“Bet you’re sorry you didn’t head back to the colonies for the summer,” Ernie said as he entered the room, glancing over at Mulder.
“The colonies?” Mulder looked up from his coffee.
Ernie grinned and poured himself a cup of tea, grimacing at Mulder’s black coffee. “Yeah. Seems like the tourists aren’t making out too well here this season.
“Another attack?” Mulder was interested now.
Ernie nodded, taking a sip. “At the Knight’s Crossing Pub last night.”
“What?” Mulder looked up quickly from his cup. “I was supposed to be there last night.”
“Supposed to be?” Ernie asked.
“He was supposed to meet the dark queen there last night,” Sean tossed out, looking up from the paper.
Ernie chuckled. “Please tell me you stood her up.”
Mulder shot a dark look at Sean. “No, well, I called her. I am here for research and Professor Smythe needed me.”
Both young men made rude noises. “She’ll make you pay for that.”
Mulder decided to change the subject. “Was it the same, the attack?”
“Yep. Everyone in the pub passes out and when they wake up, three or four people are missing. They still haven’t figured out what kind of gas they’re using. No one’s been able to find a trace.”
“That they’ve told the press about,” Sean interjected. Ernie shrugged.
“I wonder if Phoebe went over there anyway, without me?” Mulder mused out loud and immediately regretted it.
“No one would take the dark queen, my lad. Or at least they’d have already returned her with apologies.” They both laughed and Mulder jerked the paper from Sean’s hands, reading the article himself.
It was weird. Three attacks so far, all on university or tourist friendly pubs he’d visited. There was no damage to the facility, just everyone passed out on the floor and then in the sorting out they’d realize someone was missing, both men and women, all young. It was a bit creepy that he might have been there last night when this happened. It was a place he’d been to several times, usually with Phoebe. He hadn’t noticed a lot of really high end people there, but then there had been no ransom demands for any of the missing so far. If he were
to guess, just from the names, everyone taken last night were Americans.
Phoebe wasn’t here yet. He glanced around the pub again. She liked to make an entrance; he was aware of that and that it bothered him, but he didn’t feel secure enough in their relationship to call her on it. He headed for the bar and ordered a beer. She wouldn’t be too late, just enough so that everyone would notice. He sighed and took a sip of his beer. He’d prefer it cold, but he’d given up on that fight.
The door opened and he looked in that direction. Not her, some tourists, probably a group tour taking in the sights. Looked like college age, maybe a little younger; more girls than guys. He leaned against the bar and looked the crop over.
He spotted the red head over to one side, not quite joining in with the crowd. She seemed uncomfortable, maybe even embarrassed at the enthusiasm of the group. Hell, Phoebe wasn’t here yet; he moved toward the red head.
He bent slightly to whisper to her. “Hi.”
She jumped but as he watched she stiffened her spine and looked up at him. He smiled down at her and saw her eyes lighten. “Hello.”
“Not from around here, are you?” he asked laughing.
She shook her head. “American.”
She appraised him. “You’ve been here a while.”
“Do I have an accent?” She nodded and he chuckled. “You can’t help it if you’re around here long. I’m studying up the road a bit.”
“Oxford?” she looked impressed despite herself.
“Graduation present before I head off to higher education.”
He blinked, “You’re in high school?”
“Not anymore.” There was just a touch of iciness in her tone.
“Sorry, you seem more mature than . . . “ he glanced around the room at the partiers. He looked back when she huffed at him. “Hey, I didn’t mean - “
“Actually I appreciate the compliment. It’s getting a bit wearing, but when you have one bus, you go with the crowd.”
He gave her a look of sympathy. “Would you like a beer?”
She looked around, hell why not; at least as long as she stayed in sight of the group. “Can’t. Do they have Coke?”
He grinned. “Sure. Come on.” He led her to the bar, aware that they were being scrutinized now by several of the girls and at least two of the guys in her group. He bought the Coke and leaned over into her space. She found she wasn’t even drawing back away from him. “Am I stepping on toes here?” He glanced at the crowd that was so aware of them.
