Title: Tonight I Was
Summary: A late night call turns Mulder's world inside out.
Author's note: Lee B. challenged people to write something where loss of control was a bad thing for Scully, instead of the more accepted 'good thing'. I doubt this is exactly what was wanted, but it's what came. This is utterly AU.
The phone dispersed the uneasy fragments of his dreaming. It took forever to find it under the clutter of magazines, videos and pizza boxes. It took even longer to answer it, his co-ordination made soggy by sleep. He meant to say hello but only managed an inarticulate noise.
"Mulder, it's me." He was wide-awake now, and utterly terrified. Her voice was a small thread, a tenuous connection that pulled at him. Even dying, she had never sounded this fragile.
He forced himself to sit upright, rubbing the graininess of sleep from his eyes. 'Yeah, Scully. Whassup?"
A small sound, a convulsive sob echoed over the tinny channel. "Mulder, I can't find my clothes, and there's blood- oh, god, Mulder, there's blood all over me and I don't even know-." Another sob, wrenchingly weak, broke through her whispers. "I don't know if it's mine or someone else's."
A thousand nightmare visions rose up behind his closed eyelids; he knew too well the monsters of the world, had arrested a number of them. A soft whimpering of his name pulled him back to the phone, away from useless supposition. "S'okay, Scully," he muttered soothingly, reaching for gun and keys and wallet and sending the table's clutter all over the floor in his haste. "Just tell me where you are, okay, partner? I'll be there for you as soon as I can, okay?"
He heard her moving, a staggering process around the unseen room. He winced at the sound of flesh hitting wood, the tinkle of broken glass. "Mulder, I don't know where I am, I'm all sticky, it hurts, god, Mulder, you have to help me-."
He grabbed a battered parka off the rack as he went out the door. "C'mon, Scully. Use all those detecting skills they taught you at Quantico, huh? Soon as you tell me where you are I'll come and take care of things, okay?" He took the stairs three at a time, unwilling to risk losing time to the lag of the elevator.
"Okay, okay," the breathy, alien voice replied. "I'm looking, I'm looking, I'm looking. I think I'm in a motel, Mulder." He tried to control the quick intake of breath, hissed as the cold night air bit into his lungs. He began to shake, but not from the cold. He followed her progress by the sound of her movements. As they grew fainter, he realized she had set the phone down. He heard a door open, then shut again. His car was already growling to reluctant life when she returned to the phone.
"I'm at the Adderly Motel, room 123. Wherever that is? Mulder, there's blood everywhere!" Her voice was querulous, tangential to the situation. "The sheet is sticking to me. I want to go get clean, okay Mulder?"
"Nonono!" He pulled into the light traffic. "Look, I don't know where the Adderly is, okay, Scully? And I don't want to hang up on you, so I need you to look around for a phone book, all right? Motel rooms always have phone books, so you've got to do this for me, okay?" He felt as if he were talking to very slow child, and knew that any other time Scully would be tearing off his head and spitting down his throat for it. The fact that she only managed a distracted "Okay, Mulder." made him want to weep.
Again she drifted from the phone; he split his concentration between tracking her progress through the room and the road before him. He had to keep her occupied, preferably talking, so that she didn't do anything to damage evidence. She had to stay out the shower so that when she was checked over they could take the necessary samples if she'd been - if she'd been-. His mind froze on the word, and he was hard pressed not to gag in physical response to the thought. He felt his throat close with tears. Shit, not that, don't let it be that. Not Scully.
She was back at the phone, and she had an address for him. "That's great, Scully. Traffic is really light, so I'll be there soon, okay? Now I need you to start telling me what happened, so I can make sure things get taken care of. Where did you go tonight?" He pushed his foot hard on the gas, half hoping that a cop would flag him. He didn't want to go into this alone, afraid that he couldn't be strong enough if his worst fears were realized.
