Welcome To The Harem

A Love Song by adhokk7 Part 1 of 2
Summary: Deslea's rec: "An excellent post-Existence casefile/MSR. I wasn't fond of some of the plot twists in this one (three guesses which ones!) but it's a good read with strong narrative. I liked the incorporation of Season 7 and Season 8 plot and character elements - it's a story with a good sense of context within the wider X Files world, something often lacking in later-season casefiles. Worth a look."

Title: A Love Song
Author: adhokk7
E-mail: caryrain@aol.com
Classification: Case file, MSR
Spoilers: Through Existence.
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Scully is called out of seclusion to assist
Archive: Sure.
Note: If you haven't seen the TXF episodes Pilot,
Millennium, all things, and Existence, I strongly suggest
you do before reading this story. Also, the more of
Millennium you have seen, the better, but it's not
Disclaimer: 1013, Chris Carter, FOX, and maybe some other
people all own more of the landscape of this story than I
do. So don't send me money for this. If you send me money,
do it for other reasons.

A Love Song (Pt. 1 of 4)

"Success is the sole earthly judge of right and
wrong." --Adolf Hitler

"You see the lights? Now, imagine if one of those lights
flickered off. You'd hardly notice, would you?"
--Scott Garrett

"This isn't about the X-Files, Scully. This is only
about you." -- Fox Mulder

We are afforded only a moment in the history of a universe
we can barely comprehend, a universe as old as time, moved
solely through processes which paint a picture we must,
necessarily it seems, only have access to by viewing simple
pieces, and those as though through a glass, darkly. It is
with supreme arrogance that we claim this moment as our own
and we fill it with our lives and in that fleeting moment,
we bask in the presumptuous glory of the lights of our own
fires, also setting the lives those fires we value the most
are born of above the countless others, rendering those
others, in effect, resources only to be used or ignored in
the pursuit of our own interests. Ultimately, we will judge
those others, not by the natures of their souls, but by the
impact of their actions and nothing more.

Capable of seeing, or truly appreciating, only the near
sides of those chasms we create in distancing ourselves from
the resources which yield no fruit or bad fruit, from those
people who are not of sympathetic natures to our own, we
also seek the means and the opportunities to nurture and
protect those lives we deem worthy of our attention, our
affection - those lives on our side of the chasms.

As we pursue our goals and try to fulfill our
responsibilities, we face the risks inherent in such
ventures. We strive to avoid, and if not, to overcome our
failures, yet we each are destined to fail with every
successful step we take. The most fortunate among us gain
the clarity only hindsight can offer and with that clarity,
hopefully, the wisdom to avoid the repetition of our

It has been mine to devote my moment to taking a journey as
a scientist, as an investigator, and as a human being, and I
have shared and learned of truths alongside the exceptional
and the rare and together we have come to appreciate, to
love, and to fear this universe, this treasure chest filled
with our moment's magnificent wonders.

I have witnessed what I had thought to be sacred boundaries
stretched...and broken, and I have come to question my faith
in all but the most practical of philosophies. It is with
reluctance and with disappointment and with fear that I now,
at times, see not only the grandeur of the chasms I continue
to create, but I also look upon the near and even myself
only in terms of worth as a resource for tending a fire I
took it upon myself to light. My reason, my logic, nothing
more than judging the quality of fruit in a marketplace.

I have chosen to give life, to light a new fire and by
lighting that fire, to accept the responsibility of tending
it, nurturing it, and protecting it. Each decision I make
now, I make knowing that I am opening doors while closing
others and while I act with the conviction of knowing that I
strive to take the correct path, I know that I must also
have the courage to confront and accept that this moment's
path is marked by both light and shadow and that we, every
one, are, in the end, judged by the sum total of our
actions, our success or our failure in keeping the fires
burning, and nothing more.

This is who we are.


Ropes moved through squealing pulleys, drawn first upward
and then downward onto wooden spools by the simple motions
of machines built over a century prior to this midnight. A
low creaking rumbled like distant thunder from the wooden
spools as they turned, but it was quickly and mercilessly
dampened by the thick growths of moss covering the long
stone wall of the round room.

