Title: Nullius In Verba (By No One's Word) 1/10 Author: Philiater
Rating: This fic has a strong NC-17 warning. There's smut in almost every part, but it's absolutely germane to the story. Really. There's a little foul language and adult themes involving supernatural powers and dreams. Category: Skinner/Scully, X-file.
Timeline: Occurs after Season three, but before Season 7. Beta thanks to Keleka.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were. They belong to CC and company.
Summary: Skinner and Scully are brought together under shadowy circumstances to investigate a neighbor that is not who he seems to be.
Skinner knew he was dreaming the first time the Entity paid him a visit. Disjointed scenes of his life swam murkily through his mind, like his ordinary dreams always had.
But the images had faded until he found himself standing in a tiny beige room with bright light spilling onto a twin bed topped by a grey wool blanket. The plaster walls were bare except for a simple wooden cross hanging above the bed. A plain dresser without a mirror and a porcelain bowl for washing were the only other items he could see within a room whose modest furnishings only enhanced the starkness of the place. A human was meant to sleep here, but never to rest.
He was clothed in FBI garb: black suit, long black trench coat topping black leather shoes so shiny their light reflected off the beige walls. A glowing white shirt and sensible red tie completed the ensemble.
His arms were spread out, palms flat against the plaster, and he found he couldn't move. He was like a tall bird of prey with its great wings spread and pinned to an enormous dissection tray.
And down between his legs was Dana Scully.
She had a nun's habit on, covered head to toe in brilliant black and white. Small tufts of red hair stuck out of the headpiece, confirming her identity.
It was like the Entity had reached into his mind and pulled out the blackest fantasy he'd ever had about her: pure, virginal Scully down on her knees like a supplicant giving him the best blow job he'd ever had.
He could feel the smooth texture of her tongue, the baby soft skin of her inner lips as they dragged across his skin. The vision was so real, so luminous, it held a terrible beauty. No amount of blinking could make it go away or erase it from in front of his eyes.
'This is what you want most,' the Entity had whispered, salaciously. 'She is everything you've ever wanted, and you'd give up everything to have her.'
Skinner tried to shake his head in denial, but couldn't.
"Scully..." he choked out.
The redheaded vision stopped her ministrations and looked up at him through dark lashes. Eyes with eerie blue irises gazed at him without comprehension. In the intense morning light, she glowed like a black and white marble statue.
The Entity was wrong. This was a porno movie and while good, was not, in fact, what he really wanted most. No way in hell he'd sell his soul for a cheap thrill.
"No!" he shouted, and woke with a pounding heart.
The next time it happened, he was in a dimly lit bedroom lying among softly rumpled blankets and pillows
Scully's hair was spread across the pillow, her face plastered with an expression of a woman being wellfucked. He was holding her wrists firmly above her head and driving into her with a brutal force.
Sweat poured off him, dribbling onto her. Pleasure--sharp and pure--coursed up and down his spine. He was so close-.
'This is her darkest fantasy about you,' the familiar voice crooned in his ear. 'This is what she masturbates to late a night after you have an argument.'
It was a lie, Skinner thought. It had to be. Scully wouldn't think of him in this way.
Perhaps the Entity was only capable of conjuring images from his mind that were not meant for reality. The genuine images, the ones Skinner kept close to his heart, were no where in attendance: Scully in bed, but reciprocating, really loving him, touching him with subtle grace and surety.
It took all the strength he had to say, "You can't give me what I want. She has to come to me by her own freewill."
The Entity howled and Skinner was released.
Scully was dreaming.
She didn't usually dream, or remember them in any case. As a child she'd had bright, Technicolor dreams full of adventure and heart-pounding glimpses of monsters. Little did she know that the real monsters she'd meet on the Xfiles would drive the childhood monsters into a distant memory.
This dream started out ordinarily enough with no monsters in sight. She was in the kitchen brewing tea, which was a normal, mundane kind of thing to do. It was summer; it had to be, since she was wearing paper-thin, cotton pajamas. The pale blue set was one of her favorites, but had caused her embarrassment in the past. Mr. Taylor, her neighbor across the hall, had gotten an eyeful when she'd opened the door one morning. A package had been left for her outside the door, and old Mr. Taylor had been snooping.
In her dream, she smiled at the memory. He'd nearly sputtered himself into heart attack, all the while backing towards his door. Next time she'd be sure to wear a robe, she thought.
The teapot whistled, interrupting her wool gathering. Hot water was poured over a teabag, and she watched as thin tendrils of amber wove their way into the water. When the desired hue was achieved, she lifted the bag out, and picked up the cup to take with her.
When she turned around, Skinner was standing in her living room. He was hidden in the shadows, camouflaged by the dark. He was wearing all black: black t-shirt, pants and shoes. Only his face was visible in the gloom.
"Sir?" she asked, advancing slowly. "What are you doing here?"
When he didn't answer, the hair on the back of her arms stood on end and a feeling of cold dread centered in her chest. She was alone, and nearly undressed at that.
"Sir?" she asked more strongly, letting an accusatory tone color her words.
He growled in answer.
Now she was afraid, and her mind raced to remember where her gun was. The urge to throw the tea at him came and suddenly went. For no apparent reason, the cup fell from her hand and landed with a dull thud on the carpet.
'No', said a voice close to her ear. What the hell?
Skinner advanced on her, backing her slowly into the bedroom like a great, black panther cornering a rabbit. He wants to eat me, she thought crazily.
She retreated until the she encountered a solid object, the bed. The back of her legs met the soft comforter and her knees simply gave out. She landed backward, her limbs in a random arrangement. Apparently, without much work at all, Skinner had managed to get her supine on a bed.
Suddenly he was on top of her, had her arms pinned above her head and his hard, muscular body restrained the rest. An expression of curious wonder crossed his face as he settled into her. The panicky fluttering of her heart accompanied the descent of his head as he sniffed along her neck. Rough wool pants chaffed the tender skin of her legs as he shifted over her. His head also moved, eyes and nose carefully inspecting her body.
'What is he doing? What does he want? What is he going to do?' all fluttered through her mind like moths battering against a gaslight.
'You know,' said that same dark, disembodied voice in answer. It didn't belong to Skinner, but she thought she'd heard it before, a long ago childhood memory that remained just out of reach.
'You want him,' it said. 'You've always wanted him. You want him to control you.'
Thoughts about the owner of the voice vanished when arousal--sharp and brittle--coursed through her when Skinner bent to nuzzle her breasts. Hot skin, hot breath brushed against her. He made a low growling noise in his throat as he rubbed his face across her sensitive nipples.
To her utter surprise, she felt a sudden dampness on her breast as he licked her, making the thin cotton of her shirt transparent with his tongue. The contrast of cool air and warm wetness made her nipples tighten.
His tongue was exquisite torture, turning both nipples into hard buds. He continued to bathe her with short laps, like a cat licking its fur, except Skinner was no cat, at least not a small one. Looking into his eyes, she saw arousal and wildness. Not a tame cat either.
She shouldn't be feeling this aroused, this attracted to a man who was acting like a mindless creature, but she was. God help her, she was turned on, and it was wrong, so wrong-
Hands as big as tiger's paws caressed her with gentle finesse. One wandered between her legs and rubbed with a practiced skill, quickly locating that small button of desire. All the while, he was wordless in his seduction, never acknowledging the strangeness of the situation.
When he finally rose to strip off his black shirt and pants, she was paralyzed by the sight, literally. Try as she might to move, her limbs were glued to the bed. She should have been more terrified, but arousal and surety made her less frightened. Skinner would never hurt her, not in her own dream.
Helpless, she watched as he removed his clothing with sinewy movements. When he removed his pants, the belt buckle made a faint tinkling noise inside the dark, quiet bedroom.
The cat was losing his bell.
She was mildly surprise to see he wasn't wearing underwear. She would have taken him for a boxers man.
He returned to the bed with a sudden, predatory intent. Clawing at her pajama bottoms, he worked them off, along with the shirt she wore. Lifting her like a rag doll, he rid her of the scraps and laid her back on the bed. His eyes roamed over her body with greedy lust.
In spite of the apparent violence he'd used against her clothing, he was firm, but strangely gentle, when he touched her.
He settled his big body down on top of her and began the seduction all over again. His penis slid across her thigh as he stimulated her, leaving a slick trail behind. Moving his hips against hers, she thought it would only take a slight shift of his weight and he'd be inside her.
As if reading her thoughts, he paused and rose slightly to look in her eyes. The Skinner she knew wasn't really there, just a shell of a man. Nevertheless, he felt real and when he finally slid inside her in one long, agonizing thrust, he felt real indeed.
Scully couldn't resolve the vision with reality even as pleasure surged through her.
"It's just a fantasy," she said, softly. "Just a fantasy."
'No it isn't,' said the voice in her head.
Skinner never acknowledged her words, merely continued thrusting into her with long, rough strokes.
She finally gave into the sensations her body was experiencing and stopped thinking about reality all together when an orgasm surged through her. It seemed to go on and on; ringing like a hundred church bells.
And then she was awake.
End Part 1/10
Nullius in Verba 2/10
See part one for descriptions and disclaimers
Skinner stood at his desk, looking over the mass of files piled on top of it. For the second time that day, he'd forgotten which file he needed and why he was standing there in the first place.
He sat down with an exaggerated sigh and pushed his glasses up to pinch the bridge of his nose. His head was killing him and his stomach felt like someone had poured a vat of hydrochloric acid into it. Poor appetite, loss of concentration, and lack of sleep only made him feel worse. This dream business was starting to ruin his life.
All he could think about anymore was Scully: Scully naked beneath him, Scully with her lips wrapped around his dick, Scully screaming his name in passion-.
"Sir?" Kimberly's efficient voice sounded over the intercom.
He pushed the button with an irritated sigh. "Yes?"
"I have the call you were expecting from Ohio."
"Send it through."
He listened as the caller filled him in on the information he wanted to know. Mulder and Scully had done well; no lost cell phones, burnt up cars or inadvertent loss of life. They'd completed their case with a minimum of fuss and were on their way back D.C. now.
Skinner ended the call with some mundane chit chat and a promise to play a game of golf with the man on the other end of the line. As time had gone by, he'd cultivated a vast network of contacts all over the country and he used them whenever he could. The X-files had made it a necessity.
He hung up and looked at the clock: 5:00 p.m. They were coming in on the dinner flight and would arrive in Dulles at 6:00 p.m. That would give them just enough time to write the case up, and report to him in the morning.
That meant he had one more night to receive another kind of 'visit' from Scully before he saw her in the flesh, so to speak.
Of course, it was possible the dreams would stop now. They'd begun when she left for the Ohio case. Now that she was coming back, her closer proximity might make them disappear.
With an irritated sigh, he pushed away from the desk and grabbed his coat and brief case. Who was he fooling? They were just dreams after all. Whether she was in town or not should have no bearing on their frequency or appearance. They came whether he wanted them to or not, and he looked forward to them far more than he would ever admit to himself.
And then there was the Entity who suffused those dreams with cold dread. He had no explanation for its presence.
On his way out the door, he was stopped by a soft voice.
"Did you eat today?"
"What?" he asked mid-stride and turned around.
"You haven't been eating," Kim said with a steady gaze. Leave it to his secretary to notice such things.
"I'll grab something on the way home."
Her look told him she thought he was a liar. He shrugged her concern off and continued on his way.
He breezed past several agents who seemed surprised to see him leaving early. His body language told them not to ask any questions, or make any attempt to stop him.
By the time he located his car in the darkened parking garage, Skinner was sweating, angry, and bone tired. It took him two tries to get the keys into door lock. He threw his briefcase in the back and sat down with a thump. He had to get control of himself and soon. Gripping the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white, he closed his eyes in a futile attempt at concentration.
Damn it to hell, had Kim followed him all the way to the car?
When he opened his eyes, Scully was sitting in his passenger seat.
"Scully?" he asked with an astonished voice. A deep furrow appeared on his forehead as he contemplated the possibility that she could be sitting next to him. He looked her up and down; sensible black suit and shoes, white collared shirt, neat Scully hair. She certainly looked like the real Scully.
"When did you get back?"
"An hour ago. Mulder talked one of the clerks into giving us an earlier flight."
"What are you doing in my car?"
She didn't answer him, just looked at him with a disquieting expression on her face. Without a word, she reached across and touched his forehead, pressing her thumb against it to smooth out the deep lines there. Her hand was cool against his feverish brow and he could smell subtle perfume on her wrist. Seemingly against his will, he leaned into her hand, drinking in her concern like a man dying of thirst.
"So worried," she murmured, caressing his cheek. "You need to relax."
Skinner silently agreed with her, relishing this simple act of touch. He closed his eyes as his body's muscles slowly unwound. The rasp of a zipper sliding down made them fly open again.
Scully's head was descending into his lap, her small hands delving into his pants through layers of cloth. Immobilized against the seat, he was powerless to stop her or the sudden, powerful arousal she was causing. He groaned loudly when she slipped his rapidly hardening penis into her soft mouth.
She licked and sucked him like an expert, like all the faceless whores he'd visited in Vietnam. They'd lived in little more than shacks and were half starved, but knew their business well. He'd appreciated their skill then as he was appreciating Scully's now.
Except this wasn't Vietnam and Scully was no whore.
"Scully," he rasped, trying to move, trying to stop her. "You're killing me."
She made no sign that she'd heard him, only continued her ministrations in silence.
Somewhere in the distance, a horn honked loudly and a car suddenly screeched past. Skinner, startled at the noise, turned his head to see a black limousine speeding away. When he looked back down again, Scully was gone.
