Summary: Scully gets a visitation from an apparantly ghostly apparition and Mulder gets some sex. Could there be a connection?
Disclaimer (1): X Files, Mulder, Scully, etc. = Chris Carter, Fox, 10-13. No copyright infringement intended. I'd grovel in person if they'd let me. Beg for forgiveness. On my hands and knees. Wearing just my underwear. Handcuff me and...CUT!! ;)
Disclaimer (2): This is a work of science fiction. If there was anything in this text which corresponds to any scientific truth or fact then I apologise. It was wholly unintentional and I'll try not to let it happen again.
The characters of Elizabeth and Alex Szabo, Danielle Rickard, Paul Green, Andrew Carr, Lynda Bell and David Wells are the property of this author.
Author's note: Finally I finished the stupid thing. I'm reposting the whole lot again (revised) along with the new chapters since it makes sense to. I hope the wait was worth it. :)
Chapter one: Messages
Beneath the FBI building in Washington DC, in the basement office belonging to the department known as the X Files, a shadow moved in the darkness. Had anybody been there to see, they would have seen nothing but the computer - apparently - turning itself on.
At the exact same time, a knock sounded on the door of Fox Mulder's apartment. He stopped the video tape he'd been watching and went to answer it. The woman standing in the hallway was not pretty, she wasn't skinny and she wasn't tall, but she had something which caused Mulder's body to tense at the sight of her. Light brown hair fell in unruly
"Fox Mulder," she said in a distinctly English accent. His brow creased, she was vaguely familiar but he did not recognise her.
"Do I know you?" he asked.
"I don't know whether to take that as a compliment or an insult," she replied silkily. "Elizabeth Szabo," she informed him.
"Elizabeth!" he said in surprise. He directed her inside.
"It's been a few years, hasn't it, Fox?" she answered as she walked to the couch and sat down. Mulder leaned against the wall.
"Nearly ten," he acknowledged. "How's Alex?"
"You'd know yourself if you'd kept in touch," she said accusingly.
Mulder looked sheepish. "I'm not much of a correspondent."
"Ever heard of the telephone?" she asked lightly, smiling to make it obvious that there were no hard feelings. Mulder smiled in response.
"How old were you last time I saw you?" he asked, changing direction.
"It was '86, so I'd have been eleven, I guess. I've changed since then." Mulder took her tone to mean that it was inevitable that she'd changed, grown up, but he wasn't to know that was not what she meant.
Images flashed through her mind like wildfire - a light in the woods, shifting smoke from thin and wavering candle flames, piercing screams, the crash of breaking glass - but her expression remained passive.
"What are you doing here?" Mulder asked her.
"I thought that it was time to come to you and have you fulfil your promise." The words were spoken softly and they cut through Mulder. He remembered the last day he'd seen her, the day before he left England.
Her brother - Alex - had gone into the kitchen to get drinks for them and she had scooted over to sit next to him with the enthusiasm of the child that she had been. She had looked up at him seriously with thosemysterious midnight blue eyes and made him promise that when she was grown up they would be lovers. It had shocked him - after all she was only eleven and he'd only recently broken up with Phoebe - but she had been so intent that he had smiled down at her and agreed that they would. Now she sat here in front of him, expecting him to fulfill that long-ago throwaway statement. The most ridiculous thing was that he wanted to. He watched as she stood up and walked over to him. He couldn't help himself. He kissed her.
The Next Day
Dana Scully opened the door of Mulder's basement office and went inside. The lights were out but the computer was on.
"Mulder?" she called, but there was no answer and he was no where to be seen. Scully crossed to the computer curiously. A UFO screensaver curled across the screen - Scully smiled affectionately - and reached out to touch the keyboard to clear it. Her hand had not touched the keys when she saw them depress of their own violition. She jumped in shock, and fought a brief internal battle in which her skeptical mind came up with natural solutions for what had happened. She dismissed it as the atmosphere of the claustrophobic office getting to her and concentrated on the screen.
A word processing package was open and three words were written across the screen: 'Don't trust her'. As she watched in horror, the keys depressed once again and wrote: 'Tell Mulder'. Scully gasped as the lights came on.
"Scully, what are you doing?" Mulder stood in the doorway with his hand on the light switch.
"Take a look at this," she said, gesturing to the screen. Mulder walked over and Scully noticed that he didn't stand close to her in the way he usually did. As he leaned forward she noticed the mark on his neck. A love bite. Her heart plummeted for a moment, then she chastised herself. It was none of her business how he spent his evenings.
"What am I supposed to be seeing?" Mulder asked and Scully's eyes flew to the screen. The word processor was open but the words were gone.
"There was writing on the screen. I came in and it was just there." Mulder just *looked* at her. "It was right there!" she insisted.
"There's nothing there now," he replied silkily and Scully was outraged by his amused expression.
"Well there was!" she told him angrily.
"Calm down Scully. I wasn't....." His tone was placatory.
"Forget it," she cut in dismissively.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she said defensively. Their eyes met; his concerned, hers defiant.
"Are you? Come on, what is it?" he asked gently and reached out to touch her arm but she pulled away from him.
"Just leave it Mulder," she said dismissively, looking away from him.
"Fine," Mulder said flatly, turning away from her. Scully's eyes flew to his turned back.
"Fine," she replied stonily and walked out of the office. Mulder turned back in time to watch her leaving the room.
"Great!" he said under his breath and return his gaze to the computer screen. There was still nothing there. His brow creased in confusion for a moment. Something was wrong with Scully and she apparently had no intention of letting him in. As usual. He sighed and a thought occurred to him. He moved the mouse to the pull down edit menu. The undo function was disabled. There hadn't been any writing there.
Scully rapped hard on the door of Mulder's apartment. This morning's conversation had been ridiculous and she wanted to patch things up. A young woman answered the door. <So this is who he was with last night>
Scully tried to convince herself that she was not jealous.
"Hello?" she began, inclining her head. "I'm looking for Mulder." The woman looked bored.
When she spoke it was in an English accent. "He's not here." She slammed the door in Scully's shocked face.
"Mulder, you have great taste in woman." Scully murmured under her breath and knocked again.
"Yes?" This time the tone was impatient.
"I don't think you understand. I'm Mulder's partner, Dana Scully."
"So? He's not here." She slammed the door again.
Scully made an exasperated sound and gave up. She began walking down the corridor, but stopped suddenly as the message on the computer screen came back to her. 'Don't trust her - tell Mulder' What if it meant *that* woman? The Bitch-Queen From Hell, Scully nicknamed her in her mind. Scully walked off down the corridor with her mind made up to find out who had left that message.
"Who was at the door?" Mulder asked, coming out of the bathroom.
Elizabeth smiled when she saw him. In her mind's eye she saw him surrounded by fire. The image faded. "Just someone trying to sell something," she replied casually and put her arms around his waist. "Why, were you expecting someone?" He put his arms around her and kissed her. He lifted his head and looked perplexed towards the door.
"I just thought it might be Scully," he said with more feeling than Elizabeth liked. She slid out of his arms.
"Tell me about this partner of yours." Mulder shrugged.
"There's not much to tell. She's intelligent and committed." He gave a wry laugh. "She can be a complete bitch," He gave a small sigh. "But I wouldn't want to work with anyone else."
"She means a lot to you." Elizabeth interjected thoughtfully and Mulder smiled.
"Yeah, she does. I'd have been dead long ago if it wasn't for her."
"So I should be grateful to her, rather than jealous."
"You were jealous?" he mocked gently. Their eyes met full of laughter.
"Do I have reason to be?"
"No," Mulder lied. He walked over to her and kissed her.
Scully slumped down onto the couch and pushed a stray strand of damp hair back behind her ear. Her ponytail was working it's way loose anyway, so she pulled the band out and let it fall in messy waves around her head. She'd been so angry at that woman that even her regular run hadn't worked the aggression off. Now she just felt sweaty, drained and totally unattractive. She must be in a bad way if even Mulder had a better sex life than she did. She let her head loll back against the couch for a moment, then forced herself to stand up. She headed for the bathroom, stripping clothes as she went.
The long, hot shower revitalised her. She put her head against the tiles and let the water cascade over her body. She turned off the shower and pushed the tendrils of wet hair out of her eyes. She climbed out of the shower and wrapped a large bath towel around herself. Then
she looked up into the mirror and gasped. Written in the condensation were the same words that had been on the computer screen: "Don't trust her - tell Mulder." The second part of the message had been double underlined. Someone had to have snuck in and written this. The thought chilled her. Wrapping the towel tightly around her, Scully moved to the bathroom door. It was as she'd left it; locked from the *inside*. She opened it and went out. She walked cautiously through her apartment and checked all the rooms but there was no one. Finnally she returned to the bathroom. There was nothing on the mirror but condensation. Scully reached out and wiped her hand across the glass to clear the misting layer of water. A shadow seemed to pass across her hand and she shivered. She immediately chastised herself.
"I've been around Mulder *too* long." She murmured. A loud crash sounded in the front room and Scully jumped. Cautiously she left the room and slipped into her bedroom, noting on the way that the apartment door was undamaged. She went to the drawer where she kept her gun and she stepped back out into the hall. She inched along the wall, flattening herself and taking a deep breath before turning to step out into the main room.
"Freeze," she said loudly, pointing the gun at the room in general.
There was no one there. The coffee table had been over turned - the cause of the sound - but beyond that the room showed no signs of disturbance. The window was intact. Scully didn't lower the gun until she was sure that there was no one there. Images of Duane Barry were alive in her head. Finnally she dropped the gun to her side - but did not put it down - and fell to her knees by the over turned coffee table. She'd placed her purse on the table when she'd come in and now it's contents were scattered across the floor. Scully's eyes widened in shock. She blinked to clear her vision but the image still remained.
In the broken shards of her compact mirror she saw a face. The face of the woman who had been in Mulder's apartment. The eyes of the image seemed alive and pleading with her. Scully blinked again and re-focused. It was just a mirror; no face and it wasn't broken.
Scully looked away and rubbed her head. She was really losing it.
"Are you okay Scully?" Mulder asked putting a hand on Scully's arm.
"I'm fine," she replied, more harshly than she'd intended. "Fine," she repeated more quietly and returned to staring out of the car window.
Mulder looked at her in concern. She'd seemed distracted all day and had spent the entire journey back to FBI headquarters gazing at nothing, not saying a word. He turned the car engine off, wondering what he'd done this time to get so pissed at him.
