Title : "Finding Mulder " Author: Linda61 firstname.lastname@example.org Category: MT Casefile, angst Rating PG for a few naughty words. Written for Mulder's refuge monthly fic contest. July Theme. Never work with children and animals. Feedback: I like it. Disclaimer. CC and Fox own them, I just like to mess around with them in interesting scenarios but I give them back. , vaccinated and dry-cleaned and not smelling funny. Summery. Mulder is on a case, Scully isn't there at first. can he keep out of trouble? Nope didn't think so. FINDING MULDER "Hey Molly" Mulder said, staring at his almost empty aquarium. "Sorry I forgot to feed you again, here you go." He sprinkled some fish food through the opening and watched the little fish greedily peck at her breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mulder smiled. He really liked that fish. If only his job wouldn't lead to circumstances all the time that forced him to buy a new one every couple of months. Still, he really was attached to that fish. "Now where was I", he sighed and picked up the file on his desk. He sat down on his couch, took a sip of his almost cold tea and started reading again. He always found it difficult to read about little girls being murdered. Even though these girls were older than Sam, they still were only about ten or eleven years of age. Very young. Too young to be on a gruesome picture in an FBI file. He shook his head and tried to concentrate. He had to stop this guy before he picked up another victim. Scully was away for a couple of days to visit a friend, but would be back by the next day. He hoped he could make a start on his profile so when she got back they could visit a couple of the crime scenes where the girls were found. It was obvious these girls weren't murdered there. All of them had water in their lungs, but they also had finger prints and severe bruising around their necks. They didn't just drown. After going through the file for about thirty minutes the phone rang. Mulder picked it up, saying his name, hoping it was Scully. He really missed her when she was away, even it was only for a couple of days. He was almost surprised to hear a low voice say: "This is AD Skinner, Agent Mulder. I'm sad to tell you I just heard they found another body. Please go there and see what you can do." Mulder listened to what Skinner had to say with an increasingly heavy heart and acknowledged his request before hanging up the phone. He sighed. "Well at least I can go over the location myself , oh joy." He threw the file back on his coffee table, grabbed his coat, gun and keys and walked out the door. When he arrived at the location he saw several people walking around. A couple of policemen, crime scene experts but also a forensic photographer taking pics. Mulder got out of his car and immediately one of the policemen walked up to him. "Agent Mulder?" Mulder just nodded. "Pleased to meet you , agent Mulder, I'm detective Baker. ASAC for this unpleasant case. The body was found a little more than an hour ago and surprisingly we already know who the girl is." Mulder looked up. "You know who she is?" "Sadly enough one of the officers recognized her, she lived in his neighborhood. He’s gone over to inform the parents of this dreadful news. Her name was Molly Jansson, age eleven. Beautiful little girl." The officer shook his head, obviously shocked by the whole situation. For a second Mulder reacted hearing the name, but then he walked to the body and started looking around. The officer was surprised to see Mulder being so cool, not knowing the agent was trying to keep his breakfast inside. It always shook him up. He closed his eyes as his mind went down that familiar dark abyss that gave him insight into the crime scene. That connection with killer and victim. He didn't say a thing but then he saw something. It was sticking out from under the girls' arm. "What's that?" Mulder said to himself. He put on a rubber glove and carefully pulled out a small plastic bag from under her. Mulder's eyes widened when he saw it contained a dead fish. He looked at the bag, it had one dark side. The bag was unusual, distinct and a bit different to the bags he carried fish home in whenever he purchased new ones. " Fish connection", he mumbled absently. Suddenly he turned around abruptly and said: "I'm done here, I would like to speak to the parents now, could you give me the address to their house please?" The officer was stunned Mulder was ready to go after only being there for about 10 minutes, but gave him the directions where to go and shrugged. "I hope he knows what he's doing. At the Janssen's' house he talked to the shocked parents. He was very sorry for them, but in order to catch this guy he had to ask them all kinds of upsetting questions. Luckily for him, even under these circumstances, Molly's parents were very understanding, they