Encounter with the Undead|
By Mary Kleinsmith (Buc252@aol.com)
Category: Halloween Challenge. Written for VS10 Halloween Special event
Keywords: MSR, Angst, a touch of MT
Spoilers: Bad Blood
Archive: Two weeks exclusively on VS9, then ATF, Ephemeral and anywhere else. Just keep my name attached.
Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully and all the others belong to Chris Carter, 1013 and Fox. No copyright infringement intended.
Summary: An acquaintance from the past comes back to haunt Mulder and threaten his happiness with Scully. (No, it's not a ghost!)
Feedback: It would be much appreciated!
Authors' Notes: I chose, for personal reasons, not to participate in a full story in this year's VS10, despite having a good experience last year with Dreamweaver. It was not an easy decision, or entered into lightly, but for the non-authors out there, I can tell you that writing a VS episode is not nearly as easy as you might think. I'd decided that, for this year at least, I'd be on the sidelines. And then Vickie asked me about the Halloween Special. During our chat, an idea - this idea - bloomed, and when Susan added her voice to Vickie's, I finally decided that this is what I was meant to do. So here it is, folks. I hope you like it!
Encounter with the Undead
By Mary Kleinsmith (Buc252@aol.com)
It never failed. The worst case in the world, taking place during the worst week of his life . . . and now he had to look forward to answering the door all night, giving candy to kids he didn't know. Kids who could be his own . . . if he'd just get off his ass and marry Scully. It didn't matter that she couldn't birth them herself; if they couldn't have them, they could adopt them. But they'd be THEIRS.
Okay, this is too depressing. The big X-File had ended in a foot chase through a garbage dump, and ended in his tackling the very human, very normal suspect in the biggest pile of waste he'd ever seen. Heck, anybody had ever seen. He was disgusting, stinking so bad he didn't dare sit down on the sofa to rest his tired muscles without cleaning up first.
Ahhhh, cleaning up. A hot shower . . . real soap, not those horridly tiny little bars motel rooms gave you . . . a shower head that sprayed OVER his head instead of into his neck. It sounded like heaven.
He wasn't sure if his suit was salvageable, but he'd give the dry cleaners a chance, he thought as he shed each piece and deposited them into a garbage bag. At least, if they failed, it was ready for disposal. This job cost him so much money sometimes.
Climbing into the shower, he wondered what Scully had planned for tonight. She'd made it clear that there was no way she was staying at the office past quitting time. Maybe it had been the smell. . . or maybe it was because she was tired of doing reports.
Or maybe, she had something to do - without him, his inner voice of self-doubt popped up. It rarely did anymore, but every once in awhile, he wondered how he could ever have gotten so lucky.
Lathering his shampoo into a thick foam, he scrubbed his hair, doing his best to scrub all thought from his head. There was too much up there. It only helped partly, but he felt a level of peacefulness as he stood under the shower head once again to rinse.
He nearly lost his balance, so lulled by the shower was he, when his cell phone rang. He'd set it on the vanity, as was his habit; Scully had been right when she said that he couldn't do without the thing, but perhaps was not aware of the full truth. He couldn't do without it simply because it was his connection to her - and she was something else he absolutely could not do without.
Shaking the water from his hair and trying to tell himself he wasn't acting like a Retriever, he stepped from the shower in time to grab the phone before it clicked to voice mail.
"Agent Mulder, there's something you need to see. Come to 354 Genesee Street in Georgetown, the Bourbon Street Club."
"Who is this?" Mulder asked. The voice didn't sound familiar; it was a stranger or disguised in some way, he deduced.
"Just someone looking out for your best interests. Come, and hurry."
There was a click as the line disconnected before he could get another word in edgewise.
Now he was faced with a dilemma. Follow the instructions, or stay home. It could be important, but it also could be a trap, or, worse, a complete waste of time. A Halloween practical joke. But since the alternative was to stay home, trying to explain to the neighbor kids who knocked on the door that he hadn't bought enough - okay, any really - treats to go around because he'd been chasing after little gray men. A story like that might actually make them forget about candy, he thought.
Dressing quickly, he chose to forego his regular gun and holster, which would be too conspicuous on his jeans, but strapped on his ankle holster and smaller gun. He doubted he'd need it, but he wanted to feel like he had some kind of back up.
