TITLE: Dana's Dreamland
AUTHOR: Empress Vader
CATEGORY: Mulder/Scully romance - X-file
SPOILERS: none I can think of
Summary: Scully Dreams attempt to speak to her, but will she listen?
Disclaimer: As you know, the characters Mulder and Scully are Chris Carter's brain child, and all rights belong to him, Fox, 1013 etc. I'm getting no money from this; it's all in fun.
I looked around the dark wooded area. My partner had disappeared again. Damn that Mulder, and damn me for always being there.
"Mulder!" I yelled as strong as I could muster in this thick atmosphere. It was followed by a shuffle behind me and I spun around in the hope that it was my partner and fear that it wasn't.
"Mulder, is that you," I said a little softer. "Mulder, are you trying to scare me?"
The unidentified sound moved to the right of me. Mulder and I had never had the best luck in the woods. Though I knew there was some kind of curse that always followed us there, I went anyway. I'd never admit it to him, but I was as intrigued by an X-File as he was. But there were a lot of things I could never seem to put into words and tell him.
Since the only company I seemed to have was that sound, I suppressed my fear and walked toward the it. Though it might have juste been my partner, it could have been the suspect. I slowly crept through the bushes, trying to avoid startling whatever was moving through there. I reached for my weapon and clutched my flashlight even harder.
On the other side of the bushes, I was shocked to find a cabin. A small shadow moved toward it and disappeared inside the door. I knew now it wasn't my partner, but it wasn't the suspect either. For a second I debated if approaching the cabin was the best thing and decided it was the only thing to do.
"Mulder, where the hell are you?" I whispered to myself.
I stepped toward the cabin and prepared to fire my weapon at any moment, one never knew what they would discover on a Mulder outing. Leaning against the outside of the door, I pushed it open. Only to find myself blinded by a white light. When I could see again, I was standing in a nursery. The sound of a music box played gently in the background. The figure I had watched enter approached me. I knew her as well as I knew anyone. And as I looked into her angel face my own morphed into shock. My voice also transformed into a cracked cry.
"Emily," I said so low that I barely heard myself.
This had to be a dream, for it was only in my dreams that I could see the daughter I had learned to love only to lose. She was dressed in a long white gown and that along with the light of the room, radiated upon her face giving it an angelic glow. She held her small hand out to me and I reached for it. It was only then that I realized my own outfit had been transformed into a similar white gown. In a rational moment I might have tried to figure this out. But holding the hand of Emily, I didn't really wish to question things too much. I followed my child toward the mirror; it reflected two children, faces unseen, cowering in the corner of the room. Emily let go off my hand and pointed to them.
"They need you Mommy," Emily said looking at me. Then she herself turned and walked into the mirror.
"Emily," I yelled and walked toward the mirror. But I was bared from entering behind her.
"They need you," Emily's voice said again. I turned around, searching like a mad woman for the source of the voice. It repeated the same phrase again, but wherever I turned. It seemed to be coming from the other direction.
The phone beside my bed startled me awake. I was still living in the wake of the dream when I heard it. However, the phone would not let me fully return to my dream world and continue my search.
"I'm up, I'm up," I muttered rolling over to grab the phone. "Scully," my voice said radiating the anger of my broken sleep.
"Hey, the sun has risen and you have not," Mulder said on the other line. "Alarm clock broken?"
I looked over at my alarm clock; it was still ticking away. I should have been up hours ago, why hadn't my alarm gone off.
"I don't know what happened Mulder. I'll get there as soon as I can."
"Don't bother, we have a plane to catch," my partner interjected.
"Oh really, and how long do I have to prepare for this flight?" I replied unable to muster the sarcasm I wanted to go with the statement.
"I'll be by there in about a half an hour, just get ready."
"Are you at least going to tell me about the case?"
"When I get there?" Click. The other end of the phone went dead.
What in the hell had kept me asleep so long? And what had Mulder dug out of the trash this time. And what the hell was wrong with me? I had slept for hours, but I still wasn't prepared to get up and go anywhere-even with Mulder. I knew I had just had a very weird dream, but the details had escaped me. Emily. Emily had been in the dream, she had said something, but the words escaped my head. It would come; right now I had to get ready before Mulder got here. Didn't want him to see me in these ugly plaid pajamas-not that I cared. But hell, I had overslept, so my professional image had already had enough damage for one day. It's a good thing I keep a bag packed for Mulder's spur of the moment trips.
"Dana, Dana!" a voice called in the distance.
I responded to my name immediately and saw my sister Melissa standing in the distance, but she was a little girl.
"MISSY," I said in shock, receiving a second shock when my own unfamiliar voice came out like a chipmunk. My older sister, who's death still hung in my mind linked heavily with the guilt of knowing she took a bullet meant for me, stood before me as a young girl.
"Come on, Mom and Dad are waiting. Dad says we can't eat until the families at the table. And you know how Bill gets when he has to wait."
The little girl smiled at me and took my hand. It was only then I glanced at my own hand and I realized it was the hand of a child. As Melissa lead me toward our family setting at the picnic table, all other thoughts disappears as I slipped into the warm comfort of being a child again-the world was safe, my family was complete. The scene brought back a secure warmth from long ago, still sitting somewhere in my 'before Mulder' memories-which were often hard to recall. I loved Mulder, I really did, but we had become so entwined that I sometimes forgot where I ended and he began. Mulder wasn't just a friend from work, or my partner; he was a twenty four hour a day lifestyle.
But Mulder wasn't home. This sight was home. My two brothers, in their long forgotten youthful forms, picked at each other. My father, alive and active, reprimanded the boys. And my mother, a vibrant YOUNG woman, sat the food out at the table, called to us girls, and still managed to calmly talk the boys out of their argument.
"Come on Dana, join your family," Melissa said running off toward the picnic table.
With a speed I didn't know I had and excitement I hadn't felt in years, I ran toward the family setting. I could smell my mother's pies, feel the warm laughter that accompanied these meals as we shared memories. For the first time since I'd left home I felt like I belonged at a table with my family. Just as I reached it, all the people dissolved like an illusion or a mirage in the desert, leaving only the table. Adult Melissa materialized in front of me. I checked my hands to see if they were still small, but they weren't.
"Fill the table, Dana."
"Fill the table, you want it full. Don't sit here alone forever."
"I don't understand."
"Fill the table," Melissa said turning away.
