IMTP VS8 Episode 11:
The Man Who Would Be King
Art by Theresa Filardo
TITLE: The Man Who Would Be King INFO: Written for I Made This Productions Virtual Season 8 AUTHOR: Jess EMAIL ADDRESS: email@example.com DISCLAIMER: Elvis says put those lawyers down, boy. I don't own Mulder, Scully or the King. SPOILER WARNING: Up through Je Souhaite, but nothing specific RATING: PG-13 CONTENT WARNING: None CLASSIFICATION: X-File, UST SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully investigate their first Elvis sighting, and end up questioning nature vs. nurture. Songs quoted are, in no particular order: "Burning Love", "All Shook Up", "Always On My Mind," "Blue Suede Shoes," "Are You Lonesome Tonight," "Teddy Bear", "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," and "Suspicious Minds." Thank God for Napster, that's all I can say. Long live the selfish grabbing of other's intellectual property, right CC? xxxxxx Honey, please don't ask me what's on my mind I'm a little mixed up, but I'm feeling fine xxxxxx Just Outside Memphis, Tennessee February 29, 2000 It was fitting, Janelle Hopkirk thought, that the day after Donny's death she could sit on the porch in his favorite beat-up old rocking chair and watch the rain fall. Hot, thick rain, the sort that swept in from the far-off ocean in a dark gray line across the horizon. It was as close to the sea as she would ever get, this rain, bringing with it the essence of deep water, of surging waves and pulling tides. Janelle sometimes thought she could smell fish, imagine warm sand and shells as pink as a child's ear. Out across the farm the first blossoms were appearing on the peach trees. Disarmingly pretty, they appeared brave against the backdrop of scoured earth and bare oaks. Janelle rocked, sipped iced tea, and pondered life without her husband for the first time in twenty-five years. Donny hadn't been a bad man, exactly. He was a good farmer. He knew his hogs and understood them, but she wasn't sure if that was the sort of thing a woman could describe as comforting in a husband. Janelle thought it might be nice to find a new man, someone who didn't go around to the back door of the old farmhouse to avoid brushing past her as she did the dishes. From inside, she could hear the steady thump of the local country music station coming from the radio in Ed's room. Donny hadn't wanted to take Ed in, especially not this time, but Janelle had argued that he was, after all, blood. Just because he also happened to be no-account lazy and stupid didn't mean you just abandoned him. Siblings have a powerful pull, she had learned over the years. It didn't matter how low he sank, she would always be there to throw down a rope. And now, having him here might be a comfort to her. Might be, she thought, watching the watery sun peek out from between the dark clouds. Tentatively, the evening cast the last of its soft light across the pasture in front of the house. Muted clouds of golden drifting pollen hung above the tall alfalfa they hadn't harvested last year, stirred up by the passing rain. Further out, the road wound past in a ribbon of lavender and pear-white. My God, but the world was lovely, wasn't it? Janelle had never felt so light, something like floating, like bliss. The stranger appeared suddenly at the front gate, as if he'd crawled up from the ditch beside the road. Seeing him silhouetted against the downy sky, Janelle wasn't at all frightened, just intrigued. How could anything ugly or bad come from this transcendent night? The stranger turned and walked slowly up the drive, limping like a tired little boy. Janelle wiped her hands on her jeans and started down the stairs. The rain had mostly passed, leaving a mist against her skin. He met her half-way, his hand on his heart, his dark hair tumbling into his eyes. "Ma'am," he said. "Ma'am, I need your help." "What's your name?" she asked gently, seeing how he shook, how his clothing was matted with dirt and sweat and water. "I..." He stared at her, his lovely face a bit blank. He blinked once, twice, then cleared his throat and said in a deep voice: "I don't know, Ma'am. Guess that's one of the things I'd like some help with." And in that moment, Janelle knew she would take him in, heal him. He was a gift to her on this beautiful day, the first day of her life without Donny. Heck, maybe she'd even kick out Ed. For the first time in years, plans flooded her mind and nearly overwhelmed her. She wanted to do so much for this weary and exhausted man. She wanted for once in her miserable life, to be really, truly needed. Of course, it also helped that he looked just exactly like The King. "C'mon inside," Janelle said. "I think I'd like to call you something. Can I call you Pete?" xxxxxx Maybe I didn't treat you Quite as good as I should have Maybe I didn't love you Quite as often as I could have Little things I should have said and done I just never took the time xxxxxx Dana Scully's apartment October 1, 2000 10:17 p.m. Mulder waited impatiently outside Scully's door, his foot still tapping out the rhythm from the song he'd been listening to in the car. Something hard and fast, good driving music, the sort that set his body on edge and made him want to move. She jerked the door open on his third volley of knocks, hitting him with a glare meant to shrivel the gonads of any intruder, but most especially him. Instead he grinned at her, knowing he could disarm her easily these days. She sighed and opened the door a bit further, not exactly conceding. "Hey Scully," he said, pushing past her into the candle- lit living room, shedding his coat on her chair as he went. The whole apartment smelled like cinnamon and was blissfully cool compared to his own. Something, he mused, like Scully herself. "I brought you something." "Mulder, it's well past 10, in case you hadn't noticed," she said, picking up his jacket and hanging it in the closet. He smiled tenderly at her. Lord, but they were predictable. It warmed his heart sometimes to know that he finally, finally had something to depend on, something he could point at and say, yes, I know that. "I noticed. I was cleaning out the boxes I brought back from my mom's and I found something I thought you would like." She raised an eyebrow, but stepped forward and sat beside him on the couch, pulling her thin robe tight across her chest. He wasn't sure whether it was meant to hide her form or reveal it, but it made him want to stroke one finger down her satin shoulder. "Fine," she said. "You got me. I was just sitting here listening to music anyway." Nodding, he handed her the small book he'd tucked under his arm. Well-worn and battered, it made his heart tight just to see it, to remember the long summer evenings spent reading it out on the porch of the cabin as his father grilled their dinner. "'The Science of Baseball'," she read. "Mulder, you came rushing over here to give this to me tonight?" Seeing his feeling for the little volume in his disappointed pout, she began to flip through it. "Thank you," she said at last. "It does look interesting." Then she stopped, her hand hovering over the book. "Mulder?" she said, and looked over at him, smiling. Puzzled, he leaned over and saw that tucked into the pages of the old book was something he had forgotten. A memento from his childhood so unexpected he felt as if someone had knocked him in the gut. Scully pulled out the square black- and-white photograph and turned it over as if expecting an explanation to be printed on the back. "When was this taken?" she asked, holding it out to him. He didn't need more than a glance to know what it was. He left it dangling between her careful fingers. "1971," he said softly. "The summer before my 10th birthday. He took me with him on a business trip and we went to see the A's play the Angels. We sat right over the dugout. The A's pitcher, Vida Blue, struck out seventeen men in eleven innings. It was the longest shutout in American League history. But that's not what I remember. I remember that it was the last time he and I went anywhere alone together before Sam disappeared. God, it was so hot. Early July and the sun was just amazing. He bought me three cokes and a chili dog." When he paused, she was looking at him, soft around the edges, her emotions blurred as if they were in motion. "Take it," she said. "It's important to hold onto the good things." He nodded, accepting the photo and tucking it into his wallet, behind his money. "He was a good man then," he said, stroking the ruffled edge of the old photo. "At least, I thought he was." She slipped one hand over his and squeezed. "Of course he was. Look at his son." xxxxxx Baby let me be Your loving teddy bear Put a chain around my neck And lead me anywhere xxxxxx X-Files Office October 2, 2000 8:02 a.m. Scully sipped her coffee distractedly as she stepped from the elevator into the basement hallway. With practiced precision, she made her way around