New! Abah XII: And Baby Makes Three(1/3)
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999

Category: S, A , MSR, Mag/Sk Romance
Rating: PG13 for language
Spoilers: Through Season 6

Summary: An x-file, an old enemy, and meeting physical challenges make for a
new adventure in the Abah universe.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: Chris owns 'em, I'm just borrowing 'em. I'll give 'em back.
Later. Any new names on the block belong to me, but heck, I learned to play
nice in the sandbox, so I'm willing to share.

I continue to deviate from CC's canon, but I've also borrowed a little bit
more from it too, hence the spoiler for season six.

There is a continuity time line from the first story in the series to this
one, so I do recommend you read the preceding stories first. If you don't
have time for all of them <G>, then I strongly suggest you at least check out
Abah V & VI. There will be some black holes in this one that may only be
filled in by the previous stories in the series. Besides, this is my totally
gratuitous means of groveling and begging for feedback on any and all of my
"Abah" stories.

You can find all of my stories on my very own fanfic page. The site addy for
Susan's Garden (courtesy of the incredible Shirley Smiley/Web Mistress Supreme
of MTA) is:

Last, a huge thank you to my CyberMuse, Vickie Moseley, for making me travel
on different paths in this one!

Thanks in advance for all of your kind words, past and future.
Please send e-mail comments to:

Abah XII: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Part 1/11

Mulder laid next to the tiny body and reveled in the beautiful, mingling, baby
smells of Johnson's Corn Starch, Johnson's Baby Shampoo, and Ivory Soap. He
watched her with such awe as she looked, mesmerized, at her hands, her feet,
her daddy's nose. He chuckled out loud as he watched her reach forward to
grasp it with her tiny, but strong, hand and pull him to her mouth. He'd had
his nose suckled on more than one occasion.

Five months was definitely an age of discovery, both his infant daughter's and
his own. He hadn't known just how much he'd enjoyed being Sarah's Daddy. He
hadn't known just how much he'd relish having his universe centered around the
two most beautiful women in the world.

"I can't believe you're still in bed, Fox Mulder," teased Scully to the back
of his head. When he didn't respond, she took note of the two hearing aids
sitting on the night table next to their bed. She leaned over slowly so as
not to startle him, and gently touched his shoulder.

"Hey, you," she smiled brightly, and then repeated when he turned and looked
directly at her, "I can't believe you're still in bed."

''I have a ten o'clock appointmen' with the audiologis'," he replied.

"Oh, that's right, they're giving you trouble," Scully acknowledged as she
pointed to the aids.

"Yeah, and it's a lot harder to do any consultin' if the damn things don' do
their job," Mulder replied with a look of disgust.

"I know it's frustrating, Mulder, but you'll go take care of it, and then
you'll be done with it." Scully noted the look of frustration that remained on
his face, so she decided it was time to take a new tack. "Will you be taking
Sarah to the appointment with you?"

"Sarah?" he looked a little surprised. "I hadn' though' abou' it. Aren' you
goin' to be home?"

"Yes, but to be honest, a couple of hours of just 'Scully time' wouldn't be
such a bad thing, Mulder," she replied, understanding the tentativeness in his
response, because this was new territory for both of them.

"Scully, I don' know if I shoul'," he stammered, looking first at his wife and
then at his daughter. His beautiful, helpless, infant daughter.

Scully knew what he was worried about. He'd never had the full responsibility
of taking care of Sarah while away from the house. Sure, Scully had left her
alone with him while she'd run to the store. Other times, Mulder would take
the child for a walk, with her in her carriage, over to the nearby park .

But he'd not yet had full responsibility for her when they were farther than
walking distance from the house. It was a step they both knew needed to be
taken, but it was a step they had both been nervous about. They were still
both frightened of the ramifications if Mulder couldn't handle it, for
whatever reason, but it was something they both needed to see could be done.

"Yep," Scully repeated with forced calmness, "a little private time with
myself would be wonderful. I could take a bubble bath while listening to the
stereo blasting as loudly as I want." When he looked at her doubtfully, she
added, "Mulder, you'll be fine. I trust you, and Sarah trusts you. Now, you
need to trust you."

His eyes silently asked her if she were sure, and Scully simply smiled and
nodded her head. He nodded back, and then reached up to pull her down for a
kiss. They were careful not to roll over onto their still sleeping infant,
while Mulder held onto his wife to gain whatever strength he needed for this
new responsibility.


The cab stopped in front of the audiologist's office fifteen minutes before
his scheduled appointment. Mulder figured that would give him enough time to
gather up Sarah and all of her belongings, and then get up to the third floor

The cab driver helped Mulder undo the infant seat from the back seat and
reattach it to the now unfolded stroller frame. Mulder grabbed the diaper
bag, his cane, which he hooked onto the stroller's handle bar, and tipped the
cab driver an outrageous thirty percent. But Mulder wanted to let the man
know he appreciated all of his help, and if he were available for the return
trip in a couple of hours, he'd really show his appreciation.

The cabby tipped his hat, and told Mulder to just ask for Denny Milford, when
he called for the cab. If Denny were available, he'd be glad to pick Mulder
and the baby up for the return trip home. Mulder nodded his thanks and told
Denny he'd ask for him.

Mulder arrived just at the stroke of ten o'clock for his ten o'clock
appointment. Unfortunately, the audiologist's nine-thirty and nine-forty-five
appointments were still there as well. Mulder knew it wouldn't be before ten
thirty or even eleven o'clock before he was seen. He hated this. He really
hated this.

Over the past few years he'd had more time wasted because he was forced to sit
in a doctor's waiting room. Why couldn't they just book patients in
reasonable time slots rather than try to cram as many patients in as possible
in one day? He knew they had to make up for the no-shows, but it certainly
wasn't fair to those of them who did show up on time.

He took a quick peek at Sarah who remained sound asleep in her stroller.
Mulder had a feeling the baby would wake up just as he was ready to go into
the examining room. He wondered if he should wake her now and feed her, so
she'd be content when he did have to go into the office. Then again, if he
waited, and she woke up when he needed to go into be examined, he could ask
one of the receptionists to give her a bottle. Mulder wished Scully were here
to offer her advice, but he realized he was on his own here. He decided it
was probably better to let sleeping babies lay, so to speak.

At ten minutes to eleven, Mulder was called into the examining room. Sarah
had woken up about twenty minutes before that, so Mulder had changed her
diaper. That was almost an exercise in futility, since it was more
constraining to have Sarah stay in the bucket infant seat to change her. One
saving grace was Scully remembered to put on an outfit with Velcro instead of

One time, when Sara was just a newborn, Mulder had to change Sarah while she
was wearing this adorable outfit with snap fasteners. As he struggled with the
small, tiny snaps, his fumbling fingers had protested the entire time, and
he'd thought he was going to break down and cry. His fingers simply didn't
work as well as they had prior to his illness, and after about a half hour,
he'd finally given up and had called upon a neighbor to help him out.

He'd felt embarrassed to have to do it, but he hadn't trusted himself to use a
pair of scissors while the baby was still in the outfit. He also hadn't
wanted to wait till Scully got home, because Sarah had had a diaper rash at
the time. He hadn't wanted the soiled diaper to exacerbate it, so he'd
decided it was time to 'cry uncle'. He'd put Sarah in the carriage and sought
a neighbor for help.

When Scully had arrived home later that day, he'd felt so ashamed at having to
confess his need for help. Scully, on the other hand, was the one who'd
apologized profusely. She'd said she'd forgotten about the snaps, and had
even admitted they gave her pause to think too. She'd said she would take
care of it. Then his beautiful and understanding wife had told him one more
thing that has stayed with him to this day. Scully had said 'there was a big
difference between acting helpless and asking for help. There was no shame
in knowing when you needed help,' she'd told him.

He loved her for that. He also loved her for taking care of the clothing
problem. Just about half of Sara's clothes now had Velcro fastenings, and
when either parent knew Sara was going to be in mostly Mulder's care for that
day, the Velcro fasteners were the choice for the day.

So, when Sarah woke up in the audiologist's office, Mulder was able to deal
with it while he sat in a chair directly in front of her rather kneeling on
the floor to change her. The diaper change took a little longer than it would
have under the usual circumstances, but it was done.

