Title: They Only Hit Until You Cry

Rating: T

Summary: Pre X-Files. In 1989, Mulder meets a young girl in his apartment building with a terrible secret. Inspired by the song ''Luka'' by Suzanne Vega.

Disclaimer: I don't own the X-Files, or any of its characters, and I do not own the song ''Luka''; that belongs to the brilliant Suzanne Vega.

Author's Note: I love this song, if you haven't ever heard it, you really should. I was inspired to write this story, but song fics aren't allowed, which is totally fine, because I didn't really want to make it a songfic anyway. Some of the stuff Luka says is in the song, but I parapharased and switched some things around. Enjoy!


October, 1989

His footsteps echoed throughout the hallway, making a hollow, dejected sort of sound. Fox Mulder pushed his longish hair off his forehead irritably and peered around. It was pretty dark, being only 3 in the morning on a now-Saturday. And normally, when someone comes dragging him-or-her self miserably home at that ungodly hour, it is because they've had a bit too much fun, to the point where it isn't any fun anymore, at all. But, no, he wasn't drunk, unfortunately. He wished he were, though, because then maybe a blissful, intoxicated stupor would will away the pain of a relationship that was rapidly dissolving into a terrible mistake.

The apartment building was as quiet as a tomb, now that he had come to a halt outside his own door and was fishing around in his pocket for the key. Mulder's keen perceptive abilities, however, felt a pair of eyes in the blurry darkness, watching his every move. The young FBI agent's hand immediately felt for his weapon, and he was preparing to draw it and say ''Don't move; federal agent, I'm armed,'' when a small, tired voice came out of the shadows before he could open his mouth.

''I'm not going to hurt you.'' It was a young girl's voice, by the sound. A soft, feminine voice, but there was a hint of steel there...and something else that he couldn't place. Apathy? Fatigue? Oddly enough, she sounded almost amused to tell him she meant him no harm, like it was terrifically ironic in some way that he should be frightened of her.

''Who are you?'' he asked. ''Why are you sitting there in the dark?''

''There isn't any light.'' She said this to him in tones that conveyed that she found him to be somewhat stupid. ''It's three in the morning.''

''I know full well what time it is...why are you lurking around here? I'm a federal agent.'' He stated his title simply because he needed to hear it. It comforted him, made him feel that he had made something of himself. But when he spoke the words, they fell lamely like stones, and didn't make him feel any special way at all.

''I know who you are. You're Special Agent Fox Mulder, with the FBI,'' the voice said this all in a kind of singsong way, ''you're tall and sort of thin, you have greenish eyes and fat lips and a nose that's too big for your face. You have a girlfriend who works with you, named Diana such-and-such. She has dark hair and a kind of pointy, evil face. She could almost be pretty if she didn't look like she was about to knife you in the back.'' The voice laughed humorlessly, then. It was a terrible sound, like sandpaper.

''Who are you?'' Mulder asked again, amazed that this disembodied little-girl voice knew nearly everything about him.

''My name is Luka,'' she said simply. ''Luka Franklin. I live on the second floor. My apartment is directly above yours. You might have seen me before.''

He searched his mind. Apartment directly above...wait. That was the apartment where there was always some kind of fight going on. He sometimes heard a man and a woman screaming at each other, sometimes they'd battle into the early morning hours. There would be shouting and yelling and cursing...and occasionally even the sound of something breaking. The police had even been by there several times after recieving a domestic disturbance call.

And he had seen Luka before, or at least the person he suspected she was. A waiflike young girl, about 16 or 17, with pale, almost sallow skin, grayish eyes and long dark hair. He recalled passing her one day, she had been wearing a huge gray sweatshirt that was ridiculously oversized on her, she nearly disappeared completely inside it.

''Were...um...are you alright?'' Mulder asked her.

She laughed again; that scratchy, awful sound. ''Please, don't ever ask me how I am.''

He was a bit taken aback, but merely said ''Ok.''

There was a few moments of silence, and then Mulder asked, ''Can I ask you why you're sitting down here in the dark, at three in the morning? Did you just get home, or something?''

''No,'' Luka said, ''to your second question. I've been home for hours, since school let out yesterday. Um, the answer to the first question is a bit more complicated. Maybe I'll tell you some other time.''

She got up from where she had been sitting on the floor. He saw a vague blurry outline like a shadow moving. It moved thinly and sadly.

''Good night, Agent Mulder,'' said Luka, and then walked away until she vanished completely into the darkness of the corridor.