Date: May 1999 Category: S; quasi MSR, Scully/Other, Character death, WARNING: extreme angst. Rating: R - for violence, some adult language and disturbing thoughts. Keywords: Mulder/Scully; Parallel Universe Spoilers: None. Archive: Archive anywhere, as long as you keep my name attached. Please let me know. Summary: Last and final part in the "Metallic taste" series. Mulder has now on his conscience the future of Dana, fledgling Vampire. Dedication: For Audrey, Mag and Sam. Thanks for putting up with me when I say I'm hungry, which is all the time. For you guys - and you know who you are - I appreciated all your letters of support and encouragement to finish this series. This child was born from a painful labor and a bad case of writer's block. Please, let me know what you think of it now. Thanks a million to my editor Leah. Disclaimer: Sure. Let me give you my account number so you can redirect all those checks I've been missing for years. Feedback: Please, feel free to drop me a line. Nice comments and even flames will be appreciated. I believe in constructive criticism and I'm open to any suggestions. Comments: DON'T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ "A METALLIC TASTE I" & "II", the story wouldn't make any sense to you. To get the first parts of this series, you can either go to my WebPage or ask me for it via email. *** *** - April 1999 - The posters scream at me that Shakespeare is in love and that he has been rewarded for it. I'm not that lucky. My last performance didn't win me any awards. I'm in love, this I will concede. But with a redheaded toy. As I look down at my sleeping lover now, all I see is a puppet. A body without a spirit of her own. I lost seven years of my life. Then Scully came to me and restored a last flicker of humanity in me. She erased the dark tale I was struggling in and I saw daylight through her. She taught me I was a good soul; I was loved then. God, Allah, Jesus, anybody: if you exist, forgive me for what I've done. *** *** I wonder if I was this needy, this eager when I was young to the world. Scully has been brought across for less than a day and her thirst is constant and ravenous. She is too young to hunt so I feed her from a bottle, like Ellen did when she created me. I try to remember all that my mother did when I was born again. The things she taught me, how she took care of me. The night after Scully died then was reborn, I talked to her all the time. About us, about our lives and her past. She just looked at me, incredulous and empty. She tried to seduce me into silence. The senses of the fledglings are always extremely acute, sharp and raw. They relish in sensuality and are sexually hyperactive. I was like that. And now I deny this to Scully. The day after we fled, she was naked in my arms, asleep. We only slept. When I realized she had no memory of her life as a mortal, of me as her partner, I stopped touching her. No memories. At all. Like it happened to me when I was created. So I call her Dana now. Scully is gone, for now. Making love to Dana, who cannot comprehend how much I adore her, would be a wicked betrayal of my Scully. It's twisted, isn't it? Welcome to the Hell I've been floundering in - and only for a day. How am I to live like this any longer? I wish for a lot of things. I curse at my carelessness; I wish Skinner hadn' t seen us and at the same time I'm grateful for his understanding; I wish we were "normal". I close my eyes and when I opened them, nothing has changed. God isn't on my side. Tonight, I browse around through Scully's laptop, her most precious possession I thankfully managed to save in our haste. She has all her research about my - make that our - kind archived in there. Unfruitful work but data still. "Fox?" She doesn't know me as Mulder. "Yes?" "What are you doing?" She comes to me, rubs her naked belly against my shoulder. "Come to bed, I want you." She's making me sick. "I'm writing, Dana. Let me be for a minute." Her disappointment is loudly heard and soon the bedroom resonates with her lonely moans. I write down all I can remember from what Scully told me, all I know about our kind. I need to find a way for her to find back her memories. She gave me mine when I tasted her. But, even if my blood created her, it didn't prevent her past from disappearing. Our mutual memories didn't mingle and flow. Instead, I was left with a broken doll. I'm the most egoistic person - scratch that - creature on this planet. I need to fix her. I need her to remember me. *** *** Mulder was tired and yes, Vampires can be tired. It doesn't express itself physically, it's more perverse. It creeps into your mind and nibs at your soul. Mental exhaustion. Disgust at life. Call it the way you prefer, still, Fox Mulder was under this ugly threat. The first week after they not so romantically eloped from their former life didn't turn out as a honeymoon. After a painful encounter with some of their kind and a bemused A.D. Skinner resulting in Scully dying and Mulder bringing her across, Mulder just didn't know what to do. He was simply clueless and scared. He had run away with his lover, using Skinner's car and pretending Scully was sick to explain her state of disarray. He only knew they had to hide away from Boston where people had seen them. Also, Julianne, the wicked female Vampire, might still be alive. They traveled east; Mulder first choice had been Canada but the risk of being caught at the border changed his mind. Detroit then eventually Chicago wasn' t so bad of an alternative. Lots of people, lots of crime, stacks of food. It took Mulder one night to realize Scully had forgot all about her past. It took him two days to hit himself on the head and stop rushing their escape: Skinner wouldn't send anybody after them, the Police didn't even know they existed. In fact, the only Sword of Damocles above their pretty heads was more dangerous than any kind of mortal law. Vampire, thou shall not kill thy own kind. Mulder and Scully had violated this rule twice now. Not willingly but simply in order to protect themselves. Self preservation shouldn't be considered a crime. Still, it often is. Jonas and Julianne, the old Vampires, had observed first, then played, avenged, and finally lost. Jonas had paid the highest price with his life; like his daughter Ellen before him. People would talk; Julianne would seek revenge. Others would come after them. So in the end, they simply needed calm and protection. And Mulder was at a loss as to which of their acquaintances could cover for them. How do you find the harbor in the tempest when you can hardly see the lighthouse? The first night, Mulder cried for Scully. The second night, he observed Dana. She seemed so young. Her face was smooth and covered in freckles. Gone were the worry lines his seven years disappearance had caused. The tiny crevices were