Title: DEVIL INSIDE, or What You Need
Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
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Archive: By author's permission only
Category: SA, M/S
Spoilers: "Demons", "Triangle". Beyond that, I'm not at liberty to say.
Timeframe: Season 6
Keywords: Sexual situations, NO romance. Bad things narrowly averted.
Summary: A prophecy almost comes true.
DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the whole X-Files gang, not to me. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Those of you who only know me from my lighter stories don't know the whole story. This is not light at all. You have been warned.
DEDICATION: for Michael H.
COPYRIGHT: (C) March 28, 1999, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, firstname.lastname@example.org
Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.
Part I - "Mystify"
Mulder's stereo was blaring out an INXS CD when Scully came to his door on a frosty Saturday. She had agreed to stop by this morning to go over some notes for a meeting on Monday. Since she was sure he'd never hear her knocking over the loud music, she smiled as she put her key in his lock, imagining his embarrassed face when she caught him dancing solo like an idiot in front of his coffee table.
Then she heard the crash.
Something heavy inside his apartment had hit something metal, or had fallen. The noise made her heart pound and set all of her senses on alert. She burst into his entry hall and dropped her coat, finding no evidence of any activity beyond weekend puttering. The kitchen was also empty. The stereo still sang to itself, making it hard to hear anything else. "Mulder, are you in here?" she called. "Are you okay?" There was no answer. In frustration, she finally turned off the screaming music and listened hard.
A crumbling, crunching sound drifted to her ears from the bathroom. Agent's instincts at the ready, she drew her gun and moved to the closed door. Small settling sounds were coming from inside, so she knocked on the wood panel. "Mulder, you in there? I'm coming in!" she announced, turning the knob and pushing. The door resisted her normal force, so she shoved her shoulder against it firmly. She made herself imagine that a huge heap of magazines had collapsed on the other side of the door, holding it closed, a much more calming mental image than the ones that threatened to swim before her eyes.
With a concerted effort, the door finally budged just enough for her to push her head inside. All of the horrible pictures that had tried to flood her mind were replaced by the real one that she found on the other side of the door.
There lay Mulder, naked but for a torn necktie, crumpled face-down on the bathroom floor with the shower curtain rod laid across his body, its end wedged against the door preventing her entrance. She was just able to reach through the gap and hoist it out of the way so she could push her way through the door and jump to his side.
"Oh, my God! Mulder!" she gasped, hoping that he could hear her. She felt for his pulse, which was strong. There was a small cut on the back of his head bleeding steadily, but not profusely. She noted that his chest rose and fell in a normal pattern and let go a relieved sigh. However, he was still out cold, possibly from the curtain rod having conked him on the head. She scrambled for an idea of how to bring him around so she could make sure he hadn't suffered any spinal or brain trauma.
She pulled a washcloth from the rack hanging next to the sink and soaked it in cold tap water, thanking the gods of old buildings that the water resting in the pipes wasn't even close to room temperature. When the cloth was dripping, she wrung it out a little and placed it gently against the back of his neck, letting droplets run into his hair and around to his throat. As she had hoped, he startled under her touch and let out a pained groan.
"Ugh... Scully?" he wheezed, starting to get up when he saw her.
"No, wait. Careful, Mulder. I want to make sure you're not hurt. Can you wiggle your toes?"
"I think so," he grunted, but following her instructions easily.
"Good," she sighed. She wound a handful of toilet paper off the wall-mounted roll and folded it neatly into a poultice. She applied it to the cut on his head and asked, "Here--can you give me your arm?" patting the one closest to the wound. He unbent his arm stiffly and reached for her outstretched hand. She posed his elbow in a natural position and pushed his hand against the makeshift dressing. "Hold that there. Can you do that?"
"Yeah," he agreed groggily, slowly sitting up with her assistance and allowing her to prop him against the wall.
"Do you think anything's broken?"
"No," he groaned, testing each joint gingerly.
"Follow my finger," she ordered, waving her index finger back and forth in front of his eyes while watching them carefully, then checking the size of his pupils.
