i see

TITLE: i see

AUTHOR: sharim


SPOILERS: Theef, En Ami, All Things, Requiem, Minor ones for Paper Clip, The Blessing Way and Anasazi, Chimera,

CATEGORY: Angst, Drama, MS

SUMMARY: Mulder didn't find the doll

AN: This is the first in a three part series. The other two parts are planned, so they should get written.

Yes, I know I used this song in another fic, but it just keeps going round and round and round, and I don't even have a stupid add to blame it on.

i see

by sharim

i see trees of green
red roses too
i see them bloom
for me and you


Strength was a state of mind, and it was an attribute she had always prided herself on. Smaller than average with baby fine skin and large blue eyes, her physique simply did not lend itself to the impression of strength. There were only a handful of instances that she could remember where she lost her sense of strength, and she cared little for remembering those instances.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

And lying on broken glass and splintered wood, listening to the sounds of a dying man while her eyes burnt and ached and nails of pain were driven into her skull, she felt weak. Powerless.

I was powerless.

Lucy Wieder's panicked screams, Robert Wieder's gasping cries, Peattie's slurred grammar, the darkness, god it hurt, her gun, where was her gun, she had to find it.

"You're killing him!"

No teenager should have to hear their father die.

Her fingers scrabbled through the darkness as she pulled herself upright, the rough wall of the cabin splintering into her skin as she orientated herself and frantically ran her hands over smooth table tops, book cases, benches... anything.. knocking photo frames and lamps, always searching.

Her gun, where was it?

"STOP IT!" Lucy's screams rang in her mind. Scully could smell the fear, the sour scent of rotted milk and decaying flesh, the tang of strange herbs and the empty rattle of spiced charms.

Hexcraft is a powerful thing, Scully.

"DADDY! You're killing him!"

She couldn't find her gun. She couldn't see. She couldn't do anything. Powerless. She was powerless and it was dark.

I was powerless.

Wood shattered somewhere, and cold air rushed against her skin, a whirlwind of motion she couldn't see.

"Scully?" Mulder. "Drop it!"

"Mulder?" she cried, searching blindly through the dark.

"Hold on, Scully. Peattie, I said drop it!"

"He's dying!" Lucy screamed again.

"He killed her." Peattie's voice, low and cold, rasping over the sobbing and the wind.

"Put the doll down!" Mulder ordered.

Scully stifled a giggle - she couldn't get hysterical. Not now, not now, not now.


A crack, acrid gun smoke, a heavy thud, silence, crying, movement..

Hands on her shoulders. She jerked, but it was only Mulder. "Scully?"

"Wieder," Scully whispered, letting her fingers brush his coat for a second as she tried to steady herself. "He needs help." She tried to look up at Mulder, but she couldn't see.

"Shit!" he hissed, his fingers clenching over her jaw.

"I'm fine, Mulder." She pushed him away. "Wieder needs help - go!"

He let go, disconnecting her from the world as his touch faded from her skin and she was left in the whirling emptiness, unsure of whether up was down or down was up.

I'm fine, Mulder.


The scratchiness of the blanket on her shoulders was a light weight binding her to the cold vinyl of the ambulance floor. Her feet were beginning to protest as her position cut off their blood flow, but she didn't move. The sensation made her feel alive; reminded her that she still was. The cold night air touching her face and fingers carried the muted sound of voices to her, damp against her lips. It had been foggy when they'd arrived at the safe house; doubtless that was the moisture she could feel now. Doors banged and gravel crunched under booted feet.

She didn't like the dark; she'd never been fond of it, even as a child.

"Agent Scully?" A voice called from the darkness. Habitually she raised her head to look, but she realised almost instantly that she couldn't see.


"How are you doing?"

Her lips felt dry beneath her tongue, despite the moisture from the foggy air. "I'm fine... was it Karen?"

"Yes, that's me." She could hear a faint smile on the soft voice. "We'd like to get you to a hospital, Ma'am, to run some tests."

"You won't find anything." Mulder, arrogantly confident no matter what.

"Agent Mulder, people don't just go blind with no warning," Karen interrupted smoothly, and Scully closed her useless eyes as she listened to them.

"She's not blind," Mulder insisted.

"Mulder, I can't see," Scully pointed out calmly, sighing.

"No, you're not, Scully!" Mulder argued. "If you could see your eyes-" he stopped abruptly as the words hung between them.

"But that's the problem, Mulder," she said softly, I can't see."

"You ready to go, Ma'am?" Karen asked softly.

"Yes," Scully nodded, casting the blanket from her shoulders. "Could you help me to the front, please?"


Karen's hands were rough and cool, strong as she guided Scully from the back of the van and helped her to the front of the ambulance.

"We'll fix this, Scully, I promise," Mulder whispered quietly.


If she closed her eyes and leant against the ample stack of pillows behind her back, she could almost pretend that nothing was wrong. Listening to the familiar sounds of a busy hospital was nothing strange to her, but the smells were suddenly stronger than they had ever been. Traces of disinfectant mingled with the sound of trolley wheels slapping against the cold floor. The steady hum of voices drifting in from the hall carried the sickly sweet scent of medication and decaying flowers left too long in the wards.

The rubber squeak of shoes against lino carried the scent of Mulder's aftershave.

"Mulder?" she asked.

"Hey, Scully." She could hear the smile on his voice, masking the uncertainty his footsteps showed her. "How's it going?"

