By Dawn <email@example.com>
Submitted June 2000
Summary: Between Scully's abduction, the XFiles being closed twice, and their other cases, the agents haven't had a chance to investigate Superman. Until now.
First, I wanted to thank my editors, Carolyn, LabRat, and Pat, for their input and suggestions. I also wanted to thank everyone who has sent me feedback on my other stories.
I started this story in March of '98, put it away for a while, then recently decided to bring it back out. This is a cross over with one of my other favorite shows, The X-Files. It's been a while since I've read Zoom's great X-Files crossover, and as Carolyn and Tara are currently working on cross-overs for one of my other favorite series, Star Trek, I thought it would be fun to see how these characters would interact. I'd be curious to hear from anyone who figures out where I got the title from :)
Usual disclaimers. Please do not redistribute. The original version is nfic. If you would like to read that version, email me with the usual statements. I hope you enjoy.
Summary: Between Scully's abduction, the XFiles being closed twice, and their other cases, the agents hadn't had a chance to investigate Superman. Until now.
Spoiler: This is set in late Season 4 / early Season 5. Knowledge of the X-Files may be helpful in following parts of the story, but not necessary. Also, due to Scully's skeptical nature, I'm assuming she has applied a scientific explanation to any information related to Superman that she has encountered, thus is still in doubt of his existence.
Special Agent Dana Scully walked into her partner's basement office.
He stopped mid chew on a sunflower seed. 'Uh oh,' he thought. He knew that look. She was none too pleased with the assignment he had managed to get them.
She threw the tickets down on the desk in front of him. "Mulder, tell me you are kidding. We are not going to Metropolis."
"Because you are not dragging me with you to check into some hoax. It's got to be somebody's idea of a publicity stunt, and we are not going to give credence to it. Besides, there's no case. No crime has been committed, and there's nothing that would even warrant this being an X File."
"Actually, there is." He pulled out a blurry photo of the famed Metropolis Man of Steel flying over the city in his red and blue costume.
Scully studied the photo. "This could be a fake."
Mulder shook his head. "I had it analyzed. It's the real thing."
"Then it's a carefully orchestrated stunt."
He walked around the desk to put his hands on his partner's shoulders. "Just humor me this time."
"I'm always humoring you, Mulder."
"Can we at least check it out?"
"Do I have a choice?"
He gave her a what-do-you-think look.
"That's what I thought. Can I ask how you got Skinner to approve this? How did you convince him this was an X File?" She crossed her arms under her breasts, piercing him with her eyes, waiting for him to convince her that this was worth her time, and theirs.
"Somewhere in Metropolis there's a man who flies, Scully," Mulder said as he walked past his partner. "Isn't that enough?"
Dana turned to follow his movements. "Just keep saying to yourself 'hoax, hoax, hoax.'"
"Okay, if it is some elaborate setup by local law enforcement, it's working. The crime rate in Metropolis is down."
"Or it could be worse. It could be some vigilante group trying to make a statement," she countered flatly. "Or some media stunt."
"I'm open to suggestions. Aren't you at least interested in exposing this? In applying your scientific slant and exposing the naked truth to the innocent people who are being led astray?"
She sighed heavily. "When you put it that way," she managed unenthusiastically.
"That's my girl."
Scully gave him a look.
"You know, Mulder, one of these days … " She let her voice trail off. One of these days what? She knew he would always be chasing X-Files and she would be right beside him.
Several hours later, Special Agents Mulder and Scully arrived at Metropolis International Airport. Renting a car, they drove through the city toward the Lexor Hotel, where Mulder had pre- registered them to stay. It was the closest hotel to the Daily Planet, which was where Mulder planned to start their investigation. As they drove through the busy streets, he thought he heard a sound in the sky above. Looking out the driver's side window (he couldn't help but smile every time he got behind the wheel, remembering the comment he once made to Scully about not letting her drive because he didn't think her short legs could reach the peddles) he saw a blue and red streak cross the skyline, followed by a sonic boom.
Turning to his partner he asked, "Scully, did you see that?"
"See what, Mulder? I heard the sonic boom, which, by the way, is a violation of Air Force procedures. It was probably a military jet conducting test flights or maneuvers from the military base outside of town that got off course or flew too low. Metropolis is home to one of the largest air bases in the country. Why? What did you see?"
"So you didn't see that streak?"
"There wouldn't have been a streak, unless it was contrail. Judging by the volume of the sound, the jet was too far away for anyone in the city to be able to see anything, and besides, you know you would have seen the jet before you heard the sound and … "
"Scully. I know that. And I know what I saw."
"I'm sure you do, Mulder. So what exactly did you see?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Try me, Mulder. I've seen quite a bit since I was assigned to work with you on the X Files."
"It was a … blue streak."
"A blue streak."
"With some red."
"With red. Mulder, there could be several scientific explanations for what you saw. None of them being the one you seek."
"I know. But I know what I saw."
"You said that already. Mulder, until I see it with my own eyes I can't report anything other than a purely scientific reason. Is that what you want me to put in my report to Skinner? That you saw a blue streak blaze across the sky, thus aliens exist?"
"And red." She gave him a look. "Okay. We'll do this your way. But I'm convinced this exists and before we close this case I will prove it to you."
"I'll look forward to it." She smiled to ease the sarcasm she was sure was in her voice.
Mulder pulled the car up to the front door of the hotel. "Here we are."
"This is one of the nicer places you've brought me to Mulder," Scully remarked as she looked the 5 Star hotel over.
Mulder handed the car keys to a valet and entered the front door, which was opened by a doorman as they approached.
"Only the best."
She turned enough to give him a smirk as they entered the lobby.
They approached the front desk and checked in, retrieving the keys to their adjacent rooms. A porter entered from the front door with their luggage, motioning them to follow him to the elevators. They rode in silence to the eighth floor, both lost in contemplating the case they were working on.
The porter opened each of their rooms in turn, depositing their luggage inside. Mulder followed the man into Scully's room, tipping him as he completed his task and turned to leave.
"So where do we start?" she asked, sitting down on the bed.
Mulder pulled a copy of the Daily Planet from his briefcase, which he had put on the window table. He opened it, revealing the front page, and handed it to his partner. On the page, in 48- point font, Superman's latest rescue was detailed, with the byline reading Lois Lane.
"This is just the most recent one. I have a file this thick," he indicated a large stack with his hands, "of what this guy has done, dating back to his debut when he 'saved' the Prometheus Space Station." He indicated quotes around 'saved' for the benefit of his doubtful partner. "Most of the stories are by Lois Lane."
