Title: Reclamation, Part Ten
Rating/Pairing: PG-13, M&S (w/William)
Summary: In the fall of 2012, William Van de Kamp shows up on Mulder and Scully's doorstep. As they learn about the circumstances that brought him to them, they must learn to be a family together while also protecting William from the conspiracy that still seeks to use him for their own purposes.
Feedback: Yes, please. firstname.lastname@example.org
Archive: Not to Gossamer. I'll submit directly there. Yes to anywhere else. Just let me know, please.
Warnings: Mild violence/violent imagery, mild bad language, William-centric (not baby-fic); Post-IWTB, mytharc-ish.
Author's Notes: Written for XF Big Bang 2010. Thanks to all who helped me--my sister, my great beta, Anubis (whose knowledge of guns and ammo came in very handy!) and my great artist, Fidella!
Thursday, October 11
Peter Clark made his way to his superior's office, a knot of dread tightening in his belly with each step.
Mistakes were not tolerated and could earn you some creative punishments.
Failure could get you killed.
Fortunately for Peter, he was simply the messenger, but even reporting the bad news could be uncomfortable.
Peter hadn't been in the FBI very long. He had dreamed of being an agent all through high school and college. He'd wanted to be one of the good guys.
So how had he ended up here? How had he ended up working for these men? He thought he was being recruited for a grand cause--a way to make his country and the world a better place. It took a while for him to realize what was really going on, but by then he was in too deep, knew too much and would surely have been killed if he'd tried to back out.
By now he was at the door to the outer office where a pretty blond receptionist sat.
She smiled as she greeted him.
"What can I do for you, Peter?"
He couldn't return her smile as he wondered if she knew who--or what--she worked for.
"I need to see him. Now."
Her smile slipped away as she picked up the phone and spoke to her boss.
"Go on in," she said, waving him toward the door.
"We have a problem," Peter said as soon as he'd closed the door behind him.
Rex Horne simply blinked at him with his dangerous, passive face.
Peter took a deep breath and plunged in.
"There have been some bad reactions. At least eight subjects went to their local emergency rooms, so we have exposure."
"Has anyone outside the test group been affected--doctors or nurses or family members?"
"Not yet, as far as I've heard. But the symptoms have been seen and blood samples have been taken."
"The subjects will have to be eliminated," Horne said indifferently. "We need to keep it contained. Make sure we acquire any and all samples from each subject."
Peter swallowed hard but tried not to betray the sick roiling that had begun in his stomach. This was the reaction he had feared. He hoped it was just the eight. Eight people.
"What about the medical personnel--is there an official line about what they may have seen?"
"We'll have to put together some kind of statement about a new flu strain or something. I'll leave that to the men in our medical division. Just make sure it stays out of the news."
"Yes, sir," Peter replied, recognizing his dismissal. He escaped the office and headed for the elevator.
Outside of Richmond
"Okay, boys," Scully said, putting on her coat and looking for her keys.
William and Mulder looked up from the video game they were playing.
"I'm leaving for the hospital, but I should be back in time for lunch." She stepped over to the sofa and kissed each of them in turn.
"Mulder, today's trash day," she continued. "Don't forget."
"You'll be back soon?" William said, seeking reassurance, unwilling to see her leave.
"Yes, honey," she said, kissing him again. "Soon."
She picked up her valise and paused at the door.
"Mulder, please don't spend all morning playing that game." She quirked an eyebrow at him, wondering which of them would find it harder to put the controllers down.
Mulder nodded at her with a guilty smile. "See you later, Scully."
Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital
Scully made her way to her office at the hospital. She had to check in and wanted to clear her calendar and see that someone could cover for her for the next several days. She wasn't sure how things were going to play out and she needed to focus on William and on preparing for what might be coming. Fortunately, she didn't have any critical patients at the moment.
She had been regularly placing online orders for the drugs and chemicals and other medical supplies she had been using to create a stock of the vaccine, having them delivered to her office as a precaution. After William's reaction to the vaccine she was a little concerned and wanted to be sure she had enough supplies at the house.
She was in her office, checking the shipment that had been set inside for her when her phone rang.
"Scully," she said, wedging the receiver in the crook of her neck as she pulled patient folders and turned on her computer.
"Dr. Scully, I'm glad I caught you," the voice on the other side began breathlessly. "They told me you'd been out of the office."
"Yes," she answered, still multi-tasking her way through making notes on her scheduling calendar. "And I'm actually preparing to take several more days off. How can I help you what did you say your name was?"
"I'm sorry," the man on the line said. "I'm Dr. Forga. I'm in the ICU."
"What can I do for you, Dr. Forga?"
"Well, I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, but someone told me that you used to work for the FBI as a pathologist..." His voice was tentative and hurried, nervous, but urgent.
"Yes..." Scully drew the word out as she stopped what she was doing. This doctor she couldn't recall meeting now had her full attention.
"I was told you had a lot of experience with...unusual findings..."
