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Hidden Reflections
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 Written by
Penpalx

 Series
The X-Files

 Saga
The X-Files

 Rating
Rated R

 Published on
November 9, 2017

 Word Count
34,174

 Read Time
171 minutes

 Summary
A post-IWTB fic. Whilst an unemployed Mulder discovers unresolved cases of murdered Asian women with a paranormal bouquet. Scully employs a new assistant at the hospital - a Japanese lady, who has an instant attraction to Mulder. However she harbours a terrible secret!



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Hidden Reflections
By Penpalx



X-FILES
Rating: R – for violence, sexual images and language.

Disclaimer:  All X File characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions and Fox. ‘Kokomo’ lyrics by John Phillips, Scott McKenzie, Mike Love and Terry Melcher of the Beach Boys. No copyright infringement intended and no profit is being made.

Category:  Post – X Files: I Want To Believe / Stand-alone horror.

Pairing: MSR – Mulder/Scully/other

Spoilers: IWTB / The End / Red Museum / Paper Clip / The Truth/ The Field Where I Died

Acknowledgements:
X Files – I Want To Believe novel by Max Allan Collins.
Horror Stories: Scary For Kids - http://www.scaryforkids.com/horror-stories/http://www.scaryforkids.com/kuchisake-onna/
Wikipedia - the free encyclopaedia, including –http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiovascular_disease
Adult Stem Cell Therapy - http://vescell.com/ /Yahoo! Health. Com
Neuro Spine Surgery -https://vic.pvhs.org/portal/page?_pageid=333,401484&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&pagid=78
Physician’s Assistant – http://www.paworld.net/whatpadoes.htm / http://www.anspa.org/
Japanese phrases - http://japanese.about.com/library/blsjp.htm
Google Maps – of Richmond area.
Gorgeous Penthouse Condos, Richmond, USA - http://richmond.craigslist.org/apa/1315887317.html
Edgar Allen Poe Museum - http://www.poemuseum.org/index.html
Bar & Grill in Richmond, Virginia - http://www.buffalowildwings.com/
Richmond Times Dispatch - http://www2.timesdispatch.com/

BIG thanks to my editor Debbie in the USA. Don’t know what I’d have done without you!

Summary: After helping the FBI solve a case in Virginia, Scully continues her work as a doctor whilst Mulder remains unemployed. After searching the Internet, he comes across a number of closed cases dating back to the 60’s, involving Asian women who all died in front of mirrors. He is immediately drawn to them believing the paranormal was involved. Meanwhile, at the hospital Scully takes on a new physician’s assistant, who is a Japanese cousin of a work colleague of hers. One day, Mulder meets this young lady, and she is instantly attracted to him. However she harbours a terrible secret, and he discovers a connection to her in ways he could never even have conceived. What follows is a tale of innocence, hidden passions, deceitful lies that hide the truth, plenty of angst and brutal bloody murders. And to top it all the year 2012 is still looming in the distance.
NB: This tale of mine was loosely based on a Japanese legend known as The Slit-Mouth Woman.

don't turn away
don't give in to the pain
don't try to hide
though they're screaming your name
don't close your eyes
God knows what lies behind them
don't turn out the light
never sleep never die

fallen angels at my feet
whispered voices at my ear
death before my eyes
lying next to me i fear
she beckons me shall i give in
upon my end shall i begin
forsaking all i've fallen for i rise to meet the end

WHISPER – EVANESCENCE

14th Century Japan

She knew she was beautiful. As she glanced in the mirror her reflection captured everything that portrayed the serene dark-haired woman, with a face so like porcelain it seemed to shimmer giving her an aura of pure light. With a careful, steady hand she brushed her ebony locks, gazing into the mirror so deeply she felt she might be able to drown herself in her own image, lose her very essence and melt away into another existence, another life. She and the man she shared her heart with would then be free like birds, their souls able to soar into the clear blue skies, unchained and unafraid.

A sudden movement from behind her caused the woman to look away only for a brief second, long enough to realise he was standing, almost towering over her like a malevolent shadow that would cover her world with darkness and destroy her chances of living in the sunlight ever again. A silver gleam of cold steel flashed before her eyes as she turned to face her husband, a samurai warrior of great strength and agility. He had entered her life without any warning and her heart had opened itself up like a delicate lotus flower to this powerful man. Believing he would be her protector, someone who would love her for all of eternity, he had ended up tearing her soul to shreds like a raging tiger devouring it’s prey.

The kiss as before was passionate but forceful as he held her fiercely in his grasp. Tears flowed down her face, turning crimson red as the blade sliced into her delicate features. Its swift movement ripped open her ruby lips…and she screamed!

“Yokumo maa!” he yelled in contempt, a tidal wave of jealous rage threatening to consume him in its wake. “How could you?” He repeated the words over and over almost believing she would give him an answer. As he held her blood soaked body close to him she just shivered in his arms, a soft moan escaping from her now grotesquely disfigured features. For a second his heart wrenched from deep inside and regret tried to overpower him. But then he remembered her betrayal and his hatred grew stronger. “No!” he cried out, like a wounded animal. Pushing her to the ground he raised his sword and struck the final blow, severing her head from her shoulders.

“Mou jikan yo,” he whispered, closing his eyes as if in prayer. “Your time is over Kuchisake.”


Virginia, USA – February 15th 2009

He glanced at the clock on the wall which revealed it was only 10.15 a.m. and sighed. Time just seemed to pass so slowly lately. How long had it been now since the FBI had called on him to help solve that modern-day Frankenstein case involving the disappearance of a group of women including an FBI agent which had resulted in the death of another female agent, and almost cost him dearly? Way too long, but during that time Fox Mulder had never felt so alive. Being thrown into a life- threatening situation wasn’t what most people would wish for and it wasn’t that he enjoyed that aspect of it either. The adrenalin rush he received pursuing a case, especially one with paranormal overtones, was something he knew he could never escape. Just like a drug addict needing his next fix, he desperately craved the buzz it always gave him, no matter how dangerous it would turn out to be. Then there was the other part of him that needed to help save people from the big bad evil in the world because it made him feel useful and worth something, more so for himself. He’d always had this embedded feeling of low self-esteem, perhaps because of the unstable family life in which he’d been raised. Whatever the reason, he knew he had a special insight into solving supernatural cases. It was his raison d’etre – his reason for existing.

Sitting in the small converted bedroom he’d made into his private study in their secluded, single-story, rural home in Virginia, Mulder sighed heavily as his fingers flew over the keyboard of the laptop computer on his desk. He had bought this place in the middle of nowhere when he and Scully had at first been on the run from the FBI, long before she had become the qualified neurosurgeon she was now. But since helping to solve that Frankenstein case, the Washington Bureau had dropped all their so-called charges and promised him he could live his life a free man, so long as he promised to stay out of their way.

He remembered the moment when Special Agent Mosley Drummy had reluctantly thanked him for the help, yet clearly had continued to show disdain on his part. Mulder knew the guy secretly blamed him for the death of his partner, Dakota Whitney, after the Russian immigrant had pushed her down a lift shaft. He’d been the only other person who had been with her at the time and should have been looking out for her. The fact he could have done nothing to prevent it just didn’t seem to register with Drummy. The man had hated him ever since he’d introduced himself and nothing was going to change that. With a heavy heart Mulder had reluctantly made the deal with the Bureau because he knew the things he’d been accused of in the distant past had been nothing but lies. They knew it too, but held all the cards against him. So they’d got what they wanted, destroyed his X Files, his life’s work, claiming it had been nothing more than a stupid obsession of his. And now he was out of their hair…for the time being anyhow.

Mulder was frustrated because in the back of his mind he knew there would come a day when the FBI would want him back on board, in the year 2012, December 22nd to be precise. The date of the final alien invasion would procure his return to the bureau and then they would have to admit how wrongly they had treated him. Of course, then he’d have to play the part of the hero who would be expected to save the world and in all likely hood would probably die trying. Until that fateful time arose though, he felt he would remain stuck in this god-forsaken place, becoming a permanent fixture, going nowhere, just standing still like a stagnant pond that had been left untouched for years, melding into the foundations till there would be nothing left but an empty shell of the man he used to be.

At least he still had the inheritance left for him by his parents so he didn’t have to completely rely on Dana Scully for money to survive. He’d convinced her that he needed to keep lying low, as he was sure there were still certain people out there after his hide. Whether or not he was simply just letting paranoia rear its ugly head remained to be seen, but he thanked the heavens he wasn’t relying on her doctor’s wages to see him through. That would have sickened him! The only thing that gave him any real meaning in this sorry excuse for an existence was having his strong-willed and beautiful partner beside him. Some semblance of luck must have finally decided to descend upon them both because they had managed to escape to a tropical paradise together…away from the darkness, well at least for a while at any rate.

Mulder smiled to himself. It had been like a dream, lost in some parallel existence, a fairytale where only good things happened to decent people, so unlike the reality he had faced every waking day of his life. A Beach Boys song formed in his mind and he began to sing the tune softly to himself whilst he carried on searching the Internet. He was glad there was no one around to hear him right there and then for he knew he couldn’t carry a tune and usually restricted such pastimes during moments of solitude, in the car or shower.

‘Off the Florida Keys, there’s a place called Kokomo
That’s where you wanna go to get away from it all
Bodies in the sand, tropical drink melting in your hand
We’ll be falling in love to the rhythm of a steel drum band
Down in Kokomo’

The laptop suddenly decided to freeze. “Oh shit!” he exclaimed loudly. Giving it a hard thump with his fist he yelled, “Just fucking typical!” Get yourself in a positive state of mind, Mulder, and fate throws you a negative curve ball once again!” Sighing heavily he switched it off and started it up again. No luck. However, after a second attempt it whirred back to life, much to his relief. It would be hours before Scully would come home from the hospital so if the computer had died on him then he would have probably gone stir crazy. This was his favourite way of passing the time. Then the hours seemed to go quicker, at least in theory. Clicking on the Internet Explorer icon, it was only a few moments before he was back in cyberspace where he returned to the web page he’d been browsing, all about the so-called real X Files documents that had been released by the government to the public in the United Kingdom. With a shake of his head he rolled his eyes skyward, snorted, then carried on reading. Shame these folks weren’t aware that this was all just another well planned cover story to hide the true facts about extra terrestrials, a truth he sadly knew all too well now. Pushing those thoughts to the back of his mind he pictured silhouettes of swaying palm trees, whilst he and the woman he loved more than life itself, had made love in each others arms, their naked bodies writhing in ecstasy upon warm golden sands. He could almost hear the waves lapping against the shore as the ocean glittered under a full moon and his imagination started playing the song once more.

‘We’ll put out to sea and we’ll perfect our chemistry
By and by we’ll defy a little bit of gravity
Afternoon delight, cocktails and moonlit nights
That dreamy look in your eye, gives me a tropical contact high
Way down in Kokomo’

As crystal clear images continued to play over and over in his photographic memory, as if almost in a trance he continued to move the cursor over the screen, clicking on various links which led him through page after page without really concentrating on what he was looking at. Moments later he realised he was staring at a particularly gruesome picture which suddenly snapped him out of his dream-like state of mind. It was of a young woman’s body on a carpeted floor in a bathroom of a house. Her throat had been cut, almost severing her head from her neck, and she was lying in a large pool of blood. Mulder read some typing underneath the macabre image and realised it was a crime scene photo that had originally been taken by a police officer in Washington DC as part of an ongoing FBI investigation. Although now someone had copied and downloaded it to a site called? He checked the website’s title, which stood out in bold brash capitals. MURDER MYSTERIES IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Below this in red lettering it read…Check out real footage of gruesome murders in glorious Technicolour.

Skimming briefly through the rest of the detailed account, Mulder frowned. In the past he had been subjected to so much horror whilst dealing with X File cases it had become a routine occurrence to view such appalling scenes, but he had always felt deep emotion for the victims and sometimes had even cried over them. Nowadays, it just seemed people were getting sicker every day and sadly had become immune to human suffering. Ignoring a couple of videos this website also boasted it had, which he really didn’t wish to see, his eyes reverted back to the dead girl. He couldn’t understand why it was affecting him this way as he’d seen plenty of crime photos before, but for some reason he found himself drawn to this particular victim. For one she had been very beautiful, of Asian descent with a light primrose skin tone and long ebony hair. An old class photo out of her school yearbook revealed this to him, although he could still see those delicate features amidst all the horrific details. If it wasn’t for the deep sanguineous gash across her throat he could have said she looked like she was just sleeping. How could anyone have ended her life this way…and how come he was now itching to find out why?

Mulder knew there was no way in a million years the Washington Field Office would happily hand out any information to him but there were other ways he could find out more about this murder and all he required was the aid of his computer. In earnest he began pressing keys until the familiar government logo appeared on the screen, then entered the code he still had from memory thanks to his old and dearly departed friends, John Byers, Ringo Langly and Melvyn Frohicke…The Lone Gunmen. They had shown him how to hack into the FBI database whilst he’d still been an agent working for the Bureau. It was just for the hell of it at the time, as he already had access to all the files and information he required. How things had changed. A lump formed in his throat as he remembered how the guys had lost their lives when they’d been involved in yet another futile attempt to try and stop the government from using everyday folk as guinea pigs, once again involving alien technology. ‘Been there, done that,’ he thought sadly to himself, as he typed in the password.

It took him a few hours before he finally came across the file he was searching for. It revealed several more crime scene photos of the Asian woman he’d first seen. This in turn led to similar cases, which he read through thoroughly, and slowly the pieces started to fit like a jigsaw puzzle. It seemed there had been a string of horrific deaths of young, ethnic women, ages ranging from mid to late 20’s and dating as far back as the 1960’s. All had been discovered in front of mirrors in their bathrooms, bedrooms or living rooms, covered in blood, some with their throats slit and some with their eyes gouged out! The coroner’s reports suggested suicides for most of these incidents, as a pair of scissors had been found at the scene in one house, a knife in another, a razor blade, a poker, and other various items that could have substituted as weapons, all with the women’s fingerprints on them. However, there were several that weren’t accounted for but had been either carelessly or deliberately overlooked. These showed women with their eyes still intact, but they had been bleeding profusely. The loss of so much blood had been attributed to causing their deaths.

His mind suddenly revved into gear as he remembered reading a number of old paranormal cases where the victims had died in front of a mirror. The majority of those cases had been written off as suicides and the investigations had been closed but Mulder knew now why he’d been led to discovering the deaths of these young ladies. It was clear to him that these should have been pursued as paranormal cases but now there was no longer even an X Files office in the FBI building, and no one in the Bureau who was qualified to pursue this line of inquiry. Further more, it made him angry that they had never given him any of these assignments whilst he’d been working for them. Well, he still had the unique insight in helping solve cases like these and that was something those bastards couldn’t take away from him!

Letting his fingers fly over the keyboard, his breathing quickened as he realised what he was searching for. After discovering several links which led to a children’s website on myths and folklore, he clicked on an icon of a ghostly silhouette of a Japanese woman staring out of a mirror and another website popped up in a little box. After maximising the page he read the title out loud.

“Bloody Mary. A myth based on a true story.”

Our Lady Of Sorrows Hospital – Richmond, Virginia

Contrary to her partner, Dana Katherine Scully was finding there just weren’t enough hours in the day. In fact she was the busiest she had ever been since becoming a medical doctor at the Catholic hospital after completing her residency in general and neurological surgery. It was a career she would have originally undertaken had it not been for that fateful choice when she decided to join the FBI. However, if she had known back then that it was going to lead her down a dark and dangerous path, she might never have taken that leap of faith. Dana was happy to have left that part of her life behind and even if the challenges of her new job didn’t get any easier, she felt they were far more worthwhile. Sure, she’d stood beside her partner and been a valuable part of the team whilst pursuing those paranormal cases but looking back on those times, just exactly how many of those had she actually solved from a scientific point of view? She knew she could count the number on the fingers of one hand. Her deepest regret, though, was seeing Mulder so reluctant to give up his work on the X Files when she personally had felt so much relief.

Maybe it was due to a feeling of guilt on her part that she’d persuaded him to help the FBI with that missing agent case, something he could once again get his teeth into and use those all-important skills that had been laying dormant inside him for far too long. However, she had overlooked a very important fact, which unfortunately hadn’t registered at the time. Suggesting he come on board, especially with an assignment involving a possible psychic, had been like handing candy to a baby. As a result it almost cost them the relationship they’d nurtured over the years when she’d asked him to step away. She’d only done this because she was so concerned he was once again letting the darkness consume him, allowing that obsession of his to take centre stage. Her fears had been realised after he’d done something incredibly reckless, which almost resulted in him being decapitated until she had once again stepped in and rescued him. They had in fact saved each other’s skins on numerous occasions in the past. But Dana knew she didn’t want that life any more, so was extremely grateful when no more FBI agents had descended on her asking for Mulder’s help again. Then when he’d explained to her about the deal he had made and how in return all the bogus charges against him had been dropped, again she felt a strong bout of relief. It had been incredibly unfair, but at the same time meant they could completely disappear from under the FBI’s radar…and no longer be hassled.

Since being on the run, it had been a nightmare having to secretly visit her partner in the hideaway he’d bought in the middle of nowhere. Over time not having the X Files to pursue had meant their relationship could blossom, as it did both emotionally and physically. So eventually when he’d finally asked her to move in with him, she’d accepted gratefully. Then after this latest reluctant involvement with the FBI, she’d begged him to take them somewhere beautiful, where they could escape from everything bad in the world. An impossible task in the long run she had thought, but persuading him to go to one of the islands off the coast of Florida was the best decision she had ever made in a long time. However, all too soon it had been over and she’d had to return to reality with a painful bump!

This was her first month back in the hospital and things had reached a hectic level. Already under a heavy workload, she still found herself offering her help to a friend and colleague, a surgeon who had been thrown into a code red situation when he was required to operate on a patient who had gone into heart failure. This particular cardiac disease had caused blood clotting within the heart, resulting in a severe attack. Luckily he was able to get the person’s heart beating again with the aid of a defibrillator and now further tests were being carried out but this type of disease had been known to prove fatal. Heart surgery wasn’t even her department, yet she knew she could offer some assistance which might possibly save another patient and that was the most important thing.

In the not so distant past, during the time when the FBI wanted her and her partner’s help, Scully had been torn in two trying desperately to help a young boy with a seemingly incurable degenerative brain disease known as Sandhoff. Her fellow colleagues assured her the symptoms were untreatable and the medical board refused to offer any help, forcing her to turn to the Internet for advice. This led her to trying intercostal stem cell therapy as a last resort after receiving full permission from the boy’s parents. At the time she knew she was taking a huge risk as each procedure she performed in the operating theatre put the boy through an incredible amount of suffering. To make the situation worse, there was no way she could promise a positive result. The pressure she had been under caused her to almost lose her faith, but in a strange twist of fate it had been restored by the mumblings of a paedophile ex-priest no less. After the FBI case she had taken that step and continued surgery on the boy. The angels must have been on her side because slowly he’d shown an improvement. After being subjected to the evils men were capable of with such knowledge, which led to the Frankenstein murder case, this remarkable event had given her hope once more. So, she’d continued looking into this research and discovered there were other positive ways this could be put to use.

