hi! I'm posting a new story, a post-ep for "vienen". thanks to
lisa for the beta! :)
Title: STATE OF LOVE AND TRUST
Author: X-Phylia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: C'mon, CC, be nice and share your toys.
Category: SA, Scully POV.
Archive: No problem, just keep name and disclaimer attached.
Spoilers: Vienen, post ep. Minor ones for SUZ/Closure, One
Breath, Per Manum, Requiem, TINH/Deadalive
Feedback: Sure! Let me know what you think (email@example.com)
Acknowledgements: to Lisa, for doing the beta and sharing her
sense of humor.
Summary: "The X-Files were my only hope to find my way back to
who I was. my way back to you."
"Oh help me, help me from myself."
-Pearl Jam, State of love and trust.
"State of love and trust"
I'm at home, resting. I tell you people, life isn't easy when
you're just few weeks away from giving birth. My feet are swollen
and achy, I feel tired all the time. and at this precise moment
I'm also very worried, which of course doesn't help my mood.
Walter Skinner called me about two hours ago, intending to check
"He's not here, Walter. I thought he was at work," I told him.
Skinner's silence was more than a little ominous. "So you don't
"Know what?" I snapped. Did I mention that I also tend to lose my
temper easily these days?
"Mulder's been fired from the Bureau, Dana. Kersh laid the blame
on him for the blow in the rig," Skinner informed me, annoyance
clear in his voice.
Luckily for me I was in sprawling on the couch, surfing channels
in a Mulder-like style, so my legs didn't have to support me when
I heard the news.
"But how, Walter? How could it possibly be Mulder's fault? I
mean, I know he shouldn't have gone there in the first place,
"He took the heat, that's all. He wanted to protect what's left
of the X-Files division. I'm still mad at him for letting Kersh
win, it's not like Mulder to give up without a fight," Skinner
I couldn't believe my ears. "It was bad already that they took
the X-Files away from Mulder, his own division, his life's work,
and now they want him out of the FBI too! Of course we are going
to fight!," I was prepared to declare a war, Kersh be damned.
Skinner let out a sigh. "I talked to Agent Doggett a few moments
ago. He told me that Mulder left the basement office with no
intentions of ever coming back. 'You are in charge now,' he told
"So where is he now?" My voice sounds flat and defeated.
"I assumed he was with you. Agent Doggett asked me to check on
him, actually. He said that Mulder didn't look all that good."
"Of course not! How could he?"
"I'm sorry I'm the one to break the news, Dana. I'm sure Mulder
wanted to tell you himself."
"I just hope he comes home soon. Thanks for calling, Walter, I
appreciate it," I thank him, urging my voice not to reveal my
However, Skinner got to know me pretty well in the last year and
he's not fooled.
"Are you okay, Dana?"
"I'm fine, Walter." Well, I said that so many things to Mulder,
why would it be any different with Skinner?
My chest gets tight when I try to imagine what could be going on
in Mulder's head. This is not the first time they try to get the
X-Files away from him, but the other times were different. Once
we've been shut down, once they burned to the ground. but Mulder
was in a completely different frame of mind. He wasn't trying to
get past an alien abduction with torture included plus three
months buried in a coffin. No one should have to live through
that. I'm not so sure he can handle this too without breaking.
I'm trying to entertain myself with a book, but I can't get my
mind off my partner. It's funny how I still refer to Mulder as my
partner. I guess in a way he'll always be: the person I trust
with my life, the one who's there watching my back. We might not
work together anymore, but I don't see why we are going to change
our ways. After all, our partnership gave us what we have today.
In times like this, it feels like old times, Mulder running away
in a wild goose chase and me being left behind worrying and
cursing him for ditching me yet again. After he pulled through
the Ultimate Ditch, I told him this would have to stop. But of
course, Mulder is Mulder, and he went and did it again.
I feel sweet relief when I hear a fumbling of keys in my door
followed by familiar steps. Mulder has a very distinct way of
walking, I could tell it was him with my eyes closed.
He doesn't answer me, instead, he rushes for the bathroom. I
cross my fingers and hope he's not being sick from too much
booze, but soon I hear the water running and I know he's just
taking a shower. Ten minutes later he walks into the room, with
only a towel around his waist, hair still wet. He walks around
the bed and sits on his side, turning his back on me. Then he
leans forward, head on his hands, elbows on his knees. I notice
the slight tremor on his shoulders, the way he always shivers
when fighting a losing battle against tears.
