"Saints and Martyrs"
By Viridian5
3/25/99

RATING: R; M/K. If m/m interaction bothers you, leave now. SPOILERS: "Apocrypha," "The Red and the Black," and "The Ghosts Who Stole Christmas."
SUMMARY: Some things end, while some new ones begin. DISTRIBUTION: Anywhere, as long as you ask me first. FEEDBACK: Hell, yes. Feedback can be sent to Viridian5@aol.com
DISCLAIMERS: All things X-Files belong to Chris Carter, Ten Thirteen Productions, and 20th Century Fox. No infringement intended.
WARNING: A certain event in this story will really bother some people. I don't feel comfortable revealing important plot developments up here, but I think you get what I'm hinting at. If you think you might be one of those folks, skip this. If you're really curious, find out if anyone you know read this and ask them if you should give it a try.
NOTES: I got the original idea and started this in May '98 but couldn't find the strength to finish it until now. By some perfect coincidence, my brother's girlfriend was playing the Cure's _Distintegration_ album downstairs as I wrote this. Beta by the ever-stunning Ladonna.


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"Saints and Martyrs"
By Viridian5
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I'd been dreaming of having Mulder's head in my lap again for the longest time. I never wanted it like this. I should remember to watch what I wished for.

His shallow breathing had a gurgling sound under it. No matter how much pressure I put on his wound, his life still pumped out from under my fingers in a raw, red current. The deathly cold concrete beneath us greedily drank his blood. The light of a flashlight I'd propped up on his chest showed glassy eyes and a face gone dangerously pale, with a thin crimson stream at the edge of his lower lip. He'd stopped trying to find a comfortable position for his head against my prosthesis ages ago.

There would be no help coming for him. He'd ditched his partner hours ago to meet me, so none of his allies had a clue about his whereabouts. My attempts to yell out the small, boarded-up basement windows had brought the mobsters back downstairs to shoot me again from the stairs before kicking in my ribs a few times. That meant that my breathing didn't sound that much better than Mulder's, but I could tell that I wouldn't die from any of my wounds, which I'd wrapped with scraps torn from my T-shirt. They'd nailed him with a lucky shot at the start, and they hadn't even cared about him.

I never tended to accept blame for anything, but I couldn't escape the feeling that this was my fault. These were my enemies, not his, for once. If I hadn't called him to set up a meeting... Hell, I hadn't even had any information; I just hadn't been able to resist another chance to fuck with his head. It wasn't like he hadn't always enjoyed that...

The Russian mob had become more professional since I'd last tangled with them; they'd gotten the drop on us without my noticing until far too late. Mulder and I had ducked most of the bullets that had followed, but one had taken him in the chest, not too far from his heart, and another had punched through my shoulder. They'd taken advantage of our new weakness to catch up and beat the shit out of us before disarming us, throwing us in the trunk of one of their cars, and bringing us here, wherever here was. Then they'd thrown us downstairs into the basement, presumably to deal with us later.

I'd generously let Mulder land on me since he'd been more seriously hurt. It hadn't made much of a difference.

He'd been drifting in and out of consciousness since then, and I'd talked non-stop to try to prevent him from fading away altogether. I'd started out saying things that had meaning, but eventually, as fatigue and fear settled further in, I'd been reduced to mumbling nonsense in English or Russian, whatever came first from my lips.

I stroked his hair, which the idiot had cut short again. It was only slightly longer now than it had been while we'd been partners. While we'd been lovers. We hadn't been this close without trying to confuse or beat the hell out of one another since then. That fleeting kiss after I'd told him about the alien war had been too brief to count. Besides, I'd done it more to stun him into letting me leave without a fight than out of affection.

I'd always figured I'd be the one to die a brutal, meaningless death; at least Mulder would be murdered in the course of his lunatic quest for the truth. This... wasn't right.

I had to be fatigued if I was thinking that this wasn't fair. What the hell was fair?

I told him what I'd do to our attackers as soon as they came back down. After that orgy of torture and murder, I'd carry him out and get him medical attention. I didn't say that they'd probably shoot me from the stairs again, or that he'd probably bleed to death even if I did manage to get him out. I think he knew all that already.

"Alex," he said so softly that I wouldn't have been able to hear him if he hadn't been so close. I looked down at him.

He had this look on his face... It made my chest hurt and reminded me, stupidly enough, of church. I hadn't gone to church until after my father had brought us to this country. Religion had been against official doctrine, but its houses of worship had always struck me as beautiful. I remembered the bright gold and vibrant colors of the icons. I'd been fascinated by the odd beauty in the loving depictions of the righteous being tortured to death by the heathens. That was how most saints achieved sainthood: through torment and an early death.

