Summary: "Scully looked at his face carefully,
noting that the familiar Mulder excitement glittered
in his eyes like fireflies. Relieved beyond belief
to see something in him she hadn't seen in a while,
certainly not since his enforced medical leave after
the terrible accident 3 months ago."
Written for IMTP VS10 Halloween special event challenge
Category: MSR, A, X, MT
Rating: PG for adult themes, etc. Spooky activity
Disclaimer: CC owns them all along with Fox,
Devonshire belongs to the UK. I just pack them off
to haunted places. Borasic housewife so no point in
suing. No profit except maybe occasional nice
Archive: anywhere after VS10 two week exclusivity.
Please let me know.
Thanks to Vickie Moseley for the encouragement
in the first place and
wonderful insightful beta
This is a sequal to "IF I CLOSE MY EYES FOREVER" to be found at
"Impressive!" Fox Mulder watched Dana Scully's lips
moved exquisitely around her exclamation, making
Mulder's heart turn over in his chest like a gymnast
flipping over a parallel bar. He felt giddy. He
reached for her fingers to steady him. She squeezed
"Spooky," he corrected, huskily in her ear, clearly
delighted. His mouth was slightly agape both at the
sight of her and at the foreboding Gothic monstrosity
glaring down at them from over the swaying oaks like
several ugly decaying teeth.
Scully looked at his face carefully, noting that the
familiar Mulder excitement glittered in his eyes like
fireflies. Relieved beyond belief to see something in
him she hadn't seen in a while, certainly not since
his enforced medical leave after the terrible
accident 3 months ago.
"Shall we?" Her arm slipped around his. His grin was
almost feral in intensity.
Scully gripped his arm firmly as he started to move
forward across the grass courtyard, cane in his other
hand to assist his awkward, unsteady gait. His body
still ravaged by the unnatural, brutal collision of
bone against unforgiving metal, glass and granite
that had heralded the end of his FBI career and the X
files. Nothing was written in stone but Scully knew
the medical hearing was just an unhappy formality
that still hung over them. The X files, dark,
ominous, full of mystery and wonder, a precipitous
piece of their history together, like the monument
they were about to enter. Defunct now, just like
Scully studied him closely, a warmth fluttering
briefly across the inherent chill she felt inside,
seeing the exuberant 12 year old inhabit his all too
thin adult body. The grin on his face, classic Mulder
in paranormal radar mode, leaning into her shoulder
as they slowly made their way through the ancient
portcullis into what the tourist brochures had
proudly claimed as, one of the most haunted castles
Her laughter sounded good to both their ears as it
echoed off the old gray walls as Mulder began
whistling the "Ghostbusters" theme.
"Who ya gonna call, Scully?" His partner pulled
him into a tight embrace and she kissed him, feeling
the fresh caress of a late English fall breeze.
The day before. October 30th
Everything was so green and pretty, so different than
anywhere else she had ever been, a complete contrast
from the sleepless metropolis that was the every day
circus of professional downtown D.C. The pace of life
seems so tranquil here. You could breathe.
The fall was just beginning in the leaves that
undulated and whispered in a kaleidoscope of orange,
green and cinnamon against the side of the train as
they passed through a tunnel of trees. She couldn't
believe the countryside could be so many vivid
shades. It was like she had been seeing the world
under a veil and someone had suddenly removed it,
seeing it fully for the first time. Where the sun
kissed the rain earlier, there was now a rainbow to
complete the effect.
Scully's eyes were glued to the endless tapestry of
colors punctuated by fields, valleys, forests,
streams and the odd waterfall outside the window of
the Waterloo to Exeter Intercity, as it nudged its
way through Somerset and into the lush Devon scenery.
An unbidden smile curled her lips at the image of a
young, impressionable Mulder spending several
formative years in this wonderful place steeped in
mystery. What could have been a Crop circle caught
her eye as they passed a golden wheat field. She
grinned, shaking her head. The true culprit appearing
in the form of a yellow combine gathering in the
summer's crop in a haphazard line down the field.
