"Pieces of the Past" (1/2)

Part 05 of 08.

Holiday Inn
Mulder and Mark's room
3:45 a.m.

Mulder awoke with a start. He blinked in the blinding overhead light and
looked around. He realized he was back in his hotel room in his bed. <How
the hell- Scully!> He sat up straight, a little dizzy from the sudden moment,
but not caring. He had to find her, he had to-

"Take it easy, Mulder."

Mulder looked up and found himself staring into the concerned face of AD
Skinner. <Since when is he concerned about me?> he thought, as he pushed
the covers out of his way.

"Sir, Scully, she's-"

"I know, Mulder. You told me about three hours ago. We're getting a team
together that planning their search of 2nd Street. It should begin at 500
hours," he added, throwing a little military lingo in there.

"5 a.m.! But sir, we have to go now!" Mulder got up out of the bed,
surprised at how dizzy that movement made him. Black spots threatened his
vision, and he realized he tired he was, even after that night at the
hospital. Of course, it would have helped if he slept at the hospital
instead of _pretending_ to.

"Not so fast, Mulder. You don't want to pass out on me again, do you?"

<Again? Oh damn.> Mulder took a deep breath, and tried to get up again,
slower. This time there were no black spots. He looked around the room.

"Where's Mark?" he asked.

"He's with the now assembling team. We can join him whenever you're ready."

Well, that's all Mulder needed to hear. He was out the door before Skinner
even finished his sentence.

On the road
Los Angeles, CA
4:00 a.m.

"Shit, sir, we only have ten days." Mulder bounced frantically in the
passengerís seat; dying to just get out and run to the VCS office.

"Mulder, would you calm down? I don't want you to pass out on me
again. Now, please, explain yourself?"

Mulder took a deep breath then started into his lengthy explanation. "Okay,
Kennedy keeps the girls for sixteen days and kills them on the sixteenth day.
Sixteen day cycles. He was only on day six of Samantha Ingber, his latest
victim, before he picked up Scully, so he's still got 10 days on the cycle.
If we don't find Scully in ten days, sir," Mulder choked on the word.
"Scully's going to die in the hands of this bastard."

An uncomfortable silence filled the car for the rest of the ride and when
they pulled up to the VCS office, Mulder jumped out of the car and ran into
the office, all but colliding with Mark who was holding a cup of coffee.

"Whoah," Mark said, raising his hand with the coffee way above his
head so it didn't get jarred. "Hey Mulder, how are you doing, man?"

Mulder gave a curt nod and dropped down at the big table in the center of the
room. "What have we got here?" he asked the VCS team who looked about ready
to drop.

A young guy at the other end of the table handed Mulder a Polaroid.
"Samantha Ingber's body was found at the corner of Main and 2nd street at
about ten last night."

"Probably the same time Scully was taken," Mulder said under his breath.

The guy nodded and continued, "Samantha Ingber appeared to be killed in the
same manner as the others, severe head injury, and was-- like the others--
seemingly attacked and tortured on many separate occasions, but so far no
fibers, hairs or fingerprints have turned up."

"Like the others..."

"Exactly. Now he's got Agent Scully and we've got sixteen days..."

"Ten," Mulder corrected. "He needs a complete cycle. He had Samantha Ingber
for six days and to finish that cycle up, he takes Scully for ten."

The guy nodded. "All right. By the way, I'm Sam Fuchs, I'm with the VCS
here. No Washington, nothing fancy, I'm local. But I know my way around,
so they sent me."

"That's good... Sam?"

"Yeah, call me Sam. All right, who's ready to scout the area?" Sam
stood up, rubbing his hands together eagerly.

Mulder stood too.

"Mulder..." Skinner stood behind his agent. "Are you sure you're
okay to--"

"Yes, sir. Let's go. Mark?"

Mark nodded and followed Mulder and Sam out the door.

17 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA
4:28 a.m.

"It's like deja vu all over again," Mulder whispered when they were
walking through an old house, backs to the wall, guns out.

"Tell me about it," Mark said. "Looks like every house on this
street has been abandoned for at least twenty years."

"Spooky..." Sam said.

"There it is." Mulder walked cautiously over to the post-it stuck
on the wall.

"Tsk, tsk, Agent Mulder. You're impressive but not that impressive. You'll
need to sharpen up your math skills if you ever want to see your partner
again. Now, find that number. You've only got ten days you know..."

Mulder, shaking his head in a mix of frustration, anger and plain
exhaustion, handed the note to Mark.

Mulder, Mark and Sam sat on the curb of second street in the thin
morning light, heads cradled in their hands, deep in thought.

"So it's not 4 second street and its not 17 second street," Mark said.

"Right. What else could it be?"

"What about eight?" Sam asked. "Since all the girls he abducts are
eight years old..."

Mulder looked up. "That's a good idea, actually. Where's number eight?"

Sam pointed to a house down the block a little and they stood up and
walked down to that point.

"Scratch that idea," Mark said. The house was completely boarded up
and all the doors were locked.

"Guys, we're the police for crying out loud! Are you telling me we
can't break down a little board?" Sam demanded.

"Uh... all right, worth a shot. Come here, Mark," Mulder said. He lifted
Mark up on his shoulders so he could reach the window, and Mark banged and
banged at the boards, but they didn't budge.

"Gimme your gun," Mark called down.

Mulder, his back and shoulders straining under Mark's weight,
managed to hand up his gun without completely dislocating his shoulder.

Pow

Pow

"Shit, Mark, what the hell are you doing?" Sam demanded.

"One sec..." Mark banged at the boards again with his forearm and they fell
in. "Works every time." He grinned down at Sam then got the message that
he should hurry up from the shaking of Mulder's shoulders under his legs.
"Okay, I'm going in." With a bit of difficulty, Mark climbed in through the
window.

"Is the floor sturdy?" Sam called up.

"Yeah. Go to the front door, I'll go down and unlock it," Mark said.

"Okay."

A minute later, the three of them were inside a house, twice as dusty and
decrepid as the first two, and walking down steep cement stairs to a dank
basement...

Mulder held his gun to his side, ready to shoot at the slightest noise. Mark
gripped his own gun behind him and Sam wasn't far behind. The ceiling grew
low and Mulder found himself ducking a few times. But he didn't care. He
had one thing on his mind: Scully.

Suddenly Mulder found himself turning at the sound of metal falling. He
gripped his gun tighter and ran off in the direction of the sound. He heard
Mark call his name and footsteps lightly follow him, but he didn't pay much
attention to it. He just ran in the direction of the noise, as fast as his
legs could carry him. He didn't even notice the slick floor beneath him, as
he ran across it and soon found himself laying on it, fighting the dizziness
he felt each time he moved his head.

"Mulder!" he heard Mark call, but the voice seemed distant, as if it was
coming from far away. Mulder vaguely noticed Mark and Sam kneeling beside
him. He moved his head and catch a glimpse of yellow out of the corner of
his eye. He sat up, fighting the dizziness(though not very successfully), and
struggled to his feet. Mark offered him a hand up but he pushed it away.
He closed his eyes till the dizziness seemed to subside. Then he climbed to
his feet.

What a mistake. The dizziness came back, full force.

"Maybe we should go back. You could go see a doctor. That floor is
really hard," Mark said, and Sam nodded.

Mulder shook his head, and the dizziness seemed to dissipate, replaced with
the usual "I-want-to-throw-up" feeling that most concussions he had brought.
He ignored it and walked, though unsteadily, toward the flash of yellow he
had seen.

It was a note. Neatly written, and not too old, like the others.

My, my Agent Mulder. You are close. The basement has always been a
favorite place of mine....

He was close. Maybe she was here. He looked around the room, and spied an
open door that seemed to lead to an even lower part of the basement. He only
took one step toward it when he found himself on his knees, Mark keeping him
from falling to the floor.

"Mulder, I think you should get checked out," he said, a worried
expression on his face.

"I'm fine," Mulder answered, pushing himself back into a standing position.
"It's his note. He was here. Maybe he still is." Mulder handed the note to
Sam, and he and Mark read it over.

Sam nodded. "I think you're right." Both knew Mulder was only a stone's
throw away from collapsing(probably closer), but they also knew taking him
out of this house know wasn't going to help Scully.

