†††††† †Fading Blue Images
††††††††††† "I told you Mulder, Iím fine," Scully repeated for what seemed the hundredth time that day. It was her first day back at work since the Ďaccidentí in Dunwich two months ago.
††††††††††† "Iím sorry, itís just that you donít look very comfortable. Are you su..."
††††††††††† Mulderís concerns were cut short by Scullyís murderous glare. He finally realized that he was treading on thin ice with hot skates. When she had been in the hospital all heíd wanted was revenge on Agent Dammers for mutilating his partner. When Mulder heard of Dammersí tragic death heíd had mixed emotions about it. He would be lying if he said he was sad to see him go. He did regret not being the one at the trigger.
††††††††††† Sighing, Mulder looked down at the pile of paperwork that he was trying to plow through. Nothing much had beenhappening over the past two months. Without Scully and unwilling to take on a temporary partner Mulder had found himself doing background checks day in and day out for two months. Things probably wouldnít change for a few more weeks.† Even though Scully was back she wasnít safe out in the field quite yet. If she was forced to fire at someone sheíd end up tearing her shoulder out of joint again. Instead of waiting till she was fully recovered she was working on the background checks with him.
††††††††††† Scully dropped the pen she was using. She closed the file and her eyes simultaneously and slowly leaned back. The pained expression that flashed across her features didnít escape Mulderís attention.
††††††††††† "Scully, itís 4:30. Why donít you just go home." Mulder tried to reason with her. "Itís not like weíre doing anything important. I think that capitalism will continue to flourish whether or not we check to see if Bobby-Joe smoked marijuana twenty years ago."
††††††††††† "Mulder, I canít j..."
††††††††††† "Donít worry, I wonít tell the Boss youíre playing hooky."
††††††††††† Scully sighed and then glanced at the clock. Giving into Mulderís suggestion she straightened the remaining files out on her desk. She winced as she pulled her back away from the chair. She looked mournfully at her jacket and decided against putting it on and carried it instead. It was the first time heíd ever seen Scully leave the office Ďhalf-dressedí. There was
something that she wasnít telling him and Mulder knew it.
††††††††††† "Scully, are you s..."
††††††††††† "It is so important to your future that you do not finish that sentence."
††††††††††† Scully made it back to her apartment despite the Washington rush-hour traffic. She dropped her jacket, keys, and the file sheíd brought home unceremoniously onto the floor. Stepping out of her shoes she left an uncharacteristic swath of disorder in her path. Walking into the bathroom she unbuttoned her black blouse and gingerly slipped it off. She threw away the silky cloth knowing that no amount of dry-cleaning would make it wearable again.
††††††††††† Fishing one of half a dozen bottles of rubbing alcohol out from under the sink she shrugged off the rest of her clothing and stepped into the shower. Scully unscrewed the cap, pulled the safety seal off the pungent clear liquid, and flicked them into the trash with her shirt. Without hesitating she emptied the bottle of antiseptic over her back. The icy liquid burned her shoulder blades while chilling the rest of her back on its way down her body.
††††††††††† The cuts that marred her skin had never healed over. It defied all of her medical training that a superficial wound could remainopen for such a prolonged period of time. The infection that racked her system was stubbornly resistant to every antibiotic onthe market from Eurthromycin to Penicillin. After the first month without improvement sheíd gone through every test and treatment in the book in a desperate attempt to heal the old injury so she could get on with her life. Nothing had helped but she felt there was no reason that she couldnít push paper around for a while. Anything to avoid just lounging about.
††††††††††† Scully turned the shower on cold and rinsed as much of the rubbing alcohol off as possible. She knew that she must reek like an emergency room, but she couldnít risk a secondary subcutaneous infection. Once she got dried off it was only 6:00. Scully decided that it was time for bed anyway. The night was full of tossing, turning, and a wealth of troubling dreams. In the morning she seriously considered calling in and telling them she needed more time to recover. However, she quickly decided against that.
††††††††††† Once fully dressed she looked herself over in the mirror to make sure that everything was in place. Suddenly there was a bone chilling cold that swept through the still apartment. Turning around she came face to face with the last Ďpersoní she ever expected to see again. The smug face of Agent Milton Dammers stood a few inches from her giving off a light bluish glow.† Scullyís eyes rolled back and she hit the floor after losing her grip on reality and consciousness.
††††††††††† Mulder sat at his desk more or less just staring at the files. He briefly wondered how the ĎFederal Desk Jockeysí kept sane.† The four walls of the basement office were already starting to close in on him, he couldnít imagine an entire career in a cubicle. He glanced over at the clock to see how many more hours he had to endure sitting here. It was only 10:00, but that meant that Scully was two hours late. Mulder dismissed her absence hoping that it meant she was getting some sleep.
††††††††††† Half an hour later Mulder went out to get a cup of coffee from the commons room. When he came back downstairs Scully was in the hallway. She didnít notice him at the elevator. She was far too busy systematically checking each of the doors that lined the corridor. Other than their office, which was around the corner, the only thing down in the basement was stored files, most of which had turned to dust from age. As Mulder approached her he could hear Scully quietly muttering to herself. She wasnít saying anything coherent, but she was obviously frustrated about something.
††††††††††† "Scully?" Mulder questioned cautiously.
††††††††††† Scully almost leapt out of her skin at the sound of his voice. She whirled around to face him. During the quick action she caught her heel in the arch of her other shoe. Mulder reached out to steady her but she jerked away from his touch and completely lost her balance. When Mulder went to help her up off the floor Scully scrambled back a few feet.
††††††††††† "Donít touch me!" Scully snarled.
††††††††††† Startled by the anger in her voice Mulder backed away. Scully watched him apprehensively for a second. When it looked like he wasnít going to try laying his hands on her again she unsteadily got to her feet. Scully stood with her feet apart for balance and her shoulders hunched slightly.
††††††††††† "Are you all right?" Mulder dared to ask once again.
††††††††††† "Just donít startle me, Agent Mulder, and Iíll be fine." She snapped.
††††††††††† "Okay." Mulder said slowly trying to figure out what had put her in such a foul temper. "What were you doing?"
††††††††††† "Nothing. I was just," she hesitated "just looking for you."
††††††††††† "In the storage closet?"
††††††††††† "Letís just get back to work." Scully stated evading the question. She moved to the side to allow him to lead.
††††††††††† Mulder was about to protest but the stone-cold look Scully gave him prevented him from inquiring any further. As he walked by she put her hands up defensively to ensure that he kept his distance. Mulder could hear the unsteady rhythm of her clicking heels following him to the office.
††††††††††† When Scully came into the office she looked around with a sneer of disgust on her delicate features. She sat down behind her desk and pulled a file off the top of the stack that sheíd been working one the pervious day. After hunting about for a second she found the pen she was after.
††††††††††† Mulder sat motionlessly at his own desk watching Scullyís every move. Her behaviour this morning had already made him nervous. Observing her quick feverish jerking motions as she sorted through the files was more than enough to set him fully on edge. It was such a contrast from yesterdayís listless fidgeting. The way her eyes darted around even when she seemed to be concentrating on something made him think she might be suffering some sort of nervous disorder. Mulder shook his head and drew his attention back to his files -Iím getting too paranoid.
††††††††††† "Weíve been cooped up in here too long." Scully suddenly voiced. "I think it would do us both some good to get back out in the field."
††††††††††† "Donít you want to get out of here?"
††††††††††† "More than anything, but Iím not sure thatís such a good idea. Besides where would we go, I donít know of any open cases right now that would fall under our jurisdiction."
††††††††††† "I was wor..., thinking that the case that Agent Dammers was working on was never solved. Neither were the circumstances surrounding his untimely death."
††††††††††† "Well, thatís what we do right? Solve the unsolvable." Scully asked forcing a smile.
††††††††††† "True, but even if you think youíre ready, Skinner is never going to go for it." Mulder protested. He didnít like the idea of them taking up Dammersí last case, let alone the case concerning his death.
††††††††††† "Iíve already gotten the authorization."
††††††††††† "You talked to Skinner without me?"
††††††††††† "I donít need your permission to talk with my, our, superior."
††††††††††† "No, but Iím still your partner and I would think that you might discuss taking up a new case with me first."
††††††††††† "I donít recall being consulted before we pursue most of your cases."
††††††††††† She had him there. Scully wasnít out of line in wanting to pursuing a case. Reason told him that he should try harder to get her to stay here. However, that meant heíd be a captive of the basement as well.
††††††††††† "Whenís the flight?"
††††††††††† "I thought weíd take the train."
††††††††††† "This is impossible!"
††††††††††† Dammers stood in front of the hotel bathroom mirror trying to tame his new mane of bright auburn hair. This was the first time he had gotten it wet since taking over the female body two days ago. Showering had been a particularly traumatizing experience that he didnít relish repeating.† There were too many curves and such on this body for his comfort. Deep down Dammers also feared what the original owner would do to him if she found out that heíd been touching her, even if it had been with her own hands.
††††††††††† The amount of maintenance she required alone made Dammers wonder how women ever had time to get anything done. It had taken him twenty minutes alone to figure out how to get out of her bra. For some Godforsaken reason the clasp was in the back -exactly where you couldnít get to it. Muttering in frustration he pulled the fine-toothed comb through her tangle of shoulder-length hair to at least slick it down. He looked down at the open ID badge on the vanity and then back in the mirror. The tiny photo and the image in the mirror didnít even look related.
††††††††††† He didnít even bother taking care of the marks that had made his new chance at life possible. The small amount of irritation that they caused was nothing compared to the agony his old skin had constantly been in. The carving had originally been intended to help create a gate way between this world and another. Since the ceremony had been interrupted Scully herself had become that passage-way. The open wound left her vulnerable to spirits, such as himself, taking over.
††††††††††† Dammers did not plan on staying in Scullyís skin for very long. He just wanted to make sure that his last case got solved. Frank Banister was a danger to society that had to be stopped. At the moment he wasnít sure what he was going to do, but he was sure heíd think of something. When his cell phone rang Dammers gave up his vain attempt to make her hair presentable.
††††††††††† "Hello." Dammers answered the tiny phone.
††††††††††† "íHelloí? Scully?"
††††††††††† "Yes, Agent Mulder. What do you want?"
††††††††††† "I was just curious as to what the plan was."
††††††††††† "Iíll let you know when I need your assistance." Dammers answered curtly and hung up. He still had a few things to take care of, one of which was to simply annoy Mulder by making him wait. Dammers had never like the other Agent, or his partner for that matter.
