Anne Link Interview with former FBI Agent Dana Scully
As part of the NAU Writer's Project: Interviews of Old Republic Employees
August 7, 2062
Interviewer's note: I recorded my series of interviews in Dana Scully's home between September 4, 2061 to March 11, 2062. Although nearing 100 years old, she appeared to be in good health, of clear mind, and was able to consciously consent to these interviews. What follows are excerpts from October 12-14, 2061, in which we discussed her mysterious and ambiguous relationship with her former partner, the late Fox Mulder (d. March 14, 2041). I have dubbed this series "For the Final Record." Although we touched on Mulder in previous sessions and after, I have decided not to compile those interviews into this particular one. The rest of the interviews will be provided upon Dana Scully's completion of her Privacy Wavier.
Anne Link: It is Sunday, October 12, 2061. About 10:05 am. I am in Dana Scully's home, [redacted], NAU. Dana, do I have your permission to record this interview?
Dana Scully: Yes, you do.
AL: Thank you. Well…where did you want to begin today?
DS: You should know by now that this is your ship (laughs). You're in total control.
AL: I feel like you know what I want to ask you today. We've talked a little about it already?
DS: Yes. Yes, we have.
AL: Okay. (Papers shuffling. Sound of DS's coffee cup sliding on the table.) When did your relationship with Fox Mulder begin? Romantic relationship?
DS: I don't know if it was romantic…maybe it was. We never had candlelight dinners or any of that. And I'm not sure if "relationship" is the right way to say it. It was more than that. There's a special bond you have with someone that you've saved and they've saved you. From death, from darkness, from everything. I don't know what that term is. Someone should come up with it. I'm too old to think of new things now. But….it was intimate, affectionate long before it was romantic.
AL: When did that start?
DS: Probably from the first case we worked. Well, the first few anyway. I had to learn to trust him. Quick. There was a case we worked, in the early days, in Alaska, well…what used to be Alaska. There were these worms, these organisms that if they got into your brain they'd make you go crazy. A person could become completely different. Aggressive, angry. A killer. Not themselves at all. And I was worried it had gotten into him and he was changed, no matter how many times he denied it. It turned out that someone else there with us had been infected with this parasite, not him. He was right. I learned then, in some ways, that he wouldn't lie to me. He wouldn't put me or anyone else in danger, no matter how it seemed. I suppose when you learn to trust someone that way that you also begin to love them. But I always tried, no matter how strongly I felt in any fashion, to keep it, you know, business between us. At some point, it became impossible to do that anymore. For either of us.
Pauses. Quiet for a few seconds.
I first admitted to myself that I loved him when I thought he loved someone else. Isn't that how it goes? You always want what you can't have? I didn't want to lose what we had, the trust and the intimacy that we'd created. But as soon as this woman, this other Agent, seemed to take him away from me, that was when I could admit it to myself, even though I'd known I'd loved him for a long time.
AL: Who was the other Agent?
DS: It doesn't matter now. She died in the line of duty.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 1998, Dana Scully
I feel like we've been in this dance, floating around something, but never crossing the boundary into what it could be. What it should be. Does he have any idea how much I want to cross that line? How much I think about it? There is no advice column in the world that could handle this situation. No psychologist or therapist that would remotely understand or would be capable of talking me through this. It's like we've unofficially pushed the pause button on the intimacy between us, so it doesn't grow or shrink, it's in this perpetual suspension. Waiting. I didn't think there was anything that would come along and mess it up, and now there has. If I could go back, just a couple of days or maybe even a year, I would not have let us push the pause button.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 1999, Dana Scully
And now, if it ever becomes even remotely possible that I'll lose him, I don't think I'll be able to bear it…
He left this morning, but my shower, my bed still smells like him hours later. Still warm from what happened last night. He's come to my home many times and left my home many times. But the other night I didn't want him to just leave. I told him I didn't want him to go. I walked across the room and kissed him. He kissed me back as if he'd been expecting it; absolutely no hesitation. We didn't say anything. We didn't take time to measure out the risks or even consider how this would impact the future. I just took him into my bedroom. When I close my eyes and concentrate I can feel him undressing me again, feel myself on top of him, my thighs rubbing against his hips, my hands guiding him inside of me.
That first time was rather quick and frantic, but the second time was slower and more deliberate. His thrusts were slower, his kisses softer. We took our time, it seemed, because despite all that we'd been through, this was new for both of us. Just in case it never happened again, just in case it would be the last and only time, I forced myself to be fully present. I wanted to record every sound, every touch so I never forgot. I haven't forgotten how his skin felt against mine or the sound of his breath in my ear. Even though we have slept together for three nights now, we still haven't talked about it. It just happens, we fall asleep in each other's arms, and one of us leaves in the morning. Maybe this is part of the perpetual suspension, the allegorical pause button we seem to be unable to let go of: keep things the same for as long as possible until it becomes unbearable.
DS: There are only two reasons why you're asking me about Mulder and I. One reason is William, and the other is you just want to know if we had sex.
AL: …I…uh…well, I wouldn't put it that way….
DS: I can answer that second part of that very easily – yes. Yes, we did. I remember the second time better because the second time is always better. At first, you're both so nervous, seemingly unskilled, and unfamiliar with each other's bodies. But the second time the nervous energy is mostly gone, and you can concentrate on one another more fully.
Long pause. DS gets more coffee.
He would call me Dana. When we were together, making love, he would call me by my first name. I know that doesn't seem unusual to you, but it was for us. In our line of work we went by last names, so when he called me Dana it was special, meaningful. We married once we found out he had to go into hiding and I was pregnant.
AL: Are you sure you married him? I haven't found any licenses or -
DS: You won't. We didn't make it legal. It was…ceremonial. I knew a priest that would marry us, and we had three friends who would be our witnesses. It was the middle of the night. Ironically, I was wearing white – white pajamas. [laughs softly] It probably looked silly to anyone that happened to walk in.
Private Electronic Journal, c. 2001, Dana Scully
Our voices echoed off the cathedral walls, the only light were the candles and the moonlight when the clouds parted.