It's not that I've seen Mulder cry so many times these last eight
years. I did see him suffer from physical or emotional traumas
more times than I would like to remember. He had to endure very
difficult moments in his life since he was very young, but truth
is, he so rarely cries. A lot of people would have completely
lost it after dealing with one tenth of what he went through, and
yet, he's never been one to show his pain overtly. at least not
through tears. Maybe that is why it rips my heart every time he
breaks down in front of me. It reminds me that he doesn't have
anyone else's shoulder to cry on, and just how much he needs me.
I reach out and place my hand in the hollow of his elbow, drawing
him towards to me. He slides docilely, still trembling but not
giving in to a full breakdown yet. I put his still damp head on
my right shoulder, pass my arm under his neck and hold him
tightly. My belly is leaning against his lower back and it feels
nice, like he's helping me carry the weight. I kiss him tenderly
in the back of his neck, hair, and -one of my favorite spots-
behind his ear. I know he loves that, and I'm very pleased when
the tickles produce a little smile. I reward him by running my
fingers up and down his chest -another of his favorites. He takes
my hands into his bigger ones.
"It's over, Scully," he muses with a heavy voice.
"I know," I say calmly.
His body trembles a little harder in my arms.
"Oh Mulder." I sigh, tears welling up in my own eyes.
I'm not so sure if I'm crying for his loss or mine. The X-Files
are my territory too, but it will never be the same without
Mulder. I came to appreciate Agent Doggett's support and
professionalism, and I could have gotten used to working with him
permanently. But how could I ever come home now knowing Mulder
should have been there with me? And knowing Mulder, he would end
up finding a way to interfere with the investigations, which
would only make things worse.
He sobs occasionally now, but tears still pepper his cheeks.
Shifting his body to stretch out on his back, he takes my hand,
places it on his bare chest and leaves it there while he stares
at the ceiling. I gently rub my palm up and down the ugly scar
that still runs from his navel to his throat. Mulder asked me to
do that one of the first nights we spent together after his
return (I *won't* think of the first night. Not now). He just
said that it helped, and that was enough for me.
I'm still discovering how much he has changed since he was taken.
During those first weeks he hardly allowed anyone to touch him,
me included. It hurt, I must admit, but I understood. He'd been
completely isolated and deprived from any human contact for
months. If at least they had left him alone, instead of torturing
him like they did. Now, fortunately, he isn't afraid to look out
for comfort anymore. He just can't afford to let his old fears
deprive him from the security he needs, and I am thankful for
So I'm not that surprised when I feel him burrow deeper between
my neck and shoulder.
"Scully?" I hear his voice whimpering in my ear.
"I'm here, Mulder. I'm here," I console him.
"Did they throw a party at the Bureau when they found me dead?"
he asks between sobs.
"No, Mulder. We were devastated," I answer keeping my voice even
despite the knot in my throat.
"Kersh is an asshole. Always has, always will."
I wonder what we look like in this moment. A woman with an
8-and-a-half pregnancy trying to cradle a 6-foot tall man.
"You'll soon be a legend in the FBI, Mulder. Everybody knows
about you, even those green kids in the Academy. I heard they're
passing your profiles as mandatory reading material at Quantico."
He listens to me in silence, so I continue.
"I got an insight of it while you were gone, you know. Violent
Crimes kept complaining they never got another profiler that
could remotely compare to you. The X-Files are no longer an
unknown forgotten division either. I don't know how it happened,
but as soon as your disappearance was confirmed, suddenly
everybody knew about our work. Skinner got dozens of applications
from agents willing to be transferred to the X- Files, can you
believe it? And to top it all, first you are abducted by aliens
with an AD as a witness, no less, and then you come back from the
dead. It's incredible, Mulder. Geez, I almost don't believe it
"You wouldn't have eight years ago," he smirks.
It takes me a few seconds to realize he's mocking me. "Touchè," I
admit, smiling. "My life would have been so dull if I hadn't met
you," I hug him.
"And a lot more painless, too."
"Mulder, what did we agree about this guilt thing of yours?"
"I know, I know. Old habits die hard, I guess. But I don't want
to be a legend, Scully. I just want them to give me a break and
leave me the hell alone. Is that so much to ask?"
