Triangle Chapters 37 & 38 by Scullygolightly
Read by @msrtheatre0223
Please leave the author a comment if you enjoyed their story 😘
Triangle Chapters 37 & 38 by Scullygolightly
Read by @msrtheatre0223
Please leave the author a comment if you enjoyed their story 😘
This early season fic (set during episode 2!) provides great tension in a very small package with fantastic characterizations of both Mulder and Scully. Title: Getaway Author: Elanor G Summary: Missing scene for Deep Throat Length: 5k (~700 words) Classification: None provided Rating: PG Spoilers: Deep Throat Favorite line: Were they really just driving away from this? Read the story!
Find it on AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/30954710
She hadn’t expected that her desire for him would only increase after she’d had him once. That first night, emboldened by loneliness and a little red wine, she’d found the courage to reach for him, to lean in to his desirous gaze, to walk them slowly to her bedroom between fervent kisses. It was an itch to be scratched, something that you could anticipate fading away once sated, but it hadn’t. Perhaps that was because it had exceeded even her most graphic fantasies about how it might be, the slip of his fingers inside her igniting nerve endings that her vibrator had never located when she had imagined his touch. The grip of his palms on her hips as she writhed, gasping, in his lap a detail she had never known to conjure. The depth of the growl in his throat when she told him she was going to come vibrating through her bones was a memory she couldn’t shake. The smell of his cum in her panties hours after he’d left her apartment had her breathless, wanting him again already, somehow more than she ever had before she knew the taste of his saliva and the scratch of his stubble against her nipples.
They’d arrived to work the following day and acted as though nothing had happened, pretending not to feel things being one of her specialties. She worked hard to mask the new way her pulse quickened when he touched her back, the visceral response she had to the smell of his breath when he leaned in to whisper a snarky comment during their weekly division briefing. She found herself getting lost staring at his hands while he took notes, remembering the way they stroked her insides, and then blushed when he asked her if she was okay. She knew, without a doubt, that she wanted him again. If he at any point had offered to take her right there on his desk, she wouldn’t have been able to say no. And yet, she was so careful to avoid giving him any indication of this, feeling embarrassed and guilty for such wanton desires, for objectifying her partner like this. The Catholic guilt a wet blanket on her newfound lust, suppressing her into the polished, poised, sexless FBI agent she had spent so much time working to be. Weeks passed, her need for him coursing through her veins like a drug, intoxicating her to the point she often forgot terms and concepts that she normally recalled easily, again prompting him to inquire as to whether she was feeling alright, noting that she didn’t seem like herself.
She wasn’t herself. She was a woman obsessed and fixated, aroused by the casual brush of a hand or the timbre of a laugh. She was sitting on the edge of a precipice, teetering between control and absolute abandon. Normally so securely in the driver’s seat of her own body, she was unnerved by the feeling that she barely had a grip on the wheel, that at any point she might let go and crash into him, revealing the truth that she needed human contact and sexual release just as much as anyone did. The vulnerability in that need made her feel unhinged.
She found herself trying to entice him, concurrently hating herself for stooping so low. She left an extra button on her blouse undone, put a switch in her hips when she walked ahead of him, brushed her own fingers across the skin of her neck in a way that would be unnoticeable in anyone else, but she caught him noticing from the corner of her eye. When she anticipated that he’d come by her apartment, she wore shorts or a low v neck shirt, forgetting a bra or sitting cross legged to reveal the milky insides of her thighs, inviting him, wordlessly, to taste them. Sometimes she thought she saw a flash of desire in his eyes, but he always composed himself quickly, sometimes making an excuse to leave. She didn’t know what to make of the fact that he hadn’t tried again, that even when she did something as overt as leave her bedroom door open when she changed, he chivalrously averted his eyes. She realized it was unfair to expect him to understand, to know, what she wanted. Even if he did pick up on her painfully subtle, and occasionally obvious, signals, that didn’t mean he returned her feelings. Perhaps that night had been a mistake in his eyes, a slip up never to be repeated. The possibility that he would reject her if she risked reaching out to him again was enough to hold her back from doing so. Though he had enthusiastically participated the last time, that did not preclude him from having regretted it once it was over.
Now she stood before his closed apartment door on a Friday night, taking deep breaths to calm her nerves. Not because she was nervous, but because she was on fire. Her pelvis twitched and her spine arched at the idea of being near him in a private space, where the possibilities that ran through her mind all day seemed more plausible. He’d invited her over for dinner and a review of some possible cases they might take on, so they could plan how to spend their time the following week. Since he’d made the proposal that morning, she’d convinced and then talked herself out of his ulterior motives countless times. She knew that working herself up into thinking that something would happen made it even harder, and she heard her grad school professor’s voice in her head saying “expectations are premeditated resentments, Dana.” Gathering her composure, she took a moment to hike her breasts up in her push up bra and tug her jeans up over her hips so that they were snug against her ass. She’d finally settled on jeans and a green T shirt, which felt appropriately casual, but she’d selected a shirt that was a little too snug and a little too low cut, jeans that were half a size too small and slung low on her hips. If she were to bend over the flesh of her back would be exposed, which gave her a tiny thrill. Any stranger on the street would never give her outfit a second glance; it was painfully basic and unremarkable. But for buttoned-up, proper Dana Scully, it was reckless and suggestive. She may as well have been wearing lingerie for how sexy it made her feel.
Putting on her game face, she knocked. From inside the apartment he called “it’s open” and she let herself in, setting her purse on his cluttered dining room table and scanning the adjacent rooms to locate him. He wasn’t in the kitchen, nor the living room, and she found herself standing in the doorway of his bedroom, eyes roving over his naked chest and belly, a towel slung low on his hips and his hair spiked and wet from the shower. She smirked a little, wondering if this were intentional. Given her recent antics it seemed entirely possible, so she took a risk and didn’t look away, allowing him to see her rake her eyes over him appreciatively, finally reaching his face where a knowing smile played at the corner of his lips. Those lips. She sighed and smiled back at him, and he glanced down her body and back up before saying “hey.”
“Hi” she returned, suddenly feeling shy. She averted her eyes and tucked her hair behind her ear.
“I’ll be out in a minute, this isn’t what I was planning to wear.”
“That‘s too bad” she said in her head. “Okay” is what came out of her mouth before she turned and went to sit on the couch, tortured by the knowledge that he was naked on the other side of the wall. Was she supposed to take that as an invitation? Was he trying to send her signals just as much as she was him? She suddenly remembered why she didn’t bother with dating; all the guesswork was exhausting.
He emerged from the bedroom a few minutes later in a black T shirt and jeans, his feet bare. He looked freshly shaved. “I ordered Italian” he said, sitting down beside her, only a sliver of space between the sides of their thighs. “Should be here in about an hour, they were really busy.” He smelled like soap and his old spice deodorant, mint on his breath. She figured he had played basketball after work and that explained the shower, but did he normally shave and brush his teeth before dinner? Her expectations were weaseling their way into her thoughts again. Stop, she told herself.
“Do you want a beer?” He asked, and she said yes a little too quickly. He opened a beer for each of them and she sipped it steadily, welcoming the way it would smooth the edges of her thoughts but not wanting to appear as though she were planning to get drunk. Mulder was a gentleman beyond gentlemen and wouldn’t dream of touching her if he thought she were incapacitated in any respect. This was a fact she appreciated generally, and resented presently.
They dug into a thin stack of case files, each leaning forward with their elbows braced on their knees. She watched out of her periphery to see if he was looking down her shirt, and bit her cheek to keep from smiling when she saw that he was at regular intervals. Within about 20 minutes they narrowed it down to three cases they’d dig into on Monday, revealing the fact that an entire evening together wasn’t necessary for such a task, but they were both grateful to set the case files aside and just exist outside of suit jackets and basement offices. Scully was sitting sideways, cross legged, with her back against the arm rest, her toes grazing Mulder’s leg as he sat beside her, his torso twisted slightly to face her. She held her nearly empty beer bottle in her hands, picking at the corner of the label with her fingernail.
“So” he said. She felt the prick of anticipation and the hairs on her arms stood at attention, on guard for whatever might come next.
“So” she responded, because what else was she to say?
He studied her intently, his hazel eyes traversing the terrain of her face, darting from eyebrow to lip to nose, searching her for something. Finally the unbroken attention made her so uncomfortable that she was willing to speak.
“What?” She asked him, keeping her tone neither accusatory nor annoyed, simply curious. “What are you thinking about?” it conveyed, without saying as much.
He took a deep breath and exhaled it forcefully. “Was it a mistake, what happened? Do you think of it that way?”
His speaking of the unspeakable caught her off guard and she felt her face flush immediately. “No” she said, but she couldn’t meet his eye. “No, I don’t think of it that way.”
“What was it then? One time thing? Random fluke?”
How he was able to speak so directly about such fraught topics was always a marvel to her. She opened her mouth to speak once, twice, but closed it again each time. What she wanted to say was that she didn’t know what it was supposed to be when she initiated it, but the second it was over she wanted it to be part of her daily routine, like brushing her hair. Finally she gave him a tiny shrug and an “I don’t know.” She hated herself for making it seem like she didn’t care, but she didn’t know how to be honest without sounding like a teenager with a crush.
He studied her face again, and she self consciously fussed with her hair, looking at anything but him. She could feel him thinking, strategizing. She could only hope his strategy ended with her naked in his lap, but she also realized that if that were to happen, she would have to make more of an effort outside of simply not getting up and leaving.
“Do you want it to happen again?” He asked, and she laughed out of surprise, biting her lip but not answering. She lifted her eyes to meet his and her stomach clenched when she saw the stoic expression on his face, his eyes full of self-doubt. She was an asshole for making him think for a second that she didn’t want him. They lingered there, locked in an impromptu staring contest, until Mulder reached out and took the empty beer bottle from her hands and set it on the coffee table. He then lightly grasped her wrist in one hand and pressed the middle and forefinger of his other hand to her pulse point. She knew what he was doing. Her heart, which was already racing, sped up to something resembling the beat of hummingbird wings. After a moment, he removed his fingers and brought his lips to kiss the spot they had just vacated.
“I realize things like this are hard for you to talk about, and I know you well enough to know that if the answer were no, you would have told me as much and high-tailed it out of here. So I’m going to take the fact that you’re still sitting here, as well as the fact that your heart is working triple time, to mean that it would be acceptable if I were to kiss you right now. Is that a sound conclusion?”
“It is” she said in a near whisper, every cell in her body reaching out for him like he was magnetized. They were still locked in eye contact, though with this new understanding it had shifted from awkward to intimate.
They both jumped at the sudden pounding on the door. “Marinos!” Someone called out from the other side, and Mulder stood and went to grab his wallet. While he was gone, Scully let out a breath she felt like she’d been holding since she got here, and stood to use the bathroom. She studied her face in the mirror, sniff-checked her armpits, freshened up to be sure there were no errant toilet paper shreds clinging to her anatomy. When she opened the door, she found Mulder standing on the other side, waiting. She gave him a confused but also amused look.
“Hi” she said around a shy smile.
“Welcome back” he replied with a cool bravado, then stepped forward and cupped her face in his hands, drawing her in to a sweet kiss. She sighed into his mouth, the relief after weeks of tension pooling at her feet. She brought her hands to his neck and used his weight as leverage as she leaned her body against his, wanting him closer. In return, he stooped to grab the backs of her thighs and hoisted her up into his arms, her legs wrapping around his waist as she slipped her tongue into his mouth. It was still light out, and without the cover of darkness or the clumsiness of a first time, she felt more powerful and in control. She knew he wanted her, and she knew what she wanted from him. He stepped the few feet towards his bed and gently lay her down, moving to plant kisses along her neck. Pushing the bottom hem of her shirt up to expose her belly, he asked “is this okay?” And she replied “you don’t have to ask, you can do whatever you want.”
“Fuck” he breathed. It was an expression of excitement, and nervousness, and amazement that she trusted him so perfectly, and wanted him so completely.
She sat up and he pulled her shirt off over her head, deftly un-hooking her bra before she slipped it down her arms and threw it over the side of the bed. He sucked a nipple between his teeth and she gasped, her hips bucking into him, her head falling back. He repeated it on the other breast and she whimpered, to which he pushed the bulge in his jeans against her thigh, seeking relief. She pulled at his shirt, signaling him to take it off, and he did in a split-second maneuver, not wanting to stray from his task for a moment longer than he had to. Kissing down her belly, he unbuttoned her jeans and tugged them forcefully off her hips and down her legs. His actions were desperate and hungry; he couldn’t wait to get at her, and she could not wait to be gotten. When he went to pull her panties off they ripped under his urgency and he tore them away, hooking his arms under her knees and pressing his face into her vulva as he drug her to the end of the bed.
“Jesus Christ” she called out, her hands threading into his hair as he lapped at her hungrily. She could not believe the speed with which she approached orgasm. She would never have described herself as someone who was easy to please in bed, and yet he seemed to locate every pleasure point on her body with admirable ease, slipping a finger inside her to massage her G spot as he sucked on her clit. She felt herself falling over the edge and she hung there deliciously long, the point of release laying across her like a blanket until it crashed against her like a wave.
“Oh, I’m gonna come” she pleaded, the sound more breath than words, as if he didn’t already know from his position on the seat of her orgasm that it was happening. She came for an eternity, unaware of her own sounds or movements, existing only within her body and beneath her pleasure. He stayed with her, teasing out every throb she had to give, running his rough hands over as much skin as he could reach, until she was sated, and lie still and quiet. He rested his head on the inside of her thigh and waited for a signal that she was ready to return to Earth. After a couple minutes, she spoke.
He laughed, and crawled up to lie next to her, tucking his nose into her neck and placing tiny kisses all over her chest.
“I’m suddenly very aware of the fact that I am completely naked” she said, a mix of self-consciousness and humor in her voice.
He propped himself up on his elbow and looked down and then back up the length of her body. “You most certainly are” he said matter-of-factly, and she wrapped her arms across her chest in mock-modesty.
