Author Linda61 firstname.lastname@example.org Written for Mulder's refuge's May contest: 'When other agents go bad'. Rating. Anyone over 13 Category: MT, MSR Feedback: sure (send it to email@example.com) Again I'd like to thank my beta and friend Lisa. No finished story without you Lisa. Thanks so much for your help. ------- Shattered Shadow by Linda61 Carefully, trying not to make any sound a shadow went through the hall, searching for the right number. When he reached no. 42 he put his ear to the door and listened for any sound. He could hear the television on low but no footsteps of the person living in the apartment. Not that he expected any, it was 4am; most people were asleep at that time. He opened his bag and took the little package out. Slowly, not to shake it too much he placed it right in front of the door. 'Good morning Agent Mulder, rise and shine,' the shadow thought and turned around to disappear again into the night. --------------- Two hours later. Mulder slowly woke up. For the first time in ages he'd managed to sleep through the night and felt it. He was rested. He climbed off the couch and stretched. "Coffee" his brain prodded him and he walked to the kitchen to make some. Humming softly he did his morning 'business' took some clothes he dropped the night before of the floor and tried to find some clean ones. He did the tried and trusted sniff test and then sighed. "I really should do my laundry tonight, I'm out of clothes" he mumbled. Suddenly he heard a sound at the door and when he took a peek through the spy hole he recognized the paper boy. Mulder opened the door and he was welcomed with a: "Hi Mr. Mulder, here's your newspaper. By the way, someone left a package for you." "Thanks kid" he said, took the paper and stared down at the package lying by his feet. The boy walked away and disappeared into the elevator. Mulder shrugged. It wasn't the first time someone left a package at his door. He bent over to pick it up. He held it in his hand, staring at it a long moment and for some reason he suddenly felt a strange sensation. The hairs on the back of his neck started to stand up and his inner alarm system went off. <Put it down, danger!> it said. Mulder looked at the package and was about to put it back down when suddenly the thing exploded. Mulder felt himself careening backwards with force of the blast. The explosion wasn't even that big but enough to throw him off his feet across the room. Dazed and confused Mulder looked around and after only seconds he felt excruciating pain crashing in. Initially he hadn't thought he was hurt all that badly but when the pain started, he opened his eyes wide and screamed, staring in utter shock at his hands. "God, oh god!" he yelled. The pain was terrible and his heart cannoned inside him. The skin was hanging from his hands and blood poured off them in large rivulets pooling at his feet, also his chest started to throb and he doubled over, as his breathing started to fail. Mulder just collapsed on the floor, shaking, not knowing what to do. He couldn't even get up, could hardly breath from the agony crawling up his chest. "Scully, need Scully" he mumbled right before he lost consciousness. He never heard his neighbors yelling for the police and the Ambulance sirens. ---------------- A few days earlier Basement office FBI Mulder was bored because there was nothing to do. Or, nothing to do that he felt like tackling today. There was always the dreaded paperwork of course and Skinner already ordered him to finish that ASAP, but to concentrate on work like that was too hard for him right now. His concentration was off and he felt tired. So, he was bored. Extremely. He sighed and looked up to see Scully, his 'more than just a colleague' partner. If they only...then he wouldn't be bored, his mind played out dangerous possibilities and he tried to tuck them back into the corner of his brain, labeled, ' for when the time is right'. He sighed again. "Oh for goodness' sake Mulder, will you cut it out!" "But I'm bored Scully." he whined, jiggling back and forth on his computer chair. "Then start doing the paperwork Skinner ordered you to do Mulder, it seems I'm the only one doing that right now and I'm not planning to finish all of it on my own. So quit whining, pick up your pen and start those idle fingers working!" "You're no fun" he mumbled, but then picked up his pen, sighed again and started on the job he hated so much, chewing the end in his mouth. Not even ten minutes later his phone rang. Not waiting for the next ring he picked it up yelling: "Mulder!" "Agent Mulder" the voice on the other side boomed uncomfortably off his eardrums. A voice belonging to AD Skinner. "AD Skinner, I'm sorry, I uhm .. I'm still working on those papers, but...." "Never mind that right now Mulder, I have a request." "Sir?" "I'd like to talk to you, could you come over to my office and bring Agent Scully with you please." "Yes sir." Mulder hung up and looked pointedly at Scully. "What have you done now?" she