Disclaimer: Not mine. I'm just playing. I'll put'em back when I'm done.

Rating: R (for extreme sexual situations, torture and general mayhem)

Synopsis: Shapeshifters, drugs and abduction. All in a day's work for Mulder and Scully.

Author's note: This story is extreme in its depiction of unsavory situations. There's torture, m/f rape (and it's not the woman getting raped). Way back when I wrote this, I belonged to a forum called Mulder Torture and this is basically what this story is about. If you don't like to read stories with expressive depiction of such situations, go read something else.

12.15 p.m.
December 15
Basement office
J. Edgar Hoover building

Special Agent Fox Mulder was sitting on his chair behind his desk, staring ahead of himself. Things had finally worked out okay. Scully was doing better and was back to work. Skinner had lightened up a bit after Blevins had been indicted and subsequently killed. And things in general seemed to go much more smoothly. If only he could convince his sister to see him. If only he could find her again. He heaved a deep breath and let out a heavy sigh.

Scully looked up from her paper work and glanced over at him. "You okay?"

"What?" he asked at the sound of her voice. "Oh, yeah. Just a little tired," he then said with a smile.

She returned it in her own serene manner. "Why don't you go home and get some rest, then? I think you've deserved it."

That made him chuckle. "Thanks, mommy." Stretching and finding himself aching with fatigue, he added a nod to that. "I think I'll do that. I'm worn thin." Scully's head tilted to one side and the smile made him shiver inwardly. She was so beautiful. He knew he felt like that because he had been so very close to losing her. He had basically been able to see her wasting away and it had torn at his heart to see her like that.

"You look wasted. Go home. That's an order," she told him.

He got out of his chair with a slight effort and nodded. He needed some sleep. She was right about that. "I'll see you tomorrow. Don't stay too late," he said, grabbed his coat and shrugged into it.

"I won't. You just get some sleep. I expect you to be a whole lot more chipper tomorrow. Okay?" Scully eyed her partner in a new light ... well ... in a brighter light, than before. He had been willing to go out on the ledge for her. He was willing to die for her. She knew that. He would compromise himself; put himself in a situation he could not handle just to save her. And the realization of this had made her hold him in higher regard than ever. Their friendship was second to none. And briefly she wondered if it could become more. But thoughts like that were immoral.

He stopped next to her chair and put a hand on her shoulder. "I promise. I'll be my old self tomorrow." With those words, he took off.


07.30 p.m.
Mulder's residence
Apartment 42
2630 Hegal Place

Unlike what he had believed when he left the office, he was able to sleep. He dropped down on his bed after shedding most of his clothes except for his boxer shorts and closed his eyes and moments later he was out cold. He slept uneasily, dreaming dreams of old events, things that had been painful and humiliating to him. Things he had experienced at the hands of one English woman he didn't like to think of too much.

After a long time, he woke with a start, blinking up at the ceiling above him. He felt a little more rested, but also odd. At first, his mind still drowsy, he couldn't quite figure out why. Then there was a rattle and a tug when he tried to move his right hand and it hit him like a ton of bricks. He was handcuffed to the headboard of his own bed.

"What the ... " he mumbled, looking first at his right wrist then his left, wondering what he had missed here. Then he looked around the bedroom. Nothing else seemed out of order and there was nobody in the room with him. Frowning, he tried to pull himself backward to sit up but found that his feet were somehow restrained as well. This was starting to be a little less than funny. He pulled at the restraint around his left foot and heard a rattle. How he could not have heard or felt these chains being applied to him was a mystery. He usually slept very lightly and awoke at the smallest sound.

Again his eyes drifted toward the open door and the dark hallway beyond while his mind frantically tried to come up with an explanation for this situation. It reminded him of things he didn't want to remember. He again tugged at his right hand, testing the strength of both the cuff and the headboard, but both were unrelenting. A million options ran through his mind and in that connection, the faces of as many people paraded before his inner eye. Who could have done this to him? And why?

"Ah, you're awake."

The voice was nothing but a low purr, but he would recognize it anywhere. His head snapped around and he stared at his captor, his expression displaying all the disbelief in the world. This couldn't be. He shook his head, too dumb-founded to say anything at all. This wasn't right. Not at all.

