Title: The Consort
Category: Post Colonization, AU, Scully/Skinner Spoilers: Anything really
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were. They belong to CC and 1013.
Beta thanks to Frohike 51
From Merriam-Webster online:
Consort: date: 15th century
1 : ASSOCIATE
2 : a ship accompanying another
3 : SPOUSE
queen consort: the wife of a reigning king
For some it foretold of pain, suffering and death. For others it was a salvation of the soul, if not the body. For Dana Scully, it was neither. Her way of life was long gone and she found herself alone. Alone. How could her life which had been so full of promise exist in its present condition?
She sighed heavily and looked at the strange, gold metallic bracelet on her wrist. The alien symbols meant nothing to her, but to those in charge it contained instructions for her new position. Somewhere among the lines of symbols was the name of her keeper.
Sitting on the hard metal bench among the other women, Scully thought she might commit the unpardonable sin: suicide. But they were watched too closely and, if caught, would be subjected to torture of a hideous nature; kept awake and alert while being experimented on like rats. She shuddered at the thought. If she was going to do it, she'd do it so no one would be able to bring her back. Ever.
The sound of a whistle brought them to their feet and they were instructed to board the arriving train. Dressed in ankle length black dresses, shoes, and white 'habits' the women made a collective rustling noise as they rose. Soldiers carefully looked away from them as they passed; the penalty for staring at a consort was a vicious whipping.
Scully could see prisoners working the rails and strained to see if she recognized anyone among the skeletal-like humans digging in the mud. No matter how many times she told herself that Mulder might be dead, she looked for him anyway. A mixture of relief and disappointment always accompanied the sadness of viewing prisoners and failing to locate a familiar face. She didn't know if it would be a blessing or a curse to see someone she knew.
The women were ushered into a train car separate from the other passengers; speaking to one another wasn't forbidden, but trust was lacking. Most were former 'criminals, Scully included, and a natural, necessary wariness permeated their every exchange. Even if they were now 'safe' and the need for secrecy long gone, old habits were hard to dispense with. Nearly all of them had fought in the rebellion and it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume spies were planted among them.
Scully found a seat near the back and sat by herself. She didn't know how far they were going, or even where. She had no idea who her owner would be, and she didn't want to know. She'd face that when the time came just like everything else. As she'd been reminded innumerable times by those in charge, this was a choice.
Of course, it wasn't much of a choice. Become a consort to a military leader, or be worked to death within a few months like all the other nameless, faceless prisoners all over the former United States. She'd told herself at the time that she could look for her son and possibly bargain for time with him. Consorts were widely despised creatures, but they were known exert some influence over their captors if they were well liked.
She wished she could take the long scarf off of her head. It was made of a white sheer material which did nothing to hide her red hair, but was unbearably hot. The dress was a form-fitting cotton material that covered everything from the neck down. Scully thought she looked like a cross between a hooker and a nun; which was the idea as it turns out.
Leaning back against the seat, she closed her eyes and thought of her former life. When her present situation became unbearably hard she'd think of an x-file and go over it in her mind in great detail. It helped to keep her mind sharp and the memory of the people she loved fresh in her mind. She had nothing at all now except memory and she cherished that more than her freedom.
She dozed through the night and the murmurs of the women now huddled together. It was only when the train came to a stop that she woke fully and realized that it was morning. She and the other women scrambled to their feet and picked up the meager belongings given to them at the processing site. They were instructed to line up under the sign bearing the first letter of their new name.
Scully snorted. Her new name was someone's attempt at humor: Scarlet a bright red color. Not difficult to guess where it came from. Why couldn't they have named her after her eyes? Something like Sky, Azure, or Ocean. Scarlet was not only obvious, but nicknames would be painful if not impossible to hear.
She fell into the R-T line and waited patiently behind the five or so women in front of her.
She let her gaze wander again over the bustling station. This time there were no prisoners working, but several highly placed military officers were milling about. Their uniforms were as black as the dresses the consorts wore and the three yellow stripes on the sleeves denoted a status similar to colonel in the old army.
They were probably there to pick up a consort and Scully wondered if she belonged to one of them. Just to the left of this small group, a tall man came striding across the open space. The small group of colonels stopped talking and saluted the man who wore general's stars. Although she couldn't see his face, Scully could see that he was a man used to getting his way and having his orders obeyed. His stride was assured and arrogant, and she had to swallow a scream rising in her throat as he came nearer.
She knew him. In spite of herself she gasped out loud when he stopped to speak to the military group. Right in front of her, in all his glory, was Walter S. Skinner.
He stopped to speak to the group of colonels and grave exchanges ensued. Eventually Scully saw one of the colonels point in the direction of the consorts. She'd already been processed along with the others and they stood in an uncertain group. Scully slipped as far back as she was able, trying to blend in, trying to disappear.
As Skinner strode forward he stopped to speak to the woman Scully had dubbed 'Mother Superior'; a sour-faced woman with an equally sour disposition appointed to make sure they were passed off to the proper owner. She brightened considerably when Skinner made small talk with her. She became quite animated, undoubtedly thrilling Skinner with stories of unruly consorts and the troubles she had with them. She'd probably throw in a pitch about how it was so wonderful for the new government to take an interest in these 'fallen' women and could put them to good use.
Mother Superior suddenly looked up at the group with a frown on her face. Scully backed up further, hoping they wouldn't see her. Skinner strode forward and the consorts parted like geese. He towered over them easily and Scully knew it was only a matter of time before he spotted her.
Scully kept her head down; even when Skinner's immaculately polished black boots came into her view. She felt herself start to tremble uncontrollably. The other consorts had backed far away from her, leaving her exposed, vulnerable.
She knew why he was here. He was here to kill her. He'd finally found out she was a traitor to the government and tracked her down. It wasn't unheard of for consorts to be plucked out of line at the last minute and executed if previously unknown offenses were discovered. Scully's offenses had clearly called for execution and she had been vastly surprised to be place in the ranks of the consorts.
She jumped when he placed a hand on her shoulder.
She froze in place, mute. A large finger insinuated itself under her chin, coaxing her face upward. She raised it, but kept her eyes closed.
"Open your eyes." His voice was loud, commanding, not to be disobeyed.
She finally acquiesced, terrified of what she would see. Skinner loomed over her, large, imposing in his uniform, but his eyes were kind. What could this mean?
"It's been a long time," he whispered.
"Y-Yes sir." That was all Scully could seem to manage.
"I'm here to take you home."
"Yes. My home. You belong to me now."
"I'm your consort, sir?"
Scully watched as buildings sped by the window of Skinner's official car. She sat in an uncomfortable silence with him in the back. The driver cast surreptitious looks at her in the rear view mirror until he was warned off by a curt word.
She realized women in general were uncommon creatures in the city. Many had died during the early years of the war for unknown reasons. Speculation was that an alien virus had done it so humans couldn't reproduce without their help. Scully had never been able to confirm it and assumed she had survived because of her abduction. Consequently women became rare commodities so that even the criminal ones such as herself could still be made 'useful.'
The rules were simple. A consort had one job and that was to satisfy her keeper sexually. He was allowed to make any request of her and she was not to refuse. Short of killing her that meant anything at all. Scully had shuddered at the thought. Rumors among the consorts ran rampant. Some of the women swore that bondage, threesomes, and beatings were commonplace. When a man grew tired of a consort he could pass her on to another man until her usefulness wore out. Then she was sent to a prison camp where she would be worked to death within a month.
Sex with a stranger she could tolerate. She'd simply close her eyes and think it was someone else: Mulder. But now she knew her keeper. She was to gratify a man she hadn't seen in two years.
He sat next to her rigid as a marble statue, studiously ignoring her presence. She hadn't expected a warm welcome, but certainly something more than this cold aura surrounding them. He shuffled papers in a briefcase along with an ancient laptop.
Technology hadn't advanced at all since invasion, and nothing new was being manufactured. Consequently anything working was repaired over and over. Among the rebels, computers were more important than ammunition. Scully had only seen two during her entire time with them.
She watched him work out of the corner of her eye. Rule number forty seven: a consort does not openly stare at her owner. It might be misconstrued. Rule number forty eight: a consort will not attempt to engage her owner in conversation while her owner is at work.
It went on and on. Scully knew all two hundred thirty seven rules from the constant reciting she was forced to do.
Rule number ten: a consort willingly helps her owner in any task requested. Rule twenty: a consort will not embarrass her owner in front of his guests. Rule number one: a consort is owned by her owner.
The rules about sex were saved for last. Rules one hundred seventy five through two hundred thirty seven all pertained to sex. Scully had laughed at some of them and was swiftly disciplined. Former doctor or not, laughing at anything, however unscientific, in the 'Reformation Center' was met with harsh treatment. They'd been given instructions on how to please a man; how to be demure and self-depreciating. Like hooker-geishas, she thought.
The lessons on how to give fellatio, in particular, were dreadful. The women were made to demonstrate their technique on dildos. If they failed to meet the 'standard', they were forced to perform on live models.
This was a rare punishment. The saving grace of the reformation center was that the consorts were left alone. Sexual contact could subvert the delicate system of making sure they were disease-free when handed over to their new owners. A second round of testing six months after entering the center would confirm an HIV-free status. It was typed up on a set of papers, and those papers were a consort's life.
There was no physical contact allowed among the women themselves either. Any hint of homosexuality was met with immediate execution. So called 'deviant' practices did not exist in this world. There was quite a lot that was not allowed in this world.
Her thoughts were interrupted with their arrival at Skinner's home. It was a large house set back from all the others in a secluded neighborhood. Skinner must be an important man indeed to warrant such a large living space.
The house staff was waiting outside to greet them. Among them she could see a uniformed male secretary and several armed guards. Important men also attracted danger it would seem.
His driver parked the car and got out to open Skinner's door. Scully automatically moved to open her door on the opposite side. He reached across and stilled her.
"I believe you get out on my side after me."
Scully blushed at the faux pas. Having him next to her made her revert to her old FBI habits. She was going to have to be extra careful to watch that. Skinner had apparently read his manual on consort behavior.
She bowed her head in deference. "I'm terribly sorry sir. It won't happen again."
He didn't reply, but she sensed that he was still displeased. Tension in the car was tangible and he'd kept his hand on her arm. Skinner started to say something, but was interrupted when the driver opened his door.
He turned from her and exited the car, leaving her to wonder what he was going to say. She scooted across the seat and exited after him. She stood behind and to his right as was customary.
"This is my consort. She is to be treated with respect and given all the courtesy her position demands. Anyone found violating those rules will be sent to a work camp. Am I understood?"
Skinner's voice boomed in the courtyard and Scully could feel her face flush. He made her sound like a new wife instead of a concubine.
A resounding 'yes sir' was given by all those assembled. Skinner stood a few moments longer looking at each staff member as if making sure they did understand. Scully kept her head down in deferment to Skinner's authority, not seeing their response. 'Interfering' with a consort was a grave violation. Soldiers were known to be executed on the spot when caught. The consort was generally given the same punishment.
"Come," he said to her.
She followed him through the front entrance and up a staircase into a hallway with a series of doors. He led her to the far end and opened one. Inside was a twin bed, desk and chair, a bookshelf with a few books, and a private bath.
"This is your room," he said.
He closed the door and opened the one next to it.