"I, Dana Katherine Scully, take thee Fox William Mulder…."
Frohike and Langly were sniffling, all the sounds blending together in that empty space in an eerie sort of way.
"…to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold…"
Byers stood up and handed Mulder a ring. I said I didn't have one for Mulder and he put his hands on my face, gently brushing away my messy hair, "It's okay," he said. He gently slid his mother's wedding band over my finger. "She would have wanted you to have this."
He kissed me before we were pronounced man and wife, holding onto each other because we both knew after tonight it would be a while before we saw one another again. We spent our wedding night in my apartment, carefully removing each other's clothes as if we'd never done this before. I suddenly felt very shy and vulnerable. I tried to wrap my arms around myself, worried I was already starting to show. He pulled my hands toward him. "Please, Dana. Let me look at you. Let me look at my wife." I didn't want to start crying, I didn't want to ruin this moment with sadness, but a couple tears escaped anyway. Looking back, maybe I was just happy that he called me his wife, and that we, finally, belonged to each other.
I kissed every part of him, and when he was inside me, I slowed him down because I didn't want it to end. He pulled me down on top of him, never losing eye contact. Afterwards, we held each other so close, our hearts pounding out our fear, our passion, our love almost in unison. His lips passed over my ear, his breath softly slowing from our lovemaking, "I love you, Dana. I love you more than anything."
"I love you, too." I said. Then we were quiet, holding onto each other, cherishing each second until he would have to leave; leave me and my child so we could be safe.
DS: We married so William would have a father. I didn't tell Mulder that William was his son. Not at first. I knew that if I did, he would try to stay. He would never leave us and he would be in danger. Actually, we would all be in danger.
AL: So, William was Fox Mulder's son?
AL: But you did see him again, right?
AL: Wasn't there another child? Didn't you have another baby?
DS: [getting up from the table] I'm tired. Can you come back tomorrow?
AL: Of course.
[End of recording.]
Dr. Wells poured himself a cup of tea, then offered some to Anne. She politely declined. He gestured for her to begin.
"I don't think she's telling me the truth."
Dr. Wells dumped sugar into his tea. "What makes you think that?"
"I don't know. It just seems like she's withholding something. Like maybe she's telling me what I want to hear rather than what actually happened."
"She is near a hundred, you know. The memory isn't the sharpest at that age."
"She's not like any old person, though." Anne was still shocked at how Dana Scully looked the day they met and did the first interview. A recluse since the fall of the Old Republic, no one had seen the woman in decades. Anne had expected a frail, hobbling old lady. Instead, Dana Scully was bright eyed, articulate, and moved about with ease. Her hair was white as snow, but she was healthy and vibrant. Far more youthful than Anne had expected.
"Even if she isn't telling you everything," Dr. Wells was saying, "it doesn't matter. The purpose of this project is to capture what our subjects perceive as truth. The past and their own lives through their eyes."
"I guess." Anne looked disappointed.
"Try to manage your expectations. Almost everyone from the Old Republic is distrustful of us."
Anne said nothing.
Dr. Wells sat back in his chair. "Did she talk to you about her family?"
"No. Her family. Her children."
"She sort of mentioned William. That's one of the things I don't think she's being truthful about. I don't think William was Agent Mulder's son. I think they had a kid, but it wasn't William. I think she had two children."
"Be careful about that," Dr. Wells said slowly. "If you go in thinking she isn't being truthful, it will reflect in the interview."
"I know," Anne tried not to sound whiney or childish.
Dr. Wells nodded behind him to the Great Seal of the North American Union. It blended the arctic north into forests and prairies, which faded into desert. An attempt at creating a cohesive nation. A Union.
"Remember the goal, the endgame."
"Alright. See you tomorrow."
AL: It's Monday evening, October 13, 2061. About 6:13pm. We are at Dana Scully's home, in her backyard, [redacted], NAU. Dana, do I have your permission to record this interview?
AL: Great. There are just a couple things that I want to clear up from yesterday. First, you said you married Fox Mulder but not legally?
DS: Right. We didn't file any papers or get a license.
AL: You didn't change your name?
AL: How would that have made him William's father, since you said he was anyway, biologically?
DS: I guess that was confusing. Perhaps I should explain it better. You see, I wasn't supposed to be able to have children as a result of the abduction years before.
DS: Yes. We talked about it.
DS: We talked about it, Anne. [Sound of papers shuffling] I hadn't been partners with Mulder for very long. I was in that…that stage you young girls get in, the crush stage. Whatever you want to call it. I knew, but I didn't know what I was feeling. I'm not sure if that's even possible. But in the middle of all that, one night I was gone, then…the game changed. We rewrote the rules.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 1994, Dana Scully
If I were still in high school, I guess I'd be writing our initials on things. DS+FM. With hearts, too, probably. Melissa told me to memorize a phone book, then she also told me to just go have a one night stand. "Cures" for an alleged illness.
The other night I brought him some food while he was surveilling Tooms. I could tell he was tired, sleep drunk, and probably not thinking clearly. I wanted to be serious, personal, so I called him Fox. He shot that down, saying even his parents called him Mulder. For a second, I was embarrassed. Like I'd been caught with something on my face. But then I told him that I wouldn't put myself on the line for anyone but him. I'd been inching close to the edge of that branch, slowly, taking deep breaths like a high diver, then I just jumped off.
Maybe it was because he was tired or maybe my ego is far more fragile than I thought, but he turned it into kind of a joke. An attempt at levity. I know I wanted him to say the same, and I'm sure he thinks and feels the same way about me. But I wanted him to say it. I wanted the words and the sounds to come out of his mouth, returning the jump, the risk. But…he didn't.
I need to stop thinking about it. We're partners. It's business. It can never be more than that.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 1994, Dana Scully
I don't remember!
I'm tired of saying it. I don't know what happened to me. I don't remember. I'm not being entirely truthful, though. I remember some things, but I'm still hoping they weren't real. I'm trying to explain away visions of my father, talking to me, coaxing me back to the world of the living. I wasn't scared. I felt…safe. At peace. And then…I was awake.