Mulder stirred from his relaxed slumber against her
shoulder, joining her eyes at the window, blinking in
the autumn sunshine that bathed the carriage.
Feeling his breath on her neck, she let out a sigh of
contentment, closing her eyes against the bright sun,
letting the train's gentle rocking bathe her with
"...Hi Scully, you okay?" She knew how proud he was
of this country that had adopted him while he studied
at Oxford. Apart from the unfortunate specter of one
Phoebe Green, for the most he loved this country like
a native. He'd gushed like a Jewish mother over all
the other places they'd seen. London, York, Oxford.
Oxford! His heart truly beat again for the first time
since the accident had silenced its passion and
spirit, leaving it lost in his chest. Only she could
hear it and she had to really listen.
He was so excited at the thought of revisiting his
old haunts and he hadn't really come down since. He
called it his Oxford beat. Scully had nearly fallen
out of the boat, laughing as he said it. They nearly
both ended up in the river. Good memories, he was
going to need them, they both were. A sudden slither
of melancholy caught her in the ribs. His hand
tugging gently at hers brought her out of her
She opened her eyes and met his, basking in the love
she found there. He was here, alive. Right now it's
all that mattered.
..."Mmmmmnnnn. England is wonderful, Mulder. So
different. Think I'll pull up stakes and move over
here, buy one of these trains and just travel around
like this. Better than a massage. Can't believe I
left it so long to visit."
"Should have seen the state of the old bone shakers
they had back in the late 70's when I was last here,
Scully." Mulder pulled her close, kissing her, his
arm snaking further round her waist. "They were often
dirty, invariably late, served coffee that would burn
a hole like the bounty hunter's blood and were
staffed by sadistic nazi-ite ticket vendors that made
cancer man look like a pussy in comparison."
"So from that I take it you got caught without a
ticket occasionally?" The famous Scully eyebrow
crumbled the denial perched on his tongue. His shy
smirk confirmed her suspicion. ...
"Um, busted." Scully laughed, noting that his eyes
matched the color of the leaves outside as they
twinkled with amusement. "Hey, I was a poor student
living on baked bean lasagna; and something calorific
and hideous called Scouse that my Liverpudlian
roommate always made me. I got from London to
Edinburgh once with only £3 pounds in my pocket. Got
the rag week prize for audacity and deviousness." He
suddenly had an unbidden flashback of his own naked
ass, some funny herbs and a horribly stained British
railways blanket on the sleeper to Arbroath. God, he
hadn't known there nuns were aboard, or that the
blanket had slipped when the door to his sleeper
swung open, revealing to the nuns a part of his
anatomy his mother hadn't laid eyes on since he was 9
years old. The nuns were probably still in therapy.
He giggled at the thought. God that felt good. He
squeezed Scully's hand. Wondering what she would
think about that particular escapade.
"I always knew deep down under that FBI hotshot
persona there was a criminal element, Mulder.
Thankfully you swapped it for innuendo as you
matured, well got older. I don't know about matured."
"I'm wounded, Scully!" he clutched his heart, trying
his best to look mortally insulted. "No backrub for
She shot him a kilowatt smile, planting her lips
firmly on his, effectively silencing his next
thought. Mulder relished this new openly affectionate
Scully that had been taking shape over the last year
and since the trauma of the last few months.
"Look over there " Mulder used the bogus distraction
to wipe the tear that slipped down his face.
Mulder hated how his emotions betrayed him now. He
didn't quite buy the skull fracture theory they gave
him for the often embarrassing and unbidden tears
that plagued him sometimes.
"What was it?"
"What did you see?" His eyes settled on a moving
brown figure he'd previously missed. Something caught
his vision, exciting his paranormal chip, then he
relaxed, it wasn't what he thought he saw, or was
"There." Scully watched his eyes as they tracked a
fox making its way across a hilly field. Mulder felt
a knot of sadness at the pronounced limp he saw as it
disappeared into a deep pine grove. "Lame Fox!" The
second that Scully squeezed his fingers he realized
he'd said it aloud. "Just like me." A sad smile
answered her worried expression. Fighting a lump in
her throat, she pulled his head against her shoulder.