"This is my room."
So she was directly next door. She also noticed that the bathroom she thought was private was actually shared between them, dorm room style. That way he could have access to her without needing to use the hallway.
His room was quite large with a double bed and elegant furniture. There was a warmth to this room that was lacking in hers. She sensed this was a retreat for him, and now she would sometimes share that retreat.
He stood silently by as if awaiting her approval. As she walked through, she thought it looked comfortable and the closest thing to a home she had seen in a very long time.
She ran her hand along the smooth oak footboard on his bed. This was the nicest piece of furniture he owned. Was it new? Had he bought it for her? She looked up with a question on her face.
Skinner looked away quickly. So he had bought it for her. Strange. He was treating her like a mail order bride. He was a study of contrasts. Stern, distant, even cold. But his room said 'home'.
"This is very comfortable." It was a poor response, but it was all too much to take in and process at once.
"My staff will bring in your things. Rest up. Dinner is at seven sharp."
He left her standing there, trusting her to go back to her own room.
It took all of three minutes to unpack her things. A butler named George brought in her suitcase. He was the housekeeper, cook, and jack of all trades. He'd eyed her, but remained silent.
His uniform was a little threadbare and she wondered if Skinner noticed or cared. George also struck her as odd, but she thought she'd find that out soon enough. They would more than likely spend time together as the days went by.
She walked around her new home to see what small incentives she'd been given. The books, she realized, were of many great works; Shakespeare, Browning, Milton, Frost. There were contemporary writers sprinkled in, such as Hemingway and Salinger, and a Bible was tucked in a corner.
She picked up a small tome of Emily Dickenson poems. She wondered if Skinner was trying to woo her with books. One poem she used to read over and over: Because I could not stop for Death.
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
This was a favorite. They'd been forced to read poetry in high school and she'd hated it. But she liked Emily Dickenson because the poet was smart, complicated, and 'real'. She wondered if she ever told Skinner she liked Emily Dickenson, or if he just a good guesser.
Her closet had a long row of the dreaded black dresses. They were all identical: black, severe, and in her size. Below them were six pairs of plain flat shoes. It looked as if an army of petite consorts lived there with her. The dresser had a small hand mirror on top (wall mirrors were vanity), along with a comb and brush. The drawers contained her plain white cotton underwear and bra, and black tights. There were also a few of the sheer white scarves she had to wear at all times.
Someone had thoughtfully place a box of sanitary napkins in a bottom drawer. Scully smiled to herself. She was the only woman she'd seen since arriving. The thought of Skinner or George purchasing and placing them there made her smile.
She hadn't been provided with paper or something to write with, which was a disappointment. At the center they'd been told that a journal couldn't be kept private and ultimately encouraged subversion. Scully had thought that boredom was more of an incentive to rebel than writing down one's thoughts.
That ended her tour and probably took all of five minutes to complete. She didn't think Skinner would allow her to tour the rest of the house and grounds without an escort, so she picked up a book and decided to read until she was sent for. A soldier brought her a light lunch and he looked at her a little too long before moving on. Scully had a feeling she would need to get used to that.
Promptly at seven there was a knock on her door. It was George and he looked harried.
"Dinner is at seven sharp. Where have you been?"
"I thought I would be called for, " she said.
"No one has time to come for you. We're already late," he said glancing at his watch as he walked furiously down the hallway.
They descended the staircase and turned sharply to the right at the bottom.
A large dining room with its double varnished doors opened wide to greet them. A crystal chandelier was lit over a long formal table. Scully counted two other uniformed officers besides Skinner in attendance.
When she entered, Skinner stood as did other men. Old fashioned courtesy was encouraged in the military. She paused, unsure of her place at the table. Consorts were allowed to eat with their owners, but they could also be made to sit on the floor like dogs.
She kept her head down in supplication leaving it to him to make her place known.
"Come here," he said softly, but forcefully.
She moved forward to stand at his right side, the proper side for a consort to stand.
"Sit next to me." He indicated a chair. He was sitting at the head of the table and she would as well it seemed. When she sat the rest did as well.
"Gentlemen, this is my consort, Scarlet."
Scully looked up at the curious eyes now focused on her. One man was older and grim faced. His uniform was the same color as Skinner's and he held the same rank. A visiting general perhaps?
The second man was young and bore a striking resemblance to Jeffrey Spender. He had that same thin, wan look about him. His eyes were dark and not friendly toward her at all.
She ducked her head again. No need to stare and incur a stranger's wrath. She felt vulnerable and gripped with the sudden need to flee.
Next to her, Skinner placed a light hand on her thigh. She gave him a sidelong glance but he wasn't looking at her. A gentle squeeze from that hand turned her attention back to her lap.
Dinner progressed as if she wasn't there. From conversation she was able to determine that the older man was General Andrews from a neighboring base. The young man was Skinner's assistant and right hand man Lt. Miller.
They spoke of mundane things such as shortages, rations and the number of people left in the big cities. Scully had the idea that Skinner was showing her to them, not showing her off to them.
Throughout he kept his hand on her leg, stroked it absently with his thumb. Scully tried hard concentrate on what was said but his hand was too distracting. After dessert was cleared, the dinner was mercifully over.
Skinner suddenly stood and the men stood also.
"It's time to retire, gentlemen." He glanced at Scully before moving toward the door. She automatically trailed behind him. She felt every eye glued to her back, all of them knowing where they were going and envying Skinner.
She wished she deserved it.
He was kind, even gentle with her. She expected him to hold her down or use some other form of dominance to establish his authority. She'd been told to not only anticipate that, but to learn to desire it. That was rule number two hundred. Perhaps some of the old Skinner she used to know was still there.
With slow care, Skinner pulled the sheer scarf off Scully's head and dropped it on the floor. He combed through her hair with his fingers almost smiling at its length. She'd let it grow since it was hidden under the scarf most of the time. It went midway down her back and curled at the edges. Skinner seemed fascinated by it, as if he'd longed to touch it for some time.
He started to undress her slowly, his large hands fumbling with the tiny black buttons on the dress-front. In the end she had to do most of it herself and could feel her own fingers shake with the effort. He took her cold hands in his, massaged them slowly.
"Scully, look at me."
She fought the urge to pull her hands away and looked up. Skinner's eyes were dark above her, but held a neutral kindness. They promised she'd be treated well, and she thought he'd never be too rough, but still...
"I can't pretend to feel something I don't," she said.
Skinner said nothing at all. He cupped her face with his hands and brought it up to his. He placed a gentle kiss on her lips. When she didn't object he continued, placing warm kisses on her mouth. He seemed to be studying her, gauging her responses. All the while he increased the intensity by tiny degrees until his mouth had opened hers.
The wine had relaxed her into a pliant state, she thought, so she could blame it for the flicker of desire his slow sensual approach evoked. It had been so long...
Those large hands insinuated themselves inside the dress fondling her and disrupting her train of thought. She couldn't believe she was doing this. And who she was doing this with.
She made a small effort at reciprocation. Rule two hundred twenty. But it was too strange, too new, and she couldn't think of anyone else no matter how hard she tried.
Skinner divested her of her of the dress, stockings and plain underwear. When she stood nude before him, he stared, his mouth gone slack as he looked her over. Some part of her had always wondered if he wanted her. If his face was anything to go by, the answer would be a resounding yes. That could be used against him. If she pleased him maybe he'd take pity and grant a request. She filed that thought away for future reference.
He seemed to try to arouse her, weighing every reaction. When it seemed she couldn't or wouldn't respond he stopped trying. He laid her on the bed, removed his uniform, and moved between her legs.
His first penetration was slow, but painful nonetheless. Scully thought that might be the case regardless of how aroused she was. She tightened reflexively.
She could see he was resisting the urge to hold her down and fuck her. Because that's what it was. No hearts, no flowers, no sweet-talk. She was purchased for sex. His eyes were squeezed tightly shut and his mouth was pressed into a straight line as he struggled for control.
Without natural lubrication his thrusts became painful. After one particularly abrasion penetration she let out a whimper of pain. He stopped abruptly but didn't withdrawal.
"Scully?" He used her forbidden name.
For the first time since she'd been in his presence, he sounded uncertain. It was tempting to give into that uncertainty and make him stop. But she'd be back at the reformation center or a work camp by the morning. Better to suffer this pain briefly than possible abuse or worse.
"Just...just finish, please." She added the please as an afterthought. He did as she asked and finished quickly. A low moan issued from him when he came; his entire body becoming rigid before collapsing on top of her.
His panting was one of exertion not desire. Scully waited for him to roll off so she could suffer humiliation without showing it too much. When he didn't she looked at him. He seemed embarrassed, not satisfied. Could this be as humiliating for him as it was for her?
At her questioning tone he looked up, an appalled expression on his face. It quickly turned cold and he rolled off of her onto his side.
"You can get dressed and go to your room." His voice was cold and abrupt.
She couldn't get up, or away from him fast enough. Nearly stumbling, she snatched up her clothes and ran into her room. She closed the door that separated their rooms, and leaned against it struggling for control. It didn't help that she could feel fluid running down her leg. Self-disgust mixed with pain raged inside her.
I will not cry, she repeated over and over to herself. I will not cry. But hot tears flowed anyway. She desperately wanted to scrub herself clean, to scrub him off of her. But he would hear everything and know.
Slowly she slid down the door and cried harder. He'd hear that too. There was no way to disguise anything in this house. She was to be denied privacy of any kind: mind or body.
Suddenly the door opened behind her and a rush of cool air bushed her back. Skinner's shadow fell across her huddled form, but she didn't look up. Go away, she thought at him. The last thing she needed was more manhandling.
He stood over her for a few minutes contemplating her, and then bent over and picked her up.
"No..." she started to protest. He was still nude and ignored her protests.
He sat with her in his lap on the edge of their large, sunken bathtub and turned the water on. She did not want him to bathe her or touch her anywhere, but she really didn't have much choice. Objecting was a thing of the past.
She remembered a time when she protested to him fairly frequently and with a satisfied vehemence. Sometimes he'd borne it without protest. Sometimes he lashed out at her with indignant fury. Their sparring matches had been interesting if nothing else. And they were inevitably over Mulder.
When the water had reached a satisfactory level, Skinner picked her up and sat down with her between his legs. The water was hot and initially stung the abraded skin between her thighs. She sat rigidly upright while Skinner washed then massaged her back.
"Scully, relax. I'm not going to do anything."
Reluctantly, she sat back against him and concentrated on letting go of the tension in her musculature. Between the hot water and the massage, she finally started to feel sleepy. She turned her face to rest a cheek on his slippery chest.
"I'm sorry Scully, for everything." Skinner sounded sad, genuinely sad. She almost felt sorry for him. Almost.
"S'okay," she murmured. She was far more fatigued than she initially thought. The day had been long and taken a toll on her. Before she knew it, she was fast asleep.
She woke alone in her own bed. For a moment she thought she was back at the reformation center. The plain sheets and room were eerily similar. But as soon as she moved to sit up she remembered.
Everything came back in a rush; her new owner, where she was, and what she'd done the previous night. It was so odd, so strange she almost laughed. Mulder certainly would have made some comment.
