Title: The Last Dance
Author: Why Incision
Written: October 2001
URL: http://www.geocities.com/whyincisione
Archiving: Archive with permission.
Spoiler Warning: Anything through Season 8
Rating: R for dirty talking
Content Warning: All the characters make damn fools of themselves.
Classification: Humor, Holiday, Improv

Summary: Bert is evil.

Authors' Notes: We thought it would be fun to challenge the Why Incision list to give us improv elements for a Halloween fic. Now we know what true horror is. Elements listed at the story's end.


His voice thin and desperate through the cell phone connection, Doggett told his boss, "Yeah, I got the notice, but I figgered it was optional."

Kersh's reply was perfect Halloween -- part ghoul, part autumn chill. "The invitation clearly stated mandatory."

'Who throws a mandatory costume party?' Doggett wondered, scanning the nearly empty costume store racks one more time.

Kersh growled, "You have to attend! That's an order."

"But, sir!"

Kersh checked the progress of his co-conspirators - Marita was pouring bottles of vile yellow liquid into punchbowls; Krycek, his skin the pale gray of overwashed teeshirts, was carving a scowl onto a large pumpkin; and the duo in the corner were pulling their Bert and Ernie heads on.

"I guarantee it will be the social event of the season, Agent Doggett. What's your problem?"

Doggett gulped. "It's four o'clock on Halloween, that's the problem. I'm at the costume store, and they're totally cleaned out!"

"Don't be a puss, Doggett! I don't care if you come as a ballerina or a giant potato! Grab a costume and get your ass down here."

"But...there's just one costume left," Doggett whispered. "It's...dammit, it's embarrassing,"

"Jesus, Doggett! You work in the X-Files. You better get used to humiliation."

Without waiting for further comment, Kersh punched End.

The last bottle was empty. Marita tossed it into a garbage sack, satisfied. "We must hurry," she urged the others. "They'll be here soon."

The Muppets roommates, stringing crepe paper garlands, nodded.

"Everyone's coming," said Kersh. "Even Mulder and Scully."

Krycek gave out a wild, discordant laugh, then slurped pumpkin innards from his fingers. Marita and Kersh moved closer together and exchanged worried glances.

"Will he be all right? He doesn't look well," Kersh asked.

She hissed, "He's fine. I have him under control--" Bert gave a muffled growl and she shot him a glare. "I have everyone under control."

She paused, then ran a sharp, red fingernail down Kersh's beige suit jacket lapel. "How about you, Mr. Big Bad FBI Man?" she asked flirtatiously. "Wanna be under my control?"

He rumbled a laugh. Checking for Krycek first - the former agent was trimming a pumpkin lid - he murmured in her ear, "Have you been testing that punch?"

A loose smile stretched her face. "How did you know?"

He laughed again.

She protested, "Just a little tiny taste." She tugged at his loud red tie. "Is this polyester? And where's your costume?"

"It is my costume," Kersh protested. "I'm Hunter."

"Excuse me?" She stepped back and eyed his outfit. "Don't hunters wear awful plaid shirts and orange hats?"

He scowled. "I'm not *a* hunter. I'm *the* Hunter. Rick Hunter, the classic 80's television detective--"

"Classic!" Marita chortled. "That's what I love about you, Alvin. You're so macho."

Just then, a jumble of voices echoed in the hall near the ballroom's entry. "Quick!" Marita called out. "Places, everyone, places!"

Bert and Ernie dropped the crepe rolls, bumped into each other, recouped, and then rushed apart. Kersh walked rapidly towards the door to greet his 'guests.' Krycek, who was placing a candle within a pumpkin's bowels, yanked his hand upward. It wouldn't come free, and he tried again.

"Alex!" Marita was at the hall door.

"I'm coming," his rusty voice croaked.

He gave another attempt, and his hand fell off unnoticed, settling in the pumpkin's bottom. He plopped the lid on, checked over the candle-lit malice faces, and lumbered to join Marita in the shadowed hall.

