Sent: Thursday, January 15, 1998 11:53 PM
Imbroglio (1 / 2)
By Anna Chait
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Category: V, R, A (very angsty)
Spoilers: thru Emily
Summary: Mulder deals with the loss of his "quest". Without
Samantha to guide his search for the truth, where will his life
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Disclaimer: Mulder and Scully are not my creations. They
belong to Chris Carter, 1013, and Fox. No copyright
infringement is intended.
Imbroglio (part 1 of 2)
By Anna Chait
He was doing it again. Staring, glassy-eyed out the window
at something or nothing, it was hard to tell.
Even harder to determine was when this had begun. When
had he started slipping away? During those months when
he knew she had the cancer he watched and waited and
was quiet about his feelings, seldom questioning her beyond
the random general state of her health. He seemed to
know that she wasn't prepared to talk about it and not just
with him. With anyone.
But when it seemed it was the end, after that fiasco with
Kritchgau and the dead man in his apartment. When they
were certain her time was up, the cancer metastasizing in
her blood stream, he came to her each time with his heart
on his sleeve, his naked soul in his eyes.
The final test of their trust for each other was when he
presented her with the microchip from the vial he'd stolen
from the secret room in the pentagon basement. The
symptoms of the cancer were diagnosed about the time she
had it removed from her neck. Perhaps if it were returned.
He didn't tell her it was the only way. If fact he encouraged
her to do everything she could do. They might never know
exactly what caused the miraculous turnaround in her
During those first few days after the remission news Mulder
had been busy clearing himself of the charges that could be
brought against him. Cancerman was dead, or so it
seemed. Scully was on the road to recovery. The future
looked better for him now that any time since they had met.
Yet he seemed to be slipping away.
It was Mulder who came to check on her twice a day.
Skinner had instructed him to take care of his partner, take
some time and regroup. He ran her errands, did her
shopping, and even cooked for her from time to time,
although his culinary talents didn't extend much beyond
spaghetti and the occasional meatloaf. But he made a
When she had recovered enough of her strength to leave
her apartment it was her partner who accompanied her on
short walks through the neighborhood. She began to gain
weight, her color was back. She was sounding hopeful
again. But as she progressed, Mulder regressed.
Then it was Christmas and she went to be with her family at
her brother's new home in San Diego. When she called him
about Emily he came, no question. He supported her once
again, no questions asked. He did what she wanted,
responded to her needs as always. But what did he need?
It was after they returned from San Diego that she began to
notice how quiet he was getting. Maybe it was after the
death of Emily that it began. His investigations had begun
to get sloppy, some cases remaining unsolved. It was unlike
him to admit defeat, to leave things undone, not even trying
to stretch the facts to some impossible conclusion. He
But that wasn't when it began. The more she thought about
it, the more she was convinced that something happened
while she was in the hospital. Something that he hadn't
shared with her.
She had called him earlier in the day and asked if he would
like to watch the video she rented. He agreed, no questions
asked. And 15 minutes into the movie he was gone again.
Mentally checked out. Staring out the window at nothing.
She picked up the remote control and clicked off the TV. He
didn't even notice, never even flinched.
She put her hand on his arm. "Mulder?"
His head slowly turned in her direction. "Is it over?"
"No, it's not over, it's barely begun. Is something
you?" she asked. Maybe he would tell. More likely she'd
have to do a little more digging.
"I'm just tired."
She stood up and crossed the room to stand looking out the
window. "I don't think so, Agent Mulder. Something is
definitely bothering you. I've never seen you like this
before. Perhaps I should have the building's water tested
The corners of his mouth turned up a little. It was the
closest thing to a smile she'd seen from him for weeks.
"I don't think there's anything in the water. I'm just a
under the weather, that's all."
He was trying to sound a little brighter, but Scully wasn't
"I want you to see a doctor. It's been weeks now that
been "under the weather" as you call it." She went and sat
down beside him.
He turned and raised his eyes to hers, searching for
something. When he didn't find it, he leaned back,
"You're right. I will. Now, I think I'm tired and I'd
like to go to
She was unable to think of anything else to say and sat
staring at him. All right, if he doesn't go to the doctor I'm
going to have to take this up with Skinner. His current
mental state included a level of distraction that could get
She went to the VCR and pulled out her tape. He followed
her to the door where she stopped and turned to him.
"Listen to me. I'm worried. Something is not right with
I've seen you act weird before, but this is something else
completely. Promise me you'll make that doctor's
He could see how worried she was and he wished there
were something he could say to relieve her fears. But
frankly, he was just as worried. He patted her arm hoping
to calm her a little.
