Forward Slash I Young Blooded

Tuesday

Washington DC

 

        Reading through a case file, Mulder tapped his pencil

mindlessly on his knee. He looked over at Scully's empty desk and

sighed. Mrs. Scully had broken her hip in a fall, and Scully had

rushed to her side at the earliest convenience, leaving Mulder to his

own devices. He chastised himself, trying to remember what he did

before she became his partner. A tap at the door interrupted his

thoughts, and one of the division secretaries stepped inside.

        "Something came up on NCIC," she said succinctly, handing him

a printed page. "It's one of the older cases you had flagged, from

1990."

        Mulder nodded. "Thank you, Etta."

        As Etta slipped silently out of the room, Mulder scanned the

page she'd given him. It was a standard reportable crime sheet, a

homicide, filed on a not-so standard crime: a young woman found

murdered in her home, her stomach full of someone else's blood.

Opening his desk drawer, Mulder flipped through the folders until he

stopped at one nearly hidden in the back. X-964391.

Comparing the notes on the NCIC sheet to his case notes, a grim smile

tugged at the edges of his mouth.

        He picked up the phone.

 

Homicide Unit

Baltimore, Maryland

 

        Walking into the squad room, Mulder marveled at the activity

around him. A slight statured woman stood on her toes, writing names

in red marker on a dry-erase board, then erased another and re-wrote

it in black ink. Through a window, he could see an intense-looking

bald man leaning against strangely cheery ochre walls, laughing. A

young blonde man argued with an unresponsive coffee machine as

uniformed police officers led apparent suspects past the rows of

desks.

        Mulder nearly jumped as one of the phones rang (no, it

bleated, he decided). Feeling completely out of place, he tried to

decide whether to wait for someone to help him or to ask someone

himself.

        The point became moot when a pockmarked man in a straight

black suit walked into the squad room, picking up the insistent phone.

        "Homicide, Munch," the man said into the phone, then covered

the receiver with his hand. He eyed Mulder. "Lost?"

        "I'm looking for a Lieutenant Giardello or a Detective

Bayliss."

        "Gee's office is right over there. Bayliss is in the box with

Pembleton." Munch turned his back to Mulder, and started taking notes

on the phone call.

        "Thanks," Mulder muttered and headed for the office. He

knocked on the door, taking another glance behind himself.

        "Come in," a deep, sonorous voice ordered from inside.

        Mulder stepped in, shutting the door behind himself. He was

greeted by the sight of a man built like a tank sitting behind a desk,

shuffling through paperwork. His face was wide and strong with alert,

dark eyes.

        "I'm Agent Mulder, I spoke to you this morning," he said,

holding out a hand.

        "Lieutenant Giardello," the man replied, a strange smile

quirking across his face. He stood, taking Mulder's hand and shaking

it firmly. "Please, have a seat."

        Mulder felt dwarfed by him, despite only being an inch or two

shorter. Giardello was someone who wore authority like an infinitely

comfortable bathrobe.

        "I understand you believe you have jurisdiction over one of

our murders," Giardello said, unintentionally menacing.

        "No sir," Mulder said. "We may have jurisdiction, but we

aren't claiming it."

        "Well that's refreshing," Giardello replied. "If you're not

claiming jurisdiction, then why are you here?"

        'This is normally when Scully would chime in,' Mulder thought

miserably. "I have been investigating crimes very similar to this one,

and I believe this is one in a series. Credit isn't important to me;

closing the case is."

        "I spoke with your supervisor, he said you might have some. .

. unconventional theories on the matter." Giardello leaned back in his

chair, rubbing the tips of his fingers together.

        Mulder gritted his teeth, getting the distinct impression that

Giardello was playing with him. "Yes sir, that's probably true."

        "Well," he smiled. "When Bayliss gets out of the box, I'll let

him know you're here. Connie out front will give you the case file to

look at in the meantime."

        "Thank you, Lieutenant."

 

        "He's what?" Bayliss scowled at Giardello, his chameleon eyes

flashing with anger. "You're giving my case to the feds?"

        "I'm not giving anything to them," his lieutenant replied,

"I'm giving you new insight. Agent Mulder started an investigation on

crimes very similar to these in 1990, he may have information you'd

find useful."

        Bayliss set his jaw, crossing his arms over his chest. "But

when it goes down, the FBI takes the credit."

        Giardello ticked his tongue at his detective. Bayliss'

infamous sense of betrayal was working overtime for no reason at all.

"Would I, your humble lieutenant, do something like that to you?"

        Refusing to answer, Bayliss looked down at his feet, then

fixed Giardello in a daringly stern gaze. With an ominous laugh,

Giardello put his meaty hand on Bayliss' shoulder, and led him to the

door.

        "Play nice with the federal agent," Giardello laughed, then

shut the door between them.

Bayliss frowned to himself, and looked across the room. Catching sight

of an unfamiliar man at Lewis' desk, Bayliss gathered himself and

walked over.

        "Tim Bayliss," he said coldly, without preamble.

        Mulder closed the case file, and stood, face to face with

Bayliss. "Fox Mulder."

        There was a long moment of silence as Mulder and Bayliss sized

one another up.

        "I don't want to take this case from you," Mulder said

finally.

        "That's good, because you're not going to. This body fell in

Baltimore."

        Mulder smiled uncomfortably, raising his hands in a gesture of

surrender. "I just want to help."

        Turning away from Mulder and walking over to the coat rack,

Bayliss shrugged. "If you want to tag along, feel free. I'm going down

to get the tox report."

        "Methohexital," Mulder said, pulling his coat on and following

Bayliss.

        "Excuse me ?"

        "That's what you'll find. An overdose of methohexital, causing

respiratory failure."

        Bayliss raised an eyebrow. "I think I'll let Dr. Cox give me

the particulars of this case, if that's all right with you."

 

Office of the Medical Examiner

 

        "We found approximately 10 migs of methohexital in Mary

Jensen's system, 1.5 migs is the usual dosage; 10 migs causes

respiratory or renal failure, tachycardia. . . but this one died of

respiratory failure." Juliana Cox brushed a hair not quite long enough

to be in her eyes from her forehead, looking expectantly at Bayliss

and Mulder.

        "What is this methohexital used for?" Bayliss flipped over a

page in his notebook.

        "Bi-polar disorder, veterinary anesthetic," Mulder filled in

quietly.

        Cox smiled at Mulder, pointing her pen at him. "Very good. It

used to be used as a surgical anesthetic, but it causes seizures.

Opthamologists sometimes use it as a light sedative."

        Glancing from Cox to Mulder, and back, a grim expression

settled on Bayliss' face. It was bad enough that he had to indulge Gee

and allow a federal agent to tag along on his case, but worse that

Mulder was making him feel like a rookie.

        Bayliss closed his notebook, pursing his lips. "How difficult

would it be to get this drug?"

        Noticing Bayliss' sour expression, Mulder chose to let the ME

answer the question instead.

        "Well, it's a barbiturate, it has to be tracked, but it's not

hard to get a prescription for it; maintenance doses for a pet or

someone with bi-polar disorder. I'd say pretty easy in the grand

scheme of things."

        "I have several evidence samples to match with the blood in

her stomach," Mulder said. "Were the contents typable?"

        "You have samples?" Cox tilted her head quizzically. "Yeah,

the contents are typable, we can send them out to a lab for DNA

analysis if you have enough."

        "I'll have those flown up immediately."

        With a frown, Bayliss thanked Cox for her time, and started

out the swinging doors.

        "It was nice meeting you," Mulder said, holding out a hand to

her.

        She smiled in consolation, shaking her latex gloved hand at

his. "He walks fast."

        With a half-grin, Mulder nodded and hurried out of the morgue.

 

Wednesday

 

        Staring from the window of the white Cavalier, Mulder was

getting the corner boy's tour of Baltimore. He could smell water in

the air, but couldn't see it past dilapidated row houses and boarded

up businesses. Graffiti decorated the visible sides of most buildings,

and the sparse grass and trees seemed to be an ironic touch by an

easily-amused god. Bayliss hadn't said a word to him, even to explain

where they were going. Mulder had just followed, hoping he could find

a way to talk to the taciturn detective. He was used to walking into

small town investigations with small town police officers who might be

resentful of federal presence, but who ultimately deferred to him.