the boxes jutting out from the walls, the old folded chairs and shelves of abandoned books. She had long since stopped trying to battle it back into an organized submission. If everyone else thought the basement was a repository for useless junk, then she wasn't going to argue anymore. There was a certain security in being thought useless. Pushing open the door with her shoulder, she stepped into the room already aware of Mulder's presence, despite never looking up. "Mulder, did you know that for an average, 88-mile-an-hour fast ball, the batter has less than three-tenths of a second to decide whether or not to swing?" He was sitting behind his desk with his feet up, a goofy grin lighting up his face. She set the book down on her own desk and smiled back. "See, I knew you'd like it." "I do," she affirmed. "You were right. For once." "I'm often right," he said sternly, but she caught the smile hiding behind the gruff timbre of his voice. "You just never admit it." It was then that she noticed he was holding a case file out to her. This was going to be one of those times, she thought, where she wasn't going to want to admit it. "What's this?" she asked, accepting it only to find two words written in black Sharpie across the tab. Two words she had long dreaded seeing. "'Elvis lives,' Mulder? Lives where? In your eternally youthful imagination?" "I like to think that a little bit of Elvis lives in all of us, Scully. But the current pretender to the throne lives just outside Memphis, Tennessee." She opened the file to find no pictures, just a doctor's report. She scanned it and rolled her eyes. "Atrophy of the muscles in the limbs, weakness in the arms, chronic ear infections... what does any of this have to do with Elvis, Mulder?" He stood up and crossed around the desk to stand beside her. "Space travel." "Oh, for crying out loud," she said, setting the file behind her with a deliberate smack. "Those could be symptoms of all sorts of ailments, Mulder, not just prolonged weightlessness. Where did you dig this one up, anyway?" "Frohike," he answered, ignoring her snort of derision. "He keeps an eye out for promising sightings. Here's what you didn't take the time to read, Scully. This man has total and complete amnesia. He can't remember where he's been for the last twenty-two months, much less the last twenty-two years. According to the doctor, he looked so much like Elvis Presley that the nurses were calling him 'King' just for fun. Frohike believes this might be the real deal, and I don't take his tips lightly." She crossed her arms and looked up at him. He was so enthusiastic, so boyish that for a moment she was almost impossibly angry at him, if only for making himself so irresistible. "Mulder, this man is not Elvis." "How do you know, Scully?" "Because Elvis Aaron Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977 of heart failure after ingesting a potent cocktail of prescription drugs. And as every school child knows, Mulder, he died sitting on the commode." "Actually," Mulder said, sounding wounded, "he fell off the toilet before his death." "That's just lovely," she said. "So therefore, this isn't him." "Oh come on, Scully, you know all about the conspiracies relating to his death. Just admit that it could be him." "No," she said firmly. "You're certain?" he pressed. "Very," she affirmed. "Now, can we see a real case?" She moved over to the bank of file cabinets and pulled open the top drawer. "Mulder, there's a whole rack of legitimate, or at least somewhat more legitimate cases here, just crying for your attention." "You a betting woman, Scully?" She sighed and replaced the first file, something about vampire babies who sucked their mother's... well, it was rather ridiculous and grotesque. "Maybe. What's the wager?" "If this isn't Elvis, Scully, I'll... I'll book you a night at the finest hotel in town for our next case. No, better yet, I'll book you a suite and sleep on the couch." Slightly astonished, she sat down on the edge of his desk and stared at him. "How could you possibly be that certain, Mulder?" He smiled, running his hand along the edge of the folder. "Because of what I want in return." "Ok," she said warily, "what do I have to do if it is Elvis?" "You have to take me to a baseball game. Good seats, Scully. Right above the opposing team's dugout. And no tofu dogs." Mulder was watching her with a combination of hope and amused resignation that was uniquely his own. Something about the look moved her, just as it always had. She hesitated, then decided what the hell. Why not make him happy? What did she have to lose? Blood-sucking infants, that was what. "Fine. When do we leave?" xxxxxx Lord all mighty, feel my temperature risin' Higher higher, it's burning through to my soul. Girl girl, girl, you gonna set me on fire. My brain is flamin', I don't know which way to go. xxxxxx Memphis, Tennessee October 3, 2000 2:30 p.m. They were stopped for gas, that was what he told himself. They were not sitting in the "full service" lane of the Kuntry Korner gas and grocery trying to get directions to Janelle Hopkirk's hog farm, no indeed. He knew exactly where they were. It was Scully who was a little confused by Janelle's directions and phrases like "go past the Jesus billboard to that little shop that sells deer meat jerky." To his left, three gloriously tall black girls wearing impossibly short shorts and baby tees were arguing with a certain friendly relish. All were eating something from a little cardboard take-out container that he suspected might be hush puppies, but wasn't sure. "Look," one girl said loudly, "I seen 'Beloved' and you didn't, so you don't know." "Yeah," one of the other girls replied, licking grease off her long red fingernails, "but I read the book, so I guess I know what I'm talkin' about." "Oh, now, you read the book so you're an expert on everything, is that it? Well, just 'cause you read it, don't mean you know nothing about it." The logic was strangely compelling. "Look, all I'm sayin' is: I wouldn't take that scary old thing into my house. No way, not even if she was my own blood. Blood don't mean nothin' if they're gonna hurt you, does it?" Mulder pondered this statement and decided she might have a point. One of the girls looked over to see him watching them. She nudged her friend, the one who was an expert on everything. The friend smiled a long, slow, sexy smile and he felt like whistling, but knew he wouldn't. "Nice suit," she said and from the way she licked her lips, he was fairly sure she wasn't really looking at his Armani knock-off. Then loudly: "You like what you see, Mr. Silk Tie?" He laughed a little nervously and turned back to the suddenly very interesting air bag warning on the rental car's visor. The gas station attendant, a skinny boy wearing a faded Butthole Surfers t-shirt and a pencil thin mustache that looked more like a caterpillar than facial hair, leaned in through the window toward Scully and made his third attempt to look down her shirt. "Well," he drawled slowly, "I know where you're talking about, but I don't know how to get you from here to there, exactly." "That's just great," Scully muttered darkly. "You're very helpful." Mulder watched her expression and knew the clerk was about to get more than an eyeful. Leaning out his window, Mulder called to the girls still standing by the store's sign. "Hey, any of you ladies know how to get to Tarken Road?" The tallest of the girls, the one who'd licked her lips and appraised him earlier, raised her left eyebrow in an expression so reminiscent of his partner, he almost died and went to heaven. "Who's askin'?" she said, strolling slowly over to the car. She had long, sleek thighs and hair extensions that slapped against her back when she moved. Beside him, he heard Scully snort and he knew she'd read his mind as surely as she would have read his face. "I am," he answered and smiled at the girl. She stood a few feet from the car with one hand on her hip. "You look like a cop," she said. "That's because we are," Scully answered loudly from within the shadows of the car. Mulder winced. "We're FBI agents, and we'd appreciate your help." He tried another smile. "Sure you would," the girl said, tossing her hair. "But you ain't gonna get it." With that, she and her friends departed, hips swaying pleasantly. Mulder groaned. "Sorry I ruined your chances there, Mr. Silk Tie," Scully said, her face down as if she were further examining the map, but he saw the smile. "For once, your best winsome look couldn't get you what you wanted." "Scully," he admonished. "It's not my looks, it's my innate intelligence and wit that attract the women." "That girl," she said, raising her eyes to meet his, full of mirth, "was not looking at your intelligence, or your wit. I think I know where we're going," she added quickly when he grinned at her. "Take a left at the next light and I think we'll run right into Tarken." "Right," he