New! BBQ Series 13: Little Lovings
Date: Friday, August 13, 1999
Category: Story, MSR, MulderANGST, ScullyAngst, SkinnerAngst,
Rating: PG-13 for language; minimally graphic violence.
Spoilers: Let's just say through season 6, to be safe.
Summary: There's a crisis in San Diego, and our heroes must
deal with it on
Disclaimer: The names you recognize belong to 10/13
productions and Chris
Carter. I'm just borrowing them, and since I've learned to play nice in the
sandbox, I promise to return them in one piece.
Also, mentioned is one of my favorite flicks, "Searching
for Bobby Fisher."
No foul intended, no monetary gain made.
Introduction: It picks up in the Barbecue Series Universe and
incidents of # 12, and it would probably make more sense if you knew what how
this universe works.
Thanks, Vickie, for being my very special muse, but even more
so, a very
special friend as well. This story was written during my own little crisis,
and you allowed yourself to be my sounding board so I could vent and rant
over the injustice of it all.
Feedback: Oh, please. Pretty please?
The Barbecue Series 13: Little Lovings
By Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Shelton Police Department
"God, I am so tired."
"I know, me too," she replies, which startles the
hell out of me since I
don't realize I've uttered the words aloud. It's been a long day. Too
fucking long and it's only going to get longer.
We've been on this damned case for the last three weeks
without a break.
We're stuck in a small, Connecticut town during the worst heat wave the
northeast has seen in some time, and to make matters worse, there've been
utility company warnings every ten minutes on the news urging reductions of
Which of course means the police station we've been working
out of has cut
the a/c. We bought a couple of those free standing oscillating fans for the
little two by four office we've taken over for the duration of the case, but
now we gotta weigh all the files and notes down with books and ashtrays so
they don't blow away. Damn pain in the ass.
On the other hand, we are getting cooperation from the locals;
really do want our help in capturing this sonofabitch, so they've given us
access to every resource they have. Kind of nice for a change, actually.
But then again, it hasn't made a pig's ass worth of
difference, because we
can't seem to get any closer to finding this bastard who gets his jollies
from cutting out the entrails of children, small children.
Oh, God, they're just babies. The oldest one was a four year
old girl; the
youngest a two year old boy. Suddenly, I feel my whole body shudder, and I
lean over and put my head into my hands. I want to hold myself together for
Scully's sake, but I don't seem to be doing a very good job of it. I hear
her step quickly towards me, and I pick my head up. "I'm okay, Scully.
She stops in her tracks, looks at me, and says softly,
"Well, did you ever
think that maybe I'm not?"
I think I forget how to breathe. I'm not breathing. My Scully
to me she's not okay. Oh, God, she's killing me here.
"Scully," I say, but just barely, and hold my arms
out to her. I say a
silent thank you to whatever deity is listening for she enfolds herself into
my outstretched arms.
She's already done two autopsies since we've gotten on the
she hasn't found any discrepancies between her findings and those of the ME
who completed the first three. But she's got another one to do later today.
We've only just returned from the latest crime scene, which is why we're both
so totally wasted.
We lean into one another while we hold each other for dear
life. Neither one
of us was sure how it would be to work cases after we became involved on a
personal level. I think Scully was more worried than me; I don't think she
figured we'd be able to concentrate on cases as fully as we'd done prior to
getting romantically involved. Of course, I guess she forgot how
single-minded we both become when we get handed a case to solve. She always
forgets how much these things affect both of us.
She forgets how much we lose ourselves in these cases; okay,
how much _I_
lose myself. It's been especially nice to have Scully around to remind me
there's a good reason to find myself again. I sigh aloud now, and I feel her
squeeze me once more before she says, "Are we okay now?"
We? God, I love this woman. "Yes," I murmur back. "We're okay."
We disengage ourselves; I feel almost bereft, but I know we've
got a long
night ahead of us. I want to quickly review the crime scene notes with her
before she goes over to the hospital morgue to do the autopsy. I stand up
and pour us both another cup of coffee, and then we get to work.
Ramada Inn Hotel
I look up at the clock in our hotel room at about the same
time I hear the
cell phone ringing. I can't believe it's already 6:30; I've been working in
the room for almost two hours without a break. The trill of the cellular
reminds me to answer the phone. I'm not sure whose it is, but I check mine
first since Scully is in the shower.
She's walked in a little while ago from completing the autopsy
quietly, "Shower." Though working on a small child is not as physically
taxing, it is most certainly more emotionally draining, and I know the shower
helps her to release her emotions in private.
My Dana especially needs to be able to do this. I can't help
but wonder if
she sees Emily's face every time she performs a procedure on a child. I know
I see Sam's face all the time; sometimes I see Emily's face too. I wonder
what Dana sees?
I discover it's not my phone and seek out Scully's. I find it
in the fanny
pack she's taken to wearing, as it's too damn hot to wear a jacket with
pockets and it keeps her hands free. I pull it out and hit send.
"Hello?" I say hesitantly. For some reason I always
feel reluctant at
answering Scully's phone. Now I know why.
"Where the hell is she?" he asks with as much
derision as I've ever heard
come out of his mouth.
"Bill? She's taking a shower." I'm just about to ask
if it's an emergency
when something tells me that it is. I can sense the feeling of anxiety and
fear right through the phone line. "I'll get her for you, Bill. Hold on one
moment, okay?" He grunts in response.
I call her out of her shower and immediately hand her the
phone. I wrap the
towel around her dripping body while she attempts to find out why I'm so
insistent that she immediately speaks with her brother.
"Bill, it's Dana. What's going on?" she asks, unsure
if she should be
feeling annoyance or nervousness. She holds the phone at an angle so I can
listen to his half of the conversation, too.
"Dana, something's happened," he chokes.
"Dana __?" he cries out.
"Bill, please, you're scaring me here," replies
Scully in as calm a voice as
she can muster. I know she's aching to scream at her brother to just tell
her what's wrong, but she's wise enough to know Bill is obviously holding
himself together by barely a thread.
"He's in the hospital," Bill says.
"Hospital? Who, Bill? Who's in the hospital," she
asks with a little more
panic in her voice.
"Matty," he gasps out. He loses whatever control
he's had. Oh God, Bill
Scully is sobbing over the phone. Even I want to reach out to him and try to
"Why, Bill?" she asks a little louder so he'll hear her. "What happened?"
"Car _ hit_ him," he manages to choke out.
"Dana_, it's bad! Please, he's
hurt so bad!" he cries.
"How, Bill. Tell me, please," she prods urgently. I
know she's assuming
'doctor mode,' in order to best understand the situations at hand. I hear
Billy still crying, but he's taking deep breaths in an effort to calm down,
so he can give his sister the facts.
That's what separates Scully and me from other people. We can
go into this
'FBI modus operandi affect' and disassociate ourselves from the horrors of
what we do. Even when we have to discuss something horrible that's happened
to one another. But Bill doesn't' have that skill; that luxury. He's
feeling Matty's pain with every word he utters.
"We were in the parking lot, the mall parking lot. We'd
Tara wanted to buy some crap for the kitchen," he adds angrily, but then he
catches himself, takes a deep breath, and continues.
"We were going back to the car, and I'd asked Tara if she
we'd parked. She's always ragging on me about my sense of direction," he
half chuckles and half chokes on a new stream of tears that fall. Scully
remains quiet to give him a chance to regain control, but I know she wishes
he'd go on. I know I wish he'd go on.
"Suddenly," he rasps, "the baby's jumping up
and down, and he's shouting,
'The car! I see the car!' and before I know it he's off and running." I
know the man is seeing the events unravel again in his mind's eye as he
relates it to us. He doesn't need an eidetic memory to have these images
burned into his memory forever.
"We were both holding his hand; I swear to you, Dana, we
were both holding
his hand," he says adamantly, "but he broke loose. He was so excited he just
bolted right in front of __, and that's when__. Oh, God, Dana," he weeps
Oh Lord, my heart is breaking for this man, for his wife, and
for his sister
whom I can feel trembling at my side. I'm not exactly feeling too much in
"It was an SUV. The driver was sitting so high up, he
didn't even see Matty
until after he hit him. Dana, he flew. He flew straight up into the air and
landed on the ground. Oh God, Dana, he looked like a broken, little toy
doll. My son, my baby __."
Bill can't contain himself any longer and he cries, but so are
holding Dana now, who is trying to form words but can't. Nothing is coming
out of her mouth except sobs, so I find my voice and speak.
"She's coming on the next flight out, Bill," I manage to croak out.
She looks at me with these huge eyes. I know what she's thinking.
"Mulder," she says aloud in some kind of protest for
both Bill's and my ears
"Scully," I say at the exact same time Bill calls
out, "Dana." Oddly enough,
it's for the same reason. "You have to go to your family. I can't leave
right now, Scully; not right now. I can't leave while this bastard is still
Now I see the ambivalence in her expression. My poor Scully is
at a loss for
the moment of what she should do. Her sense of loyalty to her family is
weighted against her sense of duty to the job, and I suppose a little to me,
"Dana," Bill calls out to gain his sister's
attention, and I suppose mine
too, "_Your_ nephew needs _you_ here now." He manages to put the emphasis on
just the right syllables to make me feel about two inches high. The man's
success rate at keeping me in my place remains high, to say the least.
