Ezekiel yanked down the white
bedspread and sheets, then helped Mulder into the bed. Then
he pulled the covers up to Mulder's chin and sat down beside
him on the edge of the mattress.
Mulder lay still, fighting the pain, struggling to focus
his mind for one last attempt at conversation, but Ezekiel
forestalled him. Reaching out tenderly to brush the bangs back
off of Mulder's temples, he spoke softly, but with certainty. "I
wish this could have been otherwise, but I have one last task to
perform and I can't let you be involved. You'll be safer here,
and I'll make sure Scully finds you. She'll take care of you once
I'm gone."
Mulder felt his heart skip a beat, and his hand darted
out to seize Ezekiel's arm. "What do you mean - another task?
What are you planning to do?" he demanded.
Ezekiel smiled sadly. "They blamed you for the
killings, that was my fault - and a mistake I must rectify. Do
not worry, this is the way it was meant to be. I know you don't
understand it yet, and perhaps never will. Maybe that is part of
my trial. All will be clear when it comes time to face God, and
until then, all I can do is make sure you are safe. The least I
can do before my time is up is to ensure that two more of the
demons will no longer be a threat."
"No, please, listen to me..." Mulder's voice broke off
in shock as Ezekiel abruptly broke into motion. Before Mulder
could respond physically, he found himself handcuffed to the
heavy metal bed-frame. Yanking on it, he turned angrily
towards his captor.
"For God's sake, stop this now!!! Let me go!!!" But
Mulder's blaze of impotent fury gained him only another sad
"I wish it didn't have to be this way, but I have to be
certain that you are kept safe. I swear this won't be for long. I'll
send Scully to you soon." Ezekiel reached out again to stroke
Mulder's cheek, only this time the captive yanked his face away
from the contact, his eyes burning coal-black.
"God bless..." Ezekiel whispered, then he turned and
left the room, turning off the lights as he exited. Mulder heard
a bolt slam shut, footsteps moving away and then silence.
Leaving Mulder alone in the dark
- - - - -
St. Mary's Hospital

Scully paced the hallways of the hospital, fists
clenched at her side. She hated waiting, even when she knew it
was necessary, even though she had had plenty of experience
with it. Waiting...
For news of whether her boss would come out of his
coma and whether her partner was alive or dead. God, Mulder,
she thought, please be okay out there. Arching her head back
and forth to relieve the knots bunched in her neck and
shoulders, she winced as the bones in her cervical spine
cracked. She gingerly rubbed at the back of her spine, then
turned the corner and wandered back towards to the nurse's
station. Just as she was within a few feet of the semi-circular
white desk, one of the starchly white-clad women looked up
from the phone and gestured at her. Scully broke into a run,
skidding up to the desk with little of her usual composure.
The nurse held out the receiver and Scully had to
force herself not to snatch it out of those ebony fingers.
"Scully," she said, pressing the warm black plastic into
her ear, cocking her head to the side. A bright cascade of hair
swung down to half-obscure her face as she listened intently to
the barely familiar male voice speaking in her ear.
"Agent Scully, this is Agent Withers."
Scully's mouth pursed as she tried to place the name,
but he was already talking again. "Agent Mulder wanted me to
tell you that he is all right and that he needs you."
"You found Mulder?" A sunny smile broke out on her
face, her red lips curving upwards over pearly white teeth.
"Yes, Ma'am. He's been hurt, but he's fine!" The
young man's voice hastened to reassure her. "But he needs you
to come as soon as you can. And he asked if you could stop by
his apartment and pick him up a change of clothes on the way -
his old ones took a bit of a beating."
"Umm, sure, I can do that," she responded with a
slight chuckle. If Mulder was already concerned with his
clothes (and the man could be a true dandy when he was in the
mood) then he definitely had to be all right. "What about the
killer, did you find him?"
"No..." the young agent hesitated, then rushed out the
words. "He hasn't been discovered...yet...but don't worry. It
will all be taken care of. Right now you must go to Agent
Mulder. I think he might have a concussion."
Scully sighed, if she knew Mulder he probably had a
serious wound, and was busy trying to pretend it didn't exist.
