Category: MT, SA, MA, X-File, vain attempt
Spoiler: Memento Mori, Season 4
Summary: It's a couple of weeks until Valentine's
Day, and amid the candy, flowers, and perfume,
sometimes the nose doesn't know what it knows.
Feedback: Please, let me know how I'm doing
Archive: Gossamer. Any others please ask.
Disclaimer: Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions
and Fox Studios own the names and the title, but
not the essence of the characters. My reward is
simple pleasure not money. I do not intend copyright
infringement. BTW, they can't take the other characters
away from me. They know better. (I mean they're more
Author's Note: Although this was written for Mulder's Refuge
February Challenge, Valentine's Day Gone Awry, the contest
was not held.
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
OFFICE OF THE X-FILES
Scully remembers a day about a year ago, when Mulder arrived
at the hospital bearing a bouquet of flowers, joking that
he had stolen them from a man with a broken leg. He then
asked what was on the scan she'd endured, and wondered how
she could separate herself from the terminology she used to
describe her own illness:
"It's what's called nasopharengeal mass. It's a small
growth between the superior conchea and the sinoidal
sinus." Her voice was so professional, so much like that
of an impersonal oncology instructor before a handful of
Mulder remembers that day, and the weeks and months that
followed. He remembers wondering when she was going to
show signs that her time to face the music would arrive.
It stuck in the back of his mind like an old song that
drives a person up the wall when they're tired.
They both remember the time when Scully had no choice but
to sign into the hospital and undergo the nauseating
radiation and chemotherapy that would render her weak,
tired, grey. They both remember the price Mulder payed to
get her unorthodox treatment--the miracle that her family
had been praying for.
It was about a year after that, today. Scully walked
proudly into the office and smiled, watching Mulder grab
a file from his desk and open it. "Isn't it a beautiful
"Hmm. Yeah, I guess it is. I guess we won't have to
shoot the groundhog." Mulder wasn't even looking up from
Scully's smile faded. "I guess not. I can think of
another rodent... Never mind. Look at me, Mulder! Look at
the calendar, and then look at me."
Mulder didn't appear to understand what was on Scully's
mind, but he stared at the calendar. "Okay, now what do
you want me to do?"
"Remember a year ago today, when I was released from
the hospital... "
Mulder's hands went up in front of him instinctively.
"Okay! I remember!" His scared expression turned into a
warm smile. Of course I remember. Happy anniversary, Scully.
One year cancer free." He went around the desk and hugged
his partner. "I knew, but I just wasn't sure you wanted to
be reminded of that."
Scully slowly pulled away from the hug and glanced up,
smiling. "I owe you my life, Mulder. You did what it
took to get me back my life."
"Yeah, the chip. The gift that just keeps giving." He
spun his coffee cup around. "Doesn't it bother you,
Scully? This whole thing could start over again when
we get closer to their agenda, unless someone comes up
with a way to prevent that."
"We don't know that, Mulder. So, some day I will be
able to remove it without developing cancer, and until
then, there's still a lot of work to be done."
Mulder sat in resignation. He wasn't going to get
them the day off to celebrate life as he had planned, but
there was a pressing case that did need their attention.
He grabbed pictures from a folder and passed them to
Scully after she sat in the chair in front of his desk.
"Valentine's Day Cards, Mulder?"
"Very good, Scully."
"Don't get smart, Mulder. What is the significance of
these cards?" She tried very hard to remain serious.
"These just aren't any Valentine's Day Cards, Scully.
These are 'Ardent Admirer' Brand cards. Wall Street
predicts they'll overtake Hallmark at the rate they've
been selling for the past three years, and this year is no
different except for one thing... "
"Except there's something about them that is eerie,
hypnotic, evil, voyeuristic or supernatural? Is that
what you're going to tell me?" Scully closed the folder
and took a deep breath. "Well?"
Mulder braced himself for whatever Scully's reaction would
be. "What if I told you there was a threat sent to 'Ardent
Admirer' that this year's batch of cards in the Philadelphia
area would be laced with a chemical, and that there is no
indication what that chemical was going to be?"
"Then I'd take the threat seriously, and have the Philly
P.D. investigate it with their forensic experts and leave
it at that. Skinner would laugh if we took this to him
and asked that we go investigate it."
"Skinner ordered the investigation, Scully." Mulder smirked.
"For the first time in six weeks, this isn't one of my
spooky ideas, it is an official assignment." He waited
for Scully to break her stunned silence. She wasn't
going to apologize, he figured. Not exactly, anyway.
"Then, off we go to the City of Brotherly Love."
"After you, partner."
ARDENT ADMIRER GREETING CARD COMPANY
1652 DELTA BLVD.
Sam Larson, president of Ardent Admirer, welcomed the agents
into his office later that day. "I have to admit this was
a shock to me. I can't understand how anyone would tamper
with greeting cards."
