Betrayal In The Garden I

By Jeannine Ackerson

6/9/97

Rating: PG for descriptions of dead bodies and mild swearing.

Disclaimer: The X-Files and it's characters are property of C.C., FOX & 1013 Prod., etc.

Spoilers: Late 4th season - "Demons" & "Gethsemane".

Relationship: No MSR. (sorry fellow believers) Just "Big Time" Scully angst.

Summary: Scully wakes up disoriented next to a 'body'.

Ok, this is a "what if"/alternate story line ending for the fourth season finale. I wasn't going to write this, but I had this idea in my head, so I thought I might as well see if I could get it out of there. <g> So now, on to the show. . .

 

Pain rolled through Dana Scully's body as she awoke. She was disoriented, cold and hurt like a. . . Well, she hurt a lot.

The throbbing of her head and ache in limbs combined with the tossing of her stomach, she was concerned that any movement she made would either send shooting pains through her or cause her to be violently ill.

Drawing up her strength, she attempted to pry open her eyes.

She soon found herself staring up at a strange ceiling. The first thought that came to mind was that they had kidnapped her again. Fear sprang up, replacing the strength she had just built up. Memories of a half dozen other times when she'd been in jeopardy flooded her mind.

But she wasn't strapped down, or restrained at all for that matter. She wasn't in a cell, or on a lab table. From the limited information she had, she was no where that she couldn't have gone on her own.

Still, she didn't know *where* she was or how she'd gotten there. From the light beginning to filter into the place she was in, she knew it was near dawn. And she didn't remember anything since eleven O'clock on Tuesday night.

That period of blackness concerned her. She didn't know what was going on, how long she'd been here, wherever *here* was. . .

Where the *hell* was she?

She moved her head from side to side a bit, slowly shaking some sense into it. Then she flexed the muscles in her arms, wiggling her fingers. That movement prompted her to notice something odd. Something that gave her pause.

Under her hand she felt the hard, cool metallic presence of something. Tentatively she ran her fingers along it and identified it with shock.

It was a gun.

She tried again in vain to remember what had happened. As it was, she didn't know how long she'd been unconscious. That fact made any speculation worthless. The thought crossed her mind that it was her gun, but the pressing pain of her holstered weapon at her back. She had to look at the weapon under her hand. Maybe seeing it would help her come to some conclusion as to what was going on.

And then maybe she would remember *where* she was.

She closed her eyes and fuzzily tried to recall the last thing she remembered.

They'd been in the warehouse. He'd been upset about the alien body that had supposedly been there. She remembered telling Mulder his beliefs were a lie, and that she had been made ill to make him *believe* in that lie. And she remembered watching him walk away as she stood there, accompanied only by two dead bodies and silence.

Then... nothing.

Finally she willed herself to turn her head to the side, needing to see the weapon. Slowly she got her body to cooperate, her head swiveling. Her eyes fell on her hand which rested on a Smith and Wesson that matched her service weapon. And under that weapon was another hand.

One that wasn't her own.

Panic struck her hard and fast. Not caring anymore how sick she might make herself or how much pain moving would cause, she hurriedly pushed herself into a semi-upright position to view the person that the other hand belonged to.

When she did, she hurriedly clamped a hand over her mouth to smother the slight scream that she couldn't stop from escaping her.

On the other side of the coffee table laid a man's body. There was blood on the floor around his head, soaking the rug. By the looks of it, he'd been dead for a couple of hours. Question was how long had *she* been there?

God, she thought for a semi-rational second, this is like when Mulder woke up in that hotel covered with blood.

Mulder. Where was Mulder? She had to figure out where she was so she could call him. Have him come and get her, have him help her figure out what was going on.

Then she looked at her surroundings, taking in her environment in a quick sweep of her eyes. It didn't matter that she did it in one swift move. Because she knew everything in the room. Intimately.

The black leather couch; the fish tank; the desk with the swinging desk lamp; the basketball hoop on the door to what she 'believed' was his bedroom . . .

She was in Mulder's apartment.

So if she was there, where was he?

Where was...

Suddenly a sick thought struck her. She glanced over at the body and looked at it. *Really* looked at it for the first time.

Jeans. Henley. Dark brown hair to the collar. Tall. Slightly tanned. Large hands. Lanky frame.

Oh My God.

Nonononono...

In a rush of adrenaline she leaned over the table and shoved the body onto its back, fear totally overriding her good sense of leaving the scene undisturbed for when the police would arrive.

And she found herself staring down at the face of the man she knew better than she knew herself.

