Title: Hallowed Eve
Author: Kate M.
Archiving: anywhere
Spoilers: none
Keywords: Scully/Other (female); Halloween
Rating: NC-17. This story includes sex between consenting adults of the same sex.

Summary: Scully meets an intriguing woman at a Halloween party.

FINE PRINT: The characters of Scully and Mulder belong to Chris Carter and company. This story also includes some lyrics from songs by Siouxsie and the Banshees. All the rest is mine, all mine <evil cackle>.

Hi all. This is my first Scully slash story. This is a Halloween tale, but it is not a horror story.

"Damn heels."

Scully pulled off the black stiletto that was sending stabs of pain through her right foot. Wiggling her toes to get the blood flowing again, she took a sidelong glance at herself, still unused to the picture she was presenting. The mirror on the bathroom door showed her a dark, intimidating, rather sexy woman who might be a dominatrix, a prostitute, or a rock star--but who was definitely not an FBI agent.

She pushed her throbbing foot back into the shoe, and turned her gaze back toward the mirror. Her eyes started at the stilettos, shiny, new, threatening. Her feet, squinched though they were, looked lithe and slender in the ridiculous shoes. But the glimpse of stockinged feet was all she revealed; she had rejected the miniskirt that might be expected to go with her heels. Instead she had chosen leather pants, not skin tight, but nicely suited to her curves. She turned away a little, liking the way the leather looked in the mirror, its supple shine highlighting contours she had not known existed. She turned further and smirked a little as she looked over her shoulder. "Not bad, not bad at all," she breathed. She let her gaze drift higher, fascinated by her own body, the curves and lines of her back accented by the black lycra short-sleeved top she had dug from the bottom of a drawer. She turned once more to face the mirror full on, and almost unconsciously placed her palms on her thighs and slowly caressed herself, thighs to waist to belly to breasts to neck to slightly grinning face. She tangled her fingers in her hair and watched her eyes blink at themselves, smiling broader now at the way their blue gleam contrasted with her silky red hair. She slowly raised one eyebrow and whispered again, "Not bad."

The doorbell rang, making her jump. She took one last look, this time a critical one, and sighed. She had no idea how he would react, and could only hope he would show some mercy. She grabbed the last element of the ensemble, a sleek and simple black leather jacket, on her way to the door.

She flung the door open, determined to match her attitude to her outfit. She looked her partner directly in the eye, daring him to take a cheap shot.

He took the dare, extending an arm and smiling broadly. "Madam," he said, nearly laughing, "and I do mean Madam, your carriage awaits."

"C'mon, Mulder," Scully whined, immediately angry with herself for doing so. "I don't know whose idea this was, but you shouldn't mock me when I'm simply going along with the plan, juvenile though it may be. I'm the victim of a random, senseless event."

Mulder could not hold back a snicker as they walked to his car. "All I know is that if I believed in God, I'd call him a benevolent one for seeing that this particular random event took place."

"In order for you to believe in God, Mulder, the trinity would have to be a syndicate of eyeless aliens bent on bringing about a dystopia of epic proportions by adding a slow-acting, genetically engineered psychotropic pathogen to the water supply of every major city."

He stared at her for a moment, then shrugged. "Sounds only slightly less likely than the burning bush." Scully rolled her eyes as he opened the door for her.

She felt a little startled when she sat down, having never worn leather pants before and thus being fully unprepared for how comfortable--and how responsive--they were. She squirmed a little, enjoying the give and take of the material against her calves, her thighs, her...

She shook her head, trying to focus on something else as Mulder slumped into the driver's seat. "Anyway, I think it was a great idea," he mumbled, oblivious to the rather odd expression on his partner's face. "Most people have a difficult time deciding what to be for Halloween. The standard choices are boring; do you dress up as a devil or as a jester? You choose between cathartic role-playing and coy self-mockery, and after a while, those become confused in your own mind and you feel exposed and even irrelevant, which is not at all what the pagans had in mind for this night." He backed the car out of the driveway, then lurched it forward along the leaf-lined street. The crispness of the night was almost visible.

Scully just stared at him blankly. "And the only way to solve this costuming problem is for some dimwit to write words on little slips of paper? How does *that* make you feel like celebrating, or exploring all sides of yourself, or whatever the pagans did have in mind?"

"It's simple. You drew the word 'leather.' To you, that word suggests different things than it would suggest to me. For example, rather than going with a chic leather jacket and foxy leather pants as you have done, I might dress up as a cow."

Scully continued to stare at him, but she now let her eyebrows raise as high as they wanted to. "A cow. Very funny, Mulder." She turned to look at the road ahead of them instead. "And if you just called me foxy, I'm going to pretend I didn't hear it." She turned her back to him then, and watched the lights of the buildings speed by. She shifted in her seat, almost unconsciously trying to feel the leather against different parts of her skin.

"Don't you have any comments about my garb?" he teased, taking a corner too quickly and squealing the tires. She looked at him sideways, then turned toward him.

"As soon as I can figure out what you're wearing, I'll comment on it." She hadn't really looked at him, and found it difficult to interpret the pieces of his clothing that she could actually see in the light of street lamps and stoplights.

