Title: The Island of X - Revised Edition - June 2002
Summary: Scully has a dream, or is it?
Author's note: This is the revised edition since the original posting at Gossamer. I found a few errors and fixed those, as well as enhanced some dialogue. Other than that, the essence of this story remains untouched.
A thousand thank-yous to Spooky's Girl for everything. This story is dedicated to my "Family" at ADP. Without all of you, I would be merely drifting alone in the sea of Cyberspace.
As always, for NCL, my eternal inspiration.
The sunlight upon my face is warm, inviting me to awaken as I roll over in my sleep. I smile to myself, thinking about the fact that the blinds must be open. His signal to me that he is up and the Hazelnut coffee will be ready soon. Upon reaching the position of flatness however, I'm stunned to realize a couple of things.
One, that a sudden burst of pain has gone through my lower back, *Is the baby coming?*, and two, that I'm not in my bed; feeling the heat of the rays beaming through my bedroom window, but I'm actually lying on what feels to be, by the grains falling through my fingers, a layer of soft, fine...
I jerk up to a sitting position and look around at my surroundings. Sand flies about my face from the sudden movement of my hair. *Oh my God! Where the hell am I? And how the hell did I get here?* I wonder, as I take in the sight of the white sand and the aquamarine water, lapping at my feet.
Still feeling a bit groggy, I stand and try to gain my bearings. I look across the great pool of ocean, so clear that I can actually see the tropical fish swimming along with the current, and I cannot move.
*Where the hell am I?*
"It is about time you decided to wake up and join me, Scully!"
I turn, in even greater shock, at the sound of the familiar yet long-time-since-I-last-heard, voice of my former partner and I stare. In fact, I gasp at the sight.
"What is it, Scully? You look like you have seen a ghost!"
I run my hands through my hair to get the remainder of the sand out of it and I pinch my left earlobe, making sure that I'm indeed awake and truly seeing whom I thought I would never again see.
Fox William Mulder.
"Mulder? But, how? How are you? You are..." I stammer, as my brain tries to absorb the image of him, standing in front of me. "You are dead."
He looks at me in the most quizzical way, and then laughs. "You must have hit your head harder than I thought. I'm very much alive. Are you okay, Scully?"
"I'm fine." I instantly answer, using words that I have not felt the need to use for a very long time. "But, but Mulder? I buried you eleven years ago, in Raleigh, North Carolina."
"Okay, now I know you hit your head too hard. Come here, let me take a look at you."
As he walks closer to me, I start to feel faint and drop to my knees in the warming sand.
*It must at least be morning. What is going on? Why do I feel like I'm actually awake, and not dreaming?*
That is when I realize that I'm wearing clothes. I look up at him, stunned yet again.
"Mulder, what the fuck is going on here? I should be at home. In bed, lying naked next to my husband of ten years. How the hell am I here? On a beach? Wearing jeans? With you? I'm eight and a half months pregnant!"
Then a flash of reason, of what must be happening, flits across my mind.
*I must have died in my sleep! Oh no! My poor family! But, this is Heaven? Being on a beach with Mulder? That could not be right, could it?*
I shake my head, as I try to piece together what is occurring. I look up at him.
*Yes, he is still there. I must have died.*
It takes everything in me to hold back the sobs.
He stops walking toward me and gives me the oddest look that I have ever seen from his hypnotizing hazel eyes. He then breaks into a run toward me and places his hands, abruptly, on the back of my head. He starts examining me. The fact that I can actually feel his touch leaves me rooted to the spot.
"Nope, no bumps." He stares intently into my face and proceeds to move his hands over my head and neck, the way a doctor would. The way I would, on one of my own patients. "No bruises. Scully, you really are starting to scare me with your weird proclamations, but, we do not have time for this right now. While you were in Dreamland,"
*Dreamland?* I repeat to myself. *THIS IS DREAMLAND!*
"I took it upon myself to venture out passed our little camp here and see what the hell else is on this island. You will never believe what I found." *Island? Camp? 'Weird proclamations'?* I think I'm going to actually pass out. Until, until another discovery shocks me into solid awareness.
I'm no longer pregnant.
I realize this little tidbit, when I straighten up from my kneeled position and I can actually see my tennis shoe-clad feet.
"Oh my God! Where is my baby? What is happening? Where is my husband? How the hell did I get here?" *Did I die and the baby live? Is that why I'm no longer with child?*
I want to fall to the soft sand and huddle into a fetal position of my own. I want to keep going on with my litany of questions to him, but am silenced by another shock to my system.
A slap in the face.
I rub at my stinging flesh and I'm instantly pissed off. "What the fuck did you do that for?" I demand to know.
"You are talking some psycho-crazy shit, Scully. I had to bring you out of it. Damn, you must have had some creepy hallucination due to your being drugged."
"Drugged?" I ask, knowing full well that I'm speaking the truth, which he always respected from me before, and I was in no way drugged. At least, if I was, 'this' is the delirium I'm suffering because of it.
If I'm, in fact, not dead that is.
"Yes. I have figured that must be how we got here. That is the only explanation I can think of."
"Where exactly are we?" I ask starting to believe that, maybe, if I play into this little illusion I will be able to convince my subconscious mind that I should be allowed to awaken. That I'm not deceased.
*What did I eat for dinner last night?* I randomly consider. *Oh yes, it was a box of those little pieces of chicken that came out recently, from that restaurant over on Pennsylvania Avenue, just down the street from the Hoover Building. We stopped there on our way home. Could I be in a coma? Could I be suffering from ptomaine? Damn, that has to be it! I should have listened to his teasing voice and had a salad. But, the cravings! They can be so intense! But a coma? Brought on by food poisoning?*
I'm startled out of my ponderings by Mulder's voice, the voice that I used to spend hours at night crying over, for the loss of hearing.
"I have deduced, based on the climate, that we are on an island somewhere in the tropics. Other than that? I have no clue. Well, as far as our actual location on Earth, anyway. I do know, though, that we are not alone."
He definitely has my interest now.
*Maybe I'm in some sort of version of Heaven. Who else could be here? Samantha?* I gasp. *Missy?*
"What do you mean we are not alone?"
"Come on, Scully. Follow me. I will show you." He reaches out to take my left hand and in doing so, I realize another two things.
First, my ruby and diamond wedding ring is no longer on my left third finger, and second, there are three other figures lying on the beach, just four feet from where we stand.
*Why didn't I notice them before?*
I start to make my way over to the obviously sleeping forms, *Do you sleep when you are in Heaven?* except he tugs on my hand, demanding with his touch that we do not have time to deal with them. Not right now.
"Let them sleep it off, Scully. If the Doggetts and Skin Man wake up with as weird of ideas, as you have, then I'm convinced that we should not be here when they do. We will come back for them later."
"But Mulder, that is Skinner over there, *Skinner? I haven't called him that in years!*, lying between Agents John and Monica Doggett." I inform him, stunned at my own words.
*That would mean that they are dead too! Wouldn't it?*.
He begins to pull me across the beach, away from the water, away from my friends, toward what appears to be an embankment, leading up a cliffside. "Yes, so?"
"So?" I ask him, flabbergasted. "How the hell do you even know who the Doggetts are? You never met them! You were dead before they walked into my life. Well, before Monica did, anyway. John? He helped me to...to find you."
He stops dragging me along just long enough to stare at me again. He appears really pissed off this time, and I try to step away from him, fearing him for probably the first time in my life, *death?*, but he refuses to release me.
"Damn it, Scully! I have known the Doggetts for years! Don't you remember? I am the one that got Monica and John together in the first place!"
I know, now, it is time to simply keep my mouth shut and follow his lead. If this is really happening, I will find a way to rescue myself later. If it is just a dream, *I hope!*, than I will play it out, and pray that my husband won't be sweet, for once, by allowing me to sleep in.
*Dreams cannot hurt you, right?*
I pause a moment to stare at Mulder's back.
*Yet, I cannot possibly be dead. This is just too weird to be Heaven. Maybe I am in Hell?*
I shake my head again, and plaster a smile on my face.
"Sorry, Mulder. You are right. I forgot. It must have been whatever I was drugged with. Of course you did. I'm sorry. All right, let us allow them to sleep. Wal...um, Skinner, is not exactly the greatest person to hang out with, when he first wakes up." I say, trying my best to placate him.
It seems to do the trick, as he again starts to pull me along, significantly less forceful this time, and leads me up the embankment.
Having decided to play along with this little, *okay HUGE*, delusion, I take advantage of my slimness, *Please let this be a dream, I want my baby!*, and let go of Mulder's hand to scale the 45 degree face of the cliff.
He seems to sense my sudden energy and laughs at me, trying to turn our climb into a race. I bite.
*Why the hell not? He is dead in real life; I might as well have fun with him while he is here with me. Wait! What the fuck am I thinking? Oh God, I hope I wake from this phantasm soon!*
He beats me to the top, as though he knew he would have anyway. I may be suddenly without child, but that appears to have done nothing to help me in the aspect of speed. He is still a good foot taller than me; thereby, he still has longer legs.
He stands at the top and carefully leans over, holding out his hand to me to pull me to the even ground he stands on. I gladly take it, and then bend over and grab my knees, breathing heavily from my exertion.
"Okay, Mulder. What did you find? Show me." I tell him as I instinctively reach behind my back, while again rising to my full height, for my .9mm semi-automatic Berretta that lies in its leather holster underneath my white knit top. Of course, I find it to actually be there.
The source of my earlier pain.
I realize then, as I look at him, that he is in jeans and a black, form-fitting tee shirt.
*All right, this is getting weirder by the moment, but damn! He does look good!* I confess, as he too, reaches for his Glock.
"Come on, you are not going to believe this!" He informs me, almost gaily, but not quite. He also sounds, *Well?*
He sounds preoccupied.
"Mulder, what is it? Why can't you just tell me, so that I can be a little prepared?"
"Because unless you see it, you will not believe it. It is only about three quarters of a mile south of here."
I'm intrigued. He has always managed to give me the ability of catching his enthusiasm about something, anything that piques his own interest. I find myself slipping back into the mode of my former self.
Special Agent Dana Scully. FBI.
"All right, Mulder. Lead the way." I tell him, as I cock my gun and watch him walk a few steps in front of me.
Following a few paces behind him, I gaze around at the scenery and laugh inwardly, at myself. *I knew I had the ability to dream in color, but this is fucking ridiculous!*
In front of us lies the most beautiful meadow I think I have ever seen. It has to be about a half mile long by a half mile wide. Almost a perfect square of grass, trees and.and wildflowers, *Wildflowers? This close to a beach? Now I know I'm dreaming!*, and they smell wonderful. There are various species and they are all different colors. Reds, blues and greens.
That is the color that seems to saturate my sense of vision.
Green grass, green leaves on the palm trees, *Palm trees? In a meadow? And what is that?*, a green high-pitched roof.
