|Life with My Girl, Reyes|
|Rescue Me: Chapter 4|
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FBI New Orleans Field Office, New Orleans, LA
7:35 AM (CT):
"Reyes!" Agent Pierce called after his incensed partner yet again but she was already down the main corridor of the New Orleans Field Office building and out the main entrance on her way to the Orleans Parrish Sheriff's Department not quite two blocks north from where she was now. Most of the top priority gang members and leaders were still being held there for further interrogation – including young Kemen Tavares – and she needed to intensify the pressure and double her intimidation/interrogation skills if she were ever going to get to the root of this complicated system of dangerously misguided teenagers and the information she needed to find the two missing children. Besides, it was October 28th, just two days before Halloween Eve. And that was a problem, a huge problem. The night before Halloween would be when the truly sadistic rituals would begin, which would lead to Elisa and Cody's ultimate, agonizingly painful, excruciating deaths – if they were not dead already. But she knew inside her gut that both children were still alive. She could somehow feel their very life-forces and essences invading her own psyche. She could not explain it. She had never been able to explain it - her unusual, almost supernatural gift. She had just learned to live with it, and "go with it" through the years, allowing it guide her to the truth and to the imperative information she needed to save another from a life-threatening peril. Moreover, as long as she could continue to feel the two young children's vibrant life-forces, she knew that she and her taskforce still had a chance of finding them both still alive.
"Reyes!" Pierce yelled again, jogging out the front entrance of the red brick building and up the sidewalk towards her.
She finally slowed her hurried steps glancing over her shoulder.
"Wait up, would you?" he puffed.
"No time. I told you, this is ending tonight, no matter what I have to do to…"
"But Monica? Would you just hold up for a minute? I've got some more info on Manning," he panted as he sprinted up next to her.
She cocked an eyebrow. "Okay. Shoot."
…BOOM! Boomboomboom… BOOM!...
Another loud clap of thunder hit then, just as suddenly, it started to pour buckets of cold, hard rain down upon them.
"Shit," they both fussed as they both quickly ran to the nearest overhang of another building.
"Good God, will this rain ever stop?" the brunette complained shaking the newly-beaded rainwater off her jacket and out of her hair. "Jeez, for just a couple of hours, you know?"
Pierce nodded in agreement then began to tell her the latest that he had on Lt. Jerry Manning. She listened intently but it was still not enough to really help them or give them enough grounds to actually bring him in for questioning. They were going to have to be very careful with their sideline investigation or the whole case could backfire into their faces causing a quicker death for the two small children they were trying to save.
They stood there together underneath the sheltering overhang for a few more minutes discussing their options, and the next line of questioning she would conduct with a couple of the gang members, just as two Sheriff's Department police cars sped by with their lights and sirens flashing.
"God, I hope that's not another one," Pierce said shaking his head and fearful that another child might have been abducted.
"It's not. Probably another wreck.... Well. The rain's slowed so…" she shrugged.
He understood as she nodded then jogged out from underneath the overhang and up the last half block towards the Sheriff's Department.
She entered the building in a dead run then quickly slid to a stop. She was soaking wet – again. She had not been kidding when she had told Doggett last night that she had been wet all day. And it appeared that this day was not going to be much better either, for it was not quite 8:00 AM and yet she had already been wet a couple of times already. The relentless rain was becoming quite annoying indeed, not counting the added difficulty it presented for all involved, in trying to locate Cody and Elisa.
The young officer behind the dispatcher's desk glanced up and smiled, recognizing the drop, dead gorgeous female federal agent from up the street. "Agent Reyes. May I help you?"
"FBI. I need to see the Tavares boy, Kemen Tavares," she quipped instinctively identifying herself and flashing her badge.
"Yes. Of course," the young man stood up out of respect then glanced down at the latest transfer papers on his desk. "I um, I'm afraid that he's been moved."
"Moved? By who's order?"
"Says here that a Detective Moore had him transferred to the NOPD this morning."
"What? Why? He's under my jurisdiction. I brought him in."
"I um, I dunno ma'am. I'm just tellin' ya what the transfer docket says."
She quickly pulled out her cell-phone and began to make a few phone-calls. And sure enough, after three phone-calls she located the young Tavares boy, being held in detention just a mile or so up the street at the NOPD precinct, then quickly informed Pierce about the mix-up, then sent Agent Brown over to have him transferred back to their home turf, the FBI building, and ultimately to her own private office. What she had asked was quite unusual indeed and yet she knew that she could trust the young adolescent inside her own private office. Besides, he should have never been transferred out of the Sheriff's Department, and into the hands of the local NOPD. Again, it was just another piece of the puzzle that shouted to her loud and clear that they had a rat in the house. Someone was undermining them practically every step of the way. And her gut was already telling her who the culprit was. She just did not have enough concrete evidence on him to prove it quite yet. But she would, before this case was over, she would. And then she would nail him to the wall.
She then asked the young officer to take her to one of the other detainees presently being held in their holding cell awaiting continued interrogation by the feds.
"Yes Agent. Right this way," he said as he led her down the hallway towards the private cell.
She spent the next two hours interrogating two different gang members and one of the gang leaders, slowly expelling more information from each of them, learning more about the teen gang cult, its strategies and covert movements around the big city and ultimately enough to help move the taskforce a few steps closer to a final successful rescue mission.
