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X-Files - The Sustenance Of Two

X-Files - The Sustenance Of Two
© 1998 Michele Tucker
January 24, 1998


Mulder and Scully of the X-Files investigate Bachelor's Grove Cemetery



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [1/9]
Written by Michele Tucker

Disclaimer: [sigh] Okay. Here goes-- Mulder, Scully, Skinner and The X-Files do not belong to me. The someone who does own them is Chris Carter, along with 10-13 Productions and the Fox Network. Good thing, too, because if I was in charge, I'd be hard-pressed to come up with the kind of quality entertainment that Chris and Co. come up with every week [please don't sue me!]. Moral of the story: Fan fiction is one thing; weekly episodes are quite another.

Genre: XF/MSR/some mythology

Rating: Nothing worse that what you'd see on the show.

Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance

Summary: After Scully is reassigned out of the X-Files and into VCS, both sections are called out to Illinois to investigate a series of murders in Chicago's most haunted cemetery.

Spoilers: Memento Mori, Redux/Redux II [takes place right along with the fifth season storyline].

Archiving: Please forward to Gossamer and ATXC. Archivists, put this wherever you like; just let me know where it's going first.

Author's Notes: This "spooky" story was written by a 'Shipper for 'Shippers, so NoRomos should keep their distance. This is my first attempt at writing any kind of story with anything to do with the mythology eps, so forgive me if I screw something up. I brought Cancerman back for this, too, so just assume that Skinner has known he's alive and still owes him something--hence the whole "reassignment of Scully" thing.

On to the story itself--I got the idea for this from glancing through a book belonging to my friend called "True Tales Of The Unknown: The Uninvited". There's a chapter in there called "Chicago's Most Haunted Cemetery", written by Dale Kaczmarek of the Ghost Research Center and edited by Sharon Jarvis, which is how this case file was born. Some of the ideas hereinafter come from that chapter, but I did some research on my own, too. Bachelor's Grove is a real place, though I've never personally been there, and almost all of the legends I've written about have been documented. Decide for yourself....



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [1/9]
By Michele Tucker




FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
Assistant Director Skinner's Office
Friday, 3:15 pm


"Agent Scully, you do realize that I have asked you to my office today to discuss the recent situation involving Agent Mulder's professional protocol?" The intimidating glare of Assistant Director Skinner bore down on the petite red-headed agent who sat uncomfortably in front of him.

Dana Scully cleared her throat and paused. "Yes, sir."

The man in front of her continued, his expression unreadable. "

This past Tuesday, January 22, Agent Mulder clearly impeded an official investigation by refusing to cooperate with the efforts of agents in the Violent Crimes Section, though Agent Mulder clearly had evidence to prosecute the suspect." The Assistant Director raised an eyebrow. "As a result, the murder suspect is still at large."

Scully opened her mouth to protest. "Sir, Agent Mulder felt that--"

Skinner silenced her with a look. "I am aware of Agent Mulder's opinion on the matter, Agent Scully. That isn't the only recent incident of its kind, as you no doubt are aware. He has been given an official reprimand on his personnel file. I am meeting with you to discuss ways to remedy the situation."

"With all due respect, sir, I am very uncomfortable with the prospect of helping you to decide on a course of action. Agent Mulder is my partner, and I respect him a great deal." Scully looked away, silently cursing Mulder for having put her in the situation in the first place.

"I understand and respect that, Agent Scully. And I would like you to know that I value your opinion both as a professional and as a person. However, if you think that Agent Mulder is unable to work on the X-Files any longer, I would like you to tell me."

Scully shook her head fiercely. "Assistant Director Skinner, Agent Mulder is the most intelligent and talented agent I have ever had the privelige to know. His adherence to FBI protocol may leave something to be desired, but I'm sure there must be another way to remedy that problem other than removing him from the X-Files."

Skinner exhaled deeply. "I'll give him one more chance. However, it will require something from you."

"Anything, sir," Scully breathed gratefully.

He pulled out a folder and wrote something in it. "I am assigning another agent to work with Agent Mulder. One more strictly versed in the rules of protocol, Agent Scully. I have no qualms with the way you work; however, I have a suspicion that your close relationship with Agent Mulder clouds your judgement in matters such as this."

"Another agent?" Scully questioned. "Assigned to the X-Files with Agent Mulder and myself?"

"No, Agent Scully. Another agent assigned to be Agent Mulder's partner. You will be transferred to the Violent Crimes section. Their medical forensics expert is apparently in need of some assistance. I am confident that you will do well there."

Scully's mouth fell open. "I'm no longer Agent Mulder's partner?"

"No."

"Could this be considered a trial situation?" she persisted, feeling a bit desperate. "Does Mulder know?"

Skinner looked suddenly uncomfortable, and he adjusted his glasses. "No, Agent Mulder does not know. This is permanent. As I said before, this has nothing to do with the way you work, Agent Scully. It is merely a matter of politics." He looked away. "I'm sorry."

Scully stiffened, nodded politely, and stood. "Am I excused?"

Skinner stood at her cue. "Yes, Agent Scully. I will expect you to tie up any 'loose ends' in the X-Files over the weekend, and report to the Violent Crimes section on Monday."

"Yes, sir," Scully said quietly, almost a whisper.

She rushed out of the office and Skinner exhaled as he watched her leave.

The phone on his desk rang.

Slowly, he walked over to it and picked it up dully. "Skinner."

The voice on the other end was one he knew too well. "Good to hear from you again, Assistant Director Skinner," greeted the raspy, calm voice that filled the Assistant Director with hatred and contempt.

God, he could almost smell those Morley cigarrettes.

The voice continued. "Did you meet with Agent Scully this afternoon as I asked?"

"Yes," confirmed Skinner with a grimace. "It's done, all right? Now you can leave the two of them alone."

"Good, good," the cigarette-smoking man replied, evading his request. "I'll be interested to see how they fare."

"I bet you will," Skinner shot back tightly.

"I'll be in touch." There was a click, and a dial tone.

Skinner dropped the phone back into its cradle. Now all he could do was wait and see if the bastard kept his promise.



Basement Office
Friday, 3:45 pm


Scully paused in the doorway to the basement office she shared with Mulder. Five years and my name's still not on the door, she mused. No desk, either. And now I have to start over somewhere else.

"Scully?" Mulder asked, looking up from where he sat at his desk, reading over a file. "What did Skinner have to say?"

"Well--" she walked over to his desk and sat opposite him. "I...don't know how to begin, Mulder."

Her partner suddenly looked concerned. "Was Skinner upset with you? I can meet with him and let him know that you had nothing to do with that VCS bullshit."

"No...no, Skinner wasn't angry. Irritated, maybe, but that's to be expected."

Mulder pulled out a bag of sunflower seeds and offered one to Scully. Surprisingly enough, she took it, but didn't put it in her mouth right away. Fiddling with it, she at last informed him, "Skinner is assigning another agent to the X-Files."

Mulder looked blank for a moment, then relaxed. "Oh... is that all?" He chuckled. "Scully, another agent isn't going to last for more than a few weeks working with us." He appeared to be thinking. "Maybe it'll be a tall, well-proportioned blonde, and I can play Twister with you guys." He shot her a suggestive grin.

"In your dreams, Mulder," she told him, rolling her eyes.

"Yes--in my dreams," Mulder verified. "So what's the problem?"

Scully sighed deeply and managed to say, "This...other agent will be taking my place. I've been reassigned, Mulder."

She purposely kept her tone even and businesslike, though her heart cried out to wrap her arms around her partner and seek consolation.

Mulder wrinkled his brow, as if he didn't understand. "Reassigned?" he repeated. "What are you talking about?"

"I'm to report to the Violent Crimes Section on Monday morning." She lifted the sunflower seed to her mouth and delicately slipped the shell from it in one quick movement of her teeth, trying to swallow amidst the lump in her throat..

Mulder's confused expression slipped, and understanding registered on his face. He stood. "What the hell would they do that for?" He paused, started to pace. "You must have misheard him, Scully. Skinner wouldn't...reassign you and leave me to work on the X-Files." There was a panicky tone to his voice that she had never heard before.

Scully sat in her chair quietly. "Call Skinner and verify it if you need to. The agent that will be your new partner is... 'strictly versed in the rules of protocol', to quote what I was told."

He looked at her a little dizzily. "They're sending someone to shut me down, Scully...someone to spy on me."

Scully tried to keep her tone light. "At one point, you thought I was a spy."

Mulder waved her silent, his expression almost anguished. "I don't think I need to remind you of an agent named Alex Krycek, Scully," he said weakly. "Why would they separate us instead of simply shutting down the X-Files?"

"They've separated us before, Mulder," she replied evenly. "What makes you think that they wouldn't do it again?"

Mulder shook his head. "I won't accept it." He reached for the phone on his desk.

Scully stopped him. "If you fight this, Mulder, they'll close the X-Files altogether. This is the only way you can continue to do your work."

He dropped into his chair dumbly. "But it's not just my work anymore, Scully."

She forced a smile. "I know."

Mulder looked over at her. "What more can they take away, Scully?" he said softly. "They took Samantha. Now they're taking you."

"It's not like I've been abducted again, Mulder. I'm still here."

Mulder shook his head slightly. "For how long?"

Both of them fell silent after that.



FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
Violent Crimes Division
Monday, 8:15 am


Scully entered the office slowly, as though afraid of being seen.

She looked down at the room assignment in her hand and then back up at the door. VCS, room 204, she silently verified.

"Agent Dana Scully, I presume?" A young man's voice startled her.

Scully shook herself and nodded, looking at the clean, tidy office that surrounded her. "Yes. That's me."

The young man that had said her name held out his hand and smiled cheerfully at her. "Welcome to VCS. I'm Agent Young."

Scully surveyed him carefully. He was tall, certainly taller than her, but a few inches shorter than Mulder. His hair was short and cropped to his head, a dark brown. His eyes were brown and friendly.

"Ah..." Scully grasped his hand and returned the smile.

"Agent Sean Young, M.D? I've heard of you."

"You got it." Agent Young grinned. "I'm the only doctor in the division--well, now that you're here, I guess I'm not anymore."

"Graduated from Harvard Med School in 1990, distinguished yourself at Quantico in forensics," Scully added. "And one of the most talented M.D's in the Bureau."

Agent Young shrugged modestly. "You flatter me," he said. "Is it my turn to recite your credentials?"

"Shoot," Scully challenged.

He took a deep breath and stated, "Agent Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. Attended the University Of Maryland, where you recieved your bachelor's degree in Physics in 1986, then you went on to get a Medical degree and residency in forensic pathology. Your senior thesis was entitled 'Einstein'sTwin Paradox: A New Interpretation'. For the past five years you've been assigned to the X-Files division with Special Agent Fox Mulder, and you stand five foot three without heels."

Scully was astonished. "You memorized my height from my personnel file?"

"Nope." He gave her another grin. "I just guessed. Oh--you'll be working with me in this office here," he gestured around him.

"Sorry, but I just found out about your reassignment Friday afternoon, or I'd have a desk ready for you. I'll call and make sure it gets delivered within the next few days. Same with the nameplate. 'Dana Scully, M.D.--Special Agent'," he quoted, waving in the direction of the door. "Sound good?"

Scully couldn't help but smile in return. "Sounds great."

It looked like she had found a friend.



Basement Office
Monday, 8:15 am


Mulder watched the door like a hawk.

The second his new partner arrived, he planned to size him up. No more Kryceks, he silently vowed.

If it was a She, then that was all the worse, no matter how blonde and well-proportioned she might be.

He'd be damned if anyone was going to come waltzing in and expect immediate acceptance. Scully would do the same for him, wouldn't she?

Mulder tossed a ball of trash across the room to the wastebasket and waited for the inevitable.



END PART 1/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [2/9]
By Michele Tucker



Violent Crimes Division
Monday, 9:00 am


Scully threw her head back and laughed as Sean--as she had been told to call him--related an amusing tale from his days at Harvard.