But, he has managed to tip the scales a bit to his side.
"Mulder, you can't do this by yourself," she implores.
"I'm not by myself. The locals here are actually on our
I'll be fine, Dana, and as soon as we catch a break, you know I'll be on the
next flight out. I __," I pause here, as I realize that my confession of
love for Matty may not sit well with the big guy on the other end of this
conversation. I don't want to upset him any more than he already is, so I
simply say, "I care a lot for Matthew, too."
I grab hold of her a little harder and say in little more than
whisper, "Go. You have to go."
End of Part 1/6
The Barbecue Series 13: Little Lovings
By Susan Proto
Disclaimers in Part 1
San Diego, CA
I called Mom immediately after I'd hung up with Bill, told her
in my most professional tone and informed her I would make the reservations
for both of us. I also told her I was going to meet her by the baggage
claims in San Diego International.
I hung up and while I repacked my suitcase, Mulder called and
made the flight
reservations for my departure out of Bradley International and for Mom's out
of Baltimore International. When all was said and done, I looked at Mulder
and told him I'd call him when we arrived at the hospital and knew more of
what was going on. He nodded mutely.
It was then I broke down and cried.
Mulder held me for what seemed like only nanoseconds, but in
reality, it was
for several minutes. He reminded me that if I was going to make the flight,
I had to get going. So, I left.
It was then I broke down and cried for what would be the
second of many times
We found one another at the airport baggage claims area, and I
was amazed how
composed Mom was, under the circumstances. I embraced her and asked, "Mom,
how are you doing?"
"How am I supposed to be doing, Dana?" she asked
softly. "I feel as though
I'm walking into hell, and there's no exit signs posted. But I have to keep
going because there's no guarantee some won't pop up unexpectedly." She
paused then, looked at me and asked, "How are you doing, Sweetheart?"
"I'm fine," I answered too quickly. In reality, I
was in my own brand of
hell, and Mom, in her infinite wisdom, realized this.
"He'll be okay, Dana. He'll have Walter to support him," she said to me.
"Walter? Mom, he's in DC and Mulder's in Shelton,
Connecticut," I replied
tersely. I knew my tone suggested I was angry with her, and I didn't want
her to think that. "Mom, I'm sorry. I'm just so frustrated."
"Sweetheart, Walter is meeting Fox in Connecticut,"
she informed me quietly.
I looked at her and obviously my face was a mass of question marks, so she
explained, "I phoned him right after I'd spoken with you."
"Oh, that's why he hadn't sounded surprised," I
muttered. "You spoke to him
"I guess so," she replied. "I told him you were
upset about leaving Fox. He
said he had to clear up some paperwork, but that he should be able to join
Fox in Connecticut tomorrow, or by the latest, Tuesday."
All I was able to say was thank you.
San Diego Medical Center
There is no sadder place in the world than the children's ward
of a hospital,
with the exception of an ICU with a child in it. All too familiar hushed
tones greet us. The livelier banter and jocularity one finds on regular
medical floors are a sharp contrast to the humming of machines and soft
murmurs of doctors and nurses doing their best to remain alert to the medical
needs of their seriously ill patients.
Mom and I walk briskly in the direction of Matthew's room. As
we get closer,
we see Tara and Bill clutching one another outside in the hallway, while they
speak with a doctor. I hear Mom try to keep up with me when I hurry my
steps. I want to hear what the doctor has to say first hand.
"Bill," I hear Mom call out. My brother and
sister-in-law turn around
quickly at the sound of her voice. I, for the moment at least, have lost
"Mom __, Dana!" Bill calls out. "Thank God you're both here."
"Has anyone been able to contact Charlie or Karen?" Mom asks.
"Yes, but it's going to take a while for them to make it
back," Tara says.
At my quizzical look, she reminds me, "They've been on vacation in the
I nod mutely. I still haven't found my voice, though I'm
aching to find out
how my nephew is. My silence is a signal for Tara to continue on about
Charlie's travel plans. "We got through to them through the ship to shore
telephone number. They're going to try and get a flight out tomorrow. It's
kind of difficult this time of year; everything's booked solid with people's
I nod and then clear my throat. Finally, I say, "Matthew? How is he?"
I hear a sharp intake of breath from Bill; he's been holding
pretty well, until I make mention of the baby. He steadies himself and then
introduces me to the doctor. "Dr. Loudon, this is my sister, Dr. Dana
It's my turn to draw a quick breath. I'm so unaccustomed to
as Dr. Scully; I'm Special Agent Dana Scully. I suppose Bill will never get
that, and now is certainly neither the time nor place to argue about it. I
simply nod in acknowledgement toward the physician and address my question to
"Dr. Loudon," I say as I accept his proffered hand,
"what can you tell me
about my nephew's condition."
"Well, Dr. Scully, Matthew has suffered a severe trauma
to the head and was
brought to the medical center in an unconscious state. He has yet to regain
consciousness. He's had an MRI as well as CT scan, and we've been able to
determine there is a slight skull fracture which has resulted in edema.
We've controlled this swelling of the brain by inserting a temporary shunt to
relieve the pressure.
"His other injuries include a broken wrist and numerous
lacerations on his
back and shoulders. Obviously, we are most concerned with the head trauma,"
the doctor concludes.
"How are his vitals?" I ask. He indicates to me
Matty is holding his own;
the concern is the longer Matty remains unconscious, the more likely there is
brain damage. They're also worried about him seizing, which of course would
be a potential indicator of brain damage.
"Thank you, Doctor. If I have any more questions about my
treatment, I assume I may contact you at any time?" I say with as much of a
professional tone that I can muster. He nods in agreement, shakes my hand
one more time, and informs us all he'll return to check in Matthew later this
I've done the easy part; now I need to go see my nephew.
Mom and I enter the room quietly. I try so hard to remain
professional, but this is my nephew, damn it! This is my Matty, and I can't
hold it in. I take a shuddery breath and reach for the baby's hand.
He looks so small in the oversized crib. I know he'll be so
upset to find
himself in a crib again. He's so proud of his new big bed; he tells me about
it every time I speak to him on the phone. Well, as much as any two and half
year old can tell you on the phone. I smile at this thought and Mom
immediately picks up on it.
"What are you thinking about?" she asks me softly.
"That Matty is going to raise holy hell when he sees he's
stuck back in a
crib," I say.
"No, he won't like that at all, will he?" she
agrees. Mom begins to move her
thumb in gentle circles around the top of Matthew's small hand. "Dana?" she
pauses before she asks what I know is the inevitable. "He's going to be all
right, isn't he?"
I look at her and so desperately want to allay all of her
fears; my brother's
and sister-in-law's fears; hell, my own fears, but I can't simply brush it
all aside and look at my beautiful, but very broken nephew, through rose
"I don't know, Mom. We'll know more when he comes out of
the coma," is the
closest I can be to comforting. I know it's not what she wants to hear, but
it's the best I can do for now.
I don't even try to stop the flow of tears at this point. Mom
me from the other side and continues to draw the small comforting circles on
his other hand. I see she now allows herself to shed a few tears now, too.
I wish Mulder were here at my side. God, I can't believe how
much I've come
to depend upon him. I need him here at my side.
I've been in the hospital for over an hour and a half, and I
I haven't called Mulder yet to let him know Mom and I arrived safely. I know
he's not worried about me, or else my cell phone would have been ringing off
the hook by now. I do know he's as anxious about Matthew's condition as
anyone, so I excuse myself to Mom and Tara who joined us a little while ago.
Bill went to buy a round of coffee for all of us.
I go into the waiting room, away from all of the sensitive
pull out my cellular. I punch in speed dial #1 and wait impatiently to hear
his voice respond to my signal.
"Mulder," he answers.
"It's me," I reply, grateful that he's available to
answer my call. I was
afraid he might have been out in the field. "Where are you?" I ask, assuming
he's in the motel or in the police station.
"Out in the field," he replies. So much for my assumptions.
"Oh? Anything interesting?" I ask in a neutral voice.
"There was another one, Scully,'' he whispers in reply. I
don't know if it's
because he doesn't want others to hear him giving out the information, or
because he's been so deeply affected by this latest ordeal. I pray it's the
"When?" I ask. "I'd just autopsied the child
that was found two days ago.
Mulder that child was only missing for two days. That means __." I stop
short. I can't voice the horror that runs through my mind, but my partner
"Oh God, Mulder. What are you going to do?" I bite
my lip as soon as the
words pass my lips and wish to God I can take them back. The last thing
Mulder needs right now is for anyone, much less me, to insinuate that he is
the one and only person who should shoulder the responsibility in finding
"Mulder __, Fox, I'm sorry. I didn't mean it like
that," I offer in apology,
but I know he's just going to brush it off.