"OK. Don't let him get up or move around a lot, and I'll be
there as soon as possible." She paused, then quickly added.
"Oh, where is there?"
She could almost hear him smile through the phone.
"1846 Magnolia Street in Chevy Chase. I know it is a bit of a
"That's ok." She glanced briefly at her watch. "Keep
him quiet and I'll be there in about an hour at most."
"Good, and thank you Agent Scully."
"Thank you," she echoed with heartfelt sincerity.
Skinner was still out of it, but it looked as though he was
holding on, and Mulder was safe. Thank God, she whispered
under her breath as she dropped the receiver and nodded her
thanks to the nurse. Then turning on her heels, she raced for
the elevator.
- - - - -
Mulder's Apartment

Mulder's apartment was dark, quiet, and rather musty.
Crinkling her nose, she promised herself that when this case
was settled, she'd make sure he thoroughly cleaned the place
out. It wasn't really that he was too messy, he actually kept the
place pretty well picked up, it was simply that he never went
past the surfaces, and his mind was usually preoccupied with
other things.
Ah well, nothing for it now, but to try to pick out
something relatively clean. Ignoring one rather smelly pile of
discarded clothes, her eyes alighted on a pair of plastic-bagged
clothes hangers suspended from the kitchen doorway. Pulling
them down and removing the plactic covers, she smiled in
triumph. A clean suit and shirt, no less, and a pair of ties. She
brought them out into the light from the window and shook her
head. The second was definitely uglier than the first, so she
took the darker patterned one and dropped the bright paisley
over the back of his desk chair.
Gathering the others up in her arms, she hoped he
didn't need underwear, too. There were limits to how much
digging she was going to do in his private belongings. Deciding
this would have to do, she turned to the door, only to be
startled by the abrupt chiming of her cellular phone. Reaching
into her pocket, careful not to drop the clothes draped over her
arm, she freed her cell phone and put it to her ear.
"Agent Scully, where are you?" It was Greenstein,
and he sounded distinctly unhappy.
"At Agent Mulder's apartment, of course. What's
going on?"
"What are you doing there? I thought I had told you
to stay at the hospital!"
"I did, until your man called and told me that Agent
Mulder had been found."
"What the hell do you mean, Agent Mulder has been
found? Did you hear from him? Where is he!?" Scully held the
phone away from her ear as Greenstein's voice rose into a
shout. She waited for him to finish, then she spoke calmly into
the phone, even though her stomach was beginning to tighten
up into a knot.
"I received a call from one of your men telling me that
Mulder had been found, that he was hurt but alive, and that he
needed me to pick up a change of clothes for him and come
check over his injuries."
There was a moment of silence on the other end of
the line, then Greenstein spoke more softly, this time with
sincere confusion coloring his voice. "That doesn't make any
sense. None of my people have reported finding Mulder. In
fact, I just called the hospital to tell you that we had found his
gun in an alley not too far from the health club, and that there
were signs of a struggle and some blood on the ground."
"Oh my God," Scully whispered. "The man who
called said he was an agent..."
"The killer?" Greenstein spoke sharply. "Did he say
anything more?"
"Yes, he said his name was..." she paused, thinking
hard. ", Withers!" she told him with some
excitement. "I knew his name and voice was familiar. He's in
the Computer Crimes Division, and helped fix Mulder's
computer recently."
"Withers...," Scully could almost hear the wheels
turning on the other end of the phone until a small rush of air
against the receiver told her a connection had been made. "He
is on our list, was in the building during all three deaths, but
was dismissed. No reason to tie him to any of the murdered
agents or to Mulder. We hadn't gotten to him yet this time..."
"It has got to be him!" Scully exclaimed, then her
head jerked upright, staring off into space as her fears
reasserted themselves. "Dear God, he's got Mulder! But I think
I know where they are."
"What? Where?"
"1846 Magnolia in Chevy Chase - that's where he told
me to come."
"1846..." Scully distantly heard him shouting
instructions over his shoulder at other people, and the faint
echoes of their replies. "OK, Scully we'll get a team out there
as quickly as possible..."
