Title: Twilight's End
Rating: MSR/WIP R/NC-17 for language and sexuality.
Classification: WIP, MSR, Alternate Universe, Post 'Truth.' Follow up to 'Day Tripping.'
Spoilers: Takes place directly where
'Day Tripping' left off.
Keywords: Seek and ye shall find.
Summary: Underground, Mulder and Scully attempt to find a way to launch an
beta by the lovely sallie
website courtesy of the unbelievably
talented Circe Invidiosa.
She feels him stir and slide out of her embrace. In a blurry, early morning haze, she barely makes out the crooning in her ear,
"It's OK, Outlaw....Go back to sleep."
The kingdom of sleep reclaims her, pulling her down before she can find out what he's doing. It's a slow free fall, and before she knows it, the motel room is gone and the two of them are standing on a rocky outcropping, and there's nothing but blue twilight all around them. She can feel the last of day slip away and chill night air seep into her bones. Dream Scully shivers, as stars flicker and pulse above them. Mulder reaches for her, wrapping his arms around her, pulling her close.
He's the antidote for everything cold.
"I've got you, Scully...."
Without warning, white streaks blaze across the sky, zooming closer and closer. Shooting stars rain down, all around them and she tenses, bracing for impact. The night sky's shredding apart, but Mulder's arms hold her tight, and he whispers over and over, "I've got you."
Scully remembers hearing those words yesterday.
Fear dissolves as she relaxes against him, it's the the one shelter she has left. The scene shift abruptly, flipping back in time---replaying yesterday. Now they're saying goodbye to their son---then something ominous rolls toward them as they scan the far horizon.
We have each other, Mulder, she tells him inside the dream. Whatever happens, no matter what, he replies. The menace keeps closing in, but she's fearless.
Whatever happens, no matter what. That, she knows, is truth.
She awakens to find Mulder sitting at the foot of the bed, naked and hunched over the laptop. Slowly pushing aside the sheets, she slides herself down and curls up next to him. He's just written a message to J. Montoya, asking for a meeting location, specific directions, and a time to meet. Hitting the encryption password, she watches as the words dissolve into a combination of numbers, symbols and Dine phrases, disappearing into the ether.
Just like us, she thinks.
"It's you." Shutting down, and setting the laptop on the floor, he then leans down and kisses her good morning.
"Were you expecting someone else?" Smiling, she lets the taste of him linger on her lips.
Wrangling around, he stretches out next her and shakes his head. "Nope...Got what I want right here."
Pulling him close, she wraps her arms and legs around him, and whispers into his shoulder, "Me, too."
It's only been a half hour, thirty minutes on the cosmic clock, but when it's like this, time slips its bonds. Side by side, they're a braid of limbs, breathing in unison. There's no need to make love, just the need to be.The seconds stretch, each one etching itself in memory. Looking into each others eyes, they see what scientists and mystics could never explain, the one thing they never planned on finding.
Slowly, Mulder rolls on top, covering her with his long body. He wants to hide her from the world, from everything dangerous, but he can't. In a part of his dura matter, they just find someplace and let themselves morph into a man and a woman living an ordinary life. But there's another part of his brain that knows better. Scully seems to read his mind, smiling slightly, as she once again does what needs to be done, becomes who he needs her to be.
"I should shower first, I'll need a little extra time this morning."
He knows what she means. Last night, along with their fast food banquet, cheap wine, and wedding rings, he bought hair coloring for her. Time to lose something else, time to watch another piece of Scully disappear without a trace.
"Yeah," he sighs, "I should see if our new best friend's sent us anything."
Groaning, he moves away from her and gingerly eases to the foot of the bed. Rolling his neck, he inhales deeply, taking in the smell of them, the musty and chlorine scent of every motel room he's ever known, gearing up for what's next, for what the day will bring. Leaning over, he fishes for the laptop, fires it up to retrieve today's words to live by.
"C'mon, J. Montoya," he tells the screen, "don't disappoint us."
She's not so quick to move, taking one last minute to let her whole body feel his phantom weight, his solid strength, his heat. Shifting so she has a good view, she lets herself watch the play of muscles of his back, remembering how her fingertips pressed hard along his spine as he made her come apart with pleasure just a few hours ago. 'Wither thou goest,' she pledges in silence, as she takes one last look. But this morning's reverie must come to an end. They're on the run, and the good little fugitive she is decides to get up and get going.
She's almost to the threshold of the bathroom when he calls her over.
"Scully, we've got mail."
He punches in the encription code, and they both watch the message materialize. 'Meet me at 2 pm,' it says. Six hours away, Scully notes. Six hours and counting.
