Title: Natiruvaaq (Drifting snow)

Author: ?

Rated: Strong R for some  bad words , strong imagery and occasional violence.

Category: MT, Mulder Angst, Scully Angst. Case file X

Summary: Lost in the woods.  He tried to cut through the fog that left his mind in a painful vice. So many questions and images leeched through his brain but somehow it was like something brutal had invaded his mind and tidied them up, hiding them away so he couldn’t locate the answers. 

 Archive: Mulder's Refuge, then Gossamer, Ephemeral. If anyone else wants it, please ask. 

Feedback: After the contest votes are in. We all love feedback.

Disclaimer: Mulder, Scully, any other characters are mine, and The X-Files belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen, and Fox Studios. Mo money made; no copyright infringement intended. 

Author's Note: Rising to Mulder's Refuge Challenge for September, Head's up September challenge. Some place names are real but The town and national park names are made up Some of the Inuit and Sioux folklore is accurate and some is a mixture from the character's POV. No offence intended.

Natiruvaaq  *Inuit for drifting Snow.*

I am the weaver of dreams.
I am the dream keeper.
I gently walk thru your sleep
and place visions in your heart.
I travel on soft night winds
thru the land of Dream Spirits.
I protect you while you sleep.
I am the Guardian Spirit...
the Guardian of your dreams...

Inuit poem.


He awoke to an icy embrace and an upside down view of white and brown expanse.  Soft flakes like baby kisses fell against eyes that refused to focus, making him blink. A chill wind howled like a demon in his ears and stirred the drifting snow, blasting his hot cheeks with a million icy bites. He shivered right down to his marrow and gasped, suddenly overwhelmed, the freezing pillows of snow beneath his back trying to meld by osmosis with his skin. 

Little by little the pain announced its hold on him in just about every molecule of his body. Like the slow burn of the sun as it traverses the great divide of mountains; slowly, silently; there for the duration. Lighting him up not with warmth, but with agony.  

He did burn now. Every muscle and fiber ached with intensity that the silent crystalline tears of snow could not extinguish as they settled on fevered cheeks. 

Agony had built a fortress in his head and refused him entry when he tried to gather his thoughts. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t permeate the relentless pain as he was catapulted back to semi awareness. The air smelled of snow and death, wild birds circled somewhere above the snow laden tree canopy calling out a plaintive cry of desperation. Then silence; just his galloping heartbeat echoing back off the trees. 

He blinked once, then twice but his sight stubbornly remained in a blurred reality, shafts of winter light stabbing his eyes with a wild dance of colors. He couldn’t even think of his own name. 

Shaking fingers moved slowly across his face until they reached his hairline. It was then that he realized that he had a head, somehow the deep penetrating ache made him wonder dizzily why it was still attached to his shoulders. However he ended up here had involved pinballing off of something hard and unyielding. A tree, maybe a boulder, whatever he’d hit on the way down had shared his spilled blood when it split open his temple. 

What was that sickening smell? Gasoline? Smoke?  Nothing wrong with his olfactory senses at least, they confirmed that pervasive smell of trouble, imminent danger lurking over the damp woodsy loam and sharp tang of snow. 

Danger! Danger Will Robinson!

 A mad little voice squeaked urgently in his head and a congested chuckle eased its way out of his chest.  

As he felt braver, he tried to obey the screaming lunatic inside his head and get up. Easier said than done as his arms and legs flailed helplessly in the frigid air, uncoordinated and divorced from the signals his brain sent out.   The struggle left him breathless and panting, ribs on fire like someone’s boot had used them like a xylophone.   

Something warm and sticky washed over his face promptly followed by a tribal dance starting up in his chest; he was in possession of a heart too, his rational side pushed through to inform him. 

He tried to cut through the fog that left his mind in a painful vice. So many questions and images leeched through his brain but somehow it was like something brutal had invaded his mind and tidied them up, hiding them away so he couldn’t locate the answers.  