Mulder.

She suddenly felt like she was going to either pass out or throw up. Instead her mind locked up, freezing entirely as she stared at the body of her friend. Her partner. Her. . .

NO!!!!! her mind screamed, her eyes shutting to block the sight from her mind.

But it was too late. The image of him lying there, his eyes shut and mouth slightly open, his body totally limp was imprinted onto her memory in all its bloody detail.

She resisted the urge to shut down, to give into the burning in her throat and hot tears in her eyes. Instead she forced herself to focus her mind on the situation at hand. She mentally scrambled to slip into her doctor mode and look at "the body" clinically. To detach herself from the image of the man she knew and concentrate on his injuries.

Slowly she opened her eyes again and started at the top of his head and stopped. There was a bullet wound in his temple.

Oh God, he'd been shot.

Someone shot Mulder...

Her emotions rallied again, fighting to be let loose, to make her break down. Memories of the last four years flooded over her, taunting her with the past while the present was stealing the future.

He was dead. Shot to death. . .

Suddenly she realized with some shock who else had had their hand on the only unholstered gun in the room.

*Her*.

Oh My God!!!

Then the questions began to form in rapid succession. Who and why and how. And she couldn't stop her mind from racing and leaping to conclusions.

Had someone attacked them and murdered him, leaving her behind?

Or had he threatened to kill himself, and she had come here to stop him, only to end up being unable to?

Or had *she* shot him? Had they fought and she killed him?

She didn't know because she couldn't *remember*!

She angrily thudded a fist into the floor, irritated by her inability to remember. The gap in her memory could mean anything. Even. . .even that she'd blocked out something too painful to remember. Something that she couldn't handle.

Like. . .

Her hand had been on the gun. Looking now, she could tell that it was his. But did that mean that she had used it on him, or that he had used it on himself?

That question did nothing to satisfy her need to know. There were no answers right now. All she knew was that she was in her partner's home, with his... body, and they had both been holding his gun and he was dead and she couldn't remember how she'd gotten there.

No matter that they were partners, best of friends, without an alibi and with probable gunpowder residue on her hands she would be the first person they would suspect. Especially since she'd woken up with her hand on what probably was the murder weapon. And because she didn't have a clue as to how she'd gotten to his apartment, or how long she'd been there or what had happened once she'd arrived.

In a fit of fright, she shoved herself to her feet, backing up from her 'former' partner's form.

Paranoia took over for a moment. She realized that this was just what *They* would have planned. Kill her partner and frame her for it. She couldn't wait for the police, whom she was certain had been called by now. If they arrested her, there would be no one to help her. She needed to be able to investigate what had happened to him. And what had happened to *her*.

With trepidation, she inched closer to Mulder's body, reaching for his gun. Taking the weapon in her hand, she dropped it into the pocket of her jacket and used the cloth to wipe it clean. Then she pulled it out carefully with two fingers, and rested it back under his hand, then smudged the two partial prints with her fingers. Then, she gingerly replaced his body into the face down position she'd found him in, and looked over the scene.

Inside, her emotions battled. She couldn't believe that he was dead, that she was doing *this*! But at the moment, there seemed no choice. She had to be free to find out the truth of what had gone on here.

She had to know what had happened. And she had to know who killed her partner. Even if it ended up being. . .

No, you couldn't do that to him, she viciously reminded herself. You couldn't hurt Mulder.

But I shot him once already.

Her body shook at the truth in that statement. She'd done it once. She could have done it again.

Violently she shook her head, gaining a tighter reign on her fraying control. She looked over the room again, mentally bolstering her decision to do this. She *had* to. There was no other way.

With everything in place, she walked backwards to the door, her eyes still riveted to the body of her partner that she might have killed. . .

Shaking away that thought, she laid a hand on his doorknob, and turned the handle. Peeking out, she saw no one in the hallway, and she slipped out, locking the door behind her.

Then she walked down the hallway to the elevator, hoping to God that she could remember what'd transpired and that he and Mulder would forgive her for what she'd just done.

Scully made her way home by near blind instinct.

She had taken her time getting home. The bouts of guilt, fear and tears slowing her progress. The fact that she had found her car in the parking lot outside Mulder's apartment had done nothing to reassure her as to her role in this convoluted tragedy.

Once she had walked in her door, she kicked off her shoes and locked the door. She headed to the bathroom, turning on the hot water. It wasn't more than a few minutes later before she had nearly ripped off all her clothes, shoving them angrily into the hamper in the bathroom. She'd already tossed her gun in her dresser drawer, unable to bear the sight of it. It was too much like the one she'd had her hand on earlier. On the one that had shot. . .

