by Jaime Lyn
Mulder and Scully On
48 hours after the hospital....
Audio Tape Copy # 12 (12th try, that is)
Apology to the editor
By Fox Mulder and Dana Scully
"Okay, let's try this again, Scully. Just press the red... Oh, it's on? Shit. . Okay.. Ah, Ms. Morris, I just wanted to say... that is, Agent Scully and myself... that is... the both of us wanted to say..."
"We wanted to tell you how incredibly sorry we were."
"Please understand that neither of us expected the afternoon to end so...dangerously. And also know that we both wish you a speedy recovery. Trying to function properly with two broken arms can be.... rough. Believe me, I understand."
"She does. She's been shot in worse places."
"But we know you'll prevail."
"Two out of two FBI agents agree."
"So the reason for this tape... Well, as you know, Agent Mulder and myself encountered some unfortunate difficulties this afternoon, most of which had rendered us unable to fufill our prior obligations. For this inconvenience, we sincerely apologize. While we tried to be expedient and professional on our interview tapes, the fact of the matter is that a few highly personal, intimate revelations got in the way of our objectivity."
"And then...As you... the reason... damn it, I lost my train of thought, Mulder. Now I have to start over---"
"Wait--I got this one, Scully. See, the real truth is that we actually lost the tapes during a strange and blinding unnatural phenomenon that struck us without warning while on the way to the hospital. A freak accident, really. As a matter of fact, the local police had to be called in, and the fire department, and a few circus people, half of Scotland Yard, a bio-hazard team---"
"Because while getting off the 95, we ran over this four armed, six legged, bug-eyed martian. Must have been a hell of a day for space traffic too, because all these suckers were just dropping out of the sky--"
"Are you quite finished, Mulder?"
"--Like hail. And the casette tapes were on the front seat when all four martian arms exploded like a water balloon over the windshield, leaving this gelatinous, animatious, snot like ooze---"
"And the window was open."
"I'm stopping the tape."
"But that wasn't my fault. Scully was driving."
"And she kept one of the tentacles."
"Anyone want to buy a souvenier?"
"That's disgusting, Mulder..."
Beginnings, Hill-tops, and Kids
Seven Months Later
When I was a boy, I thought the most beautiful thing on earth was the sunset that encompassed the sky after a game of stickball on the Vineyard. Pink turned into orange, turned into yellow, turned into seafoam, turned into navy blue, and the sun drifted behind the trees in a slow descent that left me breathless. My sister Samantha and I would watch the sunset, gloves in hand, and we would sit on the pitcher's mound until the entire sky was navy blue, the first evening stars dotting the horizon like glitter thrown over a tarmac. When she was still young enough to believe every word that came out of my mouth, I told Samantha that an elf lived in the clouds, and that he had been the one painting the sky. Without the elf, I told her, the sunsets would disappear, and night would never come, and the world would be daytime forever.
I wonder now if my children will tell each other stories like that, if their world will be painted in bright colors by the fairies and elves of their imaginations. I want to believe that there is hope for them, as there is hope for all things, and that Scully and I can paint the sky with them.
I still believe in untangible things. In elves. In fairies. And I still believe that the most beautiful thing I've ever seen of the natural world is a sunset--the sunset with Dana Scully gazing up at it.
Scully turns to me and smiles with her large blue eyes. She's wearing this long, light yellow dress that I've never seen on her before, her red hair piled up on top of her head in a soft, curled mound of rusty colored locks. I told her earlier that I'd never seen her look so... well, like a girl before. And Scully pointed out that I'd never seen her dress this way because I'd never asked her out on an actual date. She's right about that. I haven't.
Scully also told me, in a shy-sounding voice, that she used to do her hair in ringlet curls for dates and for special events, but that she hadn't truly done her hair in a long, long time. It was almost funny how self conscious she seemed while standing there, her orange locks demurely curled, her pregnant stomach round and tough, her hands clasped together and shaking as she spoke. So I smiled and touched her cheek, and I told her that I was glad to give her the opportunity.
