Title: Barely Breathing Author: Lynn Gregg Date: 6/11/97 Rating: PG-13 for language and "adult situations" (whatever those are) Code: VRA Keywords: Mulder/Scully romance Summary: An angry Scully is confronted with the penultimate MulderDitch... or is she? Spoilers: Gethsemane, sort of Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to Chris Carter, Fox and 1013 Productions although they seem to have taken up permanent residence somewhere in my twisted psyche. I haven't yet figured out how to charge fictional characters rent, but at least I can make them work for their keep. The song quoted herein is "Who Knows," written by Justin Hayward and used without his permission. I don't own him either. Notes: This is my take on how the Blessed One might have reacted to the apparent demise of her cute but oh-so-slappable partner. Anyone disturbed by KickAss!Scully and lots of swearing and breaking things might ought to bow out now. I personally don't think we get to see enough of that side of her. I mean, vulnerability is fine in small doses, but righteous wrath definitely has its advantages!
"'Cause I am barely breathing and I can't find the air don't know who I'm kidding imagining you cared And I could stand here waiting a fool for another day I don't suppose it's worth the price the price that I would pay But I'm thinking it over anyway..." ("Barely Breathing," Duncan Sheik) Fox Mulder's apartment 2:00 am ::THWACK!:: A videotape labelled "Double-D Delights" bounced off the wall, plastic case cracking open, serpentine loop of tape spilling out. It was joined in quick succession by half a dozen others, the black corpses piling up on the cluttered floor. (God damn it!) The enigmatic Dr Dana Scully, Special Agent with the FBI and normally not disposed to such outbursts, stood in the center of the room, hands fisted at her sides, breath coming in shallow gasps, casting about frantically for something else to break. (Damn it, and damn him!) Nothing. There was nothing at all. No clue, no reason, nothing to even hint at why her partner had elected to kill himself. The very instant the police tape came down and the investigation into Fox Mulder's death was closed, Scully had raced over to the apartment and torn the place apart, desperate to find *something*--anything at all. He wouldn't just...go, not without leaving something behind, a note, a tape, a message. An answer. After four years together, he wouldn't just leave her with nothing. But he had. (Oh, and not for the first time, either. Face it; he's *always* done this, run off without a word, leaving me to wonder and worry. Only this time he won't be coming back. What the Hell was I expecting? Some consideration, at this late date? He'd already signed my death warrant. What else was there left to say?) Beautiful. What a fine fat fucking mess this--her career, her partnership, her *life*--had turned out to be. And it could all be laid at the feet of Special Agent Fox Fucking Mulder--well, no it couldn't, not anymore, he was six feet under and well out of it all. Gone far beyond the reach of all the nightmares come true and where was *she*? Left behind as usual, holding the mother of all bags and listening, alone, to the steady ticking of the deathwatch within her. (Alone. But then, I've been alone all along, haven't I? He never gave a damn about me, never gave a damn about anything but himself and the windmills he'd devoted his life to tilting with. I've never been anything but a pawn, a means to an end, for him and for the Consortium and who knows who else. I don't matter. I never did, not to any of them.) ::CRASH!:: Mulder's television set made a particularly satisfying sound when she heaved it off its stand and onto the floor; nothing better than a picture tube when you wanted a good explosion. Picking her way delicately as a cat through the glittering shards of glass, Scully hoisted the VCR from its place and flung it as hard as she could against the far wall. Fitting, that its remains should come to rest upon the fallen bodies of the disgusting crap he'd run through it so many times over the years. (What a loser), she thought to herself, sneering at an empty tape box portraying an improbably- proportioned woman twisted into a position she would've thought in defiance of most natural laws, including that of gravity. (Eddie Van Blundht was right. He was a fucking perverted loser freak and no sane woman would've given him so much as the time of day, let alone anything else. No wonder he had about forty million dollars worth of sicko tapes and stuff. Who'd have him? Except for the occasional slut...or entomologist...Disgusting. I can't believe I ever--GOD! WHAT was I thinking?! I actually thought--) ::CRASH! SPLASH!:: She shoved the fishtank, home only to brackish water and sundry bacteria, off its stand. The erstwhile contents dispersed in thin brown runnels, soaking into the rug and pooling up in spots. Scully studied this phenomenon for a moment, then started looking about for her next victim. Her eyes lit on the computer, and an evil smile bloomed upon her lips. She had the monitor in hand and was just about to toss it when a voice from the doorway halted her. "Is this the way you honor your partner's memory?" Hastily plopping the monitor back onto the table, Scully whirled around, bringing her backup weapon out and up in one smooth practiced