A trembling hand stroked his cheek. Lips brushed his
"Another hour and we'll be there, Mulder,you okay?"
"Tired,where are we staying?" He sighed, pressing the
heel of his hands in both eyes, rubbing.
"Latchmere Inn, 2 minutes from Darkmere castle. We
can get a cab from Totnes station according to the
tourist brochure. " Mulder allowed himself a small
smile at her change of subject, focusing on the
reason for their trek to the West Country. He
couldn't wait to see her reaction to this bygone
haven of ghostly excellence straight out a Lovecraft
play. Just the two of them, in their own time, on
their dime, like old times. Somehow he didn't feel
the usual pang of sadness in his heart. She may not
be his partner for much longer but they were partners
in an entirely more profound way. The best way, his
heart told him.
Their eyes closed for the rest of the journey,
fingers entwined tightly, the world passing the
endless quilted greens of Devon, Scully's eyes only
flickering open at the two toned horn, signaling an
approaching tiny station and to reassure herself that
Mulder was still breathing. She marveled at the candy
box perfect thatched cottages dotting their journey
westward, indulging a fantasy that she and Mulder
could leave behind the chaos and tragedy they'd
suffered, coming here to heal and live in one them.
Open fire to make love in front of, hot soup when the
wind blew across the Dartmoor peaks. Toasting
marshmallows, listening to Mulder's rich voice read
Hound of the Baskervilles aloud. How perfect would
that be? Mulder could thrive in this little slice of
English heaven, far from consortiums, case files,
distain, ridicule from his colleagues and the smell
of fear that tainted his every breath,every day.
They could start again, make this their bolt hole, be
free to love and actually live beyond the horror of
their old lives, the paranormal aspect here could
keep him amused indefinitely.
If he sold his Armani's, not that he would need them
much longer, and their apartments, they could maybe
snag one of those thatched dreams. She watched the
rise and fall of his chest, dwarfed in a blue Oxford,
smiling at the dream right beside her, one she could
hold and touch right now. It didn't matter where they
were or what was in the future, as long as they were
He was still so frail, little things reminded her of
that every day. When she got to the village where
they would be staying she would scope out the local
church and light a candle for him, like she had done
in Oxford, Canterbury, the chapels in the tower of
London and St Paul's, all unbeknownst to the sleeping
miracle next to her. She felt a sudden urge to feel
his heart, caressing the fabric until the strong beat
filled her hand like a captive bird. She let out the
breath she'd been holding. He looked so much like a
little boy. It took her breath away.
5pm Latchmere Inn Devon. England.
The Latchmere Inn turned out to be a 12-century
coaching Inn built by the first squire of Darkmere.
Charles Seymour. Much of the old charm had stayed,the
old timberwork intact. Old prints of the castle and
village artifacts on the mantle over the fire and on
the shelving around the Inn spoke of its true age
like something trapped in another time.
Scully was glad to see a real open fire in the bar
downstairs. It was warm and welcoming, everything
they needed. Mulder was rather taken with the real
ale selection to be had and managed to get Scully to
relent on the no alcohol rule his own doctor had
imposed. The beaten puppy look melted her resolve
"Just one", she told him pointedly as he pulled his
wallet. He was still on painkillers after all. He
breathed in the atmosphere, noting the two old timers
jovially discussing farm business and the odd joke
over their own pints.
Scully gave him a playful scowl as he informed her
his pint of choice was something called "Pigs
breath", something he'd come across in his Oxford
days. Mulder swigged his pint and nodded
thoughtfully, the long absence of any kind of alcohol
zooming strait to his brain with a mule like kick. He
was definitely in a buoyant holiday mood now. He
waved at the two old guys in the corner as they
turned and gave him the newcomers the once over. The
natives seemed friendly even if they stared a bit.
They had a great lunch, salad for Scully while Mulder
enjoyed the house steak, much to Scully's delight he
was actually eating well, the months in the hospital
making his skin hang on his bones.
