Lactrodectus

Title: Lactrodectus

Author: Vickie Moseley

Summary: Written for VS 13 Halloween Special

Event. Scully goes trick or treating with Tara and

the kids, but was it wise to leave Mulder alone for

the night?

Category: V, A, MT

Rating: One curse, the rest is pretty harmless

Disclaimer: I’m not profiting off this work of

fiction, so back of lawyer dudes! No copyright

infringement intended.

Archive: VS 13 exclusive for two weeks from

posting. After that, yes

Author’s notes: I’ve been dying to do this one for a

long time and finally it fell into place. Hope

everyone takes it in the ‘spirit’ it’s given.

Feedback: vickiemoseley1978@yahoo.com

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Latrodectus

by Vickie Moseley

Mulder and Scully’s residence

Washington, DC

October 31, 2005, 5:15 pm

Two feet were visible from under the wooden back

porch steps of 3506 N Street NW. Two large feet

clad in equally large boots. The boots wiggled and

shifted as their owner attempted to hammer the

support into the top step. When a loud yelp was

heard from under the stairs, Dana Scully got up

from her perch on the step and walked into the

house in search of the first aid kit.

“Maybe I should call Tara and tell her I can’t make

it,” Scully called over her shoulder as she heard her

partner and impromptu carpenter enter the house.

“That’s ridiculous, Scully. You promised Tara

you’d help her take the kids trick or treating around

your Mom’s neighborhood. Why would you back

out now?” Mulder asked, around his index finger

that was stuck in his mouth. “Bandaid,” he added

and withdrew the injured digit to show her the

damage.

“I just . . . well, I don’t like leaving you alone, if you

know the truth of the matter,” she said reluctantly as

she fastened the fabric strip to his slightly mangled

extremity.

“You think I’m going to invite a bunch of nubile

young coeds from the college in here and have an

orgy?” he whispered with a mocking grin.

“No, I think you’ll end up maimed or worse,” she

shot back, turning to put away the first aid kit.

He frowned at that. “You leave me alone all the

time, Scully. What’s so different about tonight?”

“Tonight, Mulder, is Halloween. Do I really need

to recite the last several Halloween ‘annual trips to

the ER’ to make you understand my concern?”

“Last year I was treated and released,” he said

pointedly.

She rolled her eyes and pushed past him. “My point

exactly,” she said as she walked toward the phone.

“Scully, don’t be silly!” he admonished. “Look, I

have a the baseball playoff games that I didn’t watch

on the DVR, I have an entirely new unopened

package of Act II Butter Lovers microwave

popcorn, AND a six-pack of Sam Adams

Octoberfest — to be honest with you, you would

only be in my way tonight!” That got him a glare

that almost caused him to rethink his plans. After a

moment’s hesitation, he rested his hands on her

shoulders. “Tara needs you tonight. She has two

little goblins dying to trick or treat and you know

what a handful they can be. I will be safe and snug

in our little home. I promise I won’t even turn on

the porch light so I’m not accosted by some vicious

11 year-old on a bad dextrose trip. The worst thing

you’ll find when you come home later tonight is that

all of my car windows will have been soaped. Now,

please, go to your sister-in-law’s and have a good

time!”

“You promise me you won’t go out anywhere.”

“Indian Guide’s honor,” he affirmed, holding his fist

with two fingers extended to the back of his head.

Scully sighed heavily. “I’m gonna be so angry if I

end up spending another All Saints Day next to

your bedside, Mulder.”

“How about in my bed?” he asked suggestively.

“Can it, Romeo, you know we have work

tomorrow,” she huffed. “OK, I’m going. I will be

back by 10:30 at the latest. If you need me, I’ll have

my cell phone on at all times.”

“Scully, you sound like I’m the sitter. Who, pray

tell, am I supposed to ‘sit’?”

“I’m trying not to dwell on the answer to that

question. It might make me rethink this whole

evening.”

6:25 pm

Mulder was deep in the National League Central

Division game between the reigning Division

Champion St. Louis Cardinals and the Houston

Astros. He already knew the Cards would win, a

homer late in the ninth inning that would leave the

Houston fans reeling. The Cards would go on to

lose the title the next night, but it was still a fun

series to watch. He was fast-forwarding through yet

another Bud Light commercial when his stomach

gave him a sharp tug.

