"I want to hire you."
Her voice was deeper and huskier than it used to be, almost gravelly, and she spoke in a flat near-monotone she must have learned from Mulder. Her eyes met his without any sign of flinching.
"Hire me? For what?"
"To kill someone."
Alex Krycek couldn't help it: He burst out laughing. That Dana Scully should be sitting in his office, on the other side of his large, glossy ebony desk, thin as a knife's edge in her power suit and brightly-dyed hair, and asking him to kill someone as a job for her was too rich.
"I'm serious." Her voice took on an edge not unlike her posture. She sat forward on the edge of the chair like a bird of prey ready to spread her wings and fall on some unsuspecting rodent.
"I'm sorry." He rubbed his good hand over his mouth. "I couldn't help it."
"I know I can't offer you money--I'm sure you make more than I do. But I can offer you... other things. Amnesty. Protection. Access that might be hard to come by."
A veil had come across her eyes, like the membranous third eyelid which protects the eyes of some birds when they are sick. Krycek leaned forward, intrigued. He smelled blood. "Why?"
"I was raped."
Three flat words. They didn't begin to cover the situation. The humiliation of the act. The unbelievable pain. The scalding feeling of helplessness. The greater humiliation of coming to her enemy for solace. Her voice did not vary from its flat, tepid tone, but the pain and the rage and the humiliation boiled up behind her eyes until Krycek was afraid it would spring out at him like killing lasers.
He sat back, folding his hands. "I'm sorry." He hoped she could tell that he meant those words. Every man has a limit, and while Alex Krycek had betrayed at least two countries and several individuals, and killed a good many people as part of a day's work, he would rather have his dick cut off, and his balls with it, than rape somebody. "Do you know who the rapist is?"
"Yes." Scully picked up a brown envelope from the floor beside her and opened it up. "His name is Hector Rodriguez. He's been in prison for eight years and has just been paroled. His mother's sister's oldest son was named Luis Cardinale."
Krycek's lips twisted up in disgust as he looked at the pictures. A thin, greasy-haired Hispanic man with a tight white scar over one leather-brown cheek. Typical, he thought. It was just the sort of thing Cardinale would have done--get out on parole and immediately do something that would put him back behind bars. It must run in the family or something. Cardinale had been a short-sighted, impulsive bastard, and Krycek had despised him for it.
"I see." He handed the pictures back. "You think this is an act of revenge, not just an ugly coincidence?"
"I'm sure of it." Her eyes did not leave his, but they grew even more opaque.
"He said something to you?"
Krycek did not want to know the details. Hell, he didn't even want to imagine the details. He wasn't above a little mindfucking now and again, especially with Mulder, but this was beyond mindfucking. It was crass.
He looked at her for a moment, and she looked soberly back. For some reason, on the rare occasions he saw Dana Scully, he always remembered her as she had looked at their first meeting--a slightly plump woman with reddish-gold hair and an unguarded gaze, dressed in the thin white scrubs appropriate to the autopsy bay where she was working. And now, superimposed over that, this lean woman with flame-red hair and laser eyes that probed deep while at the same time letting nothing in, dressed in a drab dark suit that showed no hint of her flesh.
Krycek made an impulsive decision.
"I'll do it." He raised a hand as she opened her mouth. "We'll talk about payment later."
He took out Rodriguez' picture again and was smiling over it as Scully got up and left.
She was fine on the drive home, her hands and feet moving on autopilot to walk, to turn the wheel, to park the car. She made it into the bedroom, sleepwalking, seeing everything around her and nothing, as though her peripheral vision had become all the vision she had, and then fell on the bed, shaking. Shaking so bad she could hardly move.
Scully lay there, jerking all over as if hooked up to some electrical current. Her feet hurt, but she couldn't move to take off her shoes. Her arm hurt, but she couldn't get up to change the bandage. Her head hurt, but she couldn't roll over to search for the aspirin she kept in the bedside table. Shaking.
She lay there helpless for a good half an hour.
When it was over, Scully got up, very slowly, sat on the bed's edge and pulled the pumps off her swollen feet, began unbuttoning her jacket. She had to put down her keys to unbutton the jacket; there was a strange red imprint on her palm from clutching the keys tightly for a long time. It hurt. Everything hurt. Except inside, where it mattered.
