Subject: Submission: Life Cycles XVI: Holidays (2/3)
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998

Life Cycles XVI: Holidays
By Vickie Moseley and Susan Proto

Disclaimers in part 1

part 5/14

Dana Scully sat staring at the phone. "Ring, damn you. Just ring."
Instead, the doorbell rang.

"I'll get it, I'll get it," Adam shouted and ran for the door before
Dana had a chance to get there. He peeked out of the curtains at
the side and squealed with delight.

"Gam-ma, Gam-ma!" He hurriedly opened the door and grabbed
his grandmother around the knees. "Gam-ma, we had latkes.
There's some left, for Daddy. You want one? And Mommy
said when Daddy calls we're gonna read from the new book he got
me and light the candles and sing songs in Hebrew, like when Dawn
was born. Where's Gam-pa?" he finally slowed down enough to
notice a familiar male presence was missing.

Maggie knelt down to her grandson's level and plastered a smile on
her face. "Grandpa had to go to work for a while, Sweetie. He sent
this, though," and she gave the boy a fierce hug. "I'm so happy
you're having a good time tonight. Say, would you please put
Grandma's coat in the hall closet for me? And where is baby
Dawn? Is she asleep?"

Adam took the coat and screwed up his face. "She _never_ sleeps,
Gam-ma. She 'catnaps'. Mommy has her in the bouncy seat in the
dining room. We're waiting for Daddy to call. Uncle Riichi called,
but Daddy hasn't called yet. I'm watching a movie till he calls."

Maggie saw the opportunity and took it. "Well, why don't you go
finish your movie. I'll go see how your Mommy did with the
latkes." Happily, the little boy scurried off for the family room, and
Maggie looked up to see Dana standing in the archway to the
dining room. The look on her face told Maggie everything. She'd
seen that look on her daughter before, many times, and it never got
easier to see. It took everything in her power not to run to her
little girl and take her in her arms. But she wasn't sure how that
would be received.

Dana answered the question by making the first move. "Mom," she
said with a tremor in her voice and took the two steps to wrap her
arms around her mother. "Mom, they f-f-found b-b-blood. . ."

"I know, baby, I know. Walter's on his way to the airport right
now. There's a horrible snowstorm in Chicago, so he'll have to
drive from Indianapolis. He won't be there till morning, but he'll
call us the minute he's there." She rubbed Dana's back in slow
circles as she felt the tears fall on her shoulder. "They'll find him,
sweetheart. He's going to be fine, I know it."

"I hope so, Mom. Oh, God, if I were to lose him now . . ."
Although her tears were silent, she shuddered against her mother's
shoulders. "I can't lose him now. Please, please let us find him."

Maggie held Dana for a long time. Finally, the tears subsided and
Maggie took that as her cue. "Come on. Let's get some tea

Just then Adam came bounding into the room. "Movie's over,
Mommy. Can we light the candles now?" he asked excitedly.
"Daddy was s'posed to call when the microwave said seven - oh -
oh. It's already nine - one - five." He pouted his lips and tapped his
foot with a serious expression. "He's late again, Mommy," he said

Maggie bit her lip and struggled not to smile a little. The tiny boy
looked so much like his father. But at that moment, matters were
just too dire. She watched as Dana squared her shoulders and bent
down to pick the boy up.

Even though he was only five, he was over half as tall as Dana. His
legs dangled past her knees. She walked over to the nearest chair
and sat with him on her lap.

"Mommy needs to talk to you, Adam," she said, searching for
words that would make him understand what was happening, but
not frighten him in the process.

"Is Daddy hurt, Mommy?" the little boy asked, his eyes large with

Dana bit her lip. He was so little yet, and he knew far more than he
should about the world and people hurting. She wished more than
anything to protect him from this part of her work, her husband's
work. But she also knew that was impossible.

"We don't know right now, Sweetheart. Daddy . . . Daddy wasn't
at the hotel when Uncle Riichi went back to the room this evening."

"Maybe he went running. Were his running shoes gone?" Adam
asked brightly.

"No, baby. His running shoes were there, in the closet. There's a
big storm in Chicago, lots of snow. Daddy doesn't usually run in
the snow."

"He slips too much. He hurt his ankle that one time and you yelled
at him," Adam reminded her.

"Yes, yes I did," Dana replied and it felt like a knife in her heart.

"Where did he go?" Adam asked, bringing her back from her

"We don't know, baby. But Daddy had wanted to light the candles
with us, over the phone."

"Did somebody bad get him? Somebody Daddy is trying to catch?"

"We don't know that, either, Sweetheart. But Gam-pa is on his
way to Chicago right now to help look for your Daddy and Uncle
Riichi and all the agents are looking for him right now. I just
wanted you to know that Daddy didn't forget about us tonight."

Adam nodded, then pushed himself off Dana's lap. He grabbed her
hand and pulled her to her feet. "C'mon, Mommy. I wanna go light
the candles. All the candles, your candles and Daddy's candles. All
of them." He tugged and tugged to get her toward the dining

"Adam, Mommy really isn't in the mood right now," Dana
protested, but the little boy would not be deterred.

"Mommy, we gotta light the candles. All of the candles."

"Adam, it's not time to light all of the candles. Remember, one
candle for each night. Just like with Mommy's candles. One each
week. Remember?" she asked, stumbling after her young son and
trying desperately to keep the tears from taking hold of her.

"No, Mommy, don't you remember? Like Gam-ma does in church
when she prays for Grandpa Bill or Aunt Missy or when she's
worried about Uncle Bill or Uncle Charlie? We have to light the
candles so that God will know we're looking for Daddy. God will
help him come home," he stated emphatically.

Dana swallowed the tears she felt and with a shaking hand, reached
for the lighter. Quietly, she lit the three candles on the wooden
Advent Wreath, two purple and the one pink, then she lit the server
candle in the middle of the menorah and stepped aside so that
Adam could reach up and use the candle to light the first candle on
the right side.

When he started to light the next one, Dana touched his hand. "No,
Sweetheart. God will figure it out," she said softly. "Let's just say
a little silent prayer that God will be with Daddy tonight and bring
him home safely to us as soon as possible."

Adam nodded and bowed his little head. Dana hoped he wouldn't
notice the tracks of the tears that fell silently while she prayed.

"OK, Sprout," she said with a little more hope in her heart. "It's
time for bed."

"Can I watch the lights for a minute, Mommy? Please, just for a
minute?" he begged.

Dana sighed and smiled at him. "Sweetheart, it's so late. I don't
think __." Dana cocked her head for an instant. "Uh-oh, I think
your sister is insulted we didn't include her in the candle lighting."

"Sweetheart," Maggie interjected, "why don 't you go check on
Dawn, while I go make that tea." Maggie nodded encouragingly.
She'd sensed that Adam, even as young as he was, needed some
time on his own to try and assimilate everything he was told

"Go on Dana. I'll be right in the next room. Go feed your
daughter," and then turning to Adam said, "and you, young man,
may watch the lights for a few minutes. But then we'll blow them
out when it's time for bed," said Maggie.

"No! You can't blow out the Hanukkah candles. It's not like a
birthday cake, Gam-ma. You're supposed to let 'em burn out on
their own."

Maggie looked at her daughter for confirmation, and upon seeing
Dana nodding with a small smile on her face, Maggie looked at her
bright, handsome grandson and said, "Okay. You win. We let the
candles burn down on their own. But if they're not out before we
tell you it's bedtime, you go anyway, kiddo!" she said firmly.

He nodded happily and settled on a chair at the table where he
could look at the candlelight just a few feet away. Maggie kissed
his head and quietly moved into the kitchen to prepare the tea.

Dana knelt down by her son, kissed him gently on the cheek, and
said, "I'm so proud of you Adam Mulder. You are so smart and so
brave, and I love you so much." She kissed him once more and
then left to attend her infant daughter.

Adam sat mesmerized by the last remnants of the glowing candles.
He'd promised Mommy he would simply sit and watch; he'd never
touch the fire on the pretty colored candles while Mommy went to
take care of baby Dawn.

But it was so tempting. The candles were getting smaller and
smaller, and his chances to touch the dancing candles were
diminishing just as quickly. He kept his gaze directly on the
candles as he slowly reached out to feel the flame.


"Ouch!" cried out the young boy as he rubbed his hand to take
away the sting. He looked around him and stiffened slightly when
he realized he was still all alone.

"Hello?" he whispered in a tone mixed equally with fear and
curiosity. Adam was definitely his parents' child.

"Happy Chanukah, mine shayner ur-aynekel," greeted the accented
voice laced with love.

"Who's there?" asked Adam in awe.

"It's Nana, shayner boychikel."

"Nana? Daddy's Nana?" asked the youngster.

"Nu? Who else? But I'm your Nana too, Adam. Don't you forget
that sweet boy," she answered seriously.

"You hit me." Adam stated it as a fact, and not as a question.

"Hit you? Shaaw! A love tap, that's all. Adam, you were going to
do something dangerous. I didn't want to see mine sweet
ur-aynekel hurt himself," she explained.

"Oh. I was going to be careful," Adam defended.

"No, my precious boy. You can never be too careful with fire.
Fire is not something you should ever think you can be careful with.
Ask your Daddy about how dangerous fire can be. He'll tell you
sweetheart," Nana urged.

"Daddy's not even here. He had to go away to do his stupid work,
and he didn't even call us to light the candles," the child retorted

"Oy, Adam. Since when is finding very bad people and putting
them in jail 'stupid work'?" Adam looked up at his now visible
Nana and startled slightly.


"Yes, sweet boy. It's me."

"I __, I miss my daddy, Nana. He's never here no more, and I miss
him. Mommy can't play with me 'cause all Baby Dawn does is eat
and cry, so Mommy has to keep picking her up and saying 'sha, sha,
sha.' But it doesn't help. The only one Baby Dawn shuts up for is
Daddy. Mommy says Daddy's shoulder is magic 'cause Dawnie
always stops crying when he holds her.

"I miss Daddy, Nana. I want him to come home. Now. Why
doesn't he come home now, Nana?" asked the little boy plaintively.

"Oh shayner boychikel, he wants to come home to you, and Dawn
and your Mommy. But he can't right now, Sweetheart. He has
important work to do, to catch this bad man. But Sweetheart, Nana
thinks your daddy needs your help." Nana paused for a moment or
two. She didn't want to frighten the child needlessly, but she did
want to convey how serious what she was about to say was.