So Mulder continued to walk, wobbling on the way. Mark grabbed Mulder's
shoulder to steady him, but Mulder brushed his hand away. He headed toward
the door, and found another post-it on the doorknob.

Ah, basements! The lower the better! A low basement has some many
possibilities. Think about it......you can't hear someone scream if
they're 15 feet down!

Mulder handed the note to Mark wordlessly and he nodded. Mulder
started down the door, hands on the railing to steady himself. This part of the basement
was lower, with no windows. <And it's fifteen feet down> Mulder noted in
his mind. He reached for his gun, but realized it wasn't there. He turned, the
nausea threatening again, to look for it, but Mark handed him it.

"I picked it up when you....fell," he explained, and Mulder continued
his walk down into the basement.

4:59 a.m.
Place unknown

Darkness. For the last three hours it was all Scully saw. The darkness
surrounded her like a cloud, and she desperately wanted it to go away.
<What had happened?> she thought, as she tried to feel her way around the prison
the darkness seemed to hold for her.

Dust. She felt it come across her fingertips as she ran her hand across a
tabletop. At least she hoped it was a table top. She had awoken in this
place three hours ago, yet she never once met her captor. She felt her way
across a bed, and soft blankets. The place she was in didn't seem
frightening. In fact if not for the darkness, it might not be bad. But the
darkness, an enemy that remained. She ran her hands across another table
top and was greeted by an object. It was in the shape of bottle, and she felt
its side. Some sort of switch greeted her, and she flipped it, hoping it would
end the darkness. A round light lit the wall, and Scully realized what she
had discovered: a flashlight. She shined it around her surroundings. She
saw a normal bed, dresser, and a table and two chairs in the corner. A digital
clock(one she failed to notice before) read 5:02 in big red numbers.
Whether is was a.m. or p.m. she wasn't sure, the room had no windows. She shined
the flashlight over to the wall and grew sick at what she saw.

Seventeen pictures of little girls, covered in blood, dead.

A noise turned her attention from the wall and she turned the
flashlight toward it.

A man, over six feet, stood there, a wicked grin on his face. He
smiled and walked toward Scully.

She backed away, instinctively reaching for her gun, but realized he
must have it. She thought he would grab her, but he stopped just a few feet shy
of her.

"Don't worry, Agent Scully. You're just bait. I've got a bigger
fish to catch."

5:04 a.m.
17 2nd Street

Mulder looked around the room, the feeling to throw up growing with each
second. Nothing was here. It was a dead end, they would never find her, they
would never find her, he would never find her, hewouldneverfindher....

Another piece of yellow caught his eye, and he walked toward it. With a
trembling hand he picked it up and read it.

Well, Agent Mulder, seventeen is favorite number of mine, but it's not the
right answer to this math problem. But, I'm a man who believes in second
choices. I suggest you brush up on your math skills, before you try again,
though. 10 days can go by like the blink of an eye, just watch!

Mulder let the note drop to the floor, and Mark scooped it up. Mulder didn't
know what to do. Math, math! Why didn't he pay more attention in his algebra
class in high school? Jenna Masters was why, a memory told him, but he
ignored it. Jenna was the past. Scully was his future.

But if he didn't find her soon, she's have no future to speak of.

VCS
Los Angeles, CA
10:17 p.m.

"Ten, maybe," Mulder suggested half-heartedly.

Sam and Mark exchanged looks. Since they had left the house, Mulder had been
hunched over a pad of paper, all the materials spread in front of him, pen
poised in hand, but nothing written down. Mark knew he had received quite a
blow from that floor, and wondered if he didn't have a concussion. The
constant brief closing of his eyes to steady himself, and the Mulder's green
pallor did nothing to convince Mark otherwise.

"Why ten?" Sam asked, and finished his fourth cup of coffee.

"You're right," Mulder said. "Why, precisely. Why, why, why..."

Mark again looked at Sam and caught his eye. "He's rambling," Mark
mouthed. "I'm getting Skinner."

Sam nodded and turned to distract Mulder while Mark left. "Hey, Mulder, what
about 16? I mean, that's how long the 'cycle' is, right? And when we were at
house number 17, he said we were close, so, how about 16?"

Mulder studied his fingernails intensely then looked back up at Sam. "I
think that's a possibility. That may be right." He stared at the wall for a
minute, then stood abruptly, almost knocking over his chair. "Damnit, why
didn't _I_ see that? I mean, it's my partner that the freak's holding
hostage, _I_ should've gotten that! We could've saved Scully by now! We
could've saved her by--"

"Mulder, sit down before you fall down," an low, even voice said from the
door. Skinner stepped into the room, took his agent by the arm and pulled
him outside to sit on the bench outside the door.

"Yes, sir?" Mulder said tersely. He fidgeted with his hands, then kicked at
the ground with his shoes before squirming once in his seat and letting his
gaze rest on the plain wall before him.

"Mulder, listen to me. We are going to pack up our stuff, and Sam and Mark
are going back to the hotel to get some well-deserved sleep, and you and I
are going to the hospital because you have a concussion and you know it."

Mulder didn't say anything for a long time, then he said in an
almost inaudible voice, "But, sir, she needs me."

Skinner sighed tiredly. "Who?" he said, though he knew very well "who."

"Scully," Mulder said, his voice breaking on the word. "It's my fault she
was taken, and-- and, its my responsibility to get her back. I just need to
know where he is!"

Not wanting to let Mulder think about the case anymore, but knowing
this was the only way he could get through to him, Skinner said, "What about the
ages? Have you tried 8 + 12 yet? Or 8 + 4? What about (8 + 12) - (8 + 4) or (8 +
4) + (8 + 4)? We know this guy is a mathematician right? Maybe it's nothing
to do with those numbers, even. Maybe it's some math theory or... I don't
know, Mulder. C'mon, we'll discuss this in the car on the way to the hospital."

"Wait a minute, sir." Mulder looked up. "What about the Quadratic Formula?"

"Hm?"

"Negative B plus or minus the square root of B squared minus four (A
C), all divided by 2A."

"Scuse me?" Skinner said. "_Mulder_??"

"Yeah. Let's do it with A as the lowest number.... that's A=4, B=8,
C=12. Follow me?"

"Um..."

"Good. So it's -4 plus or minus the square root of 4 squared minus
4 times 4 times 12. Divide the whole thing by 2 times 4..."

"You're doing this in your head?"

"More or less. Okay, that should be... shit."

"I don't think it adds up to shit, Mulder."

"No. It doesn't work. I got a negative number within the square
root and, obviously, you can't find the square root of a negative."

"Oh," Skinner said impatiently. He was fascinated by Mulder's work, but he
knew that if he didn't Mulder checked out, he might not be able to work for
the rest of the case.

Hospital
11:04 p.m.

"Yeaaaah, that's a nice concussion you've got there, Mr. Mulder,"
Doogie Howser said. At least, that's what Mulder called him. His name tag said
Dr. Monaco.

"Great. Can I go now?"

Skinner sighed for the thirtieth time in twelve minutes and Doogie join in.

"Mr. Mulder," Doogie said. "I'm going to need to keep you overnight. That's
a pretty bad concussion, and I can tell you're not up to working anymore,"
he said with a glance at Skinner. "You're also suffering from exhaustion and
general not-taking-care-of-yourself. You need to _eat_ on a regular basis.
You've got about six gallons of coffee running through your system. That's
not good, Mr. Mulder. And that cut on your arm is infected, are you aware
of that?"

Mulder, who had been glaring at the floor and grinding his teeth,
looked up at the doctor. "Yeah, I've got medicine for that already."

Doogie tapped his foot on the floor. "Are you _taking_ it, Mr.
Mulder?"

"Well, yeah. Well, I was. I guess I..."

Doogie sighed, gave up on dealing with Mulder and turned to Skinner. "All
right, I can see you need this guy for the investigation. If you want him to
make it through this, though, you need to watch him carefully: make sure he
gets sleep, food, and something besides coffee. Get him back on that
medication, and I'll give you some pain killers cause, you can see, " he
motioned to Mulder who was squinting and rubbing the back of his head where
it had collided with the floor. "He's going to need them."