Bayliss was a big town homicide detective, and not about to defer to

Mulder on anything except where he might dump his body.

        "Dr. Cox seemed nice," Mulder said lamely. He hadn't realized

just how out of touch with the outside world he'd become. Despite the

intrigue, disaster and danger, his office in the basement and the

world of the x files seemed strangely comfortable compared to this.

        Bayliss nodded grudgingly. "She's good at what she does."

        "My partner's a doctor."

        "Yeah?" Bayliss didn't actually seem interested, but at least

he was responding. "What kind of doctor is he?"

        "She. She's a cutter, like Dr. Cox."

        "Female partner, huh?"

        "Scully's been my partner for. . . five years now."

        "The only woman I'd ever partner with is Howard, but she's

been transferred to Fugitive Squad."

        "Don't you have a partner now," Mulder asked, avoiding

Bayliss' subtle jab.

        "Yeah. Pembleton."

        "Where are we going?"

        Bayliss looked over at Mulder. "What's in your case file?"

        Opening the manila folder in his lap, Mulder pulled out

several 8X10 crime scene photos. "This is Melinda Hutchenson, she was

the most recent victim besides yours. 24, housewife, also partially

exsanguinated. Cause of death, methohexital overdose. This was in

1990."

        Glancing over every so often, Bayliss kept up with Mulder's

running commentary on the file.

        "This is Katherine Armstrong, 22, same mode of death, same

signature. 1989. This is Seattle Kingston, 26, same mode of death,

same signature, 1980, and this is Alice Moore, 19, same mode and

signature, 1973."

        "How do you know some of these aren't copycats?" Bayliss

looked skeptically at the photographs, then turned his attention back

to the road.

        "Because the blood in their stomachs belongs to the victim

immediately before them."

        "What are the rest of those pictures?"

        "Belinda Carson, Nena Woods, Denise Ballard, Deana Milano,

Wilma Collet, and Patricia Nagel. Victims of the same murderer, dating

from 1964 back to 1935."

        Pulling up to a small, well kept house, Bayliss stared at

Mulder. "You've got to be kidding me."

        Mulder shook his head. "Absolutely not."

        "You actually expect me to believe that someone has been

murdering women in exactly the same way since 1935."

        "Not exactly the same way. The murderer used chloroform from

1935 until 1973, then switched over to methohexital."

        Pulling off his seat belt and opening his door, Bayliss

leveled his gaze at Mulder. "Well if you'll forgive me, Agent Mulder,

I think you're full of shit."

 

(End Part One)

 

 

Title: Forward Slash I: Young Blooded (2/5)

Author: Saundra Mitchell

E-Mail: vii@netdirect.net

 

 

Home of Hejnrik Jansen

 

        "Mr. Jansen, you remember me, Tim Bayliss from the Baltimore

Police Department?"

        The old man stared up at Bayliss with bleary eyes. "I remember

you. Have you found the man who killed my daughter?"

        Bayliss shook his head, taking off his glasses and rubbing the

bridge of his nose. "Not yet, Mr. Jansen. I wanted to ask you a few

more questions, if I could."

        "I don't know what else I can tell you," Mr. Jansen

complained, hobbling to a standing position. He stared over at Mulder.

"Who's this?"

        Clearing his throat, Bayliss frowned. "This is Agent Mulder,

he works for the FBI. He's assisting me on this case."

        "FBI, huh?" The man smiled brightly, patting Mulder on the

shoulder. "You all must really care about what happened to my little

girl if the FBI is here."

        With great restraint, Mulder managed to hide his grin at

Bayliss' ire. "We do care about your daughter, Mr. Jansen, very much.

We'd like to see the person responsible in prison."

        "You said something about more questions." Mr. Jansen's voice

broke, suddenly aware that FBI agent or no, they were discussing the

murder of his only daughter. He sank down into an overstuffed chair,

burying his face in his hands. Mulder realized there was a soft

perfume in the air, reminding him that there was a living, breathing

woman in this house not three days ago.

        "Mr. Jansen, I was hoping you had remembered anything more

about Mary's movements on the day she died, where she might have gone,

who she might have been with. . .?"

        He shook his head, staring balefully up at the men standing

over him. "I don't know where she goes. She's a good girl though, more

interested in books than men, her schooling over parties."

        "Did she have any new girlfriends? Join any new women's

clubs?" Mulder's voice was gentle, almost melodic. He ignored the

strange look that crossed Bayliss' face.

        "Just a book club, like that one on t.v., like Oprah's book

club, you know?"

        "Do you know where it meets?"

        Mr. Jansen shook his head. "Some professor kept it at her

house, they only had a couple of meetings. . ."

        Kneeling down next to Mr. Jansen, Mulder put a hand on his

shoulder. "I know this is very hard on you, but do you remember the

professor's name?"

         "Eliza? Elizabeth? I'm not sure. She only went a couple of

times."

        Mulder nodded. "Thank you, Mr. Jansen. Detective Bayliss?"

        Bayliss shook his head. "Thank you for your time, Mr. Jansen.

We'll be in touch."

 

        "Women's clubs?" Bayliss half laughed at the idea, knotting

his fingers in his hair.

        "Well, yes," Mulder said defensively. "If you'd sit down with

the case file with me, you'd know where I was going."

        Now he really did laugh, a cold and wryly amused sound that

pitted under Mulder's skin. "I don't think I want to know where you're

going, Agent Mulder."

        Grimly setting his jaw, Mulder stiffened his back, and found

his most imperious tone. "That's fine with me, Detective Bayliss. Take

me back so I can get my car, and I'll investigate this on my own. When

I catch the perp, I'll give her over to Homicide so you don't lose any

face."

        Stopping the Cavalier suddenly, Bayliss threw it into park and

looked over at Mulder, incredulous and angry. "You'll give me the perp

so I don't lose face? So I don't lose face?"

        Looking around him, Mulder realized they were a few blocks

from the station. He took off his seatbelt slowly, and opened his

door. "It was nice meeting you, Detective Bayliss."

        Despite his anger at Mulder's intrusion, a trickle of light

dawned on Bayliss. "Wait a minute, you said 'her'."

        "Yes, I did." Mulder half smiled at the detective, then got

out of the car, making his way towards the station house.

 

        "Agent Mulder."

        Mulder looked up from the case file, startled to see Giardello

looming over him. "Lieutenant."

        "Are you enjoying your stay in Baltimore?"

        Mulder smiled wanly. "It's different."

        "Where is Detective Bayliss?"

        "I don't know." He shook his head, not looking directly at

Giardello.

        "You don't know." Giardello's eyebrows shot up, but he was not

asking a question.

        "No sir, I walked back here myself. I wanted to take another

look at Detective Bayliss' case file, co-ordinate it with mine, and

make sure that Quantico had sent the lab samples I needed."

        Giardello crossed his arms over his chest, and smiled

dangerously. "I see."

        Mulder fumbled for a reply, but could think of nothing. He

didn't want to alienate the Lieutenant, and he certainly didn't want

to mention Bayliss' cold derision. They were all grown men, and

complaining would look bad from every angle.

        "Well," Giardello said, saving Mulder from replying. "I look

forward to hearing how you and Bayliss have progressed in this case."

        Watching Giardello walk away, Mulder sighed. Bayliss didn't

want to work with him, and he didn't want to work with Bayliss, but

somehow, he didn't think that Skinner or Giardello would appreciate

hearing that.

 

The Waterfront

 

        Bayliss leaned over the bar, sliding a club soda to Pembleton.

"He's insane. He's completely insane. He thinks an 80 year old woman

is committing these murders, and Gee wants me to humor him because

he's got a federal badge."

        "An 80 year old woman," Pembleton repeated, picking up his

glass.

        "An 80 year old woman," Bayliss agreed, wiping off the bar. He

stepped back, and looked around the Waterfront, nearly empty at this

time of day. "He got out of the car and just walked away. I have no

idea where he is."