"Yes, I saw that initial piece, couldn't help but see it. I'm not surprised you collected these, Mulder," she retorted. "I hadn't thought of the Daily Planet as tabloid reporting, and I know Ms. Lane has won journalistic awards. I don't recall if she's ever won any for reporting about this." She indicated the front page and the large color photo of Superman. "But you can never tell, Mulder. It's not unheard of for internationally respected newspapers and journalists to be involved in something like this," she emphasized, trying to make her case.
"I thought we'd start with Ms. Lane, find out what she knows, then go from there."
"Let's go. The sooner we expose this hoax, the sooner we can get back to chasing 'real' aliens." She indicated quotes around 'real' for the benefit of her partner, whom she knew wanted to believe.
They arrived at the Daily Planet several minutes later, parking their rental car in a visitor's spot near the elevators in the paper's underground garage. They rode up to the lobby in silence, where they exited. After showing the security guard his FBI badge, Mulder requested where they might find Lois Lane.
The guard indicated the elevators. "Third floor, city room."
Mulder tapped his open hand on the security desk. "Third floor. Thanks." He motioned for Scully to proceed him as they got back on the elevator. The doors opened on a platform overlooking a bustling room full of busy people that could have been the bullpen for any major newspaper in the world.
Mulder stopped a young man carrying proof sheets as he passed by them. "Excuse me. Can you tell me where I can find Lois Lane?" He flashed his badge again to indicate that this was official business.
Jimmy glanced at the badge, briefly wondering what kind of trouble Lois was in now, and if his dad at the NIA could help her if she needed it. She probably didn't. She could usually take care of herself and, if not, Clark or Superman were usually there. He was relieved Lois wasn't here. Maybe he'd have time to warn her so she could prepare.
"Um, she's out on a story right now, but you can wait in the conference room, if you like. She shouldn't be too long." He motioned toward the large, windowed room next to an office with "Editor in Chief" on the door.
Mulder motioned for Scully to proceed him across the busy newsroom to the conference room.
Jimmy watched for Lois, staying as near to the elevators as possible so that he could catch her as soon as she arrived and warn her. He didn't have to wait long before he saw his beautiful co-worker emerge from the elevator and make a beeline for her desk. She probably wanted to get started right away on her story. He had to tell her this first.
"Ah, Lois?" he called, trying to be heard over the noise of the newsroom, but not yelling loud enough to inform the agents that Lois was back.
"Lois. There're some people from the FBI here to see you. They are in the conference room," he said as he caught up with her.
"FBI?" she asked. "Did they say what they wanted?"
"You don't know? I figured it had to do with some story you were working on."
"None that I know of that would interest the FBI. Thanks, Jimmy. I better go see what they want."
She patted her friend on the shoulder to reassure him that he had done the right thing and, grabbing her notebook and pen, headed to the conference room. She could see the two agents — one male, the other female — through the open blinds. Various ideas ran through her head as to what they could want as she walked towards the room, including memories of Trask. Could these two be leftovers of Trask's reign at Bureau 39, and were they here to try and take her husband and partner from her? That would never happen!
She opened the door, prepared to keep them from her husband. He was always helping her and now was her chance to help him. Entering the room, she gave each a terse nod in acknowledgement, then sat in the chair nearest the door. The male agent, who had been sitting at the table to her left, stood as she entered. The female agent had taken a seat at the far end of the table.
The male agent spoke first, showing her his badge as he introduced himself and his partner as proof of his claim. "Ms. Lane, I'm Agent Mulder, this is Agent Scully," he motioned to his partner before pocketing his badge. "We'd like to ask you a few questions about Superman."
"Has he done something wrong?"
"No, Ms. Lane. Why would you ask that?" Mulder had read her stories about the alien, and had even seen the tabloid story about her and Superman supposedly having an affair. He could understand her wanting to protect him, even if it was just as a source.
"Why come to me about Superman?" Lois asked suspiciously. "Why not ask him yourself?"
"Well, Ms. Lane, I know how busy he is, and how difficult it is to get a hold of him. You seem to have an inside track on that, what with the number of stories you've written on him."
What was this agent hinting at? "I just happen to be in the right place at the right time."
"You don't expect me to believe that, do you, Ms. Lane?"
"You can believe what you want. I'm a reporter. My job is to report the news. Superman is news. Big news." Had the agents read the tabloid reports of the purported affair between her and Superman? Surely the government wouldn't put stock in that gossip, not even the men, or women, in black.
"I'm not questioning that, Ms. Lane, but just how do you manage to get all those leads on Superman?"
"Am I under investigation here?" Since Trask she'd been able to recognize potential government threats to the man she loved. And these g-men, er people, couldn't be here for anything good for him.
"Mulder," Scully spoke for the first time. "This isn't getting us very far."
Mulder knew Lois Lane wasn't being forthcoming with him. She obviously knew something, and was protecting the alien, for some reason. He also knew when it was time to back off.
He stood to leave. "Thank you for your time, Ms. Lane."
Lois stood as well. "Can you at least tell me why you are looking for Superman? Next time I see him I can let him know." She would definitely let her husband know there were some government agents asking about his alter ego.
"We, I, just wanted to ask him a few questions. I think he can help me find something that I've been searching for for quite some time."
Lois couldn't help but notice the surprised look his partner gave him as she gave him one of puzzlement. How could Clark help this agent with something that now seemed far from government in nature, but very personal?
"Come on, Mulder." Agent Scully led her partner to the door. She had known this would be a waste of time, that this whole trip was a waste of time, but she knew Mulder well enough to know that if she didn't indulge him, then he would obsess about it until he got an answer that satisfied him. Obviously this wasn't the way to go about it. She knew he wouldn't give up that easily. By getting him out of here now, he, or rather they, could do some more digging and find a more productive angle.
"Hey, Jimmy. Where's Lois?" Clark asked as he stepped off the elevator, adjusting his tie.
"She's in the conference room with some government agents. They were asking about Superman. I listened at the door," Jimmy admitted. "When they mentioned Superman I was curious, you know. I consider him a friend and I wanted to help him if I could. Besides, that female agent is *hot*."