"So, I was expecting a female cadaver, early twenties, who had died of strangulation, right? Well, the body is waiting there for me when I come in one Saturday to make up a dissection that I had missed. I prepare for the dissection, take off the sheet, and there's one of my classmates, extremely inebriated and very much alive, lying there, completely naked, on the table."

"No!" gasped Scully, laughing. "How did he get there?"

"Well," Sean grinned, "turns out that a few of the Med students had been working late the night before, got a little bored, decided to have a few drinks. One of the guys passed out, and his friends thought it would be funny to move the real cadaver to another table and put him in its' place."

"Naked?" she asked.

"Very naked," he confirmed. "I woke the poor guy up and had to go all over the building trying to find some clothes for him to wear."

Scully chuckled again. "So...I guess we should take a look at this case you were telling me about," she said after a moment.

"Absolutely," Sean replied, grabbing some papers from his desk. "Interesting stuff. Actually, the jurisdiction on this one was a little iffy. Almost looks like an X-File to me," he shrugged, flipping open the folder and skimming it. "Here. Read this," he said, pointing to a paragraph.

"This is a medical examiner's report?" Scully questioned, perusing it.

"Yep. From Chicago. The Chicago branch of the Bureau was mystified by it. There have been several murders, all the victims with much in common. What you're looking at is the most recent."

"It says that the victim died of-- electric shock?" she asked, glancing up at him. "What's so mystifying about that?"

"All of the murdered bodies were found in a deserted Chicago cemetery-- miles away from any electrical sources, not even a car with which they could have driven to the site. There is no information available as to how they got there, why they were there, and who killed them. No apparent entry point of the shock, either--to speak frankly, the body was deep-fried evenly through and through," Sean informed her, grimacing. "Not to mention that the other thing linking all the victims was the fact that they had all had their tongues extracted post-mortem."

Scully wrinkled her eyebrows and flipped through the other reports. She paused as she came across something. "Sean--" she stopped, debating whether or not to mention it, then went ahead. "It says here that there have been many eyewitness reports of "unusual phenomena" in the area. Did you consider any of this to be related to the deaths?" She blushed, feeling a little silly.

He raised an eyebrow at her in good humor. "Related to the deaths, huh? Well, Bachelor's Grove--the cemetery in question--is certainly noted for UFO reports and various claims involving the surpernatural....but the farthest I had gone in connecting the deaths to that was the possibility of a sacrificial cult at work." He paused, then gave her a knowing smile. "You know how the Bureau frowns on accusations of Satanic cults, I'm sure. Do you have a theory connecting the reports and the deaths? I'd be interested to hear it."

"I don't have any theories yet," Scully said, thinking, "but I know someone who would."

"I'm not sure how Skinner would feel about giving another division jurisdiction over the case," he said doubtfully, "but, to tell you the truth, I don't have any problems with it."

"My partner--well, former partner," Scully corrected herself hesitantly, "is one of the foremost experts in the Bureau on supernatural phenomena."

"Agent Mulder?"

"--If you think it'd be all right to ask his opinion on the case, that is--keep it off the record, even, if you'd like."

"Knock yourself out," Sean replied, holding out the phone.



Basement Office
9:15 am


Mulder looked at the clock.

9:15 am. Half an hour with his new partner and he was already about to violate protocol again--by smacking his fist into the young man's jaw.

Or by taking out his weapon and blowing himself to Kingdom Come, whichever was easier.

He hadn't realized just how used he was to Scully.

"Agent Mulder?" Agent Anthony Patterson, twenty-eight and fresh out of Quantico, looked across the office at him.

"Yeah?" Mulder tried to appear stern and intimidating, though in actuality be was bored and restless. He shuffled through some papers, trying to look busy.

Patterson cleared his throat and questioned, "Do you think that this preliminary profile is really neccessary?" He glanced from the computer screen back to Mulder again. "Shouldn't we discuss the case before making any hypotheses?"

"Whatever," Mulder sighed, hanging his head as he tried desperately to concentrate on the case file before him.

Whenever he tried, the only image that greeted his mind was that of a petite red-head, raising an eyebrow at him in skepticism, smiling amusedly at his whacked-out theories.

"How do you find anything in here, Agent Mulder?" Patterson's voice broke through his thoughts. Mulder looked up and saw the man flipping through the filing cabinet.

"Makes it easy to hide my adult magazines, even if you can't find the files you need," Mulder quipped.

Patterson didn't even smile.

Fortunately for Mulder, the phone rang at that moment. He nearly dove for it.

"Mulder."

"Mulder, it's me." Scully's sweet voice greeted his ears, and a warm feeling ran through Mulder's veins.

"Scully..." Mulder couldn't keep the ecstatic tone from his voice as he said her name into the phone. "What's up?" He paused for a moment, then inquired, "How's VCS so far?" He leaned back, fully expecting a detailed account of how awful it was.

"Actually, I'm really enjoying myself," she replied cheerfully, her tone light. "The agents here are all very friendly, and the case files I've looked at thus far have been really interesting."

Mulder nodded dumbly into the phone.

Scully cleared her throat after she got no response. "How's life in the X-Files?"

He sat up almost guiltily, and let his gaze travel over to Agent Patterson, who was consulting a dictionary.

Mulder swallowed and replied at long last, "Oh--great, Scully. You know, the usual stuff, but very laid-back."

Patterson turned to look at Mulder. "Where do you keep your copy of the FBI Handbook?"

Mulder took a moment to mentally slap Patterson, then elaborately shrugged at the man.

Patterson rolled his eyes and went back to typing. "So, Scully....how's your new partner?" He didn't really want to know, but it was the only thing he could think of to say.

"Fine," she said hesitantly.

Mulder opened his mouth to say something, but stopped when he heard a conversational male voice on the other end say to her, "Sorry to interrupt you, Dana, but I was wondering if you wanted to fly out to Chicago tomorrow or the day after."

"Chicago?" Mulder inquired before he even realized that he had said it.

"Actually, the case Sean and I are flying out to Chicago for is also the one that I was calling to ask you a question about."

Mulder didn't reply right away. "Who's Sean?"

"Oh--" Scully paused. "My new partner. Sean Young."

Mulder chose to repress that information.

"So, what case would this be?" he asked at last.

"It's a murder case--there have been five altogether; looks to be the work of a serial killer in the Chicago area. All the victims were found in the Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. Have you ever heard of it?"

Mulder thought for a moment. "Outskirts of Chicago?"

"That's the one."

"Yeah," he mused, "that's interesting, that all of the dead bodies would be found in a cemetery that's noted for its occult legends and UFO sightings." He leaned forward, almost as if he was speaking to her in person. "Did you rule out cult activity?"

"That's what Sean was thinking, but..."

"How did they die?" Mulder interrupted, not really wanting to hear about "Sean".

"This should intrigue you as it did me, Mulder....all of the victims died of electric shock."

Mulder frowned. "In a cemetery?"

"Well, theoretically they could have been electrocuted and then dumped in the cemetery--that's the way I believe it was done--but even more interesting is that there is no apparent point of entry on the bodies."

" 'Point of entry'?" he repeated.

"--That is, the bodies were almost perfectly electrocuted through and through. Only lightning--and a huge strike at that-- would be able to do that, Mulder."

"Sounds like the Oswald case all over again," he said into the phone with a small smile." So what makes you think it's the work of a serial killer?"

"Well, there's a twist. Every one of the victims was also found to be missing something in the autopsy."

"Hair?" Mulder joked.

Scully smiled faintly on the other end. "Besides that. Each and every one was found to be lacking a tongue."

Mulder winced. "Was that taken out before or after they were electrocuted?"

"Definitely post-mortem."

"Sounds like you've got an interesting case on your hands, Scully," Mulder sighed at last. "Wish I could offer you any kind of advice, but the truth is, there's not enough information for me to go on. And it's not my jurisidiction, either."

There was a long silence.

"There's a chance that I could talk to Skinner," Scully said after a moment. "It certainly looks like an X-File to me."

"Well, Patterson and I aren't working on anything yet; just some possible preliminary investigations," he said, secretly hopeful.

"Well...I suppose I'll call Skinner and find out how plausible it is that you and your partner could work along with Sean and I on this case."

"I think it's remotely plausible," Mulder said slyly.

"I get it, Mulder, I get it."

"Let me know later today," Mulder replied, trying to sound casual.

"Okay....I'll call you later."

"Later, Scully."

Mulder dropped the phone with a click, only to be faced with the humorless countenance of Patterson, who frowned at him and stated, "I'm not sure if Assistant Director Skinner would approve of you recieving personal phone calls during work hours, Agent Mulder. We have a job to do."

"Well, then it's lucky for me that that call was work-related, isn't it?" Mulder replied equally dourly, a sarcastic gleam in his eye.

Patterson scrutinized him for a moment, frowned again, and turned around to finish typing.



East Chicago Plaza Hotel
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 1:30 pm


Mulder tossed his suitcase on the bed and went over to the television to inspect the in-room movie offerings. He scanned the titles for a moment--mostly recently released films he had seen already--and paused at the X-rated titles.

Seen all of those already, too.

He exhaled, tossed the pamphlet on a table and listened with a small smile to the sounds of Scully unpacking her things in the next room.

Then he thought of Agent Young--"Sean", he silently mimicked--in the room on the other side of hers, and frowned.

Fortunately for him, since all of them had requested single-bed rooms, he hadn't been expected to share a room with Agent Patterson.

He imagined the look on the dour agent's face if they had shared a room, and Mulder had engaged in his usual nocturnal activities--pacing, watching adult in-room movies and bad sci-fi flicks, and surfing the 'Net on his laptop-- and chuckled to himself.

He also smiled at the remembrance of the plane ride from D.C. to Chicago, during which he and Scully had automatically seated themselves next to each other, not even discussing it, not really speaking to each other during the flight except during one particularly enjoyable moment for Mulder, when the beverage cart had come to their seats and the stewardess had offered them drinks. Mulder had leaned over to awaken a sleeping Scully, brushing a strand of hair from her eyes and quietly touching her face to wake her up.

Mulder, looking back on the way that she had smiled up at him as she opened her eyes, not really knowing where she was but that he was there with her, smiled a bit more broadly.

A knock came at his door, startling him. Maybe it's Scully, he thought to himself hopefully.

He went to the door and opened it, surprised to see Agent Young standing in the hall. "Agent Mulder," he said by way of greeting.

"Yes, Agent Young?" he replied stiffly.

"Dana wanted me to let you know that she's arranged a meeting with the man who discovered the bodies," Young informed him. "She and I are going to go take a look at the bodies down at the morgue until about four or four-thirty; we'll meet you at the cemetery when we're done. Here's the instructions she took down--do you think you and Patterson will be able to find it easily enough?"

Mulder scowled to himself. 'Dana', he thought bitterly, jealousy burning in him. "Thanks. We'll find it," he said quickly.

"The guy that's meeting you there--his name is Robert Mackey. That's all I know. Be there at four, okay?"

Mulder nodded, looking away from the other man. "Robert Mackey."

"Yep. See you guys at four."

"Four," he confirmed almost mockingly. He practically shut the door in the other agent's face and looked at the paper in his hand.

It was going to prove to be one interesting case; that is, if he could control his homicidal urges.



END PART 2/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [3/9]
Written By Michele Tucker


Here you go, guys...I worked extra-hard to get this part done as soon as possible, as a way of thanking all you guys who gave me feedback on how you liked the story so far. I'll try to keep these installments coming out as fast as I can write 'em : )

See part 1 for disclaimer, author's notes, etc.

Genre: R/XF/some mythology

Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance

Summary: After Scully is transferred out of the X-Files and into VCS, both sections are called out to Illinois to investigate a series of murders in Chicago's most haunted cemetery.

Rating: PG-13 [or whatever's the equivalent of TV-14, like the show is]



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [3/9]
By Michele Tucker



Bachelor's Grove
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 4:10 pm


Mulder pulled the rental car onto the narrow, bumpy dirt road with some difficulty. "Jesus," he said under his breath, "who the hell puts a cemetery way out here?" Patterson, who must have heard him quite clearly, replied,

"The research I did on Bachelor's Grove states that the cemetery was mainly for German immigrants. I imagine that they didn't want their graves tampered with. It isn't very respectful to build a cemetery right on the interstate, Agent Mulder."

