On The Outside *NC17* 2/3
Deslea R. Judd
ARCHIVE: Yes, just keep my name on it.
DISCLAIMER: Characters not mine. Interpretation mine.
RATING: NC17 for mild f/f sex and language.
SPOILERS/TIMEFRAME: Colony/Endgame missing scenes; spoilers to Talitha Cumi.
CATEGORY/KEYWORDS: Romance, Angst, Mytharc, Samantha/Other.
SUMMARY: Portrays Colony/Endgame from "the other side". Not surprisingly, the return of Samantha Mulder is not what it seems. But it is not her brother, but her lover, who will be most betrayed.
MORE FIC: http://fiction.deslea.com
FEEDBACK: Love the stuff. firstname.lastname@example.org
AWARDS/ELIGIBILITY: Finalist, Spooky Awards 1996, Outstanding Drama Story. Recommended, GAEB Fanfic Picks. Third place, "Minor Characters" challenge, PURity. Enigmatic Doctor recommended.
From printed papers enclosed in the file. No author can be identified.
That day, we engineered a broadcast of a faked rescue of the morph from an unidentified craft in the Beaufort Sea. The craft was real, of course; but it had lain undisturbed for some time. We could not possibly have allowed any rescue mission to come in contact with the real craft - its emissions were too dangerous. The easily-manipulated naval crews rescued him, and footage conveniently made it to air in most of the cities where I knew there were Gregors. I had already leaked to them that he was on his way to kill them, and I knew it was only a matter of time before they congregated.
The next afternoon, I contacted the Germantown, Maryland Gregor - Dr Dickens was the name he was using. I warned him that he had been located by the morph, and that he was in great danger. I drove him to his home and told him to pack. But thanks to the e-mail I'd sent Fox, he and Dana Scully arrived with the morph hot on their heels. Fox and Scully knew nothing of this; they believed the morph was CIA Agent Ambrose Chapel, and were mystified by Dickens' sudden flight.
Dickens recognised Chapel as the morph, of course, and he ran; but it didn't matter. The morph caught him and killed him. I felt no guilt about creating the situation. It would have happened sooner or later anyway. And the Gregors had served their purpose, as far as I was concerned. Now they were becoming troublesome. They disposal was convenient not only from the consortium's viewpoint, but also my own.
The problem with the Gregors was that they had become obsessed with the idea of true colonisation. I had told Cynthia only half the truth on that point (as indeed could be said of many things). Initially, it had just been a desire to reproduce in the sense that we as humans understand it. It had been a desire to reduce the loneliness. It was a desire I could well understand, and we had served one another well. But at some point in the last couple of years, they had come to the conclusion that they could take over the world in due course. They had ceased to see themselves as guests who should assimilate and come to see themselves as superiors who should conquer. That was the danger of their work, not the research itself; but I couldn't tell Cynthia that. She was an alien herself.
The drawback to the faked rescue mission was that it drew attention to the area. Within days, the real alien craft had been located by a nuclear submarine. An admiral who knew both too much and too little for his own good ordered its destruction, resulting in the sub's disablement and loss. Damned fool. Even more foolhardy, he shortly afterwards ordered a naval destroyer from Anchorage to destroy the craft. As it happens, that fitted in with my plans beautifully; but it was still a stupid thing to do.
This is what happens when you give information piecemeal. The consortium would do well to learn from my father on that point.
From loose-leaf pages enclosed in the file. The author has been identified as Cynthia Mulder.
To my regret, I farewelled Samantha when she was called to Maryland on business. The next day, I made my appearance at the Mulder home in Martha's Vineyard, Massachussets. It was, of course, terribly uncomfortable and awkward - and I think it would have been even if I had really been she. What do you say to strangers who are your family? Not that that's something I'll ever know. Family...it's an intriguing thought.
And not, I must say, necessarily a nice one. Bill Mulder is an odious man. I admit, some of that is prejudice; I know how he treated Samantha. I suppose it's understandable; after all, she wasn't his child; but I hated the man on sight. I didn't know everything, of course. But I knew she had seen something that had made her unsafe. And her father had known that Bill would not protect her. That was why he had brought her away.
