Title: We All Die Virgins
Author: Jaime Lyn
Category: MSR, X-File (Temp category: WIP)
Spoilers: None. (Well, I would hope you know who Mulder and Scully ARE...) This is a season 8-9 free zone.
Disclaimer: Frank, Alice, Lily and Kelsey Harbor are mine, all mine. Detective Guinness is mine as well. But Mulder and Scully, and all other X-Files related characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, FOX, Gillian Anderson, David Duchovny, and some other rich people. You know--the ones who actually make money. :oP
Summary: Time flies. Life is short. What is a virgin but something left untouched? Only we can let ourselves leave this world without having ever really experienced it.
New York Police Department, 15th District
People. So many of them rushing around like crazed worker ants: uniformed police officers with holstered weapons, handcuffed prisoners, secretaries with legal pads, men in suits carrying mugs of coffee back and forth, gaggles of bundled New Yorkers coming in off the streets, some of them crying out, others complaining about noise or pollution or other New Yorkers.
Lily bunched her hands together and brought her knees up onto the chair, tried to scrunch herself into a small, tight ball. The plastic was hard and unforgiving, and her back ached from sitting against the jagged edge for so long. Her long brown hair dripped over the back of the chair and spilled onto the desk behind her, knocking pencils to the floor whenever she moved.
Across from Lily, a young woman with frizzy blonde hair and bright red lipstick sat with her hands handcuffed in back of her. The girl's bright blue eyes looked frightened, and her eyelids were rimmed with rings of blue eyeliner and purple shadow. She couldn’t have been older than seventeen—maybe eighteen. Lily cringed as she imagined Kelsey afraid like that, her face horribly painted and her hair teased high, her hands fluttering for warmth over a raging trashcan fire. Lily gasped and pressed her palm over her mouth.
“Miss Harbor,” said a warm, deep voice. “How are you this morning?”
With raised eyebrows, Lily looked up and met the gaze of a small, heavyset man dressed in a brown suit and matching tie. His eyes were large and blue, and his balding head looked like a shiny, beige beach ball under the harsh florescent lighting. Lily recognized the man as Detective Mark Guinness. He’d brought her home from LaGuardia the previous evening and then had come to pick her up this morning.
“I’m okay,” said Lily, and she stole another glance at the young blonde woman.
“That’s Veronica,” Detective Guinness said, his arm motioning towards the blonde girl. “In case you were wondering. She got herself into a bit of trouble. Took that ‘my body is a temple’ thing a bit to heart.”
Lily didn’t laugh, but she nodded with her hands drawn around her knees. Detective Guinness frowned, and Lily couldn’t tell if he was trying to be compassionate or pitying. She wasn't sure she liked the idea of either.
“Yes, well—“ He ran his hand over his bald head. “Anyway, I wanted you to know that I talked to your neighbor. Some guy named Nessel—Niggel—Navel—“
“Noodle,” said Lily. “Noodlebaum. Nosy little man. He lives in the gray house next door.”
“Yes,” answered Detective Guinness, “That’s him. Anyway, I asked him about the taxi you said you called, and he confirmed your story.”
Lily narrowed her eyes. “Confirmed my story? What is this, Law and Order?”
Detective Guinness pursed his lips. “I’m sorry,” he said. “But this is just procedure--evaluating every option. You have to understand, I’m doing this to help your sister.”
Lily rolled her eyes and pulled her coat tighter around her. “Right. My own good, her own good, I’m sure.”
Detective Guinness paused, then went on, “So your neighbor says he was looking out his window while making dinner and he saw you and your sister get into a cab. Maybe around four o clock or so. Isn’t that right?”
Lily frowned and twisted in her chair. She felt guilty and she couldn’t figure out why. Maybe all the questions had done it, or maybe it was the way the detective looked at her—like she had done something wrong. Was this what cops did for fun? Make innocent people feel bad? She pulled her brown hair over her shoulder as Detective Guinness circumnavigated her and took a seat at his desk. The swivel shifted and something crunched loudly beneath his foot. The detective frowned and gazed at the floor, where nearly half a dozen pencils were scattered beneath his desk. Lily eyed the pencils for a moment and cleared her throat, swallowing her own saliva to force back her unease.
“I thought you had called the cab company already,” she said. “You said you called and talked to the man who brought Kelsey and I to the air-aport. He said he remembered us, too. I don’t understand why you had to ask my neighbors what they saw. Shouldn’t you be looking for my sister?”
Detective Guinness folded his hands neatly in front of him. “We spoke to Yellow-Taxi,” he said. “Unfortunately, your cab driver wasn’t much help. He DID say that he picked you up. But unfortunately, he couldn’t even seem to recall whether there was one girl or two.”
