Part 01b of 11.

Medical Examiner's Office
6:15 p.m.

The place was almost deserted when Scully arrived. She spotted a man in blue
scrubs and guessing him to be John Jacobs, head medical examiner, and walked
over to him.

"Dr. Jacobs?" Scully asked when she reached him.

"Yes?" He looked up from the chart he was looking at.

"I'm Special Agent Dana Scully from the FBI. You were holding the body of
Sarah Martin for me to look at?" Scully said, an air of question to her last

"Ah, yes, Dr. Scully. I was expecting you. This way." He led her to the back
and to an autopsy bay. "It's all yours. I'll be reviewing cases at the main
desk if you need me."

Scully thanked him and watched him walk away. Then she got to work.

Medical Examiner's office
6:45 p.m.

Scully sighed. When she had first seen the body of Sarah Martins, she had
seen the cause of death was apparent. There was major bruising on the neck and
further examination confirmed strangulation as cause of death. But Scully was
puzzled as to how the strangling took place. There had to be an explanation.
She took off her latex gloves in frustration. There was nothing else to learn
from this autopsy. So she just cleaned up and headed back toward the car.

"Find anything new?" Dr. Jacobs asked, as she passed him on the way out.

Scully shook her head.

"I didn't think you would. It's just a puzzle."

You got that right thought Scully as she headed out the door. Now she
understood Mulder's fatigue. She was beginning to feel a little of it herself.

7:35 p.m.

Scully shook her head as she turned the key into the lock of her room. Just
as she was about to enter it, she was interrupted by a scream. She turned her
head and noticed it had come from Mulder's room.

"Sam! NO!!!!" she heard him scream, loud. She knew it was another dream. He
had many of them. She instinctively went for Mulder's door and turned the
handle. Surprisingly it was unlocked. She walked in and found the lights out
and Mulder tangled in the covers of his bed, in a white T-shirt and boxers,
twisting and turning.

"Sam--don't!!" Scully walked toward him to wake him when his cries changed.

"Scully--don't take Scully!! You already have Sam, don't take her too!" he
mumbled. Scully stood back at that call. Her? Why was he dreaming of her?
Mulder tended to believe that everything was his fault. I have to remind him

Her thoughts were cut off by Mulder muttering something else, unrecognizable.
She walked over and turned on the lamp next to his bed.

"Mulder," she said gently, shaking him. Mulder mumbled something else.
"Mulder. Mulder." She shook him a little harder. Finally hazel eyes greeted
her. A look of confusion crossed them, then a look of relief.

"Scully, you're here....," Mulder whispered. Scully noticed the beads of
sweat that covered his face. She would have dismissed it as normal, because of
the nightmare, but she also noticed his cheeks were flushed a light red. She
frowned in concern.

Mulder focused a bit more on his surroundings. He had been surprised to see
Scully's face looking into his own; but he felt relieved. Then he watched her
mouth turn into a frown, a look he knew a little _too_ well. He pushed the
covers away; then he noticed that he had already pushed most of them away in
his sleep. He got up out of the bed and escaped Scully's gaze and frown.

"So what did you find out?" he asked, as if the nightmare he just had had not

Mulder watched Scully's frown lessen. "Nothing much. She was strangled.
How? I don't know," she admitted.

Mulder grabbed his clothes and walked into the bathroom. "So did you eat?" he
shouted from the bathroom.

"Yes, but only a little," Scully said. "I'm up for something else now."

Mulder appeared two minutes later fully dressed, straightening the same
outrageous tie Scully had noticed in the car.

"Let's go find a decent restaurant around here," he suggested as he grabbed
his badge and gun from the dresser, something Scully had watched him do only a
few hours before.

"Mulder, couldn't you at least wear that tie that you wore to the Martins'?
_Before_ you changed it?" Scully urged.

Mulder broke into a grin. "Well, Scully, the funny thing about that is, that
tie, was misplaced."

He walked toward the door. Scully followed shaking her head. Someday she
would get him to wear a normal tie for more than five minutes. _Someday_.