Maybe Mulder thinks my experience is an extension of himself. That I will, in time, become living proof of one of his theories. Things have changed between us, there's no doubt. He respects my insistence that I am fine, that I want to work, that I want it all to be as it was before. That I really do have nerves of steel. But the way he looks at me, as if there's a secret alien code etched in my eyes or that any minute I'll shatter like glass…I don't like it. The other day, he told me that he never gave up hope that I would be returned to him. I knew what he was doing. I knew he was taking Samantha's experience and merging it with mine. I'm another step closer and higher for him to climb onto and shout his theories to the men in the clouds. I thought we'd go into that hand in hand, when all the evidence was clear, but I'm the evidence. That's how he sees me now. A clue in a long mystery game neither of us will win.
DS: As a result of the experiments and tests done on me, without my consent, I became barren. Years later, I came across one of my ova, preserved and intact.
AL: Your….ova? How on earth would you find that?
DS: By breaking laws. And being in the wrong place at the right time. I saw it as my chance to be a mother; something I didn't know I really wanted until I couldn't have it. I asked Mulder to be the father. That conversation…[laughs softly]. I've been face to face with killers and creatures that would make your skin crawl, but when I asked him, I was petrified. My voice just shaking…he said he would, but I didn't conceive. Not that time. Then Mulder said to me not to lose hope. That there might still be a miracle. That was when we really became lovers I guess, when we really crossed the line and stayed there. We knew things would never be the same between us and we were okay with it. Well…I was, at least. Maybe I became pregnant because we didn't use artificial means. Or maybe miracles really do exist. I still don't know.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 2000, Dana Scully
I don't know how to describe how I feel. I've been backspacing over the same sentence over and over again, trying to comprehend. Trying to form the most difficult feelings into actual words.
It didn't work. Mulder's sperm didn't fertilize my egg. How dry that sounds, like we were in a lab, under microscopes. When he came by, and I told him, he assured me that there could still be a miracle.
I didn't think. I didn't allow myself to think. I just kissed him, pulling him over to the couch, climbing on top of him, wanting him, needing him, until he stopped me, taking my face in his hands, looking me in the eyes. "Are you sure?"
I looked at him, confused.
"I need to know that you're sure about this. That you're not doing this because you expect…that something might happen."
I stared at him for a long time, then looked down at us. My shirt unbuttoned, his on the floor. Was that the appropriate reaction? I don't know. I pulled my shirt around myself, and sat next to him. We were quiet for a long time. I thought he might leave, then he asked me if I wanted him to stay. I don't remember answering him. We lay there in my bed together, partially naked. I was so cold, and he was so warm. He kept me so close to him, but it didn't feel close enough. When he spoke I felt the rumble of his voice against my forehead, his breath in my hair. I never know if this will be the last time. I rubbed my hands down his back, and breathed him in. I wanted him in in me; I wanted him in my lungs. It was these moments that I liked best, when we didn't need to hear each other, but just feel. Tangled legs, skin against skin. Every second, every moment, every part of him. I have to remember in case it's the last time.
"I'm not going to sleep," I told him.
"Then I won't either."
He turned me so my back was facing him. I asked him what he was doing.
"You kept it?" He traced the outline of my tattoo. I closed my eyes, feeling his fingers on the curve of my back. Memories flooding back of that one night that I lost myself. Or maybe I found myself.
"Yeah. You've never seen it?"
"No. I thought you had it removed. There was poison in the ink?
"No. I kept it. I didn't get sick."
He pulled me into his arms, kissing my shoulders. "I like it."
I laughed. He said he wasn't joking. Neither of us slept. He held me like that until the sun was up. It wasn't enough. I want more nights like that with him. It's not enough.
AL: But you didn't tell Mulder?
DS: I told him I was pregnant. I didn't tell him that he was the father. Not right away.
AL: But…wouldn't he have assumed?
DS: I don't know. By then, we knew he had to leave. He'd become a fugitive. If he knew, he never said so, and I didn't want to keep him with me, as much as I wanted to. I was a selfish woman sometimes, but I couldn't be then.
AL: So…your other child you had later when you saw him again?
[Sounds of DS getting up from the bench, walking across the yard. Several minutes of silence.]
DS: The old capitol is just six hours north of here, did you know that? I don't know what's there now. It's been…thirty years, maybe forty since I've been up there.
Six hours…maybe back then, but now I guess it wouldn't take so long. Six hours or longer, depending on the traffic. Your generation is lucky. You won't ever know what that's like. But all that up there, it's all gone now, isn't it?
AL: I don't know.
DS: People probably tell you that when you're older, you'll know things. You'll know better. You'll be wiser. [Long pause] It's not true.
AL: Do you miss him still? Mulder?
DS: That's stupid question, Anne.
AL: I can come back later, Dana. If you're tired.
[End of recording.]
DS: Thank you for coming back. [shuffling sounds] I couldn't sleep. I don't really sleep anyway –
AL: It's okay – [sounds of dishes and glasses clinking]
DS: Not more than a few hours at a time. Do you want some tea or…I have coffee.
AL: I'm okay. Dana, do I have your permission to record this interview?
AL: Okay. It's Monday, October 13, 2061, about 11:42pm. We are in Dana Scully's home, [redacted], NAU.
DS: You always have to say that, don't you?
DS: I'm sorry. About earlier. I know it's your job and you're supposed to ask. I don't know what you've found on me, or what's left from the Old Republic, but most of what you've found, I'm sure, is tied to other people. Mostly Mulder. As it should be. But as much as we were together, one and the same, on the same quest, I'm still…me. This is my story. Please let me tell it how I want to.
AL: I understand.
DS: And I know you want to know about William. I'll get to it. It's not hard for me to think about him, but it's hard for me to talk about him. I think it's because I think about him every minute of every day, but I don't talk about him to anyone. Not at all.
[DS drinking coffee, sitting down at the table.]
