Mulder and Scully don't know what they're in for
when they attempt to renovate the deceased Teena Mulder's house.
Authors: Mulder's Refugees, a.k.a. XSketch, Erin Blair,
Mae'chii', and Pattie
Rated: PG-13. Mild language.
Spoilers: None. Season 7, after Closure.
Category: MT, Collaboration, SA, MA.
Summary: Mulder takes Scully along to remodel his deceased
mother's house, but someone or "something" doesn't want him
Feedback: XSketch@hotmail.com, firstname.lastname@example.org,
Archive: Gossamer, Mulder in Jeopardy.
J. EDGAR HOOVER BUILDING,
OFFICE OF THE X-FILES
The office was quiet for a Friday afternoon. It was three
and the phone hadn't bothered the agents since ten. There
was really nothing left to do in the basement office but
think of things to do.
Mulder finally broke the long-held silence with a stretch
and a yawn.
"Somebody miss his nappy time?" Scully chuckled, with an
'I'm only kidding' smile.
Mulder leaned back in his chair. "No, no. I'm just biding
my time until we either get an assignment or the Gunmen
send me another National Inquisitor piece. Say, Scully...
how about a trip up to Greenwich?"
"You're mother's house? Why... "
"Before I sell it, I want to do some updates. You know, the
cupboards, countertops need replacing, new fixtures for the
bathroom... I have the money set aside, and I just
"You'd ask your little buddy here to help carry your
powertools? Mulder, I think we'd be like Alf and Ralph
doing a make-over of your mother's house. I think I'll
pass and do some research."
"Well, you know, there's a lot to be said for helping out a
friend. Never mind. I'll ask Frohike... "
"Frohike?" Her smile was almost broader than Mulder's
"All right, Alf. Let's see if we can punch out early and
get the powertools. I never thought I'd be doing
renovations with my fellow X-Files inmate."
She grabbed her
coat and purse. "Well?"
"Yeah... I'm just surprised you'd trust me with your life
around powertools." Mulder closed his laptop and donned his
jacket. "I just knew you'd help."
Scully paused in the doorway. "Well, I am your personal
"I know you're my personal doctor, Scully," Mulder said.
"I'm not that much an expert on powertools. In fact, I only
built a few things in the past with a kit with instructions.
"You're lucky that I know a few things about building. My
brothers and I built a club house once in the backyard."
"But that doesn't make you an expert at handling them,
"Mulder, sometimes you just have to put the instructions
and the kits away, and get creative," she countered.
"Okay, let's get going, then." Mulder was beginning to feel
a bit in the dark about the world of cabinet making.
The drive to Greenwich was uneventful. It was perfect
weather for a few days of renovating: neither very hot nor
unpleasantly cool. The skies were expected to be clear for
three days straight.
After having put their personal belongings in the house,
Mulder and Scully were off to the lumber yard.
Scully caressed some of the assorted veneered panelling.
"What are you doing, Scully?"
"Well, Mulder, I'm looking for durability, the pattern of
the mock grain, and value. You also have real pine to choose
from over at the end, there. Natural grain differs a lot from
the... the fake wood. Trust me, Mulder, go with the natural."
"I wish we could have bought a kit at Target, Scully. They
had a sale of hammers in the paper," Mulder whined. "I know
nothing of lumber."
"Mulder, it's going to be OK. We will get the natural wood.
Your mother would love it if the cabinets came from scratch
and not from a kit at Target!"
Mulder bit his lip, his hands on his hips. These brief
periods of silence always worried Scully, as she remembered
this posture and pacing was his way of rallying for an
The no-nonsense approach lit her fire very nicely. " Mulderrr...
what's going on in that head of yours?"
"Scully, this was my mother's house. Got that!? If I want a
kit from Target, and there are, may I inform you, many
worthwhile cabinet kits to choose from, I will get a kit.
Even Bob Vila would see that I would be making the right
choice, seeing as I'm not a hands-on person!" There, take that,
Mulder's diatribe didn't move Scully from her original opinion.
"Mulder, Bob Vila would recommend you get advice from someone
who knows that "real wood", and the effort put into building
your own customized cabinets, is well worth the effort. And I
just happen to know my way around materials and tools. A kit
from Target? That's not very original, not creative, and
certainly while convenient I suppose, the lazy way out! "
She took her partner by the shoulders, spinning him around to
face here. "Now, look at me, Mulder: Target kits are great
for people who want a pre-designed, everything at the ready
project. I am going to walk you through the real thing. Wood,
hammer, nails, measurement and even handles. We're going to do
this together. Remember, some day you may just want to settle
Mulder gave Scully's words some thought, and she granted him
that right. "Something tells me I'm going to regret the
'hands-on' method, Scully."
"We'll see, Mulder. Now, I estimated the amount of wood,
quantity of nails, wood glue, hinges, countertop types,
even knobs and drawer pulls, as well as varnish... "
Mulder admitted to himself that he liked a strong, confident
woman. Scully was all that, and more. He smiled and nodded as
she recited her list, marvelling that this petite woman could
not only save lives, but remodel a dated kitchen.