        Pembleton twitched his head in an "oh well" gesture. "He'll

turn up."

        The front door of the bar burst open, letting in a flood of

sunlight. "Hey Bayliss, what'chyou doing leaving an FBI agent at my

desk? He's probably stealing all my paper clips."

        "Just shut the door, Lewis."

        Meldrick Lewis slipped into the bar, taking his hat off and

setting it down next to Pembleton's drink.

        "He was talking to Gee," Lewis said nonchalantly, reaching

over to pour himself a beer.

        Bayliss' eyes widened. "What did he say?"

        Lewis rolled his eyes. "Man, I don't know. This ain't 6th

grade."

        A long grin spread over Pembleton's face. "This Agent Mulder

thinks Timmy's college murder was committed by an 80 year old woman."

        "What?" Meldrick leaned back, staring at Pembleton. "You're

shitting me, right?"

        "Oh, no no no, this is no joke."

        Meldrick laughed in spite of himself, and took a long draw on

his beer. "An 80 year old woman."

        "I don't know how I'm supposed to work with this guy," Bayliss

complained, tossing his rag onto the counter. "Am I supposed to

entertain him until he gets bored and goes back to Washington?"

        Pembleton smiled, smacking his hand down on the wooden bar. "I

suggest you take charge. Show him you're the primary."

        Lewis snorted. "Yeah, and if that don't work, you can just

dump him in Druid Hill."

        "Hey, you're the secondary. Why don't you take charge of him?"

        Standing up, and pulling on his coat, Pembleton just grinned.

"But you're the primary Tim. It's your dog and pony show."

 

        "Mulder, hi. What's going on?" Scully's voice was breathless,

as if he'd caught her on the way out.

        Mulder sighed into his cell phone. "Nothing, really. I just

wanted to see how your mom is doing. . . how you're doing."

        "I'm fine," she said. "Mom's going to be fine. It was a clean

break, she won't have to have her hip replaced. Where are you?"

        "Bawlmer."

        "Bawlmer?"

        "Baltimore. That's how they say it here. . . "

        "What are you doing in Baltimore?"

        "Old case, trying to keep busy."

        "Well how is it going?"

        "I don't know. Baltimore's a lot bigger than Podunk, Idaho."

        Scully's laughter bubbled. "Control issue?"

        "Not so much on my part," Mulder snorted. "Well, maybe a

little on my part."

        "I never thought I'd hear you admit that," she laughed.

        "I miss you." Surprised at himself, he waited to hear Scully's

response.

        "I'll be back in five days, Mulder. I'm sure you can hang on

until then."

        "Tell your mother I send my best wishes."

        "I will."

        Mulder closed the cell phone, and leaned back in his chair,

staring at the once-white ceiling. He heard footsteps walking up

behind him, and was greeted by the sight of Bayliss peering down at

him.

        "I want to see your case file."

        Mulder sat up, and reached across the desk. "Okay."

 

Thursday

University of Baltimore

 

        "You saw the file, the only thing connecting these women is a

literature club run by a female professor."

        Bayliss shrugged, pulling open the university's personnel

office door. "You haven't convinced me, Agent Mulder, but let's just

quash your theory here and now, shall we?"

        Walking up to the secretary, Bayliss gave him his name and

showed him his badge. The secretary made a quick call into the

inner-office, then gave them a nod to enter.

        "Afternoon, ma'am, I'm Detective Bayliss, Baltimore Homicide,

I spoke to you earlier."

        "Of course, of course. You said you had a picture you wanted

to show me?" The personnel manager smiled brightly, inviting them to

sit down. Mulder pulled a photograph from his pocket and handed it to

her.

        "Ma'am, do you recognize this woman?"

        To Bayliss' surprise, the personnel manager smiled. "Of

course. This is Professor Barret. What an odd picture. Was she in a

play?" Realizing she was speaking to a police officer, she frowned.

"Is she in trouble? Has she been hurt?"

        "No ma'am," Bayliss said gently. "We just need to ask her a

few questions about a literature group she might have been hosting. Do

you know where we can find her?"

        "Oh, oh my. No, I'm sorry. She's on sabbatical, doing research

for her new thesis. She officially left the university two days ago."

        Mulder frowned. "She didn't leave a forwarding address?"

        "Not that I know of," the woman said, sighing. "You can always

ask the head of the history department. He might know."

        "Could we have her personnel file," Mulder asked.

        "Not without a warrant." The woman had stopped being friendly

in less than an instant.

        "What about her previous home address?"

        "That I can give you. I'll fax it over when I find it."

 

        "Are we finished quashing my theory," Mulder smirked, as they

headed out of the personnel building. He straightened his coat,

stuffing his hands into his pockets.

        "You can just shut up," Bayliss replied. "What picture did you

give her?"

        "The one from 1942."

        "You never explained how or why."

        "How or why what?"

        "How an 80 year old. . ."

        "94," Mulder corrected.

        "A 94 year old woman would have the strength to murder these

girls, or why. All you have in that file are case photos and notes."

        "Motive isn't a necessary element." Mulder knew that stonewall

wouldn't last.

        "It's necessary for me," Bayliss scowled.

        "Their blood keeps her young."

        Bayliss stared at Mulder, the corners of his mouth twitching.

"A vampire?"

        "Nope."

        "No, what you're describing, drinking blood to stay young,"

Bayliss argued, "Is a vampire, and vampires don't exist."

        Mulder stopped, challenging Bayliss. "No, a vampire is

immortal. Vampires stay young forever, blood is just a meal. This

woman needs the blood on a regular basis to stay alive and to retain

her youth."

        Laughing, Bayliss held his hands out questioningly. "You're

completely insane. You are absolutely nuts. How do you keep your

badge?"

        "There are more things in heaven and earth. . . "

        "Some things just aren't, Agent Mulder."

        Grinning, Mulder started towards the white Cavalier. "Find

Eliza Barret, and I guarantee you'll find your killer with a stomach

full of evidence, Detective Bayliss."

 

        Waiting for Bayliss to finish his talk with Giardello, Mulder

wandered around the squad room. Intrigued by the glass windowed room,

he walked over and opened the door. Plain inside, its walls were too

bright with ochre tiles offset by drab green trim; only two things

broke the monotony; a silver two way mirror on one wall and an

ordinary wood grain table at the other, a chair sitting empty behind

it. He walked over to the table, and touched the handcuff bolted to

it.

        "This is the box," a voice said behind him. Mulder turned, and

was greeted by the sight of the darkly intense man he'd seen in this

room earlier.

        "An interrogation room," Mulder said softly.

        "Vampires," the man replied, his voices echoing off the walls.

        Raising his eyebrows, Mulder stood. "Pardon me?"

        "Do you believe in vampires, Agent Mulder?" He drew the "m"

out like a sustained note, and spat the end of the word down.

        "I'm sorry," Mulder said. "You're Detective Pembleton, aren't

you?"

        Frank smiled, his teeth in a soldierly row of white

solidarity. "Yes, yes I am. Frank Pembleton, that's me."

        "Detective Bayliss speaks highly of you," Mulder lied.

        "You didn't answer my question," Pembleton said, leaning

against the wall in a practiced motion. Mulder recognized the look of

satisfied comfort on Pembleton's face; this room, this "box" was this

man's home.

        "It's not really relevant," Mulder answered.

        "Bayliss said you were looking for a vampire. To look for one,

you'd have to believe in one, wouldn't you?"

        "That would be incorrect."

        "That you believe in them or that you're looking for one?"

        Mulder smiled in amusement. Frank Pembleton was a natural. He

could imagine this man climbing into someone's brain and extracting

the darkest secret with the utmost ease.

        "That we're looking for one," Mulder ceded, interested. He

wanted to see where Pembleton went.

        "Then what are you looking for?"

        "That's not the question I expected you to ask."

