Title: Them --
Category: Post-Ep., Story. Case File.
Summary: Whatever happened to Elizabeth and her baby?
Archive: Gossamer, Ephemeral, If you want it, please ask me first, deal?
Disclaimer: OMG No! They're not mine? They must be copyright property of Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Studios. I KNOW I don't gather money or intend copyright infringement. (But Elizabeth and her baby are mine, HAHAHAHAAA!)
Author's Notes: This story was written for TWO challenges! Mulder's Refuge "January Open Theme" Challenge, and The Nursery Files' "A Foundling's Tale" Challenge. TNF Challenge elements at the end of this story. Much of the information about the Amish and their communities was found here: http://www.amish-heartland.com/
FBI HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON, DC OFFICE OF THE X-FILES JANUARY 15, 1996 2:15 PM
The day was hardly uneventful for Special Agents Mulder and Scully. First there had been the quarterly meeting on crime stats, the bomb drill, then the power outage as a gentle flurry of snow flakes fell over the building.
Mulder had a pounding headache, and Scully was entering a report into the database when the phone rang.
"Mulder." Man that had to hurt, didn't it. "Agent Scully? One moment."
Scully picked up the receiver. "Scully. Yes. Yes, I remember... " She peered at Mulder as his hands ran over his aching temples. "Oh! Well, where and when?" She listened intently as a familiar voice appealed to her for absolute confidentiality and secrecy. "We can do that. Don't worry." The call ended and Scully sat looking at Mulder rather sheepishly, as she knew the man was already suffering. Maybe the news would appeal to his never ending curiosity over the oddities and strange phenomena that came their way. She jotted down a few things while they were fresh in her mind, then approached her partner. "Mulder?"
He was truly suffering. "Yeah... Don't tell me. You need Saturday to go to a birthday to one of your godchildren... "
"Uh, no. Do you recall the Kindred, Elizabeth and her gender- switching baby?"
"How could I forget them? I think I needed just as much sleep then as I do now. Is there another occurrence of inter-species conception?"
"Well, not exactly. It seems Elizabeth and the baby managed to return. This time they're living in Steveston, of all places. Small house, no phone, the usual Kindred way of life, no one would begrudge her being there. They don't know how or why the Kindred suddenly disappeared."
Mulder sighed. "I'll get the 'IT' file. You know, those people were more uptight about their isolation than your average Amish or Mennonites, yet they were sexy as hell with just... Here it is. The 'IT' files. Sounds like a great name for a miniseries."
"The what?" Scully was genuinely offended he would choose such a cold name for the folder that contained their findings on this young woman and her child.
"The 'IT' file, Scully. All the notes, medical reports, references to the Kindred... "
"I know, Mulder. They're people, though. The baby is an innocent! And remember this, too: The father happens to have been human. We may as well label the file 'THEM.'"
Mulder opened the file and walked to his desk, reading as he did so. "There was a crop circle resembling the same one we saw in Steveston last year, but it was reportedly in Pennsylvania. Maybe they just wanted a change of scenery."
"You don't think they're still here?"
"Well, who knows? And while we're asking questions, why would Elizabeth be calling us in?"
"Well, we'll just have to find that out, I suppose."
The headache wasn't going to go away immediately, but neither was Mulder's curiosity. "Let's go, then."
It was snowing heavily by the time Mulder pulled into the parking lot. Steveston was definitely experiencing winter.
Mulder and Scully addressed the middle-aged manager by tapping the bell on the old wooden counter.
"Hold yer horses. I'm doing the books, so just one more line before I forget. Okay. Hey! I remember you two investigating the Kindred murderer."
"Yes," Scully replied. "Special Agent Mulder, Special Agent Scully, FBI. We'd like two rooms."
The manager smiled. "Separate rooms still, huh? Okay... Would have thought you two had become a couple by now, but Rooms 5 and 7 are ready. Your keys, and don't worry. I'm sure the heat will be on before bedtime."
That statement upset Mulder. "No heat? You think you can assign rooms with no heat?"
"The furnace kicked out this morning, and it's being repaired right now. By the way, you never did tell us where those Kindred went."
"We don't know," Scully told him. "We were only after the one who committed the murders, and since the Kindred were long- standing American citizens, they had and still have freedom of movement."