Oh God, she thought as she stepped in and stood in the spray of boiling water. What have *I* done?

I betrayed Mulder's trust.

I might have killed him.

And on top of it all, I've committed a crime in tampering with evidence at a potential crime scene and then left.

Finally it all hit her: the enormity of the situation and the finality of it.

He. . . Mulder. . . she. . .

She collapsed crying and shaking on the tiled floor of the shower.

There was no keeping all the emotions at bay. Wracked by the physical release of the feelings she had regarding it all, she lost all track of time or her surroundings or even herself.

This couldn't be happening. It couldn't be real. She had to be dreaming. Oh God, I just want to wake up, she thought wildly.

Eventually the water began to get cold and she lifted her head, remembering where she was. Shutting off the water, she got out and rubbed herself dry. Hard. Then she threw on a suit just like any other morning.

But it wasn't, was it, she savagely reminded herself.

She couldn't stay still, her mind trying to recall exactly what had happened. What her role in this whole plot was? She should be able to remember what had happened after Mulder had left the warehouse.

She sat down on the couch after pacing for an undeterminable amount of time. Her emotions were in freefall, and she was still wracking her brain for an answer. The soft cushions gave under her weight and her head lolled back, her eyes closing.

Until the phone rang and her eyes snapped open, she wasn't aware that she'd fallen into an exhausted sleep. Scrambling for her phone, she picked it up.

"Scully."

She was impressed with her normal sounding answer when she'd picked up the phone.

"Is this Agent Dana Scully of the FBI?" asked an authoritative voice on the other end of the line.

The grave tone set off alarms in her head. This was it. "The" call. It was time for her to follow through with the hard decision she had made in Mulder's apartment. To lie about what she knew, or didn't know until she knew herself.

"Yes."

"This is the Alexandria P.D. We need you to come over to ID a body Agent Scully," the voice replied.

She paused for just a moment, trying to slow her breathing and keep the image of Mulder's body from haunting her. She had to keep her voice level if she was going to survive this phone call.

"Where?" she asked, even though she knew.

"Agent Scully... we need you to come to your partner's apartment as soon as you can."

Fresh guilt and fear welled up within her, and she knew that she was on the verge of saying something or doing something that would betray her.

"What? Why?" she gasped out, her hands shaking as she fought to keep control.

"There's been an. . . accident," the man told her gently, partially mistaking her fear for shock.

"I'll be there as quick as I can."

At that she hung up the phone and went about putting herself in order. Purse and car keys. ID, cel phone, trench coat and finally her service weapon. She didn't want to take it. The truth was that she could barely stand to touch it. But she knew that she might need it.

After double checking everything, she headed for the door. As her hand settled on the knob, a weight settled over her, and she let her head fall forward against the door.

How am I going to get through this?

Struggling still, she finally made her way out the door and down to her car. It was not time at all before she was back on the road, returning to the place where her life had begun to fall apart.

While she was driving to Mulder's apartment, her cel phone rang again.

She blindly reached for the phone in her coat pocket.

"Scully."

"Agent Scully, this is A.D. Skinner," said her boss in a rough voice. Checking her watch for the tenth time since arriving home, she knew that it was too early for him to be in for a regular day. Something was wrong.

"Sir?"

It was an effort to keep the concern out of her voice.

"I've been informed of a review board taking place today. Chaired by A.D. Blevins. He's calling in your assignment Agent Scully," he told her regretfully. "He wants your report on the validity of the X-Files."

Luckily she was at a stoplight, because Dana Scully's head dropped forward, her eyes shutting.

Oh God, no.

How could this be happening? They'd been left alone for so long. She hadn't made a report in regards to the validity of the X-Files since. . . well, for forever. She thought that her field reports had been enough, but obviously they wanted more now.

They wanted her to admit that the alien chasing that they did was solely to further Mulder's misplaced belief in finding Samantha and exposing the government of covering up extraterrestrial life.

"Sir, I'm on my way to Agent Mulder's now..." she trailed off, the horns behind her waking her up, and she hurried through the light.

There was a pause on the other end of the line, and she dazedly wondered what he was considering. What *he* wanted from her.

"Agent Scully," he said deliberately, "please come by my office as soon as you arrive at the Bureau."

"Yes sir," she mumbled in a way that he seemed to accept and then she heard the line click off.

