Title: Road Trip.
Rated: PG-13 for descriptive dialogue. Category: X-File, SA, MA, Casefile.
Spoilers: Season 7.
Summary: Mulder and Scully must find a serial killer who is dumping bodies on the backroads of Butte, Montana. The emotonal pain is wearing them down. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
Archive: Gossamer, any other nice home. Disclaimers: Mulder, Scully and The X-Files are owned by Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and Fox Television. I do not make any money writing fanfiction, and I mean no copyright infringement.
Author's Note: Special thanks to Fiona for the pic that inspired this story. The photo was fantastic!
Edgar J. Hoover Building,
It had been one of those mornings. Traffic snags and construction had conspired to make Dana Scully late for work. She ran into the office like a bat out of hell. "Sorry I'm ;ate, Mulder. It's a mess out there! They decided to pave almost every street I use to get here!"
"Hey, I had the same problen, Scully. Forget it. I want you to check this out." Mulder handed his partner a folder.
"It says here there were 15 roadside slayings of teenage girls in Butte, Montana. This is an X-File?"
Mulder had been loading the slide projector. He flicked the light off. "No, but this is apparently a series of murders committed by someone out of state, so the local authorities passed this on to me. All these young women were residents of Butte." Faces of teenagers flashed onto the wall. "Someone in their P.D. remembered I was with Violent Crimes before getting into the X-Files, and passed it on to us."
"Any theories as to motive, Mulder?" Scully had turned her head from the slides. She hated to have to see their once animated faces. They were someone's children, and they had been savagely taken away forever.
"Only that it appears to have been done by someone who makes a habit of picking teenage girls from that area, and that he is extremely dangerous. All of the girls were found on lesser travelled back roads."
"I'd say extremely hateful. So, when do we leave?"
Next day, 9:00 a.m.
The meeting of the night previous was useful in giving the agents a good idea of what had been happening on the roads of Montana. So, that morning Mulder and Scully met with the Butte Police once more to familiariaze themselves with the evidence that had been gleaned after the victims had been discovered.
The deputy Police Chief had a special interest in this investigation. His niece had been one of the victims.
"Deputy Sorenson, I'm sorry to have to ask you these questions... "
"That's all right, Agent Mulder. Even the worst case we see never really prepares us for anything like this. Mae wasmy brother's only daighter. He's taking this pretty badly."
"We understand, Sir. Would you mind if Agent Scully examined the most recent victims at the Morgue? She's a doctor."
"No, actually I think we could use another point of view. I think you'll need this, Agent Mulder." The Deputy gave him a road map. "I've marked every backroad and put a red circle to indicate where the slayings took place. This guy definitely hated the highway."
"Thanks. Scully, I'll drive you to the morgue, then see if our rental is up to snuff for this. Thanks, Deputy Sorenson."
"Anything to stop this vicious pattern," the man replied.
Butte City Morgue,
Scully, fully gowned and masked, was busily examining some the victims, and was assisted by the Coroner. "Well, if we only have five bodies here, I suppose that's enough to determine modus operandi. Brittany Taylor, age 15 years, ligature marks on neck indicate possiblity of death by strangulation. Several bruises on upper arms indicating she was either restrained or held brutally. Evidence on admission indicated no sexual assault. Packet of hair not identical to that of victim sent for analysis... "
"Dr. Scully?" A thin, middle-aged man, somewhat more reminiscent of a kindly country doctor rather than a medical examiner was watching her work. He marvelled at her seemig emotional restraint.
"Yes, Doctor Marks, what is it?"
"I can't help but notice your composure through all of this."
"Believe me, doctor, I am finding it quite difficult to keep my feelings at bay. When did you say the hair analysis would be in?"
"Oh, about another day or so, along with the others. Are you ready for your second exam? The family hopes to have her ready for the funeral as soon as possible. It's been five days."
"Yes, I'm done with Brittany Taylor, as a matter of fact. We often forget they have names and not case numbers." Scully drew in a deep breath. "They all had family and friends, and a future shot to hell. Sometimes, I hate this job. Let's get going on the next girl"
Mulder had been busying himself with the road map, to see if there was any pattern in mileage, distance between points where the young women were found. He drew lines from one dot to another, and another, and another. They all seemed to be places the killer had chosen at random. He drove to two areas, then returned to check in with Scully at their motel.
Scully's Motel Room
As he entered Scully's room, he noticed she seemed to have been crying. "Scully? You all right?"
