Los Angeles, California 19 hours later
Frohike had not given Scully a clue about why she was flying to Los Angeles on such short notice. All she had gotten out of him besides the airplane ticket was his usual harmless flirtation. Even at eight in the morning he was on top of his game enough to flirt with her.
She exited the runway after the nearly six-hour flight, her bag in hand. She had grown proficient at quick less is more packing over the past four plus years as Special Agent Dana Scully, partner to Special Agent Fox Mulder. Flying by the seat of his pants was not abnormal for Mulder, neither were spontaneous trips on a hunch.
She found the first United ticket counter as Frohike's note had indicated she should do and proceeded outside. As far as she knew she was not being followed. She should not be, even if someone had bugged her telephone. George Hale was a name Mulder had used in the past to telephone information into Scully when they had been for whatever reason not working the same case. The name was on record as being an informant, and Scully did currently have some open cases.
She spotted the car sitting at the curb, engine idling with the lights off, the silhouette of a man seated at the wheel visible through the windshield. At close to midnight there were no other cars on the departures level. The trunk was automatically opened and Scully placed her bag inside, entering the passenger seat after she'd closed the trunk.
It had been weeks since she had seen Mulder and she could not help but be relieved at seeing him alive and looking well. She planted a friendly kiss on his cheek. She was a little speechless, unsure of what to say. She had no idea why she was here, why he had risked calling her when he had arranged with the Gunmen to get her here, but it seemed wrong to pump him for answers upon first sight.
"So, how have you been," she asked as she fastened her seatbelt.
"Not bad. I've spent some time down south, New Mexico. You know me."
"Right, let me guess, Roswell was among your stops."
He smirked, she could see it even in the dimly lit car. "You know me too well, Scully."
"Skinner suspects," she said, focusing on her hands in her lap.
"Skinman always was pretty perceptive, Scully. I'll make a deal with you. You don't laugh at me when I tell you why we're here and I'll come back to Washington with you and we can work on getting this mess straightened out once and for all."
"Deal," she said quickly.
"I don't much care for being dead, as much fun as it has been being able to go around and do things. For the first time in years I've felt a sense of freedom that I haven't in a long time."
"I wouldn't be so sure of that, Mulder. If Skinner suspects, others undoubtedly do, too, despite my positive ID." They were quiet as he drove out of the airport area and onto a highway, heading south. She had assumed at this time of night they would be stopping somewhere. "Where are we going, Mulder?"
"A town south of Los Angeles called Sunnydale. Langly passed on some information to me he thought I might be interested in. And I wanted you along."
"I've never heard of it."
"Well, it's small, but University of California has a campus there, so it's not that small. Lots of interesting things have been happening there over the years. One in particular recently got the Gunmen's attention."
"Okay. So what makes you interested in any of this?"
"Well, the Gunmen never told me anything about this town until the day after Halloween. It seems it's a hotbed of unexplainable phenomena, which would have interested me of course. Until now, though, I've always had my hands full with Bureau work and I don't think Skinner would authorize us coming out to Sunnydale, California to investigate some demons."
"No, Mulder, and I'm not sure why exactly I've been invited along."
"I want us both to talk to the people involved in this latest bit of activity. This is the type of thing, believe it or not Scully, I want you with me on. I know no one realizes it, they don't give you credit, but you help keep me grounded. And I know what type of thing I especially need that for."
"So are you going to tell me what we're investigating, or are you going to keep me in the dark entirely, figuratively and literally."
He glanced at her, tossing her his charming Mulder smile, one she knew all too well but it still worked on her. "Would I do that," he quipped lightly as he changed lanes. "I sort of assumed you'd be wanting to get some shuteye since you've been up since early this morning."
"And you haven't?"
"I got into LA at about noon, got myself a nutritious and delicious fast food lunch, checked into a fleabag motel and slept until I had to get you. So I'm fresh as a daisy."
"Great," she said and turned to look out the window.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com