Clark missed Jimmy's last comment. Images of Trask and his task force flashed through his mind. The day he'd stormed into the newsroom, shortly after Clark had started at the Planet. He couldn't help but feel some sadness at the way it had ended. He hated having anyone die when he could have prevented it. But, now, he knew that there had been no way he could prevent it and save his parents and himself. And he felt something that he had only felt on rare occasions in his life — anger. He had been angry at Trask for coming after him the way he did, accusing him of things that just weren't true, not even being willing to listen to reason. Trask had been willing to kill Lois, his parents, and himself based on his warped sense of reality. He would not let anything like that happen again.
It was with these thoughts in mind that Clark came face to face with Agent Mulder as the agents were leaving the conference room, followed by Lois. He held his temper in check, not wanting to raise any suspicions with the agents. They walked past him, Agent Mulder inclining his head in acknowledgment. Clark stepped aside to let the agents pass, wondering how the one agent had recognized him. He had probably seen his picture in the paper, or seen the posters around town of him and Lois. He had always wondered at the wisdom of those ads. How were he and Lois supposed to do their jobs as investigative reporters when those they were trying to catch knew what they looked like?! But the powers that be hadn't seen it that way. They had seen a way to make money by capitalizing on the "hottest team in town". From a financial perspective he could understand where they were coming from. But it sure made doing his job a lot harder. At least one of them anyway.
Clark turned to Lois as the agents walked towards the elevator and out of earshot. "Lois, what did they want? Jimmy said they were asking about Superman?"
"It's okay, honey. I didn't tell them anything."
"But why would they be here?"
Slightly nodding her head, Lois indicated Jimmy standing nearby. She'd have to fill him in later.
Mulder and Scully rode the elevator down to the main entrance of the Daily Planet. Neither said a word. Both were absorbed in their own thoughts as to how they might proceed in their investigation. As they exited the front door, Mulder broke the silence.
"I understand there's a doctor here in Metropolis that might be able to give us some answers." He handed his partner a card.
Scully read it: Dr. Bernard Klein, STAR Labs.
"Why don't you pay the doctor a visit and see what you can find out?"
"What are you going to do, Mulder?" She thought she'd be used to him doing this after all these years.
He started to walk away from her. "I've got another lead to follow up on," he called. He paused and tossed her the keys to their rental. She reached up and plucked them from the air as they sailed toward her and watched her partner disappear down the crowded city street.
Scully turned to re-enter the building and retrieve the car from the parking garage below the offices.
Scully maneuvered through the busy streets and toward the outskirts of town, where the map of the city she had picked up at the hotel showed she would find her destination. Driving through the front gates of STAR Labs, she couldn't help but see the large building looming before her. She pulled into a visitor parking space. While walking toward the building the thought crossed her mind to use her medical credentials to get past security. That sounded like something Mulder would do. He'd tried things like that before and they had always gotten caught. She decided honesty was the best approach.
Walking through the front door and up to the security desk, she presented her badge to the guard on duty.
"I'm Agent Scully and I'm here to see Dr. Klein."
Stan looked from the badge to the beautiful redhead, and wished he could leave his post to escort her to the doctor's office. He picked up his phone and called for one of his co-workers on patrol.
"Someone will be here shortly to escort you."
"Thank you." She smiled.
Bill, one of his buddies, arrived to escort their guest. He looked from Scully to Stan, tied to his desk, and back. After motioning Scully to proceed him through the door, he turned back to his less fortunate friend and gave him a thumbs up.
Stan picked up the first thing he could get his hands on to throw after him. The notepad thudded against the closed door, falling harmlessly to the floor.
Bill couldn't help but notice, and appreciate, the looks he and the lady were getting as they walked toward the scientist's wing. He'd only gotten these envious looks one other time when he'd had the privilege to escort Ms. Lane to see Dr. Klein.
All too quickly they reached Dr. Klein's lab. Bill opened the door for her.
"Thank you." She smiled.
"I'll, um, be waiting, here, in the hallway, to escort you back when you're done."
She smiled again and nodded, entering the lab. She spotted Dr. Klein, bending over a telescope.
"Yes?" He didn't look up, not even noting the unfamiliar voice.
"Dr. Klein, I'd like to ask you a few questions." Scully approached him, badge at the ready.
"Excuse me, Ms., but … " Klein looked up to emphasize his point.
"Doctor," Scully responded, extending her hand.
That got Klein's attention. "I'm sorry, Doctor. What is your specialty in?" he asked, taking her hand in his.
"Ah. If I hadn't gone into research, that would have been my area as well. I'm just not cut out for clinical work. So, what can I help you with?"
"It's regarding a case I'm working on about … "
A pretty, young woman entering the room interrupted Scully. "Bernie, sweetheart, I need your help with this phase of the experiment."
"Coming, pumpkin. I'm sorry, Dr. Scully. Carolyn and I are working on an extremely important experiment right now."
"I understand, Dr. Klein. Can I ask you about Superman?"
Dr. Klein turned back on his way out of the room. "Again, I'm sorry, Dr. Scully. I can't discuss Superman's case. I'm sure, as a doctor, you understand about patient doctor confidentiality." And with that the scientist left the room.
Scully mulled over what she had been told. Patient doctor confidentiality? That didn't give her much to go on. Superman, whoever or whatever he was, was Dr. Klein's patient. But that didn't answer *what* Superman was. For all she knew Klein could be in on whatever the deception was. Scully sighed as she left the laboratories. All that this visit had told her was that STAR Labs, or at least Dr. Klein, a respected and published scientist, was involved.
Mulder had wanted to talk with Clark Kent, but after the unsuccessful chat with his wife, and then the look on the man's face as he and Scully were leaving, told him that it wasn't the time to approach him. Hopefully there would be a more conducive time soon. He knew that Mr. Kent and Superman were friends. Mulder had studied the press conference Kent had given after the Diana Stride scandal. He couldn't help but be appreciative for the assistance on that case. The FBI had been tracking Intergang and their lead assassin for years. It didn't bother him, much, that a reporter and a, what he wasn't really sure, were the ones to solve the case. He was just glad it was closed.
But the case had brought to light an interesting concept: that Clark Kent was masquerading as Superman so he could help others in need and still live a normal life. That didn't explain the things Superman could do, unless … nah. It would be too hard for that kind of secret to be kept. The government would have been on to him long before now if he really were an alien. With as many sightings of the man in blue that had been reported, the government would not have been able to keep this sort of thing from the populous, least of all him. Unless those involved in alien cover-ups decided to let this one go, and let people believe in this one alien so they could continue their secret experiments with the others. Or maybe it was just that they couldn't control this one.