With once more glance over his shoulder, Kersh flung open the doors. "Welcome, agents, administrators, lab technicians, and support staff."

He shook hands, patted backs, and grinned more than he had in the whole last year. He did tire of the repeated question, "What's your costume?" Were there no fans of fine television among the Bureau?

Mulder came through the outer door, and sensing the emptiness at his side, halted.

He peered into the darkness outside. "Scully?"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming."

He crossed his arms and smiled. "Put a little hustle in it. This outfit doesn't work as well without my sidekick."

"I'll show you a side kick," she muttered.

The small figure, red hair clashing stridently with her yellow Robin vest, joined him, head down, bright eyes flicking from behind her black mask, looking to see if anyone noticed her.

"Scully, what's wrong?"

"Mulder, I asked you to get me a Madame Curie costume. And you brought this home."

"Scully, when I asked, they gave me a *Madame* costume. Besides, these costumes are fun!" He stepped back, holding out his black rubber cape, revealing a chest plate enhanced physique and bulging codpiece.

Dryly, she commented, "For you."

He pulled her close, draping his cape over her shoulder. "Yeah. The chance to see you in skin-tight--"

"Exactly, Mulder. May I point out that I've just had a baby?"

"Aw, Scully, you look great!" A pause. His gaze dropped to her chest. "And I can honestly say that no Robin has ever filled out the uniform quite so well."

"If you keep talking like that, I'm going to leave. Let's just do our duty, drink some punch, eat some dinner and cake, and go home."

"Hey, you're the G-woman in the family. I'm not the one who has to attend or else. Kersh has a way with words, doesn't he? I couldn't tell whether it was an invitation or a death warrant."

Scully caught her reflection in a long mirror. "Death might have been preferable."

Mulder laughed. "Trust me, it could have been much worse. It was either this or a god-awful Frank-N-Furter costume. Imagine the poor sucker who has to wear that tonight."

"I would have been comfortable with you dressing as Frank and I could have been Janet Weiss."

"Don't even say it. Me, in stiletto heels, the fishnet stockings and the bustier. And that long silver cape! I'm telling you, Scully, there is some sorry soul out there far worse off than--"

Doggett emerged from the shadows, silver cape and all.

Mulder snapped his jaw up as Scully elbowed him in the ribs. "Oh. Hi, John."

"Hey," he answered, scuffing his silver heel on the floor. His thin mouth was downturned, the lines of his face more pronounced than ever. He'd made no attempt at makeup and hair, and the effect was somehow worse than if he'd gone all out.

"Agent Doggett -- how did you know to come as my ex-wife?" Agent Glockputz, from VC, laughed loudly from behind them. Slapping Scully on the shoulder, he added, "Great outfit for you too, Danes. Rockin' Robin!"

In a swirl of lame, Doggett made a quick escape.

After shrugging, Glockputz scanned Batman and asked Scully, "And who's your date?"

Struggling for control of her anger, Scully said, "You remember Agent--the former Agent Mulder, from the X-Files."

The agent squinted at Mulder. "The name's familiar. You retired?"

"You could say that," Mulder grumbled.

"Nice of you to tag along with Scully tonight," Glockputz said.

Kersh called into the entry, "Come on, everyone! Plenty of punch to go around."

Mulder managed to find the small of Scully's back under her cape, pushing her forward, and surreptitiously adjusted his codpiece. Retired, indeed!

Several minutes later, Skinner came into the empty entry, and hung his coat up. Smoothing the tight Starfleet uniform across his flat stomach, passing a palm unconsciously over his scalp, he sighed. Why had he come? There was nothing worse than being dateless at an FBI gathering. No, worse was seeing Mulder and Scully together, happy. Skinner had even stopped going over for Sunday dinner. Guilt, self-loathing, and childlike sulking warred every time he saw Scully ask Mulder to pass her the salt.

