Licked to Death

One day Jim is listening very intently to Blair and Blair gets all scared because Jim is listening really hard and he's afraid Jim is going to KILL him with his powerful sense of hearing! So Blair runs away.

Dejected, Jim decides to go out to lunch. He enjoys his sandwich a lot. In fact, he's tasting the HELL out of it. The guy sitting at the table next to him starts to feel strange, somehow all the protein in him is being sucked out. He runs from the restaurant only to drop dead on the lawn!

Because this is a crossover, Mulder and Scully show up. Mulder says, "Scully, I think this man was tasted to death!"

Because Scully is a skeptic and also because Mulder is insane, Scully rolls her eyes and suggests flesh-eating bacteria. For good measure, she also mentions frogs with toxic saliva.

And Mulder says, "But, Scully, his flesh is undisturbed. Whatever happened to him, happened on the INSIDE." Mark Snow leans on his keyboard and we fade to commercial. Meanwhile, the tasted man is very, very shiny.

Fade in to Cascade, population 800,000 and steadily declining.

Mulder starts asking around town if anyone has seen anyone with an incredible sense of taste. Scully goes to do the autopsy.

Mulder gets sidetracked to an interior decorator's office, they get into a discussion about his couch and that pool ball coat rack of his, which has somehow been extrasensorySEEN, recently. And Mulder can tell. Someone's after his coat rack. They like the way it looks.

Across town, Scully cuts open the tasted guy....

She discovers that the tasted man seems to have been...licked. Repeatedly. There are abrasions on the inside of his stomach lining. Or, if that's too disgusting for you, figure he'd been licked on the outside, and perhaps his pores are clogged, and he's covered with a fine laminate of rubbery saliva, and he drowned. And that's not disgusting? Let's just say he was just mysteriously dead. And there's nothing in his stomach. At all. That'll do.

So Scully's done with the autopsy. She goes upstairs to Major Crimes.

Meanwhile, Mulder is eating some really fine French cuisine by the best chef in Cascade in the highest, most rotating restaurant in the whole city. Music is playing and there are many bouquets of freesia. Mulder wonders where Scully is. He decides to sneak her out a canapé and some Cherries Jubilee.

At the police station, Jim is in the break room, drinking some coffee. We know he's in the break room because it's painted on the door. Jim notices Scully. Her FLAMING RED HAIR blinds him like the light of a thousand titian suns, but he keeps staring. He looks at her very closely.

Scully feels like she's being someone 30 yards away and behind a frosted glass door that says "BREAK ROOM." She charges down the hall and into the break room.

Somewhere, we can hear Blair's heart beating, in fear for his Very Best Friend.

Scully is just about ready to accuse Jim of looking at her with intent when Blair skitters down the hall and slides into the break room, ready to protect Jim from the woman with the gun and the unnaturally high heels.

We can smell his pheromones and fear, now, too.

Because Blair has a thing for strong, opinionated, independent women, he's looking at Scully with intent too.

She wallops 'em both with a glower.

Mulder arrives with canapé and Cherries Jubilee, flaming, in hand. He tries to restrain Jim, who he perceives to be looking at his partner in a very dangerous way. Scully ducks beside him, afraid of these intent-looking men. Jim holds out a hand to brace himself from the flame of the cherries, and the entire Jubilee (what the hell is a Cherries Jubilee, anyway?) goes up in more flames and then splashes on the ground.

"Scully! This is him! Careful, he'll LOOK at you to death!" Mulder is so excited that his sentence structure goes all to hell.

Scully scrapes cherries from her suit coat and furrows her brow at Mulder.

Blair is scared now, afraid Mulder's telling the truth.

Suddenly Scully collapses to the ground, cherries everywhere. She can't get up.

Jim is weeping.

"Jim, man, is it true? Earlier, when you were...listening to me...." Blair shudders, imagining the irony of being listened to death by his partner and Very Best Friend.

Mulder is still confused by the Cherries Jubilee. Was it supposed to be flaming like that, or had something gone terribly wrong?

Jim weeps louder. He is feeling for everyone (we added a sense) and his heart is breaking for all the repressed tension and the Very Best Friendship in the room.

Blair is distraught! He didn't want Jim to cry!

Mulder wonders how he managed to drive downtown with flaming cherries in his hand.

Blair's head throbs, and Jim hears it, and the hearing makes it throb harder. But it's his Very Best Friend, and Jim can't stop hearing the anguish, and Blair collapses beside Scully, slippin' and slidin' in the cherries.

Mulder is a very good driver.

Scully wonders if this is how it feels to be looked at to death. She didn't think it would end this way. She had thought the cancer would kill her, or the gunshot wounds, or the immolation, or the psychopaths with their ice picks and scissors and fake vampire teeth. But not this, never this.

Mulder drops the canapé when he realizes someone is looking at his Scully. He dives between Scully and Jim, feeling Jim's eyes all over his chest. Or rather, not eyes all over his chest. Eyes in his head. Just the two of 'em, anyway. Unless he wears glasses.

Jim thinks he would have liked to TASTE the Cherries Jubilee before the man who smelled like MulderScent dropped it. Jim inhales, tasting. The entire room shudders. Molecules of human flesh tremble.

Jim's getting hungry. And we all know what happened LAST time he was hungry. A man died! A shiny man!