Backup. Maybe he should call Scully. If he got himself hurt again because he'd failed to tell her what he was doing, she'd be pissed as hell with him. She'd been pretty clear that she had plans, but called her apartment anyway, getting the answering machine and leaving a message as to where he was going and why. If he disappeared, at least she'd know in the morning a bit of what had happened. A place to start, so to speak.
Grabbing his keys, he made sure the door was locked before sprinting to his car. He knew where Genesee Street was - it wasn't that far from Scully's place - but he was unfamiliar with club itself. He wondered if it would have a New Orleans flavor, given the name, and what kind of music they'd play.
Finding a parking space was easier than he expected, but maybe club hopping wasn't something people did on Halloween. For a psychologist, he realized he was out of touch with the human condition on the socialization issues of the current day. Scully could probably tell him - she was much more socially adept than he was and he knew it. It was why they made a great team; what one was lacking, the other supplied.
There was a cover charge, and Mulder paid it before slipping into the club and taking a seat at an empty table. He wasn't sure what to expect; whether the person who called would approach him, whether the thing he was supposed to see would be obvious, or if he'd have to go looking for it. A waitress with an immodest amount of cleavage showing approached and took his order. He opted for soda, wanting to keep a clear head until he knew what was going on.
Batting her eyes at him, she went off to fetch his drink, and he took the opportunity to scan the room. A few people sat at the bar, mostly singles although one or two couples were also there. They appeared to have only one goal for the night, and that was to lose themselves in the oblivion of alcohol. Away from the bar, couples occupied tables surrounding a small dance floor, most appearing to have not dancing on their minds, but copulation. They kissed and touched in a way that would be a borderline arrestible offense if they were outside.
On the dance floor, a very few couples moved to a slow, steady rhythm from a source he couldn't identify, seeming to be trying to get so close that they inhabited the same space. Most were dressed in casual clothes, jeans, oxford shirts, nothing that would make them stand out in a crowd. Then, his eyes were drawn to a couple, her red hair standing out in stark contrast to the rest of the room and his face buried against her neck. Their bodies were barely moving, but necks and heads moved, nuzzled, stretched. And the feminine form looked familiar . . .
Mulder gasped as he realized this was what he was there to see. It was Scully, with another man. He felt a surge of jealousy towards the man with whom she was dancing. He had prior claim on her, he thought angrily. As if beckoned by Mulder's own thoughts, the man raised his brunet head from her neck to meet his eyes. Glowing yellowish green, they reached out to him, and he realized that this was no stranger.
The man whispered in Scully's ear, and they turned as one to approach his table.
"Mulder, what are you doing here?" she asked, but he almost missed it. He was distracted by her - or more pointedly, by the fact that there was blood on her neck.
"Can't . . . can't a guy . . . umm . . . have a drink anymore?" he responded, and realized that he had little excuse. Still, finding her here, with him, was more than a little disturbing.
"Of course, Agent Mulder," came in a thick Texan accent through buck teeth. "It's just one doozy of a coincidence."
"Of course, Sheriff Hartwell," Mulder agreed, trying to figure what his next move should be. When Hartwell nodded his own agreement, there was blood on his neck as well.
Scully and Mulder exchanged a look that both understood, and Scully turned to Hartwell.
"Would you get me another drink?" she asked her 'date' with a lascivious grin. "Something with alcohol this time, I think." And she winked at him. She actually winked at him! Hartwell nodded and went on his way, leaving them alone. Mulder wasn't going to waste the little time he knew they had.
"Scully, what the hell are you doing with him? You know what he is!"
"Yes, I know what he is. He's a kind, gallant man who treats me with courtesy and respect. Anything else is just small potatoes."
"But, Scully . . ."
"I was going to wait until tomorrow to tell you, Mulder, but I'll be tendering my resignation. Lucius has asked me to go back to Texas with him, and I've said yes."
"Scully, you can't!" Mulder said pleadingly. This couldn't be happening, but it was.
"He gives me everything I need, Mulder. Can't you understand that?"
"Oh, and does that include this?" he snapped, standing to pull the collar away from her neck where the red liquid was still wet.