Standing in the ballroom's doorway, Skinner glanced around. But he had to come. On the phone, Mulder had told him what their costumes were to be, and although he couldn't imagine Scully wearing a Robin costume without the benefit of heavy narcotics, he couldn't pass up on the chance to see her in tights.

As if reading his mind, a pumpkin on the closest table leered at him and he swore he heard it chuckle. He blinked and it returned to a Cheshire grin.

"What the...?" Taking a step closer to investigate, he stopped short when he heard the kareoke machine crackle to life in the main room. Some joker dressed as Ernie had the microphone. Skinner squinted at the stage. Surely his mind was playing tricks on him: he could have sworn there was a bulge at the back of Ernie's turtleneck.

"Hey, everyone!" Ernie yelled. "Ready to rumble?"

All the assembled partygoers roared out in approval, raising tipping punch glasses, sloshing yellow liquid over their hands.

Sitting at a table, her cape carefully arranged to cover her figure, Scully sniffed at her beverage. "Mulder, are you sure this is non-alcoholic?"

"I asked, and the server sort of grunted in reply. I took that for yes."

She passed it to him. "You try it first."

He sipped once, carefully. Then took a deeper draught. "Mmmmm...that's good."

"Has it got alcohol in it, though?"

"It's got something in it!" he said with a sloppy smile.

"I'll pass," she said primly. Someone was saying her name. She focused on Ernie.

"--a song for our new mother in our midst! Just for Agent Scully, I'll sing, 'Rubber Duckie'."

Scully stifled a groan, and pulled the cape closer. Coming to this party was a terrible mistake. She had nothing in common with these people and had seemed to have lost her party gene when she'd given birth. A nice evening at home with her two babies, Mulder and William, watching Forensic Detectives on the Discovery Channel, was fine with her. But Kersh had been so insistent, in fact, rather threatening--

"Joy of joys...when I squeeze you, you make noise...." Ernie swiveled his hips in a move Elvis would have envied.

Across the room, between gulps of punch, Skinner craned his neck, trying to spot Scully. Then he saw a cap of red hair, and the stiff shoulders.

Tight little calves wavering above high, high heels, a short, short, olive green skirt, a snug blouse, the fabric so thin he could see her bra was white, and a sash. She was dressed as a Girl Scout. It was fantasy #342 come to life!

He pushed his way to her side and blurted out, "Cute. I didn't know they made skirts in that size." He winced. Banal at best, his joke could also be construed as sexual harassment or a fat joke. What had come over him?

She turned and he stepped back in shock. It was Kimberly, his secretary. Tonight, she looked even more disarmingly like Scully. Maybe it was the military bearing with which she wore the Girl Scout Uniform.

He stumbled for a recovery. "Did you, ahh, earn those badges yourself?"

"As a matter of fact, sir...." She broke into a smile and a one- shoulder shrug, erasing the resemblance. "No, I didn't."

Trapped in this conversation, he could only think to say, "I was an Eagle Scout, you know."

"Really?" Her eyes glowed as she sipped her punch.

He mirrored her motion. His throat was sand. "Yeah, I had a lot of badges."

She snuggled close. "Anyone can get a lot of badges. What was your most unusual one?"

Suddenly overcome, Skinner had to battle a sob. He croaked, "Snugums!"

"Excuse me?" She stepped back, worried.

"My white standard poodle. Troopmaster Bruce was so proud of me. He bred the dogs, and I earned a badge for best dog grooming."

She plopped into a chair, suddenly exhausted. "Really."

Skinner was carried back to those happy childhood days. The hum of the hairdryer, Snugums' fluffy hair billowing larger and larger, Troopmaster Bruce's hand heavy on his back, whispering in his ear, "Very good, Walter."

"Toenails?" Kimberly asked.

"What?" Skinner shook himself. The pumpkin on the table grinned at him, mean. He could still hear Mikey Schulz as he threw dirt on Snugums' pure white coat. "Sissy!"

"I've heard they paint those dogs' toenails."

"Oh, yes, I did that."