"All I can tell is that you're wearing some kind of greenish denim-y thing," she said after a while.

"Well, we're here, which means you can get a better, and undoubtedly satisfying, look," Mulder smiled, pulling the car into the vast parking lot of an old warehouse.

Mulder came around to her side of the car and extended his arm to help her, but she waved him away. She got out of the car carefully, trying to stand up as smoothly as she could. She knew she'd be cursing the stilettos all night. "Now, stand back so I can look at you," she commanded. Mulder took a few steps back and spread his arms wide, grinning again.

He was wearing a greenish-grey worker's jumpsuit, complete with a red-and-white oval embroidered name tag that said "Ray." His boots and gloves looked as if they had been run over a few times, and he had done something to make his hair look slimy, and had not shaved.

"So you're a mechanic?" Scully said, confused.


"I thought you drew the word 'danger.'"

"I did."

"And what does that have to do with an auto mechanic?"

"Everything. It's a dangerous job, and taking one's car to a mechanic involves a sense of dread, and besides, it perfectly and efficiently captures the life of the average American male, which, one might argue, is as dangerous a creature as you'll ever encounter. Not to mention the fact that many people suspect mechanics and other working-class men of being illiterate and crude at best and prone to psychotic killing sprees at worst."

Scully rolled her eyes and started walking toward the building. "Whatever, Mulder," she said quietly.

He jogged a little to catch up with her. "I take it back," he said, slowing to match her pace. "You look much more dangerous than the average American male."

She didn't respond as he opened the door, deciding instead to steel herself for the strange evening she was sure she was going to have.

The local Association of UFO Enthusiasts had decided to hold its Halloween party in a dilapidated warehouse building. Scully soon saw, however, that they had taken the savings in facility rental fees and applied them to the decorating fund. Spider web decorations sprawled from floor to ceiling; the walls had been covered with some sort of textured black paper that made them look like brick; some sort of fog emanated from the vents; and the music was either Bauhaus or somebody who had listened to far too much Bauhaus. Professional-looking lights of all colors and sizes hung from the ceiling. "Looks like a monster disco shindig," Mulder said somewhere behind her.

Scully turned her attention to the crowd then, and smiled to herself, relieved that her costume was among the most unremarkable in the room. The place was packed with two-headed aliens, bizarre robot-like creatures, and Star Trek characters from all of the series. She looked over her shoulder, glad to find that Mulder had not yet abandoned her in favor of some Ferengi.

"Are you telling me these people drew the words 'Worf,' 'tentacle,' and 'south Park,' and thus had no choice but to dress like this?"

Mulder chuckled. "Language is subjective, Scully. Like I said, in your world, 'leather' means dominatrix; in their world, it means 'Klingon."

Scully scowled. "I am not a dominatrix."

"Mmm-hmm." Mulder smiled his best innocent smile.

"And I still don't know why I let you talk me into coming here," she muttered.

"Because it's better than plying the neighbors' kids with candy," he smiled, steering her toward the bar.

Scully consented to having a drink, although she was not optimistic about the strangely-colored liqueurs and even stranger-looking servers. She accepted a greenish-looking beverage from a man who was clad in large black garbage bags and a pig nose. She started to take a sip, but almost dropped her glass as the music suddenly flared up to four times its previous volume.

She squinted, half at the drink and half at the nearly tangible throbbing techno music that had replaced the moans of Bauhaus. "Please tell me I'm not about to drink absinthe or something worse," she shouted in Mulder's direction.

"Enjoy the uncertainty of it all, Scully, and chalk it up to the lifting of the veil between the living and the dead," he hollered back.

She gave him another blank stare. Mulder motioned to her to follow him over to a group of people in Planet of the Apes costumes, so she did, wishing already that she had indeed stayed home to hand out candy and read some Poe. But Mulder had, of course, found a reason to go to this abductee-wannabes' party, mumbling something about a conspiracy and a supposed kidnapping that might turn out to be more. Scully almost wished she believed, as Mulder did, that there was something different in the Halloween air--something that made the fantastic more plausible. Somewhere in her scientific heart, she almost envied her partner's odd brand of faith.

Perhaps that was why she had relented and agreed to accompany him. She hadn't realized at the time that it would mean drawing a little slip of paper out of a hat and then building a costume around the word printed on the paper. But Mulder wanted to play by the group's rules, perhaps in the interest of blending in, or perhaps in the interest of mortifying Scully. So they had gone to the appointed drawing place and sealed their Halloween fates.

Scully realized now, as she saw the glimmer of excitement on Mulder's face, that it could not have turned out much better for her partner, nor much worse for herself. He got to be an average American male for a night; she got to be a dominatrix.

She looked at the Planet of the Apes people Mulder had attached himself to and could not suppress an eye roll. She scanned the crowd and saw that it was more of the same. She half expected Frohicke to sidle up and ask her to dance.

As Mulder found his place in a conversation about crop circles, Scully found a wall to lean against and nursed her drink. She was ignored, and grateful for it. She thought she might as well take advantage of the free drinks and enjoy the music until it was time to go home.