A sudden teeth chattering shudder slid the ground out from under him, rolling him onto his front with his ass up in the air.  Spitting out a cocktail of snow and pine needles, he almost threw up and his shaking fingers slid forward and connected with a tree. His eyes carefully sought the sky, blinking against the growing silent blizzard, resting on the tree he had landed against initially. It loomed over him like a sentinel of doom, its gnarled winter-bare arms outstretched like claws as if it wanted to reclaim him and crush him into the bark.  Its thousand-year-old growth companions stood dense and foreboding around him.    

At least now he was on his front and not upside down. He had the feeling he often ended up in undignified positions, and this time was no exception. The show drift tickling the end of his nose looked like an inviting pillow. Somewhere to lay down and sleep. He so badly wanted to sleep. Shut out this wintry nightmare and rest.  

No you can’t!  Concussion, concussion! Her voice reached him through the sharp updraft of wind rustling through the branches. The azure of her eyes reached like warm fingers right into his heart, cracking the ice forming around it. His drooping eyelids sprung open.  She called to his soul but her name wouldn’t come…her lips , her body wrapped around his, her gentle touch and birdsong laugh as she stroked his back…but not her name. 

Scu….Scu… he choked back a sob but the whispers of truth were snatched away on a tide of bitter wind, the rise of bile surging upwards in his throat.   

Great fat tears slid into the snow with a frosty hiss, alongside the fascinating patterns his blood spatters made as they marred the purity of the drifts beneath his face.  He probed one with a numb finger, the ruby stains sinking deep towards the forest floor.  He was alone, fundamentally frighteningly alone.  And the forest mocked his predicament.  

His present position afforded him a flicker of warmth from somewhere off to his left side. Then a sudden flash of noise and light that made his heart trip over.  Something that danced a riot of orange and red across his defective vision, and sent him into a coughing fit. His body knew enough to panic without his brain’s consent and shifted him violently away and into a new frightening dimension of hurt, but far enough away from the growing heat. 

 Or was it? 

He craned his neck around, slowly, slowly; because slowly was probably the buzzword of the day.  Something was burning fiercely now, the plumes of smoke and flame reaching higher to that elusive gap in the trees to choke out the light, popping and cracking as it fed on the hungry snow filled air that whipped it up and fanned it towards him.   

His fear of fire was a sleeper rudely awoken and threatening to overwhelm him as he realized his hair, his clothes were drenched in gasoline. He had to get further away or go up like a tinderbox.  Haunted flashes of another fire raced through his mind. Smoke, screaming kids, a mask over his face and her worried eyes full of compassion and kindness…her eyes…. 

So far from him now ……     

Move. Breathe. Move. Breathe. Move, move, move. Arm over arm, pulling his belly through the snow, ignoring the grating shift of ribs in his chest and the wheezing from lack of air, knees bent, drag, pull, repeat, right knee, left knee, on and on……  all of him on auto pilot, devoid of direction , ignoring the rising agony….. 

 ‘Just get away, got to…..’ 

He hit fresh air and rolled down an incline, tumbling over rocks and drifts, low branches tearing at his face and any exposed skin. He held his breath detached himself from reason and repercussion of pain.  It seemed like eternity before his heart started beating again…and at the precise moment when a tree-shaking boom exploded mercifully long behind him, feeling a shower of earth and snow pelting him in the next. He lay still for a long time.  

The sun was in a different position when he woke again. It was brighter through the now trickling snow and hung low through the trees. A thick layer of snow covered every inch of him like a shroud and he half sneezed, half brushed if from his face. He was wet through and feverish, the rest of him like a human Popsicle.  Somehow through his exodus from a fiery death, his body had scrambled one way and his knee had tried to go in the other direction. It hurt like the fucking devil and took his breath away when he tried in vain to move it. Something warm and sticky pooled around the inside of his jeans and for the first time he let forth a barrage of profanity. A compound fracture to add to all his other bodily woes was just what he needed.  He shut his eyes to the worsening pain and just let his body calm down.  

A crinkling in his pocket caught his attention and his fingers closed over a packet of some kind. Sunflower seeds, his brain told him. When was the last time he’d eaten? And who the fuck ate sunflower seeds? 

