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The Caveat Emporium Parts 4-6

Title - THE CAVEAT EMPORIUM
Author - Red Valerian
E-Mail address - redvalerian@gmail.com
Rating - PG/R/NC 17 - all of the above in succession
Category - Romance/LUST between Scully and......wait and see. It's complicated.
Spoilers - minor mention of Syzygy
Keywords - UST City at first but by the optional final chapter, NC17 moves into the neighbourhood in a BIG way.
Summary - For reasons of her own, Scully insists on going undercover at a telephone sex establishment. In the process, she drives the surveillance team to distraction - said 'team' consisting of her partner and a certain Assistant Director. She also manages to exorcise some ghosts and to rid the world of a serial killer at the same time. All with one hand tied behind her back.



Part Four

In which Mulder and Skinner begin to see the disadvantages of having male anatomy

Answer to quiz question about the story title at the end of this post!



As Mulder sat in the small surveillance van with his boss, he reflected not for the first time, that this was probably the worst idea he had ever had. And yet Skinner had approved of it. Not only approved of it, but insisted on coming along as well. And now here they both were, trapped together. Nothing to look at but a bank of recording equipment with the enormous tape reels slowly revolving at a rate of precisely seventeen times per minute. He knew. He'd counted. Several times over.

And nothing to listen to but Scully's voice. Christ - her voice. He had tried to tune it out. He really had. He'd used all of the ploys that were supposed to work - all that mathematical computation stuff. The times tables had been no help whatsoever. Nor had quadratic equations. Nor had counting the number of revolutions a tape reel could make in one minute. And he was running out of ideas.

There was just no escape from the effects of Scully's voice as it echoed in the hollow confines of the van. Her insidious whispering tones had overcome his defences - snaking into his ears from first one side and then the other. Coiling and sliding their way around his neck, skittering over his chest and then finally lapping warmly against his pulsating groin.

"Oh baby," he could hear her sighing. "Oh baby, you're making me so hot. I'm so wet. For you. Just for you. I've got to touch myself now."

Silence, apart from the rustling of silky clothing and then a faint gasp and sigh.

"I'm doing it, baby. I'm sliding my hands into my panties and touching myself. Oh God - I'm so swollen - so wet. Just for you. I'm rubbing myelf now. It feels *so* good. I wish it was you doing it. I wish it was your tongue. Your lips. I want you so much. " Her words dissolved then into gasps and moans which rose in intensity as the seconds went by.

Mulder strangled an answering groan. He didn't dare look in Skinner's direction, but he had a pretty good idea what was going on over on his side of the van. Despite his attempts to hide the fact, Skinner was in fact human. And he was most decidedly male. Mulder had no doubt that the AD had been fighting a similar battle between quadratic equations and his own anatomy. And if Mulder's spectacular erection was anything to go by, Skinner had probably also been losing the same battle. Bigtime.

Bigtime. The word itself was an uncomfortable reminder of Mulder's predicament. He couldn't resist a quick look at his boss after all. One glance was enough. Skinner's face was frozen into its usual immobility, but there was a film of sweat on his brow and an almost preternatural tension in his muscles. But still - the man was obviously coping better than Mulder himself was. God - he was so close to losing it.

Mulder's hard-on had reached painful proportions. Why, he asked himself for the hundredth time, hadn't he worn loose sweat pants - or even suit trousers like Skinner? The tight fitting jeans were allowing him no room to escape. No room to maneuver. There was just nowhere for his anatomy to go.

And what was Scully saying now? She was describing slipping her fingers inside of herself. Moaning that they weren't enough. Begging for 'him' to fill her. To satisfy her, as only 'he' could.

Christ. If only.

Mulder fidgeted uncomfortably in his seat and tried to find a position which would allow him some relief. None was forthcoming. He heard Skinner making similar movements with a similar lack of success. Then Suclly's voice demanded his attention again.

Was that suppressed laughter he could hear lurking just underneath the surface of her murmuring tones? He wouldn't have been at all surprised. Because she knew perfectly well who was listening to her. She was perfectly aware that she had an audience of three not an audience of one. She had agreed to it all. And she knew what effect her voice had on *anyone* listening to her.

In a desperate effort to gain even momentary relief, Mulder traced in his mind the steps that had brought him here sitting in a van across from Skinner, listening to the litany of filth which was flowing out of Scully's mouth like warmed syrup and dripping right down to encircle his crotch in its throbbing heat.

They'd been in Skinner's office, right? And after Scully had made her startling revelation, he and Skinner had eventually recovered the powers of speech and questioned her about the details of the case and its possible links to her past. It couldn't be a coincidence that the killer was targeting only operators at Scully's old station - number 13. Until very recently that station had not been in use. Not for over five years which was when she had last worked at the Caveat.

But were the calls actually aimed specifically at Scully? If so, where had the killer been in the intervening years? They knew it was painful for her, but she needed to remember. Had there ever been anyone who seemed obsessive enough to carry out this sort of long term vendetta? Had there ever been anyone who had threatened her life?

Yes. Apparently there had.

After talking to her, they came up with most obvious suspect. They had been working on the assumption that murderer might be an old 'regular' of Scully's who was killing anyone who dared to answer what he saw as *her* phone. She'd certainly *had* regulars, all of the operators did. In fact, it was because of one regular that Scully had finally quit for good, she'd told them. She just couldn't take his sick calls any more.

"After listening to him I felt filthy - unclean. And no matter how long you showered, you couldn't blot out his voice. You couldn't forget the things he said he was going to do to you. And he made you say that you wanted them."

She shuddered and closed her eyes for a moment before continuing. "It made it even more awful that he was an educated man. He had an English accent and he spoke several languages. Every phone call began with him quoting three lines of Dante from the Divina Commedia:

Per me si va nella citta dolente - This way for the sorrowful city.

