Title: Future’s Benediction
Feedback: Always welcome and appreciated more than you know…tlynnfic [at] gmail.com
Distribution: Also welcomed — just let me know so I can visit
Category: MSR, angst, AU
Summary: What if it went a different way?
Disclaimer: They belong to Chris Carter, 1013, Fox, and the disgustingly talented actors who portray them, not me.
Thanks: To my beta, Carol, for always catching the little mistakes as well as the big ones. What, me proofread? 😉 And to Circe for housing my fic and for making the most beautiful graphics to accompany them.
Author’s notes: This is the fifth and final installment of a series of vignettes that explore the complicated progress of a physical relationship between Mulder and Scully. The goal was this: though each has a little something to do with the previous, they are near-standalones and can be read independently of each other if you so choose. So was this a WIP? That’s your call; I made no promises.
More notes at end.
* * *
“It’s not worth it, Scully.”
“I want you to go home.”
“Oh, Mulder,” she responded with a half-smile. “I’m going to be fine.”
“No, I’ve been thinking about it,” he said. “Looking at you today holding that baby, knowing everything that’s been taken away from you; a chance for motherhood and your health. And that made me…think that…maybe they’re right.”
“The FBI. Maybe what they say is true, though for all the wrong reasons. It’s the personal costs that are too high.”
Unbidden, tears began to sting her eyes. His warmth had begun to seep into her now and combined with his words, created a space around them like none before.
“There’s so much more you need to do with your life. There’s so much more than this.”
His hand passed over her face in a single caress and his voice was whisper.
“There has to be an end, Scully.”
He lips pressed against her cheek, his head settled atop her shoulder and even as she held his hand to her face, she couldn’t suppress the sense of incredulity bubbling up from within. She allowed herself a moment more to take in his presence, to enjoy the simplicity of his body around hers, offering support. It would have been easy to stay there, easy to acquiesce, to silently agree with his conclusions; she was rattled by her sudden malaise and her body was heavy with fatigue.
But she couldn’t ignore his words.
She silently moved away from him, out from under the covers until she was sitting on the edge of the bed. She turned her head to look back at him and his expression, though expectant, held no trace of realization.
She huffed a small laugh and shook her head.
“And end to what?” she asked.
He stared at her, brows furrowed in slight confusion.
“To the monopolization of your life, Scully,” he finally said. “Before it’s too late for you–”
She laughed again, stopping his answer short. She stood then and he moved to follow, but she held out her hand, stopping him again. He settled back down and watched as she paced a few steps back and forth, collecting her thoughts. She finally turned to him again, her hands wrapped around her middle. Whether that was in defense or in ailment, he couldn’t tell.
“What more is there?” she asked, the question clearly rhetorical. “What more do *you* think I should be doing? I never thought I’d have to defend my choices to you, Mulder. To my family, yes, but never to you.”
“No,” she interrupted. Her body shook with a deep inhalation of breath and she exhaled slowly, calming her nerves. “No. How dare you. Yes, terrible things have happened to me and to my family as a result of my being with the FBI, of being apart of the X Files division. But because of those same circumstances I have a real chance at making those responsible pay for their actions. I have the
chance to expose them for who they are and what they’ve done. It isn’t an easy justice and it isn’t a swift one, but it’s more than I’d be able to do in any other position.
“Yes, there was a time when I wanted more, when the prospect of a home and a family of my own wasn’t a far off notion. But things have changed, as they always do. I could never go off and pretend that I haven’t seen or done the things I have, couldn’t make some lame attempt at reclaiming a life others think I should have.”
Her eyes never left his as she spoke, her voice never rose, and her resolve never faltered. Anger wasn’t what radiated from her words or posture, but rather weariness and hurt; he recognized it immediately.
“And I certainly couldn’t do it without you,” she finished.
He rose then and moved until he stood in front of her. Her arms remained clasped around herself, her defenses up, and he winced inwardly. He lifted a hand and placed in on her shoulder, gently pulling her towards him. Her head fell forward and she allowed his embrace, but it lasted only a beat. She stepped back from him quickly and moved to the door as she spoke again.
“Part of me will always mourn the loss of that dream and I will *always* mourn the loss of a chance at motherhood, but my life isn’t empty or meaningless without those things. This is it, Mulder. This is my life. There is nothing else, not in my mind. I would never dream of asking or telling you to stop your pursuit of the truth and I resent that you’re doing just that of me. This is what I chose and what I still choose. This is where I belong. I thought you, of all people, would understand that by now. More than that, I thought you would be the one to respect it.”
“Scully, wait,” he said as she opened the door, ushering in the cold night air. “Please don’t walk away right now.”
“I’m tired, Mulder,” she said. “I’m just…tired.”
He stood, words escaping him, and just watched as she closed the door and left him alone.
* * *
Her senses were alert as soon as she heard the footfall on her porch and she recognized his lean silhouette through the curtains immediately. He picked her lock easily and stepped into her room, blaming any guilt he felt over forced entry on the motel’s lack of adjoining rooms.
He came to her in the shroud of darkness, his steps silent as he tiptoed, and she couldn’t help but smile to herself. The bed dipped as he carefully lay down behind her and the familiar warmth of his body pressed against her back. He wrapped an arm around her, recreating their position from his room just hours ago, and she sank further into him.
