We All Die Virgins
By Jaime Lyn
* All disclaimers and headers in Chapter 1.  This is chapter 20.

Okay, so format here is still doing wacky things, and I don't know why.  I wanted to blockquote this chapter - like the others - but netscape said no (it was actually more of a "fuck you" kind of "no," since when I tried the increased indent, it actually erased half the chapter. *sigh*)  Anyway.  If you have problems with this, let me know.  
 -- J

Chapter 20


11400 Commonwealth Dr,
Georgetown, Maryland,
7:55 pm

Mulder listened in at the door to Scully's spare bedroom, frowning.  

Nothing yet.

He pressed his ear to the wood, feeling as if, at any minute, his entire body would spontaneously combust.  On the one hand, he was glad Scully was still alive.  On the other hand, he was a bit nervous she would kill him when she woke up.  

"Agent Mulder?"  

Mulder waved a hand at Skinner, made a soft shushing noise.   Admittedly, he felt sort of silly, but the last thing he wanted was to alert the girl to their presence.  No.  They had to be quiet, stealth-like. They couldn't go after Lily until Mulder had a plan.  

"It's silent," Mulder whispered, squinting, thoughtful.  He cleared his head, took a deep breath.  A short, sudden tingle shot through him, and he decided to follow his instincts.   "But I think she's in there.  I'm almost positive."  He backed away from the door, and Skinner followed.  

"You're serious?  This girl from Long Island?"

"Lily Ann Harbor.  Yes.  And possibly her dead sister."

"Oh, of course." Skinner massaged the bridge of his nose, sounding put-out.  "And now what?  How can you be positive that this girl will even have the knowledge to...to help... Agent Scully?"

"I can't be.  But since I'm pretty sure she's the one who caused Scully's illness in the first place -" Mulder gazed off, down the hallway, at Scully's bedroom.  "I'm thinking she'd be the one to set things as they were."

"As they were before what, Agent Mulder?"

Mulder scratched the back of his neck, thinking of Scully, of the forks embedded in her wall, of her mind, merging with his, their two strains of consciousness kissing for only an instant; honestly, he couldn't bring himself to care, any longer, what Skinner thought.  "Before Scully became a powerful telepath who exhibited the ability to move objects around with her mind," said Mulder, distracted.  

Skinner sighed.  "Right.  I forgot."   His palm rubbing his shiny forehead.  "But you can't get into the room, can you?"

"No.  Not at the moment. Not unless I break it down, and that's a bit dramatic, don't you think?"  

"Is there a key?"

Mulder swallowed, and averted his gaze.  He felt a rock in his stomach when he thought about the room: the pastel walls, the boxes of stuffed animals he'd pilfered from his old house on the Vineyard.  He'd never told Scully, but he'd been hoping for a girl.  A little girl. His and Scully's baby girl.  "Scully doesn't appreciate visitors in that room," Mulder explained, vaguely.

"But there is a key."  Skinner sounded impatient. He folded his arms, chin jutted.  "Tell me you know where it is, Mulder."

Mulder shrugged.  "Not especially."  He began walking again - in the general direction of the living room.  "But I might know where to find it."


A thud, and a curse, and Lily was jolted from her float, nearly tossed out of her own body.

"Lily!  What do you think you're doing?"

Kelsey's fist balled, her body tight; she was on the rampage.  Her deep set, lovely eyes blazed, bright blue and watery, almost maniacal, her arms straight out, battering rams of force.  She grasped Lily by her upper arms and shook her, jiggling and jiggling.  Lily's dark brown hair flared out, catching Kelsey square in the face. Lily gasped.  Kelsey jabbed a finger into Lily's sternum and hissed, "Get them back."

Lily's heart raced.  Truth be told, she had no idea Kesley could actually tell when a subject had been let go from a floating hold.  Lily had planned to do the releasing quietly, softly.  But now it was as if Kelsey was inside her head, seeing her thoughts, looking in on her.  Kelsey had opened the top of Lily's brain and peered inside, and it was obvious now that what Kelsey had seen, she didn't like. There were no secrets anymore.  None at all.  Not between sisters.  

