The Sound of a Train at Midnight
by little cat feet
Summary: They both have memories, and now they're making a new one.
Archive: feel free
Feedback: no, but thank you very much anyway
Kudos to my beta Goddess
"Do you hear that?" Scully murmured against him, drowsy from their lovemaking.
"What?" He stretched, enjoying the luxury of having her in his arms. It was a bliss in which they seldom dared indulge.
"Train," she mumbled.
Mulder was quiet for a long time, so long that she opened her eyes and fixed them on his solemn face. "Mulder?"
He shook his head slightly, quickly, as if discarding unwelcome thoughts. She suspected he was thinking of her abduction, and the train car where she'd been certain she was held, but that was so vague, so unreal to her now, that she simply couldn't associate it with the tranquil memories of her childhood.
"You like trains, do you, Scully?" he asked, his voice lightly teasing.
"When I was a kid, my Grandma Howard lived next door to a train track. Every time we'd visit, the train would come by in the middle of the night and wake us up."
"And that's a fond memory?" he queried, and in the dim light that made its way into the bedroom, she saw his raised eyebrows.
"Well, after a couple of nights, you got used to it. Of course," she allowed," then it was time to go home, and on the next visit, you had to get used to it all over again."
She propped herself up on her elbows, awake now. The fingers of one hand lightly stroked his arm. "I guess there's something comforting in the sound. Trains at night remind me of Grandma's cooking, and of my Aunt Julia, who always gave us money as we were leaving. She was sick, and stayed in her room most of the time, but as our parents were loading up the car, she'd come outside and dig around in this little coin purse she had and give us all a quarter."
"Aunt Julia was a big spender."
She grinned and playfully socked him in the stomach, then laughed at his mock, "Oof!"
"A quarter was riches to a kid back in those days, Mulder. Mom and Dad would stop at the dime store in town, and we'd all spend our money on something that they hoped would keep us quiet on the ride home. I remember one time Charlie bought a cap gun, and I really thought my father was going to throw it out the car window before an hour had passed." She smiled, her eyes closed, reminiscing. "Mom intervened. She promised him another quarter if he'd let her hold it all the way home. The next trip, we all bought cap guns."
Mulder couldn't help laughing at the mental image. "So money was more important to the Scully kids than the toys bought with Aunt Julia's present?"
"Wasn't money important to you when you were a kid?"
"Sometimes." He didn't elaborate, and Scully wondered if she had somehow opened an old wound. You never knew, with Mulder. He kept himself so private, even from her.
"What do trains mean to you?" she asked, still gently rubbing his strong forearm.
Mulder rolled over onto his stomach. "If you'll expand your area a bit, I'll tell you."
Scully sat up. "So the cost of getting this information out of you is a backrub? Come on, Mulder, you can just admit it. You're not subtle."
He didn't answer, just wriggled his shoulder blades in anticipation, and with a feigned sigh of exasperation, Scully began to massage. "All right, give," she ordered.
"Well, there weren't a lot of trains around when I was a kid. That's the way it is when you live on an island."
He smirked up at her, and she out-smirked his smirk. "If there isn't more to this story, your backrub is over."
"For me, it was sound of the ferry."
"A nice, pleasant whistle?"
"More like a commanding boom," he grinned. "But still, familiar and comfortable. Whenever my dad would go away on business, Sam and I would always listen for the ferry on the day he was to return. Sometimes it was after we'd been put to bed when we'd hear the horn. She'd sneak into my room and we'd whisper together, wondering what presents Dad had brought us. If we were really brave, we'd creep out onto the landing and listen to him and my mother talk."
"Did you ever hear anything good?"
His head moved slowly from side to side. "Nothing I wanted to hear," he told her soberly. "But that's not the point. The point is, until Samantha disappeared, there were good times even in my family. The sound of the ferry can still make me feel them."
Tears stung her eyes and she blinked them away. She stopped her massage and leaned forward, her naked chest against his soft back. "I'm glad," she whispered.
The train whistled again, closer now, and Mulder turned around to embrace her. He pulled her into his arms and tucked her head just below his chin. It was their favored position, one that fit them like a well-used glove.
"It's funny," he commented. "In all the years I've lived here, I don't think I've ever noticed that train before. I wonder how many times it's passed. Hundreds, probably. Maybe thousands. And it took a quiet night with you to make me hear."
"We'll make a new memory for you, Mulder. From now on, whenever you hear a train, you'll think of me, lying here with you. Years from now, if we should somehow be separated, that sound will bring us back together."
He pictured himself across the years, suddenly without her, and the image made him hold her more tightly still.
"I'd rather think of the here and now."
They lay in silence for a while, but the night was winding down and they both knew it. Finally, reluctantly, she pulled away.
"I have to go, Mulder."
He held on to her for another few seconds before whispering, "I know."
She dressed hastily in the near-darkness, her movements jerky as she fought against the swell of emotion that threatened to overwhelm her; she didn't want to leave him like this. He always seemed so alone and vulnerable when they parted. She'd see him at the office later that day, and his armor would be in place, but Scully would still think of him as defenseless, the way she saw him now.
She leaned over to kiss him, and he pulled her into an unexpectedly passionate embrace.
"One of these days, Scully," he promised fiercely. "One of these days we'll leave here and just be together. Somewhere safe."
But there was no safe place, that they both knew. Nonetheless, she kept up the myth.
"One of these days," she echoed, and then was gone.
Mulder lay in the darkness without her, swallowed a lump in his throat, and again heard the distant whistle.
He felt like crying, but instead bravery dictated the slight smile he forced himself to wear.
This memory would sustain him until the next stolen night, he knew.
Eventually, he even slept.
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
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