full again. Smooth. Gone also, the silver streaks in her hair. The red of her strands shimmered and shone in defiance to all pale blondes and dull browns. Overall, some sort of white glow, like a halo, emanated from her lithe body. Maybe it was only perceptible to a Vampire's eye. Maybe it would blind any mortal who would meet her. The love of Mulder's life was now made of porcelain. The flaws he had grown to love had been washed away in regenerating blood. He hated her perfection. The tall man lay down next to the sleeping form of his former partner. He couldn't bring himself to touch her. He listened to her breathing, steady and low. No heartbeat to complement this rhythm. *** *** The worst thing of all is her smell. I should say the loss of it. She doesn' t smell her Scully-warmth fragrance anymore. No more honey and spice. She exudes an incredibly unscented "odor". I can't even begin to imagine how her flavor tastes now. I wonder how I appeared to her before. I sigh and roll my back to her. She doesn't move a bit and I'm glad. We're in Detroit now. I still haven't let her outside. She is starting to pace like a rat in a cage but I'm afraid for her. I'm not sure how to teach her. I'm afraid she'll make a mistake. I know I will. But as I contemplate her now, I realize I cannot hold her. She needs to act like her species. She needs to hunt and feed and breathe the night's fresh air. I always thought I would be a good teacher if I had the occasion. However, this isn't literature or sociology. There isn't a proper textbook for what we do. Her instinct will command her to terminate her prey and my new found human morality shall deny this to her. I just can't stand the very idea of being - even remotely - cruel to her. Yet the idea of seeing her kill humans, innocents or not, repulses me already. I know she killed for me before, I remember Ellen, but it wasn't could nor calculated. She stirs now and turns to me, her hand on my shoulder. "Fox, what are you thinking about?" "Nothing. Just sleep." "But I don't want to," she offers. "Then don't and stop asking me questions." I disgust myself. "I think I'm entitled to some answers, though," she pouts. Why is it so difficult with her? When I was brought across, I just knew. But she doesn't know anything. "What is it that I drink and why do I only drink from the bottle, Fox?" Her voice is plaintive and soft. I turn to her and the fuller, younger version of my love has a mean frown saddening her graceful face. Her hair is tousled and I could love her just then. "Why am I not your "Scully" anymore? The one you loved." I would swear that if she could, she would be on the verge of crying. I can' t allow this. "Why can't I remember?" Oh. I reach for her. One of my hands finds her left cheek, the other, the nape of her neck, below her fine hairs. I start to imperceptibly stroke there. Then I answer her the best I can. "You've changed." Her mouth twists at the blandness of my answer. "From what? Into what?" I sigh. *** *** Walter Skinner took another bite from his too greasy tuna sandwich. A tiny drop of oil had fallen on his polished desk. Nothing was really healthy and natural these days. You would have thought this bulk of a man would love red meat and processed food, but the A.D. enjoyed salads and fruits even better. On this matter, he was just the opposite of Agent Mulder. This train of thought caused Skinner to pause in his eating and he stared funny at the oily piece of bread he hold. He relived the final moments of Agent Scully, dying in the arms of her partner. His stomach protested and he hastily threw the remains of the offending sandwich in the nearest trash can. The A.D. sipped at his coffee and rested his elbow on the table, his temple against the palm of his hand. It had been more than a week and he still hadn 't gotten rid of this imaginary mucus in the back of his throat. Visions of horror, of death, of blood. The lie above all lies. He had yet to talk to Margaret Scully about her daughter's fate. He had yet to invent what to tell her. *** *** He has let me out tonight. I've been a good girl all week. I'm tired of this bull but I pretend to be shy and ignorant. I've patiently waited for him to feed me crumbs about what I am. Crumb number one, I am dead now. It doesn't make much difference, for I never knew what it was to live before. He talks, on and on, about "her", how she behaved and what she stood for but it's all alien to me. I believe what he says to be the truth, but this past is hindering me. I wish he would move on to what I am now. When he does, everything is all so clear. The longing, the thirst. The need to kill. Part of me. Part of us even. The bitter, cold excuse for a taste of what I crave. The snack food he gives me each night doesn't satisfy me any longer. I need to have more. And as I understand it, it will make me strong, powerful. I will reign on this world like no other before me. The more I observe my "mentor", my only teacher.I have to admit I am disappointed in him. My first claim would be our lack of intimacy. There is nothing I want more than him between my legs but this gorgeous creature keeps denying me the awaited release. I believe he also feels the urge, the need and his sad arousal reminds me of it sometimes. But the coward never acts on it. I took him in my mouth once, licked him happily and he hardened but his violent reaction as he woke up taught me not to try again. I wish he were more compliant. I am also frustrated by my situation as a prisoner of his will, dependent on his orders, relying on his judgement. "Do this, do that, think this. See, she would have done that." I can't wait until I've learned enough to part ways with my father. Like any good child would do when mature enough. But he finally let me in the open tonight. We went hunting together, partners in blood if not in spirit. *** *** It didn't seem fair to me anymore to deprive her of what visceral instinct calls her to accomplish. A simple act of feeding, a simple act of bliss. Hell, I've been repressing this too long for myself as well. I taught her a lot tonight. And I learned a stack of tiny pieces of information about her too. It's all up there, engraved in my mind. Things, actions, words she uses now and didn't before. I've pointed out various indispensable tips. How to appropriately chose the food sources. How to discard the too young, the elderly, the sick. Simply how to keep some sense in what we do by choosing what some consider as sinful people. She laughed at me. She had no idea what sin was and how to recognize it. I should have seen this coming. I shall have my little talk with her on the Bible later. There's no point in doing this for somebody like me, but I owe it to my Scully. Keep some decency in this mess. So back to Blood-Sucking 101. She was pretty impressed with my numerous tactics