"I'll meet them there," she interrupted, then clicking
off the phone she ran out the door.
Back at FBI headquarters, Greenstein was left
shouting into a dial tone, "No, Scully. It could be a trap!!!
End Part Seven


From: (Jennifer Lyon)
Subject: NEW: "Too Close" 8/8
Date: 26 Dec 1995 22:39:45 GMT

"Too Close"
An X-Files Story by Jennifer Lyon

Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters therof belong to
Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and FOX network. The
remainder of this story is mine. Consider this taking place
somewhere in the third season. I owe a big thank you to a few
people: my editor, Debbie Hewett; Ann Vanderlaan and Lynne
(Buddyed) for biblical information; and Suzanne (Ecksphile),
Ray (Gylford), Pat (DiRisha) for reading this for me in
progress and encouraging me to finish it. Finally, since I have
never been to the FBI and have little knowledge of its internal
workings, I am exersizing some fictional license, as I am
towards certain parts of the Christian religion. No offense
meant to anyone's beliefs. The story is unrelated to any I have
previously written.
Part Eight

Magnolia St.
Chevy Chase

The drive seemed endless. Struggling to get through
the morning rush-hour traffic, Scully's nerves were frazzled by
the time she drove up the sharp incline that was Magnolia
street. Greenstein's men had barely preceded her by a few
minutes, leaving their cars parked discretely along a side-street.
Scully pulled in behind one and was out of her car almost
before it had come to a complete stop.
Her hand closing on the butt of her gun, she caught
up with a pair of agents edging along a thick green hedge. One
turned and acknowledged her with a quick nod, she returned
the greeting, falling in beside him. As they got closer to the
house, Scully whispered urgently, "How many?"
"Six, one team at the back door, another watching the
street. We've got the front."
"OK, I'm with you."
He opened his mouth to protest, but one look into her
angry, determined face and he swallowed the words. His
partner was a few steps ahead, his eyes scanning the empty
street. He turned and gestured quickly, and in unison all three
broke across the street. Scully's shorter legs forced her to work
harder to keep up, but she made the distance less than a second
after the two larger men.
Bursting up the driveway, they fell into formation
around the door. Scully held her gun in front of her, clasped in
both hands, her breath coming in short gasps. Lining up beside
the second of the agents, the lead man ready on the other side
of the door, she silently counted along with his fingers as he
ticked them off...
One...Two...Three... And then the door was open
with a kick and a crash. All three agents holding their guns
outstretched, they slid into the house, eyes alert, bodies and
heads twisting at the slightest sound. Scully pressed her back
against the wall, and pointed her gun before her towards the
kitchen. A short, deep breath, then she moved, stepping into
the open space beyond the table, skirting a chair half-drawn
out, as though abandoned in mid-use.
There was a bubbling sound behind her, and she spun,
lifting the gun to the ready, only to be confronted with an
overboiling pot on the stove. Throwing one more glance
behind her, she reached over cautiously to turn off the burner.
Then she took one more look at the room before leaving it.
Just as she reached the hallway, there was a shout
from deeper in the house. Instantly in motion, she nearly
collided with another agent, both bringing their guns to bear,
then sighing in relief as they recognized each other. Another
shout caught their attention, and they hurried down the long
hallway, side-by-side.
"We've got Mulder!" One of the other agents poked
his head out of a doorway and gestured at them. Scully drew in
a whistling breath and began to run. A moment later, she was
pushing her way past two of the men to find Mulder blinking
up at her from a bed, his right wrist securely handcuffed to the
metal frame. The white coverlet was tucked up almost to his
neck, leaving the dark of his hair to spill across the matching
white pillow in sharp contrast. His skin was nearly as pale as
the sheets, but his eyes blazed feverishly, green highlights
glittering around dilated pupils.
"Mulder..." she breathed his name under her breath,
then replaced her gun in its holster even as she moved to his
He attempted a smile as she sat down on the side of
the bed, unknowingly taking the position Ezekiel had not too
long before. And like Ezekiel, she reached out to stroke
Mulder's cheek. But this time, Mulder accepted the caress with
a sharp jolt of joy and relief. Focusing on the welcome sight of
her face, he spoke wryly, but sincerely.