She shrugged - at least he could still see the motion. "Nothing. Tests came up empty. It's as if my optic nerve has just stopped responding to stimulation completely."

"No damage?" he questioned curiously, and she heard the rough scrape as he dragged a chair across the floor to sit next to her bedside.

"No," she shook her head and closed her eyes, and for another second it was almost normal again. Only she could hear Mulder's quiet breathing, the comforting rustle of his suit jacket and the suddenly oppressing scent of his aftershave. She swallowed. "If there was damage, we'd have something to work with, but there's nothing, Mulder. There is nothing wrong with me."

The warmth of his hand against hers startled her and she flinched involuntarily. His hand disappeared as quickly as it had alighted on her skin, and she snatched for it shamelessly, her fingers scratching through the empty air. "Mulder?" she gasped.

"I'm here," he soothed, grasping her flailing hand with his and gripping it firmly. "I'm right here, Scully, I'm not going anywhere."

"I can't see, Mulder," she whispered. She could feel her eyes moving, feel them straining to focus, to sense something in the emptiness. But there was nothing; no light and no darkness. Nothing moved and nothing was still. It was empty.

Her fingers were crushing his, she realized, but he didn't complain.

Her eyes stung with salt tears, burning. And when they spilt over her lids and traced down her cheek they felt hot and sticky like blood.


and i think to myself
what a wonderful world


Mulder sat back in the late Robert Wieder's chair and rubbed his hands across his face. His five o'clock shadow scraped at his hands before his fingers threaded through his hair. He sighed in frustration and sat upright, once again leaning forward to focus on the pages on the desk in front of him. His concentration wavered though, and he found himself gazing at the large framed photograph of the Wieder family. Father, Mother and daughter. All smiling, all happy. He picked the heavy frame up and examined it, scrutinizing Lucy Wieder. Her eyes weren't shadowed by grief and fear in this photo; they were still the innocent blue eyes of a teenager, excited, fresh and young, ready to begin her life.

He looked up as the door to Wieder's office opened, and the object of his scrutiny stepped into the room.

"Oh," she said simply, stopping as she saw him. "I... What are you doing?" she asked.

Mulder glanced guiltily at the frame he still clutched in his hands. "Paperwork."

She frowned, stepping forwards. "But this is my Dad's office."

"Yes, I know," he nodded, gently replacing the photo in its position on the desk. "Dr. Khymer suggested I use his office while I wait for Scully..." he sighed.

"How is Agent Scully?" Lucy asked politely.

Mulder shrugged. "She's fine," he said simply, hating the acid in his voice mimicking Scully's controlled tones.

"Can... can she see yet?"

"No. They can't find anything wrong with her though."

"Peattie did it, didn't he." It wasn't a question, and he didn't undermine her intelligence by trying to deny it. "He did it to her, the same way he killed my Dad and my Mom and my Grandpa."

"I'm sorry, Lucy," he said gently.

Her hands were shaking as she picked up the photo he'd put on the desk, tears swimming in her eyes. "I hope he dies," she whispered. "I hope he hurts as much as he hurt me..."

She didn't object when he stood up and moved around the desk to gather her in his arms. He was surprised at how easily she accepted his presence, how easily she just let him hold her and comfort her. Then again, he supposed he shouldn't be; she was still young, and she wasn't Scully.

"Does that make me a bad person?" she whispered.

Did it? "I don't know," he admitted. "I think we all wish the people who hurt us would rot in hell and hurt as much they hurt us, but I don't think that makes you a bad person. I think it makes you a real person."

"What about you?" she asked.

"What about me?"

"Do you hate him?"

Do you hate him?

For what he'd done to Scully, yes. For what he'd done to Lucy and taken from her, yes.

But for the desperation and grief that had driven Peattie to do what he did... no, no, Mulder couldn't hate him for that. Mulder understood him because of that. He understood the grief that drove Peattie, the madness that came with the anger, the filtered screen that turned everything you saw into a reason to blame, a reason to hate... a reason to kill.

"In some ways, yes," Mulder said, "but I can understand why he did it."

Lucy jerked as if she was stung in his arms, pushing him away. "You understand?" she hissed. "You understand?! He killed them! God, he stole my family!"

Just because he understood, didn't mean he condoned it, or accepted it.

"I understand him because he's human, Lucy," he said firmly. "He was human, and he was hurt. He couldn't stand his own guilt, so he blamed your father, and the only way to hurt your father the way he hurt was to take what was closest to him. Your family."

She started crying then, holding onto him with white fingers that dug into his skin. "Then why did he leave me?"

Because, he thought silently as he rocked her on his feet, you were the daughter he lost.


Hands in his pockets, Mulder leant casually against the door frame and watched as she cautiously moved around the small room.

"I know you're there, Mulder," she told him, carefully picking up her hair brush and patting her hands across the bed as she searched for her bag.

"How'd you know?" he asked her, stepping closer.

She turned to him briefly, a brief sparkle of humour touching her lips. "I smelt you," she said gleefully, before turning back to the bed.

He chuckled, and moved the bag so that she could find it.

"Quit it, Mulder," she snapped, yanking the bag towards her. "I don't need help, I can do it."

"I know," he said softly. "I was just helping."

She sighed. "I'm sorry," she apologized.

"It's okay, Scully." She flinched when he touched her shoulder, fear flitting over her face for a brief second. "Scully?"

"I... I wasn't expecting..." she stammered, her fingers tightening over the brush she still clutched.

