Title: Light Moves
Author: Jaime Lyn
Spoilers: Lots: Up through season nine: William, The Truth. There's some Triangle stuff, and mentions of the events from DeadAlive, Nothing Important Happened Today, and Roadrunners (if you can catch it. Ha. Sorry. Bad pun.)
Category: romance, long story, some AU
Dislclaimer: I own nothing. Thank you.
Summary: Time was theirs now, dripping slowly like honey, slinking past at a crawl, waiting for them to fill the offered minutes with something, anything. But days were still days, and days were long, and beyond waking up and driving, he had nothing. A life once filled, once busy, now worth nothing more than a five-dollar tour of an old plantation in the middle of Kansas. If this was the only way to fill nothing with something, then why did it still feel so empty?
Author's note: Okay, so this is Mulder and Scully being Mulder and Scully...and yet... not. Yikes. That makes no sense, I know, but all I can say is that this was a really tricky story to format because of the situation. However, I have tried, to the best of my ability, to write a fanfic within a fanfic (Mulder and Scully's fanfic) and have it still be believable and in character and Mulder and Scully as the narrators. And again, that makes no sense right now, but it will once you read. I promise. You can come after me with sharp objects if it doesn't.
"He says, that's all made up. In reality it was like this: Earth was colonized by the Zycronites,who developed the ability to travel from one space dimension to another at a period several millenia after the epoch of which we speak. They arrived here eight thousand years ago. They brought a lot of plant seeds with them, which is why we have apples and oranges, not to mention bananas -- one look at a banana and you can tell it came from outer space. They also brought animals - horses and dogs and goats and so on. They were the builders of Atlantis. Then they blew themselves up through being too clever. We're descended from stragglers.
Oh, she says. So that explains it. How very convenient for you."
-----> The Blind Assasin, Margaret Atwood
"You know me. I take everything so seriously. And if I wait for the time till our souls get it right, then at least I know there will be no nuclear annihilation. I'm my lifetime, I'm still not right."
----> "Galileo," The Indigo Girls
By Jaime Lyn
"Say Something," she said, her fingers tracing loose hairs on his forehead, brushing them back like a hairdresser might do while examining the sharpness and evenness of the cut. Her robe was soft but itchy, and she smelled almost like strawberries--not like real strawberries, like something vine-ripened, but like what a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin must assume strawberries would think they smelled like if strawberries had noses to smell and mouths to describe the scent.
"Something," said Mulder, his gaze on the window. Rain falling like buckets of water being dropped on the roof, drops and drops splashing over the edge, filling the pavement, feeding the earth, making mud and muck and other such sticky phenomena. The room flashed with wavers of light: lightning slashing through waves of droplets, each drop flying by wind. A droplet completed a journey, had but one destination; each was spit from the sky, filtered down, whipped through the trees, and ultimately splatered on the pavement. Each droplet was formed and each droplet died. The difference between humans and drops of water was that humans made more of the journey than water ever did.
"We'll have to leave in the morning," she said, the tip of her nose running the slope of his jaw, finally coming to rest at the base of his neck. She didn't kiss him, didn't wet her lips, but every once in awhile the soft, dry skin of her mouth brushed loosely against his chin and collar-bone. She wanted to kiss him. He wanted to kiss her. But it was raining and the day had been long and they were simply too tired for anything more than lying down, living, being. Skin on skin and manufactured strawberries, that would do for now.
"Can't stay here, can't go back. Isn't that what they say? Or I don't know. Clint Eastwood or someone with a ten gallon hat must have said it." Mulder, his free hand drawing invisible patterns on her shoulder. His arm was tingly, cold, rapidly losing circulation. She was lying on it. Had been. Nearly a half hour now. He didn't care so much, as he'd been starting to relish anything that reminded him how un-dead he was.
"We'll have to keep moving," added Scully. No inflection, no whimper, no regret. She could have been talking about buying rutabegas. She was leaving her entire life behind and she was simply resigned to the idea, like a child would be resigned to attending school every day. Mulder wasn't sure he liked that. He wanted her, but not by default. He hated that life could be taken so easily from Dana Scully, and in knowing that she had no other choice but to keep moving and keep on breathing... she did. But with nothing behind each breath but thoughts of survival.
He needed to speak, to say something, anything.
"Tomorrow we'll trade in the car, get something old, inconspicuous. We should probably head north, maybe Canada. Although a straight path might not be the wisest decision. I could drag us up and down the coast, doubleback, take the scenic route. I could indulge a secret, boyish fantasy of mine and ravish you at every major paranormal landmark in the Southwestern US."
