By Jeannine Ackerson
Rating: PG-13 for a few well placed swear words.
Spoiler warning: Several small mentions of second season episode revelations and events are included in here, but not much else. This could be anytime in the future of the X-Files as we know it, cause I can bet Samantha won't be found in this season's cliffhanger.
Disclaimer: The X-Files and well as the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, Fox Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., and most importantly: they don't belong to me. They have been borrowed (lovingly) and I promise to return them.
Relationship: A little angst between characters. Nothing beyond friendship or what we see on the show itself.
Summary: Some strange phone calls lead Scully to believe she has a contact who can provide them with information as to Samantha's whereabouts.
Author's notes: This is dedicated to my Grandmother, because she wants the truth just as much as Fox Mulder does. Plus I want to acknowledge my Mom's input on the government's accounting department that I used in here.
Hi all! It's me again . . . back with something new. This one's a straight story, no romance, no UST, maybe a little angst, but overall it is just my take on what might have happened to Samantha Mulder. And to all my fellow relationshippers, please don't take away my 'membership'. I had to write just one story for all those non-relationshippers out there. I promise I'll be back to my old, romantic self for the next story. Anyhow, on to our show...
Dana Scully's residence
May 1, 11:21 p.m.
When the phone rang at 11:21 that night, Dana Scully assumed it would be her partner Fox Mulder one of his occasional check-ins. Of course the fact that he had insomnia so bad that she was sure he couldn't get more than four hours sleep a night had nothing to do with it. No, nothing at all she thought with a wry smile. It rang again, and she reached across the bed to snag the receiver.
"Hello," she answered.
"Ms. Scully?" a strange voice asked, tentative in its identification of the party on the other end.
"Yes. Who is this?"
"My name is Monica Sellers. I was given your name to contact in regards to someone you might know. Perhaps someone that you might have contact with through your work," the woman explained hesitantly.
It sounded to Scully like this woman wasn't sure if she should be calling. Immediately Scully sat up in bed to better concentrate on the discussion. She wanted to be sure she understood what this woman was calling about.
"And who would that be?" Scully asked. It was the first thing she could think of to say. As she waited for the woman on the other end of the phone to reply, she wondered who this person was and how she'd gotten her phone number, let alone asking about a person that Scully might know. It was very strange. Spooky almost.
"The person's name is Samantha Mulder," Ms. Sellers announced.
With every bit of her willpower, Scully kept her hand from dropping the phone. Sure, she knew these types of calls made their way to her partner's ears, attempting to lure him into danger at the hopes of finding his sister, but to call her? And at this hour. What were They thinking? Why would They think she'd believe it. That this woman knew about Samantha.
"Ms. Sellers, Ms. Mulder's been missing since she was eight years old, approximately 20 years ago. Do you know anything about her disappearance?" she asked cautiously. She had no illusions that this could be a wild goose chase. She and her partner had been on that type of roller coaster ride before. And she wouldn't let Mulder go through it again if she had her way. She held her breath as the woman on the other end of the line paused, as if considering what Scully had just told her.
Finally, her voice reappeared on the line.
"I think I may know what happened to her. But I can't talk now," she said, her tone sounding stressed and hurried as she spoke. "I'll call again."
With that the phone went dead, and Scully was left puzzling the strange conversation, and the mysterious Ms. Seller's claim.
May 2, 8:05 a.m.
Scully entered the basement office of Fox Mulder and the X-Files a little later than usual. That simple event would have raised Mulder's eyebrows in curiosity anyway, but the disheveled, tired look to his partner concerned him even more. He'd actually gotten to sleep the night before, and hadn't awoken until six that morning. No insomnia induced phone call to his petite partner's residence had occurred to keep her from her beauty rest. So her sleeplessness must have been caused by something else.