"... and of course, we'll also need to rent a table saw,
mitre blocks, and a level can be purchased along with the
other small items. Ready to start the adventure Mulder?"
Scully waved her hands past his eyes."Oh, sure. Sorry, I was
off somewhere else for a minute."
"You weren't listening..."
"Yes, I was. I was just admiring certain personality traits
in a friend. Let's get started."
THREE HOURS LATER
With a still-reluctant Mulder in tow, Scully had carried
out a thorough reconaissance expedition of the house on their
return with the lumber, turning up most of the tools on her
list except a hand-saw and small wood chisel, so she'd had to
co-erce her partner into driving them to the nearest tool
"Just one more trip, Mulder, and then we can get this
started." There had been a pause as she flirtaciously stepped
up close with car keys in hand. "The quicker we get it done,
the sooner we can... relax."
Now, with everything needed laid out at their feet and dust
sheets covering the nearby furniture, the partners prepared
to finally get started on the challenge.
Mulder and Scully were clad in worn jeans that were almost
too soft to be actually called denim of any sort, but they
were expendible. Mulder had one of his favourite old tee
shirts, with a long-faded Adidas logo, while Scully wore a
used-to-be-white tee shirt underneath a flannel checked shirt.
With everything at the ready, the brave workers were ready
to face the job.
Scully had piled sheets of ply wood alongside a hobby horse,
ready to cut the cupboard panels. First though, there was the
framework to consider.
So, with specifications listed on a sheet of paper, she and
Mulder marked out several pieces of wood to begin the
"Ever think you might want to go into construction, Scully?"
Scully thought the idea idiotic. "Uh, no, Mulder. I'm not
THAT interested in doing this for a living. Construction
workers do seem to be in demand lately, though. How
about you? Have you ever wanted to do someting other than
Gee, he was just about to start up the table saw. "Well, no.
Me a construction worker? Heck, it's a wonder I can unclog the
bathroom sink. I bought my first wrench after the super stopped
coming to my place. Said something about bad vibes."
Scully laughed. "Before you start that, Mulder, you should put
on the safety glasses. Okay, we've got the number of 3-foots,
the number of shelves worked out and that wood marked. Buzz
Mulder was handling the wood to bring over to Scully who was
sawing the pieces to make the doors for the cabinet. In the
process of handing them to her, a tiny piece of wood gave way
and burrowed through his skin. "Ouch!"
He withered in pain, biting his lip, as he was never used to
this kind of injury before.
"Let me see your hand, Mulder," Scully said. She looked over
at the tiny sliver of wood which was deep into his skin. "It's
just a splinter."
"It's just a splinter?" Mulder repeated. "Get that thing out
of me, Scully!"
Scully took Mulder into the house and hunted for rubbing
alcohol, cotton balls and a pair of tweezers. She did pack her
tweezers! Quickly, she dipped the tweezers in the alcohol,
then pulled the offending object from Mulder's finger.
"Ahh! I kind of wish you'd left it in, Scully!"
"Well, this is going to sting a bit, so keep still. I'll just
clean the site with alcohol, and here's the band aid. Agent
Mulder, congratulations. You'll live. Honest to God, you've
been through almost every indignity, fracture and other
injuries too numerous to list, and you do the girly cry over a
"Well, I guess I over-reacted. A little."
"Well, if you did more with your hands than just wrote reports
and slugged Krychek, your hands wouldn't be so soft. You need
some callused skin. If it's all the same to you, I'd like to
get the framework nailed into the kitchen wall. That way, we
can sand and varnish the doors and have them dry by tomorrow,
ready for hanging."
Mulder nodded in agreement. "Yeah, it is getting kind of late."
They were ready. Finally, the sawing was a success, and the
framework was up in the old house. Scully swallowed the last
of her bottled water and Mulder did the same.
"Ready to go, partner?"
"Sure, Scully. I'll just open the can of varnish and we'll
have shiny cupboards by tomorrow!"
"Yes, um, there's something that needs attention first."
Scully picked up an electrical device.
"Mulder, this is a rotary sander. We need to sand the doors and
the edges of them so you won't be attacked again by the nasty
splinters. When the wood is finely sanded and smooth, THEN we
apply the varnish." She smiled as she plugged the power tool
into an outdoor outlet.
"Rotary sander... " Mulder echoed.
"Yes, Mulder. Rotary sander. A fine grained sandpaper works
best for this job, and then you can varnish till you're higher
than a kite. Here. Put this in that hand, that's right."
"Switch it on and start sanding, I know. Did I ever tell you I
saw 'Batteries Not Included?' It was about... "
"I know," Scully tried unsuccessfully to stifle a laugh. "I
know what it was about, but I don't think little appliances
will be affected by those little creatures."