"Anything to support the superficial ministrations of law enforcement's most beautiful," I said.
I leaned down and kissed her then, at the foot of the hill we're now standing upon, and I can't remember ever feeling as in love with anyone as I was with Scully at that moment. I swear to you, I saw a hundred sunsets with my eyes closed.
God, how time just passes. Nearly eleven years, gone in the blink of an eye. So many new roads to take together; each path stretched out in front of us like an image from a deep forest. Just the thought of all the choices not yet made, all the hardships not yet faced-- I'd be lying if I said I had a plan to get us started, or even one to keep us going. Honestly, I don't.
But I'm here, aren't I?
The world below us is a mixture of green and golden brown, the cliffs and hills and trees of New Mexico reaching out like small brushstrokes of color, forever flowing until the edge of the earth. The sunset has just begun, and Samantha's elf has painted the sky with orange and yellow ochre. At the edge of the hill stands an old friend--Albert Hosteen Jr., Albert Hosteen Sr.'s son.
Hosteen Sr. had been a good and fathiful friend to Scully and I--an Anasazi Native American who had helped us throughout the years, who had protected us both and prayed with us both, and, at times, lead us back to each other when we'd lost our way. Albert Hosteen Jr. had been young when Scully and I first ventured out here, but he was around for a few of the tough times, and he had heard many stories about me; "the man who came back from the dead." As time passed on, Albert Hosteen Jr. accepted the ways and the rites of the Anasazi from his father, just as the traditions had been passed down throughout lineages for centuries.
Last month, when Scully and I called Albert Jr. to ask him for a favor, he had not refused us. He had, in fact, been so pleased that we called him, that he caught us up on how the Hosteen family was doing. Afterwards, of course, he agreed to help us.
And thus, here we are.
My hands clasped in Scully's, Albert nods to us and then to William, who, at nearly two years old, is a bit shy with strangers. His round, ivory face peeks out from behind Scully's leg and he stares at Albert Jr. with wide, confused blue eyes. In his tiny right fist is the green piece of twine he was asked to hold, and as he presses his nose into the underside of Scully's knee, he stretches his arm out to Albert.
"Hambawgah," whimpers William, and he smacks Scully's leg as Albert retrieves the green twine. "Hambawgah, Hambawgah! We go. We go now."
Scully purses her lips and shrugs, reaching out a palm to touch William's head and shush him. William, unfortunately, is still on the short side, and Scully's hand misses him by about an inch. She frowns and looks down, tries to bend her knees to get closer to him. After about one or two unsucessful attempts, Scully wobbles, raises an eyebrow at me and sighs. "Don't you dare say a word," says the look on her face.
Just so you know, Scully weighs about as much as my rental car now--maybe more. Her stomach is about as big as I've ever seen a pregnant woman's stomach, and I have no idea how she sees her feet when she walks. She does the waddle thing now and she holds her back--something she insists she DOES not do, damn it, Mulder--but I've seen her walking around like Howard the Duck.. Trust me. I know. The sheer girth of Scully's distended belly alone is an X File, and I won't even get into the amount of junk food she consumes a day--The Reeses Pieces and the Gummy Bears she doesn't want me to know she has, the Twinkies she hides in a box in the drawer of her nightstand. If Scully's growing stomach is at all strange, her newfound love of candy and fatty foods has become a gaping mystery. Just the other day she ate a pizza with M&Ms and Peperroni on it. I don't even want to know why Pizza Hut was offering such things...
"Hey Buddy," I call down to William, who looks up at me with hopeful blue eyes. Both Will and his mother know that I'm the one to turn to if hamburgers or hotdogs are involved. Scully's the one to turn to if it's got brussel sprouts or peas in it that will, inevitably, end up in the fishtank.
"Just a little while more," I say. "I promise--Mc Donalds. The jungle gym. Just as soon as this is over. We can use Mommy as a bouncy ball. The other kids will think you're the coolest."