She flinched again when he framed her face in his hands, forcing her sightless white eyes to stare blankly into his chest. "Scully, it's me," he said gently, brushing the soft skin of her cheeks with his fingers.

"I know," she whispered, closing her eyes from him. "I know."

He pulled her into a hug, but her body was stiff and unyielding against him. She didn't protest against his comfort, but she didn't accept it either. He sighed and let her go. "Peattie died half an hour ago, Scully."

Her only acknowledgement of his words was a slight stiffening of her shoulders before she shoved her brush into her bag.

"Lucy Wieder's staying with a friend of the family," he continued.

"Does she know?" Scully asked.

"What? That you're blind or that Peattie died?"

"Whichever," she said, matching his casual tone.

"She knows what Peattie did to you-"

"You can't prove that it was Peattie, Mulder."

"Lucy saw it, Scully! She saw Peattie dig the knife into the doll, she held her father while he died!"

Her jaw was pulled tight, a familiar expression of anger and annoyance. She didn't believe him. She never believed him.

"How else can you explain it, Scully?" he demanded roughly. "Your eyes... it's unnatural, Scully."

The fear flickered across her face for a brief instant. "You've mentioned my eyes before," she said softly. "What... what is it?"

"No one told you?"


He stared down at her white eyes. "They're... there's no colour in them, Scully. Nothing."

She licked her lip, her only unconscious concession to emotional turmoil. "It can't be true, Mulder."

"Why not?" he demanded. "You've seen things before, things that your science can't explain but that you know exist."

"It can't be true, Mulder," she repeated firmly. "I can't let it be true, because if it is true... if it is..."

"Then what? Your science is wrong?"

"No," she shook her head. "If it's wrong then we can't fix it, and I can't live with that right now."

The world shattered around him and everything fell into place with startling clarity. She was blind. Blind. This wasn't something he could just fix, no matter how hard he wished. Dana Scully was blind. And with blindness she was not only stripped of her sight, her career... her life, but to a large degree, her independence. This wasn't cancer, which they could ignore and deny and fight and defeat. This was startling in its invasiveness and its cruelty.

"Scully," he said helplessly.

"No, Mulder."

Even as her world crumbled around her, she wouldn't give in. Not to emotion, not to fear, not to comfort... not to him.

The metallic grate of the zipper on her bag rent through the air. "Can I borrow your sunglasses?" she asked casually. He pulled them out of his pocket soundlessly and handed them over, watching as she opened them carefully and slowly positioned them over her face. "Thank you," she said. "I'm ready now."

He didn't cry, simply because she wouldn't let him.


i see skies of blue
and clouds of white
the bright blessed day
the dark sacred night


Calm, collected, logical, intelligent, diligent, stubborn, determined, honest, dutiful... The words taunted her. Mocked her. For as long as she could remember, those words had been used to describe her. Countless report cards praised her resourceful determination. Soft words hidden behind adult hands as they watched her capable mind solve problems, thinking she couldn't hear their remarks. Their praise had stoked the fire; independence was a worthy cause, and she had dedicated her life to succeeding.

She had succeeded. Succeeded in creating herself a personality that was stronger than steel and as unbending. A moral code framed a direct approach to life: problems you ran from only grew bigger and harder to deal with. Tackle things head on, Starbuck, and you'll come out on top every time.

But now she wanted to run. She wanted to close her eyes and ignore the sudden blankness in her future. She couldn't see ahead of her, literally and figuratively. It was all gone; all of it. How could she work at the FBI if she couldn't even see her way in through the front doors? Or read the case reports? Or watch Mulder's slide shows?

Mulder moved on his seat next to her, uncharacteristically on edge for this high altitude. She had always been envious and slightly confused by Mulder's ability to be so completely relax during flights, spreading out across seats and making himself right at home. Today though, he was tense and stiff. The soft clicking of the radio station being changed echoed loudly; she could almost hear the odd snippets drifting out from his headset.

She did close her eyes and leant her head back against her seat, oddly relaxed. Soon they'd land in DC. Skinner would want a report - she wasn't sure what she was going to say. She'd be given mandatory medical leave while they tried to find out what was wrong with her. She'd be shuttled into the care of her over-frantic mother by an equally over-frantic Mulder who would refuse to believe she was still capable of looking after herself. And then would come the day when they told her they didn't know what was wrong with her eyes, why she couldn't see, and so the Bureau would dismiss her and she would be left with nothing except a tired mother who would latch onto the excuse to keep her close.

The anger was slow and warm as it boiled in her belly.


"I didn't call your mother," Mulder said abruptly.

She was clinging to his arm tightly.

I was powerless.

She could hear the crowds around her, feel their busy movements, smell their urgency, but she couldn't see. All she had was Mulder's arm, and she clung to that desperately, uncaring about her professional appearance.


"I wasn't listening," she lied.

"Your mother. I didn't call her."

"Why should you have called her?" Scully asked calmly as Mulder guided them to a relatively quiet area, stopping next to a wall.

"Because... you're not staying by yourself, Scully."

"Why?" she asked him simply.


"Because I'm blind? Does that make me incapable of staying by myself, Mulder?"


She let go of his arm, jamming her shaking hands into the pockets of her coat. "I don't want you to call her."

