Chapter 3


Gentlemen, we are just going from one bizarre circumstance to
the next.
--David Letterman.

Joseph Hosteen's house
Tohatchi, New Mexico

Seeing Mulder dozing on the living room couch -- complete
with files all over the coffee table and SportsCenter on the TV -
- Scully decided on a quick shower.

She was so tired.  In a week she made two trips to New
Mexico, two trips to the psych ward at Georgetown Memorial,
one trip each to Africa, Delaware, a fancy law office in D.C.
and now this one bedroom house.  She remembered her father's
comments to Charlie when he became a Navy flyer about
joining the service and seeing the world.  

Short of Charlie piloting a space shuttle flight, she logged in
more miles over the last few days.  Made the days of
questioning farmers about manure purchases and government
employees about past drug usage seem like the better career

No, that wasn't true.  

She remembered using the bathroom when they got to the
house, as Mulder cranked up two ancient air-conditioners and
talked about food.  She really intended just to sit on the bed and
rest her eyes.  That was six hours ago.

As she let the water work out the kinks, she remembered
getting to New Mexico.  They dropped by the "Magic Bullet"
where she reluctantly gave Byers her weapon and picked up
their plane tickets.  Since they weren't travelling as feds, they
weren't travelling armed.

Paranoid as ever, the Gunmen had them leaving BWI for
Denver and then taking a small plane from Denver to
Farmington.  Mulder, or Ben McKenna, was stuck in coach
with a six year old coloring expert and his overtaxed mother. 
Too tall for his seat and in terrible pain, Mulder's trip was
miserable.  She sat in first class as Dr. Jordan Cochran,
reviewing Dr. Harriman's notes.  

Mulder struggled through the layover at Denver.  She forced
him to take a couple of Tylenols and bottle of spring water.  

With a rented Chevy Tahoe, Scully took the wheel from the
Farmington airport and began the two hour drive south to
Gallup.  Mulder slept fitfully, still suffering a little from the
Denver Airport experience.  Scully was glad he slept -- they
were on Route 666.  She was sure Mulder would have some
theory about that.

By the time he woke up, Scully had called Eric Hosteen,
Albert's grandson, from a rest stop and arranged a placed for
them to stay on the reservation.  If law enforcement wanted to
get Mulder, getting him off a reservation would be a political

Scully followed Eric's directions and wound up at Joseph
Hosteen's home.  Albert's nephew and Eric's cousin, Joseph was
in Arizona at a tribe gathering.  Joseph's home wasn't much -- a
one bedroom ranch -- but it suited their purposes.  There was a
minimart, a diner and a gas station about one hundred yards
away. It was also in an area with one way in and one way out --
right past Albert's house.

When she left the bathroom, Mulder was coming out of the
kitchen balancing a plastic container and a couple of sodas in
one hand while he scratched his side with the other.

"I got you a Chicken Caesar Salad if you're hungry."

"Famished."  Scully plopped down on one side of the couch,
gladly taking the salad.  "Did you eat?"

"Two green chile cheeseburgers,  I was starving."  Before she
could question him on his food choice, "The hospital food was
mashed mush every day.  I wanted to taste something."

"You'll probably be tasting that for a week."  Scully began to
pick the chicken from the salad.

Mulder took a deep breath, "You ever going to tell me what
you saw in Africa?"

"I told you, I'll review the data when Chuck contacts
us...actually Byers.  I asked that Chuck send everything to

"So Chuck's data is better than your first person account?"

Scully started rummaging through the files on the coffee table. 
"Why don't you get that copy of the etching and get your own

"I put it out in the truck after I ate.  It was giving me a
headache.  Besides, I want you to tell me," Mulder got off the
couch and sat in front of her on the coffee table.  In a calm,
soothing voice, he asked, "Tell me what you saw."

She really was so tired.  The shower refreshed her a little, the
food supplied an energy boost but she was exhausted.  And
trying not to deal with what was on the other side of the world
was just wearing her out.  "It was a ship, or a craft, or

"What kind of a ship?"

"Not like anything I've ever seen before.  It was on the shore of
the Ivory Coast in Africa.  It was so beautiful there.  So unlike
anything here."  Scully ran her hand through her hair.  "The ship
was partially submerged in water, partially on the beach and
partially underground.  It looked to be the size of a commercial
airplane but after North Carolina, I give a lot of credit to what's
under the ground right now."