"Bouncy ball," says Scully with a snort. "Haven't heard that one yet. Thank you, Mulder."
"Ball," says William, and he ducks back behind Scully's leg.
Albert Jr smiles down at William, who is wrapped around Scully's leg like a snake. Usually, Will's not so shy. If it's Skinner, Agent Doggett, Agent Reyes, or Mrs. Scully, William will talk until he's blue. he'll show them his bear, his blocks, his new shoes...But strangers... Well, I suppose Will's aversion around strangers a good thing. Right?
Man, this "Daddy worry" stuff is crazy.
Albert takes a breath and begins to speak, the twine lying limp in his hands like a thin, long weed. His voice is deep, resonant.
"This twine represents the strength and fraility of your bond to each other. Just as love is tenuous and unsure, so is love powerful and binding. In your hands you hold the possibility of the future; your life is a journey. On this journey you shall face your greatest fears and overcome the demons of adversity. Only together can you find your true potential; this gift is given to you by the Gods of the Earth and the Sun. By these Gods, by your ancestors, and by the Heavens, your union is blessed, as your spirits were meant to lie with each other for all eternity."
Scully's hands shake, and when my eyes find her eyes, she smiles. Her tongue darts out to brush her upper lip. She's nervous, I can see it. I'm nervous, too. Terrified, in fact. But we're both ready, as scared as we are-- and beneath all of this conviction we're both petrified, believe me---yet Scully and I have never allowed fear to get in the way of what we wanted. We fought for the X Files, for the truth, for William, for this new baby. We fought tooth and nail, and we're not going to let anything stop us now. Despite the weight of a world plagued with conspiracies and evil doers, Scully and I managed to find each other. We've not fallen yet, and we won't ever fall. Not if I have anything to do with it.
Both Scully and I look back to Albert Jr., who grins his sun-weathered grin, the green twine draped over his outstretched hands. He continues, "Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, I bind your hands, as I think you are finally ready to take the journey as two spirits joined." He takes two steps closer, grabs the twine with his left hand, and wraps it twice around Scully's and my clasped hands.
I can hear myself breathing, can hear the thin threads of twine brushing, can hear the sun moving down beneath the trees. I can hear everything. I feel like a man who has just been told that his eyes and ears have given him wings, and because his senses have been heightened, he can fly.
Scully swallows, her gaze trained on Albert's fingers tying our wrists together. "Just as your son, the fruit of your union, has handed me this twine, so do I bind you now as proud witness to your life together. Just as you have journeyed together before, may your spirits guide you now, protect you against harm, and bring prosperity into your house. May the obstacles of this world make you stronger, and may you never forget that your love for each other is as frail as it is powerful. Do not let such a powerful force break, as twine may break." Albert Jr. bends down, scoops a small, gray pot of dirt from its nest in the soft grass. Scully's gaze focuses on our wrists--our hands once clasped, now tied together. Her head is cocked to one side as if she's contemplating the rest of her life, and she looks so...content, complacent. Her breathing remains soft and even. Her blue eyes blink as if in thoughtful resolution. How is it that she's so calm, but I feel like I'm about to roll downhill?
"Earth," says Albert Jr., and he brushes his finger across Scully's cheek, leaving a trail of glistening brown mud. "To represent the plain of existence that has brought you together." He then brushes his finger across my cheek without dipping his hand back into the pot, and I can feel something cold and wet dripping down onto my jaw. An old psalm floats randomly into my head: "ashes to ashes, dust to dust..." We are all part of the earth, part of the sunset. Samantha would be proud.
"And on this mountaintop," Albert continues, "the heavens surround us. The stars will soon arise to take the place of the sun. This plain of existence is where your spirits will re-join in the afterlife. May the joining of your spirits always be blessed by the Earth and the stars, as you have been bound together under the laws of the Anasazi. You may now undo your hands, but do not break the twine. Two days from now, after a careful and serious meditation, you may bury the twine in a special place of your choosing." Both Scully and I nod, glance at each other, and carefully untangle our hands. Albert smiles and clasps his own hands together. "I suppose it is fitting now to say--what is it? You may kiss the bride?"
