Rating: R, for language
Spoilers: Takes a hard right a few months after Tithonius and veers into AU
Summary: The consequences of a devastating mistake
Many thanks to truthwebothknow1 for her beta work, advice, and support!
Notes at end
summons from Kersh’s Administrative Assistant was the perfect end to a
perfect day. Hoping to clear the effects of hours of computer scutt work
from her brain, Scully took one last sip of coffee and headed out of the
bullpen. It was an exercise
in futility to try and guess what sin she was being called on the carpet
for now. The directives
from Kersh were becoming increasingly arbitrary, making her feel like
she was playing a game with no rules against a stacked deck.
course, was still Mulder, taking every opportunity to sniff out and
follow leads, and basically thumb his nose at bureaucracy.
Never sure if she found this endearing or frustrating, she had
settled on the sensible course. Scully
hoped that if she kissed enough ass and toed the line long enough, they
might someday be released from this purgatory.
This assumed, of course, that whatever grace she managed to earn
would also, by extension, be granted to Mulder.
office was undoubtedly the plushest interrogation room she had ever
seen. Everything was
designed to make the visitor feel uncomfortable.
His imposing desk was situated so that light from the window was
coming from behind him, allowing him to see but almost blinding the
unfortunate sitting in the visitor’s stiff chair.
And prominently displayed on the desk, as if anyone had any
doubts, was a large brass plaque proclaiming him ‘Assistant
once joked with her, “One
word, Scully. Compensation. Some
guys need a sports car, Kersh has his nameplate.”
She didn’t ask if this was armchair psychoanalysis or locker
room gossip. There were
some things one just didn’t want to know about one’s boss.
tossed a case file unto the desk, and Scully almost laughed at the
image. Throwing down the
keep this short and simple, Agent Scully.
After the unfortunate . . . incident with Agent Ritter, some in
the bureau feel we owe you a second chance, your last one if I have
anything to say about it. Redeem your career, Agent Scully. Consider that an order.”
gaze remained fixed on the big man’s face.
“May I ask the nature of the case, sir?
details are all in there. You’ll
head this one up yourself,
naming you Agent in Charge. You’ll
have a team of five working for you.” Kersh’s expression was almost predatory. “ Do you have a
problem with Agent Mulder’s involvement?
I can arrange for him to be occupied elsewhere if you feel he
would be a hindrance to the investigation.”
“There is no one else I’d rather have watch my back.”
narrowed his eyes at the direct hit, his glare boring into her.
More resigned than intimidated, Scully stared back, unflinching.
“Will that be all, sir?”
turned his attention to a document on his desk, ignoring and dismissing
her without a word.
back to the elevator, she glanced through the file she had been given.
someone in the fine state of Michigan had been sending threats to his
legislator. No one had
taken it terribly seriously until a small bomb had destroyed the mailbox
and some expensive landscaping at the politician’s home in Bloomfield
sighed. Where were flukeman and Big Blue when you needed them?
This case had the potential to blow up in the bureau’s face, no
pun intended, and she’d be at the epicenter.
Puffing at a stray wisp of hair that had slipped across her face,
she headed to Mulder’s desk to give him the good news.
climbed the steps of the well kept home and rang the bell.
Scully had been staying with her mother since her release from
the hospital and flight back home, yesterday, so he’d made the long
drive to Baltimore to see her. Maggie
Scully came to the door.
Scully”, he reached out and shook her hand,
“I’m Assistant Director Walter Skinner with the FBI.
I’d like to speak with your daughter.”
remember you.” She
clearly did not look happy to see him.
“I’m sorry you had to drive all the way over here for
nothing, but my daughter is resting now.”
insistent “I understand, Mrs. Scully, but this is important, and I
won’t take long.”
hesitated, but finally sighed and opened the door wider to allow him in.
“She’s out on the back patio.
found Scully lounging on a chaise, a book lying across her lap.
He briefly wondered if she was asleep until he saw her reach for
a glass of iced tea.
startled, then turned to look at him
a patio chair, Skinner sat and appraised his agent.
She looked well, better than he had expected.
There was color in her face, and she seemed relaxed and rested.
you feeling, Agent?”
thank you.” She smiled.
“It’s amazing how wonderful a little pampering and TLC can
make you feel. My mother
has been outdoing herself.”
offer you something to drink? Iced
“No, no thanks. I
just wanted to see how you were doing, fill you in on a few things.
I’m not trying to rush you, Scully, but have the doctors told
you when you will be fit to return to work?
said I would probably be able to come back on limited duty in another
week or so.”
considered this. “Well,
take your time, Agent Scully. You
should probably know that the OPR hearing will begin shortly, but they
can wait for your testimony until you’re able to appear in person.”
up and faced him. “I
didn’t realize there was an investigation going on.”
hell? Stunned, Skinner fumbled for words. “Do you . . . um, remember the case you were working?
I mean, the raid that you were injured on?”
her lips, she thought for a moment.
“Yes, most of it, anyway.
We were moving in to arrest Jake Freeman.
There was a small explosion,
not sure where, the details are pretty fuzzy.
I have no idea what happened after that.
Really, the next thing I remember was waking in the hospital.”
had no idea. How could this
have happened? Fuck, fuck,
have you read any of the reports on the raid?
Didn’t anyone from the bureau visit or interview you while you
were in the hospital?”
genuinely puzzled. “No, I
haven’t spoken with anyone. I
was pretty out of it most of the time, and visitors were limited to
family only. Bill told me
that Mulder was sent back to D.C. soon after the case was closed.
I’ve been worried about him,
not like Mulder to just disappear.”
drifted in thought a moment before continuing.
“I’m afraid I don’t understand, sir.
I know I was injured, but Bill and Mom assured me everyone . . .
everything was ok. I
assumed the other agents mopped up, case closed.
Why the OPR?”
for her hand, his voice was gentle, pained.
“Agent Scully, six people died in that explosion.
Agent Mulder lost his sight.”
drained from Scully’s face. Skinner
could see the horror in her eyes, the fear and dread that left her mouth
cotton dry and her heart racing.
came out as a sob. “Oh,
her to his chest, held her awkwardly.
“I’m so sorry, Scully.”
could this have happened? Why
wasn’t I told?”
That was a
question he dearly wanted answered, also, but remained quiet.
Eventually, she pulled back, wiping the tears from her eyes and
wasn’t sure what she was apologizing for,
soaked suit jacket or the deaths of six people, so said nothing.
This whole situation seemed almost surreal to him.