She had read that in the past in Asia, stem cell therapy had been used on patients suffering from heart failure due to cardiomyopathy, which was a disease of the heart muscle resulting in the deterioration of the function of the actual organ. She knew from her medical background this meant people with this disease were often at risk of arrhythmia, sudden cardiac death, or both. However, with the aid of transplantation it could be possible to replace the damaged cells and establish new blood vessels, which would then restore contractility and blood supply to the heart. Early test results had been extremely good and nowadays there was a revolutionary new treatment for this disease that actually rebuilt the heart tissue using the patient’s own stem cells.

After putting her friend, Doctor Mark Holmes, onto this amazing discovery he began the treatment almost right away. It was far too early for results yet but he had thanked her profusely and insisted on taking her out to dinner. She politely declined the invitation telling him her reward was in being able to offer her assistance, and that she would pray it would prove positive.

Now as she sat at the desk in her office, pouring over a patient’s x-rays, Scully thought about the kindness he had shown her, very rare in this day and age, and a tiny part of her wished she had taken him up on his offer. After all it had only been in friendship hadn’t it? Having been introduced to Mark several months ago, she had made it quite clear she was in a serious relationship and he had shown her nothing but respect after that. So why had she chosen to shy away from his invitation? Well, let’s face it, the man was very good looking and charming, similar to Mulder in many respects but without the paranormal obsessions to go along with it. Was there a possibility she might have let it lead to more than just a platonic involvement if she’d gone to dinner with him that day? Truth was she loved Fox Mulder with all her heart and soul, but the constant fear of returning to that darkness always loomed in the back of her mind no matter how hard she tried to keep it at bay. Would it one day pull them back under those murky waters and push then away from each other, only this time with such force that it would drive them apart forever?
“Don’t even consider it,” she said to herself harshly.

As if on cue there was a short rap on the door to her office and in walked the handsome doctor with a young lady she hadn’t seen before. Both were dressed in the latest surgeon’s fashion that seemed to remain timeless, green scrubs and white surgical masks, only Mark had pulled his down under his chin.

“So, how is he doing?” Scully asked. She realised she’d probably asked Mark this question a fair number of times but since her prayers had been answered and now Christian Fearon was on the road to recovery, she was hoping for the same results with his patient.

“Well, I performed an angioplasty, and the patient didn’t suffer from another myocardial infarction. The widened artery started to restore blood flow but after further ECG scans I discovered more blood clots. The poor guy has undergone several operations over this past month then thanks to you we turned to the stem cell therapy.” Mark gave her a warm smile, “He’s by no means out of the woods but this does seem to be working.”

She gave a sigh of relief. “That’s good news Mark.” Then turning her attention towards the stranger in the room, she raised an eyebrow.

“Ah yes. I guess I should formally introduce this young lady. Dr Dana Scully, I would like you to meet Miss Naomi Hanako. She’s a medical assistant who recently moved here from Japan. Since she’s also my cousin, I arranged for her to come and work with us for a spell. That is until she gets tired of the USA and desperately wishes to return to her homeland.”

He gave her a wink, and she returned with a polite nod of her head.

Scully came from behind her desk and walked over to the girl who at first glance she had believed to be in her mid-twenties, “It’s very nice to meet you, Naomi,” she said courteously. Almost as soon as she’d shook her hand she realised it was very cold to the touch. Okay, they were in the middle of February; only the interior of the hospital was always kept at a regular temperature. She also couldn’t help feeling a little uneasy by her presence and why hadn’t she taken off the surgical mask?

The young girl bowed graciously. “It’s really nice to meet you, Dr Scully. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

“You’re not in the operating theatre now. It’s quite okay for you to remove the mask. I assure you there are no lethal germs in here.” She realised that had come out in a rather rude fashion, and she hadn’t intended to be so abrupt in her manner. But something was niggling in the back of her mind and Scully just couldn’t understand why.

Mark gave her a puzzled look. “Dana, no need to scare the poor girl on her first day.”

“I’m so sorry.” Naomi sounded genuinely shaken. Tentatively, she took off the facial mask and held it in both hands.

It looked to Scully like she had been almost afraid to remove it. Yet, underneath the white cotton shield, the woman was to put it simply, beautiful. Having a complexion like porcelain with large, dark, doe-like eyes under thick lashes, why on earth would she want to hide it? Perhaps the girl was just shy. Suddenly, Dana felt rather guilty over the way she’d spoken to her.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you. I’m probably just tired.” She realised subconsciously she had been analysing this new assistant far too deeply. ‘That’s what comes of spending years and years devoted to weird phenomena and the like,’ she thought to herself. ‘You just can’t seem to shake it. Damn his spooky sense for rubbing off on me!’

“That’s all right Doctor Scully,” Naomi said, quietly. “I’m just a little nervous at being here. I’ve never worked this far away from home, and moving to the United States is proving quite daunting…as well as exciting.” She gave a timid smile and added, “But I am looking forward to working with you.”

“With me?” Scully queried.

“Yeah, I forgot to add…” Mark began, handing her the necessary paperwork he had tucked into his belt. “Naomi here is a qualified physician’s assistant.”

Taking hold of his cousin’s hand he started to guide her gently towards the door. “Could you excuse us for a moment Naomi? I need to explain some things to Dana.”

“Of course,” she replied, and left the room.

Scully had been briefly skimming over Naomi’s resume revealing her qualifications, skills and places she’d studied as a medical student. She raised an eyebrow at him. “So, among various general and office duties she’s going to be my chief assistant in all my surgeries? That good is she, Mark?”

“Yes,” he replied with a smile. “You won’t need to fully train her either as she has had neurosurgical experience. She worked alongside a surgeon for six years in the Nakamura Memorial Hospital in Hokkaido.”

“Impressive,” Dana stated. “So why isn’t she there any more?” Before he could reply she cut in with, “Look, I’ve never hired an assistant because I don’t need another one Mark. Not at this present time at any rate.”

“Dana, I know you are snowed under with work, so don’t tell me you don’t need the help,” Mark replied, trying to make her see how stubborn she was being. Before she could say anything in her defence he added, “ I also have a personal reason for bringing her to you.”

“I’m listening.”

“It’s a long story.”

“Aren’t they always?” Scully replied, feeling a little impatient.

“Okay, I’ll try to keep this brief.”

“Please do.”

“Last year Naomi spent time in a psych ward after having a nervous breakdown. She had been living with her fiancé for about four months when without any warning he suddenly killed himself. He was discovered in their apartment with his throat cut! His fingerprints were all over this kitchen knife.”

Scully’s eyes widened. “Oh, god.”

“That’s not all. In that same year her sister apparently committed suicide as well. She was a few years younger than Naomi and a gifted musician who was heading for a very promising career. She had everything to live for yet was found dead in their mother’s house, both wrists slashed.”

“Where was the father?” Scully asked, shocked.

Mark bowed his head. “He died in a plane crash a few years before these incidents.” Taking hold of Scully’s hand he added, “He was my uncle and I felt I owed it to his wife to take care of Naomi after she came out of hospital. Sachi just wasn’t coping since the death of her youngest daughter and wasn’t strong enough to be there for her. Ironically her name means blessed or lucky,” he added, sadly.

“So you took her under your wing?”

“Yeah, and she’s been just fine since she came over here, managed to stand on her own two feet once more. But she’s bright, intelligent and needs to be working again. I was kind of hoping you’d be okay with this.” He knew he was maybe sounding a little desperate but needed her approval.

Scully sighed and dropped his hand. “I understand this girl’s plight Mark, and you being family wish to help her, but you should have discussed this with me before you brought her to my office.”

“I realise that Dana, and I’m sorry,” he said apologetically. “But I promise you she will be nothing but an asset to you. She knows her stuff. However, if there’s any sign of any change in her mental state of mind, I will take full responsibility and relieve her of her position with you.”

“That’s mighty nice of you, Mark,” she replied with a touch of sarcasm. “I presume she’s on medication?”

“Yes, diazepam. She was on much stronger antidepressants during her time in the psychiatric unit. She’s improved a great deal since then and the depression is no longer affecting her functioning in every day life.”

“All right, Mark,” she said, defeated. “Let’s give it a trial run. But if I find she cannot handle the work then I will terminate her employment. After all, we are here to save people and if someone isn’t focused on the task at hand it could endanger patients lives. I can’t have that.”

“Absolutely, Dr. Scully,” he replied, gently emphasising the word ‘doctor’. “Seriously though,” he added, “Thank you for doing this. She’s had such a rough time of it, poor kid. I just want to see Naomi working to her full potential again.”

“Any time, Mark,” Scully, replied. She gestured towards the door. “You can ask her to come back in now and I’ll start showing her the ropes.” Putting a hand on his shoulder she added, “I really hope this works out.”

continued from part 2

Single-Story Rural Home in Nowhere, Virginia

Retired agent Fox William Mulder glanced at his watch and the numbers 4.20pm flashed back at him in an eerie green fluorescent glow. He’d been making numerous phone calls to the Washington Bureau for at least an hour and was getting nowhere fast. He had really hoped that Kimberly would have patched him through by now to his old friend who had still managed to maintain his superiority in the FBI, Assistant Director Walter Sergei Skinner. Her most recent excuse was that he was in a very important board meeting and could not be disturbed. Mulder had known this was in all probability a lie but continued to remain on hold for a further 30 minutes, then had reluctantly given up.
But he was damned if he was going to be defeated. Punching in the numbers once more, which was becoming like a mantra, he waited until the secretary answered with her cheery demeanour that was now beginning to get on his nerves!

“Assistant Director Walter Skinner’s office. Can I help you?”

“Kimberly, it’s me again,” he began sharply. “Please don’t give me that ‘he’s still in a meeting’ crap. I need to speak to him!”

“Mr. Mulder I would appreciate you not use that tone of voice with me,” Kimberly said rather perturbed by his manner. “It’s not my fault he was in a meeting.”

“I’m sorry,” Mulder apologised. “It’s just that he’s the only one who will listen to me over there. But yeah, I shouldn’t have taken my frustrations out on you.” Then it struck him what she’d just said. “So he’s free now?”

Kimberly sighed heavily. She’d always thought of Fox Mulder as a very intelligent man, who was also very good looking as well, something she believed to be a rare combination in the male species as a whole. However, everyone has flaws and in this case it was his irrational way of looking at the world, where everything had to relate to the unknown and how he could see underhanded conspiracies in almost everything. She had never understood that part of his behaviour, and probably never would.

“I’ll see if I can patch you through.”

“Thank you,” Mulder replied, almost relieved.

There was a brief pause on the line. Then he heard his ex-bosses deep dulcet tones on the other end of the phone, and quickly realised he was sounding non too pleased.

“Mulder, what on earth is it? Kimberly says you’ve been trying desperately to get a hold of me?”
Now he finally had his attention, he suddenly realised what he was about to suggest could in all likelihood fall on deaf ears. Yet, Skinner was the only person who had been there for him during his time as an agent in the FBI, well most of the time. Hopefully he’d listen to what he had to say, but where to start? He thought he’d better try and keep it polite, whatever decided to come out of his mouth.

“Sir, I… I found some old cases on the Net, revealing the brutal deaths of several women over the years, dating back to the sixties. The Bureau closed them because they were classed as suicides and nothing more. Only…”

“You hacked into the FBI’s database?” Skinner interrupted, sternly.

“Um?” Mulder hesitated, knowing full well this was a felony and it could have landed him in deep water telling the Assistant Director this. “I…I guess I did, sir,” he admitted, defeated.

Walter Skinner let out an exasperated sigh down the phone. “Go on.”

Realising his ex-boss was going to reluctantly let him off the hook and not press charges, he carried on with trepidation. “I…um…believe there were paranormal reasons for those deaths, sir.”

“Mulder?”

He heard his name uttered in a low ominous tone.

“Sir, they all died in front of mirrors and I used to have cases revealing this phenomena and…”

“Mulder, you don’t have the X Files any more,” Skinner cut him off abruptly.

“ I realise that, sir. You think I don’t?” he replied, a touch of anger brewing.

“So, why can you not let it go, Mulder? Move on, for god’s sake.”

Skinner had sounded extremely harsh and that upset him but he carried on, trying to remain calm.
“Sir, you valued my contribution once upon-a-time. Sure, you showed your approval reluctantly sometimes but you also showed me some respect and I believe I returned that respect.”

“Mulder?” Skinner began, again.

But before he could add anything else his former agent carried on with what he was trying to say.
“They took it all from me,” Mulder said, very quietly, breathing slowly. He swallowed hard trying not to let the tears follow. “You know as well as I do how unfair that was.”

Skinner’s voice took on a gentler tone.
“Yes, I do.”

“It was everything I had” Mulder said, his voice barely audible. “Everything that I was.”

This time Skinner’s sigh was sympathetic.
“You have Scully now and a new life together. Isn’t that important?”

“Of course it is, but I still need to do what I believe I was put on this god forsaken planet to do,” he replied dejectedly.

Skinner sensed the tension in his former agents voice and decided to approach carefully. “Why, Mulder? I mean, why can’t you just drop this and move on? The last involvement with the FBI almost cost you your god dammed life!” His voice rose slightly. “You should never have been asked to help look for that missing agent.”

“That was Scully’s doing,” Mulder said, abruptly. “She’s the one who asked me to help them. Later I realised the good I could do and so I had to stay on board.” He gave a heavy sigh. “What good am I if I can’t help people, huh? How about the people no one else wants to help because the paranormal is involved?”

“You are not everyone’s saviour,” Skinner said, softly. “No one should have that kind of a burden on their shoulders.”

The irony in that sentence almost made Mulder laugh out loud.

“So, the FBI is never going to require my assistance again? Fine! I’ll just stay out of the way when the fucking invasion occurs in 2012.” Okay that was a stupid and pointless retort he decided, because the chances of stepping away unscathed from an impending apocalypse was almost next to impossible.

Walter Skinner’s breath caught in his throat. He had carelessly overlooked this very real and looming threat, maybe because he seriously didn’t think his mind could cope with it right at this present time. He also knew that in the not so distant future, Fox Mulder would indeed get dragged back, kicking and screaming if need be, to become an ally for the FBI.

“Gone quiet, all of a sudden have we, sir?” Mulder asked.

“I just don’t know what else to say,” he replied, admitting defeat. “All I can advise is you keep away from those FBI cases, old and new and go and live your life with the woman you love. It’s the best I can offer, Mulder.” A brief pause then, “I’m sorry.”

“You mean enjoy what time we have left don’t you, Sir?”

“Yes,” Skinner replied. Truth was no one knew how much life they had left. Someone could get run over by a bus the next day or die trying to save mankind from a race of grey aliens intent on claiming re-ownership of their planet. He refrained from going along those lines of thought any further.

Mulder changed the subject abruptly. “I thought you might be able to help me re-open at least one or two of these cases,” he said, the tension building inside. “I guess I was expecting too much from you.”

“I’m sorry, Mulder. I can’t help you, not with what you’re asking. Not this time,” Skinner replied, a forced calmness in his voice.

“So, you’re saying you’ll be there for me when the fucking aliens invade? Well, I guess I should be grateful for that at least,” Mulder said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. “Thanks for nothing…Sir.”

“Please Mulder!” Skinner exclaimed. “My hands are tied, you know that.” Before he could let the man reply he added, “Just forget The X Files and everything ever connected to them, for your own sake,” he pleaded.

“My own sake? That’s rich coming from you, sir.” Mulder was starting to let the anger seep through, but then somehow managed to keep it at bay. “Walter, I know they’ll finish your career if you help me in any way.” He sniffed a little as his eyes began to brim with tears. “I’m sorry I bothered you.”

“I’m sorry too…so sorry.” Skinner had been extremely resentful having to watch while the FBI tried to destroy Fox Mulder’s reputation and good name yet could do nothing about it. Now the feeling was back in full force because he was just as helpless. “Mulder,” he said, softly, not allowing his former agent to hear the anger in his voice. “Don’t call here again. Take Scully and go away together, far away from this.”

“Already done that, Sir,” he replied, resigning to the fact he was going to receive no further help from the AD. “Tropical Island, the whole shebang.”

There was a pause on the other end of the line then he heard Skinner making some feeble excuse.
“Mulder, I have to go. I’m scheduled for another meeting with the board of directors.”

Walter Skinner felt incredibly guilty having to end the conversation this way. But there really was nothing more he could offer. Those bastards held the reins and he would have to keep tagging along, or just like Mulder, would be forced to resign from his job and it was a pivotal position he did not wish to lose.

“Of course you do, Walter,” he replied letting out a long heavy sigh.

“Take care, Mulder,” Skinner said, quietly. Could he have been more transparent with those words?

“You too…Sir.”

With a heavy heart Mulder hung up the phone then glanced over at his laptop which still displayed a website revealing the folklore tale about ‘Bloody Mary’. Just what had he been expecting from Skinner, a miracle? There was nothing the man could do and it had been ridiculous to even think he could. The ‘powers that be’ owned him hook, line and sinker. He’d just have to work out another way to pursue those cases himself. Oh, but he would find a solution because no way was he going to give up that easily. As for the possible extinction of mankind that was looming out on the horizon, it was probably best not to dwell on that subject for now, more for his own sanity than anything else.

Reaching over to turn off the printer, Mulder stood up and stretched his arms above his head, hearing his bones crack from the strain as he did so. Damn, he was getting far too old for this, however the chances of retirement just seemed like an elusive dream. Snatching a manilla folder from his desk, he read the title he’d scrawled out with a black marker – B. M. folklore v Mirror girls’ deaths. Then tucking it under one arm, he strode out into the living room, grabbed his coat off the hat rack and headed towards the front door, slamming it shut as he left the house.

Our Lady Of Sorrows Hospital – Richmond, Virginia

Several hours seemed to come and go without Dana Scully realising just exactly how much time had in fact passed. At Mark’s request, she had taken on his cousin as her assistant. As an introduction to becoming her right-hand man as it were, she had taken Naomi through a surgical procedure involving a patient who was having problems of the neck and lower back. Dana had shown her how to perform an anterior cervical fusion, which removed pressure on the nerves in the neck area by removing the discs between the vertebrae that were pressing upon them. She had then demonstrated how to fuse the affected vertebrae together, by connecting them with metal plates and placing a piece of bone between them, explaining that this would keep the vertebrae from crushing the nerve again and eventually the added bone would fuse the vertebrae into one.

Dana had to admit she had been very impressed with the way the young woman had carefully observed every moment during the surgery and even asked intelligent and well thought out questions afterwards. Feeling very satisfied with her new protégée she’d left Naomi to complete a thorough history and physical examination on all the new office patients prior to presenting each one to her whereupon she would then help formulate a treatment plan, among other duties.

Finally catching a moment’s rest, Dana had retired to her office and was just about to start munching on a sandwich, which would have been the only other thing she’d been able to eat since breakfast, which now seemed eons away. All of a sudden there was a sharp knock on her door.
“Oh please,” she said, sighing heavily. Perhaps if she ignored whoever it was they’d go away and leave her in peace? Nice idea, but unfortunately, the professional side of her knew she could not behave in this manner. So, reluctantly returning her sandwich to its cellophane wrapper she called out, “Come in!”