She glanced around the room again, finding nothing interesting to look at. She finally settled her gaze across the room, on the somewhat interesting back of a man in a sequined tuxedo. She idly wondered what word he had drawn. Liberace? She watched the light sparkle off the sequins, letting it mesmerize her a little as the green whatever-she-was-drinking started to hit. *Already getting a buzz?* she thought, startled but grateful. She watched the sparkly man bob his head up and down, apparently in response to whatever the Boba Fett next to him was saying. After minutes of incessant bobbing, the sequined man suddenly threw his head back and laughed uproariously. The spikes of light darting off the sequins made her squint again.

The sequined man and Boba Fett then parted, each going to different sides of the room. Scully was glad at first that the garish spectacle was over, but wondered whether she'd find something else to watch. She scanned the room for a while, but, finding nothing particularly fascinating, looked again toward the spot directly across from her. There she found another interesting figure--one even more interesting that the last.

A woman stood alone, arms crossed, back to the wall. Scully could not see her clearly at first, but, almost as if she had requested it, one of the whirling dance lights suddenly bathed the woman in bluish light, and continued to do so at regular intervals. Scully noted with only mild curiosity that the woman was wearing a classic vampire costume, complete with high-collared cape. Her hair--or was it a wig?--was jet-black and curly, spilling across her broad shoulders. Her skin was moon-pale, and her thick but shapely brows seemed even blacker than her hair. Strictly speaking, the costume she wore had been designed for a man, considering the too-long trousers, the tuxedo shirt, ornately patterned waistcoat, and silk cravat. But the woman had added two contrasting finishing touches: deep red lipstick and velvet gloves in the same bloody shade.

Scully smiled to herself. *Not too bad either,* she thought, guessing that the woman had enjoyed the feeling of tying the silk cravat and pulling on the velvet gloves just as much as Scully had enjoyed stepping into the leather pants.

*Wow, this silly green drink packs a serious punch.* Scully ran her fingers through her hair and stared down at her lethal-looking shoes.

When she looked up again, the woman in the vampire costume was gone. Scully looked around the room for her, sad that she had lost another subject of observation. She sighed, unable to see the cape or jet-black hair anywhere in the crowd.

She returned to the bar, shocked that she had finished the first drink, but not too shocked to ask for another. "What is this?" she asked the man in the pig nose and garbage bags.

He shrugged and shook his head. His pig nose wiggled, and it made her giggle. She cleared her throat and wiped the smile off her face, embarrassed.

She walked slowly back to her spot on the wall, noting with irritation that Mulder was positively glowing with happiness and was mesmerized by the ape people's words.

She began to look again for someone to watch. Unsatisfied with her options, she closed her eyes instead and let her head fall back a little. After a few moments of relative peace, a strobe light started to flash. She slowly opened her eyes, preferring whatever was in the room to the shocking orange-red of the back of her eyelids. The bright spurts of light made it difficult for her eyes to adjust. The strobe was quite slow at first; she started to feel disoriented and enjoyed the feeling. The pulse of the music matched the beats of light, and she felt a slow smile spread across her face.

The music suddenly exploded, the bass doubling its tempo. The strobe light followed suit, flashing madly, making everything look like an interrupted thought. Scully held her hands up and watched them flicker.

She put her hands in front of her face and looked through her fingers, feeling as silly as a teenager at a prom, then dropped her hands suddenly. The vampire woman was leaning against the opposite wall again, exactly as she had before, but with a slight smile on her dark red lips.

Scully returned the look and did not drop the woman's gaze, fascinated, though she was not sure why. She realized that the woman had started to walk toward her, the cape floating as if there were a breeze in the room.

Scully squared her shoulders and raised an eyebrow in her best try-to-impress-me pose. The woman walking toward her was a few inches taller than Scully, stilettos included, but it was not her height that was intimidating. It was the way she seemed to carry darkness with her, almost as if the cape were pulling along any dark spot within reach. And against that aura of black, the red lips and red gloves took on a life of their own, full of motion, fairly rippling with energy.

The strobe stopped at the same moment the vampire woman stopped walking. In the brief silence that followed, the woman extended a gloved hand and said softly, "Hello."

The next song began, something just as loud and thumping as the previous track. But the strobe did not begin again, and Scully was able to see clearly the woman's abalone face and blue-black hair, the antique-looking waistcoat and the small diamond in the cravat.

"Hello," Scully said as loudly as she could without yelling. She took the woman's hand, shaking it lightly, then dropped it, uncertain what to do and still disoriented from the strobe and the drinks.

The woman moved a little closer and a little to Scully's side. "My name is Claire," she said, loud enough to hear, but only just barely. She smiled, revealing perfectly white teeth that only made her lips look redder.

"I'm Scu--I'm Dana," Scully stammered. She glanced over at Mulder, who had probably not even been aware of where she was standing, let alone whether she was talking to anyone.

"I hope you don't mind my saying so, Dana, but you don't really look like you belong here." Claire smiled faintly.

