By Ford and Ursula Luxem
Date: Tue, 16 Mar 1999
Spoilers: anything prior to "The End" (S5)
Keywords: Scully/Other, M/S UST, Angst, Mytharc
Summary: Sometimes one man's faith is all that stands between
revelation and destruction.
Feedback: All public and private feedback welcome.
Archive: Gossamer - Yes. Others are free to link directly to
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Disclaimer: All characters from the X-Files are the property of
Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions and Fox Television
Network. All other characters belong to the authors.
Similarities to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.
Authors notes at end of part 15
Touching Jericho (1/15)
Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
--Julius Caesar, Shakespeare.
The Seventh Day.
Fox Mulder had six seconds to identify the end of the world. It
began with a thunderous roar, the kind that heralded a momentous
event. The ground leapt, dropped, hurled him emphatically about,
then undulated like a fishing boat in a New England squall.
There were sounds of otherworldly origin; a groaning rumble in
the bowels of the earth, the grind of cosmic gears encountering
a wrench, the screech of the gates of hell split to devour its
There would be fire and heat, pain and anguish, accusations and
judgment, but right now Mulder could only choke and gag on the
billowing dust, wince at the dagger like prick of concrete
shards, and offer up a prayer to a God he was sure he didn't
believe in. His mind searched for a suitable last thought,
something he'd like to have on his tombstone. This time his
smart ass defense mechanism failed. Faced with Armageddon, all
he could come up with was; "Oh, shit!"
The dust of annihilation settled. Silence and darkness charged
forth to fill the void.
All that remained were words.
"To: Rabbi Green,
From: Asher ben Jacob
FBI Field Office
Salt Lake City, Utah
7 Sivan 5758, Rosh Chodesh
"My name is Asher ben Jacob. I am an FBI agent. I hold a
position of trust and power in the area of law enforcement. I
took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I
am also a Jew. Schooled and trained in the best secular and
rabbinical colleges. I am a teacher, entrusted with the faith of
"Yesterday I committed a crime.
"I uncovered a plot. Insidious in its simplicity. I know the
time, I know the place, I know the man. My silence places me
squarely in the midst of the conspiracy.
"It should have been a difficult decision, four years of
dedication to my job and country should have howled in moral
outrage. There should have been an accumulation of dark,
sleepless nights spent in prayer, in tefillah she-balev, the
contemplation of the heart, to reach some epiphany of conscience.
"The blood of the innocent is a small price to pay for staving
off the Apocalypse.
"I inhabit an odd profession for one who wears tallit. Some
might say evil is my living. I deal with men who choose
terrorism and suffering to make their points, who persecute
people on the basis of color, religion and government. I didn't
think there could be a worse enemy to face. How wrong I was.
There are those that not only seek to persecute the whole of
mankind, but to eradicate it. Men who seek to revoke God's gift
to man, to rid the earth of its true inheritors.
"I do not expect to hear the sound of the shofar on Rosh
Hashanah this year. I do not want God's judgment tempered with
mercy. Instead I take up the ram's horn as my ancestors once
did; as a signal, a predecessor of the communal cry. Here it
ends. The walls must come down."
Too late. The words would remain indelibly etched in her
memory. As would the author of that meticulous handwritten
manifesto. She could have dismissed it as the ranting of a
madman, or a religious fanatic. Asher ben Jacob was neither.
Her heart turned then to Mulder, and the unthinkable. She had
faith. She believed. Mulder would prevail. He had to, because
she couldn't comprehend this life without him.
Pandemonium dominated by the time she allowed herself to take
in the big picture. Somewhere amongst the panicked voices and
acrid smoke, somewhere amid the scream of sirens and rushing
rescue workers, Dana Scully forced herself to focus. She was the
center of the hurricane, a sanctuary for whatever justice
She surveyed the destruction, and her clinical mind detailing
what her eyes couldn't comprehend. The twisted wreckage of steel
and rebar, the chunks of shattered concrete, the glittering
fragments of glass that winked and sparkled in the midmorning
sun; all had once formed a multistory office building where
ordinary people worked together. Now the front corner teetered
like an ill-designed house of cards. A compact blast, and a
delicate reminder. A gaping rip into an insular world long
shrouded from the harsh light of criticism.
Inside the eye of this storm, one truth remained. It had been
her own quest for answers that brought them to this conclusion.
Basement, FBI HQ
One week earlier.
The way he'd looked at her. That blank expression somewhere
between disinterest and patronage, tempered with vague amusement.
"Someone wants *what*?"
Scully folded her arms, tucked in her chin. "A request came in
from the Utah Field Office," she repeated, "for some files."
He grinned. "You can tell me, Scully... was it the Osmonds?"
She took a deep breath, pressed on. "They've requested all the
reports... from Skyland Mountain... and Ruskin Dam."
"And Cassandra Spender."
There was that expression again.
Scully bit her tongue. Damn it, he could at least *try* to fake
interest. She faced him, resolute. "Do you think they know
"Who? The Osmonds?"
She sighed. Then looked at him again.
Mulder shrugged once more. "They know about what? Little Green
Men? You've all ready convinced me they don't exist, Scully."
Scully glanced down a moment, pursed her lips. Every time the
subject of her abduction and its consequences was broached, a
yawning chasm seemed to open between them. "I need to know."
"You do know. We both do. Peel the veneer off one lie and
another festers beneath."
"I *need* the files, Mulder. I have to look. For myself."
Mulder stood, reached for his jacket and pulled it on with a
fluid movement. "Sure, Scully, take the files, go to Utah. Come
back empty-handed... and don't say I didn't tell you so."
She studied him with wide eyes, looking for something that
wasn't there. "You're not coming?"
"What for? I've had my share of wild goose chases. I don't
think it takes two of us to deliver a few files. Hell, you could
just courier them..." At Scully's violent head shake Mulder
stopped. "I've got tickets for a Capitals game tomorrow night."
He paused, shoved his hands into his jacket pockets. "Just call
me if you need me."
Scully forced herself to nod. "Don't hold your breath."
"Give my regards to Donny and Marie." Mulder slammed out,
Scully turned and jerked open the Q-R and S-T drawers, yanked
out government issue russet folders, and began to reassemble her
FBI Field Office
Salt Lake City
Thunderstorms over the Rockies forced a delay in Scully's
flight to Denver. After missing the first connection she managed
to work her way onto the next available commuter flight, not
arriving in Salt Lake until late afternoon. She rented a car and
drove the gridded streets to the Field Office.
The Salt Lake City branch was compact, cramped, and reminiscent
of a small town newspaper office. Lots of open space and half-
walls gave it a transitory appearance. Scully showed her
credentials to the suit guarding the entry and was pointed
through the cubicle maze to a back corner.
"Riley! Goon for you."
Scully winced and kept walking. She understood the
territoriality of the field offices, but never felt like an
outsider. Until times like this.
A heavyset man with hair the color of stained mahogany and
anemic blue eyes glanced up at the raised voice. He eyed Scully
up and down as she walked toward him. "Lucky me."
She stopped by the L-shaped partition that enclosed two desks,
one strewn with paperwork and Styrofoam coffee cups, the other
neat and unoccupied. "Special Agent Dana Scully, Washington
Bureau." Scully showed her badge then offered her hand to the
man behind the clutter.
"Washington. Oh, dandy." The man sighed as he stood, revealing
his linebacker build and rumpled clothing, fleshy face dominated
by a stereotypical pug nose and scattered freckles. "Special
Agent Pat Riley. What can I do for you?" He shook her hand,
dropped it as soon as feasible.
"I'm looking for your partner, Asher ben Jacob?"
The man snorted. "Partner is a term I'd use loosely with Ash.
He's too busy hobnobbing to spend much time actually *doing* our
job. Some of us work for a living--"
Scully pursed her lips at his lamentation, interrupted. "Did I
come at a bad time?"
Riley shrugged, not at all apologetic. "Ash isn't here. Not
that that's unusual... Something I can help you with?"
"I really needed to talk to Agent ben Jacob. Do you know where
I can find him?"
"What is this pertaining to, ma'am? He's not in any trouble, is
he?" The blue eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly. "If this is
OPR stuff again, what Ash Jacob does in his free time is *his*
business, not mine. I don't know a thing."
"No," Scully assured him, "I'm not here to review anyone. Agent
ben Jacob requested information about a case my partner and I
worked on. It has something to do with one of his current cases
"I got nothing that needs outside info at the moment. Ash's got
his fingers in a lot of government pies, though. What is it? It
better not be personal shit again..." Riley held out a beefy
Scully conveniently ignored the gesture and its implication.
"It's about a terrorist action... multiple deaths and all that.
Riley dropped his hand, interest waning. "Counter Terrorism is
Ash's department. I mainly work Organized Crime. What's
happening in the streets. I'm just a brick. What's your
"I'm a forensic pathologist. As I was passing through, I
decided to deliver this file in person, answer any questions he
Riley waved a dismissive hand at the other desk. "Ah, just
leave it there, he'll get it when he comes in. If he comes in."
"I'd prefer to have Agent ben Jacob read it and let me answer
any questions myself. I have a few days leeway. My partner's
case notes aren't always clear to others."
"Ain't that the truth. Ash writes like he's competing for a
Pulitzer Prize or something." Riley tapped his pen against his
desk in a measured beat. "At least, he used to..." The pen
dropped, Riley leaned over the uncluttered desk and opened the
middle drawer, took out a business card and scribbled on the
back. He checked his watch. "Here, Ash's apartment and phone
number. Good chance he'll be home now. I'd call, but he won't
answer the phone if he's praying."
Scully took the card, read it, and bit her lip. "So I go south
and then look for the cross street? What would be the best way
to get there?"
"Let's have a look at the map..." Riley walked her over to a
detailed guide of the city posted on the back of a closet door
near the coffee pot. He took the card from her, wrote on it,
then traced the route with his finger. "I think if you took
eighty-nine south it would be easiest. Looks that way."
Scully eyed him. "Looks that way? You don't know?"
"Me? Hell, yeah. Was a time..." Riley stopped, regrouped. "I
haven't been down to Murray for a while, there's some
construction going on... or at least there was. Thing is, the
Rabbi hasn't been hanging with us the past couple months. The
guys I mean." He gestured to the sparsely populated office. "We
haven't exactly been welcome down there since--" Riley stopped
abruptly. "Aw, hell."
Scully gave him a questioning look.
He shook his head, "Forget it. Just blowing off steam. It's
been a bad day... Trying to do the paperwork of two men." Riley
squinted at the map again, all business. "Okay, get off here and
hang a left. Ash's place is just a few blocks, shouldn't be hard
to find, all the townhouses look alike, but they're numbered
over the garages. Ash's is slate and white, picket fence, flower
bed, number eighteen. Any other questions?"
"No. You've been very helpful, Agent Riley. Thank you." She
gave what she hoped passed as a smile and left.
Behind the wheel of her rental she considered the underlying
current of anger she'd heard in Pat Riley's tone. Despite the
man's puffed chest bravado, there'd been worry there too, before
she reassured him she wasn't OPR. Why would the Office of
Professional Review be interested in Agent ben Jacob? Again? She
was sure Agent Riley said 'again'. Which meant the man had done
something before, something that merited an internal
investigation. Riley certainly thought that was a possibility,
she'd never seen a man distance himself so fast from another
agent, and his partner to boot. If you couldn't depend on your
partner, who could you depend on?
Scully frowned, and glanced at the briefcase that held the
Skyland Mountain and Ruskin Dam files. Agent ben Jacob said the
files related to a case he was working on. Hadn't he? Scully
tried to recall the exact phrasing of his request, and couldn't.
Using FBI records to obtain information for personal reasons was
an investigatable offense. It was a line she was sure Mulder
didn't recognize, and one she definitely had her own doubts
Twenty-five minutes later she stopped in front of a set of
stylized townhouses in a newer neighborhood, squeezing her car
in behind a showroom red Dodge Stealth. Number seventeen's yard
was strewn with Little Tykes toys in various stages of
destruction, deflated soccer balls and a decapitated Barbie. The
odor of churned up mud and turf from their lawn assaulted her
nostrils, decay and regrowth warring for dominance. A white
picket fence bordered the walkway to number eighteen, the yard
sparse in comparison. A scraggly shrub crouched over a circle of
stones, an outlined flower bed empty and weed strewn, a lone red
tulip bloomed stubbornly. Spring grass fought to maintain its
hold through last year's dead thatch.
Scully mounted the steps to unit eighteen. On the right hand
door post was a small stylized wooden case tipped at a slight
angle. The intricate carving caught her eye and she allowed
herself to trace its loops and whirls. She stared at it another
moment, curious, then shrugged and rang the bell. She could hear
faint strains of classical music, and smell the heavenly scent
of cooking food. Her airline fed stomach growled.
The man who opened the door surprised her, albeit a pleasant
surprise. He was lean but well-muscled, about Mulder-tall, with
the broad shoulders of a wrestler. He wore faded jeans, black
high tops, and a olive river driver shirt that looked to have a
silk shawl draped over it. A navy yarmulka -kipah, Scully
corrected herself-covered some of his wheat-brown hair. What
made the biggest impact on her were the long-lashed brown eyes.