He lifted one to his mouth experimentally and bit down on the shell, cracking it. His tongue lifted the salty kernel out and chewed, then he spat the shell away. It wasn’t much but the salt might sustain him a little. For liquid refreshment, his cup runneth over; he could always swallow some snow.  ‘Just make sure none of it is yellow’, a disturbed chuckle somewhere inside his brain pointed out. He grinned to himself then, but his cold chapped face made that hurt and he quickly stopped, stuffing a palmful of soft flakes in his mouth instead and sucking on them. He thought he might leave a trail with shells for whomever, if anyone might be searching for him, but figured that the way it was snowing again would soon disappear any of the tiny shells.  

He had to get out of here.  The sun set in the west and that’s the way he would go. He had no idea what was that way but there was a vague notion that it felt right. Maybe he’d get lucky and find a hunters cabin or bivouac.  He’d be handicapped by his ribs and broken leg of course, not to mention his head felt like it had entered an expanding warp bubble and he couldn’t focus well, but those were the least of his worries. He had to keep on the move or freeze to death. He reckoned he had a few hours of daylight left if that, but it was rough estimate with the gray mist and heavier snow flurries descending down through the trees.  

 Animals, predators. That was another consideration that came to mind.  He was a sitting duck for anything lurking about with claws that fancied a convenient snack. The last thing he wanted was to shuffle off his mortal coil as a grizzly’s ‘Happy meal’ and have his demise immortalized as a case file on the Animal planet channel. As to where he was, he was completely clueless, or indeed how he even got here. And what the fuck had exploded?  He hoped it would all come back to him, sooner rather than later, anything that might give him some clues as to who he was or how he could get out of here.   

A sudden noise behind had him reaching towards his jeans belt.   

‘I carry a gun,’ he realized with a sudden slither of clarity. ‘But where is it?’  Something large was lumbering on the incline above him, crunching through the undergrowth and sniffing the ground. He dared not breathe, not for a second and kept stock still, his heart bouncing painfully against his cracked ribs.  As quickly as it came the sound receded into the distance and he left out his breath in a wordless gasp that at least this time he wouldn’t be the toy prize.   

Despite his best efforts to remain awake and alert, his eyelids won their battle to close.  He drifted off to the soft padding of snow against his parka and the erratic thumping of his heart.  

He never heard the distant chopping of the helicopter blades in the distance as they pushed their way through the early evening storm like a silver angel of mercy. 

Something startled him awake and he suddenly found himself on all fours. He coughed and tested forward momentum. He cursed himself for sleeping and felt a sudden chill at the realization that he’d woken up at all under the precarious circumstances. The final slithers of a nightmare clung to his senses and he wondered if the vivid feeling that something had touched his face in the night was part of that, or was real.  He’d never know if the snow had been disturbed around him, a fresh layer inches thick had covered up all but his startled thrashing as he woke up. He did a quick check that none of his limbs had been gnawed off while he’d been unconscious; being so cold he could barely feel anything. 

He scratched at his face absently as he lurched forward in the snow, his fingers splayed in the frozen drifts in front of him. They were almost blue but he was oddly divorced from feeling cold. A nagging voice told him that he must be suffering from hypothermia or frostbite by now…hurried along by shock and blood loss.  He only had a few seeds left to keep his blood sugar up, but the rest of his injuries would soon shut him down and that would be a moot point anyway.  

Slowly he worked his way through chest high drifts, feeling the bite of cold through his thin shirt, his parka was torn open, offering him very little sanctuary of saving body heat.  The raging wind was drying the moisture on his skin in a chill caress all the way through him. Sometimes his vision doubled and wigged out altogether as he pushed further and further through the forest, his useless leg limp and throbbing, pointing at an oddly sickening angle and dragging a bloody furrow behind him. A dinner call to every hungry predator around, he mused bitterly.   

His belly and arms did most of the work when he couldn’t manage to stand and before long he gave up trying. He stuck to crawling. or dragging his body along.  It was easier to rest if he needed to, being closer to the ground.  A deep shudder threw him forward again but his left knee hit a concealed rock and he saw bright sparks dance before his eyes. It was then that the howl of a dying animal rent the freezing mist that clung to the trees.   