"This looks familiar. Have we done this before?"
"Yeah, up in New England. You might have a concussion, but I think you'll be okay once the bleeding stops." He started to move the paper from his head. "No, leave that there for now. Head wounds bleed like nobody's business, even little tiny ones like that."
"I think I remembered that, too."
"That's good. Are you cold?"
"A little. Mostly overexposed."
"Oops!" she exclaimed, realizing that he sat with his other hand cupped carefully over his genitals. She yanked down a bath towel and helped him tuck it over his lap. "Sorry about that. Health-professional detachment must have taken over. Now, tell me: what the hell happened?"
Part II - "Suicide Blonde"
At once his expression turned serious and dark. She searched his eyes again, this time for answers. He looked away, his eyes shying from hers guiltily.
"Mulder, what's wrong?"
After a long silence, he murmured, "I'm sorry, Scully."
She looked around and tried to piece together the mystery on her own, since he was refusing to help. He had obviously fallen, but how? She looked over the shower curtain rod. The plastic curtain lay bunched in a heap at one end of the pole, as if it had been pushed out of the way. "Did you trip getting into the shower?"
"No," he replied sullenly.
She examined the ends of the curtain rod more closely. There were large chunks of dried plaster affixed to the hardware, and the wall bore holes into which they could have fit neatly at precisely the right height. "It would have taken a lot of force to yank this rod out of the wall..."
Her voice trailed off as she spied a scrap of fabric lying on top of the shower curtain. One end had been tied around the pole with a hard knot, and the other was torn, exactly matching something she had seen very recently. Her eye was drawn to the ragged necktie that Mulder still wore.
Scully's brain jumped idly to a conclusion she was loath to confirm. "Oh, no," she balked, shaking her head with a haunted gaze in her eyes, "not *that*."
Her eyes stung suddenly, and her vision blurred as if she were underwater. "Did you even leave me a note?"
"A note?" He sounded puzzled that she would expect such a thing.
"Oh my God, Mulder," she wailed, falling to her knees beside him and grabbing his broad shoulders in white-knuckled hands. "How *could* you? You were just going to check out and not even let me know *why*?" She forced him to look her in the eye. "Has it been *that* bad? I know things between us have been sort of strained recently, but I would still hope that you felt like you could come to me with your problems. Don't you at least care about me *that* much? Or is it *because* of me? Is this *my* fault?"
He met her gaze with a confused look. "Is *what* your fault?"
"*This*!" she shrieked, gesturing wildly at the damaged curtain rod with an upturned hand. "You need professional help. I don't care how desperate you must be feeling. Suicide is *never* the answer!"
"Suicide?" He sounded shocked and more than a little stunned. The hand holding the paper dressing slumped to the floor.
She flung her arms around his neck and clutched him frantically to her. "Oh, God, Mulder, I don't want to think about what might have happened if I hadn't been here! What in the hell were you thinking? What if you *had* been successful? What then?"
"I'm really sorry, Scully, but..."
She shot to her feet and cut him off, pacing back to the door of the room. "I certainly *hope* you're sorry, Mulder! Damn it, I don't know what I've got to do to convince you how important you are to me! I couldn't go on without you! I can't tell you how upset it makes me that you would try to kill yourself without trying to find somebody who could help you."
"I know I must not sound very supportive right now, but I'm angry, and scared, and just plain horrified that you..." She left her sentence hanging and replayed his comment in her head. "What?"
"I wasn't trying to kill myself."
Part III - "Original Sin"
She stopped in her tracks and spun to face him. "You weren't trying to hang yourself from the shower curtain rod?"
His eyes darkened again, veiling his usually open face. "I didn't say that."
"I beg your pardon?" Now it was her turn to look puzzled. "You *were* trying to hang yourself?"
He swallowed nervously. "Um, yeah."
"Wait a minute. Lemme get this straight. You weren't trying to kill yourself..."
"But you *were* trying to hang yourself."
Her last words were addressed to the part in his hair, as his head sagged from his shoulders. He nodded limply in reply.