They studied her with attentive warmth, revealing a deep, rich
chocolate color, flecked with particles of gold. It was
positively criminal for a man to have such gorgeous eyes.
"Hello. May I help you?" If there was any justice in this
world, he should have a voice like an acerbic bullfrog. He
didn't. It was liquid honey, cultured, with a trace of an East
"I'm sorry to disturb you at home... Agent ben Jacob?" She
waited for his confirming nod. "My name is Special Agent Dana
Scully from the Washington Bureau." She dug out her badge and
held it up for his inspection.
"Agent Mulder's partner." He nodded, recognition firing his
eyes and highlighting the laugh lines that fanned out from the
Scully bit back a sigh. "Yes. Agent Mulder's partner."
"Is this about the files I requested? Is Agent Mulder with you?"
"No, he's back in Washington." Her stomach rumbled at the
tantalizing aroma of baking bread. Scully flushed in
ben Jacob gave her a slow smile. "Please, come in, Agent
Scully. I expected the files by bureau courier, not in person.
You must have had a long flight."
"Well, I..." Her brain was making a polite refusal, but before
it could act her stomach propelled her into the room. "Thank
ben Jacob latched the screen behind her but left the inside
door open to the tepid air.
Scully stood in the entry beside a silver mountain bike. It
leaned on the wall, narrowing the hall, black helmet slung over
the straight handlebars, polishing cloth tucked through the
spokes. She looked ahead, a wooden dining room table was off to
her right, close to the kitchen. The table wouldn't have looked
out of place at her mother's house. It was solid, covered with
an ornate lace tablecloth, topped by two candles in heavy brass
holders. Fine china, cloth napkins, and wineglasses were stacked
to one side of the table. A covered plate rested at one end of
the table. Several books were open at the other end. An empty
crystal decanter held down a stack of papers. Mozart in the
background. The understated elegance Scully remembered well from
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to disturb your dinner," she said.
"Agent Riley said you might be home..."
"You aren't disturbing me. I was just reading."
"I can come back later."
"It will be dark later... will you join me for dinner, Agent
Puzzled, Scully checked the table, the stack of dishes. "It
looks like you were expecting someone."
"Just you." He laughed softly at her confusion. "It's a family
custom, to set an extra place at the table for an unexpected
guest. I was preparing for Shabbat tomorrow. Please, join me. I
would appreciate the company."
Scully studied the yearning in his expressive eyes and found
herself nodding. At this point a plastic wrapped sandwich could
reduce her to groveling. Actual cooked food would probably turn
her into a mindless drone. She forced her thoughts back on
track. "I have some questions for you, Agent ben Jacob. About
the files you requested?"
"Questions for me?" He turned to look at her, raised an
eyebrow, hands tucked in the front pockets of his jeans. "Very
well. How may I help?"
"I was curious about your interest in Cassandra Spender. You
"I've never laid eyes on Cassandra Spender. If I did I'd
probably kill her."
Scully's eyes widened, stunned by such a blunt proclamation.
The depth of glittering anger she saw encouraged her to believe
his calm statement. "I thought your wanting the files had
something to do with Cassandra Spender... but not this." Scully
floundered and tried to gather her thoughts. "You requested her
files specifically, but you never met the woman. If you're
looking to find her and harm her, I must tell you she's already
disappeared. From Ruskin Dam."
"I know. Something to drink? Coffee, tea? Juice?"
"Tea, please..." Scully requested, off balance again. She
waited impatiently as ben Jacob disappeared into the kitchen. He
returned five excruciating minutes later with two cups of tea,
some lemon, sugar and cream on a silver tray. He set it on the
coffee table in the living room, and calmly motioned her to a
seat on the couch.
After she was seated, he settled into a chair across from her
and picked up a china cup, squeezed a few lemon drops, stirred
in a spoon of sugar, all with the absentminded actions of
ritual. Scully felt she was in a play where nobody had given her
the script. She reached for the sugar, spooned some into her cup.
ben Jacob sipped his tea as she fixed hers, then he set the cup
down abruptly, splashing liquid on the wooden table top. He
leaned forward and fixed his fierce gaze on her once more. "I
have no interest in hurting the woman. Just in preventing others
from believing her false prophecy."
Scully closed her eyes and resisted the urge to scream at the
man. She sampled her sugared tea instead. "Explain it to me
then... I missed something."
ben Jacob closed his eyes and recited softly, "'Woe unto the
foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen
nothing...'" He looked at her. "D... a friend of mine is the one
who knew her. I was concerned over the amount of influence
Spender seemed to wield over D-d-... my friend."
Scully appraised the man across from her, put him at roughly
her age, maybe a little less. A hank of hair that fell across
his forehead made him appear younger, more vulnerable, although
it was at odds with the circles drawn under his eyes. The depth
of anguish in his face marked his soul as one that was battle-
scarred by grief. She knew how he felt. Now she wanted to know
what caused the fragile despair he thought he kept so well
"What kind of influence could a wheelchair-bound, hospitalized
woman like Cassandra Spender possibly hold over your friend?"
she asked quietly.
"She put strange notions in my... my friend's... in D-," he
stopped and closed his eyes, took a breath, then looked her in
the eye, still stammering over the name. "She put strange
notions in... D-Davi's head," ben Jacob replied. He winced and
looked down, still mouthing the name.
"Davi was your friend?"
"Yes..." He raised his hands in a strangely defenseless
gesture. "Cassandra Spender made her believe things that weren't
possible. Made her turn away from her faith..." He fingered the
edge of his blue fringed shawl, rubbed it between his thumb and
"Did Cassandra Spender tell your friend to abandon her religion?"
"No!" ben Jacob rubbed his unshaven jaw and sighed. "It's just
that she encouraged the obsession. Nurtured it so to speak...
gave it a place to grow..."
"A place that wouldn't have been there otherwise?"
"That's what I'm unsure about." He interlaced his fingers,
rested his elbows on his knees.
"What is it you want to know, exactly?" Scully asked him. She
took a sip of tea and watched him deliberate.
"I want to know... what happened. What happened to Dav... Davi?
I, of all people should have known, and I had little inkling of
what she was headed towards. I knew her better than I knew
anyone." ben Jacob measured her with somber eyes then plunged
onward. "Davi and I were to marry. I've loved her since we were
young. Then, a few years ago, she changed her mind. Refused to
marry me. Gave me excuses." He scowled. "This was about the time
she started talking of... alien abductions, and Cassandra
Spender. I thought if I simply gave her more time.... I don't
know why she suddenly changed her mind about marrying me, and I
don't know why she died." He stared down at his clenched hands.
"You don't know what it's like, Agent Scully... not knowing."
Scully reached across, rested a hand on his tensed forearm a
moment. "Please... call me Dana."
He looked up, met her eyes, and smiled slightly. "Thank you.
"Asher... I *do* know what it's like, I know the uncertainty.
It becomes a persistent nightmare that clouds your every waking
moment... and most of your sleeping ones, too. Believe me when I
say I understand why you want to know."
ben Jacob looked at her curiously. "Do you? Really? Right now
you have the files and I don't. I expected Agent Mulder to come,
I've heard rumors he might be... sympathetic to my plight." His
eyes examined her closely. "Since you're his partner, I'm
thinking you might share that sympathy. I'm hoping the files
will shed some light on the entire situation, I need answers...
Those files are my last hope. So I guess I have to do whatever
Another man could have sounded self-pitying. From Asher it was
fact. There was an undercurrent in his tone Scully didn't
want to examine. What he was asking was definitely an OPR
disciplinary offense - on both their parts.
Scully gave him a thoughtful look, then reached into her soft-
sided briefcase and pulled out several russet file folders. She
placed them on the coffee table next to the china tea cups and
pushed them over to his side with one finger. "I told you
Cassandra Spender disappeared. Not that I believe you'd kill her
if you found her. Not just for influencing your fiancee. I
understand you're upset. What I don't understand is why you want
to know the details of what happened to Cassandra Spender so
To his credit, Asher didn't drop his gaze to the folders. His
steady brown eyes never wavered from hers; a tiger stalking its
prey. "Because I was at Ruskin Dam."
end part 01/15
Touching Jericho (2/15)
Scully's eyes widened. "*You* were at Ruskin Dam?"
"Dana Scully... now I remember..." Asher nodded to himself. " I was
only there after the fact. You, however..." Natural charm and a small
smile tempered his accusation. "I'm sure you can tell me a lot more
than these files can. Like what happened." He leaned forward and
fixed unblinking eyes on her.
"I'm sorry..." Scully scrambled to her feet and shook her head. She
couldn't trust herself to look at him, to meet that penetrating gaze.
"I can't help you with that. I've taken enough of your time."
He beat her to the front door and blocked her exit. In any other
situation, Scully would have considered such a move a threat.
Somehow, not from this man. Instead her eyes searched his and she
"Davi wasn't as lucky as you. She was there, too. Burnt to death on
the bridge..." ben Jacob made no attempt to hide the anguish in his
Scully shook her head again, bit her lip in an effort to ignore her
own pain. "I'm so sorry..."
He grasped her upper arms, desperation etched on his face. "You can
*help* me to understand. Help me to explain to her parents. Help me
find something to hang on to... anything... *She* shouldn't have
He shook her slightly, the power of his grip letting her know he
could fling her across the room like a rag doll if he chose. A strong
man, and a desperate one.
ben Jacob flinched at Scully's quiet command, and dropped his hands
as if burned.
Scully looked up into his tormented stare. She firmly believed this
man deserved an explanation, just as she did. Instead she was bound
by her emotions, annoyed by her own ignorance, and had nothing to
offer but more questions. Crosscurrents she didn't comprehend rippled
and whirled around her, threatened to suck her down. "I don't have
any answers for you. I wish I did, if only for my own sake. I came
here hoping... seeking the same answers for myself."
"Tell me she wasn't crazy." Suddenly ben Jacob moved past her, into
the living room and started digging around in a desk drawer, "I saw
the victims' x-rays..." he returned and offered her a tiny, self-
sealing evidence bag. "Explain this to me, at least... please."
Scully remained fixed in the doorway, close to the escape route. She
accepted the bag, studied the diminutive piece of charred shrapnel
through the plastic before looking up into his eyes. "Where did you
"I am not without friends in Washington. I got it from Davi...
after... after the autopsy. It was embedded near the nape of her
neck... here..." He reached out, brushed gentle fingers against the
back of her neck in demonstration.
Scully closed her eyes a moment, allowed him the intrusion, allowed
herself to feel the brand of his caress on her bare skin. When she
recovered, Asher's compassionate gaze regarded her. Her eyes locked
onto his, colors whirled, the imprint of his touch lingering warm and
steady. She drifted; A mariner mesmerized by the Siren's song.
He leaned close, whispered, "'Did ever people hear the voice of God
speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and
lived?'" He caressed her neck again, fleetingly. "That's why you were
at Ruskin Dam."
His words jarred. Ruskin Dam. She stiffened, her hand groped for
the doorknob. "I'm sorry. I can't help you. Just... just read the
ben Jacob bowed his head, but Scully read the desperation in the set
of his shoulders. She felt a sharp pang, hesitated.
But Dana Scully couldn't do it, she just couldn't cover that ground
again. She didn't need any reminders of what she was, and what she
would fail to be.
She wasn't sure why she'd expected this man to have an interlocking
piece to her personal puzzle. Asher ben Jacob wanted to know why his
lover died, what purpose her death had served. Scully worked from the
other side. Why had she lived? What purpose did her life serve?
Ideas raged through her mind, then settled into a tumbling
kaleidoscope of fragmented thoughts. She just couldn't. Not now.
She yanked open the door, stammered a feeble excuse, and left.
It started on the drive back to the hotel. The uneasy feeling that
she made a mistake. That walking away was not an option. The evening
was an exercise in self-loathing. Every child of the Navy knew the
price for desertion. Despite her pledge to find answers, presented
with hard cross-examination, she'd allowed herself to crumble. Mulder
never would have turned and walked away. The truth would not have
intimidated her partner. Mulder wouldn't have hidden behind excuses.
That single thought mocked her.
Dana Scully wasn't afraid of the truth.
First thing in the morning she called Washington and arranged for a
week's vacation. Her request was made through Skinner's office, a
deliberate attempt to avoid the probing questions Mulder was sure to
ask if she'd called him.
She wasn't in the mood for Mulder's inconsiderate snipes.
'Why are you staying in Utah, Scully? Make friends with Donny and
She wasn't in the mood for Mulder's double-edged remarks.
'You got a lover you been hiding out there on me, Scully? He trying
to talk you into being his second wife? Or third?'
She wasn't in the mood for the Mulder that was, and the Mulder that
could be remained elusive as a half remembered dream.
Scully dismissed the thoughts, turned her attention to the business
card Agent Riley provided her, and noted ben Jacob's phone number.
Tomorrow. One way or another, she would finish what she had begun.