Scully stared unfocused the bland concrete of the parking level until a flash across the wing mirror caught her attention. She gasped as she saw the face of the woman in the refracting shards of the broken mirror.
Mulder's arm was immediately around her.
"What's wrong?" he demanded. Scully's breath came in short bursts.
"The mirror," she gasped.
"What about the mirror?" Mulder asked gently, glancing up at it then back at Scully. She closed her eyes and pulled herself together. He almost smiled when he saw the strength of will in the action. Her eyes opened.
"I saw a face," she said calmly. "The face of the woman in your apartment." Mulder's brow creased.
"Woman in *my* apartment?"
"I went round there yesterday and there was a woman there."
"That must have been Elizabeth."
"Elizabeth?" Scully queried. Mulder smiled sheepishly.
"Yeah. She's the little sister of an old school friend."
"We were at Oxford together. Their family was always a good place to hide out from Phoebe," he answered mockingly.
"But you are sleeping with her," Scully said and Mulder reacted with a chilled remoteness that hit Scully like a blast wave.
"Is that somehow relevant?" he asked as he moved away from her.
"You're not denying it?"
"Why should I?" he said flatly. Scully reached out and touched his hand. He turned to her and his expression warmed when he saw the emotion in her eyes.
"This is gonna sound weirder than one of your theories Mulder and I'm not altogether *sure* that I believe it, but I've been getting... messages."
"Messages Scully?" He was curious.
"Yeah." She took a moment to form her words carefully. "I keep seeing warnings." She formed the word carefully. "Don't trust her. Tell Mulder."
"Don't trust who?" he asked.
"I don't know," Scully replied looking at her hands.
"Is that what you saw on the computer screen the other day?"
"That was the first time." She nodded.
"Where else have you seen it?" Scully gave a broken laugh.
"In the condensation on my bathroom mirror. Spray paint on the side of a building. On the screen of my cell-phone." She shrugged. "A dozen other places."
"Does anyone else see them?"
"They don't seem to." She smiled bitterly.
"Have you seen this 'face' anywhere else?"
"It's always in mirrors." She looked up at him. "I've felt like I'm going mad Mulder."
"Why didn't you tell me before?"
"I didn't believe what I was seeing." Mulder smiled affectionately and touched her hand.
"And you do believe it now?" he asked and she shook her head.
"I just want it to stop."
The orange glow from the parking level lights gleamed in the unbroken glass of the wing mirror.
Elizabeth closed her eyes and began walking around the apartment. She didn't bump into anything. She stopped suddenly and opened her eyes.
was standing in the bathroom, facing the mirror. For a moment there was no reflection there but the image of her faded in slowly. The figure in the mirror did not seem like a reflection. She moved at different times and had a trapped air about her. The Elizabeth on the real side of the mirror smiled. The two sets of eyes locked: one frightened, the other calm. Something passed between them which shook the air. The Elizabeth in the bathroom looked away first, with a triumphant smile on her face.
"Dana Scully," she said quietly.
Chapter two: Reflections
"Elizabeth?" Mulder called, as he came into the apartment. Scully followed him inside. Her face was pasty and her eyes seemed haunted.
Elizabeth walked cheerfully into the room. Her eyes flashed when they saw Scully but her smile held.
"Fox," she acknowledged and kissed him deeply. Scully looked away; partly embarrassed, partly jealous. Mulder pulled back and shot an embarrassed glance at Scully. She smiled feebly at him.
"Scully, this is Elizabeth Szabo. Elizabeth this is my partner, Dana Scully." The two women smiled weakly at each other.
"We've met," Scully remarked dryly.
"Only briefly," Elizabeth replied.
"You didn't tell me she'd been here," Mulder said gently.
"I'm sorry, honey. I must have forgotten." Mulder's brow creased.
<Why would she lie?> He forced a smile.
"Scully's staying here tonight." He informed her and Elizabeth responded with a cheerful smile.
"Sleeping on the couch I take it." She teased. "I'd suggest that we form a threesome," Mulder bit his lip and Scully's eyebrows rose. "But I'd sooner not share him. You understand."
"Right." Scully acknowledged past tight lips.
Scully lay on the couch wide awake. She shifted uncomfortably. <How does Mulder regularly sleep like this?> She pulled the blankets tighter around her, although she didn't need the extra warmth that they provided. The fluorescent light from the fish tank gave the room a greenish cast which didn't help to calm Scully's fractured nerves. She didn't believe that this was happening to her. Since her rational mind stopped her from believing in any kind of spiritual manifestation she was forced to believe that the only explanation was that she was losing her sanity. Some people would say that was not surprising after three years with Mulder but Scully was only using the humour to pretend that she wasn't scared. Over the last few years she'd witnessed a lot of strange things but Mulder was the one who usually saw things like this.
<Except for that time after Dad died...> Her mind supplied and she forced the thought of it away. She *didn't* believe in this.
[*Come into the bathroom*]
The words were whispered in her head. Scully sat up in shock.
[*Come into the bathroom*] The low female voice said again.
Scully lay back down and closed her eyes. <This is just some kind of hallucination> She insisted.
[*Please*] The voice said.
Scully screwed up her eyes. <No> she replied.
[*Please*] The voice called again.
"What do you want from me?" Scully whispered plaintively out loud.
She could not take it anymore. She stood up and went to the bathroom.
She watched her feet all the way and it took all her courage to look at the mirror. The woman standing there was the image of Elizabeth.
Scully stared at her in shock.
"Are you real? Or am I imagining you?" Scully was forced to ask. The woman smiled weakly.
"I don't know how real I am," she replied. "Are you real?"
Mulder lay flat on his back staring at the ceiling. He hadn't looked at his bedroom ceiling much. He knew the ceiling of the front room quite well, all the dents and lines. He was tracing the lines and mapping them into his mind - more useless information - when he felt a hand on his stomach. He turned to face Elizabeth and put his hand over hers, stopping it's motion.
"Not tonight," he said quietly. She smiled seductively at him.
"You don't mean that."
"Come on. Scully's in the other room," Mulder complained. The smile grew wider, as the hand moved lower.
"You're telling me that the thought *doesn't* turn you on?" she asked slyly. "Are you saying that it doesn't make to as you horny as hell to think that she's in the other room and can hear everything that goes on in here?" Mulder set his expression because he didn't want her to see that she was right. "Maybe a threesome *would* be fun, since I'm sharing you with her anyway."
"What's with you tonight?" he asked in mock-concern, trying to move away and conceal the fact that he *was* getting turned on.
"Would you like to make love to both of us at once Mulder?" She smiled and moved her hand again. Her eyes locked with his. Her face seemed to fade out and Scully's face faded in. It should have horrified him, but it didn't. "Kiss me Mulder." The image of Scully ordered. He couldn't resist. He kissed her. All clothing disappeared as if by magic. It felt like a million hands were touching him. He gave himself up to the ecstatic sensations. Clawed fingers ripped at him, but even the pain was a pleasure.
Scully heard gasps and moans coming from Mulder's bedroom and reached the logical assumption. She bit her lip hard enough to cause it to bleed.
"No!" the woman in the mirror exclaimed, sounding as if she were in pain. "Mulder!"
"What is it?" Scully demanded.
"Mulder's in danger."
"That's not what Mulder's in," Scully commented wryly.
"I could only reach you." The woman said and Scully stepped close to the mirror.
"Why me? Who are you?" she asked desperately.
"Elizabeth," she replied sadly. Scully's expression was skeptical.
The woman smiled wryly, then brightened. "Ring Alex, ring my brother," she told her adamantly.
Scully couldn't find any phone number for an Alex Szabo in any of Mulder's address books. She sure wasn't going to ask the woman in the mirror. She still wasn't convinced that she wasn't imagining her. The action in the bedroom hadn't quietened down either and Scully wanted to scream to blot it out. Instead she tried to concentrate on how she could find the number for Alex Szabo.
The conclusion she reached did not give her any pleasure. She'd have to ring Phoebe Green. She'd slipped the card Phoebe had given her into her organiser during the L'ively case and Scully didn't like to throw it away, even though she wanted to talk to Phoebe again about as much as she wanted to have Frohike's children. Scully did a quick mental calculation of the time difference as she dug out the card and then rang the number.
"Hello, Phoebe Green speaking," the posh English voice said on the end of the line.
"Hi," Scully said a little nervously. "I don't know if you remember me. I'm Dana Scully."
"Fox's little partner," the patronising voice replied. Scully rolled her eyes.
"Yeah that's me!" she answered sarcastically.
"What can I do for you?"
"I was wondering if you knew how I could get in touch with a man named Alex Szabo."
"Alex?" she questioned. "I haven't seen him for years, darling. What did you want him for?"
"I just wanted to ask him something about his sister."
"Oh yes, Bethy. She was a lovely little thing - used to follow Fox around like a puppy - or is that a bad choice of words?" Phoebe laughed at her own joke. Scully gave a perfunctory laugh. "It was such a shame what happened to her." Phoebe continued.
"Why? *What* happened to her?" Scully asked, suddenly very interested.
"She died, darling." The cut-glass accent replied without emotion and Scully stiffened. "About six months ago. Apparently she was involved with some kind of cult, except the leader turned about to be a homicidal lunatic. Aren't they always?" Phoebe laughed but Scully just stared in horror in the direction of the bedroom. The sound of sexual activity was loud in the quiet of the apartment. <If Elizabeth's dead, then who is Mulder in bed with?>
"I'm sorry? What did you say?" Phoebe asked down the line and Scully realised that she'd spoken her thoughts aloud.
"Nothing," she answered too quickly. "Look it's been great talking to you but I've gotta run. Bye." She slammed the phone down before Phoebe could say another word.
"This isn't working." Elizabeth/Scully's voice wavered in the air all around him. Then the sensations were gone and Mulder was alone. A blast of heat enveloped him. The room was instantly ablaze. The fire was between him and the door. He froze in blind panic. The flames licked higher around the door frame. They ran hungrily towards the bed. Mulder felt sure that he would die in this room. "I always knew there was a good reason for sleeping on the couch." He muttered humourlessly, staring transfixed at the flames.
A scream from the bathroom sent Scully flying in there. The figure was still standing behind the glass of the mirror but she was pressed up against it, as if trying to get out.