It could be nightmares, he thought to himself. He knew, even though she denied it to his face that she dealt with them now. Memories of Duane Berry, Donnie Pfaster and Robert Patrick Modell all took up prominent places in her dreams. And of course she wouldn't share that fact with him. No, not his stoic, strong partner who could deal with anything and everything. That put a little lopsided, sarcastic grin on his face. For all the times she had been there for him, she wouldn't allow herself the luxury of leaning on him.
OK, so once she had broken down, her mentally recalled, after he'd rescued her from Pfaster, but anyone would be hard pressed to keep up any illusions of strength once they'd almost died at the hands of a psychopath like him. Even when Melissa had died, Scully had grieved on her own, without him, or anyone to turn to. He wished she didn't feel like she had to, but he knew her well enough by now that it was useless to fight her about it.
"So Scully, what were you doing so late last night that you look like you barely got three hours sleep last night? Hot date?" he teased. Mulder knew better. It was an almost definite fact that her love life was as in as much disarray as his was. It was the nature of the job. So this was all just a game to play with his partner, to see if she'd tell him what was up.
"Uh, just a late night going over case files," she quickly responded, hoping that it didn't sound as lame to him as it did to her own ears. When he didn't reply, she dove into the report on her desk, telling herself that she had a lot to do before she could tell her partner what was going on.
Naval Supply Center
May 2, 12:18 p.m.
Government employee Monica Sellers was working diligently on the new budgeting proposal for the staffing of the Defense Finance and Accounting services department. All the added work with the base closures across the nation had made things busy. Things were hectic, but she always seemed to stay one step ahead.
Actually, she had started off just like the team of financial analysts she was supervising. In fact, she'd been promoted upwards in the ten years she'd been with the department. Actually, the move from her previous assignment at Seal Beach in Southern California up the coast to the Bay Area was a promotion in itself, and a nice change of scenery since her divorce a year ago.
Her new job and the new area had actually helped her start over. But then, that was nothing new for her. For her life always seemed like it would go for a while, then she'd have to pick up and start all over again from scratch. The only thing that seemed to be in her favor was her ability to pick up new computer systems or learn new tasks. She enjoyed learning, and was always up to the challenge of figuring out something new.
But the thing that had made this change the most significant of all her other ones were the messages. First they had been over the phone, a voice telling her she wasn't who she thought she was. It was always a man's voice; deep, dark and mysterious. The call never lasted more than a few seconds, then disconnected.
Since she had been orphaned, and grew up in foster care, she could see how the mysterious caller might think that. In truth, her memories were fuzzy before the age of nine. Her foster parents, Beverly and Dick Sellers had always explained it away with stories of her being shuffled around to different people, and that the memories weren't pleasant, so she'd blocked them out. It was a reasonable explanation, so she hadn't delved further into the subject.
But lately things had been bothering her that hadn't made sense to her. Flashes of a childhood that she couldn't place. Terrifying nightmares that woke her from a sound sleep. Visions of another child, a name and a place that stuck in her head, as vivid as a bright rainbow, seen but untouchable. It all led her to try and figure out what was going on.
Then she'd started to receive the notes instead of the calls. Some had a single name and then dates that made no sense. Finally she received the strangest note of all. It had been mailed from Virginia, and none of the other messages had been sent from there. When she opened it, there was a single line and a name and a phone number. It simply read, "Ask the FBI about the name." Then just below it was the name "Special Agent Dana Scully, 703-555-3954."
It had taken her a while to get up the nerve to call the number.
Somewhere in the back of her mind, she wondered if this woman was a relative, perhaps her mother or a sibling. Whatever she was to her, she would try calling her, just to find out for herself the reasons this mysterious person wanted her to contact this FBI agent.
When she'd finally dialed the number last night, she let the phone ring once, then as it started to ring a second time, she realized how much later it must be on the East coast, and almost hung up. Before she could pull the receiver away from her ear, she'd heard the woman on the other end of the line.
The conversation added to her curiosity, until she was informed that the name she was told to ask about, Samantha Mulder had been missing for 20 years. At the age of eight. And things started to fall into place.