He closed his eyes in frustration. He must have fallen asleep in the car.
Jamming the keys into the ignition, he started the Taurus's powerful engine. The clock read 6:00 p.m.
Scully unlocked her car and opened the door wide to release the intense heat trapped inside. Waves of solar energy radiated out, making her feel like she'd just opened a blast furnace. A week's worth of dust coated the outside and she thought it would take two rounds through the carwash to get it clean.
With a weary sigh, she threw her suitcase into the trunk and walked back to sit in the car. She tiredly buckled herself into the driver's seat and started the engine.
"You sure you're okay, Scully?"
"Yes, Mulder," she said, turning the air conditioning on full. The engine protested with a whiny squeak, but she didn't give a damn. It was bad enough that she'd spent a boring week in Ohio on a case that went nowhere, but now she had to drive home from the airport in D.C. traffic.
Mulder lingered next to the car, using a delaying tactic in the hope of irritating information out of her. He'd been asking her for more than three days what was wrong, and no amount of 'I'm fines' would make him drop it.
"Okay," he said reluctantly, "see you in the morning?"
"In the morning, Mulder."
She watched him walk back to his own car and sped out of the bright parking lot as fast as she could. Let him go back to the office to write the damn report, she was exhausted and the only place she was going was home.
It took her almost two hours to get there, and her nerves were badly frayed by the time she walked through her apartment door. She set her suitcase on her bed and stripped off her wilted suit. She needed a shower and a strong cup of caffeine, in that order.
She made the shower water tepid at first, and then slowly increased the temperature as she scrubbed the grime from her body. She'd read once that ancient Hebrew women would ceremonially wash themselves after childbirth. Ablution. She always showered as soon as a case was over, her own ceremony of sorts.
When she finally emerged from the bathroom, she felt wonderfully clean. Rummaging through her pajama drawer, she stumbled over the pale blue set from her dream. She stroked the soft cotton as the memories they evoked flooded her mind.
She shut the drawer with a bang, opting to don her white terrycloth robe instead. It was soft, and held older, more concrete memories for her: wearing it in the hospital when she went for her cancer treatment, and she'd had it on when Mulder comforted her there afterwards. Nothing overtly sexual was tied to this particular piece of clothing.
After she started the coffee pot--- no tea, thank you--she went into the living room, feeling calmer and more in control again.
Three messages blinked on her answering machine: one from her mother, one from the dry cleaners, and the last one made her sit down with a thud.
"Agent Scully, this is Walter Skinner. I expect to see you and Mulder in the office first thing in the morning."
Only two sentences, but his voice made her heart pound. The dream came rushing back in bold detail once again, making her hands clench involuntarily. Why had he called her at home? He rarely did that.
She leaned back in the upholstered chair and closed her eyes. It had been one of three similar dreams, but it had been the most potent one. The feel of his hands, lips, and strong muscular body still lingered on her skin, the sensation like a permanent, physical memory. How would she face him tomorrow?
Seconds ticked by and when she opened her eyes, he was standing there in front of her. She must have fallen asleep and shouldn't have been surprised to see him, but she was.
He was wearing black clothing again, looking as large and untamed as before. Crouching down on his knees, he looked into her face. She saw a deep longing in his eyes.
Wordlessly, he gripped the ties to her robe and slowly pulled the bow she'd made apart. With unhurried deliberation, he pushed the edges of the robe apart, exposing her nude body to his hungry eyes. A wicked grin split his face, a grin that said he was going to have her.
She didn't protest when he kissed her, first a slow seductive one, then he became more aggressive. He seemed to be demanding a response and she pulled back to whimper in his ear.
"Please." Asking him to touch her seemed to have become a mantra of sorts.
He obliged her by insinuating his hands into the robe and stroking her as he kissed her. Moving along her face, he went lower, placing his tongue into the little notch where her collar bones met and her pulse was fluttering.
When he moved lower still, she whimpered in anticipation. He didn't disappoint when his hot mouth closed over one breast. The sensation was so intense, she thought she could come from that alone.
Shifting lower still, he brushed the tops of her thighs with light kisses, nudging her legs apart by insinuating himself between them. Strong hands gripped her knees and moved them further apart; delivering each one to the armrests of the chair. She was completely open to him now, vulnerable to whatever he might do, and deeply aroused.
She wanted to touch him, touch his head, shoulders, or arms, but the odd paralysis that had gripped her before was manifested once again. She could only gasp as he opened her labia with his thumbs and began to stroke her there with his tongue. That tongue again, she thought, he certainly knew how to use it well.
In a few short minutes he made her mindless, pleasure sparking along her spinal cord until she came hard against his face. He stroked her down, murmuring again, making pleased noises in his throat as she gasped.
He finally kissed his way back up her body, nuzzling her breasts along the way and giving her neck particular attention. Still paralyzed, she felt the lower portion of his body brush her bare skin, his erection large and powerful against her.
Yes, she thought, she wanted him inside her, so deep she'd forget all about Ohio.
A pounding at the door rudely interrupted the couple, startling Scully awake. Once again he was gone when she opened her eyes, and she was left feeling empty, wet, exposed.
Scully hastily closed her robe and walked over to peer through the peephole to see who had knocked. A woman she didn't recognize stood at the door. She was young, very well dressed, with long blond hair. She was harmless looking enough, so Scully opened the door, but kept the chain on.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but are you Miss Scully?"
"Yes, who are you?" she asked cautiously.
"I'm Jordan Taylor, Ed Taylor's granddaughter."
Scully glanced over the woman's shoulder toward Mr. Taylor's door. It stood slightly ajar and a light shone from inside. "Where is Mr. Taylor? Has something happened?"
"Yes, my grandfather's in the hospital."
"Oh," she said undoing the chain. "Please come in."
Jordan Taylor stepped through the door, carrying several envelopes with her.
"I know he was keeping your mail for you while you were gone," she said handing Scully the small stack of letters. "I found it when I came by to get some things for him."
"Yes," Scully said, accepting the mail. "He's always been so kind about doing it."
An odd look came over Lucy's face, but it passed so quickly, Scully couldn't have said what it meant.
"Yes, it was good of him to collect it for you, but unfortunately he had a stroke almost a week ago."
"I'm sorry," she murmured, not knowing what to say.
"He's in a coma, and the doctors aren't sure he'll recover. I think they do know but don't want to tell me."
Scully let the comment pass, knowing she couldn't argue the point. Grieving relatives didn't need that kind of reassurance. A moment of uncomfortable silence passed between them.
"Well," Jordan said, "I won't keep you."
When she turned to leave, Scully said, "Be sure to let me know how he's doing."
Jordan turned halfway around. "Yes, I'll be sure to do that."
Scully thought her tone was icy, almost as if she didn't care what happened to her grandfather.
She closed the door soundly and relocked it. Between the dream and Jordan's visit, she felt disoriented and suddenly more exhausted that she could remember being before. Unwilling to dwell on either event, she crawled into bed and fell immediately to sleep.
End Part 2
Nullius in Verba 3/10
Walter Skinner was sweating. He didn't like to sweat, not in his work clothes, anyway. There was a time and a place for sweating: the gym, in pursuit of perpetrators, or after a long day in a command center such as the one he ran in Tennessee for the Temple of the Seven Stars cult led by Vernon Ephesian. Lots of sweating then.
Now he was perspiring after having a conference with his two most interesting agents, one having become far more interesting in the last week.
He'd rather have had the Ephesians back.
Somehow he'd gotten through the meeting, remaining stony silent, interjecting only when necessary, and studiously avoiding looking Scully in the eye. Adopting his 'casual but stern pose,' he sat resting his chin on thumb and index finger, but stared intently at a spot between the agents. It worked well as long as he didn't glance at her.
He had to look at her initially of course, and seeing her in person was like being hit in the chest with a sledgehammer.
The dream memories came back in a cold rush and the first beads of sweat broke out along his forehead. She was wearing the black suit from the car dream and he wished she'd been dressed in anything but that.
The fact that he'd had another, more intense dream later only compounded his discomfort. It had been just as real and passionate as the others, but there were subtle differences.
For one thing, he'd been able to engage in a little foreplay, something that had been missing from the others. As he'd gotten older, he'd come to realize that giving the woman pleasure was almost more important to him than his own enjoyment. That was something he'd wanted with Scully since the dreams started.
Another puzzling element was the conspicuous absence of the Entity. Previously, he seemed to 'direct' the sex and whisper salacious comments in Skinner's ear. This time he remained out of sight and gravely silent.
The last difference could be simple wish fulfillment, but he thought Scully was more 'present' in this last dream. The Scully he knew--the passionate, powerful woman he'd come to know these past years--shone through the dream woman's eyes. She not only seemed to recognize him, but also enjoyed being with him.
He shifted in his seat as the beginnings of an erection formed in response to the memories. Damn it, couldn't he keep his body under control anymore?
For her part, Scully had been professional during the meeting as well, remaining quieter than normal, but proficient as always. Mulder did most of the talking and handed the report over for Skinner's perusal. He'd placed it on the desk to read later, knowing it would be hours before he'd be able to concentrate again. By the time Mulder had hit his stride in discussing the case, Skinner could feel the perspiration beginning to collect under his arms.
Though he didn't deliberate over much about the report, Skinner did ask a few questions to keep up the pretense of paying attention.
Finally, Mulder and Scully both got up to leave. Skinner automatically rose as well, escorting them to the door. He hoped his undershirt had kept his dress shirt from becoming pitted.
Just as he thought he was home free, Scully's heel caught on the carpet. She drifted sideways into Skinner before she could adequately compensate for the sudden imbalance.
Skinner's arms shot out automatically to catch her before she could fall down. It all seemed to happen in slow motion, like a scene from a horror movie. One second Scully was close to walking out the door and the next she was in his arms.
She landed against him in an oblique fashion, her right front side pressed up against him full length. It only lasted a second or two before she was able to gain her footing and pull away from him, but it made a lasting impression all the same.
In those few seconds he had felt her warm body against his, her face pressed to his chest. A sweet fragrance from her hair wafted up to his nostrils, making him wanted to lean down and breathe it in.
She looked up at him, making eye contact before she went out the door with Mulder. There had been fear in her eyes, but he saw recognition there too.
"You okay?" Skinner heard Mulder ask as they left.
Skinner nearly slammed the door after them.
Scully was in hell.
There was no other place she could be. Somewhere between leaving home and arriving at the office she must have died and gone there. How else could she explain this morning's events?
Having to sit through a case report in front of Skinner was bad enough, but thanks to her own clumsiness, she had essentially groped him. In front of Mulder.
It was entirely her fault, of course. She hadn't been paying much attention during the meeting. She'd been too distracted by Skinner's looming presence, and images from her dreams kept flashing through her mind.
Skinner had sat so imperiously at his desk, the epitome of the stern boss. He exuded strength, superiority, dominance, all the things she'd been dreaming about. A tightening occurred in her belly at the thought being restrained by him here, in his own office.
She didn't participate much in the case presentation, but Mulder gratefully made up for her silence. If the case had been anything other than routine, she would have floundered.
Mercifully, the meeting was short-lived. As she was leaving, her foot caught on the rug. She realized too late that she'd lost her balance and careened into Skinner in a most unladylike way.
He caught her easily, or rather his body did. Her face came into direct contact with his chest and fragrances she would forever associate with Skinner flooded her olfactory nerves: starched fabric, spicy cologne, clean sweat and an essential fragrance all his own that underlay the rest. Though she'd never been this close to him before, his scent was familiar, incredibly familiar.
She wanted the hell out of there.
Pulling back like he was on fire, she stood upright and tugged at her suit in a pretense of straightening it.
"You okay?" Mulder asked as they finally left.
"Yes," she said, managing to sound dignified even if she didn't feel it.
Later that night, Skinner found himself at the office, looking out his blinds at the weakly lit courtyard below. He felt disoriented, not remembering how he'd gotten there. What day was it? Why was he here at night?
He turned around to find his office dark as well, lit only by a small lamp on one of the corner tables. It was deathly quiet and there was a preternatural feel to the whole situation that Skinner didn't like. Was he dreaming?
Glancing around, he half expected smoke to be curling up from one of the black leather chairs in the corner, but failed to see or smell any. Walking closer to the austere furniture, he did spy a pair of small leather shoes.
Shapely legs were revealed as he moved closer and a smart suit was higher still. A woman was reclining on the sofa; more than reclining, she was sleeping. Scully.
He didn't say her name out loud, but she stirred as if summoned by him. She'd been curled on her side, but rolled over onto her back. When she saw him standing there, she smiled. A small arm lifted toward him, the palm turned up in a gesture of beckoning.
As if called by a siren, Skinner went to her. She reached out for him, pulling him down toward her onto the couch. The urge to pull back, to try and breach the silence that had dominated their encounters so far was strong, but he couldn't seem to help himself.
He sat on the edge of the sofa, scrutinizing her in the dim light. Her smile never wavered as she sat half way up and reached out to stroke his arm. One small hand traced the muscles in his forearm, traveling slowly northward until she was at the limits of her reach and stopping just short of his shoulder joint.
With lightening speed, she grabbed a handful of shirt and yanked him toward her. Soft red lips were the last thing he saw before she was devouring his mouth.
Down, down he went as she reclined back. She had been the one who stumbled earlier in the day, but he was the one falling now.
She moved over, trying to make a space for him to stretch out next to her, but he was simply too big. After some shifting, he found himself on top of her, forcing her down into the cushions, all the while kissing and touching her as much as possible.
