Timeline: According to a timeline I found on ATXC and mostly agreed with, "all things" takes place on June 10, and my modifications say that "Fight Club" happened in late July. This story is smack between those cases. (Timeline available to those who want it. <g>)
For WENN, this story occurs after "The Importance of Being Betty," but BEFORE "Mr. and Mrs. Singer." Also, small revision. At this point, ignore "Who's Scott Sherwood." Pretend that Pruitt came later than he did and Betty never learned Scott lied. Therefore, Scott is still acting manager and he was responsible for WEEP, not Miss Cosgrave.[Part one 9/9]
May 24, 1941
CJ McHugh, radio station WENN's engineer, glanced at his watch from his perch in the control room. It was almost midnight, he noted wearily, pushing his light brown hair off of his forehead. It had been another long day. Thanks to Scott Sherwood's ingenious idea, he had had the pleasure of keeping the programming on two different frequencies going from the same station. He'd finally been able to finish WEEP's programming hours earlier, but even WENN's alone was stress inducing. He yawned as he waved at his friend Maple LaMarsh who had entered the studio to do the nightly sign-off.
"At the tone, the time is midnight. We'll see ya bright and early in the morning. Sweet dreams," Maple said as Mr. Foley, the sound effects man, hit a gong.
CJ flipped the power switch and leaned into his own mic. "And we're off. Night, guys." He bent down to grab his jacket as Foley waved and Maple entered the small booth. Ever since they had discovered that CJ's apartment was only a block past her own, they had walked home together every night Maple stayed to do the final sign-off.
"Ready to go?" she asked, her broad Brooklyn accent thick with lack of sleep. She reached up and pulled the pins out of her bright red hair, finger combing the locks as they fell to her shoulders. She grinned at CJ's raised eyebrows, knowing he had never seen her with her hair down. "Headache. Today was not a good day to try this hairstyle."
"Oh, I'm sorry. Here, sit." Ignoring her confused look, he sat her in his chair and began massaging her temples. "Feel better?"
"Oh, yeah," she said happily, closing her eyes. "Just keep on doing that, will ya? Just like that. . ."
He laughed. "No problem." They stayed in relative silence, the only sound being Maple's occasional moans of happiness. After ten minutes, he finished, giving her a quick pat on the head. "All done."
She groaned. "Now I don't want to move," she sighed, holding her arms out. He helped lift her to her feet. "Happy now?" she asked.
"Hugely. Shall we?" He offered her his arm and she accepted.
They were halfway to her home when she broke their companionable silence. "So how on earth did you manage to run both stations today?" she asked suddenly.
CJ groaned, remembering. He went through his whole day, ending with "the incident." Betty Roberts, the station's only writer, had been in the control booth watching the broadcast with him when she had asked the same question as Maple. At his answer, she had responded, "Gee, I would think that would be like trying to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time," complete with demonstration. CJ had glanced over and said without thinking, "Ah, that would be a lot more fun for me to do."
Maple started laughing as he asked, "Can you imagine saying anything worse?"
"I've heard a lot worse in my time, CJ," she grinned. "You shoulda heard what Errol Flynn said to me once."
CJ shrugged, ignoring the reference to Maple's colorful past. "It's just the perfect example of how I don't know how to act with girls. I'm not like Scott, or Errol Flynn. I don't know what to say."
"You just need practice," she reassured him. "You're nice, and you're funny, and you give a great head massage. Some lucky girl is just gonna snap you up."
"Not if I can't talk to her," he responded with a game grin.
"Hey, how's this?" Maple stopped on the sidewalk, forcing CJ to do the same. "You need practice, and I need a date for Friday night. Lester's working, right?" she asked, naming their other engineer. "Pick me up at the station after Rance Shiloh. By the time I'm through with you, you'll be an old pro at this. Deal?"
CJ considered it, his brown eyes thoughtful. "Sure, why not?" he decided. "We'll have fun, at any rate."
"Absolutely," Maple agreed. They started walking down the street again as their hands found each other's. "We'll have a ball!"
June 10, 2000
Dana Scully yawned as she and her partner, Fox Mulder, relaxed on his couch. During their seven year partnership, they had become best friends, although her feelings had deepened over the years. Never knowing if Mulder's various come-ons and flirtations were serious or joking, she had kept her feelings hidden. The last two days had been an eye-opener, though. Seeing her old boyfriend Daniel Waterston again, as well as hearing Colleen Azar's story, had shown her once again that life was so short. She sighed to herself. Like she needed another reminder of that.
"What if there was only one choice and all the other ones were wrong? And there were signs along the way to pay attention to," she mused, continuing their conversation.
"Mmm." Mulder considered that. "And all the choices would then lead to this very moment. One wrong turn, and... we wouldn't be sitting here together."
She vaguely heard him continue, but was sound asleep by the time he finished his thought, her head resting on his broad shoulder.
He watched her sleep for a brief moment, reaching out to brush away a strand of deep red hair that had fallen into her face. He tucked it behind her ear, still gazing at her face as he thought to himself once again how lucky he was to have her in his life. He took the blanket off the end of his couch and slid it around her as he eased his tall, lanky frame from under her. He gently brought her head down and swung her legs up so she was comfortably lying down before turning off the light and heading to his own bed.