Suddenly she couldn't talk, feeling a bit closed in and scared at this possible solution to her mysterious messages, she made an excuse and hung up the phone. But not before she promised to call again.
That phone call was still haunting her, even as she hurriedly added up figures on her computer spreadsheet. She knew that this Agent Scully could find her, run a background check or something to trace her whereabouts, and she wasn't ready to confront this yet. She would have to call back, to try and figure out what this all meant.
She'd call again tonight, she decided, and put aside her thoughts of Samantha Mulder and Agent Dana Scully till evening.
Dana Scully's residence
May 2, 11:21 p.m.
Scully couldn't sleep, and so she simply paced the floor, partially hoping and partially worrying about Monica Seller's calling her again. The phone had been quiet all night, and she was certain she wasn't going to get any sleep again as she wrestled with this possible lead.
When the phone did ring, she realized she had a fifty-fifty chance of it being Mulder this time. But when she picked it up on the third ring, she secretly was hoping that it was her mystery contact, with an answer to her questions. She wasn't disappointed.
"Scully," she answered in her regular manner.
"Agent Scully, this is Monica Sellers again," the woman said, her voice sounding more confident then it had the evening before.
They spoke for a little more than ten minutes, Scully asking some questions, and getting back vague, scattered answers. Some of them Monica didn't even pretend to have an answer for. The conversation ended when something Scully had said set her off, and the curt
"Goodbye, I'll be speaking with you again," was the last she heard before the line went dead again.
Scully had gotten more information from Ms. Sellers this time. Enough to know she'd have to do some digging into the woman's past before the morning. Above all, she knew she wasn't going to have a choice but to tell Mulder now. Not when every instinct she had was telling her that this might be the lead they'd been waiting for. Even if she couldn't scientifically point to any evidence to the validity of the woman's claims, there was just something very 'right' about this. And telling Mulder was the next step to solving this riddle. But not until she had checked her out.
She sighed and shook her head, thinking about telling him about the calls. It wasn't something she was looking forward to. Knowing sleep wouldn't come to her tonight, she headed to the bathroom to take a shower, and then get herself prepared to call in some favors and start her research. It was going to be a long day, she realized, as the clock numbers changed to 12:00.
May 3, 6:45 a.m.
Fox Mulder walked into the basement office he shared with Scully, planning on fixing the coffee and checking his e-mail before she got in, just like always. When he reached the door, he suddenly realized the light was on already, and the door unlocked. Surprised, he pushed the door slowly open with his left hand, his right lightly resting on his Sig Sauer holstered at his back.
Instead of Krychek, the Cancerman or any other assorted goons or men in black that could have been there, Mulder instead found his partner at her desk, computer on, surrounded by piles of reports and papers. She looked like she'd been at it for quite a while. He noted that she was dressed for work, wearing a white shirt and black pants, the matching jacket draped over the back of her chair. She had one her reading glasses as well, though they seemed to have slipped a bit down the bridge of her nose.
"Hey there Scully. What happened? Was there a new world order that no one thought to mention to me that said you were supposed to be coming in to work earlier than me?" he joked, the edginess of walking in on a potential ambush was now gone. But it was soon replaced with concern and anxiety when she looked up at him.
The expression was unmistakable. Her mask of impassiveness was gone, replaced by a look of total apprehension. She had something on her mind, and somehow he knew he wasn't going to like it.
"Mulder," she began, then hesitated for a moment as his serious gray eyes pierced hers. He didn't even know what she was going to tell him, and she was already feeling guilty for not telling him sooner.
"Scully, what's wrong?" he asked, his tension aggravated by her delay in speaking.
"I received a phone call the other night," she started, and then pushed forward. "From a woman who claims she knows something about your sister's disappearance."
That bomb dropped on Mulder with a suddenness like lightning. He was shocked, and he advanced on Scully's desk, angry and hurt. Samantha, he thought wildly. Scully got a tip about Samantha, and is only now telling me. He couldn't believe it. Yet fact that she was telling him about it meant that she had decided that there must be some possibility that the person was telling the truth, and a small grain of hope in his heart doubled in size.
