Date: Sunday, November 14, 1999

Barbecue Series 16: Be Careful What You Wish For
By Susan Proto

Eagle Eyed Debbie Goldstein spotted a gross editing error..those who
have read the story, yes, the therapist's name has and always was Dr.
Shapiro...and he is a he! IT is not Dr. ____ and nor should the good
doctor be referred to as he/she... sorry 'bout that!! <sheepish grin>

Archivists, PLEASE! Use this revised section! Thanks! Later,


See my stories, courtesy of the extraordinary Web Mistress, Shirley
Smiley at:

"Paper is more patient than people."- Anne Frank

Category: Story, MSR, ScullyAngst, MulderAngst, MulderTorture

Rating: PG-13 for language, inferred images of torture and abuse.

Spoilers: Let's just say through season 7, to be safe. Mulder's
amazing abilities show up here.

Summary: Mulder has always felt guilty that others suffered for his
quest. Well, be careful what you wish for.

Archive: Yes

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.

Author's notes: It picks up in the Barbecue Series Universe and
follows # 15. It would probably make more sense if you knew what
makes this universe go round by reading the prior stories.

And to Vickie Moseley, thanks for the incredibly fast turnaround!

Feedback? Feedback? Yup, I *need* the stinkin' feedback! Feedback
is definitely therapeutic! 'Cause if I don't get feedback to read,
that means I have no excuse to procrastinate doing the report cards!
My middle name is 'procrastination'…<g>

Barbecue Series 16: Be Careful What You Wish For
By Susan Proto


Part 1/4

"Are you sure you don't mind?" she asks me so sincerely.

"Scully, why the hell would I mind? She's one of your oldest and
best friends and she needs you. I can manage on my own for a few
days." She still looks doubtful, so admittedly, I become a little
exasperated. "Scully, I lived the better part of twenty-five years on
my own," I remind her.

"I know, and that's one of the reasons I'm leery of leaving you."

I knew there was a reason I love this woman.

Some men would feel she was smothering them; I know my Scully simply
wants to cover my back.

"Ellen needs you. She's recovering from surgery, and raising three
kids on her own. Go. Be a friend," I tell her with as much
conviction as I can muster. "Besides, it's going to be a light
weekend, what with it being Veteran's Day weekend."

"Well, if you're sure, but Mulder, I really can st__."

"__Don't even think of saying it, Scully." I look at her sternly
and I think she's finally gotten the message. I know she's gotten
the message when she leans over me plants a delicious kiss right on
my mouth. My chair squeaks a bit as it bears the pressure of my
Scully pushing down on me, but neither one of us lets up, so I guess
neither one of us minds either.

She finally comes up for air and says, "Well, if you're absolutely
sure, than I'm going to head out to her house early. I don't want to
have to fight any holiday traffic later on."

I nod in acknowledgment and tell her I'm going to head back to our
apartment. "I'd rather not fight the crowds tonight either.
Tomorrow's drive into work should be a breeze though," I say.

"Not necessarily, Mulder. There's probably going to be a lot of
tourists in DC making it a four day weekend," she contradicts.

"You may be right, Scully, but I'm not going to worry about it now."
And with that I pick up my already filled to the brim briefcase and
escort my beautiful fiancée to the parking garage.


I haven't had too many nights alone in our bed. I hate it. It's
hard to sleep without my partner, and I plan on letting her know that
these separations are going to be far and few between.

I'm tempted to call her, but I don't know what her proximity is to
where Ellen is sleeping. Scully's good friend is recovering from
gall bladder surgery; nothing major thankfully, but debilitating
enough for a single mother of three active kids. The littlest one
was born right before Ellen and her husband, Jerry, separated. The
baby was obviously an accident, but the little guy is the light of
Ellen's eyes. Thankfully, Jerry keeps in contact with the kids, but
unfortunately he was out of the country when Ellen's gall bladder
decided to attack her.

I'm still tempted to call.

But I don't. I'd convinced Scully I'm a big boy and perfectly
capable of staying on my own for a few days.

Now, I lay in bed and set about to convince myself.


It's a dreary day. Veteran's Day is the kind of holiday that begets
dreary days. I was right; it has been a light day at the bureau. No
one is pushing himself or herself particularly hard; the chats around
the coffee machine and water coolers tend to be a little longer today
than usual.

