Bare Bones

by Kimogen

Title: Bare Bones (1/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?
Summary: From his tone, Scully knew his day had been harder than his earlier joking would suggest.
Author's Note: At end.

She was exhausted and sweating by the time she reached the motel. The police jeep that had driven her back from the morgue was old and rusty and of a model pre-dating air-conditioning. As Scully fumbled for her keys she could still feel the scratch of nylon seating and her skin crawled with the memory of fiery air buffeting her through the open window. The Deputy had offered to help with her bags, but Scully was only too eager to be away from the sweaty fat man. She had struggled across the parking-lot with her briefcase swinging and armfuls of slippery photographs, x-rays and cardboard folders. She barely had the energy to unlock the door and stumble inside.

A cool blast of air greeted her. The curtains were blessedly closed against the white sun and a bottle of water stood dripping condensation onto the counter. She sighed and dropped her paperwork beside the bottle. Scully shucked off her jacket, peeling the lining away from heated skin and leaned back against the closed door. A voice called from the connecting room as she took her first swallow of cold water.

"Scully? That you?"

"Uhhu." She gulped at the water, ignoring the sensitivity in her teeth. She tasted salt as she licked her lips and her eyes stung as she pressed them closed. Footsteps shuffled over the worn brown carpet.

"Mulder, stay back." Scully raised a hand in warning. "I can feel your body heat and its more than I can bear." Her partner was silent until she chuffed out a single laugh to let him know she was joking.

"Hot day for you too, huh?" As Mulder stepped closer she could smell the desert on him. He couldn't have been in long because he hadn't yet showered. Scully opened her eyes to see he still wore his blue shirt with the sleeves rolled back, the tie long-forgotten. He smelled of sun and dust and sweat.

"Hot car-ride, more like."

"You catch a ride in the Sheriff's Jeep then?" He laughed when she groaned and dropped her head. "At least you spent the day in the nice cool morgue."

"Yeah, what an oasis."

"Ten hours I spent in this heat, Scully. Ten hours."

"Well I spent my day up to my elbows in bones."

"This isn't a pissing contest, Scully."

"Six bodies, Mulder. All mixed up."

"Well, do you know how badly sand sticks to sunscreen?" Mulder was pouting. They'd argued for ten minutes that morning about the factor twenty sunscreen that Mulder hadn't wanted to wear.

"Because sunburn would have made your day more fun?"

"I don't burn, Scully. I tan."

"Everybody burns, Mulder." He grumbled as he stepped away and childishly turned his back. He wasn't going to tell her how sore his scalp was after refusing to wear the baseball cap she had sent him off with.

"How many more today?" Her voice was suddenly soft, serious. Mulder didn't turn around.

"Four skulls but we can't be sure on a final figure. Not until the good Dr Stevens matches things up." From his tone, Scully knew his day had been harder than his earlier joking would suggest. He had insisted on spending the day at the burial site out alongside the busy interstate, needing to `get a feel' for the place. From experience, Scully knew that his notebook would be filled with notes and observations and sketches. Mulder was already piecing together a profile in his mind. She could tell from the very set of his shoulders.

"Whad'ya got partner?" She probed him gently, knowing that he would only share what he wanted to. Instead, he would demand details about the body, details she still didn't have, despite two days spent poring over the bones with one of the country's top forensic anthropologists. So far they had made little progress beyond piecing the mixed body-parts back together, and still the body-count was rising.

Mulder dropped to perch on the side of the bed, his jaw clenched and his brows furrowed.

"I don't think this is Mafia stuff, Scully. Some of the guys out there would like this open and shut." She nodded in agreement. The burial site was too close to the road for the Mob. "The graves are shallow, but fairly wide, perhaps enough for one man to manage alone, certainly two."

"There's a distinct lack of certain post-mortem artefacts I would expect to see, evidence in the ground, and on the bodies from decomposition..."

"No signs of predation at the scene..." The evidence was drawing them to a mutual conclusion.

"Two of the bodies have been shaved or sanded in some way. Aside from that, its proving extremely difficult to determine even a cause of death."

"So we're sure these bodies were skeletonised before burial?"

"Its not certain, but the evidence seems to suggest so."

"Shit." Mulder hung his head in his hands, baffled.

"We're talking about a fairly large-scale operation here, Mulder. Skeletonising whole bodies at a time..."

"They couldn't have been done bit by bit?"

"Not without leaving tool marks. We use methods such as soaking and boiling to remove connective tissue without marking the bones. The kind of separation we're seeing here couldn't have been done so cleanly without leaving a trace." As she talked, Scully had moved the two bedside lamps to the sideboard that ran parallel to the bed. Mulder remained seated as she rifled through an envelope of x-rays and selected three. She taped the films to the lamp-shades in an improvised light-box set-up, lower leg, pelvis, an arm. She arranged a display of corresponding close-up photographs across the counter.

"So you can see what we've reconstructed here. Essentially, these bones have been thoroughly stripped. No sign of tissue here at all, except for in the first body, but I'll get to that. That explains the lack of predation, even at the low-level burial we've got in this case." Mulder added a number of glossy crime-scene photos to her grisly display. The images depicted the days dig in comic-strip stages, varying depths marked out by a gloved hand with a ruler. The final photograph showed an array of bones at a depth a little beyond one meter.

"I'm thinking that our UNSUB could have dug this hole over any number of evenings. Though it would be possible to do in one night, it'd be a big effort. Anyway, who's going to notice a hole alongside a stretch if interstate like this. You get a strip of road like that you're doing 70, 80 mph straight through." Mulder shrugged as he spoke, thinking of his own driving.

"Need for speed, Mulder? The trooper who found the graves noticed it, didn't he?"

"But it was a tip-off. He was aware of suspicious activity in the area. He was looking for something off-key. Seriously, Scully, would you stop and investigate if you saw a hole along a highway." She looked away, conceding to his point, still unsure of how to handle Mulder at his most tenacious.

"There were traces of an acid compound found on the first body that was uncovered. We aren't clear on what exactly it was yet." Mulder thought for a moment, pondering the significance of her claim.

"Would that explain the state of that first body?"

"Maybe. Generally, if an acid was used to strip the body; especially with the high concentration detected here; one would expect the bones to be affected. They would become brittle, damaged. In this case the bones have become extremely porous, some connective tissue remains, holding this skeleton together, but the properties of the tissue are greatly altered. Whatever the body was exposed to, it seems to have melted the tissue, causing it to hold the bones like glue."

"You have a theory on that?"

"Sort of. What if our UNSUB submerged the body and let the flesh dissolve. Then, by the time the skeleton was exposed, UNSUB realised it was spoiling the bones and had to remove the body from the substance, without fully stripping the bones."

"Sure. I can go for that. UNSUB realises that acid is a tad unpredictable, if speedy, and adopts another method."

"I'd imagine boiling." Scully paused, wondering whether to tell him what was on her mind, or keep it to herself until later. He looked at her expectantly. "The acid Mulder, the way it changed that body, it would explain why it looks the way it does. The body isn't the same as what you found in the box car in New Mexico."

"I know."

"It isn't alien, Mulder. Its not even an X-file."

"I know, Scully. But we may as well help out with this while we have clearance to be here. So, we still have no cause of death?" Scully was stunned into silence. Mulder took the news so much better than she thought he would. No argument at all. Mulder tapped a finger against his chin as though he was marking time. She continued to watch him warily until he repeated his question, "Cause of death?"

"Notoriously hard to determine when working with only bones."

"Could the boiling be the cause of death?"

"It is possible, we have considered that, although it would be awkward to restrain someone, and it wouldn't be a particularly fast death."

"Nor a quiet one. So our UNSUB would need somewhere out of the way." Scully imagined that the workings of his brain were almost audible. "Although, Mulder, this rough area here on the ribs," she pointed to a criss-cross pattern barely visible in one close-up photo. Mulder took the image and tilted it in the light to get a good look away from the reflection on the glossy surface. "We are fairly sure that the ribs were sanded with a fine sand-paper. The cross-hatching you can see there was probably made by two-way sanding - both up and down and left to right. A considerable amount has been shaved off from a localised area on a number of the ribs in two of the bodies." Scully flicked through the stack of photographs, showing him various angles of the damaged rib.


"Possibly done to remove marks made by a weapon. If the victim was stabbed, chinks would be made in the bone that could help us identify a murder weapon. Our guy wants to keep us in the dark about as many details as possible."

"And not doing a bad job." The lack of leading evidence was beginning to get to Mulder. He was linking the evidence and still coming up with nothing. "So this is someone who knows their stuff?"

"Certainly. Removing evidence, not a single fingerprint left, nor a useful hair or fibre yet. And the precision with which the bones have been cleaned suggests to me someone with some sort of medical, or even forensic background." She knew she was racing ahead as Mulder shook his head, his brows furrowed at her assumptions.

"You could pick up that information watching CSI or reading Patricia Cornwell, Scully." His tone was chastising and she felt silly for letting her frustration allow her to voice fleeting thoughts.

"So you're thinking...what exactly?" Her tone was unintentionally catty and she paused to take a deep breath, calming herself. They often fought over silly annoyances when tensions were high. Scully wasn't above slamming doors when the pressure was on.

"I'm going to need details on victimology. You any closer with that?"

"Nothing I'd be prepared to go on record with just yet, but as it stands, there is no clear pattern." Scully crossed the room to root in her briefcase for the notes she needed. She scanned and returned to the edge of the bed. "Mixed victimology, no specific preference for sex, race. Age is a little more complex in terms of specificity with skeletonised bodies, but we are looking at a range of late adolescence to somewhere around the mid-sixty range, give or take. There's a pretty wide margin for error at this stage."

"The body count is nine now."


"You wanna hear what I think?"

"Always." Scully rolled her eyes it was a little routine they habitually played through. A grin flashed across his mouth but was gone lightning-fast.

"I think the police found the bodies sooner than he had anticipated."

"He?" Scully picked up on his slip-up and latched onto it. She was always eager to hear Mulder's profiles, desperate to know what monster they were seeking, for until she knew she would see murder in every face she met.

"Don't even start with me on female serial killers." Mulder's tone was warning, but he smiled as he said it. He had begun to pace the room as though his brain was run on kinetic energy. He felt as though he had just found the corner pieces to a vast jigsaw. The pacing brought him to the window, where he peeled back a corner of the drape. The sun had dipped beneath the distant hills and blue shadows stretched out across the scrubland beyond the motels chain link fence. Mulder opened the curtains and waved for Scully to shut off the lamps.

"I think that he placed the call to the Sheriff's Department himself." Scully nodded slowly even though his back was to her. "The area the caller identified was non-specific, a vast strip of the interstate. He didn't know they'd find it so quickly."

"But a deputy saw the disturbed ground when he pulled over a drink-driver. Pure luck."

"Luck was on our side, for once, Scully." He stopped as though that was his revelation. Scully knew better. He was being dramatic, drawing it out.

"What aren't you telling me."

"I think he meant to bury ten bodies. Four in the last grave. That would make the setup a pyramid." It was so obvious Scully couldn't understand why her mathematical brain hadn't figured it out.

"One in the first grave, two in the second, three in the third...of course there was supposed to be a fourth."

