The Healer by Susan Proto (1/2)
Date: Sun, 26 Jul 98

Category: X-File (Surprise!) MulderTorture (No surprise!) Angst; MSR/
M/S/SK Friendship

Rating: PG13 for language

Spoilers: mild spoilers up and through the movie (definitely POST-FlickFic

Summary: Mulder comes across a tabloid article which describes a man with
amazing skills as a 'psychic surgeon' and decides to meet him. A meeting
that later has serious implications for Mulder's life.

Archive: Yes

Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, & Skinner, as well as the notion of Maggie
Scully and Ma ("I still can't believe you called her Teena") Mulder belong
to 10/13 productions and Chris Carter. I'm just borrowing them. I won't
keep them. At the end of the story you can have `em back, I swear,
(unless you *want* to give `em to me.) All other characters belong to me,
and if Mr. Carter wants to borrow them, all he needs to do is ask. <grin>

Flames will be noted, but constructive feedback will be appreciated

Author's Note: One night, not too long ago, Vickie Moseley and I were
instant messaging one another while watching an NBC special on unusual
phenomena. I wish I could remember the name, but suffice it to say we
thought it must have been absolute fate that it should include segments on
"crop circles" of all things and then one on "psychic surgery." Vickie
said there was a story there somewhere.
Well, one night it found me, and with the help and encouragement of Mrs.
Moseley, here it is. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed
writing it. (Though I know you'll let me know either way.)

Reminder! I am not a doctor! I only pretend to be able to write them in
scenes requiring medical knowledge, so forgive me if I've totally
misstated some medical facts here.

The Healer
by Susan Proto (

Part 1/9

"What?" Scully asked in her most weary voice. "What is it now that has
you ready to run up to Skinner, practically getting on your hands and
knees begging him to approve a 302?"

"Ah, Scully, you're no fun. C'mon, where's your sense of adventure?
Your sense of the wonder at the unknown?" he replied teasingly.

She couldn't stay annoyed with him long. His enthusiasm was infectious
and a joy to see again. It had been so long since she could share
Mulder's joy and anticipation for anything unusual that came in their
path. And though she could appreciate his excitement, today was not a day
she felt she wanted to engage in it with him until she was certain it
wasn't the proverbial wild goose chase.

One wild goose chase per month was enough, and their little trek to the
Antarctic had met that requirement. Okay, maybe that little adventure
wasn't so much a 'wild goose chase' as it was an adventure in hell. On
the other hand, they did learn more than they'd ever learned before,

She wasn't getting any younger, you know.

Come to think of it, neither was he.

And yet, with all they'd been though, they both, somehow, they both now
felt as though they had all the time in the world.

"What is it this time, Mulder?" she asked chuckling.

"What do you know about 'psychic surgery', Scully?"

"Oh Lord, save us. Mulder, you have got to be kidding!"

"C'mon, Scully, have you ever heard of it?" he asked enthusiastically.

"Yes, I have," she began smugly. "It's a process whereby a _non-medical_
healer pretends to dig his hands into a person's insides, going right
through the skin without the benefit of a knife or any surgical
instrument. There's no real incision, only a fake incision made when the
so-called healer runs a finger along the patient's body, and then pretends
to pull out some 'tumors' or internal organs of some sort."

Seeing by his slightly gaping mouth she had Mulder's full attention,
Scully smiled slightly and continued.

"The healer attempts to make the whole illusion look real by squirting
animal blood from a hand held balloon while discarding things like raw
chicken livers and hearts. The ill patient, thinking he's been cured,
goes home to die of whatever cancerous condition brought him to the healer
in the first place.

"Of course, if there wasn't anything really seriously wrong with the
patient, he goes home to live to a ripe old age, and perpetuates the myth
that psychic surgery had cured him. It's become a rather big business in
the world, particularly in the Philippines and Brazil," she concludes and
then takes a deep breath.

"I am impressed, Dr. Scully. I honestly didn't think you'd have made
yourself that well versed on the subject," he replied with a slight smirk.
"Makes me kind of wonder why you would take such an interest in such

"Mulder, give me a break. You know I keep myself up to date with anything
and everything that has to do with medical research. Psychic surgery has
had the mainstream medical community up in arms for quite some time now,
simply because it induces desperately sick, often destitute people, to
seek help from unqualified people. These poor people die while making
these fakes richer and richer," she replied indignantly.

"Okay, okay, point taken," he said quickly, but then quietly added, "But
Scully? What if there were someone out there who really had this ability?
I mean, wouldn't that be a medical breakthrough that even __you__ would
want to see?"

Scully looked at her partner and drank in the sight. He was so
deliriously happy these days. Since they'd returned from the Antarctic
debacle, their division had been reopened and they were a team again. A
real team.

She still didn't believe every theory Mulder threw out at her, but she
knew she thoroughly and completely believed in him. And herself. And in
them together. A team. A partnership. For life.

But for this? Psychic Surgery?

She was so tired. They'd already been consultants to not one, but two
VCS cases and had even assisted in the capture of one of the UNSUBS. The
second had yet to be caught, but Mulder's profile certainly had the local
authorities on the right track.

The perp was targeting local law enforcement as his victims, so the local
PD's were absolutely adamant about solving this one on their own. So,
Mulder handed over the profile and informed everyone he was more than
happy to step aside as this all happened within the space of six weeks.
All the while she and Mulder were working hard to get their new office up
and running again.

She wasn't tired. She was exhausted, and she was mildly jealous that her
partner wasn't feeling equally spent.

"Mulder, aren't you ready for a break? I mean, we've just spent the last
month or so working with Violent Crimes to catch not one, but two serial
killers, in addition to trying to outfit this empty shell of an office
with furniture and equipment to make it homey so we can spend more than
half our waking hours in it, and you want to go running off to___? Umm,
where do you want to go running off to?" she asked tiredly.

"Not far," he began cautiously. "We can even drive. Kentucky. Right on
the border of Virginia, practically."

"Mulder__," she growled. "Where?"

"Letcher county, in southeastern Kentucky. The Appalachians," he finally

Scully sighed. The Appalachian Mountain region was not exactly known for
its four star hotels and restaurants. Much of it was an economically
depressed area and relied primarily on its mining industry for growth. Of
course, when one considers the subject of psychic surgery, Scully could
only imagine what type of area would embrace that bit of fakery. Before
Scully could protest, Mulder continued to explain his rational for wanting
to take the case.

"Look, Scully, I know we've been working hard with VCS. That's probably
why this case looks so inviting. It's a real X-File, Dana. We haven't
had one of those in soo long," he sighed.

Scully smiled to herself, as she heard him call her 'Dana'. Ever since
they'd returned from the Antarctica, he'd taken to using her first name
more and more. He was so tentative at first and used it with such
caution, almost as though he was afraid she'd admonish him for it.

But she didn't. She wouldn't. She couldn't.

She loved him, she knew he loved her, though neither had said it in so
many words, but they both knew it nonetheless. So if he felt the need to
call her 'Dana', then he could call her 'Dana'.

Of course, she took the same liberty.

The first time she called him 'Fox' she thought his head was going to fly
off his shoulders he jerked it up so hard. She couldn't help smiling at
the memory of his shocked expression when she'd called him by his first
name. And she couldn't help grinning broadly at the memory of his quiet,
amused acceptance of it.

So now, when he looked so hopefully at her, she realized his idea of
taking it easy was an X-File case. God help them both. She figured the
safest thing to do at this point was to ask him to explain it to her in
detail, so she would have enough information to make an informed decision.

"Talk to me, Mulder. What's got you so hyped up?"

"Okay. According to this article," he began while hiding the banner of
the rag he called an 'alternative news source,' "there's a man by the name
of Henry Marcos."

"Don't tell me. He's Filipino, right?" Upon seeing her partner nod in
the affirmative, she said, "Please tell he's not related to either the
shoe lady herself or her late husband."

"No, no relation that I know of." Scully acknowledged his response with a
slight sigh of relief. He continued his briefing. "Well, apparently
there's this small town in Kentucky, in the back country, called
Batchtown, Kentucky."

He waited for patiently for his partner to stop rolling her eyes so he
could continue. "There seemed to be an extremely high incidence of
hemophilia in the town."