Mulder bit his tongue. "Right," he hissed through his teeth as he tried to manuever the wide Taurus through the tree-lined road.

"It wasn't wise to try and drive through here, you know," Patterson stated matter-of-factly.

"Thanks for the sentiment," Mulder replied sarcastically.

"I don't know how far this path goes into the woods, so, unless you do, we have no way of knowing how far it would be to walk."

"You can drive if you don't want to walk, but if the car gets stuck in this mud, then I'm not paying to have it towed."

"Fine!" Mulder almost shouted. "I'll back out and we'll walk!" He angrily shoved the stick into reverse and began attempting to back out.

"Please control your temper while on assignment, Agent Mulder," Patterson said coolly.

Mulder didn't reply.

He was never going to survive without Scully.



Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 4:35 pm


Nearly half an hour later, an exhausted, wind-blown Mulder and Patterson stumbled into the graveyard of Bachelor's Grove, pushing aside the long-rusted iron gates.

"That's the last time I listen to you about when to drive and when to walk," Mulder grumbled, brushing off his trenchcoat.

"I don't appriciate being condescended to, Agent Mulder," the other man replied just as bitterly. "Besides, a man of your age could use the exercise."

"A 'man of my age?!?" Mulder repeated incredulously, trying desperately to supress the urge to throw Patterson on the ground and crack his skull open. "I'm not a senior citizen, you know."

"You're ten years older than I am," Patterson pointed out in an irritatingly bored tone.

"Ten years smarter, too," Mulder mumbled under his breath as he caught sight of a man standing across the cemetery, watching them. He wore jeans and a dark hooded coat, and it was impossible to determine his age from where they stood.

"Mr. Mackey?" Mulder called out.

The man nodded and came over to them. Mulder saw that he was an odd, gangly person, somewhere in his forties, with two wide eyes and a nervous posture. "You two are the FBI agents?"

"I'm Agent Mulder and this is Agent Patterson," Mulder verified.

"I was expecting some agents named Dana Scully and Sean Young."

"They'll be here in a little while. They're reviewing autopsy data. We're working on the case with them," Mulder informed the man. "We were planning on asking you some of the more general facts of how you found the bodies."

"Can't we go somewhere else to talk about it? Why did we need to meet here?"

"We'd like to see exactly where you found the bodies," Mulder replied, surprised by the question.

"Didn't the cops already take pictures?"

"We'd appriciate it if you cooperate with our efforts, Mr. Mackey," Patterson said in a cold tone.

The man's eyes widened as he took in the agent's strong build. "Whatever, whatever," he answered, as though the two agents were the ones not cooperating with him. He waved his hands frantically in the direction of one corner of the graveyard. Mulder followed his gestures and saw that, indeed, there was a strange flattened spot right next to a muddy-looking lagoon.

"No signs of electrocution," he said as he touched his foot to it, hearing the dewy grass squeak beneath his shoe.

Just then some voices came from the trees behind him. He whirled around and saw Scully and Young standing at another entrance to the cemetery, a path on the opposite side from the one that Mulder and Patterson had taken. Sean raised a hand in greeting.

"We didn't see your car out there," he said to Mulder as he walked over. "Did you find this place all right?"

"We...took a different way. The scenic route," Mulder replied quickly, feeling embarrassed.

"Agent Mulder got lost, and I finally spotted a sign that said Bachelor's Grove Parkway," Patterson stated bluntly.

Scully looked at Mulder sympathetically.

Sean shrugged. "As long as you got here," he said, blowing it off. Mulder felt a small tinge of gratitude toward the other agent.

"So...what are we looking at here, Mulder?" Scully asked, walking over to stand next to him, peering down at the grass.

"Mr. Mackey says that he found the first body--"

"Virginia Woodard," Scully supplied.

"--that he found Virginia Woodard's body here, but I'm guessing that this wasn't where she got fried, because there's no scorched earth or any other sign of intense heat."

"Sounds like a valid argument to me," Sean agreed. "So you're thinking that maybe the body was dumped here?"

"No, I didn't say that," Mulder replied distantly.

"It doesn't make any sense that a killer would come all the way out here with a body cooked Cajun-style and drop it right next to the water, but not throw it in."

"Often serial killers have significant attachments to certain places. Maybe we're looking for someone whose predeccessors are buried here."

"It's possible, but I don't think we should rule out the possibility of cult activity, either," Scully said suddenly.

"Why's that?" Mulder questioned. He followed her gaze over to a nearby tree. He raised his eyebrows as he saw what she was looking at.

A red pentagram, faint but still visible, was crudely spray-painted on the bark of the tree. "Well," Sean said uncomfortably. "Maybe that answers that question."

"No," said a voice behind them. "That's been there for years."

The four agents, who had been crowding around the tree, looking at it, turned around in perfect synchrony.

Robert Mackey was standing behind them, looking at them with some anxiety in his eyes. "This graveyard used to be a big place for all that devil-worshipping stuff. Since everybody knows that Bachelor's Grove is haunted, cults used to come here to kill goats and things like that."

"Animal sacrifice?" Mulder questioned. "How long ago was this?"

"The '70's. Finally it stopped because the cops found out and got the forest rangers to patrol around the cemetery at night."

"But couldn't it have just started up again?" Patterson demanded of the nervous man.

"It doesn't look like anyone patrols around here anymore."

"You can think whatever you want," Mackey said quickly, "but the cults didn't kill people. Just animals."

"Escalated violence," Patterson said to Mulder in a confident tone. "There have been many reports of cults which have gone from animal sacrifice and self-mutilation to rape and murder."

"That doesn't prove anything, Patterson," Mulder said, brushing the man off and approaching Mackey.

"Mr. Mackey, what do you think killed those people?"

"Listen, I'm not any FBI agent, but don't you think that I know when someplace is haunted?"

"No one is questioning that you're a very superstitious man, Mr. Mackey," Scully said after a pause. "But what do you think happened to the five people that were killed?"

"If I tell you what I think, none of you will believe me," he protested.

"I'm interested to hear what you have to say," Sean suddenly spoke up.

"You have our attention, Mr. Mackey," Scully confirmed.

"Fine," the man sighed, throwing his arms up in the air."Don't any of you know anything about Bachelor's Grove and all the reports of ghosts and everything else that's come from here?"

"We're not native to the Chicago area," Patterson said in an impatient tone.

"I know a little," Mulder mused aloud. "There have been numerous reported sightings of unexplained phenomena in the area." He looked at the other three agents, at Scully in particular. "Specters, vanishing houses and cars, ghostly apparitions...it's a parapsychologist's wet dream."

"Yeah," Mackey said defensively. "What he said."

Mulder looked back at him. "Go on, Mr. Mackey."

"I live just beyond the woods," Mackey stated. "I have to walk through this graveyard almost every day to get to the forest preserve."

"You're a forest ranger?" Scully asked incredulously.

"Hey, missy, I'm a damned good forest ranger. I can tell you anything you want to know about this area. But just because I work a mile or so away doesn't mean I like this graveyard."

"Okay, okay," Sean said. "So tell us what your opinion is on these deaths."

"I think that one of the spirits that lives in this graveyard is angry about something, and they're not going to stop the killing until they're appeased." Mackey folded his arms across his chest, looking nervous even as he looked around him.

Patterson exhaled in exasperation. "Agent Mulder, I don't need to listen to this--"

"Quiet," Mulder said harshly. He looked over at Mackey. "How did they do it?"

"I don't know! Aren't ghosts supposed to be able to move energy around or something? I don't doubt a ghost could fry me any day."

"And the tongues?" Mulder asked. "They were extracted." The man made a face, self-consciously reaching in his mouth to touch his own tongue, as if he were afraid of getting his ripped out at any second.

"People do things for funny reasons, Mr. Mulder. Maybe spirits are the same way. Maybe there's something special about a tongue, you know?" He shrugged.

"Look, I've been here almost forty-five minutes. Can't I go home?"

"I want to ask you some more questions, Mr. Mackey."

Mulder looked around at the other three. "I'm going to stay here for another half-hour or so. You three can go back to the hotel." He caught Scully's eye for a moment, and just as quickly looked away.

"I'm going to stay with Mulder," Scully said suddenly.

"Sean, why don't you go back to the hotel with Patterson?

You can bring him up-to-date on the imformation we gathered while looking at the bodies this afternoon."

"No problem. See you two later on," Sean replied easily, gesturing for Patterson to lead the way.

Mulder watched the other two men leave, hiding a smile, then turned back to Mackey and looked at him pointedly.

"Okay, Mr. Mackey. I'm game. Tell me all that you know about this cemetery."

The other man shrugged. "Get comfortable..."



Anita's Roadside Diner
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 6:45 pm


Mulder slid into the booth. "Pretty classy place, huh? Just like old times." He grinned at Scully as a waitress came over to the table and handed them both menus. "I'll have an iced tea," he told the girl.

Scully raised an eyebrow and smiled faintly as she gestured that she would like the same. "Sure, Mulder. Just like old times. A long, involved interrogation that got us absolutely nowhere and a quick dinner at some dive."

Mulder waggled a finger at her, feeling exhilarated just to look at her again. "I learned a lot today, Scully."

"So did I. But I've had just about all the local myths I can handle for one day. My quotient is full." She opened her menu and perused the dinner selection.

Mulder cleared his throat. "So...Agent Young seems like a nice guy."

Scully looked over her menu at him. "He is," she said guardedly, wondering where he was going with the statement.

"Is it interesting to work with him?" Mulder sounded genuinely curious.

She smiled slightly. "Well, I've only worked with him for two days, but he's interesting, yes."

Mulder nodded. "Um--good," he said uncertainly.

"How's life with Patterson?" Scully countered.

There was a long silence. Finally Mulder looked out the window and said, very seriously, "Scully, I'm going to cause either him or myself serious injury if he works with me much longer."

Scully cast him a sympathetic look. "So he's more of a hindrance than I ever was, huh?"

"Scully, I have never been so appricative of you in the five years that I've known you." He paused, then corrected himself. "Well, not counting life-threatening situations," he joked uncomfortably. "But what I wouldn't give for some of your skepticism right now."

"How about you give me your theory on this case and I'll poke holes in it for you?" Scully suggested with a teasing grin on her face. "I actually would like to know what your thoughts are on the killings, after speaking to Robert Mackey."

Mulder nodded at the waitress as she returned with the iced teas. "We need a few more minutes," he said to her.

The waitress nodded back, set down the iced teas, and walked off.

Scully looked at him as she lifted the glass to her lips. "So?"

Mulder looked up at the ceiling for a moment. "You won't agree with what I'm going to say."

"Probably not," she said, shrugging.

"Okay..." he began slowly. "Do you remember when Mr. Mackey told us about the 'vengeful spirits' that are condemned to repeat acts of violence that they committed in their lives over and over again?"

Scully nodded, never taking her gaze from his eyes.

"Well, I'd like to know if there have been any other murders of this type in the same area."

Scully looked puzzled. "There have been five so far, Mulder. You know that."

"No, no. I mean a rash of killings of the same type in the past. Not recent murders."

"Where are you going with this?"

Mulder swallowed some of his iced tea. "I need to do more research, but...."

"But what?" Scully was leaning forward.

"--but I think that the murders were ritual acts of violence committed by an entity residing in that cemetery--one of the people buried there."

"Mulder, that's ridiculous. The murders could have been caused by any number of people--alive and well. It could have been a serial killer with a penchant for young women, a cult who values youth and femininity...the cemetery has a history of such acts."

"How many cults do you know that electrocute their sacrifices and leave them lying on the ground next to a lagoon almost perfectly situated for dumping bodies?"

Scully fell silent.

"--And how many serial killers do that?"

"Mulder," Scully sighed, "even if I did believe in ghosts, which I don't, I wouldn't believe that a 'vengeful spirit' killed five women using a form of electrocution unknown to us, and then proceeded to remove their tongues, which, as you so eloquently described them earlier, were 'cooked Cajun-style'."

