Title:  The Dish and the Spoon
Author: Jaime Lyn
Email:  Leiaj@bellsouth.net
Spoilers: Not many.  Up to season 5.  Basically, you’re probably going to want to know who Diana Fowley is.
Rating: Some PG-13, Some R for bad language. (Yes, they’re censored on TV, but if they weren’t…)
Disclaimer:  If you think I own any of these people, you’re nuts.  Nuttier than I am, actually.  And that’s a lot of nuts.  End Disclaimer.
Summary: Rain, wind, Mulder, Scully, Diana and… a meteor shower?  What the heck is going on? Who will emerge victorious in a game of love and war?  It all happened just the way they saw it.
Archive: Yes, anywhere.  (Though I’d love to be emailed so I can visit the archive and lurk around… hee hee)
Feedback:  Yes please.

Also* Author's note: this is the DIRECT follow up to (in the universe following) "The Way I Saw It" but you'll probably understand this even if you haven't read the other story.  Its ok.  Don't fret. *grin* But if you HAVE read the other story (particularly, the ending) and you think this story is going to be lovey dovey----turn back now. This is Mulder/Scully tension at some of its highest (and hopefully, most amusing) although there IS MSR in here (what did Scully say--you have to know where to look?? *grin*) But I love writing Mulder and Scully arguments (they're a lot of fun) and since we all know that arguing perpetuates... well, making up.. keep on reading...

Usually, I start out my stories with shippy lyrics or a shippy poem to "kick everything off."  I try to evoke the mood by doing this, and now is no exception.  Recently, I read this poem and pondered the "implied romance" of its ending.  Mulder and Scully's lives are filled with such chaos and strangeness, I sometimes wonder if maybe one day, maybe after having had enough, they'll run away from it all.  Lord knows I would, if I were them.  Thus, this is where the title of this piece came from.  Please read, enjoy, and analyze to your hearts content. I had a lot of fun with this one.

Hey diddle diddle.
The cat and the fiddle.
The cow jumped over the moon.
The little dog laughed to see such sport,
and the dish ran away with the spoon.

For Jill.  Thank you.

The Dish and The Spoon
By Jaime Lyn

Starting with Diana
Friday, April 23rd,
10 pm

Thunder crashes. Wind blows... Rain falls... It happens without failure all the time. Life is so simple and easy that way.  Like for instance, thunder never argues with lightning over which should come first.  Storms are made up of partnerships that never question each other. Never.  They’re sickeningly powerful that way.

"Damn it, Mulder! watch where you kick!"

People, on the other  hand...

"Shut up, Scully, just---"

But then again, I hate storms.  And I hate people too.  People and storms, though both are head to head in a tie right now for my ultimate hatred.

"Excuse me, Mulder?"

“I said shut up.”


See what I mean?

I haven’t ALWAYS hated people, mind you.  Actually, when I was a child, I got along well with pretty much everyone.  I did.  And all I had to do was smile, batt my little eyes, and  I’d get got oohhhs and ahhhs from everyone in the neighborhood. I loved them and they loved me. Of course though, when I was four, I loved everything.  I loved my friends and my relatives. I loved my dog Katie. I loved the fire-hydrant down the street.  I loved the trees…

I loved my parents too.

That is, until my father ran off with the barmaid from down the road---some bleached blonde airhead that was more chest than actual “woman,”  and that “Brady bunch family” fantasy of mine went straight to hell.  After all, 'Marcia, Marcia, Marcia' I was certainly NOT, and my mother wasn't exactly the picture of stable morals, either.  And that's besides the fact that I never spoke to my father again.  I never wanted to. I didn’t care.  I didn't need him---or anyone else, for that matter.

But regardless of whether or not my father’s an asshole, he did teach me something.  God help me, he DID teach me a lesson with that one. Because  on that day, on that day that I watched him drive off with Marcy-whats her face, I vowed that I would never rely on another human being for anything.  I would never become that co-dependent. Not ever.  Not if my life depended on it. After all, look what had happened to my parents.

So I went through college and that principal suited me just fine.  A few relationships here and there, but nothing that I would have called spectacular.  Then I got through Quantico and it helped me out wonderfully: trust no one.  Good. Great.  I never did.  Next lesson.

But then, along came Fox Mulder---spooky extrordinaire, and I broke my number one rule.  I let him in. I let myself be dependent on him.  I never meant to, but I sat back and watched it happen anyway.  I berated myself for years after that, using my time away from him to “shake him off,” like a bad habit, but the fact still stands that I had wanted it. I had wanted it, I had wanted HIM, and if I could have done it over again, I would have done it the exact same way.

And that still bothers the shit out of me.

But then again, that’s also part of the reason that I hate his partner.  Dana Scully. Dana “up on a twisted pedestal” Scully. I just… I hate her. Hate her with a capital “HATE” that transcends any common sense or real ground that I should have for disliking her.

And the thought occurs to me (often) that I don’t hate her for the right reasons. I don’t hate her because she’s a flake, or because she’s ignorant or high-pitched and whiny.  She's not any of those things. And I don’t hate her because she’s there, and I don’t hate her because she’s his.  I mean, know she’s his.  I do.  And let me just tell you--- right now--- I could care less. She can have him.  They can have each other.  I don’t care. So, no. That’s not it.

I hate Dana Scully because of who she is; because of WHAT she is.

I hate her because she stays with him.  Because she knows how. Because she’s noble and loyal and everything I couldn’t be---to Fox and to myself.  I hate that.  I really do.  I hate her because she knows how to stand there and argue with him----like right now---like she wants to kill him, yet she retains the capacity to love him without fault, to march into work with him the next day. To stand beside him.  To back him up.  She loves him and she knows how to stick around.  To be dependent on him and to need him.

I don’t understand that.  I never could.  So tonight, I had wanted to take that away from her.  I could have cared less what Fox wanted or thought, I could have cared less about the repercussions afterwards---- I just wanted to take him away---from her. I wanted to make her heart suffer the way my heart suffers ninety percent of the time.  But now....

Thunder sounds above and I jump---wind howls, and I have to peel a leaf off my face.  Damn storm…

Mulder slaps mud off of his cheeks, not looking at his partner.  "Then you heard what I said, Scully."

She narrows her eyes.  "Loud and clear."

Remember the thunder and lightning analogy?  About how partnerships are really like severe thunderstorms?

Mulder shakes his head, clenching a fist.  “Then why don’t you just NOT say anything at ALL for maybe a minute or so?”

Like I was saying...  Just imagine Fox Mulder and Dana Scully with News Channel 5 warnings on their foreheads...

I fold my arms and step a few paces to my left, just in time to hear a very loud, very Scully voice spit, “Why don’t you go---”

“E-NOUGH!” I call, just loud enough for them to hear.

I shake my head and turn to them.  Although there are parts of me that would sometimes kill for what they have---most of the time---- there are also parts of me that would much rather shoot them and put them out of their misery.  And mine.

Scully shoots me a look and walks away.  Mulder folds his arms and blinks some rain water out of his eyes.

Inside my head, I can hear dialogue from this old movie I once watched with my mother.  ‘I want you to take the yearling out to the barn and shoot it.’  I sigh and shake my head.  Sure, you can shoot rabid animals but what do you do with two fighting FBI agents?  I am seriously starting to regret EVER having come out here.  I just don’t care anymore.  They can HAVE each other.

Diana's Beginning:
Friday, April 23rd,
7:30 pm

“Is there anything else you need, Agent Fowley?”

Agent Whitmore is standing right behind me, sounding anxious.  I turn, shooting him a cordial look. He’s probably one of the more annoying agents I’ve ever come across, but at least he’s helpful---if not just the least bit conceited and overbearing.

“No,” I say, trying on a forced smile that probably looks a little like constipation.  “I just have to do a few things.  That’s all.”

He nods and tips his head, as if to say, “well alrighty then, little lady.  I’ll see you tomorrow. Let me just ride off on my horse, Silver.  Hi-ho Silver, AWAY!”  I bite down on my lip and squelch the remark I would just love to make, instead, tipping my head in a manner similar to his. What is it with men and needing to act like Cowboys to the rescue?  Do they honestly think that we buy all that macho crap?  Whatever.

I turn and make my way down the hall, stopping just short of the gray elevator doors.  I look left, then right, pressing the elevator car-call button. I look more like a guilty spy than a federal agent…  And that can’t possibly be a good thing.

Ok, I know I shouldn’t be doing this.  I shouldn’t be going down to snoop, but I can’t help it.  I can’t.

I remember my mother used to tell me that curiosity killed the cat, that snooping is wrong….wrong, wrong, wrong…  Of course though, my mother isn’t exactly the most wonderful example of wisdom and morals.  After all, we’re also talking about the woman who once walked into a plate glass door and apologized to it.  The woman who my aunt caught on the neighbor’s washing machine, “doing the laundry” with Mr. Lawson next door, and I DON’T mean “the delicate cycle.”  But now I’m getting away from the subject---

The elevator door pings.

Just a little peek, I think. Just a peek.  I have the right, after all.  Those were MY files before they were hers.  Before they were Dana Scully's.  And Mulder WAS MINE before he was…

No.  I’m not going to get into that.

I step inside and press the “B” button for “Basement” and the door closes shut behind me.

I stare at the wall and start to hum softly.  Right now I feel nervous and guilty and there’s some idiotic song stuck in my head. Damn it, I can’t remember what the hell the name of it is… What is that show again?  The one with the guy and those people on that island?  The shipwreck and the… the… the guy?  God, What the hell was his name?  The little guy with the hat? I knew it this morning, and it’s not like this is brain surgery but…

The doors swing open to reveal the basement.  I shake my head.

Right, Diana. Focus.  Task at hand: find out what Fox is up to.  He seemed way too happy today, especially for the morose Fox Mulder.  Like he was walking on air… odd.

Slowly, I make my way down the hall and push open the door to his---excuse me, THEIR office. (Even though the nameplate on the door says “Fox Mulder."  Little Miss perfect Dana Scully doesn’t seem to have one of her own.  Shame.)  Anyhow, it’s not hard to get in here. For whatever reason, Fox and Scully never seem to lock this door with the deadbolt—you’d think they’d have learned by now, right?  But then, I guess it’s not as if anyone in their right mind would want to go poking around in here anyway.  Not anyone but me, that is.

Remind me to have my head examined.

Stepping inside, I can see that Fox is just as messy nowadays as he always was, using his desk as a filing system that only he and God understand. Several of his folders are spread out over the blotter in no particular order, the pictures and contents scattered about his desk as if an evil paper monster regurgitated everywhere.  A few stacks of receipts, injury sign-offs, expense reports and mumbo-jumbo from the aforementioned  folders are stacked on top of his keyboard, one stack having apparently toppled his brass name-plate.  Next to the overturned “Fox Mulder” sits his Quantico coffee cup---the blue one with the gold FBI seal. Closer inspection of it reveals a faint lip-stick mark on the side facing away from the desk.  Peach revlon, it looks like.  At that little discovery I narrow my eyes with a sick feeling.

He lets HER use his coffee cup?  He lets that stuck-up, overbearing, bi----No. Stop that, Diana.  Fine.  That’s fine.  I don’t care… Yeah sure I don’t.  God damn it. When it comes to deceiving other people I'm fine.  But when it comes to deceiving myself, I’m a miserable liar…

I clench a fist and try my damndest to keep from grabbing that lip-stick stained mug and throwing it up against the wall. Oh how rewarding that would feel… How--No. I will NOT be that petty.  I will NOT.  I don’t care if she uses his cup. I don’t care. I don’t---I really don’t I--

Am full of shit.

My eyes casually find the bulletin board.

Funny, when Spender and I worked in here, we never put any posters or pictures up. We never had any clippings or headlines or anything.   But then again, neither one of us really CARED one way or the other what this place looked like.  After all it was just a basement, just an office.  Why would I decorate a place I wasn’t even going to spend much time in?  But now I digress.

I run a lazy index finger over one headline: “Alien baby eats mother.”  And then another: “Modell, murder suspect escapes. Man hunt persists.” Jesus, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many useless items in all my life.
There are also various pictures and other odd trinkets pinned all over the place. For instance, right next to this one headline that reads, “Crop circles found in Nevada,” there’s a Marvin the Martian postcard, a far-side comic of an alien eating soup, and then, about five inches over from that, there’s a picture that looks like it was taken in a bar.  It’s a quick-shot of Scully, the light and reflection from the flash catching brilliantly in her eyes and hair. And what gets me is that she’s smiling (low and behold, she really is) and  I’ve never seen Scully smile.  She also appears to be blowing out some sort of sparkler, sitting on top of a…a what the hell is that? A snowball?  Do they still make those things?  I wonder what the occasion was.  Birthday?  Solving a case?  No.  Wait.  Nevermind. I don’t think I want to know.

I roll my eyes.

Moving on, a little farther up Scully’s picture, there’s a miniature poster of a silvery UFO with---oh ha ha.  Isn’t that just adorable?---  two scribbled out, light grey post it notes stuck in the center. One of them is of a stick figure that looks as if it were hastilly drawn---a man, obviously, with goo-goo eyes and a crazy expression, his hands flying in the air.  Underneath it, in neat script (her handwriting, I’m assuming,) it says, without any preamble, “Mulder.”  Next to it is another post it note with a similar stick figure.  It’s a woman, most definitely, with one eyebrow raised in over exaggeration, arms crossed and orange highlighted hair.  (Fox always did have a strange sense of humor.)   Underneath it, in messy capital letters---Fox’s chicken scratch, it says, “Scully.”  Both post it notes have been positioned with push pins atop the UFO next to each other.  Aw.  Isn’t that sweet?

Yeah.  Sure.  It is, by far, the saddest, sorriest excuse I’ve ever seen for a story book romance.  What pathetic lives we lead, sometimes…

Disgusted, I turn away and find the desk again.  Only this time I am standing on the other side, having deftly side-stepped Fox’s wobbly excuse for a desk-chair-slash-filing system.  The back of it is hanging over the rubber neck holding the arm rest, and one wheel is dangerously loose.  Good lord.  No wonder they don’t lock the door. This place is giant booby trap.

Anyhow, I am now standing at a fairly good angle to read Fox’s blotter----or should I say, his appointment book.  (Like I said, disorganized to a fault.)  And I can see that he’s been working on… what is this?  Looks like an abduction case… two girls missing.  Could be extra terrestrial in nature.  And right below that it says… Pattern arising.  Ask Scully about Patterson post-mortem.  Whatever that means.  I shake my head and stifle a laugh.  Was there really a time when I valued this insanity more than my career?  I sigh.

Hey.  Wait a minute.  What is this?

I shove away a folder to see Fox’s scrawling handwriting-on the upper right-hand corner of the blotter.

“Met. S.  April 23rd. Scully, 9pm.”

Oh no. no no no no no…

Met. S?  Met. S?! No, that couldn’t possibly mean what I think…  It couldn’t, it just…  Wait? April 23rd?

I look down at my watch and the date is confirmed--April 23rd, indeed.  I grit my teeth and smack the desk with an angry fist.  “Son of a---“

I shake my head and turn to leave the office, whirling on my heels, not even caring that I’ve just knocked numerous papers off his desk.

No.  Oh no. Oh, I DON’T THINK SO! Dana Scully may have taken the X Files, and she may have taken Fox away from me, but she will NOT--and I mean NOT--- take away our one and only tradition…No.  Not like that Marcy-whatever-her-name-was took my father away from me.  She took my bedtime stories and my holiday cheer and my... Oh no no no…

I stalk out of the office.

Met. S.  Met. S means “meteor shower” in “Fox Mulder-talk,” and if this means what I think it means, it means that Fox is planning on taking his precious, wonderful Scully to go see the meteor shower tonight. Shit. I had forgotten all about that and now he's taking her.  He’s taking her.  That son of a bitch is taking HER instead of ME.  DAMN IT!  THE METEOR SHOWER was OUR THING!

I narrow my eyes and mutter to no one in particular, “over my dead body.”  I clench my right fist even harder.  Fuck!  Think, think, think, Diana.  Calm down and just… think..  It’s only 7:30, I think.  Only 7:30.  I still have time.  I can still intercept them…Yes, that’s what I’ll do.  I don’t care how petty or stupid or….

I slam the door closed so hard that it rattles the shelves.