Per me si va nell' eterno dolore - This way for eternal suffering.

Per me si va tra la perduta gente - This way to join the lost people.

Again, she paused for a moment before continuing.

"He said he'd kill me if I ever stopped taking his calls. And that he'd kill anyone else who touched my phone. No-one else would use it after that, naturally. But just in case, I painted the warning that you saw on the wall over the phone on the day I left. It was melodramatic I know, but I was so young then."

Then, as if remembering the four recent murders, she made a final point. "The new owners must have insisted that all of the stations get used - even mine. I wonder if they realise what they've done?"

Mulder had been listening intently as she spoke. But now he interrupted her, his voice sympathetic but urgent.

"Who was this guy, Scully? Did you ever find out? What happened to him?"

Skinner too leaned forward to hear her answer. His gaze locked onto her face.

"It can't be him," she replied in a tone of finality.

Mulder's eyes asked her why. So did Skinner's. Scully looked from one to the other and finally answered.

"Because he's dead. He was executed five years ago for the torture, rape and murder of ..." She hesitated for a moment and then continued. "...of a telephone sex operator with another service."



Mulder recovered first. Wasn't he a believer in extreme possiblities? He didn't think that a little thing like death necessarily eliminated the man from the list of probable suspects, and he said so at once. In fact he insisted on getting all of the details out of her. Sighing, Scully gave him what he needed and Mulder immediately set a train of phone calls in motion, to verify and update their information on the man.

Meanwhile, Skinner agreed with Scully, that a ghost was unlikely to be the perpetrator. The AD did feel that Scully staying under cover at the Caveat was their best bet at catching whoever *had* been killing the operators, however. They worked out the details of a plan of action, while Mulder finished his calls. He then joined in the conversation, and helped fill in the 'what, where, when, why and how' of the plan. Mulder also pointed out that they should think very carefully about the 'who'. Who would monitor Scully's calls from the surveillance van, for instance?

"I'm sure she wouldn't want just anyone listening in, Sir. It could be highly embarrassing if word got out generally about what she was doing. Or indeed, about what she used to do in the past."

Mulder glanced at Scully for confirmation. He thought he saw the hint of a smile on her lips as she listened to him volunteering for the job. But she merely nodded her agreement. To Mulder's surprise, Skinner acquiesced at once to the plan. He not only agreed, he insisted on being there too as a back-up.

"Just in case there's any trouble," he added. The light flashing off of the lenses of his steel-rimmed glasses made it impossible to read his expression as he spoke.

Scully's mouth twitched again at that, but neither of the men saw it.

And now here Mulder was, with Skinner - and he was being driven out of his mind by Scully's voice as she drove caller after caller to the brink of orgasm and beyond. There'd been no sign of any crazed psychotics, but there had been an incessant stream of telephone requests - one after the other after the other. Mulder listened as each of them in turn got the relief they craved, and in the process he felt his own erection growing to gargantuan proportions. There was no way he could get any relief, either. Not with Skinner sitting right across from him. It was like being in the deepest circle of Dante's Hell - the Inferno itself. He tried not to listen, but it was impossible.

Scully would tell the callers to unzip themselves and they would. Mulder would hear the zips going down. And then she'd tell them to touch themselves. And they would. Mulder would hear the unmistakable sounds of flesh slapping rhythmically on flesh; of slick palm jerking repeatedly down erectile tissue. Then Scully would croon to them and use her voice to push them and push them, until they finally spurted over that edge. He knew just which edge it was too. The hell with Mount Everest - this was the peak everyone really wanted to climb - the wave everyone really wanted to crest - the abyss everyone really wanted to leap over.

Only for Mulder there was to be no edge, no peak, no crest, no abyss. Not now, anyway. There was just misery. Did someone say misery loves company?

Mulder couldn't help it - he glanced over at Skinner again, just to see how he was dealing with the situation. He was hoping for some mutual sympathy. Hoping that the AD would let his guard down just this once, and admit to being human too.

Mulder looked, and his heart sank. Skinner was clearly coping far better than he was. True, the Assistant Director had loosened his tie and undone the top few buttons of his shirt, but that was his only concession to the strain Scully had been subjecting him to. The earlier symptoms of arousal which Mulder had spotted, had clearly been locked back up again. The brow was free of perspiration. The body was relaxed and watchful.

He must have been wrong. Skinner wasn't human after all. A human would have been bathed in sweat, would have had disheveled hair and would have been unable to articulate more than three consecutive sentences in a row. Which was a reasonable description of Mulder right now, after having listened to Scully for four hours straight.

There'd be no point in trying to engage Skinner in conversation. He might as well check out the equipment instead.



Mulder had determined to do just that, when he heard Scully's phone ring yet again. And he listened with only half an ear as she picked up the receiver and identified herself as Operator 13.

And then he heard the voice. *The* voice. The one Scully had described so well to them. All polite English accent on the surface, and unbelievable malice underneath. It was a voice that crawled into your innermost secret places and defiled them, leaving slug trails behind it that couldn't be washed away. To listen to it was to let your body be invaded by things vile and unclean.

"Hello cunt," it said. "Did you think you could get away from me? Did you think I'd ever let you go?"

The soft voice continued. Malevolent. Insidious. Promising pain. Guaranteeing it.

" I'm going to make you very sorry you ever left me, cunt. And even sorrier that you ever came back here. Are you listening? Pay attention, there may be a quiz afterwards. Per me si valnella citta dolente - this way to the sorrowful city. Per me si va nell' eterno dolore - This way for eternal suffering."