What he really would have liked was five minutes alone with her
mother, but was unsure he could contain his anger that long and remain
should be going, Agent Scully. You’ll
let us know when your doctor signs you off?”
course. I have a follow up appointment next week, so I’ll know more
then.” She hesitated,
touched his arm briefly, “Thank you, sir.”
rose from his chair and made his way out through the side yard.
No risk in running into Mother Maggie that way.
watched the AD leave and sank back into her chair.
She covered her eyes with her arms, blocking out the now
unwelcome sun. Had her family known about this? They must have,
had undoubtedly been all over the news.
What in God’s name made them think they had the right to
shelter her? Bill had
always been overprotective and overbearing, but her mother? Sobs rose up, until she felt her mother’s arms encircle
away, anger and shame and anguish in her voice
“How could you?”
drew a deep breath. “We’re
your family, Dana. We love
you and didn’t want to see you hurt, not while you were still fighting
for your own life.”
Scully flinched, her own tone now sharp.
“No right to protect you?
When would you have liked us to tell you about what happened,
while you were hooked up to every machine imaginable in ICU?
While you fought your way back from injuries so severe they
doubted you’d ever regain consciousness?
While you recovered from your second surgery in as many weeks?”
a sudden flash of insight. “You
didn’t let Mulder visit me, did you? “
“No, we didn’t.” She offered no explanation or apology.
adjusted his tie and tapped his fingers in rhythm to a tune only he
could hear. He would have stood and paced, but protocol deemed he sit
patiently and wait his turn. Finally,
after what seemed like hours, Skinner stepped into the waiting room.
ready for you now, Agent Mulder.”
The clipped words had an underlying softness that he was not
accustomed to hearing from his AD.
stood and was led into the conference room.
Taking his chair, he mentally prepared himself for the hearing.
He had been told the OPR board would be headed by Joanna Cassidy
and that Skinner and three other Assistant Directors would be in
missing would be AD Kersh.
question was predictable. “Tell
us about the events leading up to the raid on Jake Freeman’s house.”
shrugged. “I think I’ve given you everything in my report.
What else would you like me to add?”
Mulder, this review has been ordered by the Director himself.
We need to have your testimony on record before we can
couldn’t suppress a derisive snort.
“Why don’t we just cut to the chase?
What do you want to hear,
this whole thing was preventable? That a chain of decisions, all based on solid evidence,
should be second guessed in light of what we now know, even though
strict procedure was followed?”
Cassidy spoke. “But
that’s not entirely true, is it?
We’ve read the reports of Agents Chavez, Kessler and Wright.
Each of them has testified that you warned Agent Scully, on more
than one occasion, that Jake Freeman would most likely not go down
fact, your exact words were,” Cassidy shuffled several papers, finally
pulling up the one she was looking for.
“And I quote, ‘If
confronted directly, Jake Freeman will not allow himself to be taken
alive. He sees himself as a martyr and his family as victims of a
failed system. He will not
hesitate to sacrifice himself and his family, and take as many
representatives of the government he so hates down with him.’”
paused, waiting for his response.
shit, having the words of his own profile thrown back at him. “Freeman
was a ticking bomb and Agent Scully had legitimate concerns about the
welfare of his wife and children.”
the less, Agent Scully ignored the input of her profiler.
Do you know of any reason why she would have done so?”
Scully did not feel there was compelling evidence to support my
theories. She believed Jake
Freeman would not willingly take the lives of his family.
If you’re looking for a scapegoat, I’m as good a candidate as
any. It was my job to
present the AIC with concrete evidence backing up the suppositions in my
profile. I failed to do
cut in. “Agent Mulder, we appreciate your loyalty to your partner.
We understand that the situation was volatile, and decisions had
to be made on the fly. But this review board needs to understand what happened.
Lives were lost, two agents were seriously injured.”
“With all due respect,” Mulder bit out, “that is
complete bullshit. This is
a witch-hunt, pure and simple. I
worked as a profiler full time for three years before transferring to
the X-files and I can’t tell you how many times my profiles were
scorned, ignored, or circular filed.“
able to see people’s faces, to judge their reactions to his words, was
a difficult adjustment for Mulder.
As a psychologist, and as a profiler, he had honed this skill and
relied on it. Now he could
only hope his words wore getting through.
profile is only one small piece of the puzzle.
It may or may not be detailed enough to be of much help in an
investigation. I believe
Agent Scully considered all the options, and made a decision based on
the hard facts at hand.”
silence for a few seconds, broken only by the rustle of papers being
sorted. Finally, Agent
Cassidy spoke. “If there
are no more questions, then I believe Agent Mulder can be excused.”
rose from his chair, waiting for Skinner to come to his side.
Eventually, he felt a hand on his arm directing him to the door.
Once outside, Mulder turned to his boss.
please . . . please don’t let them do this to Scully.”
sorry, Mulder. I may not
have a choice. There is a
need for accountability in a case like this.
One suspect, three innocent children and their mother are dead.
One of our own was killed.”
tell me. Would you have handled the arrest any differently?”
grimaced, shook his head. “Damned
if I know, Mulder. Any one
of us could have made that decision.
It was a risk, one Agent Scully must have felt was justified.
But it all went to hell, a publicity nightmare the press is
comparing to Ruby Ridge, and I’m not sure I can help her.”
set up, you know that, don’t you?
Kersh handed this to her, atonement for the Ritter fiasco, he
said. Put her in charge of
agents more experienced and qualified than she was and waited for her to
gave an exasperated sigh. “Mulder,
your paranoia knows no bounds. There
was no conspiracy involved, here. It
was not Kersh’s decision to hand this case to her,
fact, he argued against the idea. In
truth, many of us felt Agent Scully deserved a chance to prove her
leadership capabilities. She’s
a fine agent.”
didn’t add was the fact that they had also badly miscalculated.
This was supposed to be a cupcake, in and out, catch the kook and
come home the hero. Instead,
it had blown wide open, catching them all by surprise.
Mulder wasn’t the only one with the bitter taste of guilt
eating at him.
turned away, his words barely audible.
“How will this go down?”
haven’t called Agent Scully in yet, so I can’t be sure.
My best guess? She
will be reassigned, probably to some field office where they need a
pathologist. Worst case
scenario . . .”
him off with a wave. He
didn’t need it spelled out for him.
voice was gentle. “Have
you seen her yet, Mulder? Spoken
warred with anguish. “I’ve
tried. She doesn’t return my calls.
Her family has circled the wagons and won’t let me near her.”
been on separate floors in the hospital, and it might as well have been
on the other side of the world. When
someone finally offered to help him to her room, Scully’s mother had
met him outside and sent him away.