††††††††††† Twenty minutes later at the surprisingly large Fairwater police station Mulder quietly watched his partner grill the large local Sheriff. She kept asking for exact times and dates of seemingly unrelated events and generally gave the local law-man a hard time. Sheriff Perry didnít seem to mind, nor was he taken aback by the unusual line of questioning. He just lazily meandered around the questions using vague terms.
††††††††††† "Look," Sheriff Perry finally concluded,† "as far as anyone around here is concerned, Agent Dammers was killed by Patricia Anne Bradley."
††††††††††† "Who was found responsible for Bradleyís murder?" Scully snapped.
††††††††††† "No one."
††††††††††† "Excuse me?"
††††††††††† "She just sort of, dropped dead."
††††††††††† "No one just Ďdrops deadí, Sheriff Perry."
††††††††††† "They do in Fairwater."
††††††††††† "What about Bannister?"
††††††††††† "Frank? Iím surprised he made it out of the old hospital alive. Apparently Agent Dammers went on some sort of a rampage and shot him, with an Uzi."
††††††††††† "An Uzi?" Mulder interrupted.
††††††††††† "Yeah, is that standard issue down at the FBI?"
††††††††††† "Not exactly."
††††††††††† Mulder was about to ask more about the unusual choice of weapon when one of the deputies came down the hall with a recently-arrested hooker in tow. Scully ignored the disturbance until the woman started arguing with the Deputy. Mulder watched as Scully got increasingly agitated at the sound of the irritated womanís voice. When the prostitute started screaming some particularly unlady-like words Scullyís eyes went wide. She tried to remain still but she simply couldnít stay in the room.
††††††††††† Leaping up she dashed into the menís room that was across the hall. Sheriff Perry grumbled quietly to himself. Mulder was just about to go see if she was okay when Sheriff Perry cleared his throat in a manner that obviously meant he was trying to get his attention.
††††††††††† "Can I ask you something?" Perry asked hesitantly.
††††††††††† "What does the FBI do to you people?"
††††††††††† "Excuse me?"
††††††††††† "Well Iíve only met a few Feds, but Agent Dammers acted just like your partner there."
††††††††††† "Really? How so?"
††††††††††† "Yes, Agent Mulder, what do you want?" Dammers demanded.
††††††††††† Mulder leaned casually against the door frame of the tiny hotel room. "You know exactly what I want." Mulder purred.
††††††††††† "Excuse me?" Dammers asked not catching on.
††††††††††† Dammers backed away as Mulder invited himself into the room. Mulder took a sudden aggressive approach by lacing his hands around Dammers feminine waist and pulling her closer. A hot flash of panic washed over Dammers. He put Scullyís palms on Mulderís chest to push away, but he thought better of it. The idea that the two Agents were lovers hadnít even crossed his mind. However in retrospect he felt it should have been obvious.
††††††††††† This is sick, beyond that itís illegal and exactly why women shouldnít be Federal Agents in the first place.† Dammers bitterly thought to himself while trying to keep Scullyís stomach under control as Mulder nuzzled her cheek. Being so close to his goal Dammers tried not to resist the amorous Agentís advances. He knew that Mulder was already suspicious of his partner's behavior. With his background in the paranormal one more discrepancy in ĎScullyísí personality would be evidence enough for him that something was definitely wrong. Dammers wasnít sure what Mulder would do if he found out, but he was sure it would prevent him from bringing in Bannister tomorrow.
††††††††††† Mulder snaked one of his hands under Dammersí blouse and spread his hands across the span of her lower back. His burning touch made Dammersí flesh crawl all the way down to the bone. Dammers cursed the fragile body as she trembled slightly in nervous anticipation. The mere thought of Mulder touching him was enough to make Dammers shudder, the actual experience was proving to be a thousand times worse.
††††††††††† "Youíre being very quiet this evening." Mulder whispered in Dammersí ear.
††††††††††† "I, Iím not feeling very well." Dammers replied hoping heíd found a way out. "I have a headache."
††††††††††† "Iíve got just cure for that, Dr. Scully."
††††††††††† Dammers cringed at the horrifying double entandre. Mulder released his hold on her back and reached into his own back pocket. Dammersí borrowed stomach clenched at the metallic rattle of the handcuffs. Oh God, they play games. Totally unprofessional. He gritted her teeth as Mulder secured her hands behind her back with the cold metal retraints. Dammers was going to make sure to get both their badges revoked for this behaviour on general principle.
††††††††††† When Mulder forced Dammers to her knees he thought twice about his resolve to see this facade through just to bring Bannister to justice.† There was a pause as Mulder busied himself with something on the night stand. Dammers didnít care to know what he was doing. He was about to break character and demand that Mulder stop when he suddenly had an ideaÖ
††††††††††† Scully welded her eyes shut against the blinding blue flash that suddenly consumed her vision. She tried to shield away from the lightís mysterious source. When she found her hands pinned behind her she panicked and violently pulled against the restraints. Someone was yelling at her but she couldnít understand the words through her confusion.
††††††††††† Snapping open her eyes she gasped at her slightly blurry surroundings. She was kneeling execution style on a thin carpet with a wall about five feet away that was covered in peeling yellowed wallpaper. It was a far cry from her apartment where she had been preparing to go to work just seconds ago. Scullyís mind raced for an explanation but the angry tone in the incoherent voice proved to be too great a distraction. Paralyzed by the shocking change she stared at the aging wall waiting for something, anything, to make sense.
††††††††††† "Answer me!" The voice roared.
††††††††††† Scully had finally understood the demand, but she didnít know what the question was. She gasped at the sound of a gun being cocked behind her. Furiously trying to think of something to say she realized that she probably wouldnít be able to speak even if she came up with an answer.
††††††††††† "W..what do you want?!" Scully managed to ask.
††††††††††† "I want to know who you are, now!"
††††††††††† "Special Agent Dana Scully, with the FBI." She rambled instinctively.
††††††††††† Her attacker lost patience with her. He knelt down behind her and pulled her head back, using her hair as a purchase. Scully desperately tried to remain calm so that sheíd at least have a chance at negotiating with the madman.
††††††††††† "I know who you look like," he growled "I want to know who you really are."
††††††††††† "Mulder?" She whispered fearing that sheíd properly identified the voice.
††††††††††† "Quiet!" He emphasized his demand with a quick jerk to her ensnarled hair.
††††††††††† "Mulder!" She knew it was him, despite his actions. "Youíre hurting me, please!" It wasnít his grip that was causing her discomfort so much as his arm resting against the infected cuts that Dammers had been neglecting. "Itís me, Scully."
††††††††††† "I donít believe you." Mulder spat. "I want the truth."
††††††††††† "Iím telling the truth!" Scully insisted. Unchecked tears spilt down her cheeks as her situation continued to make less rational sense. "Your full name is Fox William Mulder, your mother is Tina and your sister is Samantha. You have an irrational fear of fire and an unnatural love of sunflower seeds." Scully rattled off the facts in an attempt to prove herself.
††††††††††† "Anyone could gather that information." Mulder snapped.
††††††††††† "I shot you three months ago when Victor Lavelli made me chose between you and the young girl he was holding hostage." Scullyís voice started to shake as she recalled the scene. "I risked your life to save hers, if thatís what this is about Iím sorry!"
††††††††††† Mulder froze. He absent-mindedly released the grip he had on her now matted hair. Scully leaned forward to get as far away from him as possible. With her head down she started to earnestly cry. Mulder was paralyzed by the realization of what he had just done. No one else had been there that night other than the little girl and she hadnít said a word since the incident. Even the official report didnít betray the fact that it had been Scullyís hand that had landed him in the hospital.
††††††††††† "Iím sorry." She sobbed. "She reminded me of Emily. Iím sorry, what more do you want from me?"
††††††††††† Mulder still hadnít moved when Dammers retook possession of Scully.
††††††††††† "Release me at once, Agent Mulder." Dammers demanded in a strong voice despite the tears of the previous tenant.
††††††††††† Mulder was snapped out of his haze and instantly followed the command. Dammers only waited for him to unlock one side of the cuff before whipping around and striking Mulder with it. The action left Mulder with a large gash across his left temple, he took the blow without reaction or retaliation. He didnít even attempt to stave the quick flow of blood that followed.
††††††††††† "Please leave." Dammers instructed.
††††††††††† Unable to protest such a request Mulder got up and left his partner alone praying that he hadnít lost her trust forever. If Dammers had been capable of laughing he would have. As it was the smirk that fluttered across Scullyís stolen features was all the merriment he could muster.† Agent Mulder would certain think twice before questioning him again.
††††††††††† "Thereís been a death." Mulder informed Dammers professionally keeping last night's events out of the conversation.
††††††††††† "I asked them to keep the body for you."
††††††††††† "What?! Why?"
††††††††††† "I assumed you would want to do an autopsy."
††††††††††† "Oh, right, of course. An autopsy, um," Dammers swallowed convulsively "yeah sure, I can do that."
††††††††††† "If you're not up toÖ"
††††††††††† "No, Iím fine, Iíve done this a hundred times, right? It might just be the evidence I need."
††††††††††† "My thoughts exactly."
††††††††††† Dammers stood alone in the autopsy bay at the Fairwater morgue gazing at the white sheeted body with a look of abject horror. After a few deep breaths he managed to steel up enough courage to walk over to the metal exam table. The mere stench of the inert body that lay beneath the thin layer of cotton was enough make Dammers queasy.
††††††††††† Looking up at the large mirror that was set into the opposite wall Dammers found Scullyís unkempt image white as the sheet he was so afraid of.† Her mouth was dry and no amount of nervous swallowing was helping. He had told the medical examiner that he didnít need any help because he didnít want anyone realizing that he had no medical experience whatsoever. Now Dammers wished he had simply backed out of this all together. Dealing with dead bodies was one thing, but to have its spirit watch you while you sliced up their mortal form was quite another.
††††††††††† "Go away!" Dammers yelled suddenly.
††††††††††† The bright blue form of the woman standing in the corner blurred for a second and then sharpened again. She didnít speak but she did attempt to move closer. Dammers drew out his weapon and aimed it at the ghost with an unsteady grip. Not accustomed to being dead the woman was successfully frightened away by the harmless gun. Dammers relaxed enough to put the gun away.
††††††††††† Turning back to the table Dammers took a bold step and ripped away the obstructive sheet. He gasped at the sight of the exposed corpse and quickly turned away. Clenching her teeth he took a few faltering steps toward the tray of evil looking autopsy equipment. Donning a pair of latex gloves Dammers picked up a random instrument that looked vaguely like a knife.