"Don't worry, Scully. I've been asking myself the very
same question over
and over. We'll come up with something, don't worry."
"Have you eaten anything today?" I ask quickly, as I
remember we never did
get a chance to eat before I left for the airport. It's now a little after
10:00 p.m. here on the west coast, but it's after one in the morning back
east. Knowing Mulder, he doesn't even remember if he's eaten or not. When I
hear his slight hesitation, I know I'm right.
"Mulder, you have to eat," I insist.
"I will, Scully, I promise I'll grab a bite at the diner.
Now, tell me
already," he pleads, and for a split second I forget what the hell he's
talking about. "Did you get to speak with the doctor at all?"
Jesus! The baby. "Yes," I reply quickly, and I then
go on to explain to
Mulder about the head trauma and its severity and let him know that all of
the appropriate steps are being taken.
"Well, ya know if you're in doubt, Scully, you should get
a second opinion.
You should get the best doctors for him, okay? I mean, if it's a question of
money, I have some saved up from my father's inheritance that I'm more than
happy to ____," he began.
"__No, Sweetheart, it's okay. The doctors are very good
here. I've checked
them out, believe me. But thank you, Fox. That was very sweet of you to
offer," I tell him.
"Just so you know it has no expiration date, okay? I
mean, Matty's __." I
hear him choke on a sob.
"Fox, it's okay," I say, but I know it doesn't
really help. It's not okay,
not by a long shot.
When I hear him continue to cry, it suddenly dawns on me why
he's so damned
emotional. I mean, notwithstanding the lack of food, lack of sleep, and lack
"Mulder? Tell me about him," I prod gently. It only
takes a moment before
he starts describing the latest victim.
"Two year old, male, with blond, curly hair and blue
eyes. He was wearing
blue and white overall shorts and a blue, logo tee shirt,'' he describes in a
whisper. Something catches my attention and then I realize what it is.
"Logo? What logo?"
"NY Knicks basketball. You know, just like the one __,
the one I'd gotten
for Matty as a belated birthday present."
I don't what to say other than, "Yes, I remember." I
listen to him take
several deep breaths before he speaks again. "Mulder, are you going to be
"Sure, Scully. I'm fine. Listen, go take care of Matthew
and your family.
I got me a serial killer to catch," he says quickly, knowing the joke falls
"Mulder, I love you. I really wish you could be here with
me, or that I
could be there with you."
"Me, too, Scully. Me too."
I'm about to hang up when I suddenly hear him call my name,
wait! Don't hang up!"
"Yes, yes, I'm still here."
He breathes a sigh of relief and then I hear him say, "I love you, too."
"Me too, Mulder. Me too."
End of Part 2/6
The Barbecue Series 13: Little Lovings
By Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Disclaimers in Part 1
White Hills Section
I hang up with Scully and then go about surveying the crime scene again.
It's late, and before I realize it, another hour and a half pass by.
Time flies when you're having this much fun.
I can hardly hold my head up at this point. The others
finished about forty
minutes ago. I'm grateful for the solitude, though I do wish Scully were
here for me to go over this damn case. Oh, hell, I just wish Scully were
here for me. Period.
Finally, I get into the car and somehow manage to stay awake
long enough to
drive back to the motel without taking out a light pole or tree.
So now I thank heaven for small miracles, because even though
I'm in a daze
at the moment, it's at least a cooler one. The motel management doesn't
control the air conditioner, I do. I turn it up to high and stand right over
the ducts for a few minutes.
It's still hotter than hell in the room though, so I decide to
take a quick,
cold shower. I strip my clothes off and step into the bathroom. I reach
into the shower stall to turn on the water spray and suddenly feel as if the
earth is spinning right off its axis. Shit!
I'm dizzy as hell, and I grab onto the shower curtain as
tightly as possible.
Which of course causes me to pull most of the curtain down on top of me as I
slump to the floor. I realize I'm half on the tiled floor and half in the
I sit quietly now, and the water sprays all over the floor and
me. I don't
know how long it is before my head feels normal again (a relative term, I
know) but I start to stand up. Whoops. Nope, not quite yet, I realize as
the room begins spinning again.
Several minutes pass; I am shivering now from the pulsating
blasts of the ice
cold water, and I try again to stand up. I do so a lot more slowly, and this
time, I succeed. I gingerly step into the shower and adjust the water
temperature. I quickly wash my hair and do a quick swipe of my body with the
soap. I rinse and step out of the shower onto the saturated floor mat.
I use all of the towels to sop up the misplaced water and then
flop into the
bed still moist from the shower. I don't care though, because the room has
finally cooled off, and I can feel myself actually relaxing for a moment. I
close my eyes in anticipation of getting some sleep; a state of being I
haven't really enjoyed for almost two weeks now.
As I feel my eyes start to shut I realize I've reneged on my
Scully. Oh, well, I'll eat something tomorrow.
I hear the phone ringing, but it takes me a couple of moments
to regain my
senses and figure out where the damn thing is. I stand up gingerly and pull
it out of my pants pocket. I open it and answer, "Mulder."
"Mulder, where the hell are you. We were supposed to be
meeting with the
whole team at 0-800 hours, remember?"
SAC Donald Bleeker's voice cuts right through me. "Yes,
Sir. Sorry," I say
as I frantically look for the clock. Shit, it's 8:23. This is not a good
omen. "I'm sorry, I must have lost track of time."
Forgive me you asshole, I actually managed to get more than
two hours of
sleep. I got three.
Shelton Police Station
I walk into the station feeling slightly disoriented and very
didn't take the time to shower again, mainly because there wasn't a dry towel
to be found. I've slept on my hair while it was wet, so of course the
cowlicks have come home to pasture. I couldn't get my fingers to work this
morning, so my tie is askew, and to top it off, I've forgotten to send the
laundry out, so the one clean shirt I had to put on is the one with the
thousand and one wrinkles in it.
And it's now 8:55 a.m., and the SAC is not smiling. I murmur
once again and sit down at the large table. One of the officers (I don't
know who, but if I weren't so totally and completely in love with Scully, I'd
ask him to marry me) passes me a cup of coffee. I nod my head in thanks as
the SAC begins the team meeting.
I tune him out after about twenty minutes. I keep turning last
scene over and over in my mind. The UNSUB is trying to tell us something,
because the bastard is definitely calling out to us. But I'm missing the
clues, damn it. I don't see the clues.
All I see is Matthew Scully's face on the body of the victim.
I want to call
California, but it's only going on six-thirty a.m. there. I don't want to
take the chance of waking Scully up, in case she's sleeping. I hope she's
able to sleep. I hope the baby's condition is better and they can all sleep
"Agent Mulder!" the voice sharply calls out to me. I
must have startled,
because I next hear the SAC say, his voice dripping in sarcasm, "Forgive me
for interrupting your daydreaming, Agent Mulder, but I was under the
impression you were here to assist us in the apprehension of a serial
His voice becomes more irritating and grows louder and harsher
continues speaking. "This killer, I might add, is escalating which means
that there will be more and more small children, babies, yes, Agent Mulder,
small babies, will be killed if we don't _all_ do our jobs to help solve
this case and arrest this sonofabitch. And that means Agent, _you_ need to
pay attention to the team briefings, so _you_ can do _your_ part in catching
this killer. Do _you_ understand?" he concludes angrily.
"Yes, Sir," I whisper in reply. As much as I would
love to take the SAC out
with one punch, I know that A.) I couldn't deliver a knockout punch right now
if my life depended upon it, and B.) the sonofabitch is right. My head is
everywhere but on what he's saying.
"SAC Bleeker, you are correct. I was not giving you my
and I respectively apologize." When I see the SAC's jaw drop open (alas,
apparently my petulant and irritating reputation has preceded me) I continue
and say, "It's just there's something that's bothering me about last night's
crime scene. I feel as if we're missing something, something important. May
I ask your permission to return to the scene for another look?"
"Mulder, I thank you for your apology, but we've been
over that place with a
fine tooth comb. No, I think we need to take the tact Agent Stillwater has
suggested," SAC Bleeker concludes.
I look at him with unbelieving eyes. I know Stillwater's modus
He's going to have us go through the files and the interviews and go through
them word by word to compare and contrast every scenario. Which is not to
say it's a totally bad idea. It's just a lousy one for me to have to take
I can't sit here and pick through nonessential files. There's
a lunatic out
there who's stealing babies and taking their lives away from them. And the
ironic thing is the bastard is screaming for help. He _wants_ us to find him
before he can hurt any more children. He's begging us to get out there and
find him, but these idiots can't see this. No, they want to have me
nitpicking through papers and words that are not going to find this bastard.
"With all due respect, SAC Bleeker," I begin
tentatively. "I don't doubt the
validity of Agent Stillwater's suggestion. I think there may be something of
value to be found if files are combed again, but as a profiler, I wonder if
my skills might not be put to better use?"