"Mulder, remember our last case, in Bellefleur? You told me it
had to end at one point, that we couldn't go on living like that
"Yes. But that was because I saw you with that baby and it
suddenly hit me how much you had lost. But look at you now." he
trails off, leaning a warm hand on my belly.
I take his hand and squeeze it into mine as I kiss his forehead.
"I know this is not the way you wanted to leave, Mulder. I'm sure
you would have loved to stay there like in the old times, with a
couple of agents still wet behind their ears to whom pass the
"How do you know that? I don't remember telling you!" he smiles
"I'm not Mrs. Spooky for nothing, you know," I tease.
He chuckles softly, wiping his eyes with the back of his hand.
Then he curls up against me and snakes his arms around my neck.
"I don't want you to feel sorry for me."
"I don't, Mulder. But I want you to think about something."
"About leaving this behind. The X-Files took so much of your
life. You've suffered too much already, how much more can you
take before you break? I've been too close to losing you this
time. Too damned close, Mulder. Call me selfish, but I'd rather
have you safe here with me, with *us*."
"Are you asking me to give it up, Scully? To forget about
everything I've seen, everything I know?"
"Mulder. you wanted proof of extraterrestrial life. Now you
finally learned the truth, but at what cost? Does this knowledge
justify what they did to you? Would you do it again now that you
know the price?"
He flinches at my words and I am fully aware that I'm hurting
him, but I need to make him understand.
"That's the whole point, don't you realize?" he answers brokenly.
"Now that I have what I've always wanted, at such a terrible
personal cost, they push me away. It's just not fair!"
"I know, Mulder. I didn't say it was," I comfort him.
"My whole life has never been fair, Scully. I don't know why this
even surprises me."
What can I tell him? He's right. Fate was never Fox Mulder's
friend. But there *is* something different this time.
"You've been given a second chance, Mulder. You died, we buried
you, and here you are again. This new life doesn't have to be
like the old one. You can change the road you're on. You are not
Jesus Christ, not even after your little ressurection act. You
don't have to save the world. As you painfully figured out for
yourself, the world went on without you."
He goes back to his previous position, and my hand is again over
his chest. "Your skin is almost healed, but your soul's still
bleeding. The Bureau and the X-Files will be a permanent memory
of this nightmare. If you really want to get over it, you have to
"Scully, do you *really* think this is just about the X-Files?"
Now he surprises me. He stares at me, waiting for an answer, and
I shift uncomfortably. It's not that easy to read him now as it
once was. There's something else, a hidden quality behind eyes
that have seen too much, way too much. I don't dare to answer.
"You're really having a tough time dealing with me now, aren't
you?" he sighs, and a shiver runs down my spine. It seems he
hasn't lost his skills at reading me.
"Well, yes, I have to admit it. It would be a lot easier if you
told me what you want, how do you feel."
"How do I feel? I was a freak before, Dana. Spooky Mulder, the
crazy nutshell who chased aliens and mutants. That was enough to
make me feel estranged from the rest of the world. And now I can
add Lazarus to the nickname list, the nutshell that came back
from the dead. How do you think that makes me feel? If you need
to know, I'll tell you this: maybe I should have stayed dead."
His words shock me, it's the first time he's talking openly about
his feelings after the abduction, but what he says is something I
don't want to hear. "No, please, don't say that," my voice almost
breaks and I hold on to him for all I'm worth.
But scared as I am, he needs me strong. He needs his touchstone.
if such a thing still exists. I gently pull his head against my
neck and kiss his temple. We stay like that for a long time,
until Mulder calms down. It's an incredible feeling to have him
back in my arms like this, touching him lightly, giving him at
least some of the peace he so desperately needs.
"Do you still trust me, Mulder? Or do you feel so alienated that
you can't be sure of anything now, not even me?"
"I'm sorry, Dana. I'm really sorry. I swear I tried, I'm still
trying to get what we once had back. But I just don't understand
things any more. The X-Files were my only hope to find my way
back to who I was. my way back to you."
"Mulder," I call him softly, my voice thick with tears. "You
don't need the X-Files for that. You didn't lose me. *I* lost
you. I searched for you. I found you dead. I buried you, cried
for you, I had to find the will to carry on without you. You have
*no* idea of what it was like knowing I'd never see you again.