He stood up and wheeled Sarah's carriage toward the waiting receptionist.
"Arlene," Mulder said, "I don' know if it's a goo' idea to bring Sarah into
the exam room with me, but she's ready for her bottle now. Woul' you be able
to give it to her?"

Arlene beamed, "No problem, Mr. Mulder. I miss having my grandkids nearby, so
this will be a pleasure."

"Than's, Arlene. Than's a lo'," Mulder said as he took his cane from the
handlebar and made his way back toward the examination room.

"Hey Mulder," called out Allie Schofield, his audiologist since his initial
illness. "What's going on? You're not due for an appointment for another two

"These things aren' workin'," he replied. "And I'm gettin' too much fee'back,
and they hur', " he complained.

"Okay, Mulder, let's have a look. You know you're dropping your word endings
again, don't you?" she asked.

"Yeah, Scully tol' me, bu' unless I'm really, really concentratin', I really
can' tell the difference withou' the aids," replied Mulder.

Allie nodded in acknowledgment and set about doing a quick exam of Mulder's
ears. "Mulder," she began, "you have a fluid build up here, my friend." When
she'd not heard any kind of verbal reply, she realized her client hadn't heard
a thing she'd said.

She tapped him on the shoulder so she could make direct eye contact with him.
"Mulder, you have some fluid build up here. I want you to go to the ENT
before we do anything with the aids. It could be you have an ear infection
and need to clear that up before the aids will work properly."

Mulder sighed in response, and then nodded his head. "Do you want me to see
if Dr. Lansing is available today? I should think the sooner we clear up any
infection the better, don't you?"

Again, Mulder nodded, and then something suddenly occurred to him. "ShiT!"

"Well, that was very clear," noted Allie teasingly. "What's wrong?"

"The baby. I don' know if I have enough supplies to keep her out longer."

"Well, let's see if the doctor's available today first, before we cross the
next bridge, okay?" she replied encouragingly. She motioned for him to follow
her into her office so she could make the phone call. As it happened, the
powers that be were on Mulder's side for a change. There was a last minute
cancellation, and Mulder could be checked out immediately.

"Le' me ge' the baby, and I'll ge' goin'," he said.

"Okay, and we can check if you desperately need anything too," replied the

Mulder discovered the diaper bag could probably hold a life time's worth of
clothes and diapers, at least the way Scully packed it. He also found another
bottle of breast milk in the insulated bag as well as a bottle of watered down
juice. He had enough supplies for a week long trip. Mulder had to smile to
himself, as he wondered what the hell was going on in Scully's mind when she
packed a dozen diapers and three outfits.

He walked down the hallway, got into the elevator and went up one flight to
the ENT's office. This was another place he'd spent much too much time in the
past, though happily, not that much recently. When he walked into the office,
Carol, the receptionist, greeted him like a long, lost friend. "Oh, Mr.
Mulder! It's so good to see you again. Oh, is this your new baby? Oh, isn't
she beautiful. Oh, my, she's just lovely. Why, Mr. Mulder, she looks just
like you, doesn't she!"

Mulder smiled. He loved when people oohed and ahhed over his Sarah. It was
funny, because when the baby was with Scully, people insisted she looked just
like her, yet when she was with him, then it was Daddy who she looked exactly
like. Of course when they were together as a whole family, the debate raged
on between individuals, but neither parent really cared. She was healthy, all
her parts worked, and she was a happy, contented child who was loved totally
and completely by her parents. That's all that mattered.

Mulder left the baby with the receptionist and was immediately led to the
examination room by the nurse, Donna. "The doctor will be right with you Mr.
Mulder," she said. A few minutes later, those words became true.

"So, Mr. Mulder, it's been awhile since I've had the pleasure. Allie
Schofield left word you have some fluid buildup and your hearing aids are
giving you a little trouble, yes?"

Mulder didn't get quite everything the doctor said, but he got the gist of it.
So he responded, "Yes. The hearin' ai's hur'."

"She also mentioned your speech was slurring again," the doctor reviewed.

"I don' hear the wor' endin' too well withou' my ai's," Mulder replied.

"Okay, let's take a look." The doctor used an otoscope to examine Mulder's
ear canal and eardrum in both ears. After several minutes, he put the
instrument down and pulled up a stool in order to have direct eye contact with
his patient.

"You loo' way too serious, Doc," Mulder said nervously.

"Yeah, well, I see way too much fluid and pus in those ears of yours, Mulder.
Didn't you feel any pain?" the doctor asked curiously.

"Well, yeah, I guess, bu' I though' it was the hearin' ai's because of all the
fee'back," he explained. "I guess I didn' even think it coul' be the ears

"Well, Mulder, it's definitely the ears themselves. You've got pretty damned
serious infections going in both ears. I'm going to put you on pretty heavy
duty antibiotics to try and clear them up." Dr. Lansing picked up Mulder's
chart. "Still on the Tegretrol?" he asked. Mulder nodded his head in
confirmation. "Anything else?" Mulder shook his head. He'd been off the
preventative antibiotics for quite some time. He would be on the anti-
convulsant for the rest of his life though.

Mulder collected his prescription which he could have filled at the pharmacy
on the ground level of the medical building. He made an appointment for the
coming Monday to be rechecked and then gathered his daughter up and all of her
belongings. He stopped by the audiologist's office to let her know what was
going on. They set up an appointment for February 15th as well for a levels
check for a time after he would finish with the ENT doctor.

The final thing he needed to do was to pick up his prescription. While he
waited for the 'horse pills' to be made up, Mulder called the cab company and
asked for Denny Milford. Sure as his word, Denny showed up about fifteen
minutes later, and with prescription in hand, and baby in car seat, they made
the fifteen minute ride home together.

End of Part 1/11
Abah 12: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2./11

Mulder felt good. Scully, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. It was
well over two hours later than she'd expected it to be before they walked in
the door. But she didn't call. She couldn't do that to him. She couldn't
check up on him as though he were a three year old. It didn't stop her from
worrying frantically if he'd had a seizure somewhere. She knew he wore his
bracelet religiously now, so someone would be able to contact her as well as
know what his condition was. It did not, however, waylay her fears as to
where he was now, and why it was taking so long for him to get home.

So, when Mulder walked through the door, baby in stroller, diaper bag swinging
on his shoulder, with a smile on his face, Scully breathed a huge sigh of

"Hey, G-Man," she said with affection, "you're late!"

The smile vanished from Mulder's face instantly, as he responded, "Oh, Scully.
I'm sorry. I shoulda calle' you when I ha' the other exam. I jus' didn'
think abou' it."

"What other exam?" Scully asked quickly, as she automatically went into doctor

Mulder smiled as he recognized the transformation immediately. "The ENT
examine' me too. Allie Schofield saw some flui' in my ear, and sai' the
hearin' ai's coul' be malfunctionin' because of the flui'. So, Dr. Lansing
ha' an openin' an' too' me righ' away. I got double ear infections, Scully.
I gotta ta'e horsepill' for ten day'."

"Oh, well, then the hearing aids will work properly again, right?" Scully
replied with a sense of relief. She'd had visions of horrible, evil goings
on, and this was not only not so horrible, this was fixable.

Mulder shrugged, but said no more about it. He was, in actuality, a little
worried. He knew his ears had sustained a great deal of damage from the
meningitis. He didn't know how much more they could handle, and he was
worried he might have suffered more of a loss in hearing. Well, he vowed to
himself he would take the antibiotics like a good patient, and he would even
finish them as prescribed. He decided he'd just have to think positive
thoughts with regards to his hearing.


Though Mulder remained a bit worried about his hearing, he felt positively
triumphant about having handled the responsibility of Sarah outside the
parameters of their home. He couldn't help thinking this was perhaps a
turning point for both him and Scully. Since his illness, he'd become so
dependent upon her, as well as his in-laws who lived nearby.

His mother-in-law, Maggie Skinner, was one of the most understanding,
brightest women he knew. Mulder knew where Scully got her best traits from,
but he also knew Maggie shared the genes that earmarked stubbornness and
bullheadednss as well. The two Scully women were certainly cut from the same
cloth, and he didn't want it any other way.