10: 07 pm

Thunder booms even louder overhead, signaling that the weather is not going to give up any time soon. Great.  Agent Scully turns to Fox and shoves some rain water out of her eyes.

“Mulder, why don’t you try to push again?”

He doesn’t turn around to face her. Oh great Fox.  That’s great.  Why don’t you start another argument while you’re at it?

He shrugs.  “Why?  It’s not going to do any good.”

I turn away, disgusted.  I don’t even want to know what she’s going to say to that. I don’t care.  I can just FEEL another argument coming on.

And sure enough, from behind me, I hear her call, “So you’re just going to stand there?” then, his retort, “it would appear that way, wouldn’t it, Scully?”

Wind… more wind howling and thrusting leaves from their branches. The rain is slamming down in angry waves onto the top of the car and the top of my head. I think I can hear each and every drop of water on hard metal. Jesus, why does it have to be so goddamned loud? I squeeze my eyes shut. How in the hell are we going to get out of here?

I fold my arms across my chest and study my feet---or at least, what I can see of my feet through the pounding rain and relentless wind.  The drops are falling in clumps the size of golf balls and the wind is throwing it at us sideways.  The lightning illuminates us in a halogen-like glow every 30 seconds or so, the intervals between strikes throwing us into almost complete and utter darkness.  The arguing of Mulder and Scully and the squeal Fox’s tires every time we try to move occasionally punctuates the howling of the wind, though the boom of the thunder is loud and close and it makes me incredibly nervous.  Oh I hate thunderstorms.

“---No---“ I hear.  “I am NOT going to stop, Mulder, and I’d like to thank you for your dependable maturity.  I am just as aggravated with the situation as you are.  So just listen to me for one second.  If Agent Fowley gets in and taps the accelerator again, and you and I push a little harder against the rear bumper, we might be able to extract your car.  But we can't even try unless you abandon this attitude you're harboring and just push the god damn---“

“Scully, I’m not throwing my back out just to prove to you that pushing isn’t going to do any good.”

Thunder, lightning, rain. All this water and no flash flood. WHY no flash flood?  There’s never a flash flood when you need one.

“How do you know, Mulder?”

Alright, think, Diana. Just think--what was it that my old ex boyfriend from college taught me about cars?  Robert what’s his face?  Ok, try and remember...  He grew up in the glades down in Florida… Mud everywhere---all the time.  Ugh, what was it he used to say about what to do when the car gets stuck in the mud?  Think, Diana...

“---enough, Scully. And I’m not going to sit here and debate mechanics---“

“---- insight.  I grew up with two brothers.  Why don’t you----“

“----never said that you----“

“---semantics, Mr. Goodwrench Fox Mulder---“

Oh god, I can’t think with them screaming…

"---apology Scully, for addressing me like a mentally challenged ignoramus---"

"Fine Mulder.  I’m sorry you’re a mentally challenged ignoramus.”

Oh damn it all to hell. I’ll never get out of here.   I can’t remember what Robert used to say.  Another flash of lightning and I look down.  My feet are soaked through to the bone and I think I can feel fish swimming around in them.  My shoes are heavy and I don’t even want to KNOW what color my feet are.  I was wearing blue socks today, you know… More rain, more wind, more arguing.

“You know Scully,” Fox waves his finger at her for emphasis, “I think you have a dangerous obsession with always having the last word.”

Scully crosses her arms.  “I WHAT?”

“See?”  Fox throws his arms in the air.  “There you go again!”

I grit my teeth and stare up at the sky beseechingly.   Someone strike me down with lightning, please.  It’s close, I know it.  I can hear it.  I'm begging you.

Scully slops some mud water out of her clear blue eyes.  “I won’t dignify that childish remark with an answer, Mulder.”

Fox only laughs at her and yells,  “you just did!”

Scully frowns through the tempest and answers, “no, no I don’t think so.”

“Oh, yes you did!”




“Yes, damn it, see? You see Scully?”

“See what?”

Mulder shakes his head, wiping the glycerine-smooth cover of rain-water out of his face.  “Nevermind,” he mumbles, kicking the muddy tire of his red 97 Taurus, which is, at the moment, completely stuck in the mud.  And then he says it again:  “Never-fucking-mind.”

“Fox---“ I start, a hand reaching out to his shoulder.  Even when I’m angry at him, even now when I want to kill him, I can’t help but feel bad that this has happened to him, that he is stuck here and that she is yelling at him for loving her.  Oh God, if she only knew.  If she only knew the worship he offered, the complete intake of body and soul in one breath, the way he said ‘I love you’…But how could she?  She’d never let him in, never let him love her.  No, not proud Dana Scully.  She’s never known his lingering touch, his hands on her body, I’m sure if it.  Positive.

“Calm down Fox,” I say, forcing myself to ignore the way Scully’s looking at me, the way her eyes are searing holes through my hand on his arm.  I can’t help the way I feel sometimes.  My heart still—and always will—beat hard and fast for this man.

Finally, weary looking and very wet, Scully sighs,  “Mulder---“

Fox looks down at his car and mutters something I can’t hear.  Then he looks up and meets his partner eye to eye, glancing at me once with those familiar hazel eyes, looking for an ally.  Rain and wind whip violently across his shoulders, the heavy droplets slapping hard against his back and forearms.  Lightning argues furiously with the thunder overhead, and Mulder squints, turning to face Dana "oh so wonderful" Scully, once again.

He mutters something that gets lost in the wind and rain.

"I’m sorry we’re stuck out here Mulder,” she says, “But this is not my fault."

For a moment Fox just stares at Scully, his hands slack at his sides and his expression unreadable.  His stance is strong.  He says nothing.  Then lightning illuminates us and intensifies the rain beading down our angry faces.  The glow makes him clearer to me.  The strange silence filled with rushing and pounding rain urges me to look closer, to watch him.  And I can see her inside his gaze.   Fox Mulder’s eyes are filled with Dana Scully and there is nothing else.  I can’t help but feel inadequate next to that… and so nauseous, so very, very nauseous.

Finally, Fox says, “I know that Scully.”  He gestures towards her openly. “but you have to understand—“

Turning away, I try to block them out.  I don’t want to know, don’t want to hear it.  I don’t fucking care, goddamn it.  I am so mad and frustrated and hurt and I can’t help but feel lost out here.  I am lost in the storm and the forest and my own heart… I am lost in myself and I wish I had a partner to argue with, someone whose eyes I lived in, always.

NO!  I shake my head and turn away from Fox.  This is idiotic.  Nevermind him, nevermind her… THINK, Diana!!  You need to get out of here.  “Right,” I say out loud and to myself.  “Right, right, right…”

I step around them and slosh over to the driver's side, shoving dirty, sopping brown hair out of my eyes.  I still can’t help but dwell on the obvious.  He is in love with her.  I know that he is.  I feel it when I look at him.  When I touched his arm, it practically radiated off him in waves.  He’s insane for her and it is killing me.  So fine, whatever.  Let him have her.  Let her have him, whichever.  If I ever get this damn car moving, I am going to leave them here.  I SWEAR to god I am going to leave them in this ditch. They deserve each other.

“---Yes Mulder, but don’t put words in my mouth. I don’t appreciate---“

“YOU don’t appreciate---“

Annoyed, I open the car door to ventilate the stale, humid oxygen circulating inside.  It’s pouring down rain into the upholstery now, but I just can’t sit in this damned car with all the doors closed.  It’s humid as hell and I am going to suffocate before I can kill Fox and his partner.  And that’s not good.  And besides, I am wet anyways, so what does it matter, right?  Just focus and keep calm, Diana. Keep calm.

“Come on,” I say to myself, closing my eyes in concentration.  “Come on, come on…”

With a huff of indignation, I slam myself down onto the driver's seat and turn the key again.  (I’ve tried this about ten times already, but since I’ve got nothing else to do…) The car roars to life beneath me and I push down on the gas pedal.  Sputter, sputter. Engine running but no movement.   I can hear the tires spitting mud and weeds and water everywhere.  Fuck, fuck, fuck.

From outside the open door, I hear: "So what am I, Scully?  Your liability?  Is that it?!”

I bang my arm against the steering wheel.

"Next time, don't DITCH me and I won't have to come after you!"

I close my eyes and try to concentrate... Rain, rain, go away...


Is there steam coming out of my ears?  I think there's steam coming out of my ears.

"You said you wanted to stay home, Scully.  So fine. I didn’t think you were going to need to know my every single movement!”

Slowly, I open my eyes and focus on the window. Rain, rain, wind, and more rain. Probably the worst storm in weeks. Maybe even a month.  I should pay attention to the weather more often. I wouldn’t wind up in these situations.

"What was I supposed to do, considering your wonderful track record, Mulder?  Did you think I wasn’t going to worry?"

I clench a fist and stick my head out the open doorway, squeezing my eyes shut again just long enough to scream, "SHUT UP!! The both of you!!  Just shut the HELL up!"

Sharp, blinding rain starts to pound me in the face as I lean further out the car doorway to stare at them.   They've now turned to stare back at me; arms folded, clothes drenched, twin dour expressions on their serious faces.  Ha. Would you look at that?  They look like the spitting image of Tweedle dumb and Tweedle Dumber.  But at least now they're quiet.  I shake my head decisively.  This is hell on Earth and I have parked right in it.

(And of course she’s not to blame…)

Ok, before I say anything else, let me first accentuate the fact that this is NOT my fault. It's not.

It's... it's Mulder's fault. All his fault.  It's his fault that my only pair of Calvins are covered in mud.  (And they were damned expensive, you know…) HIS fault that I'm standing here like a drowned rat. HIS fault that I lost my cab and twenty bucks chasing him up the side of a hill.  HIS fault that he lost the AAA card that could have had us out of here (had Diana’s cell phone not died).  But mostly, it's HIS fault that I came running out here like the calvalry calling just because he can't pick up a phone (ANY phone) to say, "yeah, I'm fine.  I'm just going to take a road trip with my ex girlfriend.  Everything's ok. I'm fine, Scully." No, he can't do that, now can he?  That would take actual THOUGHT, now wouldn't it?

But ok, to be fair, I suppose I can't lay ALL the blame on Mulder.  After all, it was DIANA'S fault that Mulder came out to this place at all. Diana played with his emotions, she manipulated him, and she dragged him out with her when he should have been with me.  (Alright, so I keep tags on Mulder by having him close.  So what?  That’s how I like things, neat and ordered, no matter how obscene and ridiculous that sounds.) And anyway, Mulder would have been with me, had common sense prevailed in that sometimes miniscule masculine cranium of his. But no, not my Mulder, never my Mulder.  The minute Diana comes calling Mulder stops thinking with his cranium altogether.

And another thing---just where the hell was Mulder’s all-digital, top-of-the-line-cell phone when I was calling him fifteen times during the cab ride here?  He manages to get that fucking thing to work in a heavy metal train-car, in an underground tunnel, in a cave in New Mexico, but from a clear stretch of local highway there’s no reception?  Now THERE’S a goddamned X File if I ever came across one.

But where was I?

Oh yeah.

Anyhow, this is NOT my fault.  Actually, it all started a few hours ago----right as I was about to relax---and doesn't it ALWAYS start out that way?  See, I was just standing there, in my bathroom, about to get into the tub, when the phone rang.  And if Diana wants to blame this all on me, then she can blame me for answering the phone. Because lord knows I wouldn't be here if I hadn't decided to answer my phone...

Earlier this evening, just dong her “thing.”


Have you ever had a conversation with someone and then had the sneaking suspicion that you’d had the exact same conversation before?  --Not like déjà vu, but more like it was an echo of the last time you’d talked to that person?

“Scully, I---I’m not trying to ruin your evening, you know.”

I sigh.  No.  No I know you’re not Mulder, but five bucks says that will be the ultimate outcome.

“I just thought I’d…take you out somewhere…”

Yeah.  Uh huh.  And If I thought that this “somewhere” was a nice Italian restaurant with a jacket and tie rule and not a crop circle in Nevada, I might be a little more privy to indulge you…


Exaggerated arms splay along the back of my couch as I lounge melodramatically.  The problem with the phone, I am finding, is that you can’t bang it up against a wall and give the person on the other end a concussion.  It would be so much easier if you could.  Talk about reaching out and touching somebody…

I shake my head.   “All I said was that I wanted to stay home, Mulder.  It wasn’t meant as a blow to your precarious ego.”

Oh yes, I’ve definitely had this conversation before.  Different times of the day, different dates, different situations, but the same conversation.  Over and over and over and…

“Yeah, I know. I heard that part of it, Scully.”

My hand reaches up to brush away a small lock of hair that has fallen over my ear and onto the key pad.  “Alright,” I say,  resignation giving way to that ever irritating ringing in my ears.  “So we’ve established that I want to stay home.  Why are we still having this conversation?”  Water running in the next room begins to call loudly, interrupting the ringing in the back of my head.  Oh how welcoming… How nice…I think my bath tub is calling me…

“Because it’s the only free time we’ve had in months… MONTHS, Scully, so just… Come with me.”

I shake my head and bite my lower lip.  God, how a part of me would just love to say ‘yes.’  To drop everything and go with him.  To believe that somewhere, someplace, perhaps in the middle of that endless crop circle, he’ll grab my arms and pull me close; that he’ll whisper in my ear, those three little words I’ve been aching to hear from him for a month already… A month… Christ, has it really been that long since the kiss---

“You know you want to come, Scully…”

Yes I do, oh god, yes I do…

“So come on.  Just come with me. Come on, Scully…”

No.  No, I don’t.  I won’t.  I mean, I can’t… I mean---what am I thinking?  My partner telling me he loves me in the middle of a crop circle?  Is that my fantasy?   Did someone hit me with a pathetic stick?

“I’ll buy you lunch tomorrow….”

I shake my head, fighting off a smile.

“Salad and the works at ‘Petes’ Scully, whatdya say?  Come on…”

I bite my lip.  Stand your ground, Dana.  Stand your ground…


Oh lord.

A switch to Mulder-whininess usually means that he’s bored and has nothing else to do but bait me.  Arguing is more his style, teasing me is more his style. Whining is just his way of telling me that he’s bored and somehow, in some form, it’s all my fault:  ‘My basketball buddies are out of town, there are no conspiracies afoot, the Knicks aren’t playing, and I’m bored to tears so what are you going to do about it, Scully?’ It just never fails.  God forbid I should sit in my apartment and not think about aliens or monsters or HIM for five minutes.

It would never work, but god forbid I might at least TRY…

“Mulder, I’m tired.”

Well, that IS the truth.  I AM tired. I am… Really.  It’s not that I don’t want to go with him, I mean, I really, really (God I really do,) but I’m tired.  And I need some “me” time.  I really need some “me” time.  Alone. Without him.  I know it sounds nuts but this phenomenon is possible because it’s happened before.

I hear him sigh and mutter, “Oh come on, why?”

Why? Why, Mulder?   I shake my head and lean back into the couch.  Oh I don’t know. Maybe being your partner has something to do with that one.  Maybe it’s the X files or running around on empty 23 out of the 24 hours in a day… I roll my eyes but he cuts me off before I can even utter the comeback he knows is forming on my tongue.

“Sorry,” he says, “I know. I know you’re tired.”

I close my eyes.  Yeah. Sure, ok… BUT…

“But…  I just…”

Yup, there it is.  See?  I told you…

“I just thought it would be nice, you know?  You don’t want to go?”

Oh no.  Don’t you do this to me.  Not the ‘Mulder-guilt.”  That’s not fair.  That’s really not fair.  “Mulder,” I start, “honestly, it’s not that I don’t want to go, it’s----“   Hold up--wait a fucking minute here.  All he said was that he wanted to take me out. He never even said where it was he was planning on dragging me…  I pause, then add, “hold on here, Mulder..."

He breathes. "Yeah?"

I frown. "Where exactly is this undisclosed place you were planning on taking me?”

First there is a touch of silence. Then, on the other end, I can hear Mulder chuckling nervously as if he’s unsure of himself.  Oh my, I think as I shift my weight.  Mulder’s chuckling could mean anything from the Seven-Eleven down the road to a tent in Afganistan.

“Um, Surprise location,” he says lightly, then, “Come on Scully, just you and me.”

I close my eyes.  Just you and me, he said… Just you and me.  The thought of it sends a shiver or two up my spine…  My heart is screaming at me, reminding me that it would willingly give up entire functioning organs to spend a nice, romantic evening with Mulder.  To fall into his arms and hear him whisper to me that he loves me, that he---

No.  Wait. Halt. Do you remember who this man is?