Scully smiled a little too, again glancing down at her shoes, feeling strangely intrigued. "I don't think I do belong here," she acknowledged. "But you don't really look like one of the gang either," she added, not quite raising her head, looking up through her lashes.

Claire nodded, just a single nod, and a slow one. The regality of it matched the aristocratic air of her costume. "I don't suppose I am one of the gang--not at all. I'm here with a friend."

"Ah, that was my line," Scully smiled.

Claire's smile grew a little wider. "So, how did your friend convince you to grace this bunch of clowns with your presence?"

"Well...I think he promised I'd get abducted by a UFO." Scully giggled suddenly. *Stupid drinks.*

Claire laughed, her eyes twinkling. "Will getting abducted by a vampire do?" she said in as low a voice as she could manage.

Scully couldn't help but grin. "Vampires are infinitely more interesting than UFOs."

Claire nodded and said, somewhat breathlessly, "Well, how about it?"

"What?" Scully felt suddenly confused; she had enjoyed the playful banter but had not tried to connect it to real life and was not sure how to.

"Me abducting you. Let's go somewhere that's less like a Star Trek convention."

Scully just stared. She did not know which was harder to accept: that the idea of being "abducted" by this woman did not seem unreasonable, or that she was about to communicate that fact to the stunning figure next to her.

"Okay," she breathed, causing Claire to lean toward her.

"Say again?" the vampire smiled.

"Okay," Scully said, backing up, a little bewildered.

She looked at Claire, whose skin seemed to have grown more luminescent since they had begun talking. She noticed, somehow for the first time, that Claire's eyes were a calm gray, like the sea on a cold day. But they were not cold; they were somehow soothing, engulfing.

Scully shook herself. "Let me just go tell my friend," she said steadily, tearing her eyes from Claire's and finding Mulder in his barrel of monkeys.

She tugged at his sleeve, aware without seeing her that Claire was standing very close behind her.

"Mulder, I'm leaving with Claire, so you don't need to worry about giving me a ride home."

"What? Who's Claire?"

"Someone I know from the gym. We're gonna catch a movie, or maybe just have a drink somewhere else."

Mulder studied Scully, unsure what to make of the fact that she did not look him in the eye. He was even more uncertain about the generally impressive and rather unsettling woman who stood behind Scully, her arms crossed and the slightest smirk on her lips. He found her beautiful, but unquestionably out of his reach, though he was not sure why.

"Okay," he said, his intonation more like a question than an assent. But Scully gave him a big smile at that, which he could not help but return.

She turned away without a word and started for the door. Claire followed her, and so did Mulder's eyes. He looked toward the door long after they had disappeared from view, trying to figure out whether his contacts were bleary or a light over his head had gone out. Something was making the space around him seem darker, it seemed he was somehow cloaked in a warm, fleshy sort of dark.

One of the Planet of the Apes guys brought him back to reality by shouting "It's people! Soylent green is people!"

Scully walked to the door without looking back at Claire. She focused on keeping her balance in her stupid shoes.

Once outside, she stopped, waiting for Claire to lead the way. Instead, she felt a hand on the small of her back and saw a red glove move into her field of vision and point toward a silver Porsche.

"That's my car." Claire's voice was matter-of-fact, revealing nothing.

Scully walked toward the sleek machine, aware now that Claire was not following but was instead watching from just outside the warehouse. Scully kept walking anyway, not sure what else to do.

She turned around as she reached the Porsche, and was dismayed to see no sign of Claire. She whirled back around, scanning the parking lot. "What kind of sick trick is this?" she muttered to herself.

"Sorry," came a voice from the warehouse. Scully turned again, this time to see Claire exiting the warehouse again. "Forgot to tell *my* friend I was leaving," she explained, her smile evident in her voice.

Scully relaxed then, and let a grin cross her face.

In a sudden fit of giddiness, Scully struck a pose, placing one stilettoed foot on the hood of the Porsche and the other stretched out a little behind her. She threw her arms up in the air, and thrust her chest forward, imagining herself a masthead on a ship or a harpy on an old Ford.

"Looks like we're ready to rumble," Claire laughed as she reached the Porsche. Scully rearranged herself as Claire unlocked the doors. Scully couldn't explain her carefree mannerisms, and wondered how much she could blame it on the fancy, funky liqueur.

Scully slid into the small seat as best as she could, feeling awkward after her debutantish display. But when she turned to look at Claire, she couldn't help but smile again. There were those grey eyes, comforting, distant, calm.

Claire switched on the car stereo as they pulled out of the parking lot. Some soft trip-hop floated from the speakers, tickling Scully's ears, reaching out fingers of rhythm and soothing her fuzzy head. She felt herself relax, and leaned back a little, closing her eyes.

"So tell me about yourself, Dana." Claire's voice seemed to weave in and out of the music.

"I'm...well, there's not much to tell. I work for the federal government. I do very little else, in fact." She smiled in spite of herself, instinctively trusting the sleek woman in the driver's seat of both the car and the evening. She didn't know why she should trust her, but something about her felt familiar, safe.

"Hmm. Well, we have that in common--not the government, but the work. I'm a lawyer, and I do very little else."