I see Stillwater is ready to verbally object to my words, but
him off. "I'll give you one hour at the site, Agent Mulder. That includes
the time it takes to get to and from the site. You will return back here in
exactly one hour, and you will report your findings. If you have something
new to offer, we will then discuss how to pursue it. If you do not have
anything new to offer, then you will sit down immediately and follow any
directions Agent Stillwater has for you. Is that clear, Agent?" he asks with
a tenacity I've seen in only a few people.
"Yes, Sir. It's clear. Thank you, Sir, for your
indulgence." Scully will be
so proud of me. I'm finally learning how to play nice in the sandbox, but
I'm also not foolish enough to not realize the big boys can start throwing
sand at any moment. So, when I see the SAC nod in response, I bolt out the
door before he can even think of changing his mind.
I know it's here, but I can't see it.
I feel like that little kid in that movie about child chess
was it called? Oh, yeah, "Searching for Bobby Fisher." There was a scene
where the kid knows there's a winning move on the board, but he can't see it.
So what does his teacher do? He sweeps his arm over the chess board and all
the chessmen scatter all over the floor. He tells the kid, now you can look
at it. Now you don't have to be distracted.
I know it's here, but I can't see it.
I close my eyes and I try to sweep the landscape of all
I see the child tied by his hands and feet to the trunk of the tree.
Matty's face. Oh, God, it's Matty's face. Sweep the child's
body away from
And breathe, Mulder. Breathe.
See just the tree from which the child was strapped. There are
clothing still stuck in the bark as well as the threads of rope which were
used to tie the victim in place.
I know it's here, but I can't see it.
I see the tread marks of the truck that carried the child
here. I know the
truck was a Japanese model. The forensics people can tell just from the
tread marks that solidified in the sun struck, hardened, muddy soil of the
I know it's here, but I can't see it.
I see the slightly moist, brown, matted down, grassy path left
by the heavy
gait of the UNSUB. There's no discernible footprints left in the grass, but
it's obvious, less than twenty-four hours or so later, that this is the path
he walked with him. He most likely carried the victim, for how heavy were
Not very heavy at all, I remember. I pull my arms around me
and imagine I
have Matty in them once again. Oh, God, I can't do this. I can't do this.
I feel myself begin to break down, when something simply clicks.
Remove the chess pieces. Look at the empty board. What's wrong
I see the tree from where he was tied. I see the tire treads
the hot, sun-baking mud.
I see the moist, matted down, hay-colored grass that leads
from the truck to
And I look at the glistening ivy that grows around the tree.
and clean, and wet?
Wait! There's mud? The grass is like hay, but it's wet? How
can that be?
The city has been on a drought alert for the past four weeks.
I know it's there. I can almost see it.
I look at my watch and realize I've missed the hour deadline.
But I'm so
close to finally seeing it, so close. I guess I've come a long way, but
there' still some room for improvement.
I pull out my cell and dial the station. I first ask for the
Sargent Usowski answers, and I let him know it's me.
"Agent Mulder, I think your SAC is on the warpath. Where
the hell are you?"
he asks not unkindly.
"I'm at the last site. I'll talk to the SAC in a minute,
but I need you to
help me out with a couple of questions, okay?" I hear him grunt in response
and I ask the most obvious question, "Did it rain at any time last night?"
"Hmm, that's a good question. Here in the Valley, ya
never know where
there's going to be rain squall. Now, I live in the Shelton Center area, and
I can tell you there was a helluva lightening show last night around three in
the morning, but there wasn't any rain. I don't know about Huntington and
"Huntington and White Hills?" I echo. "I
thought the city was all called
Shelton," I wonder aloud.
"Yeah, well, technically it is, though you would never
get anyone from
Huntington to buy that. That's the old money area; it's also known as the
Berries. Lots of old money there, big houses, pretty good sized lots. That
area is closer to Shelton Center," he explains.
"And the White Hills section?" I ask.
"Well, that's up where the victims have been found; it's
farther from town.
It's the new money area, though not near as wealthy as the Berries crowd.
White Hills is made up of yuppie families that have both husband and wife
working so they can afford the house, and the SUV and the sports car, ya
know? It's a nice area, don't get me wrong. I even have a few friends from
the force living there.
"But I gotta admit I get a hoot out of listening to them
bitch and moan about
their well water always getting contaminated and their in-ground pools always
needing repairs because of soil contamination. I have a nice, simple,
three-bedroom cape, Agent Mulder. More than big enough for me and my family.
I use the community pool and I have city water. You don't' hear me bitchin'
about tainted water."
"I hear ya, but did it rain up that way last night?"
"Hold on; I see Burnwood over by the coffee pot. Yo,
Burnwood, did it rain
up around your house last night at any time?"
"Shit, I wish! My damned landscaping is going to go into
the mulcher if it
doesn't rain soon. Since we're on a drought alert, I can't water. Wouldn't
exactly look good for the force if I sneak in some watering, ya know?
Figures, since I'd just put the new shrubs in this past June. Damn, Mother
Nature sure is pissing me off."
"Didya hear that, Mulder? No rain up that way either," Usowski commented.
"Yeah, thanks," I reply.
"Did it help?" he asks.
"I'm not sure. I have to think about it, but first, you
better transfer me
to the SAC. You might want to plug your ears, Usowski," I suggest tongue in
"You're not planning on coming back just yet, are you,
Agent Mulder?" he asks
rhetorically. "Well, good luck."
I hear the clicks over the phone lines and wait to hear
Bleeker's voice. I
unconsciously brace myself, and as a result, my entire body is practically in
"Sir, this is Mulder. I'm afraid I won't make it back
within the hour." I
listen to his silence for a moment and wonder if he's going to give in or
give me up.
"No shit, Agent," he replies tersely. I suspect the
man's teeth are clenched
so tightly together, it's a wonder any sound escapes from his mouth. "What
is the reason for your delay?"
"I think I've come up with a missing piece, Sir."
"And what might that be?" he asks. I was really
hoping to avoid that
question for the time being, but apparently that's not to be.
"Well, Sir, I think the UNSUB has left us a clue here for
me to find. I just
need a little more time to search for it. The clue is here. I'm sure of it."
"Agent Mulder, return to the base, immediately."
"But, Sir," I plea.
"Agent, I order you to return to our team base,'' SAC
"I'm afraid, with all due respect, Sir, I can't do
that," I reply with some
"Agent Mulder," booms Bleeker's voice in anger,
"are you this insubordinate
with Assistant Director Skinner?"
"All the time, Sir." I click off my phone.
I clear my chess pieces off the board, and I finally realize
with the picture. The ivy. It's not been trampled on, in fact it looks
newly planted. As if the UNSUB was creating a living grave for the child.
The area was watered thoroughly so the plants would survive.
The mud is a
tip off, but the green, ivy plants looks too healthy given the drought
situation. The grass, which lays right next to it, is nothing more than hay,
yet there's some remnants of moisture there too. But it hasn't rained. The
sarge confirmed this.
I bend down by the tree and look at the ivy. I tug gently to
see if it will
come out willingly. It does; it hasn't been in the ground long enough to
establish a viable root system in the ground. I pull it and the one next to
it, and then a third and a fourth plant. I put on some laytex gloves and
finger the dirt, which allow my hands to act as a filter for it.
"Ouch!" I cry aloud. I've hit something hard and
sharp, but I don't know
exactly what. As I grope about more I am better able to grip the object and
pull it out. It's a trough. The little shovel with which the UNSUB planted
the ivy. I dig back into the dirt to see if there's anything else, but
that's all I can find. If we're lucky, the UNSUB's fingerprints will be
picked up by the lab techs.
Hopefully, it will be enough.
I put the evidence, including the ivy and samples of the grass
and mud, into
a plastic bag and walk quickly back to my car. The clue is in these bags,
Now, if the SAC will only allow me to live long enough to find it.
End of Part 3/6
The Barbecue Series 13: Little Lovings
By Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Disclaimers in Part 1
San Diego Medical Center
San Diego, CA
I wake up with a start, for I don't have a clue as to where
the hell I am. I
look over and see Mom stretched out on the moss green, nondescript couch,
with a blanket tossed over her. I notice I have a blanket scrunched up
around me as well, but I've apparently been dozing in an oversized chair of
the same moss green color and nondescript style.
I twist my neck around and immediately catch my breath, for
the first thing
that comes to my mind is we're in the hospital because Mulder's been hurt
again. But I shake that thought off immediately, because I know if it were
Mulder, I would be in his room with him, not out here in the waiting room.
Then, just as suddenly, I recall with a shudder why I'm here.
parents are the ones sitting vigil in the room with their son. Our sweet
Matty. I remove my blanket and stand up gingerly. I'm stiff from the
contortions I've apparently performed in my effort to sleep comfortably in
this blasted chair.
I check my watch and note the time is 6:30 a.m. Mom is still
sleeping, so I
step as quietly out of the room as I can. I want to see Matty's chart and
check his progress. I say a prayer as I walk toward his room.
