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Rated: PG-13
Category: MA, Case file, Humor.
Timeframe: Season 5
Summary: Mulder feels like a kid again, and it's all too real.
Author's Note: Written for the Mulder's Refuge March
Challenge: "Necessity is the Mother of Invention".

9:30 AM
The office was the same. The nameplate on the desk bore the
name Fox Mulder. Scully was still... She was standing in front
of the desk with a very large pile of folders in her arms.
"I know you don't like this one bit, and neither do I. But
the status quo remains. Until things return to some semblance
of normal, Mulder, you are on vacation. I know it's a
challenge not to go off on every lead that comes in, answer
calls from your 'sources', as dubious as they are. Skinner
says the best place for you right now is out of sight, at
home, waiting until this is resolved."
Scully was addressing a man who resembled her partner somewhat,
had the sense of humor and mannerisms of Mulder, but he just
didn't fit into his shoes at the time.
There sat a youthfully
fresh, 5'9", 14-year-old boy wearing a Smashing Pumpkins tee
shirt, baggy blue jeans and running shoes. The teen folded
his hands and asked, "So  what do I do now, Scully? I need
that pay check, I need to work, and so help me God, I need
to keep busy, dammit. I'm still me, but a lot of things
here are younger and pay absolutely no attention to my brain."
If Scully didn't believe him, all she had to do was glance
down at the folder in his lap, hiding some frenzied signals.
Scully glared at the young man tersely and warned him, "Don't
swear at me, Mulder. Show some respect for your elders. Now,
we should be able to synthesize an antidote from the small,
('I'm not going to laugh', she reminded herself), sample you
managed to purloin. So, unless you want me to call in the
truant officer, I suggest you lay low and avoid those videos
your mother would never had let you see, catch up on your
reading, and play some b-ball after school lets out."
"Right. Well, while I do appreciate that, Ma'am, I sure would
appreciate some help explaining this to my landlord. How is
he going to react to seeing me there? Seeing a kid living in
Fox Mulder's apartment? I mean, if I can't go back to being
me... "
Mulder looked so forlorn. After all, who would take the word
of a teen suddenly taking up residence in an FBI Agent's home,
when it was known to everyone in the building that Mulder
was hardly ever there?
Scully thought things over for a couple of minutes. "This
could pose a problem, Mulder. I do see your point. Okay, pack
your clothes, the ones you found in the boys' department... "
"Boys' department? Man, you are a rude old bat... "
"Pack your clothes and you can come home with your Auntie
Dana until this ends. In the meantime, no driving and make
a check out to your landlord post-dated. Somehow, Mulder, I
always knew you hadn't grown up. Let's get going. We're
wasting time as it is. Leave the movies at home."
"Thanks, Auntie Dana. Really. You've made my little day."
In the dark, smoky room, the elders sat in their leather chairs,
watching with rapt interest as the Well-Manicured Man had it out
with the Smoking Man. He was red-faced with rage.
"You simpleton! You assured us that Mulder was under your
control. He'd getting far too close to The Project."
"I have him under control. Just a minor detail we couldn't have
foreseen." The Smoking Man took a deep drag from his Morley,
and exhaled to the side.
Clearly the older man was furious. "See to it that it's done!
Keep him out of our way!" Clearly, he didn't have a stiff
upper lip today. "Do I make myself clear? See to it that he's
kept out of the picture for a while."
"I'll handle him. You know I have access. Someone in the Bureau
is about to act on it."
At about that time, Mulder was walking through the Hoover
building to the Public Relations Office. An energetic woman
was waiting at her desk for a report he and Scully were
expected to submit.
"Agent Mulder, I was just about to call down and see what was
happening with that Spencer file. You didn't run all the way
up here, did you?"
"You're in luck, Kelly. Here's the profile you requested, and
now I leave it up to you. By the way, I hear you're retiring
this month? It seems like a couple of years since you first
worked here. Time flies."