Mulder and Walter Skinner, his father-in-law and Mulder's former direct
supervisor at the bureau, had certainly developed a unique relationship over
the last few years. Mulder had always respected and even admired the
Assistant Director. Skinner, in his role as boss, was always mindful of the
rules of protocol, yet managed to be as flexible as he dared when it came to
the X-Files and handling Mulder and Scully. Skinner was a stern taskmaster,
as he expected reports to be up to date and accurate, but he expected no more
than what he expected from himself.

When Mulder had become sick, it was Walter who took on the unfamiliar role as
surrogate parent, and through whatever divine intervention , Walter became his
Abah. It had been quite a sight to see Walter S. Skinner, Assistant Director
of the FBI, speaking soothingly to his young agent, all the while holding him
comfortingly in his arms. It was a sight which had thrown his mother,
Elizabeth Mulder, for a total loop.

Elizabeth had flashed back to a time when her lover, Jack Stein, also known as
CancerMan, had taken on that same role when her children were small. It was a
scene Elizabeth had difficulty with and had not wanted to relive. Eventually,
however, she came to terms with the newly evolving relationship Walter and
Mulder had, as well as the newly evolving romantic relationship her son and
his partner began during his recovery.

The fact that her son's recovery took place at Maggie Scully's house had also
unnerved Elizabeth, as she'd felt her role as mother was being usurped. In
fact it was, but only because Elizabeth hadn't provided any kind of maternal
care for her son in so long, it seemed only logical that Mulder would seek it
from someone else. But as time passed, each family member had begun to assume
and become more comfortable in their familial role.

The relationship, therefore, between himself and his mother was, if not warm
and loving, certainly not cold and distant. Elizabeth was a doting, albeit
long distance, grandmother to her one and only grandchild, so she maintained
at least phone contact with the family on a weekly basis.

The last few years had seen many changes occur in the family relationships,
but the most notable was the reappearance of his sister, Samantha, after a
horrific kidnapping experience in which Alex Krycek had been responsible.
Samantha had become an unwitting pawn in Krycek's play for power within the
consortium, but was miraculously there and played a major role in Mulder's
rescue. Mulder thanked the powers that be often for allowing his sister to be
nearby during that experience. He'd suffered severe injuries after that, and
it was with Sam's help that he recovered as fully, and as quickly as he did.

He supposed one of the reasons for his speedy recovery was Sam wanted to be a
maid of honor, and thanks to her intensive (and sometimes torturous) therapy
sessions, Mulder and Scully were able to walk down the aisle a lot sooner than
either had hoped for. His sister and mother were there to witness it, along
with his mother-in-law and his Abah. Even Jack Stein had managed to
ingratiate himself into the family fold again, though Mulder wondered if it
was wise to ever trust this man totally.

Yet at the moment, Mulder was going to allow himself to bask a little in the
afterglow of a job well done. He'd wanted to try and take Sarah on his own
for so long, but he had been so afraid of all that could have gone wrong. Now
that he'd done it and succeeded at bringing the baby home safe and sound, he
felt wonderful. He couldn't help but wear a Cheshire grin.

He saw Scully and she held out the phone for him. "It's Sam, can you hear her
to speak with her?" she asked.

"I don' know," he replied. He set the volume control up as high as it would
go. "Hello?" He waited for a reply, and then repeated himself, "Hello, Sam?"
He heard nothing, and all of the success he'd felt earlier now turned to
naught. He looked at Scully and said, "If she is speaking, I can't hear her.

"Hold on, I have an idea," she replied. Mulder watched her as she walked over
to their computer and signed herself online. She continued speaking with Sam
while she typed in some keys.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"Come here. You can talk in a chat room," Scully explained.

"Jeeze, why didn't I think of that?"

"Because I'm the beautiful one with the brains too, dear," she said teasingly.

"Yeah, don't I know it. Thanks, Dana," he said and offered her a very tender


SAM-I-AM: Yo, big brother, what's up?

FOX-IN-SOX: Nothing much. Well, I went to the audiologist
and took Sarah. By myself, Sam. As in alone.

SAM-I-AM: All right! And Dana survived it?

FOX-IN-SOX: Barely, I think. Me too. The only one who I
don't think minded any of it was Sarah. She ate, drank, peed, and slept. Not
bad for a day's work, ya think?

SAM-I-AM: LOL! No, not at all. So, what's with the ears?
How come you can't hear me on the phone?

FOX-IN-SOX: I have double ear infections, but I didn't realize
it. I just thought the hearing aids were malfunctioning as usual. Turns out
I have a lot of fluid in my ears, and that's why the aids were whacking out on

SAM-I-AM: How long before things get back to normal?

FOX-IN-SOX: Not sure. I go back next week for a recheck, but
for now, I'm not going to bother trying to wear
the aids. There's too much feedback, and besides, it hurts.



SAM-I-AM: Oh, it's nothing. Really.

FOX-IN-SOX: Sam, you have got to be the worst liar in the
world! Scully's even better than you, and
believe that's pretty hard to do. I can tell there's
something on your mind even over the damn
computer. So, give.

SAM-I-AM: Okay. Here's the deal. Since I started working
at GWUMC, I've been kind of making a name
for myself in the pediatric unit in terms of
handling, how shall we say, "difficult" cases?

FOX-IN-SOX: What do you mean difficult? In terms of

SAM-I-AM: Yes, but there's more. I mean difficult in terms
of etiology too.

FOX-IN-SOX: Holy shit, Sam!! You're doing X-File cases?

SAM-I-AM: I guess it's in the genes, big bro! <VBG> But it's
not just because it interests me, and I've had
some success treating the so-called unusual case,
but my old friends at Quantico call me in every
once in a blue moon in the hopes I can provide
some answers.

FOX-IN-SOX: You still keep in touch with Quantico? You
didn't worked there for that long, did you?

SAM-I-AM: Just about 8 months, but I developed some good
relationships there, Fox. Anyway, I've already
picked your wife's brain on this one, so I'd
decided it was time to get your opinion. That is
if you don't mind.

FOX-IN-SOX: You spoke to Scully about it?

SAM-I-AM: Yes, I wanted to get her medical opinion about
the case. Now I need to get your opinion about
the case.

Mulder sat and looked at the screen for a moment. He typed in the letters
"BRB" to let Sam know he was stepping away from the screen for a moment. He
stood up and stretched his arms out. He then bent forward to stretch his back
out, while he rested one hand on the back of the chair. He was afraid to let
go for fear of losing his balance. He stood back up and found Scully
breastfeeding the baby.

"I still have Sam online. What's the case she talked to you about?" he asked.

"She wants to talk to you?" she asked with a look of surprise.

"Yes. Didn't she mention she was going to talk to me?"

"No, she didn't, and I don't know if this is a case for you to discuss,
Mulder," Scully said seriously.


"I just don't think this one is right for you. Tell her I said so, if you
want," Scully said quickly.

''Scully, what's the case about?" Mulder asked mildly annoyed that his wife
still felt she needed to censor his life.

"Healthy children being kidnapped and then returned not so healthy," she
replied evenly, though Mulder could see her clutch their infant daughter just
a little more tightly.

"Oh." Maybe this wasn't a case he wanted to hear about. He hated it when
Scully was right about things like this. He hated it more that he knew he had
to hear Sam out, and then help her in any way he could.

He turned and walked out of the baby's room. Mulder didn't hear Scully cry
out to him to 'leave this one alone.' He sat back down at the computer and
placed his hands on the specialized ________ keyboard.

FOX-IN-SOX: I'm back.

SAM-I-AM: What did Dana say?

FOX-IN-SOX: You know me too well, little sister.

SAM-I-AM: Damn straight, I do! So? What did she tell you?

FOX-IN-SOX: She said healthy babies are being kidnapped and
then returned unhealthy.

SAM-I-AM: That all?

FOX-IN-SOX: No. She said I should stay away from this one.


FOX-IN-SOX: So, bring me up to speed, Sam.