asked, noticing his consternation. "Nothing! I think. Did I do something? Anyway, Skinner asked us to come to his office, so let's go. Wouldn't want to miss the party eh?" "At least you're not bored anymore." "What? Oh, yeah, guess you're right" Mulder laughed and more or less pushed Scully out the door. A couple of minutes later Skinner's secretary told them to go into his office. "Agents Mulder and Scully, please take a seat." Mulder was confused. Did he or didn't he do something wrong? Even Scully thought Skinner was a bit too polite. She didn't trust it. Something was going on. "Sir" Mulder said, "You had a request?" "VCU wants your help Mulder." Scully sat up straight immediately. "No, Sir, you know Mulder doesn't work for VCU anymore!" "What she said," Mulder piped up pointing at Scully, wondering if he should laugh or feel annoyed that she answered so protectively for him. He decided it was kinda cute and let it go and hoped she read his grateful expression correctly. "Please hear me out Agent Mulder, it's not as bad as you think." Although he talked to Mulder, he was looked at Scully, like he was apologizing to her for asking her partner. "VCU is short on people right now and they want you to create a profile. A young man was murdered, found last week, but the agent currently working on this case doesn't seem to get any further. He's hitting a brick wall as far as coming up with any leads. They need a fresh profile on the Unsub so they can work on, right now they're stuck. That's where you come in. Actually that's all you're supposed to do." Mulder nodded. "Ok, I'll do it." Skinner handed him the file. "Read through it And let me know what you think ok?" Turning to Scully he said: "The moment you think he goes too far, warn me. I don't think it's a difficult case, but knowing Agent Mulder you never know." "Yes sir" Scully answered, trying to quell her inner warning bells. During the walk back to their office Scully was quiet. "What are you thinking Scully? Tell me?" Scully stopped. "I just hope he's right. I mean, it wouldn't be the first time a simple consult case turns out to be nasty." "It will be ok Scully, I promise to be careful, and you're with me, backing me up what can go wrong?" Mulder took her hand and squeezed it. "Really, it will be ok." Scully looked at him for a couple of seconds and then sighed: "Yeah, of course. Ok come on, let's go back, I'll make us some fresh coffee." "Oh and Scully? You're right. I'm not bored anymore. Got something else to get my teeth stuck into." "Ok, I'll buy a early dinner on the way home. You can get an early start on things then." After a couple of silent hours reading the file, studying the crime scene photos and making notes Mulder started to talk again. "I think Skinman was right Scully. It doesn't seem like such a hard case. Certainly not as complicated as an X file. Actually, I think this murder might be an accident. An accidental murder I mean." "Why's that?" Scully asked. "Well, look at the photos Scully. See how the body of the boy was placed and positioned down in the grave carefully? His hands bound together as if in prayer. His clothes are clean, in order. Even his hair was combed. Nothing was stolen. The body still had his wallet, no money seems to have been stolen, there's a tidy few dollars here and his ID was also in with it. It's like the murderer wanted to say 'I'm sorry, didn't mean to do it, please take care of him.' The body was even buried at a spot the murderer was sure it would be found quickly." Mulder stretched his stiff muscles. He looked at the name in the file of the agent who already worked on the case; an Agent Ross. "I want to talk to this agent Scully, are you coming?" "Mulder it's getting late already. I'm sure Agent Ross is home already. Let's go home too ok?" "Home? As in..?" "You're welcome to come with me Mulder, you know that." Not even wanting to argue that they both left together, Mulder wearing a huge smile on his face, his hand at her back in its customary position. The next day Mulder and Scully went to talk to Agent Ross. Mulder tried to get more information but discovered he didn't get more than he already knew from the file. Ross seemed almost hesitant, disinterested. Mulder thought that was odd but had other avenues planned for investigation. He let it go for now. The whole reason he'd been called in was because it was believed he'd make progress. "The grave was found by local children" Ross had told them. "They didn't know what it was at first, but when one of the children told his parents what they found, the father immediately called the police. And then they called us. All we know so far is the boy's name, uhm..Danny Schultz, age 18. He was local. He was murdered by strangulation. Just a normal boy, nothing special, no criminal record." Mulder nodded. "Yeah, that's what the file said, not much yet. I'd like to talk to friends of Danny, maybe they know more. His employer if he had one, I see you already talked to them too Agent Ross?" "Yes I did, but