The walks on the promenade seem to be prolonging the lunch hours a
bit more, and I for one, am just as guilty of this last little
indulgence. I walk quietly up towards the hill that bears 'The

I've always found it very peaceful to take a walk near the Viet Nam
Memorial on occasion, and have made it a personal habit to visit it
on both Veteran's Day and Memorial Day. Just something I have the
opportunity to do, and I feel it's important I do it.

I look straight ahead and see another man who indulges in these same
excursions. He has, in the past, sometimes acknowledged my presence,
but more often than not he looks straight through me directly into
his past. I've always wondered exactly what AD Skinner sees, though I
doubt I really want to know the details.

This time, however, he does acknowledge me. "Agent Mulder," he says

"Hello, Sir," I reply in kind. I wonder why we still do this little
tap dance with one another at this point, given each of our personal
relationships with two of the finest women in the world. Before I
can ponder the question further, however, I realize he's asked me a
question, but I wasn't paying attention.

"I'm sorry, Sir, but I didn't catch what you said," I admit.

"You mean you weren't paying attention to me, Mulder," he snarls a
bit and then adds a slightly exasperated, "So what else is new?" He
takes a breath and then asks, "How are you holding up with Agent
Scully being out of town?"

"I'm fine, Sir."

Skinner looks at me with an expression I can only describe as 'odd'.
He obviously doesn't buy my claim, but he's also not too sure how to
let me know that fact. "Mulder,'' he begins to growl, "don't
bullshit me.''

"No, Sir, I really am okay. I mean, don't get me wrong, I do miss
her, but I know it's just for a few days. I'm okay," I say
earnestly. I don't want him to say anything to Mom; I've given
Maggie Scully enough cause to worry about me in the recent past.
There's no need for her to have to worry any more.

"Mulder?" Skinner hesitates. I know he wants to ask me something
personal; he gets this certain uneasy look on his face when he delves
into this kind of territory. I know he's not terribly comfortable in
feeling the need to do so, nor does he particularly want to, but he
does anyway. "Will you be joining Maggie and me for dinner tomorrow
evening?" he voices with very little inflection.

"Oh, thanks for the invitation, Sir, but I've already made
arrangements to hang out with the boys. It's been a good long while
since we've just hung out together; you know, just the guys."

For a moment he looks a bit surprised, but then he looks almost
amused when he replies, "Send my regards, then Mulder."


"Don't look so shocked, Mulder. I remember your friends quite well,
particularly after your Bermuda Triangle fiasco," he explains.

I nod in acknowledgment and then repeat my thanks for the invite.

I'm about to turn when Skinner catches my shoulder and clasps my
shoulder through my trench coat. "How's the other thing going?"

"Other thing?" I ask a little bit confused.

"You know, Mulder," he hedges. When my expression remains
nonplused, he elaborates, "Dr. Shapiro. Have the sessions with him
been helping?"

I nod in understanding and then say aloud, "Yes, thank you, Sir.
I'm starting to get my head together about a lot of the crap I went
through as a kid, as well as an adult. Thank you again, Sir, for
pointing me in the right direction."

"Glad I could help, Mulder," he says softly, but then adds in his
most professional voice, "Well, I'll let you be on your way." He
takes a quick glance at his watch and says, "I assume you'll be
putting some time in the office this afternoon?"

"Yes, Sir, of course. I'm headed back that way now," I stammer. I
admire the man. I even like the man. But he can still intimidate
the hell out of me when he goes into AD mode. He nods at me and I
watch him turn around to walk down the long path of 'The Wall.'

I, too, am about to turn around when I think of something I'd been
meaning to ask him regarding Scully's and my accumulated sick leave.
We need to figure out how much leave time we'll be able to take so we
can plan for our honeymoon, though neither of us knows exactly when
that's going to be.

Just as I'm about to call out to him, I'm struck dumb by the most
incredibly bright light I've ever seen in my entire life. I'm
immobilized; my voice, my limbs, my entire being is paralyzed and all
I can think is, 'it's happening again,' and wonder if it will be my
boss they take from me this time.

Imagine my surprise that when the earth stands still for next nine
minutes, it is me that is taken.
End of 1/4


The Barbecue Series 16: Be Careful What You Wish For
By Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/4

"Damn it! What do you mean he never showed up?" I cry out angrily
at the voice on the other end of the line.

"I'm just telling you what I know. We had plans to hang out this
weekend, but Mulder never showed up, Agent Scully," replies a
surprisingly testy Frohike.