Scully's expression continued to show disbelief. "Mulder, if this area is
as back country as you seem to indicate, there's probably a very good
reason why they have a high incidence of hemophilia since it is a genetic
disease. My God, Mulder, there's no telling how much intra-familial
marriage has been going on there."

"You're probably right on that," Mulder admitted easily. "I'm not
concerned with why there's a high incidence of hemophilia. My interest is
in how they deal with the potentially dangerous medical problems
inherently associated with hemophilia."

"Mulder, there's clotting factor VIII available for hemophiliacs. They
don't have to live in total fear of bleeding to death any longer," she
replied quickly.

"But it's expensive. It can cost upward to two hundred thousand dollars
to treat someone with severe hemophilia, Scully."

"Well, yes, but__"

"Scully, we're talking about people who can barely put food on their
tables," he reminded her seriously. "These people need a way of meeting
the needs of their stricken without it costing an arm and a leg. The
government will spend only so much money, and then it's only on an as
needed basis. There's such a large pocket of need in the town of
Batchtown, Kentucky, I think the government has been running for the hills
by giving those poor people the run around.

"The article spoke of the government actually accusing the citizen's of
Batchtown of intermarrying to create more hemophiliac victims in order to
extort more money out of the government. Jeeze, and they call _me_
paranoid," he concluded chuckling lightly.

"All right," Scully conceded, "so how does this Marcos character fit in?"

"Well, apparently he was a pretty well known guy in the Philippines. He
decided to bring his talents to the States__."

"__You mean he was run out of the Philippines for fraud, don't you,
Mulder?" she asked wryly.

"No, as a matter of fact, I don't. I've been doing some research on this
guy on the internet. Apparently, he's something of a cult hero in his
native country. There's a number of web sites dedicated to this man and
his following. They keep waiting for him to return to the Philippines,
almost like they're waiting for their messiah to come home."

Scully looked at him quizzically. "There's something I don't understand."
Mulder looked at her encouragingly. "Why," she continued, "does he stay
in an area where he's obviously going to be paid in nothing more exotic
than chunks of coal or pig's feet. I mean, the community you're talking
about can't have a whole lot of wealth behind it. What's this guy's
angle?" she finally asked.

"Is it beyond the realm of extreme possibilities that Henry Marcos simply
wants to heal people?" he asked quietly.

"Beyond the realm?" Scully echoed. "No, Mulder, it's not beyond the
realm. It's just that it's highly unlikely given what we know about
medical science. I think it's more likely Mr. Marcos has a vested
interest in one of the coal mines up 'thar' in Kentucky, and he's waiting
to make a major hit so he can run 'for them thar hills'," she teased.

"I don't know," Mulder sighed, "maybe you're right. But it just feels so

"Fox," she began. Dana watched him as he looked up with startled eyes.
He was still not used to hearing his first name come out of his partner's
mouth, but he knew when she did say it, it meant she wanted to be taken
extra seriously. He waited patiently for her to continue.

"I'm going to be honest with you. I don't see this anymore than a scam
artist taking advantage of poor, ignorant people. If that's the case,
then it's really the under the authority of the local P.D.

"Now, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, so listen to everything
I say before you jump down my throat, okay?" She waited and saw him
acknowledge her with a slight nod.

"Okay. I don't want to go to Batchtown, Kentucky. Quite frankly, the
last thing I want to deal with is a small, secluded town with few if any
of the amenities of modern conveniences. I _need_ to be near a bathtub
with hot and cold running water," she said with a small smile. Mulder,
she realized thankfully, was smiling back at her, and so she continued.

"However, since there seems to be nothing here that could put you in harms
way, I see no reason why you shouldn't go and have some fun checking it
out," Scully suggested. "I mean, there wouldn't even be any sharp
instruments in the area," she added dryly.

Mulder cocked his head to one side and then grinned from ear to ear.
"Scully? You telling me I can _ditch_ you?"

"Mulder, it's not a ditch if I'm telling you to go. So go fill out your
302 form, sign out your rental car, and go!" she urged with a laugh as she
watched a myriad of emotions take over Mulder's face.

She knew he'd been left exhausted from the last two cases they assisted
in. Scully wasn't even sure he'd completely recovered from the gun shot
wound to his head before Skinner informed them they were immediately being
loaned to VCS.

Apparently that was one of the prices Skinner had to pay in order to have
the X-Files reopened. He had to make his agents more available for VCS
consultations. Skinner agreed as long as the two agents were always sent
as a team. If VCS wanted Mulder's services, Scully was to always
accompany him, and the same was true of the reverse.

Not surprising to Skinner, Special Agent Dana Scully, MD, had attained her
own reputation as a dedicated agent with brilliant abilities in the area
of forensics. As much as she might have denied it, Skinner knew Scully
was capable of making giant leaps of deduction based on an autopsy just as
easily as Mulder was able to make incredible intuitive leaps of judgment
based on seemingly meager bits of evidence.

So, Scully was well aware of the wear and tear the last two cases took on
her partner. This particular case was like mind candy for him. A jaunt
in the park. Piece of cake. She realized he _needed_ to do this just as
much as she needed to get into that hot bath.

"One condition, partner," she added quickly.

"I promise," he cut in intuitively, "to phone in twice a day. Honest."

"Well, I was only going to demand once a day, but I'll be more than happy
to hear from you twice a day, G-Man."

And with that she stood up, walked over and placed a kiss on the top of
his head. He looked up, kissed her lightly on the lips, and whispered,
"Thank you. Thank you so much."

He then jumped up with the already filled out 302 form and excitedly told
her he was going to run it by Skinner immediately. She started laughing
as she watched her partner take off like a schoolboy who just got away
with something big time, and wanted to make his escape before the teacher
changed her mind.


Mulder knew Skinner wouldn't blink an eyelash at the request on the 302
form. He just knew it. Mulder had been on his best behavior since the
X-Files were reopened, mainly because he knew Skinner was most like
responsible for it and that meant Skinner's ass was on the line as well.

Mulder knew not to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth. He was
going to mind his P's & Q's, be a good little special agent, and do
whatever the Assistant Director asked.

Because he knew there would be a pay back time, and this was the time.
And Skinner knew it too, and he didn't hesitate one moment.

Well, maybe for one moment.

"Why is this requisition made out in just your name?" the AD asked.

"I'm doing this one solo, Sir."


"Scully doesn't feel this is an X-File, Sir. She believes strongly it's a
sham operation, so she doesn't think it warrants the expense of her
accompanying me."

"Mulder?" Skinner hesitated. He was unsure if he had the right to ask
this next question, but he felt he needed to clarify the situation at hand
in case Mulder was acting impulsively. "Mulder, is everything okay
between you and Scully?"

Mulder broke into a huge smile and literally beamed at his boss. His
friend. "Walter, everything's fine. Off the record?" Skinner nodded at
his agent, and yes, since they'd returned from the Antarctic in one piece,
personal friend.

"Dana's whipped. These last two VCS cases you attached us to really wiped
us both out. The fact that the UNSUB from the second case is still on the
loose doesn't sit too well with either one of us, but since all that was
asked of us was the profile and a couple of autopsies, well, we weren't
going to argue about being let off the hook on that one.

"So, since she really doesn't see this as an X-File, but also doesn't see
any harm in me having my fun and checking it out, she told me to go," he
explained grinning.

"She _told_ you to go, Mulder?" he asked incredulously. "She told you to

"__Ditch her," Mulder concluded for him, chuckling. "Can you believe I
got permission from Dana Scully to go off into the wilds of Kentucky all
by myself?!"

"And they said miracles could never happen,'' Skinner replied in kind.
"Okay, if you say so, but Fox__?" Skinner's voice turned serious as he
spoke, "Would you be extra careful? For all of our sakes. I mean, I just
got you back. I don't think I could handle it if__," Skinner tried to
explain, but he was never one to express his feelings easily, so Mulder
let him off the hook.

"Look, Walter, you know there are literally five people in the world I
allow to use my first name when addressing me. My mother and my sister
don't avail themselves of the opportunity, so I guess I'm really talking
about only three people.

"Maggie Scully.


"And you.

"I don't allow myself to enter into a friendship, a relationship if you
will, and turn around and blow it by getting myself maimed or killed. You
all mean too much to me not to be careful. I've learned my lesson. I
love the Scully women and admire you too much to screw up," Mulder
concluded earnestly.

"Good. I'm glad we got that cleared up," Skinner said hoarsely.

