Murder In The Capital

by Katie Phillips

Murder In The Capital Part One
By Katie Phillips
July 2004

Disclaimer Info: I know, I know they belong to someone else.
Rating: R (to be on the safe side)
Keywords: Casefile; MSR
Feedback: xfstories@yahoo.com. Can't wait to hear what you thought.
Archive: Sure, why not? Just let me know where. Spoilers: Set after Fight The Future. No specific spoilers but assumes a basic knowledge of the series and its characters.
Summary: Scully and Mulder have gone their separate ways but are brought back together to help solve a case that threatens the lives of a Congressman and personal friends of the President.

Author's notes: Many, many thanks to sallie for her guidance,coming up with a title and her great beta work. Sallie has also volunteered to write the sequel to this story, so keep your eyes open for it.

++++

Walter Skinner took a deep breath and closed the folder in front of him. He slowly removed his glasses and rubbed his temples, thinking to himself how much he hated this particular type of case. Two prominent businessmen had been killed within the past month. That fact alone was enough to stir up a small amount of interest. The fact that they were both close associates of the President had not gone unnoticed, nor had the fact that both had allegedly been killed by their administrative assistants. Unfortunately for the FBI, both of the prime suspects had died under mysterious circumstances exactly three days after the death of their former employers.

If that hadn't been bad enough, just the night before a top Congressional aid had been killed, his assistant taken into custody. The murdered aid had been instrumental in the President's reelection campaign. Capital Hill was in an uproar. They wanted answers and they expected them from AD Skinner. Now.

Skinner looked at his watch and groaned to himself. He was not looking forward to the meeting that would be taking place in his office in less than twenty minutes. He picked up his phone. "Could you ask Agent Mulder to come up to my office now, please?" Skinner put down the phone and leaned back in his chair rubbing his temples again.

Several minutes later, a sharp rap on the door drew Skinner from his reverie. Calling "Come in" a bit louder than was probably necessary, Skinner frowned as he waited for Mulder to enter and take his usual seat in front of the AD's desk.

"Thanks for getting up here so quickly, Agent Mulder." Skinner slid the file folder towards the agent. "I assume you have heard of this case?"

Mulder grabbed the file and quickly glanced through it. "Only what I read about it in the papers. Three men shot to death at pretty much point blank range, by people they not only knew, but trusted. The first two suspects died before they could provide authorities with much information."

Skinner nodded. "Due to the unusual circumstances of this case, I am making you SAC."

"Thank you, Sir." Skinner nodded at him, wondering if Mulder would still be thanking him when he finished what he had to say. "I'm also calling in a forensic specialist."

Mulder's head snapped up at this, and his eyes narrowed. "Scully?"

"She's the best the Bureau has Mulder. You and I both know that."

Mulder didn't say a word, and Skinner leaned back in his chair giving him a moment or two to let the idea sink in. Hell, he needed time for it to sink in himself. He never thought he would see Dana Scully in Washington again. Three years ago, when he signed Agent Scully's transfer papers, he promised he'd not call her back to DC unless absolutely necessary.

Scully and her then-partner Fox Mulder, had been together nearly six years at that point. They approached their work from totally different viewpoints, but their results were impressive. Their solve rate was way above the Bureau's norm, and even though they had a bad habit of turning in their reports late and running over budget, Skinner had given them a relatively free reign.

However, someone or something had come between them. They had been caught "running off" to investigate a conspiracy in Texas without proper authorization, and as a disciplinary action, Scully had been reassigned to Salt Lake City. Skinner had offered to fight her transfer, but Scully had refused. She hadn't said much except that she thought that Mulder no longer trusted her, and without that trust she couldn't stay. She had made a clean break, and as far as Skinner knew, she and her long-time partner hadn't spoken since the day Scully told Mulder about the transfer.

"When?" Mulder looked nervous.

"She landed at Dulles about an hour ago. I expect her any minute now."

++++

Dana Scully forced a smile as the elevator doors opened and a former colleague joined her. "Welcome back, Agent Scully."

"Thanks." Scully hoped her voice didn't reveal the case of nerves she was working so hard to hide.

"This case has everyone stumped. I heard Skinner is even bringing your old partner on board to try to break it." The agent turned his attention to the control panel and pushed the button for Skinner's floor, not noticing as Scully forced another smile. Skinner hadn't mentioned that Mulder would be on the task force, but she wasn't surprised. Mulder had always been the Bureau's best profiler.

By the time they reached the desired floor, they had been joined by several other agents, making conversation more difficult, a situation for which Scully was profoundly grateful. Many of the agents from the elevator headed towards Skinner's office, and Scully found herself drifting toward the rear of the group, hoping to blend in as much as possible, so as to delay the instant of her recognition by Mulder.

Kimberly greeted them all outside Skinner's office, and briskly ushered them in. Once inside, Skinner made quick work of the introductions, noticing at once the unspoken communication between Mulder and Scully, as they both went out of their way to greet each other casually. He felt for them. This was their first meeting in close to three years, and every eye in the room was on them, waiting to see their reaction. Skinner had hoped to give the former partners the opportunity to greet each other in private, but there hadn't been enough time.

Skinner took his place at the end of the conference table, indicating that it was time to call the meeting to order. "Thank you all for coming here on such short notice. Special thanks to you, Agent Scully. I know you dropped everything to fly cross-country to be here this morning." Skinner then nodded to Kimberly who passed out folders to everyone.

"Here's a summary of what we have so far. Three murders in the past four and a half weeks. All victims assumed to have been killed by their assistants. Two of the suspects have since met untimely deaths. The third is in custody under heavy guard." Skinner paused so the assembled agents could go through their folders. "Any thoughts?"

Edgars, the agent who had ridden up on the elevator with Scully, spoke first. "Were these men murdered because of their ties to the President?"

"I don't think so." Mulder didn't look up when he responded. "Too obvious. There are literally thousands of people in Washington with connections to the President. There has to be something more to it than that."

"How do we know that these murders aren't just coincidental?" Agent Peters, a person who had never liked Mulder, asked from the far end of the table. "Maybe their employees just didn't like them." His dismissive tone of voice confirmed his low opinion of Mulder.

Mulder ignored the jab while responding. "That's one possibility, except for one thing. Penelope Jacobs, the assistant of the aide killed last night, is not only in her late 60's, but she's the aide's godmother. She was his father's assistant for forty-something years." Peters gave Mulder a blank look, as if he was not convinced.

Skinner spoke up, deflecting any potential tension between Peters and his SAC for this case. "Whatever the exact motive behind this case, it has become the number one priority of the Director. Peters and Edgars, I want you to go down to Capital Hill and talk to anyone and everyone who was near Mr. Leslie's office last night when he was shot. Agent Rogers, please escort Agent Scully to the ME's office, and assist her in getting the autopsy records for the first two victims and the suspects. Agent Scully, Mr. Leslie's family has agreed to let you do the autopsy. His body is waiting for you at Quantico. Agent Rogers can drop you there when you're done with the ME. Agent Mulder, I'm sending everything we've got on these cases down to your office for your review."

"Has anyone from the Bureau interviewed Ms. Jacobs, Sir?" Scully asked.

"Not yet. She's been sedated since being taken into custody. She's under guard at George Washington Memorial. You and Agent Mulder should be able to interview her later tonight, or first thing in the morning."

Skinner collected his papers. "Agent Mulder is the SAC on this case, so all information goes through him. We'll meet back here tomorrow at nine sharp." The agents gathered their notes and began filing from the room. Skinner couldn't help but notice the long look exchanged between Mulder and Scully, before Rogers escorted her from the room. Mulder got up to leave, but Skinner stopped him. "A word before you leave, Agent?"

Mulder nodded, and waited until the last agent left and the door closed, before turning towards the AD, eyebrows raised. "Can I ask you a personal question, Mulder?"

"Sure."

"How were things left between you and Agent Scully?"

"Sir?"

"When she moved out to Salt Lake City, did you two part on good terms?"

Mulder took a minute before answering. "I don't really know how to answer that question, Sir. There were a lot of issues left unaddressed, both with the X-files, and between us."

Skinner nodded slowly. "You know Mulder, you two are no longer officially working together."

"I know that, Sir." Mulder clearly had no idea where Skinner was going with this line of questioning.

"This might be a good opportunity for you to answer some of those questions."

++++

A tall, non-descript man in his late twenties, handed a piece of lined paper to the clerk behind the counter, along with a small stack of twenty dollar bills.

"Let's see, you'd like a half page ad?" The clerk looked over the form briefly before counting the money.

"Yes. When will that run?"

The clerk glanced at the clock. "It looks like you'll just make the cutoff for tomorrow's paper."

"Excellent."



