Rating: PG 13
Classification: Fluff City (But honestly...who wouldn't like
to see Mulder in nothing but a pair of leather chaps???
Oh...have I said too much? LOL) Case file with a difference.
Adult situations and some violence. Use reader discretion.
Disclaimer: Not mine, no profit, no harm.
Summary: ST: TNG Season 5 episode 114 of the same name
inspired this fic. (Yes I am a Trek geek as well) What if
something happened that cause partial amnesia in Mulder and
Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org Love all feedback.
"Look Mulder I don't like it anymore then you do, but we
have a job to do so just deal with it."
She was giving him a wickedly crooked smile as she gazed down
at him; his dusty shirt was tossed to the ground and his torso
was gleaming, tauntingly bare and covered with a sheen of
sweat from his hard work in the relentless sun. Before she
changed her mind and got carried away with her scrutiny, Agent
Scully flicked the edge of her hat, kicked her heels into the
side of her horse and broke into a gallop.
As he watched her ride back towards the farmhouse, her figure
outlined beautifully in the tight denims and black leather
chaps almost made Mulder think this undercover gig was worth
Dropping the sledgehammer to the ground, he wiped his brow
with his forearm and blew a waft of cold air over his face.
Two weeks they'd been working on this ranch as help hands and
still they had nothing to report. Having spoken nightly to
Skinner, who was adamant that they remain there until they had
something to call in, Mulder was now fully sure, as he glanced
back over the fifty back breaking fence posts he'd already
planted, that it was an obscure form of punishment, not an
"Hey, Cody. You about done with them posts?" Mulder
looked up to see, John Callaghan, the Ranch owner approaching
with two horses. Even after two weeks working on the ranch, he
still wasn't used to being called Cody.
"Just about." Mulder fitted the last one into the
hole by his foot and pounded it in securely. After securing
the last of the wire around it, he stood back to admire his
work and couldn't help the smile of pride that stretched over
his tired face.
"Good," John drawled, holding out the reigns from
one of the horses to Mulder.
"I just heard Tom calling everyone for supper."
Mulder rolled the hammer and wire tools he'd been using into a
blanket, then slid them easily into a shoulder bag on the back
of the saddle. The horse, John was holding steady for him,
looked around as he tied the latches, but Mulder patted the
animal's shoulder firmly in reassurance.
He reached for his shirt and pulled it on but left it open.
Thankful for the three-week horse-training course he'd taken
with Scully before coming on this case, he slipped his foot
into the stirrup and hoisted himself onto the horse easily.
With another firm pat to the horse's shoulder, Mulder flexed
the reigns and kicked the horse with his heels to catch up
with John, who was cantering ahead towards the ranch.
Dana Scully walked away from the stables and followed the
raucous voices coming from the food hall. She had worked with
horses before; in stables during summer breaks, but never had
she actually stayed on a ranch. She had taken on the role of
Ranch Doctor a week after Mulder joined. She slept at the main
house, sharing the space only with John Callaghan, who as far
as she could tell almost never slept. He was in the office
working every night when she bid him goodnight and went to her
room, and still there in the mornings when she rose for
The other six men who worked the ranch shared a smaller
4-bedroom house that boasted the largest kitchen she'd ever
been in, and a great dining room that reminded her of the dorm
common rooms at college, only much more rustic. It was filled
with a large table surrounded by ten chairs at one end, and
scattered with couches and chairs at the other. Three guitars
rested against the wall next to the huge marble fireplace and
pictures of various horses and ranch workers past and present,
lined the walls.
As she opened the door and walked in, the noise level paused
for a second as most of the men turned to see her and stood up
from their seats. The rest followed suit but they all cheered
when she waved them down with smile and a frown.
Mark walked over to her, taking her elbow to lead her to her
usual space in the middle of the table, then sat next to her,
his smile wide and undisguised.
"Thank you," she said as he poured her a glass of
water and placed it next to her plate.
"No problem Sarah. Anything else I can get you?" he
asked eagerly, too eagerly she thought.
"If Cody sees you sidling up to the Doc like that I don't
think he'd be happy."
The voice was Tom's, the ranch's cook. An elderly man who had
worked with the animals in his younger days, but who's failing
back had forced him into the gentler work of feeding the hoard
of ranch workers. Mark ignored him but Scully couldn't help
"Cody? Why wouldn't he be happy?" she asked
"You know damn well why he wouldn't be, young lady! I've
seen the way he looks at you and I know you've seen it
too!" She blushed under his watchful gaze and turned away
to concentrate on the floral pattern of the tablecloth, giving
him all the confirmation he needed.
"Well if Cody has something to say about it, Cody can say
it to me," Mark said full of gusto, the audience of the
workers giving him the courage he needed to speak his mind.
"Cody can say what to you?" Everyone turned to see
Mulder and John walking in. Mulder had donned a fresh shirt
and raked his unruly hair away from his face with his fingers.
His cheeks were flushed from the brief ride in from the field,
and his lips were curved into a lopsided smile as he spotted
Mark's proximity to Scully.
Everyone turned back to Mark who was sitting a little
straighter now, his face also flushed, but his eyes darting
around the room searching for solace.
"Just about the fencing we need to do on the back
yard," he muttered, much to the amusement of the rest of
them who promptly broke out into cheers and laughter.
"What's for dinner Tom?" Mark deftly changed the
subject as he stood up and walked to the fire to add more
Mulder walked across the room and purposefully sat across from
Scully, leaving Mark's chair empty to show there were no hard
feelings. Tom enlisted the help of Jack, who was sitting by
the fire strumming on a guitar, and Mark to help him serve the
food and soon the conversation was centered back on the ranch;
the duties that had been completed and the new ones that had
arisen during the day.
Every evening it was the same routine. Chow time was the
chance everyone had to catch up on the day's events and
reassess priorities if need be, air grievances and stuff. John
listened carefully to everyone's ideas and divided chores for
the following day.
Mulder admired his skill in leadership and knew all the men
respected him. Would give their life up for him, and work to
the bone everyday for this man. So the case bothered him even
more. To figure out why seven people that had been brutally
murdered, whose bodies were found in scattered locations
across the state, and had all worked on this ranch in the past
eighteen months. It was puzzling. It was the only common
ground found between all the victims and after extensive but
fruitless background checks on all the men here, Skinner authorized
an undercover operation.
Mulder glanced carefully around the table. Reaching for a
slice of bread, he watched the laughing faces of all the men
present as Jack told them all about how he found Sonny, who
sat opposite him his face flushing with humiliation, skinny
dipping in the lake with Mary-Ellen Griffen last Sunday.
Everyday out on the ranch, he relied on backup from all these
men whom he had become relatively close with. It was hard to
stay distant in such close confines. He always wore his ankle
holster though, and made sure Scully wore hers, but most of
the men went out into the fields armed in case of an encounter
with a bear or wildcat, so no one took any notice of it.
"Okay, okay, finish up now," Tom said as he stood up
from the table. "I wanna get this place cleared before
Plates were scraped clean and Scully offered to help, but she
was shooed away and steered over to the large blue couch by
the fire. Most of the men followed her with cries of
entertainment leaving Mulder, Tom and Sonny to clear the rest
The fire was stoked again and more logs were added as Jack
reached for his guitar and began to strum gently on the
strings. As Sonny joined the small crowd and took his seat,
with a dishtowel slung over his shoulder, Jack began to sing a
well-written parody song about skinny-dipping, much to the
amusement of the rest of the men. Sonny took the jibe well and
bowed at the waist when the song was over as the rest of them
Mulder and Tom joined them by the fire and as always,
surreptitiously, he did a quick head count. He spotted Scully
across the way and winked at her before letting his eyes
circle the crowd, counting everyone. John was seated regally
in a large black armchair that would have dwarfed a smaller
man, but barely held his large frame. Tom sat next to him and
Scully was seated next to Mark. Sonny was perched on the edge
of the fireplace and Jack on the small stool next to him, his
guitar on his knee.
That's only seven, he realized. Someone was missing. In all
the time he'd been here it was the first time someone was
missing. Mulder frowned letting his eyes wander around the
group, spotting and naming each face as his eyes fell upon it.
It was Jeff who was missing, he realized. They darted back to
Scully who had also noted the absence. He was about to stand
and make an excuse to leave when a loud crack of thunder
filled the air. The room lit up brightly as a fork of
lightning illuminated the night sky, then the room plunged
into an eerie darkness that was held at bay only by the fire's
"Whoo that was a whopper!" Tom said sipping his
coffee as if nothing had happened. "Looks like the
"I'll get the generator started," Mark said grabbing
a coat from the rack and racing out into the storm.
"Sonny, get them shutters fixed!" John called out
and Sonny jumped up to lock them shut and save them from
banging noisily against the walls.
"A thunder storm," Scully said almost in awe. Storms
in the city were annoying and usually a hindrance, but here in
Colorado it was a sight to be cherished. "It's
beautiful." She stepped closer to the window and peered
up into the angry clouded sky as the lightning danced across
it, followed shortly by the clatter of thunder.
"Sc... Sarah...step away from the window," Mulder
walked over to her and took her elbow but she brushed him
"Look! Look at the sky!" she said smiling, but
Mulder offered it only a quick glance before pulling her away
with a small degree of urgency. Just then Mark came bounding
in, his hair plastered to his head from the pounding rain,
bringing with him a gust of wind that scoured the room for a
release before fading. He shut the door and pulled off his
"The generator is empty. I need fuel."
"Leave it a while Mark, we'll manage by the fire,"
John said gesturing for everyone to take their seats again.
"C'mon Jack, you know the song I want to hear."
Jack smiled and pulled his guitar back into place, as everyone
got comfortable again. This time Mulder held onto Scully's arm
and led her over to the chair he'd been using. Sitting her
down comfortably, he perched on the wide arm and draped his
arm across the back of it. He lifted his leg to balance his
foot by her knee, twisting his ankle to the side to show
Scully the bulge of his gun if she needed it, but
before he could relax the fire was doused and the room was
forced into total darkness. Mulder reached for his gun but
before he could grab it, brilliant white lights shone in
through every window blinding them all for several seconds.
Mulder moved his body
to hide Scully's face, holding her against his chest and
burying her head against his shoulder. Then as suddenly as it
began it ended. The lights were gone and the fire was once
more lit. A little breathless and confused from the shock,
everyone glanced around the room at everyone else. Mulder held
his eyes tightly closed for a minute more to stave off the
dizziness, then realized he was holding someone tighter then
was probably comfortable for them.
"Sorry," he said,
stepping back as he opened his eyes, he looked down to the
small, undoubtedly female figure in his arms. Her eyes were a
cool blue and they looked up at him in wonder, as her small
face with delicate features, framed by locks of dark red hair
observed him. He didn't know why he was holding this beautiful
stranger but he was aware how much he was enjoying it.
"Is everyone ok?"
Turning to the source of the voice he saw an elderly man
wearing an apron, holding his hands out. Various agreements
circled the small crowd as everyone nodded, some of them
patting themselves down with instinctive checks for injury.