“You tore my underwear” she accused him, and he shrugged.
“Do you want to tear my underwear as payback?” He thrust his hips against her gently, and she was reminded that he had yet to be touched.
“Perhaps” she said against his lips, biting the lower one gently, signaling that they were not yet done. As she kissed him, she reached for the button of his jeans and flicked it open before easing down the zipper. He shifted up a bit to give her better access and breathed a low moan when she slipped her hand into his pants and grasped his erection.
“Mulder, I can’t help but notice that you’re not wearing underwear”
“Maybe if you’d had the same idea I wouldn’t have needed to rip them off” he teased breathlessly.
She pushed his jeans down and he stood to remove them before rejoining her, curling his naked body against her side as she resumed stroking him. “Come here” she directed, moving her leg aside to make space for his body. He hovered over her, their tongues dancing between their mouths as he thrust against her belly. She lifted her knees towards her chest and reached down to grasp him, brushing the head of his cock against her slick lips. He hummed and mumbled words she couldn’t understand, until she guided him inside her and he said “fuck.”
“Watch your language, Mulder” she chastised playfully, and he thrust into her suddenly, eliciting a gasp.
“I’m sorry, did that hurt? He stilled, searching her face.
She shook her head with a sly smile. “Even if it did, that’s not always a bad thing.”
His eyebrows went up in surprise “I’m learning so much about you today” he mused, resuming his thrusts slowly.
“Likewise” she replied, but her breathing was growing ragged, their playful banter becoming unsustainable.
He quickened his pace, kissing her neck and lips, burying his face in her hair when it became too intense for kissing. Suddenly he stopped and withdrew from her, and she looked at him incredulously. “Where are you going?” A question she’d asked him hundreds of times in an entirely new context.
“I’m interested in seeing you in every position imaginable, however I’ve been thinking so much about last time and I’d really like you to be on top again, if you don’t object to that.”
“No objections here” she replied, moving so that he could sit at the head of the bed against the wall. The sun was setting and she felt a little less exposed in the fading light of the bedroom. She climbed into his lap and kissed him for a couple minutes as she teased him at her opening, shifting her hips so he’d slide by, but not enter her. When she finally sunk down onto him, he dropped his head back and moaned in delicious agony. She started rising and falling slowly, planting kisses on his neck and nipping at his earlobes. As his breathing quickened she changed her rhythm, keeping her body close against his and sliding back and forth. His eyes shot open and his head lifted to watch what she was doing, gripping her hips though he made no attempt to control her movements. He reached down between them to touch her clit and she pushed his hand away. “Too much” she panted. “This part is just for you.” He returned his hand to her hip and trained his eyes on the place where their bodies met, slack jawed and wide eyed as she flexed her pelvis forward and back. When she could tell he was close, she increased her pace until he closed his eyes, he tightened his grip on her and cried out. As he crested over the most intense point, he opened his eyes again and looked at her face, locking eyes with her in the dim light of his bedroom as he filled her with his hot cum, desire giving way to the deep affection they held for each other. She collapsed against him and they sat like that for a while until she felt his fading erection slip out of her and a rush of fluid followed.
“Shit!” She said, sitting up with a worried expression. “I forgot about that part.”
He made a face that set her off giggling, which caused even more to drip out of her and into his lap. “Gah, don’t laugh, Scully, that makes it worse!” His protests only made her laugh harder and he smiled at her jiggling breasts as she wiped tears from her eyes.
“How about a shower, then dinner?” He proposed, and she nodded, still regaining composure.
After a hot shower and a borrowed pair of boxer shorts, they sat on his couch eating reheated lasagna and smiling at each other. After Mulder cleared their plates, he sat back down beside her.
“So” he said.
“So” she returned. What else could she say?
“I’m going to take the fact that you’re still here and that you’re wearing my underwear as an indication that this wasn’t a two-time only thing. Is that a sound conclusion?”
“It is” she replied with a smile.
Old School X is a project interviewing X-Files fanfic authors who were posting fic during the original run of the show. New interviews are posted every Tuesday.
Interview with Cecily Sasserbaum
Cecily Sasserbaum has 7 fics at Gossamer, plus some at AO3. Her dialogue between Mulder and Scully is packed with wit and heart in a special way that stands out among X-Files fics. I’ve recced some of my favorites of her stories here before, including Above Minnesota, Chess, and The Gentle Art of Dream Interpretation. Big thanks to Cecily for doing this interview.
Does it surprise you that people are still interested in reading your X-Files fanfics and others that were posted during the original run of the show (1993-2002)?
It doesn’t at all surprise me that people read old X-Files fanfics in general. It SHOCKS me that people read mine. I thought of myself as a loner author and didn’t feel especially aware of a readership even when I was posting stories. I was able to maintain the impression in the late 1990s / early 2000s that I posted a little fic for my own fun, got a little nice feedback, and that was that. Until recently I sincerely didn’t know anyone still read me. When I came back to the fandom this year and was looking to you for fic recs, I saw you recommended me in the past few weeks … and I was floored.
What do you think of when you think about your X-Files fandom experience? What did you take away from it?
My involvement with the X-Files fandom was entirely online, and I didn’t know a lot of other fans. I primarily lurked. I felt like I knew who prominent folks in the fandom were, but they didn’t know who I was at all. Sometimes I wondered how everyone else seemed to know each other so well. Okay, I do see that this makes me sound a little pathetic. I promise I am a well-adjusted person, if a little introverted. Generally I was happy with the arrangement. I did often take some weird giddy pleasure following the big controversies and debates.
Social media didn't really exist during the show's original run. How were you most involved with the X-Files online (atxc, message board, email mailing list, etc.)?
I read atxc (and atxf) religiously for basically all of 1999 and most of 1998 and 2000. I read it entirely through my college’s text-based Usenet reader Pine, which was very bare-bones visually, no photos or italics or links or anything. Just a black screen with green text. It was kind of terrible and kind of wonderful. I also did go to various other web archives like Gossamer and people’s personal pages to read fic. When an episode aired, I remember I rushed to atxf to get the fandom’s definitive take on it, which is a pretty unimaginable idea in online fandoms today. (And honestly probably wasn’t entirely accurate back then.)
What did you take away from your experience with X-Files fic or with the fandom in general?
I am fascinated by fanfic as a phenomenon in general, and I rather enjoy looking at the AO3 data on the most popular recent ships across fandoms. Like, what is that all about? What causes people to be imaginatively taken by fictional relationships, and why some fictional relationships more than others? I could talk about it all day.
Given that, I think it was super interesting to have been involved in X-Files fanfic in the 1990s, since it was really kind of an early template for the tidal wave of online fanfic that came in the 2000s with Harry Potter and so many other emerging fandoms. I know, I know, X-Files wasn’t the first, and it sure wasn’t alone. But it created some of the online practices and patterns, and I think that was amazing to witness firsthand. I am grateful to have been there for that.
That said, having come back to the fandom recently after a long time away, I also really love how it has evolved. And I really love and appreciate the influence younger fans and folks from other fandoms have had on it, too. To take a few examples, I know that in the 1990s we were sometimes not as careful about consent issues in fanfic as we should have been— although there were always those, even then, who argued we should be— and now the fandom seems so much more sensitive to trigger warnings and being precise about consent and when it is being violated. I also personally like that younger fans seem to be much more likely to be on board with writing a more feminist Mulder.
What was it that got you hooked on the X-Files as a show?
Well, let’s be real, it was the hope of MSR. I like a slow burn, and whooo yes did this show deliver on that front. I also like nerdy dialogue, banter, philosophy, sci-fi/fantasy, and angst, so it was going to be a good match. I also think that I really felt Scully was a more relatable and three-dimensional female character than what was out there in the relatively-bleak network TV landscape at that time, and as a nerdy girl myself, I think I was pretty hungry for that representation. My intense fandom really took off at the end of season five, around the time of the movie, so I admit I always have a big soft spot for all those goofy shippy season six episodes. (Season six is kind of my emotional support season in general, even though I am aware intellectually of its flaws.)
What is your relationship like now to X-Files fandom?
Between the end of the show’s original run and say, this winter, I would say that I was still a sentimental fan of the show, although I was not involved in the fandom at all any more. I occasionally rewatched favorite episodes when I had a rare moment by myself. I watched IWTB in the theater and I eagerly watched the revival seasons. I pretty much just complained about them to my friends and family members (e.g. “But you have to understand that Scully would OBVIOUSLY have checked Baby William’s DNA against Mulder’s, so NO, I will never accept this twist.”) Although I admit I did wonder what some of the old regular posters on atxf thought about them.
The pandemic caused me to have a slight breakdown, as I think it did many people. It also caused me to watch a lot of TV, including The Crown season 4 and Sex Education. At some point, my teen wondered aloud why I spoke of this random actress Gillian Anderson so reverently, as if she were a living saint walking on earth who blessed us in every role she took, and I realized I had to show my child. You have responsibilities as a parent.
This all led to a bit of a XF fandom relapse. I began rewatching the whole show, and reading my old fanfic on Gossamer, and I became irrationally bothered that there was a multi-part kidfic series I had never concluded (Bloodline), which I decided impulsively I would now finish. You know, twenty years later. That led me to AO3, and then I started reading new XF fanfic, and I was like, uh, this is still really good and entertaining and fun to read, and makes me not feel so depressed about the things that are constantly depressing me right now. I remember distinctly the day I read the first part of Impersonal by SilhouetteofaCedar (@silhouetteofacedar), and I was all, HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE: I would like to read all of the new fanfic now, please.
Do you have any favorite X-Files fanfic stories or authors?
Back in the day I certainly enjoyed Rachel Anton, and I still do. But I would like to say that I am really enjoying reading new XF fanfic more than I thought I would. I really have enjoyed lots of new authors, and I’m scared to name them for forgetting some.
Coming back to the XF fanfic universe after several decades, one change I am really struck by is this: I don’t think AUs were as big a deal back then, were they? I have really enjoyed reading AUs. I think if I had been as aware of their potential, I might have experimented with that more often as a writer back in the day. Back in 2000 I wrote a story (Gentle Art of Dream Interpretation) that had some heavy historical AU elements I just turned into Mulder’s dream. (Come to think of it, the show itself played around with historical AU elements that way, too, didn’t it?) So I have loved catching up on Prufrock’s Love, of course, and I’ve also been enjoying The Science of Sex posting on AO3 recently by if_the_seas_catch_fire (@if-the-seascatchfire), set in the Masters of Sex universe.
Do you think you'll ever write another X-Files story? Or dust off and post an oldie that for whatever reason never made it online?
Yes, this is … happening. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I finished the 20-year old unfinished multi-part story Bloodline, and then I wrote a little Plus One one-off I will post soon (End of Story), and I am thinking seriously of doing a fanfic exchange this month, so I don’t know what this is, exactly, but yes. We can call it a relapse, or we can call it a “revival.”
Is there a place online (tumblr, twitter, AO3, etc.) where people can find you and/or your stories now?
The old stories are on Gossamer, and the new are on AO3. (Hey, should I put the old stories on AO3? Is that a thing people do? I don’t know.) [Lilydale note: I don’t know either, but I am wholly in favor of authors making old stories new again on AO3!] I barely understand how to use Tumblr, but I do now have a Tumblr. So maybe I’ll figure out how to operate that effectively someday, too.
(Posted by Lilydale on May 11, 2021)
Early On, Part Seven: Personal Physician by @sunflowerseedsandscience
Read by @anniexami
Please leave the author a comment if you enjoyed their story 😘
An alternate universe in which Mulder and Scully are college professors working in buildings across from one another. They have become close, but one day, he learns something about her he never would have expected.
A couple of days ago, @msgilliana posted a tweet about an AU involving Mulder and Scully which led to a mini story being created by both of us. People asked for a REAL story, but it wasn’t my baby, I had only added a bit to an adorable idea. I suggested she and I collaborate and we two women, who were “too busy right now,” cranked out a 7,700 word story in two days.
Hope you all enjoy!
Fox Mulder knew the start of the new academic year could be daunting for new faculty: Am I teaching this class correctly? Is my syllabus adequate? Where the hell do I park?
When he saw one person in particular however, he knew she meant business. They never technically met, but it was more of a ‘we parked next to each other and your building is right next to mine, so we might as well chat’ situation.
“Hi,” he’d said when he saw her, the first of them to speak. He had been drawn to her beauty, her red hair causing her to stand out.
“Hello,” she’d responded.
“Are you new?” he’d asked.
She pushed a stray piece of that beautiful red hair behind her ear. “Is it that obvious?”
“Oh no, I just have an eidetic memory and haven’t seen you before.” She was impressed, and her face revealed as much before he asked another question.
“What do you teach?”
“A mix. Some general physics, some intro to modern physics. You?”
“Wow, that’s quite impressive. I teach psych. Intro, abnormal, and social. Most people think it’s a ‘soft’ science, but I think it’s pretty important.”
“Psychology is interesting to be fair. Why do people do what they do, what determines our likes and dislikes, or even hyperfixations. And that’s just scratching the surface.”
“I have never met anyone from the science department who sees it that way. It’s quite refreshing, if you don’t mind me saying.”
“Well, my sister’s very into feelings, the energy of the planets, all that kind of stuff. She and I are very close. Well… this is my building.” She pointed to the one right next to the one he would be entering.
“And this is mine. How convenient. I’ll see you around Dr…”
“Scully. Dana Scully.”
“Fox Mulder.” He offered his hand and she shook it.
“Nice to meet you, Dr. Mulder.”
“Oh please, no ‘Dr.’ That’s so boringly formal. ‘Mulder’ is fine,” he had joked with a mock shiver.
“Then you can call me ‘Scully.’” She chuckled and then smiled at him. As he stared at her, he couldn’t help but notice the presence of a beauty mark above her top lip. She had covered it with makeup and he didn’t understand why she would, it was adorable and also incredibly sexy.
Oh, maybe that’s why, he thought, knowing how men could behave.