"Let's just get settled," Mulder suggested. "It's piling up out there."
MULDER'S ROOM MARSHALL INN STEVESTON 6:30 PM
File folders and a pizza box surrounded Scully on the bed as Mulder did his reading in an armchair. There was a sketch they had arranged for as soon as they had met Elizabeth several months ago.
"So, you're pretty sure she's about two miles in those woods." Mulder picked up the drawing and studied it. "Maybe we should get copies of this just in case
Scully nodded and swallowed some pizza. "Small shack, bare bones Amish-style living, and apparently she's been there for quite a while. She had been in Pennsylvania for a while, but her abusive ex-boyfriend caught up with her, and she came back here. After, of course, he violated the restraining order and was safely incarcerated. By the way, you did notice the heat's on, right?"
"Yeah. I have to wonder which sex that baby is. It is over a year old, right?"
"Uh huh. Elizabeth mentioned the baby's name is Seth."
"A boy! You mentioned she wanted to talk with us about the Kindred, and that she would love to enlighten me because of my interest in the paranormal. Is that all?"
"That's basically what she told me. Mulder, I have to ask this, and I've been wondering about it for months: Did our meeting with her near the bus station have any effect on you?"
How was he going to answer that one? He cleared his throat. Was Scully possibly jealous? "Well, there was this sort of magnetic pull. The same sort of effect Brother... "
"Okay. I get the picture. And I did ask you not to mention his name to me ever again. Sure, they mesmerize people via their pheromones whether they can control it or not, but I could have easily died in that room, you had my back, and I don't really... "
"Now you get the picture. It was an effect, but she ran away with her baby while we tried to stave off their means of transportation. Whatever that was. Now, I suggest we go out there tomorrow morning, receive some enlightenment and head back to DC as soon as we possibly can."
Scully closed a couple of folders. "Yes. It's been a long day. We may as well call it a night and get some rest. And Mulder, don't ever mention Brother Andrew's name again."
Mulder smiled as he approached the door to leave. "I didn't have to, did I?"
That statement was met with 'The Look' and silence.
"Goodnight, Agent Scully."
ELIZABETH'S CABIN 10:14 AM
From two-hundred feet, the house looked tiny even compared to some of the houses Mulder and Scully had viewed on an internet site that had described the average family dwellings of the Amish.
"Are you sure she gave us the right directions? I don't see any smoke from the chimney," Mulder observed.
"I'm pretty sure we parked the car where she told us to, and she did say it was in a small clearing about two miles past that point. Two feet of snow, and it must be about twenty degrees. Maybe she's just rekindling the fire."
As the two agents approached the cabin, Scully observed there were no boot tracks even leading out to the wood pile, which was quite well-stocked.
Mulder tried the door. It was unlocked. Then again, that wasn't unusual for the Amish or Kindred. "Elizabeth? Anybody?"
They looked around the small dwelling.
"Cabinets stocked with preserves, fireplace doesn't look like it's been used within the last twenty-four hours. What are we missing here, Scully?"
Scully was searching the woman's bedroom. "Wash stand hasn't been touched, Mulder. One of the baby's blankets in the crib, and... wait." She leaned over the modest dresser. There was a small piece of paper with hastily scribbled writing on it. "All it says is Wooster... "
"That would be Ohio. Lots of Amish out there. Maybe she's blending in with them to make herself invisible to whoever might discover who she and her baby really are, and let's not leave out the baby's father."
Scully nodded as she found another piece of paper behind the first note. "There's more, Mulder. 'Seth's father... must leave. No time.' Mulder, she's on the run from her abusive ex-boyfriend, and it doesn't look like he's been here yet."
"We don't know that, Scully. A two-foot snowfall within twenty-four hours. Anything's possible, but there's no sign of a struggle, and there are still a couple of dirty pots on the stove."
"Mulder, let's just get out of this cold, deep woods echo chamber."
WOOSTER, OHIO 4:30 PM
The first place Mulder and Scully headed for was the police station. They had a hard time convincing them that a young Amish mother and child had been living alone in Steveston and was fleeing an abusive non-Amish, or one of the "Englishes" as the Amish were known to call people who didn't live in the Amish way. Copies of the sketches were left with the police, and they sought out a motel.