Mulder and Skinner were both standing now, guns in hand, although they knew that killer could be anywhere - even in the next world. Far beyond the range of man-made bullets. But still they kept their weapons at the ready, as the voice continued its sickening diatribe. Previous discomfort was forgotten now. Scully might be in danger and that took precedence over everything else.

As he stood in a half crouch, listening intently, Mulder automatically took a quick look at the recording monitor on the high tech machinery crammed into the van. It was second nature to make sure that everything was working. Everything was - at first glance. Then he froze in his tracks as he examined the dials more closely. The monitor was registering Scully's frightened breathing clearly. The luminous shifting Rorschach patterns appeared and disappeared in tandem with the level of sounds she was making.

But the other monitor - the one which should have been showing the caller's speech patterns - that one was blank. There was nothing to see in the window. Nothing was being recorded on that tape at all, although they could still hear him clearly enough - were still being sickened by the threats he was making.

Then just before he hung up, the final almost jaunty invitation was issued.

"Still there cunt? Good. Per me si va tra la perduta gente. Well? What does it mean? Have you forgotten your basic Italian. You're really a stupid little cunt, aren't you?"

And then they heard Scully answering him for the first time - in a voice as calm as his was calm. As controlled as his was controlled.

"This way," she murmured in resignation, "This way to join the lost people."

- End of Part 4 -







Oh - my quiz question has been answered by the well-read, and appropriately named, JohnieRed. I asked from whence I had stolen the title of my story. Many people guessed that it was from the Latin tag - Caveat Emptor - meaning, 'let the buyer beware' - which is a warning against buying from unscrupulous traders.

Not quite, I answered. It was indeed a pun based on that expression, but I had actually stolen the name 'Caveat Emporium' from a famous American novel. Most people claimed that it was probably some obscure novel they'd never heard of.

Humph! As if I'd be that sneaky. Nope - it was from a VERY well known novel ineed.

Anyway, JohnieRed got it without the clue. Here's her answer, for which she was given a virtual rose and a virtual congratulations card. I hope she got them! She said:

>I believe I know where the quote comes from. Isn't that what Rhett Butler

>suggests Scarlett call the general store she inherits and she likes it

>because it's Latin so she has the whole sign painted up before someone tells

>her what it means?

So - did anyone else get it? No - huh? I think JohnieRed and I must be the only two people in the world to have actually read 'Gone With The Wind'.





The Caveat Emporium - R

By Red Valerian

Part Five

In which Scully and Alexander-the-Great turn out to have a great deal in common



(There will be an optional NC 17 Part 6 - but this bit is pretty tame - for me anyway!)





Scully sat shaken and miserable at her place in front of cubicle 13 and berated herself over and over again for ever returning to this place. No - that was wrong. She blamed herself for ever getting involved with it in the first place. She felt like she was being punished for it, and that ....that abomination was the instrument being used to punish her. And there could be no escape. How could you escape from a dead man?



She had meant well when she'd decided to come back here. Going undercover at The Caveat was going to be her penance and her absolution. It would give her the chance to make up for those aspects of her past which she cringed to remember. She would help trap this monster, and at the same time cleanse her own soul a little. Catholic guilt was a heavy burden to carry around on your back for years at a time. She needed to ease the burden just a little.

But she'd got carried away when she'd found the telephone in her hand again , and heard - not a terrifying maniac on the other end of the line; not a voice from Hell - but merely the anxious tones of a succession of inadequate sounding little men. And it took so very little to please them. A few breathy promises. A little whispered filth. A gasp or two and some heavy breathing. That was all. Then they'd explode all over themselves, calling on God or Jesus or sometimes all of the saints.

And as the evening had progressed and still no call came from *him*, Scully had begun to relax. She was lulled into a false sense of security. After all - this wasn't real, was it? She was just doing an undercover job and tomorrow she could go back to being a respected forensic pathologist; a crack federal agent; G-woman extraordinaire. The Ice Queen of Washington DC.

Why not enjoy this chance to break out of the mould? Why not take advantage of the dangerous possibilities? Why not see how far she could push the boundaries?

And so she'd let her mind wander to the van parked outside. And to the two men sitting in that van supervising her calls. And the next time the phone rang, she'd aimed her whispering voice, not at the needy little individual on the line, but at the two agents outside monitoring it. At Skinner. At Mulder. Her mind shied away from examining which of the two she most wanted to affect. If she thought too carefully about it, she'd chicken out altogether.

Instead she'd turned up the volume. Stepped on the gas. Pulled out all the stops. You choose the metaphor, and she'd done it. She knew it was hitting below the belt, quite literally in this case, but she just couldn't resist using her long-dormant skills. Which were not inconsiderable, she knew.

Although Scully had almost no personal vanity she had no false modesty either. Experience had repeatedly shown her that her voice had a powerful effect on men. Not her everyday voice, but the one she was using on the phone now. The one that had just made her last caller scream a high-pitched girly scream as he ejaculated all over himself.

As she whispered a fond farewell to that caller, she couldn't help wondering what Mulder was feeling right now? What Skinner was feeling? It didn't bear thinking about, but she could think of nothing else. It was making her squirm in her seat. Actually making her hot. God - that had never happened before. What was different?

Work it out, Dr. Scully. The difference was that she knew the audience this time. And she had....feelings....for the audience. She couldn't come up with a better word, but that one sounded so Oprah-esque. She practiced saying the line mentally. 'I have 'feelings' for my partner. I have 'feelings' for my boss'.

Yeah. Right. But what does that *mean* exactly? What sort of feelings are you talking about Doctor Dana? Scully sighed, unable to make up her mind.

She'd seen both men get settled into the van before she'd come up to the Caveat. She knew Mulder was in tight jeans. Even then she'd wondered if she could make him regret his choice of clothing. And Skinner - he'd been his usual reserved self. No relaxation of 'uniform' or demeanor. How many starched white shirts did the man own? How many regulation blue ties? How many suit jackets? It would be so tempting to try to get him to loosen up - just a little. To undo just a few buttons. Remove just that tie, at least.