"What is that building over there?"
"That is what I wanted to show you. It appears that this island is not deserted after all. I do not know what the building is used for though. As soon as I saw the roof, I sprinted back down the embankment and came after you." "Gee, thanks. It is nice to know you decided not to ditch me, for once." "Aw, Scully. I'm hurt." He replies, feigning pain.
"Sure, fine, whatever." I respond, much to his apparent delight.
He starts laughing at me quietly, as we get closer to the object of his desire. The building is massive I realize, as we approach. It surprises me, as it looked a lot smaller from the meadow we have just about finished crossing.
Walking silently up toward the side of it, I notice the architecture is much like that of a mountain lodge. It has real log siding with a total of four 4x4 posts, one set every ten feet, supporting the overhang above the porch that lines the front of the structure. There are a total of five, three-foot wide two story windows, placed into the siding on the sides of the building. One every nine feet, which I would, by making a quick count, *Five windows on the side. Two, ten-foot, plate-glass, windows on the front, three feet off either side of a nine-foot set of doors and sides of the lodge*, put the house at roughly sixty feet in width, by forty one feet in length. The roof is made from composition shingles. A weird aspect of the building. At least for me.
*I thought that log homes were always made with wood shingle roofs.* A funny thing to be pondering, actually, as I follow my, *Should be dead!*, partner around the left side and up onto the porch.
He leans against the wall and motions for me to stand up against the siding too, as he peers through one of the windows.
"What do you see?" I inquire, starting to actually wonder who on Earth would build such a lodge on a deserted island, out in the middle of only God knows where.
"Nothing much." He whispers. "Wait. I can faintly make out a group of figures. They appear to be seated next to a fireplace."
*A fireplace?* I wonder. *What the hell do you need with a fireplace on a deserted tropical island?* I start chuckling. "Must be roasting marshmallows." He turns and gives me one of his loopy grins.
I almost fall to the porch like a stone.
*Oh God. I have not seen that smile in so long! I forgot what it has the ability to do to me.* *Stop it Dana. You are a happily married woman!* *Yes, well, why doesn't Prince Charming wake me up then?* I shake my head to clear my thoughts and I return my attention to the task at hand. "What else do you see?" "Nothing. It is too dark to make out anything else." He places a finger to his lips, indicating that he is going to be silent and try to cross the path of the window, unseen.
Just as he makes it to the other side, by dropping and crawling across the wood planks of the porch, I feel a tap on my shoulder which almost sends me running and screaming. Only Mulder's calming gaze keeps me from doing so. I turn around and stare into the faces of my friends. They are clearly confused and wondering what the hell is occurring. *How did they get here so fast, without my noticing them behind us?*
"Dana?" Monica asks. "Where the hell are we?"
I look into the eyes of my dear friend and I, for once, have no idea how to answer her question. "I have no fucking idea. But, Mulder," I pause, watching her eyes for any sign of denial of knowing him, "seems to think we are on a not-so-deserted island, somewhere in the tropics."
*She did not even flinch when I said his name! He was right. She must know him, as a real person. Otherwise, she would be all over me by now, reminding me that he is long dead, and that I should leave the past where it lay.*
"Scully? What does Mulder think is going on here?" John and Walter each inquire, both apparently wanting me to elaborate on Mulder's theory.
Each acting as though it is perfectly normal; for Mulder to still be alive, to still be my partner, to still assume he knows something that we do not.
"Like I said, I don't know. Ask him." I'm growing tired of this little figment of my overworked imagination. I want to wake up. I want to be at home. I want to see my husband. I want to see my son.
I want to be pregnant.
"Shhh, you guys. Be quiet! You are killing my element of surprise here." Mulder pipes up in a sharp whisper.
They each seem to sense the impending danger that Mulder has, once again, put us into and they remove their guns from their own respective holsters. Watching them perform this normal routine, I realize that they are all, too, wearing jeans, tee shirts, and tennis shoes.
*So much for Bureau policy.* I randomly reflect. *Oh man, the shit is getting deep! No more bite size chicken bits for me!*
Just as John follows Mulder's lead and crawls across the porch floor to join up with him, *A sight I never would have imagined before, even in a dream!*, I hear a voice coming from inside. It is faint, but I recognize it instantly, and my heart starts to race.
"I'm sick and tired of hiding out on this Godforsaken island! Damn it! If you wanted me to appear dead, why the fuck didn't you just do it! You should have killed me, Alvin. It would definitely be better than hanging out here with that whiny bitch Phoebe and having to watch her antics with X. The sight of those two together, kissing and hugging each other like teenagers on a hormone rampage is enough to drive me to drink. Which, unfortunately, I do not even get the pleasure of doing, seeing as how there is not a liquor store around for hundreds of miles. It has been years now, I think it is safe to say that I should be allowed to leave!"
*Oh my God! It can't be!*
"Mulder?" I whisper, frantically trying to get his attention, without screaming his name at the top of my lungs. "Diana is in there!"
"You really think so?" He asks. Apparently he had been distracted by something John had said to him and had not heard the words coming from inside the building.
I turn to look at Walter, whom I know had heard her, too. I can tell from his stunned expression.
"I thought she was dead!" He simply states.
"Diana Fowley?" Monica asks, looking at me as if I have lost my mind.
*Maybe I have. Maybe this is real, and the past eleven years of my life is the hallucination. But that cannot be right. Or else I would remember that Monica and Mulder have been friends, right? Wouldn't I? I would not feel in my heart, the anguish for my missing child. Would I?*
I shake my head again, starting to feel the onslaught of a migraine. If I'm not careful, I will start to see spots in my field of vision soon, and that would not be a good thing. Not with the predicament I find myself in. "I thought she was dead?" Monica continues.
*Yes, well. I thought Mulder was dead too.* I cannot help but remind myself.
"She is." I state simply. "Though, if my recollection serves me right, I never did see her body. I only heard the news from a fellow agent."
Then another voice drifts out from the slightly open window and it, too, shocks me. Yet for an entirely different reason.
"You know, you should be counting your fucking blessings, lady! At least you can keep your perpetual tan! I do not have that luxury! Not even here can I take my shirt off and expose myself. Not with all of you people living on and moving about this damn island! No way! Not only that," He pauses, "but...I shouldn't even be here, in the first fucking place!"
I know, now, that I'm going to faint, as I hear the one voice that I was not expecting to hear.
Not with Mulder actually alive and breathing.
Carrying a gun.
Cocked and ready.
I start to slide to the floorboards of the porch, but am prevented from doing so, as Monica rushes up to catch me.
"Day? Are you all right?"
I must hide my fear from them. From her. Because if it is true, the owner of that voice is here, in this place, than I know I have a hard road ahead of me, dream or no dream. Because if Mulder is really my partner, and somehow, things did not happen the way I feel, *Know!*, they did than that could possibly mean only one logical thing.
*He is still.*
I swallow back the bile that threatens to fill my parched throat. "Yes, I'm fine."
*There I go again! Twice in an hour! I have not said those damn words to describe myself in years! Oh God, why can't I wake up? Were we in an accident? Is that why I will not awaken?*
I start to tremble, but pretend that it is out of anger at hearing the last voice that came to my ears, rather than admit that it is from fear. Fear at what could happen to me now, in this weird realm that I find myself in.
"Scully?" Mulder inquires, looking at me across the span of the windowpane staring intently, wanting to come to me, but not able to, or he would risk getting caught by the occupants of the structure.
"I'm fine, Mulder." I whisper to him, *What is it they say? Three time's the charm?*, trying to assure him that I'm 'his' Scully.
The Scully that is fearless.
The Scully that is willing, always willing, to follow his lead.
The Scully who is not married with a family of her own to look after.
"What do you want to do?" I ask him, slapping my stoic expression on my face to keep him from reading my thoughts. The way he always seemed to be able to do.
"I don't know. How many do you think are in there?"
I know what he wants me to do, but I really do not know if I can do it. I do not know that I could tolerate seeing him.
Seeming to sense my unease, Walter sneaks up to the side of the window and peers inside, and gasps.
"What is it?" Mulder and I both ask.
"You would never believe me if I told you. You will have to look for yourselves."
"I tried that!" Mulder states, as quietly as he can, considering he is growing agitated once more. "I couldn't see anything."
"Well then, they must have turned on a light, because I can see just fine, though I must wonder if my eyes have deceived me."
Not able to take Walter's ambiguousness any longer, Mulder again drops to the planks of the porch and makes his way back to my side of the window. He stands as silently as a feline and gazes through the window, and his jaw drops.
"Shit! You have got to be kidding! This is not happening!"
*Finally! He agrees with me!*
"What is it, Mulduh?" John whispers from his place on the opposite side of the window.
"It is unreal. You have to come and see for yourself!"
By this time I'm dying of curiosity and must take a peek, even if I know it could very well send me over the edge. I take a deep breath and move my way passed Mulder to look inside.
There stand, just as I feared, Alex Krycek and Diana Fowley.
*God, I have not seen him dressed that way in forever!* I contemplate, taking in the sight of his tight black jeans, plain white tee shirt and black leather jacket. *Even on a hot deserted island the man wears black!* I note, as I also take in the sight of Diana.
She too, looks as I remember her. She still has her long hair, immaculate attire, and tightly pinched face.
*Like a Ratbitch.* I think, chuckling, using the word for her that I had made up, so as to about match the word that Mulder had chosen to describe his nemesis so many years ago.
However, they are not the only people I see. Between the two of them, seated on what appears to be a rustic-designed leather couch, sits Phoebe Greene with her arms wrapped around the man Mulder knew only as X. I also see Bill Mulder having a heated discussion with former Deputy Director Kersh up against the mantle of the fireplace. And, of course, the one and only Marita Covarrubias, grinning like the cat that ate the canary.
I have to look away to keep from breaking down into hysterics. Monica gives me one of her practically-patented motherly looks and I virtually fly off the porch.
*This is just too fucking much! Even for a dream! Nearly every one of those people is supposed to be dead!*
I'm half tempted to turn the trigger of my gun on myself. Not because I want to die, though if my family truly is gone, I would rather be non-existent than have to try to live in 'this' life, *Death?*, but more to test the theory of whether a person truly 'can' die in real life, from being killed in a dream. To test whether or not I would wake up, where I should be.
The idea grows on me, and I raise my gun to my head, however, just before I'm able to squeeze the trigger, I hear another voice and it renders me immobile. Agent Pendrell.
*OH. MY. GOD! Can it get any worse than this?*
"Agent Scully! Mulder! Why didn't you wait for me? Damn it, Mulder! I told you I wanted to search the damn building with you!"
I can only stare at him as his frame grows larger with every step he takes toward me, until he is standing directly in front of me. In a pair of jeans. Holding a Berretta identical to mine.
Instead of pulling the trigger, I accidentally drop my gun. Something I have never done, not even in a situation of real danger.