She folded her arms across her chest. "I don't believe you."

"Scout's honor."

She pulled a bottle of purple polish from her purse and gave him a slow smile. "I'm calling your bluff, sir. I bet you twenty bucks you can't paint toenails properly."

Skinner downed his punch with a gulp and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. "You're on." He accepted the tiny bottle and looked down at her dainty feet. "Which one do you want me to do?"

She focused pointedly on his own right foot. "That one."

"Now just a second here..."

She shrugged and reached for the polish. "Suit yourself."

"No!" He scowled. All those years with Snugums had taught him a little something about honor. "I'll do it."

He wriggled off one boot and stripped the sock from his foot. With the easy grace of a flamingo, he reached down and applied quick, neat strokes to his toenails. "Bet you're feeling pretty silly now," he remarked to Kimberly without looking up.

*snap*

The flash made him blink his eyes. He craned his neck to see Kimberly standing over him with a drug store camera and a satisfied grin. "Bet I'll be getting that raise next month."

Skinner sighed and sat down in the chair. He figured he could pretty much count on a life-sized poster showing up at the Christmas party. "Hey, your turn!" A wicked witch tossed him the kareoke microphone. He thought for a moment -- why the hell not? - - made his request, and then started singing Modern Love, really, really slow.

"I know when to go out -- and when to stay in --get things done."

"He's singing our song, Scully." Mulder tugged on her cape.

"We don't have a song."

"I'm standing in the wind, but I never wave bye-bye."

"We can make this our song. We'll dance cheek to cheek and from now on, whenever Skinner sings David Bowie, you'll think of me."

"Mulder, I don't think --"

A large yellow Muppet with a shock of black hair approached the table and extended his hand. "Asian Scully made Ben Hur's pants?" he asked in his best muffle.

"Excuse me?"

"I think Bert's making a move, Scully." Mulder sat back in his chair, eyeing her with glee. "He wants you to dance."

Scully took in Bert's jaundiced foam head and garish turtleneck. Today's episode brought to you by the letters "N" and "O," she thought, and grabbed Mulder's hand. "Sorry," she told Bert, "but this is our song."

Skinner was swinging now: "Modern love - walks beside me! Modern love - walks on by! Modern love - gets me to the church on time!"

Scully stepped into Mulder's arms and laid her cheek on his shoulder. As his hand slid down her back, she thought it might not have been such a bad idea to come after all. How long had it been since they'd had a moment together like this? How long since she had felt...

Was that candy bags they were handing out at the far table?

She shifted subtly for a better look. Looked like candy, all right. Lindt truffles and Godiva squares. She could practically taste the silky chocolate dissolving on her tongue. Surely one little sample wouldn't hurt. It had been so long... Closer, closer she pressed towards the object of her desire.

"Scully?

"Mmmm?"

"I think I'm supposed to be the one leading here."

She was jolted out of her cocoa reverie. "Sorry."

"Check it out," he said, indicating the nearest corner with his chin. "I think the full moon has finally driven old Kersh over the edge. He's talking to that giant potted plant."

"That plant has heels, Mulder. And fishnets."

"Doggett," Mulder breathed, stopping their dance. Kersh proved him right by yanking the poor agent free from the foliage. "We should try to help him," Mulder said, but Scully had noticed the waiters serving bowls of soup.

Heading back to their table, she said, "Don't worry about him. He's a big boy. He handled that giant, blinding reptile just fine, so he can take care of Kersh."

Snagging another glass of punch, Mulder mumbled, "I'll be along in a minute."

Hand still firmly gripping Doggett's elbow, Kersh's eyes gleamed as he watched Mulder. "Yes, everyone, drink more punch! There's plenty!"


end, 1/2: The Last Dance by Why Incision

Part 2/2 -- The Last Dance by Why Incision


Unnoticed back in the shadowy hall, Marita and Krycek followed the party's progress. Marita asked, "Are you sure this is going to work?"