Mulder held the sander up for inspection. "Better put goggles
on, huh? All right, here goes nothin'." Mulder put the sander
to the wood and pressed the 'on' switch, moving around in circles
like he had been doing this all his life. However, he held his
left hand a bit too close to the sander while holding the wooden
door, and abraded his hand severely down from the pinky finger to
Scully quicky switched off the sander and took a look at Mulder's
hand, shaking her head in silence. "Okay, we may as well call it
a day. After I bandage up that hand, we'll put everything away
and start over tomorrow. May as we'll order dinner."
"Well dammit, Scully. The thing... just... whatever happened to
Scully groaned at his pun and playfully swatted at his arm.
"It's not funny, Mulder. Why is it, no matter what you come
into contact with you always have to injure yourself in some
way or another?"
"I didn't think it was funny - I'm the one standing here with
the side of my hand partially skinned!" he pouted, stung by
her words. "Besides, I don't get hurt on purpose... I know you
do a good job of patching me back up again, but honestly,
Scully, if- "
"'If the world was on your side, you wouldn't be injured so
often'?" Obligatory raised eyebrow appeared, and she stared him
square in the eye until he gave a single nod of his head. "Oh,
please, Mulder." Her head turned away as it shook in dismissal.
"The chance of a day going by without you so much as getting
even a paper cut would be a miracle." With a gentle tug, she
led him in the direction of the bathroom. "Your reluctance to
not do this was frustrating, but maybe I should have known... "
Yet another low sigh from her and she stopped walking - turning
to sheepishly look up at her partner's worried face. "I'm sorry."
The apology was quiet, but genuine. "It's been a long day, I'm
tired, hungry and... and I don't like seeing you injured."
Mulder nodded, using his other hand to tenderly push an errant
strand of hair behind her ear. "I know. I'm sorry." The pain in
the side of his injured hand flared up and he winced - his eyes
flicking down to look at it briefly before meeting her stare
again. "Come on, patch me up, G-Woman, and then you can feed
"At least this way we can save your passing out from inhalation
of any fumes from the tools until tomorrow!" She had tried to be
grouchy, but the effect failed and they both ended up smiling.
"Never give up on a miracle, Scully - that day may be right
around the corner!"
"In your dreams!"
The sound of bristles slapping against wood slowed and then
abruptly stopped before she finally turned to glare at him,
hands on hips. "The 'Mulder's Clumsiness Syndrome'? If such an
infection existed, Mulder, the world would be doomed--alien
invasion or not."
"Could be worth investigating... a real X-File."
Dana shook her head and sighed - a small smile lifting the
corners of her mouth. "Maybe. If we find such a case, though,
you do realise that I won't be able to feel as much pity for
you anymore? I mean, you won't be as special a case."
That got him, and the smug smile quickly disappeared from his
face as he began to regret he'd ever brought the idea up.
"Now, I told you, be quiet and let me get on with this," she
laughed out loud, "Or you really will be ordered to go home."
With one more smile at his expense, she once again turned to
finish the varnishing.
With a practiced skill even she was proud of, all the parts for
the cupboard were varnished in no time, and were now outside
resting against the picket fence drying off. Having put the brush
into hot, soapy water to ready it for later cleaning, Scully now
sat at the patio table with her partner drinking iced tea.
"So, what's next?" Mulder queried, scratching at the band-aid on
"When it's all dry, we have the fun part of puttiing it all
together, which I *will* need your help for, I hasten to add."
She reached out and smacked him on the forearm, making the ice
in his glass clink sharply. "And stop scratching that."
"Hey!" he protested with a mock scowl, drawing his arm away from
her short reach. " I'm an injured man here. No more hitting, or
I'll have to... " His eyes flicked around the patio looking for a
likely candidate to threaten her with.
She watched him from the corner of her eye, careful to keep the
smile off her face. She took a sip of her ice tea. "Or what,
"I'll think of something."
"Hmm, a lame threat, then?" When he didn't respond after a
moment, she looked over at him. He was absolutely still and
staring intently at some spot across the patio. "Mulder?"
He blinked and murmured at her quietly. "Scully... do you see
what I see over there?"
She followed his gaze, but saw nothing unusual. "Over where?"
"Something poking out of the dirt at the far corner of the
patio. It wasn't there before."
She looked again and saw... something. "Pff, Mulder, it's
probably just a mole hill."
"We were gone nearly all day with my plethora of injuries.
Somebody could have come in and placed it there, wanting to
get our attention"
She pursed her lips in annoyance. "Mulder, don't tell me you
are looking for an X-File."
"Ok," he smirked and started to rise to check it out.
"You're staying seated, Mulder."
Scully reached out to smack him again, but he cringed and
drew himself a safe distance from her, his lower lip sticking
out. "No more hitting. You are abusive, woman."
"Not half as abusive you are to yourself. Now sit."
