Title: Full Moon, Near-Death, and Things Left Unfinished
Author: Jaime Lyn
Email: Leiaj21@hotmail.com OR UCFGuardgirl@aol.com
Category: S, UST, MSR (take your pick)
Disclaimer: I don't own them, but I might just dress up as one of
them for Halloween.
Spoilers: There are some references to the last scene from 'The Unnatural'
and the conversations from 'Per Manum.' The story itself takes place
during early season 7. No mytharc. Mostly fluff. Slight
X-File, depending on how you look at it.
Feedback: Yes, please. I'm not going trick-or-treating this
year, (who says grown-ups are too old?) and anyway, feedback is less fattening
than Reeses Peanut Butter Cups... Oh... chocolate... Yum...
Summary: Some people dress up. Mulder and Scully become X-Files.
Author's note: I was watching the season seven episode 'Millenium,'
and while watching Mulder gaze at Scully (right before he moves in to kiss
her) I had a moment. This piece is part response to that moment, and
part response to a fic challenge (elements listed at the end - plus one
extra element that turns up again in the 'Shadows of Winter' universe..)
Halloween also happens to be my favorite holiday. Go figure.
Thanks to Sybs, the beta diva, for not running from this one.
Try to set the night on fire
The time to hesitate is through
No time to wallow in the mire
Try now we can only lose
And our love become a funeral pyre.
----> The Doors
First was darkness, opaque, like thick curtains holding out daytime,
and then came spots of yellow, staccato, and then gray, and gradually blue
– a sky bursting forth, except it wasn’t sky, not really.
Lips touched her cheek, warm and slightly rough – familiar, lingering.
A voice echoed, strung out on a tingle, vibrating, odd: “You can’t sleep
forever, Scully. Sooner or later you’ll have to wake up and remind me exactly
why the Sleeping Beauty myth is not a medically recognized, anti-sleep remedy.”
The lips drew back, and then forward again, this time at her forehead, where
they were most familiar. “Should she have been awake by now?” asked
that same voice, which she knew, but could not place.
“You, sir, have a head wound. What are you doing out of bed?” said
another voice, which she couldn’t place at all.
And then the light swallowed her completely, and everything got mixed
Then, In Between, and Flashes
“Think of it as poetic irony, Scully. The ultimate Beckett play.”
“We are not dead, Mulder.”
“If we’re not dead, then what happened? Where’s the car?”
“I don’t know. But it has to be here somewhere.”
“It’s not here. And your lips are blue.”
“It’s dark, and lips often appear blue in the dark. Look,
Mulder, are you going to help me out, or what? Cars don’t just disappear.”
“We were just sitting in it, Scully, and now it’s gone. And here
we are, on a bridge, cold and wet, with no car. But you’re right. Why don’t
you call the car, and then I’ll call the car, and we’ll see if it comes
to one of us.”
“This isn’t funny.”
“Oh, come on. I think it’s a little funny.”
Blank-faced, Dana Scully stood at the cross section between Washington
and East-Eighth, waiting for the light to turn. Wind whipped a leaf across
the jagged part in her hair, wedging it behind her ear, and she plucked
it out, crumpling the stem. Across the street, a banner, black and
orange, torn on one side, flapping: ‘Halloween Happy Hour Drink Special.’
Next door, a darkened window teemed with cotton cobwebs, witch-hats, cardboard
pumpkins, tiny baby jumpers suspended on mannequins, headless mannequins,
sleeves caught in a hand-less wave – it was almost obscene, the armless,
faceless babies. A sign on the door read, “Closed for Trick-or-Treating.”
Ten years old – that was the first time Dana had been allowed to trick-or-treat
through the gaslight district without adult supervision. Her costume
was her mother’s old evening gown, taken apart, pieced back together in
squares, lovely, yet unfinished; the hem dragged behind Dana, ripping on
asphalt, the bodice overlarge, bubbling in all the wrong places, bunching
at the waist, where ribbon tied it all together. The material hung straight
down, falling flat over her body, which, at the time, was shaped like a
At the back of the pack, orange bucket in hand, Dana yearned for that
heady, someday-when-I-have-breasts-mix, a cross between Michelle Phillips
and Cat-Woman, that sleek femininity and kick-ass determination that spoke
of stiletto heels and long hair and trained muscles beneath fringed vests
and leather and chiffon. (“You watch way too much Charlie’s Angels,” said
her mother, who, after watching her youngest daughter stitch up her teddy
bears, thought Dana would one day be a nurse.)
The hardened shell only poked through later, much later, after her father’s
first heart attack, after a drunken boy attacked her at Quantico and got
his nuts handed to him, after her partner of five minutes tried to frighten
her away and failed, after she’d been gunned down, picked up, dropped again,
abducted, ransacked, wringed out, and by her superiors, put in a drawer.
The professional edged out efficiently, like wallpaper beneath a coat of
paint, chipping away at naïveté with the determination of a carpenter’s
After-workers lounged by the bus stop, giggling, blocking the headless
babies, lollygagging down by the corner, where merriment swirled like fog
from Casey’s Pub. Halloween Happy Hour, Free Drink Special, Karaoke
Contest, Costume Party – bring your friends, bring your friends!
Twenty-six years after chasing Bill and Charlie from house to house,
waving her hands, screaming, at the top of her voice, “Wait up, guys, my
dress is dragging, wait up!” Dana wondered about normal, not-so-straight-standing
people. Trick-or-treaters. Revelers. While once she’d been like
them – a commoner, a free spirit, now she was a straight-stander, a law-abider.
She had balls, but they seemed to be waiting in midair, daring her to drop
Her official title was impressive, mysterious – a very loud excuse for
the words, “No thanks. I’ll pass.” Special Agent Dana Scully; it was her
license to break criminals and park for free on street corners, save lives
and carry a gun.
Under her arm nestled an arsenal of October Anti-Fun. The light
changed, and she walked, averting her eyes. Candy and parties and holidays
be damned. Hours of work pressed ahead of her, and she was fine with
And yet, somehow, there was something pathetic in watching ‘The Texas
Chainsaw Massacre’ alone, on her couch, lights dimmed, a post-it note stuck
to her ass, black ink branding the tips of her fingers.