        "Well that's the important question, isn't it? What you're

looking for? Why you drove that horrible expanse of I-95 known as

commuter suicide to our fair city? I know that stretch of road, I've

driven it many a time. You don't take it unless you really, really

want to get somewhere." Pembleton's words carried a sense of urgency,

slapping against the walls with enunciated exactitude, but his body

language never wavered; he was still calm, still cool, still leaning

against the wall as if he were discussing nothing more interesting

than the latest baseball scores.

        Mulder stood up, taking a few steps closer to Pembleton. "I'm

looking for a woman who kills younger women. That's all."

        "A 94 year old woman."

        With a smile, Mulder walked towards the doorway. "That's

right, Detective Pembleton. A 94 year old woman."

 

(End Part Two)

 

 

Title: Forward Slash I: Young Blooded (3/5)

Author: Saundra Mitchell

E-Mail: vii@netdirect.net

 

 

        "Hey, where's Bayliss, I got Cox on the phone!" Lewis held his

hand over the receiver, looking around the squad room.

        "He's talking to Lieutenant Giardello," Mulder said. "Is that

Doctor Cox about the Jansen case?"

        Meldrick raised an eyebrow. He paused for a moment, then spoke

into the receiver. Putting down the phone, he leaned his head back,

staring across the plane of his nose at Mulder."Yeah, it is."

        Mulder nodded. "Mind if I take it?"

        Pursing his lips, Lewis considered Mulder for a moment, then

handed him the phone. "I'm missing four paper clips," he said as he

walked away. Mulder stared quizzically at him, but shook it off.

        "Dr. Cox, this is Agent Mulder. Do you have results back on

the samples?"

        "Just preliminary. DNA will take the lab a couple of days at

the very least, but we have a type."

        "Is it the same?"

        "B negative in your sample and ours."

        "Thank you, Dr. Cox."

        "Just doing my job."

        Mulder put the phone back on its cradle, and looked around the

squad room. He wanted to tell Bayliss about the match, but he wasn't

about to interrupt Giardello. Instead, he wandered over to examine the

board and wait. Taking him a shamefacedly long time, he finally

figured it out; open cases in red, closed cases in black. He looked

down the line underneath Bayliss' name. Costello. Reidy. Hammond.

Pepper. Vanderveer. Jansen. Only two of the names (Reidy and Jansen)

were in red.

        The door to Giardello's office opened, and a wan-faced Bayliss

stepped out. He stopped to say something to Frank, then walked

directly for Mulder.

        "Let's go," he said unceremoniously.

        "Dr. Cox called," Mulder said, following Bayliss.

        "Did she?" Bayliss didn't turn around; he kept moving towards

the door.

        "The blood in your victim's stomach matches my victim's

blood."

        "Well that's just wonderful."

        "Where are we going?"

        "To see Howard in Fugitive."

        Mulder didn't know what Giardello had said to Bayliss, but it

had definitely set him off. His forehead was creased, and his lips

were drawn into a tight, straight line. Trailing Bayliss through the

maze of corridors, Mulder felt a familiar tightness in the pit of his

stomach; despite all his training in psychology, he really didn't know

how to deal with most people on a personal level. He could analyze

Bayliss from dawn to dusk, but that still wouldn't improve their

temporary working relationship.

        "Hey, Kay," Bayliss shouted.

        Snapped out of his thoughts, Mulder looked up and grinned.

Narrow, even fox like, Kay Howard's face brought a smile to his lips.

Her dark, liquid eyes stood out against her pale skin, framed by a

tangle of titian hair. She hadn't changed a bit.

        "Kay," Mulder said, holding out a hand to her. Bayliss stared,

stunned, when Kay smiled at Mulder, taking his hand.

        "Mulder, how the hell are you?"

        "Being shown Baltimore's finest by Detective Bayliss. How have

you been?"

        "You two know each other." Bayliss sighed.

        Kay put her hand on Bayliss' shoulder. "Mulder taught a

handful of profiling classes I went to in. . . what was it?"

        "89, I think," he supplied.

        "Yeah, 89. . . then he showed me around Washington." Howard's

voice trailed off, almost seductively. Remembering herself, she faced

Bayliss. "What are you doing all the way down here in Fugitive,

Timmy?"

        "Looking for a favor," Bayliss said, then held out his hand to

Mulder. "Give her the picture."

        Reaching into his pocket, Mulder pulled out the photograph of

Eliza Barret and handed it to Howard. She looked at it for a moment,

then stared at Bayliss, confused.

        "This picture has to be 40 years old. . ."

        "It's one of those carnival pictures," Mulder offered. "You

know, they dress you up in old fashioned clothes. . . unfortunately,

it's the only picture we have of our suspect."

        Silently, Bayliss thanked Mulder for lying. "We were just

hoping you and your guys could keep an eye out for us. . .?"

        Howard tucked the picture in her pants pocket, bobbing her

head affirmatively. "Sure, Tim, it's not a problem."

        "Thanks Kay."

        "If you find her, could you just give us a call?" Mulder

pulled a business card from his pocket and wrote his cell number on

the back of it.

        She took the card, nodding. "It was good seeing you again,

Mulder. Maybe when you put this one down, I can show you some of my

Baltimore."

        Mulder smiled, squeezing her arm gently. In a conspiratorial

whisper, he said "I'd like that. Bayliss hasn't shown me a damned

thing."

        "Come on," Bayliss snarled, stalking out of the room.

        "He really likes me," Mulder joked.

        "So I see." Kay grinned, and pushed Mulder towards the door.

"He's high strung, but a good guy. Better catch up with him."

 

Friday

Apartment of Eliza Barret

 

        "Cleaned out," Bayliss said miserably, looking around the

empty apartment. There was no sign that Eliza Barret had ever lived

here, let alone just two days ago. "If you're right, she's long gone,

Agent Mulder."

        "She usually does two murders per town. She's probably just in

hiding." Mulder looked through the window down onto the street.

        "But they're always a year or more apart" Bayliss' shoulders

sagged, and his eyes painted an impression of quiet resignation. "I

think we should look at other alternatives at this point."

        "What alternatives do we have?" Mulder leaned against the

window frame, his figure shadowed against the late afternoon sunlight.

 

        Bayliss sighed. "I don't know. I didn't know before you came

up here, and I don't know now."

        "It's getting late," Mulder said finally, moving towards the

front door. "I don't like leaving things unfinished, but right now, we

have nothing to go on."

        "Well let's go," Bayliss said, but was interrupted by the

insistent bleeping of Mulder's cell phone. He watched the agent fish

the phone from an interior pocket.

        "Mulder. Yes. . . really? Where? No wait, let me give the

phone to Detective Bayliss." Mulder held the phone out to him. "It's

Kay, they think they saw Eliza Barret."

 

Dancing Quail Antiques,

Northern Hampstead, Maryland

 

        "Just shut up, Agent Mulder." Bayliss burst into the antique

store, making the clerk jump. "I'm Detective Bayliss, I need to ask

you a few questions."

        The clerk nodded, frightened. He rubbed the bald spot on his

head, staring at Bayliss and Mulder.

        Mulder pulled the photograph out of his pocket, and slapped it

down on the counter. "Have you seen this woman?"

        "Today, just today. She bought a settee and an end table."

        "I don't suppose by some fateful chance of luck that you're

supposed to deliver those?"

        Bayliss glared over at Mulder.

        "Yes sir, tomorrow."

        For a moment, Mulder looked surprised, having expected a

negative answer. "Why don't you give us that address, sir?"

        Nodding, the clerk fumbled through a handful of receipts until

he found the right one. With a quavering hand, he held it out. Bayliss

snatched it before Mulder could touch it.

        "Thank you, you have a nice day."

        Mulder wheeled around on his heels, trailing after Bayliss.

"Well that was rude."

        "Don't talk to me anymore," Bayliss snapped.

 

Cartright Mansion

Northern Hampstead, Maryland

 

        Bayliss stood next to Mulder in the growing darkness, staring

up at a decaying manor house. Ivy had nearly obliterated the features

of the house, but the occasional broken window and wooden parapet

jutted out into sight. The night birds lay silent, leaving only the

wind to lend natural music to the situation.

        "Tire tracks," Mulder pointed out. Fresh grooves in long uncut

grass led up to the side of the house.

