Title: "Back Where We Belong"
Author: Angela W.
Category: MSR (Mulder/Scully married)
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Mulder and Scully, now married and working in different divisions, get a chance to investigate an X-File together again.
Timespan/Spoilers: This story in part of my "married"
series, which branched off from the "real" X-Files
world about midway through season seven. I don't think there are any specific spoilers, but anything up to that point should be considered fair game. Within my fanfic world, this story comes after "Vacation", but you don't have to have read any previous stories in the series to understand this one.
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They are the property of Chris Carter and 1013 Productions.
Feedback: If it's nice or contains *constructive*
criticism, feedback is valued.
Archive: Feel free to archive anywhere!

Part 1 of 3

F.B.I. Special Agent Dana Scully sighed as she
shuffled through the stack of exam papers on her desk. She was, quite frankly, bored. She'd returned to work part-time from her maternity leave six weeks ago and was beginning to think she would have been better off to have simply stayed home. She enjoyed her days with Melissa far more than the three a week she spent at Quantico.

Scully shook her head. As much as she adored her
daughter, she didn't *really* want to spend the rest
of her life as a full-time Mommy; besides, Melissa was in excellent hands with Dana's own mother, Maggie, on the days she worked. 

Scully wanted to work; she just wanted it to be on
something a bit more challenging than entry-level
classes to F.B.I recruits and routine autopsies and
chemical analysis in the labs. God help her, on days
like today, she had a secret longing for the X-Files
to be reopened!

"And if I ever mentioned that to Mulder, I'd never
hear the end of it," she muttered to herself.

"If you ever mentioned *what* to me, you'd never hear
the end of it?" a deep male voice inquired. "You been
having those fantasies involving you, Skinner and
whipped cream again?"

"Mulder!" she said, looking up into the amused eyes of her husband, Special Agent Fox Mulder. "I didn't know you were coming out to Quantico today."

"So I gathered. What would you never hear the end of
if you mentioned it to me?"

"Well, it certainly doesn't have anything to do with
Skinner, with or without whipped cream," she said with a smile. "The man's practically like a father to me!"

"What, then?"

Scully sighed. There was no way Mulder was going to
let go of this. "It's just that I have a sneaky,
perverse desire to investigate an X-File again!"

"Ooh, Scully," he responded. "We're really living up
to our reputations as 'Spooky and Mrs. Spooky' today!
Guess why I came by?"

"I presumed it was for the usual reasons. . .to make
sexual innuendos and take me to lunch." Since she'd
returned to work, he'd managed to drop by one day out
of almost every week for teasing, flirting and lunch.
But she rarely knew when he was coming, since his work as the Special Agent in Charge of a task force on serial killers didn't always allow him to make plans in advance. These occasional "dates" let them to spend a little time alone together, but without having to be away from their baby any extra hours. 

"Well, I'll be happy to feed you. And you *know* I'm
going to make the kind of remarks that, if we weren't
married, would have me kicked out of the bureau for
sexual harrassment. But that's not my main reason for
coming out here today. I've got something I want you
to take a look at," he said, waving a file folder in
his hand.

"What is it?" she inquired.

"Come on, let's go to lunch and I'll explain."


As Mulder and Scully settled across from each other in a secluded corner of the Quantico cafeteria, he handed her a folder and said, "This got booted over to me, ostenstiably because it could be the work of a serial killer. Skinner was acting kind of weird when he gave it to me, though, and it didn't take me five minutes to figure out why. This isn't about a serial killer, at least not in the usual sense. It's an X-File, Scully; which is why I need you on it with me."

Scully skimmed the contents of the folder he'd handed
her. Three different murders on the Delmarva penisula
within the past two weeks. Each in a different state,
with a victim of a different age who'd died in a
different manner; one shot, one strangled, one

"Mulder, other than the obvious fact that they all
died violently and recently, I don't see any
connection here! One would seem to be the result of a
robbery, one of domestic violence and one, quite
likely, of a serial killer."