While Scully was booking them in, Mulder spotted
another beer called "old spooky." An evil leer crept
across his face at the irony and ordered a pint of
that and fruit juice for Scully. `What the hell I'm
on vacation. I'll atone later,' he though with a leer
at the sort of atonement he could expect if Scully
got wind of his indiscretion. He couldn't resist. He
stood at the bar, eyes darting towards the reception
room next door where he could hear Scully talking to
the manager. He swallowed his pint in record time,
anxious to hide the evidence before Scully caught him
red-handed. The landlord, Doug, gave him a knowing
wink, he was a robust apple cheeked guy who put
Mulder in mind of an obese Frohike, and only this guy
had a Devon brogue and was a good deal taller. The
sort of guy who could pull pints with his teeth.
"American?" he grunted cheerfully whilst pulling the
pint, showing teeth as he watched Scully come back
into the bar. God, he even leers like Frohike, good
job Scully left her gun Stateside.
"Yeah, just here for some country air and a little
sightseeing. Going up to the castle tomorrow. "
"It be haunted well, you yanks love that sort of
stuff, don't ye." Mulder nodded, enjoying the country
lilt in the man's voice. " Watch out for the blue
lady, she is the evil one. Don't look at her eyes if
you see her. The white lady is sad one. Tomorrow's
Halloween, it's said she walks the tower and can be
seen jumping off. Don't go following her though, she
attracts souls that are lost. Several people followed
her over the years and they were found dead in the
ravine by the east side of the castle. It's a creepy
place to behold. I get an odd feeling up there.
Never from one night to another do you know what you
might see, you mind yourself, half crippled and all."
Mulder nodded his thanks, eyes dropping to his ruined
legs and the cane that was the only thing between him
and a wheelchair. "Keep to the marked pathways in
the grounds and don't stray too far in the woods."
Mulder's mind worked overtime at the thrill of the
description the landlord gave him. Wondering if he
really meant it or if it was a well-rehearsed spiel
for tourists like him and Scully. As luck would have
it, they might actually be here at the optimum time
to see something, and let Scully see it too. That
would turn him on.
"Thanks, I'm really hoping to see something. I've
heard all the local legends." Doug nodded knowingly,
an odd spark in his eyes.
Mulder moved away from the bar to go back to the
table. Scully caught him when his legs threatened to
buckle. Scully glared first at Mulder and then at the
smiling landlord who seemed to be enjoying their
silent exchange. Mulder grinned stupidly at her. His
sudden attack of hiccups made her blue eyes narrow in
suspicion. Then her eyes fell on the incriminating
empty glass on the bar.
"Mulder!!! Your meds, I can't believe you did that. I
don't even have to tell you that English beer is far
stronger than the stuff we get at home."
"Sculleee, it's full of carbohydrates, you wanted me
to put weight on."
"Of course I do but if you do actually see a real
ghost it will be put down to an alcoholic
hallucination. Besides, I don't want you keeling over
in a foreign country, it's quite bad enough when you
do that at home. I don't think the English health
service is quite ready for you, Mulder."
Mulder wasn't listening suddenly. He peered past her
shoulder, noticing for the first time that the table
in the corner was empty, the glasses were gone and
the old guys that he'd seen there all afternoon had
vanished as if they were never there. " ...That and I
worry about you........ Mulder, did you hear me?"
"Scully, did you se where those guys went?"
"What guys?" Mulder's brow knitted in confusion. He
shook his head, must be the beer.
"There were two old guys sat talking when we came in,
did you see them go, Doug?" The landlord shrugged,
"But you served them?"
"First customers we have had in all day, you and the
lovely lady there" Mulder gaped first at Doug and
then at the vacant table.
"Scully, you must have noticed them when we came in.
They were there talking...drinking " She rolled her
eyes at him. Skeptic as ever.
"You're pulling my leg, Mulder. I didn't see anyone.
Just Doug, here and us. Are you sure you only had two
pints of that stuff?"