Expecting the visitor to be a member of staff, she was completely taken by surprise when the door opened just enough to allow her partner to stick his head through. “Mulder!” she exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m really sorry to bother you, Scully. A nurse said you were in your office so I presumed you were taking some free time?” he asked, hopefully.

Free time? And just what was that pray tell? “Well, I was,” she replied, frowning a little. Then she gestured for him to come in. “Mind if I eat while we talk?” she asked, retrieving her extremely late lunch or early dinner depending on which way you chose to define it. Taking a large bite out of the sandwich, mouth now full, she savoured the delicious contents, then added, “Sorry, it’s just I haven’t eaten since the crack of dawn.”

Mulder crossed over and sat down opposite her whilst she carried on munching. “Course not,” he said. “I haven’t eaten either.”

“Why not?” Scully asked, puzzled. “We’ve got food in the fridge and there’s always take-out.” Nine times out of ten he’d usually resorted to phoning some fast food diner whenever he finally admitted he was hungry.

“Lost track of time,” he admitted, feebly. Taking the folder he’d brought with him, he placed it on the desk and removed the papers he’d printed out at their home.

Scully shook her head and smiled. “So, what’s kept you so busy this time?”

“A string of old FBI cases dealing with the similar deaths of young women. Only they were closed…when they shouldn’t have been,” he said, giving her a timid smile, whilst handing over the information he’d discovered on the Internet. Realising she was more than likely going to rebuke him for looking into such matters, he added, “Scully, I know I can solve these.”

“Oh and here I was thinking you’d found some new porn site to occupy your mind,” she said, cuttingly. Glancing briefly through pages of typing she came across an artist’s depiction of a haggard old woman with a severe facial disfigurement. Another picture revealed a stick-thin grey, drab, woman with a mass of tangled hair. Noticing the wording underneath clearly revealed information about a certain paranormal myth, she sighed heavily. “Bloody Mary, Mulder?”

He squirmed in his seat but stood his ground. “Those women all died in front of mirrors. Yeah, the coroner’s reports gave some very good reasons for suicides but they didn’t account for those whose eyes were encrusted with coagulated blood… almost as if they had just exploded out of their sockets, plus amongst those victims they found no weapons. How do you explain that?” Mulder asked, shrugging his shoulders.

Scully really didn’t have time for this, but thought she had better attempt to give him some sort of an answer. Perhaps he would accept a logical explanation just this once and cease bothering her? The chances of that happening were remote and she knew it, but decided to give her theory anyway. “It could have been a freak medical condition. Maybe an aneurysm or perhaps a stroke was the cause?”

Mulder snorted with derision. “Should have realised you’d come up with a scientific explanation, even if you can’t completely justify it,” he said, sounding a little annoyed. “After all we went through in the past, including the unexplained phenomena that we actually witnessed…and yet you still turn to your fucking medical science for the answers.”

“Well, what do you expect?” Scully retorted, now angry by his unexpected outburst. “I’m a doctor, Mulder! You know that’s my position in life now. I want absolutely nothing more to do with the supernatural, and I also remember telling you this after our last encounter!” She shuddered as images came into her mind of the ex-priest and his so-called psychic connections that had led them to a perverse experiment involving the removing of a man’s head whilst he was still being kept alive. A group of men had been planning to surgically attach it to a woman’s body, which they would also have beheaded whilst the poor girl was still breathing, if she and Skinner hadn’t stopped them in time.

Mulder sat back heavily in the chair. “If I recall, most of that last ‘encounter’ just showed us how science is capable of reaching some pretty sick achievements. All man’s doing I believe, not mythical monsters or any other paranormal creature,” he answered, defiantly. “Even the two-headed dog was created by genetic experiments.”

Scully calmed a little, knowing he was right in this case. “Okay, so you believe these deaths were caused by a witch?” she said showing him the page she was referring to, then proceeded to read some of the text. “Mary Worth…lived over 100 years and dabbled in the black arts. She was found out and executed.” Skipping through several paragraphs she read, “Um…Legend has it that if you chant ‘Bloody Mary’ three times in front of a mirror on the stroke of midnight, it will summon her angry spirit who is seeking revenge for the punishment of her death.” Giving him a look of anguish she handed the pages back to him. “So do you really expect me to believe that all these women played that children’s game when the clock struck twelve, and as a result of their foolishness Mary stole their eyes, huh?”

“Some of them had their throats cut as well,” Mulder began, sounding irritated. “Look there is more than one myth that could perhaps relate to these murders. One revealed this spirit of a woman who had originally been murdered in front of her bathroom mirror by her jealous husband. He had cut out her eyes so she could no longer see the hurt and pain she had caused him and had also removed her tongue so she could no longer speak his name. So if you summoned her you received the same treatment.”

“Really,” Scully sighed deeply. She realised he was about to give her a run down of all the related folklore that had ever been documented, and also knew she wouldn’t be able to stop him. So resigning to this fact she sat back in her chair and continued to finish off her lunch, whilst reluctantly, listening to what he had to say.

“Another possible origin is the legend of Elizabeth Bathory, also known in Hungary as Countess Dracula who was rumoured to have killed young girls and bathed in their blood to preserve her youthful beauty. Of course, she wasn’t named Mary, but it still became related to that myth.”

“So, now we have vampires added to the mix?” Scully interrupted. “What are next, werewolves perhaps?” She knew her voice had taken on a sarcastic edge, and noticed the hurt in his expression.

“Please Scully…let me finish,” he pleaded.

Those sad, puppy dog eyes of his were now boring into her soul, and when that happened there was nothing she could do but wait it out. “Sorry,” she said apologetically. “Please continue.”

“There’s also a historical connection,” he said, hoping she at least might find this next bit of information interesting.

In answer Scully just nodded her head, and rolled her eyes at him.

Not to be put off by her obvious disinterest at this point Mulder continued reading. “Mary Tudor who became Mary I, Queen of England was given the nickname ‘Bloody Mary’ when she violently executed and burnt folk at the stake for heresy throughout her 5- year reign.”

Glancing up at his partner, he could see her eyes were now glazing over, so much for trying to impress her with a piece of historical fact.

“There’s also a modern myth about a local woman who was involved in a fatal car accident, and her face was horribly scarred before she died. She reappears in the mirror when summoned, with that same horrific face.” He noticed her expression hadn’t altered, so added quietly, “There’s one more explanation I found, but I’m guessing you’ve heard enough?”

“You guessed correctly” Scully replied, extremely relieved that he had managed to somehow stop himself from continuing any further with these mundane folklore tales. She then realised he was starting to chew on his bottom lip, which he always did when he either got nervous or irritable, so decided to approach with a tiny white lie. “Okay, so there are these fascinating myths about this ‘Bloody Mary’. But what has that got to do with these women’s murders, if indeed they were even murders?”

“That’s what I want to find out,” Mulder stated firmly. “Scully, you knew who I was during all those years we worked together on the X Files. Before we got anywhere near as close as we are now. I’m sorry but I can’t change who I am.”

“I’m not asking you to do that,” she said, softly. “But after the last incident where I saved you from being killed, I just don’t want to have to face anything like that any more. If you must know I’d be really glad if you never got mixed up in the paranormal again. But…” she paused, knowing the chances of that actually happening were to put it bluntly, impossible. “But however much it pains me to say this,” she continued. “It wouldn’t be fair of me to try and stop you.”

She regretfully realised she would never be able to completely eradicate the paranormal from her everyday waking life either, not when she also knew the date of this final alien invasion in 2012. However, even now there was a part of her that stubbornly refused to accept this event was going to take place. It was what kept her from falling apart, not accepting the paranormal at face value, unlike her partner who welcomed it with open arms. At least she could put all of her concentration into her work at the hospital until such times arose if they were going to, but Mulder would continue to thrive on his beliefs until kingdom come. Sadly, she knew it was his way of dealing with life as a whole.

Mulder let out a long aggrieved sigh. “I seem to remember it was you Scully who asked me to help the FBI with that last case. I was very reluctant to do so, but gave in anyway?”
“I know,” she, replied. “But then when things got too heavy, I remember asking you to step away…but you wouldn’t.”

Taking hold of her hand, Mulder closed his eyes briefly then looked straight into her own. “No matter what happens, I won’t let the darkness come between us,” he stated, whilst at the same time wondering if he could one day find the strength to prevent it from entering their lives.
“Mulder, you can’t promise me that” she replied, sadly. “Especially while you continue to pursue it.”

“Scully, you can’t expect me to go and get a mind numbing job in an office. Now that would kill me,” he admitted, truthfully.

She gave him a brief smile. “I’m not asking you to do that, Mulder.”

“Then what are you asking?” he said letting go of her hand.

“I just want you to try…” she started to say, but the rest of her words refused to come out. Maybe because she feared if she’d said exactly what was on her mind, he would have refused to listen. It seemed as though they were destined to remain on that never-ending merry-go-round forever.
Mulder placed the papers back in his folder, rose from the chair and proceeded towards the door. “I can’t let go of this,” he said quietly, and then left the room.

Scully put both elbows on her desk and resignedly dropped her chin into her hands, closing her eyes as she did so. “That’s what I was afraid of,” she muttered to herself solemnly.


Once outside of Scully’s office, Mulder leaned against the wall. Arms folded, he uttered a small-dejected sigh and closed his eyes. Why did it always have to be so difficult? He loved Dana Scully deeply, but more often than not wished she could try to be on his side when it came to understanding events that didn’t have a place in the so-called real world. Although he knew deep down underneath all that stubborn behaviour, she believed in the unknown just as much as him but preferred to ignore the truth mainly because she was afraid to face it. And even though he personally couldn’t fathom out her reasoning it was still her choice to make, and he shouldn’t forget that.

Feeling rather light headed through lack of sustenance and not wishing to make the drive back to their home just yet, in case he passed out at the wheel of his car, he decided to make his way to the canteen for something to eat. He knew where it resided in the building as he had visited it on several occasions since Scully had started working here.

Paying no attention to the cashier as he gave her the correct amount of money for a beef salad baguette and coffee in a Styrofoam cup, he found a free table near the centre of the room and seated himself. Time seemed to stand still in the space he now occupied, whilst all around him various people from different walks of life went on about their busy lives in the hospital, and he suddenly felt like an outcast thrust into the middle of this chaotic hustle and bustle. He would never fit in with these folk because he just wasn’t cut out to exist in this way. His partner seemed to have settled into this normality, claiming it was how she wanted to live her life nowadays. He knew, even if she kept on refusing to admit it to herself, that she would never completely be a part of everyday life either. How could she be after witnessing past experiences that defied any rational explanation? Furthermore, they were both equally aware of the nightmares yet to come, looming just over the horizon. And when that proverbial shit hit the fan, every man, woman and child on the planet would be affected by the impact. Everything these people ever held sacred would be completely turned on its head, and even normality would lose all meaning for them. Maybe then he wouldn’t feel so much of a loner. A selfish way of looking at the impending outcome he thought, but Mulder realised he would become the centre of attention where everyone would be made fully aware of his important role in life, to try and prevent the devastation, which would eventually bring about the complete extinction of mankind. Looking around the room at this present moment though, he felt no one in this building knew him or what he was thinking or going through, no one except Scully. No matter what, she would stand at his side and should he fall, would be there to catch him.
Remaining submerged in his thoughts, Mulder opened the folder he’d become attached to and began browsing through the printed sheets for the umpteenth time. He wasn’t even aware when someone spoke to him.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”

Receiving no response from the gentleman seated at the table, Naomi tried again. “Excuse me?”

“Huh?” Mulder replied, startled out of his deep contemplation. Looking up he saw a very petite Japanese woman, struggling with a tray of food in her hands.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, but this seems to be the only table left that has some spare room”

Becoming aware of the plight this young lady was in he felt rather embarrassed by his lack of response beforehand. “Where are my manners?” he said, taking the tray from her and placing it on the table. “Of course you can sit here. I’m sorry I didn’t realise you were there. Will you please forgive me?”

“No problem, and thank you,” Naomi replied, sitting down opposite him. “Looks like some interesting reading you’ve got there,” she said, indicating the piles of papers he had strewn out in front of him.

Mulder shrugged his shoulders. “Maybe for the minority.”

She offered a hand in his direction. “Hi, I’m Naomi,” she said, shyly.

“Fox Mulder,” he replied, returning the handshake, then quickly added, “Please, call me Mulder.”

“Hello, Mr. Mulder,” she said, politely.

“Mulder will be just fine,” he added, smiling at her.

She blushed slightly, and then decided to give her full identity to him. “In that case…I’m Naomi Hanako.”

“That’s a beautiful name.”

She felt her cheeks turn a darker shade of pink once more, and returned a timid smile. “Thank you. It means flower child, my surname that is,” she told him.

“Very pretty. So, what does your first name mean?” he asked, showing an interest.

“Um…honest and beautiful,” she replied, rather embarrassed. “Well, they’re the Japanese terms for it any how.”

“Don’t suppose you have a Japanese term for Mulder?” he asked with a chuckle.

“Not that I know of,” she replied, with a grin, finding herself unable to take her eyes off him.
Only a few minutes had passed by since meeting this, rather charming man, and yet she was starting to feel at ease. This rarely happened in her life. In fact, the only other time it had occurred was with the guy she had ended up engaged to. A wave of sadness washed over her when she remembered how he had taken his own life, yet she had never understood why as they had seemed so happy together? Suddenly she realised she had been staring at this stranger for a good while.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” she apologised.

“That’s okay,” Mulder replied, wondering why she had been finding him so fascinating? Then he sensed her sudden change of mood. “Are you all right?” he asked her.

Finding it rather comforting that this man was showing concern for her she nodded briefly. “I’m fine, really.” She didn’t wish to reveal her past to a complete stranger, even if he was a handsome one at that. Deciding to change the subject, she pointed to his paperwork. “I really shouldn’t have stopped you from working. Are you a doctor here?”

“Oh my, no,” Mulder replied, amused that anyone could possibly think he was in the medical profession. He returned the question in her direction. “Do you work here?”

“Yes, I’m a physician’s assistant,” Naomi replied. “I only started work at this hospital today, but I guess I’m finding my feet. My cousin is a heart surgeon who’s been here for about five years now.”

“And you’re working for him?”

“No, I’ve been placed with a neurosurgeon. Scully? I mean her name is Dr. Dana Scully.”
Mulder almost choked on his coffee on hearing her words. “You’re kidding me?” he said, startled.

“You know her?”

“Yes…she’s my girlfriend,” Mulder explained.

“Oh,” Naomi said, surprised. She also couldn’t help feeling a little disheartened but wasn’t that always the way things turned out? You find an attractive man to talk to and then discover he’s spoken for? Not to mention there were a fair number of years between them, so even if Mulder had been single he more than likely wouldn’t have had his heart set on dating someone old enough to be his daughter but still, a girl can dream can’t she?

He couldn’t help but notice how she was trying to hide her obvious attraction for him, and he smiled, “Sorry to disappoint you.”

Naomi felt incredibly embarrassed and blushed fiercely. Getting up from her seat she went to grab her tray, intending on leaving immediately before she made a fool of herself any further. “I’m sorry,” she said, hurriedly.

“Hey, there’s no need to go,” Mulder exclaimed. He had to admit to himself he had been rather enjoying her company. “We can still be friends can’t we?”

Unable to resist his invitation for her to stay, she sat back down and quietly started eating some of the food she’d bought.

“So, what does Scully think of you as her assistant?” he asked, inquiringly.

“Um,” Naomi carried on eating, and took a sip of Coke before swallowing. “I think she likes me.”

“You must be very good at what you do then?”

She knew he was only being polite but couldn’t help being flattered by his kindness. “I guess” she replied. Trying to turn the conversation around she added, “So, what are you working on?” Noticing his smile turning into a frown she felt awkward once more. “I shouldn’t have been so nosey, it’s really none of my business.”

“Oh, it’s not you,” he said, quickly. “It’s just that I don’t think you’ll find any of it interesting.”

She sensed a hidden sadness in his eyes that made her warm to him even more. “Try me,” she said, gently.

Mulder shrugged then reluctantly offered her one of the loose pages. At the same time thinking once she’d read it she’d probably make up some excuse to leave, having now discovered that the man she was talking to was a complete nutcase. Still, he watched her and it was then that he really noticed how beautiful she was, and how fragile she seemed. Puccini’s opera came to mind and he thought she did indeed remind him of Madame Butterfly.

“This is really interesting,” Naomi said, returning the page to him. “I find these myths and folklores fascinating.”

That was the last thing he’d expected her to say and it took him by surprise. “You do?”

“Sure. Do you mind if I read some more of this?”

“Help yourself,” he said, offering her the rest of the pages.

Sipping his coffee, Mulder listened to her own views on these myths and how she had shown an interest in the paranormal since being a little girl back in Japan. How she had always been very open minded on the subject, believing that it was indeed possible for the supernatural realm to exist as a parallel running alongside our own world.

Fox Mulder couldn’t believe he had found a kindred spirit in this young woman and it felt such a relief after all the recent negativity he’d faced from the FBI, his ex-boss Skinner and yes, even Scully. He had also felt such compassion when she explained that while she was in Japan she had been betrothed to a man, who without warning had killed himself, and how her sister had died that same year. Then, unable to deal with the loss she’d ended up having a nervous breakdown.

Suddenly Mulder wished he hadn’t given her this material that had obviously dredged up some very painful memories. “Naomi, I’m really very sorry you’ve had to face these tragedies in such short a time,” he said, genuinely upset for her. Once he’d gathered up the papers and put them back in the folder, he took hold of her hand. “I shouldn’t have shown you this.”

“You couldn’t know about my past,” she told him. The concern he was revealing made her heart beat faster and she knew if she didn’t get a hold of herself she might lean over and kiss him. Pulling gently from his grasp she caught her breath and steadied herself by returning the conversation to the paranormal.

“So, maybe ‘Bloody Mary’ killed my sister and fiancé?” she questioned him.
Mulder wanted to tell her yes, without a doubt it was this evil spirit that was responsible, but thanks to Scully, he had learned over the years how important it was to gather as much factual evidence as you could before accepting anything as the truth. “Perhaps,” he said, softly.

“I must say,” she began, smiling. “It’s nice to find someone else who is interested in the supernatural.”

Mulder grinned on hearing this. Interested? If only she knew how he’d spent years investigating such phenomena for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington DC. But he wasn’t sure he wanted to tell her all about the X Files just yet. Maybe, because it was still too painful to accept that they didn’t exist any more, because those bastards had snatched them from him, and most likely burnt them for good this time. A memory formed where he and Scully had witnessed the office gutted by a fire, which he came to realise his father, the Smoking Man, had set deliberately.

“I said it’s really great that I’ve found someone who is a believer,” she tried again.

“S-Sorry,” he said, snapping out of his reverie. “You wouldn’t believe how pleased I am to hear you say that,” he admitted.

The conversation carried on for a good few hours, but to Mulder and Naomi it had felt like a microsecond. Both of them discovered they had an even deeper connection that spanned from their strong interest in the paranormal, or perhaps they had known one another in another life? Whatever the reasons, so lost in conversation were they, that both were not even aware of time passing until Mulder decided to glance at his watch, and then realised just how late it was. He also noticed the canteen had closed long ago and everyone else had left.

