Hide InPlain Sight
By Jeannine Ackerson
Rating: PG for suggestive situations and threats of violence.
Spoiler Warning: Slight reference to "Herrenvolk" (nothing major)
Disclaimer: The X-Files as well as the characters portrayed therein belong to C. Carter, FOX Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., and most importantly they don't belong to me.
Relationship: MSR. So if you just "can't" believe that these two could feel like this about one another, please skip this.
Summary: Scully and Mulder are in deadly danger, and to save their lives, The Lone Gunmen decide to assist them, but the results are a bit different than anyone expected.
Hi All! I saw Deb's challenge about the morgue pic way back when, and I was going to do a story on it, but kept putting it off. Then I saw the actual photo in "US" magazine, and I knew I had to get to it. (Sorry it took so long Deb. <g>) I hope it was worth the wait . . .
The first death threat had come at noon on Monday.
It had been a simple white piece of paper with a variety of different colored and styled letters pasted on it. Even though they were haphazardly slapped on, often almost on top of each other, the message had been clear enough.
"Death stalks truth seekers."
Special Agent Fox Mulder had read the message, dropped it into an evidence bag and filed it away in the drawer of his desk. He wasn't ready to disclose it to Scully until he had someone analyze it. Maybe someone in the Bureau, or perhaps the Gunmen . . . The thought was never finished when Dana Scully rushed in the door, looking very much out of character.
"Scully?" Mulder asked concerned, quickly getting up to met her halfway across the room.
The visible anxiety in her eyes scared him. He'd never seen her quite like this. It was as if all the horrors of the past three and a half years had combined to an unprecedented level. He was surprised when she shoved a manila envelope into his hands and went to sit in the chair by "her" desk.
"I found that under the windshield wiper of my car this morning," Scully explained, quickly regaining her composure. "Mulder, what's going on?"
He turned towards her as he blindly opened the envelope. Tearing his eyes from her face, he looked down to see a similar letter as the one that was now residing in his desk. Except this message was different.
"The X-Files will be the death of you yet."
Oh God, Mulder thought. They were targeting them for real finally. The Consortium had to be behind this. There was no one else who was so calculating, so devious as to be sending them threats like this. And the thing that bothered him the most was that it wasn't just him. No, they were after Scully too. That simple fact had him more than angry. He was more than willing to play their dirty games, but he didn't want her at risk. He'd already lost her once, and he couldn't go through that again.
But they didn't care. Hell, he thought darkly, they probably knew that keeping her safe was the one thing he relied on. If she was safe, he would be fine. Especially since she had the habit of coming to his rescue.
"I don't know Scully. I got one to," he admitted, walking slowly to his desk and removing the letter.
Coming to stand at her side, he handed her the plastic covered letter. She blanched at first as she read the words plastered on the white page, then went into investigator mode. Tilting it at several angles, she looked back up at Mulder.
"It looks like a similar job. The letters no doubt won't match, but the paper looks the same."
"I know. The thing now is to find out who's behind this and ascertain if the threats are genuine. But until we know for sure, I think we need to go on the assumption that they are legitimate."
Nodding her understanding, she got up and started for the door with the evidence bag. He simply stared at her as she walked, his mind spinning with thoughts and images. And not all of them had to do with these threats either.
"I'm going to take this down to the lab. Maybe they can find something. I suggest that you take the other one up to show Skinner. It would be nice to know that he's aware of the fact that we seem to have been targeted for something," she offered, then turned the doorknob to leave.
"Keep your eyes open Scully," he said seriously.
"You too," she replied, and gave him a little smile before she headed out.
Left in the wake of her absence, Mulder looked down at the letter in his hand and then went to the phone, dialing a phone number.
"Hi guys, it's me. I need a favor . . ."
Mulder had been sitting in front of Assistant Director Skinner's office for ten minutes, and he was starting to feel like he was purposefully being ignored.
The fact that the first message had been in his office didn't do much for his peace of mind where the Bureau was concerned. It seemed too much of a coincidence for his tastes. Of course, being paranoid already helped. When Skinner's assistant gave him the go ahead, he stalked into the A.D.'s office with the air of his frustration going on before him. That and his genuine concern over these threats. He dropped the letter on Skinner's desk and then sat down.