THE BARN INN HONEY RUN VALLEY, OHIO 6:52 PM
The eleven room inn located in the Honey Run Valley had a couple of vacancies since it was winter, so they decided to research the area's Amish community.
Of course, they were careful enough to respect the public's sensibilities and assured the inn keepers that they were, indeed, working and would consult each other in one room or the other, and that there would be a closed door to ensure the security of their investigation -- something they hadn't needed to do in most other locales.
They chose to meet in Mulder's room over Chinese food.
Scully sat on the bed looking at her laptop. "Wireless Internet service, Mulder. They do know what the outsiders want. I had this picture in my mind... "
"Of the couple in that 'American Gothic" painting? Shame on you, Scully. The beds are modern, hot and cold running water, AND cable. Whaddaya say we go down to a bar?"
"Puritan." Mulder looked at the list of links Scully to sites about the Amish Scully had amassed.. "You've got quite the impressive library here, Scully."
"There's just one problem: There are so many Amish towns and communities in the area, maybe we should have a word with the State Troopers. They'd know the areas better than the Wooster Police. If we at least faxed them this sketch, we'd be ahead of the game. And I'd bet she's staying in a more 'Old Order' community as they tend to keep to their own. Some don't even frequent the flea markets as the more progressive ones do."
"Well, it wouldn't be a good idea to alert the TV station with her ex possibly on the way." He crumpled his coffee cup and threw it at the waste basket, missing it. "Out of practice. That's not like me, Scully."
"Did you get anything about him, Mulder?" Scully made her shot right into the bin, to Mulder's embarrassment.
"His name is Luther Preston, twenty, five nine, slim build, blond hair with blue eyes, no unusual. scars or marks. He's likely driving. Before incarcerated after violating the restraining order, he was undertaking odd jobs as a manual laborer. A sort of Jack of all trades, but master of none. Pictures on my laptop. "He opened up the files and showed the picture to Scully.
"That'll be a big help. So, when do we get started?"
"Set your alarm for seven. I say we fax what we have to the State Troopers tonight and head out tomorrow to some of those quaint little towns I'm grabbing from you computer. I'll leave my cell number in case they have any immediate information. Get some rest. It's been a long day."
THE BARN INN 7:00 AM
Just as Scully's travel alarm went off, her cellphone jingled. "Scully," she answered, eyes still closed, trying to think she was dreaming and hoping for more sleep.
Mulder, of course, was fully awake, showered and clothed. "I didn't want to disturb you, because there's no immediate danger, but Elizabeth has been seen in the village of Berlin. They pronounce it 'BERlin'. She's living with a family by the name of Nussbaum, and known as Elizabeth Kaufmann."
Scully stood, cell still in hand. "Give me about a half hour."
"Sounds good. Better get some breakfast, too. Want me to order this time?"
"Sure. We never did get her last name the first time around, if the Kindred really had last names. I'll... I'll make it quick. Just where is Berlin?"
"About an hour away. That's why we're checking out. Maybe we'll get lucky and get her out of there before Preston shows up. In fact, it might be a good idea to stick around until he DOES. We can get the state police to take him in."
Scully nodded. "Violating probation. All right. I won't be long."
By nine they were on the road to Berlin, and reached the village by ten.
BERLIN, OHIO 10:31 AM
Having spoken with the local authorities, Mulder drove to the Nussbaum farm, where children were playing in the snow and an older man could be heard calling out, "Faster! You must be strong for when you grow up! That's the way."
Mulder and Scully decided it was best to leave the car by the side of the road. The area hadn't received nearly as much snow as the other areas of the state, and it seemed the polite thing to do.
They flashed their badges to the man and introduced themselves.
"I am Henry Nussbaum. These are my children, and my wife Erica is inside the house with the woman you are looking for. She has been through much suffering. Come. You must be concerned for her."
"They were led into a roughly conservatively decorated home, and met Erica Nussbaum, a woman in her thirties, as she came out of the kitchen.
"Erica, these are the kind FBI agents Elizabeth spoke of. Could you please tell Elizabeth they are here?"
