Title: Renovatio
By: Lisby and Amanda Wilde (MaybeAmanda)
Rating: PG. If that.
Category: MSR, Post-Truth, AU, a little MT, 2005 X-OK Holiday Fic
Archive: We'd be honored. Please let us know?
Disclaimer: Chris Carter owns Mulder, Scully, Skinner, etc.; 
Fox owns The X-Files; we own this story.

Feedback: Always welcome at lisby@earthlink.net and
maybe_a@rocketmail.com

Special props to Marlene, The Constant Beta.

Quoth Lisby: For all the list sibs of X-OK. You are the wind
beneath our wings upon which the eagles soar on high, the rush
of the water over the falls just as the idiot in the barrel
reaches the precipitous drop, the massive thrust of the
warp-speed engines that makes Scotty The Man, and that jittery
caffeine-and-sugar high achievable only through an espresso 
fluffy with extra syrup.

;)

Quoth Amanda: Um, what she said.  I think.



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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Re: The Answer: The Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, and
Fox Mulder.


-- Mulder <f.mulder@fbi.gov> wrote:

>>The Question: Name three things that were not on the
7:15 p.m. flight to San Diego.

I take it this is your not-so-subtle way of saying the case is
not going well?

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Oy


Good guess. You must be psychic.

We had Devon Bushong cornered, but then, somehow, we
didn't, and now we've got two agents in the hospital
instead. I'd like to shove the blame onto the entire tactical
team and wash my hands of this mess, but it's not their fault
-- their boss is an arrogant asshole who has the imaginative
capacity of a slightly-below-average rock.

But enough about Crenshaw....

The profile on the serial case is coming together, but shit,
I've been saying that for a week. Eventually someone is
going to figure out I'm full of crap.

Someone other than you, I mean.

The Justice Department is breathing down Skinner's neck,
so Skinner is riding my ass about catching Bushong,
Christmas or no Christmas, so I don't know when I'll
actually get out of here. If I actually get out of here.

I am so sorry, Scully.

What are the Merry In-laws up to? And the kids? I miss
you all so much.

M

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Nothing to Be Sorry For


Well, nothing new, at least. <g>

Besides, Christmas is still three days away.

Bill's ship is overdue, but that's par for the course this time
of year.

The kids are keeping me busy and Mom is keeping me
crazy. William has now decided Santa should bring him a
horse. I think I'm glad he's over wanting a bear, but then
again...

Spent the morning hanging decorations. The halls are well
and truly decked. Fa la la la la, etc.

Tara wants to make cookies. I keep wondering why no
one's ever pointed her in the direction of a good bakery.

You're working on the Melinda Jeffers case, aren't you? It's
a serial killing now? It's okay -- you can tell me -- I can
take it.

And we miss you, too.

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Oy, Oy, Oy


Yes to working on Melinda Jeffers -- now the Melinda
Jeffers, Sunshine Bender (I wish I was joking), and Marilyn
Morford case. No to telling you about it.

Just not right now, anyway.

Why the fuck am I here again, Scully? I hate what the bulk
of the FBI is being forced to become --  a bunch of spies
and eavesdroppers. I hate there being no X-Files Division. I
hate the bullpen power plays and head games. I hate the
whispers that follow me up and down the hallways. I hate
spending Ho-Ho-Ho Time staring at crime-scene photos of
chopped up she-males instead of spending it with my
family, whose lives go on sweetly without me.

Okay. I'm feeling sorry for myself. I'll let you kiss it and
make it better.

Speaking of someone whose life is going on sweetly
without me: How is little Version 2.0? Has your mother
shared her yet or is Maggie still bogarting? (I'll bet Wills is
glad he has a little sister now. With time, his nightmares of
those giant, face-sucking lips may abate.) Does she miss
me? *Can* she even miss me at two months old?

Shit! Kersh at 12 o'clock, bellowing! Evasive action
required!

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Sounds Like Someone's Been Reading the FBI
Newsletter Again


Well sure, the job sounds bad if you describe it *that way.*
I seem to recall some stuff about getting psychos off the
streets and keeping the world safe for democracy. Or what
passes for it lately, anyway.

You said this is what you wanted to do, Mulder. If it's not --
really not -- then you don't have to. Moreover, you
shouldn't. We can manage. In the meantime, I wish you'd
hand off the Jeffers case; you have enough on your plate
with the Barrymore kidnapping.

Speaking of plates, have you been eating? Real food, I
mean. You get cranky when your blood sugar is low.

Yes, you do.

If we can't have Christmas on Christmas, I told you, we'll
have it as soon as we can. The date doesn't matter.

And speaking of bellowing, Mom wants to go to the mall
before naptime -- more pictures with Santa. I'm humoring
her.

What a good daughter I am.

S

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Hey wait -- she-males???


What? Since when? Huh?

Inarticulately yours,

S

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: No Means No...