said, starting the car and pulling out onto the road. The greasy attendant watched them go with one hand at his brow, as if he were saluting the car. "And I'm sure that skinny kid was looking at your fine-tuned scientific mind, right Scully?" She smiled at him, tightly, and shrugged. "What's the use of being genetically blessed, Mulder, if we can't even get directions?" xxxxxx It's comin' closer, the flames are now lickin' my body Won't you help me, feel like I'm slipping away It's hard to breathe, my chest is a-heaving Lord have mercy, I'm burnin' the whole day xxxxxx Janelle Hopkirk's Farm Outside Memphis, Tennessee October 3, 2000 3:45 p.m. At last, they had found the right place. At least, she hoped the stench in the thick blanket of air outside the cool confines of the car was, in fact, from pigs. If not, it spoke of dead things and other unspeakable horrors. Spilled sewage came to mind. "Woo-eee!" Mulder declared beside her, wrinkling his nose. It must be tough, she thought with a mental smile, to have that nose on days like today. "I think it's Soo-eee," she replied and he grinned weakly, like a man who is attempting to breathe through his mouth. "I'm betting this is the place," he said and led her up the stairs of the old farmhouse. Standing on the wide front porch, she realized she could see right out to the back yard. A low breezeway extended right through the center of the house. "Mulder," she said, "look at this." "Ah," he said with a knowing glance, "a dog-trot cabin. The channel down the center divides the house into a sleeping area, and a living and eating area. The circulation of air through the channel keeps the rooms cooler, and the separation of the kitchen from the bedrooms kept the old wood-fired stoves from overheating the..." He trailed off as the door opened. "Yes?" A tall, blond woman, still striking, despite what was obviously a poor diet and hard life spent out in the sun, greeted them with a suspicious look. "Mrs. Hopkirk?" Mulder asked politely. At the woman's nod he continued. "I'm Agent Mulder and this is Agent Scully from the FBI." The woman sighed and nodded reluctantly. "C'mon in," she said. "I was expectin' y'all yesterday. Actually, I been expectin' y'all for months and months." Scully shrugged at Mulder and they stepped into the house. The front room was at least fifteen degrees cooler than the outside air, and yet it was still unbearably hot. An old clock ticked loudly from the mantel, it's darkened back reflected in the age-grayed mirror behind it. Scully could see herself there as well, her hair unnaturally bright in the dim room. "I'll just go get Pete," Janelle said slowly. "Then you can ask him whatever you want to know." She backed out of the room, untying a faded flowered apron as she left. Alone in the heat, Mulder pulled at his tie beside her and shifted from foot to foot. She could feel the nervousness coming off his body like cologne. "Moment of truth, Scully," he said as they heard footsteps on the back porch. A deep Memphis accent drifted toward them. "They're in the parlor?" "That's right," she heard Janelle reply. "You go on in and just tell 'em whatever they ask. Don't worry about nothin'." "I won't, Nell. You just go see 'bout that sow. I think it's a breech birth. I left my glove and the gel over by the stall." Mulder winced and shot her a knowing look. She wiggled the fingers of her right hand at him menacingly before dropping back into her best agent stance. The man who entered the room looked exhausted. Sweat plastered his dark hair to his forehead, and his eyes were deeply shadowed. "Ma'am, Sir," he said, extending a hand that had just been wiped clean on his jeans. Scully reminded herself that her own hand had been in far more disgusting places than the vaginal canal of a pig and shook it politely. "Agents Scully and Mulder with the FBI," she said. The man nodded. He did, if she were forced to admit it, look a damn lot like Elvis. "Janelle calls me Pete," he said softly. "Don't know what else to call myself, so I figure that'll do." She nodded. "Pete, I understand you are suffering from an advanced case of amnesia?" "So they tell me," he said, wiping his hair back with his hand. She saw Mulder's eyes widen in surprise. All right, she thought with irritation. He does look a lot like the King. A lot. So what? That doesn't prove a damn thing. "All I know is, I don't remember anything before I woke up in that irrigation ditch out front. It was rainin' and I was cold. The first thing I saw was Janelle, walkin' toward me. She sure was a sweet thing to see." Mulder smiled. "And since then, you haven't remembered anything about your previous life?" "Oh sure," Pete said, nodding. "Bits an' pieces. I remember someone talkin' to me. I remember music playin' somewhere. I remember bein' underwater." "Underwater?" Scully asked, feeling Mulder shift beside her in triumph. "Yeah, only the water was real thick and heavy, more like goo. And I was tryin' to move and I couldn't. And I remember someone came in and stuck me with a big ol' needle and I couldn't stay awake any more." "That's all you remember?" Mulder asked. "That's it," Pete affirmed. "Doesn't help much, does it?" "Oh, I don't know..." Mulder began, but she silenced him with a look. "Pete, I'd like to take your fingerprints, if I may?" she asked. "I'd like to run them through our database, see if any matches turn up." He nodded and smiled sadly. "If I do turn out to be a wanted man, Miss Scully, you'll go easy on me, won't you?" His gentle face was so sad she found herself reassuring him, patting his hand as if he were a child. His dark eyes twinkled at the contact and she realized she was being had, just a little bit. What a charmer, she thought, and then chided herself. "I'm more worried that someone may have reported you missing, Sir, than that you might be a criminal." "Well," he said, "that is reassurin'. I'd hate to have to leave Janelle." xxxxxx Well bless my soul, what's wrong with me? I'm itchin' like a man on a fuzzy tree . My friends say I'm actin' wild as a bug. I'm in love, I'm all shook up. xxxxxx Outside, Mulder watched the sun set slowly over the flat expanse of the delta. Recent rain had refreshed the rich land, forming patches of vibrant green between the long lines of oaks and alders snaking beside the irrigation ditches. The evening sky was clear and promised to be starry and brilliant. He felt a temptation to howl at the sliver of rising moon, silver in a deep blue suede sky. He heard the door creak open behind him and Scully emerged carrying the little canvas bag she kept their fingerprinting equipment in. Really, it was just a special stamp pad and some ink. She smiled at him and extended her hand, the tips of her fingers dyed a soft blue, despite the fact that he knew she had washed them. Resting on her palm were two red plums, so dark they were almost black, like blood after it was exposed to air. He accepted one, popping it into his mouth. "Janelle says Pete signed her up for the Fruit of the Month club for her birthday," she said, by way of explanation. "I don't know if he's Elvis, Mulder, but I'll tell you one thing: he's sweet on Janelle Hopkirk. No doubt about it." Mulder nodded, his mouth filled with the tang of the fruit. Scully was nibbling at hers, biting off precise little bits of plum. A thick drop of juice hovered on her upper lip and he sighed as she reached up, swiped it onto her thumb and licked her fingers clean. Turning from him with a small smile, she looked out over the farm and nodded, approving. "This place is actually quite beautiful, Mulder. When you're up-wind." "I can certainly see the appeal." Scully regarded him with a skeptical eyebrow. "Oh, come on. You? On a farm?" He shrugged and leaned closer. "Sure, Scully. I love to work with my hands." She rolled her eyes, but didn't move away. "See, that's the difference between you and I, Mulder. I can understand the emotional draw of the pastoral, but I know my own character enough to see that in the end, I'm a city kind of girl." Mulder was glad someone knew her character well enough to make sure pronouncements, since even after all their time together, he certainly didn't. Of course, he was well aware of the attraction the mysterious always held for him. "But how do you know that the need for a corner stand with a non-fat steamy latte isn't the direct result of conditioning, rather than character, Scully? In terms of your innate personality, I can really see you out here. There's something eminently practical about a farm. The predictable science of the growth season, of weather and crop rotation. There's no room here for the fantastic, for the surreal." She hesitated, then licked her lips and spoke. "And maybe that's why I wouldn't like it, Mulder. Maybe I've developed an insatiable desire for the paranormal." Mulder stared at her for a moment, suddenly feeling very snarky. "Insatiable desire, Scully?" With