Adagio [X-Files]

Adagio
by Jennifer-Oksana
Fandom: X-Files
Rating: PG-13 to R for language
Spoilers: Fifth Season
Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance
Summary: Problems between our favorite agents.
Disclaimer: Me, poor college student. I borrow rich CC and Fox and 1013’s
most famous creations. For fun. I don’t have any rights. I just do this for
the love. The songs also don’t belong to me. “Talking to Strangers,” that’s
Heather Nova’s. “Zero,” that’s the Smashing Pumpkins’s. “Mr. Zebra” and
“Precious Things” belong to Tori Amos. “Infected” is Bad Religion’s.
Warning, this one has moderate MSR, lots of cussing. Except between the
first and second scenes, the stars mean that the viewpoint switches between
Mulder and Scully. Also, this is my first fanfic, so be kind.

Archive- anywhere. Tell me first if you would be so kind.
Feedback would be appreciated as this is my first serious try at this sort
of thing. My email is jstoy@mailhost.tcs.tulane.edu

Adagio
by Jennifer Stoy

Beat.

I think I’m going crazy.

Beat.

I have feared this for a while, that I was on my way into madness.
That finally, someone would notice I wasn’t playing with a full deck,
that I was a pint low, that I was freaking bleeding loopy, and
that it was time to put me away.

Beat.

This confirms it. It’s no longer polite, sweet, or romantic. No
matter how good a face I put on it, how long I try to deny it,
it’s there. Houston, we have a major *fucking* problem.

Beat.

Life has always been a complicated dance for me, but one I
usually manage with grace, and balance, a very careful balance.
Now, I tried to change something, and the entire world has been knocked
into a tailspin, and I’m losing it.

Beat.

My dead sister is sitting on my couch. She looks completely
comfortable there, as though she were a constant visitor in my
home. I stare at her in desperation- asking for advice silently.
She gives me a peculiar look.

Beat.

“For heaven’s sake, Dana! Open the door before he beats it down!” she
snaps at me. I gawk at her a moment, then wrench the damned door open.
Mulder is standing there, his fist two inches from my face.
Disturbing image. Another one. As if this past week hasn’t given me
enough to work with for the rest of my life…

* * *
This week started bad, and things got worse from there. Our
cases lately haven’t been so good- obvious hoaxes, public
hysteria, fakes, phonies, and wastes of time as far as the eye
can see. Even Mulder, the eternal believer, was disgusted by some of
these cases. Fortunately for me, his disgust is best expressed by
needling me endlessly, although it doesn’t really start there. Ever
since Christmas- since Emily’s death-, things have been different
between us. Darker. Now the air is always crackling with the antagonism
between us, and I don’t like it.

So, back to this morning- he’s complaining again, another rant that
is really starting to get on my nerves-

“Since when did alien abduction turn trendy?” he asks, strumming his
fingers tunelessly on the desk. His desk, which is a complete and total
disaster area. Between the whining, the strumming, and the desk, I am
already starting to get a headache.

“Five reports of abduction which anyone with half a brain could see were
completely fabricated! I can’t deal with this unprofessional crap, Scully-
if we don’t get a case soon, I’ll go crazy. I am so bored!”

“Yeah, I know exactly what you mean,” I say, snorting, “Instead of
whining, why not do something useful on FBI time- like, clean up
your desk?”

“My desk?” he asks, “But if I cleaned it up, I wouldn’t be able to find
anything for weeks!”

“I’m going to ignore that, Mulder,” I say, “If it helps, I’ll help you
clean up the office.”

“Dressed like that?” he asks.

“Is there something wrong about the way I’m dressed?” I ask, hands on
hips. I happen to like what I’m wearing. It’s a very nice red suit,
attractive without being Ally McBeal-slut bait. Mulder is really going
for the one good nerve I have left today.

“Well- it’s a nice suit and it would get- dirty- and-”

I am really not in the mood. I decide to get out while I can.

“No, it’s okay, Mulder. You can clean up the desk without any help
from me dressed like this,” I say, emphasizing ‘dressed like this’.
I pick up a pile of back paperwork from his desk, and calmly storm
out of the office.

Of course I’m being silly. I told you, I am slowly going crazy. If
you really want to know the whole truth of it, it all started this
morning. I had been doing the usual, shower dress hair breakfast, and
when I’d been doing my makeup in the mirror, I saw Melissa, smiling at
me. Just for a second.

“Missy?” I asked, spinning around. No answer. There was no one there.
I shake my head. Weird. But there were precedents. I didn’t want
to think about the precedents, but they were definitely there.

* * *
She storms out of the office, shuts the door behind her with
a certain vengeful slam. I sigh, and sink deeper into my chair.
Women. Actually, just- Scully. Lately.

I hadn’t meant to piss her off, but lately, everything I say to
her is wrong. She’s stonewalling me again, typical Scully move.
When she doesn’t want to talk, she doesn’t talk. Period. It has
been worse than usual lately. Ever since she discovered Emily,
and I had been forced to tell her the truth about what I had seen,
the Kurts, the hospital, there has been a wall between us. This
after a period where we had practically breathed for each other,
when I hoped that maybe the last walls between us-

Forget it. I know that’s crap. Last walls between us? We’re
partners. We’re close. But we’re not married, or lovers, or even
friends, it feels like some days, which is a lousy, lousy turn
of events.

So why had I said, “dressed like that?” I like that suit on her.
She looks like a classic sultry dame in it. I suppose it was some
form of Freudian slip, and now I’m here. Alone. And the office
smells awful. This is going to be a long day. I look at the
office, and try to figure out what’s the easiest thing
to start cleaning up.

Someday very soon, Dana Katherine Scully, you and I are going
to have a very long talk, I say to myself as I look for something
resembling a broom or something to help clean up the sunflower
seed casings.

* * *
Today isn’t going to be all that much better than yesterday.
I can just tell. I wake up late, I burn breakfast, I get stuck
in traffic, and I show up late. And stunned.

