He woke slowly, groggily, becoming aware first of the fact that his hands were restricted, then becoming aware of someone in his arms. "Scully?"
"Yeah." She was also struggling to wake.
"Scully. . . are you as naked as I think you are?"
"Uh, yes, just like you."
"Tell me this isnít a dream." She squirmed around trying to see the room.
"Scully, no. Could you. . . could you be still for a minute."
"Iím trying to see if I can see our clothes or our weapons."
"Yeah, yeah I know. Would you please be still a minute!"
"Oh. Iím sorry, I didnít. . . " Sheíd seen Mulder nude before, maybe not this close, but she shouldnít be affected this way. They were obviously in danger here, this was not the time to notice how good his hard on felt against her thigh, or that with just a little movement she could. . . Okay, she hadnít been nude those other times, but still she needed to get a grip.
"Donít apologize, just please be still." She tried to shrink away from him. "Thatís not helping." He wasnít seventeen anymore, he should be able to get his body back under control. Just because the core of his fantasies was writhing nude in his arms. . . god couldnít the woman make a move that wasnít sensual? Even in his dreams she hadnít fit against him this well. At least in high school heíd had books to carry, this was impossible. They were in danger here, for godís sake, but the scent of her readiness was obscuring his judgment.
"My god, Mulder, this is. . . "
"Donít say Ďhardí, just donít. . . " they both froze as they heard the key turn in the lock of the door. Mulder pressed her close to him and rolled over her, exposing his back to the door, rather than hers.
"Well, hello children. Having fun?" Scully said nothing, waiting for Mulderís cue.
"Would you like to tell us whatís going on here?"
"Patience, my boy, patience." The man, middle-aged but in good physical shape, leaned over and clipped the band holding Scullyís hands around Mulder. She pulled her arms in but did not attempt to leave the shelter of his embrace. "Come now, Dr. Scully, I would like for you to come with me."
"Where?" He reached down for her arm to pull her to her feet. She noted the fact that he was wearing surgical gloves.
"Why are you separating us? What the hell is going on here?" The man, very politely, assisted Scully to her feet. Once she was out of his arms Mulder came to his feet ready to attack.
"I wouldnít do that if I were you. It wonít help anything."
"Leave her here. Bring us some clothes and tell us what you want."
"Not now, dear boy. We would really like Dr. Scullyís company at present, just the way she is. It would be more. . . convenient." Mulderís jaw tightened as Scully tried to pull away. The manís grip tightened uncomfortably so she stopped.
Mulder approached the man slowly. "If you hurt her, I will kill you. Do you understand that?"
"Of course, Agent Mulder, I would expect nothing less." He escorted Scully to the door, stopped and tossed something metallic into the far corner, and left, locking the door behind him. Scully had placed her free arm over her breasts but did nothing else to hide her nudity. She walked with dignity beside him down the corridor.
Mulder, left behind, closed his eyes for a moment, trying to calm himself. Scully would be able to look after herself. He had to believe that. He went to the corner to see what the man had left behind. It was a nail clipper and he quickly freed his hands. He began exploring the room then to see how he could get out and find her.
Scully was taken down a short hall and into a room containing only a table, one chair and a TV monitor. From the back of the door the man handed Scully a cheap housecoat to cover herself, then politely pulled the chair out for her to sit.
"What is going on here? So far you might be able to get off with a slap on the wrist if we testify that you did not harm us. Donít go any farther with this, whatever it is."
"Dr. Scully, this is an experiment. Perhaps you would like to see the next phase for yourself. Please sit here and watch the monitor."
She didnít move. "What kind of experiment?"
He motioned again to the chair, but said nothing further. She finally took the seat, pulling the housecoat more tightly around her. Mulder was on the monitor exploring his prison.
He opened the door to the room and turned back to her, for the first time holding a weapon. "I must insist on complete silence on your part. Do you understand?"
