Sent: Thursday, February 26, 1998
"Leviathan" part 3 - the final part (1/4)
SUMMARY: Many years ago, in a smoke-filled room, the men of
signed away the future of mankind. The date was set; and now the
date has come. It has come...
RATING: R for some disturbing stuff
CLASSIFICATION: CRA (very low-key "romance" stuff)
Very, very loose crossover with Stephen King's "The
knowledge of that work is required or expected.
CONTENT WARNING: Secondary characters die. Spoilers for
episodes up to and including season 5.
Disclaimer and things in part 1
These 4 parts are a direct continuation of
"Leviathan" part 1 and
part 2, and you'd get rather confused if you tried to read it without
having read them. You can get them at my webpage
He'd fallen silently, and without warning. He hadn't called
Afterwards, as she wiped the blood from his unresponsive face
watched the laboured movements of his chest, she tried so hard to
remember the sound of her name on his lips. Perhaps he _had_ called
for her, and she hadn't heard.... And what did that make her? And if
he hadn't called for her, then why not? Why, dying, would he choose
to retreat from her and collapse in utter silence?
"Mulder...." She touched his face. Nothing.
An hour ago, they had emerged from the darkness into the
beauty of a blue winter afternoon, and a dreadful screaming silence.
A discarded newspaper had fluttered in the wind - soft whispering
noises against the ground. Five minutes of watching, and Mulder had
broken free and stamped on it fiercely, breathing heavily, his eyes
wild. She had understood.
Her voice was the whisper of the newspaper. Utter silence
dismissed as hallucination, but that single sound made it real,
amplified it. It was as if her voice was echoing up to the sky - the
only living voice on the planet.
Hand in hand, they had stepped across the twisted bodies,
for the shattered gate of the compound. His hand had trembled and
had tightened on hers whenever he coughed. Her eyes had flickered to
his face, finding it impassive, though she'd known he had to be
close to breakdown.
He had hoped so much....
"All dead," she had whispered. "All of them. How?"
Hand pressed against her mouth, she had focused on a movement
could have been a hand, could have been the wind touching a curtain.
She had found it painful to swallow.
"Mulder?" she had begun. "Is that...?"
When she'd turned back to him, he'd been unconscious on the
He'd fallen silently, and without warning. He hadn't called her
Two pillows or one...?
She held them in her hands, testing the weight assessingly.
were large pillows, and soft. She had carefully selected a dark
colour, unwilling to see the stark contrast of blood on white cloth.
A dark blanket was draped over her shoulder and a small pack of
supplies hung from her forearm.
But two pillows or one...? She frowned. One would be easier to
carry, allowing her to carry more food, but if he then asked for two
and she had to come back.... If she had to leave him again and he
died while she was away....
Almost fiercely, she jammed the two pillows under her arm, and
turned towards the door of the half-shattered store. Already,
picking her way over bodies had become almost habit, done without
thought, even without horror.
She was wrapped up in cotton wool, and numb. She had always
fiercely practical, and part of her knew it was a coping mechanism,
shielding her from the full horror of the loss of everything she had
It was too vast to feel. Any horror she felt would be
and so she felt none.
But Mulder.... Out in the too-silent street, she swallowed
along, she had known, perhaps, how it would be with him. He had let
himself hope, fiercely, implausibly. He had emerged from their
underground prison expecting a war he could fight - a war he could
help turn into a victory. Instead, he had found a graveyard - a
silent battlefield bathed in bloody sunset. He had seen his hope
And now he was dying, and he didn't care.
He didn't open his eyes - didn't try. Why?
"Mulder?" Her hand on his shoulder, shaking gently. "I'm back."
He opened his mouth to speak, but a cough seized him. Raising
to his mouth needed a strength more than he could muster, so he
turned his head away from her voice. Warm liquid trickled down his
"I've got a blanket for you, and pillows." She
paused. "Do you want
one or two?"
<Three, Scully, and they'll smother me into unconsciousness
I'll wake up and find this is all a dream...> But he said nothing.
"Mulder." Her voice came closer, intense.
"There's a house just over
there, and its door's open. If I could get you on the blanket, I
"No." He opened his eyes, surprised at the strength
he could put
into that word. "I told you. I'm not going inside. They're other
people's houses. It would...." How could he make her understand? "It
would make me like _them_."
"They're dead, Mulder. All of them, somehow." Her
voice was soft.
"We don't know yet how far it extends, but it's reasonable to assume
it's not just here. If we're to survive, we _need_ to take things
from other people's houses, and stores. We have to adapt."
His vision doubled with tears. "It's... it's like
Scully. They wanted to destroy civilisation. I... I don't want to
die condoning that."
She exhaled sharply. "Damn it, Mulder, you're killing _yourself_."
He coughed again, and this time his eyes were open to see the
on his clothes. "They killed me, Scully. You've seen all the bodies.
I'm dying of.... of whatever it is they unleashed on the population
- they, or the aliens. First the anarchy to weaken us, and then....
what? A gas in the atmosphere? A virulent plague?" He tried to
smile. "It's funny, Scully. I thought it was going to be bees...."
"You are _not_!" She slammed her fist into her hand.
yourself. You're not trying to fight. You're rejecting everything
I.... " Her hand closed round his shoulder. "I'm a doctor, Mulder,
and you won't listen to me. You.... "
He shut his eyes and remembered the Scully of the past two
Daylight had transformed her. "You were the one who told me not to
fight, Scully," he said softly. "You were the one who wanted to stay
"I...." She swallowed, and there was a strange note
in her voice. "I
was.... I was afraid of what we'd find. I was afraid of what you
expected we'd find - that the contrast between your expectation and
the reality would be too great for you. I was afraid of.... of
He coughed, and curled his knees up towards his chest. It gave
no relief. He felt she had been patronising him and treating him
like a child, but could feel no anger. It was too late for that.
"You might not..." She inhaled sharply, and there
was a desperate
fierceness in her voice when she spoke again. "You're not dying,
Mulder. It's the stress, coupled with a chest injury that's not
properly healed yet. It can't be the same as they all died of -
can't be. If it was, we'd have both seen exposed to it, and _I'm_
The desperation in her voice.... She was doing what she had
him of doing, clinging to a wild hope in a hopeless situation. It
was.... it was _human_ and he loved her for it, and grieved for her
because of it. When he died.... <Oh, Scully, when I die....>
And then he couldn't stop the tears. "I'm sorry, Scully...."
"Don't." She pressed a finger to his lips, and it
was clumsy and
trembling. It hurt him. "Don't start saying your farewells. Don't."
<Oh, Scully....> She was where he had been all his life,
hoping for impossible miracles. He had moved on and embraced the
darkness, understanding it for the first time. He had found his
truth, and his truth was nothing.
He coughed again. "You're right, Scully," he
murmured, when he
could. He was crying openly now, knowing he was too close to death
to need to conceal. "The contrast between expectation and
reality.... Wasn't that my life, Scully? I thought I was looking for
something that would change the future, but all I was looking for
was something I hoped would change the past. Nothing - nothing -
could have given me what I wanted. Nothing I did could make any
difference. Every small gain made it worse, in a way...."
She touched his hair, but said nothing. She made no sign of
understanding. He _wanted_ her to understand, here at the very end.
"Every small fact that I gleaned about what I called the
Scully...." He grabbed her wrist. Her pulse was rapid beneath his
fingers. "I knew I was a step closer, but I just felt further away.
My childhood, my life, was still as it always had been. Nothing that
I found out made me happy. If anything, it made me less happy, since
each time I had allowed myself to hope that it _would_ change
"You were right, Scully, that night before they took
us." He wiped
his face with his hand, and it came away streaked with blood. "The
truth doesn't make me happy. I... I hoped too much. The truth is
that there is no hope - that nothing can be changed."
"Damn it, Mulder - things can be changed." Her voice
her eyes were dry. "You're talking as if you believe in fate. _I_
don't. I believe that we have choices. I believe that we can control
our.... our destinies. And I believe that you could fight this...
this respiratory problem that you have."
He shut his eyes and searched for the image of Fry, but
find him. "I hoped we could fight," he said, scarcely above a
whisper. "A man gave me that hope. He led me to believe..." Tears
choked his voice. "I was wrong," he said, when he could speak again.
"We can't fight this."
<And I'll never let myself hope again>
Above him, the sky reddened. Clouds passed over his vision and
let himself drift.
He had despaired.
Arms wrapped tightly round her raised knees, she watched him
knowing that she had already lost him.
He had despaired, and he was no longer Mulder. Mulder had
burnt with a fierce flame of hope. It had sustained him, driving him
through false leads, danger and pain, nourishing him when he had
nothing else. Face set, eyes intense, he would have walked through
fire, willingly suffering the burns and the fear, on the slimmest of
hopes that there was some clue beyond the flames that would lead him
to his truth.
He had been a man created on hope, and without hope he was....
She let herself cry, then. Even if he lived, he had already died.
Close to death, Fox Mulder wandered in dreams....