"Yes, I give him what he needs, too. It's a wonderful relationship."
"And what does he give you, Scully? I can give you all that, all you had to do was ask. I'd have done it all."
"I doubt you really know what you're saying, Mulder," she grinned.
"Yes, I do. Did you let him do it? Has he made you like them?"
"Does it matter?" she asked.
"Yes, it matters. Of course it matters."
"No, it doesn't. Because if he didn't, then I'm going of my own free will, and if he did, then I'm going to be with my own kind. Either way, you have to face it. You can't stop me."
Just then, Hartwell returned with three glasses of blood-red wine. At least, he hoped it was wine. Handing one to Scully, then to Mulder, he slipped the freed hand around her waist.
"How about I propose a toast. To our lives. May we all have a glorious future." Scully and Hartwell clinked their glasses intimately before turning to Mulder.
"I'm sorry if I don't see anything to be so happy about," he said grimly.
"Then come with us," Scully said unexpectedly, and both men looked at her, startled. "You can be happy there, Mulder. They can make it better for you."
"But what about the X-Files? My sister? Our work?"
"We can . . . they can . . . help you to forget. You can be happy."
"Scully, I'll never be happy. Either here or in Texas, as long as I have to know that you're with him." His voice dripped venom on the pronoun.
"He's a good man, Mulder."
"I'd beg to differ, but that's not the point. It's not that you're with him," Mulder said in anger and desperation. "It's that you're not with ME! I thought that we had something together."
"And we can have it again, it'll just be a little different. Did you know that Lucius's people don't practice monogamy? You can still have me."
"But he would have you, too. No, I don't think so," he gritted through clenched teeth.
"Well," she said, setting down her wine glass. "If you change your mind, you just have to say the word."
"I won't. I have at LEAST that much self respect."
"That's your loss," she said sadly. "We need to go. Lucius only feels comfortable in the city on Halloween. We need to be out of town by midnight. A van will be moving my apartment. If there's anything of yours left there, just let them know - I've told them to give you carte blanche to take whatever you want. I'd planned to call you in the morning, but I'm actually glad it happened this way. You need to understand that this is what I want. Goodbye, Mulder. I will miss you, but I can't let that change my mind."
She turned to go, Hartwell taking up his place beside her. They moved quickly, and were almost to the door when he realized she really was leaving. And not just leaving . . . leaving to become one of the famed undead, if she wasn't already.
"Scully, no! Don't go!" He stood, beginning to go after her, but finding himself impeded by a sudden crowd. "Scully, I love you! You can't leave me!"
The crowd pushed in on him, crushed him until he couldn't move or breath. And then the darkness closed in on him. For just a moment, he wondered if those around him were of the 'clan' as well, and if they'd change him into one of them, but then the blackness took over entirely.
When he woke up, it was to the sound of an engine humming. He realized that he was lying on the back seat of a car, with a familiar brunet head in the driver's seat.
"What the hell is going on, Hartwell?" he asked angrily. He noticed now that his hands were tied securely behind his back, and they'd fallen asleep from the lack of circulation.
"We're going to Texas, Agent Mulder. I know you said you didn't want to go, but, you see, I've promised Dana to do whatever it takes to make her happy, and that means you. She can't be happy without you, so we're all going home." He laughed, a bitter sound he'd never before heard from the Sheriff. "Can't say I'm crazy about the idea myself, but I'm gonna give Dana what she wants."
"You can't force me to stay against my will. I'll escape eventually."
"We don't have to keep you forever. Just until you can be brought over. Like Dana, you'll come around as soon as you've undergone the change. Then we'll settle in like one big happy family."
"I'll be missed."
"Please, Agent Mulder. I know at least enough about you to know otherwise. The only person who'd miss you is Dana. Your boss, maybe, but Dana will give him an appropriate excuse along with your resignation. You'll be happy to be with us soon enough."
"So you're just going to change me. I don't get any say in the matter."
"I'm afraid so. See, I want Dana, and she wants you. It's the only way I get to keep her."
"She's not a possession, you idiot. She's a woman, with her own life and her own choices."