"What the hell
"What was that?"
Everyone spoke at once but
the man in the apron called for silence and quickly received
"Listen, I don't know
about you guys but I am having trouble remembering who you all
are...or for that matter...who I am." More grunts of
agreement circled the room as everyone's eyes turned to their
surroundings in search of clues.
"This looks like a work
house. A ranch workhouse." The younger man who stood by
the fire holding a guitar spoke up as he pointed towards the
photos of racehorses on the walls. "And it looks like I'm
this evenings entertainment!" he added and was rewarded
with a trickle of nervous laughter.
"If it is a ranch then
there will be employment records. Take a look around and see
if we can get some torches so we can see better. No point in
hunting in the dark!" the cook called out and everyone
fanned out to search the small house. Cody was reluctant to
leave this attractive stranger's side, but decided it better
to find out his name to introduce himself before he spoke to
The cook returned from the kitchen with four torches and
handed them out to some of the men.
"Go look in the main
house," he suggested. "And try the phone lines while
you are over there."
Cody, who had taken the
torch with some reluctance, followed two of the other men as
they ran from the door across the yard, and over to the main
farmhouse. It surprised him how they remembered the basic
information of the house and office locations and then finally
the filing cabinet, but no recollection of their names, or who
they all were had been retained. The man who'd been holding
the guitar grabbed the case in triumph and smiled at Cody
who offered a weak one in return.
Cody spotted the old style
analogue phone on the table and reached for it. Hesitating for
only a second he lifted the receiver up to his ear but it was
dead. Pressing the cut off button a few times made no
difference so he slammed it back into place.
"Lets get back."
Back by the fire the case
was handed to the cook who had seemingly taken control,
ensuring the fire was kept lit and hanging an old metal pot
over it to boil water for coffee.
"The phone lines are
"Probably down all over
the county, fuckin storm."
"Okay...Let's see who
we have here." The cook delved into the case and pulled
out a file. Opening it he looked down at the picture and then
over at one of the men.
Sonny all but snatched the file from him and opened it quickly
to see his own unfamiliar face looking back. He ignored the
rest of the names being called in an effort to study his own.
The cook held the file out to Cody and he gingerly took it,
stealing a glance at the woman he had only seconds ago held in
his arms. He tried to ignore the niggling doubt in his mind as
he opened the file and looked down at the photo of himself. It
was him, even if he didn't feel it inside.
"Jack Wilson." The guitar player took the file being
offered with a smile.
"Present!" he said
as if answering the roll call in school.
"Tom Kent...Oh that's
me! Looks like this apron wasn't lying! I am the cook!"
He laughed uneasily and placed the file on the table next to
him to reach for the others. "Sarah Whyte. Well I don't
suppose I need to look hard for you ma'am." He said
handing her the slim file. She was the only female in the
room, a small fact that she was sure no one had missed.
Looking down at the photo
she scanned the information and was surprised to see the
initials M.D. after her name. Doctor? She noticed, wondering
if she would remember how to be a doctor.
Mark took his file and escaped to the couch to read it.
"One left," Tom declared, reaching down for it.
"Jeff Parson." He read but his brow knitted into a
deep frown. The pictures in the file didn't match the
remaining man in the group.
"What is it?" The
cook looked up to the elder man who still remained without a
"It's not you."
Tom said as he laid it out on the table so everyone could see.
They all looked from the stranger to the photo and back again.
"Well then...who the
hell am I?"
"I think I know."
Sonny sat forward folding the pages of his own file
"John Callaghan. You're
my father. You own this ranch."
"That explains why you
wouldn't have an employment record," Tom laughed,
"Why would you have a
record for your own son?" Cody spoke up without thought.
"Well this isn't an
employment record for this ranch." Sonny passed it around
and everyone saw the mark of University of Texas on the sheet.
"Okay...so what the
hell happened?" John asked, standing up and fixing his
shirt with a sharp tug. "What's the last thing everyone
generator." Mark chimed in.
shutters," Sonny said.
lightning," Sarah offered knowing this was getting them
nowhere. As the doctor, she supposed she should be examining
everyone and checking for injury so she stepped into the center
of the tight group and hushed them all. "Listen. I'm a
doctor, I think maybe I should check everyone out, make sure
no one is hurt or anything."
"A doctor?" Sonny
She held up her file to show them and Tom nodded with
"It's a good idea. I
saw a medic kit in the kitchen. You can examine us one at a
time in my room. Through that door over there." He said
pointing to a door to the left beside the kitchen.
"How do you know that's
your room?" Cody asked, watching the elderly man with
"I was in there earlier
looking for torches and there's pictures of me with my family
on all the walls." Tom looked around at the motley group
and made eye contact with each one. "Look, I know we're
all feeling a mite vulnerable right now but we have to stick
together. Trust each other and see if we can get to the bottom
"Okay. I'll go
first." John stood up and followed Sarah into the small
room, taking a torch with him. The door closed on them and
Cody sat down heavily onto the chair behind him.
"This is no
accident," he muttered more to himself then anyone, but
Jack who stood by him turned around with a frown.
"You think someone did
this on purpose?"
"Mass amnesia has been
recorded in various circumstances usually revolving around
some kind of radiation exposure. But I don't think this ranch
has any plutonium deposits nearby."
"You've heard of
something like this before?" Jack asked drawing the
attention of the other men who inched closer, suspicion in
their eyes and apprehension on their faces.
Cody sat forward and dry washed his face. "I can feel all
this information in my head but I can't seem to recall how it
got there, or how I know."
"Same here." Jack
picked up the guitar and played a few notes. "Don't ask
me how I know this but here I am playing the guitar."
"I remember how to make
coffee," Tom said retrieving mugs from the kitchen and
dividing out some fresh coffee. Before drinking any he went
back to the kitchen and returned with a bottle of Jack
Daniels. "Just to calm the nerves!" he offered with
a wink and he passed the bottle round letting everyone add
their own measures.
Everyone fell into an uneasy
silence that was broken only by the sound of coffee being
sipped. John came out of the room adjusting his shirt and
regained his seat.
"Sonny you're up. Then
Jack, Mark, Cody and Tom." John had obviously taken to
his role of leader well as he accepted the drink from Tom and
claimed a large seat by the fire.
"Do you think we should
be looking for Jeff Parson?" Cody asked finishing his
drink and setting the cup down by his foot.
"Who?" Jack asked
looking up from his guitar.
"Hey Yeah, the extra
employment record. Maybe he's hurt out there?" Mark said.
"Or maybe he is the
cause of all this," John added quietly.
"The weather is too
rough out there to go hunting. Anyone who's out in that will
be under cover by now if they have any sense." Tom made
his suggestion seem final and John seemed to take it that way.
Feeling restless Cody stood
up and paced the room. Peering out the window into he darkness
beyond the rain, he felt and uneasy tingle down his spine like
he was being watched.
Sarah tied her hair back and
smiled at Mark as he left the room. She had limited tools and
reflective knowledge, which was returning only as she
instinctively picked up the instruments in the medical kit.
She took blood pressure, listened to heartbeats and lungs. She
checked their heads for trauma and examined their eyes and
ears, but so far had found nothing but prime examples of
various masculine torsos, honed by hard ranch work.
The rain outside banged
relentlessly against the window drawing her closer to look
outside. The sky was dark with clouds so she could only see a
few stars, but she instantly knew the constellations she could
"Hey." The voice
from the door startled her. She swung around and saw Cody
walking towards her. She blushed under his inspection and
turned back to the stars for a moment longer. "See
anything interesting?" he asked coming up behind her and
peering out into the darkness with her.
pointed out the wonderful sight of the planet breaking through
the clouds. "And next to that is Pisces. My star
"You remembering bits
and pieces too?" he asked glancing down at her.
"Yeah. It's strange.
Having thoughts I don't recognize, or traits I don't expect.
Saying and doing things I don't fully understand."
"Me too." He said
softly, and then added, "Is there anything
She glanced up at his hooded hazel eyes, wondering about the
feeling of safety and familiarity she had felt earlier as
she'd stood in the circle of his arms. Wondering if he had
felt it too. Or the urge she had now to run her hand over the
days worth of stubble that covered his chin and let her
fingers linger on his lower lip. Shaking her head she left her
words unspoken, and as if sensing her hesitation he didn't
A stiff silence permeated
the room, forcing their eyes apart. She stepped away from the
window and over to the bed where all the instruments had been
carefully laid out.
"Okay then," He
followed her over and sat in the chair she had set out.
"Can you take off your shirt?"
He lifted it off over his
head and held it on his lap as she slipped the stethoscope
around her neck and lifted the earpieces into her ears.
Warming the metal with a quick breath and by rubbing it on her
palm, she gently pressed it onto his chest.
release.... again.... again.... again." She moved the
bell piece over his back, listening to his lungs as he took
each breath, then over his heart again, monitoring its loud
beat in her ears. "Your pulse is a little fast." She
commented as she draped the stethoscope back around her neck
and reached for the blood pressure cuff.
"Must be something to
do with a beautiful woman asking me to take my clothes
off," he held up his arm and she tied the cuff on with a
"Must be," she
said pumping the cuff tighter. Setting the scope back into her
ears she listened to his pulse and slowly let the air out. He
remained silent letting her work and watching her surreptitiously.
A small frown creased her brow as she worked, and her teeth
bit her bottom lip with concentration as she counted the
seconds down. "That all seems fine."
She put her stuff aside and
walked to the back of the chair where she could get a better
look at his head. He jumped at the feeling of her fingers
kneading into his hair, but relaxed into it as she ran her
hands over his scalp searching for bumps.
fine." She stepped away from him and walked back to the
bed to sort out her stuff for the next visitor.
"Just fine?" he
replied with a loopy smile, and a small waggle of his eyebrows
as he stood and fixed his shirt back on.
"Is there anyone left
out there for me?" she asked, ignoring his comment and
turning away with her back to him.
"Just Tom." Cody
stopped by the door for a second, hesitating with his hand on
the knob, then pushed it open and walked through. After Tom
was examined and everyone met back in the living room uneasy
glances where shared out amongst the group. Rain and wind
rattled the windows at an alarming rate, so Jack concentrated
on keeping the fire lit.
"There is nothing we
can do at this stage. It's getting late so I think we should
all hold up for the night."
"There are seven of us
John. Where do you suggest we all sleep?" Mark confronted
him angrily, the tension obviously getting to him.
"I think we should
stick together. Maybe even take watch in shifts." Sonny
spoke with an air of uncertainty, his eyes roaming over
everyone's faces then falling onto his father's as if waiting
for approval. "There are five beds upstairs and one in
"God idea." John
nodded with a smile and stood up from his chair. "Any
volunteers for the first shift?"
"I'll stay up."
Cody volunteered, crossing his arms across his chest.
"Me too. I'm too wired
to sleep." Everyone turned to Sarah who had spoken
quietly but with authority that wasn't about to be challenged.