On cold desert stone, he lay beneath the stars, hands folded
on his breast as if laid out ready for burial. A cold star in the
west increased and swelled like a sun, until he was bathed in silver
light. He was dimly aware that he _had_ hurt, and that the touch of
the light meant that he hurt no longer. The pain was like a dream
within a dream.
<I've died> he thought, wonderingly. <Died....>
And then, out of the light stepped a figure.
A silhouette against the light.... It was the willowy alien
night Samantha.... It was the alien in Puerto Rico that had
witnessed his panic and his failure. It was the figure of his
nightmares.... He opened his mouth to scream, tried to drag himself
away, but he couldn't move as much as a finger.
<It's coming....> he moaned, trapped in silence.
death....> Death as an eternity of his worst fear, with no soothing
"No, Fox." A low chuckle. "Not death. Life for you."
And the figure stepped forward on soft leather boots and
smiling face of Richard Fry.
"You came." Tears tricked down Mulder's cheeks. Hope
swelled in his
like a sunrise. "I thought..."
"No." The man's face looked grave, but there was a
smile behind the
surface, invisible yet somehow there. "I forgave you for letting
yourself be taken. I couldn't come for you before. I've been away in
the North, fighting...." He gestured at the desolation of the
desert. "Fighting all this, Fox. Trying to stop it. Trying to
<Fighting...> It was like water to a drowning man. He
found he could
raise his head. "There's still hope?"
"Yes. A little, Fox, and only with me."
"But..." And something of the outside world intruded
- maybe Scully,
moaning a little in her sleep, or the touch of the winter night on
his face. "But I'm sick. I'm dying."
"Are you?" On silent feet, Fry stepped forward and
him. He reached out, and one hand cupped Mulder's chin, while the
other he laid flat upon his forehead. His eyes shut. "Are you, Fox?"
he said again, and laughed, full and rich.
The laughter released him, and he could stand, swaying a
being reborn by the second. "Hope." He moistened his lips. "I
"Yes." Fry nodded. "We will be formidable, Fox.
Whatever you see,
you must never despair. There is always hope."
"Yes." Mulder sighed. He shut his eyes and bathed in
pure joy. After
confinement, the first breath of fresh air is always the sweetest.
When he opened his eyes, Fry was gone, and the air was whispering.
She jolted out of sleep, fear crawling in her stomach, cold
painful. She had dreamt.... what? Already, the image was fading, but
the terror was still there, like a physical pain. <He's dead>
Hammering in her head, again and again. <You slept, and he died.>
She passed a hand over her face. "Mulder?"
He was propped on his elbow in the moonlight. He breathing was
and steady, his eyes reflective. His other hand had reached for the
blanket and was clutching it convulsively. The moon was where it had
been. If she had slept, it had only been for a few minutes.
She hardly dared touch him. Her hand was almost on his face,
suddenly he smiled, his teeth flashing white and unexpected in the
moonlight. She snatched her hand back, her heart beating fast.
"Scully." He frowned. He looked as if he was warring
"I'm..." His hand moved to his forehead, his fingers shaking. "Did
"No-one came." She was sure of that. She had slept
for a little,
dreamt a nightmare, then awoken.
He passed his hand over his face. "I'm.... I'm not sick.
"I..." Wanting so desperately to smile, she cried
touched him unreservedly. "I don't know. Maybe it doesn't matter."
"It does." His face darkened and she felt an obscure
pang of fear -
fear for him, and fear of him. "It matters."
The blanket was draped across her shoulder, and she held it,
clasped together at her chest. As moonlight turned to dawn, she
"Mulder?" she tried, but no sound came out. Even if
she has shouted,
she doubted that he would have heard her. He was absorbed, as he
always was with everything he did.
His clothes still specked with blood, he had stood up, not
until dawn, and prowled away from her, intense and silent as a
panther. Wonderingly, she had followed him back to a building they
had passed shortly before his collapse - to a small police station.
Now, surrounded by the dead, he was stockpiling weapons.
"Mulder?" She settled the blanket tighter round her
"Stop, Mulder." Then, louder, "stop!"
"There was rioting." His tone was dull, showing no
sign of listening
to her. "They had to take their guns with them. They died out....
out there. At the end, some must have seen how it was going and
hidden their weapons, keeping them safe from looters." Coldly and
dispassionately, he slammed a bat into a metal locker door, then
raised it as if to do it again. "There's good weaponry here, Scully.
We can be armed."
"Why?" She passed a hand over her face, and the
blanket fell away on
"So we can fight them," he almost spat.
"Who?" She gestured behind her, at the empty
streets. "There's no-
"We don't know that, Scully." He held the bat in one
it down rhythmically in his other palm. Something inside her
shivered at the sight of it. He was like a mugger preparing to
attack an innocent. She had seldom seen the latent violence inside
him, and never been its target. She....
<Where did that come from?> She massaged the bridge of
driving at a headache she hadn't been aware of before. She
swallowed. The thought that Mulder had been about to attack her....
"....okay, Scully?" His voice was low, his hand on
her sleeve. The
bat trailed at his side, neglected.
"I'm fine." She nodded, weakly, and shrugged.
"Yes." The grim look was back, and, even this time,
she found it
hard to look at. There was another question she needed to ask. "It's
hard, Scully, but we have to fight. Just because.... because _he_
was dead back there doesn't mean they all are. Somewhere, they could
be gathering. This could be only the beginning."
"The beginning?" She laughed. Grief and laughter
were so close,
sometimes. "Whatever they did killed all these people. It's no
disease I recognise, and it must have been so fast acting, so....
universally fatal. They must have engineered it, Mulder. They wiped
out.... Is it the whole world's population, Mulder?"
"The date is set, Scully." The bat was back in his
grip like a
weapon. "The date is set, and now it has come. Colonisation - that's
what they told me. If Cancerman was right and the aliens broke the
treaty and did it their own way, then they should still be here,
"Aliens?" Her voice was wan. This was surreal, terrible.
"Aliens. Hybrids, perhaps." He shut his eyes
briefly, as if to
steady himself. "They must be somewhere. They will have a.... a base
for their colonists. Why wipe out the population unless they intend
to move in, to take over?"
She covered her mouth with her hand, shaking. Just hours ago,
been despairing. Her laughter might push him back into the darkness.
"You want to save the world from alien invasion, Mulder," she asked,
softly. When she said it, it was tragic, insanely heroic, but there
was no humour in it - none at all. "You want to save the world with
a baseball bat and a few automatic pistols?"
He didn't smile, didn't falter. "No. Not just with these."
She shivered. The cold grey of morning came through the
outside was all silence.
God, but she had to break the silence. She would ask, and face
consequences. "Mulder?" He didn't flicker. "Mulder? Why?" She took a
deep breath. "Last night you were.... you were so different. You
were despairing. You saw no hope in anything. You... Damn it,
Mulder, you wouldn't even come inside, and now you're stealing dead
men's guns, and stepping over their bodies without even seeming to
A shadow passed over his face. "Last night, I.... I
thought I was
dying. I was in shock. You're right - it was so different from what
I had hoped. I... I wasn't myself." He gave a half smile, shy and
troubled, as if he was trying out his old sense of humour, testing
how appropriate it was to the situation. "You have no idea how dying
can cramp your style, Scully."
She didn't smile. Her eyes ached with unshed tears.
His eyes levelled, dark and intense. "I am, Scully. You
You know me."
Yes. Slowly, sadly, she nodded. She couldn't speak. He had
been focused, driven, casting aside all convention if it impeded
with his quest. But if this was the Mulder she had always known, it
was a Mulder stripped bare of his usual compassion, his fears....
even of his emotion. The one true emotion she had seen was hate.
"They're dead," he said, his voice low. "They
don't need their guns
now. We can't bury them - how can we bury the millions of people in
DC alone? To even attempt it would be madness. You said it yourself,
Scully - if we are to survive, we will have to adapt. We will have
to become callous towards the dead. It's too late for them, but it
might not be too late for...."
"Callous?" She wanted to slap him, hard. "Is
that what you think I
meant last night? Is that what you think I meant when I wanted to
stay underground? If we have to be callous to survive, then I'm not
sure I want to survive."
He winced as if she _had_ slapped him. "You
said...." He swallowed
hard, licked his lips, and tried again. "You took the blankets. You
told me I was wrong when I didn't want to."
She bit back an angry response, but still held her ground.
Mulder. Yes I did. There's a difference between taking things
because you have to, knowing that it's wrong, and taking things
without caring. Reluctantly acting out of necessity is not being
callous. It's.... " She gestured towards her chest, towards herself.
"It's like the difference between a pathologist performing an
autopsy, and a killer who mutilates his victims after death, for
His throat was moving convulsively. "I'm not... I'm not a killer."
