Agent Fox Mulder had seen plenty of dead bodies in his career. He'd seen bodies carved up by psychopaths, people who'd died from natural causes, half-eaten corpses, and even piles of deadly green goo that had once been aliens shaped as people. What he wasn't used to was opening the front door of his building when he was getting ready for his run and finding a dead body on it with a neatly typed "to Mulder" label on it. He stared for a long moment, then went upstairs to change and make a phone call or two.
Scully met him in front of his apartment. She watched dispassionately as the body was loaded to be taken to her morgue. "Do you recognize the man or the MO?" she asked without preamble. Mulder was pleased that she didn't start out with pleasantries. He couldn't handle being social this morning.
"He's someone I've seen in photographs. He worked with my father. As for the MO? He was shot once. It was a very neat execution. If not for the placement of the body and the note, it would be just that."
Scully looked at him sharply. "He worked with your father?" she queried softly.
Mulder blinked. He'd given her the answer without recognizing what it meant. An almost visceral pleasure at the thought of someone hunting the Consortium members rolled through his gut before he could stop it. "I don't know his name, but I've seen him in photos with my father. We need to identify him."
Scully nodded sharply. "I'll call you when I have the autopsy results."
"Great way to start the weekend, huh, Scully?" He gave her his most winning smile.
She looked at him and raised a brow. "Of course. I love nothing better than to be called in on my day off to cut up the dead body that was left on your front step. I suppose it could be worse. It could be another cattle mutilation."
"You mean I can call you for those?" Mulder perked up.
"No," she said too quickly, realizing the opening she'd given him. He smirked at her. She rolled her eyes and stalked to her car.
Mulder took a deep breath and looked down at the ground where the body had lain. There was very little blood, so the man had definitely been killed elsewhere. He looked up suddenly, feeling eyes on him. The hair on the back of his neck stood up and every instinct screamed at him to run. He scanned the crowd, not sure what he was looking for. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Would this killer come back to the scene of his body dump? Did he want to be caught? Or was this simply a warning of something more? He shook off the strange apathy that told him to just wait for whatever blow fate was going to hand him and moved to his car. He'd meet Scully at the office. He had to see if he could identify this man.
Scully settled behind her desk. She had Mulder's background report on their dead body. He was busy reading her autopsy results. Their dead body's name was Harrison Coulter. At least, that was one of his names. He owned a pharmaceutical company that they'd found mentions of in conjunction with several of their investigations into the Conspiracy that had stolen Mulder's sister and killed hers. She hid the vicious jerk of pleasure that knowing one of them was dead. "Mulder, why do you think he was left for you?"
Mulder looked up. "I don't know yet. Maybe to draw me into things again. Maybe it's misdirection. Maybe it was that cigarette smoking bastard again trying to play with my head. This might not even be our man. It might be a clone." He nearly growled in frustration. "Once again, we really don't know anything." He leaned back in his chair. A nervous cough at the door caught both agent's attention.
"What is it, Brian?" Scully asked the intern.
"Um, this package just came through for Agent Mulder." He held out the small paper-wrapped package. Mulder accepted it with a nod of thanks. Brian scurried out of the room as if being surrounded by the files would infect him by proxy. Mulder studied the wrapping.
"Well?" Scully prompted.
"Do you recognize the handwriting?" He didn't respond, lips pulling down into a frown. His eyes widened a fraction and he opened the package quickly.
"Sick bastard," he muttered. There was a tone of relief in his voice though. She looked at him curiously. His mood since returning from Russia had been nothing less than morose. Now, however, this package seemed to have lightened his mood completely. He flipped through the children's book a smirk twisting his lips up. A disc slipped from between the pages. He picked it up and put it into his suitcoat pocket. "Here, give this to your nephew." He tossed her the book. It was _Cinnabar_the_One-o'clock_Fox_.
The joke made her smile. "I used to love this book. I always wanted to fox to escape the hunters."
"Hopefully, so does our informant."
"You know who sent the book?" She didn't mention the disc.
"I might. You want some lunch? My treat."
She nodded. They gathered up their coats and Mulder led the way to the parking garage. She raised a brow. This was not what she'd expected. She'd expected a hot-dog and a walk to the monuments.
Mulder glanced at his partner. She was sitting in the passenger seat looking more and more perturbed. She recognized where they were going a moment later. "Oh, Mulder, what a wonderful field trip. Did you call ahead to have Frohike get a pizza?" she said overly sweetly. Mulder knocked the tally of how much he was going to owe her for this one up two points. "If he tries to look up my skirt, I'm going to shoot him."
"Really, Scully, he's not that short." He smirked at her. She glared at him. Mulder didn't say anything more. She was going to crucify him when she found out how he'd lost Krycek in Russia. He'd let her think that the younger man had escaped in the same confusion that had gotten him out of the gulag, but that they hadn't been together. For all he knew, Krycek was right back in the same cell he'd escaped from. He tried to push away the confusing images. The man had seemed so brittle. He let his mind wander as he drove. Scully seemed to be content watching out the window. She didn't disturb his thoughts.
Frohike leered at Scully as she settled gingerly on an office chair. No matter how often she'd been to this cave a paranoia, she'd never become comfortable sitting on their chairs. She had visions of grease and other fluids she didn't want to acknowledge ruining her pants. Byers gave her a small nod and smile in greeting. Langley grinned and gave her a quick, "hey."
The head dwarf, um, Frohike took the disc. "What have you got for us, Mulder?"
"That disc is from an informant. I need to know what's on it."
Mulder settled next to Scully. She looked at him evenly. "Who sent it? You recognized the handwriting. You put it into your burn box."
The other agent fidgeted.
She looked at him for a long moment. "Krycek," she stated. He jumped a little, looking edgy. She wasn't going to let him lie to her though.
"It looked like his writing, but I don't know how old the information is. I won't know until I see it."
"He sent you the receipts and now this disc. Were you paying him?"
"What?" Mulder's attention snapped to her completely.
"I said, were you paying him?"
"No." Mulder sighed. "Scully, I've bullied him. I've beaten him. I left him on Skinner's balcony for a night. I left him locked in my car until he coughed up that he speaks Russian. Dragged him to Russia in handcuffs. Got him captured and thrown into a gulag. Unless he's more of a masochist than I think, I haven't given him anything."
Her eyes narrowed. "You hit him while he was in custody?" She heard the disappointment in her voice. Mulder shifted uncomfortably. He didn't look at her. She sighed and dropped the topic for the moment.