We All Die Virgins
by Jaime Lyn
My apologies for both the length of time in between updates, and the formatting problems in this chapter. There are occasionally 2 line breaks in between paragraphs instead of just 1, and I no idea why, nor can I seem to figure out how to make them go away. My final conclusion is that netscape composer is a whore. ;-)
11400 Commonwealth Dr,
Mulder was buried up to his ass in Scully's closet, and the situation wasn't even kinky; he wasn't even having sex with her. In his brain flashed an obscene tangling of legs and arms, and a flash of nude skin, and he had the urge to slap himself upside the head to save her the trouble. It was pathetic. It was a nightmare-script-page ripped straight from fantasy reel number 456, entitled, Sex in a Closet With Scully - one of the hundreds of millions of fantasies Mulder had entertained about Dana Scully throughout the years, in the dead of night, while in the shower or while lying in bed, bored out of his mind, aroused, and thinking about her. Not that he'd admit to harboring any such innaproproate sexual inclinations, not even at knife-point, not even at gunpoint - they'd have to shoot him or main him first - but his brain was traitorous.
Mulder shook his head, thinking, with some relief, that it was a good thing only Scully seemed to have the brainwave-police-scanner on active, because she was dead asleep in a narcotic haze, and would likely never remember what she'd accidentally overheard. Skinner, on the other hand, was wide awake, and lucid, and if he knew what images fluttered around in Mulder's brain - especially at this, the most innapropriate of moments - he would definitely shoot. Maybe three or four times.
"Mulder, what in the hell are you doing?"
Skinner was behind him, his dress pants swishing like bad music - sounded as if he was pacing around the bed. Mulder couldn't exactly see.
"I told you already," said Mulder, his hands groping the darkness, fiddling with shoes and shirts and other such things Mulder was glad he couldn't see, because some things he just didn't need visuals for. It figured that Scully would have a wall-length closet with a burned out lightbulb. And, to top it all off - something itchy and yarn-like brushing him - what on Earth was that? - the closet was a mess. Mulder's hand caught in a clump of the yarn and tangled harder; the more he pulled the more he caught. Jesus, Scully's closet was eating him.
"You told me nothing," said Skinner. "Except that your partner has somehow lost her mind and destoyed her own apartment and you have no idea why."
"I did imply something like that, didn't I?" mused Mulder, and he pulled again, to no avail. "Motherfucker..."
"The two of you," said Skinner, disgusted sounding, "Are a misconduct commitee's field day."
"Field day, huh?" said Mulder, sitting back on his knees and pulling as hard as he could. Damn, but the yarn was winning. "Well, Scully and I could whoop ass in the potato sack races, so I say bring it on."
"This isn't funny, Mulder." Mulder took a long breath. Did Skinner still have his gun? "This is so utterly unfunny I could write a dissertation on it." Skinner paused. "Would you at least tell me what you're looking for? Why I'm standing here watching you rummage through your partner's personal effects, when every instinct I have is telling me to arrest you and be done with it?"
"I'm looking for a disk," said Mulder, grunting, pulling on his hand - what in the hell was the deal with this closet? This yarn? Did Scully even sew? His partner, God help him, was a closet slob, quite literally, and her slovenly storage habits would be the untethering of both of them. "Since I now have zero access to my office, and since I can't even trust my own memories - "
"- I'm looking for one of the back-up disks Scully took for safe-keeping. I could've sworn we had one under the desk in the basement, but I also remember Scully telling me she had a box of back-up X-Files in her closet, and knowing how Scully hates paperwork, I figured she might actually have the disk, but right now everything is so mixed up - " He stopped pulling for a second and took a long, frustrated breath. He was practically handcuffed to the closet floor.
"Mulder, slow down." Skinner's voice was calmer now, although he sounded mostly anxious. Mulder could feel waves of paranoia flitting off the man, having been born with a nose for such things. Skinner was on edge, which was understandable, but how on edge was too on edge? Could Skinner actually think Mulder had drugged Scully? That Scully had rejected his romantic advances and Mulder had flown off the handle? No, Skinner knew them better than that.