Lily's eyes narrowed.  She felt small, suddenly, and she needed to get out of the room.  The walls were trying to suffocate her.  Taking a breath, she said, "I don't want to get them back."

"What? Why? Are you insane?"

"Are you?"

Both sisters glared at each other, chests heaving, out of breath.  

"You want Fox Mulder," said Kelsey.  "You want him, you have to kill her."


Kelsey's eyes narrowed, cold and cruel.  "Why?  What are you, all of a sudden?  A saint?  Give me a goddamned break, Lil.  Cut the sanctimonious crap and suck it up."


"Don't argue with me, twisted sister."

"Why, Kelsey?  Tell me why - "

"Because you have nothing!"  Kelsey's voice grew desperate.  "You've always had nothing.  Nothing but beatings and Momma and the sin stick and the men of God coming for you - remember them?  Remember? The needles?  All that pain?  Now you can take your life back.  You can have him.  Take him, you silly, stupid fool."

"I... I can't."  

Lily gazed down at the teddy bear - that teddy bear meant for a baby who would never be born. The unhappiness behind its button eyes glowed, waiting.  Untold things, secret longings, all locked away, eroding at the surface now.  Bottled up pain filled this room; it threatened to take off the roof of the entire apartment.  The air hummed with energy, an electrical sort of charge.  Even if Lily wanted to, she couldn't break through and make that energy hers.  She'd tried, and began losing pieces of herself to the battle.

The teddy bear - Lily kept coming back to the teddy bear.  That pathetic, worn little doll.  

Truth was, Lily just couldn't go through with it.  At first, she'd thought she could kill that Scully woman and be done with her.  All the woman's ambitions and hopes, her dreams for the future and her memories of love and home - Lily could wipe them out without a second glance.  Dana Scully didn't deserve to live.  She was a vixen.  A vampiress.  Lily could make her disappear.  Just... disappear.  

But no.  

It was wrong, wicked.  She couldn't.

Lily had seen into the Scully woman's head.  Lost babies and bad jokes and late night stake-outs and a dead sister and field cases and a little brother who had drowned in the river, and oh, oh, so much more. There was so much more that soon, all of the thoughts would rip her open.  So much inside that woman.  Fear of faceless men, of shadows, of God, and yet a childlike askance of Him - a determination to make herself seen and heard and listened to by Him, and by her partner, to make a difference in the world.  Dana Scully was too strong.  Lily could not fight such determination.  

And then there was the man. Fox Mulder.  Oh, how Lily loved his name.

But a love between them was not meant to be.

Mulder's desperation for Dana Scully was like a suffocating grip.  He was blindsided by it, saw nothing else. Lily had seen into his nightmares: Dana Scully at his feet, motionless, pale, in a pool of her own blood.  Red  and dripping and slick, catching the light.  Mulder sobbing and sobbing, dropping to his knees, to the ground, clutching her lifeless body, pleading with her, begging her, get up, please, get up, not understanding that this was it, this was the end -  It was like Juliet's desperation for Romeo, too passionate, too strong; how could Lily break such love and live with herself?  


She couldn't do it.  

Sinning, sinning, Lily had done so much sinnning.  Momma had used the sin stick on Lily, marred her arms and back, sent her down into the basement, into the box, that dark box, oh, dear Lord, the box, and then she'd called the men of God and pleaded with them: cure my evil daughter, cure her of these sins!  And now Lily understood why.  Momma knew.  Momma had always known.  She knew evil would happen to Lily, would come swiftly, and she'd wanted to make Lily pay.  The wickedness of such a girl, a girl who could do unearthly things with her mind and devestate innocents - this wickedness needed to be punished before it could grow.  

A sinner, Lily was. A sinner, a sinner, a -

No, no no no!

