TITLE: Corrigenda (part 11/?)
GENRE: WIP, MSR, A, Post-IWTBSUMMARY: see part I
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Corrigenda is a Latin phrase
meaning “things to be corrected";
sorry for all the grammatical errors,
I am posting this as fast as I write it
so there is ZERO editing done...consider yourself warned! :)
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Scully was halfway up the steps to the house Tony had just informed her had been built by his late wife's father, admiring its beauty despite the disgust she felt at the circumstances in which she was being introduced, when a horrible screeching of rubber on asphalt sounded in her ears: The sound that was usually followed by a loud crash as two automobiles plowed into one another.
Tony's unyielding grip on her hand caused her to spin with him as they faced the offensive noise's origin, bringing into view the most awe-inspiring and glorious sight she had ever witnessed.
"Mulder!" she gasped at the same time Tony growled, "Motherfucker."
Instinct, combined with longing, had Scully desperately wrenching her hand from Tony's; a move that proved futile and extremely stupid. Tony tightened his hold exponentially and pulled her to him so roughly that she nearly face-planted into his chest. He let go of her hand only to grab her by the shoulders so rigidly it would leave finger-shaped bruises on her upper arms for the next week.
"Dana, if you don't do exactly as I say, then your 'Mulder' will not live to see another day. Do not forget just how strongly I feel about keeping you away from him. And that I know where he sleeps at night." The sound of the spoken subject's engine racing served to emphasize this point. "You have a home here...but so do I." He grabbed her chin and forced her to see the intensity that burned behind his eyes. "And I am not above ending one man's life to preserve my family."
Scully's mind whirled, a million different tactics running through her head. There has to be a way out of this. A way that will keep Mulder safe while making him see that I am in danger. If I get the chance to slip away from Tony now while he is unarmed then I could escape with Mulder without--
It was at that moment, as the white sedan fishtailed into the driveway that would lead Mulder to the front property gate, that Tony pulled a switchblade from his pocket and held the icy blade against the skin of her neck.
"Don't force my hand, Dana." His voice was gentle and soothing as he pleaded, but his eyes were fierce with bubbling rage.
"You touch me and your cover is completely blown."
"I could never harm you that way." The smile he presented her with as he pulled his shoulders back to tower with intimidation over her could only be described as that of a madman. "But he doesn't know that, does he?"
The gears went into overdrive in her mind and Tony's intentions finally became clear: make it look as though she is in mortal danger to goad Mulder into getting close enough for Tony to attack. She nodded, sniffling as tears of anger and helplessness brimmed over her lids. A car door slammed.
Oh God...The dam broke inside her and she could feel her breathing hitch as the voice she had longed to hear called to her from a distance so close and yet impossibly too far away.
"Get your hands off her now!" Mulder hollered at the man who now trudged up to the gate with a smirk as he hugged Scully to his side.
"Mr. Mulder, I suggest you calm down unless you feel the need for the Richmond PD to join us."
"Scully?" he said, ignoring the man who had her pressed so closely to him. "What's going on here? Are you okay?"
Mulder's voice cracked on his last word and she looked into his face for the first time only to wish like hell that she hadn't. Standing less than twenty feet away – just on the other side of short, electronic gate – she could see the dark half-moons under his eyes, the stubble of his new beard, and the utter anguish over finding her seemingly safe – and in another man's arms, no less – in his hazel eyes. Looking into them she felt as though her heart had been lacerated by the bluntest instrument. She averted her gaze down his body, the clouds overhead moving to throw the sun off the collar of his shirt causing her to take notice of a glint of gold there.
He found it.
"Obviously, she is not," Tony replied before Scully's brain could begin to move past this new revelation. "Which is exactly why you need to leave."
Mulder took a step forward and put both hands on the gate. "The only way I walk away is if she tells me to."
Tony rubbed her left arm in what she assumed was meant to look like a consoling gesture and Mulder all but growled at the man's presumptuousness. However, Scully was too far gone to notice as her mind racked itself for some clue to give Mulder. The last thing she wanted was for him to go. She wanted to scream at him to see that she was anything but fine. That she was being held here against her will. But everything she thought of would mean danger for Mulder and possibly for the innocent boy who was tucked away inside the house behind her.