Mulder fought a grin. Same old Scully. "Well, I'm going to need some facts to back up my argument, of course, but I'm sticking to that theory."

"Do what you will," Scully said with an amused look on her face.

"Since we're not partners anymore, this is kind of weird, isn't it?" Mulder suddenly noted.

Scully sipped at her iced tea again. "How so?"

"Well, we aren't supposed to have any personal contact outside of work, and we're not working together anymore," Mulder said a bit dismally.

"I don't think anyone could expect that to apply to us, Mulder," Scully mused. "I consider you to be more than just my partner."

An image of himself pressing his lips to Scully's flawless white skin passed through Mulder's mind, and he found a certain part of his anatomy straining against it's confines at that thought. "So--um--what am I?" he asked, embarrassed at his own imagination.

"My friend," she replied sincerely.

"So, as your 'friend', does that mean that I get to spend the night at your apartment whenever I want, and call you all the time?"

Scully raised an eyebrow. "There are several ways I could interpret that statement, so be careful."

"Anyway," she added, "you already do those things."

"Ah," he pointed out, "but that was as your 'partner'. This is new territory we're entering here, Scully." To his surprise, he saw that Scully looked a little red at his words.

"Yes," she answered carefully, "and now you're not my partner."

Just as Mulder was trying to decrypt that statement, the waitress arrived. "What'll you two have?"

"I'll have the steak--medium rare, with--" Mulder was interrupted by the ringing of his cell phone. "Just one second," he told the waitress. "Mulder," he said into the phone.

"Agent Mulder," an impersonal voice said stiffly into the phone.

"Patterson?" he questioned. Great, he thought. Now he's going to go and interrupt my dinner with Scully, so he can--

"Agent Mulder," Patterson repeated, "this is not a personal phone call. Agent Young and I need you to come look at some things. Agent Scully's presence is also required."

"Now?" asked Mulder. "Where are you?"

"At the police station downtown. The one we were at before we went to the hotel," Patterson said impatiently.

"Can't Agent Scully and I eat our dinner first?" Mulder said, irritated at the interruption and even more irritated that it was Patterson that had called him. "If all you need is for us to look at some medical reports or something like that--"

"Agent Mulder, unless you depart for the police station immediately, I will have to inform the Assistant Director of your refusal to comply with protocol."

"Patterson, what the hell do you need me to do that can't wait fifteen more minutes?"

There was a brief silence. "I'll put Agent Young on the phone," he said uncomfortably. "I don't know all the details."

After a pause, Young's voice filled Mulder's ears. "Sorry to interrupt whatever you're doing, Agent Mulder--"

"It's all right," Mulder mumbled, feeling embarassed that he had been so desperate to spend a few extra minutes alone with Scully that he had practically refused to cooperate with a simple request. "What's going on?"

"There's been another murder, Agent Mulder. They just found her."

"Found her? Where?" Mulder questioned, slipping into Special Agent Mode.

"In the lagoon. Tongue extracted, recently by the looks of it--but no signs of electrocution."

"Who was it?"

"A woman named--wait, let me check--" there was a shuffling of papers on the other end. Then Young's voice said, surprised, "The victim was a Christina Mackey."

"Mackey?" Mulder repeated. "Any relation to--"

"Robert Mackey? It would seem so. The victim was his seventeen year-old daughter."



END PART 3/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [4/9]
By Michele Tucker



Downtown Police Precinct
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 7:45 pm


Mulder leaned over the body, scrutinizing it with his eyes as best he could. "Scully," he said, "When you do this autopsy, I want you to make absolutely sure that there are no signs of even attempts at electrocution. If you find anything, I want to know."

Scully smiled ruefully, looking over at Sean as she snapped on a latex glove. "Trust me, Mulder, if I find anything anomalous about this body besides the tongue extraction, you will be the first to know." She carefully took a scalpel in her hand, then looked at him again. "Why don't you go get yourself some coffee--it's been a long day, not to mention that none of us have had time to rest since the flight here."

"Dana, are you sure you don't want me to help you perform the autopsy?" Sean questioned. "You've had a long day."

Scully shook her head vehemently. "I'm fine."

Mulder looked warily at Sean, who watched Scully cut into the body with smooth precision. "Agent Young, did you want any coffee?" He looked around to discover that Patterson was nowhere to be found. Probably making secretive phone calls to Skinner, Mulder thought in disgust.

"Coffee sounds pretty damned good right now," Sean agreed, sighing as he rubbed the bridge of his nose. "I'll go with you to get some--Dana, did you want any?" he asked, as both men looked over at Scully.

She smiled at them faintly before looking back down at the body. "I'll get some later."

Mulder nodded, feeling a little forlorn as he followed Sean out into the hall and down the corridor. There was several minutes of silence, and then Sean said in a uncertain voice as they walked slowly, "You know, Mulder, I hope that you and I can get along all right on this case."

Mulder tensed at his words. "In what way?"

"Well--" Sean seemed to be searching for the right words. "I understand that you and Dana worked together for about five years. Five years forms a very strong professional--and personal-- relationship. I hope you don't think that I'm trying to infringe on that relationship in any way."

"Scully isn't my partner anymore," Mulder said, dully as if disillusioned. "Any relationship we had was strictly professional and didn't extend beyond the office. When she was transferred, that meant the end of our personal relationship as well."

Sean looked startled. "I don't think Dana would agree with that. Not the way I've heard her speak about you. I was under the impression that the two of you were close."

Mulder shrugged as they reached the coffee machine and began to dispense the vaguely unappealing black mess into paper cups. "Are you insinuating something, Agent Young?" he said stiffly.

"No, no," Sean replied quickly. "I just...well, I wanted you to know that I respect Dana a great deal, even though I haven't worked with her for very long, but that I don't intend to try to take your place in any respect."

"I was her partner. Now you're her partner. That seems to fit the bill," Mulder replied bitterly, without thinking about it. Then he paused, changed his tone of voice, and said in a more honest way, "I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I know that you're just trying to do your job."

Sean said nothing. The two of them stood looking at each other uncomfortably for a moment. Finally he said in response, "Well, at any rate, I hope that you and I can work together comfortably on this case. I've only been working with Dana a few days, but I already have heard a lot about you. I'm actually very impressed with what you do." He paused, took one of the paper cups from Mulder, and the two men began to walk back to the autopsy bay.

At long last Mulder spoke. "You know, Agent Young, I'm not the most highly regarded agent in the Bureau. Scully was a bit unique in that she worked with me for so long. It's different not having her around." He sounded distant, as though he really wasn't thinking about what he was saying out loud, just voicing thoughts. "If nothing else, I think we worked well together."

"Why don't you come work for VCS again?" suggested Sean. "Everyone knows that you excelled there. And I doubt that you'd get as much bullshit from Skinner if you worked in something a little more mainstream."

Mulder exhaled. "You don't know the half of it. Ideally it sounds like a good choice, but there are reasons that I stay in the X-Files. It's more important to me than anything."

Sean looked at him. "That's dedication," he commented, smiling ruefully.

Mulder shrugged. "Scully could tell you--the X-Files completely consumes you. When you work in it, you don't have time or mental energy to focus on anything else. I'm sure that Scully's personal life will flourish now that she's working for VCS." He began to look a little regretful at that thought.

Sean nodded as they pushed through the doors of the morgue.

Scully looked up as they returned. "Mulder," she said instinctively, "there's something here that I think you should see."

Mulder and Sean went over to the body. "What did you find, Scully?" Mulder questioned.

"Well, there's something different here than there was with the other five bodies." Scully reached over and pointed into the victim's mouth. "The tongue was extracted with a different implement this time."

"What implement would that be, do you think?" Mulder asked, interested. "Can you venture a guess?"

"Umm...." Scully trailed off. "The other five victims' bodies had been mutilated with something like a carving knife. This one here--" she gestured toward the body, "had her tongue removed with either a fork--"

Both men winced.

"--or possibly another like instrument, maybe a pair of scissors."

Mulder swallowed. "So, not only was this body left unelectrocuted, but the tongue was taken out by different means." Scully nodded. "Exactly. Which leads me to believe that this murder was not committed by the same person that the other five murders were."

"A copycat killer?" Sean suggested.

"Could be," Mulder mused. "Has anyone spoken to Robert Mackey about this yet?"

"That's where Patterson is--trying to talk to him about the murder. Patterson thinks that Mackey killed his own daughter."

"Why?" Mulder asked, irritated. "A fit of homicidal rage?"

"I told him to wait until you and Dana arrived, but he apparently couldn't wait. When you guys got here, you were so concerned about immediately getting an autopsy performed on the body, I thought that you knew where Patterson had gone."

"He didn't tell me on the phone," Mulder sighed. "I don't really want him talking to Mackey. He'll intimidate the living shit out of the man."

"Not to mention that this probably isn't the best time to interrogate him, anyway," Scully pointed out to them. "His daughter has just been murdered--"

"I'm going to go talk to Mackey myself," Mulder interrupted. "Then I'm going to go check something out. I'll see you two at the hotel."

"Mulder--" Scully began, looking startled.

"I'll talk to you later, Scully," he called as he went through the doors.



Downtown Police Precinct
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 8:30 pm


Mulder stopped as he reached the room that Patterson was interrogating Robert Mackey in. As he watched them through the window and heard their voices, he saw Mackey's face, pale and washed-out, contorting into various expressions-- terror, fright, confusion. He was trembling visibly, and Mulder didn't think that it was just from Patterson's accusing questions and harsh tone. He knocked on the window.

Patterson turned around and saw him, and his exression turned from one of accusation to one of annoyance at seeing his partner there. He stood and exited the room to talk to Mulder.

"Agent Mulder, you're interrupting my lawful interrogation of a suspect. What is it? If you're looking for Agent Young--"

Mulder's voice became cold. "Agent Patterson, I am your superior. I think that next time you decide to do something like this, you had better check it out with me first. I'm going to talk to Mr. Mackey now. I suggest that you go back to the Autopsy Bay and assist Agents Young and Scully. You can ride back to the hotel with them when they're ready to leave, and I'll see you back there later."

Patterson's face became bitter and stony. "I'll do that, 'Spooky'," he said in a low voice. He turned, grabbed his coat, and walked away.

Mulder ignored him and went into the interrogation room, sighing as he seated himself opposite Mackey. "I'm sorry to hear of your loss, Mr. Mackey," he said sincerely to the poor man, who looked even more confused since Patterson had left.

"Agent Mulder, I want to go home. Can't you tell them that?"

"I believe that you didn't do anything, Mr. Mackey." Mulder paused. "But I want to ask you a few questions before I let you go home. Just a few. Okay?"

Mackey threw his arms in the air. "That's what your partner said. I've been sitting in this damn chair for an hour."

Mulder exhaled. "Can you tell me how you found your daughter today?"

The man looked at him with imploring eyes. "Please, don't make me talk about that again."

"If you want us to find your daughter's killer, Mr. Mackey, I'm afraid we have to talk about it," Mulder explained, feeling genuinely sorry for the man. "The story I heard from Agent Young was that you found her in her room, about fifteen minutes after you got home from speaking with Agent Scully and myself."

"That's it. That's the whole story," Mackey said quickly, a look of sheer terror forming in his eyes.

"Mr. Mackey, I'm sure you're aware that your daughter's dead body bore some similarities to the bodies that have been found in the cemetery recently--the same ones that we discussed earlier today."

"Christina's body wasn't all burned like the other ones," Mackey pointed out.

"And Agent Scully discovered that the tongue wasn't removed in the same manner as the others," Mulder confirmed. "But the intent seemed the same. Do you think that the same person who killed the other girls is the same one who killed your daughter?"

"I know it isn't," Mackey offered suddenly.

"How do you know this, Mr. Mackey?" Mulder leaned forward. "How can you be so certain?"

"Because," the man moaned suddenly, "it was me that killed her!"



END PART 4/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [5/9]
By Michele Tucker



Downtown Police Precinct
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 9:00 pm


Mulder looked up in utter shock.

There was a long silence. At last Mulder spoke, choosing his words carefully. "Mr. Mackey, are you telling me that you knowingly murdered your daughter Christina earlier today?"

