Title: Demon Within
Summary: Mulder is assaulted by an unknown entity.
Scully looked up as the office door opened, and her smile of greeting died on her face. "Mulder, you look awful!"
Mulder had no reply beyond a grunt. He went directly to his desk and collapsed into the chair. His hair may have been combed that morning, but without conviction and without lasting effect. A lock of it fell over his face and he stared into the middle distance as if deep in thought.
Scully sat up. "What happened to you?"
He peered at her, focusing with difficulty. "Huh?
A grimace twisted his face. "Whaddaya mean?"
Uncharacteristically terse. Scully was stung by the sneering tone and sat back in her chair.
"Uh...nothing, I guess." She blinked, then turned back to her work with as much grace as she could muster.
Monthly expense reports. A necessary evil, but the bureaucratic mire of her job seemed unimportant. Her attention wandered back to Mulder. She opened her mouth to speak, but didn't get a sound out before he turned and snapped at her.
Scully's mouth gaped like a fish. He'd never been this impatient with her before, not even that day in Comity. Finally she said, "Mulder, what's wrong?"
"I'm just tired, all right? I got lousy sleep last night." He ran his fingers through his hair and his upper lip curled.
"Maybe you should go back home..."
"_No!_" His eyes went wide and he looked like a sulky little boy. Then he heard his own tone and it was his turn to blink in surprise. He looked around his desk as if searching for the reason he'd done that, then shut his mouth and sat straight in his chair, busying himself with a random stack of papers.
Scully was stunned into silence. It grew between them until Mulder finally stopped fiddling and said, his voice softened, "I'm sorry. I'm okay. Honest. I'm okay." He looked at her with eyes that begged forgiveness.
Scully nodded, then went back to her work. The numbers were suddenly meaningless, and her mind chewed on what had just happened. Moody Mulder was nothing new. Every time the guy found a new line on evidence concerning his sister, he'd always gone just a little off. But this...this was...different. He was hiding...something. Scully ached to know what it was.
She forced herself to concentrate on the paperwork in front of her. Lists of numbers: hotel charges, restaurant charges, phone charges...the day-to-day business of chasing aliens and investigating mutants was too prosaic for words.
Receipts lay scattered around her on her desk, and for a moment she couldn't remember which pile was which. Damn. Finally she allowed herself to look up.
Mulder was slipping something into his trash can and shoved it deep into the bottom. Then he arranged the trash so the thing was completely covered. Scully looked away before Mulder could catch her watching. Something was very, very weird.
All morning she dillied and dallied with her work, unable to concentrate in any case, waiting for Mulder to leave the office. He stayed, however, staring into space and not getting much done. There was an attempt at a report, but the computer tapping from his corner was even more sporadic than his usual hunt and peck. At about noon, after a long silence, Scully looked over and found him asleep, his chin resting on his chest.
Poor guy. He really needed to go home and to bed.
"Mulder," she called to him, but softly. "Mulder, wake up. You need to get some rest."
He awoke with a start and clutched the arms of his chair. "Huh? Whuh?" Wild eyes darted every which way and sweat broke out on him.
"Mulder, relax. It's just me. You need some sleep. Why don't you go home?"
"No. Not home. Can't." He gathered himself and straightened his clothes. Scully hadn't noticed his pants were undone, but he buttoned and zipped them. Then he ran his fingers through his hair. "No. Not home. What time is it?" He looked over at the clock. "Lunch. Want some lunch, Scully?"
"You really should get some sleep."
"No. I'm going to get something to eat. I'll be back in an hour." As he spoke he slipped his jacket on then headed out the door without a glance back.
"Drive carefully," she said as the door closed behind him.
Like a good little Special Agent, Scully waited a full five minutes to be sure Mulder was really gone before she would check out his trash can. Curiosity nearly killed her, but she waited by the clock and didn't budge from her seat until the minute hand had moved far enough. Then she went to Mulder's trash can and reached down into it.
Her searching hand found a videotape and pulled it out. _Women in Chains._ One of those tapes she liked to razz him about. She reached into the can again and found the other two tapes he kept in his desk.
Scully's forehead creased in a frown. All of them?
