Chapter Seven: Allegretto
The bus drove off toward the setting sun, and Scully wrapped her suit jacket tightly around her. The temperature of the bus's upper deck had fallen enough that she and Mulder were the only ones left. Shoving her hands into her pockets, her fingers closed around the wand that she'd taken from Mr. Black. Withdrawing it, she ran a finger over its surface. It really was a beautiful thing; finely grained hardwood of some kind, and impeccable finish. The wood of the skillfully turned handle was burled and stained a deep green. She experimentally held it up, admiring the balance. This was surely a weapon, but it felt like so much more. It didn't hum with energy the way the door had, but she could sense the untapped power beneath the surface.
Mulder noticed the wand in her hand and tensed. "Do you really think it's wise to be playing with that, Scully?"
"Don't worry, I'm not feeling homicidal now. I doubt I could make it do anything."
"Can I have a look?"
"Be my guest." She handed it over and was struck with a sudden thought. Mr. Black had summoned it using words. It was an odd Latin derivative; she combed her brain for the Latin imperative. Venio, venite? No, that wasn't it. Adsum? No, but it started with an A. Accedo? Accipio? Yes, it was something like that. Accio. It was Accio.
Curiosity overwhelmed any self-consciousness she was feeling. She pointed her index finger at a 1p coin that lay on the floor of the bus and murmured "Accio."
Nothing happened. "Accio." This time she was louder, but the penny didn't move. Mulder looked at her curiously.
"What are you doing?"
"An experiment. Mr. Black was able to make an object fly across the room by ordering it to. I wanted to see if I could do it too."
"Magic words? Maybe if you tried it with the wand?" He was joking again.
Scully snatched the wand from his hand and pointed it at the penny. She'd wipe the smile off his face. As if sensing her intent, the wand warmed her hand. She closed her eyes, envisioning the penny on the floor and willing it to come to her. She opened her eyes but maintained focus on the penny.
"Accio." The word resonated in her head, then through her entire body. She felt the odd kinetic energy from the word flow down her arm and through the wand. There was no light this time, but the penny zipped through the air toward her and fell neatly into her lap.
She turned to Mulder, eyes wide with amazement. "I did it."
Mulder was silent for a moment, but he was practically trembling with excitement. "Do you know what this means, Scully?"
"I'll never be short for change again?"
"Telekinesis is real! You've seen it. You've done it. We can have you tested, we can probe the areas of your brain that can do it, we can try to further your abilities through..."
"It's not telekinesis, Mulder."
"You just made a penny fly through the air with your mind. How is that not telekinesis?"
"It wasn't just my mind, Mulder." He looked at her oddly, and she squirmed under his gaze. "It's so hard to explain. It felt like something inside me, all of me, resonated with the word I used. I didn't move it with my mind. I moved it with my body. I'm not sure what the wand did, but it was mostly me, I think."
"I don't quite understand how the wand figures into the equation."
"Maybe I can explain it better after reading some books on the subject," she replied acidly. "In the meantime, I want to see if it wasn't just a fluke." She tossed the penny back to the floor. It rolled out of sight under another seat. She took a moment to imagine it flying into her left hand.
It was faster this time, and the penny arrived right on target.
She imagined it flying into her pocket.
She put her cell phone on a seat and flew it into her pocket. She noticed resistance with the phone that she hadn't felt with the penny, and she had to concentrate harder to keep it on its path. Mulder's grin was infectious. Pretty soon she was laughing along with him.
"How big an object can you move do you think?"
"No idea. I am just beginning, you know."
"Do you think you could move me?"
Her jaw dropped. "Absolutely not! I don't know nearly enough about this yet to try it on a person. Any number of things could go wrong. What if I drag you into the seats by mistake? What if it only works on inanimate objects? I might accidentally move all your clothes instead of you."
Mulder winked. "That's a risk I'm willing to take."
He took her hands and pulled her into the aisle. He stood about five feet away from her and held his hands out expectantly. "No obstacles. Scully, I want to know if it can be done. Please try. Please."
"I don't want to hurt you."
"I don't think you will. I trust you."
She didn't trust herself. "I'll try, but only this once, at least until I understand how this works a little more."
"Just make sure you move my clothes with me. It's pretty chilly up here."