"And she's choosing to go, too. You may as well accept at least that." His confrontational tone turned conversational. "You should actually feel quite honored, Agent Mulder. Halloween night is the only day of the year that we can change a human into one of our own, despite all the movies and legends."
"So why haven't I been changed yet?"
"Only someone of the opposite sex can change another. Dana will do you, but she doesn't quite know you're coming yet."
"I'm a surprise?!"
"You could say that. She's going to be so happy to see you. We really did try leaving you behind, but she was inconsolable." He frowned at Mulder's laugh. "Even vampires have feelings, Agent Mulder."
"Forgive me if I'm having my doubts. So you changed her?"
"Oh, that was done well before we ran into you tonight. I was lucky - caught her on her way home from the office. She knew we were meant to be together."
"The two of you, or the three of us?" he asked bitterly.
"Believe me, sharing Dana was not my first choice either. But I'd rather have part of her than none of her. How about you, Agent Mulder? How important is she to you?"
"She's everything to me. But she's not who she was. She's not my Scully anymore. You've turned her into something else."
"She is different, that's true. But I still somehow find it hard to believe that you won't gladly come to her when she calls. You won't be able to say no, any more than she was able to say no to me."
"So we're all going to settle down and be one happy family? You've got to be kidding me. . ."
"There is no kidding here, Mulder. I'm deadly serious," Hartwell said, concentrating his eyes back on the road. "Dana's gone ahead to secure a place for us - me and her, she thinks - at our new camp."
"Where are we going?"
"I think I'm going to wait to tell you that until you've had a . . . change of heart. It's coming, and the sooner you can accept that, the better. Now you may as well rest up. It may be the last chance you get," he laughed.
With those words, the blackness swarmed in again over Mulder, and he felt himself drifting. Did Hartwell do it, or was his own body betraying him? He wasn't sure, but didn't get to dwell on it long before oblivion claimed him.
He awoke again in what appeared to be a large barn. Nothing fancy, no livestock or hay bales, it appeared to be more of a meeting place. As if to confirm this, his attention was drawn to a looming figure above him. It wasn't exceptionally tall, he didn't think, but the impression came from the fact, he realized, that he was lying on the floor. Above him, the man was speaking.
"Friends, brethren, we gather here today to greet two new members of our society, and to witness the bringing over of one of them."
Mulder looked in the direction Hartwell faced to see a crowd gathered there, all of them with glowing, green eyes. The undead, a voice in his head told him. Pinching himself, he tried to awaken from the nightmare, but it seemed this was only too real.
Then he saw her, coming through the crowd toward him, her eyes glowing as green as any of the others. It was so distracting that he wasn't hearing what Hartwell was saying about her. He watched as she stepped on the slightly raised platform on which he now realized he was lying and took the Sheriff's hand, their fingers interlacing. Mulder only heard the last thing he said.
"Former enemies are now friends. Let's all welcome Dana," and he turned to look at Mulder, "and Fox. Let us all celebrate, and at five minutes before the witching hour, we will gather again to watch as Dana makes Fox one of our own."
Unlikely cheers went up all around, and suddenly there was music. This was not happening, Mulder told himself again. Not only was he going to be turned into one of the undead, now he wasn't even going to get to enjoy the party. He wasn't stupid - he knew there was no way he'd get the chance to escape. They'd keep him tied up, right where he was, until the time came.
Would it really be so bad, though? He thought philosophically. It could be a lot worse than spending eternity with Scully . . .
He had a crude awakening. "And him," he whispered, watching Scully and Hartwell dancing so close, they were practically in the same skin.
The dancing grew faster, more erotic, and the entire company seemed to be lost in a carnal haze. The room began to spin, his blurry vision showing him a vague picture of Scully, sandwiched between the wall and Hartwell's grinding hips. He wanted to run, to move, to stop them . . . Anything, but lie here on the floor waiting for the end of the last day of his life. Because despite what Sheriff Hartwell said, he couldn't believe that he would be the same person once Scully did to him what had been done to her.
I mean, would the REAL Scully do what she was doing now? And if she did, wouldn't she do it with me?
It was his last thought as he drifted off once again.
The next thing of which he was aware was something pressing against his lips. Something soft, and pliable. Something not warm, and it felt unnatural.