*Okay, it has been forced from me, but I never dropped it!*
Agent Pendrell simply smiles at me; picks up my weapon from the ground, as though it is an everyday occurrence, my dropping it, and he says, "Hi, Agent Scully. Missing something?"
I grab my gun from him; look around at the scene that can only be described as a nightmare at this point, and bolt out in a fierce dash across the meadow.
Back toward the beach.
Back toward, *Please, Almighty Father*, my sanity.
I stop half way through the meadow to catch my breath and take a glance behind my shoulder. They are all still there, staring after me. They have moved a short distance away from the exterior of the building, but they are not coming after me.
*Good! I will run back to the beach, lie back down and then I know I will simply wake up at home, in my own damn bed, to the delicious aroma of brewing coffee. Please God?*
I turn back around and start running again toward the embankment. I sprint down the face of it, as though it were a flat surface instead of one full of tiny seashells and dried up seaweed. I'm almost back to my original spot, where this whole fantasy started, when I see another surprising image that again stops me. Cold.
*Oh please! This really can not be happening! I know for a fact that SHE is dead. Please, please, please, Dana. Wake the fuck up!*
"Dana? Honey, are you okay? You look like you are about to fall over in a faint."
I find myself, more out of a renewed habit than anything else, replying to her voice. "I'm fine, Mom."
*Four! Oh shit!*
I realize that I still have my gun in my hand and that she is staring at it. I put it back into its holster, blushing. "What are you doing here?" I ask her, looking around at the scene before me.
*Same beach, different setup. Wait, hadn't Mulder mentioned earlier that we had a campsite?*
I start rubbing at my right temple, acutely aware of the slight array of spots starting to cloud the vision of my right eye.
"I know that look. You are not fine. Come over here and sit down by the fire. I will fix you right up and you can tell me all about it. You look like you could really use the conversation." She walks up to me and takes my hand, leading me toward a log that lies in the middle of the sand, parallel to a small fire that she had been standing over.
*What the hell is she standing over a fire for? It has to be 85 degrees out here!*
As we get closer, I smell something, and look into the small pit. *She is cooking?*, I ask myself in wonder, taking in the sight of the little pig that is stuck on a stick, hovering above the flames.
*My mother cannot stand pork, why would she be cooking a pig? Where did she find a pig to cook?*
She sets me down on the log and walks away for a moment. Upon her return, she produces two tiny pills and a soda.
*A soda? On a deserted island? Well, it cannot be any weirder than finding the thought-to-have-been-long-dead members of the Syndicate hanging out in a lodge, could it? Guess not.*
I take the ibuprofen and the can of pop and swallow them down.
*At least they will stave off my migraine.*
"Where are the others?" Yet another voice asks.
I look up from my seated position and place a hand over my eyes to block out the sun, looking toward the sound of the voice. What I see has me on my feet immediately, dropping the can of pop.
*Holy Mother of God! Teena Mulder? And who is that with her? No! It can't be! It is impossible!*
Walking toward my mother and I, holding hands, are Mulder's mother and. I blink thrice to make sure my eyes are not deceiving me.
*Nope, He is still there.*
"Oh God!" I reply, sinking back down to the log, grasping at it to keep from fainting dead away.
"Dana?" My mother asks, running over to me after turning the spit in the fire.
"You do not look well, Honey."
"I don't feel well, Mom." I finally admit. I'm truly not fine. Hell, I have not been so 'unfine' in years.
"What's the matter, Dear?" Deep Throat asks me.
I look up at him, over at Mulder's mom, whose hand he still holds, and look back down at the ground.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." I reply feeling defeated.
*Though this absolutely has to be a dream, even I know that I would have awakened by now, if it were. I mean, who could sleep through all of these events? Who could possibly lie still and allow the images of persons in their past haunt them, as I'm feeling haunted now?*
I break into sobs and place my face into my hands, and start shaking. After a few moments, I feel a gentle hand on my shoulder. *Thank you God!*, I think, believing wholeheartedly that my precious husband has, at last, decided to wake me. Decided that he is not content to simply sit downstairs and read the Sunday morning paper, watching our son play a game on his computer in the living room.
My tears dry up as I remove my hands from my face expecting to peer up into the beautiful eyes of my one and only, but they return immediately upon what I actually see.
More fucking sand and.
I seriously doubt that I have ever moved so fast in my entire life. Not even when I had raced to reach the spot where John had found Mulder, those many years ago in Montana.
I move so swiftly I trip over a large conch shell that lies embedded in the sand and I fall, flat on my ass.
*Thank God for small favors. Landing on my gun would not have been a pleasant experience!*
I hastily pick myself up, but am immediately thrust back to the sand by my own body's evil doing.
A head rush from Hell.
As I quake with anguish, I'm aware my migraine is now in full swing. If I do not find a nice, quiet, and secluded place soon, I will start to throw up. *I wonder if the contents would be little chunks of 'all white meat' chicken?*, I consider, suddenly breaking out into a raucous fit of uncontrollable laughter as I roll around in the sand, much like a small child would while throwing a temper tantrum. *Yes folks, Dana Katherine has finally lost her mind!*
I laugh even harder.
I stop moving around and place my left hand to my face, again noticing the lack of a prized piece of gold jewelry, and I must force myself from laughing even harder, while trying to catch my breath.
*Whom the fuck cares if I have to suffer this agony? Maybe my migraine will get to the point where I will just have a seizure, and get it over with. This life, death, whatever the fuck is happening to me!*
After a few moments of deep breathing, I manage to regain my composure, and my footing. However, my sensitivity to light has become worse and I rub my eyes with my hands, wishing desperately to ease myself of the pain. Trying to focus on the people standing around me.
"Dana? You must calm down! What were you laughing at? What are you scared of? Why did you react like that to your father?"
I'm stunned into momentary paralysis once more.
"My what?" I ask, lowering my hands from my face. Aware that I should probably, at this point, just keep my damn mouth shut, or the answer I receive may only add to my apparent insanity.
"Your step-father. Dana! Do not start this shit again, young lady! I realize that my marrying Charles was not the most pleasant experience for you, but he does care about you. Now get your ass over here this instant and let him take a look at you!"
*Charles? My ass?* I start laughing again. I cannot help it. The fact that my mother has just cussed me out, for probably the first time that I can ever recall, sends me into a fit of hysterics, but I do try my hardest to respond to her. While at the same time vowing to myself, *I will not allow that son of a bitch near me!*
"Him? You married him?! When the hell did you marry him? How did you marry him? You are both dead! Krycek, *Krycek?*, killed him a long fucking time ago, and you?" I instantly shut my mouth, tight. There is no fucking way I could even imagine repeating the thought that courses through my mind.
*You died in a car accident while I was on my honeymoon.*
She stares at me, as though I have gone insane.
I'm convinced of this now. I would never, ever, talk to my mother in the way that I just have.
*Therefore why does the fact that I just have surprise me, here?*
Because of what I have lost in the process, if it turns out to be true. If this is reality.
The rest was Dreamland.
My husband, my children, my life, all gone.
I double over, trying my best to control the sudden laughter that pours out of me. It is of no use; I cannot stop as I watch Spender make his way toward me, again.
"Awfully nice shoes to be wearing on a beach, don't you think? Cancer Man?" I quip, noticing he is actually dressed in wingtips and a suit, like he always seemed to have been.
I become conscious of the fact, when I stand up straight and glare at him, that both my vision has cleared and he looks different than I remember him appearing the last time I saw him. He had been sick then.
*Now he looks twenty years younger, and a lot more virile.*
"Yippee fucking skippee." I mutter under my breath.
"Dana, Sweetheart, it is apparent to us that you are not handling your situation very well, however, I can assure you. I have been to this island once before, a long time ago, and you will not be harmed. I think I know why we are all here. We are here to put an end to the bickering and begin anew. I just need to figure out a way to convince Fox that he need not go barging into that lodge, half cocked, for that would not do."
That is it for me. I have most definitely heard enough. Torn between ripping the guy a new asshole and running as far away as I possibly can, I look beyond him, and see the others. They are walking toward us.
Back from their little venture across the meadow.
I step backward. Slowly.
*This is unreal!*
Mulder, who is supposed to be dust by now; Monica, John and Walter, are all looking at me as though I'm crazy! Crazy for not accepting the things that cannot possibly be. *And Pendrell? He was petrified of Mulder! Why on God's green Earth would he be here with him? Why him and not Missy? If Missy were here, maybe then I could accept what ever the fuck is going on, but not Pendrell.*
They continue to walk nearer, until they are standing among the other four figures on the beach, next to the pig that has clearly finished cooking. If looking at its charred outer skin is any indication.
I start screaming.
I scream like I have never screamed before. I scream until I have no voice left and no breath in which to articulate one, even if I did.
I turn and run. Away from them, away from the waves crashing on the beach, away from the cliffside, just, away.
I run parallel to the water toward what appears to be a stand of palm trees. I barely make it into the lush landscape, before they fully realize that I have fled and come after me. I keep on running; I care not where I'm going, either. At this point, it appears not to matter, for I'm convinced now that I'm not merely dreaming.
I'm living through the worst nightmare of my life.
*I have to be. For no part of my analytically-skeptic mind would be able to make this shit up. Not even after all of those years I spent on the X-Files.*
I can hear Mulder calling out my name. Calling out for me to stop. To please come back and listen to what he has to say. I hear him promise me that he can explain. That he will help me to understand the reasons for our existence on this Godforsaken piece of the planet. At this point, I do not fucking care anymore. I just want to go home. I want to be in Georgetown and I want to have a 'caffeinated' cup of Hazelnut coffee. One that will be potent enough to assure me that I will not fall asleep for a very long time, even if I'm not supposed to have it because of the baby.
*What baby?* My mind mocks.
I slow down to a brisk walk and look down at myself.
*What baby, is right. There is no baby.*
I stare at my left hand.
*There is no ring. Not even the faint difference in the shade of my finger can be seen to indicate there ever was one. Oh God.*
I have not paid attention to my surroundings, as I have become too involved in my own physical attributes, or lack thereof, and I once again falter.
*When the hell did I become so clumsy? I used to chase down Alien Bounty Hunters in three inch heels! Now I cannot manage to walk in tennis shoes?*
This time, I'm not so lucky as I fall, and I do smack my back on my gun as I roll down a slight hill in the forest that I have taken refuge in, beside the ocean.
The pain is excruciating and I bite my lip to keep from screaming out. To keep from being caught. To keep from proving to myself, by the sting I feel, that I am conscious and not asleep.
I lie on the ground, underneath the canopy of trees, and simply cry. That is all there is left for me to do. All that I seem to be able to have control over. My tears.
*Dana! Stop it! Get up! Start walking, running, anything! Just get up! Do not allow what ever power has taken over your life, to win! Damn it! Stand the fuck up!* My rational side pleads with me, but I do not want to listen to it. If I have truly gone insane, than my rational side is not to be trusted.