Mackey waved his hands in terror, as though he was trying to shield his face from some unknown entity. He swallowed, guilt written on his face, and gasped out, suddenly emotional, "No, Agent Mulder. I'm--I'm trying to tell you something. You have to listen to me."

"I'm listening," Mulder said, eyes locked on the trembling man. "Tell me."

"I know--I would never kill her, Agent Mulder," the man moaned, tears trickling down his face. "I loved her. I could never do that. What reason could I have? Christina was my daughter," he said forcefully. "My daughter. Part of me." He squeezed his eyes shut, then mouthed something to himself. Finally he opened one eye at Mulder and nearly whispered, "It's happening again."

"What's happening again, Mr. Mackey?" Mulder demanded, leaning forward even more. "The deaths?"

"The girls--they're all dying, and I couldn't--I couldn't-- tell you why, you know. Earlier today. But I know now."

"Yes. Tell me what's going on," Mulder almost pleaded.

"Well--" Mackey put a finger up to his head. "I have to tell you, Agent Mulder, because I think you'll believe me. No one else will. It wasn't me that did it. It was my body."

"What do you mean, 'your body'?"

Mackey inhaled deeply, then sighed in anguish. "I knew something like this would happen," he bewailed. "Remember what I told you about the spirits in the Grove?"

Mulder thought for a moment. "That they're fated to replay certain events in their lives over and over again until they're ready to ascend--or descend--to the designated place."

"Yes, yes," Mackey almost cheered. "That's why those girls were dying. I thought about telling you earlier, when we were talking, but, really, I thought that it would be over after five victims." He sighed shudderingly. "But now I don't think that it's done. Christina was the sixth, and he didn't do that--I did." He was babbling now, looking positively terrified.

"Mr. Mackey, you have to speak so I can understand you," Mulder said gently. "Who is this 'he'?"

"He killed five of the girls that worked in his store," Mackey said. "He raped them, killed them, and then cut out their tongues so they would never tell anyone in any life what he did."

"Who?" Mulder demanded.

"I don't know his name!" Mackey almost screamed. "He got inside my head and told me what to do! I didn't kill Christina because I hated her like he did his daughter! I couldn't do anything to stop him!" The man buried his face in his hands, ashamed.

Mulder mulled over what Mackey had said for a moment, then opened his mouth to respond, a germ of an idea occuring to him. "Mr. Mackey, I know that this is difficult for you," he said in a sympathetic tone, "but you have to tell me something. Did 'he' kill anyone else that you know of?"

"I don't know, I don't know," the man mumbled. "I didn't hate Christina. I never could."

"Did 'he' ever kill his daughter?"

"No, he never killed her," Mackey said in a shaky voice. "But he wanted to. And he wanted to kill his wife. He hated women. Hated them--I don't know why."

"How did 'he' finally die?" Mulder inquired, desperate for more information.

"Execution," Mackey whispered. "'John died by the rope'," he quoted.

" 'John'? His name was 'John'?"

"That's all I know," the weak-looking man informed him. "When he was inside my head, I saw his thoughts. He had so much hate, Agent Mulder."

Mulder nodded. "Mr. Mackey, you've had a very traumatic experience today. At the first sign of any problems, I want you to call me. Okay? Here's my cell phone number." He scribbled the number down and handed it to him.

"I'm not crazy, Agent Mulder." Mackey stood as he took the piece of paper.

"I believe you," Mulder assured him.

"I'm serious," Mackey said as he exited the room with Mulder following him.

"So am I."

Mulder went over to the police officer and explained, "I'm going to have to speak with the resident detective working on this case tomorrow. I have to go check something out right now. Make sure that Mr. Mackey here gets to call his wife and arrange to have some paperwork filled out before he goes home."

"Will do," the officer replied. "Thanks for your time, Agent Mulder."

Mulder only waved a hand in reply as he hurried out the doors of the station.



East Chicago Plaza Hotel
Chicago, IL
Wednesday, 11:30 pm


Scully jumped at the ring of her phone. Silently hoping that it was Mulder, she picked it up. "Hello?"

"Dana, it's Sean. Has Mulder called you yet? It's getting pretty late."

Scully exhaled at the sound of her new partner's voice, disappointed. "No. He hasn't."

"Did you try his cell phone?"

"Yes. No one answered," she responded. "I'm sure he's fine, though," she lied. "He used to do this a lot, when we were....partners."

"Okay," Sean replied slowly after a pause. "Just let me know when he gets in. I wouldn't want him out trying to solve this case all by himself--Chicago at night isn't the friendliest place, and with a serial killer on the loose--"

Sean stopped himself. " And Patterson made it sound like he wasn't in a great mood."

"I know," Scully sighed. "He's armed, at least. I'll let you know as soon as he gets in."

"Try to get some sleep instead," Sean suggested. "It's been a long day."

"Thanks. You too."

"Good night."

"Good night," Scully echoed with a sigh as she hung up the phone. Just as she did that, a knock came at her door. She stood and hurried over to see who it was, wrapping her robe tighter around her and tucking a strand of loose auburn hair behind her ear. She peered in the peephole, and breathed a sigh of relief as she saw Mulder standing on the other side.

Scully practically threw open the door. "Mulder," she said in irritation, "where the hell have you been?"

"Scully, I have a theory," was all he would say as he brushed past her in excitement.

She raised an eyebrow as she watched him sit down on the edge of her bed and shuffle through a small stack of papers. "What have you been doing that you suddenly came up with this theory?" she demanded.

"Oh.... I questioned Robert Mackey, and then I went to the Office of Records and checked a few things out," he explained. "But it makes a lot of sense, Scully. I don't think you'll believe me. But I think I know what's been going on."

Scully seated herself next to him with a sigh. "All right, fine, Mulder. I'm game. What's your theory?"

"Robert Mackey didn't kill his daughter, Christina. It only seems that way. Back to that in a minute, though. Back in 1905, a man was convicted of killing five young women who worked in the store he owned. He raped them, killed them, and then cut out their tongues. He was caught after they found the fifth victim, and he explained that he cut out their tongues in a symbolic act of rage against women--that he had never exterted the kind of force he had wanted to against them, and never felt completely in control. After raping them and killing them, he then removed the one part of them that he still felt threatened by--so that they could never tell anyone in any life what he had done to them."

"So we're dealing with a copycat killer, like Sean suggested earlier today," Scully mused. "The new killer is emulating these old murders."

"No, no, that's not it, Scully. It's the same man killing the women in this case that killed the five women in 1905."

Mulder watched her expression for a moment.

Scully exhaled audibly. "Mulder, if you're going to tell me that you think a 120 year-old man killed these women--"

"Robert Mackey explained to me that his body killed his daughter--but he wasn't in control mentally. At first I suspected he was suffering from some kind of stress-induced psychosis, but now I believe that he didn't intentionally kill his daughter. Not him. He said that the will of this killer-- who, incidentally, is buried in the graveyard under the name John Fulton--took temporary control of his mind and made him murder his daughter."

"Mulder, do the words 'dementia' and 'delusions of grandeur' mean anything to you?" Scully shook her head at him. "Robert Mackey confessed to you, for all reasonable purposes. Now, I don't know whether or not he killed the other five girls, and if so, how he managed to electrocute them, but I would consider him our prime suspect in this case. A ghost didn't kill those people, Mulder. It's just not possible."

Mulder stood. "You can believe what you want to believe, Scully," he replied in a low voice, sounding offended by her blatant rejection of his theory. "If you didn't want my help on this case, you didn't have to ask my opinion on it."

"Mulder, what I'm getting at here--"

"And you sure as hell didn't have to drag me out here to Chicago to throw your skepticism at me and rub your new partner in my face," he said, anger in his tone suddenly. He headed toward the door. "I'm going to bed."

"Mulder, don't you dare walk out that door without hearing me out!" Scully said, her voice desperate.

Mulder stopped in his tracks, his back toward her. "What do you have to say, Scully, that hasn't already been said?

We're not partners anymore. We don't have to agree on any plan of action. You and Agent Young can do that."

Scully didn't say anything.

Mulder continued, "I'm going back to Washington tomorrow. I don't need to deal with this." Scully swallowed at the hurt in his voice, and made hers as calm as she could. "Look at me."

Mulder didn't move.

"Mulder, turn around and look at me." She finally reached out and turned him around herself, until they were so close that their breath was mingling. "Now look at me, Mulder, and tell me that you don't care about solving this case."

He didn't meet her gaze. "I don't care about solving this case," he mumbled.

"I don't believe you," she replied easily. "Now look at me and tell me that you don't care about me anymore. I want you to do that. If you do that, then I'll call up Skinner and tell him that you and Patterson are rejecting this case."

"Scully, don't make me say that," Mulder breathed. He leaned his head down nearer to hers. "Don't."

Scully trembled at his closeness. "Say it and I'll accept you leaving."

"Scully," he said as he closed his eyes in defeat, "I could never say that." He pulled her to him suddenly.

"I want you to come back, Scully," he whispered in her ear as she shivered at his touch. "I don't want to feel alone again."

"I didn't leave you because I wanted to," she replied shakily, feeling the heat radiate from Mulder's body as she felt his arms go around her.

"I don't care if you reject every single one of my theories. I want to be able to look up from my desk and see you sitting only a few feet away from me."

Mulder's voice sounded hoarse; possibly the most emotional she had ever heard it short of sobbing.

"If I don't have you, I don't have anything."

"You still have your work," she reminded him, feeling tears well up in her eyes as she leaned back to brush a stray lock of hair off of his forehead.

"Scully..." Mulder leaned back down to bury his face in her neck and Scully almost collapsed as she felt his tongue tracing her earlobe, suckling on it.

So this is what Mulder feels like, she thought, dizzy from the amazing sensation. A heat began to grow between her legs, and she felt her knees go a little weak. "Mulder..." she whispered.

Mulder pulled away from her and very intentionally moved down to press his lips against hers, parting her tongue with his and seeking her out like a child starved of love. His hands raked through her hair and she felt a tremor run through him.

Nothing....God, nothing she had ever enjoyed in her entire life was comparable to him. There couldn't be any more than this, she thought giddily as she felt his lips move down to the sensitive area between her neck and ear again, and she felt his arms tighten around her waist. "Scully..." he murmured. "Scully...I want you...."

God, she had never wanted anything as bad as she wanted him just then.

But a knock came on the door.

Mulder looked at her questioningly.

"It's probably Sean," she whispered to him. "He wanted to know where you had gone. I'll let him know you're here." She went to the door and looked through the peephole, then opened it. "Sean," she said, as she saw her partner standing in the hall.

"I thought I heard someone's voice in here," he said after a moment of silence. "Actually, it sounded like an argument for a minute. Is someone here?" Sean paused as he suddenly saw how flushed Scully's face was, how her lips just parted slightly in an almost trance-like state as she pondered what to say to him, how her hair looked like it had been played with. His curious side got the better of him, and he peered behind her.

And saw Mulder standing there, looking equally out of it.

"Uh...Mulder was just sharing some information with me before I go to bed," she explained. "Nothing important."

Her cheeks flushed as she said the words, and Sean immediately understood.

"Oh--I'm sorry--I mean, for interrupting...your discussion. Glad to see you made it back all right, Mulder," Sean said, rambling for want of something to say. "I'll see you two in the morning. Um--good night." He reached out and shut the door after him.

Scully turned to look at Mulder. "Mulder, we need to talk."



END PART 5/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [6/9]
By Michele Tucker



East Chicago Plaza Hotel
Chicago, IL
Thursday, 12:15 am


Mulder looked dubious at Scully's words. "Okay," he said uncertainly, "Let's talk." He once again sat down on the edge of her neatly-made bed and looked up at her expectantly.

Scully exhaled and began to pace. "Mulder," she began, "what just happened should not have happened."

"Please tell me you're talking about Sean's interruption and not us," he joked feebly.

She stopped pacing to look at him for a moment, and her expression softened. "You know what I mean," she sighed regretfully.