“Ooops!” he exclaimed. “Guess we got a little carried away.” Glancing around the empty room, he indicated to Naomi that they were now alone.

“Oh, no,” she said, worried. “I was supposed to take these patient’s details to Dr. Scully.”

“Well, she didn’t ‘beep’ you, so I guess you’re in the clear,” Mulder replied.

“Pardon?” Naomi asked, a puzzled look on her face.

“I mean she didn’t page you,” he said, pointing towards the little communication device attached to her uniform.

“Oh,” she replied, laughing. “I guess I had better get these to her though.” As she rose from the table she knew she really didn’t want to leave him.

“I’ll come with you if you like”

It was almost as if he’d read her thoughts when she heard his reply. “Okay.” Then she also checked her watch and frowned when she noticed just how late it was. “I’ve just missed the last bus home,” she said, rather frustrated.

“I could give you a lift.” Mulder replied without realising exactly what he’d said.

“It’s only about quarter of an hour’s drive from here, I can always take a taxi. Are you sure you don’t mind?” she asked, unsure as to whether she’d heard him correctly.

Okay, just what had possessed him to say that? He had planned to return home and wait patiently for Scully. She had her own car so she didn’t need his assistance in that department. Just how much longer she was going to be working though, he had no idea, but thought he’d better go and see her before taking Naomi home.

“It’s no problem,” Mulder said, rising from his seat. “But yeah, I’ll come with you. First I need to let Scully know I’m giving you a lift.”

They had just reached the office door, when a nurse cornered him. “You can’t go in there. Dr. Scully is having a meeting with Dr Holmes, the heart surgeon.”

“Shelly, c’mon it’s me, her other half,” Mulder said, hoping that would give him access.

“And Mike is my cousin,” Naomi piped up. “I’m sure it’ll be okay?”

“I’m sorry Fox, but I’ve had explicit instructions not to allow anyone in there,” Shelly replied.

Mulder bristled on hearing her use his Christian name. “Fine. Could you just let her know I’m heading home then?” he asked, feeling a little frustrated. He was going to call her later on his cell phone anyway, which he realised to his dismay he’d accidentally left in the car.

“Sure, Fox.”

“Again, with the first name, Shelly?” He hated it when anyone called him by this, and he knew Scully had told her not to on numerous occasions.

“Sorry, Mulder,” she apologised. “Yeah, I’ll let her know.”

“Thank you,” he replied.

Naomi also had a question for her. “Please can you give this to Dr. Scully? It’s regarding one of her patients,” she said, politely, handing the nurse the document she’d brought with her.
“Of course,” Shelly replied. “I’ll give this to her as soon as she’s finished with the meeting.”
Naomi gave a little nod of her head as a gesture of thanks.

Together, she and Mulder headed out of the building and over to the parking lot. When they reached his Taurus he opened the door to the passenger side and politely held it for her while she got into the vehicle. Climbing into the driver’s seat, he retrieved his phone from the glove compartment.
Punching in the numbers, he was unpleasantly surprised when a recorded message explained that Scully’s phone was currently switched off. On top of that the battery was extremely close to giving up the ghost, so he couldn’t even leave a voice mail message.

“Just great!” he exclaimed, angrily.

What’s wrong?” Naomi asked him.

“I can’t get a hold of her,” he replied, frustrated. “And the phone’s almost dead!”

Naomi thought for a while then decided it wouldn’t hurt to offer some assistance. “You could always call her from my house, and let her know where you are.”

“Thanks Naomi,” he said, as he started up the car. “That’s very kind of you.”

“What are friends for?” she replied, with a smile.

Pulling out of the hospital grounds, Mulder glanced across at her and returned the gesture. He was so glad this lovely young woman had entered his life. She was a breath of fresh air clearing away all the cobwebs from his cluttered mind, like a little ray of sunshine that was able to shine through the dark clouds that had hung over him for so long.

continued from Part 4

Naomi’s Place - E. Franklin St, Richmond, Virginia

Following Naomi’s instructions, Mulder had driven along the I-95 then taken exit 74B. As he turned onto the corner of 25th and Franklin, he heard Naomi telling him they had almost reached their destination.

He grinned when he realised there was a certain attraction nearby he had visited not so long ago. “Hey, you’re close to East Main Street. That’s where the Edgar Allen Poe Museum is.”

“Never been there,” she admitted.

“Perhaps I could take you sometime?” he offered.

“I’d like that,” she replied, sweetly and then pointed to a large building just in front of them.

“This is it, 2501 East Franklin Street.”

Mulder stared in amazement when he saw it was a luxurious penthouse condominium. “Wow!” he exclaimed. “You live here?”

“Well actually my cousin arranged for me to stay here and is helping me pay the rent, as it’s quite expensive,” Naomi explained.

“Yeah, I can imagine,” he replied, staring in awe. “Wish I had a cousin like yours,” he joked. He would have liked to know just how much it did cost each month to live in a place like this, but felt it was rude of him to ask her.

“You can use the secure parking garage,” Naomi pointed out, to which he obliged.

After entering the designer decorated lobby they took the elevator up a few floors, and stepped out onto a balcony. Mulder felt a cool breeze from one of those old fashioned fans and when he looked up above him, noticed the ceiling was made of pine wood. “Beautiful,” he commented.

“The ceilings are all like that,” she told him. Reaching for her keys she said, “Penthouse 4, this is mine.”

On entering, Mulder was met by even more elegance and started to seriously consider the possibility of persuading Scully to move into somewhere like this with him.

“Please, allow me to give you a guided tour,” Naomi suggested, eagerly, noticing how his eyes were widening in amazement.

“That’d be nice,” he replied, interested to see what this place had to offer. “But then I must phone Scully.”

“Oh, sure,” she said, flippantly. Making sweeping gestures around the room with her hands she told him, “Well, where we are right now is the Entrance Lounge.”

It was very chic and modern with white painted walls connected to a circular wall, which was a light mustard colour and swept round into a long hall. Hanging up were some beautiful Japanese prints, one displaying a bird of paradise, and the other a tiger made from the finest silks. Also adorning the wall were Japanese lanterns glowing with candlelight. In the centre of the room was a white leather sofa, with two pale green circular shaped chairs made of the same material, and a circular mahogany coffee table on a pine wood floor.

She led him along the hall and into the main lounge, which was of a similar style; only this room had large windows and a sliding door leading out onto a private balcony. Mulder also loved the fact she had an old fashioned fireplace, even if it did seem out of place with the rest of the modern décor. He then noticed a small spiral staircase in the corner and commented on it.
“That leads up to the bedroom,” she said, and quickly added, “There’s a bathroom at the end of the hall.” Leading him into another room beyond the staircase, she said, “As you can see this is the kitchen. Would you like a coffee?”

“Yes, I’d love one,” Mulder replied. Sitting down on a black leather curved stool he glanced around the area, noticing it was unlike the rest of the rooms. This one was in a square design with pale tangerine painted cupboards and drawers, covered with a cream brown tiled worktop situated all around the edge. The lighting was much more modern, with dark orange lampshades hanging from the ceiling. Once again the flooring was of the same pine wood he’d seen throughout this penthouse.
“Thanks for showing me around,” Mulder said, politely. “You have a very beautiful place.” Then he realised he still hadn’t asked his host the whereabouts of her phone. “But I really must call Scully now.” As a matter of fact he should have tried calling his partner as soon as he’d entered Naomi’s place, but she had seemed so keen to show him around the condo the moment they’d arrived; he’d felt he couldn’t refuse her kind offer.

Naomi had switched on the coffee percolator and was taking a couple of mugs from out of one of the cupboards. “In the lounge, the main one,” she indicated.

“Thanks.”

As she watched him leave the room her heart sank. Part of her was really hoping that Scully wouldn’t answer and then he’d have no reason to leave so soon. Suddenly, she slammed one of the mugs down onto the worktop with such force, the handle broke off in her hand and it crashed onto the hard floor, shattering on impact. Shocked by her unintentional anger, she bent down and quickly retrieved the broken pieces. As she did so her finger caught on a jagged edge.
“Shit!” she exclaimed, seeing the blood ooze out from a fairly deep wound.

At that moment, Mulder rushed into the kitchen. “What happened?” he asked her, showing concern.

“Cut myself,” she replied, whilst throwing the broken pottery into a trash bin.

Mulder walked her over to the sink, and held her hand under cold running water till the bleeding had stopped. “Better?”

“Much,” she replied, with a smile.

“Do you have Band Aids?”

“Upstairs in the bathroom cabinet,” she said, gesturing towards the staircase with a nod of her head.

“Okay, no problem,” he replied, heading out of the kitchen.

He found the medicine box and was making his way along the landing, when Mulder noticed another room that she hadn’t mentioned during his guided tour. After trying the handle he discovered it was locked. Suddenly he had visions of Bluebeard and the young wife who had been forbidden to ever enter the locked room, which had eventually revealed all of his previous wives, garrotted and hung up on the walls that were dripping with their blood. Grinning to himself he started back down the staircase.

“Coffee’s ready!” she called to him, as he entered the room.

“Here’s your med kit,” he said. Taking out a Band Aid he placed it on the wound and pressed lightly. “That should do it.”

“Thank you,” Naomi said. “It was a really stupid accident,” she added, wondering what on earth had caused her to get so worked up. “By the way, did you manage to get a hold of Dr. Scully?”

“Nope,” he replied, shaking his head. “She’s not answering the house phone either. That must mean she’s on her way back though as I got the voice message telling me she was out of reach.” He then noticed Naomi was giving him a slightly puzzled look. “Cell phone signal is pretty crap in our little neck of the woods,” he stated. “Maybe if I try calling in about half an hour, hopefully she’ll be home by then?”

“You know you are welcome to stay here as long as you want,” she offered sweetly, handing him a mug.

“That’s very kind of you, Naomi” he replied. Noticing the time displayed on the kitchen clock on the wall opposite him he added, “But it’s getting very late. So if I can’t get a hold of her on my next try, then I really ought to head for home, as she’ll be wondering where I am?”

“Of course she will,” she replied, a hint of disappointment in her voice.

Mulder hadn’t noticed, and took a sip of the coffee. “Mmmn, this is really good,” he said.

“Glad you like it,” she replied, smiling. “But may I suggest we finish this in the lounge?

“Sure.”

Once seated on the sofa, Mulder started to feel extremely relaxed, and laid his head back on the plush mahogany leather. “Boy, I could get used to this,” he said, dreamily.

“You look tired?” Naomi said, offering him a cushion, as she seated herself on the chair opposite him. “Here, use this.”

He took it and placed it behind his head. “Thanks…only I really wasn’t planning on sleeping here,” he grinned. Finishing the coffee he placed the cup on the table and almost immediately felt a wave of dizziness wash over him. Leaning back against the sofa he shook his head a few times. “It’s just I feel so worn out all of a sudden.” The room then started to spin, which alarmed him somewhat. Glancing over at Naomi who was now out of focus, he felt his head begin to pound and started to panic. “What the hell?” he said, now aware of the situation he was in. “You…you’ve drugged me?”

“I’m sorry, Mulder,” she said, almost apologetically.

“W…Why?” he asked, not quite believing this was happening.

“You’ll see, Yukio,” she said.

“W…What?” Mulder replied, his speech sounding slurred. As his head lolled onto one side it felt extremely heavy and his sense of awareness was fading fast, but he could have sworn she’d just called him by another name, and it had sounded Japanese.

“You know what that stands for?” she asked, her voice now mocking him.

Now almost in a delirious state of mind, Mulder discovered he was having trouble keeping his eyes open. Realising it was impossible to respond with words, all he could do was shake his head, which made him feel nauseous.

“He who always gets what he wants,” she replied, a touch of anger in her voice.

As she spoke those words Mulder felt himself sinking deeper and deeper until finally the darkness descended.

Crossing over, she knelt beside him, stroking his hair gently whilst murmuring softly. “Well, Yukio, it’s my turn, and you are going to have to play by my rules now.”

Leaving her captive passed out on her sofa, Naomi made her way into the kitchen. After replacing the bottle of sleeping pills that had been in her medicine box, she returned to the lounge and walked over to a large mirror hung just above the fireplace. She couldn’t help laughing when she realised Mulder hadn’t even noticed it there, yet he’d been the one so fascinated by them and how they were connected to these ‘Bloody Mary’ myths. This one in particular was enchanting, gilt edged and adorned with beautiful carvings of golden dragons with piercing ruby red eyes. A family heirloom, her mother had passed it on to her after she’d expressed a liking for it. However, during her childhood it had spent many years in a crate down in her parents’ basement until she’d discovered it and insisted on hanging it up in her bedroom. Then when she was packing to go to America, she had decided to take it with her.

Now almost in a trance like state, she picked up a brush from off the mantelpiece and slowly began to stroke through her ebony hair. As she stared deeply into the mirror, at first it began to shimmer as if the oval glass was now becoming translucent. Captivated by what was happening, she watched her image transform into a beautiful woman, who looked like a slightly older version of her, only she had porcelain skin, which seemed to glow in an aura of pure light. Suddenly, her reflection altered again revealing a horribly disfigured visage, lips savagely torn open from ear to ear, with blood trickling down its face. Even though the image was unable to speak through her mutilated mouth, Naomi was able to hear the words clearly in her mind.

“Thank you for returning him to me,” Kuchisake said. “Now I’ll be able to give my dear husband another precious moment he will never forget…and one which he so richly deserves.”

continued from Part 5

Our Lady Of Sorrows Hospital, Richmond, Virginia – February 16th 2009

She had spent most of the morning in one of the operating theatres undertaking an extremely delicate procedure requiring her complete and total concentration. Performing a biopsy on a malignant brain tumour had involved the use of microscopic surgery, yet another revolutionary breakthrough in the world of science. It allowed a surgeon the ability to magnify small fields of interest during an operation, as well as provide light in small cavities. During that time, her professionalism as well as caring for the patient’s well being hadn’t allowed Scully to think about anything but the task at hand. However, after completing the surgery successfully, she had returned to her office without a word to anyone.

Picking up the phone she dialled her partner’s cell number, which she had done numerous times during the night. Then after receiving no answer yet again, she started to become worried. Just where in god’s name was he? However before she could contemplate on any answer, there was a knock at the door.

“Yes?” she called out, sounding rather tense. It was the last thing she needed right now, as she really didn’t want anyone to disturb her.

Dr Mark Holmes entered and walked straight into the room, a worried look etched upon his face.

“Mark? Is everything okay?” Dana asked, forgetting her own troubles for a moment.

“I believe Naomi wasn’t your chief assistant in surgery today?” he asked, concerned.

“No,” Scully replied. “But you’ve no need to worry,” she added, trying to reassure him. “She called and told me she wasn’t feeling well; thinks she might be coming down with the flu? So I gave her some sick leave, and told her to stay at home and rest.”

“Ah,” Mark sighed with relief. “There’s a lot of that going around lately. I’ll give her a call later and see how she’s doing.” It was then he noticed his colleague was looking rather miserable.

“Hey, you all right Scully?” he asked, concerned. “A nurse told me you seemed rather distant today?”

That must have been one of the nurses who had assisted her during the last surgical procedure. Usually she thanked each one of them for their help, only this time she had refrained from doing so, wishing only to escape to her office for sanctuary.

“I’m fine,” she lied.

“You don’t look fine,” Mark said, noticing the dark circles under her eyes. “Did you get any sleep last night?”

She could see he was only being a friend, but did not wish to be interrogated by him right now. “Comes with the job description Mark, you know that,” she stated firmly, averting her eyes from him.

However, Mark knew their meeting had ended around 11 p. m., which meant she would have most likely arrived home close to midnight. She should have managed to get at least four or five hours of shut-eye. He could also see she was now refusing to look at him.

“Dana, c’mon, what’s wrong?”

Realising she wasn’t going to be able to keep her personal problems private any longer, she reluctantly gave in. “Mulder didn’t come home last night,” she said, worriedly.

“Have you any idea where he might be?” Mark asked, slightly annoyed. Scully had already explained to him that in the past this guy of hers had a nasty habit of ditching her, and now he was feeling none too pleased, because from where he was standing it looked like she was getting the same treatment all over again.

“I’ve been calling his cell phone over and over, and nothing…it’s dead to the world!” she exclaimed, bitterly.

“Dana, you don’t deserve this,” he told her angrily. “If he is incapable of keeping his phone charged, or hell, while we’re at it, can’t even be bothered to call you? Then why should you worry about him, huh?”

“You don’t understand Mark,” she replied, her voice wavering slightly.

“Then explain it to me,” he said, realising he was perhaps pushing her a little harder than he should have. The truth of the matter was he hated seeing her like this, and also knew when she was upset; it usually had something to do with her partner.

Scully did not wish to give a detailed account on this latest craze that Mulder had found to occupy his mind but at least Mark was already aware of his obsession’s with the paranormal to some extent, as she’d ended up telling him when he’d first come across her one morning looking so depressed. So, she decided to explain her reasons to him, but keep them as brief as possible.

Mark decided he was prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt, as she gave a sketchy description about the ‘Bloody Mary’ folklore tales Mulder had described to her. But he noticed she kept pausing a great deal and could tell it was because she didn’t want to go into any more detail about the paranormal than she had to.

“Dana?” he interrupted, breaking up her line of thought. “I seem to recall you telling me before how Mulder disappeared, on numerous occasions in fact, while you were working for the FBI?”

“Yes, he did,” she replied. “And nine times out of ten it was because he’d got a hunch, which would more often than not lead to an emotional or physical threat,” she added, emphasizing this fact strongly. “Sometimes it was like he had a sixth sense or something and he would deliberately ditch me to try and keep me away from any possible danger that might occur.”

“So, do you think maybe he called ‘Bloody Mary’ three times in front of the mirror?” Mark asked her, devoid of all teasing.

Surprised that he hadn’t resorted to ribbing her about these myths, she confronted him with a question. “Don’t tell me you believe in this legend?”

“No, not really,” Mark replied. He saw himself as a very down to earth, run-of-the-mill kind of guy. So in his eyes, the paranormal was nothing more than a bunch of spooky fairy tales to frighten kids with. However, he respected his work colleague and could tell she was hiding more than she wanted to admit. “But you do Dana, or you wouldn’t be this concerned about your boyfriend,” he told her softly.

“I try to keep an open mind, because working with Mulder sure made me question many things I had held sacred in life,” she admitted. “We still managed to disagree on just about everything though. He would never stop trying to make me accept the supernatural was the cause on our X File cases. And likewise I would try time and time again to counteract his answers with a scientific explanation…and so on and so on.” She cast a weary look at her friend and colleague and added, “We didn’t see eye to eye on this ‘Bloody Mary’ stuff either, and he left my office intent on solving these old FBI cases, because he clearly believed they were related to these myths.”

“Well, I’m afraid all I can offer is a rational explanation for his disappearance,” Mark said, trying to help in any way he could.

“Which is?”

“That maybe he’s gone off sulking somewhere, because you wouldn’t listen to him,” he suggested.