FBI Field Office
Salt Lake City
Scully walked into the Field Office displaying a confidence she
didn't feel. It was a lesson learned long ago, incubated with her
brother Bill and honed to perfection throughout medical school and
the Bureau. Act like you know what you're doing.
She nodded to the man with the broken arm at the front desk, an
Agent Franklin, then glanced to the cubicle at the back of the
office. It was empty, Asher elsewhere. Scully felt the flutter in the
pit of her stomach, the same as when she'd call ben Jacob this
morning. Asher readily agreed to see her again, but considering her
behavior the night before, she worried he might have changed his
mind. Or worse. She'd change her own mind given enough time.
The few agents in the office treated her with a cautious respect, a
solitary wolf among the buffalo. They knew who she was; they just
weren't sure what she was doing there. Neither was she.
Aware of the other agents watching, she made her way to the back,
receiving a few casual smiles, some more knowing than others. She
frowned unconsciously. Six agents in the office, there were many more
Where was everyone?
The coffeepot in the rear corner was almost empty. Scully poured the
last cup, then pitched the grounds, placed a new filter inside and
several scoops of coffee from a nearby can. She picked up the empty
pot, intending to fill it with water.
"I wouldn't, if I were you," A husky female voice said from behind
her. Scully turned.
"Took me long enough to convince these overgrown Rambos that women
don't *have* to make the coffee. Hate to have to retrain them." The
woman who spoke was lithe, tanned, eyes the same rich chocolate as
Asher's. Dark hair cut into a no nonsense pageboy, a neatly tailored
pants suit also stated professionalism. Her face showed lines, some
age, some laughter. A package that radiated quiet authority. She
thrust out a hand. "Christina Martinez. ASAC. And you are...?"
Scully set the pot down and grasped the outstretched hand. The grip
was firm, palm slightly callused. "Dana Scully, from the Washington
A delicately plucked eyebrow went up. "Scully, Scully... not OPR?"
"No... I, uh... I'm just visiting..." Visiting? How inane, way to go,
Dana. What was it about other female agents that made her nervous?
Lack of familiarity perhaps.
Christina Martinez nodded, pursed her lips. "Come on in to my
office. I have a cappuccino maker. Too good for these uncultured
hicks. We'll leave them the dregs. Right, Phillip?"
She slapped a nearby agent on the shoulder; he looked up from his
paperwork and grinned, blue eyes alight with mischief.
He turned to the other agents and made a face. "Hey, boys, the bitch
Everyone laughed, including Christina. Scully's laughter was
"Nice shooting, Chrissy, way to save those taxpayer dollars,"
"Should have plugged them both," another agent added.
"I wanted to, but they put a *Coloradan* in charge."
Everyone hissed and booed.
"DeMarco just wasn't as good a shot as me." Christina pretended to
blow smoke off her finger, then flexed her biceps and struck a
weightlifter's pose, to the delight of the other agents. They razzed
Christina took Scully's elbow, led her to one of the few private
offices with a door, and closed it behind them. "Take a seat." She
checked the coffee maker and hit a button on the side. It began to
rattle and groan. "So, why are you visiting us poor Field Office
drudges, Agent Scully? Trolling for a transfer?"
"No, I... Please, call me Dana."
"What division are you with back in Dee Cee, Dana?" The older woman
leaned against her desk and crossed her arms, brown eyes pinning
Scully like a specimen to a board.
"I work in a small division. They needed a forensic pathologist for
the position, I was available..." Scully's voice trailed off. "I work
in the X-Files."
Christina tugged on an earring. "With Fox Mulder?"
"You know him?"
"In a manner of speaking. He was in the class behind me at the
Academy. Tell me, is he still as flaky as he was then?"
Scully nodded, not trusting herself to speak.
"You can be flaky, long as you got the brains to back it up. And I
recall him having more than his fair share of brains." Christina
checked the progress of the coffee then turned her attention back to
Scully. "He still as drop dead gorgeous as ever?"
Scully nodded again, flustered.
"Must make it hard to concentrate." Christina laughed at Scully's
expression. "Sorry, but when you're the lone female in an office full
of men, you tend to start thinking the way they do." She eyed Scully
appraisingly. "I bet you don't know a thing about it, do you? How
long you been in the Bureau?"
"All in one division?"
"Not quite ... I taught at Quantico for two years. Been with the X
Files for five."
"You taught at Quantico?" Her eyebrows went up a notch.
"Interesting... Five years in one place? How many people in your
"Yes. Just me and Mulder."
"Cozy." Christina pulled two coffee cups off a bookshelf. One said,
'The best man for the job is a woman' and the other had a picture of
John Wayne with the caption, 'Because I said so, partner'. She poured
the cappuccinos and handed Scully the John Wayne mug. "You ever want
a transfer to a regular Office, you look me up. We need more women.
I've been trying to start a mentoring program, to teach women how to
lead and command in this male oriented field. It's been slow going.
They haven't even gotten me another female agent yet." Christina
shrugged, and sipped her coffee.
Scully followed her lead, sampled the brew. It was frothy and hot,
tasting strongly of vanilla. "I've had cause to think about it once
or twice ... I don't think a field office job is what I want."
"Five years and you haven't had an involuntary transfer yet?"
"Once..." Scully fingered her coffee cup thoughtfully, again
reminded of her abduction, and the real reason for her visit. "The
division was closed for a while, but... Agent Mulder is difficult to
"Prima Donnas usually get their way around the Bureau. As long as
somebody upstairs likes them." Christina studied Scully's face a
moment. "So, what brings you out here then? If not the possibility of
a transfer? We got great skiing, you know."
"I brought some files out for an agent of yours, decided to take a
break. I figured he couldn't read Agent Mulder's chicken scratch
Martinez' eyes became low voltage lasers as they raked Scully from
top to toe. "Which agent was this?"
"Asher ben Jacob?"
She nodded slowly, let out a sigh. "Asher. I should have known.
What's the Rabbi up to now?"
Scully bit her lower lip. "He just wanted information on some cases
Agent Mulder worked on a few months ago. He thought it might relate
to one of his cases."
"And did it?"
"I'm sorry, you'll have to discuss it with Agent ben Jacob."
Christina gave a husky chuckle. "I see the Rabbi got to you. He's a
charmer, isn't he? If I were ten years younger... and his religion...
I wouldn't mind taking a tumble with him myself."
Scully's mind darted to Asher's warm eyes and sensual mouth, she
recalled the gentle play of his fingers on the back of her neck...
Oh, boy. Scully felt the heat rise to her cheeks and took a big gulp
of cappuccino. "I thought I could help him find a connection between
our two cases. That's all."
After a deliberate sip of her coffee, Christina nodded. "There
better be a connection, or ben Jacob's going to be answering to me. I
won't tolerate any more misuse of Bureau resources. And he wouldn't
dare pull that nonsense again... " Christina let her face ease back
from the worried mask to friendliness again. "Then again, if Asher
asked for your files, they must be relevant to one of his cases. The
man is incredibly bright, extremely talented, and a royal, cotton-
picking pain in the ass."
Scully almost spit out her mouthful of coffee as she choked on
laughter. "I'm sorry, but you've just quoted one of Agent Mulder's
superiors." The two women grinned at each other a minute.
"Seriously, Dana. Asher's a good agent. Most of the time." Martinez
scowled to herself, then shrugged and sipped her coffee.
"Let me guess, he likes to work independently, resents
interruptions, and never lets you know what's going on?"
"Sometimes." Christina answered. "I live with his work methods,
because the man gets results. Or used to. But this office functions
as a unit, if I have one player who insists on playing his own game,
it reduces our effectiveness all out of proportion to the individual.
Christina leaned forward. "That's one reason I kept him paired him
with Pat Riley. Riley's a good influence."
Scully made a face.
"I see you two have met. Patrick Riley's a good agent, solid,
dependable. He doesn't always come off as the most sensitive guy on
the block..." Christina shrugged. "The man's a bulldog. He builds his
cases piece by piece, and gathers evidence to support them. He goes
from A to B to C to D in a methodical manner. It may be slow, but
it's damn effective. Asher on the other hand, tends to leap from A to
D with nary a stop in between. The hell of it is, he's usually right.
But brilliant deductions mean squat without evidence to back them up."
"You really like your job, don't you?" Scully commented. It was a
revelation, and would require some examination once Scully was alone
"Yeah, I do. It's a challenge, and a puzzle, and frustrating as all
get out, but yeah. I love it. Despite days like yesterday." Martinez
rubbed her right biceps reflexively.
Scully gave her a puzzled look.
"Those two cop killers up in Idaho? We finally ran them to ground.
That's where half the office is, mopping up. Took a lot of manpower
and hours, but we did it. Now I can find out what's happened while I
was gone and get the whip cracking again."
"Is that where Asher is?" Scully asked. "I was supposed to meet him
here about a half an hour ago."
"No, the Rabbi's over at Temple Square. Porter Kent requested to
borrow him for a few days, they got foreign dignitaries coming into
the church this week."
Seeing Scully's blank look, Christina backtracked. "The Mormon
church here, Church of the Latter Day Saints, has something called
the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, and each of those guys has a
secretary or two or three that works under him. Porter Kent is a
secretary, he's also in charge of security for the prophet, among
other things. The prophet is the leader of the church, and the U.S.
Government likes to be kept informed when he meets with
representatives from other countries. The LDS church is all over the
world, so a lot of foreigners come here for meetings. We supply a
government rep, a liaison if you will. ben Jacob's our counter-
terrorism expert, he also has an extensive background in Middle
Eastern studies and international law, and speaks several languages,
so he's perfect for the job. He even attended Brigham Young
University in Jerusalem, which is probably why he got posted here."
Christina leaned back in her chair and stretched. "I was forced to
refuse his request for transfer to New York because the Bureau has a
shortage of international and language specialists. Asher's too
valuable here. I wish I'd been able to transfer him. Maybe-"
Christina shook herself and switched gears. "Asher also coordinates
with the local police in emergency situations. It's a lot to put on
one man, but we're a small office, we all have to pull double duty. I
sent him to a Hostage Negotiation class at the Academy, he graduated
number one, same with the Explosives Response class last year. The
man has great hands, an inquisitive mind, and a golden tongue. What a
"What do you mean?" Scully asked, "I would think those would be
valuable assets for the office. The team."
"Let's call it ... a waste of his abilities." Christina looked
thoughtful a moment then turned her attention back to Scully. "He
should be a diplomat or something. Or move to hostage negotiations.
I've told him that several times. He got an offer from the State
Department as a matter of fact. I'd quote his response, but it was
unbelievably rude, especially for the Rabbi. It didn't seem to bother
them, they offered again a few months ago. Right after his girlfriend
died." She looked at Scully.
"I know all about Davi. Asher told me."
"He did now? Well..." Christina sighed and pinched the bridge of her
nose. "It was a tragedy. The poor guy was shook to the core, although
he'd won't admit it. They *never* should have let him go to the site,
but I guess they didn't know she was there when they put out the
call. I gave Asher time off and bureau counseling, his rabbi has been
counseling him, I can only hope it's helped. Typical male, he insists
he's fine. But since April, he hasn't been the same." She shook her
head. "Pat Riley likes to complain about him, always did, but these
days he's doing a lot of covering he just shouldn't have to do. He
doesn't think I've noticed, but I have...." Christina shrugged, "I
can only help so much. The Rabbi agreed to fill out the paperwork for
a transfer to the State Department, after that special rep came out
here and nagged him about it again. You can tell he doesn't care
where he works right now. I'd hate to see him go, but maybe it's for
Scully drained her cup, set it on the edge of the desk. Guilt
blossomed. She hadn't made things easier for this man. "Why does
everybody call Asher, 'Rabbi'? Just because he's Jewish?"
Christina looked startled. She took Scully's cup and her own, set
them on the counter behind her desk. "No... not exactly. I know, it's
a bad habit and not very PC of us. It's an easy nickname. Partially
because he's devoted to his religion, there is that... but more
because... he's easy to talk to. To confess your troubles and sins
to. There isn't a person in this office that hasn't been helped by
Asher ben Jacob one time or another. Myself included. If he was
Catholic, we'd probably call him, "Father". Sometimes you forget he
isn't some 80 year old wise man." Christina frowned, then gave an
eloquent shrug. "I guess, mostly, we call him Rabbi because he
*listens*. Or he used to."
Scully nodded. A knock sounded on the closed office door. Christina
glanced up at the frosted glass. "Speak of the devil... Come!"
Asher ben Jacob opened the door. He gave a crooked smile when he saw
Scully, then addressed his boss. "Didn't know you were back, ma'am,
or I would have let you know where I was. Porter Kent needed a
"Pat told me. It's okay, Asher. I used the time getting to know
Agent Scully, here. Tried to recruit her, but alas, no dice." She
grinned at Scully.
"The prophet requested my services for the next few days. He's
meeting with a foreign contingent to discuss missionaries in hostile
countries. Kahzakstan and Turkey are on the list. I might have to
translate." ben Jacob rolled his sleeves down as he talked.