She strolled slowly toward a house in the distance. I ran after her, but no matter how fast I ran-catching up with her slow stroll was impossible. The white light appeared-blinding me again. When it dimmed, I saw Melissa in the distance, holding Emily's hand.
"Fill the table Dana," Melissa repeated.
Then the figures dissolved.
"Scully," my partner's voice said as a gentle stroke to the cheek awoke me.
If there was one time Mulder was gentle, it was when he found little excuses like this to touch me. As childish as Mulder could be at times, he had never shaken me awake or yelled in my ear (though an early morning phone call came pretty close). There was always this gentle touch that ever so sweetly brought me from dreamland to the real world. I had learned many times over the years how gentle those hands could be, how they could sweep across you leaving tingling sensations in their path. His touch always warmed me from the inside out.
I learned about that touch the first time we met. Despite all my assertions that I DO NOT believe in extraterrestrial, despite my long list of rationalizations against the possibility, I had ran into his room like a mad woman upon finding a few bumps on my back that turned out to be no more than mosquito bites. His touch had been in full effect that night, lightly tracing the area in question as he examined me, making my body gently tingle in ways it hadn't since that first disastrous bout of puppy love. I was so shaken, both by fear and him, I couldn't wait to hide behind that robe again. And then he began to touch me in little ways, placing his hand on my back for instance or on my shoulder. His arrogance didn't scare me, that touch did. I could compete with him on an intellectual level, could battle theories back and forth and every once in awhile come up with a colorful quip to counter his. But his touch, those gentle hands, I had nothing of equal hypnotizing value to hold over him.
I stretched as best I could. Sleeping in the car seat had given me a terrible cramp. My legs felt like dead weight. And why was I here? Ghost. Mulder had entertained me on the plane with the Romeo and Juliet like tale of kissing cousins Mindy and David Brown-without knowledge of this blood tie, had met and got involved in high school. By the time their fathers--feuding brother's found out, Mindy was already pregnant. Each brother blamed the other and got into a fight that resulted in them killing each other. When Mindy's gay brother turned up dead, she claimed an apparition of her father appeared. She claimed to have seen it again when, David, who had been living as her husband, ‘appeared' to have committed suicide. Now a normal Agent would have attributed the brother's death to a hate crime (as the cops had done) and believed David Brown's suicide was exactly what it appeared to be. But not Mulder, he was ready to believe a story about ghost. Even though it was possibly the theory of a disturbed woman. A woman who had been found incompetent as a mother and had her children taken away.
I finally got the energy to push the car door open as some of the circulation returned to my legs. Mulder was standing there, chipper as ever. Did he have the energy of a five year old or what? What bewildered me more than the fact I never hung up on him when he called me at three in the morning, was that he was up and active at that time. Was he on some drug I didn't know about that kept him going like the energizer bunny?
"Glad I finally got you awake," Mulder said leaning on the car door.
Slipping out the car, I stretched my dead legs. I almost tumbled from that sleeping leg and Mulder caught me in his arms. I got onto my own feet as quickly as possible, not wanting to betray myself to my partner. Waking me up was one thing, but I wasn't going to take an extended vacation lying in his arms.
"You all right, Scully?"
"I'm fine," I said knowing full well where that phrase always got me. "I've just been having these really powerful dreams."
"Scully!" he said with that damn boyish smile and teasing tone that implied enough to get his innuendo across.
Now I wanted to smack him. Mulder had this uncanny ability to drive me from one extreme to the other. I either wanted to kiss him, smack him, or both, but there was rarely any middle ground. No one else could get under my skin like Mulder. I could control myself with everyone else. And that was another one of those things I feared and loved about him all at once.
"You know I don't mean that," I replied.
"Sure Scully," he said carrying the sarcastic tone I had been trying to capture earlier on the phone
"Shut up, Mulder," I said grabbing my cell phone from the car.
As we entered the mental hospital, my body was on autopilot, following behind Mulder as we went through our usual motions, show badges-ask questions. Make people think we're crazy-only Mulder could accomplish that with a single question. Sure, the woman's in a mental hospital, but she's still a credible witness. Yes, we believe she's really talking to ghost. Mulder was no fool; I'm not saying that, if the conversation warranted it, he could play his own skeptic.
Creative, Mulder was a creative investigator. Usually I loved watching him work, watching him solve his puzzles. And I was his playmate-we were in a constant competition, trying to find out who would win the game-though we had to work together to reach the end. Today, however, I couldn't have concentrated if I wanted to. In the beginning ‘Mulder land' had been an interesting place, full of surprises, mystery and intrigue, now I swore if I saw another dead cow slide, I'd break Mulder's projector. Folklore come to life, vampires, alien probes, and conspiracy theories-it was all a bunch of been there, done that. Every once in awhile, the X-Files offered a surprise or two, but I didn't stay for the cases anymore, I stayed for him-maybe I always had. I knew if I ever quit the FBI or left the X-Files that he and I would always be friends. But it wouldn't be the same as being partners. As much as I wanted something else in my life, it felt good to be needed-depended upon. Rather it was just to talk or to chase after some wild case, he called me. I didn't want Mulder giving his 3 a.m. calls to anyone else. And then there were those moments, those unpredictable moments where we, while discussing a case in the hotel room or in a car, where a piece of ourselves would leak out and be revealed. And we never realized it, never forced it, it just happened.
"Scully," Mulder said when he was finished talking to Mindy's psychiatrist.
"Huh," I replied not realizing I had been staring into space the whole time.
"You sure you're awake?" he asked so seriously I couldn't think of a logical answer.
I wanted to say, "I'm fine", but I knew he never believed that.
"I'm okay Mulder," I finally replied-big difference from I'm fine. "Let's go."
He cast me a suspicious glance. I turned away from it and headed down the hall. I didn't have a viable explanation to give him. He let it go and a few minutes later we were in the white walled room of Mindy Brown.
I have to admit the woman looked spooked, all the color had been flushed from her face, making her as pale as a ghost. Her eyes were boring into the wall in front of her, though they were without expression. It was obvious she wasn't with the rest of the world. If I didn't know better, I would have said she was a ghost.
"Mindy," Mulder said as he approached her. Despite his gentle tone, the girl nearly jumped out of her skin.
"Mr. Mulder, I'm sorry," Mindy said, her voice coming out in shivers-though it was far from cold.