The office is spotless. I mean, it isn’t even our office anymore.
It even smells good. I just stand there. Today, I’m in the
ugliest, most conservative suit I could find- a nasty beige number.
I look frumpy, and I feel- pissed off. Irrationally pissed off. He
took my advice on something like this? I simply stand there,
gawking for a while. Then, of course, Mulder makes his entrance.

“Good morning, Scully, glad to see you could finally make it to
work,” he says, from behind me. I spin around.

Ouch. Make my day even worse. He is in what appears to be a new suit.
A very well made new suit. He looks extremely good, Mr. GQ G-Man,
and here I am, frazzled, frumpy, and I could slug him for it.

“Traffic,” I mutter.

“You look-”

“Say one word and I’ll bitch-slap you, Mulder,” I growl, “Wow,
I never knew the office could look like this. Did you have fun cleaning?”

“Actually, I did,” he says, looking cheerful, “I’ve found
things that have been lost for years. Check it out, Scully.”

He pulls out, of all things, Spock ears, and they are in sad shape.
If he puts them on, I’ll die. My head will explode from laughing so hard.

“Captain, my logic tells me those things are carrying more
germs and disease than the one remaining Tab in your
refrigerator from 1987.”

He looks hurt. But the ears are so nasty!

“I’d never drink Tab,” he says.

“I was teasing, Mulder,” I reply.

“Just admit it, you don’t like the ears, you can’t believe I cleaned the
office, and you’re in a bad mood, and somehow, it’ll be all my fault,” he
says. And I thought I was being snarky.

“No- I’m just stunned, and hungry, and wearing a really ugly
suit,” I say, “So please forgive me if I didn’t die of joy
because you finally got off your ass and cleaned your office.”

“Our office.”

“Our office? Why don’t I have a desk, then? Or a nameplate?”

“Didn’t we go over this?”

“Once, and you put me off. Mulder, how much would it cost to get me a
nameplate? Hmm?” I ask.

“Fine. I knew you’d do this. I do this wonderful job cleaning
the office, and because you’re in a snit, you have to blow me
off,” he says, “We have a case.”

“Do we?” I ask, “Is it for real? What’s up?”

“Little girl in Atlanta, seeing ghosts. Lots of corroboration-
mostly from family, I admit, but it’s got definite potential, far
more than the rest of the cases that have filtered across this desk
the past few weeks.”

“Really. Much more of this, and we might have to start *earning* a living
legitimately.”

He winces a little. Whatever. He knows that I don’t really feel
that way about the X-Files, no matter whatever anyone else thinks.
I don’t give it another thought as I start to make arrangements for
our little trip. I wish we didn’t have to go to the Atlanta airport,
but I’m glad we’re leaving town. Maybe it’ll make things a little better.

Adagio by Jennifer Stoy
pt. 2/4

* * *
Atlanta. I hate the airport here. We’ve gotten lost in the
airport here before. The flight down was absolute hell, and then,
what a waste of a week. Three days, and we’re already on our way
back. I glare at our bags, Scully’s and mine, while she taps her foot
impatiently at the rental car counter. Her bags are too damn heavy.
I stand next to her, my hand hovering near the small of her back,
the usual habit. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a little old lady
behind us point us out to her son. Maybe her grandson. I don’t know.
Someone younger than her that she knows.

“Oh, isn’t that a sweet couple, Daniel?” she asks. That figures.
We should perhaps wear signs on our chests stating “Not A Couple”
and maybe, people would get it. I ignore them. Scully finally
finishes with the rental car woman- returning our supercool action-
ready beige Taurus rental model- and I pick up a couple of the
lighter bags. Scully gives me a little look, then picks up
her heaviest bag, or tries to. It’s an amusing battle, but the
bag vanquishes her in short order. She turns to me, eyes pleading.

“Mulder,” she says, “I can’t get this off the ground.”

She looks absolutely absurd, and even though I’m still irritated
at her, I can’t resist a damsel in distress. I hand her the light
bags, and heft up her heavy suitcase.

“Thank you,” she says, a sheepish smile on her face.

“Don’t mention it, milady,” I reply. Something flickers through
her eyes, a thought I’m curious about, but I decide not to ask.
It’s nice to be on civiler terms. I don’t want to jack it up
by getting nosy.

“Better hurry, Mulder, or we’ll miss our flight, and be stuck
in Atlanta forever.”

“That particular thought, Dr. Scully, is more horrifying than
the last three X-Files we’ve investigated,” I say, mocking a
little shudder. We hike off toward the terminal, and I hear the
old lady say to Daniel-

“See, I love old-fashioned romantic couples.”

* * *
“See, I love old-fashioned romantic couples,” an old lady says
as we pass by. I bite my lip. Was I being that obvious? The bag
hadn’t been that heavy. I could have picked it up, but I’d wanted
Mulder to do it. As usual, he obliged- Fox Mulder, gentleman-
and off we go through the crowded Atlanta airport.

I didn’t blame him for being in a bad mood. My mind drifts
back to the waste of a case we’ve just finished. The “little
girl” had been a very spoiled eleven years old, a complete brat
who liked the attention from being able to see ghosts. Monica
Sullivan had been outrageously flirtatious from the first.

“Oh, Agent Mulder, I just get so scared by them! It’s like
I can’t wake up from a dreadful, dreadful nightmare!” Monica had
announced dramatically, perhaps taking a cue from her mother, Mrs.
Wendy Jo Beauchamp-Sullivan, blonde Southern belle divorcee. Mrs.
Sullivan’s flirting and Monica’s overwrought grotesqueries had
amused me for one day, but by day two, I had had enough. It didn’t
help that while Monica and Wendy Jo were spinning fairy tales for
Mulder, I had seen not only my sister twice- once in the DC airport,
once in the mirror in the motel bathroom; but I had been watching
a playground while listening to Monica, and I saw, very clearly, Emily.

“Scully?” Mulder asks, bringing me out of my reverie, “Scully,
time to board the plane.”