        "This has to be a joke. This has to be some kind of cosmic,

planets are aligned, once in a century joke."

        "What?"

        "Well, let me see, Agent Mulder. . . I have an FBI agent

'assisting' me on a case that wasn't a red ball until he showed up, a

not-really-a vampire for a suspect, and now I'm standing in front of

the classic haunted mansion with said same FBI agent, looking for the

aforementioned vampire." Bayliss stared at Mulder for a long moment.

"You don't find this at all strange, do you?"

        "This is shaping up to be a pretty normal day for me," Mulder

replied. "You coming?"

        Bayliss shook his head. "We don't have a warrant."

        "Don't need one," Mulder said, walking cautiously up the

stairs to the front door. He pulled a yellowed sheet of paper off the

window and waved it at Bayliss. "Repossessed by the government. We're

agents of the government."

        Eyeing Mulder suspiciously, Bayliss considered his options

before finally following him up the stairs. "What are we going to do,

sit in the parlor and wait for her to come home?"

        "Sure, why not?"

        Bayliss rolled his eyes as Mulder tucked his flashlight under

his arm, and tried to jimmy open the front window. Bayliss turned the

knob on the door, and it popped open with an uneasy wheeze.

        "Why don't we go in this way," he said wryly.

 

        "True crime, romance novels, westerns. . . for an Historical

Literature professor, she sure has an. . . interesting taste in

books." Mulder flipped one of the romances over, and showed the

bodice-ripping cover to Bayliss, then began to read the back aloud.

"Caught between loyalty to her liege and loyalty to the dastardly rake

she loved, Lady Helene of Brewsterberg. . . "

        Bayliss stopped, picking a photograph up. "Mary Jensen."

        "Definitive connection," Mulder replied, looking through one

of the doorways. The house was dark and dusty, parts of it rotting

away, and only one room (the one they were in) showed any sign of

being inhabited. Boxes were stacked in the corner, and a sleeping bag

lay rolled out next to the wall. Their only light was Mulder's Mag

Light, sitting on its base on the floor to cast half illumination on

the area.

        Dropping the picture in its place, Bayliss crossed his arms

over his chest, and walked in a slow circle. The partial light cast

long shadows on his face, erasing the slight lines of age and making

him seem years younger.

        "She's got a bag of hypos in here," Mulder said, making his

way back into the main room, and sitting down on a ragged divan. Dust

plumed up around him, and he covered his mouth with a hand until it

settled. Knowing they probably couldn't admit anything they'd seen

here as evidence until they got a search warrant, Bayliss sighed with

resignation and sat down next to Mulder. Silence settled between them,

and they stared off in different directions, lost in their own

thoughts.

        Suddenly, Bayliss saw a flash of pale skin in the half light,

and watched as Mulder fell to the floor with a heavy thud. Turning

just in time to see the board coming towards him, Bayliss never got a

good look at the person wielding it.

 

Darkness

 

        "Oh god," Mulder muttered, his eyes flickering open, then

closed. Raising a hand, he touched the back of his head. A sharp spike

of pain rippled through him, and when he pulled his hand away, it was

sticky with drying blood. As he started to come around, he realized he

was laying across an equally unconscious Bayliss'. Pushing himself

into an upright position, Mulder ignored his pounding headache and

tried to piece together what had happened. He patted his waist,

looking for his gun or flashlight, but neither were present.

        'This has to be a basement,' Mulder decided. The combination

of a musky and damp odor reminded him of the root cellar in his

grandmother's house, and the cold cement floor underneath him told him

it was probably inside the house. In the darkness, it was almost

impossible to see more than a few inches, so Mulder leaned over

Bayliss, their faces almost touching, There was a gash on Bayliss'

forehead, and darkening trails of blood coursing down his nose and

cheeks.

        Reaching into his pocket, Mulder retrieved a handkerchief and

pressed it against Bayliss' wound.

        "Detective Bayliss," Mulder said softly, then repeated it a

little louder. When Bayliss didn't respond, Mulder ignored the pain

pounding in his head, and pulled the other man up into a semi-sitting

position. Propping Bayliss up against his chest, Mulder tried to wake

him again with gentle pats on his cheeks and the repetition of his

name. Finally, Bayliss' eyes opened partially, then the irises rolled

back under the lids.

        "Hey, hey, wake up, open your eyes," Mulder said, trying to

maneuver Bayliss into a more comfortable position. "Come on,

Detective, wake up."

        "I hate that," Bayliss slurred.

        "Hate what?" Mulder didn't really care, but he wanted to keep

him talking.

        "You saying Detective over and over 'gain. S'like you're

trying to remind me you're all mighty FBI an' I'm jus' a cop."

        "What should I call you then," Mulder asked, folding the

handkerchief over and placing it back over the gash.

        "Bayliss, or Tim or something."

        "I can do that."

        Bayliss waved his hand lazily near his head. "That hurts."

        "You're bleeding, I'm trying to stop it. Do you know where you

are?'

        "Out looking for your vampire."

        "Can you count backwards from 10 to 1?"

        Bayliss snorted. "Ten, nine, eight, seven, etc., etc,. etc."

        Mulder smirked to himself. Apparently the gash had only done

extensive cosmetic damage. "As soon as you can sit up by yourself, I'm

going to look for a way out of here."

        "I can sit up," Bayliss answered, wrenching himself into an

upright position. As he did, he raised both hands to his head,

clutching it in pain. He wobbled a little, but stayed up.

        Mulder took to his feet, and walked with his arms outstretched

until he found a wall of cold, wet masonry stone. Blindly, he worked

his way slowly down, feeling for a door or covered window.

        "What happened," Bayliss asked, his voice starting to sound a

little stronger.

        Mulder found the corner, and turned with it. "I don't know.

The last thing I remember is finding a bag of hypodermic needles."

        "So this is a normal day for you, huh?"

        "At this point, it's perfectly ordinary."

        Finishing his canvass of the walls, Mulder hadn't found

anything resembling a door or window. He had no idea how they'd gotten

into the cellar, and even less idea as to how they'd get out. Bayliss

had been quiet for a long time, and Mulder returned his attention to

him.

        "You okay, Bayliss?"

        "Okay here. Find anything?"

        "Not a damned thing."

        "So we're stuck here."

        "Yep."

 

(End Part Three)

 

 

Title: Forward Slash I: Young Blooded (4/5)

Author: Saundra Mitchell

E-Mail: vii@netdirect.net

 

 

        "You slept with Howard, didn't you?"

        Mulder rolled his eyes, shifting his back against the damp

wall. He could feel the warmth of Bayliss' skin next to him, even

though he couldn't see him. "I did not sleep with Kay Howard."

        "She said you showed her around Washington."

        "I did. The Mall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian. . .

why do you care anyway?"

        Bayliss paused. "I don't."

        "You wouldn't have accused me if you didn't care. Did you

sleep with Kay?"

        "Of course not!"

        Then you wanted to?" Mulder asked the question just to

irritate Bayliss.

        "Okay fine, I care. She's one of my co-workers, I respect

her."

        "You mean she belongs to Baltimore, no feds need apply."

        "Yeah, that's right. What was she doing at those classes

anyway?"

        "Trying to get promoted to detective, as I recall."

        "Oh."

 

        "Your partner, what's his name, Pembleton? Pembleton cornered

me in the interrogation room," Mulder said idly.

        Bayliss laughed lightly. "The box."

        "The box," Mulder repeated. "Cornered me in the box to ask me

about vampires. You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"

        Shivering, Bayliss pulled his knees against his chest. "He's

my partner. He's the secondary on this case. I told him your

theories."

        "He could be a very frightening man," Mulder said. "I don't

think I've ever seen anyone as intense with. . . with being a cop as

he is."

        "Frank is born murder police."

        "Then what are you?"

        "I learned everything the hard way."

 

        "I hate crab."

        "Then you're in the wrong town, Mulder. Everyone here loves

crab."

        "Bull. Someone has to not like it."

        "They throw your ass out of Baltimore if you don't eat crab."

        "I'm not eating crab just to stay in Baltimore."