"That was the inital assumption of all the
investigating agencies, as well," Mulder agreed, "it
was purest chance that the connection between the
victims came to light. A Dover, Delaware police
officer who was investigating the stabbing victim
happens to be the brother-in-law of a Virginia sheriff who was investigating the death of the shooting victim. . .and the close friend of a Baltimore cop who was investigating the death of the strangulation victim. He happened to notice, when on a weekend visit to his relatives and friends, that the three of them lived almost exactly equal distances from each other. Then, because they'd been talking shop, he got curious and ran a computer check on the locations of each of their recent homicides. The murder sites form a perfect equliateral triangle, Scully!"

"Okay, Mulder, I admit that's weird, but it could be
just a coincidence."

"There's more, Scully. I ran a computer check of all
the locations within the triangle. The area has had a
homicide three times the national average for the past few years!" 

"Mulder, there could be any number of reasons for
that. Lots of areas — mostly those in low income
neighborhoods — have crime rates much higher than the
national average."

"True," her husband admitted easily, which surprised
her a bit. "But the area comprised by the triangle
doesn't have the usual characteristics of a high crime area. The annual income for residents within the triangle is higher than the nation's median income, the population density is lower and the education and employment levels are at or slightly above average. In other words, the factors that usually lead toward an increase in violent crime — poverty, overcrowding, lack of education and high unemployment — are missing in this equation."

Scully sighed. She had to admit that Mulder was — by
his standards, at least — making sense. "Okay, Mulder. We'll look into it. But before you wander off on some weird tangent involving demonic possession or alien mind manipulation, try to remember that the most logical solution to an unexplained rise in homicides would be some sort of medical or chemical factor. Maybe the area in question has a contaminated water supply or something of that nature. Certain chemicals could lead to a lack of inhibition, making it more difficult for the residents to suppress violent impulses. Did you check to see if there was an increase in other types of violent crimes, like rapes and assaults, in addition to the increase in

"Not yet. I can do that as soon as I get back to my
office. Technically speaking, the only crimes my task
force has the authority to investigate are murders;
specifically, those suspected to be the work of serial killers. But I can at least run the numbers for other crimes. By the way, Scully, I'm not at all averse to considering the possiblity of a drugged water supply or some sort of aerial contaminent as the most likely explanation for this area's high crime rate. However, that would lead to the questions of who was doping the residents and what they hoped to accomplish by increasing the amount of random violence in a contained area. The place is a fucking Bermuda Triangle!"

Scully smiled at him. Despite the gravity of the case
before them, the prospect of teaming up with Mulder to investigate an X-file again was making her excited
about her work in a way that she hadn't been in the
time since she'd returned from maternity leave. . .and the phrase he'd just used was bringing back memories of a different sort. "I thought all we did was kiss," she murmured.

"Huh?" Mulder asked, obviously confused by the sudden
change in topic.

"The Bermuda Triangle, Mulder. The *last* time you
started babbling about it, all we'd done in your
little time-travelling fantasy was kiss. Have you
upgraded our activities since then?"

Mulder snorted, not used to being the spouse on the
receiving end of sexual innuendos. "You know what I
mean, Scully. If I collect the data, would you be
willing to work with me on it tonight, after we get
Melissa to sleep, to see if we can find a pattern? And can you get someone to cover your classes for you
tomorrow, so you can come out in the field with me to
do some investigating?"

"Yes to both questions. But if I'm going to be out of
the lab all day tomorrow, I need to get back to work
now, finish up what I was doing. I'll see you at

"Okay. I'll head on back to headquarters, get these
computer traces done and see you there," Mulder said.
Then, heedless of the fact that a kiss was hardly the
most professional way for an an F.B.I. agent to end a
business discussion with one of his colleagues, he
dropped a quick peck on her upturned lips and walked
out of the cafeteria.


As Scully was driving toward her mother's house late
that afternoon, she pondered the geometrical
associations of the case she and Mulder were
investigating. The triangle reminded her that there
was also an almost perfect triangle — albeit a smaller one — between Quantico, F.B.I. headquarters and their home. Just about at the epicenter of the triangle was the home of Maggie Scully, Dana's mother. That way, either Mulder or Scully could drop Melissa off in the morning and pick her up on their way back home. While this parental duty normally fell to Scully — mostly because she enjoyed the chance to spend a few minutes at the beginning and end of her workdays chatting with her mother — Mulder had dropped Melissa off on a few mornings when Scully had an early meeting or when Melissa had nursed so slowly that she wouldn't have had time to shower and make it to work on time if she'd had to detour by her mother's house first.