“No,” she said firmly and took a sip of the drink.
“Good, I’m Fox Mulder.”
She blinked, Fox? Was he teasing her? “Dana Scully.”
“Nice to meet you. How long will you be in London?”
“Just two days. We’re going to the theater tonight, sightseeing tomorrow.”
“You won’t get much seen in just a day.”
She had to smile, “Europe in two weeks. I can claim I saw it all.”
“You’ll have to come back.”
“I plan to, at my own pace.” She saw him glance at his watch. “Am I stepping on any toes?”
He gave her a grin. “I’m supposed to meet someone, but she’s late, as usual.”
She felt an unexpected disappointment, but she shoved that aside. A man that looked like him, a student at Oxford, this was just a fantasy but would make a good memory when she got home.
She blinked then, suddenly lightheaded. Her hand came up to her face. “Hey, you okay?” he asked quickly.
“I, I don’t . . . “ She swayed and he reached for her as the lightheadedness hit him as well. What the hell was happening? His grip on her tightened as she slumped into him, then they were both falling to the floor.
He opened his eyes and immediately shut them again as his stomach lurched. The room was spinning and even flat of his back, he was pretty sure he’d fall off. He could feel the presence of others around him, but no one stirred. Slowly he tried again and squinted at the room. It seemed large; there was a slight hollowness to the sounds of breathing around him.
He was still lightheaded, but he thought his stomach would stay down if he was careful. He slowly sat up and realized he was in a large room with concrete floors and bare walls. The windows were at least twenty feet up on the walls. A warehouse? What the hell had happened? He had been at the Kingsley and - Shit! He’d been the victim of one of the attacks! The woman he’d been talking to - he glanced around and realized the little red head was on the floor beside him, still unconscious.
Damn, what was her name? Dina? No Dana. He touched her shoulder gently. “Dana? Can you hear me?”
She stirred and opened her eyes. They instantly slammed shut, as his had. “Take it easy. I think we’re okay, physically.”
“Is that what you call this? Okay?” she muttered and he grinned at her spunk.
“Yeah, well, I mean we’re not bleeding or anything.” She tried opening her eyes again and focused on him. He met her blue eyes with his and nodded. “Take it slow,” he advised as she started to sit up.
“Where are we?”
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly and carefully got to his feet. He stood, testing himself for just a moment, then reached out his hand to her. She took it and got to her feet. They looked around at the rest of the people scattered around on the floor. Most of them were still completely out but no one looked to be in pain.
He caught the apprehension in her eyes as she looked up at him again. “Do you have any idea what’s going on?”
“Nothing helpful.” He guided her to the side of the room and took her hand again to help seat her, leaning her carefully against the wall. He sat beside her. “Apparently this,” his hand encompassed the large room, “has been happening around London the last few weeks, mostly to tourists. A pub or nightclub is targeted, everyone is knocked out and when they wake, some people are missing.”
“That wasn’t in the tour guide,” she commented quietly.
“I haven’t been on this side of it before, so I don’t know much more.”
“Has anyone been returned?”
“Uh, no. Not yet.”
“So we’ve been kidnapped.” It was a statement, not a question, but he responded.
“Well, uh, yeah. You don’t seem to be panicking,” he commented.
“Neither are you,” she cut her eyes at him and for a wonder he grinned. “I suspect we’re still drugged, just more mobile.”
“You’re probably right. I don’t imagine they want a riot on their hands when we all wake up.”
“Who’s ‘they’?” she asked, looking around. No guards were in evidence.
“Good question. I haven’t read about any ransom demands.”
“Good, because my parents couldn’t pay one.”
They sat quietly beside one another then, looking around. Though she wasn’t going to admit it, she was glad he was there. Okay, he was a stranger, but slightly less so than anyone else she could spot.
