Chapter 16: Howling Ghosts That Reappear.
Claude Margarine Youth Hostel
7.00 am (Paris Time)
1.02pm (Washington Time)
I've been reading books of old.
The legends and the myths.
Achilles and his gold, Hercules and his gifts,
Spiderman 's control and Batman with his fists
And clearly I don't see myself on that list
~Something Just Like This, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers
Scully groaned loudly at the bright sunlight streaming in through the blinds, burying her face further into Mulder's bare chest and slipping one of her legs between his two warmer, blue flannel pyjamas clad ones.
After a quick glance at the digital clock next to the bed, Scully glared up at Mulder, who was smiling down at her mischievously.
'Did the morning always have to come so damn early.'
It wasn't that she minded what they had planned for the day ahead, surely a boat trip down the Seine and a visit to the Louvre would be fun but another half an hour of shut eye would be welcome, especially since they could afford the extra time in bed.
But naturally, her early rising co-worker and boyfriend had other ideas, waking her up nearly forty five minutes sooner than she had previously planned.
'Damn him and his need for very little sleep.'
The sounds of a vacuum cleaner, hummed noisily outside their bedroom door. The hostel warden's nearly sixty year old wife must have deemed the carpet outside their door to the dirtiest in all of Paris either that or she was just nosy and the latter was the most likely option of the two.
The elderly lady seemed to love gossip as much as life itself and had shared her highfalutin tales of the slanderous young american teachers staying upstairs with some of her employees, some having thrown Mulder and Scully disapproving looks whenever they encountered them and they rest overtly refering to them as 'the love birds'
The woman had materialized outside their room ever morning without fail and spent an entirely inappropriate amount of time hovering outside their bedroom door (claiming the carpet to be dirtier on that particular area than it was on the whole floor) after she had unfortunately overheard something that she shouldn't have had overheard on the second morning.
The thought of the elderly French lady outside, hoovering away to her heart's content in search of a "scandalous" story and their sixteen/seventeen year old student; sleeping on the floor just below, had made it difficult to maintain the proper mood for languorous romance.
"Mulder, we don't have to be for up another forty minutes.", Scully declared, grumbling quietly and blinking blindly, grappling for the pillow that she had discarded earlier on in the night in favor of her partner's warm body. "We meet the kids downstairs at 8.00 for breakfast and the city boat tour is scheduled for 9.30", she added voice muffled by sleep and the comforter her face was pressed against. "I'm not going anywhere or doing anything."
Mulder smirked lovingly turning on his side to stroke her shoulder, propping his body up with his elbows, as his redheaded companion ducked away from him, turning over to bury herself further into the pillows.
"Aww, Scully", Mulder said jokingly, tickling the skin exposed on the back of her neck due to her attire of a loose Knicks t-shirt that she had 'borrowed' from him. "I thought you'd enjoy a nice morning in, not necessarily sleeping."
Scully turned her head around from where it was, face down against her pillow, to face him.
Seeing the almost comical expression on his face, she smiled despite herself, chuckling and turning away from him again, pulling the blankets closer around her with an carefree giggle, something that even Mulder hardly ever heard from her, but couldn't get enough of when he did.
"You're insatiable. You know that, Mulder?", Scully remarked, peaking up at him from her pillow."Even with Madam News-Monger outside", she said whispered before turning around and wrapping both of her arms around his neck, pulling him back down onto her pillow, his head resting lazily against her stomach.
Mulder grimaced in remembrance, nodding as he looked up at her. "Sorry, Scully. I momentarily forgot about that little turn off."
"No worries". Scully lowered her face to his, placing a hand on his cheek as his lips greeted her, warm and inviting with a brush of heat before pulling away far too quickly for her liking, a smile that screamed he was up to something gracing his features.
"Where are you going?", Scully asked as Mulder swung both of his legs out of the bed.
He smirked devilishly. "I'd hate for the old dear to be too disappointed in us", he answered as he proceed to sit upright on the mattress, gently bouncing up and down to create a rhythmic squeak.
The vacuum cleaner stopped abruptly and the sound of steps hurrying away from the door could be heard from inside the room.
After a moment or two of bouncing, Mulder gave a dramatic groan and collapsed backwards with a twang of protesting springs.
Scully rolled her eyes, swatting him affectionately on the shoulder. "The whole point of not having morning sex while we were here is to avoid those kind of run-ins with her. We're supposed to be teachers here on a school trip, Mulder", she berated halfheartedly, chuckling despite herself at his pout when he settled his head back against her stomach.
"Hey", Mulder protested teasingly, waggling his eyebrows and totally overlooking her original point. "You're supposed to moan ecstatically not berate me and chuckle. She'll think I'm bad in the sack."