Much later he would realize that it had torn from his own raw throat and that another pair of eyes tracked his arduous journey.  

His head was bleeding again when he came to next time and there was something else; the ice-cold bite and click of metal against the pulse point under his jaw.  

“Don’t fuckin move FBI!”   

A hefty boot impacting his side threatened the integrity of his ribs again, making him gasp and he flinched at the sound of the gun being cocked. A Sig, his inner voice wailed despairingly. Probably his own.   


Fear swept away the remaining curtains of confusion, the pain in his skull reached a new high point but several starling moments of clarity followed.  

 Can you die now?  

He almost smiled at an old ghost from Deadhorse, so long ago. 

What was he doing out here again?  -----Oh yes-a perp. Child killer of Tailspin, North Dakota. A one-horse shithole in a small valley surrounded on all sides by pine forest and mountains. Great. Nothing like having it all come back to him at the business end of his own weapon and a flood of adrenalin.   

So he was an FBI agent; still couldn’t recall his damn name but the rest was astonishingly clear.  In some half assed moment of dutiful madness he had hopped aboard a snow mobile and took off into the boondocks at breakneck speed in pursuit of one Cleetus Ray Proudfoot, leaving his partner in a hail of frozen mist.  The fact that he’d never driven one before seemed so insubstantial at the time, and was lost in the desire to catch the slippery son of a bitch before he murdered he last victim, still missing. 

He realized that this hadn’t been one of brighter ideas, both the snow mobile or the lack of armed backup. Sent by the VCU while kicking their heels for a suitable X file case, they had flown to the inhospitable North Dakota hinterland where they quickly made headway on the gruesome results of the killer.  The profile had taken him only days to complete but the subsequent gun battle in the town’s hotel where the perp was holed up had left 2 agents badly wounded and several local cops dead.  

A joint screw up by the local cops and foot dragging by local Native American council, on which whose sacred land the killer had gone to ground. It was said he was part Inuit; originally from Western Canada and skilled in evasion and tracking. He could survive all winter in the dense valleys and mountains of the Eaglespur National Forest. This might be their only window of opportunity to catch him. He’d hardly slept since he’d read the file. 

The child cases always tore at his soul.  In his mind’s eye he saw only the broken bodies of the tortured children, twisted unnaturally and daubed in their own blood with some kind of deranged shamanic symbolism, for reasons best know to the killer. He was making a point from some mutated sense of his faith and escalating. He’d killed 12 children so far and two days ago had dragged away another.  He was like a spirit that vanished in the dark of night, no one saw or heard him and he left barely a trace. Some locals had finally spotted him covered in blood on trails in the woods on the edge of town and that’s when they’d had a breakthrough.   

He’d take them to a place he held sacred; even though he was a transplanted native and it was there he killed them, taking a body part from each child to send back to the earth in some ritualistic perversion. Later dumping them back near the local mayor’s many business interests in Turnpike, indicating his anger at the growing town and sway from the old values of his spiritualism, and what he saw as a defiling of the forest itself when plans had been announced for a new dam to service the local towns. The last victim had been the Mayor’s youngest daughter. He was also the Sheriff. 

 Although he hated to think it, that last kidnapping had been the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced the hand of the Local native Sioux councils of Knife River and Bismarck to grant Federal access.   

 The delay for permission had been interminable. Mulder hadn’t waited, and gone off ahead to run him to ground.  By now the task force would have been mustered but that wasn’t going to do him any good, or Melody Swenson, Proudfoot’s last victim.  

“ Get up FBI.” A kick to his bad leg made him double over, head first in the snow. “ Storms getting worse and I have some unfinished business.”  The Inuit hissed and then spat something out in his own language.  Something hit the side of Mulder's head and he flinched at the pain. When he looked down he was staring at his own FBI wallet and ID.  

Special Agent, Fox William Mulder. So that was his name.  

