Disclaimers in Part 1.

Part 02a of 11.

Motel
Rutherford, NJ
12:17 a.m.

After stopping by the local drug store in search for some painkillers for
Mulder and finding it closed, Scully returned to the motel with a pretty much
zoned out Mulder.

"C'mon," she said and gently shook his shoulder. In an action of
half-leading/ half-carrying her six-foot partner back to the motel, Scully
managed to unlock the door and step inside just before the rain started to
fall. Sheets of gray rain pounded incessantly on the tin roof. After just a
few seconds, it was beginning to give Scully a headache and she couldn't begin
to imagine what Mulder was going through.

Speaking of Mulder.... He had collapsed on the bed, fortunately the one in
his room, because Scully wasn't sure if she would be able to get him up anytime
soon. She sat at the edge of his bed, a few wet tissues in hand, and dabbed at
the cut on his head. She spoke softly. "This isn't as bad as I thought, no
stitches. But we still have to be cautious with that concussion." He didn't
respond to that. Louder, she said, "Mulder, think you can get out of your
suit? Do you have anything... any sweats, maybe?"

He gave a barely perceptible nod. Scully smiled and patted his hand. "I'll
go look in your suitcase. Be right back."

When she returned, he had his eyes clenched tightly shut, forehead scrunched
against the headache. He was curled up, head thrown back, one hand held
loosely onto his collar as if it had been trying to loosen it but had given up
in the effort. Scully pushed his hand away, careful not to disturb him, and
undid the knot in his tie. She managed to pull it off without him noticing but
when it was time for the suit jacket to come off, she needed to move him.

"Mulder," she whispered. "Mulder," she said a little louder. "C'mon, sit up
for me." His eyes opened, he licked his lips and sat up, his movements slow
and lethargic. Still moving slowly, he shrugged out of the suit jacket and
messed with the buttons on his shirt. However, he was exhausted and some of
his usual coordination was lost with the concussion so Scully ended up helping
him with the rest of his clothing. When he was clad in black sweatpants and a
gray FBI T-shirt and safely under the covers, Scully turned off the light by
his bed.

"Goodnight," she said, knowing he was already asleep. She began to walk
backwards, watching him warily in the sliver of light coming from under the
door, nervous about leaving him. Just as she reached the door, the light
glinted on something in his hand. Scully moved back to the bed and found the
source of attention; a small, golden bracelet, the one she had found by Mulder
in the studio, held in his fist, loosened and relaxed with sleep. Carefully,
she nudged apart his fist and pulled the bracelet out. Evidence her tired
mind said. She pulled her sleeve over her hand and held the bracelet in it, as
to not wipe away potential fingerprints on it. Then, returning to her room,
she dropped the evidence in a plastic bag and went to bed for the second time
that night. This time, she slept well.

Motel
9:57 a.m.

Scully had woken up early and dropped the bag with the bracelet off at the
local crime lab to be examined for fingerprints. She was now sitting
restlessly in her room, getting bored of the free HBO and waiting for Mulder to
wake up. So far she'd watched the end of Ferris Beullerís Day Off and most of
Parenthood.

She was laughing at Steve Martin in Parenthood when she heard a crash from the
next room. Mulder's up. Reaching for the remote, she turned down the volume
a bit so she could hear better what was going on in the next room and waited
for Mulder to appear at her door. When she heard nothing more after several
minutes, she began to get worried. She turned off the TV. and walked through
the door joining her and Mulder's room. She found him sprawled on the floor
near his bed, hair sticking up in thirty-five different directions, looking
confused.

Scully knelt by him. "Hey. How you feeling?" Before he answered she noticed
he was squinting. "Head hurts, huh? I'll go out and get you some pain killers
in a couple minutes. Do you want some breakfast first?"

He was staring at her face, still not fully awake, slow at answering,
"Breakfast?"

"Yeah, you want some?"

His mouth turned in a frown. "Uh uh."

Scully had stood and was trying to pull Mulder up with her. She succeeded and
let him drop onto the bed then sat next to him. "Are you nauseous?" she asked
gently.

He swallowed sluggishly. "I dunno."

"All right." Scully pushed him down. "Stay here, I'm going into town. I'll
be back in a couple minutes."

While she talked, Mulder had managed to lift his head, a difficult task, to
see her better, but now he dropped it. "Why?"

"To get you medicine." She was already out the door.

The day was frigid. A light rain still fell, but nothing compared to the
downpour of the previous night. Scully drove into town, picked up a package of
extra-strength Tylenol, the strongest thing the drug store carried. Realizing
she was close to the lab, she stopped by there too. A young man who reminded
her a bit of Pendrell, even though his coloring was opposite, greeted her.

