|Destiny Comes Calling
Author: Ayiana2 PM
Sometimes destiny wears a gun and carries a badge. Missing Scene for IWTBRated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst/Drama - D. Scully - Words: 1,339 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 4 - Published: 08-02-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4443806
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Warning: Contains spoilers for X-Files 2: I Want to Believe
They always came in pairs before. Male and female. Yin and yang. Their dark suits and wary, shifting eyes are like neon signs with giant flashing letters—FBI. Emissaries from the past, their bent fingers hover at their hips as if they live in perpetual readiness for an impromptu shootout.
The first time they came they wanted Mulder to profile a serial killer in exchange for a life sentence and I sent them away with a pithy suggestion about what they could do with their serial killers and their life sentences. When I told Mulder about it later, he laughed and said he wished he could've been there to see it. But there was a hint of wistfulness in his eyes that made me turn away and fumble in the pantry for something to make for dinner.
Two years later they came back with an offer of twenty-five years in trade for a Mayan mask with mysterious healing powers. I didn't tell Mulder about that one. I was afraid of what he'd say.
But this time is different. This time the agent who calls my name in the hallway has come alone.
He isn't any happier about our meeting than I am. It shows in the way he shifts his weight from one foot to the other and in the way he states his case—his tone making it clear that he thinks he's been sent on a fool's errand. Empowered by the military and sanctioned by an alien government, he probably thinks he's got God Himself on his side. I don't bother setting him straight. Instead I fold my arms across my chest and stare him down.
His words come as no surprise. They want Mulder back.
I have somehow become both gatekeeper and jailor for a David in a world of Goliaths. Like a wildlife biologist, zealously protecting the last of an endangered species from extinction, I nurture him the best I can. But I'm always aware that something's missing, some vital sustenance without which he cannot long survive. And as I listen to the FBI's latest offer I think about how long it's been since I've seen the thrill of the hunt in Mulder's eyes or heard a spark of real enthusiasm in his voice. He's safe, and he's alive, but at what price?
I tamp down the unsettling thoughts and lift my chin.
"We aren't partners anymore," I say. "I no longer work with the FBI." "No, I don't know where he is." This last, the only outright lie, rolls easily off my tongue. My integrity is the price I pay for this life we have now, this tenuous peace. Steep as it is, I pay it willingly.
In the room behind me, a young boy lies close to death, his fate in my hands. I don't know if I can save him, but I have to try. It is cases like his that see me through each day, giving me the strength to go on, the courage to swim upriver against the relentless tide of time that rushes past me like sand in an hourglass. I know what will happen when the last grain slips through the neck and falls, unremarked, onto the shifting mound below. I know, but sometimes my work helps me forget.
Agent Drummy is watching me, his gaze speculative as he offers up a business card like some kind of sacrificial lamb. Small and white, it's embossed with the familiar FBI logo. I should refuse it as I have done before, with brusque irritation and references to needy patients. But the words turn to sawdust on my tongue, and I see myself accepting the link to our past lives, to who we were and who we are to become, pinching it gingerly between finger and thumb. Drummy's words drift against my ears and settle like ash around my ankles. Full pardon. Clean slate. Fresh start. Trite, meaningless phrases in an unwinnable war.
I know the cost of going back.
It isn't until the mangled cardstock digs into my palm that I realize how tightly I'm holding it. I shove it into my pocket and turn away without comment. Puzzled silence follows in my wake. Drummy's probably wondering what to tell his SIC. There was a time when I might've cared, but the FBI hierarchy is his problem now, not mine.
A passing nurse nods at me, juggles a basket of blood samples in one hand and a tray of urine samples in the other, and hurries off to face a destiny that seems so much simpler than mine. I watch her go and wish that I didn't know what the future held, that I could invite her to join me for coffee in the lounge and we could chat aimlessly about everything and nothing at all, and that I could come away from it with no more pressing concern than the latest White House scandal.
The card is a hard lump in my pocket, sharp edged and accusatory. It is Jiminy Cricket, dressed in black and carrying a gun, and it whispers to me of the past and the future, of responsibility and duty, and of the price of love.
If I tell Mulder they've come looking for him again, that they're willing to forget the past and set aside his conviction, he'll go. His voice will be bitter, and his eyes will be flat and hard as he talks about what they did to him, but he'll go. He has to. It's who he is.
But I can't go with him. I have responsibilities here, to my patients and my work. And there's nothing more I can do in that world, no mysteries left for me to solve. The last mystery, the final truth, is already written in the stars and in the nightmares that plague my sleep. In the short time we have left I want to search for hope and live in peace, not search for monsters and live in fear.
Everything inside me cries out against sending Mulder back to those monsters armed with nothing more than his wits and a handful of sunflower seeds. But there are different kinds of monsters, and one of the most insidious already lives in our home—a slow, soul-destroying emptiness that's been gnawing at Mulder's spirit since the day we went into hiding. I've tried to deny its existence, tried to ignore his growing apathy and the creeping spread of newsprint across his office walls, but I can't do that anymore. There's too much at stake.
And in my pocket, I hold the key to his survival.
The rest of the afternoon passes in a blur of office visits, consultations, and meetings. By the time it's over, I know that I'll be going home tonight. My apartment here in town is small and cramped, with a tiny bathroom and a closet-sized kitchen. It isn't a home, and I've never tried to make it one. It's just a place to sleep when I'm not at the hospital but can't go home. Home is where Mulder is. Home is where I can curl up in the shelter of his arms and rest my head against his shoulder and pretend that forever doesn't come with an expiration date.
The house is remote, the protocol to get there time consuming and draining, demanding a degree of concentration and attention to detail that I can rarely muster after a full day at the hospital. But I need to see him tonight. I need to see his face when I tell him.
I need to love him.
Before I can let him go.