"I'm sorry, Melvin," I say quickly. "I'm just worried. It doesn't
look as though he's been home all weekend, and I was hoping he was
with you guys."

"No, Scully. The last time any of us spoke with Mulder was
Wednesday night. He was going into the office on Thursday and Friday.
He was planning on cutting out early Friday and coming directly over
here. I don't know what happened. Mulder's done things like this
before, you know, so we didn't go into panic mode over his failure to
show up." He pauses for a moment and then adds contritely, "I guess
perhaps we should have."

I sigh, and immediately comfort Frohike and tell him it's not
anyone's fault. Mulder's a big boy and should let people know where
he's going to be.

"Okay, Frohike, thanks anyway," I say.



"Let us know when you hear from him, okay?"

I have to smile at this request; it was a given I would notify them
first thing. "Of course, Frohike. No question of it."

I hang up and then quickly click on the call button again. I speed
dial one particular number and am relieved when the strong male
baritone's voice answers the phone.


"Sir, this is Scully. I think we may have a situation, Sir."


"Well, Sir, Mulder appears to be missing."

"Agent, I spoke with Mulder on Thursday. He informed me he was
going to spend the weekend with, and I quote, "The Boys."

"I know, but the problem is he never made it to the Lone Gunmen's
place," I explain.

"What are you talking about?" asks a now very alert Skinner. "He
was very specific about spending the weekend with them. He turned
down a dinner invitation from your mother to be with them."

"Sir, I believe you, but the fact of the matter is, he never showed
up." I pause and take a breath before I ask him the next question.
"Sir? When and where was the last time you saw Mulder?"

"Thursday. Thursday during the lunch hour between one and two
o'clock. We were both at the Viet Nam Memorial. We had a brief
conversation and then he told me he was going back to the office."

"Did you see him leave the area, Sir?" I ask with a bit of

"I'm sure that's what he did, Scully," he replies with a defensive

"I'm sure that's what he intended to do, Sir. I just want to
confirm that's what happened. Did you have any contact with him
after your conversation?" I ask.

"No, but__." Skinner stops short.

"Yes, Sir? What were you going to say?"

"Nothing. It's really nothing," he says with little conviction.

"Sir, this is Mulder we're talking about. Please," I now beg,
"anything you can remember may help us find him."

"Scully, you're assuming he's been taken against his will?" he asks
with surprise.

"What do you remember?" I repeat, as I refuse to be diverted.

I hear what sounds almost like a sigh of defeat. "I think I
remember seeing a bright light for a brief moment. Scully it was for
such a short time, I brushed it off. I figured I was imagining

"Yes? Go on," I say, because I can tell there is more Skinner is

"Scully, I remember looking at my watch before I said good-bye to
him. I remember looking at my watch after I think I saw that bright
flash of light."

The man is driving me crazy now, because he stops speaking. I do
hear him breathing a little more quickly, so I figure what he's about
to say is making him very, very uncomfortable. I cut him a little
slack and let him tell his story on his terms. He is my AD after

"Scully, it was almost ten minutes later. It's impossible for ten
minutes to have passed between the time I said good bye to Mulder and
that flash of light, isn't it?" he asks tremulously.

"The Viet Nam Memorial?" I ask in a rush.


"The Memorial is the last place you saw him, right?" I confirm
anxiously. He answers in the affirmative. "Would you meet me there,
Sir? Maybe there's some clues?" I say as I put my coat on. When I
hear him say 'yes,' I click off immediately and head out the door.


Everything hurts.

My head, my arms, my legs, my stomach, my groin hurts. Every part
of my body feels as if it's been in a vice of some sort and the
aftereffects are a continuous, monotonous pain that refuses to quit.

I'm cold.

I open my eyes slowly and see I am dressed in my boxers and nothing
more. Well, at least I have some dignity left. I try to move my head
to see what out of the way alley I've been dumped in. I then notice
it's not an out of the way place at all.

I'm behind the black onyx memorial. I'm lying in a heap, and as
much as I want to curl up against the cold, I can't move another inch
for the pain. I can't remember a time I'd felt like this. Not the
time when Diamond held me hostage, and not even the times my father
subjected me to his bastard of a friend, did I feel this much pain.

I was able to numb myself to that; now, I wish there were a way to
block out the physical agony I am feeling. I'd willingly pass out,
but the pounding in my head seems to be keeping me conscious.

And as I lay immobile by the wall, I realize I can remember.