Sam had to smile at this. She really did know her brother too well, and in
this case, she felt horribly guilty at manipulating him into discussing this
with her. But the guys at Quantico were at a loss, and they knew she had
connections with the legendary 'Spooky' Mulder, but until they were sure he
could help them, they weren't about to offer him a consult fee. Sam knew if
she presented the facts to him, his beautiful profiler's mind would go into

Though the meningitis, and subsequent periods of illness had affected his
motor skills, his thinking skills were never impaired. He could still profile
with the best of them. *Hell,* Sam thought, *he _was_ the best of them.*
She needed him for this one. This one was too heinous not to be solved as
quickly as possible.

SAM-I-AM: Okay. Here's the scenario as we know it, in a
nutshell. So far, we've had four children from
different DC suburbs kidnapped while they
were with their nannies. The children are all
in the two to almost three year old range. The children's parents are all in
the two hundred-fifty thousand dollar to four hundred thousand dollar a year
salary range. These are not pauper's kids. The children were kidnapped, all
around the same time of day, and then returned to GWUMC.

FOX-IN-SOX: Were the ransom demands met?

SAM-I-AM: Fox, there were no ransom demands. The children were taken and
then returned here at the medical

FOX-IN-SOX: What's wrong with them?

SAM-I-AM: I'm not sure. I can describe the symptoms,
though I don't have a clue as to why they have
them. The children present a complete lack of
muscle control in their extremities and neck.
They cannot control their swallowing and have
had gastro-nasal tubes inserted to feed them.
They can no longer sit up by themselves nor can
they speak. They do, however, respond to light
and sound. They also respond to pain stimuli.

FOX-IN-SOX: Damn it, Samantha.

Sam read the words, but she could practically hear the anguish with which her
brother had written them. She really did feel awful about asking him to help
her, but she honestly didn't know where to turn.

SAM-I-AM: I'm sorry, Fox. Don't be angry with me. I really
need you on this.

FOX-IN-SOX: I know. What do the tests show?

SAM-I-AM: The CAT scans and MRI's show nothing. No
major trauma or brain damage. The preliminary
blood work ups show nothing out of the
ordinary. It's crazy, Fox. According to all the
tests, there should be absolutely nothing wrong
with them. But we've got broken babies here,
and I don't know why.

FOX-IN-SOX: Try looking for things that are not out of the
ordinary, Sam. Remember the last time we
had to deal with a crazy bastard who liked to
hurt children? The problem was Vitamin C.
Simple, everyday, Vitamin C. Maybe it's
something that's common.

SAM-I-AM: Okay. I'll look over the test results again. You
wouldn't by any chance be interested in coming
down to the hospital to take a look, would you?
I might even be able to arrange for a couple of
the Quantico boys to be here with a file or two?
Fox, I know this is an awful case, and what with
Sarah and all, the last thing you want to think
about are babies being kidnapped and hurt, but,
it's so sad to see these children who were once so
healthy, and now they're...they're...

FOX-IN-SOX: Vegetables? Zucchinis? The makings of a
salad? Taking up valuable oxygen?

SAM-I-AM: Fox, stop! That's not what I meant and you
know it. Please.

FOX-IN-SOX: I'm sorry. It's something I never get used to.
The hospital staff so often speaks about a patient
as if they're either deaf, dumb, and blind, or
simply not there. I can't tell you how many
times I'd heard those labels said in reference to

SAM-I-AM: I love you, Fox. You're my brother and you are
one of the hardest working, bravest men I know.
If you don't want to work this one, I understand.
Really. I do. It just may hit too close to home.

FOX-IN-SOX: Are you at the hospital now?

SAM-I-AM: Yes.

FOX-IN-SOX: I'll be there in about thirty minutes.

SAM-I-AM: Thank you, Fox. Thank you so much.

Mulder clicked on the box to shut the online program down, and then he shut
down the computer completely. He stood up, stretched again, and wondered when
he'd gotten so old and creaky. Probably since he'd stopped going to regular
physical therapy sessions. He thought about the possibility of going to a
personal trainer to come up with a modified exercise program for himself.
After all, he had a daughter he was going to have to keep up with eventually.

He thought about what Sam had said about the young victims. He shook his head
and then said a silent prayer of thanks for his good fortune. He may have a
million things wrong with him physically, but he had a wife with whom he was
madly in love with and who reciprocated that love without question. And he
had his daughter. His beautiful, healthy, Sarah. He was a very fortunate
man, indeed.

Now all he had to do was pray Scully would see it his way and not break his
legs in two in order to prevent him from leaving the house.

Somehow, he didn't think it was going to be an easy sell.

End of Part 2/11
Abah 12: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 3/11

Mulder met Samantha at the pediatric wing of the medical center. He greeted
her with a sober kiss, which she returned with a warm hug.

"Thank you, Fox, for coming," she said sincerely. Sam looked at her brother
and realized instantly something was disturbing him. She looked at him
closely, made sure she had his undivided attention, and asked, "What did Dana

Mulder startled a bit and wondered when exactly his sister became clairvoyant.
"You know me too well, Sam."

"No, I think I've come to know Dana a lot better," she replied with a wry
smile. When Sam had first returned, both she and Dana went into overdrive
vying for Mulder's attention. However, after Mulder had been rescued from a
plane crash some time ago, both women had vowed to be more cognizant of each
other's needs and feelings. They'd managed to develop a pretty good
relationship since then.

"She's no' happy abou' me bein' here, Sam," he replied and looked down. He
felt himself grimace as the pain from the inflammation in his ears began to
peak again.

"Hey, you okay?" He nodded, albeit not convincingly, but she forged ahead and
asked, "What did she say?" When Sam realized Mulder didn't acknowledge what
she was saying because he'd looked away from her, she touched his shoulder and
repeated, "Fox, tell me what Dana said."

"She sai' she didn' thin' this was an appropria'e consul' for me. She sai'
she didn' thin' I coul' han'le it."

"And what do you think? Do you think you can handle it?" Sam asked earnestly.
"Listen to me, Fox. If you think you're going to get in over your head on
this one, don't be afraid to tell me. You're doing me a big favor just by
coming down and taking a look at the kids and the files. If there's nothing
you feel you can do after that, then so be it. Okay, big brother?"

Mulder nodded and whispered with forced clarity, "C'mon. I nee' to see wha' I
canT han'le."


He put on the scrubs and mask and entered the isolation area. Since all of
the children had disappeared under very similar circumstances and were
returned similarly, it was decided to keep them isolated from other children
on the peds wing as a precautionary measure.

The first thing that startled Mulder was the fact all of the children looked
so small. They weren't small like his infant daughter, but certainly they
appeared just as helpless. Perhaps more so. Mulder looked at the first
child, noted he was a very blond little boy, with vacant blue eyes, and about
three years of age. The second and third children were another boy and girl,
respectively, with brown hair. One had brown eyes, while the little girl had
blue eyes.

It was, however, the sight of the fourth child that caused Mulder to gasp.
She was the spitting image of Samantha when she was three. He looked at Sam
and then back at the child. His eyes settled back on Sam.

"Eerie, isn't it," she acknowledged.

"Yes," he whispered in reply. "GoD, Samantha, she could be your daughter," he

"Fox, with all of the things that have happened to me in the past, anything is
possible. But, I'm not about to take the risk to find out just now." She
paused for a moment and then took a deep breath. "So, tell me what your
impressions are," she redirected him back to the case at hand.

"Okay," he agreed thoughtfully, "I see four children, two boys and two girls,
who are in vegetative sta'es. They do no' appear to respon' to normal
s'imuli. They do no' appear to be aware of their surroun'ings. The fac' tha'
these chil'ren were able-bodie' an' co'nizan' of their surroun'ings only days
ago is min' bogglin'."

In the next minute Sam heard a knock on the door to the isolation room. When
Sam looked up, Mulder did too, though he wasn't sure why. He followed his
sister's gaze and saw a man of about six foot in stature wearing the typical
FBI 'uniform' of dark suit, white dress shirt and conservative tie, and black
trench coat.

Mulder looked down briefly at what he was wearing. Brown khaki slacks, polo
shirt and leather jacket. He smiled to himself. He did not miss the days of
stiff, starched, white shirts combined with suit jackets and ties.

Sam touched his elbow and began to lead him out of the isolation room. She
introduced the man as Eric. Agent Eric Benton.