Today he wore a simple tan shirt and navy tie that matched the navy
kipah on his head. Puffy circles darkened his eyes, and he probably
forgot to shave. In the harsh light Scully could see where his nose
had been broken at least once before, and the tired grooves around
his mouth. Despite that, he still looked damn good.
"You see a problem with the foreigners?" Martinez asked.
"I haven't assessed the threat level, yet, ma'am, but yes, I believe
heightened security would be appropriate. Some countries tend to be
prickly about Christian missionaries in their domain." ben Jacob ran
a hand over the kipah and unruly mane that dropped across his
forehead, in a vague attempt to smooth the rumpled look.
Scully had to refrain from straightening his hair for him.
"Very well, keep me informed. And keep Riley informed also, like you
did this morning. Good job. We'll see you Monday."
"Yes, ma'am." ben Jacob looked at Scully. "Sorry to keep you
waiting, Dana. The appointment was unexpected, and Porter had a lunch
meeting that ran late. It put us behind."
"That's okay, I didn't mind." Scully stood and held a hand out to
the woman behind the desk. "Thanks for the coffee, Christina."
"No problem." She stood, shook Dana's hand, then came around the
desk to walk her to the door.
"I'll grab my jacket and we can go," ben Jacob said. He left the
office, moving quickly in a loose-jointed athletes stride.
"Hubba, hubba," Christina said under her breath. "Life's too short,
Dana. Don't let it pass you by. Go for the gusto, yadda, yadda...."
Scully couldn't help but smile. Christina Martinez was a refreshing
footnote to her Salt Lake City visit. "I'll certainly keep that in
"Chrissy, the firearms lab's on line three, they want to talk to
you," Agent Franklin called out.
"I'm on it..." She turned. "Don't be a stranger, Dana. It's nice to
talk to another female agent." Christina gave Scully a pat on the
shoulder, then disappeared back into her office.
Across the room, Asher ben Jacob looked up from putting on a black
wind breaker. The intensity of his glance raked Scully's jangled
nerves. What does he want from me? On the basest level, she knew the
answer. It gave her flutters in the pit of her stomach.
"Rabbi!" Franklin sang out again from the front desk. "You're back.
Call *your* Rabbi. He said it was important." Franklin waved a pink
phone slip in the air with his good arm.
Scully walked slowly for the exit, giving Asher time to grab his
message and catch up. He did in short order, placing a hand between
her shoulder blades as he swung open the outer door. Heat seemed to
radiate from his palm through her clothes to her bare skin. She
looked up, met the steady chocolate eyes that focused squarely on
her. Scully received another troubling thought. What do I want from
this man, and what is it going to cost me to get it?
She cleared her throat, found her voice. "I appreciate you seeing me
again, Asher. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have left so abruptly last
"No, I understand. I appreciate you agreeing to speak to me under
difficult circumstances." They stood in front of the elevator, joined
together in an island of mutual misery. ben Jacob appraised her,
nodded to himself. "Is this personal or business, Agent Scully?"
"Maybe a little of both. Why?"
"Because I am not allowed to discuss business on Shabbat." ben Jacob
glanced at his watch. "You have a few hours before dusk, anything
after that will have to wait until Shabbat ends." His intense gaze
informed her of the seriousness of his statement.
Scully nodded, first to herself then to him. "I understand," she
said quietly, as her hand found the gold cross nestled at the base of
her throat. The elevator dinged.
His gaze dropped to the flash of gold between her fingers, then rose
back to her face, expression strangely satisfied. "Come with me to my
place. There we can talk."
end part 02/15
Touching Jericho (3/15)
Just under thirty minutes later Scully was settled in the comfort of
ben Jacob's apartment. Again hot tea steamed in front of her. The
drive over had been pleasant, the conversation safely on Salt Lake
City and the scenery. But the time for small talk was over. She
studied the man opposite her as he stirred his tea with an
absentminded concentration she found endearing. "I want to help you,"
she told Asher, "I want to help both of us."
"You know what I want to know." His spoon clattered against the
china as he dropped it on the saucer and fixed unblinking eyes on
her. "That piece of metal from Davi's neck? You have one also."
"Both my damnation and my salvation..." Scully explained slowly.
"It's what some people call an implant."
Asher chewed his lower lip as he watched her. "I don't understand.
Where did it come from? For what purpose? Implanted by whom?" He
leaned forward, the lawyer in prosecution mode.
"I don't know," Scully paused, swallowed. "Theoretically, it's some
kind of tracking or cataloguing device. But I do know that after mine
was removed, it facilitated the onset of a serious illness."
Genuine concern crossed Asher's face, he tipped his head and asked
softly. "How serious, Dana?"
Scully froze. After Mulder's studied indifference, this man's
interest jolted her. To Mulder the implant was the means to an end.
You don't question the golden ring. Here was someone concerned by its
ramifications. She hesitated all the same, then looked at him.
"I'm sorry..." He reached out and gave a fleeting touch to her
cheek, then dropped his hand.
An impulsive gesture, born of honest emotions, and suppressed with
difficulty. Another piece that made up the man. Scully shook her
head. "You don't have to be sorry. Returning the implant cured the
disease. Not a miracle in the biblical sense I don't think, more a
miracle of technology I am yet to understand."
He frowned, quoting, "'He delivereth me from mine enemies, yea, thou
liftest me up above those that rise up against me; thou hast
delivered me from the violent man... the violent man...'" Asher
stared out over her head.
Scully stared at him. "'The violent man'?"
Asher brought himself back to her. "I'm sorry. And how did you come
to have this implant in the first place?"
"I was abducted... by a person or persons unknown," Scully
admitted. "My memories are vague... it must have happened then. It's
the only explanation I have."
"Abducted. Davi's letters frequently mentioned abductions," ben
Jacob told her, "aliens and tests... and Cassandra Spender. I didn't
fully believe her until it was too late. You believe this too?"
Scully chose her words carefully. "I know that I was taken. I also
believe the stories of alien abductions and spaceships. Not because I
am a proponent of extra terrestrial involvement, but because I
believe the memories are real. Memories of aliens implanted to make
those believing the allegations look ludicrous. The men who did this
to me... to so many other women like me, serve an entirely different
Asher's eyes darkened, wrath transformed his face. "Women like you?
"Yes," Scully whispered.
"And these men?"
Scully lips thinned, as if nothing could remove the bad taste from
her mouth. She got to her feet and paced. "They experimented on us.
They were doing some kind of testing or research. I suppose you could
say we were lab rats. They made us sick when we outlived our
usefulness, they lured the survivors to Skyland Mountain, and to
Ruskin Dam. Then exterminated them."
Asher gave her a horrified look, then bowed his head, whispered
quietly to himself a moment.
Scully didn't recognize the prayer, or the language, but understood
the sentiment. She found comfort in the cross she wore, indulged in
her own silent prayer. For herself, for Betsy, Penny and all the
women wronged, for Emily, for all the children like her.
"'Save me God; for the waters are come in unto my soul'." Asher's
voice was soft, anguished.
"'I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into
deep waters, where the floods overflow me...'" Scully continued the
Asher lifted his head, eyes wide. "'I am weary of my crying; my
throat is dried...'" his voice faded and he rubbed a hand over his
face as if to erase the emotion showing there.
For a long moment the words hung between them, an invisible
connection, stronger than the past, made of the mortar of shared
Scully found the next line sprang unbidden to her mind. "'My eyes
fail while I wait for my God...'" The words forced themselves out of
her lips in a barely audible whisper.
Asher held out a hand, palm up, then closed it slowly and brought it
to his heart, as if to protect the fragile covenant. "I think you
should sit down... I want to show you something."
He moved away from the door and disappeared up the stairs off the
hall. Scully sat, shaken by the encounter. 'I am weary of crying...'
The line hit her with the impact of a bullet.
She poured herself more tea. The Ruskin Dam, Skyland Mountain, and
Cassandra Spender files lay on the coffee table, in exactly the same
place as she'd left them the night before.
This time she wasn't retreating.
Asher returned and set a large plastic shoe box on the table between
them. He studied her with unconscious intensity. "I'm sorry I don't
seem to have the answers you seek, Dana... but perhaps some good can
come of Davi's death after all." He unsnapped the lid to the
container, set it aside, then handed the box to her.
Scully took it, stared down into the contents. It was crammed full
of letters; envelope after envelope, all neatly slit across the tops.
Some were bundled together with ribbons. She flipped through them.
Letter after letter addressed to Asher ben Jacob, some to Cornell
University in New York, then to Boston, some to Quantico, many to
Salt Lake, they were arranged in chronological order. The ones tied
with ribbon were addressed to Davita Yael, Connecticut, Pennsylvania,
and Alfred, New York. She looked up at him. "I don't understand..."
His hand reached out, caressed the box, his finger tracing the
postmark of the first envelope. "Letters Davi wrote me over the
years. I saved them... since college that is." He picked up a packet
tied with a red ribbon. "These I recovered from Davi's apartment
after she died. I didn't want her parents to find them. They didn't
know we were having... problems. Or about Cassandra Spender." He
tucked the packet carefully back into its space. "They're in order.
Me to her. Her to me. The past five years and then some." He stared
down at the box. "All I have left..."
"You want me to read them?"
He looked up then, into her eyes and beyond. "Yes. Somewhere in
there, may be an answer you seek. I don't understand the questions, I
may have missed an important sign." Asher touched a hand to his
chest. "If I can help ease your burden of pain, alleviate the
suffering caused by the agents of Amalek... I must do so."
Scully swallowed. The man was offering her a piece of his soul, a
glimpse into the most intimate details of his relationship with his
fiancee. All because she asked for help. It was mind boggling. His
self-assured brown gaze never wavered as he waited for her response.
"Asher... I'm not sure I can read these..."
He dropped to one knee, touched her arm. "Dana... please. I want to
help you. A small atonement for all I've done wrong lately..."
"If you're sure..." Scully felt her pulse quicken as she looked at
the box. Somewhere in these chronicles might be a clue, a light in
the obscurity that shrouded her abduction.
"I am sure."
"Okay. Thank you, Asher." She fastened the top on the box and
snapped it closed. "Can I ask a question?"
"Anything, Dana." Asher got to his feet and looked down at her from
what seemed a great distance.
"Who is Amalek?"
Asher's eyes flashed, the chocolate hardened into stone. He glanced
over her head onto a higher plain, and seemed to wrap himself in the
cloak of his religion. "Amalek is evil in its many forms... Amalek
opposes the Torah and anything that contains Torah... it is written,
'Remember what Amalek did'. We must remember the misery we suffer,
lest we sin and Amalek returns... like he did at Ruskin Dam..." His
vision dropped, a bitter smile twisted his face. "I, for one, will
never forget. Never. I will fight him with my dying breath."
Scully met his impassioned gaze, felt his words reverberate. Words
that were cool salve over the raw scrape of her heart; the very place
that craved a human touch, that longed for someone to lighten the
burden locked within. Amalek was responsible for her abduction.
Amalek took her daughter and future daughters. It was as good an
explanation as all the others. She found herself clutching her tiny
gold cross with all her might and whispering, "Amen..."
They stared at each other. Heartbeats passed. The spell was broken
by the persistent chirp of Asher's watch. He reached down and
silenced it, held out a hand to help her from the couch, eyes alight
with excitement this time. "Eighteen minutes until Shabbos. Come, we
Scully reached up and took the outstretched hand.
Best Western Hotel.
Salt Lake City
Scully promised herself she would read the letters without becoming
involved; that she would rely on the clinical detachment she'd spent
her entire life perfecting, that thus far served her so well.
It wasn't often she gave herself a fool's errand.
At first, she was the voyeur. Peeping through a keyhole, almost
afraid of what she might find. As the hours stretched out that
feeling faded until the words on the pages seemed as if they'd been
written by old friends.
Their story started innocently enough. Asher ben Jacob and Davita
Yael from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A childhood friendship that grew
into something more. Asher was the brilliant student, Davi the
rebellious youth. Asher left for rabbinical school and Davi went to
the University of Pittsburgh. Asher, torn between the calling to be a
rabbi and the growing desire to go to law school. He attempted both,
struggled, but was eventually forced to choose.
Davi's letters were alternately supportive and scolding. "'Do not
chose your life according to someone else's wishes'" seemed to be
Davi's advice. Asher reply was an elegant argument about the duties
of the eldest son. Eventually law won his heart, and Asher dropped
out of Rabbinical College to concentrate on the legal profession. He
graduated from Temple University and went to Cornell University Law
School, at the same time Davi moved to Yale to do graduate work in
English Literature. Again they had more distance between them than
either liked, and their letters were full of 'when we graduate and
can be together'.
Scully's pulse quickened when she came across another of Asher's
more provocative letters. They were sprinkled intermittently
throughout the correspondence. The letters were exquisitely detailed,
descriptions worthy of the raciest romance novels. Scully readjusted
her perception of Asher ben Jacob: Here was a man that understood
desire, in all its dark and difficult disguises. A man that felt
deeply, believed passionately, and loved without regret.