She inhaled, then exhaled warm air onto his neck. "Okay."
"We'll be living out of motels for awhile," he said, as if warning her. And then he gripped her tighter, squeezed the soft, fleshy place between her hip bone and rib cage, as if she would hear this and suddenly change her mind, run away, go home to her mother and her job and her nice comfy apartment, become a doctor, just as she always should have been--yes, a doctor, maybe an ER doctor or a surgeon-- and just plain old forget all this running-against-the-wind insanity because it was just too fucking deranged for any one person to handle without developing at least three new personalities.
"I don't care," said Scully: a whisper, slight and low, her signal for the end of this discussion Her breathing evened, slowed, deepened, her cheek burrowed in the hollow of his shoulder, her arms slack. Sleep: escape from reality on the offshoot chance of dreaming something better. A life without end. A day without sunset. The only way to banish the end of the world was to sleep through it, or talk about sleeping through it.
And so it goes, it goes.
"I have this dream of you," he says, touching her bare shoulder, feeling her skin: slick, hot, naked. Sweat beneath his index finger quickly cools her, leaves behind a trail, a ring, an afterthought, like condensation under a glass. She shivers and he raises the blanket. The air conditioner's broken, has been, but who's complaining? The condition of the air is fine, so long as they can make of it what they will. Ninety degrees and he's trembling, lying on a mattress facing her, toes touching, knees touching, noses touching, wondering at her cheekbones. A light fixture flashes outside and he realizes her cheekbones are three different colors. Warmest when she's aroused, but warmer still than her chin and forehead normally. Secrets there. In her cheekbones. Why hadn't he ever noticed them?
"What about this dream?" she asks, doing that thing with her nose where she touches the very tip down his cheek, his chin, his neck, kissing him without kissing him. Marking him maybe, claiming him. She does this, sometimes. Making love to him without actually making love to him.
"It's you," he says," But not you like you are now. A different you. Hair, eyes, build, all you, but shifted. Times are different these days, social expectations are different. Not like they were back then... it's another place, where you live, another time. It's 1939 or so, some point, November maybe. There's a war on, and the country's pouring itself into defending democracy--or so they tell us. The government, they like to keep secrets."
"The 1930's, the brink of war, Roosevelt and the end of the New Deal Era," says Scully, her hand resting on his hip. She tucks her head into his shoulder, her lashes fluttering against his neck. She sounds more amused than puzzled. "This is what you dream about when you think of me. I don't know whether to be flattered or frightened."
"You said you wanted to hear this," says Mulder. He breathes her in. Lilies this time, although not real lilies, not even close. She used to buy the silky stuff that smelled real because it required actual plant extracts: jojoba, chamomile, ginseng, tea tree. But she has no money now and nicety comes at a price. She pretends not to covet real shampoo, says that she doesn't need bath oils and lotions and salts, but he knows she misses it.
She also pretends not to steal everything in motel rooms that isn't nailed down, and he pretends it doesn't hurt him when he catches her doing this. Shampoo, towels, lotion, toothbrushes; they have an arsenal in the trunk fit for an army, and a composition notebook full of carefully kept notations because Dana Scully, the former pathologist and FBI Agent, now has nothing better to do with herself and her time but stock and restock bath supplies, and make neat little notes in her pseudo diary about their ever-growing supply of toilet paper and bathing products.
"No, keep going," says Scully, sighing. She runs a finger languidly up and down his chest, not because she wants to have sex with him--at least not now, not yet, but because she's there, and he's there, and she can do this. She likes touching him, she often says, sometimes more than she likes breathing Of course, she only says this during sex, when her back is arched and he's licking a trail down her neck, and she says it very infrequently.
"Tell me all about myself," she jokes. She teasing him now but she hasn't turned away; not offended, not yet.
"You're clever, attractive, and not some ordinary woman who was bred since birth to marry the first louse that she met on the street. You wanted to try the service, to learn how to shoot a gun, defend your country, what-not, but your father refused. There were rules about those things back then. You'd end up as a smiley-faced USO girl and the idea of peddling cigarettes in a bathing suit disgusted you. So you went off to college for medicine, but ended up in astro-physics, graduated MIT. The government enlisted you right away, the OSS, who figured a pretty but stubborn red-head might be an asset in a sea of male spies and operatives. You were trained, engineered. You finally got your gun. And at twenty-six, you like your job. You're idealistic, but good at what you do."