So he fucked you 'til you couldn't stand up straight Scully?, she heard in her mind. Mulder used to visit her fairly frequently in the beginning and she'd discuss things with him. Or he'd show up like one of Shakespeare's people to make an aside to her.
'Oh you really think that's okay to eat Scully?'
As time went on and the prospect of finding him alive dwindled he came to her less often. The fact that he was speaking to her now was a fine irony.
Go away Mulder, she thought.
Come on Scully, you gotta see the humor in this. The big guy's always had a thing for you. Now he can indulge in it.
I want you, not him.
Mulder remained silent on that one. He always did.
The bedside clock said 5:00 am. She was an early riser; a leftover from being with the rebels. Anytime she was in an unfamiliar place she rarely slept for long or very well. Even after being in the reformation center for several months it was a habit she couldn't shake.
She strained to listen for movement in the next room. Hearing none, she padded into the bathroom. His door was open slightly and she looked at the bed. He was gone. So he got up earlier than she did, or he never went to bed. She sensed guilt in him, but wouldn't allow herself to believe he had lost sleep because of it.
She decided to take a long shower. A bath was too reminiscent of the previous night's activities. Hot water and baths were forbidden in the center; they were considered too much of an indulgence. Scully had always thought it was so they wouldn't get used to something they could eventually be denied. Owners tended to be generous with their consorts, but if a wife was in the picture they were treated as less than human at times.
Looking around the shower she could see that Skinner used a spicy soap. The lack of shampoo made her think he used it on his head as well. Ivory soap still in its paper wrapper had been thoughtfully placed in one corner along with a new washcloth. She smiled in spite of herself. The manual on consorts encouraged the used of Ivory soap. It was, after all, 99.97% pure. She used that and stayed under the spray until the water ran tepid.
Dressing quickly she made her bed and wondered if she'd be allowed to move around the house on her own. She decided to chance it and opened the door. No one else was in sight so she wandered down the long hallway. On the first floor, the dining room they'd had dinner in was dark as was nearly every room on this level.
With a sigh she closed the door and ran face first into Skinner's black uniform. She looked up expecting anger, but saw mirth instead.
"No sir, I'm sorry sir," she said quickly, assuming her submissive role once more. There was still tension between them, but not as severe as she would have thought. He seemed more relaxed this morning.
"Have you eaten?"
"Well, then come with me to the sunroom."
"Yes. If you like it we will have breakfast there in the early mornings."
The sunroom was a small windowless room at the side of the house. At first Scully thought he'd made a mistake on the name. However, when he shut off the harsh fluorescent lights a warm glow was cast down on her by a round Tiffany window in the ceiling. A yellow sun dominated the center with blue skies and clouds surrounding it. She smiled and turned her face upward toward the heat and warm colors.
Light played over her closed lids making her smile. Yes, she liked this room very much. When she opened her eyes they met Skinner's across the small space. Something unspoken passed between them; some genuine feeling. He'd given her a gift of this room and she thought it was like he was giving her a piece of himself.
They ate their breakfast in compatible silence. What could they speak of? Bringing up the past would only deepen old wounds. Skinner was a collaborator and therefore someone she could never fully trust.
The last time she'd seen him was in the desert. He'd helped Mulder break out of prison and they'd left him to go back to the Bureau to face whatever music there was to face. She and Mulder stayed on the move for years avoiding government conspirators until invasion had turned the world upside down.
They got separated near Chicago. By then they'd managed to meet up with a motley group of partisans. Mulder went off with the leader to raid a nuclear power plant. He'd been convinced that power was being diverted to a building where human experimentation was taking place. She'd begged him not to go, told him that she was afraid he wouldn't come back.
Base camp was overrun while they were gone and she'd had to flee with what remained of their tiny force. She tried to go back but was prevented by a massive explosion at the plant. It was assumed everyone had died including Mulder, but she refused to give up. For months afterward she asked about him where ever they went. She'd shown his faded FBI badge, but no one had ever seen him. She had just about given up hope when she was captured.
Skinner's voice interrupted her wool gathering. "I'm sorry sir, did you ask me something?"
"I asked what you were thinking." His eyes had narrowed and probed hers for the answer.
"I was...far away." She hoped he wouldn't ask again. She hadn't lied to him up to now and would prefer that she not have to.
To her relief he let it drop. "If you'd like some fresh air this afternoon, there's a courtyard in the back of the house. You'd have some privacy."
She nodded. "I'd like that."
He left her with her memories sitting under the glass sun.
The courtyard was a small area in the back of Skinner's house. It was no more than twenty by twenty feet square, but ornamental flowers, bushes and trees made it a quaintly restful place to be. Eight-foot high stone walls prevented her from looking out, but it also kept others from looking in. She assumed it was created so that visitors could forget they were in the middle of a military base. However, the recent addition of cameras and razor wire on top of the walls spoiled the effect.
Scully took her book of short stories and picked a shady place to read. There was a time when living outdoors had been unnerving. The constant lack of shelter while avoiding capture during her rebel days had made her existence seem temporary at best.
When she was captured and 'processed' she didn't see the sun for more than a week. It wasn't until then that she realized how fortunate she'd really been. At the Reformation Center they weren't allowed to go anywhere without an escort. Consequently outdoor exertions were rare at best and privacy was nonexistent. If she was allowed to come here alone to read everyday, it would be a luxury.
The afternoon passed quickly as she became lost in the tiny worlds the book provided. The joy of reading a book all day was something she hadn't experienced since she was a child.
A shadow crossed the page causing Scully to look up. A man in uniform stood silhouetted over her. Raising a hand to block the sun, the figure of Lt. Miller came into focus.
"Miss Scarlet?" He left the irony her name immediately evoked out of his inquiry.
"Yes?" Scully was instantly wary. She didn't like being caught off guard.
"May I speak with you?"
Scully heard false politeness in his oily voice and stood up, feeling at a disadvantage.
"Am I permitted to speak with you?" Rule one hundred fifty stated consorts could not engage in conversation with other men unless their owners were present.
Miller looked around the courtyard. "I think it's safe enough don't you?"
She made no comment, waiting for him to speak first.
"Are you comfortable here?"
"Certainly an improvement over the reformation center?"
"What is it you want, Lieutenant?" Scully's instincts told her not to trust, or like, this man. She was not about to engage in polite banter with him.
He smiled. "Ah, to the point aren't we? He must have valued your bluntness at the FBI."
So he knew about their FBI connections. He was Skinner's aid decamp and it wouldn't be unreasonable for him to be privy to confidential information. Again she remained silent.
Miller tried another tack. "Why do you think he sent for you?"
"I suggest you ask him, sir."
"I think he sent for you because he's been looking for you. He's been looking for you for a very long time" He paused to allow the information to sink in. "He couldn't make you an officer because of your past 'associations' so he put you into the only position acceptable in this new society."
They'd been walking across the courtyard toward the house and he stopped at the back door.
"Skinner is a powerful man in line for a promotion. Having you here could jeopardize that promotion. I argued against it, but he wouldn't listen. We are quite close; it was the first time he didn't take my advice."
His mouth thinned into a frown; eyes showing hatred for her.
"I don't want that to happen again."
"What are you saying?" Scully asked.
"That I think you're a liability and you shouldn't get used to being here."
With that he opened the door and left Scully stunned.
The encounter almost made her question Skinner's sexual orientation. Miller seemed obsessed with Skinner and his position within the military hierarchy. She was a threat to that power pure and simple.
She thought Miller was a man who derived his entire identity from his own position as it related to Skinner's. He didn't want power for himself, but did want to bask in the glory of someone else's. He was probably invaluable to Skinner; doing tasks in the background that his superior didn't even realize had been done.
Miller was dangerous and would probably stop at nothing to rid the house of her. He was a smart man, however, and if he planned to do this she thought he would be discreet. He wanted her gone.
She couldn't sleep. Try as she might, it eluded her like her freedom had. She appeared at his door, ignoring the rule about waiting to be called. He always left it unlocked and slightly ajar. She saw it as an invitation.
He was asleep on his stomach. Sprawled across the sheets his body took up most of the bed. He looked peaceful and she had second thoughts about disturbing him. Just as she was about to turn around he stirred and turned over. Had she woken him?
His voice startled her. Perhaps he hadn't been asleep after all. She walked toward the bed and looked down at him. Light from her room didn't quite make it into his, but she could see his face so clearly. He looked puzzled instead of angry.
"Is something wrong?" Concern colored his voice and he reached out to touch her arm. For no reason at all she started to shake. The encounter in the courtyard came back like brushing against an open cut.
Without a word, he drew her forward into bed. She buried her face in his chest and couldn't seem to stop shaking. He simply held her, waiting for her to tell him what was wrong.
He felt good, solid and warm. He might have changed since their FBI days, but she sensed he'd still protect her. She just wanted to sleep, not talk. He didn't push her; letting her lay in his arms until she relaxed. They hadn't been this close since that first night, but she sensed a slight change in him. He didn't seem as remote or angry as he did then.
"I had a bad dream," she said, hoping it would do for an explanation.
"Is that all?"
Damn him and his intuition, she thought.
"Can we just leave it at that?"
He was quiet; obviously wanting to know what was bothering her. He sighed and answered. "If you're sure."
She nodded. "Can I stay?"
She fell asleep quickly, knowing he would protect her. In the morning instead of sending her away, he asked that she eat breakfast with him in his room. When George saw her there he nearly dropped the tray. Skinner was sending a message loud and clear and was making sure the entire household knew.
The next night when she came in he lifted the covers in silent invitation. He allowed her to nestle close, letting her get settled before relaxing himself. She knew his work was grueling and he had to be tired, but he didn't deny her and she was grateful for that.
Sleeping in his bed became a habit as she went in to him night after night. She wondered if she was falling victim to Stockholm syndrome: a bonding between a captive and captor in which the captive begins to identify with, and may even sympathize with, the captor. It was possible, but at that moment she didn't care. She thought she wouldn't care if they had sex again, and that was most surprising of all.
Miller left her alone after that first night and kept a wary distance from her. Skinner never asked again what the problem had been, but somehow she thought he knew. He seemed to know everything that went on inside the house, even when he wasn't there.
Two weeks after she began going to him he initiated sex. Late that night she woke to find him stroking her breasts. His touch was light, soft, and intimate. She found she liked it. He kissed her and continued to stroke her through the cotton nightgown she wore.
He was slower this time, tried to do even more to arouse her, perhaps to make up for their first time together. Scully found herself responding more and more to his touches. He smiled against her mouth when she made a little inarticulate sound of pleasure.
He seemed fixated with her breasts; touching, stroking and sucking them. She thought she'd go mad if he didn't move his attentions lower. She opened her legs in silent invitation, but he studiously ignored her gesture.
As revenge she reached between them and stroked his cock. She succeeded in making him groan after skimming lightly across the head with her thumb. There was satisfaction in making him break his concentration, and she laughed a little at his distress. His eyes went tightly shut and he leaned forward to rest his forehead on hers. He thrust his hips forward into her hand in an ancient, instinctive rhythm.
Suddenly he rolled her on her back and tore her underwear away. Instead of penetrating her, he parted her folds with his hand and began to stroke her clit in earnest. She immediately arched her back and came within a few seconds of this intense treatment.