motion. A blonde woman stood in the archway between the hall and the living room, a small moue of distaste wrinkling her lips. For the first time in her Bureau career, Dana Scully nearly dropped her gun. "Who the Hell are you?" She demanded. The blonde gave her a cool appraising stare. "A friend," she replied, in a husky, melodramatic tone. That was all it took. (A friend, my ass! Goddammit, haven't I had enough already? Now I have to deal with bereaved girlfriends or whatever the Hell this bimbo is. Oh, is this typical or what? You give a man everything, up to and including your life, and what thanks do you get? A kick in the ass and the opportunity to watch as some TART waltzes in and grabs all the glory--) Coherent thought fled. "Get the Hell out of here. I'm busy." "I can see that. But there's no time. Agent Scully--" "I said get OUT! Leave me alone! If you need some souvenir of your lover, go ahead and grab whatever's left. He sure as Hell didn't leave anything behind for *me*." And here she stopped, mortified and bewildered, and promptly burst into tears. They were not, however, tears of weakness or self-pity; but rather the liquid manifestation of the most incredible rage she had ever known. All she could do was stand there and shake, incandescent in her fury. The blonde woman waited until the storm blew over. When it appeared Scully had herself in hand once more, she spoke. "I'm here to help you. To finish what Agent Mulder started." "What do you mean? Quit talking in riddles and get to the point!" "He died for you, Agent Scully. He died so you could live." (WHAT is she babbling about? A messiah complex. She's insane. She--) "Agent Scully, are you listening to me? We haven't much time. There is a car waiting for you, outside the building. You will be taken to a top secret research facility where the treatments will begin immediately. You are to have no contact with anyone, not even your family, until the course of treatment is completed, at which time all will be made known to you." "All of what?" The blonde smiled, coldly. "All of what you need to know." * * * AD Walter Skinner's office J. Edgar Hoover Building One month later "I still don't understand, sir." Scully leaned back in her chair, lacing her fingers together in her lap. Physically, she looked and felt better than she had in years; but her mind, well, that was another story. Her superior peered at her from over the rims of his glasses. "It had to be done, Scully. We simply couldn't take the chance of you letting anything slip. If it's any consolation, Mulder was dead-set against leaving you in the dark about our plans. You had to put on a convincing act; if you'd known it was a clone you found that night, you might not have been able to fake the necessary emotions before the committee. And their believing that Mulder was dead was essential to getting the cure for you." "I suppose I should be grateful to you both. I am, of course--but I'm still damned angry too. With all due respect, sir, I feel that you and Agent Mulder have both underestimated me from the start." "Perhaps that's so, Scully, and once again I do apologize to you for what you must have gone through. For what it's worth, we did the best we could in what little time we had." "So what's next?" "That's up to you," Skinner said, and handed her a small packet. It was a brown kraft envelope, the type of padded mailer used for cassette tapes. "Go home," he said, face inscrutable, "and think it over. You're dismissed." Dismissed, indeed. As always. Scully tucked the packet under her arm and stalked out, the clacking of her heels echoing down the hallway. She tossed it into the passenger seat of her car and peeled out, trying to ignore the little package and the implications thereof. Less than a mile had rolled beneath her wheels before curiosity overcame her; swerving over to the shoulder she ripped the packet open and shook the contents into her lap. A cassette tape. Unlabeled, rewound to the beginning of side A. The envelope yielded up nothing else. Studying the tape for a moment, she shrugged at last and popped it into the cassette deck before putting the car back in gear and easing back onto the road. The silence in the car was broken, for what seemed an eternity, by only the hiss of the leader; and then, a song began: "Sometimes I find myself searching, as I walk the streets all alone Searching the faces for someone, someone to take me back home-- Who knows where the future leads us, the waters are wide, the road is long--I pray for a hand to guide us, and welcome us back where we belong So many miles come between us, and fate seems to keep us apart Fortune once brought us together, is there still a place in your heart-- Someday when my journey's over, I'll come tumbling back to you, my love I know when the circle's broken, I'll come stumbling back to you My love-- But I long for the day I can call you and say I'm a step on the way Back to you Who knows what the morning brings us, the moment of truth, the power of love I know where the future leads me, it's leading me back to you My love." The tears were back, flowing freely again--but there was a smile there, too, and one that did not bode well for the sender of the song. "Oh, Mulder," she murmured, imaginging the fun she would have. "Oh, Fox, your ass is *mine*."
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