"Why didn't you tell me this sooner Scully! What did she say? What does she know?" He threw at her the string of questions that demanded answers. She had been prepared for his being upset, but not this kind of near fury.
"I wanted to check her out, verify if she could be telling the truth before I told you. After the clones . . ." she dropped off, not wishing to finish the sentence. He knew as well as she that the clone that had posed as his sister had deceived him. And she was trying to make sure that he didn't get hurt like that again. Her own memories and guilt from his choosing her over the clone in that farce of an exchange still haunted her. That sacrifice she swore to herself would never happen again.
Sighing inwardly, he slowly began to understand her reasoning, her motivation in keeping quiet. If it was just a false lead, she could keep the whole thing to herself, and not get his hopes up. No one but she would ever know about the calls. But now, she must have something that was concrete enough to bring the matter to his attention.
"And what did you find," he asked, his voice much more gentle this time. He now just wanted to know.
"Her name is Monica Sellers. And for all intents and purposes, she has no past Mulder. Or at least a poorly constructed one. Adopted at age ten by her foster parents, Beverly and Dick Sellers. High school and some college education. Married at 26, recently divorced. No children. She works in the DFAS department of the Federal Government in Oakland, California," Scully explained, reciting the list of information she'd gathered, while she watched Mulder for his reaction. She knew what she thought about this woman's possible identity, but she wanted to know what he thought.
When he didn't say anything, just stood there, looking at her with that, "I'm piecing this together Scully' look, she continued, tossing out her most intriguing find.
"But there seem to be a lot of coincidences. One being that she showed up in the California foster care system a month after Samantha disappeared. And the kicker Mulder, . . . according to her Social Security records, she had the same birth date as your sister."
His eyes registered the shock and he shook his head in utter disbelief. That they would be so stupid as to return her so soon after her abduction, have her alternate identity's birthday the same. Even the initials, he realized. Samantha Mulder . . . S.M., Monica Sellers, M.S. It was insidious. All the years he had searched for her, only to find that perhaps, she had been in plain sight the whole time.
"But how did she get your phone number. Your home one at that?" Mulder questioned. It just seemed too easy. And that was setting off even his mental alarms.
"I don't know. Does it really matter? I think we need to meet her Mulder, if nothing more than to prove to ourselves that it isn't her," she said slowly, carefully. And Mulder heard in her voice something he hadn't expected to hear there: Hope.
"So you're saying that . . .?"
"I think . . . Mulder, it could really be her this time," Scully answered. Suddenly he was laughing. Hard. To the point of tears. And Scully was sure he was on the verge of hysteria.
The whole situation made him laugh. It was so ironic: that the government that had been instrumental in taking his sister could now be employing her; that his skeptical partner would be the one with the faith in this woman possibly being his sister; that for all the years he'd searched for evidence that his sister had been abducted by aliens, that the truth was she was simply taken and transported to the other side of the country under a new identity.
It all seemed so downright stupid. Like he'd been searching for what he thought was a needle in a haystack, and the truth was the needle was just misplaced in another spool of thread. He was ready to kick himself.
"God Damn it Scully! I can't believe she could have been here, in the United States, just on the other side of the damn country with her own birth date all this time, and I never knew it," he raged, venting his years of frustration and anger.
Carefully, she reached up to him, and laid a hand on his arm. Her touch seemed to calm him down, and when he turned to face her, he saw the understanding and compassion in her blue eyes.
"Mulder, they didn't want her found. I don't think you would have ever suspected that they would be stupid enough to let her keep her own birth date. The fact of the matter is, I had to dig to put the pieces of this together, and the only reason I had a place to start was because she called me. You have nothing to beat yourself up about," she explained.
She knew his guilt over Samantha's abduction ran deep, and this revelation could do more harm than good unless she defused it fast.