“Thanks for the vote of confidence Mark,” she said, giving a hint of a smile. “I can see that any rational person would jump to that kind of conclusion...”

“But you think it’s something else?” he interrupted. “Look, all I’m suggesting is you give it a few more days. Then, when Mulder’s calmed down he’ll most likely come home with his tail between his legs.” He took hold of her hand and squeezed it gently. “Until that time maybe I can persuade you to have a drink with me? I really would like to try and cheer you up if I can?”

“That’s really kind of you Mark,” she said, gently pulling her hand away. “But I think I’ll pass.”

He feigned surprise by the rebuke of his offer. “Oh, Dana, I’m truly offended.” Then a smile broke through. “Don’t tell me you’d rather go home and sit in your empty house all alone so you can worry yourself even more about Mulder? C’mon, it’s only a drink and I for one would love your company.”

Dana realised he was going to keep on trying this art of gentle persuasion until she finally agreed to go with him, and after all he was trying to help in his own way. She made her decision then and there, to take Mark’s advice and wait a couple more days. If Mulder still hadn’t returned then she would take matters into her own hands and turn towards the Federal Bureau of Investigation. She knew if she resorted to this plan of action that they would be far from overjoyed to see her, especially if her partner was the key reason she was contacting them. But hell, they damn well owed Mulder big time, after kicking him out of the bureau and shutting down the X Files division for good, especially that Agent Mosley Drummy, who had persuaded her to get her partner to come to their assistance the last time!

“Okay Mark,” she smiled sweetly, gathering up her coat and briefcase. “Just one drink, mind you.”

His eyes brightened, realising he had finally started to break through that layer of Dana Scully which she tended to keep secret from everyone around her. It was a part she kept well hidden from her everyday working life, and had only shared with her partner Mulder it seemed. However strange and completely unbelievable it might appear to him, he couldn’t help but feel rather privileged that she had opened up about such things, which were obviously very personal.

“Ever the gentleman I see?” Scully said, as he opened the door and held it for her.

“Well, I try,” he grinned. “Okay, next stop Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar.”

“You sure know the finest of places to take a girl,” she teased.

“Sure do, ma’am,” he drawled in a terrible Texas accent.

Without warning a memory surfaced where Mulder and she had been sitting at a table adorned with a red and white cloth, happily tucking into Buffalo wings. Scully remembered how during their conversation he had reached over, and with a napkin had tenderly dabbed at some barbecue sauce she had left on the side of her mouth. That innocent gesture, among so many more that followed, had led to them falling deeply in love with each other. So much so that now she just couldn’t imagine her life without him.

“Please be okay,” Scully prayed, hoping he would hear her thoughts. After all, this type of silent communication had worked for them a few times in the past, so why couldn’t it do so again?
Receiving nothing but Mark’s ever-present voice now trying to convince her just how great the food was at this Grill & Bar, she heaved a small sigh, nodded and quietly closed her office door behind them.

continued from Part 6

Naomi’s Place - E. Franklin St, Richmond, Virginia

His first realisation proving he had returned to the land of the living became painfully clear when Mulder was met with a throbbing pain behind his eyes, so straight away decided to keep them closed. Attempting to relieve the pressure by rubbing his head with his hands was immediately thwarted, when he discovered he wasn’t able to reach that far. Then he heard a small metallic clinking of metal hitting against metal, and just from the sound became aware that he was in a pair of handcuffs. As a slight panic began to set in, he allowed his eyes to flutter open and realised he was lying curled up on a wooden floor. His suspicions were confirmed when he saw just above his head the object of incarceration was wrapped around a radiator pipe, chaining him to it. The room was dark but as his vision started to become a little less hazy he thought he was looking at the legs of a table. Raising his head slowly, as it was still pounding quite considerably, on closer inspection he could see an office desk as he noticed a stack of folders towering above him. Then he noticed a rectangular shape was casting an eerie fluorescent light onto the surface and realised it was a computer monitor. It was against a wall which he could just make out from its silhouette, revealed a calendar pinned to it displaying a brash photograph that looked like the skyline of a city, Hong Kong maybe? It also showed it was the month of February.
Mulder thought that perhaps he was in the ‘locked room’ as he didn’t recognise any of his surroundings. Apart from her bathroom and sleeping quarters it was one place she hadn’t revealed to him during the guided tour of her condo? But just who was ‘she’? Mulder’s mind struggled to remember, the Japanese woman he’d brought home that night? Forcing his body to turn around wasn’t an easy task considering the unnerving, not to mention highly uncomfortable predicament he had discovered himself in. It was then he realised she was leaning over him dressed in a little black silk negligee but what disturbed him the most was the fact she was wearing a pristine white surgical mask. Then he noticed a syringe in her left hand, and his fear increased a notch.
“What the hell do you want?” he asked, hearing the nervous tension in his voice as he spat out the words.
“Shhh,” she soothed, gently. “This will help you to relax.”
The tenderness in her tone was really starting to creep him out but before he could make any attempt to reason with her, he felt the sting of the needle in his arm and realised to his horror she had injected him.
“What the fucking hell was in that?” he demanded, his breathing becoming laboured. For all he knew she had just shot him full of cocaine, or even worse a fast acting drug that once released into the blood stream would kill him, like cyanide for instance.
“Don’t worry,” she said softly, stroking his hair with her fingertips. “It will help calm you down.”
Mulder tried in vain to pull away from her touch. Aside from the handcuffs holding him in place, he was starting to become extremely dizzy, and his head felt very heavy.
“Y…You bitch!” he thought he heard himself utter, although his voice now seemed so distant; it was as if it were no longer a part of him any more.
Suddenly Naomi ripped off the mask, revealing a hideously mutilated mouth.
“Like the Joker in Batman,” he mumbled, confusion now getting the better of him.
By now Mulder was so far gone he couldn’t really register anything tangible at all. In this delirious state her grotesquely wide blood red lips gave him the impression of a throat that had been severed, and even then he couldn’t fully comprehend what he was seeing, which made him completely unaware as to whether or not what he was witnessing was real or imagined. The woman behind the mask, the spirit of Kuchisake, had revealed herself to him in all her glory and she was pleased he hadn’t resorted to screaming in terror. Even without the disguise he still couldn’t observe the truth and see her for who she really was. No, Yukio would see only a vision of the beautiful woman she had once been that had captured his heart in the first place. Now she knew he was almost ready to submit to her completely, and then her husband could return to her loving embrace once more.
In the blink of an eye her image seemed to alter again, and Mulder was almost sure he had been smiling as Naomi’s delicate features swam into view. In the very next moment he found himself enveloped in an erotic kiss, the taste of which was overpowering but instead of trying to push her away in disgust, which if he had been thinking rationally he would have done without a doubt, he discovered he was actually responding, greedily devouring her mouth with an equal intensity.
Breaking the kiss, her haunting eyes stared deeply into his own, holding him hostage like a reflection in a mirror. “Ah, Yukio,” she said breathlessly. “There you are. At last we can be together again, my beloved.” Reaching over his prone form, her own body shivered with anticipation as she unlocked the cuffs and helped him to his feet. He stumbled, so wrapping an arm around his waist; she let him lean on her small frame for support, which very nearly undid her.
As she led him out of the study/den and into the bedroom next door, Mulder felt he was allowing something else to control his movements, pulling on his strings while he obeyed like Geppetto’s faithful marionette.
Pushing him down onto the double bed whilst locking her lips with his once more, he felt her soft body fall against him. Then his arms were encircling her, stroking the delicate fabric of her negligee, as Mulder continued to obey the puppet master. Completely transfixed, he watched Naomi lift herself off him and undress right before his eyes. Feeling a stirring deep within his loins, he gasped aloud upon witnessing her naked form.
“Utsukushii,” he breathed. “Kuchisake, my beautiful little lotus blossom.” He realised those last words he had spoken were no longer his own and also knew there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.
The spirit was overjoyed that by delving into his subconscious she had managed to regress Mulder back to his past self, to another lifetime that she had shared with him so many centuries ago in Japan. Finally the transformation was complete and now he belonged to her! Climbing beside her lover she slowly began to unbutton his shirt, savouring every enticing moment. He let her remove the garment then rushed to help, removing the rest of his clothing, and in a heartbeat this task was accomplished. Taking her time, lustful eyes roaming all over his strong muscular body, she began drinking in his nakedness and the sheer beauty of him.
“Yukio, this is how we were always meant to be,” she whispered, her arousal growing stronger with each second that passed.
“Koko ni kinasai!” Mulder demanded, beckoning her with open arms, now believing he was Yukio, the samurai warrior who had once been possessed by her, to the point of obsession. “Come here my love, so I can taste your very essence.”
Kuchisake obeyed without any hesitation, falling across him, letting her fingers entwine in his hair. He kissed her forcefully, and then gripping her tightly, commanded that she must completely surrender herself to his will. In answer she struggled to push herself upwards so she could wrap her legs around his body while he continued devouring her, hungrily. Gently coaxing him inside herself, she began to rock in a slow rhythmic motion, and felt his response when his hips began to buck wildly beneath her. Arching her back she thrust her small primrose breasts forward, to which he reached up and grabbed them eagerly, continuing to caress her in a rough manner. His fingernails clawed at her leaving trails of blood on her delicate skin. Then letting out a shuddering gasp, she cried out his name in sheer ecstasy, “Yukio!”
The heat between them continued to rise, and as the sweat poured from their glistening bodies their passionate lovemaking increased in its intensity.
“Ohhh Kuchisake!” he yelled, body shuddering violently as he felt his release.
“Ahhh God!” she cried out, reaching her climax almost at the same time. Collapsing onto him completely satiated and more than satisfied, she stroked his hair as they lay in each other’s arms breathing heavily.
Moments passed by before the spirit of Kuchisake spoke through her host. “Thank you,” she told the woman, whose body she inhabited. What a stroke of luck to discover Naomi had fallen for one of the reincarnations of her husband without her help, and therefore how easy it had been to manipulate her. During their frenzied lovemaking she had seen only Yukio’s beautiful physique, but now gazing at Mulder, she could see why it wouldn’t be so difficult to have a physical attraction for him. The man was very handsome and right at this moment looked so angelic as he slept peacefully beside her. However nothing was going to stop her from continuing what she had been doing countless times since her death. “Once, I gave my heart to you completely Yukio,” she told him, quietly. “Are we destined to have a timeless bond that can never be broken?” she asked, her voice now a faint whisper. Resting her cheek against Mulder’s chest, so she could feel the gentle rhythmic rise and fall of his breathing, she closed her eyes allowing a solitary tear to fall. “Soon my love,” she said, softly, listening to the gentle beating of his heart. “It won’t be long now.” But first she would let him rest before pursuing her next course of action, getting revenge on Yukio, for her sadistic and brutal murder.

continued from Part 7

Single-Story Rural Home, Virginia, USA – February 18th 2009

Dana Scully had let a few days pass by as her friend Mark suggested, but there had still been no sign of Mulder.

Now as she sat anxiously on the sofa pondering the evening she and her work colleague had spent together, Dana became annoyed with herself. It had only meant to be one drink, and then she should have made up some excuse to go home. Instead she had let him persuade her to dine with him. Mark had tried to point out that she wasn’t taking care of herself and had insisted on buying her a meal with the drink he’d bought her, including an extra bottle of red wine to go with the dinner. After drinking far too much of the stuff, she’d then found herself blurting out just how upset she was that Mulder had ditched her like he used to do way too many times in the past, and that perhaps Mark had been right after all. During that evening in the Grill & Bar he had seemed the only person she could open up to with her problems. So when he’d offered her a shoulder to cry on, she’d accepted, and when he’d leaned in for a kiss, had willingly returned it. However, he wasn’t the type of guy who would take full advantage of a lady in distress. So when she’d come to her senses and he’d realised that was as far as the evening was going to progress, he had given an embarrassed apology and even offered her a lift home.

A case of momentary insanity, that’s all it had been. Consuming far too much alcohol so she hadn’t been able to think clearly, which in turn had allowed her to become open and vulnerable. Whatever the reasons, Scully still couldn’t help feeling guilty. And now she was determined more than ever to put every effort into finding the man she truly loved. Crossing over to the phone she picked it up and dialled the Bureau’s switchboard.

he felt Special Agent Mosley Drummy owed her one because after all, it was Mulder and she who had assisted him and Special Agent in Charge Dakota Whitney with that copycat Frankenstein murder case, so the least he could do was offer some damn assistance.

However, when she was finally able to talk to the man, she realised to her dismay that all she was getting was a repeat performance from the last time her partner went missing.

“I’m sorry, Dr Scully. I can’t help you,” he ended abruptly.

“Agent Drummy, will you please just listen?” she tried again, in her best authoritative tone. “I explained to you that Mulder was reluctant to assist the FBI on that missing agent case, but I persuaded him to accompany you anyway. All I’m asking…?”

“Dr Scully,” he said, rudely cutting her off right in the middle of her sentence. “I had nothing to do with asking him to join us on that case. That request came from the board of directors, I was simply the messenger.”

“Okay,” she snapped. “So, I’m asking as a friend, would you please help me find him?”

There was a long pause while she waited impatiently for an answer.

“May I remind you I lost a friend, ASAC Dakota Whitney, because she chose to listen to one of Fox Mulder’s hunches?” he pointed out, harshly.

Scully couldn’t believe what she’d just heard. Oh yes, Whitney and he had been inseparable, like two peas in a pod. What a load of crap! “And you blame Mulder for her death?” she replied, amazed he could even contemplate such a thing. “If you must know he was terribly upset about her murder!”

“Dr Scully, I will refer the matter to someone higher up and that is all I’m going to say,” Drummy said, trying to end the conversation.

“Don’t bother!” she replied, angrily. “I’d rather do it myself.” With that, she slammed the phone down onto its cradle.

Furious by Drummy’s complete lack of cooperation, not to mention pig headedness, Dana decided she was going to dial her ex-bosses home number. No way was she going to attempt to go through the FBI’s switchboard again, not after being made to hold for forever and a day, the last time. Besides it was late in the evening so hopefully Walter Skinner would have left his office by now. If not, then she would leave him an urgent message on his machine. On many occasions he had been there for both herself and Mulder when they were agents under his authority. He’d also stepped in the last time her partner had done a disappearing act and she knew if he hadn’t, they would most likely never have gotten out of that makeshift experiment lab alive!

Wearily, she walked over to her partner’s study intending to retrieve the address book from inside one of the desk drawers, as she couldn’t remember Skinner’s number by heart. As she entered the room she was once more met with Mulder’s wallpaper design. It reminded Dana of the X Files office they used to frequent and she knew it had also been his intention to replicate the old haunt.

Sighing heavily she realised that by surrounding himself in all of this paranormal paraphernalia, he was never going to be able let go of the past. Just then she spied the laptop on the desk, and chided herself for not thinking about it before. Maybe if she checked his messages it might give her a clue as to his whereabouts. After switching it on then typing in the password ‘TRUSTNO1’ that he had given to her in the past, she was relieved to see he hadn’t changed it and could still gain access. Unfortunately checking through the e-mails gave her no luck whatsoever and she was just about to turn it off in defeat, when Dana thought about the information he had shown her in the hospital three days ago, all about the ‘Bloody Mary’ legends. After going into My Documents, she found one folder with the initials B. M. typed underneath. Once opened, this revealed several files copied from different web pages which on inspection just gave her varied tales related to the myth, all of which Mulder had already explained to her, before he vanished. But there was another folder in this file, labelled with the letters SMW. Now rather curious, she clicked on it and a text page popped up. The first thing that caught her eye was the title that stood out in bold capitals.

“The Slit-Mouth Woman?” she said, puzzled.

Scully had to admit she didn’t remember Mulder telling her anything about this myth, and began reading the text. The first paragraph revealed it was a Japanese Urban Legend about a woman called Kuchisake Onna who’s husband, a samurai warrior, mutilated in a jealous rage, leaving her horribly disfigured and left with a mouth which extended from ear to ear in a horrible, permanent smile. She became a vengeful spirit, who after murdering him with his own sword, was driven to seek out his soul through the centuries and repeat her actions. Sometimes she could be found wandering the streets of Japan wearing a surgical mask.

Scully shuddered after reading that last sentence. “Surgical mask?” she said to herself. “It couldn’t be.” Compelled to find out more about this legend before jumping to any conclusions, she continued reading and discovered that these people often wore such masks during the winter to prevent others from catching their germs, so the spirit never stood out in a crowd.

Scully started to scroll down the page when suddenly an artist’s design came into view, and she gasped. The woman looked to be in her early thirties, and was incredibly beautiful, except for the hideous gash across her face where her mouth used to be. Underneath the drawing was a great deal more text, which she knew she couldn’t afford to skim through, no matter how far fetched the whole story seemed at face value. So persevering, she carried on reading word for word, soaking up all the information that was on display. How this tale was related to the ‘Bloody Mary’ myth, and the spirit could be found in many types of reflections which she could travel through, exacting her anger on Asian women of similar appearance who had the nerve to chant the name three times, whilst admiring themselves in their mirrors. Once summoned, she would force them to commit suicide through the power of telekinesis.

“Like Carrie at the prom,” Scully said, remembering one of her favourite Stephen King novels.

She also realised the way these women died was exactly how Mulder had described. More information followed, revealing how this spirit disliked any beautiful woman, and should they come into contact with her, could sometimes feel her cold touch.

This was starting to get really creepy, and suddenly she didn’t wish to read any more, but knew she had to keep going. However when she had finally reached the end of the document, Scully had gone rather pale. Reverting back to the previous folder it was then she noticed she hadn’t read all of the files. So with trembling fingers she opened it and realised it was a side note Mulder had typed up himself, about another paranormal theory that if someone is killed in front of a mirror his or her soul can become trapped in its reflection.

Now every scrap of information she had read about this legend was weaving together, and she didn’t like the pattern it was forming in her mind. Because it was making her seriously start to think that her new physician’s assistant Naomi was somehow connected. The rational part of her wanted to say how ridiculous it was to come to that kind of conclusion, but her imagination was now working on overtime. She couldn’t help remembering the incident in the hospital when the woman had seemed afraid to remove the surgical mask after being introduced to her, and how cold her hand had been when she shook it. Also how her fiancé had supposedly committed suicide by cutting his throat, and not forgetting the sister who had perished in front of a mirror. Perhaps Kuchisake ended up in Naomi’s mirror? But why didn’t she kill her like she killed the others in those old cases?

“Oh, my god,” she said, as the final piece of this bizarre puzzle snapped into place. “What if Mulder is one of the reincarnations of Kuchisake’s husband, who she intends on murdering again?”

Quickly closing down the computer, Scully rushed back into the living area and grabbing the phone’s receiver, re-dialled the FBI’s switchboard. She knew it was going way out on a limb here, but as far as she was concerned right now reality was going to have to take a back seat, because fear for her partner’s life was far more important than being rational.

“Please could you put me through to Agent Mosley Drummy?” she asked the operator. “Tell him it’s Dana Scully and it’s urgent!” she stressed, hoping the man hadn’t left the building yet, while at the same time praying he wouldn’t choose to ignore her completely this time. A minute or two passed then she heard his voice on the other end sounding rather annoyed, so nothing had changed there then?