She nodded. He pulled a tape recorder from his pocket and placed it on the floor at the door. When he pressed play, a womanís scream shattered the silence, the voice sounded remarkably like hers. She screamed again.
On the monitor Mulder froze.
He heard her scream. He would kill the bastard. He raced back to the door and tried again, frantically to open it. "Scully! Damn you, let me out of here!" He threw himself against the door, but it was too solid. "Scully!" He hit his forehead against the door, never more helpless, his mind running scenes he couldnít bear.
Scully watched him in horror. Torture? Why the hell was this man trying to torture Mulder? He hadnít harmed her, why make Mulder believe he had? After several minutes of screams and finally moans the man turned off the recorder. "Now, Dr. Scully if you will accompany me, quietly please." She rose and he took her arm, leading her farther down the corridor. He had replaced the recorder in his pocket. When he reached the outer door he turned and handed her the key to Mulderís room. "Have a good day, my dear. We will see you soon." He gave a slight bow and walked out of the building. Scully watched him, slightly stunned, then turned and raced back down the hall.
When he heard the key in the lock Mulderís rage almost overcame him. He was ready to attack the man when the door opened.
"No! Mulder itís me."
"Scully." He pulled her to him, nearly suffocating her in his embrace. "What did he do to you?"
"Nothing. Mulder, I swear, he never touched me." Mulder gently pulled her housecoat apart with shaking hands. She allowed it, watching his face. "See? Iím okay."
"I heard you, you were screaming."
"No, it wasnít me. He had a tape recorder. He was torturing you Mulder, not me. Who was he?"
"I never saw him before." He sank into a chair and suddenly remembered his own nudity. He closed his eyes.
"Iíll. . . Iíll find you some clothes. Mulder, are you alright?" He nodded, not opening his eyes. "Iíll be right back."
She found their clothes and weapons in the first unlocked room she came to and hurried back with them. He dressed in silence, as did she. But her silence came from fear for him.
"Why would he do that to us, Scully?"
"He said it was an experiment. He did have a gun, he held it on me while the tape was playing, so that I couldnít tip you off. Weíre not going to find any fingerprints, he never removed the gloves. I think we need to get a team down here anyway. Iíll call it in." She pulled her cell phone from her pocket and made the call. When she hung up Mulder approached her and took her shoulders in his hands.
"Scully, youíre not lying to protect me, are you?"
"No, Mulder. It wasnít me he was hurting." Mulder nodded and they got down to work.
The team scoured the building and after a while Mulder approached one of the agents. "Do you have an extra car?"
"Sure I can ride back with Edwards. You leaving?"
"I need to take her home."
"Yeah. We donít need you here anymore anyway. This was an extremely low-tech job. Weíll want that composite drawing tomorrow."
"No problem. Thanks for your help." He caught the keys that were tossed to him and went to find Scully. When he located her in the room with the monitor he tapped her shoulder. "Come on, Iím taking you home."
"Weíre not through here, Mulder. I was going to. . . " She looked up at him. "Okay. Iíll get my coat." He handed it to her and they headed toward the door. Once outside he pointed out the car they were using and before she had a chance, he opened the door for her. She made no comment, but slipped inside the car. As they were headed away she finally spoke. "I should be taking you home."
"Yeah. Listen, take me by the bureau, I need to get my car."
"Leave it there. Iíll pick you up in the morning."
"You donít. . . "
"I want to check out your apartment."
She nodded, he obviously needed this. When he got to her apartment he went through it, checking all possible entries until she finally stopped him. "No one has been here, Mulder. You need to go home, try to get some rest. Do you think youíll be able to sleep?"
He shrugged and reached for his coat.
"Call me when you get home. Please?"
"Sure, Iíll check in. You lock this door."
"Of course." He reached for the doorknob. "Mulder. . . would you like to stay here?"
"Desperately. So I better leave now. Iíll call you." He let himself out and waited until he heard the deadbolt engage. Then he drove over to the bureau exchanged the agency car for his own, and returned to his own apartment.
