We All Die Virgins
by Jaime Lyn
* All disclaimers and summaries, etc, listed in chapter 1.
Early December 28th, 2001.
Fox Mulder's motel room,
Holiday Inn Express,
“You come back here, Fox!” Samantha shrieks, and Fox can hear her screaming behind him, panting, scampering, desperately pattering after him on tiny legs. Adrenaline—Fox feels its weight pumping through him. And power. He is powerful. Next to Samantha, he is God.
Around the coffee table he runs, he flies and flies, the sequined wand held high above his head. Fox backtracks on one leg, turns, stops in front of the couch. Samantha stops on the opposite side of their mother’s cherry table, her lips thinned, her nose scrunched, her eyes alit in anger. Her little button nose turns red, her nostrils flared. They square off, brother versus sister, on either side of the coffee table. “You are so mean,” she cries. “I hate you! Give it.”
“Next time, don’t bother me, stupid,” says Fox, and he waggles his finger at her as he speaks, his eyes wide, his eyebrows jouncing, to emphasize his point. He waves the wand in the air, makes sloppy figure eights as if casting a spell, glitter dripping off the ends like fairy dust. “I’m putting a spell on you, Sammy-stupid,” he says. “Try and stop me.”
Samantha gasps, stomps her foot and clenches her fists. “Don’t you call me that!” she cries. “You can’t make spells on me!”
Fox closes his eyes, a smile on his face. He imagines being big, growing to twice his height so that he can tower above his sister for all time and flip her over with one finger.
It’s not that Samantha isn’t cute—sometimes she is. There are times when she’s asleep, or when she’s doing her twirlie thingies with her tutu, or when she’s yelling at the tall boys for teasing him, that Fox remembers why he loves the little monster. Most of the time, though, she’s just annoying. She pulls his hair. She shrieks. She cries. And even more of the time, Fox wishes that she’d just go away. He could use the quiet time for his drawings.
He wishes hard, wishes with all of his might that his sister would go away. Just...go away.
“Sammy Sammy, in her Jammies, I’ll wave this wand and turn you into a turtle!” Fox opens his eyes wide at that moment, jabs the wand at Samantha and pokes her in the shoulder with it. Samantha screams and reaches over the table, shoving Fox in the chest with both hands. He stumbles but doesn’t fall, and smiles lopsided at the effort, amused she would even try to topple him.
“Don’t touch me,” he says. “I’m warning you.”
But Samantha shoves him again. “Don’t you touch me,” She mimics, and sticks out her tongue.
Fox raises one eyebrow, groans, and smacks his sister in the shoulder. “You wanna make me come over there?”
She cries out and he pokes her in the arm.
“Huh?” he snarks. He pokes her again. “Huh, huh?”
“Quit it!” Samantha shrieks, and pokes him back.
“Make me,” teases Fox, and he jabs her again.
“You’ll be sorry,” Samantha growls, her blues eyes shining, glinting, dangerous.
A silent second stretches, and then there is thunder outside, a shifting of his mother’s silk curtains, and a flickering of lightning. A storm brewing out there, a monsoon brooding, floating into the windows, trickling in through the cracks beneath the doors. The air smells like dust, like iron, like blood. Fox shivers. The house feels different, unfamiliar. He blinks as if waking from a bizarre dream.
When he turns back to Samantha, her tutu glows, her arms shaking. She looks…ethereal. Like a ghost. Her expression changes. Her voice is lower, darker, tinged with the edge of something non-human.
“You’ll be sorry when I’m gone. You’ll be sorry,” she spits, her tone contemptuous, filled with anger and pain, as if she’s speaking from the confines of another universe. Her teeth chattering, her breath puffy, Samantha stretches out a tiny arm, impossibly pale, palm to him, as if pronouncing sentence on the rest of his life.
"You're a bad boy," she says. "A bad, bad boy."
Fox swallows. “What are you…what’s wrong with you?” he asks, confused, nervous.
A drop of blood drips from Samantha’s nose suddenly, trickles down her chin, down the front of her pink satin leotard.
"Oh... Oh my God, Sammy, you're bleeding," says Fox, gasping. He points, but makes no move to help her, to touch her. Something isn't right with his sister and Fox... he's not sure if he can fix it. And he has this feeling that if she touches him, it will just be bad. Very bad.