His voice above her ear was hushed to a whisper.
She turned until she was facing him, her arms snaking out from under the blankets to curve around him in a tight embrace. She felt his body sigh.
“You should be,” she mumbled into his neck.
He chuckled softly against her. It wasn’t until the rhythm of her breathing changed, deepening as she balanced on the edge of sleep, that he uttered her name.
“This is where *I* belong.”
* * *
His words still echoed in her mind two days later as he prepared to leave her behind. As an abductee, she knew the risk of once again entering into that Oregon forest, but fatigue wracked her body and hindered any lingering desire she might have had to follow him this time.
But something else pulled at her and she felt her composure crumbling as she embraced him. She couldn’t — she wouldn’t — ask him to stay, certainly not after her speech in Bellefleur, but she was baffled by the overwhelming desire she felt to do so anyway. She felt him slipping away even as she held him in her arms and it visibly shook her to her core.
“You need to see a doctor,” he said, pulling away to take in her trembling body.
She stepped back and shook her head.
“I’m fine, Mulder,” she said automatically.
He studied her, scarcely believing it was only days ago that they huddled together in his bed, confessions of happiness replacing those of hardship and despair. He’d hoped it was a sign of things to come, a confirmation of their strength as a pair and of their fortitude to prevail against those who sought to harm them, those who dared to rip them apart.
“Scully…” he pleaded softly, taking one of her hands in his.
Her nod was curt and she stepped back from him as Skinner stepped out into the hallway, his forehead wrinkled in concern.
“Everything okay out here, Agents?”
“Yes, we’re fine,” she assured him.
Her attention returned to Mulder, to his expectant stare, and she nodded again, slowly this time, not sure whom it was between them she was trying to convince. His eyes lingered on her for a moment before turning to Skinner.
“I’m going to Oregon,” he said. “Today.”
“And you’re going with him, Sir,” Scully announced.
* * *
He couldn’t explain the sense of foreboding, couldn’t understand why it was so intense. Standing in Skinner’s office, he was compelled to return to the woods, to see, once and for all, real and true evidence of his life’s work. Nothing was going to stop him; his mind reeled with the implications, his body buzzed with anticipation.
But something wasn’t right. With each passing second, his anxiety increased. Skinner sat next to him on the plane, oblivious to the racing of his heart and the sweat of his palms; perhaps he mistook the shake of Mulder’s knee to be impatience or excitement.
The captain announced the plane’s descent. Mulder’s pulse pounded in his ears.
*Something wasn’t right*.
It hit him like a bolt of lightning and sucked the air from his lungs, leaving him gasping for air.
“Mulder?” Skinner’s baritone sounded next to him. “Are you okay?”
“Scully,” he whispered. “I have to get back to Scully.”
“What are you talking about?” Skinner asked, confused. “We’re about to land.”
“Something’s wrong,” Mulder said.
It was all he could offer by way of explanation. It was all he knew.
* * *
Only the small beside lamp was switched on, creating more shadows than light across the expanse of her room at the North Georgetown Medical Center. He entered slowly, quietly, and saw her under the bed’s covers, lying on her side, her back to him. She didn’t move, even as he perched next to her, his mind still reeling from the doctor’s words.
“She had a miscarriage,” he had said. “I’m very sorry for your loss.”
The implications were too numerous and he had walked, numb, in the direction the nurse had pointed.
Her voice, though near a whisper, made him jump. When he didn’t answer, she turned over until she faced him and his heart broke at the turmoil in her eyes.
“How, Mulder?” she asked again, her voice breaking. “How did this happen?”
She hadn’t cried when she heard the news. In fact, she didn’t believe them at all. ‘Impossible,’ she’d said, despite the cramping and bleeding. They’d started as she woke up after having collapsed in Skinner’s office, perhaps even before, and somewhere deep inside, she had known the only thing that could have been the cause. And now, as he gathered her in his arms, she allowed herself to mourn the loss of something she didn’t even know she had. Her body heaved with each sob, her arms clutching at Mulder with all the strength she had.
Several long minutes passed before she lifted her head from his chest.
“You’re here,” she said, eyes red, tears streaking down her face.
“I’m here,” he said.
He shook his head. “This is where I need to be. The rest can wait.”
His face mirrored her own, the imaginings of a life once out of reach cycling with the realities of the night.
“I wish I had known,” she said.
“I know,” he said. “I know…”
“What does this mean?”
He gave her the only answer he could.
“I don’t know, Scully, but we’ll find out.”
* * *
End notes: THERE! Mulder doesn’t get abducted, Scully doesn’t have to bury him, Mulder doesn’t ever have to wonder where he belongs in her life when he comes back, and the X-Files can continue sans baby, but with the idea that maybe, just maybe, it’s not out of the question for them to have a child at some point in the future.
I know *I* feel better.
Now, I’m a purist, not usually one to deviate from canon in my writing or my reading. I actually quite enjoyed much of the angst brought to us with seasons 8 and 9. What can I say? I’m an angst whore. But even the best misery can wear at a girl. Why you gotta hurt my Mulder and Scully so much, Mr. Carter?
So maybe this could have happened instead. Why not?
Thanks for reading, everyone.