Tara is on the right side of the bed and, though she is sound
Matty's hand with a tender firmness. Bill sits on the left side, facing out
towards the room's entrance and, as he is awake, sees me walk in the room.
"Hi," I greet quietly. I don't want to wake up Tara.
Neither does Bill
apparently, and he whispers his hello as well.
"Any change?" I ask hopefully.
"Not that I know of," he replies dejectedly.
"The nurse comes in, checks the
machines and the IV's, smiles and leaves. Kind of makes me nuts, but I don't
have the strength to get into it with her, you know? I figure I'll wait for
the doctor to come," he explains, and then with the first hint of a smile
I've seen from him since my arrival, he adds, "I figure I'll let _you_ duke
it out with him, Dana."
Even I chuckle at this; my brother knows me all too well. I
nod at that and
pick up the baby's chart at the foot of his bed. I note there have been no
changes to speak of, but at least he's stable. At this point, if his
condition doesn't degenerate, that's good news.
We sit in companionable silence for another twenty minutes or
so when Tara
wakes up and Mom enters the room. I ask Bill when the doctor was going to
stop by, and he said barring any unforeseen circumstances, around nine
"Okay," I say, "then I'm going to go to the
ladies room, freshen up a bit,
and run down for some coffee and a bagel." I look at my watch again and
realize it's three hours later in Connecticut. "I want to check in with
Mulder in a bit, too."
At this I see my brother visibly stiffen. I choose to ignore
it, since I
really do think now is not the time, nor the place, to get into a verbal
sparring match with him about Mulder. But I don't know if I'm going to be
given this option. Bill stands up, stretches for a moment, and says, "I
think I'll walk you down to get the coffee."
Before I can object, Mom says, "Okay, I'll keep your seat
warm for you,
sweetheart. Make mine a tea, please? Cream and one sugar," she instructs.
I nod and tell him I'll meet him outside by the elevators,
while he takes
Tara's breakfast order, and then I walk out and duck into the restroom. I'm
tempted to call Mulder now, but I want to speak with the doctor first so I'll
have something newsworthy to tell him.
Besides, I also want the luxury of talking with him unhindered
constraints, and my brother is waiting for me. Also, I want a clear mind
when I speak with him, and right now I'm feeling a bit irritated with Billy.
I shouldn't, I know, because he hasn't even said anything yet.
Unfortunately, I know the operative word is 'yet.'
I take a little extra time in the bathroom to prolong the inevitable.
As I step out, I see Bill pacing back and forth, and he seems
to be muttering
to himself. Shit. He's practicing. He used to do this when we were kids.
If he had something important he wanted to get off his chest, he'd go into
his room and literally rehearse what he was going to say. God forbid, if one
of us kids ever interrupted his flow of thought, he'd start pummeling us to
death, so it became habit to just shut up and let him have his say.
I don't know though if I can handle the verbal pummeling today.
"Okay, Bill. Let's go get that coffee," I say as I
continue to walk toward
"Dana, I need to say something to you," he says firmly.
"Bill, not now. Please," I plea in earnest. I know
whom he's going to talk
about, I just don't know in what context. I know I'm not in any condition to
have to deal with it, and neither, for that matter, is Bill. Why can't the
man learn to leave well enough alone? Why can't he realize he has enough on
his own plate at the moment?
"Dana, it's important. Look at me, please." He stops
walking and I know
he's waiting for me to stop and turn around. I'm tempted to keep walking,
but I don't. I do stop. I do turn around.
I'm such a shmuck sometimes.
"I don't want you to talk to him about Matty," he
says and as I'm about to
open my mouth to protest as vehemently as I possibly can, he waves his hand
to silence me before I can even say a word.
He's rehearsed, you see.
"My son is barely alive. He's attached to machines that
beep and buzz, only
to remind me he is barely alive. Now, Dana, he is your nephew and you are my
sister, and I am very grateful you are here to support _our_ family and me.
I'd be lying if I didn't admit having you here with your medical expertise is
a relief too."
I startle a bit at this, for it suddenly dawns on me my
brother has yet to
realize my first loyalties lay with the Bureau. I am a Special Agent with
the FBI first; I am a doctor second. But he has yet to accept this fact
about me yet. Well, I have to make this clear to him, so I open my mouth to
speak, but he breaks in first.
"But you are my family, and you are here to support our
family," he repeats
himself, and I realize he's now ad-libbing rather than what he's rehearsed.
"Obviously, I can not say the same thing for Agent Mulder."
"Bill?" I cut in, "What the hell are you talking about?"
"For someone who claims how much he feels a part of this
family, he sure has
a funny way of showing it! Where is he, Dana? Where the hell is he? Three
thousand miles away, that's where. Family is supposed to come first, Dana.
You're here. Where the hell is he? Not to mention, where's that piece of
shit, AD, Mom's been seeing? Where the fuck is he? She sure as hell could
use a little moral support while she sits vigil over her grandson, for
It seems Bill's expressed all of this in one breath, and he
long enough to take one. My mouth, on the other hand, must be totally agape,
because I'm not able to get a single word out.
Seconds pass and then I take a very needed deep breath and speak.
"How dare you?" It comes out almost as a growl. My
brother reacts with an
expression of surprise mixed with fear; it's one I haven't seen since the day
I threatened to tell our parents I'd found out he cheated on a chemistry
"How dare you speak of things you know nothing,
absolutely nothing about,
Bill Scully. Yes, I am your sister, and I am your son's aunt, of which I am
very proud to be. I love that little boy as if he's my own, and since
there's not a whole lot of chance that I'll ever have a child of my own,
you'd better realize what an important place that baby of yours holds in my
"But you stand there, and you dare to say that I do not
have the right to
call the man I love and keep him informed about this child's condition? You
feel it's your right to make this demand of me because you dare to say that
Fox Mulder doesn't care about this family? You dare to say he doesn't care
about me? About Mom or our family?
"My God, Bill, you have the audacity to stand there and
dare to say that man
does not care for your son? Mulder nearly lost a leg saving your son,
because of your own stupidity, if I recall correctly. Remember? Oh, you do
remember, don't you, Bill?"
I watch him shudder as the memory of that July fourth comes
back to him in
living technicolor. Good. I want him to remember every last second of
"Yes, I'm here, Bill. I'm here because Matthew is my
nephew, and I love him
with all my heart, but the only reason I am here is because Mulder insisted I
come. I didn't want to leave him, and not because I can't stand the thought
of not being near him so we can fuck like bunnies, Bill.
He jumps at this little news flash. Knowing we live together
is one thing,
but hearing my crass characterization of the relationship is a bit much for
the poor man. Hah! Yeah, you sonofabitch, we fuck like bunnies every chance
we get, but I decide it's not necessary to continue to rub his face in that
little revelation, so I resume my diatribe.
"I didn't want to leave him because of the case we were
on; the case he's
still on. Yes, Bill, a case. Remember what I do for a living? I'm Special
Agent Dana Scully with the Federal Bureau of Investigation! That's F. B. I.,
big brother. Can you please try and use your long-term memory skills to
remember this little fact? I am an agent first, doctor second, and I happen
to be a damned fine agent to boot. My skills as a forensic pathologist are
also well regarded, and together, with my partner, Special Agent Fox William
Mulder, we have the highest, God damned fucking solve rate in our division!
"Dana," Bill interrupted. "I don't give a damn
about that. You're here,
he's not. End of story."
"Bullshit," I retort angrily. "There's a reason
why our solve rate is even
more impressive than just the numbers they bear. It's the cases we deal
with, Bill. You have no idea what kinds of cases my partner and I deal with;
or moreover, what we are requested to accept. The ones we seek are crazy
enough, and the fact that we're able to stamp 'solves' on most of them is a
fucking miracle in itself.
"But the ones that we're requested to take on; oh, those
are the rich ones,
Bill. The ones we seek may be crazy, but the ones they order us to take on
can make us crazy. No, not us. Mulder. They can make Mulder hare out, and
I've seen it, Bill, so don't shake your head, because you don't know dick."
He looks at me with an expression of shock. Didn't know your
language ranks right up there with the rest of the fleet, did ya big brother?
"I didn't want to leave him, Bill, because I didn't want
him to have to face
the mutilated bodies of dead two-year-olds all by himself. There's been six
of them already, Bill, and on everyone of them, Mulder sees either his
sister's face or Matty's. I'm not making it up, Bill. I spoke to him last
night, and listened to this man, this so-called uncaring, selfish, no good
sonofabitch, as you have so self-righteously called him in the past, sob
uncontrollably over the beautiful, curly, blond-haired two year old baby boy
he found with his stomach cut out."
I watch him cringe. That's right, you bastard, cringe.
"All Mulder managed to say was that he kept seeing
Matty's face, and he was
so scared and so sorry he couldn't be here for him now. But as he told me,
it was my job to take care of my family, and it was his job to go catch a
"So, you don't think Mulder wouldn't rather have the
chance to be here to
hold my hand? To hold the baby's hand, or even Tara's or your hand, you
"Oh, and about that so-called 'shit' of an AD you referred to?
