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Lazarus

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She'd sensed Mulder's interest when she told him about Jack. Another piece of the Scully puzzle for him: yes, she liked authority figures. Yes, she'd dated older men. She was aware that this was both congruent and incongruent with her squeaky clean good girl image. She could feel the weight of his expectations: you dated this guy, Scully, don't you know him?

I never knew Jack the way I know you, she considered telling him, but she wasn't sure he would understand what she was trying to say. But she'd never known anyone the way she'd known Mulder. She'd never had to. She'd never faced down monsters with anyone else, never stood shoulder-to-shoulder against an unknown foe, never been closed away with someone like a hermit in an anchorhold. She and Jack, despite their work, had been an ordinary couple. They'd gone to bars and weekend getaways. They'd done dinner and a movie, and breakfast in bed the next morning. She couldn't imagine Mulder being interested in any of that. Mulder would probably profile his dates. Of course he would know what hand they favored without a second thought. He'd have their shoe sizes and perfume preferences catalogued. He wouldn't have had to examine his memories with a new eye in order to compare past and present.

Her own memories had betrayed her and saved her. They hadn't saved Jack, but she'd done the best she could. She couldn't say she'd made a mistake in trusting him. He had not been who he was, and if she had reservations about the mechanics and metaphysics of soul transfer, she could at least say that he had appeared to believe he was Dupre.

It hadn't been bad with Jack. They had enjoyed the time they'd spent together and parted without acrimony. Their hours had been too different and their lives hadn't fitted together the same way. She had respected his passion for his work, and he had respected hers. They'd both known at the time it wasn't forever. A shared birthday and a shared career path didn't stand in for the kind of love that endured. And now he was dead, twice over.

"You okay, Scully?" Mulder asked, when they were cloistered again in the dim of their office.

"I'm fine," she said. "My wrist hurts."

He nodded.

She had raised Jack from the grave like Lazarus, but she was no saint: he had not come back the same. Unwholly, unholy, he had returned another man.

The watch lay on the corner of her table, no longer marking time. Scully felt only a soft warmth when she looked at it. That had been a good day, a day worth holding onto. Jack had made it good. She would remember him as he had been. Passionate. Compassionate. The kind of man who would find a blanket to wrap her in when she was cold. The kind of man who liked dive bars and free peanuts and slanted billiard tables. A good agent. A good instructor. A good man, who had shared her free time and her bed and never promised anything he wasn't willing to give. She would miss him, but she wouldn't weep.

She looked up to find Mulder watching her. "I'm fine, Mulder. Really."

"I was just going to ask if you wanted some coffee," he said.

She closed her eyes briefly in weary amusement. "I'd love some. Thank you."

"There's ibuprofen in my desk if you need some," he told her, getting up from his chair. He put his hand briefly on her shoulder as he left. She put her face in her hands and exhaled sharply, banishing the sudden sting in her eyes, and rose to find the painkillers.