and tips to cover our tracks and actions. Avoid the police, they are sneaky and ask too many questions. Always clean up after yourself. Learn to hide in churches if necessary until dusk comes back. We don't fear religious ground. It's peaceful there, often dark. It suits our personas like velvet molds itself on a naked thigh. And God has probably abandoned any hope for us anyway. I also played guide to the worst neighborhoods I could find, those where even a rabid watchdog bearing a gun cannot save your ass in a crisis. We can stroll there unnoticed, and I think her highness was upset about the very idea of mingling with the lower-classes of the city's scum. We targeted a prey together. Some insignificant dealer, with scars on his face and a ridiculous red wool hat. A pathetic excuse of a mortal. She objected, saying she would not approach such an ugly creature. It was my turn to snort and explain that they don't always taste better if they are beautiful. Of course, it's partially true. And she hardly believes me anyway. She asked if she could play with him and I verbally bridled her. I simply said "NO" and she obeyed. Her eyes glared at me maliciously and frankly, I don't want to be around the first time she feeds by herself but I will try to follow her. If just to prevent her from a fatal mistake. I wonder if I ever was this evil in my young eagerness. I was a monster then. Just like her now. Just like the others. So now, the surroundings are quiet and dark enough. She has yet to learn how to manipulate them into following you but she'll graduate fast. I lure the poor bastard into my claws and lower him to the ground. She shivers in anticipation and hops a little around me, like a 4-year-old on Christmas morning. What a present to open. I carefully indicate to her the best spots. The softer points and those from which blood flows out easily. The bitter places to avoid. Who would have thought I would be instructing Scully - sorry, Dana - about anatomy. I'm not a lousy teacher no matter what you may think and my memory is too full of intense images to allow any kind of failure. When I let go of the unconscious man - I told you, no useless suffering - she literally throws herself on him. I step back and all I can see are strands of red moving unceasingly, like swarming serpents. Slurping noises and groaning vividly illustrate the gloomy scene. I snap out of my reverie and I grab her shoulder, forcing her to release her grip on the body. "What the hell are you doing!" she bursts out. Her irises are dilated to the extreme. Flushed and messy, she is angry at me. "You don't finish them," I tell her softly. "But I want to," she rasps and pouts. "I know you do. We all do." I grab the poor fellow's wrist and treat myself a little. Then I let go of him. "You have to be careful. A trail of suspicious corpses behind you endangers your safety." "Is that the only reason?" She is so smart, it's scary. I pause. "No." "Killing humans is wrong, right?" Her sarcasm is barely audible but I'm not immune to it. Thou shall not kill. Or so they say. And so I tell her. "When it's not is wrong, yes." "Yes. Right." I close my eyes. "Right." *** *** "Wait a second, I'm coming!" The sick surprise I feel as I welcome my visitor forces me to get hold of the doorframe. "Good morning, Mrs. Scully." His face is grave and he carefully avoids looking at me in the eye. His right hand plays with the bottom of his suit jacket. Oh God. Dana's gone. Oh God. I swallow painfully and rest my back against the hallway wall. "Mrs. Scully? Mrs. Scully, can I come in?" I cannot trust my raspy voice at this moment and merely nods at him. He closes the door and gently, takes my hand and leads my to the living room. He motions me to sit on the couch. The flowery pattern ridiculously smiles at me. I inhale deeply. Mr. Skinner sits on the armchair in front of me and I have an eerie vision of my dead husband. I hope he is taking care of my two sweeties now. The man speaks and pulls me out of my dark fantasy. "As you may have figured, I'm here because I have some news about Dana, Mrs. Scully." I wish he would stop calling me that. I wish he would stop fidgeting with his hands, sweating like a nervous accountant during his first office meeting. "She's dead, I know." I can't believe I just said that. He doesn't look too comfortable but not awfully shocked. "Well." Stop that with your hands! "I'm very, very sorry." I close my eyes for the longest time. My jaw contracts itself and I swear that my teeth hurt. "Do you want. Do you want to know the circumstances?" "I'd rather not." His look of disbelief let me know he won't let it go. "The body. We didn't. We couldn't." Poor man. I bet he'd rather be at the dentist. "Then it will be another empty grave. Dana sort of got me used to it." Now I've shocked him. I try to temper my bluntness. "Thank you for all you've done, Mr. Skinner." His shoulders slump in defeat and he rises to leave me. He comes to stand close to where I sit and put a large hand on my right shoulder. "I'm sorry I wasn't able to bring you better news." I lift my face up to him. "But still, it's closure, isn't it?" He nods, whispers some inane phrases along the lines of 'call me if you need anything' then he's gone. I remain seated, staring at the armchair my husband loved so much. It was good for his back but he truly cherished it because his "Starbuck", little Dana, always tried to sneak up on it and steal his place. Of course, she only did so because she thought it was her dad's favorite. Getting his attention was high on her priority list. 5 years old can be very stubborn at times. Very sensitive as well. What an old chair. I guess I fell asleep then, curled on the sofa, because I can't remember anything else after that. *** *** I love the outside. The world of the night. At first, I was reluctant to come close to the mortals. They are inferior, dirty animals. Still, some of them are beautiful and tasty. Humans are so gullible, it's a pleasure to manipulate them. They make fine test subjects. How they try to fight me. How much blood can I extract from them before it turns cold. How long before they die. I don't kill them all for my enjoyment. I don't let them all survive my thirst. Nothing could stop me and Fox has decided not to come in my way. What a prudent resolution. As a predator, I am tougher than he is. Mentally as well. His parcel of humanity blinds him on the true nature of our kind. But I need him. For now anyway. Fox provides for me. Clothes, a roof to sleep under. He teaches me about the world. I pretend to be interested but I mainly stare at his gorgeous face. His strong nose, piercing eyes. And his hands! His long fingers which were made to trail paths of desire on my thighs, my breasts. But they haven't even slightly touched me in lust. We sleep together, side by side in the same