Surely he wasn't done with _all_ of them. At once? She opened the drawer in his desk and found it empty. No new tapes. Huh. She stuffed the cassettes back into the trash just as they'd been, then returned to her desk. This was very weird. Not that she particularly liked having pornography in the office, but somehow tossing that stuff seemed just not like Mulder.
Her partner didn't return to the office for the rest of the day, and she hoped he was at home getting some sleep.
On impulse, she decided to cruise past his apartment on the way home. Never mind that it wasn't on her way. She was concerned and wanted to be sure he was okay.
On the street outside, she stopped her car and got out. The sun had just set and she saw Mulder's apartment was lit. Good, he was home. Maybe he was even asleep.
No, not asleep. As she watched the window, he backed up to it. At least, that looked like him. But why was he sitting on his desk? His back pressed against the glass panes, he appeared to be struggling with something. Scully stood, transfixed, on the sidewalk.
Then a pair of hands came around his sides and moved up his back. A woman's hands. Scully smiled. So that was it! Mulder had a girlfriend! Those hands smoothed his back, then started to pull his shirt from his pants. He pushed the hands away, but they insisted and his shirt came off. The arms went around his neck for a long kiss. By Scully's watch it was a full minute.
Well, Mulder seemed in good hands. Literally. Scully returned to her car, and just before she left looked up at Mulder's bare back in the window. The arms were somewhere else now, and his head was leaning against the glass. His ribcage was heaving for breath. Scully smiled again as she drove off.
The next morning she stifled a smirk as Mulder came into the office looking much as he had the day before. "Rough night?"
"I told you I haven't been sleeping well lately." His voice was hoarse and he mumbled.
Her eyebrows went up. "Maybe you should tell your girlfriend to stay home one night?"
She nearly laughed. "Come on, Mulder. You don't need to hide her from me. You're an adult and you have an adult's needs. I understand all that grown-up stuff."
"I don't know what you're talking about." The look on his face wiped the smile from hers. He was serious.
"Weren't you with someone last night?"
He shook his head. "I took your advice and went home to bed after lunch yesterday. I slept straight through to this morning, and woke up feeling like I hadn't slept at all." He peered at her. "Scully, why do you think I was with someone?"
"I saw..." She frowned, suddenly unsure of what she'd seen. "I _thought_ I saw...well, it looked like you were with a girl. I saw you backed up against your apartment window."
Mulder's eyes went wide and it was his turn to let out a laugh. "In the _window_? Come on, Scully, I know I sometimes seem crazy to you but I hope we can operate under the assumption I'm not _stupid_. In the _window_? I was asleep on the couch all night last night."
"You don't look like you slept at all."
He ran his fingers through his hair. "I don't know what's going on. I just know I've been waking up exhausted."
"Have you been to a doctor?"
"To tell him what? So he can give me some vitamins or something? Naw, I've just got to get over it."
"Like you got over your tapes?"
He glanced at the trash can which had been emptied the night before by the janitor. "Yeah, well..." His voice trailed off and he slumped back into his chair. Then he looked at her and grinned almost like normal again. "I got sick of being ragged about them."
She chuckled. "Uh huh."
The rest of the day went slowly and Mulder's concentration never improved. As the day wore on, his exhaustion was more and more apparent and by the time he got up to go home he was almost staggering. Scully watched him collect his jacket and homework with a nagging in her gut that he wasn't going to sleep well tonight, either.
It was exactly 11:21 that night when Scully jerked awake at the sound of Mulder's voice. But nobody was there.
She sat up and looked around her dark bedroom. "Hello?"
Nobody. "Mulder?" Silence. She slid back under the covers and closed her eyes.
That nagging in her gut made her open her eyes again. What if Mulder wasn't okay? There were no such things as prescient dreams, but that didn't mean there was no reason to be worried about him. Her eyes closed again, but wouldn't stay closed. They kept opening to stare into the darkness at mental images of her partner in trouble. She slipped from her bed and dressed quickly.
Mulder's apartment was unlit when she drove up. Most of the windows in the building were dark. In the hallway, Scully tapped on #42. "Mulder?"
No answer. She was being silly. There was no reason to believe anything was wrong with him.