I didn't get morning sickness. I got night sickness. I'd wake up in the middle of the night, sick as a dog, and throw up for an hour. Being a doctor, I just tried to rationalize it away as food poisoning or a virus. But one night I got up, vomited several times, then went to the drugstore. I bought ten pregnancy tests and every single one was positive. I thought maybe I should call my mother, but I ended up going to see Mulder. By then, he was staying with some friends of ours. They called themselves The Lone Gunmen. You've found information on them, I assume?
DS: They were good men. You won't see that in your records or data, but they were. I guess now they'd be considered heroes. But I didn't want to tell Mulder in front of them, though. It was far too personal. We went and sat out in my car. They let us as long as Langly could check my car for any recording devices and Byers could stand guard. It was so silly, but so necessary. All I said to Mulder was "I'm pregnant." Just like that. Simple. Easy. He didn't really say anything. He took my hand in both of his and we just sat there. I don't even know for how long. Then he said to me that we needed to go somewhere. Right now. That was when we had our ceremony. It was all so impulsive, so quick that I felt like I didn't have enough time to really process all of it. But…that was how it happened; how I became a mother and a wife in just one night.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 2001, Dana Scully
Can I just stay here? Can I just stay here in my home, in my bed forever? Hiding in my cave of blankets and pillows, shutting out everything and everyone, until I can see him again? Can I just lay here, letting my belly grow, have my baby, and never see another person? Why can't I just sleep…for the next nine months at least? I don't want to lie to everyone, take off this ring, and pretend none of it never happened. Before they took Mulder away, Frohike told me if I ever needed anything, he'd be here in a second. I almost want to call him, because I need someone now. Anyone at all. I need someone to force me to go about my days as if everything were normal. I don't think I can do any of this alone. I don't want to be alone.
Electronic Communication, year unknown, TrustNo1 (Fox Mulder) to Dana Scully
All I have is time. Days and nights, rushing at me like a freight train, then slowing into nothingness. To think, let my mind just take over. Lately, I've been thinking about when I should have stopped all this, when I should have given up. It should have been when you came out of the coma, when despite all the odds, you lived. I should have given up then, taken you away with me, and made that the end of it. But I made the decision to not give up, not let them get away with what they'd done to you, to us, and ultimately lead to this…. We should have just let them win.
I can't see you…I can't hear your voice. I can't listen to your logic, holding me together, the substance that makes me a whole person. I can't turn over in my bed to see you there sleeping with me, your pulse beating slowly at the base of your neck, making me breathless. I need your assurance, your strength. I need your heartbeat, steady and strong, against mine. Without you, I am a ghost. Without you, I am a phantom, partial existence, two dimensional, moving through this three dimensional world. I don't exist, I am not fully alive, without you.
I am a ghost, suspended between the world of the living and the world of the dead, until I can see you again. Sometimes I just stare at my hands because I can swear they are becoming translucent, fading with time into nothing. Reality blurs into something intangible.
What has formed between us has become so sacred that I worship and pray to it every day. I ask it to keep you safe, keep you going, and keep William safe, too. I ask it if I can please stay whole and solid until it's all over. When it's over. But what about after that? Am I going to lose you this time? I need forgiveness for asking too much of you. I need redemption for leaving you alone with danger, with a child, and without me.
AL: But the next day, Mulder left? You went through your pregnancy alone?
DS: He left the next night. We had one whole day for our so-called "honeymoon," I guess. It didn't feel that way. It felt like seconds passed before he was gone.
AL: Do you know where he went?
DS: No. I know…generally where he was. It was best that way, I suppose. The less I knew, the safer we all were.
[DS getting up from her chair.]
Do you mind if I turn that light on over there? It seems too dark in here.
AL: Yeah, that's fine.
[Sounds of DS moving around the room.}
DS: We faked an abduction. Well…not really "we." I wasn't in on all the details at first. I don't think Mulder was either.
AL: Like a…like aliens?
DS: There had to be a way for him to disappear. There needed to be witnesses. It wasn't like a faking-your-own-death scenario. It was an abduction scenario. But with out aliens. The fact that there were or could be extraterrestrials was implied. It was our friends and allies.
AL: Who took him? Who abducted him?
DS: I'm not really sure about all the logistics. The Lone Gunmen, they planned most of it out. Mulder was transported safely to an undisclosed location…like I said, I generally knew where. One of those former Canadian territories. I don't remember which one now. But to everyone else, the Bureau, even my family, he was on Mars or just tumbling through space. Or dead.
There was a way for us to meet if we needed to. And a way to communicate. Not too often or anything or for long periods of time. I had to be careful about that, about asking to see him or talk to him. I couldn't be too impulsive because he wouldn't hesitate. He often tossed aside his own self-preservation…for me. Anything I asked of him.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 2001/2002, Dana Scully [year approximate per DS]
I've done nothing since I got home.
A long car ride, round trip 18 hours, with Frohike. I slept through most of it. When we crossed the border the temperature seemed to immediately drop 20 degrees. When we got there, hours and miles later, I thought I'd see Byers and Langly, but Frohike told me they were looking out from a distance. Listening, too, probably. I've given up on privacy. He dropped me off in an abandoned parking lot with an abandoned convenience store.
"There's no reception out here. We checked. No cellular, radio, TV, nothing. So you won't be able to call me if something goes wrong. Do you have your weapon?"
I said I did.
"Good. Mulder doesn't."
"You took his gun?"
"We hid it. He knows where. I'm going to drive back down the road a bit to make sure we weren't followed."
We'd just driven across a long-neglected highway. The sun was setting, but there was still enough of the late bluish light to see by. I didn't see how anyone on earth could know where we were, but I understood and respected his precautions. Before I got out of the car, he put his hand on my arm and urged me to be careful. I'd gotten used to his leering eyes and flirtatious joking, but in his face at that moment all I saw was genuine concern and respect.
I told him I would, then got out of the car. Despite how I felt, how badly I needed to see him, I stood there until Frohike was back on the road, driving away. Mulder and I were really and truly alone. I could feel my heartbeat in my throat as I crunched through the snow to the back of the building. We saw each other at the same time, approaching quickly, I thought I'd fall into his arms immediately. But we slowed to a stop right in front of each other, so close that our breath mingled in the chilly air.