cold bed, but we haven't had sex since I was born. I'm getting sick of the occasional mortal I allow myself to enjoy once in a while. If only he could let 'her' go and accept she isn't in my bones anymore. She has left my mind. He gave me my new life; he should know better. I've snooped around and read what he typed about her in the laptop. The fool saved his work in a file titled "love". He wrote about her with unselfish pride and relentless love. His sentences are full of human poetry, full of regret and passion mingled. Smart she was. Compassionate and determined. He adored her mind even more than her body. How ridiculous of him. From what he wrote, she was a tempest in the shelter of his bed. Raw and wild like an animal. I could be that way. I could become more. My father the fox is such a dazzling fool. How could he give his affection to such a fragile creature? To me, she is boring with her old compassionate morality. Her rationality is dusty. She did make one right decision in her miserable life. She chose to join him. She wanted to be with him forever. No limits in time. An endless union. So now he has me. And I own him. There can be no end. Or only by our doing. Fox confessed what happened to him. How he was able to remember his life from 'before'. He said it helped him to complete his life; he found his love back. "A meaning to this mess we struggle in". Those are his exact words. But in counterpart, it brought him so much pain and remorse and guilt. I wish he would stop trying to find a way to operate this change in me as well. I have no desire to be oppressed and smothered by the memories of his weak Scully. I only hesitate because of his overwhelming love for her. I want him to love me like I deserve. To stop looking at me with disdain and regret. On of my nails is broken and I fix this little worry. He stares at me while I think all this. The file goes up and down, forward and backward in sharp, quick moves. I stretch out my arm and admire my work. Perfect claws. I notice the shake of his head. He goes back to his writing. He needs to empty his cluttered mind from his regrets but doesn't want to let me in. Or anyone else he might know for that matter. So he writes. A lot. What an unproductive activity. I run, lift weights, work out. His fingers only flutter on the keyboard. He sighs. I need to solve those issues. Quickly. *** *** She stared at all those idiots riding the bus with her to Downtown Detroit. Mommies with their freshly born babies nestled in their arms. Exhausted workers coming home at dusk after a long day. A Mexican fellow with a thick mustache laughing loudly about something his friend told him. An executive with a nicely pressed suit. His sharp face looked annoyed. His car probably broke down and now he has to ride with the common people. He must have felt as out of place as she did. She tapped her finger on the glass of the window and the businessman forgot to hide his irritation at her gesture. "Could you stop that, please?" Julianne turned to face the careless fool. She stared for long seconds at him, then looked through the window again. Tap. Tap. Tap. The older man grumbled his discontent. There would be another widow tonight. *** *** They spent some time in bed. Some time outside to hunt. Some time to buy supplies. But Mulder wasn't keen on showing himself much so if Dana wanted to have fun, she went alone. When she came back, she reeked of smoke and alcohol and blood and he never let her in the bed unless she showered first. She always went, docile, humming Blur or The Offspring, the tunes attenuated by the rumbling of the water. Mulder realized how ungrateful he was. As far as he could remember, he had acted the same the first few months of his new life. His mother Ellen had been tolerant of his youth. Yet, he couldn't forgive Dana for what she did to Scully's body. When she slipped under the covers that morning, her hair was still wet. She smelled of artificial apples. Mulder groaned and buried his face deeper in his pillow. A smooth leg wrapped itself around his. She pressed her breast against his back and teased his muscles with her nipples. She knew it would be in vain, but she took her chance anyway. With a gasp, Mulder harshly turned back to her and pinned her under him. Rudely, his tongue found its way in her mouth and his hands over her skin. She quickly broke the contact of their mouths and nuzzled his neck, groaning and moaning like a wolf. She undulated and brushed and stroked him. Then Mulder slashed his wrist and pressed it to her bruised lips. Her eyes widened then closed from the intense pleasure. Mulder didn't let his gaze wander away from her face. He saw her eyeballs roll under the eyelids, her cheeks hollow from the sucking. He took his arm away and she limply protested. Her eyes opened, she smiled at him. "Wanted this for so long. Both need it." Calmly, Mulder amorously wiped an errand strand of hair from her sweaty forehead. "Do you feel anything? Different?" She frowned and cocked her head to the side. "Scully, do you remember?" Mulder asked softly. "Shit!" She strongly pushed away from her and recoiled from him to the other side of the bed. "It's always about her, isn't it?" Mulder loudly exhaled. "Can't you accept that she's gone? Because she is. She will never come back." "I did." "But she won't! You came back drinking her blood. I drank yours, twice and nothing! I don't know what happened to you but there is no magic formula for it! Deal with it and end this sick mourning!" Mulder had a hard time to resist slapping her. He tightened his voice. "I want her back. I need her." His voice broke and Dana almost felt a seed of compassion for him grow inside her. He let his index finger graze her forehead. "Her soul is inside your mind, somewhere in there." "NO!" Mulder blinked back tears. "No," she repeated, more gently this time. "No." Mulder sat on the edge of the mattress, his bare back to her. His shoulders slumped and he let his bare feet get cold on the floor. She crawled to him. Her hands explored his skin. Goosebumps. "This ache you have for her, it will pass. I'll love you. You won't need her anymore." "I miss her." "I know." Dana wrapped herself around him, her arms around his chest, her legs on his thighs, her head resting on his shoulder. It was a move she enjoyed, a strong sensation. Belonging, power. "I know." "If I. If I find a way to bring her back, will you be there?" "I won't let you do this to me." "But I." "Stop it," she interrupted him. "Stop acting like a selfish bastard." She disentangled herself from him and sat properly, her naked legs dangling next to his. Her vigorous hand grabbed Mulder's chin and forced him to look at her. "You suffered Hell when you got your memory back. The remorse, your guilt." "My humanity." "Yes, your precious, filthy humanity. Look where it's driven