After We've Said Goodbye: Chapter 9: Innocence Lost
By Jaime Lyn
And it's hard to say what it is I feel.
And you wonder if I'll always be with you.
But words can't say and I can't do,
Enough to prove that it's all for you.
------------ Sister Hazel
Offer up your best defense... But this is the end of the innocence...
---------- Don Henley
If there was ever anything that I had taken from my years, from my
experiences, and from my tragedies in life and on the X files, it was
but one small piece of wisdom. One trivial slice of advice, wisely
passed down from an innumerable amount of generations---from the
beginnings of time, over the ages, and until this very moment : If we
are to survive in a cruel universe, may we never forget how
insignificant we are---from the largest animal to the smallest insect.
From humans to field mice to germs. No matter what the problem or
tragedy, we are still small--especially in comparison to the larger
And I had always firmly believed in that, too. I had always held it to
be self-evident, that in a universe of infinite possibilities, one
man’s life---or one life’s civilization--- was but a pinprick on the
greater scale; A needle in the haystack of an unknown existence.
After all, if the universe is, indeed, an infinite realm, then most
certainly, Earth is nothing but a crumb on the edge of forever; A rock
farthest from the reaches of time. Yet somehow, we are closer to the
concept of time all the same, simply because we have accomplished the
ultimate miracle. Because we breathe; we live. Because we are miracles
in our own right, and yet we are so infinitesimal at the same time.
It’s always been so ironic that way.
And there’s so much out there we don’t understand, so many things that
the Galileos and Copernicuses of the world never planned for, and yet
we still claim to know it all. We are so small---so trivial when the
universe is so large--yet we believe to know it all. Probably because
we want to know it all. We need to.
But who are we to know it or predict it? Who are we to play God with
our science and our experimentation--to try and undo the threads that
bind us--just to see what makes them tick? Who are we, indeed, but
small echoes in space.
One voice, among many.
I had always held that as truth.
However, I have also found, through what I can only describe as a
simple twist of fate in an infinitely cruel universe, that there is
quite a bit of contradictory evidence to refute the theory that we are
"but mere pinpricks on the edge of forever."
Because I am starting to believe again... but not in that which I had
I am starting to believe in the possibility of importance. Of one
person affecting the lives of so many, that perhaps we are larger than
we realize, although we are still small in contrast to the larger
Extenuating circumstances have begun to convince me that all I had ever
thought to be true--that all I had ever held dear--- has really been a
lie. That the universe in which I lived--- and continue to live---- had
never really boiled down to how small we were, and how, in retrospect,
it was possible that "others" lived among us.
I was spending my life chasing after lights in the sky, running after
the shadows of conspiracies, when that, in reality, was not what life--
--or at least, my life--boiled down to.
I am only now realizing that it has always been the life of a single
woman ---the woman I was never supposed to have fallen in love with--
that may have been the key to my survival all along. That she may
have been the eventual link in the chain---in the big picture---this
entire time----and that she is not only the key to my life---but the
key to the continued life of an infetesimal race on an infentesimal
My truth lies in the woman who will, in another time, eventually save
the miracle race living on the edge of forever. A woman who is,
potentially, the source of life for a universe, and not only my
personal universe, but the universe of the greater picture.
And so I was brought back here to save her life--for she has saved mine
so many times that I can’t even count them. And I have sworn to her,
to myself, that I will not fail.
Because, in respect to the grand scale and the universe in general, I
am but one man. However, I am but one man entrusted with the endeavor
of saving the woman who will save the human race.
Not an easy task, I assure you.
But I will do it. I will, and I swear to everything true and real in
this universe--as large or small as it may be-- that I will. I will
I will do it, but not because an infinitely large universe would care
whether the population of our small planet was wiped out. I will do it,
but not because time could stop if I didn’t, or because the world could
end if she does not live.
I will do it, but for purely selfish reasons.
I will do it because of something that transcends the boundaries of
common sense and reason.
I will do it because I love her.
It is no more and no less than that...
Around 5 pm
The year 1993
"Scully, at least look at me."
Mulder touched an index finger to her leg, brushing slightly against
her knee. Her softly highlighted auburn hair, waves that she blow
dryed straight, fell across her face and neck like a sheild,
obstructing his complete view of her features. Her normally regal
posture was sagged, her suit seeming all at once too big for her tiny
She looked so... small...