Skinner exchanged a few words with Doogie then led Mulder out of the
room and to the car.

Mulder dropped into the passengerís seat, to exhausted to argue when
Skinner insisted on driving. Skinner started the car up and, in silence, they drove
back to the Holiday Inn. In the parking lot, Skinner reached over to shake
Mulder, thinking he had fallen asleep, but Mulder's quiet voice stopped him.

"Pythagorean's Theorem?"

"No, Mulder. No more on the case. You're going to rest now. I can see
you're head is killing you. We'll talk about the case in the morning."
Skinner said. He got out of the car, circled around and opened Mulder's
door for him. "Let's go."

"Four squared plus eight squared equals twelve squared."

Skinner thought it over for a minute, then said, "No it doesn't."

"Exactly."

Skinner pulled Mulder out of the car by his uninjured wrist. "What
are you talking about, Mulder?"

"I'm saying that it doesn't work. Nothing works," he said blandly. Stiffly,
he followed Skinner into the hotel room. Once inside, he sat down on the
bed and turned to Skinner who was messing with the childproof top on Mulder's
medicine. "We're never going to find her, sir," Mulder said tiredly. "I can't..."

Skinner sat down on the bed next to Mulder and put a hand on his agent's
shoulder. "Yes we will. We'll find her. Now you need to rest." He gently
pushed Mulder down and Mulder's head relaxed on the pillow. Skinner briefly
wondered if Mulder shouldn't take off his suit jacket or his shoes, but it
seemed he had already fallen asleep so Skinner walked out and quietly shut
the door behind him.

End Part 05 of 08.
=====================

Part 06 of 08.

7:56 a.m.

Another death. Mulder could see the yellow crime scene tape and hear the
muffled voices around him. He glanced toward the taped off area and saw a
white sheet, obviously covering the latest victim. <And what poor little girl
is it this time> he wondered as he walked toward the tape.

The crowd around the area parted, and seemed to watch him, as if he would
collapse at that moment. He walked closer and the people moved farther away,
as if afraid to have him look at the body.

Mulder ignored their protests and bent down, and pulled back the sheet.
Nothing could have prepared him for what he saw.

Red hair, now stained by even redder blood, lay fanned out in front of him.
Vacant blue eyes stared at nothingness. A gold cross now crimson with blood
caught the sunlight.

"No," Mulder said, his voice below a whisper. He dropped the sheet and began
shaking his head. "NO!" he said again, this time a shout.

"It's my fault," he said, realizing. "No." he bent down to her, the cloth
bearing the number 18 laid upon her chest.

"NO!"

"NO!"

Mulder shout would have been enough to wake the dead, but luckily no one else
seemed to be around to here it. He sat up straight, beads of sweat on his
forehead, and a dull pounding in the back of his head. But he had it. It was
so simple.

18. Scully would be number 18. There was no math equation here. It was
common sense. This guy had him thinking that it had to be complicated.
But it wasn't. It was 18. 18 Second Street.

A normal looking building he remembered. It was vacant, but not boarded up.
It must have been vacated recently, he had noted, because it was in fairly
good condition. That was it. He had to get there.

He practically jumped out of bed, ignoring the black spots that danced before
his vision. His eyes scanned the room for his gun, but he couldn't find it.
He then realized that Skinner must have taken it, to keep him from leaving.
Although Mulder realized how dangerous it was to go out without a gun, he
didn't care.

The sensible part of his brain told him to tell Mark, or Skinner where he was
going, but the other part of his brain told him there was no time to find
them. He needed to find Scully _now_. <She had enough suffering in her
life, not to add one more because of me> he thought.

He might as well leave a note in case things got bad. He quickly wrote a
note detailing his idea and whereabouts and taped it to his door. He grabbed
his head again, rubbing it against the now throbbing pain. Using some
reasoning, he downed three aspirin before vacating the hotel room.

18 2nd Street
8:04 a.m.

Scully sat in a chair in the corner of the room, now only lit by the light of
the one flashlight. Her kidnapper sat across from her, a wicked grin on his
face. He held a razor in one hand, and a gun in the other. Though he could
have easily tormented her with either object, Scully had not been harmed.
She was dirty, and needed a shower, but that was it. She hoped Mulder was all
right. He had looked awful the last time she had seen him and prayed that
he was all right.

Bryan Kennedy caught her eye. "Prayers don't usually work, Agent Scully," he
said. "If they did my sister would be alive and none of this little 'mess'
would have been started. So, you see, praying does nothing." He ran the
razor blade across the top of the gun, making a loud scratching noise that
had Scully wishing she had earplugs.

"Is this what this is about? Your sister?" Scully asked, hoping she
could get him to talk.

"Nice try Agent Scully. But your partner's the physiologist."

He was a quick one. And intelligent, too. Scully knew what he planning. He
wanted Mulder, not her. As he said, she was bait, and Mulder was the fish.

<Oh God, Mulder please be careful. At least bring back-up> she prayed,
letting her eyes close for a second. When she opened them she found Kennedy
staring at her eyes.

"I never thought I'd meet anyone with eyes like Valerie's," he said, quietly.

"She had blue eyes?" Scully tried again, hoping that comment would get him to
talk.

"Yes, but that's not up for discussion." He got up and paced the room. His
eyes strayed to his wall of pictures than back to Scully.

"If I estimated right, Agent Scully, your partner should come to rescue soon.
And," he started as if he read her mind, "I doubt he'll bring back-up."

Holiday Inn
Outside Mark and Mulder's room
8:23 a.m.

Mark shuffled through his pockets for the keys. He had just come from
breakfast with Sam and Skinner, and they had spent most of it discussing
Mulder. Mark already had some ideas about Mulder and Scully's partnership
before he started working with them, but now if seemed as if the rumors were
true. Not about them being romantically involved, he noticed, but about the
fact they had such a strong relationship. <How that doesn't turn into sex is
beyond me, though> Mark thought as found his key. It seemed the only thing
keeping Fox Mulder afloat was Dana Scully.

Mark was about to put his key in the door when he noticed something
taped to it. It was a note, scribbled in handwritting Mark had come to recognize
over the last few days as Mulder's.

Left to find Scully. She's at 18 2nd Street. Be back later.
Mulder.

The sloppiness and laziness of the penmanship told Mark that Mulder was
tired, still had a headache, and had just run off into the night to save his
partner without any back-up.

Yes, Skinner was going to _love_ this.

18 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA
9:01 a.m.

Mulder had ran. Second street wasn't that far from the Holiday Inn,
but with a concussion, it was a difficult trip. And the aspirin wasn't doing anything.
Reaching down for his gun, Mulder swore softly when he remembered he was
presently "without gun". The one at his ankle was missing too, and he was
beginning to wonder whether this was such a good idea.

He found the front door open; it was a bit too convenient and sent a chill
down his spine. Keeping his back to the wall, he moved quickly down the
hallway and into the kitchen.

<Yup, someone is definitely living here.> McDonald's bags, empty soda cans
and molding food was strewn on the floor and table. <Well, at least there's
no liquor.> Mulder's head began throbbing full force then, and he squeezed
his eyes tightly shut against the sunlight coming through the big windows.
<Maybe I should get Skinner...>

"Mulder RUN!!!!!!!!!"

Mulder jumped at the voice. He could swear it was Scully. He stood
frozen in place. "Scully?" he called out.

"RUN!!!!!!!!! I'm bait!"

Angry footsteps stormed the hallway, and those were definitely _not_
Scully's. Mulder jumped into action, turning this way and that, trying to
figure out the direction from which the voice had come, and hoping it was
the opposite from the direction of the footsteps.

"Scully?" he yelled.

"Run, Mulder!!! I'm! Just! Bait!"

<What the hell...?> The footsteps were getting closer. Against his best
judgment, Mulder ran towards the footsteps, knowing very well he couldn't
fight off any criminal without his gun. He turned into the hallway and
collided with the man he had met days ago outside the fire escape. <Shit,
this would be nicer if it made any _sense_!> Mulder thought, suddenly
realizing that none of this was adding up.....

