Title: Bubbles
Author: Arwen N
Rating: PG
Category: VS
Spoilers: season 5
Keywords: none
Disclaimer: Okay, okay I don't own them, never will, and I hope I am not breaking any laws.

Summary- A short vignette as Mulder watches children play with bubbles he sees a more saddening realization. Set after Scully has cancer.

Author's note- I would like to thank my friends once again for helping me by reading this! I was playing in the backyard with my little brother with some bubble solution and suddenly as I watched them whirl through the sky I got an idea. I hope you like it!

He walked down the street in his dark gray suit and whacky tie.

Head down, mumbling, pained. The light sound of children's laughter brought his head up with a sharp snap. he thought. He stopped to stare at a couple of eight-year-olds involved in playing with delicate wands that they dipped into bubble solution and then whirled around. They danced and turned to their own rhythms letting fly hundreds of beautiful
bubbles, giggling at the sight.

They are so carefree. They don't know what can happen in life... I wish they never had to.

The man stood as if a statue and stared, but now his gaze turned to the churning bubbles floating in space. One caught his eye as it crashed to the ground, so small, it barely started its flight before it was taken from his vision never to come back. Then there were the bigger ones when it seemed nothing could happen to them and *POP* they were gone. One second a beautiful iridescent thing and the next an empty void where they once were.

They left the man aching for their return. Suddenly, a bubble of the most pure and delicate beauty floated towards him. It was perfect to the eye, but gently swirling in its shell was a personality of colors.

It started out its carefree flight perfectly, never wavering from its interception course with him, but the closer it got the more it seemed to wobble. Its glistening elegance wavered and he longed to reach out and hold it. He wanted to make it strong again. All he wanted to do was restore its loveliness. He couldn't help it any more, he had to touch it! Slowly he stretched out a graceful hand to the reeling surface. Longing for it... then *POP* it too ended its short life.

Extinguished by the very hand who had so wanted to help it. The tears sprang to his eyes now. There was no stopping the flow of moisture.

I destroyed it! How could I? What right did I ever have to these people? What right did I have to touch her life?

Blindly he waved his hand where the bubble had been. He could not accept the fact it was gone.

"Mulder!" came an impatient call from down the block, "We'll be late!"

Quickly the last tears were brushed from the eyes, the signs of pain washed from his face. He could not show her his sadness right now, he had to be strong for her, but mostly for his own sake.

"I'm coming," was his husky reply.

He met up with her ahead and they continued to walk side by side.

"Are you okay, Mulder?" her voice was gentle, worried.

I should have known that she would know my mind no matter what. I can't hide from her all the time. I don't want to hide!

"I'm fine, Scully." She still glanced at him in concern. He could not answer her further this time though.

She looked ahead slightly hurt, but knew her partner to well then to press right now. Next to him she looked so small, fragile, perfect, but fading. He reached out to touch her, longed to touch her, but something stopped him. A stray bubble floated across his line of vision and *POP*...

The End

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