Pushing aside those thoughts, he smiled as they reached their respective buildings and separated, walking to their offices.
Over time, they’d gotten to know more about each other. He knew she was twenty six and had received her doctorate two years prior. She was Catholic with two older siblings, a brother and a sister, the latter of whom had an interest in all things extraterrestrials, and she also had one younger brother.
Before the end of her first teaching year, they’d managed to park next to each other almost every day. They would chat for the few minutes their walk to the building afforded them, until they had to separate to their own offices. They both looked forward to that time together each day.
At the year's commencement, they had sat next to each other, and she looked extraordinarily extravagant in her doctoral robe and cap. She would say the same about him.
The following school year, they had gone from their morning chats to leaving at the same time as well. It quickly turned into one accompanying the other to their office and continuing their conversations. While almost polar opposites, they felt comfortable with each other and talked about any and everything.
Of all the little things he knew about her, the one thing Mulder knew Scully prided herself on most was punctuality. He knew she arrived in the parking lot at exactly 8:05 every Tuesday and Thursday before her first class began at 8:30. The other three days, she arrived at exactly 9:25 am for her 10 am class. His classes were all later in the day, but he came in early for office hours and to get work done before his classes.
A couple of months later, however, it was 9:27 on a Wednesday morning and she was nowhere to be found. In the nearly one and a half years since she’d been teaching, Scully had never been late. Though he was curious, he decided to head into his office and start his day.
His work, however, didn’t hold his attention. He couldn’t stop thinking about her. What was she doing? Was she sick? Was there a family emergency? She had mentioned that her siblings lived all across the country. Her older brother Bill was in California where he was stationed with his wife Tara. Melissa was traveling, “finding herself” Scully had stated with a slight eye roll, and Charlie was in New York with his girlfriend Elaine. Her parents were in Annapolis, about an hour's drive from the school.
Shaking himself out of his reverie, he decided to email her, something he’d never done nor had any need to do.
Are you okay?
He forewent formalities because he felt they were on friendly enough terms, or at least he had assumed so. They hadn’t ever socialized outside of school events, but he had lost count of the high school and college friends he no longer spoke to or had only seen on campus.
He was about to get ready to teach his first class of the day when he checked his email one more time and saw a reply from her.
Nothing further, not even her name, but at least he now knew she was okay. Or at least, Mulder hoped so. She would’ve said if something was wrong.
He didn’t sleep well that night, his brain unable to stop thinking and wondering if she was okay.
The next day, she still hadn’t arrived on time. He was in his office, about to send her another email, when he heard a car door slam around 8:15. The building was fairly soundproof, but the windows were not.
Curious, he got up from his desk and looked out the window. Seeing Scully’s car, he immediately smiled. She was a little late, but she was there. His brows then furrowed when she opened the door to the backseat. Bending inside, she was there for nearly a minute.
When she pulled back, he let out a gasp as she had reappeared with a small child in her arms. He could see the little girl was limp and appeared to be asleep. Observing Scully’s struggle to get her bags from the front seat while also carrying the child, he quickly left his office.
He tried to keep his pace slow, so as to not disrupt his colleagues, but his mind was racing with a million questions. Mulder made it outside, but didn’t see Scully. Assuming she must’ve gotten to her office already, he hurried up the stairs; he was out of breath when he reached the third floor.
Looking around, he heard a ding, announcing the arrival of the elevator down the hall. The doors opened and he spotted her shining red hair as she exited the elevator, and turned toward her office. Speed walking, he made it to her office at the same moment that she did.
“Oh, God. Mulder, you scared me,” she whispered when she saw him, breathing quickly as she reached for her keys.
“Sorry,” he whispered, matching her volume.
Scully took a minute to find her keys, only having one hand free for the action. She finally got her office unlocked, the little girl sleeping through it all. Propping the door open, she left the light off and set her bags down, a bright pink Dora the Explorer backpack standing out. She picked it up and held it out to him.
“Can you…” she asked him, nodding at the child in her arms.
“Oh. Um, sure. What…”
“Her blanket, please.”
He unzipped the bag and pulled out a small blue blanket with Thomas the Train across it. Versatile, I like it, thought Mulder. He couldn’t help but feel his heart grow as he watched the way she was with the little girl he assumed had to be her daughter.
“Mommy…” the toddler suddenly croaked.
“Shh, baby, it’s okay.” Scully’s voice was soothing and soft for the girl as she ran a hand across her daughter’s long loose curls. It was different from her no-nonsense, low-pitched professor voice, and it made his heart ache.
She mouthed a thank you to Mulder and took the blanket from him. The little girl whimpered as she was covered in the blanket and snuggled closer to her mother. Scully rocked her and smiled at Mulder.
“I’m sure you have some questions.”
“Just a few.”
She sighed and looked at her child. “Please, sit.”
He obeyed, watching as she carefully sat in her leather desk chair.
“How old is she?” Mulder asked.
“Wow, you’ve got your hands full. What’s her name?”
“Emily.” Scully smiled as she rubbed Emily’s back over the blanket.
Awkward silence washed over them as they both ignored the elephant in the room. Scully wasn’t married and didn’t wear a ring. She had never talked about her child before, let alone a partner that could be the child’s father.
“You’ve shared so much, why not her?”
She sighed again. “I don’t know. I guess I thought… that you would judge me. Everyone else sure does, except Missy and Charlie.”
“You know I’d never.”
“I do, but I was also worried. And I guess I wanted to keep her secret for as long as possible.” She avoided his gaze as she spoke.
“I don’t want to sound insensitive, but I do have one more burning question…”
“You want to know about her dad,” Scully guessed and he looked at her sadly and shrugged, not speaking the words, but obviously curious.
“His name’s Ethan and he had been my boyfriend since grad school. I found out I was pregnant the day I defended my dissertation. We broke up about halfway through my pregnancy. He hadn’t ever wanted children, but also didn’t want to use protection. I… well… now Em’s here. That’s the extremely simplified version.”
Mulder’s eyes were wide as he took in the information. He thought she was pretty badass to be able to raise a kid on her own. He could also hear how she may feel shame about it, because of others' comments and also how society tended to treat women who were single parents.
She sighed and he realized that he hadn’t said anything in response. Feeling like a bit of a jackass, he opened his mouth to speak, but she suddenly stood up and shook her head.
“Sorry to cut this short,” she said, glancing at her watch. “But my first class starts soon and I need to get her stuff to bring.”
He shook his head and stood as well. “I can watch her, if it would make it easier for you.”
“Oh, no. I couldn’t-“
“I insist. Besides, I don’t think she’ll like listening to her mother talk about super smart science stuff.”
“It’ll probably bore her to death,” she agreed with a chuckle.
“Then it’s settled then.”
“Are you sure?” Her expression gave away her uncertainty, her eyes searching his face.
“Really, I’d love to. I promise we’ll just stay in here while you teach.”
“You need to be in your office, Mulder. I can’t do that to you.”
“Then we can go to mine. Look, Scully, I promise we’ll be okay, okay?”
She sighed for the third time. “Okay. I should wake her though, let her know I’m leaving and let her see you. I don’t want her waking up without me and crying. Hey, Em,” she said softly, gently patting her back, waking the child.
“Hey honey, Mama has to teach her class now. You’re going to spend some time with Mulder today, okay? He’s mommy’s friend.”
The toddler lifted her head and looked at him fearfully, tears running down her cheeks.
“Hey, Emily,” Mulder greeted. “It’s nice to meet you. Do you like Dora? She’s pretty cool.” Emily didn’t answer, but embraced Scully tighter.
“I know baby, but Mommy really needs to get to class. Mulder is a very nice man and he will take care of you. He has fish in his office. Do you want to see them?” She nodded, her eyes still full of tears.
Emily was gently passed to Mulder, Scully making sure she was wrapped in her blanket. The little girl sniffed and whimpered as she watched her mom blow her a kiss and then leave the room, thanking him once again.
“Would you like to go on a trip, Emily?” he asked, hoping to ease the tension. She looked at him, her expression unsure and still slightly fearful. “Let’s go see the fish, okay?” She nodded and he beamed.
He grabbed her backpack and swung it onto his back, closing the door to Sculy’s office as they walked out. He locked the door with the keys he’d taken off her desk, knowing she would come to his before coming back to her own.
Emily was trembling slightly in his arms and he held her closer as they walked to the elevator.
“Would you like to go outside? It feels nice out today.”
Emily slowly nodded her head, her thumb on the tip of her bottom lip, as she put her head on his shoulder. He stepped out of the elevator and then the building. He walked into the little courtyard separating the science and education/psychology buildings. The little girl lifted her head just enough to look around.
“‘Nola,” Emily said quietly, as she pointed with her little finger.
“What was that, Em?” Mulder asked, at a loss of what she was trying to say.
“‘Nola,” she repeated louder.
He looked at the direction she was pointing and chuckled when he realized what she meant. “Oh, you like the magnolia tree?”
Mulder was impressed by her intelligence. Of course, her mother had gotten her doctorate at twenty-four, which was not common amongst the other faculty. Even he hadn’t received his until just before she had started teaching, and he was thirty, nearly thirty-one.
“You’re very smart, Emily,” Mulder praised, but the little girl was uninterested. She put her head back on his shoulder, falling asleep before they made it to the office.
As he arrived at the door, he realized he had left his door unlocked when he found it hanging open and one of his teaching assistants, Tyler, was grading papers.
“Oh, sorry Dr. M, but the door was unlocked and…” Tyler started, but was confused as he saw Emily in his arms.
“I’m watching her for a friend,” Mulder said simply, putting her backpack down on the desk. Tyler nodded and went back to grading papers.
Emily continued to sleep, Mulder holding her as he sat down at his desk. Even as he held her, he managed to send a slowly-typed email to a student about the midterm, enter the test grades Tyler had given him, and sent out an announcement to the class about their extra credit assignment.
Looking down at Emily, he smiled. Other than her blonde hair, she was a mirror image of Scully and he couldn’t imagine anyone but her having a sweeter child.
Tyler left soon after he was done grading, smiling and nodding silently as he walked out the door. Emily began to stir, her eyes slowly opening and taking in her surroundings.
“Hey there, Em,” he said softly, and the toddler mumbled, clutching her blanket closer.
“Do you want to see the fish now?” She nodded and he stood up, his back protesting at the position he had been in for the past forty five minutes. He shifted her to hold her better and walked across the room to show her the fish.
“Oh!” she said, watching the fancy guppies he had bought swimming around the tank. “Fishies!” She pointed at the tank and he grinned.
“Yup! Those are fancy guppies. Can you say guppy?”
“Good job,” he said, smiling again and rubbing her back. “See that one there? The blue one with the red spotted tail? That’s my favorite one. Watch how fast he swims.”
“Fish swim fast,” she agreed with a nod and he chuckled, shifting her again.
“They are fast. Good job, Em! Gimme five.” She laughed as she lifted her tiny hand and met Mulder’s large one.
“Having fun?” Scully asked and they turned to look at her, standing in the doorway with a smile.
“Mommy!” Emily said, trying to scramble out of Mulder’s arms. He laughed as he set her down and she ran to Scully, who lifted the squealing toddler in her arms.
“Hey, baby.” Scully kissed Emily’s cheek and looked at Mulder. “Were you good for Mulder?”
Emily vigorously nodded her head while Mulder laughed. “She was very good. She’s a smart kid.”
“She takes after her mother.” The two adults smiled and Emily wrapped her arms around Scully’s neck. “Thank you for looking after her. I only had the one class today, but she was sick yesterday and I had babysitter problems and-“
“I promise it was no trouble and completely my pleasure. She slept most of the time, but she liked the fish. The guppies, right Em?”
“Guppy,” she said with a nod, pointing at the tank. “Guppy fish, Mommy.”
“Yes, I know. I knew you would like them.” Scully smiled. “Hey, are you free tonight?”
“Umm. I… no, I mean yes I’m free.”
“Well, let me buy you a drink. It’s the least I can do to thank you for your help.”
His heart raced. This was the moment he’d been waiting for since he had first looked at her.
“Um, sure, I mean… yeah, I’d love to,” he stammered.
Great job, doofus, he admonished himself, inwardly rolling his eyes.
“Great. I’ll sort out a babysitter for tonight and I’ll see you at six? I’ll send you my address.”
If he didn’t know any better, he’d think Scully was inviting him out on a date. Did she see it that way? They’d never spent time together outside of university functions, but he hoped she’d see it as a date, as he would love for it to be so.
He smiled as he nodded and she smiled back. She lifted Emily a little higher, telling her about her class as Emily continued staring at the fish. The way she doted on her daughter and how her red hair shone in the light, he could feel he was already falling for her.
Yeah… he was in big trouble.
Starting from the final events of 09x20 The Truth, Mulder and Scully tackle their new reality as fugitives. When they finally settle into things, Scully finds out she is pregnant again. A canon divergent AU where I thought, what if Scully got pregnant whilst on the run instead of at the end of season 11?
2.5k words; rated t; tagging @today-in-fic; read on ao3
Mulder fiddled with the pregnancy test between his fingers. The quiet of her crying sent shockwaves punching through him as he watched a second tear glisten and fall.
"Scully?" he asked, voice rough like sandpaper had scored his throat as if he was the one crying. "This is good... isn't it?"
She licked her lips. "Is it?"
"Scully?" He put the test back down where she had left it for him, leaving a lingering glance along with it. "Please talk to me"
She looked at him with the most sorrowful eyes and he wanted to weep. She sniffed quietly and bowed her head, eyes peering up at the people walking about in the car park he followed her silent communication and turned the key in the engine, agitatedly gripped the wheel, and took a final look at the tears slipping down her cheeks before he put the car into gear and pulled away.