"I promise, Scully. Now go on home. I'm sure you have
better things to do than fuss over me."
She stopped his hand on her arm with her own and raised
her crystal blue gaze to his.
"It's my turn." She said softly.
He was late to work Monday morning. When he did show,
he looked awful. Unshaven and rumpled, he gulped down
several aspirin with a cup of coffee before even trying to
look at the stacks of paper on his desk. Scully was away
from the office and when she returned she was startled by
his appearance. His face was drawn and his eyes rimmed
with dark circles.
She didn't speak, but sat across the desk from him and
folded her arms. From the look on her face he could tell
what the first words out of her mouth would be. To save
time he picked up the phone and punched in a number..
"I'd like to make an appointment with Dr. Larkin.
if possible." He spoke clearly, knowing his partner was
hanging on his every word. As he watched her, her face
relaxed a little and she unfolded her arms. Translated that
meant, okay Mulder. You've taken the first step, but I'm
His appointment was for 3pm, which meant she'd have to
wait until the following day to talk to him about it. Or, she
could call him at home after work. No, she didn't want to
appear to be hovering. She hated it when he did that to her.
So she waited. She paced, tried to read; watched a movie.
She waited for him to come in the next day, but he didn't.
There was a message on the office machine that he wasn't
What did that mean? Had the doctor told him to take some
time off? Had the doctor found something terrible and he
was trying to find a way to tell her? Dammit, Mulder. During
the workday her hand was on the phone five or six times,
ready to call him and wheedle some information out of him.
She made it through that day, but on the way home her car
headed to his apartment of it's own will. She knocked;
nothing. She rang the bell, then heard his voice.
"Okay, Scully, don't kick the door in
last word issued
after the door was opened.
She stepped inside and waited for him to close the door.
"You see, I knew it would be you. I expected you actually."
She looked him over quickly. He looked every bit as bad as
he had the day before. She sat and waited. Then she
asked, point blank.
"So, are you okay?"
He chuckled. "They threw everything technology has to
offer at me. Beyond a slightly elevated cholesterol level, I
appear to be fine, physically."
She ran through a mental checklist of his symptoms;
depressed beyond what was readily explainable; loss of
interest or pleasure in daily activities, loss of appetite and
unexplained weight loss, problems of too much sleep,
restlessness, fatigue, inability to think clearly and
concentrate, persistent headaches with no pathological
She looked at him, surprised. Clinical depression?
"Yeah. They gave me a prescription. Drugs, that was their
answer." Now he did sound depressed. His normally
searching hazel eyes appeared dull and lifeless. What was
going on in that amazing brain of his?
She turned, sitting cross-legged on the sofa beside him.
"Don't tell me again that there isn't anything wrong. I
you. There is, and I think you need to talk about it with
He turned his eyes to hers and she was startled to find them
filled with tears.
"I want to tell someone, but not you. Please, don't be
She felt as if he'd punched her in the stomach. The air had
fled her body and she seemed unable to breathe.
"How else should I interpret that? You're usually so open
about your feelings. I thought I was your friend." She said,
hoping he didn't sound as devastated as she felt.
He exhaled, immediately sorry he'd said anything.
"You are my friend, Scully. The very best friend I've
had and I don't want to hurt you."
She struggled to come to grips with the inequity of what he
was telling her. She was the best friend he ever had, but he
couldn't talk to her? Fine. But if not her, who? Who else in
this whole world was there for Fox Mulder?
Mulder watched her struggle with her emotions, watched as
the feelings of confusion traveled across her beautiful face.
Oh, Dana. If only things were different. Right now he
desperately want to hold her, to be held by her. He wanted
to touch her so much it hurt him physically.
He was unaware that the tears pooling around his lashes
had begun to slip down his face. But Dana watched, her
heart breaking for him, for whatever it was that he was
keeping inside and for whatever reason. She reached out
and put her hand behind his head, pulling him close to her.
He laid his head in her lap and took comfort in the cool
hands that smoothed his T-shirt over his shoulders; the
gentle fingers that pushed his hair away from his face and
the soothing voice that cooed to him about things being all
right. Later he wouldn't be able to recall the words, only the
feelings. What remained was the memory of her hands
and the pain they were able to soothe.
"If you can't talk to me, it's all right. But we need to
someone you can talk to."