She heard him sigh, could picture him rubbing at his head with his hands. "Scully," he breathed out, his frustration covering his anxiety. She'd never realized how many emotions Mulder was able to convey with a single word, how many fears and hopes he buried within his speech. It was a strange insight into a man she'd thought she'd known almost inside out.

"Let's just go debrief Skinner first, and then you can take me home," she said calmly.

"Debrief Skinner?" he asked incredulously.

"Yes. That's protocol, isn't it, Mulder?"

"It is," he agreed, "but-"

"I am not broken, Mulder, so stop treating me like I am."

Sometimes she was amazed at how well she lied, not only to Mulder but to herself as well.


She unbuckled herself and stepped from the car without his assistance. As she waited for him to climb out and shut his door, she patted her pocket to check for her ID, not bothering to check that she had her gun. It was a comforting presence now, rather than the annoyance and constant irritation it had first been when she'd started wearing it.

"Ready?" Mulder asked after his door slammed shut.

One hand on the car, she carefully negotiated her way to the trunk, and waited for him there. "Thank you," she said as his scent filled her senses and the warm weight of his hand rested on the small of her back.

"I'm right here," he reassured her.

She'd hated games where they blindfolded her when she was younger. Always giggling and out of reach in the dark from outstretched finger tips. It hadn't helped that one day she'd fallen down some stairs and broken her arm, a result which left her with an intense dislike for anything that obscured her vision, even the dark.

But Mulder guided her wonderfully, whispering 'stairs', pushing her through doorways first, opening them for her, never once letting the hand move from the small of her back. She trusted Mulder. Only Mulder.

Kimberly's cheery voice greeted them both, ushering them into Skinner's office with her usual briskness.

"Agents!" Skinner was surprised, Scully thought.

"Afternoon, Sir," Mulder said easily, guiding her toward 'her' chair. She sat down quickly, her hands running over the surface before she lifted her head. "We're here for our debriefing," Mulder added.

He said nothing about her 'condition', though doubtlessly Skinner already knew.

Her assumption was correct. "I was under the impression that Agent Scully was... I received a call from one of the gentleman you worked with, who said Scully was in hospital because something happened to her eyes."

"That would be correct, Sir," Scully said.

Her voice sounded cool and polished to her own ears. Clinical.

"Am I to take it the problem has cleared up?" Skinner's voice carried his frown remarkably well.

Scully tightened her grip on the chair beneath her palms, the arm rest cold as it dug into her flesh. "No, Sir," she said.

"Agent Scully?"

"The doctors were unable to find anything wrong with Agent Scully," Mulder inserted, "but she is still unable to see."

"You can't see anything at all?" Skinner questioned.

"No, Sir. I'm blind."

I'm blind.

If you could see your eyes, Scully.

I'm blind.

I was powerless.

"Is it permanent?" Skinner asked.


"I don't know."

The silence was thick. She could hear Mulder and Skinner breathing, the soft hiss of air whistling through their noses. The distant rumble of traffic. The electronic hum of computers. Muffled footsteps outside Skinner's office. Ambient sound, she thought aimlessly. Sounds you normally discard, Chuck had said. Everything resonates. There is music in everything.

"Agent Scully?"

"I'm sorry, Sir, I didn't hear the question."

"I asked what your plans were."


"I... I'm not sure yet, Sir. I've been given the name of specialist here in DC, and I've got an appointment scheduled with him tomorrow. Hopefully we can-" She stopped.

"I'm putting you on medical leave," Skinner spoke once it was clear she wasn't going to continue. "Fully paid. Any costs covered by the Bureau."


"No, Scully, that's final. Mulder, I want you in here tomorrow when Scully has her appointment with the specialist. You can give me your report then, and after that you're on a week of leave as well."

"Sir, I don't need Mulder to babysit me," she interjected sharply.

She could feel Skinner and Mulder staring at her, and it made her uncomfortable. Exposed. They could see her, but she could see nothing.

"I'm aware of that, Agent Scully," Skinner said slowly. "But I'm also aware that you can't drive yourself to your appointments, the grocery store or anywhere for that matter. You will need someone to help you adjust. Once you've adjusted I have no doubts about your capabilities."

Once you've adjusted.

"Sir, I can take Scully to her Mother, and then-"

"No!" Scully shook her head. "No, I don't need either of you to arrange my living arrangements for me." She rose to her feet quickly, pushing the chair back.

"Scully," Mulder called.

Once you've adjusted.

She knew the general direction of Skinner's office, and headed to where she thought the door was. The corner of his desk banged hard into her hip, and she gasped in pain. "Easy!" Mulder. His hands were on her arms, holding her steady as she regained her balance.

"I'll see you tomorrow, Mulder." The finality in Skinner's tone wasn't to be argued with.

Flushed with anger and embarrassment, Scully let Mulder lead her from Skinner's office like a child being led back to the classroom after a reprimand by the principal.


She hadn't let Mulder treat her like an invalid; she wasn't an invalid. Instead of clutching hold of his arm as she had at the airport, she'd simply clutched her bag. Her fingers had dug into the soft leather so hard she could feel her circulation leaving her fingertips. But she hadn't loosened her grip. Rather than wait for him to lead her to her home, she'd shuffled across the sidewalk until the tips of her toes had bumped into something solid.

"Go right, Scully," Mulder had called.

Cheeks flaming, she reached out and felt the metal fence, running her hands along it, following it as it curved around the walkway and up the stairs that led to the interior of her apartment complex. Here it was easy; she'd walked straight in through the front door, hand slightly in front of her, until her palm hit the wall.