Scully was in bed when he called. "Been waiting for you."
"Got my car. You doing okay?"
"Mulder, Iím fine. Iím just worried about you."
"Iím okay. Iíll probably watch a movie."
"One of your Ďfavoritesí?" She said lightly, trying to lighten his mood.
"You know me too well." He could try too, but it wasnít working. "Scully, whatís the last thing you remember before waking up there?"
"I told you, I parked in the underground and got out. Nothing after that."
"Do you remember a smell, a sound?"
"No, but it means he has access to the FBI parking garage. Maybe we got a picture."
"Weíll have to check that out in the morning." She stifled a yawn. Mulder continued talking, bouncing ideas off her, and her responses becoming more monosyllabic.
"Scully? Scully! Are you there?"
"Sorry, Mulder. I must have drifted off. What did you say?"
"It can wait. Go on to sleep. Iíll see you in the morning."
"Call me if you need me."
"I will. Go on to sleep."
She was ready when he knocked on her door the next morning. "My god, Mulder. Did you sleep the full ten minutes?"
"We donít have any meetings this morning, do we?"
"No, not that I know of."
"Come on in. Iím going to fix you some breakfast." He came in and followed her into her kitchen. He sank into a chair and watched her comforting movements.
They ate her breakfast in silence.
"That was good, thanks." She smiled and touched his hand. "Could I ask one more favor?"
"Of course, what?"
"Could you wear something a little more, you know, frumpy today?"
"Frumpy? Iím afraid thatís not high on my criteria when I shop."
"Hell, it wouldnít do any good anyway. It was just an idea." He ran his hand through his hair and looked away.
She rose from her chair and hesitated, then stood in front of him and hugged his face into her abdomen. "I love you so much, Mulder. More than you could know." He froze for an instant, then his arms were around her pulling her even closer to him. "Donít tell me thatís a surprise to you."
"A surprise, Iím not sure, a relief, definitely. I hope you know how much I love you and after yesterday how much I want you isnít exactly a secret."
"Yes, but look at what yesterday did to us. We were barely able to work together. We treated each other differently. If we give in to this, we canít ever go back. I donít know if I can give up working with you to be with you. I want both and I donít know. . . "
"I hate it when youíre logical. Thereís got to be a way." She stepped back from him and took her seat, still holding his hand.
"If he comes back like he said he would, can either one of us handle it? He tore you apart making you think he was hurting me and you couldnít help me and Iím torn apart knowing how much he hurt you by using me as his weapon. I can see why Superman held Lois off for so long."
Mulder grinned. "Do I get to be Superman in this scenario?"
"Weíll take turns." She answered dryly. "Really Mulder, on the job you have to trust me to look after myself. Watching you on that monitor yesterday nearly killed me. Iím trained, Iím a better shot than you. . . "
"Well. . . " He turned serious. "Youíre right. If his Ďexperimentí was to foul up our partnership he hit all the right buttons. Just like. . . the busty blond! Could this. . . ? No thatís too. . . "
"No, I see where youíre going. Itís the same thing. Someone tried to make me lose trust in you and if we hadnít. . . if you hadnít helped me see what was going on. . . Mulder, I had decided to go to Skinner that morning and ask for a transfer. Thatís how angry I was at you and what I thought of as a betrayal."
Mulder tried not to show the shock that statement caused him. Sheíd actually have left him over that? Didnít she know no other woman could. . . well she did now, and heíd make damn sure she never forgot. It would take a lot more than that to come between them now, but if this guy was escalating. . . "Now the question is can I know youíre in danger and treat it like anyone else?"
"If you canít, weíre sunk." He closed his eyes.
"Letís go to work. Get that composite out and see if we can connect him to anyone or anything."
"I still think we need to check the VCS. If he wasnít one of your arrests he could be working for someone who was." With that semblance of normalcy they went back to work.