"Dana!" She called in desperation. "Mulder's in danger. Fire!" she told her urgently. "It's not real but he doesn't know. He's trapped. If he thinks he's dying then he'll really die."
Scully nodded urgently and ran to the bedroom door. It wouldn't open.
"Mulder!" she yelled, clawing desperately at the door. "Mulder!"
Chapter three: Scratches
"Dana!" The Elizabeth in the mirror called in desperation. "Mulder's in danger. Fire!" she told her urgently. "It's not real but he doesn't know. He's trapped. If he thinks he's dying then he'll really die."
Scully nodded urgently and ran to the bedroom door. It wouldn't open.
"Mulder!" She yelled, clawing desperately at the door. "Mulder!" She pressed her ear against it but she couldn't hear anything from inside.
She screamed again and hammered more desperately. Her breath came faster as she fought with the unremitting wood. She twisted and turned the handle but it wouldn't open. "Dammit!" She swore and hit it with the palm of her hand before running back into the bathroom. "I can't get in." She told Elizabeth's ghost. "We have to try something else."
"I don't know how to fight it!" Elizabeth cried. "I lost before. I don't know what to do."
"You have to work it out or Mulder-will-die!" Scully screamed at her.
Elizabeth was crying. Scully was near to tears herself but would not give in. "Come on." She screamed at the mirror. Elizabeth fought to control herself.
"Okay. I was in the woods, there was a bright light and smoke and chanting."
"Come on!" Scully screamed, tearing her attention from the mirror to the bedroom door and back again. Suddenly there was terrifying scream.
"Mulder?" Scully called running to the door.
"Mulder?" He heard Scully's voice call.
"Scully!" He yelled back. "I can't get out. The room's on fire."
"It's not real." He thought he heard her voice call. "It's not real," she repeated, seeming louder. Taking strength and believing her, Mulder tried to walk towards the fire.
"It's not real," he told himself. "It's *not* real." He felt it burn his skin and fell back. It was real. He wiped the sweat away from his face. His breath came in uneven gasps. "Scu-u-u-l-l-l-ly!!!"
"The fire's *not* real!" Her voice insisted. He wrung his hands together. <It's Scully, she wouldn't lie. The fire's not real> He walked towards it again and felt the blistering heat.
"It's not real," he told himself again. He walked forwards into the burning mass. The heat was incredible and he was sure that his flesh was puckering up and falling from his body in greasy strips. He forced himself to continue. "It's not real," he repeated. "Not real. Not real. Not real." He reached the door and somehow found the handle. It turned with difficulty in his burning hands. It was torn open from the outside and he fell gasping into Scully's arms.
"Mulder!" Scully exclaimed as he fell forwards. His eyes were wide with fear and he was choking. He sprang away from her.
"Fire. I was on fire," Mulder gasped. Scully reached out to him to calm him down but he fought to stay away from her.
"Mulder," she said firmly, grasping his bare shoulders and forcing him to look at her. "Mulder, you're not on fire." Mulder stilled and stared deep into her eyes. "You're *not* on fire." He looked down at himself. He was wearing a pair of grey jogging pants which were untouched by fire and his bare chest was free of burns. He looked at his hands which he had seen burning but they too were unmarked. He was still gasping for breath but he was much calmer now. "You're okay."
She told him in a soft voice. Their eyes remained locked for a long moment before Scully stood up.
"What's happening Scully?" Mulder demanded, looking up at her from his seated position.
"Mulder," Scully began. "Elizabeth Szabo *died* nearly six months ago." Mulder's eyes widened.
"Who told you that?"
"Phoebe Green," Scully said. "The woman in the mirror told me to ring her brother, but I couldn't find his number, so I rang her." Mulder stood up and grasped her shoulders.
"Scully, did you actually say that 'the woman in the mirror' spoke to you?" he asked gently. "I know how crazy that sounds."
"It's more the fact that *you* said it that makes it sound crazy."
Mulder told her and Scully broke away from him in anger.
"You're saying *I'm* crazy! You were just claiming that you were on fire!"
"I'm *not* saying you're crazy Scully. You just surprised me." He took a deep breath. "Which mirror are you seeing this face in?"
"The bathroom," Scully replied through tight lips. He grasped her hand and led her across the hall.
"Let's go to the bathroom," he said.
"Mulder!" The Elizabeth in the mirror said in relief when she saw him.
Scully looked up at her and smiled weakly.
"Is she here?" Mulder asked.
"You can't see her?" Scully said incredulously.
"No, I can't," he answered.
"No, he can't," Elizabeth replied at the same time.
"Ask her why she's in the mirror." Mulder told Scully.
"I can hear him," Elizabeth said huffily and Scully laughed. Mulder turned to her in surprise. Scully didn't laugh very often. She gestured at the mirror.
"She said that she can hear you." Mulder looked at Scully curiously for a moment before turning back to the mirror.
"So why are you in the mirror?" he asked his own reflection in the glass.
"That other me did something to call me here and now I can't leave," Elizabeth answered.
"The Bitch-Queen 'called' her here and now she can't get out." Scully said for Mulder's benefit.
"Bitch-Queen?" Mulder asked with amusement. Scully shrugged.
"Well she's *not* Elizabeth Szabo."
"Unless Elizabeth Szabo isn't dead." Mulder pointed out.
"If she's not dead then who am I seeing in the mirror? Or are you saying that I *am* losing my mind?" Scully returned angrily. "And if she is really her, then where has she gone?" Mulder laughed suddenly.
"Can you hear what we're saying?" he asked and she frowned. "I think our lines have gotten mixed up."
"Why wont you believe me?" Scully demanded, determined not to be side-tracked, although the irony of the situation was not lost on her.
"I do believe you. I'm just asking why *do* you believe?"
"Because if it's not real then I'm going mad," Scully said simply and Mulder saw her fear, she really was scared that she might be going mad.
She turned away from him and he felt his heart twist for her. He reached out and pulled her into his arms. For a moment she stood still, then she put her arms around him. Her fingers met the still sticky blood on his back.
"Mulder?" Scully asked, moving away from him with her eyes wide. There was blood on her hands. "What's wrong with your back?" Mulder was surprised because he didn't feel anything wrong. Scully gently encouraged him to turn around and her eyes widened again when they took in the state of his back. Long claw marks gouged deep into his flesh.
Sticky red-black blood oozed out from the gashes. "Oh My God Mulder!" she exclaimed.
"What is it?" he asked, trying to turn around. She didn't let him.
"I'll have to clean this up before it gets infected." She went to the bathroom cabinet and found what she needed. Then she stood behind him and began cleaning the wounds. "So Mulder," She touched the cotton wool to his back and he jumped as the pain registered. "How did you get these 'scratches'?" He winced again, this time from the question rather than the pain. He remembered clearly every moment in the bedroom. How could he tell her that in his memory it was her that had inflicted those scratches on him? He would never admit to anyone what had happened in that bedroom.
Scully tended carefully to the wounds and wondered why Mulder didn't answer her, not even with a customary wisecrack. She placed the antiseptic liquid onto the cut, as she removed the cotton wool she saw something which stopped her actions. Yellow pus began to well up in the wound. Scully tried to dab at it but more fluid poured out. It fell to the floor in viscose blobs. Some of the substance landed on Scully's foot and she backed away in terror. Her feet hit the edge of the bath and she fell into it.
Mulder turned around in shock at Scully's small gasp. When he saw her fall in the bath he jumped to help her, but she pushed him away.
"Scully, what it is?" She curled up into a ball and began shivering.
"Dana?" A familiar female voice called desperately and Mulder spun around to face the mirror. His eyes locked those of the woman whose image stood before him in the glass. He did a double-take.
Chapter four: Tasty Little Fruit Loop
Mulder turned around in shock at Scully's small gasp. When he saw her fall in the bath he jumped to help her, but she pushed him away.
"Scully, what it is?" She curled up into a ball and began shivering.
"Dana?" A familiar female voice called desperately and Mulder spun around to face the mirror. His eyes locked those of the woman whose image stood before him in the glass. He did a double-take.
"You can see me!" She exclaimed, then said thoughtfully. "Maybe it can only keep hold of one mind at a time." Elizabeth gestured at Scully.
"I've lost her."
"What do you mean?" Mulder asked.
"Before I could see inside her mind - that's why she could see me - but yours was shut off to me." She sighed. "Now yours is free and Dana's is closed off."
"You're saying that whatever the thing was that pretended to be you was controlling my mind and now it's got Scully's."
"It used me to get to you. Now it's using Dana."
"To get to me?" Mulder frowned. "But why?"
"I don't know." She shrugged and there was a moment of tense silence.
"Are you really Elizabeth?" Mulder asked at length. Elizabeth smiled.
"How real is real?" She watched as Mulder began to get irritated and her smile grew wider. "I died, what more can I say?"
"Uh." The groan came from the direction of the bathtub and Mulder hurried over to Scully. This time she let him help her.
"Are you okay?" he asked softly. Her eyes were still wide as saucers.
"Yeah," she answered not sounding at all alright. "Turn around will you." Mulder was confused but did as she asked and when he turned back to her there was a strange expression on her face. "There's just the scratches," she said quietly.
"What did you expect to see?" Mulder asked and her eyes locked to his, then she shook her head and looked away.
"Nothing, I guess."
"She's lying." Elizabeth said and Mulder turned to look at her.
"What did she see?" he asked.
"Who are you talking to?" Scully asked and Mulder turned back to her.
"I can't see her," Scully said thoughtfully.
"Whatever it was that made me see non-existent fire is now in your head." Mulder informed Scully softly.
"You mean, it wasn't real?" Scully asked breathlessly.
"What I saw on your back." Mulder smiled."I hope not, you sure freaked out on me," he replied softly and Scully sighed. "Are you okay now?"
"Yeah," she said a determined tone and forced a smile. "I'm fine."
She stood up and stepped away from him. "So," She started with a frown. "You can see Elizabeth?" Mulder nodded. "Then she is really there and I wasn't going mad?" Mulder smiled.
"No Scully, you're as sane as I am," he answered in a mock-serious tone. Scully very nearly laughed.
"That's *so* reassuring Mulder," she replied, not able to conceal her smile. Their eyes locked for a long moment before Mulder finally looked away and went to the mirror.
Elizabeth was smiling at him sadly.
"If I wasn't dead then I'd be jealous," she said quietly.
"What?" he asked a little too sharply, thankful at this moment that Scully could only hear his side of the conversation.
