Here In the Dark

Title: Here In The Dark
Author: TLynn

Feedback: Yes, please tlynnfic [at]
Distribution: Anywhere, just let me know so I can visit
Rating: PG
Category: MSR, angst
Spoilers: post-ep of sorts for ‘Three Words’
Summary: If she can believe, he can believe.
Disclaimer: Not mine, never have been, never will be.

Thanks: To Carol for the beta and some of the best encouragement a girl could ask for. To Circe, also for the beta, for her sharp eye, and for hosting me at her lovely site:

And to Vickie Moseley, for a recent e-mail conversation that led me to give this story the focus it needed.

* * *

Everything was the same, but different. The coffee table seemed further from the couch than he remembered, the windows seemed larger. It was indeed cleaner than he’d left it, but the lamplight seemed unnaturally bright and the refrigerator seemed unusually loud. He turned the TV on more out of an old habit than a desire to watch it, but all it had to offer was static and snow; he hadn’t bothered to turn his cable back on. Rhythmic pulses of soft light washed over the apartment walls, reflected in his eyes as he stared down at the screen.

“Mulder, what happened in there?” she had asked as she drove away from the Census Building, casting a long glance in his direction.

Her voice had been small, almost afraid. He’d hated that there was even a small part of her that might fear him and his reaction to anything she asked. But he didn’t know how to reassure himself of anything right now, let alone his partner.

“The FSC is now a dead end, that’s what happened.”

A heavy sigh had told him this was not the answer she’d been looking for. She’d kept her eyes on the road, but glanced in the rearview mirror with enough consistency to make any paranoid proud.

Neither spoke again the rest of the way. She’d stopped her car in front of his building and turned the engine off, effectively amplifying the silence between them. She’d opened her mouth to say something when he spoke instead.

“Goodnight, Scully,” he’d said. “Go home and get some sleep. I’ll call you tomorrow.”

He’d closed the door with a little more force than he meant to, but didn’t turn around to apologize. She’d restarted the car and driven off before he’d taken even a dozen steps.

He’d felt an ache in his chest then, one that mirrored the ache he felt now, staring at nothing on his television screen. He was exhausted, but restless; his body was weary, but his mind energized not only by the events of the evening, but also by the events of the last several months.

Everything was the same, but everything had changed. Only one thing had remained consistent: his pursuit of a truth and the men responsible for covering it up. He felt a strange comfort in that as he wandered into his bedroom, stripping clothes off his body as he went. A glance at his bedside clock told him it was nearly 3 A.M. ‘Scully should be home and in bed by now,’ was his last thought as he collapsed onto the bed and into a fitful sleep.

* * *

The images are shattered in his mind, but they are clear: gleaming metal, long needles, blades and restraints. The feeling of panic is just as clear. ‘Why?’ his mind shouts. ‘Why is this happening? I need to get out of here.’ His heart threatens to beat clear out of his chest. He can’t move. Panic. He can his skin being pierced, His body invaded even before the blade reaches him…

He wakes with a start, sweat beading from his brow. He throws the covers from his body and tries to calm his breathing. The dream — the memory — is already fuzzy, but the intensity of it remains, throbbing in time with his still-quickened pulse. That’s when he hears it. He knows it’s her key that’s turning in the deadbolt, can recognize her soft footfall on his hardwood floor as she enters. He hears the soft ‘click’ of the door closing and focuses his eyes to watch her as she passes through the threshold of his bedroom. The light from the streetlamps outside is negligible, so all he can see is her silhouette, swaying slightly with her pregnant waddle as she walks.

Pregnant. Scully is pregnant.

He thinks he remembers screaming her name while in restraints, while blinded by lights shining from above, while a blade sliced through him.

She makes her way to the end of his bed and the mattress sinks beneath his feet as she sits. He can make out her profile now, but her head is bowed slightly so her hair, longer than he remembers it, covers much of her face. He likes her hair long like this, he thinks absently. He needs to remember to tell her that.

“Are you awake?” she asks.

Though anticipating it, her voice startles him slightly. Here in the dark, without any distraction, it’s loud, demands his attention, and carries with it a distinct frustration and a profound fatigue.

“I’m awake,” he tells her.

She doesn’t speak for so long, he wonders if she ever will.

“Look, if this is about tonight–” he starts.