One of the Mulder children going missing had always been on the cards, of course; Mulder was too independent a thinker to go unchecked. Initially, Samantha's father had planned to take Fox on the premise that taking his real child would have more of an effect on him; but after Samantha saw whatever it was she saw, her father gave Bill the choice of which child would be taken - knowing what his choice would be. Bill, apparently, had snapped that Samantha's father could have his own illegitimate little brat. Once, I had wondered how any woman could desire Samantha's vicious father; but alongside this vindictive, stern, cowardly man, it was a tough call.
It didn't help that as soon as Fox showed up Bill cornered him on the verandah and started his hypocritical ravings about the comfort of certainty being disturbed (what, the certainty that I - I mean Samantha - was dead? Asshole). I had my back to the window, my attention on Samantha's mother; but I heard them, of course. I wanted to wring his petty little neck.
It was a draining day, and a more draining night. Samantha's mother went to bed after five in the morning. I, too, needed sleep; but I knew that it was just the beginning. I sat on the swinging chair on the front verandah on the basis that the cold would keep me awake, but still, I was half-drowsing when Fox emerged. We spoke vaguely for some minutes about the awkwardness of it all, but there was a question in his eyes. I answered it with the story that had been prepared.
I had been returned at about the age of ten without memory or history. I had been placed with adoptive parents. And then, reluctantly, I fed him that awful bit of emotional blackmail that recalled his own tortures in the aftermath of Samantha's kidnapping: "I started having trouble a few years ago," I said. "It was diagnosed as free-floating anxiety. Nothing worked for me. I hit rock bottom..." I didn't want to continue, but I had to. "Until I underwent regression hynotherapy." I caught my breath at the hypocrisy of it all. "And it all started coming back...the abductions - the tests -"
I couldn't go on with it. I thought of Samantha, who had been taken in stage-managed circumstances but whose worst torture had been being raised by a man who idolised her, and I felt ashamed. I went to Fox and held him tightly. He believed I was seeking comfort, but I sought to give it.
We stayed that way for a long moment, but then I broke away, knowing there was important work to be done. "I'm in danger, Fox," I told him; and this time I felt no shame. I was starting to fear that that was the truth.
He asked what I meant, and I told him. "You've been contacted. You know there's a man hunting my father and the other doctors." I stopped short. Whatever had possessed me to use such poor wording?
"Your //father?"// Fox demanded.
"My adoptive parents," I explained. "They're only visitors here. What people would call aliens." I felt a little silly saying the words. The fact that we genuinely existed did not in itself remove the sense of the ridiculous from them. It was too culturally ingrained. But Fox just looked at me steadily, and I went on, "A bounty hunter has been sent to kill them. You've met this man; his lies to you have caused others like my father to die. He won't stop until he's killed them all - and anyone who tries to stop him." That much was quite true, I was sure of it. "He'll come for me soon."
Fox is an agent, through and through. He asked me no questions, but immediately brought me inside. He tried to contact the woman Scully, his partner; but to no avail. The most he was able to do was leave a message warning her against that CIA agent, Chapel.
I was reluctant to tell him, for I feared to alarm him; but this part of the script was true. He had to know. "She won't be able to recognise him. He has the ability to disguise himself - as anyone. You can't recognise him," I added, "but I can."
I didn't have to say any more. "Let's go," he said quietly.
With difficulty, we made our excuses and caught a flight back to Fox's home in Virginia. I think Bill was quite relieved to see us go; but Fox's mother protested that we hadn't had enough time together. I think she was frightened of losing me - Samantha, I mean - again. I felt great warmth for her; and I tried to be gentle with her. "No, Mom," I told her, taking her hands in my own. "It's too soon, and too much to cope with. I'll fly back up on the weekend and we'll talk then. I promise." She gave a grateful smile, and she held me tightly; and then she let me go.
I felt very loved.
We arrived in Virginia in the early afternoon, where we learned from Fox's answering machine that Dana Scully, believing herself to be in danger, was at a motel in Germantown, Maryland. Since Germantown was where Dickens had had his laboratories, I suspected she was doing more than watching cable.