showed great strength between them during this terrible ordeal and answered as much as they could. "I have one question left", Mulder said. "I found this plastic bag with a fish in it with her body, what can you tell me about that?" "Molly asked us if she could have a fish", the distraught mother answered sniffing loudly. "But I didn't know she already bought one, she probably used her own allowance for it." "Do you have any idea where she could have bought it? Pet store or somewhere else?" "There are several pet stores around" Mr. Janssen answered, "a few specialized in fish, they have these huge aquariums. I can tell you where they are, you think they have something to do with this?" "I'm not sure, Mr. Janssen, but I want to take a look anyway. Thank you for your time. I know this has been awful for you. The moment we know more we’ll let you know, I promise." "Thank you." Mrs. Janssen whispered. Her husband shook Mulder's hand. An intense sadness in his eyes that mirrored his own and one he had seen all too often. "Just catch that guy, Agent Mulder, take the bastard off the street, before he kills more girls." Mulder nodded and walked back to his car. His thoughts were already one step ahead. Deeply involved in all the information he had gleaned from the case already and some of the autopsy findings from the dead girls. And as always he just did what he had to do, he drove to the first pet store on his list. Only he "forgot" to call in where he was going, thinking it probably wouldn't take too long. The first pet store gave him no answers whatsoever. They did sell fish, but only had small tanks and the shock on the woman's face was so real he didn't think she had something to do with the murder. They hadn’t seen the girl or any other victims. The second and third, same story. But when he stopped in front of the next pet store, there was a sign that gave him more hope. Pet store 'The Black Molly, specialized in cold water and tropical fish' it said. 'Here we go' Mulder thought. For some reason his spider sense had gone on alert. He felt a connection but like with many of his leaps, he couldn’t fathom why. He was sure he would find answers here. He walked into the store and was amazed to see all these huge aquariums. He looked inside and saw lots of different types fish swimming around. "Can I help you?" a voice behind him said. Mulder turned around taking out his ID. "I'm Agent Mulder from the FBI and I'd like you to ask some questions." "FBI?, what did I do?" Now that was a weird. Most people were shocked or asked if something had happened when questioned by the law, but this guy assumed immediately Mulder came for him. Then again maybe he was feeling guilty about something.. Mulder looked him straight in the eyes and watched his reaction when he said; "I'm investigating the murders of several little girls and I found a fish in a plastic bag with one of the dead girls. Between where they brought the fish and their homes, they met with their deaths." "And now you think I have something to do with this?" Another strange reaction, the man was obviously very nervous. Mulder’s training noted all the guilty body language the guy was displaying. Probably without even realizing it. "Not at all, sir, in fact your store is the fourth store I visited. I'm just doing my job. Covering all investigative leads." Mulder looked around when something caught his eye. On a table, a few steps away from him, he saw small box. He walked towards it and saw a piece of plastic sticking out. He pulled it and looked at it, it was a plastic bag just like the one he found near the girl. One side dark. He raised the bag and wanted to say something but before he could utter a word, he felt a sharp pain and lights flashed through his head. He dropped the bag while he was sinking to the floor. 'Stupid' his last thought was, before he blacked out. ================================ FBI building, next day. Scully walked into the basement office, certain she would find Mulder sitting at his desk , sipping his coffee or engaged in one of his usual pencil throwing marathons. She smiled knowing he tended to do this when she was out of town for a few days or without her to chat to. She was glad to be back. She missed him a lot those couple of days. To her surprise the office was dark and Mulder was nowhere to be found. She was disappointed but thought nothing of it, maybe he was busy or checking something out. She decided to make coffee and started on other work that had to be done. After an hour Scully got restless. "Where is that man?" She picked up her phone and tried to call him. He didn’t answer at home and his mobile cheerfully reported lack of service. After another couple of frustrating attempts to reach him she gave up and dialed another number. "Skinner", a voice barked. "Sir, it's Agent Scully, have you seen Mulder?" "He said he would