Maybe that was why the military had stepped in with the incident in Smallville. The group had claimed to be "New Kryptonians", the same "race" as Superman. Lois Lane had reported when Superman had first appeared on the scene that he was from the planet Krypton, and that he was here to help. After the space shuttle incident there was no way the government could cover that up, so they had obviously let the man either have his delusions, let the group behind him have their fun, or he really was an alien.
When the situation in Smallville escalated, the military had tried to put an end to it, resulting in the loss of life and a town held hostage. At first, Mulder had thought these "New Kryptonians" were involved with the Superman group, but soon discovered that their modus operandi were very much different. Superman had even helped to bring the incident to an end, despite a rogue colonel stepping out on his own and trying to kill him. Mulder couldn't help but wonder if that had been part of the government's plan all along in a foiled attempt to stop this "alien".
Mulder really wasn't concerned if this guy was on his own or involved in a group of vigilantes. People needed something to believe in, and looking at the trends, the crime rate was down and attitudes seemed to be improving. From what he had read in the Daily Planet, people were taking more responsibility and helping out their fellow man. The front man had been working with the local authorities and not against, and, besides, this type of thing was really out of his and the FBI's jurisdiction and usual type case. What Mulder wanted to know, needed to know, was if this guy really was an alien.
Mulder's musing and wanderings had taken him through the busy streets and into Centennial Park. He sat down by the fountain and looked up into the sky, hoping to see the famous man in blue and get his answers.
About an hour later Agent Mulder was brought out his musing by the ringing of his cell phone.
"Mulder, where are you?" Scully asked as she drove through the front gates of STAR Labs.
"Following up a lead."
"Listen, I just finished with Dr. Klein. He wasn't very helpful. You have any luck?"
"Not yet, but I have a few more ideas."
"Mulder, we're coming up empty."
"Come on, Scully, we've only been here a day. We need to give it more time."
She sighed. "Fine, Mulder. Where are you and I'll come pick you up. We can decide where to go from there."
He looked around, spotting the globe of the Daily Planet predominantly displayed above the other nearby buildings.
"I'll meet you back in front of the paper." He closed his phone and rose from his perch, making his way back to the famous landmark.
Inside the Daily Planet building, Lois and Clark were trying to figure out why they were yet again being questioned by government agents.
Lois moved around the conference room table to sit on her husband's lap. They had moved in here so they could discuss the situation in private. "I don't know, honey. The Smallville incident was nearly a year ago, and we haven't done anything recently, that I know of, to step on any government toes. We need to correct that," she teased, trying to lighten his mood. "Maybe we should check into what the NIA is up to these days."
Clark managed a small smile at his wife's attempts, but he was still concerned about what these agents wanted with his alter ego. Before he could explore this further with Lois, they both hear the unmistakable bellow of their boss.
"We better go see what he wants," Lois said, giving her husband a thorough kiss before standing up "I'm with you all the way."
"Thanks, honey." He took her hand as they exited the conference room and entered their editor's office.
"Yeah, Chief?" Lois queried.
He motioned for them to sit down in the chairs in front of his desk. He rose from his seat behind it and moved to sit on the front edge so he could talk more as a friend to his top reporters.
"Jimmy tells me there were a couple of government agents here asking about Superman."
Clark and Lois looked at each other. They had wanted to handle this themselves. Leave it to Jimmy to get Perry involved. They did appreciate his concern, though.
"Now, you two have contributed your share of stories about Superman, and I consider him a friend. If he's in some kind of trouble, I want to help out."
"Thanks, Perry," Clark replied. "We appreciate that and I'm sure Superman will too. I'll be sure to pass your offer on to him. As far we know, Superman hasn't done anything to warrant an FBI investigation."
"Well, I want you two on this. Even though I think you are too close to this, you are still the best ones for the job."
"Thanks, Chief." Clark stood. "We'll keep you posted."
Lois and Clark exited their boss's office and went to Lois's desk. Lois sat down in her chair as Clark sat on the edge of her desk. She closed the writing program she had been working in and opened a search engine. She glanced up at her husband.
Laying her hand on his thigh to reassure him, she said, "Honey, stop obsessing. We'll get to the bottom of this."
"I know. But things have just been going so well lately, and this is something I've always feared, and … " his voice trailed off.
"Clark, we'll get through this. Together." She turned back to her keyboard. "Now let's see what we can find out about these agents."
She typed in Mulder's name, then reached for her phone while her computer worked to gather the requested data.
"Bobby. Lois. Can you help me and Clark out with something?" She glanced again at her husband. He smiled back at her. She was pulling out all the stops for him. "Yeah, we'll make it worth your while. See what you can find out on a couple of FBI agents, Mulder and Scully. Thanks."
She hung up, and turning back to her computer, began to read out loud the information it had returned. "Special Agent Fox Mulder. Fox. What kind of a name is that? This is impressive," she continued without missing a beat. "Educated at Oxford with a degree in psychology. One of the FBI's best criminal profilers. Discovered some closed, unexplained files the FBI had buried and re-opened them. Has been working in this area, when the department wasn't closed and he wasn't reassigned, off and on for the past 5 years. Let's see what we can find on his partner."
She typed in 'Scully' and waited for the result. "Here we go. Special Agent Dana Scully, medical doctor. Assigned as a partner to Agent Mulder about 5 years ago." She punched a few more keys. "That's all I can get access to. This doesn't come close to telling the story about those two. I saw the way they looked at each other, the way they interacted. Hopefully Bobby can come up with more. In the meantime," she continued as she reached for her phone again, "I have another idea."
Clark watched Lois as she waited for the caller to pick up the other end. He thought about listening in, then decided he wouldn't steal her thunder, letting her tell him what she was able to dig up.
"Betty? Lois. What can you tell me about a couple of agents? … Scully and Mulder… Really … That *is* interesting… Uh huh… Great. Thanks a lot, Betty. I owe you one." She hung up the phone and turned to Clark.
"Well?" he prompted.
"You mean you didn't listen in?"
"And spoil your fun?"
She grinned up at him. "Okay. That was Betty, my source at the FBI branch here in Metropolis. Seems those two have quite a reputation within the Bureau. They have an excellent record for solving the bizarre cases they get, but Mulder's methods are unorthodox at best, and, get this, she was assigned to debunk his work because the FBI felt it was a bit outside the mainstream."
"That is interesting."
"But we need to keep digging. I have a feeling there's more, and I don't want to talk with them again until we know what. We need to know who we are up against."
