Nightside by Lynn Gregg
Author: Lynn Gregg
Rating: NC-17 for sexual content and disturbing imagery
Timeline: Post-cancer, pre-The End
Spoilers: Slight allusions to "Irresistible"
Missing parts: http://members.tripod.com/~dkscully1013
Archive: Anywhere, with my information attached
Disclaimer: The characters of Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, et al belong to 1013 Productions, Fox Broadcasting and Chris Carter. Other characters are my own invention. No copyright infringement is intended.
Summary: When Mulder is kidnapped, a young agent is assigned to help Scully find him before it's too late.
Notes: This one is a departure for me; my first attempt at writing slashfic. If you don't like it, please be gentle; my ego is fragile and bruises easily. <g> It's dedicated to my lovely friends on the Scullyslash and BsfS lists. Enjoy the ride!
by Lynn Gregg
I knew of Dana Scully by reputation, of course; had seen her around the Hoover Building and at Quantico on occasion, but we'd never been formally introduced or anything like that. *That* Dana Scully was highly regarded as a scientist, a thorough and capable investigator, a consummate if rather cold professional.
I also knew of her through her association with her current partner, the legendary Fox "Spooky" Mulder. I hadn't been in Behavioral Sciences five minutes before the Legends of Spooky were being related to me in all their lurid tabloid glory. The guy sounded like a freak--brilliant, yes, but definitely out there. His credibility wasn't all it could've been, and Dana Scully's reputation had taken on some tarnish as well in some quarters. Rumor had it that a file existed, somewhere in their basement headquarters, detailing her alleged abduction by aliens. Little green men? Ooo-kay, whatever.
So needless to say I was more than a little intrigued when word came from my Section Chief that I was being temporarily reassigned to the X-Files Division to assist Special Agent Scully on a case involving the apparent kidnaping of her partner, the aforementioned Spooky. I was the chosen one not only for my profiling skills and my background in clinical and abnormal psychology, but also because of my knowledge of the occult. The case apparently had some occultish overtones; the suspect or suspects, who had contacted Agent Scully twice via cryptic and thus-far untraceable messages, made frequent references to the ritual abuses to which they were subjecting her partner.
I'm personally very skeptical of peoples' claims of magical occult powers, particularly delusional, clinically diagnosable peoples'. I am, however, convinced that such people *believe* they have these powers, and those beliefs, coupled with their psychopathologies, have a way of setting events in motion that are at times inexplicable by conventional scientific methodology. I knew this; and given five years in the basement with Mulder, I suspected that by now Agent Scully knew it too.
So my job was simple: Find Satan's Little Helpers, and help Agent Scully get her partner back in one piece.
After an initial briefing with Assistant Director Skinner, I was delivered into the bowels of the Hoover Building where, at the end of a suitably dark and forbidding hallway, I discovered a door marked "X-Files Division." I knocked, waited, then knocked again; and after a pause, a husky voice invited me in.
Dana Scully rose as I stepped uncertainly in. Her face was a calm mask, the eyes fixed on me blue-grey steel; but even from several paces' distance I could see the redness that ringed those eyes, the slight puffiness of the upper lids, the faint purplish shadows beneath. Not so cold, then; she'd obviously been crying, and recently. Agent Mulder had been gone now for two days.
Advancing, I offered my hand, all brisk and businesslike. "Special Agent Scully, it's a pleasure to meet you. I'm--"
"Special Agent Constance MacInnes from BSU," she finished for me, taking my hand in a cool firm grip. "I only wish we were meeting under more pleasurable circumstances. Please, have a seat."
I sat, taking the chair facing hers and hoping my expression was as composed and unrevealing as her own. Why hadn't anybody told me--warned me--that this woman was literally breathtaking?
My distant glimpses of her in the past had shown me little; nothing more, really, than that she was short and compactly built, fair-skinned with a smooth cap of hair even more blazingly red than the coppery mass that so clearly betrayed my ancestry. No revelations there, just an attractive but unremarkable young woman--or so I'd thought.
Small, yes, and compact; we were similar in build, though I had two or three inches' height advantage over her. Fair and red-headed and blue-eyed, yes, these things I already knew--but up close...