Casey’s jukebox crooned a background beat of drums and synthesizer harmonies
and some sort of guitar melody – wait, she knew this one… The Time Warp?
Yes, that was the one. The lyrics eluded her, but images lingered,
a line of sequined lunatics swaying back and forth, singing, giddy, going
on and on, repeating the chorus, Tim Curry in heels and a black bodice –
Mulder once dragged her to a midnight showing after a case in Philadelphia.
“Did you want anything to eat?” asked the bartender. “Or just another
“You haven’t asked me what I do,” said Dana, waving the hand with the
shot-glass, numb from the waist down, spent, a cloud thickening around her
brain. Amber liquid sloshed to the floor, to her shoes, propped as
they were, on a neighboring stool. “I’ve seen this movie enough to
know that bartenders always ask. What brings you here? What do
you do? Do you drink? Do you drink a lot? Do you drink
by yourself? Do you pick up strange men? What is it? What do
you do? But you’re not asking, you’re just sitting there, not asking.
It’s absurd, and a little off-putting. Don’t you care what I do?
Aren’t you curious? You could at least ask.”
The bartender was balding, weary, long-faced. He was olive-skinned,
and oily. “What do you do?” he hedged.
Dana’s cheeks puffed with air, filled to the brim with words and sentences
she’d forgotten the meanings and orders to: lofty subordinate clauses missing
their independents, just dangling there, waiting for something. Anything.
Decorum dictated she should speak.
“I’m a federal agent with the ah… oh, the um… the um…” She slapped
her leg – “The bureau. I have a partner who’s somewhere around
here doing something I don’t know what – he’s off somewhere, it’ll come
to me, maybe in a minute. And I work in the um, the basement with
the flies –“
She frowned. “The files.” Shook her head, blinked a few times.
“Unexplained phenomenon and that whole rigmarole or whatever you want to
call it. I have two advanced degrees and a doctorate and I’m the premiere
authority on talking dolls and aliens – which, if you were to ask, are
actually gray and not green or blue or yellow or whatever the hype is these
days, and I only know this because my partner is the inside source, and
he thinks he’s the only one who knows anything about Martians and the undead
– I’ve been versed, and I only believe a lil’… A lil-ll-ll…” She worked
her mouth, losing steam and the ability to enunciate. “Not that much,
not at all, I don’t know. But I chase flukeworms and vampires and telekinetics
with head-cases and ill-intentions, which makes me…” She laughed, thinking
herself funny – more funny than drunk, when really, she was just drunk.
“I’m the monster lady. Another round of whatever-the-hell-this-is
so I can toast to my good fortune.”
“Monster Lady,” said the Bartender, rubbing his big forehead. The
corners of his mouth turned up in a peculiar smirk. His eyebrows bunched
like folded Velcro. “Jesus Christ. Wait’ll I tell Joan I’ve
got her Mister-Spooky story beat by a block. You sure you haven’t had
enough? You sound a little - ”
“Look.” Dana leaned real close and crooked a finger.
A halo of dizzying confusion settled over her. So she was funny,
after all. She was a riot. Why did nobody seem to think so?
She should have gone into comedy and minored in medicine, and then gone
on to theatre, telling jokes, stitching up people on the side - the
Monster-Doctor Comedienne, leaving her audience in stitches, literally.
“This is the Halloween celebration of the century, Mister.” Her
eyelids felt suddenly heavy, and Dana squinted through a haze of lashes and
dried contacts. For a second she imagined the bartender was herself
– younger and alive, full of bright commentary. Her younger self frowned
at her, disbelieving, arms crossed, a fountain-wire dangling over one arm.
“I am funny. See?” Dana felt a sudden sense of righteousness,
and jabbed her finger into the bar. “I drink. I have fun -
this is fun, right? Fun? Why the hell has nobody asked if I want
“Do you smoke?”
“No.” Dana sighed. “But I might. I used to. Is
it the suit? Are people afraid of the suit? I’ve got news for you.
I don’t even like this suit. It itches but it matches the shoes,
I guess, and I like the shoes….You’re not afraid of the suit, are you?”
A sudden thought struck her, and she banged the heel of her palm on the
table. “Where the hell is Mulder?”
The Bartender rubbed his forehead. “Mulder?”
“Mul –“ Dana shook her head, growing edgy. Her stomach felt hot.
“Forget it. Never mind.”
“So let’s just say, for argument’s sake, that we’ve died.”
“Mulder, why this particular lunacy? Is it the holiday?
The full moon?"
“Seriously, Scully. Do you have any better ideas? Because
I’m running on empty.”
“All right, fine. We were killed in a horrific auto accident,
which neither of us seems to remember. What evidence do you have
of this? What concrete, irrefutable proof could you give me to substantiate
your claim that we are now, somehow, among the undead?”
“Well, for one thing, there’s the car, Scully.”
“Why the hell not?”
“Because we don’t know yet what happened to the car. We may
have been drugged somehow, or… or hypnotized. Or perhaps we passed
through some sort of gaseous element... Any number of things could
have happened, and I don’t remember anything beyond the stop sign, and
neither do you, which tells me that we must have been drugged, and someone
stole the car.”
“The most deranged car-jacking on Earth, Scully? I don’t think
“Because, for one thing, a minute ago you were shit-faced drunk,
passed out, a hair away from vomiting all over the upholstery, and now you’re
completely lucid. And for another, I’m cold, and I’m wet, and I don’t
have a pulse.”
“Feel, Scully. Right here. My heart’s not beating. I don’t
have a pulse. And your lips are still blue. And if I were to hazard
a guess - ”
“My lips are not blue! They are perfectly… perfectly - ”
The living room window was a clash of warmth: red, orange, yellow, violet:
trails left by the setting sun. By seven-thirty, Dana had grown distracted
and muted the television. Check your candy, mouthed the TV reporter,
her arm buried to the elbow in a ghost-shaped bucket. Don’t
forget to be safe. Commercials flashed, pumpkins, brown leaves, monster-movie
marathons – Dana tapped her pen on the coffee table. How long since
she made-out with Marcus Welsely in a beat-up Buick at Sylvia’s B.Y.O.B Halloween
bash? Dana’s friends once called her unruly, vivid, full of something
– if not life, then something. What happened to those girls?