I do it anyway.
Sitting up, I can hear the others gaining ground, and I definitely do not want them to find me. If I'm to live here on this fucking island, out in the middle of, *I do not even know which ocean!*, then I will do it alone. I refuse to spend anymore time surrounded by those whom, I know for a fact, are dead. *So Walter and the Doggetts are not dead where I come from, but they seem to be in cahoots with the non-living now, so they can just live without my presence too. If they do not like them apples, tough shit!*
I wipe the tears from my face as I suddenly find my resolve, a piece of my former tough-as-nails self. I remove my gun and slowly rise to my feet. If I am to stay here, I will need to find a place to sleep, *Haha, now that is funny!*, as well as hide. I know that there must be someplace around here, if what Ratbitch said is true.
That she has been here for years.
The remembrance of her brings to mind the memory of whom else I had seen in that building.
*That bloody twit?*
*Guess Mulder was wrong about him after all.*
*I always wondered just whose side he was on.*
*Okay, let us not even go there, shall we?*
I start walking toward my right. Deciding that I should stay away from the water, for the time being, lest I be seen, I make my way deeper into the backdrop of greenery that surrounds me on three sides. As I continue my search for shelter, I notice that there are birds singing high above me in the trees, and it dawns on me that..."There might be other creatures on this island to be wary of. I already know.
that there must be pigs about, but what else? I mean, this is a not-so-deserted island, right? Could there be much else? And if so, how the fuck did they manage to get here?"
I realize that I'm rambling to myself, out loud, and I look at my watch which, miraculously, is still on my left wrist.
*Well, at least I have a few hours of daylight left to try to figure out what I am going to do for the rest of my time here.*
"However the fuck long that is."
I walk about another half mile, certain that I'm no longer being followed. *I wonder, what has happened to my firstborn son. If this is truly happening to me, is he gone? Like the life of my unborn child?*
I do not really want to know the answers to my questions, therefore I push the image of my beautiful boy from my mind and continue to plod on, brushing the branches of trees out of my way as they seem to want to cling and grab a hold of me.
Just when I wonder exactly how big this damn island is, I pass through the edge of the foliage, into another meadow. It is just as gorgeous as the one that I had previously come across, with Supposed-to-be-dead Mulder, yet, there is one slight difference. Instead of one large building located at the far end of it, I find five.
*Definitely smaller, but also, definitely here for a purpose.*
I'm beyond feeling any fear. At this point, I'm simply too pissed off. The fact that I have, for some unknown reason, been plucked from my realm of a peaceful reality, and placed into this chaotic one, has given me enough anger to be able to deal with whatever else may cross my path.
Or so I like to tell myself.
I pick up my pace and start to cross the meadow. Suddenly feeling the urge to laugh, yet again, as I realize that the only people that have not managed to find their way to me, in this other universe, are the Gunmen.
"I wonder what Frohike would say to his 'Pretty Lady' now?"
I silence my vocal cords, wondering if I may have just jinxed myself by mentioning to the nature that surrounds me, my paranoid friends.
I make my way across the meadow and walk straight up to the front door of the building on the farthest left end of the row of structures. Choosing it, out of the other four, almost as if by instinct.
*Most likely because it is the closest to the tree line, should I need to make a hasty retreat.*
*Sure, fine, whatever you want to believe, Dana.*
I shake my head and peek into the window, just to the right of the front door. The architecture of the five homes, *That has to be what they are, I mean, Spender's old groupies have to have a place to live while hiding out here, right?*, are identical to that of the large lodge that I visited just a short time ago, with only a few apparent differences.
They are clearly built in the Scandinavian Full-Scribe style, as the lodge, however, instead of a window placed on both sides of a set of double doors, there is only one picture window, located to the right of the door, and another, octagon shaped block-glass window, roughly eight feet from the first, setting approximately six feet above the porch. Instead of five windows along the sides of the house, there are three.
I peek through the picture window and it is just as I suspected. There is no one home. Cocking my trusty Beretta, I turn around to scan the area behind me, making sure no one is watching, and I turn the knob on the door. Not really surprised, I find that it turns easily, allowing me to enter.
*Almost as if it knew I would be coming.*
*Knock it off, you are starting to sound as paranoid as Mulder used to be.*
Taking one last glance around, I walk through the door and quickly shut and lock it behind me. I turn to the interior of the room and I gasp, again.
*Damn, what is it with me? Since when did things have the ability to surprise me so easily?* I question myself, as I gawk at my new surroundings.
The structure may appear to be a two story from the outside, but it is in fact, only one very large level. The extra space above me is taken up by six, thirty-foot beams, of the most beautifully crafted knotted-pine that I have ever seen. Each one appearing to be a foot in diameter and placed exactly five feet from the next, with a set of three cross beams, one set every ten feet, to complete the symmetry.
*This place truly is exquisite to behold!*
Hanging from the first and third beams are two dazzling, lead-crystal chandeliers. I look around only to see, set into the far wall, a large sliding glass door. To my right, across the massive, *Beautifully decorated with antiques*, living room, is the largest fireplace mantle and hearth that I have ever laid my eyes on. The sides of it are made from what looks to be real white marble and the top is trimmed in the richest mahogany. Above the fireplace is an antique, ornate, gold-leaf rectangular mirror. The chimney rises to meet the ceiling, approximately twenty feet, and is set against a one story half-wall. The rest of the space above the wall is left open, allowing a person to see the beams that extend beyond the living room.
"Damn! No wonder They hide out here! This is stunning!" I reply to the empty house.
I turn my head in the opposite direction and find a kitchen that can only be described as; Martha Stewart's wet dreams come true. The cabinets are made from the same rich mahogany as the mantle, *A little dark for a kitchen under normal circumstances, but then again, has anything been normal today? I think not.*, with inlaid panes of etched glass. Standing tall and proud in the far left corner of the kitchen, near the wall of two story windows, out of which I have a beautiful view of the meadow, is a commercial size side by side stainless steel refrigerator. Obviously purchased to match the stainless steel sink that is embedded in the granite-looking, *Corian? Is that really Corian?*, countertop. There is a stainless steel double oven that resides in its own home of mahogany, and a dishwasher; also stainless steel, located in the cabinetry just to the lower right of the sink.
*Jesus! If I had that kitchen, I would never eat out again!*
In the middle of the expanse of kitchen space, set on top of what can only be a genuine slate floor, is an island.
*Great, just can't seem to get away from that concept, can I?*
It is made of the same rich wood as the cabinets and holds in its center a stainless steel flattop stove, complete with a small grill just off to its left. On the right side of the stove is a two foot section of real butcher block, without so much as a scratch on it. Three feet above the island, hanging from the ceiling, is a stainless steel vent. The only major appliance that appears to be missing is a microwave, which I quickly spot placed in the corner of the L-shaped counter. To its right is a black and stainless steel Bunn coffeemaker. On the left, a cutlery block with the finest set of knives available.
To complete the ensemble, there is a U-shaped bar that sets out about four feet from the island, directly opposite the countertop. The bar is made of the same knotted-pine logs that hold up the ceiling of the house and has the same granite-style Corian surface. About three feet above the bar hangs a set of the best copper and stainless steel pans on the market. Up against the outside rim stand four, high-legged, armless chairs, made of mahogany to match the cabinets with, what appears to me to be, cinnamon-colored leather seats.
*I cannot be dreaming. Not even in my dreams could I have come up with a home as beautiful as this one.*
Before I can allow myself to give into the inevitable sadness that tries to envelope me, I step further into the house and decide to find the restroom. I take a few hesitant steps toward the living room. Holding my gun out in front of me in the position to shoot, if I must, I quietly make my way across the plush, two-inch-thick white, *White? Who the hell puts white carpet in their living room? That is just asking for trouble!*, wool carpeting, and find what has to be the largest bathroom ever to be constructed, off to the right. As I enter through the partially open set of double six panel pine doors, complete with curved solid brass handles; I'm again stunned at the richness of the place.
The beams of the ceiling run through the narrow wall between the living room and the bathroom, and from it hang three chandeliers, their lights coming from what can only be accurately described as antlers. The floor is made up of at least two hundred and fifty, twelve-inch square, cinnamon-colored, slip-resistant ceramic tiles. They blend well with the light-colored logs of the home and are practically begging me to walk across them.
I'm suddenly aware of the fact that my shoes may be dirty from my trek through the trees, and I actually find myself bending down to slip them off. After fulfilling this surreal display of respect, I set my sneakers down just inside the doorway where I stand and continue to drink in the images of wealth and apparent stature that invade my sense of sight.
*How a criminal is allowed to deserve a suite like this is beyond me!* I think, automatically knowing that this place is the retreat for at least one of the people I saw in the lodge.
"Definitely not Ratbitch though, not if she wants to leave so badly.' I mumble aloud.
Taking a bold, albeit wary step forward; I walk toward the massive tub. I can see that it is made of the finest white marble. It is situated approximately two and a half feet above the floor, directly underneath the octagon window. The tub is encased in a large rectangle of the same rich mahogany wood and it flawlessly meets the siding of the exterior wall on its far side.
*Whomever lives here, definitely has a taste for the premium things available in life.*
The tub itself, is oblong and, at my best estimation, at least six and a half feet in length, by four feet in width, and is clearly shaped inside to hold two people. Its faucet is made of solid, polished brass, *No hollow accessories here!*, and formed in the image of a swan about to take flight. Upon closer inspection, I can see little circular plates, also brass, embedded in the tub at various locations, indicating to me that this is not merely a place one, *Or two?*, would take a bubble bath. It is also a point of soothing relaxation, by way of jets.
*Oh my and is it tempting, to simply lock the bathroom door, and take a dip?*
"Sure, if I want it to be the last thing I ever do, should I be caught, literally, with my pants down. Or in that case, off!"
I turn away from the tub, to my right, to further examine the rest of the room and notice that there is not merely a cabinet with a basin dropped into it, but rather, a fine, white marble pedestal sink, shaped like a sea shell, also with brass swan faucets. Above which hangs another ornate, gold-leaf mirror. This one shaped as an oval. To the right and left of the mirror, attached to the log siding, are twin sconces, also made from antlers. To my left, about six feet away, along the interior wall that is painted a pale blue, is a large linen cabinet, also of mahogany. Directly to its left is the shower stall. However, this too, is not your ordinary bath fixture.
*At least, not one I have seen in any house I may visit on a regular basis.* It is rectangular in dimension and has not one, but two shower heads, on opposing sides of its enclosure. The shower heads, though not swans, are solid brass, as are the curved levers used to control the temperature and flow of water. The shower enclosure itself is made of the same white marble as the tub and sink, and is roughly the same size as the tub, with a clear glass door. *Quite unusual, as most people prefer to have their doors opaque, as if ashamed to show their nakedness to even a loved one.*
Formed within the remaining side of the marble, opposite the large door, is an actual shelf-like seat, running the length of the inclusion.