Absently rubbing his stomach, he headed into the

kitchen. Food. His body needed sustenance. He

pulled out the sandwich meat from the refrigerator

and was reaching for the loaf of bread when the

small tug grew to a pain that doubled him over. It

was gone so quickly he almost could have

convinced himself he imagined it. He was puzzling

over his strange indigestion when he heard a knock

at the back door.

He flipped on the light to the back porch and peered

into the dimly illuminated area. An older woman

stood under the cover of the porch roof, the wind

whipping at her grey streaked hair. She shivered as

he debated whether to open the door, making his

decision an easy one.

“Can I help you?” Mulder asked, watching the old

woman trembling in the force of the wind. “Are

you lost?”

“No, deary me, no,” she replied. “I’m Mrs. Dickens.

I live just down the street. I understand you and

your wife are fairly new to the neighborhood.”

“Well, we moved in over a year ago,” Mulder

interjected but the old woman continued as if she

hadn’t heard him.

“I have a little Halloween tradition for the neighbors

on this block. Candied apples. My grandmother

taught me how to make them with cinnamon red

hots. They’re quite tasty. Anyway, I just wanted to

drop these off to you and your misses. You were

away last year and missed out on the fun.” She

promptly handed him two shiny red apples wrapped

in cellophane, tied with colorful orange and black

paper ribbon.

“Oh, well, that’s awfully thoughtful of you, Mrs.

Dickens, thank you. My, uh, Dana’s out taking her

nephew and niece trick or treating, but I’ll be sure to

tell her you stopped by.”

“I best be running along. Other deliveries to make,

you know. Have a nice evening then,” she said with

a wave and disappeared into the darkness beyond

the porch light.

Mulder stared out into the autumn night, watching

the old woman scurry down the alley to the next

house. Odd behavior, he thought, but not unlike the

folks out on the Vineyard. Halloween was a

favorite holiday in his youth. He remembered the

candied apples made by Mrs. Galbrand, their next-

door neighbor, every year for the kids in the

subdivision.

He put the apples on the counter near the sink,

intent on waiting until Scully returned to indulge in

the treat. His stomach grumbled loudly and he

remembered his early bout of — what had that been?

Hunger pains? Unlikely, he’d had a decent lunch.

But his stomach growled again and he found

himself reaching for the nearest apple. With boyish

anticipation, he pulled off the ribbon and cellophane

and lifted the apple to his lips. The cinnamon scent

rolled off the fruit in waves and he stopped to savor

it. Finally, his mouth watering, he took a big bite.

It was heaven! Just as he remembered, maybe even

better. Whatever the recipe was, he was going to

have to see if Mrs. Dickens would share it with

Scully. Better yet, with Maggie, who would put it

to better use. He was about to take a second bite

when the kitchen light flared once and then again.

The room started to spin around him. He reached

out his hand to steady himself as his eyes rolled

back in his head and he felt himself falling.

He awoke slowly. He could hear the monitor

beeping next to his head. Oh crap, was his first

thought. He felt something warm surrounding his

hand. Scully’s hands, he reasoned. She was by his

bedside again. She would want to know he was

awake. But did he really want to curry her wrath by

letting her know it? What had she said to him just

before leaving? How angry she’d be if she had to

spend another All Saints Day by his bedside. He

could only hope she managed to scrape up a little

sympathy, since he was obviously in ill health.

He heard a soft sniffle and knew he couldn’t pretend

any longer. Anger, he could hide from but he hated

to make Scully cry. Slowly, he tried to open his

eyes. They wouldn’t cooperate. He moved his hand

and felt her fingers tighten on his. He moved his

head, still trying to make his lids open.

“Mulder,” she sighed hopefully.

Finally, his eyes cooperated. He was definitely in a

hospital bed, he could tell by the lighting. He

looked at Scully and the smile that lit her face could

have powered a ship to the moon. “Hi,” she said,

her voice choked with emotion.

“Scully,” he replied, swallowing. It felt like he

hadn’t had water in months. He swallowed again

and looked at her. Something was wrong. Her hair

was different. Not short with the little bit of curl

she’d finally adopted and he’d thoroughly approved.

It was longer, almost past her shoulders. She

looked tired, so very tired. Oh, God, he considered,

how long had he been sick? “Scully,” he tried

again.

“Shh, Mulder, don’t talk,” she chided. “Do you

have any idea what you’ve been through?”

He searched her face. Her eyes held a thousand

emotions, most prominent was pain. He’d really

done it this time. Whatever had happened, he’d

caused her untold anguish. He wondered if he

could ever make it up to her. “Only what I see in

your eyes,” he whispered.