The blonde woman smiled warmly. "I was transferred from the
New York Office three years ago, but I have 45 years service,
and I will be retiring, yes. I was 21 when I started out, and
it's time to live a little." She placed the file aside, and
handed Mulder an envelope. "This is the old alert on the
Hamilton File you wanted."
"Thanks. Really? 45 years? C'mon."
"Yes, no word of a lie. Frankly, it's been a long stint. I'm
going to enjoy my time."
"Okay, seriously. Did you ... "
"No, no facelift."
"You don't look a day over 30, and forgive me if that sounds
like a ridiculous comment. I know there are some wild claims
about vitamins and cosmetics out there, but... "
Kelly opened a drawer in her desk. "This is the only thing I use
underneath my make-up. It's marvelous. It really is. You can
keep the jar. I have lots more. Just rub a little into your
facial skin every night, and, well, as you can see... And they
say it does wonders for men, as well."
Mulder was reading the product label. "Yeah, well maybe Agent
Scully might like to try it." He opened the jar to sniff the
contents. "It does have a nice scent. Look, all the best, Kelly.
Friday's the date of the party, right?"
"Yes. Maybe I'll see you and Agent Scully there. It's nothing
too fancy, but I don't want it that way. You know how some people
"Sure do, and we try to avoid those things, but we might drop by.
I've got work to do, and I guess you do. Later."
"Take care." Kelly grinned as Mulder left the office, and when
she knew he was on his way downstairs, she dialed the phone.

8:01 AM
Mulder was already at his desk when Scully arrived with some
folders. There were already about a dozen files on the desk.
Mulder stretched as Scully doffed her coat. "I don't know about
you, Scully, but I think I'm going to go blind if I have to keep
going over case file after case file to convert them to
"You're not the only one, Mulder. I was reading well into the
night, and I have a screaming headache." Scully turned from
the coat rack and noticed there was something about Mulder
that didn't seem, well, like Mulder. "Mulder. You trying out
a new razor?"
"Hmm? Uh, no. Why?"
"Nothing. It must be the eye-strain. I could have sworn... "
"What, Scully?" Mulder closed a file and picked up another.
"Never mind. You just look... Well, maybe it's the tie. You just
look a bit different, that's all."
"Been told I seem different for years, Scully. I'm used to it.
Did you get the Overton file finished?"
"Sure did, Mulder. That's what gave me the headache. I think your
shorthand in the notes is quite creative, but I really
appreciated your help over the phone clarifying a few of the
"Hey, no problem, partner."
Scully looked up from a folder after ten minutes had gone by. "Is
that a new aftershave, Mulder?"
"Uh, no." He was adding some comments to a file. "New
moisturizing cream." Oh boy. It was too late to correct his words.
"I mean... "
"Mulder, I know about men's skin care products. No need to be
shy about it. It think it's very modern of a man to want to take
care of the 'terror zone' every morning. At leastthat's what
my brother used to call it."
6:00 AM
If ever there was a man so lucky to beat his alarm clock this day,
it was Fox Mulder. He reset the alarm and groggily went to shower.
There was a surprise for him in the mirror; there was definitely
going to be a change in his routine today.
By the time Scully arrived at the office, Mulder had had time to
find his way around certain difficulties, which he would try to
explain to his partner, hoping she would believe him.
Scully walked into the office with a spring in her step and a smile
on her face. "The files are done and thank God they are!" she
exclaimed, as she hung her coat. The smile on her face faded
quickly when she turned to see someone sitting behind Mulder's
desk. He wore a sweatshirt, loose jeans, and he appeared to be
a teen-aged boy.
"May I help you? This is a private office."
"Good," the young man said. "Let's keep it that way. Before you
say anything else, just close the door and I can explain. I
think." Mulder knew it was going to be a rough time.
"Look. If you're applying for a summer job, Human Resources is two
floors up. What's your name?"
"Fox William Mulder, and Scully, you won't believe the trouble I
had seeing this for myself. I had to take a cab in to work,
by-pass security, and... you don't believe a word I say, do
She looked at the boy carefully. "Mulder?"