be here this morning Scully, maybe something came up, you know how he is." "I know he's working on that new case sir, that's what we're supposed to be discussing right now, but I can't reach him. I have no idea where he is." "I call you back in ten Agent Scully. There was a new murder yesterday and I sent over there. Maybe one of the officers or his SAC knows where he went." "I'll be waiting sir." "He’s ok Scully, try not to worry. He's probably just going around asking questions and didn't tell us." "Yes sir" Scully said, but she felt that familiar little squeeze in her heart that warned her when something was wrong. "Not again Mulder" she whispered. "Please not again." As promised Skinner called her back within ten minutes. "He had been at the site Scully. He talked to ASAC Baker there and took a look at the body. One of the men knew the girl personally, so they already know who the victim is. A Molly Jansson. Eleven years old. Mulder said he wanted to talk with the parents, so maybe you should start there." "Thank you sir, I will." "Oh, and Scully, ASAC Baker said Mulder found a plastic bag containing a dead tropical fish in it. It ties in with some peculiar findings from the autopsy reports I’ve just had in." "A fish huh. Might be a lead. Fax me the autopsy reports sir. I will see if I can second guess Agent Mulder’s thinking." Scully mumbled and hung up the phone, without saying goodbye. When she got at the Janssen's' house she found out they weren't there, but the neighbor told her they'd probably be back in the evening. They were being comforted by other relatives. She took her card and left it in their mailbox. She decided to visit Mulder's apartment. Maybe she would find something there. ================================ Mulder started to wake up. His head was pounding frantically with rhythm of his heart. He tried to move but his hands were tied behind his back. His ankles and knees were taped together and he felt like a herring in a can. He was in deep trouble and what was worse, his partner wasn’t here to save his ass. 'Stupid' he thought. How could he have been so stupid. Turning his back on a suspect wasn't the smartest thing to do. And now he was gonna pay for it. He could only hope Scully knew how to find him. After he got hit in the head he woke up several times, but not lucid enough to think straight. He did feel a little better than before. Now he was thirsty though and even a bit hungry. 'It could easily be the next day' he thought. Scully must be missing him by now and probably started searching for him. The point is, he never left a message saying where he was going....would he ever learn? It might take a while before she would work out where to find him. Time he maybe didn't have. He heard a noise behind him and tried to turn around. Immediately the movement made him feel sick, so he stopped doing that and waited, breathing hard against his bonds. Then he heard a man's voice say: "It's about time you woke up. " "And I was just enjoying my nap...I'm thirsty" Mulder groaned, "could I have...... " Before he could finish his sentence they guy shouted 'SHUT UP' and kicked him in the ribs and his stomach. Mulder gasped in pain and tried to suck in oxygen. "I was doing fine before you showed up. Why don't you just leave me alone!" "Doing...fine? You ...killed....little girls." Mulder managed to choke out. "I told you to shut up!" the guy screamed again like a maniac and started kicking Mulder wherever he could. This was a guy on the edge and that was very dangerous; no telling hat he might do. Mulder winced as his breath was repeatedly torn out of him with kicking. 'Stupid' Mulder thought again before he passed out. The man grabbed Mulder by his feet and dragged him through the store, not caring where the agent’s limp body bashed against like a rag doll. The door was locked so he wasn't afraid someone would just come in and saw what he was doing. "I'm gonna do with you what I did with those girls. You wanted to find out, you will find out. First hand and in your face... see. It will just be like ‘Finding Nemo.’" Grinning over his own nasty joke he started whistling for a second, but stopped because he needed all his strength. =============================== Scully used her own key to enter Mulder's apartment. She looked around but found nothing out of order. Well, not more than usual that was. She saw the case file on his coffee table and opened it. Mulder told her a little about the case. Little girls being murdered. Lungs filled with water and something that looked like algae. Marks around their necks. She looked at the pictures and shivered. It was never easy dealing with murdered children and deep in her heart she hoped it never would be. The day she noticed she didn't care anymore was the day she was going to stop working she silently promised herself. She even checked the computer