Standing there in the open door was Dana Scully, displaying a side of herself he had never, ever seen before. And for that matter, hadn't believed she possessed, either. She was dressed in a black velvet body stocking which accentuated her pale complexion graciously along with elbow-long, black silk-gloves which clung to her arms as if they were painted on. And that was all she was wearing. Her hair was wild, teased up to become a mane around her head and her face was heavily painted. Ruby lipstick and dark-blue eye shadow along with eyeliner to underline the deepness of her eyes.

Under normal circumstances he would have been turned on by this look like nothing before. This was a version of a dream come true. But the thought that this wasn't like Scully was prominent in his mind. And the look in her eyes scared him. It was feral, hungry and he had a pretty good idea what she was hungry for. "Scully?" he finally managed.

Pursing her lips, she came closer, moving like a hungry cat stalking a mouse. Her hips swayed, her head was shoved forward a bit, and her black-gloved hands slid restlessly up and down her sides, caressing herself. "Yes, Fox. It's Scully," she purred, smiling almost viciously.

He stared at her, the majority of his consciousness hoping he would wake up any second now. This had to be a twisted dream. A fantasy, of course, but still twisted. He had never thought of his partner this way. That she would be into something that was so demeaning to him as bondage. Shaking his head, he stared at her. "What's going on here, Dana?" he almost whispered.

She reached the bed and started down the length of it, heading toward the foot end. And all the while her eyes were running over his body, almost touchable in their intensity. "What do you think is going on here, Fox?" she replied, her eyes briefly meeting his before her hungry gaze once again started wandering down his body.

He swallowed hard. His throat had gone dry. This was something that Phoebe Greene could have come up with. He would suspect other women of this, too. But not Dana Scully. Finally getting a grip on his surprise, he tried to work up a temper. "I'm not sure what this is about, Dana, but I don't like it, okay? Joke's over," he told her, managing to force an edge to his voice. He still hadn't regained his composure completely.

She stopped at the middle of the foot end of the bed, looking up at him with a lascivious smile. "What joke's that, Fox?" she purred. "This is no joke. This is something I've wanted to do for a long time."

Now he was getting scared. If he read this right, this wasn't just bondage. And he had a pretty good sense of things like that after having had the dubious pleasure of Phoebe Greene's company in bed. She had been sadistic to put it mildly. "Dana, cut it out," he snapped. "I'm not into this thing, okay? I don't like it. And this isn't you."

"Isn't it?" She eased forward, her hands on the bed spread between his feet, her tongue coming out to brush her lips. "What about all those videos you always watch? Don't you want to live them? Don't you want to be ... carefree for just one night?"

Her right hand slipped up on his left leg just above the shackle that held it in place and he jerked at the sensation of the silk on his skin. "This is not the kind of thing I watch," he snapped. He was more frightened than angry now. This wasn't going to be an easy one to get out of and the closer she got, the less likely it was that she would back off. Her hand slid up his shin to his knee, her left hand doing the same to his right leg. "Dana, stop it. This isn't funny." He knew what this would do to him. He also knew how he would feel during and after. And he knew how he would feel in the morning. The first time Phoebe had put him through this, it had taken him a week to be able to face others again. He had been certain that others could tell what they had done and he was utterly ashamed of it. Ashamed and bruised. It had been more painful than pleasant and he certainly wasn't into painful sex.

Her hands climbed higher, coming to rest at the edge of his boxer shorts. Every single inch of muscle in his thighs was tight and his breath was rapid and superficial in presentiment of what she had in mind for him. "Oh, but it is funny," she replied in a deep purr. She eased forward, letting her hands slip up over his shorts to his stomach. "Relax and enjoy it, Fox. You may never have the chance again," she added, leaned down and sank her teeth into the tender skin of his stomach. And it was no nip.

He yelped in pain and surprise, twisting to try and get away from her, but her teeth's vice-like grip on his skin made him stop the attempt. She wasn't biting hard enough to break the skin, but definitely hard enough to hurt him. "There's nothing to enjoy about this. Now, stop it, God damn it," he hissed through clenched teeth.

Her teeth released his skin again and she raised her head to look at him. There was nothing relenting in her eyes. Nothing of the tenderness and warmth he had become accustomed to. "Stop it?" she asked. "I haven't even begun yet." To prove it, she lunged forward, coming face to face with him, one knee on either side of his hip. "You know, I thought you'd be a whole lot more into this, Fox. You disappoint me," she told him and rocked back a bit. Her lips parted and the tip of her tongue darted over her teeth while she eyed a potential target on his body. Then she eased down over his chest, painfully slow, until her lips were hovering right over his right nipple.