That, in itself, was weird. That she appeared so small, so frightened,
was, in his opinion, oddly disturbing---if only because he had always
thought of Scully as anything but small, despite her height.
Most noticably though, her eyes refused to meet his.
And trust, for Scully, had always meant making eye contact. Looking at
him and sealing an unspoken promise with little more than a glance.
That she would not look at him now, that she refused to meet his gaze
troubled him more than how broken she looked. It bothered him more
than the tear he had brushed away, or the sagged shoulders that made
his beautiful partner seem like a small child.
"What is it you want me to say, Mulder?"
Her voice was small as well. It cracked slightly, and his name shook a
bit with the halting tears that he knew she was chastising herself for
He hated that she did it, that she strangled her emotions so
completely, but then, things like that came with the territory. It was
a just part of her. A side of Scully he had always forced himself to
accept---however grudgingly: That no matter what he said or did, Scully
would always punish herself for things like that. For crying. He hated
accepting that side of her, that side that always struggled to be
strong, but he accepted it, al the same. Because she was Scully.
Because she was HIS Scully.
<And right now, she's crying because of ME. ME, god damn it.>
Mulder bit his lip harshly. God, how he hated himself sometimes.
Scully shook her head.
"What do you want me to DO?" she asked, choked. "I don’t know what to
say to something so... so..."
Her arm came up as if to make a point, but she dropped it to her lap as
her voice trailed off.
"I just want you to believe," Mulder answered honestly. He tapped her
knee gently as he spoke, punctuating each word with a light touch. She
granted the silent request and looked up at him, confused blue eyes
"What is it I'm supposed to believe?" she demanded softly, wringing her
hands. "That all I had ever been taught my entire life is a lie?"
"That everything we know about physics, about the universe and time--
about science as it applies to common knowledge, that it's all
Mulder shook his head and sighed defeatedly, leaning back against the
Damn. He should have expected her not to believe him. To question his
sanity. She wouldn’t be Scully if she behaved any differently.
"I don't know," he answered honestly.
Scully took a deep breath.
"Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t just do that, Mulder." She leaned back
and circled her neck in weary defeat. "No matter what you claim, I
can’t just discount the basic laws of nature."
Mulder stared at her.
"I know you can’t," he ammended, "I know..."
The room was silent for a moment, then. Mulder watched as Scully’s
fingers adjusted and re-adjusted the hem of her skirt, apprehensively.
Nervously. It was almost like sign language.
Scully translation: I think I believe you. I want to, but that scares
the shit out of me.
Mulder cleared his throat and swallowed, hard. He knew what was
happening here. He KNEW. This was Scully after all, and not just
anyone. If he was going to convince her, to get her to trust him, then
he was going to need something other than regurgitated childhood
stories and trivial facts.
"So, what then?" she asked.
He scrunched his brows and lay a tentative finger over hers. "I don't
know," he repeated, not wanting to say it, but not knowing what else to
say. His fingers traced lazy circles over her knuckles, tickling her
index finger. But she did not pull away. Instead, she simply stared
down at his hand, blue eyes unfocused and hazy.
"Please, just hear me out, Scully."
Upon hearing him, her eyes met his, troubled azure gems swimming in
"I thought I was," she insisted, as if hurt he would accuse her of not
caring. "I just" I can’t…" She paused and frowned, confused and
unable to find the words to quantify what she was feeling.
Sheepishly, Mulder took his hand away and balled it up in his lap.
"I’m not lying," he told her, fevered. "I swear to you, Scully. Please
trust me on this…"
Scully looked down again, adjusted her suit jacket, brushed off a piece
of lint, and fingered her tiny gold cross before meeting his eyes.
"Mulder," she started, looking at him sympathetically, "With all due
respect, and I know I'm not the certified psychologist here..."
Mulder raised an eyebrow, leaning his arms against the back of the
"Don't say it Scully," he warned, closing his eyes. "I know what
you're going to say, so don't---"
She quirked an eyebrow of her own at him.
"Don't say what?" she challenged.
He shook his head. "Scully--"
"That if, by some fluke chance, you HAVE developed some sort of self
"I'd know if I were losing it, Scully."