Krycek sneered, "Sure it will. Mulder and Scully are busy with each other, Skinner's busy fretting over them, and Doggett's busy hiding his costume. It's the perfect opportunity."

"To do what?" she asked.

His pockmarked brow furrowed. "Huh?"

"Why are we doing this?"

He stared at her. "You don't know the plan?"

"I thought you did!"

"Shit," he hissed. "Let's go find Ernie."

Doggett was trying to arrange himself back in the plant when Mulder offered him some punch. "Here, it's good."

"Yeah. I should get drunk. It might make this night go faster." In a gesture reminiscent of Scully, he covered his chest with his cape.

A trolley rolled past with the cake on it: J. Edgar Hoover in a dress. Mulder snorted, then elbowed Doggett. "If a man can't wear his heels around here, where the hell can he wear them?"

Glum, Doggett gulped down his drink. "Thanks. That's so reassuring."

"Come have dinner at our table. Why, you'd be right in place, Skinner's got purple toenail polish on--" Mulder stopped. His head hurt, and nothing was making any sense.

Scully was waving her hand at him. "C'mon," Mulder said, clamping a hand on Doggett's shoulder. "You can hang out at the caped crusaders' table with us."

A woman, very nicely built, in a mini dress and gorilla mask, wavered in front of him on high heels, her giggles muffled by hair and latex. She was going slower and slower, and Mulder stifled the urge to reach forward and steer her by her round rump. Doggett bumped into him from behind.

"Mulder!" Scully's sharp tone rattled around in his head like a single chicken bone in an empty tin can. He was at their table. Gorilla Girl had stopped at the next table, and leaned over. He saw her thong.

Doggett surveyed the table. Scully was pounding a log into Mulder's back with a pile driver glare. Skinner, bleary-eyed, raised a glass in salute to him.

"Evening, Sir," Doggett said.

"Agent Doggett." He paused. "I have to say that outfit is really..."

"Horrendous," snorted Doggett. "I know."

"Actually, I was going to say 'becoming,'" Skinner said, wrinkling his brow as if puzzled by his own words. He shook his head.

Doggett pulled his cape tightly around his body. "I'm going to the bathroom." He rushed away as fast as his heels would allow.

After watching Mulder ogle the Gorilla Girl for a few minutes, Scully hollered at him, "Your soup's getting cold!" causing Skinner to wince. She'd been very close to his ear.

"Thank you," Mulder said, dropping into his chair, gripping the table's edge. Unwittingly, his head swiveled back to watch the two bare cheeks wiggling so close to his face.

Don't grab that ass. Don't grab that ass. Don't--

The ass was getting closer the harder he chanted. Closer, closer, closer.

*splash!*

Gorilla girl gasped as she hit the table in front of him. Dazed, Mulder turned to Skinner. "Walter, I have a gorilla in my suit. I mean soup. You know what I mean."

Skinner looked back at him with a glassy stare.

Cake. Someone had put a piece of cake before Mulder. It was of Hoover's left breast. First ass, now boob. Where would it end? He reached for his drink to sooth his dry throat, and then decided perhaps he'd had too much. How much had he had? How much had they all had?

Everything was in slow motion. Chewing each bite one hundred times, he watched Skinner and Scully as they tried to pry his soup bowl off the curvaceous buttock of Gorilla Girl. It was stuck on there but good.

Mulder snickered to himself. "Butt good. Heh heh."

Scully's voice banged in his head again. "Mulder, put down the cake and bring me a plunger. Maybe that will help get the bowl off."

Mulder stumbled off to the men's room in search of a plunger. His head was throbbing, and his bladder was full. And dammit, those pumpkins were laughing at him as he hurried past them.

As soon as the door closed behind him, Mulder rooted around until he found the escape hatch in his codpiece. The stream had just hit the urine cake, and he'd let out a sigh of relief, when a voice whispered from the crack in the stall door behind him. "Agent Mulder, could you help me?"

