Days of Grace

by philiater

Title: Days of Grace
Author: Philiater
Category: Mulder/Scully
Timeline: Missing scene from One Breath. This is a ten on the Mulder angst scale.
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Not mine, never were. They belong to CC and company.
Written for Toniann, Lidia and Carol who have known loss, but endure with grace.
Beta thanks to Fro

Summary: "I feel, Scully, that you believe you're not ready to go. And you've always had the strength of your beliefs. I don't know if my being here will help bring you back. But I'm here."

Have A Look Up To The Sky
See The Billion Stars Above
Cos (Maybe) On One Of Them
You`ll Spend Your Further Life..

----Enigma, Following the Sun from the Voyager album.

When he walked into her hospital room, he approached her without guile or deceit. She'd already been subjected to far too much of that and he was there to make sure it had finally stopped. The respirator she'd been attached to was sitting silently across the room along with the other medical contraptions that had been keeping her alive until now.

Sitting down on the ugly metal hospital chair next to her bed, he put his hand over hers in a gesture of comfort. He delivered a small speech about being there for her that was heartfelt, but not designed to accomplish much. Empty words that echoed in a nearly empty room. The clock on the wall read 8:17.

After a few minutes he suddenly stood, feeling a new energy and finding a real purpose for his presence there.

"Come with me Scully," he whispered. "I have something to show you."

Reaching down, he took her hand in his, interlacing their fingers tightly so she wouldn't become lost. His other arm went carefully around her waist to tuck her gently into his side. She was so small, weighed so little, that it was like holding a wounded bird.

"It's not far," he reassured her, "and it's a place you've never been."

When he felt a protest tremble through her body, he said, "It's a good place, I promise."

She went without resistance, seeming to trust him implicitly.

At the threshold he hesitated for a moment, gathering strength, steeling himself for the crossing.

It was journey he made often, a secret place of retreat he could go to when the horrors of his life became overwhelming. He'd always made this trip entirely alone and never thought he'd take someone else along with him.

He turned to her and smiled. "Are you ready, Scully?"

Without waiting for an answer, he plunged ahead, stepping through time as easily as skipping on garden stones. The place he had in mind was far away from the hospital, Scully's family, and the FBI, but one he could travel to in only an instant. When he stopped, they were standing in a sandlot.

The field was a crude one, the kind of place where neighborhood children went to play baseball all day on the weekend. The pitcher's mound was nothing but a sandy hill and the bases were squares of hard packed earth. Sparse grass covered the spaces between and the whole place had a washed-out sepia tone to it.

"This is Chilmark on Martha's Vineyard, Scully. I grew up here."

Before their eyes, the field became populated with boys no older than ten. They were running, yelling, and playing baseball with a deadly earnestness that begins in youth.

Mulder led Scully to the base of a large oak tree and spread his jacket out so they could sit there to watch the game together.

At shortstop was a lanky boy with a mop of brown hair. He was yelling just as loudly as the others and laughing just as hard.

They were looking at a Fox Mulder that was sweetly young, naive, and still felt the world was a safe place to be in. He'd roamed around the vineyard in those days without restriction and was only required to be home for meals and to sleep. When evening approached, the streetlights snapping on were his signal to come home and the only reason then to retreat from the dark unknown.

"Memories are the best places on earth, Scully," he murmured. "They can hold more power than reality if you let them."

This was who he was; the unfettered, cosmetically raw part he kept hidden from nearly everyone. Now he was showing it to Scully, voluntarily exposing the tenderest part of his heart and revealing his deepest vulnerability.

It was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.

He turned away from the game to look at Scully's face and his breath hitched. She was smiling, bathed by the warm, golden sun of his memory and heartbreakingly beautiful. Here he could really speak to her, tell her of the things he kept hidden in his heart. As he began to speak, he could feel tears slide silently down to stain his face and shirt, but his voice never wavered as he spoke.

"They keep telling me to let you go, Scully. Your mother's bought a headstone and Skinner said you were a fine officer; that he liked and respected you. Respected. Liked. He was using the past tense, as if you'd already been buried. Even Melissa said that keeping you alive is an unnatural thing.

I'm the only one not willing to let go of you yet. I've been asked too many times in my life to give something up; to put aside the people I care about most, and I'd always assumed I didn't have much of a choice about those things.

I've tried hard to change that, Scully, but I don't have a choice with you. I understand that now. My arrogance in believing I was somehow different from all the other people who've suffered and lost kept me from seeing it."

He hesitated, feeling the jagged edges of this last portion tear a bloody path through his heart as it came forth to be said.

"When the time comes, Scully, I promise to let go."

As the words left his mouth, a gentle peace filled the emptiness they left behind. The unbearable pain he'd expected never came, evaporating like fog under the sun of his own acceptance. The tension that he'd kept bottled up tight within him these last frantic days, drained slowly from his body. Acceptance, he found, was an empowering thing and he felt stronger for it, not weaker.

Grace; in spite of himself, he'd managed to find a quiet grace with Scully at the end of these days.

Suddenly, physical fatigue settled heavily on him. He leaned his head down to relax it against Scully's strong shoulder. The urge to rest, to sleep for a thousand years became more powerful than his need to stay with her on the field.

He felt her arm go around him and her other hand reached up to gently stroke his cheek.

"Close your eyes, Mulder," she whispered. "It's time."

In spite of his promise, he struggled for a moment to stay with her, to find a way out, but he knew she was right. He stopped fighting, and finally relaxed against her again.

As awareness slowly left him, a brilliant, golden light enveloped his body instead of the expected darkness.

"Scully," he said with awe, "your soul is so beautiful."

It was the last thought he had.

When he was himself again, he found it was morning. He was home and the phone was ringing.


Following the Sun--full lyrics:

Following The Sun, To Find The One
Who`s Giving You The Wings To Fly
Following The Sun, The Golden One
Losing Sense For Space and Time

Can You Feel The Waves Of Life
(Can You) Hear The Sigh Of Love
Do You Believe In It ?

Following The Sun, Just For The One
Till You`ll Find The Door You Thought
Following The Sun, Like Everyone
Searching For A Sign Of Hope

Have A Look Up To The Sky
See The Billion Stars Above
Cos (Maybe) On One Of Them
You`ll Spend Your Further Life..


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