"What's wrong?" Scully asked and Elizabeth's face broke into a smile.
"Nothing," Mulder lied and Scully frowned, obviously not believing him.
He looked back up at Elizabeth's image and deliberately changed the subject. "What is this thing and why has it chosen us?" Elizabeth shook her head.
"It's . . I'm not really sure what it is." She sighed. "I was involved in a," She laughed bitterly. "'cult'. I guess you could call it that. We didn't mean it. We were just messing about with Ouija boards and stuff. Then it started to get more serious . ."
Scully watched as Mulder nodded in acknowledgement of whatever it was that Elizabeth was saying. Earlier she'd wished that she couldn't hear Elizabeth's soft insistent voice but now she wished the opposite. She was completely excluded from the conversation, so instead she watched Mulder. He was only wearing a pair of grey jogging pants and he was too intent on the mirror to notice Scully staring at his bare torso. Her mind wandered towards forbidden thoughts and she forced them away as she always did. The scratches on his back were vivid and she knew that she needed to tend them, but what if she saw that disgusting yellow substance there again? Scully was not normally squeamish, her disgust came from the fact that it had appeared to come from inside Mulder.
Then she saw something move across his chest. He didn't seem to notice.
A small bug - it looked like a cockroach - scampered up and sat on his shoulder. Scully couldn't help herself, she reached forward and brushed it off.
Mulder tensed when Scully's fingers touched him and turned to face her in surprise. She was staring at him and suddenly began brushing her hands across his chest.
"There's too many of them!" she exclaimed. Her face became desperate and he tried to clutch at her shoulders to stop her. She fought him and continued to take swipes at his body. The blows increased in force and began to become painful. A sick little demon in Mulder's head informed him that he liked it. He forced the thought away and tried to get her to stop.
"Scully, stop it," he said firmly, grasping her shoulders roughly.
Scully couldn't stop. She was gasping to draw breath. Hundreds of cockroaches clambered, crawled and creeped over every inch of Mulder's body. She used whatever force was necessary to try and get rid off them but they just replaced themselves, their numbers not diminishing at all.
The floor swarmed with them. Scully stamped on them as they tried to crawl onto her toes. They crunched satisfyingly under her feet, but liquid oozed from inside the tiny bodies and covered her soles with a sticky red goo. Mulder's tone registered and his hands succeeded in holding her still. She was breathing heavily and she could still see the bugs but she held her hands away with difficulty.
"What is it Dana?" Mulder asked softly and she looked up at his face. A cockroach was hanging stubbornly onto the strand of hair which fell across his forehead.
"Bugs," she answered on a hissed breath and brushed the creature off. Things clicked into place for Mulder. He tried not to lean into her hand as she brushed at his hair.
"Scully." He began firmly, looking directly into her eyes. "They're not real."
She didn't hear him. Her eyes skittered away from his. The bug didn't want to let go so she forced her hands through his hair. Now she was looking closely his scalp was crawling with them. She dragged him down to her level and began clutching and ripping at bunches of his hair. Their bodies bumped and scraped against each other as they struggled and twisted.
Mulder fought her but she dragged him down with almost supernatural strength. Her hands threaded and twisted in his hair. Then he wasn't fighting as much as he should have been and it began to become more difficult for him to say that he wasn't enjoying it. His hands grasped her hips with the intention of using the leverage to keep himself steady and push her away. Instead they tightened and pulled her closer.
Scully felt his hips pressing up against hers and realised that she was getting turned on by their struggle, as he obviously was too. The thought managed to chase some of the bugs out of her mind and she forced herself away from Mulder. The bugs were still there - a writhing mass covering his half naked body - but she put several metres between them and firmly stuck her hands behind her back and interlocked them. She twisted them painfully. The pain felt good.
Mulder was almost disappointed when her body was removed from his. Dragging his wits back together and taking several deeps breathes, he turned a steady gaze on the trembling woman standing in front of him."Can you still see bugs?" he asked roughly and she nodded nervously. Her hands stayed behind her back, but she shifted her feet and rocked rapidly back and forth.
"Yeah." She bit out, stubbornly refusing eye contact. He reached out a hand and stepped towards her, but she backed away and he dropped his arm ineffectually.
She couldn't meet his eyes. Desperately her mind insisted that it was because she didn't want to see the cockroaches crawling across his face. That wasn't the real reason. Scully didn't want to think about that. Elizabeth, in the mirror, watched the entire scene with a bland expression. Intervention was required.
"Mulder?" Elizabeth said suddenly from behind him and Mulder was grateful for her interruption. "Why don't you get Dana a sleeping tablet or something. Sleep would probably do her good." Mulder nodded.
"Yeah, that's an idea," he replied absently, moving to look in the cabinet.
"What idea?" Scully asked shakily, fighting to keep her hands from brushing the bugs off his back. One slid down the length of his spine and flew into the air, to then landed at her feet. She took a couple of steps backwards and hit the door. She gasped. Mulder turned sharply to look at her, the bottle of sleeping pills in his hand.
"Scully?" he questioned.
"I'm okay. I'm keeping it together," she replied, trying to sound confident but it just came out sounding pathetic.
"Elizabeth's right. Sleep'll do you good." Scully focused on the bottle in Mulder's hand and realised what they were.
"No," she said firmly, bringing her hands up. She forced them back behind her back. She shook her head. "I don't want any pills."
"After a good night's sleep things'll seem clearer," he answered.
"I'll try sleep, but I'm not taking any pills," she insisted and then frowned at him. She relaxed a little and let her hands fall to her sides.
"What?" Mulder demanded as she looked at him curiously.
"The bugs are gone," she answered in a perplexed tone.
Mulder led Scully in the direction of his bedroom.
"It's only fair," he told her. "After the last time I pushed you out of *your* bed." Momentarily she was reminded of Mulder stumbling into her arms covered in his father's blood. She should have told him before now that he hadn't pushed her out of her bed that night. She'd slept right there with him. More pressing matters overtook her mind and she stopped dead looking through the partly open doorway of Mulder's bedroom, into the blackness beyond.
"I'm not sleeping in your bed Mulder," she said firmly. He frowned.
"Why not?" he asked, then remembered. Him and Elizabeth, or whatever, had been in that bed. He looked away embarrassed. "Right," he answered and led the way to the living room instead.
The couch was not the most beckoning sight. Blue sheets lay in an untidy tumble, exactly as Scully had left them earlier in the evening.
It seemed like so long ago. For long moments they just stood not looking at each other. It became apparent to Scully that Mulder would not leave until she lay down, so she walked to the couch avoiding him by a wide margin. With an embarrassed smile she lay down and pulled the covers around herself firmly. Mulder stood uncertainly a few metres away from the couch. He gestured with the bottle of pills.
"You sure that you don't want one?" he asked with a weak smile.
"Very sure," she replied softly, feeling at a great disadvantage on this angle. She smiled wearily back at him.
"Okay." He told her softly. He tossed the bottle into the air. The pills inside rattled loudly in the quiet of the darkened room. He caught the bottle and enclosed it within his palm. He turned to leave but suddenly she didn't want him to go.
"Mulder?" She called, sitting up and looking at his retreating back.
He turned back by the corner. "Have you ever felt..." She began softly, "as if...you're going mad?"
His mouth twitched into a half smile and he looked down at his feet in that cute way that she knew so well. He crossed to her and sat down on the edge of the couch beside her knees. His hand stole up and pushed a strand of her hair back behind her ear. Scully fought not to lean against that gentle hand.
"Dana," he breathed. "I feel like that every day. I have the same doubts that you do about our work. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the one who's wrong about everything. Maybe I *am* just paranoid. If people keep telling you that you're crazy, there's a moment when you start to think it too." He smiled self-depreciatingly and looked away from her. Scully reached a hand up to his cheek and gently turned his face to look at her.
"I don't think you're crazy Mulder," she said sincerely. "Not really."
She sighed, then turned it into a half laugh. "I'm not so sure about myself though." Her lips twisted sardonically. He did the same as she just had and used a gentle hand to force her to face him. He smiled.
"You're a very tasty little fruit loop," he said softly as he brushed his finger lightly over her lips. Unconsciously she pouted her lips slightly, pressing them against his fingers. " 'Night Scully," he said gently and stood up.
" 'Night Mulder," she replied, looking up at him. He turned away.
She'd *never* be able to sleep now.
"Mulder?" She called and he turned back with a concerned expression.
"I think that I will take one of those pills after all."
Scully took the pill and lay back down. It worked fast and she was almost asleep by the time that Mulder left the room. He stared at her sleeping form lit only by the odd green light from the fish tank. She was beautiful. His mind wandered. He really should get some more fish, the last of them had died yesterday. No matter what he did; they just *died*. Maybe he should try an ant farm instead. He left the room and returned to the bathroom still pondering it.
Scully slipped softly into sleep. The dream began almost instantly.
Chapter five: Green Eyes
The space around Scully was black but it had no walls or doors. There was just infinite blackness stretching out in all directions around her.
"Hello?" She called out and her voice echoed eerily back at her in the dead space. Although it was black it wasn't dark and she could see clearly in all directions. There was nothing to see.
Then she saw a figure walking towards her. As he drew closer she recognised him as Mulder and called out his name. He didn't even react. He wasn't looking in her direction and he didn't seem to hear her. He stopped and looked around - looked right at her - but he still didn't seem to see her.
"Mulder?" She called again, but he just began walking away from her.
She hurried after him.
Mulder sat against the bathtub, opposite the mirror, as Elizabeth told him all that she could remember of the last few months of her life.
"It started at my friend Lynda's sixteenth birthday party. Somehow she'd gotten hold of a Ouija board and we all crowded around it. It was just a game. Go through the motions, move the glass, ask silly questions. 'Who will I marry?' Things like that. Then glass began to move on it's own." Her voice began to tremble. "Something made it's presence felt. It told us that it was trapped somewhere far away. We asked for it's name but it wouldn't tell us."
Mulder kept walking. Although he going at a slow steady pace, Scully had to run just to keep the distance between them constant. Suddenly he stopped. Scully carried on in the hope that she could now catch up with him. Instead she collided with something and the force of it was enough to make her fall to the ground. When she stood up the cause of her fall was not immediately apparent. Mulder was still standing just a little way ahead of her and she moved in his direction but came up against a barrier. Still nothing was visible but there did seem to be something stopping her from getting to him. She tried to feel her way around the barrier but it was impossible. She yelled herself hoarse calling his name but Mulder just stood as if he was waiting for something.