She bit her lip and they stared at each other; Mulder resolute and
rigid, Scully confused and vaguely composed. Her fingers unwittingly
played with the corner of her suit jacket, twisting and twisting, until
her index fingers turned red and raw with the effort.
"How would you know?" she asked, trying so desperately to sound firm.
Mulder brushed an errant strand of muted copper out of her eyes, and
she trailed his hand as it brushed across her ear.
"Because…" he paused to drop his hand to his lap. "If nothing else,
Scully, then just believe me when I say that I would never do this to
you unless I was sure. I’d die before intentionally hurting you."
Her brows scrunched slightly then, as if trying to process the last
part of his confession, and her legs shifted position. Her lips were
silent. She didn't really know what to do or say. She didn't know
anything anymore---not anything, except for the insanely intense desire
to trust him. She didn't know why she felt that way--and so strongly,
but she did.
She opened her mouth and closed it. He stared at her, and then moved
his gaze to her hands.
"Jesus, Scully," he breathed, and she furrowed a brow.
"What?" she querried lightly.
He motioned over to her reddened fingers, and pulled them from their
figiting place on the inside corner of her jacket. He folded them
inside him grip and massaged them lightly.
"Keep that up and they'll start bleeding," he commented, and she nodded
briskly, staring down at their entwined fingers in fascination.
It was a highly charged fascination that frightened her to no end.
"I don't know how to believe you," Scully admitted, honestly, still
watching their fingers.
"You don't need to," Mulder replied softly---smiled, and then looked
down.---at their entwined fingers. His and Scully’s---his massaging
gently, Scully’s pulling slowly and tactfully away.
Damn, he thought.
His cheeks turned pink, brain faintly realizing that he was still
harboring this obsession with touching her---- to assure himself she wouldn’t
pop. Sheepishly, he let her hand fall to her lap. Scully cleared her
throat. Mulder looked up into her expression and drank it in, still
reeling from the idea that she was sitting there in front of him. That
she was alive, even if she wasn't the woman he remembered.
She's Scully, he thought, relieved. She's Scully, and that's all that
"So what am I supposed to do?" she asked him, shifting her position so
that she was no longer sitting so close. "Why are you... I mean,
hypothetically speaking, why would such a thing--"
"I'm here to keep you alive," he interrupted, fixing his gaze upon the
far wall. The desk that was in the wrong spot; the lamp he had broken-
-or will break, such as the case may be.
"Keep me alive?"
He did not look at her, did not meet her eyes. If he was going to
explain this next part, then he was going to have to look somewhere
else. He refused to look at those perfectly shaped cupid's bow lips,
the soft ivory skin that set off the stark contrast of ice blue eyes
against soft red hair. Her innocent expression, her confused
features--the part of Dana Scully that he felt he had unwittingly
stolen from her, once upon a time, all those years ago.
She USED to smile--- a lot, way back when…
Mulder shuddered to recall the exact moment she stopped smiling that
soft smile. That wide, unsuspecting smile. The smile of the young and
His Scully never smiled like that anymore. His Scully had seen too
much; done too many things she had never wanted to do.
With a heavy heart, Mulder finally looked at his young partner. She
was silent, eyes beseaching, posture rigid still, but a little more
relaxed than before. He looked at her longer, lighter hair. Her older
dated clothing. He looked at her, really looked at her, and forced
himself to make an agonizing decision. To differentiate, separate, and
remember who this was. To give her an identity apart from the woman he
had grown to love.
This may be Scully, he told himself. But it wasn't his Scully. It
wasn't the Scully he had fallen in love with, and he had no claim to
If he was going to stand a chance in any of this, to keep her alive, he
would need to tell himself that...
Over and over...
"It’s a long story," Mulder managed. "And I’ve told you some of it,
but I haven’t told you everything. Not the reason I was sent here,
anyways… or the reason I think I was sent here…"
Scully stared at him with wide, disbelieving confusion. Mulder ran a
lazy hand through his hair, then dropped it to his lap. He opened his
mouth, closed it, and then—-as if reaching an epiphany--- reached into
his back pocket.
Oh my GOD! He thought suddenly, struggling to yank out what he was
searching for. I’m so dumb—-of COURSE!!! The idea—-plain as day now---
made him feel moronic for not having thought of it earlier, and he
silently scolded himself.