Directions to Hard Line are next--it's a little over two hours away, off the Interstate, mostly on county roads. It won't be that long of a drive, Mulder thinks. He hopes Montoya will have a good place for them to set up camp. It looks like that's all and Mulder goes to wipe it, but Scully stops him.
"Wait, there's something else coming through." It's a three word sentence that makes them look at each other.
'Don't be late.'
She's showered, and found the other clean towel that somehow was lying crumpled on the bathroom floor and set it carefully on the sink. She'll need it later. Her own damp scrap of terrycloth's been placed carefully on the rack. Mulder will have to use it too, not that it'll be a problem. Her teeth are brushed, and now she's opening the box, mixing the dye, and trying not to feel the crushing sadness that's rapidly overtaking her. Looking in the mirror, she sees one sad and troubled woman staring back. This is nothing, she thinks, this is just a bump in the road. It's an incongruent response, an overreaction. After all the death and loss and sacrifice, this is nothing, just one more thing stripped away.
A single tear runs down the side of her face. "Damn it." 'This is ridiculous,' scolding herself as she swipes it away. 'Do it and get it over with.'
What she doesn't realize is that Mulder's standing to one side of the threshold and has been watching her the whole time.
"Don't," his voice cracks when he speaks. "I don't want you to."
His eyes are as dark as fallen leaves, dying grass.
Startled, she sets the dye on the sink, barely avoiding a spill. Turning to him, she tries to sound in control.
"I'm fine, Mulder, just a little tired." She proffers a weak smile that doesn't fool him, and she knows it.
Walking up to the sink, he takes the dye and flushes it down the toilet, watching dark brown water swirl and vanish. She doesn't say a word, doesn't move. Still damp from the shower, hair wet and slicked back against her head, she's frozen in place.
Coming back to her, he cradles her head in his hands, snakes his fingers along her scalp and twists the thick, wet strands through his fingers. He knows he can't ask her to do this. He doesn't want her to do this. Not this.
"I want you to be Scully," he breathes into her ear. Every moment of the past nine years is flooding him right now, and this is the one thing he can save for her.
"Mulder..." She wants something to stay the same, something as small and as enormous as this. She wants, she just wants. Turning toward him, that same hunger is mirrored in his gray slate eyes.
Kissing wildly, everywhere--face, mouth, neck, shoulder, they can't hold back. Somehow, they stumble to the side, then he's got her against the wall, facing the cold tile.
Raising her arms above her head, she steadies herself, palms down, bracing herself as he bears down. His cock's hard, hard, hard, and she parts her legs and takes a hand to reach around to grab him, and he thrusts inside to the hilt.
Reaching back with both hands, she grabs his hips as he thrusts again and again. He's got his arm wrapped around her waist, anchoring them in place. Moaning, strangled words escape, and their voices echo in this tiny room. She can feel him swell and throb inside her, and she's so wet, her clit aching, her body's coiled for release.
Abruptly, he stops, pulling out of her, and turns her around.
"Don't stop," she pleads.
"I'm not," he pants. "I'm not....I need to see you." Pulling her to him, he lifts her so she can wrap her legs around the small of his back. Leaning into the tile, he slides into her again, this time with long, slow strokes. Clutching his shoulders, she bows her head enough to bite the side of his neck. Sliding a hand between them, he finds her clit, and starts stroking her hard, sweet spot. She starts that beautiful trembling, and it pushes him over the edge. They come together, breathless and shaking, then collapse against the slick, cool, bathrooom wall.
They've gotten good at rapid recovery. They kiss, and he slides her down his body until she has her footing. Smoothing her hair into place, he plays with the tips, seemingly lost in thought. A faint smile plays at his lips and she knows something's got him preoccupied, something unexpected.
Cupping his face in her hands, she tilts his head down to get his attention. "I know that look, Mulder....C'mon, spill."
"I thought we could play salon, Scully. You've got scissors in that medical bag, right? Hindsight tells me I missed my calling."
"You want to cut my hair?" Her mouth goes slack with incredulity.
"You need a new 'do'....Something that says, 'I'm hiding in plain sight.' "
Letting a slow smile spread across her face, she lets her hands fall away and starts backing away from him, heading toward the bedroom. "You're a pretty kinky guy, you know that, don't you?"
"That doesn't sound like a complaint, Scully." His wolfish grin speaks volumes.
Minutes later, he's got her standing in front of the mirror again, both of them still naked--snipping lock after lock of hair with almost surgical precision, gently stroking her neck each place new skin is exposed. Soon, the floor around them is littered with long strands, and there's a woman staring back from the mirror with a chin length bob, with make-up free, freckled skin, looking like she's in her late 20's. She might be a hiker, or grad student. It's still Scully, but not--it's some alternate version of herself. She peers at this familiar stranger, amazed that something so simple actually worked. Behind her, she sees Mulder's taking in his handiwork, apparently satisfied with the transformation. The stranger catches Mulder's eye and smiles, and he smiles back.
