Title: 404
Author: ga
Feedback: welcome and appreciated garrull@yahoo.com
Category: alt-u post-col, msr
Rating: nc-17 to be on the safe side
Spoilers: set sometime post The Beginning and the Movie, but back in the day when Scully couldn't have kids. References to Squeeze, Fire, Dod Kalm, Home,Tunguska/Terma, El Mundo Gira, Memento Mori, The Unnatural.
Archive: just let me know
Disclaimer: all my worldly possessions put together probably couldn't buy me Mulder's bare feet
Tagline: everything dies

Summary: Immunity seemed like such a good idea at the time.

This is in response to two IWTB list challenges: Maggie's element challenge, for which the list can be found at the end; and the Dark Side challenge, because I hope never to go darker than this. Thanks to Aracelis for biochemistry off the top of her head that saved me from having to look it up.

She'd kill for a decent haircut, if there were anyone left to kill.

Scully had never believed in the Y2K bug, nuclear annihilation, or alien colonization; in her reading of Revelations, Armaggeddon could happen, but not in this lifetime. Like the good urban dweller she was, she thought there was no catastrophe great enough to halt the inexorable tide of Chinese-food delivery.

Though Mulder too considered take-out a nearly unstoppable force, that had never stopped him from marching around waving his "The End of the World is Near" placard. However, the thrill of saying "I told you so" wears off rather quickly when there's only one person left to say it to.

Immunity seemed like such a good idea at the time.

That first night, they clung to each other on Scully's couch, with the shades drawn tight and Bach chorales blasting on the stereo because Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" would have been too "A Clockwork Orange." They'd already called their mothers to say goodbye--Scully weeping Hail Marys, Mulder shell-shocked and sniffling. In time, though, abject terror gave way to other hormonal imperatives.

Somehow, they made it out of their clothes and into her bed, feet tangling hopelessly in the formerly pristine sheets as hands and mouths groped for whatever they could reach: elbows, noses, breasts, lips, quite literally sucked into the vortex. They tussled briefly over who was to be on the bottom, Mulder winning with a left to the clit that had Scully howling like a banshee above him.

Their coupling was as furious and voracious and inevitable as the cataclysm devouring everything outside their door, as though the force field keeping the apocalypse without demanded equal and opposite reaction from within: Newton's Last Stand. Creation in the face of destruction. Cruel irony, for though they were clearly testaments to Natural Selection, if it were up to them to repopulate the planet as a latter-day Adam and Eve, the planet was out of luck.

It's the end of the world as we know it...

For most of the human race, it had all been over with devastating speed--six billion to zero in a couple of days.

Like all good plagues, this one was insanely communicable and extremely deadly. But that was only the beginning.

Then, there were the car alarms.

If this was Colonization, where were the colonists?

Hubristically, Mulder had assumed that "wipe out humankind" would be the last step in renovation before McReticula liver-and-onions joints popped up all over the seven continents. No point in staging a Boston Tea-for-Two Party til they showed. But it seemed they'd sent the kiddies on ahead--those that had sprung half-grown from the bellies of their instant-enciente hosts. Viral conception may have been immaculate, but birth left one hell of a mess.

Marsupials of Satan, they'd then crawled off to hold Reticulan Romper Room on Three-Mile Island while they waited for the Greenhouse Effect to kick in.

It is thought that a meteor took the dinosaurs out. But there was no one around at the time to write the environmental-impact statement as to what went down after that particular big bang. Turns out, dead bodies by the billion are quite the pollutant. Escaping methane--the likes of which those who obsessed about belching cows could never have fathomed--was set to make Chantilly lace of the ozone layer. Scully was probably going to need an SPF 317, except the odds of lasting long enough to develop melanoma seemed pretty slim at this point.

The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out...

Mulder and Scully decided to venture out, at the very least to catch one last sunset before lightning turned all that methane into electric rain (deeply flawed movie, and they were in no big hurry to see the live-concert version). A Ford Taurus would suffice in lieu of an ark, especially since their Ham, Shem, and Japheth, who were lacking in immunity, were quarantined in their bunker til the virus crept in or the Evian ran out. Cabin fever, Stockholm Syndrome, a subterranean Donner party--if push came to shove, they'd probably eat Byers first. The only reason they were still alive now was they'd been holed up for a few days, having a particularly hairy time putting the latest issue of "The Lone Gunmen" to bed. The lead story for the next issue was a no-brainer; however, circulation would likely plunge nonetheless.

They'd spent a day online trying to find life on this planet, giving Scully her lone "I told you so"-op. www.we-are-still-here.com was a big 404. They'd expected that the Executive Branch had made it to Command Central in the fallout shelter, but the President wasn't answering his IMs. Lame duck or no, anyone without immunity--and not the kind POTUS could offer--was basically a sitting duck. The Well-Manicured Man had considered the Consortium cocktail they called a vaccine to be good enough for Scully, and indeed it had been, but they didn't know whether anyone else had just said yes.