He knew what she had in mind and moved, trying to get away from her, knowing full well that he couldn't. But she anticipated every move he made and followed him. When he tried to move again, she closed her teeth around the nipple, biting down hard, drawing another yelp of pain from him. The tip of her tongue teased the nipple for a second, then she released it and clamped down on his left nipple. He yelped again, sweat breaking out all over his body.

"Dana, please. Don't do this," he begged, hoping to appease her in some way by showing her his weak side. The fear he felt stemmed solely from his utter surprise at the situation. He had never ever thought that she would put him through something like this. Not Scully. But here she was, displaying every trade he had come to despise in a woman. She nipped the skin right below his left nipple, causing him to jerk. "Please," he begged more insistently.

"Don't be such a wimp, Fox," she hissed against his skin. Her right hand snapped up to grab his chin and she held it firmly as she rose up to stare down at him. "I thought you had a little more spunk that this. A little more guts. But look at you now. You're begging. That's not very becoming."

He stared up into those blue, blue eyes, afraid and angry and confused all at once. This couldn't be happening. It was literally a rape. He could only hope that she wasn't going to go that far. But by the look in her eyes he knew she would. And that she would make him suffer every step of the way. Her vice-like grip on his chin ceased when she released him again. His fear of the next step she would take was heavily underlined when her right hand suddenly grabbed his crotch and squeezed the life out of him. And he couldn't even scream properly because she had clapped her left hand over his mouth. He writhed, trying to get away from the offending hand, aware only of the pulsing pain that was spreading through his abdomen.

She held on for a moment, watching his face twist in pain, tears springing to his eyes and oozing out between tightly-shut lids, before releasing him again. He gasped for the breath that the pain had stolen, wishing he could die right then. At least he wouldn't have to see this through. Or maybe he could pass out? That would be a great alternative. If he was unresponsive, maybe she would leave him alone.

A little chuckle escaped her as she sat down on his thighs, her hands almost lovingly caressing his abdomen. "I think I'll have to do something about this vocalization of your pleasure. We can't have the neighbors interrupting us, can we?" she said, reached into the front of her body stocking and pulled out two long pieces of cotton cloth, diminishing her breast size in the process.

Shaking his head, he stared at her as she bundled one of them up and leaned forward. "No," he begged her. "Please, Dana. Don't do this to me."

And that was the last he was able to say because she shoved the bundled-up piece of cloth into his mouth, forcing it in with a strength he wouldn't have thought she had. He gagged, almost chocking on it for a second, and that gave her the opportunity to tie the other one around his head, tying it hard behind his head.

Pleased with her handiwork, she leaned back again. "There," she said with a nasty little smile. "That should keep you quiet."

To compensate his loss of speech, he started thrashing. He tried to throw her off, tried to perhaps get her to fall to the floor so she would be angry enough to leave. He didn't care who found him like this. As long as this didn't go on. But any move he made was anticipated by her and she let him ride it out until he gave up.

Patting his stomach, she smiled. "Are you done now?" Not waiting for a reply, she peeled one glove off, exposing what looked like artificial nails. And he knew how they could hurt. Especially if she had glued them on right. "One more stunt like this and they can pick your intestines off the floor tomorrow," she told him good-naturedly. To prove her point, she jabbed four razor-sharp nails into his chest, making him crumble up as much as the restraints allowed. "Don't even think about it, pretty boy," she hissed and racked her nails over his chest, leaving bleeding gashes behind. When that didn't stop his attempts to protect himself, her hand found his crotch again and dug nails into his balls. He screamed into the gag, the pain so nauseating he almost lost his dinner and, considering the gag, that would have been a catastrophe. "No more thrashing, okay?" she cooed, releasing his crotch again.

He was definitely on the verge of tears. Not so much because of the pain. He had been there before and he had hated it. Phoebe Greene, whom he for some unexplainable reason could not resist even now, had taken him to Hell and back again. She had enjoyed every step of it. He had been embarrassed and in pain every step of the way. This was a one-way street. Both could not enjoy it. And he certainly didn't enjoy it. It didn't turn him on at all. On the contrary, he felt sick and low and lousy because of it.