About an hour later, he was awoken by a creaking floorboard. Squinting in the darkness, he made out the shape of his partner walking in the room. She paused at the side of his bed, watching him. Taking a deep breath, she slid her green sweater over her head and stepped out of her dark skirt. She folded them neatly onto his dresser and slid into bed next to him, much to his surprise.
"Mulder?" she whispered. "Are you awake?" She scooted closer to his warm body and he felt her breath puff onto his cheek.
"Yeah," he responded, just as quietly. "Are you--? I mean, what-?"
"Why am I here?" she smiled as his confusion. "I don't know. I woke up, and I missed you. So I came in here. Do you mind?" she asked, suddenly hesitant.
"No!" he reassured her quickly. "No, it's fine."
"I think the signs are pointing me to you, Mulder," she said after a pause. "I saw this blond woman who led me through the past two days, and then she brought me to you. She turned into you, actually. I don't want to go through life putting everything off until it's a better time, and then find out that I missed that better time. I'm ready to live my life now, because I don't know when it will end, and you are my life. That's what I learned while you were in England."
She felt, rather than saw, his sharp intake of breath. "Scully, I don't know what to say," he finally admitted. "Thank you doesn't seem appropriate here." She managed a small smile in return. "All I can think of," he continued, "is-"
His next words were cut off as he rolled over and captured her mouth with his. All of her reservations and fears flew out the window as she lost herself in the warm sensations of Mulder's body covering hers. As her arms moved to circle his neck and bury her fingers in his hair, he deepened the kiss. Their tongues briefly dueled before they pulled apart, panting.
"Well said," Scully grinned at him, her blue eyes never leaving his hazel ones.
"It's all that Oxford education," he responded.
They looked at each other for a few moments before collapsing into nervous laughter.
"In all my wildest dreams, I never really thought we'd do this," Scully admitted.
"So we are doing this?" he asked, suddenly serious.
Scully's fingers, which had still been playing in his dark hair, suddenly stilled. "Do you want to?" she responded, tensely. She wasn’t sure what made her more nervous - the idea that he would or that he wouldn't.
"More than anything, Scully," he quietly told her. "I've loved you for years. You know that."
Her face lit up in a brilliant smile. "I love you, too, Mulder." Her expression grew more teasing. "I told you we should have gone to a communication seminar one of these last years. Our communication skills obviously aren't up to par."
He laughed. "I say we communicate just fine, just a little slowly sometimes. All that counts is that we're here now, and there's nowhere else I'd rather be."
"I couldn't agree more," she responded, smiling up at him.
Taking that as his cue, he once again captured her mouth with his.
June 30, 2000; 10 am
"Mulder, why are we here?" Scully sighed. They had landed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania nearly an hour ago, and had just left the airport with their luggage. Rain pounded down on their car as lightening flashed, doing nothing to improve her mood.
"I told you," he said, glancing over from his place in the driver's seat. She looked exhausted as she leaned her head against the car window, despite the fact that she had slept the entire plane ride. "Talking and other strange sounds have been reported in a building that hasn't been used in twenty years. Back in the 30s and 40s, it was a radio station, WENN, but that was shut down for good in 1955. Most of the building was converted to a storage place, but they also shut down, in 1979. Since then, it's been empty."
"So how have these people heard the talking? And who are these people?" she asked.
"Elizabeth and Steven Miceli. They're reps from a historical society who have plans to renovate the building and make it into a small radio museum, based on old pictures of WENN. They went there to check out the building's condition and started hearing the sounds last week," he informed her.
"And you think. . ..what, exactly?" she asked, turning her head to watch him.
"Ghosts, Scully. It has to be," he said excitedly as she raised her eyebrows at him.
"Ghosts, Mulder? Why does it have to be ghosts?" she asked, falling into their familiar rhythm.
"These sounds are only heard on one floor of the building, the top one, where the radio station was located. I've been reading into their history, Scully. It wasn't your normal radio station." He handed her a stack of folders, which she started rifling through immediately. "They actually captured not one, but two Nazi spies. And that was before the war even began," he said admiringly.
"So who are the ghosts? Did the Nazi spies die there?" she asked, still not understanding where he was coming from.
"Well, no. No one's died there. I'm not sure who the ghosts are, but they're connected to the radio station, Scully. I'm sure of it."
June 30, 1941; noon
Maple glanced at her watch and hurried her steps. She had fifteen minutes before she went on the air, and she wanted to try and eat lunch with CJ beforehand. He was waiting for her in the small diner across the street from the station, like he did every day, and she was already later than they usually met. She ducked inside the door, shaking the rain off of herself, and found the slender young man easily.
"Sorry I'm late," she apologized, slipping into the booth across from him. "I couldn't get away from Gertie."
He laughed, knowing full well how talkative the receptionist at the station could be. "Glad you could get away." He reached for her hand on the table past the food he had ordered for both of them, and took it in his. "I haven't seen you much today. How have you been?"