Distractedly she tossed the phone on her coat and then saw that she was in Alexandria. At Mulder's building. And there, parked haphazardly were several Police cars.

Time to face the music, she told herself as she parked and headed for the apartment complex.

Scully walked up the steps into the building and headed straight for the elevator. It was all a blur as she moved along the hallway she'd just been in not more than two hours before. As she arrived at the door, she saw the officers and the people crowding around the doorway. She blindly reached for her ID, using it as a shield as she stepped through the masses.

The second she walked through the door, her eyes caught sight of the detective heading towards her. Then she watched him back away and her gaze fixed on the space on the floor that was now covered with a blue cloth. Or actually the person lying on the floor that was covered.

"Agent Scully? Detective Roubolski, Alexandria P.D. Thanks for coming down to do this," he said, walking over to the body.

As he crouched next to the couch, Scully asked one more time to wake up from her nightmare. To see someone else's body under the cloth. To find herself in her bed instead of here.

Anything but to realize that this was really happening.

"It him?" he asked in a low tone, looking up at her face.

The cloth pulled away and Scully's eyes widened. Seeing him again, Scully felt the bile that she had stubbornly kept down surge up her throat, and her face paled.

"Yeah," she muttered.

Knees shaking, she turned away, feeling light headed. The detective had to know. She was hiding her distress poorly.

But the man just thought that she was reacting to the sight of her partner lying dead on the floor. And in a manner of speaking, he was right. Except she was still seeing him as she had earlier in the morning. And as she had always known him, those images flashing in her head in slide projector format. Little clips of Fox Mulder as she remembered him fought the images that were now ingrained in her memory of his lifeless body laying beside her.

She headed for the door and carefully made her way to the elevator. Only once she was inside did she allow herself to heavily fall against the wall of the metal car.

One down, she thought. God, it was hard, but she didn't have any choice now. And she knew that she still had one to go before she could get a chance to do any investigation into what had happened, and what key to the early morning's events was locked away in her memory.

Making her way to her car, she got in and headed for the Hoover building.

When she arrived, she walked mechanically through the corridors, passing the inquisitive and pitying looks of the people she passed. Once she reached Skinner's office, she was escorted into his office by his assistant, and he wordlessly offered her a seat, which she declined, choosing to stand rigidly before him.

"Agent Scully, I've been contacted by the Alexandria police that they asked you to come down to Agent Mulder's apartment to identify a body?" he remarked as if asking her a question when she knew very well that he knew the answers already.

"Yes sir," she replied mechanically.

"And?" he asked, now sounding genuinely curious.

Maybe he doesn't know, she thought. He seems like he's wanting my confirmation as to the identity of the body. . .

"It was him."

Skinner took off his glasses, closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose with his finger and thumb. He then looked back up at her, sadness and something else in his eyes.

"I'm sorry Agent Scully. And now I'm sorry I have to ask you to do something more that you won't enjoy."

She stared down at him with haunted eyes. What more could you ask of me that would be worse than thinking I killed my partner, she wondered silently.

Taking her silence as an invitation to tell her, he put his glasses back on and regarded her seriously.

"You're hearby ordered to give all your scientific and personal beliefs regarding Agent Mulder and the validity of the X-Files mission to the hearing committee," he stated soberly, but with a tone that ran shivers up her spine. "You are to give them every excuse to shut the X-Files down Agent Scully. And to tarnish Agent Mulder's reputation and beliefs."

Scully was lucky enough to catch hold of the chair back in front of her. If she hadn't taken hold of it, she knew that she would have been on the floor. He wanted her to betray Mulder. Or Mulder's memory. What difference would it make for her to destroy a dead agent's reputation? To keep him from being a martyr?

All the difference in the world to her. She may have... no, she wouldn't. And he couldn't make her...

"Sir," she began, hoping to talk him out of it. She could give the committee some generalizations, some bullshit about how there were other things besides little gray men that the X-Files investigated. But something in Skinner's eyes and the set of his jaw stopped her.

This wasn't about her anymore. Or Mulder. It was about putting an end to any more hunting for the truth. By them or anyone else.

This was the death of the truth.

And if she didn't go along. . . she would be crucified as well. With no one to know.

Oh God, what do I do?

Mulder would have fought. Would have argued and thrown his badge down on the wood desk and stormed out. But could she? She had nothing left except her job right now. Mulder was gone, she was dying. . . there wasn't any other choice, was there?

"Yes sir," she mumbled, something within herself breaking with the realization that she'd crossed that line and could never go back.