“Sorry,” I say, biting my lip. I have my earphones in, and I
hear the music and shiver as we walk down the entry ramp.

“I’m talking to strangers, to see what I feel- your face is
changing now, and nothing seems real-” an ethereal voice sings to a
dirgeful violin, “I’m talking to strangers, to see what I need-
This love between us now, how it’s twisting in me-”

“Scully? You okay?”

“I’m fine,” I say. We get on the plane, sit down, and I consider
the words- _this love between us now, how it’s twisting in me_.

* * *
Scully hadn’t liked either Monica Sullivan or her mother. I
don’t exactly blame her- Monica was in fact a spoiled brat.
And Wendy Jo- well, Wendy Jo was a very attractive, busty blonde
woman with a drawl as thick as molasses. I could tell from the
first story Scully didn’t buy one word Monica was saying. Still,
honestly, the stories sounded right at first.

It was the second day when Scully decided she was tired of Monica.
With a shockingly unScully technique, my skeptic lady partner
pushed a confession right out of Monica- that she had made the
entire story up out of boredom and a desire to catch her busy mother’s
attention.

I’m still surprised at exactly how Scully did it. We were all
sitting on the porch (Monica insisted), drinking iced tea
(Wendy Jo insisted) while listening to Monica detail a
particularly gory ghost story.

“That’s a very interesting story, Monica,” Scully had said,
sipping slightly at the iced tea.

“But you don’t believe it,” Monica replied.

“Oh, on the contrary, I very much believe it. In fact, I
remember a friend of mine who also saw ghosts. Would you like
me to tell you about it?”

“Sure, if it’s not a boring story.”

“Oh, no,” Scully had said, “My friend, her name was Kate. She
didn’t believe in ghosts, until the day she saw one with her
own eyes, but even then, she didn’t realize it was a ghost at first.”

“Why not?”

“Well, Kate had seen the ghost before that day- and he’d been
alive. In fact, the ghost was her own brother, and he’d tried to
talk to her, but Kate couldn’t hear him. Then Kate’s mother called-
Kate’s brother had just died of a coronary. For the next few weeks,
Kate saw her brother everywhere, trying to talk to her. After a
while, though, Kate’s brother went away. Then, Kate’s father was
killed in a terrible accident. Kate didn’t see her father’s ghost,
but not too long after, Kate saw ghosts everywhere, four or five at once,
and every time, she strained to hear them but she couldn’t. Then Kate
found out a dreadful thing- she was dying. And she realized that the
ghosts had known far before she had- because ghosts come more
easily to those who are about to leave this life.”

Her voice had been conversational. Now I realize the “Kate”
story is a fictionalized version of her own life- but Scully, seeing
ghosts? She was just being very imaginative, probably. Still, Monica had
paled.

“You lie!”

“No, I only wish I did,” Scully said, “Don’t worry, not everyone
who sees ghosts is dying. A lot of people are, because they’re
closer to the world of the dead than they were before-”

“I don’t see ghosts!” Monica cried, “Stop trying to scare me! I’m
not dying! I’m alive, alive and so well! I made it all up.”

“Don’t get hysterical,” Scully had replied, “I already knew you had.”

It was then she’d turned her head to look at the playground across
the street, and her own blue eyes had gone huge. I didn’t ask,
but I wondered exactly what she’d seen.

After that, the case wrapped up in short order. No ghosts,
Monica Sullivan announced. She had in fact said good-bye to us
with a nasty little rejoinder-

“I mean, after all, who believes in ghosts? That’s *little kid*
stuff,” she said, “Bye, Agent Mulder. Bye, Agent Scully, I hope
your friend Kate ends up okay.”

I wonder what would happen if someone gave that brat a spanking,
the one she so richly deserves. Oh well, it ain’t gonna happen.

I stretch out. Scully looks drowsy, a million miles away
from me. She is listening to her headphones, her shoes kicked off,
legs tucked under her neatly. Usually, I can’t sleep on airplanes,
or nearly anywhere else, for that matter, but for some reason,
I’m shagged from all this fruitless investigating. Without even
realizing it, I fall asleep, and perhaps I dream.

* * *
It’s a miracle. He’s fallen asleep, right across from me,
stretched out, looking like an oversized, gangly little boy.
I admit it, he’s adorable.

“Ma’am?” the flight attendant whispers, “What should I do with
your husband’s drink?”

It isn’t the first time someone’s made this mistake. I ignore it.

“Oh, let me take it,” I say, taking the glass of orange juice
from her hand. I pull off the earphones, and just look at my
partner across the row from me, and think about our relationship lately.

Watching him, I realize that part of what’s not right
between us is my fault. When Emily died, I pushed him away again.
I know why I did- I am afraid that the people I care about are instantly
marked for death. Beyond all the usual reasons- it is unprofessional,
it could royally screw up our partnership, he might not feel the
same, I might just be so lonely I’m projecting- I know I’m afraid
of losing. But this wall between us now is absolutely unbearable.

It hits me so hard I can’t breathe all of a sudden- you’re
in love, Dana Scully. There’s no other explanation for these
feelings. It’s not a sisterly emotion, and there’s more than
friendship. You don’t like losing friends, but- losing him
would be like losing an arm. Or worse. Not just losing a friend.
I can’t imagine my life without him, both for good and ill.

I have fallen in love, and now, sitting on a plane thirty
thousand feet up, I realize it, which is sort of bizarre. Just
all of a sudden, I know. I can’t deny it any more-

I want to just tell him, I love you. I love you. But words
like that don’t come easily, and now is not the time or the place.
On the stupid plane back from Atlanta, while he’s asleep, I can’t
announce it to him like this. I have to have a better way to do it.

I have the case file in my hand, and a pen. I decide I can at least
write it out first. The idea appeals to me. He’s asleep, he’ll never
know I had to rehearse. My heart is pounding as I start to write.