Then Phoebe Green appeared.
"After that first time we couldn't stop. The demon, or whatever it was, kept asking us questions. About ourselves, about the world, about other people. It got so that we were going out every night to speak to it.
First at Lynda's house and then into an old barn. The building had to have been a hundred years old and the only ones that used the place were bats and owls, until us. Over the course of a couple of months it got less like a game and more like a ritual. I couldn't really tell you why but we lit candles and fires. Danni got a book..." She laughed. "...a book of chants. We used to recite them." The smile disappeared from her face. "Stupid really. We didn't see what was happening." She turned a burningly direct look on Mulder. "Then my friends went very strange."
Scully was suddenly very angry. Mulder watched Phoebe Green was a look of anticipation. They embraced and kissed passionately. Scully pressed herself up against the barrier but couldn't get through.
<Mulder *shouldn't* be there with that woman. He just shouldn't!>
Then the unthinkable happened - Dr Bambi stepped out of thin air right behind Mulder. Possessively she placed a hand on his shoulder and turned him out of Phoebe's arms into her own. He didn't protest as their mouths met. Scully stared in horror but Phoebe didn't seem to mind. She just began touching his back and kissing his neck. Just as Scully thought that her eyes couldn't go any wider another familiar face appeared.
"Oh what?" She exclaimed out loud as Detective Angela White joined Mulder, Bambi and Phoebe. The three women took it upon themselves to start removing Mulder's clothes. He didn't appear to mind at all.
Scully repeated over and over to herself that she was in no way jealous.
<No Way!> She just didn't want to have to watch it. Despite herself the action beyond the barrier kept her transfixed, until a sound drewher attention to her left. Cancerman stood there lighting his cigarette, just watching Mulder and the women. Scully turned back towards Mulder.
"Mulder!" She screamed as a warning but he still didn't hear her and he didn't notice the extra audience. An audience which - Scully now saw - was growing all the time.
"They went strange?" Mulder asked. "How so?"
"They started to claim that they didn't need the board to talk to the demon. They could hear it inside their heads."
"But you didn't hear it?" he asked and she shook her head.
"No. They started meeting without me. I found myself more and more left out." She laughed bitterly.
"Then what happened?" Mulder asked. Elizabeth's brow creased and she concentrated.
"That last night...erm...I was going to my last meeting. I was going to tell them that I wasn't doing it anymore. We started in the barn but for some reason they'd decided that we should do it in the woods out behind it. They lit candles. Then...then...I can't remember what happened next." Mulder sat up a little straighter.
"Try," he insisted softly but she just shook her head sadly.
"That's all I can remember." She looked up at him steadily. "You should get some sleep, you look wasted."
"Thanks!" Mulder said with a twisted smile.
From the blackened ends of the dead space materialised horrors that Scully had hoped never to see again; Flukeman, Tooms and a host of other monsters - human and not quite human - as well as a number of what Scully thought to be EBE's. They crowded around but Mulder didn't see them. He was too intent on the trio of women.
"Mulder! Oh my God! Mulder!" She screamed but he couldn't - or didn't want to - hear her.
He was tired but he didn't think that he'd be able to sleep. He underdressed and got into bed. Despite his thoughts, his eyes began to slid shut and Fox Mulder drifted off to sleep.
"Mulder!" Scully screamed again knowing how fruitless it was. A small laugh sounded behind her and turned around in shock. Elizabeth was standing behind her, smiling.
"That'll work," she said softly.
Scully woke up on the couch in Mulder's apartment.
Mulder was having a great dream.
"Mmmmm, Scully." He breathed softly.
"Oh Mulder," she whispered back and he felt the bed dip as she climbed in beside him. Her hands travelled lazily across his chest. Her lips followed in their wake. He moved his hands so that his fingers played in the hair at the base of her neck. She moved up over him finally reaching the base of his neck. His eyes remained closed. At length they lips met and the sensation seemed *so* real. He'd dreamt of this so many times but had it ever felt this real before? Suddenly she moved, straddling his hips and his eyes snapped open. She towered over him, panting slightly, and was very *very* real.
"This is real," he said, unnecessarily, and she smiled.
"Finally." Her voice held an odd note that didn't really sound like Scully. "I've waited too long." She lowered her mouth to his.
Chapter six: Guest
"Mmmmm, Scully." He breathed softly.
"Oh Mulder," she whispered back and he felt the bed dip as she climbed in beside him. Her hands travelled lazily across his chest. Her lips followed in their wake. Suddenly she moved, straddling his hips and his eyes snapped open.
"This is real," he said, unnecessarily, and she smiled.
"Finally." Her voice held an odd note that didn't really sound like Scully. "I've waited too long." She lowered her mouth to his. Their lips met again and again as they reached out to each other. She was wild, almost to the point of aggressive, and that was the only thing that held Mulder back. She returned her mouth to the base of his neck and her tongue flicked at the spot where his pulse beat the strongest.
Mulder closed his eyes again and tried to shut out the sensations but it was a fast losing battle. He moved suddenly, rolling her onto her back so that he was above her. Their eyes locked. Her tongue stole out to lick her lips. Mulder shut his eyes momentarily and set his resolve."Scully," He began on a desperate outwards breath. "We shouldn't."
Her hands moved to travel over his buttocks, caressing and gently squeezing.
"Why not?" She held his eyes, while her hands wandered across his back. Mulder swallowed.
"You're my best friend." He managed to choke out and she smiled. Her hands moved up to rest on the back of his neck.
"Mulder you're incredible," she answered and drew his mouth down to hers. Mulder could hold out no longer and crushed her desperately against him. She made a sound of intense satisfaction as Mulder trailed kisses over her face and down her throat, finally pushing aside her robe and encircling her nipple with his tongue. Her hands tangled in his hair as she held him firmly against her. A smile split her face as she tipped her head back and, apparently, revelled in the sensation. The mask slipped a little and for a single second a look of pain flashed across her features but her head snapped up and it was gone. Her hands moved his chest and she gently guided him onto his back. This time she let her lips trail down his body reaching, at last, for her prize.
Sometime Later in the Night
Mulder couldn't move and lay, exhausted, with his head against her breasts. He knew that he was crushing her and had to move. Summoning up reserves of strength he rolled onto his back but drew her with him. She curled up against him. A thread of doubt still tugged at his mind. This shouldn't have happened. But it had and there was only one thing he knew for certain.
"I love you Scully," he said softly. The woman next to him tensed, then snorted and moved away from him. He sat up with a stunned expression on his face. "What?" he asked gently. She didn't look at him.
"Scully!" She spat viciously. He reached out and touched her arm.
"Dana." He whispered. "I love you *Dana*." She snorted again and spun to face him. Her face was a twisted mask of anger.
"Still not good enough I'm afraid. I thought that you knew, but you really thought it was *her*." There was an undercurrent of pain.
Mulder's face froze as he recognised the tone of her voice and the awful truth hit him.
"Elizabeth!" He said in a stunned tone. "What have you done to Scully?" He demanded as he grabbed her and pressed her against the headboard. His hands were tight on her throat but she didn't seem to feel any pain.
"It's not fair that I can't feel anything. You're not hurting me.
She's still in here and she can feel the pain you're inflicting just as she felt the pleasure earlier." She spat angrily at him and Mulder's fingers tightened. She laughed and her presence in Scully's face seemed to melt away to be replaced by a look of pain.
"Mulder!" The real Scully gasped and in a reflex action Mulder let go of her throat.
"Are you okay?" He demanded, clutching her shoulders instead.
"Break the..." She managed to get out before the mask of Elizabeth fell again.
"Oh no. That's wasn't allowed, now was it Scully?" Elizabeth spoke the words and Mulder could hear her now despite the fact that she still spoke with Scully's voice. He was disgusted with himself. He'd wanted to believe so much that Scully would come to him like that. Elizabeth smiled with Scully's face as she took in his expression.
"What do you want?" he asked not looking at her.
"Only what it seems I can't have. Tell you what Mulder, I'll give her back to you for now but this is not over yet."
"I'll do anything as long as you don't hurt her," he replied softly.
"Why would I hurt her?" Elizabeth laughed.
He heard a gasp and turned back to the bed sharply.
Scully lay there as if she were dead. Mulder crossed to her slowly and looked down at her naked form sprawled across the rumpled bed sheets.
He closed his eyes and swallowed the sick feeling that entered his throat. He sank down beside her and, keeping his eyes averted, checked her pulse. It was slow but steady. Having reassured himself that she wasn't dead or in any immediate danger, he replaced his boxers and picked up her robe up from the floor. Gently he moved her limp body, tenderly manipulating the robe back onto her and belting it firmly at her waist. He felt better now that she was covered. Then he arranged her back onto the bed in a comfortable position. She did not stir once throughout the entire operation. His guilt and self-loathing made him grab his clothes and leave the room.
He walked, dressed only in his boxers, out to the front room. For a moment he sank down onto the couch and placed his head in his hands.
His perfect memory insisted on replaying the events of the evening to him in astonishing detail. He would never be able to forget what it felt like to touch and be touched by Scully, even if it had not been her mind it *had* been her body. How could things ever be the same again? The phone began to ring shrilly. With resignation, Mulder stood up and answered it.
"Hello?" he said into the receiver. There was a pause from the other end and then an English voice spoke.
"I'm looking for Fox Mulder," the man said.
"You've found him," Mulder replied, with a twist of his lips. The man sighed.
"Mulder, it's Alex Szabo." Mulder's face froze.
"Alex? How did you get my number?"
"Phoebe called me. She said that someone called Dana Scully phoned her asking after Elizabeth."
"I work for the FBI, Scully's my partner."
"Why was she asking about Elizabeth?" There was a note of desperation in Alex's voice. "Have you seen her?" he asked. That caught Mulder's attention.
"How could we have seen her?" Mulder asked warily. "Phoebe told Scully that she was dead."
"That's the police's line." Alex sighed deeply. "The truth is Mulder, I don't know what happened to Elizabeth. She just disappeared without a
"But..." Mulder began with a frown, then ran out of words. He might have been planning on telling Alex about the night's events, but who would believe him?