As she got undressed and put her clothes where they belonged, thoughts began to come into her head, like gusts of wind driving out the fog. It hadn't been so bad, after all. She hung her suit jacket and pants at one end of the closet, with the other suits that could be worn a second time. He had laughed, but not at her. She draped the silk blouse, stained with acrid sweat, over a rack with the other blouses that needed to go to the cleaner's. He might even have meant the words "I'm sorry", not knowing how little such things could touch her. She peeled off her bra, hose, and panties and deposited them in the hamper. Most of all, he had agreed to do it. Scully had no doubt that Krycek would succeed.
Cold, she was so cold. She stumbled into the bathroom, not shaking exactly but trembling, fine tremors that made her think her legs were going to give out on her. Hot, hot water and gobs of the sweet sandalwood bath gel, making bubbles that would rise up to cover her small, cold body. She jabbed with one finger at the boom box perched on the tank of the commode, flooding the room with Chopin. Her feet screamed in protest as she climbed into the hot water.
The flashbacks she was expecting did not come. They never came when she was expecting them. The hot water and the gentle piano nocturnes soothed the tremors and helped her breathing to even out. A few hot tears ran down her face and dripped into the water, but it was all right. It was going to be all right. The cut on her arm was healing, and it was going to be all right.
Krycek poured another cup of tea from the samovar and added a dollop of honey. One of the perks of his present position in the organization was indulging in a few sensual pleasures. A good antique samovar that made tea the way his grandmother made it. A really good television and VCR system which he used mostly for watching reruns. Hardbound books instead of cheap paperbacks. And the company of a beautiful, agreeable, undemanding young woman--or young man--whenever he wanted it.
Tonight was his regular appointment with Davey. Davey was twenty-something, putting himself through college by selling his ass--a very fine ass, and he was getting a marine bio degree or something like that, something the Consortium might be able to use. Davey was unquestionably beautiful, and a good sexual athlete, but also intelligent, sweet, and almost a double for Fox Mulder. A younger Fox Mulder with longer, lighter hair and a ready smile that showed his teeth. Davey laughed easily and slept without nightmares.
It was not like Alex to deny himself anything, but he had not been able to carry out his appointment with Davey. The usual small talk and flirting had only made his stomach knot up, and when he realized that, he told Davey he was suddenly tired, apologized, made the boy a reservation at a good restaurant under a name they would recognize, and sent him off, puzzled but docile, into the night. He would pay him anyway; after all, didn't he pay his massage therapist if he couldn't cancel more than twenty-four hours before the appointment? This was no different, and the boy needed the money.
Maybe it was that Davey looked so much like Mulder, and that resemblance reminded Alex of his meeting with Dana Scully. Not once had she mentioned her partner's name; not once had Alex seen Mulder in her eyes. Where did Mulder figure in all this? Did he know Scully had been raped? Had he been present at the time, and unable to help her? How would Mulder react if Scully told him she wanted revenge? Not well, Krycek thought; Mulder had a pretty strict moral code and didn't believe in private vengeance, except to the point of beating up one Alex Krycek for imagined slights every chance he got.
Alex smiled grimly into his tea. He wasn't going to renege on doing the job, but he needed more from Scully. His payment would be getting into her mind.
She is walking home from the neighborhood bar, a nice boring place where married couples come when they ditch their kids. The kind of bar where they serve pretty good roast beef and hamburgers and slightly limp french fries swimming in gravy. She's never gotten used to french fries with gravy. People in Maryland eat them that way, but not people in San Diego, or Maine, or any of the other places she lived, growing up.
She can't remember how long it's been, but today is the anniversary of Missy's death. Has it been five years? Maybe it's been longer. The Irish in her blood is strong enough to make her wish they had waked Missy, keening out their grief over vats of ale to the accompaniment of the pipes. The best she can do is to get a little drunk on this anniversary and play some songs on the jukebox, songs Missy liked when they were kids.
Her small, spare frame doesn't absorb alcohol well, and the two stouts she drank make her weave dramatically down the sidewalk. It's a good thing she's not driving, that's why she came here, she knew she'd be soused after just two pints. Part of her wants to throw back her head and howl at the waning moon, scream like a banshee, curse God and die, but the larger part of her just wants to get home, to lock the door, and to go to bed.