She smiled happily at him. "I've been good. I'm lookin' forward to tonight."
Much to their mutual surprise, Maple and CJ's first date had been a success, in more ways than one. Both had had a wonderful time, and CJ had found himself asking her for another evening out. By the end of their third date, they had moved past the pretense of being just friends and entered into a relationship. What they hadn't done, though, was tell anyone else at the station. Maple wasn't sure why, but both were keeping their feelings for each other fairly quiet. They hadn't spoken about it, but she figured they were both probably worried about their friends' reactions. After all, they weren't the most likely of couples. Maple was loud, brash, and opinionated while CJ tended to prefer fading into the background. He did his job quietly and while he certainly didn't want to be taken for granted, he was fine with only a little recognition. They had another date planned for that night, and both were looking forward to the time they could spend together.
"I am, too," he responded as Maple glanced at the clock on the wall and quickly swallowed the mouthful of grilled cheese she had just bitten off.
"Oh, I have to be on the air in a few minutes! When do you go back?" she asked, taking another quick bite as she stood.
"I'll come back with you," he said, dropping the money for their lunches onto the table before standing to join her.
"That sounds good," she smiled and leaned over to kiss him. As with most of their kisses, it ended much too soon. With any luck, tonight's date would change that, Maple hoped.
He smiled happily at her. It wasn't just that he loved her, he really liked her. They were best friends as well as sweethearts, and maybe that night, they could finally take their relationship to the next level. His stomach tightened with nerves at the thought, but he knew they were ready. Not only that, but despite Maple's experience, he knew she would never make him feel inadequate in any way. It was just that his deep-seated shyness and lack of experience with women made him forget that sometimes. He resolved to not let Maple know about his insecurities.
He reached for her hand as they exited the diner to dash across the rainy street to WENN, but when they reached the elevator that would take them to the 13th floor, they dropped hands as if by cue.
"So who's in the script today?" he asked her to fill the silence as they rose steadily.
"Just me and Scott," she responded.
Scott Sherwood was the acting manager of the station, and he often pitched in on the air when necessary. He and Maple had met almost twenty years earlier in her Brooklyn burg. Their instantaneous attraction, despite their seven year age gap, made them lovers at the start, but their resulting connection had made them friends for life. Scott had gotten Maple the job of organist for the station when their original, Eugenia Bremer, had needed to rearrange her work schedule. After Eugenia had come back, Maple had been promoted to full time actress, joining the likes of Mackie Bloom, Hilary Booth and her husband Jeff Singer. The four of them had carried all the roles for every show until Jeff had volunteered to go to London and broadcast for the BBC from the war torn city. Scott had begun pulling double duty to help out, which often put him in close contact with Maple. CJ knew that that Scott and Maple were close, but he didn't really know how close they had been in the past, and that occasionally worried him.
"Oh," was all he said. "Have fun."
Their floor came up and the operator let them out. As the door behind them closed, CJ gave Maple a sudden hard, passionate kiss.
"Just a little something for the road," he told a very surprised Maple.
She smiled, sliding past her surprise easily. "I'll be counting the hours 'till we can do more."
June 30, 2000; 12:20 pm
Mulder and Scully had checked into their motel with relative ease. Before leaving for Pittsburgh, they had discussed sharing rooms and other case protocol, and decided that they would not intentionally share a room while on a case. Whether that meant they wouldn't fall asleep together or ultimately end up sleeping together depended on the case and whatever happened during the trip, just like it did at home. In the three weeks they had been sleeping together, they had spent about half of those nights together. Mulder had noticed that for the last week, Scully hadn't been sleeping well. On the nights she was able to fall asleep, she would wake up at various times during the night. She refused to give it much concern, which automatically made it one of his. All he could get out of her was that she had had an odd dream. His concern over her sleeping habits made him resolve to do his damnedest to somehow get her into his bed that night. He knew better than to tell her that, though. He played along and unpacked in his own room like a respectful lover, all the while thinking of ways he could get her near him.
They were supposed to meet the Miceli's at 12:30, but the couple had called to postpone their meeting until later that evening. They had left the key to the building at the agents' hotel and told them to freely wander and see what they found on their own. After stopping for a very quick lunch, they headed out in the still pounding rain to find the building. Mulder, as usual, was behind the wheel and easily became hopelessly lost. They had driven around the rainy city for nearly half an hour before Scully quietly told him to turn at the next corner. She continued to give him directions and within minutes, they were parked in front of 475 Isabella St.
"When were you in Pittsburgh, Scully?" he asked, innocently enough, as they exited their car.
"I haven't been," she replied shortly, purposefully walking quickly to lengthen the distance between them. She was obviously uncomfortable with the turn of events, which made her very frustrated. Unfortunately, her goal was fruitless as Mulder held the key, and his long strides easily caught up with her.
"Then how did you know where to go?" he asked, curious.
"I don't know, Mulder, all right? Now let's get this over with." As he opened the main door, she brushed past him and walked through what at one time had been the lobby. She ignored the fact that she somehow knew exactly where she was going and hit the button to call the elevator. Mulder wordlessly followed her, opting to drop it now and bring it up later. They entered the ancient lift and it rose steadily, carrying them to the 13th floor. The bell dinged a minute later and they stepped out. As the door behind them closed, Mulder gave Scully a sudden kiss.
