Author's notes

Disclaimer: Fox Mulder, Dana Scully, Walter Skinner and any other tangentially mentioned characters created by Chris Carter remain his copyrighted property, as well as the copyrighted property of 1013 productions and Fox Television, a unit of 20th Century Fox. No infringement is intended.

Original Posting Date, May 1998

Classification: V (no Angst, mostly just 'don't let the bastards get you down' type of stuff.)

Spoilers: all through US 5, specific references to The Pilot, Deep Throat, The Host and The End.

Story Rating: G

Summary: Sometimes it's a small thing that moves us to do big things.

Author's notes: I swore I wouldn't do another Endfic thingie, mainly because of the glut in the 'market' right now, but this sort of just happened. I was watching Deep Throat tonight, and was struck by the lightness of our duo, the humor and warmth they shared, even on their second case together. Sometimes we begin to take ourselves too seriously, and I think that's what's happened to our heroes. I miss the laughter.

Oh, and I don't own the first four lines of this, they belong to whomever it was that sang this little ditty back in the early 80's. If I could remember all of it I'd call the radio station and request it from time-to-time. NOT A SONGFIC!! (bleh!)

Do not post to the ATVXC ng, I will do that. Thanks.

The Beginning

--

...She used to laugh at every word, that rolled off my silver tongue...

...She's disenchanted, disenchanted with me...

Half-remembered excerpts from a song. Snippets that kept wandering through his mind. He couldn't shake them.

I remember a time when she'd smile, or laugh out loud. She doesn't do that any more. But then, neither do I. We laughed in the rain together on our first case. OK, she was laughing at me, calling me crazy, but still, we laughed. Together. I miss that.

I remember the time we were at Ellens Air Force base, when we ran into those kids. I laughed then, I was even joking with them. "Later Dude" I remember saying to the redheaded boy. "Dude." Now there's a word not often found in my vocabulary.

She chuckled–not scoffed, mind you, there's a difference–at my UFO picture. She leaned in close at the diner and muttered, "Sucker." Close enough that I could smell her, breathe in that warm, healthy, Scully-scent. She was smiling as she said it, catching my eye, her own dancing with the mirth of a shared joke.

Those two teenagers, I remember chuckling as they drove off, and her indignant, "Mulder, if I were that stoned..." comment. She smiled at my teasing, "Ooh, Scully, if you were that stoned, what?" Actually, she smiled a lot back then. When did it stop?

Pfaster? No, I think before then. Icy Cape? Maybe. I know that was the first time she yelled at me. I mean really yelled, not just the 'Mulder, you're crazy' indignant raised voice, but an all-out angry yelling-at-me voice.

Flukeman. Her warm chuckle filling my ear, her smile lighting her face as she protested my wild (and, I might add, very valid) idea of a 'very large, bloodsucking worm' idea. Whenever it was, it happened.

...She's disenchanted...

You got that right. With me? With the job? With us? What us? There is no us. There never was, not in the US us sense, and lately not in the 'partnership us' sense either. It doesn't even look like there will even be an 'us' partnership-wise, if Skinner's comments from earlier are true.

We don't have much occasion to laugh together, my Scully and I. Not anymore. We've seen too much, done too much. Had too much done to us. What's to laugh at? Aside from ourselves, I mean. The office...gone. The files? Not gone. Not really. Oh, sure, the Bureau's copy of the X-Files are gone, probably the copies I know Skinner has too. But not the 'real' X-Files.

You don't get to be Spooky 'I'm-only-paranoid-because-THEY're-out-to-get-me' Mulder without creating a backup plan. Or two. Or three. They have to know that. We have copies. We have copies of copies. I'm sure the Guys even have copies of our copies of copies. I don't hang with paranoiacs for nothing, let me tell you!

Standing here, still reeling from the sights and sensations of the last two hours, I can only guess at what'll happen next. To me, to us, our career, our lives, our quest. I do know one thing though. I need to laugh again. But not alone. I need to hear her laugh again. With me. To see the bright flame of her intelligence spark the long-dry tinder of her sense of humor and light up the brilliant blue of her eyes. I need that. She needs that. We need that.

Not the hysterical, out-of-control laughter of fear and exhaustion, but the healing, cleansing laughter of life. Like the uninhibited laughter of a child.

Looking down, I see her auburn head resting on my chest, feel her arms still tensely gripping my arms. Gently, I slide my hands up and pull her away from me. We need to leave here. To regroup. Rebuild. Without a word, I turn and pull her toward the door.

She stops, tugging gently at my hand. Releasing her, I watch as she crosses the office again, to the poster. Carefully removing the pins, she begins to roll it, mindful of the fire-fragile edges. She's about halfway up the roll when I hear a tiny sound.

Moving closer, I lean in to see her face, half afraid of what I'll find. Following her gaze to the poster, I see it. The tiny yellow post-it she'd stuck there just a few days ago, before our world came crashing down around us.

"You are here."

That ridiculous, tiny little speck of paper is still there, despite the best efforts of fire, flood and conspirators. Ridiculous.

The insanity of our situation, the paranoia that dances hand-in-hand with our fears, shadowing our every moment, is enough to make anyone bury their sense of humor under their sense of the ridiculous. God knows her sense of the ridiculous has been finely honed by our nearly six years together. Sharpened to a razor's edge, able to cut through anything. Even the thick haze of shock and despair.

I watch as she continues to roll the poster, take special care to make sure the post-it stays it its place. She's shaking her head slightly, as if in disbelief. Catching my eye, she nods, once, her eyes as still and impassive as her face. Placing my hand in its spot at the small of her back, we move toward the door, my mind racing with ideas of where to start our rebuilding.

A small, almost indistinct sound emerges from her throat, so soft I almost miss it. I lean closer. A chuckle? Yes, definitely a chuckle. If I hadn't been so close I might have missed it. Walking beside her through the disaster that was our basement hallway, I see her hands holding that poster close to her heart, protecting it from accidental harm in the busy corridor. Her mind is far away...but her eyes...her eyes are brighter, clearer.

We stop at the first landing on the stairs, between the basement and the first floor. She glances up at me, then back to the poster, then back to me. Almost as if she said the words aloud, I can hear her thoughts echoing through my head, "The one thing in our office that said everything about our partnership, our purpose, our quest, and they couldn't destroy it. One measly poster."

Reaching around her, I touch the poster gently, letting my fingers slide down to hers. I watch as a very, very small smile touches the corners of her lips. Not really a smile, more of a subtle shift of her facial muscles. But more importantly, I see that tiny little smile reflected in her eyes. In a flash it's gone, but not before I saw it. It's not much, but it's a place to start. A beginning.