Not the words a guy wanted to hear in the men's room with his dick hanging out.

Suddenly sober, Mulder squeaked, "Agent Doggett?" as he stuffed himself back in. "Is that you?"

"It's me. I'm...uh...I'm kinda in a bad way here, Agent Mulder. There's straps hangin' everywhere and I can't make heads or tails of them."

Mulder broke into a cold sweat. "Straps? Tails?"

"Yeah." Doggett cracked the stall door open. "You know anything about garters?"

Mulder's trepidation turned to amusement as he took in the other man's predicament. Doggett was clutching his right stocking with one hand, and was pulling down the bustier with the other. The left stocking was bunched around his ankle. His ears wiggled in embarrassment.

Mulder drawled, "I know a thing or two."

Doggett relaxed, realizing he was going to get the help he needed. He grinned. "I guess that makes you a lucky man."

Mulder, who had been moving to assist, jumped back. "Say what?"

"On account of Agent Scully," Doggett said in a rush. "And the garters. *Her* garters."

"Oh." Mulder eyed him again. "Right." He took a deep breath and stepped forward. "Let's just do this, okay? And then we'll never, never speak of it again."

"I have already made that vow a dozen times tonight."

Mulder knelt. "So I just clip this one. . ."

"The two in the back first."

"Right." Gingerly, he fastened the straps, ignoring the hairy male thigh under his fingers. "I'm sorry, you said these two clips go here, but where does the third clip go?"

~~~

Kersh and Ernie were having a talk, but Kersh wasn't using language fit for children. "For Christ's sake, Knowle, I should have known better to trust any of you with this. The drug in the punch is supposed to allow me to control everyone's mind, and instead all it's doing is making everyone horny. I haven't see this much ass-chasing since the Brighty the Donkey roundup at Grand Canyon when I was seven."

Kersh didn't have to see Knowle's face to know he was shamed. It was the downward tilt of the huge, orange head. Superalien or not, Knowle took dressing downs hard.

"I'm schorry schir," he tried through the mesh mouth. He carefully picked up his head so that his mouth was free. "The only thing I can think of is that the drug wasn't what we were led to believe it was. He's lied to people before."

Kersh crossed his arms over his polyester tie, the badge dangling from his thin '80s belt. "Yes, we'll just have to see about that. Where the hell are Marita and that stinking Krycek, anyway?"

Knowle tilted his head back down and swiveled to take in the room. "I don't know. They've disappeared."

In the hall, Marita and Krycek were kissing with fiery passion and anger. They'd been unable to find either Muppet and each blamed the other. Making out seemed the best course of action at this time.

His mouth was cold, like tongue wrestling with a dead fish, and frankly, he did smell like a dead fish, but Marita deepened the kiss, and ran her hand up under his shirt. Feeling his sagging, spongy skin ripple under her touch, she decided, even undead, Krycek still had the best technique in the Conspiracy.

His cold hands began to find their way under her top as well. Only. . ."Alex, where's your hand!?"

He gaped down at himself. "It must have rusted off." Then he slapped his forehead with the stump, cutting his drab skin with the rusted, bare bolt where his hand used to be attached. "Shit, the pumpkin!"

They hurried to the doorway, peeking around the corner. Their worse fears were realized.

Scully was standing by the pumpkins, explaining patiently, "Their eyes are not following you. It's simply the refraction of light and your states of intoxication--" She lifted a pumpkin's lid, intending to adjust the candle, thus proving her point. "What the heck?" She reached in, and pulled out a hand.

The onlookers gasped. Skinner stepped forward, "Agent Scully--"

Too late. The wrist bent, and the hand slapped her firmly across her left cheek. She couldn't stop herself from going, "Gross!" and tossing the hand away in reflex. She wiped gray ash from her cheek, sniffing it carefully. Death.

Mulder and Doggett exited the bathroom. "Really, John, stop worrying. Everyone's so loaded, they're not going to remember if you were Frank-N-Furter or the Incredible Hulk."