Scully's silent for a moment, her breath warm on his shoulder. "You've thought a lot about this," she says.
"Sort of," says Mulder. "I had a lot of time on my hands to think."
She shivers and clutches him. Talking about the months he spent away from her is forbidden, dangerous. Scully often refuses to talk of unpleasant, needlessly emotional subjects that don't pertain to getting through the day, and Mulder finds it's easier to go along with her logic rather than to press a topic that shouldn't be pressed. If she wanted to know, she'd ask. But she doesn't. And he doesn't ask her, either. He doesn't question why she brought a small, overstuffed bunny with her and shoved it to the bottom of her suitcase, or why she has a pair of socks small enough to fit over her thumbs. He knows why but he doesn't like to know--scars, battle wounds, things not yet healed. Sometimes it's better not to ask, not now, not yet, because the answers are much more painful than the questions.
"So I graduated MIT," she says, her voice throaty. She leans into him. "And I work for the government. What's my assignment?"
"You're protecting American scientists," he says, holding his hands up in front of his face as if he can shape this dream-Scully to better illustrate her for the real Scully. "You work for a man, an older guy--maybe in his late sixties, you're not sure, whose name you don't know and whose face you never see. He gives you assignments by telegram, and they get filtered through your boss at the local office. You don't ask many questions because it's better sometimes not to know. You've seen what happens to people who know too much."
"So I've seen informants die."
"Have I killed anyone?"
"No, not yet." He waves a hand. "But you know that you can--you were trained to."
She kisses the corner of his neck, her lips and tongue lingering there for a moment. He closes his eyes, takes pause in being touched by her. He memorizes it, savoring, hoping for a next lifetime where falling in love and discovering the complexities of another human being will matter more to them than chasing the truth. The truth is tricky. The truth is harsh. The truth is that they'll have ten good years together if they're lucky, the better part of those ten spent roaming from city to city, up and down highways and mountains and across the world like nomads, like exiles.
They are exiles. They are nobody.
The truth is that the world will end in 2012, not as a joke, or as the plot of some low budget movie, but as an inevitability they choose not to speak of. Perhaps they'll wander forever and fall into each other until the truth saves both of them, or until the shit stops seeking them out, or until a bullet gets one of them between the eyes, or maybe until all of the above happens. Or until none of the above happens. Maybe instead, life will blink out of existence one day, ten years from now, or else it will change so rapidly and so competely that nobody will recognize it, and normality will only be understood as a concept back from a time where words actually had meaning. Or substance.
But here, in the dark, they can play-act like none of that matters. Nothing is dying or ending or changing. They can create new Universes and clutch them tight as if reality can be reshaped if only they believe hard enough in the unreal. It helps them get through the day, this believing in the unseen, pretending at nothing, making fantasies up and molding them closely. If it's not aliens or ghosts or God then at least it's something. Something is better than nothing, and nothing is unfathomable.
"But where am I going?" she asks. "What have I been tasked with? Any matters of national security?"
"Well, of course," says Mulder, his mouth on her ear, his lips playing with the lobe. "There's a man, a private investigator who's been thought to be hiding secret documents --U.S plans to develop a nuclear weapon, a bomb that would win the war for whoever has it. He's thought to have snuck into a government facility, stolen these papers. He's a dangerous, unstable guy who doesn't really think himself dangerous. He'd once considered politics, even running for office, but he stumbled upon a secret military operation that nearly destroyed his family. Men came one day, stole his mother, his sister, took them away right outside his home. They never told him why. They wore badges that said, 'US Military,' but no specifics. The experience haunts him. He's incensed now that the government's been hiding this technology, developing it for personal gain and keeping all knowledge of it from the American public.
"You're going undercover to infiltrate and recover these documents. Maybe even kill him, get him out of the way. It's your job. To trick him, to spy on him. You're doing it for your country, or so you're told. They're sending you in because you've been asking too many questions, and they're trying to get rid of you."
"Questions?" She takes a breath. "What about?"
"Your past. You have skeletons in your closet just as this P.I does, secrets, a period of missing time. You have suspicions about it but no proof. You're not sure what happened and you've even considered spying on the spies to find out."
"The OSS knows about this? My missing time?"
"You're not sure."
She nods. "But I was sent back to them. I was sick but unharmed. Not a scratch on me, but abducted and sent back and groggy and nearly on the brink of death. I couldn't remember any of it. They'd deny it if I asked them, these men, but that's what they do, and that's what happened. And now I want to know what the hell went on."