"Adam, your daddy needs you to pray for him. Do you think you
can do that, shanyer ur-aynekel? Can you pray to God and ask Him
to help your daddy do what he needs to do to come home?" she
asked earnestly.

The five year old looked at the shimmering image of his great
grandmother with great seriousness. His expression reminded Nana
so much of her Foxila when he was Adam's age. The child's face
was a mixture of determination and questions. Always the

"Nana, should Mommy say prayers for Daddy too?"

"Yes, sweet boy. I think that would be a good thing."

''What about Gam-ma Maggie? She's here now, and she could pray
too. Would that be good?"

"Of course it would be!" Nana was delighted the child took her
instructions so much to heart. He was a good boy. A mensch.
Just like his father. But he was also a curious one. Just like his

"But, Nana, why? Why do we have to pray for Daddy?" Adam
asked in all solemnity.

"Because he needs you, sweet boy. Can you understand that? Just
because he needs you," Nana replied.


Maggie came into the dining room and found Adam staring not at
the candles, but at the wall just to the right of the breakfront.
"Sweetheart?" she asked, putting her hand on his shoulder. "What
is it, Adam?"

Adam looked at his grandmother curiously and then at the now
quite empty space again.

"Oh, nothing. It was just Nana." Before Maggie had a chance to
respond to this announcement, he was pulling on her sleeve. "The
candles burned out, Gam-ma. Let's blow out Mommy's candles,
and you can tuck me in."

Maggie was a little taken back by her grandson's sudden desire to
go to bed but was never one to question such good fortune. She
helped him drag a chair up to the breakfront, so he could blow out
the Advent candles. She then made sure the candles in the menorah
had indeed extinguished themselves, and, together, they pushed the
chair back.

Tiptoeing upstairs, Maggie could hear Dana quietly humming to the
baby in the nursery. At least Dana wasn't having problems nursing
Dawn with all the emotional upheaval of the night. But then, her
daughter was strong and had been through so much already. Too
much, Maggie thought to herself.

They entered Adam's room. His bed, which Fox had picked out for
the boy for his fourth birthday, was a race car painted blue. But the
wallpaper was new, since they'd only moved into their new house a
couple of weeks after Dawn was born. The walls exploded with
bright primary colors.

Sports merchandise from almost every team was scattered on the
bookcase and the dresser. More of his father's influence, Maggie
was certain. Adam went into his closet, exhibiting his newfound
desire for privacy and changed into a pair of New York Knicks

Definitely his father's influence, Maggie smiled to herself.

Maggie pulled the comforter down on the bed and fluffed the
pillow. Surprised again at her grandson's behavior, Maggie
watched as the small boy knelt down next to the bed. No pleading
for a story, no request for a glass of water. He was all business
tonight. He made the sign of the cross, as Dana had taught him,
and recited his prayers out loud.

"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
Bless me God, all through the night, and wake me with the morning
light." He was quiet a moment, and Maggie wondered what could
be going through his head. Suddenly, he looked up at
her and in a very determined voice said, "Gam-ma, we need to pray
for Daddy. We need to pray that Daddy can get the bad man, so
that he can come home to us. We have to pray, all of us."

Maggie was so struck with his conviction that it took her breath
away. She felt speechless, but she nodded.

Adam stared at her, and finally she understood he was waiting for
her. Swallowing hard, she folded her hands and bowed her head.
Adam seemed content with her actions and started again. "God,
Mommy is really scared. She didn't tell me, but I could tell. And
I'm scared, too. But I know you will take care of my Daddy. So
please help him. Help him get this man who is hurting people. And
then bring him back to us, to Mommy and me and Dawn and
Gam-ma and Gam-pa and Grandma Bette. Amen."

"Amen," Maggie whispered. "Amen."


After Maggie had checked Adam's night light, she threw him one
more kiss, and then shut the door. She found Dana in the kitchen
with Dawn on her shoulder.

"She won't sleep?" asked Maggie.

"No. She's got a gas bubble that is causing her little belly to be so
hard and distended, I wouldn't dare try to lay her down now. Leslie
keeps telling me this too shall pass, but there are moments when I
think this child is going to walk down her wedding aisle with gas
pains," lamented Dana.

"I know the feeling," agreed Maggie. "It's a wonder I had more
children after Missy. She was impossibly colicky."

Dana smiled at her mother and said, "Well, personally, I'm very glad
you decided to go for it." Maggie chuckled in response and readily
agreed. "Did Adam give you any trouble going to bed? I half
expected to have to read the riot act to him," asked Dana.

"No, sweetheart. In fact, he was a perfect angel," Maggie said, and
then muttered to herself, "Almost too perfect."

"What was that, Mom?"

"Dana, I think Adam had a visitor tonight."

"A visitor," Dana echoed as she sniffed the peppermint tea in an
effort to calm her nerves.

"I think Nana appeared to Adam," she answered softly.

"Nana?" Dana looked up from the tea cup. "Nana was here?"

"I think so. Adam told me he, no _we_, had to pray for his daddy.
I suspect Nana had something to do with that, don't you?" asked

"Yes. Yes, I do. Oh God, Mom, Nana's only come when __. We
have to find him, Mom. We have to find him fast. Oh God, he's in
trouble, Mom," gasped Dana.


Riichi Obayashi stood silently waiting for the SAC to finish his phone
conversation. All he could hear was Albright's side of things, but
from where it stood, it was not good news being conveyed.

"Well, we'll be in touch," Albright said and hung up the receiver.
He looked up at Obayashi. "You better have good news, Riichi.
I can't take any more bad news tonight."

In the short time Riichi had known the SAC, he knew not to take his
words too much to heart. "I just wanted to let you know that two
of Chicago's finest have arrived. Detectives Randall and Tripp.
They work out of this precinct and have been assigned to assist
us in the search for Agent Mulder. In any way possible."

Albright was shuffling through some papers on his desk.
"Randal and Tripp? They were originally on the task force,
weren't they?"

Riichi nodded. "Mulder and I met them at the first briefing the
night we arrived. Then they were called back to the precinct on
an older outstanding murder investigation. Apparently, the possible
abduction of a Federal Agent ranks higher than three year old
unsolved murder cases in these parts," Riichi said with a sour

"Do I sense you have some negative feelings here, Obayashi?"
Albright asked.

"No sir, not really. Well, no more than normal. I just think
these two are a little too 'parochial' for their own good. I
don't know how well they did in 'sandbox and playground' detail
in grade school."

"Not willing to share information?" Albright prodded.

"Not at all. We're pretty certain that there was at least one
CTA bus which runs along the street outside the hotel, but CPD
says they will handle those interviews. They won't let us near
them and the bus company says they gave all the information on
the drivers to the CPD. It's a catch-22, Sir," Riichi growled.

Albright sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. "We're the
FBI for cripes sakes," he muttered under his breath. "What do
we need, a note from Janet Reno?" He looked up and realized the
agent was still in the room. "See if the 'good detectives' might
be able to spare a moment of their time with me, Agent Obayashi,"
Albright asked in formal tones.

Riichi smiled. It was time to pull out the heavy artillery.
"It would be my pleasure, Sir," he said. As he turned to leave
the room, his eye caught the clock on the wall. It was a quarter
to three in the morning. He'd last seen Mulder almost 12 hours
previous. An agent had been missing for twelve hours already.
Not just an agent. A friend. He blew out his breath and went
down the hall to the command center.

"Riichi, we got something!" Special Agent Dale Jensen waved a piece
of paper in the air.

"Talk to me," Riichi said, trying hard to take in enough air.
*God, I have to calm down or I won't be any help at all to Mulder,*
he chided himself.

"A cab driver just called in a while ago. He works the four to
midnight shift in the Loop. Anyway, he saw the picture of Mulder
we faxed over to the cab company and says he picked up a fare
matching Mulder's picture about four thirty this afternoon. Took
him to a Jewish bookstore next to the Temple B'nai Zion in Rodgers

"That jives with what Agent Scully told me earlier," Riichi said,
taking the sheet which held the driver's name and phone number.
"Can the driver come in, answer some questions?"

"The two Chicago cops are 'interviewing' him as we speak," Jensen
said with a dubious look.

Riichi rolled his eyes. "Please tell me they're doing it somewhere
here. Somewhere I can 'listen in'?"

"Wish granted. I told them to use the conference room down the hall.
The one that the inside lock on the door is frozen," Jensen said with
a conspiratorial grin. Obayashi matched the grin and patted the other
agent's back. "You're a good man, Jensen. I think I owe
you a beer."

Riichi knocked on the door, but didn't bother to wait for a response
before entering. Both detectives looked up immediately and Riichi
noted with satisfaction that one of them stared pointedly at the
lock on the door. The FBI agent smiled to himself, and turned his
attention to the cab driver.

"Mr. Riley, how are you this evening. I'm Special Agent Riichi
Obayashi. As you know, we are concerned with the disappearance
of a fellow FBI agent. I wondered if you would mind my listening
in on this session, it might save us some time."

Jeff Randal, a tall thin man with a growing bald spot, frowned
and crossed his arms. "We were doing just fine, Agent Obi-Wan,"
he said with a sneer.

"That's Agent Obayashi, and I'm sure you were. But since Mr.
Riley here is a witness to a possible kidnapping, or at least
has some knowledge of events leading to said crime, it is well
within my jurisdiction as a federal agent to be present. Oh,
and my Agent in Charge would like a word with you two gentleman.
At your earliest convenience."

Mr. Riley, an older man with a graying mop of hair and the map
of Ireland on his face, smiled brightly at the young agent. "I
like you, kid. You got spunk," he laughed good naturedly. "As
I was just telling the 'boy-os' here, I picked up that fare
outside the hotel about 4:30. I know it was 4:30 because the
news at the bottom of the hour had just come on. I was waiting
for Sandy Reyos at 5. She has the best talk show . . ."

"I'm sure she does, Mr. Riley," Andrew Tripp said impatiently.
"But could you get back to the description of your fare?"