Doggett tried to believe him. "Okay."

Mulder grasped his arm, motioning down the hall with his head. "Wow, that guy found some ugly Krycek costume."

Doggett spotted Scully, in center of the ballroom, poking at a severed hand with her foot. "That's no costume, that's really Krycek!"

His exclamation caught the attention of Krycek and Marita, who looked up, scared. "And Marita!"

Their nemesis ran through the surprised crowd of onlookers. Mulder yelled, "Get them!" A boiling mass of agents, weaving and wavering on unsteady legs, surged to a run. They didn't know who or what they were chasing, but knew chasing somebody sounded like a great idea.

Left alone by the hand, Scully decided to try cutting Krycek and Marita off by going through the front entrance and waiting at the back door.

At the rear of the pack, Mulder stopped himself. He didn't give a damn about Krycek anymore. "Scully!" he called out in the now empty ballroom. He saw the flick of her cape going through the front door and took up pursuit.

Outside in the cold night, Scully hurried past dark shrubbery. In the distance, a church clock bonged midnight, sending a chill down her spine.

She'd only been to the special FBI ballroom once, but had a vague idea where the back door might be. Suddenly, a yellow felt hand reached out of the shadows, and grabbed her, yanking her close.

She yelped, and the fuzzy hand covered her mouth.

"Mith Scoo--"

Frustrated, Bert reached up and yanked his head off. Scully inhaled a pound of felt when she said the Smoking Man's wizened features: more wrinkled, more gray, more drawn than ever.

"Miss Scully, I've been waiting a long time for this moment. I've risen from the dead, lied to my co-conspirators, misled them to be my helpmates in this insane scheme, all to have you here, now, in my arms. How can I possibly express my emotions?"

Scully, even in her terror, couldn't help to notice the old man's dilated pupils, and chewed into his hand, "You're drunk!"

He ignored her and began crooning, "I put a spell on you, because you're mine. You better stop the things that you're doin'."

Scully could see agents flitting through the trees like ghosts. They'd found a victim. A bright orange figure was being dragged into the moonlight, his large black-tufted head separated and held aloft like a war prize. Knowle's protests could be heard through the chilly air, but no one heard her strangled cries for help.

The madman continued, "I said "Watch out! I ain't lyin', yeah! I ain't gonna take none of your foolin' around; I ain't gonna take none of your puttin' me down; I put a spell on you because you're mine--"

In midtune, a tree limb came flying out of the dark - a swing to a hit a homer off a sweet fastball over the plate - making contact with the center of the Smoking Man's head.

There was a soft sighing sort of sound, and a huge cloud of ash rose, then drifted down. When she'd seen the branch coming out of the corner of her eye, Scully had whipped her cape over her head. Most of the debris missed her. Mulder stood there like Elmer Fudd with his exploded shotgun, covered in a layer of stinking zombie dust.

"Mulder!"

"I'm all right. I'd just like to throw up now, that's all," he said, trying to retain his dignity.

She grabbed his arm. "I'm concerned about your eyes. Don't blink."

Protesting, "Scully, I can't not blink," he allowed her to drag him back towards the building.

In the bathroom, she finally gave up on cleaning him. "Strip off that costume, and wait here," she instructed him.

"No problem," he muttered as he peeled the sweaty, filthy rubber costume away.

She returned with a tablecloth, and wrapped it, toga-style, around him. As they reentered the ballroom, she hung back, checking out his firm buttocks that flashed in and out of the fabric's folds.

"I better get you home before Gorilla Girl catches a glimpse of that."

"What?" Mulder craned his head, trying to see his backside.

Thinking it best to keep him humble, Scully said, "Don't worry."

He grabbed her arm, turning her to him, a smile crossing his freshly scrubbed face. She had to smile in return.

"Okay, but first--" He snagged a mini Snicker's bar from a nearby table, holding it over her head. "Kiss me, Scully."