"Only we uncovered them before he dropped the final body."

"Oh my God, Mulder..." Scully's hand went to her mouth as she saw what Mulder was getting at.

"He's making his escalation blatantly clear. He's spelling it out to us."

"Then he ups the stakes and shows us how brave he is with the call to the cops before he buries the last body..." A horrible feeling came over her. "And we still don't have a clue who he is."

"He knows us though, Scully."

Scully felt the breath rush out of her. She watched him lean on the windowsill, physically weighed down by the responsibility of finding the killer. His shoulders hunched forward and his head dropped to rest against the dirty glass, cool now that the shadows had merged into twilight. She felt his exhaustion, matched it with her own and was overwhelmed by the need to touch him. She fought it for a moment, then stood on tired, shaky legs and went to him. She murmured his name as her arms slid around his narrow waist and her head came to rest between his shoulder-blades. Mulder sighed at her warmth, as the air-conditioning had left the room icy once the sun had slipped. Scully pressed her hands flat to his chest and felt the staccato rhythm of his heart until he covered them with his own big palms and laced his fingers through hers.

"This kills me, Scully. I swore I wouldn't do this anymore." Scully smiled and turned her face so her nose and chin pressed into his spine. Mulder felt the hot patch of her breath. "No more profiling for Mulder."

"Reeled in though, every time Agent." Scully's soft laugh trembled through his chest and he found himself smiling.

"I'm just too damn good." He laughed then, and turned in her arms, bringing them chest to chest. He wrapped his arms around his tiny partner, crushing her to him for a moment, before dropping them to her waist. He leant forward and rested his forehead against hers. They stood for long moments as the light dipped and vanished.

Long days and longer nights drew his hands upwards to thread into her hair and his lips pressed the top of her head. A smile tugged at her mouth but the lump in her throat straightened it out. She wasn't even sure where the urge to cry had slunk in from.

"You need to get some rest, Mulder." She mumbled and barely recognised her own voice. His breath was hot against her scalp as he whispered her name and she pulled back to look at him. A second passed and her eyes flickered over his sad expression, searching for meaning in his familiar features. A frown crept over her and her lips parted, about to ask a question, when his face changed and his mouth came down to cover hers.

The press of his kiss was gentle and warm and he hesitated, mouth to mouth, giving her a chance to run. Yet the wave of heat that rushed over her was sudden and unexpected and she gasped and drowned in her desire. She reached for him and pulled him down into the depths along with her, replacing all the air in her body with as much of him as she could draw in, feeling him running in her blood, through her veins, straight through her heart.

It was Mulder's turn to gasp at the change in her as she kissed him with an intensity that frightened him as much as it excited him. He was too stunned to respond for an instant and he felt her begin to pull away. In a panic he chased her retreating mouth, tugging her back and feeling her breath laugh against him. She was all around him, scratching and soothing, soft and hot and utterly flowing as her knees hit the mattress and fell back, dragging him with her. Her lungs emptied with a sound somewhere between laughter and pain as his weight came down on her.

"Shit!" Mulder was chuckling, struggling to lift himself slightly.

"We shouldn't be doing this." Ever the voice of reason, his heart leapt, expecting her to push him away. Yet even as she said the words, she was urging his weight downwards and lifting her head to meet him.

"Fuck it." He ground out and joined her fully on the bed.

But Scully was quiet and serious when his lips found hers again in the darkness and she welcomed him into her arms. He held her so close he was afraid that she would pass right through him, and she curled catlike against him, smoothing his hair back from his face.

Mulder was suddenly more tired than he had ever been in his life. He opened his mouth to speak, but only managed her name.

"Shh. Go to sleep."

"I'm sorry Scully."

"Sleep, Mulder. You need to rest." He nodded, eyes already slipping closed. In the back of his mind, he knew he was still wearing his dirty clothes and the cell phone in his pocket dug into his thigh. He was too tired to care. The warmth of his partner's body curled against him was too much to bear and he was confused by her mixed messages. Still, he couldn't help but slip his leg over hers, binding her to him. Mulder felt Scully shift beside him, but she didn't move to leave as he expected her to. She too seemed to be drifting between waking and sleeping. He wondered whether he would wake when she inevitably crept from the room.

Scully let her eyes close, feeling sadder than she had before. Mulder snored lightly beside her and she knew they had made a mistake. Rather than fight with him, then slam the door in his face, as she had done a thousand times before, she had given in to a more lethal urge. Now he was sorry and she didn't know what to do. Instinct told her to get up and run, but her heart told her to stay, to wait and see if he would be the one to flee.

When she woke to the ringing alarm, he was gone.

(To be continued...)

Author's note: This is my first attempt at a case-file or sorts, although its not strictly an x-file. Please, please, pretty please let me know if you made it this far, or if I should even bother with the next part!!

Title: Bare Bones (2/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: NC17 for adult situations and general nastiness.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?
Summary: She was still pretending that she hadn't spent the day thinking about him - imagining she could feel his mouth and the brush of his palms.
Author's Note: At end

Her day passed in a blur of mismatched, bleached white bones. She worked with Dr Stevens at a steady, automaton pace, unable to fully engage with the task. Dr Stevens sent her back to the motel before 5:30, telling her to get some rest. Scully didn't argue.

The rental car was waiting in for her in the car park, keys left at the reception desk of the Medical Examiners office as promised. She drove past the excavation site on her way to the motel and forced herself not to scan for Mulder as the car flashed by. She was still pretending that she hadn't spent the day thinking about him - imagining she could feel his mouth and the brush of his palms. She was still in denial about the sickness she had felt when she woke alone.

Scully avoided her own reflection when she undressed and stepped into the shower. She knew only too well what she would see: sad blue eyes, smudged with tired bruises and an unhappy mouth, set in a face as pale as a winter moon. She hated her body with its familiar angles and scars as she soaped up and let the water burn her. She wondered if Mulder had seen her as she saw herself: a stark white canvas - not white for purity - simply blank, unwritten, empty. Scully stepped from the shower and was glad for the steam that hid the mirror.

An indefinite amount of time passed as Scully sat on the end of the bed, contemplating the black empty feeling that hovered inside her mind. Though she had no clue how long she had sat there, by the time the door slammed in Mulder's room, her hair was dry and sunset was curling the edges of the sky. Scully rose to stand in the void between the two rooms.

The walls shook as Mulder slammed the door. He pounded his fists twice more, hoping to splinter the wood and have his anger make a lasting impact. Surprisingly, the laminated pulp withstood the abuse. He looked up, anticipating that she would be there. Her presence added to the anger that rolled in his stomach, although Mulder couldn't be sure why. She was just someone to hurl his fury at.

"Dammit Scully!" He thumped the door again for emphasis and stared at her, liking the way she flinched.

"He's in my fucking brain...No...I'm in his...Fucking...Fuck!"

The door cracked this time and his knuckles hurt. Scully approached like he knew she would and put herself between him and the door as though breaking up a fight. Mulder didn't think, just placed a well-aimed punch against the wood. Scully felt his fist sail past her ear to land with a splitting crack and when she moved her head, strands of her hair caught in the shattered laminate.

If Scully was afraid, she didn't show it. Mulder wondered what she would do if he hit her. He blinked, not wanting to think like that.

"I fucking HATE this! Ahh!" Mulder resorted to stamping his feet. He considered smashing the lamp but it looked to be bolted down. Perhaps he could smash the TV.

"I know, Mulder. You have to stop. Now." Her voice was so steady and calm, it had to be fake. It was her FBI voice: the one she saved for psychos and child molesters and murderers and kidnappers. It was the voice that let Mulder know when he was boarding the last train to Nutsville. He nodded and stepped back.

"No more profiling tonight, Mulder. You need to eat something." The mothering voice was even more annoying. Mulder gave her a steady look, using his height to stare down at her. She was so predictable, it made his blood boil. So familiar and unchanging. Mulder brought a hand to her neck, his fingers going to the back, feeling her windpipe under his thumb. She swallowed and he felt the rise. His fingers would fit so nicely all the way around. Mulder felt his other hand rise of its own volition and he tried it for size, fingers resting on fingers behind her head, thumbs resting lightly in the dip at the base of her throat. He found himself mildly alarmed at the sensation but didn't pull away.

Scully swallowed again, her mouth suddenly dry. Her heart sped up as his fingers laced together. His face wasn't menacing or threatening, just curious. His head tipped to one side and she was sure he must feel her pulse running feverishly fast under his hand. She fought with the panic that rose, but the man before her wasn't one-hundred percent Mulder. When profiling, Mulder walked a wire between his own mind and some dangerous place she could never reach. He took himself to the brink of sanity and reason and leaned over to grasp his answers.

Mulder felt her throat vibrate before he made out her words.

"Mulder, he didn't strangle them."

"Oh." Mulder let her go and blinked twice. He held his hand palms up and stared at them for a long moment. Lady Macbeth with blood on her hands.

Mulder looked up at her then, taking in her jeans and shirt, open to the fourth button. He reached out his right hand and Scully didn't know whether to take it. His fingers traced along her collarbone, barely touching but leaving a gossamer thread of sensation behind. The hand retreated slightly, undecided. Scully shivered. The hand returned and slid confidently upwards into the tumble of her air-dried hair.

Scully frowned looking up and wishing she could read what she saw glittering in his eyes. Something cruel twisted a half-smile across his face and his hand curled tight to her scalp, tugging her head back and exposing her throat. Scully cried out in shock, then gasped at the warmth of his mouth and the scrape of his teeth. His name rose on her tongue a moment before he swallowed it into the depth of his kiss.

He kissed her hard, his hand still wrapped in her hair. His heart thudded as profoundly as the battering of her fists against his ribs and Mulder wasn't sure if he was excited or afraid. He just knew that he couldn't stop, even as she tried to push him away. Scully gasped as her mind was filled with images from the past - gargoyles and men encased in clay and an evil that passed from man to man like a plague. She thought of how different his eyes had been the night before, how he had been liquid and she had been fire. But then she had woken alone and now he was rock and sinew and she was backed against the sideboard and unsure of whether to run.

Mulder wondered whether he was holding her too tight. He loosened his grip on her hair and felt her jaw slacken in relief. He hoisted her up to sit on the sideboard, spreading her things and standing between her legs, his mouth still pressed to hers. She had gone lax against him, no longer fighting and scratching. Mulder slid his tongue over her teeth and into her mouth, hoping that she wouldn't bite it off like a little wild-cat. The idea made him smile and he could almost taste his own blood as his tongue taunted her, sliding back and forth.

Then his stomach churned with self-loathing that had crept up from some suppressed part of his brain. He wanted her to kiss him back like she had the night before, when he had been rock hard and so incredibly turned on that could still feel her skin on his fingertips late into the afternoon. Now his dick was a limp noodle and the only rigid thing was Scully, ramrod straight as he pressed her into the sideboard. He drew back slightly to look at her, still pinning her with his body.

"Prostitutes. Both Male and Female prostitutes."

"Mulder, please. Let me go." She sounded almost afraid and Mulder was shocked to see tears in her eyes. Then his mind clouded over and he was racing on, barely feeling her struggle against him. Unconsciously he grabbed her wrists to still her.

"He knows that they only screw him for money not because they want to. That's why he can't get it up..."