Riley frowned, but nodded. "Description? He was tall, near
six feet. Dressed nice. Charcoal gray suit, black overcoat.
Weird tie. Wasn't wearing rubbers, nor a hat of any kind which
is probably why he was hailing a cab for a ten block walk.
Didn't talk much.

He gave me the name of the bookstore and started to give the
address, but I told him that's my old neighborhood and I knew
the place right off. When I pulled up outside, I wished him a
Happy Hanukkah and he gave me a three dollar tip."

Tripp looked over to Obayashi. "That's sounds like Mulder,"
he said and leaned back. "Can you tell us anything else?
Anything at all?"

Riley furrowed his brow for a moment. "He had a nasty cold.
Sneezed a couple of times in a row. Ran out of Kleenex so I
gave him some from the box I keep up front with me. Keeps
the kids from wiping their snot on my seats, you know."

Tripp grimaced and nodded, then turned to Obayashi. "Does
Mulder have a cold?"

Riichi sighed. "A monster one. That's why he was back at
the hotel. He was supposed to be resting before the evening
briefing." Then, Riichi thought of something else. He reached
into his wallet and pulled out a picture. It was taken the day
of Mulder and Scully's wedding. He and Mashiko were standing
next to Dana and Fox. "Is this the man you had in your cab,
Mr. Riley?"

The older man held the picture at arms length. "That's him."
He handed the picture back to the Agent. "Pretty little thing
next to him. She's Irish, isn't she?"

"Yes sir," Riichi said, putting the picture back in his wallet.
"That's his wife, Dana. Dana Scully. She's an FBI agent, too."

"They have young ones?" Riley asked innocently.

"Two. A boy just turned five and a new baby girl."

Riley closed his eyes and shook his head. "I hope you find him,
son. It's a big city and there are a lot of bad people out there."

Riichi's throat constricted and it was hard to force out the words.
"I hope so, too, Sir. He's a good man. He deserves to be home
with his family." He stuck his hand out and warmly shook the older
man's hand. "Thank you for all your help, Mr. Riley. If you think
of anything else . . ." Riichi handed the man one of his business

"I'll call you right off," Mr. Riley assured him. He took the card
and carefully placed it in his own wallet. "Good day to you, then,"
he said and with a look to the two detectives, left the room.


Riichi turned his gaze to the two detectives. "If you gentlemen
have the time, my AIC would like a word with you," he said firmly
and nodded toward the door.

Both men shared a look and a shrug and followed Riichi down the
hall to Albright's office. As much as Riichi wanted to stay in the
hallway and listen to the fireworks, he had other matters to attend
to at that moment. He reluctantly walked down the hall, all the
time keeping an ear out for Albright's voice. By the time he was
closing the door on the command center, Albright's raised voice
was booming through the hallway. Riichi smiled and got back to

Several hours later, Jensen was again at his shoulder. "Blood we
found is a match," Jensen with a sullen expression. "There wasn't
enough to determine if it's life threatening. And no bone or . . .
other matter," he swallowed hard. "No hospitals report treating a
John Doe matching Mulder's description. We combed the alley, no
bullets or cartridges found. No reports of a gunshot, not even of a
car backfiring. Of course, they could have used a silencer."

Riichi shook his head emphatically. "Let's not go buying trouble.
Stick to the evidence we have. It's reasonable to believe at this
point that Agent Mulder left the bookstore and came back to the
hotel, but didn't get all the way there. It's also reasonable to
assume that he was injured and taken against his will."

Riichi got up and walked over to the wall where a map of the city
was taped on a bulletin board. "He left here, took a cab to here,"
he said, pointing with his pen at the location of the bookstore. He
stopped and stared for a moment. "How did he get back? And
what time was it when he made it to the alley?"

Jensen glanced at his watch. "It's four in the morning, Obayashi.
Do you want me to roust the poor sales clerk out at this hour?"

"No, of course not. We'll have to wait until later this morning. I
want to go down there and talk to the clerk as soon as the store
opens." He stopped talking when Agent Watson walked up to
them. "What's up?"

Watson handed them a piece of paper and shook her head. "They
found another body. Another boy."

"Damn it," Riichi said. "We just can't get a break tonight, can we?"

End of part 5

LC XVI: Holidays
by Vickie Moseley & Susan Proto

Part 6/14

The flight into Indianapolis took around two hours. The storm was
running north of Indiana, so Skinner's flight hadn't been affected,
and Skinner was relieved to see he'd be able to get an immediate
start to Chicago. When he arrived at the car rental desk, he found
his luxury size car was waiting for him.

"Good, I thought there might be a problem getting the car I wanted
what with the holidays and all," he said in relief.

"Oh, we've had several cancellations, Mr. Skinner," replied the
clerk. "Whenever there's bad weather on its way, people tend to
take limos or taxis rather than drive themselves in a strange city."

"When's it supposed to arrive? The bad weather, that is."

"Oh, within the next few hours," was her reply. "Just sign here, Mr.
Skinner, and then you can take the shuttle to your car." Skinner
signed the necessary forms, got on the shuttle, and found his car.

It was a Crown Victoria, and certainly more luxurious than he was
used to driving. However, given the precarious weather situation,
Skinner refused to begrudge himself this bit of indulgence. He
became acquainted with the inner workings of the dashboard, found
a radio station to his liking, and then pulled out his cellular. He
dialed speed dial number 2.

"Hello? Mulder residence."

"Maggie, it's Walter."

"Walter! It's good to hear your voice. Where are you?"

"I've just gotten myself comfortable in my rental. God, Maggie,
we've got to think about leasing one of these. There's enough leg
room even for me." He heard his wife's light murmur of
acknowledgment but could tell she was in no mood for
light-hearted bantering.

"Is it snowing there?" Maggie asked.

"No, not yet. I was told they're expecting the storm to hit within
the next few hours, but I'll hopefully have enough of a head start on
it in order to make it to Chicago in good time." He paused for a
moment and then asked with concern, "How's Dana holding up?"

"She's __, well I guess you could say she's in a holding pattern.
She's waiting for Riichi to fax her some of Fox's notes. Dana thinks
she might be of some help in interpreting what Fox had begun
putting together.

"Apparently he didn't have the profile written yet, but Riichi said he
had enough notes and post-its laying about to write ten profiles.
Dana thinks she's the one with the best shot of figuring out what
direction Fox was heading towards," Maggie explained.

"Well, we know Mulder's able to get into the mind of just about any
lunatic. I suppose the only one who could get into Mulder's mind
would be Dana," agreed Skinner.

"I know, but I'm just worried Dana's trying to take on too much. I
mean, there's really no way of knowing how far Fox got in
figuring out who this __, now what did she call it? All I can think
of is submarine, but I know that's not right!" she answered in a
frustrated tone.

"UNSUB. You mean an UNSUB."

"UNSUB," Maggie echoed. "Yes, that's it."

"Sweetheart, are you okay? Maybe I shouldn't have left__," he

"__ Walter, don't be ridiculous! I'm fine, and Dana will be fine. We
all have our jobs to do. Mine is to watch our grandchildren while
Dana tries to profile this UNSUB. Yours is to go find Fox. Just do
what you do best, and find him. Please, Walter, find our son."


Skinner drove out of Indianapolis on I-70 and then west onto I-74
for about seven miles. He then continued on I-65 for about an hour
under overcast skies, but no snowflakes fell. At least not until he
came to the I-80 Junction.

Then, without warning, the skies opened up as he crossed the
Illinois border. He needed to travel on I-80 for only fifteen miles or
so, but Skinner had a feeling those fifteen miles would be some of
the longest of his life.

The AD couldn't believe how quickly the roads became impossible
to maneuver on. The big car was soon losing any advantage its size
and weight had as the roads became icier and more slippery.
Skinner continued to drive, but he was becoming more and more
tempted to make a stop in one of the several motels he'd seen
advertised on passing billboards.

Suddenly, the car swerved sideways! Walter automatically grabbed
the wheel, but he had to consciously remind himself to turn into the
skid. He knew the car was equipped with anti-lock breaks, but they
sure as hell weren't gripping on ice. Walter's heart raced, and his
pulse quickened, as he grasped the steering wheel with white
knuckled strength.

Skinner felt as though he were in an old, silent movie where sound
was muffled and movements were in slow motion and predictable.
The AD knew immediately the car was out of his control, and
though he could sense what was going to happen, Walter was
helpless to prevent it. He was traveling less than fifteen miles per
hour, but as slow as it was, Skinner knew he needed to brace
himself for impact.

The car skidded straight into one of the tall, steel lamp posts which
lit up that particular stretch of the interstate. As he made contact
with the light pole, he felt his eyeglasses fly off his face, and his
seat belt tug tautly about him. Next, he heard the whoosh of the
airbag which exploded into his face. Finally, Skinner heard the
audible crunch of the car's hood collapsing in front of him, while at
the same time he heard the thud of the light pole fall, unbelievably,
straight across the road.

Skinner remained absolutely still and did not move for several
minutes. The shock of how quickly he'd lost control of the vehicle
slowly set in. He slowly raised his head up and turned it to make
sure he didn't suffer from whiplash. Walter then stretched out his
arms and legs as best he could to test for any possible injuries.
When he determined he wasn't physically hurt in any way, he
unclipped his safety belt and felt around for his glasses. After
several seconds of groping around, he found them and, much to his
relief, discovered they were unbroken. He opened the door,
stepped out, and surveyed the damage.

The snow was falling heavily around him as he walked up to the
front end of the car. He was somewhat startled to see there was a
rather steep drop off beyond the flimsy railing on the other side of
the lamp base. Walter realized with a shock that, had the car not hit
the light pole, he would have more than likely plunged over the
side. He felt his whole body tremor at the thought of that, and
retreated a few steps to safer ground.

As the snow continued to accumulate, the AD realized the chances
of getting a tow truck out to immediately assist him in this weather
ranged from zero to none. He did, however, realize he was not in
the safest of situations, and needed to make a call to let people
know where he was. He felt his hands tremble as he reached into
his pocket for his cell phone and dialed the Triple A auto service to
which he was a member. He gave the information to the operator
and was told there was approximately a three hour wait.

Skinner stood frustrated by the thought of being so close to the
Chicago field office, yet obviously not close enough to do anything
helpful to find Mulder. When he called the field office and spoke
with one of the agents on duty, he was told they'd found another
body and Agents Obayashi and Albright weren't available at this
time. He explained to the underling his situation, and requested
assistance anytime anyone was available. If there was a change in
his status, Skinner would call back the office.