Scully smiles, curling the twine into a careful ball in her fist. She takes slow measure not to break it. I smile back at her, run my finger along the underside her cheek--the one without the mud. God, I love touching this woman.
I know there must be a saying about love and mud and sunsets somewhere, but I don't know what it is. Maybe the line hasn't been written yet, and this is life giving me the opportunity to write all the things that haven't been written. I don't know.
"Well...I can kiss the bride now," I say, laughter brimming in my eyes.
"Yeah," says Scully. "And when we get home, you get to cut the snowball."
"Nah. Those are just for birthdays and exanguinations. Real special occasions."
"Ah," says Scully. "A bunch of dead cows. I believe I've autopsied at one of those parties."
I shake my head. "Really? Remind me to never attend any of your parties."
Scully chuckles, but doesn't move.
I can't tell whether Scully thinks this is ridiculous or beautiful, but she seems to be having a good time, which is all that matters I suppose. And at least I get to kiss her now, even if this ceremony isn't exactly normal, or legal, or catholic. Her brother, I imagine, would not be pleased.
All of a sudden I hear a gasp, and when I glance down, my son is staring at Scully and I as if we have just captured the moon and given it to him. His blue eyes are wide, the long brown lashes fluttering rapidly.
"Diw-ty," he announces, pointing first to Scully's face and then to mine, and his smile of delight is unmistakable. He claps his hands and tugs on Scully's yellow dress. "Me too, me too!"
Ah well. What can I say? My son is a lover of the finer things in life---worms and dirt and hamburgers cut into bite sized pieces. Opportunities like this just don't come around every day for a two year old with over protective parents. Maybe after I kiss her, I can convince Scully to roll down the hill like a blueberry and make some mud pies for us. You think?
Yeah, neither do I. I'm not that stupid. I like my nose where it is.
Scully closes her eyes and breathes a soft chuckle.
Albert Jr. crouches down and smiles at my son. He meets William's gaze and William raises an unimpressed eyebrow--holy shit, he looks so much like Scully when he makes that face, God help us...
"What you?" asks William with a skeptical expression. He folds his chubby hands over the front of his new overalls and greedily eyes the gray pot of mud in Albert's left hand.
Albert, as if tuned in to the way of toddlers, says nothing at first. He then touches his finger to William's cheek and smears a trail of mud from William's jaw down to his chin. William, seemingly fascinated by this game, nods his head and and clasps his hands together. He crouches down by Scully's feet and reaches into the dirt. A second or two later, with dirt and weeds dripping through his tiny fingers, William arises. He hands his treasure to Albert, who takes the dirt from William's hands and nods.
"You okay," William tells Albert, and as if to finalize his changed decision, he plops down on the ground behind Scully. With his tongue lashing out towards his chin, Will digs his hands into the earth and pats the ground as if making a mud castle. "Hambawgah now. Hambawgah now. No kissies."
"Hey." I set my hands on my hips. "I like the kissies."
William doesn't look up. "Yuck," he declares, and sticks his tongue out at me.
Real nice. You see this? You see what Scully is teaching this kid?
"Your son is very wise," Albert says, and he laughs.
"Yes," agrees Scully. "One of them has to be." And she tilts her chin to kiss me before I can retort.
On the End. Truly. For Real.
"Alright, that's it, Scully."
I look up from my stack of midterm pathology evaluations to see Mulder plopped in the middle of... what the hell is that? A broken piece of furniture? Debris from a train wreck? He's up to his neck in wierd shaped metal thingies, nuts, bolts, screws, multicolored foam bars, a bunch of odd looking springs, a few pieces of wood, and some white mesh netting that his feet are tangled in. The entire fiasco looks as if a circus tent exploded and Mulder was the ring master.