Mulder resigned himself to the fact that Scully was taking
charge. He had to admit, the painkillers he was taking were
inducing drowsiness, and his muscles were not obeying his
mind, so he leaned back in his patio chair. "Okay. But be
careful, and don't pull anything out unless you dig around it.
There may be something evidentiary to our search, and we need
anything we can get at this point."
Scully bent over to examine the mysterious tip of something
sticking out from under the grass. "Could be a time capsule
you buried when you were a kid," she said and hoped. "This
looks to me like a handle to a steel box or old lunchbox."
"I never... I never got into that sort of thing, Scully.
Maybe you should use a shovel."
Scully stood and stretched. "Good plan. Where... "
"In the basement."
Scully gave him a warning glare.
"Hey, I have my iced tea. Besides, I know what you're
perfectly capable of... really." The mock fright face was
never an expression he could quite perfect.
When Scully had carefully unearthed the object, a rectangular
box, hinged lid and handle rusted very badly, she carefully
placed it on the table in front of Mulder. "Well, I think it's
probably rusted shut, Mulder. There's a padlock on it, but
"Frankly, all we need is to coat the edge if the lid and the
hinges with linseed oil, then peel it open, Scully. Maybe it's
all that macaronic stuff I wrote back around the time Samantha
"Mulder, you wrote a theory?" Scully sat down all ears for what
she expected to be a long explanation.
"Not exactly. It was just a lot of things I had heard my parents
and their friends haggling over when they thought I was out
Scully laughed. "Somehow I just can't picture you as one who
played! It seems to me you were a stoic little kid, almost
emotionally shut down. Buttoned down for business."
"Well, I did play. With Sam... " Mulder had to cut himself off
before the tears that were threatening to flood his face began
to fall. "Linseed oil, in the basement beside the old grey
"You okay, Mulder?"
"Yeah. I don't think it's anything I could have written, and if
it was, Mom probably threw it out or burned it way back. Maybe
it's personal papers. Or pictures."
Scully put her hand on Mulder's right shoulder. "We'll find out.
By the way, where did you learn the word macaronic?"
"An old physics teacher I had."
Scully was then off to the basement.
"Thank God for my FBI training, otherwise I might never have
found it!" Scully exclaimed, stepping back out onto the patio
twenty-five minutes later with the Linseed oil can in hand.
"What happened? Don't tell me you forgot that you have to go
*downstairs* to get to the basement?" her partner smirked,
glancing over his shoulder and then following her movement
toward the table at whick he sat.
She frowned and sat down with a deep sigh. "It's not funny,
Mulder. Have you seen the amount of junk stored in that
basement? Finding the shovel right at the bottom of the stairs
was one thing, but you forgot to mention that the toolbox was
on the shelf at the back of the room! Honestly, with only the
aid of my flashlight, I'm lucky I made it out alive!"
Despite the amount of injuries he'd managed to collect just
in the process of trying to put together a cabinet, Mulder
laughed at her words - deducing that he had balanced the scales
enough for her to be clear of danger. Her exaggeration of the
mess down there didn't help her case any either. As the chuckle
faded, he watched apprehensively as his partner used the oil to
open the box as he'd instructed. "Moment of truth, eh?" What
a shame the painkillers couldn't ease his nerves as well...
Sensing his anxiety, Scully offered him a smile and then lifted
the folded papers from inside the box. At the bottom were two
reels of 8mm film. She ignored the tape for the meantime and
opened the papers to spread them across the table (being careful
not to knock over her half-empty glass of iced-tea). There were
two colourful drawings obviously done by a child, one school
report with 'Mulder, Fox W.' printed at the top, a Mulder family
photo taken before Samantha's abduction, and another sheet of
written paper that needed further inspection to be understood.
"No macaronic meanderings?" Mulder asked, staring at her and
secretly scratching at his hand again under the table as he broke
out in a sweat. There came no reply.
"Scully? Surely it can't be *that* interesting? And if it's some
cheesy love poem I wrote in some haze I don't remember, I will
have to kill you." Even his joke didn't register, and he watched as
she continued to read - her eyebrow occasionally raising and then
falling into a frown. "Don't make me guess!" Silence. "Come on,
don't hang out the wounded guy's misery!"
The scrawled text came to an end, and Dana glanced up at him
before carefully folding the sheet and placing it in the pocket
of her slacks.
"Later." Short and simple seemed the only option on this one,
and she sharply stared at him with arched brow to let him know
there was no point arguing - he wasn't going to change her mind.
That didn't stop him from foolishly trying, though.
"Hey, if I wrote that, I think I have the right to know what
it is!" he whined, struggling to his feet amd trying to move
on his one good leg round the table to her side. Thankfully
she was faster and halted his helpless movements by also
standing and placing a gentle hand on his shoulder.
"I told you once... Actually I told you a million times... But
I'll tell you again: Sit!" she sighed. "You didn't write it.