I can remember everything that has been done to me in the last few

I can remember what has been said to me in the last few days.

I remember hearing him say to my face, "Be careful what you wish
for, Fox."

Even the tears I shed hurt.


I hear her voice calling to me, and as much as I want to answer, my
voice remains mute. I can't speak. I know she will find me soon,
though, so I wait patiently. My Scully would leave no stone unturned
in her attempts to find me; since I have been left out in the open,
practically naked, it would be pretty difficult for them to miss me
for much longer.

"Scully!!" I hear the AD's voice scream out. I suspect he has
spotted me. I feel the vibrations of his heavy strides coming toward
me. I want to shout out in relief and jubilation that they have
found me, but I can't. I remain paralyzed in both fear and pain.

It hurts so damned much, and the memories are so incredibly painful.

I am afraid; it is an emotion I haven't allowed myself to feel since
I was twelve years old or since Scully's too many close calls with
death. It is an emotion I'd only ever associated with feeling for
someone else, never with me.

Only now I am afraid for me. And I feel helpless to do anything
about it.

"Scully! He's here!" calls out the AD one more time. I hear her
voice a response. I'm not sure as to exactly what she says, but I
know it lets Skinner know she's on her way.

My calvary. My one woman rescue team.

She will see my body sprawled out, limbs sprawled out in a haphazard

But will she really see me?

Will she ever be able to really see me again?

I have some idea as to where I've been, and I don't know if I can
live with that knowledge. I don't know if I can accept the fact that
my sister and Scully both endured what I went through these last few
days. I suspect their ordeals were even longer and perhaps more
painful, but if I was subjected to even a fraction of the agony they
had to go through, I wonder how they survived it.

I don't know if I can.

I've always thought of myself as a fighter; a fighter for the truth
and I never intended to give up until I found it.


I don't know if I can survive the truth.

End of Part 2/4


The Barbecue Series 16: Be Careful What You Wish For
By Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 3/4


I look at him and know immediately he's in trouble. I'm not sure
why or how, but I know he's in more trouble now than he's ever been

I kneel down to be close to him, but I instinctively know not to
touch him. "Mulder," I whisper softly into his ear. "I'm here,
Mulder. You're safe, and we're going to help you."

I hear the AD's voice, but I don't listen to what he has to say, as
I am too busy concentrating on my partner. Too busy that is until I
see Skinner moving toward Mulder to haul him up off the ground.

"No!" I cry out quickly.

"What?" Skinner reacts as if a rattler has bitten him. His hands
are up in a defensive posture and his expression is a combination of
annoyance, fear, and confusion. There may even be a hint of
contrition, but I'm not positive.

"I'm not sure what his injuries are, yet, Sir. It could cause more
harm than good to move him at this point," I explain in my best MD
voice. My heart is beating a mile a minute and my hands are actually
shaking, because all I really want to do is bundle Mulder up in my
arms and hold him and make whatever horror he's been forced to live
through again go away.

But I know doing this just may kill him. I don't know how or why I
know this. I just do.

"Sir, would you call for an ambulance?" I ask. I know the last
place Mulder will want to go to is the hospital, but for now I don't
feel as if I have a choice. I have no way of knowing what his
injuries are or their severity, and I figure if nothing else he's
dehydrated and should be put on intravenous fluids immediately.

I've also noticed he still hasn't spoken even though it is painfully
obvious he is fully conscious. This worries me more than anything
else. I wonder if he recognizes the AD and me. I don't want to add
to his stress, but I have to determine if he's at all cognizant so
that we can treat him.

I look closely at him and call his name again. "Mulder? Mulder if
you can understand me at all, you have to let me know somehow.
Please." I don't see any movement at all. He doesn't seem to be
even trying to move his mouth. Why? Why aren't you trying, Mulder?


I can't do anything to stop the pain. Each time I try to
acknowledge Scully's requests, I feel the barrage of pain ten fold.
If I so much as move a muscle in my mouth, I can feel it throughout
my entire face and neck. If I try to move my pinkie, I feel the
assault of pain up and down my arm, shoulder and chest. The blast of
agony that one small movement in my toes create throughout my leg,
hip, groin and stomach is enough to convince me to remain as still as

I hear Scully request Skinner to call for an ambulance. The thought
of the paramedics attempting to lift me up and place me on a gurney
causes me to wonder if I'll be able to survive it. I've never heard
of anyone actually dying from pain before; I suspect I'll be written
up in medical journals as the first. I am so scared about what is
going to happen in the next several minutes, I feel myself begin to

"He's going into shock, Scully," says Skinner. "He's shaking. Take
my coat."