Rutherford, NJ
8:03 p.m.

Scully watched Mulder sink his teeth into a Big Mac and grin widely so she
could see the contents of his mouth.

"That's disgusting, chew with your mouth closed." Scully couldn't help but
smile a bit too. She had long finished her salad but Mulder was already into
his second Big Mac. "I thought you said a decent restaurant, Mulder."

"Thith ithn dethen?" he asked around a mouthful. He finished off the burger.
"Think I could get another one of these?" He stood and walked to the counter,
not waiting for her response.

"Keep that up, you're gonna make yourself sick," she said when he came back.
He shrugged. "Mulder, do you have any idea where we're going with this case?"
He cocked his head in inquiry and she continued, "Sarah Martin was a healthy
teenager when she was killed. She was in a room full of people, someone
would've noticed if anyone had come up and.... and strangled her. She...."
Scully struggled for a way to put this. "Mulder, her death is impossible.
There was no one NEAR her, and..... and how do you explain the strangulation
marks? Huh?"

He was licking grease off his fingers. "That's why it's an X-File, remember?"

Scully sighed, opened her mouth, then shut it again. "Look, I'm tired. I
just did an autopsy while you were napping." Remembering the terror he was in
while "napping", she immediately regretted bringing it up. "I'm going back to
the motel. I recommend you do too."

"Actually, I want to check out the crime scene." Mulder had stood up and was
shrugging into his trench coat. "I'll drop you off at the motel." He held the
door open for her and she slipped under his arm and out into the cold night

"All right, but, Mulder?"


"Don't stay out too late. You need all the sleep you can get."

She thought he would argue but instead he smiled. "Yes, Mom."

Rutherford, NJ
9:00 p.m.

Scully had just showered and changed into her pajamas and was now sitting on
the corner of the bed, brushing out her wet hair and taking advantage of the
free HBO. The end of Contact was on. She'd never seen it before so following
the plot when watching from the end took a bit too much concentration so she
clicked off the TV with the remote and sat back. Pulling her book off the
bedside table, she flipped on the small lantern light by the bed and opened her
book. A glance of her watch, it was 9:23.

I wonder how Mulder's making out....

She read a few chapters then, yawning, looked down at her watch again. 10:04.
Where was Mulder? He can take care of himself she thought, not believing a
word of it. Her hand groped on the wall for the light, found it and switched
it off. She slipped under the covers, yawning, and, though she was tired, she
couldn't fall asleep. Where IS Mulder?

8:39 p.m.

Mulder paced the hall, thinking. He had come to the scene of the crime, the
piano recital hall. He had gotten their just as the director of the studio,
Jenna Hall, was leaving. She kindly let him to explore and showed him how to
lock up when he was done. So now , it was just Mulder and the empty studio.

He walked to the piano and looked around it. There was no places for a person
to hide there, at least without being seen. The piano was at the north end of
the room, with a huge window behind it. You could watch someone play easily
from outside, Mulder noted. He yawned then and tried to push his fatigue aside
and concentrate. Something was bothering him; it was in the back of his mind,
his couldn't quite grasp it.

He remembered how Sarah's sister, Katie had acted that afternoon. She seemed
nervous, then again, her sister did just die. Mulder knew that was a
frightening thing, his mind returning to his dream. He shook his head. He
didn't think that he would be getting any sleep tonight.

Mulder sighed. He wished he had brought Scully. Then he would someone to
bounce ideas off of. This was frustrating. He checked his watch. 9:15. Had
he been here that long? Mulder got up to leave when a sparkle of gold caught
his eye.

He bent down and picked it up. It was a simple gold bracelet with a simple K
engraved on it. What is this doing so close to the piano? Mulder thought as
he looked at it. In fact, he had remembered Katie wearing a similar bracelet
when he and Scully were at the Martin's. Mulder held the bracelet up to the
light, when he caught a shadow creeping up behind him. He turned to see what
it was when he felt something hard slam into the back of his head. As darkness
threatened him, Mulder looked up and saw nothing. Nothing? But there was--
Darkness cut off Mulder's thoughts.

