Title: Exorcismus: Imperium
Summary: The agents investigate a triple homicide that turns into an encounter with a demon.
Two weeks exclusive with VS15.
Spoilers: Seasons 1-7, VS15 episode "A Reason To Believe"
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement intended. Many of the characters in this fanfiction are based on real people. This fanfiction is loosely based on a true story.
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, WI
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10th, 2008
"So if anyone has any questions on the reading, please email me. It's a long one and I don't expect you to have it and the questions done by Monday. But we have a quiz on Wednesday so it would be in your best interests to finish the reading this weekend, to give yourselves time to do the questions by Wednesday. Have a good weekend."
As the students got up and started to leave, having started packing their backpacks when the digital atomic clock reached 1459, one girl still had her laptop on her desk as she stood and approached the teacher.
Skip Greenwood turned his attention to her.
"I have a question. When we went over the legend of King Arthur you told us he was most likely a fifteen-year-old boy, who managed to convince the local English to fight off the Romans."
"Yep, that's about right," Skip told her. "Where's the question?"
"Well, what would you expect us to write on an exam? It seems a little short for the whole thing, if you know what I mean."
"Well, Ashley, sometimes legends come down to a very simple explanation. Arthur likely won a few battles and the largely oral culture of the natives he recruited honored him as their king. He was more than likely killed in battle after a few months, but oral cultures can be very powerful. The root of a legend can be nothing more than an extraordinary kid about your age."
They were alone in the classroom now, and Ashley started to pack up her backpack. "All right, I guess. I just didn't want to lose points for such a short answer."
Skip smiled. "You're doing fine in the class, Ashley. I don't see any reason to be worried."
"Good to know. See you Monday, Mr. Greenwood."
"See you Monday," Skip said. He disconnected his laptop from the interactive SmartBoard in the front of the classroom, and then packed it into his bag. The classroom was an interesting contrast of 70-year-old architecture and top-of-the-line technology. He went to his desk for a moment to collect a few things and put them into his briefcase, and then grabbed his raincoat and headed outside. Hopefully the buses wouldn't be gone by now.
Kingsburry Academy was separated into two campuses: the North and the South. The North campus was largely devoted to science, math, language, and the museums the school had on the grounds. The Kingsburry Science Museum and the Kingsburry Art Museum were region-wide hotspots for parents to bring their children for afternoon amusement, and for young people to come to gaze at the stars during the evening Observatory stargazing hours, or look at art and make out by the romantically set backyard of the Art Museum.
Kingsburry's South Campus was largely devoted to crafts, books, English, History, and the Research Center. The South Campus housed the girl's dorms, and the girl's middle school. The North Campus housed the boy's dorms. Because the school did not admit girls until the late 1930's, the North and South campuses had very different architecture. The North campus was largely early 1900's architecture, with a heavy English influence. The South campus was much closer to Frank Lloyd Wright's style, emphasizing on what was modern when it was built. In the 1980's, the school decided that girls and boys could be taught together, and integrated the classrooms.
Along the two-mile-long road that linked the two campuses were the boy's middle school, the lower school, and several sports fields. Also about halfway along Kingsburry Road was teachers' housing. Condos, apartments, and small houses lined the side-streets and formed a unique suburban community housed inside of a PreK-12 school the size of an average college campus.
Skip Greenwood, a history teacher, father of two, and devoted Star Trek fan, lived in one of the houses with his family. And usually, because his work was right on campus, he let his wife have the car for the day. Which meant he had to catch the bus going to North Campus, and have it drop him off at the side-street that would take him directly to his house.
He wasn't worried about the slight delay today, however. Most of the students had after school activities that kept the buses running well after 1600. There was a short delay between 1520 and 1540 when there were no buses running, because most kids had gotten to practice or to the opposite campus. Day students old enough to drive had been bused to their cars, and boarders had been bused to their campus of residence. But when the 30 minute club meetings ended, buses started rolling again. If Skip could catch the bus before 15.20, he could be home before his 8-year-old son walked back from the lower school.
The bus driver, Jerry, was pleased to see him, as always. "Hey, Skip, how ya doing?"
"Fine, Jerry, and yourself?"
"Doing just fine. Home?"
"Yep," he answered, and settled into a front seat on the half-full yellow school bus.
"How's Arthur and little Cory?"
"Arthur's doing great. He entered the science fair last weekend and won second place."