"Are you sure
ma'am?" Tom asked touching her elbow, but she patted his
hand and nodded her assurance. With grumbles of goodnight,
everyone left the room, Jack calling over his shoulder that
he'd come down later to relieve them. The fire crackled softly
as they took their seats on opposite sides of the couch, both
of them staring silently at nothing.
it?" Cody ventured without looking at her. She nodded in
agreement silently, her eyes never leaving the dancing flames
before her. Heat from the fire reddened her cheeks but a cold
chill ran down her spine.
"It's bad enough being
trapped here but this amnesia..." his mutterings weren't
directly aimed at her but she felt the need to comfort him,
offer him some solace from the darkness that was creeping into
"It's so strange, with
no reason for it, no clues to explain it," he continued,
stepping off the couch and moving to the fire to add more
She waited for him to return
to the seat but instead he remained crouched by the marble,
the poker in his hand, idly pressing against the charred wood
in the flames. She watched as he looked out to the window;
where the rain no longer pounded but merely tapped
rhythmically. Moving silently she joined him in a crouch and
nudged him with her shoulder.
"You want to go out
side looking for him, don't you?"
"He could be
"He could be
orchestrating this whole thing."
"How could he? How can
one person make us all lose our memory? And not total amnesia
but retrograde amnesia."
She looked at him in
surprise at his use of the medical term, then in wonderment at
her own recollection.
"It'll be light soon.
We'll all go out and look for him then," she said
rationally, setting a hand on his shoulder for reassurance.
But he didn't seem to notice, his eyes glazed over and his
He muttered poking the fire again. "Cody Phillips. Ranch
hand." With a small smile he turned to her. "I don't
feel like a Cody."
"Oh?" she said,
glad for the change in topic. "What do you feel
"I'm not sure but
something about Cody just doesn't seem right. I mean it's not
"The amnesia has taken
away all your familiarity." She stood away from the fire
and moved over to the couch to curl up on the end, tucking her
feet beneath herself.
"Not all of it."
He quietly tossed one more log onto the fire before standing
and joining her, this time sitting closer until his thigh
brushed her feet.
"You remember something
"Nothing specific. Just
"Like what?" Her
heart beat a little faster and she wondered if he might have
felt the familiarity she'd felt in his arms.
"You." He half
turned on the couch and faced her more fully. "I mean the
first thing I remember is standing over there," he nodded
towards the armchair.
"Holding you against my
chest...your head just here." He patted the area of his
chest just below his shoulder and over his heart.
"I don't know what it
means, I don't understand." She shrugged, her voice soft
"Sarah Whyte. Ranch
She smiled uneasily, unsure where his thoughts were leading
him and was hesitant about following. She turned away and
looked into the fire but his arm moved across the back of the
couch and touched her shoulder.
"Do you feel it?"
Moving off the couch she walked to the fire and gingerly
touched the kettle. It was only lukewarm and would need more
time before the water was boiled for coffee. She turned back
to sit on the couch but found him standing directly before
her, so close she could feel his breath brushing her forehead.
urge to hold you in my arms...like this..." He circled
her in his embrace, gently pulling her closer, giving her time
to pull away. But she didn't. She nestled into his chest, her
arms reaching around his back, grasping his shirt tightly.
"It just feels so right."
His chin rested on her head,
tilted to the side he could smell her hair and his arms
squeezed gently around her. He could feel her body hyper aware
against his from her shoulders to her thighs. She stayed there
comfortably holding him, and being held.
"Maybe we were having
some sort of clandestine affair!" he suggested, smiling
into her hair.
weren't." she replied but he could feel her smile against
"Maybe we were on the
cusp of an affair..." he pulled away enough to gaze down
at her face and she looked up coyly. He bent down to kiss her
but stalled just before their lips touched. Their eyes crashed
and he saw her desire as her blue eyes darkened before him.
Holding his position for a moment longer, their lips only an
inch apart he scanned her face then closed the gap.
The kiss that started off so
gently, quickly turned urgent as his tongue appeared and
rasped across her lips begging for entry. Her lips parted a
touch and she gave a little moan, but it was enough
encouragement for him as he held her tighter and tilted his
head so his tongue could gain more access.
Her tongue matched his stroke for stroke while her hands traveled
up and down his back in an effort to get closer. His hands
came up her back and delved into her hair, coming round to cup
her face he moved his kisses from her lips to her jaw, to
travel down her throat. His fingers moving her collar aside
when it caused obstruction to the sensitive skin beneath.
Scully arched against him in
a purely feminine gesture and locked her arms around him,
holding him tightly, not wanting him to move so much as a millimeter
as she swirled in a maelstrom of fluid heat. He took her on a
sensuous ride where nothing mattered except their connection.
It seemed from a distance that she heard his soft curse as
their lips clashed again and his hands worked their way across
her shoulders, down her back and over her hips where he was
urgently pulling her against him, pressing her close. Closer.
It was the sudden and
shocking familiarity with his body, or perhaps the resurgence
of sound judgment that jolted her out of the sensual mist and
back to cold reality.
She pushed herself away,
turning her back to him, seeking solace in the flames as if
they held all the answers. She leaned forward against the
mantelpiece and took several deep breaths in a vain attempt to
Behind her Cody stood still, his breath ragged and his blood
pumping. He wanted to reach out to her, pull her against him,
feel his hands on her skin, trace his lips over her body and
experience her lips on his again.
"What are you
feeling?" he asked carefully watching her shoulders rise
with each shaky breath she took. He took a step towards her
and reached out.
crackling of the fire almost disguised her words but they
carried over to him, stalling his hands in mid air just behind
her. "This isn't right."
"What?" he dropped
his arms and slid his hands into his back pockets, palms out.
"We don't know what's
going on here. We don't know ourselves, let alone each
other." She turned away from the heat of the fire and
caught him watching her, his eyes so aware and attentive she
almost turned back.
"I know," he
conceded but reached out and took her hand in his. "But
it felt right, it felt good...great." She smiled so he
continued. "If it was so wrong it wouldn't have felt so
good." Then he added. "Or was that just me?"
admitted, feeling her pulse quicken as his hand circled her
wrist and slowly pulled her against him into a warm, gentle
"This is what feels
best." Her head rested comfortably on his chest and her
arms locked behind his back as he squeezed her ever closer.
"You here in my arms. I remember holding you earlier,
like I was protecting you."
"Protecting me from
what?" she moved her head to look up at him and realized
her mistake as his lips were mere inches from hers, but his
eyes were distant, unfocused as he concentrated on the shreds
of memory that taunted him.
"The light...there was
a bright light in the window...in every window," he
looked around suddenly and moved away, out of the embrace but
he still held her hands. "It was stinging my eyes, I
turned away and pulled you over to me..."
"I couldn't see
anything, the light was too strong..." she admitted
pulling the image from her own mind.
"There was a
sound...buzzing," he tried to focus on the thought but it
evaded his concentration and evaporated. "I can't...I
"The harder we try the
less hope we have. We need to relax and hope it will all come
"Relax? Are you
crazy?" Dropping her hands, he raked his hair with his
fingers and tried to shake the feeling of trepidation that
coursed through his blood.
"Someone has done this
on purpose. And I'm sure it's for more then just confusion. I
feel like I've been watched all evening." He admitted
"Don't be so
paranoid!" she replied, catching his glare and meeting it
with one of her own. "We're all stuck in the same
"Are we?" he
questioned, never moving his eyes.
"What are you talking
"I know I've lost my
memory. I'm pretty sure you've lost yours." He didn't say
why he believed her so she didn't ask. "But I wouldn't be
so sure about the others."
"You think they are
"One of them at least.
It makes sense." He inched closer, his eyes widening as
he thought about his theory and got ready to explain it to her
in full. This was suddenly so familiar to her that she was
sure they'd argued like this before.
"This group amnesia
isn't a fluke. Someone did this on purpose. So someone will
have to monitor the progress to make sure it was effective on
"Jeff Parson?" he
"But he's not
"Maybe he was. Maybe
whatever they used to wipe out our memories didn't work on him
so they got rid of him."
ridiculous." She turned away from him but he took her arm
and squeezed it gently, making her turn back.
"It makes sense,"
he said softly then added, "You know it does."
"Okay, but it's not the
only thing that makes sense."
"You have a
theory?" He was mocking her. She was sure of it. Not
maliciously, but the arch of his eyebrows and the almost smile
on his lips was too hard for him to hide from her.
"I have a few
thoughts...nothing I can prove."
"There are numerous
possibilities that would cause the memory loss...the power
shortage; there may have been an overload, one of the stations
might have exploded, which would explain the lights."
"But the lack of fire
afterwards would contradict that idea."
"Some farms store
chemicals for fertilization or GM Products..." she was
grasping and she knew it, but something inside her wasn't
willing to just cave in to his conspiracy theory.
"But this is a
ranch," he countered. "No crops, just horses and
"Maybe they sell the
fertilizer on so it would need to be stored here."
"Are you going to
suggest that we got so high on methane fumes from horse shit
that we have all experienced amnesia?" He laughed a
little watching her lips already red from his kisses, but more
so now as she bit them in idle thought.
"No but I'm just trying
to see all the evidence and garner an explanation from there;
rather then immediately assume a conspiracy of some
"Me too. It just so
happens that I'm willing to admit that the conspiracy exists
while you fight to disprove me."
"I can't disprove you,
not when there is nothing to disprove." Gazing at him
with his face lit up from the fire and his brow furrowed with
frustration, she smiled. She shook her head and pulled her
hands through her hair, stood away from fire, walking over to
the window. "So what do you want to do about it?"
He almost didn't hear her. She spoke without turning, her eyes
fixed on the darkness outside and the pattering the rain made
against the glass.
"I want to take a look around outside."
"It's pouring with rain outside," she argued then
glanced at his flimsy clothes, that moments ago seemed to be
heavy and cumbersome as her fingers sought the touch of his
skin. "Jeans, a cotton shirt and a pair of boots wouldn't
last long out there," she muttered.
"I just need to take a look. I'll only be a minute."
He'd already made his mind up and was reaching for a raincoat
off the stand behind the door.
"I'm coming with you," she was striding across the
room and snatching another coat.
"No, wait here." He tugged the coat out of her hand
and threw it back onto a hook. "In case someone comes
down looking for us."
"Cover for you, you mean," she snapped angry at his
dismissal of her help.
"I'll only be a minute."
He grabbed the torch off the coffee table and tossed a quick
glimpse at her over his shoulder, before stepping out and
closing the door softly behind him. Sarah raced to the window
where she could make out the torch bobbing up and down as she
watched Cody's shadow run across the yard to the main house.
Minutes passed after he disappeared inside and she followed
the torch's movements from room to room, then it was gone. She
imagined he was out the back of the house where the barn was
and even through her worry, part of her brain registered the
surprise at this knowledge of the farm buildings layout.
For three more agonizing minutes she kept vigil through the
window into the darkness for his return, and was on the verge
of following him when she spotted the torch's beam of light
preceding him around the corner. He was running through the
rain, dodging puddles as best he could.