Next he called Maggie and Dana. He knew they would both be
worried about him being in an accident, but he also knew they
would be just as disappointed that he was unable to get to the office
any sooner. As he spoke to Maggie and gave her the details of the
accident, Walter gasped when he witnessed the inevitable.


"Walter! What's wrong?" cried out Maggie anxiously.

"It jumped the pole," he whispered in awe.

"What jumped what pole?" Maggie asked in confusion.

"The car. The car just jumped the light pole that is laying across
the interstate," Walter relayed with some anxiety. "God, Maggie,
somebody's gonna get killed. The snow is falling so damned fast,
it's camouflaging the light pole. The cars are just driving right over
it and ending up in the air. Damn! This is unbelievable!" he

Just then a black, four wheel drive vehicle slowly pulled over in
back of Walter's crumpled car. Inside were a young man and
woman, either in their late teens or early twenties. The young man,
who was driving, called out to Walter.

"Hi, you look like you could use some help."

"Well, I could actually use a ride into the city. You're not by any
chance going into Chicago, are you?" Skinner asked hopefully, and
not just because he wanted to get to work on the case. It was
damned cold, and he was starting to shiver from the freezing
temperatures, frigid air, and damp snow that fell about him.

"No problem. I live in Chicago, but my girlfriend lives in Addison.
If you don't mind a short detour, I can drop you off anywhere you
want in Chicago."

"No, I don't mind at all. Thank you. I mean, I really appreciate
this. Do you have room for a travel bag and brief case in there?"
Skinner asked.

The young man nodded and said, "No problem," and watched while
Skinner leaned over to reach in for his bags. As he bent over,
however, his weapon became visible.

"Oh God! Eric! Look!" cried out the young lady.

"Hey, Mister," the young man began somewhat nervously, "listen,
we don't want any trouble, so maybe you should find another ride.

Skinner was baffled by the sudden discomfort the two young people
displayed, and asked, "I don't understand. What's wrong?"

"Look, I think we gotta get going__," the younger man said as he
started to put the car into gear. Just then, Walter realized what had
happened and whipped out his FBI identification.

"Wait. It's okay. I'm Assistant Director Walter Skinner from the
Washington office of the FBI. I'm on my way to the Chicago field
office to work on a case. I'm sorry. I should have identified myself
immediately. I didn't mean to scare you with my weapon."

"FBI?" the girl asked.

"Yes. FBI."

Both young people breathed an audible sigh of relief and invited the
AD to climb into the back. The AD then excused himself to make
several phone calls to update his wife and the field office of his
impending arrival, as well as the Triple A and the need for them to
tow the car to the nearest Hertz Rental Agency. He would contact
the agency at his earliest convenience.

Finally, Walter settled in the back and reintroduced himself.

"I'm Eric Barton, and this is Alana Martin. We both go to the
Eastern Illinois University, but we're on Winter break now. You
sure lucked out having to come out in this weather. Funny thing is,
it'd been a real mild winter so far. This is the first big storm of the
season, which for Chicago is late."

"Yeah, well, unfortunately the bad guys don't seem to mind bad
weather," replied Skinner.

"So, if you don't mind me asking, what case is it that would bring
an Assistant Director into Chicago, days before Christmas, all the
way from Washington, DC?" asked Eric.

"Well," Skinner hedged for but a minute, "it's public knowledge.
The local office has been working on several murder cases that
seemed to be tied together. Young teenage boys, adolescents."

"Ohmigod!" cried out Alana.

"What's wrong?" Eric asked anxiously.

"Well, it's just that I know one of the boys that was killed. I mean,
I knew him. My mom had called a couple of weeks ago all upset
because of it. She didn't want to let Tommy out of the house
because of it. The boy that was killed went to school with my kid
brother," she said breathlessly.

"How old was he?" Skinner asked with interest.

"Fifteen. It was a real shame, you know? I mean Kevin, that was
his name, Kevin Jenkins, well, Kevin was a decent kid. I mean it
wasn't like he was best friends with my brother or anything," she
said quickly. "Hell, he didn't have any really best friend. At least
not that I know of, but he was an okay kid. He didn't bother
anybody. He didn't make a big deal of it."

"Big deal of what, Alana?" Skinner asked curiously.

"Oh. Of being gay. I mean, he never came right out and said it,
you know? But everyone pretty much knew it. And everyone was
pretty okay with it, I mean Kevin didn't flaunt it or anything. He
was an okay kid. But he was pretty much of a loner. I guess
maybe he didn't have too many friends," Alana mused aloud.

"Do you think he was a troubled kid?" Skinner asked.

"Troubled?" she reflected. "If you're asking did he ever get into
trouble, no, I don't think he ever did. But he was really quiet. He
was kind of like the kid who was always on the outside looking in,
ya know?"

"Is there anything else you can tell me about him, Alana? Anything
at all? It might help us find out why he was targeted by the killer,"
Skinner urged.

"And that might help you figure out who the killer is," Eric
conjectured. "See, I watch NYPD Blue."

Skinner smiled at the casual remark, but the fact was it was true.
Any new light Alana Martin could shed on one of the victims could
possibly add to Mulder's profile in progress.

Mulder. Shit. Skinner had almost forgotten about Mulder. He was
still missing, and he needed to get to the field office to help find
him. The AD shuddered all of a sudden, and Alana asked him if he
was cold. "We can turn the heat on," she offered innocently.

"No, it's all right. I'm not really cold. I don't think anyway," he
responded. Then he repeated his request for any new information.

"I'm sorry. I didn't really see him much, since I was away at school.
But we could ask my brother if he knows anything."

Skinner nodded in agreement, and looked forward to interviewing
the younger Martin. He had high hopes that his misfortune with the
rental would possibly turn to some good after all.

Unfortunately, Tommy Martin was not at home to be interviewed.
He was sleeping over at a friend's house, so Skinner handed Alana
one of his cards with his cell phone number on it. She asked her to
talk to Tommy and to give him a call if there was anything new they
could tell him about young Kevin Jenkins. He then offered his
thanks, bid her goodnight, and watched her kiss her boyfriend Eric
a most passionate good night.

The drive to the field office normally would have taken around
twenty minutes, however, due to the weather, it was closer to an
hour. Eric and the AD chatted amiably about law enforcement and
future plans. Eric mentioned he might be interested in becoming a
lawyer someday, to which Skinner replied that's how he started out.
The opportunities offered by the FBI, however, turned the AD's
plans around. He looked at Eric and said, "You never know what
paths your life will lead you on. Just don't be afraid to take the
divergent one. It may lead you someplace worthwhile."

The two men shook hands, and Skinner once again expressed his
thanks. Eric wished him good luck on the case, and that he would
remind Alana to call him if she had anything of interest. The AD
nodded in agreement, turned and walked into the field office.

It was time to find a killer.

It was time to find Mulder.


By the time Skinner arrived at the field office, everyone else had
gone off to investigate the site of the latest victim's location. He
walked around the central office; the one Mulder and Obayashi had
so obviously set up as it had the Mulder touch all over the place.

He could see Mulder in the way the index cards were tacked up on
the bulletin board in various types of patterns. The photos of the
too numerous crime scenes were also displayed in a similar manner,
as it was Mulder's profiling training and personal contention that
every crime victim had the truth and clues somewhere on his or her
body. The photos could tell them, if they knew what to look for.

Mulder was the best at figuring out exactly what to look for.
Unfortunately, he was the one who needed finding, which resulted
in a helluva catch-22.

"Where the hell are you, Mulder?" he muttered to himself aloud.

"More like 'who the hell took you', Sir," was the unexpected reply.
Skinner turned around immediately to see Agent Obayashi standing
by the door.

"Hello, Sir. Umm, Sir? I just want to say, I'm sorry you had to
come out. I really thought he was going back to the hotel to sleep,"
Obayashi stated quietly.

"Riichi, you have no reason to apologize. I suspect you're right.
Someone grabbed Mulder on purpose, and I suspect they would
have found a way to kidnap him no matter what. The sixty-four
dollar question is, why?

"Why did this UNSUB want Mulder? Is he another victim in this
serial case we're dealing with? Does he fit the victims' profiles?
Does he meet the UNSUB's needs according to his profile? What
need does Mulder fulfill for his captor?" Skinner asked in summary.

"Yes, Sir. Those are exactly the questions we were asking
ourselves before the latest victim appeared. I have a bad feeling
about this, AD Skinner," Riichi confessed.

"How so?"

"I think the perp carefully chooses his victims, though I'm not sure
as to how or why. However, I think Mulder was close to figuring
it out. Sir, Mulder, as sick as he was, he never bitched or
complained. He just kept pouring over those damned crime scene
photos and files. Mulder knew every interview that had been
conducted inside and out," Obayashi began to explain.

"__ And he would have kept going till he collapsed, if Obayashi
here hadn't convinced him to go back to the hotel to rest,"
interjected another voice. The not quite six footer, just shy of forty,
SAC strode over to the Assistant Director with his hand extended.
"Hello, Sir. I'm James Albright. We met briefly at the Denver
Conference a few months ago. I hope you flight was a good one."

"Yes, Agent Albright, I do remember. The flight was fine, the car
ride over here was something less than desired but certainly
memorable," Skinner responded with a slight sigh.

"Are you okay?" asked Riichi with concern.

"Yes, yes, Agent Obayashi," he replied formally. He wasn't feeling
up to going into all the details. "I will, however, need a lift to the
crime scenes as well as a lift to Addison," and when he took note of
the questioning stares, he added, "I had a little run in with a light
pole. The car was towed, I got a lift, and the kid's who drove me
here may actually have some information on one of the earlier

"Are you sure you're okay, Sir?" asked Albright this time.

"Yes," he replied quickly, and then he cleared his throat in an effort
to divert the subject of conversation from him to anything else.
"So, now what are your theories regarding Mulder's disappearance
and this case. Are they related?"

"We're not sure. We're still trying to piece what little evidence we
have together," replied Albright.

Riichi rocked a bit back and forth as he listened to Albright.
Skinner sensed this agent had something to say on the subject, but
feared he might be stepping on his SAC's toes. SAC Albright was
sensitive enough to pick up on Obayashi's feelings as well.