...To several things. First, I am not-not-not going to discuss
the photographic documentation of gore spread across my
desk. Second, I'm supposed to eat with said gore spread out
across my desk? Third, Skinner has a really spectacular
butt. A minute ago he was reading a report while bending
over McGill's desk, which as you know, is a mere foot from
mine. So much for that office they promised me when I
agreed to work VC. Anyway, Skinner's unadulterated
gluteusness was in extreme close range. Verily, I almost
reached out and goosed him, but Colton was spying on me
from across the bullpen.

Have I distracted you from she-males adequately enough?

I want to be with you and William and Kate. I'd even put
on a smile and blow a kiss to your salty-crab brother.

My playing up the camp is doubtless due to the victim
profiles I'm assembling.

Toast with butter, Scully. I had some this morning.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Fun at the Maul


Ugh. Three hours. Whining, bickering, hair pulling. And
that was just me.

On the up-side, we now have even more pictures of the
most gorgeous, gifted children on the planet. And Matthew.
<g>

If all you had was toast with butter this morning, you need
some protein, and you need it a good three hours ago. I hate
to have to be the one to break this to you, beloved, but you
aren't 18 anymore. You aren't even 30 anymore. They call
it tough love. ;)

Please never use the words *blow* and *my brother* in a
sentence again. Ever. Pretty please?

And yes, Skinner's ass is finefinefine, but I think it belongs
to AD Cassady. Or so Holly tells me. You're SOL, buddy.

William now wants a giraffe.

So...hookers?

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Yes, Hookers


Melinda Jeffers was found in Georgetown. She was a real
woman and but not a real hooker. I think our killer was a
little over-excited and mistook drunken pub crawler for
lady of the night.

Sunshine Bender was found in Baltimore. Sunshine was a
she-male (real name: Todd Shoney) and a real hooker. Now
another one was found in Richmond -- Martin "Marilyn"
Morford. The killer's MO is classic Jack the Ripper,
carving up the abdomen and taking out the guts. I'd be
bored if I didn't feel so close to throwing up.

Exactly how do you know that Kate is gifted? She's not
spinning the mobile over her port-a-crib, is she? <G>

Okay, I promise not to blow your brother. Now, can you
get him to promise not to deck me under the mistletoe?

I've got to go over to Georgetown Hospital and check on
the kiddies. Fergus has a concussion and Dillmore fractured
his ankle.

Skinner says he and AD Cassady are not romantically
involved, only having hot nookie. (Little Spy Colton almost
choked on his bean burrito.)

I really don't feel so good. I think I'm sensing that Bill's
ship has landed.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Oh Yuck


(Can you tell I've been hanging around with the under-10 set?)

Yes, that cold chill you felt was Bill stepping back onto dry
land. He's exhausted and whatever the naval equivalent of
jetlagged is (waterlogged?), but he's his usual charming
self. He was so sad to hear you might not make it. "Damn,"
I believe he said, "I was looking forward to decking him
under the mistletoe." Or was that "kissing him under the
mistletoe"? I forget.

And I know your daughter is gifted because the first thing
she did was spit up on Bill.

I'm trying to remember. Wasn't there a Jack-the-Ripper
wannabe running around near Tacoma a couple of years
ago? Around this time of year? I think the Seattle office
handled it.

Oh. Wait. You were, um, not around.

Keep me posted?

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Six Feet Under


I've been reading those perp and victim profiles from
Seattle that you mentioned. You're right -- the killings were
Ripperesque. Especially the escalation of post-mortem
mutilation. I'm not seeing that with this killer. He's had
plenty of time to mutilate the last two, but the frenzy
doesn't seem to be increasing. He's still able to jack off at
the level of gore he's at. Also, in the Seattle case, we've got
clearly female victims. Two of this one's are transgendered
and Melinda Jeffers was an androgynous female whom I
think the killer thought was a transgendered man, as well as
a hooker. Dumb shit. Anyway, I don't think we have a
killer who has relocated.

While I was in the database looking at the Seattle victims'
profiles, I happened to call up my own. Doggett sure
painted Special Agent Fox William Mulder as a
connoisseur of tinfoil hats with extra crinkle. His theory
that I saw myself "perpetually as a victim" and "engaged in
sadomasochism" (I'm assuming he meant sex) -- you do
realize that he was implying that the sadist to my masochist
was you? And his assessment that I would have "willingly
accompanied my killer(s) on the promise of mystic
initiation" is cute, but not what happened. I didn't fight, but
I didn't leave you on purpose. I didn't fight because I
couldn't. Not wouldn't.

Yes, I can read your question between the lines. No, I still
have no recollection of those months underground. I
promised to tell you if it came back to me and I will,
although my suspicion is that you'll notice if it happens.

I'm so sorry, Scully. I'm so sorry that I died. I tried not to,
but they tore me apart. I wanted to live and stay with you. I
tried to live. I really did. When I knew I was slipping away,
I tried to feel every moment of pain because if I felt it then
I was still alive. I tried. God, I promise that I did. I love you
so much and I didn't want to go.

