DISCLAIMER: They're still CC's. However, I am a firm believer
When you wish upon a star...dammit, now I owe Disney...
RATING: PG for language and really teeny M/K affection
SUMMARY: Scully reflects on what happened.
NOTES: Major thanks and big hugs to Lucy, who always makes me think (dammit), Sue, who puts up with my insecurity, and Row, who is so encouraging.
FEEDBACK: I welcome any comments and they are all much appreciated.
Lying V: Standing Still
Assistant Director Walter Skinner scowled as he looked across his desk at Agent Scully. He glanced at the empty chair next to her and, with a heavy sigh, glanced at the report in his hands.
"When you spoke to Agent Mulder did he tell you whether or not he was planning on being here this morning?" His voice was colored with a combination of sarcasm and frustration at the behavior of his errant agent.
"Yes, Sir. He said he would be here." Scully looked down and picked a piece of imaginary lint off her slacks. "I called him a little while ago at home and there was no answer. I also tried his cell phone but he wasn't picking up."
Skinner breathed out sharply and looked at his watch. "Perhaps he's on his way. Just tell me what happened last night."
"It's all detailed in the report, Sir."
"According to this, Alex Krycek went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance, you couldn't revive him, and when you did your autopsy some kind of toxin was discovered in his blood."
"Yes, Sir. Unfortunately, that's everything there is to tell."
"How did the toxin get into his system?"
"If I may speculate, I believe that someone must have gotten past the guard and injected the poison moments before he was to be transferred, ensuring he would die en route."
"How did they get past the guard?"
"I don't know. Whoever it was may have been able to sneak past the guard in all the confusion surrounding the move."
Skinner removed his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose, tired and slightly perplexed by the whole turn of events.
"Sir, if I may." Scully sat up. "I don't know how much Alex Krycek would have been able to help us. Perhaps it's for the best that he's no longer a thorn in our sides."
Surprised by Scully's words, Skinner hesitated a moment before replacing his glasses. "I can't say that I disagree with you, but I was glad to finally have him in custody where he belongs." He closed the file and eased back in his chair. "I also have to admit that I'm a little concerned about Agent Mulder's absence. Considering his interest, I'm surprised that he's not here demanding answers."
"Frankly, so am I. If he doesn't show soon, I may go by his apartment to see if everything's okay."
Skinner narrowed his eyes and studied the face of the woman in front of him. Thinly veiled concern filled her eyes and he wondered if there was more to the situation than what was apparent. "Is there something you need to tell me, Agent Scully?"
She raised her eyebrows slightly. "No, Sir, though I must admit that I'm feeling a little apprehensive about the fact that he's not answering his cell phone."
"Okay, why don't you go now."
"Thank you, Sir." Scully stood up and quickly walked out of the office.
I breathed a tremendous sigh of relief once I was out of Skinner's office. Mulder had told me he was going to be here this morning, but considering what happened, I couldn't say I was all that surprised that he didn't come in. Since I wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen now, I decided to go to his apartment and see if he was still there.
Knocking on the door, I listened for any sign that he was inside and just not answering me. Once I was satisfied that he really wasn't home, I opened the door using the key he'd given me.
"Mulder?" I called out to the empty apartment anyway.
Nothing seemed to be missing and all his things were still in place. I walked into the living room and saw that he had cleaned the papers off his desk, leaving three envelopes. One was addressed to the Lone Gunmen, one was addressed to AD Skinner, and the last one was for me. As I opened the envelope and took out the handwritten letter, I thought about the events which had led me to this moment. Everything had happened so quickly, I still wasn't sure if I could comprehend what happened last night or if I would ever fully understand the implications of what I'd done. I read the letter Mulder had left for me and as the finality of his words sank in, I came to the realization that I'd seen him for the last time.
To say I had been ecstatic that Alex Krycek was finally in custody, would be an understatement. Thanks to a fortuitous chain of events, the person who had caused so much pain to me and my family was going to be brought to justice. When I called Mulder to tell him that Krycek was in the hospital, I did so with the excitement and zeal of someone who is calling a good friend to share fantastic news. As far as I was concerned, this *was* fantastic news and I had no reason to believe it would be received by Mulder as anything else. I took his silence upon hearing of the accident to be a reasonable reaction to the information I had given him.