"Your kidding me, I saw them. I waved at them, they
acknowledged me." He was clearly confused now as Doug
and Scully grinned at him, sure he was pulling a fast
one. It was his style after all.
"Sorry Mulder, I didn't see them. I did wonder why
you were waving at thin air but we had a long trip
from London. I thought you were swatting at a fly or
something. Let's get you up to the room, G-man," She
decided, seeing he was more confused than ever.
He must have been swaying slightly. Before he could
protest, her arm encircled his waist steering him
towards the brass sign that pointed their way to
their room. On the way up he spotted some imposing
prints of the castle. Wild, he thought, anticipation
and alcohol fighting for dominance in his brain
cells, still trying to make sense of what happened in
Mulder lamented over each step, how when he was at
Oxford he'd spent many a happy Saturday night downing
copious amounts of the local laughing water, and how
`warm fuzzy vacation Scully' had turned into
`spoilsport Scully'. His legs were starting to
protest now at the relentless climb. He almost missed
her squeezing his ass on the way up.
Scully was delighted at the renaissance décor in the
room. Mulder commented that the wallpaper looked like
one of his mom's old beach dresses. He loved the look
of the huge king sized bed, the antique pine
furniture. The open fire from downstairs continued up
into their room. The bed felt like lying on a big
fluffy cloud. Much to Scully's chagrin, Mulder threw
himself down and bounced on it a bit, delighted that
the springs were sturdy and didn't creak like some of
the other places they stayed in. He leered at her
bemused expression until she laughed. No mistaking
what he was thinking. They'd christened each
guesthouse, pub and hotel on their travels. Mulder
pondered on writing a tour guide in a moment of post
Mulder soon dozed off. He still tired quickly and
sometimes it was easy to forget that. He needed time
to build up his stamina again. She'd take the
opportunity to have a long soak while he slept.
Scully undressed him, tucking him under the covers,
pausing to watch as he turned in his sleep,
uncovering his bare chest that spoke volumes of the
hell it had been through. A runway map of pain that
had only just begun to fade. He still looked
beautiful despite all the new scars from the
intensive care and surgeries. They didn't look angry
any more, just sad.
Scully relaxed in a haven of scented steam and
candlelight, sighing in contentment in the big claw
foot bath. This holiday had been a huge success and
for Mulder, just what the doctor ordered.
Was it only 12 short weeks ago he lay in a coma in
Colorado, unable to breath on his own? Hooked up to
more machines than she'd ever as a doctor, seen
anyone's body play host to?
His body broken like an egg after a drunk driver hit
his car on a lonely road, catapulting him through the
windshield and leaving him bleeding out in a part of
the Grand Canyon that no tourist usually saw. She
remembered his horrified face as he came round to
find metal where there had been bone. Fixators that
protruded through his already abused skin like
frightening Meccano creations that held together his
legs and hips because they were now in two dozen
crazy pieces instead of how nature intended.
He hyperventilated during the few times that
amputation was brought up. Fortunately that hadn't
happened, Mulder's amazing recuperative powers, and
the prayers of those who loved him saving the day. He
got to keep his legs but he would never walk again
with out a limp, or some kind of walking aid, not to
mention constant pain, possible blackouts.
The real blow that scared Dana Scully for him more
than anything was the inevitable loss of field
status. Since taking his first unaided breath, she'd
harbored the fear that they could discharge him
altogether. He wasn't going to fully recover, neither
would he be chasing anymore Reticulans anytime soon,
but it was quite something else to hear it confirmed
that they were suspending the X files indefinitely,
pending the medical review and Mulder's recovery.
She'd feared for Mulder's spirit; his driving passion
and beautiful mind would break all over again like
his bones, something that could never heal. She
wasn't fooled by the dispassionate stare he gave
Skinner as he delivered the final nail to her lover's
heart, and hers by proxy.
As soon as the bureau knew of his condition, the
metal work he was now sporting inside his shattered
body, they were ready to shove him all the way out
the door. Here's your pension, so sorry Spooky, have
a nice life.