That brought up an obvious question, at least in
Scully's mind. . .what was at the dead center of the
triangle of death?

"Hi, Mom!" Scully called as she gave a perfunctory
knock and opened the door to her mother's house. "Hi,
Melissa," she said in a softer tone as she spotted her daughter sitting on a blanket on the floor, surrounded by stuffed animals and plastic stacking toys. Melissa's face immediately lit up and she lifted her arms for her mother to hold her, which Dana did.

"Hello, dear," Maggie Scully said from the kitchen on
the other side of a low partition. "How was work

"Great," Scully replied.

Maggie smiled. "Glad to hear it. This is the first
time you've sounded enthusiastic about your job since
yor returned to work. I was beginning to think you
were unhappy with your career, but I guess it was just the adjustment to being a working mother."

"Well, I'm sure that was part of it," Scully agreed.
"But it looks like Mulder and I will be working a case together this week and I always enjoy a chance to work with him."

Maggie chuckled. "I can tell you're still in
professional mode, Dana. That's about the only time
you refer to Fox as 'Mulder' these days."


Soon, Scully was back home with her daughter,
balancing Melissa on one hip while she bounced around
the kitchen selecting items from the refrigerator and
pantry to pop into the microwave or a pot atop the

"Hmm, let's see, how about some peas to go with the
chicken, huh, sweetie? You like those?" she singsonged to the baby.

"Well, I like peas, if anybody's interested in my
opinions on dinner," Mulder said as he walked in the

"Ooh, look, Daddy's home!" Scully said as she and
Melissa walked over to Mulder. He enfolded both of
them in an embrace, kissing first his wife, then his

"Scully, about this case," he began, but she shushed

"Mulder, I want to work on the case, I really do; I'm
excited about doing a joint investigation with you
again. But. . .later, okay? We've only got two or
three hours with Melissa between the time we both get
home from work and she goes to bed and I don't want to spend that time talking shop. We'll have plenty of
time after she goes to sleep tonight to share
information and bat around theories, then all day
tomorrow to actually investigate the case."

Mulder was quiet for a moment, then he nodded. "You're right, Scully. I always have had to rely on you to remind me that all work and no play is not conducive to happy life, haven't I? Why don't you give me Melissa and I'll play with her while you finish up in here?"


Several hours later, after dinner had been consumed
and cleared away — and Melissa had been played with,
bathed, nursed and sung to sleep — Mulder and Scully
settled down in their living room to go over the case

"I ran those computer checks you asked for and your
assumption was right on target, Scully. There has been an increase in all kinds of violent crime — rapes, armed robberies, aggravated assaults — in addition to the increase in homicides within the area outlined by the triangle. However, what I found especially interesting was that there *hasn't* been any increase in the kinds of crimes that record methodical planning or some sort of forethought. The area is actually slightly below the national average for white collar crimes like embezzlement."

"Mulder, I've got a theory," Scully replied and then
outlined her suggestion that the should try to
determine the exact epicenter of the triangle. 

"Interesting idea," he agreed. "So what is it you're
expecting to find there, Scully? The gates of Hell? A
UFO crash site?"

"Mulder, I have no idea! If I had to guess, I'd
probably say something a lot more mundane. . .like a
water treatment plant or some sort of factory that
could be spewing behavior altering chemicals into the
air as a result of its manufacturing processes."

"You're no fun," her husband said with a mock pout.

"That's what you said last night," she replied with a
small smile.

Mulder chuckled. "Let me rephrase that. When it comes
to possible explanations for the cases we investigate
together, you tend to be a bit. . .mundane. When it
comes to our sexual activities, you're incredbily
innovative and imaginitive."

"So, which would you prefer, Mulder? Would you be
happier if I immediately attributed any unexplained
rise in the crime rate to most likely being the result of psychic werewolves set loose in the population by a government conspiracy, but insisted we refrain from sexual intercourse more frequently than once a week and limited it to the missionary position with the lights off?"

"I like you the way you are," he assured her.

"*LIKE* me?"

"Love," he amended. "I love you the way you are."
Mulder moved closer and brushed Scully's lips softly
with his own, trailing his fingertips down her arm. 

Scully sighed and rested her hand lightly on his
thigh. "I thought you wanted to work?" she asked. 