"This is my partner, Dana Scully."
"I'm glad you came, no one else will listen. He came last night, telling me losing my children would be my punishment. He's taunting me, he knows I can't get to them."
"What does he say to you exactly?"
"That his line must end, that that is his punishment for killing his brother," Mindy sighed before she continued, but her eyes still weren't registering emotion. "He says, he was disgraced enough by a gay son-my atrocity has doomed his line. He appears to me in the dream world only. They say it's just a manifestation of guilt, but Kayla's seen him too. She's only five, she doesn't understand guilt, all she knows is--. She was perfect, you know-I just knew she was going to have two heads or something, but she was perfect. Still, David and I, we decided to be safe-not have any more children. Than William Michael came along and that's when he came to end his line. Everything was fine as long as it was only Kayla, but William Michael changed things. I don't understand why." Mindy turned to Mulder, her eyes finally registering on us. "Your going to see my children today, aren't you?"
"Yes," Mulder answered.
"Tell them there mother loves them. And tell them I'm sorry; no leave that part out. Just tell them I love them."
Mulder and I were back in the car before I spoke, I knew whatever I had to say would lead to the usual song and dance, but so be it.
"Mulder, that's woman is very disturbed - I hope your not taking her seriously. I mean there's a reason she's here."
"He was a boy."
"What?" I responded.
"His line wasn't in danger of being further disgraced by a female child. A woman becomes the burden of whatever family she marries."
"Didn't that go out with the idea that all women should be barefoot and pregnant?"
Mulder half smiled in response. "Despite my liberated point of view, some men still believe in the male line of succession."
"Sure, your real liberated Rob "make me a sandwich" Petrie," I shot back at him with a smile.
I couldn't help thinking about Emily as I entered the children's service's building. It had the same cold walls that tried to disguise themselves as a place for children with their pastel clown pictures in various funny positions dancing along the walls. There were also finger paintings and stick drawings on bulletin boards and on walls, doing their part in the deception. This was a dumping ground for the children they didn't know what to do with and the walls knew it. No amount of pastels could hide that. It was a place I had hoped to rescue Emily from, but instead I had moved her from here into another cold place. That hospital. My best moment with Emily had been in neither place, but in that car when I gave her my necklace-the one my mother had passed onto me. I hadn't known she was mine then, but maybe somewhere deep down inside I did know she was a part of me. We had so little time together, yet my memories of her were as clear as if the whole tragedy had occurred yesterday.
We entered a playroom that served as a visiting area for parents and children. I heard the papers rustling behind me as the child's caseworker entered behind us.
"Miss Scully," a voice said from behind me in shock.
I spun around, wondering who could know me by name. I was surprised to find out who the voice belonged to, especially since it was Emily I had just been thinking about. It was Susan Chambliss, the one who had handled Emily's adoption case. We greeted each other like old friends, one wouldn't have believe the only memory between us was a tragic one.
"So you're here about the Brown children," Ms. Chambeliss began, "Such a tragic case. Kayla is such a delightful little girl, one wouldn't believe the things she's endured."
"So you're familiar with the children?"
"Yeah, they're my case. Well not really, it got handed to me about three days ago. Cynthia Warren left to have a baby. You know, I actually found a few homes for the baby brother--William, but no one wants the little girl. They think she's disturbed"
"Because she talks to ghosts?"
"Yes, Isn't that why you and your partner are here?"
"Well, even if the child isn't seeing ghost..."
"She could have seen something," Susan sighed. "Well I was just going to get her and her brother. You two can just wait here."
Then Susan Chambeliss disappeared through the door and down the hall.
"Mommy's here," I heard a little voice say before I saw the child. I knew that voice, but I dare not say what was in my mind. It couldn't be, she couldn't be here. Yet, I turned to look anyway and she came running through the door with the biggest smile. It was Emily; her cubby cheeks as rosy as ever. But the face of Emily only appeared for only a second, it quickly dissolved into another little face and this one was frowning.
"You're not mommy," Kayla said looking at me with these wide blue eyes. Her short blond hair framing her face the same way Emily's had.
Susan Chambeliss came running in behind her, she was holding a ten-month-old baby boy.
"But Uncle Charley said Mommy would come today," Kayla frowned.
Susan kneeled down in front of the child. "I told you, your mommy can't take care of you right now."
Kayla's eyes fell to her red-headed brother, then looked up at me again.
"The sign, you're the one," Kayla said, the smile returning as her eyes fell on me.
"Agents, this is Kayla and William Brown," Chambeliss introduced.
"William Michael Brown," Kayla corrected, ignored by the caseworker again.
Susan turned to Kayla. "These are Agents Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. They would like to talk to you about your mommy? Would you like to talk to them?"
"If William Michael can stay with me," Kayla responded.
Susan nodded and put the baby in a near-by bouncer.
"I'll be right outside, okay?"
When Susan stepped out, Kayla's eyes fell on Mulder.
"Is your name really Fox?" Kayla asked Mulder.
"How'd you get that name?"
"How'd you get the name Kayla?"
"I don't know. I know how my brother got his name. William was my daddy's daddy and Michael was my Mommy's daddy."
"Which one talks to you?"
"Uncle Charley talks to me, he told me Mommy was scared of Grandpa Michael, but that I don't have to be. He told me someone was coming to protect me and Michael. And now she's here."
"Her," Kayla said pointing to me.
I wish I could have seen my face at that moment, because I felt completely and totally dumfounded. I hadn't known this child five minutes and now she was declaring I was her savior.
"It's just like Uncle Charley said, you have to take me to my Mommy now."
"What?" I finally managed to say. The bright-eyed Kayla was sure of herself, I could tell that. But I still couldn't figure out why, there was no logical reason for her to suddenly decide some woman she hadn't known five minutes-had I said that already, was suppose to take her away.
"He said you'd remind me of my brother. And you do, cause of your red hair. And that you would wear the sign and you're wearing it around your neck. He called you the guardian of innocence."
"When do you talk to Uncle Charley?" Mulder interrupted.
"I hear him all the time. But I can only see him in my dreams. He keeps Grandpa Michael from taking me and William Michael when we're sleeping." Kayla turned to me. "Can I go see Mommy now?"
It was clear now; this elaborate story was a way to get to her mother.
"Kayla, I'm sure Miss Susan has told you, you can't see your mommy right now."