She glanced at her watch. 9:56 AM. …Oh crock… She wanted to call Scully but she just did not have the time. She needed to hurry back over to her own office and talk to the Tavares boy for a few minutes before allowing him to go home with his mother over the next few days, just until his arraignment. Again, she was not following standard procedure with the young adolescent, but she knew in her gut that he was not a part of the wicked shenanigans as his older brother was. Furthermore, she was the arresting officer and he was under her jurisdiction; and she would soon have her say with the man that had approved his unauthorized transfer earlier this morning, too. Woe be to that man, Detective Moore. He had a fed on his ass ready to chew his bureaucratic ass out for not verifying his orders with her, the lead agent on this case, and quite possibly even jeopardizing the progression of this case with his asinine mishandling of one of her detainees.
She quickly entered the FBI building, shook more rainwater out of her rain-soaked hair, brushed more raindrops off her leather jacket then smiled at the Security Guard.
"Hey there, Reyes. Ain't gonna quit now, is it?" he grinned.
"Nope. Not today. Has Brown come through?"
"Naw. He's still up on three."
"Okay. Thanks," she said as she glanced at the security television screen monitoring the area just outside her office door on the third floor, saw Brown sitting in a chair guarding the partially closed door, then rushed over to the elevator.
Within minutes, she was on the third floor. She hustled down to her office as Agent Brown quickly stood up to greet her. "Agent Reyes. I did as you asked."
"Thank you. Where is he?" she replied as she quietly pushed the door to her office open a little farther, then saw the young adolescent lying on the floor in front of her desk sound asleep inside her sleeping bag. She grinned then chuckled, shaking her head at the sight. Now what where the odds of that, a federal agent allowing her arrested detainee to use her own private office and her own sleeping bag to catch a few winks?
"He's fine. But… Well…"
"He's been asking for you. Scared. He's scared about something."
"Okay. Thank you," she said, furrowing her brow in concern, as she tiptoed over closer to the slumbering boy. "You may go. I can handle it from here."
Agent Brown nodded then left the room leaving the door partially open as he repositioned himself just outside her office door.
Reyes then knelt down and ran her fingers through the young boy's dark, pitch-black hair. …God… He looked so much like her younger brother when Julian had been about his age.
Kemen squirmed slightly then rolled more to his side. She smiled at his innocent movements. He was a very good kid, in spite of his asshole of a grandfather, constantly being belligerent and belittling him with most every smartass remark he could make towards the young kid.
She then leaned in a little closer. "Kemen? Wake up, sweetheart," she barely whispered. "Kemen? It's Agent Reyes. Wake up."
He suddenly awoke, jumping a little bit, quite startled indeed with her unexpected presence, then smiled the biggest, brightest smile. "Agent Reyes," he breathed happily then grabbed onto her, almost pulling her off balance, as he wrapped his young arms around her.
"Hey, shhh, Kemen, what happened, sweetheart?" she responded wrapping him up in her arms, too.
"I knew you'd come and save me."
"Save you? Save you from what? From who?"
He then began to spill everything that had happened to him since early this morning, just as the sun had begun to come up, telling her all about the other two frightening interrogations he had undergone – illegal interrogations, at that - and how that he had kept quiet and told the two different police officers nothing of any real significance. Then how that he had suddenly been transferred down to the New Orleans Police Department, and how that he had then been menacingly interrogated again, by the exact same officers, and then all that one of the officers had said to him, threatening him, threatening to leave him in lockup for months as he pressed even more charges against him than Agent Reyes had, potentially causing him to spend possibly one to three years behind bars, then ultimately threatening his little sister and dear, sweet mother with bodily harm if he did not "come clean" and tell him all that he wanted to know about everything he had said to Agent Reyes the night before.
…Oh! Christ! You're mine, Lieutenant, you're mine! I'm gonna get you. And then you'll be mine. All mine, you bastard!... Her blood began to boil yet again inside her veins as she continued to listen to all that young Kemen had to tell her. And yet, from everything he had told her up until now, it was still not enough to arrest the big, bad cop – or his comrade - for the unauthorized, illegal interrogation, much less the unauthorized transfer of a federal detainee. For one thing, the lieutenant had a couple of other officers helping him inside the NOPD - helping him with his covert and perverse shenanigans. But, soon, he would screw up - or they would screw up - and then she would nail all three of them, arresting them, charging them, indicting them, testifying against them and then locking them up, incarcerating them all for a very, very long time.
Kemen then began to cry as he finished telling her everything he could remember about the frightening events.
"Oh, shhh, sweetie, it's okay. And nothing will happen to your mamá or Melosa. I won't allow it. But, honey, I do want you to stay here with Agent Brown, okay? I'm going to set you and your family up in one of the conference rooms downstairs for a little while, just until we can bring them in. Okay?"
He nodded then sniffled, "But I want to stay with you."
She smiled running her fingers through his thick dark midnight-black hair. "I know. But we can't do that right now. I have to find Elisa and Cody, okay? Either Agent Brown or Agent Pierce will take care of you, watch over you until I come back, okay? Do you remember Agent Pierce?"
He nodded again, "Yeah, he's your partner."
"Umhum. God, Kemen. I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. You were never supposed to be moved from that office."
He nodded again then squeezed her really tight in his arms once more.
"Oh Kemen, you did so good. You did everything right. And I'll take care of those mean ole' baddies, okay?"
He nodded again then rested his head along her shoulder just as someone else knocked on her office doorframe.
She quickly kissed him on the forehead then said, "Come in," just as she began to get up then help him out of her sleeping bag.
Pierce smiled, "Well, here's the little whippersnapper. How you doing, son? You hungry?"
Kemen nodded grinning from ear-to-ear as Pierce handed him a bag full of goodies – an order of chicken tenders, french fries, barbecue sauce and a diet coke.
"Pierce, I'm setting him up in Conference Room 2. Put a detail out front and send Brown in for his family."
Pierce cocked an eyebrow. Suddenly, they had a young boy and his family under Federal Witness Protection protocol.
