The warehouse was dark, but fortunately their eyes adjusted quickly. Both had their guns drawn and they hesitated just inside the door. They heard a sound from above them and Mulder motioned for Scully to go to the right and headed up the stairs.
No one was up there, but someone was now downstairs. Scully? He couldn't call out, that would endanger both of them. He'd found nothing up here, they needed to reconnect. He quietly returned to the first floor. Now where the hell was she? He couldn't hear anything. He kept the gun steady in front of him. Was that her? He followed the soft sound and finally spotted her on the floor.
"Scully." It was barely a sigh. He was over her, a pulse! He was able to take a breath. But his fingers were wet, sticky. Blood. He leaned in to see where the blood was coming from. A mistake, he was too late to dodge the blow coming at him. He landed with his body half over hers; instinctively trying to protect her as it all went dark.
Mulder groaned as he emerged back into consciousness. Damn his head hurt. He raised a hand to his head, no blood. What had happened? Scully! She'd been on the floor in front of him. He forced himself to rise, stifling another groan. He carefully made his way to the other side of the room where Scully lay on a bench.
She was breathing and the bleeding had stopped, crusting in her hair. He sank onto the bench beside her, no longer able to stand. They were both in bad shape. Where the hell were they anyway?
Mulder managed to look around the room. It was a large room, probably eighteen feet square, ceiling at least twelve feet high. Two small narrow windows near the top of one wall. It was daylight; hopefully it was the same day. Not much furniture, two fairly wide benches bolted on either side of the room and two wooden chairs. There was a toilet and sink in one corner. Now that did not look promising. Cinder block walls, concrete floor and metal door. Scully, please wake up, we're not in Kansas anymore.
Okay, what did they have on them? No gun, big surprise, no I.D., no watches. He had his handkerchief, his notepad and pen, some coins. Well, he also had his suit, shoes and coat. Scully seemed to be the same, pantsuit, shoes and coat. In the pockets some tissues, a lipstick and a comb. Great.
Well, look around the room once more. Not a whole lot else he could do right now. He carefully walked to the sink and splashed water on his face. He was dragging one of the chairs over to his bench when he heard her groan. He was at her side in two steps, forgetting his own pain.
"Scully, can you hear me?"
"Mulder?" The sound emerged as a whisper, and even then she winced.
"No, Scully. Don't try to sit up." He put his hand gently on her shoulder. She quickly decided that was the best advice he'd ever given her. She raised a shaky hand to her head. It didn't help that her hand came away tacky with blood.
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Three. Where are we?"
"I'm not sure. I'll be right back." He dampened his handkerchief and very lightly washed the blood off her face and took a better look at her wound.
"Sorry." He handed her the cloth.
"You don't know where we are?" She focused on his face again, the only comforting thing in sight.
"I was out for awhile too. And I lost the debate, apparently your head isn't harder than mine. I didn't bleed."
She gave him a weak smile, he was trying.
After a few minutes she attempted again to sit up, with his help. She wanted to tell him she was okay, but she was too busy fighting the nausea. When she had more control she squeezed the arm he had around her, supporting her.
"Why don't you lay back down, Scully. We've got nothing else to do right now." He folded his overcoat and placed it under her head. She needed medical attention, damn it. He had to think of something. Once she was settled, he again grabbed the chair he'd been dragging. He was now able to lift it, so he did and placed it on his bench. Even standing on it he was still unable to reach the bottom of the windows near the ceiling. It was, however, beginning to grow dark outside.
He had lifted the chair down when they heard the metal flap at the bottom of the door open inward. A tray of food was pushed into the room.
"Hey wait! She needs a doctor! She needs treatment for her head wound. Let us out of here!" The flap swung closed as Mulder slammed first his fists and then his body against the door. Now that felt really good.
He slowly bent and picked up the tray. He carried it to Scully's bench.
"Think you can eat?"
"Maybe in a little bit. What it is?" She focused on his eyes, still not able to look around too well.
"Grilled chicken sandwiches, small tossed salads and drinks. Not your standard prison fare." Mulder was pulling food from the paper bag. "Lots of condiments, too."
"Maybe we better hang on to those."
He nodded before remembering what a bad idea that was.
Once again he helped her to sit up, settling her in the corner formed by one of the cinder block columns that jutted out around the room.
"Here, try and drink this." He handed her a soda, and she found it did help.
She was able to take a few bites, and after resting, a few more.