“For a Fox you’re not a very good Scout….”  Demented laughter bounced off the surrounding peaks as he watched his injured hunter struggle against the pain in his leg.  

"F…found you didn’t I? And you are not a very good native.  You know karma is a bitch.”  Mulder finished on a cough. “Where’s the girl.  ….She still alive? She better be. They are going to hunt you down like a dog, You do know that don’t you? Give yourself up and release the girl. Do one decent thing in your whole fucking life.” Mulder coughed at the end of his angry tirade. He was sick and hurt and just about out of patience for following his psychologist training. 

Another chuckle, this time by his ear. The Inuit killer's breath smelled of incense and bad teeth. The gun pushed further into the throbbing flesh of his neck. Squinting, Mulder could see he also had a sawn off shotgun tied to his belt. A stained red lumberjack shirt and jeans was all he wore. Steel capped high boots, which found their way into his ribs again when he didn’t move. Mulder coughed up blood; horror creasing his face as he watched it spatter all over the snow and his hands.  

“ I found you Foxy boy. Who the hell do think shot out your tank.  I had your number. Seen you skimming along like fuckin Luke Sky- Walker on his Speedo.  All official like.  This place is haunted you know, by my ancestors and my fellow Native American’s ancestors. All one tribe in the dreamtime. The winds hold their soul and very soon you will meet them. Folk round here will learn not to fuck with us.”  

“You wait till they get a load of what you have done to their sacred ground. Do you think that somewhere in your twisted fucking mind that they will be benevolent after you killed all these kids on their burial plains? I’ve been in your head, this isn’t about the dying forest or contractors cutting down ancient forest, or some other dip shit reason that in your mind sanctions your lust for cutting up little girls. I…”  Cleetus laughed again and his boot sank into Mulder’s mouth, spraying blood all over both of them.  “I …guess you don’t care for the truth Tonto,” he spat out bits of twig and blood, and tried to catch his failing breath. 

 Although winded and silenced momentarily, the agent lifted two bloodshot eyes to meet the evil in the other man's face.  Whatever personal mission he had been on, the guy’s sense of reasoning was on another planet. Some beef he had with growing expansionism and destruction of Indian lands had tipped his mind over the edge of sanity, blurring reason and decency. This wasn’t about some altruistic concern for sacred burial places. This was about his own twisted demons and evil radiated from his every pore.    

"She's gone, you stupid sanctimonious cop...slit her up good and I'll do the same to you before I let the spirits have you."

“You deranged bastard…..no!”   Cleetus's tooth empty mouth curled into a grin of realization that the other man heart had dropped to his boots in defeat. Suddenly seizing him by the hair, he dragged him along a rough track deeper into the precipitous haunted mansions of the forest.    

Mulder mourned silently for another lost child. There was fresh blood and blond hairs coating the burley native’s hunting knife and it clung like a thick red indictment to his jeans.   

His other thoughts turned to Scully, her memory thankfully and clear but bittersweet, the love they had only begun to explore. Her lips, her touch and the soft whisper of her voice in the night, calming his fears and soothing his night terrors.  How pissed she would be to find his snow logged decimated body.  

‘I love you Scully…you will never know how sorry I am for this ultimate ditch.’ 

His body was shutting down. He couldn’t feel his feet anymore and the chances that a rib had pierced through a lung had quadrupled with his captor’s last vicious assault, and the way he kept spewing up blood. His hair was being yanked out by the roots as he was dragged without care through the dense undergrowth, hitting logs and rocks. There was a mist around them that seemed unnatural, swirling, frigid, howling like the cry of a hawk or at times, an almost subliminal murmur that sounded like   Wakanpi…, wakampi,….over and over in his brain as he was being dragged off to his certain death.  Cleetus kept mumbling on as only the truly insane can about sun dances and chanting loudly to something he called Natiruvaaq. A sick plea or soliloquy he hoped would appease the ancient ones.  