Scully seemed anxious to have him, a distinct change from the passive woman he'd been meeting before. He found he liked it.
As they frantically touched and kissed, Skinner began to perspire. Beads of sweat dotted his forehead and when Scully saw them, she reached up to lick them away. The rough texture of her tongue made him shiver and he brought her head down to capture it in his mouth.
Suddenly she was pushing him up, her hands scrabbling down and undoing his belt.
He thought she whispered 'Need you,' as she burrowed through the pants to find his erection.
She made a soft 'ah' sound upon discovering it. Frenzied movements slowed as she stroked him with her practiced hands. Skinner, supporting his weight above her, groaned in pleasure. He began to thrust as she speeded her movements and sweat began to slick down his back.
Before he could lose control, he pushed her hands away and rolled to stand up. Scully lay on the couch watching him, her hair spread out on the cushions, skirt rucked up to the top of her thighs, and her lips swollen from kissing.
With a groan, he scooped her up in his arms and crossed the room to his conference table. The couch was much too narrow to navigate properly and when he entered her, he wanted room to maneuver.
He deposited her onto the table and rolled her so she lay face down. Tugging on her ankles, he pulled until her legs dangled off the table and her bottom was at the edge. She moaned softly when he pushed her skirt up and pulled her underwear and stockings off along with the ridiculously impractical high heels she always wore.
Now nearly naked from the waist down, his hands kneaded the firm flesh of her buttocks. He groaned along with her when he saw her sex peeking out from between her legs. Reaching for her, he pushed a blunt finger through her folds, rubbing with expertise. Within seconds she was whimpering, her nails clawing ineffectually to gain purchase along the diamond-hard table top.
Unable to wait any longer, he entered her in one thrust, making Scully arch her back and cry out. He draped his body over hers, shivering under the pressure to gain control.
It felt wholly decadent to be buried inside Scully within the confines of his somber office while they were both fully clothed. It was intimate, far more intimate than if they'd been completely nude.
When she made a soft sound of complaint, he began to move in and out of her, using a smooth rocking motion. Scully writhed and whimpered under him, clutching back at him to try and speed him up, but he ignored her. This was a good dream, one he'd always wanted to experience and he fought to make it last.
Suddenly he pulled out of her and she gasped in protest. He gently helped her turn over so he could look at her, fuck her with his eyes as well as his penis. He re-entered her, and began it all again.
Reaching between them, he found her slick and warm. He used his thumb to massage her in just the right spot, making her toss her head back in forth in tortured pleasure.
She came with gasp, arching her back and tightening down on him so hard he came after her first, intense spasm.
When he was spent, he collapsed on her, breathing into her sweaty neck. Their clothes were plastered to their bodies as if they'd been caught in the rain. Skinner could feel the moist heat between them, smell her clean skin as he kissed her neck, face, and mouth. She wrapped her legs and arms around him, keeping him inside her for as long as she could.
"So good," she whispered into his neck and then everything in Skinner's world went black.
End Part 3
Nullius in Verba 4
Descriptions and disclaimers in part 1
Finally reaching home, Scully trudged wearily up the stairs to her apartment. The day couldn't have been longer or more strained. After the meeting with Skinner, she and Mulder had gone back to the basement to finish up loose ends on the Ohio case. To his credit, Mulder had remained quiet about the tripping incident.
Now she was tired and wanted nothing more than to crawl into bed, except bed meant dreams, and dreams meant Skinner.
All she had to do was close her eyes to see him, to feel him touching her.
She realized a light was shining under the door to Mr. Taylor's apartment as she passed by. Scully looked at the weak light with curiosity. Was he home already?
She stopped in front of his apartment, wondering if he needed anything.
"Mr. Taylor?" Scully called after knocking. "Are you home?"
Hearing no answer, she leaned into the door, listening for any movement from within. She knocked and called a second time and still received no answer.
Worried that he might be in trouble, she turned the knob and found it unlocked. Cautiously, she opened the door and called his name again. "Mr. Taylor?"
His living room was as neat and tidy as she remembered from previous glances past his door. He wasn't in there, or any other room she looked. Left with a closed door on the spare bedroom, she saw a light under it as well, and knocked.
Opening the door, Scully was met with a startling sight. Shelf after shelf of antique and leather bound books lined the walls. Religious looking icons adorned the walls and burned candles seemed to occupy every free space. On closer inspection, she saw the books had the kind of titles that a spiritualist or Satanist might read. Books on the afterlife mingled with books on ritualistic sacrifice and blood rites. This room clashed severely with her ideas on who Mr. Taylor was. Though he'd been a neighbor for five years, she realized she didn't know him at all.
A square desk was the only ordinary looking furniture in the room and Scully felt herself drawn to it. A riot of loose leaf notebook paper with small, precise writing was strewn across the desk. A small silver plaque sat atop it all and was embossed with the words 'Nullius in Verba'.
"By no one's word," she murmured. It was the motto of the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in the world. Its illustrious halls had nurtured the likes of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein by bestowing them fellowships for research. It meant one didn't take anyone else's word for the truth, that one did scientific research to reach a logical conclusion. Scully knew that motto because she'd tried to use it on Mulder once.
Mulder had already known the motto and simply reshaped it to fit his own definition. The Truth is Out There. It made her smile.
She pulled the desk chair out and sat to sift through the paper, noting that they were dated with several different years. A sheet slipped out and fluttered to the ground. When she bent to pick it up, her heart nearly stopped at the words she saw on the top: Subject Dana Scully.
Underneath was a summary of her entire life, her work, eating habits, and coffee preferences. Everything, right down to the brand of toothpaste she used. Page after page contained the mundane details of her everyday existence and the people that came in and out of it.
Her cell phone rang suddenly, startling her badly. Fishing it out with trembling hands, she answered hastily.
"Mulder, what are you doing?"
"I'm on my way to my mother's for a long weekend, don't you remember?"
"Yes. I remember."
"Have you thought about what I said?"
Scully's mind raced to think what he meant. She'd been so distracted all day, most of what he said had blended into a pleasant white noise.
"Which thing, Mulder?"
"About telling me asking why you've been so sidetracked lately."
"And I believe I told you that I was working on something personal, Mulder."
"Something you can't tell me about?"
He remained silent, evidently hurt that she wouldn't open up to him. "Mulder, I'm researching something. If I find what I'm looking for, I promise to call you right away."
"I can barely hear you Scully, you're breaking up. Call me at my mother's if you can."
"Yes, all right," she shouted, but he was already gone. The connection now severed, Scully pocketed the phone. Please just understand, Mulder, she prayed silently.
She rose from the desk and gathered the papers and books into her arms. It wasn't like her to take potential evidence without permission, but then she wasn't acting like herself at all lately.
Scuttling out of Taylor's apartment and into her own, Scully dumped the contraband onto her dining table. She longed to do more reading, but exhaustion was clawing at her. She'd be fresher in the morning and able to fully concentrate if she waited until then.
Before going to bed, she suddenly remembered some odd envelopes she'd been receiving over the past two weeks. She opened her desk and fished them out to look at again. They were pink and essentially empty except for a message on the inner flap that wished her good health. They also contained a collection of sharp smelling herbs left loose inside. Two of the envelopes had been mailed without a return address and the last one had come with the bundle of mail Taylor's granddaughter had handed her. She'd thought they'd come from her mother or even Mulder, but always forgot to ask about them. She put them into a spare evidence bag, and slid them inside one of Taylor's books.
Finally, wearily, she collapsed into bed. As expected, she dreamed of Skinner that night, and of sex in his office. She'd lain on his couch like a wanton waiting for him and later on his conference table. Shamelessly, she'd opened herself to him, took him into her arms and let him pleasure her anyway he chose. She woke in the middle of the night, shaken from the intensity of the experience.
It was a long time before sleep could claim her again.
The next morning she went into the office with Taylor's books, leaving the loose papers behind and set to work. She placed several phone calls and searched through the FBI's data bases. Pouring through the books, an idea of what he might have been up to before his stroke, began to form in her mind. It was too fantastic to be real, but Taylor might believe it was possible.
She pulled some of Mulder's books off the shelves and dug through a few files to locate the information she wanted. The deeper she delved into Taylor's world, the colder her feeling of dread became. If she was right, her very soul might be in danger.
Working well past quitting time, Scully finally decided she needed to stop. Skinner had to be told. As much as that thought chilled her, the alternative was trying to work this case alone and she couldn't do that.
Gathering her coat and her courage, she left the Hoover and drove through the night to Crystal City.
She was feeling more than a little foolish standing outside his door. Looking down at her hands, she wondered for the tenth time that night why she'd come here. Her intentions were good certainly, but if she failed to persuade him, to make him see what she believed to be the hard truth, he'd never trust her again. Though she had come to firmly believe it herself, she was fairly convinced that Skinner wouldn't buy it, especially if he wasn't experiencing the dreams himself.
After all, she was supposed to be grounded in science, the levelheaded agent, not the one who brought him suppositions and wild theories. And this theory was wild.
Before she lost her nerve, she raised a hand and knocked on the door. The sharp noise her knuckles made sounded like a gunshot against the solid timber. Dark silence was her only answer. As she raised her hand to knock again, the door was suddenly jerked open.
He stood towering over her in a grey t-shirt, sweat pants and stocking feet. Blinking in the dim light and without his glasses, it took him a moment to recognize who was standing at his door.
She thought he'd be angry, surprised, or even disappointed to see her there. She expected anything but what he did next.
'It's about damn time," he said pulling her into the apartment and slamming the door. Before she could say or do anything, he was pressing her up against the hard wood and bending his head toward her.
As vivid as all her dreams had been, nothing compared to Skinner in the flesh. His body was so warm, so hard against hers, she thought she'd disintegrate from the pressure alone.
He must have thought he was dreaming her and she realized with bitterness that he was proving her theory to be correct. She knew she wasn't dreaming; she couldn't be.
Thoughts of dreams scattered when his lips met hers. His mouth was gentle, but demanding, pushing past her lips to claim her completely. As the kiss went on and on, she felt like she was drowning, a desperate need to gasp for air making her feel lightheaded.
When he finally broke from her, she was left panting and wordless, clinging to his broad shoulders for support. His open mouth burned a path around her face and down to the sensitive skin of her neck. To her astonishment, she heard him making a deep growling noise low in his throat.
"Sweet," he whispered. "So sweet."
It was only when he reached under her shirt and covered her breasts with his broad hands that she found her voice.
"Sir," she whispered in his ear. "It's me."
His hands stopped caressing her, but he didn't move.
"It's Scully," she persisted. "The real Scully."
He pulled back to look at her with a particularly deep scowl. He seemed to be sizing her up, deciding if her claim was true or not.
"You're not dreaming. I'm not dreaming. This is happening right now."
Black eyes burrowed into hers, probing for weakness or deceit. She felt like a small animal tapped by the stare of a large predator. After a moment's hesitation, he pulled back and stepped away from her so abruptly, she nearly fell. Cold air rushed in where there had been blazing warmth just a few seconds before. Scully had to bite the inside of one cheek to keep from begging him to come back. Feeling chilled and shaken, she marveled that he'd managed to make her feel so aroused in the space of a few seconds.
Skinner had walked across the room and was facing a far wall. His hands were on his hips and he was breathing as if he'd just run a race. She watched as he composed himself, running a hand absently over his head before turning back to her.
"I think you'd better explain yourself, Agent," he said in glacial tones.
The change in his demeanor felt like a slap of cold water. The hungry man she'd felt against her was gone, replaced by a distant boss.
She looked around the living room, located a black leather sofa and crossed to sit on it. Skinner remained where he was, leaning against the wall, waiting for her response. Several awkward seconds passed before she found her voice.
"Sir, I don't know where to begin."
"At the beginning, Agent," he said, using formality again.
Looking at her hands, she began. "I think you know what's been happening to both of us since I went to Ohio. I'm speaking about the dreams. Our dreams. Do you understand what I mean?"
"We both seem to be experiencing dreams that involve the other person in a ...sexual manner. I didn't understand why it was happening at first, but I think I may know the answer."
Skinner finally stirred from his position by the wall, pushing off and moving to sit in a chair directly across from her. Though he still refused to meet her eyes, he seemed intent to hear what she had to say.
"And that is?" he prompted.
"I think our dreams are being manipulated by an outside source."
She looked up at him to gage his response. He was frowning, but not in a disbelieving manner. Encouraged, she continued.
"I have a neighbor who lives across the hall from me, a Mr. Taylor. I don't know him very well, we've only had a few conversations, but for the most part he just collects my mail for me while I'm gone.
He had a stroke a week ago, the same day the dreams began. I didn't make the connection, but I saw something in his apartment that made me think he could be behind the dreams."
"He wasn't home last night, but his door was unlocked. I went in to see if anyone was around, but the apartment was empty. He has a room with an altar and hundreds of books on bookshelves. Books on dreams and dream interpretation. There are several on manipulating the dreams of others and information on a creature called an incubus. There were books on the succubus, which I'm sure you remember was what Mulder thought had visited you and Carina Sales."
At the mention of the dead prostitute, Skinner's head snapped up. He looked at her with surprised, wounded eyes. He covered his pain quickly, but it shook her to see how much the woman's name affected him.
He cleared his throat. "What does that have to do with what's going on now?"
"Mr. Taylor isn't what he appears to be. The room in his apartment proves he's involved in the occult. He's been watching me and planning. He's using you to get to me."