Murder In The Capital Part Two
By Katie Phillips

Scully hesitated a moment before pushing the button that would bring her down to the basement. She was rather nervous about meeting Mulder face to face after so long, but she wanted to talk to him in private before having to deal with him in front of a room full of people. She gripped her briefcase handle tightly. It was overflowing with medical and autopsy reports she had gathered throughout the long day--her entertainment for the evening. Scully squared her shoulders, and pushed the button.

She tapped gently on the partially open door before pushing it open. The office was empty, and Scully heaved a sigh of relief. At least now she would have a chance to look around a bit before having to confront Mulder.

Although Mulder was officially assigned to VCS now, he was still allowed to keep his office in the basement. The file cabinets containing all the X-files appeared to still be there, but the paraphernalia that had littered the walls was gone. All that remained was the poster declaring that Mulder wanted to believe.

Scully walked over to his desk and looked down. There were two framed snapshots sitting on the corner. One was of his sister Samantha, and one was of Mulder and herself taken shortly before she had left town. Scully picked up the picture and was staring at it, running a finger tenderly along it, when the sound of someone clearing their throat startled her.

She looked up to find Mulder leaning against the doorframe watching her.

"Hey." He spoke quietly, as if not to scare her away.

"I was just..." Scully looked embarrassed and put down the picture before walking back around to the front of the desk.

Mulder walked past her and sat down behind his desk, leaning back. Scully could tell he was nervous, although he was trying very hard to act nonchalant. "Weird to be back?" He jerked his chin towards the chair.

Scully smiled weakly and sat. "Yeah." She glanced around the office. "What did you do with all our... I mean your stuff?"

"I put our stuff in storage. I figured there would come a time when you and I would want to go through it together and figure out what was worth keeping." He waved a hand vaguely at the room around him. "I took most of the stuff down right after you left."

Scully nodded. "Guess we have a lot to...."

"Come on Langley, the pizza is going to get cold if you take any longer." Scully's eyebrows rose and she looked across the desk at Mulder. He shrugged, and before he could offer an explanation, the office door banged open and Frohike barged in, carrying two six packs of beer. He was followed closely by Langley, who was holding two pizza boxes, and Byers carrying two grocery bags.

"Mulder, you said we might be in for a long night, so we brought enough food to feed an army. I hope pepperoni..." Frohike stopped mid-sentence as his jaw hit the floor. "Are my eyes deceiving me?" He plunked the six packs down on Mulder's desk and scooped Scully, who had gotten up at the sight of the Gunmen, into his arms and hugged her ferociously. Mulder couldn't help but smile at the yelp Scully let out. Frohike spun her around and placed her down before beaming at Mulder. "Don't tell me you finally came to your senses and sent for her?"

Mulder glared and him and ignored Scully's look of confusion. "Sorry Scully, I forgot to mention that I asked the Gunmen to consult on this case."

Byers and Langley quickly greeted Scully, but with slightly less enthusiasm than Frohike. A short time later, over pizza and beer, the Gunmen explained their theory.

Byers began. "We looked at all three victims Mulder, and at first nothing more than their obvious connections to the President came up."

"But then we delved a little deeper," Langley said between bites of pizza, "and discovered that the first two victims were connected."

"How so?" Scully asked.

"Kingsley, the first victim, used to do research and development for Corren, the second victim, before going into business for himself. Kingsley was one of the first people to recognize the medicinal uses of a certain type of gum tree that grows in the rainforest in Brazil."

Byers continued. "Kingsley shared this information with Corren, who began a program to harvest these trees for research purposes at first, and then later for production purposes. The drugs they discovered made them both very wealthy men."

Mulder nodded. "Okay, so they're connected. What about the two of them and Leslie?"

Frohike opened up a beer and passed it to Mulder. "Leslie did a internship at Corren's Manhattan office fifteen years ago. It's rumored on the Hill that Corren liked to use Leslie's influence when getting drug legislation passed."

Scully sipped her diet soda and looked at the Gunmen, who were smiling proudly. "So basically you're telling us that the three victims are connected professionally. I don't mean to sound cynical gentlemen, but you could probably say that about half the people in Washington. It also doesn't give us any clues as to why their assistants would want to kill them."

Frohike gave Scully frown. "Who invited you to this party?"

Scully smirked at him. "AD Skinner."

Mulder snorted. "Scully's right. We've got pieces of the puzzle but they aren't fitting together. Yet. We'll have to keep working on it. Maybe Ms. Jacobs will be able to shed some light on it for us."

"Ms. Jacobs?" Byers asked, packing up his laptop.

"Leslie's assistant. Scully and I are meeting with her around 7 tomorrow morning." He turned to Scully. "Her doctor informed me that she should be lucid by then."

Frohike threw his beer can in the general direction of the garbage can, missing horribly. "Let us know what she says. In the meantime, we'll dig up what we can on these three. Sushi tomorrow? Unless you two have other plans?" He gave Mulder a knowing look.

"We'll call you." Mulder ushered the Gunmen through the door and shut it behind them. "Sorry about that."

"Don't worry about it. Seemed like old times." Scully stood up and brushed the crumbs off her skirt, before walking over and picking up Frohike's discarded beer can and throwing it out. She glanced over at her briefcase. "I have a ton of autopsy reports to go over, along with writing up Leslie's." Mulder gave her a look of interest.

"Nothing to get excited about yet, Mulder. William Leslie died from a bullet that was fired at him from a distance of two to three feet. That much I can tell you. How he let someone get that close to him with a gun, I can't fathom. Hopefully the tox screens will shed some light."

Mulder, who had been shoving papers into his own briefcase, picked it up. "Let me drop you off at your hotel. It's the least I can do for the last person brave enough to be my partner."

"You don't have a partner now? Aren't you with VCS?"

"Nope and yup." Mulder smiled at her confusion. "No one has been able to fill the shoes of the Head of Forensic Pathology for the Western Region, so Skinner lets me freelance more or less."

Scully blushed at the mention of her newly acquired position. As much as she hated to admit it, her career had flourished out west. Bending over to pick up her bag, she paused and looked up at Mulder. "I always assumed that Agent Fowley would have joined you on the X-files after she recovered from her injuries."

Mulder motioned Scully to proceed him through the office door, and closed and locked it behind them. Briefcase in hand, he walked down the hall beside her toward the elevator. "Agent Fowley made a full recovery, and promptly went back to doing whatever it was she was doing before she was dropped into our laps."

"I don't understand. I thought she was trying to get back onto the X-files."

Mulder followed Scully into the elevator and waited for the doors to close before answering. "I think she was sent here to do a specific task, and that she succeeded quite nicely."

Scully opened her mouth to ask what that task was, and quickly shut it. She knew this wasn't the time or place to have this particular conversation.

It took only a few minutes for Mulder to reach Scully's hotel. He paused, not knowing whether or not he should walk her to her room. She solved the dilemma by jumping out of the car, and leaning back in through the open door. "Thanks for the ride Mulder. I'll meet you at the hospital around seven. I'll probably get there a bit early to go over Ms. Jacobs' medical records." Scully gave him a quick smile and shut the door, turning and walking into the hotel without looking back.

Mulder sat in the car and stared at the hotel door for several minutes, bemoaning yet another lost opportunity. His partner, over whom he has been pining for the past three years, finally returns to Washington and he doesn't even have the guts to give her a friendly hug in greeting. Hell, if Frohike could give her a hug, he should be able to do at least that.

Making up his mind, Mulder parked the car before he could lose his nerve, and headed for the bank of elevators. He was grateful that he had the forethought to ask Scully for her hotel room number. He was surprised to find his palms sweating as he walked down the hall toward her room.

Rapping on the door of Scully's room, Mulders overhears muffled voices from within. The TV, no doubt. Scully opens the door, looking confused and appearing tiny, without her trademark three-inch heels.

"Mulder?"

"Hey. Sorry to barge in like this, but I thought maybe you and I could..."

"Uh, it's not really a good time Mulder..."

"Oh..."

"I'm not alone."

Mulder actually felt a blush warming his cheeks, as he tried to think of a way to back out of Scully's room without making an even bigger fool out of himself. How stupid he was to think that a woman like Scully would be alone. He heard rustling behind Scully, and braced himself to meet the new man in her life.

"Dana, who's there?" Mulder frowned at the sound of a female voice. It sounded very familiar.

Scully sighed and looked defeated. "It's Mulder."

"Fox?" The voice sounded totally delighted. "Fox is here?"

Flinging the door open wide, Maggie Scully stepped out into the hallway. Before Mulder knew what hit him, her arms were around his neck, and she was hugging him fiercely. Mulder smiled both at the sight of Mrs. Scully, and the irony that this was exactly what he wanted to do to her daughter.

Mrs. Scully stepped back and smiled up at him. "I was just telling Dana that she should have invited you in for a drink." Scully looked at Mulder and shrugged. "I know you two have a lot of work to do, but I'm leaving town tomorrow and I would hate not to have a visit with Fox while I have the chance."