"You took your time."
- - - - -

Mulder sat up on the edge of the bed, rubbing at his
sore wrist. He eyed his exposed legs, and resisted the urge to
hold the edges of the robe together. He wasn't sure whether he
ought to be embarrassed or amused, this was hardly a
comfortable situation. But then again, nothing that ever
happened to him was ordinary, so he'd gotten as used to the
unusual as anyone could.
"Stop that!" Scully scolded as she sat down beside
him, placing the inevitable black doctor's bag on the bed.
"It hurts," he argued plaintively, but he let go of his
wrist, extending it out in front of him. A broad band of red
circled it, just below the edge of the palm, framed by a ring of
bruises already turning a vivid mix of purple and black.
"I'm sure it does. What did you try to do, force your
hand through the cuff?"
"Well..." He shook his head, then winced at the strike
of pain behind his eyes. She looked him over critically, trying
to decide which wound to examine first, then sighed. "We
ought to get you to a hospital."
"I'm fine," he insisted, even though his eyes were
liquid with tears and his head felt like someone was pounding
on it with a jackhammer.
"Hold still," she told him, ignoring his protests as she
proceeded to attend to his wrist, wiping it down with
antiseptic, then wrapping it with a cotton bandage. "OK, now
let's take a look at your head."
He tried ineffectively to push her away, but she
grabbed his arms and held them down. "Either you hold still or
I'll go get one of Greenstein's men to do it for you."
He thrust out his lower lip, his eyes pleading, but she
was adamant. Reaching up, she ran her fingers through the
still-damp black strands of hair, eliciting a groan from him
when she hit a sensitive spot. Frowning, she pushed his head to
the side, one hand cradling his cheek while the other poked as
gently as she could at the swollen, bruised area on his scalp.
"Hmmm..." she murmured, then reached for more of
the antiseptic. "It looks like the swelling isn't too bad. Still, we
ought to get it X-rayed." Mulder grimaced, but held still to let
her finish until the door opened to admit an unsmiling
Greenstein trailed by another agent.
"How is he?"
Scully released Mulder's head and turned to look up
at the men towering above her.
"He's probably got a concussion, there are serious
bruises and contusions on his shoulders, arms, and legs, and
I'm not convinced that his wrist isn't broken. But he'll probably
"Ahh thanks, Scully," Mulder responded. "Glad to
hear *that*." He sat upright, staring up at Greenstein and
asked the question burning in his mind. "Any sign of Withers?"
Greenstein frowned, paused, shifting on his feet. That
got both Mulder and Scully's instant attention. "What is it?"
Scully asked anxiously, looking from one unsettled face to the
"He managed to get into headquarters before we got
the word out to take him in for questioning."
"And..." Mulder prompted, attempting to get to his
feet. He staggered, but Scully was there to support him, and he
leaned against her gratefully, his eyes never leaving
Greenstein's now haggard countenance.
"And he's taken the VCS bullpen hostage with a
submachine gun, probably stolen from the evidence room."
"Damn," Mulder muttered. "Has he killed anyone
Greenstein shook his head. "Not that I know of, but at
least two agents and a secretary have been wounded. The
Hostage Retrieval Team is trying to get them released, but he's
not responding well. Mostly, he's just been waving guns around
and spouting a religious tirade about saints, betrayals and
Mulder managed not to nod, just barely catching
himself in time to prevent the pain such a movement would
cause. Instead, he simply frowned. "Yeah, he's convinced I'm
some kind of religious martyr, chosen of God, and it's his job
to protect me from what he sees as demons with human faces -
and that seems to be almost anyone I've crossed paths with
recently. Look, I've got to get there ASAP. There's a chance he
might just listen to me. Not much of one, but I doubt anyone
else will get through." He looked down at himself and nearly
groaned. "I don't suppose anyone brought me a change of
Scully smiled. "Actually, this time you're in luck,
Mulder. Withers specifically asked me to bring you some
clothes. They're in the car."
