Rating: NC-17...and you know what that means, kids. Under eighteen, must not read.
Disclaimer: It's summer and CC, Fox and 1013 are on hiatus. These are their characters, not mine. But it's a long wait until November...and if part two happens in November, so must part one of "Biogenesis."
Author's Note: Inspired by actual events, but completely X-filed by me. Now a work of fiction and not meant to represent any factual person, alive or dead. As a Catholic, an exploration of faith.
2308 Stonegate Circle
The sun beat down unmercifully as Mulder and I stood outside the house of Angela Farrows. It had been three weeks since the fungus incident, and my skin was still sensitive. All these extra UV rays were not helping.
"Look at all these people," he said, gesturing to the small crowd we were standing in back of. "All waiting to get in to see Angela."
Angela Farrows, The Girl Touched by God, the flyer in my fingers said. But hers was an ordinary house in Denver, Colorado. Ranch-style with blue shutters. With a prayer service going on in the garage. If it was going to take much longer, I was going to head for that. To get out of the 95 degree summer sun.
Mulder's skin had healed up well, he wasn't the least bit uncomfortable as we stood and waited for our audience with Angela.
"Says here, a car accident caused her brain to hemorrhage and her spinal cord was snapped," I read on the back of the pamphlet. "That happened five years ago."
"And when did all the other events start happening?" Mulder asked.
"After Angela was released from the hospital, she returned to her home to be cared for 24 hours a day by her family and visiting nurses. About two years ago, one of her health care workers noticed the Jesus painting the wall behind her bed was weeping," I said, reading on.
Mulder turned his lips up in a dry smile. "Wasn't on black velvet, was it? That's enough to make anyone cry."
I tried not to smile, but continued reading. "It spread to a small statue of Mary on her bed stand and other religious pieces in their home. Any figurine or painting brought into the Farrows home would begin to secrete tears of unexplained origin or blood."
"What does the church have to say about it?" Mulder asked, looking at his watch. I could tell this case did not interest him at all.
"They are currently investigating the strange phenomena in the Farrows home. The Vatican is researching the case carefully, and declines to comment on the spirituality of the events," I finished, moving forward with the crowd. We were almost inside, and I moved to the shade of the awning.
"So they can find some logical, scientific explanation," he added. "And not declare any of this miraculous or works of God."
His voice was cynical as he spoke those words, which came as no surprise to me. Mulder's never kept his views about my faith a secret. But like me, the Catholic Church had to make sure it had exhausted all other explanations before announcing its stand on the events that were perceived to be paranormal.
"Doesn't stop people from coming," I said, as we were lead into the front foyer of the home.
"They believe she can intercede for them," Mulder said, voice now growing sarcastic. "Bring miraculous healing and cures by simply praying to a 12 year old girl and being in her presence."
But that wasn't why we were here. We were here because of other claims. That visits to this house brought not healing and comfort at all. Ailments that were otherwise being treated, suddenly accelerated following a visit to this home. Causing death soon after.
They were taking groups of fifteen, and we were shepherded into the living room. There were some chairs set up, for people too weak to stand. There was a man in a wheelchair, hooked to a oxygen tank. A woman held a baby in her arms, she was already crying. A young boy with severe burns on his face was in the front. Some looked at us suspiciously, knowing we weren't there seeking Angela's intercessions.
On the walls were pictures of the Virgin Mary, Jesus, St. Joseph. On shelves were what seemed to be hundreds of statues and figurines. All different shapes and sizes. Some were taped with small cups underneath them, to gather the tears. Certain parts of the walls did appear to be stained or streaked. The whole house smelled of candle wax and incense.
"Welcome," a man said, moving to the front. "I am Andrew Farrows, Angela's father. Let us open with a prayer."
Out of habit, I bowed my head and folded my hands. But Mulder stood still, surveying the room.
"Dear Father, we welcome your children who have come here to ask Angela to pray for them. May they find the peace and healing they seek. Watch over us as we do your will. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen," he said.
"Angela knows you are here. She can sense your prayers and love. If you want to form a single line, you will all get a chance to have an audience with her," Farrows said, opening his arms wide. "Afterwards, there is a prayer service in the garage and you can pick up prayer cards or small vials of holy tears."
"All for a donation, I'm sure," Mulder whispered, nudging my shoulder.
"Quiet," I said, not wanting to draw more attention to us.
As we waited in the hallway, I stared at the pictures along the walls. Some were streaked as well. One appeared to be secreting tears. I could see small rivulets slowly seeping down the canvas, across the face of Mary.
A woman ahead of us saw this and dropped to her knees, in prayer.
Mulder took advantage of the distraction to take a small painting off the wall, flipping it over. It was nothing but canvas.
"They've probably got some of them rigged," he whispered, setting it back. "Small pinholes are all that's needed to produce the tears."
We probably weren't supposed to touch anything, but I was curious of the Infant of Prague statue on the shelf. It had a cup taped just beneath its face. And inside, was the clear liquid.
"It could just be some kind of condensation," Mulder continued, talking quietly in my ear.
"We'll get a sample to have analyzed," I said softly, as eyes stared at us.
The line moved and soon, we were headed for Angela's bedroom.
She was lying on a hospital bed, elevated high. Her room was covered in more religious icons, her bedspread was pure white eyelet. The curtains drawn low. She was hooked to several monitors, but she was breathing on her own. Angela was laying perfectly still on her back, her head tilted to one side. White ribbons were woven in her hair. Her eyes were open, but stared blankly ahead. Her limbs were weak and thin, from lack of movement.
The three other people in our group went to the kneelers, to pray at her bedside. Mulder and I stayed in the back, standing quietly.
"My name is Anna Kapelski," said the woman who was watching the monitors. She was in her late thirties, with sandy colored hair pulled back. She walked over to the kneelers. "I am Angela's nurse. She can hear you. Please, tell her your names and what you would like her to pray for."
"I'm Jim Bennett," said the boy, with the burns. "I want Angela to pray that my skin is healed."
Kapelski nodded, laying her hand on his shoulder.
"I'm Suzi Norman," said the woman who was praying in hallway. Kapelski moved to her, touching her lightly on the back. "I have ovarian cancer and I wanted Angela to pray that it goes into remission."
I felt uneasy at the word cancer. Wasn't that long ago, I'd been praying for the same thing.
"You have been here before," Kapelski said, reaching for the third visitor.
"Tom Archer," said the man, kneeling closest to Angela. "My liver is failing."
The room grew uneasy and quiet. The skin around my neck started to itch and burn. I reached up to scratch it.
"What about you?" Kapelski said, staring at Mulder. "What do wish Angela to pray for?"
Mulder was quiet. I half expected him to say something about the Nicks having a winning season. "I'm Fox Mulder and I'm here just to see Angela. No intercession required."
Her eyes surveyed him, narrowing slightly. Then, she turned her attention to me. "And you?"
"I'm Dana Scully," I said quietly, feeling uneasy. "And I'm also here to see Angela."
"Visitors are always welcome," she said, strange tone in her voice. "The faithful."
The painting above her bed was streaked with tears, some looked like blood. My neck continued to burn, right on my clavicle. This damn rash just didn't want to heal.
There was silence over the room while they prayed, it seemed to last an eternity. I bowed my head, and after a while, Mulder did too. But I looked up a couple times to see Kapelski staring at us.
"Heavenly father, here the prayers of the faithful gathered before you. Through your humble servant, Angela, let her intercede for them. So that their suffering will end. We ask this through your son, Jesus. Amen."
I met Mulder back at the rental car. He was talking to Tom Archer and Suzi Norman as I brought back vials of the tears to analyze for myself.
"Well," he said, leaning on the car. "They really believe that this girl can help cure them."
I scratched at my neck again. "You don't believe that's possible. That prayer can cure."
"I don't believe that this can," he said. "Did you see how they take advantage of that girl? Propping her up like that for all to see. Making money off her illness. This is Tom Archer's third visit here. And he's donated quite heavily as well. He's got our number and has agreed to call us, should anything develop. Suzi Norman has refused further chemotherapy, in favor of this."
"They are desperate people, Mulder," I said, continuing to scratch. Why was it burning so bad?
"Scully," he said, coming closer. Mulder reached up to my neck, pulling my cross away. "Since when are you allergic to gold?"
"What do you mean?" I asked, as his fingers touched my skin gently. It had been about three weeks since he'd been able to touch me because of this damn rash. His fingers glided over my clavicle.
"Where your cross was laying, it's red. It's left an imprint," he said, motioning to the side mirrors of the car. I peered, examining my neck. There was a red cross, swollen skin underneath where it was. "How long has it been bothering you?"
"Just in the last hour," I said, glancing back at the house. "Must be the heat."
"We're going to miss our flight, we'd better go," he said, walking to the opposite side of the car.
I drove away from the Farrows home, not looking back or wanting to think about work at the moment. I could still feel Mulder's touch on my skin.
"What are you doing tonight?" he asked.
"This is the weekend I'm house sitting for my mom," I said, glancing over at him. "Remember?"
"Playing house," Mulder said. "Am I invited?"
"You can come over," I said, with a smile. "My mom is in San Diego. Have the whole house to myself."
"House party," he said, staring at me. "I'll bring the wine. Just to unravel."
"You think I need to unravel?" I asked, returning his gaze. It had been a very long week.
"I'd like to unravel you a bit," he said, pausing. His hand reached across the seat and brushed my knee softly.
I let out a little sigh. I had no idea how much I missed that touch until now. My whole body ached, craving more.
"How are you feeling?" he asked quietly.
"Touchable," I replied, with a slight grin as his hand edged upward.
J. Edgar Hoover Building
I took the samples of holy tears to the lab for a work up. Even though it had been done before, I wanted to run my own tests. I decided to research more into Angela Farrows' medical history. Mulder's words came back into my head, the ones about making money off her condition. That would be the ultimate tragedy of all, if there was nothing behind all the strange events surrounding her. That it was just a hoax and fabrication, another case of exploitation.
I understood why Mulder was so cynical.
But I had prayed for my own cure, almost two years ago. And my cancer did appear to back into remission. It was my only option, when all science had failed me as well. To put my faith in something beyond explanation or scientific reasoning.
I understood why people were so desperate to believe.
I set the prayer cards down on Mulder's desk. There wasn't much we could do now, except wait and see what information would come back.
My neck had stopped itching, but the red swelling of my cross was still visible. I had taken off my necklace, in case I was having a reaction to gold. But it seemed illogical to me, since in the three weeks since my exposure to the fungus, I hadn't had any problems with it.
I ran my fingers along my clavicle and the hollow part at the base of my throat. Imagining his hands in their place. Three weeks since the last time we were intimate. He'd been patiently waiting for this to clear up, since he knew he wasn't up to the challenge of trying to make love without touching me. But now, I was well enough to be...touchable. All his subtle hints this week hadn't fallen on deaf ears.
I missed him. Ever since this started months ago in some hotel room in St. Louis, we'd been making up for lost time. Sexuality becoming a part of our lives. But we never took it for granted. Sometimes it still felt like something we shouldn't be doing, but I was getting better at shutting up that little voice in my head. I'd been taking more chances. I'd even broke my rule about being together while on a case.
I was letting the barriers fall slowly away.
Margaret Scully's Home
My mother's house looked different. It always did. Perhaps because I would always have an image burned in my mind of what it looked like when I lived here. What I thought it should look like. But it had changed, evolved over the years. Especially in the last five, since my father's death. Very slowly, she'd been clearing out all of his things. It was becoming her house now. The house of a single woman, living on her own. Husband gone. Children grown. She had changed the furniture, the paint on the walls and some carpeting.
I sipped the wine slowly Mulder had brought over, rolling it over my tongue. We were standing in the hallway, near the stairs to the second floor. Looking at all the pictures that covered the wall.
"Is this you?" Mulder asked, pointing to a little girl in a swimsuit. Perched on her father's shoulders.
"No," I smiled. "That was Melissa."
"Is this you?" he asked again, pointing to the baby cradled on my mother's lap.
"No," I said, taking another sip. "That was Charlie."
I had lit a few candles around the house, and it now smelled of like vanilla. The waxy fragrance filled the room.
"Hmmm," he said, taking a few steps down the darkened hall. He spied a picture of a toddler, dancing happily in a playpen. "That's you."
"No," I repeated, smiling. "That's Bill."
"Bill," he said, in a voice that made it clear what he thought of my brother.
"Even Bill was a cute. Once," I said, setting my glass down. I came up behind him, snaking my arms around his waist. I walked forward, moving Mulder down the hall. I pointed to a picture of a little girl on a swing, smiling wide. "This is me."
Mulder smiled, arms folding around mine. "That's you."
"Yes. And over here," I said, chin resting on his shoulder. "One of these angelic girls is me. Guess which one."
It was a small oval picture of Melissa and me on first communion. In our white gowns and veils, hands folded in prayer.
"You're the one smiling," he said, pointing to me. "Melissa doesn't seem very happy."
"Well, she didn't understand the point of first communion. Or why they made such a big deal out of it," I said, taking a deep breath. I could smell Mulder's cologne. Rich and warm. The smell of his skin. God, I missed it.
"Is that why she sought other spiritual avenues? Like auras and crystals," he said, turning around in my arms.
"That's where it started," I said, looking up at him. "It caused a lot of hard feelings between her and dad."
"But he still had you," Mulder said, finger reaching up to trace my clavicle again. This time, delving lower, pushing down the scoop neck of my shirt. "You still believed."
"What do you believe in Mulder?" I asked carefully. "Do you believe in anything?"
His eyes studied mine, then lowered to where his finger was. It moved lower still, tracing the lace of my bra. Touching the skin lightly.
"I believe your rash has finally cleared up," he whispered, smiling at me.
Mulder leaned down, kissing me chastely. Then, his lips kissed me again, parting mine so that his tongue was seeking mine. We both tasted like Pinot Grigio.
He broke away, his lips trailing down my cheek, my neck, my clavicle as he lowered to his knees. His arms were wrapped around my waist, gently tugging my shirt out of my jeans. His pulled the fabric up, exposing my stomach.
"Your skin looks good here," he commented, as his lips brushed against me.
I stood there, clinging to him in the darkness. My insides ached, warming at his touch. His hands moved from my waist to my buttocks, running them up and down the back of my thighs.
"How's this, Scully?" he asked, testing me. "How does this feel?"
"Good," I whispered, hands resting on his shoulders.
His fingers moved to the front and started to unbutton the fly of my jeans, so that he could kiss me lower. My back arched against him as his tongue traced a line beneath my navel.
I looked up, my eyes staring at the faces of my family on the wall. Bill, older in his naval uniform. Mom and dad on their 25th anniversary. A photo of my nephew, Matthew on Easter.
"Mulder," I said, focusing on a tiny picture on the table. He was trying to slide my jeans down my hips. "She has one of us."
"She does?" he asked softly, turning away. "Where?"
"Here," I said, leaning forward to grab the picture frame. "She must have taken it that day we were here. Working in the yard."
Mulder leaned back, sitting on his legs. I held the picture lower so he could see. It was the two of us, working in the back garden. I was sitting on the ground, planting and Mulder was leaning down. He was smiling and I was laughing.
"I didn't know she did this," I whispered. We had no photographs of us together that weren't 8 x 10 glossies from a crime scene. "That was right after I told her..."
"About us," Mulder said, pulling the frame from my hand.
She made sure the photo was small and out of the way, knowing I'd probably be nervous knowing about it. But I think I knew why she did it. To look at us here we looked like an ordinary couple.
"I'll ask her about it, when she gets back," I said, dispelling the fears away. It was just a photograph, after all.
Mulder smiled and continued his work of undressing me. His hands were under my shirt, touching my breasts.
"I missed you, Scully," he breathed. "To work with you for three weeks and not get to touch you. Do you know how hard that was?"
"I can imagine," I said, voice husky. My own hands traced his cheek, then raked through his hair. I smiled at him, then my eyes glanced back at the wall. "But I can't do this here with my whole family watching."
Mulder laughed, his arms holding me tighter. "Is your bed still upstairs? The one you used to sleep in?"
"I think so," I replied, kissing him. "But mom's moved so many things around, I can't say for sure."
"Your parents aren't home, are they?" he said, suddenly sounding like a seventeen-year-old. "We won't do anything you don't want to do."
His fingers touched me, through my jeans. I was already so wet, just anticipating him.
"But it will give me a reputation," I said, taking his hand and pulling him down the hallway. To his feet. "I don't want a reputation."
"I don't kiss and tell, Scully. I'm not that kind of boy," he said, as I lead him up the stairs.
"Good," I said, walking in front of him. Half in and half out of my jeans.
Suddenly, Mulder's hands grabbed my hips. Stopping me from walking.
"Here," he said, hands touching my buttocks again. Gently moving my legs apart. "How about right here?"
"On the stairs?" I breathed, as my hand clutched the banister. I turned around to face him. He was a few stairs beneath me, so we were face to face.
"On the stairs," he repeated. His eyes were filled with lust and wanting. "Fifty-six, Scully."
I closed my eyes, smiling at the remark. He kept track of our indiscretions, assigning each a number. "You and your numbers."
"It's numbers for a reason," he said, voice getting raspy.
He slid my jeans down my legs, removing them. All the while, touching my bare skin.
"What reason?" I asked, biting my lip. I wondered how well Mulder could concentrate on the explanation. I could barely concentrate on anything right now except those hands.
"Numbers are everywhere, Scully," he whispered, turning me around. "The dates on the calendar. Time. The temperature outside."
"The temperature inside," I breathed, sitting down on the stairs. My hands clutched the railings. He was sitting on a lower stair than mine.
"Speed limits. Cable channels. Phone numbers. Apartment numbers. Office floors. P.O. boxes. Latitude. Longitude. Measurements," he continued, enunciating each word with the rubbing of his hands. "Constant reminders of you."
I leaned back on the stairs, anticipating his next move. He knelt in front of me, easing his body between my legs. It felt so good. I was deprived. I envied everyone who had the option of doing this whenever they wanted to. Without worry of being caught.
Mulder kissed my knee, then traveled lower to my inner thigh. It was dark on the stairwell, but there was a dim light above from the chandelier. I could see our dark reflection in the half-circle window above mom's door. He removed my undergarment, pulling it away and letting it fall down off the stairs.
My hands were in his hair, tugging gently as he pressed his tongue against me. I rocked against him, finding a rhythm and pace. Building and building as my body started to tremble. But I stopped, pulling his head gently away. I wanted this to be shared.
"You're going to make it very hard for me to keep a straight face here on holidays," I whispered.
He laughed, wiping his mouth on his hand. His lips were shiny with my wetness. "This is still your mother's house. Feels kind of dangerous here, doesn't it?"
"Like I'm going to get caught?" I mused, as I pulled his shirt over his head. "Good thing for you my father isn't home. He wouldn't approve of me having sex on the stairs."
Mulder smiled, perhaps imagine me twenty years ago. With my parents sleeping in their room upstairs.
"I love you, Scully," he breathed.
I took a deep breath, enjoying the sound of those words.
"I've missed you, Mulder," I whispered, kissing his mouth. He stood up long enough to take off his remaining clothes. I surveyed his body with approval. Not one trace of this rash.
He lowered himself to his knees, moving my legs apart again. Mulder laid his body over mine, the incline of the stairs made it a perfect position. He eased slowly into me, I felt tight at first. Probably due to our abstinence. But soon, I stretched to fit around him. I sighed at the feeling.
"That's where I missed you the most," he said, kissing me.
It required a bit a balance on his part, to thrust in and out me while he steadied himself of the stairs. But one hand held on to the banister as well. Bracing himself.
My skin was still tender in one spot, right around my neck from earlier. The friction of his body sliding against mine made me flinch slightly.
"I'm not hurting you?" he asked, sensing my reaction.
"No," I whispered, clutching to him.
"You feel so good," he breathed.
"So do you," I replied, laying my head back on the stair above.
My hands ran up and down his back, nails scratching slightly as I felt my body tensing inside. Building to its release. He smiled as he watched me greedily bucking my own hips to increase the friction.
"Eager?" he asked, using his other hand to hold my leg over his hip.
"Hmmm-mmm," I agreed, as my inner walls began to tremble. "Mulder..."
Mulder laughed, low and throaty. "Keep saying that, until you come. So I know when."
"Mul-der," I breathed, through gritted teeth. "Mulder...Mulder...."
He was growing harder inside me, which was only bringing me closer and closer. I pressed even more, feeling the pleasure about to explode inside. Spilling over.
"Mulder," I moaned, as the orgasm ripped through me. I was still quivering when I felt him slam into me, his own orgasm only increasing mine.
We breathed together, sharing the moment as our bodies wound down.
"I almost caught you this time," he breathed, kissing me soundly. "Next time, Scully."
"I love you," I whispered against his mouth. "I really missed that."
"So did I," he said. "I hope your mom doesn't mind."
"I think she knew what we would be doing here when she asked me to house sit," I replied. "But I don't think she suspected her stairs."
I felt his body shake with laughter.
I wrapped my arms around him tighter, smiling at the new memory I had of this house now. My mind raced to the possibilities. Summer had just begun. The work load generally decreased. There were vacation days we could take. Perhaps we'd even try another vacation together, maybe in July.
Before some new danger or fear reared its ugly head. Threatening to take away all we've been working on.
I forced that idea away. Not wanting to ruin the moment with doubt and fears which were unfounded.
Margaret Scully's Home
I ran to get the phone, coming in off the back patio.
"Hey little girl, is your mom home?" asked Mulder.
"No, she isn't," I smiled. "My mom isn't coming back until tomorrow. I have the whole house to myself. Stairs and all."
Mulder laughed. "Actually, there is another reason I called."
"Where are you? You're going to be late for dinner. I've got the grill almost ready."
"I got a call, Scully. From a hospital in Denver," he said, static cutting the reception.
"Denver," I said flatly.
"Pack your bags, Scully," he said. "I've got us on the last flight out tonight."
I sighed, disappointed at what he was saying. "Mulder...why?"
"Tom Archer was just rushed to the hospital. He's gone into complete failure. Seems he's contracted Hepatitis B. His prognosis is not good."
"Hepatitis B?" I asked. "But they would have seen it earlier, if he's been in and out of the hospital."
"Well, he's in critical condition right now. He hasn't got much time," Mulder said.
"What time is our flight?" I asked, staring out at the grill. Blowing smoke everywhere that floated up into the summer sky.
"He was suffering from cirrhosis, a condition where the liver cells are damaged and replaced by scar tissue," I said, studying Archer's records the small office of his physician.
"His condition had reached a plateau," Dr. Lynn Keeling said, pacing the room. "He was rushed here last night where we found the Hepatitis B."
"That's what killed him?" Mulder asked.
"It was a factor," said Dr. Keeling. "As you can see, we have been monitoring Mr. Archer carefully. Those tests you are holding are from just 10 days ago. There was no trace of Hepatitis B. It's like his condition just..."
"Accelerated?" Mulder finished, looking over at me.
"I'd like to do the autopsy," I said, setting the file down. "He shouldn't have died this suddenly. We just spoke with him on Friday."
Dr. Keeling nodded and sighed. "I know where he was. I was very skeptical of the whole thing and I told him that it was no substitute for his treatments. Prayer couldn't cure his cirrhosis. Only a transplant could. He was on the waiting list. I just thought we had more time, there was nothing to indicate his condition had changed."
She pressed her fingers to the bridge of her nose, shaking her head.
His family was cooperative in allowing the autopsy so soon after his death. But like us, they didn't understand why it was so sudden. And perhaps finding the answer might easy their pain. I stood outside the autopsy room, staring back at his body through the window. It just didn't make sense. I felt a hand on my shoulder, breaking my concentration.
"Hey," Mulder said, taking advantage of the privacy of the morgue. "You sure make the color brown look sexy."
"These are actually turquoise, Mulder." I looked down at my scrubs, smiling slightly at his colorblindness. "And I don't know how you can think these are sexy."
"That's because I just imagine what's underneath," he whispered. Mulder's smile faded as mine did. "What's wrong?"
"Hepatocelluar carcinoma," I said, looking up at him.
"One more time, for the lay people?" Mulder asked.
"Primary liver cancer," I said, picking up a chart. "That's what killed him. Now, this condition is not uncommon. Individuals with chronic Hepatitis B, especially those with cirrhosis are at an increased risk to develop liver cancer. It just doesn't happen that fast."
"Well, while you've been working with Mr. Archer, I've been researching other recent *visitors* to the Farrows home," Mulder said, hand resting on the small of my back as he lead me to a small waiting area. We sat down in close proximity. "Throughout the two years she's been *touched by God,* about 50 people met with quick and expedited deaths."
"How did you get the research done so fast?" I asked, glancing at my watch.
"Dr. Keeling," Mulder smiled. "It turns out, this hospital has lost a few patients to this *miracle cure*."
"I'd like to review the files myself," I said, leaning back in my chair. "What exactly did you find?"
"Jason Brown. 24. Suffered from Hodgkin's disease. He was receiving both radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and his prognosis was very good," Mulder started.
"It's usually curable," I added. "If caught early, the survival rate is 80%."
Mulder nodded. "But Jason was in a lot of pain and suffering. Just days after his visit to the Farrows, he died. Again, of natural causes."
"But were the condition accelerated," I replied.
"Another case was 44-year old Marion Freed. She had Lou Gehrig's," Mulder continued.
"Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis-ALS. Normally survival after diagnosis is two to five years, as the muscle cells deteriorate," I said.
"Her doctor said she could have lived another ten at least. But it accelerated to the last stages of ALS, leaving her completely paralyzed," Mulder finished. "Just days after a visit to..."
"The *girl touched by God*," I said, taking a deep breath. My eyes searched his. "It could just be a coincidence."
"It could, but isn't it suspicious that all the patients share that one common denominator?" Mulder asked. He reached over, tugging on the sleeve of my scrubs. "What say we pay another little visit to the Farrows home? This time, formally."
2308 Stonegate Circle
"You are not the first to question Angela's situation," her father said as we sat in the living room. There were no visitations on Tuesdays, just on Fridays and Saturdays. "I'm sure you are aware the local Archdiocese has launched an investigation as well on behalf of the Vatican."
"Are you profiting from your daughter's condition?" Mulder asked, staring at him directly. "According to IRS records, you quit your job two years ago. Right about the time the heavenly miracles here started happening. And you have filed for charitable organization status."
"Of course I quit my job," he said, sounding offended. "She requires round-the-clock care. Our insurance company cut back some of the benefits. Three of her caretakers now are here because they want to be. They aren't getting paid for their services. I am a single parent, Agent Mulder. The car accident that left Angela like that also killed my wife."
"I'm sorry," I said, apologizing for the bluntness of our questions. "But a visitor to your house just this past Friday died suddenly over the weekend."
"Oh," Farrows said, hands on his face. He took a deep breath. "You're really here for that, aren't you? I'm aware of what they are saying. Did the church call you? Father Thomas has not been silent on his views. Hundreds of people have come through here, Agent Scully. Yes, many are terminally ill. Angela prays on their behalf. Giving them comfort in their hour of need. She cannot cure them all. If it is God's will their time has come."
"How many people has she actually healed?" Mulder pressed. "Do you have documentation? Scientific documentation to show their conditions reversing?"
Andrew Farrows stood up, walking to a desk. He pulled out a stack of letters, dropping them on the coffee table in front of Mulder. Spilling everywhere. "Are these testimonials enough for you?"
Mulder stared at him. "Mind if I have a look at these?"
"I have no secrets here," Farrows said. "You may investigate anything you want. I have no explanation for what things are happening here. I only know that I love my daughter, no matter what has happened. I am lucky to still have her. Each and every day. Her condition could turn at any given time. But she chooses to help others in their hour of need."
The room grew quiet, tension slowly building around us.
"May I examine Angela?" I asked, standing up.
Farrows' eyes turned to mine. "Certainly. And I'm sure Anna can answer any questions you may have."
I looked at Mulder, one final time. He nodded for me to go on, as he picked up a stack of letters.
I turned the corner to Angela's bedroom, looking carefully at the paintings. None were secreting anything at the moment. Perhaps because this wasn't a visitation day...
I found Anna Kapelski massaging her left arm, flexing it back and forth. She stared at me, almost accusingly. I'm sure she heard the whole exchange.
"Hello Angela," I said, coming close to the bed. The girl just stared blankly out. I reached for her other hand, holding it as I stroked her fingers. Hoping for a response. "My name is Dana Scully. I'm a doctor."
"She knows you," Kapelski said, as she continued her therapy. "You were here on Friday."
"How can you tell?" I asked, examining Angela's eyes. They rolled upwards, looking at me.
"Because I was here, too," Kapelski said. "And I know Angela can understand you."
"I reviewed her medical history last night," I said, looking her over. "She suffered a spinal cord injury in the accident at the C-2 level, which left her paralyzed from the neck down. She has no sensations or voluntary movement."
"Every now and then, Angela will grip your hand," Kapelski said.
That could be just a spontaneous reaction. She certainly was well taken care of. Her dressing gown was clean, she was well groomed with no indication of bed sores or any irritation.
"She suffered brain trauma as well," I said, laying my hand on her face. It almost looked as if she was frowning. Her eyes moved to the left, to Kapelski. "She's not on any kind of sedative medications. No neurological complications?"
"None," Kapelski said, moving to the other side of the bed, closer to me. "But she is conscious and aware. She had brain activity."
"Do you think she knows what's going on? Do you think she understands why people come here?" I asked directly.
Kapelski's hand reached out to touch my arm. She paused, before moving me out of her way.
"I think you do," she replied, continuing her therapy. Her eyes looked up, to the painting above Angela's bed. She closed her eyes. "Look for yourself, Agent Scully."
My eyes followed hers. To the image of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. His eyes were stained with wet tears.
Denver Hyatt Hotel
"Those samples you requested the work up on," Mulder said, as he stood in my hotel room. "I've just gotten the results e-mailed back."
"Oh?" I asked, turning off the hairdryer. I was sitting cross-legged on the bed, drying my hair. Clad only in a t-shirt and shorts. Even though it was a drier climate in the mountains, it was still a warm evening. I had the door open to the balcony, letting fresh air in.
"75% water and 25%...anybody's guess," he said, sitting down beside me. The bed creaked under our combined weight. He smiled, as he bounced up and down a couple times. Just to hear the springs. "Sounds like its had some mileage here. Mine isn't this noisy."
I stared at him, imaging the both of us testing the springs. The rule was broken about being together on assignment. As long as we were careful, as long as we watched the time...my mind justified. I took a deep breath, focusing on the e-mail instead.
"Both samples?" I asked.
"Both samples," he confirmed. "I was beginning to wonder if there was something in it perhaps that could contribute to the medical conditions, but its highly unlikely. They don't ingest the water, I think they just administer it topically."
"There is another investigation going on," I said, as Mulder leaned in. His face was very close to mine. "Tomorrow, I'd like to talk with Father Thomas. He seems to share the same views you do."
"About it being a hoax?" Mulder asked, staring me in the eyes. I shivered when I felt his hand on my bare leg. Running it up my inner thigh. The tone in the room shifted to something else entirely. "How's the skin, Scully?"
I opened my mouth to say the word "touchable" again, but I hesitated. My mind raced for reasons to make him leave, before this went too far. Again. But before I had time to think too much, his mouth descended over mine. Kissing me.
I closed my eyes, concentrating on the warmth of his mouth. The way his tongue felt on mine. Sharing one breath. I leaned into the kiss, prolonging it until Mulder fell back on the bed, with me toppled over him. Our mouths never parted.
I pulled away, catching my breath. I could feel heat rushing through me. Fast and unrelenting.
Mulder's hazy expression changed to concern as his brow twisted.
"Scully," he said, voice sounding shaky. His eyes grew wide. "You're bleeding..."
"Bleeding?" I asked, shaking my head slightly. What was he talking about?
Mulder's finger reached up, to my upper lip. Just beneath my left nostril. He pulled it away, holding it up to my eyes.
"Your nose. It's bleeding," he said, as I sat up.
Mulder got up, rushing to the bathroom as I pinched my nose and tilted my head back. My heart raced, remembering well the last time this happened.
"Jesus, Scully," he said, handing me a wet washcloth. I held it over my nose, applying pressure. Mulder sat down again, his hand on my back. But his eyes were filling with dread.
"I'm fine, Mulder," I said, looking over at him. "It's probably just the altitude here. And the dry air."
"Your last checkup, you told me everything was fine," he asked, voice almost accusingly. "You are fine, right?"
"Yes," I replied, sounding slightly muffled. "I got the green light, remember?"
Mulder was silent for a couple minutes, as the blood flow was stopping. He watched as I dabbed at my nose.
"I remember your cure wasn't exactly scientific in nature, either," he said, matter-of-factly.
"I'm fine, Mulder," I said, reaching over with one hand to touch his arm. I squeezed it reassuringly. "Altitude, that's all."
"I just don't want anything to happen to you, Scully," he said quietly. "Not now. Could you please have it checked out tomorrow?"
"It's not necessary," I said, not wanting him to worry.
"Please," he insisted. "Necessary or not."
The Archdiocese of Denver, Colorado
"So, the FBI is involved now," Father Thomas Murphy said, as we sat in his office. "What are you investigating exactly?"
"Her miraculous healing powers," Mulder said, not hiding his skepticism at all. Especially since he knew he was not alone in them. "Or more specifically, reports that it doesn't cure at all."
"I'm sure he's given you the testimonial speech," Father Murphy said, leaning back. "Of the many who credit Angela's intercession with a cure."
"I thought the church wanted to believe in the power of prayer and healing cures," Mulder said, narrowing his eyes.
"Oh, I don't dispute the power of prayer, Mr. Mulder. I completely believe in it. But the church has to be very careful before making a formal announcement as to the spirituality of the events in the Farrows home," he said. "We must rule out any and all possibility of a hoax."
"Like the crying statues and icons," I said. "Our analysis showed they were comprised of 75% water and 25% was unidentifiable."
"Our results were inconclusive as well. We are just now completing the first phases of our investigation," Father Thomas said. "We have reviewed the case under severe scrutiny. But have found nothing so far to indicate that prayers to Angela have brought anyone a miracle cure."
"The cases she's healed might have well just been coincidence," Mulder said. "I followed up on some of the testimonials yesterday. Playing the odds and crediting them to faith. People are just so eager to believe."
Father Thomas nodded. "There are precedents like this before. And many times the church has ruled them to be valid, spiritual events. Verifying their authenticity."
Mulder shifted slightly in his chair. Now, Father Thomas was no longer on his wavelength.
"You mean, the church has said that crying Jesus pictures are a sign of God?" he said, voice getting slightly sarcastic.
"Speaking as a Catholic," I said, staring at him. My fingers touched my cross, which I had put back on this morning. "What would cause statues to weep? I remember hearing tales in school."
"That's what puzzles me most about this whole case," Father Thomas said. "In the documented cases the Catholic Church has of weeping statues and icons, it is believed it happens to express sorrow. For example, if the Virgin Mary is seen crying, she is trying to tell us she is unhappy. If the Farrows child can indeed cure, it is a miraculous event. Not one for sorrow."
"So, you think it means something else," I said. "That this isn't a joyous sign at all. But...a warning?"
Mulder exhaled sharply, not finding anything valid in the way the conversation was heading. Father Thomas studied him for a moment. He was a scholar as well, various theology degrees were visible on the wall. A man not easily swayed by blind cries of miracles.
"There is a pattern to it, Mr. Mulder," he said. "We have studied the times that the statues weep. It varies from week to week, but over the course of the two month study, there were certain times and days that it would occur."
"Do you think it might be some kind of condensation?" Mulder asked. "A natural phenomenon occurring in their home?"
"It could be, but that's still under investigation. Let me get a copy of our report for you," he said, standing up. "Perhaps the FBI can shed some light on it. I'm sure your equipment and resources are much better than the ours."
Mulder watched him go, then leaned towards me. "Seems very reasonable. For a man of the cloth."
"Of course he is, Mulder," I said. "The Catholic Church is very skeptical of claims like this. 99.9% they do turn out to be a hoax. Like he said, before they formally declare anything as a sign of God, they have to be absolutely sure."
"Speaking of absolutely sure," he said, glancing at his watch. "Don't you have a doctor's appointment?"
I sighed, standing up. Dr. Keeling had agreed to run some tests on me, since Mulder didn't want to wait until we were back in DC. "What are you going to do?"
"See what the church has come up with," he said, smiling. "Ironic, isn't it? A priest and I actually hold the same opinions."
"Maybe there is hope for you yet," I mused.
I was lying on the x-ray table, as a tech moved my head slightly to one side. I'd arranged to have some of my medical records sent to Dr. Keeling and she was standing on the side, reading them over. There were incomplete, but enough to show the history of my cancer and the treatments I received. Luckily, I did not have to explain all the other circumstances Mulder and I were dealing with at the time. She questioned me about the implant and I tried to answer her as best as I could.
"You almost died yourself," Dr. Keeling said quietly. "Says here you eventually stopped your treatment."
"There was nothing else they could do at that point," I said, as the x-rays continued. "My partner had exhausted all...resources as well."
"And your condition--reversed," she said, reading on. "On its own into remission."
I closed my eyes, wondering if I should tell her the real reason. My mind remembered that day, with my family around me. Father McCue presiding as we prayed together. When I had lost my faith and then embraced it again. At the hour of death.
It wasn't even something I shared completely with Mulder. He had sat ever vigil outside my hospital room. Knowing what my family and I were doing, invoking the name of God to heal my body. But he said nothing and passed no judgment over us. Not like here, where his feelings were made very clear. I'm sure he felt the same way then. Asking someone to believe in the power of prayer was a lot to ask for, especially from Mulder.
He had just accepted the fact it went into remission, grateful that I was alive. Just accepted based on my faith that it did. No explanation needed. Something I hardly gave him. He even brought that up during our fungus investigation, asking me how often he'd been wrong. Since I never go on his faith alone. I always needed the scientific reasoning behind it all.
And I wondered what science would tell me today.
Denver Hyatt Hotel
I knocked on his door, having changed into a pair of slacks and a cotton shirt. My arms were filled with files and folder.
"Hey," he said, smiling at me warmly. "Come in, Scully. Dinner has just arrived."
He had left a message for me, telling me to bring my laptop and files for a working dinner. I surveyed the room, setting down my things on the bed.
"What's all this?" I asked, seeing a table set for two by candlelight. Something smelled wonderful.
"Well, since I ruined your Sunday night grill, I thought I owed you a nice dinner," Mulder said, gesturing to the table. He drew me into his arms, holding me close. I closed my eyes, laying my cheek against his chest. I held on, my arms clutching him tighter.
"Scully?" he asked, pulling me back to look me over. "Don't look so worried. I didn't cook this. I swear."
I had to tell him what was going on. I had decided earlier to just continue working and wait until we got back to DC. Back to my doctor for more extensive tests.
"No, Mulder," I said, disengaging from him. I sat down on the edge of the bed. Mulder knelt in front of me, clutching my hands.
"What is it Scully?" he asked, sounding nervous. His hazel eyes looked worried, suspecting what I was going to say.
"There appears to be activity," I started, eyes looking down at our joined hands. "In the area of the tumor. I'm not saying the cancer has returned, but there is some kind of cell activity. I will need more tests, when I get back to DC."
Mulder's face stared up at mine, searching mine. "What could be causing it?"
"There's no explanation for it," I breathed. "It could be nothing more than just an abnormality. Residual affect. But I want to be sure."
"Or your cancer, it could be returning," he said. Then his voice grew darker. "Accelerating."
I knew what he was implying, I could see it in his eyes. That somehow, like these people, something had triggered my condition again.
"No, Mulder," I said, shaking my head.
"Scully," he said, standing up. He tugged my hand, forcing me to stand up. He walked me over to his laptop, sitting on the desk. "I think we've been looking at the wrong person."
Mulder sat down in front of it. I stood behind him, hands resting on his shoulders as I leaned in, needing to touch him.
"I've been doing quite a lot of research this afternoon. I was going to share this with you later, but I don't want to wait," he said, dialing in. "I've been checking out things in Father Thomas report. Of all the people in contact with Angela Farrows. Before and after she was touched by God."
"And?" I asked, wanting him to continue.
"The father checks out. He is just what he claims to be. A devoted father taking care of his daughter. Insurance had cut back some of Angela's benefits. Forcing him to enlist the aid of caretakers willing to look after her without compensation," he said, pulling up certification records.
"I'm sure they are all faithful followers," I surmised.
"Yes," he replied. "They profess to believe in the power of prayer. Especially this one," Mulder said, pointing to the file on Anna Kapelski.
"It says here her Colorado license was suspended in 1996," I whispered, leaning in closer to read. "I wonder if Andrew Farrows knows about this."
"Wait," he said, closing that window down and opening another. "It gets better. She was also licensed in the state of Texas in the early 1990's. Working with Dr. David White. Who like Jack Kevorian, believes in physician-assisted suicide. And the power of prayer. It seems his patients had a very high mortality rate as well. Although, they couldn't prove anything for years, because there was no evidence that he directly killed his patients. Many of them just died naturally, when their conditions accelerated."
"Do you think she's working with this Dr. White now?" I asked, standing up to stretch my back. "Somehow, using the people who visit Angela Farrows to find people wanting to end their suffering and giving them an alternative?"
"That certainly would be a logical assumption," Mulder said, leaning back against me. "Expect he's in prison now. Serving a sentence for helping a patient commit suicide. He killed them old-fashioned way. Lethal injection."
I sighed, resting my cheek against the top of Mulder's head. "It's not him, is it?"
"No," Mulder said, picking up one of the files Father Thomas gave him. "And I have to credit Andrew Farrows for being so willing to supply information. I might not have caught this."
"Caught what?" I asked, shifting to take the file from him. It was the time record of the statues miraculous crying.
"There is a pattern to it. Know what it is?" he asked, nudging my hip.
"They match something..." I said, but not seeing a pattern yet.
"Every time it happens, it's during Anna Kapelski's shifts," he said firmly. "The two times we were there, so was she. And both times, it happened. I don't know how she's doing it, but she's making it happen. Faking the spiritual events to hide what she's doing."
"You think she's responsible for the deaths," I surmised, turning around to face him. "You don't believe in faith, Mulder. Let alone a faith healer."
"I never said I did," he countered. "She's not a faith healer. She's the opposite."
"A spiritual Jack Kevorkian?" I asked, turning to face him.
"The laying on of hands isn't just a Catholic practice. Catholics. Indian shamans. Buddists. Islamic. Even Wicca. All religions and cultures believe in the laying of hands. Of the healing touch. But what if she has the opposite ability? That the laying of hands can accelerate an already present condition?" he said.
I was silent. Deep in my heart, I believed in that practice within the context of my faith. The power of prayer and healing. Had I not experienced that myself? With my own cancer?
"Did she touch you?" Mulder asked, directly.
"Anna Kapelski," I asked, running the events over in my mind. Afraid to speak it out loud.
"Did she touch you?" Mulder pressed.
"Yes," I replied. "But that doesn't mean..."
Mulder sighed. "I don't know how, Scully. I don't have your faith in these things. But we do have scientific proof that the medical conditions accelerated. All of them had a common denominator. Anna Kapelski."
"She's working tomorrow," I said, looking down at the schedule. "Or do you want to go now?"
"She's not there," he said, pulling the papers from my hands. "I just spoke with Farrows an hour ago. We can catch her in the morning. Right now, I'm more concerned about you."
"Mulder," I said, staring up at him. "It doesn't mean my cancer has returned."
"I know," he said, hand caressing my face. "But I'm..."
"I know," I repeated, holding my hand over his. "So am I."
I awoke when I felt something wet on my face. I shifted off of Mulder gently, not wanting to wake him. He slept lightly enough on his own. I rolled over on my back, touching my nostril. It was bleeding again. I reached over for a tissue, hoping to stop it before he woke up.
Please God, I prayed. Not now. Please not now.
"Scully?" he asked, as I wadded the tissue in my hands. "Where are you going?"
I stood up, sniffing sharply. "It's midnight, Mulder. I have to go back to my room."
We were still fully clothed. After dinner, we talked about the summer and what we wanted to do. It ended with us both barely watching some stupid movie on pay per view while we made out on his bed. Mulder's hands had been all over my body, as if trying to reassure me he had the power to protect me this time.
"You don't have to, please stay," he said, sleepily. "My springs don't squeak. No one will find out."
I reached down for my shoes, before he was too awake to stop me. "No, Mulder. I really should go. We've been very lucky so far, I don't want to press it."
"You're okay, right?" he asked, voice wavering.
"Yes," I said firmly, turning to go. "I'll see you in the morning."
"Okay," he said, rolling over on his side to look at me. Thankfully, it was dark enough so he couldn't see much.
I paused, my hand on the door and turned. "I love you," I said quietly, before slipping away.
2308 Stonegate Circle
The Farrows home was dark as Mulder knocked on the door repeatedly.
"FBI, Mr. Farrows," he said loudly. "We want to have a word with you."
A woman answered the door, one I recognized from earlier in the week. Another caregiver. "Please, stop making that noise! Have you no respect?"
"We need to talk with Mr. Farrows," I said, calmer than Mulder.
She narrowed her eyes at us both. "Didn't you hear?"
"Hear what?" Mulder asked, sounding more annoyed.
"Angela was rushed to the hospital early this morning. Her heart stopped in the middle of the night," she replied, voice cracking as her eyes began to tear.
"Which hospital?" I asked, suddenly feeling my heart race.
"Deaconess," she said. "Everyone is there. Praying for her."
"Is Anna Kapelski with them?" Mulder asked, looking agitated.
"She might be," the woman answered. "It was all so confusing..."
"She better be," Mulder snapped, tearing off the porch.
"They are operating right now," Andrew Farrows said, to the small crowd gathering in the waiting room. He was wearing scrubs, obviously allowed to be with his daughter during the surgery. "Please, keep praying for her. It's very critical."
Mulder and I moved through the crowd, looking for Kapelski. Among the bowed heads, hands joined in prayer.
"Our Father, who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name..."
I looked up, meeting Mulder's gaze. He shook his head, not seeing her either.
"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. On earth as it is in heaven..."
"Mr. Farrows, can we have a word with you?" I asked, pushing forward and grabbing his arm.
"Give us this day our daily bread, and lead us not into trespasses...."
"As we forgive those who trespass against us," he said, staring at me. He finished the prayer. "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen."
"Please, Mr. Farrows," I said. "Where is Anna Kapelski?"
He shook his head, his face etched with pain. "Not now, how can you be here now? Leave my family alone."
I lowered my eyes and let him go, so he could be with his daughter.
Mulder's jaw was set as he turned around, walking down the hall. I pushed through again, to join him.
"Where are you going?" I asked, keeping pace with him.
"I'm going to find her," he said, moving even quicker. "She did this. She knew we were onto her. She can't have gotten far."
I stopped, letting him walk ahead.
"Are you coming, Scully?" he asked sharply.
Anna Kapelski had disappeared for the moment. We weren't able to locate her anywhere, checking her home and other leads people had given us. Mulder continued, but I returned to the hospital, wanting to check on Angela and see if her father knew anything more.
I sat in the room, with the others. They continued to pray, reciting familiar words etched forever in my head that I couldn't help but say along.
"Holy Mary, Mother of God. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of death. Amen."
At the hour of death, I thought. Closing my eyes.
The crowd has dispersed long ago, visiting hours were over at 8:00 p.m. They had returned to the Farrows home. I had left for a few hours, to search with Mulder, but to no avail. There was an APB out on Kapelski.
I was getting a cup of coffee, waiting outside the recovery room for Angela show any sign at all of consciousness. If only prayer could heal this child...in whom so many put their faith in.
I saw Mulder coming back down the hallway, walking rapidly. My eyes met his and he shook his head.
"Anything?" I asked, walking forward to meet him. He stopped and we walked the length of the hall, away from Angela.
"Nothing," he said, sounding very tired and angry. "Nothing at all. How's Angela?"
"Alive," I said. "Just barely. She had a heart attack last night."
"A heart attack?" Mulder repeated.