Scully picked up the stick again with shaky fingers. She wanted to deny everything but the truth was held in her hands. She could feel a lump of pressure inside her; a dense ball of emotion weighing heavily against all of her organs, shifting them until she felt she was going to burst. It was like their first night running away again; the silence in the car whilst the wheels turned, carrying them a distance away from their trouble. Nevertheless, they brought it all back with them. She looked to Mulder and saw all the tension she could feel within herself: his knuckles turning white around the steering wheel, his jaw clenched bitterly as he swallowed to hold his worry for her. She put her hand upon his knee to try and ease the pain she was causing him. It was what both drew her back out from behind her defences and broke her heart, knowing how much she had put him through. Not wanting history to repeat itself, she reminded herself that they were doing this together. And then This struck her down her again.
This, with child, this.
They were nearly out of the city before she spoke. With each revolution Scully envisioned her words slipping away under the wheels, carrying no weight or consequence. She freed herself from the prison of her thoughts, by imagining it as such. A lie to get to the truth. She took a deep breath, it sounding like a gasp between silent sobs, and held it trapped as she rolled her lips in on themselves to lock the air. She closed her eyes and stilled herself, keeping calm by closing herself off from thought. Instead, she let the words form like an IV line, slowly, steadily releasing them.
"I don't think I can do this, Mulder." Her voice strained barely above a whisper. "It's too soon-- I..."
Her line faulted, a hiccup in concentration as her thoughts broke through and returned to her. He glanced her way, seeing her hands clench to cure their tremours.
"It's okay, Scully, we can figure this out."
"No." She shook her head and she could feel her chin begin to wobble out of her control, her carefully built supports crumbling. She placed the test back down and tried to look away, to him to show him she was trying to be open, yet try as she might, her gaze was fixed. She didn't know if it was the shock, the proof, or simply that she couldn't face him but the outcome was the same: she couldn't move.
Her brow pinched together again in a way that physically pained Mulder.
"No, I don't think... Oh god--"
Scully buried her face in her hands and began to sob.
Mulder slowed and pulled over on the side of the road. He reached to pry her hands gently away, bringing her back to him, letting her know he was there for her. Only for her to hide her face by looking out of the window.
"Scully... Please... You're scaring me."
"I've been lying to myself," she mumbled.
"What do you mean?" he asked, failing to hide how scared he was from his tone. He didn't want to be dishonest but he didn't want her to worry about him when clearly he should be worrying about her. It was a toxic pull, he knew, yet there was something familiar about it he couldn't escape. It seemed to be an ingrained nature of their relationship. He looked at her smaller hand in his and gulped. Running his thumb in circles around her palm, he hoped to calm her and bring her back to him. Suddenly aware that she was falling into old habits, Scully apologised and he hoped he told her through his eyes that she had nothing to be sorry for.
"I've known-- suspected-- for a while now. That... this was the reason for my... Sickness."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I didn't want to believe it was true. I still don't want to."
"Why? Isn't this a blessing? A second chance for us both?"
She scoffed. "Do you know what the implications of this are? I can't have children, Mulder."
"I know it's impossible, but--"
"It's more than impossible!" she shouted unexpectedly, even to herself. The sound erupted from her like a bullet from the barrel of a gun, shattering the solemn air in the small space of the car. She shied away from herself then, recoiling in shock, hearing the ringing still in her ears. A deadly quiet settled over them like dust over debris in the wake of her outburst, a perfect breeding ground for echoes and overthinking. She told herself it was unnatural; she didn't get angry like this; this wasn't her. But the anger felt good-- cathartic; like it was the most authentic she had been with herself this entire time; like she wanted to do it again. And that scared Scully.
His thumb had abruptly stopped halfway through its traverse of her palm. She looked down at where their hands touched and held her lower lip hostage.
"It-It's more than that. I feel used and torn up inside out. What if it's the same? What if it's the same as before?"
"What if it isn't?" He asked shyly, aware of the tear stains streaking down her cheeks. Two lines carved like two ravines in the granite she tried to make herself. He could see the strength she mustered, the hardened face she forced herself to wear.
"How else would this have happened? I've had my William and my Emily and they-- they took them away from me, Mulder! No, not even that... I lost them... Oh god, I lost them."
He let her weep, let her bury her face back in her hands, and he awkwardly pulled her into his side, quietly cursing the panel between their seats. Not for the first time he regretted that he'd ever made her make the decision to follow him. Wanting to give her the world, he thought he could at least give her a place to cry quietly. Instead, he offered her only what he could: his chest. Rubbing her shoulder, he tried to absorb all of it. He pressed his lips to the top of her head, selfishly hiding himself as he tried to comfort her. Gently shaking his head, he brushed his lips against her hair and murmured, "It was never your fault, Scully. Please don't think that."
A fleeting memory passed of earlier that morning. How she had slept pressed similarly against his side, her head tucked underneath his chin, buried into the crook of his neck. Her splayed hair had tickled him then too. It seemed like another lifetime. Another lifetime stacked on top of the many they had already lived.
"Last time it was so, so hard... You weren't there. You don't know what it was like: living with that kind of fear every day."
Scully's voice was soft and non-accusatory, muffled into his t-shirt, yet her words twisted his insides, seeing her pain, reminding him he wasn't there when she suffered before. That his absence was even a cause of her suffering. It had been different for him, he knew, but his time away had been wrought with fear and anguish as well. He wondered if she knew how much. How much he wanted to be there for her, for their son. How it ached like rocks in his lungs to imagine if things could have been different. How much he blamed himself for all of it. He wanted to say something similar but the words never formed; somehow it never felt like the right time to say them. Instead, he held his tongue, held back his tears, and pressed his nose to the crown of her head, only letting up when she pulled away.
"If I look forward, imagine myself with this possibility, I see myself back there. I don't want to go back there." She shook her head. "I don't want miracles. I can't trust them."
"Scully," his voice cracked. "What are you saying?"
She sighed tiredly. "I don't know what I'm saying. I don't know what to think."
"What do we do now then?"
"I don't know," she whispered, her breath rolling into a sob.
The only thing Mulder could think to do was to turn the key in the ignition and keep on driving. It felt like cowardice as the spark plugs fired and the motor groaned, sinning against the silence, the car wrenching them away from the quiet into motion. Just as last time, each passing second and turn of the wheels did nothing to ease them. Mulder tightened his grip on the steering wheel, forcing himself to concentrate on the road whilst someone chucked his mind and guts into a blender. He churned it over, chewing on their current situation, chewing on the muffled sobs coming from Scully when she thought he couldn't hear.
It was an hour before they came across the nearest motel, fortunately, a better looking when than they had spent most of their careers leapfrogging between. Was it really so different all those years ago? Mulder thought of the wine and the cheese and all those times she tried to tell him to get out of the car. He spent the time Scully took to book a room wondering why he hadn't listened to her sooner. As he hauled their only bag into the room he wondered how different things could have been if he had.
Scully rubbed a hand up and down his back as she brushed past him into the room but didn't spare him a look to tell him she was alright. But there was a reason for that. His heart throbbed in his throat as he watched her curl up on the edge of the bed, facing away from him. He sighed, her words still ringing in his head from earlier: it's more than impossible. And she was right: everything about this was impossible.
Fishing for something he hoped would help, he gathered the paracetamol and the ginger ale and carried them all to the other side of the room, interrupting Scully's staring contest with the wall. She sat up as soon as she saw him, but he shushed her soothingly, crouching to meet her instead. She smiled weakly, and although it was small, it was an honest muster of her strength. Propped up on an elbow, she took the pills and ad swig of the ale, with a similar amount of waning courage. Gratefully she put the bottle down and ran her hand through his hair, leaning forward to kiss his forehead. He sheepishly smiled up at her, obviously trying to hide something out of her line of sight.
"I, uh, thought you could use a little friend," he said roughly as he tried to keep his voice low.
Curiosity piquing her interest, she looked down with raised eyebrows to where Mulder puppeteered Moby just below the edge of the mattress. Waving his fin, Moby swam up to Scully and nestled against her chest. Surprising even herself, she let out a light laugh and fell back onto the bed. Mulder grinned uncontrollably as she held Moby against her chest, the sound of her laugh in that moment the sweetest, purest thing he had ever heard. As isolated as it felt in an unforgiving sea of cold circumstances, it felt also like hope.
She shuffled back along the bed, practically dragging Mulder along with her as she pulled him up by his t-shirt at the shoulder and he climbed up beside her. Closing the distance between them, they wrapped their arms and legs around each other, a bundle of limbs like twining vines, impossible to tell that they had ever been two separate parts. Scully pressed her forehead to his, the final keystone to their system of support. Her fingers at his waist, crept up to dance andante over his ribs, carefully mapping the parts of him that made him whole in her nervous fiddling. It was like she needed physical proof that he was by her side, she felt so alone. And again it was like she already knew all of this. A dichotomous feeling of fullness and emptiness burned inside. She questioned why God would ever let this happen. She questioned his need to meticulously pop every bubble of happiness she had managed to construct for herself. In her emptiness, she wondered if he even existed at all.
Mulder shifted his leg over hers. Eyes closed, he could feel her tension through her forehead and in the worried taps of her fingertips over his side. She sighed when he brushed a thumb over her cheek. He knew that sigh.
"I can hear you thinking."
Scully looked at his eyes, out of focus they were so close to her. Behind his lids, she imagined the warmth of his soul in the hazel of his irises, the way there was something deeper in his pupils that was transcendent of meaning, that she could only understand in ineffable emotion. She thought of his eyes when he had given her the stuffed toy. She thought of his eyes when he had held William.
Closing her eyes, she held back another sigh. She licked her lips and composed her words.
"I know you would want children, but I'm not sure I can give that to you, even now. Mulder, I'm terrified it's going to come between us."
It was Mulder's turn to sigh and shake his head. "Scully, nothing will ever come between us, not even the end of the world–-"
"Please say you'll forgive me." She cut him off short, his declarations sounding inauthentic: what someone should say. She knew he wouldn't say it if he didn't mean it, but she couldn't hear it.
"Why?" He mumbled, and finally, his face pitted close enough against hers to be hidden, he started to cry. "You should never be sorry. If you don't want this... I would never make you..."
She wiped his cheeks and felt each little tear fall onto her bare skin like a raindrop in a drought. Wrapping her arm around his shoulder, she pulled him closer still, squishing Moby between them. She watched his face silently contort as he cried for them both. Gasping, she turned her head away, staring up at the ceiling, and felt raindrops slip down her cheeks too. She believed him but that was not the point.
This fic is a good old-fashioned Conspiracy thriller. Samantha returns (or does she?). The Lone Gunmen, Skinner, Marita, and Krycek are all helpful players (or are they?). Scully goes off and marries some random dude (or does she?). (Don't worry too much – the story doesn't come with a "Scully/Other" tag for a reason.) Bees are a huge looming threat (or will Mulder and Scully save everyone?). It's very X-Files. Read it! Title: Up the Ladder Author: RivkaT (@rivkat) Summary: Marita comes through for Mulder, giving him what he wants most. But twenty-five years haven't brought as many changes as he might have thought, and her gift might be more dangerous than anything he's faced to date. And what's up with those bees? A potpourri of Conspiracy elements with many old favorites present. Length: 32,278 words Classification: X-File, Angst, UST Rating: Mature Spoilers: Through "Elegy" Favorite line: Scully spent the day making bee puree. Read the story!
Just East of the Pacific by @slippinmickeys
Read by @anniexami
Please leave the author a comment if you enjoyed their story 😘
1110 words, read here on AO3
‘No, no, no, you’re not doing this to me now Scully. Hey, open your eyes, come on. You’re supposed to be immortal, dammit! Isn’t that what you always tell me? You can survive anything, so don’t fucking give up now!’ tears were streaming down his face, splashing onto the bare skin of his son and partner, ‘we waited so long for this, Scully. Please? Please, I can’t do this without you. You can’t fucking leave me.’
He could feel her slipping away as he bent over her, the baby screaming between them, and there was nothing he could do, because how could he comfort a child when he didn’t know how to comfort himself.
And then the baby went silent. And the phone rang.
His immediate instinct was to ignore it. Which is what he did until it went silent and he realised.
The phone rang.
The phone was working again. He could call for help. And so he was up and dialling and screaming down the line for someone to help him, giving a panicked and incomprehensible summary of the situation before being told to stay on the line, that help was on its way.
She was empty. The familiar warmth that had been growing in her, the life that had tossed and turned within her small frame was gone. All that was left was an ache that held her whole body down.
And the beeping.
Christ, could someone stop that godforsaken beeping? She just wanted to sleep.
But she couldn’t. She was empty and she couldn’t do anything until she found her baby.
Bright lights assailed her as she cracked her eyes open. She’d been in the darkness for so long they stung, biting at the inside of her skull as she tried to bring something, anything into focus. Not having any such luck with the glare of the white ceiling she turned her head, found a figure in scrubs dosing by her bedside, and a bassinette beside them.
She was sitting up before she could even think about it, then grunting like she’d received a punch to the gut.
That was enough to jolt Mulder out of his sleep, and he was by her side in an instant, helping her back down, pressing a call button for a nurse, butterflying kisses across her face and brushing back her hair and telling her how much he loved her. Her voice cracked as she tried to ask about her baby and he thrust a cup of water in her face, nodded to the IVs in her arm, rambling on about dehydration and loss of blood.
‘William?’ she croaked after a sip of water, whilst he was taking a breath from a run-on sentence.
‘William?’ he cocked his head, rolled the name around his tongue a few times, before a light went off behind his eyes, ‘oh, the baby? Yeah, he’s great,’ he nodded, turning away for a moment. ‘He’s sleeping now. Do you want to-‘ she was nodding before he could even finish the sentence and he smiled, reaching into the clear-sided bassinette and lifting out their son, cradling him carefully to his chest and brushing his lips across his forehead before passing him over. ‘He’s a pretty chill kid. All the nurses say so. And he’s definitely going to break some hearts when we leave.’
‘He’s perfect,’ she breathed, brushing her thumb across his petal-soft parted lips.
Mulder nodded, perched on the side of the bed. ‘So... William?’
‘After our fathers. And his father. I named him months ago, when you were- well. I named him months ago. William Samuel for a boy, Samantha Melissa for a girl.’