We left her a message with the motel, and we tried her cell phone. There was no answer. He nearly threw the phone across the room in disgust, but I grabbed his arm and pulled it down. "Fox, don't. Maybe she's just in the bathroom or something. Just give her a couple of minutes. She can't be far away." He shot me a look, and for a moment I thought he was going to lash out at me; but he put the phone down with a look of defeat.
I went to the bathroom myself, and when I came out, he was speaking. "Scully? Scully, it's me. Where are you?...Scully?...Scully?...Scully, are you there?...Scully, what's going on?"
This time, he did throw it across the room. It landed with a soft thud on the couch. "She hung up on me," he said. "Something's wrong."
I grabbed my coat. "Let's go."
We arrived at the Vacation Village Motor Inn soon afterwards - though not soon enough for Fox. The door to her room was ajar.
I think I knew the truth right then. Everything suddenly fell into place. And suddenly, I knew exactly what had happened here, and what the morph was going to do, and what was going to happen to me. I felt no surprise, but rather, a recognition of what I had known in some part of myself all along.
And I think that was the moment when I made my choice.
The room was a shambles. A glass coffee table was smashed to bits, a lamp overturned. There were a few stray droplets of blood. Fox dipped his finger in one of the drops on the remains of the coffee table and stared at it, his shoulders stiff. I longed to comfort him, but I knew then that the best thing I could do for him was to keep him focused.
"He's been here," I said. Talk about stating the obvious! "Your partner is alive," I reassured him hurriedly at his dark expression. "He took her to get me."
His voice was monotonous. "There's no sign of a break-in," he observed automatically. "She wouldn't have just let him in."
"She might not have known who he was," I pointed out. Then, more gently, "She might have thought it was you."
Fox looked at me. There was pain in that look.
I reached out to him then. I had to. Taking his hands in mine, I told him quietly, "We'll get her back, Fox. I promise."
We made our way to the car. Not unreasonably, Fox demanded to know why the morph wanted me. I stuck to the script. "Because I know how to kill him...by piercing the base of his skull."
"That will kill anyone," he pointed out.
"But it's the only way to kill him," I explained patiently. "You have to be precise. I'm fairly sure it will work."
"'Fairly sure'?" Fox echoed.
This was where the script and I parted company. I wasn't going to tell him about the weapon, but I had to give him some warning of the dangers involved. A hasty act on his part might kill him - him or the woman. "He's got powers I've never seen before," I told him truthfully. "If it doesn't work, there's a chance you could die. Their blood is toxic. Human exposure to it is fatal." I glanced up at him. "I know this sounds incredible-"
Fox cut me off. "No, no, no. That's just it. It doesn't seem incredible at all."
I gave him a querying look, but he ignored it. It was only later, while we were waiting, that I learned that a fellow agent of his had died in suggestive circumstances. He went on. "Now, how do we find him?"
"We don't," I said simply. "He'll find us."
From loose-leaf pages enclosed in the file. The author has been identified as Cynthia Mulder.
Fox was pacing.
He'd been pacing for hours - ever since our return to his apartment. It was getting on my nerves. Even when our dinner arrived, still he paced, eating absent-mindedly as he went.
I begged him to sleep. The night before, at his father's, he hadn't done so; and he'd slept only briefly on the flight down from Massachussets. If my suspicions about what would happen tonight were correct, it would be at least another twenty-four hours before he had another chance. I couldn't tell him that, though; and he refused as I knew he would.
"Tell me about her," I said at last.
He shot me a look, as though in indecision. He frowned a moment, and then he said, "Scully was assigned to keep tabs on me. The Bureau was under pressure to keep me in line. Scully's a scientist to the bone, and she was basically asked to debunk my work." He gave a goes-with-the-territory kind of shrug.
"But she didn't?" I asked.
He shook his head. "No. She still doesn't believe, despite everything we've seen; but she's terribly, terribly honest. She's not afraid to admit when she doesn't have the answers. She believes there are rational answers out there and it's just a matter of finding them." He grinned suddenly, a quirky grin; and I realised Samantha's grin came as much from their mother as her father. "So do I, but not in quite the same way."
The smiled faded. "I get very obsessed, and very eager to leap to a paranormal explanation. And I'm right a lot of the time; I really believe that. But I'm also biased. Scully...Scully keeps me honest."