Scully smirked, deciding to play along. "Well, you would have to keep it up for longer then, a minute doesn't deserve anymore than a chuckle and besides...", she added, a slight bitterness trickling into her otherwise light-hearted tone as memories from dinner the previous nights came to mind."It might keep her daughter Bambi's eyes and claws off of you if her mother tells her that you're a bad lover."
Mulder looked at her incredulously, a bubble of laughter threatening to burst out of him, "Holy Shit, Scully!", he declared, eyeballing her. "Are you jealous?", he asked, half amused and half surprised.
Scully looked up at him sternly with one eye brow raised. It was her signature 'Dana-No-Nonsense-Scully' glare again. "Mulder, You're Nuts! Of course I'm not jealous!", she reasoned, shaking her head adamantly. "I just think Bambi has gotten the wrong impression from you after what you said to her last night at dinner."
He chuckled softly, lying back down next to her. "Well, let's just say it slipped my mind in the last fourteen years that the 'p' at the end of Boucoup is silent."
Scully chuckled slightly, "I'm surprised she didn't slap you Mulder. Considering that you, a perfect stranger, told her she had a nice ass instead of just saying 'thank you' like a normal person."
Mulder pouted, shaking his head in amusement, as he wrapped both of his arms around her narrow waist again. "What can I say, Scully. I've got a gift", he announced, teasingly as she squirmed in his embrace. 'I can wiggle myself out of getting my ass kicked', he thought to himself, deciding not to voice it aloud should Scully see fit to tease him about the times his 'gift' wasn't enough to keep him out of trouble.
"Yes, Mulder. A gift for pronouncing the silent 'p' in a way that gave a formally innocent sentence a whole new meaning", she said before grimacing slightly at the memory of Bambi standing over Mulder like a freaking bird of prey, as she took their orders and the orders of the students that were with them at the long rectangular table the night before. What kind of person reacts to a crass comment like that even if it was totally unintended on Mulder's part. "You should have seen the look she gave you."
He laughed against her shoulder, gently sliding the tips of his fingers up her thigh and under the baggy Knicks t-shirt to rest on the elastic of her panties. "You do know that your ass is the only one I chase these days, right?"
"I trust you if that's what you're asking, Mulder", Scully said looking up at him, eyebrows raised. " But I am also am well aware that Bambi fits in with just about every woman you've been with, probably since high school from what you've told me".
"What do you mean fits in?", Mulder asked jokingly, now resting both hands on her waist under her (or rather his) shirt. "Are you suggesting that I have a type, Dana Katherine Scully?"
"Maybe", Scully answered. "It seems that I have noticed a pattern of tall, dark haired, big chested women in your past", Scully replied dryly, mind wandering to the brief descriptions that Mulder had given her of past girlfriends and lovers, not to mention her own encounter with Diana Fowley only months beforehand.
Mulder's grin faltered, sensing her sincerity. "The key word there being; past, Scully. I was never actually in love with any of those women, except maybe Diana but we both know how that turned out", he said simply, arms loosening as he felt Scully move out of his embrace to face him properly. "I love all five foot two of you, nothing, not the past, not the future, will ever change that. You're my partner in crime, my constant, my touchstone, my one in five billion. You're my favorite person. The only one that I trust."
Scully smiled despite herself, stroking his jawline with the tips of her fingers. "Ditto", she said feeling her fleeting jealousy slip away like the tide back out to sea as she realized how ridiculous discussing this with Mulder was. She trusted him 100% just as he trusted her. Neither of them were going anywhere in the foreseeable future.
She usually didn't feel this jealous over such stupid things. Dana Scully was usually a completely confident person who didn't really entertain thought of her boyfriend's exes. What the hell was up now? Why was this suddenly changing? For the past few days it had been almost as if her hormones had been everywhere but where they were supposed it be. It really was getting ridiculous, like a rollercoaster that she had not given herself permission to go on. Scully made a mental note to check the calendar later, perhaps it was coming near her time of the month or something.
"No one means more to me than you do", Scully confirmed quietly, her hand freezing momentarily over his upper lip. "And I really do trust you."
"Even if I am a bit weird and spooky sometimes?", Mulder asked teasingly as he gently began tickling her sides, his fingers finding their way across her stomach and hips underneath her t-shirt.
Swatting his hands away, Scully replied firmly to his question.
"Normal is overrated. I'd much rather be weird with you".
Mulder grinned widely, glad to see he had reassured her. He knew that she didn't like huge gestures or over the top declarations of love, they never needed them. It was almost as though they communicated telepathically. However, it didn't hurt now and again to be a little more vocal than usual.