        "Nice knowing you."

 

        "I'm supposed to be at the bar tonight," Bayliss mumbled,

shivering.

        "Cop by day, bartender by night?" Mulder put his arm around

Bayliss' shoulders, as much for his benefit as Bayliss'. The cellar

was getting colder and colder as the night wore on.

        "Part owner," he answered, leaning uncomfortably against

Mulder's arm. "Lewis and Munch and me."

        "Which one is Munch?"

        "Looks like a cadaver in a bad suit," Bayliss said, then

laughed to himself.

        "Which one is Lewis?"

        "You were sitting at his desk. Wears a hat, brown trench

coat."

        "Oh, the one who accused me of stealing his paper clips."

        "Did you?"

        "Steal his paper clips?" He started to laugh quietly. "No, but

I wanted to."

        "You should have. He liberated an entire box from the supply

closet."

        "I'll keep that in mind next time I'm in Baltimore and need a

couple."

 

        "What was the hard way?"

        Bayliss barked out a bitter laugh. "The Adena Watson, stone

whodunit, redball, 11 year old girl raped and murdered with almost no

evidence, and a suspect who can't be broken in the box way."

        "I'm sorry."

        "I still remember her face, you know. Sometimes when I close

my eyes, that's all I see."

 

        "How long do you think we've been down here?"

        "How should I know? You've been awake longer than I have."

        "I meant approximately."

        "Somewhere between 2 minutes and several years."

        "Probably only a year or so."

        "Probably."

 

        "She killed herself, with the others. I tried to stop her, but

I couldn't."

        "You really believe in this past life stuff, huh?"

        "I guess so," Mulder sighed. "Even if it was all lies, she

still died, and I still couldn't do a damned thing about it."

        "Trust me, I know exactly how that feels."

 

Sunday

Homicide Unit

 

        "Bayliss and Agent Mulder have been officially missing for

twenty four hours," Giardello said, looking at the worried faces of

his homicide squad. "According to Kay Howard, they left for Northern

Hampstead in search of Eliza Barret, a suspect in the Jansen murder.

That was Friday evening. I specifically requested that Missing Persons

allow us to handle this case, and I intend for us to find them both in

record time. Any overtime required has been approved."

        Muffled voices filled the silence following Giardello's

orders, until the door of the homicide unit was pushed open, slamming

against the wall. All eyes fell on the short, red haired woman who had

burst into the room. She raised an eyebrow at the assembly.

        "I'm Agent Dana Scully. I'm looking for Lieutenant Giardello."

She held a badge wallet out in front of her.

        "I'm Lieutenant Giardello," Gee said, holding out his hand.

"I'd like you to go out with Detective Pembleton, Frank raise your

hand, he's Detective Bayliss' partner. I understand you have a

personal stake in this investigation, but we all have a common goal."

        Scully walked over and stood next to Frank, exchanging a quiet

introduction. Pembleton nodded his head in acknowledgment, then turned

his eyes back to Giardello.

        "Well don't wait on me, people," Gee said, going back towards

his office. "I'll be out on the street after I make a few phone

calls."

        As Giardello walked away, Pembleton turned and cupped a hand

on Scully's shoulder. "So, Dana, do you believe in vampires?"

 

Darkness

 

        "It's cold in here," Bayliss said, his voice thin and reedy.

"I hate the cold, I've hated the cold ever since I was little."

        "Sometimes the cold brings clarity of thought," Mulder said,

silently reminiscing.

        "All I can think of is that I'm cold, but it's a very clear

thought."

        "Really? I'm thinking about being thirsty and hungry."

        "Good. Good, now I'm thinking about that too."

        Mulder smirked. "Sorry about that."

        "No you're not."

        "You just want to argue."

        "It keeps me warm."

        "Walk around, then."

        "My head hurts too much to move."

        "But not too much to argue?"

        "No, it hurts to argue, too. Just not as much as standing up."

        "You want my coat?"

        "How noble of you."

        "Purely selfish. I don't want to listen to you whine anymore."

        "How long have we been down here?"

        "I still don't know."

 

Somewhere in Baltimore, Maryland

 

        "See, Bayliss, Bayliss is idealistic," Frank said, turning on

his turn signal. Scully peered out the windows, only half listening.

"But Mulder. . . well, I understand he's your partner and all, but

he's crazy. Bats in the belfry crazy."

        "Mulder used to be crazy," Scully said. "I'm not so sure

anymore."

        "But vampires?"

        "Don't get me wrong, Frank," she said, leaning back. "His

theories are . . . questionable, but lately, I think he's mostly going

through the motions. He's lost his faith."

        Pembleton raised his eyebrows. "His faith?"

        "It's hard to explain. I know it sounds insane, but he's lost

his faith in something bigger than him. God, why am I telling you

this?"

        "People have a way of telling me what's on their minds," Frank

said succinctly.

        "I suppose they do, don't they?" Scully paused, and looked

over at him. "So why don't you tell me something about yourself?"

        "What do you want to know?"

        She shrugged. "Anything. Where are you from?"

        "New York."

        "How did you end up in Baltimore."

        "Better chance of promotion."

        "Are you married?"

        "Yes."

        "Do you have children?"

        "Yes."

        "You're worried about Bayliss, aren't you?"

        Frank said nothing for a long time. Finally he nodded his

head. "Yes. Yes I am."

 

Darkness

 

        "So you love her."

        "Absolutely. I trust her implicitly."

        "That's not what I mean. I mean, are you in love with her?"

        He shook his head, rearranging his coat over the both of them.

"I love her. I can't live without her. I don't want to ruin it by

thinking about it like that."

        "Did it ever occur to you that you could ruin it by not

thinking about it?"

        Mulder considered that for a moment, trying to ignore the

twisting pain in his stomach. By his best guess, they'd been in this

cellar for at least a day, maybe more, and it wasn't getting any more

pleasant. The slick water on the walls seemed to have iced over, and

he was sure that if he could see, he would be able to see his breath.

He and Bayliss were shivering almost constantly, despite how closely

they were sitting together.

        "Scully is," he thought aloud, trying to find the right words.

"Scully is sacred to me. She's given up nearly everything for me, it

would be selfish to ask for more. I'm afraid. . . I'm afraid I would

destroy her."

        "You said she almost kissed you. . . rather kissed that guy

who looked like you. She's an adult, isn't she? Shouldn't you let her

decide her own fate?"

        Mulder grinned, lolling his head over against Bayliss'. "She

might enjoy that, deciding her own life. She hasn't had the chance to

do that in five years."

        "I know the feeling," Bayliss said, an odd, exhausted giggle

escaping his lips. "Frank could be my husband sometimes, and sometimes

I'm a very good wife."

        "Those would be some ugly kids," Mulder said.

        They were quiet for a moment, then burst into hysterical

laughter. Bayliss leaned his head back, his entire body shuddering

with his outburst and the cold; his warm breath drifting across

Mulder's throat. The scent of another man's skin flooded his senses,

making his heart pound a little too fast. Squeezing his eyes closed,

Bayliss gritted his teeth against his sudden and surprising reaction

to Mulder's proximity.

        As their voices trailed off, Mulder noticed a tenseness in

Bayliss. He looked down, trying to determine the cause, and at the

same moment, Bayliss looked up to say something. They stopped only a

whisper away from the other's lips, their breaths sustained in

silence. With a gentle motion, Bayliss leaned forward hesitantly and

Mulder wavered. Closing his eyes, Bayliss took a sharp breath, then a

chance, pressing his lips against Mulder's. Warmth spread over his

body, and he trembled almost imperceptively as their touch lingered.

        A short second later, Bayliss pulled back slightly, waiting

for the worst reaction. He was horrified; not at the feeling, but that

he actually acted on it. He started to apologize, but Mulder cut him

off, returning the embrace. The slow burn of the first kiss turned

into a blaze. Their hands grasped at familiar, masculine bodies, and

the scratch of stubble against faces used only to softness of feminine

flesh was novel eroticism. Bayliss pushed Mulder back, reveling in the

salty sweet tinge to their mouths as they met.

