What the hell is this thing, Mulder? Scully’s getting up in his face with it, shaking a tiny clear container at him. What the hell is this thing, Mulder? Anyone who didn’t know her better would read her agitation as anger, but he’s known the pitch of her fear since the night she disrobed in from of him and asked almost the same question.
It could just be a piece of shrapnel, he hears himself saying in a voice so unconvinced it doesn’t even sound like his. But in the face of her aggressive vulnerability, her body looks smaller than he’s ever remember noticing, and he’s seized with the need to make her believe. He is here, in her apartment, because he needs to protect her—he can’t do that if he’s not her partner. He needs to get the X Files back so he can get her back, so she can be safe.
It’s almost as if someone was using it to catalogue him, she muses.
Their heads come up in unison, Mulder reaching a hand out to shield Scully on instinct. Her hand goes to her hip, where her gun isn’t, and they both glance at the table it’s resting on. Too far.
Cover me, she says, once she sees that Mulder has his gun on him, making eye contact before she takes a few steps toward the noise. He registers movement in the same moment that she gasps involuntarily and takes a step back.
He’ll remember the cascading shatter of the windowpane until the day he dies. Neither of them notice the second figure slipping through the front door until it's too late. Pain explodes in his head and he falls. The last thing he hears is Scully’s scream.
Mulder! I need your help! Mulder!
You’ll see him in your nightmares / You’ll see him in your dreams
Mulder awakens with one hell of a headache and a cramp in his legs. His eyes flicker open and for a moment he thinks he's been blinded, but before panic can set in his eyes adjust to the dismal conditions. He breathes in stale air, rubbing his cheek against whatever it's resting on to test a theory. Coarse fibers scratch his skin. They're almost certainly in the trunk of a car.
Scully’s limp body is wrapped in his arms, spooned against him in the small space. He tries to tune into her breathing, but all he can hear is the rumble of the engine and a faint, gruff-sounding singer. But her back presses closer to him and falls away in a slow, rhythmic fashion, and it's enough to quell the mounting panic.
They're together. Whatever happens, they're going to be okay.
Their captors have bound their legs together, so kicking out a taillight is probably not an option. He's gagged and Scully probably is too, so waking her up won't help anything. Until he can feel the car slowing down, he'll leave her be. It's lonelier this way, but he cannot bring himself to feel her terror for any longer than absolutely necessary, not when he's not able to tell her the one thing he knows for sure:
They're together. Whatever happens, they're going to be okay.
Did you hurt her?
Did you hurt her?
WHAT IS THIS?
He doesn't remember falling back to sleep—hadn’t even thought it possible—but when he awakens again he's no longer in the trunk.
In a discomfiting turn of events, he is totally nude, draped face-down over what feels almost like a massage chair but doesn’t have a seat—just cushions where his calves, forearms, and face are frozen in place with the same force he felt twenty-one years ago. Just as it did when he was a child, blind terror obscures everything for a split-second and abates, muting into sick helplessness that settles into his bones.
Through the donut hole of the chair’s front he can see a pole resembling an IV drip, hanging from which is a plastic bag filled with a sickly green fluid. It doesn’t look like there’s a line running into his body anywhere, but his gut tells him it’s only a matter of time. He can’t turn away from the sight, but he also doesn’t quite know how to handle it, so he shuts his eyes against it, waiting to wake up at home on the couch.
A thought that had been humming in the back of his head, a low-grade panic since he woke up pushes itself past everything he’s feeling—disorientation, terror—to assert itself as his primary concern. Scully.
More specifically: where the hell is she?
The rough, dry condition of his throat makes itself known as he croaks, “Scully…”
On some level, he is not expecting to hear her sweet voice call his name in return, because he couldn’t feel her presence in the room. He always can—she’d dismiss it as subconsciously recognizing her scent or as just pure nonsense, but he knows the truth. She exudes a presence that his soul is constantly attuned to, and whenever she isn’t near him he is conscious of a vague but unmistakable feeling of incompleteness.
So he calls, and gets no response, and is not surprised but still feels his heart squeeze in fear.