Traveling on I-40 Eastbound towards the Montlawn Funeral Home – Raleigh, North Carolina
Thirty Minutes Later – 11:45 AM (ET):
Scully glanced out the window yet again at the light snow continuing to fall. Was this really happening? Was she really on her way to a funeral - a solemn, dismal memorial service - that was to be conducted in a little over an hour for her partner of eight years, Fox Mulder? Could this really be happening? Surely, she was dreaming – surely, just dreaming - another horrible nightmare. Surely, this could not be really happening. Surely.
She glanced over at her mother riding quietly beside her, then up to Doggett in the front passenger's seat, then to Skinner. Skinner caught her gaze in the rearview mirror, winked in heartfelt understanding, then returned his gaze to the roadway in front of them. She then leaned her head back against the headrest, closing her eyes in thought, as memories – oh, so many memories, both good and not so good – flooded her thoughts. …God! This can't be happening!... she thought. But it was. By God, it was. Fox Mulder's remains would soon be buried in the city cemetery just outside of downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, almost 300 miles from where she resided. …God, Mulder!... She would not even be able to visit his grave on any type of regular basis. …Good God, Mulder, God!... But then he had never been one to make anything easy for her. Working with him through the years - as his ever-loyal and abiding partner - had been some of the most difficult, most challenging years of her life. But she would do it again, follow him to the ends of nowhere, chasing after his truth, his aliens, his extraterrestrials, his government conspiracies, his whatevers, even as it had almost killed her - cost her her own life, her health, her sanity, her very soul, in actual fact.
Margaret Scully then glanced over to her despondent daughter and took her hand, squeezing it for a moment, as Scully opened her eyes, inhaled deeply, then curled her upper lip into a half smile. Margaret double-winked at her. …Ohhh… That tender double-wink had reminded her of her lover, Reyes. She wondered for a moment what her lover was doing right about now …Doing her job… as she then squeezed her mother's hand in response and rested it along her thigh.
She and her mother had never been overly affectionate, but they were probably what would be considered healthily affectionate with each other. She had had a good childhood, a good mother and a good father, both of them showering her with love and attention when she had been a small child. Her father had ceased his tender affection towards her, as she grew older into her teenage years. But she had never really doubted his love, only his approval of her life choices as she had grown up into adulthood. But her mother had always supported her, just as she was doing right now, through this, one of the most difficult times in her life.
Margaret then leaned in, "How are you feeling, dear? Not too tired? Too weak?"
She shook her head, "No, I'm fine, Mom. Really."
Doggett glanced back out of concern. He understood the great loss and overwhelming feelings of guilt and remorse she was going through, too, loving Mulder so much, and not being able to find him in time to save him from his ultimate death. This case had reminded him so much of his own son's death, and it was bringing back all of those painful emotions he kept so tightly bottled up inside, too.
She glanced up and caught his eye. He quirked his lips in discomfort, slightly uneasy with her perceptive scrutiny, then glanced back up towards the roadway.
She watched him for a few more seconds quickly perceiving his bottled up hurt and pain as well. Suddenly, she felt such a warmth and caring for this man. He really was not so bad. Actually, he was a very good man, very tenderhearted, just tough, stubborn and rugged on the outside, but so gentle and tenderhearted on the inside. Right then she realized that she needed to do her part in trying to work on their new partnership and somehow learn how to better work with him. How could she expect him to believe in all that she and Mulder had seen in only a few short months? He had not seen all that she had, and he was of a cop mentality, strictly by the book, similar to her scientist mentality, strictly by the textbook. …How ironic… Now she was the believer, and he was the skeptic. …How incredibly ironic… She then closed her eyes and leaned her head back against the headrest once more.
Skinner pulled off the interstate and onto the main thoroughfare towards the funeral home and memorial park. He glanced back via the rearview mirror again towards his favorite female federal agent and good friend. She seemed to be holding up quite well, but then she was still in shock, just going through the motions, not really living through the moments as much as just existing through the moments, breathing, barely eating and drinking enough to sustain her physical body, as she basically just existed through these last several hours.
He had hoped that Agent Reyes would have been able to find the time to call her this morning. But then maybe she had. He really did not know. But he knew how much it would have meant to the grief-stricken redhead if she had. Scully needed her right now as much as she needed him and her mother to help her get through this latest loss in her life. Scully had suffered too many losses in his opinion to be so young. It just didn't seem fair, all of the many losses she had been forced to endure through the years, for someone so young.
He turned on the blinker then pulled into the memorial park driveway then glanced across the snow-white field to the freshly dug grave way off in the distance. It was probably Mulder's though he was not sure. Doggett saw it, too, then sighed heavily as it brought back bad memories of old navy/marines chums for him as well. Scully just continued to keep her eyes closed willing herself to find the raw courage and strength to get through the next few hours before finally collapsing from all the emotional exhaustion. Margaret glanced back over towards her daughter not really knowing what to say. But then what was there to say? What could any of them say? The man was gone - dead. There was truly nothing left to be said.
Skinner pulled up to the small chapel then parked the car. They all sat in silence for a few minutes.
"Well. It's time," the redhead eventually said taking the lead as she led her entourage out of the car and into the funeral home.
The other three just watched in awe as she mustered up that tenacious strength and courage she had that resided so abundantly inside of her. But then her mother was a very strong and courageous woman, too; so that tenacious strength, courage and grace came naturally from her courageously gracious and tenacious mother's example and guidance.
One of the funeral directors met them at the door then led them down to the Visitation Room. The tall woman then whispered to her that the casket was still closed from last night but could now be reopened for her to have one last viewing of the body if that was what she preferred.