His eyes were red, his skin rough around his jawline, but it was him. It was Mulder. He pulled me into him, enveloping me, taking me in. I pressed my head into his chest, the cold keeping me from coming completely apart right there.
"Scully…." His voice cracked like he was going to cry.
He gently tilted my head up and kissed me, over and over, his breath warm on my cheek. I pulled away and looked up at him, moving my eyes around his face, etching it in my memory. Studying and recording him like data. When he rested his forehead against mine, we both whispered "I loved you" at the same time, then laughed. Like a young, untroubled couple on the beach. Like normal.
I let him hold me close for as long as he wanted. I thought if Frohike came back right then, I'd die. There was nowhere else I wanted to be.
"Frohike didn't try to take you to a sleezy motel?"
I didn't have to see his face. I knew he was smirking at his own dumb joke.
"How are you? How's…?" He put his hand on my abdomen.
"Good. Doctor says everything is fine."
"But you're worried."
I didn't want to talk. I told him I wasn't worried. It was a lie.
"Have you told anyone?"
"Not Skinner? Doggett?"
"Skinner. Not Doggett."
I looked up at him, the soft evening light grazing over his eyes. "I know what you're thinking. We know we can trust Skinner. I don't know about Doggett. Not yet."
"I don't want to talk. I don't want to spend our time talking about that."
Frohike had left us alone for at least an hour, but it felt like only 2 or 3 minutes had gone by. I knew we couldn't be alone much longer. I knew that our friends were risking a lot to protect us and make that hour possible. But I didn't want to leave him. His heartbeat on my cheek, his scent of wood smoke and soap, the tips of his fingers threading through mine. None of this is right. We should be together, all the time, warm in our own home, fighting over the remote control, complaining to our friends about how the other one snores. But that isn't ever going to be us, is it? There's never going to be anything "normal" or "right" about us. We chose this, though, didn't we? We chose to trust each other, to care about each other, then love each other. I might as well lean into it. Give it everything I have.
He pulled me up in his arms, almost lifting me off my feet, kissing me slowly. I tried not to rush it. I wanted it slow and slower. Not frantically, like a drowning woman, the way I wanted to, clinging to him like he was about to fall off a cliff. No. Slowly so I could remember. I beg God, if He's listening, to please not let this be the last time.
I got back in the car and we drove off, back home. I turned around and watched his figure get smaller until it was too dark for me to see him anymore.
AL: Did you get to see him much?
DS: No. Not enough. Maybe twice. When you love someone and they return that love, it's an amazing, beautiful thing. Everything becomes amplified. I've been in love twice in my life. Real love. Fake love is…an orgasm. It's intense, but it's over too fast. Real love has something else behind it, supporting it and sustaining it. For Mulder and me, it was respect and trust that could only have evolved from what we went through together. I fell in love with my son the second I felt him moving in me. I was in the car. I had to pull over and just cry. It's all so what we can feel as human beings. What we can do. But even the bad feelings…
[Sounds of DS walking around room.}
I always pretended, every time I saw him, Mulder, that it would be the last time. It was the only way to shut off the endless commentary in my head and just be with him. I don't know what his coping strategy was, but I absorbed every second. We were both afraid of losing each other. Not like one of us falling out of love or finding someone else, but really losing each other. Anyway, to go back to your question, I only got to see him when it was safe.
AL: And when you saw him again? When he came back?
DS: I was huge by then. It was short-lived anyway. He pretty much died a fugitive. He was gone again as soon as he was home. He had to be. After I had William, I was going to tell him then, that William was our son. But knowing he was still in so much danger….I just didn't say anything. If I did, I would be responsible for him losing his life, and he would have, too. If he tried to die some noble death to keep me safe, it would have killed me. I couldn't not have him. Right then I could only have him one way – from a distance.
[Sound of AL yawning.]
DS: [chuckling] Are you tired? I hope I'm not boring.
AL: No, not at all. I am tired, though. Sorry.
DS: It's okay. You can come back tomorrow. Or later today. I didn't know how late it was.
AL: What time?
DS: Anytime. I'm always here.
[End of recording.]
"Have you seen it?" Sam shoved the tablet in William's face.
"Seen what?" William was distracted, watching his grandchildren play. He always took away their devices when they visited. He wanted to see where their natural inclinations took them without mindless stimulation.
"The Anne Link interview. They're uploading it into the repository piece by piece this time." Sam shoved the tablet at William again.
"Who?" William pretended to be interested in the tablet.
"Ah. Old Republic?"
Sam sat down, uninvited, making William irritated.
"Those damn Privacy Nazis in the Council took out everything," Sam said angrily. "And Wells…he's having them use audio recorders! For fucking 'authenticity!' Those old-timey things are compatible only with the old programs that have no code. No backup. Once it's gone, it's just gone! They said the project was for the sake of transparency. Right. Well, where is it?!"
William looked thoughtful, watching his grandchildren. It made him proud that they both displayed a natural competitiveness and aptitude for physical endurance at such a young age. He was sure they'd go far and be twice as successful as anyone in their family.
"You're not mad enough about this," Sam said.
"Who was Anne Link interviewing?"
"Oh." William watched as his granddaughter challenged her brother at who could swing the highest. They were fraternal twins, but the girl, Tamryn, was much taller and stronger.
"Sam, we'll talk about it later. It's family time right now."
"Okay," Sam got up, taking his tablet. "Read it when you get a chance."
"I will." William stood up as Sam left. "Kids, go inside and help your Aunt Emily."
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 2001/2002, Dana Scully [year approximate per DS]
My sleeping schedule is all screwed up. I didn't sleep last night, and I probably won't sleep tonight either. For the first time in a long time, I actually want a cigarette. And a big bottle of wine to go with it. I don't know if this is part of my pregnancy cravings or I'm just tired. My body wants things that are not good for me or the baby.
This time it was Byers that drove me up. Frohike must have lost a bet. The trip didn't seem as long and we went somewhere different this time. I asked Byers where we were going and he said that Mulder had moved. I'm still not sure if it's because he had to or that's just part of the plan. We had to switch cars along the route. Is it bad that it was at that point that I began to think this was all too much? Too ridiculous or dangerous or something? Am I just far too selfish and needy after all?
