Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
Feedback: Please, to the above address!
Archive: By permission only, please
Spoilers: Triangle, Unusual Suspects, Three of a Kind (all slight)
Timeframe: Sometime in the middle of Season 6
Summary: Scully seeks solace in an unusual place
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: This could be a sequel to my first X-Files story, "Somewhere Out There". It could be, but it isn't.
COPYRIGHT: (C) May 11, 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.
I've never told anyone this story. It may not have happened exactly this way, but this is how I remember it.
I must have been concentrating extremely hard on my column for the newsletter that evening, because I hadn't heard the door buzzer at all. Then again, maybe she hadn't rung it. All I noticed was Langly and Frohike arguing in front of the door monitor.
"Joan Crawford!" barked Melvin.
"No way, man! Bette Davis!" countered Ringo.
I shook myself out of typist mode and let the investigator in me take over. I saved my column and blanked my screen, then went to see what had the boys in such a dither. "Is there somebody at the door?" I queried as I made my way across the room to where they effectively blocked the monitor screen.
Horn-rim glasses suddenly faced me. "Yeah, John. Were you expecting Bette Davis this evening?" Ringo asked, amused.
"Naaah," Melvin whined, "she's doing her best Joan Crawford imitation!"
"Who is?" I finally demanded to know.
Frohike's thumb cocked over his shoulder at the monitor. There in fuzzy relief stood Agent Dana Scully, taking a very long drag off of a very short cigarette. "I didn't know she smoked," I muttered to myself. In a louder voice, I asked accusingly, "Isn't anybody going to let her in?" My partners looked at me more stupidly than usual as I buzzed the outer door release and went to unlock the inner security door.
"Make sure she exhales out there before she comes in! It takes forever to get second-hand smoke out of this place!" grumbled Langly after me.
I turned every knob and flipped every latch to break the seal on our inner sanctum, then swung the door aside to find her grinding her cigarette butt under her high-heeled shoe. The last puff of smoke lingered in the air, unfortunately for Langly's sensitive nose.
"Agent Scully," I offered as greeting.
"*Mister* Byers," she returned, overly formal. A distinct look of panic crossed her face as she seemed to debate with herself whether that was an invitation to come in.
"Come in," I said at last. "And please, no need for Misters around here. We're not very fancy."
She brushed past me and shrugged out of her coat, which I caught before it hit the floor. I guess she was more distraught than she was willing to let on. I hung her coat on a wall hook and returned to her side. "What brings you to our little enclave this fine evening?"
"I need you..." she began and faltered, apparently horrified at the prospect, then went on. "I need you to look into something for me."
At that moment all I could look into were her huge, frightened blue eyes, fixed on me as if trying to signal for help without drawing attention from an unseen captor. All I wanted to know was what or who had imprisoned her, while leaving her free to move about on her own. I tore my eyes away unwillingly, remembering that she was not "available", in the classic sense of the word, and returned to my senses.
"I'll see what I can do, Scully." Calling her by her last name sounded strangely cold and masculine to my ears, but it was what *he* called her, so I assumed it was a comfortable solution. "What did you have in mind?"
I pulled up a side chair to my computer and held it out for her, then resumed my seat and brought up my screen. The other fellows were hovering just within earshot, looking as busy as they could muster while eavesdropping on every word we said. I decided to occupy myself in helping our visitor, ignoring the peanut gallery.
"Can you hack into phone company records?" she asked in a hushed voice that revealed her distaste for breaking any laws.
"Yep," I replied, trying to put her at ease with my casual demeanor. "What do you need to know?"
"I want a record of calls made from a particular number."
"Okay. That shouldn't be too difficult." She gave me the number, and I did some digging in the telecommunications archives. The work was not difficult in the least, but it took some time to search around for the right records, and as her attention wandered, her eye eventually drew her to some of the bulletin boards across the room.