To have to relieve this had been one of his nightmares. But in his nightmares it had always been Phoebe doing this to him. The few times he had allowed his mind to wander toward his partner, they had been engulfed in sensual and soft love-making. Not this painful torture that Phoebe had called the best form of sex. Of course, it was only the best when she could demolish her partner's mental state and make it hard for him to walk the day after. There had been no vice-versa. But the pain was definitely not what made him want to cry although it was hard enough to bear. It was that his soft fantasies of Dana had been ripped to shreds by this devastating turn of events.

She grabbed the edge of his boxer shorts and pulled them down. He attempted to speak, to make some kind of plea, but she was deaf to it. Her gloved left hand closed softly around his cock and caressed it with slow strokes of her thumb. "Come on. Come on," she cooed as if she were trying to lure an animal out of its den. "Make me happy."

It was with the utmost regret that he once again had to realize how little control he had over his body. His cock hardened in her hand and he was deadly afraid of the feral look in her eyes while she coaxed him to become bigger. The feelings of lust combined with the mind-shattering fear of the pain she could cause rippled through him. The fear, he knew, intensified his sexual drive, driving him toward an edge of no return. He moaned into the gag, not from lust but from fear and shame, trying to twist away from her, but her legs held him in place and he instantly stopped the attempt when she ran a nail along the underside of his cock.

Glancing up at him, she smiled approvingly. "You're learning," she told him, noting the tears now freely streaming down his face. "Oh, stop blubbering, you baby," she added coldly, her previously soft grip hardening around his cock. He moaned in pain and fear, trying hard to retain his tears without much luck. She let her index finger run down the length of his erection until she hit the base. "I said stop blubbering," she snarled and jabbed a nail deep into the soft skin there. He jerked, trying to pull away, but again her grip on his cock hardened into a vice-like hold, causing him even more pain. It took all the self-control he could muster to not pull away again. When she was happy about his ability to stay still, she released her grip and removed the nail.

His breath came in harsh little gasps around the gag and he wished so desperately that he could pass out, but knew he wouldn't. That was always the thing, wasn't it? When you really needed to pass out, you couldn't. He tried to concentrate on getting his breathing back under control, but it was hard. He was sore already and he knew she wasn't even halfway done yet.

She pushed herself backward and lowered her head down over his now straining erection. "Ah, that's what I like," she whispered, opened her mouth and almost swallowed him whole. Her tongue pressed against the back of his cock and her teeth closed over the base hard enough to make him try and crumble up. With almost savage anger, she ripped her head upward, scraping his cock all the way to the head.

The pain that caused him was excruciating, debilitating and he felt the cuffs around his wrists cut into the skin when he fought the restraints with all his might. Her teeth were clamped down on his cock and he thought he would die right there. Not even Phoebe had caused him this much pain. All his muscles cramped up, jittering with the strain of the pain, sweat rolling down his body while he cried into the gag, tears rolling down his face. He jerked violently at the cuffs holding his hands, causing the metal to dig deeper into his flesh, and all he could think of was that he wanted to die, needed to die right there and then. Just to get away from the pain. He sobbed, aware that it was increasing her anger, but unable not to.

The pain lessened after a moment where she stared at him, leaving behind a painful throb down the length of his cock. Her eyes ran over his body again, then she lowered her head again, opening her mouth. He gagged once again, knowing what she was about to do, and had to concentrate hard on not throwing up. She scrapped her teeth over him again, causing more moans of anguish. For what seemed like forever, she hurt him and coaxed him into hardening even more, the erection now extremely painful because the skin was raw and bleeding. Her renewal of the pain over and over again drove him insane, making his writhe in agony. Somewhere in the back of his head he wished he could come so she couldn't hurt him anymore, but also knew that she would probably hurt him worse if he came before she wanted him to.

Then finally, she straddled him. "Ready for some real lovin'?" she asked him, grinning viciously at his suffering.

His eyes grew wide when she grabbed his aching member and guided it home. The warm wetness of her was like salt in the wounds she had caused and he squeezed his eyes shut, biting down hard on the gag to B in every sense B ride this out. He winced every time she pressed down on him and the tight grip of her vagina on his painful erection made him want to scream again. The pain was unbearable and her constant admonishments that he wasn't to come before she told him so made him desperately clamp down on his need for the release.