She smiled a little, just contemplating it.

At that moment, the phone had rung and she'd picked it up almost happily - looking forward to the challenge she'd set herself. And then she'd heard his voice. *That* voice. Dripping into her ear, as slick and poisonous as cobra venom.

And at once the light had gone out in her face. The smile had slipped into a frozen grimace and then faded altogether. She'd listened to that voice calling her a "cunt", telling her that there was no escape, and she'd felt eighteen and powerless all over again.

Now she looked up at the words she had written on the wall all those years ago which translated into "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" and she stared at them intently for a minute. And then something inevitable started to happen. She got to thinking. Thinking hard. Like the pragmatist she was. And as she thought, she reflected that she wasn't the same girl who had written those words five years before. She was a woman now - independent, capable and strong. No-one, living or dead, was going to intimidate or frighten her again. Not if she could do anything about it.

The rational scientist started functioning on all cylinders. Think about it logically, Dr. Scully. The solution is out there if you just hunt for it hard enough. There has to be a way to get rid of this monster. You just have to accept that he *is* dead - and *then* you can do something to send him back to Hell.

And now that Scully had banished the fog of terror from her mind, it came to her - how to get rid of the sick son-of-a-bitch once and for all. She hadn't been thinking clearly lately, or she would have thought to try it earlier. It was so beautifully simple. And it would be *so* satisfying. But she'd have to wait for Skinner and Mulder to arrive before she could put her plan into effect.

Where had they got to, anyway?

Right on cue, the two male agents burst into the room with their guns still drawn. They ran crouched, clasping their weapons with both hands, while with arms outstretched, they swept the room.

Scully couldn't help smiling at the melodrama but she grinned outright at what happened next. It was straight out of the Keystone Cops.

Seeing only GUNS, one of the operators suddenly began to scream hysterically. The cry was immediately taken up by several others as they turned and saw Mulder and Skinner. Panic telegraphed its way around the room within seconds, and women threw themselves on the floor left, right and center.

A highly amused Scully watched Mulder and Skinner do a double take as they finally realised that *they* were the cause of the general pandemonium. Mulder looked down at his gun, and quickly dropped his hand so that his weapon pointed at the floor. Then he reached for his ID with his left hand and held *it* out at arms' length. He swept his hand in a slow arc so that they could all see it.

"FBI ladies. Don't panic. Everything's under control."

By now Skinner was satisfied that there was no dangerous maniac in the room, so he had joined Scully at her station.

"Are you all right, Agent Scully?" he asked in concerned tones, as he holstered his pistol. Scully grinned up at him and assured him that she was just fine. Surprisingly, she sounded like she actually meant it.

A worried frown wrinkled Skinner's brow. He thought she must either be in denial or in shock. He'd heard the vile things that monster had said to Scully just a few minutes before. And he'd heard her frightened response to him. Yet now she was acting relaxed and happy - and she was clearly amused by the floorshow he and Mulder had unintentionally put on for her benefit. Skinner turned and joined Scully in a quick survey of the room. And suddenly he found his own lips twitching.

The floor was littered with weeping women. Terror had caused them to abandon their phones, which dangled forlornly by their springy cords - bouncing in time to the sobs which rang in the open space. Tinny indignant voices squeaked from the handsets - demanding to know what had happened. Some of the women were beginning to rise hesitatingly now as they registered that Mulder and Skinner were probably not hitmen after all, but others still cowered on the floor, hiding their faces.

Mulder looked rather exasperated. And rather silly.

He glanced over and saw a grinning Scully watching his predicament so he marched over to join her.

"What have you got to smile at?" he began, slightly aggrieved that Scully didn't seem to need rescuing after all. "That was some weird motherfucker you had on the phone, by the way."

Scully sounded genuinely shocked. "Puh -leeze Mulder!" she admonished. "Watch your language."

"Watch my language?! Watch *MY* language?!" Mulder's tone was one of outraged innocence. "You're telling *me* to watch *my* language, after what I've heard coming out of your mouth for the last four hours." He was too indignant to continue, so Scully took the opportunity to interrupt.

"Nice to know you were listening, Mulder. But can we change the subject, please? I need to borrow something from you."

Now Mulder's expression mirrored the concern on Skinner's face. Scully could tell that they both thought she had lost it. So she condescended to try to explain matters.

"Look you two," she began, patiently enough. "Have you heard the story of Alexander-the-Great and the Gordian knot?"

Not bothering to wait for an answer, she continued her explanation.

"Alexander was faced with the task of untying a knot of the greatest complexity in order to prove his right to reign. Instead of attempting to untie it the traditional way, he decided to take a short cut. He simply took out his sword and cut the knot in two."

Mulder and Skinner looked even more worried about her now and Scully was getting exasperated with their obtuseness.

"Look - it's obvious," she continued. "By severing the knot instead of wasting time trying to unravel it, Alexander got out of a difficult position by the quickest possible route. He took one decisive step and solved his problem. It's what I intend to do."

The two men still looked at her blankly. Scully sighed and tried one last time.

"This maniac - he's only ever contacted me by telephone, right? And when the phone wasn't used for five years, no-one heard from him at all. Not until the phone was used again a few months ago."

Skinner joined in at this point.

"So you think that he can *only* reach you by using the telephone? But you know this man died in the electric chair. Where exactly do you think he's calling you from now, Agent Scully? Hell?" His tone of voice was slightly satirical.