In a short while, the data she had requested appeared on my screen. I skimmed it briefly for patterns, then turned to motion her to return. Her back was to me, and I marveled at how small she looked next to all of our equipment. Mulder always towered above the three of us when he visited, and she always seemed to shrink into his shadow as if she were afraid of us. Now here she was, bravely standing alone in the lion's den, but still giving off the illusion of a defensive net surrounding her and the space of about two feet around her on all sides. I tried to determine what article had caught her eye, but was puzzled to note that all of her fascination seemed to be focused on the head of a steel pushpin.
"Uh, Scully," I called, startling her slightly from her concentration. "I think I have the results you wanted..." Something in the set of her shoulders as she returned to her chair made me understand that she did not actually *want* to see what I had to show her, but that it was something she needed to do.
She settled into her seat and scanned the screen uncomprehendingly for a moment. "What am I looking at?"
"Here," I offered, pointing at the numbers and letting several days' records scroll by gradually. "I've found that this number you gave me from Alexandria makes a lot of calls to this number very late at night."
Without so much as an "excuse me", a blonde head emerged from the shadows and popped between ours, skimming the figures on the screen before us. "Alexandria?" Ringo asked, finding the source number. "Oh, yeah! That's Mulder's number! That reminds me... I've gotta call him about getting together to see "Phantom Menace"!" He vanished as quickly as he had appeared, making my telling him to get lost unnecessary.
Of course! That's why it had looked so familiar! Reliance on the speed dial function I'd programmed into my phone made the actual numbers fade from my own memory.
Scully sat in stunned silence, pink freckles beginning to peek through her carefully-applied makeup. So she was using me to spy on her partner, and it embarrassed her that her subterfuge had been discovered.
I had to ask. "He's right, isn't he? This is Mulder's number."
"Yes," she sighed, her eyes studying her hands in her lap intently.
"Do you recognize this number called from his number? The one in..." I squinted at the screen briefly before turning again to her, "Crystal City? It's not yours, is it?" It was not really a question.
"No, it's not mine," she affirmed. "Yes, I recognize it. It belongs to our boss, Walter Skinner. Just as I suspected..." I was unable to meet her eyes, which were still downcast, but was surprised to see a teardrop form on her lashes and fall onto her folded hands with a tiny "plop".
The workroom suddenly felt huge, exposed, and public to all kinds of unwanted attention, especially that of my bozo roommates. "Here," I suggested, "let's go somewhere a little more private." I blanked my screen again and ushered her in as gentlemanly a fashion as I could to my personal quarters, praying that Frohike's eyes didn't stray from the screen at which he was staring.
Moving into my room, I switched on the lamp and immediately dimmed it to a low level, holding out my desk chair for Agent Scully. "Make yourself comfortable. Can I get you a beer or something?" I doubted that there was much "or something" in our sparse kitchen, but I figured that a beer would be a safe bet. Luckily, she nodded quietly, so I left her to compose herself and to fetch some of the beer that made Sapporo famous.
I steeled myself for a moment in the hall, then came back into the room, bottles in hand, shutting the door firmly behind me. The noise seemed to surprise her a little, but she reached up and took the proffered drink with a shy smile. Maybe that defensive net started to slip just a little, too.
I sat on the edge of the bed, the only other piece of comfortable furniture in the room, trying to keep my professional mien intact while indicating that I was ready to listen. "Do you want to talk about it?" I asked, taking a sip of cold liquid.
The tear that I had seen must have been sent as a scout, because backup troops seemed poised in her eyes to spring into action at a moment's notice. "I guess it's true. Now I have proof..."
"What's true, Dana? What did we prove?" My sense of concern for her emotional state overrode my sense of propriety regarding the use of her last name.
"Well, uh..." Her expression changed from one of disappointment to one of genuine curiosity. "I'm sorry, Byers, but I don't think I ever knew your Christian name." She flashed me an apologetic smile that looked as fragile as a preserved butterfly.
"Oh, I'm sorry! You can call me John. Please go on."
"Okay, *John*," she emphasized, the rims of her eyelids flaring red in the low light, contrasting starkly with her fading crooked smile, "now I have solid proof that Mulder has been calling Skinner at home late at night. A lot, just as I thought."
"So what do you think that means?" Cripes! I sounded like a two-bit psychoanalyst!