She grabbed his wrist. Words were pouring from her and she was
unable to stop. She had repressed so much. "Do you know why I didn't
want to come out of there, Mulder, really? It's because I was scared
- I was scared of... of finding _this_." She phrased it like an
accusation, angry. She had to. "Do you know why I went in there and
got you your blankets - why I spent five minutes wondering how many
to get you, when people were dead at my feet? No? Well, it's
because...." And she nearly broke down and wept. Nearly. "It's
because, if I let myself mourn even one of them, I... I don't know
how I would ever stop crying."
He touched her shoulder. "I know." It was the merest
couldn't bring herself to look at his face.
Her eyes flashed fire. "So don't ever say I'm callous,
And she looked at him at last, and there were tears on his
tears that she couldn't let herself shed. His face was scoured with
grief and horror.
"Mulder." And she almost smiled, understanding. His
words had been
as much to convince himself as to convince her. He had swung on a
pendulum, from despair and hopelessness, to a cold and hate-fuelled
hope. Neither were truly him, and now he was whole. Despair and hope
had merged, and he was her Mulder again. "Mulder." She touched his
face, one hand cupping his cheek, and words came out that she had
never intended. "I'm... I'm glad you didn't die, Mulder."
He shut his eyes. "Being alone in this world.... It would
She took a deep breath. "We're not alone." She
pulled him close and
held him, her head resting on his shoulder.
When she looked up, he was staring intensely into the
though his hands were on her hair.
end of section 1
"Leviathan" part 3 (2/4)
At his sides, his hands clenched and unclenched convulsively.
he repeated the words that had become his mantra, his only source of
<Whatever you see, you must never despair. There is always hope.>
He bit his lips. His head swayed from side to side,
"It's so hard...." His lips moved silently. "So hard...."
Their underground prison had been only a few miles from the
Headquarters. Silently, both thinking as one, they had walked there,
weaving their way through the congested tangle of metal that was the
cars on the roads. Driving would have been impossible.
<Nothing> he had thought, fiercely, stepping over a body
street. And, then, seeing dead staring eyes from the window of a
crushed car: <An empty shell. Nothing. Mustn't feel it. Mustn't....>
And now, beside him, Scully's chin was high, her lips pursed.
being a pathologist had taught her to distance himself from death,
while he.... He swallowed hard. As a profiler, he had learnt the art
of Victimology, teaching himself to identify with the victim, to see
as they saw, to feel as they felt.
<Whatever you see, you must never despair.>
He was glad that he hadn't eaten. His stomach felt full of
and his chest hurt. Part of him felt that it had all been a dream,
but part of him - most of him, perhaps - knew that he had been
chosen. He had been healed, and reborn, but still had to prove
himself worthy. If he could survive the horrors to come with his mind
and body intact.... If he could fight his way through to Fry's
side.... It was a test....
And he was failing. "God," he whispered, out loud. "It's so hard."
"Yes." Scully, her voice low.
They stood in the park where it had all begun, the grass still
beautiful beneath their feet. There were few bodies here, but no
life. Like wounded animals, most people had crawled home to die in
Or at their desks....
The corridors of the FBI had been silent. Dust had settled on
desks, and Christmas decorations hung limply in the offices. Even in
a crisis, they had chosen not to die at their posts, but to....
"They should have fought." Blinking through tears,
he had slammed his
fist into a desk. The dust had made him cough, and Scully had glanced
at him sharply. "Did _anyone_ fight, Scully? Or did they just stay at
home at the first sign of trouble?"
She had moistened her lips. "We didn't come in to work
Mulder," she said, softly. "You wanted to fight it your own way."
He had refused to feel guilt - not for that - not that he
tried. "We tried, Scully. All the others..." He'd gestured angrily at
the decorations. "It was so easy for Them, wasn't it. They didn't
need to buy the loyalty of the whole FBI, or the police. Just a few
at the top, perhaps, and everyone else.... They were bargaining on
everyone being selfish, and thinking only of self-preservation. They
knew no-one would care enough to take things in hand - to restore
order the proper way. We destroyed ourselves...."
But some had stayed; some had fought....
And failed, and died.
"I want to bury him," he had said, at last, minutes
after they had
entered the office. There had been weapons and supplies on the floor,
and plans of campaign on the desk. But he had died without an army.
Scully's hand had been on Skinner's still neck. She had looked
nodded slowly. "Yes." She had been almost trembling with the effort
"Just him." He had held tight to the doorway.
"Let him stand for all
"Yes." Again just that single word.
And so they stood in the park where it had all begun, the
beautiful beneath their feet, freshly turned earth moist and shining.
His chest ached badly with the effort of digging, and with more than
He reached for her hand. "Scully..." He bit his lip
and managed to
steady himself. "Scully. It's not callous, but...."
"No, Mulder." She shook her head, her eyes straight
ahead. "It's not.
We _can't_ bury them all. We can't.... We mustn't let ourselves feel
this as we.... as perhaps we should."
Her eyes were dry. He was screaming inside, crying that they
both wrong - utterly wrong. She was repressing things, refusing to
cry. He was.... what? Clinging to an impossible hope, deliberately
making himself cold inside. They were _both_ making themselves cold
inside, he realised, suddenly, looking at her marble face.
<It's wrong, Scully> he wanted to cry. <How can we
live after this?
Let's just hold each other, let ourselves cry, and.... and die.>
But the other agents at the empty desks... They had given in.
had died. It like a cracking whip, driving him on, and he knew he had
to endure, he had to fight.
It was his duty.
Her head snapped up. Hand in hand, they had stood beside
grave, lost in their own thoughts. The sun was high, the day
And now someone was calling her.
Beside her, Mulder drew a sharp breath, and he reached for his
<So it's _not_ a dream.> She shook her head, wonderingly. The voice
was striking resonances deep inside her - places she didn't want to
"Dana! You came back for me. You didn't leave me. I
was dead. I thought you'd left me...."
She saw the stuffed lion first, bedraggled and dirty, peeping
a tree. Small fingers clasped him, and a matted strand of blonde hair
whipped in the wind.
She stepped forward, then remembered that she had never learnt
girl's name. "It's.... you." She crouched down, stretching her hand
out. "It's okay. You can come out."
Silence. The girl stepped out and stood, arms wrapped tightly
her body, the lion clutched to her chest. She was dirty, traumatised
and clearly scared, but her face was alight with.... joy?
<They're alive. Some-one's alive. Perhaps....>
"You okay?" Scully forced herself to smile. Inside,
she was the
closest she had come to breaking down, but the girl's needs came
first. "You know, you never told me your name."
"Bethany." The girl's eyes flicked briefly towards
Mulder, and there
was a shadow in them - of fear? Her lower lip was trembling. "I'm...
I'm okay now. You'll take care of me."
"Bethany, this is...." She hesitated, her eyes never
girl's, then decided. Fox, or Mulder - neither sounded normal. The
girl wouldn't know any different. "This is my friend Mulder. He won't
The girl gave a small shrug, as if dismissing Mulder utterly
consciousness. But she stepped forward. "Dad died yesterday," she
whispered. Her face was the very picture of a little girl trying so
hard not to cry. Inside, Scully felt that she mirrored that face.
"All the others, too."
Scully touched the girl's hair. "Don't...."
"They died." The girl's voice was almost fierce.
scary. People were shouting and throwing things. Then they all got
sick. They started coughing." She blinked, and tears flowed down her
cheeks. Scully had never seen a child cry silently before. "You're
the only person left."
She pulled the girl close and stroked her hair, turning almost
angrily towards Mulder. "What?"
"How do you know this girl?" His eyes were....
hungry? Wary, too. She
knew the girl would represent hope to him, while to her...
<No.> She whispered, reluctant to disturb those silent
sobs. "I met
her outside the Gunmen's place, just before...." She swallowed. "Just
before the end."
She said nothing of the dreams.
"Bethany?" Mulder crouched down. When he wanted to,
he could be
charming to children. "How did you find us?"
Scully bit back her angry reply, putting it instead in her
eyes. <She's upset. It's no time for questions, Mulder.> She didn't
like the eagerness in his voice. He was on to something - or thought
The girl made no reply.
But the question rankled. Her dreams.... She had never been
successful in her attempts to silence them, to forget them. She
needed to know. She needed a prosaic answer - needed an answer that
could let her survive this as Scully. "How did you find me?" she
whispered, her mouth close to the girl's ear.
"I dreamed, of course." The girl's reply was but a
breath of a
whisper, spoken into Scully's hair. "You went away, but then you came
back. You told me to wait for you here. You said you'd look after me,
and you will."
For a long time, she did nothing but breathe her fingers
the girl's hair. In her mind, the girl's voice doubled, trebled, and
became a dozen voices, male and female, old and young, all crying out
And the girl was the first....
"Scully?" She jumped physically at Mulder's touch.
She had been....
where? "What did she say?"
She opened her mouth, then shut it again. "Chance,"
she said, at
last, firmly. "It's so quiet here, she heard us. Voices travel."
His eyes narrowed, but he said nothing. For a moment, he
her as a killer eyeing his prey, planning to rip the girl from her,
but then it passed, and he was Mulder again to her.
"Bethany?" The girl gave a low moan and clung tighter. "Bethany?"