But then she remembered how he'd looked in the office that morning. There _was_ something wrong. She tried the door. It was locked. Of course, it was. Mulder was, after all, not stupid. She dug into her purse for the key he'd given her last year and opened the door.
The interior was hot. No wonder he couldn't sleep in this musty, humid place. And a strong, ugly smell invaded her with every breath. As she made her way through the dimness, the only light was what spilled from the streetlamp outside and she peered around for the source of that smell. It was
familiar...musky...like...cut grass. As if someone had dumped compost into the middle of...
Ejaculate. That's what it was. She put her hand over her nose and mouth. Now she recognized the smell, though she'd never in her life smelled it this strong. Her stomach turned.
No girlfriend? What was he doing with himself here at night, anyway? Her eyes narrowed as she struggled to see exactly where the semen was. The smell seemed to come from everywhere, though, and she was afraid to touch anything lest she put her hand on something sticky.
In the next room she found Mulder asleep on his black leather couch, wearing only jockey shorts, his clothes in a heap on the floor near his feet. Light from the fish tank on a shelf near his head made a strange, watery glow on his features. He was utterly unconscious, dead to the world. A sheen of sweat covered him and his hair was plastered to his face, his lips parted and his chest barely moving with breaths.
Scully resisted the urge to slip quietly away; the smell was making her gag. He was probably okay, but she had to make sure. "Mulder?"
No reaction. She spoke louder. "_Mulder_."
He awoke with a start and a gasp. His eyes darted this way and that, and when they found the shadow of Scully standing over him he gave an unintelligible shout and scrambled for his clothes.
She reached for the desk lamp. "Mulder, it's m..."
The light came on and she looked in time to see him pull his gun from the pile of clothing and aim it at her. On reflex, she hit the floor. "No!"
"Scully?" He wiped sweat from his eyes. "Scully, what the hell are you doing here?" He turned the gun to the ceiling, then put the safety on and laid it on the coffee table.
"I just wanted to see if you were okay." She picked herself up from the floor and looked around, afraid of what she might see, but was stunned to find the room pristine clean. Except for the pile of clothes, everything was in perfect order. And the smell was gone, as if it had never been there.
"Why?" He blinked in the unaccustomed light and reached for his shirt.
"I..." She realized that anything she might say would sound utterly ridiculous. "I...was worried about you. You seemed ill today."
"I told you I haven't been sleeping well." His voice took on his familiar dry humor, "So naturally you came to wake me up."
Her cheeks began to burn and she couldn't look him in the face. This was stupid. "I'm sorry. I just...you've been acting so strangely lately..." He opened his mouth to speak, but she headed him off, "...more strangely than _usual_, I mean. I wanted to see if you were okay, and when I came through the door there was this horrible smell." She took a deep breath, "But it's gone now."
Mulder paused in buttoning his shirt. "What smell?" His voice was wary, as if he were afraid of her answer.
"It was..." she blushed, then shrugged, "...um, it was semen. As if a whole lot of it were covering everything in the room."
Mulder blanched and continued buttoning his shirt.
Scully sighed and edged toward the door. "Well, I guess you don't need me here. I'll just go on..."
She frowned. "Why?"
He grabbed his pants and pulled them on. Quickly he stood and yanked them to his waist then fastened them. "Scully, we need to talk." He checked the fly he'd just fastened.
Her frown deepened and she crossed her arms. Sometimes it was difficult to know just where her relationship with Mulder stood. The line of professionalism was easy to cross, especially where he was concerned, and she wasn't sure hanging around here this late was such a good idea. Perhaps coming here in the first place had been unwise. She watched him check his fly again, and said, "Mulder, maybe this should wait till morning."
"No, Scully. Please stay." His hand went to the button on his pants once more.
"I really think I'd better go." As she spoke, she watched his other hand check the same button yet again. She turned to leave.
"No!" The desperation in his voice made her stop.
"You were right, there is something wrong. Scully," His voice lowered till it was almost inaudible, "I think I'm being assaulted by a succubus."
The word washed over Scully like a dream, and she was suddenly jerked back with a reality check. "A _what_? You can't be serious." She wanted to laugh, in the slim hope that he was joking, but the look on his face was too terrified for humor. Mulder truly believed he was being visited by demons.