The rational part of me starts to take over.  What did was it he said?  Just you and me?  Think about that one Dana.  Think real hard. This is Mulder, your partner.  And just where have you heard THOSE famous last words come out of his mouth before? And when have they ever not included the local PD, lights in the sky, and, eventually, hospital beds and saline Ivs? Just you and me. Yeah right.  Just you and me and the local law enforcement and maybe, just maybe, a restraining order…

“Mulder---“ I start, but I don’t get very far.

“Oh come on Scully,” he whines again, not exactly pathetically, but in just the right tone to make me feel like the shit of the universe for wanting to do my own thing instead of going with him.

I hear nothing from his end for a moment. Nothing but the TV until finally, he takes a deep breath and says, “So what?  Is this a woman thing, Scully?”

Oh  good grief, did he REALLY just say that? Ugh.  A woman thing?  This is not even Mulder logic anymore.  It’s worse.  Much worse.  It’s alpha-male-Mulder-logic rearing its ugly head.  Ok, allow me to elaborate:

First, my wonderful partner recalls events in terms of person and gender:

Situation:  Mulder the man asks Scully the woman if she would like to accompany him to God only knows where. Mulder the man persists, while Scully the woman refuses.

Then, he evaluates:

I want to go out but Scully wants to stay in.  Why would she possibly want to stay in?  We aren't on duty, the Knicks aren’t playing, DATELINE’s on tomorrow night, and the NBA playoffs aren’t on till next week, so she couldn’t want to watch TV.  There's nothing on.  And since I’m not around, she can’t possibly have anything else useful to do.  So why doesn’t she want to go out?

Thus, having attacked all angles, he concludes with the only explanation he can think of:

Scully has PMS.

Gotta love the way the male brain works, huh?

Thus, in response, I widen my eyes and say the only thing my angry female brain can come up with: “Excuse me?”

To Mulder’s credit though, he responds, taken aback, (as if he doesn’t know what I’m talking about) and says, “What?  What did I say?”

I roll my eyes and shake my head.   “If you meant to insinutate, Mulder, that I-“

“I didn’t mean to INSINUATE anything, Scully.”

I frown.  Ok, so what then?.  “Alright,” I say, rubbing my temples with the balls of my fingers.  This is getting more and more stressful by the minute…  “So then what did you---“

“Nothing,” he insists again, and then continues, “ I just thought that there was some… I dunno, some ‘woman thing’ that you did in your spare time. Don’t all women have ‘things?’ ”

I snort.  “Nice logic, Mulder.”

He chuckles.  “So do you?”

I bite my lip.  “No, ” I say, albeit a little too quickly.

“Really?” he asks.


Liar, I say to myself.

“Liar,” he says, echoing my thoughts.

“Really, Mulder…”

Liar, liar, liar… I’m a liar.  I’m a liar and he knows I’m a liar…

“So then you’ll come?”

And once again, male-Mulder logic rears its ugly head: No woman thing?  Great! Ok then, for sure you’ll want to come, Scully.

“No, Mulder.”

He sighs.

“Fine.  I just thought you might like a nice surprise from your ever-thoughtful, brilliant and resourceful partner.  But you won’t come with me?  Fine.”

“Sorry, Mulder,” I say, pursing my lips. “But frankly, I’m exhausted and suffering from a bad case of basement-X-File-partner-induced-lethargy. So considering your glorious track record, and since I don’t even know where you plan on taking me, I’d have to say that no, I’m not big on surprises.  Especially when they involve you.  So right now, unless an alien touches down in your living room or a poltergeist holds a gun to your head, I’m busy and not up for anything more than---“

“Busy?”  Mulder draws a loud breath over the line. “I thought you were tired.  But you’re busy?  Busy doing what?”

Fuck.  Busted.  Slip of the tongue.  “Oh Mulder—“ I sigh nervously, running over numerous responses in my head before finally deciding upon, “if it was any of your business, I assure you, I would tell you.”

Mulder breathes loudly and murmurs, “Oooh, yum.  Hot sex, Scully?”

I can’t help but smile. “Not with you.”

To that Mulder actually chuckles and says, “Oh, ouch.  Score one for Scully.  The man is shot down.”

The both of us laugh amiably, Mulder obviously enjoying my company even if the conversation leaves him unsatisfied.  But then there is silence, punctuated only by the sound of my bathtub faucet running loudly in the bathroom, and I can’t help but wonder whether Mulder knows about my monthly “Dana takes a sultry bubble bath with a bottle of Merlot and a book” thing… I sure hope he doesn’t.

And that’s when I hear, “Scully, can you hold on?”

I stare up at the ceiling, rolling my eyes skyward.

I get up to trek over to my bathroom---mostly to make sure that in the time it took to argue with Mulder, the suds hadn’t staged mutiny against me and overflowed out of the tub.  I can smell the bath beads from all the way in the living room… Ahh… chamomile scented oil.  My monthly thing is calling me.

“Make it 30 seconds Mulder,” I say distractedly, stepping through the open doorway to my bathroom, feeling hot, sweet- smelling steam surrounding me.  Oh wow.  The air feels so damn good that I think I may just hang up on Mulder right here and now and crawl underneath the soapy water. Oh, wouldn’t that be funny?  ‘Special Agent Dana Scully disappears in bath tub----death being ruled as suspicious.’

“30 seconds, right,” I hear quickly from the other end, then, in a know-it-all-voice: “I’ve interrupted that ‘whatever thing’ you DON’T do at the end of the month, haven’t I?”

I manage a little half smile and run my index finger along a few soapy bubbles collecting on the wall of my tub.  “Just hurry it up,” I say, trying to keep the laughter out of my voice.

I can’t see him, but I can feel him smiling…

"So what are you saying, Scully?" he asks , undeniably amused.  "Would this be a regular 30 seconds or 30 seconds in football regulation time?"

Oh lord...

“I mean it, Mulder,” I say, playing with the cordless antenna.  “30 seconds.”

He doesn’t answer me, just clicks over to his other line.

I close my eyes and let my fingers drift farther down beneath the bubbles.   Mmmm… I wonder if he knows the specifics of my monthly thing?  If he wonders whether or not I have scented oils?  If he suspects that I have an end of the month “bath-capade.”  The thought that he might wonder about me makes my heart race and my hands sweat and… oh goodness, that sounds so stupid doesn’t it?

It’s not that I MEAN to think this way about Mulder, really it’s not.  I KNOW it’s wrong. It’s SO wrong.  I KNOW it is…

But I just can’t help it.  How can I?  I plead insanity.  He just… he just drives me up a wall.  If it’s not me wanting to choke the life out of him, then it’s me wanting…wanting… HIM… and… well ok, It’s not like NOW is the first time I’ve ever had these thoughts.  I’ve always HAD them.  After all, Fox Mulder is a healthy, strong and virile man.  He’s also my partner, my closest friend and good God, he is beyond attractive, and I am a sexually healthy woman.  Of course I've always agonized over touching his lips, over wanting to run my hands down his back, wanting to kiss his tears away---hard and with little breath in between each press of lips on lips.

But lately this attraction between us has been causing problems; namely, for me. I’ve been careless at work, distracted at home.  I’ve been thinking about him everyday. Whereas once I could shove it all down, my wanting him, my being in lov--that is, my CARING about him----to the back of my mind, these past few weeks I’ve been thinking about it nonstop.  Everyday.  Every time I look at him.  Every time I think about him.  Every dream that I have, every night.  It’s unrequited lust and it’s making me fucking crazy.  It’s making me want to climb the walls and club my partner over the head like an amazon to drag him into my cave.

It’s disturbing, really.

So of course, I have to look at this rationally, in terms of the idea that Mulder is, in fact, my very unattainable partner.

For one, I can maintain the perfectly reasonable notion that all these feelings are current. Of course I’ve CARED for Mulder in the past and it’s only natural, after all this time,  that I merely THINK I love him now.  It’s not at all ridiculous to surmise that my  heart is simply confused by a mounting pile of circumstantial evidence.  Like the tender way he looks at me and touches me—of course my partner is affectionate towards me.  And so he kissed me last month, so what?  We were both heated and under strain at the time.  We were both tired, he was holding me, romantic music was coming from the car stereo… What happened was inevitable, really.  I only responded in a generally typical way, and any red-blooded female would have responded similarly.  Anyone in my situation would have kissed their attractive friend and thought about it afterwards.

The only problem with all this scientific rationale is my treacherous heart.  It continuously reminds me that my scientific approach towards masking my feelings is bullshit.    But of course I refuse to go there.

I sigh.  30 seconds have definitely passed and Mulder has still not clicked over.  Damn it.  I would hang up on him if only I didn’t think he’d call back five minutes later.

I adjust the phone to my other ear and tap my fingers impatiently.  Tap, tap, tap…. I kneel on the floor of my bathmat so that the rug brushes my knees… Tap, tap, tap… I crack my neck, blink a few times, and start tapping out the theme song to “Gilligan’s Island” as I wait.  For whatever reason, that stupid song’s been in my head all day…Ugh.  Tap, tap, tap, tap… A three hour tour… a three hour tour…  Tap, tap, tap…  With Gilligan on my fingers and nothing else to do, my mind starts to wander towards thoughts of slipping inside this tub… nude and content, bubbles flying every which way, rivulets of water bouncing off my partner’s lean, strong---

“Scully, I’ll talk to you later.”

What?  What was that?  He clicked back over?  Damn.  I did it again.  I got distracted and thought of him in THAT way. Fuck!

I clear my throat and blush, even though my train of thought was nothing more than  fantasy. Lord, I feel guilty even still.  Mulder can’t see or know what I think about him, not unless I tell him, but the idea that I think such things about him still strikes me as very wrong.  I should NOT be thinking things like that… Ever…

But nevermind that now.  Something sounds strange---something in his voice...  Mulder sounds nervous.

I physically shake off my fantasy and revert to “FBI-on alert-Scully mode.”  “What is it?” I ask quickly, rising up off my bath mat. “What’s wrong?”

Mulder responds just as quickly, a little too quickly for my taste.  “Nothing.  It’s just Diana.  She and I need to go over a few… things.”

My brows furrow in confusion. WHO? It’s just WHO?  Fleetingly, I try to squelch the bile I always feel rising up in my throat at the sound of that woman’s name.  Diana.  Diana Fowley.  One minute my partner is talking with me and we are having a nice conversation.  One minute he is begging and pleading with me to go trekking with him to God only knows where and the next minute he could care less.  All because of her. Diana Fowley.  How does she do that anyway?  Have I mentioned that I hate her?

“She’s on the phone?” I ask, trying to sound casual, though I have to clench my fists to keep the anger out of my voice.

“No,” he says breathlessly, “I mean, no, not anymore.  She was but now she’s ah, she’s coming over here.”

I bite my bottom lip and clench my right fist even harder.  Sure she is.  Over my dead body, maybe.  I shake my head, brow furrowed.  What? Now where the hell did that voice come from?

“Wait a minute, Mulder,” I say, alternately squeezing and un-squeezing my right fist as a stress diversion tactic.  I drop back down to the bath mat, slowly. “I thought you wanted to go somewhere.  You’ve been hounding me for ten minutes already and now… you don’t want to go?  Mulder, Is everything alright?”

He sighs, then says, “Fine, Scully.  I just forgot about something I was supposed to do.  Diana’s stopping by to help me with the legal technicalities.   That’s all.”

I narrow my eyes.  Bullshit, Mulder.  Bullshit.

I bite my lip and carefully ask, in a calm voice, "So this is something that concerns just you and Diana?  You’re sure about that?”

He sighs.  “Yes.”

“And you’re not in any trouble?”


“So if I said I changed my mind and I wanted to go with you tonight, you would say---“

"I'm sorry, Scully."

And thus folks, we ALL know what that means...

"Right.”  I can’t help but close my eyes in defeat.  “No, that’s ok..."

No it’s not ok.  I've been ditched...again.  Calm, calm, calm, calm.....must remain in control...

"I'll make it up to you  Scully," he promises, and I swallow, hard.  Diana, I think bitterly. Of course...

I dig my nails into my palm and manage a careful, "There's no need, Mulder.  Just do whatever it is that you need to do.  I told you, I was going to stay here anyhow.  It’s fine."

Bullshit sounds so much better when you sugarcoat it...

I can hear him breathe a few times, before answering, "ok.”

Ok... Yeah, sure. It's all good.  It's all ok.   It's not like me and my pathetic brain weren't going to have a field day worrying about you all night anyhow...  “Mulder?” I ask.

He sighs again.  “Yeah?”

I bite my lip, my heart racing for no apparent reason.  “Would you just…” I close my eyes.  “Just call me later---at least so that I know everything’s ok?”

I hear nothing for a moment, as if he’s processing my request, then, “Look---I’ll ah, I’ll talk to you later, Scully.”

Damn it!  He always gets so defensive sounding when I act like I don't trust that woman.  As if I don't reserve the right to hate her, based on the evidence thus far presented.  As if I don't reserve the right to be suspicious of a woman who pops in and out of nowhere at convenient times, grabbing him by the... well, for lack of a better phrase, grabbing him by the dick when it suits her.

And why is it that he can get all defensive, he can get all territorial---"let's pee in a circle around Scully," when it suits him, but when it suits me?  Oh god, no.  We can't have THAT, now can we?  I shake my head, annoyed.   I don’t want him hanging up yet.  We need to discuss this. “Wait--Mul---“

But then there is nothing.  Nothing but a dial tone.  Great. He hung up on me.  The son of a bitch hung up on me.  First he calls me, then he begs me to go wherever with him, and then he hangs up on me??   And to think I fantasized about that damned, stupid, selfish, no good…

I narrow my eyes and force myself not to think about it.  No.  No I won’t do this.  I won’t drive myself crazy over this.  If he wants to go and talk to Diana instead of me then that’s fine.  That’s good. I wanted to do my own thing anyway. I wanted to lie here in this tub and close my eyes and…And what?? And think about him for the rest of the night?  Go over that kiss in my head again and again until I give myself a brain anyerism?

Gritting my teeth, I take the phone and smack it down hard against the tile.  Oh, how I want to just bang it up against a wall, good and hard, until it shatters into a million pieces.  Yes, I think.  That’s it. It’s the cordless phone’s fault.   If I can think that way then it won’t bother me that Mulder---

NO! I. Will. Not.  Think.  About.  Mulder.  I won’t.  I won’t and I will repeat this as often as necessary.  I will not have impure thoughts about my partner. I will not imagine killing Diana Fowley in a thunderous rage.  I will NOT act like some stupid jilted lover.  Mulder and I are NOT, nor will we ever be lovers.  His personal life is none of my business.  NONE.

Ok, now I need to keep thinking that. Keep on that train of thought…I can do it.   I can…

Rolling my tongue inside my cheek and smacking the side of the bathtub like an insolent 5 year old, I rise to my feet and pitter patter into my bedroom.  The feel and smell of the inviting steam follows me but I ignore all of it.  It just doesn’t seem so inviting anymore.  Then I make my way into my bedroom, shoving open my door unceremoniously.  It bangs against the hard, clean wall and echoes into my ears.  Irritated, I fold my arms and begin to pace.  I shake my head and sigh as I pass my dresser, turn, take five steps, and happen upon my other dresser.  Pivot, 5 steps, sigh, pivot, 5 steps more.  I crack my neck and take a deep breath.

Softly, I hum, “three hour tour… a three hour tour….”  I pace a little further.  “Gilligan…”I pat my arms against my thighs, nervously, “ The skipper, too…”  Then I cover my head with my hands to mute the sound of my own voice.  Oh god, I think I have just reached the epitome of pathetic.  Hold up-losers, freaks, and people with no lives--I think we have a winner.  Yes, Dana Scully takes the cake.  She is now THE most pathetic woman on the face of the planet. Let’s hear it for her folks!  Funny how my inner sarcasm sounds suspiciously like Ed McMahon.

5 steps again, pivot, turn, face buried in hands.  I peek an eye out from my fingers and spy my rumpled shirt and jeans, lying on my bed right where I left them hours ago when I had donned my robe.  “I won’t do it,” I mutter, staring at my clothes like a woman possessed.  “I won’t, I won’t…”

She could be manipulating him, a practical voice inside my head rationalizes.  It could be a trap.  She might have a case.  It could be important. You have every right to be curious and concerned.  Every right to go over there… every right…

Yeah. But then again she might just have nothing on her mind but HIM.  Nothing but him and HER.
From somewhere deep inside me I consider this and that ugly voice rears its head again:  Over my dead body it says.