He caught up with her at her front door while she was fumbling with her keys.

"See?" she asked him pointedly.

Mulder only grunted, the sound followed by the dull thud as their bags hit the ground. Seconds later she felt his fingers brush her hand, and she relinquished the keys to him silently. The soft draft of air caused by the movement of the door brushed over her face, but she didn't move.

"Scully?" he questioned hesitantly.

"I... I can't remember," she said.

"Remember what?" he asked gently. Damn him for being so understand. So gentle. So caring.


She was scared, not forgetful. Scared of stepping into her apartment and falling over a couch. Of walking into a table. Of knocking something over. Of losing herself in her own house.

"Come on," he said, and his hand was back at the base of her spine, gently guiding her forwards.

Her heels clipped sharply against the hardwood floor; the air felt light around her. They stopped, she guessed, in front of her couch.

"Well, here are," Mulder said. "I'll go get our bags."

"Our?" she asked sharply.

"Scully, you can't stay by yourself," he said patiently. "Either I stay, or I call your Mom. It's your choice."

And what a choice she had. Why couldn't she have other friends? Someone other than Mulder, who she didn't have to act so strong in front of. Who she didn't have to keep on her guard for. Who didn't know her so perfectly they knew what she was thinking.

Damn Mulder for being Mulder.

"You better call for take out too," she relented with a sigh. "I'm not cooking tonight."


the colours of the rainbow
so pretty in the sky
are also on the faces
of people goin' by


Always a light sleeper, he was fully aware of when Scully woke up. The sun had barely risen, and the light filtering in through the apartment window was still watery and grey, a pre-dawn battle between sun and moon. Twisting on the couch, and closing his eyes again, Mulder was content to doze, keeping a lazy ear on Scully's movements from the room next door.

Content, until he heard a shattering crash, followed by a deathly silence.

"Scully?" he yelled, barely feeling the cold hardwood beneath his feet as he flew to her door.

"I'm fine, Mulder."

Anger was present on her voice, he decided. No, not anger, fury. Rage. Frustration. White-hot emotion. Anger was far too tame a word to describe her mood.

"Can I come in?" he asked, almost hoping she'd say no. He didn't really want to face Scully in this mood; he was a coward.

"I... I don't need help, Mulder."

"I heard something break, Scully. Are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine, Mulder."

"What broke?"

"Would you just leave it?" she snapped, her voice still muffled behind the closed door.

"Scully, what happened in there?" No, he didn't know when to give in, did he?

"Mulder!" The frustration tempered by a slight tone of defeat.

Defeat? Scully was never 'defeated'. She never let him 'defeat' her. She was resigned, sometimes exasperated. Often let him 'win' just to get him to shut up or give in... but never defeated. Even cancer hadn't defeated her.

"Scully?" There was quiet in her room now; she wasn't answering him anymore. "Scully, I'm going to come in, okay?"

When she didn't answer him, he pushed the door open slowly, peering cautiously into her room. She was sitting on her bed, hands tucked under her thighs and head hanging down so that he couldn't see her eyes. And to his disgust, he felt some measure of relief that he couldn't see her eyes.

"I don't know what I broke," she whispered softly, kicking one dangling foot out slightly and letting it swing backwards and forwards like a pendulum. "I was trying to find my brush, and..."

"Did you cut yourself?" he asked gently.

"No." Her voice was lost; girlish. "What did I break, Mulder?"

White porcelain shattered across the dark floor. It was a miracle she hadn't cut her feet as she'd moved back to her bed. "It looks like it was a bowl," he deduced. "It had hair pins in it, I think."

"Shit," she hissed. "My Dad gave me that."

"I'm sorry," he apologized.

"Stop apologizing, Mulder." She pushed up off the bed and rose to her feet.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I'm going to clean it up."

"No, you're not," he disagreed. "You might cut yourself."

If her eyes weren't so empty and so white, her glare would have carved him into little tiny pieces. "I am an adult, Mulder, not a three year old."

"Scully, just let me do it, okay?"

He thought she was going to argue, but she surprised him by closing her eyes and sighing. "I'm going to have a shower," she said instead.

"Okay," he agreed. "You'll be-"

"I'll be fine, Mulder," she snapped impatiently. "I just need to get..." Realization dawned on her features, and he watched curiously.

"Get what?"

"My clothes," she said emptily. "I can't even pick out my clothes, Mulder." The bitterness surprised him; Scully wasn't one for bitterness.

"I can pick," he said easily. Again, she glared at him, but she didn't argue, only shrugging her shoulders in defeat. "What do you want to wear?"


It felt awkward opening Scully's wardrobe to see her jackets, shirts, skirts and pants hung neatly from hangers. Her shoes were also neatly lined up on the floor. To the side he located some jeans, found her a reasonably comfortable looking sweater and a T Shirt. Not usual Scully attire, but comfortable.

She took the clothes soundlessly and pushed past him to a set of drawers where she pulled out some under garments. He was grateful she was blind then; she couldn't see him blushing.

Her hand rested on the door knob to her bathroom, but she paused before entering, turning around to look for him in the room. Her gaze settled far to the right from him. "Thank you," she said softly.

"Call me if you need anything," he said.

She raised an eyebrow. "Don't even think about it, Mulder."

He grinned as she shut the door behind her; maybe she'd be okay after all.