She opened the door for him to race through and closed it
immediately afterward. He left the torch on the dinner table
and went without delay to the fire to get warm. Pulling off
the sodden coat, he avoided her eyes and crouched in front of
the roaring flames.
"Did you find anything?" she asked carefully when
the silence became too much to bear. Cody stood up, turning to
face her and she gasped at the full-unabridged glare of fury
he was aiming at her.
"What do you think?" he barked, taking a step
towards her, with effort barely holding his body still.
"Cody?" She approached him, her arm outstretched but
he watched her with such barely disguised contempt that she
snatched her hand back and retreated.
"I did find something of interest...maybe you can clear
it up for me?"
From his pocket he pulled out a small black wallet and tossed
it over to her. It landed open beside her feet and she looked
down to see an unfamiliar I.D. staring back at her. Picking it
up for closer examination, she saw in amazement it was her own
face looking back at her but a different name. And next to it
the gold badge emblazoned with federal stamps.
"FBI?" she whispered. "What the hell?"
"Sarah Whyte or Dana Scully?" Cody stepped over to
her, his arms hung loose by his sides, but his hands clenched
into tight fists that turned his knuckles white.
"I...Sarah Whyte...I have to be!" she exclaimed not
noticing his anger but only her own confusion.
"Is that so?" He snatched the FBI I.D. from her,
examining it closer. "Dana Scully it says here. Who the
hell are you? What are you doing here?"
"I...I don't know..." Bewilderment claimed ownership
across her small features as she sat heavily onto the couch
with a 'wumph', her mouth agape and her eyes glazed and
confused. "I don't understand."
"Are you working undercover? Are you here alone? Do you
have a partner? Did you organize this… event?"
"I don't know Cody, you have to believe me!" she
"All the evidence is making you out to be a liar
ma'am," he hissed hurtfully, dropping the ID onto the
couch beside her. She ignored the small black wallet and
something in Cody wavered.
"I know but I promise I had...have no idea what it
Cody looked down at her, her quivering hands, her glassy eyes
and her small mouth hanging open in astonishment.
"Here, come over to the fire, you're either in shock or a
hell of a good actress."
With his help she got up from the couch and sat down on the
heavy rug in front of the fire. He draped a blanket he
snatched from one of the armchairs over her shivering
shoulders and poured her a glass of brandy.
"Drink this." He said gruffly.
As if on autopilot she sipped the drink and felt it's burning
pathway right down to her stomach, where it settled her nerves
and warmed her blood.
"Thanks," she whispered, then glancing up at him
over the rim of the glass she held against her lips, she
added, "You do believe me don't you?"
"I don't know what I believe." He admitted as he sat
heavily next to her, extending his hands out to the flames,
his palms open, accepting the heat.
"FBI?" she said to the fire. "But...I'm a
doctor. I know I am. I'm the ranch doctor."
"Maybe you're here undercover...maybe you have lost your
memory like the rest of us..." he accepted without
looking at her. Her reaction and shock were too genuine to be
fake he decided, as he watched her carefully, still keeping a
little distance between them.
"Maybe it has something to do with the reason I'm here in
the first place." She placed the glass onto the marble
fireplace and turned to him. "Where did you find this
badge? Was there anything else?"
"No, it was wrapped in a bag in a wardrobe
"What made you go into my room?" she asked suddenly
turning to face him, anger flaring in her blue eyes.
"I checked all the rooms. Anyway, I didn't know it was
your room until I found that," his thumb pointed at the
offending I.D. badge that still lay on the couch. But he kept
looking at the dancing flames for fear that she saw he was
lying. Of course he knew it was her room. The subtle fragrance
that clung to the air, the half open drawer of underwear and
night clothes that he thought of going through but decided
against. Whatever he braved the storm to find wasn't going to
be hidden amongst her underwear.
"Did you find anything else?" she asked carefully
watching his profile.
"No. The barn was empty. The stables were full of horses,
but nothing or anyone else. No sign of Parson." He
reached over and poked the fire back to life, tossing a new
log onto it. Looking back at her he saw her eyes were
unfocused as she watched the flames. "What is it?"
"I wish I could remember. Dana Scully FBI...it's a bit
different to Sarah Whyte, Ranch Doctor." The
creaking of floorboards behind them forestalled his reply.
Instead they both shot up and watched the door that led to the
stairs. More footsteps but they were slow and intermittent. As
if whoever was approaching was listening for footsteps too.
Cody moved forward so he stood before her, some instinct
putting his body protectively between her and the door. His
hands reached back for her and he pulled her against him.
He silently motioned to his lips for her silence and she
complied, peering around his arm at the door. The door handle
moved around and the door was pushed open. Scully felt his
body tense as they waited for it to open fully.
Sonny Callaghan stepped into the room, his hair ruffled from
sleep and his eyes half closed.
"Hey guys, I couldn't sleep so I thought I may as well be
down here as up there." Then glancing at them both and
their close proximity he smiled with a hint of mischief.
"I'm not interrupting anything am I?"
"No." Cody relaxed a little, but not totally as he
spied the FBI I.D. lying open on the couch. He took Scully's
hand in his own and led her over to the couch. Sitting on the
badge, he pulled her down next to him and draped an arm lazily
over her shoulders. For a second she was confused but then realized
where he was sitting. She squeezed her hand behind him and
down to the small of his back where she could reach the edge
of the wallet.
As Sonny walked over to the fire and warmed himself up, Scully
worked her fingers around the wallet and pulled it out from
under him, then slipped it deftly into his back pocket. His
smile was crooked and teasing when she took her hand back and
laid it on her lap.
"Some storm out there tonight. It'll be a while before
they get the power and phone lines back working," Sonny
said as he filled the kettle and hung it over the fire.
"Haven't seen it like this in years."
Cody's ears pricked and he felt the small feminine body arch
beside him, almost making him forget his thought.
"I suppose it's unusual weather for this time of year in
"Completely different to what you'd see in D.C." He
rested one elbow on the mantle piece and lifted one foot onto
the marble fireplace.
"D.C?" Cody sat forward so his elbows were on his
knees and his feet were planted firmly on the ground.
"It's too late. I know it didn't work on you." Sonny
laughed without joy and reached for a toothpick in his teeth.
"I hadn't planned it for such a large group but you were
getting too close. Jeff couldn't be told. I knew I had to
"Sonny...what the hell are you talking about?" Cody
inched forward on the seat so he was perching on the edge and
ready to pounce.
"Stop pretending you can't remember." Sonny shouted,
and then cast a wary glance over his shoulder at the door he'd
just emerged from. "Lets take this somewhere where we
won't disturb everyone else."
"Sonny, talk to me, tell me what's going on coz I sure as
hell don't know what you are talking about."
"Shut up Cody. Just shut up and follow me."
"Where are we going?"
"Out to check the horses." Sonny slipped on a coat
and tossed one to Cody who looked down at Scully. Slowly she
rose to stand beside him.
"No one is going anywhere Sonny," she said slowly.
"Not in that storm."
"Shut the hell up bitch!" Anger flared up out of his
voice and he reached behind his back where he had a gun tucked
in his jeans, and let his fingers curl around the handle.
"Both of you put on the fuckin coats and get out
there." He pointed towards the door with the barrel of
Silently they put on the raincoats and walked out into the
storm. The rain battered down heavily against them and the
wind threatened to tear them apart, but Cody took her arm and
held her against him. Hurrying around the main house they
headed straight for the stables and found sanctuary from the
rain inside. As soon as they got under cover Cody put himself
in front of her, ignoring the droplets of rain on his face, he
watched as Sonny calmly walked in.
"Much better, now you can all scream and shout as much as
you like, I don't think the horses will complain." The
rain battering against the roof of the stable was loud and
echoed thunderously around the room.
"You're going to shoot us? What for?" Cody exclaimed
as Sonny approached and circled them slowly. He winced as he
watched Sonny's fingers run gently up Scully's arm and trace a
line across her shoulder to her neck, where his own fingers,
his lips had been moments ago.
"You got too close to the secret," Sonny whispered
into her ear letting his tongue touch the shell gently. She
shivered with revulsion, turning away but it did nothing to
dissuade his advances. Walking around her back he cupped her
buttocks, squeezing them roughly.
"I have no idea what you are talking about. Neither of us
does." She said as calmly as she could, her eyes closed
over as she tired to block out his wandering hands, instead
concentrating on the sensation of Cody's foot pressed against
"You don't Agent Scully?" Her eyes flew open in
shock, not at the mention of her name but at the fact that it
seemed so right. All the doubt that sprung up regarding Sarah
Whyte vanished when he said her name. She was a doctor, she
was in the FBI, she was here undercover...she was about to be
shot, she realized in horror. And so was Mulder.
"Sonny," She began opening her hands wide in gesture
of helplessness, "the only thing I'm sure of right now is
that you don't have to do this."
"Don't I?" he stepped around to the front again and
raised his gun, aiming it squarely at Cody's chest.
"No!" she shouted, scaring herself with her urgency.
"Don't...it won't make a difference. If you kill us more
FBI will come looking and they won't stop until they find out
"That's if they remember what they came for in the first
place!" he laughed mirthlessly as he held the gun
tighter. "The last ones didn't."
Scully watched helplessly as his finger squeezed on the
trigger but before he could pull it fully, Cody leapt back
with a mighty force breaking through one of the stable fences.
The horse inside reared up on his hind legs whining loudly at
the intruder. Beneath the horses stamping legs, Cody squirmed,
dodging out of its way but not enough as the terrified
animal's hooves ultimately made contact with his ribs, making
a painful cracking sound that was heard even over the driving rain.
Mulder yelled out in pain and scurried backwards on his ass
until he half crouched at the back wall, doubled over in pain,
the horse now his body guard.
Scully watched with bated breath at the horse's terrified
stamping, tensing at Mulder's howl. She took a step forward
but Sonny grabbed her back and held her close, pushing the gun
against her ribs.
"If you want to see him alive again stay still."
Hauling her over to the door, Sonny pulled some reigns off a
hook and tied her wrists to a post. "Don't bother to
scream for help. No one will hear you."
Sonny hurried back towards the stable where Cody was hiding
and calmed the horse down enough to lead him out. Slapping the
horse's hide, he set him on a gallop out the door. He looked
around for Cody but the stable was empty.
"Agent Mulder?" he laughed. "Where are you
hiding?" But there was no reply. Moving from stable to
stable Sonny started to look for him. Scully listened for the
terrifying crack of gunfire but it never came. Then suddenly a
figure stood behind her and a cold wet hand clasped over her
mouth. She tried to scream but the wind was pushed out of her
lungs by the advent of a strong arm around her waist.
"Shhhh, it's me."
Mulder's voice in her ear was like heaven but she didn't have
time to dwell on it. He pulled her free from the reigns and
crept with her out into the yard. He tried to take her to the
lodge house but she fought him, pulling him instead towards
the main house.
Stealthily they climbed the stairs and she ran straight for
her room. Mulder followed her close behind, watching the
stairway and front door in case Sonny had followed them.