"What do you want, Dr. Forga?" Scully's hands were suddenly cold as her mind raced. Had someone found out about William? Had someone come looking for her or the boy? Who was this Dr. Forga?
"I have a patient here, Dr. Scully," Forga continued. "He was admitted through the ER last night. No one knows what's wrong with him. I was hoping you could come and take a look at him."
Scully rose to her feet and went to the small refrigerator in her office, her heart quickening as she already began to suspect what might be happening.
"What are his symptoms?"
Outside of Richmond
"Ohhh!" Mulder groaned as his fighter died for the last time.
"Got you again!" William laughed in triumph.
"Okay, okay," Mulder said, clapping William on the thigh. "We'd better stop for now. Come and help me with the trash."
"Sure," William said, turning off the game and following Mulder out of the living room.
"Bring the trashcans from my office and the downstairs restroom into the kitchen," Mulder directed. He climbed the stairs to gather trash from the upstairs rooms.
They bagged the trash and carried the bags out to the far end of the drive. As they returned to the house, William spoke up.
"Yes, son?" Mulder replied, squinting at his boy in the chilly morning sun.
"Um do you think we could practice some more with the gun?" He looked up at Mulder, biting his lip nervously, unsure how his father would react to the request.
Mulder stopped and looked at him, considering the question. He knew that one session wasn't enough to give William the confidence and skills he might need. Scully wouldn't like it, but it was necessary and it really couldn't wait.
"Yeah," Mulder said at last, putting his arm around William's shoulders. "I think we can do that. Go upstairs and get your jacket--it's pretty cold out here. I'll meet you out back."
"Yes, sir," William said, trotting ahead and hurrying up the stairs.
Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital
Scully entered the ICU area and was met by Forga, a middle-aged doctor whose kind face was drawn into a frown.
"He's over here, Dr. Scully," he said, directing her to one of the isolation units.
They donned masks, gloves and gowns and entered the unit where Clendenin lay, hooked up to several machines.
Scully glanced at his chart, noting the high fever as well as the notation about his eyes.
"Tell me again what his wife said about how he got sick," Scully said, moving up to the bed to examine him herself.
"She said he was fine in the morning when he left for work," Forga began, watching Scully from the other side of the bed. "He got a flu shot at work, started feeling bad and went home. They both thought he had the flu, but he got very sick. By the time she got him here he was unconscious. We got his fever down somewhat, but..."
Scully pried open first one eye, then the other, a chill running down her spine as she saw the thick swirls of the black oil.
"What is with his eyes? Nobody knows what that is." Forga leaned forward to get a look as Scully continued.
"And did you see this?" He rolled Clendenin's arm a little to reveal an ugly black mark.
"What is that?" Scully asked, though she suspected she knew the answer.
"The injection site for the flu shot," Forga said. "You can see the needle mark. Do you think it was the vaccine?"
"What?" Scully asked sharply.
"The flu vaccine," Forga said, blinking at her tone. "Do you think it could be a contamination in the flu vaccine or something?"
"No," Scully replied, taking a deep breath to calm herself. "Not exactly.
"Dr. Forga," she continued, "have you heard of anyone else showing up with these symptoms at any other hospitals or clinics here in town?" Scully reached into her pocket and fingered the vial of vaccine she had taken from her office.
"No," he replied. "Not yet. But if he got his shot at work, I wonder how many others could end up like this."
"Where does he work?" Scully asked, checking Clendenin's chart to find his weight.
"At the Social Security Administration," Forga replied. "We've already put in a call to their HR department."
"In DC?" Scully asked pointedly. "Did he work in DC?"
"No," Forga said, a little confused at Scully's question. "He worked in their offices here in Richmond."
"Oh," Scully replied, her head spinning with the memory of the way the conspirators had infiltrated the Social Security offices in DC in order to gain access to information on every citizen in the US who had had a smallpox vaccination.
"Dr. Forga," Scully began, "I'm going to treat this man, but I can't tell you if he's going to recover."
"Do you know what this is?"
"Yes," Scully said, pulling the vial of vaccine from her pocket. She prepared a syringe and injected the vaccine into Clendenin's IV port.
"Well what is it?" Forga asked.
Scully looked at Forga for a long time before she answered. How much should she tell him? How much did he need to know? How much would he believe?
"It's a...rare...virus," she fudged. "I'm not sure exactly what's going on, but I have reason to believe that this man was purposefully exposed to this virus, injected with it, as part of some kind of plan or experiment."
Forga stared at her, his dark eyes steady and measuring over the protective mask he wore, his brows drawing together as he weighed her words.
"Are you kidding?" he said at last.
"No," Scully said firmly. "I'm not kidding."
"Is it contagious?" Forga asked. "Will his wife come down with it? What about the other people at his office who got the flu shot?"
"It's not contagious in a conventional sense," Scully answered, trying to calm Forga even as she herself tried not to panic. "If his wife is healthy right now she's not likely to get sick, but you must keep this man completely isolated for now. No direct contact with anyone until you hear further from me."