"Agreed. Maybe I should call my friend Matt at the FBI and see if he can tell me anything."
"Good, Clark. Glad to have my partner back." She smiled at him as she handed him her phone. He placed the call and left a message for his friend to get back with him as soon as he could.
As Clark replaced the phone on its cradle, they both looked at each other, calling in unison, "Jimmy!"
"Yeah, guys?" he responded, trotting up to Lois's desk.
"See what you can dig up on those two FBI agents that were here earlier. Think your dad can help any?"
"I'll see what I can do. You guys know I'll do anything I can to help you and Superman. You guys are my best friends."
"Thanks, Jim," Clark replied, squeezing his friend's shoulder. "We appreciate that. And I'm sure Superman does, too."
"I'm on it." And with that, Jimmy headed to his desk to get started.
"Now, we wait," Lois said, sitting back in her chair. "But, in the meantime, we should work on our other stories. We need to get our minds off of this."
"I'll go with my partner on this." He bent down to give her a kiss before heading over to his desk to get back to work.
Several hours later, Clark glanced up at the clock. They hadn't heard anything from Bobby, Jimmy, or Matt yet, and he couldn't believe how quickly the time had passed. He had immersed himself in his work and had barely given the agents a thought. He looked over at Lois. She was busy working on her story. He didn't want to worry her again by sharing with her all the fears that had suddenly come flooding back to him. Instead he decided to take his beautiful wife out to dinner. He stood up and approached her desk.
"Lois, how about we call it a day and go get something to eat?"
"Sure, Clark. How about Italian?"
"Great." He waited while she saved and closed down her files and gathered her things.
"Okay, Clark. Out with it," Lois challenged later that evening as they were getting ready for bed. "You were obsessing all through dinner."
"I wasn't," he tried to deny, but knew better. Lois was too good, knew him too well, and he knew she wouldn't let this go. "Okay. Maybe I was obsessing some."
"Some. Clark, you were barely there at times."
"I'm sorry, honey, it's just that … what if these agents are connected with Bureau 39 or Trask? The military's already tried to make a weapon to kill me," Clark finally expressed his concerns.
"That was one rogue general, who is in jail," she reminded him as she slipped under the covers and invited him to join her.
"For disobeying an order, not designing that weapon!"
"Good point. Honey," Lois tried to soothe her husband. She was just as upset as he was that someone would try to kill him, and it was beginning to look like the government was after them again, but they needed to approach this from a rational perspective if they were going to survive. "We are doing what *we* do best. We're investigating *them*, and we'll find out why they are really here, and what they want with Superman. Bobby and Jimmy should have something for us tomorrow, and hopefully you'll hear back from Matt, and then we'll know what our next step will be."
"Thanks, honey. I'll feel better once we know who we are dealing with."
"We will. Tomorrow. Right now, I want to make love to the sexiest man in the universe," she said as she snuggled against his chest.
"Does it … bother you, honey?"
"Making love to the sexiest man in the universe? Not at all."
Clark couldn't help but smile a little at his wife's teasing. "No, I mean … me … being … an alien."
Lois sat up to look her husband in the eyes. "Clark Kent, how many times do we have to go over this before you get it in your thick skull! I married *you*. I knew enough about you to know what that meant. Alien or not, you are the man I love. Period." She softened her voice, trying to get him out of this mood he was in. "Do you remember what I said during our first interview?"
"I remember everything you say, Lois."
"Good answer! So what did I say?"
"Are you referring to the only time I ever recall seeing Lois Lane embarrassed or falter during an interview?" he teased back, starting to get into her game.
"That would be the one."
"You said 'you seem to have all the … parts of a man,'" pausing where she had paused during that interview that seemed like a lifetime ago now.
She smiled at his imitation of her. "And what did you say?"
"'I am a man, Lois, just like you're a woman,'" he quoted.
"You *are* a man, Clark. You are the kindest, gentlest, most caring man I have ever known, and I know of no other man who could handle the incredible responsibility you've been given. And I meant it when I said I loved you more than I ever thought possible after I lived a little of what you go through everyday myself. All the cries for help you can't answer and how that quietly tears you up inside, but you keep going, keep giving."
"I couldn't do it without you, honey. You sustain me." He cupped the side of her face. "You and me together make Superman what he is."
"And you and I together will protect and defend him."
Sometimes the love he felt for this woman, and the love he knew she felt for him, overwhelmed him. "Make love with me, Lois," he whispered softly.
She rolled over onto his chest and pressed her lips gently to his. The passion and love she felt for him soon took over and she deepened the kiss, parting her lips to run her tongue over his, requesting entry. Her hands moved over his broad chest, enjoying the now familiar feel of him.
He let her take control, let her show him how much she loved him. He needed that reassurance now, needed to know that his alienness didn't alienate him from her. He closed his eyes and focused on the feel of her lips on his, of her body pressed against his, of the satin of her gown brushing softly against his skin, of her hands playing across his chest.
Her lips left his to trail soft kisses over his chin, along his jaw line, to kiss and trace his ear. He wrapped his arms around her, pulling her closer, crushing her against him. The feel of her in his arms, pressed against him, brought a comfort to him like nothing else could.
"I don't know how I lived alone before you."
"You're not alone anymore," she whispered against his ear.
Her warm breath sent a shiver through him as he allowed himself to accept the truth of her words. He wasn't alone anymore. He had finally come home. He could stop his searching. They'd been married about six months, but after all they had gone through to get to this point, he sometimes still wondered if something would happen to bring all of this crashing down. Not if he could help it. Not as long as he knew she loved him. That was all he really needed to hang on to, no matter what the world threw at him, and them. And at this moment she was showing him how much she loved him and that she accepted him for all that he was.
"I love you, Lois," he whispered, "more than I can ever express."
She stopped her attentions on his ear to look into his eyes. The love he felt for her was reflected there, and she thought she could almost see into his soul.
"I love you, Clark. All of you." There were so many ways she could tell him, but she sensed right now that he needed her to show him.
She kissed him as passionately as she could, putting all of her feelings for him into that kiss. He returned it just as passionately, the fingers of one hand moving through her hair, pulling her head closer to him.
Breaking their kiss she moved onto her knees beside him. She looked into his eyes to see him watching her. She smiled and mouthed, "I love you."
The smile lit up her face, and made her even more beautiful. He marveled at how lucky he was to have found such a beautiful, intelligent, and loving woman. He returned her smile and reached his hand to gently cup her face.
