Date: Mon, 18 May 1998 Final Analysis by Barbara Barnett firstname.lastname@example.org Rating: G Classification: Angst Summary: Missing scene from "The End" Spoilers: The End And in the final analysis there were only the two of them. Alone, the sickening smell of burned plastic and paper; charred metal and smouldering leather. Skinner had popped his head in at the head of a concerned group of colleagues, ready to meet, head on, the challenge of finding the arsonist who set the blaze. But Skinner saw and he knew: that in the final analysis there were only the two of them in that world. And he averted his eyes from their pain to leave them this moment of privacy. He partially closed the door, leaving it widely ajar, to prevent the fumes from overcoming them. He quickly turned to the gathered colleagues and quietly warned them away, begging them to leave the two in peace. The last of the firefighters' equipment was removed and finally they were alone. Truly alone. Mulder had not moved, had not spoken since entering the room. But his devastated eyes told what his voice and paralyzed body could not. Gone. All of it. Except you, they said. Except us. And, in the final analysis, that was really all that mattered. Hours earlier, the final strategy was put in play, events playing out quickly: the end game of a brutal chess match played on a breakneck timer. The boy was gone. Diana on life support. Old Smoky back on the playing field. And young Jeff the wild card. A second queen as their pawns moved clear across the board? Or was he, too, only a pawn? And for which side? Clearly not theirs. They had sat, the two of them, alone in Mulder's digs. The only light being a shaded halogen. Scully had taken him home, stopping briefly at her own place to change. She couldn't leave him alone. Not then. Fowley's words, overheard in a hosptial corridor, still stung; still hurt. Did Mulder believe them? Was she right, after all? Would Mulder have been more successful if she'd been more accepting, more open minded? "Do you regret our work together, Mulder?" Her voice had been tinged with sadness, not really wanting to hear the answer she knew was forthcoming. "Never, Scully. I have never regretted a moment." "I know about Diana, you know. You were close to her. Now being back...I mean... Oh, God, Mulder I don't know why I'm talking about this now, when she's on life support. I know, though, you must be thinking that if there were a way now, how she might make a more logical partner for you. She's thinking that, too." "Did the boy tell you that?" A small, wry smile tried valiantly to tug at Mulder's mouth. "If he did, he's not such a great mind reader, after all." "She wants you back, Mulder. That much I *do* know." "Then it's not mutual." "Mulder, I overheard you talking at the psych hospital. I heard what she said. I saw..." "What *exactly* did you hear?" Mulder sat up from his prone position on the sofa, an alarmed tone in his voice. "Does it really matter?" Mulder's eyes involuntarily misted at the saddness in Scully's voice. He sought her eyes with his own. "Yes. It does, " Mulder replied, his voice low and serious. Mulder replayed each conversation he'd had with Diana. "Scully, whatever you may know, or think you may know, I have no intention of, have no desire for a different partner." He paused. Closing his eyes. It would be hard to talk about her now, as she lay possibly dying in intensive care. But he needed to...for both their sakes--his and Scully's. Scully walked over to the sofa, sitting beside Mulder, taking his hand gently in hers. "We don't...we shouldn't talk about this. Not now. It's not important. I'm sorry. I..." Finally his eyes found hers, locked them in secret connection. And she knew everything as his soul spoke to her. But for Mulder, now, more was needed. "It was a long time ago, Scully. I thought I'd found a kindered spirit at the time. A woman with a brilliant mind, strong, tough--and who thought as I did. We made for a powerful partnership. Our work helped to rewrite some of the criminal psych books and alter some profiling methodologies. I was also still trying to forget Phoebe Greene. So, I guess we sort of naturally fell together. We drifted apart a bit over time, first personally then professionally. She was amitious. I guess we both were at the begining. But then I found the X-files. It was exciting for both of us for awhile. But as my professional focus turned exclusively to the files, she understood that the official fallout could damage her career. She was a lot less naive than me, I guess. So, she bailed big time. Transferred. Gone. One morning she had just dissappeared. No note. Nothing. I had to hear about it through the grapevine. I never heard from her again. As intense as our relationship was, professionally and personally, that was how intensely I felt her loss. Eventually, I figured out that most of that feeling was my injured sense of male pride, but it still hurt. A lot." Mulder had not let go of Scully's hand, gripping it tighter, then intertwining his fingers in hers as he continued, eyes still locked on hers. "Mulder..." Mulder shook her off, continuing. "She heard of the bombshell I'd dropped on the bureau last fall, taking down Blevins and some of his cronies. She must have realized I wasn't quite the paraiah she thought I would become. So she wanted to come home." He saw the obvious question in her eyes. "What she didn't know, doesn't know...is that the only reason I'm not that paraiah is due to you, Scully. What she also doesn't know is that I would never..." He removed her hand from hers, placing both of his on either side of her face, to be certain she understood him completely. "That I would *never*, ever do anything to harm what we have. What you and I are together, Scully. I hope you know and understand that too." Mulder embraced her fiercely, and continued in a low, rough voice. "The only thing that seeing Diana again reminded me about, though, was the hole she left in my personal life. I've been terrified to approach..." The phone rang--an intrusion. "Mulder." "It's Skinner. Get down here. Now. Both of you." And now they stood, shellshocked and weary in the center of of the burned out office. Gone. Everything gone, destroyed, ruined. But in the ashes of the ruin, arisen, a vow renewed and strenghthened by an undying faith in each other, hardened by another tragedy. And in the final analysis, that was the only thing that still mattered. In the final analysis, it was just the two of them. Finally Mulder regained awareness, seeking the anchoring power of Scully's eyes, feeling her head buried in his chest, her arms around him. He drew her closer, wrapping his own arms around her. She tilted her head up towards his, searching for meaning there, for clarity. But she only found him. He peered down at her seeking reassurance, answers. But he only found her. And, in the final analysis, at least for now, it was enough. the end.