Untitled: First Fanfic Ever
The stars broke before her as she ran. Black, grasping branches tore at her, and her blood mingled with salty tears, hot and stinging in the scratches. The air, cold against her feverish cheeks, seared her lungs. She ran. She ran.
Her body shrieked at her to slow down; her mind was numbly fixed on a single thought: Jeremiah. But deeper than this, rushing through her veins, tingling in her flesh, a swift river of emotion thundered. Relief, fear, hope--all these fought within her, sharp as pain, sweet as pleasure. And, even now, something more. It dragged against her heart, though it had long learned to be silent in the face of logic.
Now is not the time for logic.
Suddenly, the clearing before her was lit with magnesium fire. Her own denials took shape before her, massive and forbidding. Light like a descending star tore the veil of skepticism that had always been her shield, and she saw at last what it was too late to acknowledge. Tears threatened to choke her, erupting from some hidden part of her, as she burst past scenes of kaleidoscopic panic. The room mocked her with its regularity, its solidity, its emptiness. Words were torn from her throat, again refusing, again denying--but this time, it was not for her scientific sanity. This time, it was not for herself.
"NO! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!"
Black clouds, wind-torn, scattered cold tears as they flew. The light was gray, directionless, as though the world's sun had left for some higher journey. The erratic tap, tap, tap against the hospital's windows echoed the intermittent beeps of machinery that offers no hope. Scully looked up from her hands when she heard the soft scuffling of nurses making their rounds. It was always more blood, more tests, more I.V.s, and more half-formed gestures that didn't take a licensed M.D. to figure out. She'd made those sympathetic shrugs herself.
With an effort, she made herself watch the nurse going about her business. It was still hard to believe that it was Mulder who lay, pale and worn, beneath the thin coverlet. Like the sudden slap of icy water, the shock did not lessen each time her eyes traveled over his well-known features. His curved lips were relaxed in sleep, and the dark pools of his eyes were shuttered. She looked up to see if the nurse had gone. They were alone again.
His hair was longer. Slowly, she reached up to brush it back, then let her hand curve to fit his forehead. But a doctor's instinctive search for fever was quickly transfigured. As she felt his skin, bruised, cool, rough where a shadow of stubble had appeared, a tingle of sensation ran up her arm. It fed the vacancy trapped beneath her ribs, a void that had grown within her to mirror the emptiness of the room where her only hope was lost.
"Agent Scully?" A rough voice interrupted, and Scully jerked her hand away from Mulder's face.
She closed her eyes and took a breath. "Yes?"
"I've come to tell you that we've searched the woods in a ten kilometer radius of the group's headquarters. The man you identified was not found." Agent Doggett took the seat opposite her, his face creased with concern, an official folder in his hands. "I hope you're not going to suggest that he's another alien bounty hunter."
Scorn touched Scully's lips for a brief moment. How familiar was that tone bordering on sarcasm--how often it had been her own. "No, Agent Doggett, I am not going to suggest anything of the sort. And I don't believe you'll find that man even if you increase the search area to a hundred kilometers." She looked up into the blue ice of his eyes. Concern warred with anger in his expression.
"Is there something you're not telling me, Agent Scully? I thought we'd agreed not to withhold anything from each other. I thought I'd convinced you that I was on your side."
Scully shook her head wearily. "I don't think you know what side I'm on." She glanced at the heart monitor, then turned back to Mulder.
Agent Doggett followed her gaze. "You're on Mulder's side. And so am I." He stood again, slapping the folder against his thigh. "But you have to realize, Agent Scully, how the Bureau is going to react to this news."
Scully felt her fingers tighten on the bedsheets. Anger welled up in her, flooding past the barrier of her external calm. "You mean how Kersh is going to react." Her voice shook, but Agent Doggett's face confirmed her words. "How dare you bring that up! Mulder is fighting for his life and you're talking office politics."