Scully watched him pull out his wallet.
Please, Mulder thought. Please may it still be in there...
He flipped the worn brown leather flap open and rummaged through it.
Two credit cards, an account number card, three receipts from the 'Gas
and Save,' and one from 'Arby's' all exactly where he had left them.
Unceremoniously, he yanked them out, peered at the dates, and thrust
them at her.
Scully frowned slightly and gazed at the receipts, scanning them and
examining them carefully. She recognized them from local businesses in
the area, some places she herself had been to, but the dates printed on
them... Oh god, how were these dates even remotely possible?
"Mulder," she breathed, her heart skipping first two beats, and then
three. "The dates on these, they---"
"Now do you believe me?"
She looked at him wearily.
He tossed her his credit cards and continued to rummage, not looking
back at his partner as he did so.
Watching him intently, Scully reached out her arms to catch each one in
succesion as he flung them.
"VISA," he called, and a gold card flipped into her lap. "American
Express." A green one followed in succession. She plucked them up
with carefully manicured fingers.
"Check out the card design---the expiration date. It's not forged, I
swear it Scully."
He frowned and burrowed his fingers deeper--behind his drivers license.
Damn it, where was that photo?
Scully glanced at him one last time and did as told, sweat beginning to
wet her hands, heart beginning to skip four and five beats as she read
each card and turned it over. "EXP 2/99" said one. "11/98" said
another. This was impossible. Oh god, she thought. Please let this be
an elaborate joke...
When he finally found the last two objects of his search, he stopped to
look at her, and waited for her to place the cards in her lap. She did
so, and then picked her head back up to look at him, slow understanding
trickling down over her brain. He could see the broken, conflicted
emotions in her eyes. The sadness of realizing that a science she had
always thought as absolute, was really no better than the theories and
lucky guesses of those scientists that had created it.
God, how he hated doing this…
He was about to disprove everything she had ever believed as true--pull
the rug out from under her, so to speak, and he knew that it would
hurt. It would sting, and it would forever change her.
This was the end of the innocence.
"This is why," Mulder managed, and unfolded a softly crinlked piece of
newspaper. “This is what I don’t know how to tell you…”
The folds in it were worn, as if he had taken it out and looked at it
over and over--which he HAD, and the edges of it were ripping. The
clipping was folded around what looked like a color photo--also worn
looking, but in slightly better shape. He held out his hand to her and
spoke, staring into her cerulean eyes.
"And I’m warning you, it's not going to be easy…”
In respose, she jutted her chin out and took the paper, as if to try
and remind him that she could handle anything. Anything and
everything, always, fine, fine, fine, as Scully told him time and
She stared at the photo first, setting the newspaper clipping on her
lap. He watched as her eyes softened, and she ran a finger over the
two forms at the center of what looked like an interesting kodak
moment. It was something Frohikie had taken in the Lone Gunmen office,
Mulder remembered, when he had been using his new camera--- a little
too much for Mulder's liking. The tiny, stout man’s prodding and
begging had persisted, for a half hour---at LEAST--until at last,
Mulder had turned to his companion and sighed, "Just smile, Scully, if
you want to shut him up."
In the end, Scully had raised an eyebrow at him and he had made a face
in return. The corners of her mouth quirked upwards, and he nudged her
in the side, playfully. The both of them smiled then, staring into
each other's eyes, and Frohikie had snapped the photo--later giving it
to Mulder as a gift. And though Mulder had laughed at it at the time,
shrugging it off as “just a stupid picture”---he'd kept in his wallet--
-underneath his drivers license---ever since.
He watched younger Scully trace her index finger around older Scully's
hair, her right hand unconciously creeping up to her longer, lighter
bob. Then she fingered her suit, frowning as she looked down at it,
then at the photo, and then back at Mulder.
And out of all the things she could have and should have said in that
very moment, “um, the hair is shorter” was definitely not what she had
meant to say.
Mulder nodded. “Uh, yeah,” he replied, softly. “Yeah, it is.”
Silence reigned for a moment.
“So what do you think?” he asked, and young Scully bit her lip.
There was a slight pause, and Scully realized that nothing she could
say would accurately depict what she was feeling. Confusion, anger,
jealousy, resentment… What was she supposed to say to him?
So in the end, she decided that denial would be the best policy.