He nodded and she walked out the door, headed to meet the committee. And to complete what she started in Mulder's apartment.

His death.

 

Agent Dana Scully stood outside the hearing room. Skinner had just come by and handed her a cup of coffee, which she didn't feel like drinking, but did anyway. Somehow it seemed to settle her a bit.

Which was a good thing since she was about to walk into the lion's den and destroy her best friend's memory and everything she'd helped him create in the last four years.

The door opened and she tossed the empty cup in the trash and headed inside, still not sure of what she was going to say.

"Agent Scully," Blevins said from his seat in the near darkness, "please have a seat. We've had a brief discussion. Now would you please 'restate' the matter we're here to put to rest."

Once she sat down and looked at the assemblage, heard Blevins' words, she knew what they wanted... Mulder's insanity in detailed form from her scientific perspective. Wanted her to make him out as the eccentric, crazy, 'Spooky' Agent Mulder. And who better to prove that he was insane than his partner of four years?

And she sensed that somehow, if she didn't give them what they wanted, she would be joining Mulder all that much sooner as 'persona non grata' *and* in the grave as well.

Time to become a player, a voice said to her that sounded too much like Mulder's for her own comfort.

Then she began relaying the facts as she knew them. Went on a long diatribe about the last case, about the Canadian mountains, the E.B.E., her cancer and so on. She lost track of just what she did and didn't tell them, her mind caught up in replaying the memories of the last meeting she'd had with Mulder; his phone call to her at her mother's house; her argument with her brother about him. . . It all haunted her.

She heard her name being spoken, and came back to herself. He was asking about Mulder.

What do you want me to say? That I think I might have killed my partner? Or do you want a nice, tidy little suicide to complete the package, she asked mentally. And in looking at Blevins' eyes, she knew the answer.

"I received a call this morning from the Alexandria Police. They asked me to come and identify a body," she began, and had to press her palms on the table to keep her hands from shaking.

God, *Mulder*, forgive me.

"Agent Mulder died late last night of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head."

There was little emotion in the reactions of the people around her. She barely heard Blevins' words as he shelved the X-Files division until further notice. She almost missed her own dismissal from the hearing, and she walked dazedly out the door, past everyone in the hallways and out to the parking structure.

It wasn't until she had turned over the motor of her car and had pulled onto the road that she came back to herself to some degree.

She'd come back to feel blood trickling down her lip from her nose. Sorrowfully she took a tissue from her pocket and dabbed at the blood, a reminder of her own mortality. Her quickly ebbing life that would be escorting her to join Mulder in months. . . maybe weeks.

Those thoughts cut through her like a knife. She was dead, as surely as Mulder was.

Tearing her thoughts away from that, she just drove.

Drove and thought, trying to remember and trying to forget.

She had driven for hours before she found herself in front of the office of the regression hypno-therapist she had seen at the urgings of her sister. The one she had come to see in the attempt to get her memories of her abduction back. Where she had started to see too much, relive more than she could handle. . . the results from last time had been rather disturbing, but she had to try.

She didn't have any other options left to her.

Somehow she knew that she had to try hypnosis again to access this period of time she *needed* to know about. Somewhere in her subconscious, she knew the memory of the night of Mulder's death, she had the answers. To how she'd gotten to his apartment. What had happened there. And most importantly, to who had shot Mulder.

After Mulder's near disastrous results with trying direct stimulation of his memory center in one of their last cases, she was almost reluctant to try tampering with her memory. But she needed the answers that her mind could provide.

Standing outside the office, she drew up her courage and walked in. She informed the receptionist that she needed to see the doctor on an urgent matter, and stood facing the wall, staring at a painting of a sailboat for several minutes before he walked out and escorted her inside.

Heading straight for the couch, she sat down, determined to follow the course she'd been forced to choose.

"How can I help you Dana?" the doctor asked, looking at her with concern.

She squirmed in her seat on the couch. How the hell did she tell this man that she needed his help in figuring out if she killed her partner?

"I've. . . had an episode late last night in which I cannot remember what happened to me. I was hoping that using hypnosis, you might be able to access the memories of that period of time," she stated business-like.

He seemed to think about her request for a moment, then nodded his head slightly. Trepidation ran through her, but she needed to know. She wouldn't be able to rest until she knew what had happened.

With a shove of her hands, she sat back against the cushions and closed her eyes. Scully could vaguely hear the therapist telling her to go back in her mind, to the last period of time she remembered. Her mind took her directly back to the warehouse.

Slowly, she began to see the events, and to speak them out loud.