Thirty six, she was, thirty-six, thirty-six, and it had been ages since
she’d been drunk, really drunk, laughing in a bar, tilting her chin just
so – catching the light and breathing for the sake of feeling something. Strong
arms around her waist, a voice in her ear, whispering, “This is how to direct
the pool cue.”
This year, she dressed as herself: toneless, staid. Red hair, light
skin, blue eyes, decent musculature. Lately, fine lines arched between
her eyebrows, grooves like rings inside a tree trunk; Dana Scully would
never again run down the street, candy bar between her teeth, shrieking after
her brothers, but now she carried a real live Glock to make up for long-lost,
A rap on the door – and then another, and another, and another.
First an Indian, and then a Jedi Knight, and then three clowns, and a French
maid, and a cowboy, and a white-silky princess. The princess was slight,
blonde-haired, missing a tooth. She was a walking missed opportunity.
“Trick or Treat, trick or treat, trick or treat, hello Miss. Scully,”
sing-songed the girl, who lived down the hall, in 4-C. Her mother
stood a foot behind her, and smiled at Dana. Dana pushed a strand of
red hair behind her ears, smiled back, and said, “Why, look how beautiful
you are, Lizzy. Pick any candy you want, I’ve got a bunch in here.”
Lizzy dug in, chose a Snickers bar for her trouble. She spoke seriously
about spells, and turning her classmates into flowers with a wand made of
cardboard. Children could do that kind of thing because they still
believed in magic: fairy wizards, swords, pixie-dust, that sort of surrealism.
A twirly-twirl of her skirts, and then Lizzy was gone.
When the phone rang, it was Mulder, and Dana answered, rubbing her eyes
with the heel of her palms.
The bartender asked, “Who is Mulder?”
“Huh?” Dana frowned. “Mul…He’s…”
Mulder. Mulder was Mulder.
At the end of the day, her partner, her only friend, her confidant, her
would-be trick-or-treat cavorter, he went to his apartment and his couch,
and she to hers. The 'Simpson’s Halloween Marathon' or 'The Exorcist'
or Porn, he never specified what he did. Each year she and Mulder exchanged
“Happy Whatever-Day-It-Is” greetings and sat down together at the table
of monster-vampire-succubus caseloads, before retreating to their homes,
where they would change clothes, eat dinner, exchange last minute “goodnights”
via cell phone – never the house phone, for whatever ungodly reason - sleep
for approximately eight hours, get up, and do it all over again. Even
a life steeped in abnormality bred monotony after a time, and now, here she
was, buried in the grind.
Was this what a mid-life crisis felt like?
Dana’s head lolled, and she let herself wander through a stream of sensation
and memory. She wanted to be wild. She wanted to find that
young girl again, the one from Meg Riley’s party back in eighty-six, who
flashed her boyfriend’s fraternity house after sampling bitter mushrooms
with him behind the dumpster out back. As a twenty-something, she’d
craved that sort of almost-lawlessness. She thrived on it. As a thirty-something,
what did she want? Abandon? Passion? Near-death?
Her cell phone rang; she turned it off.
“Mulder is – “
What was Mulder?
Mulder had the potential to match her word for word, to leave her red
faced and fuming, huffed, smoked, arms folded, teeth bared, waiting for breath.
In another life, he could have been that naked arm leaning over her in the
morning, shutting off the alarm clock, begging for five more minutes, just
five more, clutching her tight, making her scream into the pillow for fear
her heart would just stop. But with so many balls up in the air, there
was no room for romance or common cliche. None at all! Mulder couldn’t
possibly be anything but Mulder to her, because Dana knew the direction
of his passion; she based her life and her work on it. Mulder felt
the truth, and the journey, and the quest. Mulder thought in
a straight line – forward, forward, forward, and he didn’t look back when
he did something; he just did it. How to explain that kind of
passion, or a devotion to it? How to make someone understand, when
they couldn’t possibly understand?
“Mulder is something I haven’t finished yet,” she said.
“What?” asked the bartender.
And Dana laughed so maniacally she thought she might cry.
“Look at it this way, Scully. We haven’t blinked out of existence
yet, which means something, right?”
“I’m calling Skinner.”
“Fine. Go ahead. Call him. Or better yet, call Kersh.
He could use a good haunting. But you’d have to find your cell phone,
“It’s not on you, is it? Your cell phone? I can’t seem
to find mine.”
“It’s… it’s here… Somewhere. The car and the cell phone and…
you know what? This is ludicrous. I’m going down to the
riverbank to look for…to look. You can stay up here and moon the
highway, for all I care.”
“Oh, you care, all right. I know you care. You’re just afraid
to believe. That I somehow missed the stop-sign and my car flew off
the bridge and now – “
“Shut up, Mulder. You’re not helping. I know it’s Halloween
and you just love ragging on me every chance you get, and this is certainly
better than the fake spider in my desk, but – “
“Why can’t you believe, Scully?”
An invisible entity was breaking into bathrooms on the upper west side
of Manhattan. As an FBI Agent, Dana Scully’s job was to survey the
evidence and write-up her post-mortem conclusions - a pure-bred, three-year
old Bichon named Spotty had died, a result of what police had cleverly
nicknamed, “the toilet-dog murders,” and her partner had no qualms about
faxing her the hold-order for an autopsy. Even on Halloween.
Or no, scratch that – especially on Halloween. Fox Mulder only liked
the weird stuff.
“Another dog murder in the city that never sleeps,” said Mulder.
“We should get out there before the Gracie Mansion toilet bites Juliani’s
pet in the ass.”
Only Mulder would start out a conversation without saying hello, making
love to her ears with romantic notions of dog murders and toilet bowls eating
up the tri-state-area.