Dear Mulder- or Fox- or Mulder, I begin, frustrated at my
inability to even decide on what to call him. I know this is a
cliched way to go about things-

I write and write and write, and by the time the plane lands in
Washington and I have to wake him up, I have a different plan in mind.
It’s a little cowardly, but it’s safer. I intend to give him this
letter, and see how he feels first. Well- maybe not give it
directly to him, but put it where he can’t miss it,
and then go from there.

* * *
Thank god it’s Friday, that’s all I have to say. Scully gives
me odd looks the entire day, avoiding me somewhat. Mostly, it’s
all about the paperwork anyway, and that reminds me of her nasty
little comment on Tuesday, before we went to Atlanta.

“Did we earn our keep this week, Agent Scully?” I ask.

She looks up at me, a little confused. “What?”

“Well, you said we weren’t recently-”

“Mulder, you’ve got to learn how to take a joke. You know that
I trust you, and you know I believe in the work. I may disagree
with you about exactly what the work is, but-”

It’s Friday, and I’m tired. “I know. Science is mighty, hail
science. I trust you, Scully. What time is it?”

“Four,” she says, in a voice that sounds vaguely hurt.

“Why don’t we cut out a little early today. All of our paperwork
is in order, I’m zoned, you look a little ragged around the edges,
let’s just pretend this week never happened,” I say.

“Well- what about that stack of case files over yonder?” she asks,
pointing at one particular pile. I shrug, pick up the top five of them
without looking.

“They’ll survive. I’ll check ’em over this weekend. You relax,
huh, Scully? You’re wound up tight- anything the matter?”

“No- nothing at all,” she says in a vague voice, “See you
later, Mulder.”

“You, too, Scully.”

* * *
In the car on the way home, I realize how stupid it was, leaving
the letter atop the case files. It’s straight out of a romantic
comedy, the girl leaving the declaration there, guy missing it,
girl being hurt when guy doesn’t realize- oh, it would just be-

I whip out my cellphone. I’ll leave a message.

“Mulder, it’s me,” I say, “I left you a very important message
on top of the case files you took home. It’s very important that
you look at it as soon as possible. Okay? Night.”

I hang up, hands shaking. There, it’s done, the ball’s in
his court now. I finish the drive home, eat mechanically, and
decide to head over to Mulder’s.

Please, God, I pray, let him care. If he doesn’t love me, let
him at least remain my friend. My mind races with a thousand
whatifs, but I can still hear the music playing on the car radio,
but I’m too nervous to think about changing it-

“I’m the face in your dreams of glass- so save your prayers,
for when we’re really gonna need ’em- throw out your cares and fly-
wanna go for a ride?”

I pull up to Mulder’s apartment building, my heart beating
crazily. This is it…

* * *
I come through the door in pain. My head is throbbing. I need
to eat, I’m starving, and then I’m going to bed. Everything can wait
until tomorrow. Those case files can certainly wait until tomorrow,
I think, stacking them on the coffee table without paying them
any mind. I walk to the kitchen, pour myself a glass of water, and
a couple of Advil. Forget eating- I’m too tired to digest anything.
I just need to stretch out and lose myself in a couple of hours of sleep.

I lower myself onto the couch, groaning in pain, and stretch out,
pulling my ratty blanket over myself. That’s better, I think,
kicking my feet out of my shoes, eyes closing. I think I doze off
at about this point.

Beat. Beat. Beat.

The door. Someone is pounding on the door. No one knows I’m back.
No one cares I’m back. No one is due to come over, and certainly
there’s no one who needs to beat on my door like that. So who is
it? I stand up, my body protesting this outrage. I’m irritated at being
summoned so rudely.

“Yes?” I ask through the door.

“Can I please come in?” Scully asks, her voice strangely
pleading. I quickly unlatch the door, wondering what the problem is.
She steps inside, her face flushed. A thousand options rush through
my mind. Something’s wrong. But I’m so tired, I don’t have the
brainpower to figure it out.

“Is there a problem?” I ask. Her face flushes even redder.

“You tell me,” she says, “So- what are you thinking?”

“On what subject?”

“Any subject,” she says, her voice sounding odd, “The ball’s
in your court, Mulder. Tell me what you’re feeling.”

She’s trying to tell me something, but I have no idea what on
earth’s going through her head. I’m missing something, and it’s
even worse because I can’t think straight. I decide to be honest.

“I’m really very tired, and hungry,” I say, “Can we wait until
tomorrow to have our discussion? I don’t mean to hurt your feelings,
but I just don’t want to talk right now.”

She just stands there and stares at me. I don’t understand why.
I hope she’s okay. I want her to tell me if she’s not okay.
She must be tired.

“Go on, go home, I promise, tomorrow- it’ll look better in the
morning,” I say, “Scully?”

Adagio pt. 3/4
by Jennifer Stoy

* * *
A scream of absolute rage tears from my throat.

“You bastard! You arrogant, incredible, complete bastard!” I shriek
at him, “My life! My sister’s life, my chance at any sort of
normality, children, my career, I let you take everything from me!
And you don’t get it, do you?”

“Calm down-” he says, trying to put a hand on my shoulder. I knock
his hand away. He isn’t going to get away with it. He takes
everything for granted!

“I will not calm down! Don’t you dare tell me to calm down
you son of a bitch!” I shout, “I’m leaving.”

“Leaving?” he asks, looking confused.

“No more of this. No more Bureau, no more basement, no more
X-Files. I’ll take back the remnant of my life that I’ve got, but
no more of you,” I snarl. He flinches, and I’m glad. Oh, did that
hurt, Mulder? Am I tearing out your heart? Payback’s a bitch.

“You’re leaving me?” he asks in a pathetic voice. The phrase is a
red rag in my mind. He wants it, he really wants this to happen,
doesn’t he? I can’t see straight, I’m so angry.

“Leaving you? You pathetic bastard! You think it’s always you,
you’re my big hunky man, you’re the hero, and I’m your cute
little sidekick, there to do the paperwork, the legwork, that
you’re Superman and I’m Lois Lane? Fuck you, Mulder!”

