Subject: The Stratigraphy of Eons by
Date: Mon, 21 Apr 1997

The Stratigraphy of Eons

Rating: PG. Angst. Neither MSR nor anti-shipper, but a brave new category
in between.

Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully belong to 1013 Productions. I'm only
borrowing them for three short pages. I promise not to profit by their use,
although I would like to, if you'd hire me as a scriptwriter.

Written April 4, 1997

Thoughtful comments will be appreciated concerning the writing and
storytelling. Please, no challenges on the author's relationship
interpretation. Those wishing further information on my viewpoint can ask
for a copy of the Big Chill Manifesto from

Thunderbird Motel, Florence, South Carolina; April 3, 1996; 2:34 PM

He was a mess. Everyone knew it. No reason to deny it or excuse it as
something it wasn't. The day he'd nodded off at his loaner desk and jerked
awake screaming...all those eyes as she pushed past so many. She was
blushed like a beet, his face up against her hip as he hid from them, and
they looked so glad that aliens or devils or whatever guided Spooky Mulder
had arrived.

Dana Scully watched him try to get into their motel room. His hand shook so
hard that he missed the slot for the smart card twice before running it
through and the lock popped out of the hasp and he could duck inside.

She followed, frowning, catching a glimpse of black coattails and a leather
sole rounding the bathroom doorway. Her head hurt. Had been hurting a lot
recently. God damned VC case. She rubbed the space between her eyebrows and
heard the water begin to gush--sound muffling as Mulder closed the world
out with a painted pine barrier.

It's okay. He's not going to get any worse, she told herself, shrugging
warm autumn-orange twill off her shoulders onto the maid-serviced bed.
Turned up the heat. Kicked muddy pumps under the table.

The godforsaken case was over. Finis. The German woman ended up nude and
strangled and dumped like trash--like the rest of them--but Mulder's
profile was fucking spot-on and the sonofabitch was caught and it was over.
Let Freeh deal with the Germans now. Let him apologize for another American
monster and beg back the tourist Deutsche marks. Mulder had done what
they'd impressed him to do.

Another star on his record. Keep adding those stars and get a stronger
rationale for more ISU work. Her wind-chapped lips cracked and smarted from
a spreading wry grin. No, they'd never have him for keeps, but that was
fine. Easier to dump Mulder back into his basement office at the Hoover
Building than deal with him at Quantico. His partner Scully would plump him
up before he was ordered to shed his shaft of light on another crooked
human thing.

The redhead steepled her hands, then broke them apart to cover her face.
Fuck them. Fuck everything.

She'd been up for twenty-eight hours. And him....who knew? She'd worn her
long johns and socks to bed all week, trying to keep warm while he sat at
the table with the drapes open; the roseate, high pressure sodium glow of
parking lot lights letting him stare at reports and glossy eight-by-tens.

Scully rubbed her crusty eyes; left brown smears of mascara on the backs of
her thumbs. The water roared and rushed. She sighed, stood up and drew the
curtains, blocking out cheerful gold rays so incongruous with the nighttime
light. Dug around in Mulder's russet-colored Samsonite for a fresh pair of
cotton boxers. Found a soft flannel sports bra and matching panties in the
drawer where she'd stowed her own clothes.

Headed for the ice machine. A cool breeze off the nearby lake sent a shiver
from stiff shoulders down her spine. Dreaming of a hot water pulse on that
sore vertical line, she scooped until the bucket was full, then popped a
cube into her mouth direct from the humming aluminum bin. It melted against
the warmth of her tongue and the soft insides of her cheeks; shrunk small
enough to bite, to crunch and crush as her feet carried her back to number
106 and her own smart card changed the LED on the reader from red to green.

The water was still running. Scully put the bucket down by the television
and chose a blank channel. Modulated the volume until it was like the sound
of the shower: a gentle white hiss.

She cracked another ice cube between her molars. He'd fallen asleep in
there. Scully smiled at imaginary action: a peep around the curtain to see
a lanky, nude body, too long for the tub. Bent knees and loose hands and
dark wet hair and inky lashes; eyebrows smooth arcs within a slack face
splashed by water drops, marked with trickles, and free-finally-free of the
spider lines of unnatural empathy.

The carpet was plush beneath her feet as she went to roust him. Steam
leaked from under the bathroom door--had thinly coated the mirror on the
wall above the sink. "Mulder?" she tapped lightly. "Hey. You snoozing?"

No answer.

The cheap mortise lockset wiggled in her hand as she inched the door open.
Blinked into fog. The plastic curtain was bunched up to one side of the tub
and water glossed the yellow tile floor. The cloth mat was sopped. Her
widened pupils lifted from the cotton/rayon quagmire, slid up the side of
the tub to the water-weighted hem of a wool coat, then further up to fists
in shock-white contrast to wet, black tabby-weave. Stiff arms were tight
against his stiletto body and a pale profile tipped up to catch the
fullest, hardest spray from the showerhead.

"Mulder!" She darted out a hand to grab his shoulder, realizing as she did
so that he might startle. Might hit. The muscle beneath her hand tensed and
a hot wire of fear shot right to her heart. She stammered, "Wh-why don't
you save me some water?"

Tense, but still. The warm wet made her shiver again as it soaked the arm
of her suit jacket, began to saturate her silk shirt and the cloth cage
beneath that held her breasts. She kicked the door shut behind her with the
ball of her foot and coughed on a lump of concern. "H-hey, can you answer

No. How could he answer? How the hell could he breathe with all that spray
in his face? Her sigh was long and puddled water made her sheer stockings
feel like creepy membranes around her toes.

"Please, M-mulder...we need to go to bed." Brittle voice and it was tears
choking her. The prickle jets strafed her shoulder and she was so tired,
too, and he had to do this shit to her now. Her bidden thought of an easy
syringe and his warm body stone-still through the night enticed for a
moment, then made her gag. That's what the Bureau wanted--for her to manage
him, mitigate possible embarrassment, enforce normalcy during all but the
window of time and crime when Spooky was supposed to act like a madman.

Her jittering hands gripped his narrow hips and used their wooden stiffness
for balance as she stepped into the tub. The water drummed hard on her
skull and heavied her clothes as she insinuated herself between Mulder and
the wall. Hands slipped up his back, arms snaked around him and triggered
an echo response.

They were wet, tight together, standing ram-rod and jagged as the water
tried to smooth them. She measured their fusion in the pace of his
heartbeats, yet forgot their relation to a ticking clock even as she
counted. Seconds meaningless and meaningful. Water and the stratigraphy of
internal eons. He would pass through the layers and come home.

The water had gone tepid when she felt neck muscles shift, felt a nose and
lips nuzzle and kiss her browline and heard the whisper of her name.

"I'm here," she spoke into the hollow of his throat.

"I know."


"I'm your huckleberry"-- Doc Holliday

"And as things fell apart
Nobody paid much attention"

Talking Heads