"But you have to take us. Uncle Charley said you would lead us home."
I kneeled down to the five-year-old. She was getting increasingly upset and I knew she wasn't going to like what I had to tell her. Her blue eyes were no longer as bright as they had been when she entered; they were now dimming to a paler shade.
"Kayla sweetie," I began in the softest voice I could muster. "Your Mommy isn't at home."
"Yes she is," Kayla said with a tear rolling down her cheek. "Uncle Charley promised, he said once the guardian came-we would go home." That single tear was followed by another. Kayla broke her small hand from mine and wrapped both arms around my neck. She was holding on so tight I thought my face would turn blue from the pressure. "You're the only reason I wasn't scared, Uncle Charley kept promising you would come-you can't leave me here. Grandpa Michael's gonna get us one day, but I wasn't scared. Cause Uncle Charley promised you would come."
"I'm sorry Kayla, there's nothing I can do," I replied, prying the child from myself as gently as possible.
When I looked into her face, I nearly fainted, for I saw Emily again. "We need you," was her singular reply. I blinked and Kayla stood before me again.
Susan Chambeliss reentered the room to retrieve Kayla, which was difficult because she was gripping my jacket. When she finally was lose she started screaming. Susan was doing her best to hold the child. Only when she was out of the room did she stop screaming and start crying. All logic told me there was nothing I could do, but I felt guilty anyway.
"You okay, Scully?" Mulder asked as he placed a hand on my shoulder.
"Fine," I replied. How many times have I assured him of that today?
"Ma," a small voice said from behind me. I turned and looked at the curly headed baby boy. He raised his hands to me. "Ma," he said again.
Without thinking, I reached for the baby boy and picked him up. He smiled at me and reached for the crucifix around my next. He fiddled with it and looked up at me again.
"Ma?" he repeated. Though it seemed this was the only word he knew, this time it seemed like a question. Like he too knew of the "sign" Kayla mentioned, like it meant something to him to and he just couldn't express it. He lay down in my bosom, flushing me with a warm sensation that I hadn't felt in months, years. His small head was under my chin, his hair brushing my cheek. My heartbeat vibrating against his ear. The thing about babies is they have this smell, this sweet baby powder smell that makes you want to hold onto them forever. You know when they fell safe with you, because all they need is that feeling as a reason to cuddle close to you.
Susan Chambeliss reentered.
"I suppose this wasn't very productive, I'll take William now."
My arms were reluctant to turn the snuggling baby over to Ms. Chambeliss. I slowly released him from my hands to hers, but he too was reluctant to go. First his small hands tried to hold onto me, but were unsuccessful. Then his small voice released a pleading "Ma" before he to burst into tears.
"Maybe it's best they be separated," Susan replied. "Lord knows what went on in that house."
"Ma," William Michael cried again and reached for me before Susan turned out the door, coddling him as best she could.
I couldn't explain it in logical terms, but I began to cry. I wasn't bawling, there was just these uncontrollable teardrops forcing there way down my face. Maybe it was guilt or regret resurfacing because I knew I could never have a child. But neither of these explanations registered with the choking sensation in my throat. My heart was telling me to run out into the hall, snatch the baby from Chambeliss' arms and hold him until he was resting comfortably in my bosom again. But luckily my Brain kept my feet in place. However, I could feel Mulder's eyes looking at me.
"Scully?" he questioned.
I couldn't even manage another "I'm fine" or "I'm okay".
"I didn't know these kids would get to you like that."
"It's okay. It's just that picking up a baby always makes..." I sighed. "Let's go Mulder."
Our next stop was the Brown household. Mindy must have been a good housekeep, because except for the office where David had hung himself, the house was pretty neat. This was an amazing accomplishment for a woman with two small children. I wondered if I would have been able to do the same with children so young. I'm not saying it was perfect, there was the stray toy here and there. In fact Mulder and I had nearly tripped on a pair of skates and a toy car upon entering. But that was perhaps what made it normal. So normal in fact, it seemed illogical that the father killed himself, the mother went crazy, and the children ended up belonging to the state.
As Mulder rattled around the living room, the photos on the mantel caught my attention. A naked baby Kayla, with a blanket draped around her was sitting on the mantel-she would kill her mother for that around age thirteen. A picture of William Michael at the hospital was beside it. Then there was a huge professional Family portrait; I was amazed at how beautiful Mindy had been when she had some color to her. No one would have guessed she and David were related. He was this tall lanky guy with a little boy's face.
"You sure these two were cousins?"
"Yeah, they're father's were half brothers. That's what the feud between them was about, ‘a mother's love'. It seems she favored Michael over William. She had an affair and had William-he was illegitimate. But her heart was always with her husband, so she put the weight and blame of that decision on William."
"And three generations down it's still tearing the family apart," I said more to myself then him.
"I'm going look around in the office," Mulder announced.
As headed in the direction of the office, I went upstairs to look around. My first stop was the parent's room. I gave it the thorough look over, but it was as neat as the rest of the house. David had left his pants on the foot of the bed. That was about the only thing out of place. The statement taken from Mindy said he had just gotten up out of bed, gone into his downstairs office, and hung himself. Mindy found him. According to her, the kids had never seen the body. It wasn't long after that the neighbors slowly began to notice the families decent into madness. The next door neighbor had called Children's Services when Mindy had come banging on her door in the rain, with her children half dressed, claiming her dead father was after her. Less than a week later Kayla began to claim she had been talking to her dead Uncle, who died nearly a month before.
As I glanced over the night table, I heard the tinkling tune of "Rock a Bye Baby" filter through the baby monitor. I turned around again, toward the connecting door. Through it, I could see the Red and White walls of the nursery. I walked toward it. Inside the nursery, I was flushed with that mothering sensation of holding the baby yet again. William Michael's bed still looked brand new, there were cute little baby clothes hanging on hangers in his closet. My eyes fell on a little baseball outfit on the changing table. With a matching baseball cap. My fingers felt along the little blue lines of the cap, thinking of his little head resting under my chin and how each expression of the word "Ma" let me know what he was feeling. One word and he had said it so many ways. As I picked up the hat, a hand fell on mine. There was no reason to move, I knew his touch, it was Mulder.
"Scully, What are you doing?"
It was a question, but it sounded more like a statement. Like he already knew what, or at least who I was thinking about.
"Nothing, just inspecting the room," I answered moving away from him.