He kissed her tenderly as she floated down from that pleasured high; swallowing her cries with his mouth. She felt breathless, exhilarated, and a little embarrassed. He covered her face with soft caresses and seemed inordinately pleased to have given her so much enjoyment.
"Scully, look at me." His voice was abruptly serious, soft, and thick with emotion. It seemed so vitally important to him that she know he was in bed with her.
She watched his face as he mounted her and carefully penetrated. She marveled at his blissful expression as it broke across his face. For a man so accustomed to stern expressions, it was a gratifying to see joy on his face.
She was much better prepared for him this time and pleasure sparked along her nerves as he slid into her. He paused when buried completely within her.
He whispered into her shoulder. "Scully...you're so small, I don't want to hurt you aga..."
"Shh," she murmured, interrupting him, "don't worry about me."
Given that permission, he moved within her, making long, slow thrusts; trying to make the sensations sweeter, last longer. When she wrapped her legs around his waist he seemed to lose all restraint. Within seconds she was coming again and he followed soon afterward.
He collapsed forward, but was still hard inside her, even after coming. She bore his weight without complaint feeling ridiculously satisfied.
As fatigue took over and her mind drifted, she could hear Mulder's sarcastic voice: 'Enjoyed that did you Scully?'
'Shut up Mulder.'
To her everlasting amazement, he did.
She thought Miller would make a move to unseat her new position with Skinner. He glowered at her whenever Skinner wasn't around to let her know just how much he disapproved of her. Nothing overt was ever done and certainly nothing he could be called on.
He never approached her in the courtyard again. She assumed Skinner had heard about it, or had seen it on the security cameras. He didn't ask her about afternoon excursions
Even so, when the gesture was made, she was still surprised.
One day after being at the house for two months, she returned from her afternoon walk to find a plain white envelope had been shoved under her door. It wasn't addressed to her, but she already knew who it was for and who had placed it there.
She picked it up and could see a slip of paper with writing on it inside. It had to contain something he thought she'd want or information about someone he thought she loved. The implications were overwhelming. Scully had to sit on her bed and lean her head forward for a few minutes to keep from tearing it open immediately.
Whatever this envelope contained, it was designed to blow her and Skinner apart. She turned it over and over in her hand searching for some clue on the outside of the sealed document. Of course she found nothing at all.
With every ounce of courage she possessed, Scully crossed the doors that separated her room from Skinner's and laid the envelope on his pillow unopened. The only thing she could do now was wait.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~End Part 1
The Consort (2/2)
Descriptions, disclaimers and rating in part I.
She stayed in her room all afternoon rooted to the bed. She didn't comprehend the passing of time or when Skinner had come home. Shadows lengthened until the room was cloaked in darkness.
Scully thought over the time she'd spent with Skinner. She was starting to have deep feelings for him. He treated her with more respect than he could have, and was uncommonly gentle with her when they made love. She decided after that second time that he was making love to her. She wasn't in love with him yet, and now it appeared she wouldn't get the chance. At seven she received a knock on the door. George's voice spoke through the heavy wood.
"It's dinner time."
Scully said nothing, knowing Skinner would come up after her. George knocked again but finally gave up. She could hear his footsteps trail back down the hall.
Predictably Skinner knocked on her door within minutes of George's departure.
"Scully?" He sounded worried.
When she didn't respond the door opened, harsh light spilling onto her seated form. He came into the room and stood before her.
"Scully?" he whispered.
She looked up at him with tear-filled eyes feeling that they were close to being torn apart.
Skinner knelt down in front of her and cupped her face in his hands. Dark eyes searched hers. When he spoke, anger edged his voice. "Has someone been bothering you?"
She almost laughed. Yes, she wanted to say, but not in the way you think. She reached up and trailed her hand over his face; tracing his eyebrows, nose and thin lips. She wanted to remember him this way and remember how he made her feel so she could store it away.
Without replying, she stood up and brushed by him to his bedroom. She reached under the pillow and gave him the letter.
"This was under my door when I got in from my walk this afternoon."
Skinner regarded it with a wary face. "Do you know where it came from?"
"I have an idea."
He tore the envelope open and hastily read the contents. A deep frown formed on his face and he sat down heavily on the bed.
"What does it say?" she asked, moving to stand in front of him.
He wouldn't look at her or give her the letter.
"What does it say, Skinner?" She could hear the panic rise in her voice. It was bad, maybe worse than bad, this news. She reached for the piece of paper and Skinner used it to draw her to him. He buried his face in her chest, holding her tightly against him.
"Scully, you know I love you don't you? I'm sorry I never told you before now, but I do love you."
She said nothing, refusing to relinquish the hold she had on the letter. He finally sighed and let go of it, but not her. She could feel the tension strung tight across his shoulders, his entire body stiff with anticipation of her reaction.
There were only three sentences on the page, but they were devastating:
FOR EYES ONLY: High Command has been informed that your consort may be pregnant. She is to be brought to Command Central Medical Facility on Tuesday for processing. Your cooperation will be justly rewarded.
The words before Scully's eyes blurred in shock, but two of those words were emblazoned on the paper: pregnant and cooperation. Skinner cooperated with them to make her pregnant. When she first came it was understood between them; part of the job.
"Why do they think I'm pregnant?"
"You haven't had a period since you've been here Scully," he said quietly.
"And you've told them that?"
The unused box of sanitary napkins was a glaring omission on her part. She'd been right to think nothing was private in this house.
"Skipped periods don't mean I'm pregnant, Skinner. I skip all the time, especially when I'm under stress."
Silence settled between them. Skinner kept his death grip on her, refusing to move as if she'd disappear if he let go.
Very quietly Scully began to speak. "If I am pregnant I'm not having this baby, you understand me? I'll do everything in my power to stop it, even if I have to kill myself. I hate you. You never should have brought me here. I wish you'd have let them kill me."
At first Skinner said nothing. Then in a soft, anguished voice he said, "Don't kill our baby, Scully. Please don't. I love you."
"I don't love you."
Scully stayed in her room after that, refusing to eat with him or go outside. After two days of refused meals he appeared at her door.
She was lying on her side facing the wall, refusing to look at him. She felt the bed sag with his weight when he sat next to her and spoke to her back.
"You're not eating."
"Scully, if you refuse to eat they'll take you away from me. You'll wind up in a hospital strapped to a bed with an IV stuck in your arm. They'll do it. Don't think they won't."
"They'll only do that if I'm pregnant right? Otherwise I'm not worth enough."
"You're worth it to me." He reached out and touched her back. She stiffened immediately and tried to move away from him. She heard him sigh heavily and move off the bed.
"Miller's gone. He told me that if I didn't inform High Command he would. I also know he was threatening you. I didn't move him before now because he's a dangerous sort of zealot. I wanted him close so I could see what he was doing instead of letting him work in the background against me."
Before leaving he said, "I'm taking you to the medical facility tomorrow."
When he shut the door, it sounded like a cell door closing.
That night she was lonely. As much as she despised Skinner, she missed lying in his arms. He made her feel warm and protected and she'd been able to really sleep for the first time in years. She was dreading tomorrow and longed to go to him, to let him hold her so her black thoughts would vanish.
She finally got up and started pacing the floor. Maybe she could wear herself out enough to sleep. After an hour of pacing she heard a noise in Skinner's room. Suddenly he appeared at her door looking haggard himself.
"Come to bed Scully."
"I don't want to."
"Neither one of us is going to get any sleep if you keep this up."
"Good." She sounded like a petulant child.
He paused as if mulling something over. "You're not allowed to refuse me." He said it with force; using his 'boss' voice that she hadn't heard for over two years.
And she was shocked. In all the time she'd been in the house he'd never really forced her to do anything. It appeared tonight would be a first.
When she didn't react he walked over and picked her up.
"Put me down."
"No," he said, his voice deadly quiet.
He dumped her unceremoniously onto the bed and moved around to the other side. He came up behind her and forced her into a spooning position. She held herself stiffly, but he simply ignored her. No matter how angry she was, he seemed determined to pay her no attention.
After a few minutes she found herself beginning to relax. What was it about him that made her so vulnerable to his ministrations?
Very quietly she said, "I'm scared, Skinner."
"I know. So am I."
Despite her apprehension, within a few minutes she was fast asleep.
She was awake, dressed, and sitting on her bed by the time he woke. She'd thought briefly of refusing to go, necessitating being forced. It wouldn't have accomplished anything but further humiliation and she'd wind up there in any case. Skinner was already well aware of how she felt.
She heard him shower and dress. At the appointed time he appeared at her door.
"Are you ready?"
Wordlessly, she stood up and followed him downstairs.
The medical center was a vast complex near the edge of the military base. Skinner's driver dropped them at the entrance and was given instructions on when come back.
They walked through a maze of green-bricked walls. The color and dcor reminded Scully of some 1960's medical drama on television. It was clean, sterile, and enormously intimidating.
Eventually they were directed to a waiting room down a long hallway. Inside they found several consorts in various stages of pregnancy with their owners beside them. Skinner picked two seats in the corner after informing the clerk they were there.
Scully picked up a propaganda magazine and pretended to read it. It was filled with praise for the pregnant consort; extolling the virtue of helping to replenish the human race. Children were highly valued and rare creatures, it said. She saw pages of pseudo-happy families like something out of a woman's magazine from twenty years back.
She could feel her composure slipping badly when she turned the next page. It featured consorts gladly handing children over to their alien care givers. The implication was more than clear.
When her hand began to shake, Skinner covered it with his. She looked up expecting disapproval, but saw sympathy instead. He gave her a frown and a slight nod in the negative. Did he mean for her to cover her reaction, or that he didn't approve of the picture either?
They were interrupted by Scully's consort name being called out. She stood in resignation, feeling a heavy weight in her chest. Skinner, however, didn't relinquish his hold on her hand and tugged slightly to get her attention.
"I'll be waiting here for you." His voice was strong, forceful, yet reassuring.
She managed a weak smile before following the nurse back into the examination rooms.
A paper gown was laid out for her along with paper booties. She was instructed to disrobe and to put on the flimsy articles. She knew the routine: put on something that couldn't possibly cover you, slide allllll the way down 'til your bottom hangs off, and don't clench up when the speculum is jammed into your vagina. This place was really no different than the facilities at the reformation center.
A doctor looking young enough to be a teenager breezed into the room.
"Hello Miss....Scarlet. I'm Dr. Hart."
Scully sighed and shut her eyes tightly.
After the examination, her bracelet was scanned and she was ushered into another room. Blood was drawn into several tubes with different colored stoppers. Scully knew what they were all for except one with a black top. A fluorescent green liquid coated the bottom. Her inquiries about its purpose were met with silence.
She was next led into a blank room where she was instructed to sit. She waited for what seemed like hours before the door opened. A large uniformed guard preceded a burly male nurse into the room.
Without preliminary the soldier took hold of her and pinned her face down to the examination table.
"What are you doing?" she yelled.
Suddenly a hypodermic needle was jabbed into her buttocks with a vicious sting. Her whelp of surprised pain was ignored as she was roughly shoved down. The two men fled before Scully had a chance to retaliate.
Still rubbing her sore bottom, the door opened again to admit the first nurse who had come for her. She was given her clothes and instructed to put them back on. Just as she was finishing, Skinner came through the door.
He must have noticed her white face because he was instantly in front of her holding both shoulders.
"Are you alright?"