“This is your fault, Mulder,” I say to myself, then I make my way over to the bed to grab my jeans.  I will not do this I will not do this I will not do this….I say it over and over to myself as I get dressed, muttering, “this is all your fault, Mulder,” at least five more times to illustrate my point to the white comforter.

I close my eyes and think to myself, repeating: I am not jealous.  I am not jealous. I don’t care. I just want to make sure everything’s ok.  It’s my job. It’s my duty.  It’s my goddamned right.  I’m his partner.  I watch his back.  I make sure it’s all ok.

Chicken shit, my heart tells me.  Chicken shit, Dana…


Right.  I know that.


Still stuck in the forest…someplace.

"You know something, Mulder?"

Oh lord, what now?

"What, Scully?"

She narrows her eyes and stares at me as if she can see right through everything I am and everything I've ever done. Sometimes it's endearing. Right now, it's just annoying.

"Why did you want to bring me out here?"

Shit, shit, shit.  warning---dangerous waters. Uneven ground.  Retreat, Mulder!  Retreat!

I clear my throat and thank god for the darkness mingled with the raging storm---thank god she can't really see my face...  "What makes you think I was going to bring you HERE, of all places?" The lie comes out so easily and neutrally, then, "what makes you think that everything I ever do has to concern you?" My cheeks are red up to my ears.  Oh lord, I am so full of crap....   She folds her arms and gives me that look: That, "we both know you're full of shit and it stinks, Mulder" look.

Great. Just great.

"Because you wanted to tell me something, Mulder.  You wanted to bring me someplace."

She pauses briefly to breathe and...Oh no, I feel a speech coming on...

"But for whatever reason, you refused to elaborate when I asked you what it was that was so important. " She folds her arms and continues, "So I repeated myself numerous times and you continually declined.  All you said was that you wanted to take me to some undisclosed location and talk to me about something of such monumentous proportions that you couldn’t tell me over the phone.  And you were rather insistent on this matter too---that is, before you hung up on me without even saying why..." She stops, then adds, "No surprise there."

 She re-folds her arms and drills her eyes into mine.  "So, I drew my own conclusions by process of elimination. Considering that this is where you ended up tonight, I assumed that this was your original destination---when I was your first choice for a companion.  Although frankly Mulder, a reasonable explanation for you wanting to drag me to Skyland Mountain, at this point, escapes me. "  She pauses again and repeats, "no surprise there."

I open my mouth to get a word in but sometimes Scully talks too goddamned much.

 "At any rate, as fate would have it, you ended up taking Diana here instead, which tells me that either you didn't trust me enough with whatever it was that you needed to say—“  She stops and our eyes connect on an almost frighteningly dangerous level.   Then, she finishes, "Or maybe you just realized that it was HER you needed to say it to."

She looks hurt.  Oh god, she is so wrong...  But she is also quiet.  Finally, I think I may actually get to speak.  I open my mouth, and for a moment, nothing comes out until I manage, "Scully, you know that's not true--"

She spits, "Isn't it?"

I shake my head in disbelief.   Scully and I have been partners for what seems like forever and rare is the time I’ve seen her angry. Always the cool and collected one, if ever Scully DOES get angry, she contains it carefully. But for whatever reason, right now…  Well, I just can’t believe that this is what she’s decided to get mad over.  And she’s wrong, besides.

Scully narrows her eyes and says, "Fine then.  Why don’t you tell me this pivotal thing you won't say over the phone." Then she shakes her head and says, "You got what you wanted Mulder, like always.  I'm here, we're stuck, and you've successfully managed to manipulate my emotions by running off--again."

Oh I do not believe this.  She thinks I ditched her deliberately?  She thinks I planned all this shit on purpose?  Diana and the storm and…Goddamn it, Why does she have to be Scully? Why the hell does she have to piss me off and be Scully at the same time? I am getting angrier and angrier by the minute...

"Say it already, Mulder. Just--- Goddamn it.  Say something productive or.... apologize. I do not enjoy being ditched, nor do I relish being left out of the loop.  I also do not feel like being made a fool of, not in front of Diana Fowley and especially not by you.”

I close my eyes for a brief moment.  I will not hit my partner, I think.  I will not hit Scully....

"Mulder, you know there’s something you’re not saying."

I will not hit her.

She shakes her head and waves an annoyed hand at me.

I will not hit her I will not hit her I will not hit her....

I open my mouth and try to think of something tactful to say. Lord knows I'd rather not have another long argument, but my head is pounding and I think I'd much rather smack her than say what I had been intending to say about 5 hours ago. And of course, sometimes I am not always the world's smartest guy.  Sometimes I just feel like killing her and leaving it at that.


“Forget it,” she says, her eyes bright with anger and even bluer from the glare of lightning.  Ok, that ‘forget it’ just did me in.  I can’t take it anymore.  Something in me has finally snapped.  It snapped quick and sharp and hard.

“Don’t flatter yourself," I spit, water dripping off my face. "Believe me, if I was going to tell you anything of intimate importance, I would have done so years ago.”

Lightning crackles above us with a glorious brilliance.   It’s long and gray and insanely bright.  Everything right now is so insanely bright.  My rage, her rage, her eyes… her beautiful blue eyes… it’s all so pitiful and angry and bright.  This standoff between Scully and I is long overdue and overflowing.  Ha, I think.  I don’t need to tell you anything.  I just don’t.  What do you have to say to that, partner?

To my surprise, Scully actually laughs at me.  She throws her head back into the tempest and laughs.  But it's a weird laugh, a strange sort of laugh, and when she looks at me again, her blue eyes hold even more contempt than before.  Lightning illuminates her features and she looks almost ghostly.  My headache is getting bigger and bigger...

She shakes her head, bitterly.  "You lying, sanctimonious..."  Shit, oh shit... here it comes.  "Prick.”

My mouth drops open. Scully must be pissed----REALLY pissed.  She doesn't curse.  She never curses...Wonderful...

She cocks her head to the side as if considering a response.  Finally though, she says, "When you’re ready to tell me the truth, Mulder, you let me know.”

She turns away from me and flicks water into my eyes.




Alright, that’s it. I can’t take this anymore.  I just can’t.  I mean, I may be a man, and I know I’m supposed to “take it like a man,” but I’m also only human, after all---not to mention pissed off, wet, stranded, and standing here arguing  with THE most infuriating woman on the face of this planet.  ---Or any other planet, for that matter.  And though the idea HAS struck me several times this evening that arguing with Scully is not very conducive to a healthy lifestyle, giving up and letting her have the last word would be too much of a blow to my ego.

Like I said, I AM a man…

Then again, as a rule of thumb, I usually don’t enjoy arguing with Scully at all.  It’s just not worth it. I never win and I never get anywhere. Now, a number of men might attest that rule to women in general---to the fact that women always win every argument because their logic is, half the time, too convoluted for any man to understand.  Of course though, if I ever said that to Scully, she’d most likely cut off my nuts and then hand them to me on a skewer.

Like I mentioned---she’s infuriating. TO A FAULT.

So  I’m not saying that Scully’s logic is convoluted, because it’s not---at least, I don’t think.  Usually it’s me.  I’m the crazy one and Scully, for most part, is so sanely stable that I don’t know whether to scream or cry, but…  well… Scully IS a woman. (Well, DUH, she’s a woman…) and there IS a portion of Scully’s brain that runs on her own womanly brand of practicality.  It’s a personal bible of sorts---a “thou shalt not do” list that is--at least in HER mind---what is right and what is wrong for whatever reasons she chooses to adopt.  And Scully is nothing, if not just as stubborn as---or even more stubborn than--- an old mule.  A VERY old mule. She just… she just grasps onto an idea and doesn’t let go of it, no matter how obtuse.  And if she thinks she’s right, for whatever reason, all I can say is lord help the person who tries to argue with her.

Usually, that person is me, God rest my soul. No one else is that stupid.

But here’s something else I should add that she’s got in her favor: one hell of a right hook.  Damn good aim and one hell of a right hook… And not even five seconds ago, she had that look on her face.  That, “I swear Mulder, you are asking to be decked,” look. That death look of sorts that tells me I’ve been a very bad partner, an embarrassment to my gender, and one giant shit of a human being in general.

But there was something about that look… something in her eyes that egged me on…

But ok, now I’ve gotten ahead of myself.  Allow me to back up.

See, about five seconds ago, Scully told me to just “say it already.”  “Just say IT, goddamn it,” which, in Scully language, means, “Why don’t you just tell me how you feel, you selfish prick.”  (And I believe the term she actually used to describe me WAS, in fact, "prick.")  She was talking about us, referring to the personal us and not the professional us, and she was waiting for me to tell her the truth; the dangerous truth in this case: how I feel about her.

But as far as this goes, I have my own brand of convoluted logic too.  You have to realize that, in my mind, I can come up with a number of reasons why Scully would want me to say something at all on this matter.  She could have been thinking about us, about that kiss, and waiting for the opportunity to turn me down flat.  She could have been conjuring up lectures on why it’s bad partner ettiquette.  Hell, she could laugh. She could even shoot me--after all, she IS Scully…

But there WAS something in her eyes… I don’t know.  Something that was saying, “Please tell me you feel the same way.”  Longing, perhaps?  Maybe? Just maybe?  I wish I knew for sure…I mean, I think I know.  I think I know what she wants to hear. But then, what if I’m wrong?  What then?

At any rate,  I am pretending not to know what she’s talking about.  After all, like I said before, it’s raining, I’m wet, I’m pissed, and I have every right to feign ignorance or hearing difficulties due to pounding rain---or even stupidity because I am preoccupied with prying my goddamned useless car out of the mud.

And by the way---on that note---NEVER buy a ford.  Not that I’m claiming to be an expert on cars or anything, but since mine is stuck in the mud and practically useless at this point, I just thought I’d vent some anger.  And Lord help the Ford dealership I bought it from---as soon as I locate my spare firearm…

But, where was I again?

Oh yeah.  Feigning ignorance, that’s right.

So anyway, the problem with playing pretend is that Scully knows better. She knows me, and, more importantly, she knows that I know EXACLTY what she’s talking about. I can pretend all I want but she still knows that I know. And I know that she knows that I know… What the hell am I saying?

Um… ok, before I get into all this, I should probably explain how I got here.  Why I’m standing here with mud and rain plastered to my face, an angry Scully standing with her back to me, and a frustrated Diana sitting in the car, banging her head against the steering wheel…

See, it all started out this evening. I hadn’t meant to bother Scully, but I really wanted to take her somewhere. Somewhere nice.  Somewhere special. Not some cheesy restaurant or some stupid movie like we always end up at, but someplace with meaning. With meaning to me---to US, that is.  (Of course, I can also be an idiot when it comes to these type of things.  See, I hadn’t planned on choosing somewhere that had meaning to DIANA as well as to Scully but…) Anyway, I knew that Scully was tired and all she really wanted some down time by herself, but it was the perfect opportunity: A Friday night and no Knicks game on TV.  It was perfect. Absolutely perfect.

I’d take her out, sit with her, talk to her, and then… well I've waited years suppressing such powerful feelings and I wanted everything to be perfect for her.

And believe me, I agonized over this for weeks and weeks. I had told myself, over and over, how wrong it was, how inappropriate it was to have a crush on your partner.  I knew this and I still know it now.  But I suppose somewhere along the line, I just stopped caring about all that.  I had tasted her lips, experienced the feel of her arms around me, and what can I say?  I got greedy. I just didn’t give two shits anymore how wrong it was.  I needed her.  I needed that kiss again. I needed it like a crack addict needs a fix.

And so I had been thinking about that first kiss of ours----that first REAL kiss, anyways---you know, the one that happened in that motel last month, and I had been going over and over and over it in my mind for what seemed like forever. Until I had memorized the feel of her skin, the taste of her lips.  Until I had ingrained it onto my brain so that I could pull up the memory at any time and know exactly how she felt.  The precise cadence her voice held when she whimpered… Oh god… when she whimpered….

And I don’t even know exactly when it had happened---when I realized how dependent on her I really was. Maybe it was one drizzly morning when she was getting coffee, or maybe it was an evening with just the two of us, sitting doing paperwork. But at any rate, it doesn’t matter.  None of that matters.  It doesn’t matter because I knew it had happened, regardless of when, and there was nothing I could do about it. It was her face, it was her touch, it was her scent, it was her mind, it was her heart, it was HER.  Just HER, Period.

So I was going to tell her all that tonight  I was going to tell her and make her believe…Over and over and…Well, things just never ever happen the way I plan them… Never…And now she wants me to say it and I’m too angry beyond fucking words to tell her.

But where was I?  Oh yeah----this evening.

Ok, well, there I was----in my apartment...


Breaking the rules earlier this evening,

Dribble, dribble...

I know I should not be doing this.  I know that.  Really, I do.  If  Mr. Carnegie the landlord was home and could hear me...

dribble, dribble...

It's in the apt handbook: No sports play in the building at any time.  I read it, I remember the rule.

Dribble, dribble...

Of course though...

Dribble, dribble....

Who needs rules anyway?

Dribble, dribble, dribble….

'The crowd is loving him, folks. He just may go all the way with this one!!'  I dribble some more and imagine the court in front of me... ' He fakes left. he fakes right.  He goes downcourt....'

Dribble, dribble, turn, fake...

He shoots...

"This is Tom Atwater, for the NBC evening news, saying..."



"NBC news is an affiliate of..."

Oh.... Shit.  Shit.  Shit.

"And Jay Leno is all new tonight with...."

 I wince and let out a slight hiss as I watch my brand new- never-before used b-ball roll into the next room.  It may not have won me an NBA championship, but now it has completely destroyed my living room.  Great. That is just great.  The basketball rolls a little farther, hitting the door, and I carefully survey the damage.  "Shit," I mutter, bending down.  Not only has the NBA not drafted me, but I have also just thrown my brand new basketball into my desk lamp.

Like I said before, shit.

Someone from downstairs---Mrs. Hadley, I think--- pounds on her ceiling, also my floor, and I can vaguely hear the obscenities she’s hurling.  Dirty-mouthed old lady.  I suppose I haven’t made any new friends in the last five minutes, huh? Oh well.  I seriously doubt that anyone in this building likes me anyhow.

I sigh and settle on the floor, shoving my lamp out of the way.  The good news of the situation is that the lamp, itself, is still intact.  The bad news, however, is that the lightbulb, generally the important part of the lamp, is destroyed.  Ah, what a tangled web I weave when first I practice to....to...What's a good sports word that rhymes with 'deceive'?  I shake my head.  Oh my.  I must be either bored out of my mind or simply reaching new levels within the annals of stupidity.

I carefully lean down to snatch up shards of glass, hissing softly to myself as one particularly jagged piece nicks me in the thumb.  Fuck!  Ouch!  I grit my teeth and grimace, settling into a new position on the floor.  That's just great, I think, pathetically.   I waggle the offending digit in front of my face and proceed to stick it in my mouth, pitifully.  It's not bleeding much but it hurts like hell.  If  Scully were here, she'd probably laugh hysterically at me.  She take one look and double over, have a fucking heart attack at my expense----

Oh shit.  Scully.

A chanced look up at the clock on my desk tells me that tonight is the night. Damn it.   Tonight is the meteor shower that appears nearly every year----without fail---and if I don't get my sorry ass up I am going to miss it.  Scully is going to miss it.  We are both going to miss it, the meteor shower and what I hope could be an incredible.... well, an overdue chance meeting with intimacy.... All because I am an idiot. Lots of good careful planning does, when I only end up forgetting everything I had planned to plan.

Did that make sense? No matter.

Carefully, with my eyes glued to the floor, I make my way up and out of the mess I had created with my basketball. Mental note: clean up dangerous, possibly injuring disaster later.  Right.  Then I cross the room to the couch, snatching up my cordless phone.  I close my eyes and picture her, my partner, my Scully, and I smile to myself.  (Mind you,  I would never refer to her as "mine" in her presence.  I could just see her reaction now: what was that Scully?  Go fuck myself? Sure, ok.)