After I'd hung up the phone, my thoughts had turned to Mulder's devastating loss at the hands of this man and I hoped that the news of Krycek's capture would help him achieve some sort of closure about his father's death. It was for this reason that it didn't seem all that strange when he'd shown up at the hospital so desperate to see Alex. The panic I'd heard in his voice had seemed slightly out of place, but I'd dismissed it as merely a sign of what Krycek's being in custody meant to both of us. I took his state to be an indication of how much he wanted to face the man responsible for killing his father and aiding in my abduction. In fact, I had been so concerned about what his reaction would be when he saw Krycek, that I wanted to be there when he did finally come face to face with him. At Mulder's frantic insistence I took him to Alex's room and saw him inside. It didn't occur to me to question the anxious haste with which he entered.
Mulder never knew that I watched him while he was in Alex's room. Afraid that he would go into a blind rage, I kept the door open enough for me to see if he made any move to hurt the injured man, ready to stop him if he did. Instead of the anger I'd expected, I saw him walk over to the bed and sit down next to it, taking Krycek's hand in his own. There was a moment when my brain wouldn't register what I was seeing and I stood frozen as he gently stroked and caressed the other man's hand with his own. I even heard him murmur something, but couldn't quite make it out. It wasn't until I saw my partner kiss the hand of this criminal that I was shocked enough to retreat and close the door. I was so stunned, all I could hear was the blood pounding in my ears and at first I couldn't tell if I was sad or angry or both.
A million questions were running around my head as I tried to force my mind to make sense of what I'd seen. There was no way it could mean what I thought it did. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me or I had imagined it. Or maybe Mulder had found it in his heart to forgive Krycek for his crimes and this was his way of dealing with it ... Dammit, I knew I was reaching. I had to face the fact that now was not the time for me to stop believing what I'd seen with my own eyes. The display I'd witnessed had nothing to do with some newfound sense of forgiveness or coping or any other bullshit I was trying to talk myself into. I had always prided myself on my rationality and there were many times it had been a bone of contention between me and Mulder. Now that I was attempting to ignore it because I didn't want to acknowledge the obvious, I wondered if Mulder would appreciate the irony. As difficult as it was to admit, I knew what Mulder's actions in Krycek's room meant.
I had never given much thought to Mulder's sexuality. I'd heard the rumors floating around about the two of us, so when I also heard rumors about him being interested in men, I dismissed them as simply more gossip. It was such a non-issue for me that when I saw the intimacy with which he touched the other man, I wasn't shocked by it. What knocked the wind out of me was the fact that he was showing such affection toward someone who had hurt so many people and was supposed to be his sworn enemy. Goddammit, Mulder, how could you?
With tremendous effort, I restrained my instinct to storm into the room and ask Mulder if he was out of his damn mind. Before I did anything that drastic, I attempted to distract myself by seeking out one of the police officers investigating the accident. If I could find out more details about what had happened, I would have something substantial to talk to Mulder about. The police officer confirmed that it had been an attempt on Alex's life and I knew I should do the right thing and let Mulder know. Ignoring the part of my brain that was screaming 'How can he care about Alex Krycek for fuck's sake?', I walked into the room. I made sure to make enough noise to alert him to the fact that I was coming in so I wouldn't have to see more than necessary. Maybe if I acted as if nothing was out of the ordinary, I could feign ignorance until it was safe for me to go home and digest this new information.
Mulder was standing with his back to me when I entered the room and when he asked me about Alex's condition, I could tell by the ragged and spent sound of his voice that he'd been crying. I proceeded to tell him what I knew but didn't sugar coat anything, not wanting to alert him to the fact that I knew about the nature of his relationship with the man that by all rights he should want to see dead. His reaction to my words could not have been predicted. When I saw him reach out for Alex's hand and kiss it with such love and tenderness, I was shocked and felt my heart breaking at the fact that he could have allowed himself to be taken in by this man. As I continued to watch him, however, I was struck by the revelation that, as much as I didn't want to face it, he really did love him. With the acceptance of this fact, my feelings of hurt and betrayal passed, leaving behind the knowledge that whether or not I could come to terms with what Mulder was doing was not the point. What mattered was that my partner was in pain because someone he cared about was seriously injured and I should be there for him. I hushed the confused thoughts running through my mind and allowed my love for him to win out for the time being.
Later, when we discussed it privately, I was no longer able to stifle the questions and hurt that were bubbling beneath the surface and I pointed out every reason I could think of for why the two of them should not be together. I don't know why I did that. It's not as if anything I said would suddenly make Mulder think he'd made a mistake and shouldn't be with Krycek. The best thing for me to do was to support Mulder and let him know that whatever he needed me for, I would be there. When I examined my feelings and motives for saying that to him, I was not surprised to find that I meant it. I love Mulder in a way that goes beyond the affection of a woman for a man or one partner for another. It's so much more rooted in feelings of respect, shared pain, and a need to protect him from whatever would hurt him. I knew he felt the same way about me. That's why it didn't surprise me that there was no question I'd go to the mat for him when he asked me to help him with Alex. For once I listened to my heart when it gave me the permission my head never would.