His fingers lightly touched his zipper, then he clenched his hands at his sides.
"Scully, I'm having these dreams. A woman comes to me...a beautiful woman. She seduces me. Over and over. And when I wake up..."
"Mulder, if this is a ruse of some sort..."
"_Scully!_" His eyes were wounded and she was ashamed. "I didn't ask you to come here. You said you came to see if I was all right. Now I'm telling you I'm _not_ all right. Scully, these nightmares are killing me."
"Nightmares?" Her eyebrow raised.
"Yes. They're scaring the hell out of me. When I wake up I feel like I haven't slept at all. And I'm...well, I feel sore."
"Like you've been..."
"All night, Scully. And get this: when I went to sleep tonight I was fully clothed. I've got no clue how my clothes ended up on the floor."
He was frightening her. She fought off the conviction that Mulder was losing his mind, but couldn't accept his tale of demons, either. "You must have taken them off in your sleep."
"Maybe. But did I do this, too?" He reached for his zipper. Her eyes went wide and she started to look away, but a frown from him made her realize how silly she was. With a sigh she donned her clinical detachment and let him show her.
Carefully he pushed his slacks past his crotch, then peeled the top of his shorts down far enough to reveal a bite mark on his hip. A human bite mark.
Her jaw fell. "Mulder..." It was ugly and swollen. A dark bruise surrounded a red line where the teeth had broken the skin.
"I dreamed it last night, then when I woke up it was real."
"You couldn't have dreamed this."
"I sure didn't do it _myself_!" His eyes were wide with exasperation. "Scully, for once can't you believe me?"
"I believe you. I just don't believe you're correct that a succubus did this. There are no such things as demons who force sexual relations with men."
He restored his clothing, and tucked his shirt in while he was at it. "Fine. Go."
"No, Scully. I'll figure out how to deal with this myself."
"You want an exorcist?"
"I don't _know_. I don't know what to do, Scully. All I know is that if you can't help then I'm on my own." His rising anger was palpable and his eyes flamed.
"I can't believe in demons for you."
He nearly shouted, "Then go. Get out."
"Get out!" he bellowed and swung his arm toward the door.
For a moment, she stood, stunned. Never in the entire time she'd known him had he yelled at her like that.
Something tore in her and tears threatened. But she swallowed them and left the apartment.
Mulder didn't show up for work the next day. There was a department meeting, and Scully sat, rigid, while others in the room made snide comments about "Spooky." Her mind wandered to her partner, wondering if he really had gone around the bend this time. He certainly wasn't dreaming any of it. She'd seen the bite mark. She'd seen the woman he'd been with the night he'd been bitten. These were real encounters he was having.
Could Mulder have a psychological problem with sex that was causing him to delude himself into thinking he was a victim? There were certainly stranger things recorded in the annals of psychotherapy. But Scully hated to think Mulder was finally losing his marbles.
After the meeting, she called his apartment but got no answer. That nagging in her gut set up again, and she went to check on him.
On the way there, she was stopped at a light and looked up at the tall spire of a Catholic Church on the corner. It was an old church, decorated with stone carvings and intricate stained glass. Deep memories of childhood stirred: tales of redemption and dark warnings of evil. Demons had danced in her nightmares as a little girl. Church had been the only place that had seemed safe from them until she'd grown up and stopped believing in supernatural beings.
As if on automatic pilot, Scully pulled over next to the church and got out of the car. What was she doing? She didn't believe Mulder's story of demons. It was absurd to think that something in his dreams could mark him physically. He just had an over enthusiastic girlfriend, that was all.
Nevertheless, she went into the dim, silent church.
Deep carpeting bespoke a wealthy congregation. Luminous paintings portrayed a gentle Jesus and his loving mother. They were symbols of a protected life where she'd felt secure, and where she'd been instilled with a conviction that she lived in an organized universe.
That security she'd lost a little over a year ago, when suddenly questions regarding reality had been raised in her. What had she witnessed during that lost time? She couldn't remember. But she knew it had been evil. Evil did exist. Demons might not be the answer, but evil did exist.