"Excuse me?" She cocked an eyebrow, then realized she hadn't done that is a very long time. It didn't seem to be an effective gesture with a six-month-old baby.

He leaned in, and murmured close to her mouth, "Christmas hasn't been kind to us, Scully, so screw it. Halloween will be our romantic holiday. Kiss me under a candy mistletoe."

Her glance flitted up to the candy, so close, so close, so close. ..his lips won. . . for now.

Out in the street, costumed agents were everywhere. Skinner and Doggett moved from one to the other, forcing masks off, and pulling aside cloaks. Nothing.

In the back of the parking lot, Kersh handed off his car keys to Krycek and Marita, ordering, "Make sure you drive, Marita. My mother will kill me if that car's scratched." But he was drowned out as a rumble cut through the night, and a cold light swept across the area. All heads turned up, bleached white by the beam's power.

The car's tires smoked the pavement as it escalated away. It occurred to Kersh, he'd been left alone, holding a figurative canister of shaving cream and a roll of toilet paper. "You fuckers!" he yelled at the retreating taillights.

For Doggett, fear turned to relief, then fear again: it was a news helicopter, not a spaceship. Skinner ambled up to him, limping slightly because of his missing boot. His boss's bright toenails winked evilly in under the streetlights. Doggett decided not to ask. He was hardly one to talk.

"I think they got away," Skinner said. "Again. Dammit." He looked around at the crowd, who seemed to be pairing off for some late night treats. He was alone. Wait, not alone. There was always Doggett...and he was still wearing that sexy cape. Skinner cleared his throat. "Wanna go to a bar, find a party?"

Doggett slumped to the curb, pulling off a shoe to rub his aching foot. "God, no. I want to go home." Hauling himself upright, he started off in his bare feet, silver heels dangling from one hand.

Skinner called after him. "You sure you want to walk at this time of night? With Krycek and Marita around, the aliens aren't usually far behind."

Trudging towards his car, Doggett tossed over his shoulder, completely serious. "Sir, I hope I get abducted by aliens tonight, because I really don't want to remember any of this in the morning."

The End


Our elements, thanks to the sick minds of the Why Incision list:

--Mulder and Scully attend as Batman and Robin.

--Doggett gets to the costume shop last as must attend as Frank N. Furter from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show."

--Skinner originally wasn't going to attend because he was afraid of blurting out his love for Scully, but he changed his mind because he couldn't resist seeing her in tights.

--At the stroke of midnight, CSM (dead or alive) is revealed as a surprised guest.

--Skinner has a bit too much to drink and tells the story of his long-gone poodle, Snugums, while painting his toenails purple.

--Doggett can wiggle his ears.

--The cake is the shape of J. Edgar Hoover in drag.

--Songs played at the ball -- Rubber Duckie, Modern Love, I Put My Spell on You

--Mulder wears a toga.

-- There is an X-File involving the pumpkins: their eyes seem to follow you around.

--Five lines of dialogue to be used in the story:

1. Marita: "Are you sure this will work?"

Krycek: "Sure it will. Mulder and Scully are busy with each other, Skinner's busy fretting over them, and Doggett's busy hiding his costume. It's the perfect opportunity."

2. Scully: "Mulder, put down the cake and bring me a plunger."

3. Mulder: "Walter, I have a gorilla in my suit. I mean soup. You know what I mean."

4. Skinner to his secretary: "Cute. I didn't know they made skirts in that size." Skinner winced. Banal at best, his joke could also be construed as sexual harassment or a fat joke. She looked disarmingly like Scully. Mabe it was the military bearing with which she wore the Girl Scout Uniform. "Did you, ahh, earn those badges yourself?" "As a matter of fact, sir...." She broke into a smile and a one-shoulder shrug, erasing the resemblance. "No, I didn't."

5. Mulder: "I'm sorry, you said these two clips go here, but where does the third clip go?"

--Doggett gets the last line: "I hope I get abducted by aliens tonight, because I really don't want to remember any of this in the morning."

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