Scully could feel Tony's eyes boring down upon her as she looked at the man who had been the only one to tether her to reality for the last decade. She knew Mulder meant exactly what he said and that it would take the Richmond PD SWAT team and the FBI combined to move him from that gate. Or, a blade to my throat, she thought miserably. Her mind recalled all the previous times Mulder had managed to somehow move Heaven and Earth to find her when she was so close to Death. Once, Mulder had saved her when had less than a second to spare. She shuddered as an image of Jerry Schnauz, poised inches from her nose with a metal pick to stab into her brain, flashed behind her eyes.
And an idea so ridiculous it could only make sense to Mulder hit her.
"Mulder," she managed to choke out finally. "You shouldn't have come here. This has been coming for a long time." Her words sounded hollow in her head and she swallowed down the bile that rose upon saying them. "'Nicht aufgeben'. You said it yourself. It's why we shouldn't be together--"
"Nicht aufgeben," she repeated, her voice louder and clearer as she pronounced the phrase carefully, while praying Tony had never taken German. "Remember? Mulder, please don't make this harder than it already is."
Mulder's face was still wrenched with heartbreak, but there was now a question there that made her hope that she had broken through. "I can't walk away now, Scully. I won't."
"I'm pretty sure she met your qualifications for doing just that," Tony chided in warning, pressing a kiss to the top of Scully's head for good measure.
Mulder looked like he was about to either throw up or start unloading a gun into something. Scully's hands shook as her muscles fought to keep her from lunging for him: to feel his arms around her, to make him see that she didn't want to be here, to make him understand how much she loved him for coming after her despite the horrible letter she left him.
"I love you, Scully."
And that was too much. She turned in to Tony's chest to keep anyone from seeing the torment on her face.
The next sound she heard was that of Mulder's car door closing.
Mulder weaved down the familiar road impatiently, his home computer seemingly further away than it had ever been. "Nicht aufgeben, nicht aufgeben," he said for the two-hundredth time since he'd sped away from the sight of Scully finding solace in another man's arms. Why did Scully say that like it should mean something to him?
Something had been off about that whole horrible scene back there, he was sure. Patterson had let Dana speak. And he had let her see him. If she had been kidnapped, would Tony have played such a risky hand? Scully could have just blurted out the whole story and tried to get away from him...
Was the idea that Scully was with him voluntarily really worse than the idea that she had been kidnapped and, most likely, assaulted? Mulder shook his head violently to ward off the shudder that passed through him.
He had started profiling Patterson the second he found out who he was. But meeting him in person, seeing him with Scully, hearing him speak, watching his body language told him so much more than he could have ever guessed.
Tony was a big man, bigger than himself, Mulder realized with dismay. Probably weighed over two-twenty and was pure muscle. He tried not to think what that kind of physical advantage could mean to Scully's safety. And, Mulder thought bitterly, if Patterson felt that comfortable with physical affection in public, what the hell was possibly going on behind closed doors? Not one second had gone by during Mulder's visit to the ranch when Tony didn't have physical contact with Scully in some way: the hand-holding, gripping her around the waist, rubbing her arm, kissing the top of her head. Yes, Tony was a possessive man. And the voice Tony used was one of male intimidation: not irate or overly loud, but filled with enough bass and command to get the message across that he was not to be trifled with when it came to things that he deemed as "his". And Scully seemed to sit high up on that list.
Mulder's mind went back over the last words Scully spoke to him and the foreign phrase "nicht aufgeben" repeated in his head. He didn't know what language it was, though it sounded harsh like German...the language he suddenly remembered Scully had studied in college.
He raced up the steps to his empty house, fiddled with the key and lock, then burst through the room to make it to the machine he hoped would hold some answers.
It had all been coming together so perfectly. Tony could see it in Dana's posture as they walked hand-in-hand across the grounds: she was beginning to trust him. And then the metaphorical rug had been fucking yanked out from under him.
That fucking bastard!