Claire saw the smile tugging at Scully's lips. "Go ahead, say it," Claire laughed. "Perfect costume for a lawyer."

Scully laughed long and loud then. "It is rather...coyly self-mocking," she admitted.

"Well, believe it or not, that wasn't my intention." The softness in Claire's voice made Scully open her eyes. She glanced at Claire, noting how the red gloves were nicely accented by the black steering wheel, taking in the pensive look on Claire's face and the striking sensuality of those red, red lips.

*Where did that come from?* Scully shifted in her seat, perplexed by her own thoughts. The still-intriguing feel of the leather against her legs only made matters worse. "What was your intention?" she asked aloud. "What word did you draw?"

"Passion," Claire whispered, her eyes fixed on the road.

Scully looked away, disconcerted by the heat that surged through her body at the simple mention of that word. She struggled to give the reins back to her intellect.

"And why does a vampire suggest passion to you?" Scully willed her voice not to shake.

"Well, because passion has so many faces," Claire began, her voice louder but still intimate, close. "Passion can be anger, or enthusiasm, or suffering."


"You know, The Passion with a capital P. Although, I suppose, that particular meaning wouldn't exactly bring vampires to mind. Anyway, it seems to me that it's a very complex thing , so I tried to find a very complex, and mythical, figure to represent it. After all, to most people, passion is more of a goal than a fact of life, and is about as real as a vampire."

"That's so cynical," Scully said, knowing full well that Mulder would laugh if he were to hear her turn that term on someone else.

Claire laughed softly. "Maybe," she nodded, "but I'll bet you can't argue with it. Furthermore, vampires, like passion, are about sex, hunger, pursuit; they're about feeling consumed and doing the consuming at the same time."

Scully felt a surge of heat again. "Very well stated, Claire." This time she failed to keep the slight tremble out of her voice.

"Here we are." Claire pulled the Porsche into an underground parking garage in a part of the city Scully didn't recognize.

"Exactly where is here, anyway?" Scully was amazed that she had not thought to ask where they were going.

"Just a club I like. It's usually pretty comfortable, and not too crowded. A place we can actually talk."

"Sounds nice." Scully followed Claire on legs that seemed to be getting more unsteady by the minute. Just outside the entrance to the club, the unthinkable happened and she felt her feet go out from under her. One of the too-thin, too-tall heels had snapped off the shoe.

"Dammit, why did I make myself wear these?" she hissed, grabbing her right ankle. It was obviously not broken, but was quite seriously twisted. *Sort of like this whole evening,* she thought.

"Oh, no...can you walk?" Claire's hands were on Scully's shoulders, and Scully thought she could feel the warmth of the vampire woman's fingertips through her leather jacket, which didn't make any sense at all.

"Yes, but I can't walk in these," Scully sighed, pulling herself onto her stockinged feet.

"Stay right there," Claire said suddenly. She returned moments later with a pair of Doc Martens.

"You know, they may not complete the costume in quite the same way, but they'll probably provide more support. What's your shoe size?"

"Eight." Scully laughed.

"Perfect! Give these a try."

Scully shook her head, wondering how many other lawyers equated vampires with passion and carried a spare pare of Doc Martens in their cars. She laughed aloud at the thought.

"How do they feel?" Claire said, giving Scully a quizzical look.

"Wonderful, actually," Scully admitted, "but I don't suppose I look like a dominatrix anymore."

"Is that what you were dressed as?" Claire said, her voice teasing.

"Well, the word I drew was 'leather,' which didn't leave a lot of room for imagination."

"Leather? That's odd. I thought they were all supposed to be abstract. Well, maybe that sequined guy at the party actually drew the word 'sequins.'"

They laughed too long at the barely-funny joke, and Scully once again had to tear herself from the strange calm of those grey eyes.

"Shall we?" Claire motioned toward the club.

"Sure," Scully smiled, liking the feel of the sturdy boots against the concrete. Now, with these on her feet, the leather on her skin felt more powerful than sensual, more like armor than something intended to arouse. She took a deep breath of the crisp Halloween air, feeling infused with something that was new, but old too, like she had always known it but had not been in touch with it.

Claire opened the door to the club and motioned for Scully to go in first. Scully barged right in, no longer held back by functionless footwear, and then stopped in her tracks.

The scene was positively shocking to Scully. The club was full of women--nothing but women, she realized immediately--and most of them were pierced, studded, collared, cuffed, and otherwise adorned with metal. Scully's getup was nothing compared to the attire she saw everywhere around her. She tried to take in what she was seeing. She could not quite absorb for the wildness of the women; they looked so foreign to her, yet so free, their arms flung around each other's shoulders, their biceps bulging as they leaned against the bar, their lips embracing the tip of a cigarette and then opening wide as they laughed.

"Oh, damn," Claire muttered behind her. "I forgot they were doing a fetish night for Halloween."

"A what night?" Scully mumbled, still transfixed by the crowd.

"Fetish. You know, piercings, all that. Mostly for the younger crowd."

"Oh, yeah." Claire was suddenly in front of her then, and Scully hurried to catch up with her.