*Who, or more correctly, why, would anyone want to sit in the shower? Especially when they own such a magnificent jetted tub?*
I walk passed it and find another door. Opening it, I realize that I have located the toilet. It too, is made from the finest white marble and sports a pale blue seat, with solid brass fittings that match the solid brass paper holder. Backing up, I take a quick look around the entire room and notice that all of the towel bars, too, are solid polished brass, and they hold the best towels money can buy. Thick cotton terry in a rich color of the same pale blue. Suddenly feeling immensely incongruous, I open the large, six-panel pine door that I have finally reached at the opposite side of the bathroom; to find myself peering into what has to be the master suite.
The room runs the entire width of the house. It is set directly behind the living room, and I notice that the fireplace from the living room is actually double-sided. The mantle and hearth are identical on both sides, but the portion of the wall that separates the two rooms in this area is painted a rich cinnamon, to match the flooring; again twelve-inch square ceramic tiles. However, unlike the bathroom floor, the outer edge of tile is bordered in six-inch planks of rich mahogany. Centered in the room, bordered by the tile, is an eight-foot-square piece of the same white wool carpeting, directly above which, sets a gorgeous, four posted, knotted-pine, queen size bed. Dressed in what can only be, a white silk, down-filled comforter.
*Ten bucks says the sheets are silk too!*
The pillows set atop the eiderdown look to be very firm and are also encased in white silk. On either side of the bed are identical mahogany nightstands, each holding a lamp made of antlers. Their shades made of white glass with hanging beads.
*With so much white, this must be Phoebe's house. Yet...Yet there is something about it, the ambiance...it feels so...*
"Familiar." I whisper.
As I walk toward the bed, I look up and notice the two large ceiling fans hanging from the second and fourth beams. They too, are made from mahogany and have tulip shaped crystal shades over flute-tipped bulbs. I take in the rest of the room and walk over to what must be an antique. A hand-carved mahogany armoire. The carvings are beautiful and depict a scene, much like that I would see, from the windows on the other side of the home. A meadow. Only, this one has a deer grazing in it. I find myself reaching out to touch it. It is so smooth and so beautifully crafted.
*There are no deer where I have found myself to be.*
This thought strikes me hard and I turn to gaze out the two two-story windows that make up the wall behind me and I actually take note of the view for the first time since I entered the room.
*I can see the ocean from here. Of course, yes, I'm on an island, so that would be expected, but to actually see the far horizon, beyond the beach, is a bit unsettling. There is nothing out there. No landmarks to give me any hint, as to where I possibly am. Might it truly mean that Mulder was right?* "I'm out in the middle of nowhere. And this is not a dream." I answer quietly, to the empty room. "It can't be a dream, the details are too intricately woven." I start to shiver and, while placing my gun on the coverlet, sit down on the bed, continuing to stare off into the distance over the hand-carved headboard. *Also in the design of a meadow with deer.*
The knowledge that my family is gone is an extremely difficult fact for me to grasp.
*We fought so hard to get our marriage to where it was. Everyone thought I was crazy to marry, especially only a year after Mulder's death. Then, came the death of Mom. But damn it, we loved each other. Hell, if anything, their deaths only helped me to solidify in my mind that one must take chances where happiness is concerned. It was a blessing from God that it turned out we truly fit perfectly together, in every sense of the word. That we were, in fact.* "Soul mates." I whisper.
I can not stop the flow of tears, as I also think about our son. The boy that he did not create, but still molded into a fine young man. The boy that he accepted as his own, and never said a single ill word to, against his dead father. Not even in anger.
"He is gone too. No more pleading with him to hurry up and finish his breakfast in the morning, so that we are not late for work and school. No more telling him to turn down his music, or to complete his homework, before he could play his video games. No more baseball games. No more..."
I'm unable to contain my sobs, as I lay across the bed that is not my own, no matter how badly I want it to be. I curl into the fetal position I have wanted to be in, ever since I "woke up" on the beach, and in doing so, am reminded of what else I have lost.
*Our baby. Our miracle. Both of our children gifts from God. Though I'm still, even with the leaps and bounds the field of medicine has made in eleven years, unable to explain their existence. We did not give a damn about that though. Not the hows or the whys. Just that they were. That is all that mattered to us. His birth would have made our family complete. Now?* "Now he is gone too."
I close my eyes, praying to whatever God rules 'this' world, to please allow me to simply die. If I can not have my family, I do not want to continue on. I cannot continue on. Yes, Mulder is now by my side; well, here on this island anyway, once more. Something that I used to pray for, a long time ago. But I also let him go, a long time ago. I'm unable to deal with him now. I'm a different person. He seems to be the same. I'm no longer that Scully. I no longer know how to appear fearless or uncaring. I can not hide my feelings from anyone who matters to me. Not anymore. I learned, the hard way, that I must express myself to those I love, or risk the chance of never being able to. Like I lost the chance with Mulder.
*Is this supposed to be a second chance?*
I feel hollow.
I close my eyes, wrapping my arms around myself to keep from sobbing into nothingness. Knowing, now, that I truly am awake. Thus, should I fall asleep, the dreams I may have will be just that. Only dreams.
Dreams of the life, that I know in my heart I had, but for some unholy reason has been ripped from me.
As I slip into the abyss of unconsciousness, I'm only vaguely aware that my being caught here, in this place, in this striking house, could prove damning. "I don't really give a fuck." I say.
I start bawling to the empty room, to the room that is not mine, to the room that my endearing husband will never find me in. Not if he is truly gone, in the way that I know him to be. This time, my rational side tends to agree with me, for it is not forbidding me to give up, to stand up and to fight.
"They win. I quit." I concede, quietly.
Moments later, or at least what feels like only moments later, though I can see by the darkness that surrounds me that hours have actually passed me by, I'm startled from my emptiness. By the sounds of another person entering the house. Instantly alert, I grab my gun and settle myself down on the floor next to the bed, opposite the doorway. I'm suddenly doubtful of my capabilities to protect myself. It has been a long time since I have been in such a precarious position.
*Damn it! I did not need to! He was always there! Always my protector, should I need one. Though he did always respect my independence, his love allowed me to break down the walls, and give someone else the job of looking out for me. Not as a partner, but as a person. Not that marriage and a family have turned me into a wimp. Far from it. But, nonetheless, I have not fought anything, alone, in ten years! We have always fought our battles, together.* "Damn it Dana! Stop it! He is not here! You have to do this, so stop thinking about him and look after yourself!"
I cock my gun, unexpectedly aware that I may even have to use it. Not an idea that I find too terribly pleasing. I'm a doctor. I save lives. I do not take them away. As I sit, I contemplate what I should do.
*Get up and face whomever lives here? Demand to know the answers to the questions that I have swarming through my mind? Or simply wait? Wait until, whoever it may be, walks into the bedroom and then confront him or her?* "This fucking sucks!" I whisper to myself, vehemently.
Just when I'm about to stand, to leave my safe position and act like the agent I was, in my former life, *And apparently in this world too.*, I see a shadow from the moonlight cross the path of the center window, and then fall upon me. I realize that I'm not as safe as I thought. If I can see the shadow, than there is a large chance; I too, can be seen. That is when I hear a voice yelling outside in the meadow. The words make my blood run cold. "Skin Man! She is in the house! We have to storm the place! Now!"
*Fuck! It is Mulder. His was the shadow I had seen.*
*He always was able to find me. But, why doesn't he simply get it? That this time I do not want to be found?*
Well, it must be my destiny, from what Mulder screamed to Skinner.
*Nice way to be subtle there, Mulder. Screaming, while trying to maintain your position. I guess your not as good as you used to be. How is it you can call him 'Skin Man' and he doesn't rebuke you? What the fuck am I thinking? He is dead! He has been dead for years! What does it matter?*
*Must we go back over this day?* My rational side quips.
I cautiously stand from my position and move away from the windows, though I really do not have anywhere else to hide, and I again wonder which home of the groupies I have actually stumbled into. I look around the room once more, this time not in awe, but as an investigator. *I must try to figure out whose house this is. It would give me an advantage. I hope.* Knowing who the home belongs to might aid me in my strategy to escape. Whom to be on the look out for.
*Could be, the place is meticulously neat. But, no. It is too white. A man like Kersh would most likely be a 'red' type of guy.*
*I don't know. I only knew him briefly. It could be, but, then again. I really can not picture the elusive man relaxing in a tub of that size. He always seemed too tense to partake of the soothing qualities it would bring.*
*Maybe. He always did have the taste for the elite in life, but pale blue walls? I do not think so.*
*That would leave Bill Mulder.*
*Possibly. I know it cannot be that of Spender. Not if he is...married to my mother.*
"Oh God, I think I'm going to be sick."
I silently, yet swiftly, make a break for the bedroom door, back to the bathroom. I can hear nothing, so my best hope is that the homeowner, whomever it may be, is in the kitchen, allowing me to throw up in their fine marble toilet, without being caught.
*Or you could just walk out there and throw up on him or her. Talk about the element of surprise!*
I almost laugh at my own joke.
Instead, I race through the bedroom door and grasp the handle of the small lavatory door, lean over, and...dry heave.
*At least there are not any chicken bits coming out of me. To float in the toilet and mock me.*
*Thank God for small favors.*
I feel like shit.
"This is bullshit, Dana! Come on! Get out there; face the music, whatever that may be. Just get moving! You can't spend the rest of this, whatever the fuck it is, leaning against a pale blue wall, gazing at a pot of water!*
I know my rational side is correct. I cannot stay here. Especially if Mulder is outside, and some one else is in the house. I have never felt so trapped in my life. Not even when I was tied up by Donnie Pfaster.
*At least then I was able to kill the bastard. Now? Now I'm not even sure who is the enemy. Of course, the supposed-to-be-dead members of the Syndicate. But. Can I still trust Mulder? Can I even trust the Doggetts or Walter?*
"Fuck it. If I die, I die. At least that way I won't be forced to be here, in whatever dominion I have found myself in, any longer."
I stand and quietly walk out from the little room, into the spacious bathroom. Quickly glancing around me to make sure that I'm still alone, I make my way across the tiles toward the main doors. I quietly lean down, push my feet back into my shoes, and I open one.
I peek around to see if I can locate the person I know to be inside. I can not. *How odd. I could swear that I heard someone just a few moments ago.* There is a slight breeze coming from the direction of the front door, almost as if it is ajar, as if the owner has walked back outside. Feeling reasonably safe, I walk out from the bath into the now brightly lit living room, keeping myself low to the ground, lest anyone see me through the windows in the kitchen. A gunshot rings out, startling me, and I throw myself to the floor, my gun out in front of me, cocked and ready.
*Wow, just like riding a bike!* I muse.