"The Science Museum science fair?" Jerry asked.
"That's the one. He did his project on the solar system and was sure to include the major and minor planets. It seemed to have caught the judge's attention."
"I guess so, if he won second. Good for him. And Cory?"
Jerry laughed. "They tend to get that way at that age."
"Arthur wasn't into everything like Cory is, but you know, different kids, different personalities." Cory, Skip's one-year-old son, was far more willful than Arthur was seven years ago. But Skip was a patient man, and a loving father, who would spend as much time with both of his sons as he could. He may have neared the end of his rope a few times more with Cory than with Arthur, but that didn't mean he avoided spending time with his baby.
"Yep. Well, here you go," Jerry said, and stopped the bus at the corner. He opened the door. "See ya later, Skip."
"Have a nice weekend, Jerry. Tell Susan I said hi."
"Will do." The doors slid shut behind him and he walked down the street toward his house. He happened to arrive at the same time as Arthur.
The boy's shoes were wet and caked with mud and he smiled sheepishly at his dad.
"You took the shortcut again, didn't you?" Skip asked, walking up the path that led to their modest home.
"Yeah…it's a lot quicker than taking the road, Dad. I'm sorry…"
"Well, take off your shoes before you come in the house. You'll be cleaning them tonight after your homework."
Arthur sighed. "Okay," he resigned. "Can I have time on the computer tonight?"
"If you finish your homework and clean your shoes before bedtime. Absolutely. What do you plan to do? Play Starfleet Command?"
"Maybe, but I was thinking about researching planetary orbits on the Internet. Mr. Banning said today that we've been tracking a planet circling a nearby star, and I want to see if I can find a mapping program."
"Have fun," Skip said with a small smile. His son was brilliant, and had taken an interest in something Skip had unlimited interest for, but limited ability: science. After scraping by with very low mathematics scores in college, he had decided his interest wasn't his calling. And his son was rapidly approaching the point at which Skip's interest greatly exceeded his knowledge.
They entered the house, knowing it was unlocked. No one locked their doors at Kingsburry. The second they stepped through the threshold, they both froze in place, as the blood drained from their faces. Arthur's eyes began to well up in tears, and Skip pulled his son close to him, but was unable to move.
There before them, hung from the ceiling, was the bloody body of an unfamiliar woman. Her hair was long, blonde, and curly. She looked to be in her mid-forties, draped in a white cloth marred with blood stains. Her throat was slit, and her dead eyes were open. The corneas were solid red. The second Skip was able to peel his eyes away and look down at Arthur, Arthur looked back up. He still cried as he said, "Its happening again, isn't it?"
Skip glanced up at the now bare, perfectly clean ceiling. He nodded slowly. "I think it is," he managed to say.
MULDER & SCULLY TOWNHOUSE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11th, 2008
"So that was the last straw?"
"That was when I got out of my car."
"And when did you pop him one?"
"Mulder, I did not 'pop him one'."
Mulder and Scully were sitting on their couch, Scully nursing a sore but otherwise unharmed hand, and finally submitting to Mulder's requests that she tell him what had happened to the car last night.
"Then explain to me why—"
"Okay, fine, I did hit the bastard, but it was in self defense."
"I'm seeing mounds of paperwork in your future."
Scully groaned, and leaned back into the couch.
Mulder smirked slightly. "Did you knock him unconscious?"
"No. I just pissed him off," Scully said.
"But he was smart enough not to keep fighting a redhead."
"He was smart enough not to keep fighting a federal agent, who he rear-ended."
"Why'd you hit him?"
Scully looked up at the ceiling and closed her eyes. "After he tailed me for twenty minutes, tried to get around me and nearly caused three accidents, failed to pass me when the other lane was clear, and kept flipping me the bird every damn time I looked back at him, he finally rear-ended me at a stoplight, got out of his car, and started tapping the window."
"So you drew your gun…"
"You didn't draw your gun?" Mulder asked, surprised.
"No," Scully admitted.
"What did you do?"
"I got out of the car at the intersection and started screaming at him."
Mulder raised his eyebrow in a truly Scully-like manner. "Why?"
"How can you ask me that question?!" She demanded.
"No, I'm not saying he didn't deserve it, Scully. But why didn't you just draw your gun, tell him you were a Federal Agent, and end it right there?"
She didn't answer for a moment, but finally she said, clearly ashamed, "Because he really pissed me off."
"When did you hit him?"