Blair thinks he knows what's happening. "Jim, man, you've got to control your SENSES or we're all going to DIE! Just stop sensing...just stop for a little while!"

Jim hears Blair's heartbreak again.

Blair tries not to let his heart break so loud.

Jim stands perfectly still. He claps his hands over his ears, and then Blair claps a hand over Jim's mouth because Jim is out of hands.

Mulder drags himself up from the floor, forgetting why he was rolling around in lukewarm cherry sauce.

Blair likes the feel of Jim's lips against his hand, but only because it means he's helped his Very Best Friend not kill people. Not for any other reason. No sirree bob.

On the floor, Scully moans. She just remembered her dry cleaning bill from last month. Scully knows that cherry sauce doesn't come out.

But Jim can still smell, and Scully can feel it. Her cherry-covered jacket trembles as Jim smells the sauce.

"Blair!" she shrieks. (Though Scully would never shriek.) "Hold his nose!"

"Scully!" Mulder shouts, even though she's right at his feet. "Scully! You have to take off your jacket!" Mulder says, still yelling.

Blair does as Scully shrieked, and he enjoys the feel of Jim's nose against his fingers, but only because it shows how much he and Jim have in common, as Very Best Friends; they both have noses. Now Jim can't breathe. But he can still FEEL. And he feels somethin' awful. As in, he feels, somethin' awful. It's the warm proximity of Blair.

"And your PANTS!" Mulder adds in, thinking in the heat of the moment Scully will never notice how much he's enjoying this. He doesn't realize this story no longer has anything to do with him.

Blair's closeness thrills Jim, but only because of the fact that Blair has saved him, and he owes him his life, unless he passes out from not breathing. But here, he can feel Blair. Blair feels like flannel and basketball games and Chinese noodles. He feels like all of Jim's favorite things. Though he doesn't feel like beer because beer is bubbly and Blair is not.

Blair feels like a late autumn day and a soft pretzel. Jim finds he wants to bite Blair, just a little, like a pretzel.

But Jim can't breathe. And it's been a while. Scully says, "Let him go, Blair! He can't breathe! Humans require oxygen to live! I know! I'm a doctor!"

Blair is so afraid! He takes his hand from Jim's nose and leans in close and whispers, "Breathe, friend, BREATHE!" Blair realizes he's not doing a very good job of whispering.

And the room shudders as Jim inhales through his nose. The canapés fly at Jim's face. Cherries sail through the air. Scully breaks a heel. Mulder has the uncomfortable feeling that there's an extra canapé in his trouser pocket.

His pants are being pulled toward Jim's nose!

But Jim needs more. He bites Blair harder, like a hard pretzel. Blair lets go of Jim as Mulder, pants first, flies toward Jim's face.

Scully suddenly realizes her completely platonic and yet erotic love for her partner! She can't allow his pants to be sucked so!

Windows shatter. Jim takes his hands off his ears and he hears the shattering, and shards of glass dive through the air at Scully and Blair. Both angular Teutonic men throw themselves upon their smaller partners, protecting them from the flying glass.

Bits of Mulder's pants remain in Jim's nose. They're all atangle and Scully's hair is brighter than ever!

Jim can SMELL and HEAR and TASTE and it's getting to be too much for him! He almost wishes he were blind and deaf and dumb, like a mime down at the waterfront because there's only one way out, and he knows it: He will inhale, and hear at the top of his powers.

Blair can tell Jim is thinking something dangerous; he can't let his partner go through with it!

But Jim does. And the entire room twists up like a commercial for Pepsi from the straw's point of view and gets sucked into Jim's nose. He is alone in the void. Unless he was hallucinating. In which case, Blair is still worrying. Loudly.

"Jim, nOOo!" he screams like a shaken pop can.

Jim opens his eyes to see Mulder, pants last, climbing down from his nose and sliding to the floor. Scully denies everything, though she is covered with a shiny substance that could only have come from inside Jim's nose. Elbowing Mulder in the gut, she protests the physics of the whole thing. "This is more ridiculous than faster than light travel!" she proclaims.

"You were there, Scully!" Mulder says earnestly. "You were IN JIM'S NOSE, and STILL you DENY IT?"

"Trust no one," she says. "And trust no one's nose."

Blair is confused. But happy that his Very Best Friend is no longer dangerous.

Jim is embarrassed at Scully's blatant display of alliteration. Scully flashes her hair, blinding him with love for her, and for the fact that his partner and savior likes strong women. Jim begins to sing.

Blair has never been happier. Not even when Naomi brought him that comic book that time they were in Cuba and the revolutionaries were fire-bombing the clinic.

"Now you know what it's like to truly love...I about in a platonic manly way...your partner, Agent Scully," Blair says.

Scully eats a canapé, to hide her love for Mulder. (The writers aren't sure what a canapé is either, but this doesn't bother Scully.)

Mulder is thinking about his couch at home, how it cradles him so lovingly when he doesn't sleep at night. He misses how Scully eats the canapé with such lust and sex appeal.

And Jim is still singing. God bless America. Mulder agrees. God BLESS America. And, forgetting their respective partners, they walk off dripping in four directions, for the four senses. Only, there are five senses. Scully will write that in her report later, but Jim will lick it too, so no harm done.