She was luminous. God, that sounds so lame, but it's true: the formidable, bad-ass Agent Scully radiated the kind of glow I associate with actresses in 1930's movies. She should've been slinking around a la Dietrich in a tuxedo, with a long ebony cigarette holder. It was more than just the composition of her features, which was admittedly exquisite; more than her smooth lovely skin like egg custard dusted lightly with cinnamon. It went beyond the firmness of muscles toned to peak condition and the keenness of the eyes veiling a mind of Bureau-fabled brilliance. Dana Scully exuded a--a magnetism, a pull as elemental and irresistible as the moon's sway over the tides. After less than five minutes in the room with her, had she laid out a bed of hot coals and asked me to go for a little walk, I'd've been stripping off my shoes and getting ready to dance--and I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a weak-willed individual.
God, down here in the basement with *her* every day, how the Hell did old Spooky stand it?
Fortunately, I'm what they call in the theatre a "quick study"; I had ascertained and assimilated all those things in seconds and managed to get my Fed Face back in order before she caught me gaping at her like a lovesick schoolgirl with a crush on the gym teacher. *That* would never do. I mean, for Christ's sake, I'm a grown adult, an FBI agent, with a PhD and a divorce already under my belt. Solving a case like this could boost my career status up to about Warp Nine, if I didn't blow it by drooling all over my new SAC.
But even as I very intelligently and professionally discussed the known facts of the case with her, a part of my mind was wondering if this astonishing person had ever considered being with another woman.
Yet another part was wondering if I'd ever have a shot in Hell at being that woman.
For the record, I'm not a lesbian--not, to quote Jerry Seinfeld, that there's anything *wrong* with that. At least, I don't *think* I am, though I can't discount the possibility. Anything can happen, right?
I have at times found other women attractive, even erotically stimulating, though I've never been moved to act on those impulses. My sexual relationships with men have been satisfying; I've not been living a socially convenient lie. My immediate gut reaction to Dana Scully was all the more intense by it's very strangeness. I'd been divorced long enough that I couldn't just write it off as some weird psychological glitch, a desire to run off in a totally oppositional direction as a way to avoid dealing with the fallout from the failed relationship. There was just something about her that resonated with me; and that resonance only intensified as we talked and got to know how each others' minds worked. Usually I have trouble communicating deeply with other women; so often it seems that their interests are not at all my own. I had no problems communicating with my new colleague.
And, glory to God/dess in the highest, she seemed to take an immediate (if inexplicable) liking to me, too.
The messages thus far received were inarticulate paeans to a mishmash of dark forces, along with gloating references to what a lovely "sacirfice" Agent Mulder would make to those forces. I was rather disappointed in them. Far from being the menacingly Satanic verses I'd expected, they were cartoonish, high-school crap that seemed to have been lifted from the "Necronomicon" or some heavy metal record. The second note spoke rapturously of what a beautiful corpse he would make, a nauseating Alice Cooper-ish hymn to the pleasures, post-mortem, of the flesh. There was also, for a bonus, a litany of abuses aimed directly at Scully.
"This person speaks as if he--or she--knows you," I told her.
"It's a possibility. Escalating fetishism and necrophilia are admittedly rarer in women than in men, but they are by no means unheard of. This could very well be a female we're dealing with, and one who knows you, or knows of you."
She was silent for a time. A *long* time, turned partially away from me, her fingers steepled together beneath her chin. Just when I was on the verge of breeching the silence, she spoke, quietly, as if every word pained her to pass it.
"Several years ago--Mulder and I hadn't been working together very long, a little over a year--we became involved in a case. Desecration of graves, of bodies--tokens taken from the corpses, usually hair clippings, fingernails...When you mentioned escalating fetishism it reminded me. The suspect moved from desecrating corpses to selecting victims, killing them and then mutilating them."
"What was his MO?"