"Mom called Walter Skinner right after I'd spoken with
her about Matty. It
was Mom who told Walter Fox was going to be on his own, because he'd insisted
that I fly out immediately to be with you. Mom asked the AD to go to Fox,
Bill. She asked him, because she knew she'd have her family to support her.
She knew Mulder would have no one."
I ran out of breath. I stopped and though I wanted to say
more; I needed to
say more, I knew there was really nothing much more to say.
Well, maybe one more thing.
"Bill, you are my brother and I love you, and I will
always love you because
of that fact. But to be honest, I don't like you very much. I haven't liked
you for a very long time, and this is an excellent example of why. You think
of yourself, Bill, in the guise of thinking about others. You don't give a
damn about how others really feel; all you care about is maintaining control.
"You haven't been able to control me for a very long
time, Bill, and that
eats at you. Worse than my cancer ever ate me, it eats at you. The fact
that there's a man in my life whom you see as having that control over me,
really gnaws at you. But the irony of all this is, dear brother, is the
power that you imagine Mulder having over me is nonexistent. Mulder doesn't
control me; he never has, and he never will. Nor would he ever want to, and
that my dear Billy, is the rub.
"Fox Mulder would no more think to try an control my life
than he would
yours. Not that he could, even if he wanted to, but the point is, Bill, he
would never want to. That's what makes us so good together; that's why we
compliment one another so well. We cover each other's backs and we look out
for one another, and not just because we love one another.
"We've been doing that way before we realized we love
each other. We respect
each other, Bill. We respect one another's intelligence and wisdom, and the
right to make our own choices, even if they weren't always the choices we'd
make for the other. We may not like those choices; we may even argue about
those choices, but we deal with it and move on.
"So, Bill? For God's sake, and for all of our sakes,
would you just get over
Now I'm finished. Now it's time to call Mulder.
End of Part 4/6
Cc: <EMXC@aol.com>; <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <MTA_stories@onelist.com>
Subject: New! BBQ Series 13: Little Lovings 5 of 6
Date: Friday, August 13, 1999 1:55 PM
The Barbecue Series 13: Little Lovings
By Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Disclaimers in Part 1
Shelton Police Department
I arrive back in the Shelton PD and look for one of the 'Agent
act as a courier and bring the evidence directly to the labs we've been using
at the Yale/New Haven Medical Center. I want the material analyzed as soon
as possible and I tell the newbie as much. Before he even has a chance to
check in with the SAC I use my best administrator type voice and order him to
get to the hospital a/s/a/p.
I'll be damned. He goes.
I'll be damned. SAC Bleeker has heard of my return. Shit.
don't feel so well. I must look about on par with how I feel, because the
first thing out of one of the agent's mouths is, "Mulder, you look like crap.
What the hell have you been doing?"
"Searching for evidence," I respond. I smell
something and realize it's
pizza. Pizza? For breakfast? Well, I eat cold, leftover pizza all the time
at home, but this stuff smells fresh and hot.
"What the hell time is it?" I ask, seriously
wondering just how much time has
"Time to decide if I'm going to have an insubordinate,
pain in the ass,
know-it-all like you stay on this team, Agent Mulder!" booms the SAC.
I look at him, but not before I quickly locate the clock in
the small office.
It's almost noon, and I guess I can understand how Bleeker might be a little
annoyed with me, considering I left here at around 9:30 a.m. and basically
ignored his direct order to return within an hour. There's not that much of
a time differential between 10:30 and noon, is there? Shit. I can't even
convince myself on this one. My ass is grass.
"Sir, I realize I'm a little later __," I began.
"Little? Agent, did you just have the nerve to say a _little_ later?"
I nod. Meekly. Shit, I hate nodding meekly. But I do, because
if he doesn't think I'm contrite he won't let me follow through on the case.
I know the answer is in samples I sent to the lab, but it won't do anyone any
good if the SAC decides to send me home with my tail between my legs.
"Sir, I really am sorry, but I honestly believe I've
found __," I try to
explain, but he practically cuts my balls off this time.
"__Agent! I don't give a damn about what you honestly think __."
"___RING! RING! RING!" It was mine.
"Turn that fucking thing off, now!" ordered the SAC.
"But it _," I plead, because I'm afraid it may be
Scully. In fact, given the
time, I'm sure it's Scully. "Please, it may be __."
I turn the cell off. Suddenly I feel sick to my stomach. I'm
not sure if
it's because I know I just closed myself off to Scully and news of Matty, or
the fact that I haven't eaten any solid food in almost forty-eight hours. I
suspect it's a combination of the two.
Oh God. The room is doing a Chubby Checker and twisting around
like it did
last summer. Before I can grab onto a desk or a chair, or even an irate SAC,
I feel myself slowly slumping to the floor. I seem to be doing that a lot
I hear voices surrounding me; they're loud, but the words are
can't make any sense out of them. Now I feel a pounding in my head, and
stomach cramps renew their appearance. I know I'm no longer in control of
anything, and I finally give into this fact. I allow myself to close my eyes
and wait for the pain and dizziness to pass.
Yale/New Haven Medical Center
New Haven, CT
I hear a constant 'blip', 'blip,' 'blip', sound and recognize
it as a
monitor. I wonder what the hell is being monitored. Then I open my eyes a
crack and realize it's me. I wonder if I'm alone, but then I hear voices
again. I'm still having difficulty discerning the words, but I know they're
getting louder, whatever they're saying.
I conclude the voices are coming closer, and I can't imagine
who they are or
what they want from me. I feel so foggy; I can't imagine what the voices
will ask me to do. I don't think I'm capable of any reasonable thought at
this moment, other than to think I'm not capable of any reasonable thinking
"/mm/-/dd/-/rr/," mumbles a voice.
All I hear are sounds at the moment; I know sounds make up
words, but my ears
aren't processing anything more complex than the individual sounds. What the
hell is wrong with me? I'm getting a little nervous here.
"/Mm/-/Uh/-/DdR/," it says again. I want to respond,
if only to see if my
own voice breaks apart like the ones I'm hearing. Finally, I hear something
"Fox," he says.
I open my eyes up as wide as my muscles will allow me to,
is not that wide. I look in the direction of the source of the sound, and
first note I'm on an IV. Oh joy. Then I see him.
Big, broad, bald guy. Glasses which reflect too much glare.
"Sir?" I manage to croak out. My throat is dry. Why
I don't just carry my
own personal straw for these occasions is beyond me. I sense the AD moving
and he touches my lips with a straw. God, if I wasn't already in love with
Scully, I'd ask the man to marry me.
(I am getting way too easy in my old age.)
I drink greedily and ask for more. He shakes his head and
tells me to wait
and see if I hold that down.
Oh. I guess I've been having some problems in this area which
explains why I feel parched.
"How are you feeling, Mulder?" he asks quietly.
"Like shit, Sir." See, I'm learning that honesty is
the best policy. Scully
really will be so proud of me. SHIT! Scully! What the hell time is it?
The baby? Time? What's the time?
"Time?" I rasp.
"Time?" The AD looks at his watch and says around three.
"Oh, not too late," I say with relief. "Not even noon. Call Scully, please?"
"Mulder, it's after midnight on the west coast. It's
three in the morning
I must have looked like I'd stuck my hand in the electrical
that's how shocked I felt. I'd been down for the count for over fourteen
hours. What the hell happened to me? Oh, God, the baby. How's the baby?
"Sir? The baby?" I ask tentatively.
"There's no change yet, Mulder. I spoke with Maggie a
couple of hours ago.
He hasn't shown any improvement, but he's not worsening either," he says with
as much optimism as possible. I know he's grown quite fond of the little guy
himself, so not being in San Diego and supporting Mom is probably every bit
as difficult for him as it is for me.
"Scully? Is she __?" I stop myself. It's a ludicrous
question that I'm
about to ask the AD. How would he know?
"No, she's not angry with you, Mulder, just
concerned," he completes for me.
Oh, he's good. The man is very, very good. I express my thanks.
"What happened to me?" I ask now, curious as to
exactly what the hell I did
to avoid getting shipped back to DC over fourteen hours ago.
"You collapsed, Mulder. So what else is new? You haven't
eaten solid food,
three times a day, for any consistent period of time in over two weeks, and
once Scully left, you just stopped eating, period. Mulder, your body needs
fuel to keep up the pace you set for yourself. How long do you think you
could have kept going without food?" Skinner asks earnestly.
I don't know how to answer him. He thinks I willfully stop
eating when I
profile these kinds of cases. I don't. It took Scully a while to realize
this fact. She learned all she needed to do was remind me once in a while
and just put the food in my hand. I eat it. I don't realize I'm eating it,
but I eat it.
I already had to convince Scully's family once that I wasn't
be damned if I'm ever going to go through that again. I'm not out to harm
myself; I simply forget to eat. That's the bare bones fact of it. If you put
a sandwich in my hand, said sandwich will be bitten into, chewed, and
swallowed in a timely manner. There just wasn't anyone to put the damned
sandwich in my hand.