"What would you prefer, Ms. Scully? Leave it as it is, or…"
"No. Open it. I want one last viewing, please," the redhead said then turned back towards Skinner. Skinner nodded then came up to stand beside her. The funeral director then entered the small room, quietly reopened the casket, then came back out to escort her and Skinner back into the room.
Scully quickly glanced at her watch. She had about twenty minutes left with the body before they would need to make their way into the small chapel.
Doggett and Mrs. Scully remained outside of the room choosing to just wait patiently and give Scully and Skinner their time alone with their good friend and fallen comrade.
Scully then walked over to the casket, reached down and then brushed the tips of her fingers across Mulder's eyebrow. She then ran her fingers through his hair. She then glanced down to the horrible wounds along his cheeks – three small holes in a row on each side – reminding her of the horrific torment he must have suffered before his ultimate death.
"Oh God," she gasped as Skinner instantly grabbed onto her.
"Dana. Maybe this is too much."
"No. No, I've got to do this. I need to see this. Or I'll never… truly… believe it."
"Okay, but you've got to be careful, with the baby and all."
"I know. I'm okay, I just… God…" She closed her eyes as she leaned up against the casket, Skinner holding onto her, just in case she became too weak or faint.
After a few moments, she reopened her eyes and began to glance around the room at all of the different beautiful bouquets of flowers and live plants scattered around the room. "You did get in touch with the Community Outreach about the plants," she said.
"Yeah. It's been taken care of."
She nodded. She had decided to donate all of the flowers and live plants to the different hospitals and healthcare centers around the surrounding the area. Mulder would have liked that, and it was the right thing to do. Maybe some elderly person without any family left could enjoy the beautiful flowers and live plants. There was no way that she could take any of them home on the plane with her. So the best option had been to just donate them to others that needed something to brighten their day.
The funeral director then walked over and handed her the list of pallbearers she had made out the day before asking if everything was correct and in order. She quickly read through the list of names then nodded. All of them were present and mostly inside the chapel with their small, cut, single-stemmed, single-budded, white roses in place along their lapels and collars.
Suddenly, Johann Sebastian Bach's Orchestral Suite No.3 in D: Air on the G String began to play over the intercom.
"Oh God," she groaned again. Just hearing her favorite classical piece begin to play, made it all seem so much more real, and no longer like a bad, bad horrific dream. "Jesus, Mulder. I hope you like that, the choices I have made," she whispered, actually chuckling slightly, as she referred to the beautiful piece of music she had chosen for the opening song. Mulder had never really cared for classical music, but for a funeral service, it was quite appropriate. Much more appropriate than anything he probably would have chosen.
She then glanced at her watch again as she began to walk slowly around the room, gently fingering the many different flowers, blooms and live plants. There were two Peace Lilies in full bloom. She would have loved to have taken one of those plants home with her. But, that was just impossible. Maybe once she got home she could purchase one on her own in Mulder's memory. Maybe. She would think on that. For one thing, she was out of town so much due to her unpredictable job the plant would probably die sooner or later from lack of water.
She quirked her lips then leaned in to take a quick whiff of the beautiful bouquet of roses and carnations mixed into one arrangement. She could have at least cut one flower from each arrangement and pressed them inside a book for a keepsake. But she had not even thought about it until now. And now, it was too late. Last night she had been on automatic pilot, just going through the motions. She really did not need anything like that anyway. And, luckily, the funeral director had retrieved all of the many different cards and addresses from those that had sent flowers. She would need to get the "thank you" cards out soon. She only hoped that she could remember all of the different people that she had met so that she could write a well-thought-out thank-you note to each and every one.
Soon the music changed to another of her favorites, Lord, Let Me Know Mine End. …Oh, God, so Catholic. Sorry about that, Mulder. But it's what I know… she mused actually smiling again at the irony.
She then walked back up to the casket, reached down and straightened Mulder's tie, then ran her palm along his lapel, gently caressing his long cold body. Some would thing it weird to touch a dead body so tenderly. But then others would realize that for some it would be the most perfectly natural thing to do as they said their one last goodbye to their loved one.
She then glanced back up to his closed eyes, eyebrows and hairline. She did not want to remember his face, his cheeks, so battered and scarred. She wanted to remember his peacefully closed eyes and the slight wrinkle between his eyebrows.
"Mulder. I love you. I never told you much. But I loved you. Guess I thought you knew," she whispered as a few tears began to roll down her cheeks.
…Ohhh… Skinner closed his eyes to keep his own tears in check. …God… This was so hard on him, too. He loved this man, too.
The funeral director then came up to stand beside her. "Ms. Scully?"
She turned to the gentle and tender woman. "Is it time?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so," she replied.
Scully then took one last look at her best friend's face and eyes before backing away from the casket. Skinner quickly grabbed onto her, steadying her, as she slightly wavered then regained her strength and balance.
"Okay. I'm ready. Into the chapel," she whispered as she leaned in against her tall friend then began to walk towards the exit door of the small room and towards the chapel foyer.
The small chapel was about half full with other attendees – other friends and acquaintances of Fox Mulder's – as Barber's Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 began to play. …Oh Sweet Jesus. Help me get through this… she prayed silently. She knew that this particular selection of song was her cue for her and her mother to walk out followed by Skinner to the section set aside for the family. Wow. Mulder had no family left. Not even any cousins, aunts or uncles. …For Crissakes… It was so lonely and barren all of a sudden, the realization of just how devastating his untimely death had actually been to the Mulder lineage.
They sat quietly as the song played through while Mulder's closed casket was rolled out to the center of the front chapel area. Then the chaplin walked out to greet the small audience and begin the actual service.