The well, protruding from the floor in the center of the
room just beyond the reach of shadows cast by the various
statues standing like thieves caught unaware by rude
flames of torches hanging on the wall, echoed with the
sounds of falling drops of water returning home from the
wooden platform as it rose from the depths.

Atop the platform, a man stood patiently waiting for his
ascension to be complete. His naked body dripped with
water, running down the back and chest and legs of a man in
perfect health, despite wherever he may have been only as
recently as yesterday.

As he stepped from the now still platform onto the first of
the stone stairs on the north side of the well, he briefly
tried to remember where had been yesterday, but the memory
wouldn't come and the effort died. He walked slowly, but
without hesitation, across the floor of the room,
purposefully avoid trespassing on any of the many designs
etched onto the cold stones until he arrived at the mirror
beside the room's only door.

He stared into the eyes of his reflection, seeing not
himself, but a younger man - a man he had been many many
years before. That image melted before his eyes, his hair
leaving first the top and then the sides of his head, his
face becoming hardened with traces of wrinkles, his
moustache now only a thin trace of hair across his upper lip
to remind him of a youth spent in naive comfort and the
passage from that youth into adulthood, into the life of a
man committed to fighting the good fight, to being a
protector only to die and be reborn now as a tool. A tool
to be used by the very forces he once fought so strongly

A monster.

A slave.

He tried to penetrate the fog gathering in his head and to
recapture some memory, some fleeting moment of that naive
and comfortable youth, but it wouldn't come. It wouldn't
come and if this mirror cast an honest reflection, then the
memory of that life, denied him now, was of no more
significance than the perverted halo over his reflection's
head. An iron halo in the form of a snake eating its own

He stared quietly at the snake, a thought beginning to take
form, but he was distracted by the inevitable sound of the
room's large wooden door being pushed open.

"I'm ready," he said, looking once more into the mirror
before walking away from that reflection forever.


None of the ordinary residents of any of the ordinary houses
on this ordinary street could have, on this ordinary
Saturday, understood the extraordinary joy being felt by
Dana Scully as she sat silently at the head of her bed
watching her son twist and struggle on his blanket.

Once again, he pressed his fists onto the bed and
straightened his elbows and looked around, anxious for some
clue about where he was to go from here. Scully stifled an
urge to giggle as William's mouth opened wide and a slick
rope of spit ran down his chin and onto the bed beneath him.

She did give in to her urges then, giggling and leaning
in quickly with the handtowel she had learned to keep
close by at all times. William twisted away from the
handtowel and began to crawl toward the foot of the bed.

"William! Stop that!"

Extraordinary joy.

He stopped moving except to cock his head to his right
toward the bedside table.

"Alright, you," Scully said, grabbing his right ankle and
turning him over onto his back. "C'mere."

She loved spending whole days in this manner. Sometimes
they would take night shifts together and sit on the porch
or take walks through the neighborhood. On those nights
when a walk was the big event, she would point out trees and
repeat their names or various facts about them or she would
recite to him the names of political figures or symphonies
and their composers or she would sing folk or soul songs and
she would always take a moment to stop and to look up into
the stars but she had never spoken to her baby about the
night's sky.

"What is it, baby?" She had dragged him back to the center
of the bed, but he hadn't broken his gaze at the bedside
table. As she too turned to look at the table, the
telephone on top of it rang.

"You stay put," she warned William and reached for the


Washington D.C.

The return had just reached its high point of discomfort for
her in the hallway outside the office of Walter Skinner.
She had been so certain that she would never come here
again, yet here she was and as she stepped into his waiting
room, there he was at his now open door and a small but
strong measure of her discomfort melted away.

"Hello, Dana," he said, smiling and holding his arm out to
her, putting his hand on her shoulder when she came close
enough. He led her in and closed and locked the door behind

"It's good to see you. Please, have a seat."