Lily snorted at that, a well of anger growing inside of her. Why she should be stuck sitting here, in this claustrophobic, half-assed police operation, when she should be out looking for her sister, was beyond her. “Was he drunk?” she asked, folding her arms across her chest. “Because that’s just great. Why don’t you let him wander the streets, picking up fares, while he’s soused to the gills on God only knows what. Because we all know that the exact time I left for the air-a-port with my missing sister is much more fucking suspect. Amazing. You know, if you guys would just do your JOBS, like on Hawaii Five-O, maybe Kelsey would be here right now and we would be on the next flight to California like we were supposed to be!”
Detective Guinness sighed. “Alright,” he said gently. “Just... try to stay calm, okay? I know that you’re hurting right now. But these are questions I have to ask you. If just one person at LaGuardia was able to corroborate your story, I wouldn’t have to ask them. But the fact of the matter is—“
“The fact of the matter is that this is a goddamned joke of an operation. None of you care, not one bit, where my sister is. And furthermore, I don’t think any of you are actually trying to find her. And if you’re not going to do at least that, then let me the hell go so that I can look for her and have her home for dinner because if you won’t find her, I WILL!” Lily banged her fist on the desk, her eyes watering with salty, burning hot tears. "I've told you everything I know," she sobbed. "I told you!"
Maybe Kelsey had been right. Maybe they never should have left the house.
Detective Guinness, his wide face softening, reached a hand across the desk. “Oh... Christ. Miss Harbor—“
A commotion of voices broke behind Lily Ann. A deep voice cried out as if struck. Someone yelled, “Free! I’m free y’all. Suckers!”
Something banged, crashed, echoed, and something else thudded loudly, as if a set of strong hands had swept across one of the police desks and knocked everything to the floor. Detective Guinness rose quickly from his chair, his eyes widened. Lily twisted in her seat, a ripple of fear throbbing through every muscle.
A large black man with ripped jeans and a bandana on his head shrieked with joy, doubled back on his feet, and rushed out the front doors.
“Get him!” one of the officers shrieked, pulling a gun from the holster on his side pouch. Another officer leapt across the desk and rushed towards the doors. “He’s headed out! He’s headed out!”
Lily breathed in deeply, her head throbbing. The police station was so goddamned loud and stifling and she wanted out. She couldn't take this anymore. What if she was shot or maimed or thrown in jail with all those men who liked to rape women and beat them---
She bit her lip and watched several more officers pour mel-pel out the front door, Detective Guinness among them. He clicked off the safety of his gun and held it, muzzle down, at his side. “Stay here,” he ordered, his hand protectively on her shoulder. “Stay here and don’t go anywhere. I called in a favor.” His voice grew louder as he rushed towards the reception desk and out the doors. “Someone’s coming to help, I promise you Lily.”
Lily nodded mutely and watched him leave. Her gaze strayed to that blonde haired girl who’d been sitting nervously in a chair near the reception desk. Veronica, was her name? During the chaos, Veronica's glittering handcuffs had somehow come undone and they now lay, opened, at a pile beneath her stillettoed feet. Lily gazed at the handcuffs and then at Veronica. She pulled a lock of brown hair over her shoulder and twisted it apprehensively.
Veronica, oblivious to Lily’s curious stare, glanced up and rubbed her wrists, stumbling backwards towards the front doors of the station. Lily watched, wordlessly, as the girl pulled her yellow, badly worn fur tight around her torso and darted out the doors.
Somewhere on the 95
“No—I completely agree, sir… I apologize...Sir. For both Agent Scully and myself.”
Mulder gripped the steering wheel with one hand and adjusted his cell phone with the other, shoving the tiny device between his neck and shoulder blade. “Yes, sir. I understand… Well, I would, sir, but this trip is a favor to an old friend and—Yes, sir. Yes, sir.” His shoulder shifted and the phone nearly tumbled to the ground. Mulder swore under his breath and reached for the phone again, yanking the steering wheel so suddenly that the car nearly pinwheeled across three lanes of traffic. Scully sucked in a breath and pressed her palms to the roof of the car for balance, her map of Long Island fluttering to the ground at her feet.
“Mulder, would you hand me the phone so you can watch the road?”
“Filing, sir?” Mulder frowned and waved a hand at Scully. “No, I can’t say as I’ve ever…No, I didn’t know your secretary was on vacation.” He sighed and slowed the car for a pocket of traffic. “Yes, sir. I can do that when we get back…”
Scully raised an eyebrow at Mulder and he shrugged, forcing a smile at her before he turned his face to the road again. “No, I don’t know how good Agent Scully is at cross referencing surveillance tapes.” He rubbed his thumb and index finger across his forehead. “But I’m sure she won’t have a problem with it.”