Lily was a good girl.  She was just young.  She wasn't like Momma said.  She wasn't the devil's seed.  She needed to do like Bogart and get on the goddamned plane.  No more destruction.  No more!  She could make things better.  

"I just want to go to Hollywood," Lily whispered, choked.  "I want to be famous."

"You don't know what you want," hissed Kelsey.  She shook Lily again, and her voice rose.  "If you don't finish them off now, you're going to regret it. You're going to be miserable.  You're going to die alone.  You're going to die a goddamned virgin!"

"What does any of that matter?"

"It matters to you." Kelsey's eyes were dark, swirling, almost black.  Unnatural.  She was glowing. Jesus, Kesley was glowing!  She was blue and glowing and swirling, and her rage seemed to suck out all the air, leaving the room in a vacuum of wild, untamed thought.  A vaccum of unfinished business.  "Don't play stupid with me, Lily.  Don't lie.  You think about it all the time.  You even dream about it.  You have nightmares.  Never falling in love.  Never having anybody to love you back.  Don't you see?  You know the truth.  It's up there in that pathetic little head of yours.  Everything that matters to you."  

Lily stepped back, hasty, nearly tripping over a half-opened box.  She grasped at the wall, that ugly pastel wall, and righted herself.  Her limps trembled in terror.  Kelsey crept closer, ever closer, bight blue light shooting out her fingertips, out her kneecaps, out her lips, so menacing the blue nearly swallowed everything.
"Wha- what... do - do -do you - mean?" asked Lily, backing ramrod straight against the closet doors.  She needed to hide - to just crawl inside the darkened alcove and wait, like Laurie Strode did in Halloween. This would all go away if she just waited in the closet.

"You hide so many things," said Kelsey, her blue-blonde hair swirling in thick waves, like hair caught under water. "You keep them from yourself.  These thoughts.  All the stuff you don't want to feel.  You keep it all bottled up.  Do you know what happens when you do that?"

"I don't understand!"

"You do!" Kelsey boomed.  "That's why floating works for you, you pathetic little ninny!  Why do you think you have to live in other people's heads?  Why do you think you crave the fantasy?  Don't you get it?"

"Oh God.  Oh God, who are you?"   Tears streaked Lily's cheeks.  "You're not my sister!"  

Lily felt betrayed, denied.  This was not Kelsey.  This was not the sweet, innocent lonelyheart Lily had known all her life.  This was a hideous phantasm, a beast with dead eyes and a merciless soul, a monster sent to kill her.  Lily had been a bad girl, a bad, bad girl devoid of God, and God's love, and now Momma had sent this messenger from the great beyond to kill her.  Perhaps Kelsey was already dead.  Perhaps the ghost had killed her, too.  It would kill everyone in its path. Lily's evil soul had conjured it and now there could be no stopping the devil.  

"I was so whiny and snivelling for so long," said Kelsey - more a thing, or a shroud, than a person. She smiled, eyes narrowing, as if she'd not heard Lily's question.  "I was the weak one. I had to be.  You made me that way.  You couldn't stand to be weak.  You hated it.  You banished it. You and all your flesh and bone and actual, beating heart, you wanted to be the star!  And I had to disappear, all the time disappear.  Lily Ann Harbor, the queen of everything.  It's your fault I'm like this!  It's your fault!"  

Lily brushed away her tears with trembling fingers.  "What are you talking about?"  She gasped, hiccoughed, confused, alone.  "I don't understand.  Please - leave me alone.  Just go away.  Don't kill me. Don't - "

"But when we left the house, you finally lost that pseudo bravado, didn't you?   It fell away.  You needed to be the weak one.  You needed it!  You craved it.  So I gave you what you wanted, just like I always do.  Because I have no other choice.  I was whatever you needed me to be.  Don't you see?  Don't you fucking see?"

"Kels - "

"Shut up!  You can't control me anymore!"  