An angry shadow crosses his face now. A cruel thought flashes
behind his eyes, and with the mood like this, he says what he would
usually only think.

“Believe me, I’ve wanted to,” he says, leering.

I don’t think anyone can blame me for hitting him at that
point. But I will admit I’m out of control. I slam my fist into
his arrogant face, glad to knock that grin off his face, the prick.

“Was that good for you?” I hiss, returning his grin, “Cause it
was good for me.”

“God dammit! You’ve lost your mind!” he says, cradling his face,
“Dammit, Scully, what the hell is it that’s so wrong?”

He’s such an ass. I nearly hit him again, but my arm hurts from
punching him so hard. This is it. It’s over. I’m not going to play
any more.

“You are such an asshole,” I snap at him, “I am so gone. You stay
the hell away from me, you get the hell out of my life, do you
hear me?”

“I hear you,” he says, sullen. His eyes are dark, narrow, “Get out
of here, Scully, before I knock you across the room.”

He wouldn’t dare- but I want to see. Are you that big of a bastard,
Mulder? Would you hit me? Curiosity gets the better of me.

“Do it,” I say, daring him, “Let’s end this right, the way it
should end. Violently. Hurt me one last time, prove what a big man
you are. You know you want to hit me. I’m just a crazy bitch, out
of the blue trying to ruin our relationship.”

His hands tighten into fists, but he doesn’t raise either.

“Please- just go.”

Something between us still- the memory of the man who could have
been my lover- not this man before me- but the memory- stops me from
one last parting shot. I simply leave his apartment, slamming the door
with all the force I can manage.

Then I get into my car, drive to my apartment, lock the door, and
cry myself sick.

* * *
She slams the door so hard the case files I’d balanced on the
coffee table go flying everywhere. There’s a blizzard of paperwork
all over the floor, and now I have to clean it up.

Damn it. Damn her. I say some extremely unflattering and vulgar
things about her under my breath, and start picking up the mess on
the floor, stacking them into an untidy pile, when I notice the
envelope. It must have been atop the file folder. I hadn’t been
looking when I gathered all my things together at the end of work
today, and I had simply set them on the coffee table when I got
home, and then I had passed out cold- I just hadn’t noticed it. So,
curious, I pick it up, and look at it.

Fox, it says on the outside, in her familiar handwriting. What the
hell? I take the envelope, open it, pull out the letter inside. Then
I breathe in deeply. After that partnership-ending fight, this is
going to hurt. But I start to read it anyway.

it begins
in her handwriting. Numbly, I read on.


you and me both, sister, I think-

Yeah. Yeah, we’d been past it, but it seemed lately, she lived to
make my life miserable, to go out of her way to cut me down, too.
She isn’t such a little saint- after that fight, I know that for sure.

<This isn’t to say I haven’t been a bitch, because I have. When
I came back from San Diego, and you tried to keep things the same,
I was hurt, and I was cruel, as cruel as you were- and as usual,
we play the same old game. Payback’s a bitch. But this isn’t about
me blaming you, or being angry at you.

Why? I ask myself, and not for the first time. Why stay if it’s
been so terrible? I want to know what kept her for so long.

I drop the letter. Dammit. Dammitdammitdammit. My mind replays the
spectacular argument we’d just had. She had come- she had thought I’d
seen the letter- she must have left it atop the file folders- she
had expected me- dammit. I am an asshole.

Then I see my answering machine. Blinking. I run over to it, hit
the play button.

“Mulder, it’s me,” I hear, “I left you a very important message on
top of the case files you took home. It’s very important that you
look at it as soon as possible. Okay? Night.”

I am beyond an asshole. Hands shaking, I pick the letter back up.

she told me sardonically.
Classic Dana Scully. She knows me too well.

<I’ll say it again- Fox William Mulder, I am in love with you. I’m
madly in love with you. You are in my blood. So- this is a problem,
but it is the answer. I think I’ve known since that terrible night
when you killed Ostelhof, and that last barrier was crossed. There
was nothing you could do that I wouldn’t condone. Nothing you could
do would cause me to betray you. And I say this, I realize now it
is because our lives were- are undeniably one. And this made me afraid-
there’s the normal fear- that you didn’t love me back, although I
know this to be a groundless fear. There are other fears,
more important ones. I fear for your very life every day. I am so
afraid that everything I love dies. That everything I want is taken
from me- this fear has crystallized with the death of Emily,
and I know that part of my coldness to you is my hope that
“they” will think I don’t really love you, that they will spare
you. But this is a lie, and I know that life is too short to
live safe lies. Living this lie, as it is, has caused me too
much pain. So damn the Bureau, damn the Smoking Man, damn
everyone who thinks it is your fault. If you love me- if there
is any hope of this relationship- because I miss you, as
my friend, my confidante, my partner, my one and only- it has
all been worth it.

Then, in a shaky hand, her signature. I grip the thing tightly
in my hand, my head sinking into the couch. _I love you._ She’s
again proven herself the stronger. Five years, more, of hiding
emotions and desires, and she had finally braved all the demons-
to come up empty. I understand, suddenly, her statement to me- “I let
you take everything from me!”- because she loves me, she had
followed me down the path to hell, and instead of finding the
reward she deserved- someone who loved her- she had found nothing
but a thoughtless bastard who wrung her out and let her hang out to dry.

The sting of my black eye- she’d given me quite a shiner- brings
me out of my brooding. If it had been me on the other side, I
wouldn’t have decked me. I’d have shot my arrogant ass.

* * *
“Hello, Mr. Zebra- can I have your sweater- cause it’s cold
cold cold in my hole hole hole,” Tori Amos sings, tragicomic. I’m
sitting on the floor of my apartment, a bottle of tequila on my
coffee table, half empty, a cheap bottle of wine with only the last
dregs now pooling on my floor, a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in my
lap, in an oversized shirt, and not much else. And it is very
cold here. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the mess I’d made,
breaking several glasses, the pile of clothes on the
bedroom floor. All because of that son of a bitch Mulder.