††††††††††† Like a teenage girl being forced to dissect a fetal pig for the first time in biology Dammers welded Scullyís eyes shut and plunged the knife unskillfully into the dead womanís chest. Without looking at the results of his clumsy attack he pulled the razor sharp knife down towards the victims feet. When he hit what he could only assume was the hip bone he stopped and violently jerked the knife out of the cold decomposing flesh.
††††††††††† Dammers kept her eyes shut tightly for a second just trying to get her breathing back under his control. The smell was a thousand times worse now that he had gashed open the abdominal cavity. He knew heíd never even have a chance at determining a cause of death if he didnít at least look at the body. Once he felt he was ready he cautiously opened one blue eye.
††††††††††† The mutilated woman lay in front of him with a three-foot rent that ran down her belly just shy of the midline. Her severed gut had ruptured out of the cut due to the gas pressure that it had contained. Now the multi coloured coils were slurped out all over the table like sickly snakes. The whole interior of the corpse that was now exposed to the air was a dull pearly gray colour that glistened and shimmered under the harsh light that was fixed above the table.
††††††††††† Dammers had taken in the grotesque scene in half a second. A full second later his nerves caused Scullyís stomach to heave violently. He made it to the waste bin that was only a few feet away and proceeded to be violently ill for a good five minutes. Once the contractions were for the most part over he pulled off his surprisingly clean gloves and threw them away. As far as he was concerned this autopsy was over.
††††††††††† Mulder watched the whole unprofessional hacking through the one-way mirror that lead from the autopsy bay into a small observation room.† Fairwater constantly amazed him in its technological prowess. For such a tiny backwater New England town it had equipment that even a high crime city would be envious of. It would seem that mysterious death was no stranger in Fairwater.
††††††††††† However that wasnít what was on Mulderís mind at the moment. He was more concerned with the apparent mental breakdown that his partner was having. Under most circumstances he did not like hanging around during her autopsies. That didnít prevent him from knowing what he had just witnessed had not been standard procedure.
††††††††††† When Scully started aiming her gun at thin air he was suddenly glad he had removed the bullets from the cartridge last night. Mulder had been so sure that she was someone else. Knowing that simply asking her out right if she was herself wouldnít work heíd tried a different method. If he had made the advances last night on the Scully he knew she would have beaten him senseless and then smacked some sense back into him just to ensure that it didnít happen again.
††††††††††† Mulder wasnít sure to think of what had happened last night or what he was looking at now. Something beyond his paranoid imagination was definitely going on. Until he figured out what was wrong Mulder decided to just go along with it and try to keep Scully from hurting herself and others. Once she had stopped retching and it looked like she wasnít going to do any more slicing and dicing he went into the autopsy bay to see what, if anything, sheíd learnt.
††††††††††† "Scully?" Mulder asked to announce his presents.† She was washing her face in the small sink and hadnít heard him walk in.† Despite the warning she jumped.
††††††††††† "Agent Mulder! I thought I told you not to sneak up on me!"
††††††††††† "Sorry. How are we doing here?"
††††††††††† "What? Oh, the autopsy. Um, Iím finished." Dammers answered hastily and then tried to leave the tiny room.
††††††††††† "Wait, what did you find?"
††††††††††† "Nothing, I mean, cause of death unknown."
††††††††††† "Can we go now?"
††††††††††† Mulder looked down at the body for a second. It was a decisively unusual colour, even for a corpse. He suddenly figured out what was wrong with it that set it apart from some of the others he had seen.
††††††††††† "This womanís blood has been drained." Mulder commented.
††††††††††† "Are you sure?"
††††††††††† "Youíre the doctor here." Mulder pointed out. He looked back at the dead woman and noticed a mark for the first time. It was up on one side of her forehead half-covered by her long blond hair. Moving the strands away the mark was revealed to be a symbol that had been branded there. "Did you see this?"
††††††††††† Dammers timidly moved closer. When he saw the mark Dammers violently backed away. Mulder did not recognize the insignia, but Dammers knew it all too well. Upon seeing the brand he decided that Bannister wasnít worth the risk anymore. The Ďmaní who had put his symbol on the woman and had stolen her blood would be back and Dammers knew exactly what he would want. Far be it from him to get in his way.
††††††††††† Scully once again found her surroundings switched. Things were different, but that didnít mean they had improved. Her senses were assaulted†† by the horrifying sent of decay, the glaring light, and the sound of Mulderís voice all at once. Her vision was slightly blurred which didnít help her figure out her situation.
††††††††††† Displaying an amazing lack of coordination she knocked into the instrument tray in an attempt to get away from Mulder. She believed him to be the greatest threat to her safety until her vision cleared and she suddenly saw the blue form of Agent Dammers. Just before deciding to pass out again Scully caught Dammers friendly words of warning:
††††††††††† "Say Ďhií to Kabal for me, and watch your back, Agent Scully."
††††††††††† Samantha Mordrid rolled over on the large bed. The burgundy silk sheets matched her pajamas perfectly. She was dismayed to find that Anton was not still sleeping next to her. He tended to sleep late and looking around the dim room she guessed it was at least a few more hours till full dawn. Groggily sitting up she stretched out her muscles like a house cat. She had never been one to spring out of bed. Now that she didnít have any neighbors to rouse her at unusual hours she tended to sleep like a rock.
††††††††††† The dark gray marble floor was freezing on her bare feet as she finally got out of bed to go see what Anton was up to. He seemed to think that the welfare of the entire Universe rested on his shoulders. As a consequence he worked far too hard for his own good. Sam helped out as much as she could and over the past few years her magic skills had grown surprisingly quickly for a girl bred and raised in New York. It had almost been too much for her at first. It was a big Universe out there and each dimension had its own little quirks. These days nothing surprised her and she was committed to following Anton to the ends of time if he asked her to.
††††††††††† Although for the past few months there had been relative harmony in the cosmos. There had been a few time rips and a couple of hostile alien takeovers, but nothing planet-shattering. However, Sam and Anton hadnít let any of that spare time go to waste. There were so many ways that a sorcerer and his wife could pass the time. Sam smiled at that last thought. Last night had been magical -to say the least.
††††††††††† "Good morning to you too, Edgar." Sam greeted the high-strung raven. "Whereís that bothersome human of yours?"
††††††††††† "Youíre a big help." Sam replied sarcastically. Edgar rustled his iridescent onyx feathers at her tone.
††††††††††† Sam continued through the living room that was covered wall to wall with the various trinkets and antiques that Anton had collected over the years. The hallway leading to the study was full of a dull blue haze that carried the faint sent of salt, like an ocean breeze. Sam rolled her eyes. Anton was chatting with the Monitor. That could only mean trouble and more work. Anton was going to come out of there all serious like the world was going to end -† again.
††††††††††† The Universe couldnít have picked a worse time to fall apart. Sam had really been looking forward to spending some vacation time alone with Anton. Being a Master of the Unknown still didnít save him from having to attend endless conferences between negotiating planets. Somehow when she had gotten herself into this she never suspected that Anton was basically a baby-sitter. It didnít really matter she was happier than she ever had been in her old life and there were certain advantages to living outside of time.
††††††††††† As predicted Anton came out of the study with an expression so intense that Sam had to laugh. As he came down the hall she crossed her arms over her chest and mimicked his furrow browed expression. Finding himself being unexpectedly mocked by the perky young woman Anton was forced to smile sheepishly.
††††††††††† "Thatís better." Sam giggled.
††††††††††† "Iím glad that youíve taken it upon yourself to keep me in perspective. What would I do without you?"
††††††††††† "Hereís to hoping you never have to find out." Sam wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him into a passionate, although morning breath tainted, kiss. "So whatís up?"
††††††††††† "How is it that the ĎMaster of the Unknowní can become so easily distracted?" She teased. "Whatís our next intergalactic gig?"
††††††††††† Antonís deep brown eyes clouded over. He held Sam out at arm's length and studied her for a second. He sighed. "Thereís trouble on Earth."
††††††††††† "Earth?" Sam asked nostalgically. "I havenít thought about that tainted orb in quite a while. Whatís wrong now, have the New Yorkerís finally admitted that they are alien beings and taken over? Lord knows theyíve got the attitude for that sort of thing."
††††††††††† "No, this is serious Sam. Itís my brother."
††††††††††† "Kabal? I thought he was dead."
††††††††††† "A mere technicality. No man ever truly dies and that goes double for a sorcerer."
††††††††††† "Then what are we waiting for? Letís go kick some evil sorcerer butt."
††††††††††† "Ah, sibling rivalry."
††††††††††† Scully sat up on an examination table in a papery cotton hospital shirt waiting for the local doctor. After passing out at the morgue Mulder had been quick to call the paramedics. Sheíd recovered halfway to the hospital, much to the dismay of the EMTs that had to deal with her. Mulder had driven the rental car to meet her there. Right now he was leaning against the wall with an unusual expression that came from being concerned for his partner and miffed at her all at the same time. He hadnít said a word since theyíd arrived at the hospital. He tended to get childishly pouty when he was upset.
††††††††††† "Mulder, when are you going to stop acting like this?"
††††††††††† "When are you going to stop trying to keep stuff like this from me? I could have killed you last night."
††††††††††† "I doubt it. Mulder, you couldnít hit the broad side of Montana."
††††††††††† "Youíre a notorious poor shot, sometimes I think the biggest conspiracy surrounding the Federal Government is the one that keeps you in the FBI." She laughed and then shook her head trying to clear it. "Iím sorry, one of the EMTs slipped a pain killer into my system before I could stop him. Whereís my chart?" Scully looked around the room, including the ceiling, in a vain† attempt to locate the chart.
††††††††††† "Here." Mulder helpfully handed over the clip board that was hanging on the wall next to him.
††††††††††† "Ah, right, letís see. Morphine! What the hell is the matter with these people? How many cereal box tops do you think they had to collect to send in for their medical license?" Scully giggled once again and dropped the chart unceremoniously to the floor. "On the plus side, I canít remember ever feeling better."
††††††††††† This time when she started laughing Mulder had to step closer to steady her. She leaned her forehead against his chest and continued her uncharacteristic fit of merriment. Mulder figured that the EMT had doped her to the gills just so they could handle her. He didnít blame them for a second. Science has proven that doctors make the worst patients. They couldnít possibly pay the ambulance team enough to put up with an irate Scully.
††††††††††† "Who did that to you?" Scully suddenly asked after looking up and noticing the mark at Mulderís temple for the first time.
††††††††††† "You donít remember?"
††††††††††† "Would I ask if I did?"
††††††††††† "Well? Who was it?"
††††††††††† "Me? I hope you deserved it."
††††††††††† "I assure you I got off easy, all things considering."
††††††††††† "I donít remember, of course I donít remember much from the past few days." She tilted her head back and groaned in a way that showed she appreciated the irony of the situation. "I donít even know where I am."