"He'd held a number of jobs, in funeral homes and morgues, working as a cosmetologist. Invariably he was caught violating the bodies--"
"No. We never turned up any evidence that he was actually performing any sexual acts on the bodies; he was apparently a pure fetishist, who derived gratification from the act of acquiring the fetish objects, acquiring them and hoarding them. Eventually he began killing to obtain what he needed, but stopped short of true necrophilia."
She fished out a file and passed it over to me, resuming both her seat and her silence. I skimmed over it for maybe thirty seconds before coming across something that stopped me, you should pardon the pun, dead.
"Jesus Christ," I breathed. "He kidnaped YOU." Throwing the file folder down on the desk, I got up and started pacing. "Where is this guy?"
"Prison. He won't even be eligible for consideration of parole for years. Plus, his victims were exclusively female. It can't be him, MacInnes."
"Call me Cory," I muttered, abstractedly, still circling. "Oh, shit. This changes everything."
"How?" She demanded, in a tone of voice so fierce it brought me up short. Turning I found myself skewered by the twin icy lasers of her eyes like a prize butterfly specimen pinned to a collector's card. "How does this change *anything*? Are you implying that my previous involvement in a similar case will impact my performance on this one?"
"Um, no," I stammered, feeling like I'd just merrily skipped barefoot into a nest of fire ants. Already I was starting to burn. "But I would caution you against letting the events of that previous case color your perceptions of this one."
"Which amounts to essentially the same thing, and which goes a long way towards explaining why Skinner saw fit to pull *you* in on this case." Her voice dripped poison. I was reminded of one of those wildlife shows on cable, with the lingering slow-motion shots of the spitting cobras, venom oozing from fangs an inch long, poised to strike. "Poor Scully, she's been though so much already, and now her partner's been kidnaped by *another* homicidal necrophiliac. Let's bring in a nice sympathetic female agent--with a *psychology* degree--to keep her from going off the deep end."
What the fuck was *this* tirade all about? In my rising anger, I forgot to be awed by the magnificence of her rage. I struck back.
"Gee, I wasn't informed there was a pity party going on today; I'd have dressed a little nicer. I thought *Mulder* was supposed to be the paranoid one down here, not you."
Her hair and her face were now strikingly similar in hue.
"Your job," she said, biting off each word and spitting it at me, "is to assist me in solving this case, bringing the criminal to justice and bringing Agent Mulder back to me alive and in one piece. The state of my mental health is not your concern. If you feel the need to analyze something, why not start with a profile of the kind of sick son-of-a-bitch who would kidnap and torture my partner?"
So much for our easy rapport. I stood there staring, flash-frozen by her liquid nitrogen voice. It took me several minutes just to thaw out my tongue enough to speak.
"The notes," I said, tonelessly. "Were they mailed or hand-delivered?"
"Hand delivered. The first to my home, the second left on my car. No prints have been found, of course."
"Of course. Local, then--barring the possibility that our UNSUB is communicating from a distance via a local accomplice, which in this kind of case is highly unlikely. I'm going back to my office to start making inquiries of hospitals, morgues, and funeral homes; our best bet at this point is to start targeting possible suspects, and my hunch is that we'll find our ghoul among the ranks of former employees of one of those institutions. Rather," I added nastily, "like your old friend Mr Pfaster there."
She was seated now, head tilted down ever-so-slightly, turning something over and over in her hands. The only other visible sign of discomfiture was the tightness and whiteness of her lips. "You're welcome to make your calls from this office," she offered, quietly. I was still too deeply stung by her earlier attack to even consider it; all I wanted then was out.
"Thank you, but I think it best if I go." Fumbling out one of my business cards, I placed it squarely in the middle of the desk blotter. "Here is where I can be reached should you turn up anything. If not, I will report back to you in the morning with my findings."
I shut my mouth and waited.
"Agent MacInnes, I--" She broke off abruptly. After an uncomfortable pause, I asked gently,
"Is there anything else, Agent Scully?"
She sighed. "No. You're dismissed."
I closed the door carefully behind me, leaving her staring moodily down at the object in her hands--a photo, of herself and Spooky Mulder.
By the time I'd called every damned possible place in DC and its environs, untold hours later, I had a short list of potential suspects.