"EriC?" Mulder asked with a hint of big brother concern in it.

"Yes, Fox. Eric." When she saw his incredulous expression, she sighed and
came clean. "Eric and I have been kind of seeing one another. He's the
person who called my attention to the case. He's the agent who asked me to
contact you," Samantha replied with a slight blush to her cheeks. Then she
added with a little more conviction to her voice, "Get over it, Fox."

"EriC?" he repeated and then turned to look at the other man.

"Hello, Sir," Eric Benton said as he offered his hand to shake.

"Eric." Mulder couldn't believe it. His baby sister was dating someone? It
seemed he'd only just gotten over the notion she wasn't eight years old any
longer, but __, Eric?

When the young man kept his hand outstretched in a valiant attempt to make a
good impression on his girlfriend's big brother, Mulder finally decided to put
the poor guy out of his misery. Though the first thought he'd opted for was
to shoot him, Mulder realized he no longer had a permit to carry a weapon. Of
course, he considered where he might borrow one quickly, but then just as
quickly, put that option out of his mind.

Instead, he took the extended hand, grasped it firmly, and said in a very
soft, calm, and extremely clear voice, "You hurT my sister, you're deaD."

Agent Benton stammered a bit and quickly began nodding his head up and down to
assure Mulder he had no intentions of ever hurting Samantha. Samantha, on the
other hand, simply rolled her eyes.

"GooD," Mulder enunciated, "now tha' we un'erstan' each other, we can move on.
Do you ha'e the fi'es with you?"

Benton cocked his head as he tried to quickly decipher Fox Mulder's speech,
when he realized it was the _files_ he was asking for. He nodded his head and
pointed toward the waiting room. "There's some chairs and a table inside
there. I think we might be more comfortable." He led the way into the
quarantined area's waiting room.


He sat down with the agent and his sister in the waiting room. Mulder found
himself wondering when his next dose of antibiotics were due, as the pain
from the earaches were bothersome, to say the least. He watched Agent Eric
Benton pull out a relatively thick file folder. The agent offered the folder
to Mulder, which he took and opened up tentatively. It was on these rare
occasions, Mulder thought ironically, that he almost appreciated his hearing

As time passed, Mulder became more and more aware that the older he got, the
more his attention span waned. The fact that he was on daily doses of
anticonvulsants certainly didn't help his ability to remain focused on the
printed page. However, when Mulder didn't have his hearing aids in, as was
now the case, he didn't have any auditory distractions. And if he kept his
eyes strictly on the file, he didn't have any visual ones either.

Except for the names. And the descriptions. And the pictures.

Because now the victims had a name and a life attached to them. And it was at
that moment, when Mulder was able to make the connection, he would have given
anything to be distracted. Anything at all.

Instead, he kept reading.

Scott Peter Landsman, was born on March 6, 1996, and would soon celebrate his
third birthday. He'd apparently reached all normal developmental milestones
within the appropriate age ranges. The same could be said for Drew Cooper-
Daniels who was born on June 1, 1996, also not quite three years ago. Briana
Daun Wilson was born on September 4th of '96. She'd actually shown a little
faster maturational development than either Scott or Drew, but still within
normal developmental milestones.

The fourth child, however, the little girl who looked so much like Samantha,
was very much in a league of her own. The little girl, born on December 12,
1996, had started talking at about seven months and walking at approximately
nine months. Her health history was amazingly clear. She was brought in for
normal well-baby visits and received her inoculations on schedule.

There was no record of any health problems for this last child, Caitlin Rose
Stanwich, whose second birthday was just a few weeks ago on December 12th.
There were none for any of the other children, for that matter, prior to their
being kidnapped and returned to the medical center.

Mulder picked his head up and asked the agent, "Wha' do we know abou' the

Agent Benton reached for the file folder with all of the information, but he
didn't need to look at it. The circumstances of these children haunted him,
and he'd absorbed every piece of information he could about them. He
desperately wanted to find the bastard that was doing this to helpless babies.

"The children's families all live in suburbs of DC. They are upper class in
terms of socio-economic status. In other words, they come from money.''

"Who was wit' the chil'ren when they were taken?" Mulder asked.

"Nannies. Lovely ladies who ranged in age from fifty-seven to sixty-three
years of age. Though none of them were walking around with a foot in death's
door, I wouldn't consider any of them primed to run a marathon either," Benton

"How were the chil'ren taken?" Mulder asked.

"Nannies brought the children to a local park, and they were knocked out from
behind for their trouble. Apparently there were no witness to the actual
attack on the nannies nor the kidnapping of the children," Benton replied.

"Do the nannies remember anythin'?" Mulder asked, but none too hopefully.

"No. Nothing. They insist one minute they're walking the child, in his or
her stroller, into the park, and the next thing they see an emergency medical
technician tending to them. They haven't been of any help at all in that they
don't seem to either remember or simply do not know anything," Benton replied
with an air of frustration.

At this point Samantha placed her hand comfortingly on Eric's forearm. Mulder
caught sight of this and quickly looked away. He wasn't sure why, but he was
having a real difficult time seeing his sister in this light. He felt a
little ashamed of this and truly hoped Sam didn't notice his discomfiture.

Mulder finally returned his gaze to Benton's. He then asked, "Agen' Benton,
you sai' there was no ransom no'e?"

"No, Mr. Mulder," the agent responded.

"It's Mulder. No miss'er, jus' Mulder."

"Yes, Sir. I mean, Mulder," Benton said with a smile. "Umm, perhaps you
wouldn't mind calling me Eric?" he asked hopefully.

Mulder looked first at Benton and then at his sister. He suddenly realized
she really, really liked this guy. And the feeling appeared to be mutual.
Mulder thought the guy seemed to be okay; he seemed to have some smarts about
him, and he was certainly compassionate. He really appeared to want to help
these children.

*Oh, what the hell,* thought Mulder. "Very well. Eric it is."

Eric Benton responded with a huge grin, but it was Samantha who let out the
sigh of relief. She now knew her brother wasn't going to act like an asshole
about this whole situation. Maybe the children will be helped and another
kidnapping will be prevented.

"Eric, how were the chil'ren foun'?" Mulder asked.

"I think Samantha can address that more easily," Benton replied and deferring
to the young doctor.

Sam nodded and said, "I'd come on duty and arrived through the main doors,
when one of the security guards came rushing over to me. He said a child was
found in the main waiting area in a large basket, and apparently needed help

"Of course, I quickly went over to see what I could do, and found Scott curled
up in a fetal position wrapped up in sheets. I had a gurney brought over and
brought him upstairs here to pediatrics. Apparently the three other children
were found under similar circumstances in that they were returned the day
after they were abducted."

Mulder asked how often they were abducted, and Benton replied, "On successive

"So Scott was kidnapped when?" Mulder wanted to clarify the timeline in the
hope of figuring out when the next victim would most likely be found.

"Scotty Landsman was kidnapped on February 1 and returned on February 2nd.
The next day, February 3rd, Drew was taken and then found in the hospital here
at GWUMC the following day on February 4th. The pattern follows for Briana
and Caitlin, in that Briana was taken on the 5th and returned on the 6th,
while Caitlin was abducted on the 7th and returned yesterday on the 8th,"
Benton concluded.

"Ha'e there been any more chil'ren repor'ed missin'?" Mulder asked.

"I don't know. I haven't been informed of any. It's possible there's been
another kidnapping in another part of town and we haven't been notified by
locals yet," Benton stated.

"But if the UNSUB was goin' to follow his pattern, then a child woul' ha'e
been taken today. Sam, be prepare' for a new boarder," Mulder replied grimly.

"You think he's going to hold to the pattern? Maybe we should notify families
with young children to remain near their homes," Benton suggested.

"An' you woul' star' a panic all over the city," Mulder countered.

"But if it prevents a child from becoming __, becoming like _that_, then isn't
it worth it?" Benton asked emotionally.

Mulder flinched ever so slightly at Benton's words. He didn't have to have
his hearing aids in to understand Benton's obvious discomfort with the
physically disabled children. Mulder wondered how uncomfortable Benton was
feeling being around the physically disabled Fox Mulder.