"I'm sorry, Sir. I just forget to eat when Scully's not
around to remind
me," I say contritely.
"Look, I did something that may make you angry," he
says way too carefully.
When I look at him with warily, he continues. "I called Dr. Shapiro."
Before I can even react, he says, "I know I may have
stepped over the line
here, but you scared me, Mulder. I figured it wouldn't hurt to have him on
call, just in case you wanted to touch base with him. I mean, with you being
out in the field for the last few weeks, I was pretty sure you hadn't spoken
with him in a while, and well, like I said, I'm sorry if you think I
overstepped my bounds."
I have every right to be angry with him. Just because we
happen to share the
same therapist, it doesn't give him the right to go and make phone calls to
him for me. But I'm not. I think I'm grateful.
"Thank you," I say.
"I said thank you. You're right, I haven't had a session
with Shapiro since
I arrived in Connecticut. It's probably a good idea to check in with him.
Thank you, Sir."
"You're welcome," he replies with an obvious sense of relief.
"You know, Sir," I say earnestly, "I really
don't mean to make people worry
about me." He nods in acknowledgment, but I don't think he buys into it, not
totally at least. The funny thing is, I really didn't mean to. It's just
that I was so sure there were some clues back at the site. The evidence!
The lab tests!
"Sir, the lab tests! Did the results come back?" I ask anxiously.
"Lab tests? What lab tests?" Skinner asks in a puzzled tone.
"I'd sent samples to the lab at Yale/New Haven for
analysis. Did the results
get back to the Shelton PD?"
"I don't know, but maybe we can call down to the lab now
and get copies of
the results," he suggests. Oh! I now realize I'm in Yale/New Haven, though
why I wasn't brought to one of the more local hospitals I don't understand.
When he hangs up the phone, Skinner tells me the results were back, but no,
they were never sent to the Shelton PD. They're going to send them up to us
I nod my thanks and then ask out of curiosity, ''Sir? Why am I
Haven instead of one closer to Shelton?"
He smiles at that and says, "Yale's not that far away,
Mulder. By ambulance
it's just down the road a piece; it's only about ten minutes farther."
"Sir? I still don't understand," I confess.
"Scully called me when she couldn't get through to your
cell. She asked me
to call the SAC and find out if you were okay. The timing was providence, of
course, because you collapsed very shortly after you'd shut your cellular
off. When I got through to the SAC's line, one of his underlings gave me the
lowdown on what was happening. I informed the SAC's clerk that you were to
be brought to Yale/New Haven and absolutely nowhere else."
"But why?" I ask, still curious.
"Why? It's the best hospital in this area, that's
why." Before I can even
ponder the significance of that statement, there's a knock at my door. A lab
tech enters with the analysis in hand.
Skinner graciously hands it to me, but I realize there's a
"Sir, I can't see the print without my reading glasses and I don't have a
clue as to where they may be. Would you do the honors?" I'm actually quite
relieved the AD is here to read the results to me. My head has started doing
a little samba up around my forehead.
He states there were, unfortunately, no fingerprints found on
the trough. He
then lists the various minerals that were found as well as the numerous
chemical compounds they'd picked up in the soil, the grass, and the ivy. I
listen carefully, but I don't hear anything that sounds unusual. At least,
not until he identifies the missing chess piece.
I can see it. I can finally see it.
"Say that again, Sir," I request.
"Chlorine. They found chlorine on all of the samples."
"We've got to check out pool maintenance companies who
service the White
Hills area. Ask the families of the victims if they've had to have their
pools serviced recently, and if so, which company they used. That's going
to be our guy, Sir. The chess board is now clear," I say as I cover my eyes
conceding defeat to the pounding in my head.
"Chess board? I don't understand, Mulder," he says,
but at this point
exhaustion takes over and I find my eyelids close involuntarily. I go into a
second deep sleep in only as many days.
I wake up to find SAC Bleeker and AD Skinner sitting by my
bedside. I find
it a lot easier to open my eyes now. I almost feel rested.
And hungry. Damn, I actually feel hungry. I twist my head
actually look for a tray of the dreaded hospital food. Amazing how a little
sleep can whet the appetite.
Suddenly I hear one of the men sitting before me clear his
Bleeker, I believe. I look directly at him and wonder what pearls of sarcasm
are going to come out of his mouth now. I know I shouldn't resent the guy
too much; as SACs go, Bleeker's not too bad. But I just wish these guys
would learn that if they're going to request me to work on a serial case,
they're going to have to accept the fact that I work a little bit on the edge.
Okay, so it's not exactly the edge; it's more like two stars
to the right and
straight on to morning, but that's me, and that's the way I work best. So, I
resent the fact that my AD is sitting next to this guy, and is probably going
to insist that I eat crow and make nice and damn it, it's gets tiring. But
out of my respect for the AD, (and a mercenary desire to keep my job) I shall
do what he asks.
"Yes, Sir?" I ask, as I wait for the inevitable.
"Agent Mulder, I just want to say __," he pauses a
second, and I can feel my
newly relaxed body start to tense back up true to form, "__ I want to say,
congratulations. Your astute observations at the site yesterday morning led
us directly to our UNSUB.
"He was a service worker with the White Hills Pool &
Water Service. Every
victim had a pool, and every victim used that service. It's just that the
service took place at various times during the summer, so it was difficult to
peg it as a common link among the victims.
"So, thank you, Agent Mulder. Your methods may be a
little unorthodox, but
you do get results. I just want you to know it would be a privilege to work
on the same team with you, should the need ever arise," he concludes as he
extends his hand to shake mine.
I am, for one of the very few times in my life, speechless.
Here I was
expecting a dressing down with my direct supervisor acting as the head
jeer-leader, and the complete opposite happens. God damn! We got the
bastard! One thing still looms in the back of my mind.
"He didn't have any other victims, did he?" I ask cautiously.
"As a matter of fact, Mulder, he did," the AD says
gently, but at the sight
of the horror in my eyes, he quickly adds, "But we got to him before the
bastard could lay a finger on the child. The child is safe and home with his
I look at Skinner and release the breath I was unaware that
holding. I nod my head in gratitude at this news. Now, I can concentrate on
another child, one for whom my only wish is that he gets to go home safely to
End of Part 5/6
The Barbecue Series 13: Little Lovings
By Susan Proto (STPteach@aol.com)
Disclaimers in Part 1
San Diego Medical Center
San Diego, CA
Walter and I arrive at about 11:45 p.m. pacific coast time.
traveling all night to get here. The AD tried to convince me to take the
morning flight, but I didn't want to wait any longer. We closed the case; it
was time to go be with my family.
I'm dead on my feet. I can usually sleep without a hitch on
flights, but I
couldn't close my eyes at all on this one. I guess the anticipation of
seeing Dana was the main reason, but an even bigger reason was the fact that
I was finally going to see Matthew.
I want to talk to him. I gotta let him know it's okay to take
a rest and let
your body heal, but then there comes a time when it's time to kick some booty
and wake up. Oh, jeeze, I keep hoping and yes, even praying occasionally,
that he'll finally wake up.
We walk through the doors of the ICU and I look for the
family. I don't see
anyone recognizable until suddenly a flash of red hair appears around the
corner. I think my heart stops, but it's not Dana. It's Bill, and I'm quite
sure he's not the first Scully I want to have to deal with upon my arrival at
the hospital. But, deal I must.
"Bill, how is he?" I ask.
"He's holding his own," he replies succinctly.
"Has he come out of the coma?" Walter asks anxiously.
"No, he hasn't come out of the coma," Bill says wearily.
"Bill, he's going to pull through this," Walter says earnestly.
"Oh, he is? Well thank you Doctor Skinner for that snap
prognosis. It's a
real comfort to hear you say that," Bill says emotionally.
"Bill, Walter didn't mean__," I begin, but before I
get to complete my
thought, Bill interrupts me angrily.
"__What? What didn't he mean, Mulder?" Bill cries
out. He then waves his
hand disgustedly toward us and says, "Look, you haven't been here, so you
don't know dick about what's been going on. The baby just had a seizure,
okay? Now, just get the hell out of my way."
We get the hell out of his way.
We follow the path Bill has just left behind and find the ICU
It looks like the remnants of a Scully family reunion. I see Dana sitting in
the corner chatting quietly with Karen and Tara. Charlie is sitting and
comforting Mom, while Charlie's kids, Daniel and Briana sit quietly and draw
pictures on huge drawing tablets.
Briana is the first to look up and notice our entrance. She
doesn't say a
word, but just gets up and scurries over to both Walter and me. She grabs
both of our legs in the tightest bear hug I'd ever been privy to, other than
her cousin Matthew's of course. I bend down and pick her up. She's getting
big, and certainly not the little flyweight she was the last time I saw her.
"Hey, Breeka-deeka, what's up?"
"Matty's very, very hurted, Uncle Mulder," she says
seriously. "And we have
to pray very, very hard for him."