In her room she pulled the mattress off the bed and fumbled
beneath it. When she emerged she had a gun in her hand and was
confidently loading the bullets into place.
"You remember, don't you?" he asked in amazement at
her deft movements as she pulled off her soaking shirt,
slipped on a dry tee shirt, then fastened a holster to the
back of her jeans. "Don't you?" Pulling a sweater on
over her head she pulled him into the room and eased him down onto
"Take off your shirt." Wincing in pain, he did as
she asked and was surprised when she suddenly stood in front
of him, between his legs.
"He called me Agent Mulder." He said to keep his
mind off her cold hands running over his painful skin.
Pressing her fingers along his sides, she carefully examined his ribs
and found two of them broken and tender. A few droplets of
rain clung to the hair on his chest but she looked away. He
tried not to wince at the pressure she used but it was no
"I want you to stay here. I don't want you to move. I'll
come get you when it's over." She said as she slipped the
gun into its holster and yanked her sweater over it.
"Am I in the FBI too? Are we partners?" he yelled
but she hushed him with a finger on his lips.
"Listen to me...I remember who I am. I remember what I'm
here for. You don't. It's too dangerous."
"Who am I?" he asked angrily. "You know don't
you?" His whisper carried enough anger to convince her he
was serious, but it was too deep to delve into right now and
they had little time as it was.
"I'll be back soon. Stay here, rest your ribs and stay
quiet. I will come and see to them after I do this. " She
turned to go but he wouldn't let her. His hand clasped her arm
and he pulled her over to him.
"No, it's not that easy."
"I'm afraid that it has to be." Pushing him away she
moved back to the door and peered into the hallway but she saw
nothing. The butt of the gun suddenly hit her head before she
saw it coming and she fell to the floor with a sickening thud.
Cody jumped up as Sonny stepped into the room, with a smile
that was wide, almost grotesque.
"So you don't remember, huh?" He kicked her
slackened body aside, much to Cody's horror and approached
him. "You have no idea?"
Cody said nothing. The rage he felt building up inside his
head was barely in control and he feared what would happen if
he opened his mouth.
"Maybe I acted a little eagerly," Sonny admitted.
"Ah well, too late to turn back now."
"What happened to Jeff?"
"Jeff? He's dead." He announced it with such cold
clarity that it took a moment for Cody to react.
"And now it's my turn, then my partner's," Cody
nodded towards Scully's body. She still hadn't moved and he
prayed for her to wake up. His stalling tactics wouldn't last
for much longer and he was sure Sonny would realize he was
"Yeah. Or would you prefer the lady went first?"
Sonny turned to where Scully's body lay half in and half out
of the room.
"No, don't hurt her," Cody said urgently.
"You care? Why?"
"She's my partner, please don't hurt her." Cody
bowed his head in an attempt to seem unthreatening, more hurt
than he was and watched Scully's head move from beneath his
lidded eyes. He prayed she wouldn't make a sound as she came
around. "It doesn't have to end like this."
"That's there you are wrong," he said aiming the gun
at Cody's chest.
"How will you explain it to the others?" he asked,
desperately trying to give Scully more time to wake fully.
"I was only trying to protect my father's ranch. I came
down and found you rustling the horses. I didn't have much
"They won't believe you."
"But they'll believe me."
In the doorway stood Tom Kent, still wearing his apron but
this time brandishing a heavy shotgun in his arms, its barrel
wavering between the two of them. "Put the gun down
son," he gestured to Sonny and watched as he gingerly
placed it down on the floor and kicked it over to the doorway.
"Now what the hell is going on here? And what happened to
the doc?" Slowly he crouched down, his eyes never leaving
the two men and felt her neck for a pulse.
"I caught these two in the stables rustling horses."
Sonny lied frantically.
"Sonny...I mean no disrespect but you're
A soft moan from Scully made all three look down to where she
was struggling to get on all fours. Cody wanted to help her up
but he didn't dare move. As Tom extended a hand out to her,
Sonny leapt forward and snatched the barrel of the shotgun.
Tom was off balance and crashed to the floor on top of Scully
who cried out in pain.
Tom scurried off her, rolling away as she jumped up to tackle
Sonny from behind. But she was too late. Turning the gun,
Sonny swung round, aimed it at Cody and fired.
The loud crack of the gun firing filled the room and was
followed by Cody's body slamming against the wall amidst a
volley of blood spray. He wasn't wearing a shirt so she could
see the entry wound high up on the far right of his chest and
the pool of blood that quickly spread out beneath him.
"No!" she yelled, pulling Sonny to the floor and
punching him in the face. Her knuckles stung painfully but she
didn't care. Her eyes flashed back up to Cody as she scrambled
off Sonny, then Tom pulled him out from beneath her and held
him at bay.
Frantically she grabbed the discarded shirt from the bed and
pressed it firmly against his wound. He was clammy and
unresponsive when she rolled him over to see the exit wound.
It was almost fist sized size on his back and quite messy, but
she pushed her panic away and focused on helping him.
Her mind reeled with what she should be doing, then suddenly
her instinct kicked in and she pulled the blanket off the bed,
covering him. She turned to Tom who was still holding a
struggling Sonny and yelled at him to get her medical bag. Tom
nodded and dragged Sonny, who was a smaller thinner man, out
of the room.
"Hold on Mulder, Just hold on for me!" she brushed
his sweat soaked hair back from his face and felt his weakened
pulse beat erratically in his neck. His eyes remained closed
and his breathing shallow as she waited for her medical kit.
Finally after what seemed like agonizing hours but were only
moments, Tom and Jack came bursting in. Wordlessly, Tom thrust
the bag at her and she quickly prepared a shot of morphine.
Injecting it carefully into his leg, she dared to lift up the
blanket and remove the blood soaked shirt. The wound was wide
and gaping, pouring blood freely down over his paled skin and
onto the floor.
She turned to Jack to ask him to get the truck ready but she
didn't have to say anything, he'd read her mind, already
racing down the stairs before she could utter a word.
"How is he?" Tom asked crouching beside her, but
reading the worry in her face all too clearly.
"Not good. Where's Sonny?" She pulled a large cotton
pad from the bag and pressed it against Mulder's back and
another against the front bullet entry wound. Then Tom helped
her lift him so she could strap it to him.
"He's back at the lodge. Chris is watching him and John's
trying to talk to him. He had something to do with all of
"Yes. Are you remembering anything?" she spoke
without looking up, focusing her eyes on Mulder, counting his
"Pieces. It's not making sense though."
"I wouldn't be here if it did Tom," she said
cryptically, but Jack beeping the horn in the yard interrupted
them before she could say more.
Tom lifted Mulder easily into his strong-arms and carried him
wrapped in a blanket to the truck, where he slid him into the
back seat. Scully slid in beside him and rested his head on
her lap. With one hand she caressed his sweaty face, and the
other held the makeshift bandage in place. Tom climbed into
the passenger seat beside Jack and smacked the dashboard to
get them moving.
"Does this truck have a radio? Can we call ahead?"
she asked when she felt her partner's pulse slow down even
"Yes ma'am but not for another while yet. Once we get out
of range of those hills it will be clear but until
then...nothing," Jack replied, never taking his eyes off
the road as he sped up, pulling the CB Radio Handset from the
hook and turned it on. "See?" All they could get was
Scully nodded but it didn't make her feel any better. The
night sky was so clear now the storm had ceased she had no
trouble making out the stars, but she took no comfort in it,
wanting only to help Mulder and keep his frail life blood from
slipping away. But there was nothing she could do, except hold
him and whisper soothing words in his ear.
"10-45, 10-45 I have an emergency situation, I need
connection to Ransom Hospital, over," Jack spoke
suddenly, scaring her out of her reverie. She recognized the
code for Emergency and felt her back knot up with tension. The
radio still answered only with static.
"10-45, 10-45 I have an emergency situation, I need
urgent connection to Ransom Hospital, over," he said
again, this time receiving a greeting in return.
"This is Ransom General Hospital, you are on an emergency
"Yeah, this is an emergency. I have a man with GSW to the
upper right chest. ETA 4 minutes, over."
"Ok. We'll be ready. Over and out."
Relief tinged the air as Jack hung the handset back up and
floored the accelerator harder. He risked a quick glance over
"How is Cody doin doc?"
"Badly," she replied, not willing to go into the
full-length rendition of how herself and Mulder were
undercover FBI Agents, but only she had retained any memory of
their assignment to the ranch. Perhaps later she decided.
Right now there were more urgent matters.
Then before Jack could ask anything else she felt Mulder's
body still as his heart stopped beating and his breathing
stalled. Slipping from under him she crouched in the foot
space of the truck and started chest compressions, hating to
see her furious pressure saturating the bandage with even more
blood. His ribs were already broken as it was.
"One...two...three..." she counted each compression
like a mantra, then tilted his head and breathed into his
She had repeated it eight times before they got to the
hospital where they were met by a team of nurses who had a
gurney ready. They all climbed out of the truck, letting the
nurses ready the gurney, transferring Mulder's weak slackened
body over, all the while continuing their desperate struggle
to revive him.
"Patient lost consciousness at the time of shooting and
never regained. Prior broken ribs, two. I'd already injected
40cc of morphine to stabilize the pain at the ranch, but he
stopped breathing 2 minutes ago. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
was started and he's just responded, weakly," she added
as they attached the air bag to his mouth and began pumping as
they ran with him to Trauma.
"His name is Cody Phillips," Jack called out as if
he thought he could help by offering whatever information he
could. Scully raced with them following them into the ER Room
only to be pushed back out again.
"I'm his doctor!" Scully argued and one of the
nurses stopped and turned back to her.
"Yes. Please I need to be in there!"
It must have been the combination of the pleading tone in her
voice, and the determined look in her eyes that made the nurse
push the door open to admit her.
They were already working on him in a frenzy of organized
chaos she could barley begin to understand.
"BP's 100 over 65. His pulse is at 88"
"Diminished breathing on the right."
"All right, let's get a large board IV and let's roll
him. Yeah, big exit
wound at the back,… jeez, the size of a my fist. All right
he needs a chest tube, STAT. I need a sterile
Although she understood everything they were saying and wanted
to help, her instincts held her back, letting them work in the
environment they were trained for.
"Janice, get two units of O. Neg. from the fridge,"
The head doctor called out and Scully was shooed aside as she
raced out the door.
"He needs this exit wound cleaned out!"
"Just wait till I get the chest tube in."
"Hold on, pulse is weak and thready."
"Hey Cody...Stay with us..." A nurse stood by his
head, watching the monitors and calling out readings.
"Heart rate's up to 120.
"Chest out. Put in blood...500cc's!"
"He's bleeding out through his chest. All right, spike
another unit of
O-Neg." The nurse called out catching Scully's eye as she
Scully moved away from the door, heart in her mouth and found
herself by Mulder's head. Blood stained his lips and a small
trickle ran down from his mouth to his ear from when she
preformed the compressions.
"Lungs are clear."