"Have I told you lately how incredible you are?" he said, slowly. "You have to put up with so much with me being … you know and … "
She placed a finger on his lips to stop him. "I'm the lucky one, Clark. You are such a special person and you could choose not to use your gifts to help others, but that's not who you are. You are so giving and generous. You wouldn't be the man you are if things were any different. You are the man I love."
"Lois." He was barely able to contain the emotion in his voice.
"I want to show you how much I love you, Clark."
It was some time after they made love before he spoke. "Thank you, Lois."
"Mmmm." He felt her smile sleepily against his chest, then heard her breathing change as she fell asleep.
He smiled against her hair. He'd let her sleep now, but tomorrow he would tell her how much it meant to him to have her in his life.
The following morning at breakfast Clark mulled over the events of the previous day. He had never felt so good to be who he was. Lois loved him and accepted him for all that he was. He knew that, deep down, but sometimes it just helped to have that affirmation. He had worried about how his other job would affect their marriage, if she would become resentful of all the cries for help that he needed to answer. She had accepted that, had realized, especially after she had been Ultra Woman, that it was an important part of who he was. And now these agents were here, reminding her again of his alienness. His old fears of this difference between them had risen again to the surface, but she had reassured him of her love for him. He couldn't help but smile.
"What?" she queried, noticing his expression.
"You." He reached across the breakfast table to take her hand in his. "You are so incredible. Thank you for sticking by me through this. I don't think I could do this without you."
She squeezed his hand. "We are in this together."
"I guess we have been from the beginning."
"What do you mean?"
"When Trask was here. I know you didn't realize it at the time, but you really helped me a lot through all that. And," he chuckled, "I don't think I will ever forget that."
She looked at him quizzically. The situation had been a dangerous one for him, for both of them. She wasn't sure, even after all this time, what he could find humorous about it.
"That," he said, guessing her question as he pulled her hand up to his lips for a quick kiss, "was our first kiss. And even though it was only part of a ruse to distract Trask and his men and it really didn't mean anything to you, it meant a lot to me. When I first met you, in Perry's office, I fell in love. That kiss sealed it for me."
"Oh, Clark. I wouldn't admit it to myself for several years but that kiss meant a lot to me, too. I couldn't see what was right in front of my eyes. And now I could kick myself for all that wasted time, all that happened, or almost happened. I'm sorry I put you through all that."
"Lois, it's okay. Looking back we needed that time and those experiences to get where we are today. I think it makes us appreciate what we have all the more." He squeezed her hand in reassurance.
"Thanks." She returned his squeeze, then released his hand. "As much as I'd love to sit here all day like this, or wherever it might lead, Perry will have a fit if we are late."
"Yeah," he agreed reluctantly.
Lois and Clark entered the newsroom, quietly continuing their conversation from breakfast. He smiled at her and squeezed her shoulder a little tighter as they walked towards their desks.
She suddenly felt him stiffen against her and looked up at his face to see what the problem was. She could tell by his expression that it wasn't a call for help. She followed his gaze and saw the two agents from yesterday waiting for them at her desk. She moved closer to him to reassure him, taking his hand that rested on her shoulder into hers to squeeze gently, letting him know that she was with him on this, no matter what.
As they approached her desk, Lois felt her anger rising. How dare these agents come here and upset her husband like this! She had made it clear to them that she knew nothing, at least nothing that she was willing to share with them. What could they want now?
"Ms. Lane. Nice to see you again." Agent Mulder held his hand out to her.
She hesitated, not wanting to encourage him, but she also didn't want to arouse his suspicions. "Agent Mulder," she said, taking his hand. "This is … " she started to introduce Clark.
"Of course, Mr. Kent." Agent Mulder released Lois's hand and extended his to Clark. "I've been anxious to talk with you, sir."
"Really," Clark stated flatly, taking the other man's hand.
"That's a firm grip you've got there, Mr. Kent."
Clark quickly released his hand. "What can we do for you, Agent Mulder?"
"I've read your work, and was hoping my partner and I could ask you a few questions." He motioned over his shoulder to Scully, standing behind him.
Out of politeness, Clark extended his hand. "Agent … "
"Scully," she responded, taking his hand.
"Let's all go in the conference room so we can have some privacy," Clark suggested. He motioned for Lois to take the lead, then for Agent Scully to follow. He indicated for Mulder to follow his partner.
As they entered the conference room, Lois moved to the right side of the table, the two agents took seats on the left. After Clark closed the door he moved to stand next to his wife.
Turning to the other man he said, "Agent Mulder, you have to understand our apprehension. The last time a federal agent came in here asking questions my wife and I were threatened, kidnapped, and nearly killed."
"I can understand your concerns, Mr. Kent, and I can assure you that we only want to ask you a few questions about Superman. You and Ms. Lane have had just about every exclusive interview or story about him since he first made an appearance 5 years ago. I'm familiar with the Trask incidents and I can only give you my word that Agent Scully and I are only interested in more information. Unofficially."
Clark couldn't help but pick up on that last word. He wasn't sure if that made Superman safer or not.
Lois, who had been pacing behind her husband during this exchange, stopped beside him and addressed Mulder, choosing her words carefully. "Why do you want this information? Any information we have to share is in our stories."
"Well, Ms. Lane, I'd like to talk to Superman myself."
Mulder hesitated. Scully was the only one who knew the whole story behind his search for the truth. What would these two reporters think of that quest? That the answer could be right here in front of him, and that he might finally find some answers, kept him searching.
Before he could respond, Scully spoke. "My partner thinks this Superman may have some answers for him."
Clark couldn't help but hear the skepticism in her voice. He wasn't sure what to make of Agent Mulder and his partner. From the time he was twelve or thirteen and had begun to show signs of being different, his dad had always warned him of government types who, if they found out about him, would "dissect him like a frog". He'd been unconcerned, almost flippant about it until the Trask incident when, because of him, his parents had almost been killed. Now, even after several years of minimal problems with the government — he didn't really count the incidents Tempus had orchestrated with the green card, no fly zone, and taxes — he'd actually had a good deal of cooperation from the government. Not only had they made all of those issues Tempus had brought forth official, they had given him an international working passport for life. He had to wonder now what the FBI would want with him, or rather Superman. It was obvious to him, however, that there was something neither agent was telling them.
"What is it exactly that you want from Superman, assuming we could help you?"
"Well, Mr. Kent," Mulder began, "I assumed you could help me based on the press conference you conducted several years ago when the Intergang assassin posing as a television news reporter claimed you were Superman. You revealed at that time that Superman had no one to turn to in certain instances, that you even did his laundry."