//I was worried about Mulder. This whole thing was effecting him badly, so I left the warehouse and drove to his apartment. It was dark inside, but I could see the flicker of blue light in the window. I took the elevator up and then walked down the hall. I knocked, but he didn't answer. Finally I used my key and walked in the door, finding Mulder sitting on his couch, tears tracking down his face. On the television, the likes of Carl Sagan were discussing the feasibility of E.B.E.'s. I came in and knelt next to him, but he wouldn't look at me.

Mulder, I said, I'm sorry I said that to you. He turned his head and there was something there I'd rarely seen in his eyes. Anger. Pure hatred. And it was directed at me. I started, backing away but he swiftly caught my hand, dragging me back.

You should be sorry, he said to me. Sorry that you ever walked into my basement you little turncoat. You're going to destroy me, aren't you? Go on, admit it! They called me tonight. Told me about the meeting. Told me that they were going to shut me down for good. And that *you* were going to deliver that last nail in my coffin!

I remember being shocked at his words. I knew nothing of what he was talking about. I tried to pull my wrist from his grasp, but I couldn't. Instead he just tightened his grip, the bones under his hand crying out in protest.

So tell me Scully, he spat out, and I flinched at the venom in his tone, how much does betraying your best friend, your partner pay these days? Enough to retire on? Or did they offer you a good benefit package and a cushy desk job?

Hell, was any of it real? The partnership? The friendship? The trust? The loyalty? The abduction? The cancer? He railed at me, standing up and dragging me with him. He was in a frenzy.

Mulder, I said, the unconscious fondness I have for him as a friend dripping the word. But he was beyond hearing. Beyond thinking. Beyond seeing conspiracies and lies everywhere around him.

I remember seeing him reach for his weapon. I hadn't realized that he was still wearing it. For a split second I thought there was someone there that he was training the sights on that was behind me. Then the sick sensation that he was pointing it at *me* washed over me and I reacted instinctively.

I lunged forward, catching him off guard. We fell to the floor and I got a hand around the gun. . . //

In her memory, she heard the loud crack of the gun going off. Of a bullet being fired from the chamber.

Scully's eyes flew open, the feeling of the conflict still present within her as if it was happening right then. She could feel his hands on her, the anger in his voice, her terror. . .

No. . . She couldn't believe it. She couldn't have. . .

But the evidence was there. Sure, she might not be able to remember *actually* shooting him, but she had woken up with her hand on the gun. Surely he wouldn't have killed himself with her lying unconscious on the floor. And in the rage he was in, she figured that he would have rather put a bullet in her head rather than in himself.

If she had to make a logical guess as to what happened, she had to say that it made the most sense that she had killed him. In self-defense or not, it didn't matter. She shot and killer her partner, her best friend.

Oh God, no!

She stood up quickly, then nearly fell back down into her seat, a wave of dizziness overtaking her. Opening her eyes, she saw the shock and fear flicker across the face of the man before her.

I guess it's not everyday that he has cold blooded murderers in his office, she thought.

Then he held out a handkerchief from his pocket.

Questioningly, she took it and held it up to her face, and then pulled it away to see it stained with blood.

She hadn't even felt it this time. The cancer was advancing much faster now. She knew that before this whole thing had started, and the stress of Mulder's death was only adding to it.

Well, she thought, I guess it's time to face the music.

Handing him back the handkerchief, she got up and walked out. She had the truth now. Like it or not.

 

Scully walked out of the therapist's office and down to the parking lot.

Now that she'd accessed her memories, found what she believed was the truth regarding Mulder's death, she couldn't bear it. The weight of her guilt weighed on her like the cross, dragging her down, making her stumble as she tried to press on.

They'd used her, she realized now. Just as surely as they had used Mulder. She had done exactly as they had wanted. Helped destroy Mulder and his cause. Done as they had asked and ruined his reputation. Because *They* told her to. Because they made her believe that it was the only thing she could do.

But she'd even done them one better. She'd put a bullet in him.

Even though she couldn't remember that last part, the evidence was overwhelming. She could fill in the blanks about that last moment with her own logical sense of imagination. The fight; the anger; the need to lash out. It all led to her automatic, trained response. The reflexive pull of a trigger. . . The haunting sound of a lone gunshot rang out through her mind, chilling her to the bone, bring home the blinding realization of her actions.

Oh God, oh God, oh GOD!!

She'd killed him.

Dear God, what have I done?

She slumped in the seat of her car, her head back and tears streaming down her face.