††††††††††† "Fairwater. In fact this trip was your idea."
††††††††††† "Iím sorry, Mulder. I guess the infection made me delirious."
††††††††††† "You really think thatís whatís been going on here?"
††††††††††† Scully didnít feel that she had to answer that and luckily enough for her Mulder didnít get a chance to press for an answer. The curtain that separated them from the rest of ER was suddenly pulled back by a tiny woman with long, dark, curly hair. She seemed far too perky to be part of the rest of the laid back Fairwater crowd.
††††††††††† "Hello Mr. and Mrs..."
††††††††††† "Agents." Mulder corrected the doctor quickly.
††††††††††† "Excuse me?" She asked recovering the chart from the floor.
††††††††††† "Iím Agent Mulder; this is my partner Agent Scully."
††††††††††† "I see, well Iím Dr. Lucy Linsky-Bannister."
††††††††††† "Hi doc." Scully chirped.
††††††††††† "Donít mind her, your EMTs drugged most of her professionalism away."
††††††††††† "I apologize for that, they called in a violent patient that seemed to be in pain more than distress and so I gave the authorization."
††††††††††† "They could have asked what was wrong before trying to hold me down on my back." Scully stated defensively like a miffed child.
††††††††††† "Speaking of which, letís take a look at that." Lucy walked around behind Scully and pulled the drawstring that had been tied in a lose bow to keep the makeshift shirt closed. When the cloth fell open the doctor jerked back and gasped involuntarily.
††††††††††† "What? Whatís wrong?" Mulder asked concerned by the doctorís violent reaction. He tried to move around to the other side of the table to see what was going on but Scully had taken a firm hold on his hands.
††††††††††† The doctor didnít answer she seemed transfixed by Scullyís back. Without even thinking she reached out and touched the Agentís back. Scully whimpered and gripped Mulderís hands tighter despite the pain blockers. Mulder could feel her panicking and it was rubbing off on him. He hated not knowing what was going on, particularly when his partner was concerned.
††††††††††† "Dr. Bannister?" Mulder prompted.
††††††††††† "Iím sorry," finally she responded "um, stay here, Iíll be right back." Lucy hurried out of the tiny screened in room.
††††††††††† "What is going on here?" Mulder demanded.
††††††††††† Scully kept quiet. She was staring down at her lap, with a few furtive glances over to the far corner of the room. Every time she glanced over to the seemingly empty space she increased her already vice-like hold on Mulderís hands.
††††††††††† "Scully?" Mulder looked over at the corner, but there was nothing there. "Do you see something over there?"
††††††††††† Scully looked back over at the spot for a second. She welded her eyes shut and turned away. "No." She whispered unconvincingly. "No more drugs, please Mulder, donít let them drug me again."
††††††††††† "I wonít. Donít worry theyíre here to help."
††††††††††† "Thatís right." A strong male voice replied. Mulder looked over to see that Dr. Bannister had returned with a blonde haired colleague.
††††††††††† "This is Dr. Brighton, heíll be taking over." Dr. Banister explained. She continued to gawk at Scullyís back and then she looked intently at the corner of the room that had been getting so much attention.
††††††††††† Mulder didnít like what was going on, but he couldnít think of what to do about it. He watched as Dr. Bannister hustled out of the suddenly crowed room. Dr. Brighton said a few soothing words to Scully and then he helped her lay down on her stomach.† Mulder hissed at the sight of her back, it looked just as bad as when heíd lifted her off the warehouse floor.
††††††††††† "It doesnít hurt." She assured him.
††††††††††† "Weíll get her cleaned up and out the door in no time." The new doctor also worked to ease Mulderís obvious anxiety.
††††††††††† Now that she had released his hands Mulder was free to reach down to brush Scullyís hair out of her face. "Iíll be right back, okay?"
††††††††††† Scully was a bit surprised that he was leaving her side considering his protective nature, but she nodded her agreement. Mulder hesitated to abandon her while she was looking so apprehensive. He crouched down so he was at her eye level. Puffing up his cheeks and crossing his eyes Mulder attempted to lighten her mood a bit. Scully flashed him a shy smile in response.
††††††††††† "Get out of here, Mulder." She instructed teasingly.
††††††††††† "Iíll be right back."
††††††††††† "Not if you donít leave, now go."
††††††††††† Mulder walked away in search of Dr. Bannister. There was something that she and Scully could see that he couldnít. He knew Scully would never admit it, he hoped that heíd have better luck with the other doctor. When he found her she was bent over the phone behind the reception desk talking in a hushed voice. Dr. Bannister didnít notice Mulderís approach so he quietly listened to the conversation.
††††††††††† "Frank, listen to me youíve got to get down here. No, I donít care what youíre doing, just get down to the hospital. The FBI are here, yes, again. But itís different, one of them has this crazy symbol cut into her back. No, like carved there with a knife.† Thatís not the weird part, it glows, yeah just like them. Thereís also this big guy sta..." Dr. Bannister looked up only to find Mulder watching her.
††††††††††† "Donít let me stop you."
††††††††††† "Iíll call you back, Frank." Lucy looked up and smiled innocently, she wasnít sure how much heíd overheard. "Agent Mulder, how is your partner doing?"
††††††††††† "You tell me."
††††††††††† "Dr. Brighton is really the one to ask."
††††††††††† "Heís just a doctor, I want to know what you see."
††††††††††† "Iím sorry, I donít know what you mean."
††††††††††† "I think yo..."
††††††††††† "Donít touch me!" Scullyís terrified cry tore across the ER.
††††††††††† Mulder rushed back over to her with Dr. Bannister close on his heels. Scully had jumped down off the table and was seeking protection in the arms of the confused Dr. Brighton.
††††††††††† "Whatís going on in here?" Mulder demanded.
††††††††††† "Mulder, I want to go, take me home, please I donít want to stay here." Scully rambled breathlessly while nervously looking about. She pushed away from the doctor and moved over to Mulder.
††††††††††† "Scully, calm down."
††††††††††† "No, I want to leave now." Scully didnít even bother retrieving her blouse, she brushed passed Mulder and made her way towards the door. She stopped half way there. "Out of my way!" She exclaimed to nothing in particular then continued out of the hospital.
††††††††††† Mulder looked to the two doctors for an explanation. When he didnít get one he followed Scully. Dr. Brighton shrugged and went about his day. Lucy looked around at the twenty or so glowing spirits with a vexed expression.
††††††††††† "Good one guys, why didnít you just bring the whole cemetery?"
††††††††††† Unable to get a ride all the way back to Washington, Scully conceded to stay in Fairwater for the night. However, she refused to stay at rundown hotel that Dammers had picked out for them. The new place wasnít much better, but at least itwasnít next door to the cemetery.
††††††††††† Mulder had offered to stay with her for the night. Scully had politely refused the offer. She just asked that he make sure the next place she found herself in was Washington. Now that she realized her infection was causing fevered delusions she was sure that she could handle them. Right now one of those delusions was watching her from where he stood by the window. It was amazingly real, but she knew that it couldnít be.
††††††††††† The bluish illusion was a large man with long hair and an extremely square jaw. He almost looked familiar, but she met so many people every day that they tended to blur together. It wasnít the fist image sheíd seen lately. This particular apparition had been with her at the hospital, along with about twenty others, and of course there was the time she thought sheíd seen Agent Dammers.
††††††††††† The man didnít move, unlike at the hospital. Her fevered imagination had certainly been overactive then. He had actually attacked another one of the blue images when it had tried to touch her while the doctor was trying to clean up the angry marks. Now he just seemed content to watch and wait.
††††††††††† Scully decided that her first order of business upon returning to Washington was to get a series of CAT scans and perhaps an MRI for good measure. Even though her back didnít hurt anymore the drugs had made the visions increasingly vivid so she concluded that they must the result of a neurological disorder. When Agent Dammers stepped through the wall and into the room Scully was finally convinced that she was slowly going insane. She closed her eyes and stiffened her resolve to not bring her malaise to Mulderís attention.
††††††††††† "Your're late."
††††††††††† "Iím sorry Kabal, but they donít let spirits just waltz into the Monastery and leaf through the Necronomicon. Theyíve got guards against our type." Dammers snapped.
††††††††††† "Did you get the spell?"
††††††††††† "Are you going to keep your end of the bargain?"
††††††††††† "Of course." A toothy grin spread across Kabalís face. "How does this first part work?"
††††††††††† "Just put your hands on the symbol of Cthulhu on her back and Ďstep insideí."
††††††††††† Scully hadnít been able to block out the audio as easily as the visual. When she thought Agent Dammers was talking about her she snapped her eyes open. Kabal was looking at her with a lupine gleam in his translucent eyes. Scully trembled at the thought that her imagination was capable of coming up with this deranged play.
††††††††††† "This isnít happening." Scully voiced out loud to convince herself.
††††††††††† "Donít worry mortal, this will all be over soon enough." Kabal informed her in an overly saccharine tone.
††††††††††† Scully backed up against the wall despite her refusal to believe any of this was real. Kabal came across the room in two steps and grabbed her shoulders. She gasped as his touch not because of its icy sting, but just from the fact she could feel it in the first place. Scully didnít offer any resistance when Kabal turned her around and pressed her against the wall. There was no sense fighting a dream, which was her latest conclusion. Iím probably still at the hospital in a morphine induced haze.
††††††††††† Confident that she was safely somewhere else Scully was relatively calm when Kabal slipped his liquid nitrogen hands up her sides, onto her back, and into her soul. With a blinding white flash Scully no longer had to worry about the difference between what was real and what was simply a blue image.
††††††††††† Kabal pushed away from the wall and stumbled back after momentarily losing his balance. The transition from life to death had been unusual enough, but being in a female body made it even harder to adjust. His whole perspective had changed. More especially it had been lowered about a foot and a half.
††††††††††† "Meet me at the museum." Kabal instructed Dammers. Obedient as any dog the dead Agent walked off through the wall.
††††††††††† There was a full-length mirror on the bathroom door that Kabal walked over to in order to inspect his temporary mortal form. He had no complaints about the basic body plan. However, he despised the shoulder-length hair. Kabal ran Scullyís fingers through her hair. Taking a hold of it he stretched her arms above her head, magically lengthening the red strands. When he let go it cascaded halfway down her back and sprung into large lock curls. Experimentally flipping his new hair back Rita Hayworth style, Kabal decided that it was a marked improvement.