‘Scully, you don’t-‘
‘I do. I do have to. These are the lives I was honouring. Yours, for the love you gave me, Samantha’s for the path I am on, Melissa’s for the determination she gave me and our fathers’ for the life they granted us,’ she sighed. ‘I named him when all that was left was him and me, and he’s keeping that name.’
‘Okay,’ he nodded, accepting. All he was going to say was that she didn’t have to name their son after his sister, not when she lost a sister also. ‘He’s Baby-Boy Scully at the moment, but they can change that.’
‘They’ll have to,’ she frowned, shaking her head, ‘for a start he’s Baby-Boy Mulder. Why didn’t you tell them that?’
‘Well, I- I didn’t want to assume, you know, we never talked about it or anything, and...it was kind of hectic, I mean, once they got your name you were whisked away from me and everyone just assumed I was Mr Scully and it didn’t seem the right time to correct them – I didn’t want them to stop me from seeing you or the baby or anything like-‘
‘Like the last time I was here. I understand,’ she nodded, smiled kindly and reached out her hand for his. ‘So,’ she took a breath as she rubbed a thumb over the back of his hand, ‘when can we get out of here?’
‘That doesn’t sound good.’
‘Well...’ he cringed, shied away slightly, ‘technically baby- William was discharged this morning. We have one big, strong, healthy baby boy. We’re just waiting for your Mom to bring us some clothes.’
‘What about me?’
‘The doctors want to keep you a little longer-‘
‘No, no I’m going home with you. I’m not-‘
‘Hey, hey, calm down,’ he soothed, moving closer to her, pressing his forehead to hers, ‘do you really think I’d let you out of my sight? We’re moving in here. I bribed a nurse into finding a cot for me to sleep on and letting us keep the bassinette whilst you’re in here. Clothes just mean we can take trips outside and down to the concourse without looking like I’m a doctor kidnapping a very adorable baby.’
‘Thank you,’ she murmured, kissing him before looking down at the stirring baby in her arms.
‘We’re expecting some visitors too. The three wise men should be coming, along with Reyes and Doggett. Skinner said he’d try and pop his head in if he’s out this way,’ Mulder watched as she stroked the soft smattering of ginger hair, traced tiny eyebrows, bopped a little nose that looked far to like his own, knowing that she hadn’t listened to a word he said.
‘Hi. Hi, Baby,’ she smiled as he gurgled, opened his big blue eyes.
‘He’s got your eyes, see?’
‘Mulder, all babies have blue eyes.’
‘Yeah, but he’s got your hair too.’
‘He’s got your lips.’
‘Maybe so,’ Mulder shrugged. Neither of them mentioned the nose.
They were safe. And happy. And that was all that mattered.
This story beautifully paints a late season 3 dynamic between Mulder and Scully (Scully's perspective in particular). That it's woven into a casefile about a sea monster is icing on the cake. Title: the creature in the deep Author: skuls (@ghostbustermelanieking) Summary: In the aftermath of Scully’s mind control via television, she and Mulder depart to Norway to investigate the Kraken. Length: 17,548 words Classification: Casefile, UST Rating: Teen and up Spoilers: Season 3, Quagmire, Wetwired Favorite line: It had been just a few months, and they'd both almost killed each other, and it was too much, and too soon, and she didn't deserve his comfort or his concern, and she was still a little mad at him about Queequeg, and she just wanted things to be normal between them. Read the story!
Mulder works comes to terms with his past relationship traumas, includng some dom/sub aspects and tells Scully; tw for referenced emotional and psychological abuse; 2.8k words; rated m; for @burritoscully, and @impulsive-astrophile in relation to the conversation we had about your fic :) also tagging @today-in-fic
Scully, Mulder thought. Scully... is nice.
Without delving into depths he knew he wouldn't recover from, this was all he could think to himself, sitting alone in his apartment on a Friday night. The quiet blue haze of the television on in the background did little to illuminate his thoughts further.
Professional, he would even stretch to. Although, he had an inkling that she could be as dangerous as others had been if he wasn't careful. All the red flags had lit up on his mind when she had disrobed in front of him by candlelight. The last time someone had done that, they had wanted to squeeze him of information, and then left for Europe the next morning without so much as a note. But her tone was pitched with an urgency and terror that he had instantly wanted to sooth, and the way she had crushed him in her arms was too honest not to be true.
Either way, he hadn't been as careful as he promised himself he would be. He had made himself vulnerable in open waters he couldn't see to the depths of, but she had offered a life ring when she listened. She heard him, unlike anybody had ever heard him before, because she listened. In that moment he had been in desperate need of a friend. But now sat on his couch whilst Dorothy rescued the scarecrow from his restraints, Mulder thought he could very much use a brain that wasn't overruled by his heart. Such things were safer that way. Yet it was probably already too late. If she wanted to hurt him, she could: he had given her the tools to do so. Now he only had to trust that she wouldn't.
Scully... Scully wasn't at all what he had expected. And somehow he couldn't stop himself from picking up the phone to call her immediately despite the late hour. Nor could he stop his smile when he heard her voice.
Dazed and confused, Mulder blinked wearily in the passenger seat of an unfamiliar car. What had happened, he wasn't sure. He remembered... He wasn't sure what he remembered, although he could take a stab in the dark at what had happened. He looked out of the window but the landscape was unfamiliar to him. The bright sunlight bleached his thoughts save for one. It persisted with the intensity that came more with feelings than ideas.
Scully saved me.
He was trying to remember the last time someone had done that for him and came up short. Admittedly, his brain wasn't in its best working condition currently, but he trusted the feeling. He looked over at her, hands gripped tightly on the wheel, jaw set, and eyes straight ahead. He was even surprised to see her feet reaching the pedals.
"Scully?" he asked tentatively, voice a little raspy still, and his mind blank of what he was going to say next.
Instantly, her jaw relaxed and her grip softened as she glanced at him. "It's okay, Mulder. I'm here."
"Did you call me a sucker?"
She kept her lips tight but that didn't stop her from smirking. He smiled. Scully had saved him; maybe he could trust her after all.
The shadow of Phoebe Green was his ghost. He had collected others since, they always seemed to follow him, stitched to his heel. But Phoebe had been his first. In every sense of the word. When they had been together she had completely and utterly shattered him. In a way that was both exhilarating and terrifying, but now it was just terrifying. Or so he tried to tell himself.
Mulder sat in the office going over the events in his head. One thing he remembered was the sweet smell of her, his nose pressed to the crease behind her ear as she spun him back into her world. It reminded him of the times he had laid his head against her chest and wondered if this kind of relationship was healthy whilst she lit up a cigarette. She never asked him the thoughts that reeled through his head in those moments, she simply smiled, ran her fingers through his hair, and passed him the tobacco. Phoebe could be sweet to him and he'd be lying if he said he didn't miss that affection. She tasted sweet, like honey, dripping with sensuality and bravado and a twisted form of nostalgia. His heart rate picked up as he remembered the more risqué escapades of theirs. How she used to make him beg for her hand around his throat. He sighed. How easy it was to forget that honey was also sticky.
He was scared of fire, but not in the way he had told Scully. Phoebe was fire. Her flames licked and devoured every part of him until it felt like he was drowning and she would blame him for not being able to breath. Sighing again, Mulder turned a pencil in his fingers, questioning his entire existence. Was it normal to like the breath being choked from his lungs? No, he decided. It was a toxic pull and he didn't like it; he'd known that as soon as he'd seen Scully.
"Care to take me to lunch?"
He breathed in relief when he saw it was Scully. Do I always do that? somewhere called subconsciously at the back of his head.
Yet for a moment he was split through with ice that history was repeating itself. Old habits die hard and it would be fitting if Scully sort to use this opportunity to her advantage but he liked to think he knew her better than that. He had been open with his vulnerability to her more so than anyone in his life and she hadn't betrayed his confidence yet. Yet he still hadn't told her the half of it. The opacity of Phoebe's lingering ghost.
In the quiet shuffling of midnight shifts at the hospital, Dana Scully lay unconscious and Mulder wanted to hate himself for it. That's how he would have thought in the past, but Scully broke something in him that set him free. Instead of condemning himself, he believed in her, and thought that the possibility of falling truly under the influence of someone could be a good thing. For the first time, he truly thought he was in love. Holding the feeling in his chest, he tried to examine it, determine what made it different from the other times, but the only shape that he could land on was that it was Scully. Scully made him different. He wasn't sure why or how, but as he sat in silence by her side, he practised all the things he would say to her if he got the chance. He knew the possibility that he would get his chance was shallow, as shallow as the breaths she took off of the ventilator. But he believed in her. He had to.
So, old habits die hard and he still blamed himself slightly for Scully's condition, even though he knew Scully wouldn't want him to. The idea of Scully giving him a stern look and berating him made him chuckle. Taking her hand gently, he softly pleaded with her and whatever gods were out there. He pressed his forehead to her knuckles, crippling his back in an awkward composition. Maybe if she heard his mental reversal loud enough she might return and he could tell her for real.
Scully must have heard him because her fingers twitched as she came to. In the moment between her eyes opening and his mouth forming the promises, he saw the sharp pain in the swells of her blue irises and bit back whatever declaration he was going to say.
Maybe another time, he told himself. The moment was too precious to waste with words.
"What have you got a date or something?" Mulder didn't mean it. It was just a mindless joke to lighten the mood that had lately been prickly and terse between them.
"So what if I have?" she said from the other end of the line.
"In all the years I've known you, you've never been on a date."
"No, Mulder-" Her tone was clipped. "-you've never bothered to ask."
His cheeks suddenly flushed red with heat. "W-What? You on a date?"
She huffed an exasperated breath down the speaker. "I'm not having this conversation."
"Then what conversation are you having, Scully?" He asked in genuine confusion.
But the tone was dead.
It was a day later and as Mulder knocked on Scully's door, he hoped that whatever unease had been between them had settled. He didn't have a real reason for inconveniencing her but he sort of always gravitated towards her orbit, especially when he felt lost, like a stray dog trying to find its way home. Was it encroaching on her to consider Scully his home?
A casual Scully dressed in flannel pyjamas opened the door and greeted him with a look of perplexion. It was then that he realised it was dark outside, certainly beyond the hours deemed acceptable to make cold calls. But to his pleasant surprise she stepped aside to let him in.
He stepped inside and she plopped herself on the couch feet tucked underneath herself, motioning for him to do the same.
"Sorry, I never asked: how was your date?"
He really wanted to make amends and what Scully had said, really stuck with him, but now that the words were sounded out in the open, they sounded jarring and uncomfortable to hear. He winced as she rolled her eyes.
"Really? You are still hung up on that? People go on dates, they have relationships, they live their lives; it's not unreasonable."
"So, you feel stuck?"
"Don't you?" She sighed. "Don't you want to have a relationship, with someone, anyone?"
Yes, he wanted to say. But only with you. However, that was a secret best kept to himself; he didn't think it would be welcomed warmly, and frankly he was scared of a relationship with Scully. He was scared of what they would become. Instinctively, he knew there existed a great care between them; she would never hurt him. Yet he still felt like he would be inviting in past ghosts. He was scared that he would hurt her-- more than he already had simply by their association. She deserved freedom.
"I'm not a relationship kind of person," he offered instead. "I try to avoid them."
"No shit," she muttered.
"No, I mean... That's not what I mean."
"Then what do you mean?"
He looked into her eyes, but couldn't keep her gaze when he began to speak. "My past relationships... haven't been exemplary." I wouldn't want to hurt you.
"No, I mean…" He rubbed his face in the palm of his hands. "People ended up getting... hurt."
The final word was coarse around his tongue and hard to form. Even now as he had leant to think about it more easily, it was still hard to admit outloud to another witness, somehow making it real all over again.
"Oh," she mouthed.
The silence seemed to hang thick like a heavy fog between them, not uncomfortable but noticeably present. She looked at his hands like she wanted to hold them.
"Sorry. I didn't... Do you want to talk about it?"
"No, it's okay," he said quickly-- too quickly. He knew it was a barely washable lie, but he wasn't in the mood to relive it so soon after what had happened to Scully. He was angry, yes. But not at her. He was angry that someone would treat her with anything but the utmost care. He was angry with himself that he too hadn't done that and had taken her for granted. And it pained him because he knew what that was like. That sort of betrayal of intimacy wasn't something that could be easily forgotten. It stuck like mould to grout in the grooves of the mind. It was at the corner of every thought.
This wasn't about him and he'd made it about him. He sighed: that wasn't his reason for coming over.
What was the reason?
Scully, always Scully.
Somehow he managed to make everything worse.
She nodded, lips pressed together knowingly, but she didn't push him any further than an empathetic lingering look.
"Do you want something to drink? I think the teapot is still hot–"
"I should probably be going..." He mumbled, and then something about an apology, but her hand fiercely gripped his shoulder as he turned to leave.
"Stay," she pleaded.
Mulder brought her her morning cup of coffee as she flicked through an edition of New Scientist, comfortably cocooned under the covers. She smirked when she saw him walk in wearing only his boxers and sat up when she saw the steaming cup.
Mulder paused, aware that he was on the precipice of something momentous between them and he didn't want to fuck it up.
"I need to tell you something... and I don't want you to get mad at me."
"I can't guarantee that," she laughed, but then stopped abruptly when she saw his face. "What is it?"
The thing that he had feared for so long had happened last night, although he had long since found peace with the idea. He still wasn't entirely sure how, it just sort of seemed to happen. And now they had this undefined thing between them, beautiful and organic. But before they fell any deeper into this, he had to let go of all the ties that bound him to his past in order to move on with Scully.
"You remember Phoebe?" He started, unsure yet how he was going to continue. He put his coffee down on the bedside table and closed his eyes. "When we were at Oxford we tried some things..."
"Umm, she was my first, so I didn't know any better. But she used to tie me up among other things and I liked it, but she wasn't very..."
Slowly, Scully put her coffee down as well, seeing him bite his lip and turn his head, faltering.