"Scully, I don't think there is anything here anyway. I'm finding no evidence of anything but a cut and dry suicide."
"I didn't know suicide was cut and dry."
Mulder sighed. "I saw what happened when you held that baby."
"You know, that look you women get when-"
"Excuse me? You women?"
"I didn't mean it like that Scully," Mulder rattled out, knowing he had just tripped over this own tongue. "I just meant, I was there when you lost Emily. And today you not only run into Susan Chambeliss, but a little girl who thinks you're her savior and a baby that called you Ma several times."
"All he could say was Ma. It had nothing to do with me. And if there is some fowl play going on here, we're the only ones who will investigate it."
I walked out the room before he could offer up anymore rationalizations. It was only when I arrived downstairs that I realized William Michael's hat was still in my hand. I didn't want to have to face Mulder with it and have more debating on the subject, so I stuffed it into my pocket.
Mulder and I were silent on the way back to our hotel. I was glad, that hat was like a burning hot poker in my pocket. I probably would have confessed my theft if he spoke. However, once I was alone. I took it out and held it in my hands. Remembering the small child it belonged to, his sister. Their pleadings as they held onto me.
The door between our rooms was unlocked, but thankfully Mulder was gone. He went to buy some sunflower seeds for his supply. He only has a few in his pocket supply. I use to think those things grew in his pocket.
"Why don't you believe her?" a small voice said from the end of the bed. "Your not real," I stated thinking I must have dozed off, because that was the only way Emily could be sitting on the end of the bed.
"She's not a child," a second voice said. This one belonged to Melissa. "We adults are always on the search for proof. Even her Mulder is seeking physical evidence for those intangible things he believes in. Only children have a faith that's completely blind. You keep telling yourself that this is a dream, maybe you're right. Maybe we are not what we seem to be. Maybe these forms are just a convenient way of getting this message to you."
"They're in trouble. You must go to them now," Emily added.
I jerked awake with that statement. As I thought, I had been asleep. But for the first time, I could remember the dream clearly. The kids were in trouble, I sensed it. I had to check on them. Maybe I was acting like a worried mother, despite the fact I wasn't there mother. Yet, I was filled with the sudden urge to know if they were okay. I didn't care what Mulder thought. Well that's a lie, but in this situation it was second to knowing the kids were okay.
I burst into Mulder's room. He was munching on his seeds and reading a police report. Confused at my sudden entrance, his eyes glanced up at me over the paper, as if to say ‘what in the hell'. I didn't care.
"Mulder, do you have the number for Children's services?"
"I need to check on them, the Brown children."
"Just a hunch, Mulder."
I knew by now I was appearing quite ecstatic for no reasons at all. These were not my children. But I had had an instinct similar to this with Kevin. I expected a snide remark from Mulder, something I wasn't in the mood for, but instead he uttered a surprising "Okay" and dialed the number. It was only then I realized I was twiddling my thumbs. Mulder registered his usual stoic expression as he conversed on the phone. There were times I could see through this, but not right now. Right now I couldn't see through glass.
"Scully," Mulder said as he looked up at me. "You must be psychic. They're gone."
"Gone, gone where?"
"No one knows, " Mulder replied. "They just disappeared. Someone went to check on William Michael about a half-hour ago, he wasn't there. Then they discovered his sister was gone too. Along with a wagon they keep in the play area."
"Have they searched the whole building?"
"Yes and they've called the cops, though they haven't found any signs of anyone breaking in or out. Let alone a five-year-old strolling her baby brother in a little red wagon."
"I know, let's go."
We were out of that hotel room and outside before we knew what was happening. The keys were in my pocket, so I slid them over the hood to Mulder. I was too upset to drive. However, just as I was slipping in the car-a glimmer of red attracted my attention. The traffic of the main roadway was flowing heavily, so I prayed it wasn't what I thought. Besides-how would a five-year-old get out her that quickly?
"Ma," I heard softly as all traffic stopped for a red light. And there was Kayla, walking the yellow line, wagon in tow. I panicked and ran to her, without even checking to see if the light was changing. Kayla seemed to be in a trance anyway, and if she was sleepwalking-I didn't want to startle her awake.
I cut straight in front of her path, gently grabbed her and called her name. Her eyes suddenly came alive as she blinked at me.
"Miss Dana? Uncle Charley was taking me home. How'd I get here?"
"Kayla, you're a long way from home."
As if some spell had been broken, the light turned green, cars noticed us, and suddenly began to honk their horns. The loud noise scared the baby boy lying in the wagon, who began to cry.
"It's okay, I'm here," I said lifting William Michael.
By the time I looked up, Mulder was standing over me. Horns were still honking; Kayla was covering her ears to reduce the noise. Mulder said nothing; he just silently picked up Kayla, grabbed the wagon handle and walked out of the street. Coddling the scared baby, I followed.
I called children's services this time, convincing them the children should stay with us for the night. I was sitting on the end of Mulder's bed at the time. He kept gazing at me, still holding William Michael. I didn't like his look, this "I'm watching you hang yourself" expression. He hadn't said anything of the like, though he had already run out and bought me some pampers and milk to get through the night. For some reason, he didn't argue with me keeping the kids over night. Kayla was sitting on the floor laughing and watching cartoons.
"So Scully," he said when I hung up. "How did you know?"
"I told you, I've been having these dreams"
"Dreams, when Does Skeptical Scully act on dreams?"
"Mulder, why is it every time I believe in something, you act like my personal feelings are clouding my judgement!"
"When have I done that?"
"Would you like me to compile a list, starting with a man named Boggs."
Kayla turned her attention from the TV to us. "Are you guys fighting?"
"No Kayla, Mulder and I just disagree sometimes."
"That's what Jessica's mommy and daddy said just before they got ‘evorced. Then her Mommy moved her away and I never saw her again."
"Well Scully and I aren't married so-"
"Come here Kayla," Mulder said taping the bed. She climbed up on the bed between us. Her brother had crawled off of me and now lay on the bed examining my keychain.
"Now Miss Kayla," Mulder began
"What's so funny?" Mulder asked.
"No one ever called me Miss before," the child said giggling through the whole sentence. "Daddy called me Kay-Kay."
"Well, Would you like me to call you that?"
"No, Miss Kayla will be fine," she giggled yet again.
This exchange was getting too cute; I had to stifle my own giggles.
