Subject: New! Abah XII: And Baby Makes Three part 2/3

Abah 12: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 5/11

Kristin Feldman was found at four o'clock p.m. in the main lobby of the George
Washington University Medical Center. No one saw who placed the oversized
basket, which held her body, in the corner by the plantings. All anyone saw
was one very damaged little girl, who no longer responded as a normal two year

Mulder received a phone call shortly thereafter, which Scully had to take and
act as interpreter, from the bureau at approximately four-fifteen p.m. He
was asked if he'd accept the role as consultant on the VCS team in what the
media had now officially dubbed as the "Brain-Damaged Babies" case. Mulder
hesitated for a moment, and then remembered the looks on both Kristin's mother
and grandmother's faces. He answered a soft, "Yes."

They informed him they would write up the paperwork as of yesterday and would
appreciate it if he would sign off on it as soon as possible. Mulder
suggested that they fax over the paperwork, so he could sign it immediately
and fax it right back to them. The bureau was more than satisfied with that

They expected Mulder to meet the other agents on the case, which included
specifically Hill and Benton, at the hospital as soon as possible. A car was
on its way to pick him up even as they spoke. Mulder nodded and Scully, in
turn, acknowledged the arrangements for her husband over the phone. She hung
up and watched her husband walk over to their infant daughter as she sat in
her swing.

He stood over her and simply stared at her. Scully came up from behind and
wrapped her arms around his waist and leaned her head into his back. She
didn't speak, since she knew he wouldn't be able to hear her, which in and of
itself caused her to worry.

Though Mulder had been on antibiotics for a couple of days now, there was no
improvement in his hearing. In fact, if anything, it seemed worse than ever.
He had to rely upon lip reading in order to understand anything that was said
to him. The phone, no matter how high the volume control was set, was totally
useless to him.

Scully was afraid her husband was going totally deaf.

She released him and moved around to stand next to him. She touched his face
so he would look directly at her instead of Sarah. She wanted to speak with
him, and she needed to be sure he really understood what she was going to say.

"Fox," she began.

His eyes widened a bit as a little boy's might when his mother used his first
and middle name to call him. "What di' I do wron' now?" he asked with a
smile. He knew he wasn't in trouble per se, but he also understood Scully was
broaching a subject that she felt was very important.

"Nothing, G-Man. You're doing everything right. I just want to make sure
everything right is being done by you. Fox, two things," she said as she
raised two fingers for added emphasis. He nodded to her to continue.

"Okay, number one. Will you be able to handle this case? These children,
they are coming back with broken bodies, and I'm so afraid you're identifying
with them too much. Can you deal with this with an objective view?"

"Dana," he responded. He always called her Dana when she called him Fox. "I
don' know. All I do know is I can' walk away from it. If there' any chan'e I
can he'p these chil'ren, or if not these, at lea' preven' anymore chil'ren
from bein' taken, then how coul' I walk away?

"Will you promise me you will ask for help as soon as you start feeling too
much stress or pressure? The last thing any of those children need is you
stressing out and seizing all over the place," Dana implored.

"I promi'e, Dana. I do. I will." He paused for a moment and then reminded
her, "You sai' there were two thing'."

"You're right," she said. She looked down, and then looked back up again.
She didn't know how to ask him about this, because she wasn't sure if he was
even aware there might be a problem. But if he wasn't aware, then he needed
to be made aware of the potential difficulty they might have to face. She
looked up and smiled at him.

"Fox, I'm worried about your ears. The antibiotics don't seem to be helping
much in restoring your hearing, do they?"

He looked up for a moment. He'd been a little worried too, but as long as he
didn't think about it or talk about it, he could make believe it wasn't real.
He returned his gaze back to his wife. She was worried. If Dana,
conservative, calm as a summer breeze, Dr. Dana Scully-Mulder was worried,
then Mulder knew he should be petrified.

But for some reason he wasn't.

"No, they don' seem to be he'ping much at the momen', bu' I can' worry abou'
it righ' now. I'll check in with you by phone and kee' the la'top with me.
I'll phone you, and le' you know I nee' to spea' with you, an' then we can
cha' online. Okay?"

"Okay. I love you G-Man."

He held onto her for as long as he could, before his transportation arrived to
take him to the medical center.

"Fox!" called out Samantha. "I'm so glad you're here. The agents have set up
a pseudo conference room in an empty storage room down the hall. I'll show

Mulder followed his sister's lead, but before she opened the door to the room
she looked at her older brother and said, "I want to thank you for helping
Eric yesterday. He said you were wonderful during the interview with Mrs.
Feldman. He also said he learned a lot from you yesterday. Thank you, big
brother." She reached up a placed a kiss on his cheek, and she then opened
the door.

Mulder stepped in and found Agents Benton and Hill, as well as two other
agents, Brad Sorenson who Mulder knew briefly in VCS and another agent, who
Mulder had never met. Both men were a few years younger than Mulder, with
Sorenson's partner the obvious recent academy graduate, and appeared to be the
gophers for the unit.

Sorenson took Mulder's proffered hand and shook it, and then introduced his
partner, Steven Thornwood. Mulder clasped his hand as well, and then took a
seat. He greeted Benton and nodded his acknowledgment of Hill's presence.
Mulder thought Hill was pretty damned lucky to get even that much from him.

"Brin' me up to spee', p'ease," said Mulder.

"Huh?" reacted Thornwood, "What did you say?"

"Thornwood, you idiot!" admonished Sorenson under his breath.

"What? I didn't understand what he said. Jeeze, sue me!" replied Thornwood

"No, God damn it! The kid's right! How the hell are we supposed to work with
Spooky here if we can't understand a damn thing he says?" complained Hill
angrily. "I never asked for Spooky's help, and I don't see how he's going to
be much of one if we can't communicate."

"I can un'ers'tan' you if you spea' whi'e you loo' at me, so I can rea' you'
lip'. I can maKe myse'f to speaK moRe cLearLy if you don'T unDersTanD me.
Okay?" Mulder replied with a great deal of effort.

"I understand him just fine," said the voice from the corner. "Feel free to
ask me to translate anytime, okay?"

Mulder looked over to where everyone was suddenly looking. Samantha held
command over the office for the moment. He had no idea as to what she said,
but whatever it was, it obviously got everyone's attention.

Hill started grumbling, and Eric smiled along with Sorenson. Thornwood simply
continued to look confused.

"Okay," said Benton. "Let's bring Mulder up to speed." He looked over at Sam
and winked, as if to say, 'See? I understand him perfectly too.' "Sam, would
you begin?"

Sam nodded and pointed to the makeshift bulletin board she'd set up that held
the photos of all the victims. She looked over at her brother who was trying,
quite unsuccessfully, to hide a very broad smile behind his hand. "What can I
say, Fox, I had a good teacher."

Mulder simply guffawed out loud at that. During the time when Mulder was
going through intensive therapy with Sam, he would pass the time with her by
telling her stories of how he and Scully went about solving X-Files, as well
as the methods he used as a profiler to gather data. Setting up walls of
bulletin boards was certainly one of his basic techniques.

"Okay, now that I've got everyone's attention," she began as she looked
directly at Mulder. She watched the twinkle in his eyes disappear in a
heartbeat. Mulder was now all business, and it saddened her a little. She
didn't get to see the playful side of Fox Mulder all that often.

She took a deep breath and then began. "These are the most recent pictures of
our victims before they were abducted and returned with unknown medical
problems." Sam continued and gave the back history of the first four victims
and then came to the latest child, Kristin Feldman.

"Kristin is the youngest of the victims. She was born in March of '97. She
is similar to the other victims in that she had reached all developmental
milestones within normal age parameters. Her current physical condition is
similar to the other victims. She was found in a fetal position, and showed
little if any response to auditory stimuli. Her pupils are reactive to light,
however, and she does respond to pain stimulus. She is unable to take in
nourishment on her own, so she too has been equipped with a feeding tube. I'm
afraid that's all the information I have at the moment," Sam concluded.

"What about the parents? Do we have any information on them?" asked Sorenson.

"Yes," Benton responded. "Mr. Mulder conducted an interview yesterday with
the grandmother and mother of the child. We discovered there is an apparent
link between all of the victims. Their families, one or more members of it,
have all been clients at one time or another of the law firm Carol Feldman
works at."

"What about the father?" asked Thornwood abruptly.

"What?" asked Benton.

"The father? Did you find out anything about the father? Maybe he snatched
the kid?" asked Thornwood.

"And maybe I'm the tooth fairy," muttered Sorenson.

"What's wrong? It's standard ops isn't it? I mean, isn't one of the parents
always considered suspect?" asked Thornwood.

"Agen' Thor'woo','' called out Mulder, "it is more impor'an' to li'ten to the
evidence presente', then it is to fall back on age old, 'tereotypical
operational procedure'. Don'T you thinK, AgenT?" asked Mulder as clearly as
he could manage.

Hill looked at the other agents, and as much as he wanted to tell Spooky to
keep his two cents out of it, Hill also knew Mulder was right. Thornwood was
so green he came off as a bit of an idiot. He totally missed the important
piece of information Benton had just laid out.

Between working with Spooky Mulder and Steven "greenhorn " Thornwood, this was
going to be a long case.

"As I was saying,'' began Eric Benton again, "we were able to establish a link
between all of the victims. Their families are all clients of the law firm
Ms. Feldman works for. Oh, and by the way, Thornwood, there is no father on
the scene. Ms. Feldman is a single mother. The father was never a
participant in raising Kristin, so he is a not a factor."

"Ha'e we done a personnel check at the firm?" asked Mulder.

"They're running one now, Mulder," confirmed Benton. "We should be hearing
from them momentarily." Mulder nodded his thanks for the information. ''The
next thing we are aware of is an apparent pattern in the abduction and return
of the children. Given the pattern of kidnapping a child and then returning
that child the next day, we can expect to hear about another child snatched
tomorrow. Are we in agreement on that?"

Mulder nodded immediately, while Hill reluctantly agreed. Hill then said, "I
suppose we should notify local authorities to beef up their surveillance at

"Why just parks? Kri'tin was taken from a supermarket parking lo',"
questioned Mulder.