"We got the results back, Agent Scully. There were three sets of fingerprints
on the bracelet; Katherine Martin's, you partner's--"

Scully interrupted him. "Agent Mulder found it yesterday. He was holding it
and was in a situation where he didn't have gloves for proper--"

"I understand." The lab technician smiled warmly. "But there was a third set
of prints that..." He pulled out a sheet of paper with a picture of a young
girl on it as well as several lines of information about her. "matched this.
Her name is, I'm sorry, WAS, Joanna Wasserman. She lived in Texas--" "Why
the past tense?"

"Well," His eyes narrowed. "That's the thing. Joanna was killed in 1993 in a
hit and run while she was visiting Rutherford." He frowned. "Nobody seemed
too devastated by her death, not even the parents. She was something of a
trouble maker."

Scully extended a hand. "Can I have that sheet?"

"Sure." He gave it to her. "One minute, uh...here." He had picked up a
folder from the cluttered countertop. "This gives details on her death... as
well as her LIFE. Joanna was... well, not an ordinary child. She caused alot
of stir around Texas."

Scully accepted it. "Thank you. I'll return this by tomorrow."

"No, no." He waved it off. "Keep that as long as you want." A mischievous
smile lit his face. "Actually, I've been interested in Joanna's death since
the case came in years ago. We don't really have that many hit and runs around
here. Hardly any. And when her fingerprints show up in THIS case, well..."

Scully smiled. "Thank you," she said and left.

Motel
10:31 a.m.

Holding the information about Joanna in one hand, Scully opened her motel door
with the other. She was greeted by complete silence, a silence that worried
her a little. She dropped Joanna's file on her dresser, grabbed her medical
bag and the Tylenol she had bought at the drug store and headed into Mulder's
room, not even pausing to knock.

She found Mulder sitting up in bed, his glasses on, his journal sitting face
down on his lap. A pen was in his hand, indicating Mulder had tried to write
something, but Scully doubted he succeeded. Even now, his eyes weren't
focused, something Scully knew Mulder could do to zone out when the pain got
bad.

"Mulder," Scully said gently, taking the pen out of his hand. Mulder blinked
and swallowed, turning his head slightly toward Scully. But as soon as he
turned, he shut his eyes against the pain of the movement. Maybe I should
rethink this hospital thing
thought Scully as she watched him.

Mulder opened his eyes and looked at her. "You were gone more than a few
minutes," he said, and Scully was glad he wasn't as confused as he had been a
hour ago.

"Well, I stopped by the lab to pick up the bracelet I found in your hand last
night. I had it dusted for fingerprints." Mulder squinted again and Scully
got out her penlight.

"I remember that bracelet," Mulder said slowly, "It looked like the one I saw
Katie wearing."

Scully shined the light into Mulder's eyes. He closed them against the light.
"No, just stay still," she said, and he opened his eyes again. "The one and
only. It had her fingerprints and yours all over it." She shut off the light,
satisfied with what she saw.

"Sorry about that," Mulder said sheepishly.

"It's okay, Mulder. I understand. Follow my finger," she said, holding one
finger in front of Mulder's eyes, and moving it back and forth.

She took her finger down. "Good," she said shortly.

"Is that all you found out from the bracelet?" Mulder asked. He was
interested in discovering why it was there.

Scully, who had been opening the Tylenol bottle, stopped. "Well, there was
something else," she said carefully.

"What?"

"There was another set of fingerprints on the bracelet. A Joanna
Wasserman's." Scully paused and looked thoughtful.

"And?"

"And, the thing is Joanna was a resident of Texas who did visit Rutherford."

"Why the past tense Scully?" Mulder forgot the pain in his head for a second
and just waited for Scully's answer.

"The past tense, because she was killed in 1993 in a hit-and-run. I have the
police report as well as a record of Joanna's life in my room. She was twelve
years old when she died."

The last sentence peaked something in Mulder's mind. "Just like Katie," he
said thinking. "Can I see those reports, Scully?" He straightened up more, but
grimaced when he moved his head.

Scully went back to opening the Tylenol bottle. "Maybe you should wait
awhile, Mulder. I mean, you can't move your head without pain, never mind
reading small print. I know you tried writing before. From the looks of it
you weren't successful."

Mulder looked down at the book on his lap. "Yeah, well....."

"I thought so." She handed him two pills. "Tylenol is the strongest thing
they had without prescription. I'll get you some water." She went into the
bathroom and reappeared a minute later with a glass of water.

Mulder eyed the pills. "Without prescription?" he repeated, looking up at
her.

"Mulder, you have had enough concussions to know that you can't get any pain
killers stronger than that because it could mask the symptoms of a serious head
injury, even if I did write a prescription."

Mulder sighed. He had already known that. "Okay," he said simply and downed
both pills.

Scully sat on the edge on the bed. "You must be really hurting if you are
asking for a stronger pain killer," she said, gently, looking at him concerned.

Mulder saw the look of concern. "Scully, I'm fine. Just a headache."
"I'm sure it was just a headache when you fell out of bed this morning and
could hardly remember your name," she said, not believing him for a second.