Byers took me to a motel that, at first, looked just as abandoned as the last place we'd been. He handed me a key.
"Room 108. He'll be here later."
"How long do we have this time?" I cringed, not really wanting to know the answer.
"One of us will be here at sunrise."
It was already dark. Stars shining down from a clear sky. Not enough time. It will never be enough. I went to room 108. It was ugly and dark. It smelled like an ashtray mixed with the chemical, flowery scent of bargain air fresheners. Not at all romantic. Squalid and underhanded, a place for dirty secrets to settle into the carpet like dust.
I don't know how long I waited. I didn't bother turning on any lights. When he got there, I stood up, but before I could speak, he was across the room, pulling me into his arms and kissing me in an aggressive way that I wasn't used to.
We just couldn't stop. Not even to catch our breaths, to say hello, or say anything at all. He kissed my neck, unbuttoning and unzipping, hungrily, almost angrily.
"Mulder…" I took his face in my hands, looking into his eyes to see what I would find there. Was he crying? Or had been?
"I'm sorry," he breathed into my hair, setting me back down on the bed, getting down on his knees in front of me. He traced his thumb over my lips. "You don't know what this is like for me."
"This is hard on me, too."
He told me he didn't think I would be here this time. I was confused. Where was this coming from?
"This does nothing for you," he whispered. "Nothing to help you. It puts you in danger. And there's more risk now, more to lose. Why come back?"
I sank down on my knees in front of him. I put my hand on his chest, right over his heart, his skin so warm. Then I took his hand, shaking and sweating, and clumsily put it against my breast, right over my heart.
"Nothing?" I whispered back. "How can this be nothing?"
I searched his face for my answer. He closed his eyes for a minute, and when he opened them I saw that he understood.
He was finally here with me, in that room, in that time, in that place. In those moments, sliding under the blankets together, concentrating to keep the spell unbroken. My hands slid along his back, the tips of my fingers on his shoulders, memorizing each ridge, each movement of muscle under his skin. He brought my hand to his lips. Kissing my palm, my wrist, the bend of my arm at my elbow. And when he was inside me, slow and deep, a thin sheen of sweat formed on our bodies as we tried hard to keep it going. Giving ourselves to each other. Clinging to each other, slowing and quickening, slowing and quickening, until it was too much, the pressure breaking inside both of us, gasping against each other's mouths, inhaling and exhaling into solemn stillness.
We wrapped ourselves around each other, holding on until I would have to leave again. I wanted so badly to fall asleep like that, feel the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest against my cheek as it slowed. God, it is never enough. I wanted to stay. Who would miss me? Who would even notice? But reality appeared with the sun, weak light through stained curtains. I said my prayer again, begging God, to not let this be the last time. It has become my ritual now, after we embrace, I'm getting superstitious because he was right – I do have more to lose now.
AL: It's Tuesday, October 14, 2061. About 11:17am. We are in Dana Scully's home, [redacted], NAU. Dana, do I have your -? Dana?
DS: In here. I'm taking down these curtains. It just gets too dark in here. Yes, you have my permission to record this interview.
AL: Okay. Do you want some help?
DS: No. [sounds of DS walking back into the room] Okay, that's much better. Did you get some rest?
AL: I did. Did you?
DS: After you get to be a certain age, I guess you can overpay your sleeping debt and just not really need it anymore.
AL: I see. So…were you with Mulder when William was born?
DS: Hm. If you're asking if he was physically with me that night, no. Agent Reyes, Monica Reyes was there.
AL: Monica Reyes?
DS: Yes. She was a good friend. At times, so much more than that. Incredibly brave. Loyal. We were very close all the way up until she passed, about six years ago. I guess I really am the last one now. She was interviewed, wasn't she?
AL: I think so. Not by me.
DS: And William…I was afraid he was going to come out looking…wrong. I was afraid there was something wrong with him. Like physically, a birth defect or something. But he looked normal. He was just a healthy baby boy…on the outside.
There was something wrong, or…unusual about him. He was able to do things babies shouldn't be able to do. Or anyone.
DS: He's still alive, Anne. I can't.
AL: You're sure he's still living?
AL: Was he William Scully? William Mulder?
DS: Do you really not know the policies or are you assuming I'm stupid and that I don't?
AL: No….no…but if his birth name and adopted name are different –
DS: I know what you're doing. Let's not do that. It's hard enough, you know, to acknowledge what I did…instead of being brave, I gave up. I gave up like a coward. I allowed him to become someone else's. Let them watch him grow, be a part of his memories. I don't want to discuss what might be very personal for him. If there's something you people need to know about him, I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find him and ask him yourselves.
AL: It would be just as easy for you to find him, too. Wouldn't it?
DS: No. As part of my Sanctuary Agreement with the Union, I have restricted network access. All my travel must be approved a year in advance. I even have limited access to my pension.
AL: Oh. I thought you all were pardoned.
DS: Maybe some were. Not me.
AL: I'm sorry….I…just thought that…I guess we should move on.
DS: Yes. I will tell you though that I didn't just give William over to the system, hoping a nice family would take him in. I did my research first. I didn't want it to be random. So, I tried. I guess.
Private Electronic Journal Entry, c. 2001/2002, Dana Scully [year approximate per DS]
I keep having this dream, not every night, it changes from night to night, just little things, but it's generally the same. I'm on a ledge high up somewhere. Down below me is this caldera filled with the clearest, bluest water I've ever seen. Under the water is everything. Everyone, everything, every emotion I've ever wanted to feel, every place I've ever wanted to be, every wish I've ever had, all swirling and swimming happily below the surface. If I just jump, I can be down in the warm depths with all of it.
But I can't jump.
I'm afraid I'll jump all wrong and land on the rocks surrounding the water, my skull cracking open, my blood dripping down the rocks. I'm afraid it will hurt. Jumping from such a great height, the crash into the water will break something. And so I sit there watching all of it, knowing I could be a part of it if I could only jump. Just shut my eyes, hold my breath, and just do it.