“We can head out to New York on Monday,” she said, pressing the receiver
to her shoulder. “But I have a few errands to run, so I’d appreciate
the weekend, if you don’t mind.”
“I can do Monday,” said Mulder. “But you might want to keep an
eye on your crapper, if you know what I mean.”
Dana sighed, held the phone close, as if offering a kiss. “I always
know what you mean.”
“Are you saying I’m predictable?”
“Predictable?” She smiled. “No, not predictable. Easy,
“Which makes me some sort of slut.” Mulder hummed. “You’ve
been watching my tapes again, haven’t you?”
“Your tapes? What tapes might those be?” Her cheeks warmed.
“You don’t have any tapes.”
“No, of course not.” A Pause. “So, all sexual favors aside…I
know this is short notice, but I’ll be at Casey’s in a few hours. If
you want to go over the reports, map out a game-plan, what have you.
It’s Halloween, and the witching hour is upon us, Scully – full moon,
goblins, zombies, psychotics - we should celebrate our division having its
own national holiday, don’t you think?” Mulder always had a way of speaking
to her, stating the facts-as-he-knew-them like he wanted, instead, to strip
Her dirty secret was the wondering, the quiet, dark imaginings.
Dana wondered about the possibilities. About his mouth, about his eyes, about
his hand, warm on her shoulder - she wondered at night, when she pressed
her fingers between her legs.
Some things were better left unsaid.
“Thanks,” she said, “But after that late lunch I think I’ll pass.
I was thinking of getting some research done on that guest lecture I’ve got
at Quantico next week. And since it’s Friday, I figured I’d transpose
my notes early.”
“Ooh, you rebel, you,” said Mulder, chuckling.
And Dana closed her eyes, imagining what it must feel like to lay herself
bare, to have nothing between she and Mulder but brave-hearted honesty
and warm, sticky sweat. Secrets, whisperings, untold, unfinished
Perhaps next time, was what she thought.
What she always thought.
“Another drink, Love? Perhaps some water this time?”
Dana glanced up from the pillow of her arms. Ten pm, and all was
well. She’d read that line, that exact one in a book once, but couldn’t
remember which volume. She’d given all her philosophy books to her
brother, Charlie, when he went for his graduate degree in engineering.
“Just keep it real,” she’d said to him, back when she actually said such
things. In college, Dana had been coy, flirtatious, well-liked, even.
She’d worn tight jeans and tank-tops, no bra, never a bra, and hair down
her back in a long, thick braid. The bartender nudged her with his thumb,
and the ceiling spiraled into split-screen. Strange, that was.
“No.” Dana waved an arm, and something hard crashed to the floor.
“I’m fine, fine, fine, fine –“
And then the word lost all meaning
“Nothing is impossible, dear Scully. You told me to present
you with evidence. So here it is. What about my pulse?”
“I’m sure you still have a pulse, Mulder. You’re just cold
and wet, and so am I. We must have been in the water at some point,
right? So your body temperature dropped in response to exposure,
and your heart-rate slowed, making it hard to - ”
“Stopped - Scully, have you felt your own pulse?”
“You have, haven’t you?”
“Let it go, Mulder.”
“You have and you just won’t admit it.”
“I said, let it go.”
“Why? What’s wrong? We’re still here. The essence
of who we are hasn’t been altered yet. We exist, in some form or
another, maybe not in the same form, but hey – Tobe Hooper would kill for
this kind of first-hand research. What are you afraid of?”
“Afraid? The idea is scientifically unsound.”
“Said one zombie to the other, right before they went brain-snatching.”
“Do you need a cab, Miss?” The bartender, with his greasy fingers
and black hair, his football-shaped eyes, a black strip of eyebrow that made
him look Muppet-ish. His name was Mitch. Or Frank. Or
something. She’d forgotten.
“A cab? A cab? Do you know who I am?” Dana squared her shoulders.
“Do you have any idea who you’re sleeking to?” She pressed a palm
to her forehead, closed her eyes. She felt lopsided. No, that
“Monster Lady?” said the bartender, on a sigh.
“Leeking - Seeking…” She knew there was a word for what she meant, she
just. She needed a minute to catch her breath. “Speeding.
Fleeting? …No, no, no. Oh hell, I just lost the stupid word. Let
me know if you find it.”
“Scully, what did you think eternity would be like? I mean,
if you had to sit on a bridge and gather all your thoughts about it and
then put everything forth and make sense of the weird shit?”
“Mulder, that was cheap.”
“Then what is it you want me to say? That I think I’m dead?
Fine. I’m dead. Is that better?”
“Is that what you really think?”
“I don’t know what I really think.”
“The truth, then. Good or bad, right or wrong, dead or - ”
“The truth? The truth is that it’s dark, and I’m cold, and I can’t
find my pulse despite the fact that I know it ought to be there. And
here I am with you, sitting on a bridge, and I seem to always come back
to this point with you, sitting somewhere – if not on a bridge, then in
a car, or an office, or a… a hallway. And maybe that’s why this is
eternity for me… I don’t know. Do you think this is it? Eternity?”
The air had grown dark, cold, musky. Too much smoke, and Dana had
only two nostrils. She coughed, nursed her drink with a long, thin
straw. A woman in red leather had been dancing on the bar, kicking pretzels
and beer-nuts, sloshing around in rings left by condensation and spilled
Midori. Men hooted, hollered, some holding dollar bills. A large
black man in a black t-shirt reading ‘Casey’s Bar and Grille’ crooked his
finger, shook his head, escorted the woman down, and lead her to a stool by
the jukebox. The woman swayed, stumbled, and tried to recover her honor
by crossing her legs. The music grew louder, crescendoed in a remixed
Monster Mash medley. The men, all Wal-Mart knock-offs of vampires and
doctors and aliens and Supermen, gathered around the red-leathered woman,
offering her cigarettes.
“Less’ do the timewarp again,” Dana muttered, wondering why the hell
she’d stopped smoking.
The bartender waved a hand at her, flapped it obnoxiously in her face.