Mulder grins, touching her cheek, warm at the idea that she's playing with him. "Now you're getting it."
"Okay, so who is this man, this private investigator?" Her leg over his, her toes, teasing along his calves. "Does he know about my past?"
Mulder smiles, tickling her chin with one finger. "He doesn't know a damn thing about you, but he's willing to take your case. The money; he needs the money."
"Of course," she says.
"So we open there, November, 1939, on this P.I firm. The door swings out--one of those old, rickety doors that slides on its hinges. He's shuffling papers, but he hears you coming. He introduces himself first," says Mulder. "But his back is to you; he's watching the rain outside the window, his finger on the glass, thinking, organizing files, and he doesn't see your face. His secretary, she said a person named Scully was coming by, but he was expecting a man."
"I did that on purpose, not giving out my first name," she says, chiming in. "The ace up my sleeve. But I call myself Dana now, Dana Scully and not just Scully, and he turns. He looks vaguely surprised, and flushed, to see a woman. I'm wearing a full skirted dress, red with red heels, and red lipstick. I have a tissue in my hand, and it looks slightly, only slightly, as if I've been crying. I'm working this to my advantage. I'm good at what I do. He pretends not to notice --that I've been crying -- shakes my hand, says I've all but worn out my hankerchief, and gives me his hankerchief, but watches me, warily. He doesn't for a second believe I've been crying and he doesn't flinch when I sit and cross my legs. I can't help but notice; he must be good at what he does, too."
"Yes, he is."
She snuggles closer. "And then what? What do you say to me?"
Mulder flusters only slightly, frowning. "Huh?" he asks. "Me? You mean him?'"
"No," she says, as if she'd known this all along, which she probably had, but had only humored him. "You. Not him. The investigator. What do you say?"
"I say...nice to meet you, Dana."
"Scully, I correct you. Not Dana. Nobody calls me Dana."
Mulder pulls her closer, noting in his head how she now refers to herself, finds her own identity; Scully, not Dana. What happened to Dana? She disappeared. What happened to Fox? Maybe he never existed in the first place. Scully, not Dana. Mulder, not Fox. Fallbacks, safeguards, promises. When he makes love to her, it is Scully he whispers and not Dana. She's never asked him to call her anything else. He'd tried 'Dana' a few times, only briefly, thought maybe that was what she wanted, what she expected, after the baby came and they'd all but decided falling in love was preferable to being just real nice friends. But it wasn't them, these people called Dana and Fox; it wasn't right. He knows her only this way, only as Scully, and sometimes, he isn't sure what to make of that.
"No, of course not. Not Dana," he says.
Her hair splayed over his chest, her hand on his hip. She runs her finger in circles and says, "And you are?"
He clears his throat. "Mulder. Private Investigator. But you already know that."
"I do. I know a lot of things."
"But you won't tell me."
"I can't. Not with so much at stake, my work, my life. And who the hell are you, anyway? I don't know you. I don't trust you."
"Well, I don't trust you either."
Her voice in his ear, "But you will. Remember, I'm good at what I do."
She'd thought they were being followed, was absolutely convinced of it, so convinced that her hands shook on the car-door handle as her eyes shifted, darted, seeking out the windows, seeking something concrete to grasp onto. There was the dash, the door handle, but they weren't good enough. He'd been holding her hand, but that wasn't good enough either, and his palms were sweaty from her grip, her knuckles white, her fist tight like a vise.
He went back through some sort of wheat field, jostled the old Toyota offroad for several minutes, perhaps even fifteen, twenty minutes, until they found a back road somewhere covered over in red, red earth. The car kicked up dirt and dust, obscured the back window almost entirely until she couldn't see out, couldn't tell if they were being followed, and she ordered him back into the field, back where the car could be safely hidden if they were forced to run.
"There isn't anyone out here, Scully," he tried, frustrated with himself, with her, with not having a destination or a return ticket or even a good, Norelco razor; his chin ached with scarred over straight-razor cuts.
"Pull over," she ordered, ignoring him, her voice loud, her wide blue eyes trying to scan through the sheets of nearly opaque, orange dust.
He drove the car back for several moments into a russet field of tall, straw-thick stalks. The hard reeds smacked over the front bumper, the sides of the car, slapping, rustling loudly, towering over, blinding the path in front of him like hanging scrubbers in a carwash gone berserk. He took them across the field, through it, fast and hard. Scully's hands were shaking, had been, for several miles.