It shouldn’t have gone this way. In my fantasies, I don’t even
have to go to his apartment. Instead, he lets himself in, while I’m
doing something else, usually sitting on the couch. He doesn’t even
have to say anything at first- he simply pulls me to him, and
kisses me, a long, deep kiss, our lips tasting, arms around each
other, his hands moving up and down my back. Finally, we pull away
from each other, a couple of inches.

“I love you,” he murmurs, “I’ve loved you for a long time.”

“Mulder-”

“Fox. I want you to call me Fox,” he whispers. My ultimate
triumph. I start kissing him again….

Usually these fantasies end up in mind-blowing, triple X, oh God,
it was good for me sex. Right now, even a hint of this fantasy
makes me angry enough to gulp another shot of the tequila. I hate
this stuff.

“You’re looking really good, Dana,” I hear someone say, “And
you smell absolutely wonderful.”

Now I know I’ve lost it, because it sounds exactly like Melissa.

“Go away, Melissa. You’re only a figment of my imagination,
and I’m not exactly on speaking terms with my imagination,” I
snap. Missy snorts.

“Sounds like someone’s in serious denial,” Missy says.

“You’re not here, I’m ignoring you,” I reply, gulping more of
the tequila, “This stuff tastes awful.”

“I’m sorry about Fox, Dana.”

I gulp back a sob now. “It’s okay,” I say, more to myself than
anyone, “I’m fine.”

“Yes, you’re _fine_,” Missy says. She’s not here, I tell myself.
She’s a mask I’ve put on all my emotions, a creative psychological
manifestation of an overwrought woman. But she won’t shut up.

“You look absolutely *fine*, you smell absolutely *fine*, it’s
*fine* that you’re smashing yourself senseless on the floor, it’s
*okay* that you broke four glasses, everything’s *fine*, isn’t it, Dana?”

“Shut the hell up,” I hiss at her.

“If I’m just a figment of your messed-up imagination, I already
know what you’re thinking, right?” she asks, “So talk to me,
Dana. Tell me what I already know.”

“I hate him, Missy,” I say, “It’s over. I’m glad it’s over. I
wasted the best years of my life on that insensitive prick. He
took everything from me, and you know what the worst part of it is?
I gave it to him! He stole everything, and I’ll never stop
hating him for it. You know what he did, when I went to his
apartment? I was expecting- God knows what I was thinking,
but even if he didn’t love me, did he have to be so cruel?”

My face is streaked with tears, salt and alcohol and chocolate
in my mouth, and it’s a different Tori Amos song now, a different
album even- “These precious things- let them bleed, let them wash
away now- these precious things- let them break their hold on me-”
I hear the words, and pray them- let them wash away-
please God, let it be true.

“He acted like he’d never read the letter,” I say, between long
gasps of air, “And I broke. I don’t deserve that. I don’t deserve
it, god damn it!”

I throw the damn tequila bottle at the wall, and it shatters
into a million shards of glittering glass. I am barefoot. I will
probably tear up my feet with all the glass around.

Missy sits there, watching. She hasn’t said anything since I
started confessing to her. This is good. I am on the floor,
drunk, sick, bawling, and hallucinating. This is great. I can’t
say anything else, I am crying so hard.

“What are you going to do?” she asks finally, “You still love
him. Even if it’s over. You’re addicted.”

Addicted. That is the prognosis, isn’t it, Dr. Scully? Cravings
should start setting in about now, the old needs, gazes across
the room, the need for him to place one hand on the small of your
back, craving the jokes, craving the endless banter. Someone
should just put me out of my misery.

“I hate you, Missy,” I hiss, “I hate this life I have.”

“So why don’t you make it better?” Missy asks. I am sitting
on the floor in my shirt, drunk, a ruin, my apartment a ruin,
talking to my dead sister.

Beat.

I think I’m losing my mind.

Adagio pt. 4/4
by Jennifer Stoy
* * *
Her face is two inches from my fist, and we have the same thought.
It’s not a pleasant one. I drop my fist as fast as I can.

“I told you to leave me alone,” she says in a cold voice. She will not
meet my eyes.

“Scully- wait- please.”

“Get out of here, Mulder,” she says. I see past her, into the
apartment. I can smell the alcohol on her, I can see the mess. I
realize that she is wearing only an oversized white blouse, and maybe
underwear, and a pair of socks. On a better day, this might be
the perfect fantasy image.

“I need to talk to you-”

“We don’t have anything left to say.”

She slams the door in my face. I am still angry at her, even though I
understand why she was so angry at me. She is partially to blame
for this situation. She could have mentioned the letter.

I pound on the door again.

“Go away or I’ll call the fucking cops!”

“You call the cops, I’ll tell them where I got this black eye,
and we’ll both go to jail!”

“Go to hell, Mulder, I’ll go to jail before I let you in my
apartment!” she screams.

The neighbors are peeking out their doors. I hear Mrs. Hill, the
next door neighbor, whisper to her husband, “Shhh, Harold, I think
they’re breaking up. I told you he was screwing her.”

This is too much. I pull out my key, shove it in the lock, and start
pushing against the door.

“Let me in!” I shout.

“Go away! This is breaking and entering!” she squeals. But she’s
too small to hold the door against my weight, and I win this
particular battle. She scrambles away from me, and she’s so drunk
that she stumbles, falls to the floor, and still she moves away
from me, as if I’d been the one to hit her. She clings to the
couch, crying, furious. If she were anywhere close to sober, she
probably would have went straight for her gun.

“Scully- listen to me- come on, I need to talk to you.”

“You forced your way in,” she says, “I’m listening.”

“I found the letter,” I say.

“I know,” she says, her lip curled back, ready to attack.

“No, I found it after you and I had our little fight,” I say.

“You lying son of a bitch,” she hisses, “I put it right on top all
those case files. I saw you pick them up. I even called you. Don’t
lie to me, Mulder. I know the truth. You’re afraid, Mulder. You think
maybe you can play it your way, win this little battle, maybe even
get a little sex out of it. Don’t count on it.”