Mulder groaned softly. "I think we *need* to work. "

Scully nodded, removed her hand from his leg, and
scooted back to the opposite corner of the couch. 

They continued to work for several more hours, noting
that the sudden upsurge in violence had begun almost
exactly three years earlier. Also, the violence was
most pronounced around holidays. In itself, that was
unremarkable; the emotions aroused and the alcohol
consumed as the result of activities like graduation
or New Year's Eve often resulted in a slight increase
in violent crime — but in this area the already high
homicide rate jumped alarmingly at those times.

Occasionally, while shifting through the mounds of
data, trying to see some sort of pattern in the chaos, Mulder and Scully stopped to smile at each other. This was reminiscent of the first eight years of their relationship — the seven before they were married and the first year afterwards — when they had worked together, often far into the night. Although both of them had been thrilled by the experiences of the past 15 months — Scully's pregnancy and the introduction of a daughter into their lives —  they had sometimes felt a vague, bittersweet longing for the professional camaradrie they had share for so long. For tonight, at least, it was back.

Finally, when Scully began to yawn, Mulder leaned over and kissed her softly again. "Good night, Scully. I'll straighten up in here. You go on to sleep."

Scully looked at him, a bit puzzled. "Why did you kiss me good night here in the living room? Aren't you coming up to bed soon?"

"Sure. It's just that. . "

"What?" she inquired quietly.

Mulder sighed. "Okay, I guess this sounds sort of
stupid. But tonight. . .us working together. . .it
reminded me of all those years we worked the X-Files
before we were married. I used to have a lot of. .
.fantasies. . .about us in those days. Many of them
were very graphic, very sexual. But do you know what
the number one fantasy I used to have about us was?"

"No," she smiled, shaking her head. "What?"

"I just wanted to be able to kiss you good night,
that's all. I mean, we'd be working, it would get
late, I could tell you were getting tired. . .and I
wanted to be able to lean over, kiss you good night
and tell you to get some sleep. So I guess, tonight. . .I just did it."

"That's sweet, Mulder," she replied, kissing him
briefly again before heading upstairs. Several minutes later, just as she was on the verge of sleep, she felt him slip into bed and spoon up next to her.


The next morning, Mulder and Scully dropped Melissa
off at her grandmother's house, then set off for Dover to meet with the policeman who had discovered the possible connection between the three recent deaths. The man was a few years younger than they were, in his mid-30s, but already almost completely bald.

"So you've made an arrest?" Scully inquired.

"Yes Ma'am," the police officer replied. "Strange
thing is, unlike 98 percent of our suspects, he
doesn't keep protesting his innocence. Despite a
public defense attorney cautioning him to keep his
mouth shut, he's admitted to stabbing his wife. Just
keeps saying he doesn't know *why* he did it."

"Any priors?" Mulder asked.

"One previous arrest for domestic violence, five years ago," the officer confirmed. "He pleaded no contest, agreed to attend anger management and alcohol awareness classes as well as doing community service in return for a probated sentence. He completed both classes and his probation ended six months ago; he didn't get into any trouble during that time. Would you like to talk to him?"

Mulder and Scully glanced at each other and nodded.
Soon, they were in an interrogation room with the
suspect, a lanky man in his mid-20s named Joe Dreyfus.

"F.B.I.?" the suspect asked, after glancing at their
credentials. "What did I do to get in trouble with you guys?"

"I'm the head of the F.B.I.'s task force on serial
killers," Mulder said. The statement was true enough,
but it had little to do with the task at hand. This
was a man who'd admitted his guilt in one murder —
actually the crime would most likely be judged
manslaughter, as it didn't seem to have been
premeditated — but there was no reason to connect him
to any of the other homicides in the area.

"Serial killers?" the suspect repeated. "I'm not one
of those. But if you're trying to suggest that maybe
my wife was killed by someone other than me, you're
barking up the wrong tree. I did it; I just don't know why I did it. It was like something. . .snapped. . .inside my brain."

"You have a record of domestic violence," Mulder
pointed out.

"That was a while back," Dreyfus replied. "We were
barely out of high school, weren't married yet. .
.Rhonda moved out after I hit her that time; refused
to marry me until I'd completed all my anger
management and alcohol awareness training and all that stuff. We hadn't had any problems since we got back together a couple of years ago; not 'til last week, anyway."