But everything was still so mixed up. Maybe none of this was happening. Maybe all of it was happening. Maybe he'd gone crazy. Mulder could only pray to God he wasn't hallucinating all of this, and that some consortium member hadn't fiddled with his brain without his consent, and was really, while Mulder was dreaming about digging around in Scully's closet, cutting both he and Scully into bite-szied pieces.
"Like I said," Mulder went on, mentally giving himself the run around, "Something happened during the case. I don't know how or why. It's like someone reaching in and pulling out a stream of consciousness - "
Mulder turned to see Skinner frowning, arms crossed. He still had his gun in his holster. Mulder took a deep breath.
"Hold on, and back up," said Skinner. "The beginning. Talk."
And don't fuck with me, was Skinner's unspoken undercurrent.
"The case," said Mulder. "A missing girl out of Long Island. A friend had contacted me and asked for my help."
"So we went, drove down, checked into a motel. We'd had a long night, had gone to bed, and my friend - the one who called us down - informed me that a new development had occured. The girl who reported her sister missing - Lily Ann Harbor - had been found wandering her neighborhood in her nightgown. Her house had burned down.."
"I don't know yet, but it was suspicious. Inconclusive. No debris, nothing. We took a sample of ash to be analyzed."
There was a crackle of silence, a long, interminable pause in which Skinner could decide to shut Mulder up for good and haul him down to the brig, or suck up his pride and ask to hear the rest of the story. Mulder held his breath.
"Keep going," said Skinner, in his ever-gruff, I'm-only-indulging-you-I'm-not-really-interested tone.
Mulder nodded, grateful for the window of opportunity.
"There was something... I don't know. Off about Lily. I never mentioned this to Scully. She objected to the girl staying over with us at the motel, but I insisted. I thought I might be able to finagle some sort information out of her."
"Information? Concerning what, exactly?"
"The girl had a bizarre history," Mulder explained. "Locked up her entire life by religiously overzealous parents, most likely emotionally abused by them. Parents were unavailable for questioning, as most dead people generally are."
Skinner's eyes narowed. "Cause of death?"
"Indeterminable. The words, 'mysterious circumstances' come to mind, and Lily offered up very little reliable information. The parents had been worm meat long before the sister disappeared. No information available on any Harbor family members, not even birth records, no surviving extended family of any kind. Neighbors knew nothing. Even the witness statements were...fuzzy." Mulder thought about the cab driver's statement, and the security guard's statement, and added, "Like their heads had been screwed around with."
"Then how was the local PD able to establish a missing person's file?"
"Birth records on both girls," said Mulder. "Birth records but nothing more - no pediatric records, no school records, nobody to even make a positive ID. And then more information disappeared - namely, an entire house, without leaving so much as a speck of debris behind."
"And the girl?"
"Missing at the moment. But at that point, unharmed, which is why we brought her back to the motel. We found Lily in Scully's room much later, after Scully and I had gone out for a jog... " Mulder paused, recalling the kiss against Scully's doorway, the press of her lips to his, the monomentous brevity of that moment. And then the photos, the intrusion into what would have been a beautiful, private evolution of friendship, that intrusion like fingers, clawing at him, drawing blood. Scully deserved better. He deserved better. He was determined to find out who had taken those pictures, and he was sure it went right back to the FBI.
"The furniture had been stacked - "
"Moved." Mulder stopped searching through the closet for a moment, thoughtful. "There was some sort of electric undercurrent in the room." Mulder frowned. Something was bothering him about that last part, something he couldn't put his finger on. "It was an electrostatic interference. It happened again, later that night - "
There it was again, that feeling - nails at the base of his spine, poking him, scratching up and down, as if he was missing something right under his nose. "Somehow, I became electrostatically charged in my sleep, and I accidentally hit Scully when she came in to check on me. After that, I started remembering things wrong, and Scully - "
Mulder stopped. His eyes went wide.