they didn't seem to know something. Like I said, Danny was an easygoing, normal teen boy. Quiet, kept to himself. I'm sorry I can't give you more information." Mulder turned to Scully. "Could you go through the autopsy records again? Just to be sure? Let me go talk to Danny's friends. I'll see you at the office this afternoon. Okay?" Scully wanted to protest because she didn't want to let him go alone, she felt uneasy and couldn't explain why to herself, let alone her partner but then she decided that even Mulder couldn't go far wrong on interviewing a couple of kids. "Sure, see you this afternoon, but know what we agreed on okay? If anything is wrong you call me. Right away." "Yeah yeah." Mulder mumbled, already thinking what to ask. He walked away to his car deep in thought and spiraling into profiler mode, not looking back once. Even Scully had to laugh about that. After talking for more than two hours with Danny's friends at one of the boys' house, Mulder was stuck. Danny disappeared without leaving a trace, until he was found that is. He thanked the kids for their time and wanted to leave when a girl came in. "Hello" he said. He startled the girl, she didn't see him standing behind the door of the house, saying goodbye to the others. "What's going on?" she asked. "Agent Mulder of the FBI", Mulder said, flipping her a glance at his badge. "I'm trying to find the murderer of your friend Danny, I already talked to the others, could you spare a few moments so I talk to you too please?" He smiled reassuringly at the girl, to let her know it was ok and she didn't have to be scared. "Yeah, sure, no problem. I don't know a thing though." "That's ok, ahh.. what's your name?" "I'm Lucy sir, Lucy Michaels." "Ok, Lucy Michaels, let's talk then, it won't take long. Let's go outside." "You knew Danny well Lucy?" Mulder asked. "Well yes, we've been to school together, but that's not uncommon, this is just a small town. The kind of place where we get to know people well. Danny never mixed much though." "Did you notice anything the days before Danny disappeared? His behavior? Did he suddenly had a lot of money? Anything." Lucy thought about that question a couple of minutes but then shook her head. "Nope, nothing, his behavior was no different than other days." Her face was sad. "I'm sorry I can't help, I wish I could, I liked Danny." "We'll do our best to catch the murderer Lucy, but I have to be honest, we just don't have much to go on. Thanks for your time anyway." And with that he turned around to go to his car. He was about to get in when he heard a "Agent Mulder, agent Mulder!". Mulder looked back and saw Lucy running towards him. "I remember something, but I don't know if it's important. Actually it's kinda stupid now that I think of it, never mind. Sorry to bother you." "No no, please Lucy, tell me, what did you want to say?" "Well, I remember Danny telling me he had some problems with the father of a girl he knew. He really liked her, but her father found out he was a couple of years older and he told Danny to leave her alone. But that was a while back already, so I'm not sure if he'd been seeing her recently. He never said that much other than that. He was shy. He never talked about his problems often, just that one time only. I think he was kind of upset about it. He really liked her. Took him a while to get the courage to talk to most girls." "Do you know her name?" "Her name? Oh geez, yeah, uhm, he did mention her name. What was it now?...Something like Boss, Josh. No wait; it was Ross, that's it. Ross. Judy ..Judy Ross, now I remember." "Ross?" Mulder was stunned, prickles setting him on alert deep down. Could there be a connection? ...Naaah, must be a coincidence. Ross wasn't an uncommon name. Or maybe. "Are you sure?" "Yes, yes I'm sure. I even think he said her father was a cop or something, but I could be wrong there." Mulder grabbed the girl by her shoulders. "Thanks Lucy, you're a big help." Then he almost ran back to his car. He couldn't believe it; he couldn't wait to tell Scully. Maybe it was the lead they had been looking for. And it would explain a few things that had been niggling him all afternoon. While on his way back to the office he called Scully on her cell phone. "Scully." "Scully where are you?" "I'm almost ready to go Mulder, what did you find out? You sound excited." "Just come to the office Scully, I think I have something." "I'll be there in an hour Mulder. Your turn to make coffee." Mulder smiled and disconnected the call. In the office Mulder told Scully what he'd found out. He told her about the name he heard and that he already thought maybe a cop was involved. Not knowing the cop was an agent of the FBI. An agent they were working with at that moment. "I already checked the name of Agent Ross' daughter Scully. It's Judy, and she's fourteen. What did you find out by the way?" "Nothing more than we already knew. Danny was strangled, time of death inconclusive because the ground was very wet. So you really think it's 