The sheer eroticism of his written words was astounding; they made
Scully blush and sent a flutter through her stomach. She attributed
it to emotional overload, and read on. The Shakespearean overtones
and sensual phrases were guaranteed to weaken the knees of most
women, and Davita Yael was no exception. Of course an English
professor would be smitten with such eloquent declarations of love
and lust. Davi's replies to the letters were equally compelling, and
the care with which they were crafted shone throughout. Scully felt
the need to take a break after reading Asher's last erotic offering,
she took a shower, dressed, and walked to the end of the corridor for
a can of soda pop before deciding to continue the saga.
The FBI came recruiting to Cornell, and Asher was seduced by the
idea. Davi was appalled, terse letters flew back and forth. Asher's
parents remained steadfastly against it. Dr. ben Jacob apparently
tried to manipulate Asher and others involved, causing his son a
great deal of pain. Davi rallied to Asher's side because of this,
offering her support to that which she formerly opposed. It was clear
her loyalty and love were with him, despite her disapproval. Asher,
torn, postponed his decision, accepting a position with a prestigious
Boston firm that specialized in criminal law. Everyone was appeased
by this, and happy. Except Asher.
He quickly grew bored with the mundane work they gave him, and this
time when the FBI approached he was more than ready. He accepted on
condition his first posting be to New York, so Davi and he could be
together. His parents again attempted to interfere. Daniel ben Jacob
going as far as arranging a position for his son with an
international law firm and consulting the Rabbinical College about re-
accepting his son.
It was obvious from Asher's pained disclosure that his father didn't
approve of Davita, or her family, and wanted Asher to marry someone
else, someone the father had already chosen. Someone in Israel. But
if it came down to losing his son to the FBI and letting him marry
'that dissident bitch', Daniel would encourage the marriage, albeit
Asher and his father fought, scathing arguments, Daniel ladling a
heavy dose of duty, obligation, and responsibility on the back of his
eldest child. Even reading Asher's account of it was painful for
Scully. The things family members say to each other, the hundred
little ways they know to make the deepest cut. The rift between Asher
and his father grew to insurmountable proportions.
Scully recalled her own doubts about her father's acknowledgment of
her career, her family's lukewarm acceptance of her choice, the
unspoken agreement that she was making a big mistake. The idea that
others knew what was better for you than you did yourself was a
tangled thread she and Asher shared.
They made plans, Asher and Davi, but the life they'd hoped for
together proved elusive. Davi was offered a position at Alfred
University, which she accepted, expecting Asher to be sent to
Buffalo. Asher graduated the FBI Academy and was sent to Salt Lake
City. His guarantee of a New York posting vanished under the weight
of Bureau needs and rules. His background in international law, time
spent in Jerusalem, and fluency in several languages proved to be
Asher's undoing. 'You go where we need you.' Scully recalled that
Asher tried on several occasions for a transfer out of the Utah
field office, but was unsuccessful. Davita, hopeful of finding work
somewhere closer, applied to teach at BYU, then smaller colleges in
Utah. It wasn't to be.
Asher's eloquent pleas for Davi to give up her job and be with him
were met with resistance. 'I wish to be more than some hausfrau to an
important man. Even if that man is the one I love more than anything.
You push too hard, Asher. Be patient. The marriage will come, I
promise. We have time. Your children will come, as many as you
desire, I promise that too. Be patient. I don't like the pressure.'
That stopped Scully cold. She thought back to Asher's bewilderment
at Davi's sudden refusal to marry. Something tickled her brain, but
refused to be grasped, elusive as a night wraith. Clues, she needed
more clues. Scully sipped her grape soda and read on.
The tone of Davi's letters changed. There was no forewarning. Scully
noted the dates on the letters, noticed how the time between them
grew further apart. She realized the date of the first stilted one
coincided with Davi's return from abduction. A pain behind her eyes
blossomed. With hindsight, and her own experience, Scully read
between the lines. Too often something written touched a nerve,
brought tears to her eyes, served to open wounds that had never fully
healed. She'd never met Davi, but felt as if she understood. Scully
could also see the other side, and appreciate Asher's frustration.
'I'm sorry, Asher, because of my abduction experience, I can't marry
'I don't care about that, Davi. I believe you. I believe what
happened to you, or that you believe it happened that way. I still
love you. None of that has changed.'
'I can't marry you, Asher. I can't give you what you deserve. Not
anymore. I don't even want to try. Find someone else. Marry Rebekah.
She worships you.'
'I don't want anyone else." Asher wrote seven pages of Shakespearean
quality discourse on wanting only her.
Davi's next letter was one page. One line. Intended to inflict
mortal damage. 'Then you are a fool, because I no longer love or want
Scully dropped the letter to her lap, wiped a hand over her eyes.
"And *you* were a liar, Davita Yael. You did love him."
Several tissue thin airmail letters were tucked in the back of the
box, postmarked from Tel Aviv. Curious, Scully pulled them out. They
weren't from Davi, they were from a woman named Rebekah Levine. The
Rebekah that worshiped Asher? Scully hesitated only an instant before
opening them. If he hadn't meant for her to read them, they wouldn't
be in there, she rationalized. Her righteous self scolded her, saying
he probably had forgotten about them. Either way, Scully was too
fascinated to quit and put them back.
Whoever Rebekah was, she possessed a brilliant mind and wry sense of
humor. Her exchanges with Asher bordered on the eclectic, discussions
of military strategies and Middle Eastern history sprinkled
throughout. She asked for Asher's input on points of law, she freely
dispensed her own advice on his situation. 'Become an FBI agent. It's
the closest thing to an intelligent soldier you have over there.
Anything less would bore you.'
In another letter Scully read her concern for Asher in between the
lines. 'An Explosives expert? You are too methodical, my dear. We
deal with bombs daily over here, when are you going to get a chance
to practice this new hobby? Wasn't sacrificing Ben enough?'
Most telling were the lines concerning Davi. 'Marry her anyway,
Asher. If your father insists on legitimate offspring, give him some
sperm in a cup for Hanukkah... Have a dozen kids, then grow old and
fat and study Talmud to your heart's content. So what if she isn't
the right 'class'. That's a stupid, antiquated notion. Like your
father is a paragon of Orthodox virtue... You've already signed the
t'naim, she'll come around. If your love can override your insistence
on propriety that is.'
Scully got up then, and dragged her laptop out, plopped it on the
table. Within a few minutes she connected to the Internet and
searching for information on Jewish culture and family life. It took
three hours, and she thought she found the answer she was looking
for. But she had to be sure.
One other concrete detail in all her reading warranted investigation.
A company Davi mentioned, asking Asher to look at it, as if finding
it would somehow make him believe. Asher insisted he'd done all that
he could, but found little trace of the company she'd given him, just
a P.O. box in the middle of Salt Lake City. Asher even used his FBI
privileges to try and find out. His first attempt at playing with the
system resulted in a reprimand, and letter of censure added to his
file. Christina Martinez managed to keep him from being put on
probation, and apparently Asher gave up chasing the phantom company.
He didn't have the right connections. Scully only knew one place to
go for the kind of elusive information he'd been after.
It took as much courage to dial that number as it had to face down
numerous flesh-eating entities. But Scully's need to know outweighed
her fundamental distaste. This wasn't the way she liked to do things.
"Frohike? Agent Scully."
"Scully?!" The man's voice rose an octave before he recovered enough
to act cool. "What can I do for you this fine day, Agent Scully?"
"I need information. I need it immediately."
"Mulder said you were on vacation. In *Utah*."
"Yes. I am. Can you do this or not?" Scully rolled her eyes, an
instinctive reaction around any of the Lone Gunmen.
"Sure. Whatcha need?"
"I need to get as much information as I can about a limited
liability company called New Genesis. I believe they're behind a high-
tech medical research lab here in Salt Lake City. There have been
problems finding the holders of the shell company. It may even be
owned by members of the church. I know you have better resources..."
The was a pause from the other end, "A name, that's all you've got?"
"I'm afraid so. Look, if it's too difficult for you--"
"Don't worry, Agent Scully. If it exists, I'll find it. Anything
"I also need to find out if a certain person is a certain type of
Jew, whether he's Orthodox--"
"Or Reform, or Conservative? Can't rule out Reconstructionist either."
Scully blinked. "Exactly."
"Got a name? Any background? Be easier if you got a location, saves
time in the search."
"Name of Asher ben Jacob. He's an FBI agent. Born in Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, he's about 30 to 34 years old. Currently living in Salt
Lake City, Utah. Also a Davita Yael, originally of Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. She's deceased. Last, information on a Rebekah Levine
from Tel Aviv, Israel." She spelled the names for him.
"Got it. Give me some time. Want me to call you back?"
"Please. Do I need to give you my number?"
"Nope. Got it the minute you called."
"That's what I was afraid of." Scully hung up and continued her
search through the Internet. When her cel phone finally rang, she let
it shrill three times before picking it up. "Scully."
"Got a big blank so far on New Genesis. We're digging ... something
will turn up, I'm sure."
Scully nodded to herself. "Thanks. What about the other information?"
"Much easier. Interesting collection of people you acquired. Over
achievers, " Frohike answered, "ben Jacob and Yael attended an
Orthodox synagogue. The both of them. Interesting thing is, ben Jacob
attended a reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia."
"Which means he was one confused puppy," Frohike explained. "He
started off in a strict religious atmosphere, then moved to a more
progressive one. Probably was like a kid in a spiritual candy shop."
"Didn't get much on her. She's connected to an import-export firm in
Tel Aviv. What I find more interesting is what I couldn't find on
her. It's been hidden. Then again, could just be an encryption method
I'm not familiar with. Yet. Israelis are like that. Secretive. She
could be covert operations. That would explain a lot, I'll keep
"Frohike, do you know a lot about Judaism?"
There was a short silence, then a cautious reply. "I might. Why?"
"I need a question answered. It's been skirted around in the
research I have available. How important are children to a Jewish
"Depends on the couple. And their background. In the more religious
sects, children are very important. To the point where the man is
required to divorce his wife for not giving him kids."
"I see..." Scully chewed her lower lip.
"There was this rabbi, I forget his name, who once said, 'An
unmarried Jew is not considered a whole human being.' See, the rabbi,
heck, all Jewish men are expected to marry and raise children, to
contribute to the Jewish state, so to speak, and set the example.
Have a basketball team of kids, at least. A baseball team was better.
American League rules. So children are an integral part of the Jewish
experience. For the religious Jew that is. Without children, the
couple would be considered incomplete."
"Frohike, you are amazing."
"Will it get me a date?"
"Not a chance," Scully said with a smile. "But I won't make fun of
your Wookie vest more than once a week now."
"I guess it's more than I hoped for. Anything else?"
"No, and Frohike? Thanks..."
"Anytime, Agent Scully... B'Shalom."
Scully tapped off the phone and stared into space. So much unsaid,
so many covenants cast to the wind, unable to find a place to come to
ground. What Asher and Davi did made Scully's heart ache. She wished
she could rewrite the letters, rewrite their lives from after the
abduction. Hindsight was a curse she didn't know how to reconcile.
Scully picked up the next letter and steeled herself.
Asher and Davi fought, long distance. A war of words, the most
vicious kind of war a couple could wage. The rift grew deep,
seemingly insurmountable, neither of them willing to compromise
further. Underlying every trip Asher made to the East Coast was a
side trip to see Davi, to talk to her, plead with her, court her,
make love to her. The passion still raged. Scully could see it through
the carefully composed letters. Asher refused to let go, Davi spoke
of letting go, but seemed unable sever their connection. Abandoning
love for its own good was the action of a saint, not a mere mortal,
and not the action of a woman needing love and support after her
If only Davi had told Asher the truth. Scully shook her head and
Eventually their arguments drove a wedge between them. Asher started
to cling more possessively to his religion and returned to his
Orthodox roots. Davi put her faith in the teachings of Cassandra
Spender; Someone who understood, who relied on optimism, who could
promise her everything would be all right.
Scully knew first-hand the pain of isolation. To suddenly find
someone else had control over your life. To be fighting an enemy with
no face, no name, and no basis in normality. To feel as if you were
drowning in unseen water. It was easier for Davi to make Asher the
culprit. At least he was available. Like Mulder.
Mulder. Scully pulled off her glasses and rubbed the bridge of her
nose, muscles tense. She was still angry with him. Not for his
indifference, nor for his unwillingness to continue to be dragged
further into the lies. She was angry for one reason. He'd given up.
The thought made her stomach churn.
Then again, maybe after all this time, Mulder had learned something.
end part 03/15
Touching Jericho (4/15)
Best Western Hotel
Salt Lake City
Scully opened her eyes, squinted at the unfamiliar surroundings. As
she realized it was light, she also realized what it was that woke
her: A persistent knocking on the door. "Coming..." she rasped, then
dragged herself off the bed and smoothed down her shirt. She ran a
hand through her hair, afraid to look in the mirror. Sleeping in your
clothes was never a good look, especially not in the early afternoon.