Fuck. I need a Valium.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Okay


I'm calling the airline. I realize it's the day before Christmas
Eve, but we should be able to get a flight.

I'll call from the airport.

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Stay Put


Scully, do not leave our children. It's a miracle we have
them both. And we wouldn't have William if he hadn't
scared his adoptive parents shitless. If both Mommy and
Daddy are missing at Christmas how do you think he's
going to act out -- explode every ornament on Grandma's
tree? Spontaneously combust the toys? Bring the Christmas
turkey back to life? He'll do it. We know he will. And we
don't know what Kate might do -- whether she's got the
Mojo or not.  We joke about her being "gifted," but she
*really* may be.

I'm okay. I'm under control.

I'm far better than I was a year ago, right?

Okay. I'm okay.

Stay with the kids. And your family. Please. Don't make me
beg.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Wow


I'm trying to decide if I'm more annoyed that you don't
want me to come home or hurt that you'd assume I'd leave
my children to do it. Or is that leave my child(ren) again?

Give me a minute.

Okay, minute's up.

I'm sorry. I'm overreacting, which I know you hate, which I
promised I would not do when you went back to VC, and I
apologize. I'm just stuck in mother-hen mode at the
moment. You are an adult, and if you say you're okay then
you're okay. I am probably over-compensating. Blame it on
hormones.

You are my family, Mulder. Home, now, is where you are.

So, okay, we won't jump on a plane.

Will you at least try to get a few hours sleep?

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov


Subject: Sorry

You said "we" could get a plane. I didn't see that. I'm sorry.
Please forgive me.

I'll blame hormones if you blame Kersh. He's infinitely
blamable for everything. Deal?

Scully, you know that I have never questioned why you put
William into safer hands. I mean, was I around to defend
him with my Mighty Daddy Sword? And, yes, I will sleep.
After I talk to Skinner.

This staff-profiler-for-the-VC thing may not work. I can't
be a field agent, as fucked up as my head is, and yet they
want to use my head to figure out just who can be crazier
than me. It's making me crazier. Or maybe I'm just trying to
keep up with the Joneses.

It pisses me off that I can't carry a gun or participate in
tactical missions like grabbing Elizabeth Barrymore's
kidnapper last night. Team Doofus Leader Crenshaw was
in there screwing up, letting Devon Bushong clonk Fergus
and shove Dillmore down the steps before vanishing into
the night, while I'm stuck in the ops truck yelling into a
headset mike.

Doggett got it wrong when he concluded that I saw myself
as a victim. My real problem is that I see myself as a
savior, a fixer -- someone who can make right or bring
closure to every terrible thing. I'm only a victim of my own
attempts to make everything all right.

For my Mom. Yes, of course. I want to fix it for Mom.
Same old song and dance.

Sorry. I didn't mean to start up again. Therapy drags up
some dangerous shit, even when one has been avoiding
one's appointments.

I love you, Scully.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Dear Poopiehead


This is exactly the kind of talk that gets me worried. Not
the you-and-fixing-things-for-your-mother part. I'm glad
the therapy is helping you see the connections between it
all. (Not that you didn't already know, Mr. ABD in
Psychology.)

I was going to ask you why we never have these
conversations when we're in the same room, but we both
know the answer, I guess, so let's skip ahead.

Of course you've questioned why I did what I did. I
questioned it every day and I still do. You're right -- I really
felt that I was putting him into safer hands. Beyond that, in
my own quiet way, I was falling apart. And honestly,
sometimes it wasn't all that quiet. Clear thinking wasn't my
specialty at that particular time, and I didn't know who I
could trust. He needed one sane parent and I couldn't even
offer him that.

As for Doggett's original assessment, it's very old news.
You know damned well that his opinion of you has
changed. And hopefully he doesn't still think I'm a
dominatrix. (Let's not tell him about the ball gag, ok?)

As for your field status, you know *real* profilers aren't
supposed to be in the field. You're supposed fight crime
while having your nails done like your buddy Dayle.

Oops, I said the *D* word, didn't I?

I'm tired, Mulder, so you must be exhausted. Talk to
Skinner about resigning or the secrets of his glute-workout
regime or whatever, and then hit the sack. I don't want to
have to call to make him forcibly tuck you in.

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Good Morning, Starshine


I slept. At Skinner's.

Here's the Sesame Street question of the morning: Does the
D word stand for Doggett or Dayle?

Doggett's victim profile of me may be old news to you, but
I was busy at issue date and didn't get to read it all hot-off-
the-press. Yesterday was the first time I had seen it. And
yes, I know Doggett humors me now; he has to -- he's
married to the reincarnation of Madam Blavatsky. Cute kid,
by the way. Not as cute as our two, but....

Skinner and I had breakfast at IHOP this morning on the
way in. I had eggs and sausage. We dropped in on Fergus
and Dillmore. Lo and behold, they were eating eggs and
sausage, too. Both are supposed to be released today.

