Title: In Wolf's Clothing
Summary: "A manitou overtakes a man by night, not by full moon. But when its blood lust builds to an uncontrollable level, a man changes to a sickening creature. It kills, releasing the savage energy. The man returns to his true self, unaware of what has happened. The cycle begins anew the next day." - Ish in "Shapes"
Disclaimer: Do these characters really belong to Chris Carter, FOX and 1013 Productions? If so, no copyright infringement intended. Fun, yes. Profit, no.
Author's notes: Sorry, no hearts and flowers in this "first time" fic. Written for Fandomonium's Virtual Season of Smut Challenge (Season One). Special thanks to xdksfan and mimic117 for beta.
CRAZY HORSE INN BILLINGS, MONTANA
The bed is disheveled; the sheets so drenched in blood there are pools in the creases. It is Scully's blood. She's on a gurney, deathly pale, unconscious. Two EMT's steer her around her motel bureau and out the door to a waiting ambulance. Mulder found her minutes ago, bleeding from four parallel gashes, nine to ten inches long, which ran raggedly from her left shoulder to her cleavage. He recognized the marks. They were made by a supernatural creature, a werewolf, like the one that killed Jim Parker in Browning. Mulder called 911, then tried his best to stanch Scully's wounds.
Now he tries not to pace as the local police take photographs and collect evidence.
"Any idea who might've done this, Agent Mulder?" asks Detective Craig Dickenson, a brawny man with a walrus mustache and a bulldog's underbite. He has the suspicious nature of a seasoned investigator.
"Not who. What."
"Our suspect is a 'what'? Would that make him plant, animal or mineral?"
"Animal." Mulder ignores Dickenson's sarcasm. "A wolf...of sorts."
"There's no sign of forced entry, so it didn't huff and puff and blow the door in. Maybe it rang the bell."
"I believe...this is a very clever animal."
Dickenson eyeballs Mulder. Skepticism thins his lips.
Mulder knows how it looks. There is blood on his hands, t- shirt, running shoes. His hair and clothes are plastered with sweat from his morning jog; he looks like he's been in a struggle. He is flushed and breathing too fast; not from guilt but from anxiety over Scully's precarious condition. He wants to kill whoever did this to her and his bloodlust certainly shows.
He also knows he'll be Dickenson's prime suspect until the evidence proves otherwise. He tries not to take it personally. He would approach the investigation the same way.
"Fresh DNA," a gloved officer announces as he carefully extracts a used condom from a waste basket beside the bed. He displays it for all to see.
Mulder winces as it's bagged for evidence. "I can save your lab techs the trouble, Dickenson. That was mine."
Dickenson's steely gaze glides over him. They both know the statistics on assault: of those committed against women, the vast majority are perpetrated by someone the victim knew, and most non-stranger assailants are intimates, either family members or former or current romantic partners.
Dickenson has found his possible motive.
He withdraws handcuffs from his pocket the way a magician pulls a rabbit out of a hat. "In that case, Agent Mulder, I'm placing you under arrest."
"You're making a mistake. I didn't do this."
The cuffs lock coldly around Mulder's wrists.
"You have the right to remain silent. If you give up the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law..."
BILLINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT
A booking officer tucks Mulder's badge, watch and wallet into a manila envelope.
An ensuing strip search reveals scratches on Mulder's back. A bite on his shoulder.
Evidence of his guilt, according to the Billings PD.
Evidence of Scully's ardor, according to him.
He wonders how she is doing. Has she regained consciousness? Her wounds were deep, life-threatening. If he hadn't found her when he did -
They swab his bloodstained hands.
"She was cut," he explains to the technician. "I was trying to help her."
"Sure you were."
He's given an orange jumpsuit and sneakers with no laces.
Once he's dressed, he's led by a stone-faced guard to a desk with a phone.
"One call, Mr. Mulder. Make it count."
Hands cuffed, Mulder awkwardly dials the Hoover Building. He dreads this call.
"Assistant Director Walter Skinner, please."