"And anyway", Mulder flirted with a smirk. "Who said brunettes were my type? How do you know I haven't always had a serious soft spot for tiny, gorgeous, super intelligence, kick-ass, perfect redheaded science enthusiasts but I just never met one until I met you."
Scully rolled her eyes, swatting him lightly on the shoulder. "Sure you had, Mulder", she said sarcastically.
Mulder rolled over on his front, settling both of his elbows at either side of her body until he was hovering just above her on the small double bed. "No, Scully. It's true", he said, pecking her hard on the chin and across her cheeks before softly brushing his lips over hers. "Totally whipped, right?", he asked, eyes shining mischievously.
"Absolutely", she agreed jokingly, chuckling and kissing him softly on the lips.
Smiling into her mouth, Mulder returned her enthusiasm in equal measure, gently pulling her on to his lap, he gently pulled his mouth from hers, holding her mere inches from himself, an almost temptingly close distance. "So Scully, considering that you think that you have identified my past self's type. Can I do the same?", he asked against her collarbone.
"If you think that your male ego can handle it", Scully replied teasingly, running her hands across the warmth of his broad shoulders, gently skimming her fingers along the rippling muscles of his back and placing a handful of kisses against his throat, settling herself on his lap.
Mulder moaned loudly, chuckling into her hair but suddenly pulled back, smirking devilishly and leaning closer to her, pressing his nose gently against her cheek. He raised her hand to his lips, kissing each of her individual knuckles. He started with the fist knuckle of her right hand, his lips lingering a little.
"Older", he said thoughtfully to which Scully shrugged.
He continued on, with each description kissing another of her knuckles.
"Forbidden", he tried in a careful tone of voice as though he was some sort of psychic or medium, watching her intently for any tiny giveaways.
"We'll that's always a turn on isn't it. There's a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable."Scully replied teasingly, sliding her fingers down his warm, bare chest. "I think I kept with that one though, your best friend is usually off limits", she added before leaning in closer to remerge her lips with his but chuckling when he, instead, continued with his little guessing game.
"Above average intelligence"
"Well, I never asked any of my exes for their genetic history but I guess I managed to avoid certain traits that I could pinpoint on a first meeting."
Mulder laughed affectionately, almost able to imagine Scully doing exactly that with her best 'scientist' looking expression firmly etched on her face. "Well, I'm proud to tell you that my family have a spotless genetic history, granted some people would think a few of us are a bit crazy but you already know that."
"You're not crazy, Mulder", Scully defended gently. "A little eccentric, yes, but I find it cute on days when you're not driving me up the wall", she admitted sheepishly, her voice getting a slightly higher tone, something that always endeared Mulder since he saw so little of his usually stubborn and unforgiving lover.
"So should eccentric be on this list, Scully."
"No, that particular fetish only cropped up a few years ago."
"When you met me", Mulder asked teasingly as he ran his free hand under her shirt and up her spine.
Scully rolled her eyes, deciding his ego had definitely been massaged enough for one day. She swatting him lightly on the arm before retorting sarcastically, "No, Mulder. When I met Frohike."
"Well, I promise that I'm better than him in bed any day."
"How do you know how Frohike is in bed?"
"Don't ask", Mulder replied, wincing at a few college memories from back when he briefly lived with The Gunmen after college. It had always been bluntly obvious on the extremely rare occasion when Frohike managed a one night stand.
It didn't even occur to him how his answer must have sounded until it already left his lips.
Scully smirked teasingly at Mulder's suddenly disgusted expression. "Do you have something hidden in the closet that you haven't told me about, Mulder", she asked jokingly, ribbing him in the side.
After all he was probably one of the most heterosexual men she knew and that was saying quite a bit considering that half of the men in her family were (or had been in the past) macho military and naval officers of one sort or another.
"You know perfectly well the kind of man I am, Scully."
"You'll have to prove it to me again later."
"It would be my pleasure", Mulder declared, bowing dramatically to her and waggling his eyebrows suggestively. "...and yours too."
Scully chuckled despite herself, rolling her eyes. "You seem very certain of your abilities."
He smiled almost boyishly. "That's true but I also know you."
"What do you know about me", Scully challenged sliding closer to him on his lap so that his abdomen was pressed against hers so she was less sitting on his lap and more straddling his waist between her legs.
"I know", Mulder said smirking triumphantly, taking her hand in his again and returning to his earlier actions of grazing his lips against her knuckles, kissing each of them in turn before trailing further up her arm. "That you have a thing for men with...", he said, voice trailing off as he reached the sleeve of her (or rather his) shirt. He silently asked her permission to do away with the garment before pulling it gently over her head with a swift swoop.
He chuckled at his own jest as the next words left his mouth accompanied with a boyish grin, almost akin to a child who had been caught robbing a sweet shop. "Buckteeth", he whispered teasingly, against her skin, placing a sloppy kiss to her chest.