Apparently he wants to make her acquaintance.
"Voila...Very sporty....Very chic. Now we just get you a bandana to wear, or a baseball cap, and we're good to go."
"What about you, partner?"
"Oh, I'm thinkin' a few day's stubble, and getting a cap of my own should do the trick."
"You left out something, you know."
"What's that Scully?"
"Cool shades, I understand they're de rigeur for couples on the run."
"You're sounding more and more like me all the time."
She showers again, and he makes sure all the hair's bagged up in the trash. Time to hide the tracks, suit up and hit the road.
Emerging dripping wet, she dries off one more time with the towel she left on the rack. The water's still running and the room's getting steamy.
"I left the good one on the sink for you."
"You're too good to me."
"Outlaw courtesy, Mulder." And she disappears to get dressed and get a move on.
They're taking Interstate 160 for about 20 more miles, surrounded by the sprawl of Great Sand Dunes National Monument, all stark desert--white sand dotted with red mesas at the far horizon. It's hot during the day and cool at night, so T-shirts, tanks, and jeans are their haute couture. Once winter comes, it'll be a different story, if they're still here.
They left Alamosa about an hour ago, after buying some basic camping equipment, light provisions, jean jackets with flannel linings, a blue bandana and two black baseball caps. Mulder had passed this combination general store, post office and gas station in last night's foray to the diner, liquor store, and pawn shop. Having hit Jake's Dry Goods--provisions purchased and gas tank filled, the official town tour was complete. Along with their caps and their requisite shades, they've also slipped on the identities of David Stern and Delia Connor.
The 20 miles click by quickly and they turn onto Route 10. They're supposed to take it until they see the turn off for Las Animas Mountains. They're about 45 minutes away from where the turn off's supposed to be--once they're on the side road, it should only be a ten minute drive. The blue and black basalt peaks are looming close now. If he stopped the car, they could probably walk the couple of miles to where the grass covered foothills start.
Mulder turns on the radio and is treated to nothing but static. Clicking it off, he starts tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. He's keyed up; he knows Scully is, too. At least they've got AC; it was about 90 degrees in Alamosa, cooler now that they're at a higher elevation. He notices he still has the Bureau habit of never driving with the windows down, and wonders how long that will last. Turning down the arctic blast, he glances at Scully and gives their SUV some gas.
There are miles and miles of aspen, Ponderosa and bristlecone pine,blue-green sentinels that loom dark and foreboding, blocking out parts of the brilliant blue sky. They speed past scattered patches of yellow oxalis, and purple outcroppings of wild lavender, when an idea slowly begins to form in Scully's mind. She wants a distraction from worry, from the tension that's forming a knot between her shoulders.
They haven't said much since they left, both of them hoping that this isn't a wild goose chase, or worse still, a trap. Montoya is supposed to be a MUFON member, someone the Gunmen trusted enough for them to risk everything. But neither of them confuse calculated risk with blind trust. Each of them has a loaded Walther tucked into their boot. A Colt, clips at the ready, hides in the glove compartment, too. It's deserted out here, no signs of anything except mountain vegetation. No towns, no state police, nothing but the scenery sprawling on either side, and streaming black top ahead.
So far, so good.
"Lupine," she announces, breaking the silence. Wanting to ease the tension for both of them, she hopes he picks up on her challenge.
"Lupinus Fabaceae. You must want a beat down, Scully."
"We'll see, Oxford Boy," chuffing, as she scans the side of the road. "Monkshood."
"Aconitum columbianum Helleboraceae. God, you make it so easy."
She keeps tossing out the name of wildflower after wildflower, and the time slips by. The tight line in his jaw's softened and she can feel that her heart's no longer thudding. Passing a weathered wooden sign that says 'Pimenton Road/Las Animas Foothills 5 miles,' they take note and fall silent again. Soon David and Delia would see whether the Gunmen delivered.
Pimenton's barely visible as they close in, and as they follow the shoulder bend for the turn off, the tiny dirt road makes a sharp right and Mulder hurriedly hits the brakes as a mass of white appears out of nowhere. Tires screech, a huge dust cloud is raised, and they jerk forward as the car goes in an instant from 65 to zero. When the dirt settles, they get a good look at what's blocking the road.