He opened his eyes to find them affixed to a pair of glowing green ones that somehow should have been blue. A deep, resonating voice, yet familiar, spoke inside his head.
"It's our time, Mulder. Everybody is gathered."
"Yes. Men are brought into the clan in front of its members," she said in a deep, eerie voice. "And once it's done, you," she kisses me, unbelievably, on the lips, "and I," another kiss, "and Lucius can all go home." I know she sees my thoughts in my eyes, or maybe she's reading my mind. "No, not Washington. The home we will share. Together. Forever."
He hears he crowd pressing in, their footsteps shuffling closer, but his eyes are mesmerized by hers and he can't look away. Her face draws closer, and just when he thinks she's going to kiss him again, her mouth takes a detour. To his neck.
He shivers, expecting to feel the piercing of teeth, and then it occurs to him. These vampires don't have fangs - how does she intend to . . .
There's a fine, sliding sensation a fraction of a second before the pain kicks in. Dammit, she actually cut me with something, he realizes. He feels a solid wetness, her tongue, slide over the slice before her lips settle around it.
"Scully, don't do this," he whispers, surprising himself that he's not shouting it at the top of his lungs. She doesn't move away, and the pressure becomes stronger as he become more fearful. Finally, he finds his voice.
"Scully, stop!" But she begins to suck, and he's helpless to stop her.
"Mulder. Sweetheart, are you okay?"
Before he opened his eyes, he knew it was her voice. She'd come back to him! Or they'd taken him to her. He tried to raise the lids, but they didn't seem to want to cooperate.
"Mulder, c'mon. Wake up and show me you're okay."
Finally, he was able to focus on her face. It was scrubbed clean, all traces of the dark makeup she'd worn at the club removed, and her hair was pulled up into a neat ponytail.
"You came back," he whispered as he blinked slowly. "Thank God."
"I just went home, Mulder," she said, taking his hand in her own. "I guess I didn't realize you needed a chaperone. Can you get up?"
Looking around, he realized several things at once. He was home, he was in his shower, his head was killing him . . . and he was naked. Not that she hadn't seen it before lots of times, but . . .
"Scully, what happened?" he asked as she pulled him to his feet. He followed meekly. "You said you were leaving me. Please tell me you changed your mind!" His head was still a bit foggy, but he remembered that part clearly.
"Mulder, I only went as far as my apartment, and I never said I was leaving you. I'll NEVER leave you, my love." She settled his wet body on the bed, uncaring that the blanket was getting soaked. "As for what happened, I was at home, getting ready for the trick-or-treaters when your neighbor, Mrs. Lopez, called. She said she heard a bang from inside your apartment, but you wouldn't come to the door, so she worried you were in trouble. I came right over, and just as I got inside, I heard you screaming for me."
"I screamed for you . . ." Mulder said, dazedly.
"Yes. You were begging me not to go, and you said you loved me."
"Well, I do."
"I know, and I love you, too. I think it's pretty simple to figure out what happened. You fell in the shower, hit your head, and ended up having some kind of traumatic nightmare. What did you dream, Mulder?"
He shivered a little, unsure of whether it was the cold on his bare skin or the memories that were causing it. "You were quitting. Leaving to go back to Texas with Sheriff Hartwell. He was turning you into one of them, Scully." The fear was back in his voice. "You said he could give you all the things I couldn't."
"He could never give me what you do, Mulder," she said as she gently dried his hair with a towel. "And, for the record, I haven't thought of him once since we resolved that case. There's no need to be jealous."
Suddenly, Mulder was offended. "I wasn't jealous. I just . . ." She raised an eyebrow at him, and he realized, happily, that there was no denying it. "Okay, so I was jealous. Thank God it was just a dream."
"You must have conked yourself good," Scully said, feeling the lump on his head. "I'll tell you what. Pack a bag with your best Halloween-ish videos, because you're spending the night at my place. We'll greet trick-or-treaters, watch scary movies and pop popcorn. Then, later on, if you're feeling better, I'll show you a few tricks of my own." She grinned at him wickedly, and he felt his heart race, the blood rushing through his body.
"Mmmm . . ." he mumbled, leaning his head into her hands. "Sounds good."
"Okay, then. Get some clothes on and we're out of here."