I don't do it. I don't jump. I'm mad at myself when I wake up. Do I need to be pushed? What if someone was there with me? Taking my hand and we made the jump together? There's never anyone there with me. Just me, too scared to take the plunge into happiness and peace.
I think I'm just addicted to chaos. I'm addicted to the unsettling, what's impossibly hard, what's stupidly dangerous. Why else would I continue doing this? Why else would I choose to love someone that will always be out of reach? Too dangerous for me and our son, untouchable, hiding. It's not enough for me. How can this be enough for him?
Maybe that's why I don't jump. I stay on the ledge, contemplating the fall, chickening out, because if I jumped it would mean I'd have to leave him behind.
DS: I'm not happy with or proud of how I handled things back then. I was doing the best I could, at that time. I didn't tell anyone what I was considering. I just…I did it. Coming home to his crib, taking it apart, little things all strewn around my home to remind me…I shouldn't have been alone. I should have reached out to my mother at the very least, but…the person I wanted with me couldn't be there.
[Sounds of DS walking around the room.]
I needed him there to put his arms around me and hold me together, because I was sure I was going to just break apart. Do you know what that's like? A need unlike any other, worse than needing water or air or sleep; an insatiable need for the other pieces of you that make you whole. That first night, that night, after William was gone, I could feel or sense that my sister, Melissa, was there with me. I don't really know how to put it into words, but it was like she was there, her...like when she was alive and I knew she was in the house without having to see or hear her. Like that. It's like she knew I needed someone right then, and she was reaching out from wherever she is. I've never told anyone that before. Not even Mulder.
AL: Did you tell Mulder about William…when you, when he was adopted?
DS: Yes. Except I couldn't tell him face to face. It was the worst, having to send him a message, not knowing when or if he would see it. Waiting. I didn't know how he'd handle it. I know we've talked about this before, about if he knew. I don't want to speculate on what he did or didn't know because he's not here to tell his own story, but he wasn't a stupid man. It wasn't hard to figure out.
Whoever gets to read or hear these recordings might judge me harshly for doing what I did. Not telling or even asking his father. There were people after Mulder. And our son. Except they weren't people…they were, they were something else. And I had to balance all that, alone, with some help, but mostly alone. My mother almost died because of it.
DS: Can we, can we take a break? Is it alright to do that?
[Recording paused. 1:39pm.]
Letter to Dana Scully from William F. [redacted], Handwritten on paper converted digitally, 2032.
Used with permission, DS Sanctuary Agreement, Clause 4.
When/if she agrees to see you, please give her this.
Te amo con todo mi corazòn,
Ms. Dana Scully:
I am your son, William. If you need proof, I can provide it. Please let me say first that I do not hate you, nor do I question your reasons. As you can imagine the story of how I found you and my father is long and arduous. I want to see you and my father and tell you both, but only at your will. I cannot imagine what this news will make you feel, but I hope you will see me. There is so much I want to say to you both.
I also want to tell you how I found the woman you are meeting. She is your daughter, and my half-sister, Emily. I found her three years ago in Honduras. She has been speaking Spanish for the last 28 years, and she is re-learning English. Please be patient with her if she cannot answer all your questions.
Emily can tell you how to contact me, if it is your wish, which I hope for very much.
William walked into the hospital, past screaming babies and coughing fits to the front desk. The man behind it didn't speak English. He motioned towards a woman, who told William to go down the hall and to the left.
William approached another desk. Behind a tall stack of folders he could hear clicking on a keyboard. There was a sign upon the wall with her name, Dr. Emily Gutierrez. That was when it hit him; when exhaustion and anticipation collided, making him feel dizzy. He slowed to a stop when a head peeked out from behind the files. A head with long hair, the color of a new, shiny copper penny. She wore cheap reading glasses, one of the ear pieces broken and taped back together. She said something to him in Spanish that he wouldn't remember later.
He just stopped and stared. He said nothing. He couldn't speak. He hadn't really prepared what to say or how to say it. When he saw her face, he remembered all those dreams as a little boy. The one where he watched a tiny hand dip into a pool of clear water, a strand of copper hair slipping into view. A silver crucifix spinning on a wall. Waking up in the middle of the night, praying in Spanish, then covering his mouth out of fear that he was possessed. He knew then that none of those were dreams.
Emily stood up, taking off her glasses and tucking them neatly in the pocket of her off-white lab coat. "Señor?"
William asked her if she spoke English. She shook her head, then gestured for him to wait there while she went through a door behind her. She brought back a Caucasian man whose accent sounded Australian.
"Do you need help, sir?" He asked.
William looked into Emily's soft blue eyes, searching for recognition.
"Do you need medical attention?" The Australian man asked.
"No," William replied. "I'm here to see her."
The Australian man translated to Emily.
"Are you a patient of hers?"
William hesitated. "I'm her brother."
It came out too loud and too clear as if it was the loudest thing anyone had ever said in that hospital. William moved forward slowly. He silenced his mind, slowed his breathing, and went to the place where he'd always found her. A place in his head, like a waiting room, with no language, no voices; feeling for each other rippling through the air in pitch darkness, they'd met there many times before.
"You know who I am," William whispered. He could feel she was there, too. Her palm flat, fingers splayed as she reached out towards him in that dark and quiet place in his mind. "And you know what we are."
[Recording resumed 1:54pm]
DS: And, well, you know….we had to maintain our fitness…
AL: I've started it back again…
DS: Oh. Do you want me to start over again?
AL: No. I want to go back to William, though. When was the last time you saw him?
AL: Dana, it's not –
DS: I know. I'm thinking about whether I should lie to you or tell you the truth.
AL: …I would hope…the truth?
DS: I don't like the truth.
[Another long silence. Some outside noises and shuffling.]
DS: Six years ago.
AL: What? The last time you saw William was six years ago?
AL: What…so you found him?
DS: No. He found me. He found us—Mulder and I. I'm skipping things again. It's just easier to skip over the parts you don't like, isn't it? We have a very…strained relationship now, my son and I, so that's why I haven't seen him in six years.