"Mulder," I manage, trying to rub away a monstrous headache while simultaneously forcing back a laugh, "what in the world are you doing?"
Mulder glances about himself as if he's disoriented, or perhaps waking from a deep coma. His normally professional hair is... mishappen, jagged, very-un-Mulder-like; clumps of dark brown hang out in all directions. His gray shirt is wrinkled, with one sleeve rolled up, as if he either stuffed himself into a washing machine or else went dumpster diving. I suppose in this particular case, he went Fisher Price diving.
I prop my elbow up on the table so that my chin can drop onto my palm. My feet are swollen, my legs hurt, my back aches, I have a monstrous headache, I weigh about a million pounds, I have a constant urge to release my aching bladder, and I have never been so in love with any one person in all of my life. Even back when I thought I loved him, when I thought I knew so well what it meant to fall in love...
I had no idea.
"I think it's trying to devour me," Mulder mutters, and he holds an "L" shaped metal thingie in front of his face, shaking his head. "This is our next X File, I'm telling you. Conspiracies surrounding the play pen industry, and why poltergeists inhabit Fisher Price products. It's all very suspicious, Scully, and these infant product CEOs must be stopped before any more of these--" Mulder squints, turns the "L" shape over and over in his hands, and continues,"--any more of these malevolent entities can materialize in these little metal shaped sevens and hatch a plan to dominate the universe through single family households and Phillips screwdrivers."
Okay, I really shouldn't laugh at this...
Mulder turns the "L" shape over and over in his hands again, scratches his head, and frowns. He picks up another "L" shape and bangs the two together with a frustrated look on his face. Good grief. This is like watching early man learning to make fire. My husband, the Oxford educated psychologist and the FBI agent, the man who can pick up a piece of weathered string at a crime scene and tell me exactly how the crime occured.... And he wouldn't know a phillips screwdriver if a UFO touched down and handed one to him. I bite my lip and cough. Or at least, I hope it sounds like a cough. I'm not a very good liar.
"Just don't glue yourself to the box, Dear Henry," I say, focusing back on my papers to keep from lauging outright at him. "Or nail yourself to anything else."
Mulder snorts. "You talk a big game, Dear Liza," he says. "Why don't you come over here and put this massive conglomeration of spare parts together if you think you know so much about popular mechanics."
Hoo boy. Here's an interesting tidbit about Mulder: He's cute, and determined, and confident, and highly intelligent, but oh my God is he destructive sometimes. Well, actually, most of the time. Fox Mulder should just never hold hammer. Or a screw driver. Or basically, anything that isn't a bureau issued hand gun. I am absolutely not kidding. The last time Mulder tried to fix my toaster oven he nearly electrocuted himself, and weeks past before he could actually walk by a pile of laundry again without collecting socks on his ass.
"Actually," I say, scribbling some side notes in the margins of one of my papers, "If you will recall, I put the first play pen together--and the crib. And the shelf in Will's room. And I fixed the microwave last week. And that's my screwdriver you're borrowing, so--"
"Shut up, Scully."
Right. I knew that one was coming.
Audio Journal of Dana Scully and Fox Mulder
(Otherwise known as "William's Baby Book")
"Hey Scully, where are William's shoes?"
"Shoes! Muw-Dah get shoes!"
"In a second, Will. Hey, Scully?"
"Muw-dah, I go ow-side now."
"Muw-dah, Muw-dah, Muw-dah.."
"Check behind the couch, Mulder. I think he kicked them there yesterday."
"Hey pip-squeak, I have an idea. Just for laughs. How about today we try something new, something totally wacky, and you call me Dad? Or Daddy? Or Daddy-O? I'm okay with all of them. What do you say? Sounds like fun, huh?"
"No, see, you're not getting my point."
"No, no. This is how we play. Only Mommy is allowed to call me Mulder today. You have to call me--"
"She Schu-wee. You Muw-dah."