Just a warning: I have a therapy appointment later.
Kilgannan was pissed because I skipped the last two weeks.
"And we were right in the middle of such a powerful
discussion of your childhood," she said to me on the phone,
certainly smiling like an eel at the other end of the line.
"Luq. Heghlu'meH QaQ jajvam," I replied.

What are you all doing?

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: 'Twas the Day Before the Day Before Christmas...


... and my heart leapt with joy when my husband
mentioned *eggs and sausage.* Almost as good as
*spontaneous human combustion,* but with slightly more
cholesterol and slightly less spontaneous human
combustion.

Thank you for humoring me. I am trustingly assuming that
you really did partake of this fine if greasy meal, and didn't
just see it on Frick and/or Frack's breakfast tray and think
"Hey! Eggs and sausage! Yeah, Scully'll buy that!!" That
would definitely put you on the Naughty List, Mulder,
which would be a shame, really, because I have all kinds of
plans for you that involve all kinds of nice.

Glad to hear Fergus and Dillmore are better.

They had a crawl on CNN about Bushong a little bit ago.
They think he's heading toward Pennsylvania? Tell me he
isn't heading for Bethlehem. I can only take so much
symbolism from my wanted criminals.

Dayle/Doggett, potato/potahto...You seem to have your
issues with both of them, although we got a much nicer
christening gift from the Doggett Family.

Oh, speaking of christening, Mom sidles up to me while
I'm feeding Kate this morning and, *with great
significance,* hands me a bag of chocolate coins.

"Thank you?" says I.

"Hanukkah gelt," says she.

"Er?" says I.

"Doesn't Mulder celebrate?" asks she.

"Um," I smoothly reply, making her glad she and Daddy
spent all that money on my education, I'm sure.

So, I ask you: Doesn't Mulder celebrate? Did he ever? Will
the Scully-Mulder Corporation be celebrating? Why
haven't we had this discussion before, either? And where
does one buy a Menorah? Catholic girls want to know ;)

As her gift to me, Tara has us scheduled for a couple of
hours at a spa this morning. She must have booked it
months and months ago. Nothing fancy or exotic, just a
manicure, pedicure and a massage, but it's times like these
when I realize she is much, much, much too good for my
brother.

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Ten-Foot Pole


I notice you didn't touch my sleeping at Skinner's with one.
You really don't want to know if he touched me with his
ten-foot pole? I'm hurt. Not by the pole, per se. (I saw his
altar to St. Dana. There were lots of votives.)

Dayle is a skinflint, isn't she?

Your mom actually gave you Hanukkah gelt? Man, she's
running amok.

My mom's religion was something only celebrated by her
family in Boston or North Carolina. Mom's Jewish cultural
identity was completely subsumed by her desire to be a rich
housewife on Martha's Vineyard who hobnobbed with
others of a similar caste. I never had a Bar Mitzvah. Mom
had hoped to hold one in Boston to please my grandmother,
but I turned 13 not very long after Sam was taken. She no
longer cared then.

Anyway, I know that one does not need to be Bar
Mitzvahed to be a Jew, and that I am a Jew by definition
because my mother was, but I guess I see it more as a
genetic identity than any spiritual or cultural part of me.

I think one buys Menorahs at Pier Menorah, but try
Murray's Discount Menorah Warehouse. We're not made of
gelt.

BTW, call Skinner. Gotta go talk 'til I curl...

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Pampered


Me, that is. Tara is now officially in my Will. She gets the
shoes. All of them. Bury me barefoot.

I called Skinner. I got Kim. She wished me a Merry
Christmas and told me Skinner had to run out on an errand,
then she gossiped for twenty minutes. I feel all caught up
on Hoover happenings, but have gained no enlightenment.
Is he going to tell me you're not eating and not sleeping and
that you generally look like shit, or is he going to ask me
about this sudden interest you've developed in his
genitalia?

Dr. Kilgannan loves you, Mulder, even if you do call her
Dr. Klingon. And you don't have to see her if you don't
want to, and you wouldn't if you didn't want to, so let us
assume, therefore, that you want to. Wasn't that easy? Tell
me about your session if you want to/need to/have been
ordered to.

Yes, Mom gave me gelt. I think she's just so happy that I
am finally legally married to the father of her two cutest
grandchildren that she'd be okay with you being a
practicing Dervish. Wait, come to think of it...

How goes the Bushong manhunt?

Apparently, we're being all Catholic for dinner tonight --
fish, fish, fish, and fish. The house smells like low tide.
Suddenly latkes sound good. You know how to make
them?

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Latkes


3 pounds baking potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion, chopped
1 whole egg, plus 1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 tablespoons flour or matzoh meal
1/2 -1 cup vegetable oil for frying

Grate potatoes and place in strainer or colander. Squeeze
out as much moisture from potatoes as you can. In a large
bowl, combine potatoes with all remaining ingredients,
except oil.

