The X-iles

Mandates from Heaven

Sweeney Todd Review
NonEssential and NonExistent's NonsEnse
Push's Pad
Xtreme Unction's Labor of Love
Sacred Heart's Ambry
Satchie's "On the Safe Side"
Site Correspondence
Aye, There's the Rum


By Obfusc8er and Xtreme Unction


DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, FOX and/or 1013. This work was for love, not for profit. It is intended as an homage, not an infringement.

SPOILERS: Aubrey, Existence

NOTES: This was written for the After the Fact "Aubrey" post-ep challenge.

DEDICATIONS: XU dedicates this fic to Humbuggie, the Belgian Truffle Serial Killer. Obfusc8er dedicates this fic to Thumpy Jr., my instigator, and everyone at Mulder's Refuge.

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MULDER: There are countless stories of twins separated at birth who end up in the same occupation, marrying the same kind of people, each naming their child Waldo.

SCULLY: Waldo?

-- The X-Files "AUBREY" (#2X12) Original Air Date: 01/06/95

* * *

Morning sunlight glistened off the reflecting pool, transforming it into a long rectangular scroll of indiscernible words. Flashing gold on white, it was like a communiqué from God nestled in the burning bush of Washington D.C.

At least, thats how Mulder always imagined it must appear to Lincoln, sitting serenely upon his massive throne, facing east.

Mulder leaned against one of the columns, casually crossing one ankle over the other, and squinted. He was trying to make out the textual message in the shimmering, as he is wont to do every time he visits the Lincoln Memorial. As usual, the epistle hidden in the water eluded him. He and Samantha used to play this game as children, making up  imaginary Pentateuchal directives during every visit to the national mall. He smiled at the memory of some of the more ridiculous mandates from heaven they pretended to see.

Its a message to you, Fox: "Thou shalt let Sam watch anything she wants on TV!"

"No, I think it is a message to you, buttmunch. Thou shalt not annoy your brother with stupid shows!"

They had a penchant for engaging in odd pastimes. He had never heard of anyone else playing such guessing games, much less coming up with some of the gloriously bizarre thoughts he and Samantha did. He wondered idly if Samantha would have become a seeker of unexplained truths, like he was now, if she hadn't been taken. And for that matter, whether he would have become one, but for her abduction. Are we predestined to walk certain paths? Does anyone ever really have a choice?

He shook his head to clear his thoughts.

An anonymous tip led him here at this hour. "Watch for them. You will recognize them, Agent Mulder." He looked around, but all he saw was a group of first graders on a field trip, parents valiantly trying to corral them like mustangs in the wild.

He turned back to contemplating messianic visions in national monuments. In the depth of his reverie, the sounds of the public gradually faded away. A hush came over his world and hovered above him, blocking out everything but remembered joys. Minutes, or maybe hours later, the ruminations of a little boy pierced through his protective fog.

A chill went down his spine as he overheard the kid say, "Maybe it's in Braille, Dad."

"What makes you think that?" the father replied.

Instinctively, Mulder knew they were talking about the message in the reflecting pool, and why it could not be read. His mind raced with questions. Who were they? Was it just a coincidence that they were playing the same game he used to play with his sister? What were the chances that someone else would come up with such a strange thing to contemplate here?

He turned around quickly to look at the father and son, but all he saw was a haze of white and gold luminescence. It took a moment for his eyes to adjust after staring at the reflecting pool for so long. As his vision sharpened, he saw them holding hands, their backs to him, facing the statue of Abraham Lincoln. The boy was pointing to the president's hands.

"See, his fingers are signing the letters A and L. I learned 'bout it in school. I bet he could read Braille."

"Wow. That's pretty good. I like that theory, son."

They were smiling goofily at each other now, enjoying the moment of epiphany.

"What does the mandate from heaven say?" Mulder stood behind them and asked.

They didnt hear him at first, or probably thought he was talking to someone else. He cleared his throat and asked again.

"The epistle in the reflecting pool -- what does it say?"

Slowly, father and son turned to look at Mulder. The little boy caught Mulder's eye first. He had reddish brown hair, a thick lower lip clasped between his teeth, and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. Mulder thought he looked vaguely familiar.

Then Mulder raised his gaze to study the father, and froze.

He was looking at what could only be his identical twin or doppelganger. They wore their hair alike, they had identical pairs of sunglasses hanging from their pockets -- unworn here for fear of blocking out a message from the heavens, and they each recognized what the other was wearing as clothes hanging in their closets at home. They even had on the same wristwatch, Mulder noted.

The man took a step back in shock, pulling his child with him. Mulder reached out an arm and said, panicked, "Please wait."

"Who are you?" The man said, in a hushed whisper.

"My name is Fox Mulder. I am an FBI agent." He pulled out his badge to prove it before asking, "Who are you?"

"My name is Colin. Colin Hall."

Mulder felt a pang of empathy and indigestion upon hearing the man's name. They broke the incredulous stare into each others eyes when a woman with straight red hair called out, distractedly, "Honey, well be heading across the way with the rest of the class in about five minutes, okay?"