She sighed and closed her eyes, visualizing her partner with ease; he was in the dark grey Brandini today, and one of his Oxford-stripe ties. He was slightly rumpled from all of the day's activity, and his hair was blowing in the evening breeze. She could almost feel anticipation rolling off him in waves. She opened her eyes and pointed her wand at him.
Slowly, majestically, Mulder rose a few inches in the air and began inching towards her. Never breaking visual contact, she forced all of her determination and stubbornness into pulling him to her. Her teeth were clenched and she felt as if every muscle in her body was tensed from the effort, but Mulder was steadily floating towards her. When his chin was a hairsbreadth from her face, she felt the energy fade as she lowered him onto the floor. Her body relaxed and she looked up into his eyes. He was regarding her with something like awe, but there was an intensity there that she had only seen a few times before in the glances reserved for her.
"Scully." The name whispered from his lips filled sent a tingle through her. He raised a hand to her cheek, running his thumb across her cheekbone. She felt the energy within her spring up like wildfire, searching desperately for an escape.
"Mulder." Her voice was shaking. She pressed the wand into Mulder's other hand. "I can't control it. Please."
"Maybe you don't have to control it." He slid his arm around her, pulling her to him. She could feel the wand against the small of her back, and the fire within her rose up even higher, struggling against her.
"Please, Mulder. The flowers in Liangru's office. It's going to happen again."
He smiled into her hair. "You're not feeling homicidal, are you?"
"No, but..." she flushed furiously and pulled away from him. The fire faded with the loss of contact. "I just don't want to blow anything else up, least of all my partner."
The bus braked suddenly, but she managed to grab the side of the seat and kept from flying into Mulder. When she had regained her balance, she ran a hand through her hair and smoothed her jacket. Dignity regained, she turned and strode purposefully toward the spiral stair leading to the lower level. "Our stop is next, I believe. We need to be ready for whatever will be meeting us." She didn't even turn to see if he was following her.
Mulder shook his head, but managed to hold his tongue. He was the last person on earth to be lecturing her on expressing her feelings, and deep down, he knew she was probably right to keep herself under control under the circumstances. "Scully, wait."
She turned and regarded him warily. He held the wand out to her.
"You can do more with this thing than I can. Besides, maybe you can summon their clothes to distract them."
She didn't acknowledge the jocularity, but nodded and returned the wand to her pocket. They made their way down the stairs and stood among the other riders in silence. The last rays of the sun were fading as they got off the bus, and the hotel's lobby lights were shining merrily. Groups of people dressed for dinner were flagging down cabs. Others were chatting about the weather. The scene was completely incongruous with the apprehensiveness that clenched Scully's stomach. She caught Mulder's eye. "Cover me?"
"For the rest of my life, Scully."
She rolled her eyes and led the way to the front desk. "Are there any messages for room 1013? I'm Dr. Scully."
Harold, or so his name tag proclaimed, efficiently thumbed through a tidy rolodex. "Aah, here were are. Two messages. One from a Mister Skinner and another from," he frowned slightly at the handwriting, "G. White." He handed her two thick cards; one of which was the hotel stationery. The other was of a heavier, yellowish material that felt either homemade or very expensive. Having thanked Harold, Scully handed Skinner's message to Mulder and read Mr. White's.
My Dear Dr. Scully,
I would like to arrange a meeting with you as soon as is convenient for you. Tap this parchment three times with the wand that is currently in your possession, and I will come presently. I look forward to explaining a number of things to you. Also, please inform your partner than I heard a great one the other day about a goblin, an ogre, and a gnome.
A.K.A. Mr. White
She tore her eyes from the note and turned to Mulder. "So, what did Skinner want?"
"He just wants us to check in after work tomorrow. What of the mysterious Mr. White?"
"Apparently, it's Mr. Dumbledore. He'd like to meet with us soon." She looked around the lobby suspiciously. "Perhaps we'd better adjourn to the room before going into it further."
He nodded and followed her to the elevator. A few minutes later, they were in Scully's rose-y room, regarding Dumbledore's note curiously. Mulder was fascinated. He made Scully read it aloud to him twice while he looked over her shoulder.