But this wasn't the time for equations. Not with a criminal, a tall one at
that, fully prepared to kill him. Mulder wanted more than anything to stay
and get Scully, but he knew he couldn't do it alone. He ducked under the
killer's arm and stared to sprint down the hall, but a strong hand grabbed
his collar, stopping him and pulling him back before he made it two inches.
Mulder choked and spun around.

"Hi, asshole," the killer greeted him.

"Hey," Mulder said hoarsely. He tried again to make a run for it but the
death grip was tight.

A new voice was suddenly present. "Hey, Bryan."

Bryan Kennedy turned, dragging Mulder with him.

"Scully," Mulder whispered.

Scully stood, looking perfectly well and healthy, with a large
kitchen knife in her hand.

"Hi, Mulder," she said. Her doctor's gaze quickly ran him over and decided
he was in no condition to run away by himself. "Okay, Bryan, whaddaya say
you let my partner go. We know it's me you really want."

"Stupid," Bryan Kennedy spat. He let go of Mulder's collar and grabbed his
arm right above the elbow, twisting it back to a nearly impossible position.
"You _know_ it's him I want. And now I've got him. Hey, whaddaya say you
give me my sister back?" he sneered at Scully. "Sister: partner. Easy deal."

"She didn't take your sister," Mulder growled. "Neither of us did damnit."

"Oh is that so?" Bryan said in a light, mocking tone. He yanked on Mulder's
arm, pulling it to a place it was not supposed to be, and causing Mulder to
scream in pain.

Scully advanced, the kitchen knife held in front of her like a shiny rapier,
but she wasn't sure exactly what she was going to do with it. She could see
the gun stuck in Bryan's belt and knew that he could kill Mulder right then
and there if he felt like it. And judging by the look on Bryan's face, he
was pretty close to feeling like it.

"Oh, and what _are_ you going to do with that?" Bryan mocked. Scully's eyes
narrowed to a glare but she didn't move. The silence was terrible as the
three stood stock still, Mulder whimpering now and then in pain from his
shoulder, a grandfather clock in the corner ticking out the seconds.

Bryan yanked out his gun and Scully gasped. "Don't..." she pleaded.

He raised the gun up to Mulder's head and Scully squeezed her eyes shut.

Thud

Scully opened her eyes. "Pow" was more like what she was expecting. But,
no, Bryan hadn't shot her partner, he had simply whacked him over the head.

Thud

The second one knocked Mulder out cold and he slumped against Bryan.
The gun was still poised in Bryan's hand. Scully dropped the knife.

"Well, then," Bryan said. He kicked Mulder in the stomach and he groaned but
didn't wake up. Bryan kicked him again and Scully winced, hearing his ribs
crack. Mulder's eyes drifted open, and for a minute he looked like he had
decided to go back to sleep but then he seemed to remember where he was and
struggled to his feet, gripping the moldings on the wall to keep from falling again.

"You shit," Scully growled. In one swift motion, she grabbed the knife off
the floor, and lunged at Bryan. Mulder couldn't see what she was doing
through the spots in his vision but he heard "Mulder run! I'll be fine!" and,
knowing he wouldn't be any good to Scully like this, he did run. The early
morning was warm, and he managed to make it halfway to the Holiday Inn
before collapsing on the sidewalk.

2nd Street
9:15 a.m.

Scully fled the house, glancing over her shoulder as she did. The knife she
had used to gain her escape was still in her hands and she threw it on the
ground, not caring where it landed. She ran along 2nd Street looking for
any sign of Mulder.

She soon found him, in a heap, only about 150 yards away from prison she had
just escaped. She immediately bent down next to him, and forgetting her
ordeal, began to check his injuries.

As soon as she touched him, he groaned, and hazel eyes opened shakily to
greet her. "You're ok," he said softly, and began to reach out his hand to
touch her, when a pain spasm hit. The black spots were back, but he vowed he wouldn't
pass out. Not till he was positive Scully was all right.

'I'm fine," she said back. "He didn't hurt me." She gently unwrapped one
his hands and unbuttoned his shirt to get a closer look at his ribs. She
gasped when she saw the gigantic purple bruises starting to form. She
needed to get him to a hospital. She was afraid the ribs were broken, and she
could only pray that one of them wouldn't puncture a lung.

Mulder gasped when she felt the area, but didn't keep his eyes off of her.
"I was so afraid he was going to hurt you....." Mulder voice was weak, but
it held emotion. He reached to touch her again, just to make sure she was
real.

"I'm fine. It's okay," Scully said soothingly, emotion threatening her own
voice as well. She needed to pull herself together, so she could help Mulder.
She forgot about her two days captive, and concentrated on him.

"Mulder, you don't happen to have your cell phone with you," she
asked, hoping.

Mulder swallowed sluggishly, the pain threatening to give in unconsciousness,

and nodded. "Pocket," he managed to say before the unconsciousness won out.

Scully started to check for his phone, and found it. It was crushed a
little, but when Scully turned it on, it came to life. <Thank God> she
thought as she dialed 911 and told them of her whereabouts.

No sooner had she hung up the phone when she heard a car turn the
corner. It spotted her and pulled over. Mark and Skinner ran out and rushed toward
her.

"Agent Scully are you all right?" Skinner asked before he even reached her.

Scully didn't look away from Mulder as she answered, "I'm fine. But Agent
Mulder is a different story." As she was speaking she reached for his wrist
and took his pulse. It would only take a first-year med student to recognize
the early signs of shock. "I called 911, and they should-"

Scully was interrupted by sound of sirens and the sight of flashing lights.

"37-year-old male with-" Mark watched with awe as Scully turned
professional. She had just been through an ordeal, yet she was able to pull
it together. She talked her way into the ambulance and soon it was speeding
away.

Hospital
12:08 p.m.

Scully sat the waiting room, waiting for word on Mulder. She fidgeted with
her hands and glanced at her watch. 12:09. Mulder had been in surgery for
about an hour and a half. She recalled the doctors shaking their heads at all
the injuries that Mulder had picked up. Broken ribs, internal bleeding, two
concussions(though Scully was unsure how he got the first one), dehydration,
anemia, shock, fever, and a dislocated shoulder were just a few.

Yet she had a feeling this case was far from over. She had been too busy
getting away and worrying about Mulder to think about Kennedy. She had a
feeling she was going to reprimanded when she wrote that in her report.

What was she going to write in her report? She had held Bryan Kennedy at
kinfepoint while Mulder tried to get away. She hoped that Skinner and Mark
had managed to get him. She wanted that bastard in jail more than she could
ever express.

"Agent Scully." Scully turned to see Skinner standing next to her, two cups
of coffee in his hands. He handed on to Scully and sat down next to her.

"How is he?"

Scully took a sip from the coffee, reveling in its warmness. She never
realized she took this kinds of things for granted. "There was some internal
bleeding, sir. One of his ribs punctured his spleen. Luckily, it's only a
small bleed. He's in surgery right now having it repaired."

Skinner nodded and Scully asked the question she had wanted to know.

"Sir, did you find Bryan Kennedy?"

Skinner sighed and shook his head. "He was nowhere in the vicinity. Looks
like he abandoned the place. But he couldn't have gotten far. I have people
checking every place in LA We'll find him."

Scully nodded, unsure that they would find him. "Did he leave any signs?"

Skinner nodded again. "A post-it note addressed to Mulder." He pulled
something from his pocket. It was a photocopy of the note.

Agent Mulder, I'd brush up on your math for the future....

"He's still around." She took another sip of coffee, realizing that this
nightmare was most likely far from over.

"We'll find him," Skinner said firmly.

Scully thought as she glanced toward the hall.

2:59 p.m.
Hospital

"Nice of you to join us," Scully said and squeezed Mulder's hand. His eyes
were confused, still glazed with fever from the infection, and he looked sad
and quiet, but he was going to be all right.

"You're--" Mulder started but broke off coughing. Scully held a cup to his
lips and he drank, letting the cold water soothe his dry throat. His ribs ached.

"I'm _fine_, Mulder. He didn't hurt me at all. I was bait, to get
you. Why Bryan Kennedy wanted you, though, I still don't know."

He nodded then his eyes met hers questioningly.

Scully shook her head. "He'll still out there. But don't worry. Mark and
Sam Fuchs are working on it as we speak." She noticed his eyelids starting
to droop. "Why don't you get some sleep and I'll stay right here."