For his part, Skinner picked up the pieced together message and studied it carefully. When he was done, he took off his glasses and glanced up at Mulder.
"I'm assuming that you just got this," Skinner commented, not really asking.
"This one was in an envelope on Agent Scully's car window. A similar message was on my desk when I came in this morning. She's taken that one down to the labs for analysis. We thought that you should know what was going on."
Skinner nodded thoughtfully, and then replaced his glasses. Believing they were done, Mulder got up, picked up the letter and began to head for the door. The A.D.'s voice stopped him cold.
"Mulder, do what you have to do to ensure your safety, as well as Agent Scully's. I have a feeling that this is more serious than it looks."
With the slightest of murmurs in the affirmative, he left. Next stop, he thought with some hope was The Lone Gunmen.
Scully had left the letter with a few of the techs in the forensics lab. She hadn't really wanted to, but she knew that Mulder had the other letter safe. That and the technician she'd spoken had explained it would take some time to identify the chemicals used in the glue and the paper the letters were printed on.
Slowly she made her way back down to the basement, bypassing other agents and clerical staff as she went. She caught herself almost looking over her shoulder, realizing that if Mulder's letter had been on his desk, whomever was responsible had gotten through the security of the J. Edgar Hoover building.
I guess after all these years, Mulder's paranoia is starting to take hold, she thought with a half smile. The fact that she had to be on the lookout for a potential assassin reduced the humor of the situation.
By the time she returned to the basement, Mulder was long gone. She knew that he had other resources to help track down the identity of the person or persons responsible for the messages. She could only hope and pray that he would be careful out there on his own.
She didn't know what she would do if something happened to him.
Shaking away the dark thoughts, she headed over to her desk and attacked the stack of expense vouchers from their last case. At least it was *something* to occupy her mind while she waited for the lab to call with the results of the testing. Or for Mulder.
The next message had been taped to Mulder's apartment door. He saw the manila envelope, and he knew instinctively what it was. Another threat.
As he pulled it loose from the wood door, he fished in his other pocket for his keys. With the letter in one hand, he unlocked the door with the other and made his way inside before attempting to open the envelope.
Easing the letter out, he nearly gasped as he read the words, now all in dark red as they spelled out the next message.
"DNA testing is so helpful in identifying bodies."
If he hadn't received the earlier threats, this seemingly harmless remark would have meant nothing. But the fact that someone was announcing their plans to kill him and Scully made the message all the more ominous.
It wasn't more than a minute later before his cel phone buzzed. Digging into the trench coat pocket, he hit the button and put it to his ear.
"Mulder, it's me," said the voice of his partner. But it was a ragged voice. He could tell that she was trying to be calm about this, but something had her rattled.
"What happened?" he asked hurriedly, concerned that They might have already tried to make an attempt on her life.
"I'm at mom's," she said evenly, regaining her control. "There was one of these 'things' for me here. They just shoved it in the mailbox with all the other mail."
He sighed deeply, and knew that she could hear him over the other end of the phone. But he couldn't stop himself. Now they were involving their families. He had to wonder if there was one of these notes at his mothers. He hoped to God not. With the kind of luck he had, she would open it and have another stroke.
"I understand Scully. I found one on my apartment door," he answered. On the other end of the line he could hear her slight intake of breath. She was as worried about him as he was about her.
"There's going to be more, aren't there?"
"I don't know. I think the real danger may be when we *stop* getting them. Right now I think whomever is sending them is just playing with us. Rattling our chain."
"But you can't be sure, can you?" she asked, and received only silence as her answer. "I'm on my way back."
He could tell she was ready to hang up, but he quickly stopped her.
"Scully, come by my place before you go home, ok? I think we need to plan some kind of strategy," he explained, beginning to pace the floor.
"Alright," she answered with real intensity and then disconnected at her end. If Mulder wanted her at his place, he had to be really concerned. More than he was letting on. That thought had her ready to haul the two of them off to the far side of the country to lay low for a month. Of course, that was no guarantee that they'd be safe, but she still wanted to do it.