And then the Kelsey thing was floating up, up into the ceiling, up where the blue erupted into a wall of blue flame, igniting, like pure rage personified, laughing - yes, dear God, she was laughing - and the laugh turned into a scream, and the scream vibrated the walls, and exploded in Lily's ears, and Lily fell to her knees.  "No!" she shrieked, in her head:  "No!"


Scully awoke to mostly darkness, a splitting headache, a stomach tingling, and -  fucking hell, near nudity.

She touched a finger to her bra strap, and then to her bare stomach.  Well... shit. She was half naked.  When had that happened?

Scully yawned, unable to recall when she'd decided to take a nap in her underwear.  She supposed it must have been hot - perhaps the heater was broken? but it certainly wasn't hot anymore.  As a matter of fact, the room felt a few notches below freezing: dark air thickening around her like icy soup, lamplight from outside casting shadows over the furniture.  Her head hurt, and she pressed a finger to the bridge of her nose, massaging. What the hell time was it, anyway?  She had no idea. What had she been doing all evening? Couldn't recall that, either.  Couldn't even remember when she'd actually conked out.  Must've been right after work...

How bizarre. Wasn't like her at all.  Had she taken something? 

Scully sighed, groggy.  Her head swam with images: a bible, Mulder's face, and her own arms, soaking wet, groping through darkness.  The images were powerful, nearly hallucinatory.  Good grief. Must have been one damn powerful sleeping pill that she -

A second glance at her surroundings, and Scully jumped so high she nearly hit the ceiling. "Oh Jesus...  Fuck." She grumbled, and grasped the sides of her head, trying to force out the sudden rush of blood.  

Objects of assorted size and texture lay strewn over the carpet, a minefield of personal belongings as far as the eye could see. Books, shoes, clean shirts, pants, underwear, some dirty suits from the laundry hamper, a few boxes, some yarn (yarn? what the hell?)  and shattered glass.  

Scully frowned, trying to figure out when and why she'd made such a mess of her own bedroom. Had she been drunk? Half asleep? Sleepwalking? And when had she actually passed out -

Hold it.

Shattered glass?

Scully jumped back a second time, this time towards the headboard, and nearly topped over the side of the bed entirely.  Glass.  Shattered window.  Cold, so cold in here.  The window. That was why.  Crap, thought Scully.  Oh crap, crap, crap.  Someone had broken in. That had to be it. They had broken in and drugged her, and then they set her down on the bed, half naked, and now they were going to -

An image of Donny Pfaster, sneering and groping, starting up a bath, turning up the music on her intercom, popped unbidden into her mind.  Scully shivered, fear wedging at the base of her spine.

Shit.  Where was her gun?  She needed her gun.  

Frantic, Scully ran a mental checklist of the afternoon.  Shitty case.  Black eye.  Static electricity. Long Island. Drive back with Mulder. OPR hearing that destroyed her life as she knew it.  Fainting spell.  Leaving the building.  Where did Mulder go?  No idea.  She had this niggling memory of...something strange.  Had Mulder gotten sick? No, no, no, of course he hadn't. But seriously, did he? She couldn't remember.  Nevermind.  Wasn't important.  Wait -

She had gone home, set her jacket down, and her keys, and then her gun -

Aha!  Living room.  The gun was in the living room.  

But she was in the bedroom.


No time for that now, no time for that now.

Taking a breath to try and calm herself, Scully scooted down off the bed, crouched low, predatorial, and searched for anything and everything that might be able to help her.  She felt anamalistic, coiled. Her eyes executed a quick sweep of the room, and she silently cursed herself for not having more knickknacks handy to throw around.  A counter-attack would not be easy empty handed.

An idea flashed to her suddenly, and Scully crawled quickly on her hands and knees towards the window.  She rose to her feet and felt along the desk.  Pencils, blotter, cups - no, no, no - oh, wait, yes! Yes, there it was! Her fingers curled around a jagged edge of glass, and she wielded it like a lance, hand steady.  Satisfied, she turned to face the door, ready to strike, poised on the brink, when a strange thought occurred to her and brought her up cold.  