Samantha frowns, and her pale index finger touches her upper lip, wipes off the blood in a swipe. Her wide blue eyes are angry, and then glassy, and then pleading, and then they’re not Samantha’s eyes at all. Another girl stares at him from across the coffee table. She's someone he knows from another life. Her face pops into Fox’s mind fleeting, unbidden. A strange, female voice he doesn’t recognize whispers in his ear: Don’t play her game, Mulder. Wake up. Wake up, Mulder. Please.
Fox takes a step back. “What are you talking about, Sam?” he asks, his legs flush against the couch. He doesn’t have anywhere to go now. He’s run out of room.
“You’ll regret wishing me away,” Samantha growls again, her eyes paling until they’re no longer blue, but gray, and then white. They’re white as tissues, white as powder, and Fox feels as if he can see through them. What’s on the other side is…evil. This little girl. She’s not a little girl. She is anger and rage and…the result of anguish. She's the personification of ugliness.
Samantha reaches forward and Fox swallows, flails his arms as if teetering. He’s going to fall, fall through the cushions of the couch, fall through the floor, down, down to the center of the Earth.
“Don’t touch me!” Fox yells, but even still he can feel his body going cold, as if an ice cube was planted in his toes and is branching out, rising up like mercury through every part of his body. He’s going to freeze to death. He’s going to crumble. If she touches him again, he’s going to break apart like a sugar cube and dissolve into nothing.
He screams once more, trips over his untied sneakers. The Un-Samantha creeps closer, floats up onto the shadowed coffee table as if guided by air. Her skin is paler, thinner, bluish, as if she’s been buried for years, as if she's been lying deep in the ocean, as if she’s become death itself and is here to get him. She wants him dead. She’s going to kill him.
Fox breathes harder, glances about the room for purchase. He needs to defend himself. Or else he needs to get away. He needs to run. Right now. Terror gnaws at him, chews at the back of his brain like little men with tiny, sharp teeth.
“You’ll be sorry,” Samantha says again. “I’ll make you so sorry you won’t know anything else. I know how to do it now.” She reaches for him.
“Don’t touch me!” Fox shrieks, as anguish erupts from the pit of his stomach. He's going to explode from the inside out. I
n a rushed panic, Fox gasps, pulls back with all his might, eyes closed, and slams his fist through the air.
Samantha cries out—her nose still bloody, but crushed now, and bent at an odd angle. A direct hit. He’s hit her. Oh God, he’s really, truly hit her. She trips backwards, slashes at the air with wobbly arms.
“Mulder!” she gasps, and then there is a thunk, and blackness, and nothing.
Disoriented, and for a moment, terrified, Mulder awakened to darkness. In the air was that lonely, empty sort of darkness; black interrupted only by a thin stream of light streaking through closed motel curtains. He glanced at the clock, rubbing his eyes with his knuckles: 8:26am. Three hours. He’d gotten a little less than three hours of sleep. Well, that was great. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, indeed.
A groan sliced through the silence—not his. Mulder jumped at the sound, his head slamming viciously into the headboard. “God damn it…”
He groaned, grabbed the back of his skull with one hand. Something rustled on the opposite side of the bed, stilling Mulder's flexed fingers on his skull. It was something not on the bed, but on the floor.
Mulder's eyes went wide. Suddenly, through his haze of confusion and un-sleep, he realized that he should probably be the only person in the room. And he wasn't.
Quickly, Mulder reached for the weapon on his nightstand with his free hand. Adrenaline, paranoia, the feeling that every nerve in his body was electrified, tensed—pumped through him, traveling to his limbs, flowing like blood. He was ready to pounce, to jump, to grab his gun and whirl on the intruder.
But something was wrong.
He was stuck.
Holy shit, he was... stuck?
Twisting in bed, Mulder grunted and thrashed. He was trapped—the sheets and comforter sticking and pulling at his limbs like a mutant form of static cling. He blinked in confusion and gazed pathetically at the nighttable. His fingers desperately pawed at the safety of his gun, the butt wobbling just out of reach—he couldn’t stretch too far with the blankets holding him back. He was glued, nailed down tight. Fucking hell. The irony that he could die because he'd somehow tangled himself in his sheets like a human pig in a blanket was not lost on him.