The pain in Skinner eyes told of his own sorrow at
the decision, but also spoke volumes of how he felt
about the higher echelons viewing this as a
convenient excuse to rid themselves of their Maverick
agent once and for all. The medical hearing was a
flimsy hoodwink for due process, but Mulder and
Scully had mentally packed up the office and moved
out in the part of their minds that had already begun
to reluctantly accept defeat.
Only the Gunmen, her mother, and Scully's own
unfailing love had stopped him from finding a more
permanent career resolution as Mulder spiraled into
clinical depression. God bless Frohike's idea.
She almost drowned herself when the muffled shriek
from the bedroom hit her.
Scully flew through the door dripping, towel clutched
to her body to find the bed empty. Her panicked eyes
soon fell on the naked back of the man she loved and
she sucked in a deep breath. He was leaning white
knuckled against the windowsill. The window was wide-
open, full moon casting him with an ethereal glow.
Mulder seemed to be in a trance. She put a wet hand
out to touch him, calling his name softly so not to
"Mulder? What was it, a nightmare?" His heart raced
against her hand on his back. He kept staring at the
"There was a girl, Scully, Did you see her?"
"Not one you smuggled in while I was in the bath I
hope," She chuckled, fingers tickling him. It was
then he trembled. He was bone cold. He wasn't
laughing, his eyes held a far away quality.
"A little girl. She... She was in here..."
" What? Look Mulder, you've had a long day. You're
freezing, come back to bed. It was a nightmare that's
all. The atmosphere, our location...no wonder you
dreamed." She was rubbing his hands now trying to get
warmth into them. He turned, pupils dilating wildly
like he'd just had a shock or seen a gh..?" No. She
shrugged that notion aside trying gently to pull him
from the window. He wouldn't budge.
" She wasn't a dream, she was real. It wasn't some
psychosomatic trace memory either, she was here.
Believe me, Scully. She was in here. ...I ...I woke
up and she was sitting on my chest." Fingers rubbed
at his sternum, as if he were trying to erase the
sensation, frowning when he found the staples the
thoracic surgeon had put in.
"...Mulder, there's no one here, just me. Come back
to bed. You'll catch pneumonia." He was beginning to
scare her now. Her hands soothed against his skin to
calm him. "Mulder? Please? C'mon sweetheart. Ghost
hunt's tomorrow, partner."
"I'm not imagining things. I can see her outside. She
was here. She spoke to me." Why couldn't Scully see
"What did she say?" Scully squinted past his shoulder
trying to see what he was still staring at below. A
cow mooed in the distance and a flock of geese flew
across the full moon. Braying in noisy unison. No
girl. He was silent for a few moments, still staring
out into the night air. Goosebumps covered his bare
skin, trying to hold back the shiver that passed
"She said she knew I was coming. She called me,..
Fox. " Mulder sought out Scully's eyes and she saw
at once how alert he was, how much be believed what
he'd seen. Oh God!
"No, not Samantha, Scully. She was a blond, about 6
years old. She wants me to go with her. She wants to
help. I have to see..."
"If you think you're ditching me to go chasing around
rural England in the night, half naked, we need to
change your meds. Come on, come back to bed. And
don't give me that look. You're not long back from
circling the drain. You're frozen and I am too. " She
reached over him to close the window, and pointed him
towards the bed. He sighed as she gave him her famous
look. Reluctantly he followed her, watching as she
turned the bed down and got, still damp, into it.
What the? His attention went to the object that he
just stubbed his toe on. His eyes widened as he bent
slowly to pull out whatever it was. Mulder let out a
humorless laugh, whistling "Twilight zone" as he
produced a... ouija board.
"Scully, did you ever see that film with Patrick
Swayze and Whoopee Goldberg?"
"Oh we are so not going to go there, Mulder." She
gave her patent Scully glare that quickly tuned into
a coy smile. Her arm reached for him. "Mulder make me
Mulder crawled awkwardly into his side of the bed and
drew her to his body. Kissing all the cold spots he
could find. Neither of them saw the ethereal
lightshow or the blue luminous figure that bent over
them after they drifted off to sleep. The frozen
smile that didn't reach the obsidian eyes.