"Do you want to tell me how you got here?"
"I don't know," Kayla shrugged. "I was real upset, so they put me in bed. I guess I cried myself to sleep, because Uncle Charley came and I can only see him when I'm asleep. He had William Michael wrapped all up and bottle with him and everything. And he said we were going home."
"How did you get out?"
"He took us out the back door."
"Wasn't anyone there?"
"No, I didn't even hear anybody. Which is weird, cause usually all I hear is people or kids." Kayla sighed. "I'm hungry."
"Didn't you eat dinner?" I asked.
"No, I was too upset. My stomach didn't want any food. They couldn't even make me eat."
"Mulder, there's a fast food place not to far away. I could take Kayla and William Michael-"
"I'll go with you," Mulder said.
As we entered the fast food restaurant, Kayla began to run down a long list of foods that she would eat in a few days, let alone tonight. She was getting whatever kids meal was available. William Michael was nuzzling my neck, fully awake, exploring his new world with his eyes as bottle sucking sounds vibrated in my ear.
"What a beautiful baby," a woman said as she entered behind us. "How old is he?"
"Oh, you must be so proud. And look at that lovely little girl. It's always nice to see a good-looking family."
"Thank you," I replied, not willing to go into a long explanation of our involvement, hell it wasn't the first time Mulder and I were accused of being a couple. Still, I felt Mulder's glance before I ever looked at him. "What's the point of explaining, Mulder?"
"Not feeding into your own delusion," Mulder said just before he departed to get a high chair.
We then filled a little booth. I put William Michael beside me. I didn't think Mulder wanted to deal with feeding a baby. Mulder got the food. William Michael had applesauce, but as soon as he saw my fries, he threw his bottle across the table and reached for my fries. The milk from the bottle squirted into Mulder's face and rolled into his food, causing me and Kayla to break into laughter. I placed a few fries in front of William Michael. He smiled and bopped in his chair. Kayla grabbed a napkin, stood in her seat, and her little hands tried to wipe Mulder's face clean.
"Thank you, Miss Kayla."
"You're welcome, Mr. Fox."
I tried to conceal my smile as my eyes involuntarily met Mulder's. A slight smile appeared on his face and for the moment we were happy with the scene before us.
Suddenly that picnic table scene from my dream flashed back into my head. "Fill the table, Dana." She couldn't have meant something as simple as me giving the kids a meal. So what did it mean? And what would all this mean tomorrow when I had to take the children back? I knew I was letting William Michael get attached to me. Kayla was still expecting me to take her home. It was easy for her to laugh and play with Mulder, expecting that tomorrow she would go home and all would be right with the world. Was I making a mistake?
"Come on, I have to show you something," Kayla's little voice said as she dragged me off the park bench. I didn't remember coming to the playground, but here I was-with Kayla.
She took me to a sandbox where she had built a small sandcastle.
"Look, there's room for all of us. Me, William Michael, you, and Mr. Fox."
"But what about your Mommy?"
A dim frown fell upon the little girl's face. "She's gone, she can't come back."
"Miss Scully, " a male voice said from behind me. I turned toward it. A young man stood before me. Dressed in all white.
"I'm Charles Brown."
"Uncle Charley?" I asked doubtfully.
"Yes, we must talk."
"What about?" I turned toward Kayla, but she was gone-as was the sandbox. "Where did ..."
"She's safe," Uncle Charley interrupted. "Do you believe the sins of the father are carried onto the son? They are. The sons, the daughters. Whole families have been infected and broken by the mistake of one member. But as long as there's a supplement-innocence can be saved. That is no longer possible in our line. And now, the only way to save innocence, to do any good, is to give them a chance to shed themselves of us."
"By 'them' you mean Kayla and William Michael."
"All that is us must end, so that they may begin. And I have been told, that you are deserving of making that new beginning possible."
"Told by who?"
Charles smiled in response-a friendly smile.
"Always remember, life is the sum total of our choices, both small and large. You've reached a fork in the road that will change the rest of your life. As you make this choice, remember what Kayla said, there is room for all of you."
"Ma," the baby cried as he pulled on my shirt and I slowly returned to reality.
William Michael was sitting on the bed beside me. Kayla was still sleeping soundly beside him. She had worn my T-shirt to bed and her small body was lost in it. William Michael had slept in his pamper. I had rinsed out their clothes and hung them in the bathroom.
"Ma," William Michael repeated followed by a baby talk sentence. Obviously trying to communicate something.
"What is it sweetie?"
"Ma, Ba-Ba," he said pointing to the empty bottle on the table.
"Oh, you want a bottle," I replied retrieving it from the night table. "Okay, let's get you some milk."
I picked up William and he held onto me as natural as ever. He smiled at me and I knew at that moment, I had fallen in love. Not just with him, with Kayla too. She was a little chatterbox, at dinner. She had told us a story about almost everyone in her neighborhood, her teachers, and her friends. She even told us stories about herself and her Uncle Charley-whom she seemed to love dearly. But it wasn't until later that night, when she was curled up beside me, that she told me about her parents. How much she loved them, little things they had done how happy she was when she finally got a baby brother.
I shook these thoughts off and went to get the milk and pampers from Mulder's room. He was still asleep.
"Hey William Michael, this is my little boy, well big boy. His name is Fox. He can be bad sometimes; sometimes he says the wrong thing. Believe me William Michael, he's made some big mistakes. But at the end of the day, he's a sweetheart. Let's not wake him up, okay."
He smiled at me. Whenever he smiled, those big bright eyes of his seemed to sparkle. Kayla was like that too.
I put William Michael on the unoccupied side of Mulder's bed as I filled his bottle and retrieved a pamper. I gave him the bottle to suck on, while I changed him. When that was done, I left him on the bed while I went to toss the dirty pamper into the bathroom trash.
"What the hell?" I heard Mulder yell suddenly. Followed by William Michael's giggle.
I quickly returned to the room. Kayla entered his room from my room rubbing her eyes.
"What's going on?" the little girl asked, the neck of the shirt dropping over her shoulder.
"Scully, get this kid. He tried to stick that damn bottle up my nose."
Kayla gasped. "Mr. Fox, you said a bad word."
"I'm sorry Miss Kayla," he said apologetically as I retrieved William Michael from the bed.
"He was just trying to share, Mr. Fox."
"Ma," the baby boy said with a smile.