But I'll show it to you later - it's been a long day, and I
don't think we should go rustling up too many memories at this
hour." She smiled and glanced down at first the items spread
across the table and then the reels still in the box. "That
said, I wouldn't mind reading what your school teachers thought
of you... And then seeing what interesting home movie we have
here... " Still standing, she put everything back in the metal
container, replaced the lid and then reached out a hand to help
Mulder frowned slightly, unhappy about what she refused to
share, and then once again uneasily stood up. "You really do
like to laugh in the presence and at the expense of my misery,
don't you?" he grumbled, picking up his glass of drink and
"It's one of the things that helps me keep my sanity with
"I heard that!"
She smiled and carefully placed the metal box under her arm
before following him in.
As Scully took the coverings off of the stove, Mulder sat
at the kitchen table resigned to the fact that he was to sit.
His limbs felt heavy from the pain killers anyhow, so there
was no point in him hovering over Scully's shoulder as she
fashioned them dinner. "Good thing I brought out that folding
card table, right Scully?"
Scully was by this time at the refrigerator, taking some
vegetables from the bottom bins. "Yes, it was, Mulder. Thank
you. Hopefully by this time tomorrow we can hang the cupboard
doors, replace the countertop, and start gutting the bathroom."
Mulder smirked. "We? Yeah, I suppose with one good arm and one
good foot I could be of some use. We can get through this
"Right." Scully started browning some ground beef. "How about
early to bed, Mulder? It's been a hard day."
She looked up from the fry pan. "What is it, Mulder?"
"Thanks. I mean for this. The remodelling thing. By the way,
thanks for unearthing this drawing of me making monster faces
at Samantha. She... she got the scary look just right."
"No problem. Even though you were probably an unholy terror at
times, I'm sure she'd want you to have it. You should frame
it or laminate it."
Tears fell down Mulder's face as he gazed at the Crayola
rendering in his hands.
"Mulder? It's okay to let it out."
"This might have been her last drawing, Scully." He had to pull
himself together, he told himself. "She was good."
"I know. Listen, right after we eat, I want you to go straight
to bed. You're tired, I'm tired, and we aren't at our best right
"I know. I know. What's for supper?"
"Spaghetti with meaty tomato sauce and a soda."
"Great! I didn't know you could... "
"There are a lot of things you don't know about me, Mulder."
Scully smiled to herself. The letter she had found was in her
thoughts again, intruding on her cheerful mood. She planned on
reading it in bed before going to sleep. She prayed Mulder
wouldn't ask about it at least until she had a grasp on what
"So, partner. I guess the 8mm movies can wait. What was in that
piece of paper you didn't want to show me?"
"I think an old Christmas list, Mulder. It was very hard to
make out." As she threw spaghetti into boiling water, she
prayed he would leave it at that. She prayed to God to forgive
her for lying to Mulder.
"Oh. Yeah, Mom was great for making lists." Mulder shuffled
papers and pictures together and put them back in the rusted box.
"I'll just put this out of harm's way and wash up, if you give
me the go ahead."
She was stirring sauce into the meat. "I'd appreciate that. But
just wash your hands and face. I think you should let things heal
up a bit over night." As she saw him leave the kitchen, she hoped
he wouldn't intrude on her solitude after her bath. She was
planning on taking it into the bathroom if necessary. There was no
way on earth Sherlock Mulder was in any shape to see the contents.
All was quiet in the house, save for the bubbling pasta and meat
sauce. Scully stood there stirring for a few minutes when she
heard a dull thump and a muffled curse. She frowned and turned
down the sauce to simmer and stepped into the doorway between the
kitchen and hallway, listening for a moment. "Mulder?" she called
She thought she heard another muffled curse, followed by a just
as muffled "Scuulleee!"
"Brooother, " she muttered to herself as she loped through the
living room and down the hall. "Where are you?" she called out.
"In the master bedroom," came back his still muffled reply.
"What have you done to yourself this time, Mulder,?" she called
out again as she entered the bedroom. She came to an abrupt stop
at the scene before her. Her partner was sprawled flat out on
the floor beside the bed, his jeans tangled around his ankles
and his ass sticking up for all to see, showing off dark purple
silk boxers. She choked back an abrupt laugh, slapping a hand
over her mouth, hers eyes glimmering in amusement.
Mulder groaned and shifted his position with a hiss, flopping
onto the carpet on his side. "Stop cackling at me, Scully and
give me a hand."
She rushed to his side. "Mulder, I'm sorry," she said, her voice
and face still betraying her amusement as she assessed the
damage in the low lamplight from the single illuminating device
on the bedside table, her eyes flicking over him from
head to toe. She spotted the newest Mulder-abuse on his right
knee... a nasty looking gash running blood down his leg and into
the carpet. She then spotted the box on the floor beside him, a
smear of blood on one edge. One corner of her mouth rose in a
smirk as she deduced the situation, brushing her fingers around
the wound. "Trying to get dinner in bed, are you?"
Mulder flinched and scowled at her. "Are you going to just
examine me like a cadaver or are you going to fix me up?"