“I swear to you on my sister I never saw this letter until after
you left my apartment,” I say back. She knows me too well- she
believes this. Her rage crumbles. A sort of despair fills her eyes.
I try to reach out, touch her hand, but she slides away from me.

“You win again,” she says, burying her face in the couch, “Even
when you lose, you win.”

“What?”

“Do you ever get tired of being right?” she asks, “Because I’m
really tired of it. You’re the winner, you tedious, crazy son of
a bitch. You get everything.”

“No,” I said, “Enough of that. You’re drunk, and you’re- I’m the
one who should be apologizing. Even if I didn’t know about that
letter, I was way out of line back at my apartment.”

“We gonna kiss and make up easy, then?” she says, laughing. It’s
a terrifying, soulless sort of laugh.

“No. Because, you know what, Scully? Even though I’m madly in love
with you, too, I’m pretty pissed off at you, too.”

Her head snaps up, those blue eyes of hers meet mine.

“Good,” she says, “I hate you, you hate me, we’re in love, oh,
can’t you see? So, I’d offer you something to drink, but I drank it
all, and smashed my tequila bottle. Be careful on the floor, Mulder,
it’s covered in glass. I smashed everything I could bear to smash.”

* * *
He’s gone into psychologist boy mode. With his rather explosive
arrival, Missy has disappeared back into my extremely screwed-up
psyche. I believe him when he says he’s in love. I’ve known it
for a long time. I believe him when he says he’s pissed off. I’m in
no condition to talk this all out, though.

“You do that a lot when you’re afraid,” he says, responding to my
last statement. Oh, God, he’s _trying_ to get it. This is bad.

“I do,” I say stupidly, “Mulder, I’m drunk. I’m bad drunk. I’m in
no talk to condition with you.”

“I don’t think you are, either.”

He’s being sensible for once, but I’m still angry. He’s not
going to win this one. I won’t let him.

“Good thing you’re here for me- Fox Mulder, my own personal
therapist and surrogate daddy. Dana’s too drunk to take care
of herself, Mulder to the rescue. Just like always.”

I am so wasted. He’s got this look between anger and love
on his face. I am feeling something near the same, except there
is a bit more despair on my part. I lost control. Mulder has the
upper hand this time. He should be the one on the floor, I should be
the one providing support. That’s how it is between us.

He offers a hand. I push it away. He picks me up, slightly roughly.
“Come on, you’re going to bed- you have to sleep this off. I’ll be
here when you wake up.”

Of course, I try to push him back, and this is when the police arrive.

“Excuse us, Ms. Scully?”

I wave, from my extremely bad position.

“Yes, officers?” I ask.

“Someone called,” the officer says, “What’s going on here?”

It was probably Sarah Gilmer, militant feminist activist
extraordinaire. My upstairs neighbor- I know she figures that
I’m a bitch and a slut, but I don’t deserve to be slapped around
like this.

“Nothing, officer,” Mulder says.

“We’re not asking you,” the officer says, “Are you all right, Miss?”

“I’m fine,” I lie. They have to be thinking the obvious, that
Mulder’s the drunk one, that he’s the one who’s trashed the apartment,
that I gave him the black eye in self-defense.

“Are you sure?” the second one asks. They want me to report his ass.

“I’m fine,” I say, “We’re sorry we made such a fuss.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m fine god dammit! I got a little drunk- we’re okay.”

“All right, if you’re sure, ma’am,” the first one says, “You make
sure you stay that way.”

They close the door behind them. We look at each other, in sort of a
mingled horror and relief. This is black comedy. This is ludicrous.

“Thanks for not sending me to jail,” he says.

“You didn’t hit me.”

“I know I didn’t, but you could have said I did and they would have
hauled my ass off to jail.”

“Why would I do that?” I ask. We’re trying to avoid the glass on
the floor, make it to my bedroom. He’s doing a good job.

“Because you’re extremely angry at me?”

“I am angry at you, but I wouldn’t lie,” I say, “That makes things
worse.”

He’s musing now, there’s sort of a far off look on his face.

“Here you are, drunk, sick, and hating my guts, and still you try
to help me,” he says, kind of stunned, “You really do love me,
don’t you?”

“No, I wrote that letter because I’m really really horny and I
really need to get laid,” I say sarcastically, “Yes, I love you. I
nearly went crazy when I thought you didn’t- that you didn’t even
respect the fact that I loved you.”

“What did I do to deserve you?” he asks. We’ve reached my bedroom,
cleared the minefield of glass. The territory here is much more
dangerous.

“I don’t know,” I said, “I’m losing my mind, you know? I saw Melissa.
She told me to let you in. I was talking to her, I swear I saw her,
so I’m crazy.”

“No, you’re not crazy. You’re- we’ve dealt with a lot of heartbreak
over the years, haven’t we?”

He’s still got me in his arms. He loves me. He’s a bastard. He
loves me. I want him. I love him. I’m crazy. I need him. I love him.

“Yeah,” I say, “I drank a whole bottle of wine by myself, and almost
half the tequila. I was stupid.”

“Come on, then. Go to bed.”

“Come with me.”

“Don’t tempt me.”

“At least kiss me good-night.”

He takes the bait. He sets me down on the bed, sits down next to me,
holds me in his arms for one last minute. He does kiss me, but on
the cheek. It’s not enough.

“No,” I say, “More.”

“No,” he says, “You’re drunk. Now go to bed.”

I lose again, but I don’t think that I could win on a night like this.

* * *
She finally lays down, and I close the door. Her CD player is
going at top volume, stuff I wouldn’t have figured Scully was a
fan of- Bad Religion? That’s just not her-

“You and me have a disease,” the lead singer announces, “You
affect me, you infect me- I’m afflicted, you’re addicted- you and me,
you and me.”

