Closing Doors

by stellar dust

TITLE: Closing Doors
AUTHOR: stellar_dust
EMAIL: daesharacor@yahoo.com
livejournal: stellar_dust
SPOILERS: Little Green Men, Duane Barry/Ascension/One Breath, Nisei/731, S.R. 819
RATING: PG, for Pain and Death
SUMMARY: Just what is Senator Matheson's deal, anyway? ARCHIVE: Yes! Please!
DISCLAIMER: Senator Richard Matheson is one of Chris Carter's overly-neglected brainchildren. He wanted to come play, and who am I to say no? Fox Mulder, X, AD Skinner, Alex Krycek, and Dr. Scully, on the other hand, are woefully underneglected; but they're Chris' too. Oh, well, hope you guys had fun. Pats them on the head and sends them home to Daddy

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It had started as a lark, really.

Feeding lies to an upstart Federal agent was something he'd been willing to do, for the good of his country. And he'd been assured it was. In the country's best interests, that is.

And when young Fox turned out to be such an engaging, determined, intelligent young man, it was all for the better. The whole thing played directly to his sense of the romantic, in the end; playing the part of the charming informant was such fun, after all. Clandestine meetings, loud music played to avoid "prying" ears - oh, how he'd enjoyed that one! Bach would never sound the same again.

Such fun! He'd felt like a boy again, playacting. Or James Bond.

How had it all turned out so terribly wrong?

And as his front door slammed shut behind Fox Mulder on a dark, dreary night in January, 1999, Richard Matheson remembered.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx OFFICE OF UNITED STATES SENATOR RICHARD MATHESON WASHINGTON, DC
JULY 15, 1990
8:55 AM

"I have a job for you, Senator."

Richard jumped in surprise as his office door fell shut behind him. There was a man sitting at his desk, kindly-looking, middle-aged, huffing on a cigarette. Richard had never seen him before.

"Yes? Can I help you?"

The man rose and strode to the window, relinquishing the chair to Richard, who sat gingerly.

"Yes, yes, Senator, I believe you can." When this man chuckled, the laugher almost reached his eyes.

"Who are you?"

"I work for the Department of Defense." He exhaled a stream of smoke and flashed an official-looking ID, too quickly for Richard to read its contents. "I lead a top-secret defense project, and a problem has come to my attention which I believe you are uniquely suited to rectify."

"Oh?" Richard stared in bewilderment. "There must be some mistake - I'm not involved with any DoD projects at the moment." A first-term senator, Richard still preferred tamer committee postings, to the tune of Agriculture or Public Policy.

"Indeed." He took a final drag of his cigarette before snuffing it out in Richard's crystal ashtray, then sauntered around the desk and seated himself comfortably in the guest chair, crossing one leg over the other. "That is precisely why I've come to you - you have no connections to the project at all."

Richard laughed nervously, waiting for the rest, as the DoD man purposefully lit a second cigarette.

"The nature of our work is - sensitive," he spoke around his smoke. "Surely you understand the need to keep certain aspects of the military a secret from the American public." It wasn't a question. Richard nodded mutely. "I see that you do. Good. There is a man at the FBI who does not share your prudent appreciation for discretion. I want you to approach this man, aid him, gain his trust; when the time is right, I will pass certain pieces of misinformation to you, which you will clandestinely transfer to his hands. Do you understand?"

"Ah, yes, sir." Richard clasped his hands in front of him on the desk, sitting up straight, his pulse already pounding with anticipation. This sort of intrigue was exactly what a career in politics was meant to be! "I'll help you."

"Good." The smoking man leaned forward and slid a folded piece of paper across the desktop. "This is the man's name and ID number; with it you can get access to his career records at the Bureau. I suggest you do so as soon as possible and familiarize yourself with his work. Contact him when you feel ready, express your similar viewpoints and desire to aid his quest. You will never contact me. I will get in touch with you when necessary." He stood and leaned across the desk, billows of smoke stinging Richard's eyes. "Do I make myself clear, Senator Matheson?"

"Of course, sir. I won't let you down."

The man took a step back, and with a sharp nod, was gone as quickly as he had appeared. Richard leaned back in his chair and opened the page. Fox Mulder ... He called to his secretary and asked for a direct line to the FBI.

Richard never saw the smoking man again.

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The next few years passed pleasantly enough. Fox was intelligent and charming - he contacted Richard irregularly, on matters as varied as alien abductions - of all things! - to obscure points of export law. Richard saw no reason not to help, where he could; and if the occasional unmarked envelope crossed his desk, or a dark mysterious man accosted him as he entered his home in the evening, well, what of that? Reports of undocumented crashes on the Canadian border, or an odd story circulating through a remote Arizona town, were clearly ludicrous, but Fox believed them; and though he always came back reeking of disappointment, he never ceased to go gallivanting off again at the next tip, the slightest hope of discovering his truth. Richard marveled at the man's persistence. He marveled even more at the heady feeling of power that came from these playacting sessions, the incredible thrill coursing through him at passing "secret government information" to someone who thought he was never supposed to be getting it.