And with only those few words set against the almost
ceremonious backdrop of the locking of the door, her
discomfort with this whole thing returned. She tried to
move confidently, to hide her hesitation, fearing it would
betray her in some way, would expose the weak spots in her
faith in her friend.

Skinner sat down behind his desk and looked the former agent
across from him over once more.

"I want to start by saying that I appreciate you coming
here. I know it must not have been easy for you. I also
appreciate and will try to be sensitive to the fact that
this is not something Mulder would ever have approved of."

Scully nodded.

"You said this was a matter of vital importance," she said.
"I wouldn't have come otherwise."

"I know. I've asked you here as a friend of the Bureau," he
began, handing her an open case folder. "The man you're
looking at is named Dr. Richard Hildebrandt."

She looked first to the attached black and white photograph
paperclipped over the right side of the folder.

"Yes, he's an astrophysicist. He has a following among some
corners of the scientific community."

"You know of him then," Skinner said, nodding once as though
to prompt Scully to elaborate.

"Only by reputation. He was a hero of a friend of mine in
college. If I remember correctly, his work with artificial
intelligence in the early seventies was valuable to NASA as
well as the Soviets. He was a recluse, and I remember that
there were rumors of mental illness."

Skinner nodded once, almost curtly, and filled in the rest.

"He worked for the Canadian government from 1975 until 1992
when he disappeared. Three weeks ago, he made contact with
British Intelligence agents claiming to possess information
vital to our national security. He wants to come to the
United States. He wants to make a deal for the U.S. to
protect him and in exchange, he will work for our
government. Apparently a meeting has been arranged. He
will be entering the country through Florida. Panama City
Beach. The Central Intelligence Agency will intercept his
party and is in charge of the operation from there on out.
Once they step in, it should be academic. We're only there
to..." His voice tapered off and his mouth mashed into a
mini-mask of disgust and resignation.

"It's not a Bureau action, nor is it Bureau jurisdiction,
but..." He looked away from Scully, down at the papers on
his desk.


"One of my agents has pressed to be assigned to the escort
party. Approval came from the Deputy Director's office
today. I called you because I think your history together
will help you in your assignment."

"You're talking about Agent Doggett?" Scully asked.

"No. Agent Doggett's on leave. He took some vacation time
a couple of weeks ago. Some special family circumstances.
I'm talking about Agent Reyes. She went over my head and
somehow pulled some strings." His eyes were wide and his
eyebrows arched, wrinkling his forehead in that way Scully
had always been only barely able to resist giggling at in
those early days.

"Sir, Agent Reyes is one of the last people I'd suspect of
having an ulterior motive. I-"

"I know," he interrupted. "She's been an ally and a friend
and a damn good agent. I have had a very good personal and
professional relationship with both Doggett and Reyes. I've
trusted her.

"I don't trust this." He pointed to the folder in Scully's
hands. "I just don't. I need you to keep an eye on Reyes.
She is already in Panama City. You will only be eyes and
ears. That's all. You know her better than I do, or anyone
else here does besides Agent Doggett, and should your cover
get blown, you have the best chance of anyone of walking
away from it unharmed."

Scully closed the folder, shocked by what she was hearing.

"Sir, I-"

"I know," he interrupted again. "I need you on this, Dana.
There's no one else and if she's keeping secrets, then you
have as much interest in finding out what they are as

In the Bureau parking deck, Scully stepped out of one of the
many elevators, waited for the door to close, and let her
shoulders and her jaw follow their longheld urge to drop.
Walter Skinner had just brought her out of seclusion to spy
on Monica Reyes. After staring blankly at the rows of cars
punctuated by concrete columns, her mind refusing to wrap
itself around what was happening, she felt reason start to
take over again and she started walking to her car,
directing her thoughts away from the higher philosophies of
loyalty, betrayal, and risk to more practical matters like
airline tickets and motel reservations. She knew that if
she lingered on the details of just why she had been called
to resurface, why the pact had been violated for something

No, she chided herself. You know better than this. There's
something else...


As she cleared the last of the columns bearing a green
square, she turned to her left, preparing to pull her keys
out of her purse, and saw that a newspaper had been left
beneath a wiper on her windshield.