Anyhow, I hit the last digit of Scully's home number and growl in pain.  Oh Lord, my poor, poor thumb.  God damn it, glass hurts.  Next time I play indoor b-ball, I’ll have to keep that in mind.

Suddenly, I hear a click and a breathless, "Hello?"

For whatever reason, just hearing her voice, knowing that she's safe, that she’s alive, that she’s on the other line is greatly comforting to me.   Scully and I have just been in danger so many times before that I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the idea of her being here, of her being safe with me.  I’m so afraid of waking up one day and finding her gone.

“Hello?” she asks again.  “Hello?”

And hearing her say "hello," rather than "Scully" makes me feel as if I've caught her in her element----Scully when she's not being Scully.  I grin and feel my cheeks warm all the way up to my ears.  Then I clear my throat.  It suddenly dawns on me that I should probably say something intelligent.   That’s usually the way the phone works, right?

"Hey Scully."

A sigh from her end, and then the single word, "Mulder."

I close my eyes and repeat her voice, her refreshing alto saying my name a few times so that I can catalogue her breathless tone and store it inside my memory.  It will be forever kept in that place I reserve especially for the sound of her voice.  That place I save for all the different ways she has always said my name. Let's see....There's her mad, flat, monotone, "hi Mulder."  There's her surprised, pleasant, "Oh. Hi Mulder."  There's her irritated, whiny, ‘I've had 3 autopsies and paperwork to do today so what do you want, damn it,’ "Oh.  Mulder." And then, there's this one. Her breathless, husky, no preamble, "Mulder."  Two syllables. Numerous undertones.

I grin, and reply, "Of course, who else?"

I hear her sigh, accompanied by static from the phone.  Then, she boomerangs with, "You know Mulder, it is within the realm of possibility for me to receive phone calls from someone other than yourself.”

"What?  Who?” I ask, feigning shock, a grin starting to form.  "You have a life?  Have I been left out of the loop again?”

She snorts, as if amused by my remark, and says, "it would appear that way, wouldn't it?"

I smile.  "You're agreeing with me?"

Yeah. Right.  Sure she is.  Shouldn't be long now---not long before I hear her say...5...4...3...2...

"In your dreams, Mulder."

Bingo.  There it is....


Still frustrated,
Sometime after 10pm

“Agent Scully,” I bark, not caring how I sound, “try your cell phone again.”

She turns and looks at me as if I’m crazy and rolls her tongue inside her cheek.  She blinks once, then twice, as if to say “fuck you, Diana.”  I narrow my eyes at her.  Great.  This is just great. My, my, how her ‘holier than thou’ attitude strains and becomes tiresome under duress.   No wonder she and Mulder have been arguing.

“I tried already,” she says, re-folding her arms, “my cell phone hasn’t been fully charged and it’s not working in this storm.  Nothing’s getting through and if the rain gets inside the display---”

Gritting my teeth, I eyeball her. “Try.  It.  Again.”

In response, Scully juts out her chin in a grand show of defiance.  “Fine,” she growls, and looks down, muttering something along the lines of “not going to do any good,” and a few other choice phrases.  She then proceeds to angrily yank her cell phone out of  her…


Oh lord, please tell me that she didn’t leave her phone in her pocket.  Please tell me that Mulder’s “Brilliant FBI medical pathologist, Georgetown graduate Scully” did NOT leave her cell phone in her sopping wet jacket pocket.  Oh great, that’s just great.  A hundred bucks says that---

Scully turns her cell phone upside down and, with dull annoyance painting her face, she watches a stream of water spill to the ground.  Then she mutters something that sounds suspiciously like “Shit.” To that, I close my eyes, wearily.  Her cell phone is now completely useless.  Wonderful.  What was she thinking? And when the inside of the car was a perfectly dry place to store it, too.  Apparently, Dana Scully is on “rocket scientist” mode tonight.

Have I mentioned that I hate her?

“Oh, well, that’s just great,” I hear Mulder mutter, sarcastically. And then, right on the heels of it, the smack of a cellular phone snapping closed.  A faint rustling of clothing tells me that she’s turning in his direction.

More thunder.  More lightning.  BOOM..  CRASH!

“I could do without the commentary, Mulder, thank you.”

I shake my head and slam on the gas again, slapping the steering wheel in anger. FUCK!!!

“What do you expect me to say, Scully?  You---“

“I WHAT, Mulder? What do you REALLY want to say to me?”

Gun.  Where is my gun??

“What are you talking about, Scully?”

Though I must say, Fox was right the first time---even though they're both pissing me off beyond the grasp of words right now.  Sure, maybe the weather had a LITTLE something to do with this, and ok, so MAYBE I shouldn’t have gone snooping, and MAYBE I shouldn’t have palmed Fox’s cell phone but... but this is STILL Dana Scully's fault.  I mean, if she hadn’t have given Fox a hard time about coming here in the first place, then I NEVER would have been here instead. I NEVER would have come.  He never would have agreed. And besides, after she decided to stay home, what BUSINESS did she have following us like that? What Psycho does THAT?! After all, nobody ORDERED her to come here. Nobody twisted her arm, nobody...

“Damn it, Mulder!… Say…” I turn to see Scully’s arms flying wildly, her amber-gold hair matting her forehead.  “ Just…say…say…”

Yes, I agree. Please.  Just say it, Mulder.. Just say it so she’ll shut the fuck up.  Please.  Please…

“What are you TALKING about, Scully?!  I don't have anything to say to you!”

Listlessly, I let my head fall down onto the top of the steering wheel.  They’re never going to shut up. Oh god, he’s an idiot, she’s insufferable and they’re never going to shut up. This is hell, this is hell, this is hell…

“You KNOW what I’m getting at!”

More rain, more thunder, more lightning. Yes, this is the Storm of the century, folks.  And I don’t just mean the rain, here…

“NO! NO, I DON’T!”

Oh JESUS! I think, horrified, gritting my teeth.  How could he NOT get it?

"Fine, Mulder. Then just don’t speak at all, alright?  My head hurts from years of listening to you.”

“Jesus Christ!" Mulder yells, staring at the sky as if it's going to grant him peace with his partner.  "Quit the melodramatics and speak English!  What are you getting at, Scully??”

Oh lord.  Even =I= know what she's getting at, and I'm not any more psychic than the left tire of Mulder's car.

"Nothing," Scully finally says, and she stalks away, waving an indifferent hand at Mulder.

"Damn it," Mulder mutters, and kicks the rear fender of his car, cursing into the tempest.

Kill me.


(Or why we all go a little
mad sometimes)


Sometimes, things just happen to you that throw you completely off the edge.  Things just come to you out of the blue---or in my case, out of the basement office of the Hoover building that shove you off the cliff of rightful sanity straight into the realm of “losing it completely.”

I can come up with no other reasonable explanation for having dialed Fox’s number tonight, other than the idea that revenge and bittersweet anger were powerful driving forces.   And the funny thing is that I wouldn’t ordinarily care who he took to watch the meteor shower, just as long as I knew it wasn’t her. Anyone but her.  Anyone at all.  Even though I’m angry and ok, maybe a tad jealous, I’m not stupid and  I know why I hate her.   I suppose I’ve always known.  It’s actually quite simple and in a way, a little silly: it’s because what they have is love.

So alright, given the situation and my hot-headedness concerning Fox, maybe I shouldn’t have called him. I know that now and I am paying dearly for it.  But like I said earlier, I was angry and I was determined and God damn it, I was going to have my way. Ever since the beginning of time I’d always gotten my way and this time, it was Fox I wanted and no one was going to stop me.  I was reclaiming something for myself, I was finally doing something for me, I was…

I was turning into the other woman.  I was becoming the woman I swore I would never become, though I didn’t realize it at the time.   For, in my mind, the other woman was always that bitch Marcy, whom I had always hated from my childhood.  Marcy was the devil and I could never imagine being anything like her.  She had stolen my father, the man my mother and I had loved, and I hated her for that.  I even promised myself I would never steal anything that wasn’t rightfully mine.

But I did just that tonight.  I tried to take something that wasn’t mine and then justify my actions.  It didn’t even occur to me that even though I had come first in his life, perhaps Fox had never really belonged to me in the first place.  Somehow, he had always belonged to her.  Before they met, before he and I met, before everything, his heart had been holding out for her.  I don’t know how or why that’s true but I just know that it is.

And so now…oh God, the thought of everything that I’ve done tonight is making me sick.  The sight of him is making me sick.  I think I’m going to throw up… all because I called him and said---

Earlier this evening,
A little closer to 9pm



There is a loud sigh from the other end of the phone, as if I have just dropped the weight of the world on Fox Mulder’s unwilling shoulders.  I stop for a traffic light at Witshire and consider what this means: obviously, Fox must have been talking to someone else.  And since I know that Spooky the extrordinaire Mulder has but one friend in this world, that means it must be HER on the other line.  And oh goodie, I interrupted them.  Wonderful.

 “Diana,” Fox pauses for a moment to take a breath.  “Look, I’m kinda busy at the moment so----“

Oh no you don’t, I think to myself.  I am still so angry about this evening and I refuse to let him take her to our special place… Even if it takes everything I can think of, I am going to sabotage it.  I swear. So it’s now or never, I tell myself. I can still play Fox like an old record if I want to, when it suits me.  And if it means me cutting off his little rendevous with Dana Scully… well, then I am going to do it if it kills me.  I am going to play him to the hilt.  Damn her for being like every other person who thinks they can have what’s mine.

“How could you have forgotten?” I say softly, putting just the right tone in my voice. “I know things have been hectic lately but…I can’t believe you forgot, Fox.”

There is a pause from his end, as if he’s considering this, and then he speaks, “Diana, I didn’t forget… I just… I…”

“You forgot.”

I figure if I say it a few more times, he’ll start to feel something akin to regret.  I know he’s not one for keeping his word on romantic promises, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Another pause, then, “I’m on the other line, Diana…”

I nod as if he can see me, which I know he can’t, and answer, “Oh… I see.”

I speed past a stop sign as I realize that I am more than halfway to his apartment.  I suppose, for appearances, that I could just circle the block a few more times to make my actions seem less than contrived.  But then, Fox isn’t a moron---a fool, maybe, but not a moron.  And, of course, I DO have other things in my bag of tricks…

“Well, I…I normally would never bring this up, Fox, but…to be honest… part of the reason I’m calling you is because I thought some company might bolster my spirits considering…” I pause to sigh.  Time to pull out the trump card.  “I got a call today…”

Fox takes a breath as if he is not impressed with me.  I don’t blame him.  If nothing else, there is guilt underneath all this anger and I know that if I go through with this lie, I will have to face that sooner or later.

“Who from?” Fox asks.

I will deal with it later I will deal with it later…

“I ah,”  I close my eyes to make the bitter lie easier.  “I spoke to my father today, Fox, and it…”

“Oh Diana…”

The feeling of deceiving Fox in such an innocent way tastes like bile in my throat.  Sure, lies about major governmental conspiracies and fibs about who harmed his partner, that’s one thing, those are all ok, but lies about having talked to my bastard father… Oh Christ, I don’t know.  Where exactly is that on the scale of wrong?

“Please Fox,” I say, trying to make the false story easier to spin.  I try to picture Dana Scully’s face in my mind, her soft blue eyes watching the meteor shower in the safety of his embrace. Oh No.  No fucking way.  “Marcy... she was there, drunk, and she answered the phone.”  I can see Fox touching her, kissing her… “I guess her alcoholic stupor shouldn’t surprise me but… Oh Fox, I don’t know what I was thinking, telling you this.  It’s been a rough year for us, hasn’t it?  You have every right to not want to go tonight… Nevermind.”  In my mind’s eye I see him saying ‘I love you’ to her, his hands caressing the nape of her neck.  Their faces alight under the navy blanket of night.  No, I won’t let it happen.  It should be me.  Damn it, it should be me. I suppress an angry smile and finish, “I’ll let you go, I’m sorry.   It’s fine.”

This is wrong, I know it is.  This is very wrong to do to a person.  I should not manipulate him like this… I should NOT… I shift the phone to my opposite ear.  “I’m sorry for having bothered you with----“

He doesn’t hesitate.  “No.  We’ll go.  Just give me a minute to finish this up…”

Sometime past 10pm


Scully walked away from me.  She just... she turned in the other direction and walked right into the forest— right into a large cluster of massive oaks.  Now I’m supposing that –in a thunderstorm like this one-- her steel trap of a mind should register just how dangerous it is to be under the covering of trees.  But no.  I guess she’s got other things on her mind, like looking for a good place to hide my body, and that ‘safety first’ thing is not one of her priorities.  Great, Scully, just fucking wonderful.  Now I have to go after you and warn you of the danger.  Otherwise I’d just walk away.  Really.

Yeah, I’m not full of shit or anything.

So against my better judgement, I turn and stalk after her, catching up to her just as she nears the clearing--about 25 feet from the car.  My feet are sinking and squishing into the dark, humid mud that is dripping off my good, gray pants. My shirt is wet and my hair is wet and everything is wet and damn it…

As if somehow sensing me behind her, Scully’s head turns and her eyes swiftly make contact with mine.  I open my mouth to speak but she holds up a surrendering hand---palm towards me.  It is a gesture that says, "STOP" in every imaginable way.

"No," she says, shaking her rain-drenched head at me.  "Just... stay there, ok?  Don't come any closer and just stay there."

I stare at her funny and cock my head to the side.  Her stance is defeated and sad but her eyes are large, luminous and angry. Why do I get this feeling that she's going to pull her gun on me any second?

"What?” I ask.  “Is it the lying, sanctimonious prick thing?"

She shakes her head and starts to walk again, waving her hands at me as she goes, rain flying from them like tiny bullets.

"Scully?" I call, walking forward.  She whirls on me again.

"Damn it, Mulder" she swears, stopping dead in her tracks.  Her lips twitch and she glares at me.  "What did I say?  I think the operative phrase was ‘go away.’  And though I know you have a problem with listening to---or even hearing me at times, please take the opportunity right now to rectify past mistakes.”

I glare back at her.  "Oh really?  If you were a pot right now, I think I’d call you black, Scully.”

"What?" she yells back.

We stare at each other through the pouring rain.  Both of our lives, our futures, our everything, seem to be boiling down to this one moment.  Emotions vs. emotions, everything laid out, fair and square.  And for the first time in a long time, I think I finally understand Scully’s motives.  This whole night---this thing with Diana and I--Oh lord. I think I get it.  I ACTUALLY get it.

"You're afraid," I tell her, definitively.  "As much as I ever was of anything, of someone taking you away from me, you’re afraid of the same thing.  You’re afraid of losing this partnership. You’re JEALOUS!  Admit it, Scully!  You're terrified!"

Scully lets out a disgusted snort and shakes her head.  She stares at me as if I am the ultimate pig of the universe.  This is NOT scoring any points, but that doesn't make it any less true.  Thunder screams at us from overhead.  Lightning throws us into a bluish haze almost otherworldly.

Scully’s eyes become narrowed slits.  "You self centered, stubborn..." she manages to feign shock nicely, but her shaking hands give her away. "Fox Mulder, you are, without a doubt, the most egomaniacal person I have ever had the misfortune of arguing with and you are…SO wrong... it's just----incredible... how wrong you are."

She makes a motion to turn in the other direction, but my words stop her cold.  "You are so fucking full of it, Scully."

Turning back around, she steps closer and sets her hands on her hips in "Scully-war-like" fashion.  I can almost hear the battle cries from afar.  The sides are gathering, the bayonets are being raised.  Oh god... This is it.  This is the culmination, right here...

She purses her lips.  "I... am.... WHAT... Mulder?"

I narrow my eyes and stare at her, undaunted.  If there is something that Scully hates, it is being wrong. And if there’s something she hates even more, it’s me telling her so.  Why?  Well, Scully always has to be right.  She just does.  She’s always so goddamn sure that she’s right, even when she’s not, that I…
I want to piss her off.  It’s only fair.  I want to—I dunno---pull on her pigtails or throw her into the sandbox or something.  I’m so sick of arguing right now.  I mean, why argue when you can---


A slop of mud is suddenly flicked from my dripping shirt into Scully’s face, and it elicits a pleasantly shocked gasp that flies off into the wind.  Oh my.  Did I do that?  My hand must have slipped, I don’t know.

Scully’s fists clench and I can only imagine what she's thinking right now.