"Agent Scully, listen to me…"
"No, you listen to me, Agent Doggett! Mulder's life is all I care about right now, as his partner, as his doctor, and--"
Agent Doggett's eyebrows rose at her abrupt halt, and he backed away. "I realize this is not what you want to hear, Agent Scully. But you are going to have to face facts eventually." He tilted his head meaningfully at Mulder. "There is more to you than him." With a swish of his trench coat, he vanished into the darkened hallway.
Scully's eyes were drawn once again to her partner's still features. How often had she despaired of his life? There had always been hope, before--or necessity. She had shot him herself, yet he had come back to her. She remembered how she had nearly broken down before a Senate subcommittee just thinking of a world without him, even though she knew the truth.
The truth. How she hated those words. They were his call to arms, his battle cry, and the one thing he would follow to his doom. Had already followed, perhaps…There was a hiccup in the heart monitor, a pause, and the room fell silent. She leapt to her feet, reaching for the defibrillator, when with a sudden beep it shuddered to life again.
She sank down on the bed, feeling her pulse throbbing in her wrists. She brought her cheek to his, drawn closer by that nameless thought that surged within her, more powerful than the tides. He must live. He must. Her tears washed his face as she leaned closer, feeling the susurration of his breath against her lips. A sigh wracked her body, and she took his cold hand in hers. She caressed his strong, slender fingers, feeling the thickening of bone where his old break had mended. She had dressed his hand herself, feeling then the startling rush of blood through her body at that innocent touch. Each time they had come together, skin on skin, had been like a spark on dry tinder. Each time, their eyes had met, and she had swum in those dark pools, knowing more than words could convey. Knowing that someday, one of those sparks would ignite.
There was a slight shuffling at the doorway, and Scully leaned back. The door was closed, but she could hear the distinctive tone of Skinner's soft, deep voice, and the nasal affectations of the night nurse. She rose to open the door, looking back over her shoulder at Mulder, allowing herself the luxury of trailing her hand along his arm as she left him.
"He's not likely to even to see a new week," the nurse was saying. "I've seen the charts, Mr. Skinner. Don't let doctors tell you different: they'd promise recovery after he's been months in the grave. And visiting hours are over. Medical personnel only."
Scully leaned against the door, feeling the nurse's words clutch at her heart, ripping it from the walls of faith she'd built around it. Faith in science, faith in medicine. Only Mulder's touch could ward off that death, a fate she had cheated once before.
Skinner's words, implacable yet respectful, recalled her to herself. "I am here to see one of my agents, ma'am. And I have the authority to do so."
Scully opened the door, and their eyes turned to her. Skinner's were dark, worried behind his glasses. The nurse was petulant, pouting, and sneered at Scully as she turned on her heel to return to her post. Skinner reached out a hand and gently touched her sleeve. "How is he, Dana?"
"Not good." Scully twisted away from his touch. It was comforting in a way. In a different time, a different world, it would have been enough. But not now. She walked to the window and saw that the rain had slackened. The clouds had formed deep banks of mist that obscured her sight. The world was a gray nothingness outside of this room.
"Listen, Dana, I want you to go home. You can't stay here forever. It's not good for the baby." Skinner came up behind her, his eyes searching her face. "I'll give you a ride."
Scully closed her eyes. "No. No, I can't leave."
Skinner's voice softened. "They've got the best doctors here, Dana. You know that. It's not your fault that you need rest." He took her arm again, and this time, she did not resist. She was weary, bone tired, and she could feel sleep running like hot temptation through her limbs. She shrugged it away.
"I'm fine," she said. "I can get some sleep here."
Skinner nodded. "I understand." He turned towards the doorway, and she watched as he paused near Mulder's side. He watched the slow, dull throbs of the heart monitor, then turned away. "I told you once not to prepare for this," he said. "But don't raise any false hopes either. As a doctor, you know better than that."
She nodded, and he slipped from the room. The door came gently to behind him. Scully removed her jacket and shoes, then returned to Mulder's side. His breath was shallow, and his pulse leapt in the hollow of his throat. A strange, rosy glow had flushed his cheeks, but his hands were like ice. He was leaving her.
