We All Die Virgins
By Jaime Lyn
* All disclaimers and keywords, etc. listed in part 1.
Early December 28th, 2001
The 15th District Police Precinct of New York
The big red phone in the 15th Precinct's outer office rang, and Mulder jumped as if he'd been sitting on an electrocuted wire. Scully snorted but otherwise said nothing, and Mulder sighed, unaware that he'd been five seconds away from falling asleep standing up. 4:45am and they were all, all four of them—he, Scully, Mark Guinness, and Lily Ann Harbor, sequestered at the 15th District Precinct, talking themselves in circles inside a half-darked cubicle, and trying to stay awake long enough to make sense of a nonsensical situation.
“So let me get this straight, Wildcat.”
Mulder winced at the use of his old, Bureau nickname. He hated that name. It brought back painful memories from the BSU that Mulder didn’t feel like revisiting: Tom Colton, SAC Patterson, Monty Propps—none of it good. And of course, thinking of the BSU bullpen boys brought him back to the story he'd told Scully earlier in the evening, the story that had ended with Mulder's self-congratulatory tale of kicking Tom Colton's big, fat ass, followed by laughter, followed by Mulder very innapropriately kissing his partner. Not that kissing was an inherently bad thing--kissing was a great thing. With Scully it was a fantastic thing....but God, why did it have to be Scully?
Mark Guinness snapped his fingers. "Wildcat," he said. "You with me?"
Mulder winced. Again with the Wildcat thing. Maybe he was just tired, but everything seemed to remind him of having kissed Scully. Wildcat, cold air, the half-asleep receptionist who had a bit of a red tint in her hair but not enough to recognize the color as flaming red, like Scully's hair....
Wildcat. Made him fucking crazy. Mulder shook away his unprofessionalism. “Awake as always,” he said.
Mark stood with his thumbs tucked in the waistband of his gray, Quantico-issued sweatpants, his tight lips drawn up in a frown. He stood with dirty, Nike-clad feet shoulder-width apart. Mark's eyes had purple shadows underneath them and he sighed the sigh of a man who wished he’d never gotten out of bed three days earlier.
“A glowing tower of furniture,” said Mark. He shook his head and said it again, this time to the darkened ceiling. “A glowing tower of furniture. Glowing. Glowing tower. Of furniture.” He sounded harried, wild, un-slept—if there was such a word, and Mulder couldn’t really blame the guy.
Mulder had called Mark from his cell phone when they discovered Lily in Scully's motel room. Interestingly enough, Lily had been dwarfed by a glowing, blinking tower of furniture--crazy but true. Mulder was sure he'd one day pen a bookwith that title: "My Life: Crazy, but True."
Mark had insisted that they all meet up at the precinct so he could fingerprint Lily—something he hadn’t had reason to do earlier. He said he wanted something concrete on her before all other documentation disappeared, as her family's birth records had. Besides this, Mark mentioned something about wanting to intimidate Lily with what he called "the hard life." Schitzos and prostitutes often weedled through the precinct doors towards the wee hours of the morning, Mark said, and if Lily was thinking of running off on her own, of pulling some shit on either himself, Mulder, or Scully, the shock of life on the streets would certainly bring her down before she could take off. Mulder had agreed that this “scared straight” idea was likely a good one. Lily Ann Harbor was a tiny thing; she would surely balk at the thought of jail, perhaps to the point where she'd trade information for protection from a night in the county lock-up.
Scully, on the other hand…
“I can’t verify that I saw anything glowing,” said Scully, who sat in a plastic chair opposite Mark’s desk. Her wrapped, swollen ankle lay propped on a phonebook, unmoving. Her elbows on the tabletop, she supported her chin with her fist, and her palm scrunched her mouth up into her cheek. “I was exhausted , close to falling asleep on my feet. I can't say for sure what I saw.”
Mulder snorted. Scully denying that she’d actually seen a glowing tower of furniture when she had, in fact, seen a glowing tower of furniture, was about as surprising as rain falling in the middle of a thunderstorm.