He breathed, closed his eyes, and managed the only thing he could think of to say: “Federal Agent. Don’t move. I’m armed.”
Even though he wasn’t. Not really. Not yet. But it was dark.
“Mulder,” said a weary, disembodied voice. “It’s me. Do me a favor and don’t shoot.”
Mulder frowned, turned his head. Scully? What in the hell?
He watched, confused, as a slender, well-manicured hand appeared on the far side of his conforter. And then a head followed the hand; slow-moving limbs rose up from the floor below the mattress. In the darkness, Mulder could make out a mussed, frazzled bob of dark hair, and eyes blinking, and finally, Scully’s long, slender neck, the collar of her silk pajamas dripping off one creamy shoulder. The sight of her sitting there, off guard and in half-buttoned nightclothes, would have been damned fucking sexy if not for the shaky hand covering one eye, and the expression on her face. She was annoyed. And tired. And it looked like…yes, she was bruised. Jesus, what in the hell happened to her?
“Scully,” breathed Mulder, and he twisted in the sheets to try and move towards her. He couldn’t. He was still stuck tight. “What,” he croaked, “happened to you?”
Scully rubbed her eye with the heel of her hand, squeezed her fist as if trying to drive pain to the back of her skull. Her gun, Mulder could see, was lying, forgotten, on the floor beside the bed. Mulder made a noise in the back of his throat. He felt…dehydrated. Wasted. Used. He felt as if someone had opened up his head and dug deep inside his brain, finding what they liked, discarding what wasn't important, and leaving him on the side of the road. But that made no sense. What the fuck had gone on in this room?
Mulder grunted a final time and tugged as hard as he could to free his legs. He twisted, yanked, and squirmed until finally the blankets gave way from the mattress. Mulder’s eyes went wide at the force of his forward motion, and to try and balance himself, he propelled his body to the left—a little too fast. Yes, a little too fast.
"Oh Shit," Mulder gasped. His arms flailed, reaching, splaying out, his eyes darting; he looked for anything to grab.
In the end, he fell, blankets, sheets and all, over the side of the bed opposite Scully, taking both his gun and the alarm clock with him. The wire pulled itself free from the wall and sprang like a whip, shorting as it fell, a bright, white-hot spark jumping from the device to Mulder’s thumb. Mulder yelped and winced, dropped like a rock. On his ass he landed, with a loud, hard thud, pain ricocheting up his backside and up his spine. The alarm clock landed next, bouncing towards the chair, and then the gun, which rolled beneath the bed.
“Motherfucker,” Mulder muttered, rubbing the skin above his ass, and then his thigh, and then waggling his thumb to drive out the shock.
As Scully had done a moment earlier, Mulder reached for the bed and pulled himself up with one hand. He stared at his injured partner over the expanse of an empty, dusty, sheetless mattress. She sighed as if waiting for him to be done falling on his head. Him with his injured ass and her with her injured eye. What a partnership they made. Fucking wonderful.
“You were screaming,” Scully finally said, her hand still covering her eye. Her voice was dead, monotone. She blinked. “The screaming woke me and I thought there was an intruder. So I came in through the connecting door—“ She motioned with her free hand towards the opened doorway. “It was unlocked. There was nobody here. You were having some sort of nightmare, and I think you went into shock. You started seizing. I tried to wake you, when—“
Mulder blinked, groaning to himself as he understood the situation before she could finish Oh. Jesus. Oh fucking hell. “Are you saying…” His mouth opened but his throat went dry. He felt nauseated, like he wanted to throw himself over the toilet and never get back up. “Are you saying that I did that to you?” He motioned towards her eye, his stomach twisting painfully at the idea. He closed his eyes, shook his head, and imagined floating up out of himself. He shot this floating Mulder with his own gun, and then beat the floating Mulder with the empty clip.
“In your defense, you didn’t know it was me,” Scully managed, but her voice sounded pained. Either she was badly hurt and she was trying to cover for the pain, or his actions had hurt her more than the pain did, and she was trying to cover for his guilt…or both. In any case, his 'not knowing it was her' was a weak excuse.