"Agent Obayashi, I suspect you might have developed your own
theory on this, am I right?" Albright questioned.

Obayashi quickly looked to both Albright and Skinner for their
approval, so when they both nodded slightly, Riichi spoke his mind.
"I think Mulder had the profile written in his head. He was just
having a tough time getting it to make sense on paper. Sir, there
are notes and post-its all over the hotel room. I think it's because
Mulder was close. I think he was really close to identifying him,
and I think the perp knew it.

"I think,'' Riichi considered thoughtfully, "the perp needed to get
Mulder out of the picture so he could continue his little feeding
frenzy. Sirs?" Both of the agent's superiors looked at him, and
Riichi said, "I think the sonofabitch is going to start escalating. I
believe he thinks he's safe now, because Mulder's not in the

"I have to concur, Agent Obayashi," replied Skinner. "Let's go find
them. Let's go find them both.

end of part 6/14

LC XVI: Holidays
by Vickie Moseley & Susan Proto

Part 7/14

Mulder couldn't stop shivering. The dankness of the darkened
room, coupled with the draftiness from the small, broken basement
window directly behind him, caused his body to go into
uncontrollable tremors. His inability to find any warmth, any
comfort at all, caused him to not only feel physically depleted,
but emotionally drained as well.

Then, there was also the coughing and the interminable pain he
began to associate with simply breathing. Each gasp became more
and more like a knife in his chest. It hurt to even try to draw a

Fox Mulder was hurting big time, and he didn't know what to do.

When he didn't think he could stand the pain for another moment,
he felt a cool, comforting hand on his forehead.

"Oy, Foxila, you're burning up."

"Nana," he rasped out softly. It began to hurt to talk as much as it
hurt to breathe.

"Fox, you have to get out of here," she said without thinking.

"I know, Nana," he answered gently in some ironic attempt to offer
her some comfort over his situation.

However, before either of them realized it, another coughing fit
overtook him. Fluid had begun building up in Mulder's lungs as the
annoying cold, which had knocked out much of his resistance to
infection before hand, had now threatened to turn into a full-blown
case of pneumonia. His fever hovered around the 102 degree mark,
though of course neither Mulder nor Nana knew that for sure.

But Nana was observant enough to see the man was in pain, and
she was not sure how much longer he would be able to endure it.
That thought frightened her, for Nana knew if Fox were to give into
the pain, the monster who brought him to this place would win.
She felt she had to convince Fox to not give himself up to the pain.

"Shayner boychikel, you have to find a way to rest. You're so sick,
mine beauty-ful aynekel, you need to be able to close your eyes and
get back your strength to fight that ___, that living demon!" she

"I want to, but I can't, Nana. It hurts," he moaned softly, "It hurts
too much."

"Fox, can you remember how you used to find your way back to
me? You know, when things got too hard? Can't you do that
again, sweetheart? Wouldn't that help you gather your strength

Mulder considered what the old woman was saying. He knew his
Nana felt only concern for him, and she meant well, but he also
quickly realized he could never again do what she suggested.

"Nana, I've spent too much time and too much money putting room
additions on my therapist's home to retreat back into my mind like I
used to. Nana, it's so easy to go to you, but it was getting so
damned hard to leave you.

"I can't take the chance of losing Scully or Adam, or __, or the
baby, so I have to hold on to this reality no matter how much it
hurts. I won't let go of my life anymore Nana. I can't let go of it,"
he insisted.

"Even if it kills you, Fox?" Nana asked earnestly.

"When I think of my family, my mother, Mom and Walter, my children
and my Scully __. Oh, Nana, it's the only thing that's keeping me
alive!" he concluded. At this point Mulder had trouble catching his
and he then began coughing hard again. Several minutes passed
before he was able to catch his breath again.

"Nana, please. Help her find me. Help my Scully find me."

"I'll try, mine shayner aynekel, I promise I'll try."


Maggie peeked in the doorway to the nursery. Even with just the
night light on, it was bright and cheerful. But the crib was empty.
Wrapping her robe more tightly around her, she tiptoed down to
the study.

Fox had decorated the study and Maggie had to chuckle every time
she walked in. Unlike his old bachelor apartment, he'd taken time
to chose items that reflected his true nature. The wallpaper was an
interesting print made up of tiny little flying saucers. The border
was the strange green alien faces that she saw all the time in
specialty stores in the mall.

One wall was built in bookshelves, the other was a built in cabinet
to house their computer and Fox's rather impressive, and
expensive, stereo system. There was a desk, but it was usually
covered, as it was now, with piles of papers on one side and
immaculate on the other. Maggie had no doubt whose side
belonged to whom.

Before she even got fully in the room, Maggie determined where
the baby had gone. She could hear her daughter softly singing an
old Simon and Garfunkle tune. Maggie smiled, but her smile faded
a bit at the scene before her. Dana was rocking Dawn, all right.
But she was sitting at the desk, with Dawn latched on and feeding.
Dana herself was sitting at the desk, papers in small piles before
her, her glasses perched on her nose, engrossed in
the writing on the paper in front of her.

"Sweetheart, have you been up all night?" Maggie asked, not able
to hide her concern any longer. "That's not good for your milk, you

Dana looked up and frowned. "My milk is fine, Mom. I didn't
want to wake you. Go on back to sleep. Dawn's almost finished
and then I'll lie down for a few minutes," she said, but her eyes
refused to meet her mother's.

"I believe that as much as when you told me you were sleeping over
at Jenny Egizi's house, but it was the same night as the dance your
father had forbidden you to go to," Maggie said with eyes
narrowed. "Dana, you need to get some rest. You have two little
ones who need you."

Meeting her mother's annoyed gaze with an equally determined one,
Dana shook her head. "No, Mom. I have a _partner_ who needs
me. I'm here with the kids, they aren't missing out. But Fox is out
there alone. I should be there, in Chicago, either with him
wherever he is, or searching for him with Walter and Riichi. Stuck
here in Georgetown is the last place I should be," she said through
clenched teeth.

Maggie started to say something in reply, but stopped. It was the
same kind of argument she'd had off and on for a time span of over
thirty-five years. Except it wasn't the Captain arguing with her this
time, it was his daughter. And just as she knew she seldom won the
battles when Bill was that determined, she knew she'd never win
this battle, either.

"Well, let me get you some tea, at least," Maggie said, quietly
leaving her daughter who watched her with confusion.

When Maggie got back with the tea, Dana was burping the baby
over her shoulder. "Here, I'll take Dawn, you go back to work,"
Maggie said and scooped her granddaughter up into her arms.

Dana looked perplexed as she watched her mother settle into one of
the other chairs in the room and begin the job of 'bringing up the
bubble' as she'd always called it. "Mom? What just happened?"

"You're as stubborn as your father. I know which battles to pick,
Dana. I didn't live with the man as long as I did and not learn when
to pick my battles. Go on, you've got quite a pile there. When I
get Dawn in her crib, you can tell me what you're doing at 2:35 in
the morning."

Surprisingly enough, Dawn went down without too much fuss and
Maggie was able to return to the study. "You know, I think we're
finally turning the corner with her," Maggie said and pulled a chair
up to the desk across from her daughter.

"Elizabeth told me that Samantha was colicky to about three
months. Poor kid, it was in the gene's on both sides. But I hope
we're seeing the last of it. Or maybe she just knows that we need
her help right now. I need the time to think."

Maggie picked up a piece of paper and tried to read it. "What are
all these lines? Is this in English?"

Dana snorted in amusement. "Didn't know your son-in-law could
'write' in tongues, did you, Mom." She took the paper back and
gazed at it almost fondly. "When he writes a rough draft of a
profile, Fox uses yellow legal pads. The blue lines on the paper
don't come through on a fax. But then, if he's on a roll, he rarely
hits the blue lines, anyway. I've begged him for years to use a
laptop, but he always tells me a pencil's battery never needs
recharging. And yes, believe it or not, this is English. Took me the
better part of our first year as partners to decipher it, but by now,
I'm an expert linguist in 'Mulder-writing'.

"Are you finding anything useful?" Maggie asked, almost dreading
the answer. She didn't see how any of those scratchings could
result in something Walter could actually use.

"Yes, I have, really," Dana said, digging down to her own white
pad of paper. "So far, Mulder's pretty sure the man they're looking
for, and that is what he has, by the way, a 'man'. Anyway, this man
has some problems with his sexuality. He's more than likely in his
late thirties, homosexual. Probably was abused as a child.

"Again, Mulder relates this to the sexuality. Either father or a male
figure in his life didn't like the fact the guy was gay and beat him for
it. Now this same man is acting out against teen aged boys.
Mulder also suspects that he gets access to the boys through some
organized activity, whether through coaching a kid's sports team or
maybe through a school or teen center.

"But that's what has him stumped. There's no relation between the
victims. They attended different school, went to different churches.
Some of them played sports, others didn't. And the first victim
wasn't even in Chicago. He lived in a suburb, south of the city,"
concluded Dana.

Maggie didn't ignore the fact that Dana was now referring to her
husband by his last name, a throw back to their days before the
wedding. But what really amazed her was the calm that had
descended over Dana as she detailed what was in the paper, what
was going through her husband's mind.

Dana wasn't through speaking. "If we could just get a link between
the victims. Something to connect them. As I'm seeing it, and as
Mulder sees it, it's almost a random pattern. The only thing these
boys had in common was the fact that they were teenagers and lived
in or near Chicago. That's a pretty big net, and it makes it that
much harder to narrow the possible victims." She leaned back in the
chair and stretched.

"Is there anyway I can help?" Maggie asked, feeling totally useless.
This was a part of her daughter she almost chose to ignore. It was
the dangerous part, the part that dealt with murder and mayhem. It
was the part she'd prayed Dana would turn from, back when she
first looked at the FBI. But it was still a part of her little girl.

Dana smiled and reached over to take her mother's hand. "Mom,
you're already helping. Just by being here. Just by keeping an eye
on Adam, burping Dawn, and making me tea. I need to
concentrate, and I can, because I know you're here to help with the
kids. I'm fine, really.