††††††††††† The only thing he needed now was a change of wardrobe and heíd be ready to face the world that he would soon dominate. Without his amulet his powers were somewhat limited, but that would change. Using what magic that resided naturally in his spirit he transformed the mannish slacks into a dangerously short black skirt with a slight cheerleader outfit flare. He kept the white blouse with the short black jacket. He like the look it gave: professional, yet slutty. Heíd always been concerned with appearerance to a certain degree. Unlike his brother who had been a fashion victim from the womb. As an after-thought he mutated the jacket into black leather.
††††††††††† "Now that weíve prepared for future pleasures, itís time for the presentís business."
††††††††††† Kabal made a throaty noise that may have passed for a chuckle in a more masculine voice. He walked over to the wall that was shared with Mulderís room. He gave the paper thin barrier a quick knock. It only took a few seconds for Mulder to repeat the noise on the door.
††††††††††† "Come in." Kabal said as more of a command than request.
††††††††††† "Scully? What the hell hap..."
††††††††††† "Quiet!" Kabal snapped.
††††††††††† He fixed his glare on Mulderís green eyes and was able to instantly hypnotize him. He had been so completely trusting that it hadnít even been a challenge. A half-rate stage magician could probably get this one, he thought to himself. It was no matter, in fact it made his life a bit easier.
††††††††††† "Down." Kabal instructed.
††††††††††† Mulder complied with the vague command and got down on his knees. Now that the tall Agent was down at his level Kabal was able to take a closer look. He turned Mulderís head to either side to see the manís interesting profile. Peeling his upper lip back Kabal inspected Mulder like he was looking to buy a horse.
††††††††††† "Any health problems? Diabetes? Heart conditions? Anything?"
††††††††††† "No." Mulder answered vacantly.
††††††††††† "Good." Kabal tilted Mulderís head back so he could kept him in direct eye contact. "I detest surprises."
††††††††††† Breaking the rental car terms of contract Kabal and Mulder drove over a few state lines line and into New York. Kabal wanted to be at the Metropolitan Museum as quickly as possible. There was no question in his mind that Anton would be along sooner or later to spoil his fun. Just in case his pesky younger brother had made it to the museum ahead of him Kabal practiced the limits of his magic along the way. Most of it was directed upon the mortals passing by on the highway.
††††††††††† The result of his tinkering kept the local ERs up all night trying to patch up accident victims. Most of which were ranting about dragons and other unusual phenomenon running them off the road. As they sped closer to the heart of the Big Apple the motorist became less and less perturbed by the illusions that Kabal kept conjuring up. Of all of Earthís mortals Kabal liked the New Yorkers the best, nothing phased them.
They arrived at their destination half an hour before closing. Strutting about the old museum Kabal caught the eye of every male guard that was on duty that night. However, when it came time to lock the doors they mysteriously over looked the redheadís presence and that of her male companion. With a quick sleep spell it wasnít long before they had the whole place to themselves.
††††††††††† Dammers was there rambling a chant to himself to ensure he didnít forget any of the cryptic words. As he paced about his glowing imaged passed though various artifacts on display. When he absent-mindedly tried to walk through one of the glass display cases he hit something solid. Startled by the unexpected contact Dammers looked down to see what had interrupted his mantra.
††††††††††† The only thing in the case was a large metal medallion. It was circular with symbols impressed into it and a blood red stone set in the pewter like metal. Suddenly there was a pressure in his chest that quickly escalated to pain, like someone was crushing his heart. Dammers fell to the floor. The medallion did not appreciate having spirits getting too close.
††††††††††† "Ah, there you are my precious." Kabal cooed as he came up to the display case.
††††††††††† Kabal clenched her hand into a fist and effortlessly broke through the glass barrier. There was no alarm to trip on the relic because the museum curator couldnít even begin to understand its value. Lifting the necklace out of the shards Kabal secured it around Scullyís neck. He stood motionless for a moment just breathing in the charm's power.
††††††††††† His moment of reflection was interrupted by the ominous click of a gun being cocked right behind him. The noise of the glass being shattered hadnít upset the slumbering museum guards, but it had snapped Mulder out of from under Kabalís spell. Kabal snarled at Dammers who had just recovered and had not sufficiently warned him. Dammers backed away, he hated it when she did that.
††††††††††† "Hands where I can see them!" Mulder demanded trying to keep the panic out of his voice.
††††††††††† "Calm down," Kabal said coolly "Agent..."
††††††††††† "Mulder." Dammers provided.
††††††††††† "Stay out of this Dammers!" Mulder snapped before he even realized what heíd said. "Dammers? Youíre responsible? I should have seen that coming. What have, are, you doing to her?!"
††††††††††† "Itís out of my hands now, Agent Mulder." Dammers replied.
††††††††††† Kabal went to turn around. Mulder pressed the gun muzzle into her lower back. "Donít even think about it."
††††††††††† "You would kill your own partner?" Kabal questioned mockingly.
††††††††††† "You are not my partner and I have no compunctions about shooting you."
††††††††††† "I may not be Ďherí, but Iím certainly enjoying her mortal flesh. It may be weakly feminine but itís better than the alternatives."† Kabal gestured towards the insubstantial Dammers.
††††††††††† "Youíre lying." Mulder insisted. He reached out and tugged on her long hair, finding it to be real. "Are you the president as well as a member? If youíre going to impersonate someone itís best not to tinker with the details."
††††††††††† "Iíll prove it to you."
††††††††††† Kabal hated pandering to the paranoid Agent, but he couldnít afford to lose his newly acquired body. By inhabiting a mortal he took on all of her weaknesses. He slowly slipped off the black jacket and swept up her hair up to expose the bloodied white blouse. Kabal was trying to display the cuts on her back as proof, but that wasnít what caused Mulder to holster his firearm.† Mulder was staring at the small scar at the back of Scullyís neck from her abduction that Kabal had revealed.
††††††††††† "What do you want?" Mulder asked in a defeated tone.
††††††††††† Slipping the jacket back on Kabal turned around and snared Mulder into his hypnotic trance again. Now that he had his amulet back there wasnít a human will in the world strong enough to resist it. However, direct eye contact was still key when it came to holding it through any kind of distraction. Walking over to a Bronze Age display Kabal went to retrieve an ornate silver knife. Learning from experience he melted a hole in the protective glass instead of breaking it.
††††††††††† "Come." Kabal commanded both Agents.
††††††††††† They followed him into the next room that held a collection of tapestries on the wall leaving the floor open. Kabal lead Mulder to the center of the room and pushed him down on his knees. He yanked off Mulderís jacket and used the recent acquired knife to cut the back of his shirt open.
††††††††††† "Get over here." Kabal snapped at Dammers who was standing by the wall. When he mustered the courage to come closer Kabal tried to hand him the knife.
††††††††††† "What are you doing?" Dammers refused to take hold of the weapon. He backed up when he felt the medallion trying to force him away.
††††††††††† "You have to make the symbol."
††††††††††† Kabal was not about to explain himself to the worm of a ghost. He set the knife down on the floor and glared at Dammers in away that made it clear that this was non-negotiable. Kabal knew that he would never be able to keep the mortal still if he didnít keep him hypnotized. He had misjudged Mulderís will before. Kabal was certain that the unexpected shock of the knife would be more than enough to free him from the spell again. He couldnít do both things at once. So as much as he hated to admit it he still needed Dammers help.
††††††††††† "Remember our deal Dammers? If you want over to the other side I strongly suggest you pick up that knife."
††††††††††† Dammers sighed and gathered up the silver knife. It had taken a while to learn how to move material objects, but he had gotten good at it. Kabal kneeled in front of Mulder which dampened the repellent force of the necklace. When Dammers placed the knife on the back of Mulderís neck the captive man didnít even flinch. He traced out a symbol, similar to the one Scully carried, across Mulderís shoulder blades three times while chanting the words he had stolen from the Necronomicon.
††††††††††† Mulder didnít move, but Dammers could tell by the beads of sweat that he was trying his hardest to fight Kabalís hold. He knew Mulder didnít have much of a chance of escape. Taking a deep breath Dammers steeled up enough courage to make the symbol official. When Dammers was done he dropped the knife and backed away. Kabal released Mulder so that he could stand behind him. Mulder was too shaken by the shock and exertion to move any more than a slight trembling.
††††††††††† "What are the words?" Kabal asked.
††††††††††† "Um, Clatu, Verata, Nictu."
††††††††††† "Clatu!" Kabal repeated in a resounding voice. "Verata! Nicto!"
††††††††††† "Nictu!" Dammers corrected desperately.
††††††††††† Too little, too late. Kabal placed Scullyís tiny palms on the gory design on Mulderís back and all Hell broke loose. Suddenly: Scully found her hands covered in Mulderís blood while at the same time the rest of her didnít seem to be covered by much of anything, Mulder found himself oddly displaced from his body with his entire field of vision suffused with a incandescent glow, Dammers was paralyzed with the fear of what heíd just done and what Mulder was probably going to do to him, and Kabal was happily male once again. When Anton and Sam burst in on the cozy little scene everything froze for a moment.
††††††††††† "Kabal!" Anton shouted, breaking the silence. He was not quite sure which one of the pair was his enemy.
††††††††††† "Itís so good to see you again brother." Kabal spat sarcastically.
††††††††††† "The pleasure is all mine. Kabal youíre not going to win this one."
††††††††††† "Try and stop me!"
††††††††††† Kabal was still down on Mulderís knees with Scully at his back. He whipped around and grab her and the discarded knife at the same time. Springing to his feet he held Scully to his chest by pressing the blade to her throat. "It would be a shame to lose one of your precious mortals, especially one so sweet." Kabal reached down with his free hand and spread it across her belly and embraced her closer.
††††††††††† "Hey!" Mulder cried. "Get my filthy hands off her!"
††††††††††† When Mulder went to attack his own back Kabal was forced to turn around to defend himself from Mulder reclaiming his mortal form. Suddenly free Scully stepped a few steps away and shook her head trying to clear her blurred vision. Anton took the open shot and conjured up a force wave to push Kabal to the floor. It worked but when he went to attack Kabal again Scullyís sight had returned. She stepped between the two men, gun drawn to protect her fallen partner.
††††††††††† "Thatís a good girl." Kabal chuckled as he unsteadily got up off the floor.
††††††††††† "Please, get out of the way." Anton pleaded. "You donít understand."
††††††††††† "Stay back." Scully glanced over at Sam who was flanking her. When her hair unexpectedly fell in front of her face she jerked back. Sam tried to take advantage of the distraction. "Stop! Get over there, where I can see you both. Now!." She indicated that she wanted Sam to stand next to Anton with a quick motion of the gun.
††††††††††† "Scully,"† Mulder tried to get her attention† "I think theyíre trying to help, thatís not me. Can you hear me?"† When it looked like she couldnít he went over to touch her.