"Yes - that's right" Scully answered seriously. "That's what I believe, anyway. And I also believe that the police were correct. There were no murders here. Those four women just allowed themselves to get freaked out by him, like I nearly did. Or else he made them suicidal. Or fear made them careless. Maybe some really did die in accidents. I can't be sure. But one thing I *am* sure of - he couldn't have killed any of them. He's only a voice on the phone."

Now Mulder joined the conversation.

"And you're going get rid of him....how? By cutting him in half with your sword like Alexander the Great - is that the idea?"

"Oh Mulder, don't be silly. I would have thought that it was perfectly obvious how I'm going to get rid of him. I'm going to disconnect his line. With a little help from your weapon, of course."

With that she reached out and took Mulder's gun from his unresisting hands. Then spinning around towards the phone on the counter behind her, she took careful aim.

"Make my day, punk" she murmured. "Come on - call me."

The phone started to ring even as the words left Scully's lips. She grinned, and threw a sidelong glance at her startled partner and boss.

"Don't look so surprised, gentlemen. Haven't you been listening to men coming on cue for me all day." Leaving them to digest the double meaning, she turned back to the ringing phone, took aim again, and decisively pulled the trigger.

The telephone exploded. Into about fifty-million pieces. When the dust finally settled, Mulder and Skinner saw Scully gazing coolly at the remains of a smoking touch-tone pad. Then, picking a piece of plastic out of her hair, she smiled, and turned to face the two men again. The piquant smell of gunpowder somehow added emphasis to her final question.

"Gentlemen," she said, as she held the still smoking gun in her small capable hands, "I think my work here at the Caveat is done now - don't you?"



- end part five -

Right guys - you can either quit here or you can come searching the archives after the weekend, by which time I will have written the OPTIONAL part six - the gratuitous sex scene that I've been dying to write since I started this. Who knew it would take so long to get the plot out of the way. I mean - the plot boiled down to Scully getting a phone call from a dead pervert and proceeding to get rid of him by shooting the telephone. Tell me why that took me 10,551 words to explain?





The Caveat Emporium - NC 17

By Red Valerian

Part Six

In which Scully is given an opportunity to find out the difference between virtual sex and the other kind.



Disclaimers/warnings: This is the gratuitous sex scene which is eagerly awaited by millions - well, by at least five people anyway. It is as NC 17 as it can possibly be, and it does nothing to further the plot of the rest of the story - so if it's plot you want, read Part Five again. (Actually - I really wish you *would* read Part Five again once I re-post it, as I've altered the ending a bit.)

And hey - if you want more of the same sort of story, please provide as much sycophantic feedback as you can possibly manage. It's the only thing that really keeps me at this computer. And it's the only thing that really keeps me sane, if you want to know the truth.

On with the show.

........................................

Scully was still in the Caveat although she now had the large room to herself. She'd insisted that Mulder and Skinner go home. She'd be fine, she had assured them both. And anyway, there was something she needed to do before she left.

She didn't elucidate, but in fact Scully wanted to remove the warning which she'd painted on that wall so many years before. She'd had a private word with the proprietor who had shrugged his shoulders, but agreed to her request readily enough. He'd not only showed her the cupboard where the paint was kept, he'd actually trusted her with the keys to the place - just asking her to lock up and put them under the door when she left.

So now she was about to cleanse her past in a quite literal way and she was looking forward to it.

She stood and gazed speculatively at the message one last time and reflected that never again would she voluntarily have to read Dante. "Lasciate Ogni Speranza Voi Ch'entrate"? The man was definitely over-rated. If she *had* abandoned hope, she'd probably be dead now.

Scully opened the pot of paint, dipped in the brush and with a few deft strokes, she obliterated the now unnecessary warning. Exactly at that point, the silence in the room was broken by a phone ringing.

It took the startled agent a moment to realise that the ringing was coming from her own cell phone and not from the one she had blasted into a million pieces. She took her phone out of her pocket and stared at it uneasily as it vibrated in her hand. There were several possibilities here and she wasn't sure which one was the most likely or the most desirable.

Mulder? Maybe. She suspected that he thought they had some unfinished business after he'd sat in that van and listened to her for four hours.

Skinner? She didn't dare to think about that, but a part of her hoped that he might think they had some unfinished business too.

Dead serial killer? He'd come back from hell once, maybe he'd got her unlisted number now.

Her mother? Inviting her to a family dinner? God - she hoped not.

The practical part of Scully's mind told her to answer the phone and find out. But still she hesitated while the phone rang on.

Finally, Scully sat down stiffly at her old place. The remains of the dead phone were still scattered in front of her, a reminder of who her last caller had been. The smell of fresh paint stung her eyes, and made her feel close to tears. She hesitated for a moment more and then finally she decided to put an end to the ringing and to her curiosity at the same time.

"Scully here," she said into the mouthpiece. Her tone sounded calm and composed - but her rigid body language told another story.

There was silence for a moment, and then finally she heard a voice begin to speak. Her whole body relaxed at once and she sighed in relief. It was Mulder and he proceeded to ask her a question which she'd heard a million times before. Once even from his own lips, although that had been in jest. This time, though, he was in earnest as he spoke the familiar words.

"What are you wearing Scully?" His tone was husky and a little desperate. He was asking to be tortured again. Asking to be driven wild. Asking for a repeat performance of what he'd been forced to listen to in that claustrophobic van earlier in the day.

There was the slightest hesitation before Scully answered her partner - a split second where she tried to tell herself that she wasn't disappointed at who was on the other end of the phone. Then she realised that she'd have to reach another decision - whether or not to play this enticing game with Mulder, or to tell him to go home and have a cold shower.

It would be easy to humiliate him. She could just say in pretended innocence, "You know perfectly well what I'm wearing, Mulder - a cream silk blouse and a black skirt and matching jacket. Why do you ask?"