His expression reminded me of what I'd seen in the faces of those representations of martyred saints, that calm exultation. Certainty and ecstasy.

"You can't fucking do this to me," I said with a harsh edge to my voice. "All the things you've survived..."

His voice already sounded like a ghost. "Alex, kiss me."

I was never one to do what I was told, but I got the feeling that this would be my last chance. The dust down here permeated everything so strongly that even his cold lips tasted of it under the flavor of his own blood. After a quick brush, I tried to pull away, but in a last fit of strength his arms encircled me and pulled me closer. His tongue pushed gently against my mouth, asking for entry, and I decided what the hell, why not?

We kissed deeply, hungrily, all the more avid for knowing this would be the final time. I could swear I felt his breath swirl through my mouth, giving me the insane notion that I could keep him alive by breathing for him. I tried, but it wasn't enough. All too soon he stopped breathing entirely, and his body went slack against me.

But I didn't let him go for the longest time, still unable to believe that he had survived so much to die like this, so stupidly and pointlessly. Finally I pulled away, and, impossible as it sounded, his mouth slowly closed once mine had left. He looked peaceful, happy.

Then I felt a strange warmth start to permeate my body. I didn't know what the hell was wrong and had panicked thoughts of somehow being possessed by that damned oilslick again. But this didn't feel the same. That had been like being pulled under by a dark, cold undertow that moved me like a puppet. This didn't interfere with my control of myself, and it brought me strength and felt like honeyed sunlight and... love?

Stupid. I was losing it.

Then I saw something that made me certain I was insane. But, at the same time, I knew exactly what I had to do.

******************************************************

>From Dana Katherine Scully's private journal, February 7, 2002:

I haven't written a diary entry in this book in so long. All those years of filling out our case files in the certainty that Mulder's version of events would sound too insane had burned away the desire to write about my days and thoughts in a private journal. In the three years following his death I'd felt too numb and harried to do anything other than fall to bed, exhausted, every night.

But tonight I've been sitting here, staring at an impossible note, for three hours now. Maybe writing down my jumbled thoughts and the strange events of the day will help me make sense of them, show me that everything has a rational explanation after all.

The information Krycek had provided and the fall and exposure of the Conspiracy had forced me to believe in aliens. I won't believe in ghosts too.

I'll start at the point where everything still made sense. Of a sort.

I'd been walking through the hall on my way to the room where I'd see the end of it all at last. I kept telling myself that this was the final one but still couldn't believe it. After three years of investigations, hearings, trials, and executions, today would finish it. Over those years I'd witnessed every execution of every conspirator who--through will, greed, blindness, delusion, or a simple unwillingness to stick his neck out to put an end to it--had victimized me and so many other innocents. After this last death I would be able to get on with my life, or so I told myself.

I'd thought back to the beginning of the end, that surprising 911 call from Alex Krycek. For some reason, he'd asked for me by name. Among many other things, he'd told the operator that they'd killed Mulder, and he'd made them pay...

When we'd arrived and walked inside the house, we'd been stunned by the devastation that had greeted us. Something had torn through the house and Russian mobsters with the strength and destructive force of a tornado. Blood and debris had littered the floor. We still haven't figured out how he'd done some of it. We'd found Krycek in the upstairs bedroom, sitting dead-eyed near Mulder's body, which he had arranged on the bed as if for burial with Mulder's hands folded together in what had appeared to be prayer. My partner had looked so peaceful... Even with all the police around, it had taken all my strength to hold myself back from shooting the bastard as he'd loomed over Mulder.

Confused and dazed, Krycek had let us lead him away without a fight. His eyes had refused to focus on us, seeming to be fixed inward instead. The official consensus had been that he'd gone insane.

God knew, seeing Mulder's corpse had almost driven me that way myself. Only the thought of unfinished duty had kept me going. Even so, I'd still felt haunted by his presence, occasionally heard his voice, and expected every ring on my cell phone and late night phone call to be him for months afterward. At least our banishment from the downstairs office had made things a bit easier on me. I couldn't have dealt with trying to clear his things out of that office, which had been so completely *his*...

But I'm digressing.

It hadn't taken long for the investigation to support what Krycek had told us over the phone. He hadn't killed Mulder. And, insane or not, Krycek had started to prove himself useful beyond anyone's wildest expectations. Once in custody, he'd willingly told us everything he knew. Everything. Every name and place and bit of evidence he'd known of. He'd shown an unerring gift for knowing which links in the conspiracy's chain would snap under pressure and lead us to more. It had amazed me how many people were involved and how few of them knew the whole truth of what they belonged to, how many versions of the Conspiracy existed. Krycek had explained that as the way the Conspiracy had survived, with no one person able to bring it down.