Maybe it’s just that Scully’s CD player has ESP. The song sounds
exactly how I feel right now, which is both a good thing and a bad
thing. I sink into the couch. Damn. She threw one hell of a temper
tantrum. There is glass everywhere, a bottle of wine on the floor,
a pint of melting ice cream on the coffee table, and her bedroom
is thrashed.

I have to consider things carefully. I’m unnerved. My Dana Scully
usually doesn’t binge and come on to me and act like a general
lunatic. Then again, my Dana Scully just handed me the biggest
surprise of my life two hours ago, with that damned letter.

Now that I’m alone, I can admit to myself I love her. She’s my
angel, my demon-deliverer, my light in the darkness. I’m lost
without her. But I have to be equally honest and admit that I’m
all wrong for her. We’re opposites. And I’ve fucked up her life.
She doesn’t deserve it.

Now I have to be brave. She’s ready to leave. It’ll hurt like
hell, for both of us. But if she goes, she still has a shot at
happiness. I owe her that much.

That’s the ticket. I sigh, and pick up the empty wine bottle,
wishing that Scully had saved a little for me. It’s going to be a
long night.

* * *
I rouse myself from a thoroughly unsatisfying sleep. I have one
hell of a hangover, and Mulder in my living room. I know he’s ready
to talk. I pick up a pair of slippers, and walk down the hall. Sure
enough, he’s on the couch. Waiting.

“Hey,” he says, “Remember anything?”

“I remember,” I reply, “I have a blistering headache, my mouth tastes
like a sewer, I look like hell, and I’m still in love with you?
How’s the floor? Still glass-strewn?”

“I did my best to clean up, but I can’t make any guarantees.”

So I put on my slippers, just in case, and I walk into the kitchen,
slowly. I need water. And coffee. He follows. I pour myself a glass
of water, tap out a couple of Advil, gulp them back. I decide tea
would be better than coffee. I fill the kettle, turn on the stove,
make all the preparations. He sits at my kitchen table, looking
rather blank. I sit down with my glass of water, and we wait,
not meeting each other’s eyes.

“Good thing it’s Saturday,” he says lamely, trying to make
conversation, “Looks like it’s going to rain.”

“Yeah. I heard that on the news,” I say. I sip more of the water. It’s
ice cold, and I don’t quite like it. I wish the tea would hurry up
and get done.

“I did a lot of thinking last night,” he says, “About you and me. About
us. About life.”

The tea kettle chooses this moment to squeal. I jump to my feet,
pull out a teacup- no, make that two teacups. I pour the tea- it’s
raspberry, it smells so good-, put a little sugar in both, and hand
him one. I take the other and sit down, trying to ignore the
fact that my hands are shaking.

“So what were your conclusions?” I ask. Good- professional voice.
That’s very good.

“I know I love you,” he says, “But I’m all wrong for you. And you’re
all wrong for me.”

“Oh.”

“I think that maybe your leaving me would be better for you. Whether
or not you’ll say it, you know it’s true- it’s my fault. I’ve brought
you nothing except pain. I want you to be happy, Scully. I don’t
think I can make you happy.”

“Oh.”

“I have been a bastard. And I’ll admit, I’ve been selfish- these
years, I’ve enjoyed your company- hell, you make me happy. I admit
it. My life is better because of you. You’re my reason for living.
I don’t think I’ll ever stop thinking about you, even when you go.”

“But you still want me to leave.”

“I don’t,” he replies, “But it would be better- for you- and I
want what’s best for you.”

I take a drink of my tea, burning my tongue, but refusing to show
it. His eyes are glassy with tears. I take pride in the fact that
I am still stone-faced. In fact, I realize I’m still angry,
and getting angrier.

“Who are you to decide what’s best for me?” I ask suddenly,
“You’re just like the rest of them- what is it? Is it because
I’m a woman? Or because I look delicate? You should know better.
All these people know what’s best for me, that’s right. What a
cowardly way of saying you’re too afraid to be in love with me.
So- go home. Get out.”

I look at him, avoiding his eyes, but seeing his face. He’s so
beautiful- even looking like he does right now. Like hell. I feel
sort of sick and giddy. It’s over this time. It’s really over! No
more Mulder, no more basement, no more shadow conspiracies, no
more X-Files. No more. Bye-bye. I sip my water, and wait. He
doesn’t move.

“Mulder-”

“I’m not going,” he says, “I just tried my damnedest to convince
myself to leave, but this isn’t over. Not by a longshot.
Not like this.”

“You told me it should be over. So I’m saying, it’s over.”

“You’re not saying that,” he says slowly.

“What am I saying then?”

“You won’t accept the easy out. As usual.”

“Oh, that’s what I’m saying.”

“Scully- I just realized you’re as crazy as I am. How long have you
been in love with me, do you think?”

“A long time. Years.”

“Me, too. So- we’ve been in love forever, but we’ve never said
it. We chase monsters and shadows, we’re hopelessly devoted to
each other. So why can’t we even connect?”

“We’re crazy,” I say, “But I knew that.”

“I don’t want you to go. But I want you to be happy.”

He’s afflicted- I’m addicted. And I can’t tell him no. But
I don’t want to.

“Then don’t lose me,” I say, “I’m not going off anywhere.”

He stares at me, stupid.

“So- now what? Where do we go from here?”

I realize I have him. On my terms. I smile.

“For two people who want the same thing, we sure can’t make up
our minds,” I say, “Fox. Would you just forget all the danger
and the complications for one minute?”

“All right,” he says, “No danger, no complications.”

“I love you,” I tell him.

“I love you,” he whispers back, “I want you. How do you feel
about that?”

We’re staring at each other, and my mouth is absolutely dry.

“Fox?” I ask in a low voice.

“Yeah?” he replies. Twice. He’s letting me call him Fox. Victory.

“Shut up and kiss me.”

And he does. Out of the corner of my eye, I swear I see Melissa
again. She gives me a little smile, claps silently. I’ll just
accept it for now. Evidently, I get high marks for the adept
partnering we’ve just pulled off.

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