a shy grin, she reached up and ran her thumb over his lower lip, ostensibly to capture some spot of juice he had missed. "Insatiable," she said, and slipped the thumb between her own lips. xxxxxx Ooh, I feel my temperature risin'. Help me I'm flamin', I must be 109. Burning, burning, burning and nothing can cool me. I just might turn into smoke, but I feel fine. xxxxxx Federal Bureau of Investigation Memphis Field Office October 4, 2000 9:15 a.m. Scully shifted uncomfortably, resting one sharp corner of her pelvis on the edge of someone's desk. Mulder lounged in a chair beside her, his jacket off, his tie loosened to the point where she expected it to slide off at any moment. At least he wasn't wearing khakis. "Damn, it's hot," he remarked to no one in particular. "Air's broke," commented an agent, sliding past in a linen suit that made Scully sweat with envy. "So," the kid sitting in front of the computer said to her, "you just want to run it against this one print?" "That's right," she said. "Just tell me if it's a match, then if it isn't, we'll start running it against the rest of the database." "Ok," the kid said, hesitant. "Can I ask who's print I'm comparing it to? This isn't standard Bureau issue." She glanced at Mulder, who was pretending to examine the wall behind her head with great interest. She sighed. "We've obtained it from... other sources. It's classified, I'm afraid." The kid nodded and shrugged. "Gimme ten minutes." "Come on, Mulder," Scully said, slipping off the desk and back into her now far-too-tight shoes. "Let's go get some fresh air." They pushed open the door to be hit by a wall of wet heat. Mulder groaned. Across the street, Scully saw the familiar shape of a Sonic drive-through. "They have these frozen things," she explained to Mulder as he jogged after her. "These ice-drinks. My Dad used to love them." Three minutes later they returned with two plastic cups and faces bathed in happiness. "I can't believe you'd buy a bubble gum flavored anything," Mulder was saying. "That just goes against everything I know of you, Scully." "Maybe you don't know everything about me, Mulder." At his disappointed face she said: "Wanna taste?", holding her own straw up to her lips and taking a small sip. Mulder blinked and then nodded. She offered the drink to him and watched as a clump of pink ice rose slowly up the straw to his lips. "Oh, God," he said suddenly, backing away. "That's the worst thing I've ever tasted! Scully," he admonished. "No one should drink bubble gum. That's just wrong." Warm wooden benches beckoned them to the shade beneath the local office's broad concrete awnings. Scully perched delicately on the edge of one, attempting to keep the near- bare skin of her legs off the superheated metal rivets that held the seat together. "So what's your theory, Scully, if he turns out to be Joe Blow from Des Moines?" She turned and examined Mulder briefly. He seemed genuinely interested. "Well, total amnesia is almost always faked, Mulder. Medically, it does happen, but the cases are extremely rare. My guess is that he's some sad, middle-aged man who's run away from home. Maybe the responsibilities of life were too much for him." "I don't know about that," Mulder said, sipping his drink and watching the passing pedestrians. "He doesn't seem like a man shirking responsibility to me." There they were, she thought, just two Feds sitting on the bench during their break, sipping drinks. It was good for a moment to be this deeply anonymous, even to Mulder. How wonderful it was to be able to occasionally discover something unexpected in one another. Mulder glanced down and smiled at her toes. "No," she had to admit, "he doesn't." "You know, when I came out to Graceland..." He stopped suddenly and looked away. She wished fervently he wasn't thinking about what she knew he was thinking about. He cleared his throat and continued. "Elvis didn't really love Priscilla by the time he married her. He had been working with Ann Margaret and the two of them really hit it off. They were crazy for one another. Priscilla was so jealous she actually dyed her hair red in an attempt to compete. But he did marry her, giving up on his romance with Ann Margaret. He married her because he'd promised he would. Even if it was misguided, there's something to admire in a man who keeps his promises." He looked back at her, his face undisturbed. Whatever had happened to them that week in Philadelphia, Mulder had put it behind him. Or he had simply buried it too deeply to let it surface without pain. "I know," she said. "I've always admired fidelity in a man." They were both silent for a moment before she spoke again. "Maybe he just wanted to start over with someone who loved him. That's no crime. And if this fingerprint shows what I suspect it will, I think I'll just leave well enough alone." "You won't run it against the criminal database?" Mulder asked, clearly surprised. She shrugged. "He's not hurting anyone, and Janelle needs him. The hogs need him." Mulder laughed, then, a joyous bark in the still air. "The hogs need him, Scully?" Before she could reply, a hand touched her shoulder, causing her to jump. The kid from fingerprinting was grinning at her. "Hey, you were right," he said. "What?" Mulder asked, glancing to her in a moment of true confusion. She realized then that he hadn't really believed it. The force that disappointment held over their lives was staggering. The kid looked from one to the other and then shrugged, finding them inexplicable. "It was a match," he said. In the shocked moment that followed, she heard Mulder drop his drink to the concrete. xxxxxx We're caught in a trap, I can't walk out because I love you too much, baby. Why can't you see what you're doin' to me, when you don't believe a word I'm saying? We can't go on together with suspicious minds and we can't build our bridge on suspicious minds. xxxxxx "Mulder, this can't be right," Scully was saying, brushing her hair back from her face, where the car's full-blast air- conditioning was pushing it. The car was still hot, as if someone had heated it with a blow drier. At least it was drying the sticky film of root beer flavored ice that had soaked through his left sock. "Hey, you saw the results just like I did, Scully. Except for that scar, the fingerprints were exactly the same." "Scars do not just disappear." She was rationalizing frantically, her stunned eyes blinking against the steady stream of air and disbelief. "You don't know how fresh the cut was when he was first fingerprinted, Scully. It could have healed to the point where the latest test didn't pick it up. For God's sake, you're a doctor. You know the significance of fingerprints." He felt like banging his head on the steering wheel. "I know," she huffed, "that people do not just disappear and reappear twenty-two years later without having aged a single day." "Scully, you're the one who wrote your thesis on Einstein, not me." She slumped back against the seat, her eyes clamped shut, her brow pinched. "This is completely impossible." When she lifted one hand up to rub her temples, he saw it shake. "No, it isn't," he said, excitement growing in his stomach, replacing the earlier incredulity. He was often right, but he was never, ever this right. "It's perfectly possible. Time isn't a universal invariant, Scully, as you well know. It varies from person to person, just as Einstein said it would. For Elvis, it's been traveling at a rather accelerated rate. Twenty-two years passing in just a few short days in space." "Oh God," she said and he turned to stare at her. "I think I'm hyperventilating. Mulder, do you understand what this could mean, for the scientific community? For the world?" "More bad imitation leather jumpsuits and come-back specials?" "This isn't funny." She was pale, her skin covered in a thin veil of sweat. Mulder pulled the car over to the side of the road and touched her, stroking one hand down the damp curve of her neck until he felt her racing pulse calm beneath his finger tips. "Scully," he said softly. "This isn't the end of the world. It's the beginning of something very big, sure, but you need to take it one step at a time. We'll take it one step at a time." Outside, a chorus of cicadas stopped and started on cue, sounding like lawn sprinklers. Kudzu draped the tree beside Scully's window and crawled across the grass, making the old oak resemble a giant, moving through a lush carpet of green water. If the world were going to become somewhere extraordinary, he thought, it would have to happen here. Her soft voice drew him back to the car. "Thank you," she said. And then, so quietly he could barely hear it, she said: "Thank you, thank you verra much," in a deep tenor he recognized immediately. The need to touch her was so intense he had to remove his hand from her neck or give up completely. "Come on, Scully. Let's go tell Pete and Janelle. I'm itchin' like