She crouched next to him again, bending her head to try to look at his face. "Answer me this, Mulder. What in the hell were you doing?"
He finally straightened his shoulders and took a deep breath before answering. "Maybe Clyde Bruckman was right."
Scully leaned back on her heels and regarded her partner warily. "Clyde Bruckman was right? Right about what?"
He slowly pulled his knees in and pushed himself cautiously to a standing position, tucking the bath towel around his waist. "Remember what he said to me in the car? About auto-erotic asphyxiation?"
She rose to face him. "Excuse me? You're saying that you were..."
He brushed past her and stalked unsteadily to the door. "That's right, Scully. I was masturbating."
"While hanging yourself from the curtain rod?" she pursued, ignoring the rising color in his cheeks.
His voice remained frighteningly steady, clashing with the shame he wore on his face. "Oxygen deprivation just makes it that much better when I, uh, come. I guess I passed out and my weight pulled the curtain rod down. Luckily, I didn't actually stop breathing."
Her knees suddenly refused to hold her upright, and she sat down clumsily on the closed lid of the toilet. "I've heard about people doing that, but I had no idea that you..."
He kept his distance, but his voice faded to a contrite but cold whisper. "I'm sorry, Scully. I'm sorry you had to find out like this. I'm sorry for your sake that I almost killed myself by doing it. But it's true: I indulge in kinky self-gratification practices." He bit off the technical words as if they left a nasty taste on his tongue.
She looked up at him angrily. "God, Mulder, how stupid are you? I mean, people have *died* doing this! If the plaster in here hadn't been so old, you might have died, too! Was it worth that? Did the orgasm feel so good that it was worth *dying* for?"
A cloud seemed to pass over his face. "I don't know. Maybe it did."
Part IV - "Bitter Tears"
He opened the bathroom door and moved out into the living room, flopping down on the couch.
She fought down the combined urge to vomit or to cry, then took a deep breath and followed him out, sitting in a chair as far away from him as possible. Her voice cracking, she asked at last, "Compared to what? How long has it been? When's the last time you made love with another human being?"
He stared out the window as he answered her. "It's been a very long time. Truth be told, I don't know that I've ever actually 'made love' with anybody. I've fucked a few people. Sometimes that was enough."
Frustration knitted her brow, and she crept to the edge of her seat. "Maybe so... But can you honestly tell me that touching yourself, whether you can breathe or not, is enough? Is that better than fucking somebody? Is it better than making love?"
At that, he spun to face her with a piercing gaze. "I don't know, Scully. Is it? You seem to be the authority on this kind of thing all of a sudden. So tell me: how long has it been since *you* fucked somebody?"
"Th-that's not fair! This isn't about me!"
In three steps, he was bent over her chair, his hands on its arms, his wild eyes mere inches from hers. "Are you so sure? Are you telling me that you're so much better than I am because I give in to the urge to pleasure myself and you don't?"
"But, Mulder... I..." she stammered into his face.
"Are you sure that you aren't asking me why I'm here jerking off instead of fucking *you*?"
Her back slammed against the back of the chair in retreat from his cruel words. She shook her head in denial. "I never said that."
He straightened slowly, but never took his eyes off hers. "Then why is is it any of your business?"
Scully sat silently, her heart racing and a single tear trickling down her cheek despite her best efforts. She didn't know how to answer him at first, not wanting to risk making him even angrier. The words slipped out when she could find nothing else to say. "Because I love you."
His armor slipped almost imperceptibly, and he took a step back, looking at her for a long, strained moment. "I'm sorry," he whispered, his voice laced not with apology but with pity.
"Me, too," she conceded, as she stood and went to gather her dropped coat and briefcase. Recalling the purpose of her visit, she pulled out her notes and laid them on the vestibule table. "Uh, let me know if you have any questions about these. I'll see you in Skinner's office Monday morning." She slipped out of the apartment, afraid to look at her partner, the man who had once told her he loved her, too. She refused to let out the sob that had caught in her throat until she stood on the street next to her car and looked up at his window, where he remained motionless as he watched her leave.
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