"You don't get it, do you?" she suddenly asked. I just shrugged and shook my head in ignorance. "What would you be saying to someone you called every night that you were home, and maybe even those nights you were out of town, at about one in the morning, for up to an hour?"
I never claimed to know Fox Mulder well, so I had no idea what she was driving at. I had never had occasion to call anyone on a schedule like that myself, either. "I'm afraid you've lost me, Dana," I acknowledged. "What did you have in mind?"
"Oh, I dunno," she intoned in a singsong, tears starting to break the surface tension and spill down her cheeks as she rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. "Maybe something like, "Sweet dreams. I love you." That kind of thing..."
It was my turn to fall into a shocked silence. Incredulously, I stammered out, "You mean Mulder? ...And Skinner?" For some reason, the idea of Mulder being "that way" did not surprise me in particular. But Assistant Director Walter Skinner? I had met the man, but he hadn't struck me as anyone who might indulge in any office romance, especially not one with another *man*.
"Yeah. I've gotta admit, I was pretty flabbergasted when I figured it out."
Every fiber of my heart wanted to argue with her about this clearly erroneous supposition. "But you can't be sure? I mean just from some phone calls, you think they're having an affair?"
"No, you're right," she quavered, swiping at her nose with the back of her hand. "That's not my only proof. I guess it was my own damned fault that I was still at the office that late..."
I set my beer bottle out of the way on the floor and reached to take her other hand in mine and pat it gently. "What, Dana? Tell me... What did you find?"
"It's what I saw," she began, fixing me again with her tear-filled blue eyes. All I could do was wish that I could erase whatever she had seen from those eyes so they wouldn't have to cry anymore.
"What was it?" I interjected. "I want to know. I want to help." I had no idea how I was planning to accomplish this help at the time, but I felt I should offer it anyway.
Slowly the story came trickling from her, like the tears from her eyes. "I had been working late this evening typing up some reports, when I noticed what time it was. I knew that Mulder was still somewhere in the building, so I thought I would go look for him and see if he wanted to grab some dinner. A lot of offices were dark, so I had been limiting my search to spaces where the lights were on. The hallway outside Skinner's office was dim, and his door was closed, but I could see lights shining brightly around the closed venetian blinds in the vestibule window. I peeked through a gap, not wanting to disturb anyone who might be busy inside."
"What did you see?" I had an idea what she was going to say, but my morbid curiosity got the better of me.
Scully bit her lip nervously, but kept up her report. "I saw Assistant Director Skinner standing in the middle of the room, and Mulder was there, standing very close to him."
"What were they doing?" I wish I could say that I dreaded her reply, but for some reason I did no such thing.
"Well, at first they just seemed to be talking, but then I noticed Skinner raise his arms and put them around Mulder. It took me a moment to realize that they were embracing, that they were, uh..." Her voice failed her.
"Go on," I urged.
"They were kissing," she squeaked in a high, strained voice. She was crying openly now, but continued with what she had to say. "I was pretty sure that they couldn't see me. I couldn't stop watching them. They seemed so intimate, so involved with each other. I had never seen Mulder that much at ease with anyone."
"Well," she swallowed briefly, "with anyone but me."
I decided it would have been prying to ask if her relationship with him had ever had a physical component. "What happened then?"
"I should have stopped looking. I should have pulled myself away from there and just gone back to my office, put on my coat, and gone home. But I couldn't... And then I saw it."
"There's more?" I asked, handing her the box of tissues I kept on my nightstand.
She nodded and dabbed ineffectually at her eyes. "Mulder started to move. I thought maybe he was going to step away from Skinner and come to the door, and I almost left. But then I noticed that he was getting down on his knees, and opening Skinner's trousers, and..." Sobs choked off her words, and she wept aloud, her heart breaking before me.
The mental image of Dana Scully frozen in horror at the sight of her partner performing fellatio on her boss overwhelmed me. I could not stop myself. I rose from where I sat and went to her chair, drawing her to me. She wrapped her arms around my waist and bawled into my vest. I found myself stroking her hair, pressing her head against me, thankful that the walls were heavily soundproofed. I tried to shush her, asking, "And you came here right after that?"