His eyebrow shot up. "You think I'm the incubus?"
"I think he's using you to appear to me, so I'll...sleep with you. He's taking a physical attraction between us and trying to make us act on it."
"The book I found said the child of woman and an incubus is demonic in nature. Many women and babies were put to death during the Middle Ages for consorting with these creatures. There's even a section on how a mortal man can become an incubus to reincarnate himself as the child."
"But you're sterile, Scully," he said softly.
"That's why I've been receiving these."
She handed him the three pink envelopes carefully encased in plastic evidence bags. "I think these are meant to heal me of my sterility so when I 'consort' with the incubus, I'll become pregnant."
"And you think this Taylor is the incubus, using me to facilitate the sex?"
"Yes. He knows I'd never sleep with him voluntarily and given the fact that you have already had dreams about a female demon, I think he believed it would be possible."
"But I remember the dreams too. He only needs to imitate my physical form to fool you doesn't he? Why would he need my participation?
She shook her head. "I don't know. Maybe he can embody you, but not assume your form."
"The Entity," he murmured.
Scully hadn't thought about the use of that term before, but it made sense when applied to voice she'd heard in the dreams. Something outside them, but directing them too.
"How does he know about my connection with the succubus?" Skinner asked.
"He has a key to my apartment. He might have broken into my computer and read the case file."
"But that doesn't explain why he chose me. He could have chosen Mulder. He's more apt to believe something like this could occur than I would. It also doesn't explain you. Couldn't he have chosen an easier target? One that wouldn't require healing?"
She shook her head again. There was certainly information that she hadn't uncovered yet, or that she didn't understand enough to tell him.
"What does Mulder think?"
"I haven't told him, because," she said quickly when he let out a snort of surprise, "he's gone for the weekend, and I don't want him to know. Yet."
"What made Taylor think there was a sexual attraction between us?" Skinner asked softly.
He met her gaze and held it with his own. She saw strength in his eyes, but there was an open vulnerability present too. He was afraid to hear her answer.
"I don't know," she said quietly and looked away. For her part, she hadn't been aware of one until the dreams started. Now she felt the attraction as a physical thing, growing with their every encounter.
Skinner studied the cards and photocopies for several minutes, turning the information over and over as if it would somehow change what he believed.
"This isn't much to go on," he said at last.
"It's all I've been able to come up with, unless you can think of another explanation?"
He rubbed his eyes, suddenly exhausted. "Assuming all this is true, can we prevent the dreams, Scully? Is it possible that you've become pregnant already?"
"Twelve days ago, I had a period for the first time in two years. Dr. Parenti said I might have one once in a while if there were any ova left behind. If I'm going to ovulate, it should be in the next two days. As for preventing the dreams, I don't know."
She felt unexpectedly tired too, wanted nothing more than to crawl into his lap and hold him close so he could literally make the demons go away. She couldn't do that of course, the rules of civilization forbade it. They were two people sharing a very intimate experience, but were virtual strangers outside of it. The irony was a bitter pill for Scully to swallow.
She stood and gathered the papers scattered on his couch. "I should go."
His next words stilled her movements. "Stay here tonight. On the couch."
"Maybe he chose me because he thought we'd have minimal personal contact and never be together at night. If we stay under the same roof, perhaps we can fight him."
She looked at Skinner and saw sincerity on his handsome face. If she stayed, they had a chance to fight the Entity, but she wasn't sure she could fight Skinner if he chose to seduce her while awake. She'd nearly let him have her against the door and would certainly capitulate in his bed.
"On the couch?" she asked, hesitating.
"I'll get you some blankets." He said, rising as if the matter were closed.
Truthfully, she was too tired to argue the point. The idea of going back alone to her apartment to face that other apartment was too daunting. She'd be safer here, if a little uncomfortable.
He returned with the blankets, along with a pillow and some of his sweats. Great, she thought, she'd smell like his fabric softener too.
"There's a bathroom down the hall. I'll be just up the stairs if you need anything."
"Thank you, sir."
Before leaving, Skinner half turned back to her. "Scully, I'm sorry about what happened earlier. It won't happen again."
"I understand, sir." She gave him a weak smile to let him know all was right between them.
"Goodnight, Agent Scully."
End Part 4
Nullius In Verba 5/10
Descriptions and disclaimers in part 1
Skinner paced his bedroom like an animal caged in the zoo. Sleeping was entirely out of the question; Scully's unexpected arrival and bombshell information had made sure of that.
He'd been pacing earlier that evening too, waiting for much needed sleep, and for her. Not seeing her all day had been a relief of sorts, but a curse too. He wanted her, there was no getting around it, and he was willing to wait until sleep if it meant he could have her.
His office had afforded little respite; memories of the night before were stamped on his couch and conference table. Every time he glanced at them, he could see his and Scully's tangled limbs, their clothing pushed aside, and their bodies joined together.
By the time he'd gotten home, he was so tight with tension that even an intense workout had not been able to erase it. Only Scully would be able to ease it in the most basic way possible. After taking the hottest shower he could tolerate, he dressed in sweats and paced his living room, waiting.
Not one for patience, he had a drink to hasten the relaxation process and then another for good measure. He'd finally sat down on the couch.
When she'd knocked at his door, he truthfully believed he'd been asleep. Scully had never been to his apartment and there was no reason to think she'd disturb that record tonight.
He closed his eyes as memories of pulling her roughly inside and pushing her up against the door assailed him. Shame, hot and powerful, washed over him as he thought of how he'd kissed her and handled her clumsily; not as an agent under his care and but as a sexualized phantom in a dream.
Only one thought kept him from sinking into a feeling of total humiliation: she'd responded. Her lips and body had been stiff at first, but a slow change had overtaken her and she'd literally softened in his arms. When he'd kissed her, she'd kissed him back, opening her mouth against his and permitting full access. He'd been hard within seconds, just as her nipples had been.
He sighed with an exaggerated snort. Thinking about it did no good, it only frustrated him more. This business about dreams and incubi she'd fed him was even harder to swallow. It only muddied the already murky waters of his reasoning concerning her and made him feel completely out of control of the situation.
He hated feeling out of control.
He continued to pace the room restlessly and finally lay down in the wee hours of the morning. His sleep was fitful, but essentially devoid of the Scully dreams.
Later he'd woken to find Scully standing next to him, regarding him with frightened, wary eyes.
"Agent Scully, are you all right?"
She hadn't said a word, but sat on the edge of the bed watching him. Apparently satisfied with what she saw, she'd lain down and turned on her side away from him, in a spooning position.
It was clear she wanted him to hold her, so he'd scooted forward and put an arm around her waist. All his moves were deliberate and chaste, proving to her that his intensions were sincere.
She relaxed against him, placing a hand over his and tangling his fingers with hers. After a few minutes, she was asleep and fully relaxed against him. Skinner had followed her example, relaxing almost immediately once she was in his arms. A feeling of quiet peace filled him where anxiety and pain had been just seconds before, as if he'd been administered a healing balm.
An amusing thought flitted through his mind just before he dropped off. Take two Scullys and call me in the morning.
When he woke, she was gone.
"Agent Scully," she heard a voice bellow. "Where are you?"
Scully burrowed under her blankets and tried to turn away from the intrusive sound. She was comfortable for the first time in days and was reluctant to leave the soft cocoon she'd wrapped herself in. If she ignored it, maybe the voice would go away.
Suddenly, bright light penetrated her eyelids as the blankets were pulled away.
"Agent Scully," the voice reproved.
She winced and turned away, still unwilling to surface from sleep. It was only when a large hand touched and then shook her shoulder that she finally gave in to the inevitable.
She turned over onto her back and looked up at the source of her irritation with slitted eyes. Her overly large clothing was in a tangle, the sweat shirt bunched up under her arms, exposing her midsection and her hair was haphazardly spread out from her head.
It took a few seconds for her to realize it was Skinner towering over her supine figure. She watched as his expression changed from scowling anger to one of sensuality. He seemed entranced and slowly bent down until he was sitting on the couch next to her. They stared at one another for long moments, neither one moving or speaking to the other. Skinner finally reached out and slowly stroked a thumb up and down her cheek. Scully's breath quickened and she shivered when it strayed to her lips.
"I thought you'd left," he murmured.
"Why would I go?" she asked quietly.
The shrill of a cell phone ringing interrupted their reverie, causing them both to jump. Skinner pulled away from her and stood abruptly. Looking around, he discovered the source inside Scully's coat.
"For you, I think," he said, handing her the offending object.
Skinner turned away when she answered, knowing who was, in all probability, at the other end.
"Mulder, why are you calling me this early?"
He walked into the kitchen, intent on making coffee and politely ignoring her conversation. Just before he was out of earshot, he heard her tell Mulder that there was a reason she didn't answer the phone this early at home: she didn't want to. She didn't say that she wasn't currently at home, though, and it made Skinner smirk. Everyone has their secrets and now he shared one with Scully.
He waited a discreet amount of time and then entered the living room with two cups of coffee. Scully was folding her bedding and tidying the area when he emerged.
"Here," he said, pressing a cup in her hand. "We need to make plans."
"Yes. Sit down so we can strategize."
She frowned, but did as he asked, sipping her coffee and waiting for him to start.
"You said Taylor had a stroke. Who told you that?"
"Are you sure he has a granddaughter?"
Scully blinked. It didn't occur to her to question it. Who else could the young woman be?
"I don't know that much about him. The landlord didn't either."
"Then you only have the girl's word for it."
"Did you check local hospitals?"
"Yes, and he's not listed anywhere that I can find. The apartment is closest to Washington General, but they have no record of him or any other man of his description admitted with a diagnosis of stroke in the last few days."
"Is it possible he signed out against medical advice from the ER and was never officially admitted?"
"It's possible, but he would have to have been lucid enough to understand the risks of leaving and he needed to be in good physical shape to attempt leaving on his own." she said. "Even so, I think he would have come home afterwards."
"You're sure there was no one in the apartment yesterday? He couldn't have been hiding somewhere?"
"I didn't see anything unusual, and why would he let me find all that information?"
"Perhaps he was out."
"Perhaps," she murmured.
A silence descended while they drank the coffee and mulled Taylor over in their minds.
"Let me see those envelopes again."
Scully went to her trenchcoat and fished the evidence bag out. She handed it to Skinner and remained standing at his side.
He turned the bag over, looking at the envelopes that had been inside.
"This one doesn't have postage," he said, pointing to a pink envelope.
"I think this is the one the granddaughter delivered."
"She delivered it by hand?"
"The others came in the mail? Do you remember them arriving?"
"They came while I was away and were in the pile of mail Mr. Taylor gave to me when I got back. I just assumed they arrived that way."
Skinner frowned and brought the bag closer to his face. "Celestial Greetings."
"It's a card company that caters to Herbalists and New Age stores. It ships these in packages of three envelopes all over the United States, but to only two shops in the greater D.C. area. One is called 'Green Grass,' and the other is called 'Sage Moon' on D street."
Scully remained silent, not knowing how to respond.
"The first thing we do is drop those envelopes off to forensics and have them dusted for fingerprints. The one delivered by hand will be less contaminated than the rest. Maybe this Taylor or his granddaughter has a record. Then we visit the Grass and Moon shops."
Nodding in agreement, Scully stood and looked around for her clothing. "I should go home and shower."
"No time," he said, rising with her. "You can shower in the guest room while I go upstairs."
"I need a change of clothes."
"I'll take care of it."
He said it with such finality, she didn't question him. He certainly didn't expect her to wear the sweats she had on, or the same garments from yesterday, did he?
She trailed him past the stairs into a small anteroom containing a bed and dresser. The bathroom was on the other side of the bed, decorated in the same pale pink and beige as the bedroom. The rooms were tidy and tastefully done. Why hadn't he let her sleep in here last night?
And then it struck her. Sharon.
Scully hadn't known much about Sharon's recovery from the head injury she'd received during the Carina Sayles case. Mulder told her that Sharon had gone home to Skinner's apartment for a time, but had died later of complications. This room had been hers.
Skinner crossed to the bathroom and turned the light on. "Everything you need is in here," he said quietly. "I'll leave you some clothes on the bed."
He walked out quickly, shutting the door behind him.
Scully padded into the bathroom and stripped herself down. Dumping her bra and underwear in the sink, she added water and a little shampoo, a trick she'd learned in residency. You could stay up all night and look and feel miserable in the morning, but a hot shower and clean underwear made an enormous difference in how you felt for the rest of the day.
After taking the hottest shower she could manage, she stepped out and wrapped herself in a towel. Despite her best intentions, she couldn't ignore the safety bars in the shower or the low sink in front of her. Images of Skinner helping his wife's crippled body in and out of the bathroom came unbidden and they made her unaccountably sad. Skinner was still such a mystery to her and this room only deepened his inscrutability, but it also added a measure of humanity.
Using a blow dryer she found under the sink, she quickly dried and donned the underwear. She wondered if Skinner had left the promised clothes, and if they would be too large for her small frame. Opening the door a crack revealed the bedroom to be empty and the outer door closed. As promised, there was a shirt and slacks neatly folded on the bed.
She emerged later to find Skinner waiting in the living room.
"Thank you for the clothes. Where are they from?"
Skinner shifted on his feet, clearly uneasy about her question.
Scully left it at that, not wishing to embarrass him further, but she still found it curious.
End Part 5
Nullius in Verba 6/10
They parted at the Hoover, Skinner going to his office to do paperwork while Scully spent the morning in forensics. She watched as the tech painstakingly dusted each envelope for prints. As expected, the mailed envelopes had numerous fingerprints on them, overlapping each other and smeared across the thick paper. It would take weeks to process them and Scully didn't have the time.