Beating around the bush, and what not…
“Well, She’s very pretty,” Scully noted, still staring at the tiny
picture with a mixture of awe and envy.
The smiling woman encased in that photo looked so sure of herself. So
sophisticated appearing--- so professional and confident. And, if she
were to hazard a guess, she’d also assume that this “photo woman” was
Confident and Aggressive as well—-always ready to take charge. The
look of fire in those familiar blue eyes gave it away. And it was so
very unlike the way that she felt most of the time---like everyone was
evaluating her and watching her. If anything, she certainly never felt
as assertive as this woman looked. And she never appeared that well
maintained either. The photo woman’s suit was finely tailored—-
certainly nicer than any of the outfits she currently owned, and her
hair and makeup looked no less than perfect.
No, she decided. No. There was no way that this woman was her.
“Uh, Scully?” Mulder prodded, pointing down at the photo. She merely
looked back at him, blankly. “I mean, ah,” he winced and forced himself to
that adjustment, that differentiation. “Dana,” he ammended, closing his eyes
let the name sink in. “Dana, that woman is you.”
Scully stared back at Mulder and shook her head as if surprised at the
“No,” she replied, smiling wistfully. “No. But it’s a close match.
I’ll admit that, Mulder. I mean, the eyes and the shape of the face…
but there’s no way that’s me.”
She glanced back at the picture, running gentle fingers over the
expanse of “photo Scully’s face.” Mulder watched her in disbelief.
Could it really be possible, he wondered, that Scully had changed so
much over the years, that she had evolved to such an extent? That when
it all boiled down to it, she wasn’t even the same person anymore?
That “Scully,” the woman he had fallen in love with, was not the same
entity as “Dana,” the woman who had tenderly introduced herself all
those years ago?
Were the two THAT far removed from each other?
You wouldn’t know, his inner self reminded him. You wouldn’t know
because you never asked. You never inquired about ‘Dana.’ All you
ever cared about was ‘Scully.’—that is, you cared about her
when you were caring about someone other than yourself…
He shook his head resolutely.
“It’s you,” he insisted, and he shot her a gentle half smile. “Trust
me—-I was there. But even if I hadn’t been… well, believe me when I
tell you-- I’d know your face anywhere.”
Scully blushed at that and set the photo down, staring off into her
lap. Mulder bit his lip and seized the opportunity, leaning close to
whisper in her ear, to say the things he had never dared say to
‘Scully’ when she had been alive.
“And you’re just as beautiful as that photo, Dana. Trust me, you
His hand brushed over hers, lightly, and he felt her arms tremble in
Her eyes shot up to meet his, her cheeks pink, and their gazes met,
silent. Understanding passed between them, even though Scully looked
more like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck.
Mulder’s heart raced for her, his pulse thundering up a storm in his
ears. Certainly, he realized, he had just uttered a statement that he
would have never, not in a million years, ever have pictured himself
saying to Scully. At least, not to HIS Scully.
But this isn’t my Scully, he repeated to himself. As a matter of fact,
this isn’t Scully at all, this is DANA. This is the woman you never
took the time to acknowledge. The woman who disappeared because of YOU
and YOUR quest.
‘Dana,’ the woman who had come before ‘Scully.’ The innocent person he
had never known.
Suddenly, he wanted to know her. He wanted to know her desperately.
Scully narrowed her eyes at him slightly, and then widened them—-as if
“Mulder?” she asked softly, and he nodded in acknowledgement. “This
woman in the picture---and I’m not saying that it’s me, persay…”
She paused and bit her lip. “Well, it just appears to me… I mean, not
that it’s my business or anything, but are you… Well, you just sound
like… like maybe you’re in---“
“Newspaper,” Mulder interrupted suddenly, and cleared his throat.
Uncomfortably, Scully frowned.
“What?” she asked.
Mulder looked down, hoping that she wouldn’t be able to see his eyes,
and pointed to the folded newspaper clipping in her lap. For whatever
reason, he had a pretty good idea of what she had been about to say and
there was no way that he wanted to deal with that now.
He just wasn’t prepared to answer her.
“You never looked at the clipping,” he pointed out, and she nodded,
giving him a strange look before unfolding the gray paper in her lap.