Family only, she’d said.
his injuries had been less extensive, he’d been released before her
and brought back to D.C., straight into a rehab facility.
Although he’d harassed the staff with phone calls checking on
her condition, no amount of arguing or pleading had gotten him through
to her room.
know that she was unaware of the outcome of the raid until she was
shocked. “Jesus, who told
wanted to check up on her, and of course, I needed to inform her of the
impending OPR hearing . . . I had no idea.”
Both men were quiet for a minute, until finally Skinner took Mulder’s elbow. “Come on, I’ll give you a ride home.”
BB and AB,
that’s how Mulder now thought of his life.
‘Before blindness and after blindness.’
Amazing how one decision, one small thing can change your whole
world. He had assured
Skinner that he was ok, just drop him at the curb and he could find his
way up to his apartment. Truth
of the matter was, everything was a challenge to him these days.
workers and therapists had been working with him almost non-stop,
setting up his apartment, teaching him the ropes of the sightless world,
so to speak. Amazing, the
adaptive devices that now existed, the wonders of modern technology.
His computer, alarm clock, even his kitchen appliances were now
updated and user friendly. Too
bad no one could give him the one thing that mattered.
flopped down on his sofa, grabbed the remote and found a baseball game
on ESPN. Sports were still
pretty easy to follow, and if nothing else, provided the white noise he
needed. Too much time on
his hands lately, too few distractions from the guilt and anger, and if
he were truthful, the depression that threatened to move in and set up
been almost four weeks since Jake Freeman’s trailer had blown up in
their faces, literally, and Mulder still wondered what more he could
have said to convince Scully of the danger.
He knew she needed proof, hell, that was Scully’s mantra.
And he had been unable to give that to her.
Now she was being set up to take the fall.
A knock on
his door pulled him out of his thoughts.
He didn’t bother to get up, calling, “It’s open” as he
muted the TV.
has someone done a brain wipe on you?
Since when do you leave the door unlocked?”
Frohike entered, followed closely by Byers and Langly, arms full
of grocery bags.
Mulder. Statistically, you’re pretty high risk for a
break-in, what with all the publicity surrounding this case,” Langly
chasers and obituary readers make a good living preying on victims . .
.” Frohike’s angry
throat slashing gesture pulled him up short.
Oh, yeah, bad choice of words.
rolled his eyes and began putting away the food.
“What’ll it be tonight, Mulder?
Frohike’s five alarm chili or leftover meatloaf?”
no cheesesteaks?” The
three-man rotation on the cooking detail was beginning to wear a little
thin, not that he didn’t appreciate their efforts.
Mulder reached for the phone. “How ‘bout I treat tonight,
and beer on me.”
you insist.” Langly had
logged onto the computer, installing yet another layer of security on a
computer that was already as impenetrable as Scully’s third grade
teacher, Sister Mary Francis. “Just
none of that weasel piss ale of yours, though.”
anchovies on the pizza.” Frohike
swept aside a pile of dirty clothes on the sofa and sat down, waiting
for Mulder to finish ordering. “So,
any news on the hearing?”
if you think my testimony today saved Scully’s pretty ass, you’re
sadly mistaken. My appearance was merely a formality. They’ve already found her guilty,
Skinner, whose chimes ring every time she enters the room.”
“Haven’t those guys ever heard of ‘due process’? “
Frohike hesitated, unsure of his footing in this conversation.
“Mulder, I can’t help thinking that this may be tough to
fight, I mean . . .”
go there, I don’t want to hear it.
We were a team of six agents on this case, a team.”
Mulder’s voice rose in frustration. “We all bear some
responsibility for the outcome.”
the angry words, Byers emerged from the kitchen.
They were all treading lightly with Mulder these days.
His mood swings were unpredictable and conversations were often
carried out with the same finesse one used to walk through a minefield.
He shot a questioning look at Frohike, who shrugged.
leaned his head back against the couch, arms folded behind his neck.
Weariness and resignation tinged his voice. “I’m so tired of the politics and the bureaucracy.
They don’t give a shit about anything but their own asses.
Skinner swears this wasn’t a setup, but I’m not sure . . .
it’s hard to believe they’ve finally succeeded in taking us down,
after all this time, through a case like this.”
think I do, Fro. I didn’t
sense that he was keeping anything from me.
Usually I can tell, you know . . . I don’t get the feeling . .
Mulder turned his face to the window. He could feel the warmth of the sun streaming through and
tried to picture its brightness. “They
offered me a job.”
was news. Frohike glanced
over at Langly, who looked up from the computer.
Apparently the powers-that-be are willing to overlook the fact
that Spooky spent the last seven years chasing little gray men.
Come back to the fold, crank out profiles, run a few seminars,
and all is forgiven, I guess. I wouldn’t be a field agent, there’d be some
adaptations and I’d work out of Quantico.”
pulled up a chair. “Are
you considering it?”
don’t know . . . yeah, maybe. It’s
not like I have a lot of offers on the table right now.
I could probably teach . . . clinical was never my thing, so a
practice is out of the question. The
agency called about a guide dog.”
tried to keep up with the abrupt shift.
“That’s great. When
do you start training?”
“September. And if I buy into all the platitudes, this is supposed to
help me,” he inserted air quotation marks, “regain my
hated being helpless, struggled with the feeling that he was being
smothered by others’ kindness.
Not being able to just hop in his car and drive was killing him.
shrugged. “Well, if nothing else, Mulder, I heard that babes are
attracted to guys walking dogs. Think
about the possibilities.”
I’m sure women will be falling all over me now that I’m blind.”
says they ever did? God,
Mulder, you can be such an ass.”
voice was quiet, cold. “Then
leave. I don’t need a fucking babysitter. I don’t need any of this shit.”
looked at the other two gunmen for help, both just shook their heads.
He’d tripped the wire, it was up to him to clean up the mess.
He chose to answer the easy one.
have to take my word on this, Mulder, but you’re still better looking
than any bastard has the right to be.
I don’t think that’s going to be the issue.
Now, your attitude, on the other hand . . .”
needs improvement’, as my teachers used to say.”
well, at least that much hasn’t changed.”
looked at him, smiled. “Don’t
listen to him, Mulder, you’re doing fine.
Frohike’s just jealous ,
last date . . .”
just say she was a double bagger.”
At everyone’s puzzled looks, he added, “you know, his last
date was soooo ugly . . .”