Scully had some questions. "This threat was called in last
Wednesday, Mr. Larson, and I understand you took the call
yourself. Exactly how did this person say he would
tamper with your cards?"
"Well, he said it wouldn't be noticeable, and that it was
going to be a spectacular scientific experiment. He sounded
crazy, to tell you the truth. I can't understand what kind
of 'experiment' anyone would be doing with greeting cards,
and especially Valentine's Day Cards, but he said it would
change people's perceptions about love on a very special
day in the Philadelphia area."
"It was a local call?" Mulder wondered.
"As a matter of fact, yes."
"Would you mind if we saw some of your cards?" Mulder
"No, not at all. We're about to shut the line down this
evening as this is our last day for these cards. Our St.
Patrick's Day template will be ready to go tomorrow. I'll
take you down personally, and you can take some samples."
"Mr. Larson, did this man say where the cards were going to
be affected? At this plant? In the stores?"
"He wasn't clear on that, Agent Scully. Frankly, if it's
going to be in this city, I think it would be somewhere
between here and the local stores. I can give you a list of
the stores that carry our cards here."
"Well, that would be helpful," Mulder said, as he stood.
"We may as well get started."
Mulder and Scully went through a box of randomly selected
cards over pizza and coffee in Mulder's room. There hadn't
been any signs of hidden puncture devices, pills, or even
perfume. The cards were... cards.
"Mulder, I think if I flip open another card that says
'Someone loves you, and guess just who, 'cuz you're a
sweetie through and through' I'll need some insulin. I'm
Mulder closed one of the hundreds of cards he'd been
through, and grabbed a piece of pizza. "It would help if
we knew what we were looking for. Nothing's exploded or
sprayed us. Maybe it was a prank call."
"Still, it is a threat, and we have to take it seriously,"
Scully reminded him. "Tomorrow, we're off to the stores,
and this is one time I'm not looking forward to browsing
the shops and malls all over the damn city."
"Well, we are splitting the list in half, so you're not
alone. I'll be suffering with you."
Just then, Mulder's cell phone rang. "Mulder. Mr. Larson.
No, no, you didn't wake me. What is it? I see. Okay.
Don't worry. My partner's a medical doctor. Are you
sure that's what he said? Yeah... Okay. Thank you.
Don't worry about it. Yes, we will. Bye."
Scully finished off her soda. "I gather Sam Larson's
been contacted again."
"I'm afraid so, and he couldn't get a trace on the call.
I suggest we wear rubber gloves tomorrow. Larson's
cancelling a few local deliveries for tomorrow. I left
my email address at his office, so he'll be forwarding
the revised list to me in about an hour. That cuts down
on our search somewhat. Only twenty-four stores. Aren't
you glad it isn't the original ninety?"
"Did you say rubber gloves, Mulder? What are we dealing
with?" Scully tossed a pizza crust into the trash basket
beside Mulder's bed. "An environmental hazard? Poison?
Mulder finished his piece of pizza and wiped his hands
with a paper towel. "I don't know, but maybe we'd better
find the cards and bring them back here. We'll need masks
from the drug store. Are you up on the latest reports
regarding pheromones, Scully?"
"Well, we've known for years that female butterflies are
able to attract mates kilometers away because they give
off pheromones that signal they're ready for fertilization
to take place. Cats, dogs, horses all seem to secrete
pheromones, and these are picked up by an organ known as
the Jacobson's Gland, situated in the nose. Researchers
have been testing men and women for changes in their
brainwaves that indicate arousal when subjects are exposed
to samples of axillary perspiration from the opposite sex.
The Jacobson's gland does exist in humans, but whether
people are actually sexually aroused by these secretions
has yet to be proven. In other words, we supposedly give
off an aphrodisiac to attract a mate, and this is
theoretically why people fall in lust."
Mulder was amazed Scully was so well-versed in this area,
and wondered if they were receiving messages from people,
often without knowing it. "So, the birds and the bees,
dogs, cats, and humans. Okay. Has there ever been any
synthesised form of human pheromones in the testing
"But it is possible, right?"
"Possible, but I don't know if it would turn everyone on,
Mulder. In theory, some people are attracted while others
aren't affected. The experiments are just not conclusive,
and before you ask me if there's some 'lure all' chemical,
I really doubt it. Besides, human beings are complex. We
are attracted to men and women by several factors."
"All right, then. When we get that list, we'll divide it
and I'll drive you to get a car in the morning. There is
something I noticed about most of the cards: that little
flip up heart with the cute sayings underneath."
Scully picked one of the cards our of a box. "They do seem
to be the most common ones. If I wanted to hide a chemical
I might place it underneath the heart, bouquet, box of
chocolates that one pulls up, and it would have to have
a plastic backing of some sort. You don't suppose..."