The interrogation room is too bright and stinks of cigarettes and stale coffee. Detective Dickenson straddles a chair opposite Mulder. An evidence bag, labeled with Mulder's own slanting scrawl, lies on the table between them. It contains the skin sample he collected at the Parker ranch.
"Wanna tell me what that is?" Dickenson asks.
"Human skin, shed by Lyle Parker during his..." - Mulder is hesitant to tell the truth, but sees no other option -
"during his transformation."
"Into a wolf."
"Like the one you claim attacked your partner in her motel room."
"You watch many Lon Chaney movies as a kid, Agent Mulder?"
"Werewolves exist, Detective."
"Got evidence to back that statement?"
"Cases of humans metamorphosing into animals have been documented throughout history. The earliest recorded incident occurred in 1521 when three men were condemned to death in Germany for murder while in the shapes of wolves. Eye-witness testimonies and royal military reports corroborate sightings of werewolves in Le Gevaudan, France, in 1764. In 1857-"
"Those are fairytales, myths and the ravings of madmen, Agent Mulder, not evidence. Evidence is fiber, hair, fingerprints, semen. Yours, in this case, not some fictitious wolfman's."
"I've already admitted I had sex with Agent Scully."
"You do that often, you and your partner?"
"No? How long have you two been together?"
"She started working with me about a year ago."
"I meant, how long have you been together romantically?"
Mulder isn't sure if last night qualifies as romance, not in any traditional sense. He didn't woo Scully with flowers and poetry. There was no protracted courtship, no candlelit dinners, no hand holding or gradual progression from first base to home. Making love had been a spur of the moment thing. Appreciated to be sure, but totally unanticipated. "Last night was our first time."
"Then your timing sucks. You and Agent Scully just happen to have sex - for the first time - the very same night she's brutalized by someone else."
"Not someone. Some thing."
"Right. A 'werewolf.'"
Blood heats Mulder's face. "I-I know how it sounds-"
"No, I don't think you do." Dickenson pins him with an icy stare. "Forensics collected trace from Ms. Scully. Guess what they found."
Mulder shakes his head.
"Your epithelials, under her nails." Dickenson isn't gloating. As a matter of fact, he looks disgusted, like he's just caught wind of a decomposing corpse. "She fought you, didn't she? That's how you got those scratches on your back. And that bite on your shoulder."
"It wasn't like that."
"Big guy like you could easily overpower a woman her size, even if she is FBI trained."
"I didn't force her." It had been Scully who initiated the first kiss. Their lovemaking had been heated, but unquestionably consensual. "I would never hurt her."
"Evidence says different. A physical examination of Ms. Scully showed vaginal bruising. Can you explain that?"
Shit. In his rush, Mulder had misjudged his angle and rammed her, painfully. Startled, she bit his shoulder.
He slumps in his chair. "I-I think I need a lawyer."
"Yeah, I think you do, too."
Skinner arrives before the lawyer. He is escorted to Mulder's cell by a guard with slicked hair and a pitted complexion.
"Five minutes, wolfman," the guard warns, then howls like a bitch in heat as he saunters away.
Mulder grips the bars that separate him from his grim-faced superior. "How is she, sir?"
"She lost a lot of blood."
"Has she said what happened?"
"She hasn't regained consciousness." Skinner's jaw works from side to side. "Her mother is with her. Flew in from Baltimore an hour ago."
"I should be there."
"You get out on bail, judge won't let you anywhere near her."
"She's in danger."
"She's getting the best medical treatment possible."
"That's not what I meant. She was targeted. I believe her attacker is going to return to finish the job it started."
"A werewolf, sir."
"She needs protection. I know what to expect. I should be with her."
Skinner's frown deepens. "That won't be possible."
"Sir, you don't seriously think I'm guilty, do you?" His words crack with disappointment.
Skinner's level of discomfort seems to ratchet up a notch. "No, but Dickenson is saying you and Scully...uh..."