“Scully,” he calls again, trying to move his head to see the other side of the room, but he can’t, he’s trying, he can’t move. Something is holding him place just like the night Samantha was taken, pinning him like a bug to a slide, and this isn’t right, can’t be happening, not again, not Scully.
Please, God, not Scully.
“Scully!” He’s screaming now on a cracking voice, thrashing against his invisible bonds, knowing his attempts are futile but not able to even entertain the thought of acquiescing and letting them have her—she’s his, he’s hers. They belong only to each other and who are these people who think they can just separate them and get away with it?
Behind him Mulder hears a door open with a gentle whoosh and he falls still, heart beating out desperate hope against his ribcage. Maybe it’s Scully, maybe she’s found him—she always finds him, extricating them both from the messes he makes with a quiet deftness that always leaves him in awe.
But even as he hopes, he knows it’s not her. A single set of footsteps echoes in the empty room, and he knows that the worst is yet to come. He takes the fear blooming in the space where his lungs should be and funnels it into useless bravado.
“Who’s there?” he yells, to no answer. “Show yourselves!”
All that he hears is the rattling of a metal caddy being pulled toward him from elsewhere in the room.
The notion that Duane Barry could have been telling the truth does not escape him. In fact, his certainty grows with each passing second, a bitter irony filling his heart: he is experiencing something he has searched for for so long, but will have no proof but his own memories. Two years ago it would have been enough, but not anymore.
Whoever or whatever is there is working, clattering things around on the tray, without coming into his line of vision. Still the only thing he can see is the sickly green fluid in the IV drop by his head. For a brief moment he catches a glimpse of white-gloved hands as the attached needle slides into the crook of his elbow.
Almost instantly he feels a tingling rush flowing through his body, a familiar sensation he can’t immediately place. Even when he can, the horrific certainty about what it means keeps him from consciously acknowledging the truth of the situation.
This is not happening, he thinks, squeezing his eyes shut over involuntary tears. This isn’t happening, he’s having a nightmare, and he’s going to wake up on his couch if he can just concentrate hard enough.
It takes the first touch of the creature’s hands on his erection, guiding it with almost laughable care into some kind of plastic sleeve, to snap him back to reality.
This is real. This is happening. Panic re-floods him, immobilizing him even more than the unseen force acting upon him. So that even while all of him is screaming for him to fight it… he can’t. He has been inside the heads of monsters, and he understands the suffering that awaits him. And the futility of protesting.
On some level, he has been expecting the blunt press of a foreign object into his body since he woke up. It does not prepare him for the actual sensation. All his limbs contract involuntarily as he tries to curl in on himself for protection. His invisible restraints stop the movement but still don't distract from the uninterrupted press of something cold, slick, and metal into him.
His throat tightens, like he's about to throw up, but it never happens.
Somewhere, a switch is thrown. A motor comes to life. The phallus pulls mostly out of his body, then rams back in with mechanical force.
Humiliation and useless rage bring blood flooding into his face even as the rest of it rushes southward.
He tries to count the seconds that go by, to distract him from the unending and continual violation of his body, but it’s no good: each second syncs up with a pull or push from the machine, serving only to punctuate each invasion of his body.
Instead of distracting him from the pain, it underlines it. It does not allow him to metaphorically look away from the distinct way that his muscles are tensing, the way his chemically-altered blood rushes through his veins, propelling him ever closer to an outcome he never would have thought possible.
While these things, this machine, fuck him and use his body for some unknown and nefarious purpose, his orgasm steadily builds. It is a betrayal he does not know how to comprehend, as are the tears of frustration squeezing out from the sides of his tightly-shut eyelids.
He tries to hold back—god, he tries but in the end can’t manage to stop himself from coming. It’s all the more powerful for him trying to stave it off, involuntary contractions shuddering through his body—within, of course, the confines of his invisible restraints. For an absurd moment he feels relief pouring through his body—it’s over now—until he realizes that the sensation he’s feeling isn’t relief, but that same artificial arousal from before.