Greenstein nodded to the agent behind him, "Go get
Mulder something to wear, and have someone call in to the
Bureau. Tell them to stall as best they can until we get there."
The agent nodded and left.
Turning back to Mulder, who was still holding onto
Scully, Greenstein half-smiled wryly. "This guy really has a
thing for you, you should see what we found in the other
"What?" Mulder took a step forward, fighting for his
balance and finally winning.
"He must have been following you for months, he's
got a wall plastered with photos. Not to mention a video
collection and some audio tapes. It even looks like he bugged
your office."
"What?!" Mulder and Scully exchanged glances, her
blue eyes wide with concern.
"Yeah. I can't believe this nutcase got into the Bureau
without someone catching him." Greenstein shook his head in
disbelief. "He's got a shrine set up; candles, flowers, lots of
crosses and religious stuff, and photos of you in the middle of
it all. And a weird selection of objects. Sunflower seed husks, a
half-eaten sandwich in a plastic case..."
"Good God," Scully whispered. Mulder rubbed at the
back of his neck, then sat back down wearily on the bed. She
turned to look down at him, her concern writ large on her face.
He reached out to tap her arm gently. "I'm okay, Scully. He
really didn't want to hurt me; he kept saying how he wanted to
take care of me." He chuckled, though the humor never caught
in his eyes which were as hard as diamonds. And twice as
"Hell, he put ice on my head, fed me herbal tea,
cleaned up after me when I threw it up. Then he gave me a
bath, washed my hair, and tucked me into bed. Oh yeah - then
he handcuffed me to the bed, but I guess you can't win them
all. But I've got to say, this was definitely a full-service
- - - - -
Violent Crimes Division
FBI Headquarters

Ezekiel swung the machine gun around, half-smiling
as the demons and sinners facing him cowered beneath their
bravado. He checked briefly to see that the wastebasket full of
guns beside him was out of reach of the demons then he began
to recite scripture again. He could see the wisps of evil curling
around them as they sought to evade the words of God, and he
focused on those dark, oily tendrils as they floated and
convulsed in the air.
His eyes tracked one as it slid up towards the ceiling,
then back down to wind around Tibbit's neck. Bringing the
muzzle of the big black weapon to bear, Ezekiel broke off in
mid-sentence. He paused, then laughed, suddenly feeling giddy.
As though he already had the wings of an angel holding him
Somewhere in the background a voice was emanating
from the speaker phone, but he ignored it. No, he had
important tasks to accomplish. He had to destroy these two
demons, publicly, in front of these sinners - so that they would
know the power of God. So that they would never think again
to speak or act against God's earthly agent.
Mulder... Ezekiel's thoughts flew anxiously back to
the last vision he had had of that almost too beautiful face.
Damp tendrils of hair had been plastered to the high forehead,
while the eyes had blazed out of the pale skin like burning
coals. The color had been transcendent, translucent, not brown
or green or gray - but a vibrant mix that was a color all its
own. Unique and glowing with all the light of heaven itself.
There was anger in those eyes, yes, for Mulder did not quite
see what he truly was. And perhaps, Ezekiel decided, that lack
of self-recognition was for the best.
For what a burden it must be, to bear the hand of God
upon your shoulder. Ezekiel himself felt only the shadow of
that regard, but it was still almost too much to be borne. He
knew he would die this day, the knowledge of his destiny
giving him more joy than pain, more acceptance than fear. But
Tightening his grip on the gun he stepped closer to
Tibbit and prepared to fire.
"STOP!" The voice rang out, clear and bell-like,
filling the air.
Ezekiel paused, then his eyes shifted to see the one
man he had prayed would not be there.
"Put down the gun, Ezekiel," Fox Mulder said, taking
another step into the room. He was pale in his dark suit, the
splash of color in his tie reflected in his focused eyes. They
were steady and calm, and he held himself like a runner at the
starting line, balanced on his toes and ready to move. One hand
was held out in front of him, the sleeve loose over the white
stripe of a bandage, the other remaining at his side, the fingers
wide-spread against his hip.