10:26 p.m.
Back at the motel

Scully laid awake in her bed, listening to every sound that she heard. She had
heard cars pass by, but not one of them turned toward the motel. No sign of
Mulder. Scully was growing worried. She had seen him over 2 hours ago. How
long does it take to investigate one room?
she thought. Stop worrying, Dana.
Mulder probably just stopped for food again or something.
But it was that
"or something" that bothered her.

"That's it," Scully muttered. She threw the covers off and grabbed her coat.
She wouldn't be able to sleep until she saw him. And then, she would kill him
for worrying her.

Piano Studio
11:55 p.m.

Since Mulder had the car Scully had to call a cab. It took _forever_. Scully
was growing more worried by the moment. Luckily, the cabby knew where the
studio was. Scully ran out of the cab and saw a light on in the studio.
Light on? she thought. That meant Mulder must still be here. Or at least
someone that might know where Mulder went would be there. She rushed toward
the door, hoping it was unlocked. It was. Scully opened the door, found the
stairs, and went up to the room where the light was on.

"Mulder!" she cried when she walked in.

Mulder lay in a heap by the piano, with a gold bracelet laying beside him.
She saw a broken footstool at his feet. Two situations came to mind. Either
Mulder 1) tripped over the footstool, or 2) he was hit over the head with it.
Scully hoped it was one, but had it a feeling it was two. She crept beside
Mulder and felt his pulse. At least that was strong. She touched the tickle
of blood that was coming from a spot near Mulder's hairline. He groaned at her

"Mulder? Mulder, can you hear me?"

Scully? Mulder groaned again and wondered what Scully was doing here. And
why did he have such a headache? Mulder tried to open his eyes, but found it
difficult. When he was finally able to open them, all he saw was a dizzying
tangle of lights.

"Mulder?" Scully asked again, concern in her voice.

Mulder blinked his eyes again and was able to focus. He saw Scully knelt down
next to the piano. Then he remembered.

"Some-thing," he mumbled, not quite sure of the words. He started
to sit up, but both a strong pain and Scully pushed him back down.

"Stay down, Mulder," Scully said, reassuringly. "Do you think they are still
here?" she asked, grabbing for her gun.

Then Mulder remembered what he had seen right before he passed out. "There
was no one," he mumbled, then got a strength on the words. "I was able to turn
around before I blacked out and there was no one there."

"You sure?"

Mulder nodded, regretting that move when pain radiated from his head.

Scully relaxed a little and Mulder tried to sit up again. Scully tried to
push him back, but he pushed her hands away. But he regretted sitting up as
soon as he did it. The room went back to being a dizzying circle of lights.
He closed his eyes again and when he opened them, things were in focus, and
Scully was in front of him, frowning.

"How long where you out?" she asked.

Mulder himself frowned. "When I last looked at my watch it was 9
something...." He couldn't remember the time exactly; his brain was still

Scully's frown deepened. "It's midnight now, Mulder. You've been out at
least 2 hours, probably more. Mulder, I want you to get checked out at the
hospital." But as soon as she had said those words Mulder was shaking his

"Mulder, you could, hell, with your track record, you probably have a
concussion. Plus that cut on your head is going to need a couple of stitches,"
Scully pointed out and was getting her cell phone out.

Mulder clapped his hand over the cell phone. "Please, Scully, you take care
of it. Wake me up every two hours if you have too. I don't want to go to the

His eyes were so pleading that Scully sighed. A 24-hour observation period
could put a damper into their investigation. Plus, Mulder was pretty lucky
when it came to head injuries. She sighed again.

"Ok, Mulder. You win. No hospital. But you _are_ going to listen to me,
right?" Scully warned rather than asked. Mulder nodded.

"Now can you get up?" Scully asked and she helped him to his feet. He swayed
a lot when he got there, though. Scully put her hand around him and led him to
the car. She sighed for the third time in five minutes. Couldn't Mulder ever
survive a case without injury?

End Part 01b of 11.

Part 2a