“Can't say for sure,” muttered Mulder. He waved a hand at Scully, who refrained from looking at anything but the desk. “If that glowing, Empire-State-Building of inanimate objects was an hallucination, Scully, then we’re definitely going to need adjoining padded rooms.”
Behind Scully, Mulder paced back and forth like a caged hyena, his limbs prickly and restless, his hair staticky, as if a hundred pins jabbed and poked at his skin. Mulder felt as if he had electricity racing through his veins, volts and volts of it zigging and zagging, and the sensation of raised hairs on the back of his neck nearly had him jumping out of his shoes.
“What about me?” asked a small, meek voice.
Mulder, Scully, and Mark all turned to face Lily, who sat in the corner of the cubicle with her brown hair covering her face like a swirling fog. She was hunched in a chair by the corkboard with her elbows pulled in tight. Her nightgown having been traded for some of Scully's warmer clothes, Lily sported a black pair of tailored pants that tugged at her ankles from lack of sufficient length, and one of Scully’s white blouses that pulled at the center of her chest where it was obvious that she and Scully differed in size.
“What about you?” asked Scully unsympathetically, her jaw animating her palm up and down as she spoke. Strands of curling, unruly red hair trickled into her face. Scully paused for breath and raised her head just enough for a jutted chin, her intense blue eyes unflinching. “Breaking and entering the room of a federal agent, invasion of privacy, and destruction of public property. Would you like us to read you your rights now, or do you want to wait until the sun comes up?”
Mulder sucked in a breath and gazed from Scully to Lily, to Scully, and back to Lily again. Lily looked down at her hands, apparently fascinated by her cuticles. “I don’t want to go to jail,” she said, and raised her head, her long hair falling to her breasts in messy brown tangles. She gazed at Scully with wide, unblinking blue eyes. “I was just…curious about you. You have so many pretty clothes…”
Scully narrowed her eyes, her jaw working beneath her ivory cheeks. Her expression said it all without ever needing a voice; you’re full of shit.
“Look,” interrupted Mark, his hand going over his bald-head. “Nobody’s arresting anyone until someone tells me what the hell a glowing tower of furniture was doing…well…glowing...in...in a motel room.”
“I didn’t do it,” said Lily, her hands fluttering at her throat.
“I didn’t say you did anything,” said Mark, the suspicion in his voice creeping higher. He puffed his chest like a stuffed gorillia and circled around to the front of the desk, tracking Lily's eyes like a hunter tracking prey.
Scully snorted. “Then how did the furniture get stacked?” she asked. “Or did you not do that, either?”
“You want to add perjury to the list of felonies you’ve committed this evening, Miss Harbor?”
Mulder shook his head. “Scully—“
“Don’t start with me, Mulder,” Scully said, her blinks growing slower and longer with every passing minute. “Just don’t.”
Lily turned to Mulder with tears in her eyes. “What does ‘perjury’ mean, Agent Mulder?” she asked.
Mulder ran a hand over his weary eyes, that bizarre tingling of nerves-on-end still rushing through him. Lily’s mouth quivered as she spoke, and she twisted a lock of dark brown hair around her shaking index finger. Her piercing blue eyes were wide and framed by dark, black lashes that collected beads of tears. Dark eyebrows. Full lips. A dimple—just above the apple of her right cheek.
She was so like Samantha, so like his sister. Jesus.
Mulder almost shuddered looking at Lily. She could have been his sister at seventeen: Samantha with her dark hair and blue eyes, Samantha—scared and lonely as a young girl, wandering the streets after escaping from the agony of tests, after escaping from the clutches of madmen. Samantha, cold and confused and without a hand to hold, a voice of reassurance to tell her it would all be alright. Mulder often wondered who had last seen her, who had turned Samantha away before she died. How many cars had passed her on the side of the road as she stumbled up towards the doorway of a random hospital, looking for shelter, looking for understanding, looking for the love and comfort she never realized still waited for her in the arms of a heartbroken, remorseful older brother?
“Perjury isn’t an insult, Lily. Agent Scully didn’t mean anything by it,” said Mulder, unable to break his gaze with Lily. Those eyes—those round, blue eyes. They were hypnotizing.