She opened the door, not sure who she expected to see. Certainly not
Mulder. A casual Mulder, no suit, just blue jeans, T-shirt, leather
jacket, windblown hair and that contrite smile.
"Mulder...?" She blinked.
He smiled again, if he had a tail it would have been wagging. "Not
going to invite me in?"
Scully stepped back to let him pass, still fumbling for words.
"Why... aren't you in D.C.?"
Mulder paused and gave her a look. A calculating look. A head to toe
survey of her flaws and imperfections. A Mulder look.
It wasn't that early, certainly not by Scully's standards. But here
she stood, the vagaries of sleep still courting her expression,
clothes rumpled, hair in disarray. All she needed was a man hiding in
"I was a little worried about you," Mulder said. The tail wagged
"Come on, Scully. I spoke to Frohike. What's so interesting about
this New Genesis thing? And the mysterious Asher ben Jacob? And the
vacation time?" Mulder shot her a hurt look. "You didn't tell me."
The tail drooped to the floor.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to seem..." Scully took a thoughtful
breath, "How did you find me here?"
He gave a sardonic smile. "You kidding? You phoned Frohike. He knows
your shoe size."
"Then tell him to FedEx me a new pair of Gucci pumps, so I can kick
some ass in style," Scully snapped. She pulled her fingers through
her hair, stared up at the overgrown St. Bernard in her doorway. If
he had a keg of Scotch around his neck, she *might* be glad to see
him. "It wasn't necessary for you to come after me, Mulder."
"No, not necessary..." Mulder studied Scully's resigned expression,
and added, "I know you're a big girl now, Scully. Doesn't mean I
don't want to help."
She shot him a look of her own, reminding him of his refusal to come
to Utah with her. Mulder had the grace to glance down and give a tiny
nod of concession to her unspoken reprimand. Scully softened. "I'm
fine, Mulder. Really."
He squeezed himself into one of the chairs and eyeballed the
anonymous hotel room, "I know what it's like. I've been in the same
She nodded, a half-hearted effort that was instantly analyzed by her
partner. He scrutinized her face a long moment before conceding her
right to privacy. Mulder's eyes wandered the room again, landed on
the shoe box sitting at his elbow. "What's this?"
"Don't what?" he asked as he picked up the item that had piqued his
"Don't open it. They're personal letters... Not mine."
He gave her a curious look, but nodded and set the box down again.
"You still haven't answered my questions. Vacation? New Genesis? ben
"Agent ben Jacob was the person who requested the files. That's
hardly mysterious. His fiancee was killed at Ruskin Dam. He wondered
if anything further has developed in the case. You saw the request."
"Was there some Bureau related item in the files, Scully? Or did he
request them strictly for personal use? Because that's what I saw.
Personal use. Maybe you saw something different though. Not that I
blame you for being curious," he finished softly.
Scully busied herself, switched on the pot of water, in dire need of
coffee. Anything to buy her a few minutes. Plastic mug, little orange
pouch of coffee, ripped carefully across one end, another meticulous
rip to a packet of sugar, then a plastic spoon dropped into the cup.
Mix the brown particles with the white in equal proportions. Try not
to drool in the cup. She glanced at the electric pot. The water
refused to boil. The thought passed through her head that she could
just rip open a packet and chew the granules... but Mulder
already watched her with too much knowledge swimming through those
She leaned back against the dresser, paused, then asked almost
rhetorically, "If you thought you could... help someone... help
ease their pain... by revealing something of your own soul... would
you? Or would you let them remain ignorant?"
Mulder's expression grew contemplative. "I guess... it would depend
on the person. Maybe..." He shrugged, amended his words,
She sighed, wrapped her arms around herself. "Maybe that's the
difference between you and me."
"What's all this about, Scully?"
She looked at him, from eyes damp with unshed tears and whispered,
He stood, loomed over her, sympathy and guilt on his face. All she
had to do was reach out and touch. Just a few feet. Her arms lay
woodenly at her sides. Not this time.
"You think Emily can help someone? Even now?" Mulder gave a
tentative smile. "I think I like that idea. I think she would too."
He was trying. God, the bastard was really trying this time. But was
it sincere sympathy, the kind Asher ben Jacob bestowed in abundance,
or was it the calculated sympathy Mulder seemed able to drudge up in
a psychological instant?
Scully erred on the side of caution, felt the lump swell in her
throat, she nodded, the only way she knew to stall as she forced it
down. "Me too..." Mulder's affectionate gaze drove her to action.
There could be no room for self doubt. She took hold of his arm,
pointed him towards the door, "I'm sorry, Mulder, I have something to
do. We can talk later."
Scully shook her head. Her decision provided her with newly found
determination. "No. This is something I have to do myself."
Residence of Asher Ben Jacob
City of Murray, Utah
Scully stood in front of the door to townhouse number eighteen. The
resolution that drove her to leave the bleak hotel room and travel
south drained completely away, like blood from a sacrifice. Aimless
driving, watching the sunset over a golf course, a lonely meal at a
fast food restaurant, and periods of anguished thought had brought
her to the very place she set out for hours ago.
She stared at the small wooden decoration on the right door post,
knowing now what it was and what it represented. A mezuzah. Inside
the case was a tiny scroll of parchment, a handwritten piece of the
Torah with all the implied blessings and obligations. Her hand
reached out to touch the case, stroke its intricate lines and swirls,
imagining Asher's fingers tracing the same pattern. There was a
complexity to the design that she found immensely satisfying.
Religion was not meant to be simple.
A deep breath. Then another. She rapped on the door. She could have
used the bell, but winced inwardly at the thought of what a strident
announcement it would make. Knocking portrayed a confidence she was
sure still lurked inside her uneasy heart.
Scully stepped back. No warm light shone from the living room
windows, the second floor was wreathed in dark silence. All the
misgivings she so cavalierly dismissed several hours ago came
flooding back. He wasn't home.
Irrational tears welled up.
Well, what did you expect, she scolded herself. Absolution? He
wasn't a cleric to confess your darkest secrets to. Not even a real
rabbi. He was only a man. Scully wheeled and headed blindly down the
stairs. At the bottom she heard the door open behind her.
She didn't turn. Couldn't turn, held physically immobile by the
conflicting emotions that raged inside her. She heard Asher clatter
down the steps, a few seconds later his strong hands were on her
shoulders. He made no move to force her to face him, no abrupt
demands as to her presence here. He merely waited.
Scully stood, the proverbial deer caught in the headlights, finally
realizing it was fear that rooted her to the spot. The pulse in her
throat jumped. Anger surged. Dana Scully feared nothing, and no one.
ben Jacob's hands continued to rub her shoulders. After another
minute, Scully felt the warmth of his breath at her ear, "Come
Then his hands were gone, his presence cleared from her personal
space. He left the decision to her, and her alone. Wise man.
Asher ben Jacob stood in front of his own door, touched the tips of
his fingers to the carved wooden case beside his door, brushed it
lightly. He then brought his fingers to his lips, and stood a moment,
eyes closed, before opening the outer door.
Scully caught the screen before it closed, night chilled metal a
shock to her hand. She stepped inside. The room was dark, the dim
glow of the streetlight spilling into the entryway. It was enough
light for Scully to see ben Jacob wore hastily pulled on jeans, the
top unsnapped, and a green flannel shirt, open down the front. His
feet were bare, jaw shadowed, hair tousled like a six year old.
Weakness slammed into her knees. He'd been asleep, not tossing in
agonized thought as she had. She groped for the screen door
handle behind her, pushed frantically at the half open door that
threatened to swing closed on her. ben Jacob's hands found her
shoulders again, his body inserted between her and the wooden door.
"Dana. You need me?" His voice was soft, fluid, like honey coating
itself around her fears.
She turned to face him, nodded, unable to speak.
He stepped back then. Breathing room. Shoved the door back, away
from her, propped it open. Maybe that was why he always left the
heavy inner door open when she was there. Breathing room. Air for
tortured lungs. Breezes for tortured hearts.
Scully faced him through the gloomy light, tried to look into those
chocolate eyes, the ones that seemed to peer straight into her soul.
They were hooded and black, fathomless pools of darkness that
absorbed what little light was there and reflected none back. Scully
shivered. She felt the warmth of his hand against her face, the
gentle scrape of his thumb as it caressed her cheekbone. A mere touch
and she suffered vertigo, poised at the top of a slick slope, about
to plunge through the blackness.
"Asher... there's something I didn't tell you."
He stepped closer, and Scully could finally see the light in his
eyes, and the compassion. It fueled her voice, strengthened it, drove
it above a terrified whisper. "There's something I didn't tell you,"
she repeated. "Something about me... and Davi."
The man's gaze never wavered. His other palm rose, cupping her face
with its twin. There was a great deal of strength in those hands. He
could snap her neck and not even break a sweat. The thought was oddly
comforting. Scully tipped her head back. His hands tightened briefly
around her throat and cheekbones, then relaxed.
"Is it something important?"
ben Jacob's voice remained steady, but every one of Scully's nerve
endings were hypersensitive. She sensed the fear her statement
provoked in him, the minute tremble of fingers and tone. With that
gathered feeling came a sweeping sense of power, of control, of
equilibrium regained. Scully reached up, captured his hands, pulled
them down in front of her. Then held onto them. "Yes, it's important."
They stood close, much too close. This time it was Scully who
occupied his space, stripped him of his absolute composure, ripped
the scab off the top of his rationality. His eyes were wide, nostrils
flared as if to test the wind.
Scully slid one hand from his, continued to clutch the other
tightly. With her free hand, she reached over and gave the heavy wood
door a shove. There were no creaks, or groans, or protests. The well
oiled hinges did their job. The click of the latch engaging
ricocheted like a well placed gunshot in the silent foyer. "It's very
ben Jacob stood, a silhouette in the near darkness. "Come inside..."
They walked to the living room, inches apart, afraid to relinquish
the physical contact for long. Asher fumbled to turn a light on over
the desk, he left it burning low, barely beating back the shadows of
the room with its delicate amber gleam.
Scully took his hand again, pulled him down to sit next to her on
the couch. "I want to tell you about Emily."
"My daughter." She watched him study her like prey determining a
predator. "First let me tell you how Emily came to be. When I was
abducted... when I was experimented on, one of the things they did
was remove my ova... all of them. They stripped away every chance I
had at reproduction." Scully waited as Asher absorbed this news, eyes
wide with understanding.
"They made you sterile?" His voice was a horrified whisper.
Scully nodded. "Against my will, without my consent... without me
really knowing about it either. I was still undecided about having
children, but they ripped that decision from my hands with their
actions. I was upset when I found out, angry. Terrified. Reviled.
But mostly angry. They had no right to determine my future like that,
none at all."
Asher clutched her hand, eyes fixed firmly on her face. "What did
"What could I do? I didn't know who abducted me, I didn't know who
stole my ova, I didn't even know who would want the ova. I decided if
I couldn't find out the who, then I should find out the why."
Scully's eyes dropped to their clasped hands. "I didn't realize at
first the who and the why were interconnected..."
"Dana... was it just you?"
She looked up then, felt a million years old, hated herself for
having to inflict more pain upon this man, but knowing he'd want
nothing less than the truth. He was a lot like Mulder that way. "No.
It wasn't just me. It was all of us, every woman who was abducted."
Asher stiffened as if from a blow, eyes closed, his lips struggled
to form words, a prayer, but the only one that Scully understood was
'Davi'. She was torn between throwing her arms around him, and
waiting for him to come to terms with his anguish. She settled for
tightening her grip on his hands as he rocked back and forth, biting
his lip until blood oozed. Scully felt as if she held a kite in high
wind, string unraveled to the reel, one strong tug and snap, it would
tumble end over end and hurtle off into deep space.
"That's why she wouldn't marry you, Asher... because she couldn't
give you the children you wanted."
"I thought she-- I wouldn't have cared..."
"But she cared, Asher, cared about you and your beliefs. What good
would you be as a Jew with no children, much less a rabbi. She
believed in you, Asher."
"I'm not a rabbi."
"But you were thinking of going back, weren't you? Before Davi was
abducted. Quitting the FBI and being ordained so you could be with
Asher looked at her and nodded.
"She loved you, Asher, far more than you know. She would rather give
you up than have you live a life without children. Without *your*
children." Scully laid a hand alongside his cheek. "Until I read
those letters, I never realized how much the ability to have a child
with someone I love meant to me."
"Emily? Was she a child from this love?"
Scully dropped her hand. "Emily was an abomination, a mistake. She
should have never been."
"But... I don't understand... she was your daughter..."
Scully gave a tired laugh, and tried to pull back, but Asher held
onto her hand, forced her to face him.
"Tell me," he insisted.
Scully reached out, used her thumb to wipe the smear of blood from
his lip, then dropped her hand back to his, clutched it like a
lifeline. "Emily was created, using the ova they stole from me during
my abduction, my ova... and the DNA from something else, something...
not of this world." Seeing Asher's eyes glued to her, she continued.
"They created her as an experiment, knowing that she wouldn't live
long. I found out about her when she was three years old and her
mother died... her adopted mother..." Scully's voice faltered.