I peer out the windows along the wall of the kitchen, but I can see nothing. The light from the living room hinders me and I feel like I'm in a fishbowl. I scurry across the slate, to carefully stand and lean against the wall on the left of the front door. As I rise, I accidentally bump my head into a picture frame that hangs there. Moving away slightly, I can literally feel my eyes widen and my pupils dilate. My gun, again, drops from my hand to the beautiful slate, as I stare in shock.
"Oh my God!" I exclaim, gaping open mouthed, at the exquisite painting of a female angel with pearl-colored wings. "No! Please! No! This is not real!" I now understand who the home belongs to and I must flee. Flee from what I know is not real. Flee from what the implications might be, if it is.
I hear another six shots ring out, and instinctively picking up my gun, I race outside through the door. No longer caring about the danger that may befall me. As I run out onto the porch, in full view of anyone, I spot John and Monica. They have taken positions on either side of me, at the ends of the porch.
"Dana!" Monica responds.
"Scully! Are you okay?" John asks.
I'm unable to respond to them, as I take in the sight of the events unfolding in front of my stunned eyes.
They are all out there, standing in the meadow.
All of my enemies.
All of my loved ones.
*Well, almost all.*
They are holding guns on each other. Kersh, Marita, Bill Mulder, Phoebe, X and Diana on one side.
My mother, *she looks madder than I have ever seen her in my existence*, Spender, Teena Mulder, Deep Throat, and Pendrell on the other. There is only about fifteen feet between them.
*They are facing off! Oh my God! But why? Where are the others?* I ask myself, looking around the dark meadow, frantically, wanting, no, needing to locate them.
John and Monica make their way toward me and I cry out, pointing my gun at them, while holding up my free hand.
"No! Stop right where you are! Don't come fucking near me!"
"But, Scully, we are here to protect you. To save you." John replies, ignoring my stance.
"I'm not in any need of your kind of saving. Especially if that son of a bitch Spender is married to my mother! There is only one man who could save me and he is..." I stop my protest, as I catch sight of a shadow coming from around the side of the house. *Walter?*.
He pays no heed to me, other than a slight nod, as he sprints across the meadow, to join up with Pendrell.
*This is ludicrous! Most of these people are already dead! Why are they doing this? What the fuck is happening! How the hell did everyone end up here? On this fucking island?*
"The Island of X." I whisper to myself, realizing as I look around that most of those, hell, all of those that surround me, are from my days long ago, when I worked on the X-Files.
*WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?* I scream silently inside my head. *I quit the X-Files after Mulder died! I passed them on to the Doggetts! I wanted nothing to do with this crazy shit anymore! I wanted a normal life!* I gasp, as I realize what I'm thinking.
"Maybe that is why I'm here. Maybe my normal life was just that. Too normal." My rational side vocalizes.
"No! I refuse to believe that!" I scream, almost in a panic now. Then I hear his voice. The voice from my dreams of long ago. When I knew they were just that. Dreams.
"Scully! There you are!" Mulder says sounding relieved, as he walks closer, making his way passed John, up to my side.
I will have none of this though. I have already had more than enough. I start to walk away from them, much to their dismay, scanning the area in front of me. Watching everyone and their movements, as if witnessing a bad B movie, from the inside. Then I see another figure, walking casually across the meadow from the trees that I had so recently escaped through.
The man of my ancient nightmares.
He is walking toward us, squeezing his right wrist, as though to stop the blood that I can see trickling from a cut, most likely received from his trek through the trees. I instantly stop my flight, instead, stepping back into the shadows against the siding of the porch. I notice, in the faint light, he has a look of sorrow on his face. I also know, almost instinctively, he has not seen me. He lets go of his arm and raises his gun, screaming words toward us, words that I actually find myself understanding, but on an entirely different level. "Why couldn't you just leave in peace, Mulder? I never did anything to you! Why do you come to this place? There is no reason for you to be here!" *Yes, I must agree with him. There is no reason for me to be here, either. The bickering that Spender had spoken of earlier had ended, both with his death and with Mulder's. So what is going on?*
"Mulder?" I whisper.
Turning, I look at him, truly, for the first time since he came up to me on the beach.
I see the same face of the man I considered my touchstone. Until he was taken from me.
It took me a long time to forgive God for that.
I see the same lock of hair falling casually across his forehead. In fact, everything about him is the same. Eerily so.
*But things are different now! I'm happily married with a family of my own! At least, I was. Mulder is dead! I finally put him to rest! To be at peace!*
"Because, I had too, Krycek! I came for what should have been mine! I want my life back!"
I startle when I hear him scream back his response to the questions that have been posed to him.
*I want my life back, too! Who the hell is he to talk about life? He has no idea of the anguish I have gone through, in the course of the last few hours!* Nor does he seem to care, as he simply looks at me, and grimaces, rolling his eyes. Almost as though he is ashamed at me for jumping at his words.
"I can't believe that guy. You would think he would understand what I mean."
"Why? I don't understand you, myself." I state simply, glaring at him.
He looks at me, shocked that I would say such a thing to him.
Taking a chance that I know I may regret, I step off the porch into the beam of light that falls from the doorway and walk toward Mulder's enemy, my gun lowered. I watch him intently, as first recognition, and then astonishment, play across his face. Just as I reach his side, all hell breaks loose.
Guns start going off all around me, and I'm pushed to the ground, by Monica. She stays over me and refuses to allow me to get back up, allowing her husband to stand and guard us, while forcing me to watch the scene unfold around me, and not be permitted to participate.
I look up, just as my mother shoots, first Marita in the chest, and then Diana through the middle of her forehead, causing the Ratbitch to fall to the ground like a stone. Bill Mulder takes a shot of his own and takes out Deep Throat, much to Teena Mulder's dismay, forcing her to fire at her former husband and put a bullet through his chest. Phoebe pulls her own trigger and sends a bullet flying across the field, hitting her own target, Mulder's mother.
Walter takes advantage of the raucous and shoots at Kersh, who fires back, but misses. Walter shoots at him again and Kersh falls, dead. I start to shake my head, trying to analyze what is taking place.
*I do not understand! What is going on here? Why are all of these people, dead in my world, killing each other? Some of these people never even met each other!* I close my eyes, trying to dispel the image of the fight taking place before me. I then open them and turning my head, I stare at Mulder. *Oh shit! What is he going to do?*
As I watch him watch the deaths of his mother and father, Mulder loses his own control and takes off from the porch, toward Phoebe. He puts a bullet not only into her, but into X as well, who was just about to kill Pendrell, but had turned to protect his lover, and errantly, X hits my mother, as he dies.
*OH MY GOD! MOM!* I start struggling against Monica, but to no avail. I close my eyes, willing myself to wake up.
They open immediately, almost with a will of their own, and I see Pendrell. He is full of an all consuming hatred and turns his gun on Spender, shouting, "You did this! You bastard, your marriage got Dana's mother killed!"
I can tolerate this no longer. None of this makes any sense. *My mother died in a hit and run accident!*
I start screaming, only to find that no one can hear me. They are all too involved in the war at hand.
While watching this unreal display of marksmanship and rage, I realize that the man I had been standing next to, only a few scant minutes ago, is no longer standing nearby, but has again disappeared. I search with my eyes, as best as I can in my current position, and locate him.
He is standing out across the meadow, holding his hands to his eyes, as if he too, is trying to remove the images of what is taking place from his mind. Walter sees him and goes after him. Still pinned on the ground, I start screaming louder, beating my right fist up against my best friend, demanding her to leave me the fuck alone and allow me to stand. To fight.
"God damn it, Monica! Let me up!"
"No, it is for your own good!"
"Fuck you! You do not realize what is happening! You were not around! You do not even know who half these people are *Were*! Now, let me up, before I put a bullet into you!"
"Let her up, Monica." I hear John tell his wife. He must finally understand that there are other, more important things to deal with, such as joining in the apparent battle between good and evil.
As she, at once, heeds the words of her husband, I leap to my feet, gun in hand and take off across the grass, wanting to leave this madness, as fast as I possibly can.
*Half way there; then I can, again, hide in the trees.*
"Scully!" I hear Mulder scream out at me.
Out of an old habit I thought I had long ago buried; I pay heed to his voice and stop running, but not walking. I'm no longer able to see where I'm going, yet I still feel the overwhelming urge to keep moving forward, before having to witness someone else I love die, from the insanity around me.
Pendrell and Mulder make their way toward me from the assemblage of people that lie, dead, in front of the glorious house I will always remember. In whatever life I will lead. Behind them, John and Monica sprint hastily, trying to catch up to me, as well. I finally stop moving.
*Fuck it. It does not matter anymore anyway.*
I jump as Walter and Krycek walk out from the trees on my left. Both looking the worse for wear, they too start making their way to my side. I want to run. As far and as fast, as I possibly can, but I do not. I cannot. I'm paralyzed in place, unable to understand what is happening, and I do not know if I even want to understand anymore.
*I don't know if I even care.*
Suddenly, comprehension hits me like a ton of bricks, and I sway, my eyelids snapping closed with the force of my awareness.
Slowly opening my eyes, I gather my resolve and stand in place, looking around at everyone that is coming near me. I have had the stunning realization that, part from my sons; most of these people do belong near me. Belong in my 'other' life. However, I have no time to reflect on this, nor on what it could possibly mean to me, now, as I look over John's shoulder and see Cancer Man.
He is walking toward us, hunched over from the bullet wound in his abdomen, courtesy of Pendrell.
*Cancer Man. Spender. Mulder's 'black-lunged-son-of-a-bitch'. He is the man who made my life a living hell. He is the man who took almost everything I held sacred away from me.*
The others must notice the expression on my face change, for they all spread out and flank me, on both sides, and stare at the wickedness I see, and Pendrell is pissed.
"Damn it! Why can't you just die?" I hear him ask, while reaching for his gun.
"Well, well. Isn't this a pretty sight? The Gang is all here, isn't it, Dana?"
Pendrell freezes and I gasp, wondering what the hell he could possibly mean. Why the hell I would even give a damn.
*None but four.* My brain suddenly calculates. *None but four, belong.* I squeeze my eyes shut against the sudden onslaught of nausea I feel wanting to creep up my esophagus. I swallow hard. "Oh God!" I murmur.
"Shut up you black-lunged-son-of-a-bitch!" Mulder demands.
*Didn't I just think that?* I ponder, as I open my eyes, my queasiness easing, slightly.
"Fox, such words to describe your father."
"You are not my father! You are nothing but a piece of shit! Just like him!"
He spits out, pointing to his other adversary, who in turn is moving, briskly, away from him.
My eyes widen, as I listen to Mulder's words and I feel as though I'm standing on the edge of a precipice. I have finally figured out where I'm.
"I'm in the fucking Twilight Zone!" I state, matter of factly.
All of them turn toward me, and they stare as though I have grown a second head. As though I have spoken out of turn and broken some unwritten rule. Some rule in some game that I have no desire to partake of any longer.