for clues as to where he might have gone off on. His profiler mode often made him reckless. She wanted to curse at him and cry for him all at once. He was in trouble, she could feel it...even taste it. "Nothing new in here" she cursed out loud. She started walking around and noticed the fish in its aquarium. She watched it and the fish came to the glass, like it was watching her. Scully stared back for a second and picked up the fish food. She threw the food in the tank, saying. " There you go ......Molly?" MOLLY! Molly, water, fish, algae... aquarium! "Molly, I would kiss you if you weren't a fish!" Scully grabbed the phone and dialed Skinner's number. "Sir, I think I know where to find Mulder" she almost yelled in the phone, even before she heard his voice. "Slow down Scully. You know where he is?" "Not exactly sir, but I think he started to investigate pet stores in the neighborhood." "Pet stores? Why pet stores?" "Think about it sir. The girls were drowned. Mulder found a dead tropical fish in a plastic bag. And the girl's name was Molly...like the fish. Makes sense he would start there." "What has her name to do with it Scully?" "Uhm, actually nothing sir, I'll tell you later. But please trust me, I have the feeling we have to hurry." "Where are you now Scully?" "Mulder's apartment sir." "I'll pick you up there." The moment they broke the connection her phone rang again. "Scully," she said. "Agent Scully? This is Joe Jansson, we found your card." "Yes, Mr. Jansson, thank you for calling me. My partner is missing and I wondered if you could tell me where he went after he visited you." "I think I can, Agent Scully. Agent Mulder found a plastic bag with a dead fish along with our daughter's ........body. Uhm.....I..uhm. Sorry....uhm. We thought she might have bought the fish and been killed between home and wherever she went when she left here and Agent Mulder decided to give the pet stores in the neighborhood a visit. I gave him a list with addresses and names. But....your partner disappeared?" "Yes, Mr. Jansson, he was supposed to be at the office this morning, but he never showed up. I already had the theory he maybe wanted to visit a pet store but your story confirms it. Thank you." Jansson gave Scully the list with names and ended the call with hope that she would locate her partner soon. The were grateful for his kind handling of their questioning in his daughter’s case. While waiting for Skinner to show up she tried to decide where to go first. "Yellow pages" she thought. She let her fingers do the walking and stopped at one pet store that had a special advertisement saying 'specialized in cold water and tropical fish'. The name of the store was 'The Black Molly'. Figures, she thought. It looked like a bigger store than many of the others in the area. Skinner picked her up and within minutes they were on their way to the store. Scully called for back up and an ambulance. Knowing Mulder, he probably needed it. ============================== Mulder woke up feeling pain leeching through his entire body. He had problems breathing and his head hurt like hell. His arms were numb, but he didn't dare to move, afraid as he was to feel the stabbing pain again. He heard bubbling sounds made by the aquariums and someone walking around, but he couldn't see the man. 'Better hurry Scully' Mulder thought, 'I don't feel so good.' He closed his eyes again to stop the bright iridescent light from further hurting his already aching head. But the moment he heard foot steps coming up to him he opened them again in fear and alarm. He felt vulnerable and completely helpless. He needed more time. He had to try to talk to the man. "What..'s.....your..name" he croaked, trying to get enough air into his lungs. "That's none of your freaking business, cop!" "Are you....gonna.......kill...me? " Mulder gasped. "Guess so. " the man shrugged uncaringly, a grin spreading wide on his face. The girls were fun to kill, but a cop would be a great bit of variety. Why the fuck not? "Then ..at least.. tell me your....name." "Kevin. It's Kevin. Now shut up." " ' Kay K..Kevin. But...... tell me......why?" Mulder was having more and more problems breathing and he thought one of his lungs might be collapsed. If he was gonna survive at all he had a long hospital stay ahead. "I just like killing girls, that's all you fuck, will you SHUT UP!!" He kicked Mulder’s legs and he groaned. His legs were numb but the movement made him feel his ribs and head and even his stomach. He wanted to vomit but knew that would cause even more pain. Suddenly Kevin grabbed Mulder by his arm, dragging him to his feet.