"Yes, I do. This could be the method of distribution.
Think about it, Scully: Most of the population aroused
at the same time, but this is only a testing ground. As I
was saying, if most of the general populace were aroused
at the same time, nothing much could get done. It could be
released in anything from these cards to aerosols, bug
sprays, weed killer, even hair spray."
"This sounds like something out of a Batman episode,"
Scully whispered. "Perhaps you should watch reality TV."
"Scully, you said it yourself: Theoretically, we produce
pheromones. Why can't we synthesise them? And why
wouldn't someone use them unscrupulously to control
security, government, the population of a state, or,
ultimately an entire country?"
"Say this is a testing ground, Mulder. Wouldn't the scientist
want to be somewhere around here to monitor his subjects?
Frankly, if Larson couldn't get a trace on the last call,
we should get one through the phone company."
"I'm going to Sam Larson's place to get started on that.
You keep going through the cards, try to put yourself
in the scientist's place."
"I've had enough sweet talk cards to last me a lifetime,
but time is running out. If you're not back by ten, I'll
be asleep in my room."
His partner never was one for the late nights. Mulder
couldn't figure out how she fell asleep so easily when they
were driving let alone in strange motels. "Well, if you
can't sleep, you can watch a movie. I think 'Kalifornia'
is on." Mulder grabbed his trench coat. "Leave me a
"Right. 'Kalifornia'. Suddenly I feel like going through
the cards again."
"Well, maybe you'll be lucky and some little guy with a
bow and arrow... "
Scully threw a card at him. "Mulder, Mr. Larson awaits."
Scully was sound asleep before Mulder had traced Sam
Larson's last caller. She groggily picked up the phone.
"Scully, we traced the number to a small private lab
on Main Street, workplace of a Doctor Fredreich Hedwig.
No home address on record. I'm at the lab now, and it
seems to have been cleaned out and I mean not a test tube
or beaker in sight."
"Nothing? Mulder, it's ten days to Valentine's Day, and
even after we go through the stores there's no guarantee
we can prevent this 'experiment' from being carried out
as planned. We don't even have a picture of him."
"No, we don't. Sam Larson says he's never met the man.
This guy isn't even listed in the city directory." There
was a long silence. "Scully?"
"Yeah, Mulder. Give me some time. I know a few people to
call who may know this scientist. When you get back,
maybe I'll have some news."
"I hope so, Scully. Even the law enforcement agencies
led to a dead end. See you when I get back." Mulder left
the building and as he was about to open his car door,
two men jumped him. One of them sprayed what appeared
to be water onto his face, and they raced off, leaving
him to hobble into the car. He felt dizzy for a moment,
chalked it up to the tackling he'd just been through, and
then headed for the motel.
Scully opened her motel room door to one very strangely
cheery Mulder. He was wide awake and laughing himself
silly. "Ahh... there you are! How's my Scully?" There
was something in his eyes that seemed unfamiliar yet
erotic. She had to dismiss his obvious attempts at
seduction if there was going to be any further progress
in this assignment of theirs.
"Mulder, I finally found someone who knows... will you...
what are you doing?" She couldn't believe her eyes.
Mulder had switched the radio on and was gyrating his hips
as he cast off his jacket, waving it in circles over his
head, licking his lips and leering at her neckline. She
clutched her robe tighter, but still felt almost naked.
"What happened out there?" She silenced the radio.
"Hey, you know, I've been thinking about this motel room
business, and how we work together so much, and I think I
could really use some Scully comfort about now." His voice
was relaxed, and he seemed down right forward in his leering
and gestures. The tone of his voice was sultry, but Scully
knew she had to dismiss his actions as those of someone
obviously affected by something other than alcohol or
"Mulder, keep your shirt on!" She grabbed his wrists and
he smiled, trying to place his lips on hers.
"Know what I'd really like right now, Scully?" Now Mulder was
unzipping his jeans. "Can you help me here, Scully?"
"Yeah, a cold shower, Mulder. You're not thinking straight,
right now. Stop this craziness..."
"Sure I'm thinking straight, woman. I'm thinking I'd like
to get straight into..."
Scully gave Mulder a good, hard shove against the wall,
then dragged him by the arm into her bathroom, ran the
shower on cold, and pushed him into the tub. "Cool
off, and get a grip! Where'd you get those abrasions,
Mulder!? Were you attacked? "
"Two guys knocked me down after I left the lab, but as I
was about to say, care to join me? I'm still ready... "
After she slammed the bathroom door shut, she called one
of the experts she'd managed to contact. "Dr. Walters, it's
Dana Scully again. How quickly can you get to Philadelphia?"
Then she called another contact. "Dr. Lilydale, I'd like you
to get here as soon as possible, I think I have the first
victim of Hedwig's drug. I need your help. Yeah, he is.