End of part 1 of 2
Imbroglio (2 / 2)
By Anna Chait
He took the rest of the week off. Discretely, Dana obtained
the name of a therapist for him to talk to. She even
volunteered to take him there, but he shrugged her off
saying he was still capable of driving safely.
Day One -
"I know you're not going to appreciate this, but I'm a
"I thought you were an FBI agent."
"I am. But my degree is in psychology. It's my specialty
the FBI, profiling. My partner and I investigate the unusual
cases, the stuff outside the ability of the mainstream FBI.
We call them X-Files."
" Yes. I've had a partner for the past five years. She's
forensic pathologist. Good at her job. A little too dedicated
to science. She thinks everything can be explained with
"You don't agree."
"No, I don't. Shit happens that defies science. In our
business, happens all the time. But that's what makes our
partnership work. We balance each other out."
"Tell me about your partner."
He looked at him suspiciously. He knew what the doctor
was going after.
"Yeah, she's gorgeous. And brilliant as well. Tried to
rewrite Einstein .and yes, I am attracted to her. In fact I
think I've been in love with her for years. But it's not a
problem. I don't think it's a problem "
He remembered her hands and the comfort they were able
"My sister disappeared when I was a kid. Just vanished
of our house. We never found her, never found a trace. I
did some regression hypnotherapy to try and recall what
happened that night."
"And what did you discover?"
"I remember seeing a bright light and not being able to
move. I could hear her calling to me and I was paralyzed.
It's a persistent nightmare that I've had all my life. It's what
got me interested in the X-Files. Alien abductions and
"You believe that your sister was abducted by aliens?"
"I used to. I really wanted to believe that. It was the
rational explanation I could come up with. Now I believe
that perhaps my father and his "business associates" were
involved in some sort of genetic experiments and as heinous
as it sounds that they used my sister as a guinea pig."
And Scully too.
..And she was diagnosed with an inoperable
nasopherengeal tumor. Terminal. But I wouldn't give up on
her. We were told that she had been given the cancer
to control me. If someone gave it her, they might be in
possession of a way to cure her. I was desperate."
"And did you find anyone to help you?"
"Yes. The man I believe has been behind all of the
things that have happened to my family, to Scully and
myself, came to me with an offer. To sweeten the deal he
offered me something that he knew meant more to me than
almost anything else."
"My sister. He set up a meeting and brought a woman that
he said was my sister. She believed that we were all dead.
And and she didn't want to see me anymore. She didn't
want to talk to me, to hear what I believed had happened.
She didn't want the lies exposed. She didn't want .."
"She didn't want me."
"What do you see yourself doing in five years, Mr. Mulder?"
"I suppose that's the problem."
He'd been gone two weeks. The FBI had put him on
medical leave. He'd called once or twice, but she'd been
able to glean little from either his tone or conversation. She
wanted to know now. It was heartbreaking to her that he felt
he couldn't talk to her. What had she done to close off that
line of communication?
Get over it Dana. It's not about you. Not everything is about
you. God! She'd said those very things to him and seen in
his eyes the way it hurt him. What's important now is
Mulder. Help him. It's payback time. Help him like he's
"You realize that all you have talked about is your
"I know. And I've lost my sister."
"Have you tried to contact her?"
"No. I feel that the best way to proceed is to let her
The ball is in her court, she knows how to find me."
"Then it seems to me that you have been mourning that
loss. And you say you have not shared this with your
"I just feel that I can't, or shouldn't. She's been
much already. She's just begun to recover. Then there was
Emily. She's been on an emotional roller coaster. She
doesn't need my problems thrown in."
"From what you have told me about Miss Scully, it would
seem that she is distressed over you anyway. Why not tell
her the truth?"
Just exactly what had he meant by that? Damn shrinks,
always cloaking what they wanted to say in questions.
Why not tell her the truth? Which truth? The one where I've
lost my way, I can't see where I'm going without the search
for my sister? I never gave any real thought to what I
wanted from this life. That truth?
Or the one where I'm in love with my partner and any future
that didn't include her is so totally unacceptable to me that
I'm finding it difficult to be in the same room with her?
You idiot! Figure it out. You're at a crossroad here.
Things needed to change and he was sure that the
future would be different and it scared the hell out of him.
Without Samantha to consume his thoughts he must think
about his life, make plans. He was 36 years old. Is this
what he wanted for himself?
He walked a lot. He was desperately trying to make a
connection with the world again. Not the world of shadows
and conspiracies, but the world that other people lived in.
Grocery stores and grade schools. Life.