Scully just closed her eyes taking deep, long, controlled breaths, her mind and thoughts drifting away to another time and another place, to happier days, and happier moments with Mulder, remembering funny times and funny conversations, good pleasurable moments that would forever be locked away deep inside her soul. She would remember the good times, the funny times, the happy times - and cherish them - one day sharing those precious times with her son, their son, and tell him all about his brave deceased father.
Margaret then reached up and wrapped her arm over the pew and around her daughter's shoulders giving her added support and love through this difficult occasion. Scully just continued to keep her eyes closed, drifting away - farther and farther away - from these moments and into more peaceful and happy moments, concentrating on staying calm, cool and collected for her unborn son. Fetuses his age could actually sense their mothers' distress even as they were still inside the womb. And she would try very hard to protect her unborn baby-son from that. She continued to deep breathe and relax her mind and body, blocking out everything else happening around her, as she protected her unborn son from her impending distress.
Doggett coughed then twisted in his seat positioned just to the left of her along with Frohike, Byers and Langley. They were all four pallbearers along with four other men from the Bureau. Doggett sat there going over everything he had already been through since becoming a part of the team, and the lead agent, in trying to find Mulder alive. He could hardly believe all that he had already witnessed since partnering up with Scully. So many things just did not make any sense to him and his by-the-book cop mentality. Even Mulder's death did not make any sense. Not really. He had really hoped that Reyes' expertise in Ritualistic Crime, Satanic Ritual Abuse and the Occult could have brought about some answers and closure to all of this. But, actually, it had not. All it had done was create more questions and unsolved mysteries into the abduction and whereabouts of Agent Mulder over these last five months. It made no sense. Nothing about this case made any sense. And Reyes had almost immediately latched on to Scully's lead and believed in all of this extraterrestrial, alien abduction, little-green-men bullshit from the very beginning. …For cryin' out loud… He would have never anticipated that, that Reyes would have been so quick to follow Scully's lead and believe in such ludicrous theories as that. Although, he did have to admit, he had not seen all that Reyes had seen out at that compound. But he would be damned before he would believe in a hovering extraterrestrial spaceship floating around suspended just above the compound and sucking all of those people up and out into the wild blue yonder. His brain just did not work that way. There had to be a logical reason for all that he had seen.
Deputy Director Kersh suddenly coughed then cleared his throat sitting just behind him. …And Kersh. Something just ain't right about him… he thought. In many ways, Doggett was actually beginning to feel used by the man, his ultimate boss and the Deputy Director of the Bureau, as if the man had actually not wanted him to find the truth and the missing pieces to Mulder's abduction. He then glanced over at Skinner sitting next to Mrs. Scully. So far, he still trusted that man. But then Skinner believed in all of this alien abduction crap, too. …Crap!... It was crazy! Simply nuts! He then glanced at Scully, so heartbroken and bare. …Aw, Scully… I'm sorry. I'm so sorry I didn't find him for you… His eyes watered up. He respected her so much, even if they did have their differences, he highly admired and respected his new partner. She was one hell of a good agent – and what a woman.
Skinner glanced over to him, barely nodded, then eased up in his seat for a moment to catch a quick glimpse of Scully. He had planned to sit next to her during the funeral. But everything had worked out for the best. Her mother was just as prepared – if not better prepared – than he was to sit by her through this difficult occasion. Besides, they were both Catholic and understood some of the traditional sacraments better than he did. She had not decided on giving Mulder a fully Catholic Funeral with all the bells-and-whistles of a Catholic Funeral, but she had chosen to use a few of the more significant traditional sacraments for Mulder. Luckily, the chaplin was willing to oblige her. He was not Catholic, and neither was Mulder. Scully would not have been allowed to give Mulder a fully Catholic Funeral anyway, due to that fact. But what would Mulder care? He would be pleased with whatever she had chosen for him either way. Actually, he would not have cared if she had chosen to just dump him in the ground, simple and easy. He did not care for all of the pomp and circumstance. But a memorial service was truly performed for those left behind anyway, more so than for the deceased; although Mulder had already begun to organize the prearrangements for his funeral, prepay most of the costs, and start the chiseling of his family's tombstone with his name, too. Undoubtedly, he had already expected to die within the year from some type of brain disorder. It had been a real shock to both Skinner and Scully when Doggett had found the medical evidence and tombstone a few months prior.
Skinner cocked an eyebrow at that memory then eased back against the pew starring at the United States Flag draped across the deep-machine-colored-grey steel casket. He shook his head slightly in disbelief. He had honestly thought that he, Scully and Doggett would find Mulder alive. He would have never dreamed that they would be sitting here inside this chapel at Mulder's funeral, with Scully, his partner of eight years, pregnant with his child. Of course, Skinner did not know that for sure. Scully had never said who the father was. But who else could it be? Scully never hung out with anyone else but Mulder. They were practically joined at the hip – obviously in more ways than one – if her pregnant state was any indication. He then thought back to Reyes for a moment and all that he had witnessed at the airport yesterday morning. …Damn!... And what was that about? Scully and Reyes were obviously one hot item right now if all of those urgent hugs, kisses and caresses were any indication. There was no doubt in his mind that they had crossed the line and had become lovers. There was absolutely, unequivocally no doubt in his mind – especially after the way Scully had jumped his ass – verbally - when he had tried to confront her about it later yesterday morning.
He smirked as he continued to sit quietly and listen to the chaplin. He then glanced back over at Doggett for a moment, then just leaned down in his seat, lost inside his own memories and feelings of remorse in not finding Mulder in time to save his life.