“Don’t tell me. Mulder has been abducted by little green men who are threatening to destroy the world?” he sneered.

Scully stiffened on hearing his cruel jibe, because he didn’t even know how true those words had been regarding Mulder and how those ‘little green men’ were still very much intent on accomplishing that goal.

“No,” she said, abruptly. “But I do know where he is now, and I’m going to require your help.”

“Where?” Drummy asked, wearily. To be completely honest he really couldn’t care less what trouble Mulder had gotten himself into but he had to admit he admired Scully’s persistence, so would force himself to listen to what she had to say, for a little while at any rate.

“I found some information on his computer.” Scully paused for a moment, realising she couldn’t tell this guy anything remotely related to the paranormal or he would think her completely insane and hang up immediately. The truth was she didn’t even know if Mulder was even with her assistant but her instincts were telling her he was, so she had no choice but to resort to some little white lies and hopefully get Drummy to listen. “It was a journal he was keeping about an old case file he remembered from his past that was never closed, so he wanted to investigate it. Now I don’t want to bore you with all the details…”

“How very thoughtful of you,” Drummy said sarcastically, cutting her off.

“But,” she continued, stressing the word, strongly. “It involves this woman who is a key suspect and it says he was planning to go over to her place and confront her. I think maybe she might have kidnapped him, or something,” Scully said, weakly. This was sounding incredibly lame even to her own ears, but she certainly couldn’t tell him this woman was possessed by an evil spirit from Japan now, could she?

“You think he’s been kidnapped…by a woman?” Drummy asked sounding completely astonished.

“Yes, and I also think his life may be in danger,” Scully said, impatiently. “So I’m going to need a search warrant and someone with fire power. I haven’t had a gun in my possession since I left the FBI.”

“Let me get this straight,” Drummy said trying to wrap his head around what he’d just heard. “You want me to get the FBI to give you a warrant so you can check to see if Mulder is being held hostage by some female psychopath?”

“I know it sounds crazy,” Scully admitted. “But will you please just trust me on this?”

“It sounds completely insane, Dr Scully,” he stated firmly.

“So you’re not going to help me?”

“I didn’t say that.”

“Then what are you saying?” she asked, frustrated.

Mosley Drummy had been drawing his own conclusions during their conversation, and could now determine that Scully was refusing to see the obvious truth right in front of her face.

“Dana?” he said, and couldn’t help sniggering a little. “Have you even considered the possibility that you might be jumping to these crazy conclusions because you don’t want to have to face the fact Mulder could be cheating on you with this mysterious woman? I mean that to me sounds far more logical.”

Scully was shocked by his response and wasn’t going to believe any of it, even if it did sound much more plausible than what she had told him. Unfortunately, he would always see her partner in a bad light no matter what the truth was, and he also didn’t know anything about the Slit-Mouth Woman.

All the paranormal theories about that particular entity, as unbelievable as it sounded, were somehow starting to make sense, and she knew Mulder was seriously wrapped up in it. Despite knowing Drummy would never remotely accept any of this; she did have one more card up her sleeve.

“I seem to recall you refusing to help me find Mulder once before,” she said, completely ignoring what he’d just told her. “Because you didn’t believe he was in any serious trouble. So you turned your back on him, and if it wasn’t for AD Skinner and myself he would have died at the hands of a psychotic, homosexual, Russian immigrant who wanted to behead him with a fucking axe!” she yelled, feeling the sting of tears welling up in her eyes.

Drummy was taken aback as he was sure he hadn’t heard her use this expletive before. He also realised the anger in her voice had been mixed with emotion, and suddenly began to feel sorry for her. Why should Dana suffer this way? It wasn’t fair. He had never liked Fox Mulder’s arrogant nature and that attitude of his was probably the reason why the stupid man almost got himself killed. So, maybe he should go along with her just so he could make the woman see sense by proving to her once and for all that her partner was a lying, cheating scumbag! Perhaps then she would give him the benefit of the doubt.

“All right Dana,” he said. “I’ll see if I can get you this search warrant…and I will be your personal armed bodyguard, just this once.”

Scully forced herself to utter a small thank you, before putting down the phone. Once again Drummy had managed to piss her off with his sarcastic attitude, but at least she had finally got through to him, and now things were starting to go in the right direction. All she needed now was to find Mulder and rescue him from yet another perilous situation without a hitch. The question was, would she be able to or would she discover too late that all of her luck had in fact run out?

continued from Part 8

Naomi’s Place - E. Franklin St, Richmond, Virginia

He stirred restlessly as images took shape in his mind, fragments forming with such clarity that he believed what he was witnessing was actually taking place. Lost in this dream world, he was completely unaware of Naomi leaning over him, one hand pressed against his temple, eyes staring at him with such intensity that they seemed to bore deep down into his very soul while he slept.
Totally oblivious to the fact that the woman was picturing exactly what he was seeing, Mulder became aware that he was in a cold, dark place surrounded by stonewalls. Perhaps it was a secret vault somewhere underground? His partner, Scully, was beside him and they were browsing through a folder, one of many in fact, that were being kept in rows and rows of filing cabinets which seemed to stretch into infinity. The document appeared to be full of medical reports and a tissue sample had been attached to it in a little plastic container. Feeling a sense of déjà vu, the words Operation Paper Clip came to mind, and he now knew where he was. The Strughold Mining Company in West Virginia, and this was his sister’s file that Scully was holding, containing smallpox vaccination records. The scene altered and now they were in a greenhouse talking to Victor Klemper, the Nazi scientist who had come to the USA after World War II. He was explaining to Mulder how during the cold war his father helped gather genetic data for post-apocalyptic identification which was to work on alien-human hybrids. Then, in the blink of an eye he was back inside the disused mine, peeling off a label on the folder, only to discover to his horror that his own name had been typed underneath Samantha’s, revealing that this file had clearly been meant for him.
Still not aware that he was only dreaming of these past events, Mulder actually believed he was experiencing each one all over again, including the fear of knowing he had originally been the shadow government’s sacrificial lamb. He had been the original choice to be handed over to the extra terrestrial beings.

Now, as the nightmare continued to play out, he was in their family home in Chillmark, Massachusetts, a terrified young boy pleading with his father Bill to change his mind.

“Daddy, I’m scared. Don’t make me go with the grey men. Daddy, please!” he yelled.

“One of you has to go,” Bill Mulder stated, holding his son close to his chest as tears rolled down his cheeks. “Fox, I’m truly sorry. Oh god, I don’t want to do this, but I have no choice,” he admitted, aware he was completely helpless. The consortium had painfully agreed to let the aliens take one child from each of their families, with the promise that they would be saved from the apocalypse by becoming alien/human hybrid creations. Yet, they had absolutely no evidence to prove these beings were telling the truth, only their say so, which wasn’t exactly comforting.

“Then take her, not me!” Mulder screamed, pulling away from his father’s embrace. “Please Daddy,” he begged. “Take Sam!”

He awoke in a cold sweat, breathing heavily, his body shaking violently, to discover he was alone, dressed in shirt and pants, barefoot and lying on top of the double bed in Naomi’s condo. As the nightmare visions began to fade he remembered telling Scully, how perhaps a dream may be a question that we haven’t yet figured out how to ask, and confusion took hold once more. Allowing that profound statement to echo in his mind made him think that perhaps the last part of the nightmare had been another memory, locked so deep inside his subconscious that he had never even been aware of it, until now that is. But how could he have said those horrible things? He loved his sister, Sam, and surely wouldn’t have wanted any harm to come to her.

Rolling over into a foetal position, arms wrapped around himself and knees tucked under his chin, he began to shake his head. “No, dear god, it can’t… It just can’t be fucking true…it just can’t,” he stammered over and over, hot tears now falling down his cheeks onto the pillow. As he continued to sob, another memory forced itself to be acknowledged. This time it revealed he had been in this bed with the Japanese woman, having sex with her. What the fuck? Just why on earth was he being bombarded with such images? He knew he could never cheat on the woman he loved, never! God, this was becoming even more unbearable. Just what the hell was happening to him?

“Naomi!” he yelled out in anguish.

A few moments later she entered the room and rushed over to his side. “Mulder, I’ve been waiting for you to wake up. Are you all right?” she asked concerned, noticing the state he was in.

“No, I’m not all right,” he replied miserably, wiping the tears from evidence. “I’m very far from all right.”

Not even aware that lies were now pouring out of her mouth, she explained to him that having shown him around her place, he’d then asked her to direct him to the bathroom. Then realising time had passed and he still hadn’t returned, how she’d gone looking for him only to discover he had collapsed at the top of the stairs, so she’d somehow managed to drag him along the landing and into the bedroom.

“I’ve no idea what could have caused you to pass out like that.” she said, a troubled look on her face. “But I checked your pulse and everything seemed to be fine. So, I decided it was best to just let you lie here until you came round.” Feeling annoyed with herself she added, “I should have stayed with you. I’m sorry, did you have a bad dream?”

A bad dream, now that was the understatement of the century. “Several in fact,” he stammered. Unable to describe the explicit details of the erotic one he’d found himself in, Mulder just said, “One involved you and me…together…in this bed.” He looked right at her, trying to read anything from her reaction, that may suggest this act, as appalling as it seemed, had actually taken place.
Just like the other dreams had been lost memories, one of which was far too terrible to contemplate right now. It had been far too real to dismiss the possibility that this event had also been one.

“Oh?” she exclaimed with a nervous giggle, rather embarrassed by what he’d just said. “I’m flattered, really, that you could have those kinds of feelings for me.” She couldn’t admit to the fact. Should he ever actually pluck up the courage to ask her; she wouldn’t hesitate to sleep with him. Of course in reality, she had completely lost herself in Mulder, but remained ignorant of the fact. This was because the spirit of Kuchisake was refusing to allow the memories of what had actually taken place the night before to enter her mind. Those hours spent in wild, abandoned passion had been for her pleasure only, not the vessel she had chosen to inhabit.

Mulder didn’t return the smile, feeling uncomfortable that she had taken his words the wrong way. “I…” he began, unsure as to how he should approach this without upsetting her. “I do like you Naomi…but not like that.” Noticing her crestfallen look, he continued, “I’m sorry, but I love Scully…and so could never be with you in that way,” he apologised.

“Then why tell me you had a dream like that?” she asked, confused and hurt that he could let his imagination conjure up such things, then refuse to admit he had any passion for her whatsoever. It just didn’t make any sense.

“I don’t know why,” he admitted, wishing he hadn’t said anything now. “The others were memories from my past. I just thought…”

“That we made love in my bed? I think I’d have remembered something like that,” she said, believing that if they had actually spent the night together, it wasn’t something she was likely to overlook.

“I’m sorry, just forget it,” he told her, tears evident in his eyes. “It’s completely ridiculous.”

Alarmed by the obvious distress he was in, Naomi knelt down on the floor so she was level with him and reached over, gathering his trembling body into her arms, allowing him to rest his head on her shoulder. “Tell me about the memories that came to you,” she said softly, rocking him gently. Maybe once he got those out into the open she could help him to understand why they had been present in his dreams.

Her warmth and tenderness was beginning to calm him a little, so taking a deep breath, Mulder began to explain everything he could remember about what he had discovered, about the X Files, the government conspiracies, the aliens plans for colonisation and the hybrid programme. Unable to stop, he then found himself blurting out about how he had been responsible for his sister’s abduction all along. Speaking this out loud to someone made it all the more substantial now, no matter how much he still wanted to deny it. Feeling so overwhelmed by his terrible confession he began to cry again, this time holding onto Naomi for support.

“Shhh, it’s okay Mulder,” her voice soothed gently, however her expression revealed a completely different guise. “Maybe that’s why you became so obsessed with finding her, because you harboured this painful secret?”

Delighted to hear him let out a ragged gasp in response to her, Kuchisake continued with her explanations, in a comforting tone. “At least you know now why you were driven to search for your sister, so much so that nothing else mattered. It was because of all that hidden guilt buried deep inside your subconscious, that you had refused to accept was there.”

Suddenly, Mulder understood everything now, and began to weep whole-heartedly. “Oh g…god!” he cried, choking on his sobs. “I…I told him to t…take her. I…d…didn’t w…want to go. I…I was so s…scared at the t…time.”

“It’s all right, let it all out,” she said, stroking his hair, whilst at the same time loving every moment of his grief.

“S…Sam? Oh g…god, c…can you ever f…forgive m…me?” he cried, breaking down in Naomi’s arms.

“Of course she will,” she said, continuing to rock him gently, while Kuchisake’s smile remained very much in evidence.

At some point in time his sobbing finally ceased although he wasn’t sure exactly when that had occurred. Pulling himself gently out of Naomi’s arms, he looked up at her with eyes now red from crying. “Thank you,” he murmured. “For being here.” Then his partner came to mind and in a slight panic he added, “I can’t ever tell Scully any of this. She wouldn’t understand.” He paused, closing his eyes briefly. “And who could blame her?” he added, sadly.

“That’s okay,” Naomi replied softly. Even though the experience had been rather traumatic, she couldn’t help appreciating that he had chosen to open up to her with such devastating news.

“I mean thank you for listening,” he said, solemnly. “If I’d had to lock it all away and carry on, knowing what I know to be the truth now. It would have probably driven me insane.”

“Glad I could be of help,” she smiled.

The kiss that followed was completely unexpected, and he couldn’t even be sure who had instigated it first. The taste of her was so sweet, like orange blossoms and for a moment he let it continue. Then suddenly he pulled away, ashamed that he had acted in such a way.

“I’m sorry Naomi,” he apologised. “I can’t do this. Even though I told you that painful secret, and not her, I’m still very much in love with Scully, and she is the only woman I want to share the rest of my life with.” As he spoke those words, the tears welled up, because he knew, god forbid, if she ever did find out what he had done, she would probably leave him in an instant.

“I understand,” she replied, but continued gazing into his eyes.

At first this made him feel rather uncomfortable, then it was almost like a switch had been flicked inside as the puppet master returned for another performance. Grabbing her by the hair, he lunged forward kissing her passionately, his tongue exploring every inch of her mouth. With arms locked around her tightly in his vice-like grip, he yanked her up onto the bed, rolling her over so that she was now beneath him.

“Yukio,” Kuchisake gasped, realising they were his eyes that were now burning deeply into hers. “Make love to me!”

Mulder obeyed, unable to resist the spell he was under. And the dance of infatuation between the two former lovers began again, with Naomi and himself being forced to play their roles.

When it was finally over, she lay curled up beside him under the bed covers, watching him sleep. Gazing at Mulder’s slender neck, she reached up to touch the fluttering pulse, feeling the warmth of his skin as she did so. She shuddered excitedly wondering just how wonderful it would be to watch his life force slowly ebb away, to observe every beautifully gruesome moment while his blood soaked into Naomi’s silken sheets. ‘Oh yes’, Kuchisake thought eagerly. Now she was more than ready for the next part of her little game plan. Raising herself up on one elbow, she reached under the pillow and retrieved the item she had left there.

“Oh, Yukio,” she breathed, softly, gently running one finger down the serrated edge of the kitchen knife, being careful not to cut herself on its sharp blade. “Much as I have enjoyed our precious moments together…” She paused, then leaning over Mulder’s sleeping form, placed the knife against his throat whilst whispering into his ear, her voice now dripping with venom, “But alas my beloved, I feel it’s time to bring this part of our story to an end…don’t you?”

continued from Part 9

The sleek black SUV pulled up outside of Naomi’s building on the corner of 25th and Franklin. For the duration of the journey Dana Scully had been seated on the passenger side next to agent Mosley Drummy. She had ridden in one of these vehicles once before, throughout that last investigation for the FBI and still couldn’t help but be impressed with how spacious the vehicle was, allowing for plenty of legroom, along with it’s rather luxurious and comfortable seating. It was a far cry from the Ford Taurus she and Mulder had found themselves lumbered with on most of their assignments working those eight years on the X Files. After their unfair dismissal from the FBI, both she and her partner had acquired the same make of car, as he’d always thought them practical, explaining to her that quality didn’t matter. However, he had ended up crashing hers into an icy ravine on that last case, only to be fair it hadn’t been his fault because it had been that same psychotic Russian who had tried to kill him once before, by forcing the car over the edge of a cliff with a snowplough! Even though the vehicle was completely written-off, thankfully, Mulder hadn’t been seriously injured. However, she had required a new set of wheels to get her to and fro from the hospital, so on that occasion had treated herself to a white Porsche with her doctor’s wages. She had to admit to herself that unlike Mulder, she did appreciate style, as well as comfort.
Dana knew she was only going by her gut feelings, and normally only dealt with factual evidence before making a decision, but after having retrieved Naomi’s address from her work colleague and friend Mark Holmes, her main objective was getting Mulder back safe and sound; no matter what shape or form it took.

Climbing out of the vehicle, both stared at the eye-catching condominium right in front of them.

“That sure is one hell of a place to live!” Drummy gasped in amazement. “Somewhere real cosy to put one’s feet up, unlike a run down, rural shack wouldn’t you say?”

Realising just what he was insinuating, Scully glared at him then headed over to the main entrance.
Finding the correct number on the intercom, she pressed the buzzer, and waited impatiently. After receiving no reply she tried again, allowing the bell to ring for a little longer this time.

“C’mon Dana, looks like nobody’s home,” Drummy stated. “Either that, or they don’t wish to be disturbed,” he added, and couldn’t help smirking.

“Oh, give it a rest will you?” she said, in annoyance. But the fact of the matter was she wasn’t going to get inside the easy way, so begrudgingly walked back over to the Expedition. She was just about to climb in alongside Drummy who had already started up the vehicle, eager to leave. When she spied a young man, keys in hand approaching the main door of the building. Without any hesitation she darted out of the car and made a beeline straight for him.

He watched her through the windscreen, talking to this stranger for a minute or two, then realised she was madly beckoning him to come over, her eyes indicating she needed his assistance a.s.a.p. Letting out an exasperated growl, Drummy switched off the engine and reluctantly went over to them, with a clear understanding that he wasn’t going to be able to make the quick getaway he had hoped.

“This is Special Agent Mosley Drummy of the FBI,” she told the man, whose name she hadn’t even asked for. After indicating to the burly African American man beside her that he show his badge as proof of his identity, she carried on with her plan of action. “I’m Dr Dana Scully, and we are working on an extremely important case. We require access to this building immediately, as it’s a matter of urgency.”

“Oh, um, Kevin Hale,” the young man replied, shaking their hands, rather excited to be faced with a federal agent on a case. “No problem,” he added, opening the door to allow them access. “So, are you investigating a murder or something?” he said, keen to find out more information.

“Something,” Drummy said, forcing his air of authority. Just however this outlandish outcome was going to turn out, he really wasn’t in the mood to have some enthusiastic crime fan sticking his nose in.

Scully stepped in noticing how even darker clouds were forming over the agent. “Thank you for your help, Mr. Hale,” she said hurriedly. “We’ll take it from here.”

“Glad to be of help,” Kevin replied exiting towards the stairwell hoping that when this felony was reported on the local news, he would get his name mentioned, or maybe printed in the Richmond Times Dispatch?