She blinked and blushed, as if coming back to herself. "Sorry,
Mulder," she mumbled, dropping her gaze. "Didn't realize...
sorry... " When there was just silence from him for a long moment,
she lifted her eyes back to his face. The expression she saw
there... he was grinning, biting his lower lip, just barely
stopping the chortle that came from his throat.
"Had you big time... Scully."
She flushed again, but this time in indignation. She reached over
and yanked his pants the rest of the way off, making him flop back
onto the floor. "You've just been waiting to use that, haven't
"Ouch, hey! Easy with the merchandise." He eyed her. "What's so
upsetting about that?" He reached out with one bare foot and
poked her with his toe.
She flicked her eyes back up at his face and let out a sigh,
rolling her eyes, her temper loosing it's power. "Don't give me
"What look?" he asked, all innocence.
"Mulder... " she warned, a flicker of amusement crossing her face.
"You're asking for it."
He waggled his brows. "I hope it's good."
She sighed again and rose to her feet. "You are patched up
sufficiently, Mulder. Take off your shirt and get in bed."
"What about my food?" he nearly whined, his eyes half mast in
drowsiness. "I'm hungry."
"You'll get it soon enough. Bed."
She helped him clamor slowly to his feet, as he used the bed for
support and sat down with barely a bounce. He grinned up at her
as he drew his shirt over his head. "I get dinner in bed after
She smiled and shook her head. "Yes, Mulder," she indulged him.
"I'm not about to haul your heavy ass all over the house now that
you've managed to abuse yourself to near incapacity." She pulled
the covers down, fluffed and stacked the pillows and assisted
him against the pile and under the cool sheet, drawing it up to
his waist, effectively covering at least half of the bare,
perpetually tanned body that insisted on tempting her just by
existing. She let out an unconscious sigh of relief and dropped
down to the floor on her haunches to clean up the mess.
Several minutes later, the blood was mopped up as much as
possible, pants and shirt were neatly folded and placed on the
foot of the bed, and the first aid supplies were put away. As
she proceeded to shove the cleaned up box a safe distance under
the bed, she noticed the accumulated dust there too. Her little
legs were sticking out from the edge a good couple minutes, with
a little bit of squirming.
Mulder shifted to try to peer under the bed himself. "Scully?
What are you doing under there?"
After a moment she scooted her way out and came back up coughing,
her hair covered in dirty white dust bunnies. She looked like she
had a fuzz ball on her head. "It's terrible under there, Mulder!"
In his amusement he saw her surreptitiously stuff something into
her pocket. "Scully..." he warned. "What was that? What did you
find under there?"
"Later, Mulder," she insisted, trooping herself out the door, the
fuzz on her head waving in the wind of her wake.
"Scully, come back here."
After she and Mulder had dined in Mulder's room, Scully gave Mulder
his final painkillers for the day. "Now, I don't think I'm going
to be helping you re-do the bathroom here any time soon, Mulder.
So, I want you to get some sleep and we'll drive back to Washington
bright and early tomorrow morning."
"With the box, Scully. Memories are all I have now of my... family.
Weird as it was."
Scully grabbed their plates and turned off the light on the bedside
table. "Things happen for a reason. After all I had a New Age sister
in a strict Catholic family. Good night."
"Yeah. Don't let the Christmas List from The Land of Big Secrets
attack." It hurt to grin, but he managed a small semi-smile.
Scully grabbed the door knob and smiled sheepishly. "I won't.
Sleep tight, Mulder." As she took the plates into the kitchen, she
noticed the nacreous clouds passing over the view of the half-moon
through the kitchen curtains. The view was beautiful, peaceful,
soothing. She shook off the mesmerising effect and placed the
dishes in the sink. They could wait until morning. The letter in
Mrs. Mulder's handwriting could not.
She passed by the master bedroom to check on her partner. He was
by all appearances asleep. Quietly, she made her way up the stairs
to the spare room she'd been using and gathered her bath
accessories. The letter was carefully slipped into her bathrobe.
Tonight, by the lamplight in another woman's house, she would
perhaps learn something from a handwritten letter that was not
half as old as the box it had been stored in.
He heard the muffled sound of her footfalls on the stairs shortly
followed by the spare room door clicking shut, and took that as
his cue. His legs swung out - albeit a little shakily - over the
edge of the bed and then the un-fun part came: trying to stand up.
He made it, though, with gritted teeth, and moved out into the hall to
begin his search. She was hiding stuff from him and he had to know
"Chrismas List my ass," he grumbled, searching through the
cupboards in the kitchem. Even as pain-killer addled as his brain
was at this point, he wasnt *that* stupid. She may be good at
lying to others, but he only had to look into her eyes or listen
to her voice to catch a hint of the deception they hid, and this
time was definitely no exception. After all, why wouldn't she
show it to him? He'd tried to ease the way for her to tell all
with his quipped comment of of 'Don't let the Christmas List from
The Land of the Big Secrets attack!' but she'd only smiled and
brushed and brushed it aside before leaving...