Mulder briefly closed his eyes, sighed, and put the car in park once he'd cleared what he thought was a mile, maybe a mile and a half. Scully was silent, her nostrils flared, her eyes unblinking. She gazed at him for a moment, breathing heavily, grasped the doorhandle, and shoved open the passenger's side door, pushing hard against the tall, unforgiving stalks of wheat. Where did wheat grow again? Maybe it was Wisconsin. New Mexico? South Dakota? He wasn't sure. He was never sure. It had been days now and he just drove.
After a few moments, he emerged on the other side of the car, slammed the door shut, shoving scratchy, hot husks of tall brown wheat out of his face to find her. Scully was walking fast, her back to him, stumbling through wheat, putting distance between she and the car.
Mulder shook his head.
She walked faster, fist balled, back straightened, as if she was trying to escape something or someone; for a hard, terrifying moment, he thought it was him she sought purchase from. He had wondered whether she thought about leaving, if she pondered it. Maybe now she'd snapped and decided she would. Leave him, that is. He was the reason, after all, the source of her melancholy, her loneliness: the ache he saw in her eyes. Her family, her home, her job, her son, her security; she'd left them all behind, she'd done it for him. Her hand had been forced on the matter because she loved him, and he loved her, and it was too dangerous to stay. Knowing him was dangerous.
"Scully?" he asked, walking after her.
"Hurry up," she called, her voice high, almost wavering. She turned, and he could see she'd started crying. When had she started crying? "If there's someone out there, we'll have to run," she said. "We won't have much time, Mulder, to put some distance between ourselves and the car." She'd stopped walking, but she waved her arm as if trying to make sense even when she knew she was making no sense at all.
Mulder approached her slowly. He darted his eyes through tall, swaying wheat stalks as if considering that they'd actually been followed. He knew they hadn't. But Scully, she was always looking, continually convinced that they were. So he looked, did as she asked, and didn't ask her questions; Mulder, there's a red subaru behind us that's been there for about a block or so, so turn at that next corner and double back. A blue ford, a green jeep, I swear I saw something. They're gaining, gaining on us. Mulder, we have to--
He had to wonder what had happened to her in the months he'd been gone to make her so terrified, so much more more paranoid than he himself was.
He reached her, and she didn't step back. "There isn't anyone here," he said, his hands on her shoulders. He bent his own shoulders forward and gazed down into her eyes. She looked unconvinced. "Scully, there isn't anyone following us. There's never anyone following us."
Maybe she wanted to be followed. Maybe somewhere in the back of her mind, she wanted to get caught so at least she could go home. Jail or death, both were unforgiving, but at least they were stable outcomes; acceptable destinations. What could he offer her now except a life of never knowing, never stopping?
Her arms came up to his elbows, her fingers gripping him, her lips parted, her eyes watery, unfocused, as if she was trying to gather herself back up. Scully saw irrationality as a personality flaw, and it was not something she took lightly. "I thought..." She took a stuttered, difficult breath. "I thought...I saw..."
He closed his eyes and wrapped himself around her, pulled her close, a swift breeze rustling through him, tapping the stalks against the glass windows and metalic side paneling of the car. "Mulder, I'm sorry," she managed.
"They're not going to find us," he said, his lips against the warmth of her neck, although he wasn't sure what it was she wanted to hear from him. "Nobody's out there on that road. I promise you."
"I know," she said back, her voice lilting, breaking, her arms tight around his neck, holding him as if he would disappear if she didn't hold tight enough. Shaking, she was shaking. "But there is the possibility of someone, and I...I'm...scared," she admitted, her face in his neck. "I can't lose you again. Not again, Mulder."
Ah. So it wasn't home she craved, but him. This meant she could never go back, never return, never give up the fight, and now it was just the two of them and she wanted to be sure it could never be anything but the two of them. Their world, once full, reduced to a microcosm of two beating hearts, two pairs of legs that could never run fast enough. She was terrified. He was terrified.
"I'm not going anywhere," he said, rubbing her back. "I'd die first. They'd have to kill me. Maybe it would be a romantic death. First me, and then you would take my gun. 'Oh, happy pistol'... Or we could just die together, all at once, over a cliff like Thelma and Louise." A joke, a bad one. A really bad one.
"Mulder," she managed, half-hiccoughing, half sighing, "Don't be an ass."
Together, they sank to the ground, arms shaking, lips on lips, safe for the moment, hidden in a sea of wheat, together, alone, sobbing, trembling. Release. It was a form of release.
And so it goes, it goes.