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in large frying pan until very hot.
Drop 2-3 tablespoons potato mixture into pan for each
latke. Use back of spoon to flatten mixture so that each
latke is about 3 inches in diameter. Fry over medium high
heat about 4-5 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels and
keep warm in a 250-degree oven. Continue, using more oil
if necessary for each batch. Serve hot with applesauce if
desired.

Makes about 32 latkes.

Google is a wonderful thing, Scully. A wonderful,
wonderful thing.

Off to find Doc's Bird of Prey. Today, it has decloaked at
her Tyson's Corner office rather than the one at Dupont
Circle. This means I have to go way-too-near a mall and
Christmas is carnage.

Skinner's in his office now. Tell Kim to stop playing
reindeer games.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: What the Hell is Matzoh Meal?



Whatever it is, it has to be better than all this fish. We only
used to do this Christmas Eve. I wonder what extra sin
we're atoning for?

And I didn't ask if you know how they're made, I asked if
you knew how to make them. A subtle but apparently
nonobvious distinction.

Skinner hemmed and hawed then said he wanted to know
what we're doing New Year's Eve. I told him you were
probably waiting for someone to a catch Devon Bushong if
no one pulled their thumbs out pretty damned soon (or
words to that effect). He made a weird grumbling sound
and told me to keep the evening open. I guess I'll have to
cancel all my big get-the-kids-bathed-and-into-bed-before-
conking-out-in-front-of-the-TV plans.

He also didn't quite ask me how I feel about you going
back to VC full-time. I didn't quite tell him that it wasn't
my decision. I also got the feeling he wasn't telling me
something, but then, I usually get that feeling with Skinner.
Maybe he wants to offer a guided tour of the St. Me Shrine
but is too shy. Or maybe he wants to ask if those old
rumors about you and AD Cassady were true.

Mulder, the old rumors about you and AD Cassady at the
Christmas party with the photocopier -- ??

God, you cad.

William now wants a puppy. After the horse, bear, giraffe,
lion, etc., this seems like a very reasonable request. I still
say no, but it's clear that, as a negotiator, the kid's got a
future.

How were things with Dr. Kil

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Freudian Slip?


Did you mean to type "Dr. Kil"?

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Freudian slip? No. Victoria's Secret bikinis,
actually.


They're blue and lacy.

As for Dr. Kil, Kate decided that the last e-mail was
finished, and sent it.

With her foot.

See? Gifted.

Bill and I were talking about your situation. He mentioned
that there are always a few military flights out of D.C. on
the 25th and that it was not outside the realm of possibility
that he might pull some strings and arrange a seat for you.
After he ran the smelling salts under my nose, I thanked
him and told him I'd pass the message on. I'll check for
metal vertebrae later ;)

How did things go with Kilgannan?

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Over Kil


Did you just e-mail me? I'm sorry. I was face down in a
box of Kleenex.

She gave me fresh-baked Christmas Klingon Zblatzch-
Blood Cookies then made me talk about my control issues.
It was ascertained to a high degree of probability that these
stem from my experiences as a lab rat. We talked about
chicken wire and psychiatric tie-downs and having my
mind invaded by maniacs who tried to make me shoot you.
Good times.

Next appointment, we're supposed to discuss my tour-of-
duty aboard the Intergalactic Mothership Texas Chainsaw
Massacre.

God. I need another tissue. I've blown my nose so much
already that I look like W.C. Fields.

Blue and lacy? Really?

Speaking of fish, I found one of ours belly up. Yup. It was
Mr. Diddles. I went to the pet store and got one that looked
as close to Diddles as possible. Let's hope William doesn't
spot the difference.

You know, I'm not so down on this puppy idea, Scully. He
only started the pony/elephant/giant squid/sea cow thing
because you've been reflexively saying no to a puppy
forever, or aren't you aware of that? Guess what this is
connected to, hmm? (Small, orange, eaten?) (Want a
Kleenex?)

Let's get him a puppy. It's less likely to kick it than Mr.
Diddles' Paul-is-Dead stand-in.

I'm going back to the Hoover now. I'll let you know if
anything is moving on Bushong.

BTW, Bill is obviously up to no good. That or else he
really, really needs to kiss me.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Control issues? You have control issues?!


Surely you jest...Yes, I know, don't call you Shirley.

Ten years ago, I wouldn't have said this, but sometimes
paranoia is the only reasonable response to a situation. In
your case, one way or another, they usually *are* out to get
you. But I'm sorry Dr. Kilgannan's dredging all this muck
up, Mulder. I really am. You're incredibly brave to do this.
Really. You're my hero, and there's nothing facetious about
that. God knows, I'm not ready to get into all that yet.

As for the puppy, the apartment is almost too small for the
four of us. Dogs need space to run around and chase things
and not crap on the carpet.

Especially not crap on the carpet.

If we ever do anything but talk about that house we really
need to buy, maybe then, okay?

Hey, I just got an e-mail from Tina. She says word is that
another profiler is flying in to crack the she-male case.
Anyone I know?