There was some sort of smell, like socks burning. Jesus. That was what had been right under his nose. The odor was harsh, hovering in the air, circling the room, waiting, teasing him; why had he not noticed it before? The smell was familiar, taunting him to figure out the cause.
Wait - yes, he knew. He was positive. In the board room at the Hoover Building, in the car on the way back to D.C, in the kitchen when he first came over, when Scully had... Oh. Oh God, no. Mulder swallowed back a burning taste in his mouth, like hot chili peppers. The smell had not been bad, though, not even all that noticible, not since Lily's tower of motel furniture had nearly sparked a fire.
Scully's bedroom swam with the odor, foreboding.
For a half second, Mulder recalled his old, college apartment, the smell left behind by his old TV, when he'd tried to fix the plug and shorted the wall socket. Burning socks. The heat, the charge, it had a distinct odor.
Skinner cleared his throat. "Mulder?"
Mulder's eyes narrowed in thought.
The electrical activity sparked by Scully's brain, by whatever had caused this, was somehow giving off a signature. Whenever it was sparked, by whatever stimuli sparked such energy to turn on - like a magnet urging on electrons through an electrical field - this signature was given off, and the energy was released into the air. Energy, Mulder recalled, from college, and from Scully's many lectures, could not simply disappear, it could only change forms. Somehow, there was simply too much energy, too much activity in the rear lobe of Scully's brain...
Mulder got antsy, thinking, his heart pounding. The overflow of energy was manifesting itself by transforming into a lesser form of energy. Telekinesis. ESP. Could it be, he wondered, that this is what had happened to those other kids from previous X-Files? To Lily? Could Scully have somehow, inadvertently, by hidden genetic code within her and proximity to Lily Harbor, turned on the unused portion of her brain? The god Nodule, Mulder remembered, from the Gibson Praise case, could spark a chemical reaction in the brain that transformed human electrical impulses into -
Mulder finally turned, agitated, his hand still stuck in a monstrous pile of yarn, to face A.D Skinner, "What - "
And paused, his breath stolen from him.
Skinner was facing and pointing towards the window, where Scully's blinds had been left half opened, like obscene eyelids caught mid-blink. There, in the center of the window's eyeball, was a pair of legs, bare legs - Mulder knew those legs by heart - stepping up onto the fire escape grating outside.
The smell of burning socks grew, nearly choking him, whishing around in his brain.
Skinner reached behind his coat for his gun. "Stay here. I'm going out to see who -"
"Scully," said Mulder, caught in a singular wisp of terror. Just what in the hell was she doing?
"Agent Scully?" Skinner turned back to Mulder, eyes filled with confusion. "First of all, Agent Scully is unconscious in the next room. How - that is, why - "
"I have to get to her."
Mulder rose on his knees to rush towards the window, but was pulled back, yanked to the ground, glued, cemented by, good grief - the yarn! He was stuck, God help him, by the world's most unyielding ball of yarn -
A second epiphany hit him, square in the gut.
Mulder remembered, for a flash, holding Scully up to the motel room door, her lips close, so close to his, her breath hot on his cheek. He was distracted by Scully, so distracted that her essence nearly swallowed him But the back of his brain had somehow noticed a discrepancy, filed it away, and kept it locked in a drawer in the corner of his mind.
Mulder drew out the discrepancy, pulled it from his mental filing cabinet; the motel window, curtains drawn back a few inches, drawn back enough for a single face to peek out at him, watching, hovering, her features twisted in a gnared facsimile of girlish youth. The shadows danced over her forehead, her chin, as she gazed, her eyes hard, full of hate, at Scully. Her eyes were yellowed, catlike in the dark. She glared. First at him, and then at Scully. But mostly at Scully, at Scully, only at Scully.
Everything, all the shit, it had all started soon after.
"Sir!" Mulder called out, yanking, pulling on his manacled hand, desperate to get free, "Sir - You have to get to Scully! She's in danger!