Mulder shook his head a little sadly, and hoped this man would redeem himself
in Mulder's eyes, if for no other reason than his sister's sake. He then
forced himself to refocus on the case.

"I'm missin' somethin'. I'm no' seein' somethin' obvious," Mulder muttered.

"What aren't you seeing, Fox?" asked Samantha quietly.

"I don' know, but I'll know it when it pops up again," he replied ruefully.


Benton's cell phone rang about fifteen minutes later with the report of a
missing toddler. Kristin Feldman was taken by force from her stroller, while
her grandmother was wheeling the stroller back to her car. Marla Feldman was
knocked down to the ground in the parking lot of a local shopping center just
outside of DC. Apparently her car was parked in one of those parking spaces
specifically earmarked for those cars carrying children in child safety seats.

The kidnappers only needed to sit and wait. The Feldman child was a marked
target, though it was not clear as to whether it was specifically the Feldman
child who was targeted, or just anyone who happened to park in that space.

Marla Feldman was hit in the head from behind and knocked unconscious. When
she came to, she noticed some passerbys hovering over her. Mrs. Feldman
quickly looked for her granddaughter in her stroller and did not see her. It
was only at that point the police were called in. The amount of time that
passed between Marla Feldman being knocked down and coming to was at least
fifteen minutes.

Unfortunately, fifteen minutes too late for the almost two year old Kristin
Feldman. Mulder asked if he could go to the scene with Benton. He also asked
for permission to sit in on the interview with Mrs. Feldman. Benton readily

"Excu'e me," Mulder said just before they were ready to leave. I jus' nee' to
call my wife." He picked up his cellular and speed dialed the #1. He held
the phone very close to his ear and hoped he'd be able to pick up on Scully's
voice. He thought he heard her say 'Hello.'

"Hi. It's me," he said as distinctly as possible. "I'm at the hospital righ'
now, bu' I'm going with Agen' Benton to the latest crime scene. Then, I'm
gonna sit in on the interview with the victim's gran'mother. Scully, I'm
okay. I promise. I'm gonna pu' Samantha on. I'll be home in a couple of
hour'." Mulder handed the phone to Samantha and gestured he wasn't able to
hear Scully on the other end.

Sam said, "Dana?"

"Is he all right, Sam?" Dana asked anxiously.

"Yes, Dana. He is. He really is. I don't know what he'll be like after he's
visited this latest crime scene, or talked with the grandmother, but he really
seems to be keeping it together."

"Sam, this one is too close. I'm afraid for him," Scully admitted.

"I know, and I understand your fears, but __." Sam hesitated for a moment
before she made her own admission. "Dana, we have four babies laying in this
hospital totally helpless. From the sound of it, we're going to be housing a
fifth child soon. I don't know what to do to help them, Dana. I'm at a
complete loss, and I'm afraid it will just keep going on if we don't find this

"We need him on this one, Dana," Samantha Mulder concluded emotionally.

"Watch over him, Sam," Dana responded softly. She knew Mulder would never be
able to walk away from this one, but she was damned if she was going to let
him stay in it alone. "Where's the crime scene?"

"What?" Sam asked.

"Where's the crime scene? I'll meet him over there," Dana said.

"Dana, what about the baby?" Sam asked.

"I'll ask my mom and Walter to baby sit."

"Dana, wait. Don't rush over just yet. Let him try and deal with this on his
own. Eric will be with him, and I know he'll keep an eye on him."

"Who the hell is Eric?" Scully asked with annoyance at having her idea shot
down so quickly by her sister-in-law. The fact that she knew Sam was more
than likely right about waiting was something else.

"Eric Benton is an agent for the bureau. He's also the guy I've been seeing
for the last three months," Sam admitted.

"Three months? And I'm only just learning about him now?" replied Scully with
a hint of hurt in her voice.

"Yeah. We've only just become more serious in the last few weeks, Dana. I
swear, I was going to mention it, but __." Sam paused and took a deep breath.
She realized if her sister in law was going to be annoyed, there was little
she could do about it at this point. The important thing to consider now were
these poor little victims and what everyone could do to help them.

"Look," Sam continued, "Fox is going. Can I at least tell him you understand
why he needs to do this. Dana, you don't want him going into this with him
unable to concentrate because he's too busy worrying about what you're

"Tell him I understand," Scully whispered in reply.

End of Part 3/11
Abah 12: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 4/11

Kristin Feldman would turn two years old next month, on March 29th. She had
dark, wavy, brown hair and brown eyes. The child's parents were divorced, and
the mother worked full time as a paralegal with one of the DC firms. The
mother also attended law school at night, and was often busy with homework.
Marla Feldman provided her granddaughter with free daycare.

The agent and Mulder viewed the crime scene, but there was really nothing to
see. It was obvious to Mulder and Benton how the UNSUB committed the crime.
The UNSUB hid behind some nearby bushes and then, by staying on the driver's
side of the car, was able to easily hide the assault on the older woman. The
UNSUB then quietly took the child from her stroller before anyone was the

Marla Feldman was beside herself as she paced back and forth in her daughter's
kitchen. She'd refused medical treatment and had insisted upon going directly
to her daughter's home to give her the news personally. "I don't believe
this. How could they not find her by now?" she lamented over and over. "It's
all my fault. Ohmigod, it's all my fault."

"Mom, stop. It's not your fault. They'll find her," Carol, her daughter,
said. Kristin's mother wanted so badly to believe her own words, but in
reality, she didn't know if she could.

"Mrs. Feldman," interrupted Agent Benton a little more impatiently than he'd
intended, "I know you've been through this before with your local police
department, however, I need you to go over it again. Now, let's just have you
start from the beginning. You were finished with your shopping, and you were
wheeling your granddaughter in her carriage to your car, right?"

Benton paused just long enough for the woman to nod her head mutely. "Okay,"
he acknowledged, "so you had parked in one of those spaces reserved for cars
carrying kids, right?"

The older woman looked in anguish at the young agent. She was barely holding
herself together, and he wanted her to recount this horrible experience all
over again. The worse thing about it was she couldn't tell them anything.
She hadn't seen anyone or heard anyone. All she remembered was being struck
from behind. That was all. She was sure of it.

Mulder watched the scenario take place before him. He couldn't hear
everything that was being said, because he'd purposely positioned himself on
the periphery of the kitchen. He wanted to give the kid a chance to take the
lead, since it was his case.

But Marla Feldman was shutting down before his very eyes. Even if she wasn't
sure of what happened, there was more than likely _something_ she could say
that would add to their knowledge of the crime. Yet, she was closing up; she
felt she was being pushed and that she was being accused. And the kid, albeit
unwittingly, was doing the pushing and the accusing. Mulder knew Benton was
inexperienced and since Benton's partner hadn't arrived yet, Mulder felt it
behooved him to jump in and salvage this interview.

"Excu'e me," Mulder said very quietly as he looked at Agent Benton. "May I
as' a couple of question'?" Mulder waited patiently while Benton paused and
thought it over, though Mulder hoped the kid had the common sense to defer to
experience. Finally, Benton nodded silently.

Mulder then looked at Marla Feldman and asked the same question of her. He
waited patiently once again, and in fact had to wait a bit longer for the
positive response from her. Mulder nodded, and then walked slowly over to the
kitchen table. He hooked his cane on the back of the kitchen chair and sat
down. He needed to be facing Mrs. Feldman in order to be assured he'd
understand her.

"Mrs. Fel'man? May I ask you to sit down at the table? It's easier for me to
un'er'tan' you. I'm deaf, an' I nee' to rea' your lips." She nodded and sat
down directly opposite of him. "Than' you, Mrs. Fel'man. I can on'y imagine
how har' this mus' be for you and your daughter."

"It's a nightmare, Mr. __, Mr. __. I'm sorry, but I've forgotten your name,"
she said in frustration.

"Mulder," he responded as clearly as possible. "Fox Mulder."

"Well, Mr. Mulder, I don't know what else to tell you. I've explained to the
police and you people everything I know."

"I'm sure you ha'e, Mrs. Fel'man. I'm curious abou' any inciden'al
info'mation you migh' ha'e."