Maggie looked first at Scully and then at Mulder, and he quickly realized why Scully had looked so defeated. There was no way to avoid spending at least the next hour down in the lounge with Maggie Scully.

Hearing no resistance, Mrs. Scully grabbed each one by the arm. "Wonderful. Dana you get the room key and Fox you get the elevator. I'll get my purse. This little reunion is on me."

++++

Congressman Blake looked over the top of his newspaper and frowned at his wife. "What is that you have there, Elizabeth?"

"Something one of the save the rainforest lobbyist sent you. Looks like teas, cookies and the like. Shall I brew you a cup?"

The congressman turned his attention back to his paper. "If you wish. I hope those fools don't think that a basket of tea and cookies will get me to change my mind about cutting down a bunch of trees."

++++

Scully sipped her white wine, and sat back and watched her mother interrogate Mulder. She was amazed that her mother had no qualms whatsoever about asking Mulder all sorts of questions about his personal life. She also knew that her mom was doing it on her behalf. Maggie had always hoped that one day Fox Mulder would be her son-in-law, and she had been quite vocal in her disappointment when her daughter had abruptly moved to Salt Lake City.

Mulder fielded Mrs. Scully's questions with ease, since he had virtually no social life. He was considered an eligible bachelor within the Bureau, and numerous women had tried to get Special Agent Mulder to notice them. A few had been asked to dinner, fewer still to his bed. None had lasted more than a week or two.

"How do you like San Diego, Mrs. Scully?" Despite having nothing to hide, Mulder preferred to do the questioning. It was what he did, and he was comfortable in that position.

"I like it very much Fox. Though I do miss the snow at times, and my friends here on the East Coast."

"Is that why you came out with Dana?"

Scully perked up at the use of her given name. She found it interesting that Mulder hardly ever referred to her as 'Scully' when speaking to her mother.

"Yes, I'm heading up to Connecticut tomorrow, to see my friend Molly. I'll probably stay with her a week or so." She turned her attention to her daughter.

"I assume you'll be staying here until everything is settled?" Mrs. Scully asked the question in a way that left Scully wondering whether she was referring to the case or something else. "Maybe I'll head back to California from there. I wouldn't want to get in the way down here."

They chatted a few more minutes before Mrs. Scully made an excuse to leave and head back to the room, insisting that Fox and Dana stay and finish their drinks. They watched her leave the bar in silence.

"Sorry about the third degree Mulder."

Mulder shrugged it off. "That's what mothers are for Scully. I only wish my mother took such a keen interest in my life." They finished their drinks in silence and headed towards the elevators in the lobby. Scully looked a bit surprised when she realized that Mulder was walking her back to her room.

"Mulder, I'm perfectly capable of seeing myself upstairs."

"I know that and you know that, but I don't need a lecture from your mother the next time I see her, about my not being a gentleman." He smirked at her and she chuckled. He was right. Her mother would be disappointed in him if he didn't see her safely to the door.

They said a quick goodnight and Mulder was turning to go, when Scully stopped him with a hand on his arm. "Mulder?"

He stopped and turned to face her. She dropped her hand, looking a bit embarrassed to have touched him. "You never told me why you came back here tonight."

Mulder suddenly felt very foolish. He shrugged, hoping that she would drop the subject. "Mulder?" Her voice was insistent.

"I know this sounds childish, and it is childish." Mulder looked down at the ground and actually began to dig at the floor with his toe. He looked to Scully like a little boy who had been dragged in front of the school principal. "I guess I was a little jealous of Frohike."

Scully squeezed her lips together tightly, trying not to laugh. "You? You were jealous of Frohike?" She waited until Mulder peered up at her before continuing. "May I ask why?"

Mulder knew his answer would sound foolish, so he just blurted it out. "Because he was brave enough to hug you."

Scully stood silently, trying to absorb the meaning of his words. Mulder finally looked up, expecting to see her laughing at him, only to see her gazing at him tenderly. She smiled at him and shook her head. Immediately he understood, and opened his arms to her.

She stepped into his embrace, and they wrapped their arms around each other tightly. Mulder placed his chin on the top of her head, as Scully rested her cheek against his chest. "God, how I've missed you Scully." He murmured so softly she thought it sounded like he was speaking more to himself than to her.

Scully pulled back and looked up at her old friend, and saw that he, like she, was awash with emotion. Mulder bent down closer to her, and she suddenly realized that he was on the verge of kissing her. Scully panicked and put her hands on his chest, abruptly halting his descent. "Good night, Mulder."

Before Mulder knew what had happened, Scully was inside her room, leaning heavily against the closed door. She stood there a moment or two breathing deeply, wondering if she was relieved or disappointed.

"Did Fox walk you back?" Maggie called out from the bathroom. Scully smiled.

"Yes."

Maggie walked out of the bathroom drying her hands, her face beaming in approval. "Did he finally kiss you?"

"Mom!" Scully turned and stared at her mother, shocked by the question. "Of course not!"

Her mother sighed and tossed the towel back onto the bathroom sink. "I swear I don't know what's wrong with the two of you."

"What are you talking about?" Scully asked, sinking down onto the bed and taking off her shoes. She had hours of work ahead of her, but knew she would get no peace until this matter with her mother was settled.

"You and Fox, that's what I'm talking about." Mrs. Scully snorted at Scully's look of confusion. "You two have been crazy about each other for years, and just when it looks like you're finally going to do something about it, you go flying off to Salt Lake City, bound and determined to forget all about him." Scully tried to interrupt, but her mother silenced her with a raised hand.

"Dana, you tell me that you have no feelings for the man, and yet the only picture that graces your apartment, outside those featuring your immediate family, is one of the two of you taken at my house the Easter before you moved."

Scully squirmed under her mother's stare. "That may be Mom, but that doesn't mean Mulder had feelings for me."

At this, her mother burst out laughing. "Are you blind? He lights up whenever you look at him Dana, and when he thinks no one is looking, he looks like he wants to eat you with a spoon. I imagine he would be a most satisfying lover."

"Mother!" Scully was truly shocked now.

"Come on Dana. You're a grown woman, and Fox Mulder is a very attractive man. It's obvious, at least to me, that you two still have strong feelings for each other. You aren't partners anymore, so you don't have that excuse to hide behind. Why not give it a try?"



Murder In The Capital Part Three
By Katie Phillips

George Washington Memorial Hospital
5:30 AM the following morning

Angela Langsley began assembling the breakfast trays the same way she had for the last sixteen years--quickly and efficiently. By 6 AM, the trays were ready to be taken by the orderlies to patients all around the hospital.

At the last possible moment, Angela paused in front of a tray labeled "NO NUTS/PEANUTS." She carefully lifted the stainless steel lid covering the bowl of oatmeal, and drizzled a small amount of oily liquid on it. After giving the mixture a quick stir, she replaced the cover and put the dirty spoon in the dishwasher along with the rest of the dirty dishes and walked away.

++++

6:45AM

Scully walked to the nurses' station on the sixth floor and was a bit surprised to find it deserted. She glanced at her watch, wondering if the doctors were already on their rounds. Finally, a nurse approached and Scully flagged her down.

"Excuse me, I'm looking for Penelope Jacobs." Scully flashed her badge. "I'm with the FBI. I was told I could review her medical records before my partner," she paused briefly at the use of the word "partner," "and I interview her."

The nurse seemed to pale a bit at her words, and muttered something about Scully having to speak to the doctor in charge. She scurried off just as Mulder was walking down the corridor. He watched the nurse scamper by before turning to Scully.

"What's up?"

"I'm not sure." Scully glanced down the hall where the nurse had disappeared. "She mumbled something about having to get the doctor."

Mulder, not being one to wait around, leaned over the counter and quickly spotted a chart listing patient room numbers. "Room 613. Let's go take a peak while we wait for the doctor, shall we?"

Scully gestured for him to lead the way and followed him down the corridor. She was surprised to find nothing but an empty chair outside of Jacobs' room. "I thought she was supposed to be under guard?"

"She was." Mulder tapped on the door and pushed it open. The room was empty.

"Where is she?" Scully asked, walking into the room after Mulder, and checking the bathroom.

"Mrs. Jacobs is dead."

Mulder and Scully whirled around to see an overtired doctor, who appeared to be fresh out of medical school, standing in the doorway. "I'm Doctor Cline." He shook hands with the two agents. "Mrs. Jacobs went into cardiac arrest right after eating her breakfast this morning." He gestured to the breakfast tray which had been shoved unceremoniously into the corner of the room.

Scully whipped out a latex glove from her pocket, a gesture that provoked a small smirk from Mulder, and quickly examined the tray. It seemed routine enough. Orange juice, coffee and oatmeal. "We'll need to take this as evidence." Scully pulled off her glove and threw it into the wastebasket nearby. "Please seal off this room until we can examine it."