“Look lady, I’ll even pay for the fare – “
“No give me a lil’ bit,” said Dana, growing less irritated, and more
drowsy. “I can drive in a lil’ bit just a nap and then I’ll go.”
The bartender shook his head. “I don’t think so,” he said.
“Just tell me your name, and I’ll have the driver come in and get you.”
“It’s okay,” called a familiar male voice, low, deep, and throaty.
Where was that voice? It came out of thin air, materialized, and
why should that surprise her? Lurking, the voice was, skulking in
darkness, hiding, shadowed. The body it belonged to was somewhere,
but she couldn’t see him. “I’ll take her home,” the voice finished.
“What?” yelled the bartender.
“I said I’ll take her home!” yelled the voice, louder, closer, right
Dana felt woozy, but somehow able. Her stomach burned. Her
brain throbbed, just pressing down on her eyes with too much left unsaid.
So much left unsaid that she hurt. It was the getting-from-the-head-to-the-mouth
part she had problems with.
“You the Monster Lady’s husband?” asked the bartender.
“I suppose I’ve been called worse,” said the voice, who stepped forward,
his hand cupped protective-like around her shoulder blade.
And after a pause, added, “Friend.”
“Oh looky,” said Dana, and her head fell to her arms. She yawned.
“Misser bartenner, meet my parnner Missser Monssser Man Muller. Muller
Monssser Man Missser.” How funny that sounded, through numbed lips
and tongue. She couldn’t help but laugh. “I've been thinking
loss' about him and isss’ his birthday today ann’ he needs to catch up
to my whateverthehellthisis.”
“Maybe if I injected it directly into my veins.” A hand on her
back, rubbing her spine. He felt good through her blouse. She
shivered. “Besides, my birthday was two weeks ago, Scully.”
“Eh?” Scully frowned, certain she missed something important.
“What are you – huh? It is two weeks ago Muller.”
Mulder pushed a lock of hair back over her ear, his gaze unreadable but
somehow loud. “Wow, Scully. You’re stupid when you’re trashed.”
The room swam, contracted.
“Yeah well - ” She yawned. “Your fly’s open buddy.”
And then her head hit the bar, and everything went black.
“Maybe we have unfinished business, Scully.”
“Well… Yeah. Typically, when spirits remain bound to old planes
of existence or corporeal bodies, it indicates something left unfinished.
According to the literature, at least, and I’ve read it all, the soul harbors
an insatiable desire to tie up loose ends.”
“What literature, Mulder? Stephen King?”
“Close. Dean Koonz.”
“Oh, brother – “
“Seriously, Scully. Look at this rationally… Dead or not,
we’re stuck on the side of this road until either we finish what we haven’t
finished, or a toe-truck from the great beyond comes and finds us...
Or we can walk back to the bar and haunt the drunkards, but I seriously
don’t think anyone’s going to see us, or help us, so it’s going to be –
“Eighth grade, Chrissy Ruday. She was a friend of mine.
There was a boy I liked and she knew I liked him. She went and told
him I liked him, and kissed him, and then she told everyone else at the
last dance of the year that I had some sort of bacterial infection.
Nobody would dance with me and it was humiliating. If I could go back,
I would have slugged her in the face.”
“Do you still have this bacterial infection?”
“You want me to slug you, too?”
“I would have fucked Annette O’Leary.”
“No really, Mulder. Don’t hold back.”
“Pheobe Green – if you’ll recall her, back from the Cecil Lively
case – she and I were dating at the time, and Annette was a friend of mine.
She came over one night, and… to make a long story short, offered me some
naked twist-and-shout. Out of some misguided sense of honor I turned
her down, told her I was already with someone. The next week, I found
out Pheobe had been fucking a friend of mine. I really should have
fucked Annette. I would have.”
“No. Because she was hot, and blonde, and easy.”
“I would have grown out my hair, or maybe dyed it -"
"I don't know. Black?”
“Ugh. Black is so last year, Scully.”
"I would have made a point to procrastinate, sleep late on Saturdays,
eat the really fatty creamcheese - "
"The wild child emerges."
"I would have had more fun."
“Is that why you got drunk? To have more fun?”
“I don’t know. Maybe.”
“Did it work?”
"I would have slam-danced on Kersh's puny little desk."
"I would have called my mother more regularly."
“I would have let Samantha watch The Magician.”
“I would have left Queequeg at the kennel.”
“I would have thrown Queequeg out the window.”
Her face pressed against glass. A window, perhaps? And strong arms
lowered her into the passenger’s seat. He buckled her in, said, “It’s
going to be okay,” and she wanted desperately to believe him. The
voice she knew, she’d heard it before. Her head hurt, and her stomach
churned; she’d never before felt so twisted and miserable, which was probably
un-true, since alcohol poisoning often felt like death, but there it was,
and she couldn’t take the thought back. And the sky was somehow tilted,
empty, wrong: drops of pink and blue and yellow tugged at her eyelids, starburst,
like she was tripping on a hallucinogen, and she was positive she hadn’t
done anything like that since her early twenties.
Was she still in her twenties?
She wanted Mulder to be there, with her, and if she was still twenty-two
she realized seeing him was a paradoxical impossibility.
Had she met Mulder yet?
Disoriented, eyes closed, Dana considered that the last seven years of
her life had been a dream, and she had honestly and truly gone into medicine
like her father had suggested. Her father had these grandiose notions;
he pictured articles written by the famous Dr. Dana Katherine Scully in
the American Journal of Medicine. William Scully boasted about his
brilliant, youngest daughter. How she’d cure Alzheimer’s or Schleroderma,
and then she’d settle down and make room for a family. He’d have at
least five grandkids between his three children. Little did he know,
her proud father, how the road would fork, full of potholes and dead ends.
William Scully was dead, six years dead. And now Dana was thirty-six,
and a doctor of the dead, and the only barren, alienated Scully, and lying
here, somewhere, wherever somewhere was. All the pressure from childhood
expectations left a person breathless.
She wanted Mulder.
A hand clasped over hers, squeezed. Underneath her, vibration rumbled,
the feeling of whirring movement, like the Earth orbiting her.