"Yes, close... but no. Okay, let's try this again. You call me--"
"Mulder, what are you doing to him?"
"I'm teaching the kid how to wield a pick axe, juggle a fishbowl, and balance a stack of plates while tying his shoes. What does it look like?"
"A pick axe? I thought that was last week's lesson."
"Nah. We skipped a week to review the intricacies and complexities of green eggs and ham."
BACK TO SCULLY
"Oh, hey--I forgot," says Mulder, almost as if an afterthought has just occurred to him. "There's a letter for us on the counter. Did you read it yet? I wanted to wait to open it. It's postmarked from that editor. You remember, the one that--"
"Yeah..." I close my eyes for a moment. "I remember."
In the back of my mind I have very vivid memories of that terrible day; the ill-fated interview, the swirl of misery that encompassed my head as I bent over the toilet, the long moments of self-doubt, the slow descent into self-realization, and the small white lie that followed. "I'm sorry I don't have the tapes for you, Ms. Morris. Agent Mulder and I accidently ruined them..."
Man, I hope she didn't lose her job over us.
I do honestly feel terrible about having lied to that editor about the interview tapes she needed so badly. I know that she was working on a deadline, and that my participation in Jose Chung's research directly correlated to her missing that deadline. And, of course, the fact that she broke her other arm while sliding down the hall and crash landing into a fruit-cup cart didn't help make the situation any better. But I just... I don't know what happened to me. Somewhere in between fruit cups and the edge of reality, I saw my life in "could have's" and "should have's": Mulder and I lounging in bed, waking up to chocolate chip pancakes and syrup and diapers in need of changing. William tugging around the bear that Mulder had nicknamed "Ruddy," because the nose had been worn away. The sound of a new baby crying, of William crying out for an extra five minutes past his bedtime. I saw the fruit cups lying about the ground in splatters and gushes of fruit, saw the nurses rushing towards the poor, broken editor, and all I could think of was that my life was in rewind.
Does this make me a horrible person?
God, I hope not.
It was just--I was so excited that I didn't know where to start. I didn't know what to think.
I had been given a "do over." A second chance. For all of our misery and all of our struggles throughout the years, Mulder and I had been given this amazing opportunity to do things right, to take our quest in a new direction. We weren't just Mulder and Scully, partners in crime, friends, and lovers. We were Mulder and Scully, friends, parents, partners and...
Two normal people in love. The bottom line; we had never been so normal. Not in years, not since before the x files.
Like I said, my life in rewind.
So the prospect of such a radical change between us, although terrifying and strange, was incredibly reassuring. The pregnancy, the interview tapes; everything felt like an omen, or like an awakening. For the first time in nine years, or even thirty-something years, I felt free. I was a kid again. I was standing in the middle of a Japanese fishmarket, asking my father if I could really, truly have a puppy. If we could settle down. If we could just...stop. Get out of the fucking car, for chrissakes.
And this time, instead of the most important man in my life saying no, he was finally saying yes.
EVERYDAY LIFE.... CONTINUED
Audio Journal of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully
(William's Baby Book)
"...Ah, I see, Mulder. So you're saying...he wouldn't eat them on a train?"
"Or in the rain."
"Because they were lame."
"Hey--you're good at this game."
"So, dear Henry...did you read that letter yet?"
"Which one, dear Liza?"
"The one on the counter."
"Not yet. You want me to read it now, Scully?"
"Yeah, go ahead. It'll take me a few minutes to get Will's jacket on anyway."
"Alright, I just have to get it--"
"Wook, Schu-wee! Shoe, shoe, shoe, shoe."
"I have shoe, Schu-wee."
"Okay.... Dear Agents Mulder and Scully--"
"Seven months ago, I approached the both of you for an interview---"
"Will, I need you to be extra quiet for a minute, okay? And what is my name?"
"I sowee Mommy Schu-wee. Shhhhhhhhh..."