"You OK with this?"

"I don't know." she told him, sounding both scared and sad. 
Putting her fork down she told him, "I know you probably don't
believe this but there are things I know, things I know even
though I don't have proof."

"Keep talking like that and you're going to lose your lab keys."

"No Mulder, faith."  Her eyes began to fill with tears, "I believe
in God.  I believe God's hand can be seen in all things created.  I
believe that God sent His only Son to save my soul, your soul,
the world."  A tear finally rolled down her cheek, "But I don't
believe God sent Him from Mars, or Jupiter, or some other
galaxy where He was in temporary housing."

"Scully...." Mulder returned to the couch and took her hand.

"The etching, do you know what the etching said?  Albert had it
translated.  'And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be
fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and
have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the
air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.' 
Mulder, what does this mean, Mars didn't work out so God sent
us here?"

"I know you believe in God but think about it.  Does God have
an actual location?  Is heaven in one place and not another?"

"I don't understand."

"Scully, if God created the heavens and the earth, couldn't there
be anything else?  Did it have to be the third planet from this
particular sun?  If the universe is as vast as I know you know
scientifically it is, why can't there be something else out there?"

"We've had this conversation Mulder, the fact that life happened
at all on this planet..."

"That's Scully the scientist talking." he leaned to her and gently
held the cross around her neck, "What about Scully the
believer?  Why can't you believe that maybe your God who you
believe loves man so much found a place where His followers
could live free, in relative comfort, as top of the food chain."

"I don't know...this is all so much."

Mulder pulled back and tried another track, "Are you a
creationist or an evolutionist?"

"Are we being transferred to Kansas?"

Mulder smiled at the return of Scully's spirit, "Depends on what
their standards for involuntary commitment of free thinking FBI
agents are.  Creationism or evolution?"

"A mix of both I guess.  Adam and Eve, God creating the world
in seven days, not exactly.  That God shepherded man through
millions of years of changes in the planet, yes."

"If you can make those two ideas work together, why not this? 
Maybe God shepherded man to this planet when it became

Scully finished her salad in a troubled silence.  After popping
open the second diet Coke, Scully pointed to all the papers on
the coffee table, "What did you learn?"

"I called the Gunmen a few hours ago.  Skinner contacted

"I don't..."

"...I don't know if I trust him either but he has Krycek under
control and he has the tape of Diana kicking my ass."

"Too bad America's Funniest Home Videos is off the air."  

"Thanks for mocking my pain." Mulder grumbled.  "Oh, your
boyfriends are the ones who turned in Diana.  When they
dropped off whatever you wanted at Bradford's office, Byers
gave the Senator the presentation they put together for you last
February to use against Diana.  That's what kept her busy for
the last few days."

"Nice someone used that data."

Mulder sighed, "I told you I fucked up with that.  And that I
was sorry."

"Yea, but you don't seem to learn from your mistakes Mulder."

"What does that mean?"

It was Scully's turn to sigh.  She took a sip of her diet Coke.  "I
would have come back if you told me you collapsed."

"I know."

"Then why'd you call her?"


"Who else?"

"You think I called her?" 

"How else did she wind up in your apartment?"

"I was about to ask her that but she decided to introduce me to
about 65,000 volts of stun gun fun."  

"Diana told me you called her after you collapsed at American
University.  She said you told her she was the only person who
would believe you."

"No Scully, Diana told you that I called her because *you* are
the only person who would believe her." an angry Mulder shot
back.  He stood up and walked to the other side of the room.

"Excuse me."

"I haven't talked to Diana since the fiasco in February.  I tried to
contact her just afterwards, but she'd been transferred back to
Europe before we could get Jeffrey Spender's blood stains off
the basement floor."

"You didn't call her?"

"No, as I said in my hallway, I think Krycek brought me back to
my apartment but I was too out of it to do anything.  Next thing
I know, Diana's walking into my bedroom with my phone
saying you were calling."  Mulder was pacing in front of the

Scully looked up at him, "You didn't think it was odd she was

"All I could think about was how much my head hurt, how dry
my mouth was and that I wanted to take a leak."  Mulder
paused and then asked, "You really thought I called her?" 