"Ah, I went out," she whispered, her voice rough. "It's been so - hard, lately, and I just wanted to get out for couple of hours." He heard her pause, her breath harsh and irregular. "I thought music, just went to hear the music. Had a drink, talked to this guy for a little while. He was nice. He listened, y'know?" Shame curled through him at the little-girl lost quality of her voice, and the guilty tone to her admission. ~He~ listened- something Mulder didn't do very well. Or very often. Shitshitshit.
"So he was listening. Do you remember his name, Scully?" He forced himself to keep his tone light, conversational.
He heard her that odd hitch to her breathing again, and movement as if she were pacing. "Uh, he was short, and dark, and he had brown eyes, and he paid for my second drink- I can't remember, Mulder. Why can't I remember?" Her voice rose, shrilled in his ears. "Goddamnit, Mulder, it's all over me, I stink. It's too sticky to rub off, oh god, Mulder, hurry up, please. Just hurry, okay?"
His foot dropped down harder on the gas. "I'm hurrying, Scully. Just hang on, partner. I'm coming for you."
She sighed, a feathery sound. "You're coming for me," she repeated. "I'm still naked, Mulder."
Mulder closed his eyes briefly against oncoming headlights, and made a thick noise that could have been a laugh or a sob. "Then I'm definitely going to hurry, Scully."
The hotel wasn't a fleabag, as he'd half expected. Instead, it was a sort of mom and pop operation, the kind families with small kids used. Room 123 was at the end, near the Coke machine. When he reached it the door was open.
"Don't turn on the light."
He started at the voice, small and paper-thin. The walkway lights cast a hazy illumination in the room, giving indistinct edges to the shadows. She had huddled on the floor by the bed, its thin quilt swathed about her. "I couldn't wear the sheet anymore. It was too sticky."
Mulder's gut clenched at the sight of her. He knew, rationally, that he had almost a foot on Scully, that she was actually dainty by most people's standards. Sheer force of personality had always managed to counteract that somehow. In the five years that they had worked together, she had never been small.
He crouched down in front of her, moving slowly in the darkness of the room. With careful deliberateness he slid the quilt from her shoulders, trying to guess at the damage it hid. She didn't move to stop him, but she didn't raise her head to meet his eyes.
Her skin glared white in the diffused light, except where it was smeared darkly. He reached out, recoiled slightly at the cool tackiness of drying blood. "Oh Scully," he whispered, his voice broken glass and sandpaper. The quilt slipped further, unheeded. He traced gentle fingers over her, looking for fractured bones, swelling and bruises. Every time she flinched he started back as well, terrified of snapping the slender filament that kept her anchored to him, to reality.
He laid a soft hand around the back of her head, feeling the sweep of bone beneath the plaster of her sweaty hair. "Scully, were you - were you-." Again the word wouldn't come, couldn't come.
He felt the slow shudder move through her, the sudden intake of breath. "It hurts," she said softly, childishly.
He sat there, on old carpet, hearing the whir of the Coke machine and the hum of distant cars, and bit at his lip until he tasted blood. He would not cry, he would not fall on his partner and cry for all the things that had been taken away. He felt her hand on the back of his neck. "Will you look, please?" Before he could protest, refuse, she slid her legs away from her torso and apart, surrounding him. She was hideous, sprawled and nude, stripped to the bone of everything that was Scully. Mulder's heart broke.
"Scully, no, it's not..." he started, but her grip tightened on his skull, forced him to look down at the juncture of her thighs.
White skin, a tangle of red curls, and more blood than had any right to be there. The slopes of her thighs were gory, still slick as blood had mixed with fear-sweat. Unwillingly, he reached out, touched the mess. His fingers found them even as his eyes did: twin punctures just below where thigh joined hip. Her soft sigh startled him.
"Scully, what the hell-?" His voice trailed off as he realized she was looking at him now. Her eyes were not empty, as he had feared they would be. They shone in the faint light from the outside floods, luminous as cats' eyes, and her cupid's bow mouth was stretched in a bone-white smile.
"You always told me I should be more open to extreme possibilities," she said, her grip on his neck gone iron, her legs wrapping around him with inhuman strength. "Tonight, I was."
He felt the blowtorch heat of her mouth at his throat, and then he felt nothing at all.