The first thing she feels is not the grip on her arm, but the edge of the knife.
"Hold still, *Dana*, and it will all be over soon."
Her muscles freeze and the blood turns to ice in her veins. He knows her name and this is no random chance, no mugger desperate for cash to buy his next fix or get his starving grandmother some food. This is personal. He knows her name and he has a knife pressed to her throat. This is personal.
The hand that was on her arm shifts to her throat. His grasp is bruising, but he's not trying to choke her. The knife strokes her cheek, her lips. It is not cold but warm, warm from its owner's body heat and dirty, smudges on the long blade. This is personal.
"Because of you, my cousin Luis hung himself in a jail cell. I heard about it in prison, and I waited for my chance." He lifts the ends of her hair with the knife, lets them fall. She licks her lips with aching slowness, hearing the Hispanic accent and connecting him with Cardinale, the man who shot her sister. This is more than personal, it's downright intimate.
"I waited for my chance, bitch. And I thought about what to do." The knife travels along her arm, strokes across the back of her hand as a violin's bow strokes across the strings, and slides over her hip. "I could just kill you, *puta*, but that would be too good. You would just go to heaven, good little girl, right? You're one of the good guys."
The point of the knife prods the small of her back. "I want you to remember, as I remember Luis. I want you to live with it, as I lived with his death in prison. I want you to feel it, every time you piss, every time you fuck--"
The knife hooks into the waistband of her slacks and slices. She cries out as it peels through rayon and nylon, splitting slacks and panties and scoring her skin, but not because it hurts. Because she knows what 's coming.
All she can think of is that she will never again leave the house unarmed. Not even to go for a carton of milk. If she fights, he will kill her, and probably rape her anyway. Rape and death, or rape and life? I will never again go out without my gun.
Her own scream shreds her ears before his hand clamps over her mouth. She gags at the smell of piss, onions, meat, sweat, his erection and nothing could hurt like this. Nothing. The cancer was tender by comparison. If she could think still, she would think that she could never again confuse rape with sex. Her insides are granite walls pierced by a drill, and he is shoving his way into her, grunting behind clenched teeth because it must be painful for him, too--
A stream of abuse like a litany sung by Satanists suddenly resolves as he floods her empty core with his semen. "Madre de Dios!" From calling her every filthy name for a woman, bitch whore cunt pussy slut witch, to invoking the Mother of God. He pulls out and lets her go, and she falls face first to the pavement, striking her head because her arms are too weak to break her fall.
"You're too tight, bitch. I'm gonna open you up a little--"
The knife in her vagina hurts worse than his cock.
It didn't happen that way.
Dana was torn from sleep by her own scream. The dream shattered and its pieces fell all over the bed. Each time she dreamt of the rape, there was some new detail that hadn't happened. Rodriguez *had* raped her, and it had been brutal, excruciating, but a passer-by had heard them, called out, come to her aid. Rodriguez had cut her arm as he let her go, and she had fallen but turned over in time to see his face. She would always remember that face, lean, scarred, smug with her pain. It had been easy to track him through the FBI database. The passer-by, an older man who lived in her building, had found her, hurried back to the bar to call the cops, and stayed with her till they arrived. Now she couldn't remember his name. But she would remember Hector Rodriguez. Until he was dead, and then she would forget him.
Each time she dreamed, something worse happened. Being savaged with the knife. Being watched by Mulder, who did nothing to help her, only watched avidly as if watching one of his porn movies. Having her rapist turn out to be the smoker or Duane Barry or Donny Pfaster, not Rodriguez. Her pajama top was soaked through with sweat. Her insides ached as though they'd been penetrated.
She hadn't even been able to touch herself since the attack. She had to force hands that were both stiff and numb to wash her genitals or clean them with tissue. She often had the impulse to examine herself with her hands, to make sure that everything was all right, that there were no scars or bruises, but she couldn't do it. She could force herself to do basic cleaning, but not to touch herself otherwise. Nor to look in a mirror.
Thank God she was sterile.