"You suspect foul play?" Dr. Cline looked back and forth between Mulder and Scully.

"Ms. Jacobs was a suspect in a murder investigation; we have to investigate every possibility." Scully approached the doctor. "Would it be possible for me to review Mrs. Jacobs' medical records and take a look at her body?" Scully spotted Mulder's look and continued. "I'd also like to perform the autopsy."

"You're a pathologist?" The doctor did little to hide his surprise. Mulder did his best to hide his smirk, while he hoped that Scully would have mercy on the young intern. "Actually I'm the head of forensic medicine for the FBI's western region," Scully informed the doctor, giving him a look that challenged him to question her credentials further. He wisely did not.

Mulder pulled out his cell phone and ordered a full forensic team, while Dr. Cline ran off to get Mrs. Jacobs' medical chart. "You're getting soft in your old age Scully," Mulder said, jerking his chin in the general direction of Cline as he handed her the charts and quickly retreated. "I'm surprised you let him live."

Scully merely raised an eyebrow at him, as she scanned over the doctor's notes. "Nothing too spectacular here Mulder. Mrs. Jacobs was admitted because she had a severe reaction to the sedative her doctor administered to her at the police station after her arrest."

"Meaning?" Mulder had followed Scully out into the hallway where they could talk without risking contamination of any evidence.

"Meaning, she was given a simple sedative that should have calmed her down, and it knocked her out cold. They brought her in purely as a precaution."

"Sounds strange, doesn't it?"

"Not really. A somewhat elderly woman shoots her godson point blank in the chest and is arrested and taken away in handcuffs. That's enough to rattle the best of us. What are you getting at?"

"I'm not sure, yet."

++++

9 AM
Skinner's Office

Agents Peters, Edgars and Rogers were sitting around the conference table with Skinner, when Mulder walked into the office, shutting the door behind him.

Skinner looked up from his notes and frowned. "Where's Agent Scully?"

"In an autopsy bay with Penelope Jacobs," Mulder replied, passing out a folder to each member of the group.

"What?" Skinner could hardly believe his ears. "I thought she was in a hospital under guard."

"She was, Sir. She died shortly before Agent Scully and I arrived to interview her."

"Any idea what happened, Mulder?" Agent Edgars looked up from his pictures of the crime scene.

"Not yet. Scully is going over Jacobs' medical records, and will do the autopsy as soon as the family gives their approval."

The agents read in silence for a few minutes. "From everything it says here, there doesn't seem to be any signs of foul play at all Mulder," Peters said with a smirk on his face. "Are you sure you aren't stretching things just a bit?"

Before Mulder could reply, Edgars chimed in. "Come on Peters, even you must find it a bit odd that three suspects to three murders all end up dying within days of committing their crimes?"

"Could be coincidence. Maybe all of this is just coincidence." Peters threw the folders down in disgust. "What we got here is a whole lot of nothing."

Skinner looked up from his paper, curious why Mulder wasn't participating in the debate. Usually he couldn't wait to take Peters down a peg or two. The agent was sitting with his elbows on the table, his chin perched on his hands, thinking. "We're missing something."

Peters laughed at this. "The only thing you're missing Mulder, is that red-headed partner of yours to tell you that you're heading off in the wrong direction." His comment drew a glare from Skinner, and he abruptly shut his mouth. Mulder ignored his comment completely.

After several minutes of staring at the pile of pictures in front of him, Mulder began to nod his head slowly. "Edgars, get on the phone and have someone look into what Ms. Jacobs had to eat for breakfast this morning, and I don't mean what she was supposed to have, I mean exactly what was in her bowl."

Edgars looked confused but picked up the phone and started dialing. "Rogers, you and Peters start putting together a list of anyone in that hospital who could have accessed that tray."

Rogers got up and went to grab his jacket, but Peters stood his ground. "Why?"

Mulder smiled at him. "I think I found our murder weapon." Mulder slid an evidence picture towards Rogers and pointed to what appeared to be a piece of cardboard half hidden under the hospital bed. Written on the cardboard sign was "NO NUTS/PEANUTS."

"I don't get it," Peters said, still not budging.

"Add a little peanut oil to her breakfast and..." Mulder began beginning to assemble his papers.

"The next thing you know you've got a dead patient." Rogers smiled approvingly at Mulder, while Peters scowled.

"Okay everyone I want you back here at four o'clock sharp, and this time let's have more answers than questions." Skinner rose, indicating the meeting was at an end.

++++

Elizabeth Blake poured herself another cup of tea, pausing to inhale its spicy fragrance before sipping it. It tasted unlike any other tea she had ever had--she must find out where the lobbyist had bought it.

The telephone on her desk rang and she put down her cup and answered it. "Yes, this is Mrs. Blake. Yes, yes, I understand. I will do as you wish." Mrs. Blake quietly hung up and the phone and looked at it quizzically, not quite remembering the conversation she had just had.

++++

Autopsy Bay, Quantico
10:30 AM

Mulder paused for a second before opening the door to the examination room where Scully worked on Mrs. Jacobs' body. It wasn't that he was squeamish about witnessing an autopsy. His many years of working with Scully had cured him of that. It was more the flood of memories that he was afraid would wash over him when he opened the door.

He chided himself. Today, of all days, he didn't have time for such thoughts. He opened the door and walked in, stopping for a moment when he saw Scully dressed in her blue scrubs, bent over the older women's body. Mulder had forgotten how tiny she was.

"Hey."

Scully looked up from her Y-incision. "Hey."

"Anything catch your eye?"

"Not really. Ms. Jacobs here appeared to be in relatively good health for a woman her age."

"Cause of death?"

"As far as I can tell, so far, cardiac arrest brought on by lack of oxygen." Scully pointed to Mrs. Jacobs' throat. "Her throat was practically swollen shut."

"Allergic reaction?"

Scully frowned and looked up at him. "Maybe. What makes you say that?"

Mulder pulled the picture from his pocket and showed it to her. "I think someone put peanut oil into her breakfast to cause the reaction."

Scully nodded. "I haven't gotten to her stomach yet, but I can send out whatever I find in there to be checked. I can do that right now if you want to stick around."

The thought of seeing the contents of Mrs. Jacobs' stomach was a bit more than Mulder could tolerate. "Thanks, but I think I'll pass. Skinner wants us back in the office at four. I've got people trying to figure out who could have contaminated her food. Anything more on Leslie?"

"Not yet. I'm hoping the tox screen will show us something. I've ordered a full series on her too, and put a rush on them."

++++

Skinner's Office Noon

"You wanted to see me Sir?"

"Peters called in a few minutes ago with the name of the person who put together Penelope Jacobs' breakfast tray." Mulder ignored that fact that Peters had reported into Skinner and not him.

"And?"

"She's a 16-year veteran of the hospital, with a spotless record. They're trying to track her down right now."

Mulder took a seat in front of Skinner's desk. Skinner was about to ask him more about Mrs.
Jacobs when the phone rang. "Skinner."

Skinner shut his eyes and looked grim. Mulder knew that their case had just developed another hitch. "When? Where is she now? Yeah, send her over." Skinner hung up the phone and looked at Mulder.

"The woman who made Penelope Jacobs' breakfast this morning got off work and promptly walked in front of a bus. She died about thirty minutes ago. They're shipping her body to Scully at Quantico."

"Crap. Whoever we're dealing with is covering his tracks much quicker now."

++++

Quantico Autopsy Bay
2:30 PM

Mulder didn't hesitate at all this time. He pushed through the door of the autopsy bay without a thought. "Hey Scully," he began, then stopped short when he noticed the growing line of bodies waiting for Scully's attention. "Aren't you Ms. Popular?"

"What can I tell you? They're all just dying to get in here." She smiled at Mulder's groan. "What's up?"

"Not a whole lot on our end besides the fact that our killer is starting to move faster. What about you?"

"I've examined Mrs. Jacobs from head to toe, and have quite a stack of stuff for the boys in forensics to go through." She pointed a latex finger at a small stack of evidence bags on the back counter. "I don't think you'll find much there besides normal residue from being in a hospital overnight."

Mulder nodded. "Did you find anything in her stomach?"

"Not much. I did manage to scrape a little from inside her mouth and throat, both of which were slightly swollen as well. I'm having the tissue samples checked now. As far as our latest victim," she glanced over her shoulder at the covered body. "I took a quick peek at her when she came in, and drew some blood for a tox screen. The cause of death is obvious. What actually hit her?"

"A bus."

"Ouch." Scully turned back to Mrs. Jacobs. "She shouldn't take me too long."

"Don't knock yourself out, Scully." Mulder gave her a look full of concern.

"I'm fine." Scully smiled at his response to this statement. "Really, beside my feet hurting a bit, I am fine."



Murder In The Capital Part Four
By Katie Phillips

Skinner's Office
4 PM

Skinner wasted no time calling the meeting to order. "Okay, what do we have?"