you! I'm happy the way I am, Fox. I'm free." He sighed and shook his head in reprobation. "You're unconscious." "I am a Vampire, Fox. I stopped being human weeks ago, when you." "I know what I did." "You saved me. You gave me this life. I'm happy now." "Are you?" "Do you wish your bitterness on me? Such sorrow." She paused a little. "What if I get back Scully's soul? Will I survive it? Will I accept the state I'm in? The things I do now? Was Scully into bloodsports before." Mulder closed his eyes. "Or will I try to end it all? To terminate the pain?" She took his left hand in hers, her thumb reassuringly caressing his knuckles. "Let it go, Fox." "I don't know if I can." She groaned then leaned into his face, her voice grave and almost menacing. "You've become weak, Fox. You're losing your edge. You need to find out who you are. A vampire. A killer. A lover." He buried his head in his hands. "I hate seeing you so frail." "Who told you I was strong before?" came muffled by his hands. He dared to look at her now. "Do you think I enjoy all this? This emptiness?" "Yes, I think you do. You revel in guilt. You feed on pain. And you don't care if you hurt others in the process." "God, you sound so much like her." His eyes shone. Dana almost choked, rose from the bed, and all Mulder saw was her naked back as she exited their bedroom. He heard the guestroom door open then violently slam. Sleep lost itself on his way that day. It never came to Mulder. *** *** Julianne ran her fingers through her long hair. She rested her chin in her palm and sighed. She let her mind wander about Gabriel, the sensitive vampire and his human partner. Hate became such an ardent sensation when she thought about those who had terminated her brother, the love of her life. Love and lust often sneaked close to hatred. She studied carefully her newly bought map. Dangerous neighborhoods, drug dealing, crime zones. A festival. She had traced them to Detroit, now she had to get her hands on them. It wouldn't take long, would it? *** *** She's pissed off. And her evasive presence is an omen of the disaster to come. I sense it. I'm going to lose her to our Vampire feral needs and I'm helpless. My mind is sick and numb. I cannot get Scully out of my head. Godammit, it's only been a few weeks. What was she thinking when she begged Jonas to bring her across. And now. She's desirable, powerful and she wants me. What am I thinking not accepting her as she is? I'm a pathetic moron. It's been four days since my little stunt in bed with her and the redhead goddess hasn't even taken a second from her precious time to look down at me. She barely comes home, is always outside to run errands or feed. She occupies the guest bedroom during the day. It's silly, because we've never been intimate, Dana and I, but I miss the feeling, the idea of her body next to mine. So for the moment, while I wait for a brilliant solution to pop up into my empty brain, I play human. I wonder about material considerations. Like safety. Or money. I checked the safe where our remaining dollars are. She had helped herself, but not enough to make me think she might be up to something stupid. I worry about our financial expenses. We salvaged most of my legacy when we fled but our predilection for darkness prevents us from playing at the stock exchange or even just place it in a bank account that would give birth to juicy interests. I wonder if I will have to find another job one day. *** *** I've been watching her for 20 minutes now, from the other side of the bar. I know she's been ogling me for even longer. She has to be the prettiest woman I've ever seen. Apart from myself, of course. I could lose myself in her long curly hair. Oh. Oh. She comes to me now. She sits close to me in the booth I occupy and the first thing I notice is her voluptuous perfume. "Dana Scully, fancy meeting you here." Huh? "How.How do you know my name?" She eyes me suspiciously and touches my bare arm with her soft hand. She gasps. "OH!" Her eyes sparkle now. "Jonas did it! He finished it! You're one of us!" She seems awfully happy about that bit of news and I can't help myself. "Fox brought me across.Who are you?" She smiles a toothy grin. "I'm Julianne, Jonas' sister. And I'm really pleased I found you." I shiver. Fox told me about Jonas. And his perverse sister. Oh joy! "And how exactly did you find me?" "I have connections, you know. Your friend Gabriel, or Mulder or Fox as you call him, is not exactly hard to miss. Such a great body. Even if my informants said he didn't party out much." I bit my lower lip and rest my head on my open palm. She goes on with her little explanation. "They didn't mention you though." She gets hold of my hand and caresses the tender skin on the inside, just above my wrist. "I'm glad you're with us now." "You're not mad." "No! Why did you think I would be?" She leans in my face, the tip of her nose against my cheek, her lips brushing my chin. "I've always liked you." This is too easy. I should run from her and warn Fox that the sister of the one he murdered is back. But she says: "Come on." She smiles. "Let's blow this joint and find some sugary blood to get drunk on." I smile. *** *** "One. Two. Three. Four and a half." I'm pacing endlessly in our living room and counting my steps aloud has done nothing to alleviate my degree of worry. I'm such a helpless idiot. Was I such a pathetic F.B.I. agent before? Dana hasn't come home yet. Dawn is about to break; I can sense the imminent rising of the sun. Where is she, dammit! She knows what a danger light is for us and how it makes us sick. OK, maybe. maybe she was stuck on the other side of town. Got herself a hotel room. Right. Still, my sixth sense is rarely wrong. And Armageddon has just begun. *** *** My head is woozy. I lie on my stomach and Julianne is draped over me, one leg between mine, one hand fondling my breast. I'm so glad I've found such a playmate. An equal of my kind. She is voracious, carefree and sexy. Our bloodfest lasted until 3:00 AM then we shared a bed in her hotel room. She is as fierce a lover as she is a killer. Her hands are skilled and her mouth. What a wonderful creature. She is old and I have so much to learn from her. I could derive so much power from her touch, from her voice. And the way her fingers slide inside me.And stroke. "Dana? Hey, Tiger, you asleep?" She resumes her fondling, swift and harsh. "Uuhm. Do that again." "We're perfect together, aren't we?" she purrs in my ear. "Do you think Fox would like to join us, Tiger?" I roll on my back. "Why don't we go ask him?" Tonight, I'll show Fox how good I can do without him. And how better it would be if he gave himself to me. *** *** I wish I could erase this day. I wish I had never opened this door. But I did. I open this doomed door and the sight that greets me is terrifying and amazing. My angel