"Um," Clark hesitated, "Actually, Superman said he had nowhere else to hang his spare capes." Clark couldn't help but be honest about what had actually occurred.
Lois knew Clark had a little more difficulty bending the truth. As Superman he felt he needed to uphold the truth, no matter the circumstance. She, on the other hand, felt that there were times when there was a greater truth to protect.
He'd been uncomfortable denying that Superman had been in that picture with her in bed when it had been the truth, and she saw this situation headed in a similar direction. She needed to step in and help her husband.
"Agent Mulder, there's no doubt that Superman is a friend of ours. Because of who he is there are few people he can trust and befriend. Clark and I met him in the course of doing our jobs, and we've developed a friendship. Superman was even at our wedding! But that doesn't mean that we would be willing to betray that friendship to agents of the very government who have tried, on several occasions, to kill him!"
Throughout her speech Lois had kept a steady gaze on Agent Mulder. She ended with an accusing look at him. She didn't know what he wanted with her husband, and thus didn't trust him.
Mulder wondered were her defensiveness had come from. True, the government had tried to kill Superman, on several occasions, but this seemed more than how someone would react for a friend. Maybe there was some truth to those tabloid rumors of an affair. He definitely wanted to talk with someone who was that close to an alien. All his searching, all that he had seen over the years, but he had never been this close to an alien who didn't seem intent on eradicating the human species.
"Ms. Lane, I can understand your hesitation. I can only give you my word that my partner and I mean no harm to Superman. I only wish to talk with him."
There was still something he wasn't telling them. "Why? For what purpose or gain?" She wished now that they had had more time to prepare for this meeting, that Bobby, Jimmy, or Matt had gotten back to them with some information on these agents to give her the edge she liked to have.
Mulder realized he needed to give a little if he expected to get something in return. Ms. Lane was obviously one tough lady, and she protected her friends.
"The cases I pursue in my work deal with the paranormal. I've seen things that defied scientific explanation. My partner and I have discovered government cover-ups and experiments on citizens that expected this same government to protect them. And I've seen hostile entities that could not have been of this world. Ms. Lane, you reported in one of your earliest articles about Superman that he was from the planet Krypton, and that he was here to assist law enforcement. In all of my searching I have yet to meet an alien entity that wasn't trying to take over the human race."
Clark studied the agent. He wished he could help him, but it was too much of a risk. There was too much at stake, too much he and Lois could lose if someone were to discover his secret, and he had no doubt these agents would discover it if given the chance. He looked to Lois for help.
Lois could see the struggle her husband was having. "I'm sorry, Agent Mulder. We can't help you."
Mulder turned to his partner, then back to the Kents. He nodded his understanding. He stood to leave, Scully following behind him. She closed the conference room door behind her as they made their way across the city room to the elevators.
As soon as they were gone, Clark turned to Lois.
"I can't explain it, Lois, but there's something about them … I just can't quite put my finger on it. I wanted to help them, but … "
"What is it, Clark?"
"I hadn't felt that cornered since Trask. When he stormed in here and demanded to be led to Superman, and then there was the lie detector test. I never told you this, but when they were calibrating the machine, Trask asked me if I was Superman. I had to answer 'yes' and the machine didn't move. I had to help it. And then I got so nervous during the questioning that I started levitating in the chair. I can't go through that again. Even after all these years. I guess keeping the secret for so long, and Dad telling me all while I was growing up that if the government ever found out they'd dissect me like a frog. It's just so ingrained in me to keep this a secret. That was one thing that made it so hard to tell you, but I knew I had to. You had a right to know what you were getting into."
"Oh, Clark. And I know I didn't make it very easy on you."
"I couldn't see it at the time, honey, but I understand your reaction, and you had every right to be angry."
"Yes." She smiled. "But I still didn't make it easy for you."
"It was all worth it. Having you know, and having your support, has meant everything to me."
"And I will always be here for you, as I know you will be for me." Lois moved closer to pull him into her arms.
Scully turned to her partner as they rode alone in the elevator to the parking garage. "Mulder, they were obviously hiding something."
"Isn't it possible they were protecting a friend?"
"They didn't confirm or deny the existence of this … entity. That doesn't prove it exists or that there is other intelligent life in the universe, or explain what happened to your sister."
"Scully, after all that you have seen … "
"I need scientific proof, Mulder. There has to be an explanation for this anomaly."
Later that evening Lois and Clark were still discussing the situation over dinner.
"Maybe you could lay low for a little while, at least around Metropolis, until these agents are gone."
"You know I can't do that, honey. I can't ignore people in need."
Lois moved to sit on his lap. "I know. It was worth a shot."
"I'll make a deal with you, though. For the time being I'll be a little more selective. If someone else can handle it, I'll stay away."
"Mulder, it's been three days and there's been no sign of this vigilante, hoax, or whatever it was," Scully stated, hoping her partner would see the futility of this case as she did so they could get back to their usual cases. At least those bore more fruit.
They had spent the time watching the local news, hoping to catch an emergency that would bring the person, or persons, who were doing this out, and doing background research on the Kents. Other than their professional relationship there wasn't much else available, if they discounted the wealth of tabloid speculations about Ms. Lane and this Superman, and her marital relationship. Information that Scully put no stock in.
"I'm going to talk to local officials. See if I can find out if this is usual or if somehow they found out about our presence. What are you going to do, Mulder?"
Mulder looked up from the files he had scattered over his bed. "Keep looking over these and see if there was something I missed."
He watched her leave, then began to go through the articles from the Daily Planet he had brought along. All were written by either Lois Lane, Clark Kent, or both, and all were about Superman. He was sure there was something here that he just couldn't find.
Deciding to take a break, he turned up the volume on the muted television to watch the local news on the LNN station.
Lois glanced up from her files spread out on the bed in front of her to look at the clock. 9:25 p.m. It had been a quiet night so far for Superman. Lois knew it was hard on Clark to ignore the cries for help. Superman hadn't made an appearance in Metropolis for a few days, even for patrol. He had made rescues and stopped crimes in other cities, but there weren't government agents in other cities keeping a close watch on him. She glanced at her husband, only to see that familiar look.
"What is it? What do you hear?"
"Siren," he sighed.