He sat quietly for a moment, as he wanted the victim's grandmother to truly
believe she might actually be aware of other information that could help her
granddaughter. He also wanted the time to formulate some questions that might
elicit such incidental information that could be of use. When he looked back
at the grandmother, he knew he had her attention.

"Mrs. Fel'man, how often do you ta'e Kri'tin to the 'tore?" Mulder asked,
purposely keeping his references in the present tense.

Marla breathed a sigh of relief. Finally, a question she could answer. "Oh,
I'd say on the average of two to three times per week. I like to buy certain
items fresh. I hate to cook vegetables that are more than a couple of days
old," she explained.

"Do you go to the 't'ame 'tore all the time?" Mulder asked with more fatigue
than even he realized he was feeling. His speech was becoming more and more

"Yes, yes, I guess I do. Not a very adventurous sort, am I?" she replied

"I thin' mos' people show their loyalty to one 'tore, Mrs. Fel'man. I only
as' you abou' it to see if we can e'tablish some kin' of a pattern for our
ki'napper." Mulder paused to give Mrs. Feldman a chance to let that rationale
sink in. "Wha' abou' time? Do you go to the 'tore at the same time durin'
the day?"

"I don't ___. Well, no, maybe I do know. I would have to say yes, for the
most part I do go at the same time. Kristin always takes a late morning nap,
because she tends to rise so early in the morning. So, she sleeps for about
ninety minutes, and then we go."

"This is so he'pful, Mrs. Fel'man. Wha' time woul' you say tha' is?" Mulder
asked encouragingly.

"Oh, anywhere between twelve and twelve thirty. Kristin usually goes in for
her nap between ten-thirty and eleven. She sleeps for about ninety minutes,
and then we go out. It could be to the market or to the mall, or if the
weather is nice, we may go to the park."

"Woul' you say you go to the marke' mos'ly on Tue'day?" Mulder asked
curiously. Today was Tuesday, and he was trying to establish if there were a
set pattern to her shopping habits. Mulder wanted to known if little Kristin
Feldman was indeed the intended victim, or just a convenient victim for the

"I guess I do go on Tuesdays. I never realized I was such a creature of
habit. I usually market on Saturday, do the wash on Sunday, and then I baby
sit for Kristin on Monday. Carol has usually done a big food shopping on
Saturday, so she doesn't need any items filled in until Tuesday. I always
take the baby to the store on Tuesday. Ohmigod. Someone knows I always go on
Tuesday?" she cried out.

''I don' know for sure, Mrs. Fel'man, bu' it's possible. That's why I ha'e to
as' you all these que'tions. I wan' you to know how much Agen' Benton and I
apprecia'e your taking the time to talk with us," Mulder reinforced. He had a
few more questions and didn't want to lose her yet.

"If it helps to find my granddaughter, then I'm glad to help," she said and
gave Mulder a hint of a smile. The old Mulder charm still worked wonders.

"I jus' ha'e a couple of more que'tions for you, okay?" Mulder remarked. He
waited for the older woman to nod her agreement, and then he continued. "I
was wonderin' if either of you," he said looking at both Carol and Marla
Feldman, "know any of these fami'ies. The Lan'smans, Cooper-Daniels, Wi'sons,
or the 'tanwichs?" Mulder handed the women a written list of the names with
the parents first names as well as the children. The addresses and towns in
which they lived were also listed.

"No, Mr. Mulder, I don't know any of them," said Marla. "These addresses are
a little rich for my blood."

"I recognize the Cooper-Daniel's name," said Carol. "I think he's one of our
clients. The Landmans may be one of ours too. I don't know aobut the other
two. Quite frankly, our lawyers have divided the work among the paralegals
according to the first part and second part of the alphabet. Guess which part
I got," she asked rhetorically.

"Is there anyway to quick'y check ou' if the other fami'ies are c'ients?"
asked Mulder.

"Sure, I can call the office now. I don't think they'd have a problem giving
out that information." Mulder nodded and indicated she should call. She
spoke on the phone for several minutes, nodding her head every now and then.
She then hung up the phone and told Mulder what he'd already figured out,
"Yes, they are all clients.''

"Okay," Mulder replied with a sigh. "Now we ha'e a common tie."

"But I'm not a client of the firm," said Marla.

"Umm, Mom, technically, you are. Remember when I asked one of the lawyers to
file your living will for us?" Carol reminded.

Marla looked at her daughter and nodded sullenly. She wasn't sure how any of
this was going to find her granddaughter.

"Ha'e there been any new people hire' recent'y at the firm?" asked Mulder.

"I honestly don't know, Mr. Mulder. I work in rather small parameters, both
in the building itself, and in terms of the actual work I do. I don't get out
much among the rest of the employees, so I wouldn't know if someone was hired
recently unless they worked with me."

"Anyone with you?" Mulder asked hopefully.

"No. The paralegals I work with have all been on the job even longer than me.
I can't think of anyone I work directly with that has been a recent hire,"
answered Carol.

"How abou' indirec'y?"

"Such as?" asked Carol, slightly confused.

"Like the mai'room, or main'enance?" clarified Mulder.

"I don't know, Mr. Mulder. I wish I did, but I honestly don't know."

Mulder could see both women were emotionally drained at this point. He
decided it was time to end the interview for today, and just as Benton's
partner arrived, Mulder was thanking the women for their cooperation.

Agent James Hill arrived moments after the women agreed to call the bureau or
Agent Benton, or Mulder, if they thought of any other information. Agent
James Hill was pissed off that the interview was held without him, the senior
partner, present.

Agent James Hill was even more pissed off that Spooky Mulder was apparently
the one in charge at the scene. As Mulder and Benton walked toward Hill, and
still well within earshot of the two women, Hill remarked, "Well, if it isn't
Spooky Mulder back on the scene. I thought you were on total disability now,

"Jimmy," Benton interjected, "what the hell are you doing?"

"No, really. I'm surprised to see you're all wrapped up here, considering I
just arrived. Didn't know Spooky was even on this case. When the hell were
you brought aboard, Spooky?"

The two women watched the interplay with disgust. They could see immediately
the harassment Mulder was enduring, but they weren't sure if it was their
place to intervene.

"I think it's time for us to let these women rest and for us to find their
little girl. Don't you, Agent Hill?" asked Mulder with all the clarity he
could muster.

Mulder suddenly realized he was exhausted. His ears were killing him now, and
he knew he was due for another dose of the antibiotics which tended to knock
him for a loop anyway. He'd just spent a great deal of energy conducting a
very emotional interview, which luckily elicited some important information
that could very well be their first break in the case.

But now he was being forced to endure some very old crap from James Hill.
The fool was one of many he'd worked with in the VCU many years ago. Hill had
tried to profile, but he'd proved to be totally incompetent at it. He'd been
transferred to domestic terrorism very shortly after Mulder had joined the

Hill had felt this was an injustice. The announcement of his transfer had
come as no surprise to anyone, except to Hill himself, and he'd fought it
tooth and nail. Mulder remembered Hill had constantly returned to the
bullpen to seek out Patterson to try and change his mind. Each time, Hill
seen Mulder seated at his old desk.

Mulder knew Hill had resented him a little but assumed Hill had resented
everyone who remained in VCS. It wasn't until just now that Mulder realized
Hill held special disdain for Mulder.
Hill looked at Mulder with absolute venom in his eyes. "Why was this
interview conducted without the senior agent?" Hill whispered through clenched

Mulder couldn't read them. He couldn't hear him. And Mulder was damned if he
was going to discuss anything with James Hill, since Mulder knew this
particular agent was going to be adversarial no matter what was said to him.

"I'm leavin'," Mulder said tersely, and then turned to face Eric Benton who
was standing to the side. "Agent Benton, I nee' a lif' home. Now." Mulder
then turned back to face Hill and continued to walk on by the angry agent.
Hill, of course, refused to allow that to happen without incident.

"I don't think so, Spooky," and Hill gruffly grabbed at Mulder's shoulder just
as he was passing by. Mulder didn't realize Hill was going to snatch his arm
and was immediately thrown off balance.