Her only answer was breathing, deepening into sleep.
Even in the sunlight of afternoon, she slept. Bethany's head
her lap, her own hand in the girl's hair. The silence was lulling,
when it was not terrible.
In the silence, she slept....
And on whisper-quiet boots, he came to claim her - to snatch
children from her one by one, and....
"No!" She jerked her head up, crying out loud.
"No!". Then, before
she had time to reassure herself that it was only a dream: "Mulder?"
He was crouching beside the bench, one hand stretched out for
girl's neck. A gun was in his other hand, and his finger was on the
trigger. The look in his eyes was hope - hope that could turn into
hatred in an instant.
"Mulder?" Her hand moved smoothly to her own gun,
though she made her
voice low. "What the Hell are you doing, Mulder? She's just a little
"I...." He blinked, and for a single insane moment
she thought that
his eyes would reopen red and inhuman. But he was still Mulder, his
eyes shining with tears, and desperate. "I have to know, Scully." It
was close to a sob. He made it hard to feel the anger that she ought
to feel. "What if she's a hybrid? What if she's a.... a trap?"
Her voice was a deadly whisper. "And you were planning...
Mulder? Shoot her in the back of the neck just to see what happened?
Take her blood while she slept? Damn it, Mulder - she's just lost
everything. She can't be a day over seven."
His hand remained still, shaking a little. "I wouldn't
hurt a little
girl, Scully. You can't think that of me."
But, for a moment, she had. She understood the shadow in his
now, though part of her sometimes resented how carefully she had to
tread with him, sometimes. He had never outgrown the past, but wore
it like an albatross around his neck. It was.... difficult.
"She's not a clone, Mulder." She sighed, and pointed
to the girl's
hand, still curled tightly round her lion. A half-healed cut had
dried red. "She's human, and she's scared, and she needs me."
"You?" His hand fell to his side, tightly clenched.
"She's not Emily,
Scully." It was scarcely above a whisper. He knew he was going to
hurt her. "Don't...."
"Do you think I haven't thought of that?" Hard and
fierce. The wind
whipped hair across her eyes, and she snatched hold of the lock and
held on tightly. She needed something to grip. "I came to terms with
that. I don't think motherhood is all a woman needs. I.... I was
getting by okay. If I look after her, it's for her sake, not mine.
This is not some attempt to fill my own thwarted maternal urges." She
invested the words with bitter sarcasm. "She - needs - me."
He winced, and shut his eyes for a moment, as if steadying.
survived, there will be others."
It was the crux of the matter. As soon as she had seen the
emotions had battered at her like a storm-swollen river at a dam. She
had kept them under control - just. She had assumed that everyone
above ground had died, not daring to let herself think otherwise. But
if the girl had survived.... <God> She bit her lip, her throat
She hadn't dared even think the word - not once - not since
coming up into the light....
"We'll meet someone else who can look after her,
Scully." He looked
tentative, reaching out a hesitant hand to her face. "I see in her
the same hope as you do.... But we have to fight, Scully. We can't
take a child into battle. We can't get attached to her."
"You mean _I_ can't." Her voice was cold. "I
might not want to fight
- even if there _is_ an enemy to fight. Fighting and power play
created this...." She gestured helplessly, seeking the right word.
"This," she said, at last, firmly. The single word covered all
horrors. "Perhaps we should salvage the little we can, settle down
and just live." She stuck out her chin defiantly. She knew she didn't
mean it, though part of it almost rang true with her.
He looked at her silently, shaking his head, and suddenly she
straight into his mind. <Running away again, Scully? Hiding in the
underground prison, refusing to face reality...?> Before his eyes
flickered away from hers, she almost hated him.
"Mulder...." She sighed, and rubbed a hand across
her face, weary and
drained. They had lost too much to lose each other. "It's just one
girl. We can't leave her alone."
He was silent for a very long time. "No," he said at
breathed out. He looked defeated, and she wondered what battle he had
been fighting with himself. Probably his usual one, between
obsession, and.... and everything else in his life. Sometimes, his
obsession had been at odds with _everything_.
She softened. "Mulder..."
His hands clenched convulsively. "It's just her, isn't
it? You won't
be picking up a whole family of waifs and strays?" If it was meant as
a joke, there was no humour in his voice.
"No." She looked at the sleeping girl." I can
mother a single child.
I have no desire to lead a...." And she flashed onto a dozen
screaming faces, dangling from a cliff, and almost cried aloud.
He frowned. "Why not?" He raised his head. He looked
like a soldier
swearing an oath, declaring his intention to die for his country.
"Why not, Scully?"
She couldn't answer.
Smiling demons came from the past at moments when they were
In a park, on a winter afternoon at the end of the world, he
the calmly smiling face of John Lee Roche, and had remembered.
His finger on the trigger....
Kill him, and risk losing Samantha. Spare him, and risk losing
another girl - a stranger to him.
His finger on the trigger; his mind torn.
He had lived for his quest, and it had inflicted many
own life, a life of mere shadows; physical pain, his career....
Unwittingly, he had let it hurt others, too: Scully, Deep Throat,
But never willingly. In waking nightmares, sometimes, he had
what he would do if he had been faced with a direct choice - murder
an innocent in order to save Samantha - if, to gain his quest, he
would lose all humanity, all compassion.
And, as a girl had counted aloud in a ravaged bus, he had
it had nearly destroyed him. Either solution would have scarred him.
Today, he had seen Roche in Scully's eyes.
He needed to fight - needed to win through to Fry. Fry was his
Samantha, though part of him knew that he was a symbol only, and
perhaps only a memory, now. Fry personified resistance, the way an
eight-year old girl had personified happiness and innocence. Just to
hold a gun and fight.... To struggle on and not give up and die....
He had been reborn, and given a second chance.
But.... <Oh, Scully....> Remembering, he let his head
fall into his
hands, sitting on a bench alone, as Scully and the girl were absorbed
in each other. She had made him choose.
The girl was hope. She was a sign that the world could still
- that there _were_ survivors. She was like water to a parched man,
showing him that there was something to fight for, and a token in
earnest of success.
But she was also the road in the other direction. She was the
between him and Roche's knowledge. She was a burden, a
responsibility. How could they fight with a child in their care?
And how could they leave her? If he went to join the battle
leaving a child alone and crying by the roadside, then he had lost
He had to keep his humanity: he had to keep his hope. But the
"Scully...." He whispered her name aloud, needing
her, though how
could he have told her? Either way, he was scarred, diminished.
On the back of her head, her hair shone in the sun.
"I want to go south," she said, at last. Her eyes
were rimmed with
red, but if she had cried, she hadn't let him see it. She swallowed
hard. "The roads are blocked in the city, but.... My family was in
Florida, in Jacksonville, at the base there."
<South? He's in the North....> He nodded, and said nothing.
She tucked her hair behind her ear with a hand that shook.
against her, the girl's face was blank and accepting, like a kitten
held in the safety of its mother's mouth. "I have to see, Mulder. You
understand, don't you?"
"Yes." Even speaking was hard. He was losing everything.
She took a deep breath. "Your mother? Do you want to...?"
And he almost wept, that he had thought of her so little. When
buried Skinner, he had thought to bury the past, to forget everything
but the hope of the fight that was to come. He cleared his throat.
"Yes. She's north."
"We could split up." A small voice. Her hand was
round the girl's
shoulder, stroking. He was away from her, on the next bench.
"No." He spoke fiercely. He had failed Fry once that
day, and would
fail him twice rather than lose her. Nothing was worth _that_. "We'll
go south first."
The south felt grey and bland, while the north.... the
felt drawn there, feeling the lure almost like a physical hand,
drawing him. He didn't even know how he knew.
He stood up, utterly bereft. He was turning his back on the
that had nourished him and given him life. He was hiding in the past,
not fighting for the future. He was....
<You will be miserable, Fox> At the sound of Fry's voice
in his head,
he let out a breath in an audible sigh. Just to hear him speak....
Even displeased, he was like food to him - delicious poison. <You
need me, Fox. Every step away from me will be torture.>
"But I have Scully." He was beyond caring if he
spoke aloud. "I have
Scully, and I am still human."
<You're choosing, Fox - her, or me; life, or death;
this, or meek acceptance.>
"I can't.... I can't leave her."
And his knees buckled. Hands clenched to his head, he fell to
ground and wept.
end of section 2
"Leviathan" part 3 (3/4)
They covered barely twenty miles before darkness.
Arms folded loosely around her knees, Scully stared into the
Bethany lay sleeping close by, but she did not touch her. She had
given so much of herself to the girl, protecting her. Now was the
time for reaction - a time for herself.
She had always thought of herself as fiercely independent,
accountable to none, and accountable _for_ none. Even when she had
striven for nothing as much as her father's approval; even when she
held Mulder's happiness in just one breath... Still, she needed time
alone. She needed to be Scully.
The girl moaned a little in her sleep, then settled. She didn't wake.