a man on a fuzzy tree." "My tongue gets tied when I try to speak, my insides shake like a leaf on a tree." "Scully, I'm all shook up." "Let's just stop that right now," she said, grinning, one small hand on his arm. "Before it gets completely out of hand." "Right," he agreed, returning the grin as he started the car. xxxxxx Well it's one for the money, two for the show , three to get ready and go, cat, go! xxxxxx Janelle Hopkirk's Farm Outside Memphis, Tennessee October 4, 2000 12:36 p.m. As they pulled up in front of the battered old house, she had reached a sort of liquid equilibrium. So they had found Elvis. So what? How did that compare to space aliens, vampires and mutant fluke men? Mulder was unconsciously tapping his restless fingers against the steering wheel. Neither of them made a move to get out of the car. "You first," he said. She nodded and pulled her jacket tight over her breasts. This was it. Her fist made a hollow ponking sound against the front door. Mulder twitched beside her. The man who answered the door wasn't Pete or Janelle, though he bore a faint family resemblance to the latter. "Yeah?" he said. He wore a greasy white undershirt and jeans that looked three sizes too big for his non-existent hips. "We're looking for Janelle or Pete," she said, feeling the adrenaline drain from her body like sweat. "They ain't home," the man replied. "You two must be the FBI. Janelle told me you might be by later. They went to get groceries. Told me to have you wait in the living room." He opened the door and motioned them in. Mulder entered first, eyebrows raised in an expression she recognized as BadSmellAhead. "And you are?" Scully asked as she slid past him. Clearly, he hadn't bathed in days. "Ed Beers, Janelle's brother," he said, shutting the door and standing nervously beside them. "Ah," Mulder said, moving slowly into the living room. "And you help around the farm, then?" Ed laughed and shook his head. "Hell no. I don't touch those dirty hogs. Nah, I run a business over the Internet." Scully felt, rather than saw, the glance Mulder shot her way. "What sort of business?" she asked. "Oh, you know..." Ed drifted off. Then he smiled nervously. "Gotta get back to work. Say..." he began suddenly, his hand on the door to the opening in the center of the house. "You two don't investigate porn, do you?" "Porn?" Mulder said, innocently. "Not unless there are minors involved. Why?" Scully could barely contain her laughter as Ed's face relaxed and he said: "Nothin'. Just wonderin'. Well, y'all can hang here till Janelle gets back. Holler if you need anythin'." After he left, Mulder eyed her speculatively. "What do you think Ed's business entails, Scully?" "Celery," she replied, smiling. "Celery?" he asked, clearly puzzled, leaning forward to hear her response. "When Melissa and I drove down to San Diego from her place in Portland to see my dad... it must have been in the late '80s. I can't remember exactly what year... anyway, she brought along some celery sticks to snack on." "That sounds like Melissa," he admitted. "I'd have brought cheese doodles." She smiled indulgently. "Well, we'd forgotten about the produce check at the California border. It was too late to just pull off the interstate and throw the celery away. So we started this joke, as we were waiting in line at the checkpoint. The guard would walk up and ask: 'Ladies, do you have any fruits or vegetables?' To which we would reply: "No, Sir, no celery here.' 'But I didn't ask you about cel...' he would begin and we would be shaking our heads frantically. 'No celery in this car!' It was very Monty Python. You would have liked it." "So what happened?" he asked, grinning. "We drove up to the guard, rolled down the window, and he said: 'Ladies, do you have any fruits in your car?' To which we, with great solemnity, replied: 'No Sir, no fruits at all.' We laughed all the way to San Diego." She sighed, remembering her sister's warm, throaty voice telling their father the story. That they were both gone was nearly inconceivable. She shut the little, disbelieving part of herself away under Mulder's gentle smile. It astonished her how easily he read her emotions now, despite her fruitless struggle to contain them. "I'd say Ed's working with some serious celery in there, indeed." "It's astonishing to think he's related to Janelle," she said, banishing the subject but not the mood. "Maybe he's adopted," Mulder said. "Or maybe his mother had an affair." Though it was there for a moment, his smile faded as they lapsed into silence. She knew what he was thinking about, could read it in his tight face. He had long since given up the effort to keep himself hidden from her. "Do you miss your mother?" she asked, and he looked up, startled. "Sometimes," he said quietly. "Now that she's dead, I sometimes find myself missing the person she could have been, but wasn't. Does that make any sense?" She nodded. "Perfect sense, Mulder. I often wonder who Melissa would have been if she had survived, or Emily, grown from a child to a young girl." Mulder rose and stepped to the mantle, running one tentative finger along the wooden curves of the clock resting there. Yellowing family photos stretched out to either side of his hands, branches of Janelle's family tree. His eyes met hers in the darkened mirror. "Who would you have been, Scully, if you weren't you?"
Smiling, she shook her head at him. "Only you could ask
that question, Mulder."
"And only you could attempt to answer it," he said.
"I don't know..." she said slowly. "I suppose I'd
somewhat like my mother. Married with children, a family...
Like my brothers. That's the way everyone in my family has
Mulder stopped caressing the clock and smiled gently,
acknowledging all she wasn't saying about her own
choices. "I would have played pro ball."
She returned the smile, feeling tentative in the dim light
the shrouded room. "Isn't that rather presumptuous?"
"Don't rain on my parade, Scully. I would have hit .385
lifetime and stolen more bases than Ricky Henderson."
She rose to stand behind him, startled by how bright her
own reflection was beside the darkness of his suit jacket.
"Who's to say you wouldn't have been a plumber? I've seen
you in action, Mulder, and I think you'd be a natural."
Mulder turned to face her, and tipped her chin up with one
finger. "And who's to say you wouldn't have been the celery
on one of Ed's websites?" They could only look at one
another for a brief moment before she burst out laughing.
"I think that's a bit
unlikely," she said, though he was looking
at her as if he disagreed.
Mulder shrugged and let his finger drift along her jaw.
"Maybe in our other lives, Scully, maybe in our other selves,
we get to be who we should have been. I get to play all day
on the warm, green grass of summer and you have the
family you deserve, whole in every sense."
For a moment, she felt the strength of his words and was
too moved to speak. He cradled her left cheek with his
palm. "I wouldn't want to be anyone else," she told him at
last. "And I'm selfishly thinking that I happen to like how you
turned out too."
The sound of footsteps on the stairs startled them apart.
Janelle opened the door to the hall, followed closely by
Pete. At least, that was what he was to be called for now,
Scully thought and shook her head in wonder. How could it
be possible? It was like meeting... Einstein? No, that didn't
quite compute either. Pete didn't look any different to her,
Janelle set her purse down on a small
table and called out.
"Mr. Mulder? Miss Scully? Are you in there?"
"Right here," Mulder answered.
They watched as Pete
carried a bag of food past them into
the kitchen, unable to look away.
"We have the results of the fingerprint test," Scully said
slowly, entranced by the dark fall of hair over Pete's
forehead. That was Elvis. Elvis Aaron Presley. She was
startled by Janelle's nervous face suddenly appearing in
front of her. Janelle's deep blue eyes were teary and terribly
frightened. She stared at Scully for a moment and seemed
placated by Scully's careful smile.
"Let me just help Pete put those things away," she said
quickly. "He still doesn't know where I like things to go."
Mulder nodded. "We'll be right here," he said. "Take your
When Janelle had stepped into the kitchen and put one
hand on Pete's shoulder, Mulder leaned over and
whispered in her ear just what she had been thinking: "My
God, Scully, this will change everything for them.
She hesitated before replying, afraid of her own thoughts.
"Yes, but is that a good thing?"
Does your memory stray
to a bright summer day
kissed you and called you Sweetheart? Is your heart filled
with pain? Shall I come back again? Tell me dear, are you
Janelle, Pete and Ed sat in a line on the old horsehair
their faces stunned and disbelieving. Mulder realized he
was staring at Pete, trying to see the spark, the thing,
whatever it was, that made him the star he had once been.