She laid her head on his chest and kissed him

through the hospital gown. Tentatively, he brought

his hand up to stroke her head. “Anybody miss

me?” he joked.

It worked. He could feel her laughter through his

ribs, his sore ribs now that he thought about it. In

fact, his whole body ached, all the way down to his

toes. He wanted to know what was wrong with

him, but Scully’s laughter had turned to tears, he

could feel her quaking with the force of her sobs.

“Hush, Scully, don’t cry. I’m OK now. I’m OK.

C’mere, look at me. See, I’m fine.”

“Mulder,” she started but then the door opened. Her

head jerked over to catch sight of a man Mulder had

never seen standing in the doorway. The guy

ignored Mulder completely, looking only at Scully.

Their eye contact was their only communication.

The man nodded his head once and slowly closed

the door, leaving them alone. She turned her

attention back to Mulder.

“Mulder,” she began again. He couldn’t figure out

what was so difficult. What couldn’t she tell him?

How sick was he? Was he dying? Had that been

his doctor at the door? That didn’t make sense, the

doctor would have come in and poked and prodded

him, they all did every other time he’d been in the

hospital.

“Scully, please, what is going on? What can’t you

tell me?” he pleaded.

She frowned, biting her bottom lip. Cautiously, she

pushed the chair she was sitting in back a few

inches, raising to stand by his bed. As she rose, his

gaze stayed on her face. Tears were streaking down

her cheeks. Slowly, hesitantly, she placed her hand

on her rounded stomach —

“Jesus, Scully, what happened with you? You look

pregnant!” he exclaimed, suddenly not able to pull

in enough air.

“Mulder, let me explain . . . ”

“Scully, what is it? Is it the cancer? How did this

happen so quickly? What the hell is going on?” he

demanded.

She licked her lips nervously. “No, Mulder, I look

pregnant because I am pregnant,” she said slowly.

“You’ve been — oh, God, how do I tell you?”

“Pregnant? Scully, that’s impossible. You’re

barren. We’ve never used birth control — we never

needed to use it. Surely you would have become

pregnant before now!”

“Mulder we tried the invitro last spring . . .”

“We tried _what_?” he cried out. “Scully, we never

talked about kids. It was always too painful. And

we never . . . I never . . .” Suddenly pieces started

clicking into place. He felt as if his heart was in a

vice and it was being crushed. “Scully, who was

that man at the door a minute ago,” he asked, his

voice low and frightened.

“That was my partner, John Doggett,” she said

simply. “Mulder, this baby — ”

“P-p-partner? I’m your partner,” he stammered in a

pained whisper. “Scully, is this baby — did you and

he — how long have I been ill?”

“Oh, this is not going well,” she said simply and sat

down again. She took his hand in her two and held

it tight. “Mulder, you went missing 7 months ago.

You went out to Bellefleur, Oregon on a case

involving multiple abductees.”

“No, it was Halloween, Scully. You were trick or

treating with Tara, Matty and Claire,” he

interrupted.

“Who’s Claire?” she asked, frowning in confusion.

“Your niece. Bill and Tara’s daughter. Claire.

Scully, you have to remember her.”

“Bill and Tara only have Matthew, Mulder,” she

insisted. “But anyway, you were . . . Mulder you

were abducted.”

“By whom?” he asked, more befuddled than ever.

She rolled her eyes in exasperation. “By a ship,

Mulder. A ship in the sky. Skinner was there with

you at the time, he saw it happen. Mulder, you

were abducted along with Teresa Nemman and her

husband Ray Hoese and several other people.

Many of them were returned and some of them

lived, but Mulder, when you were returned — ” She

choked on the words. “Mulder, you were dead.

You were dead and we buried you three months

ago.” Unable to hold back the sobs, she dropped

her head to her hands and shook for all she was

worth.

He sat there, stunned. “Scully, if I’m dead, and

buried, how the hell are we having this

conversation?”

His words gave her something to focus on. She

lifted her eyes to his. “Billy Miles,” she said

quietly.

“From our first case,” he supplied.

“Yes. He was there, when you were abducted. He

was abducted, too. And when he was returned, his

body was in the ocean — for three months. He was

pulled out of the sea by some fishermen. When

they got his body to the morgue, the ME noticed

that he was, uh, breathing.”

“After three months in water? Maybe he’d been in

hiding, maybe he just fell in. Remember when you

found me near Bermuda, Scully,” he reminded her.