"Mmmm-hmmm," she murmured against me, her voice catching in her throat. "I didn't know what to do or where to go. I suddenly thought that you guys might be able to find some information for me, just to confirm or disprove my suspicions. Actually, I'm glad you came to the door. I don't know what I would have done if I had found Frohike here by himself..." At that thought, she seemed as if she might crumble into a small heap of dust. *Wet* dust, because she never left off weeping.
Alarms that only I could hear, and that were disturbingly easy to ignore, went off in my head as I pulled her with me to sit on the edge of the bed. I should have felt ashamed at how good it felt to hold Dana Scully in my arms and comfort her as she cried in shame. The voice of common sense made a last-ditch effort to salvage what was left of my soul.
"You love Mulder, don't you?" I reminded her when she had quieted enough to hear me.
She held me at arm's length for a moment and took a deep breath, considering how to answer me. "Yes, John, I do," she finally confessed, almost as if to a priest through a little screened window. For a moment, I thought vainly that I had rescued the situation, but then she surprised me. "To think that he once told me that he loved me, too! I don't think I can believe that anymore..." Once again her face turned wrongside out, and she wailed into my shoulder with me patting her head, which had all the success of blowing lightly to try to extinguish a forest fire.
I wracked my brain for any line of logic that might bring her some comfort or make her see reason. "Dana, did you ever act on your feelings for Mulder? Did you ever tell him about them?"
Beyond words, she shook her head weakly against my neck, brushing my throat softly with scarlet wisps of her hair. I closed my eyes and swallowed hard before continuing.
"I don't think he meant to hurt you. I'm sure of it. Maybe he does love you, but maybe not the way you thought he meant it." I regretted my choice of words the second they had come out of my mouth, but rather than making her lose control any further in guilt and privation, she quieted in my arms. "You've been waiting for him a long time, haven't you?"
She snuffled and nodded in reply. "Six years. I guess I just always assumed that we would end up together..."
"I'm sorry, Dana. I'm sorry that I had to be the one to find the evidence that proved to be the end of your hopes."
"That's okay," she sighed, pulling back slightly. "I feel like a fool, wasting so much of my life on a dream that will never come true."
I rushed in to work on reparations. "But you're not a fool. It just shows that you have faith, patience, constancy. You're like him, you know--you believed in something important to you for a long time. It's just hard when you find out it isn't so."
She dropped the wadded-up soggy ball of tissue that she had been clutching into my wastepaper basket, withdrew a fresh tissue, and blew her nose. "You're right: it is," she assented. "Thank you for being so kind, John. You're a good man..." She gave me another crooked smile at last, then took my chin in her closest hand and drew my cheek near her lips, gracing it with a small kiss.
My mouth kept flapping despite all of my best efforts to rein it in. "Don't sell yourself short. You're bound to find someone worthy of your love and faith, someone who'll appreciate your goodness, your beauty..."
What finally stopped my mouth was hers. She cut off my sentence mid-thought with a real, solid kiss pressed to my lips. I found myself exchanging her caress with one of my own before I really realized what was happening. With a pang of conscience, I broke away and tried to stop the avalanche. "Wait, Dana! I don't think this is what you want!"
"I haven't gotten what I wanted for a long time," she said simply, punctuating her statement with another soft kiss. "I should be used to it by now." Another kiss. "Besides, tonight I wanna celebrate. Tonight is the birth of a brand-new Dana Scully, one who isn't so blinded by devotion that she mistakes brotherly affection for true love, one who isn't afraid to make love with a good man once in awhile..."
I glanced in dismay at her beer bottle, which stood on my desk and, fortunately, appeared to be almost untouched.
She started to push me down onto the mattress by the shoulders, and I valiantly fought to remain upright. "Dana, stop and look at what you are doing! I mean, if this is what you truly want right now, I don't know how I can deny you that. But are you really sure this is what you want?"