She could just say that - and he'd feel like an absolute idiot and slink away with his tail between his legs. Or she could say what she knew he wanted to hear.

It didn't take long to weigh it up. He had been very supportive of her lately, and he deserved a little reward.

"What do you *want* me to be wearing, Mulder?" she whispered at last, her voice throaty and rich with lewd promise.

As she settled back down in her chair and waited for his next gambit, she shrugged her suit jacket off, allowing it to slide down her arms and settle in an untidy heap behind the small of her back. The short sleeved silk blouse now left her bare arms exposed to the slightly chilly air of the room, and as a consequence the skin was instantly covered in goosebumps. They started at her wrists, and then shot up to her upper arms in an instant, causing her to shiver involuntarily.

"Take off your suit jacket." Mulder's voice was suddenly decisive. An impatient child who knew he could get whatever he wanted. "Now."

"It's already off," Scully answered in soothing tones. She held the phone in her left hand, elbow balanced on the counter in front of her, which left her right hand free to obey Mulder's orders. While she waited, she began to run the tips of her fingernails across the front of her blouse, circling her nipples lightly on each side until she felt them tauten uncomfortably against the lace of her bra. There was an immediate answering throb from between her legs. At once she crossed her upper thighs together tightly and then began to squirm her bottom in slow sensuous circles on the seat. Occasionally she quickly rocked forward and back for two or three stokes, stimulating already over-stimulated flesh, before returning to the slow circling motions which was less intense. Her breathing was becoming laboured and she made no effort to control it, even allowing a small moan to escape from her moist lips.

"What do you think you're doing, Scully?" Mulder's voice was suddenly indignant. Like someone had stolen his new toy. "I didn't tell you you could touch yourself." She was frozen for a moment with Catholic guilt remembering other times when she'd been caught doing something unspeakably pleasant which she knew was a sin. Something which would have to be confessed in whispers into the exasperated ear of Father Riley next Sunday. Forgive me father for I have sinned. Forgive me Mulder for I have sinned?

But before Scully could say anything in response, she suddenly gasped again, but this time for an entirely different reason. A warm muscular hand had threaded itself though the tangled curls at the nape of her neck. The fingers then closed together and her head was jerked back until she found herself staring up into the eyes of Assistant Director Walter Skinner. His glasses were nowhere to be seen - and his eyes unmediated by lenses, almost burnt her skin. The intense look on his face warned her to be silent and she chose to obey it. He saw her silent acquiescence and nodded.

Skinner let go of her hair then and crouched down by her side. One hand rested lightly on her thigh to help him balance, while with the other he slowly began to unbutton Scully's blouse.

She was having difficulty thinking. What had Mulder last said? Oh yes - he'd said she didn't have permission to touch herself. She needed to speak him to him again. He was waiting, his breath harsh in her ear.

"What do you *want* me to do?" Scully spoke into the phone breathlessly, but her eyes were locked on Skinner's. She waited to see which man would answer first. The one on the phone or the one kneeling by her side.

It was Mulder who spoke. "You tell me. You tell me what you wish I was doing right now."

Scully looked down mesmerised both by the voice in her ear and by Skinner's intense face. Her tone was languid, and as thick as warm honey when she finally answered.

"You've come into the Caveat and found me here by myself," she said softly. "I haven't seen you, so you watch me from behind for a moment, imagining what you're going to do to me. Then finally you can't wait any longer. You're too aroused."

Skinner had by now undone all of her buttons, and he slipped the blouse off Scully's unresisting arms, thoughtfully holding the phone to her ear for her, so that she could navigate the blouse over her left and then her right wrist. Scully now sat there in just her cream lace bra and skirt. She had taken the phone back and now continued speaking into the receiver, but all the while her eyes stayed locked on Skinner's.

"You come silently up to me - still from behind. And suddenly you thread your hand in the back of my hair and you yank my head backwards until I am forced to look up at your face. I am not afraid. I know exactly why you've come. I've been expecting you. I've been wanting you to come to me. Longing for you."

In front of her Scully watched some fleeting emotion skitter over Skinner's face. Whatever it was, it disappeared as quickly as it had come. But he suddenly stood up and stared down at her with his piercing eyes. Then, as if his control had finally broken, he gripped her painfully by her upper arms, immediately yanking her into a standing position.

They were now barely inches apart - but Scully's shorter stature meant that Skinner was looking down at the top of her head. She stood meekly in front of him still with the cellphone clutched in her left hand. Waiting.

He slowly reached out and ran his fingers down her bare arms, only just touching the flesh. Again the goosebumps appeared - all over Scully's body this time. Her head fell back slightly so that she could see his face and what she saw there caused her to gasp. It was as if the sensation were almost painful, almost too much to bear. Then his hands slipped all the way up her arms again until they rested on either side of her neck - the thumbs forcing her chin further upward, fingers meeting at the nape - so that she had no choice but to look straight up into his face. Into his searing eyes.

They both knew that he could choose to close his grip and end her life with one violent motion. He had that power if he so desired. He could do anything he wanted - anything. Suddenly he lowered his hard mouth onto her soft lips, kissing her almost brutally, thrusting his tongue into her moist warmth just once then twice, before pulling out quickly and stepping back out of her body space.

Scully was breathing heavily now. Her breasts were swollen, while the nipples had contracted to hardened points which ached to be touched. To be licked. She still clutched the phone spasmodically to her left ear, but she had forgotten Mulder's existence. She couldn't take her eyes off of the man in front of her.

As his gazed burned over her flesh, she felt her whole body become sensitised - until it became one huge erogenous zone which was begging to be stimulated. Skinner did nothing but look at her, however.

Mulder's voice suddenly intruded again , awakening her from the ragged trance into which she had fallen.

