March 31, 1995
Fox Mulder stood in the middle of the basement office, an indecipherable smile on his face. His hands were shoved deep into the pockets of his pants and he turned in a full circle, eyeing every corner of the room as if looking for something out of place.
The door opened and Scully walked in, affording her partner only a cursory glance that could have been easily targeted at the wall behind him instead before sinking wearily into the chair behind her desk. For once, he watched her without comment, his face still unreadable.
“I thought you had a lunch date?” she asked crisply, one eyebrow raising. With that psychic you were enthusing over earlier–Carmen Juarez, I believe her name is?”
For a span of time so brief that few people other than her would have noticed it, a look of absolute shock came over his features, but he quickly masked it with his most mischievous smile.
“How do you know I’m not still there?” he asked, teasing.
“Mulder, really, I’m not in the mood for games. And if you’re planning on actually doing any work today, I’d suggest changing your shirt. I mean, the ties you usually wear are bad enough…”
He chuckled merrily, his eyes dancing. “Well, Scully, I’m afraid I can’t leave. You closed the door.”
“And you can’t open it?”
“Not right at the moment, no.”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
She sighed, shaking her head in exasperation. “Mulder–“
“Actually, you’re right. My lunch date is over. I just dropped Carmen back off at her house a few minutes ago.”
“Fine. So, sit down and let’s get some of this paperwork done.”
“You can’t sit either?”
Mulder smiled at the familiar skepticism in her voice. “The chair wouldn’t hold me,” he explained vaguely.
“Mulder, you’re not that heavy and the chair’s not that weak.”
Another first: he did not reply with a snappy comeback, only continuing to gaze at her with that unnerving secretive smile.
“Will you stop that, please? You look like the Cheshire Cat! Now, if you’re not going to sit down, and you’re not going to leave, could you at least find something useful to do?”
He chuckled. “Wish I could, Scully. But I can’t touch anything.”
“This isn’t funny, Mulder.”
“Actually, it is when you look at the whole picture–“
“You are not physically incapable of touching things–” she insisted.
“Wanna bet on it?” he interrupted, his voice teasing. Then he came over and stood IN her desk, so close that her nose was practically touching his tie.
Scully blanched, staring in disbelief at the torso of her partner protruding from the center of her desk. She closed her eyes.. “I’m hallucinating,” she began to murmur with forced calm. “The stress of having to spend every day down here is finally getting to me…either that or someone injected me with LSD or something while I wasn’t looking–“
“Are you actually admitting to a conspiracy, Scully?” the apparition of her partner teased, obviously getting a big kick out of his hijinks.
Before she could answer, the door opened, and Mulder walked in. Her senses now thoroughly bewildered, Dana Scully stared from the partner in the doorway to the one in the desk.
“Mulder…” she asked weakly. “Do you see anything…unusual on my desk?”
Startled by the question, which was especially unexpected coming from her, the Mulder who had just come in studied his partner’s desk, comparing it with the image of it recorded in his eidetic memory. “No. Should I?”
Incredibly, Scully breathed a sigh of relief. Good, I am hallucinating… She closed her eyes, fighting the vision of the second Mulder standing in her desk. “I think I may need to go up to the Infirmary.”
“Why?” Her partner was suddenly at her side, his eyes filled with concern. Hesitantly, she opened her own eyes, letting out a deep breath she hadn’t realized she was holding when there was only one of him bending over her, and that one had his hands planted firmly *on* the desk.
“I’m hallucinating,” she replied as calmly as she could. She then proceeded to tell him exactly what she had seen–or imagined–a few moments ago. His eyes widened in surprise.
“If it weren’t for the fact that I haven’t died yet, I’d say you were being haunted by my ghost,” he remarked cryptically, moving back to his own desk and seating himself at it. “Unless it’s possible to be haunted from the future…”
“Well, it would have to be the fairly near future,” she replied with mild sarcasm, annoyed with him for coming so close to contradicting her hallucinatory assessment. “Since, except for the wild shirt, he looked exactly the same as you.”
Mulder frowned and Scully returned it, though for a different reason. He was taking this whole thing much too seriously. “Mulder, I told you; I was hallucinating.”
Her partner shook his head. “I don’t think so, Scully. If you were in the right mental state to be hallucinating, you wouldn’t have the presence of mind to know you were hallucinating.”
“Mulder, you’re not going to die–“
“Tomorrow,” he interrupted her calmly. “According to Carmen, the man who wants to meet with me tomorrow is going to kill me.”
Project Quantum Leap
Fox Mulder strode into the Commissary, a concerned look on his face. Lois, Clark and Al looked up at his approach.
“What’s up? I got a message on this thing…” he waved the handlink towards them. “That you guys needed to talk to me.”
Lois took a deep breath. “The short version is, things just got more complicated.”
Curious now, the agent sat down at the table. “What’s the long version?” All of the other three looked worried, but there was a certain pensiveness to the Admiral’s face that piqued his curiosity even more.
Sam’s here…he has to be if I am…he’s here, at the Project… “Look,” Al spoke up suddenly, his voice gruff. “I really shouldn’t do this, but can you two handle the explanation? I have something I need to do.”
Somewhat bewildered, the two reporters nodded.
“Good.” He stood and left without speaking another word.
“So, what’s the complication?” Mulder asked, turning back to Lois and Clark once the Observer had left.
“Let’s just say we found out how we got that tape, and why…”
“Where is he?” Al demanded as soon as the door of his office closed behind him.
“Who?” Ziggy asked, puzzled.
“Sam. Where is he?”
“Dr. Beckett is currently between Leaps. You know we have not yet determined where he goes in the interi–“
“I mean the Sam from the future, the one who’s here. Where is he?”
The computer was silent for a moment. “How did you find out about that?”
“Never mind that, just where is he?”
“I’m sorry, but I’ve been asked not to tell you–“
“Damn it, Ziggy!” Al brought his fist down soundly on the desk. “I swear I’ll rip out every circuit you have with my bare hands if you don’t tell me! I have to know. I have to see him…”
Artificial Intelligence or no, Ziggy could hear the strain in the Admiral’s voice. She, as much as anyone else on the Project if not more so, knew how hard it was for Al to be cut off from his friend like this, helpless to bring him home.
When she finally spoke again, her usually haughty voice was quiet, resigned. “He’s in his office.”
Sam’s office. A place that had been rarely entered since he disappeared. Somewhere no one would expect anyone to be, especially not its owner…
“Wait. You let him into his office??? What about Donna?”
“In case you forgot, Admiral, Dr. Beckett had only one photograph of himself and Dr. Elise in his office, and she moved it to hers shortly after he Leaped.”
Relaxing somewhat, Al nodded. He then turned to the door.