The chaplin paused as Song for Athene: Alleluia, May Flights of Angels Sing Thee to Thy Rest began to play. …Ohhh… Margaret inhaled deeply. …Oh my… This song had been used at Emily's, Melissa's and her beloved husband's funerals. …Ohhh… It was so hard to listen to this song as sorrow-filled memories began to flood her thoughts from those times gone by.
Suddenly, she felt her daughter's shoulders begin to shake from all her pent-up emotion. …Oh baby, my sweet baby… she mused as she squeezed her arm around her more intimately.
Scully leaned into her mother's sheltering arm and shoulder trying so desperately to come to terms with what she was experiencing. She still could not believe it that she was sitting here listening to Mulder's funeral service.
Margaret then leaned down and kissed her on the crown then rested her cheek there. She knew the hurt, the pain, the sorrow. And it hurt like hell to lose someone you loved so much. …Oh, my sweet. It's not fair, is it? It's just not fair… she thought as she felt her daughter's slumped shoulders shaking more acutely with pent-up emotion. …Oh baby… Why did she and her daughter have to lose so many people that they loved so deeply - and in such a short amount of time? Scully's father, Scully's older sister, Scully's young daughter and now her own partner and best friend – it just did not seem fair. And for Margaret it had been her beloved husband, her older daughter and her precious little granddaughter whom she had never even had the chance to meet. And it had all happened in such a short amount of time. Oh, life could be so unfair at times – so very unfair.
Scully continued to keep her eyes closed and just concentrate on her mother's arms and keeping herself calm, cool and collected. She was determined to just stay calm and not lose it inside of this chapel. Besides, her baby-son needed her to be strong. And she was strong – very strong – and very determined to protect him from her distress. He had been through enough of her distress already this week, so she was bound and determined to protect him from any more unrest.
She inhaled deeply regaining control of her tightly wound emotions then opened her eyes and glanced up at her mother. Margaret smiled slightly then winked. She then leaned her head back in against her mother's shoulder. There was nothing like a mother, and a mother's love, to help one through such a difficult time as this. And Scully quickly realized that she needed to tell her mother more often how much she loved and appreciated her. She would do better with that – from this day forward. She inhaled deeply then sighed again as she clasped her mother's hand then laid it inside her lap. And – soon – she would tell her mother about her other little grandchild growing inside her womb that would soon be joining them. Her mother would be so happy and proud.
Just outside the Ladies' Restroom – FBI New Orleans Field Office, New Orleans, LA
Cunningham sighed in frustration yet again. "Reyes? I have two squads plus a couple of local teams out there right now searching the area. They are running a parallel, fifty by fifty foot grid, side by side, all right?"
"No, that is not all right. Who's canvassing?"
"Bailey and Brown."
"Okay. I want Brown with me tonight, and put Bailey with Pierce. Gordon can watch over the Tavares family tonight."
"Bailey with Pierce? Why?" he cocked an eyebrow.
Reyes shrugged. "Both of them are too inexperienced. They each need a veteran with them."
"So now you're telling me what to do?" He cocked an eyebrow yet again. Although, it did make sense – perfect sense.
"I'm telling you what I think will work best for the team tonight."
He smirked, "Okay. I'll think on it."
"And have that SAR run a twenty by twenty."
"We don't have the manpower, Reyes!"
"Sure we do. Sheriff's Department and Gretna have twenty uniforms between them ready to go as soon as we give them the call."
Cunningham nodded again, "All right. Sounds like a go."
"I hope so. Cunny, we're running out of time. If we don't find Elisa soon…" She then choked from all the pent-up emotion churning inside of her.
"Reyes? We're doing everything we can, everything I know to do, as fast and as accurately as we can, to find her and the Chamberlain boy. That is all any of us can do."
"I know," she whimpered as she sniffled slightly, breathing in a deep, settling breath. "I just, God! I can’t seem to…"
"You're tired. And my earlier order still stands."
"Cunny? I cannot take a two-hour break to…"
"Yes you can. I am ordering you to take another nap while you still can. You have had three, maybe four hours of sleep in the last fifty-four. Now your reflexes could be off, and that could get somebody killed! So I want you to go home, take a quick shower, get another couple of changes of clothes, take a quick nap then meet me back here by…" he glanced at his watch, "…by 4:00. It's 12:15 now, so we should know something by then."
"Okay, but how about I take that nap here, just in case."
"Gee maneez, Reyes. Anyone ever tell you you're stubborn as hell?"
She grinned, "Yeah. A few times."
He shook his head. "Okay. Final orders," he said then left to go and monitor the progress of his latest Search and Rescue Team canvassing a strip of land and water near a long abandoned manufacturing plant, searching for more well-hidden entranceways and passageways into the well-camouflaged yet vacant storage sites that ultimately led to the river along the banks of the Mississippi. Further confiscated evidence from the old dilapidated warehouse that Reyes, Pierce and the two other two-person-teams of agents had searched earlier in the wee hours of the morning had actually proven that both missing children had been held there for a short length of time inside the old building, and possibly inside one of the old abandoned storage sites, just a few hundred yards from the old warehouse. Young Kemen Tavares' confidential information that he had passed on only to Reyes had helped lead them to the abandoned site. But – again – they had been too late in getting there in time to save the two small children, much less to apprehend the five top gang leaders of the sadistic cult.
SAC Reigel had managed to keep this latest tidbit of information – newfound evidence, proving that the two missing children had actually been held inside the building - away from the news media and the two distraught families. But Reyes and her fellow agents had been utterly heartbroken with their findings. It just proved that, yet again, the FBI - along with the local law enforcement - had been outmaneuvered once more by the sadistic gang. The one NOPD Squad that had been in position to make the ultimate arrest had conveniently moved off position, ultimately creating the perfect escape route for the perps. And Reyes, Cunningham and Pierce were growing so tired, angry and frustrated with the continual battle of wits they were fighting, not only against the gang, but against at least one of their very own supposed law enforcement colleagues in this fight. They were all supposed to be on the same team – working together to find these two missing kids. But there were at least two bad apples in the mix, if not three, or maybe even four. Reyes was not sure which, but things were beginning to appear that way to her.