Mulder's eyes blazed. "Why shouldn't it have happened?" he demanded. "Two consenting adults who know each other well, and who trust, respect and care about each other." He stopped. "If it's the Bureau that making you feel this way--" he began.

"It's not the Bureau, Mulder," Scully replied in a dull tone. Mulder's face fell. "What is it, then?"

"It's...us."

"What do you mean, 'us'?" he repeated, confused.

Scully turned away. "I just don't think it's a good idea. We have a very healthy friendship, and we work well together, but as... something more, I'm not sure it would work." She paused. "We're two very different people."

"And five years ago, you wouldn't have guessed that we could be friends or even compatible co-workers," Mulder countered.

Scully felt her heart lurch at his words, knowing that they were true. "But that doesn't mean that we would make a successful couple," she heard herself say, lamely.

"Scully, I don't think that you should make an assumption like that until you've tried it out," he replied with insistence in his tone. He stood, and walked over to her. "I don't think that I could see myself with anyone else but you, at this point," he said softly, touching her cheek.

She swallowed. "That's a little presumptuous of you, don't you think?" she sighed shakily, as she felt his fingers trace her lips.

"Is it me, then?" Mulder asked questioningly. "Is it because you don't like certain facets of my personality, or because you don't find me attractive?"

"No," Scully breathed. "It's not you, Mulder."

"Is it really 'us' that bothers you, Scully? You and me? Do you really think that we won't be able to overcome the types of problems that couples face? Or are you just afraid?" Mulder asked her softly, now tiltling her face up to his gently.

Scully shivered at his touch, staring up at him. "I am afraid, Mulder," she admitted. "Because I'm not sure that you and I always make the right decisions. I trust you, I care about you and I respect you. But we don't have much in common."

"We've shared enough so that I don't really think that's a problem," he assured her. "So if you trust me, you care about me, and you respect me, that only leaves one thing," he said pointedly.

Scully closed her eyes briefly, relishing his touch. "And that would be...?" she mused.

"Do you love me, Scully?"

Her eyes flew open at his question and her lips parted slightly in surprise. "I...I don't know," she said softly.

His eyes scanned hers. "You don't?"

"Well....as a person and a friend, Mulder, I do love you.

But, as a lover, or a romantic partner...I don't know." She looked up into his eyes honestly. "My feelings about you are hard to decipher sometimes."

"You've never thought about me in an unpartnerly way, Scully?" he asked her, amused. "Never pictured you and I..." he trailed off, having gotten his point across.

A small smile formed at the edges of her mouth. "Well, I never said that."

Mulder wrapped his arms around her suddenly in a posessive embrace. He said, his lips against her hair, "Try it with me, Scully. We don't have the Bureau to answer to anymore. If we want to do this, it's our business." He leaned back to look at her again.

"And your choice."

Scully exhaled audibly, and several moments passed in silence. Finally, just when Mulder was about to give up and go wallow in self-pity back in his room, she said something, softly.

"Okay, Mulder. I want to try."

Mulder found himself grinning like he so rarely did. He leaned down and kissed her fully, his lips moving in a hypnotic rhythm against hers, his tongue grazing the roof and sides of her mouth.

Scully responded, inhaling the familiar scent of him and enjoying the sensations that kissing him gave her. "You should go to bed," she said regretfully at last, pulling away.

"I'd rather stay here," he mumbled against her, smiling faintly.

Scully raised an eyebrow. "Sean would be an idiot if he didn't know what was going on, but what I'm more concerned about is your partner finding out. You spending the night in my room doesn't lend itself well to discretion," she pointed out, ever rational.

"I love it when you talk Bureau policy to me," he whispered teasingly against her ear, kissing her a few more times down her neck.

"Don't make me shoot you again," she replied smoothly, extracting herself from his embrace. "I'll see you tomorrow," she added. "Bright and early for breakfast, okay?"

"All right," Mulder said reluctantly. "Good night, Scully." He went to the door and opened it, blinking at the bright light in the hallway. He looked back at her with a puppy dog face.

"Good night, Mulder," she said pointedly, smiling even as she chastised him.

Mulder closed the door after him, and Scully, finally alone, fell back onto the bed. "What a day," she marveled aloud to herself. "What a day."



END PART 6/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [7/9]
Written By Michele Tucker


Well, guys, I'm starting to think about wrapping this story up. Any requests as to what you'd like to see happen, whether it be involving the characters or the case file? I have a few guidelines--no sex, no character death, and no marriage proposals : ), but, other than that, if there's something that you think would add to the story, feel free to e-mail me. It sounds like an odd request, but I always get great ideas from you guys.... : )

See part 1 for disclaimer, author's notes, etc.

Genre: XF, R, some mythology

Rating: PG-13

Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance

Summary: After Scully is transferred out of the X-Files and into VCS, both sections are called out to investigate a series of murders in Chicago's most haunted cemetery.



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [7/9]
By Michele Tucker



East Chicago Plaza Hotel
Chicago, IL
Thursday, 8:15 am


Scully perused the hotel's breakfast selection with some degree of exhaustion, yawning slightly behind the menu so Sean wouldn't see.

He did.

"You sound tired, Dana," he said offhandedly, sipping at his coffee. "Did you get enough sleep last night?"

Scully looked over the top of the menu at him, her expression absolutely mortified, as if she had just been accused of a heinous crime. "What do you mean?" she asked quickly.

"I was just commenting that you seemed unusually distracted this morning," he replied with a hint of amusement in his voice at her defensive tone. "I was wondering if the reason for that was lack of sleep," he added, choosing his words carefully. "How late did you and Mulder stay up talking?" Suddenly he realized how that sounded, and, embarrassed, looked away.

She blushed a deep crimson. "Are you implying something, Agent Young?"

"Absolutely not," Sean denied.

"Well, then in response to your completely innocent question, Agent Mulder and I bid each other good night not too long after you came to my door, and we both got a good seven hours of sleep in our SEPARATE rooms," Scully informed him, a hint of amusement in her voice as well.

Sean voice turned curious, and he lowered it discreetly, noting that no one seemed to be paying any attention to them. "Dana, I don't want you to think that you have to hide anything from me. I'm an adult, and I'd like to think that you consider me a friend. So, if anything is going on that's on your mind, I hope you know that you could speak to me in confidentiality."

Scully's lips turned up in a faint smile. "In that case, I believe that whatever suspicions you may have about the nature of my personal relationship with Mulder are probably correct."

Sean raised his eyebrows. "Now that you two don't work together anymore, why would it be a problem?"

"You have to understand that if this is discovered by the higher-ups at the Bureau, my career and Mulder's could be at stake." Scully paused as the waiter came and took their orders, then continued. "Mulder's work in the X-Files is extremely important to him, and if his superiors had any reason to shut it down, they would. So it's very important that this remain a secret, Sean." She looked at him pleadingly. "Please?"

Sean nodded, giving her a reassuring smile. "I will exercise due discretion," he vowed. "And I appreciate you telling me. That's a sign of a working partnership, don't you think?"

Scully smiled back, but as she did so, she felt a sadness at the realization that she and Mulder would probably never work on the X-Files together again. Sean seemed like a friend and very competent partner, and she was sure that they would get along well for as long as they worked together, but Scully wondered to herself if she would ever stop thinking of Mulder as her partner.

Just as she was reflecting on those thoughts, however, a voice broke her concentration.

"Good morning, fellow agents."

She looked up. Mulder was standing there, grinning in an uncharacteristically cheerful way, ready for the day in one of his typical suits, bizarre ties, and a stubborn lock of hair falling onto his forehead.

Scully couldn't help but smile at the sight of him. She realized that she felt a little like a schoolgirl with a crush. She quickly replayed the previos night's events over in her mind, and remembered all-too-vividly the heady feeling of Mulder's lips and tongue exploring her mouth.

God, she was blushing again.

Sean, seeming to derive some entertainment out of watching them, looked up at Mulder. "Morning, Agent Mulder." He gestured for Mulder to join them, and handed him a menu. "The coffee here could use some work, but I hear the bacon-and-eggs isn't too bad."

"That so?" said Mulder, playing along with Sean's nonchalant attitude. "As a matter of fact, I think I might have some, Agent Young." He finally turned to Scully. "What do you think, Scully?"

"About what?" she murmured, distracted.

"The food," Mulder said, obviously enjoying the effect he was having on her at that moment. "What did you order?" he asked her, trying to sound cool and collected.

"Oh! I, um....I ordered a bagel and scrambled eggs," she answered, snapping out of it. "Mulder?" she asked at last. "Can I see you out in the lobby for a moment?"

"Sure, Scully," he replied, looking absolutely delighted that she was paying so much attention to him.

The two of them went out into the lobby and sat down on a bench. "Mulder....." Scully began. "I just wanted to let you know that I told Sean about....us."

Mulder looked irritated. "Scully, you can't trust someone working in the Bureau with something like that."

She raised an eyebrow at him. "He suspected something after what happened last night, and I just wanted to come clean with him. Besides, I think we can trust him."

Mulder shrugged after a moment. "I trust your judgement, Scully, but if Patterson finds out--"

"Patterson won't find out," she said determinedly to him. She paused. "By the way, where is he?"

Mulder shrugged. "Eating in his room, I think. You know, I think that you, me and Young might have cooties, because he's been avoiding us like the plague."

"At any rate, what are we doing today?"

"I want to talk to Robert Mackey some more, and I want to visit the cemetery again," he mused. "As for you and Young, you could go over the autopsy results again, and see if you can come up with anything else, or..." Mulder trailed off and looked at her hopefully. "We could ditch Young and Patterson and go visit the cemetery together."

Scully couldn't suppress a small smile. "I wouldn't want you to get yourself into trouble in that cemetery, so...maybe I should go with you."

Mulder grinned wickedly at her, giving her a suggestive look.

Scully rolled her eyes. "You know, Mulder," she sighed in a mock-exasperated way, "I think that you should stop to remember every once in a while here that we are on a case. Discretion is key, all right?"

"Yes, ma'am. But that means that as soon as we're back in D.C., we're going to have to make up for all of this."

Scully only smiled enigmatically in response.



Robert Mackey's House
Chicago, IL
Thursday, 9:30 am


Mulder picked up a knicknack off the shelf idly. "Look at this, Scully," he whispered to her. "Mock crystal bear figurines. And you say there's no X-File here?"

Scully rolled her eyes. "To each his own," she recited.

A voice behind them suddenly questioned, "Would the two of you like anything to drink? Coffee, or tea maybe?"

The two agents turned around. "No thank you," Scully replied in a polite tone to the woman, analyzing her appearance briefly.

Katherine Mackey, who was the wife of Robert and the mother of Christina, appeared to be in her late forties, with a thin, high-cheekboned face and wide gray eyes. Her lips were thin and pale, and, although she certainly seemed to be trying to be as hospitable as she could to the agents, was obviously experiencing a great sadness over the recent death of her daughter.

Katherine gestured for them to sit down at the dining room table. "I'm sure that if Robert knew you were going to be coming, he would have stayed." She attempted a wry smile. "But, you know, he really loves what he does, being a forest ranger. He was very upset last night when I brought him home from the station, and I think it's good that he got out of the house to get his mind off things."

"Well, actually, we could probably get the same information from you that we could have gotten from him," Scully assured the woman. "And we can always drive over to the forest reserve if we decide we really need to speak with him."

"Do you think that he killed Christina?" the woman suddenly blurted out, with sadness in her eyes.

Mulder shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "To tell you the truth, no one has any idea what happened yesterday," he explained. "Can you think of any reason your husband would have to carry out such an act?"

Scully jumped in, "Did they have a healthy father/daughter relationship? Or was it strained?"

Katherine sighed shudderingly. "They had a normal parent/child relationship, as far as I could see," she said. "I wasn't home much when they were, because I work nights, but they never fought in front of me."

"Mrs. Mackey, is there any possibility that physical, emotional, or sexual abuse could have played a role in all of this?"