The kitchen thoroughly checked, he limped unsteadily into the
living room - his mind drifting back to the contents of the box
and the possible symbolic significance of each. For still-unknown
reasons his mother had burned all other family photos before killing
herself. "Had the box been buried some time before--perhaps after
her stroke--or--" Mulder's eyes widened and he shot a glance over
his shoulder at the empty hallway.
"It was something she wrote... when I didn't--The message--" His
quiet ramblings trailed off. He'd watched Scully's mixture of
emotions as she looked at the paper; listened to her assure that
everything was fine, that there was nothing to worry about, and it
wouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure she'd been trying to
protect him--protect him from another emotional battering.
His new deduction only spurred on his search, and it came to the
point where he was turning over, opening, breaking everything in
hope of finding what Scully was trying to hide. He was curious too
about what had turned up under the bed, but his mind echoed her
'later', and the damn box was christened his new obsession.
If only he had been able to leave a little space to remember he'd
taken his shoes off in here. It would have saved him from tripping
over them and banging his head on the corner of the desk - knocking
himself unconscious and leaving him alone on the floor in the
Mulder hadn't remembered that Scully would have been able to hear
his attempts at fracturing the past to bring glimmers of hope into
The words Scully read were those of Teena Mulder's, all right.
Hastily written and dated the day before she overdosed and died,
the letter was her final means of making amends and freeing
herself of a long, painful, and guilt-ridden death.
"My Dearest Fox,
By the time you read this, I will have been gone for quite some
time. Tomorrow I will place this letter into the ground with the
rest of our history of a 'happy' family. A time long before that
painful night Samantha was taken. My hope is that while you are
searching for her, you use whatever you find to enable yourself
to let goof the pain you suffered by the machinations of your
father's fellow conspirators. Do not look upon his memory too
harshly, dear. He did what he thought was right, and backed
out of one of the most disgusting agreements we have ever seen.
You once asked if I had been 'Asked to choose' and I denied
any recollection of such. I did choose. I chose not to have
you taken, and not for any reason you may think in the future.
I knew you had a determination in everything you did, and a keen
sense of people's personalities. No one could ever put one
over on you, You had to survive in order to take a path a man
could take. Those days I made the choice, we could not foresee
that a woman would get anywhere near where you are in the FBI.
You have seen so much, discovered more than I had ever dreamed
at this time, and I must leave you without having you see me
suffer a long, drawn-out demise. Never stop looking. Never doubt
that both of us loved you. If you ever hear something
unbelievable about that old Spender, believe this: the most
shocking thing you hear will not be a lie. Search, believe,
and Godspeed. I loved both you and your sister. Take my love
Scully's eyes glistened under the lamplight as he heard a ruckus
coming from the main floor of the house. She folded the letter
and quickly placed it under her pillow, grabbed her bathrobe and
hastened down the stairs. "Is that you, Mulder?" She flicked on
the light switch to find her unconscious partner lying on the
livingroom floor, blood trickling from the side of his head. "Oh
my God! Can you hear me, Mulder?"
The little boy grown a man lay on the floor motionless, as Scully
dialed for the EMS.
After she hung up, she was still unable to rouse Mulder. As she
checked his pulse and tried to look for signs of trauma to places
other than the head, she mumbled, "And all this because of the
machinations of some group of men and an agreement! Some
Dad... Why all these accidents? Why here?"
This was ridiculous - trying on her nerves, undoubtedly, but
ridiculous overall. Finger, hand, leg, shin ... A simple trip to
his mother's house to do some refurbishing had turned into an
injury-fest for her partner, with the final blow leaving him
naked (save for his boxers) and unconscious on the living
room floor-- even the EMTs had raised curious brows at the sight
of the new band-aids and patches.
"It's been one of those days," she'd shakily dismissed, wishing
they'd just hurry and get him to the hospital. The sickening
thing was, not a single piece of new furniture had been completely
assembled! So much for 'creativity'. *I told you we should have got
the kit,* his voice chided in her mind.
None of it really mattered now, though; they were still here and
she still had no idea what was going on behind the green double
doors to her right.
"We'll let you know as soon as we can," a doctor whose name
she'd forgotten had assured, as her partner was rushed on
a gurney to X-ray. But that had been thirty-minutes ago, nobody
had come to her, and despite the FBI and medical credentials
she'd thrown in the face of anybody walking by who listened for
more than one second, no word had arrived on Mulder's status.
Hand, finger, leg, hand, head, knee, finger, head, leg...
Blood--his blood - everywhere...
*Sculleeeeeeeee, it hurts!*
This was ridiculous! Why so many accidents (he hadn't even had this
many injuries whilst out on a dangerous case.) Why him? Why
*there*? It was his mother's house, with no real history to it, so
why? Scully paced the fluorescent-lit corridor with a hand pressed
to her mouth as she turned it all over in her head--the letter from
the box and photo of CGB Spender and Teena she'd found underneath
the bed always coming to the forefront.