"Thanks," she says as she takes his proffered trench coat and tries
to gently spread it over me.

It doesn't work. I am now suddenly writhing in agony and neither
Scully nor the AD has a clue why. I feel Scully leaning over me in
an attempt to comfort me, but now she's only pressing down and
pushing the coat harder onto my skin and the pain is killing me. I
don't know how to let her know to get off of me.

*Oh, God, Scully! Get it off of me, now!" I scream in my mind.

Suddenly, I feel relief. I feel cold, but I don't feel the added
pain of touch.

"It's off, Mulder. I took it off. Is that better?" she whispers.

*Yes,* I reply gratefully in my mind. She's smiling at me. Holy
shit! *Holy shit, Scully! You can hear me?*

"I guess so, G-Man. I guess stress can cause the genetic button to
turn itself back on?" she asks.

I let her know I'm in the dark as much as she is about this whole
genetic button theory, but if it helps me find some relief, I won't
fight it. I plan on fighting one battle at a time, and the most
immediate one is how to get me to the hospital without the paramedics
putting me through hell by touching me and lifting me up onto the

"Mulder, can you move at all?" she asks while Skinner looks on with
his mouth agape.

*It hurts too much, Scully.*

"But what hurts more? If someone helps you, or if you do it
yourself?" she asks pragmatically.

I understand her point. One way or the other, I have to get off the
ground. I suspect I'll have to try and do it myself, but I'm so
scared of the pain factor, I don't know if I'll succeed. I let
Scully know that.

"I'm here, partner, in case you need me. Just let me know what to
do to help you, okay?"


It takes almost twenty minutes for me to get myself onto the gurney.
I feel as if my entire body belongs in a body cast; that's how much
it hurts.

The paramedics are pissed off at first when Scully tells them they
can't follow procedure and lift me up. They're practically beside
themselves when she won't allow them to touch me or start an IV.

Scully figures if I'm shot up with an elephant's dose of morphine, I
might be able to handle every other test and procedure the doctors
will want to do to me to get me through this. The paramedics can
only do so much, so Scully felt it best to wait until I'm admitted.
Of course this doesn't help the matter at hand.

I want to die. Now. That's how bad the pain is.

I am finally on my way to the hospital. Scully is riding in the
ambulance with me; there's a comfort in the familiarity of this, but
it doesn't ease the agony I'm going through now. I barely hear her
as she explains to me that Skinner is following in the car and that
together we'll find out who did this to me.

I almost laugh. When we find out who did this to me, we'll find the
truth about Samantha and Scully. I think Scully suspects as much,
but doesn't have the courage to admit this yet. I don't blame her.

I can hardly admit it to myself. I don't want to think my sister
and my partner went through this horrific experience because of me.
Yes, because of me.

It was my name on the file label underneath Sam's name. I was the
one who was supposed to be taken, not Sam. I still don't understand
why my father chose her over me; all I know is that I blame myself.

It is because of the consortium's desire to get to me that they took
my partner and put her through this physical hell. So, yes, though
she'll deny it to her dying breath, I take full responsibility for
putting my partner, my love, in the position of having to bear this
hell, too.

Scully's talking to me, but I can't bear to listen right now. I
can't block out the pain; the searing jabs of fire that go through
every part of my body with every jostling, every movement. *Oh God,
Scully, help me. Please, help me!* I scream in my mind's voice.

"I will, Mulder. I will," she responds with terror.


An elephant's dose of morphine is a very good thing. I still feel a
great deal of discomfort, but it's manageable now. At least I can
think with a clearer mind. I still find it takes a great deal of
effort to move and to speak, but I manage a slight twitch and
utterance every now and then.

Skinner tells me he called my mother. Small wonder she didn't
respond in the manner in which he'd have expected. My mother simply
asked him to keep her informed and to let her know if arrangements
needed to be made. That's my mother, for you. Ever the pragmatic.

Of course this upset the AD tremendously, though to be honest I
don't know if he was more upset by her lack of maternal caring or my
complete acceptance of it as business as usual. He immediately calls
Mom as a result. She must have said something right, as I can sense
his relief over the situation. I'm trying to figure out if he called
Maggie more for him or me.