Hill responded immediately, "Because most of the children were taken from
parks, so it makes sense to go with the most area most frequently targeted."

"But wha'if the UNSUB's pattern isn' a 'pecific p'ace like a park or a
'tupermarket?" posed Mulder.

"What the hell are you talking about, Mulder?" asked Hill irritably.

"I don' know," Mulder responded in frustration. "I know there's a pattern
here, bu' I jus' can' see it ye'."

"Look, Spooky, why don't you play with the nice pictures, while Benton and I
go over to the law firm and see if we can speed those assholes up with their
personnel list," Hill stated sarcastically, and then added, "Just keep
yourself busy and out of trouble, okay?"

"What would you like us to do, Sir?" asked Thornwood.

"Oh, just watch him," Hill said disgustedly as he waved his hand towards
Mulder. "We'll check in within the next couple of hours."

Benton looked sympathetically towards Mulder and nodded towards him in
acknowledgment. He then stood, turned and found Samantha still waiting by the
door. He murmured goodbye to her, having quickly discarded the idea of
kissing her goodbye as too unprofessional, though he wanted to very much.


"I nee' 'tum map'."

"What?" asked Thornwood. He was really pissed off that Sorenson and that lady
doctor left him alone with this 'Spooky' guy. The fact that Sorenson had to
use the john and the doctor needed to get back to patients were irrelevant;
Thornwood did not want to be left alone with this guy. He wondered who the
hell he was anyway that he would be working for the bureau. He thought the
bureau would have some standards regarding physical ability.

"I. NeeD. Some. MapS."

"Oh. What kind?" asked Thornwood.

"DC and vi'tinity. They gotta be biG "treet map', okay?"

"Yeah. I'll see what I can come up with," he replied.

Mulder watched Thornwood leave. It was getting close to six-thirty, and
Mulder was feeling his age. *I'm getting too old for this shit. Haven't been
on the job for more than a couple of hours, and already I'm bushed,* he

He saw Sorenson return with a couple of containers of orange juice that Mulder
had requested. Mulder expressed his thanks and then opened his briefcase to
retrieve his pill case. He opened it and removed the antibiotic and the
Tegretrol. Mulder sensed he was being watched as he downed the meds, and
after he'd swallowed he looked over at Sorenson.

"It kine' of become' a way of life, you know?" Mulder acknowledged.

"My brother's a Diabetic. He has to take insulin shots three times a day, and
he's always checking his sugar levels, so I guess I know what you mean,"
responded Sorenson.

"Yeah, I guess you do." Mulder smiled slightly and Sorenson replied in kind.
The two had somehow reached an understanding, and Mulder was grateful for any
additional allies he could find.

Thornwood returned sooner than Mulder could have hoped with a few maps in
hand. "I didn't know how many you needed, so I got four."

"Tha's more than enough. GooD joB, Thornwood," Mulder noted aloud.
Apparently it was the right thing to say. Thornwood smiled in response, and
like Pavlov's dog, waited for the next bit of positive reinforcement to be
thrown his way.

Mulder began to set up the maps on the walls. He looked very awkward as he
tried to spread the maps against the wall with one hand on the map while the
other grasped his cane to help him maintain his balance. Why the man didn't
just ask for some help, was beyond any of them, however once Thornwood and
Sorenson realized what he was trying to do, they jumped up immediately to his

"Damn, Mulder! We're here to help you, remember?" Sorenson asked in
exasperation. Mulder looked at the agent rather sheepishly and nodded his

Once two of the maps were secured to the wall, Mulder surveyed them to get a
picture of where the victims' families lived and where the children were
abducted. This time he asked for assistance in placing the pins into the
walls which marked each area. One map was for home and the other for crime
scenes. Mulder wasn't sure if there was a pattern to be found on either map,
but he was certain Hill's notion of increasing police presence at local parks
was a waste of time.

"So Mulder, do you see anything?" asked Sorenson.

"Look. Take the pins from the second map and put them on the first one."
Mulder waited patiently until new pins were placed on those points where the
victims were abducted. "Holy shiT."

The other men looked with their mouths gaped too. Thornwood was the first to
voice his reaction, "It's a God damned pin-wheel."

"Damn! Can we use this to predict where they're going to strike next?" asked

"I hope so," replied Mulder excitedly. "Okay, I nee' you to 'tar plotting
po'tible point' with a differen' colored pin head. Maybe we can ge' 'tome
police in those area' we pinpoin'," instructed Mulder. "I gotta ma'e a phone

He picked up the phone and punched in speed dial number one. He asked
Sorenson to check to see if Scully picked up the phone, and when she did, to
ask Scully if she were free to get online. Scully was indeed free, and they
arranged to use the instant message program. Mulder plugged in his laptop and
called up Scully's screen name.

FOX IN SOX: Hey, G-Woman!

DocGWoman: Hi, sweetheart. What's up? Any progress?

FOX IN SOX: Yes, I think so! <grinning wildly!>

DocGWoman: How so??

FOX IN SOX: We mapped the locations of the victim's home
and crime scene. Makes a pinwheel pattern.

DocGWoman: Pinwheel?

FOX IN SOX: know the circle gets tighter and
smaller as you get closer to the center.

DocGWoman: Can you determine where the center is?

FOX IN SOX: Working on it.

DocGWoman: Can you predict where the next victim
will be abducted from?

FOX IN SOX: Working on it. But it certainly looks like
something for us to work from at least. There's
still another piece I don't see though. I wish I
could see it. It's so damned frustrating to know
something is staring you in the face, and I just
don't see it.

DocGWoman: It'll come to you, Mulder. Be patient.

FOX IN SOX: It's hard when I know I'm missing a key clue and
there's going to be another little kid who's going to turn up missing soon.

DocGWoman: Mulder, don't try to prove to yourself and the
world you can solve every crime in two days
flat. Even God needed six days to create the
world. Even God rested on the seventh!

FOX IN SOX: Yeah, but I'm not God. I don't know what the
outcome's going to be. Hold on. Sorenson is
taking a call. From Eric.

DocGWoman: What's going on? Where's Eric now?

FOX IN SOX: At the law firm to try and get personnel info.

DocGWoman: Oh. Dig anything up?

FOX IN SOX: Yep. Apparently there were eighteen new hires
within the last two months. Scully, I'm gonna sign off so I can get more
info. I'll catch up with you in a couple of hours, okay?

DocGWoman: Wait! Two ??'s 1. Did you take meds? 2. Did
you eat something yet?

FOX IN SOX: LOL! 1. Yes. 2. We're going to work on that
right now, Dr. Worrywart. I love you, Dana.

DocGWoman: Love you too, Fox. Go eat! I'll catch you later.

Both Scully and Mulder signed off at about the same time. Mulder sat there
and smiled. Though he'd been through a lot of crazy, difficult times, he
wouldn't trade a moment if it. He was married to the love of his life and the
father of a result of that love. What the hell was there to trade?

"Hey guy'? Any chan'e of someone runnin' ou' for some foo'? I promi't my
wife I' ea' somet'ing and she ha' an uncanny way of knowin' when I don' ea'.
PiSSes her off royally when I don'T eaT," Mulder said smiling.

Thornwood volunteered to run down to the deli on Connor Street for sandwiches
and drinks. As the newbie agent left, Mulder looked at Sorenson and asked,
"How is he?"

"Thornwood? Aw, he's okay, I guess. He's green. Bit of a pain in the butt,
'cause he is so green. He's a little impulsive, but I think he'll turn out
okay. He at least learns from his mistakes, ya know? He may screw up big
time, but he'll never make the same mistake twice," declared Sorenson.

"Yeah, well just ma'e sure his sc'ew up isn't from noT watchin' your back,
okay?" Mulder said emphatically.

"Yes, Sir. You can bet I'll do my damnedest to make sure of that!" Sorenson
agreed readily.

"When are Benton and Hill comin' back?" Mulder asked.

"They were on their way back as we spoke. We'll go over the files tonight
while we eat. Hopefully we'll find something in the files to put us on the
right track," replied Sorenson.

Mulder nodded and hoped so too.

End of Part 5/11
Abah 12: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 6/11

The agents looked at the personnel histories each of the eighteen names that
were on the new hire list. It was getting late, and no matter how hard they
wished for the perpetrator's name to jump out at them, they were no closer to
identifying their UNSUB. They were just about to call it a night when Hill's
cellular went off.

"Hill." He paused for several moments listening. "Damn. Okay, we'll be right

Mulder was able to follow the one-sided conversation and instinctively knew
what it was about. "ShiT," he cursed aloud.

"What?" asked Thornwood in a state of confusion once again.

"He' e'calating, Mulder stated firmly.

"Escalating?" Sorenson echoed. ''You're kidding, right?"

"Another child was just reported snatched from his carriage. His aunt was
wheeling him from the mall to the parking garage," reported Hill sullenly.

"But he's not supposed to take the kid till tomorrow," gasped Thornwood.

"'teven, UN'UB' don' usually ma'e it a habi' of at'king the FBI for permi'ton
to chan'e their 'MO," Mulder said wearily. He sighed. Scully was going to be
really ticked off if he didn't make it home before midnight tonight.

Mulder then stood up and made his way to the map. Sure enough the location of
the snatch fit into the spiral. "Damn. Two mont' is too shor' of a ti'e

"What?" shrieked Thornwood. When Sorenson tossed him a disgusted look,
Thornwood said, "I'm sorry. I really didn't understand what he said."

"He said," began Benton, "that two months is too short of a time period."
Benton then turned to Mulder and asked him to clarify. "Mulder, what's too

"The per'tonnel li't. We have to go back fur'der," Mulder responded.

"Why?" asked Hill tersely. "You said it was someone who was new to the firm."

"It is 'tomeone relatively new," Mulder began, "but GoD! Loo' at the maP!
It's too pre'ti'te. It's too perfec'."

The men looked at the spiral formed and the pins pushed into precise places
within the spiral. Mulder continued.

"The UN'TUB neede' ti'e to figure 'dis all out." Mulder was beginning to feel
the effects of the long day and evening. He was not only physically tired,
but he was emotionally wrung out. This was now translating into
unintelligible speech, which only caused Mulder to become more frustrated.