"Mulder, I'm going to be okay. You don't have to hover."
"Maybe not, but I don't have a whole lot else to occupy me."
The flap opened again and another tray was shoved into the room. This one was full of first aid supplies and a small bottle of aspirin. Still not a word, they couldn't even hear anyone approaching or leaving the door.
It was closed again before Mulder could get there. "Well, at least we can use this stuff."
Using the cotton he carefully disinfected the gash on Scully's head and applied the medicine she recommended. She probably needed stitches, but since that was academic, he closed the wound to the best of his abilities with butterfly bandages. They were not allowed scissors, so he wasn't able to cut her hair. She was secretly grateful, the bandage might not hold as well, but the thoughts of a Mulder haircut only added to her pain.
That finished he cleaned up from their meal, keeping everything that was still sealed or could be closed, and stored it at one end of his bench. The rest he piled on one of the trays and left it near the door.
"Remember, you have KP duty tomorrow." He groused at her.
"Sir, yes sir." She responded with a half-hearted salute. Her color was a little better since eating. How the hell long were they going to be held here?
Might as well start at the beginning. Mulder returned to the door and began an inch by inch examination of the room. The hinges of the door were on the outside. The flap would not open; it was probably bolted from the outside. No breaks in the wall, but it seemed to have been freshly painted and clean. Same with the floor, clean and freshly painted as well. The benches were new, polyurethaned, no splinters. The sink and toilet were also new. Had this place been set up for them?
"Yeah." He was immediately back at her side.
"Uh, about the facilities. . ." She was looking at the toilet with great displeasure.
"That's all we have Scully. I, uh, let me help you over there and then I'll. . ."
"You'll what, Mulder? It's not like I brought my picnic attachment."
"Your what?" What had she said?
"Nothing, Mulder, just a minor case of penis envy. Ignore me."
Oh, yeah. This was not going to work. How the hell could either of them use the toilet with the other just inches away? Even his parents had never done that and they were married. She was trying to rise from the bench, so he put his arm around her.
"Our choices seem to be extremely limited for now. If you could just give me what privacy you can. . ."
Jesus, he hadn't thought this through. How long were the two of them going to be in a room this size? He helped her steady herself using the sink for support and retreated back to the door. This was ridiculous.
"Mulder?" He started to turn, but stopped himself.
"I'm gonna need your help to get back. . ." He did turn as her voice faded and made it there to catch her before she hit the floor.
"You shouldn't have tried to walk alone." His voice sounded rougher than he meant it to, but his fear was overtaking his embarrassment. He settled her on the bench and as he turned, the lights went out. They were thrown into pitch darkness and both cried out.
"Scully? Are you okay?"
"Yes. I was just startled. I guess we sleep now."
"Great." He stumbled over to his side of the room, groping for the bench and finally stretched out on it. Like he was going to be able to sleep. It was really dark, his apartment was never this dark, of course, the TV would be on and the streetlights. How was he suppose to just lay here for eight hours?
It took a little while for the sound to register. He just couldn't place it. Just as she spoke he realized it was her teeth chattering.
"Mul. . .Mulder?"
"What's wrong?" He was sitting up; ready to do whatever was necessary.
"I'm fr. . .freezing." It was colder than it had been, but she was probably also in shock. He really hadn't paid any attention. They must be underground. That's why the windows were so high, that would certainly cool off a cinderblock room.
He found his way back to her side of the room. "Sit up for a second, and give me your coat." He slid in behind her, settling his back into the corner, pulling her into the V of his legs with her back against his chest. He wrapped his coat around them and then her coat over her.
"Is that better?"
"Lots. Can you sleep like this?"
"If I slept I probably could. Just relax." She cuddled in next to him and he realized very shortly that she had indeed fallen asleep against his chest. It took longer for him to relax, especially with her pressed up against him. Finally he did drift off and they both slept until the lights came on the next morning, followed immediately by the sound of a tray being shoved into the room.
"Hey! We need blankets if we're going to be kept like this. When are you letting us out of here?" Mulder again raced for the door after disengaging himself from Scully. No response, he slapped the door with his open hand.
He carried the tray over to Scully and they both pounced upon the hot coffee. They said nothing to each other, both being accustomed to solitude in the mornings. They divvied up the rest of the food and ate in silence. That led them to the inevitable privacy issue again. Mulder reached to help her to her feet but she avoided him.
"I have to see if I can do this. I haven't had anyone take me to the potty in a very long time."