The flames flickered. Scully blinked hard, fighting the tears
she refused to shed.
<No man is an island> She started at the clear voice in
her head - a
voice that triggered some elusive memory that she couldn't pin down.
It was like her own voice, but alien to her, and apart.
"Scully?" Mulder's eyes flickered open, though he
was still half in
sleep. "You okay?"
She swallowed. "I'm fine." Then, silently: <are you okay, Mulder?>
Since collapsing in the park, he had been subdued, distant. He
clung to her like a shadow - like a second child to protect - but,
when he had spoken, he had been almost surly. She had glanced
sideways at him as they had been selecting their motorbikes, and seen
his jaw set and trembling with tension.
As if only willpower was keeping him from screaming....
"Mulder?" She touched his shoulder, now. "You
don't want to go south,
"South? No. It hurts." His voice was slurred. By
rights, he was still
convalescing, and was exhausted. "North."
"To see your mother?" She shut her eyes briefly.
There was the almost
certainty of _that_ grief to come, and a pang of guilt, too. He was
half-asleep, not guarding what he was saying. To ask him now was like
an assault, of a sort.
"To fight. They're fighting in the north." The
flames flickered, and
his eyes seemed to glow. "I wanna fight the aliens, Scully. I... I
"Yes." She bit her lip. "But..."
He was coming out of sleep. "But we're in it together,
eyes flickered on hers, then away. He gave an awkward laugh. "I've
given up ditching you for my New Millennium's Resolution - didn't I
He didn't fool her for a moment.
"Mulder." She was strangely touched, and once more
on the verge of
tears. She knew she was playing a dangerous game with him - that if
he sacrificed too much, it could kill him. "Thank you. I.... I just
need to know. In a few days, we can be...." She shrugged, helplessly.
Mulder's "north" was an illusion - a state of mind. "We can be
wherever you want us to be," she finished, weakly.
And then, when they arrived in the north and it was as
devastated as the south, she would help him pick up the pieces, if
The dream whirled, flickered. Half an image of flames; a hand
in entreaty; a flash of gunfire: whispering leather boots...
And then it settled, with an almost audible sense of decision.
dream tonight, I think.>
A cold-faced killer stood tall, red blood lapping around his
His face expressionless, he bent down and heaved a still-gasping form
from the lake of blood.
"Not dead yet?" he said, his voice cold as a knife.
"There." A quick
stab to the back of the neck with a shining blade. "Can you die now?"
The body fell limp, and Mulder shivered with the memory of an
agonising aching cold.
"More?" The alien scanned his surroundings, and it
was as if the
camera panned back, showing Mulder the countless millions of bodies
that littered that bloody field. "Any more still alive?"
There were dozens of them, and they strode through the blood
giants, crushing the dead beneath their feet. Their heads were high.
The date was set, and they had come to colonise.
"Yes." The voice was like a roar of hope. From
behind a rock, a gun
cracked. "Yes. We're still alive, and we will stand."
The alien fell, and the bloody pool absorbed him.
"Got him. Next?"
He couldn't place the voice. It was.... It was _everyone_. It
Byers and Frohike. It was a stranger in the street who had never
before handled a gun. It was an orphaned child. It was....
The bullet shouted again, and another alien fell.
<See this, Fox?> the bullet told him. <This is what
you turn your
back on. It's in the balance here. We need you. If you truly
He swallowed a sob. "I care. I care about Scully, too."
<Is one person worth the future of the whole world, Fox?>
Tears scorched his cheeks, and he _could not_ answer.
Afterwards, lying awake in front of the darkening embers of
he still could not.
And she woke up screaming....
Afterwards, heaving great breaths to re-establish control,
large eyes intense upon her, she made herself forget the horror of
She would not remember.
Half way through Virginia, Scully stopped the bike. Bethany's
tightened round her waist, and she could hear the girl's heart
beating against her back. Sometimes, when the girl touched her, she
"Scully?" Mulder came back to her side. He was
concerned for her, but
the lines in his face looked eased, somehow. All morning he had
looked as if he had been fighting a strong wind, pulling against the
"It's...." She touched her forehead with her
fingers. How could she
explain even to herself? "There's a man back there. He's not.... I
think he's not dead."
"Not dead?" His eyes sparked, then faded again. "How do you know?"
She dug her fingers into her palm, and lied. "I saw him move."
But the movement had been like a tickle in her mind, unwanted
painful. It had grown with every second until she had _had_ to stop,
or go mad with the screaming horror of it.
She knew that, unless she went back and checked, she would
sleep in peace again.
<How did I know? How did I know? How did I know?>
Her hand was so close to the man's neck, but she could not
herself to touch him. Even to look at him caused pain.
She put on her mask, breathed in deeply to steady herself,
turned round to face him. "He seems okay. Exhausted, probably, and
cold. He looks as if he's been here for hours."
Not yet reached by the sun, there was still frost on the
around him. As he lay there, he had an aura of melted frost around
him - exactly around him. Part of her refused to acknowledge that
this meant he hadn't moved at all.
"Scully, he...." He frowned. He was thinking, she
him for his fighting force> she thought suddenly, and was surprised
at how bitter she felt. It was _Mulder_.
She sighed deeply. "He needs to be taken care of, until
"Another one for you?"
"What the Hell does that mean?" she fired at him.
She was dimly aware
of her hand, shaking. Bethany was a silent shadow by her side. "We
talked about this. I'm a doctor, Mulder. This is my duty."
Yes. He nodded heavily, but didn't speak.
<But I _know_ him....>
And there, insistent and unwanted, was the ache in her mind
wouldn't go away. The man's unconscious face.... <I know him. I.... I
_can't_ know him.>
Fiercely, she touched the man's neck, and swallowed hard. She
doctor doing her duty. She could touch him. She was not scared of
him. She was....
"Dana?" It was a cracked murmur, barely perceptible.
<Imagination.> But she snatched her hands away as if burnt.
Like an army battered at a locked door, memories assailed her,
the locks were splintering. She saw pleading hands reaching for her.
She saw faces crying to her as they fell from a cliff. She saw....
She saw Bethany, and the man, and many others, their faces too human
to be mere imagination.
She didn't once see Mulder.
"Dana? You came."
Almost harshly, she held the man, one hand on each shoulder.
you know my name?"
The man frowned, bewildered. It was the look Bethany had given
same question. "I dreamed, of course," he whispered, just for her.
"You went away, but then you came back. You told me to wait for you
here. I got here early so we wouldn't miss you."
She didn't move, but her eyes were searching wildly.
are you? I.... I don't want this.>
But she had to ask. "We?" It was little more than a croak.
"Two of us from the same town - would you believe that?
He's back in
the house." The man sat up, wincing at his stiff muscles. "Last night
we got talking, and it turns out we'd both been dreaming about the
same lady - about you."
"I..." Oh, but she wanted to bury her head in her
hands, like a man
in a story someone had told her once. <This is not happening. This is
"Strange...." The man smiled. "Before all this
happened, I would
never have believed things like this. But now...." He shrugged. "We
just accepted that the dreams were real. It doesn't seem strange to
me that we are talking now. Something like this.... Somehow it makes
all things seem possible. Old beliefs don't seem to apply."
"Mine do," she said, firmly. It was essential to
what she was.
"Something like this only makes it more imperative that we think
practically, and rationally."
But her voice shook. As the man had spoken, he had been
She had seen him, and maybe more than once in dreams she had refused
"Maybe that's why he chose you," the man said,
softly. Behind her,
Mulder drew in a sharp breath. "Maybe he knew that, to lead us, we
need someone practical, not a dreamer."
"He?" Sharp. Her blood was pounding in her head.
"God." The man opened his palms, as if it was all so
easy. "God has
chosen you to lead us. By sparing us, He chose us all, but you are
His chosen leader. Why else would we both have dreamt of you, and be
drawn to you?"
She was beyond speaking. Even without shutting her eyes, she
boy with blood on his palms. For a moment, then, she had believed.
The man was like a teacher speaking to a child. "He chose
you to keep
us safe from the Dark Man."
And something clicked inside her - dreams and fears and
falling into place. It was right. It was terrible. It was right. It
"No." An inarticulate cry of rejection. She clapped
her hands to her
ears. "I _will_ not listen. You're crazy. You're..."
She could say no more.
They sat in a circle, surrounding her like vultures, silently
"Scully?" He leant in close, his voice low. "Is
it true? Do you
They were.... God! They weren't even trying to listen. Their
were serene - the two men and the girl. They knew she was theirs
She hated them, then.
"No." She clenched her fists. "A little.
Nothing.... nothing like
what he says."
He looked at her like a penitent, confessing to his priest.
"I do. I
dream of.... things. I dream of things that I think are really
happening, in some way. I.... Two night ago, I dreamt of being
healed, and I was."
"I dream...." She closed her eyes. Oh, but she was
weary. "I dream of
being responsible for people. I hated it when I dreamt it."
He gestured at the silent watchers. "You dreamed of them?"
She shook her head, but could no longer lie to him in words.