“How very take charge we are, Dana,” Drummy said astounded, once they were alone in the elevator. Though he had to own up to himself that he had been rather impressed as well as amused by her sheer determination to get into the place, so much so that she would resort to lying about working alongside the FBI on a case. It almost seemed a shame he was going to have to fess up about the authorisation he was unable to get from the Bureau, although personally he hadn’t been expecting their cooperation any way.

Stepping out onto the landing, they were met with a cool breeze from an electric fan, which hung from a rather beautiful pine wood ceiling. Whilst Drummy was admiring the view, Scully had much more important things on her mind. Crossing over to a door at the far end, she checked the number, indicating to her phoney co-worker that she had found the right place. Now all they needed to do was get inside, which shouldn’t be a problem.

“So, where is it?” she asked him, impatiently.

Drummy knew what she was referring to and shrugged his shoulders. “I’m sorry Dana, but I couldn’t actually get a search warrant.”

“What do you mean you couldn’t get it?” she asked, stunned.

Probably best to tell her the truth, he thought. “They just figured it would be a complete waste of the Bureau’s valuable time and resources.” Noticing her eyes were now glowering at him, he continued cautiously. “So, I wasn’t assigned to this, but decided to accompany you anyway.”

“Why, so you could gloat?” Dana asked, angry and hurt by his revelation.

What he wanted to say was, no it’s because I want you to see Mulder in his true colours, as a two-faced, deceitful bastard. But what came out was a grumpy cover story that hid his true feelings. “I just decided to give you a helping hand, isn’t that what you wanted?”

“Okay, well then I need you and your helping hands to pick this lock!” she ordered him, abruptly.
Drummy looked at her dumbfounded. “Didn’t you hear me? I just said I couldn’t get a warrant. So I’m not going to pick the damn lock, because then we will be committing a crime of breaking and entering.”

“Look, Drummy. I need to get into this place and if you won’t pick the lock then I’ll just have to kick the fucking door down!” she said, harshly, trying not to raise her voice too much as she didn’t want a certain female occupant to hear her.

“All right,” he said, taken aback by her outburst. “But you’re taking the wrap if we end up with criminal charges.”

“Fine, I’ll take my damn chances,” she said, trying to compose her self. “Please just open the door.”

Drummy explained that he hadn’t brought his lock-picking equipment, but before she could flare up again, he hastily took his wallet out of an inside pocket of his jacket and produced a credit card.
Once inside Naomi’s condo, he thought he’d better follow Scully’s instructions and hopefully that would cease any more tantrums? So agreeing to check upstairs while she inspected the downstairs, without another word he set off down a dim lit hallway. After a short while he discovered a metal spiral staircase, which at first scrutiny seemed to lead into complete darkness, and started to climb.

Meanwhile, Scully wandered slowly through the rooms paying no attention to the absolute splendour of each one, which if she had wanted to, she could still have taken in even though they were unlit. Following a curved wall around the end of a hall this led her to what was obviously the lounge area. It was then she spotted an oval shape glinting across the room, and on closer inspection became aware that it was a beautiful guilt-edged mirror on the wall above a fireplace. Her heart almost jumped out of her throat, because now her suspicions were confirmed. As crazy as it sounded, and knowing it was something that certainly would never hold up in a court of law, she now believed that this was how the spirit of Kuchisake found Naomi, and used her as a host so she could kill reincarnations of her husband. With both hands she carefully removed the mirror from its hook. Feeling the bumps, curves and ridges of its metal frame, she realised they were in fact several beautifully carved dragons, with eyes made from blood red rubies. Turning it around, she straight away noticed a mark guaranteeing the authenticity of the mirror, which dated it back as far as 14th century Japan. Dana was completely amazed that this was an original and not a replica, because a fragile item such as this would surely have been destroyed long ago. Was it possible The Slit-Mouth Woman, Kuchisake Onna, had been its owner and when she was murdered in front of it, it somehow trapped her spirit and protected it from being shattered? Replacing the mirror back on the wall, she caught sight of her shadowy reflection. At first the Wicked Queen’s well-known chant from the fairytale came to mind. ‘Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?’ But then she started recollecting on what she had read on Mulder’s computer, and began piecing together yet more unbelievable concepts. Maybe because the spirit could travel in many reflections, it had sought out other Asian beauties in their mirrors over the centuries, murdering those who chanted ‘Bloody Mary’ in front of them. Perhaps Naomi’s younger sister had played the same morbid game in her parents’ bathroom. Allowing a faint smile to appear for a brief moment, she couldn’t help thinking that to anyone else this would all have sounded completely loony tunes, but oh, Mulder would have been so proud of her. However, if these incredible interpretations were true, then he was definitely in a world of trouble. Right then and there she hoped and prayed that when Drummy returned, it wouldn’t be with terrible news.

Agent Drummy crept down the stairs looking for Dana only to discover she was in the lounge staring at her image in a large mirror. The look on his face was one of complete self-satisfaction, and he was just itching to tell her what he’d found upstairs, in the bedroom as a matter of fact. Without making a sound he crept up behind placing a hand on her shoulder.

The unexpected touch made Scully almost jump out of her skin. However all thoughts of a Japanese spirit about to attack were quelled when she recognised his own reflection in the mirror. Whirling round to face him she screamed, “Jeez, Drummy! You scared the living daylights out of me!”

“Sorry, didn’t mean to,” he apologised, grinning.

A wave of relief began to wash over her because on first impression it looked like he was harbouring good news, but then she realised he was looking terribly pleased with himself, like the cat who had just devoured a whole pot of cream.

“What?” she asked, frowning?

“Oh, Dana,” he began, displaying another grin. “I hate to say I told you so, but…?”

“What the hell are you talking about?” she questioned, getting annoyed by his smug attitude. “What did you find up there?”

“Well first I had to find the bathroom…”

“Of course, your bladder’s way more important than finding my partner alive and well,” she said, cutting him off sharply.

Ignoring her remark he continued what he had to tell her. “So I checked the rooms, which were a study/den and then came across the bedroom.” And now for the piece de resistance, he thought. “It was fairly dark in there but I did notice two people in the bed. I presume it was that Japanese assistant of yours and she was snuggled up with a guy. Before she could utter any kind of reply he added with a smirk, “Your beloved Fox Mulder, I believe? I must say he didn’t look to be in any distress, all comfy and cosy, wrapped up in her arms under the sheets like that.”

On hearing his words, Scully just stood rooted to the spot open-mouthed staring in disbelief. “You’re lying!” she hissed.

“Haven’t I’ve been trying to tell you all along he’s been screwing the chick, and who wouldn’t with such a beautiful Japanese woman? Realising Scully was now backing away from him, shaking her head furiously he added, “So, as I predicted this has been a complete waste of my valuable time, and I should have listened to the FBI’s advice not to get involved in the first place. I came with you because I wanted you to finally see your boyfriend for who he really is, an untrustworthy, dishonest prick!” he announced, proudly, expecting the penny to finally drop.

“You bastard!” she exclaimed, outraged and also wounded by the way he’d seemed so completely full of him self, whilst revealing such cruel observations to her. “You don’t know anything about Mulder at all!” she yelled.

“I know what I saw Dana,” he said, frustrated that she was still refusing to accept the reality of the situation. “Go see for yourself if you don’t believe me?”

He needn’t have suggested that last part, as she was already on her way out of the room. “Fine, I will,” she retorted back at him.

Watching her leave, Drummy started to regret his foolishness a little, because now this woman was going to have to face the truth and he also knew it was going to completely devastate her. Still, she had been so incredibly stubborn and annoyed with him for not following her ridiculous idea that a mad psychotic woman was holding Mulder captive. So why not let her be forced to take off those rose coloured glasses she always wore when it came to him? Once realisation had kicked in he would be gracious enough to provide her with a shoulder to cry on, should she need it.

Reeling from Drummy’s obvious triumphant victory, little by little she began climbing the staircase, her mind running a mile a minute. She knew Mulder would never cheat on her, so why had Drummy discovered him with Naomi in her bed? He hadn’t been lying about that, why should he make up such a cruel story? But there had to be another explanation, and the more she thought about it, she found herself leaning towards the paranormal once again. Maybe the spirit inhabiting her assistant’s body was somehow able to control her partner, making him submit to her sexually? Perhaps she wanted to make him think he was her samurai warrior who killed her. Just then a memory came to mind of a young lady named Melissa, who Mulder believed had had the ability to slip in and out of past lives. Apparently he also discovered he had been a husband of hers in the Civil War, who had died on the battlefield, and they were soul mates destined to meet in every lifetime that followed. Scully shuddered because even contemplating him having to live such an eternal destiny with Kuchisake made her feel sick to her stomach. My god, she thought, anxiety creeping in and holding fast. What if, just like Melissa could return to her former selves, Kuchisake had forced Mulder to relive his as Yukio, before she ended the man’s life?


Reaching the door she noticed Drummy had left it ajar, so not wishing to witness the lovers curled up blissfully, but desperate to rescue her partner from an untimely end, she timidly pushed it open. To her complete astonishment yet relief she discovered there was only one figure lying in the bed, and that was Mulder. Drummy had said Naomi was with him, so where the hell had she gone? It was almost like she had vanished into thin air.

Crossing over, she leaned down gently brushing a lock of hair that had fallen across Mulder’s face. Whilst gazing at him she started to picture one of Botticelli’s divine paintings, as he did indeed look like so cherubic as he slept. Feeling the sting of tears as they started to well up in her eyes, she whispered his name softly.

“Mulder?”

Emitting a small sigh, he started to stir, so she tried again, “Mulder, wake up, it’s me.”

Very slowly he became aware of a familiar sound, which seemed to pierce through the dark dreams he was surrounded in allowing a tiny crack of illumination to shine through, and lead him back to reality. Letting his eyes flutter open he recognised his guide almost at once.

“Scully?” he said, sleepily. “You’ve come?”

“Yes Mulder, I’m here,” she replied, quietly.

Now starting to comprehend exactly where he was, a sudden bout of apprehension struck him hard. He was lying in Naomi’s double bed, he realised to his absolute dismay, completely naked under the sheets. In that instant he found himself automatically reverting back to the nightmares he’d suffered before the woman had woken him to explain that she’d found him passed out on the landing. Then he remembered the seduction scene that had played out in his psyche. ‘Jesus, it had actually happened to him,’ he thought, recoiling in disgust, because now it looked like this erotic tableau had taken place all over again?

s if to confirm his fears, Scully began to calmly explain what Drummy had told her. “H…He found you with Naomi…lying here together,” she said, her voice almost inaudible.

Feeling like he’d been punched in the gut, Mulder gasped aloud. “God, I’m sorry Scully, I’m so very sorry,” he said miserably, moisture glistening in his eyes.

“So, you…you did sleep with her?” she asked him, knowing the answer already.

As he felt the dam begin to break, the tears slowly started to course down his cheeks. Feeling completely distraught he forced himself to reply, but could only manage a slightly pathetic nod of the head. How on earth was a rational person like Scully ever going to accept that something else had obviously taken charge and controlled him like a pawn in a chess game, and as a result he and Naomi had ended up having sexual intercourse? That had to have been the case or at least something along those lines because one thing he did understand clearly was that he could never betray the woman who had finally broken through that emotional shell of his and shown him how to truly love unconditionally once again, at least not while there was an ounce of breath still left in him.
Sure, she had allowed herself to become more open minded about the paranormal, but this would test her beliefs to the very limit. Now terribly upset, he had already come to the painful conclusion and he shuddered, knowing she wasn’t going to accept this excuse and as a result, walk out of his life forever, and he just couldn’t bear the thought of that happening!

Scully gathered him into her arms, rocking him gently as she spoke. “Shhh, Mulder. It’s okay, don’t cry.” She paused briefly, at first unable to let the words continue, as her logical way of thinking tried desperately to advise her that what she was about to tell him was completely irrational, but pushing it to the back of her mind, she thought, ‘Oh, to hell with common sense!’ and then the nonsensical stuff started to pour out. She told him how she had accessed his computer and found information about The Slit-Mouth Woman, and how she had actually ended up believing her assistant was possessed after the spirit left the mirror and took over Naomi’s soul. That very spirit intended to find yet another reincarnation of the husband who murdered her, and planned to take her revenge on him.

All the while Mulder’s tear stained eyes widened in amazement as he listened to her describe this supernatural myth. Realising he had in fact forgotten all about that particular legend he’d kept in a separate file, maybe because he’d been concentrating so heavily on the ‘Bloody Mary’ folklore. He couldn’t quite believe Scully was explaining it all to him, and making it sound completely plausible.

Collecting himself and feeling far less miserable now, he had to ask her the question burning on his lips. “Are you telling me you actually believe all this, Scully?” he asked, interrupting her flow for a moment.

Gently pushing him down so his head was resting on the bed head, she looked straight at him and smiled. “Yeah, in this case I can honestly say that I am just as capable of being as nuts as you are.”

The tender jibe caused him to grin back at her, and then he remembered the part about the spirit’s or Kuchisake’s husband, and frowned. “I remember Naomi calling me the name Yukio, after she had drugged me.”

“Yeah, that’s him,” Scully sighed heavily. “You are one of those reincarnations.”

And her plan was to seduce me/him before she carried out the execution?” he asked, letting it sink in.

“I believe so. I think she would have slit your throat, as she must have done with all those pretty Asian women she was so jealous of. She travelled through mirrors and other reflections so she could carry out her task…”

He ended her sentence, “When they summoned her with the ‘Bloody Mary’ ritual. Yes, I remember now, she was related to that myth.” Mulder started to become exasperated with himself. “Why couldn’t I recall any of this?”

“Maybe because Kuchisake clouded your mind?” she suggested. “Oh hell, if I’d have let you explain all about this damn myth to me in the first place, I could have put two and two together and realised Naomi was the vessel. Then I might have reached you earlier and prevented her, Kuchisake from making you both end up in her twisted little sex games!” she blurted out, angrily.

Mulder felt a lump in his throat and swallowed hard, closing his eyes briefly. “Scully…?” he started to say, but couldn’t finish. Even though he hadn’t been able to prevent it, he still couldn’t help feeling guilty that he’d slept with Naomi.

ulling him into her embrace, she let him rest his head on her shoulder and began to stroke his hair tenderly. “Oh Mulder, I don’t blame you for that. It was the Slit-Mouth Woman’s doing, not yours…or Naomi’s.”

ently raising his head up, he leaned in and kissed her tenderly, so grateful that she understood. “I love you, Scully. I always will,” he whispered, letting the tears well up again.

Scully was feeling emotional as well, and touched his lips with her fingertips. “I love you too, Mulder and nothing in this world, or beyond it, is ever going to change that, my love,” she said, wrapping her arms around him again, and holding him tightly.

Content to be with the woman he cherished above all else, he was reluctant to bring up another question that had entered his mind, only it was perplexing him and needed to be asked. “Scully, if Kuchisake’s main purpose for roaming this plain is to kill reincarnations of her husband, then why am I not dead? And where has Naomi gone?”

Scully glanced over to the window, then realised how she had managed to flee. “There’s a fire escape out there,” she told him. “She must have used that to achieve her disappearing act.”

“Okay,” Mulder agreed. “But she was possessed with Kuchisake when we had to act out hers and Yukio’s love scene. So why didn’t she kill me when it was over? What was she waiting for?” he asked, bewildered.

“I don’t know.” Scully admitted.

Looking into his eyes, she realised Mulder had no suggestion for this either. Did this mean the nightmare wasn’t over? Refusing to question it any further she said, “Would you believe Agent Mosley Drummy assisted me in finding you, reluctantly I might add. He needed a hell of a lot of persuading on my part. He’s downstairs awaiting our return as we speak.”

Mulder stared at her incredulously on hearing this. “Drummy was assigned to help look for me?”

“Not exactly. The Bureau didn’t want any part of it.”

“Naturally,” he said, forcing a smile. “Just like old times. So, why did he even come along?”

“I believe he wanted to prove to me you weren’t to be trusted,” Scully replied, curtly.

“You mean relish the fact I’d been unfaithful to you?” Mulder asked, quietly.

“Exactly,” she replied. “But the bastard can go on thinking whatever he damn well likes…because I know the truth now,” she said, giving him a warm smile.

“That’s my girl,” Mulder replied, delighted that she had finally been able to see the paranormal was the reason why this whole nasty affair had occurred. He immediately cringed inside when he realised the unintended pun and added, “Well, I guess I’m ready to face the music.”

continued from Part 10

Later that night, the sky had grown ominous as a rumble of thunder howled like an injured beast, followed by flashes of lightening that seemed to slice open the dark clouds, as the torrential rain gushed forth like blood pouring from it’s wounds. Outside the condominium, now an eerie silhouette that masked the building’s attractive appearance, a yellow taxi pulled up, and a small figure alighted. Running across to the main entrance, trying to escape the downpour, Naomi fumbled with her key but it kept slipping out of her trembling hands. Finally, she managed to open the door and entered the lobby, a welcoming contrast to outside with its warm and inviting glow that she chose to ignore. Climbing the stairwell, rainwater dripping from her hair, a parallel to the tears that were beginning to trickle down her face, the realisations of what had taken place in these last several days were now prominent in her mind. The blanket of mist that had enveloped her, concealing her actions and making her unable to acknowledge what she had been made to do, had been lifted.

Apart from having a fondness for Fox Mulder, she had strongly believed he was her soul mate, and it was this connection that had been able to break the spell that had been cast over her just enough to stop herself from harming him. Finding herself beside him in her bed only seconds away from slitting his throat with her kitchen knife, Naomi had suddenly felt physically sick and in complete shock when she realised she had almost committed a horrific murder. She had been unable to comprehend just why she had discovered herself in this terrible situation, and her mind had been a blank after that. The only thing she did remember was rushing to get dressed and leaving the room via the fire escape outside of the window. After reeling from that major discovery, more of her own memories had begun to seep through as the spirit of Kuchisake temporarily lost the ability to control her. Now, she knew the reason why she had almost taken Mulder’s life. It had been the spirit’s lust for revenge on her husband’s soul, who after possessing her own, had used her like a puppet in order to try and make her carry out her murderous intentions.

As she stepped into the condo and made her way to the main lounge, Naomi was also made aware of those moments when she and Mulder had been bound together in an act of passion, and became unsteady as a wave of revulsion washed over her. She really liked Mulder and in another life would have happily enjoyed making love with someone as kind as him, but certainly not in the perverse way Kuchisake had. Disturbed by the fact this spirit had abused them both in such a way; she staggered over to the mirror, which was now casting a translucent glow in the darkened room.

“Show yourself!” she screamed, eyes burning into her own reflection. “Come on, let me see the thing that’s been hiding in me, forcing me to bend to its will, so I almost killed someone I cared about.”
As if to taunt her, the mirror remained unchanged and only her image stared back at her. Wild eyed, with streaks of make-up running down her face due to the tears that had fallen, hair now uncombed and bedraggled, she looked like a madwoman.

“Show yourself you bitch!”

Slowly the reflection began to shimmer and the next moment Kuchisake appeared in all her horrific glory. Her mutilated mouth would have been sneering in contempt at the woman who had the audacity to summon her, if it had been possible to do so.