"No," Mulder said, struggling to sit up. Scully pushed him back down but he
continued talking. "You need to rest. You need to be checked out.
Hospital..."

Scully figured the medication as well of the fever was affecting his sanity
at the moment. "Don't worry. He didn't lay a finger on me. I had a
comfortable bed and he gave me food and everything. It's okay. I'm okay.
Go to sleep now and I'll be right here."

End Part 06 of 08.
=========================

Part 07 of 08.

Hospital
5:13 p.m.

Scully hadn't heard another peep from Mulder when Skinner arrived two hours
later. He arrived with an armful of manila folders, crammed full of files and
photos and paperwork.

"How is he?" Skinner asked quietly.

Scully looked up at him and sighed. "Hi, sir. He's going to be okay, but I
just hope we can keep him resting here. He's still so traumatized by the
fact that Kennedy was holding me as number 18... Sir, Kennedy never hurt me at
all. He said I was only bait to pull Mulder in. But I don't know why he'd want
Mulder... I mean..." She broke off and sighed again.

Skinner, shifting the folders into one arm, put a hand on her shoulder.
"It's okay. You went through _a lot_ and you need time to rest, too."

"That's just the thing sir! I think I got more rest and relaxation in at
Kennedy's than I would've working on the case! It was like a freakin' spa
over there, minus the mud baths. And everyone's treating me like I've been
through some big, scary experience of being held hostage. Sir, I've _been_
held hostage before. This was more like a... a bad date. Or something.
Where I had to stay after for coffee at his house, and it was just mildly
uncomfortable! I wish everyone would stop--"

"Scu..."

Scully spun around when she heard Mulder's weak voice trying to get her
attention. She grabbed the water cup and let him drink from it, then helped
him sit up a little, placing a steadying hand on his shoulder when he got
dizzy and had to close his eyes.

"Hello, Agent Mulder, how are you feeling?" Skinner asked.

"He's going on to number 19," Mulder whispered.

"Yes, he is," Skinner told him. "But right now that should be the least of
your concerns. We've got Mark and Sam on it and I hear they're getting closer
to Kennedy's whereabouts as we speak. Mulder, you need to concentrate on
getting better now, so you can help us in the future."

"Future," Mulder said, tasting the word. He stared up at the ceiling and
then down at his hands and Scully realized just how out of it he was. She
probably shouldn't have let him sit up. "No future, sir," Mulder said
loudly, making Scully jump. "_Now_," he told them. "I need to help _now_."

"Mulder, you're in no condition to be sitting up, let alone solving a case or
chasing around a serial killer. Now, I'm going to go get the nurse and have
her increase your pain medication 'cause I can see you're about to pass out
from--"

"NO!"

Scully gently put her hands on his shoulders and pushed him down. "Skinner
and I are going to the VCS office to work on this. _You_ , get some sleep."

Mulder scowled but watched the two of them leave. He glared after them.
"We'll see about _that_," he said. He got to work, pulling out IV lines,
trying to swing his legs over the side of the bed.

VCS Office
Los Angeles, CA
5:31 p.m.

"I thought you said you were making progress!" Skinner barked.

Mark cowered behind Sam.

Scully put a hand on the AD's arm. "Sir, how about I try to help them. Sam
has only been on this case for a couple days, after all."

Skinner softened. "All right. Gentlemen, listen to Agent Scully.
I'm going to get some coffee," he muttered.

Hospital
5:31 p.m.

"Yeah, this could be a problem," Mulder said. He had managed to get out of
bed and unconnected himself from everything he was connected to. Taking off
the bandage that held his ribs together had been much harder, and Mulder was
beginning to wonder if he really should have done it.

Mulder thought, resting for a moment in the visitor's chair. Even Mulder
knew that after getting two concussions in the span of about as many days,
it was not a good idea to mess with it.

"Clothes, clothes, come out come out wherever you are," Mulder said. His
burning eyes scanned the room before stopping on a bulging plastic bag
across the room. Slowly, in an attempt to avoid the nausea each movement brought,
Mulder stood up and went over to the bag. "Yessssss." Clothes.

He got the jeans on with relatively little difficulty, but the shirt was
another story. His shoulder had been dislocated by Kennedy and was
currently in some sort of device that kept it in holy matrimony with his chest. And a
pull-over T-shirt was in the bag. <Scully, what were you _thinking_?>

Mulder knew what she had been thinking. She had been thinking that it would
be at least a week before he was to wear these clothes and that by then he
wouldn't be having all of these difficulties.

<Screw it.> Mulder dug in the bag to see what else she had packed. Razor,
toothbrush.... no time for those now. A pullover the head sweater was also
included in the bag as well as a Jean jacket. He thought he could manage
the jacket, but of course he'd need something under it.

<Hm...> Mulder glanced over to his roommate who was sleeping soundly. He had
a plastic bag full of clothes too. "Hope you don't mind if I borrow a few of
these, buddy."

Mulder found a button down flannel in his roommate's bag and quickly put it
on. He couldn't fit it over his arm with the contraption so he let it drape
over, letting the sleeve on that side hang limp. The buttons were near
impossible with one hand, and he managed to button the bottom half of the
shirt before giving up. He looked pretty ridiculous. He had forgotten that
his roommate was a couple feet taller than himself and the shirt was almost
down to his knees. <Always time for a fashion statement!>

Grabbing the jean jacket, he stuck one arm into it and draped it over the
other shoulder, then ran out the door. No time to sign himself out. He had
a criminal to catch.

VCS office
6:05 p.m.

"He could be anywhere!"

Scully threw up her hands in frustration. And she had only been working for
35 minutes. Though she prided herself on her patience(she had enough with
Mulder), it was growing dangerously thin now. She was ready to scream, and
felt like if she didn't get some air soon she would.

"Excuse me," she said as she passed by Mark and Sam and pushed open the door.
After a quick walk down the hallway, she was outside and staring at the starless night.

"Number 19," she muttered, and glanced down at her feet. He was near, and
was going to strike again. That she knew. But this wasn't about little
girls now. This was some sick obsession that Byran Kennedy had with his
sister. And it seemed as if he held Mulder responsible. But that wasn't
possible. According to records Kennedy's sister, Valerie, had disappeared
in 1969. Mulder would have only been 9 years old then. His own sister hadn't
even been abducted yet.

<Why would Kennedy want Mulder and not me? I'm investigating,
too........This makes no sense. He didn't even touch me.> She thought for
a minute and sighed. <Back to number 19, then.> The last name would begin
with R, that she knew. <That sure narrows it down> she thought as the last names
that began with R started running through her head. Reeves, Reed, Rodes,
Rosa, Ryan......the possibilities seemed endless! They would have to start
looking up last names of eight year old girls that attend or attended
Lincoln Elementary.

She sighed again. The cool night air, that was comforting just a minute ago,
was now cold and uncomfortable. She walked back inside and stood in the
hallway for a second. Her eyes scanned the wall as she dreaded walking back
inside that room. Her eyes came across a bulletin board, and something came
back to her. Kennedy had a bulletin board in his kitchen, right next to the
refrigerator. She remember it had various papers tacked to it and a stack of
folders on a chair next to it. She hoped he hadn't had time to take them with
him. Perhaps that stuff was in evidence. She walked quickly into the room,
her fingers crossed. Why hadn't she thought of this before? Maybe the key
to something was in those papers.

<Of course they could just be old math tests> part of her brain told her, but
Scully just shut that part out. She re-entered the room, practically rushing
to the table. Mark and Sam looked up, startled.

"Did you find folders at the house?" The words were rushed, and hard
to understand.

"Whoah, slow down," Sam said. "Folders?"

Scully nodded. "And papers on a bulletin board. He had a lot of
papers. Maybe there's something in them."

Mark nodded. "Yeah we did! Mostly some old math papers, but we
didn't get through everything. I'd go get them."

Mark left in a rush to get the papers. Scully crossed her fingers
again and hoped that they would hold something.

VCS office
6:39 p.m.