The glass. Where were the rest of the shards? Only a few pieces for such a large window - that was odd.  

Breathless, hugging her arms close to her chest, Scully snuck forward and peered out the broken window.  She frowned, trying to make sense of the situation; most of the glass was out there, lying in sparkling prisms, on the fire escape.

But why?  

Scully took a long breath.  Consulted her mental databanks.  She felt slow, stilted, stuck in a groove. Struggling, she forced her hazy brain to kick back on, like an air conditioner set on a dial.  Think! she ordered herself.  Think, damn it!

Glass, she thought.  Glass outside, not inside.  Glass shattering towards the fire escape meant the glass had most likely been broken from the inside.  Which, in turn, meant someone had been trying to get out, not in.  But who?  And why?

She heard voices in the other room.  

"Damn, I thought this might be the right one."  Drawers slamming. "If I can't find the goddamned key, I suppose I could just break it down - "


Scully let out a suspended breath, posture going lax.

Oh, thank God.  It was only Mulder.  Mulder would explain this entire thing, and then he would apologize for the window, and then she would kill him. Oh, what a relief that was.  

Scully opened her mouth, shoulders relaxing, to call out for her partner, when a jolt of nerves erupted through her without warning.  

<A vision of flames, bright blue flames, clutching at Mulder, holding him tight, burning him up as he screamed, as he reached for her.  Scully Scully Scully Scully Scully!  The flames would kill him, consume him.  Then the flames would consume her - >

Stilled in horror, Scully sniffed at the air.  No smoke.  Not even the smallest hint of smoke. She shivered, puzzled by her own mind, and felt the air around her constricting.  She'd had such a clear vision of death.  The flames.  She was so sure.  Mulder -

No, she thought.  No.  These visions of hers had to be the result of some sort of opium-like sleeping pill.  She would just go to Mulder and ask him what had happened, and all would be cleared up.  Yes, that made perfect sense, didn't it?

Without consciously considering it, Scully cleared her thoughts, reached out with her mind, gasping for a linear movement of some sort -

<Mulder?> she thought errantly, mostly to herself.  <Are you out there?>  

She clutched the piece of glass to her chest, held it close, a weapon.  She couldn't help the nervousness; her arms tingled.  A slippery presence at her back, dark, and electric.  What was that?  Her feet - she couldn't move.  

<Mulder!> she thought, growing nervous.  <Oh, Christ...>

Something was in the house, thought Scully.  Something low and dangerous.  She had to get to Mulder before this thing did.  But no, she couldn't.  She felt rooted to the spot, paralyzed.  Her limbs were numb.  She couldn't seem to move. What was wrong with her body?

A tingling in the back of her head, and, as if a signal had been cleared, Scully heard Mulder's voice, clear and low, and as shocking as it was familiar.  The sensation nearly sent her reeling backwards.

<Scully?>  A pause.  <Jesus, Scully? Is that really you?>  


Her mouth opened.  

No sound came out.

She couldn't seem to find her voice, but somehow...  

<You can hear me?  Mulder?>

He had heard her in his head?

No.  Insane!  This was simply ludicrous.  She had to be dreaming -

Scully pinched herself, and hissed in pain.  "Ow!  Fuck!"

Okay, fine.  Not dreaming.  Still.  How was this possible?  Talking to Mulder in her head?   Tomorrow, when she'd be forced to explain herself to Jana Cassidy and the OPR committee, Mulder would get his ass handed to him, and she would get locked up in a padded cell.  