"Oh jeez," she sighed, shaking her head, then entered the ladies' restroom – finally – after conversing, giving some suggestions and taking further instructions from her boss for the last several minutes. Her bladder was about to burst from all the pressure. She had hardly even taken time to relief herself this morning. Actually, she could not remember the last time she had gone to the bathroom, or eaten, or drank something more nutritious than caffeinated coffee, or smoked a quick cigarette, or. …Oh God, honey, you'd kill me if you found out… She grinned thinking about her own personal medical doctor, who just happened to be a fellow female federal agent, and most especially who just happened to be her own special incredible new lover, and how Agent Scully would probably react if she did find out about her ongoing tendency to not take very good care of herself while working on an extremely difficult case such as this.
"Ohhh," she sighed wearily yet again as she emptied her aching, overly-full bladder then just sat there for a few moments, so bone weary she could almost fall asleep sitting right there on the porcelain throne. …Geez… Cunningham was right. She needed to take another quick nap, if at all possible, before her body just gave into the weariness and she fell asleep in the middle of her next detail.
She finished the necessary task then got up, zipped up her pants, then strode over to the sink, turned on the cold water, washed her hands, then splashed the ice cold water all over her face and cheeks, rejuvenating herself for at least a few more minutes before finally taking that ordered nap.
"Oh! Elisa!" she chirped suddenly, as fleeting images of little Elisa began to resurface. …Oh jeez!...
She quickly finished her business, left the room and hurriedly walked down to her office, closing and locking the door behind her, then pulled out the little girl's 14K yellow gold chain and crucifix she had found out at that godforsaken old dilapidated warehouse. Legally, she was not supposed to be carrying such evidence around inside her pocket. But what her partner, her boss, and her boss's boss didn't know would not hurt them.
She then pulled out little Cody Chamberlain's Spiderman toy action figure from deep down inside her other pocket as well, then sat down on the carpeted floor next to her desk and began to concentrate, drifting away into another place where two little children were, coaxing her special abilities to do what came naturally, and reach out and psychically touch both little children.
She was not really psychic - like one would see portrayed on television or in the movies at times - but sometimes if she came into actual contact with another's personal possessions it would trigger her telepathic gift to work more accurately, more acutely and more quickly. But …God… She was so tired as she began to slump more heavily against the side of her desk, completely relaxing into the telepathic sensations, when suddenly she could see little Elisa clearly inside her head. "Oh, yes… Elisa… I can see you, sweetheart," she whispered softly as she began to study the little girl's physical condition and surroundings.
The little girl was gagged, tied up - both her feet and her arms - with her arms stretched behind her back, and lying in a fetal position on a concrete floor, inside a very dark and dreary, shadowy place. Her eyes were slightly open. She appeared to be conscious. She had some bruising along her right cheek and temple, but other than that, Reyes could not see any other injuries.
The image began to fade.
"No, no, no, don't leave me now. Come on, come on, sweetie, show me. Show me where you are," she whispered again.
The image then became crystal clear once more as the perspective then shifted to another little child's feet tied up, then to his bent knees tucked up against his chest. Reyes studied the angle more closely. Something about the angle and perspective seemed different from her typical dreamscapes. Something was very different indeed. It was as if she were seeing the images through another's eyes.
The perspective then turned its gaze towards little Elisa once again.
"Oh! My God!" she gasped in sudden recognition. …My God! It's Cody!... She quickly realized she was seeing Elisa through his eyes. "Oh, sweetheart, I can see her! I can see what you see, sweetie! Can you hear me, too? Hum? Cody? Can you hear me?" she whispered with excitement at the possibilities.
Nothing but silence passed for a few seconds.
"Cody? Honey, can you hear me?" …"Can you hear my thoughts?"… She suddenly switched to silent communication only, concentrating her telepathic efforts on this small child.
Silence passed for a few more seconds.
"Cody? Honey, don't be afraid. I'm your friend. And I'm looking for you, trying to find you, okay? Baby, if you can hear me, please, talk to me."
"I… I h, hear you," she suddenly heard a frightened little boy's whimper.
"Oh my God! Cody!" she gasped. …My God! You have the gift!...
She then began to concentrate her thoughts even more intently on this little child – this frightened little boy - clutching his little Spiderman toy tightly in her hand then lifting it up to her breast.
"Cody? Honey, it's Monica. Do you remember me? It's Monica, from the mall, with that big 'Rescue Command Center' that you liked so much. Do you remember? Do you remember me, baby? You were with your daddy and…"
The image began to fade slowly away again.
"Oh no, no, no, no baby, don't go, don't leave me now," she whispered coaxing him back into focusing his telepathic energies on her voice bouncing around inside his little head. Actually, it was probably scaring him half to death to be hearing a strange, yet quite possibly a very warm and familiar, woman's voice bouncing around inside his little head.
"Cody? Honey, if you can still here me, I want you to…"
"I, I member… Y, you're… Mon-ca."
"Right, yes! I'm Monica! And you gave me such a big hug just before you left. Oh Cody, I'm going to find you very soon, but I need your help. Can you do that? Can you help me?"
"I… I try."
"Oh, okay. Good boy. Now here's what I…"
"No! No, Mon-ca! He… he's back! He's coming back!" Cody's frightened little voice bounced around inside her head.