Twenty minutes had passed and Scully was sick at looking through math paper
after math paper. And some were 6 years old! Obviously Kennedy had some
strange attachment to his student's homework. They were going nowhere. She
was ready to give up. They had no idea where Kennedy was, and why he was
after Mulder. They only knew his next victim's last name would begin with
an R. No much to go on, but at least it was a start.

Scully sighed and picked up another folder. She opened it and stopped dead
in her tracks as she saw what was inside.

Notes were scribbled in Kennedy's handwriting:

Notes to self:
Valerie-disappeared 27 November 1969(like how could I
forget??)--check records from source.
Records located, talk with contact--he wants cash
Copies of records enclosed in this new folder--originals held with me

The rest of the paper was blank and Scully starting to scan the contents of
the rest of the folder. Records indeed! What was inside was government
documents. Documents that, no doubt, the government would want back if they
knew they were holding them in evidence. A medical report on Valerie
Josephine Kennedy, very detailed and private. The date written at the top
was November 29, 1969. Scully found herself reading the details, which included
an egg harvest. She quickly shuffled past the paper, fearing her own memories
would surface if she continued to read. The files had detailed information on
Valerie, but stopped abruptly with one last paper, dated December 15, 1969.
It was signed at the bottom by two people. One name she didn't recognize but
the other caused her blood to run cold, and she almost dropped the folder.

She blinked again as the name William Mulder stared back at her.

"Oh my God," she whispered. She now knew why Kennedy was after Mulder. He
blamed Mulder's father for Valerie's disappearance. And after seeing these
records, Scully would probably have blamed him, too. It was normal that
Kennedy would want to seek revenge. Any normal human being would. But she
knew William Mulder was dead, and had a feeling that Kennedy discovered that
too. But his son, Fox Mulder, was alive and trying to stop him. It was the
next best thing. Kennedy didn't know everything that happened between
Mulder and his father, in fact Scully herself didn't even know. But there was one
thing she was sure of: Kennedy was out for revenge and wasn't going to stop
till he got any.

VCS office
7:02 p.m.

"He's going to try again, yes, but he's going to try to take Mulder in again."

Skinner entered the room and saw Scully standing, a folder in her hands,
arguing with Mark, who was also standing.

"Mulder's in the hospital. He couldn't go after a killer now, even if he
wanted to. You yourself said he's not even strong enough to stand, let
alone go running out into the night."

"Yes, I said that, but you don't know Mulder. He'd do it anyway."
Scully began rubbing her head, as if in frustration.

"I agree with Agent Scully," Skinner said, and the trio turned to
see him in the doorway. "But he's still too out of it to do it. Yet."

Scully nodded. "So, what's been going on? Are we any closer?"
Skinner asked, and Scully sat down, placing the folder in front of her.

"Well, we know he's going to try again, sir. With another girl with
a last name beginning with R. Unfortunately there are a lot of girls that fit that
category."

"15 to be exact," Sam added, and Scully nodded.

"Yes, and I suggested we go through the papers that were taken from Kennedy's
home, to see if they held any clues. They were mostly math tests and
worksheets, but then I came across this." Scully held up the paper she had
discovered, knowing at once Skinner would know its value. Mark and Sam
understood the fact that Kennedy would want revenge on who took his sister,
but they had no idea how finding Mulder's father's name on that document
would do to Mulder. She dreaded telling him later what they found.

"Are you going to show this to Mulder?" Skinner asked.

"I'll have to, sir. Once the people he got this document from find
out that evidence has it...." She trailed off, not believing she had just told her
boss that. Skinner just folded the paper in half.

"What evidence?" he said, innocently. "All we found were math
papers."

Scully's face broke into a grin. "Thank you, sir."

Hospital
7:36 p.m.

Scully clutched the folder at her side as she walked down the hall toward
Mulder's room. She hoped he was sleeping so she could put off discussing
the case for at least a while. She walked into his door and past his roommate
and then groaned at what she saw.

Disconnected IV lines were dripping on the floor and the heart monitor had
been turned off(something Mulder must have picked up from his countless
trips to the hospital no doubt), and clothes littered the bed.

"Damn you Fox Mulder!" Scully shouted to one in particular. "Damn!"

Los Angeles
7:36 p.m.

"Damn, damn, damn, damn, damn, damn and _damn_," Mulder said. This
was beyond stupid. This had to be one of the most positively ridiculous things
he had done in his life. "Okay, how about a street sign here?" Mulder asked
the mostly vacant street. He stopped a lady. "Excuse me, ma'am, do you know
what street we're on?"

The lady stared first at Mulder, then at the bandage on his head, and apparently
took him to be a recent escapee from the local psychiatric hospital, and she
began to run away. Mulder followed after her a few steps then, knowing he
wouldn't last long, turned. At the next corner garbage can, he lost the
bandage. Looking up, Mulder saw a street sign. He was on the corner of
second street.

Second street. Kennedy. And possibly Scully and Mark and Skinner and Sam,
too. But where would they be? How about number 18? Mulder hurried down
the street.

VCS Office
Los Angeles, CA
7:50 p.m.

"Where is he?" Mark asked when Scully walked into the room.

"Gone."

Skinner looked up from the papers he was reading. "_Gone_? As in..."

Scully sighed. "It looks like he checked himself out. I talked to his
roommate who hadn't noticed Mulder leave, but he hadn't noticed anyone enter
the room either, so it doesn't look like Kennedy kidnapped him. Mulder
certainly would've put up enough of a fight to wake up his roommate if that
had happened."

"So are we going to look for him?" Mark asked.

"I don't know. I mean, maybe we could split up. Finding Kennedy and finding
Mulder are about equal on the priority scale, cause finding Mulder will do no
good if Kennedy's just going to come back and steal him from us."

"Yes, but what if we find Kennedy and Mulder's stuck out there, wandering all
night," Skinner said. "Agent Scully, you said it yourself. He's not
completely with it. Who knows what trouble he might get into out there?"

"I know. I know," Scully said tiredly.

"Hey, sir, Mark and I thought we might as well check out number 19. You
know, the nineteenth victim and all. He might've set up in house 19," Sam
said.

"All right, go ahead. Agent Scully, go back to the hotel and get some rest.
We can take it from here. And, don't worry, I'll stay here in case Mulder
shows up."

Scully was about to argue but she knew she wasn't getting anywhere
on the case anyway, so she nodded to the AD and left.

2nd Street
8:10 p.m.

"Hey did you hear something?" Mark said. He was pressed against the wall,
moving slowly, gun up, in a routine position, in 19 2nd Street.

"Paranoid," Sam muttered but gave his friend a "I'm kidding!" smile.
"Yeah I did actually. But it came from the house next door. These houses are so
close anyway, you can hear everything."

Mark suddenly stopped walking and Sam almost bumped into him. "What
is it?" Sam demanded.

"Well, this whole street is abandoned, right?"

"Yeah, pretty much," Sam said, shrugging.

"Then a noise next door could very well be our killer!" Mark said.
He turned around and started walking towards the door leading outside.

"Hey, wait a sec." Sam grabbed Mark's sleeve and pulled him around.
"Next door that way is..... house 17. We've checked there already, there's no
killer in 17."

"Seventeen..." Mark said to himself. "That's how old his sister was. That's
the magic number."

"I thought 18 was the magic number," Sam said.

"And four and eight and twelve and seventeen," Mark told him.
"There's a lot of magic numbers. C'mon, let's check out number seventeen. Stay behind
me."

17 2nd Street
8:13 p.m.

"Freeze. Put your hands up. We're federal agents."

"Uh, _you're_ a fed, I'm just a cop, " Sam reminded Mark. He was
greeted with a loud hiss signifying "shut up!".

Mulder stopped in his tracks. <Shit> he thought. <They caught me.>
He put his hands over his head.

"All right, now turn around," Mark commanded.

Mulder started to turn. <Wait a minute. They can't catch me. I
didn't do anything wrong!>

"Turn around, I said," Mark said.

Mulder turned slowly. "Mark, it's me. Mark, it's me, Mulder."

Mark blinked then ran over to Mulder who looked on the verge of
collapse. "Man, what are _you_ doing _here_?"

"I could ask you the same thing," Mulder said, weakly. He accepted Mark's
help over to a kitchen chair and collapsed in it. Sam and Mark took the
other two chairs.