His hands had found the chains of the handcuffs and he was holding onto them, trying to prevent the metal from causing any more damage to his aching and bleeding wrists. His ankles felt swollen and painful, too, and he briefly wondered if he would be able to walk the following day. He didn't think so. The greatest pain of course came from his molested cock, which was now throbbing hard inside her. She drew fire along the sides every time she shoved him home and he found he could even control his need to thrust into her. The pain took its toll on the lust he might have felt. Any enjoyment had been washed away in a red sea of pain.

And just when he thought it couldn't get any worse, he felt her starting to contract and the pressure became devastating. And this time he did scream. She hammered him home with every downward thrust and he writhed in agony beneath her, his mind not wanting to accept the unacceptable. That this was Dana doing this to him. Not Phoebe. Not anybody else. His sweet, lovable Dana was causing him this kind of agony. His mind refused to accept this and he kept his eyes shut, wanting desperately to pretend that this wasn't so. It had to be Phoebe. Only she could be this cruel.

Then he felt her hot breath on his ear. "Now you can come," she whispered hoarsely.

He let loose, knowing that it would bring release in more ways than one. He emptied his painful load into her, sobbing at the release, at the shame, at the pure and utter disbelief he felt at this situation. He would never be able to face her again.

Straightening up on top of him, she looked down at him, pleased with her handiwork. "Oh, Fox. Thank you. That was better than I had hoped," she said, causing him to look up at her with blood-shot, tear-filled eyes. She patted his face like a mother would that of a child, still smiling. "And remember. No mention of this tomorrow at work, okay? And don't act strange toward me or I'll be back tomorrow evening. And then I'll really make you writhe."

Her promise, stated in a cold, hard tone of voice, made him shiver involuntarily. She pulled off him, spilling his semen all over his pelvic area, before she slipped off the bed and padded out of the room. For a moment, he feared she was going to leave him like this, but she returned moments later with a towel, dressed in a brown suit he had seen her in before, her hair brushed back into a pony-tail, looking completely like the old Dana again. Except for the scornful expression on her formerly so pretty face.

She tossed the towel at him, pulled out a key and undid the shackles around his ankles. "Now, don't pull anything stupid, okay? I'm more fit than you are and I can easily stay all night."

He didn't dare do anything. Even when she undid the cuffs around his wrists, all he did was roll over on his side, both hands going down to cup his aching crotch.

She patted his back for a second, then got off the bed. He heard the clanging of the chains as she stashed them away, but didn't turn around to see her leave. "See you in the morning, Foxy," she said, her tone of voice as scornful as her expression had been.

He first managed to work up the courage to remove the gag when he heard the front door click shut. With a pained effort, he rolled over on his other side, protecting his cock and balls from too much movement with one hand, and slowly sat up. Every move he made was painful. His wrists were bloated and bloody and so were his ankles. Easing his feet onto the carpet, he heaved a deep breath before getting up. Nausea rippled through him, making him gag almost uncontrollably.

He managed to make it to the bathroom before he threw up. Kneeling in front of the toilet, one hand still cupping his aching crotch, he started crying again. He was angry at himself for not being able to retain the tears, but never the less he sobbed like a little kid, interrupted only when his stomach rolled too much and he vomited again. It took him half an hour to be able to get unsteadily back to his feet. His first notion had been that he needed a shower. More desperately than he had ever needed anything before. Although he knew it would hurt like hell, he had to wash some of the shame away.

The shower was a long and painful process and he felt only marginally better afterwards. His stomach was still upset and he limped back to the bedroom hunched over like an old man. Wincing, he pulled the bedspread off after positioning a bucket next to the right side of the head of the bed.

Gagging again, he slumped over the bucket, dry-heaving for a moment. He knew he needed to tend to his wrists and ankles and mostly to his cock, but he just couldn't face that right now. He hurt too much and he felt too sick to deal with it. Instead, he slipped under the covers, lying on his side, trying to get as comfortable as possible. His cock felt mostly as if someone had stepped on it with heavy work boots and it took a long time before he finally slipped into a restless, nightmare-filled sleep.