Colin turned to say "OK" but she had already moved on. Mulder's eyes bored into the back of the womans petite frame. Her build and posture reminded him of --

"That was my wife, Mindy. And this is our son, William," Colin said, drawing Mulders attention back.

Mulder looked down to see a huge gap-toothed smile and an extended hand waiting to shake his.

"You can call me Waldo for short, like my Dad does."

* * *

Mulder took the small hand in his.  An exuberant greeting pumped his arm up and down. Waldo tilted his head slightly, peering up at him with an inquisitive expression.  The boy turned toward his dad without peeling his wide-eyed gaze away from Mulder.

"What's an epistle?" he asked quietly over his shoulder.

"Well," Colin replied, shoving his hands into his pockets, "it's a form of communication. A letter from God, you could say."

"Oh." The boy nodded earnestly and turned to face Mulder again.  "I can tell you what it says, Mister."  He took one step toward the reflecting pool before he paused, operant conditioning reminding him to respect his elders.

"May I show him, Dad?  Please?"

Colin blinked, divesting himself of his stunned countenance, and glanced down at his annoyingly familiar watch.  He raised his eyebrows for emphasis, causing furrows to appear on his forehead as he addressed his son.  Mulder felt almost offended that this man had stolen his favorite expression.

"Okay.  We'd better hurry, though.  If we miss the tour again, Ill be in deep trouble with your mother."

Mulder gave the man a knowingly sympathetic look, allowing one corner of his mouth to suggest the hint of a smile.

"All right!"  Waldo exclaimed.  He bolted away for a few strides before twisting around and prompting Mulder to follow with a waving gesture.  The men shrugged at each other simultaneously, appearing as reflections escaped from a mirror.  Mulder turned and followed the boy's path to the edge of the aqueous missive, Colin following at a respectful distance. 

The surface rippled, reverberating with a sudden breath from the sky.  Mulder knelt down next to the boy, who leaned out over the water with his elbows braced against the stone perimeter.  He propped his chin upon balled fists and focused his attention on the shallow pool.

"Have you ever just sat and watched the patterns?  We do that sometimes. It's fun."

"Yes," Mulder replied.  He could not prevent his thoughts from returning to the memories of Samantha, and he could almost feel her kneeling beside him. A shiver ran through his body.

The boy looked up at him.

"You can stare at it all day, but that's not the way to find the answer.  I finally figured it out."  A large, infectious grin spread across his freckled face.  Mulder attempted to smother suddenly desolate feelings with a reassuring smile.  Waldo resumed his contemplative study of the water. Mulder was afraid that his small infraction had disturbed the boy, suspecting that children always sense the true feelings of an adult.

"Can you show me, please?"

"Sure. The trick is to let it come to you, just like Dad taught me to fish."

Mulder watched in astonishment as the boy closed his eyes and sat still for a moment, as if in prayer.  Then, a small hand reached out slowly, and lightly brushed the glassy surface.  The breeze stirred the waters again and bore the gifts of rhythmic lapping sounds and a chlorine scent.  The boy froze in place, his auburn hair ruffled by invisible fingers.  The thin layer of clouds overhead gradually dissipated with the wind, and a bright lucency danced on the undulating waves.  Tiny eddies surrounded the boy's fingers as they jerked slightly.  The grin reemerged, but Waldo's eyes remained closed.  Mulder watched the subtle domes of the boy's irises as they darted back and forth beneath his eyelids.  His innocent, carefree face angled upward, soaking in the warmth of the sun.

"Don't you want to try it?"  Upon hearing no instant reply, the boy opened his eyes and looked at Mulder expectantly.  "Here."  Waldo reached over, grabbing Mulder's left hand with both of his own, and guided it out to the water. 

Mulder suddenly started to feel ridiculous.  What on Earth had he been thinking?  Had he allowed the sorrow and insecurity cultivated upon Sam's disappearance to grow so uncontrollably that he must now rely on a stranger's child to show him the secrets of the universe?

"Now close your eyes and wait," the boy instructed.

Mulder emitted a small sigh, but he obliged.  The pool was surprisingly cold, and his first instinct was to withdraw his hand.  The boy released him, and the loss of contact seemed stunning.  The sounds of the mall subsided and left him in solitude, with only the rough stone and silky water to affirm his existence.  He felt the air caress his face, and tiny swells rolled against his fingertips.  The warmth of the sun cradled him in its arms, and, for a moment, he did indeed feel at peace.  He suddenly wished he could stay right here and never leave.

Mulder felt something brush against his hand.  A few moments later, it happened again, only he swore it felt like something actually passed through it.  A strange, electric jolt traveled up his arm, and his fingers jerked. The wind echoed in his ears and carried a pleasant, familiar scent.  The hairs on the back of his neck stood up, and a warm, ethereal puff tickled his ear.  A barely-discernible sound followed, and he strained to hear, willing his body as quiet as a cathedral.  He turned to look at Waldo, who was staring at him silently with Scullys big blue eyes.

"It said to tell you this, Mister." He took a deep breath and raised his little eyebrows.

"Dont be surprised when she names him William."

* * *