“Didn’t mean anything by it?” asked Scully. She sounded astonished.
Mulder turned to his partner, cleared his throat. “Scully, look. I don’t think that Lily’s equipped to understand the definitions of what is and isn’t right within the framework of the law at this moment. And I don’t think it’s hard to understand why. Right now the important thing is to make some sort of sense of what we saw.”
“What I saw,” said Scully, her head tilting right and left slightly as she emphasized her words, “Was a total disregard for the rules that you and I specifically set forth. What I saw was my suitcase, contents dissected and tossed around the room. What I saw was a carefully constructed stack of furniture that had been purposefully moved--broken furniture now, that the FBI will have to pay for. What I saw was not supernatural, but rather very human and coincidentally, very illegal. Nowhere in this scenario do I see the need for sympathy.”
"I don't want any sympathy," said Lily, her lips pursed.
Scully bristled, but otherwise ignored the comment.
“Is it possible,” began Mulder, “that some other force besides a seventeen year old girl is at work here? That perhaps what we saw was some kind of phenomena that was able to harness the energy in the room, turn electricity on its side and move around the furniture?”
Scully was silent. Mulder gazed at her, even though gazing between the two of them was technically more contest than courting. Gazing often consisted of hard glares, narrowed eyes, raised eyebrows, and a side of the ever present, yet silent, ‘You’re so way fucking wrong it's not even funny,’ thrown in for good measure.
“There was a good deal of electricity circulating through that room, yeah, I'll give you that. But it's nothing that couldn’t be explained by the blown fuse and the electric sparks. Beyond that, we were both exhausted and I don’t find any other evidence to support your conclusion, Mulder,” she finally said, her voice hard.
Mulder cocked his head to one side. Scully’s distant coldness could, Mulder supposed, be explained away to the normal onlooker as perfunctory professionalism. She didn't necessarily sound cold, just...precise. But really, Mulder knew Scully so much better than the normal onlooker; She was telling him without bluntly saying so that they were done. Finished. Whatever closeness that, in the past few hours, had blossomed between them…it was evaporated now and the door was closed. But why? Christ, she’d been so open with him back at the motel, back when they’d talked for an hour and he’d held her tight to him and pressed his lips—
Oh God. Oh Hell, that was it. The kiss. The kiss. He never should have kissed her. His partner. His friend. Jesus. What was he thinking? That she would just turn to him and say, “Gee, Mulder, I’ve got nothing else to do tonight and we’re both horny. How about I give you a blow-job and after that call it a night? Yes? Fantastic.”
“Electricity?” asked Mark.
“Static Electricty,” said Scully.
“But you said the furniture was glowing, Agent Scully,” said Mark. “Could the static electricity explain the glow?”
Mulder shook his head, mentally slapped himself for his distraction.
“No. No, I didn’t say that, not necessarily,” said Scully. She glared at Mulder, who in turn squinted his eyes back at her as if trying to see through a hailstorm. “I said I thought I saw what could have been an aura of light surrounding a tower of stacked objects. But technically speaking, static electricity doesn't normally have the potential energy to produce light, not unless its harnessed in a concentrated form--like a hand crank, for example. Besides that, the wood in the furniture should have grounded the electricity, and unless the wood caught fire it shouldn't have glowed. But like I said, that glow could have been anything, from—from---the metal in the furniture catching sparks, to a reflection emanating from the hall mirror to… a—a clouded haze from my over-extended contact lenses. I just don't know. So if you’re waiting for me to corroborate something I can’t, in good faith, corroborate, then you’re wasting your time.”
“You saw it,” Mulder protested. “You did and I did. You even asked me if we were seeing the same thing. And then I touched your shoulder and I sparked--”
“Mulder, I was tired. I am tired. I'll admit, the room had a charge. I might have seen something that wasn’t necessarily there and inadvertently excited you into thinking—“
“I’m not a five year old,” snapped Mulder. “I’m not easily suggestible to purple dinosaurs just because someone tells me they’re in my backyard. I know what I saw.”