There was nobody he could call, nobody he trusted enough to call on an occasion such as this. Under normal circumstances, he would probably have called Scully. As degrading and embarrassing as this was, he would have trusted her enough to deal with this discreetly. But now he didn't trust her any further than he could throw her. And a small voice in the back of his head kept insisting that it hadn't been her. Couldn't be her. He was a good judge of character. Had basically been forced into being one by people like Phoebe. And he didn't think he could have been so much off center. Dana Scully wasn't like this. But he kept seeing her face, the lascivious look in her eyes, the joy with which she administered him pain.

This memory caused his stomach to convulse and he woke up again, gagging. He hauled himself to the edge of the bed toward the bucket and let out a cry of pain when his injured cock got squeezed between his thigh and the mattress. Whimpering, not knowing which he should tend to first, he curled up again for a second before the need to throw up once again overcame him.


10.30 a.m.
December 16
Basement office
J. Edgar Hoover building

Dana Scully glanced at her watch for the umpteenth time, glanced up at the wall clock again to make sure it wasn't her watch that was too fast, and sighed. Okay, she had told him to go home and get some sleep, hadn't she? She nodded to herself, grabbed the receiver and dialed an internal number. The few times she had tried calling her partner had brought no result. His machine answered the call.

"Hi, Kimberly. Have you heard from agent Mulder? I can't seem to reach him and he hasn't turned up yet," Scully said once Skinner's secretary answered the call.

There was a brief, confused pause. "Uhm ... he called about half an hour ago. He's sick with the stomach flu or something and won't be coming in for a few days. He sounded really bad." Kimberly hesitated for a second, but had to voice her confusion. "I thought he'd call you right after."

"The stomach flu?" Scully asked, instantly concerned. "No, he didn't call me. He was probably not feeling up to it. Thanks. I'll call him right away."

Scully hung up the phone and stared at it for a moment. Stomach flu? He had looked tired, but not sick the previous day. With a deepening frown, she grabbed the receiver again and dialed his number. It rang twice, then the receiver at the other end was finally picked up. "Mulder, it's me," she said and was answered only by silence. "Mulder?"

There was silence for a moment longer. "Yes," he confirmed, his voice barely audible.

She could virtually hear how poorly he was doing. "My God, are you all right? How bad is it?" she asked, deeply concerned.

Another patch of silence answered her. "As if you didn't know," he whispered hoarsely and hung up.

Scully held the receiver out from her ear and stared at it as if it had just slapped her. Was she imagining things or had he sounded angry with her? This didn't bode well.

Her concern for his welfare blossomed into fear as she got up and grabbed her coat. He might not want to see her right now, but she was going over there anyway. He might be in need of help.

With those thoughts, she stalked out the door, intent on finding out why her partner and friend would react this way to her.


11.15 a.m.
Mulder's residence
Apartment 42
2630 Hegal Place

Scully reached his apartment and hesitated briefly before unlocking the door. She knocked quietly while opening the door, but there was no reply. Closing the door behind her, she glanced around the quiet hallway.

"Mulder?" she called, not too loudly, and got no reply to that either. Frowning a little, she put her bag down on the floor and shrugged out of her coat.

After putting it on a hanger just inside the door, she leaned down to grab her bag and froze. There was a trail of blood on the floor. Not much, but enough to be noticed. She snapped back into an upright position and looked toward the living room. But the trail was leading to the bedroom, not the living room. Her frown deepened, her bag forgotten, as she slowly walked over to the half-closed bedroom door. "Mulder?" she tried again without result.

She carefully pushed the door open, the still-life of the bedroom unfolding before her eyes. The first thing she noticed was the bedspread lying in a heap at the foot end of the bed. The next that registered with her was that the blood trail disappeared under it. Her eyes wandered up over the bed to the curled-up figure of her partner lying with his back to the door.

"Mulder?" she tried once more as she slowly approached the bed. The sheet and the heavy blanket over it was pulled tightly around him, covering him almost completely. When she cleared the end of the bed, she stopped short to study what she could see of his face. He was pale and a light sheen of sweat covered his face. And that was all she could see.

She sat down on the edge of the bed, wondering if he had cut himself to leave such a trail of blood. "Mulder," she almost whispered, reaching a hand out to touch his face.

Just then, he stirred awake. His eyes opened and he blinked at her once. Then his eyes widened and with a gasp of fear he pulled back. From the contraction of his expression she could tell he was in pain. "Mulder, it's okay. It's me," she tried to sooth him, wondering what had brought on that reaction. She once again reached out to touch his face, to reassure him, but never got that far. His right hand lashed out from under the covers and slapped her hand away.