*Oh this is just too fucking much!*
Unable to tolerate what is happening around me any longer, I make a break for it.
Surprising them all, I race back across the meadow toward the house, the beautiful house that had felt so calming. The one place on this fucking island that gave me the only bit of peace I have been allowed, since waking on the beach. Forgetting the reason I had fled the house in the first place, I run up across the steps.
"Scully!" Mulder calls after me, as he too, starts running.
The others follow suit, and I feel like I'm moving in slow motion.
Across the porch.
"Scully!" Mulder yells.
Through the front door.
"Dana! Please stop!" Monica screams.
Through the living room.
"Scully!" Walter yells. "Stop!"
I run into the bathroom, ignoring his voice.
A gunshot rings out and I run faster.
"Agent Scully! Stop!" Pendrell shouts out from somewhere behind me. *He must have finished his job on Spender.* I realize.
"Scully!" They all seem to say, collectively.
I do not even hear them anymore. I can only think of fleeing.
Upon entering the haven of the bedroom, *All I want to do is lie down in that lovely bed, and forget I exist!*, I abruptly run right into someone and come to a halt. I find myself staring up into a pair of smoldering, yet sad, pools of emerald green.
"Let me guess." He replies gingerly, peering into my own, *pale blue! Oh my God!*, eyes. "You forgot about the sliding-glass door in the living room?" I simply stand there, stock still, staring into his face, terrified to speak for fear of what may happen if I do. My knees begin to fall out from under me and as I start to wobble, he reaches out to take hold of me.
Everyone else comes running into the large bedroom. Mulder abruptly stops upon seeing his arch-rival, and everyone gapes at me, as if waiting for something to happen. Waiting for me to do something.
*What am I supposed to do? Please God! Let me wake up! I cannot handle much more of this!*
"Come on Scully. It is time to go home." Mulder states, reaching for me.
I turn on him, and backing away, I finally let go of my stifled anger. "Home, Mulder? Where I come from, you no longer live! You are dead! Remember? I told you that this morning on the beach! YOU ARE NOT REAL! None of this can possibly be fucking real! This can not be happening! Don't you understand? There is no home that you could take me to!" I realize I'm shouting, but I no longer care.
"She hit her head." Mulder replies calmly, repeating his earlier diagnosis to the others, as if it will explain away the reason as to why I'm so fucked up, and thus resisting going with him.
I'm unable to grasp his lack of comprehension. I'm unable to decide what I should do. There is no where left for me to run. Then I remember the painting, my motivation for fleeing the house, and I recognize exactly what he means by, 'Home'.
*Sweet Jesus! NO!*
He moves toward me and then stops, as I begin to fall to the floor, too stunned at my discovery to think anymore. I'm too stunned to analyze why I'm surrounded by people, whom I know love me, yet they do not help me. Surrounded by those that do and do not, belong in my life, I start to falter.
*NO! NO! NO!* My mind screams. As I feel myself about to plunge into the blackness of oblivion, I reach out blindly, finding the man I ran into to still be there by my side, and I actually grasp his hand.
Unexpectedly, I observe Pendrell simply disappear. I watch wide-eyed, as the others, having seen what just happened, silently begin to beg Mulder to stay away from me. Then I bear witness to something else, of many a tale I have been told, about the dead.
Mulder diminishes away too, only to be replaced by.
"NO!" I shriek. I reach out with my other hand, searching for a post of the bed, fighting now to stay alert, to not give in. "NO! Please no! It isn't time!" I scream, as I feel myself rise into the sudden bright light that fills the room.
"Day, can you hear me?"
*She is speaking to me, but it sounds as though her voice is coming from a long distance. What the hell?*
I try to open my eyes, but am unable to do so.
"How is she?"
"She hit her head."
"NO! Please no! It isn't time!" I scream, as I open my eyes against the light and I find myself staring, blurrily, from the bed. My heart is racing, and I try to rise, to take in what is happening around me, but the light is too bright, and I must immediately shut them, falling back to the bed.
*Damn ceiling fans!* I think, remembering how they hang from the ceiling in the bedroom. *At least I'm still here.*
This thought however, does not ease my tension. Or fear. On the other hand, I am too tired to deal with it anymore. I take a deep breath. Then another thought hits me.
*Where did Mulder go? Did I really see what I thought I saw? What is happening?*
I try to sit up again, and am instantly dizzy.
"Oh, my head!"
I fall back, wondering where everyone went, and feeling the softness of the sheets underneath my right hand, I'm a little taken aback.
*I could have sworn the sheets would be silk. Damn, there goes ten bucks.*
I struggle to open my eyes again, and in doing so, find myself looking at my feet.
"Why?" I cry out, squeezing my eyes shut once more, to block the image of my toes. "Why me? Why did you have to do this to me? Why now?"
"Dana." Monica says to me softly. "Day, it is okay. Everything will be okay now."
"No it will not, Monica!" I shout, refusing to open my eyes, refusing to look at her. "You don't understand. I do not belong here. I belong at home. With my husband and my son. With my baby! Why has my family been taken from me? Was it simply too much for me to have one of my own? After all that I have lost? NONE OF THIS IS REAL! I can't survive here!" I tearfully force myself to be quiet, fearful that if I say too much more, something else unwanted will happen to me.
"What is she talking about?" A worried voice whispers to her. I can almost make out who it is, but not quite.
"I don't know." she replies, honestly.
"I'm goin' to go get Skinner," John says.
*Where did Walter go? He was just here!*
"All right, I'll go get her some water," Monica states.
*What the hell? They are talking as if I'm not able to hear them. Well, I will see about that!*
"Yes, please, if I must be here, leave me alone. Leave me be." I say, turning away, wanting to hide from their voices, if only by sight. I can feel the tears running down my face, from the despair I suffer.
"I can't do that."
I gasp, thinking I hear the voice I crave, but then I realize that it could not be him and I beg once more, finally letting go of his hand. The hand that I actually grasped, when I was falling apart.
"Please. You too. Go. I just want to be left alone, in peace. You don't belong here."
"I repeat, I can't do that, Katya. I will not. No matter how much you plead. Leaving is the one wish I will not grant you."
There it is.
The magic word.
His pet name for me.
My pulse races as I dare turn my head toward the voice of the man I yearn for. "Is it really you?" I ask, with my eyes still closed, too frightened to open them.
"Among others." He chuckles.
Whether from relief or amusement, I cannot tell which, I take the risk and open my eyes; to the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.
"Sashka?" I ask, staring into the face of my beloved, seated beside me in a chair. Holding our new son.
"Yes, Sweetness. It is me," he replies tenderly, tears in his eyes. He rises, and then sits down beside me, on the bed. I sit up straight, looking around me. Confusion clearly written upon my face.
"We were in an accident, My Love. On our way home from the restaurant. An idiot ran a light and broad sided us. Luckily, there was not much damage to your truck, but you did take a scary hit to your pretty head."
"What?" I ask, shocked to find that I'm in a hospital room, and not in the plush bedroom I had last seen. "What happened, Alex? Is the baby okay? Did I go into labor?"
He smiles at me, lovingly. "Yes and the doctors decided to perform an emergency C-section to deliver him, to relieve your body of the stress, because..." He looks down at our child, then back up at me, his tears now falling. "Because you would not wake up."
*Oh my God, how I wanted to though!* I say to him, with my eyes. He stares at me, intently. Afraid.
Fear is not something that I'm used to seeing, not from him, and it jolts my senses.
"You gave us quite a scare, Sweetness," he continues, quietly. "You were out for quite a long time. I was terrified that you would not come back, to us. To me."
The significance of what he says hits me like a punch.
"Sashka?" I ask, as he gently hands over our perfect son to me, then leans in and kisses my lips, gently.
"Yes, Katya?" He asks, caressing my face.
I can feel by his touch that he is having a hard time controlling his emotions. *I really must have scared them!*
"How long have I been unconscious?"
He looks at his watch, allowing me to notice the small bandage around his right wrist.
I gasp. *He had been hurt too!* "Alex, your wrist!"
"I'm fine, Honey. It is nothing serious, just a laceration. You, however, have been out for almost nineteen hours. Too damn long." He states, pulling both our son and me into his arms. "Don't ever do that to me again. Please. I don't know that I would be able to survive without you, Dana. I love you. I wouldn't want to live, without you in my life." He starts crying into my hair, triggering me to cry, as well. "Please, don't ever leave me," he quietly pleads.
"I love you too, Alex." I reply, as I squeeze him to me, as carefully and tightly as I can. "I wouldn't leave you. Ever."
Withdrawing slightly, he wipes at his eyes, while staring into mine and he smiles. Almost devilishly.
"What? What are you thinking?" I ask, knowing it must be something good for him to grin like the Cheshire cat.
"First, about how much I love you and thank God I didn't lose you. Second, I'm thinking of how lucky I'm that my family is now going to be okay. Third..."
"Oh my God!" I suddenly gasp, interrupting him. "William? Where is William?" He laughs, unperturbed by my abnormal rudeness. "William is fine, Katya. He was behind me, on the opposite side of the impact. He was not hurt. We were tossed about a little bit, but you..." He pauses, trying to maintain control over his fresh tears. "You are the one that suffered the worst of it. You, Sweetness, are the one that we have all been worried about. That we thought we might lose. You took so long to awaken," he finishes in a whisper.
"Oh Alex. You have no idea how happy I'm, to be here, with you." I reply, reaching up to kiss him, to touch him again, sweetly, tenderly. "Where is he?" I ask, when I finally pull away from him, noting the questioning look in his teary eyes.
"He is down with his Uncle Walter in the cafeteria, having an ice cream. Walter thought it would help to take his mind off of what was happening," he whispers. "Thank God." I reply, kissing him again, then reverting my attention to my beautiful new baby boy. Fresh tears welling and threatening to fall.
"He has your nose," Alex states, smiling.
"I hope he has your eyes." I admit, looking down at his peaceful, sleeping face. Alex grins at me and holds us tighter. "What would you like to name him?" I ask, stroking at our son's soft skin.
"Alexander Fox Krycek."
I look up at him, wide-eyed and his grin broadens, though there is still a touch of sorrow in his gaze.
"What? You think I don't miss him?"
"No, I know that you do. It is just..." I try to turn away, but he will not allow it. He reaches over and lifts my chin, forcing me to look into his beautiful emerald eyes.
"Dana. Sweetness. Every time I look upon William, I not only see you, but I also see Mulder. There are times when in doing so, I must flee, to keep from breaking down. I made a promise to myself, after his death, that should I ever be blessed with a son, I would name him in his honor."
"Oh, Sashka. I wish he had been able to get to know you. The real you."
"I know you do, Katya. But, it is all right, you did," he replies, looking momentarily away.
The tears are flowing freely from me now, as I realize, not for the first time, how much Mulder had really and truly, affected all of us. How much he is still a part of us. Even Monica and John were affected. For, if it were not for my unrelenting search for him, they may not have found each other, again.
