Covenant with the Devil

By Jeannine Ackerson

 

Oct 22, 1996

Rating: PG for language and mild violence.

Spoiler warning: This examines bits of information gleaned from episodes up to and through "Talitha Cumi." Also, it is assumed that Mrs. Mulder is unavailable or unwilling to speak with Mulder.

Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, Fox Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., etc. and are used without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.

Relationship: Partnership/friendship only. Nothing beyond the show itself.

Summary: Information comes to Mulder's attention that someone within the Consortium has been shielding him in agreement with a pact.

Writer's notes: This story is dedicated to my uncle, David Rodrigues. (because he suggested the story idea) And I want to admit that while this story didn't at first grab me, it grew on me quite a bit as time went on.

Hi all! Well, its another straight X-Files story. I got to thinking about all the little sly references Cancerman has made about "protecting" Mulder, and well, I made some assumptions that led me to write this story. Then I found out about the upcoming episode that looks like it's going to focus on him, so I had to ship this one out quick before CC makes this totally obsolete. So, here goes nothing . . .

 

J. Edgar Hoover Bldg.

Washington, D.C.

October 25; 1:05 pm

 

The e-mail address wasn't a familiar one to Agent Fox Mulder. In the world of high tech robbery and Internet world wide connections, he knew his location could be found, and it looked like it had been.

Clicking the mouse, the message unfolded on the Eudora program, and a choppy, nonsensical mess appeared. Between the blocks and percentage signs, were some fairly legible letters. Scrambling for a pen and a scrap of paper, Mulder wrote down the letters as they appeared between the symbols. As he ended a line, he dropped a line on the paper before he began again. After eleven lines, the message came to an abrupt stop.

Looking at the paper in front of him, he read the letters he had scrawled on it, trying to put the words together. When he did, it nearly knocked him out of his seat.

"Covenant with the Devil

William and Caroline

Made the pact

Fox protected

Life to natural death

Samantha hidden

Missing but safe

Truth to be quiet

Till all to their graves

One within will keep

This covenant of deceit"

Shocked by the disturbing message, Mulder reached for his phone, dialing Dana Scully's cel phone number. On the third ring, she picked up.

"Scully," she answered quickly. She'd run for her phone, which she'd left on the desk in the pathology lab, leaving her a bit out of breath.

"Scully, I need you to come down to the basement as soon as you can. I've got something I need you to read," Mulder said, all business, but his tone urgent. With this kind of surprise, he couldn't afford to be anything but professional.

"Give me ten minutes to clean up here," she added, then disconnected.

- Interlude -

Unknown Location

Same day

The billowing smoke engulfed the man's head, and wafted through the small room. His heavy set frame rested in the only chair in the place, an old wing back, covered with worn velour the shade of midnight.

His steely gaze rested on two items that sat on the hardwood desk in front of him. One was a printout copy of an e-mail transmission. The other a worn, dog eared black and white photo of a smiling family.

With his last breath he was going to damn William Mulder for his request. For involving him in this extra conspiracy. It was hard enough living with himself knowing the things he'd done, but walking the fine line of betrayal and obedience because of his promise was beyond hard. It had been nearly impossible.

He'd tried to cover for himself. Done things to hamper Mulder's progress, keeping the men in black in check just enough that he didn't get killed. Others had been sacrificed for Mulder's safety. Melissa Scully for one. Even William Mulder had ended up paying the price for his son's life and ignorance. Then there was Agent Scully's disappearance. They had thought that would do him in, so he'd made sure she'd been returned. As he'd told Mulder himself, he liked him, and her, so Scully had been returned to Mulder.

With another puff of his cigarette, he reached down to pick up the paper, reading between the lines. Mulder had received it, he knew that. It was only a matter of time. He knew his time was running out. He was going to have to make one last choice. The consortium or the covenant he'd made with Mulder's father. Either way he knew he was damned.

At least, he thought dryly, I'll have a nice place in hell when I get there.

- End Interlude -

J. Edgar Hoover Bldg..

Washington, D.C.

1:15 pm

"Ok Mulder, what's this all about?" Scully asked as she breezed through the basement doors to their shared office space. With a few strides, she stood beside Mulder's desk, looking down at him.

"I got this on my e-mail," he explained, moving to open up the saved file. He'd decided he would make sure he had a record of it before something happened to make it erase or disappear. "It was coded, but not so it wasn't breakable. These are the letters I pulled out of the lines of text and symbols."

With that, he passed the sheet of paper over to her. She glanced down to see his concise writing and began to read. Her eyes flew up to meet his, surprise and disbelief sketched on her features.

"You can't possibly believe . . . " she started.

"What? That someone sent me this information so I would know the truth? That my parents knew about Samantha's abduction? That all the roadblocks that have been thrown at me were put there to save my life? That even though they've made attempts at my life, they've been under orders not to kill me? That someone in the consortium is a traitor, because they're protecting me?" he ran off in a fierce manner, bolting from the chair and going past her to stand near the far wall.