<I can hear you, Scully.  I'm listening. Thank God - I was so worried...>  

Mulder's emotions blanketed her in a soft, cocooning wave. Damn, but she could actually  feel him. It seemed to Scully that the mysterious, cold presence in her room was fighting this; the dark warred with light for dominance.  She couldn't shake the feeling -

He asked <Are you awake?>

<Yes.>  She gazed about the room, waiting for something - she wasn't sure what - to pop out and murder her. It was here, lurking. The something. She had to get out. But how?  

<Are you okay?>

Scully took a few deep breaths.  Was she okay?  No, probably not.  But she truthfully had no clear idea.  The low, trickling crawl of cold seeped into her, absorbing into her skin.  She felt... used.  Opened up.  Wrong.  <I don't know> she returned.  

<What do you need?>  

Scully thought for a moment, pausing.  What she really needed was to figure out whether this conversation was real, or whether she had simply gone berserk.  <The bedroom,> she thought to him, wondering if he would actually come.  <I need you to open the door.  I can't seem to... I can't get to the door.  Something is - >

<Blocking you. I know. Your mind. It's muddled. There's something wrong here.  Too many things and you can't  - >

Scully's eyes went wide with understanding. <Yes!>  She swallowed.  <How did you know?>

<I'm coming, Scully.>  A pause.  <You can still hear me?>

<I can still hear you.>  

Scully closed her eyes, relieved, taking a few deep breaths.  

Then, slowly, the signal shut down, and she felt Mulder's mind slip away from hers, floating away, drifting like a leaf without purchase.  She gasped, and her eyes fluttered open.  The break from Mulder was so palpable, so strong, she nearly wept.  She tried to reach out for him, to find him, to make contact, but she was being pressed down, suspended on someone else's whim.  Her body rejected this, recoiling inward, terrified.  She needed to get up.  Get out.  

But God, it was so hard...

Out loud, she tried to call out his name.  She started, "Mul -

< a dark room with metal tables, young girls all lined up, white surgical scrubs, nervous expressions, waiting.  They wanted to have babies, these women, but it's impossible.  Too much pain, and abduction - they had all been left barren. This place, this secret little hospital, is their last hope.

Some speak, others remain silent.  They want to pass the time, but are terrified. What if they are chosen?  What if they aren't?

The woman in the front rises up from the line, knees shaky.  One of the doctors points to her, says, "You!  Come forward!"  And the woman does, teeth chattering.  

"Tell me this will help me have a baby," the woman blurts, unable to help herself.  "Tell me this won't betray God's Will.  I want to have a baby, sir, but my father says I shouldn't question God, but I can't help but think, why would God not want me to have a child?  See, I just want a baby so badly.  And I can still - "  

"She'll do," the doctor says, not listening, just jotting down notes on a silver clipboard.  He's wearing a dark suit instead of scrubs, and he's the only one, and he looks so utterly out of place in his wing-tips.  "Prepare her for surgery."  Finally, he looks up at the woman, his deep brown eyes smiling, age lines cracked in his face, but cold, devoid.  Nothing behind those eyes. Just darkness.  Black.  Almost inhuman.  "I promise you, you're going to have a fine baby, Miss - " he gazes at the clipboard, "Harbor.  Alice Harbor."   And then he picks up a cigarette from a nearby table, and begins to smoke.  Some of the women cough.  He motions over to another man, and sets down the clipboard.  "Has she signed the permission forms?"

"Yes," says the other doctor, who takes the woman by her shoulders.  

The woman gasps, feeling suddenly as small as nothing.  A speck.  A number.  Yes.  She feels like a number, next in line, move forward, come here, sit here, get the injection, undergo the procedure, have a child, let us monitor it - five-hundred-thousand dollars in your pocket.  Isn't that great?  Isn't that nice? Serve your country, raise a child.  It's the American Dream.  NEXT! >

Scully gasped, holding her chest, heaving deeply, swallowing and swallowing - her mouth was so dry.  She pressed her hands over her face, and then to her shoulders, and then to her stomach, to make sure she was all still there.  She felt sick.  She felt like collapsing.  Metal tables, babies, illegal procedures - these weren't her memories.  What was wrong with her? Where had these images come from?  