"---And although the interviews had never been completed, when I approached Jose Chung with the single tape you had given me, he was very much intrigued despite the lack of details and closure. Your lives, apparently, are interesting enough to warrant further examination. Furthermore, both Jose Chung and I decided that, since your personal and professional dynamics were so intruiging, a new approach was needed for 'Outside the Boundaries.' A broader medium, a wider canvas was required to paint the full picture. But it truly has been wonderful. Being a major part of the creative process again has been liberating, I tell you. I am a changed woman. I have even resigned from my job as assistant editor with Harperly Publishing to help helm this new project. Hopefully, with a little assistance from Jose Chung and some support from both of you, this new vehicle will really be able to fly. Thus, I am writing to both of you, as the models and inspiration for Jose Chung's work, to inform you that the fruits of our labor--the characters based on amalgamations of your everyday lives--can be viewed next week at nine o clock. Please contact me and let me know if we have been accurate in our attempts to capture your lives. Thank you very much, and congratulations to you both. Jaime Lyn. P.s. The arm is healing nicely."
TV Rots the Brain
In The Very End, The X Files
"Mulder, come look at this--" Scully grabs my hand as I walk past the couch; dark blue TV lighting casts splashes of color and shadows on her face and arms. Her red hair has been pulled back into a banana clip--my favorite banana clip, as a matter of fact. Each demure tendril that drips from the accessory calls to me, says, "you know you want it, Mulder. Come and get it--- "
God Damn Dana Scully for being sexy. The world's sexiest pregnant woman. Can you believe this? She looks like she's swallowed a house and two compact cars for dinner, and I still want to fuck her brains out until her hair stands on end and she grips the sheets and makes that squealing noise that sounds just like, oh, just like---
No. Cannot think such things. That's it. I blame the banana clip. The banana clip has me thinking dirty things. Scully really shouldn't grab me when she wears that clip.
"What?" I ask.
Scully points mutely towards the television set, and it is then that I see the TV Guide resting open in her lap. On the right page is an article with the headline 'X-citing,' and on the left page, a picture of two pretty people I have never in my life seen before. When I look up, I am just in time to catch a glimpse of the odd programming that Scully has been watching. A small, shadowy logo flits across the screen, a distorted face, a hand, a flash of lightning slashing against a pure black sky. 'The Truth is Out There," blinks in bold, white letters beneath darkened storm clouds rushing past. The synchronized theme music is familiar in an odd way, but comforting in an odder way. I have no idea what Scully is watching.
"What is this?" I repeat.
"The um... a TV show... The X... Files," says Scully, her cheeks red, her eyebrow raised at the TV. She looks as if she's never been so embarrassed in all of her life.
The what? The... the what? What did she say?
"You're not going to believe this, Mulder."
"Try me." I swallow. "I'll believe anything."
Scully turns to me. "We're..." She shakes her head. "We're a television show," she manages. "I don't know how. I don't know when. I can only assume that this was the 'exciting project' Ms. Morris was refferring to when she sent us that letter. Jose Chung must have had a really bad case of writer's block, Mulder. Because instead of penning a novel or penning a series of novels he created... created this...this thing. This show. Or else he just bought out the 'Lazarus Bowl' rights from Federman and re-named it. Oh... and that editor, Ms. Morris--she's listed as assistant director... I...I don't know what else to say."
Neither do I.
I shake my head, a half amused smile creeping up the corners of my mouth. "No," I manage.
Scully sighs. "Yes."
Okay, I don't believe this.
"Believe it," Scully says, as if reading my mind.
"Shandling?" I ask, not even wanting to know the answer.
"No." Scully shrugs, picks up the TV Guide, and tosses it to me. "Some guy named David Ducavey-Decaniv--I don't know, something or other. Apparently..." She trails off and waves her hand at the TV.
"Apparently," I finish, as if there is nothing else left to say but that one word.
And I guess there isn't, is there?