She stopped, quickly looking over her shoulder and scanning
the parking deck but she saw no one else. She walked around
to the driver's side of the car and pulled the newspaper
from underneath the wiper. The front page seemed to be a
standard any-day headline and standard any-day stories.
Finding nothing significant about the front page, she
started to fold the newspaper back up so she could unlock
her door and be on her way when her concentration was
shattered by the ringing of her cell phone. It was deep in
her purse and she tried to reach for it and fold the
newspaper at the same time, but it wasn't working out quite
the way she had hoped. The newspaper fell at her feet, its
sections spreading from beneath her car to the car behind
her and her purse had begun to slide from her grasp. When
the phone finally did make its way into her hand, before she
could say anything herself, she heard the voice on the other
end calling her name.

"Mom, hang on a second," she said and set the phone on the
hood of her car and picked up the newspaper. It was only
after she had set it and her purse on the front seat that
she returned to Margaret Scully.

"Ok, Mom, I'm back. Is everything ok?" She looked again
around the parking deck, pondering the odds that she was
being watched.

"You're asking me? That's what I called to ask you, Dana.
What the hell is going on?"

"I have to do something. I have to be gone for a
little while. That's all I can say."

"This is not what-"

"It's important. I have to and I need you to understand
that, ok?" She didn't like having to talk to her mother
this way. It violated the remaining ghost of the
adult-child relationship that had managed to survive thus

"Is this about Fox? Is that what you're doing? You're not
trying to find that son of a bitch, are you?"

"Mom, I told you I don't have time to get into this right
now." She walked back around the open driver's door and sat
down behind the wheel while her mother continued to rant.

"... abandoned him and this child deserves better than that
from his mother. Your father and I..."

She held her breath at times, bit her tongue at others, and
suffered random incidents of driving her fingernails into
her palms until her mother had said her piece and she was
finally able to leave for the airport.

She cried most of the way there.

After giving Scully enough time to get her "assignment"
underway, Skinner left his office and went downstairs. He
rounded each corner of the stairwell carefully, silently, a
voice that never slept whispering warnings to him. When he
reached the bottom floor, he stopped and took a deep breath
before continuing down the hallway toward a door bearing
nameplates which, for all their worth, seemed horribly out

The office was dark, but as soon as the door was opened, the
first thing he saw, the first thing his mind sought out, was
a flying saucer but he was denied the satisfaction of
seeing the familiar words beneath the saucer.

Denied by the presence of Marita Covarrubias.

"She's gone," he told her.

"Good." Marita stepped from behind Doggett's desk. "I'll
be in touch."

"I'm not finished," Skinner said, stepping forward and
blocking Marita's exit. "I've done what you wanted, now you
give me something."

"What do you want?"

"I want some assurance that I'm not sending that woman to
her death."

Marita's stare was unyielding.

"You think I've betrayed you," she said flatly.

"No, not yet I don't," Skinner answered. "I know you're not
Alex Krycek, but unless you start giving back, you're going
to find my trust in short supply."

Marita nodded, her face revealing nothing of the thoughts
behind it. She continued walking toward the door and
Skinner hesitated for only a moment before stepping out of
her way.

"If you are hiding anything... If any harm comes to that
woman, I'll kill you. Do not fuck with me," he warned her
as she passed.

"Good-bye, Mr. Skinner," she said without looking back, and
closed the door.

Airplanes littered the runway, some taking on passengers,
some losing passengers, most doing nothing. Scully could
see them every time she rounded the turn at the north end of
the parking deck, spiraling ever upward past endless lines
of filled parking spaces until she erupted onto the top of
the structure into a late afternoon which had become very
similar to evening while she had been making the climb. It
was then that luck befriended her and she eased into a
freshly vacated space overlooking an unremarkable dirt road
on the backside of things. She parked, grabbed the
newspaper from the passenger's seat along with her purse,
and stepped out of the car into the dying afternoon. A
quick stop at the trunk to get her suitcase, and she hurried
to the elevator, pressing the call button three times in
rapid succession only to be ignored.