Krycek frowned at the surveillance tape and tapped his pursed lips with his fingers. Nightmares, not evey night and not more than once a night--she got up and left the bedroom for hours after each one--but three or four nights a week. No wonder she'd looked so drawn, so edgy, when she sat in his office and told him she wanted him to kill someone. Christ, wasn't the woman seeing a counselor, getting some help? He would, in her shoes.
Scully woke up screaming. Probably dreaming the rape over and over. He knew what that was like--he still had nightmares about Tunguska, followed by days of phantom pain that made him want to knock over a pharmacy, steal all the painkillers, and shoot some stupid clerk in the hope that killing someone would make him feel better. Not that he did that kind of thing any more. But he had not forgotten the forest and its shadows, the glittering blade that sang as it descended on him, the flat sympathetic faces of the peasants, convinced they were saving his life, and the hellish burn of the cauterization. They hadn't given him time to bleed.
Had Scully had time to bleed?
After the nightmares, there was no getting back to sleep for a while. Dana didn't want to even try. Herbal tea, a soothing late-night program on a classical station, and curling up on the couch with a sweet-smelling lavender-stuffed pillow and her journal.
Mostly she just doodled. Rough drawings of Mulder, of Emily, of Missy, of Agent Pendrell. Sketches of the teapot, squat and cobalt-blue, of the books and magazines scattered on her coffee table--medical journals, _Traveling Mercies_ by Anne Lamott, Mary Cassatt's paintings--poor copies of Cassatt's exquisite pictures of women and girls. Sometimes she found the courage to write a paragraph, to try to put in words feelings that ran so far below the surface they were barely felt.
"I have made a deal with the devil, but the nightmares remain. Krycek has agreed to kill Rodriguez without specifying what he will require in payment. Fool that I am, I left his office under those terms. Krycek has a handsome office, I have a desk in a basement. The devil has green eyes and a seductive smile and knows how to offer sympathy when it is most needed."
Scully chewed thoughtfully on the pencil eraser. He *had* been sympathetic. He had looked like he might know something about pain. Perhaps her gut feeling had been right--that whatever else he might be capable of, Krycek would not commit rape, would not sanction a rapist. But why did he want to help her? She couldn't really offer him anything valuable, anything he couldn't obtain on his own. He was obviously a powerful man now, not just a hired gun. Yet he was willing to kill for her. Why?
Bending to her journal, Dana tried to sketch Alex Krycek from memory.
It was easy enough to send her an anonymous e-mail message, one that would be difficult even for Mulder's hacker buddies to trace if he got wind of it. To his surprise, she agreed to meet him in the hotel bar he suggested, two days from now, 9 pm.
She was not wearing one of her power suits. For a moment he caught a glimpse of the old Scully, or a Scully he had never seen: a slender woman wearing a powder-blue cashmere sweater and an ankle-length pleated black skirt. She looked astonishingly different, not herself. She was musing over her drink, head bent, as though waiting for a friend or a lover, not looking around anxiously while awaiting a... rather questionable business associate.
He slid easily onto the barstool beside her. "What're you having?"
To his surprise, she didn't argue. "Seltzer water with lime."
He ordered another seltzer water for her and an India Pale Ale for himself. A beer was all right, but he wasn't going to let anything stronger cloud his judgment.
"So what do you want, Krycek?"
"I need to know why."
She lifted an eyebrow at him. It reminded him of Mr. Spock. "Why what?" Her voice dragged a little as though she'd been drinking something stronger than seltzer water.
"Why you came to me. You saw his face. I'm sure you went to the hospital, got a rape kit done--you've got all the evidence you need. The courts may be backed up, but the American legal system can still put away a stupid rapist whose victim is willing to press charges. Why not take him to court and put him away? You can get free counseling from Kossof at the Bureau, get it all out of your system that way." His eyes never left her as he sipped his beer.
