From: spookycc [email@example.com]
October 24, 2000 12:11 PM
Subject: High Praise - by spookycc
V, MT, A, UST/borderline MSR, but not schmoopy :)
PG-13, I guess. Same material as in the series.
Spoilers: FTF, The
Beginning, vague for Beyond the Sea, Colony & En Ami
Takes place before "Requiem", and thus ignores CSM's "death"
didn't *see* Scully autopsy him, so I'm thinking he's still alive
kickin'. :). Also ignores the pregnancy.
Summary: Mulder and
Scully discover the whereabouts of a child missing for
almost two years, but
they're not the only ones looking for him.
Disclaimer: I don't own
any of them. And just to be sure I'm safe, even
though the S8 premiere
hasn't aired yet, I won't own Dogbreath,
Dedication: As always, to Fox's Vixen (now
Bobby'sSlut :), my best friend
ever and soulmate cyber and IRL. And for
Girlassassin, whose wonderful
support, friendship and feedback keeps me
writing even when she's the only
one besides Vixen who reads it. :) Thank
Author's notes at end.
No beta-reader used - all typos are my
Rolling Hills Nuclear Power Plant - Fall, 1998
swirl of smoke wafted gently above the grizzled face as he looked through
blood-stained window at the reactor room within. He detected no
within the room, yet he was sure that the person he sought was still
Alive. The boy. Gibson Praise, who could be their saviour or ruin them
He intended to take no chances that the child would fall into the
He nodded to the men beside him. They were clad in Class
4 hazmat suits, and
had only been awaiting his approval to enter the room.
detectors in front of them, they fanned out to search the
full expanse of
the reactor room.
The coolant chamber belched
and hissed in front of them, and they exchanged
glances through plastic face
plates, and approached cautiously. The gauges
in the main control room
indicated that there had been a contaminent
introduced into the core chamber,
and as they gazed downward, breath shallow
in shrouded hoods, they saw,
draped in the liquid, long strands of some
split into two groups, one attempting to pull the strands from the
the other following a trail of damp splotches to the connecting
door for the
control room. Opening that, they followed the spots through
bringing them to the #4 storage room. Or what was *left* of
the #4 storage
room. Tanks and barrels lay helter-skelter, and the back wall
They stepped outside easily through the oddly
human-shaped hole and met
another group of workers who had just discovered
the same hole during a
search of the building's exterior. What they now
realized were wet
footprints extended a few hundred feet into the parking lot
reactor building, and then dried little by little, until they were
nothing to follow. There was a group of reporters in the lot beyond
security fence already, so they were relatively sure nothing had escaped
that direction in the last few minutes. NRC inspectors had their
combing the woods beyond for radiation traces, so whatever had left
prints was gone now, if it hadn't been seen by them,
Returning to the reactor room, they saw their colleagues
standing in a
half-circle, as if cornering something. Had the creature
As they approached, they saw that this was not the case at all.
corner of the room, surrounded by the masked men, a child sat calmly.
appeared untroubled by their appearance - in fact, he appeared more
One of the men radioed their discovery to the
"Man with the Morleys", as
they had come to know him in his time here. They
ushered the boy back
through the room and the hallway beyond, to the main
control room where he
awaited them. The boy stood, unafraid, in front of the
man he knew wanted to
"Where did it go? What
does it intend to do?" the smoking man asked him.
"I don't know,"
the boy replied.
"You *do* know. You'll tell me eventually, if you
don't tell me now."
The men hustled the boy to a black Towncar parked in
the back lot, and
watched as he and the smoking man settled into the back
seat. The driver
pulled away, out a secured gate, avoiding FBI, NRC and media
alike, and its
taillights faded into the
The sound of locks snapping open kept Mulder and Scully company as
waited wordlessly outside the door of "The Lone Gunman"'s
office". Frohike spared them a quick smile as they finally
the bleak and misty night behind them. He ushered them over
to the monitor
on the desk.
"We knew you'd want to see this, Mulder,"
Byers explained as he and Langly
"For sure," Langly
Mulder and Scully watched the text scrolling on the screen before
was written in the aftermath of the "incident" at the Rolling Hills
power plant, many months before.
"This guy emailed us
yesterday," Frohike explained. "After we checked his
checked out his story."
"It rings true," Byers added.
think he's legit," finished Langly.
According to the screen in front of
them, Gibson Praise was alive, and their
informant knew his current
Scully jotted the pertinent information down, and nodded
once to Mulder.
Thanking Mulder's cohorts, they jogged back up the steps to
the street, and
their waiting car.