Ever since Mulder and Scully had returned from what Skinner could only
classify as the 'dead,' Skinner had made it his business to make sure
things went as smoothly as possible, and the pair was protected. Through
the course of such actions, Skinner was in contact with the duo more and
more, and they were thrown into more social situations than ever before.

At first, Skinner was uncomfortable with the notion of this closeness,
mainly because he feared his subordinates would be uneasy about an amiable
connection that was outside the parameters of their professional

Happily, for all involved, neither Scully nor Mulder were uncomfortable.
In fact, they embraced it and Walter Skinner into their lives and
considered Walter an ally in their newly blossoming romantic relationship
as well.

Walter knew Mulder and Scully had loved one another for a very long time.
In fact he'd envied that closeness for just as long. However, it wasn't
until they returned from the frigid region that Skinner realized they'd
only just accepted the fact they were _in_ love with one another. And
there was no way in hell Walter Skinner was going to deny them that

They'd earned it. A long, long, time ago.

"Okay, Agent Mulder. Permission granted," he said briskly as only an
Assistant Director can say it. Mulder jumped as though he were a
thoroughbred being let out of the gate. But when Skinner called out,
"Mulder!" he turned around and saw a much softer expression on the AD's
face. "Have fun," he said, as only a friend could say to another.

"Thank you, Sir. For everything."

"Don't forget to call in. Twice a day, Mulder."

Mulder laughed, thinking to himself 'great minds think alike' and
practically bolted out of his boss's office.

End of Part 1/9

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 2/9

Mulder stopped early the next morning at the bureau to pick up last minute
report forms and to sign out the rental car. After he called Scully at
home (who decided to take the day off much to Mulder's relief) and let
her know he was just about to leave. She wished him luck and reminded him
of his promise to check in with her that night as well. He smiled, made a
remark something akin to "possessive women turn me on," and agreed he
would call her when he checked into a motel that evening.

He left around nine a.m. At the four hour mark he stopped and refueled
the rental before heading west onto I-81 in Virginia. He picked up the
pace a little and in less then three hours he entered Kentucky. He drove
west onto US-119, another thirteen miles or so and reached the town of
Whitesburg, KY. He took note of a couple of small motels on the road and
decided to check in at one in order to drop his bags off and get
directions to Batchtown.

Once he registered in the motel, Mulder and got directions, it took
another fifty minutes of driving, what seemed to Mulder all up hill, to
actually find the very small town of Batchtown, Kentucky. He marveled at
the small, modest, log-cabin homes that had small, handmade signs out
front touting word crafts for sale. Apparently homemade brooms were a
hot commodity in the area as well.

As he got closer to Batchtown, he came to an old rickety bridge made of
fallen timber and corrugated metal. Mulder normally considered himself a
man of great strength, but when he saw that bridge and realized it was the
only way to get to the other side, his heart was began palpitating at a
rate faster than he could remember it ever beating.

He steered across the passage slowly, and realized he must have discovered
religion again when, as he crossed the bridge to the other side, he
practically shouted, "Thank you, God!"

As he climbed higher and higher into the back country, the houses became
fewer and the dirt roads became more numerous. Mulder realized there were
probably several families scattered up in the higher elevations living off
of those dirt roads. He knew he'd soon have to make a decision as to
which of those roads to follow.

Finally, when he drove a little further, Mulder saw an elderly man with
tanned, leathery skin, sitting on what passed for a porch. Mulder parked
the car and got out, leaving his suit jacket in the back seat. "Hello,
Sir," Mulder called out casually as he loosened his tie. "I was wondering
if you could help me."

"Mebbe, ah ken, mebbe ah ken't. Whatch you needin' help with young man?"

"I'm looking for Henry Marcos, umm, the healer? The man who's been
helping the hemophiliac patients in this town?" Mulder explained

"Ya mean Reverend Henry?"

"I don't know, perhaps. I'm looking for the Henry Marcos who's been
healing the people who can't stop bleeding," Mulder clarified.

"Yup. Ya mean Reverend Henry."

"Do you know where I can find him?" Mulder asked, relieved Henry Marcos
did indeed exist.

"He's at the church , just up the road a piece. "

"Thank you, Sir. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me," replied
Mulder who then got back into his car to drive 'up the road a piece.'
Mulder soon realized, here in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains,
__everything__ was 'up the road a piece.'

As he steered down the main road, Mulder marveled at the couple of old,
small, single room, log cabin homes he passed. He knew they were
historical in age, but they looked so sturdy, Mulder figured they'd easily
last another hundred years.

He rode another fifteen minutes, when he came upon a larger log cabin
dwelling, but held a simple cross on its roof. Mulder read the sign in
front, "Southern Baptist Church." He got out of the car, straightened his
tie and put his jacket back on. He walked to the front of the church and
walked in tentatively.

"Henry Marcos?" Mulder called out softly. "Hello? Mr. Marcos, are you
here? I'd like a chance to talk with you, Sir."

"Yes," said a gentle voice from the back corner of the church. "I am
here. Come in." Henry Marcos stepped into the ray of sunlight which
shone through the small window to his left.

Mulder took note of the man's slight stature and build, and the sharp
contrast between his dark coloring and the shock of white hair that
streaked the front of his otherwise, black, thick hair. Mulder extended
his hand and introduced himself.

"Hello, Mr. Marcos. My name is Fox Mulder, and I work for the FBI."

"FBI," the slight man echoed softly. "Am I under investigation?"

"In a manner of speaking, Sir. I work for a division in the bureau that
investigates unusual phenomena. I've read a couple of articles about your
skills as a psychic surgeon, and __."

"__I have never claimed any such skill, Mr. Mulder," Marcos clarified
quickly. "Please understand, I do not do surgery, per se."

"Well, that's why I'm here, Sir. To find out what it is you do, and why
you have such an incredible following on the internet. Are you aware of
that following, Mr. Marcos?" Mulder asked curiously.

"Yes," he sighed. "I am not as isolated from the goings on in the world
as some of my neighbors. I have a computer hook up in my office in town.
In Whitesburg," he clarified. "There's no phone service here in

Mulder looked at the man before him and wondered momentarily if he was
going to be hostile towards his investigation. He decided to assume he
would be cooperative. Positive thinking and all of that. Mulder hoped
his assumption would prove correct.

"Mr. Marcos, or is it Reverend?" Mulder asked.

"The good people of this town declared me Reverend, Mr. Mulder. I have
never made any such claim. I am Henry Marcos. I am a man with simple

"Who just happens to have at least two web sites dedicated to him and the
capability to track them. I wouldn't say you're a simple man, Mr.

"I never said I was simple. I merely said I didn't require much to get
along in life. The connection to the outside world is one of the few
luxuries I afford myself.

"What is it, Agent Mulder, that you want to investigate, exactly?" he
finally asked.

"I've read about your work with the high population of hemophiliac
patients in this area," Mulder began.

"I hope you're not accusing me of having anything to do with the unusually
high numbers of hemophiliac patients in this area," Marcos said

"No, Mr. Marcos. I am not. The incidence is unusually high, but it can
be explained due to the nature of the town's isolation. No, I'm more
interested in how you treat the patients," Mulder replied.

"As you might know," Marcos began, "hemophilia is an extremely dangerous
condition, particularly for males as it is a sex-linked hereditary
bleeding disorder. In this area, there have also been some incidences of
females inheriting the disorder.

"There are several symptoms that indicate medical crises for hemophiliacs.
As very young children, they bruise easily, as there is often bleeding
into the soft tissue areas of the arms and legs. These are usually
superficial and don't necessarily require treatment.

"However, as individuals with hemophilia mature, they become more active
and may develop deep muscle bleeding. There is swelling in the area of
the limb where the bleeding occurs and the person finds it difficult to
use the limb. The swelling can cause pressure on the nerves, and as a
result there may be some numbness. However, inevitably there is also
pain, and it becomes extremely difficult for the person to move the
affected area.

"Then, as the individuals grow older, a new problem emerges. Joint
bleeding causes the affected limb to swell as well as swelling of the
joints in the area. If the person tries to force movement in the joints,
it produces a great deal of pain. The joint feels hot to the touch, and
the swelling feels almost like a sponge. To compensate for the pain, the
patient tries to keep the joint in a flexed or bent position.

