The Girl Who Laughed at the Rain
By Christine Leigh
Summary: Post-series. Remembrance of things past.
Spoilers: Pilot, Detour, Existence.
There are mornings when Mulder is reluctant to get up, or when he doesn't want to awaken Scully (so he tells himself) and on these occasions he finds himself becoming increasingly indulgent. The man who used to be at his desk by 7:00 a.m. now allows himself to dream, or half-dream as he contemplates starting his day. He never returns to sleep completely, but if he is diligent his mind will travel to places he long ago left behind. The greater his distance grows from the world he knew, the more frequent are his visits there. In a way it's like having his own twilight zone.
"Agent Mulder . . . "
As she spoke those two words, he'd turned to look at her. This was their first meeting, and it is difficult for him now to recall that there was ever a time that he didn't listen for the sound of her voice. If it is not in his actual presence, it is always just around the corner. Their years together have all but obliterated what came before, and he sometimes will have the most vivid dreams that depict conversations with her during times of his life that occurred long before she was in it. He would once again be at the junior prom with Carol Leland in his arms, but it was her voice that whispered in his ear.
Recently in these reveries he has taken to hearing the sound of her laughter. That night in the rain at the cemetery they had both laughed like a couple of crazy people, and while an argument could be made that it was borderline hysteria that drove them to it, this is one of his dearest moments to recall. It was as though she had been freed from everything and was letting all that she held inside of her loose as she became one with the water that was pouring down upon her face. This was no longer an adult woman before him or a fellow agent, but a girl -- a girl who laughed at the rain as though she hadn't a worry in the world. He remembers how amazed he felt while witnessing this.
She doesn't laugh anymore. Gentle smiles on occasion, never wistful. She is careful. Her broken heart quota has been met. There are times he would like to talk about their loss, but he knows that doing so might break her. It might break him. Yet, he often thinks of the infant boy he held intermittently over the course of a day, and who is never far from his heart.
What are you going to call him?
Their life is not one that either of them wants. They work when they can find employment, and when neither can do that, they become regular customers at the nearest food bank. They live in dwellings that cause them to long for the apartments that they apparently took for granted. They are thinner and older looking. She's still beautiful -- that will never change in his eyes. Her hair hasn't been red for three years, and he misses it terribly. Her voice, though, is the same, and he takes selfish comfort in that. To hear her speak is his favorite music. She says she can't sing, but he would listen to her all night if she ever were to change her mind. He knows that the chance of that happening is slim, though. It isn't the recollection of the forest that night and her arms around him as she caved to his request and sang to him that is holding her back -- no, that memory is a good one. He guesses that she sang to William. It tears him up to even think about it, but he's fairly certain that this is the barrier. So he understands why he hasn't heard her sing since that night so long past.
Were they lullabies -- her songs to their son, he wonders?
It cannot be said that William was never part of their plan since they'd never had one. He was their most beloved surprise, and his absence has left a space in their lives that will never be filled. One night, some days after Scully had explained to him how she came to bear his child and he had acknowledged fully what was happening to the two of them, she'd told him of the joy she'd felt upon learning she was pregnant. She'd had a few hours, give or take, of pure happiness, she had said. Then Skinner had arrived.
They were in bed and the room was dark as she relayed the story, and he'd cried upon hearing it. It was a cleansing of a sort and the morning following had brought a fresh start to them. Now, as he thinks of this time, he remembers it as their happiest. They were filled with awe, wonder, and anticipation -- all the things he'd observed in other prospective parents. For lack of a better word, he thinks of this as their 'normal' period.
It had been an unremarkable day for the most part. Mulder arrived home first -- his shift at Lucky's Diner cut short. Business had really been down lately and he is certain that his days there are numbered. Frankly, he doesn't care. He has a cold that has been trying to escalate into some sort of bronchial thing for nearly two weeks, and today had been bad. However, he was able to bring dinner home with him, so it hadn't been a complete waste of time. He shoved the food into the refrigerator and then fell onto the couch in the tiny living area. He just needed a nap. Soon, or so it seemed, he heard her.
"Mulder. Mulder, wake up."
She is tapping his shoulder. He is freezing. He struggles and then finally opens his eyes.
"Mulder, you're burning up, and you were breathing quite heavily."
"I'm sorry, Scully. I just wanted a nap." His words sounded fuzzy.
"Mulder, we need to get you to bed. Can you stand?"