Scully let out a deflated breath and focused on the window. She should have known. Should have fucking known. In all the years that she had been working with Fox Mulder, she could count on one hand the number of days that began normally and ended normally. While their division centered on unsolved, unexplained cases, and while Scully had no problem going through official channels to investigate these cases, Mulder, on the other hand, lacked patience for coloring within the lines. His sense of punctuality and rule-obeying was blurred at best. More than half the cases they investigated didn’t even come through the FBI, as Mulder had “friends” and “sources” under every rock in every country on the planet. Flying out of town on a moment’s notice because a newspaper clipping was left under the door, or because a mysterious charm was left on his desk, was nothing new to Scully. Generally speaking, The X Files Division's most important meetings with the Assistant Director, the budget people, the OPR board, and/or the Deputy Director, almost always got swept under the rug for spur of the moment investigation.
Not that this was okay with anyone but Dana Scully.
For their unauthorized trips across the United States—and certainly, there were many of those---Mulder and Scully often fielded angry calls from (discounting anyone else they had summarily pissed off,) their direct superior, Assistant Director Skinner: “Where the hell are you? What the hell are you doing? How much is this going to cost the bureau, and am I going to have to bail anyone out that I will later have to murder?”
Skinner was rarely ever happy with either of them.
Thus, the majority of Scully’s Monday mornings were spent sitting on the floor of the basement office, a stamp and a pen in one hand, a stack of files in the other. Paperwork sorting and filing was a sort of punishment, but it wasn’t the only one Skinner could come up with. Over the years, he’d come up with much more creative ways to chastise his most erstwhile agents. Cross referencing surveillance tapes was nothing short of handing Scully a broom and a dust pan and asking her to sweep the lavatories.
Mulder hung up the phone and tossed it into the cup holder. “Budget meetings,” he muttered under his breath. “Useless.”
“You’re doing the paperwork this time, Mulder. I’m not getting down on my hands and knees again,” Scully said, her face buried in the map. “My back still hurts from the last time.”
Mulder opened his mouth, closed it, then let out a whistle. “No, won’t go there,” he said, his eyes on the road, a smile creasing his lips. “That one’s too easy.”
Scully looked up and cast him a dirty look. Mulder glanced back and shrugged impishly. “How much longer?” he asked.
Scully frowned and touched her index finger to the map, ran her fingernail along the 95 to the Belt Parkway and the Long Island Expressway. “Two hours if we can beat some of the traffic. An hour and a half if you keep driving like you’re on the Bureau’s Special Maneuvers Course.”
“Hey now, they teach you that shit for a reason, Scully.”
Mulder swerved heavily into the left hand lane to pass a truck and Scully gripped the dash. She shook her head and let out a deep breath. “Yeah, to keep from killing people.” She dropped her hands to the map.
“So, have you looked at the witness statements yet?”
Scully frowned and pulled up a manila folder from the floor beneath her feet. She opened it and flipped through the gray and black faxed documents, turning each over and laying them flat again. “I perused it awhile back, yeah.”
“And—“ Scully sighed and turned to face him fully. “I know this won’t surprise you any, but frankly, I don’t understand what fascinates you so much about this case. Missing persons aren’t necessarily Bureau jurisdiction, not to mention the fact that none of this is remotely unusual. People disappear from the airport all the time, especially around the holidays when the terminals are so crowded. If nobody remembers seeing this girl’s sister previous to the disappearance, it’s probably because there were a hundred other blonde haired, red coated girls standing within five feet of this missing one.”
“Yes,” Mulder agreed, “but this girl has no other family.”
“So… she and her sister have no records with the county school system, no pediatric records, nothing that vouches for either girls’ existence except birth certificates with North Shore Hospital. The house where Lily and Kelsey Habor claim residence is practically vacant. Mark says the house was like a death shroud—nothing. Not even a photograph. Basically, the police are looking for Kelsey Harbor, but they’re having a hard time trying to first establish that there IS a Kelsey Harbor. Don’t you find that odd?”
Scully took a deep breath. “Well, no, not really. Just because Kelsey was born, that doesn’t mean she was with her sister at the airport. Is it possible that Lily Harbor has a psychiatric condition? Schizophrenia, split personality? Could she have invented Kelsey's presence? Could she be a pathological liar”
Mulder shook his head. “I don't think so. Her psych test came back clean, Scully.”