One quick glance around suggested she was alone. She reached into her purse for the small aspirin vial she kept, and shook out the two tablets left in it. Those tablets she slipped into her jacket pocket. Quickly she dipped the vial into the holy water, snapped the cap, and slipped the vial back into her purse. Another quick look around told her she'd not been observed. Having accomplished the deed, and none too proud of it, she ducked her head and hurried from the church.
Mulder's apartment was dark when she arrived. Darker than it should have been, given the sunny day outside. Even with the curtains open, the sunlight seemed to die once it entered the room. Also, the stench was back, stronger than ever. Scully had to put a hand over her mouth. Breathing through her mouth, she could almost taste the smell.
As she stood in the outer room, wondering just what to do next, Scully heard sounds coming from further inside the apartment. Moans. It was Mulder, but she couldn't tell if he was in pain or ecstasy. She stood like a deer in headlights, torn between sneaking away and going on in. Her rational sensibilities told her she must be interrupting something private, but then she remembered the bite mark and the terrified look on Mulder's face the day before. She stepped into the inner room. Mulder was draped across the arm of his couch, head hung over the side, his mouth open. He seemed unconscious. The white shirt he'd had on the day before was open and dangling from his limp arm to the floor. A dark-haired woman knelt over him, straddling his legs, and was in the middle of unzipping his pants when Scully entered. Just as she was about to yank the slacks from his hips, she looked up.
Scully cleared her throat. "What are you doing?" The extreme stupidity of her question was not lost on her, but Mulder's appearance justified it.
He seemed drugged, and turned his head to her. "Wha...?"
The woman jumped to her feet and faced Scully.
"What's it look like I'm doing?" The grin was red, and the eyes glittered in the dim light. She was beautiful, like a new blade. Clean, shiny, and sharp enough to make one bleed at the slightest touch. "Get out of here. He wants me."
Scully grimaced. "I think you'd better leave."
Mulder stirred on the couch, trying to sit up but very weak. His deathly pallor made Scully shudder. "Scul..." he said.
The woman spun and knocked him with the back of her fist. He went flying and collapsed on the couch, out cold. Scully reached for her gun, but it shuddered in her hand. She was unable to keep hold of it and it slipped from her grasp. It clunked to the floor, but when she stooped to pick it up she couldn't find it among the deep shadows. Surely it was there somewhere, but her searching hand found nothing where her gun should have been. Crouched on the floor, she looked up at the approaching figure.
"He's mine," the woman with the flashing eyes and hair of darkness said in a hollow voice.
"He's not." Scully's hand went to her purse. Her skin crawled at sight of this creature.
"You don't want him. He's mine."
"I..." A strange sensation came over Scully. Want him? He was her partner; she already _had_ him. In ways this monster couldn't comprehend. Ways that involved trust, respect and caring. She said, "I won't let you have him."
"Too late." The creature let out a cackle of victory.
"Not too late." Scully's hand found the aspirin vial and her thumb flipped the cap. "He lives." She pulled the vial from her purse and tossed the holy water at the woman.
A shriek filled the apartment as the drops hit white flesh. She threw up her arms and her eyes flamed.
Scully stood, ready to fight, but a sudden flash of light blinded her. Through closed eyelids, she could make out the bones in her hand as she fended the glare. Piercing pain seared her brain, and she felt her knees buckle just before the universe went black.
She awoke with a thudding headache. Through the pain she could hear Mulder calling to her. His voice was weak, and when she opened her eyes she saw him leaning over her. She was lying on his couch, and he sat on the coffee table next to her. He looked like death, his eyes rimmed with red and sunk into dark sockets, but some color had returned to his cheeks.
"Scully..." He sounded relieved that she was alive.
"Mulder...where is she?" The room seemed sunny, and the smell was gone. The woman was nowhere in sight.
"Gone. She disappeared. Forever, I think. I can't feel..."
"She ran away?" Scully looked toward the door which stood open.
"No, I mean, she's gone." He tapped his chest.
"She's not coming back."
"You can't believe..."
"I do. Trust me, Scully, she's gone."
Looking into his sincere eyes, she smiled. Whoever that woman had been, Scully was willing to accept that she wouldn't be back. Mulder could keep his secure fantasy that evil had been vanquished. She laid a hand aside his face and he smiled. A small part of her wished she could have some of his faith. He certainly had enough for them both.