“He may have escaped me…for now, but think of all the other’s I have had the pleasure of knowing.”

Remembering the information about the legend Mulder had shown her, Naomi shivered as it now all began to become clear. “Bloody Mary? It was you?”

“Oh please, say it three times,” Kuchisake teased, menacingly.

Naomi heard the cruel words penetrating her mind, and shuddered in horror because now she knew some of her victims had been close to her heart. “Why? So you can murder me, like you murdered my fiancé and sister, and all those other people?”

“Now he was delicious and you did such a wonderful job, Naomi, helping me to slice his throat like a stuck pig.” Before the woman could utter any kind of a reply the spirit added, “Your sweet sister was yet another female who dared to call me forth, just like all those others I encountered on my travels. After my husband intervened and I became trapped in my mirror, it was a blessing to discover I could move into any reflection, as it allowed me to meet so many lovely young women who were blessed with the beauty I once had before Yukio destroyed my looks. Just one swift cut with his sword was all it took. But I guess he didn’t feel his handiwork was complete until he beheaded me as well.”

Closing her eyes, allowing the torrent of pain to engulf her in its wake, she faced the hideous image again. “And you possessed me because you needed to be in corporeal form, to carry out the death sentence of another reincarnation?” Naomi asked, her voice trembling.

“Let me finish telling you my tale, Naomi,” the spirit began in a singsong voice.

It was similar to the way her mother had sounded before reading her a bedtime story as she had every night when she’d been a child, and it made the woman cringe.

“Once-upon-a-time, there was an innocent woman like yourself, only she fell in love with a jealous and possessive man who wanted to own her completely. So he took her whenever he desired to satisfy his insatiable lust. She was terrified yet consumed by his power over her and so submitted her heart and soul to him completely. Then one day a handsome prince came to rescue this pitiful maiden from the evil warrior. Their plan was to run away together but on one fateful day the husband discovered the lovers’ plight and in his jealous rage, murdered her in front of her mirror - this very mirror in fact. Alas, in this fairytale no one lived happily ever after. So, now you can see why I decided to seek revenge for my brutal murder by killing reincarnations of my beloved Yukio.”

Another memory of their passionate encounter became clear, and then it struck her like a slap in the face. Mulder had been the one who had instigated every move, not her; only the act had been forceful and violent. Certainly not the way she believed he would ever act towards a woman. Naomi thought she had an explanation, but was terrified to think it might be right. Throughout the centuries Kuchisake must not only have regressed men who were reincarnations of her husband, making them believe they were reliving their past as him all over again, but also Yukio’s soul itself was able to possess the man like Kuchisake possessed her.

“That’s why Mulder seduced me,” Naomi said, appalled. “You may have been afraid of Yukio but you also brought him forth because you both craved each other’s twisted love! You made innocent men like Mulder act out his past life as your possessive husband,” she said, bitterly.

Laughter rang out loud and clear, almost deafening. “Innocent?” My dear Naomi, none of these men are blameless, no matter how honest and gentle they seem to be. They were all Yukio once, and he was far from innocent.”

“Then why did you have me kill my fiancé? He wasn’t any reincarnation, so why did you force me to murder him?” Naomi demanded to know, tears evident once more.

“Why, you are my favourite Naomi,” the spirit said, as if she was praising a daughter of her own. “No one else was going to claim your love like I did, certainly not some mere man. So I played out my little death scene with you and him, and it was exquisite.

“So, because love destroyed you, then you want to destroy anyone else’s chance for happiness?” she replied, sickened by what she’d just heard.

“He made me this way,” Kuchisake stressed, beginning to get irritated.

“But clearly you blame all men, and not just Yukio,” she pointed out, realising the hatred was so powerful in this spirit, that she was actually seeking revenge on the male species as a whole.

“You don’t understand!” the spirit told her, angrily.

“Oh, I think I do,” Naomi replied, harshly, recalling another gem of information from the ‘Bloody Mary’ myths that Mulder had shown her.

Spirits were like wounded animals lost and in pain, living the same tragedies and same vengeances. Something happened to them when they were alive that they couldn’t control and after their lives were brought to a horrific end they became vengeful spirits, trapped in an endless loop forever carrying out their unfinished business. Realising that in this case it would be everlasting revenge, she decided that she must make Kuchisake recognise the sheer pointlessness of it all but first would approach her by trying to see her point of view, at least partly.

“After your tale of woe, I admit I sympathised with that innocent woman whose husband murdered in a fit of jealousy,” she said, aware of the cruelty she had suffered at his hands.

Kuchisake was completely taken aback by Naomi’s words of understanding. “You are the only mortal who has said this to me,” she said, almost on the verge of thanking her.

Unfortunately though, this compassion was as far as the woman was going to allow herself to feel.
“However, when you became this vengeful spirit because of the sheer hatred you took with you at the moment of your death those people you chose started suffering the consequences. Men who had the misfortune of being a reincarnation of your husband, or those that just got in your way, and women because they were blessed with the same beauty that you once had. But don’t you see? You will carry on till eternity, continuously roaming through future centuries and an infinite number of innocent people will die by your hands.”

“I believe it was your tender hands that ended one of these lives,” she corrected her in a mocking tone.

Naomi took a deep breath, trying hard not to let the fury that was building up inside escape. She had hoped she was getting through to her, but the sad fact was Kuchisake was going to remain obstinate and refuse to look beyond her narrowed vision. However, she was going to try one last time before she would let herself admit defeat.

“You will never find peace, not this way,” she said, praying it would make her listen to reason.

In answer the reflection’s eyes narrowed in disgust, although the grotesque mouth could not display the same emotion. “You tried your best Naomi, I’ll grant you that,” Kuchisake said, evenly. “However, I’m going to require your assistance once more, as I believe there is a certain man out there who thinks he has escaped my wrath. He is very much mistaken and I intend to make him realise this.”

Feeling a heavy pressure starting to build up inside her head, Naomi realised to her horror that the spirit was doing its damnedest to take possession of her body. Once that happened and she found herself completely at its mercy again, it would be her hands that would be responsible for ending this man’s life. “No!” she screamed, fighting for control.

“Stupid girl,” Kuchisake said with disdain. “You can’t stop me.”

“Well, I did before,” she reminded her, continuing to struggle against the powerful force that was trying to penetrate her very soul. Clasping her hands to her head she yelled, “And I’ll do it again!”

“Will you now?” The spirit was enjoying watching the woman writhe around in her attempt to prevent it from taking her over but she was getting weaker and weaker and would very soon become her willing accomplice.

Naomi could feel it trying to overpower her, but was dammed if she was going to be defeated. There had been a time she’d managed to become lucid, when she had almost killed him once before, and it seemed her deep feelings for him had prevented this from happening.
“No!” she screamed at the top of her lungs. “You are not signing Mulder’s death warrant…I won’t let you!”

With her last ounce of strength, she lunged at the mirror. “I love him!” she yelled. Pulling it off its hook, she stared one last time at Kuchisake’s hideous face. “Let me release your tortured and twisted soul once and for all,” she cried out, hurling it onto the wooden floor.
After surviving for thousands of years, Naomi was the first and last person to witness it finally shatter on impact before she collapsed from sheer exhaustion into a crumpled heap beside the mirror, its heart now broken forever.


It was still dark when Naomi came round and discovered herself lying on the floor beside the fireplace in her lounge. Looking up she noticed the first signs of daylight beginning to creep in, casting eerie shadows in the room. Slowly coming to her senses, she stumbled to her feet, allowing herself to remember what had happened during the night. Her head ached, painfully so, but at the same time, deep inside she felt a growing relief that she had somehow managed to smash the enchanted mirror which had imprisoned Kuchisake’s vengeful spirit. Staring down at the shattered remnants of what was left, she let out a heavy sigh.

“May you rest in peace now,” she whispered, closing her eyes in prayer.

Suddenly a wave of nausea hit her and she fell against the wall where the mirror had once hung in all its magnificent splendour. The throbbing pain began to increase and she groaned aloud, begging for it to cease. Ignoring her pleas it became so intense that she was unable to think clearly, and it was only then she recognised the horrifying truth of what was happening? She could feel it twisting and turning, grasping at her very essence and choking the life out of her.

“Oh god,” she gasped, “She can’t have.”

But the voice she thought she’d never hear again, echoed in her mind, forcing itself to be acknowledged. “Did you honestly think you could win?”

“Please…” Naomi began, helplessly. She’d had let herself foolishly believe that she could bring the spirit’s wrath to an end by breaking the object that had been imprisoning it. Only now it had escaped, this time aiming its revenge on the one person who had tried to stop it.

“Ah, you are so intelligent,” Kuchisake said, full of sarcasm as it read her thoughts. “Oh yes, after loosing your soul completely, I will become you for the rest of your natural born life, my sweet Naomi. So, be a good girl and surrender to me.”

As the words sank in, she knew the spirit was going to seal her fate, and soon. Unless? Without a word, Naomi removed her watch and stamped on it, cracking the plastic cover. She didn’t know how much time she had left, and so knew she must act fast. Even though her head was pounding and her insides screaming, she swallowed down the bile that had risen in her throat and took deep breaths, forcing herself to be calm. Hurriedly she checked all around the room just in case there were any more reflections, any other possible means of escape. All the while she could hear Kuchisake asking her what her intentions were. Well, she was going to prove to this spirit once and for all just how clever she was. Refusing to give her an answer, she then cleared her mind completely, an art of meditation she had tried several times back in Japan, and as a result it left Kuchisake with nothing but an empty void to listen to.

Now she knew what she must do. Kneeling down, Naomi carefully picked up the broken bits of mirror and placed them into the fireplace, leaving a solitary piece on the floor. Then after lighting a match, she watched as the flames engulfed it. Only then did she allow a single thought to emerge, as she pictured Mulder in her mind’s eye. But as soon as she had done this, Kuchisake’s hatred for him began welling up inside. However, she ignored this feeling by completely concentrating on the kindness he had shown her when they had first met.

“Please, find the happiness you deserve with Scully,” she murmured, softly, as tears started to course down her cheeks. Realising it was something she was never going to share with him or indeed anyone else, ever again, she picked up the broken shard that had been left on the floor and with deliberate, swift movements slashed both of her wrists. Mercifully the pain was brief. Maybe the spirit had known what the outcome would be all along and had taken pity on her this time.

“Rest now,” she whispered.

As she lay on the floor, blood continued to pour from self-inflicted wounds and pooled all around her. She managed a faint smile before darkness descended upon her for the very last time.

Naomi had been proven correct. Since she had taken her life without any anger in her heart, Kuchisake’s vengeful spirit, which had held her prisoner for so long, was cleansed and released from her torment, as was her own soul. Now both could finally find peace at last.



Single-Story Rural Home, Virginia, USA – February 25th 2009

Epilogue

A week had passed since his ordeal with yet another paranormal myth becoming a part of his reality, this time resulting in the death of a young woman he had become very close to. They had been closer than he liked to admit actually, even if a vengeful spirit had been the cause, so technically it hadn’t been his fault. Unfortunately, he had to discover this terrible tragedy from a man who despised him. Agent Mosley Drummy had sounded sympathetic on the phone, but Mulder knew the man still believed he’d had an affair with the victim, and nothing was going to change his mind about that. Scully had even told him Drummy thought she was a fool for choosing to ignore this and taking him back.

Now Mulder was at home in his study reading the latest issue of the Richmond Times Dispatch and had come across one of its sensational headlines, JAPANESE WOMAN FOUND DEAD IN HER PENTHOUSE! The title alone made him cringe in disgust. Noticing the black and white photo hadn’t done her any justice; he let out a sigh of annoyance. Naomi had been far more beautiful than this had depicted her. Tenderly, he let his fingers stroke the grainy image on the newspaper. Then he started to read with caution, as he knew from experience how journalists liked to bend the truth. Just as he had predicted, this article didn’t fail to disappoint him with that observation. So the coroner had reported it as a suicide case and not foul play? Well, what a surprise. It was clear the one-track minded reporter was only interested in the fact that the woman had spent time in a psychiatric unit after suffering the tragic loss of her fiancé and younger sister who had also committed suicide. Even though her mother and cousin had believed she was fit enough to face the real world, that had obviously not been the case, so Naomi had become completely unstable one night and killed herself.

Carefully, he began cutting the article out of the paper and as he did so a tear rolled down his face. Brushing it away, Mulder couldn’t help feeling angry that most people would read this trash and would be led to believe that Naomi was just some nutcase that shouldn’t have been let out in the first place. A handful would perhaps see her plight as a tragic cry for help after suffering such incredible loss in her life. Only Scully and he would know how this brave young woman, clearly completely sane, found the strength to finally end the Slit-Mouth Woman’s endless search for revenge on the husband who brutally murdered her back in 14th Century Japan…by taking her own life.

Crossing over to his wall, he began pinning up the article next to all his other newspaper clippings. All, in one-way or another, had been related to the paranormal even if each reporter had failed to mention this. Even though that Frankenstein case had been 95% science, there had still been a psychic connection. He stood looking at her photo again, and felt tears brimming up in his eyes, so blinked them away. He was so grateful Scully had managed to come to his rescue but he wished he could have done the same for Naomi. Alas, fate had not allowed him to be the hero on this occasion.

As he was pondering that sad fact, Dana entered dressed in a long silk, sapphire blue nightgown, walked over, and wrapped her arms around him from behind, holding him tightly against her.

He turned around and planted a warm kiss on her lips, which she returned with equal affection.
“I know why Kuchisake didn’t kill me now. Naomi was able to take some form of control; I mean she succeeded in bringing the spirit’s wrath to an end but what gave her the strength? How did she stop her from cutting my throat?” Mulder asked her, still trying to answer questions that refused to go away.

Maybe it was women’s intuition or some such thing. However, Scully was sure she knew the reason why but decided to be diplomatic about it. “Maybe it’s because she fell in love with you. So, when Kuchisake wanted revenge on this particular reincarnation of Yukio,” she said, placing one hand on his chest, “Then Naomi had her heart set on rescuing you, even if the cost was her own life.”

In response she felt him shudder in her arms, so squeezed him gently. “I have never blamed you for sleeping with her, you know that my love,” she reassured him. “It was all the fault of that damned Slit-Mouth Woman.”

Mulder had once been so distraught, believing that she would never in a million years accept a paranormal excuse for his and Naomi’s passionate tryst. Yet, she had and now he was even more relaxed with this woman than he had ever been in his life. He felt he could tell her all of his secrets now. So he began explaining one in particular, that he thought he’d never reveal for fear of her hating him. He related how he had been made to carry the painful burden of knowing he was the reason Sam had been taken and not him. However, on the very same night Naomi killed herself, it suddenly became clear to him that the memory had been a lie, which Kuchisake had forced him to believe. Perhaps it was because she simply got pure enjoyment out of torturing the men-folk who used to be Yukio before killing them. He wasn’t sure, but it did sound like her sort of twisted logic. Only it seemed once the spirit was released her power also dissipated, breaking the spell she’d cast on him, as it were.

Mulder had to admit to himself though, had this terrible secret actually been the truth, god forbid, he wasn’t certain if he would have plucked up the courage to tell Scully.

“Mulder?” she said, after he’d finished reminiscing over these past events. “I can’t say I’m over the moon that I had to open myself fully to the paranormal. I mean, I promised myself after the Frankenstein caper I would never get involved again.”

“I know, Scully,” he interrupted. “And I don’t mind telling you I had fears that even though you had to witness the weird and wonderful all over again, that you would completely dismiss it like you’ve done before.”

“Believe me, I would love to say that none of that actually happened, but how can I?” she admitted. “Only I saw how all this affected Naomi, so of course I’m reluctant to embrace it completely.”

“Oh, oh. Here it comes,” Mulder said worriedly, ready for a change of heart.

Dana punched him playfully on the shoulder. “There’s no need for oh, oh,” she assured him, then added, “Deep down I would still love you to retire from your ghost busting business.” She noticed a frown appear on his face, and gave him a big smile. “But,” she emphasised. “If it wasn’t for your involvement and Naomi’s attraction for you, then Kuchisake would still be exacting revenge. They say everything happens for a reason,” she said, forlornly.

“How about some sort of compromise?” he suggested, trying to offer a solution and at the same time cheer her up.

“What do you have in mind?” she asked, curiously, raising an eyebrow at him.

“Well, I’ve been keeping a journal of most of our X File cases, including that modern Frankenstein incident,” he told her, with a smile. “I’m also planning to type up an account of this recent one involving Naomi,” he added quietly, allowing a wave of emotion to wash over him, but let it pass. “I’m thinking of translating the whole kit and caboodle into a novel,” he announced. “Well, you did tell me to put it all in a book,” he reminded her, then added, “Perhaps it will even make us some extra cash.”

“Your first ever paranormal masterpiece, huh?” Scully said, grinning. She also couldn’t help being touched that he was thinking only of their income, and not even considering whether or not it could lead him to becoming a successful, accomplished author. Hey, anything was possible. “Oh, it’s sure to be a runaway success,” she said, squeezing his hand, gently.

He realised she was offering words of encouragement and pulled her into a bear hug. “That’ll be the heart of the storyline. So, of course it will have to be labelled as a piece of fiction, not fact,” he grinned, sheepishly, stroking her long auburn hair.

Scully gave him a loving peck, and then smiled knowingly. “Of course.”

Gently, he stepped back but still kept a hold on her. He had another question; only this was most likely going to alter the mood, so he wanted to be prepared. “And speaking of phenomena and the like, what about 2012?”

Her expression revealed to him that she was stunned by his change of subject. Well it had been the first time he’d actually mentioned it to her since she’d discovered the date of the alien invasion, all thanks to his real father, the dearly departed smoking son-of-a-bitch. So now he was wishing he hadn’t brought it up?

“Oh, Scully?” he said, about to apologise profusely.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she replied, abruptly.

That certainly wasn’t the answer he’d been expecting, only he could tell by the tone in her voice it was all she was going to say on the subject. So, he just nodded in reply, because the truth of the matter was he didn’t want an argument to kill the mood. So the aliens could wait…for now.

Scully was pleased to see the discussion wasn’t going any further. “Please, let’s just enjoy living in the moment, Hon,” she begged lightly, whilst grabbing him firmly by the hand and pulling him out of the study, away from all his paranormal paraphernalia.

“Scully, you read my mind,” he teased, winking at her.

“Nasty habit,” she said, beaming all over her face.

Mulder returned the grin; aware they were now in the living area. Whirling her around into his arms, he kissed her deeply, whilst backing her towards the sofa.

Scully broke the kiss when she realised his intentions. “Oh Mulder, wouldn’t you prefer our nice comfy bed,” she said, excitedly.

“And here I was thinking it was going to be a quick fumble,” he joked. “You mean you don’t have to go back to work?” he asked, pretending to be surprised.

“Nope,” she replied, “I’m all yours, babe!”

“It’s times like these when I realise just what a lucky man I am,” he told her, meaningfully.

“You sure are,” she teased.

“C’mere, you,” he said, once again pulling her into his arms.

A good while was spent drowning each other in passionate kisses, and then taking her by the hand, Mulder led them to their bedroom, for a much long awaited night of lovemaking.

THE END

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