"Do you...." He swallowed. "Do you dream of....
of _him_." He
invested the word with an almost magical awe, and a tangible fear.
Him... Feet whispering from the north, coming for her.... She
several breaths to exert control. "If I dream of some personification
of evil, then it's only to be expected, Mulder. We have...." She
paused, then decided. The situation existed, even if she didn't say
it. Putting in words didn't make it real. "We've lived through the
end of the world, Mulder."
"Evil?" His throat worked convulsively. "It's
not evil to fight them.
It's not evil to care."
She shook her head impatiently. She was surrounded by madmen,
believing dreams. "I don't believe in this Dark Man, Mulder. How can
I protect them from something that doesn't exist?"
He touched her hand. "I think you believe more than you
yourself that you do."
"I...." Anger flared, but he had struck a chord.
"I don't want to
come through all this to be a mother to a group of adults. I don't
want that responsibility. I didn't ask for this."
"Perhaps you _were_ chosen," he said softly.
"You were chosen
_because_ you didn't want it - because you wouldn't believe. He knew
you would think fully about it first, not jump in blinded by your own
"You don't believe in God, Mulder." Her voice was
remembered how he had scoffed, that other time. It had been important
to her, then.
"Not God, but there are other.... powers."
"Chosen by the Devil?" She gave a harsh laugh, then
involuntarily. "Is that supposed to make me feel better?"
"No." He took her hand and held it, his eyes
intense. "What if a
man... knows things? What if he can send psychic messages, and uses
this skill to gather together the survivors to fight the colonists?
So close to tears, she laughed. He was crazy. He was her Mulder.
"I believe this, Scully." His voice was low,
thrilling. It was a
statement of faith.
She swallowed. The fear which had made her scream in the night
like a cold finger on her spine. "And the Dark Man?"
"He's the alien, Scully. He's all of them - Cancerman,
the colonists. He's the... He's all this." He gestured at the silent
world. "He's the symbol. He's the enemy."
It wasn't real - none of it. She was in a dream, more terrible
any. She did all she _could_ do, and smiled.
"Maybe they're right, Scully. Maybe you've been chosen,
been chosen to take care of those too weak to fight, while the rest
of us go into battle."
"You think _you're_ chosen?" How could her voice stay level?
He put both hands on his chest. "I was healed."
<Mulder - listen to yourself, Mulder....> She was more
afraid for his
sanity then than she had ever been. He was an intense-eyed cultist,
swallowing poison at the word of their loved and feared leader. He
was a believer with a simple faith, unswayed by reason. He was....
She rubbed her eyes with her hands. He was being true to
was believing. Like a man laying his head on the block, baring his
neck for the headsman's axe, he was offering up his beliefs, simply -
exposing himself to her contempt. <Nothing else matters, Scully...>
His voice in a motel room in Oregon....
<And I am Scully, and can't believe.> Her vision doubled with tears.
"I need to go north, Scully," he said, quietly.
"I need to see my family."
He bit his lip, wary. "Perhaps it's fate, Scully. Perhaps
He gestured at the girl.
"This is my new family, so I can forget my own?" Her
eyes were ice.
"Unlike you, Mulder, I would never sacrifice the people I love to
an.... an idea - an illusion."
His eyes shone. "I'm here, Scully, aren't I? I came with you."
She hated herself, then. He had angered her, but she had been
unforgivable. "Mulder." She put her apology in her eyes, her hands.
"I don't believe in fate. I will care for the girl, I will treat
those who are hurt, but I will _not_ forget who I am."
"No." He touched her face, and smiled through the
hurt in his eyes.
"This is who you are."
And all the time, they sat in a circle, surrounding her like
vultures, silently watching....
By evening, Mulder was nothing. He could have been a ghost.
The fourth of them had come in blistered feet, in shoes too
her. Her matted hair had framed her dust-streaked face as she had
stood in their path, hands held out in supplication.
He had glanced sideways at Scully's face. It had been closed.
refused to look at the newcomer, refused to acknowledge her.
Fascinated, his eyes had lingered, and at last seen her flicker a
quick look at the woman. Then her lips had parted in some silent
moan, though she had said nothing.
<She knows her, too> he had thought, and almost wept for
she could be so afraid to let herself believe. <She dreamed of her.>
The fifth had been an old man, his face dark and leathery.
blind, he had reached for her, wanting to place his hands on her
cheeks and feel her, like a pilgrim would touch a sacred relic.
As he had watched, she had flinched, almost pulled away, and
enduring. The man's fingertips had brushed her cheek, then paused,
feeling the silent tears that had escaped her eyes.
She had remained silent, but she hadn't pulled away.
Two children, hand in hand - an older boy and a younger girl.
had held onto each other tightly with the fierce love born of
catastrophe. He had doubted if they were truly related - if death
would be that kind.
Scully's lips had quivered, but she had reached out a shaking
and touched the girl's hair. The girl had smiled.
"Eight of us now, Dana." The first girl, Bethany,
had snaked her hand
into Scully's, jealous, perhaps, and fearful of being supplanted.
Scully had frowned, blinking, as if pulling herself back into
reality. <Back from where, Scully?> "Nine," she had said. She'd
smiled distractedly, and pointed to the group, one after another.
And, behind Scully's back, the adults had looked at him, their
cold. <You're not one of us> they had accused, silently. <You didn't
dream of her.>
"Sc..." He had opened his mouth to call to her, then
raised his chin, and thought of his hope, his destiny.
But their eyes haunted him.... He was nothing to them.
At dinner, eaten round a fire in a house of the dead, they
but it was not the talk of traumatised survivors. Already, they were
a unit, talking like old friends, anticipating each other's thoughts.
They were one, while he....
<Oh, Scully....> He clenched his fists tight enough for
The north called to him, and every step away was killing him.
"Scully." A low whisper.
She didn't look up. Head bent low, she was turning her drink
and round in her hands, a world away.
And, inside, he laughed and cried, the two together. Maybe
and was already a ghost.
Maybe he'd lost her.
end of section 3
"Leviathan" part 3 (4/4)
On silent feet, she had searched, and now she had found him.
And, now she had found him, she couldn't begin to think of
say to him.
"Scully." His voice was dead. He didn't turn around.
He was leaning
from an open window in an attic bedroom - leaning out too far. The
back of his neck was white in the moonlight.
She swallowed. "Mulder."
"You've accepted." It was not a question. His voice
was so flat, so
hopeless. "You're staying with them."
"No." She was all fire. "I haven't accepted anything."
"I should be glad." His voice was anything but.
"It means I can go
"Damn it, Mulder." She was beside him in an instant,
her hand closing
round his wrist. "I haven't accepted anything." She took a deep
breath. "But I have to face it - I've seen all of them before, in my
dreams. All of them."
As she said it, she felt a feeling almost of peace. She had
afraid to believe, but refusing to believe was.... God, it had been
so draining, repressing things, living with that conflict. She had
accepted what part of her had always known, but had been fighting,
And nothing had changed. She had dreaded it so, but she was
As she said it, she smiled.
"Do you believe what they say, Scully?" There was a
desperate need in
his voice, though she couldn't read him. Did he need her to say yes,
She raised her chin. "No. I... I have to face that we are
some way. It was..." She smiled, wanly. "It was hard, Mulder,
accepting that. I'm not ready for the rest."
"But if it's true?"
She reached for the support of the window frame, leaning
to feel the cold air. "I need to see my family, Mulder," she said,
quietly. "I can't take on all this. I need to think of...." She shook
her head, at a loss. It sounded selfish, but it was only human. "I
need to think of my own needs, too, Mulder. If I led them just
because they wanted me to, I'd end up hating them."
"No man is an island, Scully." She jerked her head
up sharply. "If
you left them, wouldn't you end up hating yourself?" And there was a
darkness to his voice, and she knew he was talking about himself,
<I need to go north, Scully...>
"Yes." She rubbed her eyes, as if _that_ would make
her see more
clearly. "I don't believe them, but _they_ believe it, and that gives
me a responsibility towards them. I..." Suddenly furious, she called
a fist and slammed it into the window frame. "I _hate_ it, Mulder."
His throat was working fast, as if fighting something.
not for us to have feelings about it, Scully. Perhaps its fate."
"I don't believe in fate." But then, unable to stop:
"Maybe...." He shook his head, despairingly.
"Like I said, maybe
it's.... this." He gestured downstairs, towards her sleeping people.
"Perhaps it's them."
"To protect them like a mother while my man goes off to
tightened her grip on the wooden frame, voice rising. It was a sharp
whisper, icy in its intensity. "Is that all you think there is for
me? I'm just a woman so I can...."
"No." He whirled to face her, and there was naked
pain in his eyes.
"I don't mean that. When _they_ come, the leader of the survivors
will need to be strong, full of fire - a warrior. It needs compassion
and courage." He held her by the shoulders, his eyes shining. "I can
think of no-one better suited for it than you."
She looked at him through slits of eyes. "I won't have my
dictated, Mulder - not by you, not by anyone."