"Just something for the road," he said simply, and walked towards the door that still faintly bore the numbers 1313 and read WENN. Shaking her intense feeling of déjà vu, she followed him through the rickety doorway.
June 30, 1941; 12:25 pm
"'Oh, Billy,'" Maple read her lines, using a deep southern accent. "'How can you say that? You know I love you, and only you.'"
"'Ann, you don't know how long I've longed for you to say that,'" Scott replied, his voice throaty and sexy. "'But it's too late!'" he growled suddenly.
Maple gave an exaggerated scream, not seeing CJ's slightly pained expression from the control booth. "'Billy! No!'"
June 30, 2000; 12:26 pm
The agents walked through the empty hallway of what had been radio station WENN.
"I don't hear anything, Mulder," Scully told him, ducking her head into the long, narrow room on their right.
"I don't -," he started to say, but broke off suddenly as he looked into the bigger room on the left. She cocked her head at him, but he held a finger to his lips and motioned with his head. She raised her eyebrows, but shrugged and followed him into what she unconsciously called Studio A.
"Billy!" Both agents heard the faint voice and looked at each other. "Billy, please don't! It ain't worth-" the ghostly words were broken off by a shot, causing Mulder and Scully to jump in surprise.
June 30, 1941; 12:26 pm
Maple and Scott both jumped as Mr. Foley's sound effects gun went off behind them. Maple sighed; she was used to the sound effects now, but some still managed to catch her off guard.
"Did Billy go too far and end it all?" Mackie Bloom intoned in his smooth announcer's voice. "Tune in tomorrow to "Passionate and Pretty," sponsored by our friends at Locatis Leather Products." His next words were cut short by a sudden crack of thunder that rattled the building and cut the power, plunging the studio into darkness.
June 30, 2000, 12:27 pm
Scully grabbed at Mulder as a huge clap of thunder rattled the building and their flashlight beams suddenly disappeared, plunging the windowless room into blackness. "Mulder? What happened? Were we hit?"
"I don't know, Scully," he shouted back as the floor rattled beneath them. He clutched her as they fell to the floor. "Hold on!"
June 30, 1941, 12:28 pm
"Is everyone okay?" Eugenia asked breathlessly from her position behind the organ. CJ, who had rushed in as soon as the floor stopped shaking, noted that the older woman sounded shaky and frightened.
"I'm all right," Mackie said from the darkness. "And so is Foley."
"Maple?" CJ asked frantically. "Are you okay?" He had just stepped forward when the lights came back on. His froze as he saw Maple on the floor with Scott partially on top of her and holding on for dear life.
Scully raised her head and looked around. Instead of the dusty and dim bare room she had just been in, she saw a brightly lit, colorfully decorated room that had an organ, microphones, sound effects table, and four very concerned, very unfamiliar people staring at her.
Her eyes met Mulder's in horror.
"Well, would you look at that," he said softly, his voice full of awe as he looked around his surroundings in wonderment. "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore."
June 30, 2000; 12:28 pm
Maple opened her eyes and saw a man lying on the floor next to her. The room was dark, lit only by two flashlights lying next to them.
"CJ?" she called. "Eugenia? Are you guys all right?" She reached for a flashlight before hesitating. "Wait a minute. These weren't. . ." Her voice trailed off as Scott shone his flashlight at the vacant room. It was obviously Studio A, but it was musty and unused. She looked at Scott in shock and confusion.
"Well, now would you look at that. I don't think we're in Kansas anymore," he said, his voice full of wonder.
June 30, 1941; 12:29 pm
Scully stared at the man whose legs were entwined with hers. She knew that minutes ago, it had been Mulder there. She remembered falling to the ground as Mulder tried to shield her from whatever happened, but when she had opened her eyes after the building stopped shaking, it wasn't Mulder. In fact, it wasn't even the same room.
She did the only thing she could think of. She closed her eyes, rubbed them, and counted to ten. By that time, she was sure that she and Mulder would be back in the abandoned radio station and this had all been the result of hitting her head on the floor. She gave herself an extra second to be on the safe side, and opened her eyes again.
To her dismay, nothing had changed. There were still two men to the right of her. The shortest one, not much taller than she was, looked to be in his mid-50s, with wire frame glasses and a balding head. He looked very concerned, as did the man next to him. This man was taller and thinner, with slicked black hair, dark eyes, a pencil thin mustache, and the look of a 1920s movie star, like Rudolph Valentino. A plump, older woman with ash blonde hair was sitting behind the organ. She had the comforting look of a beloved aunt or grandmother, and also looked worried as she watched the two on the floor. The only person who didn't look concerned, in fact, was the young man standing just past the doorway from the adjoining room. Scully judged him to be in his mid-30s, and the only word she could think of to describe him was average. He was of average height and build, with medium brown hair and brown eyes, and his boyish face had a look of frozen anxiety that probably mirrored her own.