He shook his head in amazement. "If you hadn't just levitated me on a bus, I might be inclined to doubt you."
"You mean you can't read it?"
"Oh, I can read it, but to me it looks like a cordial message inviting you and your new husband to stay with your great-aunt Gladys in Shropshire as soon as possible."
"Unbelievable." Scully ran her fingers over the thick paper, closed her eyes, and sighed. She pictured the note in her mind's eye, and was surprised to find that there was a white, shimmering aureole around it. Abruptly, she opened her eyes. "So, do you think I should contact him tonight or should I wait until tomorrow?"
"It's really not that late, and I'll feel a whole lot better about this whole thing as soon as I get some answers."
She nodded, considering. "I think you should hide in your room and listen from there. That way you'll know if anything happens. If things get dicey, I can move his clothes to the other side of the room. I want you to stay hidden." Her half smile faded as she took his hand in hers. "If anything happens to me, you'll know exactly what. If anyone could help me then, it'd be you."
"I hate leaving you like this, Scully."
"You won't be leaving me, you'll be here. But I really need to do this myself."
Her tone brooked no argument, and having been on the receiving end of her wrath at least once already that day, Mulder understood that this was one of the "better part of valor" situations. He squeezed her hand reassuringly.
"If you need me for anything, you know where I'll be."
"See you on the other side, Mulder."
He gave a small smile and disappeared through the connecting door, which shut with a final snick.
Scully let out a breath she didn't realize she'd been holding. The events of the day had drained her unexpectedly, although, she thought wryly, she should have known wielding unknown forces might have a detrimental effect on her energy level. But there was very little to be done about it at that point. After kicking off her not-entirely-sensible shoes and peeling off her hose, she rinsed her face with cold water to wake up a bit. When she had donned a pair of jeans and a soft cotton shirt, she tried a few practice kicks in the air to warm up, just in case. When she was satisfied, she took a deep breath and tapped Mr. White's -- Dumbledore's -- note with the wand. One. Two. No turning back. Three. She dropped into a defensive stance and waited.
Seconds later, a soft pop behind her made her jump. She spun to face Mr. White -- Dumbledore -- who was smiling benignly at her. A vision forced its way to the front of her mind. Without thinking, she jumped backwards, aimed the wand at his left pocket and cried "Accio!"
The wand that she somehow knew was there zipped into her outstretched hand. Dumbledore looked slightly shocked, then much to her surprise, laughed aloud.
"My dear, I must admit that when Severus, my friend whose wand you seem to have acquired, told me that you'd managed to disarm him, I admit, I was a little disappointed in him. I think I understand now. I apologize for coming to you in a way that you might consider being armed, but in our world it is considered very foolish to travel without one's wand. In this case, however, I am more than willing to forego that particular custom as a gesture of good faith."
Scully was a little taken aback at the man's audacity in offering to give up what she'd already removed from his person, but he was being polite, and she saw no reason to antagonize him. "Please, have a seat Mr. Dumbledore. There is much that I am eager to discuss with you."
"Of course Dr. Scully, but before we begin, may I ask where you learned that summoning spell?"
"I saw Mr. Bl- Severus do it. He used the words to summon his wand from across the room, although I don't know how to do it without the wand yet."
He nodded. "I see. When the spell is first taught to students, they are usually instructed to verbally designate an object to be summoned to aid in the visualization. However, you seem to have an excellent spatial sense and a good grasp of the principles of the spell. It takes a great deal of practice before a witch or wizard can summon object without a wand."
She blinked hard. "Spells?"
He sighed, suddenly looking very old. "What did you think you were doing with the wand? My dear, someone, has done you a great disservice. You are a witch, and one with a great deal of potential from what I've seen. But for you have gone your entire life without being aware of your gifts is inexcusable. It could only happen in America."
"Why? What's wrong with America?" Scully's national pride was slightly offended.
"Well, you see, Wizards and Witches in America are rather few and far- between for a number of reasons. First of all, the United States has a very tentative magical government, one that many other governments don't acknowledge. The American Committee for Magic is made up of the regional clan heads, but it's not very effective in enforcing International Wizarding law, especially the 1692 International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. It is for this reason that native Magical species like the Northern Sasquatch are spotted by Muggles regularly and that Muggle-born Wizards and Witches sometimes go their whole lives not understanding their own skills."