"What? From who? Mulder - "
"She's outside, sir."
"Hold on a second, Agent. For one thing, Agent Scully is asleep in the living room, heavily sedated. For another, that person out there isn't wearing any pants. Agent Scully is a doctor. She would never - "
"Damn it, it's Scully. Don't ask me how I know. She's my partner. I know!"
"And she's in danger. From who, Mulder?"
"Lily. I think I get it, now. She's - " Mulder's words abruptly caught when the yarn moved around his skin, tightening. Jesus, it moved! Right up his hand, up his wrist. He shivered, recoiled in horror.
"What the fuck - " Mulder reached into the closet with his opposite hand and winced, a swift shock of static electricity racing up his arm, through his arm hair, and he was sure, throughout the hair on every part of his body. "I can't... God damn it! She's doing this. Lily, somehow, is doing this."
"Doing what?" Skinner pratically bellowed.
"There's a part of Scully's brain at work, electrostatic power that's manifesting itself as other forms of energy - somehow, this case turned the ability on. Lily has the same ability, but innate. She wants to hurt Scully. It - " Despite the series of fast, furious electric shocks, Mulder reached in and pulled on the yarn, which snaked viciously around his hand, worming, somehow slithery, all the way up his arm. The smell grew worse - God, that smell - like burnt hair, like carcass, like death. Something terrible was going to happen if Skinner didn't get the hell out onto the fire escape right away. Fear rose up in Mulder's chest, clutched at him.
"Are you insane?" Skinner nose scrunched, as if smelling that hideous, burning smell, and he turned in a circle, rubbing what looked to be the hairs on his arm. "What the hell is going on? "
"Just get to her!"
Skinner grunted an affirmative and rushed towards the window. He reached under the blinds for a lock on the window, or a handhold, or something, and jumped back, cursing, as if he'd been bitten.
Mulder pulled back with his arm, managed, "What - "
"The metal casing around the window," explained Skinner, with a note of surprise in his voice. He was shaking his hand out as if he'd been burned. "It's.... I can't even unlock the window, there's a current of - "
"Break it." Mulder tugged harder, insistent, grunting, his heart caught in the place between his tonsils and his esophagus. Scully was in trouble. He had to get to her. Scully, Scully, Scully -
"Grab something, anything that doesn't have metal in it, and break the goddamned - "
Skinner turned violently and pivoted on his feet, already on it.
Outside the window, one bare foot rose higher on the grating, climbing, the other foot following.
Unable to help her himself, Mulder called out to her: "Scully!" And again, louder, praying she'd hear, "Scu-lay!" He had to get to her. "Break the motherfucking window!"
"I'm working on it, Mulder."
Scully's bedroom had very few knick knacks lying around in general, and none heavy enough to even make a dent in the thick, insulated glass . Finally, Skinner's eyes caught on something, and he seemed to agonize for about a half second. He leaped towards Scully's bed and grasped the object - Scully's hardcover bible - and stepped backwards, in a straight line path from the window. He grasped the book in his hands like a baseball pitcher, and then did something Mulder had never seen him do before - he crossed himself - and let the good book fly with a scathing fastball that broke through the glass, shattered the pane into a million clear pieces.
It then occurred to Mulder in a strange, somewhat surreal kind of way, that at least the bible was good for something.
Skinner ducked from the shattering, hands over his head. Swiftly, Mulder felt an aching in his skull, a pounding, a thrashing. And as if a door had opened, he was flooded:
< Mulder down there have to get to him and the baby my baby the baby's not dead if I can only get to them he's calling me he wants me he forgives me and if he wants me and if I can get down there we'll be a family and oh it's so cold but so cold Dana something's not right it's too cold but no no oh God oh God I'll be free - >
Mulder's breathing went raspy, and he felt sick, suddenly very sick, his head poiunding, overrought, as the door was slammed shut again on its hinges, someone, something, forcing it closed. Lily, it occured to him, as if stunned he hadn't realized it sooner, Lily was fighting this thing, this ability of Scully's. She was invading their thoughts, she was trying to - Jesus, the odor was strong, growing, trying to tell him, to warn him - wait, that was it! Was she here? Mulder felt a niggling in the back of his skull. Was Lily here, in the house?