"Aaaaaaaaah, noooo wait, Kevin.....please stop." Mulder lost almost all his air begging Kevin to stop. Not that it helped though. He didn't even listen. He hoisted Mulder over his shoulder with a strength the agent wouldn’t have believed possible. Mulder saw spots in front of his eyes and was about to black out. He hardly was able to breath anymore, especially hanging like this. His time was running out and all he could picture was Scully franticly looking for him. "Sc...Scul..ly" he whispered breathlessly. Kevin started to climb the ladder with Mulder over his shoulder. He would give the FBI man the same treatment he'd given those stupid prissy girls. Throw him over the rim of the big aquarium and keep him down till he drowned. Won't take long, he thought. He's almost gone anyhow. With a big shove off his shoulder he managed to get Mulder over the rim and with a big splash the agent’s limp body slid under. It was only a matter of seconds now and he'll be dead. Kevin knew it would be hard to get him out again, but that was a problem to solve later. He laughed as the Agent fought for air, a cascade of bubbles stirring hypnotically around his face. What a beautiful sight, the power of water robbing his lungs of air and his eyes agog with fear as he tried desperately to release his hands from the tight tape around his wrists, his body trying to fight its way to the surface. The weeds clawing at his stricken face as he attempted to break the surface. His chest sucking non existent air, feet frantically pounding at the glass while the fish weaved in front of his face, unconcerned about the dying intruder into their watery world. Thrashing and thrashing like a big ass fish...until he finally stopped thrashing and slid down down like a rock. Mulder had felt himself go over and for a moment he woke up feeling the cold water, but then when he tried to gasp for air, he couldn't. Immediately water filled his mouth and then his lungs. He opened his mouth a couple of times but then he sank to the bottom of the aquarium, the pressure terrible on his chest and the crush of fear in his heart as he watched the evil smile of his killer. Kevin grinned but then he heard a crash and a sound like someone kicked in the front door. "FBI!!" Someone yelled. And then he heard a woman scream "Oh my god, Mulder! Get him out, get him out, he's drowning." Kevin wasn't armed so it took only seconds to put the cuffs on him while other agents jumped into the aquarium and bodily hoisted a waterlogged limp Mulder out. Water ran out of his mouth and nose but he didn't move or breath. They lowered Mulder on the floor on his back and Scully immediately started mouth to mouth. She had to make a choice, he might have broken ribs, but he needed air. Now. Another officer took over mouth to mouth and she thumped his chest in desperate CPR. Together working like a well oiled machine intent on reviving her partner. "Where is that ambulance" she yelled. Right at that moment she could hear the sirens and seconds later the medics stormed in and took over. Scully tried to keep breathing for him, terrified they were too late, but Skinner took her by the arm and said "let them do their work Scully, come on." They forced air in his lungs and after the longest time--maybe thirty seconds, the medics rolled him onto his side in the recovery position and she could hear him cough, great floods of dirty tank water running from his mouth and nose, but he wasn't breathing yet. "Come on Mulder, come on, you can do it. Breathe....you owe me dinner remember?" Then after an agonizing few minutes, a cough and she heard one of the medic say "He's breathing. let's get him bagged and prepped then out of here." She almost cried with relief. This had been so close. Too damn close. Mulder you have to stop doing this , her mind wailed frantically as she went to his side. Scully found herself at Mulder’s side now on a gurney and took his hand, The paramedics worked over him, pulled his wet clothes aside and applied monitors and oxygen. "I'm coming with you, don't worry." Maybe is was her imagination, but she thought she could feel his hand squeeze hers. During the ride to the hospital, Mulder suddenly got restless. "Sc.. Sculleeeeeaaaaaaaahh?" "Mulder, Mulder please try to relax, I know you're hurting, we're almost there, please relax." "H..hurt Sc. Sculleee,.....ahhh...nooo. C..can't......breath." "You can Mulder, it just feels like that, I know you're in pain, but you have to hold on ok, just try to relax. You're gonna be ok. Just breathe." Mulder tried listening to her voice and slowly he relaxed. Even though still in pain, the fact Scully was with him made him feel better and he was able to get more air in. Slowly he let the drugs work and he succumbed to a deep sleep. In the hospital the doctors were happy to tell Scully he hadn't broken his ribs but they were heavily bruised and probably hurt just as much. Also he had a concussion, again. His body was black and blue from all the kicks Kevin laid into him. They had to keep an eye on his lungs, but all in all he was lucky. Didn't mean he wasn't in pain though. He'd