Monica Reyes.

The name had an almost tangible quality to it. It set off
feelings of excitement and fear and comfort in Scully as she
easily passed through memories of waking up, surprised by
the noonday sun shining through the windshield of the car
Reyes had driven her to Democrat Hot Springs in. She could
feel the Georgia heat on her skin and she remembered that
Reyes had seemed nervous. Maybe even scared. At the time,
she had found it to be a disappointing contrast to Mulder,
despite whatever other similarities she had seen in the two
of them.

Still, Reyes had been the one who was there for her. For
her and for William. It didn't matter that they had had to
keep her location a secret from everyone else - from her mom
and her brother, the Lone Gunmen, from Doggett, from

And from Mulder, the now absent center of it all.

What mattered was that Reyes was the one who had been there.

She lingered slightly too long in her memory of Mulder and
when the sound of the elevator's arrival distracted her, she
locked the memory back in its box.

Birmingham, Alabama

Melanie Blaine's talent for making tea had, only moments
ago, officially crossed the line from being suspect to
non-existent. Taking a somehow obligatory second drink of
the unpleasant concoction, she winced not only at the tea's
flavor, but at the thought of her last New Year's resolution
biting the dust. Jen, her sister, would be disappointed,
being the advocate of the "learn to make tea" idea in the
first place, but Melanie couldn't help it. It just wasn't
meant to be.

The fact now faced, she stood up and took her cup and saucer
to the sink. The act of self-realization she was so proud
of was a solitary act though, certainly not stretching far
enough to cover her obsession with what went on in the lives
of her neighbors, as she was easily distracted from the
whole tea issue by the arrival of an unfamiliar car in front
of the house next door. She watched, fascinated, through
the little window above the sink as the passenger's side
opened and the creepy teenage girl who lived next door got
out and closed it behind her.

The girl's parents were ok people, Melanie had thought years
ago, back before they started having kids.

That's when everything changed.

That one, she nodded toward the girl, unaware of her own
action, there was something very wrong about her and there
had been from the start. The way that one looked at

She knew things.

"Oh!" The blood in her hands and neck turned to ice and she
stepped back into the shadows of her kitchen quickly.
Halfway to her own front door, the creepy girl had stopped
walking and turned her head toward Melanie's house, her
eyes, Melanie knew, focussed on the kitchen window.

Melanie's hands clenched into fists, they too unsure of what
to do next. She was certain the girl knew she was there.

Then the girl started walking again, her stride now broken
by the rush of shapes from the shadows of the night
surrounding the dark house. They moved quickly to her,
three of them, and then she was gone.

It would have been horrifying and exciting and something she
would have called Jen in the middle of nights for years to
come to talk about, but Melanie had turned away after the
girl had stopped looking into her window. She had poured
her tea into the sink, set her cup on the counter, and now
she was halfway up the stairs, planning on taking a long
bath and smoking a few cigarettes. Those had won her back
from that resolution in early February.

Or, maybe, late January.

27,000 feet in the air, Dana Scully stared through the
window to her right, taking inventory of the stars. Shortly
after takeoff, she had unfolded the newspaper left for her
in the parking deck, searching for whatever secret it may
have held. Within thirty seconds, she had found it.

The page 2 story header read, "FATHER CLAIMS 'EVIL FORCES'
KILLED DAUGHTER". The father in question was Frank Black,
former FBI profiler, and the daughter was his daughter,
Jordan Black.

Scully had felt the paper fall away from her right hand as
that hand balled into a fist and rose to cover her open
mouth. Fighting off the shock of it, she had pulled the
newspaper back up and had continued reading. The murder had
taken place in the home of the girl's grandparents, her
mother's parents, and Frank Black was her killer.

At least, according to the story, Scully had thought,
reading now with an arched eyebrow.

The text went on briefly about Frank Black's history of
psychiatric problems and his in-laws' accusations that he
was an obsessive conspiracy theorist whose work and whose
warped beliefs caused the death of their daughter and now
their granddaughter.