Clark looked back down at his book, trying to concentrate on the words. Lois concentrated on the files spread before her. She had finally found some information on the two agents. She glanced at Clark out of the corner of her eye. She could just see him over the rim of her glasses. She could tell he wasn't really seeing the words. From the look on his face he was listening to the situation, trying to determine if Superman was needed. She toyed with the idea of distracting him, but decided against it. If something were to happen, he'd never be able to forgive himself, and it could cause problems between them.
Sometime later Lois looked up from her papers and glanced at the clock. It was now 10:43. She looked over at Clark, only to find him watching her.
"I guess you know I've been monitoring the situation."
"I know. What's happening?"
"There's a fire at a chemical plant down near Hobb's Bay. So far the Metropolis fire department has been able to keep it contained. It's not spreading, but they're having trouble getting it out. I think they have it under control, though."
"Clark, if you feel like you need to go … "
"I know, honey. I think it's okay for now."
They both resumed their reading.
By 11:15 the situation had taken a turn for the worse.
Clark suddenly looked up. "Lois, I have to go. There's been an explosion and the fire is spreading."
"Go! And be care … " Clark changed into the suit and was out the window as she finished, "… ful!"
Mulder had been watching the coverage of the fire on LNN. If this vigilante, hoax, alien, or whatever it was was true to form, this was the ideal situation for an appearance. As he watched the reporter give the details of the progress firefighters were making, an explosion erupted behind her, sending flames high into the night air. This was definitely it. Grabbing his coat he headed for the stairs to the lobby to catch a cab to the waterfront. He figured that would be quicker than driving, especially since he didn't know how to get there. He also didn't want to take the chance of missing the show by taking the time to get Scully. Hopefully he'd have something to tell her, and hopefully she'd believe him.
As the cab pulled up in front of the plant, he watched as a blue clad figure flew to a stop above the building. Mulder got out and paid the cabby, moving closer to get a better look. The figure appeared to be blowing on the flames. It wasn't long before the flames were under control. Mulder watched as the figure seemed to hover in the air above the building. The best he could tell in the dark there were no string or wires. So how was the figure suspended in air?
Once the fire was contained, Clark stopped his cooling breath and then scanned the building, looking for injuries he needed to attend to. Some of the firemen had suffered minor burns, but nothing serious. Fortunately the fire had started after the last shift so there were no workers trapped inside. As he completed his scan he noticed a familiar figure, standing alone away from all the activity, watching him. Agent Mulder. If he recognized him then everything he, Lois, and his parents had feared would happen, and he had no doubt that Agent Mulder would discover his secret. He had read over some of the files that Lois had brought home with her. Jimmy had come through for them and had been able to hack into some unclassified files at FBI Headquarters before getting locked out. But not before he was able to download enough to convince Lois and Clark that these agents had seen things that few ever would. It would make them more receptive to believing that an alien was living among the people of Earth.
But if he didn't meet with Agent Mulder, would he continue his pursuit? Would he give up and return to his other pursuits? Somehow Clark doubted that. After all he had read about Agent Mulder, Clark doubted he would give up.
Sighing, Clark decided he'd get this over with. The sooner he met with Agent Mulder and convinced him he couldn't help him, with whatever it was he wanted, the sooner he and Lois would be left in peace. He made eye contact with the agent, indicating with a nod of his head that he was descending to meet with him.
Clark landed in front of the agent. "I understand you wanted to see me. Clark … contacted me earlier today that there were government agents here asking for me. Have I done something wrong?"
"No. I wanted to confirm your existence for myself."
"I hope you can understand my hesitancy. The people you work for have already tried to kill me, twice."
"I can assure you that I don't work for them. I am aware of those unfortunate incidents, and frankly, I have no explanation for the actions of those who were misled."
"Than what it is that you want?"
Mulder sighed. He decided the best course of action would be honesty. "When I was younger my sister was taken from me. Over the years I have begun to doubt my recollection of that event. I have always believed that Samantha was taken by aliens. Since my sister was abducted I have spent my life searching for her, searching for the proof of what I thought I witnessed that night. To confirm to myself that I'm not crazy. Seeking the truth."
"I know nothing about your sister, Agent Mulder, and I can assure you the New Kryptonians do not have her. I would have been informed of that were it so during my time on their planet."
"I'm not suggesting that. I wanted to meet you because you confirm that there is life on other planets not bent on destroying us, and give me hope that my sister will be found."
"You understand that I can't confirm or deny the existence of life on other planets, or their intent. I was sent here just prior to my home planet exploding. The colonists from my home are the only others I have met."
"I'm familiar with the incident last year with Nor. How can you be sure … " Mulder stopped when he noticed the expression change on the other man's face.
"I'm sorry. I have to go. I wish I could help you." With that Superman was gone in a flash of red and blue.
Mulder looked up towards the last place he had seen the alien. There was something familiar about him, his mannerisms, but Mulder couldn't quite place it.
Next morning Mulder knocked on his partner's door. Scully answered, already dressed for the day.
"Scully, I think we should head back to D.C. I don't think we are going to get any more here, and if we leave on the next flight we could still get some work in today."
"What happened, Mulder? Did you find some answers?"
"Not on the X File. The case is still open. But I did get the answer to the question I sought."
Scully knew what that meant. This whole case had been in pursuit of answers to the disappearance to his sister, not what was really going on in Metropolis. With another negative answer, Mulder was ready to move on to the next case that might provide those answers. She knew better than to pursue this one further.
"Okay, Mulder. I'll pack and meet you in the lobby in half an hour."
Later that morning Lois walked over to her husband's desk, a small piece of paper in hand. She sat on the corner and waited for him to finish the thought he was typing on his current article and acknowledge her presence.
He looked up at her and smiled. He had been a bit strained the last few days, having to ignore calls where he knew he could help, but fortunately there hadn't been anything life threatening, until last night, and his confrontation with Agent Mulder had been unnerving. But Lois had been supportive, and with her beside him he knew he could do anything.
"I've got some good news for you," she said, tapping the paper with her pen. "It seems our friends have gone back home. I contacted a source at the airport and confirmed that Agents Mulder and Scully were on this morning's flight back to D.C."
Clark sat back in his chair with a sigh of relief. "Thanks, honey. I wasn't sure how much longer I could do this. I mean, you've been great, but it's just been tough."
"I know. I may not have been you-know-who for long, but I was long enough to understand a bit of what you go through every day. I'm glad to have all of you back."
"Me, too." He smiled at her.
In his basement office at the FBI Agent Mulder placed the case file in the drawer with the other pending and unsolved mysteries.
c. Dawn February 2000