“This isn’t about tonight,” she says, cutting him off. “I need you to know something, Mulder.”

His chest constricts anew at her words, though with an altogether different intensity, not sure he wants to hear what she has to say; with all that’s happened in both of their lives, anything truly is possible. As evidenced by her still-growing belly.

She hasn’t moved, her gaze still cast downward as she speaks to him.

“Something you said the other day has been weighing on me,” she says. “You said you didn’t know where you fit in–”

“Scully,” he interrupts, sitting up. “I just–”

“No,” she says, and he stops.

“How could you not know where you fit in?” she asks, finally turning her head to look at him and even in the dark he can see the tears glistening in her eyes. “After all we’ve been through, how can you not know?”

He doesn’t know how to respond, so he doesn’t. He doesn’t know how to tell her he doesn’t recognize himself in the mirror anymore, even with the scars healing. He doesn’t know how to express that he feels like a stranger in his own home, in his own life. He doesn’t know how to tell her he feels helpless sometimes, that the disorientation hasn’t quite left him, that it frustrates the hell out of him that he can’t remember anything but a light in a forest and the shrill frequency of a drill boring into his flesh. How can he tell her that the only thing he can focus on right now
is getting some answers, that part of him wishes she’d just go away until he gets his bearings back? How can he tell her he feels betrayed by her, by her trust in John Doggett, that he knows how unwarranted that feeling is, but that he can’t help it? He can’t tell her. So he doesn’t. Instead, he listens.

“I don’t discount anything you went through,” she continues. “In fact, I think I, better than anyone, may be able to understand some of what happened. But I need you to know what I went through while you were gone. I need you to understand. I buried you. I watched your coffin being lowered into the ground. I need you understand that your being alive now, laying in this bed, is more than I could have ever hoped for. I prayed for your safe return, prayed for one more chance to see you, to feel you, to hold you. I understand your need to find out what happened to you, to find out why it happened, and to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. I don’t begrudge you that; it’s what fuels you, what has always fueled you. But don’t ever question your place in this life, not where the X Files are concerned and certainly not where I am concerned. The powers that be may want you gone, but Skinner and I — and John Doggett — will do all we can to get you back in the Bureau.”

She pauses for a moment then, seemingly to collect her thoughts.

“And yes, this is *our* child. Part of me still can’t fathom that or the fact that you’re alive. But it is and you are and I’m so grateful. I need you to see that. And I need you to see how scared I still am and how much I’ve needed you these past six months, how much I’ve needed you to wrap your arms around me and tell me everything’s going to be okay. Even if you don’t believe it. I need the safety of your arms, the safety of your beliefs. I’ve been shaken to my core, Mulder, and I need you. How could you not know where you fit in?”

She lowers her head again and a heavy silence fills the air.

He finds it remarkable that her voice never once rose. So stoic, his Scully. Her tone was verging on conversational as she sat here in the dark and confessed her deepest thoughts and feelings. Theirs was a relationship of things unspoken and she seems undaunted by turning it on its head.

Then he notices; the emotions fueling her words may have been absent in speech, but that calm, even tone is belied by the trembling of her hands.

He goes to her, swings his legs over the side of the bed and presses his thigh into hers, wraps his arm around her shoulder and pulls her against him. Her head rises only to fall upon his bare shoulder and he buries his nose in her hair. She smells different than he remembers and it suddenly strikes him it was she, this new Scully, he was smelling on the cotton of his bedsheets since his return. This new Scully, heavy with emotions that ran as deep as his own, heavy with fear of yet another unknown, heavy with hormones and a child. Their child. The thought still made his head spin.

“Everything’s going to be okay,” he says softly. He doesn’t know if he believes it.

Her breath hitches and she turns to him, wraps her arms around his neck and holds him tight against her. Her belly presses against him and is as soft and warm as the rest of her. He holds her, too, and feels the wet of her tears on his neck.

She pulls away and when his body instinctively moves to follow her, he thinks it’s a good sign that he’s coming back to himself. Her hands cup his face, her touch so gentle he can barely feel it, and her eyes find his. She nods her head and he thinks she believed him when he said it was going to be okay. He thinks maybe it will be; he thinks maybe if she can believe, he can believe.

Here in the dark, he’s not quite the man he used to be. But he’s on his way.

* * *