"I'm pretty sure I never dated Bugs Bunny, Mulder", Scully said with an eye roll, crossing her arms over her chest and inching away from him a little. "I've always had high standards even when I was 'Dana the Punk Scully', as you so charmingly put it."
He pouted, wrapping his hands loosely around her elbows. He remembered very well when Scully had dated Mr Harawell a few years back while Monica was on sick leave. (He wouldn't admit it to Scully at the time but watching her date another one of their colleagues had really hurt) "What about Harawell?",Mulder asked, attempting to mask his own uncertainty at the topic. "He definitely had Buckteeth".
Scully looked at him incredulously, remembering the man in question. She had no idea that Mulder would have remembered him though.
Harawell had been quite a gentleman when it came to asking her out and even though she hadn't been woefully interested at the time (considering she was probably more in love with Mulder than she would allow herself to believe) she had agreed to go out with him. "He did not have Buckteeth, Mulder", Scully insisted.
"He did too", Mulder insisted stubbornly, mirroring her by crossing his own arms defiantly.
Scully rolled her eyes, smiling slyly to herself at Mulder's behavior. "I think you're the one who's jealous."
Mulder opened his mouth to protest but Scully saw right through him. Smiling, she covered his mouth with her own. "If i don't have to be jealous neither do you", she whispered against his lips as she paused for a moment for air.
He smiled, snaking his arms around her body, bringing her close to him again, as if they would fall apart otherwise. He knew that there was no point in denying her claims. It was the truth, after all. "Okay."
"Okay", she agreed, fusing their lips together again, pushing him downward towards the pillows, straddling his waist between her thighs. To her, It felt like there wasn't enough of him, or skin, or space, or time.
But Love is an eternity, it wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.
Time was irrelevant
11.30 am (Paris Time)
5.32 pm (Washington Time)
But she said where'd you wanna go,
How much do you wanna risk
I'm not looking for somebody with some superhuman gifts,
Not some superhero or some fairy-tale bliss
I just want somebody to turn to. Somebody to kiss.
I want something like this
~Something Just Like This, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers
"Why the hell didn't you tell me that you get sea sick", Scully exclaimed, half sternly, half sympathetically at Mulder who was looking increasingly more green the longer they and their students were on the tour boat. He clung desperately to the brass railing on the side of the boat, so hard his knuckles went white. He had already thrown up twice and could hardly stand upright and still for longer than a few minutes at once. Scully hadn't seen anyone that bad out on the water in years.
Everyone else seemed to be coping pretty well with being out on the water, the majority of their students up on deck, laughing and taking photographs of the river side views of Paris .
"For the same reason you never told me that you were Dana Scully America's Number One Natural Born Female Sailor", Mulder replied gruffly, shutting his eyes tightly, his fists clenched to somewhat steady himself.
Rolling her eyes, Scully chuckled quietly. "I did tell you I was a Naval Brat", she said teasingly. "Same difference."
And it was true, being out on the water had never bothered her, even as a small child she would go out in her father's boat with him and her two brothers.
Even then the sea had always felt like another home away from home. Ahab had always said that the sea, one it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonders forever and that the voice of the sea was music to the soul. Even now, at the other side of the world, beng near the sea made her feel as though she was near her father again.
She felt tears well up on her eyes and quickly decided to think about something else. She didn't need to be a blubbering mess right now with Mulder looking sickly and a class of students to keep an eye on. "Mulder, when was the last time you were on a boat anyway?", Scully asked, guiding him away from the railing to sit down, running her hand across his forehead to insure that he wasn't burning up.
Sitting down on one of the long brassy benches that ran along the starboard side of the antique tourist boat, Mulder immediately dropped his head down between his legs to somewhat relieve the sensation of spinning that he was feeling.
Scully gently pulled him closer to her until his head was settled on her lap, against her stomach, like an anchor grounding him.
"About ten years ago", Mulder replied, his eyes shut tightly. "The last time I was out in Martha's Vineyard before Dad downsized", he said grumpily, breathing heavily. That had been one horrible trip. "And that was hell too, worse then even this."
"Maybe you're improving then", Scully replied in some attempt to lighten his mood, making a mental note to force him to buy pills for sea sickness if they ever found themselves in a situation like this again. "Some of these things get better over time."
Mulder smirked humourlessly, shutting his eyes again after a brief glance up at her. "Naaah, the company's just a hell of a lot better this time."
Scully swatted him lightly on the shoulder. Sick or not, Fox Mulder couldn't help but be a total flirt. "I don't know if you're really that sick, Mulder", she said jokingly, moving to slip out from under him to see if their students needed anything. She was well aware that he was, in fact, not faking his illness but joking about it may make him feel a little better.