"Have a seat," Claire smiled, pulling out a bar stool. They sat at a long bar on one wall, a good vantage point for watching the entire room. Scully's brain registered the fact that everything seemed to be black and white, and that Claire's red lipstick and gloves were again the standouts in a monochrome lineup.

"This is one of your favorite places?" Scully heard herself say, instantly sorry for the incredulous tone she heard in her own voice.

"It's not usually like this," Claire tried to explain. But Scully held up a hand.

"No, I didn't mean anything by that. I'm just a little surprised."

"Well, usually it's just a bunch of women sitting around talking," Claire laughed.

"Oh. But it's always all, um..." Scully wasn't sure how to avoid appearing naive.

"All what?"

"All women," she managed, her voice strained.

"Ah. Yes," Claire said, the concern evident in her voice. But a slight smile crept across her lips, and she met Dana's eyes, her own soft and kind. "Does that bother you, Dana?" she half-whispered.

Scully felt those grey eyes and that soft voice sweep right through her again and leave a comfortable energy behind. "No," she said as firmly as she could. "It doesn't bother me at all."

"Good." The smile on Claire's face grew a broad and warmer, and she laughed a little. Scully returned the smile, and then turned back to watch the wild, tougher-than-she'd-ever-be crowd.

Claire ordered drinks for both of them--red wine, Scully was glad to see--and settled against the bar, enjoying watching the crowd as much as Scully was. "Oh, to be young and tattooed," Claire laughed.

"Old and tattooed isn't bad either," Scully smiled. She turned just enough to see Claire raise an eyebrow, then her glass.

"To the absence of people in Klingon costumes," Claire said loudly, raising her glass even higher.

"Cheers," Scully smiled, again caught in the grey eyes.

They drank in silence for a while, until the music shifted from riot grrrl queercore to something rather soothing.

"Would you like to dance?" Claire said suddenly. Her voice, clear, deep, solid, seemed to be all around Scully.

"Um...I'm not much of a dancer," Scully stammered. She tried to fix her eyes on an androgynous bartender she had spotted a moment ago. She felt like her desire was as non-specific as the bartender's look; it alternated between an urge to run and a need to watch the night unfold.

Claire cleared her throat. "Well, it's a slow song, so what could be hard about dancing to that?" she teased, standing up and moving directly in front of Scully. She extended her hand and let the slow grin slide across her face again. Scully looked at the gloved hand in front of her, then at the deep red lips that matched them, then mentally shook herself and returned to the cool grey eyes.

"Well, I guess I could manage that," Scully shrugged, amazed at her own words. She carefully took Claire's hand, which was surprisingly warm, contrasting with those cool eyes. And the glove was remarkably soft--so soft Scully could not help but caress the hand in her own, fascinated by the feel of the fabric over Claire's long fingers. Scully let Claire pull her toward the dance floor, and she followed stiffly, not daring to catch the eyes of the young women around her. She focused on the red hand in her own pale hand, watching it part the sea of black leather with a line of soft crimson.

"Piece of cake." Claire stopped and turned toward Scully. She deftly circled the smaller woman's waist, pulling her closer, but not too close, allowing Scully to retreat if she needed to.

Scully was not sure what to do with her hands. She tentatively reached one arm around Claire's waist, and, seeing her dancing partner's smiling response, rested the other hand on a firm bicep.

They moved slowly, pulsing rather than dancing. Scully was not sure what to look at. Finally she could not help but seek out those grey eyes again, and smiled at the strange warmth she found there.

"I don't know you at all, Claire," she whispered, "but this is nice."

"Yes, it is, isn't it?" Claire pulled Scully just a tiny bit closer. Scully just smiled in return. "You're exquisite, Dana," she said huskily. At that, Scully felt her knees go weak.

She looked at the floor then, blushing a little, too stunned to process the whole situation. She tried to focus on the music, the smell of leather, the free-spirited atmosphere.

But she felt a velvet finger under her chin and let it tip her face up. She felt her breath go suddenly shallow as she met Claire's calm gaze, and she tried to think of something to say. But before she could form a thought, Claire's lips met hers, softly, carefully, sweetly.

Scully pushed Claire away and shook her head. "This is not what I want," she hissed, surprised by the vehemence in her own voice. She crossed the dance floor, back to the long bar, and stopped to figure out where to go next. The sea of black leather on the dance floor seemed to swim rhythmically in front of her, and she felt sick.

She saw some stairs on the opposite wall and headed for them, her mind spinning, her chin still feeling the touch of velvet. She ran her fingers through her hair as she ascended the stairs, trying to clear her mind. She could barely remember arriving at the party with Mulder, and had no idea how she'd gotten herself into a situation that felt even more alien than the crowd of UFO enthusiasts.

At the top of the stairs, she entered a second, quieter bar, dark except for the flickering of candles on shelves scattered randomly around the small room. There were several tables and a pool table, as well as a neglected pinball machine. *This is much more my element,* she thought to herself, taking a deep breath. She headed for the bar and ordered a beer, hoping it would settle her nerves and cool her down.