"Don't touch me," he croaked, trying to pull further back.

Scully was shocked and a little hurt by his reaction and it showed on her face. "Mulder," she said, trying to convey serenity and tenderness to him, but that only made his expression twist further. It took her a second to realize that it was because he felt nauseous. He suddenly reached out for the edge of the bed and hauled himself forward, whimpering as his stomach convulsed and he dry-heaved over the bucket for a second.

Scully didn't try to touch him, but her eyes were glued to his right wrist, which was bruised badly. It was bloated, black and blue, with obvious cuts on it. She leaned a little sideways and got a good look at his left wrist, which looked exactly the same. "Mulder, what happened to you?" she asked.

He eased back onto the bed, feeling weaker than ever, the only thing strong in him being the fear. He wanted to pull away from her, to get out of her reach, but couldn't move. He simply didn't have the strength for it. He considered a response to her question, a question which would have made him laugh if he hadn't felt so miserable. And all the while that little voice in the back of his head kept insisting that last night's horror had not been caused by her.

Managing to finally make his eyes focus, he looked up at her and saw nothing of the woman who had come here the night before. Nothing. And she sounded so sincere in her concern for him and her confusion in regards to his present state of health. "Where were you last night?" he croaked. He thought he knew what the answer would be, but he begged that it wouldn't be what he thought. Because he needed her help so badly.

Scully stared back at him, thinking that he had probably tried to call her for help and had not been able to reach her. "At my mother's. She called and invited me to dinner. I'm sorry I wasn't home. I had no idea . . ." she began, shaking her head, vaguely spreading her hands out.

He stared at her. Could it really be? "At your mother's?" he whispered and she nodded. He wished, he hoped that she was telling the truth. The concern and care in her eyes made a lump rise in his throat and he felt tears rise in his eyes again. It hadn't been her. Someone else who had pretended to be her. Someone who had ... He couldn't think straight. He hurt so badly he just wanted to die and he couldn't think straight. "When did you get home?"

Scully found his questions a little strange, but decided to play along. "Around one. How many times did you try to call me?" She was certain that his questions were based on that.

Mulder almost managed to laugh then. Call her? That had really been the last thing on his mind last night. Because he had thought she had been the one to put him through this. But now he couldn't understand how he could ever have thought that. He should have been able to see through it. He also knew that he so easily accepted her explanation because he was desperate for some care. Wincing, he curled up even more.

"Mulder, what happened to you?" she pressed, not at all happy about the situation. He was crying openly, obviously in pain and distressed and she could do nothing about it until he told her where he was hurt. His wrists looked bad, but the abrasions seemed to be rather superficial. It couldn't be causing him this much discomfort.

His right hand suddenly grabbed out for hers and she took it in both of hers, holding it hard. "I don't feel so good," he whispered. This was starting to be embarrassing now that the fear was ebbing away. Embarrassing like hell. He wasn't sure he could handle having to tell her what had happened. But he certainly didn't want to deal with any other doctor. This was not going to be public knowledge.

"I'm aware of that. I saw the blood on the floor, Mulder. Where are you hurt? Did you cut yourself?" she asked and was a little taken aback by the pained smile on his lips and the fact that he didn't want to look at her. For a moment, she reflected on his reaction, then it hit her what it could mean. "You don't mean . . ." she began, glancing down his curled-up, covered body. He simply nodded, not saying a word. Scully heaved a deep breath and let it out in a sigh. This was complicated. Very complicated. Mainly because she wasn't sure what this meant. If it was as serious as she got the impression of, she was baffled that he was not in a hospital. But, on the other hand, she still didn't know exactly what his injury was all about. Only that it was in a ... sensitive area. "You should be in a hospital," she said after a moment, having to voice her thoughts at least partially.

"No," he whispered sharply, his hand clutching hers hard. "No hospital. This is embarrassing enough as it is, Scully. I don't need this to be on my record."

She understood him and also realized that it was probably worse than she hoped, but better than she feared. "I'm going to get my bag. I'll take a look at it. If I feel that I can't deal with it, you have to go to the hospital, okay?"

He nodded once, making no commitment other than that.