"Edgars and I have picked up a stack of tapes from the hospital and have begun reviewing all activity around the kitchen area and Ms. Jacob's floor, between 4:30 and 6:30 AM."

Skinner nodded and looked at Peters. "I interviewed Angela Langsley's coworkers. Dependable, lived alone, friendly but didn't associate much with the other hospital workers. She was nothing out of the ordinary.

"Our killer likes ordinary people. They're less likely to draw attention to themselves." Mulder muttered under his breath.

Peters rolled his eyes at Mulder's comment and continued. "I also spoke to several witnesses to her accident. From all accounts, she strolled calmly out of the hospital, and walked several blocks down the street. At one of the more crowded bus stops, she waited for a bus that wasn't scheduled to stop, and walked directly in its path.

"Any theories?" Skinner got up and poured himself a cup of coffee. He had gotten little sleep over the past few days.

"The connection between the three original victims all ties in with their research surrounding the varying uses of plants and other organic substances found the in Central American rainforest. It's my theory that our killer is using some sort of mind-altering material found in one of these plants."

"Are you kidding me?" Peters cut in. "You're suggesting that some sort of hippie, tree-hugging freak is drugging everyone and then telling them to shoot their bosses? Come on Mulder, stop trying to make this into an X-file."

Skinner turned his attention to Mulder. "Do you have any proof to back up your theory Mulder?"

"Scully has been running tox screens...."

"Where is your little partner Mulder? Too high and mighty now to join us?" Peters leered at Mulder, unable to resist the chance to taunt him about how Scully's career had blossomed since leaving DC.

"His little partner was busy cutting up bodies and scraping intestinal walls." A cool voice spoke from the door of Skinner's office. All eyes turned and looked as Scully gave Peters a long, cold look. Even Skinner had to fight the urge to smirk, as Peters squirmed under the intensity of her stare. "Perhaps you would like to examine the pictures yourself Agent Peters, to make sure I didn't miss anything." Scully walked over slowly, and placed a folder in front of Peters.

"I'm sure your examination was most thorough, Agent Scully," Peters stammered. Scully raised an eyebrow at him and turned her attention to Skinner. "Sir, as Agent Mulder may have told you, we suspected that a mindaltering drug may have been administered to the victims. I've run tox screens where I could, and have found trace amounts of a lysergic acid diethylamide type substance."

"LSD?" Mulder asked, eyes showing that his mind was already working. "There have been countless experiments using LSD as a mind controlling mechanism."

Peters was about to protest again but Skinner silenced him with a hand. "Alright, let's suppose that our killer is using this LSD-like substance to plant suggestions in the minds of the people pulling the trigger, that still doesn't tell us why he picked these particular people as his victims."

"I guess it's back to the video tapes," Edgars said, packing up his papers and preparing to leave the room.

"Wait." Mulder sat upright in his chair. "Sir, do you have a copy of the Washington Post? Perhaps Mr. Leslie's obituary will give us a clue."

Skinner nodded, and walked over to his briefcase and took out the newspaper. He handed it to Mulder, who quickly thumbed through it. "Wait a minute, I may have found something." Mulder stopped and stared at the paper before folding it back to show Skinner. He folded back the paper and showed it to Skinner.

Skinner's eyes grew huge when he read the half page ad. "BLAKE IS NEXT."

"Our killer is starting to getting bored. He wants to scare his victims now too."

Within the hour, Congressman Blake and his wife had been sent off to an undisclosed location for their protection. Edgars and Rogers were reviewing more surveillance videos, and Mulder and Scully were headed over to The Washington Post to see if they could find out who placed the ad.

"You don't think our guy was stupid enough to leave a paper trail, do you?" Scully asked as they walked towards the building.

"Normally I would say no, but I'm not quite sure yet what this guy is looking for." He led the way over to the counter, where a young girl smiled, but didn't look overly impressed by the flashing of his badge.

"I'm sorry Sir, but I'm not at liberty to disclose that particular information."

Mulder and Scully exchanged looks and Scully tried her luck. "Look, Miss Parsons, I appreciate your position, but you have to understand we're on a murder investigation. You really don't want us to have to bring you downtown to question you, do you?"

Mulder raised his eyebrows, surprised at Scully's bluff. "No, I guess not," the girl sighed.

Scully gave Mulder a smile of great self-satisfaction before continuing. She held up the ad. "Any way you could tell me who placed this particular ad?"

Miss Parsons scribbled down the page and column number and disappeared for a few minutes.

"Don't tell me it's going to be this easy," Mulder said as he looked around the non-descript room. "I wonder if they have any security cameras in here."

Scully snorted. "Edgars and Rogers would shoot you if you walked in with another armful of tapes. Wait, here she is."

"Here's the form he gave me. I think he paid in cash." She checked the form. "Yeah, he did. Could you sign this receipt please, so my boss doesn't kill me?"

"Sure," Mulder said, scribbling his name on the paper she handed him. He gingerly took hold of the ad request by the corner and dropped it into an evidence bag. "Thanks."

Mulder glanced briefly at the bag, before folding it and sticking it in his pocket. "We can drop this off and see if they can pick up any prints from it."

"I take it the name is no good."

"Percy Fawcett? No, he was an Amazon explorer."

Mulder couldn't help but notice how tired Scully was when they returned to the Bureau to drop off the form, and swung by Skinner's office to see if there were any other updates.

"Blake and his wife are safe and sound. Hopefully we've been able to buy ourselves some time." Skinner looked up from his desk and frowned at Scully. "Dana, you look horrible. How much sleep did you get last night?"

"I don't know, three maybe four hours." Skinner shot Mulder a look. "Take her back to her hotel Mulder and get some rest yourself. I'll see you both back in here at 7 AM sharp."

"Sir, I still need to summarize the tox screens and the autopsy reports."

"Dana, you may be seem 'high and mighty' to Peters but I still out rank you. Get some sleep."

Mulder was surprised at the twinge of jealousy he felt when Skinner called Scully by her given name, and by the intimate tone of his remarks. He wondered whether Skinner had paid a call on Scully since her relocation.

"Yes Sir," Scully said formally, before standing and leaving the room.

++++

Mulder pulled up in front of Scully's hotel and put the car into park. The conversation over had been light and friendly, but an awkward silence threatened them now. "My mother is 600 miles away Mulder, so don't feel you have to walk me to my room," Scully joked as she turned towards Mulder. "You know Mulder, you've been giving me the most peculiar look ever since we left Skinner's office. How come?"

"I have? Sorry. I guess I can't believe you actually did it."

Scully shrugged. "You know, I've done more within 24 hours you know. We had a serial killer once in Denver...." Mulder cut her off by placing a gentle hand on her arm.

He shook his head and smiled at her. "I'm not talking autopsies, although three is quite impressive. What I still can't believe is that you actually left."

Scully looked puzzled for a second and turned her head to the side slightly, as if to study Mulder closer. She gave him a faint smile. "I can't believe you let me."

"Really?"

Before Scully could answer, she felt Mulder's lips touch hers--soft and gentle, yet thorough in their exploration. Mulder pulled back and began to speak. She silenced him with a finger against his lips, and gave him a knowing smile. "Good night, Mulder."

Scully had barely taken off her blazer when her cell phone began to chirp. She picked it up, knowing it could only be one person.

"Scully."

"If I had said something, I would have wrecked it, right?"

Scully smiled again. "Good night, Mulder."

"Good night, Scully."

Scully's head thrashed back and forth against her pillow, and despite her best efforts to remain silent, she found herself moaning his name. She grabbed his head and held it in place, leaving him no doubt that she was enjoying the laving his tongue was giving her.

"Oh my God, Mulder. A little to the left. Yeah. Oh, God." From somewhere outside the fog of passion that filled her mind, Scully thought she heard the sound of banging. She stopped moving her head and did her best to still her breathing as she listened. There it was again, getting louder.

Damn. Scully opened her eyes to find herself covered with a glistening sheen of sweat, as she tried desperately to remember where she was and what she was doing there. The sound of knocking on her door focused her attention, and she realized she had been dreaming. She blushed when she realized exactly who her dream was about, and what he had been doing to her.

Scully scrambled out and bed and threw on a robe, knowing it could only be Mulder at her door. Although she wasn't surprised that he had come back to talk to her--Mulder never could leave anything alone--she was disappointed that he hadn't waited long enough for her to finish her dream. Her partially aroused state had left her somewhat on edge.

She peeked through the peephole. There stood a very anxious Mulder. "What?" she demanded, knowing she sounded angrier than she felt, as she swung the door open.

Mulder opened his mouth to speak but said nothing. All thoughts left his mind when he looked down and saw Scully standing in front of him, robe open, chest heaving and eyes full of fire. He almost looked behind her to see if he had interrupted her with someone.

"Sorry, Scully."