There was no way that she could live with the guilt. She had to go and turn herself in to Skinner. Admit that she was responsible for her partner's death. That she panicked and covered up her role in his death. Tampered with evidence. . .

She drove to the Hoover building at a slow pace, trying to figure out what she was going to tell her boss. How she was going to tell him that one of his agents was dead because they had fought and she had killed him. Accidentally or not, he was still dead.

And that blood was on her hands. . .

She didn't see Skinner's assistant at her desk, and so she just knocked at the door to his office before she opened the door. And found herself staring at a cloud of smoke surrounding her boss and the man that she'd learned to revile as much as Satan himself.

The Cancerman.

They looked at her as she stepped inside and closed the door. Skinner with a questioning glance and the cigarette smoker with an almost enigmatic grin.

"Sir," she said, addressing herself to Skinner while ignoring his 'guest'. "I have a matter of utmost importance that I need to speak with you about."

"Regarding?" Skinner asked, genuinely curious what would bring Agent Scully into his office in such obvious distress. She seemed shaky and disoriented, even though she was stubbornly trying to mask it with her professionalism.

She began to open her mouth to tell him, but was cut off. Much to her and Skinner's surprise.

"I think Agent Scully is here to confess. Aren't you?" he said with a malicious smile. Her look of surprise only gained her a more evil grin. "It's such a shame when people resolve their disagreements with violence. Wouldn't you say Agent Scully?"

And then she knew.

*They* knew! My God, they knew what had happened! They probably set the whole thing up. Told Mulder that she was a spy. Made him *believe* she was going to destroy his work and his reputation. And he would have believed anything by that time. His faith was gone, and the lies were becoming the truth. Why wouldn't he *want* to believe that she was the enemy? She had brought to him the "truth".

Dear God, they wanted her to kill him. Or him to kill her. Either way they would have gotten the same thing. The X-Files would close, Mulder would lose his credibility, job, life. . .

It was so deviously perfect.

And she'd played her part. To the letter.

Oh God!

She felt the blood drain from her face and she wavered on her feet. Sudden shock hit her as she nearly fell over in Skinner's office.

Unsteadily she turned and made her way to the door without passing out. The walk to her car was taxing, and she found herself exhausted by the time she leaned heavily against the car.

Somehow she found her way home. She made her way to her bed, stripped off her jacket and gun and fell on the mattress, swallowed up by darkness as she passed out.

Scully started running a fever, one high enough to keep her delirious. She writhed in the bed, tossing the covers about. She had barely registered the fact that she was getting sicker. When she was lucid, the guilt and anguish she was feeling over Mulder's death, along with the deep pain his loss she felt with his absence more than overshadowed any concerns she had for herself.

But it didn't matter. It was too late to do anything about it but wait for the inevitable.

There wasn't a point to fighting now anyway.

She didn't want to live with the guilt, the pain.

And she didn't want to live without him there, by her side.

Vaguely she realized what was happening. She was dying. She'd begun to feel extremely ill after she'd walked out of the firing squad of a review board, and it had gotten progressively worse since then. She'd gotten dizzy and had nosebleeds several times since then. . .

She was running out of time.

She could only imagine that they would be thrilled with the idea of her death. It would tie up all their loose ends. Mulder was dead, at her hands too, the X-Files and his credibility destroyed and now her cancer was finishing off their work for them.

They were getting just what they wanted.

Time passed, but she was unaware of how much. It could have been hours or days. She just wasn't aware enough half the time to tell. She faded in and out of consciousness. She would wake and see sunlight, then the next moment it would be dark. She wasn't sure how long it had been going on, as the clock never seemed to come into focus when she tried to look at it.

God, this was getting to be a habit, waking up with no sense of time passing, she thought wryly at one lucid moment. Well, it wouldn't be long. I'll be with you soon partner.

And with that thought she drifted out of consciousness again.

Sometime later a hand ran across her burning face and she opened her eyes with difficulty. She couldn't really make out anything, except a dark form at her side. And fuzzy words in a tone that sounded vaguely familiar.

"Scully, Scully, can you hear me?" came a voice that she was certain she would never hear again.

With difficulty she blinked and tried to clear her sight. And when she did she saw his face. Not clearly, but focused enough that she could make out his features. As if she needed to see them clearly to recognize them.

Hazel eyes. Pouty lips. Unruly hair. Big nose. Mole on his cheek.

Mulder.

I'm hallucinating, she thought. He's dead and I killed him. . .