Wondering if I was overstepping the mark, I said cautiously, "You love her?"
Fox thought on this for a moment. "I guess maybe I do," he admitted slowly, "but it goes a lot deeper than that. I //trust// her. I don't trust //anyone,// Samantha. Not Mom or Dad, not any other partner I've had. Sometimes I don't even trust myself. But Scully...Scully I trust with my life. And not only with my life, pathetic as it sometimes is; but with myself."
Did I trust Samantha like that, I wondered? I realised I did not. "That sounds nice," I said gently, aching for him...and also for myself.
He stared out the window for long seconds. I wondered if he were hiding tears, but I realised that was something I had no right to know. "It is."
The seconds turned to minutes, and the minutes to hours. The hours dragged. Once, he asked absent-mindedly what I was writing; but by the time I could half-fib, "Just letters," he'd tuned out once more.
By midnight, the strain was starting to show. He accused me of keeping back information. I couldn't bring myself to be hurt; after all, it was true. I told him. Some of it was scripted and false, some of it quite true. Most of it was somewhere in between.
I told him that the clones had been here since the late nineteen forties and had become enamoured with the idea of colonisation. Their research involved hybridisation with a view to eliminating their identical appearances. That much was true, but what I didn't tell him was that the clones themselves were a type of hybrid developed by our own government, or that the rebel clones and their colonisation project (of which Samantha would have been stunned to know I knew the details) made up only a small part of the picture. The bounty hunter, I told him, had been sent to kill them because the unsanctioned experiments were considered a dilution of the species. This, too, was true insofar as there were opponents of the sanctioned hybridisation experiments on both planets; however, the real reason they were to be exterminated was that their actions endangered interplanetary relations, so vital to each planet's survival.
Samantha, of course, had never told me the truth about the colonisation project. She underestimated my own contacts among the aliens. I suppose she feared that my own loyalty was to them and their race, that I might agree with the rebel project; which despite her involvement had veered completely, dangerously away from her plans.
She was wrong. I am a creation of the interplanetary survival project, and therein lies my only allegiance. The only good thing to come from this mess, I see now, is that at the end of it, Samantha's enormous error of judgement in the matter of the rebel project will be wiped from the board. For that, the price of my life is acceptable.
Fox's boss, Skinner, is here. The last of the Gregors are dead - Scully had them in protective custody with the Federal Marshall's office, and the morph got to them there. Scully just called, too; the morph is ready to deal. I'm quickly finishing this while Skinner arranges for a sniper - for all the good it will do. I will run out and throw this in the postbox on the corner while the two of them are getting their things together. I want Samantha to know what has gone on. Crazy as it sounds, after all that's happened; I want her to understand why I have acted as I have.
I don't expect to write again.
From loose-leaf pages enclosed in the file. The author has been identified as Dana Scully.
I'm sorry I cut you off on the telephone. I know I was terribly rude, but I've just been so worried about Mulder that I'm not thinking straight. I know you're concerned for me. I'm writing because it's too late to call you and if everything goes according to plan tonight, I'll be going away. I don't know how long I'll be gone.
Mom told you I'd been kidnapped, I guess; I don't really know why she bothered. I was gone for less than a day. It goes with the territory. I'll tell you about it, but don't you dare tell Mom the details. She's been so protective of me since the Duane Barry thing.
I was kind of knocked about when the man took me; but he didn't hurt me. He made me call Mulder and demand an exchange for a woman who was with him, naming a time and place. He didn't tell me who the woman was - I assumed it was to do with some case Mulder was working on. Mulder didn't tell me, either; he just agreed. I wish to God he'd told me then what I know now.
We arrived at the Old Memorial Bridge in Bethesda. We drove onto the bridge from one end. Mulder's car was already parked at the other. Mulder got out, and the guy - the morph, Mulder calls him (one of these days I'll tell you why, but we'll both be drunk first, because I can still hardly believe it myself, though I saw it with my own eyes) - he got out too, dragging me with him.