Tony was walking back from the main house where he had just tucked his son in for bed after reading him three chapters of Gulliver's Travels, Jeffrey's new favorite book. A flash of light to his right caught his attention: his neighbors had just returned home and their headlights lit up the pitch black street. The light it cast brought a formerly invisible white Ford sedan into view. It sat, formerly hidden, beneath a tall hickory across the street from his neighbor's home but seeing the car for the second time that day ignited a new fury inside of Tony.
He should have called the cops. Tony had been toying with the idea all day, of course, but had hoped in vain that Mulder might have given up on Dana after seeing her safely in Tony's arms. If he didn't have to bring attention to the ranch, then it would be that much easier to carry on with his original plot: buying time to win Dana to his side. But that asshole hadn't taken the hint.
Tony wondered again about the story Dana had given him -- after demanding to be taken back to her room -- about the weird phrase she had said to Fox Mulder not once, but twice. He couldn't remember the exact words or pronunciation, having been too absorbed with malice over having his territory infiltrated to have paid it the proper attention. Dana had explained that it was the name of a dive where she and Mulder had an argument about choices and commitment. An argument she thought would make sense in context of her new "living arrangement".
So either she had been lying, though he seriously doubted it, or this Mulder dickhead was simply that glutton for punishment. Tony didn't look at the car again, instead quickening his pace for the guest house. His stomach growled, dinner long forgotten in the excitement of the day. He usually ate right before taking Dana her meal, but other things had been more important at the time and afterwards he had gone back to the main house to spend some overdue quality time with Jeffrey and Nana.
This was how, at nearly eleven o'clock in the evening he came to find a three-quarters full bottle of amber liquid taunting him from the back of the pantry. He licked his lips as the long-suppressed desire tingled from his head down to the tips of his fingers. Ten months, he mused, ten months since the last time I gave in.
With trembling hands he ignored the siren's song, grabbing instead the ingredients for a grilled cheese sandwich. As Tony swallowed down the last two bites of the buttery sandwich, staring out the bay window into near nothingness, the full moon came out from behind clouds to cast a silver glow upon the distant and formerly imperceptible Ford sedan. Something like a tiger roared inside him, demanding to be heard. Tony yanked his plate from the table and headed over to the sink to rinse. The creature within grew indignant at being ignored, longing for some kind of outlet. Tony put the plate into the dishwasher and gazed longingly at the pantry door.
He slammed the machine closed, turned on his heel, and reached into the cabinet for a glass.
THREE HOURS EARLIER
Scully lay in a crumpled ball on the floor of the closet that provided her the only privacy in the house. She had been there since Tony had left her still-untouched tray of food, maintaining the usual schedule. It had been hard to keep from losing it immediately after Mulder had gone, but she didn't know how long it would take for her to calm down so she willed herself to keep it together until after dinner time. Stripped of nearly everything else, her mourning would be on her terms.
Her mind cruelly replayed the look of betrayal on Mulder's face. The confusion. The desperation. And, finally, the resolution.
Did he actually believe that I would leave him that way?
She knew her German clue was a long shot, but she could think of no other way to get a message through to him with Tony standing right there, ready to attack if he was so fortunate.
The man she had come to know as gentle and caring in the last week had transformed into something entirely other when Mulder had burst into the picture. Seeing just how deadly serious Tony was about taking Mulder out of the picture for good brought on fresh waves of nausea and her throat convulsed in a preemptive strike against any liquid that might come its way.
She wondered what Mulder was doing right that moment. Had he translated her clue? Was he still profiling Tony the way Scully imagined he must have to have found her today? Had he called Skinner or the cops to do an investigation with the new information he had?
Or had he not understood the message and given up on her?
Tears streamed down her cheeks at the idea and she didn't attempt to brush them away as penance for not having been able to come up with anything resembling an escape plan in the seven days she had been here. After the sobs quieted, an intense exhaustion crept over her and she flirted with the idea of staying in the closet, but quickly discarded that notion when she imagined what kind of knee-jerk reaction Tony might have to her lack of video-monitored visibility. Instead, she used the darkness to change into her usual pajamas.
The digital clock read "9:26pm" when she crawled beneath the heavy down comforter. It read "9:30pm" when her eyes fluttered open and shut for the last time before sleep claimed her.
END PART 11/?*************