Hell, it's been that way for a long time. Ever since Dana was __. I
refuse to allow myself to think about that right now. Besides, my
partner is talking to me and it requires every last bit of energy to
comprehend what she's saying.

"Mulder, please try and remember what happened. Please, who took
you?" she asks.

"Don't know," I reply. Two syllables this time. I impress myself
at this moment.

"When were you taken?" she asks. I know she's trying to pin down
the time frame in order to try and locate witnesses. How do I
explain to her that this will be unlikely?

"At Wall. Lunch." Three syllables. Whoa, don't want to overdo it,

"Was it right after you spoke with the AD?" she asks.

I think about nodding, but it's less painful at the moment to speak,
so I say, "Yeah." I can see the wheels turning. I know she's
probably already made the connection, but she's afraid to admit it.
The sooner we get this over with though, the better, so I elaborate a

"Light." Okay, so it's very little. But by the look in her eyes,
I'd say it does the trick.

"Mulder, the AD says he saw a bright flash of light for a second
too," she confirms for me. I know it takes a lot for my Scully to
dispense with this information. This whole situation is starting to
hit way too close to home for her, and I fear she may start to shut

*Don't leave me, Scully. I can't deal with this without you,* I
plead silently.

"I'm not going anywhere, Mulder. I promise, I'll not leave you."

"Thank you," I manage to say aloud.

"Talk to me, Mulder. What do you remember?" she asks.

"Everything," I choke out. I can't help it. As much as I want to
be strong for her, and not make her live through her hell again by
dealing with my own, I can't help it. I do remember every detail and
every painful second of what happened to me these past few days, and
it's wearing me out. I feel as if I'm losing myself into some kind
of abyss, and I don't know if I'll have the strength to pull myself

I don't know if even my Scully can be strong enough to lend a hand.
She's worked so hard at not remembering, hearing my ordeal may force
her to mind to reopen her past. I don't know if she'll be able to
get past that.

I hope so, for her sake. Hell, I hope so for both of our sakes.


End of part 3/4 (


The Barbecue Series 16: Be Careful What You Wish For
By Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 4/4

I know what he's thinking. I know he thinks he has to be strong for
me, and as much as I want to tell him he doesn't have to do this, I
hesitate. Why do I do this? Why do I allow him to shoulder this

Because I am as afraid as he knows me to be. And my Mulder knows
how I dread admitting any weakness; most of all how I hate to admit
when I'm afraid.

So, instead of coming right out and telling him I'll be okay, I hold
back. I don't know if I will be okay. I'm afraid I won't be okay,
and he knows it, and he's willing to hold back his own fears, so I
won't have to deal with my own.

I love this man for everything he is and means to me. I have to
show him how much I do love him; I have to allow him to share his
truths even if it shatters mine. I know he'll be there to pick up
the pieces.

"Mulder," I say gently, "It's okay. Tell us what happened. Please,
tell us so we'll know what to do to help you."

As he begins to tell his story, my heart constricts. I know both of
our lives will change today. I can only pray it is for the better.


"Light," I begin. I find it hard to retrieve the words at first,
but I forge on. "Light, so bright. Couln't see for a moment. Then
I saw Skinner stand still." I swallow hard, and continue.
"Everything, still. Everything was still, Scully.

"I knew. I knew what was happening. I knew what was happening,
Scully, I knew. I knew, I knew,

Scully grasps my shoulders and gives shakes me. It hurts like hell,
even with the massive dosage of morphine, and I gasp out loud.

"I'm sorry, Mulder. I was afraid you were getting hysterical, and I
didn't want you to hurt yourself even more," she explains gently.

I understand. I feel my heart racing and my pulse thumping so
loudly, I figure both Skinner and Scully must hear it. I look at her
now, and feel absolutely powerless. The sad thing is she appears to
feel the same way, and this worries me. Usually when one of us is
feeling down, the other is willing and able to pull the other up. I
worry this may not be the case this time. I worry that I'm going to
pull Scully down into the abyss with me.

"Mulder, it's okay," she says as if she now has the power to read my
mind. "I can take it. Believe it or not, I'm okay with this."

I look at her and wonder how this can possibly be true. This is the
same woman who for years actively denied anything out of the ordinary
happened to her, and then when she finally discovered her
infertility, chose to blame it on the evil men of the consortium.