Finally, she looked again at the man laying on top of her. He had twinkling hazel eyes and black hair that was growing silver on the sides. He was about Mulder's height, but a little heavier and older. He, like everyone else, was dressed more formally than what she was used to. Most of the men were in suits with suspenders, vests, or bow ties, and the woman was wearing a blue print dress and fancy hat.
"Maple? Are you all right?" the organ woman asked, worried. No one had moved since the power had come on, and the silence was unnerving.
Scully tried to process this question. Who was Maple? It seemed more likely to be a woman's name rather than a man's, she reasoned, but she was the only other woman in the room. With a sinking feeling, she looked down at herself. Instead of the black skirted suit she had put on that morning, she was wearing a colorfully old-fashioned print dress with a bodice that came low down her chest and an a-line skirt that fell just past her knees.
"Oh!" she was all she could manage, and even that brought a new shock. Instead of her own cultured tones, she heard a broad Brooklyn accent unmistakably come from her throat.
"Oh, dear, she must have hit her head too hard," the woman fretted.
"Maybe she should go into the Green Room?" the short man asked. The man next to him nodded solemnly, which seemed to stir the young man by the doorway into action, but before he could take a step, the man on the floor next to her had scrambled to his feet.
"I'll take her," he said, his voice sounding gravelly to her ears.
"Good idea, Scott," the short man told him. "You get her all settled, make sure she's all right. CJ, when do we go back on air?" he asked the frozen young man as Scott helped Scully to her feet. She missed CJ's answer as she tried to get her balance. Whoever Maple was, she was a good four inches taller than Scully, and was wearing high heels to boot.
Scott held his arm out to steady her, and they headed for the swinging double doors. As she pushed through them, he placed his hand on the small of her back, causing her to jump and turn in confusion.
He smiled reassuringly at her and gave her a gentle push. He followed her straight across the hall into a small, nicely decorated room. It was longer than it was wide, and furnished with a couch and matching chair, a table and chairs, and a small kitchenette.
As soon as they were safely in the room, Scully turned to face Scott. He was grinning excitedly.
"Mulder?" she asked hesitantly. She figured that if she could be someone else, so could Mulder. Besides, if she was wrong, she could just pretend it was her head injury until she knew what was going on.
"Scully, can you believe this?" At her name, she relaxed a little bit. At least she wasn't alone, wherever she was. "You know where we are, don't you?"
"No, Mulder. All I know is that you don't look like you, I'm not dressed like I was, and we're not where we were!" she exclaimed. "Aren't you the least bit," she groped for a word, "concerned?!"
"Scully, we're at WENN," he said, still grinning. "We're in the same place we were in the year 2000, but somehow, we're in the past now!"
She stared at him. "Oh, please tell me you're joking," she said at last.
"Scully, how can you deny it? Look at yourself!" He grabbed her hand and led her to the mirror. They stood in front of it and even Mulder was thrown by what he saw.
Scully stared at the glass, disconcerted to see a stranger look back at her. She slowly moved her arm to touch her head, watching the other woman do the same. She still had red hair, but it was now bound up in a fancy upsweep, with corkscrew curls standing up around her crown and a veiled hat on top. Her eyelashes were so long, they must be fake, and her mouth was painted into a bright red cupid's bow. She was also wearing more make-up than Scully normally did, with her dark eyes and high cheekbones as well defined as her high arched eyebrows.
"This is a dream," she said slowly. "It has to be. We hit our heads on the floor when we fell, and this is a product of that. When we wake up, everything will be back to the way they were."
"We're having the same dream, Scully?" he asked. "I think the likelihood of that happening more than once is slim." He put his hands on her shoulders and turned her to face him. "I know it's hard to believe. But right now, you are Maple and I am Scott, and we need to figure out why we're here. But we are here, Scully. You have to believe that."
Scully sighed. "What kind of a name is Maple, anyway?" she asked resignedly.
He beamed at her, knowing this was her way of saying she would go along with him for now, at least until she found a better theory. He gave her a reassuring hug as the doors swung open to reveal another woman in her mid-twenties. She had short, curly brown hair and wore a green dress that Scully had to admit to herself was in the style that was popular during radio station WENN's existence. She looked startled as they stared at her, mid-hug, and Scully could see a shadow cross her eyes at the scene in front of her.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt," the woman said after a pause. " Scott, you have a meeting with the new sponsor right now. You do have a proposal for their show, don't you?"
Mulder looked unsettled for the first time. "Uh, yeah. Yes. Yes, I do," he said, with building confidence. The woman looked at him expectantly. "Uh-"
"Well, don't you think you should get into your office then?" she finally asked, exasperated.
"Right. That would be good, wouldn't it?" He turned back to Scully, making a brief "uh-oh" face at her. "I'll see you later. Maple." He walked out of the room, pausing in the hallway as he looked both ways down the hall.
"To the right, Scott," the woman said impatiently from behind him. He turned, sheepishly, to look at her. With a sigh, she took his arm and pushed him into the room right next to the Green Room. "Is there anything else you've forgotten?" she asked sarcastically.