Mulder flopped down onto the cushions of his couch, turning off his cel phone as he did so. It wasn't that far from her mom's to his apartment, but he knew it was going to feel like an eternity till she got there. Images of her being forced off the road and shot at close range assaulted him. Yet he knew that she was probably worried that she'd find him sprawled face down in his apartment when she got there.
The whole game seemed to be hinging on fear. And the thought of the other being killed . . . it was doing its' job quite well from what Mulder could see of it. They were running scared.
It wasn't until almost an hour later when he heard the knock at the door that the tight fist of fear that had gripped his soul eased. Hurrying for the door, he opened it to find Scully standing there with the message that had been delivered to her mom's.
She handed it to him and entered the apartment, taking in his relieved appearance with a momentary glance as she passed him. Mulder tore his gaze from her and focused on the piece of stationary. He unfolded it to find big, dark black letters scrawled across the white paper.
"Funerals are so morbid. Plan a wake."
Mulder glanced back up at Scully, and found her looking at him. She was obviously unnerved by this, but was holding up as well as could be expected. Hell, as well as you are Mulder thought to himself.
"Mulder, I think we should stay close by each other. It seems, like you said, this person is enjoying the fact that we're scared of something happening to the other. If we're in the same place, there's no question as to each other's safety, and we can better concentrate on the case," Scully explained with her usual detached manner.
Yet she was feeling anything but. The thought of sleeping in his apartment with him in the next room, or him at her place was enough to raise gooseflesh along her spine. So close and yet . . .
The suggestion that she'd just offered appealed to Mulder in too many ways for him to fully describe. The fact that she wanted to keep as close as possible told him that she was concerned that he could be targeted, and that she couldn't arrive in time to help him. Then there was the concentration part. He had to admit that he'd feel better if he knew that she was by his side twenty-four hours a day until they caught this guy.
But the idea of having her sleep in his bedroom while he was out on the couch . . . it was enough to make his blood pressure jump one hundred points.
"Ok Scully. Tonight we'll stay here. So, do you want sweats and a t-shirt for pajamas?" he asked with a lopsided grin as he walked towards his under used bedroom.
Before she could answer, he was out of sight.
It was going to be a long, hard night Scully thought. Little did she know that Mulder was thinking the same thing.
The next night they stayed at Scully's. They had left Mulder's that morning to find another message stuffed in the glove compartment of his car. When they got to her apartment, there was one under the door. But the most disturbing one had come over the phone lines.
Scully had logged onto her mail server and found an anonymous e-mail message there. One with the same sinister promise.
That last invasion into their personal lives was the final straw for them both. Mulder was just about ready to suggest leaving the area for a few days when the phone rang.
"Mulder," he said in his usual tone.
There were several minutes where Scully simply watched him murmur into the phone either in the affirmative or negative. When he finally switched it off, he had a slight grin on his face. She arched a brow in question for his sudden change of moods.
"Come on. The guys think they have something."
At that, Scully picked up her coat and headed out the door. Moments later she felt Mulder come up behind her, hand to her back as he led them out the door and to the offices of The Lone Gunmen.
"It's not the Consortium," Langley announced almost as soon as Mulder and Scully walked in the door.
This prompted them to give each other a shocked glance, sending a half dozen messages between their eyes. Mulder broke the contact first to regard the men that he knew fairly well enough to believe with news like this.
"Then who?" he asked, coming over to see where Frohike was carefully studying the letter Mulder had found at the office a few days before.
"The question should be who have you pissed off lately Mulder," Byers commented, walking into the room.
"No one recently. Scully's been keeping me out of trouble," he tossed back, then gave her a small leer.
She had to repress the chill that ran through her veins at that look, and ended up simply rolling her eyes at him.
"From what we can tell, this is a private matter, maybe stemming from an incident you two investigated in the last three or so years," Frohike added, bringing Mulder and Scully up to speed with the Gunmen's investigating.
"That could be anyone," Mulder complained. "How do we find this person?"
With that Byers, Langley and Frohike all looked at one another, and then turned back to the two agents, smiling.
"We have just the plan," Byres said. "We think the best thing is for you both to hide. In plain sight."
Mulder groggily opened his eyes to see nothing but black. Blinking a few times, he realized that it wasn't dark, he just had some kind of cloth over his head. Quickly he reached up to shove the fabric away when he realized he was cold.