She's refused in the past to acknowledge the possibility that
something extraterrestrial played a role in her abduction. I don't
know what she'll say when she hears what I have to say. I don't know
if she'll merely accept it as a truth for just me, or perhaps not
accept it at all.

I suppose I'll understand if she can't accept it for herself, but I
don't think I can handle it if she refuses to see it as my truth.
But I also know I have to take the risk and tell her everything.


He's exhausted. It has been twenty minutes since he's finished
telling us what had happened to him, yet the sweat pours off of him
still. I wipe his brow gently so as not to stir him for this
blessedly needed sleep that has finally overtaken him.

He'd spoken for almost two hours; sometimes in an eerily calm voice,
while at other times he wove his tale in manic tones. He frightened
me during those moments; moreover, he frightened himself and I felt
him reach out to me then. Even in slumber, I feel him reach out for
me, as if I am his only tether to our reality.

He feared I wouldn't listen, or that I wouldn't allow myself to
believe him. He was almost right in thinking that, but then I
realized I didn't have a choice if I want the man I love to survive
this latest ordeal.

Who knew having Mulder retell his ordeal would be as cathartic for
me as it was for him? Who knew indeed?

The AD has stayed in the room with us the entire time. I suppose
there were times during Mulder's monologue that Skinner wanted to run
out of here and get as far away from the two of us as he possibly

But he didn't. He's hung in here with us both, and I am grateful to
him for this. I can only imagine what is going on in his mind. I
pray he can see beyond the ordeal's description and still see Mulder
(and me, for that matter) hasn't become something less.

I look over at Mulder and once again gently move a lock of hair that
has climbed back over his eyes, and then return my gaze to Skinner.
I don't know what to say. I don't know how to ask him if he is okay
with what he's heard. But before I can debate with myself any
further, he breaks the silence.

"You know, he's been seeing a therapist, right?" he asks.

"Yes, a Dr. Shapiro."

"Has Mulder ever given you the details?" Skinner asks softly.

"No. I don't know the details," I murmur.

"He'll survive this, Scully. If he can survive the shit he went
through as a kid, then this is a no-brainer," he pronounces adamantly.

"I don't understand," I begin. "He told you?" I can't help but
feel a little hurt; maybe even a little betrayed that my fiance
wouldn't trust me with something so personal, yet confesses it to our

"Scully, it's not like that. He'd never intended for me to know.
Hell, he'd never intended for anyone to know. That bastard Diamond
took care of that plan," he explains.

"Sir, I thought the therapist you recommended was to help him
overcome the trauma of the Diamond attack."

"It was, but the Diamond attack triggered some pretty horrific
memories from Mulder's childhood. It was the proverbial killing two
birds with one stone sort of thing," he says quietly. He looks up at
me for a bit longer than I am comfortable with when he finally says,
"Scully, you realize he'll never survive this if _you_ don't' accept
his account as truth. His truth. Your truth."

I nod in acknowledgment. I don't know if I can speak to this right
now. The doctor walks in with an envelope in his hands. He posts it
on the lighted wall, and points out something that is altogether too
familiar to us all.

"I found two more just like it, Dr. Scully," he says as he points
out a total of four implants. One is at the base of Mulder's neck,
in the same place as mine, while he also has one at the base of his
spine, and a third in his chest cavity.

I can only imagine what the ramifications will be if we remove the
implants. I can only imagine what the ramifications will be as we
leave them in place.

I see him stir, and quickly move over to him to lay what I hope is a
soothing hand on his forehead. We've come to the conclusion the
uncanny pain he's been in is a result of his not being sedated in the
same manner that I was. I was comatose for an extended period of
time, while poor Mulder has been conscious for the entire ordeal and

We assume as time passes, the pain will subside, and the doctors
will be able to lower the dosage of painkillers. As the pain
decreases, the likelihood of Mulder's release becomes more apparent.
He doesn't have any specific injuries, other than the sudden
appearance of the implants and the gradually decreasing pain. In all
probability, Mulder will be released within the next twenty-four to
forty-eight hours.

Released to go and do battle again.

My Mulder was never issued a uniform for the army of truth. I'm
still not sure if he enlisted or was drafted, but either way, he'll
continue fighting its war. And I know I will be there with him every
step of the way.

His eyes open now and I see, for the first time, a hint of smile. I
feel his thoughts yet again and I know he understands what I am
thinking. And then I hear his voice inside my mind one more time.

*I'll be there with you, too, Scully. We're in this together,

End of part 4/4

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