"How did she die?" Asher asked quietly. He still held her hands,
still studied her face, his own grief apparently forgotten.
"She had a... had a rare medical condition... because of the way she
was created. It required a great deal of treatment. By the time I
entered her life, her body was on the verge of breaking down. Less
than a week after I met her, she was dead." Scully looked up at him,
eyes bright. "I tried to be a good mother, for a week I tried as hard
as I could... but she died anyway."
"It wasn't your fault." Asher pulled her onto his lap, smoothed her
hair with one hand. "Dana, nobody can be a mother in a week."
"But she was my child--"
"A fact of biology," Asher interrupted. He gripped her face in both
hands and peered into her eyes. "You never knew her, Dana. There was
no bonding period, no chance to get acquainted, to discover one
"But I was her mother," Scully whispered. "I should have loved her
"That's the romantic in you, Dana." Asher's hands tightened on her
face. "Love comes from a long and deep familiarly, lives interwoven
over the course of years, webs that entangle and enmesh and
support..." He leaned his forehead against hers a moment. "You are
not less desirable, less of a woman, Dana, because you cannot have
children. The fault is not in you, but in the circumstances..."
"It was my only chance... to be a mother... and I blew it..." To her
horror, Scully felt hot tears gather behind her eyelids, and spill
down her cheeks. Asher pulled her onto his lap, pressed her head to
his shoulder, and held her. The comforting came naturally. He would
make a good father. She buried her face in the warm flannel and
cried. "I'll never have the chance again. I held back, withheld my
love, because in the back of my mind, I knew she was going to die..."
"We all die, Dana. Some sooner than others--"
She snarled, punched his shoulder with her free hand. "I *knew* she
was going to die! She started life as a foetus in a jar of green
alien goo, created from my ova, labeled and stuck on a shelf! What
kind of beginning is that for a child! All of us women, our children
torn from our womb before creation, cataloged and shelved in rows
like merchandise at Wal-Mart!" Scully sobbed tears of rage, poured
out months of frustration and anxiety, soaked his shirt with remorse
Gradually she quieted, and became aware Asher was rocking her,
singing softly in another language, a faltering lullaby interrupted
by the cracks in his voice. She looked up and discovered tears
coursing down his face, drops of pain long unshed. Scully reached up
a reverent finger, touched the wetness, then tasted it with her
tongue. His song faltered, then faded and disappeared until even the
words drifted no longer. All that lay between them were heartbeats.
Scully pressed her lips to the base of his throat, felt the ragged
pulse that surged, savored the tang of salt that gathered in the dark
hollow. She let her mouth continue, and explored the narrow expanse
of bare skin showing between the flannel. Asher lay frozen beneath
her, a living, breathing effigy of warm marble. She pushed his shirt
back, bared his shoulders and began kissing them, working her way
over the hard, sculpted muscles of his chest, inhaling the unique
combination of soap and aftershave, scent and sweat that made up the
man. She paused to lay her head down, and listen to the thunderous
beat of his heart, so reassuringly alive, and filled with compassion.
He stayed immobile, body taut and tensed beneath her. She sprawled
across him, palms on his biceps, feeling the twang of stressed
muscle. Scully pulled herself up, and began an assault on his mouth,
hands cupping his head, fingers curled in his long hair, lips
demanding. She felt him respond, and triumph pushed her forward. Her
tongue darted out, touched his lips, pushed past them to explore the
depths of his mouth. He tasted of toothpaste, minty, with the coppery
overtone of blood. Asher's hands finally moved, grasped her arms,
dropped, then moved lower, wrapped around her waist and held on.
Their kiss became tinged with desperation. In her urgency, Scully
bit his lip, reopened the wound, then sucked on the blood flowing
from it. They finally broke apart, panting. Asher lay beneath her,
eyes fathomless in the dim light. Scully stared down, hands still
tangled in his hair, body imprinted with his, chest to ankle. She
could feel their combined heat, her hair fluffed in wild disarray,
she could see the swollen passion on his half parted lips. The hidden
current that ran between them since their first meeting surfaced with
a vengeance. Scully pressed her body hard against his, and felt a
response. A smile curled her mouth, and she slid off him, held out a
hand and whispered, "Let's go upstairs."
She found the bedroom unerringly, led him inside. The covers were
thrown back and trailed on the floor. Shafts of streetlight pierced
the blinds, slashed stripes across the sheets and pillows, and cast
the rest of the room into shadow. Scully reached up and pushed the
flannel from his shoulders, dropped it to the floor. Her hands tugged
at the zipper to his jeans. It galvanized Asher. He thrust her away,
stripped them methodically.
Impatient, Scully yanked off her T-shirt, pulled down her jeans,
tore her underwear off and flung it on the pile of clothes. She
reached up and wrapped her arms around Asher's neck, kissed him
again, pushed him back until they fell on the bed. She lay on top of
Asher, kisses demanding, hands restless, driven by compulsion. After
another minute, it wasn't enough. She coveted him, craved closeness,
needed him inside her.
She moved to fulfill her body's demands.
He stopped her, hands steel cuffs on her upper arms.
She made a mewl like a lioness deprived of its dinner.
Asher squirmed forward, yanked open the drawer to the night stand,
searched through it, then pulled things out and dropped them on the
floor, finally looking at her in frustration. Scully grabbed his chin
in her hand, ignored the rasp of his unshaven jaw, twisted his head.
"Are you clean?"
"Then don't worry. It's not like I can get pregnant."
The sudden sympathy in his chocolate eyes was her undoing. Scully
threw herself on Asher with a vicious passion, and felt him
reciprocate. They devoured each other. No tender words, no foreplay,
no leisurely exploration. He entered her, and Scully abandoned
herself to the reckless coupling of two lost souls, moving together
in the rhythm of despair.
The vehemence of their joining, the intensity of feeling that poured
through Scully forced her to push herself up, prop her hands against
Asher's muscled chest and glare down at him. His eyes were closed,
hands out to the sides, gripping the sheets, a drop of blood
glistened on his mouth. She dug her nails into his shoulders, forced
his eyes open. 'I need' trembled on her lips, along with 'I want...'
but the words wouldn't be born, no possible way for her to tell him.
Words were inadequate, a poor substitute for the volumes of emotions
building in her chest and between her legs. Her assault on him was
undiminished, but that piercing gaze saw clear through her, crumbled
her defenses, brushed them away like a sand castle slapped by the
He wrapped his arms around her, pulled her down, pressed her close,
compelled her to feel their heat and the slickness that wielded them
together. Asher slid one hand down her back, cupped her rear and held
her tight against him, letting her feel the depth of his own need.
Scully trembled as Asher began to move in response to her unspoken
plea. He pressed his lips to her cheek, kissed her with infinite
tenderness... and Scully lost it. She cried out and rode the wave
that washed through her, bucked against him, then in the dying
moments of ecstasy, leaned forward and sank her teeth into his
collarbone. He made no outcry, just shuddered beneath her, then went
They breathed in unison, Scully riding the rapid rise and fall of
his chest. She turned her head, pressed her ear to his sweat glossed
skin, and listened to his heart drum like thunder, finally realizing
it was the echo of her own beat that intensified the sound. They lay
quietly, until breaths stilled and flesh cooled. Scully made a move
to slip off, and he caught her, kept his arm around her, under her
back, urged her to stay close. She rested her head on his shoulder,
arm over his ribs, threw a leg across his thighs and relaxed. He
tugged the covers up over them, and lay quietly, for a long time
stroking her hair with one hand, until the strokes grew further and
further apart, then stopped all together. He was so still Scully
imagined he slept. She drifted, oddly content, strangely satisfied,
spiritually cleansed, the flood of anger and regret wiped away.
Scully refused to let her thoughts dwell on the quiet man beside her,
believing him as satiated as she was.
If she had looked up, past the ribbons of light and dark that
slashed their bodies, she would have seen those chocolate eyes were
open wide, staring at the ceiling, and focused inward.
end part 04/15
Touching Jericho (5/15)
Best Western Hotel
Salt Lake City
Mulder shifted uncomfortably, not sure whether the creaking noise
was the bed or his bones protesting. He glanced at the clock, then
peered disinterestedly at pro wrestling blaring on the TV between his
sock-covered feet. Not that his thoughts had been focused on anything
else but Scully.
He frowned, rubbed his hands over his face. This wasn't like her.
Chasing smoke was supposed to be his forte. He didn't like the way
this was shaping up. Or maybe he just didn't like being left out.
The cel phone's rabid chirp broke the placid silence. He fumbled for
it, jabbed the talk button. "Scully?"
"She's much prettier."
Mulder cursed under his breath. "Don't you ever sleep, Frohike?"
"Hey, I've been hard at work. Got some info for Scully, but haven't
been able to get her on the phone."
You and me both... "You mean it's OK to wake me up at 4:30 in the
morning, but you wouldn't dare disturb Scully at this hour?"
Frohike chuckled. "I normally wouldn't disturb you at this hour,
either, Mulder. You need your beauty sleep at lot more than she does.
But I thought this was important."
"OK, Frohike, cut to the chase. What have you got?"
"Tell her to check her email, I sent over everything I tracked down
... main thing was an address she was after. That New Genesis thing?
That was tricky, but we found something. I hope she appreciates my
Mulder nodded, suddenly interested. He balanced his phone on his
shoulder, dug in the night stand for a notepad. "You found New
Genesis? Give it to me."
"Right in your backyard, Mulder, West Temple Square ... hang on,
I've got a number here.."
Mulder noted down the number, then fumbled in the bedside drawer for
a city map. After a moment he raised his eyebrows. "Where'd you get
that address, Frohike? You've got them singing second soprano with
the Tabernacle Choir... That can't be right."
"Tracked some postal packages ... we found that address twice. And,
I might add, after a considerable amount of time and effort."
"Thanks, Frohike..." Mulder said automatically. He continued to
stare at the map, frowning in thought.
"Anything for the delectable doctor..."
"Uh-huh..." Mulder mumbled before he pulled his thoughts back on
track. "Thanks, Frohike, I owe you." He hit the disconnect button
before he had the honor of discovering exactly what discharging that
debt would entail.
He was far more interested in the connection between a company
called New Genesis and the LDS Church. Strange bedfellows.
Residence of Asher ben Jacob
The sound of a radio woke Scully, annoyed, she burrowed back against
the source of warmth that enveloped her body. It moved, and her eyes
flew open as Asher leaned across her shoulder and slapped the alarm
clock into silence. He sank down, pulled her against him. She glanced
at the clock, saw it was only five thirty, and turned over.
"You have to go to work already?"
He shook his head, oh so serious eyes glued to her, voice rough. "I
usually bike or run..."
The man studied her. "But not today."
Pleased, Scully leaned back against the warm, satiny skin of his
chest. The world outside was remote, dawn but a tentative idea in the
filmy light. Asher's hand rose to stroke her side, a light touch,
undemanding, but it awakened all nerve endings in her newly sensitive
skin. His fingers were work and weather roughened, yet still able to
caress her with the finesse of a surgeon. Scully sighed, then caught
it in her throat, not wanting him to know how desperately she'd
longed for this simple contact.
Asher kissed her, right on that sensual spot behind her ear, then
pressed his lips to the side of her throat where her pulse throbbed.
Scully turned to confront him, to look directly into those
impenetrable brown eyes and that carefully expressive face. His
controlled voice was as seductive as a whisper.
"This time, my way."
She recoiled, one hand splayed on his chest, eyes wide. In the
jagged light she saw the purpling bruise on his shoulder, with its
semi circular indentations, and the angry lacerations left by her
nails. When she froze in indecision, he covered her mouth with his,
lips questioning, soft except for the spot where her teeth had torn
Scully was the marble in this play, a red-haired Venus, arms
useless, body chiseled with indecision. Asher moved over her, a
sculptor in the throes of creation. His kisses were gossamer, so
feather light they captured her attention quicker than a blow. Just
as she began to lean into them, he shifted, and spread them across
her body, covering every inch of her skin in exquisite detail. She
wanted to alternately weep, and claw him with her nails, howl in
protest and purr in satisfaction. She searched for the rage of the
previous night, but it dissolved under the patient ministrations of
his lips and tongue. Her body grew languid, but submission did not
come easily, so she roused herself long enough to hook her fingertips
under his arms and pull him up.
Asher loomed over her, propped up on his hands, muscles tensed,
expression inscrutable. She neither gave him permission, or refused
him, so he continued, entering her so delicately she could only gasp.
The infinite gentleness with which he made love to her stood out in
stark contrast to their frantic coupling of the night before. Scully
wasn't sure which she preferred. Asher spoke then, as they rocked
together, his words finally undamped, they spilled forth in an
eloquent torrent, slipping into her ears and oiling her body to new
pliancy. They were the words of his letters, the poignant phrases
she'd found so compelling in black and white were twice as
devastating spilling from his gorgeous mouth between kisses. Scully
only relaxed once she realized the beautiful expressions were born of
a desperate memory, and not a future promise. The knowledge allowed
her to wrap her body around Asher and urge him on, towards oblivion.