Driving toward downtown D.C.,
Mulder acted as navigator, letting Scully know
where to turn and when they
were nearing their destination. They were
looking for a parking spot when a
sleek black limo pulled up to the curb
ahead of them. Three men left the
vehicle. Scully slowed and pulled into a
spot well behind the
They watched and waited, few words exchanged, until the men came
With them was a young boy. There was no mistaking who this must be
Consortium wasn't in the habit of randomly abducting
Realizing they were too far away to intercept the men here,
the car into gear and prepared to follow them. After the men
Gibson into the back seat, the limo pulled out into the sparse
traffic, and Scully pulled out a couple car lengths
The men in the limo were certainly in no hurry, and why should
they be? They
walked the streets invisible to law enforcement, or quickly
apologies if a rookie cop was foolish enough to pick them up
Stopped at a red light, with Scully and Mulder still a few
cars behind, the
back door to the limo flew open. Gibson leaped out and took
off down the
street. Two of the three men jumped to follow the boy, leaving
the last to
squeal away from the curb, ignoring the traffic signal, following
of the boy.
Gibson dashed into an alley as Mulder and
Scully flew out of their own car,
close behind the two men who had already
For the thousandth time, Scully cursed the
career choice that led to her
living life in the dark, both literally and
figuratively. She couldn't see a
foot away from her face, even with her
flashlight held in front of her. Not
that the journey she'd joined had been
unrewarding, but sometimes a
private, lucrative medical practice looked
How many times had she asked herself why she stayed
with Mulder, in his
Quest for the Truth? In truth, she could not see herself
anywhere but by
his side now. By her choice or by his, it didn't matter. Both
had tried at
one time or another to break the ties that held them together,
attempting it for what they felt was the good of the other. Always
been drawn together again, by fate, by whatever force bound them as
She stumbled over some boxes carelessly thrown in
the wet alleyway, and
cursed again. Where the hell had Gibson gone? And where
the hell was Mulder?
They'd split up a few blocks back, and now Scully wasn't
sure she could even
find their *car* again. She paused in the middle of the
trying to get her bearings, then headed off on her
original course again.
Dim lamplight puddled in front of her, as the
alley dumped into the street
beyond. Scully skirted the building to her
right, and decided to stay on the
street, where she might have some slim
chance of seeing *anything*. A
movement caught her eye, and she squinted in
its direction. A child?
"Gibson! Stop!" If the child heard her, he gave
no indication of it. Scully
ran in his direction, nowhere near catching him,
surprised at his speed. If
he had been "the real deal" mentally, he had
seemed almost physically slow,
possibly challenged in some way. He certainly
didn't look challenged *now*.
He was a good block away and widening the gap
between himself and Scully.
The boy disappeared around a corner, and
Scully panted as she tried to reach
the intersection before he made another
turn. Trenchcoat whipping around
her legs, she sprinted around the corner -
Gibson was almost at the end of
the block already, and Scully felt her calf
muscles protest at the abuse.
Movement tickled her peripheral vision, and
she felt a rush of air sweep by
as the black limo whipped out of the alleyway
she had just passed, and on
toward the running child, who was unaware of
"Gibson!" Scully yelled again. Again the boy ignored her call,
running, quite literally, she was sure, for his life.
pushed herself to reach Gibson, knowing there was no way in hell
the car there. For his part, the boy ran aimlessly on, neither
toward - nor
away from - the car. Still a half block away, Scully yelled
it was futile, but knowing she would be too late to do
As the boy - and the car - neared the intersection, a blur of color
Scully's attention. Time slowed, and the events that followed played out
slow-motion, as they would for countless nights thereafter.
blur was Mulder, sprinting as even Scully had never seen him before.
running herself, she heard him call Gibson's name, with no more
she had received.
In order, the three objects - two of them dear to
Scully - reached the same
exact point in space. First, Gibson - directly in
the path of the speeding
car - then Mulder, midair, throwing himself at the
boy - then the black
Barely a squeal of tires - certainly
no brakes had been applied - a muffled
groan - and the car was gone, as
suddenly as it had appeared. Silence fell
over the street, as Scully rushed
Gibson lay across the curb, dazed but not apparently
seriously injured. His
feet trailed into the street, just beyond the
outstretched hands of Mulder,
who lay motionless in the
"Mulder!" Scully fell to the ground next to them, visually
Gibson's condition. Her heart was in her throat as she knelt next
fallen partner. Running a shaky hand to his neck, she searched for a
Fast, thready. But at least *there*. She pulled out her cell phone
called 911, glancing at the street signs to give the paramedics
Gibson was struggling to sit up, and Scully spared
herself a moment to
insure that he was, indeed, alright. He looked scared,
tired, but very much
alive. She unsnapped her holster, in case the smoking
man's men made
another attempt on the boy. They were certainly sitting
Well, two *sitting* ducks and a d-...