“Oh…God, Scully, I—“
“That is, I don't know what you were dreaming. I hope you weren’t dreaming of me. At least, not about hitting me.” Scully tried a smile but it transformed into a wince, her eyes closing mercifully at whatever hurt her. She clasped her head even harder. With her good hand, she flipped on the bedside lamp. Light spilled into the room. Monochromatic blue and black overflowed with color and brightness. Mulder blinked, shielded his eyes with his hand, took a moment to adjust.
The deep red skin beneath Scully’s fingers came sharply into focus, and Mulder sucked in air.
Jesus. He hit her. He really, truly hit her. He wanted to vomit.
“I need to get you some ice,” said Mulder, and he moved to get up.
Scully raised a palm to him, a sigh rushing out and deflating her. “I got it,” she said, and rose slowly to her feet. Her limbs stretched, and she moved with the careful, crafted precision of an old woman rising from a wheelchair. It was then that Mulder remembered she still had a sprained ankle. And now a black eye. And thus, he cursed the day that Dana Scully ever heard the word "X File."
Scully looked down at him with her good eye. “Are you sure you’re alright, Mulder? You scared the hell out of me. I’ve never seen you like that before. You're not prone to seizures and I couldn’t wake you. And you were just…screaming.” She looked afraid, and confused, and hurt. “Maybe I should check you out.”
“I’m fine,” said Mulder, and he waved a hand at her. Well, it wasn't a lie. Not really. Certainly, Mulder had experienced nightmares before. And while he couldn't confirm what he did or didn't normally do in his sleep, he was sure he'd probably had one or two not-so-normal episodes. Most people did. In short, he'd be fine.
But Scully…she was far from fine.
He had hit her. He kept repeating this to himself, as if perhaps he could undo it by banging the idea into his own skull. He hit her. Jesus. He hit Scully. Dana Scully. What could he possibly have been thinking of?
Mulder groaned, rose to his feet, and somehow took the sheets with him.
Scully gasped lowly. "Mulder? What the--"
Mulder looked down, confused, and pulled at a corner of the sheet with his thumb and forefinger. It flattened in fold exactly where Mulder left it. The stiff fabric stuck to him like honey, suspended. A spark jumped from the sheet to the floor, and Mulder yelped in surprise, his arms pinwheeling back. He stumbled over the tail of the comforter and grabbed the edge of the nightstand to keep from bowling over. Slowly, the sheet-corners twined around his body like a toga, edges gripping the backs of his shoulders as if an entity come to life. And then another fiery spark flew, drunkenly, from the tip of his forefinger to the floor.
“Jesus,” breathed Scully, and her mouth opened. She stared at him in awe, hand still over one eye, and crept slowly around the bed. She stopped a foot short of him and circled him as if he were a maypole. “Mulder, I think…you’re crackling.”
Mulder frowned. Both went silent for a second, and Mulder cocked his head, listening for the sound. It was tiny, but distinct. Like plastic wrap being scrunched. Good God, he really was crackling.
“Now all we need is Snap and Pop and some milk,” he joked, weakly.
Scully frowned. “Mulder, I’m serious,” she chastised. And she was.
Certainly, this was strange. Even for them. Mulder couldn't even begin to imagine what she must have been thinking. Her good eye scanned him up and down. “I can't be sure of this exactly, but I think, I'm fairly sure…you’ve got a charge on you. When you touched the blanket—you sparked yourself, Mulder. What the hell is going on here?” She asked this—more to herself than to him.
Perhaps now, Scully would finally admit that there was an X file here. At the very least, she could admit that something bizarre was going on. And this time, Lily wasn't even in the room to perpetuate it, so there wasn't any human source to blame. Under normal circumstances, Mulder would probably be singing the glorious praises of "I told you so," if not for the fact that he'd hit his partner first. He had hit her, for Gods sakes. Good grief, what was next? Could he electrocute her in this state? Could he kill her?
Mulder didn't know much about the situation, not yet, but he knew he needed to get Scully out of the room and somehow…de-electrify himself.