"Then what Scully? What do I do then?"

Still staring at Skinner, she answered him. There was a subtle change in her tone now. Her eyes had narrowed and her voice suggested that she was tired of taking orders. She wanted to give some.

"You begin to undress me, Mulder. Until I'm completely naked in front of you - except for my garter belt and my white stockings." Her eyes challenged Skinner, and perhaps they both remembered her confrontation with him a few days before, when she'd told him she couldn't "allow" him to do what he wanted to do. This was just such another battle of wills.

Skinner's lips tightened for a moment while he decided if he was willing for the tables to be turned. Then the decision was made - all in a breathless minute, because without ceremony he stepped forward and proceeded to strip her as she had requested. First he unbuttoned her skirt and then yanked it down so that it rested on the floor, shackling her. Scully stepped out of it, impatiently.

He then reached up and behind her and undid her bra, easily slipping it down her arms and over the hand holding the phone, before allowing it too to drop on the floor with her skirt. Only her panties were left to remove now.

Skinner knelt in front of her and watched her face, as he slowly slid the drenched scraps of lace down to her ankles. Again she stepped out of them, brushing them aside. She was naked now, apart from the garter belt and stockings. Her skin was as flushed and rosy as a Titian beauty's. The darker auburn curls in front of Skinner's face were damp with need and Scully spread her legs slightly and arched her pelvis closer to his mouth.

Skinner ignored her action, but kept his eyes glued to her face. Another battle of wills was in progress.

Scully broke eye contact then and began to talk to Mulder in earnest. She described exactly what she was wearing to him. Exactly how she was standing. Exactly how she was feeling. Exactly where he was kneeling.

And then she started to describe something which hadn't happened yet. And she looked back down at Skinner as she did so.

"And now you are picking up my panties and I'm embarrassed, because I know how wet they are. But you don't seem to mind. You bury your face in them, licking the damp cloth and rubbing it over your hot skin. Surrounding yourself with my smell - with my desire for you. "

Skinner's eyes were dangerous but again there was the moment's hesitation while he reached for a decision and again he decided to obey her orders. He picked up the panties and rubbed them all around his face and mouth, gazing at her the whole time.

"And my scent, my need for you is so obvious now - there's no hiding it. You're driving me crazy crouched in front of me - looking up at me, but not touching me. I'm losing my self control. I'm arching my body towards your mouth, bucking gently and rhythmically. I'm silently begging you to relieve the ache which is driving me to distraction."

Scully was issuing her next set of orders. But Skinner had had enough. Skinner had other ideas.

Throwing her panties down, he stood up quickly and looked down at her with an unreadable expression on his face. Scully's eyes widened in a mixture of surprise, fear and heightened arousal. Then, so quickly that she didn't even register his intentions, he grabbed her shoulders and spun her away from him so that she was facing the countertop where she'd been sitting all afternoon. Her right hand automatically reached out to brace her weight, while somehow she still held onto the cellphone with her left.

Then, in a manner as practiced as a member of NYPD blue, Skinner shoved his right leg between hers and forced her to "spread 'em". She was now in perfect frisk position, with a very aroused Assistant Director standing behind her. And this Assistant Director intended to be the one issuing the orders from now on.

"Don't turn around," he hissed, speaking for the first time. And then leaning into her he whispered in her ear.

"Tell him! Tell him what I've done. Describe your position and tell him what you look like from behind."

Scully became even more aroused as she imagined how she must look to Skinner. She was bent over the counter, naked apart from her black garter belt and white stockings - legs now spread far apart. In her mind's eye, she saw her narrow waist and rounded bottom, and she knew that he would also be looking at the moist folds between her legs which were dripping honey down her inner thighs, liquid that was being stopped only by the lacy top of her stockings.

Scully did as she was told. And as she described her position to Mulder, she could hear Skinner finally beginning to undress behind her. There was the rustle of cotton shirt and silk tie falling to the floor. The sound of shoes being toed off, and impatiently kicked aside. Finally the sound she had been waiting for most - a zip slowly being slid down and then more rustling as trousers and shorts were dropped and summarily discarded.

Suddenly a completely naked Skinner was sliding himself up and down against her bottom and then leaning forward and rubbing his chest over her bare back. His hands then snaked around her waist and he pulled her bottom more tightly into his groin, so that for the first time she could feel his erection. Its weight and size made her squirm back against him, her throbbing need for him almost painful.

Too low for Mulder to hear, Skinner whispered in her ear again.

"You liked torturing us this afternoon in the van - didn't you? Well - it's payback time now. If you want this - he thrust against her - you're going to have to beg."

Scully didn't need asking a second time. She began to whisper into the phone, but her words were an answer to Skinner.

"God - I want you - I want you inside me now. I want you to fuck me. Is that what you want to hear?" She sounded almost desperate as she gasped out the last question.

"No," Skinner hissed, in a voice barely above a whisper. "I don't want you to talk dirty. I just want you to say please."

As he taunted her, he took his cock and slid it slowly between her legs - through the moist throbbing lips - backwards and forwards in long slow lunges. Over and over he repeated this motion, until she was moaning and panting - unable to speak coherently. But never once did he penetrate her, where her body was screaming to be pentrated. And though she was now squirming against him madly and trying to position herself so that he would have to slip into her, still he denied her penetration.

"Say please," he demanded, more roughly this time. And in a voice which he was no longer trying very hard to subdue.

When he had first started to torment Scully with his incomplete caresses, she had abandoned trying to hold onto the phone, and instead lay her hot cheek down on the cool formica, arms spread out on the counter. But the phone still lay just next to her mouth - so her every word was still audible to Mulder.