Scully stood there, her mouth still slack from shock, the paper message barely held in her loose grip. Her mind was trying to acknowledge what he was thinking, as well as formulate her own answers. She was about to give him her first impressions when he broke into her train of thought.

"It makes sense Scully. I mean, even though they've done everything to stop me, they've never actually attempted to kill me," he explained, then had to amend his thought as he felt her stare. "Ok, maybe in New Mexico, but that was different. There wasn't any way to sneak me out of it. Or maybe they did. I have no way of knowing how exactly I survived. Maybe he or she..."

"You're kidding me Mulder. One member of this secret group has been risking their life by countermanding orders to kill you because of a pact they made with your parents?"

"Why not? It makes as much sense as the rest of it. Why couldn't there be . . . There's three people we need to check out Scully. The Well Manicured man for one, since he tried to warn you about the attempt on your life. Then there's Mr. X, who I know has informed us about things he probably shouldn't have. And lastly . . . Cancerman," Mulder explained with some reluctance.

"Cancerman? Mulder, why? We both know he's been the one who's ordered some of the attempts on us himself."

"Yeah, but something doesn't fit. I mean, when you were in . . . the coma, I went to see him. He told me that he liked me, and you too, and that was why you'd been 'returned'. It just makes sense that perhaps he's been involved in keeping me, us out of harms way at times."

"So, how do we find out which one of them it is?"

"I don't know yet Scully. I just don't know."

Dana Scully's residence

5:45 pm

It would have been a long day before this whole mystery of Mulder's "benefactor" had come, up, and now it was progressively getting worse. As she wandered in, she tossed her keys on the desk and sat down to her laptop, to check her e-mail.

Mulder was probably standing in the Lone Gunmen's office right now, trying to get their take on the eerie e-mail he'd received at the Bureau earlier. If they could give them a lead, it would give them a place to start. If Mulder's mom had been up to speaking to them, she was certain her partner would have been in a car and there in record time. However, she wasn't, and there were no other family members to ask.

Signing onto her Internet service, she pulled up her new mail, and saw an anonymous mail, with no subject. Concerned, she quickly clicked it open. What it contained made her nearly gasp involuntarily.

"A place to look Ms. Scully: Black Lung - Born: Michael Harrington Boston, MA

Existing relatives: Sister, Nephew, Niece."

Black Lung was Cancerman, she realized with a start.

So, he has a name, she thought bitterly, her anger barely restrained.

That black lunged son of a bitch has a name, and now I know it.

Perhaps his past can help us find out who our present connection is in the Consortium.

Her first action was to grab her cel phone, and she hit the speed dial without conscious thought. When he picked up, she could hear how the day had worn on him as well. In the background she could tell that the Gunmen were waiting to see what she had.

"Mulder, I got a lead . . ." she began, waiting to see what he had himself.

"Great. I wish I could say the same. It seems like Byers and the boys aren't as connected as they like to think they are," Mulder commented. Somewhere in the distance, she could almost make out Langley and Frohicke arguing about their abilities.

"I'm going to fly up to Boston tomorrow morning and check it out. So do me a favor and stay put while I'm gone, ok? The last thing I need to do is go chasing you halfway across the country."

"Yes ma'am," he replied with a chuckle. "The guys are going to try and match some photos and personal dossiers with our 'Rouge's Gallery'. I'm supposed to check in with them in the morning, so I'll try and track down our mysterious e-mailer from this end."

"Ok, I'll be back as soon as I can, and I'll call you when I get something."

"Scully."

"Yeah Mulder?"

"Be careful, ok?"

"I will. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

With that, she disconnected the phone, and then dialed the airline.

Hall of Records

City Hall, Boston, MA

October 26 3:00 pm

Scully had been in the hall of records for more hours than she wanted to recall. It had been a tiring day of sorting through birth records for the late twenties and the early thirties.

All on a hunch.

A hunch that somehow the reason that the person who had been aiding Mulder's cause, who had made this covenant with Bill Mulder had done so for personal reasons. There had been something about Cancerman's last name that had stuck with her, and had sent her on this search through the records for the area around Boston.

It wasn't until she saw the birth certificates side by side that she suddenly understood what she'd been subconsciously looking for. The family connection.

Harrington. Michael and Caroline. Both with the same last name.

Except now her last name was Mulder.

The names were the same. Oh my God, she thought in shock, they're the same. When Scully checked the parents names, she realized she had found the unthinkable.

It was true. Cancerman, the man who had committed so much horror, covered up so many conspiracies, that bastard who had stolen those months of her life, had her sister killed, was responsible for Mulder's near death in New Mexico . . . was Mulder's uncle! His mother's brother. *He* was the one who had been protecting him.

With this revelation, even the incident in New Mexico made sense. He must have known that there was a way out, a way for Mulder to survive the fire bombing of the buried rail car, she thought dizzily. He had done it all to cover his connection to Mulder.