"Mulder, can you hear
me?" Scully needed to make contact, to let him know
she was there with him.
She needed to see the light in his eyes. To know
that he was still here with
her, as well.
A low moan reached her ears, and she rested a hand on his
chest, and one on
his forehead. "Don't try to move, Mulder. I'm right
She felt him relax beneath her hands. He always did. She ran her
softly across his chest and stomach, her clinical mind probing his
her heart needing only to maintain contact. She felt him wince when
reached his abdomen. "Sorry. I'm sorry." She replaced her hand
near his shoulders, a tear sliding from her eye. Pulling her
off, she laid it atop Mulder, to keep him warm, to keep him from
cold as his body reacted to his injuries with shock.
small trickle of blood made its way from the side of his mouth, and
pressed her fingers to his neck again, more alarmed now. She felt
thready pulse, barely moving against her finger. She leaned
placing her ear near his nose and mouth. She heard and felt
Scully placed her mouth over Mulder's and held his nostrils shut
and thumb. Breathing her life into him, she watched his chest
rise and fall,
then paused to see if it would continue unaided. It didn't.
check revealed that his pulse had failed as
"Mulder! Stay with me!" Scully's mind went into medical-mode as her
beat wildly within her chest. Well-versed in CPR, she methodically gave
thrusts with her hands, and then filled his lungs with her breath a
time. Again his cheeks puffed out and back in, and again his chest
still after her breath had left it.
"You're - not - gonna - ditch
- me - now," she chanted as she pushed her
hands together on Mulder's
diaphram, willing him to breathe, willing his
heart to start so that hers
would not stop.
Sparing a few moments to see if he was responding, her
breath came in short
pants as she felt for a nonexistent pulse, listened for
a breath that was
not there. Darker blood now ran more freely from Mulder's
something from her medical training told Dana Scully, MD, that she
losing her patient.
"Dammit! No!" As the day's earlier rains began
again in earnest, Scully let
her clinical mind completely run her
administration of CPR, even as her
spirits sank, and her hair hung in red
rivulets atop her shoulders.
"Ma'am!" Vague voices, seemingly far away,
invaded Scully's thoughts.
"Ma'am, we'll take over now!"
Scully looked up to see paramedics settling in beside her. She
aware of them pulling her hands from Mulder. Somehow she found
beside him, as it should be. Dimly, she heard one of the
paramedics tell the
other that the patient was breathing, and she released a
breath she hadn't
known she was holding.
Disjointedly, Scully watched as they slipped an
oxygen mask over his bruised
face. She was reminded of the ER in North
Carolina, after Mulder had taken
a bullet through the leg. She remembered
watching his face then, the pain
squeezing his eyes shut as he struggled for
breath. He *had* been awake,
that time, if not aware. At least this time he
was spared the pain. He lay
limply on the street now, his lips an
alarming shade of blue. One paramedic
did compressions while the other
readied the defibrillator. Scully's coat
was long gone, and now Mulder's was
thrown open and his shirt buttons popped
as they readied him for the
She felt like she was watching a film back in early med school,
placed the paddles on his chest. She heard one of the paramedics
level they were set at, then "clear". Not wanting to watch but
to, Scully saw Mulder's upper body arch spasmodically, then settle
the ground. Scully pinned her eyes tightly closed. She felt the
through her own body, just as if it had been administered to
"We've got a pulse."
How simple those words were. How often
had she heard them - said them - and
how much more did those words mean here,
Scully turned to ask Gibson to come with them to the hospital. He
Just like that.
"Where's the boy?" Scully asked one of
the paramedics. "The boy who was
just here - where is he?"
exchanged glances. "I'm sorry, ma'am. We didn't see any boy.
Just you and
Despondent, she climbed in after them, not bothering to
faux-pas, not wanting to delay her partner's treatment any
longer. She had
been so obsessed, so *focused* with Mulder's life that she
had lost Gibson.
Tears welled in her eyes as she thought what might befall
She punched in Skinner's private number on her cell phone and
let him know
what had happened. Asked him to search for
D.C. Regional Medical Center
Scully sat beside Mulder's bed in ICU. He'd come through the
staunch his internal bleeding, and that was under control. The
ribs would have to heal themselves. No concussion this time, wonder
wonders. He had some bruising around his cheekbones - where they'd met
asphalt, no doubt, Scully reflected angrily - and he looked pale and
but she'd certainly seen him looking worse.
Other than that,
his injuries were pretty much covered up by the stiff
hospital sheet and
lighweight blanket that spread across his lean form.