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: WTF?


Skinner better answer his goddamned phone....

M.

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: TF


Is the answer to the question "What the fuck?" correctly
termed the Fuck? If so, then the Fuck is that Skinner is now
possessed by Mother Hen, an entity that I assume was
passed between your body and his via telephone
connection. I've been replaced by Frank. He's freelancing.
And he is certainly charging a higher rate than I'm paid on
salary.

Okay -- here's the part you're not going to like: I'm on my
way to Bethlehem. Well, Pittsburgh, really, but it's still
Pennsylvania.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Shit


Shit. Shit shit shit.

I love you. Stay alive.

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: Live From the Famous Myersville Rt. 70 Rest
Stop...


...Where the D.C. snipers were caught, hhheeerrreee's
Mulder!

Hi Scully. We're taking a pee break on the dash to
Pittsburgh, so I thought I'd send you a quick e-mail.

What CNN isn't saying yet, although I expect you'll hear
shortly, is that Bushong is holed up in a private home there.
He's got two adults and a kid hostage. He wants to trade
them for Congressman Barrymore...and me. He says he'll
then show us where Elizabeth is. Yeah, I know. *I know.*
But when the National Enquirer ran those stories about me
reviving after four months in a coffin, every nut job on the
continent got the hots to meet me. You know that's true;
you've dealt with them when they show up. I can't really
say I'm surprised at Bushong's demand, but not looking
forward to being anyone's captive again.

Okay. I'm scared. I admit it.

Right. I'm now turning the setting on my panic face to
maximum.

I promise you that I will not go in there without telling you
I'm going in there.

M.

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To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: (none)


I tried to call, but your phone's been off, which means
you're out there in the thick of things. Or have been. Maybe
you still are. I don't know. I just don't know. I've been
flipping between CNN and the other networks, but nada.
I've now turned to scouring the house for medicinal
chocolate, and hugging William and Mathew until they cry.

Okay. Deep breath. If you're reading this, you're alive.
That's something.

This is not going to come as any kind of shock, Mulder, but
I'm not good at this. I've never been able to express myself
without -- how did you put it that one time? -- sounding
like I was regurgitating a thesaurus. I can't really argue with
that.

I've been sitting here for ten minutes trying to think of
something to say, something beyond "I love you" and
"Don't die -- not again," and "How can you do this? How
can you put yourself in harm's way like this?" And then I
have to ask myself, realistically, "How can he do anything
else?"

I just tried your phone again. Still nothing. My mind is
racing through all the reasons your phone would be turned
off. Every last one of them.

Before, when you were gone -- I don't think I ever told you
this, did I? -- sometimes I'd call your cell phone. I knew
you weren't going to pick up, but still, there was something
comforting about that mechanical voice telling me you
were not available. Not gone, not lost, not somewhere
being harmed, not dead, just...just not available.

Scared? You don't have a clue, Mulder. Not a clue.

The baby's crying. I'm going to go join her.

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: dks@hotmail.com
From: w.skinner@fbi.gov

Subject: Mulder


He's gone in. Traded himself for the child hostage. He said
I was to tell you "Sorry, I didn't have time to e-mail. This is
to prove I'm not ditching you."

There it is, then. I'll keep you apprised.

WSS

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: re: Mulder


Thank you, Sir. I appreciate you keeping me in the loop. As
per our earlier conversation, no, it's not my decision. If it
were, however, this would not have happened. And I have
to question the fact that, given the current circumstances,
you allowed it.

I have to go. Something on CNN just exploded. It had
better be the Middle East.

S

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To: dks@hotmail.com
From: w.skinner@fbi.gov

Subject: re: re: Mulder


Dana, we are way beyond the "Sir" thing, aren't we?

You know that when Mulder impulsively decides to do
something, neither you, I, nor God can control him. We
were trying to keep Mulder off the bargaining table, but
before we could even begin negotiations, Bushong brought
out the hostage child with a gun to her head and demanded
Barrymore, who is not on location. Mulder went in without
notifying us, for which Mulder will be reprimanded and
probably fired. But he got Bushong to let the girl go. The
mother and father are still in there.

The girl's been debriefed. She told us that the others were
tied in stress positions and that as time passes Bushong is
getting more abusive. Dana, how is Mulder doing with
restraints? Not that *you* put them on him. I'm trying ask
whether, if Bushong tries to tie Mulder up, is he going to
lose it and endanger himself and the hostages? Can his
psychiatrist shed any light on his possible reactions, if you
don't know?

WSS

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+


To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: re: re: re: Mulder


How do you think he'll react? Despite rumors to the
contrary and the number of times it's happened to him, I
can assure it is NOT his idea of a good time.

My guess is that, with other hostages in there, Mulder will
do whatever he can to draw attention away from the others
and to himself. Unless Bushong's coming after him with
power tools. Then, I can't even guess.

Fix this, Walter. Find out what the hell Bushong wants,
give it to him, and fix this now.

Please.