The wave of guilt and pain hit her anew. Couldn't he wait until she was dead to haunt her? No, he had to come and haul her into the hereafter, escorting her to her own private place in hell for what she'd done to him.

Then her fear, pain and anger took over, and she thrashed about, her emotions fueling her jerky movements.

"Go *away*!" she cried, caught in the grip of the illusion. "You're *dead*! Oh, *God* you're dead and I *killed* you and I didn't *mean* for it to happen, you were *hurting* me, fighting with me, I *didn't* mean to shoot you, have to *believe* me. . . "

She flailed an arm at the vision and felt herself connect. The shock reverberated through her as she felt a hand close tenderly around her arm, the other still on her face. She couldn't keep herself from falling back into the darkness, and barely heard the words that the spirit wearing Mulder's form spoke.

"It's ok Scully. I'm right here. You're going to be ok."

The words didn't register. Couldn't. She looked at him, through him and her eyes shut, and she lost herself in the haze of her fever again.

Seeing that she had once again lost consciousness, Mulder turned on Skinner with a blind rage.

"You *bastard*! You saw her, and you knew that she *really* believed that she'd killed me and you did nothing! How could you do that to her?" he fumed, laying Scully's arm back across her stomach as he reached for the washcloth on her forehead and pulled it way.

"I couldn't compromise your position. Or mine," Skinner argued quietly as Mulder wet and rung out the cloth, then re-applied it to her face. "Or hers. This was our only shot. I didn't know until two days ago that she believed that she'd killed you. Mulder, I sent that message for you to get back here as soon as that cigarette smoking bastard left my office."

Mulder sighed with the truth in his boss's words. He hadn't known about Scully waking up in his apartment. No one but Cancerman and Scully had any clue about it. It wasn't until Mulder got the message to come back to Washington as soon as possible, under a cloak of secrecy that he'd learned of the mind games that the Consortium had decided to play on his partner.

For her to believe . . . God, it cut him to the bone. What had they done to her to make her believe that she had shot him, killed him? The fact that 'his' body had been there, next to her when she woke up. . . he couldn't even consider what it had done to her emotionally and mentally.

And he couldn't even be here for her to tell her the truth. Help her through this.

Because he was 'dead'.

But he knew he didn't have a choice. He'd made his own kind of deal. Paid for in his 'blood'.

She'd gotten her cure.

Ingesting this certain chemical was all she needed to destroy the cancerous cells. So with a sip of coffee spiked with the drug in the hallway before going into the hearing, she'd gained the cure. But the side effects seemed to be the dizzy spells, nosebleeds and then this fever that had her in its grip.

"Is this how the drug is supposed to work?" Mulder asked, concerned. He was worried with the delirium that she was getting worse, not better.

"I'm sorry Mulder. I didn't realize that the 'treatment' would make her so sick. But it *is* working like it's supposed to. The disorientation is what I was told to expect, as well as the fever," Skinner said reassuringly.

Mulder sighed. So much pain for her to have to suffer.

The fact that they had gained both his 'death' and her own guilt at the belief that she had killed him angered him. He'd assumed that once he'd been taken out of the equation, they would cure Scully and leave her be.

Not hardly, he swore mentally. Her pain and suffering at believing she'd killed him had been an extra bonus to these scum. It made him all the more determined to keep to his 'schedule'.

"How long do I have?" Mulder asked sadly. As much as he wanted to be there for her when she woke up, to assure her that he was alive, that her memories were a lie, he couldn't reveal himself yet.

Not yet. But soon. After he finished the 'mission'. When he had what he *needed*.

"An hour. Maybe a little more," Skinner said, turning towards the door of her bedroom.

The chemical wasn't working exactly as the Cancerman had claimed, but he knew that Scully would be out of it for at least that much longer. And he knew that Mulder needed the time with his partner, since he didn't know when he'd be able to come back yet. Skinner was almost out of the room when Mulder's quiet voice stopped him.

"You promise that you'll tell her what the Consortium did? Inform her that the memories of her fighting with me aren't real, alright?" Mulder nearly begged, turning sorrowful eyes at his boss and friend. He couldn't stand to think that she was carrying such a burden. "She can't know I'm alive yet, but I *need* to know that she doesn't think that she hurt me."

"When she's awake, and you're gone, I'll tell her," Skinner swore solemnly, and that seemed to pacify Mulder.

At that, Mulder nodded and settled in beside his partner, running a hand over her hair. He had an hour, probably not much more. It wasn't nearly enough time, but it would have to do until he could come back, until he returned victorious.

-End-

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