"Oh my God," she managed, "Oh my - "

And then something clamped roughly onto Scully's shoulders, slid down her upper arms, clutching tight. The invisible weight lifted from her heart, and a physical weight pressed down on her biceps; suddenly, the weight shook her, and her head snapped back violently.  And forward.  And back.  Over and over, faster.  

Someone was shaking her.  Hard.  What the -


Back and forth, back and forth, her hair in her face, a whirl of deep red, her eyes rattling in their sockets, Oh God, going to be sick, she was reeling, needed to get him to stop, a groan rising up -

"Scully!  Come on, snap out of it!"  

Her hands went to his biceps, and she squeezed back, gasping, "Mulder, stop - "

But Mulder was frantic, utterly terrified - of what, she wasn't quite sure - and they struggled, shaking each other, fighting one another, grunting, clawing, another voice cutting in - "Mulder, let her go, for crying out loud!" until Scully's hand finally came up out of nowhere, and she swung at him with all her strength.  

The hard part of her palm connected with his cheek- SLAP! and Mulder abruptly released her, stumbling over his feet, disoriented.  Scully tripped backwards, falling, without grace, to the floor.  She hit like a rock.

"Ugh," she muttered, with a grimace.  

Rubbing her tail bone, Scully shook her head, trying to ignore the flooding pain in her hand.  Fox Mulder had the hardest head she'd even come into contact with.  Big surprise, that.  

"Ow, Scully."  Mulder glared at her.  "Just... Ow."

"Ow, Mulder?  Are you kidding me?" Scully rubbed at her raw shoulders.  "You could have broken my neck!"

"You hit me."  He sounded perplexed.  

"You shook me," said Scully, just as perplexed.  

"But...You hit me."  

Scully groaned, eyes closing, and cracked her aching neck.  "Oh, cry me a river," she muttered.

The tension in her shoulders quietly eased, the boil in her muddled head slowly cooling.  That cold, terrifying encroach, like needles crawling up her back, abated.  In a few seconds, it was gone almost entierly, and she had problems recalling what it was she'd been so worried about in the first place.  She'd had some sort of vision...

But no.  It was gone, now.  

Scully shook her head.  Good grief.  She must have taken a strong overdose of something.  And now, she needed an asprin.  Badly.  

Blowing air out the corner of her lips, Scully gazed up at Mulder, her eyes softening when she caught the look on his face.  Terror.    

"Mulder."  Her tone was softer, worried. "What happened in here?  Why were you shaking me?"

Mulder's expression shifted, and he looked suddenly very guilty.  "You were asleep, Scully. Something happened earlier, and I had to sedate you.  But then you sort of, you started sleepwalking - "

"I don't sleepwalk, Mulder."

Mulder shuffled his feet, and ignored the comment. " - And Skinner had to break the window to help you... At any rate, sorry about the glass.  I was just coming in now to check up, and...You were awake, but non-responsive."  Mulder opened his mouth, worked his jaw, finished,  "And you were glowing - "

"I was what?"

"Glowing. A kind of blue, bluish grey."

"Are you crazy?"

Someone peripheral made a coughing noise.  "Agent Scully?"  

Scully turned her head, and realized, slightly embarrassed, that A.D Skinner was standing next to Mulder, his arms folded across his chest, his cheeks red, his gaze averted.  He looked embarrassed as hell. And so the day got stranger and stranger.

"Sir?" asked Scully, confused.   "Please don't take this the wrong way... but where in the hell did you come from?  Did Mulder let you in?"  She turned to Mulder again.  "And Mulder, what are you doing here, anyway?"

Mulder frowned.  "You mean you don't remember?"

"I remember the case.  I remember coming home from work. Beyond that, I'm at a loss."  

"Oh."  Mulder pursed his lips.  "Well.  That's... not good."

Scully sighed, irritated.  "No kidding."

