Prometheus, Unbound

     ::Such a perfect, tragic cliche,:: Fox Mulder mused, heading east
out of Bloomington on a small Indiana byway.  His thoughts were as
dark and clouded as the day.  Their most recent case had been as
surrealistic and convoluted as a Tim Burton opium nightmare--and
simultaneously, as stereotypically predictable as a paperback gothic
novel.  The hideously scarred monster with the soul of a poet, driven
to dark and desperate acts by a cruel and uncaring world...

     "That was me back there, Scully," he said softly, addressing his
partner, who stared pensively out the passenger window at the gray
November landscape sliding by.  "That boy.  The Great Mutato.  He was

     "We never even knew his name."  Dana Scully turned slightly in 
her seat, casting him an oblique look.  Her fathomless eyes were

     "The ending was all wrong.  That isn't the way it was supposed to
end.  There should have been a happy ending, Scully.  *Someone*,
somewhere, deserves to have a happy ending for once."

     "I'm not sure there is such a thing, Mulder.  Can you really be
happy about something *ending*?"

     He considered.  "Major surgery.  Hemorrhoid attack..."  He 
trailed off, sighed.  "I know what you mean.  Still...Do you think
there can ever be a happy *anything* for someone like that?"

     "You mean for someone like you.  And the answer is yes.  Yes, I
do, Mulder."

     Mulder was sinking rapidly back into the depressive morass of his
thoughts.  "He has nothing.  No family, no friends, no partner.  He's
alone, endlessly seeking that which he cannot find--that which may not
even exist..."

     "*You're* not alone, you know."

     "No."  He pulled his gaze from the road unrolling before them,
turned to look at her.  "No, I'm not.  Not anymore."

     "Not for a long time now.  And never again."

     "I want the happy ending, Scully.  If not for Mutato, for me.  I 
need it.  I don't think it's too much to ask."

     "I heard you whispering to Izzy, about how you thought the story
should end.  What's your idea of a happy ending to this, Mulder?"

     He coasted the Taurus onto the shoulder and turned to look at her,
sliding his arm along the back of the seat.  "I envisioned...the
townspeople putting aside their torches, their prejudices and fears...
seeing simultaneously the angel in that boy and the devils within
themselves.  And then...then I imagined the whole town taking the boy
to a concert--"

     "A concert?"

     "--A Cher concert.  Front-row seats for you, me and him.  I could
*see* it, Scully--see the joy on his face as he looked at his idol,
his fantasy of love and acceptance come true.  She would sing right to
him, step down off the stage and hold out her hands to him, lead him
onto the stage and dance with him.  And then..."

     Scully looked at him, breathless, expectant.  "And then...?"

     "I--no.  Never mind.  You might shoot me again."

     "Try me."

     He cleared his throat.  "And then...Then I would hold out my hand
to you, Scully, and you'd take it.  I'd sweep you into my arms and
we'd dance together.  *That* would be a happy ending."

     "Mulder."  She reached over, laced her fingers through his,
waited for his eyes to lock with her own.  "If we danced together?  
That wouldn't be a happy ending."


     She leaned forward, smiling, to brush her lips lightly across his.

     "No.  That would be a happy beginning."


December 1997, Lynn Gregg.

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