Games: Mardi Gras
SUMMARY: A working holiday turns into a dangerous masquerade.
"Laissez les bon temps rouler!" the pilot had said as the plane touched down. Various people en route to her hotel had reiterated the phrase. As she wearily dropped her suitcase inside the door of yet another hotel room, she thought to herself just how long it had it had been since there had been any good times .
"Oh, get over yourself," she murmured aloud in disgust.
It had been a horrific few months since Mulder's sudden collapse, but it certainly had not been the worst five months of her life. She had experienced and survived much worse. She missed him, she feared for him, and she detested working with Diana Fowley in any way. She put up with Fowley because Skinner ordered her to do so, and because in the more rational parts of her mind she realized it was necessary. Whether she trusted Fowley or not was inconsequential. She needed her. She needed Fowley's knowledge of Mulder, if she was ever to free him from what some thought was a self-induced prison. She needed Fowley if she was ever to get closer to the people she believed were ultimately behind many of the catastrophes that had befallen Mulder and her in the last six years. She needed Fowley because she had no other options.
Still, it was a relief to be out of town on a solo assignment. Even though it was a low-level, make work detail that any entry-level agent could have done. Tulane University Hospital had noted an increase in drug-overdose deaths from designer "party drugs". Ordinarily, the local officials or ATF would handle the problem. Unfortunately, a Congresswoman's son had been one of the victims, and she was putting pressure on people at high levels for a more intensified investigation. Therefore, Scully found herself in the Sheraton overlooking the Mississippi River and the Riverwalk on a Saturday night in the Big Easy. She knew very well that all she needed to do was review pathology and autopsy reports, and fill out the necessary paperwork. Nevertheless, she had been cleared for three days to complete the assignment, and she intended to take every minute.
She hung up her suits in the closet, unpacked the rest of her travel articles, and plugged in her laptop. Her breath caught when she saw a message from an anonymous email addresses with a header that caught her attention. *Let the good times roll, if you dare*
She stared for a moment, trying to remember if she had told anyone where she was going. Her assignment had come in late Friday, and she hadn't talked to anyone since leaving the office until her flight late Saturday morning. Curiosity got the best of her. She opened the message.
*Welcome to the Crescent City. Meet me for Mardi Gras at Chantilly's, midnight*
Scully stared at the message. She hadn't seen Brett in several months. After the last time, she wasn't sure she wanted to. Until the last time, it had been casual, sporadic, something she could do, enjoy, then forget about. But then something had changed, something had touched her. Something had lingered after the sex. She became aware of a longing that had been dormant for longer than she could remember. She had become aware of wanting, in a way that went beyond the physical. She realized that she missed her, in a way that defied explanation. She didn't want this stranger in her life; she didn't need her in her life; and she wasn't at all certain that she wanted those doors opened once again.
She read the message again, and smiled somewhat ironically at the incredible arrogance. But she knew that arrogance was part of what attracted her. That and the fact that each time Brett had summoned her, she had gone. It didn't matter that Scully too had sent summons which had been answered. That was more to her liking, and more to her comfort level. It was easier when she called the shots, when she set the ground rules, when she named the game. But with this woman, it went both ways. She wasn't sure she wanted that either.
Scully deleted the message, skimmed the rest of her mail, all of which she deleted without much thought. She checked the clock, and paged the number which was in the briefing data she had been given. She spoke briefly with a pathologist from Tulane, who agreed to meet her so she could gather the necessary reports she would need to review. She gave neither the message nor the sender another thought for the rest the afternoon.
"1404 Decatur Street," Scully told the cab driver as she slid onto the rear seat.
The driver glanced back with a knowing smile. "Eh, going to enjoy a night out, mademoiselle?"