Byers came in together, “how ugly was she?”
so ugly they had to put two bags over her head to hide her face.”
Fortunately, Mulder couldn’t see Frohike’s reply.
July 20, 1999
really wish you’d reconsider.”
need to do this, it’s time for me to get back.
I know you’re concerned, but I’ll be fine.”
frowned at her daughter’s choice of words.
“At least wait until Bill makes it in.
I’m picking him up at the airport tonight.”
sighed. A confrontation with Bill was the last thing she wanted or
needed at this point. Didn’t
her mother realize this? If
she left now, perhaps she could work through her feelings towards him,
come to some understanding and acceptance of his actions.
Mom. I’m all packed and
I’ve arranged for a ride.”
drive you. I’m not
thrilled about you leaving, and I’m sure Bill’s not going to be
happy, but if you’re determined . . .”
“I am. And it’s ok, really. Byers should be here any minute.”
poured the remains of her now cold tea into the sink and rinsed the cup.
There was so much left unsaid, walls had been built by both of
them. She spoke hesitantly.
“Dana, I hope you know how much I love you.
Nothing I did was ever meant to hurt you.”
that, Mom. I just need
time. I have so much . . . so many things I need to think about
everything be alright? With
your job, I mean.”
moved to stare out of her mother’s kitchen window.
A hummingbird was hovering by the feeder hung from a large oak
tree in the back yard. She
watched it for a moment, considering the loaded question.
“No, this is probably not going to turn out well.
I need to start thinking about my options.”
Dana, I’m so sorry.”
slipped by her mother’s outstretched hand, not wanting her pity,
shunning her embrace. If she let her guard down now, it would release a tidal wave
of grief and pain and anger that would consume her.
of the doorbell saved her from any further conversation.
She grabbed her things and answered the door.
stood there, hands shoved awkwardly in pockets.
“Ready, Agent Scully?”
thanks for doing this, Byers.” Byers
nodded and grabbed her bag, loading it in the trunk.
gave her mother a quick hug. “Mom,
I appreciate everything you’ve done, but I have one more favor to ask
don’t let Bill call or come over to my apartment “
started to object, but stopped at the look on her daughter’s face.
She nodded, not really understanding, but recognizing the
futility of an argument at this point.
towards the car, Scully turned and paused before getting in. “I love
you, too, Mom.”
you feeling, Agent Scully?”
I’m doing well, actually.”
Scully smiled inwardly. She’d
chosen wisely. At least
Byers had a few social skills, something Mulder’s other weird friends
felt the need for small talk, so Scully gazed out the window at the
passing cars. Rush hour was just beginning, people heading home from work
to spouses, kids, bills, Little League,
the trappings of a normal life. She
wondered how it had all passed her by.
finally broke the silence. “Have
you seen Mulder?”
kind of friends did she think they were?
“Yes, we’ve been trying to help him adjust,
meals, give him rides, drive him crazy.”
quirked a smile. Yeah, she
could picture that. “How
ok, Scully. Coping, I guess. He
was frantic with worry, you know that don’t you?”
back to the window, didn’t answer.
could stop by on the way to your apartment.
He’s home now.”
thought, Scully didn’t respond right away.
you like to see him?”
um, not sure. Does he want
frowned. “Agent Scully, why wouldn’t he?
He’s been trying to get in touch with you for weeks now.”
. . . I don’t know . . . it’s complicated.”
don’t think I understand.”
“I’m not sure I can face him right now.” She thought a moment, asked hesitantly, “Does he blame
gripped the wheel a little tighter, shook his head.
“No, he blames himself, of course.”
figures. Did you know that he warned me about Freeman?”
didn’t listen. I, um, didn’t believe him.”
feels like he failed to give you enough evidence.
Everyone knows that you faced tough choices, Agent Scully.”
don’t think you’ll find many at the bureau who agree with your
not want to discuss bureau politics at the moment.
His voice was concerned, soft.
“You have to face him sooner or later, Scully.
Don’t let your guilt become a barrier between the two of you.
He needs you now, and I think you need him.”
followed Byers into the rickety elevator and punched the button for the
fourth floor. She knew there was no real reason for her apprehension,
was Mulder, for God’s sake. But
her rational mind could not calm the sick feeling of dread in the pit of
knocked once on the door of apartment 42, then pulled out a key and
unlocked it. “Mulder?”
here, Byers. I’m trying
to . . .” A loud crash and several thumps interrupted his words. “God damn it.”
hurried into the kitchen, almost slipping in the rapidly spreading
puddle of soup on the floor. Mulder
was shaking his hand in pain as he searched for a roll of paper towels.
So much for dinner.
take a look at your hand.”
making her way across the room, Scully touched his arm.
“Looks like you’ve managed to get a pretty nasty burn.”
his hand away, Mulder found her shoulders and pulled her into a hug.
“Who says there’s never a doctor around when you need one.”
gave a choked laugh. “I
thought that was ‘cop’, Mulder.”
what do you know? Two for
the price of one.”
caught a glimpse of Byers quietly leaving.
Her voice was thick with tears.
“I’m so sorry, Mulder. I didn’t know, I swear, I didn’t
. . it’s ok.” He
reached down and cupped her face. “How
are you? I’ve been so worried.”
be fine, really. No one
told me, Mulder. All this
time . . . I had no idea.”
know. I tried to visit you
but got turned away. The
nurses refused to connect me to your room.
I felt so powerless, so frustrated.“
surge of anger and resentment swept over Scully.
If the road to hell is, indeed, paved with good intentions,
Maggie and Bill Scully had just built the mother of all highways.
She sniffed back tears. “I
wish I could change the last few weeks, go back, undo . . .”
don’t say it. It won’t
help or change anything. You’re
nodded, sank into his embrace for a minute before pulling away. “I
need to put something on this burn, Mulder.”
give me some ice, it hurts like hell.”
opened the freezer, grabbed a tray and popped out several cubes
“Here you go. Let’s
get you out of here and I’ll clean up this mess.”
She reached for his uninjured hand and guided him around the
to the kitchen, she found the towels and began mopping up.
God, what a mess. It
hit her suddenly as she scrubbed, the pain taking her breath away and
stilling her hands. Mulder is blind.
Oh, sweet Jesus, Mulder will never see again.
She gasped, the sobs shaking her whole body.
several more aimless swipes with the towel before his hand grabbed her
wrist, helping her up.
it, Scully. We need to
her towards the living room, pulling her down on the couch with him.
to control her tears, she looked away.