Slowly, he seemed to return to normal, and flashed her a self-conscious smile. She knew him too well, he mused. And she was right. He'd searched everywhere, but sometimes even one piece of information can get lost, one person skipped in the sifting of hundreds of leads and ideas.
Besides, he'd been searching for Samantha Mulder, not a woman with a different name. And still, it could all be a hoax. That this was just an elaborate fabrication to further humiliate and wreak havoc with 'Spooky' Mulder's life.
"So, when are we leaving for San Francisco?" he asked, flashing her his lopsided grin. At that, her heart lightened. He was back, and now they had a chance to perhaps locate his sister.
"I OK'd the trip with Skinner already, and we're booked on a flight in an hour," she replied with a slight smile.
San Francisco International Airport
May 3, 11:00 a.m.
Flying across the country to the West coast always annoyed Scully. She lost three hours and had been in the air for six. Plus, today she'd been up for more hours than she'd like, even though Mulder had tried to get her to sleep on the flight once he found out she hadn't slept for over twenty-four hours.
Once the flight landed and they'd picked up their luggage and the rental car, Mulder drove them over the Bay Bridge to Oakland, to check into their hotel. The drive and the time registering at the hotel took them longer than either of them had wanted to spend. Finally, about 1 p.m., they trudged out to the car again, this time headed for the Naval base.
Naval Supply Center
May 3, 1:45 p.m.
Agents Mulder and Scully stood inside the guard house at the edge of the base, showing their credentials to the woman behind the desk. For Mulder, every minute seemed excruciatingly long. As for his partner, she was pushing their passes through the 'in place bureaucracy'. He would have said that she was as nervous as he was. Finally, she had been given their temporary badges and gotten directions to the DFAS offices.
Once they were back in the car, Mulder guided them around the assortment of cement block buildings, soon arriving at their destination. Climbing out of the car, Scully took the lead, with him following directly behind her.
On the plane, they'd decided the best course of action was for Scully to speak with the woman, and not to mention Mulder's name, for fear of scaring her off. Mulder's job was to watch her and gauge her reactions, and estimate whether or not this woman could be his sister.
Slowly they weaved through the indoor maze of cubicles and corridors, until they stood outside Monica Sellers' office. The room was tiny, yet had a door, making it prestigious in the building of pre-fab office space makers. Inside they could make out the back of a woman on a computer.
With a slight knock, they entered.
"Ms. Sellers," Scully began, as she watched the woman swivel the chair to face them. Behind her, she could almost feel the tension in her partner. "I'm Agent Dana Scully. We've spoken on the phone regarding Samantha Mulder."
Monica nodded slightly, her attention shifting from the petite red-haired agent and the man behind her. She was certain she had never met the man, but there was a familiar look about him. She shook it off and focused on Scully.
"This is my partner with the FBI. We'd just like to ask you a few last questions, and I really wanted to do this in person."
"Fine Agent Scully. As I've already told you, I was raised in a foster home, and my memory is pretty fuzzy before the age of nine," Monica stated, still focusing on the two agents. Something was telling her that there wasn't anywhere left to hide. That this meeting would resolve her doubts and questions about her identity.
Mulder's first look at Monica Sellers' hadn't meant a thing to him. It wasn't until he'd looked into her eyes, and saw hazel matching his own that he was sure that he was staring at his missing sibling. The short, wavy hair had thrown him, as had the professional demeanor of the woman before them. True, he knew she'd grown up, but getting the mental picture of a smiling, bubbly eight year old with long hair was hard to push aside. He knew it was her, but he didn't "know" her.
"Can you tell me anything specific about the names that were in the messages?" Scully asked patiently. She was starting to believe in her improbable theory that this woman was Samantha. If not for her looks, just by the reaction she'd had to Mulder's presence. Monica hadn't gone so far as to recognize him, but had come close enough for Scully to have a little more faith in the woman's identity.