“I’m right here, Scully,” he said. “You know, if you’d have waited
an hour, we could have fallen off the wagon together. Despite my boyish
good looks, I’m actually far above drinking age.”
“Mulder?” Her voice cracked, her shoulders hitched. “Oh, Mulder…”
His voice was gentle. “What is it?”
Her brain fogged. She was all twisted. “I have I think I
feel I don’t…Not so good…”
“Mulder, if death… if this meant you could go out and look for the
people you’d known or sought in life, the ones you somehow missed, or wronged,
would you do it? Would you try to find them?”
“I don’t know. Probably. It depends on how much money
I owe these people. Why? You’re thinking of your family, aren’t you?”
“Let's just say…I was a better partner than I was a daughter, or
"You don't really believe that."
“I could’ve been less harsh. I could have tried harder.”
“You didn’t know, Scully. Nobody ever does.”
“Maybe not, but there were so many times... like my brother's New
Years Eve party. It was sort of an annual event, and I never went.
Not once. He and his wife invited me every year and every year I
had an excuse. The truth was that he disapproved of my lifestyle
and I disapproved of his…disapproval. Bill and I had always
clashed but I thought…Maybe if I could make him see things my way? You
know? But I didn’t talk to him. I just didn’t go.”
“He still invited you, though. That’s something.”
“Okay - Thanksgiving, last year. My mother called me and said
she bought chicken – an open ended invitation, I guess. I told her
I had other plans. I didn’t have any plans. I played basketball
by myself, down by the court, and I froze my ass off. I thought about
calling her, but I was angry.”
“We all get angry, Mulder.”
“I was selfish.”
“We all get selfish. It’s just like you said; you didn’t know.”
“That’s a poor excuse.”
“You know, I saw you, sinking free-throws in the snow.”
“I thought you went to the Scully family holiday extravaganza.”
“No. Not that year. It didn’t feel right – I wanted
to be somewhere else.”
“I still don’t know.”
“We could have crossed paths, Scully. It would have been fate.
Both of us glowering, reveling in our own selfish inclinations. Maybe
in another universe, we did bump into one another. I dragged you
into Denny’s for my kind of misfit, Thanksgiving Day Feast. Pancakes,
hashed browns, omelettes shaped like beheaded pilgrims - ”
“I would have kissed you.”
“Since we’re on the subject, I don’t want you to die thinking I
was some sort of prude.”
“We weren’t on the subject.”
“A prude, Scully? Do people still say that?”
“Be serious a second and let me… just let me -”
“Let you what?”
“In your hallway, when you tried to… when we… I think sometimes
of what you said, of what would have been. If it had gone differently,
if I hadn’t gotten sick, I would have kissed you. I would have stayed.
And I would have liked it.”
Death was not a single moment, quick and painless. Death was several
long moments drawn out.
Dana grasped her head with both hands and tried to push her brain back
into her skull. Her stomach was going to implode. Had she the
will to open her eyes and actually move, she might have just shoved open
the door and tumbled out onto the road, where she could die peacefully
on the asphalt. But any movement was sure to bring bloody carnage,
and if she thought too hard about what exactly had happened to her motor
reflexes, her brain would self-destruct.
“Sit tight, Scully. I’m going as fast as I can,” said Mulder, “Just
a few more minutes and you can puke to your heart’s content.” His
voice seemed to float on a cloud of nothing. If he was there, then
she could not see him, and she could not even remember why she could not.
A small utterance somewhere in her head told her that he had picked her
up from a bar, and she was good and toasted, and the reason she could not
see was because her eyes were closed.
And she could not open her eyes, she recalled, because catastrophic things
would happen if she did.
“The road’s too narrow,” Mulder went on, “Or I’d stop… You know I would
if I could. Scully? Scully, are you still sentient? Don’t fall asleep
on me, okay? You were doing so well.”
The floor was moving – or no, that wasn’t the floor. It was the seat
cushion. For a minute, Dana fantasized about the seat growing wooden
wheels – like Tinkertoy wheels - and side-rails to keep her encased.
She’d had a soap-box car like that when she was seven. Charlie had
painted the front end green, and Bill got the back end, which he painted
blue, and in black, wrote, “Bill rules!” Dana pushed him to the ground
for his boyish stupidity and pummeled him good. His nose bloodied and
his left eye turned blue, and Charlie looked on, horrified – his cherished
older brother, beaten by a girl. A girl, of all silly things!
Their mother, who broke up the fight, sent Dana to the basement, which her
father had nicknamed, “The Brig.” The air was cold down there, and
musky, and smelled of fish. Dana cried. Ten years later, when
Bill brought home his first car, Dana took shoe-polish to the back windshield
and scrawled, “Bill sucks!” in bold, white letters…
The world swerved violently to the right, and Mulder’s hand grasped her
upper arm. And then back to the left, and then she realized her esophagus
had contracted, and her stomach was squeezing itself into a knot.
Her throat clogged with dinner. Everything went white, and then black,
and she gripped the dashboard with one hand, the other hand jammed over
“Shit… Scully, can you…. Can you get the window open?”
“Oh,” she mumbled, eyes squeezed shut. “Oh, no. Oh no, no,
no, no –“
“Hold on, I’ll pull - ” Mulder gasped. “What in the hell is this
guy doing?” A screech of rubber, harsh, unyielding. “That was
a stop sign, Assho – “
“Scully, have you ever been high?”
“Really high. Mind-blowing high. Like you were floating,
just gliding along and it felt like everything you ever wanted had fallen
into your lap and suddenly the grass, the trees, the floor, ceiling – whatever
– it was all… it was changed, somehow. Life was a different color,
and when you opened your eyes, you realized why?”
“Are you channeling Morrison?”
“Don't mock the classics, Scully - I found an island in your arms,
a country in your eyes, arms that chain us, eyes that lied. Break on
through to the other side. Break on through to the other side
"Oh tell me where your freedom lies, the streets are fields that never
die, deliver me from reasons why. You'd rather cry. I'd rather fly."
"Crystal Ship? Very cool, Scully. You must've been one happening
"I’ve never had a psychotropic experience.”