She nodded weakly before collapsing forward into his bulk. He held her tightly against him, absorbing her pain as he always did.
"Was it that bad?"
It was a sweet moment interrupted by yet another nurse telling them to follow.
They were ushered into an official looking office: fading diplomas dutifully framed and hung with care on the fake wood paneling. Scully didn't recognize any of the universities the diplomas had come from.
Seated side by side, she sat rigidly in her vinyl chair and Skinner again covered her hand with his.
An older man, one Scully had seen in her exam room came in, frowning at a manila chart he was holding.
"I'm afraid I have bad news. Your consort is not pregnant, general. This is most unfortunate. However according to the preliminary reports she appears quite capable of conception."
Scully was relieved, so relieved she thought she might break down in this ugly office. Skinner squeezed her hand and appeared relieved as well.
"I know you must be upset," the doctor continued without looking at them. "You can try again next month though. I've given her a hormone shot to bring on menses and stimulate ovulation."
Scully raised her eyebrows. So that was what the shot was for? Skinner was in for some ugly behavior from her if true.
"Is that all?" Skinner asked.
"It is for now. Again I am sorry."
The two men shook hands like colleagues and Skinner ushered Scully out with an arm around her shoulder. To anyone seeing them, they appeared a dutiful couple grieving for an unaccomplished pregnancy.
Once they were outside, Skinner pulled her aside and hugged her tight.
"I'm relieved, but also a little disappointed," he said.
Suddenly indignant, Scully tried to pull away from him.
"Scully wait," he implored. "I'm disappointed because I'd really like to have a baby with you. But," he said quickly, "Not here. Not in this place."
She relaxed. "But how can we prevent it?"
"I'll think of something," he said softly. "You can count on it."
Skinner's driver appeared before they could say more to each other. Scully's mind was in turmoil as she looked out the car window. She was glad, so very glad not to be pregnant, but she and Skinner were in a precarious situation. Even if they could somehow prevent the pregnancy, eventually she'd be reassigned for the lack of it. If she failed with that owner she'd end up at the dreaded work camp or brothel.
Either way they were living on borrowed time. She wished there were easier alternatives.
True to the doctor's word, Scully's period showed up that night with a vengeance. She was hit with the worst cramps she could ever remember. In the early morning hours she woke to find the back of her nightgown soaked with blood. The sanitary pad she'd worn to bed as a precaution had done little to staunch the flow.
She stumbled into the bathroom and ran hot water into the bathtub. Tossing the pad and peeling off her nightgown, she lowered herself into the steaming water as another cramp hit her.
Woken by her activity Skinner appeared at the bathroom door. He knocked softly before entering. When he saw the bloody nightgown and her curled position in the bathtub, she heard him gasp slightly.
"Are you all right?" he asked.
"No, I'm cramping," she said tightly.
"Is there anything I can do?"
"You can go away." She hadn't meant it to sound so harsh, but she wanted to be left alone.
Skinner turned around and she heard him moving objects in one of the cabinets. She heard water running and then he was back at her side.
"Take this." He thrust a glass of water and two pills at her.
"What are they?"
"Aspirin, just aspirin."
She shoved his hand away. "They'll make me bleed more."
"They'll make you feel better."
"Do you have anything with codeine in it? Acetaminophen with codeine?"
"No. I'll see what I can do."
He placed the glass and aspirin on the side of the tub and left.
Scully felt miserable. She stayed in the tub until the water had gone lukewarm. The water had also turned a pink tinge and she wondered briefly if she would bleed to dead. She certainly felt like she was dying.
She drained the water and filled the tub again. Even with pruning toes and hands she was reluctant to remove herself from the soothing heat. When this tubful went cold she finally crawled out and toweled off.
Skinner found her curled into a fetal position on her own bed, hugging a pillow to her chest; a new nightgown and pad in place. He sat on the side of the bed and touched her back.
"Scully, I have some medication for you."
"What is it?" she asked without turning over.
"Hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen tablets, 7.5 mg/750 mg," he said reading off a bottle.
She turned over and grabbed the bottle out of his hand. "Vicodin extra strength. Where did you get this?" she asked with amazement. Vicodin was a powerful pain pill and she didn't think many pharmaceuticals were still being manufactured. The expiration date printed on the bottle was still several months away.
"I have my connections," he said cryptically.
He took the bottle back and fished two of the oval pills out. He handed them to her along with a glass of water. Scully swallowed them down quickly, drinking the water like she'd been lost in the desert. Resuming the fetal position, she closed her eyes tightly, waiting for the pills to take effect.
"Thank you," she said weakly. She'd been vile to him, but he'd taken it in stride.
Wordlessly he sat next to her and rubbed the small of her back. The tight knots of muscle loosened under his expert hands. He rubbed until she asked him to stop and then simply sat next to her.
Within a half hour the pills started to kick in and she felt sleepy.
"Why are you so good to me?"
"I told you Scully. I love you."
The narcotic made her inhibitions slip. "Men have told me they loved me too, but they never gave me Vicodin."
Skinner chuckled and stood up. "I think you should sleep. I'll check on you later."
Before he left she called to him. "Skinner, I'm sorry I said I didn't love you."
Of course she hadn't said she loved him either. More Vicodin and she just might.
"I know," he said and shut her door.
The rest of the day was a sedative blur. Skinner brought her soup and more Vicodin when she needed it. That night he let her sleep alone in her own bed when she asked him.
The next day she felt much better, and was able to resume her normal routine. Skinner never mentioned her rude behavior, for which she was grateful.
Her menses ended on the fifth day, and she threw the empty box of pads away. High Command wouldn't need Skinner's word that she'd menstruated.
She and Skinner fell back into a routine similar to the one they had before their visit to the medical facility. Scully's trust had been badly bruised, but Skinner's subsequent behavior softened her attitude toward him somewhat. True trust would come in a few weeks
The Consort Part 3
Please see part I for rating, disclaimers, yada yada
Two weeks to the day after the start of her period, Scully was pacing in her room. Skinner hadn't pushed her for sex, feeling she'd been violated enough by the impersonal examination and forced menses. Each night she went in to his room and he simply held her in his arms until she fell asleep. Every night he told her he loved her and every night she gave him silence. He didn't seem to expect reciprocation just yet and she was again thankful for his silence.
Tonight, however, she should be ovulating. Sex would be expected by High Command if not her reluctant owner. All the feelings of the alien horror she'd been avoiding came back to visit her now. She didn't want to get pregnant, but she didn't want to leave Skinner either.
Finally she worked up the courage to walk into his room. She found him there in bed waiting patiently for her. His hand was extended to her and she went to him. He folded her gently in his arms while she clutched at him.
"It's two weeks now," she said.
"They'll expect us to..."
"I know," he said, again cutting her off mid sentence.
She pulled away and looked into his dark eyes. In the time she'd been with him she'd learned he couldn't lie with his eyes. If he had to tell her some terrible news, he couldn't look her. She needed his honesty very badly now.
"What are we going to do?"
Instead of answering her, he kissed her gently and pressed an object into her hand. When she broke contact to look at it, he leaned his forehead against hers and laid a finger against her lips.
It was just as well he'd done that because she found a condom was resting in her palm. Condoms were strictly forbidden, as were all forms of birth control. A person could be shot just for having one in their possession.
The question in her eyes of how he'd gotten it went unanswered. He merely kissed her again as if she were the most precious thing in the world. This was the second time he'd come up with a solution to her problems that involved shadowy dealings.
Gratitude for this selfless gesture struck her deeply. She experienced a sensation like the tearing of her heart, causing a wave of emotion to spill out. She began to tremble and broke down crying. Skinner pulled away with a shocked look on his face.
"Scully? I thought you wanted..." he trailed off in a whisper.
"I want you." She looked into his worried face. "I do love you."
He closed his eyes and leaned against her again. "Finally," he said raggedly, "finally."
And then they were kissing, desperately trying to covey the depth of their feelings for the other. They began tearing at the other's clothing. Such longing as she'd never known ached in Scully's chest. I do love him she thought, I really do.
It was a wonderful and terrifying realization.
For his part Skinner paid the closest of attention to her body. His face was awe-struck as if he were seeing her for the first time. He brought her to orgasm after orgasm without any penetration at all, as if rewarding her for loving him.
The tearing sound when Skinner opened the condom was covered with groans of pleasure. Scully usually considered herself a quiet lover, but Skinner was changing that. He was changing quite a lot about her.
Afterward he held her tenderly, but first, deliberately spilled some of the condom's contents onto the sheets before tossing a blanket over the wet spot. Just enough, Scully thought, for proof of their actions. He covered her with another blanket and disposed of the condom.
The next morning Skinner showed Scully a suggested 'schedule' he'd been sent from the medical facility. They were to have sexual intercourse for three straight nights, and monitor Scully's temperature. She was to remain on her back with her pelvis elevated on a pillow for at least an hour after 'copulation'. There were other such tips that made her smirk.
She wondered who wrote these helpful pamphlets and brochures. The manual for consorts was something like five hundred pages and some of it contained information of dubious authority. She suspected that most of the brightest humans had died fighting or refused to cooperate. It didn't require genius to wield power.
They proceeded on their schedule with great enthusiasm. It was followed to the letter with the exception of condom use.
Two weeks after that, Skinner again escorted Scully to the medical facility and again she was subjected to a thorough examination. When it was discovered that she wasn't pregnant, she was held down and given the injection. Her pleas to allow natural menses to occur fell on deaf ears.
Once again her period was horrendous and again Skinner bore it with her well. The procured bottle of Vicodin made an appearance. Scully was beginning to really hate this routine.
Another month went by and then two and then three. Scully had been living with Skinner for six months without a pregnancy. She still loved him, and she knew he still loved her, but the routine of sex, medical exams and gut-wrenching periods were starting to wear on them both.
Scully had also noticed Skinner was becoming increasingly preoccupied. He went to work earlier each morning and came home later each night. He started missing his much-loved dinners and Scully knew something must be wrong. She didn't ask because whatever it was couldn't be discussed at home and she wasn't sure she wanted to know. If it involved the rebels he would be in a compromising position.
One night while she was waiting for Skinner to come home, Mulder decided to make an appearance.
'What do ya think's up with the big guy, Scully?'
I don't know Mulder.
'Seems awful worried to me.'
To me too.
'You should ask him.'
That's not a good idea.
'Ah, come on, Scully. What do you have to lose? He can always say no.'
That's what I'm afraid of Mulder.
That night, Skinner came home after she had already gone to bed. She heard his heavy steps on the staircase and saw his slumped form as he came through the door. He seemed to simply collapse on the bed like a marionette with its strings cut.
Instantly she was at his side helping him remove his uniform and boots. He moved slowly, like a man underwater; tethered by weight of the world on his shoulders.
Scully did the best she could to make him comfortable and dragged a blanket over his tired body. She curled into his side and he put his chin on top of her head.
"What can I do to help?" she asked.
"You're doing it right now," he murmured.
"Can you tell me about it?"
After a few scant minutes he was snoring into her hair, sleeping the sleep of a near-dead man.
You see Mulder, I did ask him. He said no.
'Ask him again, Scully. You need to know. You need to know what's happening to him.'
I will, she told him. I will.