“I saw it, too,” offered Lily, who smiled weakly at Mulder. Scully’s nostrils flared only slightly at this and she shot Lily a murderous look. Mulder caught the slip in Scully’s professionalism but was unsure of its origins.
Certainly, Scully was within her rights to be angry. Her privacy had been violated, although exactly how Lily had gotten into Scully’s motel room was an utter, baffling mystery. All Mulder knew was that he and Scully had found Lily sobbing and crumpled beside a pile of Scully’s underwear, her hands covering her head, a jagged stream of sparks erupting from an outlet above the double bed. The outlet popped and sizzled, and both he and Scully had ducked for cover, narrowly avoiding a stream of fiery particles themselves. The room was a mess, a federal disaster--in every sense of the word.
First of all, Lily had, without a doubt, gone dumpster diving through Scully’s suitcase, pulling out whatever articles had interested her and discarding the ones that hadn't. The state of Scully’s personal items scattered all over the bedspread like debris had certainly angered and baffled his partner . But the tower of furniture—well, that was something else entirely. From the nightstand to the dresser to the floor lamp to Scully’s laptop, every single moveable object had somehow been moved to the center of the room, balanced end-on-end like some macabre, Cirque-du-Soleil, glow-stick act. And the tower had been blinking—Muldersaw this himself. He had watched, hypnotized, as the lamp and the dresser and the nightstand--all of it blinked on and off like a Christmas Tree for the criminally insane.
He'd snuck a glance at his partner and knew, without a doubt, that Scully, her gun in one hand, her injured foot raised off the floor—she saw it, too. She was as hypnotized by the blinking as Mulder had been. "Mulder," she'd asked. "Are you seeing a glowing tower of inanimate objects piled up to the ceiling?"
He said, obviously, that he did.
And then, when Mulder finally touched her arm to ask if she was alright, a shot of white-hot static electricity had traveled through his finger out to her arm, where a spark flew off the end of his finger and took Scully by surprise. She yelped. And then her hair—every red strand stood on end, as if a balloon had been rubbed on her head.
“Jesus.” Scully desperately pawed at her hair and gazed around. Lily whimpered on the floor, but otherwise kept silent. “You’re charged, Mulder. This room…it’s filled with static electricity.”
And then the furniture creaked and finally gave way--each item wobbling in slow motion like a sick version of London bridge literally faling down. Scully gasped out, "oh my God," and grabbed Mulder's arm. Mulder grabbed Lily and shoved her behind the bed. All of them dove for cover as the stacked furniture fell from the ceiling-high tower like rain. Except in this case, the rain was a nightstand and Scully's laptop.
Certainly it was crazy, but not any crazier than anything else Mulder had seen in his career.
"So what do you think, Wildcat?" asked Mark, his hands palm down on his desk.
"I'm not sure," said Mulder, thoughtfully.
Something powerful, something literally electric had moved the furniture and had blown the fuse, but what? And why? Mulder had this bizarre feeling that Lily wasn’t responsible for the trouble. No. There was another strange force at work here. Some unknown entity wanted to scare Lily out of her curiosity, out of her mind. It wasn’t a ghost—no, not a ghost. The charge in the air was all wrong: negative as opposed to positive. So what then?
Mulder could only hypothesize that a powerful door had been opened the day that Lily chose to leave home, to hop a flight to LA. And Mulder was more certain now than ever that Kelsey Harbor was alive and hiding behind that shadowed door—and that she was going out of her way to terrify her elder sister, to drive her over the edge of sanity. So was Kelsey jealous of her sister? Was she upset over the death of their parents? Mulder had no idea.
“Well, now that we know less than we did an hour ago, I can’t see what we’re going to accomplish here in the middle of the night,” said Mark, yawning. “Either there was a glowing tower of furniture or there wasn’t a glowing tower of furniture. And right now, I’m too fucking tired to give a good God Damn either way. So look. We've got a few hours to work with before we have to be up again. All I can tell you for sure is that I can book Miss Harbor for breaking and entering and can stick her in the county lock-up, but that’s entirely up to Agent Scully.”