"Of course, that is the catch 22. The flexion increase the space in the
joint, so, unfortunately, more bleeding can occur. If there's no
treatment, the area becomes hot and extremely hard, like a rock. This, in
turn, causes even more pain for the individual," Marcos described.

"So, what's the treatment?" Mulder asked.

"Well, the conventional treatment would involve the person infusing
themselves with a factor replacement product. These are concentrates of
the missing plasma proteins needed to form a clot. These proteins are
known as factor VIII or factor IX," answered Marcos.

Mulder pretended to be uninformed about the economics of the cost factors
and asked, "So, if there's a treatment, why are you here?"

Marcos, however, had none of Mulder's attempts of feigning ignorance, and
replied, "Agent Mulder, I'm sure you've done your homework. The cost of
the factor VIII and IX treatments are prohibitive for people who are in
much better economic condition than the good people of Batchtown.
Certainly you must have some idea of the thousands and thousands of
dollars it costs to treat a patient with severe hemophilia."

"I've read it can cost as much as a couple of hundred grand," Mulder

"And that doesn't take into consideration Doctor's visits or travel costs.
Agent Mulder, these people just do not have that kind of money."

"Okay. Forgive me if I'm being redundant, Mr. Marcos, but why are you

Henry Marcos, smiled and then sighed. "Be damned if I know," he chuckled.
"Come, you must be thristy, and I have forgotten my manners. Join me in
some iced tea?"

Mulder nodded affably and followed Marcos into the rear of the church. He
noticed there was a kitchen with an old fashioned ice box. Marcos pulled
out a pitcher of iced tea and poured them into two tall frosted glasses,
which he'd also pulled out of the ice box. Mulder grasped the glass
gratefully and took a sip.

"Very good, thanks."

"I've become a bit of an expert in the art of iced tea preparation since
I'd arrived here," Marcos said grinning.

"How long have you been here?"

"Hmm, it must be going on eight months," he answered.

"How did you come to be here at all?" asked Mulder curiously.

Marcos looked at Mulder pensively before he spoke. "Agent Mulder, I will
tell you, but I don't know if you will believe me."

Mulder shrugged his shoulder to neither confirm nor deny Marcos's concern.

"I had a vision. Now, I know that sounds like the words of a mad man, and
quite frankly, I thought I was going mad. I don't know if you've figured
it out yet or not, Agent Mulder, but I am not an uneducated man. I have
both my bachelors and masters degree in biological sciences. There was a
time I seriously considered going to medical school, but my gift
sidetracked me."

"Ahh, your gift. Umm, Mr. Marcos, exactly, what is this gift of yours?"

"How about you call me Henry, Agent Mulder. I suspect you might be here
long enough that we'll become more than just mere acquaintances," he
offered with a slight chuckle.

"Fine, Henry. And it's Mulder. Just Mulder, okay?" Henry Marcos nodded
his understanding and began to explain his gift.

"Well, Mulder, the fact is, I'm not exactly sure what it is. And I don't
mean to evade your question. I'm answering it to the best of my ability.
You see, I find if I lay my hands on an affected area of the body, I can
cause a change in that area without the benefit of surgical apparatus."

Mulder looked at Henry with a questioning look and then asked him if he
could provide some specific examples.

"Well, in the Philippines, I was able to help children with leukemia. For
some reason, my gift was not as effective with adult patients of leukemia,
yet I was able to relieve the pain of the very elderly who suffered from
severe arthritis.

"I don't know if it's because middle aged adults don't allow themselves to
believe the alternative treatment is possible or not. The fact is,
however, I have much better success with the very young and the very old.
Occasionally, I would encounter an adult who was without hope of ever
getting well and placed all of his, though more often than not it would be
a female, trust in my ability to help her.

"I remember a particular young woman, Lenore Gubaju. Lenore was a
beautiful woman of about thirty-five. She'd been married for several
years and she and her husband had been trying to conceive a baby for a few
of those years. She was getting panicky when she'd discovered, to her
delight, she was pregnant.

"Unfortunately, she'd also discovered she had ovarian cancer. Well, she
was well aware that without treatment she could very well die. But, the
dilemma of course was, the treatments could kill her unborn child. Lenore
and her husband were desperate. They did not want to risk losing this
child they'd desired for so long, but neither did they want to risk
Lenore's life either."

"Quite a problem," Mulder agreed. "How were you able to help?"

"Mulder, all I know is I was able to use my gift. I placed my hands on
Lenore's abdomen. She told me she could feel heat permeating through the
spots my hands were touching her body. She said it wasn't necessarily
painful, but it wasn't terribly comfortable either. Nonetheless, I kept
my hands there until she indicated she no longer felt anything," Marcos

"So, what happened?" Mulder prodded.

"When she returned to her oncologist, he was shocked to inform her the
cancer was gone. Not a trace. Of course the explanation was there was an
error in the lab tests in the first place, and Lenore Gubaju most likely
never had ovarian cancer in the first place.

"I can not prove either case, Mulder. I won't try to prove it either.
All I do know is Lenore and her husband had a healthy baby boy six months
later." Marcos remained quiet while Mulder pondered the validity of the
tale told.

Finally, after several moments passed, Mulder finally asked, "And you said
you came here, to Batchtown, because of a vision?"

Marcos sighed deeply, and then poured himself some more iced tea. He
nodded toward Mulder's glass, but Mulder shook him off.

"Yes, I had a vision. A dream that someone needed me. I don't understand
how this could have happened because no one in Batchtown had ever heard of
me or my gift before. But I woke up from a sound sleep remembering in
great detail the cries of several people in crisis here.

"It was a miracle to me, since I'd never heard of Batchtown, Kentucky
before. The only thing I had ever known about Kentucky was a famous horse
race was run here," he concluded.

"So you just packed your bags and moved to Batchtown?"

"Well, yes. My friends and family were not all that happy about my
leaving. They felt it was my duty to stay in my homeland and help my
people there, and I would have agreed if the vision did not occur for
several nights in a row. The dreams became more and more detailed; more
and more graphic in terms of the pain these poor people were in," Marcos

"How many of the citizens are affected by the disease, Henry?"

"Well, the incidence of Hemophilia in the general population is about one
male in ten thousand. That's about one one hundredth per cent of the
population affected. We have a population of aproximately a hundred
twenty, hundred twenty five, maybe?
Mulder, we've got fourteen cases of hemophilia here. Do the math. That's
about eleven per cent of Batchtown's population," Henry responded

"Even with all of the intermarriage, that's still an outrageously high
percentage," Mulder remarked, astonished.

"It is. I agree. But I don't get into the why's or the how's, but merely
the what can I do about it."

"And what can you do about it, Henry?"

"I alleviate the pain. I stop the bleeding. I help them get on with
their lives without having to worry about the expense of acquiring the
factor concentrates. I don't know why I'm able to do this Mulder. I just
am. They accept it. I accept it," he replied, and then after a short
pause, he looked directly at Mulder and asked him, "Can you accept it?"

"Henry, I want to believe."

The two men finished their iced teas and Mulder informed Henry it had been
a very long day and he was going to return to his motel room. He made
plans with him to return the next day to talk more with Henry, and to
possibly see him in action. They shook hands and Mulder got back into his
car and traveled back to the Whitesburg Motor Lodge for a much needed


By the time Mulder had stopped at the Whitesburg Diner to buy some food
to take back to the motel, drove and parked by his motel room, stripped,
showered, and changed into a pair of comfortable sweat shorts and a
tee-shirt, it was going on eight o'clock. When he looked at the clock, he
was shocked to see it as late as it was, and no longer wondered why he was
so tired, achy, and hungry.

As he pulled out all of the food he bought, he opened up one unknown
container and chuckled when he saw the hominy grits. He'd forgotten how
the south served grits with everything. It was never one of his favorite
dishes in the past, but he was so hungry now he decided to give it a try.

As he spooned the warmed over, now slightly congealed, cereal into his
mouth, he dialed Scully's number. He listened to it ring three times
before she picked it up.


"Hi. It's me."

"Hi you," she replied. "Where are you?"

"I'm in the Whitesburg Motor Lodge,'' he replied and promptly recited the
phone number where she could reach him at the motel.

"So? What's the story with Imelda's long lost relative?" Scully teased.

"Very funny. Actually, he's nothing like what I'd expected."

"How so?" she asked curiously.