Mulder tightens his grip on the bars; the bones of his knuckles feel like they're going to burst through his skin. He stares Skinner down. "We slept together, sir. I didn't rape or attack her. I would never-"
"It looks bad. That's all I'm saying."
"And the one person who can corroborate my story is lying unconscious in a hospital bed, fighting for her life."
There are conditions to Mulder's release. He must remain in Montana. He is forbidden to set foot anywhere near St. Vincent's Regional Hospital. He cannot contact Scully or any member of her family. He is under suspension from the FBI. And he must undergo a psychiatric evaluation by a court appointed shrink.
Dr. Metwood is beaky and sallow-skinned. He clicks his ballpoint pen and sniffs often. His office is rife with the odor of mildew. The outdated furnishings are threadbare and a broken spring jabs Mulder's spine when he settles into a wingback beneath the doctor's framed diploma.
"Tell me what brought you to Montana, Agent Mulder."
"Scully and I were looking for...for werewolves." Metwood is going to lock him up and throw away the key.
"You believe in the existence of werewolves?"
"Have you ever heard of clinical lycanthropy, Agent Mulder?"
"Yes. In the late fifth century, a disease called lycanthropia or 'wolves fury' was described in Aetius' 'On Melancholy.' It incorporated many of the characteristics associated with werewolfism. Afflicted persons disturbed graves, ate bones, suffered from thirst, had hollow, haggard appearances and even howled."
"That's...quite interesting." Metwood sniffs. "A more modern definition refers to the psychiatric syndrome that involves the delusional belief that the affected person is, or has, transformed into an animal."
"I believe in werewolves, Dr. Metwood. I don't believe I am one. I didn't experience a psychotic episode and I didn't attack my partner."
"You sound angry."
"I am angry. I'm fucking pissed. My partner was attacked. I'm being blamed while the real assailant is walking free." Mulder stares out the window behind Metwood. Rain blurs the glass. Billings' downtown is shrouded in dense fog.
"Any idea who this real assailant, this werewolf, if you will, might be?"
"My guess is Gwen Goodensnake."
"What makes you suspect her?"
"The curse follows bloodlines."
"Gwen's brother Joe was a werewolf."
"Hm." Metwood's pen clicks. "Your field notes say-"
"You've read my field notes?"
"Yes. And your partner's, which I noticed conflict with yours on several key points. For example, you hypothesize that Lyle Parker was a werewolf."
"He was. He killed his father."
"But he didn't remember killing Jim Parker, did he?"
Mulder recalls the old Indian's account of the manitou: When blood lust builds to an uncontrollable level, a man changes to a sickening creature. It kills, releasing the savage energy. The man returns to his true self, unaware of what has happened.
"Dr. Metwood, what are you implying?"
"That it's possible to hurt, even kill someone and yet remember nothing about it."
"Are you certain?"
He is certain. Scully phoned him in his motel room, said she'd caught a glimpse of a face at her window. Long hair. Glistening teeth. Gun in hand, she'd investigated, but found nothing. "It's creepy, Mulder. I feel like I'm being watched."
"I'll be right over."
He found no tracks, no sign of a peeping Tom, prowler or werewolf. But Scully seemed shaken, so he offered to stay for a few minutes.
She sat at the room's rickety table while he paced. They talked about the case. She showed him the claw bracelet Gwen had given her. Their conversation broadened to include other cases, paranormal monsters, mutants, things that generally go bump in the night. They compared their earliest childhood fears. His was insects. Hers was clowns. He started goofing with her, mussed his hair and mugged an exaggerated Emmett Kelly frown. She laughed, albeit nervously, told him to cut it out. When he tottered toward her like Charlie Chaplin, she stood and claimed he was scaring the crap out of her. Then, to his utter astonishment, she grabbed his shirt, pulled him close and kissed him. Hard. On the lips.
"Why, Agent Scully, I think you like being scared," he'd said when she let him up for air.
"A lot of people like being scared. It accounts for the popularity of Stephen King novels and the Psyclone at Six Flags."