“Mulder, the body was partially decomposed. It

showed all the signs of prolonged exposure to salt

water. But somehow, he was alive.”

“But you said I was buried. Did you bury me at

sea?” he sneered. He didn’t want to be angry with

her, she was having such a difficult time, but her

whole tangled story was starting to annoy him. He

just wanted the truth out of her so he could go to

sleep.

“No, you were buried in North Carolina, near your

mother. After Skinner heard about Billy, he had

your casket exhumed.”

“So Skinner dug me up. Somehow, that’s fitting,”

Mulder muttered.

“At first, it appeared that you were just barely alive.

And then when Billy shed his skin — ”

He started to interrupt her again, but one look

silenced him. He nodded for her to continue.

“He became an alien,” she said with a cleansing

breath.

“An — ”

“Alien,” she repeated softly. “And then he took

off.”

“Scully, one of us is having a really bad dream — ”

“Mulder, this is true, every word of it. I can’t

explain it all, I don’t know how it happened. All I

know is that you were gone. I found out about

this,” she patted her stomach, “the day Skinner told

me you had been taken. And then I looked for you,

in the desert in New Mexico. I could feel you

nearby but I couldn’t see you. I searched for

months, never giving up until the night we found

you in the middle of a field. Mulder, you were

dead. There was no denying it. And the only man

who could save you, who could possibly bring you

back, was gone.”

“But I’m here. And unless this is a Halloween

Haunting, I’m alive,” he asserted.

“Yes. Thank God, you are. When the ME in North

Carolina detected vital signs, vital signs that had not

been there previously in your body, Skinner and

Doggett had you shipped here to Bethesda. At first,

we had you on life supports. But then, something

happened and for some reason Skinner took you off

life supports. And that’s when it hit me. That was

incubating the alien, the one gestating inside your

body.”

Mulder blanched, his mind flashing on Scully in a

frozen cryopod, an alien fetus feeding off her life

force. “Oh, God, Scully,” he said, his face taking

on a chalky complexion.

“Mulder, stay with me. We took you into surgery

and injected you with every anti-viral available.

You stabilized. If you’d actually been . . . taken

over, you would have shed your skin and been

totally reborn. You would have been in perfect

health, no visible scars or injuries. Mulder, if you

could see yourself right now, you’d know that didn’t

happen. They tortured you, Mulder. They did

horrible things to your body and I’m so sorry I

wasn’t there to stop it from happening.” Again, it

was too much for her to bear and she started to

weep.

It was all so much to understand. He’d been gone

for 7 months. Scully had a new partner. His life, as

he knew it, was irrevocably changed. Could he ever

get his old life back?

“Your mom, Tara, do they know . . . I’m alive?”

“I haven’t called Mom yet,” she said through her

tears. “Why would I call Tara?”

“Well, I missed an awful lot of soccer games. God,

poor Matty! I promised to help his tee ball coach

this spring. Poor kid’s been through the wringer.”

“Why would Matty be affected, Mulder?” she asked

innocently.

That hit him in the gut. He felt more than annoyed

at her attitude, he felt offended. “Gee, Scully, I

know I could never replace Bill but I thought I

provided at least a shadow of a male influence in

the kid’s life. Now you act like he wouldn’t give a

damn if I lived or died!”

“Mulder. Bill, Tara and Matty live in San Diego.

When Mom told her about your death, Tara sent a

nice floral arrangement to the funeral home and a

card she got at the local Hallmark store. They don’t

know you well enough — and besides, I don’t think

Bill does care if you live or die. He made that

perfectly clear when I told him about the baby!”

Now he was even more confused, and suddenly

very worried. “Scully, sweetheart, Bill died, just a

little over a year ago, well, two years ago now, I

guess. Don’t you remember?”

She looked stricken for a moment, but pulled down

her calm face. She reached over and brushed his

forehead. “Mulder, I think, I think you’ve become

very confused. I think — maybe your brain — ” She

choked up again, but forced the words out. “Your

brain affliction — ”

“What ‘brain affliction’? Scully, my brain is fine!”

he declared emphatically. “How could I have a

brain affliction? And if I did, why didn’t you tell

me about it?”

Now she was angry. “You didn’t tell ME about it!”

she shouted. “You were seeking treatment in North

Carolina for a month before you disappeared and

you never said a word to me!”

“Scully, for the last month we’ve been out in

California chasing a little Anasazi guy! I was right

with you the entire time!”