Scully stared at him coldly until he averted his eyes, then turned her face to the window and watched the city slip by. The sidewalks were packed with milling throngs that became more boisterous as they descended deeper into the French Quarter. The saloon doors at street level stood open to reveal musicians on tiny stages, waitresses in various stages of undress serving drinks, and tourists jostling in their eagerness to partake of the flow of cajun music, and alcohol, and sex. The air pulsed with the excitement of Mardi Gras every night of the year. The fact that the legendary revelry was five months away did not seem to matter.
The cab turned down a narrow street, finally halting before a row of buildings fronted with second-floor balconies and wrought iron railings. Muted light filtered from behind dense lace curtains, and as Scully stepped from the cab she could almost hear the beat of the music that seemed to penetrate through the sidewalk into her body. A small discrete sign told her she had found the right place. She wondered with wry amusement if there were some password or other secret sign she would need to gain admission, and then tried not to think about why she had come. The answer was there, in the tingling of her skin and the racing of her heart, but she did not want to examine that response too closely.
When she knocked at the ornate wooden door, it was answered by a woman wearing a sequined mask, who simply smiled and said, "Laissez les bon temps rouler", and with a sweep of her arm and a courtly bow, bade Scully to enter.
She had chosen to go unadorned, wearing black trousers, a white scooped top low enough to reveal cleavage, and a short-waisted Bolero jacket. Many of the women wore similar outfits, although most wore masks as well. Scully cast a glance around for the familiar figure, but there were any number of tall, lean tuxedoed women who might have been the one she sought. The low, husky voice that murmured close to her ear was unmistakable however.
"I see that you're feeling adventurous tonight."
Scully tried vainly to hide her response as arms closed around her from behind, and soft lips brushed her neck just beneath her ear. She could not quite contain the shiver that coursed through her. Her temper flared as her reaction brought a soft chuckle from the woman pressed close against her. Scully tried to turn in the circle of the taller woman's arms, only to find herself held captive in the strong embrace. She was forced to lean back against Brett's shoulder, turning her face up to see her. She should not have been surprised to see the mask. After all, wasn't that what they were all about? Even when naked, they wore masks.
"Merely curious," Scully responded dryly. She hoped her pounding heart wasn't noticeable.
This brought another laugh, and her companion loosened her hold. There were people to either side of them, but neither of them gave any notice. Scully's eyes searched the gently mocking blue ones behind the mask, seeking some sign that she was not alone in her growing attraction. Beneath the black sequined mask, full lips turned up in just the hint of a smile. There might have been a welcome there, but Scully was reluctant to embrace it, afraid to be caught alone in the wanting.
"Come with me. You haven't seen the city until you've seen it from a carriage."
Scully allowed herself to be drawn through the crowd by the tug of Brett's hand in hers. They escaped out the back door and after hurrying down another series of narrow alleys, they emerged to find a horse-drawn buggy awaiting them. They settled in the back and with no apparent instruction, the driver pulled away.
Scully rested her head on Brett's shoulder, and Brett laid her cheek against Scully's hair. Wordlessly, their bodies touching, they stared into the night as the carriage traveled through the teaming crowds. Eventually, they turned onto the River Road, and the hectic atmosphere of the Quarter gave way to an elegant avenue of historic mansions outlined in moonlight. The antebellum structures spoke of a more refined time and a long departed world. When they turned up a tree lined drive illuminated by gas lamps, Scully stirred as if from a dream.
"Where are we?"
In answer, Brett leaned toward her and kissed her, a kiss that did not ask permission, nor seek acceptance. It was a kiss that spoke of possession. When she lifted her lips away she whispered, "Somewhere far away from all of them." Brett stepped from the carriage and offered her hand.
Scully wondered how Brett knew, about Mulder, and Diana, and Skinner -- and -- all of it. She knew Brett knew -- felt it with absolute certainty -- as surely as she knew that what she was doing was dangerous. Scully took Brett's hand and followed her onto a wide verandah, aware of music playing softly somewhere on the first floor. Then Scully reached up and gently removed the mask.
Brett smiled. "Does that tell you anything more?"
"Disguises don't frighten me. I've seen them all," Scully answered.