"I said," I manage, "You... are.... full... of," I pause and add, "It's ok---you can say it, Scully......"  She grits her teeth, and I finish, "Full... of... shit."

She opens her mouth to respond--to find an adequate Scully rebuttal to suit her, but all that comes out is a cross between a whimper and a gasp.  That means that either A: she knows I'm right  B: she's shocked I'd say such a thing to her or C : she's losing her voice.

So I continue, adrenaline pumping, "Giant, horse shit.  "  She clenches the other fist. I smile, wider. "Lots of it Scully.  It's coming out your ears and---"

Her fists clench so hard that they turn white.  Her eyes narrow to slits.  And thus, my articulate, practical, always professional Scully loses it like a three-legged dog loses its balance on a tight rope.  Something in her snaps.  I don’t quite know what did it.  Perhaps it was the mud?

"STAY the HELL away from me!"  she yells, shoving me as hard as her rain slicked arms can hold her up.

My eyes widen at her---at her uncommonly violent display of rage--and I do the only sensible thing that my quasi-adolescent brain can come up with at this moment. I shove her back, harder than she shoved me, yelling, "NO.  Sorry.  That's not the way it works."

Scully glares at me.  "Don't you tell me the way it works Mulder." She advances closer." I KNOW the way it works.  I could write a book on the way it works.  I could write a five thousand page novel, complete with diagrams and spread sheets on ‘the way it works: a guide to living with the insufferable Fox Mulder.’”

Lighting illuminates the darkness.  Thunder pounds through the trees.  Another shove; her dirt soaked, mud stained hands pushing against my chest--- much harder this time than the last.  She growls and mud sloshes onto my face.  I stare at her challengingly, not to be outdone.  This is war, after all. So I shove her back, more concerned with getting even than with any real desire to harm her.  Leaves are caught in Scully's hair, branches are stuck to my shirt, and we are stuck out here in this monsoon, shoving each other and tripping over our own feet to gain control of the proverbial playground.  What is wrong with this picture?

"Oh yeah?" I yell, giving her arms another slight shove, "Well then your bestseller can go up against mine.  A TEN thousand page novel dedicated to The Joys of working with Dana Scully:" I pause and add, “The full of shit years.’ "

Yep.  That did it alright.

My.  Now HERE’S something you don’t see everyday.  Scully's nostrils are flaring.


Blinded by what I can only call ‘the rage of the insane,’ Scully’s arms come out of nowhere.  They seem to be everywhere at once, pushing at my shoulders, slapping against my triceps.  My hands give her a rebuttal shove, a grasp really, just to try and fend her off. I don’t want to hurt her, not really, but I DO want to get her the hell off of me.

“Ow! Scully, stop---“

“YOU stop, Mulder---“

At me still standing upright despite her best efforts, Scully’s brows furrow.  The only word I can come up with for her expression is disgusted.  Her clear blue eyes concentrated and hard, she balls up her fists, pulls them back with a look of deadly aim and----

“Oh Scully, come on.”  I try to smile, hoping that I can calm her down, despite the look of death she’s sporting.  “This is ludicrous.  You don’t really want to---“


Ok, so maybe she does.  Ow. Damn.  She’s got too good of an arm.

"Shit!" I manage, grabbing onto Scully’s arm.  The force behind her blow was swift and hard and the mud beneath us is way too fucking slick.  Her hands begin to flail and my feet begin to buckle.  Suddenly it occurs to me that there is nothing but mud and leaves and shit below us and---so help me god--if she's going to shove me, she's going to eat all of this mud.

"Damn it Mulder, let go!” Scully says, trying to regain her balance.  She twists her arms to get away but I refuse to relinquish.  Never. Not in this lifetime.  Not going to happen, Scully....

"No!" I say, my legs hopelessly tangled in hers, our arms flailing and fighting, wobbling and teetering, "If I'm going down, you're going down in flames with me!"

She lashes out an arm to grasp my shoulder and try to regain her balance, but it doesn't work.  Finally, she manages, "there's a shock...."

And then, we fall.  Together.   Just like always.



And then the heavens rained and God said, let there be mud.

Lots of mud.

Lots and lots of mud.

Lots and lots of disgusting, irritating, pore clogging mud.

This HAS to be a cruel twist of fate.

Thunder rocks in waves above the trees and I squirm, trying to dislodge myself from the "Mulder/Scully" ditch that my partner and  I seem to have created.  Why do I suddenly feel like the middle of a squashed Oreo cookie?

I HATE mud...

"Mulder, get the HELL off of me!"

In response, Mulder spits more mud out of his mouth.

"Well, I would, your royal full of shit-ness," he sneers, knowing full well that I can't punch him again with my arms pinned,   "but your goddamned earring is stuck to my sweater."

My what? Oh great.  That's just great. It figures, the one time I wear earrings and my life turns into a catastrohpe.  Damn it.

"Left, Scully," Mulder says.

I grit my teeth.

"No.  Can't get it that way.  Other way.  Right."

He snorts and tries to move his left arm, albeit unsuccessfully.  His right arm waggles in my face and I can taste his sweater.  Mulder groans, spitting, "And how am I supposed to do this with your forehead in my way, Scully?"

I try to move but I can't.

"LEFT!" he orders, again.

"I can't until you get your FUCKING elbow out of my mouth, Mulder!"

"What do you expect, Scully?!" he yells, nearly blowing my eardrums halfway out of my head.  "My arm is caught on your ear!"

I grind my teeth together, frustrated.  "Then MOVE, Mulder!"

“I AM!”

More elbow in my mouth. "No, damn it!  RIGHT!"



"YOU move!"

Now Mulder and I are playing an invisible game of twister, his arms flailing left and right, my head going up, then down, my legs kicking, his legs sliding---all because his goddamned arm is stuck to my goddamned earring, and there is mud everywhere preventing us from dislodging it.

Oh god, when did this become my life?


(Or, the ends of the Earth for Mulder)


So there I was, calling a cab so I could follow him undetected and I was so annoyed I almost couldn’t breathe.  All I could think of was Mulder being manipulated again, by her and by God only knew who else.   What alliances did she have? I wondered.  What ties to the syndicate, to the smoking man, to those bastards who had abducted me?  The idea that she made him vulnerable to danger like the kind we had faced scared the shit out of me.  What would I do, I wondered, without him?  What would I do if Diana led him down a dangerous path and something happened to him?  But even worse, what would happen if I was wrong about all this, about her?  What would happen if Mulder was right and she didn’t care about leading him to danger?  What if all she was after was his trust?

 I can tell you right now, I don’t want to share his trust with anyone.

So I followed my partner. Yeah, I know, maybe it was wrong and maybe it was a little obsessive but I did it.  I was so afraid of losing Mulder and so crazy with something that felt like… well, it wasn’t jealousy because I am NOT jealous of Diana, but it drove me to stay on his tail.  For seven years, similar feats were my responsibility, but tonight, it was something stronger that kept me going.  I don’t exactly know why.  Maybe it just felt like… like Mulder was calling to me?  No, no that’s ridiculous.   It was just an irritating need to be by his side. It was a twisting in my heart that sent pangs of anger up and down my spine.   It was an irrational, annoying force that drove me from my apartment to a cab--a fucking expensive cab at that---to his place, to the freeway, and finally to Skyland Mountain.

I remember that it started raining somewhere between his apartment and the toll booth to the skyway.  First it drizzled a little, then the wind started, soft, then louder and louder.  And then more rain, full force and lots of it, and the lightning and the thunder.  One crash after another after another.  And every bolt that shot through the sky also speared through my mind.  All I could think about was the pounding of my heart, the way my brain was racing over Mulder. Skyland Mountain, I thought, was a place I had seen in my nightmares, over and over and over, till I woke up restless and screaming.   Nothing good had ever happened there, nothing positive had ever come of visiting it.  And now here was Mulder, gullible enough to get into a car with Diana Fowley and follow her up here.  I was positive she was going to do something terrible, insane with the idea that she was going to stand by and watch as terrible lights struck down from the sky above and took him away forever.  It made no sense to me, such ridiculous, unfounded fears, but I saw it over and over again, from the sign on the highway to the toll booth.  I saw the lights, I saw the men and the smoke, I saw the gathering and the fire racing and eating up the hillside.   I saw him shrieking, saw him calling out for me, saw him reaching his fingers, clawing…. “Scully help me,” he said, over and over.  And Diana laughed and laughed and laughed.

“MULDER!!!!!  MULDER!!!!!!!”  My fists came up, my knuckles slammed against the foggy glass.

Yes, I screamed.  I screamed so loudly and so suddenly in the middle of the cab that the driver stopped short and nearly tore my head off.  The cab screeched and spun and hit the side of the road in a puff of mud and exhaust.

 “Goddamned, mother fucking idiot!” the driver yelled, waving his hands wildly.  My hands fell back to my lap.  All I could do was frown. Disoriented as I was, I blinked a few times to adjust to being awake.  I couldn’t even remember having fallen asleep.  “I’m sorry,” I mumbled.  The driver only shook his head and motioned at the toll booth.  Somehow, we had skidded to a stop right in front.  “It’s fucking pouring out there and you almost ran me off the fucking road!” he yelled.  “I swear to God you almost killed me!  Just pay me my goddamned money and get out of my fucking cab!”

So lets just say that it wasn’t my idea to get out and go searching for Mulder in the middle of a rainstorm. Believe me, I knew it wasn’t safe.  I would have been perfectly happy in the cab, circling the lot.  But I also realized that there was no way I was going to get back in, not with that loudmouthed driver, and especially not after I saw the Earth-shattering fare and realized that I was five bucks short.  I was, in a word, stuck: in the wind and the rain and in the middle of a place that terrified me to my core.

But I wasn’t going to give up.  I was going after Mulder.  My dream had left me nauseated and terrified and I was desperate to find him.  To the ends of the Earth, to the corner of the universe, in the middle of a rain slicked, mud covered forest, I was going after my partner.   I needed him and I was petrified for his life. I was going after him and I was going to tell that repugnant Diana Fowley exactly what I thought of her when I found him.

Not that things hadn’t been bad enough.  So of course, they got worse.

When I finally found Mulder he was fine---a little wet, but fine.  And after a momentary sigh of relief at that fact, I found myself angry and unsatisfied. Mulder was perfectly intact, not in any immediate danger, and he was arguing with Diana about whether or not the meteor shower would be visible after the storm.  Now, I don’t really know what I had expected to find when I saw him, but let me tell you something, after having galavanted through a river of mud, miles and miles up a stormy hillside, I had wanted blood.   I wanted a ghost or an alien or an evil monster or SOMETHING.  But instead I saw my partner standing by his car, leaning on its side, talking to HER.  I wanted to kill him myself. They were both soaking wet but otherwise normal and healthy.  And all I could think was: that bastard.  I had run through a monsoon for him, I had trekked up a hill and through half a dozen thorn bushes and mud slides just to make it into the guest parking lot for him.  At the very least, I had wanted an injured knee to tend to, a grateful smile, anything.  But no.  All I got was: “Scully, what the hell are you doing here? Please, go home.”

And for that remark I almost DID kill him.

“This was your important legal technicality?” I exploded.   (Mind you, I had just crawled up a hill.  A big, wet, muddy, fucking hill, for chissakes!) “This was your big secret meeting, Mulder?  This was what you couldn’t include me in?  Jesus Christ!”

“Nobody asked you to come here, Scully,” he said, kicking the soiled front bumper of his car.  “I think you should leave—“

“You asked me to come here!” I protested, waving my arms for emphasis.  “You begged me!  Or was that just some ploy to secure the evening---“

“A ploy?? A ploy?  What am I?  A mob boss?”

“No Mulder…” I glared at him.  I was pissed.  It was raining. “You’re an idiot.”

Anyway, a few minutes later, after a short and heated argument (see above), I explained that I had no car, and that I was stuck here.  And I told him that yes, I had followed him and yes, it was my own fault that I had no way back home.   So Mulder said something along the lines of “wonderful,” and explained to me that he was stuck here too.  Literally, his car had rolled forward into a lake of mud in the parking lot because he forgot to put up the emergency brake.  And Diana’s phone was dead and his was gone and we were stuck.  Ah, my stupid, stupid Mulder.

Then let me tell you, everything else was all downhill from there.  Literally.

Godamn it, what is wrong with me?

Sometime after 10pm, maybe
Getting closer to 11pm


You know, there comes a time, I think, at some point in all our lives----eventually---- when we sit and wonder if this is really it.  Is this all there is?  Is this all I am going to be?  Is this the best I am ever going to do?

We all think it.  Every one of us.  It's a cathartic moment, filled with self-doubt and regret.  And most people, to their relief I'm sure, have this defining moment over a cup of tea.  Or lying in their beds, mismatched socks on their feet, depressed and eating a bowl of Ben and Jerrys.  Most people at least have it while they're DRY. Or, at the very least, not covered in mud.

I'm covered in mud.

And I'm pissed.  Not that I haven't been pissed off before, but I believe this is the first time I've ever been THIS covered in mud.  Goddamn it.

Mulder pins me down to the ground and grasps my arms, grimacing with that look in his eye. Apparently, now that his sweater is torn and my earring is broken, all is well.  He has solved our problem, but now he is slithering and sliding to get off me and he is only partly succeeding.   He also, and this makes me more nervous---has mud in his hands.  And since Mulder has just been Mr. Maturity all evening… well, let’s just say I feel a mud fight coming on and believe me, I'm not in the mood....

The bluish-gray glow of lightning casts his features in an eerie glow. I try to wriggle and writhe--to bring my fists up into his stomach and out of his grasp, but it doesn't work.  Mulder is about a foot taller that I am and sometimes, it sucks.  I have nowhere to go and no leverage to get there.  So finally, seeing no other alternative, I grab Mulder’s shoulders and shove, hard enough so that I can fall off and he can roll over.


I slither away from him and claw at the ground, gathering mud in my own hands.  It oozes and slides out of my grip, in such the miserable way that mud often does.  But it feels so good; the mud, the thought of where I can toss it.  I squeeze my soiled fist shut and clench my teeth angrily.  Oh Mud.  Glorious, disgusting mud.  I hate it but if I could just have one good hit…

But instead the mud drips through my fingers, oozing from my palms like the last shreds of my sensibility.

"What is going on with you, Scully?" Mulder demands, advancing upon me.

I narrow my eyes and retaliate, backing away.  "We are not having this discussion, Mulder.”

He shakes his head as if I've lost my mind and yells, "What??" over the storm.

Using my mud-drenched arms to brace the rest of me, I decide to ignore him for the moment.   Why is it that the most defining moments are also the ones when you’re the most confused?


Somehow, I manage to get up the rest of the way without killing myself.  The rain is letting up some and I can see my hands in front of my face now.  Good.  That's a good thing---I think.  I want to see my partner's face when I kill him.

"That's it, Mulder!" I yell, slowly edging away.  "I can't take it anymore. I won't do it.  I can't.  I can't....I just...."

I turn to face him and he stares at me as if I hold his world in my hands. As if I alone have the power to make it or destroy it.  Oh why does he have to look at me that way?  I can never stay mad at him when he looks at me that way… as if… as if I’m his everything, when I know it has always been the other way around.  He’s my everything.  And that scares the shit out of me.

I bite my lip and look at him, really look at him.  I wish I knew what the whole truth was so that I could bottle it up and hand it to him without pretense.  I wish I knew how to be definitive and sure of everything and full of hope for us.  But right now, I don't even understand my own heart, much less the truth about anything else in the strangely fucked up world we’ve created for ourselves.

My face screws up into a wretched bunch of tired lines.  After all this fighting, there are only two words I really want to say.  "I can't."

He's still silent.

"Ok," I say.  "You're right.  Praise God in heaven, you're right. I'm full of shit.  Happy Mulder? I was being territorial and I'm full of shit."

My nostrils flare to try and hold back.... oh no.... oh please god, no.  I feel it in my heart, behind my eyes.  Please don't let me cry.  Please give me the strength.  I can handle giving away my heart but I don't want to cry.

"I just… can’t," I tell him again, trying to ignore the pain in his eyes and on his face.  "I can't follow you here anymore.  Here in this hurtful place we’ve been circling.   I can't stay if it's always going to be like this, Mulder.  I'm going to lose... my mind...."

I'm not even sure of what I mean or why I'm saying it at this point, but Mulder seems to know.  He seems to understand.  He seems to understand the veracity and ramifications of all of this and it scares him so shitless that he is silent.  For once in his life, Fox Mulder has been reduced to silence.