He grinned, decided the best thing to say was nothing, and retreated to the door. When her ablutions were completed she made her way back to the bench and he took over the facilities.
When he joined her again she looked up at him, and patted the bench beside her. "Thank you for last night."
"No problem, Scully. I was warmer too."
"I wasn't just cold, Mulder. I was scared." She looked away, not wanting to meet his eyes.
"Me too. Scully, I can't find a way out of here. I don't even know where we are. I haven't been able to get up to the windows to see if that would tell us anything. I'm sorry I got you into this."
"As I recall, Mulder, this was my tip. I'm the one who got you into this. If we hadn't received word through my email that one of the Kurt Crawford's had possibly been spotted, I would never have dragged you here." She touched his chin to bring his eyes up to look into hers.
"But if it weren't for me, we wouldn't have to be looking for the Kurt Crawfords."
She took a deep breath; they had been over this territory before. "Well yes, but while you're at it, you forgot to take blame for apartheid in South Africa, the tornado in South Dakota and of course the new Volkswagen Bug."
He grinned at her. "I'm doing it again?"
"Only constantly. Mulder, I did bring us here. I'm the one who received the tip and encouraged you to come with me. I would have come alone, but I'm awfully glad I didn't."
He gave a slight shudder at that. What if she had come alone? What if, right now, he was searching for her with no more clues than the outside world had about them? This might not be the best place in the world to be, but at least they were together. What couldn't they accomplish together?
The flap opened and for the first time, they saw a hand. It was reaching in to get the tray of trash. It was a man's hand, nothing distinctive, no rings or marks. It was visible for only seconds before disappearing with the trash and shoving a bundle into the room. Gone again. Mulder actually got his fingers on the flap before it closed, but rather than have them broken, let go before it slammed shut.
He turned and met Scully's eyes. Well, he was getting quicker and if someone was going to reach into the room. . .
He brought the bundle over to her bench. A blanket, towels, wash cloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and shampoo. How come two towels and only one blanket? Mulder decided not to voice that question.
"Great room service in this place. I'm beginning to feel like I'm in Hotel California. You can check in but you don't check out."
"Mulder, I think that's the roach motel."
"An even better analogy. You want to wash up first?"
"Thanks. Uh, Mulder, we're getting into the privacy thing again. Can we use the blanket as a screen? Do you see any way to. . .?"
He studied the items available in the room. They could drape the blanket over the backs of the two chairs, but that would only come up about waist high. Uh, waist high on her, less than that for him. How could you stack office furniture as a team if there was no damn office furniture? Maybe if they took turns hiding under the blanket while the other bathed, and so on. . . Yeah, he was really going to suggest that.
Hell, they were just going to have to trust each other, at least for the foreseeable future. If these care packages kept arriving, maybe eventually a phone or a key would be enclosed.
"I'll set up the chairs for you for now, but I won't bother you or anything. I mean . . ."
"I trust you, Mulder."
Now why did that cause such a rush of blood to his face? He'd meant it, he wouldn't look, but of course nothing could keep him from visualizing. Shit, he was going to go mad. It was as simple as that.
Was that the plan? Drive him out of his mind by throwing him into a situation where he was with Scully night and day with no escape? They would kill each other. At least, she'd kill him.
"Mulder, could you drag one of the chairs over to the sink for me?"
"Sure, why?" He was already on his feet. Finally something to actually do.
"I have to get this blood out of my hair. I can't stand it anymore."
"Maybe I better do that. You don't want to get your bandage wet."
"Mulder, I am perfectly capable of washing my own hair, you can. . . " She paused.
"Yeah, its really gonna rip into my day, Scully, but I think I can work you in."
She conceded, though she really didn't want him playing with her hair. Not that she could explain why that would be more personal than helping her to the toilet had been. She just really didn't want him touching her more than he had to.
She leaned forward, allowing her hair to fall into the sink, and almost immediately grabbed the sink to keep from falling. "Whoa, Scully." He had his arms around her again. It was bad enough at night, leading to some of the best dreams she ever remembered. But during the day she wanted to keep her distance. Damn it, she needed to keep her distance. She'd go crazy if he kept touching her. It wasn't like it meant anything to him.
"Sit down and lean back. I can use one of the cups and wash it this way." Was his voice getting deeper? A new surge of puberty? Or just having her everywhere he turned? Maybe he shouldn't have insisted, this felt too much like. . . forget it, Mulder. Concentrate on what you're doing.