The woman shook the agents' hands and smiled. Yes, Henry, and I will make some tea for them. You may be seated in the parlor. I won't be but a minute. Please excuse me."
Henry removed his hat, and whispered, "Erica is my second wife. My dear Miriam died in a buggy accident nine years ago. We are allowed to remarry."
"Yes," Scully softly said. "I'm so sorry for your loss."
"You have so many well behaved children," Mulder remarked, "It must be hard... "
Henry Nussbaum laughed. "It's not hard with love, Agent Mulder. We teach them at a young age that respect and love are so much the same. Please. Be seated."
In respect for the family, Mulder and Scully removed their boots and coats and went into the parlor.
Mulder eyed the furniture. "Leather couch. A man after my own heart."
"You'll find that most of the furniture is hand made and of natural materials, Mulder. They're not accustomed to vinyl."
A young woman, dressed in traditional Amish attire entered the parlor with a toddler, just over a year old. Mother and child both had that blackish colored hair.
"Elizabeth! You look great!" Scully's eyes then turned to the child. "This must be Seth. May I?"
"Of course. You managed to find me. I really didn't know if you would see the notes. I was in a hurry. The Nussbaums... they don't know of the Kindred. I thought it best to 'blend in' as you would say. Please. sit down."
Scully continued to hold Seth, riveted not only by by the beauty of the little boy, but his magnetism. Still, a feeling of longing was beginning to surface. "Well, he's really grown, strong and healthy."
Mulder noticed something about this Kindred woman was missing something: The pheromone effect didn't seem to be present. "Miss Kaufmann, Elizabeth, how can we help you?"
"Well, you are FBI agents, and a convicted abuser is running free. I found that out when I went into Wooster and saw a newspaper headline when I went to buy milk a few days ago." Tears began to stream down her face. "You're the only people I can count on. You treated my son as you would want any of your own to be treated. It's hard fitting in when your own people are divided as to how to see you, and the people of this world are unaware and afraid of the possibility of anyone, even the Kindred, traveling to your world to live. I'm sorry, I'm just torn between everybody right now."
"We understand," Mulder replied.
Mrs. Nussbaum entered the parlor with a tea tray and set it on a table in the center of the seating area. "Enjoy. The biscuits are freshly baked." She held Elisabeth in her arms. "The Lord is with you. I know from what you've said that these people can help you. Trust on them and Him. I should get back to my work. I know you are very decent Englishes. You will find your way."
"Thank you," Mulder replied. "We'll do our best and that man has his own problems to deal with."
"This is very kind of you," Scully said. "I admit we're somewhat hungry. We'll do everything possible to protect Elizabeth and Seth."
Mrs. Nussbaum returned to the kitchen, and Scully returned Seth to his mother.
Mulder cleared his throat. "Luther Preston. Why do you believe he's after you?"
Elizabeth's face turned ashen. "He promised he would kill me. He wants our son. A little boy such as Seth would not be safe with him, and when Luther finds out Seth has abilities beyond his understanding, he will use them to his advantage. Seth will also not be accepted in your world. Without proper teaching from one us his own, he might go the way of... someone you met in Steveston. The sinful predator."
Scully's knew of the pheromones and remembered the night in Brother Albert's room. "I know from experience, Elizabeth."
"What about your people? Have you been in contact with them?"
"I have, Agent Mulder. Please have some tea. Erica would feel insulted if you didn't touch the tea and biscuits. She even makes the butter."
Mulder took a biscuit from the tray. "And what are your people's thoughts about your situation right now?"
Elizabeth smiled as her son, now sitting on her knee, giggled and smiled. "They love me. They want the best for Seth and me, but the others at home are divided about Seth. They're learning much, and I know we can count on them, but it's so very nice with your Amish people. And when I feel I need to visit the Englishes and their cities, I do that. It's just... "
Scully patted the young woman's arm. "You miss your family. I don't need to be a Kindred to know that."
Mulder continued. "We need to find Luther for the sake of the rest of our public. Justice is our job, our function in our society. And this may sound like we want to put you in danger, but we don't. Come back to Steveston with us. We believe he's headed there."
"Good Lord. Where would I stay?"