"Well, I was really expecting someone who wasn't terribly bright and was
just going to try and avoid issues and explanations with me."


"I don't know what to think at this point. I mean, to be honest? I
didn't expect any of this to pan out. I mean, I really expected to find a
crackpot who was looking to take a few suckers for all they were worth.
But__.'' Mulder paused and took a breath.

"But what?" Scully asked quietly.

"But he was so completely opposite of what I'd expected. For one, the man
is intelligent. I mean he articulated explanations of hemophilia as if
he'd invented them, and then when he explained what he did __." Mulder
stopped speaking again.

"What does he do, Mulder?"

"I'm not sure, but then again, neither is he. I don't know all of the
intricacies of what he calls his 'gift', but Dana, my gut feeling is this
guy's for real."

"Fox," she sighed.

"No, wait. I know what you're going to say, and I'm working very hard to
_not_ jump to conclusions. But that doesn't mean I need to close my mind
to extreme possibilities too, does it?" he asked rhetorically.

Scully sighed, smiled, and then said, "I would never think of asking you
to do that, my love."

"Good answer, Scully."

"My mama didn't raise no stupid children, Mulder."

"Oh? You haven't spoken to Billy lately, have you."

"Mulder, let's not go there, okay?"

"Okay," he replied, and then added contritely, "I'm sorry. That was
uncalled for on my part."

"Yes, it was, but I forgive easily," she replied.

"Thank God for small miracles," he said lightly.

"Damn straight," jested Scully.

They chatted a few more minutes, and then Scully heard the yawn Mulder was
trying to, unsuccessfully, hold back.

"Go to sleep, Mulder. You had a long day today, and it sounds like your
body is reacting to it."

"Yeah, I guess I am a little tired. You know, even though I know how
bushed you were from the last couple of assignments, I really do wish you
were here right now. I miss you, Dana," he said softly.

"Miss you too, G-Man," she replied with a slight hitch in her voice.
"I'll speak to you tomorrow, 'kay?"

"Good night, Scully."

"Night, Mulder."

End of Part 2/9

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 3/9

He woke early, showered, and chose to dress in more casual clothes for his
meeting with Henry later on. He was hoping for the opportunity to watch
Henry in action, and he didn't want to put off any of Henry's clients with
his FBI persona.

Mulder stopped at the Whitesburg Diner again, only this time he decided to
eat in. He made himself comfortable in one of the available booths and
waited for the waitress to come over and take his order. As he waited,
Mulder reviewed the file he compiled about Henry Marcus from both the
internet and the notes he compiled as a result of their meeting yesterday.

He was startled slightly when he heard a deep, heavily accented woman's
voice asked, "Whatcha gonnna have, hun?"

Mulder looked up to see a woman with dark brown, almost black, hair and
heavily made up eyes staring down at him. The makeup couldn't hide the
crows feet, but when he looked straight into her eyes, Mulder was
surprised to see they were a beautiful shade of emerald green.

"Umm, good morning," he replied almost shyly. "How about some pancakes
and sausage?"

"All righty. You want some coffee and OJ to go with that?"

"Yes, please," he replied.

"Well, now, ain't you a right and properly mannered young man," she said
chuckling. "You know, I think y'all could use a little fattenin' up. How
about we throw some scrambled eggs on that plate for yer too. That be
okay, hun?"

"Thank you, ma'am," Mulder replied with (though he couldn't for the life
of him understand why) a slight blush.

"Oh, you are jus' the sweetest thing, aren't you, hun?" she asked
rhetorically. "Well, my name is Mandy, so if you need anything, you kin
just call for me right out, ya hear?"

"Yes, Ma'am. Thank you, Mandy."

While Mandy sashayed off to place the order with the short order cook,
Mulder resumed his perusal of Henry's file. Only a few minutes passed
before Mandy returned with a glass of orange juice and a steaming cup of
coffee. Mulder looked up, nodded and smiled his thanks, and then, just as
Mandy turned, called out, "Mind if I ask you a question, Mandy?"

Well, that woman could have turned on a dime, that's how quickly she moved
back in front of Mulder's booth. "Why sure, hun! What can I do for

"Mandy, have you ever heard of a man by the name of Henry Marcus? Some
people refer to him as Reverend."

"You mean the Reverend Henry from Batchtown? Sure 'nough I've heard of
him. Some people say he can cure any sickness there is, but he seems to
just be helpin' those poor people with the bleedin' sickness. I'd say
that man has been a true blessing for those people."

Mulder thanked her for her observations and made a note of them in his
file folder. He thought it was interesting the man had a reputation
outside of Batchtown, but apparently didn't take advantage of it which
lent a little more credence to Marcos's story.

Mulder watched Mandy with amusement as she wiggled her hips just a little
bit more than before as she returned to the kitchen to pick up Mulder's
breakfast order. When she returned, sure enough there was a helping of
scrambled eggs in addition to his pancake and sausage order. There was
also, of course, a serving of grits in a separate bowl.

Mulder showed his gratitude by practically inhaling everything he was
served (including the hominy grits, which Mulder realized tasted pretty
good with a pat of butter and a couple tablespoons of maple syrup.) He
declared his thanks and told Mandy he would most likely be back for


Henry was sitting on the front steps to the church when Mulder drove up.
However, before Mulder could even say good morning to Henry, a small
ragamuffin of a boy, about eight years old, came running up the dirt
walkway to the church.

"Rev. Henry! Rev. Henry! He'p! We need ya up at 'are' house real
quick!" the child cried out.

"All right,Joshua. Who's ill? Noah or Adam?"

"It's Adam, Reverend. He got it real bad this mornin'!" Joshua replied

"Let's go, then," he said gently.

"Henry, would it be faster to take the car?" Mulder asked hopefully.

"Thanks, Mulder, but in this case, no. Glad to see you dressed down a
little today. You'll see what I mean in a few minutes,'' Henry reponded.

The two adults followed as the small boy agilely maneuvered about the low
lying bushes and plant life that covered the otherwise rocky path they
were taking. And all of it was up hill.

Totally, up hill.

Mulder realized if Henry Marcus wasn't in good physical shape when he
first arrived from the Philippines, he most certainly was now. Mulder was
grateful for the regular morning jogs he took almost without fail which
allowed him to keep up fairly well with the youngster and the well trained

The trio traveled approximately fifteen minutes when they came upon a
small wooden shack. Joshua pulled opened the door and shouted,
"Reverend's here! Reverend's here!"

Henry Marcos followed the youngster in, as did Mulder. Mulder looked
about and was awestruck by what he saw. Though the room was a hovel by DC
standards, it was remarkably neat and clean. There were small intricate
carved wood sculptures all about the room, along with a few pieces of
simple, sturdy, wood furniture.

Along the far side of the room were two sets of bunk beds which sat
catty-cornered to one another. Sitting on a small stool near one of the
beds was a young woman who looked no more than fifteen. She sat quietly
nearby trying to place a damp cloth on the leg of the small boy who laid
in the bottom of one of the bunks.

It was a child of about three.


Mulder thought his heart was going to break when he saw the look of
horrific pain painted on the child's face. He watched Henry walk over to
the child and sat down on the small stool Joshua had quickly brought for
him. Henry looked over quickly at the young woman, and spoke soothingly
to her.

"Now Becca, you know he's been through this before, and he's gotten
through it. So, we'll just have to get him through again, now won't we?"
he said soothingly.

"Oh Reverend, I keep tellin' him to be careful, but he just don't," she
cried out.

"Becca, he's still a baby. He'll learn, don't worry," he calmed. "Let
me help him now, okay?" Becca nodded, so Henry turned his attention to
the young patient.

"Hey sweet, Adam. What have we here?" he asked in soothing tones as he
gently picked up the child's leg to examine the problem. "Mama tells me
you were playing. Were you running and playing, Adam?" he asked in a
nonjudgmental tone.

"Mmm-hmm," the toddler whimpered in the positive.

"Poor Adam. You fell down on your knee, didn't you, son?" Henry asked

"Mmm-hmm," Adam whimpered affirmatively again.

"Okay, young Adam. Let's see if we can relieve some of this hurting for
you, okay?"

The little boy's eyes were squeezed shut at the moment as he attempted to
keep the tears from falling, but he was not meeting with too much success.
The leg was bent at an odd angle and the entire knee, both front and
back, looked red, swollen, and inflamed.