        Mulder found himself knotting his hands in Bayliss' hair,

pulling him closer, opening his own mouth longer to savor the

sensations. The weight of Bayliss' body against his made him ache all

over, longing to touch, to taste. . .

        When they parted the second time, Bayliss laid his face

against Mulder's shoulder, grasping his arms as if afraid to let go.

Mulder's thoughts spun madly, trying to understand. He'd never

entertained the thought of being attracted to another man before, but

now he found himself comfortable Bayliss' arms, even wanting more.

Between shallow, jagged breaths, he realized he was scared; he also

realized it was a fear he wanted to face.

        Bayliss let go and jerked himself into a sitting position,

thumping his back against the wall. "I'm sorry. I'm. . . I'm sorry."

        "Why?" Mulder's voice was low, infused with sexuality. Leaning

over, he turned Bayliss' face towards his, moving up close enough to

see him. Bayliss stared back, a shocked look marring his features,

confusion in his eyes. Rather than wait for a fumbling response,

Mulder half smiled and moved to taste Bayliss' lips again

 

Early Monday Morning

Somewhere in Northern Hampstead

 

        "This is the worst hot dog I've ever had," Frank complained.

They were sitting in the parking lot of a 24 hour convenience store.

With napkins spread on their lap, they chatted in the glare of neon

lights. "And I've had a lot of hot dogs."

        "You probably shouldn't even be eating a hot dog, Frank."

Scully swiped a speck of relish out of the corner of her mouth.

        Pembleton stared at her. "What do you mean by that?"

        Taking a long drag on her root beer, Scully shrugged her

shoulders. "The medication you took, hydrochlorothiazide and coumadin;

you've either had a stroke or you have very high blood pressure. That

hot dog is the same as eating a nicely packaged tube of lard, and it's

full of nitrites."

        For a moment, Frank sat in stunned silence, then barked a

laugh. "You a doctor?"

        Scully reached into their communal bag of chips and nodded.

"As a matter of fact, I am."

        "Well, I don't think. . . "

        Laughing, Scully cut him off. "Don't have an aneurysm, Frank.

It was just an observation. One hot dog won't kill you."

        "That one might. It was awful."

        "Cheers," she said, holding her hot dog up.

 

Dancing Quail Antiques

 

        "Sent them out to the Cartright Place," a storekeeper said,

staring glassy eyed at Meldrick Lewis. "That's been a couple of days

ago, I think. . . "

        "Okay listen, and this is very important," Lewis stressed,

leaning forward. The scent of cheap liquor wafted up, giving him more

than enough cause to doubt the man. "You are absolutely sure that

these are the two men you sent to this Cartright Place?"

        The storekeeper nodded. "I oughtta remember them. They argued

all the way in here, and all the way out."

        "Where is the Cartright Place," Kellerman broke in

impatiently, pushing his hair from his eyes.

        "Right out by the old Ballinger Farm," the storekeeper

replied.

        Lewis shot Kellerman a look of pure irritation. "Okay, sir,

let's pretend that Detective Kellerman and I are idiots, and we don't

know where the Ballinger Farm is. Where is the Cartright Place?"

 

        It only took a few minutes for the word to spread from Lewis

to the other detectives looking for Mulder and Bayliss. A few more

minutes, and five white Cavaliers were on the road, speeding towards

Northern Hampstead and the Cartright Mansion, right out by the

Ballinger Farm.

 

(End Part Four)

 

Title: Forward Slash I: Young Blooded (5/5)

Author: Saundra Mitchell

E-Mail: vii@netdirect.net

 

 

Cartright Mansion

 

        Eliza Barret was woken by the sound of several cars pulling

down her long, gravel driveway. She pulled herself out of the sleeping

bag, and peered out the slats of a boarded-over window. Greeted by a

line of white cars like the one she'd disposed of two days ago, her

heart pounded icily in her chest. Berating herself for thinking the

two men would go missing unnoticed, she quickly formulated a plan.

        Pulling on her bathrobe, she hid one of the guns she'd taken

from the men in her house in the pocket, and picked up a lantern in

her other hand. She could hear footsteps crunching in the gravel, then

walking up the precarious steps, and finally an unsure knock on the

door.

        "Can I help you," she asked imperiously, swinging the door

open.

        "I'm Detective Pembleton, Baltimore Homicide. This is Special

Agent Scully from the FBI. We'd like to ask you a few questions."

        Eliza stared past Pembleton, and took note of eight other

people standing next to their cars, presumably also police officers.

"It's four in the morning, couldn't it have waited until a reasonable

hour?"

        "No ma'am, I'm afraid it couldn't." Pembleton flashed her a

falsely apologetic smile. "I'm sorry, what was your name?"

        "What is this about? I have the deed to this house, even if

the government signs are still up."

        Scully listened to Frank wrangle with the woman as she peered

into the house. Slowly guiding her flashlight at her hip, she caught

sight of a gun and a cell phone lying on the floor. She waited for a

natural opening in Frank's conversation to step in.

        "So you haven't seen these two officers in the last three

days?" Frank's voice was still calmly soothing.

        Eliza shook her head. "No, no I haven't. May I go in now?"

        "I have a few questions," Scully said, pulling her phone from

her pocket. "Just a second, please."

        Frank watched Scully dial her phone, a look of confusion on

his face. She raised an eyebrow softly at him, signaling that it

wasn't any ordinary phone call. He let himself trust her instincts,

and waited to see what would happen.

        "Hi there, This is Agent Dana Scully, ID number 94399329-1232.

Could you transfer me to Agent Mulder's cell line? Great, thanks."

        A smooth line of realization fell over Pembleton's face, and

if he hadn't been standing in front of their suspect, he would have

smiled. A few seconds later, the cell phone inside the house started

to ring. It took Eliza a little while longer to understand the

significance, but when she did, a look of horror passed over her

delicate features.

        "So, ma'am, are you still sure you haven't seen Agent Mulder

and Detective Bayliss?"

        Eliza shifted her weight from one foot to the other, and

considered her options. Dropping her lantern, it fell to the floor

with a crash, but it didn't disguise the sound of a slide being

pulled.

        "Step back," Eliza hissed, pointing the gun from Pembleton to

Scully. "Step back or I'll shoot you both."

        They took a step away from the door. "You can't win now,"

Pembleton said liquidly. "The house is already surrounded. We only

want Agent Mulder and Detective Bayliss, no one has to get hurt here."

        "Step back!" The woman's voice had turned into a shriek. When

Scully and Pembleton were a reasonable distance from the door, she

slammed it shut. "I'll shoot anyone who comes near this house!"

 

Darkness

 

        Bayliss' eyes fluttered open weakly; he wasn't quite sure what

had woken him. Untangling himself from Mulder's sleeping arms, he

tried to sit up. When he did, his head swam, making his stomach roil.

Weakly, he pushed at Mulder, trying to wake him.

        "Mulder, wake up," he rasped, this throat burningly dry. "I

hear something, wake up."

        "What is it," Mulder mumbled drowsily.

        "Sirens, I think. I think they found us." Bayliss took a deep

breath, trying to stay awake. Each time he paused, sleep threatened to

claim him again.

        "The cavalry has arrived?"

        "Yeah."

        "Thass good. . . " Mulder's voice trailed off.

        "Yeah. . ."

 

Cartright Mansion

 

        Scully stood at the side of an ambulance, creating an ersatz

medical bag as the SWAT team set up around the house. She was

distracted by worry. Mulder and Bayliss had been missing for almost

four days. There was a very good possibility that when they stormed

the house, they'd only find bodies. Unconsciously, she reached for her

cross pendant, praying for the best, hoping for strength. Above her,

she heard the whir of helicopter rotors. She couldn't believe how

quickly the press had gotten wind of the burgeoning stand off. Briefly

considering making a phone call to Teena Mulder, she thought better of

it. 'It's just local news,' she told herself. She just hoped she

wouldn't have to make a more serious phone call later.

        Walking over to her, Pembleton held out a cup of coffee. "It's

a little cold out here, and all we can do now is wait."

        She took it gratefully. "I hope you're not drinking coffee."