"Caring?" she offered for him.
"I guess you could say that. She could be cold after some scenes; I could never tell what I meant to her. She once left me tied until the morning."
Her bright, blue eyes widened in horror. "Shit, Mulder."
He continued, "It scared me, but I agreed to it again, partly because I didn't know how to say no to her and partly because I liked the initial part of it." He swallowed his nerves and cautiously looked to her for any hint of dismay, only to find nothing but concern. "I never told anyone once I moved back, until things got serious with Diana. I tried to be in control of situations like that with her, but I didn't like or handle it very well."
Scully shuffled closer to him on the bed. "Mulder, did she hurt you?"
"No, but she figured it out pretty quickly and made me feel ashamed for it... Sometimes she would threaten me with it, but she never kept her threats."
"That's the same thing." She was whispering now, voice breaking slightly over the lump caught in her throat, he could tell. Her cheeks were flushed red with vengeful resentment, although she tried to hide it for his sake. Impulsively, he reached his hand up to touch and the heat radiating off of her was like a bare flame. Grabbing onto his hand, she pulled it away and gently kept him in her grasp.
"When you said you try to avoid relationships: this was why?"
He shook his head, not in disagreement, but incredulous that he was in a place where he was able to voice what had so long plagued him. It was Scully's absolute love and trust that opened him up and let the words flow from him without regret.
"It's why I have in the past held back from you at times. The intensity of our relationship: sometimes it's overwhelming. Not the same kind, but I couldn't distinguish it then. Then one day it just sort of clicked. That was wrong, and you were right. And you'd always be right."
Tears in her eyes, she brought his head to her chest and hugged him tightly, so much so he was sure she would never let go. Running a hand through his soft, brown hair, she breathed, "I love you. Please don't ever question that. I love everything about you. And I'll have anyone incarcerated if they dare lay a finger on you."
He wanted to laugh and cry at the same time it was so euphoric. She kept him held close like that for a while. Time stopped in the cradle of Scully's arms and although he had come to terms with his shadows, he still found comfort in the gesture. He suspected that this hug was more for her benefit than his. Snaking an arm around her back, he hugged her tightly too.
Mulder and Scully get trapped in the basement when Scully goes into labour with William. You know, the usual.
Graphic-ish descriptions of birth up ahead. Don't like it, please don't read it.
When I was a kid I was fascinated by pregnancy and birth. I mean, I knew from an early age I didn't want it to happen to me, but the science behind it fascinated me. I stole all of the pregnancy books that were kept on the bookshelves after my brother was born and hid them under my bed and read them to learn more. There was one point when I even wanted to be a midwife until I realised I hated the noise of babies and I don't have the patience to deal with people. That didn't stop me from spending years preparing to go study medicine before I realised I actually didn't care what my parents wanted me to be and that I have no bedside manner what so ever.
Anyway, I am not a doctor, nor a midwife, so please, please, please, do not a) come to me when you're in labour expecting me to deliver your baby for you or b) take anything I've said as gospel medical advice. It's not. I did my best to research, but, y'know.
Also, another warning, graphic-ish descriptions of birth up ahead. If you don't like that, don't read.
4200 words, rated M, read here on AO3
Her step faltered as she followed him from the elevator to the basement office that was technically no longer either of theirs. A hand dropped to her stomach, the other reaching out to grasp a shelf, grounding and stabilising herself as her eyes slipped shut and she breathed through the contraction. It wasn’t as bad as it was going to get, but there had been a tension in her lower back for the past few days and the contractions had slowly been gathering in frequency and strength.
And so, when Mulder had said he wanted to pick up some files to read through, a sick kind of entertainment for the late nights he planned to stay up with the baby, she’d insisted she join him, try and walk the baby out. That, and he could no longer get down to the basement without her credentials.
When the pressure eased slightly she blinked her eyes open into the half-light of the basement corridor and continued down to the door at the end, stepping through and tripping on the box propping the door open. ‘Mulder, what the fuck?’ He was there in an instant, supporting her, checking her over, not caring that the door had slammed shut. She hadn’t fallen, catching herself on the filing cabinet nearest and leaning her weight on it, but there was still a ripple of pain up her back from the sudden jolt of her weight, another faint contraction far too soon for her liking. ‘Please, for the love of God and all that is holy, tell me why there was a box in the middle of the doorway?’
‘I couldn’t find the doorjamb, and you know how sticky that door gets in the summer. I didn’t want you having to push it open.’
‘No, so you set up a death trap instead. Good thinking, Mulder, good thinking,’ she huffed a sigh, gave an impressive eyeroll, even by Scully standards, and shook her head, easing her way into the room and sitting down at her chair to try and alleviate some of the pain. It didn’t work, and she dropped her head back on the back of the chair. ‘Christ, I forgot how hot it gets down here.’
‘FBI’s most unwanted, remember. We don’t get the pleasure of aircon,’ he ambled over to the fan on the desk, plugged it in, and it gave a weak whirring before puttering out. ‘Great. I’ll go see if there’s a spare in the closet down the hall.’
She murmured her assent and kept her eyes closed, hands playing patterns on the stretched material of her t-shirt.
There was a thud, a hollow jarring noise, and a few muttered curses. ‘Uh...Houston, we’ve got a problem.’
A foreboding feeling grew in her gut, though that may have been a contraction starting, as she turned in her seat, twisting uncomfortably, to see Mulder yanking unsuccessfully at the door handle, ‘this isn’t a time for jokes, Mulder. You want to see my panic face, just ask.’
He gave an uncomfortable chuckle, looked over his shoulder, ‘ah...I wish I was. Um...’ he gave a solid tug and the door handle came away in his hand, ‘ah,’ he looked around, seeing if there was anything he could use to pry the door open. Alas, he’d been gone a while, and either Scully or Doggett had cleared the place out of all of his usual useful odds and ends. His money was on Doggett.
‘Call maintenance,’ she nodded to the phone on the desk, not in the mood to reach over and do it herself. No. Not with the contraction she could feel building.
He was halfway to the desk when there was a click and the lights went dead, as did the little light on the phone cradle. The hum of a building wired with electricity stopped, leaving an oppressive silence, only Mulder and Scully’s breaths breaking it.
‘The phone might still work. So long as the line’s good.’
All he had to do was pick it up and hear the absence of static. ‘Suggests the heat’s blown something pretty crucial,’ he said, reaching into his pocket for his cell phone.
‘Nobody can get signal down here at the best of times,’ she muttered.
‘Worth a try.’
He grumbled for a moment before tossing his phone across the desk, ‘nothing. What now?’
‘Now,’ Scully said, easing herself out of her chair and waddling her way over to the bookshelves, ‘you get reading.’
She pulled down book after book, occasionally flipping one open to the index page and scanning down with her finger, either returning it or adding it to the pile she was curating, until she was satisfied and shifted them over from the side table beneath the shelf to the desk where he stood. Each was a medical text, with a few of the pregnancy books they’d accumulated over the past couple of years. With her hand resting on the top of the stack, she took a breath, closed her eyes and rubbed circles over her stomach. ‘Whilst without checking my dilation I cannot be one hundred percent sure, due to the frequency of the past few contractions I have experienced I believe I have progressed into active labour. Which means that you will now read up everything you can on labour and birth in order to help deliver our baby if the power doesn’t come back on in the next few hours,’ she gave him a tight smile, patted his chest, ‘good to know you still keep your panic face close to the surface.
‘Maybe I could smash the window, climb out and get help,’ Mulder suggested, his nose deep in a text book.
‘You wouldn’t fit through the gap. Besides, the last thing we need is you injured and covered in glass,’ Scully was pacing, had been for the last hour, taking breaks every few minutes to lean against a wall or rest her head and forearms atop the desk. They’d been stuck in the basement for about three hours, and Scully realised that, given it was a Sunday, there had probably been a change of security on shift and nobody would have remembered that they were down there. Which meant that, for all intents and purposes, they were on their own. And she was, surprisingly, calm about the situation. She’d managed to talk Mulder through checking the dilation of her cervix twice now and each time she was inching closer to those crucial ten centimetres.
‘Mmm. I’m just worried we don’t have everything we need. Like water, where are we going to get water. And towels, we’re going to need towels. And something to tie off the umbilical cord and gloves and soap and this is just assuming things all go well and-‘
‘Mulder, breathe,’ she came up to him, cupped his cheek, ‘hey, it’s okay. We’re all going to be okay,’ she guided him to the desk chair that was always his, ‘here, sit down and take a moment. Let’s not panic, okay. We’ll panic when we need to panic, but right now, let’s take it easy.’ She took a moment to breathe herself as she looked around, her fingers scratching lightly at his scalp to soothe both of them. ‘Mulder, look around.’
‘Look around. We have everything we need. Come on, get up,’ she urged him, making her way into the lab at the back of the room. ‘We have a sink, which, admittedly, we only have cold water, but it’s better than none, and anti-bac, and we’ve got gloves in abundance here. And...oh, my God, I’ve just remembered,’ she flung a cupboard open and laughed, ‘Oh, John, you angel. He brings a clean gym bag in every Friday evening so it’s there for him on Monday morning,’ she tugged out the bag and dropped it to the floor, squatting next to it and gasping.
‘Scully, shit, let me-‘
‘No, no, it’s okay. Um...just give me a moment. And, maybe leave a note to ask the cleaners to give this floor a really good clean.’
The first hint of panic laced her voice as she brought a hand up to cover her mouth, ‘I think my waters just broke. Give...just give me a minute to...’ she took a few shaking inhales, and he sank to the floor next to her, rubbing a hand down her spine, pressing soothing circles into her lower back when she pushed against his hand. ‘Help me up?’
‘Sure,’ he nodded, taking her hands and helping her, pressing a kiss to her sweaty forehead when she was upright, brushing light fingers across her belly whilst she leaned her head against his collar bone. ‘You okay?’
‘Yeah. I just...can you take over with the preparations here? I, uh...I think I’m going to try and set up a corner where I feel comfortable, okay?’
‘Yeah, yeah, of course. Just say if you need help, okay? Don’t move anything heavy or anything?’
‘I won’t. We’re going to be alright.’
He wasn’t sure if it was a question, or if she was reassuring him, or reassuring herself, but he nodded, pressed a kiss to the top of her head, ducked down to press one to her belly too.
‘Mulder, put that away,’ Scully growled, not impressed. She’d stripped bare, laying her clothes out on the floor in the corner behind the desk as makeshift blankets, had Mulder cover the narrow windows with piles of books to block out the harsh summer sunlight and provide some sense of modesty and lit her stock of emergency candles she kept in one of the cupboards in case of power cuts. She’d never imagined she’d be birthing her child by the light of them, but then she had never imagined a lot of things about her life that currently held true. Like her partner looking...like that.
‘Why? It affords me a great view. And it’s much more practical than trying to hold a flashlight.’
‘Because there is something very uncomfortable about having you wear a miner’s helmet whilst you’re between my legs!’
‘Adds a whole new meaning to going caving,’ he grinned, not dodging fast enough to miss the kick she aimed at his arm. ‘Hey, that’s the baby-catching arm! Careful!’
‘Nobody with a mouth like that is catching my baby,’ she sneered.
‘I thought you like my mouth.’
‘Only when it’s not talking,’ she murmured, hiding a grin, ‘why do you even have a miner’s helmet down here?’
‘Uh...dunno. I think it was from a case years ago and I forgot to return it. That was before you came down here and turned my life upside down.’
‘Obviously. I would have made sure you returned it.’ He stuck his tongue out at her and she returned the gesture before dropping her chin to her chest, moaning through a wave of pain. ‘Christ, Mulder, can you just check how far along I am? Because I really feel like I need to start pushing soon and I’m sure you will agree that leaving my vagina mostly intact is a pretty big goal today,’ she huffed, biting down on her bottom lip.
‘Without the helmet.’
He nodded, chucked the helmet to the side and brushed his lips against her knee before taking a look. ‘I’m not a centimetres guy, but I’d say you’re looking close.’
‘Some accuracy would be useful here, Mulder. The difference between looking close and actually being at ten centimetres is how soon after this baby is born you get to have sex again so maybe go look at the books and compare and contrast.’
‘The books! I forgot about the books.’
She groaned, ‘that eidetic memory really coming in handy there.’
‘Hey, we’re all trying are hardest here. I’m currently making sure I keep you and our baby alive.’
‘Yes, whilst I have a hole the size of a cantaloupe melon in my cervix,’ she smiled sweetly at him until he conceded.
‘Yeah, okay, you win. And I’d say you’re at about nine. Try not to start pushing yet, I guess?’
‘Jesus Christ,’ she groaned, glaring at him, ‘if you could try to sound a little more confident, that would be great.’
‘I’m sorry. I’m trying, here.’
She sighed, nodded, ‘I know, I know. I’m sorry. Come here,’ she beckoned him over, kissed him sweetly. ‘You’re doing a great job for someone whose never had an up-close look at a cervix before.’
‘Why thank you, Doctor Scully,’ he smiled. ‘Anything I can do to help?’
‘I want to stand, try and let gravity do its job. Can you hold me?’
‘Of course,’ he helped her up, allowed her to turn in his arms until she was comfortably leaning back against him. ‘You’re beautiful, Scully,’ he murmured as she swayed herself through the waves of a contraction, one hand vice-like on the wrist of his hand that soothed circles over her stomach and the other reaching up behind her to hold his head in place where he mumbled sweet nothings against her neck.
‘Sing me something,’ she whispered when some of the pain had subsided, eyes closed as her head rested back against his shoulder.
‘I can’t sing.’
‘Neither can I. Sing me something.’
In the dim light of the flickering candles and the still, quietness of the powerless basement, he was hesitant to break the silence, and so stuck to humming, chest vibrating softly against her back as he moved them gently to Elvis.
‘Hmm?’ he paused his humming, rested his chin on her shoulder.
‘Tell me it’s going to be alright?’