Scully took a deep breath, ready to tell Krycek that he didn't need to know that, either he would do the job for her or he wouldn't, and as she let go of the breath, it all came spilling out of her. "Because it was the last straw. The. Last. Straw. Do you have any idea what I've been through since I've joined the X-Files? I knew when I became an agent that my life would be dangerous, I'd be walking into traps with my gun drawn and I might not walk out every time, but not this. Not like this." She shook her head, violently enough to make the gathering tears spring from her eyes and fly away, unseen. "My sister was murdered because someone thought she was me. I lost three months of my life and might never get them back, never remember." She gulped her seltzer. "I've gotten cancer and nearly died, not just in the normal course of things, but because of something that happened while I was abducted. I've seen friends die. I've discovered I'm sterile, they *took* all my ova, they made at least one child of my body without my knowledge, let alone my consent, and then she died and there was nothing I could do for her. They wouldn't even let me be her mother for the short time she had left. I've given and given and given until I'm *empty*, and then just when I was used to being empty, Hector Rodriguez comes along and fills me up. Thank you, Hector. He fills me up with his come, and his anger, and his pain, and my consent and my anger and my pain don't mean a thing. Not a damn thing. Well, I don't consent any more, do you hear me? *I don't consent.*"
Scully's voice had risen like a siren, desperately wailing its pain, and then fallen again to a harsh whisper, tense on the ears as a whip on the skin. When she stopped speaking, she was trembling all over, shaking so hard Krycek thought she was going to fall right off the stool, and she turned her face away and he saw the glitter of tears on her cheeks.
His eyes opened wide with astonishment. Dana Katherine Scully, crying. For several years he had watched, from a hidden distance, as this woman endured everything she had just described to him, and more. She had endured with a stone face and a heart to match, silent, uncomplaining, brushing away all help. And now she had reached a point where she had not only asked *her enemy* for help, but she was crying in front of him.
Cautiously, Krycek reached out and touched her arm. Scully flinched, but he didn't pull back; he stroked up and down her stiff slim arm as he might stroke a wounded, frightened animal. "It's all right." That sounded inane. "It's all right to cry." He patted her arm and then reached for his beer. He decided to take the chance. "I really think you should see Kossof for counseling. It could help." He drained his beer. "I'll be in touch."
The night after she met with Krycek, when she got home from the office, Scully had another anonymous e-mail from him in her private mailbox, the one she reserved for family and friends outside of work. It consisted of four words and the sender's initials:
Had she told Mulder? Dana went through the other four messages in her box--her brother Charlie, her sister-in-law Tara, her friend Janie at church, and spam offering her a moneymaking opportunity--and logged off. She remained sitting with the laptop on the table, her fingers resting lightly on the keyboard, her mind a sheet of ice printed with those words. "Have you told Mulder? A.K."
She had asked herself whether to tell Mulder. Had asked herself that as they did the rape kit at the hospital, as she rode back home in the squad car, as she checked every window in her apartment and locked it, as she stood shivering under the scalding shower spray. She had asked herself that when she went to work the following morning, washed and dressed and groomed as neatly as ever, the mask in place, no tremors in her hands, and watched her partner all day, studying him, evaluating. He didn't seem to notice.
She had asked herself that for three days. She had gone to church on Sunday and after Mass, still asking herself, she had gone to light a candle. Not to the Blessed Mother, but to Therese of Lisieux. The sickly-sweet statue with its armload of pink roses bore little resemblance to the stubborn French teenager who had gotten her way against all opposition, entered a convent in her mid-teens, and died of tuberculosis at twenty-four, to be acclaimed as a saint immediately upon her death. Dana had lit a candle, slipped a dollar into the slot in the metal box, knelt on the rose-colored cushion, and asked St. Therese, her old friend: Should I tell Mulder?
That night the dreams had begun.
Night after night, reliving the rape, dreaming of Mulder watching and--doing nothing. Standing still, in his beautiful Armani suit and tailored trench coat, leaning against the wall in the filthy alley and watching her suffering with the calm, nearly blank face which was his normal, neutral expression. And when she had thought she could take his indifference no more, the dreams had become worse. More savage than the actual incident.
No, she hadn't told Mulder. Dana got up and moved nervously around the room, straightening things here and there, a book, a cushion, a magazine, a vase of flowers, and rubbing her hands together, feeling them grow slowly numb. She wasn't going to tell Mulder. Mulder would want to touch her. Mulder would ask questions, would ask why she hadn't told him already, would ask what was the progress of the police investigation. Mulder would want to hold her, to stroke her hair and her back, to say soothing, meaningless things. And then he would open up a file and read aloud and then there'd be a phone call and they'd be on a plane to East Spittle, Idaho, to investigate another X-File.