Chapter seven : Amaranthine
Scully gave up walking and sat down on the floor. Blackness still stretched out in all directions around her. She felt as if she had been walking for hours. The events in Mulder's bedroom felt like a fast fading dream. The sensation was difficult to comprehend, being in your body but being somewhere else. It would have been a strange enough sensation at the best of times but it had made sex an extremely weird experience. Scully was actually quite disappointed because she had wanted her first time with Mulder - she'd always been sure that it *would* happen - to be in much different circumstances. In fact, lately she'd actually found herself contemplating marriage fantasies. Maybe it was only to be expected that sex between them wouldn't be ordinary but Scully hadn't been expecting a party line.
Mulder strode into the room and straight up to the mirror.
"I want the truth," he stated flatly as he regarded the female countenance in the mirror. "Your brother says you're not dead."
Elizabeth dipped her head.
"I was...I hoped that I was." She looked up at him. "It was a demon Mulder and it was trapped in the Nowhere Place." She laughed. "It still is in a way." Mulder sat down against the bathtub and listened.
Elizabeth Szabo pulled her coat more firmly around herself. Although it was mid-July, the tall sheltering trees kept the woods several degrees cooler than the rapeseed fields beyond it's boundaries. Lynda, Paul and Dave walked ahead of Elizabeth, with Danni and Andy following behind her. They were all carrying boxes of candles and full length mirrors draped in heavy velvet curtains. No one said a word. The night inside the wood was eerie in the fractured moonlight. In the distance there was the faint rumble of traffic from the motorway beyond the fields.
The cow-parsley was waist deep under the canopy and Elizabeth walked carefully, mindful of the many hidden holes dotted about the woodland floor. An owl hooted but it was impossible to place the direction of the sound. Her friends walked with a singularity of purpose towards the one cleared area of the woods; an area they referred to as the lake. It wasn't a lake really, more a large carved out section of ground which filled with several inches of water when it rained. The bottom was reasonably even and the sides sloped gently downwards. Watching the others co-ordinate their movements without talking Elizabeth began to grow more afraid. They appeared distant and alien to her.
They placed the mirrors - still draped in velvet - against the banks of the lake, facing inwards. They left a space for the mirror that Elizabeth carried and looked up at her expectantly. She swallowed as she looked at them. The top lighting made their eye sockets seem like empty hollows beneath their eyebrows. She passed the mirror to Paul and he placed it into position. Elizabeth did not join in as they began to rip open the boxes of candles and set them into the soft earth around
"Look guys," Elizabeth began nervously and they stopped to look at her blankly. "I'm not sure about this. I think I'm gonna go home." She set off to do just that but Danni's soft voice stopped her.
"You can't do that Elizabeth."
"We need you." Dave added as he stepped into her path. The wind blowing through the wood grew in strength and whistled around her. It's voice was a low rumble in the night. Elizabeth tried to move past Dave but he grabbed her arms and stopped her. She was so stunned by this behaviour from a friend that she didn't struggle until he began pushing her towards the circle of mirrors they had created.
Danni's lips moved as she went about lighting the candles. The orange light they produced should have been comforting in the darkness of the woodland but instead Elizabeth wanted to run from the glowing circle.
Dave pushed Elizabeth down into the lake and she stumbled on the rough twig and rock strewn floor. The others stood behind the mirrors above her and Elizabeth realised that the low sound she had assumed to be the wind was coming from them as they chanted softly. The candle flames wavered in the chill night. The chanting grew louder as her friends stared down at her. Danni was chanting loudest of all as she grasped the velvet covering one of the mirrors. Elizabeth's eyes met hers and Danni breathed outwards towards her steadily. Her breath was foul and a blue smoke came from out of her mouth and danced around Elizabeth. She ripped the cloth away, leaving Elizabeth staring into the mirror. Her breathing grew laboured and her heart rate sky-rocketed. There was nothing there; no reflection just dead space extending into infinity.
Each of her friends repeated the ritual; breathing out a variety of colours of smoke, all of which hung in the air and danced around the candle flames. They came to the last mirror and Elizabeth turned -
spellbound - to face it. The icy nothingness of the dead space surrounding her on all sides, through the mirrors, chilled her blood but her heart was pounding so fast that she thought it would explode outwards through her chest and lie pumping blood into the wet soil as her body died. She hoped it would happen because she was sure that what was going to happen would be much worse.
The circle of friends lined up behind the last mirror and their chants were deafening inside her mind. Lynda stepped forward first and placed her hands together in a mockery of prayer. She began rubbing her palms together and smoke began to rise from them, then she raised them up into the sky with the palms facing towards Elizabeth. She gasped as she saw two red eyes blinking at her from her friend's flesh. Lynda screwed up her fists and screamed. Elizabeth was transfixed as Lynda fell away from the group and ran into the woods.
Paul stepped forward next and rubbed his hands together as Lynda had.
Then he turned his back on her and ripped his T-shirt off his body. His screaming began at the same moment that Elizabeth screamed. The instant the hands began to appear from within the flesh of his back. They reached towards Elizabeth and she screamed but she could not move from the spot where she stood. Then he ran off into the night.
When Dave stepped towards her Elizabeth began to cry. She didn't want to face anymore, she didn't want to see her friends bodies ripped apart in this way. He rubbed his palms together, they began to smoke but he raised his eyes to Elizabeth. As he stared into her eyes Elizabeth became aware of his eyeballs being eaten away by tiny mouths; rows of teeth with no gums or bones to hold them. The flesh of them fell away and liquid trickled down his cheeks. With an expression of pure horror, Dave raised his hands to his eyes and screamed. Then, he too, turned and ran.
Andy rubbed his hands together as he walked towards the rim of the pit; 'lake' no longer described it. Smoke drifted upwards through the air.
He met her eyes, although she didn't want to look, and began unbuttoning his shirt. He finished and the shirt hung loose on his scrawny frame but Elizabeth was still held by his eyes. Then he moved his hands into the air in front of him and she transferred her attention to them. He brought them down and began to feed his hands into the ravenous mouth in the centre of his chest. Sharp teeth ripped away his fingers and reduced his hands to bloody stumps. Elizabeth tried to close her eyes and block it out but they wouldn't shut. Andy screamed and ran out of the light leaving a trail of blood as he went.
Elizabeth's eyes moved to the remaining member of the circle, Danni.
She had stood chanting, distant from the others, and now her chants were the only things which filled the night. Suddenly she stopped and pinned Elizabeth with her gaze. Danni began to speak but the words were foreign to Elizabeth's ears. They sounded evil; full of intensity and almost as if they had a life of their own. The mirrors started to shake and Elizabeth spun around in shock, watching as they began to mist over with condensation. The flames of the many candles danced in the unnatural wind which was rising in the centre of the circle. Danni's speech was approaching a crescendo and it seemed that the earth itself would open up before them. Then she stopped abruptly and dragged the final piece of cloth away. Danni shrieked and fell to the floor. The cloth falling over her.
Elizabeth stared at the figure in the looking glass unable to speak, unable to scream at the horror of it. The demon's countenance almost defied description. It resembled an angel that had been drenched with acid; horned, winged, with golden clumps of matted hair clinging to hard knots of scarred flesh. It regarded Elizabeth steadily with it's golden eyes. She could feel it's presence around her and she knew what it wanted. It wanted her body minus her soul. She could feel it attempting to push her spirit from the place where it resided within her. She could feel herself - as spirit - moving away from the flesh which contained it.
"No-o-o-o-o-o-!!!!!!" She shrieked and broke away from that intense gaze. She turned and fell on a jutting rock. The demon began to move out of the mirror towards her and Elizabeth fought for calm. Without thinking she grasped the rock and aimed it at the glass between her and the demon. The mirror shattered, sending fragments in all directions.
The demon howled into two dimensions of reality but was heard in neither. Elizabeth could feel part of her spirit being pulled towards the reality on the other side of the mirror and reacted without thought for the consequences. She hurled her body at another of the mirrors, which shattered spectacularly, ripping her flesh to shreds. But she was still alive. The candles guttered momentarily as the wind exploded in the circle. Elizabeth moved again - using her body, using rocks - and smashed the remaining mirrors. Her blood splashed onto the earth. She could feel the demon in the wind and she could feel herself being sucked into that nowhere and nothing place. A part of her separated from the rest and flew into that other place, becoming a part of the demon to replace the section she had ripped when she had broken the first mirror.
Simultaneously she felt the other part of the demon fuse itself onto her spirit in the real world. Her blood flew in the wind around her and began to be sucked back into her body, mingled with whatever of the demon's spirit they caught. The cuts sealed, trapping them into each other. The candles died. The wind stopped. The night was silent again.
Elizabeth's body stood up from where she had fallen. The sensation it felt was strange and the imperatives it felt were unusual to it. The part which was Elizabeth's main thought was to find the first man she had ever loved. The part which was the demon wanted to be free of this division of thought. It needed a body to possess on it's own. Somehow the imperatives became tangled. The new creature left the place of it's unholy birth to accomplish both aims.
Scully looked at the woman walking towards her. It looked like Elizabeth but it's eyes glowed gold with an evil intensity and it's flesh was twisted with scars.
"Who are you?" Scully asked the person.
"I will be you," It told her.
"Apparantly all your friends returned to their homes without any knowledge of where they'd been." Mulder repeated to Elizabeth what her brother had told him. "Only Danielle Rickard..."
"Danni." Elizabeth acknowledged.
"...remembered anything at all about that night. She saw you get up and leave, that's why your brother doesn't believe that you died."
"Poor Danni. None of this was her fault." Elizabeth sighed.
"It seems that Alex believed Danielle's story but the police 'investigated'-" There was a trace of mockery in Mulder's tone. "-your friends stories and came to conclusion that she manipulated your friends into killing you. The others got harassed by the press but it died down quickly and they're all recovering."
"That's good. I'm glad they're okay but it doesn't help my situation," Elizabeth commented.
"What exactly *is* your situation?" Mulder asked.
"Trapped in mirrors apparently," Elizabeth complained. "I'm not sure what it's done. This must be some trick I don't understand. I feel connected to it in the nowhere place and in this world but I can't seem to effect it's actions."
"What about Scully?" He tried to keep his level of concern about her to himself but he didn't know everything about Elizabeth's connection to the demon. "What does it have planned for her?"
"It wants her body."
Even in his concern Mulder's sense of humour attempted to rise and he squashed it down. Yesterday - even a few hours ago - the joke that entered his mind might have been funny but today it just wasn't. He tried to get his mind off the thought of smooth alabaster skin and back onto trying to save her soul.