"Had you been drinking?" Mulder asked. "Is that why
you stabbed her?"

"I'd only had three beers," the man said. "I was going for a fourth when I realized they were all gone. We'd bought a six pack that morning, but a friend of hers had come earlier that day and she and Rhonda had each had a beer, then she'd used the last one for some sort of recipe."

"So that's why you killed her?" Scully asked

"I know it sounds crazy; I'm not attempting to explain it or defend myself. Sure, I was pissed that beer was gone, but normally all that would have netted from me was a few choice words and maybe kicking the refrigerator door or something. But there was a butcher knife lying on the counter — Rhonda had used it to slash the brisket so it would absorb the beer — and I just picked it up and. . .well, I guess you know the details. Almost as soon as I done it I came back to my senses and called 911, but it was too late. She was dead by the time they arrived."

"Mr. Dreyfus, I don't want to undermine the severity
of what you've done or your responsiblity for your own actions," Scully said. "But there have been a number of unusual homicides in this area over the past couple of years and it's possible — mind you, this is only a theory Agent Mulder and I are working on — that you could have inadverdently been exposed to some sort of chemical that, in conjunction with the alcohol you consumed, could have impaired your judgment and lessened your impusle control much more severely than a few beers normally would have done. Do you come into contact with any sort of chemicals through your employment?"

"Well, I work construction," Dreyfus said slowly. "To
be more accurate, what I actually mostly do is
renovation work. Sometimes we encounter asbestos in
the walls of some of the old buildings we work on."

"What were the addresses of the last couple of
buildings you worked on?" Scully asked.

After Dreyfus had supplied the information they'd
asked for and Mulder and Scully were back in the car,
he turned to her and said, "I know this is usually
your line, Scully, but I think we maybe be making a
mountain out of a mole hill. There doesn't seem to be
anything even faintly out of the ordinary in this
crime. A man with a history of domestic violence and
alcohol abuse downs a few beers and kills his wife or
live-in girlfriend. Unfortunantly, that scenario plays out a dozen times a week in a dozen different
locations across America."

"You may be right, Mulder, but let's at least talk
with the officers who investigated the other two
murders, see if we can find any common links. In any
case, I was never expecting to find some sort of curse or chemical that turned an ordinary, completely
non-violent man into a murderer. If there's a
connection here at all, it will probably be something
that has an effect more in the nature of alcohol; it
will lower inhibitions and increase risk-taking, but
only on someone who already has violent tendancies.
Given Dreyfus's history and the fact that he
apparently considered a *normal* reaction to finding
out the beer was gone to be cussing and appliance
abuse, I'd say he fits that bill."

It was almost noon when Mulder and Scully reached the
Baltimore police precinct where the investigation of
the strangling victim had taken place. They were on
the firmest ground with this homicide; the victim had
been raped and killed in an alley outside a nightclub
and all indications were that she'd been the target of the random violence of a serial killer, just because she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The investigating officer was a black man, about the
same age as the Dover cop. He shook their hands and
motioned for them to sit down. "I'd appreciate any
help you can give me on this one, agents. The victim
was a 21-year-old black college student, just finished her junior year at the University of Maryland and home for the summer. We're assuming the murderer targeted her at the club, followed her out and killed her."

"There's no possibility that the murder could have
been personally motivated, say a jilted boyfriend or
something of that nature?" Scully inquired.

"Slim to none, I'd say," the officer replied. "She'd
apparently only had two really serious boyfriends — I
guess that means they were the only two she'd ever
actually had sex with — in her life. One was her high
school boyfriend; they broke it off by mutual consent
when they headed off to different colleges and
apparently haven't spoken to each other in over a
year. In any case, he's a student at the Naval Academy and school was still in session there at the time she was strangled; he was in his dorm at the time, vouched for by both his roommate and another
midshipman who was studying for finals with them. The
other was her college boyfriend. They broke up with
each other just after spring break; it was her idea
and their were some harsh words exchanged, so that
would make him a pretty good suspect. . .except for
the fact that he was in Mexico at the time of her
death, celebrating his gradauation with a week long
party. We've got half a dozen hotel employees and
fellow guests to verify that he was there on the night she was murdered."

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