Mulder felt himself swaying and then falling to the ground. It was only the
quick action of Eric that saved Mulder from making contact with the floor. As
Benton helped Mulder regain his balance, the young agent asked if he was all

"I'm fine." Mulder turned and left without looking at Agent Hill.

The two men followed Mulder out onto the street. Finally, Benton pulled on
Hill's arm and stopped the man from walking further. Benton looked at Hill
and asked, "For Christ's sake, Jimmy, what the hell was that all about?"

"I don't trust the bastard," was Hill's reply.

"Why? Why don't you trust him? God, Jimmy, the man was incredible. I was
screwing up the interview like crazy, and he saved it. He let me save face,
and he got information out of those two women I never in a million years would
have thought to ask. I was so damned busy trying to get that poor woman to
recall something she had absolutely no knowledge of, I hadn't even thought of
looking beyond the actual crime.

"But Mulder did. He got both the mother and the grandmother talking, and we
got some important information. Why the hell would you want to disregard
that?" Benton asked in frustration.

"Because __, because I don't trust him."

"Then you're an idiot, Jimmy." Benton turned to go to his car. "I'm taking
Mr. Mulder home. I'll catch up with you at the bureau and go over the
information we learned." And with that, Eric Benton got into his car; the one
in which Mulder was already sitting in the passenger seat with his head leaned
back on the head cushion.

"You okay?" asked a concerned Benton.

"I'm fine," replied Mulder, who was lying through his teeth.


Mulder's head was now pounding. The combination of stress, tension, and
double ear infections was more than enough to create a pounding headache. All
Mulder wanted to do was close his eyes and shut out the world.

He was sorry to learn Hill was Benton's partner. It had been a while since he
was forced to endure the "spooky" aspersions, and Mulder didn't know if he
wanted to go through it again. He wondered if he would be able to overcome
Hill's obvious prejudice against him to be able to work together and find the
UNSUB. Benton was obviously in the dark as to the history between Mulder and

"Mulder?" Benton called out loudly, as he tried to communicate with the former
agent. "You okay?"

Mulder didn't respond. Benton turned his head and looked Mulder as he sat
back in the bucket seat. Mulder's eyelashes began to flutter rapidly,
uncontrollably. Benton didn't know what the hell was going on, but he didn't
think this was good. He looked at his watch and noted it was about a quarter
to seven. He decided it was probably just wisest to go to the Mulder home, as
they were only about five minutes away. Benton knew Mrs. Scully was a doctor,
though he wasn't sure if she was a pediatrician like his Samantha.

Benton took another peak at Mulder and saw his eyelids were no longer opening
and closing a mile a minute, but instead, he was simply staring off into
space. "Mulder?'' Benton tried again, "Are you okay now?"

Still no response. Benton picked up the speed a little and within a couple of
minutes, he parked the car in front of the Mulder driveway. Benton got out of
the car and opened the passenger door. He told Mulder they were at his home,
and he waited for Mulder to climb out of the car. Mulder didn't move.

The front door to the Mulder home opened and Scully called out, "Mulder?
C'mon G-Man, it's time for you to get inside!" She walked over quickly to the
car, barely giving Benton a perfunctory glance, and put all of energy into
observing Mulder from head to toe to determine why the slow response time.

"Did he have a seizure?" asked Scully.

''A seizure? Umm, I don't know, Ma'am."

"Did he start thrashing about at any given moment?" she asked.

"No, Ma'am."

"Did he seem to space out at any point?" she continued to probe.

"Yes!" Benton cried out, relieved he was finally able to say something
conclusive. "His eyelids got all fluttery and he wouldn't answer me."

"He had a petit mal seizure. When was this?" asked Scully, relieved it wasn't
a grand mal at least.

"About five minutes ago," was Benton's answer.

"Okay, he's going to be just a little out of it. He should come back to his
own soon, but between the ear infections and the medications he's on, it
sometimes takes longer even from a petit mal seizure," she explained. "I need
you to help me walk him inside."

Benton did just as Scully asked him to, and between the two of them, they got
Mulder to the bedroom where Scully quickly removed his shoes and belt so he'd
be able to lay back and be more comfortable. But before she would allow him
to sleep, she gave him his mega dose of antibiotics and the nightly dose of

Somehow, in his mild stupor, he managed to take both medications. Scully
pushed him down onto the bed. She told him she'd wake him in an hour, but
that he had to take a nap. "Doctor's orders, G-Man."

"Yeah, Doc," he replied and was asleep in a matter of minutes.

Benton, who had been watching the entire scenario take place before him,
turned and walked back into the living room as Scully followed him. "Is he
going to be okay?" he asked anxiously.

"He'll be as good as new in an hour. Usually the petit mals don't affect him
as much, but between the ear infections and the antibiotics, plus the fact he
was a little overdue for the Tegretrol, well, it's kind of winded him a
little. Plus, he really hasn't worked a case in a while. We'd been kind of
busy getting ready for Sarah.

"The baby," Benton acknowledged. "Samantha told me about her. She's got to
be one of the proudest aunts around."

"Yes, she is. So, you're Eric," Dana said wryly as she watched her sister-in-
law's beau gulp for some air. "Tell me a little about yourself."

Benton looked at Dana Scully-Mulder. If he thought Fox Mulder was a tough
audience, he hadn't seen anything yet. Dana Scully-Mulder had only recently
developed what she considered a fairly close relationship with her sister-in-
law. She wanted to make sure this guy was right for her, because she knew if
anything ever happened to Sam, it would devastate Mulder. Scully was looking
out for her husband's well being as well.

So, she gave Benton the third, fourth, and fifth degrees. Luckily for him, he
passed with flying colors. By the end of the interrogation, Mulder had awoken
and entered the living room.

"Hi. Where' the baby?" asked Mulder.

"In her crib. She should be waking up for her ten o'clock feeding in a little
while. Be patient, Dad!" replied Scully with a smile. Mulder couldn't help
but return the smile. He felt better. His ears didn't ache quite as much,
and his headache was gone. He noticed that Benton was still there.

"Don' you ha'e to go ma'e a repor' to your par'ner?" Mulder asked.

"Yeah, but I figure he was such an asshole, he could stand the wait," replied

"Asshole? Why was he acting like an asshole?" Scully asked as her Muldaradar
picked up a potential problem for her husband.

"He questioned the appropriateness of allowing Mulder to conduct the
interviews of the victim's mother and grandmother without him being present,"
began Benton. "You see, I was screwing up the interview, badly, and Mulder
kind of rescued me. Hill wasn't all too happy to hear that."

"Hill?" echoed Scully.

"Jame' Hill, Scully. You remem'er me ever talkin' abou' him? From my VCS
day'," reminded Mulder.

"The one who was pissed off because you sat at his desk after he was
transferred?" Scully asked.

"Well, your memory certain'y give' mine a run for its money," Mulder said
lightly. Scully was relieved to see her husband's sense of humor had
returned. The fact that it had returned after dealing with an old nemesis was
really indicative he was okay with the situation.

"Well, I just wanted to make sure you were okay, Mulder. Your sister would
kill me if I didn't return you in one piece. Now I can give her an honest
report," Benton said with equal jocularity.

"She's not the only woman you would have had to deal with if he wasn't okay,"
Scully said, and then in an even more menacing tone she added, "And I carry a
gun." Scully then smiled to take the edge off, but the message was received
loud and clear. Don't mess with Dana Scully's husband or you'll have hell to

"I'm gonna get going. Hill will probably want to write me up for
insubordination as it is, so now I've got to go placate the asshole. I'll
keep you informed with what we find, okay?" He then smiled at Mulder and said
sincerely, "Mulder, thank you. I'll call you tomorrow with any news."
Benton offered his hand and Mulder took it with as firm a grip as he could

When Benton left, Mulder sat down next to his wife and wrapped his arms around
her. He nuzzled his face into the nape of her neck and gave her small, loving
kisses up and down the back of her neck. Scully received his signs of
affection with joy and then moved back so she could finally look into his

"It was that bad, wasn't it," she asked knowing what the answer would be.

"Yes," he whispered in reply. Scully then gathered up her husband, worn out
from the battles he'd fought today, but even more so, for in anticipation of
the battles he'd be fighting tomorrow.

End of Part 4/11
On to Section Two