Then, unable to stay any longer without crying, she walked away.
He was stretched out on wooden boards, arms spread wide, and
so cold. Slowly, painfully, he opened his eyes, and a crow was
looking at him, unblinking on the window sill.
He blinked. It was not a dream.
The crow in the desert of the World After.... <You will not
alone.> It was an old dream from before the beginning, foreshadowing
Scully was drifting away, and the world had died. Scully was
He swallowed hard. _He_ had never dreamed of her, expect once,
then she had killed him....
He was alone on the bare boards of an attic room, and there
crow, and its dark eye seemed to be smiling.
And there were footsteps....
His throat was paralysed. He couldn't speak, couldn't make a
The bird's eyes seemed to narrow in contempt. On whispering
flew away. <North> he though, as if flew away from the moon. He
longed and feared to follow it.
"Mulder?" A hand on his brow. "Mulder? You're cold."
He fought, lost as to which was a dream, and which was real.
Her feet were bare. She passed him, and there was the sound of
closing window. "You take this aversion to beds a bit far, sometimes,
Mulder." Her laugh was shaky.
"Scully?" He pushed himself up on one elbow, then to
"Nothing." The moon made shiny tracks on her face,
as if she had been
crying. "Why should anything be wrong? I've just learnt that my whole
life has been written."
It wasn't Scully, but he heard the pain beneath her sarcasm,
"What do they want me to be, Mulder - their saint?"
Her voice was
frightening - brittle and so unlike her own. "I have to forget my own
needs and think only of theirs? Why should I do that? And what does
it make me, if I refuse?"
<Human, Scully.> But he said nothing. She would think he
patronising her, but he had never respected her more than in that
moment. She was admitting her fears, and that was hard.
"I don't want to be believe in fate, Mulder."
She knelt down in front of him, and took his face between her
hands. Her eyes were shining with tears. "Sc...." he began, but could
"Why weren't you in my dreams, Mulder?" she said,
"Through all of this, it was only us. I don't want that to end."
"Neither do I." His throat was choking on unshed
tears. A dark
knowledge inside him - a knowledge that spoke with the voice of the
crow - told him that it would be his last night with her, unless....
<Unless nothing. It's gone too far. This is the end...>
could keep him from crying out - a quiet, despairing cry.
"Why should our lives be dictated, Mulder?" Her
thumbs caressed his
neck. "From the start, they used us, and manipulated us. Can't we
<You can't escape me, Fox. You accepted my gift. You're mine, now.>
"We _can_" Her eyes were fire. Fiercely, almost
harshly, she pulled
his face towards hers and kissed his lips, then his closed eyes.
"Scully..." He responded to her, kissing her back.
against her thumb on his neck.
"I love you, Mulder." Her hands slid down his neck,
down his shirt. Her fingers dug into the flesh of his back, pulling
his body towards hers.
She pulled a hand out, rapid and almost painful. Blindly, she
struggled with his buttons, opening first one, then another. Her head
lowered to his chest, her lips seeking his skin.
His mind was screaming. <It's not Scully. It's not real>
grabbed her - held her wrist with a hand that shook. "No."
"I'll be careful." A soft finger circled the bullet
wound. When she
touched it, gentle and caring.... He was on the precipice then - the
closest he had come to giving in. She was his Doctor Scully he had
dreamt of when hurt, when sick.
"No." He pulled her hand back, trying so hard to
stay in control.
"Not like this."
She bit her lip. "I...."
"I know." And he did know - oh, how he knew. "I
love you, but not
It was if he had slapped her. Her face froze with rejection,
an instant, was controlled again. She was his Scully - breathing
deeply and fast, but still his Scully.
She shook her had, accepting. No.
"Don't do it because you're angry. Don't do it because
something to prove." He smiled, and touched her face. "We know, now,
but.... not like this, Scully." <Please?>
"No." She raised her chin, and there was a grim
defiance in her eyes.
"Never think it was just out of anger, Mulder."
"I...." And then, on impulse, he confessed something
he had not even
realised himself. _She_ had exposed so much of herself, her soul as
naked before him as her body might have been. "They all ignore me. It
makes me feel.... " He gave a weak laugh, wondering if he could
disguise it all as a joke. "I'm jealous, Scully."
Her face quivered, fighting fresh tears. "I wish I'd
dreamed of you,
Mulder." There was a "but" in her voice.
Afterwards, he would wonder if it was in that moment that it
decided, and in that moment that his life ended.
But they moved to the bed and slept in each other's arms,
together like two survivors of a shipwreck, needing each other's
And, on soft whispering feet, Richard Fry came to them, as on
wings of a crow.
He opened his eyes.
"The colonisation is proceeding, Fox." There was
something close to
compassion in Fry's eyes. He was a man of a thousand moods, and now
he was gentle. "There are thousands of survivors - hundreds of
thousands. If the colonists can be stopped at source, there is hope -
only then is there hope. You care about the world, don't you?"
Mulder moved his head. Beside him, Scully was asleep, her face
"Or would you put one woman before the whole world?"
"I..." His voice choked in his throat. <I want to. I can't.>
"I'm fighting everything you've ever hated, Fox." A
hand on his brow,
and he flashed to a kaleidoscope of images. Samantha disappearing
into light; Scully on a metal slab; his father, dead.... "_They_ did
this, Fox. We can still salvage something."
"Yesss..." It was a soft sigh, a longing moan. Tears
"Then come. Leave her now. Walk away into the night. It
He bit his lip and sobbed, as, beside him, Scully slept.
She opened her eyes, and saw the grinning face of death.
"No....!" Hands ripping at her face, she screamed in naked terror.
Beside her, Mulder slept, his face pale and peaceful. She half
to waken him, needing someone to share the horror with, then stopped.
She was Scully, and she would stand.
"Dana...." It reached for her with its claws for
hands, sharp, like a
"No...!" She curled up in a corner of her mind. "No...!"
<It can not hurt you>
And she recognised the old familiar dream voice, and knew it
first time. It _was_ her. It was the part of her that lived in
dreams, and believed them. It was the part of her she had been
refusing to listen to.
<He can't hurt you.> Somehow, she knew that - the same
way as she
knew the other survivors. <Not yet. You're chosen. You're protected,
and he can't come here, not in his own person. This is a distant echo
<Look at him>
Lip quivering, she looked, and knew him, and understood.
And, as she understood, he winked away, leaving her alone with
Mulder, who slept on.
One hand on the window, she fingered her cross. Outside was
beauty of another winter morning. She was beginning to hate the sun.
It made it worse, somehow. There were so few left alive to enjoy the
She sighed. "Bethany."
"Two more people have come, Dana. They want to see you.
One of them
She sighed, and took up her burden. It was heavy and if
it gave her no relief, but it was right.
Oh God, it was right, and she hated it.
She buried her head in her hands, rubbed deeply, then looked up.
"He can't travel." There was blood on her hands from
broken leg. Water was still a luxury. She knew that, wherever she
chose for them to settle, it would have to be near a river.
If they hadn't poisoned them....
She gave a wry laugh. Mulder was watching her silently, and
desperate - desperate - to delay what she feared would be the end.
"He fell just outside, you know. If he hadn't walked through the
night to come to me, he'd be all right."
His hands were clenched together. "So, you're staying -
them." It was not a question.
Nodding was the hardest thing she had done, yet something felt
about it. She had expected weeks of soul searching, but it had been
the merest second in a dream, and the knowledge that part of her had
always known it. She had been dreaming about these people before it
had even started. Resisting the dreams, fighting the responsibility,
had torn her apart. At least now she was whole.
It had been not an earthquake or a fire, but a still small
calm. Once more, she touched her cross, fiercely glad that she had
never stopped wearing it, even when she had sometimes forgotten what
"There have been nine in two days, Mulder." She
shrugged. "How many
more will come? I can't take all of them to Florida. When we're
settled somewhere, maybe I can go myself."
He shook his head, lost. "You're accepting them?"
"Yes." It was a confession of faith. "I've been
dreaming this all
along, Mulder, though I didn't realise it." She swallowed. "You know
the real reason I didn't want to leave the bunker? Part of me knew
they were waiting for me. I was scared of what they meant. I was
scared of the responsibility."
"I'm still scared, Mulder - how can I not be?" She
took a deep
breath. "Once I dreamed that they were hanging from my hand over a
cliff - all of them. I couldn't hold them."
"You can." He reached up a hand and touched her
face. "I trust only
They were speaking farewells without saying the words. She
how long they had known - if last night was a last desperate
rebellion against the future they had always known they could not
avoid. Doomed, she had thought of him before. Doomed.
"And you?" But she knew his answer - she saw it in his eyes.
"If you're following your dreams.... My dreams tell me
It was time. "I know." She clutched her cross tight
enough to hurt.
"Is it Richard Fry that you dream about - the man in the Gunmen's
A veil fell across his face, and she couldn't read him. She
as a yes.