"Yeah, Scully. I think THIS may be the problem." He gave her the
jar of skin cream. I've been using it for the past three weeks."
"Ever Young Moisturizer? Mulder, whoever you are, is this a sick
"Maybe. But I think it's on me. I ran a check on the company that
markets this great stuff, and they directed me to Hendry
Laboratories in Knoxville, Tennessee." He had to endure a three
minute wait for Scully to answer him.
"Mulder. Where did you get this?"
"Kelly, Public Relations. Don't... don't open the jar, unless you
want to go to high school again, with me."
"Kelly Cavanaugh? I heard she retired last week. Mulder, what's
the connection?"
"I don't know yet, Scully. But thanks for believing I am who I say
I am. Somehow, you have to convince Skinner that I need a vacation,
'doctor's orders', and we'll try to sort out this mess. You may
as well know: I'm now three inches shorter, thank God my shoes
still fit, and I already called for the plane tickets. We leave
in two hours, so I think you should call Skinner, then pack your
things and pick me up here. Just don't tell anyone about this."
This was a lot for Scully to absorb. "You're serious, aren't
you?" No response, just a glare. "All right, I'll be back in an
hour. You don't think... "
"I KNOW they're in on it. They've been trying to muzzle me for
years, and since they can't do that, they're way-laying me, but
this time while I am not going straight after them, I am going
to find more evidence. Am I ever hungry! Can you get me a double
cheeseburger with fries on the way out?"
"Sure, Junior." Scully grabbed her coat and slung it over her
shoulder. "Just, just stay here and behave yourself, Mulder.
See if you can get anything interesting on Kelly Cavanaugh."
8:30 PM
Mulder and Scully had arrived in Knoxville at 3:51, but there was
a lot of explaining as to why 14-year-old Mulder deserved a room
of his own. After they did get the room situation settled, they
decided to wait until nightfall to go to the skin cream
manufacturer's plant. After all, there was an advantage to Mulder's
smaller frame, and nobody was going to just hand over the answers
to them.
Scully parked the car across the street from the plant. The office
building was becoming darker as employees prepared to venture home.
"This is it, Mulder. Quantico called back just before we left.
They said there were some ingredients resembling hormones, but
other than that, I haven't heard anything else. They're going to
run a few tests and call later. Luckily, they owe me one. As for
Kelly Cavanaugh, her life story seems to begin at the New York
Office and end in Washington after her retirement party. No birth
records, no word where she went after she moved out of her
Georgetown apartment the week after her party. You did well for
a kid. So what's the plan, Mulder?"
"Well, normally I'd just pick the lock or get a key card from
Frohike. But, I don't think that's possible. So, since they're
heavily wired for security, I guess we'll have to be inventive."
"But you did find out they have a couple of vulnerabilities,
am I right?"
"Apparently, a security guard makes his rounds through the office
building, then goes back to watch the monitors. His partner goes
the next round, and so on every other hour. There are some basement
windows in the back that are boarded up, apparently. The alarm
was never hooked up again because they didn't replace the
windows. Research and development is on the second floor, and
if we're lucky, you'll have me home before my bedtime. I need you
to be the lookout. If there's one advantage to being small, it's
that I'm fast on my feet. Well, there is one more... climbing
through a window."
Scully sighed and nodded her head. "All right. Since you can't
have a gun, and I can, that's reasonable. Just remember not to
take too long, or we may have to resort to waiting possibly
months for Quantico to figure this out. If you can't get the
chemical to reverse your situation, at least get as many notes
on this as possible. Let's go."
Getting to the back of the building was easy enough, but actually
getting into it was a problem. Mulder looked around for a large
tree branch to use as a lever against the boards over the windows
as Scully kept watch.
"Mulder, even if you do get in there, how are you going to get up
to the second floor without being spotted?"