It was painful to see his once expressive eyes so dull and
lifeless. “I can’t
believe this has happened. I’m
so sorry, and I don’t know what to do, what to say.
I wish I had trusted you . . .”
listen to me. You didn’t
cause this.” Mulder
gestured at his eyes. “Jake
Freeman built that bomb and set it off.
He deliberately took the lives of his wife and kids, had probably
planned this for months. Even
if we had approached him differently, there are no guarantees that the
end result wouldn’t have been the same.
He was determined to go down as a martyr.”
looked at him, finally, the pain almost choking her.
“Those kids, Mulder, three innocent children, gone.
And your life will never be the same.”
won’t, and neither will yours or anyone else involved in this case.
It was a horrible tragedy, but don’t confuse grief with guilt.
Freeman, and to some extent his wife, made choices we had no
control over. We all wanted
this to end peaceably, for the children to be safe, but that was never
Jake Freeman’s goal.”
chose his words carefully. “Scully, we all mourn the losses suffered,
we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t, but we cannot assume that we bear
responsibility for them.”
took his injured hand, turning it over and gazing absently at the burn.
“I appreciate what you’re trying to say, but that doesn’t
absolve me from the mistakes I made.”
made mistakes on this case, and it’s easy to pass judgment now with
our perfect hindsight. But
I want you to remember that no matter what the bureau says or decides,
those mistakes did not take the lives of the children and Agent
Kotopoulis. Jake Freeman
sounds of the fish tank and Scully’s sniffles broke the silence for a
while. Finally, Mulder fumbled through the laundry piled on the
floor, eventually snagging what he hoped was a relatively clean t-shirt.
“Here, use this. Manly men don’t buy tissues.”
couldn’t suppress a bubble of laughter.
“Manly men? “
I assume you’re pointing that eyebrow at me now?”
locked and loaded.”
But I think your soup is beyond salvaging.”
problem. I’ve got the number of every decent take-out joint in the
area programmed into my phone.”
more like self defense. Have
you ever eaten Frohicke’s chili?”
Scully stir, Mulder woke and stretched, working the kinks out of his
neck and back. It had been
a stressful day for both of them, and neither had managed to summon the
energy to move from the couch.
Scully sat up groggily. “What
time is it?”
opened the face of his watch and checked the time.
“Late, it’s after two. You
don’t want to drive home at this point, do you?
You can have my bed.”
better head out, but can I borrow your car?
Byers just dropped me off and left.”
yawned. “Go ahead, it’s not like I’ll be needing it.
Keys are on the desk, I think.
What’s going on?”
got an appointment with an attorney friend tomorrow, make that today.
I need to get ready for the OPR hearing this week.”
pushing you too fast. The
doctors haven’t even cleared you yet.”
rolled her neck. “Doesn’t matter.
I’d rather face it now,
if off won’t help. And my
doctor did ok limited desk duty.”
yesterday? I’m surprised the ink had time to dry before Skinner
Moving to the kitchen, Scully rummaged through the fridge. “Wow, Mulder. The guys bought juice?”
would be Byers. And don’t
change the subject.”
took her time, filling a glass and sipping it down before answering.
“I don’t feel like talking about this now, I’m only half
awake, and really, there’s nothing to discuss.
It’s not like I have any choice.
They’re going to hang me out to dry, and you know it.”
“You can’t just give up, now, Scully, you’ve
got to fight this.”
“Why, Mulder? Even
if by some miracle they don’t let me go, we’re through. The X-files will be closed, you’ll be at Quantico, and
I’ll be God knows where.”
reached out for her. “You fight because your car eer and reputation are
worth saving. Because they’re making you their scapegoat, and that is
pure bureaucratic bullshit.”
eer and reputation are
worth saving. Because they’re making you their scapegoat, and that is
pure bureaucratic bullshit.”
pulled away. “I don’t
think I can do it, this time, Mulder.
This isn’t about conspiracies and shadow governments,
just typical cover your ass politics.”
She moved around him and found his keys.
“I’ll call you tomorrow, let you know what my attorney
reached the door and had her hand on the knob when a loud knock startled
her. Wishing she were
carrying her gun, she set the chain and cautiously opened the door a
thank God. I was worried about you.
You haven’t been home and I’ve been trying your cell all
unlatched and opened the door. “I
turned it off. How did you find me?”
a face. “Lucky guess?”
fine, whatever. “Didn’t
Mom give you my message?”
she told me you needed some time, but I’m only in town a few days.
I wanted to see how you were.”
knew she sounded bitchy, but didn’t care. “I’m fine, Bill.
glanced at Mulder, then turned back, dismissing him. “I didn’t
realize that caring enough to check up on you would cramp your style.”
it, Bill. I’m too tired for this shit.”
her tone, Bill moved to confront his sister. “What are you doing here,
Dana. I don’t get it.
From what I hear, “ he gestured at Mulder, “this albatross is
finally off your neck and you can . . .”
out, now. Leave before I say something we’ll both regret.”
clenched his fists. “Why?
You may not admit it, but we both know this is the best thing
that’s happened to you since you were assigned to this nutcase.
You’re free now, you can move on with your life and your
rage burned through her, but before she could reply, Mulder stepped
between the two. “Now
isn’t the time, Bill, we’re all tired.
Scully was just leaving, anyway.”
of a fist meeting a jaw was the only sound Scully heard as she was
thrown backwards, the weight of Mulder falling into her taking them both
loomed over them. “Stay
out of this, Mr. Mulder. My
sister doesn’t need you to answer for her.”
and in pain, Mulder ignored him and worked to untangle himself. “Does
this look as compromising as it feels, Scully?
Because I’m pretty sure that isn’t your shoulder I’m
gave up and snickered. “Let
me help you up, then we can call this in and file charges against the
livid. “Yeah, you go ahead and do that, Dana. You’re not going to be happy until you’ve destroyed the
entire family, are you? Think
name’s been all over the papers . . .”
launched himself in the direction of Bill’s voice, his momentum
carrying both of them to the floor.
“You self absorbed son of a bitch.”
Actually managing to land a punch somewhere in the vicinity of
Bill’s face, he tried to roll away before Bill could do any more
stopped and gasped as a wave of cold water washed over their faces.
Looking up, Bill saw Scully standing there, empty pitcher in
guys finished? You’re
lucky I don’t have my weapon.”
balance, Mulder struggled to stand.
“Jesus, Scully, I feel like a stray dog that got hosed for
doing the nasty.”
sighed and helped him to his feet.
“Mulder, I’ve had to deal with Bill and his attitude my
entire life, I don’t need you to defend my honor.