Which was about all that they could do considering she had no medication of any sort with her for motion or sea sickness.
Scully opened her mouth to tease him further but Mulder stopped her with a pout. "Sing?", he asked quietly, his hazel eyes a strange mixture of puffy (from being dizzy) and hopeful, something that ultimately made him look more like a boy of three than a man who was over thirty.
"Well, now I know you've lost it, Mulder", Scully replied dryly, remaining underneath him for a few more minutes. "No way am I singing to you with a quarter of Junior year only a few feet away", she said gesturing shortly to the group of teens closest to them, where Eve Malone and Brianna Skinner were cackling loudly and taking photographs for the school yearbook of Shelia and Holman recreating a scene from the titanic at the head of the ship.
"I can't hold a note to save my life and you know it as well as I do", Scully said, referencing the time Mulder had walked in to find her singing in the shower at his apartment a few weeks earlier and decided to join her (in both the shower and with the singing).
"Aww, I like singing with you", Mulder replied almost sleepily. "especially because we can harmonise together without hitting a single correct note. That's pretty dang impressive if you ask me."
"Okay, now I'm definitely not singing."
"Mulder, someone could hear me."
"You can sing really quiet. No one would ever know."
Scully groaned loudly, knowing this was an argument that she wasn't going to win considering that Mulder was lying, half in her lap and damn, the more sympathetic part of her felt bad for him. "Ugh, Fine."
Mulder looked up at her from where he lay in her lap, amused but still a rather green, sweaty and sickly. "Love you, Scully."
"Sure. Fine. Whatever", she replied, grumbling somewhat bitterly under her breath before beginning probably one of the most ridiculous songs she knew.
"Jeremiah was a bullfrog", she began quietly, barely audible to the pair of them let alone anyone else. Sighing deeply under her breath, Scully glared down at Mulder.
'Do you have any idea how much I love you to sing for you, you lucky bastard', she thought grouchily to herself. She would never do anything this crazy for anyone but him. She would never risk personal humiliation in front of her students (young people who's respect it was already a challenge to gain) for anyone but the man who was now currently lying with half of his upper body on top of her.
"Was a good friend of mine. Never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine."
Mulder opened his eyes briefly, smiling up at her despite the still constant spinning in his head.
Despite the unusual circumstances of lying seasick in her arms on a tourist ship with her glaring down at him as she sang the almost comical song comically out of tune, Mulder never loved her more and probably would have proposed there and then if he didn't know that Scully would take his proposal as a side effect of his seasickness and brush it off with a smirk and tease him about it later. "Chorus", Mulder requested softly, knowing that it would piss her further off.
Strange as it might be, he had always found annoyed Scully extremely endearing.
"Joy", Scully deadpanned as she reached the chorus of the song. "To the world".
"To all the boys and girls". She couldn't help but brush back a lock of hair that had fallen into his eyes despite her annoyance towards him.
She couldn't help but somewhat enjoy herself. After all, he really did look adorable lying there, head on her lap with a helpless expression of affection and amusement on his pale green face.
Mulder grinned toothily. Scully's singing almost made the sea sickness worth it.
"Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me".
Just then a click went off in the corner, closely followed by a lot of giggling, eye rolling and awww-ing from the small groups of teenagers who had overheard their science teacher's display of musical talent and thought it would be as good as any a photograph to use in the school yearbook on the section about their Paris Trip.
"Nice singing, Ms Scully", Brianna Skinner called teasingly while Jamie Ryan who stood beside her shook his head with suppressed laughter. The pair had been given the task to be the yearbook photographers/ editors and had been adamant to document just about everything on the trip so far for both the year book and the presentation of France for the rest of the year group when they got back home to DC.
The two teenagers traded mischievous glances before shouting in sing-song, out of tune voices like their teacher had only moments before. This time however, much much louder. "Joy to the world for all the boys and girls. Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea. Joy to you and me"
Oh well, so much for avoiding public humiliation.
I've been reading books of old
The legends and the myths.
The testament, they told the moon and it's eclipse.
Superman unrolls a suit before he lifts
But I'm not the kind of person that it fits
~ Something Just Like This, Coldplay and The Chainsmokers
The Cité des Sciences et de I'Industrie
30 Avenue Corentin Cariou,
Parc de la Villette
3.45pm (Paris Time)
9.48pm (Washington Time)
Day 5 of Paris Trip
His crown lit up the way as we moved slowly
Past the wondering eyes of the ones that were left behind
Though far away, though far away, though far away
We're still the same, we're still the same, we're still the same
Howling ghosts they reappear
In mountains that are stacked with fear
But you're a king and I'm a lionheart
~Of Monsters and Men, King and Lionheart
It had been decided that morning, considering that it would be their final full day in Paris, that the rather large group of twenty four students and two teachers would divide into two separate groups to attend different tours that they were personally more interested in. There was much to see and do in Paris and unfortunately it was quite difficult to get around to everything in a little over five days.