        "It's just hot water," Frank said, showing her the contents of

his cup.

 

        Pulling open the cellar hatch, Eliza stared down at her two

captives lying motionless on the floor. She couldn't hear them

breathing, and their skin looked waxy and cold from her perspective.

Looking at the hypodermic needle in her hand, she reconsidered. They

already looked dead; perhaps they really were.

 

        "We don't have a clear shot, we can't establish

communications, this is a clusterfuck," the commander of the SWAT team

complained to Giardello. "Right now, she has every advantage in the

world."

        An expression of cold fury rose in Giardello's eyes. He turned

his head, and motioned for Scully.

        "Yes sir?"

        "Agent Mulder's cell phone is still active inside the house,

correct?"

        "Yes sir, at least it was an hour ago."

        Giardello stared at the SWAT commander. "There's your line of

communication. Use it. I want my men out safely."

 

        "I don't have any demands. Just go away." Eliza sat huddled in

an interior corner, Mulder's phone pressed against her face.

Considering the gun in her hand, she wondered how long she could hold

out against the police, but she knew she wasn't going to make it out

alive. She'd spent 63 years moving from town to town, murder to murder

to stay young, and now she was going to die in a wretched farmhouse in

Maryland. She wasn't even listening to the soothing voice on the other

end of the line anymore, so she hung up and turned off the phone.

 

Monday Afternoon

 

        It seemed as if half the Baltimore and Hampstead police

departments were standing on the front lawn of the Cartright Mansion.

Pembleton counted four news vans, and two helicopters. Edgily, he

tapped his foot as he sat on the hood of his car. No contact with the

woman for four hours. Soon, the SWAT team would storm the house; that

was the only option left.

        He'd been at enough hostage situations to know that things

looked grim. By the time this was over, he knew that Eliza Barret

would be dead. He tried not to think about the fact that Bayliss

probably would be, too.

        Abruptly, two shots rang out inside the house in quick

succession. As if waiting for that cue, the SWAT team swarmed up the

verandah, through windows and into doors. Pembleton closed his eyes

and clenched his jaw, unable to watch the invasion.

        A small hand fell on his shoulder, and he moved to face Scully

stoically. The pain was so deeply etched into her eyes, he couldn't

ignore his. Pembleton opened his arms to hold her, clinging to the

only person on that field who knew precisely what was in his heart.

Pressing her forehead against his chest, Scully held back her tears.

They could wait until later, when they knew for sure. Neither one

really cared that this scene was becoming a front page photograph

 

        "One body," the SWAT commander shouted out of the house.

"Female, single gunshot wound to the head. House is clear."

 

        "Reflex shot," Scully said quietly, looking down at Eliza

Barret's corpse. Even though she was still recognizable, it was as if

she'd aged half a century in half a day. Her body was still strong and

young, but her face was a canvass of crossing lines, her hair now thin

and white. "See, she shot herself, and as she died, her hand spasmed.

Those were the two shots we heard."

        "Tear apart this house," Giardello ordered, waving his hands.

"Upstairs, downstairs, inside the walls, I don't care. Bayliss and

Mulder have to be in here. Scully, Pembleton, I want you to wait

outside."

        "Come on, Gee," Pembleton protested.

        "Now, Frank."

 

        "We found 'em, Gee!" Lewis called out, helping Kellerman lower

the ladder into the cellar. "We need a bigger light, somebody give me

a light!"

        Stepping carefully on the ladder, Lewis tested each rung

before stepping on it. Stivers handed him one of the lanterns from the

living room. When he reached the bottom, he held up the lamp, and

walked over to the small huddle of bodies against the far wall.

        His stomach turned when he saw the pale skin and dark, dried

blood on Bayliss' face. He took a deep breath, and reached out,

pushing his index and middle finger onto the artery in his throat. A

pulse. He checked Mulder. A pulse.

        "They alive, Gee. Get the paramedics."

 

 

 

        Scully watched the paramedics grab their gear and run towards

the house. She started to follow them, the reminder that she was a

medical doctor on her tongue, but she was stopped by the solitary

reminder of Pembleton, still sitting next to her on the hood of his

car. His partner was in there too, and he wouldn't be allowed in.

Resisting the impulse to follow, she reached out for Frank's hand

instead.

 

Wednesday

Johns Hopkins Medical Center

 

        Bayliss walked into Mulder's hospital room, dragging an IV

stand behind him. His skin was still sallow, but the gash on his

forehead was stitched and covered by clean, white bandages. He looked

ten times better than he had when he was wheeled into the hospital,

unconscious. They both did.

        "Hey."

        Looking up from his book, Mulder waved weakly and moved over

so Bayliss could sit on the edge of his bed. "You look better."

        "Don't really feel it much," Bayliss replied, not looking

down. "You?"

        "It's been worse."

        Mulder watched a thousand emotions run an internal battle on

Bayliss' face. He wanted to say something, but he didn't know what. In

the bright light of day, everything that had happened seemed unreal.

He remembered the sensation of Bayliss' lips on his, and he closed his

eyes against the memory.

        "The case is down," Bayliss said finally. "The blood in Eliza

Barret's stomach matched Mary Jensen's. You were right."

        "That happens sometimes," Mulder joked quietly. He reached out

and touched Bayliss' hand. "Are you all right?"

        Bayliss bit his lower lip. "I don't know how to feel the way I

feel about you."

        Shaking his head, Mulder sighed. "I don't either."

        "I've been thinking about it for a long time," Bayliss

confessed haltingly. "Not you, specifically, just the idea. I didn't

expect. . . I didn't expect to drag someone else into it."

        "There wasn't a lot of dragging involved," Mulder said. "I

surprised myself more than anything, Bayliss. If you want, chalk it up

to our dehydration and concussions, or our looming sense of imminent

death , but . . . but I'm not going to regret it."

        Bayliss looked down, his sad eyes locking with Mulder's. "I

can't; I won't make excuses."

        Glancing around the room for prying eyes, Mulder sat up in his

bed, adjusting his various IVs. He took Bayliss' hand in his, and drew

a deep breath.

        "I don't know what happens now," Mulder said softly, shifting

forward.

        Bayliss looked down, licking his chapped lips. "You go back to

your vampires, I go back to my murders, and we send cards at

Christmas."

        Closing his eyes, Mulder brushed his mouth against Bayliss'

unhesitatingly. Lingering for a long moment, he relished their

momentary passion and closeness. He pulled away, then grinned in spite

of himself.

        "I still hate crab, I guess that means I can't come back to

Baltimore."

        For the first time, Mulder saw Bayliss' genuine smile. "You

can come back. I'll write you a note."

 

Homicide Unit

 

        The eraser swept across the board, wiping the red Jensen and

case number out of existence. With slow deliberation, it was written

back in, in black.

 

The Mall

Washington DC

 

        "Mulder, slow down, you're still weak," Scully chastised. He

slowed down to keep her measured pace.

        "I'm sorry you got pulled away from your mother," he said,

tightening the belt of his coat.

        "I didn't," she replied. "I got the call from Skinner on the

same day I was leaving. I just changed my ticket from DC to

Baltimore."

        Stopping, he took placed his hands on Scully's shoulders. "I'm

glad you came."

        "You couldn't have doubted that I would."

        "No, I didn't." Mulder bowed his head, smiling. "You know. . .

I know I've. .. I've been unfair to you in the past, and sometimes,

most of the time, I know I don't show it, but I love you."

        Scully smiled softly, putting her arms around him. "I know you

do, Mulder."

        "I can't imagine myself without you," he added, pulling her

close. "You're my best friend, Scully."

        She returned his hug, listening to his heartbeat, then put her

arms around his neck. She slid up on her tiptoes, and kissed him

lightly on the cheek. Stepping back, she took his hand.

        "I saw you kiss Bayliss, in the hospital" she said carefully.

"Do you want to talk about that?"

        He dropped a gentle peck on her temple. "Not yet, I don't

think."

        "I'll be here when you're ready."

        Mulder smiled and squeezed her hand. "Thank you."

 

(End Part Five)

(The End)



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