††††††††††† Kabalís amulet that Scully still wore reacted violently to the idea that a spirit might be trying to touch it. With a blinding flash that only Mulder could see the magical pendant sent him flying through the insubstantial wall and into the next room. He tried to get back to the fray, but he couldnít even find the energy to get off the floor.
††††††††††† Meanwhile Scully continued to threaten Anton and Sam unaware of the events in the metaphysical plane that surrounded her.† Anton did not have time for this. He forced her to drop the weapon by quickly heating it. Scully released the gun unwillingly.† Kabal saw what his brother was up to and pushed her forward to create a distraction.
††††††††††† "Sam, hold her! Iíll get Kabal." Anton instructed.
††††††††††† Sam seized Scullyís wrist only to have Scully quickly turn the tables by whipping Sam around and pinning her arm behind her back in standard police fashion. Scully jerked Samís arm painfully to stop her from struggling. When she thought she had the woman under control she glanced over to see what Anton was up to. Anton had retrieved the silver knife and had plans of finishing off mankindís greatest enemy with it. Of course thatís not how Scully saw things.
††††††††††† Forcing Sam stumbling forward to keep her out of the way for a second Scully turned her attention to Anton. Grabbing his shoulder she whirled him around. Anton had been about to finish what he started when his orientation had been violently rearranged. Despite his efforts to stop, his momentum drove the sharp point of the knife into Scullyís stomach.
††††††††††† The pair froze with the same expression of shocked surprise spread over their features. Snapping out of his momentary trance Anton hastily ripped the weapon out of itís fleshy anchorage. Gasping from the violent action Scully fell back to the floor. Kabal laughed so hard he almost hurt himself.
††††††††††† "Looks like youíve got a problem: save her, or get me. Either way some mortals are going to die. Think fast." Kabal laughed again and fled the scene. Sam started after him.
††††††††††† "No! Let him go Sam." Anton stopped his wife verbal. "You canít fight him alone."
††††††††††† "Then leave her and come help me!"
††††††††††† Anton hesitated.
††††††††††† "Sheís not worth losing the rest of the human race." Sam said rationally.
††††††††††† Anton looked down at Scully mournfully. She was lying on the floor panting and looking around with unseeing eyes. She didnít make any noise and remained relatively calm. The blood that slowly seeped from her side was dark to the point of almost being black. Anton knew that signified heíd struck the hepatic portal vein in her liver.
††††††††††† That was unfortunate, it would take a good hour or two for her to bleed to death. Despite the lengthy time frame no amount of human medical attention would be able to correct the damage. He didnít want to leave her here to die slowly. Yet he knew he could never strike her again, even to end her suffering. When Anton saw that she still had possession of Kabalís amulet he made his decision.
††††††††††† "Kabal wonít get into too much trouble, weíll get him later. If we hurry I can still get her blood off my hands."
††††††††††† "All right." Sam sighed. "But I think weíre making a mistake." She knew deep down that she didnít mean that. She wouldnít love Anton so much if he was capable of letting this woman die.
††††††††††† "Come on Sam, letís go home."
††††††††††† "I canít believe this!" Sam snapped. Her New Yorker background had a hard time dealing with ungrateful people. As far as she was concerned right now Scully was being exactly that. "We saved your life."
††††††††††† "What youíve done is kidnap a Federal Agent, and I demand that you release me at once!"
††††††††††† Scully tugged on her short skirt trying to make the fabric longer through sheer force of will. After Anton had healed her wound, with a little help from the Monitor, she had become increasingly difficult to deal with. Sam and Anton tried desperately to explain the whole situation to her, they even offered her protection from Kabal. However, she refused to believe any of it. She didnít remember enough about the scene in the museum to back up their story. The amulet had blinded her from seeing any spirits so she didnít even know about Mulder.
††††††††††† "Whereís Mulder?" Scully demanded flipping her long hair back in an irritated manor. "Where is he?!"
††††††††††† "Havenít you been listening? You canít tell this woman anything!" Sam stated to the room in general. She was beginning to think that they should have let her die. At least that way they wouldnít have to separate the pair. As far as she knew the only way to kill Kabal was to destroy the body heíd stolen.
††††††††††† "Let me go!" Scully panicked when the room went silent for a moment. "Please! I have to find Mulder."
††††††††††† "This oneís loyal to a fault." Anton muttered under his breath. He was finding this much more amusing than Sam was. Of course he was mainly entertained by the way the women were interacting. Which really wasnít fair considering the Agent was obviously scared halfway out of her wits.
††††††††††† "Look, heís not th..." Sam started in a tone that was only managing to ruffle the Agentís feathers rather than calm her down.† Anton stopped her rant by gently tugging on her shirt sleeve.
††††††††††† "Youíre absolutely right, Agent Scully, we have no right to hold you here. I apologize deeply for any angst we may have caused." He moved away from the large front door bringing Sam with him. "You are free leave at anytime, but I strongly suggest you take our offer of protection."
††††††††††† "I can take care of myself." Scully stated firmly. She squared her shoulders trying to look more in control, but it only served to hike the uncomfortably short skirt up higher. Abandoning her attempt to remain modest she walked confidently to the exit.
††††††††††† "Anton, you canít le..."
††††††††††† "Itís okay Sam."
††††††††††† Scully opened the large wooden door and brazenly stepped out onto the front porch. She froze solid at the sight of the Mordridsí Ďfront yardí. At first glance it seemed like the house was situated on top of a small mountain above an ordinary tropical rain forest bordered by the sea. However the vast expanse of the ocean that consumed the eastern horizon was not the deep blue tint Scully was accustom to. Instead it had an emerald hue that was poorly mimicked by the light green sky. The bizarre grass coloured firmament was home to a host of various sized moons. They shone brightly despite the daylight that was being provided by a binary sun system that consisted of a large red sun that was being quickly circled by a smaller yellow orb.
††††††††††† Slackjawed, Scully slowly backed up into the house and slammed the door shut. Turning around she fixed her wide-eyed stare on the couple. Both of them had lopsided grins on their faces. She tried to ask for an explanation, but† she could barely manage a stutter. Anton chuckled and casually moved toward her. Scully put her hand up to show that this little incident had not made them sudden friends.
††††††††††† "What did you give me?" Scully successfully demand.
††††††††††† "Excuse me?" Anton asked politely.
††††††††††† "I want to know exactly what kind of drug trip Iím on!"
††††††††††† "I can assure you that this is all very real. Welcome to Anad."
††††††††††† "So let me get this straight," Scully stated calmly "youíre a magician..."
††††††††††† "Sorcerer. " Anton corrected.
††††††††††† "Sorry, sorcerer, and the spirit of your dead brother took over my body, then broke into a museum to steal this magic trinket, that just happened to by lying around, only to use it to jump to Mulderís body, accidentally leaving me in possession of the amulet. Now he wants to kill me, take the necklace so that he," Scully laughed nervously "so that he can Ďtake over the worldí?† You donít really expect me to believe this do you?"
††††††††††† "Come on now," Sam chuckled "stranger things have happened."
††††††††††† "Name one."
††††††††††† It was half an hour before Mulder recovered from the magical blow. He had been unable to see what had become of everyone and what little heíd been able to hear he didnít understand. Stepping into the next room all he could see for a moment was the pool of dark blood. He knelt down next to the stain and tried to pick up the knife. Much to his frustration he was unable to hold onto the material object. The sound of someone clearing their throat suddenly echoing through the empty room almost startled Mulder over to the other side.
††††††††††† "Itís hers." Dammers confirmed coldly.
††††††††††† "What happened?"
††††††††††† "The crazy pair that disturbed everything tried to kill Ďyouí, Agent Scully got in the way and..." Dammers made a vague stabbing motion. "Right to the belly. They tried to help, but Iím sure her spirit is around here somewhere, if sheís not on the other side already."
††††††††††† Mulder didnít care that Dammers was already dead, he was going to kill him again. Dammers was not concerned when Mulder lunged at him. Just as he predicted Mulder passed right through him and the wall. When Mulder regain control and came back to face Dammers he was bristling with unmitigated rage.
††††††††††† "I didnít mean it like that, Agent Mulder, calm down. You asked, Iím just trying to tell you what happened." Dammers stated defensively. "Please try and control yourself. I want to help."
††††††††††† "I donít need or want your help. Youíve done enough damage." Mulder snapped. "Just stay out of my way. And if you get anywhere near Scully, dead or alive, again I will personally escort you to Hell."
††††††††††† "Thatís not a very professional view, Agent Mulder. Besides Iíve have quite enough of Agent Scully, believe me."
††††††††††† Mulder was just about to take offense to that last remark when another apparition joined them in the tapestry room. A tiny,wet, ratty ball of protoplasmic fur bounded up to Mulder and stared up at him through big buggy eyes expectantly.
††††††††††† "What is that?!" Dammers exclaimed.
††††††††††† "I think itís a dog." Mulder crouched down to the animalís level. "I donít believe it."
††††††††††† "Whatís not to believe, itís a dog. They die everyday. I see them all the time, theyíre just not usually so ugly. The little rat probably got hit by a bus."
††††††††††† "He was eaten by an alligator," Mulder clarified "this is Scullyís dog. He must have been following her ever since his untimely death."
††††††††††† "Charming. Itís still ugly."
††††††††††† "Yeah, and he has always hated me."
††††††††††† "Imagine that." Dammers sneered.
††††††††††† "What Iím saying is that he must be here for a reason or else he would still be with his master."
††††††††††† "Itís not Lassie, Agent Mulder, itís an over-grown rat."
††††††††††† "Amazingly enough I agree with you on both accounts, but I still think he knows where Scully is."
††††††††††† "Great, you want to ask for directions or shall I?"
††††††††††† "I thought you said you wanted to help."
††††††††††† "Only because I think I may have unleashed a destructive force the world has ever known." Dammers retorted, then he continued to himself. "Luckily he didnít get the words right, which is why youíre here Iím guessing, but that wonít slow him down for too long, sooner or later heíll get his powers back, and then this mortal coil is in for it, not too mention the havoc
heíll wrack on the other side when he gets around to it, I should have recognized him..."
††††††††††† "Yip!" The dog exclaimed.
††††††††††† "Iím with you, Quequage," Mulder said to the dog "this guy is a total nut job. Letís go find that troublesome human of yours, shall we?"
††††††††††† "Iím not the one talking to a dead dog." Dammers snarled and then begrudgingly followed the mismatched pair of mutt and man.