The room was almost empty. Two couples were relaxing with drinks and cigarettes at tables near a wall of glass that overlooked the dance floor. Like the wild crowd, they too were dressed in leather and sprinkled with chains, but they looked less angry, less strong than the throngs on the floor.

Scully cleared her throat and walked across the room to one of the couples. "Excuse me, can I bum a cigarette?" she heard herself say.

One of the women nodded and held up a case of hand-rolled cigarettes. Scully took one, then leaned forward a little as the woman flicked a lighter. Scully inhaled deeply, squelching the cough that began to rise in protest.

"Thanks," Scully rasped, heading back to one of the tables. She settled in, propping her feet on a chair and realizing with chagrin that she was still wearing Claire's boots. She had hoped she would be able to find a phone, call a cab, and get the hell out of here. But, regardless of how uncomfortable the circumstances might be, she wasn't about to steal someone's shoes.

The music from the floor began to throb. Scully closed her eyes and let it pulse through her a little. But the distance of the sound reminded her of Claire's cool, grey eyes and steady embrace. She sighed and sat up a little straighter, trying to focus her mind on something. But her mind kept returning to the softness of the gloved hands and the even softer kiss.

Scully sighed and let herself give in to the feeling a little. She took a few long gulps of her beer, and acknowledge to herself that she was decidedly drunk. She took a deep drag on the mild cigarette. She tried to focus on the pulse of the music, on the physical act of inhaling and exhaling the smoke, on anything but Claire.

By the time the cigarette was gone, several more couples had drifted into the room. Scully stood up, feeling foolish for taking up an entire table by herself. She moved to the deep darkness at one side of the room, looking for a wall to lean against. But the wall closest to her was really a black curtain, so she just stood with her back to it, not sure where else to go and numb enough to be comfortable.

From her new point of view, she could see through the glass wall overlooking the floor. She watched the women dancing, fascinated again by the energy and unfettered beauty she saw in the crowd. She wondered briefly whether Claire was still down there somewhere, but did not try to look for her.

She downed the rest of the beer. Before she could decide what to do next, a bartender was at her side, holding another beer. "Compliments of the bar," the woman said softly, taking Scully's empty bottle and giving her a slight smile. Scully raised one eyebrow, but did not say anything. She took the beer and turned back to the scene below.

Half an hour later, Scully was entranced by the movement of the lights and the women on the dance floor. The music had a strange orchestral tinge to it now, though it still thrummed and screeched often enough to make Scully feel transported and unsure. She considered briefly the possibility that the hand-rolled cigarette had been augmented with something stronger, but admitted too that she tended to drift from reality a little when she was this drunk.

She closed her eyes and tried to catch snippets of the lyrics floating up from below. *We are fireworks, slowly glowing, bold and bright...* The singer's voice was almost morose, but soothing nonetheless. She swayed a little, knowing she was in a very dark part of the room, and deciding she didn't care who saw her anyway.

The music changed. The voice was the same, but the music sweeter, although still unsettling somehow. She heard occasional words, *majestic,* *imperial.* She felt herself nod to the beat. And she thought she felt, from somewhere, a hand reach from somewhere behind her and brush her nodding face.

*Reach out your hands, I'm just a step away.* She heard the lyric and tried to process it as she felt the ghost-like hand caress her neck, then her shoulder, then snake down her side to her hip. It rested there. Scully was shocked to realize she was not afraid, just surprised, and somewhat pleasantly so. She kept her eyes closed, letting the music hypnotize her, letting the hand caress her gently. She continued to sway and nod to the beat.

The hand stayed at her hip until the music changed again. The new song was faster, more insistent, a different dark voice soaring above the guitars and drums. The hand at her hip moved behind her, caressing her lower back, then slid lower to her ass. She instinctively pushed herself against the hand, curve against curve. She could feel the warmth against her skin, her leather pants seeming to serve as a conductor of body heat. She tried to steady herself, still shocked, but intrigued, almost thrilled.

The hand skipped up her spine then, stopping halfway up and reaching around to her left breast. Scully gasped softly, and leaned back a little more, looking for support. She felt something solid behind her and let herself settle against it. The hand traced the outside of her breast, then spiraled in, finding her nipple. She squeezed her eyes tight, trying to shut out the reality of this, trying to stop her mind from asking whose hand, whose nipple, whose decision this was.

She was almost afraid to breathe as the hand slid down her side and under her shirt. She felt grateful she had not worn a bra, and then quickly chased the thought right out of her mind, frightened of it. The hand found her breast again and cradled it, circling again, closer, then fluttered across her nipple. Scully inhaled, waiting, stunned.

Suddenly another hand found her right breast, and before she could adjust to the new sensory input, two sets of fingers pinched both of her nipples. She let her head fall back and she twisted her body a little against the fingers, unable to resist the pleasant pain.

One hand pulled back suddenly then, grabbing her left arm, and then the other hand closed around her right arm. She waited, then felt panic replace the heat that had been filling her veins. The hands quickly and skillfully manacled her wrists behind her. The sudden click of handcuffs closing nearly brought her back to her senses--until the hands just as quickly returned to her breasts and engulfed them in softness again.