"BP 115 over 75. Pulse 80."
"Get him to surgery," the ER Doctor demanded,
stepping away from the gurney as two nurses propelled it
hurriedly out of the room. He spotted Scully's ghostly face
and approached her as he peeled off his gloves. "I'm
Doctor Carson and you are?"
"Special Agent Dana Scully, FBI."
His hand hovered between them both as she watched after
Mulder, her eyes glassy and unfocused.
"I thought you were the doctor out on Callaghan
"I am,.. I was. It's a long story." She shook her
head, too focused on Mulder's plight to offer an explanation,
moving back out the door and into reception. The phone on the
counter was dead and useless and she threw it back in its
cradle in disgust..
"The line is dead," one of the nurses told her.
"That damn storm moving this way again."
"I need to contact the sheriff, how can I do that?"
she asked urgently, and after only a moment hesitation the
nurse picked up the CB radio and called the sheriff's office.
"I have a lady here who needs to speak to Sheriff
"Hang on a second Deborah."
There was a brief burst of static at the other end before the
sheriff's voice came over the air.
"This is Sheriff Bradley, over."
"Sheriff," Scully said as she took the extended
mouthpiece from the receptionist. "This is Special Agent
Dana Scully, we spoke a few weeks ago regarding my case."
"Yes. I remember."
"There's been a shooting at the Callaghan ranch, I need
you to meet me there as soon as you can." Scully was
suddenly aware that Jack and Tom were standing across the
corridor listening to her words, but she would explain later
"Was anyone badly hurt?"
"My partner. Will you place a call through to Agent
Benson in Denver?"
"Of course. Meet you there in 15 minutes."
"Thank you. Over and out."
Scully handed back the radio and turned to her rapt audience.
Tom and Jack looked shocked, their mouths agape.
"Doctor Carson?" she asked turning to him.
"When will my partner be out of surgery?"
"It will take about two hours, maybe more. He has lost a
lot of blood; his lung has been damaged, possibly punctured.
His shoulder will need a pin placed in. The exit wound is
messy. It's hard to say how extensive the damage is before the
surgeon examines him fully."
"I have to go back to meet the sheriff but I'll return as
soon as I can. Here's my cell number, call me the moment you
have news of Mulder's condition."
Carson nodded and headed back to the ER to attend the next
She turned irritably to see Tom walking towards her, his hat
scrunched up in his hands and his head bowed low. "I
think you dropped this in the back of the truck." Her
eyes looked down to see a familiar black leather wallet in his
"Oh...thanks." She met the eyes the two men and
their confused faces. "My name isn't Sarah Whyte. It's
Dana Scully. Special Agent Dana Scully with the FBI."
"You're not a doc?"
"I am. Forensic pathologist, but I work for the Bureau. I
was here undercover working on a case
"Cody?" Tom asked skeptically.
"Special Agent Fox Mulder."
"You were working undercover at John's ranch?"
Jack's eyes were wide with surprise.
"Agent Mulder and I arrived just two weeks ago to
investigate the ranch. Several bodies have turned up across
this state; connected by the fact that when alive, they all
worked on this ranch at some point in the last five years. But
I'm guessing if I named them you wouldn't recognize
"I've worked here for 30 years ma'am. Not much gets past
me." Tom replied, affronted by her suggestion.
"But I think this amnesic event has happened before.
Wiping hours, days, even weeks from your memory." She
glanced over at the ER doors that led down from the surgical
wing, when she thought they'd opened, but they hadn't.
"Someone, Sonny I think, has orchestrated this on purpose
for some reason yet unknown."
"Sonny? Why would he do that? How?" Jack's voice was
rising with each new revelation.
"That's something I can't explain at this point,"
she shrugged, resigned.
"And Cody is your partner?" he glanced at the doors
through which the gurney had disappeared then turned back to
"Yes. Agent Mulder." She stood up and slipped her
badge into her belt so her ID was showing. Walking towards the
ER doors she heard Tom stepping closely behind her.
"How is his memory?" Tom asked carefully.
"He hasn't recalled any of this yet. Only I regained some
He didn't know what else to say and he was a believer in not
wasting words, so Tom remained silent.
"Lets go Tom." She said taking him by surprise with
her abruptness. "I need to meet the sheriff."
Jack was gunning the engine, and was already pulling away from
the hospital before the others were fully belted in. Scully
climbed up in the front seat.
"What's happening with Cody…er Agent Mulder? Is he
going to be alright?" he asked nervously." He's in
surgery for the next few hours. But hopefully he will be okay
if he can make it through. They managed to stabilize him
before they took him up. Seems like he's in good hands."
I Hope, Scully added silently to herself. She sat back and
immediately felt the puddle of blood; Mulder's blood, staining
her jeans but she couldn't move. She didn't have the
willpower. Oh god Mulder, you'd better be okay, don't ditch me
The blue and white lights of the sheriff's car raked ominously
against the stable wall as they arrived back at the ranch. The
electricity must have returned as most of the lights in the
main and the lodge houses were back on. Jack parked the truck
alongside of it, jumping out to open the door for Scully.
Spotting her FBI. ID, he faltered but to his credit he didn't
say anything. They moved quickly through the lightly falling
rain and Scully reached for the door. Hesitating a moment, she
turned back to Jack and Tom.
"Thank you." She said simply. "Thank you for
all your help."
They nodded, tipped their hats and then followed her inside.
All eyes turned to them but focused on Scully's muddied and
blood stained sweater, and the dark crimson blemish all over
She scanned all their faces and did a quick mental count. John
sat slumped in the chair that had dwarfed him before but now
seemed to swallow him completely.
Mark sat on the other side of the room, sipping what she
guessed was a glass of whiskey in a vain attempt to wash the
paleness from his face. The sheriff perched one leg on the
fireplace and an elbow on the mantelpiece. And finally, Sonny
slumped in the center of the couch, his hands cuffed on his
lap and his chin resting on his chest.
"Sheriff Bradley?" Scully crossed the room and
approached him with her hand extended.
"Yes ma'am." He shook her hand and Scully saw that
his eyes didn't miss her badge.
"Special Agent Dana Scully, FBI." She proffered her
badge and passed it to him. The room seemed to gasp as she
spoke and she turned to them all individually, making eye
contact. "Did you get in touch with Agent Benson?"
"Yes ma'am." He confirmed. "He said he'd be
here as soon as possible. Storm up county is still causing
travel problems. Two more of my deputies are on their way out
here and I already have two more checking the area." He
seemed to want to continue, but hesitated before he glanced
over at John and then back to the fire. "I hear one of
the men is missing?"
"Jeff Parson." Tom confirmed.
"There's a search team out for him right now."
"Good." She turned to Sonny, but before she could
say anything the familiar thunder of helicopter blades broke
the tense silence. Scully rushed outside, shielding her face
from the mist and debris the chopper kicked up as it landed.
"Agent Scully!" Jason Benson climbed out of the
chopper and was racing over to her, followed by three other
agents. She guided them indoors and gestured over to Sonny on
the couch. One of the other agents read him his Miranda rights
and frog marched him outside, everyone watching as the agent
pushed him into the chopper then followed him in. He tapped
the pilot's shoulder to take off.
For the next hour Scully spoke with Agent Benson, explaining
the events at the ranch, exactly what had happened and where
Mulder was. She touched briefly on the amnesia, knowing he'd
need the information for the interrogation of the rest of the
men, but not wanting to have to explain it fully when she
didn't understand it herself yet. Her mind was elsewhere and
there were still too many unanswered questions.
Agent Benson listened carefully then called out to the two
agents who stood guard at the door and ordered them to
organize transportation for the ranch workers to be taken to
the Sheriffs' office for interrogation. Then he turned to
"Go," he said, warm smile and with a reassuring hand
on her shoulder. "Go back to the hospital. Check on your
partner and let me know how he's doing." She managed a
small smile. She felt exhausted by the quick succession of the
"I need to call AD Skinner."
"I'll call him as soon as I get back to the office."
She nodded gratefully and headed out to the yard.
"Hey, Doc!" turning she saw Jack running after her.
"Take the truck. Doesn't look like I'll be needing it for
a while." She smiled her thanks before racing over to the
Bronco and leaving the ranch behind, not looking back as she
gunned it over the rough terrain.
Crouching low in the mud, Master Sergeant Matheson tightened
his grip on the night vision binoculars and focused the lens.
He watched as the agents scrambled across the yard to the main
house and couldn't help the smile of triumph that curved his
Silently he lifted his hand over his head and motioned
backwards, as he shoved his binos back into his satchel and
shuffled back on his belly. When he was satisfied that he was
fully out of sight, he sat up on his haunches and looked over
to the two Sergeant First Class officers that hunkered low
"Send the men back to camp. Jacobs stay here with me. I
want to make sure they all leave before we go down there
"Yes sir." One of
the SFC almost bent double as he hurried through the brush to
the group of completely black dressed rangers that waited
Matheson waited till he was out of sight, before crawling back
on his belly to his vantage point on the ridge where he could
make out almost the whole of the ranch grounds. MSG Kearney
lay next to him, awaiting his orders, looking up as he heard a
soft chuckle from his sergeant.
"Seventy-fifth, Black beret," Matheson whispered
softly reciting the rhythmic cadence he learned at boot camp.
"Pick up your weapon and follow me, I'm the ranger
She made it to the hospital in record time and breezed through
the ER, following the signs to the Trauma surgery unit. It was
a small hospital so she found it easily. The receptionist
watched her racing from the lift and eyed her bloodied clothes
"Excuse me I'm looking for Fox Mulder." Scully
ground out breathlessly, scoping out the corridors as if she
expected him to be walking towards her.
"Fox Mulder, he's a patient?" the nurse asked after
finding no records on her computer.
"He was admitted for emergency surgery today, a GSW
victim." Scully added impatiently.
"No dear, I have no one by that name. I'm sorry."
"Cody Phillips!" Scully yelled suddenly, startling
the nurse behind the counter. The woman checked her screen and
"We have a Cody Phillips in recovery at the moment. You
can't go in yet, but he's room 212. Dr Carson should be there
right now. He can let you know how he's doing."
"Thank you," she called out as she moved briskly
down the hall to locate the right room. Sure enough, through
the window in the ICU she could see a tall doctor talking with
a nurse by Mulder's bedside.
When he left he glanced over at Scully in confusion, then it
dawned on him. She was one anxious woman. Agent Scully.
"How did the surgery go?" Scully asked breathlessly
before he had the chance to speak.
"He lost a lot of blood. We cleaned up and stitched the
wound, repaired everything we could quite nicely. Really neat
job if I do say so myself. He's on transfusion at the moment,
as well as saline drip and OxyContin for pain. His shoulder
and surrounding muscles were damaged quite nastily but will
repair in time with some extensive physio."
"Has he regained consciousness?"
"No. But that's to be expected. With the level of surgery
required his anesthetic dosage was considerable and we have
him sedated for a little while, so he doesn't shift around and
mess up his shoulder now we've fixed it. I shouldn't think
he'll be awake before the day is out."