The morph told Mulder to bring "her" out - her being the woman I was to be exchanged with, I guessed. Mulder turned and looked into the car and gave the faintest nod. The woman emerged, her back straight, her eyes forward. I had assumed the exchange was a setup, but something about her stance told me that whoever she was, if it came down to it, she was going to do it.
Her eyes met Mulder's for a long moment. Mulder seemed to be struggling with something, but the woman just gave a slight nod and a gentle smile and approached us. Damn it, Melissa, I should have known then! All the clues were right there - he'd been called away on a family emergency, and he hadn't returned my calls, even when I was in trouble. Mulder //always// checks his messages. Who else could have consumed him so totally?
So anyway, she approached us. She seemed so //courageous.// There's no other way of saying it. Working in the Bureau, you see a lot of courageous //acts,// but this was different, somehow. This was a courageous //person.// It was only when she got up really close that her calm seemed to falter. Her expression changed slightly, but she gave me the slightest smile and let him take her.
He pushed me aside, and I stumbled over to Mulder, a little dazed. I told him I was okay and got straight into the car. I could see it wasn't over yet, and I couldn't do anything but get in the way without any knowledge of the situation. The morph started backing away with the woman, towards the car; and then everything happened very quickly.
First, she turned around and tried to stab him with some kind of spike she'd been hiding. Gutsy, but useless - he got it off her at once. He was saying something to her, but none of us could hear what it was. Then the sniper Mulder had arranged fired. The morph collapsed against the side of the bridge, then fell over the side, taking her with him. Mulder called her name, but I didn't catch it. I certainly caught it the second time, though; it seemed to come from the depths of him.
//It was his sister.// I was so completely stunned, so horrified, that for a split second, all I could do was sit there; but then I bolted out of the car and ran to him. He was shaking, and so was I. Then he started yelling and pulling off his coat, trying to go in after her; and it was all I could do to restrain him. It was thirty six degrees in there. I grabbed him by the arms and held him. He pulled against me until he started bleeding from my fingernails digging into him, and then the fight seemed to go out of him. He collapsed against me, and then he broke down there in my arms.
I didn't want to leave him, but Skinner insisted I go to the hospital. I finally agreed when he promised to stay with Mulder. Skinner was very kind to both of us that night.
I went back as soon as I was discharged and I found him right where I'd left him, watching them search the lake. His voice was raw, but he seemed numb, as well. I felt so hurt for him, Melissa. I asked him why he hadn't told me it was his sister. He just said that I wouldn't have let him go through with it. Damn it all, of course I wouldn't have!
We found her body a few hours later. I had to tell him, and I begged him not to blame himself, but I know he does. Melissa, I feel so responsible and so sick to think that after twenty two years, he had her back; and he lost her again in the space of days.
There was something strange about her body, but I can't get into it. It's not so much protocol as that I don't understand it myself. But before she died, she apparently left Mulder a message putting him onto a new lead in the whole kidnapping thing. What he found suggested that maybe the woman who died was not his sister, but we just don't know right now.
And now, he's gone.
Just vanished. He left me a message saying that he couldn't let me risk my life and my career on his personal cause. I don't mind admitting that I'm pretty pissed about that, because we aren't on those terms. We're there for one another, no limits...that's just how it is.
But more than that, I'm scared. I'm scared of what might happen to him. Something died in him that night on the bridge, and I'm not so sure that it's returned. If anything were to happen to him, I just don't know what I'd do.
That sounds melodramatic, I know. But I don't mean it like that. I mean it exactly as it reads. Mulder and our work...well, that's all there is for me. It sounds pathetic - yuppie spinster syndrome - but it isn't. Somehow, things like relationships and going to parties pale in comparison to what Mulder and I do. What we do means something - something bigger than the individual. The fact that it costs and that it cuts us off from others to a degree only adds to its worth, and draws us closer together. I don't expect you to understand that, but there it is. And if it were to end - and it would end if he weren't here with me, in it - I know my life would never be the same.
But I have a plan. Mulder knows someone who would have told him where to go next. I will find that person, and I will make him tell me what he knows. I only pray I'm not too late.
Must go; I'm terribly sleepy. And I don't know when I'll sleep next. I'll be in touch.
All my love, Dana.
CONCLUDED IN PART 3.