He smiled weakly at her. He figured 'what's your name and what year is it' wouldn't go over very well right now. "I think I'll be fine now, thanks."
She shook her head. "Only you, Scott Sherwood." With that, she left the room, heading further down to the right.
He took the opportunity to inspect the small office. There were two chairs facing the desk, which had stacks of papers on it, along with a potted plant. He shook his head in amazement at that, but moved on in his search. On the far wall, there was a poster for the 1939 World Fair, so it had to be sometime after that, he noted. A window to the Green Room was located above a filing cabinet with a small, old fashioned radio sitting on top. He peeked between the blinds and saw Scully doing her own search through the stack of magazines that had been left on the kitchenette table. He might be excited about the new turn of events, but it was still very bizarre to see this complete stranger and hear Scully's words come out, and he knew it was probably harder for her. A knock on the open door made him look away from the window.
"Mr. Sherwood? I'm Nate Daniels, from Nova Paper Products." The young man strode forward and shook Mulder's hand.
"Nice to meet you, Mr. Daniels. Please, have a seat." He made his way behind the desk, hoping that Scott had thought to place the show proposal somewhere visible. He surveyed the piles, searching for anything that might resemble a show proposal. With a sinking feeling, he began opening and closing drawers but still had no luck. "Oh, boy," he said under his breath, before looking back up at Mr. Daniels, who was waiting expectantly. "Well, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far, away..."
June 30, 2000; 12:29 pm
Maple stared at the man next to her on the floor. Her first instinct was to scramble away from the stranger as he shone the flashlight on her, but when she squinted past the bright light, she noticed that he was a very good looking guy. She straightened her back and smiled as she tried to assume as sexy a pose possible. "Well, hey there. My name is Maple. You know, like the syrup," she started to explain before stopping, puzzled. Her voice was different than usual. Instead of her Brooklyn accent, her voice was slightly husky and much smoother.
"Maple?" he said, confused. "It's Scott. Scott Sherwood." He paused, confused as to why his voice sounded so different. "Where are we?" he tried again, still hearing the odd, low pitched monotone.
She squinted at him again. It was dark, but she could tell this was definitely one good looking guy, and it wasn't Scott. "No, you're not. I've been friends with Scotty for a long time, and you're not him, buster. Now who are you?"
"Of course I'm Scott! And you're Maple LaMarsh. We work at radio station WENN," he told her.
"Hey, how did you know that?" she asked. She tried to stand, and looked down. "Oh, gosh." Instead of her new dress, she was wearing a black suit with a straight knee length skirt, white blouse and black pumps. She was also seeing the world from a different perspective and guessed that she was several inches shorter than normal, even with the heels. She immediately reached up to touch her hair, and realized she had a lot less. It was bobbed just at her ears, and had some choppy layers that made it puff out a bit. "Oh, gosh," she said again. "Scotty?"
"Mapes? What on earth happened?" Scott stood up and walked over to the empty window on the wall nearest Maple.
"I don't know." She followed him to the opening. "It looks like Studio A, don't it? Only there's nothing in it." She poked her finger through where the glass should have been.
"I think it is Studio A, Mapes. Let's look around." Scott led the way into the control booth, which no longer contained the sound board or anything else. Maple took the lead as they wandered in and out of each room. It was obviously the station, but empty and unused. The doors and windows had been removed to leave gaping holes, the furniture had disappeared, and it looked like no one had been there in years.
"I don't get it," Maple said as they reentered the studio. "Where did everything go? Who are we?"
Scott paused and started patting down the suit coat he was wearing. "Aha!" He pulled out a billfold and a wallet. Inside the billfold was a photo ID and badge. "'Special Agent Fox Mulder, FBI,'" he read. "Fox?" he repeated in disbelief. "What kind of a name is that? Do I look like him?"
Maple leaned over and glanced at the ID. "Yeah." She reached into her pocket and pulled out a matching billfold. "Special Agent Dana Scully. Is this me?" She showed him the picture.
He squinted at it. "Yep, that's you all right." He went back to the wallet as Maple searched for Scully's. "Oh, boy," he said.
She jerked her head up. "What? What did you find?"
"Look at this. Fox was born in 1961," he told her.
"1961? But that's twenty years from now!" she exclaimed.
"Not anymore it isn't," he grinned. "I think we're in the future, Maple."
"That's crazy, Scotty," she scoffed. She pulled out Scully's wallet and looked at the driver's license. "Or not. Dana was born in 1964." She looked up at him. "What's going on here?" she asked, baffled, as they heard a phone ring.
They looked at each other. "Did you see a phone anywhere?" he asked her.
"Nope, there was nothing," she answered as the sound continued. She cocked her head and stepped closer to him, listening closely. She moved aside his jacket and found a small black object clipped to his waistband. "I think you're ringing."
He pulled it out of its carrier and held it up. "Any ideas?"
They stared at the tiny phone with even smaller buttons. Scott was about to start trying random buttons when they ringing stopped. "Gee, where's Gertie when you need her?" Maple asked, still fascinated by the grey object.