Scully shook her head at him. "Don't mind me; I was in the middle of a dream."

"Anyone I know?" Mulder waggled his eyebrows at her, and was surprised to see her blush. His face grew serious then. "It's Congressman Blake. Gunshots were heard in the area near his lakefront cabin about an hour ago. The police found him dead."

"I thought he and his wife left town alone." Scully snapped out of her funk immediately.

"They did. Skinner is in contact with the local authorities. They're to hold Mrs. Blake until we get there."

"You think she shot her husband."

"Most likely."

++++

It took Scully less than five minutes to change and join Mulder down in his waiting car. They reached Congressman Blake's cabin 45 minutes later. It was surrounded by yellow tape and cars with flashing blue lights.

Showing their badges, they went inside immediately, where they were met by Skinner. He gave them the rundown-- Congressman Blake had been shot at point blank range by his wife, who had then sat down in a chair and calmly waited for the authorities to arrive.

"Where is Mrs. Blake now?" Mulder asked, looking around.

"They're holding her at the local station house. I want you and Scully to get right down there and not let her out of your sight. With a little luck, we can keep her alive long enough to get some answers."

++++

Mrs. Blake looked like your typical politician's wife. She was impeccable, even under these circumstances, and carried herself with a sort of grace that screamed of old money. "I probably shouldn't be speaking to you without my lawyers, but I really don't want to wait for them to get here."

Mrs. Blake sat primly across from Mulder, her hands folder neatly on the table. She looked liked the poster child for style and grace; the only sign of her frazzled nerves was the way she nibbled on her lower lip. She even did that delicately. Mulder questioned her while Scully looked on.

"You say that you think whoever is behind all of this is doing it to protect the rainforests?" Mrs. Blake asked, looking first at Mulder and then at Scully.

"That's one theory under consideration." Mulder responded.

"Why, that makes no sense at all. George was a huge supporter of the environment; everyone knows that. He was in the process of writing legislation that would make companies who harvest trees and whatnot from the rainforest preserve set aside large tracks of virgin land every year."

Mrs. Blake looked down at her watch. Mulder followed her gaze and noticed it was 2:30. "Do you think I could have a cup of tea?"

"I don't see why not." Scully, who was leaning against the back wall of the room, straightened. "I'll go get you a cup."

"If it isn't too much trouble, could you ask them to make it with this?" Mrs. Blake reached into the pocket of her jacket and removed a tea bag. The contents were an interesting shade of red.

"What kind of tea is that?" Mulder glanced over to see if Scully had noticed the odd color. She had.

"Something George and I discovered in one of the many goodie baskets we receive from various lobbyists."

"Do you remember which one?" Scully had walked over to the table and was examining the teabag more closely.

"Let me think a minute." Mrs. Blake sat back in her chair and thought for a moment, never letting go of the teabag. "I remember now. We got a basket of tea and cookies from a lobbyist representing one of the rainforest groups. The only reason I remember is because George," her voice cracked at the use of her husband's name, "said he would drink their tea but he hoped they didn't think he would vote their way."

"I thought you said your husband was pro-rainforest." Mulder was getting confused.

"He is. I mean," she sighed, "he was. This particular group was against any kind of development in the rainforest, even the worthy causes."

"Do you remember the name of the group?"

"Heavens no, but the basket is probably still sitting in my kitchen back in DC." Mrs. Blake looked up at Scully. "Are you implying that this tea may be tainted somehow?"

"I'm afraid so." Mrs. Blake dropped the teabag like a hot potato. "We'd like to run some tests on it, and compare the results to the tox screen of the blood I drew when I first got here."

Mrs. Blake nodded, the shock of the situation beginning to wear off. "Can I speak to you outside a moment, Agent Scully?" Mulder took Scully's arm.

They went out into the hallway and quietly shut the door. Mulder held the teabag safely inside an evidence bag. "I think Mrs. Blake is about to go through some pretty serious withdrawal symptoms. Can you can get her situated some place safe, while I run this sample down to the lab? I'd also like to drop a bit of this stuff off with the Gunmen, to get their take on it."

++++

Outside the police station a lone figure sat behind the wheel of a dark Oldsmobile. He watched with interest as Scully escorted Mrs. Blake out of the building. He could tell immediately by the way she was holding herself, that the effects of his medicine were beginning to wear off. They had won this round but he was confident that he would win the next. He would have his moment in the sun; he'd make sure of it.

++++

It had to be close to 5 AM when Mulder turned the key in his door and walked into his apartment. He had spent the last few hours dropping off samples, arranging for Congressman Blake's apartment and cabin to the thoroughly searched, and filling Skinner in on what was happening. He was very much looking forward to catching an hour or two of sleep before returning to the office for a progress meeting at ten.

Mulder shrugged out of his jacket and threw it on the coat rack standing by the front door, only then noticing a form stretched out along the length of his couch. He quietly drew his weapon and approached silently, flicking on the light and pointing his gun in one fluid motion.

He relaxed and chuckled when he recognized the bundled up form lying in front of him. Placing his gun on the coffee table, he bent over and brushed a piece of hair off her face. "Scully?"

Scully opened one eye, barely, and looked at him. "Hey. I wanted to know about the tea." Her eye closed before she finished speaking. Mulder snorted and bent to pick her up. Realizing what he was doing, she snapped awake and stared at him. "What are you doing Mulder?"

"I'm taking you to bed, Scully."

She glared at him, or did the best she could, considering how tired she was. He smiled down at her. "I'm flattered to think that you consider me man enough to be able to seduce you in my current state of exhaustion. I just thought you'd be more comfortable lying on my bed. I'll stay out here."

Scully appeared to accept his explanation, since she closed her eyes and snuggled her face against his chest. "No need. I trust you." She was asleep before she could say anything more.

++++

Mulder's Apartment
8:00 AM

Mulder rolled over and noticed immediately that Scully was gone. He opened his eyes, a frown creasing his forehead, until he spotted her splashing water on her face in the bathroom. At least she hadn't snuck out during the middle of the night.

"What's the rush Scully, the meeting isn't until ten?" Mulder rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he swung his legs out of bed.

"I know, but I want to go back to my hotel, take a shower, have a cup of coffee and get myself prepared. I'm not too keen on showing up with you for a meeting, wearing the same clothes I wore yesterday, especially when Peters is dying for an excuse to jump all over you."

Mulder pulled an old t-shirt over his head and did what he could to keep his hair from standing on end. "How did you get in here, anyway?"

Scully pulled a key from her pocket and waved it at him. "You still have the key to my apartment. Interesting." He leered at her and she rolled her eyes back at him. "But why did you come?"

"I dropped Mrs. Blake off at a facility not far from here. I thought I would stop by and see if you discovered anything about the tea. I hadn't planned on staying too long--figured I would wait a half hour and if you hadn't shown up, go back to the hotel. I guess I fell asleep. The next thing I remember is waking up in your bed."

Mulder thought about making a joke, but decided against it. "You know Scully, you're more than welcome to leave some clothes here. Just in case." Realizing how that comment sounded, Mulder quickly tried to change the subject. "Skinner sounded pretty concerned about you last night."

"Oh, he worries about me too much." Scully walked into the living room and picked up the half- empty glass of water she had left on the coffee table. "I think he started to feel somewhat responsible for me, since he knew you weren't covering my back any more."

"So you kept in touch with him when you moved out to Salt Lake City." Mulder hoped his tone sounded light.

Scully smiled. She, as usual, saw right through him to her former partner's casual remark. "We have dinner whenever he comes out West." She walked right over to where Mulder was standing and looked him straight in the eye. "As friends."

Scully turned, headed towards the door, and was about to turn the knob when she found herself in Mulder's arms in the midst of a kiss. Whereas the kiss the night before had been tender, this kiss was filled with the passion that Scully knew was always simmering right below the surface. She hesitated but a moment, before answering Mulder with a passion of her own.

When they parted, Mulder leaned his forehead against hers. "We do have until ten you know, Scully."

She stood up on tiptoe and kissed his nose. "Work before pleasure, Agent Mulder. I'll see you at ten."

++++
Skinner's Office
10 AM

"Nothing. Nothing at all?" Skinner was trying hard not to let his frustration show. "I thought you said we got a print from the Washington Post form?"

"We did. It didn't match up with anything we have on our databanks," Edgars answered a bit meekly. He wasn't used to being subjected to Skinner's rage.

"What about Peters, has he come up with any prints from either of the Blake residences yet?" Skinner sat down trying to regain his composure.

"They were able to pull several prints off the gift basket and they're running them now. He's also looking into who originally placed the order and who delivered it."

"I don't think we need to find a fingerprint to find this guy," Mulder said breaking his silence. The rest of the group around the table looked at him curiously. "I think this guy is looking for revenge of some sort, but not necessarily on behalf of the rainforest itself."