"Didn't I tell you not to wake him up."
"Ma," he replied with that magical, huge grin. "Mommy."
"He said Mommy," Kayla shouted. "He never said that before."
My eyes met Mulder's as the small baby lay down on my chest. He had called me "Mommy", not Ma-his universal term, Mommy. He had never called anyone Mommy-and now he was calling me Mommy. I couldn't help, but be pleased somewhere deep down inside, but as the hanging silence of the room told, I was also shocked and worried. Today he had to go back, she had to go back. And now they would both hate me. Especially Kayla, I hadn't had the heart last night to explain once again that she would not be going home.
"Ma Mommy," William Michael said again, as if to assure the room that's exactly what he had said.
"We better get ready to go."
"You're taking me home now?" Kayla asked.
Mulder's eyes met mine, he couldn't tell her either.
The chatterbox was in full effect as we loaded them into the car. I had borrowed a car seat from the hotel manager after explaining why the kids were in our room. He said he offered to lend us his daughter's car seat and I accepted. It took Mulder an hour to figure out how to get it in the car. Kayla laughed at him, then finally crawled in the back seat, wiggled the chair a bit and snapped in the seat belt.
As each step got us closer to pulling off, I think both our hearts was clogging our throat. We knew we had to tell Kayla, that if we didn't she would hate us even moire. Not me, us, because "Mr. Fox" was her new best friend. Yet neither of us could tell her she was not going home.
Both Mulder and I grabbed our phones, the second ring revealed the call was his.
"Mulder...yes, I was there to see Mindy Brown yesterday."
"That's Mommy," Kayla whispered in the back seat.
"She's what?" Mulder turned to me. "Scully, Mindy disappeared last night. She's not at the hospital."
"Of course not, she's home," Kayla stated matter-of-factly.
"There's no harm in checking it out," Mulder replied.
"Mulder, we can't, we're obligated to-"
"Scully, the place isn't going anywhere. And it would make somebody real happy to see her mother, before going back to that place."
I sighed, that was all the hesitation he needed to start out toward the Browns' house.
As we pulled into the driveway, Kayla became completely giddy, telling her brother they were finally home, that Mommy was here. We weren't sure; the house looked as abandoned as it had been the day before.
"Mommy," Kayla suddenly yelled, unbuckling her seat belt.
We turned and saw Mindy Brown walking toward the car. Kayla was out the door before we could say 'stop'. She ran into her mother's arms and Mindy broke into tears as she embraced her daughter.
"Kayla," Mindy said pulling the little girl away. "I came home to get you this." Mindy pulled out a small chain with a heart attached to it. "My mommy gave it to me and now I give it to you. So you will remember."
"Remember what?" the little girl asked as her mother placed it around her neck.
"Me, the good things, Daddy. When you begin to hate me..."
"I'll never hate you Mommy," Kayla replied.
"You say that now, but- Is William Michael in the car?"
Mindy took her daughter's hand and walked to the car. Mulder and I sat silently, knowing we should stop this right now and return each person to their designated locations. But neither of us moved as she lifted her son from the car.
"I'm never going to see you walk," she said holding her son. "Never hear you speak a whole sentence. Attend your first day of school. You were never meant to be and now you cannot be mine." She placed her son back in the car seat "Kayla, get in the car.
"Cause I said so, get in the car."
"But I don't want to Mommy, I'm finally home."
"No Kayla, this isn't home anymore. Get in the car, please."
A dejected Kayla climbed into the seat. Mindy moved toward the front window.
"I've packed there things, William Michael's gotten kinda big-so he probably can't fit a lot of his clothes. They grow up so fast, cherish it, Miss Scully."
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
"They all came to me, they made me understand. It's my duty as a mother to release them from our curse. Charles tells me not to hate you and I don't. I just can't help being jealous that you will get to be there for all the things I won't."
"Mindy, get in the car," Mulder interjected. "We'll take you back."
"I can't go back, and I can't go forward. This is my end and your beginning."
Mindy stepped away from the car and started walking towards the house. Kayla went for the doorknob again.
"No, Kayla, stay in the car," I said jumping out myself.
"Scully," Mulder called jumping out behind me.
"Watch the kids Mulder," I said turning toward him and then back toward the house and running inside behind Mindy.
Inside the doorway, I was surprised to find out Mindy had packed boxes of clothes and toys, as if the children were moving out.
"Mindy," I called, but the house gave me no clue of where she was. "Mindy, this doesn't have to go down like this. Mindy, you can get your children back one day."
The sound of a gunshot spun me around. It came from the office. I ran into the room as fast as my legs would carry me. But I was too late. I found Mindy sprawled on the desk, a bullet wound to the head, the gun on the floor.
It took me awhile to get the nerve to go outside. Mulder and the children's eyes poured into me, wanting an explanation. They must have all heard the shot as I could hear the cops arriving when I exited the house. I silently climbed into the car as police cars pulled up in the driveway.
"She's gone, isn't she?" Kayla asked.
"Yes, Kayla-she's gone. I'm sorry."
"Mommy," William Michael cried, fighting his car seat restraints as he reached for me.
I stepped out the car and retrieved the baby from the backseat. A cop walked up to us. We knew there was going to be a lot of things to explain.
Three hours later, Mulder and I were sitting in the local police station, still with the kids. William Michael was asleep in my lap and Kayla was in Mulder's lap, she had fallen asleep too. Susan Chambeliss had agreed to come by and pick the kids up there.
"Scully, what are you going to do?" Mulder asked.
"What do you mean?"
"You know as well as I do, what's going to happen when it's time for these kids to go back, especially now. Kayla's just lost her mother, the last thing she believed in."
"I don't know Mulder, I can't exactly take them home."
"But you would, wouldn't you."
I gave him the non-answer answer, I looked away. I wasn't prepared to be anyone's mother-let alone these two small children. And what about my job, it didn't allow for this. Children needed constant love and attention.
"Miss Scully, Mr. Mulder," Chambeliss said as she entered. "The cops found a tape you should listen too. Officer Popoli will watch the children."
A female officer came in. I gently handed the sleeping baby to her. Mulder slipped Kayla from his arms into the chair. She curled up, but never woke up.
We entered a room where the local police chief and a couple officers were sitting. We sat down and they started the tape.
"Dear Miss Scully,
"This doesn't make sense, I hardly knew the woman, " I replied to the group.