Scully looked out at the rising sun over the trees that lined
the hospital car lot.
"Would you like to go in?"
"Please," she almost cried with gratitude, but then
she looked down, and seemed to notice her soiled clothes for
the first time. She glanced up at him again. "I don't
suppose there are any scrubs lying around I can borrow?"
"Of course," he smiled knowingly and led her towards
the ladies locker room.
"You will find all you need in there."
She showered and changed as quickly as she could, discarding
her clothes in the waste bin by the door on the way out.
Mulder's room was small and full of the usual ICU machinery.
The soft hiss of the ventilator, the rhythmic beeping of the
heart machine monitoring his stability, and the faint dripping
of the Saline IV that tapped mercilessly on her heart.
She was by his side in three easy steps and resisted the urge
to check his chart. Right now it wasn't the medical
measurements of his blood pressure, or the details of his
surgery that would offer her most comfort. She needed to see
the stunning hazel of his eyes and that familiar crooked smile
curving his lips.
Taking his limp hand in hers, she held on tightly and watched
his face for any response. There was none. A nurse came into
the room and jotted notes onto his chart. Silently, she pulled
a chair over to Scully and placed it behind her before she
left, but it seemed like she didn't even notice. She stood for
an interminable amount of time staring at her partner,
watching and waiting in hope.
Her other hand moved up from her side and rested on his bare
chest, feeling his heart beating slowly. It was reassuring but
his skin was warm and clammy, his temperature high with fever
from the excursion into surgery. Knowing he would be out for
the rest of the day, Scully made herself comfortable on the
chair as best she could and held his hand tightly. She hoped
he could sense she was there.
Darkness hid the shadows of the room from his tired, half
hooded eyes. He urged his body to roll over, mentally thinking
of the work he had to do in the yard but nothing seemed to be
responding. His legs remained like steel girders in the bed
refusing to obey and a flash of hot panic raced through his
body, boiling his blood at his temples in a painful rhythm.
In his mouth he felt something soft and thick so he reached up
to take it out, but his hands also refused to move. His panic
evolved into terror as he realized his breathing was
constricted and his lungs ached. There was something trapped
in his throat!
Sounds of his heavy choking woke her up immediately, alerting
her to his pain and making her jump out of the chair. She hit
the light switch beside the bed and leaned far enough over him
to pin him to the bed and stop him struggling.
Their eyes locked and she took deep breaths with him, willing
him to follow suit and calm down. When his panic subsided
enough she pressed the call button and waited for the nurse to
arrive, all the while keeping their eyes fixed, hoping he
could stay calm.
"It's okay, it's helping you breathe," she soothed,
indicating the ventilator tube in his mouth. "Just relax.
That's it Mulder, take it easy."
A nurse bustled in with the doctor right behind. They were
both frowning at the sight of Scully all but sitting on their
patient and breathing with him.
"You're awake Mr. Mulder!" the nurse intoned
cheerfully as she disconnected the tube from the ventilator.
"I'm going to take this out now and I want you to help
me, can you do that?" Scully moved away but held onto his
hand, stroking it and he followed her with panicked eyes.
The nurse took hold of the mouthpiece and carefully pulled it
a little until he started coughing.
"That's it, now give me one big cough and I'll pull it
right out!" His chest heaved with the effort and he
winced in pain, but as promised the nurse took the tube out
with one slow pull. "There now, is that better?"
"Thanks," he rasped, still coughing a little as
Scully held up a small cup of ice chips one of the nurses had
carried in, and dropped a few into his mouth and rubbed them
off his lips.
"How are you feeling?" the doctor asked stepping
forward with his chart and a smile.
"Battered." Mulder's throat ached and his body was a
single throbbing pulse of pain. "What happened?"
"You've been shot. Right side of your chest with his exit
wound clean through the rear of your shoulder." The
doctor pointed out on his own body where Mulder had been
injured. "You are a very lucky man, and thanks to Dr
Scully it looks like you will make it."
Doctor Carson explained Mulder's injuries and why he was
hurting so much, and then answered all the questions he was
asked in return. After checking his patient's blood pressure
and his vitals, the doctor told Mulder to rest up then left
with the nurse after prescribing more pain meds. His passing
comment on the way out was to mention there'd soon be a pump
Mulder could operate himself to help with his pain meds needs.
As soon as the doctor left, Mulder turned to her, his eyes
half closed and his face pale with pain. "Scully..."
his voice scraping against an already raw throat.
"Hey," Scully soothed petting his hair, delighted at
the sound of her real name coming from his voice and wondered
how much he was remembering. "How are you?"
"I'm confused to say the least." He let his head
fall back and closed his eyes. "I remember planting fence
posts...sipping whiskey in front of the fire...talking to
Sonny in the stables."
"Well you shouldn't try to remember right now. I'm sure
it will all come back to you in time. It was a severe injury.
You suffered major trauma."
She was hiding behind the medical catchphrases she could
muster; major trauma, severe injuries, but she couldn't bring
herself to speak so candidly with him. The events of the night
before had left a gaping hole in their relationship, one that
he hadn't discovered yet and if he were to remember kissing
her maybe the rift would only widen. Or perhaps not.
"There is more...more I can remember, but it's like
remembering scenes from a movie."
"Don't try Mulder." She helped him take some more
ice chips, holding his head up for him and gently pressing the
spoon against his lips.
"Who is Cody Philips?" he asked suddenly.
She stilled, her hand hovering over the cup she had just
replaced on the bedside locker. "Who?"
"Cody Philips...ugh...everything is just so mixed
up." He wanted to rub his face but his arms ached from
the transfusion, almost numb from the sedatives and he didn't
have the energy to lift them.
"We were working undercover. The case on Callaghan
"The serial murders...In Colorado. Are we still in
"Wait...I was Cody Philips?" His mind was working
things out quicker than she thought he would. His head was
shaking, rolling from side to side and he was struggling to
keep his eyes open. "Is that why you kissed me?"
Startled she looked down at him, but his face was closed off
as the exhaustion took over.
"Relax Mulder. Later. You try to get some sleep."
"Were you kissing Cody? Or me?" he persisted,
opening his eyes wide for a second as he tried to stay awake,
then closing them again against the light and the pain.
"Go to sleep Mulder. I need to go talk to Agent Benson.
I'll be back in a little while." She stroked his head
then turned to leave. He was out before she had a chance to
close the door.
Outside the hospital she checked her watch as she climbed back
into the Bronco. It was still early so with the time
difference she hoped she'd still catch Skinner at his office.
There appeared to be no one at the ranch when she pulled up
outside the main lodge. All the lights were off and no one
answered her when she called out. She let herself in and went
upstairs to her room. Her luggage was all still there, and a
pool of Mulder's blood, stained the wooden floor beneath the
Delighted to find the phone lines working again, she hurriedly
dialed Skinner's extension and spoke briefly with Kim. Skinner
spoke anxiously with her for a few moments about the case,
before his voice took on a more tender tone.
"How is he?" he asked after a short pause.
"He's doing much better. Thank you. He'll be out of the
field for a while with this one, so the biggest obstacle will
be keeping him at his desk."
"And the amnesia? Is he still affected?"
"A little, but it's wearing off."
"Speaking with Agent Benson earlier it seems all the
other men at the ranch have regained full memory."
"Yes. I have too."
"But it still doesn't explain how the perp did it."
Skinner expelled a frustrated breath into the phone that
clearly illustrated his tension.
"No sir." She didn't offer any explanation as she didn't
have any, she was glad when he didn't push. It would take many
more hours and avenues of investigation, plus questioning of
the prisoner before the true facts were discovered regarding
"When will he be fit enough to return to DC?"
"Not for at least another week sir." She was tired
and had to turn away from the phone to yawn. "He's over
the worst of it now sir. It's just a matter of time until his
muscle and tissue heals and he works his energy back up."
"Ok. Keep me informed with his progress?"
"Agent Benson will be interrogating Callaghan in the
morning. Might be an idea if you'd be there."
FBI Field Office
"It doesn't make sense!" Agent Benson dropped his
cigar into the ashtray on his desk and paced the room once
Scully followed him with her eyes wishing he would open a
window and let out some of the cigar smoke from the small
claustrophobic room. "Amnesia sometimes occurs
spontaneously in hypnosis, and sometimes happens as the result
of a direct or indirect suggestion."
"So he hypnotized everyone to forget everything?"
"In a way."
"How?" he barked out angrily. "Why didn't it
work on Jeff Parson?" he added as he snatched his cigar
back up and took a long drag.
"I don't have all the answers," she argued.
"Well I have some." Agent Benson grabbed the phone
and called for an Agent Paul Jules to come into the room.
"He wasn't working alone."
"Sonny told you that?" Scully asked sitting up.
"He didn't have to." They both turned to see Agent
Jules entering in with the file photos in his hand. "We
found footprints. Estimating about 12 men out there."
"In the field behind the barn." He passed her the
pictures of the prints and the aerial photos of the ranch.
"Everyone remembers the power going out, the storm and
then the amnesia."
"Yeah?" She wasn't following him.
"The power went out at approximately 6.30. It was closer
to 2am when Agent Mulder was admitted into the ER. That's 8
hours when you all only recall the passing of a mere 3
"Lost time," she muttered under her breath. "So
who was it? What…or who was out there?" she demanded to
know, standing. Jules and Benson exchanged worried glances
before looking back to her. "The Military."
"We found bullet casings. They matched army regulation AR
- XM8 Army Issue assault rifles."
"The body of Jeff Parson was also recovered. He was shot
in the head twice, and chest once. Again with XM8
"Can you trace the bullets more specifically?"
Scully asked, suddenly seeing light at the end of the case as
opposed to the dark dead end she had become resigned to.
"No. Bulk sale, army issue. The motive for all of this is
still unclear." He slapped the photos onto the table.
"Our only hope to clear all this up is Sonny."
"Lets go talk to him."
They were soon at the cell in the back of the building where
Sonny was being held. His curled up form was lying near the
top of the bed, his head covered with the flat pillow, and a
threadbare blanket draped loosely over his body.
"Sonny?" Benson said as the guard opened the door
and they walked in. Sonny didn't move. "Sonny?"
Benson reached out to touch his shoulder and watched in horror
as Sonny's body rolled onto it's back; his eyes wide open as
he stared at the ceiling. "Shit!"
Scully pushed her way over and quickly checked his pulse. It
was normal, as was his temperature and his breathing strong.
"Is he dead?" Carson asked.
"No. He's...in some sort of trance." She murmured,
standing away from him.
"Get the paramedics in here," she added quickly.
"Some kind of hypnotic trance," Agent Jules added
and all three of them exchanged worried glances.
5 Days Later
With some reluctance Dr Markson released Mulder from the
hospital under the condition that he would be traveling with a
qualified doctor. He was fit enough to go home, just, but he
walked slowly, tiring easily. Scully packed his belongings and
met him with a wheelchair at the hospital entrance to go to
the airport. The effort of moving cost him dearly and he slept
with the aid of some sedation through the whole flight and
most of the cab journey back to her apartment.