"Scully's gonna kill you," Sam told him, matter-of-factly.

"You're a quick one. So what are you guys doing?" Mulder asked.

"Well, we were in house 19 since, you know, it's the nineteenth victim so we
figured he could be in house 19. We didn't find anything there, but we heard
noises coming from this house so we came over and saw someone and thought it
was the killer but it turned out to be... you," Mark said.

Mulder sighed. "So where are we going to look next?"

Sam and Mark exchanged looks. "_We're_ not looking anywhere. _We're_ going
to dump you off at the VCS office with the AD and then me and Mark are going
to check out some of the other houses on the street."

Mulder was struggling. "No! What are you _talking_ about? You need me, I
know this guy inside and out. I need to work on this. Why do you think I
came all this way??"

"Frankly, my dear, I have no idea," Sam said. "Cause you're about to be
thrown back in the hospital once Skinner and Scully find out."

"But," Mulder said and his eyebrows raised mischievously. "They're not going
to find out. At least not before I find this fucker. And if you guys utter
one word to either of them, I'm going to... I'm going to... well, something
bad. I'll find something bad and then I'm going to do it to you."

They stared at him.

"So, either of you have a spare gun?" Mulder asked and, wincing in
pain, stood up.

End Part 07 of 08.
=========================

Part 08 of 08.

Holiday Inn
Scully's Room
8:19 p.m.

Scully tried to rest, but her thoughts kept wandering toward the door. Every
time she heard a noise, she keep thinking it could be Mulder. She kept
praying it was Mulder. No such luck. She sat up and rubbed her weary eyes,
knowing that sleep was what she needed, but also knowing she would never get
any. She grabbed her badge and gun off the dresser and headed out the door.

She would find Kennedy or Mulder. Hopefully she would find Mulder first,
because if she found Kennedy first, she didn't want to know _what_ she'd do.

13 2nd Street
8:35 p.m.

"Why are we at number 13 again?" Sam asked as he crept behind
Mulder, hand on his gun.

"He was 13 when his sister was taken," Mark replied, before Mulder
had a chance.

Mulder nodded in agreement, as a hollow sound of metal dropping echoed
through the thin night. He turned to Mark, his face still pale in the
moonlight, and nodded again. "He's here. He's toying with us."

"Toying?" Mark asked, as he gripped his gun even more tightly than before.
If Mulder said he was here, Mark didn't doubt it.

Mulder turned, wincing in pain as he did, and stared up toward an
open window. Sam caught his glance and started to shake his head.

"There is no way in _hell_ that you are going to climb through that
window! Even if we did help you, you are in no shape-"

"Who said that I was going to climb through it? I was just _glancing_ at
it," Mulder said innocently, as he walked toward it. "It's only about ten
feet up, though...."

Mark was already walking toward it. He sighed. "Well at least be careful.
Scully's going to kill me if you get back in worse shape than you already
are. Oh, hell, she'll probably kill me anyway. I'll help you up."

Sam watched in awe as Mark gave Mulder a boost up toward the window.

"You guys are nuts!"

"Well, nuts or not, if you don't help me here, Scully will have both
your hides," Mulder said with a grin.

"Yeah, well, as soon as you got out of traction, she'd have your hide, too,"
Sam grumbled, but helped Mulder up toward the window.

Mulder peered in and saw an empty room, with nothing on the floor, except for
a few boxes. A door was ajar, propped open by a box. The room was deserted
and dusty, but Mulder knew that someone had been there. He just _felt_ it.
A sudden wave of dizziness decided to rear its ugly head and Mulder felt himself
teetering. He grabbed the window sill to steady himself He felt himself
stumble, and prayed he wouldn't fall. <Not now.> He was grateful as the
dizziness passed and he was able to see straight again. He hands reached the
window and pulled. Sure enough, it was open, just as he expected. <It's a
trap, Mulder> his logical mind told him, but Mulder rarely listened to his
logical mind. This bastard had already killed 17 times. He be damned if he
made it 18.

"Lift me up higher," Mulder instructed and he tried to climb through the
window, gasping in pain as his ribs were rammed into the window ledge in the
process. It didn't stop him and soon he was in the house, a bit woozy, but
still in one piece.

His head throbbed as he called out the window that he would let Mark and Sam
in. He walked through the door, and surprisingly managed to descend the
chairs with out passing out. He reached the front door and could hear
Mark's voice just outside it. Mulder glanced around, somehow thinking this was all
too good to be true.

And as he laid his hand on the door knob, he realized that it was.

"Nice running into you again, Agent Mulder."

VCS
8:55 p.m.

"Any word, sir?" were the first words out of Scully's mouth as she entered
the office.

"Agent Scully, I sent you back to the hotel to _rest_," Skinner said as
Scully sat across from him.

"Well, sir, I couldn't sleep," Scully said simply.

Skinner eyed her for a minute but let her off, knowing that he wouldn't be
able to get her to sleep into she saw Mulder, safe and sound and dragged him
kicking and screaming back to the hospital.

"There's been no word. Chambers and Fuchs are looking, so maybe
we'll have something soon."

Scully nodded and got up. "Well, I'm going to find them."

Skinner rose and grabbed her arm before she could leave the room. "Agent
Scully, Kennedy got you once, I'm sure he wouldn't hesitate to take you
again."

"But, sir, he doesn't want me, he wants-"

"Mulder." A voice finished for her. Skinner looked up and saw Mark
and Sam, both out of breath standing in the doorway.

"And he got him," Mark said as he began to catch his breath.

"What?" Scully asked.

Mark sat down and Scully waited for him to completely catch his breath. "We
found Mulder. At 17 Second Street, looking for Kennedy."

"You what?!" Scully turned toward him. "Is he all right?"

"He was doing, ......ok," Mark said hesitantly, and Scully knew right away
that that meant he looked like shit and probably felt like it too.

"And?" Scully urged, getting impatient.

"We went to number 13-"

"After Mulder conned us into it," Sam interrupted.

Mark nodded, Scully resisted her anger, and urged him to continue.

"Well, he saw an empty window and before we knew it-"

"You were hoisting him up into it," Scully finished for him tiredly.
<Damn, Mulder!>

Mark nodded again. "And well, Kennedy was inside, and-"

"Oh my God," Scully whispered, and had to sit down.

Skinner brought her a glass of water. He turned to Sam and Mark.
"Let's get some back-up."

13 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA
8:40 p.m
.

Kennedy had already taken Mulder's gun and had him cowering in a
corner after only five minutes of being in the same room as him.

"So, Mr. Mulder," Bryan Kennedy said.

"Actually, I'm a doctor," Mulder said. He nodded his head weakly and
continued on, knowing he sounded stupid, but was willing to try anything to
delay Kennedy until Mark and Sam returned with back-up. They _had_ to notice
that Mulder was missing, so they should be coming soon, right...? "Yeah, a
doctor," he continued. "Not a medical doctor, that's my partner, the medical
doctor, but I'm a doctor of.... the mind. You know, I have a degree in
psychology."

"Is that so, Mr. Mulder?"

"Mm hm. I'm glad I have a psychology degree cause then I can go up to people
and say, 'Hey, excuse me, it's _Dr._, not Mister.' Mulder, I mean. Yeah, it
comes in handy when I'm profiling too. When I've got a sicko killing 8 year
olds, something like that." Mulder was pretty sure he had begun rambling
but he was too scared to care.

"All right, _Dr._ Mulder?"

"Yes?"

"Shut up, Dr. Mulder," Bryan said. "Now, how about we talk about
your father."

"How about we don't? Let's talk about your tendency towards killing innocent
little girls because of something that happened _a long time ago_." Mulder
felt dizzy and reached a hand out towards the wall to brace himself.

"Well you see, _I'm_ the one with the gun, _you're_ the one in the lower
position. Now, we're going to discuss what _I_ want to discuss. Got that?"

13 2nd Street
Los Angeles, CA
9:17 p.m.

Sleepless nights, various injury, too much worry of his partner: they were
all catching up with him. Mulder had to fight to stay conscious as Bryan
Kennedy continued to interrogate him.

"I told you, I don't know," Mulder replied weakly. His head was spinning and
pounding at the same time and he wanted nothing more than to curl up on the
cold cement floor and pass out.