Katherine opened her mouth in horror. "I..." she trailed off. "I don't know," she said softly at long last. "I would never have suspected something like that, but, to tell you the truth, Christina was your typical rebellious teenager. She had been dating a boy that her father didn't like--but Robert never went any farther than to argue with her about it." She blinked back tears at the memory. "He and I had some arguments about it, too. But he never hit me."

"Would you consider your husband a violent person?" Mulder asked.

"Absolutely not," she replied honestly. "I've never known him to hurt anyone."

Mulder stood. "That's all we need to know," he said suddenly. "Thank you, Mrs. Mackey." He looked pointedly at Scully.

Scully stood. "Yes--thank you, Mrs. Mackey. We appreciate your time...and we're sorry for your loss."

The woman nodded at them, and didn't say anything. She looked as though she was going to burst into tears at any moment, so the two of them let themselves out.

Once outside, Scully looked at Mulder curiously. "Where are we going? You've got that look in your eye."

"I want to go find Robert Mackey."

"Why?" she demanded.

"Because I seem to recall him telling me something yesterday, and I need to find it out for sure." Mulder gestured toward the car. Suddenly he stopped and pressed his lips to her hair in a sudden impulse.

She peered up at him curiously. "What was that for?"

Mulder shrugged with a secretive little smile. "I like kissing you."

She rolled her eyes. "Well, keep your lips to yourself in public, Don Juan, or I'll shoot you again."

She opened the car door, both of them got in, and Mulder began to back out of the driveway.

"This is going to take some real self-restraint, Scully."

"You managed to do it successfully for five years," she sighed.

"Well, now I've tasted the forbidden fruit, and I want some more." He gave her a suggestive look.

Scully raised an eyebrow, and he immediately looked back out to the road in front of him. "Just drive, Mulder."



Bachelor's Grove Forest Reserve
Chicago, IL
Thursday, 10:00 am


Scully winced as she felt her black shoes squish into the mud as she followed Mulder over to the forest rangers' station in the middle of the park-like area it sat in.

"Hello?" Mulder said, opening the door and looking around, as he held the door open for Scully.

A man sitting behind a desk looked up from some papers and glanced at them. "Can I help you two?"

"I'm Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully," Mulder replied, flipping open his badge and showing it to the man. "We're looking for Robert Mackey. His wife told us that he was here."

"So the FBI's even involved in this whole murder thing?" questioned the man, looking at Mulder's badge.

"Damn shame, I tell you. Robert's a good guy."

"Actually, we're in Chicago investigating all of the recent deaths that have occured in the Bachelor's Grove area," Scully informed him.

"Do you know where we could find Mr. Mackey?" Mulder questioned.

"Yeah. He came into work this morning, and he looked so terrible that I told him to go home. He wouldn't, and so I let him work for a few hours, but finally I decided that he was in no condition to be here. I offered to give him a ride back to his house--I didn't want him walking through the forest like the damned fool always does--but he refused and said he needed to go to the cemetery anyway, so he'd rather walk." The man shrugged, looking a little concerned at the memory.

"He 'needed to go to the cemetery anyway'?" Mulder asked, catching Scully's eye for a moment. "Did he say anything else?"

"It didn't make much sense, but he told me that he had to 'go and face John, because he knew that it wasn't over'." The man shrugged again. "Whatever the hell that means. Robert was acting a little loopy, if you know what I mean."

"When was this?" Mulder demanded, looking concerned. "How long ago?"

The man appeared to be thinking.

"How long ago!?!?" Mulder almost shouted.

"I think about a twenty minutes ago, maybe ten. He's probably at the cemetery right now."

"Scully, we have to go," Mulder said, grabbing her hand. He nodded a thanks at the man and ran out the door to the car.

"Mulder, what's going on?" Scully asked, buckling her seat belt.

"We need to find Mackey before he gets back to his house, " he told her, jamming the key into the ignition. He slammed on the gas and peeled out of the parking lot.

"Why?" she demanded. "What's so important about what he said? Who is 'John'?" Then a thought struck her. "Is this about what you told me last night?"

"Yes, Scully," he said in a focused tone. "This has everything to do with what I told you last night. I just hope we're not too late."



END PART 7/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [8/9]
By Michele Tucker



Bachelor's Grove Cemetery
Chicago, IL
Thursday, 10:15 am


Scully sighed audibly as she jogged to keep up with her partner on the worn path to the cemetery. Droplets of rain hit her head as she followed him through the rusty iron gates and then stood watching him scan the ominiously silent graveyard.

"Mulder, why is it so important to find Robert Mackey?" she asked him for what seemed like the sixth or seventh time. "What's going on?"

Mulder, after having ascertained that Mackey was not anywhere to be found in the vicinity, turned back toward the gates and began to run down the path. She followed him, now thoroughly perplexed. "Scully, when I was interrogating him the other day, he mentioned something, something that I think tells us who the murderer--whoever he may be--" he said pointedly, "will go after next."

"How?" Scully breathed as she quickened her jog after him, feeling the rain come down harder on her head.

"The man who was tried and convicted of killing the five women in 1902--Mackey told me that he had something of an innate fear of women. He felt threatened by them."

"Suppose, for a moment, that I did believe this theory of yours. Who is the next victim?"

"His daughter is dead, Scully. The next logical target would be--"

"His wife," she supplied suddenly, as Mulder nodded. "It does make sense, even if I don't think that this case has anything to do with the supernatural."

They reached the car, parked alongside the road, and Mulder yanked the stick into drive. He quickly sped down the road for about a mile, then screeched to a halt outside the Mackey residence, which looked somehow foreboding as the rain began to come down in sheets and the sky darkened to a charcoal gray.

Mulder opened the car door, then paused for a moment as he pulled out his gun and looked at Scully. "Scully, I want you to call for backup. Call Young and have him and Patterson get over here as fast as they can. I'll go find out what's going on inside. If you hear gunshots, move in."

Scully began to protest, but then saw the logic in what Mulder was proposing and nodded. She immediately got out her cell phone and began punching buttons.

"Sean?" Mulder heard her say as he ran up the front steps and opened the door to the house quietly. "Mulder and I are at the Mackey's. You need to--"

Mulder closed the door behind him, silence swallowing up the comforting sounds of Scully's voice. He paused as he entered the living room, listening for any indictation that either one of the Mackeys was in the house.

As if in response, a scream emanated from upstairs.

Another, stronger one followed that.

Mulder immediately dashed up the stairs and tried to ascertain the location. He ran down first one hall, then another, finally stopping in shock as he stood in a doorway.

Robert Mackey lay dead on the floor.

Kneeling next to him, sobbing and screaming, was his wife, Katherine. "Oh, my God," she moaned, over and over, clasping her husband's hand and rocking back and forth.

Mulder immediately knelt down to assess the man's wounds. His body was bleeding profusely; from the looks of it, he had stabbed himself in the chest. He had died from loss of blood, Mulder mused.

He looked over at Katherine, who was whispering to herself and trembling slightly. "Mrs. Mackey, how did this happen?" he asked gently, putting his hands on her shoulders in an attempt to console her the best he could. "Why did he do this?"

She didn't reply, and Mulder didn't press the issue, though he was insanely curious as to what had happened. He removed his hands from her, awkwardly mumbled an 'I'm sorry', and found himself leaving the room, walking downstairs in a slow shuffle as he pondered the possible reasons that could have made Robert Mackey do such a thing. His mind whirled with questions.

But a gunshot from outside interrupted his thoughts.

'Scully', he thought instantly.

Mulder immediately ran down the rest of the stairs and out the door, and called her name when he couldn't locate where she was. "Scully!" he yelled in desperation. "Scully!"

"Mulder...my God..." her voice sounded far away, and he whirled around to find her standing behind him, her body drenched with rain and her face pale.

He grabbed her and pulled her to him fiercely, burying his face in her hair, inhaling the scent of her before whispering, "Jesus Christ, Scully, you scared me." He paused, feeling her sigh shakily against him. "What happened?"

She swallowed, and pulled away slightly to look at him, her eyes wide. "A man came running around the side of the house right after you went inside. Mulder, he was covered with blood. I'd never seen him before, but he turned and looked at me with such hatred in his eyes, but for no logical reason. He--he began to walk toward me, but I pulled out my gun and shot at him. I could have sworn that I hit him, but apparently not, because he ran out toward the cemetery."

"Why didn't you chase him?" Mulder asked, rubbing her shoulders to keep her warm.

"To tell you the truth, I guess I was a little shaken up," Scully said, closing her eyes for a moment. "Maybe all of your urban myths have gotten to me a little," she mused ruefully.

"Well, I had a bit of a strange shock myself upstairs a minute ago," he told her. "Robert Mackey is dead. Stabbed in the chest, probably only a minute or so before we got here. It looks like a suicide, but the crime labs and the autopsy data can make that technical. His wife is--understandably--very upset. She wouldn't talk to me."

"Strange events drive people to do strange things," Scully mused aloud, looking sad at the news.

"I couldn't have said it better myself," Mulder agreed, feeling equally dismayed. "By the way, Scully--for the record--what did the man look like, that you saw?"

"He was wearing pretty nondescript clothing," she sighed, thinking. "But he was very big, very tall...his hair was dark, maybe dark brown or black, and he had a mustache and beard." She looked up at him again. "Why do I get the feeling that you're about to tell me something that's going to throw this whole case file off balance for me?"

"Because, Scully," Mulder informed her very seriously, "the man you just described was John Fulton, serial rapist and killer, executed at the age of 38, whose grave is in the Bachelor's Grove cemetery."

She didn't reply.



END PART 8/9



THE SUSTENANCE OF TWO [9/9]
By Michele Tucker



Dana Scully's Apartment
Annapolis, MD
Saturday, 7:30 pm


'All in all, I would consider the case left largely unsolved. The sudden death of Robert Mackey--determined a suicide by his autopsy data--left the agents assigned to this case mystified and ultimately unsure of Mr. Mackey's motiviations. My personal opinion is that the suicide was carried out in order to prevent himself from committing any further violence against members of his family--namely, his wife Katherine. Although I have my suspicions that Mr. Mackey may have suffered from some kind of psychosis, which would explain his pre-mortem claims of such events as ghostly possession and telekinesis, I could find nothing from Mr. Mackey's test results that showed any abnormal chemical imbalances or neurological impairments.

As for Mr. Mackey's guilt in the matter of the six murders, [including his daughter Christina] Agents Young, Mulder, Patterson, and myself were not able to determine any definite answers. A lack of witnesses and evidence leaves us as uninformed as anyone. It is also entirely possible that Mr. Mackey was only responsible for the murder of his daughter, and not the other five victims, whose bodies were mutilated in a slightly different manner than Christina Mackey's. If this is true, then the original murderer may still be at large, in which case the Chicago Police Department will have to begin where we left off.

As for Agent Mulder's significant findings relating the killings to a series of murders back in the early 1900's, Agent Young voiced the possibility that the murders have been the work of a copycat killer, though this is not Agent Mulder's opinion in the matter. He believes that Robert Mackey's claims of spirit possession which drove him to kill his daughter are true, and that this same ghostly invader is responsible for the other five murders, though not committed through a possessed human.

This spirit that Agent Mulder speaks of is supposedly serial rapist and killer John Fulton, the one who originally killed five young women in 1905 and removed their tongues in a symbolic act of gynephobia[fear of women].

The apparent electrocution of the first five victims remains a mystery, as we were able to uncover absolutely nothing that might relate to the strange events. Agent Mulder has hypothesized that his theory of 'entity killings' would do much to explain the electrocution, theorizing that violent contact with a ghostly apparition could create mass amounts of energy which could burn human flesh in a manner similar to electricity. I disagree with this reasoning, but I can come up with no other explanation for the events.

Agent Young tends to be partial to the explanation that I provided, which hypothesizes that Robert Mackey was not responsible for the first five murders, but did in fact kill his daughter in a fit of psychosis. Agent Young also believes that a copycat killer modeling himself after the records available on John Fulton was responsible for the other murders. I am reluctant to make any judgements on this aspect of the case.

Agent Patterson believes that Robert Mackey was responsible for all six killings. He refuses to elaborate on the subject of how Mr. Mackey managed to electrocute the first five women.