Benton watched the scene before him and became worried. He knew Mulder was
prone to seizures; he'd witnessed one himself yesterday. Mrs. Mulder had told
him stress and fatigue were a definite factor in inducing them. He decided to
page Sam and asked her to join them in their 'conference' room as soon as

While he waited for Sam, Benton tried to make sense of what Mulder was talking
about. "You're saying he couldn't have figured this whole scheme out in just
two months, Mulder?"

"Yeah. 'Dat' is wha' I'm sayin'. D'is guy is 'tmart. Very, very 'tmart,
and very, very pat'ent. He' willin' to wai' for wha' he wan's."

"Damn it, Mulder, so what the hell do we do now?" Hill asked angrily. "Do we
keep assuming that one of the guys on the list is a possible suspect, or do we
scratch these guys altogether?" He was having a hard enough time buying into
the Spooky Show, and now the guy was vacillating and changing the program.
How the hell is he supposed to conduct an investigation if the profiler keeps
changing the game plan?

"I don' know," Mulder said wearily. "I 'till 'dink the li't ha' some'ding to
it. I 'dink someone on 'dat li't is relate' to d'is 'tomehow. Bu' I don'
know how. Damn it, I don' know. I 'till can' 'tee it ..."

Samantha walked in the door just at that moment. She gave Eric a questioning
look, to which he replied, "We got word another child was snatched."

"Oh, no! Not so soon!" Sam gasped. "Are you going to the site?"

"That's the plan, not that we expect to find anything. Damn bastard is good,
I'll say that much. He knows just where to find these kids without anyone
noticing him," said Hill. "C'mon, we need to go. Mulder, you coming?"

He wanted to say 'no'. Actually, he wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
No, he didn't want to go. No, he wanted to go home to his wife and baby
daughter and lock the door to this evil sonofabitch who was stealing babies
and turning them into__, into crippled little souls like himself.

"Yeah. I'm comin'," he whispered.

"Fox, maybe you should take a rain check on this one? I mean, like Agent Hill
said, it's not likely you're going to find anything really important at the
crime scene, is there? Fox, go home. I'll arrange for someone to take you
home to Dana and Sarah," Sam implored.

Dana. Sarah. It sounded so tempting. It made sense. There was nothing
likely to be learned at the crime scene. There would likely be no evidence.
But what if__?

"I ha'e to go, 'Tam. "Dis migh' be 'da one where he ma'e a mi'ta'e."

"Fox, you know there won't be anything to see," Sam said, and then pleaded,
"Go home, please."

"I can'T." And with that he turned to the agents and said, "Le's go."

Sam grabbed onto Eric's arm and whispered to him, "Watch him. Please." Eric
nodded and followed Mulder and the others outside.


The crime scene was a typical indoor mall parking lot. It was made of
concrete, and it wound round and around like most lots of its kind did in an
attempt to get as many spaces as possible crammed into a small area. When
they arrived, the victim's grandmother was already on route to the hospital.
They would catch up with her later. Until that time, the agents were able to
get a general idea of what happened based upon the notes Officer Carol Moss
had taken upon arrival on the scene.

The space in which Mrs. Anna Jackson had parked was near the corner. Anna had
come out of the elevator, wheeling her grandson Gabriel Thompson, age two,
back to the car. She hadn't seen anything unusual and didn't suspect anything
until she felt something strike her on the back of her head. When she hadn't
fallen into unconsciousness immediately, she remembered the UNSUB had struck
her again. She'd still not seen the perpetrator, but she did hear a deep
voice mumble, 'Damn it.'

She hadn't been able to recall anything after that when she regained
consciousness. The security guard who had hovered over her, had asked her if
she was okay. She hadn't remembered answering him. The only thing she had
recalled was screaming for her grandson, but of course the nearby stroller had
been empty.

The agents thanked Officer Moss for her judicious accounting, and informed her
they may require her services again at a later date. At that point they
dismissed her and gathered around the site. Thornwood looked around and, as
he was about to touch something, Mulder unceremoniously handed him a rubber
glove to keep his prints off of the crime scene. Thornwood looked a bit
sheepish, but thanked Mulder anyway. Meanwhile, Sorenson, Benton and Hill
scattered about like little mice trying to pick up a clue. Any kind of a

Meanwhile, Mulder stayed in one place near Mrs. Jackson's still parked car.
He turned slowly three hundred and sixty degree degrees as he tried to put the
pieces together. He tried to figure out which pieces fit and which were way
out of whack to be in this jigsaw. Too many pieces. Too many out of whack.
Mulder was beginning to feel the effects of too much stress and too little

"What's this?!" cried out Thornwood excitedly. "Could this be something?"
The young man was practically jumping out of his skin with anticipation.

"What did you find?" asked Sorenson, who, to be honest, was prepared to be

"This," he said as he pointed his flashlight to a muddy puddle right near the
rear of the Jackson car.

"It doesn't look like anything but some muddy dirt," said Hill. "C'mon, let's
go back and go over the damned list again." Hill began walking away, but then
turned when he noticed no one was following him. Instead, he saw Mulder bent
down with Benton's help to keep his balance and Sorenson kneeling directly
next to him.

Hill walked back. He was tired, he was hungry, and he was pissed off that his
team was ignoring his directives. "I said it looked like nothing more than a
God damned mud puddle. What the hell are you doing?"

"Jimmy, look at this," said Benton softly. "There's a definite pattern here.
I don't know what, but it's definitely not random."

"Alligator?" suggested Thornwood.

"Alligator?" echoed the agents.

"Yeah. It looks like an alligator pattern. Maybe an alligator shoe?" put
forth the young agent.

"Oh for crying out loud! That's absurd. Why would there be a print of the
top of the shoe in the mud," decried Hill loudly enough for even the hardest
of hearing to understand. "C'mon, it's nothing. Let's get the hell out of
here. I'm hungry."

"No, Jim. The ki't is 'wight," interjected. "The unifo'm tol' us Mrs.
Jack'ton ha' hear' the UN'TUB say, 'Damn iT' when she didn' ge' knocked ou' da
fir't time. I 'dink he t'wipp'. I 'dink hi' foo' twi'ted an' cau'd da

"Mulder, you really think the guy tripped and caused the footprint? Isn't
this a bit of a stretch? I mean even for you?" asked Sorenson gently.

"Yeah, bu' it' a 'tretch in da righ' dire'tion. Loo', wha' woul' it hur' to
ge' a pla'tter mol' ma'e of it?" Mulder asked sensibly.

"I'll get the team right on it," Benton agreed as he ignored Hill's indignant

"Since when did you start making the decisions for this team, Agent Benton?"
asked Hill through clenched teeth.

"Since you decided you were going to do everything possible to ignore Mr.
Mulder's opinions, theories, and suggestions. Jim, we've got dick to go on
here. We have nothing to lose by looking into every possible lead. Nothing.
So don't give me grief over a damned plaster mold, okay?"

Mulder watched the interaction with interest. Benton could certainly hold his
own against Hill. Mulder was grateful for the support, but he was also glad
to see his sister was involved with a man who had the confidence and
conviction of fighting for his beliefs. Mulder could learn to like a man like
that. A lot.

The mold was taken while the agents had returned to the hospital conference
room. Mulder was watching the others peruse through the list of names again,
while he looked at the victims data files once more. He couldn't get rid of
the nagging feeling he was still missing something that could be a clue as to
who the perp was targeting.


It was well after midnight when Benton drove Mulder home. Mulder had come no
closer to figuring out his missing piece, and the frustration showed on his
face as much as the fatigue.

"We'll figure it out, Mulder," Benton said in an attempt to comfort.

"No' before 'dis little boy turn' up a veg'able," Mulder replied with disgust.
"No' before ano'der baby is ki'nappe'."

Benton had no answer for him, so when he pulled up in front of Mulder's home,
he simply said, "We're here. C'mon, I'll walk you to the door."

Mulder was about to object to the notion he needed to be escorted, but as soon
as he stood up and got out of the car, he realized it probably wasn't such a
bad idea. He was tired, and as a result, somewhat dizzy. He leaned against
the car and waited for Benton to come around to lend him a hand. He didn't
trust himself to make it to the front door without falling. He was, in a
word, spent.

Scully had the door open even before the two men made it within six feet.
"You look beat, G-Man," she said. All he could do was nod. "Thank you, Eric.
I know this isn't in your job description, but would you mind helping me get
him into the bed. Once he's laying down, I can take it from there."

Benton said, "Of course," and walked Mulder in the front door. He felt Mulder
lean more and more heavily on him as they walked further into the house, which
made him glad Mrs. Mulder had asked him to help her. Benton didn't know if
she would have been able to manage by herself, but then he realized that was a
pretty silly thought. He looked at Dana Scully-Mulder and decided she had to
be one of the strongest women he'd ever met. Maybe even as strong as his Sam.

Benton helped Mulder lay down on the bed. "Do you want me to help with his
clothes?" he asked sincerely.

"Thank you, Eric, but I've had enough experience in this department to make up
for ten people. But I do appreciate the offer," Scully said with equal

"Okay, then I guess I'll be getting on home myself. We've got an early call

"You're expecting today's little victim to show up tomorrow, aren't you?"
Scully asked solemnly. When Benton nodded, she asked, "How's he dealing with
it? I know he's still not satisfied with his progress on the case, is he?"

"No. He keeps saying he's missing something key that might give us more
information on the intended targets," confirmed Benton. "He's frustrated as
hell, but he seems to be holding up as well as the rest of us. Pretty amazing
considering how shitty he feels."

"Why do you say that?" she asked with concern.

"His ears are really bothering him, Mrs. Mulder. And he doesn't seem to be
able to hear anything at the moment. Unless you're looking directly at him,
he doesn't have a clue as to what you're saying. His speech is getting really
bad too. It's only been a couple of days, but I guess between feeling ill,
not sleeping enough, and the stress of the case, his speech is degenerating
into barely intelligible gibberish."

"I didn't realize it was getting that bad," she responded anxiously.

"I'm no doctor, Ma'am, but yeah, I think it's getting that bad. I'd better
get going. We're supposed to be back at the hospital at eight a.m. I've been
assigned to pick Mulder up at seven forty-five, Ma'am. I'm sorry."