Henry rubbed his hands together quickly, as if to create a heat source via
friction, and then place one hand behind Adam's knee and the other on the
knee cap itself. Henry simply kept his hands there for a bit.

Adam began mumbling and repeating, "Hot, hot! Hot, hot!" over and over
again, however Henry kept his hands in place. After several minutes
passed, Mulder observed both patient and healer.

Both had a look of calm about them. Adam, though not smiling, was not
writhing in pain any longer either. Henry simply looked quietly on, and
then removed his hands from Adam's leg.

"How is that, my little friend?" Henry asked the young child.


"Does it hurt now?" Henry asked.

"No, Wev-wen Hen-we," the child whispered.

"Adam has a little trouble with his /r/ sound, but I think he'll grow out
of it in a year or two," Henry chuckled.

Mulder nodded mutely as he gazed intensely at the child's knee. It was as
if there were never a problem. There was no inflammation, no redness, no
swelling. Mulder was amazed. He had a million questions to ask and he
didn't know where to begin.

"Henry, this is incredible!" he gasped.

"Yes, Adam was definitely in a bad way."

"But you can't cure it," Mulder said with sudden realization. "That's why
you can't leave."

"No, my gift does not seem to have such a power. It can relieve the pain
and the symptoms of individual crises, but I can not cure the hemophilia
itself," he concurred.

"But you were able to cure Lenore's ovarian cancer," Mulder reminded.

"Yes, but I believe I was able to do that because Lenore's was not a
chronic condition. In other words, once the cancer is gone, so is the
problem. My gift cannot manufacture the missing factors hemophiliacs need
to cure the bleeding."

"That's why you remain."

"Yes. If I were not here to help Adam, he would have hemorrhaged
internally, to death," Henry affirmed.

"Henry, he's so young__," Mulder began.

"__So I will be here for a very long time, Mulder."

"Henry, how often do you __."


Mulder's cellular rang and startled everyone. "__I'm sorry. I can't
believe this thing is working way out here," he apologized.

"We're pretty high up. Probably a window of cellular space. Don't look a
gift horse in the mouth," Henry quipped.

Mulder smiled and nodded as he opened up the small phone and said,

"Mulder, it's me."

"Hey you! Scully, I just witnessed the most amazing thing. Absolutely,
the most amazing thing. This little boy, Adam? Well, Adam was having an
internal bleeding episode__.


"__See, he'd fallen earlier, which is not unexpected cause he's just a
little guy, but anyway, Adam's big brother, Joshua, came running to Henry
and we hiked all the way up to Adam's house and poor Adam was in a lot of
pain and___."


"Adam's knee was all red and swollen and really looked awful and Henry
simply rubbed his hands together and placed them over Adam's knee and left
them there for a few minutes, and ___."



"__Mulder, listen to me!" Scully said in exasperation.

"What? Ohmigod! Are you okay? I'm sorry, I just got so excited. Scully,
are you all right?" he asked anxiously.

"I'm fine, Mulder."

"Scully," he practically growled at hearing her use that particular

"No, really. I am fine, Fox."

Mulder heard the sincerity in his partner's voice, and calmed down
immediately. "Okay. So, why did you call?"

"The UNSUB is escalating," she replied succinctly.


"The UNSUB from the last VCS case we consulted on? The one the local PD
kicked us off of. Well, the profile still fits, Mulder, but the UNSUB is

"How many?" Mulder asked as dispassionately as possible.

"Three so far over this weekend. VCS didn't notify Skinner until early
this morning. He wants both of us to come back in for this one, as soon
as possible," she answered.

"Damn it, Scully. Why us? I mean, can't we have one lousy weekend to
ourselves?" Mulder responded frustrated.

"I know how you feel, Mulder. But it's starting to hit a little too close
to home now," Scully began.

"What do you mean?"

"The UNSUB is targeting FBI agents now," she explained.


"That's one way to describe it," Scully retorted.

"It's gonna take me a while to drive back to DC, Scully," Mulder began.

"No, Kim's already arranged for you to fly out of Tri-City Airport. It'll
take you a couple of hours to get there, but it'll still be less time than
it would take for you to drive all the way back to DC. You'll be fresher
too__," she began.

"They want me to return directly to the Hoover?" he asked.

"Actually, no. Directly to Quantico," Scully replied.

"Damn. All right, I'll get back to my motel and pack, and fly out of
Tri-City. That's easily a hundred miles from Whitesburg. It's gonna take
me a little while to get back there. Batchtown is a little up and out
there in the back country, so let everyone know I'll get back as quickly
as I can."

"Okay Mulder, don't break your neck getting here, but we do need you here
as soon as possible. This guy's got us all a little spooked," she said
before she realized what exactly it was she had said. "Oh Mulder, I
didn't mean__," Scully began.

"__No offense taken, Dana. I promise I'll be there as soon as I can."

"Okay. I'll pick you up at the airport."


"You obviously need to leave," Henry said.

Mulder nodded as he replaced his cell phone in his back pocket.

"There's some lunatic out there who's having a field day scaring the hell
out of law enforcement personnel. First, he took care of a pair of
auxiliary policemen, then a couple of meter maids. Next, was a pair of
local beat officers. Then he started moving up in rank and a couple of
sergeants, a pair of lieutenants along with the Deputy Chief of Police."

Mulder attempted to explain the many murders as vaguely as possible in an
attempt to not scare the two young children present.

Henry nodded in recognition of that strategy and asked, "Over how long of
a period of time?"

"Over several weeks. The problem is, he seems to be escalating. There
have been three incidents over the weekend. Apparently all FBI. That's
starting to make everyone a little nervous at the Bureau, so everyone
who's been associated with the case is being called back in," Mulder

"Well, then, I guess this is good bye for now," responded Henry.

"Yes. I'm sorry I have to leave so soon, Henry. I want so much to talk
to you more about your gift."

"I'm not going anywhere, Mulder," he replied with a wry smile.

"Good. We'll talk again, soon," Mulder assured as he offered his hand to
Henry to shake on the promise.

Henry chose to remain with Adam, so he asked Joshua to guide Mulder back
down to the church. The youngster shyly agreed and within fifteen
minutes, Mulder was back in his car.

He returned to his motel, changed back into his FBI garb, packed and drove
to Tri-City Airport, in good ol' Tennessee.

End of Part 3/9

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 4/9

Just prior to boarding the plane in Tennessee, Mulder stopped in the
small, airport gift shop and miraculously found the Saturday edition of
the New York Times. He was then able to check in rather quickly, since
he'd rolled the now empty suit bag in the carry-on duffel he was able to
stow overhead.

As he settled in his seat he began to peruse the newspaper. An article
dealing with spirituality and medicine immediately caught his eye. He
read about a visit the Dalai Lama made to Beth Israel Medical Center North
Division, in Manhattan. Mulder was fascinated to learn of the medical
profession's increased awareness of the need to include the practices of
spirituality in the healing process.

Mulder felt vindicated in his assertion that Henry Marcos was the real
thing. Now the only thing he had to be concerned with was convincing his
most skeptical partner. Mulder hoped an article in a prestigious
newspaper about a respected religious leader would add credence to his

The flight took not quite forty minutes, and since he had no need to wait
for luggage, Mulder was able to go directly to the gate in Dulles and hope
Scully was waiting for him. As he exited the gate, he scanned the small
crowd in search of his beautiful, red haired partner.

Scully, on the other hand, was waiting impatiently for her partner's
arrival. Though she hadn't realized it would happen when he'd left Friday
morning, she came to the conclusion they would not be taking too many
more separate weekend vacations. She missed him more than she ever
realized was possible. She assumed he felt the same way, but she wasn't
positive until she actually caught his eye as he walked down the arrival
gate's path.

Mulder beamed. When he caught sight of Scully, his smile could have lit
up the entire runway path. As he got closer and closer to her, Mulder
walked faster and faster until he was almost running. If it weren't for
the fact it was really happening, both Scully and Mulder would have
thought they were the featured players in a very cliché television soap

When Mulder reached her, his momentum caused him to drop his bag, reach
around Scully's waist, and pick her up in a vivacious hug. Scully,
meanwhile, did not quite expect the greeting to be as enthusiastic as it
was and responded in the only plausible manner she could think of .

She kissed him.


And he responded.


And the two of them looked at one another as if they were looking at each
other for the first time.