The third envelope proved to be a goldmine. Not only did it have relatively few fingerprints, but the ones present were crystal clear and eminently usable. Removing them with care, the tech affixed them to special paper to be ordered and scanned into the computer.
"How long do you think it will take?" Scully asked.
"Depends. Might take 3 minutes, might take 3 weeks. There could be three or four partial sets of prints here."
"Four different people? Three others, excluding myself?"
"Yeah, and if they don't have records, you know it could take a real long time."
"What about the herbal contents?"
"I have to send that down to Quantico. They have a better gas chromatography machine than we do. Shouldn't take too long."
"Well, I don't have the time and neither does Skinner."
The tech shifted nervously in his chair at the mention of the A.D.'s name. "I've had some interactions with him."
"Then you know how important it is to get this done."
Scully suppressed a smirk. "You have my cell phone number if anything comes back?"
She walked out of the lab feeling a little more hopeful. If they got a hit, maybe it would lead to Taylor or his accomplice.
The four sets of prints had her puzzled, though. Assuming Taylor opened the pack and taken an envelope out that would account for one set. The granddaughter delivering it and she receiving it, would account for two more. Who was the fourth person?
She was still pondering the implications when she found herself at Skinner's door. A terse "Come in," was issued from the other side when she knocked.
Opening the door, Scully was suddenly struck with a sense of deja vu. She'd been in Skinner's office before, of course, but it was a brand new room to her now. Memories of her night of dream sex with him came flooding back in an instant. Images of him thrusting into her and the sound of her responding cries of pleasure slammed full force into her conscious mind. She flushed in shame, staring at the conference table with horrified fascination. She looked around restlessly, but no place was safe to look at and she was momentarily frozen in the doorway.
Seeing her stricken expression, Skinner grabbed his briefcase and quickly ushered her from the office. He shut the door and firmly locked it before leading her from the outer office.
"I'm sorry, sir" she whispered. "I forgot about that."
"It's not a problem, Agent Scully," he said smoothly. With a hand in the small of her back, he walked them to the elevator and down to the parking garage.
As she buckled herself into the passenger seat she knew it was a problem, however. Sooner or later they'd have to sit down and talk about it and until they did so, a problem it would remain.
Grabbing a quick lunch and eating it in his car, Skinner and Scully set out to track down the first shop on their list. It was in a bad part of town and phone calls they'd made to it went unanswered. The phone rang and rang without a person or a machine picking it up.
When they arrived at the shop's location, they knew why. Trash was scattered along the street and sidewalk and every business on the block was either closed or empty. The store itself was dark and empty too, with a 'For Rent' sign in the window. Peering through the murky glass, Scully could see numerous small pieces of white paper on the floor and a bank of phones in the back.
"Empty, but why would the phone ring? Shouldn't it be disconnected?" she asked.
"The shop was probably a front for a bookie joint and they pulled up stakes at the last minute. If memory serves, bookies always paid their phone bills in advance each month. Makes for good business."
"But why an herbal shop in this part of town? I can't image they'd have much of a clientele, and those envelopes aren't cheap."
"Might have doubled as a money laundering establishment. Twenty dollars for envelopes wouldn't be that large of an expense."
"Okay. One down and one to go," Scully said as they got back in the car.
"Yes," Skinner agreed. "And fifty miles across town in the suburbs."
"Then we better get going."
It was late afternoon before they finally arrived at the strip mall containing The Sage Moon Herbal shop. In stark contrast to the previous one, this neighborhood spoke of money and yuppie angst. SUVs lined the neat, black-topped parking lot outside. The shop itself was larger than Scully expected and brightly lit inside. Fragrant candles and jars filled with dried plant matter lined several shelves. Cobalt blue bottles with handmade labels declared their contents could help cure a variety of illnesses. Skinner was impressed with sheer number of containers and how meticulously ordered they were. Throughout the shop, an air of the natural was woven into its decor, a celebration of life in a harmoniously balanced universe.
He'd half expected a gothic tomb of sorts, a dark, candlelit interior, gloomy decorations, and a teenage proprietress with white skin and black lipstick. Instead, the woman who greeted them with a smile was in her forties, sported long, brown hair and was free of body piercing or kabuki makeup. She wore a simple blue jumper and white t-shirt.
"What can I do for you today?" she asked pleasantly. Skinner noted a tag with the name Lidia inscribed on it.
Skinner pulled the plastic bag containing the pink healing envelope out of his pocket and showed it to her. "Do you sell these?"
"Yes, those are in the back with the other envelopes for spells."
"Specific spells?" Scully asked.
"Yes," she said walking them there. There's an envelope for lost love, new love, the bringing of money-"
"Curing illness?" Skinner interjected.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, the envelope you have there is one of those I believe. Is there some reason you've got it in a plastic bag? It won't work that way."
Scully pulled her FBI credentials out of her pocket and showed them to Lidia. "I'm Agent Scully and this is Assistant Director Skinner. We're investigating..." she trailed off, not sure what kind of case they were working.
"A possible murder case," Skinner supplied.
Scully gave him a puzzled look, but he didn't respond.
"Murder? Not anyone in this shop."
"No, one of your customers. The one who purchased this envelope."
"I sell dozens of those envelopes every week. Are you expecting me to remember who I sold just one set of them to?"
"What did you mean 'won't work that way?'" Scully interjected.
Lidia turned to Scully and smiled. "It isn't enough to purchase the envelope; you need someone to put the appropriate ingredients inside and to cast a spell over it. A little like activating your debit card."
"And that works?" Skinner asked with a frown.
"Sure it does. You can mail a little healing to a friend, but it's more effective if delivered by hand to the intended. Sending three is the most effective of all, that's why they're packaged that way."
"Is that witchcraft?" Skinner asked.
"No," Lidia said with exasperation. "It's Wiccan, which has nothing to do with demonic rituals. Wiccans are peaceful nature lovers that want good for the world not evil."
"Are you the only one that does the spells?" Skinner asked.
"Yes, unfortunately. I used to have a helper, but she quit this week on short notice."
"What did she look like, your helper?" Scully asked.
"Long blond hair, blue eyes."
"Twenty five. You don't think Jordan is involved with this?"
Skinner glanced at Scully who gave him a small nod in affirmation.
"Jordan Hope, my assistant. Was my assistant," she corrected.
"Why did she quit?"
"Actually, I had to let her go."
Lidia shifted on her feet and looked uncomfortable. "Look, I don't want to get her into trouble with the law. She needs help, but not that kind."
"What did she do?" Skinner persisted.
"I caught her sniffing cocaine up her nose with a 20 dollar bill in the back room one day when I dropped by unexpectedly. I told her she had to stop, and she had a week to do it. She outright refused, so I let her go. She's a good kid," Lidia continued when she saw Skinner and Scully's skeptical expressions, "from a bad home who got mixed up with the wrong people."
"Was she stealing from you?" Scully asked. "She couldn't have made enough here to support a cocaine habit."
"No, she didn't. I checked. The inventory and money always matched up."
"Then she must have gotten it from the outside. Could her family have given it to her?"
"Her family lives in rural Missouri and doesn't have a job or a cent between them. She didn't get it from them."
"Do you know the people she got mixed up with?"
"She has a boyfriend, Jay something, wouldn't give a last name. Always looked stoned to me when he came in to see her. My bet is that he's the source."
"Can you give us Jordan's address? I promise we won't turn her in for the drug use," Scully said with sincerity. This time it was her turn to ignore Skinner's raised eyebrows.
"She used to live across town, but moved out to her boyfriend's when I let her go. She didn't leave a forwarding address."
Just then a woman walked in and waved to Lidia. "Look, I have to take care of her. Have I answered all your questions?"
Skinner nodded, feeling slightly defeated.
"Jordan didn't use the envelopes on you, did she?" Lidia suddenly asked Scully.
Scully snapped her head up. "Why do you ask?"
"You have an aura about you. I don't know, something unnatural is happening to you, I think." After a pause she added, "Him too," she pointed at Skinner, "You better find out who's behind it."
Before either of them could respond, she was across the room and moving with the customer to another section of the shop.
"She's just guessing," Skinner said.
Scully arched an eyebrow and quirked her mouth. Her expression said something unnatural was happening to them whether he acknowledged it or not.
They took a quick look around the shop before leaving. Skinner left Lidia a card with his number on it. "If Jordan gets in touch with you, call us day or night."
In the car, Scully called forensics and was told the fingerprints hadn't produced any matches. The envelope's contents were garden variety herbs such as lavender. One ingredient was proving to be elusive in identifying. She was told there might be more information in the morning.
She hung up with a sigh. So far every lead seemed to peter out into nothing.
"We'll go by your apartment so you can pick up some things," Skinner said, distracting her.
"Why don't you stay with me tonight?"
He frowned. "All right, then I'll have to drop by my apartment first."
Scully waited for him in the car, ruminating over the day's events. They'd found out precious little, but at least they had a name to go with the granddaughter's face and a possible accomplice. Could the fourth set of fingerprints belong to the boyfriend?
Skinner eventually emerged with a bag and had changed in to sweats and tennis shoes. This set was identical to the set he'd given her to sleep in the previous night. How many pairs did he have?
They drove to Georgetown in silence, each deep in their own thoughts. Scully tried hard not to dwell too much on the facts of the case. A good night's sleep might make more sense of it.
If she could get a good night's sleep.
When they passed Taylor's door, she paused for a moment.
"This is his apartment?" Skinner asked.
Seeing her fatigued expression he said, "Tell the landlord in the morning that we need to search it again."
Scully nodded, and turned to put the keys in her lock. When she touched the doorknob, a profound sadness and feeling of pure dread suddenly enveloped her. She couldn't understand what had triggered those feelings and they grew worse by the second.
When she opened the door, Skinner followed and shut it behind them. He continued into the dark apartment, but turned around when she didn't follow or turn on a light.
She tried to speak, tried to tell him what she was experiencing, but couldn't get the words out. While she stared at the floor he walked back to where she stood. He sighed in frustration and then carefully put his arms around her. He made sure the contact was innocent, one friend simply comforting another.
"We'll find out what's going on, I promise."
"The same way you promised to find out who shot Melissa?"
The jab struck home; she felt him flinch.
"This is different."
"Is it?" she asked quietly.
Skinner tightened his arms around her by a fraction and she laid her head against his chest. It felt good to be held and she found herself pressing closer against him. He smelled clean and fresh, like he'd taken a shower before coming back down to the car.
Her anxiety slowly drained away and was replaced with contentment. Gradually, however, the contentment turned to something else entirely. As Skinner held her, memories of their dream nights together came back again, but she didn't feel the hot shame she had earlier. Here, in her own apartment, it seemed natural to feel deep lust slowly creeping through her body.
God help her, she wanted him.
Skinner didn't know precisely when the hug turned into something else; he only knew that one minute he was comforting Scully, and the next he was really holding her. He'd been absently rubbing his hands up and down her back in a soothing gesture, the way he might soothe a child or friend. Then he found he'd stopped moving and was pressing her into his body. Scully not only allowed the close contact, she shifted slightly to be held even closer.
Eventually she pulled back to look up at him, craning her neck to meet his eyes. Her pupils were large and black; the eyelids partially closed while she regarded him.
Against his better judgment, hell, against his own will, he bent and kissed her forehead, hoping that would be enough to stave off the lustful thoughts racing through his mind. He held his lips there for a beat of five, but when he tried to pull away, Scully reached up and held him in place. Groaning in frustrating, he put his forehead on top of hers while she ran her hands up his back to his shoulders.
"Scully...," he warned, "I can't, I don't have the strength-"
She silenced him with her mouth, straining up on tiptoe to kiss him.
As soon as his lips touched hers, his will to resist snapped like a dry twig. He returned the kiss with fervor, opening her mouth and groaning at the contact.
Her mouth was as soft as he remembered, yielding under his with a sweet sigh. The sweetness turned to white hot lust in the space of a few seconds and they began to remove clothing with haste.
Somehow, Skinner found himself in Scully's bedroom and had her sprawled naked beneath him on the bed. Scully clawed at him like a wild thing, speeding him up when he wanted to slow down. He entered well before he thought she was ready, but she'd been more than ready. Incredibly, she was crying out from an orgasm with just a few strokes of his penis. He followed her quickly, helplessly and filling with regret as soon as he finished.
He looked down at Scully's face, hoping he wouldn't see the same regret he felt or even a cold hatred for him, but she had her eyes closed and her face was slack. She was asleep! Defying logic, he'd actually fucked her to sleep.
Disengaging himself from her, he rolled on his back and tucked her into his side. Sleep eluded him, however and only came after he banished from his mind the constant thoughts that tormented him.
End part 6
Nullius in Verba 7
Descriptions and disclaimers in part one.
Apologies for the way the postings are coming out. I wanted to have it all posted by Halloween because I thought it was appropriate, but my beta and I are having major communication problems <g>.
Scully woke in the middle of the night uncomfortable and disoriented. A small, bedside table lamp was lit, giving the room a familiar, warm glow. She tried to sit up, but was prevented from doing so. Next to her, a broad, naked back groaned and shifted as a beefy arm tightened around her waist.
Skinner. Oh, God.
Her head ached like she'd been on an all night bender and had wakened to an ugly hangover, but she hadn't been drinking and she hadn't thought to want him until-. Something about passing Taylor's apartment and then touching her doorknob made her believe she'd been manipulated again.