"Eric, don't be sorry. You're doing your job, and I'm glad you're around to
give Mulder some obviously needed support. I'm sure he'll be ready in time
for your seven forty-five pickup. Thanks again for your help tonight," Scully
said as she walked him to the front door. "Good night, Eric."


Mulder still hadn't woken by six thirty, so Scully nudged him a bit to make
sure he was still planning on going over to the hospital.

"Go 'way, Scu-yee," moaned Mulder. "Wanna s'eep."

"Mulder," she began, but his eyes remained shut, so she knew it was useless to
speak to him. She nudged his shoulder again.

"Whaaa?" he groaned all too loudly. Scully quickly placed her hand over
Mulder's mouth. She'd just gotten Sarah back down to sleep and she really
didn't want Mulder to waking her up needlessly. When he felt her clamp down
on his mouth, his eyes flew open with a very startled expression.

"Shhhh, G-Man. The baby is sleeping."

He nodded his understanding, and then began to close his eyes again.

"No!'' she practically shouted, and nearly woke the baby herself. She quickly
jiggled his shoulder again, and when his eyes opened, she quickly reminded
him, "Benton is picking you up at seven forty-five. You need to shower and

He groaned again, but did so as he was climbing out of the bed. Scully helped
him walk into the bathroom. He was obviously still a little disoriented from
fatigue and possibly the ear infections. She got the shower going while
Mulder relieved himself.

As Mulder climbed into the shower, Scully stripped off her pajamas and climbed
into the shower with him. Aside from the fact that she didn't trust him to be
able to stay upright on his own, Scully figured it was probably going to be
one of the few intimate moments they'll have that day. And if the UNSUB
keeps escalating like the team suspects, it may be the only time she'll have
with Mulder for some days to come.

"Hey, I didn' know I was gonna ha'e company," he said with a sleepy smile.

"You don't mind, do you?" she asked as she began to soap up the washcloth.

"No, I don' mine'," he replied. "I miss you when I'm on a ca'te, Scu-yee."

"I know. I miss you too. Now turn around so I can wash your back," she
ordered with a smile. He turned and pushed off with his hands against the
shower wall. Scully's touch was soothing, and invigorating, all at the same
time. When she finished, she turned him around and did the same courtesy to
his chest.

She was tempted to go further south, but knew Benton was going to be there
sooner than later, and she had to make sure Mulder ate some breakfast so he
could take his medications. She said , though it wasn't true, she'd thought
she heard the baby crying and urged him to hurry and finish washing up.
Scully stepped out first and waited patiently. He rinsed his hair of all soap
and allowed Scully to hold his hand as he stepped over the lip of the shower
stall to get out.

She helped him towel dry his hair while he sat on the bed. Next, she threw on
a pair of jeans and a tee-shirt, while Mulder put on a clean pair of khakis
and a green Henley. "C'mon, sleepyhead, it's time for breakfast."

"I though' you sai' Sa-wah wa' c'wying,' said Mulder.

"I lied." At least she said it with a smile.

They sat together and ate their breakfast of scrambled eggs, toast, juice and
coffee. And for Mulder, desert was an antibiotic pill the size of the state
of Texas, and his anti-convulsant medication. He sipped the decaf coffee and
waited as patiently as he could for Benton's arrival.

Scully could see him getting more antsy by the minute. "Mulder," she called
and touched his hand to gain his line of vision, "what's on your mind?"

"There's gonna be more, Scu-yee. Gab'wial will be foun' today, and ano'der
one will be ta'en today too."

"Are you sure? I mean, maybe yesterday was fluke?" she asked.

He shook his head. It was no fluke. He looked at the kitchen clock and noted
it was almost seven forty-five. "Be'ton will be here 'toon." Mulder stood
up, more secure in his gait this morning after five and half solid hours of
sleep, but he was still running on less than a hundred per cent.

At precisely seven forty-five the doorbell rang, and Mulder grabbed his jacket
off of the coat tree by the door. Scully joined him at the door and gave him
a kiss before opening it for Agent Benton. "I love you, G-Man. You know
that, right?"

"I know. I loVe you too, DaNa." He kissed her again on the lips and then
opened the door for Benton. "Goo' mornin', Be'ton.''

"Good morning, Mulder. Mrs. Mulder," he greeted in return. Benton escorted
Mulder to his car, and though he was obviously in better shape this morning
than he was last night, Eric still felt more at ease if he walked along side
of Mulder with his hand ever ready catch him, if necessary. Benton watched
as Mulder got into the passenger's seat and then slammed the door shut.

Scully watched her husband and his colleague go off to work, though it may
have been the lion's den. She wasn't sure which.


One and a half year old Gabriel Thompson was found at the medical center
emergency room waiting room at about nine forty a.m. This was a departure
from the hospital lobby, but the agents suspected the newly appointed security
guards might have had something to do with the change in venue.

The condition of the child was the same as the others. The children remained
in basically the same condition as the day they were found. There continued
to be no response to auditory stimuli, though their pupils did react to a
light stimulus. They showed mild reaction to pain stimulus.

The one noticeable change in their conditions was the spasmodic periods the
babies had every couple of hours or so. There was apparently no specific
cause for the spasms, they suddenly occurred. Samantha was noticing there was
a pattern forming, however, among the children. As yet, the episodes did not
occur simultaneously in all of the first five children taken. But they seemed
to be coming closer as the time went on.

Sam didn't have a clue as to what it was. Every blood test was negative. The
CAT scans showed nothing unusual, nor did the MRI. Sam was at a loss. She
was beginning to feel as helpless as her brother, for she too felt there was
something she should be seeing, but couldn't. It must be in the Mulder genes.

Sam joined the agents in the conference room with a fresh box of doughnuts
courtesy of Kristin's grandmother, Mrs. Feldman. Thornwood and Mulder were
the only two people in the conference room at the moment. The young agent
began chowing down immediately while Mulder simply stared off into space.

''Hey, big brother," Sam said directly to his face. She was somewhat
surprised when she received no reaction. "How long has he been sitting here
like this?"

"Oh, I don't know, maybe the last five minutes or so," said Thornwood in
between bites. "Why?"

"You don't think it's a little odd one of your colleagues is unresponsive?"
Sam asked incredulously.

"I dunno," Thornwood began, "Agent Hill said he did that sometimes. That's
why he was called 'Spooky'. Why, is something wrong?" he added a little

"I don't know yet, but you'd better pray there isn't," Sam said through
clenched teeth. She looked again at Mulder and placed each of her hands on
his shoulders. She grasped his shoulders with a strong grip, shook him very
gently, and called his name loudly. "FOX! FOX, please, answer me!" She
repeated this a couple of more times before the former agent finally showed
some response.

" 'Tam?" he uttered hoarsely.

"God, Fox! Are you trying to give me a God damned heart attack?!" she asked
just side of angrily.

"Ha'e they gotten 'da call ye'?" he asked.

"A call? What call, Fox?" Sam asked curiously.

"The ne't baby is gone," he said in almost a whimper. Sam couldn't decide if
her brother was totally conscious or not. He seemed to be almost in the
middle of a dream.

"What baby? Fox, what are you talking about?" she asked, desperately trying
to understand.

Just then Sorenson crashed through the door. "Let's go! We just got report
of another kidnapping, but we got a witness this time. Hurry!"

Mulder composed himself immediately as his sister watched in astonishment.
She wondered how he knew there was another kidnapping. It wasn't as if he
were assuming there would be an abduction; he knew there was one already. He
just knew.
End of Part 6/11
Abah 12: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 7/11

They'd rushed to the Lincoln Town Park Mall to find a couple of black and
whites parked near the scene of the latest incident. Sixty-seven year old
Maria Rivera was on her way to GWUMC with a nasty cut to her forehead, where
she'd cut it after falling down from being hit on the back her head. She'd
been wheeling her granddaughter, Alana Cortez, to the car in the parking lot,
where the child was taken after Mrs. Rivera was knocked unconscious.

The one major difference in this particular case was the UNSUB made a mistake.
He allowed himself to be seen.

Don Breakman, age forty-eight, had just been getting out of his car after
having sat in it for quite a while talking on his car phone. He'd been trying
to rearrange some sales appointments, and it had taken longer than he'd
expected. By the time he'd gotten out of the car, he'd noticed Mrs. Rivera
had stopped near the passenger side of her car, and had opened the door.
Since he'd not looked up from his appointment book until he'd disconnected the
digital and got out of his car, Breakman had not been aware Mrs. Rivera had
her granddaughter with her.

Suddenly Breakman had heard running footsteps from a direction in front of
him, but in back of Mrs. Rivera. Before he'd realized exactly what was
happening, he'd heard a thump and saw Mrs. Rivera fall forward. Breakman had
immediately slumped down and hid behind his car. Though he'd been able to
look up and see the UNSUB, he was fairly certain the UNSUB did not see him.

He hadn't realized there was going to be a kidnapping, and Breakman was
beside himself when he learned little Alana was taken. He'd thought it was an
ordinary mugging. He'd feared for his own safety, but if he'd known there was
a baby involved, he swore up and down he would have stepped in. He had kids
of his own.

Mulder finally stepped in and asked Mr. Breakman what the perpetrator looked

"He was average height. Taller than me, but shorter than you," Breakman said.

"'bou' fi'e fee' ten?" asked Mulder.

Breakman nodded in agreement and continued. The guy was fairly heavy set. He
was wearing a hat, and a long camel colored coat," Breakman described.

"Wha' kine of ha'?" Mulder asked.

"Kind of hat?" echoed Breakman. Mulder nodded. "Oh, I guess they're called,
like a safari hat? I mean it wasn't oversized or fancy or anything. Just a
good, all weather kind of hat, I guess."

"Wha' colo' wa' it?" Mulder asked.

"Tan? Beige?"

"Okay, Mr. Breakman, wha' el't can you tell u't abou' the atta' ?" Mulder
continued to probe.

"I'm afraid not much more. I mean there wasn't anything exceptional about him
in terms of looks, you know? He was just an average looking guy in a hat and
long camel hair coat. I'm sorry. I wish I could tell you more."

"Do you 'dink you coul' 'weco'nite him?" Mulder asked hopefully.