"Please - all right? Please. Please. Please. PleasePleasePleasePleasePLEASEPLEASEPLEASE....." And she repeated the single word over and over in a voice growing more and more desperate. Skinner suddenly took pity on her. He positioned the head of his massive cock just at her throbbing entrance, and without any other warning, he rammed into her as deeply as he could go - so deeply that his balls slapped against her heated crotch audibly. There was no finesse about it. Not control. It was mindless, animalistic rutting, pure and simple, as his hard body hammered into her soft one. Again and again and again. Scully almost screamed his name out loud then, but a part of her remembered that Mulder was listening and that she didn't want him to know what was really happening here. She bit her bottom lip until she tasted blood.

Skinner moved his hands to her hips then, and tilted her so that he could penetrate her even more easily. More deeply. His nails dug into flesh slick with sweat and he leant forward and bit into her shoulder. Not hard enough to break the skin but enough to leave imprints. Brands.

Scully was beyond control now. She heard herself making almost animalistic sounds of pleasure and pain combined. She spread her legs further still, trying to take him even more deeply into her. Begging him to go - Further. Deeper. Harder. Faster.

Skinner decided to reward her good behaviour. He slid his right hand around her waist and then down until his fingers found her matted pubic hair. Then he slid them lower still, until he found what he was looking for. As he continued to jackhammer into Scully from behind, he used his fingers to massage her swollen clit in time to his desperate fucking. She had never felt so hot and slick. Had never been so stretched and filled.

Scully started making a high-pitched keening sound that rose in intensity until finally it turned into a guttural scream of absolute, total, complete and mindless pleasure. Then with one final almighty lunge from him and one last almost surreal scream from her, she came. And then right after, Skinner came. And then, if the noises coming out of the abandoned cell phone were anything to go by, Mulder joined them both. The walls of the Caveat had never heard anything quite like this before. And they never would again.

..............................................

Scully recovered first. She needed to get rid of Mulder and fast. Groping for the phone, she held it to her ear and listened. She could hear that Mulder was still gasping desperately for breath but he was gradually regaining control. For the first time she wondered just where he was ringing her from. Had he made it home or was he still in a car somewhere - pulled over at the side of the road and desperately trying clean up the evidence of his passion so that he could drive home.

"Mulder," she hissed. "Are you there? Answer me."

A grunt was her only response, but it was enough to tell her that he could hear her.

"OK. Listen to me carefully. This never happened, right? This was just a fevered daydream you had on the way home from the Caveat. My little show this afternoon got you all hot and bothered, and your psyche decided to do something about it. Do you understand?"

There was a moment's hesitation, before an unconvinced Mulder spoke.

"It never happened, Scully. Right. The best sex I've had in five years - no, make that the *only* sex I've had in five years, never happened. OK."

There was an even longer pause, and then he spoke again.

"But it *did* happen - Scully. And it was great. You can't deny it."

Skinner had not withdrawn from Scully, and at Mulder's words he gently began to thrust into her again, his still tumescent cock wanting more stimulation. Scully tried to ignore him, and to concentrate on Mulder instead. It was difficult.

"I *can* deny it Mulder. I *do* deny it. You aren't here, remember. I'm here but you're......" She stopped altogether for a second, and then continued in an almost amused voice. "Actually, Mudler - where are you exactly? I've been meaning to ask."

Mulder laughed raggedly. "You don't want to know, Scully. Listen - are you sure about this "it never happened" stuff, cuz it sure seemed like something happened to me."

"Sorry Mulder - what we just had was *it*, as far as I'm concerned. Tomorrow we go back to being partners. Agree or I'm going to ask Skinner for a transfer."

As she said Skinner's name, she unconsciously pushed against him, and she was immediatley rewarded with a counter thrust form him.

She waited impatiently got Mulder to answer. Skinner was a rather tantalising distraction that she was dying to explore face to face. Finally, her partner spoke at last.

"Ok - agreed." There was another slight pause before his plaintive voice was heard asking a final question. "Hey Scully - can you just answer me one more thing?"

"Go for it Mulder."

"Was it good for you too? I mean, it sure sounded like it, but then I know you're good at faking. I've been listening to you do it all afternoon, remember."

Scully began to giggle at that point, although she risked dislodging Skinner in the process. He was still thrusting into her gently, and in between thrusts, he was kissing the flushed skin on her back.

But she just couldn't help it. "Oh Mulder," she gasped between bouts of muffled laughter. "You have absolutely no idea how good it was for me. Honest. Now go home and get some sleep."

Mulder gave it up. He said goodbye and she heard the click of the connection being severed. And now she and Skinner were alone, and she was suddenly - oddly - a little nervous and a little afraid. As he slowly withdrew from her, she found her heart starting to beat unpleasantly fast.

"Turn around now, Scully," his voice whispered, almost gently. Almost....tenderly, she thought to herself in surprise. So she did.

And without being asked, she looked up to gauge his expression. And there she saw that same look which had flickered over his face earlier - but this time it stayed in place. And it seemed to soften him. To round the granite edges of his lips, gentle the sharpness of his jawline and mellow the fire in his eyes.

'It looked awfully like...there was no other word for it....it looked awfully like......love', she found herself thinking as she let herself dissolve into him, body, mind and soul. In the dimly lit room of the Caveat Emporium they wound themselves around each other, and their entwined bodies represented as much a new beginning for Scully, as the fresh paint on the wall behind them.



At that moment, somewhere, in another state, in another grim city, in another room crowded with gasping women offering sexual salvation for forty-nine cents a minute, a phone began to ring. But Scully didn't care. She couldn't hear it. She could hear nothing - nothing at all but Skinner's heartbeat as it pounded rhythmically into her own. And at that moment there was nothing in this wide world that she wanted to hear more.

- the end - finally! -



Feedback would be as welcome as the prodigal son!

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