“Please don’t send me to jail,” whispered Lily. She bit her lip. Mulder swallowed. Lily looked all of five years old when she slumped down tight and bit her lip like that. The years just melted away from her like wax from a candle. Mulder pictured his baby sister sitting there in a ballet tutu, a tiara on her head and a magic wand in her hand. ‘Please don’t tell Mommy I broke her cup,’ she said, pulling on her tutu and biting her lower lip. ‘Please don’t tell her, Fox.’
Mulder blinked, shook his head. He’d told on Samantha anyway. Years later and he still regretted this as if it were the worst thing he'd ever done.
“There was a glowing tower of furniture, Mark. I saw it. Lily saw it. Scully saw it,” said Mulder, taking a breath. “It's just that Scully...” His brain felt addled, slow. “She just…well, Scully doesn’t like to believe these things without empirical evidence.”
“Agent Scully says she didn’t see shit,” said Mark, a dull edge in his voice.
"Agent Scully always says she never sees shit," mumbled Mulder. "Miraculously, it's always me. Either Scully falls asleep, looks away, falls down, passes out, doesn't remember, remembers but can't corroborate anything, claims she was ill and still can't corroborate anything-- I tell her that we both saw a spaceship rise up out of the ice and she says she was unconscious and didn't 'necessarily' see anything."
"Spacehip?" asked Mark, confused.
Mulder flashed back to Scully's body lying in the wet, cold snow in Antartica, her big blue eyes framed by frozen red lashes, her ivory face scarred by red marks. He had rescued her, had gotten to her in time to save her life and had pulled her out from her frozen abyss. And then, THEN, to top it all off, he had seen his holy grail; he had seen proof of extra terrestrial life. Scully was safe and he had seen his proof. He wasn't crazy--Scully was lying right there and she saw it, too. She gazed at him with grateful eyes and together, they watched a frozen spaceship rise up out of the ice like a TV Dinner gone beserk in the freezer. It had been one of the most glorious five minutes of Mulder's life--not counting the time Kelli Rickshaw showed him her boobies for a quarter when he was seven years old .
Frustration all but emanated from Mulder's pores and he clenched his fists, agitated. He felt like jumping right out of his skin, which wouldn't normally be a problem if not for the fact that he wanted to jump into Scully's skin...or else he wanted to strangle her for being so rigidly closed minded. Or else he needed a good fucking hour of sleep.
"Nevermind," said Mulder, and he returned to pacing back and forth.
"Agent Scully hates me," whispered Lily. "She wants to send me to jail. She says I'm a perjury."
“She’s pissed off,” said Mulder. "She doesn't hate you."
But pissed off wasn’t accurate. Scully wasn’t just angry—No. She had been out and out rude towards Lily and indignant towards this whole case from the moment the two of them set foot in New York. Scully had a bone to pick, certainly, but it wasn’t with a naïve young girl who’d committed a petty, federal offense. Scully’s beef was with Mulder himself—somehow. Mulder knew this instinctively, the same way he knew when Scully was disappointed, when she was pleased, or when she was in pain.
And he also knew that Scully’s problem wasn’t exclusively Scully’s problem, either.
Mulder himself had opened an indecent can of worms weeks ago—when he had begun kissing her on the forehead at the endings and beginnings of workdays. He did this for no reason whatsoever—gratuitous touching, he told himself, or as part of some sort of romantic courting ritual for the socially handicapped. Those kisses he dropped on her head were innocent and sweet and yet… they weren’t. They weren’t innocent because Mulder knew that Scully smelled of Joboba Oil and Chamomile Tea (he’d actually looked these things up) and he smelled her hair whenever he kissed her just to memorize her scent. He actually fucking smelled her. That just wasn’t normal.
“I saw it,” whispered Lily, breaking into Mulder’s thoughts. “I mean, I’m sorry that I upset your partner, Agent Mulder, but the furniture was glowing. And there were these sparks. There were so many….I didn’t do it, I swear, I didn’t. How could I have lifted all of that stuff? And that outlet? Please, please, Agent Mulder. I just wanted to see Agent Scully's clothes. I just thought...you know...she had pretty clothes.” Lily’s lower lip trembled now. Her blue eyes sparkled with a fresh onslaught of tears. “Please don’t make me perjured. I don’t know what that is, but I don’t want to be a perjury and in jail.”
