Title: Notes from the Underground
Author: Ellie (email@example.com) Rating: G
Category: VA, implied MSR
Summary: Scully's journal entries, post-Trust No 1 Through the rest of S9.
Author's Notes are at the end of the story. Thanks to XScribe for the beta and assurance I was not being too obtuse in my references.
January 16, 2002
It has been six days since I emailed you. No response had arrived in my inbox, and I presumed that our illfated reunion had put an end to the feasibility of any contact between us. Yet when I returned from work today, my super presented me with a package bearing only the return address and ornate crest of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I will admit that fear was my first reaction to the package. Recently I have begun jumping at shadows and creaks of the hardwood floors in the night; certainly an anonymous package delivered to my home was reason to be cautious. I nearly took William to my mother's before I dared touch it, but I am glad I left him in his bassinet.
When I removed the beautifully gift-wrapped box from the packaging, I noticed that it was addressed to William from his daddy, and I was overcome. Even without opening it, I am not ashamed to admit that tears threatened. When I tore off the blue paper to reveal the stuffed animal inside, I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to weep. It seems appropriate that while other infants have their Teddies and Elmos, our son has an eponymously named Egyptian hippopotamus. Did you realize the faience blue is the color of his eyes when he's happy?
In my delight over William's gift, I nearly overlooked my own. The postcard had slipped to the bottom of the box, and the earthy tones blended into the packing. Only the lead white of the subject's dress announced its presence to me. Reading your writing on the back of Vermeer's 'Allegory of the Faith' was difficult through my tears. I am saving the postcard here, so that when you return to me, you can tell me who composed the verses that you hastily scrawled across the back.
Days of absence, sad and dreary,
Clothed in sorrow's dark array,
Days of absence, I am weary,
She I love is far away.
January 23, 2002
Only a week has passed, and I have already received a three-postcard bouquet from you. How have you sent me 'Irises' from Atlanta, 'Oleanders' from Chicago, and 'Cypresses' from Detroit in such a short time? I worry about the paper trail you are leaving, but the cities are such travel hubs that I hope you are merely dropping your notes in the mail while waiting for your connection. These will be saved, cherished. You only need to identify the oleander quote this time.
William and William have become inseparable. He has always been a good baby, but now he cries when he cannot have his hippo. I fear that you have sent not just a gift, but your personality. I should not complain about that; it is your personality that I love.
But me, I'm still on the road
Headin for another joint
We always did feel the same,
We just saw it from a different point of view, Tangled up in blue
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
February 7, 2002
Two weeks passed without a word from you, and the one I received today came in a bright orange box with a very expensive label. You are on the run for your life, for our son's life, for the future of the world. A stuffed toy for William and a few postcards sent from train stations are one thing, but how on earth can you afford the exposure and expense that comes with sending me a Herms scarf from Paris? What are you doing in Paris to buy me such a thing in the first place? While the silk Milky Way is stunning, it was absolutely unnecessary. If you were here, I would make you return it and do a neurological exam to see if the last of your good sense had finally fled.
I'm wearing it to work tomorrow.
February 8, 2002
It strikes me as overly dramatic--even for you--to send me a postcard of Michelangelo's 'Dying Slave.' It, like yesterday's scarf, was postmarked from Paris. I can only wonder at your business there; we've never had any indication of threat there. Perhaps it is not that there is a threat, but that it is a haven from the dangers you have been facing? I would love to pick up a telephone or compose an email to ask you, but know it's not safe to do so. I have no address, even if I would like to send you a postcard in return. It is safer that way, but that knowledge does not make the fact easier to bear.
There is something comforting in seeing your sloppy scrawl, smudged ink and all, on these postcards. I do not know whether these verses have all been songs, or are also poems. This one, like the first, I cannot identify, though it has a hint of the familiar. Shakespeare, I think, to add another William to the mix. I am certain none of it is your work. For all your flights of fancy, you have never been inclined towards the poetic.
From you I have been absent in the spring ...
Yet seem'd it winter still, and, you away, As with your shadow I with these did play.
February 14, 2002
With your usual timing, a postcard arrived for me today. Certainly nothing could be more appropriate than the Venus de Milo, or dearer to me than knowing you are thinking of me. I had seen you print rather than write so rarely that I could barely identify it as yours, but the method of transmission left no doubt. The only gift that would be more treasured would be you at my side as I write this.
In your stead, I have the other man in my life. He's curled asleep next to his William, who is now slightly worse for the loving. One of his legs has a strange orange stain, whose origins even I can't determine, and his tail is looking a bit frayed. Our son goes to sleep listening to stories of our adventures together, which can be no more harmful to him than listening to tales of wolves eating girls or witches cooking children. Tonight I told him about being lost in the Florida swamps, singing because you wanted me to. Though I am sure I may just as well read my JAMA out loud to him, for all he understands. It is the tone of voice, rather than the words themselves.
The words you send to me are charmingly appropriate. Love notes about Pythagoras and atoms hark back to our years of brainy, bantering courtship. Between anyone else, it would make me laugh, but between us, it is right. It reminds me that you will come back to us, and I will make you sing these words to me.