'our' Agent Ross who did it?" "I think so Scully. I have some cross referencing to do and check his whereabouts or see if he has an alibi. But like I said before, I think it may have been an accident. Maybe he got angry with the boy because he was seeing his daughter. I don't know. Things done in the heat of the moment. Ross is a big guy. He was out in Iraq with military. Trained in multiple combat techniques. He may have snapped, but after he killed him he took care of the body. That's not something a professional murderer would do. This person respected life, even though he took one." "How are we gonna do this Mulder? We need proof. Only knowing his daughter's name and linking him that way can't be enough. We need more solid evidence. A warrant to search his home." "Let's just have a talk with him first. We just say we have some information and we think a cop is involved. Not more than that. Let's see how he reacts. Give him time to come clean. I would think he'd be bursting to tell someone. It's a lot to bottle up if this was a heat of the moment thing. He pointed at the coffee pot, "I sure would love some coffee first though. I think I'm gonna need it." "Something wrong with your hands Mulder?" Scully asked, but then got up to pour both of them a cup. Like Mulder she also needed some liquid sustenance before seeing Agent Ross. Mulder was already on the phone. "Agent Ross? We like to talk to you again if possible. Shall we say, in our office in half an hour? Okay thanks." Then he hung up the phone. "I hope that coffee is strong Scully." He shook his head sadly, hoping for the first time in his career he was wrong, but deep in his heart he knew he wasn't. Scully passed him a cup with one hand and squeezed his shoulder in empathy. Half an hour later there was a knock on the door of the basement office. Both took a deep breath but Scully opened the door to let Agent Ross enter. "Agent Ross, please come in. Sit down." Scully tried to sound as normal as possible. Mulder had a pencil in his hand, playing with it, turning it around not trying to show he was a bit anxious. He made careful eye contact with older agent. "Agent Ross" Mulder started. I gathered some information that showed what I already suspected after reading the file you gave me. I think a cop is involved." Mulder kept fiddling the pencil, like nothing special was going on. Keeping it all vague. But he also watched Ross to see how he reacted. Or rather how he didn't react. Agent Ross didn't even blink an eye. Cool customer, Mulder thought. Was he wrong after all? "A cop? You're kidding me! Where did you get that information?" "I'm sorry, I can't tell you that right now, but I think the person is trustworthy enough to take the information seriously." "Well if you're certain about that we have to work with along that premise then." Agent Ross pushed his chair away and stood up. I hope you don't mind, but I have to go. I promised my wife I'd be back early, it's her birthday." "Of course Agent Ross, have a nice evening" Scully said with small smile. "We'll see each other tomorrow again. Bright and early." With that Ross nodded and walked out the door, leaving Mulder and Scully alone. Mulder dropped his pencil on the desk. "That was odd." he said, rubbing his tired eyes. "Very." Scully shrugged. "I don't know Mulder, are you sure about this?" Mulder stood up, started to walk around in the office, mumbling, thinking. Then suddenly he turned around and said: "Yes, yes I'm sure. He gave off so many vibes there it rattled my fillings." "Right, let's go home then." She rubbed her hand over his back when he cringed putting his jacket on and he smiled his thanks for the comfort. "I think we have to talk to Skinner about this before we go on, but let's go home now, it's been a long day. This kind of situation always make me tired. If it's true what you said then I don't think we have to be afraid he will kill again. This can wait till tomorrow. Are you coming Mulder?" "Sorry Scully, but I'll be staying at my apartment, I have to think this through." He took her hand and kissed it. "Tomorrow." Scully smiled and touched his face. "Sleep Mulder, don't stay up all night. And yes. I'll be around if you need me. Just pick up the phone. Ok?" They never noticed the man standing in the shadow of the dark hall. When Scully and Mulder disappeared into the elevator the shadow said: "Good night Agent Mulder". The man in the shadow waited for ten minutes then also got into the elevator. He went back to his own office and grabbed his coat. "See you tomorrow" he said. "Night Ross", someone replied. Mulder heard familiar sounds. Sirens. The smell of burned flesh and his own blood, people trying to reassure beyond the volley of medical info they were exchanging all around him. "Oh no, not again. He tried to wake up but when he did the pain also returned in spades. The pain was back so sudden and with so much force he tried to get up yelling "Sculleeeeeeee". But Scully wasn't there yet; she was in her car trying to get to the hospital as fast as possible. Mulder did it again. But this time it really wasn't his fault. He was starting to panic but the paramedics soon had him sedated and started IVs and placed monitors on him. Scully couldn't believe it when she got the phone call. A bomb exploded at Mulder's place and he'd been holding it in his hands. It wasn't a big bomb; otherwise she would have been on her way to the morgue, she choked back tears from the chill of that thought. But the fact Mulder was actually holding the bomb when it went off could only mean he must be hurt badly. 