Mulder realized from his research into Sioux burial grounds and folklore when preparing his profile that the Sun Dance was one of the most important ceremonies. Sun Dancers pierced the flesh on their breasts or backs with wooden skewers. The ends of these skewers were attached, with leather thongs, to the top of the Sun Dance Pole. Sun dancers would blow on special eagle-bone whistles and pull the thongs until the skewers tore loose.  

At the Sun Dance, holy men would seek visions and perform self-laceration. Self-laceration and other similar practices were regarded as a type of offering of one's flesh and blood to the Wakan Tanka…or Great spirit….and he thought with some alarm that he was  doomed for something similar that transposed into Inuit styled torture. The last remake of that weird film starring Richard Harris, 'A man called Horse' ..or Mulder in this care. Natiruvaaq he’d recognized, had some kind of connection to snow, of which the Inuit had at least 31 permutations of words for. Was this how those kids died?  

‘I’m sorry Scully’ he swallowed convulsively as his head lolled against a thick branch, threatening to plummet him back into unconsciousness. He was haunted by all the visions of her abductions, her brushes with death at the hands of Duane Barry, Donnie Pfaster , Gerry Schnauz, Tooms and the shadowy men of the consortium. They were always on the edge of something, never allowed to grab those illusive strands of happiness that sometimes dangled in front of them.  

His eidetic mind played it all back to him, his own near death experiences; Deadhorse, Tunguska, Arecibo, the vile tobacco beetles devouring his lungs and the indignity of accelerated ageing on a Norwegian ghost ship, all these images swirled round him in the roiling mist almost like it was a living thing surrounding them both and he prayed that Scully would go on and stay safe in his absence…but more than ever, he wished to see her face again, place his lips one last time against her soft smile. He could almost hear her voice carried to his ears on the wind and his heart cried again for her absence.   

Whacking a particular rough piece of ground tore his shirt open and a sharp stick dug a gauge in his now exposed chest. He shrieked for his mad nemesis to stop and tried to catch his breath. There was a cave up ahead and some kind of pyre. Not Fire, his galloping heart begged him. Oh god… 

He was too out of it to see what happened next but the whirlwind seemed to gain form in front of them, barring the entrance to the cave, Mulder gasped at the eye that glared out of the freezing wall of mist almost like it was a living entity. It suddenly shot forward and barreled into them both, knocking Cleetus off center until he lost his footing down a small bank. Mulder hear him scream out to his gods as he hurtled out of sight, the entity of snow and wind screaming after him, splitting in two and breaking away under some weird mitosis to hurtle after him. The cries resonated down the valley and he was distantly aware of flapping winds, violently swaying pines and a strong voice calling. He opened his eyes amidst all the turmoil until they rested on something that made his heart jump with joy. 

The gun, Mulder’s mind yelled at his broken body, as he suddenly spied his weapon protruding from the snowy outcrop where Cleetus had vanished. Summoning all his remaining strength he fought his way through the funnel of freezing blizzard that howled like a tornado around his head, and gratefully closed numb fingers over the barrel. Another deep breath had him seizing it despite barely feeling it and holding it up haphazardly in his dizziness in case Cleetus came back.  Expecting the murderous lunatic to suddenly reappear from the canyon at any second. The sound like a great flapping bird and approaching horses hooves on frozen ground grew louder and he coughed at the fresh fear that engulfed him, his head fell back to the packed frozen earth and his body seemed to collapse in on itself as adrenalin started to flee, slipping finally into unconsciousness just as he heard her voice one last time.   

“ Mulder? C’mon G-man, It’s me. Come on , open those gorgeous eyes..Jesus.. Give me some oxygen here.  He’s hypothermic and in shock. God there's blood all over him. Where’s that IV? Mulder? Can you hear me. …….Jesus what’s that….. ? “  Scully pointed a way through the trees as the whirlwind of icy flakes receded and then vanished on a chuckle of wind. Mulder was in her arms now and her colleagues were working on him. Several paramedics, fought to stabilize his breathing and Scully’s attention was soon back on her injured partner and the split second notion that she’d just seen the ghost of a buffalo vanish into the trees was forgotten for the moment.    