I was getting ready for work when I received the call from Mulder telling me that Alex was going to be moved sooner than he'd thought and the sound of his voice made my heart break. He sounded like a man who was watching his world spin out of control and no one was willing or able to help him. All I knew at that point was that Alex was being moved and I was to accompany him in the ambulance. Mulder made some cryptic comment about trying to find a way to delay it and hung up.
When I went into work as usual, Skinner called me into his office.
"I'm sure Agent Mulder has already informed you of my decision to move Alex Krycek tonight."
I nodded, waiting to see what else he would tell me before I revealed any details of my conversation with Mulder.
"He has asked that you be allowed to escort the prisoner and I agreed."
"Sir, may I ask why you made that concession?"
His lips twisted into a wry expression somewhere between a smirk and a tired smile. "I trust you to be a little more emotionally detached than Agent Mulder. If anything should happen to him, I know that your account will be both objective and truthful."
"Are you saying that you do not trust Agent Mulder to be honest with regard to his contact with Krycek? I don't think that's a fair statement to make, sir."
He sighed the same way I'd heard a hundred times before whenever Mulder and I sat in front of him and presented him with an unsolved or unbelievable report. His eyes had never looked quite this tired, though, and I wondered if it was an indication that his concern went beyond the professional.
"It's not a case of honesty, Agent Scully. I do not want to allow Agent Mulder to be in a position to behave in a reckless manner that may be a threat to his career and quite possibly his life."
"With all due respect, don't you think Agent Mulder is capable of making his own decisions? Does he really need you to protect him?"
I could not read the look on his stern face, but his lack of response was enough to stop me from pushing it any further. "Sir, if there isn't anything else..."
"No, there isn't. Thank you for your time."
I walked out of his office and went downstairs to work on some reports that I still had to finish. It was extremely difficult to concentrate as I imagined what Mulder was going through as he tried to find a way to stop the inevitable. His phone call was a welcome distraction from the work I wasn't getting done and as I greeted him, a comforting feeling of familiarity washed over me. It was soon replaced by a wave of apprehension when he said we should meet because he had something urgent to tell me.
He led me to a booth at the back of the dingy, unfamiliar diner. As we sat down, the first thing he said was that I didn't have to help him. Even as the words fell from his mouth, I watched a cruel mixture of desperation and hope flicker across his face, finally settling in his eyes. I knew he meant what he said, but I also knew that I couldn't allow him to go through this alone. I shook my head at him.
"Mulder, I'm not going to abandon you now. What do you need?"
He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a page from a legal pad which had his mad scribblings all over it and put it on the table. Indicating the yellow paper in front of him, he smiled. "This is the plan."
I leaned forward, my eyes narrow as I studied his face, looking for any indication that he was joking. "Did you say plan?"
He nodded his head and turned the paper around so I could read it for myself. Not able to make any sense of the names and numbers, I asked him what exactly this was a plan for.
"To free Alex."
Those three words were enough to make me catch my breath. Mulder was ready to break the law for this man and he was asking me to help him do it. Before I could allow my better judgment to kick in and recite chapter and verse about why this would never work and shouldn't be attempted, I sat back and took a good look at the man sitting across from me. I knew that if the roles were reversed he'd help me without giving it second thought. I also knew he'd never ask me to be a part of something that would put me in any jeopardy.
"What do I have to do?"
His face lit up when he realized I would help him. "Everything's been arranged, but since I can't be anywhere near the hospital, I need to you to make sure a few things happen."
"I'm sure that there is going to be an armed guard who will have orders to ride in the ambulance despite the fact that you're there. I need you to make sure that he or she sits up front and that you're in the back with one of the paramedics. About ten minutes into the transfer, the two of you are going to pretend that Alex is having some kind of attack. You'll need to declare him dead and order the ambulance turned around and taken back to the hospital so you can perform an autopsy. The paramedic will have a false autopsy report for you to file."
I frowned. "Mulder, what if they don't allow me to perform the autopsy myself?"
"You'll inform them that this is a federal matter and since his death is suspicious, you don't want anyone else involved until it can be cleared up."
"So you're telling me to flash my badge in their faces and tell them to get the hell out of the way."
