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When she entered the kitchen, Mulder standing still and lost in thoughts in front of the window, Scully noticed the steaming mug he was holding in an unusual way, as if it was a chalice.

 

"Hey, good morning, early bird... Found your old Spooky Alien coffee mug ? Any special occasion to bring it back ?"

 

Turning his head towards Scully, Mulder replied, "Mmm... Somehow, through its physical contact, I wanted to feel again all the weight, the significance, the sensations of my former alienation at the Bureau."

 

"All that in a nerd coffee mug ?"

 

"It's a symbol, Scully, a metaphor. I was the stranger, the alien, the weirdo, the spooky man in the basement. It wasn't trendy, you know, back in the days, to be a jerk."

 

"Nowadays, you miss it ?"

 

"Maybe... Don't really know... It was actually the point, to think about it, by holding this cup, putting my lips on it, and tasting it. Cheers, Scully!"

 

Then, using ceremonious gestures, Mulder sipped his still too hot coffee.

 

"Ouch ! Dammit !"

 

The Alien mug fell down, and broke into small pieces. Scully sighed at first, staring at the dead memorabilia and thinking of an appropriate wisecrack to say, when she raised her head. Mulder was in a terrible pain, his right hand on his jaw.

 

'Mulder, you have to face it", Scully said with her severe MD tone while softly squeezing his left hand, "you MUST go to a dentist. You can't delay it anymore. I'm right away scheduling an appointment for you, and if necessary I'd carry you on my back and drag you to the dentist chair."

 

Then she stepped back to reach her phone, leaving Mulder in the kitchen, unable to move one single muscle as if he has gazed into Medusa's eyes.

 

***

 

It came first insidiously, like an immaterial impression in his whole brain. Slowly, the sensation focused on his vision area, bringing radiance and brightness. Soon, he was surrounded by this otherworldly incandescence and felt the need to escape it. He couldn't. He was tied, lying on stone.

 

Then, all of a sudden, his whole body was just agony, distress and torture. His five senses were just stimulated by the most excruciating procedures he could have ever imagined, or, if he could have formulated it, in a way he didn't want to relive.

 

"No !! Scully !! Scully !!"

 

He jolted awake abruptly, moaning in pain and completely soaked with sweat. He touched anxiously his chest, wrists and ankles with his two hands, and checked his mouth and teeth with his tongue. Scully was already pullling him down her chest, embracing and wrapping his whole body into hers as tight as she could. Immediately, Mulder's anguish turned into a continuous flow of tears flooding his cheeks and Scully's breast.

 

"You'll be fine, Mulder. I'll be with you. We won't let these extraterrestrial bastards haunting you in your dreams or in your daily life. We won't let them alienate you from your health care."