"No..." Ezekiel murmured. Then louder, "NO! You
were safe, I left you in a safe place. Scully was supposed to
take care of you, not bring you here!" He shifted backwards,
still keeping the gun on Tibbit who stood motionless, barely
breathing as he waited a chance, any chance, to act.
Ezekiel's eyes blinked and watered as he stared up at
Mulder, seeing more than just the thin, slender form of the
man, but also a nearly blinding glow of light. Streams of
incandescent yellow surrounded him, flowed from him, the
slow motion of his hands creating waves, small sparks firing at
his fingertips. And behind him, just barely visible, was the
large, winged shape of an angel.
Gasping, Ezekiel nearly dropped to his knees. Finally,
at long last, he had been favored with the sight of one of God's
holy messengers. It was faint, and he could see the wall and
ceiling through it, but it was there. Watching, waiting, and
"Please, you must go from this evil place," Ezekiel
told Mulder. "These demons would hurt you if they could, you
must not give them the chance. I will cleanse this place so that
it is free of their taint. Free of the darkness and the smell of
brimstone. You must feel it!" Ezekiel knew he was babbling
again, but he couldn't restrain himself. The words simply
tumbled out of him as he prayed for Mulder to listen and
There was some understanding on that mobile face,
and a deep heartfelt sadness that brought a tremble to the full
lower lip and a softening to the piercing gaze. But before
Ezekiel could finish, Mulder lifted his hand again and shook his
"This must stop now, Ezekiel. Please, give me the
"Listen to me. These are innocent people. They have
done no harm, you must let them go. Please, let them go."
"No! They are evil. Can't you see the demons within,
the darkness that surrounds them? It poisons the air, I can see
it and touch it. These two must die, to force the others from
their wicked path."
"At least let Scully tend to the wounded." Mulder
pointed to a young woman crumpled against a nearby desk, her
white blouse stained with a blossoming red flood. "She is of no
harm to you or to anyone, please, let Scully minister to her
"She profaned your relationship to your handmaiden
with sly, lustful slander. She should be punished!"
"With her life? It is too much. And does not the Bible
say 'recompense to no man evil for evil...avenge not
yourself...for as it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay
saith the Lord, be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with
good.'" [Romans 12] As he quoted, Mulder slowly stepped
forward, one foot at a time, inch by inch, closer and closer to a
wide-eyed, wavering Ezekiel. When he was finished, Mulder
stopped and stood still for a moment. "Please, there is no
reason why this woman has to die. Grant life instead of death, I
beg you, Ezekiel. For my sake, if for no other. I cannot bear
another life lost."
Ezekiel's head felt like it was pounding. He couldn't
focus, couldn't quite make sense of what he was hearing. The
words came through a fog, like bullets cutting through cotton,
muffled, yet biting in their intensity. He didn't know what to
do! This wasn't the way it was supposed to be!
Mulder remained silent this time, waiting. And the
silence accused worse than the previous flood of words.
Swallowing hard, Ezekiel's eyes finally noticed the small, red-
crowned head of the woman in the doorway, her bright blue
eyes glued to Mulder's tall frame, her entire body tensed.
Ezekiel glanced from one to the other, then down to
the woman on the floor, and at last, he nodded. Mulder
glanced sharply over his shoulder and his look was all Scully
needed, in an instant she was across the room and kneeling
beside the wounded woman.
"Thank you," Mulder's voice was warm and sincere.
"You chose well. Now please, before anyone else is hurt, give
me the gun."
"No, not yet," Ezekiel's voice caught in his throat.
The room was practically spinning around him, strands of light
fighting with strands of blackness, the blazing presence of the
angel striking at his senses in sharp contrast to the shadowed
glimpses of horror circling around the two men beside Mulder.
"I must destroy the two demons. Once they are banished back
to Hell, then all of these others will be free of their influence,
and you may return them to the light of God."
Turning towards the two watching agents, Ezekiel
brought the gun to bear.
"NO!" Mulder moved like lightning, launching himself
between the muzzle of the big gun and Tibbit's chest.