Scully sighed and tapped her fingers impatiently on the desktop, trying to decide how to word the conclusion of her field report. At last she began to type again.

'In closing, I would have to state that the majority of this case was left unexplained and unsolved, a rash of strange events unlike any I have seen before. It is unlikely that any new information will present itself if the case is pursued further.'

She sighed and clicked on 'print', then jumped slightly as the phone rang, startling her.

She picked it up gingerly. "Hello?"

A low voice said into her ear, "How about some Chinese for those long, boring evenings spent writing field reports?"

Scully couldn't help but smile. "And how would you know what I'm doing at the moment?"

"Would you believe I'm psychic?" Mulder pleaded.

"Sorry, but no."

"Fair enough. In which case, I know what you're doing because I'm sitting in my car across the street, and I can see you sitting at the computer."

She laughed, a glorious sound that made Mulder grin.

"Well, you can come in only if you have that Chinese with you at the moment--otherwise, you'll have to go get it first."

Mulder pretended to sound hurt. "Scully, do you love me only for my take out?"

"At this moment, Mulder, yes." She smiled into the phone.

"Come on over."

"Actually, I'm standing at your door. And the smell of this food is making my stomach growl, so open up."

Scully pretended to sigh dramatically, hung up her phone, and then finally stood and went to get the door. She opened it, taking in the sight of the smiling man on her doorstep, holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a bag of Chinese take-out in the other.

"I didn't think wine was part of the deal," she mused. "But I'm not arguing."

He went past her into the kitchen, putting the wine in her refrigerator and the take-out on the table, and watched her as she closed the door and sat down to turn off her computer.

Mulder went over and picked up the field report from her printer. He skimmed it. "Sounds lovely and logical, Dr. Scully. Though I am a bit offended that you put the words 'entity killings' in quotes." He pretended to look put off.

"Mulder, you're lucky I put those words in at all," she informed him smoothly, looking at the report over his shoulder.

"This report doesn't sound any better than any of the numerous others I've written for the past five years. Skinner will not be thrilled to read this."

"Oh, come on, Scully. It's exciting, kind of like reading a mystery novel."

"Whatever." She began to head toward the kitchen, but he grabbed her and pulled her to him suddenly.

They kissed slowly and languidly for several minutes, and Mulder groaned when his stomach growled again.

"My body is a traitor," he mumbled into her neck.

"This can wait. Let's go have some food," she comforted him. "I'll still be here when we're finished eating."

As they walked into the kitchen, Mulder thought of something.

"Hey, Scully," he said as he leaned in the doorway, "Skinner wants to meet with me and Patterson on Monday. What do you think he wants? He hasn't even read your report yet."

"That's interesting," she agreed, as she got the wine glasses out of the cupboard. "He asked to see Sean and I, too. Maybe he's checking up on our new assigned partnerships."

"In which case, I'm letting Skinner know what a little shit Patterson is," he said glumly. "He did almost nothing to help out with the case, he was rude, he--"

"Let's talk about something less irritating," Scully sighed, as Mulder finished setting the table and she poured the wine.

They sat down, wine glasses in hand. "What should we toast to?" he asked.

"To....us," she said at last, with an enigmatic smile on her face.

"So that confirms it, then. There is an 'us'?"

"Absolutely," she verified, holding up her glass.

"To us," he echoed, and they clinked their glasses.



Assistant Director Skinner's Office
FBI Headquarters
Washington, D.C.
Monday, 2:00 pm


"Agent Scully, I have read your field report. I have also met with Agent Young, Agent Mulder, and Agent Patterson to speak about the case." A.D. Skinner furrowed his brow as he looked at her carefully. "And I have made some decisions."

Scully tried to assess his mood, then finally gave up.

"Decisions concerning what, sir?"

Skinner exhaled and leaned back in his chair. "Decisions involving your transfer to Violent Crimes."

"May I ask what you've decided?" Scully leaned forward.

"Yes. Agent Scully, I understand that you and Agent Young got along very well, according to him. But he has voiced some opinions that I couldn't ignore the validity of."

"Opinions, sir?"

"Opinions concerning your ability to work and your areas of specialization. Agent Young seems to feel that your talents are wasted in Violent Crimes. He says that while he found that you were a very open-minded, very thorough medical doctor, and you adhered strictly to protocol, you didn't seem satisfied or pleased with your role in VCS. He thinks that you should be transferred back to the X-Files, because you seem to be a good influence on Agent Mulder and you seem to have enjoyed your work there."

"If I may interrupt, sir, I would like to confirm that. I found Agent Young to be an extremely competent agent and doctor, and I enjoyed working with him, but ultimately, I think that he does very well on his own in VCS. I do appreciate the fact that you always have my best interests in mind, and you transferred me because you thought that my career could thrive there, but with all due respect, my career lies in working on the X-Files with Agent Mulder." She held her breath, waiting to see what he would say in response.

"Normally, I would say that your talents are wasted on the X-Files, Agent Scully, but if you really think that transferring you back would be the best course of action, then I am willing to give you and Agent Mulder another chance to prove yourselves. Would that be satisfactory?" Skinner almost looked as though he were smiling.

"I would appreciate it, sir." Scully could hardly contain herself. Then she thought of something. "What about Agent Patterson? Will he continue to work on the X-Files?"

"I spoke with Agent Patterson, as I said before, and I believe I made a mistake pairing him with Agent Mulder. I don't think that Agent Patterson belongs out in the field. I've already reassigned him to a secretarial position within the Applicant Matters section."

"'Applicant Matters'?" Scully almost laughed aloud, picturing Patterson typing away at a tidy little desk. She quickly gathered her composure. "When may I start work again on the X-Files, sir?"

Skinner scribbled his signature on a document. "Just sign here, Agent Scully. Then go take care of anything you might have to finish up within Violent Crimes. As soon as that is done, you can start right away. If not this afternoon, then tomorrow." He pushed the paper at her, and she signed it.

Scully stood. "Thank you, sir. I really appreciate all of this."

"You're welcome, Agent Scully." The phone rang, and Skinner stood and watched her leave the office, then picked up it up after letting it ring a few times. "This is Assistant Director Skinner," he said smoothly, knowing who it would be.

"You know, Assistant Director Skinner," the raspy, collected voice said at the other end, "I don't think you made the right decision, reassigning Agent Scully back to the X-Files."

Skinner didn't ask how the man knew what he had done. He just replied in a confident tone, "Why would that be?"

The man didn't answer his question. Instead he mused, "I may not be able to keep my promise now. It's unfortunate."

"You never intended to keep your promise and we both know that. Why am I talking to you anyway? You're dead," Skinner spat, with sacrasm dripping from his tone.

"How very perceptive of you," the voice replied, thick with smoke and uncertainty at Skinner's sudden rebellion.

"And you know what?" Skinner said, smiling bitterly.

"What, Assistant Director Skinner?"

"I don't make deals with dead people," he said, and hung up.



Violent Crimes Section
FBI Headquarters
Monday, 2:30 pm


Sean looked up as he heard a knock on his door.

"Come in!"

Scully, smiling, opened the door and peeked in. "Can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Hey, it's your office too," he replied, gesturing for her to come in. "Oh, how silly of me. I forgot. Starting this afternoon, it's not your office anymore, is it?"

Scully rolled her eyes, still smiling. "So Skinner told you too, huh? I guess he'd already made his decision when I went to go see him."

"Well, I don't want to sound too narcissistic here, but I WAS the one who helped convince him--"

"--to transfer me back to the X-Files," Scully finished.

"Thank you," she said honestly. "I really appreciate all that you've done for me."

"But I guess we weren't cut out to be partners," he said regretfully. "I have to admit, though, it's kind of nice being the only M.D. in VCS. Makes you a little more highly regarded," he joked.

"Does Mulder know yet?" she asked.

"Are you kidding? As soon as he found out--and I made him promise to let Skinner tell you--he called this office and asked me to have your desk and nameplate sent down to the basement." He shugged. "Romantic, huh?"

Her eyes sparkled. "About as romantic as he gets," she laughed. "But now that him and I are partners again, that means it's going to take a little bit more work to be discreet about our relationship."

"You guys worked together for five years and barely touched each other," Sean said, grinning suggestively at her. "I think you can hold out for nine hours a day."

"I don't know," she said, sighing dramatically. "Now that I've had the forbidden fruit, I want more."

"Dana, I'm shocked." He gestured toward the door. "Why don't you go down to see Mulder now? He's probably not getting any work done anyway."

Scully nodded. "I think I will." She headed toward the door, then stopped and turned back toward him. "I'm usually not a very tactile person, but I think my transfer warrrants a hug, don't you?" She put a finger to her lips. "Don't tell Mulder."

Sean smiled and stood up, and they hugged briefly.

"Now get out of here, and I don't want to see you working in this section ever again, do you hear me?"

"I know you didn't mean that quite the way that sounded," she teased him.

"Not at all. It's been a pleasure, Agent Scully."

"I couldn't agree more, Agent Young."



Basement Office
FBI Headquarters
Monday, 2:45 pm


Mulder glanced up at the clock. 'Scully should be done meeting with Skinner by now,' he though anxiously, wondering if Skinner might have changed his mind.

He looked over at the brand-new desk where Scully would be sitting from then on and smiled to himself.

Then he looked over at the place where Patterson would normally have been working and grinned even wider.

He narrowed his eyes and carefully shot a paper airplane toward the doorway.

Scully caught it. "I see you're doing very well on your own, Mulder," she said teasingly, as she entered the office.

Mulder stood up. "Yeah, well, like I've said before, It's amazing what I can accomplish without skeptics like you around." He grinned to show her that he was just kidding, then caught the airplane as she tossed it back at him. "Oh, and before I say anything else, I know that Sean was the one who got you the desk, but I think it counts that I at least called upstairs to have it sent down here."

"I do give you credit for that, Mulder," she confirmed. "And it looks great down here, even if it is a little crowded."

"Cozy," Mulder corrected her, with a grin on his face. "Do you think that we could leave early today? I mean, seeing as how we're so worn out from that case and all...."

Scully looked amused. "I think we could get away with it, if it was just for today. Remember that Skinner's keeping his eye on us."

"May I suggest that we go over to your place?"

"Why would you suggest that?" she asked innocently, knowing what he was going to say.

"Well, you have a very vital piece of furniture that I think would serve us well, and I don't have that at my place."

"Why Mulder, I'm shocked. I hope you're talking about my coffee table and not what I think you're talking about," she teased.

"Well, Scully, if you want to do it on the coffee table I won't argue, but I don't think that it would be that great for your back." He shot her a suggestive look.

She blushed. "Okay, all right. I was only kidding. Of course we'll go over to my place. All you have is that beat-up old couch, after all." She gestured to the coat and purse in her hand. "I'm ready if you are."

"Scully, you will never know how ready I am," joked Mulder, as he grabbed his coat and motioned for her to lead the way. He locked the office after them, and as Scully began walking up the stairs, Mulder stopped to admire the two nameplates on his door:

"Fox Mulder, Special Agent"
and a newer one--
"Dr. Dana Scully, Special Agent".

Mulder nodded admiringly at them, looked up the stairs to see Scully watching him, and grinned as she gave him her patented Approval Look. Then she motioned impatiently.

He put on his coat and followed her up the stairs.



THE END



I can't believe it! It's actually DONE! What did you think of it, guys? I would really appreciate any final words of praise or crtiticism, whatever you'd like to offer. The e-mail address isBLMZ49B@prodigy.com . Thanks so much for reading.

--Michele

____________________________________________________________________

*Devoted Member Of WLDD, DDDB, XFS, XFF, the MulderWear Brigade, Marita Deathsquad, ScullyWear Auxilary Brigade, also a diagnosed X-Files Obsessee, MulderGutter Resident, Scullyist, Emulator Of The Scully Hair, and 'Shipper Eternal*

Visit my web page, Zeeney's Exhaustive X-Files Compendium!

http://members.tripod.com/~zeeney/index.html



"Scully loves Mulder and Mulder loves Scully. It's a wonderful romance." --Chris Carter, "Inside The X-Files"
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