"At the Marshall Inn. We would be there and one of us would be with you at all times. We also have the State Troopers and local police looking for him. If he's as violent as his profile indicates... "
Scully was having doubts about Mulder's suggestion. "Mulder! Why?"
"Scully, if he's as violent as his profile indicates, the Nussbaums are in danger."
Elizabeth clung nervously to her son. "I will be ready to leave by the time you finish your tea. This I will do for your to repay your kindness to us. The Kindred are never far away as the community I am from communicates with me in places we agree upon, away from these kind, loving people and your outside world. Please excuse me."
As soon as Elizabeth was out of earshot, Scully was seething. "How could you?"
"Scully, this would not only five us an opportunity to learn more about the Kindred, we could put Luther Preston back in prison. Where is the scientist in you?"
"Trying hard to stay away from the Federal Agent in me, Mulder, because two lives are at stake here. I'm not so much interested in the Kindred as I am in protecting Elizabeth and Seth Kaufmann."
MARSHALL INN STEVESTON JANUARY 18, 1996 10:16 AM
The drive back to Wooster, then Steveston has been long and exhausting, and Mulder and Scully watched Elizabeth and Seth in twelve hour shifts. The thought the best way to let it be known that mother and son were in town would be to take her out in public as often as possible, weather not withstanding.
Scully took the daytime shift and she, Elizabeth and Seth went window shopping on the main street.
"My people made wonderful pottery, and people around here loved it. Now, I suppose it's in the homes of townspeople and tourists. We loved them for their kindness. How can we repay them for what Brother Martin did to them."
Scully stopped in front of a clothing store. "Elizabeth, do you believe in forgiveness?"
"Then the best you can do is forgive Brother Martin and know that they don't blame all of you, even you and Seth, for these people. I'm sure they don't hold any of you responsible for his actions. Let's see if we can find something Seth might look nice in."
At noon they had lunch at a small diner and Scully managed to bring laughter to the woman." And then Bill, poor Bill, could never figure out who put the oatmeal in his boots!"
"We had a few children who were doing things similar to that, but they would never have wasted good food. For that type of thing, it was horse droppings. Fresh."
People around them must have thought they were crazy, but Scully knew Elizabeth need the emotional release of laughter.
"You have given me relief from my stress," Elizabeth continued. "To be laughing again feels like a miracle has happened."
Outside of the diner, a blond, blue-eyed young man peered into the window, then hurried away. "I'll see you and my son later, Elizabeth. Rage was building in the man's system. A rage so strong he was almost the picture of evil itself.
MARSHALL INN 7:49 PM
Elizabeth spooned the last of Seth's baby food into his mouth, and readied him for bed. She and Scully had decided it was best the baby sleep with his mother as there were no cribs in the inn.
Mulder soon arrived at their room with pizza and soft drinks. It was snowing gently outside, and after removed his coat and whisked the snowflakes out of his hair, he grabbed a piece of pizza and sat down.
"One question, Elizabeth."
"If I can answer it, feel free to ask."
"This effect the Kindred have on humans: How is it that you're not affecting me or any other males?"
Elizabeth thought a moment, then smiled. "You must think we are uncontrollable sex maniacs, Agent Mulder. If we do not have the desire to engage in that which we were told to refrain from, there are no chemicals you call 'pheromones', I believe, produced and emanated. It is only when we choose to abuse the gift of relations and the reproductive act that the chemicals are given off. Even among our own, the practice is forbidden in the daytime, when we work for our very survival."
"There you go, Mulder. One of the many ladies who might not find you desirable. On the other hand... "
"All right, you two stop it. It seems to me you two may be a bit more than just FBI partners."
That opinion was met with," Of course not," in unison.
Elizabeth just smiled.
Scully took a sip of her soda. "Elizabeth, Agent Mulder and I believe it would help if you were out in the evening as well as the daytime for the purposes of leading to the arrest of your ex. How about an evening walk?"
"I... okay. That would be a good idea. There's something I must do tonight, first."
Mulder wiped his mouth with a paper napkin. "What's that?"
"Go outside of town to speak with some Kindred who have arranged to meet me. It's not very far, and perhaps your presence would be best left about a hundred feet from me if you accompany me. There is something I need them to do, and I would rather it be kept between the elders and me."