The story ended with a formulaic biography of Jordan Black.

And now Scully sat between the newspaper, folded and dormant
in the seat beside her, and the starlight, fighting off what
she told herself were the waking nightmares any mother would
have when away from her child. The first line of defense,
clearing her mind of all thought by staring at stars, was

She had considered unlocking her memory box, but chose
against it, knowing that now of all times was not the time
to summon that particular ghost from its exile (although a
small part of her could almost hear him saying, "this must
be the place"), and looked back at the newspaper instead.

Frank Black had helped them and Scully had thought him a
good man. A good man and a loving father. As she had
watched him reunited with his daughter on that New Year's
Eve, knowing only a fraction of the journey the man had
taken to arrive at that night, she felt nothing but total
respect and admiration for him.

As her thoughts turned to her own father, she was unaware of
her weary body giving itself over to sleep.

She is standing on a cliff, looking out at the broad expanse
of one of Earth's oceans and listening to the thunder rising
in the distance. Grey waves crash across even greyer rocks
hundreds, perhaps thousands, of feet beneath her. She looks
down at the rocks and the suicide parade of waves and for
just a moment she imagines what if would feel like to throw
herself against those rocks. Instead, she turns away from
all she has been witnessing for what feels like a brief
eternity now and toward a large black table made of stone
sitting in the dirt to her right. She is not surprised to
find her gun there on the table, waiting for her.

A mist shrouds her vision, preventing her from being able to
see more than a few feet in front of her. She picks up the
gun, somehow knowing that it is the very reason she is here
- to use her weapon, and she waits for whatever is to come.

For whatever it is she has been brought here to destroy.

The wind begins to blow in from the ocean, causing her black
robe to whip furiously around her ankles and across the tops
of her bare feet, but the mist doesn't stir.

She is here because she is the only person who can stop this
horror that is lurking, waiting for her behind the mist and
so she waits, gun in hand, praying for the end to come soon.

The smell of William brought Scully back from her dreams,
but it was gone the second she opened her eyes. The
airplane was beginning its descent and as she fell back to
Earth, the single mother in seat 10A missed her baby

Panama City, Florida
5:30 a.m.

A seemingly invincible sunrise set fire to the sky over
Florida, the sun itself as magnificent and all-seeing as the
eye of God, its rays heating the sand and the pavement with
what was only the beginning of an assault which would last
until night came.

It bore down now on mostly empty beach and mostly
deserted streets where less than four hours earlier the
adult children of far away parents had exchanged, for only a
brief moment really, those parents for the guiding hands of
Dionysus. In dark motel rooms, they now slept off the
effects of too much drink with the intent, not of recovery,
but of recidivism.

Scully was amused, pondering these sleeping party monsters.
It was a welcome thought, a welcome distraction from the
task at hand which she now reluctantly returned to.

That task was forcing herself to take inventory of her
memories of Frank and Jordan Black. She could clearly see
the girl in her mind's eye, running into the welcoming arms
of her father on New Year's Eve, 1999. And again, try
though she might, she couldn't see Frank Black causing his
daughter harm. The connections necessary to link him to
such an act were simply not there.

A tiny yet eager strain of familiar paranoia ran through her
as she realized that she also couldn't see the connections
Frank and Jordan Black apparently shared with Monica Reyes.

Sighing in frustration, she moved her half-eaten bagel
across her plate and looked again around the restaurant. An
elderly couple had come in since her last inspection, the
man's bald head and grey moustache taking Scully's thoughts
back to Dr. Hildebrandt. He would be older than in the
photograph Skinner had shown her, and perhaps completely
bald now. The thin moustache would be easy enough to alter,
but that face wouldn't be. The grim piercing gaze and hard
set of the jaw alone were enough to make him unique and
easily recognizable.

The bell hanging on the pushbar of the restaurant's glass
entry door rang and Scully quickly shifted her gaze. She
watched as two girls, probably still in their teens
practically ran inside. They were already in their bikinis
and as they bounced into a booth, she saw that one had a
tattoo on her thigh.