‘Hey, hey, of course it is,’ he turned her in his arms, frowned as he tilted her chin up to look into her eyes, ‘where’s this coming from?’
‘I just...I had a plan. I knew exactly how I wanted this birth to go. I wanted to be in a hospital with doctors that I trust knew what they were doing, and I wanted there to be people there in case something goes wrong, and I wanted you sat behind me throughout the whole thing holding me and supporting me and rubbing my back and reminding me to breathe,’ she cried into his arms, keening as she rocked.
‘Okay, okay, shh, hush now, okay? It’s not ideal, is it? But we’re going to be okay. All three of us are going to leave this basement healthy and happy and all we’re going to worry about is what we’re going to wear home once all of our clothes have become makeshift towels and blankets, okay? And hey, I can still sit behind you, can’t I?’
‘No, no, you need to be keeping an eye on everything. I need you watching and guiding me. I need-‘ words caught in her throat as she sobbed, mourning the safe, rational plan she’d spent hours preparing.
‘Hey, hey,’ he caressed her face, wiped her tears, nuzzled his nose against hers in an attempt to get her to focus on him, ‘no matter where I’m sat, I’m going to be with you the whole way through, okay? I’m going to hold you and support you and be here for you. Okay?’
She sniffed, nodded, bowed down with a strong contraction. Which was when his eye caught on something in the corner.
‘Scully? Scully, I have an idea. I think I’ve got a way you can still lean back against me.’
‘Remind me again why I’m the one doing this?’ she asked as she tinkered.
‘Because you’re the physicist.’
‘I’m also in labour.’
‘Fair point, but I’d say it’s a testament to your brilliance if you can get this to work.’
‘Hmm. Throw me that roll of duct tape over there,’ she nodded to him and he tossed it over so it landed by her side, easy for her to reach over and grab from where she was sat on the floor, cross-legged before the overhead projector she was tampering with. Scully had sent Mulder on three final checks around the room to make sure everything they could possibly need was gathered in their corner. He’d found multiple options for tying off the cord that had sorted through, considering sterile properties and strength. Mulder’s shoelaces soaked in a mostly full bottle of Scotch one of the local PD had given them as thanks after solving a case a feel years ago ended up being her preferred choice, and she had Mulder set about preparing those as she grunted through a wave of pressure.
‘Isn’t alcohol bad for the baby?’ Mulder asked once they were hung over the desk lamp to dry off.
‘The alcohol should evaporate by then, having disinfected it in the process, hopefully. Besides, you’re not going to tie the cord until its stopped pulsing and the blood’s stopped flowing, so nothing should be-‘ she reached out and grasped at his forearm, tucking her chin in as she instinctively started to push. This had been going on for about half an hour, her instinctive pushing, though with heavy breaths she assured him each time she was certain nothing had really happened so far. When she recovered he wiped her forehead with his t-shirt. ‘Long story short, the alcohol won’t affect the baby. Mulder, before the next one, go lay out sheets of paper on the floor and against the filing cabinet to act as a screen for the projection. There’s no way I can get the angle to focus the projection on the wall.’
It felt like they’d been at it for hours, and by the time the first glimpse of matted ginger hair was seen in the slightly out of focus projection they had been. Mulder had been coaching her through, promising that it would just be a little longer every few minutes, peppering the top of her head and her cheek and her neck and her shoulder and anywhere else he could reach with kisses, kneading fingers into her tight muscles whenever she wasn’t clinging to him.
‘I can’t do this anymore, Mulder, I can’t,’ she sobbed, dropping her head back against him when the pressure let up. ‘He’s so big, I can’t-‘
‘You can and you will, Scully. You’re so strong and you’re so close, okay? Give me two more pushes and you can touch the head. Don’t you want that? Don’t you want to feel the head?’
‘Yeah, I do,’ she cried.
‘Okay then. Just give me two more pushes and you can rest for a moment,’ he rested his hands, palms up, atop her thighs, ready for her to grip them as he felt the muscles in her back tightening. ‘Good girl. Push for me, come on Baby, you can do this. Oh, well done, Scully. Can you see that? Look at all that hair. One more push now and we’ll take a break, okay? Take some breaths for me and wait for the next contraction, then you can go for it,’ he could feel her starting to strain and he pressed a kiss behind her ear, ‘wait for the contraction, Scully. Don’t force your body past it’s limits.’
‘I just want it over,’ she whimpered softly, turning her face into him.
‘I know, Baby, I know, but you’re doing so well, and once you’re done I’ll find a way for us to get you out of here, you and baby, and we’ll get you both to a hospital to get you checked out, and then we can go home and you can sleep, okay, but right now we need to focus on the baby, okay, so one last push with this next contraction and you can stop for a minute.’
She cried out as the baby crowned, squirming to try and get away from the pain.
‘Shh, shh, breathe now, breathe, in and out, there we go,’ he smiled, took her hand, guided it to her parted lips and the head of ginger peach fuzz. ‘You feel that, Scully?’
‘Yeah,’ she nodded, her voice cracking, covering her mouth with her other hand as she cried, ‘oh, my God, we’re having a baby.’
‘Yeah, yeah we are,’ he chuckled, somewhat deliriously.
‘Is this real?’ she asked him, craning her neck around to lock eyes with him. ‘Are you really alive? Is this really happening?’
He nodded, kissed her, pressed their sweat-soaked foreheads together, ‘yes, Baby, it’s all real.’
‘I love you.’
‘I know you do. I love you too,’ taking a glance over his shoulder at the most informative of the textbooks he had sitting open, he gave her another quick peck before starting to slide out from behind her, ‘I need to check everything’s okay, now.’
‘Don’t go,’ she shook her head, clung on to him desperately.
‘I’m not going far, but I need to make sure you’re stretching around the head okay, remember. This was one of your instructions.’
She shook her head again, face set stubbornly, ‘it was a stupid instruction. I need you here.’
‘I’m not going anywhere, Scully, look. I’m still right here,’ he placed his hand on her knee as he knelt down before her, tenderly applying counterpressure where her skin was stretched taut. ‘Do you think you’re ready to start pushing again?’ She nodded and moaned a quiet mumble of consent as he stroked his fingertips across their baby’s soft scalp. ‘Okay, next contraction you’re going to give a nice big push for me.’
The first push did little, but the second revealed a forehead and two little eyelids. She whimpered when the contractions didn’t let up, overlapping as she dropped her hand down to find Mulder’s at her entrance, showing him where it hurt most. She grunted something that sounded convincingly like ‘fucking nose,’ as she bore down, the baby sliding out to their chin.
‘Good girl, Scully. One more and we’ll take another break, okay?’ She nodded, pushed, and with a small gush of amniotic fluid and blood, there was a head; dimpled chin and pursed lips and round little cheeks. ‘Amazing, you’re doing amazing, Scully. You want to see?’
She nodded and he budged out of the way so she could see her baby’s head in the projector. ‘The cord. You need to check the cord.’
‘Oh, yeah, right,’ he gave a frantic nod and obscured her view once more, apologising quietly as she shied away from his finger running around the baby’s neck. ‘No cord, you’re good.
Her head dropped back against the pillows Mulder had arranged behind her when he moved and she sighed, ‘I’m so tired, Mulder.’
‘I know, Baby, I know, but you’re doing so well, okay? Just the shoulders, and the rest will be easy.’ She scoffed at that, shook her head. ‘Okay, so somewhat easier. You think you can try?’
She didn’t respond, only tucked her chin to her chest and pushed, her face set in a determination he couldn’t help but admire; his beautiful, strong Scully. And then there were shoulders and arms and a little tummy and two chubby legs and all three of them were crying as he lifted their baby boy into his partner’s arms and covering them with the towel they’d stolen from Doggett’s gym bag.
He sat holding them both, helping clean their little one and rub warmth and circulation into his blood as he wailed against his mother’s breast, a strong, healthy wail, filling the small room that had always shied away from noise, always been a quiet, empty sanctum, so often full of death and disease, with life; new, strong, bright life.
When Scully said it was time he followed her guidance to tie off the cord in two places and cut it, then helped hold their son to her chest as she attempted to get him to suckle, listening as she wearily explained oxytocin and uterine contractions and stemming blood loss. If he’d not been so enamoured with the tiny life kicking and screaming its way into the world, making sure it was heard and loved, he might have paid more attention to how slurred her words were becoming, how her eyes were struggling to find focus.
And then she was pushing again and for a split second he panicked, wondered how frequently sonogram technicians and doctors miscounted the number of babies, before he remembered the umbilical cord and the placenta, and shifted to help her deliver that as well.
It was then, as he was inspecting the placenta, just like she instructed, for any tears or missing chunks, that he realised the books hadn’t mentioned this much blood. They’d assured him there would be blood, for sure, but he was certain it wasn’t supposed to be this much. And looking up at Scully, she certainly looked to pale, to washed out, her eyes slipping closed as her grip on their child faltered slightly.
‘Scully? Hey, Scully? Hey, you need to stay awake, Scully. Can’t sleep yet.’
She blinked up at him when he cupped her cheek, gave a bittersweet smile, ‘promise me you’ll love our son for me, Mulder, won’t you?’
She swallowed, let her eyes slip shut for a moment, ‘you’re gonna be such a good dad,’ tears leaked from her half open eyes as she dropped her gaze back down to their son, ‘he’s so beautiful. I’m so glad I got to see him.’
‘Scully? Scully, no-‘
Just some hurt/comfort set after “Folie à Deux”. Tagging @today-in-fic
“Oh Mulder,” his name falls from her lips in a tortured whisper. He watches as she applies medical ointment to his red, chafed wrists, the scent making his eyes water. Or that’s what he tells himself anyway.
Looking at Scully, seeing her vibrant hair, her blue, watery eyes, he is filled with calmness. There‘s no sound here except for her breathing, and his own thoughts.
“Think I‘ll live, doc?”
“Not funny,” she says with a stern look. “How are you feeling? Do you want me to give you something to sleep?”
He shakes his head. “The nurse, she… I should be asleep already.” He‘s bone-tired, his muscles aching. But how can he close his eyes? Falling asleep does not seem like an option.
“It‘s the adrenaline,” Scully says, putting the cap back on the ointment. She continues to rub his wrist, applying gentle pressure. “It will wear off soon. You need to sleep, Mulder.”
He shakes his head and gives her half a smile. “You should sleep though.” He looks around, for the first time realizing that Scully only got them one hotel room. There‘s only one bed. “Are you- you‘re not leaving, are you?” His voice sounds shaky to his own ears.
“I thought we could share for the night.” There‘s an innuendo stuck in his throat that he swallows.
“Thank you,” he says instead.
“Is there anything you need?” Her fingers are still wrapped around his wrist, but she‘s not trapping him; she‘s anchoring him here, to this moment. He‘s overcome by thankfulness for her. By love, too. She‘s done so much for him already. How can he ask for more, again and again?
When she became his partner, she didn‘t sign up to share his trauma, all his nightmares. This one barely scratches the top ten of what he‘s gone through. Yet, he can‘t fathom closing his eyes and losing sight of her.
He doesn‘t have the right to ask her, but he can‘t fight his exhaustion any longer.
“Can you just… stay?” Her expression is puzzled. “Hold me?” he asks in barely a whisper.
“Of course.” Her reply is just as soft before she helps him lie down, covering him with the comforter. “I‘ll be right back,” she promises, quickly running her fingers through his hair. He listens to the intimate sounds of her bathroom routine that he knows she‘s keeping short tonight. For him. She‘s back before he‘s dared to blink.
“Promise me you‘ll try to sleep,” she says, her breath smelling of toothpaste. “I will be here.”
“I know,” he says. “You believed me, Scully.” He blinks, his eyes feeling as heavy as lead.
“I saw it,” she admits, meeting his eyes.
“So we‘re both crazy now, huh?” His eyes drift close but he cracks a smile.
“You‘re not crazy, Mulder.”
“Are you coming on to me, Scully?” He wonders if he‘s asleep already, if maybe this conversation is just a dream. He scoots closer to her, shamelessly stealing her warmth and her strength. But she doesn‘t seem to mind. Instead she holds him closer, her hand on his back as if to steady him. His one in five billion. Who else would hold his broken soul and cherish it?
She doesn‘t reply, but he never expected her to. Her hand finds his, her slender fingers tangling with his broken ones. She lets go of his hand and he‘s about to protest when she touches his lip where it bust open.
“Kiss it better?“ He jokes, wondering how many innuendoes he has to throw out until she bites.
“Will it hurt if I do?”
He must have reached the magic number. His eyes open and he can barely make out her face.
“I don‘t know,” he says, staring at her. The sheets rustle as she leans over and presses the lightest kiss to the corner of his mouth.
“Did it hurt?”
“No. No pain.”
“Good. Try to sleep now, Mulder.”
“Hmm,” he hums. He wants to say more, needs her to know that he needs her here. That her arms are holding him together and safe from the nightmares.
“I won‘t let go,” she promises, tightening her grip on him. But he doesn‘t need to say anything because she already knows.
this was a prompt from @seulementmoi101, who brought up the fact that the information they used to have Scully prove to Mulder who she was in “kitsunegari” is a little boring and basic, and asked for a rewrite of the scene - here it is! i hope this version is a little better <3
You Know Me
summary: What if Scully had told Mulder something different than "Your mother is Teena. Your sister is Samatha," to prove who she was in that warehouse?
scene rewrite // 5x08 kitsunegari // tagging: @today-in-fic
read it on ao3 // my x-files masterlist
It was damp and dark when Mulder arrived at the address that Linda Bowman had left for him. He didn’t know what would be waiting for him as he walked through the building, flashlight shining dimly in front of him. And everything was quiet until he heard a voice, but it wasn’t Linda Bowman’s voice.
“Mulder?” His eyes widened when he heard her, and he took off running in the direction that it was coming from.
She was right there when he rounded the corner, but something didn’t seem right. He knew what Modell could do, and what Linda Bowman could as well, and the red flags went off in his mind. “Scully, what are you doing here?”