He saw nothing but surprise and exhaustion. Perhaps he'd
been robbed of it during his missing time. Had they done
something to him? Did his lost memory hold the key? Did
memory itself create the people we become, he wondered?
And what did that say about himself, about Scully, with their
pattern of missing time? Was it the experiences they
remembered best that made them who they were? Or those
they couldn't remember at all?
"You're sayin' I'm Elvis?" Pete repeated. "Are you people
nuts? What the heck kinda operation is this?"
Mulder felt Scully tense slightly. She hated doing this,
into the paranormal. "Insatiable desire", my ass, Mulder
thought and nearly laughed out loud. It was too surreal.
"I know it seems impossible," Scully was saying, "but I
assure you, it's the truth. Your fingerprints were an exact
"Dear Lord," Janelle said. "I can't believe this. He's...
been dead since I was a teenager!"
"There are... circumstances we haven't been able to work
out," Scully admitted.
"What does this mean?" Pete whispered. "I mean,
assuming you two aren't on some sort of drugs."
"Assuming a DNA test proves conclusive," Mulder said,
"then you'll have to take steps to reestablish your identity
with the family. Your... um... Priscilla has amassed quite a
considerable fortune from the profits at Graceland. It's all in
Lisa Marie's name, but once they know you aren't dead..."
He drifted off after seeing the glazed look on Pete's face.
"Lisa Marie?" he whispered. "Jesus in heaven."
Scully gave Mulder a look that told him he was rushing
forward too quickly. It was a look he was intimately familiar
"Pete," Scully said carefully, "do you remember anything
else? Anything at all about the time you were gone?"
Pete shook his head.
"Just what I told you before. This can't
be right. It don't make no sense! Where did I go? And if I'm
Elvis, shouldn't I be old and gray by now? I don't suppose
anybody's got the answers, do they?"
It was a rhetorical question and they all knew it. The
was unbearably hot. Sweat trickled down Mulder's sides
and pooled at his waist band. The back of his shirt seemed
permanently fused to his skin. No one moved for a moment,
still absorbing the news. What did it mean, in the end? This
man, whomever his fingerprints might say he was, wasn't
going to suddenly release a comeback album. He wasn't
going to start touring Vegas. Mulder was fairly sure Pete
wouldn't even want to do those things. Deeply absorbed in
this conundrum of identity, Mulder actually jumped when
Janelle stood suddenly and rushed out of the room, her
apron lifted to her face. Either she was going to be sick, or
she was crying. Either possibility made him nervous.
"Janelle!" Pete called, starting to rise.
Scully held out
one hand, her face calm in the rising storm of
the room. "I'll go," she said quietly.
Pete sank back into the
couch, defeated. Mulder thought for
a man who'd just found out he was rich and famous, Pete
looked about as miserable as... as a hound dog. For a
moment, the three men simply stared at one another. Then
Ed spoke, his voice high and slightly shrill. "Well, guess we
don't have to worry 'bout those damned dirty hogs no more,
Now the stage is bare
and I'm standing there
emptiness all around. And if you won't come back to me,
then they can bring the curtain down.
Janelle stood on the back porch, arms around herself, her
large eyes filled with tears.
Scully stepped up and gently
touched her arm.
realize this is a lot to absorb right now..." she began as the
older woman turned to stare at her. Her skin was patchy
and red, her hair had been loosened from the bun she had
wrapped it in and floated, nimbus-like, around her face. In
her faded jeans and battered denim shirt, she was the
picture of despair.
"You don't know what it's like," she said, miserable. "I
waited years to meet a man like this. All my damn life, I
think. Someone who'd protect me, and care for me. He
listens to me, Miss Scully. He cares what I think about
things. Hell, even Ed never gave a damn what I wanted,
what I thought. After Donny died... well, this just seemed like
a fresh start."
"He's still going to care about you," Scully offered
"That won't stop just because he's... he's... someone
Janelle gave her look that said she understood very little
about the situation, but thanks very much. Scully winced.
"Look, you don't get it," Janelle said slowly. "You're a
pretty girl, Miss Scully. Any man'd want to be with you. But
what do you think Pete'll think of me when everyone starts
throwin' themselves at him? How long do you think he'll want
someone like me when women who look like you start
Scully sighed and cleared her throat. "Look, Janelle, Pete
loves you, that's obvious. I don't think that's going to change
just because he's suddenly presented with shallow
opportunities. That just doesn't seem to be his character."
Janelle sniffed and wiped the back of her hand across her
nose. "You think?"
"You know him better than I do," Scully said gently. "And
do love him, right?"
Janelle nodded. "More than you can imagine."
"Oh, I don't know," Scully said, placing a hand on
arm and leading her back inside the house.
and Pete stood up as they entered. Scully glanced
at her partner's worried face and smiled. "You'd be
surprised what I know about love," she said so only Janelle
I said, "Come on over baby,
there's a whole lotta shakin'
goin' on. We ain't fakin', there's a whole lotta shakin' going
on." Said "Shake, baby, shake."
Mulder watched Scully as he drove back toward their hotel.
She seemed subdued, especially compared with this
afternoon. Both hands were neatly folded in her lap, and her
chin nearly touched her collar bone. Janelle's reaction to the
news had shaken them both. It hadn't occurred to Mulder
just how much this would alter one lonely woman's life.
Perhaps, he thought, he could find a way to make that
alteration work in her favor.
"So, how much does our genetic make-up determine who
we are, Scully?" he asked, breaking the silence between
them. Something had been playing in the back of his mind,
though he couldn't put his finger on what it was that
Scully replied after a brief pause. "Genetics is merely
road map, Mulder. Everyone's journey is different."
"But the destination is always the same, right?" he said.
She smiled. "The destination is unique to each individual,
Mulder, no matter who they were born. I think you've run too
far with that analogy. You're asking me if Pete is still Elvis,
without his experiences."
"Exactly. Does the mere fact that he is genetically Elvis
Presley make him the King?"
Shrugging, she settled further back into her seat.
isn't the only thing that determines how we turn out, as you
know, but no one understands the exact proportions
required within that equation."
"So I might not turn out to be my father, just because I'm
descended from him."
She turned to look at him then, her eyes narrow in the
car. He knew she was carefully formulating her reply to be
as impersonal as possible. "You're bothered by the idea
that we might be doomed by genetics to repeat the same
sets of mistakes as our parents, right? That Pete might
have to live up to being Elvis because his parents created
him that way?"
"I suppose so," Mulder answered truthfully.
Frowning, she reached across the car and touched his arm.
He felt comforted immediately. It wasn't that she touched
him, it was that she wanted to make him hear her,
"Well, Mulder, it just isn't that simple.
Genetically, you aren't
simply the descendant of your mother and father, but also of
your grandparents and their grandparents. Genetics isn't
just a matter of 'a plus b equals c', but a complex battle for
dominance by traits that may only surface once in a
thousand generations. You could be, genetically, more like
your great-great- grandfather than your father. I, for instance,
could just as easily have been a violent alcoholic like my
uncle Ted. Perhaps something in my decision to join the
FBI and carry a gun is related not to my father's inherent
heroism but rather to my uncle's need for false security and
bravado. There's more than one way to skin a Scully,
Mulder smiled and squeezed her hand within his own. "Why
does that sound so obscene?"
Scully returned the caress, then slipped back to her own
seat. "We're discovering so much about the roles genetics
plays in our lives, Mulder. Just a few months ago I read an
article about a study involving breast cancers in identical
twins. Did you know that even if your identical twin gets
cancer, your own chances of getting it only go up thirteen
percent? Someone who is genetically identical to yourself
and yet their life, the outcome of their experiences, can vary
greatly from your own."