As he pulled down hard to free a couple of planks, he whispered,
"Killing the lights in the stairwell. That'll keep the cameras
blind for a couple of minutes, and..." The window was finally
uncovered. "Handy dandy flash-light."
"Better hurry. It's nearly time for security to come around."
Mulder made his way into the basement and found the main power
controls. The lights went off in the stairwell, and he was off
to the laboratory. He carefully made his was through the second
floor hallway, and luckily the Research and Development lab was
close by. He jimmied the lock and carefully entered the lab.
When he found the file cabinet, he scanned over the drawers until
he found one that held the files for 'Ever Young'. It didn't take
him long to find a folder with a small vial of clear liquid taped
to one of the chemist's notes. He carefully read the small print
on the label. 'Cavanaugh Clone, Washington Office, FBI'. He
stuffed the files into his jacket and carefully made his way
to the stairs.
Scully waited restlessly until Mulder reached the basement
"Scully," he whispered. "Evidence. Give me a hand up."
Scully grabbed his arm as Mulder climbed through the window,
tearing his jacket sleeve, but at least keeping the files and
the mystery substance. "C'mon, let's get out of here. I'll explain
on the way to the motel."

Scully ushered Mulder into her apartment, and he put his bags
beside the door.
"Shoes off, Mulder. You don't want to get Auntie Dana's carpet
muddy. Can I get you a soda?"
Mulder flopped down on the couch like a the teenager he had
become. "Nah. How about a beer?"
"Nice try, Mulder. I'll get dinner started. Quantico said they'd
call the moment they had news. Just remember, Mulder: I still
have work to do tomorrow. So, it's early to bed for both of us,
and I'll make up the couch for you later."
Mulder was somewhat dismayed. "Oh, joy. So, do we write up a
report, or just keep all this under wraps?"
The word wraps
reminded him of plastic wrap, and he stopped himself from drifting
into a fantasy about clear wrap, Scully, and whipped cream.
"Frankly, I think it best we keep this between the three of us. We
can't make a fool out of Skinner, and even if we carried a video
diary of this, no one would believe it. How does spaghetti sound?"
"Then I'll get started."
Mulder stared at the phone, almost willing it to ring. Normally,
this would be any schoolboy's dream, but to him it was frustrating
not being able to drive, go out for a few beers, hang out, try a
few moves on a pretty woman--one in particular. Now that could be
cause for arrest.
They had just finished dinner when the call came in.
"Scully. Yes. That's good news. I'm sure he'll be glad to hear
that. When? Good. Thanks again."
Mulder exited the bathroom. "Was that about me?"
"Yeah. They isolated the chemicals that were causing your regression
and now it looks like you'll be back to normal in a week or two.
With a little hormone therapy and time, you'll be back to 6' of
wise-cracking in no time."
"Well, it took that long for this to happen, so I guess I can wait
a week or two. I sense there's a 'but' in there
somewhere, Scully."
"I'm afraid so, Mulder. Your "butt". Three shots a day for at least
a week. So I suggest you enjoy your youthful condition while you
have it."
"Does that mean I can go out with you? Hey, can't blame a guy for
trying. I'm just so full of energy." The smile wasn't going to
win him anything.
"Your medicine arrives in about an hour. You're going to be a
growing boy, so I suggest you get ready for bed early. And
"Don't look so disappointed. You know I never date younger
men." Scully patted Mulder on the head and they watched a movie
until 10:00. He didn't feel that disappointed, really. After all,
he figured he enjoyed being mothered again. For the time being.
In a New York City, dimly lit, smoke-filled room, the men of the
Consortium were weaving their fabric for civilization as we know
The Smoking man was on the hot seat again. "Gentlemen, I can
assure you that Agent Mulder is under control. All went well in
Texas, and I have heard from our friends in the Middle East."
"And the Cavanaugh Clone?" One elder asked.
"Disposed of immaculately. Gentlemen, it's time to begin the next
phase of The Project."


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homes belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and
Fox Studios. (Which makes for a heck of a line-up for the
shower). No money made here, and no copyright infringement