"I'm going to go over some more of this and then in a couple of
hours, I'll call Riichi and tell him what I've dug up. Poor guy, he
was beside himself." Dana sadly shook her head. "Been there,
done that," she whispered. After a moment, she came back to
herself. "Hey, have you heard from Walter? I heard the phone
ring, but you must have picked up pretty fast, I only heard it once."

Maggie smiled self-consciously. "I can tell when it's him on the
phone," she admitted. "Yes, it was Walter. He got into
Indianapolis all right, but the weather to the north is still awful. He
was renting a car and driving."

Dana grimaced. "That's not a fun drive, even when the weather is
good. In a snowstorm, I hope he got a big car. He'll need the extra
weight. Or an SUV. The roads get icy so quick in the midwest."

Maggie smiled again as she remembered the conversation about the
rental. "Oh, he's got a nice, big car, Dana. And if I'm not careful,
we'll be trading cars again by spring. But he promised to call when
he gets to Chicago, and he didn't expect to get there too quickly, so
I guess it will be morning before we hear any more."

Dana closed her eyes for a moment and couldn't keep the pain off
her face. But just as quickly as it came, it was gone. "I'd hoped
we'd find him by morning," she said, taking a steadying breath and
sorting the pages before her.

Maggie nodded. She'd prayed for that, too. She'd just have to pray
a little harder. "Well, I'm going back to bed. After you talk to
Riichi in a few hours, I expect you to take a nap," she added
sternly, then gave her daughter a reassuring smile and left the room.

Nana looked at her grandson forlornly. She knew he was in trouble.
That horrible man had come in earlier and untied him, but it didn't
matter. Fox didn't have the strength to turn over on the filthy, moth
eaten, army blanket he laid upon, much less try and escape from the
dank basement room he was held captive in.

She felt his head and realized the sweat that beaded up on his
forehead was cool on his overheated face. She knew he was
burning up, and his lungs were filling up with fluid. Nana worried
there was a very real possibility of infection where he'd been injured
when the car hit him. The leg, broken in at least two places, was
now swollen to significant proportions. The kidney was badly
bruised, so much so that when Mulder did manage to urinate, there
was blood.

Of course, with his fever elevated and his injuries as significant as
they were, Fox hadn't had any liquid intake in quite a while,
but did have quite a bit leaving his body. He was rapidly
becoming more and more dehydrated, and Nana was becoming
more and more worried.

She didn't know if he could help himself this time. He was too hurt
and too sick. He needed her and she wasn't sure if she could help
him. He needed a doctor. Hell, he needed a whole team of
doctors, and Fox Mulder desperately needed the offerings of the
closest medical facility. Fast.

"Foxila? Sweetheart, you mustn't sleep too long," she called out to
him, so worried he might slip into a coma and not come out of it.

"Mmm," was all he said in response.

"Foxila, you need to wake up, mine aynekel. Please, you're scaring
me, sweet boy. Wake up!" she cried more urgently.

"Mmm, Ssss_," he tried to respond. Mulder knew his nana was
watching over him, and he also knew she was frightened by his
condition. He knew how she felt; he was frightened by his

"Ssssccc_," he tried to call for his Scully.

*Nana, can you understand? I need my Scully. She'll know how to
make me better. She'll know. Please Nana, go get her. Tell her
where I am. Where am I, anyway? Nana, where am I? I need my
Scully,* he cried in his mind, and aloud he began to whimper.

"Oh, Fox. I'll try." She reached out towards his fevered forehead
and caressed it gently. She could feel him lean into her soft touch.
Nana talked to him in soothing, comforting tones. She hoped it
would help him relax enough to allow him to at least sleep. She'd
be back later to make sure he didn't slip into a coma.

Meanwhile, a figure stood toward the middle of the stairwell that
led down to the basement. He watched with interest as the man
he'd considered as his saving grace seemed to be carrying on some
nonsensical conversation with an invisible image. He laughed
softly to himself; they thought _he_ was the crazy one? He
wondered when the last time the profiler extraudinaire had a
complete psych work-up?


The next day, Adam sat and quietly played with the dreidel his
mother had bought for him at the Hallmark store. Dana knew they
were horribly overpriced, but she hadn't a clue as to where her
husband had hidden all of the Hanukkah gifts for their son. She had
to delve into the gifts she'd set aside for Christmas Eve and
Christmas Day.

But she'd run out for some more laser copy paper, and she saw
them in the window next door to the Staples and couldn't resist.
Adam was still just a little boy, and for some reason, his Hanukkah
was being ruined by some bastard who was holding his father.

So now, he sat and played with an imaginary friend. Scully
watched with fascination as he carried on a very animated
conversation with this new, invisible guest.

"But if you spin and it lands on a 'nun', you don't get anything. But
if it spins and lands on the 'gimel' you get all of the raisins. You
know that, don't you?"

*Of course I do, Adam, I just forgot for a minute. I'm an old lady.
Can you forgive an old lady, sweetheart?* Nana asked.

The little boy nodded his head furiously, but then said in an insistent
tone of voice, "You're not old!"

Nana threw her head back and laughed out loud at that thought.
*Oy, mine ur-aynekel, you do know how to make this Nana smile.
But I need you to listen to me carefully, Adam. It's very
important,* the old woman said softly and with equal insistence.

"It's about Daddy, isn't it?" Adam asked seriously. At the mention
of 'Daddy' Dana's head shot up. She looked at her five year old,
and thought the youngster appeared to age before her very eyes.

*Yes, Adam. It's about your daddy. He's not feeling very well,
child. He needs a doctor, very, very badly.*

"Mommy's a doctor," Adam replied proudly.

*I know, sweet boy, I know. Your daddy needs your mommy very
much. As soon as possible.*

"Okay. I'll tell Mommy to go to Daddy. Do you know the
address?" asked Adam innocently.

*No, shayner boychikel, no, I don't. That's why I need your help
and her help. I don't know the address. But he's in a dark, damp
place and it's making him sick, sweetheart. Tell your mommy he
needs her help quickly. Sweetheart, tell her it's time to go to him."

"Okay, Nana. I'll tell her," replied Adam. As soon as Dana heard
him say Nana, she ran over to him as if she were shot out of a

"Adam! Adam, who were you talking to, big guy?" she asked

"Nana," he replied unflinchingly.

"Nana? Daddy's grandma; that Nana?" He nodded his head
furiously. Dana then asked, "Adam, what did Nana say about

"She said he needed you. Mommy, Daddy's sick and in a cold, dark
place, and he's hurt and wants you, and she said you should go to
him," Adam said in a rush.

"But where is he, Adam? Where did Nana say he was?" she asked

"She didn't know, Mommy. I asked her, but she said she didn't
know the address. All she kept saying was Daddy needed you. I
think Daddy doesn't feel good again, Mommy. Nana thinks Daddy
is real hurted."

"Ohmigod." Dana looked around the room frantically. She
couldn't understand why now, of all times, the old woman didn't
materialize for her and give her the answers she needed. "Nana,"
she whispered almost to herself, "where is Fox?"

End of part 7


Life Cycles XVI: Holidays
by Vickie Moseley & Susan Proto

Disclaimers in Part 1

Part 8/14

The phone call came early the next morning. The SAC arrived
early with fresh rounds of coffee for everyone. Skinner and
Obayashi had never made it back to the hotel room, so the AD was
there to receive it. Obayashi answered picked up the ringing phone,
and moments later, called to his superior.

"AD Skinner? An Alana Martin is asking for you?"

"Thank you, Riichi," he responded, and then as an aside he quietly
explained, "It's the young lady who gave me the ride last night."
Obayashi figured as much, but was glad to have the confirmation.

"Yes, Miss Martin. This is Walter Skinner."

"Hello Mr. Skinner. I know it's early, but I think you might want
to speak with my brother. He said he'd talk to you about Kevin,
but my mom's not too thrilled with the idea of us traveling into the
city in this weather."

"We'll come to you. What time can you see us?"

"Well, Mom's got us pretty much house bound, so anytime, really,"
the college coed replied.

"Very well, Alana, then we're going to be on our way. I suspect it
should take us about thirty minutes or so, but take the weather
into consideration. I'm going to put another agent on the line
whose more familiar with the area, so you can give him directions,
okay?" Upon hearing her affirmative response, he told her he'd see
her and her family shortly. "Oh, and thanks for calling. We really
do appreciate your help on this."

SAC Albright knew exactly which community Alana and her
brother lived in, and was able to pinpoint where their house was
immediately. He and the AD were off to Addison, while Riichi held
down the fort in the office. He'd started sending Dana the faxes of
Mulder's notes, and wanted to be available in case she had any
questions. After trying to decipher the chicken scratches Mulder
called his handwriting, Riichi wondered how the hell she'd be able
to make sense of any of it.

The duo arrived in Addison a half hour later and rang the doorbell
to the Martin home. Alana opened the door and invited the two
men inside.

"Cold today," she murmured, suddenly quite shy around the large
man in authority.

"Alana, I really do want to thank you and your family for getting
back to us. It's important we learn as much as possible about the
victims if we're going to __," he hesitated for but a moment before
he continued, "capture this killer." He thought for only a second
that it would probably mean finding Mulder's kidnapper as well, but
since there was no proof, and it wasn't necessary to mention the
possibility of another victim, he kept quiet.

"It's okay, Mr. Skinner. When I'd mentioned to Tommy we gave
you a lift, it was his idea to have me call you," she replied. "I'll go
get him. Why don't you come in and have a seat. My mom will be
down shortly too, if that's okay."

"Of course." They were led into a tastefully decorated living room,
but one that was definitely lived in. Photos decorated the wall and
the mantel, as well trophies stood tall around the room announcing
the children's accomplishments. This was a house where the
children's accomplishments were proudly displayed for all to see.

"Hi," said a soft spoken, tall and lean young man. "I'm Tommy
Martin." He extended his hand politely.

"Hello, Tommy. I'm Assistant Director Walter Skinner, and this is
Special Agent in Charge James Albright. We both appreciate it
very much that you're willing to talk with us."

"It's okay. Kevin, well, Kevin was my friend. Not everyone was
willing to admit that, and I guess I was one of the few willing to do
so," he said looking directly at his sister, "but now he can't stand up
for himself anymore, can he." It was a rhetorical question, that
needed no answer.

"What can you tell us about Kevin Jenkins, Tommy?" James
Albright asked gently. At that moment, Mrs. Martin walked into
the room, carrying steaming cups of coffee.