Mulder tapped his fingers on the steering wheel. "Elvis
a twin brother, you know, who died at birth. I wonder who he
would have been, had he lived?"
She was quiet for a moment, then she shrugged, her profile
lit by the setting sun. "Just because someone is a twin,
Mulder, doesn't make them an exact clone."
It struck them both at the same moment. He felt her
beside him and heard her open her mouth then close it with
an audible smack.
"My God," she said at last, her voice filled with a new
excitement that set his own blood racing, "it explains
Well you can knock me down, step on my face,
name all over the place. Do anything that you wanna do, but
uh-uh, Honey, lay offa them shoes.
They could hear the argument in progress from the
driveway, rising above the stench of the hogs in the bright
red light of the sunset and swirling around them, capturing
Scully's attention by the notes of sheer desperation.
Janelle's voice reached them clearly as they approached
the open door. "How could you call a record producer, Ed?
Are you out of your mind?"
"This could be an opportunity for us!" she heard Ed whine.
"Do you know how much this guy is worth? All he'd have to
do is go on TV a couple times and we'd be rollin' in dough."
"I don't want to be rolling in dough," Janelle said. "I
"You were?" a deep voice asked and they heard footsteps
across the wooden floor of the living room.
words were lost, but Scully caught the tone
well enough to imagine what she had said.
"Ed, get out," Janelle said loudly at last. "Take your
and get out."
"Janelle," he shouted, obviously flustered, "I'm your
Your own flesh and blood. You can't throw me out!"
"Blood don't mean nothin' if they're gonna hurt you, does it?"
Mulder said quietly beside her. Scully glanced at him
raised an eyebrow. He smiled back. There was a pause
from within the house and then Janelle's voice. "Hello?"
"Janelle, it's Agents Scully and Mulder," Scully called.
need to talk to you."
"Go away," Janelle said, suddenly standing behind the
screen door. She twisted the edge of her apron in her
hands and glared at them. "You brought us enough bad
"It's all right, Nell," Pete said, his hand on her
nodded to them, and sighed. "These folks don't mean no
harm to us, do you?"
"No," Mulder said quickly. "In fact, I think we can help you."
Janelle reluctantly opened the door to let them in. Ed
in the corner, his hands thrust in his jeans' pockets, nearly
dragging them off his skinny frame.
"I thought I told you to get out," Janelle said firmly as
passed him. He slinked out the door toward his room.
"Please have a seat, agents. We'd love any help you could
Mulder hesitated, then leaned forward slowly. "Pete, Agent
Scully and I think we know who you are. I know we told you
that you were Elvis Presley, but I think it's actually more
complicated than that."
"Oh," Pete said wearily. "So now I'm not Elvis?"
"Not exactly," Scully said. "We believe you are a clone of
"A what?" Janelle said, staring at them blankly. "Like
"Precisely," Scully nodded. "Most people aren't aware of
but there are scientists who have developed the ability to
clone human beings. This work is not sanctioned by the
scientific community, but it can be done. I don't know quite
why someone would clone Elvis then abandon that clone,
but I'm almost sure that's what has happened here."
"Strange enough, that does make some sense to me.
Maybe," Pete ventured quietly, after a moment's
contemplation, "they found that whatever it was that made
him, you know, Elvis, wasn't there in me."
"Maybe," Mulder admitted. "But there's nothing wrong with
that, Pete. Elvis died of a drug overdose, miserable and
lonely. You don't have to make those same mistakes. You
can be whomever you like."
"You mean I can stay here with Janelle? I don't have to go
be a singer?"
"No you don't. You never did, if it comes down to it,"
said. "But this means you can stay here if that's what you
want to do, and no one can say anything about it."
Pete sighed and stood up slowly. Scully winced as his
knees cracked loudly. "I appreciate that, Mr. Mulder. I been
so heartbroken since you told me who I was. All I could think
was that I like it here. I don't want to go nowhere else."
With that, he took a step forward and held out his hand.
Mulder rose to shake it, but as he gripped Pete's hand, the
older man stumbled slightly and then slipped to his knees,
nearly pulling Mulder down beside him.
"Pete?" Janelle cried. "My God, Pete?"
"Call an ambulance!" Scully shouted, kneeling beside the
now-prostrate Pete. "I need to elevate his feet. I think he's
going into shock." As Mulder reached for a foot stool, she
saw him shut the living room door in Ed's face. She
applauded the sentiment.
Well my hands are shaking
and my knees are weak
seem to stand on my own two feet. Who do you think would
have such luck? I'm in love, I'm all shook up.
Memphis Memorial Hospital
October 5, 2000
Mulder reached out and stilled Janelle Hopkirk with his
hand. She had been pacing for over an hour. Looking down
to where he sat, her face was blankly terrified.
"Agent Scully will see that Pete gets the finest care
possible," he reassured her. "She's a doctor too, you
know." He didn't mention what state her patients were
usually in. "She's been my doctor for years."
Janelle sank down beside him on the couch and sighed.
just worry." Her hands had not ceased their constant
twisting of the apron she still wore. "He's the most important
thing I got. I never thought I'd want a man more than I want
my own flesh and blood, but it's true. I'd kick Ed out in a
second if it meant I could stay with Pete."
Mulder smiled at her, gently. "I know what you mean.
Sometimes someone you love means more to you than any
genetic relation. They become your only family, because
that's all you need."
"Blood don't mean nothing if they're gonna hurt you, ain't
that what you said?" Janelle asked. "Makes sense to me,
Mr. Mulder. Makes sense to me." Janelle watched him for a
moment, then cleared her throat. "You and her..." She drifted
off as the door to the waiting room opened and Scully emerged.
Mulder stifled the urge to grin in gratitude.
"How is he?" Janelle asked.
Scully sat primly on the seat beside the couch. Mulder
see her exhaustion, but marveled that it was probably
hidden from everyone else. He had begun to take delight in
the things only he could see, the moments anyone else
"He's going to be all right in a few weeks," Scully said.
"A few weeks?" Janelle asked, her face concerned.
Scully sighed. "Though I'll never convince those doctors
this, I believe Pete is suffering from Dolly Syndrome."
"Named after the sheep?" Mulder asked.
"Exactly. Clones made from adult genetic samples age with
greater rapidity until they reach the same age as the
Janelle blinked. "So he's agin' too fast?"
"Just until he catches up with the original Elvis," Scully
reassured her. "Then he should resume normal aging. I
think you two will have plenty of time to spend together."
Janelle sighed with relief. "When can I see him?"
"You can come on back now," Scully said, standing.
saw her arch slightly to crack her back and smiled at
her. As they followed Janelle down the corridor, he leaned
close and whispered to her. "Speaking of aging
prematurely..." He let one hand drift up under her suit jacket
to push at the sore muscles in the small of her back. "When
was the last time you had a good night's sleep, Scully?"
"Hush," she whispered back, but he didn't miss the way she
pressed back into his fingers.
Pete was sitting up in the bed as they filed in, his dark
falling over one eye. The nurse grinned at him and patted
his cheek before she left. He blushed and looked quickly to
Bending, she kissed his lips swiftly,
as if she were
ashamed. He smiled tenderly at her and patted the spot
beside his hip.
"Agent Scully tells me you're gonna be just fine," Janelle
said, settling next to him. It was a familiar tableau. So
familiar, in fact, it made Mulder's heart ache.
"I'll be home to help you out before you know it," he agreed.
The room lapsed into silence as the two stared deeply into
each other's eyes. Mulder felt Scully shift next to him and
briefly caught her eye. There was something tender there,
something for him. He smiled back.