Scully let Skinner stall her for a week before she confronted him. She waited until he came home and sank into bed before asking him what was wrong. When his arms were wrapped tightly around her, she decided to make a move.
"Yes," he murmured, clearly tired and on his way to deep sleep.
"Do you love me?"
"You know I do."
"Then why are you killing yourself?"
"What?" Suddenly more awake, he sat up and looked her in the face. "What are you talking about?"
"All this work you're doing, the late hours, your fatigue. It's killing you. I can see it. Do you expect me to just watch you deteriorate?"
Skinner gave her a scowl, a real old fashioned I'm-pissed-with-you-agent kind of scowl that she hadn't seen in a very long time. Scully was almost afraid. Almost.
"Scully I'm too tired to do this. I'm too tired to fight with you now. If you want to stay, stay. Otherwise you can go sleep in your own bed."
She felt as if he'd slapped her. Without a word she got up and went to her own room. It was their first big fight, and she felt dead inside.
The next morning, Skinner was gone when she woke. She hadn't been able to sleep, so she'd resorted to pacing again. It hadn't helped anymore than it had the first time and Skinner hadn't come to get her. She was too angry with him to relax, and she would have turned him down if he had come in, but she wanted him to make the attempt anyway.
Much to her surprise he came home at noon. She heard his familiar footsteps come up the stairs. He wasn't in his uniform. He was wearing jeans, a sweater and tennis shoes.
To her surprise Skinner smiled and handed her civilian clothes; jeans, sweater, and tennis shoes. She looked at the clothing as if it were some costume.
"What are these for?"
"I'm taking you out."
Scully frowned. "Out?"
"Yes. Out. Get dressed and then come downstairs."
Scully nearly broke her neck in her haste to put on the forbidden clothing. Satin bra and underwear complete with bows made her feel decadent. The jeans were a little big, but the sweater was soft cashmere and Scully luxuriated in the feel of it next to her skin.
The thick white socks and tennis shoes felt even better. The soft rubber soles felt like cushions on her feet compared to the thin, hard soles of her consort shoes. She hesitated to remove the head scarf. She'd worn it for so long it felt strange to go bare-headed. She looked in the mirror and realized how ridiculous it looked. She ripped it off her head and descended the staircase.
Skinner was at the bottom waiting for her and smiling. She hesitated on one of the steps. Angry Skinner she could understand, but smiling Skinner was frightening.
He held out his hand toward as he had many times before and she descended the rest of the way to take it in hers. He kissed her sweetly before opening the door.
A non-descript military car sat in front of the house. Skinner's driver was nowhere to be seen. She arched an eyebrow at him in question.
"Just get in."
She hesitated again, unsure of the etiquette involved in this situation. It wasn't covered in the consort manual, probably a first.
Skinner made the decision for her by opening the passenger door and going around the other side to open his own. He started the car and turned to her.
"Today is for us Scully; just you and me. We're just two people out for a leisurely drive in the country. No generals, no military, no consorts, okay?"
She nodded mutely, still worried. How could they possibly act like two civilians out for a drive?
Skinner drove north toward a sparsely populated, wooded area. They passed through several check points, Skinner showing the armed guards their papers each time. Scully found herself being stared at again, the household having become used to her presence long ago.
Skinner cleared his throat after one very young soldier stared a little too long. He apologized and backed off as Skinner drove on.
"It's you hair," he said.
"What?" Scully was looking at all the trees with their autumn leaves blazing with color. The air was cooler, and winter couldn't be far behind. She hadn't been anywhere but the reformation center and Skinner's house for almost a year.
"Your hair." He reached out and touched it as it curled down her shoulder. "It's as beautiful as you are."
"You're not going to shoot me are you Skinner?"
"What?" He withdrew his hand as if he had been burned.
"This whole scenario: dressing me in civilian clothes and driving me out to the country. It feels like you're taking the family pet out to the woods to shoot it because you're moving and can't take it with you."
Skinner slowed the car and pulled over to the side of the road. He was scowling when he turned to her, and oddly, that made Scully feel better.
"Now you listen to me," he said. "I love you. How many times have I told you that? When are you going to believe it? I'm bringing you out here so we can get out of that house, nothing more. Understand?"
She searched his eyes for the truth and found it. "Yes."
He leaned forward and kissed her before driving on.
Highways gave way to roads as they drove. Autumn leaves lay in artful piles along side and the tree line became denser. The sun was beginning to go down, and it set the forest on fire with even more color.
Skinner finally drove up to a new-looking electrified fence that was decidedly out of character in this rustic place. Skinner showed his papers again, and drove forward. Scully realized this was a resort of some kind. They passed several stone houses and cottages that were large and very well maintained. Military vehicles were parked outside the widely spaced cottages and Skinner added his to one near the end.
"We're here," he said.
"Where is here?"
"Our vacation cottage."
Scully gave him a frown. A vacation cottage?
"Are we staying the night?" she asked incredulously.
"How did you manage to get the time off?"
"Let's just say I convinced them we both needed some R and R if we were going to 'produce' for the state."
Skinner went around to the trunk and popped it. Inside Scully could see two suitcases. He'd thought of everything.
Inside the cottage the furniture was elegant and tasteful. It reminded Scully of English mahogany furniture from the turn of the century. This house must have belonged to a yuppie couple that used it as a vacation spot.
The bedroom was at the back of the house and Scully could see a lake down a long sloping trail. Skinner set the suitcases down on the bed and came to stand behind her. He wrapped his arms around her and they both spent long silent moments just looking out at the darkening forest.
"I've always wanted to bring you to a place like this," he murmured softly.
"It's beautiful," Scully said absently. She wished she could shake the feeling that there was more to this little trip than simple R and R. Skinner was relaxed, but still wary she thought.
"Are you hungry?" he asked with anticipation.
"Yes, but do I have to cook?" She'd seen the kitchen, but certainly no staff around to do any preparation. If she had to cook, this would be no vacation at all.
"No, you don't have to cook. I'm having something special delivered later. Why don't I make a fire while you unpack?"
Scully eyed their luggage. "All right."
The cases were leather, and expensively hand-tooled. Like the cottage, she wondered who had originally owned them as she ran her hand over the warm, supple surface. Did Skinner ever wonder about such things, as she often did?
They had always carefully avoided touchy subjects like the past and people who were probably long dead, like the cottage's owners. They almost certainly perished during the first invasion when most of the other civilians had.
Had they packed these bags quickly and fled here? Most of the city dwellers tried to outrun the alien invasion by fleeing to the country. The problem was, no place on earth was safe at that time. They probably were infected with the alien virus, as was ninety percent of the population. They may have died while looking out the window, holding each other as she and Skinner had just moments before.
With a shake of her head, she cleared her thoughts and opened the bags. Inside she found several men's shirts, pants, underwear, and socks. The shirts were mostly of the Izod and Abercrombie and Finch variety. Loafers and tennis shoes lined the sides.
She also found ladies sweaters, jeans, underwear, and socks among the various toiletries. A sheer pink nightgown with matching satin slippers was found folded underneath the other mundane clothing. Scully fingered the silky material and wondered again what was on Skinner's mind. Well, she smiled to herself, besides the obvious. Remembering their first night together, Scully thought she could find out.
She found him by the fireplace on one knee, prodding some burning logs with a brass poker. A quiet clearing of her throat made him turn in her direction.
"I, uh, unpacked."
Scully nearly laughed at his awe-struck face. She'd put the nightgown and slippers on to gauge his reaction. It had a tight-fitting, low cut bodice that flared at the waist to create soft folds. To her amusement, the poker raised to half-mast. Checking the front of his jeans, she could see Skinner had as well.
He put the poker down and walked slowly over to where she stood; never losing eye contact. When he reached her, his eyes traveled shamelessly over her slim body.
"You're so beautiful Scully."
She reached up on her tiptoes and kissed him. He growled and pulled her up against him, crushing her mouth under his. Scully could feel the desperate urgency in his actions as he devoured her mouth.
He worked his way down to the soft skin of her neck and bit her gently before soothing the mark with his tongue. Suddenly, he picked her up and set her on the soft wool rug in front of the fireplace.
"Here?" she asked as he lay beside her.
"Yes." His voice was a thick, harsh noise made against her neck. He seemed lost from the trappings of civilization, as if bringing her here had made them regress in time. He was the rough woodsman, and she, the fairy princess caught in his trap.
The thin straps of her gown were shoved aside during the assault he made on her body. Somewhere along the line he'd removed his glasses; the last vestiges of his sophisticated self.
He nuzzled her breasts, suckling them until they were wet pebbles in his mouth. She writhed against him and cried out, knowing there was no one to hear them and not caring if they did. He answered her with grunts of pleasure when she slid her hands up his back to stroke the sensitive skin of his head.
Rearing up, he removed his shirt, jeans and briefs; his muscular body glowing in the firelight. She could feel the coarse hairs on his chest scratch along her skin as he kissed her everywhere.
Impatiently, he removed the nightgown and her satin underwear. His blunt fingers moved between her legs to stroke her.
Instantly she arched her back, lost in the pleasure he gave to her. She was barely aware of him as he moved between her legs and mounted her.
"Wait, what about..." she was cut off as he penetrated her and began to thrust slowly.
She moved with him, feeling the pleasure build higher and higher, the thought of birth control having fled from both their minds.
To her astonishment she was coming within seconds and Skinner followed behind, bellowing like a bull.
He collapsed over her, his sweaty body a heavy, but welcome weight.
"I love you so, Scully. So much," he whispered.
She smiled against his sweaty neck. "I love you too."
The niggling worry in the back of her mind about unprotected sex stayed where it was. She didn't want to spoil the moment. It was the wrong time of the month anyway, she told herself.
"Should we move this to the bedroom?" she asked.
But Skinner was already lying on his side and snoring loudly in her ear. She smiled to herself. If she'd been trying to get more information out of him her opportunity had evidently passed. She made a rotten Mata Hari.
She was determined to not to let it pass again before they left the cottage.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* End Part 3
The Consort Part 4
Please see part one for disclaimers, ratings and descriptions.
They slept soundly in front of the fire until a knock at the door sent Scully scurrying to bedroom. She heard Skinner pull on his jeans and answer the door. Deep voices spoke in hushed tones and she also heard the rustling of paper bags being brought into the cottage.
Curious, Scully pulled on her jeans and sweater and followed the voices to the kitchen. George, the jack-of-all-trades from home, was standing there talking casually with Skinner. He was dressed in his uniform, but that wasn't what caught Scully's attention. He'd been standing close to Skinner, speaking with him like a colleague. George usually acted like a frightened puppy around Skinner, doing his tasks quickly and avoiding eye contact. They way they were speaking when she entered had been downright conspiratorial in nature.
George jumped quickly away and resumed unpacking the bags. Skinner turned to her and smiled to hide the serious expression he'd worn while speaking with George.
"Yes," she said, eyeing George. "What were you two so chummy about?"
"It didn't look like household business."
Skinner made an exasperated sound, so Scully let it drop. He knew she was FBI, so why was he always so evasive, knowing it would only worsen the matter? She'd also aggravated him enough in the past to know she'd get nothing out of him until George left.
"I should go dress," he said before leaving. Scully noticed that he gave George a pointed look before exiting the room. Of course she ignored it.
"Did he ask you to drive all the way up here George?"
