By Christine Leigh
Summary: Post-Requiem. Scully POV following Mulder's abduction. This story is the first in what I call the Party of Three Universe, which is a series of stories and vignettes that are set post-Requiem.
Spoilers: The Blessing Way, Amor Fati, Requiem.
Nothing's lost forever. In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we've left behind, and dreaming ahead.
At least I think that's so.
- Tony Kushner
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Monterey during early summer can sometimes be chilly, but today it is warm. The view from her chaise lounge on the deck is spectacular; the breeze blowing through the grass on the dunes gently musical. The tide is out right now, so she can hear the waves only faintly; the same goes for the beach people. When she returned from her walk an hour ago, there had been a volleyball game underway, three hopeful fisherman, and several children and their parents, all availing themselves of the beautiful afternoon. The fog had lifted, and everyone had come out to play.
Scully rarely has much time alone anymore, and she is reveling in it. They've been here for a week and have one more to go. It is a terrific house. The deck where she sits looking at the ocean is surrounded by grassy dunes, and there is a courtyard patio that is perfect when it is too windy to sit on the deck. The living room has floor to ceiling windows on three sides, and she and Mulder spend the later, most delicious part of each evening on the couch, or sitting on the floor, where they gaze alternately at the fire and each other, and when they are as sure as it is possible for them to be that they won't be interrupted, they make love. There is nothing in this world that surpasses the happiness she derives from making love with this man late at night by the fire with the sound of the waves just beyond the glass crashing in rhythm with her emotions.
After lunch she'd taken a wonderfully long walk down the beach, the shorebirds her only companions. She took great pleasure in watching the funny little sanderlings skittering away from the surf as it chased them inland. And she collected seashells. There are mostly small shells on this beach and she would have a pocketful by the time she was through, and Mulder would tease her about it later on when she emptied them onto the table on the patio to dry out. She became a little girl again on these walks.
Upon returning to the house and discovering that she had it to herself, she decided to settle on the deck for an afternoon of reading. By the time she'd knocked off four chapters of her book, the sun is at an angle that makes it difficult to continue, so she sets the book aside and closes her eyes.
She is a fortunate woman, one who loves, and who is loved, one who had beat death. And the life she is leading is one that she had once thought to be impossible. It has been a trade off, and while she will always have moments of longing for the people and things from her all but vanquished past, those moments have become more tolerable over the years. She still becomes sad whenever she muses on what she has come to think of as her 'Before-Life,' but she also knows that she had no choice other than the one that led her here. This is her life, and she wouldn't trade it for anyone or anything. She has only to conjure the faces who are her world now, and the universe pops back into order. Which is exactly what she does as she smiles to herself and gets up. A nap would be heavenly, but it is probably time to take herself back down to the beach to check out today's masterpiece before the tide starts coming in. Yesterday's castle had been impressive. Yes, it was time to see what her builders had wrought today.
She pauses on the landing of the stairs that lead down to the beach and watches them for a moment. Their backs are to her, and two heads, identical except for the difference in size, are both bowed in deep concentration over their project. It looks immense. Opportunities to observe them like this humble her. Thank you, God, she prays silently; thank you for this and for them. For us.
Scully awakens, violently. God, where is she? What has happened? Where is he? She closes her eyes immediately. Please, please, oh please, come back. Her mind is racing; her heart begging. He doesn't appear. Come back, oh God, come back.
Nothing. She is alone.
She sits up in bed, wanting to cry, but the tears won't come. God, it had all been so real, more real than anything in her waking hours has seemed since Mulder has been gone. She doesn't move until her breathing becomes steady, and then she gets up and dons her robe. She goes to the window and stands staring at the night. Ordinarily she would be glad to see it end, but now she wants to grasp it and keep it close.
She feels very strange, and yet it isn't an unfamiliar feeling. She has been here before. It is almost too much to fathom, but after a few minutes pass, she forces herself to remember. She needs desperately to regain a measure of control over her life and her emotions if she is going to stay sane in the coming months. She keeps breathing; that's a start. What in God's name had just happened? She has never before experienced a dream that was this real.
Then, from what seems like another life, Scully recalls another violent awakening. She remembers telling him that she had told his mother that he was alive. Simply because she just knew. And now it has happened again, but this time it is harder because there is so much more at stake. Once more, though, she knows. No crystal ball or psychic would ever have been able to convince her, and yet amazingly, she knows. He will return. And, there is more. How Mulder would laugh to hear this. She knows their child will be a boy. Now her tears spill.
She reaches into her pocket for the tissue she usually has tucked away there, and instead her fingers encounter a small, hard object. She takes it out. When she sees what it is, she thinks she might be going mad. In the palm of her hand she holds a small seashell. It even has some sand on it. She shakes it off, and stares at it for a moment longer, and then she walks over to the night stand by the bed and lays it down, gently. Her heart is beating fast.
The robe she is wearing is an old one and it has accompanied her on trips to many places over the years. Maybe the little shell has been there for a long time. Maybe. Or maybe their fate has found her. This much she knows: That for the past month there has been no liking the night, not without him here. Now she will embrace it, and take what strength she can find in it. Her heart slows finally, and she returns to bed. "You were here tonight, " she whispers as she drifts back to sleep.
He hears her.
~ End ~
Next in series: Nine Minutes More
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This story is (c) Copyright 2000 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.