"Sleep, broken Fox" She dissolved into a speck of pin
light that moved slowly over the wall, and she
vanished under the door.
Mulder looked over the castle wall from the kitchens.
Some of the cooking stacks were the original ones and
stood majestically from the flagstone floor. He felt
tiny looking up at them. A pinprick of light moved
across the stonewalls and followed him as he wandered
slowly around, leaning heavily on his cane. Scully
was doing her own perusal of the 15th century
architecture at the other end of the castle.
The investigator in him had been drawn to the east
side where the sheer drop had claimed several lives
according to Doug at the Inn. The wind had picked up
now; all the trees down below in the ravine were
swaying in some slow motion dance. The clouds looked
ominous too coming from the coast a few miles away. A
child's laughter reached his ears suddenly and he
His head snapped round and he tripped, the cane went
flying and before he could stop himself, he felt a
rush of air at his back and landed awkwardly against
the stone bantry, fingers groping tightly for
purchase. A rush of air left his lungs in a painful
blast, his ribs connected with the hard surface.
Heart pounding, he pushed himself backwards then felt
the sickening sound of the rock cracking beneath his
fingers like a demonic screech. Oh God, Scully. It
was then he realized he couldn't see her. He just
looked up in time to see a huge black cloud
descending on him like a twister. There seemed to be
a pair of black eyes at the heart of it that seem to
lift him up and made him weightless. The fusion of
wind, rain and leaves pounded against his body and
his eyes noticed the stick flailing in the air
against his legs.
"Scully... " He got her name out once before
something squeezed his lungs and found himself
falling up and over the edge of the wall then sucked
him into nothingness.
Scully rounded the corner in time to see Mulder's
abandoned stick hit the flagstones with a violent
clatter. He was nowhere in sight as she spun around
"Oh my God, Mulder,!!!! Mulderrrr. She could hardly
bear to look over the wall where it had fallen away
in a huge chunk. Trying to hold onto her strength as
her legs threaten to buckle with weight of her grief.
He had to be dead from that height. Please God no.
Not her Mulder.
Several other people and the castle warden ran over
to her hearing her horrified cries, several grabbed
her gasping body to stop her falling over the edge
with the masonry that littered the valley below the
wall. There was no body. The clouds that had glowered
so ominously before had vanished along with Mulder.
Somewhere on the peripheral of his consciousness, he
became aware that something was licking his hand. His
eyes opened onto two sharp brown ones that studied
him with great interest. It took him several seconds
to register it as a fox. It shied away, limping as
Mulder sat up testing his limbs to see if they still
functioned, head swimming in cotton. It couldn't be
the same one he saw earlier, could it? Surely it
wouldn't have made it this far. The Fox took one look
back at him and vanished into the woods that bordered
the meadow. Mulder looked around. He was under a
blackened tree by a lake with a mill at the other
side of the reeds. The seasons seemed to have
changed. It looked like late May. The sun was all
"Hello" Mulder startled at the little girl's voice.
"You...you came to me last night. Where am I? Where's
"Is she your love?" The child's English accent
sounded like birdsong. Mulder nodded. Watching as the
Fox came back into view and tentatively came to the
girl. " She will be fine." Mulder stifled a laugh at
that. "You came here looking for answers. I knew you
would come. You are Fox, just like my friend here. He
"What...where. How did I get here?" He vaguely
remembered a wall giving way and falling. He was dead
that was it. He pressed a hand to his chest. No. His
heart still beat furiously against his fingertips.
What the hell...
"I'm Bethany., " she muttered as she stroked the
fox's head, deep blue eyes like Scully's never
leaving Mulder's. "I'm the keeper of the wishing
tree. You had a wish."
"Wishing tree?" he glanced back at the huge black
skeleton behind him. "I don't have a wish, I need to
find Scully. Bethany, where is this place, I was in
Darkmere, the castle. How...how did I get here? Do
you live around near here?" His head was growing
fuzzier by the second. He let his eyes wander over
the lake, the solitary swan that swam there and the
hot still air that made the water look like glass.