But Scully's words returned to him, a waterfall of assaulting emotion, and the question vanished from his mind.
He had a sudden vision of Scully, lying unconscious in her hospital room, always a goddamned hospital room somewhere, the criss-crossed door-window capturing her face, her pale, tear-streaked face, eclipsed by stark red hair, in a framed sort of still-life. Mulder had been called down there for her, but not by her. He was called down because his name was listed as her medical contact, and he was on the back of her business card.
It wasn't a case, or a suspect, or a break in, but a personal emergency, Mulder noted, a common, mundane, personal emergency, that had brought her here. She'd called 911 from her bathroom: severe vaginal bleeding. Christ. She had been briefly conscious for a time, mostly in and out, said the doctor over the phone, but had not asked for anyone. Not anyone. With a wisp of resentment, Mulder wondered if perhaps she hadn't wanted him here at all.
"The pregnancy aborted itself, Mr. Mulder, which sometimes happens in cases like this, when the uterine lining is unstable to begin with, and a fertilized ova attaches itself."
"The uterine lining?" Mulder was perplexed. This was Scully's arena, not his, but he knew some things... "No, you've got it wrong. It's not the uterine lining that's the problem. That was always fine. She was barren and it was the invitro... Everything else was fine, physically. It was. It was - "
"You're the father, correct?"
Mulder paused at that statement, at how foreign it sounded to him, and his shoulders slumped. Finally, he said, "Yes."
"But you're not her husband."
Mulder just kept staring, his insides broken in two, at the square of her in the hospital doorway window. "No," he said.
"Then perhaps there are just some things she didn't want you to know."
The words hit him in the stomach like a hammer.
Another few moments of staring, and the doctor said he could go in, but Mulder was left in the doorway, stunned, motionless.
Scully had lied to him. This is what the doctor was saying. She had lied. She'd wanted this baby of hers so badly that she put herself at risk, put their baby at risk - God, he chastised himself, God, it really was their baby? - and she'd kept the very nature of her medical status from him. Uterine complications. Unstable. She had fucking lied.
Mulder tamped his anger down, not understanding her, never understanding her sometimes, and went in to see her anyway, grateful, just unendlingly, ludicrously grateful, that she hadn't bled to death. She was asleep, and impossibly thin, and pale, her knees pulled up to her chest. She looked like she wanted to disappear. Just like her cancer, he briefly thought, and shivered at the memory.
He said nothing.
When she woke up, he held her, and she cried until she fell asleep again.
He said nothing.
And that was all.
They never spoke of the incident again, about the entire invitro debacle in general, perhaps dared not even think of it. The baby that never was. The family that never was. It was too painful for words, too complicated, too messy.
Mostly, he'd not known what to say, or do, and so said nothing. He frankly didn't even want to think of it. He liked the status quo of their relationship, liked that he had no children, and prayed Scully would never try invitro again - besides the romantic complications, it was physically and emotionally exhausting, and dangerous.
But telling her no - that he could not help her, or would not - for any reason, was selfish, and Mulder knew it.
But Scully never asked him again.
And he felt guilty. Irrevocably so.
As a compromise with himself, Mulder started a new ritual: pressing a kiss to her forehead before and after work, but that was all. No words about babies, or trying to have babies, no thoughts about it, either - dangerous, those thoughts were. Forbidden. He'd locked them up months ago.
And that was all. That was just... all.
When Mulder came back to himself, having been taken away on the cloud tufts of a memory and slammed back into his body, Skinner had already grabbed Scully and pulled her back inside, laid her on the bed.
Cold air whooshed into the room from the broken window.
Somehow, for whatever reason, Scully had stripped down to her underwear.
Mulder shook his head, blinked to clear his mind.