The two men stood politely as she placed the tray on the coffee
table. "Oh, please, sit gentlemen. I thought you might appreciate
something hot on such a cold day. It's so strange how the weather
had been so mild, and now it's become so cold and raw." The
woman shuddered slightly in response to her own words.

"Thank you for allowing us to speak with Tommy, Mrs. Martin.
He may have information that could be very helpful."

She nodded in agreement, and then asked, "Do you mind if I stay
in the room with Tommy? I promise I won't interfere."

"Of course. Alana, you're more than welcomed to stay too, if
that's all right with all of you." Skinner noted the positive nods of
heads around him, and prodded the young man to continue.
"Tommy, you were saying that no one else would admit to being
Kevin's friend. Could you explain that?"

"He was gay. He never flaunted it, but he never tried to hide it
either, so he was kind of a pariah. Not that the other kids did
anything to him; they just never bothered to include him in their
social circles."

"That must have been tough for him," reflected Albright. "How
did he deal with it?"

"Well, he was actually pretty cool about it, until his parents found
out. They went kind of ballistic, ya know? They'd insisted he go to
this treatment center to try and change him. Nobody knew except
me, cause Kev didn't like to talk about it. He didn't like to talk
about anything that had to do with his parents."

"Why was that, Tommy?" Skinner asked softly. He encouraged
Tommy Martin to keep talking, since none of what the young man
had shared so far was on record in any of the files they'd had back
at the office. Somehow, the CPD missed Tommy Martin.

"Well, his mom and dad were having a tough time dealing with him
being gay. His mom just kept saying prayers all the time; she
started going to church twice a day to pray for him," he explained.

"And what about his father?" asked Albright.

"Hhrruummphh!" groaned Tommy. "He didn't quite react in the
same way."

Tommy hesitated for a minute, looked briefly at his mother and
then his sister. When he saw Alana nod slightly, he continued.
"He beat him. He beat him something awful, and yelled and
screamed that he had to stop this bullshit __, sorry, Mom, but that's
what he said it was _, and he told him if he didn't stop breaking his
mother's heart he'd beat the crap out of him.

"And he did, quite a few times. He had to go to the emergency
room once, maybe twice for x-rays," Tommy related softly.

"What happened then? Didn't they arrest him for child abuse?"
Albright asked naively.

"Naw. Kevin refused to say it was his dad's fault. He was afraid
he'd be even more angry, get out and either beat him up more or
take it out on his mother. Mr. Jenkins could be one helluva nasty
guy," said Tommy.

"You mentioned he went for treatment. Where was this, Tommy?"
asked Albright.

"At the City Teen Center," Tommy responded. "It wasn't anything
really formal, but it was supposed to be kept confidential, ya know?
No one knew he was going there for counseling; they thought he
hung out there cause he didn't want to be around his mom or dad."

"Did Kevin ever mention the names of anyone else who went there
for counseling?" asked Skinner.

"Naw. Like I said, it was supposed to be confidential, and Kevin
was the kind of guy who'd respect that kind of thing. He wouldn't
tell me who was going there for counseling sessions, but to be
honest, I wouldn't have thought to ask him either. It wasn't like it
was any of my business, ya know?" Tommy offered.

"Tommy, you knew Kevin Jenkins pretty well, didn't you?" Albright

"Yes, Sir. I did." Tommy looked at his mother, who smiled
encouragingly at him. Tommy took a deep breath, blew it out, and
said, "We kind of had a relationship. You see, I'm gay too.

Both agents took in a small gasp of air. It wasn't because the
young man confessed his sexual orientation. It was because there
was no record of any Chicago Police Officer ever interviewing one
Tommy Martin, and neither man had a clue as to why that was.

"Tommy, did any police officer ever come to ask you questions
about Kevin?" asked Skinner in a tone that belied his disgust at the
ineptitude of the CPD.

"No, Sir. I'll be honest, I never looked for them either; I didn't
want to make waves. I've come out to my family, but I haven't
come out to my friends. Kids my age don't always welcome Gays
and Lesbians with open arms, ya know?

"I mean, don't get me wrong. I consider myself really, really, lucky.
I mean I've got a sister who's pretty cool about it, and a mom who I
know loves me for me. The fact that I like other guys instead of
girls doesn't thrill her, but it sure as hell won't stop her from loving
me. I know that. I'm very, very lucky.

"Kevin wasn't so lucky. His mother ignored the whole situation and
tried to pray the _problem_ away, and his father beat the crap out
of him," Tommy said.

"What about your father, Tommy?" asked Skinner.

At this point, Mrs. Martin spoke up. "Tommy's dad was killed in
the line of duty eighteen months ago, Mr. Skinner, but Tommy's
dad was a kind and loving man who accepted his son for whom he
was. George loved his children very much."

"I'm sure he did, Ma'am, and I'm very sorry for your loss," replied
Albright. "Mrs. Martin, you mentioned Mr. Martin was killed in
the line of duty. What was his profession?"

"He was an eighteen year veteran of the Chicago Police
Department," she replied with pride.

Holidays-Part 10C

"GOD DAMN IT!!" Skinner ranted over and over again as he
walked through the doors of the field office meeting room.
"How could those sonofabitches _NOT_ interview that boy?
What the HELL were they thinking?"

Obayashi looked up curiously and rather startled to see his
normally controlled and totally professional superior cussing
like a truck driver who was hauled over by the state police for
being only two pounds overweight on his load.

"What's going on?" he asked Albright quietly.

"You won't believe this one. I don't believe it, and I live
here for God's sake. I mean I'd heard about it, but I never
thought it would impede one of my investigations!" the
SAC replied with as much vehemence as Skinner's tone

"You guys gonna keep me in suspense, or what?" Riichi
asked, very curious now.

"This kid brother I'd told you about, well, he was
a gold mine of information. A God damned gold
mine, and no one from the Chicago PD interviewed
the kid. NO ONE! DAMN THEM!" Skinner was so
observably upset at the moment, his hands started
shaking. He pushed them into the pockets of the
coat he still wore.

"Why? Why didn't they interview him?"

The kid's father was a cop and died in the line of duty
almost two years ago," responded Albright.

"So? What does that have to do with not interviewing
the kid?"

"He was the victim's lover, Riichi," said Skinner. "They
didn't want to tarnish the name of a fallen officer, so the
sonsofabitches decided to simply ignore the fact that this
kid might have had important, new information.

"The kid hadn't come forward, since no one had asked
him any questions. But he was perfectly willing to talk.
My God, the kid was terrific. He gave us a whole new angle
to look at , Riichi. The kid was amazing," the AD said,
and then added earnestly, "His dad would have been
proud of him."

"So, give me something new to chew on. Please! I've
been sitting here biting my nails waiting to hear from Dana.
I sent her everything we had, but I can't imagine her being
able to make any headway on it. Shit, he should have been
the doctor in the family with his handwriting," muttered Riichi.

"So, any suggestions as where we should go from here?" asked

"Well, maybe we wait and see what Dana can come up with
from Mulder's notes. Mulder was close, we know that much.
For all we know, this is a totally unrelated incident," Skinner
said unconvincingly.

"Yeah, and the weather is balmy out there too," retorted Albright.
"No, Mulder's disappearance is related somehow. I'm just not sure
why. I mean, Riichi says Mulder was close; real close to nailing
the profile, right? So maybe, somehow, our UNSUB got wind of
this and decided to get him out of the way so he could continue
with his work unimpeded?"

"That's possible. The man acted almost immediately after Mulder
was taken. Maybe this maniac wants to show Mulder just how
good he is at getting to these young boys," agreed Skinner.

"No," interjected Obayashi, "it's more than that. Mulder had said
the UNSUB was acting out his frustrations of not being accepted
by going after male adolescents. He was seeking acceptance,
because he thought he was doing something good."

"So why nab Mulder? I mean this is the one guy who can probably
put him away for life. He must know the FBI is going to bend over
backwards to find him. Why kidnap the one person who could
ruin your life?" asked Albright.

Riichi paused for a moment before he gasped. "Maybe the UNSUB's
aware of Mulder's reputation of being a top notch profile. Maybe he
wants to show Mulder he can't be caught. Maybe he wants to prove
to__." Riichi stopped short and gasped. "Holy shit. He wants
Mulder's approval."

Dana stumbled back on her heels from her crouched position, but
she maintained a calmness to her voice. She hated hiding her
emotions, especially from her own little boy, but it was necessary.

"Nana said Daddy needs me? In Chicago?" At his perplexed look
she amended her question. "Where Uncle Riichi and Daddy are

Adam nodded solemnly in the affirmative. "Mommy, I think we
need to go right now. I think we need to go to the airport, like
you and Daddy do, and I think we should bring some clothes and
stuff and Dawn's blankies and my pillow. We can find Daddy. He
needs us to find him."

Dana's heart was in her throat, but she struggled to keep a passive
face. "Sweetheart, I want to go to Daddy very much. And if Nana
says he needs me, I will try to go to him. But right now, we don't
have . . . we need . . ."

"A lead?"

The word, coming from her son's mouth, but sounding so much like
her husband, caught her off guard, and a bubble of nervous
laughter left her lips. "Yes, big guy. We need a lead."

"Daddy writes all his ideas down on the papers, Mommy. It's there.
You just have to know where to look."

She closed her mouth tightly, afraid of what might pop out. Well,
he was their son, that was much was certain. Finally, she trusted
herself to speak.

"I better go look a little harder then, shouldn't I?" she said, giving
him a hug and ruffling his hair. "Why don't you put some p.j.s and
things in your suitcase, just in case."

"Like when I go to Gam-ma and Gam-pa's?" At her approving nod,
he scampered off to find his suitcase in his closet.

Trembling slightly, she walked back to the study and sat down at
the desk. Nana was appearing to Adam. She knew Fox was in
trouble. She was using Adam as a conduit? That made so little
sense. But she was so tied up with the baby and with trying to
make heads or tails out the chicken scratchings her husband called
notes . . .

You just have to know where to look. How many times had she
said that to her husband. It was one of the first things she'd ever
said to him, when she didn't even know him. And it was how she
frequently dealt with her son's missing shoe or errant lego block.
You just have to know where to look.