"I hope that wasn't important," Scott grinned. He glanced down reflexively at his watch as he put the phone away and was surprised to see that Mulder wore one as well. "Maple, look at this. According to this watch, it's June 30. Friday, June 30."
"But today's Monday!" Maple exclaimed. She started going through Scully's pockets, wondering what clues she had. "She's staying at a Holiday Inn on 401 Holiday Dr. Room 511."
"Fox is in room 509," he reported, holding up a plastic card and a set of keys with a tag that he read off of. "And they're driving a blue 1999 Ford Taurus with license plate number PTB0425."
"1999!" Maple gasped.
"It's like I said before, Mapes. I think we're in the future," he grinned.June 30, 2000; 7 pm
Scott followed Maple down the hallway to the hotel rooms. "Can you believe how fast that car could go?" he enthused.
Maple grinned. "Yeah, that was great," she responded. They had spent the entire afternoon driving around Pittsburgh, seeing how the city had changed and getting lost on several occasions. Scott had some experience driving, but had become overly excited about the speeds that these new cars could reach. They would race down unpeopled streets, with Scott calling out the numbers as the speedometer went higher and higher. For dinner, they had found this great little restaurant called McDonald's. The food had been ready very quickly and they had both enjoyed the french fries.
Maple stopped in front of room 511, and pulled out the card that had had the address on it. "Okay, G-man, now what?" They looked at the door that obviously had no keyhole, not that they even had a key.
He pulled out his own card and inspected it. When he flipped it over, he grinned. "Piece of cake." He took her card and inserted it in the slot above the handle, pushing the handle down simultaneously. A light on it flashed green and the door swung open. "After you," he said gallantly.
"How did you -?" she asked, surprised, as he flashed the card at her. She laughed when she realized that she had missed the very obvious directions. "Nice one."
She stepped inside and looked around. "Wow."
"I second that," Scott agreed, stepping past her. "I wonder what this is?" he mused as he walked over to a black box on top of a pine dresser. He knelt and inspected the buttons along the bottom as Maple picked up the rectangular object on top of it.
He ran his fingers over the power, volume and channel buttons before going back to press the power button. He jumped as he heard, "and there are three minutes left in the ball game tonight." He relaxed as he realized that it must be a new style of radio, but then his mouth dropped open.
"Scotty?" Maple ventured. "Do you see what I see?" They watched the tiny figure run around the bases, with the crowds going wild.
"It's visio," he said in amazement. "This is what I was trying to sell to Pruitt last Christmas."
"You must have done a good job," she commented. She pressed a button on the black box she was holding, and the little baseball player was replaced by an older man with fluffy hair painting a picture.
"Now just take your time and, oh here we go, there's a waterfall," the fluffy-haired man said in a soothing, calm voice as a waterfall suddenly appeared from his paintbrush onto his canvas.
"Wow," Maple said, watching him finish the painting. "Would you look at that? There's a tree there now!"
"Of course," Scott answered, his eyes also never leaving the screen. "A happy little tree. Could there be anything else there?" Maple shook her head wordlessly, caught up in the beauty of this painting. "The joy of painting, with Bob Ross," he read a minute later after the tiny man had said good-bye. "www.bobross.com? What's an internet?"
"I'm not sure," she said, furrowing her brow. "But c'mon, we need to do some exploring." She hit the power button and the screen went black. "I'll go through the drawers, you look at that door. We need to figure out why we're here, and how to get back."
"Yes, ma'am," he saluted with a grin.
June 30, 1941; 8 pm
Scully dropped down on the Green Room couch with a deep sigh. She had been on her feet all day, doing her best to perform Maple's roles and figure out who everyone was. She surmised from the other actors' reactions that she was doing a dismal job with the former, and she knew she was having trouble with the latter. She hadn't had a chance to talk to Mulder at all, but hoped that he was having more luck than she. So far, she knew the names of six people. CJ was the average looking man behind the glass in the control booth, and Eugenia was the plump woman playing the organ. Foley was the thin man with the mustache, who did the sound effects, Scott was Mulder, and the young woman who had walked in on their hug was Betty, the station's writer. The sixth was Hilary Booth.
Scully grinned ruefully at that memory. Hilary was the other actress at the station. Even though Scully had been there less than 7 hours, she already knew that Hilary had been a Broadway star, and that her main credit had been starring in "The Rivals." Her husband Jeff Singer, who was usually an actor at WENN, was broadcasting from war-torn London for the BBC, so Scully assumed that they were sometime between 1939 and 1945. If she could choose one word for the other woman, it would be formidable. Hilary was tall, just about Mulder's height, with dark auburn hair and an air of elegance, but was also every inch the diva. She was damn good at what she did, and knew it. She expected everyone else to do their job competently, and got snippy when they didn't meet her standards. Near as Scully could tell, few people met her standards, and she today had not even come close. Hilary definitely had a way with words, she decided with a wince.
Scully jumped as the doors swung open, revealing the older man who had been in the studio when she and Mulder had arrived.
"Hi, Maple. How's your head?" he asked as he made his way over to the kitchenette.
"Oh, feeling better," she responded, wishing she knew what his name was.