"It seems like a long way to come to deliver food."
"I had something to discuss with him."
George was good, she thought. He was cool, professional, and gave absolutely nothing away. Skinner must prize him. It also made her look at George in a whole new light. He sounded a little more sophisticated here at the cottage, and a little smarter than she'd given him credit for in the past. Could he be behind the little acquisitions of condoms and Vicodin?
Before she could ask more, Skinner made his reappearance in the kitchen. With unspoken unity he and George walked out of the kitchen toward the front door. Scully, unable to resist, trailed after them. Skinner turned around when he sensed her presence.
"Scully, would you do me a favor and unpack the rest of dinner?"
"All right." She was taken aback. She was also angry.
Walking stiffly back into the kitchen, she began taking out containers of food. It smelled delicious, but her appetite was now gone. He was deliberately keeping something from her, and expected her to accept it without question. This world was too dangerous a place to walk around being stupid and that was how she felt now.
Skinner came back in and helped her finish. They opened cabinet doors until they found china and utensils. Scully silently spooned food into bowls and platters before setting it on the table. Skinner followed with plates and glasses. A bottle of red wine was still in the kitchen.
She got up from the dinning table to fetch it when Skinner caught her arm.
"Not until I tell you..."
"That's just it, you never tell me anything."
"I can't tell you anything, don't you understand that?"
"So I'm not allowed to ask or worry about you?"
Skinner pulled her into an embrace, but she held herself rigidly in his arms. With a sigh he rested his head on hers.
"I used to be an investigator, remember?" she asked. "You knew what I was when you sent for me. You can't expect me to change. It's who I am."
He let a long silence come between them, evidently mulling over their situation. She well remembered those thoughtful silences in his office.
"If I promise to tell you soon, will you trust me Scully?"
She sighed heavily. Did she have any other choice? "Yes, but don't take too long."
"Good," he said hugging her before sitting back down at the table. "Let's eat."
Men, she thought, they could argue with you one minute and then want to eat with you the next. Or sleep with you, she added.
Continuing to the kitchen for the bottle of wine, she thought about what he'd said. He'd tell her soon, he'd promised. Soon.
She hoped it was. Something was coming, something big. She could feel it with every bone in her body.
She drank too much wine at dinner and wound up nearly passed out on the couch with Skinner. They stumbled into the living room where Skinner picked up the brass poker to stoke the fire and she sat down heavily on the leather cushions. Seeing the poker in his hand reminded her of its 'erection' earlier and she started laughing.
Skinner turned around to see what was so funny. Between giggles she explained, which only deepened Skinner's frown. He looked down at the offending tool in his hand and a half smile finally formed in understanding.
"Would you like to see it perform again?" he asked playfully.
"Mr. Skinner, are you flirting with me?"
His face became solemn as he crawled over to the couch. "I never flirt," he said gravely.
This admission only made Scully laugh more. She couldn't picture Skinner flirting and when she did it was too funny a vision to keep her from snickering.
"I can't kiss you if you're laughing," he said, a little peevishly.
"I can't kiss you if I'm laughing either. Why don't you get up here and stop me?"
He suddenly grabbed her around the waist and pulled her down on top of him.
"It's more fun down here."
"I remember," she said seriously.
He kissed her slowly as if savoring her lips. Scully wasn't sure she was up for another round of 'poker' and couldn't see how he was either.
She never got her chance to find out.
A knock came on the front door. Scully looked up and frowned. Who would come at this time of night?
Before she could even think, Skinner rolled her off him and stood up. He peeked through the window and was evidently satisfied, because he opened the door. Scully couldn't make out who the dark figure was. Quick words were exchanged during which Scully struggled just to stand up properly.
Skinner closed the door and turned to face her with a frown. Scully heard Mulder's mocking voice. 'Looks like the party's over Scully.'
He came over to her and held both her upper arms with his strong hands. He wouldn't look at her and that was bad.
"I have to go out Scully. Can I trust you to stay here and not follow me?"
She tried to process what he wanted through an alcoholic haze. He wanted to go out?
"What do you mean go out?" He winced at the peevish sound in her voice.
"Yes, out. There's something I have to do that's important."
"I want to come with you."
"No," he said too quickly and harshly. Scully recoiled at the severity.
"I'm tired of being left out. I want to go with you."
"Scully I'll handcuff you to a pipe in the bathroom." He was looking her in the eye now and she felt the angered heat behind his words. He didn't want her to follow, no matter what. He couldn't have done that at the FBI, but he could, and would, now.
"Besides," he said more gently, "you're in no shape to go anywhere right now."
'He's saying you're too buzzed to stand up straight Scully,' Mulder said gleefully.
"Shut up Mulder," she murmured.
"What?" Skinner's scowling inquiry made her realize she'd spoken it out loud.
"Okay, fine. Go out without me. Ditch me just like Mulder always did."
Skinner stood away from her. In the six months they'd been together she'd never mentioned his name. She was violating their unspoken rule. She didn't care. The wine had made her angry and a little too brave.
"What?" he asked quietly.
"You heard me. You're acting just like him: keeping me in the dark, going off on your own. I thought you were different. I thought you wouldn't do that to me. I thought you loved me. Damn," she said, brushing angry tears away.
"Scully, please." He tried to hold her again, but she pushed him away.
"Go," she said, "just go."
He stood a moment longer as if trying to decide what to do.
"You'll stay here?"
"I want your word on it Scully."
God he was frustrating! "Yes, you have my word. I'll stay put, but on one condition. You tell me everything when you get back. Everything. No more keeping the truth from me or avoiding the subject. I'm tired of this and if you really loved me you'd include me. All right?"
She looked at him and saw several emotions cross his face. Finally his mouth became set.
"I have your word?"
He left and went into the bedroom. She sat on the couch and contemplated what she'd agreed to. For the first time, she allowed herself to believe he was working clandestinely against the rebels. Why else would he keep his activities from her? If she found out, he knew she couldn't continue to love him. Perhaps ignorance was bliss after all.
Skinner emerged a few minutes later, dressed in dark clothing. She couldn't remember unpacking it, and assumed it had been here before they arrived, which also meant he'd been here before without her.
She stared into the fire, refusing to look at him. He stood at the door apparently waiting for her to say something. When she didn't, he opened the door left without another word. She was angry, hurt, and afraid. The cold burst of wind that had come in when he left made her shiver.
"Come home safe," she murmured.
'Uh, the big guy's already left Scully,' said the disembodied voice of her partner.
Shut up Mulder.
She paced for hours, walking up and down in front of the fireplace like a caged leopard in a zoo. Every few minutes she checked the clock and looked out the windows, but was met only with silent darkness.
What was he doing? What could make him go out in the middle of the night in clothing designed for camouflage? Nothing, she thought, made sense except that he was doing something undercover; something that needed to be done under the darkness of night.
She resorted to taking a hot bath in the antique porcelain tub in their bathroom. Lying there felt good, but reminded her too much of the other times she'd soaked in a tub; and not always alone. By then she was sober and a dull headache began to make her head throb.
Sometime near sunrise she fell into a fitful sleep. She dreamed of being back with the rebels and being chased by soldiers with dogs. The dogs had large fangs and razor-sharp claws. They nipped at her heels with ferocious tenacity. No matter how hard she ran, they always stayed just out of reach.
A loud bang made her sit upright. Fully awake and heart pounding, she reached for the nightstand before remembering where she was and that there was no gun conveniently tucked into the drawer.
She heard voices whispering excitedly as she carefully slid out of bed and crept to the bedroom door. Two men dressed in black were limping arm in arm toward the bedroom. In the dim light of the fire, she could see one man with his head hanging down and the other she recognized immediately.
"Help me," he said; his voice a plaintive whisper.
Scully was immediately at his side checking him over and recoiling when she felt sticky blood on her hand.
When she reached for the light switch he yelled, "Don't turn on the lights."
The man next to him groaned in pain.
"Help me get George to the bedroom."
Scully realized it must have been George's blood on Skinner's shirt. Between the two of them, they managed to get George on the bed. Skinner drew the curtains closed and turned on the closet light for illumination while Scully removed George's shirt. She found a bullet hole in his upper left arm. Lifting the arm she could see it had exited the other side.
She ran water into the bathroom sink and cleaned away as much blood as possible. She ripped up a sheet to wind around George's arm to act as a bandage. In the meantime, Skinner removed his shirt and pants. He took his clothing and George's to the fireplace, along with Scully's washcloth, to burn.
When she was sure the bleeding had stopped and George was comfortable, Scully followed Skinner out to the living room. Quietly she shut the door and joined her near-naked owner at the fireplace.
"Why are you burning your clothes?"
"Because I don't want bloody clothing to be found here. Will he be all right?" Skinner asked, indicating George.
"If the bullet hasn't hit an artery, he'd probably recover. What happened?"
"Not now, Scully."
"NO," she said, "right now. You explain what happened right now. I've clearly become involved in this and deserve an explanation."
Skinner frowned as he moved burning cloth around, making sure it was being completely consumed by the fire. He wouldn't look at her when he finally spoke.
"George was shot."
"Yes, I can see that. How did he get shot?"
Skinner sighed and sat on the couch. "We were out on a reconnaissance and were .....surprised."
"Reconnaissance? What kind of reconnaissance?" Scully moved to sit next to him on the sofa. Her heart was beating fast again, torn between wanting to know and not wanting to know the answer to that question.
"We were surveying a military installation not far from here. We were shot at just outside the fence."
Scully didn't understand. "You were surveying a military installation? Couldn't you get in through regular channels?"
"I tried that already. This is a one of the most heavily guarded installations in the country. Nobody gets inside."
She frowned. "But why would you need to? What were you hoping to accomplish?"
"We wanted to take it over."
"Yes," he said, turning to speak directly to her, "the rebels were hoping to gain control of it."
She digested the information, realization breaking over her face like the sunrise.
"You're a double agent?"
"Why didn't you tell me? Why did you let me think you were a collaborator?" She could hear the pain in her voice. Pain from being left out of this crucial part of his life and any decision in it. If he had been the one shot tonight and he had died, she may never have known the truth.
"I...I didn't want you to know so you wouldn't have to lie about me or cover anything up. If you were truly innocent of what I'd done, I thought maybe they'd let you go; give you to someone else. You'd still be alive, even if I wasn't."
His voice broke with the last words, perhaps he realizing just how close to that reality he'd come. Moving over into his lap, Scully laid her head on his shoulder and embraced him tightly.
"Don't you know," she whispered," that they'd never let me go? That given my past, if you were guilty then by association I would be too? Oh, Skinner, you could have saved us both so much grief if you'd have told me sooner."
They sat in silence, each one thinking about the night's events, and what they both now knew.
"What are we going to do about George?" she asked.
"Someone is coming to pick him up. We'll go back in the morning and I'll report him missing. I'll say he brought us dinner as I requested, and I never saw him again."
"Will they believe that?"
"They'll have to."
Suddenly a loud pounding was heard at the door. Scully turned to Skinner, her blood running cold.
"Come on," Skinner said.
He hauled her into the bedroom and shut the door.
"Get undressed," he said as he pulled George into a sitting position.
"Yes! Take everything off right now."