“You’re a miserable liar.”
“Did you enjoy it?”
“I don’t remember.”
“You want me to sing?”
“Row, row, row your car, gently under water –“
“It was – an experience. It was… It was like nothing else
I’d ever done before, and it was exhilarating – especially the first time.
I was just so up. I was very up. I didn’t want to come back
“Then you know. You understand.”
“You’ve lost me, Mulder.”
“That’s what this feels like.”
“What? Sitting in the mud?”
“No. Being dead with you.”
“Jesus, this is the most bizarre hangover in the history of alcohol.”
“Seriously. There isn’t anyone else I’d want to decompose
“Oh, be still, my heart.”
“Shut up, Scully.”
She was numb, and cold, and spiraling fast, fast and forward, falling
down a long flight of stairs, except every time the ground rose up to meet
her, she somehow missed, and fell some more, without purpose, without destination,
just falling, and falling, and falling.
Voices clouded her, poked through a dizzying, sickening darkness with
tiny needles of sound: “Someone turn her – she’s aspirating!”
“Someone get the other passenger into exam – “
“He’s not conscious – “
“He's in and out. More delirious than conscious. He
wouldn't let us touch her, kept insisting we'd take her away from him. We’ve
got someone - “
“Get her a line – “
“Is she breathing?”
“We’re gonna have to pump her - ”
First the burning in her stomach went away – poof, like a magic trick.
Then the tunnel bottomed out into light, and then dark - violet,
blue, monotonous, wet and cold and utterly frightening. Her arms
returned to her, and then her legs, which she was relieved to learn had
not disappeared. Her suit clung to her, soaked through, scratchy
– sand and bits of shell down the front of her blouse, wedged between her
breasts, as if she’d been playing on the ocean floor. So, so cold
it was. Misty but clear, full moon spotlighting her fingers, which
were pruned, pale, trembling. She’d have to be crazy, standing outside
in weather like this. What had possessed her? What on Earth
She backed into something hard, and metal, and turned, gazing down into
the black water of the Potomac. How had she gotten here?
A hand grasped her shoulder, and her scream caught, balled up and hard,
in the base of her throat.
“When you asked me… When you asked me to do you that favor … I meant
to tell you - I thought about it a lot. More than a lot. I couldn’t
stop thinking about it, actually. I even bought… I got you this stuffed rabbit,
with a stupid bow on it.”
“You didn’t. “
“You never gave it to me. What happened to it?”
“I sort of… I returned it. Mainly, I was nervous about
– well, the whole thing. But then I had this… this ludicrous dream,
fantasy, whatever, about you coming back from the doctor after we… after
we had been together…and you saying it was true. That you were pregnant.
And then the dream fast-forwarded, and we would be eating lunch down at
the café by the Hoover building, and the waitress would look at you
and notice, and she’d ask how far along you were. And I would smile,
and say, ‘almost five months.’ God, Scully, I’m sorry - that sounds… it’s
moronic. Just forget it. ”
“It’s not moronic, Mulder.”
“You only think that because you’re used to a more potent blend
of my insolent charm.”
“I thought I was pressuring you. I would have said something
“About what? Children?”
“About them, yeah. But also about you. About us.”
“Then I would have forced you to leave…so that, you know, you could
have them. Children I mean.”
“I wouldn’t have agreed to go.”
“That’s okay. I would have recanted.”
“You wouldn’t have really thrown Queequeg out the window.”
“I refuse to answer that without my lawyer present… Would
you have really kissed back?”
“Worse. I would have hogged the covers.”
“Ah. Then I would have kept you.”
“Kept me? Kept me from what?”
“Just kept you.”
When she came to, her head hurt, and Mulder was sitting next to her,
eating a Popsicle, his legs perched on the guardrail.
“Huh?” was the first thing she said, for lack of better, more intelligent
things. She couldn’t seem to recall specifics; her brain had a dull,
fogged edge. She was leaving work, and stopping off for a late latte
– an occasional Friday indulgence - and now she was lying on a hard, coarse
bed, in a blue gown, and there was a thick bandage over her forehead.
She knew she’d been in and out of hospitals a good many times during her
career with the bureau, but when had she begun actually celebrating national
holidays by injuring herself and checking herself in, and then topping off
the evening with a striking case of amnesia?
“You’re awake,” said Mulder, turning to her. His lips were smeared
with chocolate and his tongue mopped it up. If this was a dream,
it was a bizarre one. “I kept thinking you’d developed some sort
of narcoleptic condition, and I’d have to drag you out of here by your
The bed was small – a stiff, rubbery twin, but Mulder lay beside her,
flipping channels on the wall-mounted TV, hogging the covers, sucking on
his Popsicle, dangling his long legs over the rail. The bed dipped
towards his weight, and Dana rolled like a bowling ball. Her elbow
dug into the mattress before she could roll right into Mulder’s ass.
“What happened?” she asked, pressing a finger to her forehead.
“Popsicle?” asked Mulder, thrusting it forward.
“Mulder, what happened?”
Mulder flipped off the TV, sucked off the last of his ice cream, licking,
chewing on the stick; the piece of wood played at the corner of his mouth
like a strand of hay. He smiled at her, smiled almost strangely,
wholly focused, on her eyes, and then her lips, saying something silent,
something she must have missed. He had a bandage on his own forehead,
one bigger than hers, so big it almost pressed over his eye, like a gauzy,
white pirate patch. He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand.
“You had a one man Halloween party,” he said. “And by the time I got
there, you were all partied out.”
Dana squinted, almost remembering; images fluttered, teasing, disjointed,
a puzzle with pieces trying to press into the wrong places, some missing.
A bartender with thick dark eyebrows asking her if she wanted another drink,
baby-jumpers decorating headless mannequins, the taste of bitter alcohol,
sitting on a bridge, dancing on the bar – had she actually danced on the
bar? Had Mulder seen her dancing on the bar?
“I was drunk,” she said, blushing, not looking at Mulder, but past him.
Her fingers traced the outline of her bandage. Had she fallen off
“Yeah,” said Mulder. “You had a bit much. And when I stopped
off for some pool, I saw you. Let’s just say you ah, you were done.