“Her psych test with the police department?” Scully raised an eyebrow at that. “Well, that doesn’t necessarily prove lunacy OR sanity. How do we know the NYPD psychiatric assessment is an accurate map of the girl’s psychological well being?”
Mulder sighed. “We don’t.”
Scully waved an arm towards him and finished, “But—“
"But... this is all too 'Flowers in the Attic' to pass up, Scully."
Scully raised an eyebrow at that. "'Flowers in the Attic?'"
"Yeah." Mulder waved his right arm excitedly. "You know, that book about the kids who got locked up in the attic because their mother was trying to get in good with her religously overzealous parents --"
"I've read the book, Mulder." Scully pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear, her interests piqued despite herself. "But what does the book have to do with this case?"
Mulder squinted and let out a breath. "Look at the background. Two girls with no records of any kind. No friends, no relatives, nobody who can even place the girls except for a neighbor who says the family never left the house. Come on, Scully. Aren't you even curious? Two girls who have been locked up for their entire lives finally leave the homestead for brighter pastures, and the second they try to board a plane for California, one of the sisters disappears. The older sister is left, but nobody can remember much of the younger one. Is it coincidence, mania, or a curse?"
Scully shook her head. "You know, you really have a flare for the dramatic, Mulder." She let out a low chuckle. "And Christopher, Cathy, Cory and Carrie weren't cursed, by the way."
Mulder turned and smiled. "You know your literature, Agent Scully."
"I know a lot of things," Scully returned, and her lips angled upwards. "You should ask sometime."
Something possessed Scully to wink at that moment, and she did.
Mulder let out a breath, and for once he was left silent. His eyes found the road again, his hands gripping the wheel at ten and two. He looked almost embarrassed. An awkward silence embraced them. Scully's cheeks suddenly burned hot, as she realized the idiotic, flirtatious suggestion she had just passed out like an invitation.
'You should ask sometime.'
Good fucking Lord. Where in the hell had that come from? What had possessed her to say such a thing? Scully had no idea what was wrong with her, but she almost wished she could leave her body so she could beat an explanation out of herself.
“So…" Mulder decided to break the silence. "What about the cashier? Her statement pretty much says it all, doesn't it?”
Scully turned back to Mulder, praying her cheeks were their proper color again. “What about the cashier?” she asked.
Mulder cracked his neck. “The girl at the register clearly remembers Lily Ann Harbor, right down to her hair color and the type of food that she bought, but she has no recollection of a sister. Further, she says that Lily was talking to herself when she paid for her food. Lily says the cashier wasn't paying attention because her sister was standing right there. There's a discrepancy somewhere in there, don't you think?”
Scully furrowed her brow and shut the folder on her lap. “So…what you’re saying—and I want to get this straight---is that we’re driving all the way to Long Island because you feel a very strong pull to a V.C Andrews novel, and because some cashier at LaGuardia Airport claims that she saw a young woman talking to herself just before the disappearance of a sister who--for all we know-- may not even exist in the first place.”
“God, Scully. You make it sound so cheap.” Mulder swerved again—this time into the right hand lane, and Scully slammed her palm into the ceiling to keep from hitting the passenger window. She groaned and gritted her teeth.
“I’m saying we’re driving all the way to Long Island because there may, in fact, still be a sister. Just not one we can see.”
Scully let out a slow breath. “Do I even want to hear this?”
“The other witness—“ Mulder gestured towards the folder. “The guy who said the family never left the house. The next door neighbor, Mr Niggle—Needle—Nevil—“
“Noodlebaum,” Scully corrected, reopening the folder and flipping through the papers for Mulder’s alleged document. She scanned the witness statements and pulled out one on the bottom, running her index finger across the black scribblings. She squinted and quickly skimmed through the short hand, mouthing words to herself as she read. When she got to the bottom and came across what she assumed Mulder had latched onto, she groaned and slumped back into the seat. “Oh,” she managed. “You have got to be kidding me.”
“I kid you not,” said Mulder, and he grinned at the windshield.
“A witch?” Scully asked. “A witch who conjured up her own sister. Are you serious?”
Mulder swerved back into the left hand lane and hit the accelerator. Scully’s elbow flew up and smashed into the dash board. She cursed under her breath and wiggled her arm to get the circulation going again, shooting Mulder a murderous glance.
Mulder turned to her and blinked, his face expressionless. “Look at my face, Scully. Do I look serious—No. No. Really. Come on. Look at me. How serious am I?”
Scully shook her head “Oh Jesus Christ,” she muttered, her eyes focused on the ceiling.
Continued in Chapter 4