She could not let Mulder touch her. Not any more than he already had.
The Absolut was perfectly chilled. Dinner had been cleared away. Everything he might need was near at hand. And Davey was coming up in about two hours. Plenty of time to scan the surveillance tapes.
Krycek settled down in the leather armchair and picked up the remote with his right hand, the glass of vodka with his left. The prosthetic barely registered the chill of the frosted glass; he enjoyed the shock of lifting the glass with numb fingers and finding it icy with lips and tongue. He took a small sip, not too much, then thumbed the videotape to start.
Fast forward through a few minutes of Mulder's empty apartment, his fish moving slowly in a shaft of sunlight. Then Mulder comes home, drops his briefcase just inside the door. His expensive suit and loafers are spattered with thick reddish-brown mud. He looks like he rolled in mud, like he took a dive in a manure pile.
Alex almost spurted vodka at the sight. Vanity was Mulder's only petty weakness--all his other weaknesses were large ones--and Alex knew from having worked with the man how he must feel at having his clothes and shoes ruined. You couldn't help but laugh at the catlike expression of disgust on Mulder's face as he began to strip.
Cut to Mulder in the bathroom, naked except for his briefs. There are light smears of mud on his chest where it soaked through his shirt. There is mud in his hair. The surveillance cameras are mounted in Mulder's living room and his bathroom, the two rooms he occupies the most. He strips off his briefs as well, tosses them in a hamper, and then stands over the toilet.
Alex did not avert his eyes from the sight of Mulder urinating. A big gulp of the Absolut was like a blow to the chest, but it was good. Onscreen Mulder put down the toilet seat without flushing and turned to the shower.
Cut to tape from the camera mounted in the shower. The hot water rinses away the worst of the dirt from the man's long, lean body. He fills his hands with liquid soap and attacks his hair first, scrubbing vehemently with fast, harsh motions. Then he smooths the suds down over his lightly-furred chest, his tight abdomen. The water makes him sleek, like a seal.
Alex gulped more vodka and cursed himself for doing this. He would feel free if only this longing would go away--the lust for Mulder's body that had possessed him almost since the moment they met. It was not going to go away if he kept indulging in surveillance tapes of Mulder naked in the bathroom. And it was not merely lust, either, but he was in no mood to address that right now.
"You're trying to figure out whether he knows Scully was raped," he reminded himself aloud. "Not trying to get off--you can do that later with Davey." He focused again on the screen and groaned.
Mulder soaps his genitals briskly, but his hands gradually slow down. In a moment it becomes apparent that he is stimulating himself; his erection blooms out of the soapy water like some strange water-lily. It is in proportion to the rest of his body, rather long but not exceptionally thick, pointed at the tip.
Cursing, Alex put down the glass of vodka and reached for his fly. This happened every time he watched tape of Mulder in the shower; there was no use fighting it. Besides, an orgasm now would mean lasting longer with Davey later. He grasped himself hard and stroked fast to catch up with the image of Mulder.
Mulder's face is preternaturally calm as he masturbates, giving no sign of who or what he might be thinking about. It remains calm as the muscles of shoulder and abdomen tighten, as his fist moves faster and faster, and as his semen spurts out to mix its whiteness with the whiteness of soap suds. He sags against the tile wall for a moment, letting the spray cleanse his groin, then continues washing himself.
Groaning, Alex came into the towel, hating the fact that he had prepared for this. Each spurt was a painful admission of how much hold Mulder still had over him. But when it was over, his mind felt clear as a new mirror; he felt washed. He turned his attention back to the tape with keen eyes.
Cut to Mulder's living room. Mulder in sweatpants that stick to him, his hair in damp spikes. Mulder gets his briefcase and hunkers down on the couch. Opening up the briefcase, he spreads out papers on the coffee table. Fast forward through about twenty minutes of Mulder shuffling papers, reading, re-reading, making notes.
Mulder then leaves the room and cut to his coming back, a bowl of something steaming in one hand and a can of root beer in the other. He switches on the tv and eats quickly, mechanically, while watching the television. Mulder's mouth turns red from the tomato sauce on whatever he is eating.