That left Mulder's graduating class at Tunguska. Since neither Mulder nor Scully happened to know how to fly a plane, and Mulder had that little seasickness thing going, Russia was out of reach until the next ice age froze the Bering Strait. But Langly hacked a search-engine Voyeur and traced IP addresses to two of the Little Russias in New York: the East Village in Manhattan and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. So they packed their weapons--"Lord of the Flies" was required reading in both their high schools--dressed in black, and prepared to do some funky poached eggs and blini.

Scully's command of Russian was pretty much limited to "da" and "nyet," especially the latter. Mulder could supplement that with a string of expletives, courtesy of Krycek, and a phrase or two he remembered that his great-grandmother used to say. If the New World Order was what they thought it was, Scully now qualified as an ethnic exotic.

Traffic was nonexistent. At the Turnpike and the Holland Tunnel, Scully had to climb out of the car and into the phantom tollbooths, to raise the gates for Mulder to drive through--the mechanical world soldiered on. They still had pop-radio reception, proving once and for all that those stations were preprogrammed months in advance. Chances were, whatever hotel they decided to crash would still have Pay-Per-View.

Since the Circle Line wasn't running, they double-parked at Washington Square, locking the car only to shut the damned reminder beeper up. The fountain was surrounded by indestructible pigeons, enough to give Tippi Hedren chronic heebie-jeebies; and Mulder and Scully were forced to dash for temporary shelter under the Arch, hand in hand, dodging guano fire. On 8th Street, the Krispy Kreme Donut machine still sputtered and whirred in its merry Rube Goldberg way, while rats by the dozen lolled around in sugar shock.

They made love against the wall of an NYU building, next to the plaque marking the spot as the former site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. If a couple fucks in public and there's no one left to see them, does it count as exhibitionism? Mulder had scored those points on the purity test back with Phoebe, but Scully's score was riding on the decision.

They found their small public at the Tenth Street Russian Baths: real live humans, if only a few. It was Thursday, men's day, so Scully wouldn't be allowed in, not even blindfolded--they asked. Mulder would have to cover his own ass, no mean feat in a place where the standard dress code was a towel. Rather than sit on the front steps looking like the last person on earth, Scully decided to scout the neighborhood while Mulder communed with the great undressed.

Around the corner in an internet caf, Alt.Coffee, the seats in front of the PCs were still occupied by slumping bodies, decomposing faster than the lattes next to them.

Scully left the door wide open to air the place out, and yanked a keyboard out from under the most intact of the corpses. The Gunmen weren't answering their phone and she feared the worst. Five minutes and no response to her email; she left with tears in her eyes.

At St. Nicholas--Russian Orthodox/Greek Catholic--she lit a candle, then blew it out. The city was likely enough to go up in flames as it was.

Mulder and his bathing buddies were waiting for her on the front steps; it seemed sweating naked while spouting profanity in Russian had been a bonding experience. He kissed away her tears, with promises that the boys could sleep through the phone, and catcalls from the studio audience--she'd get her PDA points after all. They all adjourned to a Ukranian diner on Avenue A, where the women barred from the baths could join them, the early-bird special went til 9:30, and the only Russian words they'd really need to know were Smirnoff and Stoli.

Mulder had been at Oxford during the Star Wars years (the missile-defense system, not the movie); winnable nuclear war or not, it seemed likely that somebody was going to end up toast. Sitting around speculating, as young intellectuals are wont to do, they'd come to the conclusion that if the bomb were about to drop, the logical response would be: get drunk. The same terms applied here.

I wanna be sedated...

A couple of the more resourceful young men, worried that supply wouldn't keep up with demand, had taken to injecting vodka straight into the bloodstream, undiluted--a little went a long way. Given their choice of shots, both Mulder and Scully opted for the glass over the syringe, swearing not to waste a precious drop of Mother Russia's finest.

Several shots later, they would have sworn that they were Russian--and by that time, they knew every damn cussword there was. Frohike got an earful when he finally called back to say he wasn't feeling so hot.

There was a dead body in the women's room. It was just barely more spacious in there than in what passed for an autopsy lab in Home, Pennsylvania; but Scully really wasn't into threesomes, so they grabbed paper towels and dragged the body into the men's, propping it against a urinal. Tile was cold, but much more comfortable against a bare butt than rough stone wall had been.

A few blocks away, the no-longer well-oiled Krispy Kreme machine threw a spark into a pile of rat hair, which sizzled for a moment before igniting.

Challenge elements:

  • A syringe
  • A sunset
  • A Krispy Kreme Donut machine
  • A blindfold
  • Someone getting kissed on the nose
  • Bare feet
    • Notes: Lower NYC is my neighborhood, so the geography here is accurate, though granted they'd have circled the block to go from 8th Street back to the Triangle Shirtwaist site before continuing east. The 8th Street Krispy Kreme is no longer there (it was at the time this was set) but I don't believe that's because of fire. Thursday is men's day at the Russian Baths (and Sunday--Wednesday is women's day), and the early-bird special at Odessa really does go til 9:30pm.

      Joey Ramone, we hardly knew ye...

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