The first option was a visit to The Natural Science Museum which was a short journey on the Metro away from the hotel and housed some of the finest Natural Science exhibits in Europe between the huge exhibition on evolution and the massive botanical gardens that housed over 6.5 million specimen and had over 1.9 million visiting science enthusiasts per year.
The second choice was a Ghost Tour of The Catacombs below the city. The tombs belonged to the early Christians who had lived in Paris and were supposedly haunted by the deceased, whose bones had been deposited under the city of Paris in a complex maze of tunnels. Apparently the tour guide also knew a thing or two about the ghost stories of Paris, something that had already sparked the interest of a certain psychology teacher.
It was an easy guess which of the two Woodrow Wilson teachers would be had organised each of the respective tours and pretty much all of the students had been eager about signing up for at least one or the other of the day trips.
After an almost three hour tour of The Natural History museum. Scully found herself alone and walking aimlessly around the 'City of Health' exhibit on the basement floor, reminiscing on her year spent in medical school before she changed her mind, becoming a science teacher instead.
After six years it still wasn't something she regretted in any way.
She had told her group of eleven students that they could go anywhere that they wished inside the museum for an hour, considering that the tour guide had finished a little earlier for lunch and there still was plenty to see and learn within the huge building.
Scully continued down the corridor, past a large, almost sixteen foot tall, replica of a human skeleton only to catch sight of a man she hadn't seen for over six years.
Standing a little under a foot taller than herself, decently built for a man nearly fifty with sandy/grey coloured hair and moustache. It seemed as though time had barely changed him at all.
He looked well, almost as well as he had the day she told him that she had enough with the sneaking around with him behind his wife and daughter's backs.
Enough of being the other woman.
Scully turned on her heel to leave almost as soon as she saw him. Even after six years, it was still painful to see him.
Not because she still loved him, of course. She had stopped loving Daniel Waterston years ago.
It was painful to see him because he was a clear reminder of the person she used to be; An ambitious twenty-two year old who was perfectly fine with the idea of having an affair with a married man who had a daughter almost her own age.
She didn't regret the person she used to be, of course. She just regretted him. Her time with Daniel was certainly a time that she would never again relive.
It wasn't usually her style to duck and hide. She had always been the kind of person to choose fight over flight but almost unknown to herself, Scully was picking up speed at this point, almost twenty feet from him.
Suddenly, Daniel looked up from the exhibit, hearing her heels clicked on the tile floor. His eyes brightened in recognition of the short redheaded woman before him.
"Dana Katherine Scully, as I live and breathe", Daniel declared in utter surprise, dropping his tour booklet to the floor with a gentle clatter, making his way over to her in a handful of strides.
Scully turned around, shutting her eyes in silent prayer, groaning internally. Hitching on a smile, she faced him. "Oh wow, Daniel", she said, attempting and almost failing miserably to sound friendly considering the bad terms on which she and Daniel had parted company on. "It's great to see you."
Now that she was closer to him, she could see that certain things about Daniel had, in fact, changed.
The frown lines that were once faint now ran deeper and his hair was quite a bit greyer then it had been before. His dress sense had changed too. It seemed as though Daniel had permanently abandoned his half hospital scrubs and half casual look that he had once sported, giving away to a brown suit pants, tweed jacket, turtleneck jumper and loafers. He looked older than before and much more like the college professor type persona that he had been for nearly fifteen years.
The most notable change though was the pale band of skin on his ring finger where his wedding band used to be. If she had witnessed such a thing years ago, the gesture would have made her heart leap but now Scully only hoped that she had not caused the destruction of Daniel's home life.
Despite knowing that Daniel had been married, she didn't know at the time that he had children her age (that had been the main reason she left him in the first place) and didn't want to be part of the reason behind the downfall of the marriage of someone's parents.
That was why she left him.
Even after six years of getting used to the idea it still didn't sit well with her. Scully could hardly believe that it was something that she could have even considered anymore.
She and Daniel simply weren't meant to be. They never were.
Daniel smiled, something about the way he looked at her didn't seem simply casual or friendly. There was a certain softness behind his brown eyes that she had only barely seen beginning to flicker like Roman candles when they had been together. After six years since their breakup it appeared that Daniel was blazing.
Was it possible that he still loved her and was only now allowing himself to properly show it.
Scully didn't particularly want to know.
Something in Daniel's intense gaze gave Scully an uneasy gut feeling. He obviously had feelings for her that weren't in any way reciprocated anymore. She felt her stomach twist with discomfort as her head began to spin, similarly to her fleeting bout of sickness in the airport now several days earlier.