Their release was abrupt, a harsh compliment to the liquid words.
Scully found herself weeping bitterly for things lost, and for things
unnamed. Asher made no attempt to comfort her, he sprawled with his
head buried in her shoulder, body still entwined with hers. The two
of them lay like that for a long time, until Scully pushed him off
and cuddled in his arms. Asher clutched her tightly, muscles taunt
with emotion. They must have slept, for the next thing she heard was
the strident ring of the phone.
Asher grabbed it, fumbling. "Yeah?" His expression changed from
lethargic to annoyed, he glanced at the clock. "I'll be right there.
Cover for me. Thanks, Pat." After slamming down the phone he looked
"Late for work?"
"Yes, there's a meeting this morning, case reviews."
Asher leaned over and kissed her. "You shouldn't be." He jumped out
of bed. "All I can do is shower and dress and get down there before
Martinez gets any angrier."
Scully lay back, pulled the covers up and gave him a small smile.
"You haven't been late much, have you?"
"No... well, maybe a few times in the past few months..."
"After being Mulder's partner all these years, I've learned things.
One, say 'Sorry I'm late', then give them nothing more. Two, smile
and act like nothing's wrong. And above all else, don't volunteer any
"I've got two and three down pat..."
"Work on number one, Asher. It usually helps."
Asher shrugged, came over and touched her cheek. "No need for you to
run off, stay, make yourself at home. How about we meet for lunch?"
"I'd like that," Scully told him.
"I'll call you after the meeting with the location." After a quick
glance at the clock, he disappeared into the bathroom. Five minutes
later he returned, trailing soapy smells and steam, nicks on his face
where he'd cut himself shaving. He dressed in a white undershirt, a
rectangular cloth with fringe at each corner he'd told her was a
tallit katan, pale blue polo shirt, no tie, socks, white boxer briefs
with a Nike logo, and dark pants. Asher spoke hurriedly as he put on
the tallit katan, Scully could only make out the words 'Blessed are
you, Adonai-' before he turned away. After yanking a sport coat out
of his closet, Asher took his holstered weapon off the dresser and
clipped it to his belt, then shoved his wallet and badge in a pocket.
He left without kissing her goodbye, and Scully burrowed back under
the warmth of the covers, drifting.
FBI Field Office
Salt Lake City
Agent Pat Riley leaned on the wall outside the conference room
drinking a cup of coffee. His calm azure eyes betrayed none of the
anger he was feeling. If Martinez asked about his partner for the
third time, he was fully prepared to offer her his third lie of the
morning. Then he was going to take every one of those lies out of
Asher ben Jacob's hide.
Riley was dreaming up a fitting punishment for his partner when
Asher strolled in. He surveyed ben Jacob from head to toe, and raised
an eyebrow. "About damn time, Ash. We got five minutes. You're in
luck, Chrissy moved the meeting to nine. I fed her some line about
you checking on a lead for a case."
Asher nodded. "Thanks." He went to the back to grab some coffee.
Riley trailed behind, his anger slightly dissipated. "You owe me,
pal, big time. Seems all I do any more is cover your butt."
That earned Riley a shrug and ducked head. "Yeah, I know..."
"So what happened?" Riley asked.
"Nothing, I just overslept."
Riley topped off his mug. "Bullshit. In all the time I've known you,
you've never overslept. Not once. Hell, that case in Idaho where you
got decked by the suspect's car and spent a day in the hospital you
still got your paperwork done before me."
"So maybe I was due for a break." Asher emptied several packets of
sugar into his coffee and headed for the conference room.
"Ash!" Riley waited until his partner turned around. "Damn it, what's
with you? Something wrong?"
"No, just leave me alone, okay, Pat?" Asher went into the conference
room, and found a seat.
Riley followed closely. "Leave it alone, hell. You never left me
alone when my marriage was headed for Split City. You helped me even
when I told you to *go* to hell. You're the only damn reason Francie
and I have such an amiable divorce. You missed your calling, Ash, you
should have been a marriage counselor." Riley dropped down across
from his partner, studied him, then gestured towards his jaw. "It's
just not you, Asher. The toilet paper on the nicks?"
Asher grimaced and removed the blood saturated dabs of paper.
"That's better." Riley shoved a file folder across to him. "We'll
have to go over the Michaels case, make sure there aren't any loose
ends. Also, there was a bust Friday night, you might want to look
over the items we recovered. See if they relate to anything you're
doing." He watched Asher nod absently. "I thought you were going to
type up that report on the Blyleven case, so we could read it over
"I'll get to it. Just slipped my mind."
"Damn it, Ash--" Riley stopped before he could go off again. Up and
down the long table voices fell silent as Christina Martinez walked
into the room. After a few perfunctory remarks, she let each agent,
or pair of agents discuss their pending cases and query the gathered
personnel for ideas and insight. Sometimes they found threads between
specialties they hadn't realized were there. Waller, who headed up
Financial Crimes, discussed a counterfeiting problem that might tie
in with one of the organized crime rings Riley kept track of.
Comments flew back and forth, thick and heavy, until some workable
plans were hammered out. Riley sat back in his chair, satisfied, then
glanced across the table. Asher turned his coffee cup around and
around in circles, staring down at the folder in front of him. He
hadn't contributed to the commentary, while not that unusual, in
light of his other behavior it made Riley take a long look at the
man. Asher ben Jacob wore a distant, unfocused look. Riley hoped it
meant the rabbi was thinking on their cases.
When his turn came, Riley outlined the Michaels case, starting with
the bomb threat a business in Wyoming received several months ago. He
detailed his and Asher's course of action, and the outcome, then
talked about the latest bust and how it might be connected. "...there
was sufficient quantities of sulfuric acid and urea nitrate to get our
attention, I know the Michaels contingent and some of the minor
terrorist outfits never ship just one batch of anything, so
conceivably there is more of that stuff out there floating around that
Riley sank back in his chair as Christina Martinez thought about the
information Riley presented. "Agent ben Jacob, do you see the
stockpiling of these chemicals as a prelude to a bigger threat? Has
there been any domestic or international terrorist groups that could
account for that quantity of potentially explosive chemicals?"
Riley watched Asher look up towards the head of the table, then
glance at the assembled agents. To anyone else he appeared to be
thinking, but Riley knew the man hadn't heard a word Martinez had
said, probably didn't even know she was talking to him. Riley kicked
Asher under the table.
ben Jacob jumped, started to glare at Riley, then became aware of
everyone watching him. "I'm not sure what you mean, ma'am."
Martinez rolled her eyes. "Is anybody planning on bombing anything,
Rabbi? That's what I want to know. Nitro, C-4, any of that in
quantities out there as a catalyst?"
ben Jacob shrugged. "Not that I know of."
"You're telling me the terrorists have all taken the week off? The
city is safe from loony toons, domestic and foreign? No bombs in the
works, despite all the obvious bomb chemicals your *partner* has
discovered funneling into the city this week?" Martinez kept her gaze
firmly fixed on ben Jacob, expression disapproving.
Riley saw a flash in Asher's eyes, a hint of emotion too nebulous to
"I don't have any new information at this time, ma'am..."
Martinez nodded slowly, then turned to the final report of the
morning. Riley glanced across the table at Asher, but the other man
refused to meet his eyes. Frustrated, he looked down the table to
find Martinez' eyes on him, she gave him a questioning look, and
tipped her head at ben Jacob. Riley shrugged, angry now he'd been
implicated in Ash's problems. He sat through the remainder of the
meeting pissed off. The minute it ended, he cut off Ash's escape by
slapping a file folder down.
"We need to talk, *partner*." Riley gave Asher no graceful way out
of it, short of knocking him down. The resigned look ben Jacob
flashed him was little consolation. Riley closed the conference room
door after the last agent and stared down the length of the table.
"Thanks for the backup there, *pal*. Nothing like looking like a fool
in front of your colleagues."
"I don't know what you're talking about, Pat."
"You would if you were paying attention. Christ! You hung me out to
dry on the Michaels case, and this latest bust. *You* were the one
who suggested the tie in between the organized crime and the chemical
transport. I never understood how you came to that conclusion, I
tried to explain it and it sounded lame. I expected you to jump in
and back me up on it. But no, you were off in La La Land. Weller and
James took the case apart in front of me, made me look like a
complete idiot. 'Uh, my partner said it would happen, so... I applied
for the warrant...'. Christ!" Riley repeated. He tore a hand through
his hair. "So I want to know what the hell's going on with you, Ash.
You owe me an explanation, at least..."
"Sorry ain't good enough anymore, Ash." Riley looked down at the
other man. "What, you get in a fight or something last night?"
"A fight." Riley gestured toward his mouth. "Looks like your lip is
busted up, and you're moving kinda slow."
Asher touched his lip, then shook his head. "No fight, I, uh... I
took a tumble... off my bike. Look, Pat, just drop it, okay? It's no
big deal." He stared down at the table. "That and I didn't pray this
morning... I even skipped shaharit minyan..."
Riley raised his eyebrows. "I need you more than God does right now,
ben Jacob gave him such a miserable look, Riley capitulated. "Fine.
Let's go over the Blyleven testimony."
Asher nodded, and pulled the file over, looked at it without seeing.
"Pat, you ever run across a company called New Genesis in your
travels? They might be hooked up with organized crime..."
"New Genesis?" Riley frowned, and thought a minute. "What do they do?"
"Pharmaceuticals, scientific testing, medical research maybe, I'm
not really sure."
"This have to do with a case?" Riley flopped into the chair next to
"A new case I've been working on. They might be involved in
something illegal, I don't have a lot to go on, because I can't find
enough about the company to check it out. I did trace a P.O. box here
Riley nodded to himself. "I got to tell you, Ash, something about
that name rings a bell. Seems I saw it on a delivery slip somewhere.
Maybe from a bust."
Asher leaned forward. "Can you find out? I really need to know."
"If you tell me about this case it involves. Damn, Ash, you know how
humiliating it is to not even have a clue as to what your so called
partner is working on? Sometimes I feel like your friggin' secretary,
taking messages from Porter Kent and your rabbi and lying when I
promise you'll call them back." Riley pulled a small notebook from
his inside pocket. "New Genesis..." He wrote it down, then made some
scribbles under it. "So, what gives?" He stared at ben Jacob
"What, you don't *trust* me? I don't know anything? I don't have the
insight of the golden boy, Asher ben Jacob? No connections in
Washington and Israel? Things are beyond my puny grasp of law and
foreign intelligence?" Riley leaned over. "What the hell is so
complicated about it that you can't tell your own freakin' partner?
"I think it might have something to do with Davi's death," Asher
blurted out. He looked stunned by his confession, about as stunned as
"Don't *even* start that shit again, Ash. You looking to get your
ass suspended? Or worse? You want Weller investigating you again? He
might not be as charitable this time around. Let it go, Ash, I'm
"I can't, Pat, don't you see? I'm stuck in a nightmare, I can't move
forward until this is resolved. I need closure. I need to *know* why
"Even if pursuing that knowledge takes me down with you?" Riley
watched his partner carefully. The other man looked down, and refused
to meet his eyes. "What about that pretty little piece from
Washington? That's why she's here, isn't it? She brought you
information. You going to ruin her career too?"
"You and Agent Scully got a thing going? Is that why she's doing it?
Risking her career on this wild goose chase of yours? Or is she
another Rebekah? You spend an awful lot of time in Washington, Ash.
You've picked up some unsavory connections."
ben Jacob glared at him, then took a deep breath and spoke softly.
"What happened to Davi might be related to terrorist activities.
Therefore, it falls in my jurisdiction."
"Weller didn't see it that way."
"I've learned a few things since then."
Riley exhaled loudly. "You going to add lying to your record, Ash?
The Bureau frowns on that... they'll fire your ass in a heartbeat."
"If it were Francie and Sean that died, would you even be
"That's dirty pool, Ash... and totally different. Don't change the
subject." Riley shook his head and reached out to touch Asher's
shoulder. "Talk to me, man. Before this thing goes too far again."
Asher slid to his feet and backed away. "Look, I need to get over to
Temple Square, talk to security, we got some foreign diplomats
arriving soon. It *is* part of my job, remember? This liaison
stuff..." He headed for the door.
"Ash, wait! What about the Blyleven testimony?"
"Cover for me, Pat. Please? I got other things I have to do."
"Damn it, Ash! I've about had it with--" Riley ended up talking to
air as Asher ben Jacob wrenched open the door and escaped into the
outer office. Riley stared after him, of half a mind to force a
confrontation. But the look on Ash's face when he said his
girlfriend's name was enough to quiet Riley's anger. The Rabbi was
right, damn it. There had to be closure.
Riley wondered how long he was supposed to cover for his partner,
and if Ash would ever turn the corner and get a grip again. With a
sigh, Pat Riley gathered up the scattered files on the table, and
looked at them. He chewed his lower lip, ran a hand through his hair,
and swore quietly to himself. Then he sat down and pulled out the
bulky Michaels case file. "Now where in the hell did I see that info
on New Genesis..."
end part 05/15