He pointed as one of the men over to the left of the room started to stir. They both jerked as the door to the far right opened and a large man entered the room. Mulder looked him over while he scanned the room. Mulder’s first impression was of Frankenstein’s monster. He was a large, muscular man with a square face and prominent brow. He walked flatfooted toward the man that was trying to sit up.
Dana gasped as she watched the door and a second man entered, identical to the first, then a third. “What the hell - “ Mulder started but the second one turned to look at him. The guard, or whatever he was, immediately changed directions and headed toward him.
Dana cringed back and Mulder’s arm automatically went around her.
“It is you,” the large man said in a flat voice. The other two turned and joined him making a semi-circle around the pair.
“What do you want?” Mulder asked, grateful that his voice was steady.
They didn’t speak, but the one in the center, the one that had noticed them first, pulled something from his pocket. A light flashed in their eyes and then nothing.
He woke, forcing eyes open that seemed glued shut. He tried to bring a hand up to his face to wipe them but found he couldn’t move. He couldn’t move anything, except his eyes. Adrenaline surged through his body but it didn’t help, he was completely immobile. He could feel no restraints, but that didn’t matter.
He could only see directly above him but there was little to see. A metallic ceiling with an odd pattern, no light fixture that he could see no matter how far he tried to cut his eyes; what was going on?
He finally quit trying to move and listened. There was a hum, a mechanical sound, in the air that was making him damn uncomfortable, though he couldn’t say why. The light brightened and every nerve in his body seemed to catch fire. He tried to scream - in his mind at least, he was screaming. Then nothing.
He woke feeling as though he’d been beaten half to death. His entire body ached but at least he was able to move. All of the other times he’d been immobilized. How many times did this make? He groaned as he lifted his arm to his face. What the . . . he was naked. How long had he been here . . . where was he anyway? His mind raced back over his last memories. He had been in the warehouse, sitting with Dana. The triplets had come over to them. Which one of them had they been talking about? “It is you.” You? What did that mean? Had he been looking at him or Dana? Mulder froze, no, no it couldn’t be. There was no way . . .
Dana! What had happened to her? Was she here? Where was here? Whatever he was lying on was padded and against a metal wall. He rose to a sitting position, groaning at the pain in his body. The room wasn’t furnished, just this bench, but - Dana! She was there as well, at the other end of the padded bench that ran the length of the room. He stood and took a shaky step toward her, then realized she was nude as well. He looked around one more time for something to cover her, but there was nothing. Mentally he shrugged and approached her. She had a nice body, inappropriate thought, but he was still breathing. Nice firm high breasts, not too large but full and natural, a flat stomach with some muscle definition, and she was a natural redhead. Okay, enough -
“Dana? Dana, can you hear me?” Nothing, so he moved closer and took a seat beside her. He lightly touched her face. “Dana?”
She stirred slightly then groaned. Shit, she was in pain as well. What had been done to them? “Dana, open your eyes.”
She struggled for just a moment, then pulled herself up beside him. The sight of his bare chest over her caused her to pull back, then she realized her own state of nudity. One arm came up to cover her breasts, the other down to cover her sex. She was trembling, her fear evident.
“I’m sorry, Dana. I don’t have anything to cover you. I’m sorry.”
She nodded, trying to get it under control.
“Take your time.”
She started to move but pain blossomed in her abdomen. She curled into a fetal position instead, moaning.
Shit, what had they done to her? “Just lie still. Don’t try to move,” he said in a worried voice.
”What, what happened?” she gasped through her pain.
“I don’t know. Try to relax.”
She looked up, “Where are we? What are we going to do?”
“I haven’t taken the time to check out the whole room. Let me see if I can find you anything.” He wasn’t sure what he was looking for other than a doctor and a way home, but she was obviously in a different kind of pain than him.
She nodded, not making any attempt at further movement. Her breathing was shallow and rapid. He caressed her shoulder, then rose again and tried to stretch. He was a little less stiff though just as sore, but at least not like her. He started where he stood, his hands on the walls of their prison. There were no cracks, no door, no bars. Letting his fingers explore the cool wall he continued around the room. He knew she didn’t take her eyes off of him.