of death looks at me straight in the eye, her hair mussed and blood smeared on her cheek, the corners of her mouth, her tank top. She's incredibly sexy; still, she scares me. She doesn't come in but remains on the threshold, leaning suggestively on one side of the door. Her hair falls down in her eyes and she grins. She's drunk on blood. "Dana. I was worried sick." I hear myself exclaim like an overprotective father. "Where have you been?" "I. I had fun, mind you! And I brought the fun home with me!" As she moves a little but on the side, dark curls I know too well appear. Oh, Christ. Julianne. The next best thing to the Devil. I step back and stammer: "Oh. Oh God." "There's nothing he can do for you, my friend," she sneers. "Jules, don't be mean to him," patronizes Dana. What the hell is going on here? They both enter the apartment and I stand there facing the woman I love and the one I hate. "I didn't come here to fight, Gabriel." I cringe at the mention of my old name. "I've been lonely. I'm looking for partners." I try to discern the flicker of lie behind her words but I find none. Yet, I know she's lying. She has come for revenge, sweet torture and pain. She has come to kill me. Of course, I didn't realize yet she could do worse. "Partners, uh? Why didn't you turn a sweet little mortal into your houseboy, Julianne.? Why come to us if not to kill me?" I sit now on the top of the back of the couch. Dana comes next to me and rubs herself against my side, a move she has perfected from several - and vain - seduction attempts. Julianne remains leaning against a far wall. "Julianne doesn't want to kill you, Fox." She pats her palm on my thigh in slow strokes. "You should taste her and then you'll never be able to let her go. We'll be good all together." She can't be serious. I scrutinize her face. She is serious. "I tasted her already and it's nothing I want to experience again." I'm being a little bold, considering I'm currently trapped between their clutches, one claw away from death. "Tssh, tssh, tssh," mutters Julianne, shaking her head. And suddenly I realize what Dana meant. She has tasted her. That's where she was last night. "God, Dana, what have you done?" I breathe out. The redhead goddess has found a mate, one to catalyze her impulses and push them to their limits. Sex drive and death wish all rolled into one. "Oh, Fox," says Julianne as she strolls toward me, "your little stunt in the graveyard has left me weak but sexually amazed. Think of all we could accomplish the three of us?" "There is no way this is happening, I couldn't prevent the failures I suffered before but I won't give in your little masochistic games." Dana sighs and removes her hand from me. "You really are no fun." Her voice tightens. And her tone lowers. "And you' re so weak it hurts to look at you." She raises and goes stand close to her new "friend". They hold hands, and I'm going to throw up. "Dana, sweetie, would you leave me a moment alone with Fox? Please?" She asks so nicely, I wonder where the storm hides behind her sugar. I have to be strong. I cannot depend on Scully like I always did so I have to gather this strength form elsewhere. But the emptiness deep in my core doesn't help. I have to be strong. "Wait for us outside, Tiger, please," Julianne asks again. Dana looks at me. I cannot nod to her but she doesn't really care for my approval. She goes slowly, gives me one of her most tender looks, then carefully closes the door behind her. "What is it exactly that you want, Julianne?" There, I'm in the water. "I'm offering you the choice of an eternal lifetime, Gabriel." She sits next to me and fixates her stare right into my eyes. "You can come with us. Share our bed, share our hunting sessions." I'm getting a mouthful of bitter water now. "OR?" I venture. "Or, you let her go with me and never, never see her again." "And why should I do that?" "Because if you don't, I'll kill her and let you watch." Drowning alert, drowning alert. "What if I killed you first. Now?" She laughed. "As if you could." "I've decided to let you live in that graveyard; I could have cracked your skull with a snap of my finger." She laughs louder. "Do you really think I left Dana unattended outside? You' re so gullible. I've learned to cover my back. And I found a few old friends back here. Try anything on me now," she threatens, "and your sweetheart is promptly sent into the other world. And there is no Heaven for us." Titanic-like mayday, mayday.SOS! As strongly as I can, I roughly push her on the sofa and wrap one hand around her throat. "I am not letting. You. Take. Her." The bitch is still smiling. "What time is it? What time is it, Fox?" I glance at the VCR. "11:56." "Great. If I'm not outside with her in four minutes, your princess dies." I let go of my grip. "You must know I'm not bluffing." She runs the side of her hand against my cheek. "I couldn't kill you, such a beautiful specimen." I'm boneless, on the verge of tears. The last vision of my Scully will be her silently closing that door. "So you found the only way to destroy me inside." One bloody tear has found the courage to sneak out. "The crying Vampire. What a wonderful sight." She rises from the couch and walks to the door. "I will take care of her. I understand why you adore her so much. She's something. We'll talk about you. Don't worry, she won't forget you. And neither will I." I want to smack her, spit on her, strangle her, and rip her open. But the malice in her eyes and the idea of my Scully being killed in - quick glance at the clock - one minute freeze any determination I could have had. I watch Julianne slip out of my apartment, like a snake disappearing inside a crevice. Raging thoughts and flowing tears take me in their uproar. She stole my life. Snatched my love away from me and there's nothing I can do. Because I would be lying to myself if I said that Dana didn't want it to happen. She looked happy to have found a new soulmate. And she is not the Scully I love. I have no right to hold her in my miserable sphere; she is entitled to her own decisions now. I used to be a psychologist. For real. I knew how the human mind works, the twists and the reflexes and the tricks. Still, I am at a loss as to explain why I've been so unable to help Scully. To protect her from my world, to keep her with me. I didn't fight for her the way a lover should do. I'm no hero. It seems that I used to fight for her a lot before. And she expected me to. I don't know how long I will be able to go on sans my other half. She's been gone what, 10 minutes? And I'm already Scully deprived. Like you miss your essential vitamins. But now. Maybe the best for Scully is me letting her go. What's the best for me? *** *** Fox Mulder became a pathetic excuse for a Vampire. He grew out of his couch like a tomato plant out of the ground, heavy where the