"I'm right here Mulder, just squeeze my hand. It's okay...you're going to be ok. He's gone he can't hurt you anymore." Her hand were all over him, soft fingers gentling making an inventory of his latest raft of bodily misfortune, while she murmured soft reassurances and whatever comfort she could give him. 

He opened one battered eye, barely able to stay focused on her face. He almost cried when he saw her beautiful face. ".....The girl...Sculleeh.."

Bismarck District Hospital. ND.

The following day. 2.19 PM.    

“ A snow globe Scully? You shouldn’t have. “  She grinned as she leaned over and kissed him, mindful of his cracked and bruised lips.  They both smiled as her fingers brushed his when he shook the little trinket and watched the swirling snow settle on the tiny bear at the bottom of the Scene encased within. He'd woken again after several hours of emergency surgery after being rushed to the ER the night before. All things considered, he hurt like hell but was fairly comfortable. And a 100% improved now that Scully was perched on the end of his bed, ready to sooth his many hurts. 

“ My very own Snowman is on the mend. How are you feeling Mulder?” He adored the way her fingers ruffled through his hair, even if his head felt like it had been used for target practice.  A Mulder kilowatt smile beamed out of the raft of bruises that currently decorated his face.  

 “ Well apart from multiple broken bones, waking up this morning on a respirator and the gazillion pine needle holes in my ass, not to mention the loss of my retainer on that snowmobile, pretty stoked.  How is the girl?”  

“Umm….You must let me check out your gluteus maximus once your ribs are felling better.”  She rubbed his good arm and then looked serious for a moment. “ Melody is fine…or soon will be. Mainly just shaken up, hungry scared and dehydrated. A long haul of counseling and the support of her family hopefully will help her put the ordeal behind her. Might take a lot longer. Teenagers are resilient. We can but hope.  She lost a lot of people she knew. You saved her life Mulder.  Her whole family send you their thanks and said they will be up to see how you are in a day or so. Our friend Cleetus, who by the way we found wrapped around a tree with no bone left intact, at the bottom of a ravine, was so busy stalking you through the woods that he delayed killing her. If you hadn’t have ditched me when you did and gone off like Luke Skywalker on his Speedo….what?” 

Mulder’s face was pulled into a sour cringe. His ribs and legs were killing him and he did need a fresh infusion of pain meds but that wasn’t what made him grimace. “ You’re the second person in 24 hours to describe me that way. I don’t think I will ever watch Star Wars again. Or go for a nice trek in the woods.”    

“Or ditch me? Thanks for that too. Don’t think I’ve forgotten the punishment for that I promised you. We talked about this before remember? Several times in fact.   He let out a defensive chuckle, his eyes shifting color as his eidetic memory served him well once more. He gave her a sudden provocative look, as much as his chapped snow burned features would allow.  

“ Or ditch you Agent Scully. I promise, Indian guide’s honor,” he held his bandaged left hand awkwardly over his heart. The irony of that statement not lost on him. “ And I will hold to you that punishment if it includes a 5 star room with ensuite and satin sheets, chilled champagne and you naked in my arms. Just as soon as I blow this pop stand. How did ya find me anyhow?” His eyes twinkled in the low light of the room as he beckoned her closer.  

"I think you owe Frohike free cheeseburgers for the next month. The last time you had a  sleepover at the gunmen's, they had the foresight to put GPS in your watch and your cell phone. Early Christmas gift to me for all those times you get an attack of Mulder wanderlust. The Hendrickson case where you were lost at sea in a kayak comes to mind. Don't think I could go through another one like this though. You are lucky we found you at all. Your watch came was found somewhere on the trail near the wreck of the speeder. The strap was broken. We just followed the blood trail after that."

"As much as I ought to kick their asses for tampering with my Rolex, yeah, you're right. I guess I really do owe them something. Hopefully my enforced lodgings here will give me time to think up something exceptional."  he sighed at feeling comfortable and dry again and in the presence of the woman he loved, his fingers going up to explore the gash near his hairline that had been neatly stitched. Luckily for him, despite that abuse his head had suffered rapidly on this last fun hike, he'd managed to get away with a hairline fracture. he wouldn't be heading any basket balls for a while and desk duty was a given for the next few months. Still he could spend those months making up to Scully and giving her a good time for once. What was a little plaster caste between lovers? 