"Not at the time she told me but..."

"...But you thought I could do something like that."

"I don't know Mulder.  In the last year I've seen you do some
questionable things when she's around."

"So I got what I deserved for trusting her last time."

"Of course not." she shot back.

"Then what?"

"Nothing...nothing.  Diana keeps showing up whenever we get
close.  If you say you are suspicious of her, then I guess we are
a step ahead of where we were in February."

"Where does this leave you and me."

"In New Mexico, one step ahead of the bad guys for a while."

"And then?"

"You're the psychic right now Mulder, you tell me."

"I mean we've been here before, right here.  It's you and me
against the world and when we survive this, you'll go to your
corner and I'll go to mine and we'll lick our wounds..."

"Two steps forward, one step back." she mumbled.

"Something like that.  I know this all has been hard for you.  I
know how hard it had to be for you to fight Skinner and Diana
to get me out of the hospital.  I know how hard this life on the
run stuff is for you.  I know you were hurt thinking I'd trust
Diana over you again.  Bothered by what you saw in Africa,
but...don't shut me out."

"With the etching I can't." she replied almost hopelessly.

"I don't want to know things that way Scully.  Not with you.  I
want ... I've been trying to spend the last year figuring us out. 
Maybe the last six years doing that.  I do want to find my sister. 
I want justice for her and for what was done to us as kids.  I
want justice for what was done to you, to Melissa, to that poor
bastard Jeffrey Spender.  But I want more than that Scully.  I
think I've wanted that for a long time."

"What do you want Mulder?"

He ran his hand through his hair, "More...a life, not a"

"You got me Mulder, where ever you are, sooner or later I'm

Amazed, he asked, "So you see yourself as partner?  Sidekick?"

"Partner yes, never quite sidekick."

"Nothing else."

"Usually I think there is more.  It's just your focus has always
been the work.  Even your faith in Diana goes back to her
respect for the work."

"I exist outside the office."

"I know that."  Scully finished the diet Coke, "But you like
dealing with me through the office."

"I don't understand."

"I know that whenever you come up with an unbelievable idea
from nowhere at 4:30 or so and want to work through dinner its
usually because you're lonely and I'm decent company for

Mulder opened his mouth to disagree but couldn't bring himself
to do it, "More than decent."

"Thank you."  Oddly, it was one of Mulder's nicer compliments,
"'Scully, you wanna hang around and grab a bite' would have
worked too."

Mulder seemed embarrassed.

"You know its funny.  After the X Files were given away I
thought maybe I can figure this, us, out.  And you know, we
had some interesting talks in between farm visits and weekend
trips to Nevada.  But when we got the X Files back, and how
we got the X Files back, made me realize that we need to be on
guard and protect us as we are.  

"God, Mulder, this all started as a simple murder investigation
and now you're either psychic or crazy, I've been around the
world in eighty hours, Skinner is back playing both sides against
the middle and Krycek and Diana are back in town at the same

"Scary huh?"

"Exhausting.  I am so worried about you, about me, about
whether we have jobs or lives we can return to, about what is
over in Africa.   So going back to where this started, yes, I want
more, a life not a quest and you.  But I think we need some time
to figure it out without being on the run, without one of us sick
or dying, or nearly being killed.  The best conversations I've
ever had with you, where I've learned about you even after I
thought I knew everything about you came after some life
threatening event.  Maybe I'd like to learn something just one
day at lunch, when being open with one another is a gift, not a
last shot of hope against a certain death."

"You've thought about this."

"Yes.  And I want to think about it some more when I'm home
on a Saturday afternoon and there's a Maryland game on
ESPN"  Scully yawned and pointed to the monster truck show
that was now on ESPN.  "You want to sleep in the bed?  I can
sack out here."

"You need the rest, I won't be driving anytime soon."  Mulder
took the empty soda cans and salad tin and started for the

"Eric said Albert is better in the mornings so we should see him
then."  Scully made her way to the bedroom.

"We OK?" Mulder watched her walk to the bedroom.

"We're always OK at times like this Mulder.  Call me that
Saturday afternoon this fall, we'll do a state of the union review

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