Then suddenly, "Mgh! Ungh! Ungh!" she heard Elisa's muffled little voice cry out in pain, too, as she herself suddenly cried out in pain as well. "Oh! God!" she cried out again, flinching with pain, as her left shoulder suddenly began to burn excruciatingly from some sort of vision-induced sensation. "Ohh! Ungh!" she flinched yet again at a burning, tingling, searing sensation along her left cheek – Elisa's cheek – then cupped her palm over her cheek, then rolled to the floor, panting heavily, as she then rolled to her side, her legs drawing up into a fetal position as well. Undoubtedly the perp had placed something very hot – a searing blade, a red-hot branding iron, or something quite similar - against little Elisa's shoulder and then cheek.
"Ohh! Christ!" Reyes cried out again as she felt another flesh-burning sensation along her other shoulder – Elisa's right shoulder – then reached up clutching it with her palm, tightening her fingers around the stinging muscles as she continued to pant heavily in pain. "Oh! My God!" She suddenly saw the perp's face then rapidly began to lose the informative images she so desperately needed as the excruciating pain ultimately began to subside.
"Oh! Oh my God," she lay there panting heavily just trying to catch her breath. …Oh! Wow!... It was so unusual for her to actually feel the physical sensations of another's pain herself. But it had happened on rare occasions in the past; and, luckily for her, only on rare occasions. …Oh wow!... Was this case ever so vibed! She was so spiritually connected to both children. And little Cody Chamberlain had telepathic abilities himself! …Jeezus!... Why had she not sensed that before now? Why had she not perceived that back in DC at the mall? How could she have missed that? How could she have not known that? That those special abilities may very well have been what had drawn him to her so quickly in the first place inside that Food Court – so trusting and innocent - as he stood there talking to her and asking her about Jacob's little Rescue Command Center that she had just purchased from the toy store that night for her little nephew about his age, and then securing himself between her legs, wrapping a little arm around her thigh and knee, as he completely entrusted her with his life and safety? …Oh Cody…
Well, for one thing, she had been very distracted by her developing feelings for Agent Scully – falling so head-over-heels-in-love with the woman. And, too, for her to inadvertently meet up with a little boy and his family that night, and the little boy having some of the same telepathic skills that she had, would have been the very last thing she would have ever had on her mind. It just did not happen very often. …Hell!... She could not remember the last time she had met up with someone with similar abilities. It was just not that prevalent. If it was, she would not have suffered through such hurtful name-calling and badmouthing as a kid. …Shit!... She still suffered through much name-calling and badmouthing – even as an adult – due to her unusual, weirdly bizarre, quirky ways of solving a case. …Oh Cody. I know how you feel, niño. Or at least I know what you'll go through, as you get older… Oh, sweetie… And it can hurt – so badly…
"Ohhh," she groaned as her pulse and respiration began to slow and relax. She then sat up leaning against the side of her desk again. "Okay. So. A dark and dreary, shadowy room. Shit. That could be anywhere. Damn. Anywhere damn it!" But it had to be inside of a remote, vacated building now, didn't it?
She then began to concentrate on any sounds or smells she had noticed inside of that most recent dreamscape, as her sixth-sense had been so intuitively drawn into the vision for those few minutes. …Boats… She had heard boats. But then that was not surprising. One always heard boats in and around the lower parts of Southern Louisiana. She smirked. …Fish. Dead fish… She had smelled dead fish. She smirked again. Well, that was not unusual either along the riverbanks of the Mississippi. She then eased up off the floor, and around to her desk chair, then sat down and pulled out another topography map of the city she had tucked away inside her top drawer. She began to scan the area along the lower southern side of the river again. She then began to run her finger along the upper northern side of the river, looking for any other areas of abandoned buildings, manufacturing sites, factories, storage facilities, anything that would help lead her to the missing children. She knew in her gut - and she knew by this latest dreamscape - that the kids were somewhere along the banks of the Mississippi, held up somewhere inside a vacated building. But …Christ! Where?!… That could be anywhere! There were all kinds of holding areas, storage areas, vacated buildings, tunnels and channels and. …Ohhh… And the search party now canvassing one of the old vacated manufacturing plants was searching the most probable site anyway. And she had gotten the tip from two of the gang members she had interrogated earlier this morning. But, since she had not heard anything from Cunningham yet, undoubtedly they had not found anything. …Damn!… She glanced at her watch again then eased back in her chair deep in thought.
Cunningham had ordered her to take a two-hour nap - while she still could - and then get a quick shower, two changes of clothes, and then meet him back here at the office. She smirked. …What about a little food?... She chuckled. Suddenly, she did feel hungry. She opened her desk drawer, found another energy bar, then began to eat her breakfast – at 12:39 in the afternoon. Her last energy bar and energy drink had been around 3:30 this morning, just before going in on that failed attempt to apprehend the gang leader and his right-hand man. …And a shower, too, huh?... She chuckled again. Actually, she was not dirty, just rain-soaked several times. Actually, she smelled very good - like Musk - probably because she had doused herself in it every chance she had, to make sure that she smelled good. But then the female half of the population most always smelled good, even after a hard workout. It was just something in the genetic/hormonal makeup of a woman. Men could smell really, really bad - especially after a hard workout. But they couldn't help it. It was just part of their genetic/hormonal makeup.
She smiled as she remembered that luscious, wondrous, sweet, scent of a woman – Dana Scully's luscious, wondrous, sweet scent. "Mmm, sweet, flowery apricot," she whispered, thinking about her woman, as she began to follow her supervisor's orders, trust in him to run the latest Search and Rescue taskforce, lay down on her sleeping bag, then tuck the camp pillow underneath her head and try for a short necessary nap.