He gently washed her hair, massaging her scalp, forcing his mind away from her every time it tried to return. When he had finished, he fingercombed the worst of the tangles out and replaced the bandage.
"Scully, has your hair always been this curly?" He didn't want to hurt her by pulling her hair more than was necessary, but this was like trying to capture a butterfly.
"I can do this, Mulder." She couldn't take his hands on her anymore. It was so businesslike, and she was enjoying even that. God she was pathetic.
"I'm not kidding, Scully. It's curling like it's alive or something."
"Mulder, leave it alone. I can't straighten it here. Let go."
"You straighten your hair?" New information to file and think about when she wasn't watching.
She snorted in annoyance. Didn't he know anything about her?
He was pacing again. Where was her gun? Maybe if she tripped him he'd get the message. She knew he was trying, but he'd never been confined like this before. He was used to being active, running, swimming. Who cared, she was going to kill him.
She took a deep breath. "Mulder."
He stopped and looked up. He realized immediately what was wrong. "Sorry Scully, I forgot." He started to retreat towards his bench.
"No Mulder. We both have to get some exercise. Just not pacing, okay? Why don't I teach you some yoga? I know it's not your thing, but you could try it. Then maybe when I feel better you can teach me some of that Tai Chi."
Why hadn't he thought of that? Because he felt like a rat in a trap, that's why. Yoga, hell if it took some time he was for it. This was like sensory deprivation.
"Thanks, Scully. Hey, if I twist myself into a pretzel, can you get me unhooked?"
"I'll try, Mulder. I'll try."
So would he, hell, he might even begin to enjoy it. It could be relaxing if you did it right. Mulder meditating was not exactly something she could visualize.
Mulder again had the chair on his bench. He just could not reach the window seal. If he jumped he could upset the chair, but maybe if she held it still. . . The last thing he wanted to do was ask her. His nerves were stretched so tight he'd scream if she said anything snippy. Not a girly scream either, a true howl.
He didn't realize she'd come up behind him. "Why don't I get on your shoulders, then I could see out?"
"What if you get dizzy?" Oh yeah, he wanted her legs around his neck.
"I won't." Another short sentence from her. Yeah, it was all his fault they were stuck here. Be sure and show me how much you blame me, Mulder thought.
"Get up on the chair and I'll climb up." Be damned if you'll climb my body, Mulder shook his head at the thought.
"What? You think I can't do it?"
"Of course you can. That's not what I. . . Look just get on my shoulders now and I'll get on the chair."
"You can't climb up there with me on your shoulders. You'll drop me."
"I will not!"
"Fine, we'll do it your way, as usual."
He started to respond and thought better of it. Ripping into each other wouldn't help, even if it were her fault.
She climbed onto his shoulders and he rose, then stepped onto the chair. Her inner thighs gripping his head were not helping his balance, but he'd die before he dropped her now. She could easily see out the window, but there was absolutely nothing to see. Not a bush, not a tree, not a road or a fence. Just dirt, dry dirt blowing slightly.
"What? What's out there?"
"Not a damn thing. Nothing, nada, zip! There isn't even a shadow of anything out of sight. Damn it!"
She moved to try once again to see anything and became aware of the soft scratchiness of his new beard through her slacks. Oh god, no she would not become aroused while on his shoulders. No!
She took one leg off of his shoulder startling him and proceeded to slide down his body, then jump from the chair onto the floor. He wanted to strangle her, among other things. Instead he concentrated on trying to forget the feel of her breasts on his chest, and her thighs at his. . . He was going to kill her. She had to know exactly what she was doing to him - she was obviously torturing him and then never giving him the privacy to relieve himself. He jumped down from the chair and jerked it off the bench, returning it to its position near the sink.
He then retreated to the far end of the room and for the thousandth time examined the marks he was making on the wall. One for each day, made after the evening meal. Six of them so far, almost a week and they knew no more about where they were or why they were here than they had when they'd woken up here. The only outside contact were the hands that reached through the slot. There were three men, they rotated duty. None ever spoke. None had markings on their hands other than freckles. The freckled one seemed younger somehow, but how much could you really tell from one hand.
He slapped his hand against the wall startling Scully. She kept quiet, there was nothing she could do or say to change anything. If they ever got out of here she was going to get as far away from that man as she could. When had she quit thinking when, and changed to if they got out? This was beyond nightmare, it never ended.