The standard IV was
inserted in the top of his hand. Scully wondered that
he had no scars
on his hands, as many times as they'd been used as pin-
cushions for IV
She slid her hand into his unencumbered one, as so many times she
before. But part of her still worried about Gibson. Skinner had
scouring the downtown area they'd left. No traces of the boy had been
She eased back into the chair - as much as its design would allow
settled in for another bedside vigil...
awoke some time later, she was shocked to see Mulder's eyes looking
hers. She could barely make out little sounds that he uttered, and
pressed her head closer to his. "Sc---- Scu----".
She had heard the same thing from his nearly-frozen lips on the
Antarctica. Right before he passed out beside her, right before she
into her arms to lend him what little warmth she possessed.
"Shoulda used the cr- crosswalk *again*."
almost laughed. How many times had Mulder's deadpan humour surfaced
*was* near death? It was a relief to hear him sounding like the man
Like the man she loved. Like the man she knew loved *her*, in a
much deeper than simple romance.
She spooned a few slivers of ice into
his mouth, and he swallowed and
continued with a little stronger voice, "Is
Scully's face fell, and she shook her head. "I don't know, I
At Mulder's quizzical look, she explained. "Mulder,
I checked Gibson and he
had no serious injuries. Then you - you stopped
breathing, and I couldn't
get a pulse. When the paramedics arrived, Gibson
was gone. I just - I lost
him. I'm sorry."
"No-" Mulder's voice was
weaker, and Scully leaned in once more.
"*I'm* sorry", he continued. "I
know you wanted to save him as much as I
did. Don't blame yourself for what
happened while you were helping me."
Scully sighed, and ran her hand
through the short hair Mulder sported these
days. He would accept the
guilt for this incident, she knew, as indeed he
claimed blame for everything
negative had that happened while they pursued
search teams out right now, but they haven't found any sign of
"I'm not sure they will," Mulder interjected, his voice growing
eyelids slipping almost shut.
Scully looked at him
"He knows what they're thinking, Scully. If he doesn't
know who he can
trust even with his gift, it's likely no one will find
"I hope he's ok," Scully said sadly.
"M - me too," Mulder's
eyes finally slid shut, and his hand went limp
gently rubbed the back of Mulder's hand as it lay within hers, and
head back against the uncomfortable plastic
Having settled Mulder from the hospital into his apartment, Scully
her own apartment door and dragged her weary body into the welcoming
inside. She threw her keys on the kitchen table, opened the
out of habit, then closed it.
She sensed a presence
in the apartment - God, she really needed to have the
locks changed again -
and pulled her gun from its holster.
In dark corner, a waft of smoke
caught her attention, as did its creator.
"What the hell are *you* doing
here?" she kept her voice even, dark.
"I thought perhaps you'd like to
thank me," came the reply.
"*Thank* you? For what?"
deciding not to pursue your partner - or the boy - for the time
"What are you talking about?"
"Does the code-name
"Rattler" mean anything to you?"
Indeed it did. That was the
informant who had provided the Lone Gunmen with
the information about
The smoking man watched as realization dawned in
Scully's eyes, and then
flashed a nefarious smile at her.
never *about* Gibson!" Scully realized suddenly. "You knew we
him! You knew!"
"Certainly," the smoking man replied. "Gibson was a
pawn who had outlived
most of his usefulness. Mulder was a worthy adversary
who needed to be
eliminated. Why not use one to accomplish the eradication of
He spoke matter-of-factly, betrayed no emotion, if indeed he felt
appeared that his talk of having a special affection for Mulder as
Scully had been just that - talk. He had, in fact, supplanted
information to the Lone Gunmen, under the guise of a trustworthy
It wasn't the first time he'd used someone else's email to
of his legitimacy, and it probably wouldn't be the
"Well, it didn't work," Scully breathed slowly, deeply, lest her
dictate her actions.
"No, it didn't. I should have assumed
that you would be able to keep Mulder
alive until paramedics arrived.
You've always had these feelings for this
man, though you deny them to
yourself," the smoking man answered.
Scully sighed, her fists balled at
her sides. "Have you found Gibson? Have
you killed him?"
no, that part of your plan worked as well. He is on his own for now,
you - or *I* - find him."
"You can't always win, you know," Scully mused.
"Evil doesn't ultimately
win out over good. It didn't this time."
crack of a smile around his cigarette. "Agent Scully," a circle of
enwreathed his grey features. "There is always a *next*
I'm not a nuclear
technician, so please forgive my lack of knowledge herein.
a doctor or an EMT, either, so please overlook all the
I had to rewatch "The Beginning" in researching this
fic, and it's one of my
least fav of eps, mainly because in the episode, all
the UST of FTF was DOA.
The line about Scully being so
obsessed - so *focused* with Mulder comes
from how we at atxf like to
describe ourselves to "normal people". :)