She felt her head grow lighter and lighter as she struggled to keep in control of herself.
Daniel, however, didn't seem to notice and probably took the look of vacancy and distraction as a sign she too shared his feelings but couldn't put them into words when in reality Scully was struggling to stand.
"So strange running into you here, Dana, in the city of love", he said breezily, his voice seeming faint, dripping with nostalgia and his eyes becoming a warm affectionate orange as he remembered the happier parts of their shared history. They had been few and far between, most of them only stolen moments in her tiny apartment at the time or in storage rooms at the hospital.
Whatever Daniel was thinking about however, it was making him glow as he drunk in the sight of her. "Sounds like fate." He looked a little shocked as the words left his mouth, as though shocked by his own boldness.
Scully coughed awkwardly, avoiding his eye whilst attempting to keep the contents of her stomach down. She felt her stomach grow queasier and queasier, knotting almost painfully as she felt the colour begin to drain from her face. Her insides seemed to be doing back flips. Scully struggled to get control of the situation.
Indifferent or not to his feelings, the last thing she wanted was to vomit all over Daniel.
After a seconds pause, Scully spoke up, hopeful that she could make it to the end of a short conversation with him before rushing to the nearest bathroom to relieve herself of her breakfast. (She usually went for the healthy option at breakfast time but had a bizarre hankering for fruit loops that morning, something that had amused Mulder greatly)
"Mmmh, Daniel you know I struggle to believe in thing that there isn't concrete proof of...", she said, trailing off as she remembered the conversation she had with Mulder in Connecticut on the night that they had first made love.
Was fate really something that she didn't believe in anymore?
Scully believed that there was signs along the way to pay attention to in life, signs that would lead you to where you were meant to be, choices to be made that lead down different paths to different lives where things were different. Choices that you would regret and choices that would lead you to happiness.
She made the choice not to stay with Daniel, not to become a doctor. She made the choice to become a teacher, to pass on her love of science to a new generation. She made the choice to give her whole heart to Mulder.
Scully regretted nothing. They were her choices and her's alone.
She knew that her life had been made up of millions of decisions, some small and some significant but just as fervently as she knew this she also knew that she would choose him every time, over and over again, in any time, place or dimension.
If given the choice she would always choose Mulder.
He was hers and she was his anything else was inconceivable.
Scully smiled, surprised with herself at how easily she, Dana Scientific Scully, had swallowed such a notion. She turned back to Daniel, looking up at him with a new light in her eye, ready to have a reasonable conversation with him and turn him down politely.
Their relationship was a part of her past and she hoped that she could get Daniel to understand that.
Abruptly, her head started to pirouette again as though the earth itself was wobbling and rotating on it's axis. She wasn't sure how much longer she would be able to hold herself conscious, much less hold her balance.
Scully stumbled backwards, away from Daniel. She waited for the imminent crash against the floor, the crash that never came. She felt Daniel's arms carefully grasp her elbows, easing her to the ground and then suddenly, she saw nothing, blanking out.
Only darkness and seemingly eternal spinning.
Visible machinery, these moving parts inside of me.
They've been shutting down for quite some time.
Leaving only rust behind.
I know, I know the siren sound
Just before the walls come down
~Sleeping At Last, Touch
Blue Heron Herbery
1010 Vermont Avenue
5.24 pm (Washington Time)
11.24 am (Paris Time)
The street was bustling outside Melissa and her friend and co-owner, Pryia Starling's small herbal shop. Contrary to most alternative medicine stores in DC, the shop was brightly lit and inviting. The walls were lined with colouful jars, all holding strange odds and ends from Rosemary to Aloe Vera and from Camemoile to Thyme.
Melissa sighed deeply, her eyes itching irritatingly with tiredness. Her breathing was shallow and under her eyes, she had huge bags that almost looked like bruises from afar.
She was absolutely exhausted, not having slept a single wink since her unexpected phonecall from Kevin. Even now, the very thought of his threatening tone echoing and crackling from the receiver made Melissa shivered with dread.
She never felt safe anymore, not at work or at home. It didn't matter who she was with or where she was. The very thought of that Kevin could arrive at any moment scared the hell out of her.
She heard him behind her sometimes when the rational part of her insisted otherwise, everything about Kevin loomed above her like andnymorettnny upturn waiting for it's prey to die of hunger. Waiting to swoop in.
"Are you okay, Missy?", a voice somewhere behind her called.
Melissa jumped a little in surprise but relaxed on recognising the familiar voice of her coworker and friend. She turned around to face the other woman, attempting around neutral and carefree expression. Deep down, Melissa knew she was failing miserably.