He thought he had a handle on this game of intrigue; he felt himself in complete control, and he liked it.

That is, until he read Fox's report on the Arecibo incident. He had been chased by the military. Actually shot at, and run off the observatory grounds by military officers! That wasn't supposed to happen! Putting a man in danger had never - had never been a part of Richard's agenda. And there were other strange details about the report, as well ... things that didn't seem, quite, to add up. And all of it verified, to some degree, by that new partner of his, the doctor.

Richard was troubled, but he put it out of his mind. After all, asking questions was Fox's job, not his; and there were so many more enjoyable things to spend his time on ...

For the next few weeks, anyway.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx MATHESON ESTATE
GEORGETOWN, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
OCTOBER 13, 1994
10:13 PM

Richard sighed and stretched as he walked from the garage to his front porch. Tonight's committee meeting had gone on and on, and tomorrow promised only more of the same. He wanted nothing more than a hot shower and a good night's rest, maybe a small nightcap to help him sleep easy ...

"Mr. Matheson," a familiar deep voice intoned from the shadows underneath the portcullis. Richard sighed. This was not something he wanted to deal with right now.

The tall, powerful-looking black man with the neatly trimmed goatee stepped directly into Richard's path, an immovable wall of pure willpower. Richard sighed more deeply. "Yes? What is it this time?"

"Mr. Matheson, you must listen to me. Agent Mulder will be coming to you for help. You must not give it to him. This is of the utmost importance. Do you understand?"

Richard rubbed wearily at his temples, frustration and tension rising to the surface. "No. No, I don't understand. The last time you came to me with instructions, Agent Mulder nearly died. It's unconscionable. If Fox comes to me for aid, and it is within my power - he will get it." Richard was angrier than he'd been in a long time. He raised his hand and pointed a finger at the informant. "Do you understand, sir?"

X looked at him with something approaching pity. "If that is your resolve, Mr. Matheson, my orders have changed. You are no longer to contact Agent Mulder. If he should attempt to reach you, you will not respond. This is your only warning." He stared fixedly at Richard for a long moment, then turned abruptly and strode off into the night, trench coat flapping behind him like the wings of some large bat.

Richard collapsed onto his front steps, shaking and upset. Clearly, there was more going on here than he'd been told, or suspected. He stayed outside, staring at the night and shivering, until the cool air forced him up to bed. He resolved to look into this matter more closely.

The morning dawned, bright and sunny and crisp. Richard went to the office, sat cheerfully through his committee meetings, and came home early, for once; all thoughts of Fox were driven to the back of his mind.

It wasn't until months later that Richard learned that Fox's partner, Dr. Scully, had been missing for many weeks, and that military involvement in her abduction was suspected by some, most notably by Fox himself.

Richard began, finally, to investigate the matter. And what he discovered horrified him beyond belief.

Richard was a prudent man, though; he took his warnings seriously, and kept his findings to himself. After all, there were bills to pass, and campaigns to run. Life went on.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx OFFICE OF UNITED STATES SENATOR RICHARD MATHESON WASHINGTON, DC
NOVEMBER 21, 1995
8:47 AM

"Good morning, sir. Your mail?" Richard's secretary handed him a stack of envelopes and a cup of coffee as he wended his way through the reception area to his own office. He thanked her, and stepped through the door.

"Oh - sir? I almost forgot - you had a call early this morning, from Agent Mulder. Would you like me to return it?"

Richard stopped in mid-stride at that name, one he hadn't heard in nearly a year. He closed his eyes and slowly turned back around to face her. "No. No, don't bother. He's a crackpot - don't need to associate with ... " His voice trailed off as glanced at his mail, noticing a plain white, unmarked envelope in the pile. "Excuse me."

Richard stumbled through the door, closing it, and collapsed, shaking, behind his desk. He drank half of his coffee in one gulp in a vain effort to steady his nerves. Finally, after many long, deep breaths, he worked up the courage to open it.

The envelope contained copies of classified reports - a train accident in Tennessee - an incident in Pennsylvania involving Fox - photos of Japanese scientists - a list of names ... and a short, scrawled note: "For Mulder. Tell no one else. X."

Richard nearly busted down his own door as he caromed back out to the reception room. "Alice?" he called out. "I changed my mind. Get Agent Mulder up here as soon as possible!"

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx MATHESON ESTATE
GEORGETOWN, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
36 HOURS LATER

Richard sprawled on his bed, writhing in agony, screaming with silent anguish. This was pain, pain beyond anything he'd ever imagined was possible. He gasped for breath as his wracked body jerked involuntary. Through tear-blinded eyes he could see his hand. His blood vessels were visible, blue, and standing straight up from the skin. Wave after wave of agony coursed through his body; his muscles tensed all at once, and sweat poured down his face; his very blood shrieked out for mercy; and he screamed, and screamed, and screamed ...

And suddenly, it was over.