“Look, Scully, I think...I don't know what's going on,” said Mulder, pulling at the sheets where they stuck, and succeeding in doing nothing more than sticking them in new places.
A moment passed, and a short shower of sparks flew off the edge of the cotton fabric where his fingers connected, tiny balls of electricity shooting off him like he was a walking, Fourth of July sparkler. Mulder gasped, his hand going rigid as if shocked. He held his palms out and away from himself, and shook his head. Scully’s eyes widened further and she jumped back to avoid the spray. Mulder forced a sheepish grin.
"It's going to be alright, Mulder. Just...Don't touch anything," Scully warned, and she glanced around the room, her hand on her hip. "I need to ground you somehow."
"You need to ice that bruise, first," Mulder argued.
"I need to keep you from electocuting yourself," Scully countered.
“I'm thinking if I haven't done it already, I won't,” he said, fighting for an even tone in his voice. “You just get some ice for that eye. It’ll only take you a minute and I’m sure when you get back, I’ll still need a Kenmore dryer and the world’s biggest Downy sheet. And then we can throw a toga party while we figure this out.”
Scully made a face at him; it was her, ‘Mulder, you son of a bitch, that isn’t even remotely funny,’ face. Her eyebrow went up. She opened her mouth to speak when a shrilly, bleeping sound interrupted both of them. Scully frowned. Mulder frowned back. For a moment, both looked utterly puzzled--Mulder probably moreso than she. Disorientation seized him, as if he’d lost all touch with reality and had forgotten what it meant when inanimate devices started ringing.
Scully blew air out through her lips and crept to the nightstand. She looked annoyed with herself. She shook her head, threw one last worried glance at Mulder, and then scooped up the offending cell phone. She punched the power button on the phone, closed her eyes, and managed, “Scully.”
A knock at the door startled Mulder nearly out of his skin. Two sharp raps. Company, of course. Mulder shrugged at this, as if he should have expected someone at the door. Why the hell not? It was a free country after all, and shouldn’t he have an audience when dressed in nothing but a sleeveless shirt, a pair of sweat pants, and a sheet that looked like the world’s ugliest wedding dress?
“Who is it?” asked Mulder, walking towards the door.
“Your worst nightmare,” answered the voice on the other side. Mulder winced at the turn of phrase, but grabbed the handle nonetheless. At his touch, the doorknob erupted in violent sparks, eliciting a not-so-manly yelp and an involuntary twitch of his muscles.
"Fuck," Mulder muttered, and he waved his hand to get the circulation back.
"You alright, Mulder?" Scully called from the other side of the room. "Just hang on a second. I'm going to get you out of this. Just...don't touch anything, for Chrissakes."
"Fine," Mulder responded, letting out a litany of curses in his head and squeezing his eyes shut. He refused to die while opening a door. While fighting a one-eyed monster, maybe, but not while opening a door.
Mulder took a breath and, ignoring Scully's wanring, turned the knob quickly--this time minus the current of electricity-- and backed away as soon as the door opened.
“Mark,” said Mulder, still feeling nauseated. If this was what it was like to be an electromagnet, he'd pass on it, thanks.
“Wildcat,” answered Mark, and he frowned, scanning Mulder up and down with a perplexed glance. Mark's brows furrowed, he ran a hand over his bald-head, and finally he let out a whistle, pointing first at Mulder’s new fashion statement and then at the state of the room. “Jesus,” he said, “Who had the keg party and didn’t invite me?”
“I would explain it if I could,” answered Mulder, his arms outstretched, his palms raised, as if trying to make sense of all of this, and at the same time shaking his head because he wasn’t quite sure how to make sense of it. What else was there to say? That he was a walking magnet for trouble--literally this time, that he was a shmuck, a loser, that he couldn’t even control his baser impulses in his sleep, and he cold-cocked his partner because his imagination often got the better of him?
Mulder shrugged to himself. No, that kind of explanation would take too long.
“Mulder,” called his partner.
Mulder turned at the sound of her voice. Luckily, he didn’t spark this time.
"You okay?" she asked.
"Well, I'm not dead," Mulder replied. He touched his fingers together to reassure her, and when he didn't spark or sizzle to a pulp, Scully took a relieved breath.