"Mulder, please!" Her sharp voice pulled him from his train of thought and he snapped his head up to glare at her.

"Listen to me! Dammit! I'm trying to move this case on!" Mulder slammed his palm flat against the wall above her head. He liked the way that seemed to frighten her. She flinched away from him, almost imperceptibly, stirring the anger in him once again. He growled.

"Fuck, Scully! Try to understand! I've got him," Mulder tapped the side of his head hard enough to make a sound, "I've got him right here! Now I just have to tie the basterd down. Okay?"

"Mulder you're scaring me." Mulder pounded the sideboard either side of her thighs.

"Mulder stop! Do you have him? Or does he have you?" Her insinuation made him furious. He sneered at her, reaching for the lamp and ripping it free of its bolts. It hit the wall with a crash, the bulb shattering and raining down. The rest clattered to the floor. He watched the pieces settle. Scully froze where she was on top of the unit, pressed to the wall. Mulder breathed deeply.

"Our boy likes hookers and gigolos. He's certainly of ambiguous sexual orientation, not picky about race or age. I think its opportunity, suggesting to me maybe a cross-dresser or a transsexual. Impotency is driving him, embarrassment, shame..." Scully nodded as he trailed off, the fear gone out of her. She sagged forward to lean over her knees, her feet dangling. She put a hand to her mouth touching the skin where his stubble rubbed.

"Don't use me for this, Mulder."


"Don't use me like some crash-test-dummy you can toss around. I won't stay here if you do it." Mulder felt his stomach burn with an acid reflux that roared up into his mouth like fire. The memory of the past thirty minutes sprang on him in furious Technicolor and he looked down at his hand. Strands of red hair clung to his fingers.

"Shit. Fuck. I'm so sorry, Scully...I..."

"Don't Mulder."

"I just...last night...then this..."

"I know, Mulder. Respecting boundaries, compartmentalising, its never been one of your talents." Her voice was sad, let down. Mulder knew he'd messed up so badly. He'd pushed himself too hard with the profile. He'd let his issues with Scully creep into his headspace whilst he was profiling. He got things so screwed up that they'd overlapped. Scully's head was bowed and he looked at the reflection of the sunset in a ring on her red crown. He wanted to cry but the normal physical reaction seemed too much for his stressed out body to manage. Instead, his dick went hard as he watched his partner sit back in her rumpled white shirt.

Then he couldn't help himself. Mulder rushed to her and pulled her to him, burying his face against her shoulder, tasting salt and fine gritty sand on his tongue as he whispered apologies and begged for forgiveness against her skin. Long desperate minutes passed before he felt the angle of her chin against the top of his head and slender fingers brushed over his hair.

Scully felt her heart drop low in her chest when he raised wet eyes and looked at her with expectations she wasn't ready to meet. She could barely keep her eyebrows from sloping into a frown as he moved to kiss her. He paused and Scully wanted to lean away. But her traitorous body responded to the heat of his breath on her lips and she closed the distance between them.

Mulder's head slipped lower as his hands moved her collar aside. He kissed his way down the length of her throat, soothing where his fingertips had earlier pressed, pausing in the dip where his thumbs had rested. He heard her breath hitch and he traced a line upwards with his kisses as the acid burned the back of his mouth again. He moved to seek the sweet spot where her pulse fluttered beneath the skin and he sucked the thin skin. Her head tipped back and she shook out her hair as he sucked hard enough to leave a mark, feeling her blood throb against his tongue. Her hand came up to rest against the back of his head and Mulder felt her voice tremble up her throat in a whisper. He couldn't hear what she was saying over the thudding of his own heart, so he sucked on her throat and felt the words form.

"Not like this, Mulder, please no, not like this."

Mulder drew himself up to his full height and leaned over her. Scully found herself level with his chest until he pushed her back to lie on the countertop and pressed his mouth to hers, silencing her mantra. She kissed him back, as though erasing the words would cure her of the feeling that something was very wrong with what she was letting him do to her. She pushed the unease aside, concentrating instead on the hand that had finally discovered her breast.

A moan rose up in her as his free hand swept her hair up, her scalp sensitive from his earlier brutality. She bit on his lip and blood was sharp on her tongue, but Mulder didn't acknowledge the pain, if he felt it at all. His palm burnt against her breast and she arched her back to urge him on. He kissed her erotically, his tongue smoothing over hers to match the thrusting of his hips against her crotch. She breathed him in as she arched and scratched at him, smelling the desert on him and seeing a table of bones piled high in her mind. She bit his bottom lip again to taste the iron in his blood.

Mulder tore the buttons from her blouse in response.

By the time Scully raised her bottom to allow him to tug away her jeans and white panties, Mulder was impossibly, painfully hard. He drew her closer to the edge of the counter, dropping his belt and letting his trousers fall to his knees. They clung there with his shorts, but he was already pulling her onto his aching cock and he didn't care how silly he looked. Scully didn't make a sound as he straightened up and pushed further into her. Mulder gritted his teeth and drew back, finding a rhythm, his buttocks clenching and his thigh muscles going solid. He lifted her thighs and she locked them around his back, barely clinging to the sideboard. He thrust hard and fast, desperate to ease the heat that burned from where his body met hers and radiated outwards to tighten in his chest and lock his jaw. Every muscle in his body was rigid with anticipation. He looked at Scully as he fucked her, lips pressed together and drawn inwards and eyelashes lowered. A flush spreading, giving away the heat that rose in her like a tide. He watched her fly apart as the waves crashed over her, sending vibrations through her body and making her pant and whimper. She shuddered and clung to him, the tremors subsiding as he pounded into her.

Mulder didn't think he could stop if she begged him to. The coil that had wound tight as a watch spring around every cell of his being drew the tension in his muscles to a fever-pitch. He thrust into her over and over, feeling her hips grind against him and his fingers bit into her hips. Finally, he collapsed against her, defeated. Mulder leant on her and Scully felt the tremors set in as he began sob.

"HE'S done this to me Scully. I wanted you so much, but I've fucked it all up so badly." The tears began to fall, sliding down her chest as she smoothed his hair and hushed him.

Eventually, she coaxed him away from her enough to hop down from the counter. She bent and untied his shoes, helping him to slip out of his trousers. The tie fell away and her fingernails clicked over his shirt buttons. She kissed him gently and guided him to the bed. Mulder lay back.

"Its not too late, Mulder." Scully slipped out of her ruined shirt and added her bra to the pile. Mulder watched with wide eyes as she climbed onto the bed and straddled his hips. She guided herself gently down and set up a slow rhythm. Mulder's hips bucked eagerly under her, but she held him down, rocking at her own languid pace and leaning down to kiss him lazily, teasingly. Her breasts brushed his chest and he sighed, giving in and watching his tiny partner transformed as she undulated above him. The open curtains let the sunset in and she was bathed in the last red rays as night fell. Mulder drowned in her heat and her liquid kisses and she burned him, purging his demons with white fire.

Scully was purple velvet in the twilight by the time the tension wound inside him once more. She was sighing his name, her new mantra, and Mulder didn't mind one bit. He pulled on her wrists and she melted down, soft and pliable. He cupped her breasts and thrust into her. Scully circled her hips, gasping at the contact of each revolution, until Mulder rolled them both.

He took his turn to set the pace, grinding against her with each thrust to elicit a series of moans from his partner that thrilled along his spine and wound the watch-spring tighter. He closed his eyes in anticipation, the sight of her spread beneath him too much to bear. Yet the darkness without her was worse and he opened them and saw her bright hair turned black in the darkness, spread like water around her head. His name was on her lips once more.

At last the coil snapped and he shuddered, relief rushing over him like a deep sigh. Scully watched his eyes close and her name slid out from clenched teeth. The hot rush brought tears to her eyes as Mulder went lax and curled onto the bed beside her.

"Thank God...Oh Fuck...Thank God..." Mulder's voice was strained and he was panting. He rolled over and tugged her arm until she moved closer. Scully was sweaty and sticky and longed for the shower, but Mulder wrapped himself possessively around her, binding her to him. Within moments, his breathing was deep and even, ruffling the hair above her ear. Scully shook her head, his chin against her shoulder and his hand on her breast. She closed her eyes and slept.

Scully woke with the sunrise, shivering and alone.

To Be Continued...

Authors Note: Again, I would soooo appreciate feedback on this one. Thanks to everyone who fed the feedback monster about part one. Poking makes me work harder!!hehe.

Title: Bare Bones (3/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?
Summary: From his tone, Scully knew his day had been harder than his earlier joking would suggest.
Author's Note: At end.

His running shoes were gone, she noticed as she collected her jeans and underwear and her ruined shirt. His Armani was missing too. From the evidence, Scully couldn't help but deduce that he had gone running; then straight to work; effectively avoiding her until at least six that evening.

By the time she had scrubbed the scent of sex and sweat from her skin and buttoned herself into her navy suit, Scully was done with thinking about him. Easier said than done. She stood in front of the mirror, tucking her hair behind her ears and inching her collar over so as to conceal the bruise that marked her neck, all the while not thinking about him. She didn't want to imagine his mouth on her; sucking on her pulse as his warm hand supported the weight of her breast; but the image rushed upon her leaving her flushed and breathless. She turned away from the mirror in disgust, forcing the forbidden thoughts out of her mind and stepping out into the hot white morning.

She ensconced herself in Conference Room Three of the OCME, surrounded by glossy prints and x-rays. A stack of paperwork mounted beside her as she worked meticulously through the evidence, piecing together a portfolio of information that would hopefully help identify the nine bodies discovered out on the highway. Yet her science had given her little beyond preliminary findings and Scully found herself feeling more than a little overshadowed by her anthropologist colleague. The illustrious Dr. Brian Stevens was a striking older man with sharp blue eyes set in a tanned face and prematurely white hair. His quiet confidence and muted sexuality reminded Scully of Daniel in ways she wasn't prepared to explore. She was far more content to ponder the fact that though brilliant in her own field of forensic pathology, she was beginning to wonder whether she wasn't a little out of her depth. She busied herself with noting distinguishing features of each skeleton; evidence of damage through injury, illness, surgery; allowing herself to dwell on her own professional insecurities - if only because feeling inadequate kept her from thinking about Mulder and the events of the previous evening.

Scully worked through nine sets of forms before transferring her findings into the digital catalogue used by the Medical Examiner's Office to cross-match with local and national police databases. Physical information such as dental impressions had already been scanned the day before and she found herself wondering how cases were ever solved at all before computer archives.

Thirteen hours after arriving at the OCME, Scully sighed and stood, finally up to date with her findings. She had seen no sign of Stevens, who had retreated to his labs once he had seen her settled in the conference room. He was determined to establish some new information that she could take back to Mulder, who had made quite an impression on the Doctor with his profiling skills. Apparently his reputation preceded him. Scully was shocked to see the time. Thirteen hours without being disturbed - or even taking a break to eat. Her stomach was hollow and her mouth was sour with vending machine coffee. She reached for her cell phone, concerned that the battery may be flat. Two bars flashed at her. Scully frowned, uncertain of the last time she had been left to more than two hours of peace. She checked her signal. Clear.