"Or why someone might make a career of chasing creatures of the night with a crackpot like me." Or maybe even kiss her FBI partner?
"Nothing like a good adrenaline rush, Mulder." Her smile was broad and genuine.
He was pleased to find himself in the circle of her arms, his lips tingling from their collision-course kiss. She ran her nails over his back and kissed him again. When her breasts pressed against his chest, all rational thought flew from his head and he surrendered to his own adrenaline rush.
Their lovemaking had been passionate, but not rough; he hadn't forced her to do anything she didn't want to do, and he certainly didn't rip open her throat.
"We were intimate, Dr. Metwood. I spent the night. When I left the next morning for my jog, she was heading for the shower."
"How would you describe your state of mind just prior to your run?"
Euphoric. Confused. Excited. Panicky. He had needed to burn off nervous energy, process what happened. They'd slept together, but he had no idea if it was going to be a one night stand or the start of something more serious.
"You ever ride the Psyclone at Six Flags, Dr. Metwood?"
"Can't say that I have."
"Then you wouldn't understand what I was feeling."
TRAGO INDIAN RESERVATION
Only one man understands the truth about the werewolf curse. Ish, the old Indian.
Mulder sits on the edge of the elder man's couch. Sad, proud Native American faces stare down from a painting on the wall above the mantle. Flames crackle in the fireplace and shadows dance like ghosts on the low, wood ceiling.
"I am not able to stop the manitou, FBI." Ish cleans his rifle. His clouded eye rolls with the sighted one when he looks up at Mulder. "But you might."
"To be defeated, the manitou must be challenged by an equally strong spirit. I believe you posses such a spirit. I see it in your face when you speak about the FBI woman."
"They won't let me near her."
"You must find a way. She is trapped between this world and the next; her spirit is too unsettled to defeat the manitou on its own. You must go to her. Wait for the wolf."
Mulder eyes Ish's rifle. "I don't have a weapon."
"You may take this one, FBI, but it is not what you need."
"What do I need?"
"There is wisdom in old tales. Do you know the story of Two Wolves?"
"A grandfather once said to his grandson, 'I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is vengeful, angry and violent. The other is compassionate.' The grandson asked, 'Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?' The grandfather answered, 'The one that I feed.'"
Ish hands Mulder his rifle.
"When the manitou comes, FBI, listen to the wolf in your heart. You will know what to do."
It is after 1:00 a.m. when Mulder enters St. Vincent's Hospital and climbs the stairs to the fifth floor. He is careful to turn away from the surveillance cameras and avoid the nurses' station. He conceals Ish's rifle beneath his trench coat as he strides through the hall like he belongs there. No one stops him.
Scully is alone in room 507. Mulder's stomach feels like he left it back on the ground floor when he sees her. Her skin is the color of skim milk, her closed lids are nearly translucent. If not for the heart monitor's soft beeping, she could be mistaken for one of the corpses she autopsies.
If she dies, what will he do then? She has become his confidant, his sounding board, the only person he trusts.
And if she lives, will she suffer the curse, like Lyle Parker?
The door closes behind him, shutting out the ambient light from the nurses' station at the end of the hall. He crosses the room and draws the drapes to block the moon's hazy glow. A digital display on the heart monitor is the only source of light.
Mulder positions a guest chair between Scully's bed and the door as a first line of defense. He sits in it like a sentinel and waits. Ish's rifle lies across his lap. His finger curls around the trigger. He is prepared to kill anything that threatens Scully.
Two hours and twenty minutes tick by with excruciating slowness. He listens to Scully's shallow breaths and considers the most significant events in his life to date.
His sister's abduction tops the list.
Scully's assignment to the X-Files isn't far behind. The way she ignored his initial contempt and plowed through his bulwark of distrust still amazes him.
Will their indiscretion two nights ago be similarly life altering?
Or will her death be the next catastrophic event?
A shadow flutters at the threshold. Somehow he knows it's not the night nurse. It's the manitou, returning to finish what it started.