Mulder agreed. "I can do that. There's been no word yet about anyone seeing Luther Preston. Agent Scully will attend to your baby. If anything does happen, we can get hotel staff to take over babysitting and I will have my cell phone with me."
"That sounds like a plan," Scully said. "We can't really take any chances."
The appointed rendezvous point was only about a quarter mile away from town, and Mulder waited patiently as Elizabeth conferred with one of her elders.
"You realize we can't keep returning," Sister Abigail sternly told the younger woman. We have agreed to offer you a new beginning a second time now, and it is our hope you will think over the things we have spoken about. If this young man is dangerous to you and the child, you are very welcome to come home with us. No the children in this world would understand Seth and some of the abilities he will develop, but we have been able to accept the ways of the people of this planet to some extent."
"Sister Abigail... I so want to forgive Luther Preston, but I also want to ensure the other women in his world will not suffer as I do." Clearly Elizabeth was torn between the fellowship of her own people and the less restricted life this Earth had to offer.
"You do know your Scriptures, and you are truly a blessed woman. Think about this, because we must leave this world and never return. We will give you two days to five us your decision. The woman gave Elizabeth a hug and kissed her on the cheek.
As Mulder looked on, he began to think these people were more compassionate than his own.
Elizabeth returned to Mulder as Sister Abigail seemed to disappear into the woods.
"How IS Sister Abigail?"
"She is more loving than you know, Agent Mulder. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, but we do all love one another. She told me the elders are offering me a chance to return to the fold, and I agreed to meet with her within two days."
They began to walk to the car. "Then, you're leaving with them?"
"I have been told they will never return to this planet, and that mean neither will I if I go with them. I cannot expect them to watch over me for my whole life. Seth would be welcome with them... "
Just as she was about to say another word, blond, blue-eyed
Luther ran out from the woods and would have been able to grab
her arm if Mulder hadn't stepped in the way. The man bashed Mulder's head on the trunk of the car, and rendered Mulder unconscious.
"You're mine, Elizabeth!" Luther was about to take hold of her when a force almost greater than lightning emanated from Elizabeth, hitting him enough to throw him several yards away from her.
Remembering the cell phone, Elizabeth tried to rouse Mulder, but as he was unconscious she had to reach into his pocket for the cell phone. Scully's number was on speed dial, and Elizabeth was not unfamiliar with this technology.
"Agent Scully, it's Elizabeth! We, omigod we need help. Luther attacked Agent Mulder and I... I hurt Luther in a forbidden act of self-preservation... " Elizabeth told Scully as best as she was able to manage where they were, and then collapsed, sobbing. onto the road.
JANUARY 20, 1996
Mulder had sustained a massive concussion and spent a few days in a Cincinnati hospital, and Elizabeth and Seth were kept for observation.
While Mulder was being examined by his doctor, Scully waited in the hallway with Elizabeth Kaufmann.
"You were really brave, And I'm proud of you for standing up to Luther, although it was a rather different method of self-defense."
"I need forgiveness for that, Agent Scully. I do want to thank you and Agent Mulder for the help you have given me. I have decided to go home."
"Where is home, Elizabeth?"
"You wouldn't understand, but it is where we feel most comfortable. As time passes, we will become more open to modern ideas and Seth will grow to be a fine boy. Agent Mulder?"
His head was still bandaged, but he was free to return to DC. "Sprung me. They did say not to drive, though."
"Agent Mulder, I want to thank you and Agent Scully for all you've done to help me. I need to say goodbye." She gave Seth to Scully and hugged Mulder. "You are healing quickly." She smiled as if she knew something no on else knew. As she hugged Scully, she whispered, "But tell him he's still not well enough to drive."
Scully smirked at Mulder.
"Nothing. I just like to see them have a happy ending."
- Send a character out somewhere in public where lots of people come and go without there being much attention paid to their movement. Examples: a store, bus or train station/airport, fair, concert etc.
- Have that character be asked by a stranger to watch a baby or small child (five years old or younger), or small children, for "just a few minutes."
- Someone discovers an infant or toddler on their doorstep. With a note asking for the character take care of their child for "just a little while."
- A day or more passes and the parent doesn't return. Now what? Does the parent ever return? If not, what happens to the child?