She was sitting on the bed trying to compose herself. "Yeah... I, uh... I am. It's just... why young teenage girls, with their whole lives ahead of them?"
Mulder handed her a box of tissues from the bedside table. "That's what we're here to find out. Anything to report?"
"Only that, only that they were all strangled, and they had been grabbed violently by the uppper arms. They... were strangled with bare hands. We couldn't even get any prints, Mulder. It was as if he was trying to twist their heads off."
The case was apparently upsetting Mulder as well. He drew a deep breath. "I know. I hate this one. Today I went to a couple of the places their bodies were found. There'sa lot of old copper mines around this area. The girls wereall dropped off at random, and there doesn't seem to be any pattern."
"Just thrown away like used tissues, Mulder." She began to cry again, and this time she couldn't stop. Mulder sat and held her, rubbing her back. "Don't hold it in, Scully. You're not the only one affected by all this. Fifteen is fifteen too many. I got a call." It was best not to focus on the victims at this time. He decided that was enough emotional pain for now, for both of them.
"The hair samples they managed to get were, well, the two they managed to get, were from the same person. Dark brown hair, likely a Caucasian, and there were a few grey hairs that were of the same texture. Did you turn your cell off or something? Scully?"
"Yeah. I needed some time. Mulder, I know you must be tired and hungry. I'm going to go straight to bed."
"I think you should eat something, Scully."
His partner nodded. She was trying to accept his comfortinggestures. It was still hard not to be a tough girl. "Okay."
"We can go over more of this when you're up to it, all right?"
"Maybe after I shower and eat we can discuss the case more. I just want to get this creep and get out of here." She was referring to a suspect as a "creep". Her disdain for the murderer was quite obvious even is she hadn't called him that name.
"Yeah. I'll be back soon. Lock your door."
"I will." She stood and went to her overnight bag. "Mulder?"
"Thanks. I know this is rough on you, too."
"Relax and have a shower. I'll get something good." As he closed the door, he, too, felt his eyes watering.
Scully did feel more ready to work after a good Chinese dinner, even if she had barely touched the food. "I guess we should speak to some of the families as well. Let them know that we're trying to pin down the killer."
"At this stage, I don't think they need us reminding them, Scully. But I'd sure like it if we could bring them the news that their girls' killer has been caught."
"You're right, I suppose. If I were one of the mothers, I think I'd be ready to go look for whoever myself. What if they have other daughters, Mulder? Will a sibling be another body on the slab?"
"Well, so far they haven't had two girls from one family. Even if the did, it would be a coincidence."
"There are no coincidences, Mulder. Everything has a purpose."
Mulder sighed and took the map out of his pocket. "I think maybe we can put work aside until tomorroow, Scully. We're both beat, and there's no sense trying to separate our emotions from the case unless we've had a good night's sleep."
"Scully," Mulder said as he stood, putting the map back into his pocket, "We can go over our notes and this map in the morning. We're both beat and definitely irrational. Let'sget our heads on straight before we mess up, okay?"
"I know," Scully whispered. "I think I wasted your money, Mulder."
"Hey, you didn't. Have you noticed the little fridge in the room?"
Scully glanced around the room. "No, I guess I was just too upset. Good night, Mulder."
Scully opened Mulder's door, which had been unlocked much earlier. She found Mulder sitting on the couch with that map, tracing the backroads over and over with his eyes.
"Morning, Mulder." She walked over to the back of the sofa and looked over his shoulder, her eyes noting the weariness in his eyes, and his unshaven face.
"Morning," he echoed. He looked up from the map and rubbed his eyelids. "Did you sleep well?"
"Yeah, I was pretty much out of it when you left. Did you sleep at all, Mulder?"
"I have to confess, I was up all night. I just took time to shower and change my clothes. After I had some coffee, I tried to make sense of all this. Are you ready to go to the backroads?"
"Yeah. I think there's something we aren't seeing on any map, and we should find out quick, before another girl is killed. See these road, Scully?"
Scully leaned over her partner, and pointed to the map. "Isn't that a lot of join the dots for nothing?"
"Well, no." Mulder couldn't help but notice the softness of his partner's sweater. "Cashmere, Scully?"
"When I feel like it, yes. It's special. Now, can we try to read this thing, try to make some sense out of all the spots where the girls were left?"