I'd often wished that Mulder had lived to see it, but I got the feeling that if he had, this never would have happened.

It had turned out that Krycek wasn't even really Krycek. He had been born Alexander Kochevikov in Leningrad, a citizen of the USSR. His parents, deep cover agents, had immigrated with him to the United States when he had been eight years old. Depending on how you felt about him, you could say that he had been born to treachery or that he'd never been given a choice.

Over time, I'd come around to the second way of thinking.

That didn't matter to the government. He would be executed for treason with the rest of the conspirators. Too many old men in power, still longing for the good old days of the Cold War, were thanking God that they'd been given one last Commie bastard to put to death. Krycek's appeals, his insistence that he'd been taken advantage of while he'd still been too much in shock to cut a deal, fell on deaf ears.

My pleas for him had been as much use. My original refusal to involve myself had crumbled under the feeling that Mulder would never forgive me for

Damn. I'm telling things out of order again. I'm stronger than this.

A few months after Krycek's incarceration I'd been given a chance to see him. Alone. The cameras would be running, and officers would be next door waiting eagerly for the chance to beat him down if he made a move for me, but I'd be in the room alone with him.

I'd asked him what had really happened in that house, how Mulder had died, and why he'd spilled everything he'd known for no reward. Krycek had *looked* at me in a way that had seemed so familiar to me yet utterly alien to him. Then he'd asked, "Do you believe in ghosts, Scully?" The tone had been a perfect mirror of Mulder's similar question to me the first day I'd met him.

Then I could swear that I'd seen him myself. Mulder. Wearing the suit and trenchcoat he'd worn the day he'd died, sitting and looking very companionable on the cot next to Alex Krycek, with his head leaning on Krycek's shoulder and such a look of desperate hope in his eyes...

I'd refused it all: the thought of his unquiet spirit walking the earth, the picture of tenderness I saw before me. I'd fallen prey to the power of suggestion and my own hope that he wasn't truly gone forever. "If thinking you're haunted by Mulder's ghost helps you tell us the things we need to bring your bosses down, then you can believe what you like, Krycek. But you can't fool me into letting down my guard for an instant."

My denial hadn't made Mulder disappear, and he'd looked disappointed but rueful. Krycek had nodded. "He'd figured you say something like that."

I'd left the room in a hurry and tried to tell myself I hadn't been fleeing.

When I'd watched the camera footage later, the tape hadn't shown a trace of Mulder's presence. But every time I'd seen Krycek after that, I'd also seen Mulder near him. And looking so strangely affectionate.

The sound of sirens had interrupted my train of thought and passage to Krycek's execution. A guard had then pulled me aside and into a room to wait. The warden had locked down the prison as the guards had searched for the escapee. No one would tell me anything no matter how many times I'd flashed my badge, but I'd known who'd escaped.

Into the fifth hour of the ten I'd waited, I'd put my hand into my coat pocket and heard something rustle. I'd pulled out a common piece of paper with writing on it. It had said:

*2/7/02
Scully,

I don't expect you to believe--not even our Christmas excursion made you believe in ghosts--but please read this.

Alex has finished all my unfinished business, but I'm still here, to my endless surprise. And he doesn't mind, to my further surprise.

The initial transfer had shocked the hell out of us both, since neither of us had expected it. If it hadn't, Alex wouldn't have been so zombified that he'd just meekly allowed himself to be incarcerated. Three years... I blame myself.

Anyway, he's no saint, and he sure as hell is no martyr. He's mine, and I'm his, and he doesn't want to die. *I* don't want him to die.

We're long gone by now. I've learned the ropes over the last three years, more than enough to get us free without getting anyone hurt.

Get on with your life, be happy, and we'll be happy and get on with ours. Goodbye, Dana, and don't ever forget that I love you.

Love,
Mulder*

It had even been written in his almost illegible handwriting. It's still with me, and I'm still staring at it now. Evidence.

This isn't any more rational now than it was when I'd started writing, but maybe it makes its own kind of sense.

Maybe believing in ghosts is just humanity's way of trying to comfort itself. Maybe that's not such a bad thing.

I believe that his work is done, and he's happy at last. Maybe... maybe that's enough.

He's moved on. Now, so can I.


**********************THE END***********************


More Viridian5 stories can be found in The Green Room at http://members.tripod.com/~drovar/viridian/