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+


To: dks@hotmail.com
From: w.skinner@fbi.gov

Subject: Update


Some news: Bushong let us speak with Mulder by phone.
We got the house's land line patched through to the ops
truck. Mulder sounds stressed, but is holding his own,
thank God. Bushong reiterated through Mulder that
Barrymore needs to show up soon if he wants his daughter
back alive. Mulder already knows that Barrymore will not
come, thereby confirming all of Bushong's paranoid
delusions about the congressman to me, if not all of us here
in ops. Mulder is obviously stringing Bushong along, trying
to figure out where Elizabeth is and/or get the other
hostages out of there. But sooner or later, Bushong is going
to figure out Barrymore won't be here.

I e-mailed Hill to forward you what we've got on Bushong.
You should be seeing that shortly. God damned useless cell
phones.

I also have a confession to make: We've known Bushong
was interested in Mulder for several days now. By we, yes,
I mean Mulder, too.

We didn't know until today, however, that he wanted
Mulder in trade.


WSS


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To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: re: Update.


I got the information from Tina. I'm not exactly a profiler,
but it's pretty clear even to me that Bushong's history of
unpredictable violence, drug use, and half a textbook of
undiagnosed, untreated personality disorders make him a
very dangerous man. His history of grave-robbing and
attempts to *resurrect* the dead don't add anything cheery
to the picture, either.

Do I understand this right?  Barrymore allowed a developer
to build a strip mall on the cemetery where Bushong's
mother was buried? And that all the bodies were
incinerated instead of being re-interred? Now his mother
can't be resurrected at the Second Coming?

No wonder he's pissed.

Please keep me informed, Walter.

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: (none)


Any word?

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: (none)


CNN's moved on to the chaos in the malls. I am hoping this
means things are extremely boring where you are.


+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: (none)


Walter?

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: CNN

They're now reporting that Elizabeth has been recovered
and the hostages are safe.

They aren't saying anything about Mulder. Why?

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Missing


He's missing? How the hell can he be missing?

Walter, dammit, what the hell is going on?

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: dks@hotmail.com
From: w.skinner@fbi.gov

Subject: Quick Update


Dana -- The hostages are safe. For about three hours after
Bushong let them go, there was nothing from inside the
house. We brought some parabolic mikes up close and
heard zip. I took the decision to send the team in. They
found the house empty. No Bushong or Mulder.

About an hour later, Elizabeth Barrymore was found on the
side of a rural road three miles from here. She was
unresponsive and taken for care. I'm told she is in a coma in
critical condition.

We don't know where Mulder and Bushong are, but we've
got federal, state, and local officers going over every inch
of ground. More as I know it.

WSS

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+


To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: READ THIS NOW


They're saying on CNN that Elizabeth Barrymore has
carbon dioxide poisoning. That probably means Bushong
kept her somewhere with a limited air supply and she was
rebreathing her own toxins. Tell your men to look in old
boxes or rolled tarpaulins or, given his obsessions,
anywhere coffin-like, anywhere with restricted air. If he
swapped Elizabeth for Mulder, it's probably because he
thinks Mulder knows some secret to rising from the dead.
And now Mulder is the one running out of air.

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Bushong's dead?


CNN says it's not clear whether a sniper shot him or if he
took his own life.

Did he tell you where Mulder is before he died?

S.

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+


To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: (none)


Walter?

S.

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+


To: dks@hotmail.com
From: w.skinner@fbi.gov

Subject: We got him

Dana, I have him. He's alive. This time I got him back.

WSS

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+


To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: (none)

Hi Scully.

I tried to call, but I couldn't get through.

Please don't shoot me again. I just got out of the ER and I
don't want to have to go back. They poke me with too many
sharp things.

I'm okay. Basically. For a guy who has been buried for, oh,
about four hours. He put me in a plywood coffin -- well, I
actually put myself in the coffin to keep Elizabeth
Barrymore out. That's where she was -- buried alive in the
woods about a mile from where he took the hostages. There
was an air pump. Like in the Barbara Jane Mackle case. I'm
sure that's where Bushong got the idea from. Too bad the
pump was nearly out of juice.

I think maybe that was the hardest thing I've ever done,
getting in that box.

Look, I'm more than a little cloudy right now. Let's put off
details 'til later.

Walt is taking me to a hotel for the night and getting me on
a plane tomorrow, if Bill can get me on one of those
military flights.

I love you and the kids.

M.


+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: f.mulder@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: (none)


Oh my God. Mulder, these have been the longest twelve
hours of my life, and that is saying something.

Somehow the press found out I was here and people kept
calling, both the landline and my cell. Finally, we had to
take them both out of service. I'm sorry. You can try calling
Tara's cell. You have the number and so far they don't seem
to.

I know you love your work, whatever you say or however
you occasionally feel, but please promise me we won't
make this a tradition, okay? I'll even go along with the dog
idea. Two dogs. I'll let you spend all your inheritance on a
house. Just no more of this, okay?