Mulder gatherd his thoughts. "All right. See that symbol on the other side of that road? That's an old miner's house where the Chinese would stay when they were looking for gold and copper. They'd come over all the way from China because of these mines. The house hasn't been lived in for twenty years, since the owners packed up and moved off,leaving a small boy behind."
"What happened to him?"
"He was sent to a foster home, then put up for adoption. He'd be about thirty years old. He was abandoned when he was almost five."
"And this means what, Mulder?"
"I think we're about to find out."
Scully put her arm around his shoulder. "I know you don't like where this is heading any more than I do, but we have a job to do."
"I know. Uh, I already found out their names: Paul and Meredith Phillips. They completely disappeared and it looks like they don't want to be found. The young man, their boy, grew up and became a metal worker at Bethlehen Steel. His name was Steven Millbrook, and he cannot be located. Sixmonths agom he didn't show up for work."
"And you think he's back here?"
"It makes sense, Scully. I think he has a definite hate for women. The Police haven't clued in yetm and since they gave us this case, I may as well tell you his mother tried to strangle him at one time. At least, that's what he told hisfoster mother."
Scully's face was ashen. "Oh, no. Lok, I'm trying not to feel empathy for the guy, but I do. I find it strange that I do, too." She walked around Mulder's room shaking her headand wishing to God she hadn't been there.
"Then, let's wrap this up, write our reports, and go home like good F.B.I. Agents. Then we can yell at the whole damn world and cry for it."
"Let's Go. Wait, Mulder..."
"Shave. I know."
The backroads surrounding Butte were difficult to navigate at times. Often, the roads were over mining tunnels some miners had used to steal gold from other mines. This particular Backroad was worse than the others shown on the map.
"Did you know," Scully said, "That on this road seven girls were left in various locations six years ago? I wonder if they're related to this case."
"I think so, Scully. As a matter of fact, maybe Steven Millbrook decided to change his pattern, vary things, after a while. We should be at the Phillips house soon. You don't know what I want to do to this guy but we have laws to uphold."
Scully managed a semi-smile. "I think I can picture a few scenarios. All these girls were around fifteen or sixteen."
"Samantha didn't nake it that far. That ;s why this case bothers me so much, Scully. These girls weren't abducted for any stupid agenda. They were brutally murdered. I found out that Mrs. Phillips was only fifteen when she married Paul Phillips and had Steven. I think I know why he's taken his abandonment out on girls around that age. He's doing to them what his mother threatened to do to him."
"He's killing Mom over and over again>"
"I'm almost positive. There's the house."
Mulder stopped the car in a two century old house, with overgrown trees and a long abandoned garden fence.
When they had come out of the car, Scully could feel the tension building in both of them. There was some novement in a thicket and Mulder drew his gun. A possum sauntered through the area and gace the pair no attention. If we do find him here, Scully, call the P.D. before we end up killing him. We all want him alive."
His partner nodded. They slowly walked toward the house. Scully peered through an old window and Mulder went around to the fron door. Scully moved toward Mulder, her gun at the ready. "Someone with hair matching the coloue of that found near the victims is in there, Mulder."
Mulder knocked on the door. "Federal Agents, Mr. Millbrook. We want to talk to you!"
Scully called the Butte Police for back up.
The man actually came to the door. "If this is about my unemployment running out..."
"No, Sir, it isn't. We'd like to talk to you about some... incidents.Fox Mulder, F.B.I. This is my partner Dana Scully."
"Female F.B.I. Agents. That's a laugh. What next? A woman on the moon."
"Mr. Millbrook, we're here to talk about several teenagers who were strangled and left on the..."
"I don't know nothin' about them girls.... "
"Did you hear me say they were girls, Sir?"
Steven Millbrook pushed past Mulder and Scully, and as they chased after him, two cruisers arrived with four police officers circling him. He knew he was not going to get away this time, so he put his hands up. As the officers read him his rights, Mulder and Scully became pleasantly relaxed.
"We can tell those parents thier daughters' killer will never see the light of day, now."
Mulder grinned. "Yeah, that's a good thing. Then we'll be writing the reports. I'm sure the police department has better things to do than buy F.B.I. Agents coffee. Let's get it all over and done with. This whole case has sickened me."
"Good thing you had that road map, Mulder. Most men would rather get lost before looking so thoroughly at a map."
"Well, I'm not mot men, an I Scully?"
Scully smiled warmly. Finally, life was returning to both of their hearts. "No, Mulder. You're not. That is one thing that pleases me so much."
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