He slowed the speed of his steps, and stopped in front of her. “You were right about her, Mulder,” she said, and just as he clicked his flashlight off, she raised her gun at him.
“Scully,” he said as he stepped forward, but she didn’t lower the weapon.
“She’s making me do this.”
But Mulder stood and continued to face her. “Where is she?”
“She’s here.” Scully’s voice was shaky. “Mulder make her stop! I can’t help myself.”
The fear in her voice is what set him off. “Linda Bowman!” he shouted at the top of his lungs, face contorting in anger.
The entire time, Scully still had her gun pointed at him. “Mulder, make her stop.”
“Show yourself!” he roared.
“Mulder!” Scully said urgently, and he watched as she stopped pointing the gun at him, only to turn it towards the side of her head.
“No!”he shouted as he ran towards her, but he was too late. The sound of a gunshot rang in his ears as Scully crumpled to the ground in front of him. He dropped down in front of her, but there was no use. The only audible sounds were his panting breaths, until he heard footsteps behind him. He tore his eyes away from Scully’s body on the ground to look at the newcomer: Linda Bowman. He didn’t even bother to think before he had grabbed Scully’s gun and stood up, pointing it at her. “I’m going to kill you.”
Linda pointed the gun she was holding at him, and they were in a standoff. “Don’t listen to her Mulder,” she said.
“What?” he asked angrily.
“It’s me,” she said, not lowering the gun. “You were right about her. Linda Bowman is pushing you.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m Scully,” the woman who looked like Linda said. “Linda’s right behind you, she’s telling you I’m her.”
Mulder looked back down at Scully’s body on the ground, blood pooling around her head from the fatal gunshot. “You’re not Scully, you killed her,” he said angrily, looking Linda dead in the eyes.
She stared right back. “Mulder, I’m Scully,” she said, and he didn’t know what to think. He knew what Linda was capable of, but if Linda was really the one laying dead on the ground, how could she still be having an effect on his perception? “I’m not dead,” Linda continued. “She wants you to shoot me. She knows you’ll never forgive yourself.”
He couldn’t keep calm anymore, because he was sure that Scully was already dead. “Shut up!” he yelled.
“Listen to me!” she yelled back, and he yelled again. “I’ve been your partner for five years. People at work sometimes call you “Spooky Mulder,” because they don’t understand your theories.”
“Shut up!” he yelled once more. His brain was starting to shut down, and he was questioning everything.
“Our first case together was in Bellefleur, Oregon,” she continued. “I knocked on your door when we came back from the woods because I thought I had these marks on my back, but you told me they were just bug bites. You told me about your sister, and how she disappeared.”
“Stop,” he said softly.
“I just recovered from cancer,” she continued, and Mulder’s hand shook slightly. “You told me to say a few ‘hail Mulders’ when the priest came to pray with me. You met my brother, who vehemently dislikes you for reasons I don’t understand.”
“Stop!” he said again, louder this time.
“Modell warned you,” she said, looking him straight in the eyes. “Don’t play her game.”
He hesitated for a moment, and then a gunshot rang out, but he wasn’t the one who had fired. He could hear the sound of a body fall to the ground behind him, and he tore his eyes away from the woman who looked like Linda Bowman to see who had been shot. But it only added to his confusion to see her on the ground, not Scully. And when he looked back again, Scully was the one standing behind him, her gun still raised for a moment. “Mulder,” she said as she walked over to him and placed her hand on his arm, but he didn’t respond. He didn’t know what to say.
Scully leaned down and placed her fingers to Bowman’s neck, and she was still alive, despite the pool of blood she was laying in. “You think you can hold me?” she said, pride oozing from her voice.
Scully didn’t even grace her with an answer as she stepped away, pulling out her phone and dialing. “Yes, we’d like an ambulance to 214 Channel Avenue,” Mulder heard her say, but his mind was still elsewhere.
The ambulance came, and then the FBI, and Mulder answered more questions than he could count, but it still felt like he wasn’t there. He had almost killed Scully, and he didn’t know if he was going to be able to forgive himself for that. When he finally did get home, he laid on the couch and closed his eyes, but no sleep came to him that night.
- the end -
Old School X is a project interviewing X-Files fanfic authors who were posting fic during the original run of the show. New interviews are posted every Tuesday.
Interview with Rachel Nobel / Rae Lynn
Rachel Nobel, aka Rae Lynn, has 2 fics at Gossamer, but she’s written many more X-Files stories than that. You can also find fics by her at AO3 and various other archives. She’s one of the rare, special authors who’s posted numerous fic during the show’s original run and again in recent years. Big thanks to Rachel for doing this interview.
Does it surprise you that people are still interested in reading your X-Files fanfics and others that were posted during the original run of the show (1993-2002)? Absolutely. I joined a Facebook group for fanfic writers where someone recognized my name and asked about some of my stories that have disappeared from the Internet, and I almost fell off my chair. On the other hand, I go back and read original-run fanfic all the time - the Wayback Machine is my best friend for all the late great fanfic archives. Like fine wines, they get better with age! What do you think of when you think about your X-Files fandom experience? What did you take away from it? I was fairly young during the peak of the fandom - I was only 12 when I started watching the show and discovered the fandom online. A few years ago, right around the time we learned the revival was coming, I wrote an essay I called "How 'The X-Files' defined my adolescence," in which I wrote: "If you think about it, 'The X-Files' is a lot like adolescence: You start out thinking it's going to be a little hokey, NBD, and then you end up in its thrall, captivated and occasionally hugely let down. A lot of people behave strangely, and no one gets out unscathed. Mulder, in his own weird way, is the perfect mirror for an adolescent: He doesn't fit in; his life careens between being utterly consequential to the fate of the known universe and being completely pointless; he's socially awkward and can't quite nail it down with the girl of his dreams."
So for me, the fandom is inextricably bound up with adolescence, that feeling of vacillating between desperate loneliness and being on the verge of something enormously significant. Take romance: I was a bit of a late bloomer, and when all my friends were exploring their first relationships I was watching Mulder and Scully navigate this beautiful, complicated, soulful relationship without ever even kissing. That was deeply affecting for me as a teen.
Social media didn't really exist during the show's original run. How were you most involved with the X-Files online (atxc, message board, email mailing list, etc.)? I started out on mailing lists - there was an EMXC mailing list and one that I think was called X-Angst. [Lilydale note: There was a mailing list called XAngst Anonymous.] This was back at the dawn of the Internet when I only had 10 hours of AOL access a month, and I remember using what AOL called a "FlashSession" to log on, download all the fanfic from the mailing list and log off to read it. I vividly remember the excitement of watching all that new fanfic flood my inbox! Later on I was on atxc. During the long summer between "Gethsemane" and "Redux," it felt like fanfic was at its peak. There was a group of about a dozen women who got together (virtually) to discuss a work in progress by Lydia Bower called "Primal Sympathy." We called ourselves the "Primal Screamers," and we had our own website with fanfic recommendations and other discussions (it cracked me up to locate us as an entry on Fanlore.org). I was still in high school at the time and I was the youngest member; I felt like I had been accepted into a cool underground club. I worshipped these women, who were fanfic writers themselves. They taught me everything I knew about how to be a decent, respectful, enthusiastic consumer and writer of fanfic and fandom. [Lilydale note: I’ve talked enthusiastically about the Primal Screamers here before, including their fanfic primer.] What did you take away from your experience with X-Files fic or with the fandom in general? In the '90s, I would have been embarrassed to tell anyone I read fanfic, let alone that I was writing it. Now, I look back on it and realize how talented and smart and passionate we all were. It's something to be proud of. What was it that got you hooked on the X-Files as a show? The first episode I ever saw was "Shadows," which was on in reruns between the second and third seasons. I don't think "Shadows" is an episode that anyone today would consider thematically significant, but something about seeing those office supplies float spookily through the air - it wasn't like anything I had seen on television, and I wanted in. What got you involved with X-Files fanfic? I've always been a person who, when I am interested in something, seeks to learn more about it. So I guess I got online as a 12-year-old with this new interest and discovered fanfic. It was thrilling to find out that so many talented people were taking characters I loved and bringing them to life for me. When the screen faded to black each week and I wondered, "That's it? What next?", fanfic was always there to fill in the blanks and take Mulder and Scully to the next level. As a teenager, I was self-indulgent enough to think I had something to contribute, too. Most of what I wrote in the '90s would today make me cringe. I remember literally paging through the dictionary in search of erudite words I thought Mulder and Scully would say! But occasionally I'll feel brave enough to read an old story and I feel encouraged to see a spark: a turn of phrase or a fragment of dialogue that I still feel proud of. I write professionally now, but I've never written fiction that isn't X-Files fiction, so it's something that has really allowed me to hone my creative juices in a different way. What is your relationship like now to X-Files fandom? Sometimes I feel like the Statler and Waldorf of the fandom, like I'm sitting up in the balcony grousing "Back in my day...!" Because the fandom is remarkably robust, and I've gotten involved with it to an extent on Twitter and AO3, and now all these young whippersnappers idolize Mulder and Scully just as much if not more as I ever did! Were you involved with any fandoms after the X-Files? If so, what was it like compared to X-Files? Not really, no. I've of course consumed a lot of media since The X-Files that I wanted to discuss with others - I'm a huge "Harry Potter" nerd, and I was outraged when Netflix canceled "The OA" - but strangely I've never had the urge to read or write fanfic about anything other than "The X-Files." Do you ever still watch The X-Files or think about Mulder and Scully? Every Thursday night! I watch a chosen episode with a group of fans on Twitter and tweet about it - #tbtXFiles. That's great fun. There are episodes I've seen dozens of times over the years and episodes I think I only ever watched once, and it's always enlightening to watch them again with a certain critical eye. When I was a fan during the original run, I really idolized Mulder; I loved episodes where we saw him in all his cracked genius glory. Scully was a trailblazer of a character, of course, but I think the fandom has evolved over the years to give Scully her due. Do you ever still read X-Files fic? Fic in another fandom? I was fairly stunned when the revival came around and I realized that people were still writing X-Files fic, and that a lot of it was so good. So yes, I do read fic on Archive of Our Own. But my heart is always with the early days of fanfic. In the revival when Mulder says "I've always wondered how this was going to end" - that felt to me almost like a love letter to fanfic authors who had been trying to answer that question for 25 years. Surprisingly, I've never had the urge to read fic in another fandom. Every time I try, it just feels like I'm cheating on Mulder and Scully. Do you have any favorite X-Files fanfic stories or authors? My favorite author back in the day was Kipler. Her stories were just like real episodes of the show I could vividly imagine in my mind. I adore syntax6, particularly "20" and "The Birthday Stories," because of the way she perfectly and poignantly captures vignettes that span the entire series. Another favorite is Dawn and her "Blood Ties" series - I started out as a "NoRomo," and Dawn was one of the authors who made me believe Mulder and Scully could have a romantic relationship that really worked. And I always had a soft spot for Profiler!Mulder stories, so to this day I mourn the unfinished state of the great Kronos fic "Ascent to Hell." One fic I always come back to that captures profiling Mulder really well is "Domination of Lies," by cslatton. And then there are stories that I consider classics: "Corpse" by Livengoo, "Oklahoma" by Amperage and Livengoo, the "Revelations" and "All Hallow's Eve" series by Windsinger. What is your favorite of your own fics, X-Files and/or otherwise? I have a soft spot for a story I wrote called "Human Credential." I was attempting, a quarter-century after the first season of the show, to set a story in the very early days of the partnership (which these days is one of my favorite kinds of fanfic to read), and I felt like I nailed it. Do you think you'll ever write another X-Files story? Or dust off and post an oldie that for whatever reason never made it online? I have been doing both of these, as a matter of fact! Or in my case, they are oldies that made it online but vanished when Geocities went belly-up, for example, that I sometimes go back to and reshape. Do you still write fic now? Or other creative work? As the swallows return to Capistrano, I seem to always return to writing fic at periods of transition in my life. The first time I "retired" from fanfic, I wasn't even in college yet! If one can be nostalgic at 21 years old for something one gave up at 17, I was nostalgic for fanfic, and I picked it back up again in grad school. Then I became a teacher and a wife and a mom and years passed, and the revival seduced me back into it again. But the vast majority of fanfic I've written is firmly planted in the first seven seasons of the show - poor Mulder and Scully never seem to get to grow up in my stories. What's the story behind your pen name? I wrote under a lot of pen names over the years! When I first started writing fanfic, no one knew anything about Internet safety and it didn't occur to me that it wasn't wise to use my real name. There was a period when I would have been mortified if anyone discovered my stories under my real name - now, at least I can write it off as a youthful indulgence! When I finally grew into a more mature writer, I started using the name Rae Lynn, which is almost-but-not-quite my real first and middle names. Do your friends and family know about your fic and, if so, what have been their reactions? As far as I know, unless my friends and acquaintances have done some sleuthing, only my husband knows I still write fanfic. And he's never read it, though he's kind enough to give me a glazed-eyes indulgent smile if I ever talk about it. Is there a place online (tumblr, twitter, AO3, etc.) where people can find you and/or your stories now? I am xraelynn on AO3! I have about a dozen stories there - some of them I wrote 15 years ago and some of them are brand spanking new. Is there anything else you'd like to share with fans of X-Files fic?
Fanfic is a true labor of love. Fanfic authors don't write fanfic for money or fame; they do it because they love it. Sites like AO3 and Tumblr have made it so much easier to show your appreciation to writers (::gruff reminiscing voice:: back in my day, you had to send them an email, and now you can just click the "kudos" button!). I can only speak for myself, but I really thrive on that feedback - otherwise I'm just Mulder in his cramped hovel of a home office waiting for Scully to nag me to shave my beard. Every so often I think about the fact that there is so much high-quality writing about these characters I've loved for decades just available on the Internet for free and it feels like a true gift.
(Posted by Lilydale on May 4, 2021)
Early On, Part Six - My Lover Stands on Golden Sand by @sunflowerseedsandscience
Read by @anniexami
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