It struck Mulder and Scully as rather odd that it was this occasion that
caused them to realize with absolute certainty exactly what they meant to
one another. After all, the Antarctica fiasco seemed to be the natural
point for declaring their love for each another.

Yet, they had remained tentative and perhaps even a little shy about
taking that particular step. They knew they cared for each other more
than anyone or anything else in the world. They knew Walter Skinner was
aware of it as well, and they were both grateful to him for not
discouraging their exploration of the relationship.

Everyone knew there was no written rule about fraternization among
co-workers, but all of the parties concerned knew how well the
Mulder-Scully team worked together, and no one wanted to see it derail.
The risks of that happening were greater if the two of them became
romantically involved. It was a choice they had to consider carefully.

But, it was on the early Saturday evening in July, at an arrival gate in
Dulles Airport, Mulder and Scully asked themselves a very important

What choice?

They had no choice.

There was only one choice.

So as the two of them laughed and kissed while Mulder lifted and swung his
partner around and around, they openly declared the one choice they had
before them.

"I love you Dana Katherine Scully."

"I love you Fox William Mulder."

Mulder placed one more tender kiss on his partner's lips. He then picked
up his duffel and walked hand in hand with Scully to her car for the trip
back to Quantico.


Throughout the drive back to Quantico, neither agent wanted to discuss
their current assignment. Mulder decided to share his observations of
Henry Marcos's gift in action. His enthusiasm was infectious, and try as
Scully might, there was no deterring him from his beliefs and she finally
yelled, "Uncle! I give up!"

Mulder began laughing and asked her what finally changed her mind.

"Well, as soon as you brought the Dalai Lama and the New York Times into
it, I knew there was no way I was going to win this debate," she replied

Mulder smiled and thought to himself, *Do I know my Scully, or what? I
knew the Times would give me the swing vote of confidence.*

The two of them continued their good-natured teasing of one another until
they arrived at the Quantico Headquarters in Virginia. As Scully parked
the car in the garage, they both became quiet and pensive. The partners
realized it was time to go into professional mode and place their personal
relationship on hold for now.

As the boarded the elevator, Mulder straightened his tie and tried to
smooth out the wrinkles in his suit. He then took one long stretch before
the elevator doors opened to the lower level offices of the Vicious Crimes
Section of the FBI.

Both were given ID tags by the receptionist and entered the office of the
SAIC, Ernest Thompson, affectionately known as 'ET' during off hours, but
now demanded and deserved the utmost respect from his team.

"Agent Mulder, I am glad to see you," SAIC Thompson greeted. "Welcome
back to you too, Agent Scully."

"Thank you, Sir," each said simultaniously.

"What's the latest information we have?" Mulder asked.

SAIC Thompson held a thick file folder in front of him and shared the
information about each of the victims.

"The first victim was Janet Margolis who had just graduated from the
academy. She'd been on duty for less than three months when she was
murdered. Margolis was single and had lived in the Georgetown area with a

"Second, was Agent Anne Cromwell. She was a veteran of eleven years.
Though she'd distinguished herself on a few occasions very early in her
career, her family life became more of a priority after her first child
was born. Cromwell had another child two years after that, and for the
last three years she was a training instructor for new agents. She was
Margolis's instructor at Quantico and lived in Arlington with her husband
and two sons.

"The last of the FBI victims was Agent George Bryson. Bryson was a
fourteen year veteran of the Bureau. He was an active field agent who
occasionally commanded routine interventions. He distinguished himself as
a SAIC on two occasions. Bryson was divorced and lived in the DC area.

"All three victims were first shot in the chest and then stabbed several
times around the gunshot wound. They were discovered in different parts
of the DC area. Margolis was found in an alley near the Hoover, Cromwell
was found in her car in the Quantico parking lot, and Bryson was found in
his apartment in DC.

"The coroner was able to determine the approximate times of death as being
between four and ten A.M. for each of them, though he knows Margolis was
the first victim, Cromwell second, and Bryson third."

"And he was able to do that by__?" Mulder interjected.

"Blood of the first victim was found on Cromwell and of the first two
victims on Bryson," Thompson offered.

Mulder nodded and then remarked the UNSUB was taking a great deal of time
to get to his victims. He attacked first in DC, then at Quantico and then
back in DC. Mulder then asked if there was anything unusual found at the
crime scenes which deviated from those of the other victims.

"It appears to be the same MO, Agent Mulder. The victim was shot, then
stabbed repeatedly around the gun shot wound in a geometric pattern that
resembles a triangle. There does not seem to be any other clues than that
which we've seen already. Other than the fact the UNSUB killed three
victims in under forty-eight hours. This is new. As well as the fact the
victims are no longer local law enforcement, but are FBI agents."

"He's trying to tell us something," Mulder said softly.

"What?" asked Scully.

"I don't know yet, but it's here. He's telling us his plans, but I can't
get a handle on it yet. Sir, are there pictures of the victims and crime
scenes available?" asked Mulder.

"Of course. Folder's in front of you and Agent Scully."

"Thank you," he said as he reached over for the folder.

"All right. It's late, and I know you just arrived from out of town Agent
Mulder. Let's break for a sixty minute dinner break and then return here.
This way, Agent Mulder, you'll have a chance to review the file with
Agent Scully."

"Thanks for the light reading material while I enjoy my dinner," Mulder
replied with a slight smile.

Thompson chuckled and shrugged his shoulders slightly. "See you in sixty,
Agents. Dismissed."

Scully and Mulder chose to go to one of the better eateries in the area
that was known for good food and fast service. Most of the agents went
there or to one of the fast food restaurants nearby. The two partners
decided to treat themselves to something a little more substantial.

When the food was served, Mulder began chuckling out loud.

"What's so funny?" Scully asked.

"Oh, nothing really. I'd been getting so used to being served grits with
everything and anything, my first inclination was to search for it under
the steak and potatoes," he laughed.

"I don't know how anyone could eat that stuff. It tastes like bad Elmer's
glue," Scully remarked.

"Oh, I don't know. I kind of developed a taste for it," he responded,
then shrugged, and picked up his knife and fork to attack his steak.

They'd finished their dinner and just as Mulder was debating whether or
not to order coffee for there or to go, he heard a deep voice greet him
and his partner.

"Mulder, Scully. May I join you for coffee?" Walter Skinner asked.

"Sir, we didn't know you'd be coming out to Quantico this evening,"
responded Scully, "Please, sit down and join us."

"We're do back in about fifteen minutes, Sir," Mulder said.

"That's okay, Mulder. I know the boss," Skinner replied with a wry smile.
"Besides, 'ET' and I go way back together. I asked him to notify me when
you arrived, so I could join you in tonight's briefing. This case not
only directly affects the reputation of the bureau, but its morale as
well. I hate to think this bastard believes he's put one over on us."

"We agree with you totally, Sir, so perhaps we should get back," suggested
Scully tentatively.

"Dana," Walter responded softly, "have your coffee. I'll take full
responsibility if we're late. Besides, this is the only restaurant in the
area that serves a key lime pie that I'll break every diet and health rule
in the book to have," he said with a chuckle.

So, the three relaxed over cups of coffee and a slice of key lime pie
split three ways. It was very good, and Skinner swore next time he was
getting his own piece, since the 'innocent' looking red head hogged most
of it.

When they returned to the office, Mulder, Scully, and Skinner found they
were not, in fact, the last to arrive. They sat together in one area
while the other agents filed back in and clustered in groups they felt
comfortable with as well.

"Walter," greeted Ernest Thompson warmly, "It's good you're able to join
us. We need all of the best minds to solve this one." Then turning to
address the other agents in the room he said, "Agents, I assume you all
recognize Assistant Director Skinner?"

Several of the agents murmured and/or nodded their heads either in
recognition and/or surprise the AD would make an appearance.

"Sir?" Thompson now asked more formally. "Would you like to address the

"Thank you, SAIC Thompson," Walter replied equally as formally. "Agents,
as I said to my two companions less than twenty minutes ago, it is
imperative we catch this UNSUB. He or she is not only affecting the
reputation of the FBI, but the fact that the victims being targeted are
FBI personnel will have a devastating affect on Agents' morale.

"I know I plan on doing everything I possibly can to develop strategies to
prevent this sonofabitch from attacking our own. I know I can count on
all of you as well," Skinner concluded.