"And how's it going to accomplish that?"
"It's already been trying..." Elizabeth broke off at the sound of a piercing scream from the living room. Mulder's eyes met the image in the mirror.
"Scully!" He called even as he began running.
Chapter eight: Bad Luck
"What about Scully?" Mulder asked the figure in the mirror "What does it have planned for her?"
"It wants her body." Elizabeth replied.
"And how's it going to accomplish that?"
"It's already been trying..." Elizabeth broke off at the sound of a piercing scream from the living room. Mulder's eyes met the image in the mirror.
"Scully!" He called even as he began running.
The wind hit him before he made it out of the bathroom, forcing him backwards. He shivered violently, desperately wishing that he'd bothered to get dressed. He was still only dressed in his boxers.
"Scully!" He called out but it was lost in the raging tumult emanating from the living room. He fought his way, ducking as objects were hurled through the air towards him. The sound of the wind and Scully's screaming was so loud that it was making his ears pop. He made it as far as the front door and clung on to it whilst his eyes attempted to see what was occurring here.
"Mulder!" He heard Scully call and strained to see through the mass of swirling objects - papers, books, pictures from the walls - and mist which was forming a vortex in the centre of the room. The flash of red hair alerted him to Scully's presence at the direct centre of the storm.
She was fighting to escape her prison but the wind was too strong and she just reached out uselessly in Mulder's direction. The bathrobe she was wearing was pulled about violently revealing her bare flesh but, for once, Mulder was wasn't affected by the sight. He just knew that he needed to get her out of the storm centre created by the demon. Anything that wasn't heavy was being blown about in the room so there wasn't much for Mulder to hold on to as he inched towards Scully. Even through the whirlwind their eyes met and held as they strained towards each other. Mulder let go of the front door and crawled across the floor, keeping low in the hope of avoiding the wind.
"Mulder!" Scully called again, reaching out to him with her right hand.
Her hair was blown into her eyes and she lost sight of him momentarily.
She threw it back and was relieved to see that he was making some progress. She could feel the presence of the creature she'd seen during her brief insight into the nowhere place. It's essence was building up in the swirling tumultation and she thought that she could almost feel it's breath on her neck. She'd discovered that it wanted to trap her there permanently while it used her body to give it access to the real world. At this instant she believed it all. Her hand strained further towards Mulder.
"Scully!" Mulder called as he got closer to her. Using his left hand to cling to the couch - which was actually sliding around the floor - he reached his right out to Scully. Just another metre and their fingers would touch but the sliding motion of the couch was keeping him from closing the distance. He could see a dark shape looming over her and knew that time was running out. If he didn't get her out of there then he would lose her forever and he wasn't prepared to do that. He was violently cold, bruises were already developing where he'd been hit by various flying objects and the scratches on his back were throbbing.
Still he crawled forward, now using the couch as an anchor but having to drag it with him just to keep him from being swept away. The distance *was* closing. He could see the pain in Scully's eyes as she too fought her way out of the mist and wind in his direction. Mere inches kept them apart now. Just a little more. The couch was heavy with the drag and was pulling him away from Scully. Their fingers touched momentarily and a light arrived in Scully's eyes as she reached that little bit further. Their fingers curled around each others trying to find purchase. Her fingers touched his palm and grabbed the flesh tightly.
Suddenly he was losing ground. The couch was pulling him away from the centre. Mulder tried to grasp Scully's fingers to pull her with him but their fingers slipped apart again.
Scully felt tears on her cheeks as Mulder's hand lost it's grip on hers.
She watched in horror as he was pulled across the room away from her. She felt despair like she'd never known before, not even after Missy had died. The nowhere place was away from everyone and everything; she would never see what death was, she would never be reincarnated, never see Heaven or Hell, never meet up with Mulder's soul again and she would never know the truth. No, she couldn't give up to this demon. She fought against the wind again. It pulled her flesh away from her bones like the Moon's gravity pulls water away from the Earth. The demon's presence was growing stronger as it feed off her anxiety. But Scully had purpose and she wouldn't go down without a fight.
Mulder gave in for a moment and let the force of the moving couch pull him away from Scully. It slammed back against the bookcase containing the fish tank, which was the only thing in the room that was staying where it was. The water churned inside as the couch knocked against the shelves repeatedly. Mulder saw that he wouldn't be able to get to Scully this way and inched his way around the edge of the room where the wind was weakest. He made it to the hallway and, only then, looked back at the centre. He swallowed as he saw Scully still attempting to break free but making little headway. With a heavy heart, he turned and headed for the bathroom once more.
The figure the mirror paced about inside the small space. She looked around sharply as Mulder ran in and slammed the door. He strode up to the mirror with a face like thunder.
"You know how to beat this thing, don't you?" he demanded.
"It's something to do with the mirrors." Elizabeth admitted grudgingly. "I don't know more than that, honestly."
"So if I take this mirror in there it might have an effect?" Mulder replied.
"It could make it worse," Elizabeth told him, fear evident in her voice. She didn't know what would happen to her if the demon succeeded in taking Scully's body but then she didn't know what would happen if it lost. She was trapped half in the nowhere place and half in reality.
Which choice would be best for her?
"It *can't be* worse for Scully." Mulder pointed out, his voice breaking. Elizabeth looked at him. He was the only man she'd ever really loved. No one had ever compared to him. But he wanted Scully. He loved Scully. Her connection to the demon was strong enough for her to have heard him say that.
"Take the mirror in there Mulder," she said softly. He nodded and removed the mirror from the wall.
Mulder placed the mirror down just inside the room because the wind was so strong that he couldn't carry it any further. Elizabeth stared at the whirlwind in horror remembering the time when she had been at the centre of such a thing. The tumult raged on, the mirror's presence having no effect at all. Mulder clung onto the mirror with one hand, to stop it from moving, and onto the wall with the other. His eyes searched Scully out again and found that her predicament had changed little, except that the dark shape, which had appeared like a shadow above her, was gaining more substance by the second. She had her back turned to it and was running in an attempt to get free but she wasn't actually gaining any distance. Mulder felt useless and inept standing at the edge of the room.
"Now what?" He yelled to Elizabeth over the sound of the wind.
"Mulder!" He heard Scully yell and strained towards her. "Break the..."
The last of the sentence was lost in the wind and he attempted to move closer to catch what she was saying. She yelled again. "...ak the mirror!" Her voice drifted on the wind to him. "Break! The! Mir-r-ror!" Mulder's eyes flew to Elizabeth in the mirror. She looked terrified - she had heard the suggestion - but she nodded.
Scully turned at the sound of a deep breath and saw the true face of the demon as it moved towards her. It looked like the devil himself and Scully began reciting the Lord's Prayer under her breath. Her voice grew louder with each repetition - until she was yelling - but it had no effect on the ghastly apparition. It continued to advance towards her. Mulder assessed the situation and prepared himself. He could hear Scully desperately yelling the familiar prayer but knew that he was more affected by the words than the demon would be. He couldn't let this happen. Mulder grabbed the first heavy object which came to hand, a lamp.
"Scully!" He screamed in her direction as a warning. He didn't stop to see if she'd heard him. He took a deep breath and threw the lamp towards the mirror. He saw Elizabeth duck as the lamp hurtled towards her.
Scully heard Mulder call her name and her voice died as she looked in his direction. A unearthly crunching noise filled the room as shards of light exploded in all directions. Scully ducked away, shielding her eyes, from the blast of heat that accompanied it. For a spilt second the wind died and everything was silent. Things felt like they were happening in slow motion with the sound turned down; a light built up from the direction of the mirror, the demon cried out in horror, Mulder screamed Scully's name again and ran towards her. He grabbed Scully around her waist and pushed her past the demon and into the gap between the desk and couch, underneath the book case and the fish tank.
They curled against each other, heads down, as the volume turned up abruptly and time reset itself. Light and energy saturated the room like the blast of an atom bomb, eating up all the oxygen. Mulder and Scully clung tighter to each other as they were bombarded by the force of the supernatural power surge. Objects flew on the air, crashing loudly on the walls and onto the cowering couple. A paperweight crashed into the fish tank sending a shower of warm water onto their heads, soaking them. Still the wind whistled and the power pulsed through the fabric of reality itself. The demon howled and Elizabeth screamed repeatedly.
The computer screen exploded, completing the crescendo. The wind slowly faded, until the sound of the traffic outside and the water dripping from the remains of the fish tank were the only noises in the room. Still Mulder and Scully clung to each other in their secure place under, what was left of, the fish tank. Water saturated them both as they sat skin to skin. Mulder's face was curled into Scully's neck and he raised his head to scan the room. It was turned upside down; lethal looking shards of glass were embedded in the walls, objects lay strewn on the floor and the computer hung half off the desktop completely destroyed.
"You reckon my insurance'll cover destruction caused by demons?" Mulder drawled sardonically. Then allowed himself to take in the sensation of the warm, wet and naked - except for the saturated bathrobe - woman pressed close against him.
Chapter nine: Amicus Usque Ad Aras
Scully kept her eyes closed for a moment longer knowing that she should move but enjoying the feel of Mulder's wet, naked skin under her hands.
She knew the moment that the situation changed from mutual protection to desire. She remembered the taste of his kisses, the feel of his naked body on hers, his declaration of love which had thrilled her but upset the Elizabeth part of the demon. She remembered it all. She raised her head and looked into Mulder's eyes.
Mulder stared into his partner's eyes. He thought of the things he'd done to her tonight and felt an amazing guilt. He wanted to apologise for his actions and to stop things between them changing from the easy friendship they had shared for so long. He wouldn't be able to stand it if she left him because of this. He couldn't look into her eyes anymore. He disentangled himself from her, missing the look of regret in her eyes as he moved away.
Scully felt devastated as he stood up and walked to the centre of the room. The scratches on his back stood out vividly and she wanted to go to him and stop all his pain. He hung his head and contemplated his feet. <He's feeling guilty> She thought, her instinctual understanding of his emotions surprising her as it always did. How could she stop him from feeling guilty? Would an admission of love work?
No, that would complicate things too much. The time wasn't right yet. They had too much to do before they reached that point. It would happen on it's own and for now she had her memories, even if they were tainted by events. She couldn't let this destroy their friendship. She knew what she needed to do.