She helped him into her living room and steered him towards
the bedroom. It was just past five in the evening when they
landed and dusk was quickly taking hold of the city.
Undressing him was difficult, as he couldn't move his right
arm without surges of pain gripping him. But together they
managed it and he slipped in between the cool sheets, taking
sharp breaths and over tired from the exertion.
"You need to take a lot of fluids Mulder and rest
up." She told him firmly after placing a glass of water
on the bedside table beside his clock.
"Yes Doctor," he muttered, his eyes closed and his
"I'll be in the living room. Skinner will probably call
around later for my report. But I don't want you to move from
"Yes Doctor." He gave her a yawn and a sleepy smile.
"Call me if you want anything. Ok?" she busied
herself as she spoke, ambling around the room and shutting the
curtains, plunging the room into an uneasy darkness.
"Ok..." Already he was drifting off to sleep so she
left without another word.
Scully was sitting cross-legged on the couch when Skinner
arrived. He immediately noticed how exhausted she looked but
refrained from commenting on it. She offered him coffee and he
accepted, so she handed him her report and went to make the
coffee as he read it through.
Skinner sat at her dinner table, mindlessly tapping a pen on
his lips as he scanned through it. Scully sat across from him
waiting for his response. She was prepared to go through it
with him step by step. Explaining about the lights, the
flashing lightning event, lost time and the amnesia and then
her meeting with Agent Benson.
Skinner took it all in, asking only a few questions before
moving away from the table when she finished, to stand
pensively by the window. He had his back to her so she
couldn't read his expression, but his arms were folded
aggressively across his wide chest so she was guessing he
"Mass hypnosis?" He stated turning around and fixing
his curious eyes on her.
"Yes sir. We understand that although Sonny Callaghan
hasn't performed the actual hypnosis, he was securing the
"For who? The military? In the past the Army have used
their own men for experimental drugs and procedures. Why would
they need to use ranch hands?"
"It's not particularly clear sir. Sonny hasn't woken from
his trance yet. We are still trying to trace the origin of the
bullet casing more specifically but nothing has turned up yet.
All avenues of investigation have hit a brick wall under the
secrecy act. No one is admitting involvement but we suspect a
covert group may be behind this. Whatever it is."
"And that is explanation enough for you?" he asked
surprised at her dismissal of the unanswered facts.
"No sir. I have requested further interviews with the men
at the Callaghan ranch and have ordered numerous tests and
scans to be carried out while he is in custody. Currently
indefinitely, because of the homeland security clause, they
can keep him longer. They have classed this as some kind of
terrorism, or run up to a terrorist act."
"Has he recovered yet?" Skinner asked, already
knowing the answer but needing to hear her admit it.
"No sir. His catatonic state is impervious to all
"So also according to his doctor he may be in the custody
of the Colorado state mental health facility for a long
time." Skinner walked back to the table as he spoke and
took a sip of his coffee, but he remained standing.
"Anything from the interviews with the other ranch
"Not yet sir. As you can see from the polygraph results
they all passed. No one had previous knowledge of the other
victims or Sonny's reasons for executing this…or the reason
for the killings."
"And the polygraph Sonny took before the coma?"
"It was inconclusive sir." She passed the results
sheet over to him but he looked down at it without
understanding. "Two separate experts read it but couldn't
distinguish whether he was lying or not."
"Sounds like Mr. Callaghan has something more to
hide." Skinner sat down at the table and shuffled though
the notes again.
"I have a psychologist speaking with him on a daily basis
to see if we can get any more out of him. The doctors seem to
think some other outside involvement may have led to his
current state. Some minor brain damage seems to have taken
place …but we can't be sure on the cause."
"Okay Agent Scully. I'll sign off as unknown, pending
further enquiries. Only I think I don't have to tell you that
given our previous experience, we may be ….er unsuccessful
in gaining full disclosure regarding the nature of this case.
It's an X file all right. So how is he doing?" Skinner
asked nodding his head towards the bedroom where he knew
"He's very tired. Tries too much too soon."
"Has his memory returned fully?"
"Not quite. Just a few pieces remaining though. Since
he's been here and on the flight home it seems to be picking
up momentum. Hopefully he will be himself again very
Skinner noticed the small color creep over her cheeks but she
turned away, busying her self with the cups in the sink.
"Okay. I'll go now. File this. Good work, both of you.
Thanks for your time."
Department Of Army HQ
Fort Leonard Wood
Master Sergeant Matheson sat ramrod straight in the small
wooden chair. His dress uniform was impeccably pressed with
buttons and medals shone to sparkling condition. Across the
wide table he watched as Captain Kennedy read through the
report silently. To his left, sitting in front of the large
window were two Captains he had never seen before but noted
with respect, the amount of medals they brandished proudly on
In the corner to the right at the back of the room, Matheson
cast a quick glance at the civilian who tipped ash from his
cigarette into an ashtray. As the older man caught his gaze,
he lifted the cigarette to his dry lips he cast the Sergeant a
cold stare of his own and Matheson quickly looked away.
Outside he watched as the infantry marched by, singing loudly
in rhythm and suddenly he yearned for the simple beginnings. He didn't want to hear the words
'covert mission' again.
"Master Sergeant Matheson." His eyes snapped back to
attention as he looked at Captain Kennedy. "The situation
in Colorado was supervised by yourself?"
"Sir, yes i was sir." Matheson felt his back
straitening a little further as he readied himself to answer
all the expected questions and even a few he knew he would
never anticipate. "The Alpha squad set up camp in approx 30
kliks outside ransom. It was a twenty minute hike west to the
ranch so it was ideal for Operation Mist."
"How many members of Alpha squad accompanied you?"
The question was from one of the captains that sat to his
"Sir, 8 men accompanied me from Alpha squad, sir. Two
Sergeant First Class Officers, Two Corporals. Four SPC
Officers and three men from the medical corps."
For the next four hours Matheson answered the questions as
best he could. All three captains took turns grilling him,
delving deeper and deeper into the mission than he'd ever
expected. The silence from the shady civilian in the corner was
unnerving. To watch him light up one cigarette after another
without asking a question, or even uttering a single word
caused alarm bells to go off in his head.
"Master Sergeant Matheson," Captain Kennedy closed
the file over, signaling the end of the meeting. "We'll
be in contact."
Matheson stood up and snapped his heels to attention and
saluted them before turning abruptly to face the door.
"One more thing…" The civilian stood up and
crushed his half smoked cigarette into the ashtray.
"Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were at the
ranch," he said as he approached the MSG and pulled a
pack of Morley's from his breast pocket.
"Yes sir." Matheson looked around the room at the
three captains. "Their undercover operation began on the
15th when they arrived at the camp at 15.30 hours."
"At any time did they come close to revealing the lab
beneath the Ranch Farm?"
"No Sir. Their investigation seemed to be centering on the personnel around the farm,
rather than the farm
"Then can you explain to me why the pulse was set off on
the night of the storm?" He clenched his lips to hold the
cigarette in place while he struck a match to light it.
"As I explained in my report. Sonny Callaghan had caused
it to ignite."
"Okay. Thank you." Matheson turned to leave and shut
the door with a soft click behind him.
The room floated in a smoky silence for a few seconds until
Captain Kennedy stood up. "I get the distinct impression
that you don't believe him?"
"No." He puffed out a breath of gray smoke.
"Sonny Callaghan could not have set off that pulse."
"Why not? MSG Matheson is one of the best men in this
army. I won't have you-"
"The pulse was set off by someone and we need to find out
who before this happens again." He took another long puff
of his cigarette and crushed it into the ashtray again.
"We have two other labs under observation with similar
situations. I won't have them jeopardized for the sake of one
"The incident in Colorado was a mistake. Callaghan should
never have been involved." Kennedy argued heatedly.
"Florida and Montana are showing signs of stabilizing. We
just need a few more months to finish testing before we can
take it out to the field."
"We have approval for field testing in Abu Ghraib prison
starting in November."
"All results should be compiled by then." Lighting
another cigarette, the civilian looked around the room before
turning slowly and leaving.
Dana Scully Apartment.
Sitting in her apartment Dana Scully felt lonely. For the past
two weeks working on the ranch she'd got use to company for dinner
Conversation and laughter filled the room then, but now she found
herself pushing a salad around her plate, barely eating
anything. She checked in on Mulder but found him still out
cold, his water glass empty. So after refilling his drink
she left without disturbing him.
Now as she put her plate on the table and curled up onto the
couch, she let her mind wander over the weeks gone by. Images
melded in her mind as it all came back to her, but the soft
footfall behind her made her turn sharply.
Mulder stood leaning on the doorframe, his face pale and
washed out and his eyes glassy from pain.
He was wearing nothing but a rumpled pair of black boxers and
with one arm strapped to his chest, holding his injured shoulder in
place, covering the bulky surgical bandages, he looked more
vulnerable then she had ever seen. She stood quickly and
helped him to stand up fully.
"Mulder?" she asked uncertainly but he didn't give
her a chance to say anything else. He leaned back against the
wall behind him with a slight wince then hooked his free arm
He pulled her closer regardless of his injury, wrapping his
arm tighter around her and he kissed her. He tilted his head,
deepening the kiss before she had a chance to react and touched
her lips with his tongue.
Her arms held him closely but she was afraid to squeeze him in
case she hurt his chest, but he had no such qualms. His
uninjured hand traveled over her back, pulling her against him
as his other hand rested between them, his tongue stroking
hers in eager urgent moves that sent shivers of anticipation
through her body right down to her curling toes.
His hand circled her neck and cupped her face as he pulled
away from her, his breath raspy and ragged. He held her face
mere inches away, staring into her eyes and tried to guess her
"That time you were definitely kissing me." He spoke
softly and she could feel his breath brushing warmly across
her face, as well as his fingers. Her cheeks blushed as his words sunk in and she
tried to look away but he held her firmly in place.
She smiled under his gaze and blushed again. He wouldn't let
her look away as he came closer and pressed his lips gently
"It was strange." He began as he hugged her and
rested his head on her shoulder. "To forget who I was but
still feel the same urges. To still feel the need to be close
to you, seek solace in your arms, taste your lips."
"I know what you mean," she whispered her voice
getting lost in warm skin. Eager to
feel him fully.
He turned his head and kissed her neck before straightening
up, wincing from the sharp sudden pain that gripped his chest.
"I can't believe how bad my timing is!" he said with
a little laugh as he led her over to the couch and sat down
carefully. "If it wasn't for my gunshot wound..." he
let his voice fade out as his smile widened and his hand
grasped hers, lifting it to his lips.
"Well maybe we'll have to sort something else out!"
she grinned coyly as she tilted her head and kissed the edge
of his jaw, making him groan with frustration.
"Sorry...should I stop?"
"No Scully don't ever stop!" He ignored the pain in
favor of the sensual sensation of her lips on his skin, and
reached up to pull her closer. "Promise me you won't ever