Next time, stay out of the way and I’ll kick his ass myself.”
stand in front of Bill, Scully crossed her arms over her chest.
“If I were you, I’d leave before the police arrive.
I’m sure the neighbors heard the ruckus. And Bill . . . stay out of my life.”
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean . . .”
bother, I’m not interested in your excuses.
And in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m no longer your pig-tailed
don’t need your protection and I definitely don’t have to put up
with your sanctimonious bullshit and meddling.”
silently a moment, staring at his sister, finally nodded and left.
her head, she turned back to Mulder.
“What am I going to do with you?”
Scully pushed him down on the couch and examined his swollen and
bruised face. “You really have a way with people, you know that?”
was the innocent one in this little foray, remember?
I was just trying to make nice.”
snorted. “Well, if tackling and punching my brother is your way of
showing you care . . .”
did manage to tag him didn’t I? Did
I land a good one?”
save me from men and their egos.”
She rolled her eyes, smiled.
“Yeah, you got him, Mulder.
I’m sure he’s going to have a tough time explaining that
shiner to Mom.”
pumped his fist in the air. “Oh, yeah.”
on, let’s get some ice on your jaw, Rocky.”
answer was cut off by the sounds of sirens approaching.
He groaned. “Oh, God, Mrs. Lebowski called the cops again.”
I not surprised? They’re
probably on a first name basis by now.”
smirked. “Too bad your brother left,
it’s going to look like a lover’s quarrel.”
He leaned in and whispered,
“I’ll tell them you’ve got a mean left hook.”
smacked his arm. “Watch
it, Mulder. I could always call Bully . . . I mean Billy back.
He’d love to finish what you started.”
knocking on the door signaled the arrival of Alexandria’s finest.
Mulder sighed. “I
think it’s your turn to do the ‘splaining’, Lucy, but make it
good. I want to come out of
this with my manly image still intact.”
him a glare, she headed for the door.
“You’re going to owe me big time, Mulder.”
grabbed the phone, answering before it could wake the others.
morning to you, too, sunshine.”
Mulder, hasn’t anyone ever told you not to call before noon?
And don’t sound so damned chipper, that’s too weird, even for
Frohike. I was calling to see if I could grab a ride from one of you
and putting on his glasses, Frohike checked a paper tacked to the wall.
“I’ve got your schedule here, and there’s no appointments
this morning. Everything
quiet a second before answering.
like to go over to the Hoover,
goes before the board today. I
think this is really going to be rough on her.”
sure you’re up to it?”
hesitated. No, he really wasn’t sure.
The only other time he’d been back in the office, Skinner had
met him and helped him up to the conference room.
And even then, he’d felt the other agents’ stares as they’d
passed, their pity almost palpable.
“No, but I’ve got to be there, Melvin. She’s my partner.”
anything for the lovely Agent Scully.
I’ll be there in a few.”
hung up and started to get ready. His
clothes had been marked so he could identify colors, and he figured any
choice of tie would be no worse than the outrageous combinations he’d
always been known for.
Finally finding his badge, he called Skinner.
Best not to show up unannounced.
time his ride was there, Mulder had thought of at least six reasons why
this was a very bad idea. Grabbing
his sunglasses and cane, he reluctantly piled into the hippie-mobile.
as I’ll ever be, I guess. Do
I look ok?”
you’re asking the wrong guy. If
you wanted fashion advice, you should have called Byers.”
You match, and your tie’s ok, I guess.
That what you wanted to hear?”
drove, he took a good look at his friend.
He’d never seen Mulder so nervous, so obviously uncomfortable.
“Are you sure about this?”
no, but keep driving. Scully
deserves better than this. The
least I can do is be there.”
think you can find you way ok? I
mean, I could help you, I guess …”
grinned at the image of Frohike wandering the halls of the Bureau.
Too bizarre to even think about, he decided.
But he knew how much it took for the paranoid geek to offer,
offices were about the upper limit of his comfort level with the Federal
that’s all right, I’ve got it.”
with any of the gunmen at the wheel was always a white-knuckle
adventure, but traffic was light, making the commute mercifully short.
Despite warnings about tow-away zones and DC cops, Frohike
double-parked and helped Mulder to the door.
Fro. I’ll call you later.”
problemo, and give my best to the ever delicious Agent Scully.”
stepped inside, the familiar buzz of sound meeting his ears,
fragments of conversations, the tap of heels on tile floors, the
underlying hum of air being circulated.
He stood, paralyzed. How
the hell did he think he was going to manage this?
on, Agent, we’ve only got fifteen minutes.”
sighed in relief at the welcome sound of Skinner’s deep baritone.
He had been unsure if the AD had gotten his message. “Let’s
from Mulder had not surprised Skinner.
That’s what partners do, watch each other’s back.
And these were two of his best.
He felt the familiar twinge of regret for his agents, for their
partnership, their careers. Neither
of their lives would ever be the same.
slowly made their way through the maze of crowded hallways, Skinner
studiously ignoring the reactions of the other agents.
He wished he could speak up, tell them all to move on, get over
it, but that was Mulder’s battle to fight.
exited the elevator, Skinner steered Mulder into a reception area.
“Wait here, Agent. Scully
should be up soon.”
chair, Mulder sat and tried to look comfortable.
He didn’t even have the distraction of flipping through
outdated magazines. Fortunately,
it wasn’t long until he heard the unmistakable rhythm of Scully’s
three-inch heels. “Scully?”
never been so happy to see him. Strong,
supportive, more than just a friend, he was the anchor she needed right
now. Scully sat beside him, gave him a kiss on his forehead.
To hell with protocol. Fuck
the bureaucrats and their tittering little spies.
you for coming, Mulder. It
means a lot to me . . .”
be anywhere else. Are you
so.” She smiled. “Fortunately,
or unfortunately, as the case may be, I’ve had a little experience
with OPR hearings.”
be great, Scully. Just tell
them the truth,
all we’ve got, all we’ve ever had.”
appeared, motioned to Scully that they were ready.
got to go, Mulder. Wait for
strode into the conference room, head held high. She was probably being lead to the slaughter, but by God,
she’d go with dignity. She
looked each of the OPR board members in the eye.
spoke first. “It’s good
to see you looking well, Agent Scully.”
your medical report was not clear on a few things.
Have you suffered any memory loss from your injuries?”
I remember events up to the day we moved in to apprehend the suspect,
but have some gaps from a few hours before the arrest until I regained
consciousness in the hospital.”
made several notes, then looked back up.