He nodded, a sly grin spreading across his face. "That's basically what I'm telling you, yes."
"What if it doesn't work?"
"It's risky, but it has to work. You can't let anyone else close to him. I trust you."
I swallowed hard and felt my heart racing as I thought about what would happen if this were discovered. I couldn't allow myself the luxury of worry now, however. Mulder was already counting on me to help him pull this off and I'd be damned if I'd let my own fear get in the way.
"Okay, so I'll have him back at the hospital. What then?"
"This is when it starts to get complicated."
I raised an eyebrow, slightly incredulous at his understatement. "Starts?"
"Just bear with me." He looked at his sheet of paper and trailed his finger down the page until he got to what he was looking for. "There will be another body there that will be tagged as Alex's and will be buried under his name."
"Mulder, where is the other body going to come from? And what about the funeral home?"
He hesitated then told me that the funeral home would not be a problem and that the body, procured from the medical school, would be wrapped to go. I rolled my eyes and told him to continue, ignoring all the nagging doubts that insisted on letting their voices be heard.
"An orderly named Jacob is going to be there to take Alex out a side door to a fully equipped van that will take him to a safe place until I can get to him."
"Mulder, how can you be sure that no one's going to say anything?"
"Let's just say it's costing a lot to do this."
I looked down at the scratched surface of the table, ready to tell him I couldn't do it. No matter how much I tried to tell myself that I wanted to help him, I just could not take this kind of risk.
"You don't have to say anything, Scully," he reached across the table and took my hand. "You don't know how much this means to me." He smiled. "I don't know, maybe you do. I've waited so long for him to be with me, for us to really be together, and now this just seems like some horrible practical joke the fates have decided to play on us."
I listened to what he said, deliberately avoiding his eyes, not wanting to see the hope that I'd put there by agreeing to be a part of this.
"I never thought the day would come when I'd need someone in my life so much, I'd die if anything happened to him. I feel ridiculous saying that to you."
I looked at him. "Why?"
"Look who I'm saying it about, Scully. I know you still have your doubts and you're only doing this for me, but I wish there were some way to persuade you to do it for him too." He paused and I could feel his effort to keep the tears out of his voice. "I've asked so much of you already, I can't ask you to do that too."
"Mulder, what's going to happen if this doesn't work?"
"I can't think about that."
I blew out a slow breath and closed my eyes. There was no way I could tell him that I'd changed my mind. He had so much more riding on this than I did. I only wished that I would one day have that kind of love in my life. "It'll work."
"Can you call me tonight and let me know how things went?"
"Of course. You aren't going to be in the van with Alex?"
"I don't want to risk being seen here. And I think if my phone lines are being tapped, having you call me to tell me what happened one way or the other will help if anyone finds out anything somehow."
"How did you know who you could get involved with this?"
"Would you believe our good friends the Lone Gunmen have some very interesting contacts?"
"You told them about you and Alex? What did they say?"
"Well, I needed to make sure they could understand how important it was to me to get help and come up with a way to get him free. Frohike was especially pleased that there was no competition from me for your affection."
"Oh, god." I smiled as I thought about the funny little man who, along with his cohorts, was always willing to help Mulder. "They took it better than I did, I assume." I felt ashamed that I hadn't been more receptive when I found out about Mulder and Krycek, but I couldn't do anything to change that now.
"Well, I think Byers might have wondered if I'd lost my mind, but he didn't hesitate to jump in and help."
"Scully, thank you for doing this. I owe you so much and I'll never be able to repay you."
"Just be careful once the two of you are together. Will you let me know what you're going to do?"
"I think that maybe the less you know after tonight, the better."
I was a little disappointed that he wasn't going to tell me what would happen but I could see his point.
"I should be going then. I'll call you tonight to let you know what happens."
"Thank you, Scully."
As we both stood up to leave, he held my arm and pulled me into a warm, tight hug. I could feel his heart beating frantically in his chest and held on to him until he let me go. Smiling, I walked away and left him behind. It was the last time I saw him.
His letter to me was short and sweet but didn't reveal anything about his and Alex's whereabouts. I tore it up and put it in my pocket so I could get rid of it later. As I looked around his deserted apartment, it didn't feel like he was never coming back. All his things were still here, waiting for him to walk in the front door at any moment. That wasn't going to happen.
I picked up the other two letters so I could deliver them personally. As I opened the front door to leave, I took one last look around and said a silent prayer that they would be okay wherever they were.
"Bye, Mulder," I whispered then closed the door behind me.