TITLE: Corrigenda (part 7/?)
GENRE: WIP, MSR, A, Post-IWTB
SUMMARY: see part IAUTHOR’S NOTE: Corrigenda is a Latin phrase
meaning “things to be corrected";
sorry for all the grammatical errors,
I am posting this as fast as I write it
so there is ZERO editing done...consider yourself warned! :)
Saturday - April 12, 2008
Residence of Fox Mulder & Dana Scully
Just Outside Richmond, VA
Mulder awoke to vivid bright light streaming through the window -- but at a very strange angle. He was on his bed, but now it wasn't in its frame. And then he remembered: searching the room, casting the mattress to the floor, finding Scully's cross.
"Shit!" he cursed, realizing he must have dozed off while processing this new information.
It had been a long three days and, with the jet-lag and the loneliness of a bed without Scully, insomnia had been a bitch. And he couldn't imagine how much of a nightmare the last three days had been for her...though, whether it was three days or simply 18 hours, he had no idea. He fingered the cross around his neck and pushed off the mattress like a man possessed -- there was no more time to waste.
Skinner pulled up to the house for the second time in twenty-four hours. He had been absolutely beside himself with shock as he drove home in the wee hours of the morning, not fully comprehending just what the hell he had left behind.
Mulder had told him the gate would be open for him, and Skinner pulled up their drive to find the man standing on the porch when his headlights descended upon the house. In the brightness, Mulder's skin had been washed out and ghostly pale -- except for two dark circles around eyes that were an angry scarlet -- against the edges of his dark sweatshirt. There was a piece of worn-looking paper clutched in his hand, but when Skinner asked about it Mulder had just ushered him inside without a word.
He had shown Skinner their bedroom -- outside of showing up, so many years ago, at Mulder's apartment in the early morning, greeted at the door by Scully who was wearing her partner's shirt and looking like she had just gotten out of bed, Skinner couldn't think of a less uncomfortable moment in his life. Mulder had moved with frantic steps, showing Skinner the closet and bathroom, completely empty of any clothing or items that would indicate a woman was living there.
"Mulder," he had begun, the sick feeling in his stomach having grown larger with every glance around the room.
But Mulder had continued on as though he hadn't heard. "We'll need a search team--I don't know how long she's been gone. We need to call her work. Check for fing--"
The man's eyes had been wild, nostrils flared as he turned on his burly friend.
"There's something you're not telling me," he had said in voice that was decidedly less harsh. It had been painful to even look upon Mulder when he knew the desperate hope to which the man had been clinging.
Mulder had shifted his weight from his left to his right, still unwilling to share.
"I need to know what you know."
His hazel eyes had darted to Skinner's shoes, then his own hand -- still holding the sheet of paper, before returning to Skinner's. "They, uh..." He had to clear his throat. "Whoever took her...they forced her to write this."
Skinner's eyebrow had risen upon the word "force" and he held his hand out for what he now assumed was a letter from Scully to Mulder. No wonder he had been reluctant to give it up.
As he studied her script, he couldn't imagine the utter agony that had ripped through Mulder's heart upon reading it. Hell, it was hard enough for him to do so. Skinner knew all the pair had been through over the last fifteen years...to be tossed aside for another man in a fucking note? He couldn't picture the Dana he knew doing something like this. It had only been weeks since he himself had driven her, nearly outside of her mind with worry, to save Mulder from being decapitated.
No, this couldn't be true. Unless...unless that worry had stemmed from her own guilt. Skinner still didn't believe she would have been so gutless to avoid breaking the news to Mulder in person.
No. Not after William.
He had glanced up at the man across from him, waiting with baited breath for Skinner to tell him that he was right: that it had to have been a kidnapping. But Skinner had simply been unable to string Mulder's hopes along that way. If harm had really fallen upon Scully, there would be other ways to take action: ones that Skinner would see to as soon as he got back to his office -- without having to shred an already fragile Mulder into pieces in the process.
But that was before Mulder had come up with the necklace. Scully's cross. Now they had something substantial to go on. And so, here he was, stepping into their home again; but now he brought reinforcements in the way of a search team. The first step was to try and lift fingerprints.
"Got in touch with the administrator who spoke to Scully," Mulder said, all standard greetings thrown out the window: he was in full, Special-Agent-mode now, and Skinner was hugely comforted by that familiar presence. "She called on Thursday afternoon, said she needed to put in for a leave of absence. Family emergency."
"How long?" Skinner asked.
Mulder's expression grew even more serious. "Indefinite."
"I'll have one of my men contact the hospital's phone service, see if we can pin down the location of her call." Mulder nodded. "In the meantime, I need you to direct Agents Parreli and Lauo to the best place to begin dusting this place down."
"Before you get too excited Mulder, just know that I can only do so much. I am pulling all the strings I can, but I am facing a couple of road blocks who are having a hard time qualifying this as 'Missing Persons'."