Mulder just glared at her. She took the glass from him and put it on the
nightstand.

"How about just resting a little while longer, then I will let you see those
files. You can't think with that headache now anyway."

Mulder nodded. He remembered how he tried to write some case details into his
journal, but how the words just swam in front of his eyes. Scully was right,
maybe in a little while. But just a little while, because Mulder knew he had a
theory in the still fuzzy brain of his. He just needed to put it together.

Motel
12:24 p.m.

Scully frowned as she glanced at the information once again. But it didn't
change.

"Twelve-year-old responsible for school fire," she read from a newspaper
clipping that had been included with Joanna's file.

"Twelve-year-old Joanna Wasserman reportedly admitted to being involved in the
fire that burned Kendlebridge Middle School to the ground last week. The fire
was a four alarm blaze, ripping through the building in seconds, injuring over
50 and killing 2, a teacher, Kerry Brooks, 32, and a student, Pete Robinson,
12." Scully took her glasses off and put the article down. She found it
highly unlikely that a twelve-year old could be responsible, single-handedly,
for such a huge fire. But it was in black-and-white, and this was not the only
incident that Joanna had been linked to. Scully had read through half a dozen
other articles that Joanna was mentioned in. And not one of those articles
regarded her very highly. Even in the article about her death, the press
seemed to mention the bad things Joanna had been involved in. Scully was
beginning to realize why no one had real remorse when she died.

Scully got up from the bed and walked over the dresser, where she had placed
the bracelet Mulder found. Sealed in an evidence bag, she just looked at it.
How did Joanna's fingerprints wind up on this bracelet? Scully hoped Mulder
was feeling better soon. She was even up to listening to some of his
theories.

At first, Scully had thought that maybe Joanna had known Katie, those 5 years
ago. But no such luck. The Martins' hadn't even lived here then. They moved
in May 14, 1993. Joanna had been killed May 13, 1993. But the closeness in
dates was enough to give Scully a shudder.

She returned to the bed and spread the articles out one by one, and looked at
them. She was so involved, she didn't hear Mulder approach her.

"Scully?"

Scully almost jumped when Mulder said her name. She turned to him.

"Sorry, Scully. Didn't mean to scare you." He walked toward her, but put a
hand to his head when he reached her.

Scully touched the cut on his head. It had started to bleed again and looked
a little red. "Feeling any better?" she asked.

Mulder winced as she touched his cut. "I would if you would stop touching
that spot," he answered.

"Sorry, Mulder." She frowned. "Like I said last night, if you remember," she
added, "That cut doesn't need stitches. But I'd like to close it with some
butterflies, Mulder. You don't want to get an infection."

For once, Mulder nodded and he sat on the bed.

"So what's with the articles all spread out?" he asked as she approached him
with some gauze in hand.

"Just reading up a little on Joanna Wasserman."

"Ouch, that stings," Mulder said as she dabbed antiseptic on his cut.

"Sorry about that, Mulder, but it can't be helped." She paused a second,
going back to cleaning his cut.

"So what was she like? She must have been something to be mentioned in all of
these articles," Mulder commented.

"Yeah, she was something. Something bad. Not one of those articles regards
her highly, not even the one about her death. Seems she was some kind of a
young terror."

"Like Carrie at the prom?" Mulder said with a smile.

Scully smiled. "I guess you are getting back to normal."

"So what we need to find out now is how her fingerprints got on the bracelet."

"Yep," Scully said, finishing up with the cut. "There's probably a logical
explanation."

"Don't start me on that logical explanation crap, Scully. Sarah Martin's
death doesn't have a logical explanation."

"It could."

Mulder let out a breath. "Normally I would love to argue logic with you
Scully, but today it is giving me a headache."

Scully bent down a little, so they were eye level. "Okay, Mulder."

"I want to talk to the family again. Katie particularly."

"Why Katie?"

"She seemed a little nervous last time we saw her."

"Her sister just died, Mulder."

Mulder got up off the bed. "Yeah, but something about her is still bothering
me. I have a pretty strong hunch. Humor me. Some of my hunches have worked."

Scully smiled. "Ok, but if we turn up nothing, which is my bet, you owe me
dinner. In a _decent_ restaurant."

"McDonald's not on your list of decent restaurants anymore?" he teased.

"Not when I watch you eat four Big Macs in one sitting."

"It's quality food, Scully," he argued with a smile.

"Yeah, quality food that spends quality time in your arteries."

Mulder just grinned at that. He grabbed a folder. "Now I'm going to spend
some quality time with these files. Want to call the Martins' and ask them
when we come back?"

"Ok," Scully agreed. "But, Mulder?"

"Yeah?" he said turning around.

"Go easy. If the words swim in front of you, stop reading. And tell me."

Mulder smiled. "Yes, Doctor," he said as he headed back to his room.

End part 02a of 11.


Part 2b