He's still eating that canned ravioli crap, Alex thought. Beauty but no taste.
Cut to Mulder reading again, glasses perched on his nose. He was irresistible in the glasses, but Alex resisted. Cut to Mulder watching what must be porn, casually stroking himself again, inside his sweatpants. Fast forward to Mulder in the middle of the night, sitting at the computer, darkness beyond the window.
Fast forward to Mulder returning home again, no mud this time but his face strained, weary, and heading for the shower.
After two hours of watching the tapes, several days' worth of video, and almost three glasses of vodka, Alex felt fairly sure that Mulder knew nothing of the rape. He was too relaxed; he carried none of the tension which suffused Scully at all times. Surely, if he knew, he would be in his best crusader mode, intent on bringing the justice the man who had violated his partner. Of course, there were still the audio tapes from the office to go through, but Davey would be arriving at any minute. Alex got up and took the soiled towel to the bathroom.
The basement office is warm, and the air is stuffy. Her head is drooping now over the paperwork she's been filling out for nearly two hours; her eyes are slipping shut behind the glasses, her vision blurring no matter how hard she tries to concentrate. She is just starting to think about drinking something caffeinated when the door slams.
Scully jerks upright and spins around in her chair just in time to see it is Mulder. Just before her partner grabs her, hauls her to her feet, and bends her over the rectangular table that serves as her desk.
No time to say anything, to cry for help. One large hand efficiently covers her mouth; his thighs pin her to the table while his other hand wrenches her clothes out of the way. She feels silk fabric and the hot print of his belt buckle against her buttocks, then pain, ripping, opening pain as he shoves into her, hard and dry, mastering her easily. He fucks her in a remorseless, unbroken rhythm for a long time.
Only after he has come inside her, only as she sits on the desk and watches him leave, whistling and smiling, with his come and her own blood running down her skin, does she realize that she offered him no resistance.
She could have fought, might have gotten the better of Mulder, but she made no attempt to throw him off, no attempt to get to her gun. She held completely still in his grasp, allowing him to rape her, not so much as trying to bite the cool hand that covered her mouth.
She was a willing victim.
Scully woke with those words ringing in her head, rolled to her feet, and stumbled to the bathroom. Her meager dinner exited violently from her body, accompanied by gastric juices that tore at the lining of her throat. When the vomiting was done, she had just enough strength to crawl into the bathtub and turn on the cold water, letting it fill the tub around her, letting it rise and rise.
This dream had been the worst one yet, giving shape to her worst fear, her deepest shame. With her mind Scully knew that any woman would feel ashamed of being raped, any woman would tend to think she had somehow asked for it or consented to it, because every woman was socialized in ways that led to that kind of thinking. Still, it compounded her shame that she knew these things and still felt guilty, still felt, inescapably, that it was her fault. And she would have felt that way even if it had been a complete stranger who attacked her, not the cousin of a man whose death she had caused as part of her involvement with the X-Files.
When most of the sensation had left her body and she was shivering hard, bumping her shoulders against the cold sides of the tub, she got out, dried off roughly, and wrapped herself in a warm terrycloth robe. Moving stiffly, each step an act of will, she went to the kitchen and made a large mug of soothing tea, chamomile and valerian and passionflower, sweetened with honey. She compelled herself to empty the dishwasher while she waited, to wipe up the bits of loose herbs that she spilled on the counter while filling the teaball. It was nearly 3 a.m.
As she sat on the couch, staring sightlessly at a late movie and sipping the tea, Scully considered for the first time whether to tell Mulder about the rape. If nothing else, it might exile from her mind the increasingly sickening images of Mulder as the rapist. Better, almost, to be raped all over again than to live with that fantasy in her subconscious. Mistrust of her partner was seeping out of her nightmares and into the office, making her cringe away when he got near, answer his most casual questions with veiled and opaque words.
A man on the late show, dark-haired and wearing a black leather jacket, made her think of Krycek. Had he killed Rodriguez? And if not, what was he waiting for? Perhaps she should get in touch with him again. Perhaps she would feel better if she knew what was happening with Rodriguez. If she knew that someone else was in pain.
The remainder of the sleepy tea cooled in its mug while Dana Scully dozed on her couch in front of the tv.
End Of Part Three