“What Anasazi?” she demanded. And just as

suddenly, while he watched, her features melted

into green goo. He remembered seeing it before but

he’d been under the influence of a powerful narcotic

supplied him by a killer mushroom in Georgia. He

closed his eyes against his horror and promptly

passed out.

Northeast Georgetown Medical Center

November 2, 2005

10:13 am

“Mulder? Mulder, c’mon. The doctor says you

should be waking up now. The antivenin has been

in your bloodstream long enough to counter the

effects of the bite. Wake up, please?” Scully was

pleading with him to wake up. But did he want to?

He remembered the last time he’d woken up and he

didn’t want to face that again. She should have left

him dead and buried. But that thought gave him no

comfort either.

“Mulder, please. I told Mom and Tara to bring the

kids by later to see you. Matty picked out all the

Snickers from his treats bag just for you because he

said you buy them for him after his soccer games.

C’mon, open those beautiful eyes for me,” she

crooned.

At the mention of Matty and soccer games, Mulder

forced his eyes open. “Scully,” he rasped.

She gave him that smile he lived for. “Hi,” she said.

He studied her face carefully. Her hair was back to

normal; her face was thin as it had been when she

left the house to go trick or treating. But he had to

make sure his assumptions were correct. “Scully,”

he said in a hoarse whisper. “Would you please

stand up?”

She gave him a perplexed look, but did as he asked.

She was thin, perfectly thin.

“Thank God,” he murmured.

“Mulder, do you have any idea what you’ve been

through?” she asked.

It startled him and he flinched. She immediately

reached out her hand and cupped his cheek.

“Mulder, we have black widow spiders under the

back porch,” she said sadly. “I called Mr. Timmons

after we got you to the ER. He had an exterminator

come out yesterday. Oh, and he said next time, he’ll

be happy to fix that loose board. As a matter of

fact, he was so upset about you getting bitten, he’s

going to replace those steps with cement ones just

as soon as he can arrange for a contractor.”

“Did you say black widow?” he asked. “But I

thought — what about Mrs. Dicken’s candied

apple?”

“What candied apple, Mulder? As near as we can

tell, you were bitten under the porch. That scratch

you had on your finger was actually a bite. You

should have experienced stomach cramps — ”

“I did. I thought it was hunger pangs,” he admitted.

“Well, not long after that you probably passed out.

The bites are small but black widow venom is 15

times more poisonous than a snakebite.”

He cringed again. “Don’t say snakebite around me,

Scully. You know how I get,” he warned.

“Mulder, you had a serious episode. You’ve had

hallucinations, at least as far as we could tell, for the

past two days.”

“So it’s not All Saints Day?” he asked sheepishly.

“No. It’s All Souls Day. And I was beginning to

think I needed to go to Mass this morning and pray

for your soul,” she countered. “Mulder, a spider?”

“Scully, I didn’t mean to get bitten by a poisonous

spider. I’m not even afraid of spiders,” he said with

a shrug. “Although, now I might have to rethink

that. Maybe it’s not a phobia if — ”

“Mulder, here is what I think. Next Halloween,

we’re going some place deserted and we’re going to

look for ghosts!”

He looked at her in total shock and amazement.

“Scully, what are you suggesting?”

“I’m not suggesting anything, Mulder. I’m telling

you. The only time we haven’t ended injured, or

more specifically when YOU haven’t ended up

injured on Halloween is when we went ghost

busting in Prairie du Rocher, Illinois and we saw the

King’s Emissary’s Ghost Funeral. So next year,

we’re going to find another haunted site — ”

“Houdini’s grave? Please, Scully, can we go to

Harry Houdini’s grave?” he begged.

She smiled affectionately at him. “Oh, all right.

We’ll go to Harry Houdini’s grave. I think you have

better luck with ghosts than with the real world,

Mulder.”

He opened his arms and she fell into his embrace.

He was happy to be in his real world again. After

some quiet moments, she pulled back.

“So, what were you dreaming about?” she asked

innocently. “Whatever it was, you certainly tossed

and turned enough.”

No. There was no way he could tell her. It was all

too insane, too unbelievable. Besides, it was a

nightmare he’d rather forget. “Oh, nothing much.

A wicked witch came by the house with a poisoned

apple and sent me to hell. You know, the usual

Halloween inspired nightmares.”

“Well, when you get out of here, I’ll make you

forget all about them,” she promised.

He hoped sincerely she would.

The end.

Latrodectus: black widow spider

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