I draw a slow and deliberate breath.  A lightning flash slashes through the sky from out of nowhere and makes both of us jump.

You’re scared Mulder, aren’t you? I say it to myself and not to him.  Looking in his eyes, I can see the fear swirling there like an open flame.  You feel what I feel but you don’t you understand, I think silently.  Can’t you possibly fathom that I could be terrified about you, too?

“Scully---“ he starts but then trails off into nothing.  He just doesn’t know, doesn’t understand where to go from here.  Oh Mulder, where do we go from here?

This is all I have, I think to myself.  This is all I know.  I’m hurt but I can’t go and I can’t stay and Oh, make me want to stay.  Is it so hard to think that sometimes I just need to hear that there’s a reason to stay on the same path?  That it’s the right path?  Can I stay here in this place I’ve created?  Please give me a reason, Mulder....

But Mulder says nothing.  His mouth opens and only the barest of sighs comes out.  His eyes are unreadable.  A long, dredging moment passes and finally, I shake my head.  There is nothing now but a deep pain in my chest that I can’t explain.  “I’m sorry,” I say, turning to leave, disappointment wracking my body with sobs I have yet to shed.

I move two slow and agonizing steps, then three, then four, then—

Suddenly, I hear movement.  There is a quick, mercury-like slosh behind me, and then his arm is gripping mine.

"No," he tells me, whirling me around with ferocity.

I stare at him, silent and intrigued.

"It doesn't work that way, Scully."

I close my eyes.  Oh Jesus, not this again....


"NO!" he yells, more forcefully this time, and instead of arguing we stare at each other.  Oh god, I think I can hear his heart beating.  I know I can definitely see his brain churning and there is a whirlwind behind those hazel eyes.  My knowledge of him, my need for this is going to kill me.

"You don't get it," he says, gripping my arm tighter. My breathing is coming out quick and shattered.  My heart is pounding so hard that I think it may fall right out of my chest. Oh lord...He is breathing harder than I and shallower now, and we are still staring at each other.

"Let me go," I whisper, my voice more of a struggle against tears than an actual argument.  “Please let me go.”

He shakes his head, adamant.

"No," he says, putting so much fevered passion into the one word that it takes me aback.  His lower lip is quivering and I can see him struggling for control.  Oh my god, we are both so sick with this need.  He craves this as much as I do.  One day it is going to kill us both.

"Let me spell it out for you," he tells me, leaning closer and closer into my face.

The wind picks up again and violently whips at my hair, the rain beats ferociously into my back.  Yet somehow everything feels numb and dead against  the sound of his voice.  It’s as if time has stopped here for us.

"If you walk away from me," Mulder manages, struggling to keep his words steady, "I.  Will.  Follow.  You.  I will. Out of town, out of state, I will follow you.  I don't care if you walk right off the side of the Earth, Scully.  I will follow you---as fast as you go, as far as you get.  Are you sensing a pattern here?"  He pauses and adds, "Wherever, whenever, I don't care.  I will follow you because I won't--no--I CAN'T let you go. I can’t do any of this without you.  So if you think I am going to let you out of my life, then not only are you crazier than any X file we’ve ever investigated, you're also going to have one HELL of a restraining order on your hands."

Finally he stops to let go of me, staring down at the ground.

I stare at him, angry tears beginning to track down my cheeks as I manage, "Why?"

He touches an index finger to my cheek.  "Why?" he asks, softly.  "What kind of question is that, Scully?”

I shake my head, trying to retain the balance here.  "It's not that easy, Mulder."

At that, he looks up as if I've just pulled the straw that broke the camel's back.  His eyes harden and I can literally feel him recoiling from me.  Oh no, oh God, what did I say?  I didn’t mean to imply--

"Fine," he mutters, walking away.  "Fine.  Forget it."


I throw my arms up in the air and look around, not knowing what to do with myself anymore.  The bottom line here is that I want him.  I need him.  I always have and I always will. I want him and I love him so badly that there's a palpable ache inside me.

But at the same time, I am hurt and so often set aside and… damn it,  I am miserable and angry and desperate for some modicum of normality… And now, here he is-- walking away from me right after he said he wouldn’t and  OH I don’t know what I want anymore. I don’t.  I want him but I want the truth and I can’t decipher between the two these days.

"You LIE!” I yell to him, scorn finding its way into my voice.  We rarely yell at each other, and certainly not about matters of the heart, but tonight seems just as good as any.  We’ve already been fighting all this time.  Tonight is just as good as any time to break the looking glass.

"Go ahead,” I say, breathless and fervent, “Eloquent speeches and impassioned words always suit you just fine.  But in the long run nothing ever changes, does it?  You can follow me but I can’t follow you—isn’t that how it goes? Like any other promise you’ve ever made, Mulder. Go ahead and ditch me. Walk away.  Just do it.  Just walk away."

He whirls on me and opens his mouth, angrily.

“ME?” he gapes, as if he’s never even imagined such a concept.

“Yes,” I answer, “Yes, you.  9 times out of 10 you walk away.  So go ahead.”

My feet sink farther into the mud.  Leaves begin swirling around me like a tornado.  Some twigs fly up into his face and he shouts, “are you insane?!”

Yes, I think I am.  I must be.
“Just go,” I say.

"NO!”  His eyes narrow.  “You damned hypocrite! Every time something like this happens with you and I ask you what it is, what hurts you so goddamned much that you can’t find the words, you throw your arms up in the air and you basically tell me that I can go fuck myself.  ‘Nothing.  I’m fine Mulder.’  That’s all I ever hear from you.  So many ‘I’m fines’ and so little truth to any of it.  9 times out of 10 YOU close up and leave ME-- but =I= walk away?!"

I close my eyes, holding firm to my stance. "Yes.”

"No, " he maintains, stiffly folding his arms.  "I have NEVER walked away. I may follow leads, I may fly off somewhere on my own, I may get carried away, but I =don't= walk away from you."

You can do it Dana.... You can do it... stand your ground.... Taking a deep gulp of oxygen, I advance closer, balling my fists.

"No, not you," I say, bitterly.  "Not you.  Never you, Mulder." I cock my head to the side, lowering my voice to a shade above his tenor, and mock, "I promise Scully, I won't ditch you.  I promise, Scully, I'll wait till the lab results come back.  I promise Scully, I'll call to let you know I'm not lying in a ditch somewhere.  I promise, I swear, I owe you everything, Scully! My truth, my life…The ends of the Earth for you, Scully, until the next Diana!  Until the next lead comes along!"

He moves to stand in front of me, fists clenched like mine, eyes shooting fire.

"You think I don't care about you?!" he sputters, taken aback. "Is that what you think? Is that what this is all about?"

I shake my head. "I don't know WHAT to think, half of the time!" I say.  "How the hell would I know, when you never bother to tell me?"

Mulder narrows his eyes at me.  "Ditto, Scully," he says, and nods his chin up a notch. “And if we’ve ever been at cross purposes, you’ve certainly…”

"Oh no, don’t you DARE!” My chest releases a shuddered breath.  “this isn't about me, Mulder.  It's about—“

"No, it never is, is it?"

I shake my head at him and look away.  He sighs and all is silent for a moment.  Finally though, he closes his eyes and waves a surrendering hand at me.

"Fine, Scully.  I give, ok?   I’m tired of all this bullshit.  Just like you."

At his sudden words, my head snaps up.  It’s as if I’ve just realized that there is much more thunder and lightning crackling inside of us, much more than anything the sky can dish out.

"I can’t take it anymore either,” Mulder says, watching my reaction carefully.  “I’m so sick and tired of all this bullshit and I just want to know. So why don't you tell me?  Why don’t you be honest with yourself, for once in your goddamn life, Dana Katherine Scully, and tell me what this is all about?!"

Oh if only it were that simple.  If only it were… but it’s not and I can’t.  You’d never forgive me for feeling what I feel, Mulder.  "Nothing," I say sadly.  "It's not about anything.  Forget it."

Mulder throws his hands out into the air, aghast. "Is it Diana?" he asks.

I roll my eyes. Yes Mulder  That’s it.  Diana.  That’s exactly it.  My entire life hangs in the balance of your ex… whatever she is.  Sure.  When in doubt, make it about Diana.

"Drop it," I warn, angrily.

"That shit about me ditching you?"

I'm going to snap, going to snap, going to snap...

"Enough, Mulder."

"Is THAT what this is all about?" he asks, annoyed.  I shake my head at him.  His eyes widen in frustration. "Is it the work?" he continues loudly, waving his hands, "The X Files? Our quest? The truth? Skinner?  This storm?  My car? PMS?  WHAT SCULLY?! I'M RUNNING OUT OF IDEAS HERE!"


"NO!" I finally explode, my control slipping and sliding away like the mud caked to my clothes. Damn it, I need it back.  I need my control and I can’t find it.  I shove an index finger hard into Mulder’s chest. "NOW who doesn't get it?!"

Mulder throws his arms akimbo, his expression somewhere between confusion and revulsion.  I shake my head at him and turn to walk away again. But he grabs my arm again and roughly spins me around.   “Oh no…Don’t  you dare walk away from me this time,” he says.

I raise an angered eyebrow.  My face flushes and my insides begin to heat up.  “Don’t you ever tell me what to do or what not to do,” I hiss, trying to control my ragged breathing. “Not ever.  Do you understand me? I am NOT your subordinate, Mulder. I am your---“

“My what?” he says, his eyes burning with the expression of a man on the brink.  “Tell me, Scully…”

I glare at him, my heart breaking and seething.  "If you don't know, Mulder---"

"No.  You're right.  I don't.”

“Then…. don’t touch me."

Mulder’s grip only tightens upon my arm and he shakes his head.  For a moment, there is a crackling, razor sharp pause.  Then finally, we both snap completely, him yelling, “Not until you TELL ME!” at the same time that I open my mouth to shriek, "I CAN’T LET YOU HURT ME!”

His eyes widen in confusion.  His mouth closes.  His grip loosens in shock.  Oh god, I just said that.  I really said that.  Holy shit, I really did.  I really said that.  Oh my god, SHUT UP Dana!!!

But no--I'm continuing---rambling on and on, "I just… I can’t…you… ignorant… bastard!" Tears run down my cheeks. "You... have… NEVER gotten it, Mulder.  Never.  When you run off, when you ditch me… when you’re lying in some god forsaken hospital on the brink of death, JESUS CHRIST!”

I am now pacing and fidgiting like a mad woman on some exotic drug, so not like my usual, collected self.  But I can’t help it.  There is no control anymore.  It’s all gone, all faded away.  And as much as I try, I can’t get myself to shut up.  I know I should.  I know I need to shut up. I have to.  But I can’t. Lord help me, I am about to destroy the one relationship in my life that still sustains me and yet, I can’t shut up.

I start to breathe harder, ranting, “You, the forensic psychologist, the Oxford graduate, the man with all the answers, and you still don’t get it.  You---the man who can dig up a grain of sand from a four story rooftop and instantly declare ‘UFO’ can stand here and tell me that you don’t get it even though I KNOW—somewhere inside that inconsiderate brain of yours, you MUST get it. And if you truly don’t, Mulder, then by all means, this partnership is a sham, I AM crazy, and you should lock me up and take out an X file…”

He furrows a brow at my confession, somehow not realizing that it IS a confession, and manages underneath his confusion, “Scully—you’re not making any sen---“

I can’t let him finish before I do.

I stare at him shake my head.  I let my restless, figity hands hang listlessly at my sides, my fingers clenching and unclenching.  My eyes turn bright with frustration and resignation.  This is it.  This is all the marbles, right here.  If you don’t get it this time Mulder, then I give up.

“I’m not supposed to feel this way about my partner,” I finally say, my voice hoarse and nervous.  “But I do.  I do and I don’t even know why.”

From the look on his face I can tell that I’ve just sent him into several layers of shock, but I need to go on.  I can’t help it.  My brain has just slammed me with several demands of, ‘are you CRAZY?  Have you lost it? DON’T FUCKING DO IT DANA!’ but I still need to go on.

I start pacing.  “Have you ever wondered why, Mulder?…” I pause to turn. “You drive me crazy but I still follow you.  You make me want to scream in insanity but I still follow you.  You run off with Diana and don't tell me where you are, but I still follow you.  No matter where you go, or what you do, or how much you drive me to the brink, I still follow you.  And do you ever wonder… even for just a minute… WHY?”

I am pacing now, running trenches in the mud and Mulder is completely taken aback.  The only good thing about that, I realize, is that he won’t talk at least.

“What I mean is,” I turn to face him. “I care about the work.  I do. It’s my life, Mulder, it…I…” I run a ragged hand through stringy locks of sopping auburn hair.  This is confusing as hell.  “I tell myself that it’s the work. Every day I commit myself to finding the truth and digging up conspiracies with you.  Every day I tell myself that it’s enough.  The search, the quest.  It’s enough.  I can handle one more day.  I can handle the sometimes ludicrous cases stemmed from nothing more than a theory.  I can stand seeing my science shattered in the wake of science fiction.  Because the work sustains me.  The work.  Our work. The X Files.  But don’t you ever wonder, Mulder…. Why you?  Because I could do this on my own.  I could. I could invest my life in the X Files without you.  So do you ever wonder…Just what personal aspect my driving force contains?  Why I go with you so willingly? Why I’d follow you into a fire if you asked it of me?  Because lord knows there’s a boundary drawn between passion for work and what… I have…” I pause to watch him.

He does nothing but breath. I wish I could read him but I can’t.

 “You know how  DISTURNING it is, Mulder, for me to know that you could walk off the side of the Earth without so much as a word and I'd still follow you, goddamn it?  Do you even understand why?”

Mulder is still completely and dumbfoundedly silent--he merely stares at me, his eyes fixated on the tears streaming down my cheeks.  He looks like he either wants to hold me or he’s afraid of me, or else he just wants to brush away my tears.  But I don’t know.  I can’t tell.  I can’t even remember when I started crying, to be honest

"It's like a sickness," I continue, pausing to hiccup, "It gets under my skin.  YOU get under my skin.  And this… this passion---for the work, for you….it’s spread everywhere.  it lives inside me, Mulder.  It stays there, it festers, until suddenly, I…I’m thinking about getting up in the morning to work with you, hearing your voice….I see your infuriating face inside my head…. God, I don’t even know what to do with myself anymore.”

My vision feels blurred and I can’t seem to focus….

“Jesus, Mulder, you… I….”  I pause to suck in a large gulp of oxygen, managing, “for what has seemed like forever, my life has begun with you and ended with you, and you STILL don’t get it.  I don’t even know who or where or what I am without your strength or your faith, and you STILL don’t get it.  You STILL don’t get that when you take off the way you did tonight, let me tell you something, PARTNER, it eats away at me."

He is still silent.

"It SCARES me Mulder…” I shake my head again. “YOU scare  me…” I turn away and start to pace.  Five steps to the right, turn, breathe, five steps more.   “This wasn’t supposed to happen, it wasn’t. I didn't choose this and lord knows it can't be healthy.  I didn't ask for it, I didn't need it, but the fact is that I can't help it and I give up. I give up, alright? You win.  So here it is.  The elusive truth…”

I pause to watch him, to take him in.  His hair is plastered to his head from the rain and mud.  His beautiful hazel eyes are blank with shock and something else I can’t identify.  His lean, almost lanky frame is covered in slop almost completely, from head to toe.  His body is rigid with what looks like inner struggle and through it all, he is still so glorious to me.  I feel his pain.  I always have.

 “I think…somewhere along the line…”  I swallow and take one last look… “I fell in love with the one person I knew I would never… never….”

I place emphasis on that last word, ‘one,’ and now I’ve just given myself away.  I know I’ve just given him a slow coronary.  I can see the violence of a storm behind those eyes of his but I can’t tell whether that’s good or bad.

“Damn it,” I curse, shaking my head at the stupidity of my own admission.

I breathe deeply, then, “Mulder, this thing I feel, it’s started to consume me and I can't make it go away. I don't know how to make it stop.  And the scariest part—the part that terrifies me-- is that I don’t =WANT= it to go away.  I’m afraid of it going away…I need… damn it, Mulder…I--- all I know--- anymore-- is that I don't know how not to feel this way.  I don't know how NOT to need you, and it’s dangerous.  I have to step away from it before--"

"Before what?"