They knew it, the fervent pupils of Pythagoras: that stars and men revolve in a cycle;
the fateful atoms will bring back the vital gold Aphrodite, Thebans and agoras.
February 20, 2002
Have you been to see the art you are sending me in miniature? I show it all to William, and tell him you are, and that one day we will all go together to see it. Do you know that beyond a few trips to Tijuana in high school, my only trips out of the country have been to the ends of the earth with you? It would be delightful to stand next to you, staring at the 'Raft of the Medusa' and trying not to smirk as you whisper Melville in my ear. Or, more probably, some distasteful comment about cannibalism that would threaten to send me into a fit of giggles that would be suppressed in favor of chastising you for your poor taste.
I am lonely here without you. Work is not the same without you here to challenge me on it, and the frustrations of teaching are not the same frustrations that plagued me in working with you. I can only hope that you are journeying homeward, to William and me. Yet I fear a Prague postmark means you are only traveling farther away. Keep going far enough west, and you will circle the world and return to us.
Life's a voyage that's homeward bound.
March 13, 2002
Our son is missing. I have cried out all my rage and grief, hugging that silly hippo to my chest. I am alone in my silent apartment with my despair and a stuffed animal in the place of our son. These past two years have been the hardest of my life--harder even than the year of my cancer. Then, everything was self-contained, but for all we never spoke about it, your hand was always on the small of my back when I needed that extra help but wouldn't ask. I need that now, and after this emotional tilt-a-whirl, my emotions are so close to the surface that I would be willing to ask. Yet I cannot. You are halfway around the world, and I must find comfort in a few words of Shakespeare on the back of Da Vinci. It is not enough this time.
I want you here, running off half-cocked into the night with the Gunmen and returning with our son. The usual suspects were rounded up and no answers were found and Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile reveals nothing to me.
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
April 1, 2002
It seems apt that on April Fool's Day I am tangled in a web of deceit and half-truths. A man appeared, refusing to give his name, who has convinced everyone with a DNA test that he was you. I know otherwise; you would not play such coy games with me after this much time, and you would not have looked so perplexedly at the Williams in the crib. I know in the very depths of my soul the smile that would have crossed your face in that moment, and it was nowhere to be found. How can I explain that logically to everyone else?
I could tell them that you have been sending me these postcards and poems, and that I just received one today. Surely a man who mailed a postcard from Moscow last Wednesday is not now sitting on my sofa. It is not the note of a man who is coming home. You would not send me 'The Astronomer,' contemplating the intricacies of mapping the heavens and quoting Millay, if you were on your way home to me.
Yet I must wonder who this man is who shares such a close genetic relationship to you. If I contemplate the heavens, will I find my answers there? Can we both look up at the stars and navigate our ways back to each other?
Where you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling into at night. I miss you like hell.
April 3, 2002
William is gone. No decision in my life has ever been so hard as letting my sweet baby go. Gone to strangers, in an unknown place, under an unknown name. But, I hope, a safer life awaits him there. Here he came under too much threat, too much of a risk. You and I may not like what our lives have lead us to, but we have made a conscious choice in the matter; he did not ask for this, and I will not see him subjected to the kind of life Emily had. I may never see him again, but I know he will have a better life for it.
I can't say that I will. I don't know where I've found the strength for it. I feel as if I've been splintered into a million pieces, never to be reformed. You can quote me Virgil 'til you're blue in the face and I'll not believe this will ever be a pleasant memory. Knowing it is the right choice doesn't mean I have to be happy with it.
You've now sent me Dante and Virgil, journeying through hell. A more appropriate image could not be found. I've been to hell and back--we both have-- several times now. I can't do it any more, and I can't do it alone. Come back to me, so that if I must endure this, it will not be alone.
Perhaps even these things, one day, will be pleasing to remember.
April 30, 2002
I can only hope that the unicorn you sent me from New York two days ago means that you are coming home to me. It certainly seems a hopeful sign. Do you somehow know all that has happened, and how much I need you now?
I don't know that it's safe for you to return, though. While I have heard nothing more about the pursuit of William, and I presume he is safe, it still seems you are a prime target. No matter how much we may need each other now, I fear it will not end without a violent struggle.
You may be wiser in this than I, having spent the last months working to resolve everything. Perhaps you have. Perhaps you will appear on my doorstep tomorrow, and we can ride off into the sunset together.
If only our lives worked that way.
We shall find peace. We shall hear the angels, we shall see the sky sparkling with diamonds.
Author's Notes: William is a famous faience hippopotamus at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Vermeer's 'Allegory of the Faith' and Van Gogh's 'Irises,' 'Oleanders,' and 'Cypresses,' and the Unicorn Tapestry can also be found there. Other works can be found at the Louvre. I recommend a visit, but you can also see them online at www.metmuseum.org and www.louvre.fr.
In order, quotes have been taken from:
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, "Days of absence..." Bob Dylan, "Tangled Up in Blue"
Leonard Cohen, "Hallelujah"
Lennon/McCartney, "Let It Be"
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 98
Jorge Luis Borges, "The Cyclical Night" Herman Melville
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
Edna St. Vincent Millay
Virgil, The Aenid
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