Mulder had to tell her that he loved her. He had to say it. Even if it changed everything. Things were already a mess. Tonight had ruined their friendship. He couldn't let her leave him because of this."Scully, I..." He began, his feet still of the utmost interest to him, but she interrupted before he could finish.
"What am I doing here Mulder? What happened?" she asked looking around the destroyed room in confusion. He stared down at her. She was sat as he'd left her; on the floor in a wet bathrobe that hid nothing from his eyes. Her wide eyes stared back up at him. "I can't remember anything," she whispered.
Scully hated lying to him.
"What *do* you remember?" Mulder asked curiously and Scully thought on her feet.
"I remember, um," She couldn't lie about everything. "Seeing Elizabeth in the bathroom mirror, but after that..." She threw her hands up and shook her head, tailing off. She could *see* the cogs in his mind turning as he thought that one over. Scully was cringing inside but repeated to herself that this was the best way of insuring their friendship remained intact.
"So you don't remember..." Mulder began but cut off the sentence abruptly. Scully surprised herself by wanting to smile at his confused expression but the thought died quickly. "...um...about the demon."
"Demon?" It was easy to say the single word in a skeptical tone.
Mulder looked away for a moment and appeared to come to a decision. He walked over in her direction.
"Scully, there's something you need to know..." He began seriously, crouching down next to her and looking into her eyes. Scully couldn't look into his eyes and lie to him, so she was forced to look away.
Mulder mistook the action and gently took her chin in his hand and turned her to face him.
"Mulder, don't..." Scully began.
"I just wanted to tell you how much you mean to me," he drawled softly.
"You mean a lot to me too," Scully replied honestly. "You're my friend."
"Your friend," he repeated in an ambiguous tone that could have meant anything.
"You're my best friend," she said, aware that she was echoing his words from earlier. Aware that the words weren't really enough but not ready to move their relationship on beyond that. Mulder placed his hand over hers and looked deeply into her eyes. Scully was shocked by the depth of feeling she saw in his eyes.
"Dana, I..." He began. There was a loud knock at the door. They both turned to look in that direction.
"You'd better answer that," Scully said, taking the opportunity to move away from him. Her naked thigh brushed against his bare shoulder as she moved past him. Scully tried to ignore the sensation which shot through
her at the contact. "I'll get dressed." She added nervously. Mulder's hand reached out and grasped her ankle lightly. Scully looked down at him in shock. His fingers rested on her anklebone causing delicious feelings to snake up her leg. Mulder looked up at her seriously, then smiled. Scully couldn't help smiling back at him.
Suddenly everything seemed okay with the world. Another knock sounded at the door breaking the moment. Scully moved away in the direction of the bedroom. Mulder found a T-shirt resting on a lampshade on the floor and put it on before he opened the door.
"Alex?" Mulder exclaimed as he saw the person standing in the hallway.
"Mulder." Alex acknowledged with a smile extending his hand for a handshake. Mulder shook his head incredulously and grasped the hand, then changed his mind and pulled his old friend into a loose hug.
"How on earth d'you get here so fast?" Mulder said as they stepped apart again. "We only spoke an hour ago." Alex looked at him with a stunned expression.
"What?" he asked with a frown. "Mulder, we spoke last night. I caught a plane from London this morning." Alex checked his watch. "We spoke about 18 hours ago."
"That's..." Mulder began incredulously. He was going to say 'impossible' but decided that, after what he'd just seen, it wasn't really.
"...Spooky?" Scully's voice suggested sardonically from behind him when he didn't finish. She walked over to them - shared a knowing smile with Mulder - and extended her hand to Alex. "Hi, I'm Dana Scully."
"Alex Szabo." Alex told her as he shook her hand. "You're Mulder's partner at the FBI?" He took in the dark blue silk pyjamas she was wearing and raised an inquiring eyebrow at Mulder. Scully cut straight to the chase.
"We're just friends." She clarified. Alex nodded but didn't believe them, which was okay because it wasn't true anyway and everyone in the room knew it. "You're Elizabeth's brother?" Scully asked, although she already knew. Alex nodded.
"Yeah...so, where is she?" Alex asked. Mulder and Scully exchanged a look.
"She's...not here." Mulder began. This would take some explaining. "You'd better sit down..."
Fox Mulder's Personal Journal
The insurance company wouldn't pay for the damage incurred to my apartment last month. I didn't really expect them to, after all attempted possession of my partners body by a demon from a dimension where reality doesn't exist is not easily proven on an insurance claim form. I had to dip into some of the money dad left me to pay for the repairs, which was something that I hadn't wanted to do. I can't shake the feeling that the money is tainted by evil because of the circumstances in which he obtained it but that money paid for so many things in my life that, if it is evil, then I'm already so touched by it that maybe I'm evil too. It was certainly evil the things I allowed myself to do to Scully that night. I'm only glad that she doesn't remember what happened. I would hate her to hate me for it.
It's been great seeing Alex again, even if the circumstances are rather unusual. I stayed at the same hotel as him for a few days while my apartment was being cleaned and we spent most of the time in the bar drinking away our mutual sorrows. Apart from that time in Comity, which I'd rather not recall, I haven't been drunk in years. The last time was probably with Alex as well come to think of it. We raked hell in fine Oxford tradition during our time there and I did learn a lot in those years. I particularly remember that the Thames is very cold all year so it's not a good idea to go swimming in November. Also, if you're sick into a top hat after too much champagne *never* put it back on your head, especially not in public at the Henley Regatta. I'm almost embarrassed to remember the good times we had getting drunk and chatting up the girls, or trying to. Alex was better at it than I was and I gave up after I met Phoebe. Funny, Alex tried to talk me out of a relationship with Phoebe just as hard as he tried to talk me into telling Scully how I feel about her. It seemed so easy to talk to Alex, almost as if we'd never been out of touch. Ten years just disappeared.
Those three years in England are an unreal time in my mind despite the memories being as clear as if they'd happened yesterday. I've decided to try and remember Elizabeth only as she was then; an adorable child with so much warmth that the room lit up when she smiled. I'm not good at keeping touch with people but I'm gonna try with Alex. He always was a good friend and a flight to England isn't much different to flying around the States, it's probably safer on an international flight. It might be a good time to think about taking a vacation. I wonder what Scully would say if I told her I was thinking about taking some time off, she'd never believe it. She'd ask me if I was going on a UFO chase. Come to think of it there have been a lot of sightings lately, maybe it wouldn't hurt to check them out.
Scully wanted me to stay at her place while my apartment was being fixed up and I used Alex as an excuse not to. I know she was hurt but I couldn't have stayed there with her feeling the way that I do. Our friendship has been uneasy since but I feel that we are reaching a comfortable medium which, if not wonderful, is well above the depths we reached this last year. I wish I could talk to her as I used to but she continues to shut me out of her emotions and I don't know how to deal with that. It's not helped by the fact that, every time I see her face, I am reminded of the touch of her lips on mine.
Elizabeth Szabo was officially declared dead by the Hampshire Constabulary five months ago, despite the fact no body has ever been recovered. Elizabeth's friends are all still recovering in psychiatric care from their ordeal but only Danielle Rickard remembers anything of the night that Elizabeth 'died'. In her psychiatrist's recording of their interview Danielle describes looking out from under the velvet cover and seeing a vision that could have "come from hell itself. Bethy [Elizabeth] was wrapped in a curtain of red liquid that must have been blood and the demon was in the blood and it was inside her and they rose into the air on a whirlwind of light and mist and blood and then light exploded and all the blood was sucked back into Bethy's body and then there was a noise like the sky opening. Bethy was just lying there on the ground, all twisted and broken but she stood up and walked away, but I could still see her. She was in the mirror but it was broken. She was in each piece."
The Hampshire Constabulary decided that Danielle Rickard murdered Elizabeth Szabo and disposed of her body - as well as mentally and physically traumatising Paul Green, David Wells, Lynda Bell and Andrew Carr - whilst suffering from delusions of demonic possession. She has since been admitted to Broadmoor hospital for the criminally insane, having been deemed unfit to stand trial. The case file on the Warren Wood incident has been closed. To my mind, this is an X-File - although it cannot officially be described as such - which remains open and unexplained. US Immigration has a record of an Elizabeth Maria Szabo entering the country on January 8th 1997 but no record of her leaving.
When her three month permit expires in April a search will be mounted to discover her location and I will be very interested to find out the result.
Scully now claims that she remembers none of the events I describe as occurring that night. Since any in-depth examination of these events would result in the OPC asking questions regarding Scully's presence in my apartment that night and regarding her mental state during this time, I have decided to leave these events unexamined through official procedures and to this date I have been successful in concealing the evidence from the requisite authorities. I sincerely doubt that the powers that be are unaware of these occurrences and I can only hope that they are not storing this information as ammunition to be used against us at a later date.
Alex, Elizabeth, Phoebe; all of them ghosts from a different reality in my life that has nothing to do with conspiracies, aliens, my parents or my sister but which are linked into patterns of events that the majority of people would describe as strange or simply write off without examination. These events have only served to strengthen my beliefs that the occurrences which we describe as paranormal are not anomalous phenomena at all but are the normal constructions of our universe. The fundamental structure of a reality which is only ever revealed to us piece by piece for if we saw the entirety of our universe then we would surely be scared by our own insignificance within the whole. Until we are ready to accept that our arrogance is misplaced we shall have to content ourselves with the glimpses we are given of the beauty - and the horror - of the whole and keep watching out for tell tale ghost writing that reveals to us the truth.
The Demon/Elizabeth symbiosis-creation scene owes something to the vampire creation scene in 'The Queen of the Damned' by Anne Rice. The Vampire Chronicles are some of my favourite books and this is my hat tipping (i.e. no copyright infringement intended, covering my arse kinda thing, etc.) to a really cool scene.
"It's not yet the finely detailed insanity you've come to expect from me, it's just a theory."
"The future is inevitable - the form it takes is not."
"We don't know what we don't know."
"If you can keep your head when all around you are losing theirs, it's
possible you haven't grasped the situation."
"Either I'm concussed or that's Patrick Moore fist fighting an
"Who controls the past...controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." George Orwell, 1984
"I'll not listen to reason...reason always means what someone else has got to say."
"The truth is often a terrible weapon of aggression."
"One kills a man, one is an assasin. One kills millions, one is a
conquerer. One kills everyone, one is a god."
"You can never have too big a sig."