"Agent Scully?"  Skinner refused to look at her, still.  "Are you all right?"  As a matter of fact, he seemed to be looking everywhere but at her.  

"Sir?" she repeated. "I'm fine. But what - "

"Mulder seems to think you can explain this," Skinner muttered, waving his hand about the room.  "The mess in here.  The sleepwalking.  The demolition of the kitchen - "

"My kitchen?"  Scully's eyes went wide. "Oh, my God.  Please tell me Mulder didn't go witch-hunting anywhere near my kitchen."

Mulder scrunched his nose, defensive.  "Witch-hunting?  Is that what you think of me, Scully?"

Skinner clenched his jaw.  "Mulder is convinced that there's a girl hiding in your apartment - "

"A girl?"  Scully frowned, beyond confused. "What girl?"  She glanced at Mulder.  "You don't mean Kelsey Harbor, do you?  The girl who went missing?  Would someone please explain to me why - "

" - in your spare bedroom - "

"In my what?"  

Murderous, Scully glanced at Mulder, who looked away, pretending to not have heard.  Scully's blood seemed to freeze over in her veins.  She clenched and unclenched her fist, shoulder muscles pulled tight.  No, she thought.  Not that room.  Not that room.  She had indulged Mulder with this case for too long already, and look what it had cost them.  She refused to give in to any kind of wild fantasies concerning missing witches in her extra bedroom.  Not now.  Not right before the new year.  

"Mulder?" she demanded.  

Mulder's face was red, and he refused to look at her.  

< Mulder?> she tried.  

And in her head, heard, < Second verse, same as the first.  I am Henry the Eighth I am, Henry the Eighth I am, I am - >

<Go ahead, avoid me > she thought at him, refusing to examine the fact that she was, quite comfortably, having a conversation with her partner almost entirely in her head.  <But you are a dead man. If you go anywhere near that room, I'll kill you. >

Mulder's eyes glinted, challenging.  < You think I don't know what you're avoiding?  I was there.>

She chose to ignore him.  

"Sir?" she tried.  

Skinner seemed to be making bedroom eyes at his shoes. Why would nobody look directly at her?

<Feeling a bit chilly, Scully?> 

"What?" she said out loud, turning to Mulder.  

Mulder finally looked up, shrugged sheepishly, and glanced back down at the floor.  

And that's when the adrenaline finally wore off.  A freezing cold draft from the broken window chilled her, caressing her skin, rising the hairs on her arms and legs...


Confused, Scully gazed down...    

<Oh, my God.>

And immediately remembered, with a crushing sense of humiliation, that she was still dressed only in her underwear. On the floor, in a room with a window broken from the inside. And her partner hovering over her.  And her boss, gazing intently at his footwear.  

And, yes, it apparently was very cold.  

"This isn't what it looks like, Sir," Scully muttered, crossing her arms over her chest, wishing she were a cartoon character with an eraser handy.  She certainly felt like a cartoon character.  

"I'm sure," said Skinner.  

"Look.  Why don't I meet you in the kitchen after I - "  Scully glanced at her destroyed bedroom, and her naked legs, and sighed.  "After I change my clothes.  And then you'll tell me what the hell is going on, here, correct?"  She turned a pointed look towards her partner.  "Mulder," she added, for emphasis.    

"That would make two of us," said Skinner..

"We haven't got much time," said Mulder, and he chucked a thumb in the direction of the doorway.  "I don't think Lily knows we're onto her.  So it buys us the ace. Just hurry up, Scully. We'll be right outside if you need anything."

<Like help removing that bra.>  Mulder's sardonic laughter rang out in her head.  

Scully bristled, and at Mulder's retreating back, shot, with a fairly sarastic volume, <Blow me.>  

To which Mulder replied, < Now or Later?>

And then he was out the door, and Scully found herself too annoyed to respond.  

But she hefted a shoe and tossed it at the closed door, and this somehow made her feel better.