'His hands, his beautiful hands' she thought, and sobbed again. Georgetown Memorial The doctors were already working on Mulder when finally Scully arrived at the hospital. She stormed in asking for where her partner had been taken. It wasn't the first time he'd been here and most of the nurses knew them by sight. "Follow me Agent Scully, the doctor is waiting for you," one of them said. Scully could already hear him yelling as they neared the cubicle. "NOOONOOOO, SCULLEEEE, LEMME GO!!!! AAHHHH!" It was quite a shock to see him like this so much in pain and helpless. By now some of the sedative had worn off and they were posed to inject him with more. She couldn't ever get used to this. "Mulder" she said, "Mulder, calm down. It's ok, it's ok, and it will be ok." The doctor seemed to be relieved when he saw her coming in. He knew she could get him to calm down so they could work on him without sedating him. Again he was amazed to see how his patient reacted to his partner's soothing voice. Immediately he calmed down. He was in pain of course and he kept moaning, but at least the doctor could treat him. Scully ran her fingers through his hair and whispered a mantra of reassurance and love as they finished cutting his charred clothing away. "Scul..ly". Mulder tried to move his hand to take hers but he wasn't even able to move his arms at all now. "Aaahhh". "Lay still Mulder, I'm here. It's going to be ok." "Scully...bomb... my hands." "I know Mulder. We think it was Ross, Skinner already sent agents out to pick him up. Now don't worry about that. We'll talk later ok? Just let the doctor do his work. I'm staying right here. I won't leave you." "Agent Scully?" Scully looked up hearing the doctor's voice. "We need to get some x-rays of his hands and chest. He could have some internal injuries from the explosive percussion." "Can I come with you?" Scully was a bit worried leaving Mulder alone right now. "Of course, but during the x-rays you'll have to stay behind the screen in the ante-room, you know that." "I know, I'm a medical doctor. Mulder knows too." <I hope> she thought. The x-ray procedures didn't pose any problems due to the fact Mulder finally decided to black out. When he came to he was already on his way back to a ward. "Glad to see you awake again Mulder. You know, you're one lucky guy." Scully gave him a beautiful smile and stroked his forehead. "That..so? Don't feel..so.. lucky right..now. Thirsty Scully." "Your hands will be okay. You do have two broken fingers and you might need some grafting surgeries later because of the skin loss, but you won't lose your hands. Your chest is mostly okay, only cuts and bruises. But I guess it will hurt like hell in the next few days. Still, for someone actually holding a bomb when it exploded that's not bad at all. You'll be in the hospital a few days at least so they can monitor you. You're suffering from shock and smoke inhalation too." She gave him a sip of water now she was certain he didn't need an operation immediately. At that moment a nurse came in and injected something into his IV. "Good stuff" she whispered. "Tell me about being lucky...again...tomorrow Scu..l.." And with those words he closed his eyes and let the good stuff do its job. When Mulder woke up again he could hear Scully talking to someone. After a couple of minutes he realized she was talking on the phone. "Yes sir, thank you sir. Yes, I'll tell him the moment he wakes up. Yes.. yes...we're sorry too. Thank you sir." "Wazz tha.. Zzkinnah..?" "Mulder! Hi sleepy face. You're awake! Well almost that is. How are you feeling?" "I'm floating...Zzscullee.....Did they ..get.. Rozzz?" "Agents picked him up at his own house Mulder. When they found him he was sitting on the steps in front of his house, crying. He knew it was over. Skinner just told me that Ross said he never wanted to kill Danny, but just freaked out when he found out he was still seeing his daughter despite his earlier warnings, and after the explosion at your place he realized what he had done, came to his senses big time and just gave up. He kept apologizing. I almost feel sorry for him." "Wha..?" Mulder turned his head to her. "I said 'almost' Mulder. I'm not that crazy. He almost killed you." "Scully? Are...you sure..about my hands?" "Yes Mulder, I'm sure." "I wanna..be able...to feel.." His eyes started to close. "You will." "...You." "You always will" she whispered and kissed his forehead. The end.