Hammered. You knocked yourself unconscious. I carried you out
to the car – “
Dana grasped Mulder’s arm. A squeal of tires, a scream, her stomach
lurched, the sky slammed sideways, a flash of red – what was that?
A stop sign? A grind of metal, lopsided seat cushions, shattered glass,
cold, wet, where was her pulse? “The car hit the guardrail,” she
“Yeah,” said Mulder. “Some drunk jackass ran the stop sign and
I had to swerve. It wasn’t pretty, let me tell you. We almost went
over the side. You got violently ill and I hit my head when I tried
to get to you. I think I passed out... There was rain and blood and...
Anyway, the good news is we're not fish-food. The bad news is if we keep
slipping through the cracks like this, one of these days, I think we’re
gonna get smashed beneath somebody's shoe.”
Dana pressed her hand over his and felt him, warm and soft. She leaned
her face close and kissed his palm, and watched, in wonder, as his eyes
closed, and he smiled. The Popsicle stick dropped from his mouth to
the bed. Her heart beat thunderously, and she noticed the hard feel
of it, the reassuring pressure of blood circulating, warming her, sustaining
each fragile organ. She was alive, and Mulder was alive, and somehow,
this was wondrous. This was enough for her. This was intimacy,
breathless, passionate intimacy such as she’d never known. There was
something here between them, lingering, something peculiar they shared.
Perhaps they’d known each other before, in some other life, or in the space
between this life and the next; his voice was clear in her ears, murmuring,
“I would have kept you.”
“Mulder?” she asked.
His eyes were still closed. “Hmm?”
A thought came to her, and she voiced it before she could lose the nerve.
“Are you sure we didn’t… you don’t remember... dying… for about an hour
His eyes opened. “Dying?” He looked amused. “I think
I’d remember something like that. Why? Do you think we’ve died?
Or have you simply decided to dress up as me this year?”
Dana frowned. “I don’t know what it is, exactly. I remember
something strange… You were saying we had died and I was so cold and wet
and I said… I said I believed you – “ She paused, shook her head.
“Wait. That doesn’t sound like something I’d say.”
“It doesn’t,” agreed Mulder. "You have to say it with feeling, deepen
your voice, and lose the eyebrow."
"I'll take that under consideration," said Dana.
"Noted," said Mulder.
"Okay." She took a breath. "So then what do you think, Agent
Scully? Dream, hallucination, or near death experience?"
Mulder grinned, took a moment to deliberate. "Well, Agent Mulder,"
he said, "I think... that despite occasional fits of insanity and delirium,
an obsession with international government conspiracies, and a stitched-up
head wound, you are, without a doubt, the best looking man I have ever laid
eyes on, and I am so turned on right now I could climb you like a tree."
Dana blinked, expressionless.
"Sure. You look at me that way now," said Mulder. "But I'll
have the Scully thing down before next Halloween."
"Yeah," said Dana, tongue in cheek, "You just keep trying until you actually
And for a moment, there was nothing but the two of them, smiling, touching,
gazing at one another.
“So." Dana cleared her throat. "You think I could get one of those
Popsicles?” Her hand lowered to the mattress. Mulder’s fingers
snuck over, grasped her, ran long and soft and gentle over the planes of
“Trick or Treat,” he said, gazing at her. And then he reached over,
across the bed, onto the table beside her. He pulled back with a
stuffed animal, a thick, fluffy, blue bunny with a bright red bow across
its neck. Its eyes were black, shining. “I ah… I saw this in
the gift shop and it reminded me of something I returned last week.
I thought I’d get you a late birthday present.”
Dana’s breath caught in mid-inhale, and she plucked the bunny from his
fingers, pressed her hand over its face. The warmth of something
familiar passed over her, a strange, deja-vu like inclination that she’d
seen this before, this particular bunny, or that she knew of it, somehow.
“My birthday isn’t for another four months, Mulder.” Her eyes searched
his face, although she wasn’t sure what she was looking for. “And
besides, you already got me that stunning baseball lesson. All this
altruism is going to spoil me.”
“Semantics,” said Mulder. He shrugged, and blushed, and looked
suddenly so beautiful Dana couldn’t feel anything but the weight of him,
watching her. “Well, I certainly wouldn’t want you thinking you were
going to get a present every year. It ruins the mystique. So
Merry Christmas, then.”
With a shake of her head, Dana gave in to impulse, to abandon, to a string
inside of her that tugged her forward, forward, forcing her to not look
back, to not think, to just act and not analyze, because who knew how long
anyone had, and she grasped the side of Mulder’s face, leaning up, and pressed
her lips to his. An electric current passed from him to her, and when
she pulled away, Mulder looked breathtakingly puzzled.
“Happy Halloween,” she said, taking an experimental breath.
“Actually, it’s November now,” Mulder mumbled, bright red. He brushed
a thick wave of red hair out of her eyes. “You know, I could have
done... I would have been better than that if you'd warned me first.”
Dana wrapped her arms around the bunny, tasting chocolate on her lips
from his popsicle. “Pick another holiday, and maybe you’ll get some
Mulder jutted his chin. “Hoo, Lady, you look smug now, but you
just wait until the New Year.”
“People believe what they want. But there is also this: People want to
believe. And somewhere in between wanting to believe and believing what we
want, there is the story we call the truth.”
-- A. Manette Ansay --
As promised, here are the challenge elements from this year's Haven October
Someone or something lurking
A "bump" got visible
The moon (any variation)
Thanks everyone for sharing the ride with me. As always, much love
goes out to the stalkers, and to Sybs (the lady behind the challenge, and
a terrific beta) and to all the stalkers who poked me for another story
in the 'Shadows of Winter' universe. I know this isn't exactly what
you were hoping for, but it counts (because I say so <g>.) Did
you catch the extra element?
Mulder quotes 'Break on Through to the Other Side,' Scully quotes 'Crystal
Ship,' and the quote listed at the beginning is from 'Light My Fire,' all
classic songs by The Doors.