Scully stretched out her cramping muscles, feeling slightly dejected and more than a little abandoned. Mulder hadn't even tried to contact her. An ache groaned through her body, instantly undoing a days worth of not-thinking about Mulder. The soreness between her legs brought a rush of unbidden memories that set her heart thudding as she thought of his grasping, gripping hands and the crush of his pelvis against hers. She stood miserably for a long moment, one hand over her eyes and the other braced against the table for support. She felt the tug of his hand in the tender roots of her hair and saw the pain in his face as he struggled to end what he had started. An identifiable emotion swirled inside her, rich and acidic and something like guilt and shame. She allowed herself to feel let down and ashamed. She deserved it. Mulder was running from her now - because she had lacked the strength to tell him to get the fuck off of her and run the hell away. She had let him screw her like a dime-store hooker, locked somewhere between his own confused sentiments and the mania of a criminal mind. She had let him use her and she had almost liked it.

The laptop blipped a low-battery warning and the sound drew Scully from her reverie. She looked up and caught sight of a face at the window in the door. Stevens smiled and waved as he caught her eye. He opened the door and stepped into the comfortable room.

"Agent Scully, I didn't like to interrupt earlier. You seemed so involved..."

"That's fine Dr. Stevens, I'm finishing up now." She smiled thinly.

"I just wanted to show you this." Stevens held up a brown file-folder, "I merged my latest findings with the information you added earlier. I thought it best to begin with the same skeleton as yourself - so as to work with a complete set of information." Scully nodded, taking the file and opening it before the doctor finished. "As you can see, we have a possible I.D. on one body."

"Hispanic male, thirty-five years of age, five-eleven, 180 pounds," Scully read the information. They had already established as much from the skeleton. Now they had a name and a match on dental imprints. "How did you find this?"

"Missing persons. The computer threw out a bunch of possible matches and I went through one by one. This one seemed most probable; I managed to get hold of dental records fairly quickly..." Scully nodded, knowing the procedure and flicking on to the victims personal details. He had a criminal record. "Hasn't been seen in over a year, car found abandoned in a supermarket parking lot. Local guy, well known to the police."

"Petty theft, low-level coke dealing...solicitation? He was a male prostitute?"

"Unfortunately there's a lot of it around, Agent Scully." The doctor was grave, unaware of the new developments in Mulder's profile. Scully wondered whether anyone knew of the new developments but her.

"Mulder suspected as much. I think that's where we need to start." Scully was already packing the laptop into its case, ignoring its imploring her to charge its battery. The files went into her briefcase, the latest on Julio DeMarquez sliding in on top for easy access. She dialled Mulder's number from her cell phone, "I'm gonna have to get hold of Mulder over this one. I'll let you know as soon as I hear anything. In the meantime, thanks, and keep up the good work."

Scully mentally kicked herself as she clipped along the corridor, `keep up the good work'? Stupid. She felt foolish at saying such a thing to Dr. Stevens and she took it out on Mulder, leaving him a snippy voice-mail.

"Mulder, call me when you get this, wherever the hell you are. I have new information, a victim I.D. He was a rent boy Mulder. Oh...Just call me as soon as you get this." She hung up the phone, sliding into her car and starting the ignition before she had even considered where she would start looking for him. He could be anywhere; back at the motel by now, at the dig-site, or trawling through bars and strip clubs and peep shows, or even at the police department. While she was waiting for him to call, she had no chance of finding him.

Scully stopped the car, feeling anger rise in her. Stupid. They had avoided becoming personally involved for so many years. So many nights she had lain in bed on the other side of town from him, on the other side of the wall...years of innuendo, years of pulling away from his embrace, of turning her face from his kisses. Always keeping her distance because their work was too important. Stupid. How could she have been so stupid?

The phone rang twice before it diverted to voicemail. She left him another message.

"Dammit Mulder, this is important. I need to know where you are. This won't wait." Scully snapped the phone shut and sat with it in the palm of her hand, as though she could will it to ring. Then she pulled her briefcase up from the footwell of the passenger side and shuffled through for her list of contact numbers. Mulder wouldn't be out canvassing alone, someone must have seen him.

Yet there was no sign of him at the Sherrif's Department, nor had he reported in to Skinner that morning. He hadn't accessed his Bureau voicemail that day, as she discovered when she dialled in his private code. She tried his cell once more before calling the motel rooms. She called his room a number of times before contacting reception and having them check the room. His car hadn't been seen all day. With a growing feeling of dread, Scully called the Special Agent in Charge at the dig site as she drove away from the Medical Examiner's Office.

Long minutes passed as she was put on hold and passed around various agents, none of whom had seen Mulder since the previous day. Eventually she reached SAC Mitchell Davies. Scully was pulling up outside the motel by the time Davies confirmed her fears: Mulder never showed up that morning, and hadn't called to explain.

"And you never wondered where he might be? Never thought to call him?" Scully's voice rose despite her efforts to keep it steady. She opens the car door and she is right outside Mulder's door.

"He didn't answer his phone. I guessed he was with you, Agent Scully, I'm not his baby-sitter."

"And you never called me when he didn't answer?"

"I'm not his baby-sitter." The ASAC remained annoyingly calm. "He's probably just off on one of his ghost-chases..."

"Don't give me that shit, Davies...if anything has happened to him because you didn't follow protocol, so help me God..." Scully let herself into her own room, getting no response from Mulder's. She threw open the connecting door between the rooms, praying that she would find him sprawled on the bed.

"Protocol? With all due respect Agent Scully..." Davies' voice was tinny in her ear, like a buzzing fly as she surveyed the room. No one had been inside since she had left that morning.

"Shit." She shut the phone on Davies' whining voice, cutting him off mid-sentence. Her heart was racing as she dialled Mulder's number one last time. "Come on Mulder, don't mess with me...pick up the phone..." Voicemail. "Dammit!"

The parking lot was vast and dusty and white as she emerged from the rooms and it hurt her eyes. She paused to let her vision adjust before starting off at a march back to her car. She wasn't sure where to start, but she had an awful feeling in her stomach, much worse than the guilt and shame she had felt earlier. She circled as she neared the car, still not knowing what to do, tapping the phone against her leg as though it would make it ring. She stopped her pacing, telling herself to calm down, taking deep breaths and trying to settle her racing heart. She was frantic, knowing that something was wrong and cursing herself for letting him fuck her, then for fucking him back, then for letting him run away, and then for pushing him from her mind. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

The phone vibrated in her hand before it blared its waspy ring. She snatched it up, answering it as she glanced at the name on the display.

"Skinner? Sir? Mulder's missing."

"I know."

"What? How...How can you know?"

"His car, Agent Scully...I need you to stay calm but they found his car..."

"I don't could you know he's missing before I did?"

"Agent...I need you to calm down and listen...listen to me..." Scully sat heavily on the bonnet of her car, feeling the deep red metal burn through her trousers. The sweat was beginning to drip around her collar and she thought of the bruise that the collar concealed there on her throat. The phone was against her ear and she could barely hear Skinner going on about email and staying in contact with Dr. Stevens and the location of DeMarquez's car. Then it hit her.

"You found his car? Mulder's car?"

"His suit and shoes were inside, Scully, he never made it back from his run."


"We have out an APB on Agent Mulder, but we don't really know what the hell we're even looking for."

Scully looks down at her feet, seeing the dust on her black boots and wondering where all the white grit comes from. She can see the silhouette of the bed through the windows and she remembers how the sunset lit the room red the night before. Then she sees the footprints beneath the window, too large to be her own, not large enough to be Mulder's. She wonders briefly whether they could belong to the motel receptionist she had check the room earlier, but then she sees the print on the window. A smudge, as though someone had breathed hard against the glass. She knows then, who stood there and what he saw.



"He was here."


"He was here and he watched us. He was right here."

Title: Bare Bones (4/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness, some bad language too kiddies.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?

Mulder woke in darkness

The surface beneath him was hard and his skin stung from exposure to the salty, sandy earth. Movement filled the blackness with glittering white stars that swam around him and made his head throb. He knew even before he put up a hand to palpitate his aching skull that he had been thoroughly clubbed. Further inspection revealed a tender lump roughly the size of a golf-ball and he felt the crisp edges of dried blood around a cut. He was cold and confused and more than a little frightened.

Mulder lay still, trying not to panic. He didn't know where he was, nor why and he couldn't organise his thoughts enough to establish what on earth could have happened. Deep breaths and eventually he managed to conjure an image of what he had been doing before he came to on a cold earth floor in darkness. Jogging. He had been jogging. He was rifling through his sports bag, balanced on the trunk of his car. Mulder remembered the crunch of a footstep on the gravel behind him, then...nothing.

Scully. She didn't know where he was. She probably wouldn't even know he was missing. Mulder couldn't remember why, but he had the vague idea that something was wrong. He remembered dressing that morning and slipping out of the door. His stomach flipped itself over and in the back of his mind a reason hovered. Mulder struggled to remember what his body was already reacting to, as unease boiled in his stomach.

It rushed back to him with a clarity that took his breath away. He felt the fine bones of her throat beneath his hands; the overwhelming urge to crush her like a little bird; met by the rise of his body. Then all he knew was the way her hot skin smelt and how smooth her skin was and how good her firm breasts felt in his palms.

"Oh fuck!" he moaned out loud, the words harsh in his dry throat. They fell dead and flat in the dark, without a trace of an echo and Mulder wondered for a second whether he was buried underground. Then his stomach rolled with the thought of what he'd done - what THEY'D done - wondering whether his partner would even want to find him. If she ever realised that he was missing - not simply avoiding her. It was all his own damned fault for running away. Two mornings on the trot he'd been gone before she woke and now he was missing and she probably didn't even know. Hell, he didn't even know how long he'd been gone: his watch wasn't on his wrist and a brief search revealed no gun, no phone. He could have been out for days.

Mulder dragged himself upright, giving a strained groan as the blood rushed to his aching head. He squeezed his eyes closed for a second, pressing with the heels of his hands. He saw red for a second, then shifted himself onto all fours. Crawling around in the pitch dark made him dizzy enough to vomit, but Mulder quickly pieced together a floor plan of the room in which he was enclosed. It was small, perhaps one meter by two, with cinder-block walls and a seamless dirt floor - perhaps a room in a root cellar. Shuffling around the room, feeling the walls, set his heart pounding once more. There was no door. Panic stifled him in a thick blanket that made it hard to breathe and brought him out in a sweat. Mulder jumped to his feet praying for a trap door or a boarded up window, but found nothing. He whimpered and gasped for air and scrabbled his hands along the featureless walls, searching for something, anything that might provide him with a way out. Nothing. His hands were wet and stinging and he knew he was bleeding. He collapsed to the floor, kneecaps grinding on the unyielding surface, tears hot on his cheeks and his breath tearing along his dry throat.

He was bricked in.

He was bricked in and when he was good and dead - probably from dehydration and starvation, but maybe suffocation - the bastard who had put him in there would boil his body down to the bones and bury him out in the desert. Mulder freed one leg from underneath his slumped body and kicked the wall. Stupid. His toes smarted inside his soft sneakers. Stupid. He was supposed to be writing the goddamned profile on this fuckhead. Mulder had known him well enough to test out a choke-hold on his partner before giving her a thorough seeing to...Christ! But he was too busy experimenting with M.O. to see himself as the perfect final victim, the grand finale, the piece de resistance! The FBI golden boy, VCU's finest. Any idiot with dialup could access his personnel file and know his history as a profiler. The asshole had reeled him right in played him in ways he hadn't even suspected. It was all so obvious.