When she did, he winced and looked away. He had to. Because every time
he saw it in print, it killed him, over and over. A bit of him died,
Next to him, he heard Scully suck in a breath.
“Oh my god, Mulder,” she gasped. “This is… This says…”
“I know,” he answered.
Her lower lip quivered softly, and he resisted the urge to reach out
and touch her chin.
Not Scully, his brain reminded him, over and over like a scratched
record. She’s not Scully… Not Scully…
When her brilliant blue eyes found his again, they were full of
questions. Questions he wished he had answers for. Questions he wished
he could erase from her beautiful face. From that innocent expression.
“This is a joke,” she managed, futiley, but he shook his head at her,
“No,” he managed. “I wish it was, but it’s not.”
She shook her head in disbelief.
“Killed in the line of duty,” she breathed, mouth nearly agape. “God,
Mulder. What… what happened to me?”
Mulder shook his head and sighed.
“Too much,” he answered sadly. “A long succession of wild goose chases
He stopped in mid sentence.
“Mulder?” she asked. “Mulder, what is it?”
Mulder’s brow furrowed, but he did not answer her. Instead, he reached
into his wallet gingerly, pulling out a tiny blue piece of paper that
caught his eye; one he was sure he had never seen before.
He unfolded it and poured his eyes over the large, red, crayola
writing; big and sloppy, like that of a child’s scribblings.
“It’s a number,” he said to no one in particular, and Scully stared at
“A number?” she asked. Mulder nodded.
Scully set the newspaper clipping down and peered over Mulder’s
“So?” she asked, still frowning, “It looks like a long distance number.
Maybe even international. What’s so significant about that?”
Mulder turned the blue slip over in his hands, flipping it several
times to see what else was written. Nothing was, however, and so he
carefully set it back inside his wallet. He then grabbed the photo, his
cards, the receipts, and shoved them back into their homes, quickly and
Briskly, he got up, shoving the wallet into his back pocket, and thrust
a hand out to Scully.
“I’m going to ask you one last time, Scully. Do you trust me?”
She stared down at the pro-offered hand.
“Why?” she asked, suspiciously.
“Because I need you to come with me,” he replied.
Scully took a deep breath and bit her lip, mentally weighing her pros
and cons as she stared at his hand.
“Where are we going?” she questioned.
He shook his head.
“No time to explain now---I’ll explain on the way.”
Scully closed her eyes and sighed, picturing the multi-faceted fates
awaiting her; rubber aliens, missing time, lights in the sky, Billy
Miles. She took a deep breath… in and out…
God, no matter where she went, that case would always haunt her.
When she opened her eyes again, she found him staring at her for the
millionth time---that look of odd admiration and repression of some
sort---still clear and bright in his eyes.
“So do you?” he leveled with her, briskly, “do you trust me?”
Scully opened her mouth, but could find no words. For whatever reason,
for whatever twist of fate that had landed in her lap, she felt safe
with this man. She felt needed. She didn’t know why or how, but it
wasn’t something she could readily erase.
So she didn’t.
Instead, she placed an unsure hand in his.
“Yes,” she said softly, without much confidence. “I… I trust you,
Mulder smiled then, a wide, all encompassing broad smile, and he
squeezed Scully’s hand softly.
“Good,” he breathed, nodding, then taking deep breaths to regain his
Scully nodded back, gulping in spite of herself.
“Well, then uh…” Mulder tugged on her arm and led her out the door,
carefully sidestepping her to make sure that no one was hiding behind a
doorway or entryway. Scully halted her steps and Mulder tugged her
securely in back of himself, using his taller stature as a kind of
sheild—-just in case they might need it.
“Ok, let’s go,” he said resolutely, and Scully shook her head,
resisting the urge to laugh.
Go? She thought, tenuously trying to maintain a grip on reality. Go
where, Mulder? The nut house? La la land? My new padded room?
He lead her out the door.
She didn’t know why she set so much faith in him---in the idea he was
telling her the truth-—or at least, what he believed to be the truth,
but she went along with him anyhow and it terrified her.
She NEVER trusted anyone that freely or readily. Damn it. What was
wrong with her?
And not only that, but in the forefront of her mind, Scully realized
that she had no clue where Mulder was taking her…
<My god,> she thought, heart racing. <What have I gotten myself into?>
To be continued in Chapter 10. Stay tuned.