Pausing to think, she sat back and bit her lip, making me want my turn at it, in spite of myself. "Y'know, John, I thought I knew what I wanted for six long years. Now that that's been taken away from me, I'm not sure *what* I really want anymore. Haven't you ever loved someone you couldn't have?"
I nodded, remembering Suzanne's face, Suzanne's kiss... "Yes, Dana, I have," I whispered, squeezing her hand in mine.
"Then you know what it's like. And you also know how sometimes just a little affection will get us by, right?"
I thought back to the last time a beautiful woman had offered herself to me in this bed, wincing inwardly at how much she had charged for the privilege. But, yes, I found truth in her words in that, at the time, it had helped "get me by".
"So whaddya say? How about it?"
I looked hopelessly for an escape route, and finding none, asked one last time, "Are you sure, Dana?"
"Yes, John, I am." She leaned past me, lying back on my pillow and looking up at me with a resolute glint in her eye. "Make love to me tonight. Please."
I noticed her kick off her shoes, so I did likewise. Her eyes followed me as I hung my jacket on the back of the chair and draped my tie over it carefully. I folded my vest and set it on the seat of the chair, then reached to unfasten my trousers. As the fly fell open, I turned away from the beauty on my bed, closed my eyes and offered up two words of silent prayer: "Forgive me." I do not know exactly to whom these words were addressed.
Once again, I sat on the edge of the bed, dropping my socks into my shoes, then turning to Dana, who, I was pleased to note, had stopped crying entirely. I brushed a stray lock of auburn hair away from her forehead and kissed her there, softly and reverently. My hand continued around her head and swept under her neck to lift her mouth to mine. The tiny exhalation that the effort nudged from between her lips beckoned me, and I fell on her, my tongue claiming hers as conquered territory.
My other hand pushed her jacket off her shoulders, taking advantage of the space between her body and the bedspread to free it and toss it as carefully as I could on the floor. One kiss became many as I laid her back onto the pillow, then opened the delicate buttons of her blouse and sought out her breasts by touch alone. I straddled her body on my knees as I broke free of her yearning mouth and sat back to look at her, unbuttoning my own shirt.
"My God, Dana, you are beautiful. I'm sorry I never paid attention to that before." My apology sounded trite even to me, but she smiled sweetly and kissed me as she sat up a bit to lift her arms from her shirtsleeves, loosen her bra, and drop the lacy white garments onto her discarded jacket.
"Thank you, John. You are so good to say so," she murmured, pulling my hand towards a firm nipple as she fell back onto the bed.
"I mean it," I swore, lowering myself so I could kiss the tip of her other breast. "I feel like the luckiest man on earth to have you here with me tonight," I said before I took the rosy nub between my lips and suckled at it purposefully.
She gave the smallest of breathy moans, and I looked up to see her head tipped back, her eyes closed to focus on the sensation. Her slim fingers wound into my hair as I brought both of her nipples to taut buttons.
At once I lunged up to kiss her roughly, enjoying the sensation of pressing my chest against hers with only the light cotton of my undershirt separating our bodies. I reached for her hip where her slacks were held together with a button, smiling to myself as she helped slide them off, then began to tug at my sleeve, coyly stripping away my dress shirt. My undershirt soon followed, as did her stockings, leaving us both feeling flushed with arousal and clad only in our underpants.
A shudder ran the length of my spine as she reached out to touch my erection, which showed clearly through the snug fabric of my briefs. Her legs opened as I gingerly fingered the crotch of her panties, finding them warm and damp to the touch. I laid my head beside hers on the pillow and gathered her in my other arm while I bravely reached under the elastic slung low on her hips and made contact with the crisp curls inside and the wetness beyond. Her curious fingers found their way inside the flap of my underwear and settled around my penis, making it weep in anticipation.
We lay there, kissing and fondling each other like two horny teenagers for a very long time. I was almost convinced that that would be enough until Dana freed her mouth and caught my eye again. "It's okay, John," she reassured me, "please go ahead with this. There's only so long a girl can wait."
I sat up and let go of her, looking at her to find any hint of hesitation. "Are you really ready? Do you really want me? Trust me, you won't hurt my feelings if you want to stop now."