You'd better believe he is. Who? My partner. No! Not
THAT kind of partner. Mulder. My colleague."
After Scully had made her calls, she took her handcuffs
from her coat pocket. "Mulder, this is going to hurt me
more than it'll hurt you, but it's for your own good."
She went into the bathroom, chained his hand to a pipe
running along the wall, and partially dressed him, fending off
caresses and attempted kisses. "You'll thank me in the
morning, so don't bother saying anything. Help is on it's way,
"Oh, I don't need help, Scully. What I need is your ... "
<<<AUTHOR'S INTERRUPTION: MULDER'S WORDS
CANNOT BE DISPLAYED HERE>>>
The worst part for Scully was having to endure Mulder's
rendition of 'Do You Think I'm Sexy?' until Dr. Lilydale
arrived and sedated Special Agent Fox Mulder. When they had
placed him on Scully's bed, Lilydale left, and Scully
pulled the covers over her partner, thankful that Mulder's
arousal would be out of his system within a few hours. She
fell asleep in an armchair with no further disturbances at
Scully awoke with a crick in her neck and a knock at her
door. She worked the pain out of her shoulders as she
tightened her robe and greeted Dr. Walters. "Henry, I'm glad
you could get here on such short notice. You said you knew
what Dr. Hedwig was up to."
"Yes. Is that your partner?"
"I'm afraid so. Now, I don't normally have him sleep in
my bed let alone have him chained to my bed, but I had to
have him sedated and restrained last night. How much of Dr.
Hedwig's work are you familiar with?"
"Well, I do know he was always joking that if Love Potion
Number 9 wasn't good enough, maybe someone should invent
Number 10. That was fifteen years ago, and he finally came up
with a synthesised form of pheromone that actually consists
of a blend from both sexes."
"So, you know where we can find him?" Scully asked impatiently.
"I know he's your colleague, but he's gone way overboard. If
what I told you last night is true, we have to stop him as
soon as possible, and Ardent Admirer Cards will have to pull
all Valentine's cards off of the shelves in the city today!"
"I suggest you do that, Agent Scully, because you don't even
want this to start. The drug lasts twelve hours, and time
is the only antidote as far as we can tell. You have to call
the company and get those cards out of the stores immediately.
As for Dr. Hedwig, you'll find him at 353 Moore Lane. He lives
in his mother's basement." Walters glanced over at Mulder. "I
guess he'll be out of commission for a few hours."
"Unfortunately. Listen, I have a call to make, and I need
to get dressed, so, thanks for coming. I hate to rush you,
"I understand. Hedwig is an embarassment to the scientific
community, especially where his work in sexuality is con-
cerned." Walters opened the door, then turned to Scully.
"Believe me, no self-respecting scientist would release
this type of thing to any government."
"Wait! IS that what you believe Hedwig plans to do?"
"I don't know, but I've heard about some of the things
you've unearthed in your work. Not all of us are dishonest."
"Thank you. Now, if you'll excuse me... "
As soon as Walters closed the door, Scully called Sam
Larson and urged him to recall all Valentine's card deliveries,
andafter explaining the various difficulties, he managed to
agree. The cards were recalled and burned.
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING
OFFICE OF THE X-FILES
Mulder and Scully were safely back in their office writing
their reports. Scully wondered why Mulder hadn't spoken much
since the flight home, and chalked it up to fatigue. She
looked up from her findings from a blood sample she had
taken from Mulder. "Well, apparently the only drug found
in your bloodstream was phenobarbitol, and that was what
we gave you to settle you down."
"Then how can we explain this to Skinner? What about my
actions, which I don't recall, and any residues you
swabbed from my respiratory system?"
"Well, the swabs didn't turn up anything but lint and
a few germs. As for your actions, you were under the
influence of an unknown substance. You gave quite the
performance, Mulder!" Scully's eyes lit up, and while she
WAS blushing, she was remembering the gyrations and
leering, and dug her heel into her instep.
"Performance? Oh, no." Mulder's head was in his hands,
elbows on the desk. "I didn't. Tell me I didn't."
"Whatever." Scully poured herself a cup of coffee.
"Did you what, Mulder?" She could play this for all it was
worth. It made up for some of his most recent teasing.
"Did I... perform, Scully. Did I do anything in that
"Well, let's just say you did some dirty dancing, but
nothing a little cold water and some phenobarbitol couldn't
handle. Nothing happened between us, Mulder. Relax."
"Thank God, Scully. I'd hate to think all those rumors
I've been spreading are true."
"Well, the one's I've been spreading have always been
false." Scully replied without facing Mulder.
They both finished their reports, but Mulder was left to
wonder what had transpired. As for Scully, she most
certainly wasn't going to say another word.