Aware that she couldn't see him, Mulder still found it hard to glance across at her openly, still feeling the need to hide his speculative glances from her. Her face was, as usual, schooled into its mask of calm, looking ahead as though she was watching the scenery pass.

"I'm going to call my Mom," she said suddenly. He didn't reply, waiting for her to articulate what else was on her mind. "I don't.. I don't think its fair not to tell her," she said at last.


She turned her blind gaze toward him as the car stopped next to the curb and he shut the engine off. "I don't want to stay with her, Mulder."

"I didn't say you had to," he said easily.

She sighed and faced forward again, not making any move to get out of the vehicle. "I'm going to tell her you're staying with me," she continued.

"I am," he agreed.

"No," she shook her head, "you can't stay with me, Mulder. I have to look after myself."

"And you will," he said easily, "once you get used to it."

She clenched her jaw. "But that's just it, Mulder, I don't want to get used to it."

They got out of the car, and she clung to his arm again as he led her into the building. He found it strange that sometimes she clung to him, terrified of the dark world around her, and other times she wouldn't let him touch her, even when she desperately needed the guidance.

"Do you want me to stay?" he asked as they settled themselves in the reception.

"No," she shook her head, "I'll be fine. You have to go meet with Skinner anyway."

"He'll understand if I postpone, Scully."

"I don't need you here, Mulder." The words were gentle, but they still stung.

He rose stiffly to his feet, again grateful that she couldn't see the expression his face. "Call me when you're done," he said stiffly.

"Mulder!" she called after him, but he didn't turn around or answer her.

I don't need you here, Mulder.

And maybe that was the problem. She never needed him, or anyone for that matter.


Sitting at her kitchen table in silence with only the sound of forks scraping on ceramic plates between them was driving Mulder insane. He swallowed the last of his omelete, placed his fork neatly on his plate, and continued to watch her struggle with her meal.

He hadn't considered before how difficult it was to eat with no eyesight. Her knife and her fork wandered cautiously over her plate, her brow furrowed in concentration as she carefully cut small chunks and attempted to lift them to her mouth. Often they fell from the fork, and she ended up with a mouth of greasy fork, but neither of them said anything; she didn't ask for his help and he didn't volunteer it.

Finally, with half her omelete still scattered messily across her plate, she placed her knife and fork on the plate and pushed it forward until the dull ring of ceramic plates coming into contact with one another sounded through the air.

"More?" Mulder asked.

"No, thanks," she said softly.

He gathered their plates and rose to his feet.

"You don't have to do that, Mulder," she said.

"I want to," he returned easily.

She sighed. "Mulder..."

"Scully, just let me do the damn dishes!" he snapped, turning to the sink.

He heard her push her chair back and rise to her feet, and then nothing. Turning around, he saw she'd left the kitchen and was making her way to her lounge area, easily finding the couch and settling down onto it. Reassured, he turned back to his task of doing the dishes.

Lost in a daze, his hands automatically raising the cloth and wiping the dishes dry, he was startled when Scully softly called his name right behind him. "Mulder?"

The plate slipped from his fingers and fell gracefully to the floor, glass shards spraying coldly across his bare feet. In the silence, he could hear Scully's clock ticking in the lounge.

"What was it?" she asked quietly.

"A plate," he said apologetically. "Don't move, Scully, there's glass everywhere."

"Mulder," she said again, and he looked up at her from where he was now crouching on the floor gathering the largest pieces of broken plate in his hands. "I... Leave it for now."

Leaving the large pieces in a small bundle on the floor, he carefully picked his way across the glass. "Hold on," he warned her before carefully picking her up. She didn't complain as he carried her away from the danger zone, and then gently lowered her to her feet.

She was standing in front of him, his one hand still resting on her shoulder. Without shoes, she hardly even came up to his shoulders. "I need to talk to you, Mulder," she said, not moving away from him. "About... about what I said today."

He watched her, waiting.


"Go ahead," he said evenly.

She licked her lips, and if she could see she was staring directly at his chest. "I'm sorry," she said quietly. "I... I didn't mean it, Mulder."

He touched her chin lightly, lifting her face so he could look at her. Dark circles under her white eyes spoke of her worry and fear; the tight line of tension on her lips deprived her from smiling. "Scully," he said softly, letting his fingers trail along the soft skin of her jaw. So, so frail.

Her hand reached up and took hold of his fingers, holding them tightly against her skin. "I lied," she whispered, closing her eyes. He watched as a single tear dampened her eyelashes and crept slowly down her cheek. "I do need you, Mulder. But I don't want to." The tear was warm and wet as it landed on his fingers. He wiped it away with his thumb, and pulled her close, resting his head on hers as she leant against him.

"I know this is hard, Scully," he whispered against her hair, "and I know you hate not being able to do things, but you don't have to do everything."

She pulled back from him, but her arms were still curled around his waist - he wondered when she'd put them there. "No, Mulder, you're wrong. I do have to do everything, otherwise it wins."

He smiled, knowing she couldn't see it. "It's not going to win, Scully," he said firmly. "We'll fix it."

She didn't believe him; even blind he could still see the resignation and tolerance in the face of his mulish desire to believe what he wanted to believe. But she wouldn't argue with him; she understood he needed to hold onto that hope until he could accept it. If he could accept it.

He pressed a kiss to her forehead, and she stepped back. "I'm going to clean up that glass, Scully," he said, "and I think you should call your mother."

