TITLE: The End of the Beginning
AUTHOR: Gabi Fisher
SPOILER WARNING: Fight the Future, the show through season 5
CLASSIFICATION: V A, UST
SUMMARY: Mulder and Scully finally talk about the events pertaining to their endeavors with tanker trucks, bees, cornfields, and the Antarctic.
DISCLAIMER: I could only wish that I owned them... CC, FOX, 1013, and bunches of other people own Scully, Mulder, the X-Files, and everything else that has anything to do with the show.
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Mulder and Scully had been back from Antarctica for
almost a month. In a week, they would be testifying in front of the Review Board. They had
spent very little time together, but rather alone, recuperating and attempting find a good
median between remembering and forgetting the events that had transpired recently.
They both knew that what had happened to-and between-them needed to be discussed, neither wanted to make the first move. So instead they didn't talk at all, other than when necessary.
Scully wanted to talk to Mulder, though knew that he would not listen to her in the way she needed to be listened to. She needed to talk, not attempt to be convinced of what was "really" going on, what had "really" happened to her. To them. She had to decide for herself what happened. She needed to be allowed to make her own decisions and come to her own conclusions, not be forced into believing something just because Mulder did. Briefly Scully entertained the thought of talking to the Bureau's therapist, she had spoken with her a few times before, but dismissed it on account that without having been there, there was no way that anyone could understand what Scully was going through. Scully supposed she could talk to her mother, but that would mean getting her involved and facing the fact that her mother might think her crazy for the rest of their lives. Scully herself barely believed the tale, only one foot was safely on the side of sanity because she had been there. She had seen, just not understood. What she needed to do was make sense of it all, and she had no idea where to begin.
Mulder, on the other hand, had believed the same thing for years, and considered their experience more proof that aliens had already landed on earth. He could not explain everything he had seen, but he had faith that one day he would, so his steadfast beliefs did not waver. In time, he hoped that Scully would come to the same conclusions, but he wasn't sure. She had resisted the possibility up until this point, so why should she embrace it now? Was what she had been through, the little bit that she did remember enough to change her mind?
When Mulder returned to Washington DC, his biggest concern was the X-Files. Supposedly they were going to be reopened, but without his files, all his proof and years of work, where would that leave him? Was there a point in reopening the X-Files if it meant he had to start over? He had more knowledge than he ever imagined he would possess, but without his documented proof, he was no better off than when he had known nothing.
Mulder had spent most of his waking time salvaging what he could of their files, which was minimal at best. He refused to give up, afraid that if he did it would mean that he had lost, for his spirit would be broken, which was certainly the plan of the people who reigned his life, and he would have no proof of any work he had done in the years since the opening of the X-Files.
When he finally let the cleaning crews clear out the basement office, Scully came down to help him sift through their desks and drawers, saving what was not badly scorched, helping haul bags of mangled, scorched items to the dumpsters behind the building. He was so absorbed in what he was doing, that half the time he didn't even seem to hear her when she spoke to him, and the other half of the time he gave only short, monosyllabic answers. In all the time she spent sorting and cleaning with him in their singed office, they exchanged fewer than twenty words. Eventually, Scully stopped coming in to the office, for she could not bear to watch Mulder when he was in that state, when he was so focused on one thing that the rest of the world meant nothing to him. She just couldn't handle it.
He spent days on end in the tiny office, often sleeping at his charred desk and continuing his work the moment he awoke in the morning. Finally, AD Skinner told him to go home, get some sleep, and if he came back before at least three days had passed, he was fired. That was the only way Skinner thought he could get Mulder to leave the office without using physical force, which would most likely not deter him anyway.
When Skinner returned to his office, he nodded to the person sitting in the chair facing his desk. "Thank you, sir," she replied before standing up. "I'll have it cleared out by tomorrow," Scully said. She then shook his hand and went down to the basement after picking up several boxes from a storage closet.
As promised, Scully had emptied the office, leaving only a few trash bags and the scorched furniture. All the papers, and files, and miscellaneous objects from inside the desk and around the office were boxed and in storage at her apartment. She knew that Mulder would be upset that she had done that without telling him, though he would be even more upset if he found out when he walked into the office in two days. She decided to go to his apartment, see how he was doing, and let him know that the contents of the basement office were in her closet.
* * *
Scully chose the stairs over the decrepit elevator, unsure of its stability. As she stepped onto Mulder's level, she was less sure of herself. When she was going over in her mind what to say, it was much easier when she wasn't actually so close to him. And when she didn't have to see his response to her words. She glanced down at the hexagonal tiles of the hallway, and was reminded of the night of the bee, as she began to think of it. The night was a turning point in her life, so it might as well have a title, she thought.