"So you're saying you don't think he's some sort of 'hippy,' as Peters would put it?" Skinner asked leaning back in his chair. He had no idea where Mulder was going with his idea but his theory certainly couldn't be any worse than what they had already.

"No I don't. I think he is a disgruntled employee. Either he feels he didn't get the attention he deserved somewhere along the way, or he didn't get the proper compensation for something he did."

"Okay. How do we find him?" Rogers was leaning towards Mulder, eager to hear his theory.

"All three of the original victims were involved with initial development of certain rainforest materials. The first two both started companies using this information, and Leslie, the third victim, interned for one of them. Run cross-checks on the employee lists for both companies and the lobbyists involved with rainforest development. I think you'll find some answers there."

Rogers looked over at Skinner. "You heard the man, do it."

Rogers got up and headed out the door, holding it open for Scully who was entering the office. "Sorry I'm late, Sir. I stopped in to check on Mrs. Blake."

"How's she doing?" Skinner asked, obviously relieved that the woman had survived the night.

"As Agent Mulder suspected, she is currently going through some serious withdrawal symptoms, all of which are common to withdrawal from LSD or a similar drug." Scully sat down across the table from Mulder. "I checked her blood this morning. The level of the drug in her system is greatly reduced."

"Agent Mulder, is this what you expected based on what you found in the tea Mrs. Blake was about to drink last night?" Skinner turned and looked at Mulder.

"Yeah it does, which leads me to believe that we're correct in our theory that the people pulling the trigger were 'told' to do so by whoever was supplying the drug."

"All we have to do is figure out how it's done," Scully said, getting up to pour herself a cup of coffee. She took a sip of it and frowned. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but this coffee actually tastes better than the stuff room service brought me this morning. By the way, do we know if Mrs. Blake keeps a social calendar?"

Edgars looked up, catching on immediately. "I'll get right on it. I'll check her cell phone and regular phone records too. That is, Mulder, if you think our killer can give orders over the phone."

"I don't see why not--good thought Edgars." Edgars beamed with pride. He had always been a big fan of Mulder and his work.

Scully waited until Edgars left the room before turning to Mulder. "There's something else still bothering you, isn't there Mulder?"

He smiled at her perception. "Yeah, there is. Kingsley and Corren were the founding fathers of all this and they're dead. Leslie was their heir apparent and he's dead. Blake was the architect of legislation that would have helped companies like theirs in the future and he's dead." He looked up and Scully and then over the Skinner. "Has he finished what he set out to do, or is he just beginning?"

"I don't understand." Skinner felt a wave of uneasiness spread across him.

"If our man is looking for revenge, he may very well be done and disappear back into the woodwork. If he's looking for attention and hasn't been able to get it yet, he may seek to get it using more elaborate means. He may have only just begun."

Scully and Skinner exchanged glances. Neither even wanted to consider that possibility.

++++

He sat on a bench and watched them as they left the building. He assumed they were heading off for lunch for it was almost noon. He smiled when he noticed the man slowing his pace so his female companion could keep up with him. Yes, he thought, they would do nicely indeed. All he had to do now was to decide which one would pull the trigger.

++++

Scully popped her head into Skinner's office, and smiled as he looked up from his desk. "Here are my preliminary reports, Sir." She showed him several file folders. He nodded his acknowledgement as she handed them to him.

"How are you holding up, Scully?" Concern covered his face.

"I'm fine sir, really." He frowned at her and she sighed heavily. "Okay, I'll admit I'm tired. I'm going back to my hotel now to take a nap before meeting up with Mulder."

"Has it been difficult working together again? How are things between the two of you?"

Scully gave him a long look before answering. "Different, and yet very much the same."

"Are you going to hang around long enough to give your 'partnership' another shot?"

Scully gave him another hard look. "You're beginning to sound like my mother."

"And you didn't answer my question." Skinner said giving her look right back to her.

Scully didn't say a word, but one side of her mouth turned up a tiny bit, in what looked like it might have been a smile.



Murder In The Capital Part Five
By Katie Phillips

Scully's Hotel
5:30 PM

Scully was finishing up the last of her coffee when she heard a knock on the door. She saved the document displayed on her computer screen, and walked over to answer it. A quick look through the peep hole revealed a very energetic-looking Mulder. He was obviously excited about something.

"We got a name," he blurted out, walking past her into the room. "Herbert Tinker. Worked for both companies and the lobbying firm."

"That's great Mulder, but working for a couple of companies doesn't give us enough to bring him in." Scully followed Mulder into the room and stood by her desk, watching him pace back and forth.

"I know Scully, but we're close. I can feel it." Mulder finally stopped moving long enough to look at her. "Peters is heading up to New York to interview the folks up there, Rogers is flying to LA and Edgars is taking on the lobbying firm."

"Where does that leave us?"

Mulder gave her a slow smile and walked over and wrapped his arms around her. Bending down, he gave her a long, deep kiss. "That leaves us with digging through the federal data banks on this guy." He kissed her again. "Then I thought we might stop by the Gunmen's place to see what they could dig up on him." He slid his hands down until they cupped her bottom. "And then..."

Scully calmly reached around and pulled his hands back up to her waist. "And then, we will head back to your apartment to write up what we've found, before I head back to my hotel room to sleep. ALONE."

Mulder groaned. "I know, I know, work before pleasure." Scully chuckled at him. "I will be compensated for all this hard work, won't I Scully?"

She gave him a long look that gave him plenty of ideas of how he would be compensated. "Let's go Mulder. The quicker we get started..."

"The quicker I can nibble you all over? Ouch." Mulder rubbed his arm where Scully punched him. "Have you been lifting weights?"

++++

Five hours, three pizzas and two six packs of beer later, Mulder, Scully and the Lone Gunmen had come up with very little on Herbert Tinker. As Mulder liked to put it, he was nothing more than an ordinary guy.

Mulder looked up from his notes as Scully got ready to head back to her hotel. "I still think he's trying to make a name for himself. You look beat Scully."

"Thanks, you look great yourself." Scully walked over and kissed Mulder on top of his head. "Don't get up, and try to get some sleep yourself. I'll see you at the office in the morning."

++++

The man stood next to a payphone near Mulder's apartment. He was very happy they still made payphones; they made his job much easier. He waited for thirty minutes after Scully's cab drove off, before picking up the phone and dialing.

"You will do as I say, is that understood? Excellent. You will strike tomorrow."

++++

Skinner's Office
2 PM the following day

"Frankly Mulder, nothing about this guy Tinker would give you the idea that he had anything to do with anything, let alone masterminding a plot like this." Skinner threw down the folder and looked across the conference table at Mulder. He, Mulder and Scully had been trying to put together the last pieces of the puzzle while Rogers, Edgars and Peters were out in the field trying to track Tinker down.

"That plays right into my theory, Sir. This guy Tinker is trying very hard not to be so ordinary. This is his one opportunity to stand out and be noticed, and he's making the most of it." Mulder was going to continue, when he was interrupted by a soft knock on the door.

Kimberly entered the office holding a small envelope. "Excuse me, Sir. Agent Mulder, someone just dropped this off for you."

Mulder took the envelope she offered him. "Who was it?"

Kimberly looked a bit embarrassed. "To be honest with you, I couldn't really tell you. He wasn't one of the regular guys from the mailroom."

"Think our friend is sending us a message?" Mulder ripped open the envelope. The message was short and sweet. "Two of you will die very soon."

Mulder grew pale and showed the note to Skinner, immediately worried about Scully's whereabouts, until he recalled she'd gone to the ladies room. "This means he's gotten to someone inside this building."

"But who? How?"

Mulder was about to respond, when his gaze fell on Scully's coffee cup. He stared at it, remembering how she had been raving about the stuff that she could barely stomach three years ago. "Oh God!" Mulder whispered.

His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the door to Skinner's office door being locked. "I wished you'd figured it out a little sooner, Mulder." He head snapped up to see Scully standing with her back against the door, her gun pointing directly at him.

"Scully?" Mulder locked his eyes with hers. The sound of Skinner moving caught his attention. And Scully's.

"Don't move Walter. I know you keep your gun in your drawer while you're in your office, and that Mulder's is downstairs." Scully snorted in self-disgust. "Tinker found the perfect fool to execute his plan."

"What is his plan Scully?" Mulder was trying desperately to keep her talking. His efforts were having the desired effect; Scully was starting to sweat.

"It's very simple, actually. I shoot the two of you, and then inject myself with this." Mulder and Skinner noticed, for the first time, the small device in her hand. "At exactly 2:07."

She glanced at the clock on Skinner's wall. It showed that Mulder and Skinner had only seconds left to live. Her hands began to shake, and the last thing Mulder heard before the gun fired was "I wish it could have been different, Mulder."

Mulder heard the shot and braced himself for the impact. He was shocked when the bullet flew past his head, missing him by only a few inches. He looked over at Skinner, who was looking back at him with the same shocked expression as Mulder knew he himself wore. Scully never missed.