Ah, he finally speaks.  My heart torn and nearly shattered now, I stare at him, having painfully exhausted all my words.  I find that now I am so tired that it’s hard to breathe. And besides, I don’t even know what to say.

"Before...."  I can't finish. "before..."

So he finishes for me.

"Before this?" he asks, but I am not given a chance to respond.

A hand is suddenly at the back of my head, pulling hard, and I can’t help but stumble forward, my hands falling flat against his chest.  Slowly, I exhale and inhale to keep from panicking and shaking.  I am so afraid of this, of him. I run my fingers softly along Mulder’s chest, feeling his heart pounding away beneath the sopping wet cotton of his shirt and I wonder, oh God, is he afraid of me too?  He must be.  His ribcage is hard and rigid beneath my small fingers but his breathing is quick and sporadic.  Suddenly, I feel so small everywhere, so much smaller than this man who holds me so tightly.   We are terrified, I realize.  We are terrified of each other.

In the space of less than a second, we are only centimeters apart.  My widened eyes find his hazel ones and I can see hunger there.  He wants me.  I know it. My lids slowly begin to lower.  His fingers hold me at the base of my skull, his other hand snaking somewhere around my mid section.  His grasp is rough and hard and needy and wonderful.  Then his breath is on my cheek and his mouth is over mine before I can make a move to stop him or protest.

“Oh,” I breathe into his mouth.  “Oh, oh oh….”

Bright, blinding lights explode behind my closed eyes.   A medley of bolts shoot up and down my spine and it takes me a moment to realize that it’s not lightning I’m seeing.  And then I remember that my eyes are in fact, closed, although I can’t remember having closed them. And I can’t remember who I am or where I am, or anything beyond this.  All I know is that I feel wholly and completely alive.  Every part of me is crackling and humming to life.  And it’s all because of this moment: I am kissing him.  I am kissing Mulder.   I am holding him and clutching at him and I have no intention of letting go.

“You can’t stop this,” Mulder breathes into my mouth, his lips brushing once, twice.  Again and again he touches me.  “Nothing can stop this.”  Another kiss, then another, then another.  My fingers reach up into his hair and tangle there, my head tilts back.  “If there’s anything I’m sure of, it’s you…” he pulls away for a moment, just enough to look upon me, and I imagine how I must look in his eyes.  His fingers brush my jaw, my cheeks.

“The things that have happened to lead us here, Scully.  This place and this moment...  A million nightmares and so many choices made in a second,  indecipherable feelings of need and emptiness, a path followed, a journey and a quest and here we are, still seeking that missing piece we didn’t know we were missing.  But I think…  no, I’m sure… that all the while, the knowledge of this moment was so inevitable and so obvious that we must have always felt it.  Deep inside, to lead us here, we must have always known what was missing. This thing I feel when I touch you, when I hold you, it’s what was lost in us both.  It’s the only thing that makes us alive and who we are.  You were always that part of me, Scully, even when I didn’t know.   And I am that part of you.  Don’t ever berate yourself for something neither of us could have stopped.  I wasn’t prepared for it either, but here we are.”

“Yes…”  My jaw trembles and all I can manage is, “here we are.”

“So what then?” he asks.  “What do you want, Dana?”

For a moment, all I can think of is Oh my God.  My teeth start to chatter, though I am not cold.  My fingers find the rim of his mouth, his upper lip, soft and swollen and wet from pressing so hard against me.  A feeling of exhilaration passes through me and I gasp at the strangeness of the sensation.  It feels good, oh so good.  The rain is swift and thunderous on my back.  “I want you,“ I finally say.  “I don’t know how

“Then have me, Scully.”

I swallow nervously. “What…” My breathing catches.  “What do you mean by---?”

“I mean I love you.”

He says it so surely and so quickly, it comes out before I can even take a second breath.  His eyes hold on my expression.  Oh my, what do I say to that? Ditto?  Ok?  Me too?  In all the years I’ve known and loved Mulder, I’ve never imagined him saying ‘I love you.’  I just refused to even let myself think it.


 And thus, the only answer I can find is:

 “oh, ok.  Thank you.”

My face trapped in his hands, Mulder frowns with curiosity.  He blinks a few times to clear his head and finally, our evening climaxes with a whisper and not a bang. “Thank you?” he asks.   “That’s it?”

“Well,” I smile and pull him closer.  “You could say ‘you’re welcome’…”

Sometime close to 11pm


“Time it was and what a time it was.  A time of innocence…”

My fingers fumble with the volume button on the car stereo.  Nothing’s ever loud enough to block out my heart these days.  So weak it makes me, so fucking weak. Eyes closed, I lower my head to the dashboard.

“A time of confidences… Oh what a time it was.  I have a photograph.  Preserve your memories…”

No, I don’t want to listen to this now.  I can’t.

“They’re all that’s left you.”

With a short, angry motion, I slap the power button and silence the radio.  My head raises just enough so that I can see the shadow of my fingertip dancing along the dark plastic dashboard.  “I’m sorry,” I say, to nobody in particular.  My shadow begins to flicker and fade beneath the sad and weakening car light.

Why have I always stared at these shadows?

In the beginning, they were ghosts that belonged to me; the memories of my father and the painful hurt that he had caused me.  The death of my mother and the imprint she left on my dreams and my waking nightmares often left me feeling weak.  And I hated feeling anything akin to weakness.  I became so focused and so afraid of repeating my parents’ mistakes that I never allowed myself to feel anything more than the cold revolver of a gun, or the unfeeling paper of a case file.  But not weakness, never that.

Then when it wasn’t enough for me to haunt myself, I decided to take on someone else’s shadows.  I needed the distraction.  I needed to know I wasn’t alone.  In Fox Mulder I found that distraction, under the guise of another lost and broken soul like me. I was so scared and lost and I needed his shadows to hide under.  Meanwhile, Fox needed someone else to shoulder his guilt.  And for awhile, that worked out fine. Together we chased our shadows down and tried to slay them.  Then when we came up empty, we tried to chase down the shadows of others.  But in the end, it couldn’t work.  Fox couldn’t be my umbrella and I had no use for his pain.   And now I am left with only the shadow of him and what could never be.

Fox Mulder was never mine to understand.  I know this now.  Angrily, I bang a white knuckled fist against the dashboard.

“Christ, I can’t do this anymore,” I say to myself.  My fingers reach out to touch the cool glass in front of me.  Rain falls sideways against the outside windshield of the car.  It looks almost as if I am touching the heavy droplets, but I am not.

A small, empty tear trickles its way down my cheek and dries upon my chin.
When I was a little girl I used to wish for the fairy tale.  I’d stare longingly and for hours out the window, imagining that a prince would come and take me away.  I imagined his handsome face smiling, and his strong arms reaching for me.  I closed my eyes and wished for him to come and follow me to the ends of the Earth, to sweep me into his arms and say, “Diana my darling, it is you that I want.  I will love you forever.”

Nobody in my whole life has ever promised me that; to love me forever.  Not my father, not my mother, not anyone I ever needed.  And I wanted that love so much.  Oh, how I wanted such unconditional love.  I wanted to be loved forever and ever, and even if it came at the expense of Dana Scully’s happiness, I wanted to take it and keep it for myself.   It was the biggest shadow of all that I chased and never understood, the one that still eludes me, even now in this forest, in this car.

“But I can’t go back.”  I say it out loud, illustrating my point to the swirling leaves outside.  “It’s impossible.  I can’t.”

My only answer is the crashing of the thunder, a little farther away this time than it was before.  The storm’s moving, almost exhausted completely now, I can feel it.  Soon the rain will stop and I’ll be able to see the moon.   Maybe even the meteor shower  too, if all the clouds fade into the wind and the thunder rolls away with the lightning.

For a moment, I wonder about the other storm, the one that’s been brewing between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.  I wonder about what Fox is telling her, right now.  Is he holding her tight, expressing how much he needs her?  Has she finally found her prince, her love?  Has he finally slain his shadows?  And what about me?  What about my prince?  My shadows?  Who will slay them for me?

“Fuck you,” I whisper out loud.  Of my right hand, fingers clench and unclench.  “Fuck both of you.”  I can’t help but feel contempt raging in my system.  The nerve of them finding love when here I am, alone.  I don’t even want to look at either of them. They make me sick.  I’m damned, fucking, ludicrously sick to my stomach because of them.

With a sigh I look down.

In my left hand I hold our lifeline: Fox’s missing cellular phone.  I had nearly forgotten palming it earlier tonight and hiding it the glove compartment.  (Childish yes, but justifiable under the circumstances.)  But now here it is, fully charged and alive under my fingertips, the display clearly reading “Fox Mulder” beneath the power of indiglo.  Now with just the touch of a button I can end this madness.  I can get us dry, send us home, save all three of us from one more minute of this rage and hell and damnation.  But somehow, I can’t.  I can’t get my finger to move.

“The end of the road and here I am,” I muse to myself.   “One click and it’s all over.”

Beyond the windshield of the car, the rain slows to a lazy drizzle.

But do I really want it all to end? I ask myself. .  Because somehow, I just know that it will.  In the morning, everything will be different.  The storm will fade and eventually the sun will rise and erase the gray with color.  The world will change.  Fox Mulder will wholly belong to a woman that I contempt and I know I won’t be able to sit and watch.

But all these years of thinking about Fox, wondering about him and missing him, after tonight it will all be worthless.  Everything that we were together, the X files, this meteor shower tradition, none of it will be mine to lay claim to.  And do I really want that for myself?  Can I take leaving it all behind?  I just don’t know.

With a deep breath I close my eyes and imagine his face in my mind.   I see his pain and his shadows etched roughly across his rugged features.  I see sorrow and guilt and lonliness in his eyes.  There is no happiness in the face that I see.  There never was.  I suppose that Fox was never happy with me.  Not then and certainly, not now.   I didn’t have his heart, nor would I have wanted it had he offered.  There were always too many shadows of my own blocking my view.

Well no more, I decide.  No more.  I am nobody’s victim and I am nobody’s goddamned fool.  My world is set now.  I am taking my life for myself.

“Hello?” I say, a few slow moments later.  “Yes, this is Special Agent Diana Fowley with the FBI.  Two other agents and myself are stranded in the parking lot of Skyland Mountain…”


Sometime before 11pm
(and right before the tow-truck)

“So this was all about a meteor shower?”  Scully asks.  She shakes her head and touches my arm, leaning and laughing into my wet shoulder.  “Nothing like a meteorological phenomenon to get you in the mood.”

Content and smiling, I answer, “Damn straight Scully.  And there’s a solar eclipse next week…” I look down to grin at her.  “You wanna get it on?”

“Get it on?”  She snorts.  “Get it on?...  Very romantic notion. Thank you.”

“Was that a yes?”

Scully shakes her head.  “How bout you go take a swim, Mulder.  Right over there.”

“Naked swimming?”

She swats at my arm. “Mulder!”

Both of us are tired and moving at a snail’s pace, inching our way slowly back towards the car. It’s wet and it’s dark out here but now it’s a little warmer…  Her fingers are hot and wonderful on my elbow.

At best, Scully and I are strained and exhausted beyond all reason.  Not that we hadn’t been before, but now it is different.  Perhaps we’re still the same people we were an hour ago, Scully with her science and me with my science fiction, but at least now we’re a little freer.   My partner knows that I love her and I know that she loves me.  And for once, the world has not ended, the sky has not fallen, and nobody has died as a consequence of our good fortune.  This is a VERY good sign.  Plus, the rain has even stopped now and the clouds are dissipating and fading into the night air, almost as if there had been no storm at all.  Amazing.  I’m definitely liking this ‘freedom of emotion’ thing.

“You would’ve liked the shower,” I say, focusing on the headlights  up ahead.  “I suppose I just  wanted to help you forget it all…   Or no, I wanted to make you remember that normality does still exist somewhere.”

“Normality…” Scully giggles.  “Well Mulder… nobody was abducted at least.  That’s something.”  Her skin is cold and soft and wet, but her laughter is warm enough for me.  Sometimes, I think I could just live off the sound of Scully’s laughter. I don’t hear it nearly as often as I’d like.

“Oh come on,” I start, wriggling my arm free to make a grab for her waist.  She side-steps to her left and I miss by a mile. “It wasn’t a totally disastrous evening.”

Scully laughs again and shoves me away playfully. “No, not until you get my cleaning bill,” she says, wrapping her free arms around mine so that both her hands are clutched at my elbow.

Ahhhhh….What can I say?  I love this woman who tries to manipulate me into doing her laundry.

“Oh no,” I say, shaking my head. “You wear it, you wash it, girlie.”

“Excuse me?”

“Well, I’m not paying your bill.”

“Ohhhh yes you are Mulder.  I paid yours last time.”

“What?! When?”

“Last time.”

“When last time?”

“You know, that last time.”

“Please.  You lie Scully.”

“I don’t lie Mulder.”

“The hell you don’t....”

Ahem… Well, with that in mind, I guess there’s nothing left to say…  Except that I’m in love.  Broke but in love.  Maybe Skinner’ll let me borrow a few bucks for Scully’s dry cleaning…

“---That was different, cheapskate.   I only had coffee that time.”

“Expensive coffee.”

“McDonald’s coffee is expensive?  Since when?”

“Since the Reagan administration.”

“Oh please Mulder.  Don’t insult me. You’re paying.”



And thus, we ride off into the sunset together… just me, Scully, the X-files, my ex girlfriend and a toe truck.  Man, I’ve got to start planning my evenings better.

The End

“I Promise you that love won’t be easy.
I promise you there will be times apart.
But I swear that it comes from my heart,
That I know that you’re the only one for me.”
------ Allure

Yep that’s it.  In light of this story finally being realized (after a year of promising I would finish it,) I’d like to thank a bunch of my fanfic readers.  Some of you come to my message boards regularly and inspire me, others have just been emailing regularly and helping me along.  Some of you have sent feedback for ‘The Way I Saw It,’ others threats of please, Jaime, finish ‘The Dish and the Spoon’ before I start a mob!!! :o)  Anyhow, it is always you guys, my readers, who make me remember why I write fanfic in the first place.  Thank you so much to:

Nicki, Kimberley, Kashy, Kelli, Kirsten, Katie, Marta, Talia, Galia, Bubblette, Spooky Chick, Vicky Charlotte, Taryn, Karen,  (My old Gertie’s Board cronies know who you are <grin>) X-girl, E.G, Barnrat, Deleene, Beth, grlnextdoor, Rebecca, Jen, Rikki, Lucy, Lisa, Andree, Yosh, Rachel, Remy, Ellen, Sharon, Melissa, Jill, arctic, Renee, Najeyeah, Alice, Abby, Lorrie, Roda, AmyW, Joanne, Benjamin, Sheila, Erin, U2Mulder, Jennifer, Cindy, Martina and King, Kara, Angela, Sasha, Charisse, Lorna, Pernille, Roy, Invisigoth, Eliza, Cary, Barb…
I am forgettting so many people here and I wish I could name you all.  (But most of you are on my hard-drive at home…) So if you don’t see your name here and you know you’ve emailed me… just email me again.  I’ll pencil you in.  <grin>

In the meantime, I’d like to end with this short “ Q& A” (or in other words, what people will most likely be emailing and  asking me, after the conclusion of this story):

Q: How does Diana explain where the missing cell phone came from?
A: very carefully, I assume.  Honestly, I don’t know whether Diana would confess or not.  Maybe she’d say she saw it tucked under the seat.  At any rate, I think Scully would definitely kill her if she found out.  Use your imagination.

Q:  Why didn’t Scully freak out more about Mulder bringing her to Skyland Mountain?
A:  In my mind, Scully is stronger than that.  She’s overcome a lot these past few seasons.  I think Skyland Mountain frightens her but she knows that Mulder would never do anything to hurt her.  She was more angry about the “ditch” than Skyland Mountain.

Q: Why didn’t any of the agents try to call Skylands’ security guards for help?
A:  Um, have you seen the show?  Common sense seems to elude our favorite agents in regards to the simpler things. Besides, how many disastrous catastrophes have happened at Skyland Mountain now and there was not a single security guard anywhere in sight?

Q:  On the show, isn’t Diana Fowley dead?
A: Yes… but not in the fanfic world.

Q: David or Mulder?
A: Mulder, but both are scrumptious.

Q: Is this the end?
A: Yes.