Skinner made quick use of Scully's blankets and pulled them around her, blushing furiously, hands shaking. Skinner looked as if he'd been hit by a bus.
The yarn fell limp around Mulder's wrists and he finally wretched himself free. Mulder rose to his feet, rubbed his skin, and crossed the room in one stride, stood alongside Skinner, who was pale, and silent.
Scully was alive, though. She was alive, and this was what mattered.
Mulder took a few deep breaths, and tried to push the memory of his miscarried child out of his mind. His stomach gurgled, angry. Scully was asleep. Just like in the hospital room, she was asleep, and God, so tiny. What in the world had happened to her? How was Lily able to do it? Was it something about sleep patterns, something -
Mulder reached down with two fingers and brushed a stray lock of hair out of Scully's face. With his other hand, he pulled the blankets closer around her, alarmed at how cold she felt. Christ. If she hadn't fallen to her death, she'd have died of exposure. He turned to Skinner.
"Did she say anything?" he asked, hoarse. "Was she awake, was she - "
Skinner shook his head. "I don't know," he said. "I just don't know. It looked like somnambulism. Do you know if she's prone to it?"
Mulder shook his head.
Skinner went on, "She was standing on the railing and she was... she was going to jump, Mulder. I'm sure of it. But I don't think she truly knew what she was doing. If we hadn't found her - "
"I know." Mulder felt mournful.
"She was incoherent, and kept calling out for a baby - "
Mulder involuntarily winced.
"Does this mean something to you, Agent?"
Something in Skinner's gaze was accusing, angry; Perhaps Mulder was only paranoid, but Skinner's entire manner seemed imply that he was sure, absolutely positive, that Mulder knew exactly what Scully had been talking about.
Mulder felt a rock settle in his stomach. Finally, he answered, "No. I have no idea."
Skinner looked unconvinced, but nodded anyway. "Beyond that, she was..." Skinner's jaw worked, as if he didn't quite know how to voice his next thought.
"She was what?" asked Mulder. He gazed at Skinner pointedly. "Sir?" he asked. "What did you see?"
"I can't explain it."
Mulder felt sure that any minute, he would hit Skinner. "What?"
"She was glowing." Skinner looked annoyed at himself for even thinking such a thing. "Almost blue, a sort of light, I think. I saw it... And the railing - "
Mulder felt as if the bottom was dropping out. Perhaps it was.
"The railing was sparking," Skinner said. "I honestly thought it just would electrocute us both. Why the apparent volatage didn't injure Scully, or knock her over the side, I don't know. But then it just... it stopped, suddenly. And Scully fell backwards, completely narcoleptic... Mulder - I'll say it again, for the hundreth time. What in the hell is going on?"
Mulder took a breath. "I think I have an idea," he said. He struggled for thought, for any thought before the memory of Scully in her hospital bed, but the act was like struggling for breath under water. It was as if he was fighting something, or someone, for control of his own mind. Finally, he came up with a word, a single word: here.
Here. Here here here here here here.
Determined, but utterly unsure of himself, Mulder turned to Skinner. "We have to search the apartment."
Skinner folded his arms, his body language rigid. "What?"
"I think she's here."
"Lily. Don't ask me how I know this. I couldn't explain it if I wanted to. But she's here. I feel it. We've got to search the apartment."
"Mulder..." Skinner paused, did a slight head shake. "I don't know if you've noticed, but this apartment isn't exactly a haven for hide and seek. We've already been in the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom. The bathroom door is open, as is the closet. Just where do you expect this girl to hide?"
A locked room came to mind - one he had helped Scully paint himself, after an afternoon of laughter and pizza. Neither of them had gone in that room since Scully's recovery following the miscarriage. That room was like all the other locked places of his mind, shut up tight, unavailable, dangerous. And now, and now...
Mulder sighed, and gazed down at Scully. She was beautiful, his Scully. And he cared so deeply about her. But if she knew what he was about to do, she would kill him. "I think I know..."
Mulder would just have to open the door.
End chapter 19