"Scully never did like being told what to do," Mulder quipped as he turned his attention back to Scully, just in time to see her body crumple to the floor.

Skinner ran to the door and opened it, ordering Kimberly to call for an ambulance and to seal the building, while watching Mulder gather Scully into his arms. "She's still alive, but I don't know for how long." Mulder's voice was anguished.

Skinner watched as the ambulance crew took Scully away, with Mulder never more than a foot from her side. He said a silent prayer for the both of them, before turning his attention back to securing the building and apprehending Herbert Tinker.

++++

Within minutes the building was secured and every available agent was sent to search the premises from top to bottom, looking for Tinker. Each was armed with a photo obtained from the file Mulder had prepared. Kimberly had confirmed that Tinker was the man that had dropped off the envelope for Agent Mulder.

Four hours later, Skinner arrived at the hospital with the unenviable job of informing Mulder that once again Tinker had slipped through their fingers. Mulder took the news in stride.

"I'm not surprised. I think our deaths were supposed to be the icing on the cake. Scully" he looked over at the bed where Scully lay "threw a monkey wrench into his plans."

"How is she?" Skinner wasn't encouraged by the look of strain on Mulder's face.

Mulder sighed and tried to smile, only to fail miserably. "She pumped herself with enough drugs to down a small elephant let alone a woman of her size. They've done all they can--the rest is up to her. If she can make it through the next 24 hours..." Mulder's voice broke and he was unable to continue. He closed his eyes, swallowed and continued. "I was able to get hold of her mother. She's landing at Dulles in an hour."

"I'll get her." Skinner answered the question he knew Mulder was going to ask. "And if she wants Scully's brothers flown in, I'll make the arrangements for that too."

"Thank you, Sir." Mulder turned back toward Scully. "You may want to be on the look out for other folks around the Bureau going through withdrawal symptoms over the next couple of days. Chances are good that Tinker was spreading the wealth around, while gathering information."

"Will do." Skinner placed his hand on Mulder's shoulder and squeezed. "She's the strongest woman I've ever met Mulder. She won't quit now."

++++

Mulder lowered Scully gently onto the bed and proceeded to cover her face with kisses. Suddenly he stopped and looked at her with concern. "Are you sure you're up to this, Scully? I'd hate for you to die on me our first time together." He was trying his best to keep his tone light, but Scully wasn't fooled for an instant.

"I'm fine Mulder, I told you that. My doctors told me last week I was ready to pursue any kind of physical activity I wanted. We've only waited this long to ease your fears."

"I want it to be perfect Scully, that's all," Mulder said, taking her face between his hands and kissing her lightly on the lips.

"It will be, Mulder. I couldn't ask for a more romantic setting." She turned and looked out the window of their hotel room. She could see the spray of the ocean as it drove endlessly against the rocks. She drew her attention back to Mulder. "Or a better partner."

Mulder relaxed and set upon his task in earnest, and within moments Scully was softly moaning under him. "God Mulder, why did we wait so long?" She rested her hand on his head, hovering somewhere above her navel. "When I think of all that we've missed...Jesus, Mulder!"

Mulder looked up and grinned at her reaction to his wayward hand. "Don't worry Scully, we'll start making up for lost time." Scully didn't answer; she was too busy giving in to Mulder's touch. Mulder smiled again against her belly, and was about to go in for the kill when a sudden blaring sound filled the room.

"What's that, Mulder?" Scully gasped between pants. "It sounds like some sort of fire alarm."

Mulder let out a groan of frustration. "Want me to check it out, Scully?"

"No, but I think maybe you should."

Reluctantly Mulder stood up and stretched. "Are you sure we can't finish this first." He turned to look at Scully, only to find her gone.

++++
George Washington Hospital
9:47 PM

"Agent Mulder, Agent Mulder!" Mulder felt himself being pulled from his dream. His head pounded with the sound of insistent alarms. He looked up into the face of Nurse Edwards, Scully's ICU nurse.

"Agent Mulder, Agent Scully is crashing; I need to ask you to wait outside."

Mulder looked blankly at the nurse and let her lead him from the room. The only thought in his mind was that Scully couldn't possibly be dying, not with the nurse sounding so calm.

Nurse Edwards looked at Mulder and gave him a kind smile and squeezed his arm briefly. "I need to get back in there. You wait here. I'll let you know what's happening as soon as I know."

Mulder nodded, vaguely aware of the confusion in Scully's room as the doctors frantically tried to save her life.

++++

Scully's head hurt. No, more than that, her whole body hurt. She opened one eye and found herself lying alone on a table in a large, bright room with white walls. The room looked somewhat familiar, but she couldn't remember when she had been there before. She heard the sound of footsteps and turned her head towards the noise, wincing at the pain the movement caused. She squinted, trying to make out the figure walking towards her. It was a woman, with red wavy hair not unlike her own, dressed in a long white gown. She gasped when she realized who it was.

"Missy?" The word came out in a hoarse whisper.

"Yes, Dana I'm here." Melissa Scully walked over to where her sister lay, and squeezed her hand. "It's so good to see you, Dana."

"I've missed you so much, Missy." Tears welled in Scully's eyes and one rolled down her cheek.

"I know Dana, I feel your love for me every day." Melissa wiped the tear from her sister's face. "I've come because you have to make a decision."

"A decision?"

"Whether or not to come with me."

Scully frowned for a second until she understood her sister's meaning. "Missy, I'm so tired of it all. Sometimes I fell like I just want peace, to rest. I want it all to end."

"I know Dana, but are you sure this is the ending you are meant to have?"

"I don't understand."

"There is a reason you haven't already joined me Dana, do you realize that?"

Scully frowned again. "No, what do you mean?"

"He's not letting you go."

"Who?"

Melissa laughed out loud, and Scully smiled at seeing her sister so happy. "Surely you still aren't blind to the feelings of your partner Dana. Fox's love for you is what pulled you back from death all those years ago, and it's that same love that is trying to pull you back now."

Melissa bent over and stroked her sister's head. "I can feel it Dana, and if you let yourself, you will feel it too. It's something very special. It means your time with him is not over yet."

"Are you saying I should stay with him?"

Melissa smiled and bent over, kissing her sister on the forehead. "That's for you to decide. I'll be here whenever you decide to come back."

++++
George Washington Hospital
10:13 PM

Maggie Scully returned from the cafeteria and looked into her daughter's room. She was filled with sadness watching Mulder clinging to her daughter's hand, softly pleading with her not to leave him. She clasped his hand briefly, as she handed him his coffee. If anyone could convince her daughter to stay, it would be Fox Mulder.

"Why don't you go rest in the lounge for a bit, Fox?" Maggie laid a comforting hand on his shoulder, already guessing what his answer would be. Mulder simply shook his head. The doctors had not been overly optimistic about Scully's chances for survival, and he couldn't stand the thought of not being there at the end, if it should come. "I'm okay Mrs. Scully." He looked up into her eyes, red from crying. "How are you holding up?"

"I'm fine." Mrs. Scully didn't notice him cringe at her choice of words, as she placed her own cup of coffee next to his. "Since you're staying, I think I'll go call Mr. Skinner and ask him to fetch Charlie and Bill..." She stopped mid sentence, causing Mulder to spin around and follow her stare back to Scully.

Her face appeared different somehow. Mulder looked more closely and realized what it was. Scully's eyelids were fluttering. He looked back over his shoulder, and the smile on Mrs. Scully's face told him that she had seen it too. "I'll go get the nurse, Fox. You keep talking to her."

Mulder moved from his chair and sat on the edge of Scully's bed. Bending over her, he began to gently stroke her face. "Come on, Scully. Open those big blue eyes and look at me."

To his amazement, one eye did open and then the other, if only for a split-second. Mulder had to keep from jumping up and running to find Mrs. Scully. "Scully, it's me. I'm right here. Open your eyes and look at me."

When she did as he asked, Mulder thought he had never seen anything so beautiful in his entire life. Scully blinked once, then twice, as if try to focus, and attempted to raise a hand to touch his face. "Are you real?" Her voice was dry and hoarse.

Mulder picked up her hand and held it against his cheek. "As real as they come, Scully. Welcome back." Scully smiled weakly at him, her eyes barely open, as she brushed the tears from his face with her thumb. "I thought I'd lost you for sure this time. The doctors didn't think you were going to make it."

Scully shook her head at this. "They didn't know what I know."

"And what's that?"

"That you wouldn't let me go."

+++++

Cancun, Mexico

Herbert Tinker took a long sip of his frozen cocktail and looked back over at the crashing surf. Next to him lay a stack of newspapers, all opened to pages with stories about him. There were twenty-seven in all--some short, some quite detailed. He was pleased. He liked the attention very much.

Maybe he would do it again someday. Maybe not.

End of story





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