Skinner pulled George out of bed and onto the floor. He bent down felt along the wooden floor. Finding what he wanted, he made a twisting motion and part of the floor opened up. To her surprise, Scully could see it was a trapdoor fitted into the floor. Skinner gently rolled George into the shallow crawl space and put the bloody sheet he'd been resting on inside with him.
"Don't make a sound," he said to the injured man. Scully saw him nod before Skinner closed the door.
The knocking grew louder, and Scully heard a voice shouting.
"Open up General. We know you're in there."
Miller. It was Miller's voice. Scully thought she was going to be sick. The sound of the front door splintering was deafening.
Quickly Skinner pulled back the covers and shoved her into bed. Just as he removed his briefs and climbed on top of her, the bedroom door also burst open.
The small space was now filled with noise and men with automatic rifles raised at them. Miller strode in imperiously after them.
Skinner rolled off Scully and sat up in bed.
"You'd better have a good explanation for this Lieutenant." Scully could hear barely controlled rage in his voice. Even the armed men with Miller seemed to cower a little.
"Oh, I have a good explanation General. The question is, do you have an explanation for your whereabouts tonight?" Miller made a gesture and all but one man dispersed to search the house.
"I should think that's obvious."
Miller's smile reminded Scully of a hyena. "Yes, your consort is a distraction, but I know you haven't been here all night."
"And just where is it you think I've been?"
"Outside the Foxfire installation. Two men were spotted there and shot at tonight."
"And you believe I was one of them? That's ridiculous and I'm asking you to leave right now before you get yourself into any more trouble."
"I'm not going anywhere."
"You have no proof of any of these accusations. I said get out."
Skinner's voice boomed so loudly, the windows shook. By now he'd gotten out of bed and was putting his briefs on. The men with Miller returned and shook their heads negatively.
"You looked everywhere?" They shook their heads in unison.
Miller left the bedroom with them and Skinner took the opportunity to pick up the phone.
"This is General Skinner. I would like to be put through immediately to General Andrews at Fort Gray."
Scully could hear Miller shouting orders over the sounds of the cottage being torn apart. When several minutes had gone by, he returned to the bedroom looking agitated.
"Search in here."
"The phone is for you." Skinner's deadly monotone made the room grow still. Everyone's attention was now focused on the hapless lieutenant.
Miller took the phone out of Skinner's hand.
Scully watched as all the blood drained from Miller's face. He stared at Skinner with hate-filled eyes.
"Yes, sir. No sir. No sir. But sir.."
Miller set the phone down with a bang.
"This isn't over yet," he spat at Skinner.
"Yes it is. Get out of my house before I have you thrown in the brig."
Miller retreated, leaving the ruined front and bedroom doors open when he left. Scully watched as Skinner trailed after him and shut the front door. He leaned forward and rested his forehead on the varnished wood wearily. She came up behind him and put her arms around his waist. She trembled with the fear of what could have happened.
Skinner turned around and held her close.
"Miller's been after me ever since I had him transferred. I know he's been watching me, looking for an opportunity to get me. Tonight was close. Too close."
"He's never going to stop is he?" Scully asked quietly.
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* End part 4.
"Are they still there?"
"Yes," Skinner said, glancing into the rear view mirror.
Scully shifted uneasily in her seat. Miller, or one of his men, had been following them at a discreet distance since they left the cottage. A non-descript military vehicle, much like their own, was a persistent presence behind them.
Earlier Skinner had had to call someone out from the nearest military installation to repair the ruined front door. By the time the damage had been fixed, it was well after noon and they were both exhausted.
George had had to stay in the tiny crawl space and Scully was only able to check on him for a few scant minutes at a time. He appeared to be doing well, but she was afraid he might go into shock. His arm was red and painful to the touch, but the bleeding had thankfully stopped. She thought he needed something that was out of the question: IV antibiotics and fluids. Skinner had packed penicillin and pain relievers for the trip, so she made do with those.
She had also been reluctant to leave him behind. Skinner reassured her that the rebels would come for him as soon as it was safe. Scully was afraid that might be a long time. If Miller suspected George was hiding in the house, he could have it under surveillance for several days. She'd made sure he had water, antibiotics, and pain medicine before she agreed to leave.
Suddenly fatigued, she closed her eyes and leaned against Skinner's solid shoulder. Drifting, she remembered the gratitude in George's eyes when she fussed over him.
"The General is lucky to have you Miss Scully."
She stopped her bandaging to give him a surprise expression. George had barely spoken to her during the time she'd been in the house. In fact, they'd had very little interaction at all. She believed he'd never given her a second thought.
"Actually, I think he's lucky to have you, George," she murmured. "He told me you have been an invaluable assistant to him."
"Me? No. He was a different man before you came along. A strong and fearless leader to be sure, but his soul was empty. You have made him complete."
"I think I may be a liability though," she said, thinking of Miller and his angered threats.
"I don't think he believes that. He told me he couldn't envision his life without you and that you've made him a better man. I think he's right."
Scully had ducked her head and busied herself with the bandage to hide the unexpected emotion George's admission had caused. Skinner had become far more vital to her than she ever thought possible.
"I love you Skinner," she now said sleepily into his shoulder. He adjusted his position so he could put his arm gently around her and kissed the top of her head as she drifted to sleep.
"Love you too Scully."
Somewhere just outside the base, Skinner roused Scully out of her slumber.
"Where's the other car?" she asked sleepily.
"It dropped out of sight about five minutes ago."
The sun was setting, casting golden-pink hues over the house. She thought she'd never seen such a beautiful display. It actually felt good to be 'home'.
Skinner got out their few belongings trudged up to the door. Before going in, Scully turned to him and asked, "What do we do now?"
"Act as normal as possible."
Scully was no longer sure what 'normal' was.
The next few days were nerve-wracking. Skinner reported George missing as soon as he was 'discovered' gone. They went about their routines as normally as possible; eating in the sunroom and having dinner at seven.
No one came to replace George. Skinner told Scully he was afraid one of Miller's moles would be sent to spy on him. So it fell to her to resume many of George's duties. Skinner was careful not to let her see classified papers for her own protection. Instead, she typed for him, bundled up mail, and made sure he was on time for appointments.
Scully almost felt guilty about the new role she had in Skinner's life. It gave her more to do and she was also a more integral part of his life. It made her feel more equal in the relationship, and she hadn't realized how much of that she was missing until presented with the opportunity.
She knew this sequestered life was temporary though. Sooner or later she'd have to become pregnant, or Miller would find a way to get at Skinner and bring him down. They didn't speak of it. Late at night Skinner would hold her tightly and whisper for her not to worry, he was working diligently on a getaway plan. He refused to tell her any particulars, but had promised it would be before her next clinic visit.
Scully was grateful for that. In her mind she returned again and again to that night of unprotected sex. They'd been so thoughtless on more than one level. If they did manage to get away where would they go? And if she was pregnant, how could she raise a child in this awful world?
Those were her very thoughts as she paced in the frigid air of the courtyard in the back of the house. She still went there in the afternoons, even after it became too cold to read outdoors comfortably. The outside air did her good and helped clear the cobwebs from her mind.
She was worried though, which accounted for her pacing rather than strolling. Skinner had had to leave on a mysterious emergency trip, but promised to return by morning. Her clinic date was just two days away. If they were going to do something it had to be in those two days.
When she could no longer tolerate the cold, she went inside to wait for Skinner. Just as she came in the door, someone grabbed her from behind and clamped a gloved hand over her mouth.
"Don't make a sound or I'll break your neck." To emphasize his point, the man squeezed her throat tightly with the other hand. Stars swam before Scully's terror-filled eyes.
Her mind raced in a dozen directions at once. Absurdly, her first thought was of Donnie Pfaster, but he was long dead. No, this voice belonged to an enemy that was very much alive: Lt. Miller.
He half dragged her from the back of the house to just under the staircase. Scully made her move then, giving him a vicious kick on the instep and broke away from him. There were guards posted outside and she stumbled toward the front door in an effort to alert them.
Miller was quicker, however, and tackled her from behind. Scully landed face down, knocking all the breath out of her and causing her to strike her forehead on the ceramic tiles. Blackness now threatened to swallow her up.
"You stupid bitch," he spat at her. He yanked her up by her hair, causing the scarf to come off and a yelp of pain to escape her.
"Shut up," he whispered tersely and slapped her across the face.
Suddenly he was half-dragging her up the stairs, his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. She tried to fight him, but he only hit her harder. At the top of the stairs, she fell into a heap on the floor.
He did drag her then, all the way to the end to Skinner's bedroom. He choked her briefly and just before she lost consciousness he let go. Panting for air, she felt him pull her up and onto the bed and start to tear at her nylons.
Scully was too weak to resist him and felt him tear open the front of her dress as well.
"This is all your fault," he rambled. "He's the traitor, but I'm the one who pays. And for what? Some stupid bitch."
He hit her again in anger, and it was enough to revive her a little. Scully kicked forward and nearly got him in the balls, but missed. That earned her another choking session, and this time she was sure he would succeed in killing her.
Just as blackness was closing in, Scully thought she heard an explosion. The hand at her throat went slack and the man fell on top of her. His weight further expelled precious oxygen from her lungs. I'm going to die, she thought.
"Scully, Scully, can you hear me?" Skinner's frantic voice penetrated her pain-fogged mind. His frenzied movement to remove Miller and check for wounds did little to resuscitate her. She felt his mouth cover hers and blow air into her oxygen-starved lungs. Suddenly, she sat up and started coughing uncontrollably.
Skinner's tear-stained face swam into view. "I wish you would tell me when you're going to do these things," she croaked.
He smiled and kissed her before gently wrapping her in a blanket. He picked her up in his arms and walked out of the bedroom. Dimly, she could see they were descending the stairs and soldiers in black clothing were standing by the open front door.
Terse words were exchanged between the men and Skinner continued with her out to a waiting car. He handed Scully off to a burly guard before getting in the back seat and taking her back into his lap.
The car started up and the sound of the motor made Scully struggle to sit up.
"Where are we going?"
"Home," Skinner said.
"Home?" she asked, as the car picked up speed. She turned around to see the house disappear as they traveled. That was where it all started for her, she thought, and now she was leaving it all behind. She would honestly miss it.
"Where is home?"
"The Foxfire Installation."
"The place where you were shot at?"
"Yes. We appropriated it for our own use."
Further conversation was halted as they neared a checkpoint. Skinner pulled her back into his lap and held her hard against him when they stopped. Scully heard him breathe a sigh of relief when they were waved through. A man in familiar black clothing appeared to be in charge of that particular check point.
As they passed briefly under harsh fluorescent lights, Skinner got a good look at her face and gasped. She knew what he was seeing and could have told him it felt just as bad. Her bottom lip was split and swollen. Puffy bruises marked her left cheek, neck, and forehead.
"I look awful," she said, ducking to put her face inside his coat.
"I'm glad I killed that son-of-a-bitch."
"Are you?" she asked. "They'll come after us sooner."
"It was worth it. You are worth it."
She leaned back to study his soft eyes. Truth bright and clear shone back at her.
'Ah, the big guy loves you,' she heard Mulder say.
You need to go away for good Mulder.
'For good Scully? Are you sure?'
"I'm sure," she said out loud before leaning forward onto Skinner's chest. They were together now, moving toward a new and terrifying life.
She'd never been happier.
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