She shook her head. "You mean there is an entirely unregulated society of Magical barbarians in the United States?"
"I wouldn't call them barbarians, per se, but yes. Fortunately, the Wizard-to-Muggle ratio is much lower than it is in other parts of the world. Because there is so much unpopulated area, American clans can battle undetected. The clans are intensely hostile towards outsiders, so you can understand why not many are tempted to move to the United States."
"How are European Wizarding governments organized?"
"Very much like their Muggle counterparts. There are a handful of Magical monarchies left, but a majority of them have been abandoned or reduced to figurehead status. America is unique in that the Muggles government is far more stable than the Magical. I apologize for not giving you a broader overview of History at this time, but I do have some questions of the utmost importance for you."
She paused, letting it all sink in. "I don't see how I could possess any knowledge that you don't, but I'll answer your questions to the best of my ability," she paused, "provided you amply satisfy my curiosity as to your identity and intentions."
"Very shrewd of you. Well, where shall I start?"
"Your real name would be an excellent place."
"Ah, yes. My name is Albus Dumbledore. I am the retired Headmaster of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, ex-Grand Sorcerer, abdicated Chief Warlock and former Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, Deceased."
"Officially, yes. I found that life was detrimental to my work. My previous positions were rather on the high-profile side. Now that I'm simply Mr. White, world traveler and writer of irritating letters to the editors of the Daily Prophet, I find it much easier to gather information and dabble in things that were previously none of my business."
"What kind of work are you involved in, Mr. Dumbledore?"
"That's a rather delicate question, Dr. Scully, and one I hoped you might help me with. I suspect you and your partner are in a position to be of great help to me."
"What makes you think we can help you?"
"You've managed to do something that it's taken Severus years to do: infiltrate the Brisbin Institute. I'm not sure for what reason beyond your investigative experience you and Mr. Mulder have been sent to us, but I very much doubt whomever suggested you for the job had any idea you were -and are- a witch." He paused a moment, regarding her with lively blue eyes. "Tell me Dr. Scully, in your time at the FBI have you ever come across anything that could be considered evidence of extraterrestrial life?"
Whatever Scully was expecting to hear from Dumbledore, that was not it. Judging from the loud choked noise from behind the door, Mulder had been taken as unaware as she.
"Ah, Mr. Mulder, I had hoped you were present! Please join us. Your perspective will be helpful as well."
Mulder sheepishly peered in. "I beg your pardon, I could have sworn I just heard you mention extraterrestrial life."
Dumbledore peered gravely at Mulder over his spectacles. "Indeed, Mr. Mulder, and it is no laughing matter. Need I remind you that this morning you and your partner were unaware of Magic and the Magical community? I ask you to stretch your credibility a bit further and-" He broke off suddenly as Mulder and Scully burst into peals of laughter. Dumbledore fixed them in a stern look that only those with experience with children are capable of giving and waited for them to compose themselves.
Scully was the first to notice his silence. "Oh, Mr. Dumbledore, don't think we were laughing at you, but you see, when you mentioned aliens-" she was overcome with mirth again.
"I fail to see what is so funny about this." Dumbledore sounded almost huffy.
Mulder quelled another fit of giggles. "Because, aliens and the paranormal are what we investigate! It's why we were sent here in the first place. The two of us head a division called the X-Files, which specializes in unexplained phenomena. Extraterrestrials fall squarely into that category."
Dumbledore's brows knitted in confusion. "But Mr. Weasley was convinced that you both investigated crimes surrounding illegal--" Comprehension dawned, and he began to chuckle. "I say, that's one I shall have to tell my brother." He sobered quickly. "I'm afraid this is a quite a bit more serious than doctored photos of hubcaps or crop circles. The details that I am about to share with you are top secret. Should you decide not to help me, I shall use a memory charm on you both and we may all go about business as usual. Are you willing to hear me out?"
Mulder looked at Scully, who nodded resolutely. She pulled the chair away from the desk and offered it to Dumbledore. She seated herself on the bed and gestured for Mulder to join her. When all were settled, Dumbledore began to speak.
"My story begins over four thousand years ago, when humans first came into contact with a benevolent alien race."
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