Wow. My life, Scully's life, the entire conspiracy, all those years of searching, all those mysteries sought and uncovered, and this is how we will go down in the annals of history. A show called "The X Files"--probably some cheesy, over-written, made for television drama. How low can you get? Man, what crap.
This is all so ludicrous, I can't help but laugh. "I hope it tanks," I say, grinning.
Scully nods. "Yeah," she says, and mutes the TV. "Won't last more than five seconds." She flashes me a half-grin, her ivory face a flickering fantasisa of blue and white light in the living room darkness. Her legs are crossed right over left, her silk night top hanging listlessly off her left shoulder, the rest of the soft material stretching over her distended stomach. I wonder if a little girl or a little boy sleeps there in her belly: a small, new life dreaming of safety and warmth. A tiny creature with blue eyes and red hair and a face like...
A face like my wife's face.
Scully stares at me, her blue eyes dark, mischievious. I don't know what to say to her about this newest clash with the bizarre. I don't even know how to start.
Scully says my name in a lot of different ways. There's the "I'm going to kill you," Mulder. And then the "I just want to kill you but not that badly," Mulder. And of course, there's the ever famous, "You are absolutely, without a doubt, egomaniacally crazy" Mulder. But there's something about this particular Mulder. I can't help but smile when she says my name this way--you know, the "I want to wrap myself around you and kiss you until you're blue and in need of medical attention" way.
Ah, that guilty, heart shaped grin. Those intelligent eyes. Jesus. It's always been her. No matter what the situation, Dana Scully is always, has always been, the one.
I shrug and lean forward. "You wanna storm the network?"
Scully's gaze drops to my lips. "Let's not think about it now. Let's do something different," she whispers, inching closer, her eyelids drooping. Her hand touches my shoulder and draws down to my waist.
"Let's do a lot of things different," I return.
Scully's warm breath brushes across my cheek as if in response to words unspoken. Her fingers wrap around my middle, her fingernails scratching and drawing exclamation points down the plane of my back.
We kiss under the light of the TV screen, our legs tangled on a ten year old couch that smells faintly of leather and baby powder. One scent is as old as our partnership. The other is exhilarating and recent.
On the monitor in front of us, in the stormy gloom of a darknened cemetary, a fake Mulder and a fake Scully walk side by side, talking, arguing, laughing, and circling random gravestones as if engaged in some elaborate dance. A hard rain beats down on them. The sound is muted, but I can hear them clearly. The words have always been familiar, but now the territory is brand new.
A journey has begun, and oh...what a ride it's going to be.
Finally, after months and months, it's all posted. My God, that was one long haul, hmm?
With that in mind....
The author apologizes for the following things:
--Having no knowledge of pregnancy. I need to make more pregnant friends when I write stuff like this.
--Having no knowledge of parenting or small children. I only know child mannerisms from what I remember of my sister at that age, and from what I see on the street (or in the store.) And may I just say...No kids for me, thanks.
--Being terrible at untangling the show's ridiculously obtuse mythology. Hense the "Scully was never infertle" storyline. To every complicated question there is a simple answer, right?
--Timeline problems. Yeah. I suck at this, too. But I figure, if the show can have Scully pregnant well into her 12th month, I can be given a little leeway, don't you think?
--Numerous delays in posting. Jaime + Punctuality = three days in a row without sleep. (Nah...I never do things at the last minute. I don't know what you're talking about)
A few acknowledgements:
--Duncan, my cat, has to come first. Whenever I write, I sit on his favorite spot to sleep. He hates that.
--Thanks to all the folks at the Haven boards for an incredible amount of support. Inya, Fifee, Daybreq--Stalk on! lol. ---Thanks also to the rest of you who emailed me and bugged me to keep on going (or offered help when the PC crashed.) It's so great to be part of such an incredible community.
--The nice people who not only sent feedback, but actually voted for this piece over at the Spookys. I had no idea I was even nominated until a few hours ago. How cool is that?
-- David Duchovny--> Please come back. Please. Please. For me? Little old me? No? Damn. :(