"Well you know what, that's just not going to do it," Bryan said. "I need
some answers."

"That's gonna be hard because I don't have any," Mulder said. He was
unprepared for Bryan's response. Kennedy lunged at him with a large kitchen
knife (one that looked remarkably like the one Scully had attacked Kennedy
with earlier). Mulder managed to duck the first time, but Bryan was there
when he looked up again and scratched the knife high along Mulder's cheek,
coming dangerously close to his right eye. Mulder guessed that he _had_
been aiming for his eye but had just missed. Bryan lunged again and Mulder
ducked, falling to the ground in his attempt to flee, and cracking the back of his
already pounding head hard against the wall. <Oh wonderful. _Another_
concussion?> He opened his eyes and the world spun around him. <Is that
possible? Three, four?, in a week? I'm not sure...>

"Pay attention when I speak to you!" Bryan commanded him. Mulder struggled
to focus his eyes but apparently he wasn't quick enough. Bryan grabbed him
by his shoulders (the previously dislocated one caused Mulder to scream) and
yanked him to his feet. Mulder's brain couldn't catch up with all of this
sudden motion and he fell down to his hands and knees, vomiting on the hard
floor.

"Asshole." Bryan kicked Mulder in the stomach, knocking the air out of him.
As he was trying to recover, Bryan continued to kick at his torso, knocking
around the old injured ribs. He was still kicking Mulder when the door bust
open.

"FBI. Put your hands in the air," a female voice commanded. Bryan looked up
and saw his worst nightmare. What looked like the entire LAPD as well as
various detectives, G-men and women and others that were holding up badges
stood in the doorway. And, with a gun pointed in his direction, was Agent
Mulder's partner.

Hospital
Three days later
11:47 a.m.

Everything ached. The idea of opening his eyes was totally unappealing at
this point. His head was _killing_ him and his side ached. His throat hurt.
Add these to his list of previous injuries and the only word he could properly
use to describe himself was "mess."

"Mulder." The voice sounded far away, though Mulder's mangled brain
told him it was close by.

"Mulder, wake up. Please." The last word pleaded and had a slight hint of
worry to it. Mulder recognized the voice immediately. But the worry in the
voice began to worry him.

Finally he pried his eyes open, and was met by a blurry swirl of colors, all
mixing before his very eyes. The effect was so dizzying that Mulder was
afraid he would throw up.

"Just take some deep breaths, Mulder. It will help the dizziness go away,"
Scully instructed in her always calm voice. He followed her instructions
and soon the room came into focus, along with Scully's concerned face.

"Scully," he managed and was surprised how rusty his voice sounded
to his own ears.

"Here," Scully said, as she fed him a spoonful of ice chips. He accepted
them gratefully. He settled back after taking three spoonfuls and got his
first good look at Scully in days.

She looked healthy. Her hair felt loose, more wavy than he ever remembered
it. She had some make-up on, and if not for the black circles under her
eyes, he'd say she looked fine. She was okay. The sentence seemed to only
register then, and without thinking, he reached his hand up. It fell short as he
tugged the IV line. "You're okay," he said, his voice barely above a
whisper.

Scully took his hand in her own and settled on the edge of his bed. "I'm
fine," she said, stroking his hand with her finger, careful not to dislodge
the IV. For a few minutes the two partners just stared at each other,
almost as if completely entranced by each other.

And that's how AD Skinner found them. As his footsteps hit the
floor, the two people separated and Scully blushed, and nervously tucked a hair into
place.

"Hello, sir," she said.

"Hello, Agent Scully. Nice to see you awake, Agent Mulder."

"Awake," Mulder repeated, his voice still rusty. "How long have I
been out?" His question was directed to Scully and she answered it.

"Three days, Mulder," Scully said with a smile. "But three concussions in
the course of two days didn't help that at all." She gave him a disapproving
smile.

Mulder recognized the dull ache in his head, and realized that he must be on
the _good_ drugs, because he knew from experience that one concussion wasn't
fun, let alone _three_.

"I'm lucky I have a hard head," he said, grinning, but the grin turned into a
frown as a spasm hit his side unexpectedly.

Scully turned toward the door. "I think you're due for another shot."

The last thing Mulder wanted know was another needle, but as another
spasm hit he was happily excepting Scully's offer with open arms.

Five minutes later he was fighting to stay awake. Skinner excused
himself and left Scully alone with him.

"Mulder, don't fight it. You need some rest."

"I slept three days," he mumbled. His mind was jumbled and the events of the
last 4 days were fuzzy, but just as he was ready to close his eyes, one
thing stuck out in his memory.

"Scully," he said, his eyes closed, "what's Kennedy got to do with my
father?"

Scully opened her mouth to answer but Mulder was too tired to hear
her.

Hospital
The next day
2:34 p.m.

The next 24 hours were a blur for Mulder. Nurses and doctors in and out,
countless shots, and tests. He vaguely remembered Skinner coming back and
Mark and Sam visiting to ask how he was. But the one thing he remembered
most was Scully's voice, staying at his side the whole time. God, he hoped she
was getting some sleep. He hoped Mark or even Skinner was persuading her to get
some at the hotel. Even as his consciousness wasn't always there, Mulder
keep reliving that moment in his head.

(...Let's talk about your father...) His father? Why? His mind couldn't
put that together. He was never lucid enough to really think about it.

The next time he awoke, Scully was at his side again, in different clothes
than he remembered, so she must have been back at the hotel. He smiled when
he saw her and she smiled back. She was safe. And hopefully she would stay
that way; Mulder knew he would never survive without her.

But as he watched her sit in a chair next to his bedside, he knew he
wanted the answer to the question he'd asked before.

"Scully?"

"Yes?" She looked up and her cross caught the light, causing her to reach
toward her neck to adjust it. That simple gesture reminded Mulder about how
he never wanted to lose her.

"My father? Why?" The words were jumbled, the thought not clear, but Scully
knew exactly what he meant. She had dreaded telling him this since she
discovered it. But he had a right to know. She got up and went to the
window sill. She picked up a folder, and carried it over to him.

"Mulder, when I was going through some papers that were recovered from Bryan
Kennedy's first...." She paused. "...dwelling, I found this." She opened the
folder and took a piece of paper out and handed it to Mulder. She helped him
sit (quite painfully) make sure he didn't disturb the stitches his newest
blow to the ribs had earned him, and helped him hold the paper(quite
awkwardly) in his left hand, seeing his right was immobilized by a
dislocated shoulder.

Mulder blinked at the paper, almost impossible to read without his glasses.
Scully saw him squint, smiled, and placed his reading glasses into his left
hand. Careful of the IV, he put them on and glanced back at the paper.

The content of the paper may not have been as important, but as soon as
Mulder saw Valerie Kennedy's name he knew it meant something. And he went
pale at the sight of his father's signature at the bottom of the page. He was
involved. That's why Kennedy asked all those questions about his father.
He thought that William Mulder was somehow responsible for his sister's
abduction. And according to this single piece of paper, it looked like
Kennedy was right.

"Mulder-" Scully started but Mulder's own voice interrupted hers.

"I have to find out why my father's name is on this piece of paper."
It was a statement, not an idea. It was past being an idea. It was a plan.

Scully carefully laid her hand on his, knowing she could never tell him not
to look for the truth. It was part of who he was. It _was_ who he was.
And he had every right to know why his father's name was on that piece of paper.

"Well, what if you don't like what you find?" Scully asked,
carefully, her eyes meeting Mulder's determined hazel ones.

Mulder was silent for a moment, almost of if he didn't want to answer the
question. Finally he spoke his voice low but determined: "Well, no one ever
seems to like the truth. But I know it's out there, and that's enough to
keep me going, even if means find out some things I don't like. I have to know,
Scully. It's not the answer I'm afraid of, it's the questions I discover on
the way."

End Part 08 of 08.

"The end"

Okay, okay......before you start sending us countless e-mails saying "How
could you leave it off like that??", there _is_ a sequel in the works. So
look for "Pieces of the Past II: Searching" (it's a working title) coming
soon to a website near you. :-)
Oh, and any feedback goes to JenR13@aol.com, and JRDG1013@aol.com.