When he was directly opposite the midpoint of the padded shelf he had lain on, the wall abruptly and silently split, opening into another room. He didn’t quite muffle his cry of surprise and Dana looked up quickly, then gasped in pain. “Just, just lie still.”
“Don’t leave me,” she whispered.
“I won’t,” he answered solemnly and looked into the room. “Dana, it’s not an exit, it’s a toilet, I think.” There was no door on the other side of this small room, but he stepped inside. The light brightened. He turned toward the sink and held his hand out. Cool water splashed into his hand. As soon as he removed it, the water stopped. He took a tentative sip; tasted like water. There were no cups or towels.
He returned to her side. “Can you walk?”
“I don’t know.”
“There’s water in there if you think you can make it.”
She nodded and with his help, managed to stand up. “You didn’t answer, where are we? What did they do to us?”
He shook his head. “I don’t know. Where, uh, where do you hurt?”
She looked up at him and then away. Okay, that was enough information for now. Instead of letting her continue to stand, he scooped her into his arms and carried her the few steps to the other room, which had closed behind him. As soon as he stepped close, it opened again. He seated her on what he presumed to be the toilet and got a handful of water. She murmured her thanks and sipped it from the palm of his hand. “Thanks.”
He rose and she drew back, her eyes riveted on his manhood. Hell, he couldn’t cover himself and look after her. “Look, I’m - “
“It’s okay. I have brothers, I just haven’t seen them, uh, grownup.”
Mulder chuckled at that, which brought a shy answering smile to her face. The reality was they were nude, move on. She straightened up then, cautiously.
“Are you feeling any better?”
“A little. What do you remember?”
“Not much. The pub, the warehouse, not being able to move.” He saw her face go even more pale. “Put your head down.”
She did, taking slightly deeper breaths now. “Sorry.”
“Hey, we’ve been through . . . “
“But you’re not passing out,” she muttered.
“I think we were subjected to different things.” She squeezed her eyes shut at that. They both froze at a metallic sound from the larger room. “Stay here,” he said taking a step in that direction.
“You too!” she grabbed his arm before he could go out to check on things.
After seeing her expression, he complied. When the noise ended they exchanged glances and at her nod they silently agreed to move. He kept his hand on her, but she seemed steadier now. Still he stepped in front of her as they looked out. A tray was on the floor at what he had considered the foot of his ‘bed’. There was no door, no crack in the wall of any kind.
“Where did that come from?” It was a rhetorical question so she didn’t bother to answer. He started to move toward the tray, but her hand stopped him.
“Is it safe?”
“I don’t see a choice, like the water.”
She looked conflicted, but she didn’t argue. He was right.
He picked up the tray and placed it between them on the shelf. There were two stacks of what looked like wafers and two small containers of a thick paste. “Ah, chips and dip,” he said. She shot him a look of disdain, but watched as he picked up one of the wafers.
“Here goes,” her look of fear almost stopped him, but after seeing the food his stomach had started growling. He took her hand and squeezed it, then scraped some of the paste onto the wafer and took a tentative bite. She watched as he chewed carefully, then swallowed.
“Needs salt.” She very nearly slapped him. “Sorry. It’s bland, but . . . “ he shrugged.
After a moment she picked up a wafer as well and swiped it in the other container. Rather than looking down at the food, she looked at him. He nodded and she took it into her mouth. She chewed and her assessment matched his. Filling probably, but it did need salt.
“You probably got the good one,” he complained and she gave a shaking chuckle.
They ate it all, then Mulder took his finger and cleaned out the small container nearest him that had held the paste.
“You thought it was that good?” she asked, watching him.
He held up the container. “A cup.”
“Ah, good idea.” She cleaned out her own. He filled them both with water and brought it back.
“Feeling any better?”