"That's good." They settled into companionable silence for a few minutes as the man fixed himself some coffee.
"Hey, do you know where a calendar is?" she asked suddenly.
The man turned, but didn't even pause. "Betty has one in her office. Why? Big date, and you want to make sure it's tonight?" he teased as CJ pushed his way through the doors.
"Hey there, Mackie," he greeted the older man. Scully filed the name away in her memory. "Who has a big date?" he asked, looking towards Scully with a look she couldn't quite define.
"No one that I know," Scully answered, surprised to see CJ's face fall in disappointment and sadness. Uh-oh, she thought with a frown.
"Well, I'm going to go check on my script for the next show," Mackie said cheerfully, not noticing CJ or Scully's expressions. "Have a nice night."
"CJ, I-," Scully began when Mackie left, but he waved his hand and cut her off.
"No, it's fine. We don't have to tell anyone yet," he said, a little too quickly. "Well, are you ready to go? I've been looking forward to tonight all week." He smiled at her, and Scully was struck by how it just lit up his face. She didn't want to hurt him, but he and Maple were obviously involved in some way, and she couldn't risk messing up what they had.
She could tell that her hesitation to find an excuse had tipped him off, as his smile slowly fell. "CJ, I think I'm going to have to take a raincheck tonight," she said as gently as she could. "My head still hurts, you know, from my fall today," she explained, touching it to emphasize her words.
He nodded, obviously disappointed again and a little hurt. "Of course, I understand. How about if I walk you home, then? And we can try again another time," he said, the last sentence coming out more as a question.
She smiled at him. "Sounds great." This way she wouldn't have to worry about finding Maple's place. She realized that would leave Mulder in a lurch though, and thought quickly. "I need to talk to Scott before we go. I'll just be a minute, I promise." She stood and headed out the door, pausing in the hallway. She saw Mackie come around the corner holding a sheaf of papers and headed towards him.
"Mackie, have you seen Scott?" she asked.
"Sure, kid. He's in his office," he answered, gesturing with the script, as he headed back into the studio.
"Thanks!" she said, grateful for the point in the right direction. She knocked on the door next to the green room before entering and closing it behind her. Mulder was sitting behind the desk, feet up, reading through some papers.
"Hey, Scully! Get this, I found out when we are," he said excitedly, waving a paper at her. "June 30, 1941. I'm Scott Sherwood, the station manager who does some acting in Jeff Singer's absence. That's what Hilary Booth told me, although she also called me Skeet and seemed to expect me to call her Hildy, even though she apparently doesn't like that," he said, still sounding confused about that.
"Any ideas why we're here?" she asked, sitting across from him.
"Nope, not yet," he told her. "Hey, shouldn't you be on the air?"
"That's what I needed to talk to you about," she sighed. "No, I have the rest of the night off. Apparently, Maple and CJ had a date tonight, but no one else knows about it. I told him I have a headache, and he offered to walk me home. Do you know where Scott lives yet?" she asked.
"Yeah, I found his ID in the desk. What I didn't find was a map," he said, sounding discouraged for the first time.
"I was thinking, what if you leave right after CJ and I? You can follow us to Maple's, and we can figure out what we're doing from there," she explained.
"Okay, I can do that," he said, thinking it through. "When are you leaving?"
The knock on the door interrupted Scully's answer. CJ walked in, holding a purse. "I got your purse, Maple. Ready to go?"
Scully glanced quickly at Mulder. "Yes, I'm ready. Thanks, CJ." She stood and accepted the bag from him. "Good night, Scott."
"Night, Maple." He watched them leave before grabbing Scott's wallet and jacket. He waited in the doorway for them to leave the suite, hearing CJ wish the redheaded receptionist, Gertie, a good night. Five minutes later, he took CJ's cue and said his own good-byes to Gertie.
"But Mr. Sherwood, it's early," she said, confused.
"Well, you know what they say. Early to bed, early to rise," Mulder improvised. He made his escape as Gertie pondered that, catching the next elevator down. He found Scully and CJ in the lobby, looking into the window of a drug store. He caught Scully's eye, and they soon started for Maple's apartment. Mulder stayed a discreet distance behind them, his stomach occasionally tightening with jealousy as Scully laughed at something CJ said, or she laid a hand on her companion's arm. He knew she had to play along until they figured out what was happening, but that didn't mean he had to like it.
Scully and CJ arrived at Maple's apartment fifteen minutes later. "I'm really sorry about tonight, CJ," she apologized. "Thanks for walking me home."
"Any time. Now you take care of yourself, all right?" he said kindly. He gave her a gentle kiss. "I'll see you tomorrow."
"Bye, CJ," Scully said, trying to smile. She hadn't been kissed by anyone but Mulder in a long time, and she had a hard time reconciling herself to this one.
She pulled Maple's keys out of the purse as CJ headed down the street, presumably to his own place. She chose one of the two keys and tried to open the door as Mulder joined her at the door.
She jumped. "Damn, Mulder, don't sneak up on me!" She turned back to the door, inserting the other key and entering, with Mulder right on her heels. Neither noticed CJ watching them from a few feet away, a heartbroken look on his face.