There was now more murmuring and heads nodding. Scully and Mulder
unconsciously sat up a little straighter as they took personal pride in
the positive acknowledgment of their mentor's words.

Time was spent on filling in any of the gaps that were not filled in the
file. The agents spent time brainstorming and discussing among themselves
their ideas for possible motivations on the part of the UNSUB. They also
attempted to develop some strategies that would thwart any future attempts
on the part of the UNSUB.

After about ninety minutes, SAIC Thompson called everyone back to the
large group to share any and all ideas they felt might have yet to be

A couple of hands went up and some questions about details regarding the
positioning of the bodies as well as the locations of the bodies. SAIC
Thompson answered those questions to the best of his ability.

Another hand went up. SAIC Thompson recognized it. "Agent Mulder."

"Yes, Sir. I'm a little concern with the speed with which the UNSUB
carried out these last attacks. His MO in the past had him committing the
murders over periods of weeks. The amount of time he's taken in
committing these last three murders indicates a state of high anxiety,
panic, or excitement.

"Now, I understand it's difficult to consider the UNSUB's behavior in any
form or manner as being sane or rational, but within the universe of a
serial killer there are certain rules of behavior which may be applied.
In this case, the UNSUB seems to be acting rashly. I don't know why, but
I suspect it's because he's getting closer and closer to his intended
target," explained Mulder.

"Target? You believe there's an actual intended target, Mulder?" asked
Agent Newton incredulously. "What evidence points you in that direction?"

"Our UNSUB has been following a definite pattern all along, Newton. We
know his first targets were the underlings in the local PD. He steadily
worked his way up the ladder of seniority in the local PD until he reached
the Deputy Chief of Police. He didn't attempt to murder the Chief of
Police, because that wasn't his intended target," Mulder assessed.

"But Mulder, couldn't it be the perp just knew he couldn't get to the
Chief of Police. I mean, maybe he figured he was too well protected, and
to make an attempt on the Chief's life would be way too risky," Newton

"You're forgetting one very important attribute of serial killers,
Newton," Mulder began. Upon seeing Newton's, as well as everyone else's
questioning gaze, Mulder continued. "Serial killers believe themselves to
be invincible. They don't see themselves as being vulnerable and are
willing to expose themselves to any risk.

"Our UNSUB didn't go after the Chief of Police, because he didn't need to.
It would break his pattern of three anyway. There's something about the
number three. I'm sure of it," Mulder said with frustration.

"Okay people, we've done some good work here tonight. Let's break now and
come back together at eight o'clock tomorrow morning. AD Skinner, will
you be remaining with us, on call, for the duration?" SAIC Thompson asked.

"I don't know about the duration, but I will be on site for the next few
days at the very least," Skinner replied.

"Excellent. We could certainly use your input," he responded. "Agents,
you are dismissed. AD Skinner, before you leave, may I have a word with

"Certainly," Skinner responded directly to Thompson. He then turned and
spoke to Mulder and Scully. "Mulder, promise me you won't be up all night
trying to get into this guy's head. Please?"

"I promise, Sir."

And then Walter Skinner turned to Scully and whispered, "Scully? Promise
me you will see to it he does not stay up all night trying to get into the
head of this UNSUB?"

Scully's mouth gaped, and Walter, who was trying desperately to keep a
straight face, gave up and guffawed. Both Mulder and Scully then started
laughing as well, and Scully held up her two fingers as in the Scout Oath,
and promised to do her best to do her duty to God and her country.

With that, Skinner shooed them out of the office and turned his attention
back to Ernest Thompson. "So, 'ET', what do you need me to reassure you

Now it was Thompson's turn to have his mouth gape open. "How did you

"Because I know people can't believe how Fox Mulder comes up with the
theories he comes up with and even more amazing to them is just how often
he's right on the button with those theories," Skinner replied.

"But Walter, what's with this number three theory of his? I mean, the
only people killed in a group of three were the FBI agents. Why does he
think the number three is significant?" Thompson asked.

"'ET', how many local PD officers were killed?" Skinner asked.

"Eleven. They were killed in pairs until the very last group. The two
lieutenants were killed during the same time range as the Deputy Chief of

"Well, to Mulder's way of thinking, there is a pattern of some sort here.
Maybe he started out killing in pairs, but with the murders of the
lieutenants and the Deputy Chief, he began a pattern of threes. The death
of our three agents certainly would match that pattern," Skinner replied.

"Well, he's your agent. I know you tout him as the next coming of the
messiah, but this is serious shit, Walter. We need answers, and we need
them fast."


The next couple of days and nights found the agents in a total state of
frustration. Particularly Mulder, who under his boss's advice and his
partner's very dutiful and watchful eye (and nose, and mouth, and arms,
and legs, and beautiful body,) had purposely avoided going into overdrive
during the night to get into the killer's head.

So the days and evenings were particularly aggravating for Mulder, because
he felt he wasn't accomplishing anything. Each night, when he, Scully,
and Skinner met for dinner at their Key Lime Pie Pub, as they were want to
call it now, Mulder continued to harp on the notion that he was missing
something about the number three.

On the third night of the operation, while each agent consumed their own
slice of key lime pie, Skinner's cell phone rang. When he hung up, he
informed Mulder and Scully they were needed back at Quantico.

The UNSUB struck again.

Mulder, was among a dozen agents who went to the sites of the three new
crime scenes. He was the first to observe aloud how much closer in
proximity the three victims were. They were within three city blocks of
one another; two of the three were within thirty feet of each other.

While the other agents scribbled notes regarding the surroundings of the
crime scene, Mulder, Scully, and Skinner concentrated on each of the
victims themselves. Skinner, who made it his business to be well versed
with regards to pertinent information about those agents under his
jurisdiction, was able to provide general personal background information
on the three agents based upon their ID tags.

Agents one and two were partners. They were six and eight year veterans
of the Bureau. They each had exemplary records and a dozen commendations
between the two of them. Agent one was Dennis Rourke, married for fifteen
years and the father of twin sons and one daughter. Agent two was Richard
Timpson. He too was married, for almost twenty-one years, and was the
father of three daughters.

Scully determined the cause of death was most likely the same as the other
victims. Gunshot to the chest and then stab wounds around the gunshot
wound. She did indicate the first and second victims were most likely
shot first and then the UNSUB went back to make the stab marks.

Scully noted there was more blood than usual surrounding the first of the
two victims which meant, due to their close proximity to one another, the
UNSUB had to act more quickly and shoot to kill first, then took his time
to make the numerous stab wounds.

"Which means the stab wounds are just him having fun with us, Scully.
They mean nothing. The UNSUB's main focus is to kill his intended target
with the gunshot. The stab wounds are not ritualistic as he wanted us to
believe in the beginning. Now, he's showing us they were done to throw us
off track.

"Damn it, Scully. He's becoming more and more public with these acts.
These guys were his way of getting some target practice in a public
place," Mulder railed.

When they viewed the site of the third victim, visiting Oregon State
Field Office Director Michael Halpern, the evidence only confirmed
Mulder's beliefs. Skinner was particularly upset at this site, as he'd
only just met with Halpern and other Field Office Directors a few days

Halpern had been on the force for twenty -two years and was looking
forward to an early retirement when he turned fifty-five. Skinner knew
Halpern planned on taking his wife of thirty years on a cruise to Alaska
when he retired. It saddened Skinner to think she would never take that
trip with her husband.

"He was in the wrong state at the wrong time, Scully. The UNSUB is toying
with us. Look where he chose to assassinate the regional director. Right
in the heart of DC. Public. Very, very public. He's finished with the
target practice, Scully. He's ready to go for his intended target,"
Mulder insisted.

"Mulder, you can't be certain that Halpern wasn't the intended target, can
you?" Scully asked.

"I told you the number three was important. No, he hasn't hit his target
yet, but soon, Scully, soon. And he's going to hit all three victims at
once. I know it. Don't ask me how I know it, I just do. Damn, I wish I
had a clue as to who this bastard is!" Mulder cried out in frustration.

Skinner took note of the look of intense fatigue on Mulder's face and made
an administrative decision. "C'mon Mulder. Scully. It's time to leave
the scene to the clean up crew. Let's go home."

Reluctantly, Mulder, as well as the dozen or so other agents did just
that. They'd agreed to meet back at Quantico at eight o'clock the
following morning.

End of Part 4/9