“You’re aware of the outcome of this case?”
flushed. Word had spread. “Yes,
flipped through a file and briefly scanned it
“Agent Scully, our investigation into the Jake Freeman case has
left us with a few questions. As
the AIC, perhaps you can shed some light on this.”
At Scully’s nod, he continued. “When was the decision made to
approach the suspect in his home?”
a meeting the morning of June twenty-first and received word from the
Flint P.D. that Freeman had been spotted in his trailer.
I ordered the team to move on that information immediately.”
you aware at the time that Freeman’s wife and children were also in
swallowed painfully, looked aside for a moment before answering softly.
report you stated that you were concerned about the welfare of the
children. What caused you
to come to that conclusion?”
“Jake Freeman had been described by neighbors and co-workers
as a loner and a political fanatic, and evidence suggested he was
capable of violence. Neighbors
had reported hearing numerous loud fights, though the police were never
was silent while Scully collected her thoughts.
“The children were home schooled by their mother, and on the
few occasions that they had been seen in public, were described as
almost . . . um . . . pathologically withdrawn.
Although it had never been reported, Agent Mulder believed there
was a strong possibility that the children had been victims of physical
glanced at Skinner, an obvious signal to move on.
Scully almost flinched. It
was obvious the gloves had been removed.
“Agent Scully, were you aware of Agent Mulder’s assessment
of Jake Freeman’s mental state?”
sir, I was.”
tell us why you chose to disregard that?”
knew nothing she could say now would save her.
She had suspected it would come down to this one detail, the only
one she could not defend. How
can you explain gut feelings, especially when they turn out to be so
tragically wrong. She had
listened to Mulder’s theories, but some instinct, something about Jake
Freeman, had told her he was basically a good man, disturbed,
definitely, but not the type of person who would trigger such carnage.
didn’t feel . . . I never believed that Freeman would kill himself and
his family. We knew that he
was becoming increasingly unstable and I was concerned that the pressure
would send him over the edge, but not like this.”
Scully struggled to keep her tone level and professional.
“While I respect Agent Mulder, as you know, profiling is not an
exact science. With little
evidence in support of his theories, I chose to move in to prevent what
I considered to be the more imminent and likely threat.”
voice was cool. “Thank
you, Agent Scully. I
believe you have given us the information we need.
DD Kersh will notify you when the review board has reached its
left the room quietly, and as the door closed behind her, Cassidy spoke
up. “I think this is
pretty clear cut. We need
to take immediate action. Does
anyone see any reason why Agent Scully should not be dismissed?
stared at the chair Scully had just vacated.
“She made a mistake, a bad one, obviously, but I think, to some
extent, we all share in the blame.
This was not a case for a new AIC to test their wings on.”
wasn’t buying it. “Agent
Scully isn’t a rookie,,
been with the bureau for over seven years, six of them as a field agent.
I would expect her to know how to run an investigation.”
agree. But she’s had very little experience in managing people.”
Bradfield spoke up. “Could
Mulder’s involvement have been a factor?”
Skinner started to answer, but he interrupted.
“No, hear me out, Walt. She’s
worked with him as a partner for a long time.
Then, suddenly, she’s his superior.
Could there have been problems with that?”
the other agents reported any friction.
Other than their disagreement about how to approach the suspect,
I think the team worked well together.”
Bradfield wasn’t finished.
“Perhaps she was reluctant to listen to Agent Mulder because
she’s had very little experience with him as a profiler.
She might not have respected him in that role.”
shook his head. “Agent
Scully is well aware of Mulder’s reputation.
Their partnership was not the issue.
I believe her decision to ignore his profile was based primarily
on the level of confidence she had in her own logic and instincts.”
fiddled with her pen. “Well,
I don’t believe that this speculation is going to help us reach a
decision. The fact remains,
Agent Scully exhibited a clear and fatal lack of judgment.
I see no future for her in the bureau.”
expertise has always been as a pathologist.
She’s first and foremost a scientist.”
Skinner absently rearranged the files in front of him.
“Her talents may not have served her well in this leadership
position, but it would be a waste of bureau resources to dismiss her.”
are you proposing, Walter?”
took a deep breath. He’d
gone out a limb more than once for Mulder and Scully, but he wasn’t
sure his influence would be enough this time.
“Agent Scully could be reassigned to Quantico, work full time
as a pathologist. God
knows, they could use her.”
tried to gauge the reactions of the other ADs.
“If I take this to the Director, he’s going to think we’re
protecting Agent Scully. And
he’s going to wonder why.”
Director only cares about damage control at this point.
If the AIC is suspended and permanently removed from field
status, that should appease the wolves baying at his door.
Of course, we have no assurances that Agent Scully will accept
this offer.” Skinner
was certain he wouldn’t.
paused, considering the suggestion. “Frankly,
gentlemen, I’m not sure we would be doing Agent Scully any favors.
But if no one has any objections, I’m willing to give her the
benefit of doubt and take this upstairs.”
are we doing here, Mulder?”
called a vacation, Scully. A
break from the stresses of normal life . . .”
what a vacation is,
just trying to figure out the appeal of deep fried Twinkies.
Why anyone would take junk food and dunk it in hot oil is beyond
on, live a little. You’ve
got to admit, they’re good.”
actually grateful Mulder couldn’t see her licking her fingers.
If you say so.”
was crowed with tourists, blankets spread across the sand, children
running back and forth between the cold water and their parents hovering
on the shore. Mulder and Scully strolled, her arm around his waist, his
draped over her shoulder, enjoying the sun and ocean breezes.
have you thought about their offer?”
remained quiet a moment, wishing they could just enjoy the day.
“Yeah, how about you?”
“I’m not sure, I think I need to know more about it.”
Scully slowed her pace, stopped to gaze at a child building a
sand castle. “If there
was still the possibility of teaching, of promotions, I might be
both be back at Quantico. Full
circle. Skinner told me something interesting before we left.”
waited him out.
he would try and keep the X-Files open.
New agents, of course, but he saw no reason why I couldn’t act
as a consultant on occasion.”
turned to face him. “That’s
than either of us had hoped.”
“He also mentioned that although you’d be assigned full time
to the pathology department, he was certain you would have valuable
input for those intrepid truth seekers.”
eyebrow, she smiled. “Those
were his exact words?”
he might not have called them exactly that, but you get my point.”
her arm back around him, they resumed walking.
“So, you’re tempted then?”
am. Of course, it would sweeten the pot if I knew you’d be
said nothing, and Mulder sensed an uncomfortable truth.