"One of the names was Samantha Mulder, and it had a couple of different dates on it. One of which was my birthday, so it was sort of strange. The only other name I received was 'Fox', and another date. I never knew what that meant. Anyhow, since we've spoken, I can't make out much, but I've been able to remember a lot more of my dreams, and I remember a house that I never lived in, somewhere near the beach, and then a white light. Then not much else." She left it at that, waiting to see what the agents had to say.
Scully turned to look at Mulder, to see in his eyes if her could ID her, if this woman was his sister. And the answer was there. He was sure, as sure as Scully was herself. After all this time, they'd found Samantha.
And it had really been her that had found them. When neither agent spoke up, Monica added the last bit of information that they needed.
"In the dream, I have a brother, but I never had one. Or do I?" she asked softly, almost pleading. She knew they knew who she was, just from the looks in their eyes.
"Monica, I'd like to introduce you to my partner," Scully said, her vocal chords tightening. She felt his hand on her shoulder, urging her to finish the introduction as he stepped past her towards Monica. "Fox Mulder."
Monica's jaw nearly dropped, and somehow, in that split second, she knew. This was her brother. Her family. The boy in her dreams. And now he was here, standing in front of her.
"Oh my . . . Fox?!" she stammered, as she pushed up from her chair to meet him halfway.
"Hi Sam," he simply replied, and then proceeded to catch her in a bear hug, nearly crushing her, and being tightly squeezed in return.
Fox Mulder's residence
July 1, 10:14 a.m.
It had been two months since Mulder and Scully had met and then authenticated the claim of Monica Sellers' identity, that she was Samantha Mulder. After the DNA tests, her identity was no longer in dispute. And with a month's worth of regression hypnotherapy, Monica had been able to fully remember her life as Samantha, but not the faces of the people who had taken her. Mulder had sighed with resignation at that bit of news, but it was tempered by his sister's return.
A month later Fox Mulder returned his sister to his mother's arms, fulfilling his childhood vow to find her and bring her back home. That reunion had begun to heal a lot of wounds. For Monica/Samantha, she began to put together the missing pieces of her past. For Mrs. Mulder, she was returned both a daughter lost to her husband's folly, and a son to her own.
As for Fox Mulder, he had found his truth. And though it wasn't wrapped in extra-terrestrials, he decided that he didn't care. Samantha was back, and his search for the truth was still as strong as ever. After everything he had seen, everything that had happened to him, his family, to Scully and her's, he knew that the truth wasn't about his sister anymore. It was about revealing the conspiracy of silence that They had kept.
Deep in thought, the phone ringing suddenly disrupted his musing, and he caught it on the third ring.
"Mulder," he answered formally.
"It's me Mulder," announced Scully over the line.
He smiled at hearing her voice. She'd done so much for him and his family. Arranging the DNA tests and overseeing them. Helping him figure out how to explain it all to his mother. But most of all, she'd been there for him, through the last two months, just like she'd been for years. And he knew he could never tell her how much he appreciated her friendship, valued her dedication to him and his family, as well as the X-Files.
"So, what's up Scully? It's Saturday, so I didn't expect to hear from you today," he asked, the humor in his tone evident. Hell, he could laugh a lot easier these days.
"Not much, I just wanted to see how things were going with you and your sister. I know you weren't thrilled when she opted to go back to California, but at least she knows who she is, as well as who her family is now," she ventured tenatively.
Samantha had left for the airport the day before, after staying at the Mulder home in Massachusetts for a month. It had been a hard decision for Mulder to accept: that now that she was back, she was leaving again.
"We talked a lot before she left. She promised to come for Christmas, and to keep in touch with a weekly phone call. I'm going to miss her, but I understand her decision to not give up her life out there," he informed her. Then he decided to say what he'd been wanting to for two months.
"Scully," Mulder said softly, almost afraid.
"Yes?" she asked. What was he up to, she thought.
"Thank you. For Samantha, for everything. You'll never know what your faith in her returning meant to me," Mulder said simply. It was all he could manage.
On the other end of the phone, Scully broke into a wide grin.
"You're welcome. Besides, that's what partners are for."
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