Mulder threw back his head and howled into the darkness.

Title: Bare Bones (5/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness, some bad language too kiddies.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?

"Agent Scully, you need to explain to SAC Davies what you told me over the phone." In the fluorescent light of the police station, Walter Skinner's face was almost skeletal. Scully watched him from behind a stack of papers that was heaped on the desk. She nodded and blinked slowly, not quite believing that Mulder had managed to get into so much trouble. Again.

And it had taken her at least fifteen hours to discover that he was even gone.

"Agent Scully, can you tell us again the last time you were in contact with Agent Mulder?" Scully sighed and raised her eyes to SAC Mitchell Davies. A mild distaste towards the man rose in her chest the longer she looked at him.

"With all due respect, can't you consult the record? I feel like I'm wasting valuable time sitting here, reiterating myself." She had to quash the smile that threatened to break as she watched Davies's eyes widen. He glanced to Skinner to see his reaction to Scully's disregard of the proper address. She watched his mouth open as he floundered for something authoritarian to say to reassert his position, but found no words. Scully swung her eyes to Skinner, whose expression was mildly admonishing. She could see that he agreed with her. But protocol demanded her respect for her superiors - whether they had earned it or not - and Scully would need the cooperation of her fellow agents.

"For the record, Scully?"

"I...assisted...Agent Mulder with his profile last night. He became he sometimes does when profiling. I spent the night in his room..." Scully paused, waiting for the disapproving glances from the ring of agents around the desk and felt her pulse speed up as the half-truth formed on her lips. Let them think what they wanted. They would never hear it from her mouth. Half the Bureau already thought they were sleeping together anyway. Davies smirked at the sexual implications of her admission and his eyes flicked over her chest. Scully met his gaze coolly. "I believe that he left the room at around five a.m. I must have dozed off because I recall looking at the clock at four-thirty a.m. and he was there. When I woke at five-ten he was gone. His running gear was gone, as was his suit. At the time, I simply thought it was his intention to run before work, then to go straight to the scene, as he had done the previous three days." Conceding nothing beyond what was vital, Scully folded her arms and sat back in the chair.

"Isn't it true that you had run with Agent Mulder every morning since you arrived in town? Why not this morning?"

"No, not every morning. Not today, nor yesterday."

"Any particular reason?"

"Am I a suspect here, SAC Davies? Is this an interrogation?" Blood rushed inside her skull and she hoped that her skin wasn't flushed. She didn't want the horrible little man to see the effect he had on her.

"Not at all Agent, I'm just trying to establish the chain of events leading up to Agent Mulder's disappearance. Did you argue at all that night? Anything we should know about, Agent Scully?"

"No, sir. There was no argument." Davies was trying in vain to intimidate her. Scully met his eyes with a cold gaze and he was the first to look away. His collar was darkened where it touched his neck and he slipped a finger beneath. Scully found herself momentarily disgusted and couldn't quite keep the sneer from her face. She narrowed her eyes and stood. "If we are quite finished here..." Davies had nothing to say. He remained in his chair, watching her and smoothing his curly black hair flat against his scalp.

"I want the area outside the motel room searched." Skinner launched into instructions without hesitation. "We're looking for evidence of a vehicle in the lot that shouldn't have been, hair, fibres, anything outside that room. The window should be swabbed for saliva. Anything. Remember, Agent Mulder is one of our own." He paused, disliking the clich on which he had ended. He looked around at the collection of agents before him. There was utter silence for a long moment, then the room broke into a scurry of motion as agents divided and began rifling through paperwork. Skinner turned to Scully and placed a hand on her shoulder. He turned her away from the room and guided her behind a partition wall.

"You want to tell me why you were in Mulder's room last night, Scully?" Scully sighed and took her time to raise her eyes.


"Don't play coy, Agent. I've know the two of you long enough to see that there's something up here. I know the two of you run together every morning. I know it all. Now what aren't you telling me? What happened in that room last night? Why weren't you with him this morning?" Scully shook her head, feeling slightly dizzy and breathless. She prayed inside her head that Skinner wouldn't see through her deceit.

"Sir, the curtains were open both in front and at the back of the room. If there was anything going on, don't you think we would have at least shut the curtains?" Confrontation proved to be the best defence. Skinner visibly relaxed and he smiled apologetically. She barely had to lie. Scully let out her breath in a slow stream.

"I don't know where to start on this one, Scully. Not a clue."

"Mulder was working on a profile. He was getting pretty close. I think that we're looking for one guy here, sir. Whoever is responsible for those bodies out along the highway...I think he has Mulder." Skinner nodded, expecting as much. It wouldn't be the first time Mulder had gotten too close to his subject. Skinner thought back to the disaster with {insert name - Paper Hearts}.

"And how do we find him? We haven't had a lead so far."

"We established this afternoon that at least one of the victims was into prostitution. Mulder had guessed as much last night. I suppose that the next logical step - besides searching the parking lot - would be to continue with identifying the bodies, find out whether prostitution could be a link between the victims." Scully frowned. Identifying the bodies was going to be a laborious task. It would confine her to the lab and she would have to leave the fact-finding investigation to Davies and his crew. Her eyes dropped closed and her head tipped to the side at the thought. Her stomach sank slowly like sand through water. Heaviness settled over her.

"Agent..?" Skinner had been talking to her. Scully looked up, shaking her head slightly, her eyes wide. "Are you alright? Scully?" He looked down with such concern in his eyes that Scully felt her guard slip. After the initial panic, she had tried so hard to stay detached. She sifted through the details, keeping her mind from focussing on the fact that it was Mulder who was missing. Now, standing in a cubicle with her direct superior, his hand warm on her arm, Scully felt the tears sting along her sinuses and her mouth pressed into a line.

She looked away, trying to blink away the emotion. But the tears were already wet on her cheeks and Skinner was drawing her into his broad chest. Scully felt the strength seep out of her and she leant into the big man, feeling the solidity of his chest beneath her cheek and hearing the rhythmic beat of his heart. It was fast and unfamiliar and Scully felt a pain in her own chest as she thought of Mulder's steady heartbeat as she had heard it while he slept the night before. Skinner stayed silent, simply holding her upright and letting her cry. His shirt was damp with her tears but she didn't make a sound and he was glad for the partition wall that screened them from the rest of the squad-room. After the performance she had maintained all evening, no one should see her cry. He felt her body expand with a shuddering breath and she drew back, sniffing and running an expert finger under each eye. Skinner looked away, glancing furtively around the tiny cubicle, looking everywhere but at her. Scully sniffed and blinked away the last trace of her tears. She cleared her throat.

"I'll go back to the Office of the County Medical Examiner then. I think that's where I'll be of most use." Scully said the words with a certainty that she didn't feel. She knew that she would be a spare wheel wherever she went. Skinner nodded, glad that he didn't have to assign her a task. Instinct told him to send her back to the motel to sleep, but he knew from experience that Dana Scully would not be sleeping until her partner was safe and well.

The phone-call came at around one a.m.


"Agent Scully, this is Garth Rogers, I'm with the field office here in..."

"Is there any news on Mulder?" the words took over before she cold stop them. The young agent stuttered at her brusqueness. She didn't apologise.

"I was told to contact you if there was any news..."

"And?" Scully felt the adrenalin kick in at his seeming reluctance to divulge the information. "Agent Rogers?"

"There were stains on the bedclothes in Agent Mulder's room. They have been identified as semen, Agent Scully." Scully's heart sank. Of course they would search the rooms. Of course they would find evidence of the previous night's `activities'. If anyone looked close enough they would also find evidence painted on her fine white skin in varying shades and hues. A hand went over her eyes.

"And...?" Rogers seemed reluctant to be discussing semen with a female agent. He'd probably pulled the short straw over having to call her.

"The sample has been sent to the FBI crime labs. Hopefully we'll get an I.D..."

"Yeah. Within three weeks, Agent Rogers. Do you have any idea how congested the labs are? Do you really think we have time to wait for results on semen stains you found on some dirty motel blanket? Are you telling me that if we checked your bedding, Agent Rogers, that we mightn't find similar stains? When they come back in three weeks and Mulder is dead because you wasted time on a stain that was either already there when we arrived, or worse still, belonged to Agent Mulder...You better have something better for me before you bother me again, Rogers." Scully pulled herself up, hearing his breath wheezing over the line. She took a deep breath of her own. "I'm sorry, Agent Rogers, you're just trying to do your job."

"Agent Scully, we are working as fast as we can on this..."

"Were there any signs of break-in?"

"No, none that I saw."

"Then your search should be concentrated on the outside of the rooms, not the inside. I don't believe that the UNSUB was ever inside those rooms. He had no need to be." Her voice was gentler as she forced herself to be calm. Rogers was still panting over the line, terrified. Scully heard someone in the background and the sound of the phone being passed. The heavy voice of SAC Davies came onto the phone its Southern accent slow like sticky honey.

"Agent Scully." The voice was smug, and Scully found her heart turning over. She may have scared Rogers into submission, but Davies may be a little harder to distract from the fact that she had spent the night comforting her partner in a way that the FBI would not condone.


"Any particular reason why your panties were in Agent Mulder's room?"


"Just beneath the bed, actually."

"How do you know they were mine, sir?" Scully's mind was racing, her pulse thudding and a deep blush spread horribly across her chest. Her stomach lunged and she tasted coffee, still warm.

"They matched the brassiere that was with your clothes on your own bed."

"I showered in Agent Mulder's room this morning sir. I must have dropped them." Davies was talking loudly, obviously to an audience. He repeated her words and she imagined a room full of cops and FBI agents snickering and imagining her and Mulder screwing with the curtains and some perp watching from outside the window. She choked slightly, as her stomach threatened to void. "I know what this looks like sir, but I assure you, the evidence is circumstantial and extraneous to the case."

"Uh huh. Extraneous is it?"

"Yes, sir. And I resent the implication." It was weak and she knew it.

"Well, resentment or not, I'm sure the squirrel just loved the show Agent Scully." Davies hung up, but not before she heard the laughter.

Title: Bare Bones (6/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness, some bad language too kiddies.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?

"I should just shoot myself." Scully dropped the phone onto the table as the door opened behind her. Brian Stevens sidled in through the half-opened door, laden down with a tray of coffee and pastries. Scully sighed as he set them down in front of her.

"Not exactly nutritional, but there's not much open around here at this time of night."

"Thank you, Dr. Stevens. This is perfect." Stevens pulled out a chair at the large conference table and took his own coffee. He took his time adding sugar and creamer and raised thin white eyebrows as Scully removed the lid on her own and sipped at it black. She smiled and declined a pastry. "Is there any news?"