With a split second move, he shoved the cloth upwards and then down. It wasn't until just that precise moment that he realized that he wasn't wearing any clothes.
What the hell, he thought wildly as he started to look around. When he saw his surroundings, then it all began to make sense. The cold. The lack of clothes. The fuzzy cotton feeling that he was just shaking out of his brain.
The Gunmen. Their plan to draw out and capture the mystery assassin.
They'd "killed" them.
He remembered Scully being wary about the idea. The drugs that the Gunmen were suggesting were occasionally dangerous to use, as they slowed down a person's respiration and heartbeat to near undetectable levels. When he'd argued with her that it was their best bet, she'd relented. But only with the assurance that the Gunmen involve Skinner in on the plan, and that they be ready to administer a syringe of adrenaline if they didn't come to within the ten hour window the drug would last.
She had given him his injection, and then was going to do herself. The Gunmen then had it set up to call 911 once they had their "bodies" in a suitable place with a good cover story as to how they "died."
Obviously it had worked. Because he knew they were in the morgue.
Glancing around again, he could see the cold storage lockers and the rest of the morgue. He knew he was on an autopsy bay. It wasn't until he looked down and over that he realized that Scully was laying next to him. The only thing that told him that was the fact that the toe tag on the foot peeking from beneath the sheet on the bay next to him had her name on it. Just like the one on his own toe had his.
"Scully," he nearly whispered, leaning over and pulling down the sheet to reveal her still face.
When she didn't stir, a sudden dread came over him. Oh God, she can't really be dead he inwardly screamed. But if she'd had a bad reaction to the drug . . .
Quickly he took hold of her wrist and felt nothing. The fear hurriedly taking over, he leaned over her, prying her lips apart and placing his over hers, forcing air into her lungs. After doing that once, then twice, he was just about to break the contact and pump her heart when she came alive under him.
But the real shock was the tongue he found slipping into his mouth. And then her lips moved against his and he felt sparks.
Then her need for air overrode her passionate response to his ministrations, and she broke from the now kiss to deeply breathe in a lung-full of air. At the same time, she let her eyes snap open and she saw Mulder leaning over her, his chest bare and his eyes vulnerable. A hand flew to her mouth as her eyes widened.
"Oh My God! I'm so sorry!" she exclaimed, realizing what had just happened. That she'd just kissed Mulder in a way she'd only dreamed of. Except it hadn't been a dream.
"Scully," he said carefully, pulling her hand from her mouth and holding it.
He was very aware that he knew that he'd liked that, that he'd been waiting for years for the opportunity to feel her lips against his. Buthe wasn't sure if she knew where they were, or who she was kissing.
"Dana," he said, using her name like he always did when he felt the need to show her how much she meant to him. "Who did you think you were kissing? Dana, was it me?"
The longing and tentativeness of his words touched her heart. He deserved a truthful answer. Especially since they were 'dead'. The rules didn't apply to them anymore, did they, she thought.
"Yes. I thought it was you."
At that he smiled his brightest, goofy looking smile and flopped back onto the cold metal table. At the same time, she pushed herself up on one elbow and was looking down at him, a similar grin on her face when the door busted open.
"We got 'em!" hollered Langley as they threw the door open wide.
Then they stopped dead in their tracks. Standing in the door, The Lone Gunmen and A.D. Skinner simply looked at the two agents in their pose, and Scully and Mulder could guess what was going through their heads. Frohike's face fell, and he turned away, and then Byers and Langley did the same, although Langley did give them both an "okay" sign as he left.
"When you two can find yourselves some clothes, I'd appreciate it if you could make your way to my office," Skinner said tightly, then turned and left, letting the door shut behind him.
As soon as everyone was gone, Mulder and Scully turned to each other and couldn't help but start laughing. They were at it for several minutes before Mulder's hand reached over and caught her braced elbow.
"You know Scully, now that everyone's gone, I think we should try this kiss thing again. Especially now that you're awake to appreciate it," he said on a whisper, pushing himself closer to her, and lowering his head towards hers.
"Most definitely," she answered, and then eagerly meeting his lips.
It was a while before they made it to Skinner's office.
Author's note: All medical references in here are purely fictional.
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