About three dozen sheep, who apparently want to take their sweet time. And from the looks of his ribbon vest, turquoise jewelry and long, white braid, a Dine elder, who could easily be ninety years old, if he's a day. With a serious, yet kindly expression on his face, he taps some of the sheep on the outside of the herd to move them along. Slowly looking up, he's surprised to see visitors. White visitors at that. He meanders over to the car, motions to Mulder to roll down his window. He does, and the elder man gets a blast of cold air.
"Where you goin', son?"
"We're on our way to visit a friend." He's got an odd combination of amusement and impatience going. This is just too surreal not to enjoy, but they're coming up on the time they should be at Montoya's compound. Glancing at Scully from the corner of his eye, he can tell she's got a similar take on the situation.
"Sir, could you please move your sheep along?" Scully leans toward the driver's window, squeezing Mulder's knee with one hand.
"They'll be done when they're done, Miss. They been here longer than you two. "With that, the old man turns, and regally strolls back to his flock.
"Mulder, we've got five minutes to get to Montoya's"
"You heard the man. Looks like we got ourselves a case of imminent domain."
He leans over to turn on radio again, then settles back. Drumming his fingers on the dashboard, he does the only thing he can do--wait. Scully focuses her attention on the lazy stroll of livestock, trying to stay cool, stay focused.
In the flattened cadence of English spoken by the Dine, they're treated to an intro and the call letters of the local station. "I'm Simon Bishti, and this is K-R-E-Z, voice of the rez," a man's soft voice explains. "And it's a good day to be indigenous."
Sheep and shepherd all finally meander to the other side of the road, and Mulder floors it. They should've been at Montoya's half an hour ago. Out of nowhere, they're right on top of it. Two squat cinder block structures, both with tin roofs--one larger than the other. The large one, maybe 1500 square feet, the smaller one, maybe half that.
The smaller building's partially obscured by the larger one, and doesn't seem to have any windows. Next to the larger structure there's a beaten-up, late Army issue Jeep. They can also see a well, what looks like a large generator, and something else that gives them pause.
It's a stone shrine of some sort, eight black obelisks about twenty feet tall, all arranged in a circle, with smaller slabs laid perpendicular to the base. They're tightly placed together, but there's enough room that someone could move in and out.
He throws the SUV in park, and they both get out and start walking the fifty or so feet to the main building. There's no signs of any one outside. Stepping carefully onto the rickety, sloping wooden porch, they stop in front of the door. Mulder knocks. No answer. There's two small, dirt-streaked windows to the left of the door, and they both look inside. It's spartan to the extreme--wood stove, some cupboards, a tiny frig, table, chairs, sink, and toilet and shower partially hidden by an old brown curtain. No books, pictures, or personal effects, just a foot locker near the bed to indicate that someone might actually be spending time here.
"Does this look as bad to you as it does to me?"
"Yeah," she sighs, "it does."
He fishes in his back pocket and pulls out the case with the picks. Crouching down low enough to start working the lock, he doesn't even wait for Scully's protest.
She doesn't make one. Instead, she turns on her heels and tells him over her shoulder, "I'll check the building in the rear."
"That's why I love you."
She lets a smirk cross her face, as she stops to reach down and feel in her boot for her weapon. Pulling herself up to her full height, she takes a deep breath and disappears around the corner.
It's either a tricky lock, or he's losing his touch, but it's taking him longer than he thought it would.
"Fuck me," he spits. He hears the shuffle of feet behind him-- Scully must be done already.
"Believe me, you're fucked." It's a woman's voice, but not the one he's expecting to hear.
He feels the cold barrel of a gun at the base of his skull.
"Stand up," the woman barks.
"Listen, I can explain..." He slowly rises; the woman's hand grips his shoulder hard enough to bruise.
"Shut up! You talk when I tell you. Say another goddamn word and I'll pull this trigger and put you in the ground."
"Been there, done that."
The barrel's shoved hard against his head, Mulder squeezes his eyes shut. He wants to say something, but before any words can form on his lips, it's Scully yelling.
"Put down the gun!" She's back, and she got a bead on whoever this is.
"I'll shoot him!" the woman declares.
"I've got a clear shot at your head!" Scully shouts. Her adrenalin's rushing, the world's falling away, and she won't hesitate. "Don't make me do it!"
The steel in that voice makes the other woman pull back a little. "Should I listen to her?" she hisses to Mulder.
He seizes the opportunity. "We're the people who were supposed to be here a half hour ago. You should've mentioned Dine herders use Pimenton. The road was blocked... that's why we're late. I'm David Stern and the woman with a bead on you is Delia Connor. We confirmed the meeting this morning via encrypted email. The last thing you wrote was 'Don't be late.' " He feels her hesitate, then ease off on the trigger. "We have something in common...." he goes on, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
Jerking the gun away, the woman slides it into her back holster. "Start talking."
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