"Yeah." Scully gripped him with both arms and together they got him upright. She held him tight as they walked to the bedroom. She helped him to sit on the bed.
"Let me take your shirt off." She unbuttoned and removed the garment, and then helped him up so that she could turn down the bed.
"Scully, I just need to sleep."
"Mulder, have you eaten anything since this morning?"
He shook his head.
"I'm going to get you a glass of juice and some acetaminophen." He nodded again and watched as she left the room. Then he took his shoes off and crawled under the covers. If she would just hurry back, he'd be all right. It was getting dark outside, he noticed. He must have slept longer than he'd intended.
"Can you sit up once more, please, Mulder?"
She'd brought juice, some saltine crackers, and two Tylenol tablets. He pulled himself up and she handed him the juice first.
"Just sip it and then try to eat a cracker."
They sat in silence as he drank and bit off half of a cracker. He handed the other half back to Scully and then set the glass down on the bedside table.
"No, you need to take these." She handed him the pills and he picked the glass back up. She handed him the two small white tablets and he dropped them into the glass, and drained the remainder of its contents. Scully placed her hand beneath his head as he lowered himself to the pillow once more.
"Mulder, I'm worried. This cold isn't abating."
"I thought I was getting better, but I'm so tired."
"If you can sleep, I'll watch you. And if I hear anything I don't like, we're headed to the clinic, no arguments."
"Just stay with me, Scully. I'll be fine."
She kicked her shoes off and crawled onto the bed next to him. Then she sat up and laid her hand against his cheek. They didn't speak, and she hoped he would sleep. She'd been so concerned about him over the last two weeks, but he'd kept insisting it was nothing. He opened his eyes. She saw this and bent down close to his face.
"Scully, do you remember the time in the woods in Florida?"
Did she remember? Of course she did. Leaving off subsequent events in her life that were tied to the memory, this was one of her happier moments with Mulder -- the night she had sung. She had not wanted to at all, but something odd had happened once she'd started. She'd always been a very self-conscious singer, but suddenly after a few lyrics, she'd been fine. As she sat there with his upper body in her lap and listening to his breathing, she had been downright giddy inside. Part of it was due to the aftermath of her remission, but the rest came from the pleasure she felt in holding him. She remembers thinking the next day that she would sing for him anytime. She remembers the joy. She remembers the song. And, she remembers the other times she sang it.
"Mulder, would I ever forget?"
"No, I suppose you wouldn't." Her hand felt so soothing upon his cheek. "I felt like a warrior was protecting me that night, Scully."
"A warrior with an off-key alto."
"I loved hearing you sing. You weren't that off-key."
"You were injured at the time, remember?""My ears were fine. I love your voice, Scully."
"Mulder, you need to try to sleep." Her tone was gentle.
"Scully, tell me a story."
"I'm a lousy storyteller, Mulder, and besides I don't know any stories. Honestly, given a choice, I'd rather sing."
"Mulder, I don't have a large repertoire."
"I like the song you sang in Florida."
Something inside her gave way at hearing him say this. She didn't want to cry, but couldn't help herself. She turned away for a moment but there was no escaping his notice.
"Scully, I'm sorry. What's wrong? Forget about the singing." He reached for her and she turned to him. She pulled him onto her lap. They were in the woods again. He heard her sniffle and draw a deep breath, while holding him tight.
"No, Mulder. I'm sorry. I can't let myself do this."
"It's all right." It wasn't, but he didn't know what else to say.
"It's been awhile since it hit me like that. And you don't need this now. You're sick and you need to rest."
"Scully, I need you to cry, if that's what you want to do."
"But I don't want to. I want to be able to think about him without tears."
"You do that, Scully. Most of the time we both do that. But there will always be the other times when we won't be able to do that, and it's all right." He felt her squeeze him even tighter as he spoke. And then almost imperceptibly, he felt her rocking him. Seconds later she stopped, and he sensed that she'd moved beyond the crisis, at least for now. Then he heard her. Her voice was low and beautiful, just as it had been in Florida:
"Jeremiah was a bullfrog . . . "
Soon, he slept. In the arms of the girl who had laughed at the rain.
~ End ~
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This story is (c) Copyright 2005 by Christine Leigh. "The X-Files" and its characters are the property of the Fox Network and Ten-Thirteen Productions and are borrowed here without profit or intent for profit.