Spoilers: My Struggle IV
Author's Note: It's been forever since I've written fic, but
that "season finale" inspired me to try to make sense of the
nonsense, and maybe give Mulder and Scully a chance to start to
deal with the shit they've been dragged through.
It's dawn when Mulder shifts the car into park. A drizzle mists
the windshield, muddying the house's looming form, the dim glow
of the porch light their only welcome. Next to him, Scully sleeps
deeply, his jacket tucked into the crook of her neck.
He reaches across the console to touch her cheek. "We're home."
She stirs, blinking, before fumbling at the door handle in a
rush. She's out of the car before he can offer to help, making
her way to the house. He watches with concern as she pauses at
the foot of the steps, leaning on the porch railing for a moment
as if to catch her breath, before disappearing around the side of
the house. He winces when he hears retching.
Skinner was going to make it, they said; a lumbar spinal
fracture and two broken legs meant he had a long recovery ahead,
but he was alive.
Reyes hadn't been so lucky. Mulder found her slumped in the
driver's seat of Spender's car, blood pooling in the corner of
her eye. Scully had moaned softly behind him, turned, vomited
bile onto the pavement.
It wasn't until later that he remembered; Reyes had delivered
William, had held him as he'd taken his first breath.
Mulder shudders, stumbling forward to check on Scully, finds
her crouched over the overgrown garden. There's a lone rhubarb
stalk struggling to greet the day, leaves beaded with rain, a
survivor among the bittercress and chickweed.
"You OK?" he asks, feeling helpless.
"I need to eat," she murmurs, standing. "The nausea is worse if
He reaches for her hand, takes it, guides them inside. She
shrugs off her coat, then ducks into the bathroom and closes the
Mulder stands in the kitchen, unsure where to begin. It had
felt good -- too good -- to put aside reason, to put his finger
on the trigger, aim, and let the bullets do the rest. He thinks
of gunpowder residue and blood spatter, pushes up his sleeves and
scrubs his hands until they're raw.
When that's done, he opens the fridge. She needs to eat. Bread,
lettuce, turkey; this, he can manage. As he works, he doesn't
think about the water lapping at the dock, doesn't think about
watching himself fall backwards, doesn't think about the bullet
lodged between his son's eyes.
He cuts the sandwich in half and sets it on the table with a
glass of milk. She doesn't like milk, but it's good for the baby,
*The baby. Christ.*
He sinks into a chair as the weight of the day hits him. When
she comes out, bathrobe cinched around her waist, he's staring at
the table with his head propped in his hands.
"Thank you," she murmurs, sitting down, picking up half the
sandwich and taking a small bite. Her expression is distant and
closed, the dark circles under her eyes betraying her exhaustion.
It's a long time before she speaks again, and when she does, her
voice is almost inaudible.
"I had a...a vision," she murmurs, sipping her milk. "I saw
Mulder's pulse throbs, a glimmer of hope expanding in his
chest. "You...he's alive? You're sure?"
She nods, avoiding his eyes. Bite, chew, swallow, sip. Repeat.
"How...?" he leans forward.
"I don't know," she sighs.
"If it's true, there's still a chance we could find him,"
Mulder says, thinking aloud. "We could--"
"Mulder, stop. Not now, I can't..." She trails off, ducking her
chin, and he thinks of the warmth of her stomach against his
blood-flecked palm. "He can't be another quest. You have to let
Mulder swallows. "But...he's alive."
She nods, pushing the plate back. "He's weak, but he's safe.
"Then he'll find us," he says, more to himself than to her.
"Someday. When he's ready."
She presses her lips together. When she answers, her voice is
hollow. "I'm going to bed."
But she's already on her feet, moving toward the stairs. He
watches her go, feeling lost, unmoored.
Mulder wraps the untouched half of the sandwich and puts it in
the fridge, pours the leftover milk in the sink.
He finds her in the upstairs bathroom, staring into the mirror,
her reflection haunted and pale. Steaming water runs into the
She startles, meeting his eyes before reaching for a cloth, but
"Talk to me, Scully," he says, wishing for a church, for the
ease they found over a prayer candle.
"Everything," she frowns, rubbing at her face with the cloth
until the freckles across her nose burn pink. "Everything I tried
to prevent for him, everything -- it came true."
She dabs lotion on her chin, under her eyes, punctuating each
word with angry, jerky movements. "I lived with the guilt of his
adoption, but there's nothing I could have done," she says,
turning and striding past him to stuff the cloth into the hamper.
"I never had a choice."
"They *used me*, Mulder," she whirls on him, voice rising.
"They used my body to make monsters. And I loved them, and they
were taken from me. How can I bring another child into the world
with that on my conscience? What hope do I have of keeping them
safe, when everything that's come before has been ripped from my
She breaks off, her breath ragged, swiping at the corners of
"What they did to you is unforgivable," he says, approaching
her. "But this...this is different. You have a choice."
"I can't do it again," she breathes, eyes pressed shut.
"Damnit, Mulder. It's not fair."
"No. No, it's not. But you don't have to do it alone," he
whispers, taking her face in his palms, searching her eyes. "Do
you want this, Scully?"
"I do," she says, her voice cracking as the tears pool in the
whorls of his thumbs. "I do, so much. But I wish I didn't."
He wraps his arms around her, pulling her close. "So we'll make
He imagines he can feel her eye-roll against his chest, but she
softens. "Just like that, huh?"
"Just like that. I'll trade in the Mustang for a minivan, we'll
get a Baby Björn--"
She sniffs. "What the fuck is a Baby Björn?"
"I have no idea," he admits, chuckling. "But if the number of
missed calls on my phone from Kersh is any indication, we'll have
a lot of free time to figure that out."
"I'm fifty four, Mulder," she sighs, her voice small.
"And your breasts will be the envy of every grandma at the
She barks a laugh into his chest, fists gripping the fabric of
his shirt as her laughter dissolves into a sob. He nuzzles the
hair at her temple, kisses it, sways with her until the storm
"What can I do?" he murmurs when her breathing has calmed.
"That's what got us into this mess," he says, nudging her cheek
with his nose, eliciting a tired smile. He pulls back the covers
and follows her into bed, pulling her back against his chest.
His fingers trace the line of her hip.
Tentatively his hand slides forward to her abdomen, barely
touching, asking permission. She places her palm over his in
answer, pressing down, guiding him to the spot just above her
pubic bone where a gentle swell has already formed. He swallows
hard, overcome with love and sadness and fatigue.
"I don't have it in me to hope for this, Mulder," she murmurs,
her voice rough.
He kisses her cheek, whispering a prayer to the nape of her
neck. "Sleep. I'll find enough hope for the both of us."