"I'm afraid we have nothing terribly helpful so far. Aside from general observations such as height, age, gender, race and so on - there is little more at this stage." Scully sighed and nodded. Things were moving far too slowly for her liking and there was not a damned thing she could do about it. Energy rose up inside her and she wanted to jump out of her chair and shake Dr Stevens, tell him to get on with his work and stop bringing her coffee. She wanted to run out into the night, screaming Mulder's name and banging on doors until she found him. But she couldn't. She had to be rational and restrained and act exactly as she had been trained. She wasn't even allowed to think of the fact that it was Mulder they were looking for. Don't think it, just don't think it. Scully breathed deeply to silence the adrenalin that roared through her body and gulped her hot black coffee. She felt the acrid liquid burn in her empty stomach and choked back the bile that rose.

"The team are out with those details, asking around, talking to people on the streets, trying to find out if there have been any unusual happenings, disappearances...we're clutching at straws really."

"I'm so sorry that things have come to this, Dana. I know you and your partner are very close." Stevens smile was warm as he covered her hand with his own. Scully gave her own tight-lipped smile and slowly withdrew her hand.



Mulder sat up, gasping and sweating. The room around him was black and it took a second of floundering for the bedside lamp to remember where he was. Horribly, the realisation dawned on him and he retched sideways. Sickness rushed up and sprayed his bare leg as his stomach convulsed. Mulder coughed and felt the sting in his throat, raw from shouting. Already he was thirsty.

"I'm gonna fucking die in here." He spoke miserably to the blackness and his words fell without echo in the tiny box-room. "Aliens, conspiracies and the black cancer, and I'm gonna die in a freaking cellar." Mulder wanted to laugh at the irony, but fear brought tears instead. He scrabbled to his knees; hearing the gravel scrape beneath him and he pounded his fists against the brick wall; angry and terrified and sorry that he had ever gotten involved. Mulder knew with certainty that the killer they had hunted just hours ago was behind his incarceration.

"You better hope I never get out of here, you fuck-ass!" Mulder screamed, his throat aching and dry. "I'm gonna kill you!" His hands were split and bleeding from pounding the brick. Yet the wall was utterly unyielding and a shower of brick dust rained to the floor with a dry patter sound. The grit stuck in the grazes on his hands and Mulder wished he hadn't bothered. He dropped back to the damp earth floor, the sound of the loose grit beneath his training shoes reminding him of playground asphalt from his childhood. The cold, mouldering smell of soil filled his nostrils and he thought of mushrooms and fungus growing in the dankness. Mulder shivered, wondering what would grow up out of the soil to cover his corpse. If Scully were there, he thought, she would know. She would be able to describe the stages of decomposition to him in minute detail.



Did she even know that he was missing yet? Was she panicking? Angry? Indifferent? Mulder had no clue as to how many hours had passed since his jog along the railway path that ran behind the K-Mart. The sun had barely risen then.

But he knew her too well. She had let him do to her what he needed to do. She had barely flinched when his hands gripped her throat, just swallowed hard. His palms throbbed with the memory of her pulse running under his fingers and her windpipe rising. In the blackness, he couldn't avoid the images of her face as he slid his hand into her hair. His heart raced when he thought of how her confusion had been laced with desire and how she had fought and gasped and writhed beneath him. She had cried and begged him to stop. The erotic images stopped and Mulder dry-heaved. A little acid burned but stayed down.

She had drawn him to the bed and calmed him. She had given him what he had tried to take and her eyes were liquid and huge as she eased it from him. A thin sheen of sweat prickled all over his body despite the chill of his basement cell. Mulder shivered. He had been a coward and he had left her. And now he couldn't even make it right.

He had to get out.

It was just a case of how.

To Be Continued...

Authors Note: Sorry this is only a short one. Please, please let me know what you think! x

Title: Bare Bones (7/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness, some bad language too kiddies.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?

*Thanks to Teresa - PM extraordinaire. Also to Lisa for late night chats and Jenna for getting me on the road to web-design and for keeping me there hehe. And all the crazies at the Refuge. Loving it.

His head ached in the darkness.

He sat with his eyes open, seeing imaginary stars swirling red in the blackness, unsure of whether it was a result of his head injury or from staring without seeing for so long.

He had tried to sleep and dozed for what felt like hours but may have only been minutes. The floor was solid and unyielding and his shoulder hurt from being pressed against it. He had paced for the longest time, until he felt dizzy from walking in circles in the confined space. His skin felt clammy and he wasn't sure whether it was from the damp room or his own panic-sweat.

Mulder backed himself across the packed mud floor, feeling the loose soil of the top layer skin free and follow him. He squeezed into the corner of the room, feeling the press of two walls against his shoulder-blades. Arms wrapped around drawn-up knees brought some warmth, but didn't stop the shivering. He was far from comfortable, but at least he could be relatively sure that the walls weren't closing in on him if he could feel two at a time. In the darkness, the room could shrink in and he wouldn't know until they crushed the air out of his chest.

Mulder suddenly knew how claustrophobia felt.

She had woken when the seat beside her dipped under a new weight.

Scully hoped she hadn't been snoring. Or drooling. She self-consciously wiped the corners of her mouth and cleared her throat. Dr. Stevens smiled and handed her yet another coffee. She was starting to feel irritated. Why aren't you in the lab

He looked clean and freshly shaven. Stevens had evidently been home for a few hours - at least long enough to shower and change. He had probably slept a few hours too. Scully felt greasy and filthy and beyond exhausted. She had dropped off to sleep sitting upright, a sheaf of papers clutched in her hand. Her body ached as though she had rolled down a flight of stairs and the muscles in her neck were rigid. A glance at her watch told her she had only been napping for forty minutes. No wonder she felt so awful. 7am.

She had been dreaming about being trapped in a closet; then drowning in a bathtub. She remembered a room lined with shelves of staring porcelain dolls, all gazing down on her and mocking her in her captivity with glassy eyes and stiff smiles. Scully shivered.

Stevens was smiling beneath his moustache.

"You were really out." Scully winced, the comment reminding her of Mulder, always teasing her for falling asleep. She missed him with a pang that made her stomach hurt.

"Thanks for the coffee. I might just go and use the restroom." Scully stood and smoothed her wrinkled suit. She wished for a change of clothes, but the motel had become a crime-scene and she couldn't face running into that smug bastard Davies. She groaned at the thought of their last telephone conversation. She felt desperation crawl over her with a heat that had her rushing through the swing doors along the corridor and into the ladies room. Scully stood before the row of sinks, her arms barely holding her up as she leant forward to peer into the mirror. She looked exhausted; her skin translucent and grey in the harsh fluorescent light and her eyes ringed with black circles. The tears that burned along her sinuses sent the last traces of her mascara running down her cheeks and she decided to cut her losses and wash the lot off.

Hair scraped back and her face scrubbed, she looked as bad as she felt. Gone was the professional, impeccably groomed FBI agent, and all that remained was a tired thirty-something woman in a wrinkled pant-suit.

She didn't care.

Mulder was missing, and she had no clue how to find him.

Scully took deep breaths, staring at herself in the glass. Pull yourself together. Her shoulders sagged and she sighed. Updates. Time to find out what we have.

He must have been asleep. He couldn't tell how for how long, but the tears on his cheeks had dried into salty tracks. Mulder swallowed and his throat was parched. His mouth tasted awful and his lips were dry against his teeth. Time had no meaning in his dark cell and he had no idea how long he had been without water. The dampness of the room mocked him; he was so desperately thirsty; surrounded by moist air, pungent with the aroma of fungus and decaying vegetable matter. Even his skin was damp and clammy. He could hear water running, trickling and spattering like rain on foliage.

Mulder forced himself to move, despite the protestations of his aching limbs. His shoulders were tense as he leaned away from the support of the wall and his vertebrae ground as he straightened. Mulder moaned and extended his back, hoping that motion would work out the tension in his skeleton. He crawled across the floor in the direction of the watery sound. It was coming from above.

The ground was wet against the opposite wall. Not just damp, but wet and the mud clung to his fingers as they explored further up the wall. The wall was running with water. Mulder was thankful he hadn't picked this wall to sleep against. He took a moment to think before pressing his mouth to the wall and licking the brick. He winced at the graze of the brick against his dry tongue, but the moisture that trickled between the cement channels of the wall was too blissful for him to stop. He lapped, feeling the gritty scrape and not caring because his throat wasn't nearly so dry as it had been a moment ago. Mulder flattened his lips in a kiss and sucked the slimy, brackish wetness, thanking a god he had never believed in.

His nose was sore by the time he pulled away. The act was exhausting and barely rewarding, but at least he wasn't so painfully thirsty and his throat wasn't so arid. The spattering of rain from above had ceased and Mulder was left with a muddy puddle that stuck to his trainers and slopped up against his shins when he moved. He sighed and stepped back from the wall, still thirsty and realising for the first time that his stomach was hollow with hunger. Mulder sighed and slumped back into his corner.

She had set up her own crime-centre in the conference room. Scully had commandeered a free-standing display board and fastened a map in the centre. Her notes on the victims were fastened around, along with photographs of various bones; the filed ribs, a femur with a healed compound fracture, dental imprints and a list of identified victims. The evidence was connected in a spider-web of red string and drawing-pins and Scully stood before it, tapping her lip with a biro.

Skinner slipped into the room and stood just inside. The door snicked closed behind him and he watched her, not wanting to startle his agent, seemingly lost in thought.

"We weren't even supposed to be here. This isn't an X-File." Scully spoke without turning around. Skinner frowned, surprised, before realising that she had seen his reflection in the tinted window beyond her display board. Beyond the glass, the sun was setting in vivid orange. Rain had poured briefly over the town cooling the oppressive heat - if only for a brief hour.

"You shouldn't be doing this alone, Agent."

"The police were hostile when I spoke to them earlier. The Field Office wants nothing to do with me, and Agent Davies has already ridiculed me once in the past twenty-four hours." Scully kept her back to her superior, but he saw the flush rise along her throat, exposed with her hair pulled back. He fingered the expensive wool of her jacket where it hung on the back of a chair.

"It didn't look good, Agent."

"He was unprofessional." She turned and faced him at last, her mouth set. Skinner nodded in agreement. He didn't tell her that he had squared up to Davies and growled down a threat of disciplinary action. Davies had shrunk away from Skinner's looming figure and stuttered an apology, suddenly uncertain of the Assistant Director. He had scurried away like a sweaty little rat.

"I don't think he'll be a problem for you any more, Agent Scully." Scully found herself wishing that Skinner would drop the decorum, she was growing tired of him calling her Agent. She supposed it was habit.

"I just want to find him."

"So do I. That's all any of us want." Skinner reached out a hand and it hovered indecisively in the air for a second before settling on her shoulder. His elbow was stiff as he squeezed. Scully looked from the hand on her shoulder to Skinner's face. She smiled and nodded, her chin wrinkling slightly as her mouth pressed upwards. She breathed deeply and turned away, the tears coming upon her too suddenly to be stopped. Skinner felt his eyes go wide and his heart sped up. He hesitated, his hand still on her shoulder as Scully tried to turn away. She put her own hand up to cover her eyes, muttering an apology as Skinner slipped his grip down to hold her arm.

"Oh, Agent..."

"I'm sorry, Sir, I'm just so tired..." Skinner drew her to him in a sudden spontaneous motion that set his pulse racing and she leaned heavily into his chest. He was certain she would hear the thudding of his heart beneath her ear, but if she did, she gave no sign. Scully sniffled and struggled to control her gasping breaths. She let out a sigh and pulled back, wiping her eyes. "I'm sorry, Sir..."