There are more death-freaks out there than you might imagine, and only rarely do they fit the Addams Family stereotype of the gothed-out weirdo dressed all in black and sleeping in a coffin. Most of them look relatively average; you wouldn't spot one on the street and immediately think, "Oh, there's somebody who digs fucking corpses!" They have to maintain a certain aura of normalcy in order to gain access to that which they crave. Bopping into your local funeral parlor decked out in a shroud and singing "I Love the Dead" is not the best way to ensure employment in these discreet occupations.
I'd dismissed three candidates, all of them male, whose tastes ran strictly to female cadavers. That left me with four more possibles: two males, two females. The males' MOs were strikingly similar in that both displayed a remarkable lack of discrimination. Put another way, they'd both go for anything that *didn't* move, be it male or female, age and appearance of no concern. The two females on my list reserved their affections for dead men exclusively. All four of them had recently been let go from their jobs, having been caught in the act as it were. I got background checks in process on all of them and went home to do a little on-line research.
There are more death-freaks in the world than you might imagine; and plenty of them have internet access. I didn't think I'd be so lucky as to find my quarry out there hosting a website about the ritual murder and subsequent molestation of FBI agents, but I figured it couldn't hurt to do a little surfing to help me get a bit of insight into the minds of these characters.
Be careful what you ask for.
I got some insight, all right, *way* more than I'd really wanted. I read interviews and glowing first-person monologues. I learned the mechanics of achieving sexual bliss with a formerly-living partner. I even--oh, and this is what made me turn off the computer and hustle outside for a gulp or six of fresh air--found a death-porn site.
It was while I was outside, all but hyperventilating and fighting a stomach that had suddenly taken up acrobatics, that my phone rang. When I answered it, I heard on the other end the low tones of my new SAC.
"Agent Scully," I acknowledged coolly, moving to pour myself a glass of water.
"Agent MacInnes. I, um, was calling to see if you'd come across anything in your investigations this afternoon."
"I've got a handful of possible leads. I'm just waiting to get the results of the background checks."
"Good. Would you care to meet and go over your findings?"
"What, you mean tonight?"
"If this is a bad time--"
"No, no, of course not." I could just see the olive branch she was extending; I'd have felt like a complete asshole if I'd refused to take it. And besides, I really wanted something to distract my mind from those grisly photos; even another bitch-fight would be an improvement. "Did you want to come over here?"
I gave her the directions and rung off, taking the idea of pulling a work-related all-nighter philosophically. What the Hell--it wasn't like I'd had any hopes of getting any sleep that night.
By the time she arrived I already had the background info on my possibles in hand. We'd spent perhaps an hour going over the printouts before she put down her handful of papers and removed her glasses, rubbing fretfully at her eyes.
"MacInnes, I feel I should apologize for this afternoon."
"It's all right. I was kind of out of line myself, though I assure you I didn't mean to second-guess your ability. I know this case must be difficult for you--not to mention working with someone else, um, other than your partner I mean."
"Difficult. Yes. Yes it is."
She looked a great deal younger and far less formidable in my apartment than she had at the office. Scrubbed clean of makeup, wearing jeans and what looked to be a man's New York Knicks t-shirt, she could've been a college girl--although most college girls don't have deep lines of worry and sorrow etched into their clear soft faces. Pushing her hair behind her ears, she looked up at me, her mask of professionalism gone.
"Have you ever been partnered, MacInnes?"
"Not regularly, no. I've worked closely with several other agents, but no one consistently. Most of the time I drive a desk, consulting with various divisions; this kind of field work is rare for me."
"You don't know what it's like, then," she said, not unkindly. "The kind of bond that develops, over time, working so--intimately, with someone. I don't suppose it could be any other way, when every day, every case, you hold each others' lives in your hands. It's kind of like being married, in a way, only magnified ten thousandfold." She paused. "Have you ever--"
"I was married," I stated, cutting off that line of inquiry. "Up until about a year ago. But I don't think we were ever that close. Ever."
"You and Mulder are close." It wasn't a question.
"I'm closer to him than I am to anyone. After the things we've seen and been through together..."