Her fingers closed over his and she gave him an long suffering roll of her eyes. "Don't touch it, stop picking at it, its all sewn up ands neat as a button so none of that brilliant mind of yours will fall out."

"But it itches." 

"Well stop it or I'll have to but some of those mittens like newborns wear to stop them scratching their faces with their nails."

"Well hold off on the mittens, just get me some more seeds. besides," he waggled his eyes at her, "I have the best pacifier of all."

Scully gave him her best smile, one that said she was glad he was alive but he was going to pay for that last ditch.  

Even sick and battered he managed to look sexy, damn him. And he had forgone the usual hospital gown in deference to running a slight fever. Resting comfortably against a stack of white pillows he managed to look devastating as her eyes drifted over exposed parts of him and the quiet beauty of his eyes. She literally believed he could bounce back from anything, hard to believe he’d been circling the drain just a few hours…a life time ago as it seemed, when he’d been life-flighted here. In shock tachycardic and loosing so much blood, concussed and posturing the way a brain injury usually presents, not to mention half frozen from exposure.  She never thought he'd come through the surgery.

“ When you feel better…. Sounds good. That leg may take some time to heal.” Scully flushed and was quiet for a moment, playing with edge of his bed sheets, listening to his heart beating strong and even on the monitor above him. Mulder suddenly realized the same thing she did.  They had nearly lost each other again. All joking aside, he knew it was the last time he could hare off into the wide blue yonder without her by his side to watch his back.  He took her hand and raised it to his lips, kissing each of her fingers gently. He watched her eyes fall sadly on his bruises, his casted broken leg and the thick webbing supporting his devastated ribcage and felt every sorrow she felt at what she had gone through while he was lost on the mountain. “You know I love you Mulder. I couldn’t bear to loose you now, not in the face of all we have yet to explore with each other.” 

“ I love you too, more than you could ever know or I can express and I’m sorry Scully. For taking off like an impatient jackass.  I thought I was doing the right thing…  All I…all I could think about while I was trapped out there freezing and bleeding to death was you. You kept me whole, sane through all that agony. I didn’t even know who I was after crashing the snowmobile. I sensed you with me though, even though I couldn’t remember much. I was scared the head injury would rob me of everything I’d knownn, even my own name. But most of all I knew you were out there somewhere. And I would move hell and high water to find you again. What he did to me. I know I saved the girl but look what I put you through. Again….” His eyes lowered to an interesting spot in his lap then, and she knew what he was going to say next. As surely as she could see into his gentle heart.  You will probably take out your gun and shoot me for this but I want to go back out there Scully. Before we go back to DC. I…I saw something….I..” 

“An X file Mulder? ” She let her eyes close and her forehead touched his slightly fevered one, her hand smoothing over his two day old stubble, stroking under his jaw with careful fingers.   

“Something…I’m not sure what it was, manifested. …It saved my worthless ass. A spirit maybe…I saw something…”   

 She put a soft finger lightly to his lips to silence him and he let himself fall into the spell of her loving blue gaze, the love they had just begun to share reflected back in his hazel ones.    

“ You might need an Squaw Guide….I saw something too…..”

The end.




Yes, I have danced with the wind...
the wind and I frolick
in fields of sunshine and tall grass.
We make dandelion spirits fly to the heavens
and watch as they gently returned to earth.
my wind and I are strong.
We danced headlong to unknown white places,
throwing caution aside.
These are the summers of seeking.
The wind and I dance a rebel's dance.
Soon the wind will softened
And I will dance to another song.
This dance brings a lover's kiss to my lips,
A gentle caress to my cheeks.
As we dance, I learn to love and be loved.
The wind whispers to me
And holds me close in its gentle arms.
The wind is a soft warm breeze and sings to me.
While we wait to dance our final dance...
Yes, I dance with the Wind...

Inuit poem.