AL: He found you six years ago?
DS: No. He found us about thirty-some years ago. Mulder and I didn't discuss it much, but any child of ours would figure it all out and find us eventually. It was just inevitable. After I gave him up, I was afraid of when I would see him again, because I was going to. He was safe, he would live, and I would see him again. I knew it for absolute fact. But when and under what circumstances was frightening.
Private electronic journal entry c. 2026 [date approximate per DS]
I can't sleep. Mulder left some time ago to drive around, I guess. He's angry with me, I think. We can't sleep. It's funny to think about the days or hours before your life changes drastically. It just happens, out of nowhere, no warning. Well, I can't say that I don't deserve this or I didn't expect it one day…
He was right here. Sitting in our home, on our furniture…my son. My son. Our son. And he wasn't alone…she was with him! Mulder and I have already had our prerequisite argument about whether or not I believe it's really William and Emily. I'm tired of believing and not believing anything. I'm tired of being accused. We sat there together like we had in the old days, our Agent Faces on, exchanging looks, as William and Emily told us their respective stories. He told us he knew he was adopted, found us through the DNA Archives during the fall of the Old Republic. Every database that had ever existed left unguarded could reveal anything private to anyone, while the NAU scrambled to shut all the virtual doors and create windows instead. It had been a mess, but he'd seen a "possible match" in the DNA Archives – a half-sister. Or rather a one-quarter sister. He told us it was as if Emily had one mother, me, and two fathers. I knew what he was saying went against laws of genetics, but I've seen things that go against all laws of nature and the Universe. How is it I can still be shocked after all I've seen?
Emily explained to us, in very broken English, sometimes clarified by William, that she didn't remember anything before Barbados. That was where she'd been found by a group of Dominican nuns; she eventually settled with them in Honduras. I nearly started sobbing uncontrollably when she said she studied medicine to give the sisters the medical care they desperately needed as they aged. My Emily is a doctor after all…I squeezed Mulder's hand too tight as I tried to think of how she could have gotten to Barbados. Did they just dump her there? Had they put her on a boat and smuggled her in, not giving a shit where she ended up afterwards? I squeezed his hand so hard he grunted with pain. It made me angry, but….there was something…was there something wrong with her? Just in how she was with us. Is there something wrong with her? I really feel like there's something wrong with her, but I can't place it yet.
Mulder and I fought over her later, not William. I believe he's William, our son. How could I not after seeing him today? Seeing him talk, his gestures, his smiles, his expressions. I know what it is now to be a mother looking at her child and seeing something familiar, something only a mother and a child can share. Only for me I didn't get those moments of pride and love bit by bit over time; I got them all at once in one afternoon. I could see us in him. There was me when he would tilt his head one way, Mulder when he smiled or looked thoughtful. Brief seconds of emotion passing quickly across his face; I needed to slow time down so I could map myself and Mulder in each micro-expression, catch up on all I have missed.
But her….I didn't tell him what I saw. Maybe he saw it, too. It's harder with her because I saw her die. She was – in every way, shape, and form known to us – dead. Mulder said I'd also seen him dead, but he'd come back to life. Wasn't it possible for her, too? The answer is simple for him: be a family. Right now. Get back all the years lost forever and be a family. Now. Nothing from before matters.
I was watching William's face as he talked to Mulder and me. His eyes are blue. His hair came in light when he was a baby, but now it's dark like his father's. I noticed all of this. I noticed his hand sliding over Emily's hand, fingers entwined with hers. It was an unconscious gesture. It was an intimate gesture. It made me feel something I didn't like. I stopped listening to them talk, just blocked out the sound, and tried to deconstruct what was between them, left unsaid, but still hanging in this house even now. William said he found us as the Old Republic fell apart, and the NAU restored order three years ago this month. Where have they been the last three years? What have they been doing? They could have come to us much sooner, and why haven't they?
"Aunt Emily, will you braid my hair?" Tamryn sat on Emily's lap, leaving Timothy to battle zombie-aliens in their game alone.
"Of course. Hold still now."
William sat down next to them, watching for a minute. "Did you see it?"
"Yes. I read it." Decades out of Honduras and Emily's accent was still thick. She still rattled off in Spanish from time to time, mostly because she knew it irritated him. "They're just sending that silly girl out into the wilderness to antagonize her."
"Maybe," William said slowly. He watched Emily's fingers folding locks of Tamryn's strawberry blonde hair into a neat Dutch braid. "You think everyone will come later? Everyone knows it's important, right? To have the family together."
"Everyone but Esther, and," she mouthed the name silently to William, "Mary."
Tamryn, forever curious and never fooled, turned to look at them.
"Turn round. The braid will be crooked," Emily said. Tamryn obeyed.
"They all have to be here," William said firmly. "Everyone. Let's get it all out in the open at last if we need to. But everyone has to be here. It's family time."
"What do you want me to do about it?" Emily wrapped a hair tie around Tamryn's hair and gently pushed her off her lap. "I can't make anyone do anything. That's what happens when they grow up. Esther is your daughter, and Mary—"
They both glanced cautiously at the children. Both of them had turned away from the game, listening in.
"Go outside," Emily said.
"What about Aunt Esther?" Timothy asked.
"Go outside!" William repeated. "Here's a new game." He tossed them a tiny memory disk. "Go learn it and I'll be out to score you later." Tamryn and Timothy scrambled outside, already fighting over who would begin.
William moved closer to Emily, taking her hand in both of his. In all the seconds that made up their lives thus far, it was the ones where they were alone that seemed to last the longest, to pause unforgivingly, a zooming microscope coming in at them from space, to examine and critique. They sat in silence for a minute or two, a heavy shame sinking over them, as they found each other in the "Waiting Room," just for reassurance.
"If you ask Mary to come," William said quietly, slowly, "then she will come. She will always do what you ask her to do, and she will always ignore what I ask. It's how she is. We know this. If Mary comes, Esther will come, too."
Emily nodded. She knew he was right.
William gently turned her chin so he could look at her, in her eyes. "Okay?"
"Yes," Emily said. "Okay."