Mulder tenses, but doesn't budge from his chair when the door inches open. He catches a glimpse of long dark hair and glistening white teeth. The door swings shut behind the intruder and the room is plunged once more into darkness. The wolf growls, a primal sound that makes the hair on Mulder's neck prickle.
Then the dark shape rushes at him. Before Mulder can raise his rifle, it strikes him unexpectedly hard in the chest. He topples from his chair. The rifle whirls from his hands and is lost under the bed.
On his back, he scrambles toward the door, hoping to draw his attacker out into the hall, away from Scully.
It tosses the chair, which crashes into a wheeled cart. An untouched water glass shatters.
The creature lunges for him. The air is knocked from his lungs when it lands full force on his chest. It pins him to the floor. Straddles him. He struggles to inhale.
Long, stinging claws rake his brow. Blood swamps his eyes. Panting breaths steam his face.
He wants to see it...the truth about the curse...proof of his beliefs.
He grabs hold of the werewolf's flailing paw. The wrist is slim and hairless.
His attacker isn't supernatural after all.
She is human.
He twists her arm behind her back and wrestles her off him.
She slumps to floor and begins to sob.
Cautiously, Mulder releases his hold and reaches out to open the door. Silvery light floods the room, falling across the woman's face, exposing features contorted by sorrow and fear.
Sympathy displaces his desire for revenge.
"It's over, Gwen." He listens to her cry while he catches his breath. His pulse slows. Eventually it beats in sync with Scully's heart monitor.
He rises and locates the phone. Once again he dials 911 and awaits the arrival of Detective Dickenson.
THE NEXT MORNING
The police have left. Gwen Goodensnake is undergoing evaluation at Yellowstone County Psychiatric Hospital. Sunlight streaks Scully's hospital bed. Her skin is still as pale as the linens, but her eyes are open and Mulder couldn't be more relieved.
"Hey." His voice is paper-thin. He clears his throat. "How're you feeling?"
"Tired. Confused. What happened last night?"
"Gwen Goodensnake tried to kill you."
"Not a werewolf?" Her eyebrow arches.
"Did she cause that?" Scully points at the fresh stitches in his forehead.
"Yeah." He fishes into his pants pocket and withdraws Scully's wolf claw katar.
"That's the bracelet Gwen gave me."
"It's not a bracelet. It's a weapon." He fits it over his hand. Long curving claws protrude from his knuckles when he makes a fist. He swipes the air to demonstrate. "Gwen was wearing one of these last night. And when she attacked you as well, I'm guessing."
"I let her in just a couple of minutes after you left for your morning run. I thought she had additional information about the Parker case." Scully frowns. "She came at me so quickly. I didn't have time..."
"Hey, it's okay." He strokes her arm. "She knocked me flat, too."
"Mulder, why did she target me?"
"I've been thinking about that. She was hostile toward us both from the beginning. After she witnessed Lyle Parker - in animal form - murder his father, she changed her mind about the old legends. I saw her at Ish's the next day. She was frantic. She tried to steal his truck. At some point, she must've begun believing she carried the same curse as her brother. In her delusional state, she came after us. You just happened to be the one who answered the door when she knocked."
"A rather extreme case of clinical lycanthropy." Scully studies him. "You don't seem too disappointed by the fact that my attacker was nothing more numinous than a woman in wolf's clothing."
"I'm not. If Gwen had been the real deal, she'd've passed the curse on to you." He aims the katar's claws at her bandaged shoulder, but stops short of touching her.
A hint of seduction twinkles in her eyes. "When you thought you were fighting a real werewolf, were you scared?"
"Hell, yes." He slips the katar from his hand. "But I can think of better ways to get my thrills."
The sparkle fades from her eyes. She lowers her gaze.
Here it comes.
"We need to talk about what happened before I was attacked. What we did. What I did."
He nods, draws the chair to her bedside and sits. Now he is truly scared and there is nothing thrilling about it because he has decided he wants more than a one night stand and it's not looking as though she shares his feelings.
"Okay, Scully. Let's talk."