A flicker of fear passed over her features, but she nodded determinedly. "I'll invite her around tomorrow," she agreed. "Will... will you be here?"

"I'll always be here, Scully."


If Maggie Scully was surprised to see him opening her daughter's front door, her only indication of that surprise was the arching of an eyebrow, not unlike that of her daughter's eyebrow arching ability.

"Scully's in the lounge, Mrs. Scully," he said, stepping back to let her in. "Would you like a drink?"

"No thank you, Fox," she declined. "How are you?"

"I'm fine, Mrs. Scully," he smiled at her. "What about you?"

"I'm fine, dear," she returned politely. "Dana!" She smiled broadly when she saw her daughter sitting on the sofa.

Eyes hidden once again behind Mulder's sunglasses, Scully offered a tentative smile. "Hi, Mom." Instead of getting up from the sofa, she simply held her arms out.

The slight confusion on Mrs. Scully's face didn't deter her from accepting her daughter's offering of a hug and leaning down to it. "Is everything okay?" Mrs. Scully asked when she let go and stepped back, glancing with open curiously at Mulder and then back at Scully.

"No, it's not," Scully whispered, her head turning to Mulder's direction.

He wished she could see him so he could offer her a smile of encouragement.

"What's wrong?" Mrs. Scully asked, immediately concerned.

"Why don't you sit down?" Mulder interrupted, guiding Mrs. Scully to sit down next to Scully on her sofa.


"Mom... Mulder and I were in California a few days ago, on a case," she started.

"Yes, I know, you told me you were going."

"While... While we were working, something happened."

"Dana, are you going to tell me or hedge around it all day?" Mrs. Scully asked bluntly.

Scully sighed, her breath whistling out between her lips. "I'm blind, Mom."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I'm blind. I can't see."

Mrs. Scully stared blankly at her daughter. "What do you mean you're blind, Dana?" Scully simply pulled the glasses off, and Mrs. Scully gasped. "Dana! Oh God, what happened?"

"I don't know," Scully admitted reluctantly. "We were in a safe house, and I was covering the door, when my eyes starting aching. Like a migraine. And then I couldn't see."

Mulder watched silently as Mrs. Scully reached toward her daughter, brushing the fragile skin of her cheeks with weathered fingertips. "Oh, honey..." she breathed.

"I'm okay, Mom," Scully said firmly. "Mulder's helping me adjust, and I'm seeing a specialist at the moment."

"Is... is it permanent?"

"We don't know." Scully reached up and took her Mom's hand in her own, holding it tightly. "We don't know what caused it, so there's nothing we can do about it to fix it. We're hoping that it's not permanent, and that it clears up by itself, but it doesn't look good."

Sometimes he envied Scully's ability to turn everything emotional into a clinical matter. He knew he could never have explained a condition to someone so calmly, especially not if he were the one sitting blindly on a couch. Instead of them reassuring her, she was once again reassuring them.

"I... I don't know..." Mrs. Scully started hesitantly.

"I'm fine, Mom. I've had some time to get used to it-"

"How long?" Mrs. Scully demanded.

"A few days," Scully answered reluctantly.

"And you're used to it?" Mrs. Scully questioned sharply. "Dana, this isn't something that you just get used to."

"I'm well aware of that, Mom," Scully said dryly. "Like I said, Mulder's here and he's helping me-"

"I don't think that's a good idea, Dana," Mrs. Scully said smoothly. "Not insulting Fox's ability to house keep, but you do need to eat decent food, and until you can do things for yourself-"

"Scully's perfectly capable of doing things for herself," Mulder interrupted, watching two bright spots of colour burning angrily on Scully's cheeks. "We're getting along just fine, Mrs. Scully."

Maggie Scully turned to him, and Mulder realized not for the first time where Scully got her grit and determination from. "I'm her Mother, Fox."

"I know that, Mom," Scully soothed, "but Mulder's right. I need to learn to live with this, and I can't do that if you're going to baby me."

"Dana," Mrs. Scully whispered, closing her eyes, "you're all I have left... Bill and Charlie aren't around... it's just you... and I worry," she whispered.

"I know," Scully whispered as well, tugging on her Mom's hands and pulling her into a hug, "but I need you to be strong for me now, okay?"

"Okay," Mrs. Scully agreed, her voice muffled against Scully's shoulder. "Don't shut me out, Dana. I need to be here."

Scully swallowed deeply, closing her eyes in resignation. "I know, Mom. I'll need you too." The admission cost her a lot. She wriggled out of her Mother's hold, rising steadily to her feet. "I've already memorized my apartment," she said lightly. "Ask Mulder; I can find my way almost anywhere, without knocking everything over."

"Usually," Mulder said dryly.


i hear babies cry
i watch them grow
they'll learn much more
than i'll ever know


The rod in her hand ran smoothly over the pavement ahead of her. The jostling of the passing crowds was almost familiar, the unexpected and unseen touches and bumps received without the mind-numbing anxiety any sudden contact had brought at first.

Twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three...

On cue, her hand jarred as the rod connected solidly with the fire hydrant. Two steps right. Three steps forward. Five steps right and bingo, the stairs to the apartment complex. The warming rush of pride filled her, and for a second she was happy. She'd found her way home, no hassles, third time in a row.

"Evening, Agent Scully."

"Evening, David," she returned easily. "Any mail for me today?"

"No, none. Nothing for Agent Mulder either," the doorman added.

"He doesn't live here, David," she said good naturedly.