God. I couldn't stand it any longer. I couldn't help myself. I simply *had* to know. "Agent Scully--"
"Call me Dana."
"Dana. Ah, can I ask you something?"
"Sure. Cory." She smiled at me, a little shyly; I smiled a little shyly back and utterly lost my nerve.
"Why don't we take a break from this for now and go sit on the patio? It's gorgeous out tonight." At her nod of assent, I got up and led the way, pausing in the kitchen. "Would you like something to drink? There's Coke, Mountain Dew, milk, wine--"
"Wine sounds good."
I tapped out two glasses from the box-o-blush in the fridge and ushered her out onto my postage-stamp-sized patio. Scully seated herself on my little glider and I perched beside her, twirling my wineglass by the stem.
"So what did you want to ask me?"
Damn. No way out but through it. "If this is too personal, you have my permission to smack the shit out of me, but...are you and Mulder, um, involved?"
She took a long time before replying, scrying into her wine as if she could read her future there.
"Utterly," she said at last, and the softness of her face and voice undid me.
"I know what you meant. It's always been the $64,000 question around the Bureau. I'm tired of...not lying, exactly, except maybe to myself. We've never been--we've never had sex. But Mulder and I *are* involved--emotionally, psychologically, physically, every way two people can be involved. I love him," she pronounced, "and he loves me. It's not just about the work anymore. It hasn't been, not for a long time."
"This is none of my business."
"I just made it your business. It's actually a relief to get it out in the open, try to--I don't know, make sense of it I guess."
"You haven't even discussed it with--"
"Mulder?" She laughed, like I'd just told a great joke. Maybe I had. "No. Mulder and I don't...*talk*. Not about things like that. It's always just been something unspoken between us--unspoken, but never unacknowledged."
"I envy you," I muttered, looking away from her. The thick night air settled around us, an insulating blanket, producing an odd air of intimacy. We might have been the last two people left in the world.
She seemed surprised by my statement. "Why?"
I drained half my wine in a gulp before I could collect my thoughts and present them. "My marriage wasn't like that. I wanted it to be but it wasn't. I wanted it to be about us, but it was really about him. And when he tried to force my hand, make me choose between him and the career I'd worked my ass off for...I chose the FBI. I couldn't see spending my life in eclipse, Dana. I didn't want to be someone else's shadow."
"I understand." Her quiet voice and the feel of her hand closing over mine brought me back around to look into the fathomless azure of her eyes. "It hasn't always been about *us*, with Mulder and me. For a long time it was all about him--his quest, his demons, and I was just along for the ride. I resented the Hell out of him for it, too, even as I hated myself, for staying, for being part of it.
"But something changed. After I was diagnosed with my cancer."
The gut-shot I felt at her words must have colored my expression, because she squeezed my hand gently, stroking her thumb across the back of it. "I'm fine," she assured me, smiling. "But that was when it changed, when it stopped being just about him. For a while, it was all about me. It changed again after I went into remission; that's when it finally started being about *us*."
"Now I *really* envy you," I said morosely. "I don't regret leaving Steven--I *had* to, you know?--but I get lonely a lot. I know I made the right choice, but still...a good job doesn't love you back."
"I can't imagine you being lonely for long," she said generously. I noticed she had yet to let go my hand. "You're very easy to talk to--I mean, look at me, I'm spilling my guts to you and I've known you for less than a day! You're competent and intelligent, your Bureau record is outstanding, you're very attractive--"
Whoa. Stop the music. Did she just say what I think she just said?
"You think so?" I croaked.
"Yeah. You have a wonderful look--classical features, those Katharine Hepburn cheekbones--"
Me? Plain old Cory MacInnes? Tell me more.
"--And you have great hair. I could never wear mine long like that, it's too straight." Reaching around, she pulled off the elastic band that held my thick wavy hair in check, tugging her fingers through the tangled mass. "And the color's beautiful. Can I ask *you* something?"
Mute, spellbound, I could only nod. Dana flushed a little, chuckling, then asked, "Are you a natural redhead?"
Our eyes met and held, blue on blue, the hearts of four flames combined into one sudden blaze. In a choked and wavering voice, I blurted, "Why don't you find out for yourself?"