“I’m not hurting like I was. I’d like some clothes.”
His eyes involuntarily scanned her again and she turned away, blushing. “Sorry, I . . . “ He stopped when he realized she was trembling again. “Dana, look, I - “
“No, it’s not that. I’m cold.”
“Oh, well maybe I can do something about that.” He took her hand and led her back to her end of the bench and lay down. “Come here.” He patted the bench in front of him. “I’m perfectly willing to share some body heat.”
Her blush was adorable, though he had sense enough not to say that out loud.
“I’m not trying to make a move on you, honestly. I can be a gentleman, even under the circumstances.”
Without quite looking at him, she nodded and lay down beside him, her body stiff.
“Relax,” he whispered in her ear, causing her to jump and stiffen even more. “This won’t work unless you let me hold you.” She finally took a breath and forced herself to lean back against him.
It was a new sensation, skin to skin. The feel of his warm muscular body against hers brought even more blood to her face and a few other areas. “I, I’m sorry.”
“What about?” he asked
“I don’t . . . I don’t have a lot of experience. “
“I didn’t either for a long time. Don’t think about it, not now. We’re just giving and receiving comfort and warmth right now. Why don’t you tell me what you remember?”
She stiffened up again, then forced her muscles to relax. “I’m not sure. Nothing makes sense.”
“I agree with that,” he said soothingly. “You remember not being able to move?”
She nodded and pressed back against him for an instant before realizing it and pulling slightly away. He pulled her back, letting his hand rest on her abdomen. “I don’t know what was holding me. I couldn’t turn my head but I couldn’t feel any straps.”
He nodded, then realized she couldn’t see him. “Me too.”
The thought he’d had earlier returned but he shoved it aside. For now there was nothing he could do. Keeping her warm and relaxed was enough for now.
He startled awake when she cried out. They were on that padded shelf, and had apparently fallen asleep again. She flailed her arms, trying to protect herself from whatever was attacking her in her dreams.
“Dana, Dana come on, wake up. It’s just a dream. Uff,” he breathed as she connected her elbow with his ribs. He really didn’t want her to get any lower, especially since he was nude. “Dana, come on.” As she continued to struggle, he finally sprawled atop her, keeping her legs from doing him damage.
That woke her, terrified. “Stop! Get off of me!”
He quickly scrambled to his feet. “Are you awake?”
Her eyes were riveted low and she pulled back from him, curling into a ball and trying to cover herself.
“Dana, I’m not going to hurt you. You were having a nightmare. I - “
“Really?” she looked down at his erection and he wanted to throw something.
Instead he turned his back on her, but continued to speak. “I was trying to wake you. I wasn’t going to rape you. That’s not my style. The fact that you have a hot body and were squirming around underneath me is not exactly my fault.” He glanced over his shoulder to see her flaming face. At that he turned partially back toward her. “Look, I didn’t mean to embarrass you, but I really wasn’t trying . . . “
“I know,” she said faintly.
“What was the dream?”
She shuddered then, violently and he started to move toward her. At least he was under control now, but he’d react again. “Dana?”
“It, it’s okay. I don’t want to talk about the dream.”
“Fair enough. Can I get you some water?”
She nodded and he turned toward the toilet. The two cups were still there by the sink; that made him look back out the door.
“What?” she asked quickly.
“The tray’s gone.”
“We must have slept through it.” She looked toward the far end of the shelf and saw that he was right.
He filled her cup then and brought it to her. She avoided looking directly at him, but took the cup with a faint thanks.
“I don’t know how long we’re going to be here, but we need to figure out a way to live together.”
She nodded. Before she could speak there was a sound at the far end of the room and another tray shimmered into view. They both watched speechless, finally he glanced over at her. Her eyes were wide and frightened. “I, I see it too,” he said causing her to jump.
She shook her head. “That can’t - “
“No, but it did. It was the same noise we heard earlier.”
“But it can’t happen!” her voice was higher pitched but still not much more than a whisper.