"What was that you injected into his IV?" Forga picked up Clendenin's chart to make a notation.
"Listen, Dr. Forga," Scully said, laying a hand on his arm, speaking quietly but firmly. "I need to make a call and we need to get this man and his wife to a safe location until we can get to the bottom of this. Right now I don't want anyone else knowing that I've treated him. Is that clear?"
Forga stared at her, his mask hiding his gaping mouth.
Outside of Richmond
Mulder and William came in from the backyard, tired and hungry. Mulder poked around in the kitchen to scrounge up a meal while William got glasses and plates from the cabinets.
"Can I have a soda?" he asked.
Mulder considered for a moment.
"I guess a root beer won't hurt you." He reached into the fridge and got a can for each of them.
"Thanks," William said politely, putting the cans on the table.
Mulder made sandwiches and they ate quietly together.
William could smell the gunpowder on his clothes and he realized with some shame that he had enjoyed practicing with the gun and was proud that his control and aim were getting better. Was that wrong? The point of teaching him how to use the gun was that they figured he'd have to use it. To shoot someone.
His thoughts ran to all that he'd been told. Even though his parents were sincere about everything they'd said, he still had trouble understanding the more fantastic aspects of it.
He knew that things like murder and kidnapping happened in the world. Though he would never have thought that he would be caught up in such events, he understood that such things happened. But the rest of the story--conspiracies, aliens, invasion plans, alien viruses--were beyond his grasp.
His mother had given him that strange injection that had made him sick. He trusted her and knew that she'd taken care of him while he was ill, but he'd never heard of any kind of alien virus and couldn't imagine what it had to do with these invasion plans.
He stole a glance at his father. He admired this man and felt that he wasn't crazy, but it was all so different from what he'd known.
"Will," Mulder began as he finished his meal, "There's a lot of work to be done downstairs, if you'd like to help me."
For the first time since he'd come to this place, William hesitated at the thought of what he might be asked to do.
When William didn't respond right away, Mulder went on to explain.
"I'm working on packing magnetite into the tips of hollow point ammunition. I'm almost finished, but all that ammo needs to be loaded into clips for each of our weapons and I could use some help with that."
At last William nodded. "Okay." He was a little tired, but he wanted to be helpful and useful even if he didn't understand it.
Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital
Scully pressed one of the speed dials on her phone and Skinner picked up immediately.
"Sir, we have a problem," she said bluntly. She went on to give Skinner the information on Curtis Clendenin and his wife and urged him to get the couple to a safe location.
"What do think this means?" Skinner asked.
"Well, it wouldn't make much sense for them to just randomly infect someone," Scully said, making her way back to her office. "My guess is that they were trying to give these people just enough of the virus to bring them under control, but Clendenin must have been more vulnerable to its effects, giving him a full-blown infection like we've seen in the past."
"But no one else there in Richmond has gotten sick?"
"Not that I know of, but others might have not come in to a hospital or clinic just yet. I guess it depends on how the virus affects them."
"I'm sending one of my men and his team out there right now," Skinner said, sending an email to one of his trusted agents, summoning him to his office for instructions.
"I think we have to assume that these...controlled...people are going to be put to use soon," Scully said, trying to think ahead. "We don't know if everyone who got the flu shot got a dose of the virus or if it was given only to a certain number of individuals, so we don't know how many we might be up against, or in how many SSA offices this procedure was carried out.
"We've got to keep an ear out for any reports of any other reactions like Clendenin's, or...I don't know...strange behavior?"
"I'll put some feelers out," Skinner responded.
"Listen," Scully said, entering her office and gathering her things. "I'd like to stay until your team gets here to get this couple, but I want to get home. If this is really coming down this way, we have more work to do at home to prepare."
"I understand," Skinner said. "Scully, I assume Mulder told you that I want you all to come into DC so we can operate from here. I think maybe we should move on it right away. Can you all come in tomorrow morning? Be prepared to stay."
"Yes, sir," Scully answered, her mind already running through a list of what needed to be done. "We'll call later to confirm."
"Take care, Scully." Skinner ended the call and pulled off his glasses to scrub at his face. "Shit."
Peter Clark answered his phone before the first ring had finished.
"They're gone," the operative on the line said.
"You took care of them?"
"No," the man said spat. "I mean they're gone. They were here at the hospital, but they're gone. No one seems to have any information on where they went or how they left."
"Did you check at their address?" Clark was desperate.
"This isn't my first job, Clark," the dark-haired man sneered. For all his hardened attitude, he was nervous. First he'd missed the kid out in Wyoming and now he had missed this couple. He couldn't afford to screw this up.
"Dana Scully works at this hospital," the dark-haired man continued. "If she saw Clendenin I'm sure she told Skinner. I think he had these people moved."
Clark sighed in exasperation, already dreading what he had to do. Clendenin was the last name on his list of those his boss had told him to eliminate. The others had been...taken care of, but he couldn't allow anyone to slip through.
"I'll let Horne know."
Continued in Part Eleven