"I saw him last night." She held her head high,
refusing to lower her
gaze. "It was him, but it was.... He was evil, Mulder. I think he's
the Dark Man."
"He's...." He shook his head, struggling. He did not
have to words to
describe what Fry was to him. His hope, and his damnation, perhaps.
She tried to hard to keep pity from her eyes, knowing she
him. "He's not who you think he is, Mulder."
"You don't know him!" Quick and fast. He was hurt
and defensive, like
a child who has seen his hero attacked.
But there was enough doubt in his eyes to give her hope.
scared, too> "And you do, Mulder?" she asked softly.
"He's fighting aliens, Scully." He balled a fist and
slammed it into
his other hand, hard. "Before, he fought _them_."
And she had to bite her lip to keep from crying. There was so
she needed to say to him - so much she couldn't say to him.
<Let it go, Mulder. You've spent your life fighting aliens,
something to hate. Let it go. Escape the past. You've spent your life
stuck in a groove, heading for destruction. I've adapted, Mulder.
I've let this change my beliefs, and I'm still Scully. Let it go,
Mulder. Let it go...>
"I can't, Scully." And then she wondered how much
she _had_ said
aloud, not meaning to. "It's what I am. Without it, I'm...."
"Different." She caught his flailing fist, and held
it tight. "The
world's different now, Mulder."
He pulled against her. "I need to fight...."
"What if there are no aliens?" she asked,
relentless. She was hurting
him, she knew, but the alternative was losing him. "What if _they_
did this, and it all got out of hand? What if the Consortium and the
aliens destroyed each other in the end?" She had accepted so much.
The existence of aliens seemed so tiny, now - an indulgence. "What if
_he_ has already destroyed them and is building an army to
attack...." She paused, then laid all her cards on the table. "What
if, by helping him, you're killing me?"
He looked as if she had shot him in the stomach. "I do
that, Scully." Cold and desperate.
"I saw him last night. He's evil."
"I saw him last night. He's my hope...." His face
twisted, in grief
and bitter anger. "He told me to come to him then, not even saying
goodbye. He said the cause needed me. I stayed, Scully. Once more, I
betrayed him for you and now...." He took a deep breath. "You're
destroying everything that keeps me alive, Scully."
She tried to pull him close. "I'm trying to keep you alive, Mulder."
"I won't have my life dictated, Scully - not by you, not
In a dead voice, he echoed her own words back at her.
"But you are." Desperate. It was life and death,
now. "You always
have. You've always cared so deeply about what you've been searching
for.... Mulder, anyone just has to come to you and offer you some
information, and you follow them through Hell. Even if you don't
trust them, you listen to them. If there's the slightest chance that
they're right, you act, even if it might kill you."
"Yes." He was shaking his head, puzzled. He could
not comprehend what
was wrong with the picture she had painted. He knew no other life.
She swallowed hard. "Even if it might hurt me to lose you."
His expression froze, then he sighed, and touched her face.
let this go, Scully. I hear what you're saying, but...." He gave a
wan smile. "Maybe he _is_ evil. Maybe there are no aliens. Maybe
you're right.... Can't you see, Scully? I _have_ to find out. I can't
live with a constant not-knowing, wondering if there was something I
could have done. I've lived with that for twenty-seven years, and
believe me, Scully, it's not something I want to go through again."
She made no effort to stop the tears. "I can't go with
Like you, I can't let this go. If I leave them now, I'll always
With tears on her marble face, she pulled him close and kissed
gently. It was almost chaste - nothing like the previous night - but
it was somehow deeply sensual.
"I'll come back," he whispered, his hands in her
hair. "If you're
right, and it doesn't work out.... If _I'm_ right and we win.... I'll
She nodded. Afterwards, her eyes dry in the night, she would
if either of them truly believed it.
"If you're right, Scully...."
His face clouded, and suddenly she remembered a younger
beautiful and untroubled, overjoyed to see an "alien". <I have the
same doubts as you do, Scully> he had said. She shook her head
abruptly and was back in the present - back to a Mulder who saw an
alien as a nightmare horror, not as a thing of wonder.
"If you're right, Scully...." He was trembling, his
"You understand, don't you?"
She smiled through her tears, grieving for him, and pitying.
Admiring, too. She had never loved him as she did then. "You're not
evil, Mulder, even if he is. I know you're doing it out of love. I
know it's because you can't bear to give up on the old world."
"While you have?" His tone was unreadable.
"No." Fierce. "I've.... I've adapted. It
doesn't mean I like it. It
doesn't mean I don't mourn what is gone. It's just.... " She shook
her head, at a loss for words, then struck into her past. "Mulder,
when I lost three months of my life, I just had to forget it and get
on with my life. For my own survival, I needed to do that. You
understand, don't you?"
He was silent.
"This...." She gestured around her at the house, at
voices. "This is something to put my back up against. I fought it,
but I think this will help me cope."
He swallowed hard. "You think I'm a child, looking for
"I think you're Fox Mulder." She reached for his
hand and, chaste and
companionable, held it. "You're my partner. You're the only one I
Oh, but she felt old - far older than him. She didn't like it.
wished she could see life through his eyes - to be so driven, so sure
of who to hate.
And there, at the end of everything, she felt that they had
circle. He was the man she had always known, while she.... What was
That night, he slept alone. He was cold, so cold, and he wept.
He was alone in a desert of the dead, and the night was a
blanket. He was alone...
"Scully," he whispered, and pulled the blanket closer.
But the face in his dreams smiled, and it was not her.
He moaned. "Sc...."
"No." The voice was like a slap. His head slammed
back against the
ground, and his face smarted. "No. You have chosen, Fox, and you
mustn't weaken now. I need strength from you now.
"Strength...." Scully's hair like fire in the sunset....
Claw-like fingers dug into his chin. "We will stand, Fox,
and we will
She stood alone, watching him, though he was hours gone, now.
alone, but he.... "Oh God!" She spoke aloud. To be travelling alone
in this world was more terrible than she could imagine.
She sighed, and put on the mask that she would ever afterwards
Then, ready, she turned around. "Bethany."
"Dana. Two more have come in. They want to see you."
She shouldered her cross, and made herself smile.
There was hope in the little girl's face, and safety, and that
That was where the hope was.
End? Well, let me know.
Of course, there are questions to be answered: Who is right
identity of the Dark Man? What will Mulder find in the north? Will he
grow disillusioned - and what will Fry have to say about it if he
does? Are Byers and Frohike in the north, too? What about Scully's
family? And so on....
Also, while I know that I have quite a record for writing sad
inconclusive endings, this is an ending I am NOT happy with leaving.
I want the answer to the above questions, and I want to write them.
There are, though, a few problems with it (such as how to destroy
ultimate evil without resorting to cliche or contrivance), so, as I
said, please let me know.
(I am also, as I've told several people in email, willing to
bribes regarding the fate of the remaining Gunmen....)
The title, comes from a political tract by Thomas Hobbes.
other writers were claiming that society without government would be
a lovely paradise of caring and sharing, Hobbes thought that the
natural state of mankind, without government, was truly hideous
anarchy. In the end, desperate, mankind would willingly sacrifice
their liberties and accept an absolute ruler, since safe slavery was
preferable to anarchic freedom. "Leviathan" is the word he used for
this absolute sovereign power - and is exactly the theory that "They"
were working on in this story.
"The Stand", for those who haven't read it: Briefly,
tells of a plague, accidentally unleashed after an accident at a
military installation, and quickly spreading across the world. Only a
few people are immune, and the book follows these survivors. As the
world collapses, the survivors start having dreams - of a very old
lady called Mother Abigail, and a terrifying "Dark Man." Guided by
these dreams, the survivors manage to group together around Mother
Abigail, and begin to rebuild some sort of life for themselves.
However, there are also some survivors to whom the "Dark
exciting, and powerful. His name, at the moment (though he has had
many names, and always beginning with the same letters) is Randall
Flagg, and equal numbers of survivors group around him.
After a period of consolidation, the stage is set for a
And I won't say any more, since the second half of the book
my model for the sequel, should I write it.
Of course, this story only follows the broad outline of the
described above - basically just the fact that _something_ happened
to destroy most of the world; that the survivors were having dreams;
and the Dark Man himself. The crow imagery is also from the book, and
one or two scenes - most strongly, perhaps, the scene in part 1 when
someone is killed by the army while on air on the radio.
The immediate inspiration for this story, though, was an
the Millennium Bug, and the first sentence of "The War of the
Worlds". HG Wells set his own near end of the world at the turn of
the century, which made me start thinking.... I had been planning
nice Sunday in bed reading that book, but ended up starting writing
And how it turned out.... Well. I have never written a story
a single written note, planning it. I have never written a story in
which Mulder and Scully kiss. I have never written a crossover. I
have seldom written a long story in which the angst came from the
plot, rather than the angst being the initial inspiration, and the
plot being constructed around it.
And I have never written a story that I enjoyed more - or
disturbed me more. I had _dreams_ about this one....
Deep Background (X-Files fanfic research) and my fanfic: