David jerked back slightly from the dinner table as fury consumed Mulder. What was wrong? David knew he'd been kinda sorry when Diana had told him she was leaving for a new assignment, while David was only relieved to have her gone. But something had happened. David pushed a little to see.
Mulder was in an office and men in suits were talking to him as he stood there. He was trying to conceal his anger, but it was growing. Oh, they were going to pull him off the X-Files unless he took a partner and they had chosen someone.
Barely managing to keep his mouth shut, Mulder took the file and without looking at it, stuffed it under his arm. He requested permission to leave and turned on his heel. He didn't bother to go by his desk, just heading straight for his car. He tossed the file in the passenger seat still without looking at it and headed home. David stuck with him, the food in front of him completely forgotten.
Before going inside, Mulder tucked the information back into the manila folder from where it had fallen and he headed inside. He stopped at the mailbox and stuffed that under his arm as well. He hadn't bothered to stop for any dinner. He grabbed a beer out of the refrigerator and flopped down on the couch.
Dinner was over and David managed to rise with the others to head to the rec room.
Mulder took a long swig out of the bottle and finally opened the file. Dr. Dana Scully, his disgust was clear. They'd given him a woman and a scientist?
David stopped so suddenly that the kids behind him had to shuffle not to knock him over.
"What's going on here?" One of the teachers turned on him.
"Uh, I need - " he pointed toward the bathroom and at the nod, hurried in that direction. He locked himself in the stall, shaking. Scully? The new partner's name was Scully? No, there were probably hundreds of thousands of people named Scully, but, but it was the S in his name.
He'd never felt his mother's mind. Why had he not thought about that before? Mulder didn't seem to know her; if he knew he'd had sex with her, he'd remember that, right? Mulder never forgot anything.
A knock on the stall got his attention. "Are you okay?"
"Uh, yeah. Just a second." He needed to get back out there.
"Are you sick?"
"I, I think it was something I ate." He flushed and came out of the stall and washed his hands.
Mr. Bridge put his hand to David's forehead. "You don't have a fever."
"I'm not sick."
Mr. Bridge looked doubtful, but David was in his mind. He was thinking that these kids never got sick and it was bothering him.
"What did you eat?"
"Uh - " David stalled, pretending to think. Mrs. Dillon had been a real bitch to Sarah in class today. She'd had the blue cheese dressing for dinner, and most of the kids hated it anyway. "I, I think it was the dressing. It tasted a little funny."
"Which kind?" Mr. Bridge was walking him out of the bathroom now and several teachers were waiting. David really hadn't thought the ruse of an illness would get this much attention.
"I had the blue cheese dressing. I think it must have been bad."
He wasn't looking directly at Mrs. Dillon, but saw her go slightly pale and her hand go to her stomach out of the corner of his eye. The power of suggestion was strong with her.
"Could I just go lay down?"
"What, oh, yes, you go ahead and get ready for bed. We'll check on you in a few minutes."
Nodding, David turned back toward the dorm and smiled slightly at the chaos he'd caused among the teachers. Once alone though, the smile faded. He hurriedly got ready for bed so that no one would bother him even if they came in, and crawled between the sheets.
Scully. Mulder's new partner was named Dana Scully. Was it even possible . . . the coincidence would be astronomical.
He couldn't help it, he probed for her mind. Why had he never thought to do this? She was thinking about Mulder as well, so he was able to locate her with little problem. She was nervous, but determined not to show it. She had no memory of ever meeting this man, much less getting pregnant by him. Of course that made sense, she hadn't given birth to David, but people didn't have to get pregnant to have kids anymore, there were surrogates and stuff. No one in this experiment had parents, but they'd had to come from somewhere. He'd never spent any time thinking about that part of it. He'd been sorry for himself that he didn't live in a family, but Mulder had lived in a family at his age and it hadn't been wonderful.
It was fascinating watching these two. Mulder was still beyond pissed that he'd been given a partner, but especially one so green and with such a science bent 'stuck up her ass' as Mulder thought. He hid it as best he could, but his use of sarcasm reached new heights for a few days.
She, on the other hand, was determined to prove herself. Mulder was right about one thing, she had been ordered to send reports to Blevins, but she didn't seem to have an agenda of her own to shut the X-Files down.
He was pulled awake late in the night and immediately focused on Mulder. Nothing ever happened around where he was. It was storming, which always bothered Mulder at least a little. He had lit a candle because of the power outage, when the knock came on his door. Scully hurried in terrified. She was wearing her robe and her voice shook as she asked Mulder to look at something.
To both his and Mulder's astonishment, she dropped her robe. Mulder's mouth went dry and David realized that he felt a little awkward looking at her. If she was his mother . . . She was wearing a plain white cotton bra and panties, not at all like the underwear the women in his videos wore, but it was better somehow, more real.
When Scully looked down at her back, Mulder blinked back to the present and knelt down behind her. He placed the candle close to her back. After a moment he spoke, "Mosquitoes."
She questioned him, as always, but he reassured her and to add to their astonishment, she threw her arms around him once she was covered again. She was shaking and Mulder had her sit.
David watched them, going back and forth between them to see the other. He wasn't really listening, just watching them when he realized what they were talking about. Samantha. Mulder was telling her about Samantha? He had never talked about her.
'Trust no one' was pretty much the only thought David had picked up most of the time when her name even occurred, but here Mulder sat, spilling his guts to this woman his memory said he didn't know. David smiled and rolled over to go back to sleep.
David was becoming increasingly proficient at multitasking. He kept at least a sliver of his mind on Mulder at all times now. Touching his mind seemed almost necessary. David spent less time in Scully's mind. He felt a little less comfortable there, probably because she was a girl. She didn't see things the way Mulder did either. David studied science here, actually much more than the people in charge of this place realized, but Mulder didn't use it as a shield against what he believed. That wasn't really fair, but it was almost as though Scully was afraid to look outside of science.
He pressed on that, trying to find out why, but didn't find anything. He put it aside; maybe someday he'd understand that. For now, it was enough to know they were together, even if they didn't like each other.
He continued to watch their closeness grow. Neither was aware of their connection that David now took as gospel, hell he was here wasn't he? There was no way two complete strangers, even 'partners' would become as close as these two already were. One of the most amusing things to him was that neither would admit it. Scully had referred to Mulder as a jerk to her friend, but David remembered how she had pulled her gun on the agent at Ellens Air Base to find him and how she had defended him to Colson. Mulder had actually had a nightmare about not getting to her in time to stop Tooms, and he still wondered at the wisdom of giving her the transcript tapes of his regression sessions.
David was especially pleased to have been able to hear those tapes through Scully.
The people here didn't know about his 'outside' interests and he liked it that way. He had a slice of 'normal' life away and wanted more. He knew he was much too young to make it out there on his own, and even if he showed up on Mulder's door, there was no way the man would believe him. No, what he needed to do now was to study, both classroom work and how the outside world ran, because he would get out of this place someday, disappear and set up a real life out there. At times he felt some guilt that he wasn't thinking of rescuing the other kids, but how would he do that? There was no guarantee that he could rescue himself.
He felt both Mulder and Scully jerk, and looked around to make sure he wasn't observed. David feared he was getting sloppy, allowing himself to spend too much time in his 'real' world, but he was okay for now. He felt Mulder's thrill and fear as he looked at this woman who had appeared beside their car. Phoebe? Oh shit! He wasn't allowed to use that word, but Mulder did enough to make it come easily to his mind. Mulder had thought of her once back when David had first found him, when he was packing up his room. That had been the first time David had experienced his shields.
Mulder wasn't happy to see her, but thoughts of sex with her had come unbidden to his mind. David almost withdrew at some of those memories, but they began to fade as soon as she started speaking. David's immediate dislike of her made him think of Diana. He wanted to laugh, was no one good enough for Mulder except Scully. He couldn't laugh, though, that was the way he felt. He checked Scully to find her curious about this woman, but not really jealous, more . . . protective as though she sensed that Mulder was vulnerable to her.
She did feel jealousy as the case progressed and David kept his ring-side view as often as possible. He had lain in bed and felt her as she watched Mulder and Phoebe dance and it had bothered her. No, she no longer thought of Mulder as a 'jerk', but . . .
Once again he was jarred awake, and immediately checked on Mulder. The man was sound asleep, so David turned to Scully. He froze in his bed when he learned that Ahab, her precious father had passed away suddenly from a heart attack.
David didn't know how to feel. No one he knew had ever died, though he had been aware when someone on the staff lost a family member. This was devastating. Now he would never be able to meet this grandfather, never know him. He retreated from Scully's mind, it was too personal at this time, and surprised himself by crying himself back to sleep.
What followed was even harder. Mulder's shooting had paralyzed David, who realized later that, had it happened during the day, his secret would have been out. There was no way he could have kept his terror a secret from others. Scully's terror had been nearly as deep, and David wondered if that was because of Ahab or her growing feelings for Mulder, once David himself was stable enough to think again. The doctors had assured Scully that Mulder would be fine, but the fear was still there for both of them.
David realized that despite Mulder's profession, he had never really thought of him as being in danger. He should have, Steve Wallenberg had died right in front of Mulder but, though it now seemed childish, this was Mulder and he had become a kind of super hero in David's mind. The feeling that he needed to, to 'protect' both of his parents came to him. There was no way, but the need was there now.
Cases came to them now. They didn't have to go searching through Mulder's cabinets of 'X-Files'. Skinner, their boss now instead Blevins, sent them on some assignments. Still Mulder kept looking for cases that were 'unassigned' and Scully went right along with him, even when in her mind, she refused to believe the things Mulder did.
Currently they were working on a case that 'Deep Throat' had led Mulder to. He'd done that a few times. Mulder didn't know the man's real name was Leonard and since Deep Throat rarely if ever was called by that name, even David thought of him as Deep Throat now.
Deep Throat knew so many things. He was in more danger than Mulder and lived a shadowy existence because of it. He did want to protect Mulder, but he had his own hide to protect first. Because of that he had sent Mulder in the wrong direction a couple of times. On this case, though, he really seemed to want Mulder's help. Scully didn't trust him at all and had actually had a fight with Mulder about him.
It was a bloody case so far, an entire family had been killed for giving Scully information about alien DNA. Even Scully knew that it had been murder, though she hadn't said as much to Mulder. They were deep into dangerous territory, and David wished more than ever that he were closer, so that he could help them.
At least Mulder was beginning to listen to Scully more, actually taking her thoughts and information into consideration. He had finally accepted that she wasn't a spy, wasn't working against him as much as making him prove to her, and himself, that his theories were possible. David woke to find Deep Throat talking to Mulder. It must be late, no one stirred, even the personnel on duty here had already gone to the rec room.
'Obi-Wan Kenobi crap', David smiled in the dark even as he agreed with Mulder. If only he could be there to tell Mulder what Deep Throat was keeping from him. Hell, Mulder was in danger, both he and Scully were.
Everyone at the school was surprised when the testers showed up that afternoon. For one thing, they always came in the morning and made several full days of it, the other was they had been there just a week before. Reluctantly, David shielded himself from Mulder's mind. Something was up here as well and he'd just have to trust Mulder and Scully to look after themselves.
Everyone was tested, they didn't make mistakes like that, but David knew his testing was completely different and more intense than the others. They were after something specific; and even the testers didn't know what that was at this time. He realized then that they didn't believe his claim that it had all gone away. They had made sure the people he would see would be ignorant of the true purpose behind the tests. They hadn't taken his growth into account and, of course, had no way of knowing how much he had been exercising those particular 'muscles'.
It hadn't occurred to any of them that he might be 'exploring' outside of this tiny world they had locked him into, or that he had insights gained from Mulder and Scully on what to look for in their minds.
He found he actually enjoyed the battle with them, knowing he was cheating slightly by seeing what they wanted and able to give enough wrong answers to steer them in another direction. He did check on the other children to ensure they weren't harmed, but their examinations seemed to consist solely of the physical after a few half-hearted attempts to see if they could read minds.
The testers weren't even off the grounds when David turned back to Mulder, lowering his shields. He grasped the table beside him to stay upright. Mulder was being held captive and he was sick, deathly sick. Fumes? He'd inhaled fumes from that doctor he'd been searching for. Now he was being held prisoner. David switched frantically to Scully, was she a prisoner as well?
No, she was looking for him and . . . and she was with Deep Throat? Shit, what had he missed? Fort Marlene? Damn it, he needed to be there and there was no way. Hell, he didn't know how to drive even if he were free to leave. He slammed a fist against the table, then looked around. No one else was in the room, everyone was off hiding from the testers. He sank back into the chair and closed his eyes.
He 'stayed' with Mulder until he was sure that his breathing was easier and he'd drifted off again. Mulder needed help, but that was up to Scully now. David watched helplessly as she approached the window and identified herself. "Project password?"
She, and David, froze. Project password? Then David saw it in the guard's head. Purity Control. He didn't have time to think, just pushing that phrase at Scully as hard as he could. She had to save Mulder, and he would help anyway he could. He felt it when she accepted the phrase and repeated it to the guard. David slumped to the table, exhausted and elated. He had helped, his eyes closed.
They found him there after realizing he was not at dinner. BT found him and after trying to rouse him for a couple of minutes, yelled for help. They carried him to his room and started arguing in front of him about whether or not to bring back the testers. At that he forced himself awake. "No! They're why I'm so tired. Just let me sleep. I'm okay."
Relieved at not having to make a decision, they agreed with him, but had the nurse check on him every hour during the night. By morning he was okay, having truly been tired, though unable to tell anyone what had wiped him out so completely. After a full breakfast, which tasted much better than usual, he tentatively checked in on Mulder.
To David's horror, he learned that Deep Throat had been killed when Scully and he had gotten Mulder back. Mulder was in the hospital, but improving. David felt the same sadness for Deep Throat, Leonard, that he had for Scully's father. Two important people that he would never get to meet. His mood plunged, but everyone assumed it was just the aftermath of whatever had caused his exhaustion the day before.
He checked on Mulder daily, but didn't spend a lot of time in his mind. He'd thought he was helping, straining himself and still people had died.
Mulder was in the hospital for four days, then released on desk duty. David was getting his English book out when he felt Mulder's fury. Without hesitation he was with him. Shutting them down! Skinner has closing the X-Files? How could he do that and, and separating Mulder and Scully? Did the man not realize what he was doing? Of course he didn't, there was no way he could understand what these two people could do together. David stopped then and felt Mulder beginning to calm down, no not calm, resigned. He, he partially agreed with Skinner! His brush with death, Deep Throat's murder - he had seen exactly how dangerous what they were doing was and he wanted Scully away from it.
David sat back in his chair, his English book unseen in his hand. Mulder already loved her. He didn't know it, not for what it was, but he placed Scully's safety higher than his life's work.
"MS? Are you with us?" The teacher's sharp, annoyed voice brought David back to the classroom and he nodded, opening his book. He needed to think about this.
The next few weeks were nearly as hard on David as they were on Mulder. Mulder's stoic loneliness was dragging David down as well. Scully was doing little better though she seemed more able to hide it.
Mulder had fought the assignment of a new partner, but not hard. The 'kid' as Mulder thought of him, gave a good impression of naiveté, but David was picking up something from him. He had some shields, which automatically raised a flag with David, because that also meant he could be hiding something.
David was aware that the people here were watching him more closely now; his extreme exhaustion after the last testing had raised flags, and he knew when Mulder had been in the hospital he had been caught a few times completely ignoring what was going on at the school. For a while at least, he needed to be more careful. It was hard; Mulder was so depressed without Scully and trying to avoid her. David hated being so far away, but as a kid . . .
"Mulder! I need you!" David jerked violently with those words in his head. What? What was happening? Scully was being attacked and Mulder wasn't there. God, they were separated now - orders from above Skinner, though Mulder didn't know that. He lost the connection with Scully's mind as she lost consciousness.
Mulder! Where was he? Damn it all! What good was knowing what he was thinking when he couldn't reach him? Mulder was out running for crap's sake. Even knowing what had happened last time, David pushed, trying to reach him.
He felt Mulder stumble, slowing puzzled, and then quiet. He changed his direction toward his car as David slipped helplessly into sleep.
It was Kelly who found him. Fortunately this time no one else had noticed his absence. When they arrived at dinner only a couple of minutes late, Kelly explained they had been discussing an assignment. David easily followed her lead, so their story matched. He tried to stay present, but his priority was Scully and he basically allowed Kelly to lead him through the evening. He knew this was noticed, but couldn't care.
Mulder had hurried home, uncertain, but following his "instincts". He had grabbed a shower before noticing the blinking light of his answering machine. The message, Scully's frantic call, had nearly paralyzed him for a moment, then keys in hand, he had vaulted down the stairs to his car.
The police were there, but didn't bar him from the scene when he'd displayed his badge. David watched it all from the hated distance and was barely aware of Kelly watching after him.
Mrs. Scully? His grandmother. He'd been vaguely aware of her when his grandfather had died, but Mulder had been shot then and she hadn't been a priority. She had known, she had known something had happened to Scully. Was she like him, and Mulder? More aware than other people? Scully was, but she fought it, unlike Mulder who embraced it. Later, he could look into that later.
He jerked when Mulder saw the film and recognized Scully in the trunk of the car. Kelly silently kept an eye out, pretending to talk with him if others approached. Bedtime finally came and he was surprised when Kelly's hand squeezed his, as if in support before they separated. Kelly didn't know what was going on, he knew that from reading her, but she knew something had happened to him that had nothing to do with here, and she wanted to help.
David wanted to lie there and follow Mulder, but his adrenaline from the chase, the acrobatics on the lift and the race to Duane Barry had worn him out. He slipped into sleep before he was aware of it.
He was restless all night, but didn't remember his dreams when he woke. He lay there for a moment immediately searching for Mulder. It was always easier to read him than Scully. Gone? Gone where? How could Scully have just disappeared? Duane Barry was dead? Krycek was missing. Oh God, he'd killed the tram operator and Duane Barry. David couldn't get a location on him but he'd done it on orders.
David shut his eyes, wallowing for a moment in Mulder's despair.
The next few weeks were the hardest that David had ever lived through. Mulder's depression, on top of David's own, was crushing. Now his mother had vanished just like Samantha. Mulder had searched for his sister for years and there was no sign. Was eleven years old really too young to break out of here? Was there a way to get to Mulder?
Kelly was the one that saved him during this time. Though they had never discussed it, she seemed to know that he could hear her even when she didn't speak. They were in class when one of the teachers pounced on him for not paying attention. She was right, he hadn't been, but he heard the number "64" in his head in Kelly's voice. With an assurance he didn't feel, he responded to the teacher with the answer of 64. She drew back and glared at him.
After a moment she nodded curtly and ignored him for the rest of the class. He caught up with Kelly as they were leaving the room. "Did you . . . ?" How did you phrase a question like that?
She nodded, not looking at him.
"Be careful, MS, they don't like you."
"It's mutual." He saw the corner of her lip turn up in a smile, but she still didn't face him.
"If you need to talk . . . " she offered, letting her voice trail off.
"Thanks," he said as they split off to head for the dressing rooms to get ready for gym. That was something to think about.
David woke when he 'heard' Mulder cry out Scully's name. Had he found . . . No, he was having sex with some strange woman. Vampire? Why had he called out Scully's name? The woman was pissed, but Mulder buried his embarrassment. David rolled over and went back to sleep.