"Don't be. You haven't slept have you."

"I caught a few minutes early this morning."

"Dr. Stevens told me."

"My motel is apparently a crime-scene."

"I'll have your things removed to a new room."

"I need to be here."

"You are no good to the investigation, nor to Mulder, if you are too exhausted to think straight..."

"Sir, I'm fine..."

"I can't have you in the field - you're a danger to yourself and others, your reactions will be slow..." Scully sighed, knowing how she must look. She had been grey and rumpled at seven a.m. She must look like death. Skinner confirmed her suspicions. "You look like hell, Agent." She smiled and nodded. "I'll sort it out. You finish up here. Are you ok driving?"

"I'm fine." Skinner nodded but his expression was still registered as concerned. "Sir, I'll be fine."

He had to pee.

It was more urgent now than it had been when he first woke. Mulder stood, hoping that the urge would wear off if his bladder had more room to expand. That worked for around an hour - he had taken to counting the seconds in order to distract himself. After the first hour he was so desperate that he kept losing his count and couldn't think about anything other than urinary tract infections. That was all he needed. He had hoped the dehydration would stave off the need to pee, but apparently not.

Mulder picked a corner and adjusted his shorts. His teeth were chattering as it was, and he wasn't happy at having to reveal yet more of his anatomy to the dank air. But he didn't have a choice. He felt like a dog, pissing in the corner. He quickly relieved himself, not quite sure why he was embarrassed in the darkness, but rushing back to his own corner as fast as he could.

The room stank of something new then. Mulder was disgusted. Rotting away in a filthy hole surrounded by the stench of his own urine. It was overpowering, and he wretched, choking back acid. His stomach was hollow and empty and it growled. Scully would call it tubular. That was what she said in her autopsies when she came across an empty stomach. Hunger seemed to come and go for him. One moment he could think of nothing but donuts and lemonade, a cool beer and potato chips and the next the thought of food filled him with dread. With the stench of urine heavy in the air, all Mulder wanted was to walk in crisp fresh air - preferably on a beach. Preferably with his partner.

He couldn't stop thinking about her. About what he'd done. About what she'd let him do. Christ. Sitting in the dark, imagining her soft white skin, one hand clamped over his nose and mouth, Mulder found himself with a raging erection.

Her new room was actually much nicer than the first. Scully lingered in the shower and slipped naked between cool sheets. Her whole body ached and she felt so weak that she didn't have the energy to pull the quilt up and over herself. She shivered beneath the sheet.

Her tears slid silently to the pillow and sank into the chilled fabric. Her eyes closed of their own accord and she was asleep in seconds. Her dreams were of watchful dolls and bathtubs and Eddie Pfaster.

Scully woke to darkness with Mulder's name on her lips.

It rained again.

Mulder pressed himself to the wall with an intimacy he resented. At least the water running down onto the mud dulled the smell of urine. Or maybe he was getting used to it.

It was strange, he thought, that he could hear the rain on the foliage far above - yet there was no glimpse of light. The roof of his cell was far too high to reach to explore.

Mulder tried to scale the wall, finding the brick slippery with lichen higher up. Someone had scrubbed the lower half of the walls. But Mulder was over six foot tall, much taller than any of the victims. Perhaps they hadn't realised that the walls were wet when it rained. Perhaps it had never rained. But suddenly, Mulder was certain that there was a way out. All he had to do was get up there.

Mulder suddenly knew with certainty that he was not going to die.

He was going to see his partner again and make things alright. He had to.

To Be Continued...


Title: Bare Bones (8/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness, some bad language too kiddies.
Archive: Ephemeral Gossamer ATXC, actually anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?
Thanks to Teresa *mwah* you are (as ever) fantabulous!
I made this (hehe):

By the time the phone rang, she was dressed and was packing away her hair irons. Polished and finished, Scully felt better prepared to face the day. She continued to throw items into her briefcase as she answered the phone.


"Hope I didn't wake you Agent Scully." Skinner, sounding nervous. Her heart leapt.

"No sir. Is there news?"

"We have a man in custody."

"Oh God!" Her resolve slipped and tears came immediately. Pulse racing, she barely dared to hope for good news.

"I think you should come down here."

"Of course. I'll be right there."

Less than thirty minutes later, Scully found herself seated at a metal table in Interrogation Room B, her back to the mirrored one-way observation window. She had no recollection of the journey over from the motel, nor meeting Skinner at the front desk. She wondered whether the suspect could hear the thudding of her heart as loudly as it reverberated in her skull. Her skin throbbed with her roaring pulse, surely enough to be visible through her crawling skin. Scully had a bad feeling about the unlikely man who perched on his chair before her and she had no idea of how to crack him.

Percy Clarkson had no idea of her inner turmoil.

Clarkson shifted under her steady gaze. She had said very little since entering the room over an hour ago - simply seating herself at the table and resting her elbows on the metal surface. He leered at her, pondering how things had changed since he was last arrest by a burly local cop.

"Let's have a little talk Percy." Her calm alto drew a sneer that revealed small sharp teeth beneath thin red lips. His grey skin was slick with a film of sweat that glistened wetly under the harsh lights. "Where is Agent Mulder. That's all I want to know." Scully's eyebrow went up as Clarkson chuckled to himself but said nothing. She nodded and raised her chin to rest on her knuckles. She fixed him with a steady gaze. "When you're ready, Percy."

Long minutes of her cool stare had Clarkson squirming in his chair. He was sweating profusely and he wasn't sure why.

"What happened to the guy that was in here before?" He finally spoke, his voice breaking over the words like an adolescent. Scully raised her eyebrow scornfully and Clarkson found himself blushing.

"Collecting the warrant."


"To search your property Mr Clarkson. We know you have Agent Mulder. It's just a matter of time now." Her hands were still curled beneath her chin and her facial expression didn't alter. Watching from the outside, Clarkson had no idea of the churning in her stomach, violent enough to make her want to vomit. Right onto the table.

Clarkson's smile widened then, something between smug and relieved.

"That's just it. I don't know anything about this Agent Mulder guy. Never heard of him." He grinned then. Scully felt her stomach lurch again and she straightened her spine slightly, hoping that the acid would subside and let her keep her coffee down. "So you can search all you like." Scully stood up, a wave of dizziness forcing her to rest her fingertips on the table for balance. With a certainty that she no longer felt, Scully leaned forward, right into the face of the ratty little man. He stank of stale cigarettes and sweat.

"We'll see about that Percy."

Mulder was woken by the sound of scrabbling above. A dog. It sounded like a dog.

He yelled, his throat feeling torn by the harsh sound that rose. Metallic blood tanged in the back of his mouth as his dry lips cracked and his bones ached. Mulder sprang to his feet. His trainers slapped in the muddy puddle by the end wall. He screamed, pleading for discovery, hearing the scrabbling above intensify and a bark rang out.


A voice shouted and footsteps thudded closer. Leaves rustled and more voices joined the first. Mulder felt his pulse race, his stomach lurching and he yelled some more.

"Shut up dog!" A man's voice, southern accent. Mulder found that his own voice had died away to a barely audible croak. He stood, panting. Plastic rustled and wood splintered. Dust and plant-matter drifted down, followed by larger clumps of brick and cement. Mulder gasped, stepping back, bombarded by tumbling debris. Hehad brick dust in his eyes. With a creaking noise, followed by the snapping of wooden boards, green light descended part-way down the walls.


"Beyond a tin of hash...nope, we got nothing we can even hold him on." Davies looked down onto her copper crown as Scully dropped her head. He watched her shoulders sag and felt ashamed. He had ridiculed her in front of his men and now he felt bad. And now he was on the wrong side of AD Skinner. Davies wished that he had never got himself involved.

"Remind me of how he even came to be a suspect." Scully's eyes were narrowed dangerously. She stood back and gazed at the ASAC, levelling him with a stare that made him shift from foot to foot, wondering how he had lost the upper hand in the situation.

"Have you forgotten so soon, Agent? Perhaps you should go back to the motel. You haven't been sleeping lately, have you?" Davies watched her blue eyes harden to a slate grey. He blushed.

"Though your concern is appreciated, Sir, I was simply wondering how it was that Clarkson became prime suspect in this inquiry. As I see it, there was no real evidence at all to connect this man to Agent Mulder's case, other than the fact that the man was fighting with a prostitute."

"We were following the details of Agent Mulder's profile..."

"Agent Mulder's *unfinished* profile."

"I don't need to explain myself to you, Agent Scully."

"And I wouldn't expect you to, Sir. All I want is for Agent Mulder to be found. A whole night was wasted questioning this man, and three hours were lost searching his property."

"I don't need you to tell me these things, Agent. This conversation is over." Davies turned and marched away, letting the double doors swing closed with a bang. Scully felt the air rush out of her lungs. She had spent too much time with Mulder; alienating the ASAC was getting her nowhere. She turned on her heel, then paused in the corridor and wondered what she was going to do next. She wanted to be out in the field, but there was nothing to be done. She felt utterly deflated and completely helpless.

Skinner would know what to do.

She found Skinner in the squad-room of the police station. Scully marched confidently through the rows of desks, seeing her superior by the coffee machine. He turned as she reached him and handed her a cup of black coffee.


"I've taken to drinking it black recently." Skinner nodded and gave a wry smile.

"I hear you had an *encounter* with Davies." Scully raised an eyebrow. Skinner nodded again. Scully wondered whether the AD had learned the silent language she and Mulder shared. He had been unnervingly attuned to her thoughts since Mulder's disappearance. The idea made her shiver and she pined for her missing partner with an intensity that made her gasp and frown. Skinner rested a hand on her arm squeezing slightly. Scully shrugged out of his grasp and dropped into the chair beside the coffee machine.

Skinner stood, uncertain for a moment. He cleared his throat and looked away, wanting to say something comforting, but finding himself at an utter loss for words. His mouth twitched and opened, then closed. Scully looked up as he cleared his throat, but he said nothing.

Three days. The days had passed agonisingly slowly, blending into one another so that Scully had to think before she knew how long Mulder had been gone. It seemed like weeks since she had felt his weight pressing her back against the sideboard in her motel room. The tang of the desert heat on his skin filled her senses for a dizzying moment, making her glad to be sitting down. She was light-headed and the racket of the squad-room filtered down to a tinny buzz in her ears. *Deep breaths*

She felt eyes on her.

Scully stood, surprising Skinner and sending him back a step. He stumbled and caught himself on the edge of the vending machine. Scully's hand was tight on his wrist.

"What is it, Agent Scully?" She barely heard the bass of his voice, more felt it as a vibration. The room was startlingly, inexplicably bright and she looked around, stunned. "Scully?" The tang of Skinner's aftershave was sharp in her nostrils and the bottom dropped out of her stomach. She was becoming accustomed to the acid-reflux of panic in her stomach, and she ignored it as she glanced around the bright room.

A man stared at her from behind the reception desk.