hurt all over for days. But painkillers, the good stuff, could manage that. And his partner’s calming prescience. Once more she had saved his ass. Watching his back even when he was stupid. So after a couple of hours drinking coffee next to his bed, Scully saw two very sleepy eyes open up. Knowing he might be confused and upset, Scully stood up so he could see her. His eyes locked on hers and he tried to say something, but no sound came out. He looked like a fish trapped on dry land. Kind of smelled fishy too. Scully gave him a little sip of water and said "hey, there you are again." She smoothed some hair from his eyes and checked his brow for fever. She could scarcely believe he’d made it through this time. "Wha..happen.. " "You almost drowned Mulder and you were beaten up, you have bruises all over you body. Your ribs are bruised too, but luckily no breaks. Going to be okay partner." "Hea... hurts." "Ah yes, and of course you have a concussion, but it will all heal Mulder, you are one lucky guy." "Yaaa..aaay" he whispered before he fell asleep again. =================================== Next day, GWM. hospital "What happened in there, Mulder, can you tell us?" Scully and AD Skinner were in Mulder's room trying to find out what happened the afternoon he disappeared and walked right into the killer's arms. "I found this tropical fish in a very distinct bag and after talking to the parents and also because the girls were drowned, I was convinced the murderer had something to do with pet stores, fish stockists, so I decided to visit those. I already talked to three others when I saw this one. It was specialized in cold water and tropical fish and for some reason the name did it. It was called 'The Black Molly'." He grinned, seeing Skinner's face. "I know the name is just a coincidence sir, but hey, what can I say. A spooky leap. I just had this feeling. Anyway I talked to him for a couple of minutes when I saw this box with plastic bags. The bags were dark on one side, that's to protect the fish from the light. I recognized the bag as the same I found near the body. That's when I knew and also that I made a huge mistake for turning my back on the lowlife, only even for a second. Something I intend never to repeat, “ Scully gave him a wan smile. "The man's name is Kevin Black, he has been in jail before for molestation but never for murder. Why he started murdering girls is unknown. He said he just liked it. Got off on it." Scully shrugged while Mulder lowered his eyes. "At least he won't get out of jail anymore, he's off the streets for good." "How did you know where to find me Scully? I mean, I never left a message. Uhm... sorry about that btw, but I really thought I would be back within the hour." He was almost whining. Scully patted his hand , mindful of his IV. She gave him a ‘you better not do this again smile’. "Mmmm ... yeah, we need to talk about that, you not leaving messages." She wanted to give him an angry look , but her eyes were smiling. She couldn't stay angry when he's behaving like that. "Well?" Mulder asked. "How did you know where to find me?" "Actually Mulder, your fish helped me. Molly. I was looking at her and saw the aquarium and suddenly it all added up. The water, the dead fish, Molly, the algae found in each of the girl’s lungs and the aquarium. And later when Mr. Jansson called and told me he gave you some addresses I was certain I was right. I found the one which was specialized in fish and when I saw the name I just knew it." "The Black Molly", Mulder whispered. Skinner rolled his eyes, what is that today with fish and the name Molly. Sometimes he really had his doubts. Or his agent are terribly brilliant or totally nuts. One giant leap for Agent Mulder and a lot of head scratching for him. And Scully looked deliriously happy that Mulder would live to take her to dinner. "Well, I'm glad you are ok Mulder and the murderer has been caught, but I really have to go now." And to Scully; "I'd like to see some kind of report on my desk on Monday, please write it so that even I understand." Then he turned around and left. Mulder grinned. "So in a way Molly solved the case. I really should take better care of this one."
"So you don't need me anymore Mulder?" Mulder took her hand and kissed it. "I'll always need you Scully, no fish can replace you, I'm glad you're there to take care of me. Again and again. Thanks. Now about that dinner.....anywhere so long as fish is not on the menu. " Scully pressed her lips on his forehead. "That's ok Mulder, what are friends for. Now you go to sleep, I'll be back in a couple of hours. I will feed your fish. But I'm glad I'm not being replaced by one. See you later.." Mulder smiled and watched her leave when he said; "Ok...besides, you're much more attractive than the fish." "I heard that! And I’m already picking my outfit for that dinner date " THE END