*Could that have been what Mulder meant?* I wonder, grasping at the threads of my nightmare, almost forgotten, as I look up to see my son and his uncle walk in through the door.
"Mom!" Williams shouts running toward us, wanting to shower me with sweet kisses, but noticing his baby brother he hesitates, afraid that he may hurt him in his effort to get to me.
"Hi, Scully. John just came and told us that you were waking up. Are you all right?" Walter asks, concern evident in his voice, as he too comes from the doorway, and plants a kiss on my forehead.
*Much like Mulder would have done.*
"I'm better, Walter. Sorry to have alarmed all of you," I say, as Monica and John walk back into the room. She places a glass of ice water on the table, next to my bed.
"Don't you go doin' that again, either. You had us plenty scared," John admits, placing his arm around his wife, when she rejoins his side. He is clearly happy that all is now well, in his little world.
I smile at my friends, and then turn to my son. "It is okay, Little Man." I tell him, as he waits patiently to kiss me. "You can give me a kiss, SweetPea. He is only asleep, he won't mind at all." I whisper, hoping to relay his fears. Alex stands and allows William to climb up onto the bed with me, then sits back down. William leans up against me and kisses me, then protectively places an arm around my waist, causing his dad to smile.
"Well you guys, Monica and I are goin' to head home now. Dana, you get better fast. I will come by tomorrow, Alex, to see if you need anythin'. I don't expect to see you back at the office for at least a few days."
Alex laughs at him. "No, you won't. But you are more than welcome to drop by."
"You can count on it," Walter states, as he too, prepares to make his leave.
"Day, you call me if you need anything. Remember, I could use the practice," Monica reminds me with a gleam in her eye, as she looks at her husband, who is grinning from ear to ear. I can't help but start to laugh, now fully aware that I truly am not stuck on a deserted island, being forced to...
I'm where I should be.
Though many years have gone by since his death, Mulder is still sorely missed, and in looking about the room at my friends, I wistfully think of how proud he would be, that I finally have built the life he used to plead with me to leave him and make.
*How sad that it took his leaving in order for me to do it.*
After our friends leave, I turn my attention back to my husband, who cannot seem to wipe the smile off his handsome face, and I remember that there was something else he had wanted to tell me. "Sashka?"
"What was the third thing you were going to tell me?"
Grinning wider, he stands from his seat on the bed and walks over to a small table that sets only a few short feet from where I lay against the back of the bed. He picks up what looks like his sketchbook, and walks back over to me, resuming his spot.
"When you were..." he glances at William, "...asleep," then back at me, "you were talking whilst you were dreaming."
*Oh God. Does he know the horror that I went through? That I at least thought I was going through?*
"I was?" I ask apprehensively, fearful of what he may have heard. What I may have said.
"Yes. They seem to have been pretty vivid, too, your dreams." He smiles at me, as he starts to look over the pages of the notebook that he had apparently written in. And drawn in.
"Alex?" I ask him, more that a little worried.
He must sense my unease, as he looks at me and says, as gently as I have ever heard him speak. "What is it, Katya? You look like you have seen a ghost."
Hearing the words coming from him, that Mulder had said in my dream, is almost enough to spook me into fleeing again. However, I know in my heart, there is no need for that. I'm safe now.
With him and our sons.
"Are you all right?" He asks me, reaching out to place an errant strand of hair behind my ear, his concern heightened.
I nod my head. "What did you sketch?" I ask him, as cheerily as possible. "My sleeping form?"
He watches me a moment longer. I know he needs to convince himself that I'm indeed okay, and then he continues. "Not funny, Sweetness," he replies, with a still haunted look about him. He then brightens, as he opens the book. "You kept going on about a house." He starts to say, while thumbing through the pages, taking a peek up at me every five seconds.
I gasp again. This time, not out of fear, but out of the simple remembrance of the beautiful house that I had found myself to be in. The one that, I now know, had belonged to him. In Dreamland.
"Are you sure you are okay?" He asks while placing the sketchbook down. He puts his hands upon my face, and feels his way along my head, as if searching for bumps.
I start laughing, softly, so as not to wake our sleeping babe. "Everything is wonderful, Sashka. Please, go on."
Satisfied that I'm all right, and not giving him a 'fine' type brush-off, he quickly kisses me and again picks up his sketchbook. While I settle in and start to nurse our newborn baby.
He stares at us for a few moments, his speech lost.
"Sashka. Honey, go on," I say, beaming at him.
He smiles. "You described a log house, in your dream. I know that is must seem an insane thing to do, but I had Walter go and retrieve my sketchbook from the apartment, and while you were asleep, I started writing down what you were saying. Is this the house? The one you dreamt about?" he asks, showing me his work.
It is a perfect drawing of the log home.
I suck in my breath, as I peer at the sight of it, this time truly, in front of my eyes.
He notices my reaction and continues. "You want to know what I think about this house?"
I can only nod at him, too stunned to articulate any form of verbal response. "Katya, this house would be perfect for us. It would need another two rooms added for the boys, but overall." He pauses, gazing into my eyes, as if for my consent, for what I suddenly know he wants to ask.
I break out into a grin of my own, when he asks me the question I already have the answer to.
"Would you mind if I built it? For you? For us? For our family?"
He swiftly moves on, as though afraid I will actually tell him no. "I know that it seems crazy. Hell, it probably is. But Katya, it is beautiful and I would love to give it to you. We have the money, what with the inheritance that Mulder left you and William, and the one that my family left me, so that would not even be an issue. I even have the perfect plot of land in mind, just on the outskirts of the city, if..."
He stares at me for a long time. He stares at me as though he has never seen me before, even after ten years of marriage and now, two children. He stares at me for so long that it is my turn to become worried.
"Aleksei? Honey? Are you okay?" I ask, reaching up and running my right hand through his dark hair.
He grins. "Sweetness, I'm perfect. I just...I do not know how to explain it. For some reason, I could swear I just heard him laughing. Almost, almost in a congratulatory way."
"Who?" I ask, now truly worried about him.
It is my turn to stare at him.
I know, it sounds nuts, but...I swear, I did."
I watch him, and I know he is not crazy. I have seen a lot of things in this life, and hearing a dead loved one laugh? Well, that cannot be too paranormal, and in looking at my husband, at my two sons, I now understand what my dream meant.
Mulder was making me choose.
Choose between continuing on with my life, keeping sight of those that love me and make me happy. Or holding on to the past. A past that I could not change, no matter how it was played out.
"Sashka, I'll not bet against you. I have no doubts, that you just did. Yes. Let's build the house."
He beams at me, and just as he leans in to kiss me again, I shift our son to allow him better access, and I notice my ring. My treasured ruby and diamond wedding ring. No longer missing from my left hand. I smile, as I return his kiss. A moment later while trying to keep my tears at bay, I hear a small voice.
"What did you name my brother?"
We look down at our eldest son, who brings so much joy into our lives and we both smile.
"Your mother and I," he replies lovingly, "have named him, Alexander Fox."
"I like that name. Fox," he replies, looking down at his new baby brother. He tentatively touches the baby's face, and he smiles.
My husband and I share a look, as he responds. "It is a nice name, William. Do you know that it was an honor for me, to have known a man named Fox?"
He looks at his dad for what seems like a long time, at least for an eleven-year-old boy, and then he replies. "You mean my other dad. The one who died helping to protect Mom?"
"Yes, William. The very same. You want to know something else?"
"He was one of the best protectors."
"Is that why God made him into an angel?"
"Yes, Darling,." I tell him. "That is why he is an angel."
One Year Later
"Alex? Dana? We are here!"
Alex stands from our couch in the living room where he has been sketching his latest work and walks up to greet Monica, as she and John walk in. John proudly carrying their three-month-old son Jay, in his arms.
"Wow! This place is stunning!" Monica states, as she places her diaper bag on the floor, next to the front door.
As I walk over from the kitchen counter, where I had been warming up some formula, Alex and I both laugh at her.
"Monica, it is not like you have not been here during the construction." I remind her.
"No. But still, now that you are all moved in it looks, well? It looks different. More, homey."
I smile at her. Still unable to believe myself, that my family and I live in the house that, literally, came from my dream.
"I think that she is still a bit shocked herself, Monica." Alex laughs, grinning at me, as Monica takes Fox from my arms, while I in turn, take Jay from John's, and playfully tickle my husband's side.
"Stop it, Alex. You know how hard I still find it that our home is almost identical to that which I described while 'asleep'. To what you drew."
"Yes, well. Nothing is too much for you or our sons." He winks at me, as he and John start walking toward the kitchen. It is their turn to cook the family dinner.
"He is absolutely adorable, Mon," I say while I look down at her son, as we walk through the house to the baby's bedroom.
"Thank you, Day." Monica beams.
After depositing Fox into his crib for a nap, Monica and I walk back through the house toward the bar and sit down, relaxing while the men start to prepare Grilled salmon with a mixed vegetable medley for dinner.
"Where is William?" John asks, as he looks over at his wife, smiling at the image of her with their child.
"He is currently in his bedroom, kicking the crap out of Walter at DOOM." Alex chuckles, as he washes the fish.
We all join him in laughter, picturing the sight of Walter Skinner, Deputy Director of the FBI, getting beat at a video game by a twelve-year-old boy.
"He loves it, though. No matter how much he may complain that William never lets him win," I reply.
"Yes. I do." Walter agrees, as he and William walk in to join the rest of the family. He walks over to the sink and washes his hands, then starts to cut up the carrots, as John slices the tomatoes.
"Yes, Will?" Alex asks, looking across the kitchen. "What is it?"
William walks up to him and looks at the vegetables, scrunching his nose. "Do you think tomorrow night, we could order in pizza?"
We all break into laughter, fondly remembering whom his simple request reminds us of.
"Yes, Will. I think that could easily be arranged," Alex replies, ruffling William's chestnut hair.
After the dinner has been prepared, and we are all about to take our seats at the log table that was custom made for the kitchen, I glance around and grin. Alex smiles at me, taking my hand. "Are you happy, Sweetness?"
"Yes, Sashka. I'm happier than I have ever been," I reply honestly, as he kisses me.
As the rest of the group starts to eat, I hear the baby beginning to fuss and make my way through the house, to his room. Leaning over the crib, I pick him up and walk back out to join the rest of the family, stopping along the way, to look at the painting, proudly hanging by the front door, and I smile.
Surprised by hearing our son's first word, I call to the others and they hurry over to join us, each looking between him and the painting, smiling.
"Yes, Fox. That is an angel. He is Angel Mulder," Alex informs his young son, as he reaches for William and pulls us all into an embrace. We all look at the image he had painstakingly been working on, over the last two years, and just completed.
The work of art, of a smiling Mulder, with pearl-colored wings.
Wrapping all of us in his protective arms.
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