“I’ll check it out.” He started to move toward the tray but her hand shot out and grabbed his.
“We’ll have to eat, Dana.”
He pulled her to him and held her. She didn’t even protest and he realized in her fear he was probably the least scary thing going on. She was just a kid, seventeen or eighteen. She was holding up well under the circumstances. Not that he was that much older, but he’d been on his own for a very long time.
“It’s okay, Dana.” He seated her again. “Let me check it out.” He squeezed her hand then moved over to the new tray. It was identical to the previous one, with the same wafers and paste. This was going to get boring quickly if this was the entire menu. He lifted the tray and spotted the gauzy material underneath it. “I think we’ve got clothes.”
She looked up surprised. “What?”
“Don’t know how much cover it is, but we’ve got a, a something.” He carried the tray and fabric over to her. She held it up. It wouldn’t hide anything but it was surprisingly warm to the touch. “Can you help me tear it? You can have half.”
He actually smiled. “Sure, we can try that.” He took it from her, handing her the tray. She ignored it, waiting. After several minutes of fruitless effort he turned back to her. “I’m not even sure a knife would cut this, Dana. You use it. I’ll, uh, be okay.”
She glanced at him once more, her eyes involuntarily tracking down, but said nothing. She just took back the cloth and wrapped it around her. He watched the process and when she was through shook his head a little mournfully.
“I think you’re even sexier like that. I can remember what you look like under it.”
She rolled her eyes, then turned to the tray. After looking at him she dipped a wafer in the paste. She blinked at the different taste.
“It’s a different flavor.”
“I didn’t say that.”
He took a seat and picked up a wafer from his side of the tray. He grinned at the difference. “I think I like this one better. They added salt.”
She looked at him but the thought that flitted across her mind wouldn’t stay, he only grinned at her.
Once again eating didn’t take that much time. They kept the cups back again, just in case, but placed the empty tray back where they had found it. Then Mulder once again explored their cell.
“What do you expect to find?” she finally asked as he made a second circuit of the room.
“I don’t know. I guess I just want something to do. Eating and sleeping isn’t going to take up 24-hours a day and the library here sucks.”
“So what do we do?” she asked curling up on the shelf.
“That’s what I’m trying to figure out. No doors and no windows makes this a very secure room. If they can beam the food into us - “
“What would you call what we saw?”
“If Star Fleet is behind this, I’m suing Gene Roddenberry,” she said adamantly.
He grinned. “We’ll make it class action.” He looked around the room one more time, seeing nothing new, and flopped down beside her. “I don’t know; tell me a story.”
“Excuse me?” she looked at him, one eyebrow high.
It only made him grin. “Come on, we’re stuck here, we should get to know each other. Are you an only child or are there a gaggle of redheads somewhere?”
She tucked her hair behind her ear. “Not a whole gaggle, only four.”
“Four? Girls, boys? Come on.”
“A brother and sister older, a brother younger.”
She nodded, “like Dad.”
“Are you close to them?”
She shrugged, “Missy and I are pretty close and Charlie, the baby, is everyone’s favorite. He’s fun to be around, makes friends easily.”
“What about big brother?”
“He’s okay, a little . . . I don’t know, he thinks because he’s the oldest he should have some authority when Dad’s at sea.”
“Navy. So is Bill now, so I guess it’s to be expected, but Dad just . . . he doesn’t,” she shrugged.
“Maybe Bill will grow into it.”
She smiled and nodded. “Probably, or get it beaten out of him.”
“Um, that sounded sibling-like.”
She chuckled then, “What about you?”
“A sister, my parents are divorced.”
He shook his head. “It was a long time ago. Tell me more about this mini-gaggle of redheads.”
Author's Notes - For Sallie, I think this might be her kind of story. Happy Birthday, My Sallie - Hope you enjoy
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Mulder, Scully, the Lone Gunman and Skinner all belong to Chris Carter, 10-13 and Fox. No infringement intended.