She tried to focus for a moment, but the caresses were too strong, so she allowed herself to float with them. She wondered briefly how they could be so extraordinarily soft. Before she could speculate further, one hand left her breasts and dipped toward her waist. A finger stopped just behind the waistband of her pants, then traced the waistband from one side to the other, hipbone to hipbone. She shuddered a little. She considered opening her eyes to make sure no one was watching, but the steady pulse of the music kept her eyes closed and her thoughts quiet.

The other hand left her breasts, and she felt eight fingers spread across her belly behind the waistband of her pants, and two thumbs stretch up and press into her skin just below her breasts. She felt held, supported, solid.

Then one hand unfastened her pants and the other dipped down to tangle its fingers in red curls. Scully gasped harshly then, feeling a pool of moisture collect to welcome the fingers. She pushed her hips just slightly forward, and felt the fingers respond, parting her labia and surrounding her clitoris.

Scully tried to keep her breathing regular. The music slowed down suddenly, or at least seemed to, almost matching the dragging and pulling of the fingers and the heaviness of her breath.

The hand that had unfastened her pants slid down to join its counterpart, and Scully shifted her feet a little. She felt herself open--all of her self--to the softness and warmth. Fingers teased her clitoris, curled against her labia, fluttered from red ringlets to smooth wet skin. She swayed more emphatically now, still matching the music, still safe in the darkness.

As her clitoris began to thrum in uneven bursts, a finger plunged inside her, causing her stand completely still, the searing heat inside her own body surprising her. But she almost immediately moved again, pressing against the finger, wanting it to reach as far as it could, wanting its softness. The hand at her clitoris continued its steady barrage of dancing fingers and undulating palm. She felt surrounded by something, something warm and dark, and felt it emanate to the curtain and the solidness behind her.

A second finger, then a third, pushed into her, and she felt herself begin to fall. But the steady shape behind her held her up, shored her up against the waves, allowed her to push back, ride, pull, move with an abandon she had never known before. Scully's wrists tensed against their restraints, and the cold edge of the metal only made the fingers reaching inside her seem softer, warmer, more alive.

The music reached a strange crescendo then, the bass guitar mooring the lead guitar that was trying to soar, the drums battling the reverb of the atmospheric keyboards. She let herself ride the wave of the music and the fingers, pushing herself toward the floor, the ground, the earth. She imagined she could feel the molten center of the planet reach up through the soles of her feet, along her calves, around her knees, across the tops of her thighs to her own core, where it spread like a palm and flooded into her, searing, liquid, rushing, hot.

She came, shuddering, the muscles of her legs quivering, her forearms straining against the handcuffs, her neck taut with the weight of her unthinking head thrown back against the curtain. She let a small, barely audible moan escape her lips, and settled hard against the shape behind her, unable to find her balance.

The song ended and another began as her muscles quieted and she tried to regain her focus. She shook her head and took a deep breath. The hands slid slowly away from her, and the loss of their warmth made her moan again. Her wrists were released. The hands touched her waist for a moment, pushing her up a little, encouraging her to stand on her own feet. They steadied her, then disappeared.

Scully twisted her wrists in circles, restoring the flow of blood, her eyes still closed. Her ragged breath evened out a little. She slowly, carefully, opened her eyes. The same couples were staring at the floor through the glass; the same bartender was absent-mindedly wiping the bar. The same small throng smoked, drank, and talked at the tables. No one was looking at her, or even in her direction.

She looked down at her booted feet and ran a hand through her hair. She was drunk, high, released, sated, relaxed. She tried to feel ashamed, tried to scold herself, but could not. She smiled and took a step toward the door.

Her foot brushed against something as she moved, so she stopped and reached down. She felt, but could not quite see, some sort of fabric where the curtain touched the floor. She picked it up, recognizing its softness immediately. She stared at it, shocked, trying to match its deep red color to the softness she knew had sought out the depths of her, had brought her to such abandon. She held in her hand a crimson velvet glove, slightly damp, familiar, and, she had to admit, very welcome.

She marched down the stairs, her vision a little clearer, her muscles renewed. She scanned the sea of black leather on the dance floor. No sign of red anywhere. She walked toward the long bar, unsure where else to go, when something made her stop. She turned, slowly, finally facing the door, where she saw deep red lips smiling faintly, and a red gloved hand extended toward her. She walked, or floated, toward it.

"Ready to get out of here?" Claire's voice was grey like her eyes, red like her gloves, long and warm like her fingers.

Scully smiled and placed her own hand in Claire's. "Yes, I think I'm finally...finally ready." Her voice was steady and clear. The softness of Claire's hand in hers sent a rush of warmth through Scully again, and, as if she knew that would happen, Claire stretched an arm around Scully's waist to steady her.

They stepped out into a night that seemed thick and alive. Scully reveled in the joyous sound of their steps and the feel of Claire's fingers entwined in her own.

"Happy Halloween, Dana." Claire's voice was silvery.

Dana Scully looked up at the stars and laughed softly, feeling free, warm, and fine. *Happy Halloween, indeed.*


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