"Of course not," David agreed amicably, but she could hear the smile on his voice. Rolling her eyes she counted her steps toward the elevator, raised her hand and jabbed the button the first time round. "You're getting good at that," David commented.

"Practice makes perfect," Scully parroted brightly, David's chuckle following her into the elevator.

She was inserting the key into the lock when she realized it; she was adjusting. Her hand paused before she unlocked the door, contemplating in the darkness.

Adjusting. Could she really adjust to this? Yes, she was coping fairly well. Yes, she was learning how to do things without the aid of sight, but was she really adjusting?

The lock clicked open easily, and she entered her apartment, pausing on the threshold. Her apartment. Yes, it was her apartment. But she could smell Mulder's scent in her apartment. He wasn't here, she knew that, but when she opened the door she could pick out faint traces of his aftershave, and a faint scent that she knew was Mulder. She'd never been able to smell people before; maybe she had a possible career choice ahead of her as a sniffer dog.

She chuckled slightly, but the bitterness in the laugh surprised her.

Possible career choice. What possible career choice did a blind woman really have?

What life did a blind woman really have?

Fuck adjusting.


Mulder was tired when he got home - when did she start thinking of Mulder getting home to her apartment anyway?

"Hey Scully," he called, and she heard the thump as he dropped his brief case on the wooden floor. A rustle indicated he was ditching his suit jacket, and the soft scuffs as he kicked off his shoes completed the ritual. "How are you?"


The second of hesitation before he spoke again told her more clearly than she'd ever realized would be possible, that he was now aware of her foul mood and not entirely sure how to proceed. "How was your appointment?"


"Find your way home okay?"

"I'm here, aren't I?"

"What happened?" he asked instantly, and she felt a rush of anger that he could be concerned for her, which would make her feel less angry with him when she wanted to feel angry at him.

"Nothing. I got home fine," she repeated.

She could hear him fidgeting now, the slight squeaking as his feet moved uneasily over the floor. "Would... would you like a drink?"

"No, I just had one." It was times like now, when she was reveling in being a bitch, that she really missed her sight. Really missed being able to shut him out completely by either turning to her laptop or a novel. Being blind meant she had nowhere and nothing to run to, and that made her even angrier.

"You know, if you want me to go I'll just go," he said suddenly.

How did he do that? How could he just take the wind out of her sails so completely? How could she continue to be angry at him after telling him she didn't want him to leave? "Mulder," she sighed in annoyance, "why do you do that?"

"What?" he asked, rather sharply.

"Nothing," she sighed, getting up. "It's just me, Mulder."


"Quit being so damn understanding!" she snapped.

"You want to fight?" Mulder asked, and she was disgusted to hear laughter on his voice.

"No!" she denied hotly.

"Yes, you do," he retorted smugly. "Is it that time of the month, Scully?"

"And you're accusing me of wanting to fight?" she asked in disbelief. "That question is below the belt, Mulder."

"Yes, it is," he agreed, still smug.

"Mulder!" she ground out in frustration.

"Scully!" Why was he so excited all of a sudden?


"Look at me."

"I'm trying to, though why I bother I don't know."

His fingers grasped her chin and kept her face still. She hated being scrutinized by him so closely, hated him being able to stare at her face and pick it dry of emotions while she could see nothing except the emptiness and smell nothing except him.

"I think it's going," he said softly.

"What's going?" she asked, her voice equally soft.

"The white. I think I can see your eyes again," he whispered. "Can you see?"

"No. You're imagining things, Mulder."

"No, I'm certain, Scully. Did your doctor say anything today?"

She pulled away from his hand. "Mulder, it's not going away. This isn't going to spontaneously cure itself, and it isn't going to get better. It's been a month already, if anything's going to happen it would have happened by now."

"I think you're wrong," he told her stubbornly. "They're getting bluer."

She could live with his stubbornness, his inability to accept a situation and move on, his believing in causes she couldn't understand herself... but his insistence in something that simply wasn't there... she couldn't live with that. "Don't, Mulder," she said softly. "Don't do this. I can't handle this now."

There was a bitter resignation to his voice. "I wish you could see it."

She chuckled. "So do I, Mulder, so do I."

He was strong and warm and solid and Mulder when he pulled her into his arms and held her, and as she'd been doing for the last month, she let him hold her. And sometimes his arms around her made her feel it was almost worth losing her sight, but it was only sometimes.


She opened the door to her apartment easily, slipping the keys back into her bag as was habit and absently stepping into the room. She stopped, waiting. Something was wrong.

Like a deer she sniffed the air, the usual scents of home assailing her. Her perfume, the plants, the carpet cleaner she used, the very faint trace of Mulder's aftershave... And then she realized what it was.


Morley's smoke.


and i think to myself
what a wonderful world


Lyrics stolen below (I used them shamlessly without permission)

I see trees of green
red roses too
I see them bloom
for me and you

and i think to myself
what a wonderful world

i see skies of blue
and clouds of white
the bright blessed day
the dark sacred night

and i think to myself
what a wonderful world

the colours of the rainbow
so pretty in the sky
are also on the faces
of people goin' by

i can see friends shakin' hands,
sayin' 'how do you do!'
they're really sayin'
i love you

i hear babies cry
i watch them grow
they'll learn much more
than i'll ever know

and i think to myself
what a wonderful world
and i think to myself
what a wonderful world

David Weiss & Bob Thiele