“I’m sorry, Scully. I
didn’t mean to pressure you. I
understand that you need to do whatever is best for you.”
ok. I’m just not sure right now what I want.
When I first joined the bureau, I thought I could make a
difference, change the world.” She
gave a small laugh. “Pretty
“No, a little idealistic maybe . . .”
quote someone near and dear to me, ‘potayto, potahto.’“
both know that person is a very wise man.”
Billy always was the brightest bulb in the pack.”
almost choked. “Bill?”
Scully put her free hand on his chest.
“What, you thought I meant you, Mulder?”
a mean woman, Agent Scully.”
I’ve been told.” She
paused a moment before continuing.
“Mulder, there’s nothing I’d like more than to work with
you, but I have to consider all my options.
If I’m the bureau pariah . . .”
thinks of you that way. Hell,
you worked with Spooky for six years¾if
that didn’t tarnish your reputation, nothing will.”
rumor has it that in certain circles, I have become known as ‘Mrs.
Spooky’, so your point may not be well taken.”
I think I’m flattered. But
seriously, Scully, you know that the science geeks live in a completely
separate world within the bureau. They
don’t give a rat’s ass what happens out in the field.”
couldn’t suppress a small snort.
“Well, I’ll try not to take offense at that one.”
intended. But you know what I mean.
They’re on a separate track for promotions, and just between
you and me,” he leaned a little closer, “they’re, um, how to say
this politely . . . they’re kind of isolated socially.”
handed you a shovel, do you think you could dig a deeper hole?”
I’ll be quiet, now.”
walked a few more minutes, until finally, Mulder slowed down.
“Ready to head back? I
know a great Chinese place where we could grab dinner.”
be interested, if I ever come out of this sugar coma.”
Scully gently directed him towards the parking lot.
“Mulder, I hope this works out, you deserve so much better than
what’s happened to you.”
you, but whatever happens, we’ll be fine.”
for the car, she finally spotted it and unlocked the doors.
“You think so?”
He slipped into the passenger seat and put on his belt.
“We’re survivors, Scully.
This isn’t the first shitty hand we’ve been dealt.
And look at us,
you ever get tired, though, Mulder?
Don’t you ever feel like just giving up?”
time. But that’s when I turn to you, draw on your strength.”
pulled out unto the highway and headed for West Tisbury.
“We are quite a team, aren’t we?”
cartons of Chinese take out and dirty dishes littered the table.
Grabbing another bottle of iced tea from the fridge, Mulder made
his way onto the front porch. “Join
right there.” She finished cleaning up and went out to sit on the porch
swing with him. Fireflies
lit up the yard, reminding her of summers spent at her Grandmother’s
home when she was a child.
beautiful, here, Mulder. We
usually lived in base housing, which wasn’t bad for an officer’s
family, but it was nothing compared to this.”
this was just my Dad’s house,
split my time between here and Greenwich.
Home was Chilmark, that’s where most of my memories are.
But the Vineyard is beautiful.
Sometimes I think I might like to come back”
This was a
side of Mulder she had rarely seen.
His childhood had been such a train wreck, she seldom heard him
reminisce. But there had
obviously been many happy memories, and it shouldn’t come as a
surprise that he thought about returning home someday.
never sold his house . . .”
I still have the summer place in Rhode Island.
Drives my lawyer nuts.” He
grinned at her.
stalled a minute, trying to gather up her courage.
She wasn’t at all sure how to bring the subject up, or even if
she should. Both of them had trouble being open and honest with each
other about their feelings “Mulder, I’ve been thinking . . .”
does that phrase always strike terror in my heart?”
smiled. “Shut up, Mulder. You’re
not making this easy.”
serious, he waited for her to continue.
this sounds, um, kind of sudden, and maybe I’m out of line, here.”
say it, Scully.”
thinking that it would be nice if you moved in with me.
I mean, why pay for two apartments, and transportation is an
issue right now."" . .”
He put two
fingers on her lips. “Stop.”
she flushed, tried to figure a way to salvage the situation.
God, could she have misread him that badly?
her face in his hands. “You know I love you, right?”
know there is nothing I’d like more than to spend my life with you?”
quiet, sensing what he was going to say next.
right now, Scully, my life is so fucked up. I need to know that I can go
it alone, be independent, before I can commit to anyone.
If I don’t do that, I’m going to forever feel like I’m a
burden. That you
took me in out of pity.”
not why I’m suggesting this, Mulder, you know how I feel about you.
I was just hoping that the time had come when we’d finally be
able to take the next step. We
don’t have to worry about the bureau anymore, I’m sure they no
longer care about our relationship.”
She paused a moment. “You know, Bill may have been right about one thing.”
that hard to believe.”
laughed. “Well, he can be a real ass, but when he was at your
apartment, he said I was finally free.
He meant of you, of course, and he couldn’t have been more
wrong about that. But in a
way, I do feel free.”
frown, she took his hands. “No,
let me finish. What I
feel is free to live our lives without the constant scrutiny of those
who want to take us down. Free
to choose our own path.”
about her words before answering. “You
know I can’t give up on the conspiracy, don’t you?
I may not have the X-Files, but I’ll never be able to just let
and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When we do continue this investigation, though, it will be done
informally, outside of the bureau mainstream.
That will be different, easier in some ways, I think.”
chewed on his lip, thinking. “This
may be the most difficult thing I’ve ever said, Scully, but I think I
need time before we take such a big step.
I want this, I really do, but I need . . .
I need to feel like a whole person before I have anything left to
you, to anyone.”
she understood all too well. Needing
independence and time to heal were certainly feelings she could relate
to. “I’m sorry for pushing you.
I just thought . ..”
don’t apologize. Just
promise me we’ll have this conversation again in a few months.”
she leaned her head on his shoulder.
“Bet on it.”
Mulder’s guilt is a common thread in fan fiction, but I’ve
read very little about how Scully might react to similar feelings.
I decided I wanted to explore that premise. Several episodes of
the series implied that Scully may not always have been the best judge
of character, so I took that and ran with it.
This was not intended in any way to be Scully bashing. I realize
Mulder and Scully are both flawed characters, which is why I love
them so much. My apologies
to the Maggie Scully fans,
realize my take on her is very different than many of yours.
I know I’m asking you to suspend your disbelief on a few issues, so work with me here. <g> And last, but certainly not least, I’m sure I made a lot of mistakes in this, so please bear with me. I would have really preferred to have written this as two separate stories, one from each perspective, but I’m just not that talented. I have enough trouble with exposition as it is. <BG>