"How's that?" Mulder all but growled.
Skinner cleared his throat and gave him a knowing glance. "The only possessions taken were hers. There are absolutely no signs of struggle--"
"The cross is a sign of struggle. You know that. That's why you came back. Scully and I set up this system years ago. You're one of the few people still left who know about it. And there have to be more signs! We haven't looked hard enough," he interrupted, taking a step towards his former boss. "Maybe she wasn't abducted here--"
"But her car, her things, Mulder. What are you suggesting?"
"I don't know," he admitted and paced back and forth in front of the entrance to his office. "I think we need to start with the hospital. Maybe someone grabbed her in the parking lot. We can check the video, right? Surely we'll see something..."
Skinner shook his head. "That's--you're talking about searching three days worth of footage from God only knows how many cameras. I warned you that I don't have much manpower, Mulder. And we don't even know for sure that she was taken from the hospital. She could have been anywhere!"
Mulder's mouth was open and Skinner waited for his verbal assault. But nothing came.
"Mulder?" Skinner said when the silence from the broken man became too much for him to take.
"Hopefully something will turn up from the fingerprints then," he replied and turned to find the Agents he saw pulling out their equipment from the corner of his eye.
Skinner grabbed his elbow before he could take a step. Something else had been bothering him, too. He just hadn't wanted to be the one to voice it. He motioned for Mulder to follow him out to the front porch.
Mulder's patience was nonexistent -- every second that passed was one that could mean the difference between Scully living or dying. "What's wrong?"
"I just...Mulder do you think her disappearance could be tied to the X-Files?"
A bitter laugh escaped the taller man's lips.
"I don't really see the joke."
"Sorry, it's, uh...No. If I thought that then I wouldn't have let the enemies through the door."
Skinner glanced through to the entryway, affirming as much with a small, embarrassed smile. "Let's get to work then."
True to form, three knocks came from the door, signaling Tony's presence before he unlocked and entered Scully's quarters. She stood opposite the door on the far wall. When the situation originally presented itself at breakfast, she had briefly considered hiding in the restroom or closet until he was gone, but quickly dismissed that as cowardice. The idea also registered of sitting in the chair -- not the bed, never the bed -- while she pretended to be engrossed in one of the novels he had provided, ignoring him completely. However, she didn't like the idea of being in such a vulnerable state, as a seated position would offer her little in the way of bodily protection should the need present itself.
And, so far, it had not.
That morning, Tony had walked Scully back to "her" room and then left, only stepping across its threshold to close and lock the door. Two hours later, a note had been shoved through the miniscule air between the wood of the door and the floor. Nearly forty-five minutes passed before she could bring herself to fetch it, opening the letter warily, as though the paper itself could do harm. It had been typed, the only handwriting coming in the form of his scrawled signature at the bottom. Dana-
I'm writing you this because I am more than certain that, after this morning's events, you would probably eat a bullet if it meant you never had to see or talk to me again. And I don't blame you. It even crossed my mind to take you back to your house so that you wouldn't feel the mental anguish your stay here (in a house with someone you think wants to rape you...God, just typing that word makes me want to die) has caused. But I can't go to jail for kidnapping. I won't let Jeffrey lose both his parents. The whole purpose of bringing you here, into our lives, was in hopes that he could grow up with two parents who loved him.
But I'm rambling now. The point of this is to let you know how it's going to be from now on, or until you tell me differently. I will knock on your door three times to give you time to gather yourself before letting myself in with your meal. Expect me at some point during the following times:
Scully had glanced at the clock then, realizing he would be there any minute and moved as far from the door as she could manage without making it look like it was on purpose. She would not allow herself to show fear.
I will place the tray of food on your bed and then leave immediately after. You can place the tray near the door when you finish and I will take it when I come back for the next meal. I will bring enough food and drink that you can save up some for snacks or whatever. I will never make you ask. I don't see you as being very comfortable with that -- hope you don't take that as arrogance on my part, I just remember when you tried to starve yourself. You seem like a proud person. On that note, I will also occasionally bring you things to help with the boredom I know you must be experiencing. If you don't want them, don't use them.
If you need to do laundry, you can fill the hamper in your closet and leave it by the door. Or, if you would rather do it yourself, I will walk you to the laundry room -- but I have to warn you that I will be there while you complete it. If you ever need more of anything -- toilet paper, toothpaste, etc. -- just place the item to be disposed of by the door and I will return with its replacement the next time I see you.
Finally, I just want to remind you that I do NOT want to keep you in that room forever. People aren't meant to be caged. You must be feeling more like a prisoner than ever before. But I don't WANT you in there, Dana. You can come out as soon as you realize that what you have here is a home. You can see Jeffrey and even go out in public by yourself.
But not until I know the threat against myself and Jeffrey are gone. When you can love us as much as we love you.
And then there were three raps on her door.
END PART 7/?