"Maybe. I didn't get as close a look at his face. Just his clothes and __."
Breakman paused for a moment as if a light bulb just went on in his head.

"You 'wemembe' some'din' el't?"

"Yeah. Yeah, while I was hunched down on the ground waiting for the guy to
leave, I caught glimpse of the guys shoes. I remember thinking it had been a
long time since I'd seen a pair like 'em."

"Li'e wha'?"

"Alligator. Brown alligator shoes."


Mulder had been quiet the entire ride back to the hospital conference room.
Now there were two things which niggled at his brain regarding the case. The
first continued to be something about the children that he was overlooking.
He knew it was something so obvious he was going to kick himself like crazy
when he finally did figure it out.

The second piece in the jigsaw puzzle was the pair of alligator shoes. Mulder
had no idea whatsoever as to why that caught his attention, other than the
fact they had the plaster mold of an alligator pattern.

By the time they'd returned to the hospital, it was well past noon, and
Sorenson was taking orders for food. "Hey Mulder, what kind of a sandwich do
you want?" he asked. When he received no answer, he repeated his question.

Thornwood looked up momentarily and said, "He was like that before we left for
the Cortez site. Dr. Mulder just shook him a little bit and he was fine."
Sorenson looked at Thornwood with a doubtful look, but Thornwood had already
gone back to looking over the file.

"You sure? I mean, he doesn't look right," Sorenson said.

"He was like a statue before," Thornwood said without lifting his eyes.

"A statue?" Sorenson looked down at Mulder with alarm. His eyes were now
fluttering to the back of his head and his body started jerking around more
and more. "Shit! This ain't no statue! Need some help over here!"

Benton and Hill had been standing by the Bulletin Boards Mulder had set up.
They were trying to make more sense out of the location map, when they heard
Sorenson's cry for help. Benton was over like a shot. "Oh God," Eric gasped,
"I think he's seizing. Go get Sam, please."

Sorenson moved quickly out of the room. Hill moved back toward the maps, as
he was ill at ease with seeing Mulder in that condition. He may not have
liked the guy, but he didn't think this seizure shit could have been too
comfortable for him. Hill knew he was way too uncomfortable about it.

Thornwood, on the other hand, surprised Benton and Hill and jumped from his
seat. He began to get Mulder out of the chair he was sitting in and then
said, "Help me roll him to his side."

"Shouldn't ya put something in his mouth so he don't bite off and swallow his
tongue, or something?" asked Hill from the corner of the room.

"No!" Thornwood said sternly. "You don't put anything in his mouth unless
it's a mouthpiece designed for the mouth. He could bite into a pencil and
choke on a piece of that," explained Thornwood.

When Sam came hurriedly in, she was surprised to see Steven Thornwood in
control of the situation. She knelt down next to her brother and observed he
was no longer seizing, but he did appear somewhat disoriented. She kneeled
quietly by him, and rubbed soothing circles on his back with the palm of her
hand. Several minutes later, she noted Mulder was attempting to turn over.

"Fox, take it easy. You had a seizure," Sam said calmly.

"I' o'kay," he responded groggily. "'Tit up. P'ease." She realized he was
asking for help in sitting up, and she quickly began to comply. Eric noticed
what she was attempting to do and immediately began to help.

"You should probably go rest, Fox," she said.

"I' okay, Doc," he answered with a slight smile, "bu' I gotta wo'k, ya know?"
He paused for a moment and then wore a look of great concern. "Umm, 'Tam?
Did I__?" He began to look down at himself in a rather worried and anxious

"No!" Sam said quickly, knowing immediately her brother was worried he'd
become incontinent which he was prone to do during a grand mal seizure. "No,
you're fine, but you should rest." Benton looked at her curiously, but she
shook him off with a look that said, 'Later.'

"Mulder, it's not gonna make or break the case if you lay down for an hour or
so," Benton said calmly.

"'Danx, bu' I 'weally wanna ge' back to 'dis. 'Tum'ding is bo'derin' me an' I
can' figu'e it out. I nee' to 'dink abou' it 'tum mo'e," he replied
determinedly .

He moved to stand up on his own, so rather than take a chance, Benton and Sam
assisted him in getting back into his seat. Thornwood and Sorenson, in the
meantime, had already joined Hill over in the corner in an effort to give
Mulder a little privacy.

Sam looked over at the trio and called out to Thornwood. "May I speak to you
for one moment Agent Thornwood?" He nodded and joined her by the door. "I
don't understand? This morning, when Fox was sitting there spacing out, you
basically ignored him because Hill told you 'he gets like that sometimes.'
Yet, now, you act as if you know exactly what you're doing. Would you mind
explaining that to me?"

"What's to explain, Doctor? He wasn't having a seizure this morning. He was
this afternoon." Thornwood returned the incredulous look Sam was now giving
him. "Oh for crying out loud, I may be new to the bureau, but I'm not,
contrary to what you might think, an idiot. I've taken a basic first aid

"No, there's more to it," Sam said quietly. "You were in total control when I
walked in here. This was no basic first aid course." She watched Thornwood
with patience. She could see him debate with himself as to whether he should
explain himself further.

"My brother had Epilepsy," Thornwood finally admitted.

"Had Epilepsy?" echoed Sam, wondering if his brother had the very
controversial surgery to stop the seizures.

"He died two years ago," Thornwood whispered with emotion.

"Oh," Sam said with a small gasp, 'I'm so sorry." And she meant it. "Thank
you. Thank you for helping my brother." And she meant that too.


Mulder actually managed to get some food into him around dinner time, just in
time to take more of the horse pills and Tegretrol. He was sitting on edge,
because he knew the UNSUB had begun escalating and would take another child

He continued to look at the files and tried to figure out what the missing
pieces were. The plaster mold of the shoe print indicated the shoe size was
probably around a size ten and a half, which was about right for a man between
five feet nine and five feet eleven. Mulder wondered if Don Breakman had any
luck identifying the perpetrator who injured Maria Rivera. Sorenson and
Thornwood were going over to interview the grandmother in the hospital
tonight, but they didn't expect to get anything more than Breakman had
supplied them with.

Mulder stayed back with Hill, while Benton took a half hour to go out for a
quick bite with Samantha. There was an uneasy truce between Hill and Mulder
while they were left alone.

"Your sister seems very nice. Smart too," Hill said in an awkward effort to
make a little small talk.

"Yeah," he replied, and in an effort to speak as clearly as possible, he said,
"she is. She wo'ks ve'wy hawd." Hill nodded at that and was quiet. Mulder
took up the ball and said, "E'wic 'teems okay. 'Tam 'teem' ve'wy happy when
she is wi'd him."

"Yeah, I've noticed that he seems really happy around her too. He's a good
man, Mulder. You don't have to worry about her with him in the picture.
Really. I'd trust him with my own daughter."

Mulder smiled. Eric Benton must be a helluva catch.


Mulder actually allowed himself to be talked into going home before midnight.
In fact it was before eight o'clock. He finally came to the conclusion he
needed a solid night of sleep and a large dose of his wife and daughter. He
was starting to feel the stress of the case, and the grand mal he had suffered
earlier was his indicator that he needed to step back for a few hours.

Of course, though his body was at home, his mind was elsewhere. He kept
thinking about the alligator shoes and the children's records. He remembered
what he'd said to Sam when she first mentioned the case to him. Keep it
simple. Well, the children's disabilities were certainly not simple, but the
puzzle piece that was missing had to be. He felt it almost within reach, and
for some reason it continued to elude him.

Scully was becoming worried about him. He seemed more and more depressed as
the days passed. She knew the case was wearing him down, but she didn't think
that was the only reason for his somber mood. Scully knew Mulder was becoming
more and more concerned about his hearing.

He continued to take the antibiotics, and thankfully they seemed to have
cleared up the infection to the point where he was no longer experiencing the
intense ear aches. But he could hear no better now, and in fact, his hearing
appeared to have deteriorated drastically.

Mulder's speech was poor at best and incomprehensible at its worst. He was
frustrated that he needed to either repeat himself or have someone, usually
Sam, though occasionally Eric, translate for him. When neither person was
available, he sometimes resorted to writing his thoughts down on paper. The
tedium of that process depressed Mulder immensely.

She hoped he'd learn more on Monday when he returned to the doctor. She
didn't even consider asking him to take some time away from the case to go
into the ENT early. Hopefully they would see some improvement over the
weekend. In the meantime, Scully was desperate to do something to shake
Mulder out of his doldrums, so she'd made a phone call when he'd walked in

The doorbell rang a half hour later, and Scully sent Mulder to open the door
for their guests. In walked Maggie and Walter Skinner with a huge cake box.
"Hi," Mulder said with surprise. "I di'n' know you were comin'," he said.

"Neither did we, until the last minute," Maggie said as she twisted and turned
while Walter helped her off with her coat. "Here, you'd better take this
dear," she said, with regards to the cake box, to Mulder while she tried to
squirm her way out of the coat.

Unfortunately, Maggie's head was turned toward the floor while she said it,
and Mulder hadn't heard her. He went to reach for her coat instead. Luckily,
she didn't let go of the box. "Fox?" she called. He was concentrating on
retrieving the coat and still hadn't head her. Finally she touched his
shoulder, and when he looked directly at her she said, "The box. Take this,

"Oh, 'ture." He took the box and carried it carefully to the kitchen table.

Maggie looked at Walter with concern. "Dana said his hearing had worsened,
but I didn't expect him to not hear me at all."

"I know. It's a wonder he's been able to function at all at this point,"
Skinner agreed.

The couple walked into the family room, and to their delight, saw their
granddaughter was up and nursing. Scully looked up and felt a great sense of
calm wash over her as she saw her mother and step-father enter the room.
Whenever she felt things were becoming too much for her, she knew she could
count on her parents to be there for her.

Things were starting to feel overwhelming to her, but Scully didn't want to
let on this little fact to Mulder. He had his own problems at the moment, and
she didn't want to add to them. But a little support from her mom and abah
certainly wouldn't hurt.

"Hi guys. Sarah will be ready to receive visitors in just a few more minutes.
We're on dessert at the moment," she said as a way of indicating Sarah was
almost done with her late evening dinner. "She's been kind of off kilter in
terms of her schedule now that Daddy is working all sorts of strange hours. I
think Sarah definitely liked it better when Daddy was home full time. I know
Mommy did."