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††††††††††††††† **************
††††††††††† Quequage led Mulder and Dammers through half of New York -literally. When the tiny dog finally stopped they found themselves in a large apartment. There were antiques and old leather bound books covering almost ever available surface along with a full size cappuccino machine. On the far wall was an Old World style map of the world and the adjoining wall
contained a number of video screen. All in all it was an interesting abode to say the least.
††††††††††† "Tacky." Dammers commented.
††††††††††† Mulder ignored his negative companion. There was something odd about the Ďfeelí to this place that Mulder couldnít place due to his lack of experience as an Earth bound emanation. Dammers knew it was the energy vibrations caused by a strong magical force, but he felt no reason to share the information.
††††††††††† Mulder was not really interested in the transcendental properties of the room. He was more concerned with the trail of splattered blood that marred the inlaid wood floor. The path had lead all the way down the carpeted hallway, across the apartment floor, and right up to the large map. At the map the trail simply stopped. There was no pool of blood or any other sign that Scully had stopped or been set down there.
††††††††††† Mulder came to the conclusion that the room continued beyond this Ďwallí. He looked around for a way to open a hidden door.† After muttering a few choice words about his own intelligence he simply stepped through the barrier. He was disappointed to find that the only thing on the other side of the wall was the grimy outside world of New York city. Mulder came back inside.† Quequage was up on his back legs walking around in circles like a circus dog.
††††††††††† "Well Lassie weíve found the abandoned well, now whereís Timmy?"
††††††††††† Before the animal could even being to ignore the rhetorical question the map behind Mulder cracked open with a gush of hot air. Dammers yelped and scrambled out of the apartment. Quequage took Dammersí example and hustled through the closed door.
††††††††††† "Get back here you cowards!" Mulder called after them. "Youíre already dead, what else could possibly happen?"
††††††††††† Despite his bold words Mulder did back away a bit. He tried to see what was happening but a blinding light was pouring out of the fissure in the wall. When the luminance subsided three people had suddenly materialized. Much to Mulder relief one of them happened to be Scully, alive and well. She didnít seem to notice him. Scully reached down and swiped her fingertips through the dark blood on the floor. After inspecting it for a second she absent-mindedly rubbed the stain off on the black slacks that she now wore. Anton had also managed to return her hair to almost normal.
††††††††††† "You still donít believe any of this, do you Agent?" Anton remarked with a smirk.
††††††††††† "Truthfully? No."
††††††††††† "Well you better start, if you want to save this rock." Sam snapped, she was losing patience fast.
††††††††††† "I see youíve made a new friend." Mulder commented dryly.
††††††††††† "Look," Scully retorted with equal exasperation "I just want to find my partner and/or wake up from this delusional nightmare."
††††††††††† Sam was about to pinch Scully, in part just to prove to her that this wasnít a dream. Anton saw her intentions and pulled her away. "Girls, please. We're going to have to work together if we want to find ĎAgent Mulderí."
††††††††††† "Iím not going to let you hunt him down just so you can try to kill him again."
††††††††††† "We wonít be that rash this time," Anton assured her "but we still have to find him. Now letís just regroup for a second and think about where he might be heading."
††††††††††† "Iím right here." Mulder insisted.
††††††††††† "Theyíre not talking about you." Dammers suddenly interjected. "They canít see us."
††††††††††† "Why not? Scully saw you before, right?"
††††††††††† "True. Although as a general rule humans canít see us, she could just be denying that she sees us."
††††††††††† "Scully wouldnít do that to me. Something must have changed."
††††††††††† "In any case what we need is an interpreter, we have to stop Kabal before he goes for the Necronomicon."
††††††††††† "The Necronomicon? What makes you think heíll be after that?"
††††††††††† "Where else would he go? We have to warn them. Bannister can see spirits. But they wonít stay here long enough for Frank to get here. No, we need them to go to Fairwater." Dammers mused to himself.
††††††††††† "Can you touch physical things?"
††††††††††† "Yes. But that wonít help. They wonít know itís us and weíll just frighten them. The last thing we want to do is startle a sorcerer."
††††††††††† "Follow me." Mulder ignored the advice and led Dammers over to the phone. "555-1013."
††††††††††† "That wonít help, our voices donít travel over phone lines. Bannister still wonít be able to hear us."
††††††††††† "Just dial."
††††††††††† Dammers glared at Mulder for a second, but then complied with the request. As the phone rang it was immediately echoed by the sound of Scullyís cell phone. She retrieved the tiny phone from her leather jacket.
††††††††††† "Scully." She answered and waited a minute. "Hello?"
††††††††††† "Who is it?" Anton asked.
††††††††††† "No one." She hung up only to have it ring again. "Scully." She answered again. "Thereís still no one there."
††††††††††† "I donít see how this is getting us anywhere, Agent Mulder." Dammers said pessimistically.
††††††††††† "Have faith, sheíll figure it out." Mulder replied confidently.
††††††††††† Annoyed by the dead line Scully pressed a few numbers into the glowing key pad. A few seconds later the phone over by the door rang. Anton furrowed his brow and went over to answer it.
††††††††††† "Hello?" Antonís greeting reached Scullyís ear in stereo.
††††††††††† "Thatís strange." Scully muttered to herself staring down at the slim black phone for a moment. "Heís here."
††††††††††† "What?" Sam asked. "Who?"
††††††††††† "Mulder, that was him. I canít explain it, but its the only way this makes sense."
††††††††††† "I told you she was quick." Mulder gloated.
††††††††††† "It still doesnít get them any closer to Fairwater." Dammers pointed out.
††††††††††† "Just wait."
††††††††††† "Are you saying his spirit is here?" Anton asked looking around. "Can we talk to him?"
††††††††††† "I... I guess so." Scully responded still not certain if any of this was possible. "I canít see him, but then again I donít see Quequage anymore either. Something must have changed."
††††††††††† "We need to talk to him." Anton insisted.
††††††††††† "I..." Scully hesitated "I think I know someone in Fairwater who can help."
††††††††††† "Agent Scully," Frank greeted "and company, weíve been expecting you. I hope what your colleague spooks have to say isnít true." He looked around and lowered his voice. "I mean Dammers has never really been all there, and no offense, but your partner doesnít seem to fly quite straight either."
††††††††††† "That would be Mulder. At least thatís confirmation that heís here." Scully replied. "This is Dr. Anton Mordrid and his wife Samantha."
††††††††††† "Donít leave them out on the front step, Frank!" Lucy called from the living room.
††††††††††† "Of course, sorry," Frank apologized "come in."
††††††††††† When the trio stepped past him Frank stared at the marks that glowed right through Scullyís jacket. Lucy hadnít been kidding, it was weird. If he didnít know any better heíd say she was a direct path to the other side. He suddenly realized that he actually didnít know better. After what heíd heard she could be exactly that. Curiosity winning over caution Frank reached out and touched her jacket. He found himself staring down the barrel of what appeared to be a 9mm gun faster than he thought humanly possibly.
††††††††††† "Whoa." Frank put hands up in a sign of submission.
††††††††††† "Sorry," Scully holstered the weapon "Iím a bit on edge."
††††††††††† "Thatís totally understandable, my fault."
††††††††††† They joined the rest who were in the tidy living room introducing each other. Scully looked about for a second half expecting to see Mulder. All she saw was a beautiful house right out of Architectural Digest. It overlooked all of Fairwater and from here she could see a charming garden out through the sliding glass doors.
††††††††††† "Well I hope we can help." Lucy spoke up suddenly. "But Iím not really sure where to start."
††††††††††† "You and your husband can see spirits?" Anton asked.
††††††††††† "Thatís right."
††††††††††† "Yeah, itís gotten us into more trouble than I care to admit." Frank added. "I can also see something on Agent Scully that I swear looks like a path to the other side. And I donít want to sound rude but something doesnít look quite right with Anton either."
††††††††††† "That reminds me," Anton added "Agent Scully says that she used to be able to see the things you do, but now she canít.† Any theories?"
††††††††††† "Has she always had that necklace?" Lucy asked. "I donít remember it and itís a bit hard to miss."
††††††††††† "No, she recently got that from Kabal. We had her keep it because I couldnít think of a safer spot for it." Anton answered for her.
††††††††††† "Agent Mulder and Dammers both say that the charm on it keeps them from getting too close." Frank translated for the spirits.
††††††††††† "So itís probably keeping her from seeing them as well." Sam said putting the pieces together.
††††††††††† "Agent Scully," Anton tried to bring the suddenly quiet woman into the conversation "take off the necklace and put it down."
††††††††††† Scully sighed, this was quickly become too much. If it wasnít for Mulder being missing she would have gone home long ago. She took off the necklace as asked and placed it on the coffee table. Looking up she yelped in surprise at the sight of her glowing partner. She hadnít thought that it would actually work.
††††††††††† "Itís all right, Scully." Mulder approached her and she backed away. "I know this is hard for you."
††††††††††† "Why canít she just accept this?" Sam snapped when she saw Scully turn pale.
††††††††††† "Because itís against her nature." Mulder replied and Frank reiterated for Sam to hear.
††††††††††† "Can we get back to the problem at hand?" Dammers interrupted. "You gave me an idea, Bannister, run this past Mordrid. Agent Scully was meant to be a gate to the another dimension, due to complications sheís become a kind of pathway that allows spirits into her body. Iím willing to bet that her spirit form would be a direct path to the other side. If Mulder could push Kabal out of his body and through her to the other side it would seem that all our problems would be solved."
††††††††††† "Agent Dammers has a point." Anton mused. "It uses some magic Iím not entirely familiar with, but if we could get Kabalís spirit over to the human afterlife he wouldnít be able to cause any more trouble. Frank, do you think Agent Dammersí theory holds water, so to speak?"
††††††††††† "From what the Agents have told me, yes I believe that if sheís a gate into mortal world as a mortal than as a spirit she would indeed be a gate into the other side."
††††††††††† "Excuse the callous question," Sam interrupted "wouldnít it be safer to kill Agent Mulderís body and force Kabal back into the spirit world again where he canít do any damage?"
††††††††††† "Thereís two problems with that idea." Dammers answered. "First of all Kabal would come right back to Agent Scully to get back into the mortal world, and now that he knows of the Necronomicon he can make his own gate out of anyone if we tried to stop him by killing Agent Scully as well."
††††††††††† "Wait a minute. There has to be another way." Mulder protested. "From what Iím hearing weíre going to have to kill Scully anyway to make Dammers' plan work."
††††††††††† Dammers shrugged.
††††††††††† "That might not be entirely true." Frank added after retelling Mulderís objection. "You could pull her spirit out of her body, like I did with Patricia, and then Agent Dammers could step in and keep her body alive while she was gone. If a spirit is removed from the body without being physically killed there is a five minute window to get back without tissue damage."