The woman before her was short, slight with waist length dirty blonde hair hastily pulled into a messy braid. Priya Starling, a woman Melissa had met years earlier in college where they were both bound on career paths where they would never be happy.
Together they quit college and traveled around Asia and India, picking up whatever they could about the alternate medicine of the East. That was when Melissa had met Kevin, who Priya had always said wasn't a good man deep down.
When the three of them arrived back in DC, Melissa and Priya had opened their own store, their pride arrived and joy: The Blue Heron Herbery. From the get go, Melissa had been the partner specializing in the treatment of clients using alternative methods including Rahinni Celestial Healing. Pryia offered much of the same but often told the fortune of their clients, claiming she had had the sight since birth but only truly realised it's nature while they were travelling.
Melissa sighed internally, reminding herself once again that Priya never liked Kevin. Perhaps there was some truth in her friend's ability to see the future. A part of Melissa wished she had listened to Pryia back when she had fist advised her against Kevin but then she would never have given birth to Emily.
Melissa would never ever regret her daughter, come hell or high water.
"I'm okay, Pry", Melissa replied hoping to sound absentminded even though her stomach was still knotted with discomfort at the very thought of Kevin. "I just didn't sleep very well for the last couple of nights."
Pryia eyed her, concerned, her eyes becoming misty and empathetic as though she could see inside Melissa's head. "Something about the future is not hearing you,right?"
Melissa nodded reluctantly.
"You wanna tell me about it?"
"Not really", Melissa replied. She trusted Pryia completely but she still didn't want to burden her friend with something that may prove to be nothing.
Even though her gut preached otherwise.
"I could do a reading for you?", Pryia offered, reaching into one of the huge pockets of her mustard colored floral dress, pulling out a deck of tarot cards.
Melissa considered it for a moment. She knew that tarot cards were pretty vague but even so, did she really want to know the truth. Did she really want to know her future, no matter how dubious it may prove to be.
Melissa felt a cold sense of dread as she nodded, silently agreeing to Priya's offer.
"Okay. Let's begin."
Dana Scully's Residence
Washington DC – 5.55pm
The Devil. The Tower. Death.
They were three of the most unlucky cards in the pack of tarots and Melissa had been presented with all three.
The image of the three cards turned over on the silk table cloth still bore into Melissa's mind, forever ingrained in her memory. Pryia had tried to protest and talk some sense into Melissa, tell her the cards usually had multiple meanings but the red haired woman had uped and ran as soon as the realisation had even begun to settled in.
The cards may have multiple meanings but to Melissa, the meaning was clear.
She was going to be killed by Kevin, her very own devil.
Her heart pounded as she sprinted across the street, through the puddles and towards her sister's apartment. Melissa felt as though a pair of eyes were boring into her back, watching her every move as she threw open the door of Dana's home letting herself inside and began bolting the door behind her, her fingers fumbling clumsily with the chain.
A cold sweat broke out on her back and forehead, tiny beads of perspiration bubbling up on her brow as she dashed around the kitchen, frantically opening drawers for anything to defend herself with.
Melissa turned to face the door, sickeningly unsurprised as the handle begin to jiggle.
She had known she was being followed by him. She had felt his presence hoover over her all day.
A mocking voice called out, a voice she knew Kevin adopted whenever Alex took over.
"Darling", he bellowed, voice dripping with angry sarcasm."I'm home". He knocked loudly on the door, filling the apartment with the sound of metal on wood. Something told Melissa that he had a gun. "Don't make me break your sister's door down. Will you, baby?"
'Yes', Melissa thought bitterly to herself, her heart almost audible and her ears beginning to ring. 'The Devil is home."
The door burst open, and ear-splitting clatter erupting that would be audible in the surrounding a parts if everyone wasn't still at work.
Melissa backed away from the door even though she knew confronting Alex/Kevin would be inevitable. Her lungs surged for air as she grasped the knife she had spotted seconds before in the top drawer, it's shiny metal gleaming in the darkness.
"Darling, I'm home", Alex whispered ominously entering through the door that separated the living room from the tiny hallway.
His tall and thin figure approached her slowly, a gun held firmly at his side.
Melissa glared at him from the kitchen island, tightening her grip on her lone weapon. She had always been a big believe of being master of her own fate. Would she really allow the results of a game of tarot dictate whether she live or die tonight.
Would she fight for her right to survive if that right meant seeing Emily again, if it offered her a chance to raise her own daughter.
Could she really submit to her supposedly inevitable fate with so much on the line?
Pain's a well intentioned, will of men
Predicting God as best he can
But God I wanna feel again.
Oh God, I wanna feel again.
Down my arms, a thousand silluottes.
~Sleeping At Last, Touch