She looked back at her bagel, suddenly consumed by the
knowledge that, one day, William would be as old as these
girls and he would be his own person and she felt hollow.
She knew that day would come all too soon. He would make
his own way and he would have his own thoughts and his own
feelings and his own strengths and his own weaknesses.

Scully looked quickly again at the girls, seeing that the
one facing her had one of her eyebrows pierced.

William would maybe even one day be in that booth, she
thought. Or one similar. He would have to be genetically
predisposed to such behavior and a small but undeniable
grin spread across her face as she imagined her grown son
sliding into the booth next to one of the girls.

Genetically predisposed...

"Fuck," Scully sneered at her own weaknesses and abandoned
her bagel. She paid for her food and thanked the cashier
and agreed that yes it was going to be a blistering day and
yes maybe she was slightly overdressed and she wished the
cashier a good day as well and she turned away from the
counter and she took one step and then another and she
reached toward the pushbar of the restaurant's glass entry
door and the skin of her hand made contact with the plastic
sheath the aluminum rod was covered by and the bell rang and
the echo of the ring in Scully's ear sounded like the ocean
and the sun's bright rays made her squint as time slowed to
a crawl and she stepped outside.

Each step now seemed a movement in a greater composition,
her contribution equal to those of each of the artists in
attendance. Everything around her, from the smell of salt
in the air to the staccato presence of shadows cast by
buildings moving slowly past her to the ubiquitous heat of
the sun flowed together in individually unique melodies.

She saw the faces of people and she knew the day was growing
older and more faces came one after the other, some
scattered loners, others in couples or in groups, families,
friends, strangers, lovers all connected here. Now.


She remembered him inside her, growing in that hollow space
God had all but turned His back on. She had been fulfilled
and his life was then and forever a part of her life, the
two of them, bonded eternally.

She could almost feel him now asleep on her chest, his heart
beating softly near her own.

She could hear his heartbeat and it sounded like the ocean.

Shelves of cheap crap someone with no taste believed
tourists would buy surrounded her now. For a lingering
moment, she believed she was here not because she had
stepped inside this place, but that this store, this head
shop, had somehow opened before her, the air itself
transforming and sealing itself around her.

Her wrist was twisted and in front her face in a flash.


"What the..." she whispered, unable to finish the question
for several reasons, not the least of which was the
distraction of seeing the two girls from breakfast. They
were standing by the front door examining a shelf of wooden

Scully blinked hard, hoping to shake any remnant of her
apparent fugue state from her mind, and moved closer to the
girls. One of them had picked up one of the carved
trinkets. The two whispered about it, each having an equal
amount of input, and then the one set it back down and they

She walked to where the girls had stood and looked for the
one they had found so worthy of comment. It was suddenly
very important to her that she know.

And when she found it, she was only partially aware that her
lips opened and her right arm began to move behind her, a
word preparing itself to part from her throat and her hand
searching for something no longer there, when she was jarred
back into what she knew to be reality by the sound of her

She looked quickly away from the wooden ouroborous, feeling
a total return to the natural flow of life and found herself
staring into the eyes of Monica Reyes.


"I, uh," she tried to answer, looking for a moment longer at
Reyes but then turning back to the ouroborous which was no
longer there and for just a second she could hear someone
whispering, "Everything happens for a reason."

"Dana? Are you ok?" Reyes asked, stepping slightly closer
to Scully.

"Yes, I'm fine." She shook her head. "There were two girls
here. They just left. Did you see them?"

Reyes' eyes widened slightly. "No," she answered, looking
over her shoulder at the door and then back at Scully. "I
wasn't looking for anyone, though." She stepped toward
Scully, smiling.

"Let's go somewhere where we can talk," she said and nodded
her head toward the door.

Scully nodded back, resisting the urge to chase the two
girls. She motioned for Reyes to lead and followed her to a
rental car.

"So why are you here?" Reyes asked as soon Scully had closed
her door.