Then she removed her hand from her eye and she looked…white. Pale, except for the obvious, ugly black bruise over her right eye. The cell phone had been dropped to the bed like a fleeting thought. Mulder winced at the sight of her, at her smooth, ivory skin marred by a giant red and black splotch. Scully’s beautiful skin. God. One blue eye was closed, useless for now. Her cheek throbbed in protest, an unwilling twitch—Mulder could see the reflexive flickering from across the room. He was…a danger. A menace. To her. Christ.
“Holy shit,” breathed Mark. “Agent Scully? What happened to you?"
"Accident," said Scully, her voice hoarse.
Mark took a long breath. He sounded suspicious, and the tone of his suspicion made Mulder even more nauseous for what it implied.
"Doesn’t that make two in one night?" Mark asked. The muscles in his jaw worked, and his expression looked uneasy. He turned to Mulder but adressed his words to Scully. "Please tell me this isn’t normally the way things work, Dana.”
"It's not what it looks like," said Mulder, realizing as he said it how ridiculous he sounded--like every other husband who had ever beaten his wife to a bloody stump.
"I would hope not," said Mark, turning again to Scully. "You sure everything's okay in here?"
"Fine," said Scully. She looked…horrified, for lack of a better term, as if something much more pressing had happened in the last thirty seconds to completely deaden the weight of everything else that had already happened that evening.
“Scully, what is it?” asked Mulder, concerned.
Scully paused for another moment. Her breath seemed to catch in her throat as she opened her mouth. And then she closed her lips, as if unsure how to word what she had to say next. She took another breath and managed, “That was…Skinner on the phone, Mulder. He wants us to return to Washington immediately.”
Mulder frowned, his brows furrowed. He felt a sudden surge of anger sink into him. “Why?” he asked. “What—what—“
“Your boss?” asked Mark.
“Apparently…” Scully swallowed. Her cheeks were red, fire-engine red, as if she was more embarrassed by what she would have to say next than by anything else she had ever had to say in her life. Ever. “Someone couriered an envelope to Skinner this morning. It was slipped anonymously under his door, and was one of two envelopes sent. One to Skinner, one to the OPR board.”
“And?” asked Mulder. At this point, he didn’t understand why or how he was still standing. He only knew that he was, and that he shouldn’t be, because he wanted to pass out, and throw up, and not necessarily in that order.
“And,” said Scully, “There were photographs in the envelope.” She glanced at the walls, at the floor, at the ceiling—at everywhere but him. “Of us,” she added quietly.
And suddenly, Mulder knew. He knew without her having to say more. They’d been caught with their hands in the cookie jar, when the most ironic and pathetic part of it was that there wasn't anything to catch them doing. They'd been railroaded by...by nothing.
Scully’s voice broke. She took a breath. She still wouldn’t look at him. “All I know is that the OPR board wants us back in D.C by two o clock. There’s going to be a meeting, Mulder. And the fact that I happened to answer your cell phone at eight in the morning...Skinner wasn't happy. He said the bureau…the board feels as if this is the last straw for the division.”
Mark, his expression confused, his stance stiff, turned to Mulder, who hadn’t taken his eyes off Scully. “The last straw? Meaning what, Wildcat?”
Finally, Scully gazed back at Mulder, her full, pink lips half opened in what looked like mind-numbing shock. Mulder understood how she felt. Finally, he turned to Mark as he felt the last vestiges of hope filter out of him.
“The end,” said Mulder. The room went silent on the heels of his statement. The static crackling around his sholders suddenly stopped. Scully must have noticed the lack of noise, because she narrowed her eyes and glanced at the blanket stuck to Mulder's chest. She looked as though she wanted to rush across the room and check his vitals. But she didn't.
"They're going to close The X Files," said Mulder, releasing a long held breath. "Or else they're going to try their damndest to remove one of us."
"Remove one of you? You mean seperate you. On what grounds?" asked Mark, frowning.
At her sides, Scully's fists were clenched. "Impropriety," she said, a tinge of anger clouding her voice. And she watched, her face expressionless, as the sheet dripped off Mulder's chest and pooled in a pile at his feet.
CONTINUED IN CHAPTER 13