Richard swore to himself, later, he'd felt his heart stop for an instant.

Shaking and weak, he reached for the phone, thinking to call an ambulance, but it rang just as he was about to lift the receiver. "Y-yes ..."

"You were warned, Senator Matheson. You didn't listen."

"Who-who is this? What did you do to me, you fucking bastard?!?"

The voice on the other end laughed at him. "Ah-ah-ah, Senator, it's just your new pet project. Nanotechnology. And you've got the untested, experimental version ... lucky you. ... You're mine now, Senator. You do what I say. And you don't talk to Mulder."

"Who the hell -"

"Sweet dreams, Senator. I can kill you with a thought." And the line went dead.

Richard let the phone drop and curled up into a ball, whimpering piteously.

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From that night on, Senator Richard Matheson was not his own man.

He learned to live with it, though; he always had. On proddings from his mysterious assailant, he began to champion biotechnology legislation; not a harsh task, he found the subject matter interesting and worthwhile, and in most cases, a cause worth fighting for. It would not have been his top priority, under normal circumstances, but it was acceptable.

He got reelected to a second term, of course; he had good looks and charm left enough for that. If he entertained secret thoughts of retiring when his term came due, escaping the shame of his ownership, he kept them to himself. Such an attempt would be futile in any case, he was certain.

The voice on the other end of the phone changed, from time to time, but Richard always did what it said. He hadn't felt the agony of its power once, since that night in '95, and he never wanted to feel it again.

Eventually, he got a bit of his old assurance back. He began to doubt his memories of that night, and in the absence of any proof, in the form of pain, he wondered if this mysterious power even existed at all.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx MATHESON ESTATE
GEORGETOWN, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
JANUARY 17, 1999
4:10 AM

And now, Fox had come and gone again. About that silly export bill, S.R. 819. An FBI assistant director, dying because of health assistance to third world countries? Preposterous.

On the other hand, he'd spoken to Fox. Richard was probably a dead man.

Richard swallowed and nervously smoothed his hair. How had it ever come to this?

It all came back down to that cigarette-smoking bastard, ten years ago, didn't it?
Ooh, if he could just get his hands around that scrawny throat, for just five minutes ...

Richard sighed, folded himself into an easy chair, rested his face in his hands, and began connecting dots. This medical bill, Dr. Orgel suddenly gone missing, an FBI A.D. nearly dead .. of course. It all came right back around, to Richard and these bedamned nanobots.

Well, if I'm a dead man already, he thought, *I won't go down easy*. He settled down with a cup of tea to wait for Alex Krycek's call.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx CONDEMNED POWER PLANT
SOMEWHERE IN FREDERICK COUNTY, MD
JANUARY 17, 1999
6:10 PM

Fox strode out of the warehouse, head held high, righteous, indignant. "I will stop this!" he shouted, pointing a finger angrily at Richard where he stood behind the empty slab.

Ah, if only you could, dear boy.

Richard thought desperately. Fox was his one chance to get out of this alive - or even to give some meaning to his death. He shouted, desperately, back. "It's too late, Fox! It's too late!"

But Fox was already gone.

And Alex was already in his place.

"I warned you, old man. I warned you so many times." Alex adjusted a knob on his electronic pad. "Good-bye, Senator."

And as too-familiar agony coursed over him for the last time, Richard poured his soul into one final, gut-wrenching scream.

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Mulder heard it, out by his car. Senator Matheson ...? It couldn't be .. could it? He charged back into the power plant, busted through the side door, gun held ready, senses tingling.

And it was Matheson, indeed, stretched out at the base of the concrete slab, looking remarkably similar to AD Skinner at the moment, prominent blue veins and all.

"My God ..." Mulder rushed forward, keeping his gun hand ready, and checked for a pulse. "Senator, is this why you've been avoiding me?"

"Yes .. Fox .. " Matheson gasped through his pain. "Stop them .. you've got to stop them .."

Mulder reached out and grasped the Senator's hand, willing him to live. "I'm trying, Senator. I will. Can you tell me who?"

"Cigarette .. smoking .. sonuvabitch .. " Matheson forced out through pain-clenched teeth.

Mulder cursed vehemently to himself. Of course. Who else? It always came down to that, didn't it? He sighed. "Okay. I'll get the bastard, Senator. I promise."

Matheson's hand was turning to stone in his, and his breathing came faster and shallower with every second. "Fox .. Fox .. " he gasped out.

Mulder leaned closer. "Yes, Senator? I'm here."

"Fox .. I'm .. I'm so sorry .. "

One last breath, and he was gone.

Fin.

XxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXxXx Notes: Seeing S.R. 819 for the second time got me thinking. Why the heck have we not seen our dear Senator since way back in Season 3? So, here's a nice, long, flashback-happy fic for you. Feedback very graciously appreciated.

Oh - I didn't mean it, at the time, but there seem to be a lot of doors in this story - hence the title. A student of literary symbolism could probably make something out of that. (;


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