Brett didn't reply. Instead, she stepped forward and took Scully into her arms. Scully was momentarily nonplussed to find that they were dancing. It was a waltz, and somehow, her body moved with Brett's as if falling into an old familiar rhythm. Their bodies met and cleaved effortlessly, softness blending, heat and substance merging, yielding to the motion as intimate as making love. She closed her eyes, and let go of her fears for Mulder, her distrust of Diana, and the terrible feeling of being alone. Only when she realized she was climbing stairs, did awareness return for an instant. Then it fled once more as they lay down on the large poster bed in the moonlight, under a canopy of lace. She reached for the buttons on Brett's shirt with a sense of rightness she had not felt in months. She shifted enough to allow Brett to remove her blouse, and then her trousers, and finally any encumbrance until they lay facing each other, naked and exposed. For a fleeting moment, the masks were gone.
Brett's fingers trailed over her skin, stroking from her knees up her sides, raising goosebumps on her flesh, stirring tremors deep inside. Scully caught her breath, and stared at Brett's lips a fraction away from her own. She traced Brett's lower lip with her tongue. She felt the heat radiating from Brett's body, and when the warmth of Brett's hand closed over breast, she urged her nipple harder against Brett's palm.
"I've missed you," Brett whispered, her fingers squeezing the sensitive tissue.
"Don't say that," Scully replied hoarsely, aware of the trickle of arousal between her legs. *Don't make me want you any more than this*
Brett obeyed, remaining silent as she dipped her head and captured Scully's nipple between her lips. Scully's hands were in her hair then, pulling her closer, urging Brett to open her mouth and take more. Brett did, sucking, biting lightly, clutching Scully's ass, forcing her leg between Scully's thighs.
"Too long," Scully gasped quietly, pressing her rapidly swelling clitoris against Brett's skin. *God, you feel so good*
Scully whimpered as her body throbbed, and she bit down hard into the tender flesh of Brett's neck. Brett answered by sliding her hand between them, her fingers grasping the length of Scully's clitoris, milking it slowly from the base to the tip. Scully bucked against her hand, and Brett tightened her grip around Scully's waist, keeping her captive, torturing her with caresses that stopped just short of what she needed. Brett's tongue and teeth were merciless on Scully's nipple, intensifying the crescendoing pulsations in her clit.
Scully's nails bit into Brett's back, her mouth frantic on Brett's skin. She jerked in Brett's grasp, so close, but helpless to find that single elusive stroke that would trigger her pleasure. "Oh, god, pleeaase--", she moaned.
Brett's head was swimming, the blood pounding in her ears, her hips thrusting in time to Scully's moans. "Come inside me," she gasped. She parted her thighs and in one sure motion Scully entered her. "Oh Jesus ohfuck-- yess--"
The circle completed, they struggled to balance on the thin edge of desire, breathless, every muscle tensed, assaulted by the waves of pleasure threatening to erupt. No past, no future -- only an endless present of perfect union.
Brett broke first. "Can't -- ohI'm coming --" She pressed her face to Scully's breast, sobbing, trembling, eyes closed tight on unnoticed tears.
Scully soared on Brett's passion, the darkness behind her lids exploding with colors, robbing her breath, stealing her soul. If she never awoke, she would have no regrets.
But of course, she did awake. It was either very late, or very early. The bed beside her was empty. On the pillow lay the sequined mask, with a folded sheet of paper.
Scully slipped from the bed and peered out the window. At the far end of the drive, a cab awaited. It had probably been there for hours, and would no doubt wait indefinitely. She knew what was written on that single page, but she calmly crossed the room and picked up the note.
"Laissez les bon temps rouler, ma chere"
Scully allowed herself only a second of sadness before drawing on her own cloak of solitude and indifference. She left the crumpled paper lying beside the mask. She did not look back.
DISCLAIMERS: The characters of Scully, Mulder, Skinner and others/events introduced on the X-Files are the sole property of Chris Carter etc, and are used here without permission for entertainment, not for profit.