She pulled up the first sheet of paper. Although it was on the top
of the stack, that meant she'd concluded that it was the most recent
set of notes. Mulder's handwriting had a distinct pattern. When the
case was new, when he was just lining up rote facts, his
handwriting was precise and almost readable. As the words started
coming from his mind, from his own thoughts and hopes and fears,
the precision was lost and the readability faltered. By the time he
was close to the actual profile, his writing was almost a straight
line with an occasional bump for effect.

Fortunately, he hadn't gotten that far. But the last page was pretty
hard to decode anyway. Dana held the paper, and drew a deep

"Speak to me, Mulder. Tell me what you were thinking," she
pleaded of the page in her hand.

<<Authority figures>>

<<teachers coaches scout leaders>>

<<probably not group>>

<<individual met alone no supervision counseling??>>

<<boys not afraid when approached out of normal circumstances>>

Scully sighed heavily. She closed her eyes, as she'd often seen
Mulder do, and tried to internalize the thoughts behind the words.

An authority figure, probably a counselor. But someone who could
approach the boys without invoking fear or suspicion. Most
teachers are screened. Coaches tended to be the the parents of a
child on the team. Psychologist? They might invoke suspicion if
confronted outside the office. Authority figure. A person in

"A cop."

"Did you say something, sweetheart?" Maggie asked from the
doorway. Dawn was perched in her arms, smiling happily at her
mother from across the room.

"A cop. It makes sense. A cop. Mom, I think I know where
Mulder was heading with his profile. I think the killer might be a
cop." She stood and gathered the papers, placing them into her

"Sweetheart. Dana. Where are you going? And why is Adam
packing his overnight bag?" Maggie was a little annoyed and a lot

"Mom, I can't explain it all right now, but we're going to Chicago.
I'm going to call and book us on the next flight. Could you please
throw some stuff in the diaper bag for Dawn. I'll use my suitcase in
the back of the closet, I'm pretty sure it's still set with the basics.

"And Riichi and Walter. Could you call Walter and tell him we're
on our way?"

"Dana, you cannot just pack up and take off with a three month old
baby! What in the world are you thinking?" Maggie demanded, her
shoulders tense and her jaw set. "Now, just relax and tell me what
this is all about?"

"Mom, Nana has been talking to Adam. Nana, Mom. Nana, who
only comes when Fox is sick or in trouble. Now, Nana has told
Adam to tell me to go to Chicago. Are you going to stand there
and argue or are you going to help me pack and get the kids

Adam appeared from his room, bulging overnight bag dragging
behind him. "Gam-ma, are we going to light the candles tonight?
It's almost time," he pointed out.

Maggie looked at her daughter, saw the determination there, and
sighed. She turned a loving gaze toward her grandson. "Not
tonight, Adam. They don't let you light candles on airplanes."

Adam's face lit up like a skyrocket. "Yippee! Dawnie, we're goin'
on a airplane! We're gonna find Daddy and have Hanukkah in

Dana smiled tensely at her son. She hoped it would be that simple.


The phone call from Dana offered them a pretty solid profile based
upon her husband's notes. This gave Skinner the necessary
ammunition to return to the Martin residence to propose his plan.
He'd first laid it out for the other team members, and though there
was some hesitancy on their part, no one out and out disagreed
with the AD.

Not that anyone would out and out disagree with Walter S.

But no one hedged either once all of the possible calamities that
could occur were negated by all of the possible benefits. It was
now, however, with great trepidation that Skinner returned to the
Martin residence, for he wasn't absolutely sure this was the right
thing to do. In fact, he was almost positive it was a terrible thing
to do.

But he also knew it was the only thing they could do if they were
going to catch this killer before he murdered again.

And Skinner knew the Martins would hesitate, but for a moment,
before they agreed to agree to the plan, because that's just the way
the Martins were. Supportive, united, and of strong moral fiber.

SAC Albright and Agent Obayashi both accompanied the AD to the
suburban home. They were there as his moral support, and he
planned on milking it for all they were worth. This one wasn't
going to be easy.

Skinner rang the doorbell and waited. He shifted from one foot to
the other in an attempt to release the nervous energy. It wasn't
working. He was afraid if he attempted to talk at this moment, his
voice would crack like a schoolboy's right before his Bar Mitzvah.
Skinner actually managed to smile at that, as he allowed himself a
brief respite in remembering the joy he shared with his son-in-law at
his adult Bar Mitzvah service just a few short months ago.

The door opened. Tommy Martin stared at the tall, balding man
standing nervously before him. "Hello, Mr. Skinner. I knew you'd
be back." The fifteen year old spoke as an old, wizened man might.
It was almost as if the youngster knew what was going to be asked
of him.

''Hello, Tommy. I confess, I didn't think I'd be back here so
quickly, but we need to talk to you, Son. I'd like your mom and
sister to join us too," Skinner requested.

"Sure. Come on in," he replied and pointed towards the living
room they'd all sat in earlier in that morning. "I'll go get Mom and
Alana." He turned and climbed the stairs to the second level.

Meanwhile, the trio and waited uneasily for the Martin family to
return. As they waited, Skinner looked at the family pictures on
display. When he saw one of the pictures in particular, Skinner felt
his heart jump. "Riichi, come here. Look at this," Skinner gasped.
"I can't believe I didn't notice this the last time we were here."

"What is it, Sir?" asked the agent and looked at the object in
question. Hanging before them was a picture portrait of a man,
probably in his early forties, clothed in full dress uniform. "Holy
shit! Sir, he could be Mulder's older brother, couldn't he? I mean,
they don't look exactly alike, but the resemblance is strong enough
that __.

"Damn, Sir. Would you excuse me? I think we need to look into
this aspect also," Riichi stated quickly. "I'm going to call Dana. I
want to see if anything Mulder wrote about might be related to a
situation such as this."

The AD nodded in agreement with the younger agent's plan, and
watched as he moved to a corner of the room. Riichi placed the
call and spoke quietly. Just then, Mrs. Martin and Alana, followed
by young Tommy, came down the stairs.

"Hello Mr. Skinner. Agent Albright, isn't it?" Mrs. Martin greeted
and extended her hand. "Tommy says you need to speak with us."

Skinner shook the hand of Mrs. Martin, and held it in his hand for
perhaps a millisecond longer than necessary, but it was long enough
for Mrs. Martin to sense there was concern on everyone's part.

"I think we'd all better sit down," she suggested. Mrs. Martin
suddenly looked tired, and several years older than the forty-three
years she normally camouflaged so well. "What can we do for you,
Mr. Skinner?"

"We now have a pretty solid profile on our suspect, Mrs. Martin.
We have a better idea on what his character traits are, his
profession, and perhaps even his motive."

"Do you know who it is?" asked Alana.

"No," answered SAC Albright. "Not yet, at any rate, but we're
getting much closer. The profile helped solidify our suspicions, but
we still don't have an ID."

"What do you need me to do?" asked Tommy. He instinctively
knew he was going to play a role in the apprehension of this lunatic,
and he wanted to cut to the chase and find out exactly what his role
would be.

Skinner sighed. He began to doubt himself, and wondered if this
was the most responsible course to take.

"Mr. Skinner," Tommy interrupted his reverie, "I told you I'd help.
I want to help. I want to do this for Kevin. I have to do this for

Tommy looked down at his feet and remained silent for the next
several moments. He was suddenly overcome by emotion, and
didn't feel comfortable sharing this part of himself with the agents in
the room. Finally, he took a deep breath, and said, "I loved Kevin,
Mr. Skinner, when no one else would. I need to do this for him.
For both of us."

"Okay. We need you to help us flush the perpetrator out, Tommy,"
stated Skinner succinctly.

"You want to use my son as bait?" asked Mrs. Martin.

"Yes, Ma'am. Essentially, that's what we want to do," replied

"I don't know," she murmured in reply.

"I understand your hesitancy, Mrs. Martin, but I can assure you we
will do our utmost to protect Tommy in every possible way,''
assured Skinner.

"Like they protected my husband, Mr. Skinner?" she replied with a
taste of bitterness. "I'm sorry. It's been almost two years and I still
can't believe he's gone."

At that moment, Riichi returned to the group and, standing near the
couch, informed both his superiors he'd been in contact with Agent
Scully. "She's in the middle of the airport," he said, "trying to herd
everyone onto the plane, but Dana did say this latest information
could most definitely have played a part in Agent Mulder's

"Agent Mulder?" echoed Alana. "Who's Agent Mulder?"

"An FBI agent whom we believe was abducted by the same man
who murdered Kevin," responded Obayashi. "He was the most
recent profiler that was brought into the case. He was getting very
close to creating the profile when he was abducted."

"Is he alive?" asked Tommy.

"We have no reason to believe otherwise. There's something else;
something Agent Obayashi just alluded to when he mentioned he'd
called Agent Scully with some new information." Skinner
hesitated for a second or two before pulling out his wallet with the
most recent picture of Fox Mulder, in full Bar Mitzvah regalia.

"Mrs. Martin, this is our missing agent, Fox Mulder."

She took the picture from Walter Skinner's hands and wondered for
a moment or two why it would seem so important to him that she
see it. As she grasped the photo, she let her eyes fall on the
unknown, yet somehow familiar features. When she'd looked at the
photo for a bit longer, and managed to get beyond the unfamiliar
religious garb, she finally realized its significance.

"Ohmigod," she practically whimpered.

"Mom?" Both Tommy and Alana expressed their concern, as they
accepted the photo from their mother. Then they, too, both
gasped. Alana was the first to speak.

"He looks just like Daddy."

Tommy could only sit there numbly. He, of the three of them, had
felt the loss of George Martin the most, as it was Tommy who
needed his strength and support the most of late. Though he felt
unashamed of his sexual orientation, there was still a level of
insecurity that others would accept him. His father gave him that
strength to accept who he was and not worry what others
might think.

He remembered his dad telling him as long as he did good in the
world, he was a good person, and it didn't matter who he chose to

Tommy knew one thing. He loved his father, and he missed him
very much. Seeing the photo of this man who bore such a strong
resemblance to his Dad brought those feelings of loss back to the

Tommy knew in his heart he had to help this man. He looked at
Walter Skinner and said quietly, but with conviction, "Tell me what
you need me to do."


end of part 8