Ezekiel released the trigger, jerking backwards with a
cry of panic. "Nonononononono..." he moaned.
"Put the gun down," Mulder spoke slowly and clearly,
his face grim and determined.
"Please, get out of the way. I don't want to hurt you,
please, you should not be here...."
"I HAVE to be here. No one else dies, unless it is me.
If you want to kill someone, you'll have to kill ME first."
"No, Mulder..." Ezekiel groaned the words, his throat
sorely dry. He swallowed again and again, his tongue flickering
out to wet his parched lips. His skin broke out in sweat,
leeching moisture from his body, while his hands shook as they
held the weapon aimed off to the side away from Mulder.
Mulder stood his ground resolutely, his shoulders held
high and braced, his gaze unflinching. "You'll have to go
through me to get to anyone else. I'll die before I let you kill
another soul."
And then it came to Ezekiel that like the Son of God
before him, Mulder was willing to die for the sins of his fellow
man, to take the burden of their evil upon himself. The gasp
that emanated from Scully's lips as she turned to watch, and the
anguish writ large on her face, was only one more
confirmation. For she did not interfere, accepting Mulder's
sacrifice as one ordained, her sorrow enlightened by her
knowledge of its holy nature.
Lifting the gun back up, he directed it at Mulder, this
time deliberately. Could this indeed be the task for which he
had truly been chosen, to send another chosen one on to his
maker, return another son of God to his heavenly father? The
world seemed to narrow down to the two of them, Mulder
balanced in front of him, his face calm yet fierce, and the gun
held between them.
Ezekiel tried to tighten his finger on the trigger, but it
wouldn't respond. Instead he simply trembled, the joints in his
hand screaming in pain, unwilling to respond. Then there was
another blinding flash of light in his eyes, and Ezekiel reeled
backwards a step. Mulder remained frozen in place, and
Ezekiel belatedly recognized it had not come from him but
from the angel itself. And THEN Ezekiel knew the final truth.
He knew what he had to do.
Ever so slowly tipping his wrists upwards, he raised
the gun until it was pointed at the ceiling. Mulder drew in a
deep breath, but did not change position, and then the world
stopped. All but the hands holding the gun. In a split second
they twisted around, turning the muzzle of the gun towards its
bearer, and this time the fingers responded.
"NNNOOOO!" Mulder's shout was lost in the blaring
of the machine gun. It roared for no longer than a heartbeat,
then it clattered to the ground and silenced. There was a
moment of total silence in the room, then a slow, soft thud as
Ezekiel slid to the floor.
Mulder reached him first, and drew him up into his
arms, knocking the weapon aside with a quick thrust of a hand.
It skittered across the floor, sliding under Scully's feet as she
raced over to join Mulder.
Ezekiel shivered with the pain. Blinking hard, he
looked for the angel, but found only Mulder's face hovering
over him, accompanied by a pair of strong hands holding him
"Be still," Mulder whispered. "There's an ambulance
Ezekiel smiled, shook his head, then coughed, blood
spurting out of the corners of his mouth. He spit some of it
out, then tried again to speak. "..take their ssssinssss for ooo...
angelssss waaitnggggg..."
"Don't try to speak," Mulder told him, but Ezekiel
reached up to grab hold of Mulder's arm and pulled him closer.
Mulder grimaced, but Ezekiel insisted, his eyes
pleading. "Bbuubblllessssemmmmeee...mmmulderrrr..." The
words broke up into another frothing cough, blood trickling in
bright streams down his chin.
Mulder looked to Scully, his eyes questioning, and she
simply shook her head once.
Drawing in a deep breath, Mulder looked back down
at Ezekiel and quietly said, "God Bless you..."
Ezekiel smiled, looked up to see the angel bearing
down at him. Reaching up to it, he found himself flying
upwards, faster and faster, towards the light...

Mulder pressed his hand downward to cover and
close the glazed, still-open eyes, adding softly, "...And may
God forgive you."

The End

X-Phile - True Believer
"Sometimes the need to mess with their heads outweighs
the millstone of humiliation." Fox Mulder