She needed to figure out what had happened, but first, she needed to get out from under Skinner's arm. No matter how she shifted or tried to remove that arm, Skinner held on like she was a life preserver and he was lost at sea.
Just as she was contemplating shaking him awake, he stirred and tightened his arm, drawing her firmly against him. He moved his face up and nuzzled her neck. Warm lips opened and a soft tongue sucked the skin into his mouth. A large hand moved over her belly and softly caressed the skin there. She was just about to lodge a protest, but it died on her lips when that hand moved between her legs and his mouth closed over a nipple.
He was draining away all her will, but giving her unselfish and intense pleasure at the same time.
As she neared orgasm, she wondered distantly if she was awake and if this one of those dreams. It couldn't be, could it?
Moving up and over her, Skinner reached out to hold her face between his enormous hands, contemplating her in the dimly lit room. A variety of emotions played across his face, but one close to unbearable tenderness finally took up residence there. It nearly broke her heart to realize how open he was to her now, how vulnerable he'd allowed himself to become in her presence. She was oddly touched, and felt tears gather to fall down her face. He bent to kiss them away and entered her slowly.
Sweet joy filled her mind as Skinner filled her body. He thrust into her with a leisurely pace, trying to slow them down in contrast to their frantic coupling earlier. She tried to touch him everywhere, tried to give him pleasure in return. She only succeeded in making him groan when she wrapped her legs around him and her hand strayed down to stroke the fine, dark hair on his belly. Must be an erogenous zone she thought before giving herself over to his ministrations.
"Skinner," she cried as wave after wave of wondrous sensations washed through her. Skinner soon followed, calling her name in return.
It wasn't the best sex she'd ever had, but it was the most fulfilling. For as little as she knew about this man, they'd shared an incredible moment together; an improbable weekend of total discovery.
It scared her more than Taylor ever could.
When she woke this time, Scully found herself alone in bed. The rumpled sheets next to her were thrown back and she could smell Skinner's maleness among the soft folds. Determined not to dwell on it, she got out of bed to dress. A slow ache between her legs made her hesitate, making it hard not to think about last night. Donning her terry robe, she went to search him out.
She found him in the living room, looking through the papers and books she'd taken from Taylor's apartment. He was wearing a casual outfit, and damp hair on his nape proved he'd already showered all traces of her from him.
He looked up at her approach, eyebrows arched in anticipation. She had a terrible urge to remove his glasses and kiss him, but it felt wrong. Skinner was already in his investigator mode and might resent that kind of intrusion.
"Good morning," she murmured.
Silence. Great, she thought, they were going to do the 'morning after' dance: stilted conversations and awkward silences.
"What are you doing?" she asked, looking down at the papers he had placed into specific piles. It must have taken hours to do and by now he'd know everything she did.
"I'm trying to put these into chronological order," he said, indicating Taylor's various scribblings. "I think he's been observing you for years, Scully. There's even a reference to the time I searched your apartment."
She bent over his shoulder to look at the paper in his hand. Somehow, she'd missed this one when she'd looked them over briefly. Taylor wrote of a tall, balding, muscular man visiting her apartment while she was away. He was very curious as to Skinner's identity and what he wanted with her.
Skinner turned the paper over before she could read further, but not before she saw the last paragraph. Taylor had thought Skinner was a suitor and had believed them to be a good match.
She didn't straighten away from him immediately, but lingered to smell his neck instead. Skinner shut his eyes tight and gripped the table in front of him.
"Scully," he began, "about last night."
"I think there was something on the doorknob," she interrupted, not wanting to hear apologies
"After I put the key into the lock, I put my hand on the knob and I suddenly felt, I don't know, strange."
"I think, I think Taylor may have drugged me."
Skinner stood abruptly and walked to the door. He opened it and walked out into the hall to scrutinize it.
As she'd thought, a trace of an opaque, shiny substance remained on the brass knob where her fingers hadn't touched. Skinner retrieved a sharp knife from her kitchen and scraped as much of it as he could into a plastic bag. With a damp cloth, he rubbed until every trace of the substance was gone. Holding the bag up to the hall light, he scrutinized the crystalline powder within.
"You think this was responsible for last night?" he whispered.
Though it was subtle, she detected a trace of resentment mixed with the anger in his voice.
"Yes, but I don't think it stayed in my system for very long; I only felt the effects for a few hours."
It was a close as she could come to telling him that the second time, at least for her, had been real. He continued to frown, doubt hiding in his eyes. He was probably thinking that she'd transferred the drug over him when she'd touched him, but somehow she didn't think so. He hadn't acted drugged.
She reached out to hold the hand at his side and gently squeezed it to drag his attention away from the bag. She gave him a small smile when he looked at her, hoping he understood. He finally gave her a half grin and squeezed her hand in return. Then he let go of her and moved back into the apartment.
"I think you'd better shower so we can search his apartment."
Chester Lawrence was a curmudgeon of a landlord. Even on his best day, Scully found him crude and more than a little lascivious in his attentions toward her. She went without hot water for two days once because he was angry that she'd rebuffed his advances. It was only when she threatened him with legal action and the backing of the FBI that hot water flowed through her taps again.
He'd been rude when she'd called him inquiring about Taylor and asking if the old man had any family. Chester had said he didn't know anything about Taylor or his family and had hung up on her before she could ask anything else.
It was with real relief and more than a little satisfaction that she stood at Chester's door with Skinner at her side. The look of lethal anger faded from his cowardly face when he opened the door to confront Skinner's imposing form
"Whatta you want, Red?" he asked, looking them over and sizing them up. "You get locked outta your apartment?"
"We need a favor, Mr. Lawrence."
"A favor? You want a favor at eight o'clock on a Sunday mornin'?" he nearly shouted. "This is my day ta sleep in and I aint doin' no favors for nobody."
Skinner kept the little troll from closing the door by stepping in and placing a hand on his shoulder. Scully could see Skinner's knuckles grow white as he tightened his grip.
"I believe Agent Scully asked you to do her a favor," he said in a lethally quiet voice. "I think you should hear her out before making any rash decisions." Skinner completed the sentence with a little jerk of his hand.
"Hey, hey, you don't hafta break my arm. You want me ta call the authorities on ya?"
"We are the authorities you little maggot and I think they'd believe any story we told them if something untoward were to happen."
The military tone in Skinner's voice seemed to finally penetrate Chester's thick skull and he looked to Scully for help.
"I think you'd better do what he says, Chester. I've seen him get angry and he's not angry yet."
"What's this favor you want, huh?"
"I need in Mr. Taylor's apartment."
"You need inside Taylor's apartment? No, no. No way. That's against the rules."
"We think he be might inside and is too sick to answer the door."
"I thought he had a stroke or somethin'. He aint in the hospital?"
"We can't find him in any hospital and his granddaughter is worried," Scully lied. "He may have checked himself out too early and come home."
"If his granddaughter is so worried, how come she ain't over here askin' herself?"
"Because she lives too far away to do that. She called me and asked me to help out."
Skinner shook him again and tightened his grip further when Chester hesitated for too long. "What do you say, Mr. Lawrence? Why don't we all go upstairs and check on the man?"
Chester's hand shook slightly as he fit the pass key into Taylor's lock. He knocked as he opened the door, trying to rouse a response.
"Hey, Mr. Taylor. You home?"
The apartment remained silent and appeared just as Scully remembered. Had it only been two nights ago that she'd been in here? They trudged through it silently, finding nothing out of place and everything in order. Scully waited until the last to open the spare bedroom's door.
She turned on the light and recoiled in horror. The room appeared partially ransacked, books thrown off shelves and a fine black powder coated nearly every surface. The room gave off a foul odor, like death.
"What the fuck is this shit?" Chester asked.
Scully watch as Skinner's expression mirrored the landlord's. It was a room filled with a feeling of unspeakable evil and they were mesmerized by its malevolent aura.
"Don't touch anything," Skinner warned. "He might have left more chemicals behind.
Scully walked over to the desk and spied a piece of paper. "He's been here," she murmured. "This page is new."
Taylor's crabbed writing was present on the page, but it was sloppy and erratic, as if he were in a hurry or greatly distressed.
*They've take over the dreams and I can't seem to maintain control anymore. This wasn't supposed to happen. I've become a spectator instead of the director. No matter what spell I cast or what demon I try to conjure, it all dissolves away as useless. I must regain control or the transference won't take place. Could I have been wrong? Are they strong enough together that their spirits can supplant mine?????*
Further down the page was a new entry: *She's stolen my fucking papers and all my best books. How could she do that to me? How could she hurt her future child like that? What if I can't make the transference happen?*
The very last paragraph, dated yesterday and timed for early morning, made her veins turn to ice. *I'm going to expose her to the dark herb and hope she lets him fuck her senseless in reality. If that doesn't work, my soul is damned to eternal hell.*
"He's a seriously disturbed individual," Skinner murmured.
"That is some fucked up shit," Chester exclaimed behind them. "What the hell is a dark herb?"
"I don't know."
"Look, you seen enough here? I gotta go fix the toilet in Apartment 4," Chester sputtered, evidently forgetting that he didn't do favors on a Sunday.
Scully nodded silently and they followed the jittery landlord out of the apartment.
"If he comes back, I never let you in here, okay?"
End part 7
Nullius in Verba 8
Disclaimers and descriptions in part one.
Skinner followed Scully back into her apartment, believing they hadn't learned anything new by searching Taylor's apartment. The secret room only confirmed his suspicions that Taylor was a disturbed man whose fantasies were fueled by an obsession with his redheaded agent. The sooner they located him, the easier he'd feel. It was possible that other 'dark' herbs had been set like chemical booby traps for Scully, or even himself. The tone of Taylor's last letter had been one of desperation, and a desperate man, Skinner knew from experience, was a dangerous creature.
He watched as she went to the dining room table and sat down wearily. He thought she was beginning to look resigned to a fate he felt was not possible. Sitting down across from her, he scanned the piles of paper.
"Scully, as much as I hate to say this, I think we need to involve the bureau now."
"This man has admitted on paper that he's attempting to impregnate you and take over your body. He's obviously drugged you and this is probably not the first time. It's possible he drugged me too."
Skinner pulled a piece of paper out of one of the piles and handed it to her.
"Taylor says here that he's been watching and following me too. He says that he was going to start manipulating my dreams during the same time period he was attempting to influence yours."
Skinner watched as she read the paper and then placed it back on the stack. "Did you find out why he picked me and you for this 'grand' plan?"
He sighed, knowing she'd ask eventually, but dreading to answer.
"Taylor wrote that he has admired you for quite some time," he began, carefully. "He admired your strength, honesty and ability to overcome great crises. He made you a hobby of sorts, studying you like he'd study butterflies.
"It also appears he was diagnosed with a slow growing brain tumor. The same day he came home from the doctor, he ran into you and decided to hatch a plan so he could spend the rest of his life with you."
"It appears he looked into the occult initially because he wanted to take over the body of a man. I believe his original plan was to take over Mulder's body because he saw him with you so much."
"Why did he change his mind?"
"It's difficult to tell because Taylor's writing tends to be esoteric, but from what I gathered, he found Mulder unsuitable as a 'host.' The few attempts he made to 'take him over' were unsuccessful and he spoke of a...," he trailed off, looking for the right paper. Locating it, he handed it to her.
"Here. Taylor says he detected a 'yawning hole of loss' in Mulder's soul that would make transference difficult. If Mulder didn't resolve this loss in his own lifetime, he'd be doomed to come back on earth to do it again and again until he got it right. Taylor thought it was possible Mulder would never come to terms with the loss of his sister and wanted no part of a man doomed to feel eternal loss."
"So why you?"
Skinner sighed, and shuffled more papers. "I was curious about that as well. It seems he thought the plan was doomed to failure because he never saw you with anyone but Mulder." Skinner paused. "He was about to give up, when Louis Cardinale decided to make an example of me. Taylor said the night I was shot you went tearing out of your apartment like a woman on a mission. When he asked if he could help, you said no, that your boss had been shot."
"I remember that. He caught me in the hall and wanted to speak with me about something, but I told him I couldn't. I don't remember telling him about you specifically."
"Well, he remembers, and he also wrote that the amount of emotion on your face and in your voice was far too deep for a boss. He became intrigued and followed you to the hospital."
Scully looked up at him in surprise. "He did?"
"Yes, and he wrote that he saw you holding my hand when I came out of surgery. He felt a 'significant amount of emotion' pass between us. He also found out how you jumped into the ambulance to 'save' me from Cardinale. That's when he started planning."
"Did he try to take your body over as well?"
"He apparently did some research first and got involved with other cultists on the internet in the meantime. Someone talked him into the child transference because he'd live far longer and by then he'd read my file."
"So he did break into my computer."
Scully sighed and rubbed her eyes. "This is all so fantastic and I never knew any of it."
"Until now," she agreed. "Why did it take him so long to attempt this plan?"
"I don't know. There are large time gaps in the papers. I think he was either in the hospital or getting treatment. He could have given up on the plan entirely and come back to it. Some of his last writings suggest he was moving on us now because he didn't have long to live."
"As far fetched as it is, this plan is working," Scully stated, flatly.
"Working? What do you mean?"
"He did manipulate our dreams, he did get us to sleep together, and I did have a period two weeks ago."
"Scully, I think we could find rational explanations for those things occurring," Skinner said, placing his hand over hers. "Drugging us so we'd have those dreams, and to make us sleep together. You said yourself that menstrual periods and ovulation were possible for you. Taylor is just using those coincidences to make us believe it too."