Making out. On my glider, on my back porch. It was so high school--except for the fact that I was making out with an incredible, intense, amazing *woman*. I spontaneously combusted the instant her lips found mine. God, that *mouth*! That lush, full bottom lip, the straight white teeth that nibbled so enthusiastically, the way her tongue probed and danced against my own...I didn't care about being an FBI agent anymore. I didn't care about anything but her mouth on mine, the sweet feel of her in my arms. My heart was pumping triple-time and everything below my waist felt like it had melted.
She was electric, writhing beneath my roving hands, and a note of desperation informed her every motion. Something similar was driving me too. I'm not in the least superstitious, but even the most ignorant of primitives would've instantly recognized our actions for what they were. I'd just spent the day wallowing in the twisted lusts of those who could not love the living; and Scully, so very recently near death herself, was caught up in the agony of being unable to save the life of that one person whose life meant more to her than her own. The fierceness of our coming together had a little to do with personal attraction--and a lot to do with spiting the encroaching darkness. We each needed to feel the other, awake and warm and vibrantly *alive*. How better to do it than this?
Together we celebrated the triumph of life, and heat. We drank the wine of each others' mouths, a thirst we couldn't seem to slake. Heedless of the proximity of my neighbors we laid our bodies bare, pale and paler, custard and cream, skin alabaster gleaming in the distant diffuse glow of the streetlights. We marveled at each others's bodies, so foreign and yet so deliciously familiar.
My small high breasts, which had never given suck to a child, nourished her, as her hands traveled along the angles and contours of my slim sturdy body. I returned the favor, groping blindly along her more lush curves, thinking I'd never seen anything more perfectly beautiful than her breasts, swollen with want, heavy and ripe in my hands, the coral nipples hugely erect to my eager lips. One of her hands thrust itself between my parted thighs; a finger slipped delicately past the slick engorged folds of my labia and began to plunge in and out, the heel of her hand bumping excruciatingly against the hard knot of my clit. Gasping, shuddering, speech lost, I rode her hand furiously, aching, desperate for release. And then she was gone, gone from my arms, gone from my side, and her mouth replaced her hand and I was gone too.
When she resumed her place beside me, a smug triumphant smile on her face, I oozed off the glider and onto my rubbery knees before her. I was determined to give as good as I'd got. Pulling apart her thighs, I began to trail one finger along the velvety petals, her soft encouraging moans sweet to my ears. I stroked her in a way that I knew pleased me, slowly and deliberately, very gentle here, very firm there. Seeing her wet and open to me was nothing short of a revelation; hesitance fled I lowered my mouth to her, suckling her clit, tongue following the path my finger had traced. Salt and honey and musk. Catching fire again from her reception I buried my face deeply into the tangle of dripping red curls, breathing her in, hands slipping under her and holding her in place. Stiffening my tongue I plunged it into her, plundering her most secret depths, feeling her twist and buck against me. Easing off I replaced my tongue with two fingers, working them into her as I lapped and suckled her clit. With a strangled scream she came and I drank of the overspill, bringing myself off again with my hand, astonished at both what I had given and what I had received.
It was shortly thereafter that the phone rang--and rang--and rang. Stumbling, tripping over feet unwilling to function, I caught it up on the seventh ring, listened and felt the blood drain from my face.
Scully was right behind me, and if I live forever I hope I never see that particular look on another human face. I grasped her shoulders hard.
"That was the lab. They were able to pull a partial from one of the notes and match it to one of the suspects I identified. We've got to move, *now*."
We dressed in silence and in haste. But before we could get out the door, she caught my arm, stopped me, pulled me back to face her.
"Cory," she said, searching my face, "I want you to know--this doesn't have to be the end."
I gathered her to me, hugged her hard, buried my face in her hair. "I don't want it to be," I whispered.
I kissed her again, one last taste before heading back into the darkness of a world neither one of us were destined to escape for long. She smiled at me, brushing a loving hand over my cheek. I pushed her ahead of me and shut the door, locking the darkness out.
"Come on," I said, softly. "Let's go get your partner."