"When he reached into his pocket. He pulled out a pocketknife."
"Why didn't you draw your gun?" Mulder asked, puzzled and alarmed.
"I don't know, Mulder. I did after I hit him…"
It was Mulder's turn to sit back. He folded his arms. "Yeah, I have no idea how you're going to justify this one."
"He has a black eye. That's it."
Mulder just gave her a 'look'. Then he stood. "All right, this little role reversal is getting too weird for me, if you know what I mean. I'm going upstairs, gonna get dressed."
He was a little concerned about how she was still rubbing her hand but he had brought up the issue last night, and gotten worse treatment, in his opinion, than the asshole who had rear-ended her. The damage to the car was minimal. The jerkwad's car actually looked worse. But Scully had even admitted to him last night that she had lost her temper and handled the situation wrong, which was unlike her. That bothered him more than her sore hand.
As he reached the top step, the phone rang. Scully groaned. "Probably the insurance."
"Or the Bureau, firing your ass," Mulder joked. "I'll get it."
"No, I'll get it," Scully said reluctantly, and got up from the couch. She walked the few steps she needed to get to the phone, looked at the CID, and answered. "Hello, Sir."
Mulder leaned over the railing, an interested look on his face.
"No, Sir. We planned on submitting our final report on Monday. Yes, Sir. Completely finished." There was a pause, and Scully rolled her eyes. "Well, Sir, that may be a problem. There was an incident last night…" She sighed. He was going to hear about it eventually. "I was rear-ended last night, and I'm fine, but…it's a little complicated, Sir."
Mulder smirked, knowing what was coming next. Skinner's demand that she tell him exactly what happened. And as she recounted the story, he reflected that this really did sound like something he would get himself into.
"So it might be difficult for us to leave on Monday, if things need to be sorted out," Scully said. "All right, Sir. I'll tell him. Have a good weekend."
When she hung up the phone, Mulder still stared at her expectantly.
"Skinner has a case for us out in Wisconsin. A triple homicide. He's sending us the casefiles now…you're expected to go without me if I have to stay here."
Mulder looked visibly disappointed. "Do we have any details about the case?"
"He didn't specify any. Just said he was sending the casefiles. Your flight leaves Monday morning at 7 am."
"I'll catch the first one out, as soon as this is cleared up. I'm sorry, Mulder."
"No, no…" Mulder started, and then shook his head. "It's fine. You might even get this straightened out by Monday. I'm gonna grab a shower," he said, still sweaty from this morning's run.
Scully didn't respond. Instead, she headed for the copy/scanner/fax/printer, where the case files were coming in. As the photos printed, she looked at them closely, and then her eyes grew wide. She quickly turned on the desk lamp and leaned in closer, fumbling for her glasses in the top drawer. She looked closer, but it was gone. She stared for a moment, flipping through the crime scene pictures again, looking for any trace of what she knew she saw.
She lost track of time, and didn't even hear Mulder come into the study. "Scully, you looking at the case files?"
She started at his voice, and then nodded.
"What's wrong?" he asked, walking over to her.
"Look at these photos, Mulder, and tell me what you see," she ordered, her voice betraying her confusion and fear.
Mulder flipped through them. "Stabbed, stabbed…and stabbed. What's the problem?"
"You didn't see anything?"
"I see three women stabbed post mortem, with their throats slit. What am I supposed to be seeing?"
Scully sighed, took the pictures out of his hands, and sat down.
"Talk to me, Scully," he said gently, and knelt in front of her. "What do you see in these?"
"I don't see it any more…"
"Okay, what did you see?" He was still speaking very gently, and wore a look of concern. It only magnified when she pulled away, determined to find what it was she had seen before. She kept studying the photos, moving them at different angles to see if she could spot a trick of the light. Mulder didn't move from his position, and waited for her to finish.
"I thought…for just a second…Mulder, it looked like Melissa. Every one of them. Then I looked away and…"
Mulder didn't speak.
"It's stupid, I must not have gotten enough sleep…"
"It's not stupid. Let me look at these. Let me look at the case. We'll figure out what's happened."
She nodded slightly, and handed him the photos. He took them and the rest of the papers in the printer, and pounded them into a stack on the desk. He placed them in a file folder from the drawer, and then paper-clipped the photos to the front. As he did so, his peripheral vision caught something. He looked again, and it was gone. But he could have sworn he saw bright orange eyes in the picture.