Janelle sighed loudly and picked at the edge of the
blanket. "This is all a relief," she said at last, addressing
everyone, "but it don't solve what I'm gonna do 'bout Ed. He
still thinks you're the real thing. I don't want a bunch of
record producers wanderin' in and out of the house all day
Mulder stepped forward. "I think I've got the answer to
problem," he said. He'd been pondering that very problem
while he watched Janelle pace the waiting room floor. Pete
nodded and he continued. "Elvis had a twin brother who
died at birth named Jesse. I'm sure you've all heard about it.
Anyway, I was thinking that maybe we should revise history
"You want me to tell people I'm Elvis' long lost twin
Pete asked with no small amount of amusement. "That's not
gonna cause a bit of a stir?"
"It's better than actually being Elvis, right?" Mulder
watched as Pete nodded slowly. "I mean, the media may be
interested, but once they see that you're just a hog farmer
from Tennessee, they should back off. I'm sure some
celebrity will do something stupid and they'll forget all about
"Yeah, well, I guess anything's better than bein' Elvis,"
said at last. "I never wanted to be nothin' but a hog farmer
"I never thought I'd hear anyone say that," Mulder said
grinned widely as Pete chuckled, his hand linked tightly with
Maybe I didn't hold you all those lonely, lonely times.
guess I never told you I'm so happy that you're mine. If I
made you feel second best I'm so sorry, I was blind. You
were always on my mind.
Bank One Ballpark
Sometime in the Future
Drenched in sunscreen and feeling pleasantly pink, Scully
watched in awe as the massive cantilevered roof slid slowly
forward to block out the insistent Arizona sun to the strains
of Beethoven's Ninth. "The Romans would have loved this,"
she said to her partner, perched beside her, his face also
raised. He'd also developed a bit of color, bringing out the
intense green of his eyes. She could see a pale line of
demarcation just inside the neck of his shirt. It made her feel
"Aside from the fact that historically, there would have
to be more carnage to interest the Romans, like maybe a
bloodbath in the hot tub, the roof is one of the reasons I
picked this one," he said. "That and Randy Johnson
pitching against Greg Maddux."
"So that was why I got that e-mail marked 'urgent' last
week," she said, smiling at him. "A pitching duel. Just what I
wanted to see."
He turned to look at her and she poked his elbow playfully
with her own. "I'll have you know you're watching pitching
history, Scully. Two of the greatest pitchers of our time.
"I can't help but watch, Mulder, with these seats."
"Yeah, Scully, I've been meaning to ask you about that.
the hell did you get seats this good that fast? What'd you
do, kiss the governor?"
She smiled coyly and shrugged. "I just happen to know
someone whose kung fu can get him into the Ticketmaster
site faster than you can spell 'hacker'."
He laughed and turned back to the game, watching the
players make their way out onto the field.
"Is that how you got that hotel room?" she asked. "I've
seen a tub that big indoors. I'm just glad I brought my suit,
"No, I didn't take advantage of Frohike's charms," he
admitted. "I just paid through the nose for that one."
"Mulder," she said, grinning, "if anyone has the nose..."
He silenced her with a hand on her knee and a look that
made something inside her melt, even in the heavily cooled
"I love it when we both win," he said after a moment of
"Well," she said, "it depends on how you look at it. He
was, and wasn't, Elvis. So either we both won, Mulder, or
we both lost."
"I always prefer to think we've won, Scully."
They were quiet for a moment, watching Greg throw a
couple warm up pitches from the mound.
"So, Scully, hot dogs? Ketchup and mustard only? You sure
I can't talk you into some kraut?"
She shook her head and admired him as he slouched down
the aisle in a pair of faded jeans and his Roswell Greys
shirt. It was nice to see Mulder so happy, she mused. It was
even worth a promise of candlelight and Italian food to a
very bemused Frohike.
Beside her, a father and son sat, heads bent over the
scorecard. The boy didn't look any older than Mulder had
been in the photo of him with his father. They had matching
baseball hats and a big styrofoam hand that read "Number
"J-O-H-N-S-O-N," the father was saying. "That's right. I'm
going to go get us some food, ok? I'll be back in a few
minutes. You want a pretzel?"
The boy nodded, his head still bent over the card. After a
moment he looked up and met Scully's gaze. "Excuse me,"
the boy said. "Do you know how to spell Maddux?"
The first inning passed quickly, one batter after another
sulking back to the dugout. The boy marked the pitches
dutifully on the card for his father. Scully leaned back and
enjoyed the cool air and festive atmosphere. It was good to
relax. Only Arizona would have a hot tub in a ball park. She
smiled at Mulder's image of death and gore superimposed
over the big breasted women in bikinis trying to get on the
giant screen by bouncing up and down in the bubbling
Mulder reappeared at the top of the second, bearing two
trays of food and a bag of popcorn he dropped into her lap
with a grin.
"Extra onions and relish, just like the lady likes it," he
handing her a hot dog with only ketchup and mustard.
She rolled her eyes at him.
Beside them, the little boy looked anxiously down the aisle.
Mulder nodded to him and leaned close to Scully.
"He went to get food just after you," she whispered. "Do
think we should say something? Maybe he doesn't know
how long those lines can be."
Mulder eyed the boy for a moment, then shook his head. "I
think you'd only embarrass him, Scully. I remember at that
age how brave I wanted to be all the time."
She watched as he then devoured half his hot dog in a
single bite. "I'm sure you were," she reassured him. "You
still are the bravest man I've ever known."
Mulder seemed astonished at the compliment and smiled
with his mouth closed around his food. It made him look
rather endearingly like a giant, tanned chipmunk. She
reached over and patted his knee to let him know she
understood. He closed one hand over hers and left it there
as he finished the hot dog.
She took a tentative nibble at her own and
found it tasted
smoky and wonderful. Beside them, the boy waited, his
anxiety increasing until he was practically bouncing in his
seat. At last his father appeared, carrying a tray of food and
a beer. He sat down beside his son and handed him the
food. "Darn, the line for beer was crazy..." he began. He
froze when the child suddenly burst into tears. Something
tore in Scully's heart and she felt Mulder's hand squeeze her
own. "Oh, hey now," the father said, flustered and surprised.
"Don't cry. Hey, now, I wasn't gone that long, was I?"
The child didn't answer, sobbing in relief and
embarrassment. The father slipped his beer into the cup
holder in front of his seat and slid one arm around the boy's
shoulders. "Now come on, it's not so bad now, I'm here." He
leaned over the child and hugged him close. "I'll never leave
you, son. We're family. Family don't just up and leave. I
wouldn't let you go, not for the world."
Scully turned to see tears in Mulder's eyes, just before
blinked them carefully away. She leaned over and kissed
him gently on the cheek, smelling his aftershave and the
warm scent of her own sunscreen.
"The game," she said, pointing to Randy as he stretched
toward the second doomed batter.
"I know, Scully," he said quietly. "I was just thinking
He met her gaze and sighed, his face softening. "I was just
wondering if we're looking at a chance for another crack in
Roger Clemens' armor. It's possible we're looking at a
twenty K game here, Scully. You wouldn't want to miss that,
She touched his cheek and shook her head. "Not for the
world, Mulder. Not for the world."
My tongue gets tied when I try to speak,
my insides shake
like a leaf on a tree. There's only one cure for this body of
mine, that's to have that girl that I love so fine. She touched
my hand, what a chill I got. Her lips are like a volcano that's
hot. I'm proud to say that she's my buttercup. I'm in love, I'm
all shook up.
Author's Notes: Yes, I've been to Bank One Ballpark and
witnessed the jiggling women in the hot tub, but that isn't
where I saw the little boy and his father. That was at
Candlestick. It was one of the sweetest moments I have
ever seen. Thanks to the team at VS8 for taking good care