"Yes, we do, Briana," Walter says as he leans over
to give the small child a
kiss on the forehead.
Daniel is now standing between Walter and I and reaches out to
hug both of
us. I can't recall either child ever showing either of us this much physical
affection before; Matty is always the one to shower me with hugs and kisses,
much to his father's chagrin. I suppose the tenseness and anxiety of having
their baby cousin in a hospital bed is enough to bring out the emotional
neediness in any of us.
I put Briana down, kneel down, and extend my arms to Daniel
accepts them. "Hey Daniel, how you holdin' up?"
"Okay, I guess, but it's hard 'cause they won't let
Briana or me in to see
Matty. We're too little and have too many germs to give him," he explains
"Yeah, that sucks," I say in understanding,
"but I know you realize the
doctors and nurses are just looking out for Matty, right?" I feel the
youngster nod his head, but I also feel him burrow said head further into my
"Oh, Daniel, I know it's scary, but the doctors are doing
everything they can
to make Matty well," I say in an attempt to comfort the crying child
sniffling into my shirt collar.
"I know, and Grandma says we gotta pray real hard to God
for him to give
Matty strength to get well," he says now with more composure as he
I nod as I rise and say, "I'm going to go say hi to your
folks, and Grandma,
"__and Aunt Dana," says Briana with a giggle.
"You're gonna kiss Aunt Dana,
aren't you Uncle Mulder?" she now proclaims for everyone, and I do mean
everyone, to hear.
"Umm__," I hesitate for a second, just long enough
for the subject of my
hesitation to take a couple of steps towards me and say, "Well? Aren't you,
"Uh-huh, " I agree quickly as I nod my head up and
down like one of those
little spring dolls you find on a car dashboard.
And I do, much to their delight, and it's nice because it's
been too long
since this family has had anything to delight in.
I've just finished giving Dana and the rest of the Scully clan
the PG version
of the case we've just solved and then ask if it's okay for me to go see the
baby. Scully walks me far enough to point out the room, but then stops and
says she thinks I deserve this time alone with him. I whisper thank you and
now kiss her gently on the lips, having left the passion in the waiting room.
I walk into the Matty's room and find his father sitting with
him. I jump a
little when I see him there, since I thought he'd left the hospital earlier.
I turn around and am about to leave when I hear his voice call out, "Stay."
"Are you sure? Bill, I haven't traveled all this way to
upset you. I can
come back later if you want," I say sincerely.
"No," he chokes back. He's been crying, and I
suspect he's trying very hard
to keep this fact from me. He's not terribly successful. "You can stay."
He points to the other chair as a way of inviting me to sit down, so I do.
"Do you mind if I talk to him?" I ask.
"You talked with Dana when she was in her coma?" he asks.
"Yes," I say, "but that's only because Melissa
told me to do that. It was
all her idea, and I listened to her, Bill, 'cause she cared about Dana so
much. I would have done anything anyone told me to do if it meant there was
a chance to bring your sister out of her coma," I confess.
"Talk to him, Mulder. Bring him back to us," Bill pleads softly.
I nod, and I begin to speak to one of my best buddies.
"Hey Matty! It's
Uncle Mulder here. I know it took me a long time to get here, and I'm really
sorry about that, Buddy, but I'm here now. And I promise I won't leave until
you show me you're good and ready for me to leave, okay?
"I love ya, little Buddy, and a lot of people who love
you are here waiting
for you to wake up. You can wake up now, Matty. Anytime soon would be a
good time, okay, kiddo? I'm kind of ready to play a little with you, ya
I drone on for about thirty more minutes, and then I stand up
and stretch. I
have to go take a break. Bill left after the first five; he couldn't hold it
together anymore and excused himself. I don't blame him.
Matty looks too small and too fragile to be the same child who
not too long
ago demonstrated an alligator's jaw like grip around my legs. The child is
one of the strongest two-year-olds I've ever met. (Okay, so I haven't met a
whole lot of two-year-olds, but he's got to be one of the strongest, I'm sure
This is so hard. Oh God, if you really are up there, you
really need to take
another look at what's going on down here. You can't want this child now,
not yet. Please. He's got too much to do for his family to be called back
to you right now. His parents waited so long for him to be born; please
don't take him away from them so soon.
Oh, God, please, don't take him away from me so soon.
I look at this child and grasp his hand and wonder what is
from waking up. I sigh with fatigue. It's been a lousy few weeks, but the
last couple of days have been the worst I've experienced in a long time. I
did speak with Dr. Shapiro before I left Connecticut, and he helped to put
some of this in perspective for me, but it still hurts like hell.
I promised I'd call him as soon as I returned to D.C. to make
Strange, there was a time when it would have been impossible for me to
follow through on that particular promise. But now? Now I almost look
forward to it, because I know the guy is helping me deal with all of my
life's little tragedies.
It's a little scary to realize I've finally started to grow up
at the age of
I stretch again look around the small little fishbowl they
call a room. No
one has yet to join me, and I don't want to leave him alone, so I find myself
hunkering back down a bit into the chair. I've decided it's next to
impossible to get comfortable in one of these things. How Scully does it is
beyond me. I sigh out loud, and then I give the baby's hand a tender
squeeze. I whisper aloud, "I'm still here, Matty. Uncle Mulder is still
I close my eyes.
I listen to the drone of the machines and their beeps and
dings and the
blips, and then I hear him. Not out loud, but in my head. Oh God, it has
been a long couple of days, hasn't it? Please God, don't let me be losing
it. Not here, not now.
*It feels funny here. Not funny like when Daddy tickles me.
This is the no
*I think I floating, likes when Mommy puts my swimmies on and
I jump in the
pool to her. But I don't think I swimming. Nah, there's no pool here. But
my face is pusht-ed down in the water.
*Mommy? I don't likes my face in the water. I wants to go out
now. I don't
likes playing here. Mommy, pick me up. Mommy?
*I know you're here, Unc-key Mulduh," his voice says
directly to me.
"Grandma Maggie was here too. I hears her say ''Shah, shah, shah" a lot to
Mommy. She tells Daddy I be fine; I just too tired to fights the germs right
now, that's all.
*You knows what? Sometimes Auntie Dana talks to me. She told
me when she
was sleeping for a long time in the hospital, you talked to her a lots. So,
that's why she be reading me from my books and singing me songs from my
*I loves Auntie Dana a lot, Unc-Key Mulduh, but she don't sing too good.*
I feel myself chuckle out loud at that. I don't know if I'll
ever get over
my Scully's rendition of 'Joy to the World.' Then I hear Matty continue
talking in my head.
*Unc-key Charlie and Auntie Karen camed before, too. But no
Briana," he sighs with sadness. "Daddy cried a lot when they camed. So did
Grandma and Auntie Dana.
*You don't cry like Auntie Dana and Mommy and Grandma. You
just talks to me.
You just likes to be with me, like when I visits Grandma in Balt-e-more. I
likes visiting Grandma there. She buys me toys, and then I gets to play with
them with you, Unc-key Mulduh.*
I smile at this. "I like playing with you too, Matty.
C'mon, Little Buddy,
wake up so we can play some more," I plead aloud.
*Unc-key Mulduh? It's dark here, and I don't want to stay here
no more. You
can pick me up now, okay? I don't wants to stay here no more. I afraid it's
gonna get all crazy and jumpy again like before. I ready to go outta here
now. Hey, Unc-key ___.*
What, Matty? What is it?
I jump up and look immediately inside the crib. I swear I just
something. I swear I did. "Matty?"
It is him. Oh, dear God, thank you! Thank you! "C'mon,
Matty, it's time to
wake up now. Unc-key Mulder is waiting to play, but you gotta wake up.
C'mon, big guy, wake up now!"
"Mmmmwwwaaahhhhh!!" he cries out. Oh, jeeze, he's
crying. He's crying!
It's like God damned music to my ears!
"Okay, Matty, it's okay, I'm gonna get your mom and dad,
hang in there big
guy!" I call out, but step dead in my tracks when I hear his speak.
"Wanna play, Unc-key Mulduh," he cries out.
I walk over to the side of the crib and lean over and give him
fattest, juiciest kiss on his forehead possible.
"Yeah, Buddy, I want to play with you too. But I think if
I ever hope to get
into this family officially, I'd better share the news that you have come
back to us sweetheart, okay?"
"'kay, Unc-key Mulduh," he now replies with amazing
calm, considering he's
been comatose for the last couple of days. Oh God, thank you for this. He's
back. Totally and completely, he's back.
"I love you, Matty. I love you forever and ever, you know
that, doncha?" He
nods and I see he's already tired from our short conversation. "Hold on
Matty, try to stay awake long enough to show everyone you woke up, okay?"
The little guy nods and I know (from personal experience, of course) just how
hard it is for him to stay awake, but stay awake he does.
Then again the whooping and hollering that is going on at the
moment can more
than likely wake up all of the Scully Ancestors as well. But that's okay,
'cause everyone should be here to welcome this child back.
Welcome home, Matty.
End of Part 6/6
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