"How are you holding up, Dana?" Walter asked, concerned for his step-
daughter's well being.

"I'm okay, I guess. I'm just worried about him. He's working hard, but he's
not a hundred per cent, and I'm afraid for his hearing."

"I noticed," Maggie offered. "When we came in he didn't hear anything I said
if I wasn't looking at him."

"He still didn't hear you. He was reading your lips, which he's amazingly
good at, thank heavens. Unfortunately, he's told me people are having a
difficult time understanding him. His speech is getting very sloppy. I don't
know if stress and fatigue are playing a major role in that or not. But at
least the pain of the ear infections have subsided."

Mulder walked into the room at this point and sat down. He was smiling like a
Cheshire cat, and said, "Umm, you done talkin' 'bou' me ye'?"

"Oh, Mulder," Walter said returning the mischievous smile, "we've only just
_begun_ to talk about you!" Mulder laughed out loud at that, and was found
himself once again being ever so grateful for having this man in his life.
Skinner was one of the few men his life that Mulder felt totally and
completely at ease with. He was glad 'they just happened to be in the
neighborhood.' Mulder knew he'd have to thank Scully later for helping that

"I too' a pee' at wha' you b'wough'," Mulder said. 'Twawbewwy dortca'e is one
of my aw-ti'e fab'wit' ca'es!" he said quickly with glee. Unfortunately, no
one, not even Scully, had a clue as to what he said since he spoke so fast.
When Mulder looked at the blank expressions on all of their faces, he felt
crushed. He knew no one was at fault, but he hadn't felt this defeated in a
very long time.

"'E'cu'te me," he said softly, and stood up. He left the room and walked
towards the master bedroom.

"What the hell just happened?" asked a shell shocked Scully. "Damn it, it's
not fair. Why can't he get more than five minutes of happiness in a row?
It's not fair!" The stress of the last few days was now wearing on Scully and
Maggie moved quickly to sit next to her.

"Walter, I'll stay here with Dana. Why don't you go check up on Fox?" Maggie
suggested. Walter nodded and stood up to go find his son-in-law.

He knocked on the bathroom door, but realized Mulder probably wouldn't hear
it. He opened the door slowly so as not to startle the younger man, and
peeked in. He saw Mulder standing by the sink, and looking straight into the
mirror. Mulder was jabbering away, but Walter could quite hear what it was

He walked into the bathroom and waved to Mulder's reflection to be sure he was
aware Skinner had entered the small room. Mulder stopped his oration and
stared at Skinner through the reflection.

"You okay?" Walter asked the reflection.

"No," was the succinct reply.

"Want to tell me about it?" asked Walter.

"No," was the succinct reply.

"Okay. You know I'm here if you decide you need to talk about it, right?"

"Ye't, Abah." Mulder stood quietly, still looking at Walter through the
reflection of the mirror. He opened his mouth as if to speak again, but
stopped. Finally he said, "Wha' if 'dit ti'e it doe'tn' co'e back. Abah? I
'dink 'dit ti'e I may 'weally be deaF. I dit'n 'dink it woul' bodder me, but
__." He stopped, and tried to compose himself. Mulder looked up again and
saw his Abah waiting patiently for him to begin again.

"Tell me, Fox," Abah said.

"'Ta'wah wa't c'wyin'. I couldn' hear my dauw'der c'wy. I' 'fwaid I won'
e'ber hear my dauw'der' fir't wo'd' __."

Neither man could hold back the tears at that point.

Walter walked over to Fox, turned him around and drew him into his arms. Abah
wept tears of compassion and understanding while Fox wept tears of frustration
and sadness for the first words he might never hear.


Fox never did come back out to the family room that evening, and the
strawberry shortcake remained untouched until the following morning, at which
time Mulder indulged, and Scully looked the other way. Abah had ended up
ordering his son-in-law to bed.

Skinner had been readily able to tell the stress of the case and that of
Mulder's own physical condition were the primary factors in Mulder's somewhat
tenuous emotional state. The man had needed some sleep, and socializing with
his in-laws had definitely not been a priority at that point.

He'd directed his son-in-law to strip down and crawl into bed. When the
normally contrary and rebellious Mulder had done exactly as he was told,
Skinner had known without a doubt it was the right thing to do. Mulder had
been totally exhausted and fell into a deep sleep within a matter of minutes.

Which was why he felt almost chipper this morning. The fact that Scully
wasn't giving him any grief over eating strawberry short cake for breakfast
was an added bonus. Mulder ate the cake with relish, and even managed to
swipe an extra strawberry or two.

Scully certainly wasn't about to rain on Mulder's parade. If eating two huge
pieces of pure sugar; well at least the strawberries were fresh, could make
her husband happy for a little while, she certainly wasn't going to begrudge
him that little slice of joy.
End of Part 7/11
Abah 12: And Baby Makes Three
by Susan Proto (

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 8/11

The weekend proved to be a living hell for Mulder and the rest of the team.
Friday afternoon saw little Alana Cortez returned, but it also meant one year
old Eddie Cambridge was abducted practically out of his nanny's arms. The
following day, on Saturday, Eddie's broken body was found wrapped up in a
basket in the emergency room of the medical center. Then, only an hour after
Eddie had been found, Tameeka Smith was found missing.

The little girl wasn't even a year old yet, and the team felt a pressure
unlike any they'd ever felt before. The press was now on the story full tilt
and labeled the FBI as the 'Hapless Agents of Hopelessness.' Mulder sat in
his silent world and concluded they were absolutely correct. They were no
closer to finding the UNSUB then when he was first brought on to the case.

Mulder felt he was excess baggage. He'd hoped he would be able to contribute
something, but as time went on and more children were abducted and returned
broken and disabled, Mulder felt it might be best for him to take his leave.
On early Sunday morning, Tameeka was found in the gift shop of the hospital.
The UNSUB had certainly become more creative in his drop off points.

By Sunday afternoon, the tenth child was abducted. Eight month old Heather
Louise Robinson was taken as her baby sitter walked her back to the car which
was parked in the Georgetown University Visitor's Lot. The sitter had just
come out of the Dean of Admissions office, having just gathered some
information about possible admittance to their law school. Darlene Matthews
was an aspiring lawyer, just like her father who was a partner in the law firm
in question.

The tie in to the law firm continued to hold true for all of the victims and
their families as well, yet the team was unable to determine who the link was.
Whoever it was managed to keep himself so obscure, it was proving impossible
to identify him.

One piece that Mulder did discover that evening disturbed him a great deal.
He learned his sister was once a client of that particular law firm. It had
come out during a casual conversation between Samantha and Eric during one of
their too few coffee breaks together.

Eric had mentioned in passing the name of the law firm, since the Robinson
baby sitter's father was a partner there. Sam had given him a strange look,
and so Eric returned her quizzical gaze with, "What?"

Sam sat there, stirring the sugar in her watered down cup of coffee and didn't
know what to say, or rather, how much to say. Long ago, when she'd first
returned to Fox and her family, Sam had retained a lawyer to make sure she,
herself, didn't face any charges for her role in Alex Krycek's plot to
overthrow the consortium's efforts.

She had been an unwitting pawn in a rebel's mission to regain control over her
birth father's leadership, and she had feared she might lose her medical
license because of her inadvertent role in it. As it turned out, her birth
father, Jack Stein, had retained legal counsel for her from the firm of
Whitton, Goldberg, and Matthews, and she was soon cleared of all possible

Of course her role in keeping Fox alive during that nightmare of a time had
boded well for her as well. Samantha still dreamt of that time when she'd
inadvertently discovered the poor crippled man who was being held against his
will by Alex Krycek was, in reality, her own brother. Sam had unintentionally
shuddered at that thought.

"Sam?" Eric had asked. "You cold?"

"No, I'm okay," she'd answered quickly. She just hadn't known if she wanted
to relive the nightmare. She'd decided she needed to mention the connection,
but had vowed she wouldn't go into the background. She'd felt too physically
and emotionally drained to go in the entire story, and besides, it was as
much Fox's story as her own. Sam had decided it wasn't her place to discuss
the details of what was a terrifying experience for both of them. So, she'd

"I was just surprised to hear the name of the law firm. It was a long time
ago, mind you, but I once consulted with a lawyer from that firm," she'd
admitted reluctantly. She wasn't exactly sure why she'd felt a sense of
foreboding when she'd shared the information, but she had.

Eric also had felt her unease, and asked, "Was it for anything serious?"

Sam had actually smiled at that point, shook her head gently and said, "Just
suffice it to say everything worked out fine."

Obviously all had turned out well, but to her dismay, she realized she'd
remained in their files. It shouldn't have surprised her, of course, but it
had caused her some chagrin, especially when she and Eric had decided she
needed to mention the tie to Fox. She hadn't been sure why, but she'd almost
felt as if she'd disappoint her brother with the news.

"Mulder?" Eric had said to the former agent. "Sam has something she needs to
tell you."

Mulder had looked up and saw the distress that was clearly written all over
his sister's face. He feared the worse and prepared himself for the news of a
child's death.

"I have to share something with you,'' she'd said. He'd nodded for her to go
on, and had done his best to brace himself for the bad news. "Fox, I would
have told you sooner, but I didn't realize it until Eric mentioned the name to

Now Mulder looked confused. He hadn't a clue as to what the hell she was
talking about, however he'd become fairly certain it wasn't to announce the
passing of one of the children. He'd breathed a sigh of relief at that

"Fox, my name is in the records at Whitton, Goldberg, and Matthews. Jack had
retained a lawyer for me back when __." She'd hesitated, as she was unsure as
to how to describe that time. "__When you I are were both recovered."

Now Eric had the look of confusion on his face as he'd wondered what his
girlfriend meant by those ominous words. However, by the troubled look on
Mulder's face, he'd realized it was not the time to question it. He'd simply
stood by quietly, and had waited for Mulder's response.

"'Dank you, 'Tam," he'd said in barely a whisper. He'd sat quietly for a
while, not knowing what to do next.