Still, now she had do something even harder than learning that their greatest adversary was a blood relation to her partner. Now she had to tell him. God, she wanted to wait and tell him personally, but she needed them to find an address. She needed the Gunmen to track him down. So, with a deep, sighing breath, she reached for her cel phone.

"Mulder," the voice answered on the other end of the line on the second ring.

"It's me Mulder," she got out, but then found she was at a loss for words.

"So, did you find anything? The guys say that the e-mail came from a source on Capitol Hill, but it's an open monitor. That message could have been sent by any number of people. One thing they all agree on . . . whomever our 'protector' is, they've probably been found out, and it's only a matter of time till they get to him," Mulder rattled off the information, knowing that he had to update Scully as quick as possible to what was going on in D.C. "What did you get?"

"I . . . I know who he is Mulder. I got his real name, but . . . I don't think you're going to believe me. It . . . ," she began, but was cut off quickly.

"You got our source's real name? You know who he is . . . Scully, you know I'll believe you. Just tell me, alright. " he said hurriedly, his voice edged with tension.

"It's Cancerman. He's been our, your 'protector'. I got an e-mail last night that led me up here. There was something about his name," she trailed off. How could she tell him this? It was going to rip his world apart. "Mulder . . ."

"Scully, just TELL me!" he demanded through the phone, hurting her ears.

"He's your uncle," she said with a small voice, waiting for a reaction over the phone, and when she got none, she continued. "I checked the records. They were born two years apart, parents names match, and the local newspaper carried the announcements. He's your mom's brother."

Silence greeted her over the other end. She knew that somewhere in D.C., her partner's preconceived notions were coming apart at the seems. Damn, she thought, I should have waited. Then suddenly his voice returned, yet a bit strangled.

"Ok Scully, Give me his name, and I'll have Byers find his residence here in D.C. We have to get to him before they do. He's got the answers we need," he said carefully, trying not to loose his control.

"Dana?"

At the sound of his voice calling her by her first name, she nearly panicked. Oh God, Mulder . . .?

"Yes Mulder?"

"Get back here as soon as you can, ok?" Though he didn't say it, she knew that he meant to say "I need you".

"I'm on my way. Wait for me." On his end, he heard her unspoken answer, "I'm here for you".

With a quick jab of a finger, she cut the call, and raced for her car out on the street to drive to the airport.

Apartment complex

Washington D.C.

October 27 12: 14 am

The damned assassin hadn't even bothered to make sure he was dead before he'd fled the place. He was almost glad he was dying. At least he wouldn't be blamed for any more of these pathetic excuses for hits anymore.

Blood oozed from his lips, and he could feel it pumping out of his chest to pool beneath his body. His breath came to him less easily, and he cursed himself for diminishing his lung capacity with those damn cancer sticks.

It wasn't going to be long now. Soon he'd be where he deserved to be.

"Harrington!" shouted a voice through the hallways outside of the room. A familiar voice, but one that should never have learned that name. He fought for a moment to keep his eyes open as the man burst through the door, a smaller woman trailing right behind him. Even if he couldn't see him, he would have known Fox Mulder anywhere. Although they had been on opposite sides for most of his life, he still held an image of his dear nephew and his sister in his head.

As Mulder came to a screeching halt besides the body of Cancerman, his uncle, he saw the severity of the wounds. There was no way, even if the ambulance was there now that he was going to survive.

Mulder's only recourse now was to get answers.

"Why? Why didn't mom tell me about you, and how could you do what you did to my family, to Scully's? To her?!" Mulder raged, his tone wavering on the edge of anger and sincere curiosity.

"To protect you. It was all to shield you. As they wanted it. Caroline . . . Bill, asked, pleaded with me," the man known as Cancerman coughed out in broken phrases.

"Where is she? Samantha, where is she?" Mulder demanded. If this man had known all along where she was . . . he was going to be very glad he was already dying because Mulder was more than willing to help him on his way to meet his maker.

"Don't know," he gasped out.

"Fox," he then said quietly, and Mulder had to lean over to catch his words. "You'll still be safe. I made a deal . . . with the devil."

With that, Michael Harrington, a.k.a. the Cancerman breathed his last, taking with him all his secrets, and leaving behind him more unanswered questions.

As the anger and pain began to fill him, Mulder became aware of the hand on his shoulder. The calming presence of his partner.

"Mulder, she's alive somewhere," Scully said softly, her meaning clear. In his final words, the truth had been revealed. Although he didn't know where she was, he knew that she was alive and somewhere that he could some day find her.

That was enough for now.

Letting Scully help him up, Mulder headed for the door. And as they started down the hall that was now filling with police, he realized with a cold chill that now there was one less member to *their* conspiracy of silence.

One less devil to bargain with.

- End -

Another writer's note: To all you villain-lovers, I'm sorry about the ending, but I just couldn't see any other way to wrap up this 'development' without Cancerman biting the big one.

J.

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