The kids were so upset. I tried to stay calm, but I guess they
were both picking up vibes from me.

Yeah, both.

Katie cried all night and William -- well, William recited
Bible quotes. "And many of them that sleep in the dust of
the earth shall awake" mean anything to you? He tells me
it's from the Old Testament. My poor mother almost had a
nervous breakdown over that one. Given Bushong's
eccentricities, I guess it was more than random chance,
huh?

You're sure you're okay to travel? I mean, we can get a
military flight there just as easily as you can get one here.

Merry Christmas, Mulder. I love you.

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: dks@hotmail.com
From: w.skinner@fbi.gov

Subject: Bed Check


I'm tucking your husband in as soon as he gets out of the
shower. He smelled like death and surgical tape, he said.
Add some vomit, and I'd say he had it right.

Mulder had a rough time, Scully, but I'll leave it for him to
tell you about it when he's ready. I just want to update you
on his condition. When we dug him out and got the box
open, he was pale, nauseous and dizzy, breathing rapidly. I
rode with him in the ambulance. During the transport, he
threw up several times and complained of a bad headache.
The ER physician told me all of these are classic signs of
carbon dioxide poisoning.

In the ER, they warmed him up (moderate hypothermia)
and gave him oxygen while he was mildly sedated. His
stats looked pretty good, and he wanted to go, so they
discharged him.

Can your brother get us a flight in the morning? That's
*two* seats. I'm not putting him on a military plane alone
-- especially not with the possibility of MPs packing
batons. And I don't want him to him miss Christmas Day
with his family.

Let me know what's possible ASAP.

WSS

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: w.skinner@fbi.gov
From: dks@hotmail.com

Subject: Flights


Bill has sent info to you via his Navy account. Some MPs
should be picking you up at 08:00. Yes, you have to go
with them, and no, Mulder won't make a fuss. Tell him I
said he wouldn't and I mean it. Bill got you onto one of the
officers' flights. That means a real plane with real seats and
real trained emergency medical personnel. It probably also
means real booze, but as a doctor, I'd recommend against it.
In Mulder's case, at least.

You are more than welcome to join us, Walter, but please
don't feel obligated. I mean, we'd love to have you here, but
I don't want to drag you away from other plans or
obligations, and I don't want you to feel like you're
Mulder's babysitter. That's my fulltime job, now. <g>

The doctors said he was okay to travel? Really? Or is this a
cover story the two of you cooked up?

By the way, been to an IHOP lately?

S

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

To: dks@hotmail.com
From: w.skinner@fbi.gov

Subject: re: Flights

Wonderful. We should be there in time for Christmas
dinner, then. I would be very honored to join your family
celebration.

The doctor did not say he was not okay to travel.

I haven't been to an IHOP in years.

See you soon.

WSS

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~

To: dks@hotmail.com
From: f.mulder@fbi.gov

Subject: This Space Left Intentionally Blank

Not feeling real witty. I'm still muzzy.

I decided to write instead of call. You know that what
you'll get out of me by phone is less than you want. I'll "I'm
fine" you and you'll "I'm fine" me, and the truth is that
neither of us is fine at all.

It's easier to write my feelings sometimes. Most of the time.
Definitely this time.

"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall
awake," huh? Yeah, that means plenty. It was the last thing
Bushong said to me before he locked the box -- coffin --
whatever -- and started shoveling the dirt down. Score a hit
for William. Again. I just hope he wasn't inside my head
during the rest of my interment. Talk about scarring a kid
for life....

Et tu boo-spooky, Kate? I'm not surprised. You have the
same two parents after all -- the both of us discarded lab
rats.

I'm sorry, Scully. I didn't feel I had a choice but to take
Elizabeth Barrymore's place. I mean, yes, Bushong did
have a gun to my head, but even so, I've been dead before
and that poor girl hadn't. Although I'm told she may be as
good as dead now. As usual, I've failed to fix things.

I told myself that I didn't remember the last time I was dead
and buried, so maybe I wouldn't remember this time either.
No such luck.

I remember feeling Elizabeth's fading warmth when I lay
down in her place. I remember the sudden dark when the
lid shut, the thunder of the spades of earth hitting the lid
above me. I remember how those sounds grew softer until
there was just my heart pounding in my ears and the rasp of
my fast breaths and the faintest little wheeze from the air
pump, all but deceased. Then the chill of the grave set in
and my teeth began to chatter.

I can hear you wondering this from three-thousand miles
away: No, I had no revelations about my first burial. Except
that it felt -- I don't know -- familiar?

Merry Christmas. I love you, Scully, and I love William
and Kate. Tell them Daddy is on his way. Tell Wills he's
getting a puppy. Tell your mom we're going to get a big
house with a big fucking yard. And tell Bill I'll meet him
under the mistletoe.

Hey, do you think Dayle would recommend a good nail
salon?


M.

+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~


The End


Thanks for reading!

lisby@earthlink.net, maybe_a@rocketmail.com