"Well," Scully started to answer, overtly surprised by
Reyes' blunt question. She glanced out her window without
turning her head, wondering if she would be able to lie to
this woman.

"Assistant Director Skinner asked me to keep an eye on you.
I'm assuming you know why."

Tense silence filled the car. Scully wondered what was
coming next while Reyes stared angrily at the cars filled
with teenagers lining the road. She kept her hands on the
steering wheel, an erratic and perhaps exasperated chuckle
breaking the silence now and again before she spoke.

"Damn, I want a cigarette." She quickly turned to face
Scully and apologized. "I'm sorry, Dana. I don't mean to
be a bitch. I really am happy to see you. I've missed you
and I've wondered about how you were. I know John talks to
you from time to time and I ask him about you, but you know
how he is."

Scully nodded, hoping it appeared to be a confident and
friendly gesture.

"I've been waiting," Reyes continued. "I knew Skinner would
send someone, but I just had no idea it would be you. This
is all wrong."

"Why do you say that?"

Reyes shook her head. Since Scully had last seen her, grey
had begun to bloom in the woman's hair. In the stretch of
silence, she first thought that Reyes wore the grey well but
that quickly gave way to a snide little whippy voice which
cracked in her head, "No one gives a damn about Scully's

"A couple of reasons. Mostly I just have a really really
bad feeling about this. A strong bad feeling."

"Would you mind filling me in? Skinner wasn't able to tell
me very much. I'd like to have some idea of why the hell
I'm down here instead of with... Instead of where I should

"You're right," Reyes said. "You shouldn't be kept in the
dark. You of all people.

"How much do you know about the Millennium Group?"

"I know of them," Scully answered, trying desperately not to
show her shock at the sudden appearance of a connection to
Frank Black. "They were involved in an X-File we were
assigned near the turn of the millennium. They acted
as consultants to law enforcement. Former FBI and CIA
agents mostly."

"Right. I read the case file. Is that the extent of your
knowledge of the group?" Reyes' tone had changed slightly.
Scully sensed there was more to the question.

"Well, I understand that even their highest-ranking members
were kept in the dark about some of the group's work and its
goals. We didn't learn very much about them in the
investigation. They weren't the focus of it."

Scully hoped her false indignation had covered her actual
feelings (feelings which insisted that Reyes was fishing).

"No, it's ok." Reyes laughed gently and took over the
conversation. "No one knows very much about them. Of all
the cults I've investigated, the Millennium Group was by far
the best at keeping their secrets secret.

"I first became aware of them when a man named Peter Watts
contacted me twelve years ago. He invited me to join the
Millennium Group. I declined, but we stayed in touch. We
helped each other with cases from time to time. He taught
me a lot. He...was a good man.

"Their highest levels were dominated by representatives of
two factions within the group. One of the factions was
dedicated to science, believing that science held the
answers to the questions of our time or something along
those lines. The other faction held a more spiritual view
of things.

"After the group dissolved, shortly before your
investigation, in fact, this spiritual faction continued
their work."

"And what was their 'work', as you call it, Agent Reyes?"

"They wanted to harness these forces they believed so
strongly in. The scope of their work was incredible. One
of their projects caused them to seek out a man named
Richard Hildebrandt. He was an astrophysicist. Peter Watts
had consulted with him and that was how he was introduced to
the Millennium Group."

"Your friend, this Peter Watts, he's one of this spiritual
faction?" Scully asked.

"No. No, he's not. He never was. He wasn't loyal to any
particular faction within the group. They killed him for

"I'm sorry," Scully said so softly it was almost a whisper.

"Recently, Hildebrandt contacted me. He's on the run from
these people and he asked for my help. I don't know much
more than. I only know that he was a friend of Peter's and
I owe it to Peter to do whatever I can to help. He was
really a very good man, Dana."

Scully opened her eyes a little wider, catching her breath
and trying to put everything she had just been told where it
belonged but quickly surrendering to the constraints of time
and asked, "Well, what do we do now then?"

Reyes shifted the car into reverse and began to exit the
parking space they had been in and asked Scully where she
was staying.