††††††††††† "Of course," Lucy joined in "weíd have to depend on the compliance of both Agent Dammers and Agent Scully."
††††††††††† "Iíve already made it clear that Iíve wanted to stop Kabal." Dammers answered.
††††††††††† "Yeah, but has anyone thought about what Agent Scully thinks of all this?" Lucy stated bring the fact that Scully had backed into the far corner to everyoneís attention.
††††††††††† "Scully..." Mulder started.
††††††††††† "This is crazy." Scully interrupted him. "I was willing to go along with this insane dream before, but this has gone too far. Iím not sure whatís going on here, but I donít believe a word of it. All I know is that this is all just some messed-up dream. Things like this donít happen in real life."
††††††††††† "Scully," Mulder continued "dream or not, please help us. Youíve been humouring me for five years now, one more time couldnít possibly hurt."
††††††††††† Before Scully could give her answer her cell phone rang. She automatically answered it, praying that it was reality calling.
††††††††††† "Agent Scully," A.D Skinnerís voice came over the tiny phone "where the Hell are you?"
††††††††††† "Itís a long story, Sir."
††††††††††† "Are you with Agent Mulder?"
††††††††††† "Not exactly."
††††††††††† "I think Agent Mulder may be dangerous. I just called his cell phone and he sounded a bit Ďoffí."
††††††††††† "He told me that he was going to," Skinner hesitated "ídestroy the Earthí."
††††††††††† "I know it sounds crazy, but thatís what he said. He also said that I should, let me see if I can get this right, Ďtremble in fear, for the mortal world shall soon be ashí. I think he may have finally lost it."
††††††††††† Scully looked up at the expectant faces of the four humans and two spirits. She thought about everything that had happened over the past few days and sighed.
††††††††††† "Agent?" Skinner inquired when she didnít respond. "What are you doing?"
††††††††††† "Iím going to go Ďsave the Earthí."
††††††††††† Scully stood next to Mulder in her new astral form in the old abandoned Fairwater hospital. Stepping out of her own skin had been the last straw that led her to resigning to the fact that this whole fiasco was worth playing out till the end.
††††††††††† Getting Kabal to come to Fairwater had been surprisingly simple. She had called Mulderís cell phone and asked him to meet her here. Kabal had been wary at first but Scully had convinced him that she still thought he was Mulder. The actual turning point in his decision had been when he learned she still had his necklace.
††††††††††† "How you are you holding up?" Mulder asked suddenly.
††††††††††† "Mulder, right now ĎIímí standing in the next room waiting for Ďyouí to come kill us all."
††††††††††† "Sorry, stupid question. At least when were done Mordrid says he can erase the marks on our backs."
††††††††††† "Great," Scully returned without any enthusiasm "even if we do survive all this, Skinner is going to roast us alive when we get back."
††††††††††† "Yeah, but youíve got to hand it to Kabal heís got dramatic flare. I love that bit about turning the world to ash. I wish I could have seen Skinners face. Donít worry, from what Mordrid told me of his last battle with Kabal this shouldnít be too difficult."
††††††††††† "Piece of cake, right?"
††††††††††† "Right." Mulder said not feeling as sure as he sounded.
††††††††††† "All right, guys," Frank interrupted coming into the room "itís show[[-]]time, Kabal just pulled up. Uh, Agent Mulder, did you have a red Ford Taurus?"
††††††††††† "Thatís our rental car, why?"
††††††††††† "I hope youíre insured."
††††††††††† Frank flashed him a nervous smile and ducked back to his hiding place. Frank and Anton were staying close in case something went wrong and Lucy and Sam were posted outside to give warning. Dammers was once again in Scullyís body and they were using him as bait to distract Kabal.
††††††††††† Mulder and Scully concealed themselves in the wall, and waited for their chance. The hardest part was going to be timing.† Once they got Kabal out of Mulderís body they had five minutes tops to get Mulder back in before there was irreversible tissue damage. To make matters worse they werenít exactly sure how to use the gate. So far Mulder had been very careful not to inadvertently touch her, lest he be sucked over to the other side prematurely.
††††††††††† "Agent Mulder." Dammers greeted Kabal.
††††††††††† "The amulet, give it to me."
††††††††††† "Itís good to see you too."
††††††††††† "Now, Agent Dammers! Iím not fooled by your mortal tricks, hand over my amulet and Iíll reconsider trapping you in that slutís body forever!"
††††††††††† Dammers had not been expecting Kabal to see through his disguise, and he didnít take Kabalís threat lightly. When Kabal twisted Mulderís face into an expression of pure animal rage he quickly took off the necklace and flung it into the next room. Kabal walked up and back handed Dammers hard enough to knock her to the floor and into oblivion.
††††††††††† When Kabal went to retrieve his amulet Mulder stepped out of the wall behind him to retrieve his body. Kabal hadnít gotten very far when Mulder ripped his spirit out of it fleshy shell. The two separated easily, which made Mulder wonder why malicious spirits didnít do this to people more often, then again maybe they do. Mulderís wandering thoughts were brought
back to the present situation by the heavy noise of his own inert body hitting the floor.
††††††††††† Kabal made an unearthly cry of fury that forced Mulder to release the sorcererís spirit. Scully stepped out to help only to get knocked half way through the abandoned hospital. She finally skidded to a stop in the autopsy bay. Feeling very out of place it took a second for her to just get her feet back under her. Frank had seen her fly by out of control and had rushed in to help.
††††††††††† "Agent Scully!" Frank called as he tried to steady her astral form.
††††††††††† "Iím all right, whereís Mulder?"
††††††††††† "Still fighting Kabal I hope."
††††††††††† "I mean where in the building." Scully snapped having been disoriented. "I have to get back there!"
††††††††††† "That way." Frank pointed towards the wall.
††††††††††† Scully cringed and then plunged through the dilapidated barrier leaving Frank alone. She stuck her head back through for a second. "The amulet! Go get it."
††††††††††† "Yes, Maíam."
††††††††††† Halfway back to the fray she almost collided with Mordrid. She shielded away from him. He couldnít see her and the`double effect of the amulet around his neck and the one in his hands was paralyzing her. Mordrid was trying to open the door to the antique elevator that had been working moments ago. He was afraid that an unseen Kabal would take the medallion from him. There was no way of knowing if the amulet would have the same adverise affect on the spirit of its master that it was having on Scully right now.
††††††††††† "Let me go!" Scully cried uselessly. "Frank, help! Get him out of here!"
††††††††††† "Anton, this way!" Frank yelled through the thin wall having heard Scullyís plea.
††††††††††† "Tell the whole world Iím here, Frank." Anton muttered to himself and tried once more to get the elevator working.
††††††††††† Anton hadnít heard Scully, but he had suddenly felt her desperation. Quickly backing out of the room the way heíd come he tripped on a discarded bed frame. Falling over he hit the floor and broke through it. Suddenly free Scully instinctively went over to the gap in the floor to see if Mordrid was okay. Anton was laying on his back, unharmed, having fallen on an old hospital bed.
††††††††††† Scully finally stumbled into the room where the whole disaster had started. ĎSheí was still lying unconscious on the floor next to Mulder. She couldnít help but stare at his dead, glassy-eyed stare. Almost losing her composure she was snapped back to the task at hand by the sound of Mulder and Kabal battling in the next room.
††††††††††† "Scully, help!"
††††††††††† She hesitated still not quite being able to understand the fact that he could be in two places at once. Seeing the two glowing figures tussling across the floor in the next room didnít really help her put any of this into perspective, but it did force her to act.† She rushed over and placed her hands on Kabalís glowing back, but it wasnít enough to cause the hoped reaction.
††††††††††† "Back off, you insufferable female spook!" Kabal snarled. Releasing Mulder he got up off the floor and turned to face her. A weary Mulder got about as far as his knees and stopped. "Youíre spoiling my fun. Anton was a fool to trust mortals to do a sorcererís work. Where is he? Was he too cowardly to face me himself?"
††††††††††† Scully ignored Kabal. "Mulder, get up. Youíre running out of time." She warned.
††††††††††† Turning around Kabal reached down, grabbed a hand full of Mulderís tattered shirt, and hauled him to his feet. Mulder tired to fight back, but Kabal threw him through the wall like a rag doll. The wall heíd gone through happened to be the exterior one making getting back a difficult task. Scully suddenly realized that they hadnít planned any of this out very well.
††††††††††† "Now that weíre alone..." Kabal said in a mocking tone.
††††††††††† He grinned like a wolf, seized Scullyís elbow, and drew her into a harsh kiss. She was about to give him a sharp knee to the groin that he wouldnít soon forget. However, when he placed his palm on the small of his back she restrained herself. In a desperate attempt to get him to run his hand up her back she returned the lecherous embrace by biting down firmly on his
††††††††††† Taken pleasantly by surprise Kabal increased the intensity of his assault. He had kissed her in the first place just to add insult to injury. He had never thought she would retaliate by returning the favour. When Kabal didnít move his hand Scully tried to back away. Caught in the moment Kabal used his other hand to stop her from drawing away and placed his broad palm square between Scullyís marred shoulder blades.
In a cataclysmic flash of blue light Kabal simply vanished. Knocked down by the force of hurtling the spirit to the afterlife Scully leapt back to her feet and scrambled into the next room. Both her own and Mulderís bodies were prone on the wooden floor.† The only difference was hers was still breathing.
††††††††††† "Mulder!" Scully cried. "Damn it, Mulder, get back here!"
††††††††††† Scully woke with a jerk not quite remembering what had happened during her last five minutes of consciousness. She kept hereyes shut not sure if she wanted to see what was around her. Several familiar voices were in the room chatting excitedly. The loudest of which was Anton Mordrid who was congratulating everyone on a job, if not gracefully, at least well done.
††††††††††† "I think sheís awake." An unfamiliar female voice suddenly announced.
††††††††††† Every muscle in her body felt sore so when one of the group came over to her she didnít even attempt to move away, or even open her eyes. Whoever it was knelt down next to her and ran a delicate hand through her hair.
††††††††††† "Scully? Everything is fine now, well, almost everything. You with us?"
††††††††††† It was the strange female again. Venturing a look around Scully slowly opened her eyes. There was a mirror right above her. Her reflection looked down on her with an odd expression of concern mixed with carefully reined mirth. There was only one person she knew that truly did that look well, and that was... Oh my God. Scully cringed at the sound of what she now realized to be her own voice as Ďsheí spoke again. The cringe was more a reaction to the connotation behind the words than the actual sound:
††††††††††† "I believe you have something of mine."
††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† *************