fruit was held, light and stem-like otherwise. A twig of a man. Always seated, eyes riveted to the blinking TV screen. Sometimes, the ghost of Fox Mulder went out to get himself a drink, preferably redheaded. He became patient, careful, quiet. The silent Vampire. So in this hole he called home, remote in hand and lazily spread-eagled on his couch, Fox Mulder tried to remove one poison flowing in his pulsing veins and turn it into another addiction. Sometimes "News at ten" if he woke up early enough, then "Leno" and "Conan" which became his morning shows. Of course, if you are not particularly interested in those Ginsu knives and knitting machines, late night TV doesn' t offer you much choice. So CNN proved to be a major activity for our subject. One night, Mulder thought about Dana. He knew Scully was not coming back. She was dead if not buried. But Dana, she was out there, somewhere, enjoying herself. Fox Mulder blinked once, then twice. He leaned towards the TV set and his eyes opened wide. Dana. Oh, God. Seconds later, he found himself dialing a number belonging to a face that used to be familiar. *** *** "Shit. This better be good," I exclaimed out loud. Late night calls had almost ceased after the closing of the X-Files and, believe me, the idiot on the line better be able to justify himself with some good explanation or I' ll chew his head off. "Skinner." Nothing. "'Hello? Who is this?" Oh man, you're dead. "Look, you' ve just awakened me at. 2:35 AM so you'd." "Sir." Oh. My. God. "Mulder?" "Sir." There can only be one reason for this dreaded phonecall. "What happened to Scully?" "Could you turn CNN on, Sir?" "Sure." While many horrifying images and hideous theories battle thought my mind, I manage to stroll to the living room, grab the remote and flick CNN on. "What am I seeing here?" "Wait. Wait for the next bit." He shouldn't push his luck with me this way. "Mulder." "Please." His voice is so weary and low. I'm beginning to worry sick. Then I see it. I had heard about it the day before and I knew the Bureau was involved but it never occurred to that. Twenty-two people, all killed in Detroit, during the last six nights. All age groups; sex, race and social class indifferent. Innocents snatched away from the world. Apparently, the murders could be related since they shared the same MO: every single drop of blood was drawn from them. The media seems to have labeled the killer: "the Vampire of Detroit." "Mulder. Scully, was she one of the vic." "NO!" he interrupts. "No." Then Hell comes tumbling down on my shoulders. And I just know. "I'll catch a plane first thing in the morning." "No need. Take one in the afternoon or whatever, but arrive in the evening, ok? I'll come get you." "All right." He remains silent and for a moment I think he has hung up on me. "Sir. thank you." Then he turns off his phone. I look up at the books on the shelves above my stereo where a dog-eared paperback edition of "Interview with the Vampire" stares at me. I stare back and sigh. It's gonna be a long, instructive flight. *** *** DE-LI-CIOUS. Mortals can be sugar when you know how to use them. Julianne and I have become queens at this game. We play, get drunk each night, enjoy each other's bodies while taking long red baths. Life cannot be better than this. Neither can death for that matter. Believe me, I tried. I have thought of Fox only twice since I've been gone. Once, while I drank a sweet lanky boy looking just like him, and the second time just now. I know he must be sad I'm gone. Maybe even depressed over it. He's missing out on so much! If only he had agreed to share me with Julianne. She knows how to treat me. She meets my needs with hers and isn't afraid to touch me and give me reassurance about my power, my strength as a Vampire. Life is bliss. I'm happy. I'm free. ** *** As Walter Skinner walked through the halls, passing noisy children and luggage carts, Fox Mulder eyed him. The older man seemed still in shape. Still bulky and impressive. Mulder thanked the stars for his past life as an F.B.I. Agent whose boss was so. understanding. A boss so trustworthy, he had killed for him before. Now he just had to do it again. "Skinner." Skinner turned his head to meet Mulder. He was alarmed by the younger man's appearance but maintained a stoic face. "Mulder, you look like shit." He didn't even get a tiny grin out of that. "I'm drowning in it and so will you when I tell you." Mulder trailed. "Yes?" encouraged Skinner. Mulder's eyes sharpened. "You shouldn't be here... I have no right to involve you." He began to turn around and leave Skinner when the former grabbed his arm and roughly shook him. "Nobody drags me anywhere. Let's go outside, talk." A robotic Mulder followed him through the glass doors and Skinner was relieved when his nose hit the cool air of the night. Mulder, who had rented a car for the occasion, drove Skinner back to his place, not knowing what to do after such a idiotic impulse and not willing to discuss such matters in the open either. Once they were seated, Skinner nodded his approval for a concrete explanation. And Mulder talked. Acknowledged. Admitted. Confessed. All of it. Their lives and their crimes. Mulder didn't "show" him, like he did Scully; the man was already spooked enough. Skinner's only interruptions were mere nods, shakes and little noises of protest. When Mulder was done, Skinner slumped back in his seat and ran a sweaty hand over his balding head. "What exactly do you want me to do, Mulder?" "You mean. You believe me?" "I was there when this Jonas died. I saw Scully die. But yet she's alive now." "And you're willing to help?" Mulder's incredulity was only equal to his loneliness. "Maybe. Help doing what exactly?" "End it all. Stop this butchery." "Yes. That, I'm willing to contribute to." "I'm asking this, unofficially," Mulder hesitated. Skinner snickered. "You don't have to worry about me going official about this, you know." Mulder hinted that he knew how to smile. "What is your. project?" "We do it tonight. No waste of time." "Tonight it is." And the two men began their battle plans. *** *** If you had told me I'd be the one to end it all, I'd have laughed at you. Just the thought was ludicrous. But I did. And now that it is over, I only have mere seconds to remember it all so you can understand our destiny. Skinner and I studied a map as I remembered our former hunting patterns. We gathered some gear: flashlights, guns and knives. Skinner was uncomfortable as far as I could tell but he stuck up with it. I guided him through dark alleys, smoky clubs, more alleys. It took us 2 hours and forty-four minutes but we made it. Another dark alley like the hundred we had seen before. A glimpse of fiery red hair and we had found our target. Dana was amazed when she saw me. Her eyes lit up and she let go of the stiff she was holding to