As troubled as he was by the news, Mulder, along with the rest of the team,
was unsure as to where to go with this latest information. All he and the
others could do at this point was review all of the information they had to
date. They once again went over the scenario that had taken place in the
parking lot of the university earlier that day.

Darlene Matthews hadn't realized what had hit her, literally and figuratively,
before application forms, brochures, and catalogues were flying around her
everywhere. The man in the camel coat and brown alligator shoes had been
almost brazen this time, as he'd grabbed the child and quickly climbed into a
black sedan with no plates. There were three witnesses this time, but not one
of the people who had claimed to see everything could tell them anything of
real value. None of the witnesses shared anything that could lead them closer
to the real perp.

Mulder knew he had nothing to offer at this point. He had the doctor's
appointment the next day, and he decided he needed to keep that appointment.
It was suddenly important to him to find out if he was going to be totally
deaf, permanently.

So, the next morning, when Eric Benton came to pick Mulder up at seven forty-
five a.m. Mulder politely, but firmly, dismissed him and told him he had to
keep the doctor's appointment for today. Mulder told Benton he would check in
with the team later on that day.

Eric nodded and said he understood, and then wished Mulder good luck at the
doctor. He hoped Mulder would hear only good news.

Mulder simply hoped he would hear. Period.
Scully picked up the phone quickly as she didn't want the baby to wake up
again. She'd just given her six o'clock feeding, put the baby back down in
her crib, and was hoping to get a few more hours of shut eye before she had
to get ready to go with Mulder to his ENT appointment. It was only seven-
fifteen in the morning, and she couldn't imagine who would be calling her at
that hour.

"Hello?" she said tentatively.

"Hello, is this Agent Scully?" asked the unfamiliar voice.

"Yes, speaking. Who is this please?" she asked.

"Agent Scully, this is Dr. Marcus's office calling over at Quantico. We have
a bit of an emergency. Dr. Marcus has been suddenly taken ill with
appendicitis and was scheduled to give his Level Three Anatomy lecture today.
Now, normally we'd simply cancel a lecture, but these students are due to take
their final exams at the end of the week, and well, it's imperative they have
the information offered at this lecture. Dr. Marcus was all ready to postpone
his appendectomy in order to deliver this lecture. One of his colleagues, Dr.
Collier suggested perhaps you would be available to do it."

"Why doesn't Dr. Collier do it?" Scully asked curiously.

"He's delivering the Level 2 Anatomy Lecture at the same time. Dr. Scully, I
know this is last minute, and if there were any other person available to take
Dr. Marcus's place, I'd call them, but with finals just around the corner, no
one is available. It would really, really help us out if you could
accommodate us. I know Dr. Marcus would feel a great deal better leaving his
Level Three students in your capable hands," pleaded Dr. Marcus's assistant.

"What time is the lecture scheduled for?"

"Eleven thirty this morning. I am so grateful to you for doing this, Dr.
Scully. I know Dr. Marcus will be so relieved. Thank you again. You can
pick up the doctor's notes anytime from our office, okay?"

Scully felt as if she'd just been blindsided. She really wanted to go with
Mulder to his appointment. She felt it was important to hear for herself the
doctor's prognosis. And the baby! How the hell could she possibly teach a
course with a five month old in tow? Surely she couldn't expect Mulder to
take her on his own, not with his hearing being so deficient at this point.

But she also knew Harold Marcus, as her department head at Quantico had come
through for her many times in the past. When ever she needed extra time to
tend to any one of Mulder's several medical complications, he never gave her a
hard time about taking the time. He always treated her with respect and
compassion. How could she _not_ repay his kindness? She let out a heavy
sigh, and her movement stirred Mulder out of his sleep. He opened his eyes to
see she was on the phone.

"I'll be by the office around ten-thirty to pick up Harold's notes. Please
make sure they're available, as I'll need some time to go over them before the
class. Oh, and if you speak with Dr. Marcus in the near future, send him my
best wishes for a speedy recovery," she said. "Yes, you're very welcome.
I'll see you in a couple of hours."

Scully hung up the phone and then sat up in the bed. She looked at Mulder and
sighed again. She was truly in a quandary about what to do with Sarah. "That
was Quantico," she informed, though Mulder was actually able to figure that

"Wha'd up?" he asked.

"Harold Marcus went in for an emergency appendectomy. He requested me to
substitute for him for an important Level Three Anatomy Lecture. They've got
finals at the end of the week, and are kind of locked into a schedule. Harold
was ready to postpone his surgery so he could lecture, but then Bob Collier
suggested me," she said dejectedly.

"'Toe, wha'd w'ong?" he asked innocently. "You'b 'tub'tituted be'pore."

"I was planning on going with you to Dr. Lansing's, remember?" she asked.

"Oh. 'Den don' teat," he said pragmatically.

"I have to, Mulder. Harold has been so good to me in the past. When he heard
Collier suggest my name, apparently he was very relieved. I have to do this
for him," she said.

"Oh. 'Den teat."

"Oh, good idea, Mulder," Scully replied sarcastically. "Now, what do we do
with Sarah?"

"'Tar-uh?" he echoed.

"Yes, Sarah. I can't teach an important lecture with a five month old in the
room, Mulder. If she starts getting fussy, I can't exactly whip out a boob
and nurse her in the middle of a lecture hall."

"Gee, I would' min'e!" he managed to leer.

"Mulder!" she chuckled and playfully slapped him on the arm. "C'mon, I'm
serious here. What am I going to do with her?"

"Yaw Mom?" he asked.

"I'll try her now," she said. "Thank God she's an early riser."

Scully dialed the speed dial and waited for her mother to pick up. When she
heard the voice answer, she didn't recognize it. "Mom?" she asked anxiously.

"Dana?" responded the raspy voice. "Is something wrong?"

"Mom, are you okay?" Dana asked nervously. Her mother's voice was hoarse and
she sounded as though she were breathing much more heavily than usual. Maggie
also went into periodic coughing spasms.

"Flu, sweetheart. Nothing more than the flu," she replied.

"When did the symptoms start?" asked a concerned Dana.

"Oh, yesterday morning. Can you imagine if I didn't take the flu shot this
year what I'd sound like?" Maggie began coughing again, but when she finally
settled down, she asked, "Dana, what's wrong, dear? You don't usually call
quite this early if there isn't something on your mind."

"Oh, nothing, Mom. I was going to ask for some baby sitting service, but
obviously that's out of the question today."

"Oh sweetheart, you know I wish I could, but I just don't think I should
expose Sarah to my germs," she agreed sadly.

"Not to mention, Mom, the fact you probably won't be able to keep your eyes
open for most of the day. Will Walter be able to stay with you?" she asked

"No, Dana. Not with the baby kidnapping case still unsolved," she responded
with difficulty. "But I'll be fine. I have my juice, my acetaminophen and my
remote control. What more could a poor woman with the flu ask for?"

"Someone to take care of her?" Scully said dejectedly. "I wish I could be
there. I'll come over as soon as I'm done teaching, okay?"

"No, Dana. I don't want to expose you or the baby to my flu bug. Really,
sweetheart, I'll be fine. I'll call you later this evening with a medical
report, okay?"

Dana agreed and hung up the phone. She next looked at Mulder and didn't know
what to do. She supposed she would just have to take the baby with her to

"Dana, I know wha' you awe 'dinkin'. I' ta'e 'Ta-wah wi'd me to da doc'or. I
di' it la't ti'e," he said with only a hint of trepidation.

"Yes, but last time you had some hearing. Mulder, how will you be able to
watch her and watch where you're going at the same time? What if she's
crying, or God forbid choking, and you're not looking at her?" Scully argued.

"'Toe? I' 'yook at her all 'da ti'e," Mulder replied reasonably.

"Mulder, don't be foolish," she retorted.

"No, 'Cuh-ee, don' _you_ be foo'ish. You ha'e to go teach, an' I ha'e to go
to 'da doc'or. I caN do 'dis, 'Cuh-ee. I caN."

Scully sighed. As much as she didn't like the idea, it was the only plan
available. He had done it before, so it wasn't as if Mulder hadn't had any
experience in dealing with Sarah and all of her supplies on his own. She
sighed once again, but then smiled as well. "Okay, G-Man, you've convinced
me. I'm going to take a shower. Wanna join me?" she asked with a slight

Mulder smiled and nodded, yes. As he climbed out of bed to join his wife, he
thought what a wonderful feeling it was to have gained his wife's trust and
confidence in him.

Now, if he could only feel that same trust and confidence in himself.

Once out of the shower, Scully and Mulder dried off and got dressed. They
both went into the kitchen to grab some breakfast and coffee. Scully then
packed up the baby's diaper bag, while Mulder finished his coffee and took
some time to read the newspaper.

The headline news, of course, dealt with the latest kidnapping. He expected
Heather to be returned today, but he wasn't sure when. He also expected the
next victim to be taken today, and he wasn't sure of when that would take
place either. In either case, he became more and more frustrated as he read
the newspaper accounting.

"Damn! 'Dey ma'e u't 'toun' li'e comp'ete i'competent', an' 'dey'r 'wight!
'Dey'r fuckin' 'wight!" he cried out.

"Mulder, stop," she said as she grabbed his arm to draw his attention to her.
She next gently placed her hand on his chin to gain his total focus on her.
"Mulder, stop. You have no right to berate yourself or the agents on the
team. You are doing everything in your power. Everything. You'll figure out
the solution. It will all fall into place, okay?"

He calmed down considerably and took a deep breath. He reached over to draw
Scully into an embrace and she hugged him back with as much love and
tenderness as she could give. Scully knew this was going to be a difficult
case when Samantha had first consulted her about it. There was a reason she
hadn't wanted Mulder within ten inches of the case files, which of course was
the same reason why he had to get involved. Scully hoped this break from the
team for a few hours would help him clear his head.

Sometimes just taking a few steps back is just the new vantage point one needs
to see things more clearly. She withdrew from his arms, gave him one more
kiss on the lips for good measure, and walked into the kitchen for another cup
of coffee. As she poured, she took note of the calendar and realized Sarah
had an appointment for her well-baby visit at the end of the week. She
mentioned it to Mulder when she'd carried her coffee cup back to the table.

"I can't believe she's going in for her five month check-up already," Scully
said with a sigh. "Mulder, can you believe how quickly five months flew by?"