She sat up and grabbed me in her arms, kissing me wildly. Her hands carelessly slid off my briefs, though I was spared even minor injury. "Please!" she begged. "All I can feel right now is empty and alone, and I need you inside me to make me forget that hole where my heart used to be!"
I stood up and rifled through the bedside table, looking for a condom and hiding the fact that her pitiful words had made tears spring to my own eyes. Finding a small plastic packet, and relaxing a bit when I saw that the expiration date hadn't passed just yet, I fitted the protection into place as she removed her panties and raised her knees to me.
With a soft grunt, I slipped inside her, taking a prize that wasn't meant to be mine. Her hands clung so tightly to my arms that I thought she might break them off at the elbows. We quickly moved from tender lovemaking to basic needy intercourse, as I hoped that she mistook the moisture on my face for perspiration.
Dana's eyes were shut tight, her lip caught awkwardly between her teeth as she strained for physical release. I was able to tuck my thumb above our point of confluence and tickle her clitoris in an attempt to put her over the top. She yowled and groaned deep in her throat, searching for something or someone that wasn't there.
Finally, I understood what was wrong. "It's okay, Dana," I soothed. "Forget it's me tonight. If it helps, pretend I'm him. Don't come for me, Dana. Come for Mulder."
With that, a sob broke from her throat, and I felt a tightening inside her body, coaxing my orgasm from me with her desperate cries ringing in my ears. I chided myself for persisting in the opinion that there was nothing more lonely or desolate in this world than solitary masturbation, for this stand-in performance had to be ten times worse.
As quickly as they had begun, her spasms stilled, the pressure dissipated: her need gone, replaced by tearful whimpering. I held her gently, cooing nonsense syllables to her as she came back to herself, hating myself for being the instrument of her self-torture.
I cautiously brushed the streaks from her face, asking, "Are you all right, Dana?"
She finally opened her eyes, catching her breath, and nodded, though she seemed reluctant to meet my gaze.
We untangled our limbs and disengaged our joining, whereupon I felt chilled by more than the sudden absence of her body heat. I stood and found my robe, tying it hastily at my waist. "If you'd like to freshen up, the washroom is the second door past this one to your right."
"Uh, thanks," she replied in a subdued voice, scrambling quickly into her panties and blouse and gathering her clothes to take with her.
I sensed that she would not return to my room tonight, or ever, so I quickly tried to find the words that would make our actions a little less wrong. "Look," I blurted, "I'm sorry if this ended up hurting you."
"It's not your fault," she answered, fixing me at last with eyes still stained with tears. "Somebody already beat you to that."
The door closed behind her, and I cleaned up with a few more tissues, pausing to blow my nose and finish my beer. I stepped out into the hall as she reappeared from the bathroom, looking as if she'd had a good cry, but otherwise not much different than always.
"Here, let me see you out," I offered, finding her coat and walking her to the door. "If you want, I can call you tomorrow and see how you're feeling."
"That's not necessary," she countered, all business again, but allowing me to hold her coat as she slipped it on.
I grabbed her arm gently before she could step away. "No, Dana. I want to. Is that okay?"
This brought me a sad, shy smile and a quick, careful hug. "Oh, okay. That would be nice. It's good to know that somebody cares. Thank you, John. Good night." Once again, her lips brushed my cheek before she breezed out the door I held open for her.
"Good night, Dana," I answered, feeling myself smile back at her. "Sweet dreams."
I flipped the locks closed and turned the knobs to seal us in for the night. My thoughts were a jumble as I returned to my computer screen to shut it down. Had she planned this whole evening all along, or did it just happen? What had she really come here hoping to find, and did she in fact find it? If there were any villains in this piece, was I one of them?
Langly appeared around the corner, taking in my attire and expression with a glance that told me he understood a lot more than he was willing to let on. "Hey, Byers. You up for a quick game of L5R?"
"No, thanks, man. I think I'm gonna see if there's any Joan Crawford movies on cable..."
I'm sure I heard him mutter, "Whatever..." after me before I went back to my room alone.
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