run to me and jump into my arms. Her legs wrapped themselves around my hips and right after I let her shove her tongue down in my mouth and thought I had been granted Heaven, I roughly pushed her back to the ground. "What, Fox, aren't you happy to see me?" "God, Dana, what have you done?" I couldn't help myself. She didn't seem to pay attention as she noticed Skinner at my side. The A.D. softly let go of the bag he was holding. "A playmate! Hey, Julianne," she yelled, "come over here!" Julianne was already behind Skinner, her hands on his shoulders. Before she could go further, Skinner surprised her, grabbed her wrists and yanked her down on the concrete. I did the same with Dana and before they could protest, both women were struggling on the ground. "Julianne." yelped Dana. "Leave us alone," roared Julianne, her eyes golden and her fangs out. Startled by her sudden change in appearance and her renewed strength, Skinner unwillingly released her. She clawed her nails in his cheek and ripped the flesh open. Skinner gasped and backed from her. From my kneeling position on the ground, I saw Julianne rush to deliver her friend. I sheltered myself with a long knife I had held by my side and the sight stopped Julianne in her tracks. She hissed. "You let go of her, Gabriel, or I'll skin you to death, I swear!" Dana struggled beneath my grip and I held the blade to her throat. The moves ceased and Julianne froze. Poor Skinner, a hand on his cheek, observed the scene patiently. "Scully wouldn't have approved of that.massacre. She had vowed to protect the innocent and believed God would save her soul." "Screw Scully," cried Dana. "What are you, the avenging angel?" spitted out Julianne. "Can't you accept what's in our nature?" "That is not our nature! It is slaughter! It is not what Scully wanted!" "She begged for it!" "She asked for immortality, not evil!" I heard myself and somehow, I knew there is no going back. I knew I had to do this for Scully, I owed it to her, to our love. "Her soul needs to rest now." But Julianne began to roar and I sensed the air moving as she jumped in my direction. I raised up a little, loosening my grasp on Dana and pointed the knife towards Julianne. I didn't even have time to counter her attack; a shot rang through the air. I flinched and watched Julianne crumble to the floor, like a disjointed puppet. Skinner stood behind her, his Sig Sauer in hand, sweat on his brow and fear all over his face. Dana howled despairing cries as she witnessed the fall of her lover. She bucked like a wild animal under me and if my blade quickly silenced her words, her tear-less sobs still resonated in my mind. "Skinner. Skinner." He snapped back to reality. "You have to severe her head." He looked at me, horrified. "I?" "I can't," I said, nodding in Dana's direction, showing him I couldn't let go of her. Skinner retrieved the large knife I had packed for him in the sports bag we carried with us. He looked appalled but still gathered enough strength to find his way to Julianne's body. "She was already dead," I tried to help. Skinner positioned himself, closed his eyes then lowered the blade in one swift move. I closed my eyes as well when I heard the sharp noise. Dana trembled under me with repressed, dry sobs. Skinner kneeled close to the Vampire and waited for the body to vanish into dust. Then, he turned his stare at me. "What now?" I lay down next to Dana. I almost held her, still grasping the knife in my hand though. I wouldn't take any chances. "Dana? Dana? The nightmare is over. I'll take care of you, ok? Please, you come back to me, ok?" Her dry heaving was just endless. I forced her eyes open and I saw hatred, anger and resolution. She spit at my face. "You bastard, sonofabitch, I'll kill you! I'll eat your eyeballs for breakfast and I'll drain your last drop of blood away. I'll make you pay." I tried to stroke her cheek but she attempted to bite my hand. "Damn you, Fox Mulder, you and your principles! You'll rot in this human Hell just like the rest of us!" As I had foreseen, there was no turning back. I maintained my forceful grip on her. "Toss it to me," I ordered Skinner. He feigned to be ignorant of my order. "I said, toss it to me!" The gun clinked on the concrete. I dropped my knife, picked up the Sig and pointed it to Dana's chest. "Mulder!" Skinner roared. He rose up and stood there, petrified. Dana looked up at me on the verge of killing her and whispered: "Mulder.Help me." in the tiniest voice ever. One of the tears I had been oblivious of bloodied her cheek where it landed on her soft skin. "Mulder. You can help me, protect me. Forever." Her eyes were pleading and her face. She was so beautiful. "Scully?" I allowed myself to dream. My guard wasn't down for more than a second, than her fangs were out and she was ready to slash my throat. And so I pulled the trigger. Three times. Like a robot without feelings, I terminated the only joy I had ever known in my existence. Straight in the chest. Scully convulsed, gasping for air and soon, all was quiet around me, except my heavy, hacked breathing and Skinner's gasps of horror. I lowered myself back next to Scully and caressed her temple and hair. The monster I had created was gone and in her never-ending sleep, she became the incarnation of the perfect angel. Pure and silent. Untouched. Innocent. I groped the ground until my hand closed over the fateful knife. I brought it back to my chest and rose up on my elbow. "You forgive me, sweetheart. I did this for you, love. Forgive me, forgive me." In a haze, I rose my shaking arm. And in an instant, it was done. My Scully was spoiled again, until a breeze carried her golden dust away. Some caught in my hair; I even inhaled some. I regrouped myself a little; I was sitting now. Skinner was on the other side of road, on the pavement. He was sitting low, his head between his hands, tears of genuine sorrow flowing down his reddened face. Their salt mixed with the blood of his scratches punished him and granted him remission for what was to come. He finally faced me. "Please," I pleaded. I put the gun in my mouth and the trigger went off. So, here I am. In those few moments before I am truly gone. Maybe I'll meet my Scully somewhere now. Maybe there is a place where we belong now. Maybe she'll forgive me. Maybe I'll learn to forgive myself. But all I see before I go is a tall man with a blue knife approaching. *** *** In a small, deserted street of Detroit, stood an Assistant Director for the F.B.I. He was crying like a madman. He had lost the last remaining flicker of innocence he had been able to preserve over the years. And he would have to live with it, the rest of his mortal life. FIN *** *** "Today" is sung by Poe. I owe her the two sub-titles of Parts II and III. Thanks for the inspiration.

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