I nodded, wrapping my arms around myself. We were standing by the nurses' station. "It's connected to her spinal cord injury. Non-ischemic heart disease. It comes in the form of unexplained heart attack. It's actually quite common among young people suffering from spinal cord injury."
Mulder sighed, putting his hands on his hips as he stared at me. Then he shook his head. "So, what you are really saying is it was a preexisting condition that may have been...accelerated."
I was silent. He was putting words in my mouth.
Suddenly, an alarm went off from behind the desk. Startling both of us.
"She's crashing!" called the nurse, as others rushed from behind the desk. "Denise! I thought you were just in there!"
"I was," she protested. "But someone relieved me so I could take a break."
"Who?" the nurse demanded.
"Her," she said, pointing to the woman walking away down the hallway. From Angela's room.
Mulder tore off down the hallway, pushing them out of his way. I took off after him as the woman began to run.
"Stop her!" Mulder shouted, as she turned a corner. Disappearing out of sight. "Someone stop her!"
He skidded to a stop. I braced myself against him to stop myself, breathing hard. The corner lead to two hallways. Both of which were empty.
"I'll take this one," I said, drawing my gun and heading in the opposite direction.
I moved quickly, peering through open doors. Looking in the laundry cart parked in the hallway.
"Anna Kapelski!" I called out, disturbing the quiet of the hospital. "Come out! I am armed."
All the orderlies and night nurses stared at me, afraid to move.
"Did anyone see a woman come through here?" I asked, surveying their faces. "I am an FBI agent."
A young man, holding a stack of towels, pointed to a door marked "stairs." It was still swinging.
I nodded at him and ran for the door. It was a dark stairwell, but I could hear footsteps above me. I started to run up them as fast as I could, holding on to the railing and keeping my gun on the other.
"Stop!" I shouted. "Anna Kapelski! Federal Agent! I am armed!"
I heard her moving faster above.
Damn it, I thought. I concentrated only on running harder. Trying to take two steps at a time. She was heading for the roof.
I finally reached the top of the stairs, kicking the door open so that I could hold my gun in both hands. I was met with the rush of air and I stood on the rooftop. It looked like the landing pad for the emergency helicopter. I looked all around, the night sky of Denver all around me.
"Freeze!" I called, but not seeing any movement.
She was nowhere to be seen.
Suddenly, I felt my skin begin to burn again. On my chest. I turned around, suddenly catching something out of the corner of my eyes. I fired instinctually above it, sending a warning shot into the air.
"Freeze!" I shouted, as Anna Kapelski was climbing on the ledge.
She stopped momentarily, but then smiled at me.
"You should know, I'm not afraid to die," she said, standing on the ledge. "And you shouldn't be either."
"Is that what you believe?" I said, coming closer. "People shouldn't be afraid to die?"
"Most terminal people aren't. If you could hear their prayers, Agent Scully. They don't pray for a cure. They pray for death. For an end to their suffering," she said, feet stepping back a little. Closer to the edge.
"Who are you to make that decision?" I said, holding the gun steady. "What did you do to Angela Farrows in there?"
"I prayed with her," she said, voice chilling. "For an end to her suffering as well. But she is strong, she resists the peace I can give her."
"You used her!" came another voice, off to the side. Mulder's voice. I turned my head slightly and saw him coming around the side. "Used her condition to trick people into believing. Using their faith against them."
"No," Kapelski said, extending her arms slightly. "People were eager to believe in the miracle of a child. Of the promise of a cure. I couldn't help them. I could only help those who were preparing to die. Who are ready to die. To embrace it."
"Step off the ledge," Mulder ordered, keeping his gun on her. Right in the line of fire.
Kapelski looked over at me, voice wavering. "Death is not for you...I felt it when I touched you..."
"Step off the ledge," I repeated, ignoring her comments.
"I embrace it," she whispered. She began to step forward, but then took a step back...falling into the darkness below.
Angela Farrows survived, but her heart was very weak. Her prognosis was not good, but she was holding on. Strongly. It seemed she was not ready to embrace death.
The crucifix in her room, despite all anticipation, did not weep. Nor did any other icons or statues brought there by her faithful followers. They attributed it to her condition, with God concentrating his healing powers only on her.
Anna Kapelski died from injuries sustained in the fall.
I had more tests run this morning with Dr. Keeling, before leaving Denver. Although, I still wanted to confirm them with my own physician.
I was changing back into my clothes when I heard a knock on the examining room door.
"Scully?" Mulder asked, cracking the door open. "Are you decent?"
I fastened the last button and looked over my shoulder at him. "Yes."
"Damn," he said, with a slight smile. "I still have to work on my timing."
I took a deep breath and sat on the edge of the table. He closed the door behind him, giving us some privacy. Mulder walked back towards me, stopping in front of me. He looked as if he was preparing himself.
"Dr. Keeling said you wanted to talk to me?" he asked, face staying calm. But I could tell from his posture, he was worried.
I looked down, away from that penetrating stare. "Yes, I do. We got the preliminary test results back this morning."
"Okay," Mulder said, taking a deep breath himself. "And?"
"And I want to confirm them with my doctor back in DC. He knows my medical history completely and can advise me of what needs to be done," I continued, hands gripping the table on either side.
"Scully," he said, as I closed my eyes. "What are you saying."
I looked up into his hazel eyes. Seeing nothing but concern and love. And faith as well. But not faith in God. Faith in me, in us. In knowing whatever I was about to say, he believed that we would come through it like we always had. Together.
"I'm fine, Mulder," I said, with a smile. Knowing full well he hated those words. "I'm clear. It's not cancer."
Mulder sighed in relief, then shook his head at me as a smile spread across his face. "You had me there, Scully. Whoa! You should hear my heart."
He laid his hand over it, shaking his head at me again.
My smile faded in all seriousness as another emotion washed over me. "I've heard it, Mulder."
The room was quiet for a moment, then Mulder reached out to take my hands in his. He pulled me gently off the table.
"Let's go home, Scully," he said, letting me go. "It's Friday."
"Yes," I said, stopping at the door. I turned around, feeling my skin flush. "I noticed."
Mulder was coming over later, promising to bring some travel brochures or something. We both had a few weeks owed to us. If we were careful, we could work something out. The summer had only begun. I smiled at the thought of spending it with him. Of more house sitting at my mom's, she usually went away on the Fourth of July, too.
I trudged up my stairs, feeling tired from the plane ride. I put my key in the door, thoughts on Mulder still in my head.
I looked down as I turned the lock. There was a small brown envelope shoved under my door. I stopped and pulled it by the corner. It had one word typed on it. "Dana."
It was probably from my mom, she said would be bringing me something for house sitting. Although, I should be the one thanking her.
I slid my finger underneath the flap, opening the seal. Half expecting to find a gift certificate or something.
But instead, I found a piece of paper. Folded neatly in half. Inside was typed was a simple message.
"Did you enjoy your tryst on the stairs?"
I stared it until it until my eyes blurred, reading it over and over. A sinking feeling crept over me as I let it fall from my fingers and flutter to the floor.
Did someone know?