"I died in there" Bethany said matter of factly as
Mulder struggled for a breath; all air suddenly
leaving his lungs. "My mother came to you, she did
not want you to be well. It's all right, Fox, you are
safe from her. You have too much love surrounding
you. She killed me but she can't get to you. Not now.
The Vortex brought you to me first."
"What, what are you talking about," This child either
had a vivid imagination for a kid so small or he hit
his skull harder on the way down. Bethany suddenly
pulled at his sleeve to get him up.
"Come on Fox, I'll show you. What you seek is here.
You came to Darkmere as a seeker. You have found what
you seek and will go on seeking. Nothing can stop you
now. You must walk around the wishing tree three
times but you must not tell anyone about it. The fox
knows. He is your spirit. He guided you to me. The
dark haired girl who watches over you too. Come."
"Wait, Bethany, I'm crippled, without my cane I can't
walk so good." Amazingly he was able to get to his
feet without difficulty.
"Lean on the Fox and hold my hand, I'll help you
walk. It won't hurt, I promise. Close your eyes.
Remember to wish Fox, remember to wish... Tell no one
...Trust no one..............."
A loud beeping sound cut into his consciousness like
a sharp slap. Warm fingers felt for his, Voices that
sounded strange floated over him until he grasped the
one he wanted to find.
"Mulder? Hey, sweetheart, it's okay now. I'm here."
Tear laden blue eyes gazed hopefully into his when he
opened them." There you are. God Mulder, what you put
me through." She was trying very hard to summon up
the famous Scully control but failing miserably.
"Oh shit.... What...where?" Mulder swallowed over a
dry throat. No ventilator. That was always a good
sign. For a few seconds he thought he was back in
Denver but the privacy curtains were flowery, some
strange Laura Ashley print and they looked odd.
England, his brain supplied, you're in England you
jerk. He must have groaned by the look of worry on
Scully's face. Fingers weaved through his hair.
"Mulder. You're in Derriford hospital in Exeter. No
one can explain what happened to you. We found you in
the castle tower. You were unconscious and no one
could wake you. RAF Culdrose airlifted you here."
Scully's face told him that she was hiding something.
Shit, the wall giving way, his fall over the side.
The storm. Oh God!!!
"Scully...am I ...paralyzed? The girl...." His breath
"No...No Mulder. That's the oddest thing about this.
You went over the wall, I was so certain. When I
found your cane," She stopped for a moment, her words
vanished, remembering the horrific shock of finding
him gone and it all pointing to... She gained control
quickly, looking back in his eyes, "I was sure.... so
certain you'd been killed. Mulder, when you were
brought in, they gave you a whole slew of X-rays.
Nothing showed up."
"I guess I must be rubber man, huh...I..."
"No. You don't understand. Mulder, that's just it.
NOTHING showed up. The pins, the plates in your hip,
your legs, all of it are gone. Its like the bones
were never broken."
"What?" he pushed himself to a sitting position.
"Mulder. You're a little anemic and you need to put
on some weight but apart from that you're perfectly
healthy. They're keeping you in overnight for obs,
and that fox that led us to you... I am at a loss to
find a logical answer, so if you have a better
"It's vague, I remember a girl, the fox, and I must
have banged my head or something. Sorry Scully, what
can I say, it's a X file." His fingers wiped her
tears away as she finally smiled at him. "So it's
official. I'm no longer a Borg then. Going back
through Heathrow will be a breeze, eh? What?" She
gave him a wan smile.
"Mulder. I called Skinner. In light of this er...new
development in your health status, I faxed him your
X-ray results and consultation from the doctors here.
He called me back this morning....."
"They are reopening the X files. They have no excuse
to keep them closed now. They are waiting for us when
we get back and the first case they want you to
investigate is this one, so we get to stay a bit
longer." The flood gates finally opened and they both
wept with joy in his arms. Mulder smiled into her
hair, breathing words of love, silently thanking
whatever forces had brought this about.
"Scully, I think I'd like it if you start calling me