"But what about the dreams? We've dreamed the same dreams, but we've never talked about them."
Skinner removed his hand and sat back. "No."
"Don't you think it's time?"
He nodded. "All right."
Skinner went first, telling her sanitized versions of the nun and FBI garage dreams. She confirmed that she'd dreamed them as well, but not in nearly as much detail. The dreams had been vague and colorless, as if it they were a distant memory rather than a vivid dream.
Scully told him of his two visits to her apartment. The dreams had been for him as they had been for her: vague, gray, and distant. When they compared notes on the office dream, there was a distinct difference. Both remembered it in great detail, right down to what they'd been wearing. Skinner found himself uncomfortable, but not embarrassed about that.
"And last night?" Scully asked.
"What about last night?"
"Wasn't that real and not a dream?"
"Yes, I believe so."
"Then I could become pregnant just as Taylor wanted."
Skinner sighed again. "Yes, and I'm sorry about that Scully."
"Are you?" she asked quietly and looked up at him. Skinner thought he detected a note of hurt in her voice. She didn't regret the sex?
His answer was interrupted by Scully's cell phone ringing. He was about to tell her to let it go, but she was already up and fishing it out of her coat pocket. Skinner's heart dropped. He felt as if an important moment had just passed him by. Damn it.
"You did?" he heard Scully's excited voice. Skinner walked over to where she stood and listened.
"Yes, that sounds like one of the people we're looking for. He's dead?"
She glanced up Skinner with surprise. "That is too bad; we did want to question him too. Do you have a last known address?" She made a writing motion, and Skinner retrieved paper and pen. Scully took them and jotted the address down. "You'll call if there are anymore matches? Thank you."
Skinner picked the paper up and read the address. "Who does this belong to?"
"Jordan's boyfriend, Jay Miller. That was forensics with a fingerprint match"
"He was taken into custody last night, but developed severe chest pain a few hours later. By the time he was transferred to a hospital, he was in full arrest. Doctors think it was a cocaine-induced heart attack."
"He had a heart attack that long after being arrested?"
"Studies on cocaine have shown that heart attacks can occur up to two weeks after the last known exposure."
Skinner remained silent, knowing an opportunity to glean valuable information had been lost.
"Bad side of town again," Skinner finally remarked, looking at the address in his hand.
"Yes. Let's go." She'd pocketed her keys and stowed her gun and was going out the door when she noticed he hadn't followed yet.
"What is it?"
"I--" Skinner started, wanting to say something again about the night before, but decided against it. His timing, as usual, was off. "I'm coming."
Scully remained quiet as they drove to Jay Miller's apartment. When she and Skinner had pulled out a map, they found it was only two blocks from the first herbal shop they'd checked on. They'd been that close to the truth.
She was physically tired and was trying hard to keep her feelings tamped down. The tour of Taylor's apartment had added nothing to their search and the little conversation she'd had with Skinner this morning had added nothing to her understanding of him. He was as remote as ever, the tender man from the previous night, well hidden.
Facing the possibility of a pregnancy was something she just couldn't do, not until they found Taylor and stopped him from trying to carry out his plan.
It wasn't lost to her that she was the 'believer' in this scenario and Skinner, the skeptic. Taylor had said she spent all her time around Mulder, maybe he was rubbing off on her after all.
She couldn't think of him either just now. Her feelings for him were complicated and could only get more complicated with this case. If she and Skinner were lucky, they could take care of Taylor without outside interference.
She'd talked Skinner out of calling the police, what could they tell them she'd asked. They had no proof that Jay Miller was mixed up with Taylor, and only had her one encounter with Jordan to tie him to it at all.
Skinner had finally relented, but had said they were calling the police and the bureau immediately if anything was amiss when they got there.
She looked up at his profile and felt a little flutter of anticipation. No matter what else might happen, their relationship had changed forever. The possibility of a baby and all the emotional fallout that would come with it, was still feasible.
When they finally reached the apartment building, it was as she'd thought; the building was old and badly dilapidated. A hundred years or so in the past it had probably been a magnificent place with rich, red brick, and ornately carved marble slabs; she could see where wooden shutters had once been attached to the outside windows. Now, the brick was dulled by years of pollution and neglect. Most of the windows were either boarded up or were covered with a steel mesh. The front door had an oval of plywood where a window had once been. She and Skinner walked up to the entrance and looked at the names of the occupants next to buzzers. Most of the spaces were empty or had several layers of old, faded labels in them. By Scully's count, there were at least 30 apartments.
"Did they give you an apartment number?"
She looked at the paper. "6-G."
Skinner pressed that button, but they heard no sound. He was about to press it again when Scully spied a crude, badly faded sign.
She touched his arm and pointed it out. "Buzzers are broken," he read out loud.
"How do we get inside?"
"Let's try the door."
Scully put her hand on the knob and it opened without resistance.
"So much for security."
They walked into what must have been the lobby of the apartment building. It was nothing but empty space now and had a chopped off appearance as if most of it had been absorbed into one of the apartments. Straight ahead of them was a rickety wooden staircase.
"What are the chances this place has a running elevator?" Skinner asked, sarcastically.
"Not much," she replied. "I'm not sure I'd trust it either."
"Six G you said?"
"Let's start climbing," he nearly groaned. Scully stifled a grin and they started up the staircase.
As they climbed, they could hear stereos and loud televisions behind closed doors. An array of pungent odors that Scully couldn't and wouldn't identify assailed their noses. They didn't encounter a single person on their ascent.
"Where is everyone?" Skinner wondered out loud as they rested briefly on the sixth floor landing.
"It's still pretty early. They're probably in bed from a late night."
"We should still be in bed," Skinner mumbled and then a look of embarrassment crossed his face as he realized what he'd said. "Sorry, Scully I didn't mean that."
She gave him a small smile. "It's all right. Shall we continue?"
By the time they finally reached the top, they were both out of breath. The floor split into two hallways, each the opposite directions from the staircase. Scully went to the left and Skinner to the right to find the elusive apartment G.
"Here," she called softly when she located it. She'd nearly missed it because the small, brass letters on all the doors had been painted over many times, making them difficult to read. Skinner joined her at the door, and pounded on it with his large fist.
"We're not the police," Scully admonished him.
"What do you mean?"
"You knock like a policeman, and no one is going to open the door to a cop in this building."
Scully moved over in front of him and knocked more softly. "Hello? Jay, are you there?" she called in a sweet voice. She knocked again and said like a junkie, "Jay, I need to see you bad."
The door suddenly swung open and an angry blond girl stood there. "What the hell..."she trailed off when she saw Scully. "I wondered when you'd show up here."
Jordan Hope, the supposed granddaughter of Taylor and girlfriend of Jay Miller stood looking a like a specter. She was vastly changed from the proper young woman that Scully had described knocking on her door. Her hair was a shambles, clothing looking as if she'd slept in it, and her face was sallow.
"You're not surprised to see us?" Skinner asked.
"No, she's FBI. I knew she'd figure it out sooner or later. Who's the old guy?" Jordan directed the second question to Scully and swayed a little in the door way. Scully thought she was drunk and probably high, too.
Beside her, Skinner stiffened.
"He's the man Mr. Taylor was trying to manipulate too."
"Him?" she asked with irritation.
Scully thought Skinner was about to burst out a series of orders to the girl and quickly answered. "Yes. Jordan. May we come in?"
"We just want to speak with you."
"Jay's not here."
Scully glanced at Skinner. Did she know?
"Look, you have to leave."
"It's very important that we come in and speak with you," Scully insisted, gently.
Jordan hesitated, looking at both of them suspiciously.
"Okay, but don't try anything. I got a gun in here."
Scully thought she was bluffing and glanced up at Skinner who was already barging past her into the dank apartment.
End part 8
Nullius in Verba 9
Descriptions and disclaimers in part one
Skinner wasn't sure what he'd been expecting, but a clean, orderly apartment wasn't one of them. It was obvious that Jay and Jordan didn't have much, but what they had was at least clean. An ugly armchair, sofa, and second-hand coffee table occupied the small living area. Curtains made of bed sheets adorned the windows, but Skinner could see that someone had gone to the trouble of decorating the edges and making sure each one was at the proper length.
He could see an old Formica table in the kitchen with a mishmash set of chairs around it. The wooden floors were old and scuffed, but swept clean. Skinner had the feeling this was Jordan's doing, though he had never met Jay and had no other reason to base it on.
He and Scully sat on the sofa while Jordan sat in the armchair.
"What do you have to tell me?"
"Jordan, did you know Jay was arrested last night?" Scully began.
"Yeah, they called to tell me, but don't try telling me he's dead," she went on hurriedly. "They already tried to tell me that. Tried to get me to come down to hospital and tell them what to do with his body."
Skinner looked over at Scully. "I know you're still in shock," she said, still looking at Skinner, "but you need to listen to reason."
"I'm not listening to that shit," Jordan said, jumping up and pacing the room. "We've got too much to do and we're finally going to have enough money to do it."
"What do you mean?"
She stopped her frantic pacing and stared at Scully in frank surprise. "You mean you don't know?"
"No. Why don't you tell us?"
Jordan looked back and forth between Skinner and Scully in disbelief. Eventually she stopped pacing, but didn't sit down.
"You don't know about the old guy's plan?"
"We know some of it," Skinner said. "But we still need to fill in a few blanks."
"To start with, how did you meet him?" Scully asked.
"He came into the herbal shop where I worked. He had all kinds of questions about the healing envelopes. He came back two or three times but wouldn't buy anything. Lidia said he was just getting his jollies by talking to me, but I thought he was harmless. He had some terminal illness. Astro-something tumor of the brain."
"Astrocytoma," Scully supplied.
"Yeah. He said it was a slow growing tumor but he didn't have that long to live. I let him buy me dinner and that's when he told me he had a plan worked out so he could live forever."
"Why tell you?" Skinner asked.
"He said he needed an innocent, someone pure of spirit, to deliver an envelope to this woman who needed healing. Said it had to be delivered in person, so he hired me to do it. Gave me fifty bucks and said he'd be in touch. A month went by and I never heard from him. I thought he was just talking, but then he showed up at the store two weeks ago. He gave me two thousand dollars and told me he needed me to deliver the envelope soon because he didn't have long to live. His doctor said he could have a stroke at any time."
"Did it ever occur to you, Jordan, that Mr. Taylor wasn't in his right mind when he told you those things? That his tumor might have seriously affected his thinking?" Scully asked with a little anger.
"I told Jay that Taylor didn't know what he was doing. I said we were taking advantage of him, but Jay just told me to shut up about it. He said if the old man wanted to believe in that stuff we shouldn't stop him; he'd just get someone else to do it. We really needed the money too."
"We found out that you were fired," Skinner said. "Was it because of your association with Taylor?"
Jordan snorted. "Jay bought us some grade 'A' coke with that two thousand dollars and Lidia fired me when she caught me doing some in the back of the store. I'd only had it twice before, but she acted like I was some kind of addict or something. I was high and being stupid so I told her to shove the job. I told her I had money and plenty more where that came from."
Skinner thought two thousand dollars would seem like a small fortune to him as well if he lived in a place such as Jay's apartment, and enough of an incentive to act rashly.
"What did you mean 'more where that came from'?" Scully asked.
Jordan started pacing again, twisting her fingers around as she walked. "Taylor said if his planned worked, you know, about living forever that he was going to put me in his will. He showed me his bank account to prove it. Eight hundred thousand dollars and half of it was going to be mine."
"Who got the other half? Skinner asked with a sinking feeling.
"She does," Jordan said, pointing at Scully.
"Did he tell you why I'd get that money?" Scully asked quietly.
Jordan wouldn't look at her, but walked into the kitchen instead. Skinner heard cupboard doors open and glasses clinking. She came out a short time later with a large water glass filled with an amber liquid. Skinner doubted it was apple juice.
"You have to believe me," she said with an agitated voice. "He never told me about the whole plan until yesterday." She took a gulp from the water glass and resumed her pacing. When it appeared that she wouldn't say anymore, Scully prompted her.
"Just tell us, Jordan. We aren't going to get angry with you," she said, gently.
"He said that he was going to take over the body of this woman's...your baby. He said that he'd given you something so you'd dream about him," she said, indicating Skinner, "and that he was supposed to dream about you and somehow that was going to make a spiritual baby. This spiritual baby would become real through the healing envelope I'd given you, and some magic. Taylor said his original plan was to take the baby over in a dream, too, but the first plan didn't work, so he tried to make you both...create a real baby."
"Did he tell you how?"
"No. I think he knew he was scaring me with this story so he kinda skipped that part."
"Go on," Skinner prompted.
"I knew he was talking crazy, because he said he was going to lock himself in a room for two days and perform some kind of black ritual. At the end he'd...he'd be dead, but not dead, you know?" Large tears formed in Jordan's eyes. Her agitation had settled into a morose pity that Skinner found pathetic. He had to keep her focused.
"Did he say where he was going to do that, Jordan? Where he was going to do this ritual?" Skinner persisted.
She didn't answer, but her eyes swung to a door to their right. Skinner hadn't noticed it when they'd come in and, in contrast to every other door in the apartment, it was firmly shut.
Skinner was up before anyone could move.
"He said he couldn't be disturbed for two days, no matter what!" Jordan shouted. "Jay went out and didn't come back, so I didn't know what to do!"