She lay down beside him, warming him as he had once warmed her, cradling him in her arms as though to keep him from Death's clutches. Her nose was buried in his hair, and she inhaled his scent, warm and musky. Yet there was another aroma, sickly sweet that was all too familiar. Countless times, in countless hospitals, she had turned back anonymous sheets and felt that odor wafted up to her.
With a sob, she clung more tightly to him. Tears soaked his pillow as she gave voice to the grief that had been waiting for her ever since her desperate run to find Jeremiah Smith. She felt his body against her own, then the alien fluttering within her stomach. Her child, and his. They had refused to give up on that miracle, just as she had refused to give up on him. And now she had both--but for how long?
The cold rationality of her mind shied away from that question. He was here now, that was all that mattered. Solid, muscle and bone, better by far than the cold comfort of his empty apartment, his shirt, his bed. Her breath slowed. She relaxed deeper into the narrow hospital bed, and allowed the night to carry her away.
Rushing with the wind, Scully felt the gossamer clouds part before her. Below her stretched an endless expanse of sugar white sand, gently massaged by the moist caress of the sea. The last of the mists parted, and a dark mound rose up in front of her. She felt herself deposited on the beach, the warm sand silky beneath her bare feet. A gentle smile spread over her face as she walked forward. The steady beat of the waves seemed to pulse through her, languid as that last peaceful moment between sleeping and waking.
She extended a hand to the enormous sand structure before her, tracing its intricate runes with curious fingers. She leaned forward to study them closely. She had seen them before...
"What is this?" she whispered to herself, and the strange lassitude of the warm air shifted against her skin. A shadow fell across the sand. She whirled around, and suddenly the world slowed.
Mulder stood before her, as barefoot as she, clad in gray teeshirt and well-worn jeans. His face was sombre, but the tautness that spoke of long months of pain was gone. The barest hint of a smile curved his lips. His pupils were drowned in the dark green depths of his eyes. Scully looked up, caught by the intensity of his gaze, tilting her head to take in his every move. For a brief eternity the ocean's booming throbs were the only sound, echoing every beat of her heart. She reached out to him, feeling her hand swimming through the still air to touch him.
"Mulder," she whispered, her voice broken by unspoken words. Silent, she shook her head, and flattened her palms against the gray cotton of his teeshirt, trying to convince herself of his reality.
Mulder trapped her hands with his and held them tight against his chest. "Scully, it's me," he said, the timbre of his voice reverberating beneath her fingers.
The words went through her like a flame. No Agent Scully, no Dana; simply, "Scully," a name more passionate than any love song when it came from his lips. The hot pressure of tears threatened her vision, but she fought them back, concentrating on the tender concern in his eyes.
"It's all right," he said, and leaned towards her, enveloping her in his arms. As he rested his forehead against hers, Scully could feel the tension drain from his body. She closed her eyes and swayed closer, feeling every point of contact between them like a separate shock. "It's going to be all right," he repeated, and his breath shivered over the skin of her neck. "You need to hold on, Scully. I need you to hold on."
"Why?" she asked. "Why is this happening?"
His arms tightened about her, and she opened her eyes. A grimace of pain writhed over his features. "We are so close, Scully," he said. "I have been there. I have seen things..."
"What is it? Mulder!" A spasm wracked his tall frame, and he went limp in her arms. She lowered him quickly to the sand.
"The abductions," he whispered. "Your implant, Scully. A conspiracy of men that failed...but came to life again."
The earth began to shiver, and a rain of sand descended from the mighty craft behind them. Scully choked on the arid dust flung at her by a sudden wind. "Mulder!" she cried, hopelessly, struggling to free him from the quagmire of fallen earth. As swiftly as it began, the earthquake settled. He had disappeared beneath the surface, his last words still ringing in her ears: "The baby, Scully. The baby."
There is no more to this one. Thank God.
Back to WIP stories
Back to The Written Realm
March 19, 2001