He had called her, knowing full well how late it was. She
assured him it was fine and encouraged him to come over
and talk if he wanted to. To her delight, he did.
"I hope I'm not keeping you up." He said, tossing
over the chair and sitting down.
She poured him a cup of tea and handed it to him. "Of
course you're not. I've been waiting to talk to you."
"Listen, I know how much it hurt you when I said I
talk to you. I didn't mean that I thought you wouldn't
understand. I know that you will."
She was sitting forward on the sofa opposite him, her arms
folded and resting across her knees. The eyes that she
raised to his were soft and full of understanding.
"I know why you didn't want to talk to me."
"You do?" he asked, his voice rising in pitch. How
"Of course. You didn't want to burden me. You were sure
my plate was pretty full already."
"As it is. But now I think that I've hurt you more by not
talking about it."
She waited expectantly while he organized his thoughts.
"You remember in the hospital when I told you I had been
offered a deal that would save me from the mess I was in,
and I didn't tell you what it was or who offered? I'm sure you
figured it out. Cancerman. But what I didn't tell you was
that he had two things to offer me that would seal the deal.
Two things I wanted most in the world. The only two things
that he could possibly use as bargaining chips. You and
"I've seen her Scully." He said quietly lowering his
stood up, scrubbed his hands through his hair before
shoving them deep into the pockets of his jeans.
"He bought her to me. He knew where she was all the
He began to pace, back and forth in front of her. "She told
me that the only things she remembered were vague. She
remembered me, but she had been told that her mother was
dead and she believes that he .that lying son of a bitch is
"Was it really her? Do you believe her?"
"I can't explain it, exactly. But yes, I feel it. It's
her. All this
time, he knew where she was. He knew what happened to
her. She was there all the time."
"Have you seen her again?"
He stopped his pacing and went to sit beside her on the
sofa. "No." he said softly. "She doesn't want to see me.
She's very confused about it all."
"I don't know whether to be happy for you or miserable.
must be a relief to know that she's not dead, to know what
happened. But "
He threw himself against the cushioned back. "Yeah. All
this time I was feeling so miserable and wanting to know,
endangering myself and you to find her, or news of her and
she doesn't she doesn't want me."
He stopped and tried to rein himself in. Scully could feel it;
He was at the edge, and there was more. She hoped it
wasn't as bad as Samantha.
"So where do I go from here? This obsession has given
purpose to my life. I can't see a way to go. It's like I'm lost."
There was a long pause. Scully was pretty thrown by his
admission. Mulder, the one who was always so certain
about who he was, even if everything around him was a
mess. Rarely had she seen him stumble this way. Now is
your chance, Dana. Help him.
"I hope you know that you are more than your obsession.
There is so much more to you than your search for
Samantha. Your spirit for the truth may have been borne of
that obsession, but it's a wonderful pursuit. Look at all the
people you've helped. In those situations that it is called for,
you are always the first one to consider the feelings of the
victim. You are a wonderfully kind and sensitive man in
those situations. I've often envied your empathy for people."
She looked at him, his head still resting on the back of the
couch. She sincerely hoped some of what she was saying
was trickling through his pain and into his conscious mind.
"And that's only one of your gifts. You're loyal and
generous, a terrific friend. Those are the things that you
are. Not some man whose only purpose in life was a
childhood obsession. Where is that man whose heart and
soul were here with me in the beginning? Where is that
person who could shine light into the shadows and things
weren't so scary anymore."
He shook his head and sat up straight. "You can't shine
light in the shadows when the batteries are dead."
Well, that was a good sign. His sense of humor had kicked
in again. She rumpled her forehead, and reached out to
touch his face, lightly running the backs of her fingers over
his cheek. "Well, he's in there somewhere. You'll find your
way, Mulder. It might take some time, but you'll find it."
He swallowed, then proceeded knowing what he was risking
with this next confession. "Without my sister, you're the
anchor in my life."
She smiled at him. "I know, Fox."
End of Story
15 January 1998
Imbroglio - a confusing or complicated situation causing
misunderstanding, and sometimes a fight.
Notes from paperheart: I know, as sure as I live and breathe
the rain freshened California air, that I will receive mail to
continue this story. Let's do this instead. You figure it out.
It's one of the things I so enjoy about our favorite TV show.
The things that are left unexplained give us all the
opportunity to be creative.
Did you have a good time? Did it make you laugh or cry?
Did it make you think? Comments are welcomed;
constructive criticism is...noted.