Scully had yet to decide if she was glad or disappointed that she and Mulder hadn't kissed that night. God knew that she had wanted to, and most likely would kiss him if she had the chance to do it again, but it was a step she wasn't sure she was ready to take just yet. It would drastically change their relationship, and not necessarily for the better. She knew that Mulder feared any type of lasting relationship and why would that change, even for her? Long ago Scully learned that she did not have the ability change a person, no matter how hard she tried or how much she loved them.
* * *
Mulder paced his apartment anxiously, unsure of what to do. He realized how pathetic his life was without his work, but dismissed that as old news. Without the X-Files and Scully, he was nothing. He remembered what he had said to her that night, "...have kept me honest and made me whole. I owe you so much, Scully, and you owe me nothing." It was true... without her, he was lost, unsure of what to do, where to go. Without him, she could have a chance of a decent life and a good career, not just "Spooky's" sidekick. Alone, she could do better.
Eventually he decided to turn on the basketball game. He sat on the couch, doing his best to pay attention to the television, but found his mind wandering. Shortly, the doorbell rang. <Maybe if I ignore it, they'll go away,> he thought. A moment later it rang again. And again. With a groan, he stood up to answer the door. Whoever it was, obviously was not going take no for an answer.
* * *
After the third time she rang the doorbell and no one answered, Scully figured Mulder must be out. She took a few steps away from the door when she heard it open. She turned back toward Mulder's apartment. Not seeing anyone, Mulder stepped outside of his apartment and saw Scully. Their positioning reminded them both of that night several weeks before.
"Hi," Scully finally broke the silence.
"Hi, yourself. What brings you here?" Mulder asked.
"I wanted to talk to you," Scully said, not elaborating.
"Alright. Come on in. Is something wrong?"
Scully chose not to answer. Instead, she followed him into his apartment and sat in the middle of his couch. He turned off the TV and sat next to her.
Several times, Scully opened her mouth to say something, but nothing came out. She wasn't sure what to say.
Seeing that she wasn't going to make the first move, Mulder asked, "How have you been? What have you been up to?"
"I've been pretty good, or at least as well as can be expected," Scully paused. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Now or never, she told herself. She opened her eyes, looked at Mulder, and said, "I cleaned out the office yesterday. It's all in boxes for us to finish going through later."
Mulder's reaction surprised her. He didn't really seem to care. "I figured you or Skinner would. It was inevitable. You two had to get me out of there somehow," he said wryly.
"He wanted me to do it because... well, I'm not really sure why. I just figured you'd rather have me do it," Scully said. She pursed her lips, wondering what was going on in Mulder's head. She had not expected him to be so calm about it. Even though at times he tried to deny it, the X-Files were his life.
Mulder didn't say anything. He just looked into her eyes, almost as if he was searching for something. She tried to tell him that whatever she could do to help, she would. He seemed to understand her, and relaxed slightly.
Though they were silent, their eyes spoke volumes. Even if they had known what to say, there seemed to be little need for words at the moment. Mulder leaned toward Scully, and met her lips in a kiss.
Surprising both of them, Scully gently pushed him back. Seeing what she had done to him, she bit her lip, hard enough to draw blood, though she barely noticed it. She hadn't meant to hurt Mulder, though she could see the pain she caused cross his face, tainted with confusion. She scooted back, though there was little room in which to maneuver, she managed to sit up, forcing Mulder to sit back as well. He moved to the corner of the couch so that he could lean against the arm, or at least Scully hoped that was his reasoning. It killed her to think that he was moving backward to get away from her. She pursed her lips, carefully thinking of what to say to avoid hurting Mulder any more. Her hands were folded in her lap, unmoving. She was astonished by her sudden sense of outward calmness. It projected the exact opposite of how she was feeling.
No words came to her mind, nothing that she could voice to Mulder to explain her sudden actions. Scully sighed, and to her surprise, started crying. Not just a few tears making their way leisurely down her cheeks, but rather a torrent of tears. Within seconds she found it hard to breath around her sobs, and fought for breaths. All the emotion she had held on to, afraid to express or even show for the past few weeks which she had kept so well hidden from the world, had ultimately surfaced in the end. They had been seeking release, and had finally found their chance.
Mulder was as astonished as she was to see the sudden turn of events, perplexed at what could cause her to start crying with so little provocation. Though he was unsure what to do, he followed his gut feeling and gently shifted Scully onto his lap, wrapping his arms around her shaking shoulders. She allowed him to move her, and then sank gratefully into his embrace, eventually wrapping her arms around his waist.
They sat like that, intertwined and unmoving, for almost an hour. Her sobs subsided, leaving behind a calm, serene feeling. Scully could not ever remember feeling such clarity as she did then. Mulder was about to ask her something, what exactly, she was not sure, but she could sense a forthcoming question. She shook her head slightly, softly whispering, "Don't say anything right now. Just hold me. Please."
And Mulder did. In due time, he knew that she would explain herself. She always did, just following her own schedule. No one, not even he, could rush her. And in her own time, she would be ready to go farther. Until then, just being able to hold her was enough.
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