“Look,” said Mulder. He wanted to be gentle, to explain the situation in a gentle way, but he was tired and annoyed, and he wasn’t sure exactly how to go about doing it. “My partner is certainly within her rights to press charges. What you did was illegal, Lily. Regardless of what we saw, or what we think we saw, you were someplace you should not have been. You broke the law, and when you break the law, you pay he price. You can apologize to Agent Scully, but the rest is up to her. As her partner, I’ll stand behind her decision.”
Lily nodded and gazed at her knuckles.
Mulder had always stood behind Scully’s decisions. Like after he’d tried to kiss her that once, that one time back in his hallway, and Scully had been taken from him before he could really discover what she tasted like, where she'd want a man to put his hands when he touched her. When Mulder had found her in Antarctica and returned with her, Scully made no move to resume the interaction Mulder had insinuated. Not that Mulder understood his motives himself, but he’d left the ball in Scully’s court and she’d just dropped it by the net.
Perhaps his problem was that eight years now stretched between he and Scully like heavy chains, and Mulder was growing sick of feeling stagnant. Further than that, he was getting annoyed with being alone. Dana Scully was his friend, his only friend, and she was, to use an inadequate phrase, beautiful. In her heart, in her mind—down to the red tips of her eyelashes and out the tips of her fingernails, she was the most breathtaking woman he’d ever laid eyes on. And in a very roundabout, self-denying, overly possessive way, Mulder wanted her. He’d had her loyalty and friendship for years, but now he wanted more than the workday. What Mulder wanted was beyond the realm of selfishness; Mulder wanted Dana Scully—the agent, the woman, the friend, all to himself—in work, out of work, during the day, in the middle of the night: he didn’t care. He wanted to know that no man could ever steal her from him, that she could never leave him for better opportunities, be they professional or romantic. And at the same time he hated himself for thinking such vile, incomprehensible things.
Mulder silently wished he had a good, stiff drink to make himself feel better. Silence stretched for a short while.
“I’m sorry,” Lily finally managed, and Mulder wasn’t quite sure who she was talking to: him or Scully.
“Perhaps it would be best if we all got some sleep,” said Mark.
Mulder nodded. He took a deep breath and gazed up at the ceiling, up at the black hole where a light fixture had once been only a few hours back. Just that afternoon the bulb had sparked and died, breaking into a million pieces and nearly slicing he, Lily, and Scully open like potatoes. The second set of sparks in Scully’s room couldn’t have been a coincidence.
“You’re charged,” Scully had said. “This whole room…”
Ah. Damn. Speaking of Scully—
“Scully?” Mulder asked, distracted.
Nothing. Nothing but the faintest sound of snoring.
Mulder frowned, and turned his head in time to hear a loud, echoing, thunk—like the sound of something wooden hitting the top of a desk. Lily jumped. Mulder’s brows furrowed and he swallowed back saliva, forcing down the lump of laughter that inevitably rose in his throat. Next came a hiss from Scully: the sound air blown through thinned lips. And then a curse. “Ow, Son of a—“
Scully held her forehead in her hands like a melon and rubbed her temples. “The motel,” she finally managed, her eyes squeezed shut. “Let’s just head back to the motel. Mark, you can accompany us and keep an eye on Lily. I don’t have the energy to press charges.”
Lily grinned and cocked her head to one side. "Oh...oh, thank you, Agent Scully. You won't regret letting me stay. I promise. I'll be the best guest--you won't even notice me. I promise."
"Right," said Scully, her eyes closed, her hand over her forehead.
“You know, Dana, you really should get some more sleep,” said Mulder, bemused.
“Oh, shut up,” said Scully.
"I can't wait to get some sleep," said Lily, still smiling, her stringy brown hair trickling like thin strands of construction paper into her face. Her blue eyes sparkled and Mulder felt a chill, something he couldn't explain.
Ah well. No matter.
The rest would have to wait until morning.
Continued in Chapter 11