He was tall, muscular and his tanned skin shone with sweat. As he was lead around the desk, he pulled the handcuffs that bound his wrists, making them chink tight as though he intended to break them apart. His black jeans were smeared with mud and his boots were thick with sods of clay. He trailed footprints along the floor as he walked behind a deputy. Scully watched him, her blood sluggish in her veins, the breath going out of her. Grey eyes were fixed on her as the man drew closer and he continued to watch her as the Deputy pushed him down into a chair. Skinner's voice in her ear was a low rumble.

Skinner shook her and she looked up at him, startled.

"Agent? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." Scully gave herself a mental shake, her vision suddenly clear. "I think I may be getting a migraine." Skinner frowned and she pulled a bottle of pills from the inside of her jacket. "I'll be fine." She searched for the man and when she found him, he was seated further away than she had thought. He had turned his attention to the Deputy and was smirking cockily at the young cop, toying with his cuffs and making the clank loudly. She frowned, wondering what had come over her. She was imagining things. Heightened senses? Perhaps it really was a migraine.

Then the man looked up, directly at her.

A gasp caught in her throat.

"Can we find out what that man is here for? The one covered in mud." Skinner looked at her strangely. He paused, then nodded, his large body cutting a swath between the rabble.

The wall was brittle against his back and Mulder shivered in the darkness. He was soaked to the skin, head to toe. A droplet of water ran from his hairline, along the bridge of his nose and plopped onto his curled knees.

A face had appeared high above, grinning down. The sky behind him had been white, the sudden brilliance of light forcing him to shut his eyes and back away into the shadows. He had yelled up, begged for help, screaming and hollering and weeping with relief. He remembered stumbling forward until his bare arms connected with the moist wall and his brain registered that his rescuer was yelling back at him. Mulder was still shouting, trying to keep his eyes open against the light when the water cascaded down over him.

"I said 'shut the fuck up' buddy!" It was the southern accent he had heard before. The barking dog appeared at the ragged hole above, a tiny jack-russel, and Mulder saw it briefly as he gasped and floundered and blinked, his heart stopped by the torrent of frigid water. A bucket clattered against the wall, swinging on its handle with a hollow plastic sound.

"I was just checkin' you were still in there, buddy-boy, seein' if you'd died already." It had taken him time to work out what the man was saying. The dog was barking still and the light was too much for him. Mulder lost his balance and fell backwards onto his ass with a winded thud. He stuttered, teeth already chattering.

"The others made much more noise than you. Thought maybe you died already." Mulder's brain had finally solved the puzzle. He wasn't being rescued. And apparently it didn't matter if he yelled. It hadn't saved the others.

"Please, just let me go." Laughter. Then the light was filtered into pinpoints as the cover was replaced over the jagged hole. He could still hear the dog yipping, further away, as a hammer fixed the wood back in place. Then the rustle of plastic being taped into place. Mulder had screamed and begged, long after the footsteps and the dog receded.

Now he was quiet. Quiet and cold.

"Come on Scully. Please."

Title: Bare Bones (9/?)
Category: MSR, Angst, Case-file (sort of)
Rating: PG for adult situations and general nastiness, some bad language too kiddies.
Archive: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Disclaimer: Not mine. If they were I'd be wearing better shoes.
Spoilers: Its been ended for years - hasn't everyone seen them all?

Thanks to Miss Teresa - could I get another camomile tea? Maybe some of those vanilla-scented candles?

"But sir, he doesn't have an alibi for the morning Mulder went missing..."

"No, Scully, we can't hold him because you have `a hunch'. You shouldn't even be on this case."

"Sir, I..."

"Agent." Scully stopped, lips pressed into a line, one eyebrow creeping slowly upwards. "Don't give me reason to send you home."

"I am not a child, sir. I understand that you are just doing your job, but this is Agent Mulder's life. We have nothing else to go on, and I have a really strong feeling about this guy." She paused and sighed. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't think there was something in it, sir. You know I wouldn't."

"Scully, you aren't sleeping well, I haven't seen you eat a thing in can't tell me that your judgement isn't impaired by your proximity to this case."

"I'm fine."

"I know. You always are." Skinner paused for a dramatic second that made Scully suddenly, inexplicably angry. She took a deep breath as her superior continued "Just find me something concrete. I'll see what I can do. At the least he is being held on separate charges, so you have a little time." Scully finally smiled and sighed. She nodded and collected her notes together, feeling Skinner's eyes on her. She moved out of the room without looking up. She couldn't bear to see the look of concern on his face.

"Thankyou sir." She mumbled as she struggled to open the door with her arms full of paperwork.

"Agent?" She had to look up then, and caught the worry in his expression before a mask of professionalism dropped into place. Scully cringed. "Lets keep this in an unofficial capacity for the time being." Scully gave him a tight smile as the door banged behind her.

He woke on his back. The sky was vast and white and framed by trees above him and he had no idea what had happened. His legs ached and his breath burned in his throat. Mulder lay still for long minutes, listening to the whisper of the leaves and the wheezing of his breath. He barely felt the rain that poured out of the sky to soften the ground around his exhausted body.

He closed his eyes and the darkness brought it all back in a rush.

The darkness, the retreating footsteps, the schlick of unrolling duct-tape and the plastic blocking out the light. His head ached and he found a crust of dried blood and a thickening of scab. It had been days. He had been gone for days.

The rain poured down, battering the leaves and sinking down into the earth around him. Mulder struggled to stand on unstable legs, remembering how he had scaled the walls of his tomb, one foot wedged against each side. It had taken so long. He had been so tired, so weak and he had fallen so many times. Staggering forward, Mulder rubbed at the insistent ache in his coccyx. He felt as though he had been run over by a bus. He wasn't sure where he had found the strength to make his way high enough up the wall to reach the wooden panelling nailed in place. By the time he had worked his fingertips under the edge of the first panel his thighs were shaking and he had been sure that he would drop to the ground and crack his head open. Again. As Mulder had pushed and pulled the splintering wood, he had envisioned himself, doubly concussed and dying of the second impact syndrome that Scully always used to keep him in bed after a head injury. He had been sobbing so hard at the thought of her that he had almost given up. One final shove, a final burst of energy, blinded by tears and rage and the first panel had given way with a wrenching, splitting sound. Mulder had felt himself slip with it and grabbed the edge as he lost his footing. His limp body dropped to the ground with a thud. His legs, too tired to hold him up, crumpled beneath him. Mulder lay on the packed soil floor for what felt like forever, half wishing for his captor to come back and finish him off.

In the forest, Mulder staggered on with great lurching steps, knowing that he had to put as much distance between himself and the farmhouse cellar as he could. Lunging forward, Mulder leant from tree to tree, pausing for breath every tenth tree. He counted his footsteps in a marching rhythm, forcing himself to keep going.

"One...two...three...four..." His breath rasped painfully with each count and his vision swam. He was lost, but there was hope rising in his chest with every shaky step. He had lost sight of the farmhouse thirty trees ago, and the numbers circled in his head, spurring him on. He lost count a thousand times, but he carried on, thinking of nothing but the next foot forward.


"I've seen him before."

"Who? What?" Davies stared up at Scully with an expression somewhere between confusion and despair. He had decided to avoid all confrontation with the woman, to delegate all correspondence to junior agents. Now she had hunted him down in the cafeteria, brandishing case files and photo-fits.

"This man." She slapped a monochrome photograph onto the table beside his tuna on rye sandwich. His coffee leapt in its Styrofoam cup. "He is being held here on separate charges - petty theft in a drug-store earlier today, repeat offender - but I knew I'd seen him before."

"Hmm?" Davies filled his mouth with sandwich to avoid having to respond.

"At the dig site. I saw him out there on more than one occasion." Davies swallowed his mouthful.

"You get a lot of bystanders at crime scenes. You know that Agent Scully."

"Of course, of course. But there's something about this guy that begs further investigation. The way he looked at me in the squad room...I don't know...But we can question him at least? I want to question him. I just needed to run it past you...sir." Scully tagged on the `sir' reluctantly.

"I don't think so Agent. You are too close to this. If anyone questions this guy, it will be one of my men. And that's a strong if. How long is he being held for?"

"His lawyer is arranging bail as we speak. We have to act fast, sir. I had the deputy establish his movements for the morning Mulder disappeared and he has no alibi." Her tone was somewhere between indignant and pleading, a mix that didn't sit well with Davies. She was asking him because she had to, not because she wanted his help. Davies was tempted to refuse to keep the man, simply because she grated on his nerves. Instead, he found himself nodding, and she was gone before he could change his mind.

Davies couldn't finish his sandwich.

Scully was close to tearing her hair out. She sat before a small speaker, watching one of Davies' men run through a series of questions with her suspect. The bored voice of the agent droned over the speaker and made her stomach churn. Thin and grey, the agent didn't seem to be aware that a man's life was in danger. She could barely keep from running into the room herself. Sit tight Dana. She couldn't afford to alienate Davies any more than she already had. Scully glanced down at her watch, the hands spinning past, mocking her. Minutes ticked by.

The electronic ring of her cell phone was enough to make Scully jump in her chair. She fumbled for it, heart racing. Please be good news, please be good news.


"Mulder?" Her voice cracked and caught in her throat. "God, Mulder, where are you? Are you hurt?" Scully was out of her seat and running into the corridor.

"Scully..." Traffic rushed in the background and his voice was barely a whisper.

"Mulder, stay with me!"

"Scully..." Her mouth was open to speak, to tell him to stay where he was, but the drone of a disconnected line stopped her in her tracks. Her feet stopped their forward momentum and she almost fell, fumbling for redial on the tiny handset. Her shaking fingers could barely find the key and panic rose in her. A metallic voice informed her that the line was busy. Images filled her head, of Mulder being struck from behind, grabbed and tied, the phone lying beside its cradle. She burst through the squad room doors.

"Sir! Its Mulder, he's alive!" Skinner's head snapped up and he fixed her with a confused, incredulous stare. "He called cell..." Scully was scrabbling at a desk for pen and paper. Skinner crossed the room as she scribbled down digits from the digital display. He began to speak, to ask questions but she ignored him. She handed the slip of paper to the nearest officer. "I need the location of that phone. Immediately!" The young officer looked petrified and Scully was ready to snatch the paper back. Then he jumped into action, flipping on his computer and hammering wildly at the keys. Her agitation was contagious as it was stupefying.

"Agent Scully! What is going on?" Skinner's voice drew her attention from the spinning search bar on the screen.

"He called my cell phone, he said my name, then the line went dead." A map popped up on the screen, a red spot flashing. "Is that it? Is that where he is?" The young man looked up, pleased with himself.

"Sure is. It's not exactly close, maybe thirty, forty minutes." He pointed at the screen. "This here is woods. There's not much else out there, a couple of farm houses." Paper spewed from the printer across the room. "There's a couple of copies of this map. You wanna get some cars out there Agent Scully?" Scully was already moving. She was headed towards the door, with Skinner rushing to catch her.

He caught up to her as she was opening her car door.

"Agent, I'm driving. Give me the keys." Scully glared up at her superior, flushed and panting, more from fear than exertion. Please let him be ok, please. She considered arguing for a moment, then handed the keys over. Skinner started the engine as she rushed around to the passenger side. Across the parking lot, Davies and two of his men were climbing into Bureau-issue cars. The tires squealed as Skinner roared out of the lot.

To Be Continued...

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