"If this woman thought she was connected to a spirit world somehow, " An unidentified woman in a suit began. "Than there may have been something about you that made her think you were worthy of replacing her. That crucifix of yours is a powerful symbol to someone looking for one."
"Did you guys every solved the brother's murder? Charles Brown."
"Yes, his boyfriend killed him," an officer began. "It seems he was married, ashamed of his homosexuality. He confessed himself. He got into an argument with him leaving his wife. It escalated into some very personal issues and he killed him in a fit of rage. Then, he tried to cover it up by making it look like a hate crime."
"Is the tape credible?" I asked, changing the subject back to the children "I mean, could this be enough to give me custody of them."
"Miss Scully?" Chambeliss questioned.
"Kayla and her brother have gotten attached to me, if I walk out of her life now-after she's lost her mother. What will she believe in? I can't walk away from them, not after what's happened."
"Kayla's hurt in ways she can't even say yet. The easiest way for her is to already be with someone she trust. I can be that person."
The female officer entered with William Michael in her arms, screaming "Mommy, Mommy". I quickly retrieved him. He immediately cuddled next to me. Kayla came in, her eyes dim, a frown on her face. She simply walked up to me and laid her head on my side.
"I'll do my best," Chambeliss said looking at us.
Later that day, I took the children back to the hotel room. Mulder was tying up whatever loose ends there were. Kayla was silent; she sat in front of the TV like zombie. I tried to joke with her on the way back, but that little bright side she always seemed to have was gone had disappeared. I changed William Michael and laid him down with a bottle. Then I called Kayla to me.
"I want you to see something." I said as she sat down beside me. I reached in my wallet and handed her a picture from it.
"Who's this?" Kayla asked.
"It's Emily. She was my daughter."
"Where is she? At home?"
"No, she died. She was a very very sick little girl."
"Do you miss her?"
"All the time. And you'll always miss your mother. But somebody has to take care of you. Now the way I see it, you've lost a mother and I've lost a daughter. So I think that makes us perfect for taking care of each other?"
"Mommy," William Michael called, standing in the crib, presenting his empty bottle.
"He already thinks you're his mommy," Kayla added.
"Does that upset you?"
"No, he needs a mommy. And so do I, I guess. And I guess, I don't mind, if it's you."
"Thank you Kayla," I replied placing a hand on her little head. She leaned into me and began to cry.
Kayla cried herself to sleep on me. I tucked her into my bed. Then played with William Michael until he was tired enough to take a nap. Mulder came in then. I now considered the draw backs of my choice. For a long time I had known I only had two choices, a normal life or a Mulder life. And the moment I decided to keep the children, I knew which life they needed. I knew we had already had a really crappy day and this wasn't the best way to top it off, but I felt I had to get this off my chest..
"Hey, Scully. How are they?"
"Okay, Kayla's emotionally worn out. She had a much-needed cry. William Michael, he doesn't even get it. He knows something's wrong, but--"
"You got a job on your hands."
"Actually, that's what I want to talk to you about. Sit down Mulder."
"Why do I feel like bad news is coming?" Mulder asked as he sat on the bed.
I slowly sat down beside him and exhaled. "When I made my decision today, I knew that to have them, I was going to have to let you go."
"What?" Mulder said jumping off the bed.
"I can work for the FBI and be a parent, but I can't be your partner and be a mother."
"Because they need all of me and I want to give them that, but I can't as long as your life's work is consuming my life. I choose to be with you Mulder, because I believed in you. Not because I believed in Monsters, Aliens, and Ghost. I've told you these things before. But that means that makes all I dedicated to you and your work is theirs now. They're wounded children, Mulder."
"Scully, you can't do this. I need you. I told you before, I don't know if I can do this alone anymore."
"You can Mulder and you will," I turned back toward my door.
"When did you decide this, today?"
I turned back toward him. I could tell his head was still searching for more rationalization to make me stay. This was one of those times when I wanted to kiss him, just run into his arms and kiss him. So I did. We were both becoming extremely shaken by the turn of this conversation and our eyes revealed that to one another. Ourlips grazed one another's ever so softly.
"Scully," Mulder said in almost a whisper. "I will do anything to make you stay."
He then leaned toward me. I knew what was coming and every rational bone in my body screamed "don't." I couldn't though; I wanted to feel his lips on mine again. And they met mine, with tenderness yet again, I feltt my legs get weak beneath me. He had hardly moved away when he came for my lips again, this time a little more forceful. And then I felt his warm tongue slip into my mouth and engage our tongues in a long awaited dance. He lifted me with ease laid us down on the bed; our lips barely separating in the process.
Then his lips left mine to make a trail of kisses to my cheek, down my neck, and to my breast. His hands following. My whole body was on fire with him and that was exactly why it had to stop. It seemed he, in fact, would do anything to make me stay.
"Stop Mulder," I whispered so softly that he didn't hear me. Oh, this was going to be hard; his hand was unbuttoning my blouse, making me tingle. "Stop Mulder," I managed out-just strong enough for him to notice.
"I won't let you do this just to make me stay."
"But-" Mulder began. "Oh forget it. You probably wouldn't believe me anyway."
"What, say it?"
"I love you."
" I know," I replied. How could I not know that? But how easy was it to love someone when they were all you had? I loved Mulder, too. I loved his faults, I loved his mind, his passion, but mostly I loved being needed. When Mulder needed someone, I chose to be that someone. "I love you, too. But is it because we're the right ones for each other, or because neither of us has anyone else."
Mulder sighed and slid up onto the pillow, I slid up beside him and laid my head on his chest. Our situation had already been compromised and I was emotionally spent. I think he was too, for we fell asleep that way. I don't know how much later I woke up, but Kayla was lifting her baby brother onto the bed and then crawling up behind him. I didn't move, I could still hear Mulder breathing as he remained in deep sleep. Kayla and William Michael found their own little crevices to curl up in. I couldn't believe there was room for all of us in one bed.
When I awoke the next morning, Mulder had left the bed and was standing in the bathroom brushing his teeth with Kayla. She was giggling again. William Michael sat on the bed looking at me. "Mommy?" the baby asked.
"Yeah," I answered, knowing in fact, that meant this was my last X-File. Mulder consumed my life, he would never really be gone from it, but he couldn't be all of it anymore. I still, had to leave him.
DZ - 1999