Mulder smiled a little and nodded. The time since the baby was born did seem
to go by so much faster. "Yeah, an' I 'daught 'da ti'e f 'ew a'ter we go'
ma'weed," he agreed. "'Dis is 'we-dic-yus."

Scully laughed and agreed, "Yes, it is ridiculous. I figure if time goes any
faster, I'm going to be ready for the nursing home next week!" Scully was
expecting Mulder to at least laugh politely at her attempt at humor, but
instead he sat with a determined expression on his face.

"What?" she asked. "What did you just realize?"

"'Da babie'. 'Dere ages. I was 'yookin' at 'dem all w'ong. OH GoD, 'Cuh-
yee. No' yea's. Mont's. ShiT! Mont's! Ca'w 'da ho'pital 'por me,
p'ease." He rose so quickly from his seat, Scully thought he was going to
trip over himself. He staggered over to the phone and handed it to her, as
she'd gotten up and followed him over.

Scully managed to get through quickly, and Eric answered the line. As Mulder
hurriedly spoke, she attempted to translate as quickly as possible. There
were times when she had to ask her husband to repeat something, which only
added to his frustration, which in turn made his speech that much more
unintelligible. But eventually, Scully figured out exactly what Mulder had
wanted to tell the team.

"Eric, Mulder wants me to give you some information. He thinks the children's
ages are a clue. He wants you to convert the children's ages to months and
see if there's a pattern to that. Then he wants you to pull up the birth
records up on hospital data bases of all the children that would fit into the
pattern," she said excitedly in reflection of her husband's demeanor.

He finally felt he was contributing something.

Mulder left with Sarah in a completely different frame of mind. His attitude
was more positive, and he felt a hundred per cent better about himself. He
felt as if he could even face bad news, if in fact his hearing had
deteriorated to the point of no return.

He remembered Denny Milford's name, and asked specifically for him when he'd
called the cab company earlier. Sure enough, it was Denny who picked Mulder
and the baby up at the door. Once again, they followed the same routine as
last time. Denny assisted Mulder into the cab and then, once they arrived at
the doctor's office, he helped Mulder gather his paraphernalia watched father
and daughter enter the building. Mulder reminded Denny he would ask for him
again when it was time for him to return home, and of course Denny said he'd
be happy to pick him up if he was available.

Mulder entered the building and rode the elevator up to the third floor. He
entered Dr. ---------Lansing's office and waved to Carol. She returned his
greeting with a smile, opened the little glass window, and said, "Oh, it looks
like I get to baby sit for a little bit today. Wonderful!"

Mulder simply smiled back at her. He was too far away to do any serious lip
reading, and he figured she was just oohing and ahhing about Sarah. If they
needed him to go into the exam room, he was sure they would make that clearer
to him. He took a seat in the waiting room and was a bit surprised to see he
was the only patient in it.

He looked over at his daughter who was now wide awake. She was busy playing
with the portable mobile that was attached to the car seat. Sarah appeared
entranced by the hanging black and white stars and moons over her head, and
was content to bat them around with her hands and feet. Mulder laughed aloud
when the baby accidentally hit the moon so hard it went up and over the top of
the bar. "Kid' gotta goo' awm," he muttered aloud.

Mulder was mesmerized by Sarah's antics. She was the best entertainment
available, and he never tired of watching her. He wasn't sure how much time
had passed before he felt someone touching his shoulder. He looked up and saw
it was the nurse, Donna, who was tapping him on the shoulder. "The doctor
will see you now, Mr. Mulder. You can leave the baby with Carol."

Mulder wheeled the stroller to the receptionist's desk and dropped the diaper
bag nearby. He picked up his cane and followed Donna into the examination
room. He sat on the stool and waited once more.

Several minutes went by until the doctor arrived. Mulder was just beginning
to feel irritated when Dr. Lansing made his appearance. "Sorry to keep you
waiting, Mr. Mulder. I had a very fussy eighteen month old to deal with." If
the doctor had noticed Mulder shudder a little at the mention of the patient's
age, he didn't let on.

"So, Mr. Mulder, how are the ears?"

"'Dey fee-uw bette', bu' I can' hea' anydin' too goo'," Mulder said.

"Are you still in pain?" asked the doctor before he began examining Mulder's
ears with the otoscope. When Mulder shook his head to indicate he was pain
free, the doctor then asked, "Have you tried using the hearing aids again?"


"Any reason why not?" asked the ENT.

"No," Mulder replied, but both doctor and patient knew Mulder was probably
only fooling himself. The truth of it was, Mulder didn't want to chance
discovering the aids to be forever useless.

"Okay, let's check the ears out." The doctor proceeded to examine the inner
ear and canal of both ears. Mulder didn't feel any great discomfort, unlike
the last time he was here. He supposed that was at least a good sign.

"Well, Mr. Mulder, things certainly look better, but there's still some
swelling in and around the canal. It's difficult to determine how badly the
eardrum was perforated and how much it has healed. There is most likely more
damage to the sound-transmitting bones in your middle ear, but I can't be
absolutely certain how much until the rest of the swelling goes down.

You should have your ears checked today with the audiologist, if for no other
reason than to get a baseline of functioning. You must continue taking the
antibiotics until they're finished, and we'll do recheck next week. Things
are looking better, Mr. Mulder, but I won't kid you. I think there's been
some deterioration. We'll know more next week."

"'Toe you 'dink I' 'yo't my he'wing 'paw goo'?" he asked soberly.

"I think you may have lost more of your hearing, Mr. Mulder. I don't know if
you've lost all of it. Let's wait till next week. In the meantime, go get a
levels check with Allie Schofield, down in audiology. I'll see you next

Mulder shook the doctor's hand and left the exam room. He gathered up Sarah
and her things, made an appointment for the following Monday, and then treked
down to the audiologist's office.

Allie was in the reception area and greeted him, but she noted Mulder's sober
expression. "Not the best news, I take it?" she asked.

"No, bu' no' 'da wo'rt ei'der," he replied. "Now, wha' you 'tay to me may
'ten' me 'wunnin' into t'waffic," he said with a hint of a smile.

"Well, we don't want you playing in traffic, Mr. Mulder, so let's get those
ears checked right now. C'mon. Leave the baby with Arlene, and let's take
care of business."

Mulder dropped his baby off with the second receptionist of the day, and
followed Allie into the examination room. Mulder went through a series of
pure-tone audiometer tests to determine what levels of frequency and
intensity, if any, Mulder was able to hear sounds.

Allie was pleased to see that Mulder was able to still hear some frequencies
at their highest intensity. She considered this even more promising since the
doctor had sent over a fax indicating he'd still observed swelling in the
middle ear, and it was difficult to assess at this time whether the eardrum
was still perforated.

"Okay, Mr. Mulder. I want you to try something." She went over to one of the
many drawers which contained various instruments and pulled out two hearing
aids. "Okay, I want you to try these on. They're bigger than the ones you're
used to wearing, and I suspect a little bulkier, but I want to see if they
help amplify any of the residue sound you do have."

Before she handed them to Mulder, she adjusted the sound levels that she felt
would best suit him at that time. He took them and was able to put the right
one in easily, but for some reason he had difficulty in getting in the left
one. Allie stood up and assisted him. She brought up his fingers to show
him where the on-off switch was and where the volume control dial was. Mulder
played with both sides for a moment and then looked at Allie expectantly.

"Well, " she said, "can you hear any sound with them?" Allie got her answer
immediately. Mulder broke out into a million dollar smile. He might just get
to hear his daughter's first words after all. "Okay, from your expression, I
can only assume you're having some success in hearing me, yes?"

Mulder nodded, and then finally spoke himself, "Ye't. I mean yeS." The
audiologist smiled back at him now, and told him he should probably do the
speech exercises each night, as he'd gotten into some bad habits over the last
week or so. She also told him he should use the new aids as a loaner until
next week when he came in for the recheck. They would determine then what he
would need in a new set of aids.

Mulder stood up and continued smiling broadly. "GoD, I didn' 'weali'te __, I
mea' RealiZe how badly I was talKin'."

"Yeah, well, you're still dropping word endings, so do the speech exercises,
okay Mr. Mulder?" When Mulder nodded in the affirmative, Allie said, "Great,
I'll see you next week after your recheck with Dr. Lansing."


Mulder had asked Arlene to call the cab for him and to ask specifically for
Denny Milford. The cab dispatcher said he'd send someone down as soon as
possible, and would check to see if Denny was available. Arlene told Mulder
she'd taken the liberty of changing the baby's diaper while he was being
checked, and she hoped he didn't mind. Mulder, to say the least, didn't mind.

Mulder gathered up his now dry daughter and her supplies and went downstairs
in the lobby to wait for Denny Milford and his cab. It was raining a bit so
he waited in the lobby. He had a pretty good view of the lot and would be
able to see the cab easily.

It was only about five or so minutes later when Mulder saw a cab pull up. He
hooked his cane to the baby's stroller and then turned to back out of the
doorway by pushing the door open with his back in order to be able to pull the
carriage along with him. Mulder pushed back on the door, and as he did so, he
felt a presence pull up behind him. He was just about to say, "Thanks Denny,"
when he felt an agonizing pain in the back of his head.

Mulder felt himself falling forward, and in the process he pushed the carriage
forward as well. He was conscious and saw the baby's carriage begin to tilt
forward, toward him under the pressure of him holding onto the carriage handle
for dear life. Mulder tried desperately to regain his balance in order to
right the falling the carriage. He was petrified the baby would get hurt in
the fall.

Suddenly he felt another hard thwack on the back of his head. As he fell once
again to the floor, Mulder found himself forcing his eyelids to remain open.
He had to check, for without warning, Mulder finally made the connection. And
just before he lost consciousness, Mulder saw them. He saw the brown
alligator shoes. And he heard a voice that had once terrorized him oh so many
years ago.

"And this is for ruining my last pair of shoes, you sonofabitch!"

And with that, Mulder felt one of the alligator shoes kick hard into his rib
and then once again into his kidney. Last, he felt one final, excruciating
blow to the back of his head. All Mulder saw next was darkness.

End of Part 8/11
On to Section Three