He takes exhausted stock of his body and knows that he won’t find abatement here. The machine continues to fuck him and he does the only thing he knows how to do: dive headfirst into his thoughts, to try and block out reality.
He thought it would be okay because she and he were together; their captors took them together, but it's not okay at all. Scully's missing and he has no way to free himself, to find her—oh, God, what are they doing to her? It's too much to hope that they only wanted him. Too much to hope that she's been sent back safely, brought along only because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
As long as she’s with him, she’ll always be in the wrong place. It is a realization that comes too late to be any use, but one he vows to act on if they ever get out of here.
Oh, Scully. What are they doing to her? Are they going to give her what they're taking from him? Strap her down and pump her full of his semen until she can't take anymore, until its run down her legs?
Are they trying to impregnate her—with his children? To what point or purpose?
It’s his last thought before his vision begins to grey and exhaustion pulls him under.
He fades in and out several more times before finding something like wakefulness, finally, though he’s not sure he wants it.
The IV in his arm must be some kind of chemical to force his body to continually produce semen because he comes and comes but his balls are always somehow full, aching, screaming for release. It's a good thing he's being held in place or he would have collapsed long ago from exhaustion, every muscle in his body wrung-out with the shock of continuous use.
He has no idea how long this has been going on. There is a part of him that wonders fuzzily how he’s even still alive—surely the human body is incapable of withstanding such prolonged abuse. But if he dies, he can’t get Scully out of there, so he clings to life only with sheer willpower, enduring the humiliating, raw pleasure that arises after the machine fucked him to the point of excruciating pain. He’s so far gone he almost enjoys the punishing pace of the unseen phallus, the way it forces itself into his body over and over, almost lulling in its predictable and constant rhythm. Every movement sends white-hot agony through his body but his wires are so crossed that it only intensifies his arousal.
This is the absolute hardest he has ever been in his entire life. Once again he feels orgasm building but something about it seems different this time, another level of too much when he’d thought he’d already reached the summit. His wrung-out abdominal muscles flutter and clench weakly as he comes again, filling the sleeve once more, almost faster than it can be suctioned away. This time it doesn’t abate after a moment but continues to flow, the machine coaxing more and more from him when he’s sure he has none left to give.
It hurts. More than anything, it hurts, and he can’t see an end in sight. Though he knows it’s futile, he begins his struggle anew, trying to pull backward even though it means moving toward the machine and not away from it. He yanks and yanks and—
The force pinning his arms abates and they flay out on their own accord, knocking against something hard, plastic—
Mulder’s answering machine hits the bullpen floor with a ringing crash, startling him awake and upright in his desk chair. Almost immediately he stumbles to his feet, lurching in the general direction of the trashcan, to which he clings like a lifeline while he dry-heaves for a moment.
Distantly he is aware that he is attracting attention—Spooky Mulder’s at it again—but fuck ‘em, and fuck their useless staring. With a shaking hand he hauls himself to his feet, brushes off his suit, and strolls out with all the composure he can muster up on an empty stomach and no sleep.
The fine thread of sanity, he thinks without humor.
His watch tells him he’s only been asleep a half-hour or so, but it’s long enough to mean he’ll probably be late to his meet-up with Mrs. Scully.
He’d only just made the plans with her but then hearing her voice had made him desperate to hear Scully’s once more, and—Lord, had he fallen asleep listening to her cries for help?
What kind of person has he become in her absence?
“I had that dream again last night, about Dana being taken away,” Mrs. Scully’s saying. Her vulnerability, freely shared, frightens him. It is just another burden he does not know how to carry, though he knows he must find a way. “I can’t tell you how it scares me.”
He looks her in the eye, forcing himself to see her pain and fear, so that he may take it on. It’s his fault her daughter is missing. Scully is out there somewhere, enduring the things he only dreams of, and every second of her terror, her despair, her agony—it’s because of him, and how he was too selfish to warn her for fear she leave.
He is just as guilty as they are.
“It’s probably scarier when you stop having the dream.” She’s alive, she’s alive. She has to be. “Don’t you think?”