You're not the only one who suffered. But I do believe it was our
combined strength that allowed us to survive."
"Because I know there's no way I could have endured what they did
to you. I'm not unfamiliar with pain, Mulder, I know what it does
to a person, and I'm not as strong as you are. I would have died
almost immediately. And on the other hand, I believe it would
have been so much harder for you to be left behind once again
with the uncertainty. I talked to people while you were gone. My
mother told me how desolate you were when they abducted me, and
that was six years ago. I also remember your desperation in the
final stages of my cancer. I was terrified you would choose to
join me if I died. And this last time, especially after your
mother and Samantha, it would have been too much, Mulder."
I hear his breathing in the semi darkness, his confusion and
heartache are almost palpable. I wish he had at least some of his
old self- confidence, that same self-confidence that I used to
find so infuriating at times. But that's one more thing the
aliens took away from him. I don't think he stays on this quest
because he needs to know the truth anymore, he's in automatic
pilot because he doesn't know what else to do.
"Did you hear what I said, Mulder?"
"Yes. I never saw things from that point of view. That's funny, I
used to be the guy who could see things from every angle."
Another symptom of his sense of loss.
"You have changed, Fox," I purposely use his first name. "You
can't survive what you did and expect to be the same man. You're
the psychologist here, I shouldn't be telling this to you."
"I'm perfectly aware of that. The problem is I may not like who I
am now. You have changed too, Scully. You believe now, you look
at Doggett with compassionate eyes, oh poor skeptic who hasn't
been enlightened yet. It's hard for me to accept that. You are
pregnant, and I don't even understand how. Skinner treats you
like a daughter and talks to me like we were old buddies. And
while it used to be the two of us against the world, now there
are just too many people: Doggett, Skinner, Reyes, this Kersh
asshole. people who know a lot about me while I don't know shit
about them. We've been partners for seven years, became friends,
lovers. and I'm having a hard time connecting with *you*. Who
else should I turn to? Where else would I go?"
Oh God, he sounds so desperate. I instinctively pull him back to
me, running my arms around his neck.
"Mulder, I had no idea you were feeling like this. I'm sorry,
maybe I should have noticed before. You were my life, I only had
eyes for you. But you're right, I have been paying attention to
other things now. It's difficult not to when you're over eight
months pregnant, but that in no way means you no longer have a
place in my life."
"Even if I'm not the man you knew?"
"Yes, because I'm not the woman you want to go back to either."
His voice is weak and defeated when he speaks again. "Why is life
so hard on us, Scully? What wrong have we done?"
"I don't know, Mulder. I've asked that same question a million
"I just want to go back to that state of love and trust we used
to share, that cost us so much to build."
"We can have that back. We did it once, we can do it again. We
have a greater reason now. I have a life to protect, and I
wouldn't want anyone else to help me with the task."
"Why not?" he challenges me. "From what I hear, Agent Doggett did
a good job protecting you. And so did Skinner."
I sigh loudly, deciding this is the perfect moment to play my
hidden ace. "Because, Mulder, you are the one who got me into
this in the first place," I reply matter-of-factly. "This is my
baby. and yours."
He slowly raises his head and pulls up his body. "What did you
"You heard me."
"Oh, Scully. God! Why didn't you tell me sooner!" he laments, but
I can tell he's not mad, just shocked.
"Because you weren't ready. And don't you dare tell me I'm wrong.
I might need to brush up my 'Mulder-reading' skills, but I still
belong to this league."
He just lays his hands on my belly again, the look in his face
tells me he's feeling not *my* baby. but his too.
"This. this is wonderful, Scully," there are tears rolling down
his cheeks, and my eyes well up too.
"It's a miracle. A miracle someone I love very much once told me
never to give up on."
He cries and he looks so tired, so overwhelmed. Curling up by my
side again he sobs quietly, but for relief, not misery. I allow
him the release he needs while I pet him gently and murmur
"We'll be alright, Mulder. All that which does not kill us makes
The tightening of his grip is all the answer I need. I lift his
chin and kiss those full, wet, salty lips and let myself go of
the pain and grief in the safety of his arms.
I had almost forgotten how good it feels.
Author's note: Since I stole -I mean borrowed- CC's characters
and Pearl Jam's song title, I also confess I *borrowed* Scully's
last line from Nietzsche. ("All that which doesn't kill us makes