Turning a deaf ear to the girl, Skinner opened the door and barged in. He was met with complete darkness; the only light to penetrate the inky dark was that from the room behind him. He groped for and found a light switch. When he flipped it on, a single, bare light bulb illuminated the room with ghostly light.
The room was no bigger than a walk in closet and just as bare. A single window was at the far end and it was papered over, accounting for the total darkness and stifling heat. Yellowed, peeling wallpaper was all that covered the walls. There was nothing but a filthy mattress on the bare floor with dozens of burned-down candles around it.
And a black-shrouded figure lay on it.
Scully emitted a small gasp beside him. Skinner watched as she moved forward and pulled the shroud off. Taylor's motionless, nude body lay under the black cloth. Scully reached out to touch his hand and recoiled.
He was dead, cold and dead. Skinner wasn't a pathologist, but he knew the signs of death well enough. Lividity was present along the dependant portions of Taylor's body, and rigor mortise had set in as evidenced when Scully touched and tried to lift the hand. The body gave off the distinct odor of death when she uncovered it, causing them to retreat and cover their noses.
"How long?" Skinner whispered beside her.
"At least 24 hours. Shortly after he wrote that last note in all probability. The heat in here has accelerated the decay."
Skinner thought it was an enormous, bitter irony. Taylor had set up one of the most elaborate schemes he had ever seen, but had died hours before he could carry it out. Skinner had slept with Scully without any danger--if it ever existed--of Taylor transferring his malevolent soul to their unborn child.
Taylor probably believed he had failed to produce a spiritual baby because he could no longer control Skinner and Scully's dreams. This had likely sent him over the edge, causing him to drastically change and accelerate his scheme from the metaphysical to the 'concrete' world. A real baby was now a potential risk, but Skinner didn't believe for a second that a spiritual baby was ever a possibility, even if Taylor and even Scully, had.
Scully turned away and went back into the living room with Skinner following close behind her. Jordan was sitting in the ugly armchair again.
"He's dead isn't he." She said as a statement rather than a question. "You don't think he pulled his plan off before he died do you?
When they didn't answer, she continued. "Look, I know what he wanted to do was wrong, but at least he left us something for what he did."
"You will never see single penny of that inheritance," Skinner said with real anger. "Dying in your apartment and this crazy plan of his is more than enough to invalidate the will."
"Not if Jay has anything to say about it."
"Jay isn't here," Skinner reminded her.
Jordan suddenly launched herself at Skinner, screaming in fury and clawing at his face. This was a completely different Jordan than the morose girl they'd left just a few minutes ago. Skinner thought she must have done some of that 'grade A' cocaine while he and Scully were in the other room with Taylor's body.
Skinner barely had enough time to react to defend himself against the screeching demon. She seemed possessed and nothing he did could make her back off. He grabbed her arms, but she started kicking him and twisting around.
He heard a dull crack and the attack ended as suddenly as it had started as Jordan's inert body slid to the ground. Scully stood in front of her, the barrel of her gun in hand and ready to strike again if the hapless Jordan so much as twitched in Skinner's direction. She moaned in pain, but didn't move from the floor.
Skinner walked around the girl and placed a hand on Scully's trembling shoulder.
"Are you okay?" she asked him in a shaky voice.
He nearly laughed. "Yes. Are you?"
"Yes. I'll call the police."
Dozens of police, FBI and, eventually, the media descended on Jordan and Jay's dank apartment. Scully and Skinner answered the same questions over and over to the increasingly astonished faces of the police. FBI and forensics soon showed as well, beginning the endless questioning all over again.
Skinner had hoped they could cover up some of the more salacious aspects of the case, but Jordan was spilling everything out in a drug-induced frenzy. She jabbered the same story repeatedly to anyone who asked and included every detail on the dream sex, babies, body snatching, and black magic. Skinner thought a savvy lawyer might be able to argue that she was under the influence of drugs and in emotional distress when she confessed, so it wouldn't stand up in court. That fact wouldn't help him and Scully in the long run, however.
Throughout it all, he refused to leave Scully's side, answering every question with her and doing so in as professional a manner as possible. Though they were both emotional wrecks internally, he knew it was imperative that they maintain a calm exterior.
After phoning the police, Scully had called Mulder and asked him to meet her there. She gave him the barest of details and it was the only time Skinner heard a crack in her voice.
"Please hurry," she quietly pleaded. It nearly tore his heart in two.
When Mulder finally showed, Skinner was about to walk out the door with Scully. Taylor's body had been removed and someone finally decided that Jordan needed medical attention and had tossed her into an ambulance. Only he, Scully, and a few police were left inside the ransacked apartment.
She went to Mulder immediately and he gave her a quick hug. The only thing that kept Skinner from feeling complete jealousy, was that she disengaged herself quickly, as if embarrassed. He'd never known her to act selfconscious in front of him where Mulder was concerned.
He let Scully tell Mulder the details as they walked out alone, hanging back for a minute on the pretext of helping the police. On the way down the endless flights of stairs, he found them standing in the lobby. He watched out of sight from the first floor landing as she told him the story and wondered what she included and what she left out.
Skinner finally came down the stairs, making sure to create enough noise to signal his arrival.
"I'm going to take Scully home, sir," Mulder said upon seeing him.
"Do you think that's wise? Police will be all over Taylor's apartment."
"I know, but she has to give them Taylor's papers anyway. I'm going to take her to my apartment afterward."
Skinner glanced at her quickly, but stayed silent. He had no right to tell her not to go and thought she looked disappointed, as if she'd expected him to object. Wishful thinking.
"All right Agent Mulder," he mumbled and refused to meet Scully's eyes.
He nearly told them that he'd left his sweats and underwear in her bathroom, but decided against it. He could only imagine Mulder's reaction if he went inside and saw them before she did. It almost assuaged the pain in his gut. Almost.
He trailed behind them through the throngs of neighborhood gawkers and persistent reporters outside. When he turned away from them to his car, Scully called him back.
He cringed inside. "Yes?"
"I wanted to-" she stopped, apparently unsure of what she'd been about to say.
"Yes?" he asked turning around. They were no more than 2 feet apart, but might as well have been 10 miles.
She stepped forward to take his hand, holding it and his eyes for a long moment. "I wanted to say thank you."
"You're welcome, Scully."
He dropped her hand and fled to the safety of his car before he could make a fool out of himself. He'd wanted to kiss her and would have done so if she'd held his hand any longer.
"Goodbye," he heard her call.
She began to cry the minute she closed the door on Mulder's car. A combination of nerves, lack of sleep and the absurdity of what she'd just experienced had finally begun to sink in.
"You okay, Scully?" Mulder had asked, softly. "You want to talk about it?"
"Not now, Mulder. Just take me home."
End part 9
Nullius in Verba 10/10
Descriptions and disclaimers in part one
Two weeks. That's what she'd asked for, two weeks before she'd do the test. Now that the case was written up, digested, and picked apart, the one remaining piece of reality was the test.
He and Scully had become the subject of gossip around the bureau when the more prurient aspects of the investigation had come out. No one dared say anything to him directly, but he wasn't as sure the same respect was given to her or Mulder.
He'd seen them together in his office on other business and everyone had been entirely professional, but they avoided discussing any details of the case. Skinner thought her and Mulder's relationship appeared essentially unchanged, that they were just as close as they had been before Taylor deliberately disrupted their lives.
Scully had come to him alone late one evening and told him about taking the test. It was certainly possible, she said, to take the test sooner than two weeks--as soon as four days after a possible conception--but the room for error was high. The embryo might not implant, or some other biological disaster could take place. If she waited at least 14 days, she could be sure and then let him know the results.
He hadn't argued with her, knowing it was what she wanted and that pushing her for something else might drive her further from him. Space. She was essentially asking him for space and it felt like a knife twisting in his gut.
Against his every instinct, he let her have that time and each day of waiting was like a year.
They never did talk about the night of 'real' sex, leaving it deliberately and conspicuously out of the final report. Both agreed that it didn't affect the case itself, and was a deeply personal matter besides. Skinner, of course, wanted a more intimate conversation than that, but he respected Scully's wishes, so he waited.
On the fourteenth day, she called him at the office and asked if he wanted to hear the news over the phone or in person. He said he preferred it in person. As he waited, he paced the room, remembering a time he'd done that at home, waiting for her to come to him in his dreams.
He'd nearly asked her to allow him to be present when she did the test. They would be just like a thousand other couples all over the world who crowded into cramped bathrooms, hovering expectantly over a little white stick. He'd hoped they could wait for the miniscule lines on the pad to turn pink together. Or not. A baby would be an enormous complication and one neither of them wanted. Or did they?
She hadn't offered to let him in on the test, and he didn't ask. If she rejected the offer, it would hurt him more than she'd ever know.
A knock finally came at his door and he asked her to come in.
Scully walked through with a straight back and expressionless face. Her black suit and shoes were neat as were her hair and makeup. Skinner wanted to do nothing more than take her in his arms and make a shambles of that hair and makeup. He didn't however, and asked if she wanted to sit. She declined.
Skinner stood three feet across from her, his heart pounding, forehead sweating, like the day she'd returned from Africa to confront him about Mulder's deplorable mental condition. Then, as now, Skinner's own condition hadn't been the best and he marveled that this small woman could reduce him to a bundle of nerves. When she finally spoke, it was to say a single word.
Negative. The test had been negative. Skinner felt as if a thousand pound weight had been lifted from his shoulders, but at the same time, he felt an utter, groundless disappointment.
He'd wanted that baby. As much as he tried to tell himself that it was the best possible outcome, all that cool reasoning wouldn't reach his heart. He turned away from her and looked out his window so she wouldn't see the emotion on his face or sudden pricking of tears in his eyes. After a minute, he composed himself and asked how she felt about it. She let a long silence pass before telling him, in what was surely a well-rehearsed speech, that it really was for the best and listing all the calm, scientific reasons why it was true.
He waited another minute or so before asking her if she was disappointed at the news, but when he turned around she was gone.
His heart sank like a stone. He'd lost her and could never have her back again.
Scully walked away from Skinner's office with a mixed bag of feelings. Relief, joy, sadness, grief all converged at once, muddying her already confused state of mind. She hadn't been sure how she'd feel or what Skinner's reaction would be. He'd responded as she'd thought, but not necessarily how she'd hoped.
Life could return to normal for them; she could go back to the basement and he could remain her and Mulder's boss as if nothing undo had occurred. They could go their separate ways and feel no guilt or remorse about anything that had happened.
She should have been the happiest woman in the world, so why did she feel like the loneliest?
Nullius in Verba Epilogue
Not long after her announcement to Skinner, Scully had a strange dream. This one didn't involve sex, or demons, and it began like any other normal dream.
She was at home in her apartment, doing several mundane tasks including cleaning the dust bunnies out from under the refrigerator, when she heard a strange sound. She ignored it at first, thinking it was a neighbor's television or a commotion from the street. The trembling noise returned, however, and its echo was a persistent, but oddly familiar sound. Not knowing what it could be, she followed it, wondering who or what had invaded her tidy life this time.
With a pounding heart, she tracked the noise to her spare bedroom. Inside, a bundle of white cloth sat in the center of a small bed and the cloth was moving.
Drawing closer, she could see a tiny red fist suddenly emerge from the center of the bundle. The fist waved furiously and she realized the sound she'd heard was the crying of a baby. On instinct, she drew closer still, fearful and curious that an infant had found its way there.
In the dream, Scully picked the bundle up and began to rock and croon soothing sounds to it. As soon as it was in her arms, the baby immediately stopped crying. In that moment, for no rational reason at all, she knew this baby was hers. She expected to feel a rush of abject terror that the bundle might contain another Emily, a green-blooded mutant of grotesque proportions that would end its life by dissolving into a lethal puddle of goo. Instead, a normal appearing baby greeted her when she pulled the cloth back from its sweaty face.
Solemn, dark eyes regarded her for a moment, before a tiny, toothless grin appeared. As it smiled, the baby's eyes became little, crinkled slits and that's when Scully noticed a tiny cleft in the baby's chin.
This wasn't just her baby, it was hers and Skinner's.
Upon that realization, she woke with a start and felt tears on her face. A feeling of profound loss filled the empty space in her arms and heart where the dream baby had been. Blindly, she threw the covers back and sat on the side of the bed trying to regain control of her wayward emotions. She was breathing as if there wasn't enough oxygen in the room and the tears continued to track down her face unabated.
Without thinking, she picked up the phone and pushed 9 on her speed dial. Four rings went by before the phone was picked up and a groggy voice finally answered.
Now that he was on the phone, she was struck mute. Her heart, however, continued to bleed emotion like a sacred statue bled tears. Silence from her end continued and she nearly hung up before he made another sound.
"Scully? Is that you? Are you all right?"
The tender concern in his voice was her undoing. A small sob escaped and she had to put a hand over her mouth to keep from doing it again.
"Scully," Skinner persisted. "What's wrong?"
"Can...can you come over?" she asked him in a tiny voice.
"I'll be there in 10 minutes."
A click on the line made her realize he meant it, even though he was at least 30 minutes away by car on a good day. He hadn't asked why or badgered her with questions, just said he was coming because he knew she needed him.
Scully replaced the phone in its cradle and wiped the tears from her face. It was suddenly clear to her; what she needed to do. The potential prophecy of dreams had never meant as much to her before as they did at that moment.
Skinner was coming to her because he wanted to and not because any dreams, magic, or malevolent being was making him. And she was waiting for him for no other reason than she wanted him to be with her.
For the first time in years, she felt at peace, and something else she'd thought had been lost long ago.
End Nullius in Verba
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