"If you ever hear something unbelievable about that old Spender,
believe this: the most shocking thing you hear will not be a lie."
How many more secrets were hidden around that house? Just how
much had Mrs. Mulder intended her son to find? And--thinking about it
even more--Dana had to ask: how much did they have the right to
dredge up from the past? Samantha was dead and the whole mystery
of her disappearance had been finally resolved. Maybe chasing ghosts
and trying to look deeper was only encouraging the unknown presence
to continue stalking her partner.
Slowing to a halt, Dana pulled the folded letter from the pocket of
the robe she still wore--one of the edges stained in the blood
from her partner's head wound. She studied it for a moment before
slipping it away again and deciding she would keep it away until
a much later date - hopefully Mulder, *when* he pulled through
(she repeatedly assured herself), would forget about it, and they
could return home to help him gain inner peace once and for all.
The waiting, the worry. Then there were Mulder's words and
the remembrance of some past cases running through her mind.
She forced herself out of the intrusive thought pattern. "I can sign
the papers," she said slowly. "You need to stop the haemorhhage.
Can I see him?"
"I'm afraid he's not up to that right now. He is asleep, and the
sooner we get to the operating room, the better we can help him,
Dr. Scully. I know you have a lot on your mind. Please sign the
permission forms on this clipboard, and we should be out in about
six hours. Now, go home and get something to eat, some rest. We'll
let you know as soon as we're out of there what you can expect."
"No, I can stay here."
"Yes, and in pajamas and a bathrobe, you could pass for a
"I... hadn't realized." Scully held the robe more tightly around
herself, as if to insulate herself from her cares. "I guess I can
call a cab, and pay him after I get into the house. No, I don't feel
I can leave. Well, I admit I could use a clean-up." She signed on
the dotted line. "Call, no matter when?"
The doctor smiled warmly. "If I can't, one of the nurses will."
He took the liberty of patting Scully on the back. "Take a break,
Doctor. Heaven knows, after all those injuries you attended to,
you've put in a good few hours of medical practice."
Scully couldn't hear the doctor by then. Her mind was filled with
questions about Mulder's state, the mysterious circumstances of his
numerous injuries, and Mrs. Mulder's words coursing through her
thoughts. What hadn't been said?
*A cab. I'll call a cab,* she reminded herself. Maybe she did need
some rest. Then again, Mulder's words were also haunting her.
Perhaps sleep would bring a fresh perspective.
TEENA MULDER'S RESIDENCE
To her complete surprise and with a hundred pounds of guilt in
her head, Scully had managed to have a long sleep. She had fallen
asleep in the livingroom waiting for the hospital to call. "What
the hell am I doing, sleeping the day away!" she mumbled to herself.
She ran to her room and threw her robe to the floor, putting on
a bra, white tee shirt and black twill slacks. Then, she combed her
hair and ran downstairs to get her car keys. The cell phone rang.
"Dr. Scully, your partner's awake and doing pretty well."
"Thank you so much, Dr. Ferguson. I'm on my way."
By the time Scully arrived at the hospital, she was beginning to
wonder what possible damage the blow to Mulder's head could have
left. What was it that had been causing all the so-called
*accidents*. Why him? As she walked through the ER doors, she
whispered to herself, "Why him" Why not me? And why now?
Something's not right. It couldn't be aliens... "
As the elevator doors closed, she found herself praying that
Mulder wouldn't sustain long-term damage.
As soon as Scully reached the fifth floor, she went straight
up to Mulder's room, 526. She knew Mulder had come through
the surgery all right when she heard his voice.
"Hey, Scully. I guess this is my second home, not the FBI."
"Thank God you're okay, Mulder. Can you... Mulder, you hit
your head, on that old box. Did they tell you?"
"Yeah, I seem to recall someone mentioning that. When they
flashed the light into my eyes, I sort of figured I wasn't
in Kansas any more. If you're wondering if I can see... "
Scully was laughing and crying at the same instant. "Well. I
guess SO! I do feel guilty, though, for going back to the
house and sleeping."
"No, don't do that. You've been working hard at making that
place better. Look, I had a feeling after everything that's
happened. Especially when I thought I could feel something
pushing me when I fell... "
"You said that last night... I have a picture... "
"Scully, please let me finish. I saw Mom. Under anesthetic, I
saw Mom. She told me... "
"...They're in the house. They don't want you to know anything
more. Get out before you die... I had a similar dream," Scully
repeated. "She told me to get you out of there for the same
reason. Just last night. What do we do now. Mulder?"
Mulder had to think about it. It would be great to investigate
the hell out of this, but there were too many other things at
stake and things that needed to be brought into the light of
day already. "We go home, Scully. We go home, until we can
either communicate with them, or we deal with all the other
things, possibly people, that are connected. We do our jobs,
look for the answers at the same time, and keep an eye out for
anything to get past whatever comes our way."