By Jeannine Ackerson
Rating: PG for lots of bad words.
Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters portrayed therein belong to Chris Carter and FOX Broadcasting.
Spoiler warning: Everything from the fourth season, up to "Unrequited" but I've added a fictional case between it and my version of "Synchrony".
Relationship: UST, MSR and angst. (no x-file, just romance). If after seeing all the documented evidence that they belong together you still don't *believe* . . . don't read this.
Summary: Scully and Mulder find that their lives and feelings are not only on similar paths, but on a collision course.
Hi all. Well, this was a challenge I felt up to taking. The fact that I had something in mind that fit this helped a lot too. This is probably not what Laura was going for, but like they say, "Oh Well." <g> But anyway, let's get to it . . .
"Synchrony: A simultaneous occurrence; coincidence in time"
American Heritage Dictionary.
Somehow, it always seemed like they were either working or sleeping Dana thought to herself. Her eyes scanned the room for a brief second as she let her mind wander, then returned her focus to her laptop computer screen, glowing brightly against the dark of her apartment.
It had been a long couple of weeks. Hell, it had been a tough couple of months. There was the Roche case, then Betts'. That had been when things had really gotten bad. She had tried to ignore the evidence by taking Mulder to task for his attitude towards her. The fact that she didn't have a desk. That he treated her like an underling. Anything but acknowledge the facts about herself.
It took hearing him say "But it's my . . . " for her to really get a perspective about it all. They were bound together, even if she didn't want it, it was the truth.
So when she'd finally found the reason for the nosebleeds she had called him. And in true Mulder fashion, he'd launched into finding a cure for her. So they now worked as a team in a more deadly purpose than ever; to find a cure for her cancer.
But that wasn't all they were doing together. She'd insisted that she keep working, and they'd been on a few cases since the diagnosis had been made. Their last one had sent them out to track a serial killer in Montana who had some paranormal tendencies. When they'd returned to D.C., it was to receive the severe dressing down from Assistant Director Skinner.
The whole thing stemmed from what the Billings office called their "inability to work well with the ongoing investigation." It was the polite way of saying they'd pissed off the investigating officer and made a general nuisance of themselves.
Big deal, she thought to herself as she typed in the next line of her report. It wasn't like the Billings investigators were doing the job anyway. They didn't seem competent enough to even take note of the clues, let alone take her and Mulder to task for their attempts to solve the case. Sure, they'd pretty much taken over. Scully could admit that.
But she also knew that if they hadn't, the killer Mulder and she had caught would have continued on his murderous spree.
So they'd gone, done the job and solved the thing, and what did they get as their thanks? A three day suspension without pay. Actually, she could have gotten off without it, but she wasn't about to let Mulder take all the blame. She had a feeling that part of the complaint the Billings Bureau Chief had filed against Mulder stemmed from her presence there. Montana was still the "Old Boys Club" and they didn't like sharing the clubhouse with a woman. Especially one who was smarter than they were. Of course, the fact that she'd pointed out their glaring inaccuracies didn't help the matter much.
So when Skinner had reprimanded Mulder, giving him the suspension, she'd spoken up and demanded that he suspend her as well. And he did.
Now, a day and a half into her suspension, she was thinking on how she'd gotten here from that first day when she'd knocked on the basement door of the X-Files.
The light from her laptop was starting to make her head ache, and that was the last thing she needed. She rubbed her hands across her forehead and down her face in what she realized suddenly was a perfect imitation of Mulder when he got stuck on an answer for something. God, they were starting to even act alike now, she thought. She had gone off on Skinner while Mulder had just sat there, taking the reaming. A total reversal in their natures.
In truth, she knew why Mulder hadn't argued. He just didn't have it in him at the time. The profiling and searching had taken it out of him. It was part of the reason he'd been so nasty with the Billings investigators. He had understood what was necessary to catch this guy, and the Billings Bureau wanted to discount him.
They just didn't understand.
But then, no one understood Mulder like she did. He was just such a complex man, no one knew what to make of him. The attempt to label and box him had fallen grossly short. Or they had been purposefully insulting. The nicknames he'd received all left a bad taste in her mouth: "Spooky", "The FBI's most unwanted", "Boy genius". . . The list was long and she hated each and every one of the names.
Sighing, she reached over and turned off her computer. With the missing light source, she found that night had fallen in earnest and her apartment was now nearly pitch dark. With care, she walked to the couch and sat down. Something about sitting there, in the dark on her sofa made her feel closer to her partner and friend.
She suppressed a laugh as she realized that it was probably exactly what he was doing right then too.
As he sat there in his dark apartment, the only light that from the flickering porno on his television set, Mulder considered what had happened the last few weeks. He'd found that the darkness surrounding him and the soft moaning coming from the actress in the video did nothing to quiet his mind. There was just too much going on there for him to shut it up.
Scully was dying. She had told him so. He'd been presented the irrefutable evidence of that. Then he had found out exactly what they had done to her when she'd been abducted. They had harvested her like a wheat field for the substance used in their cloning genetic program. Her DNA. Her ovum. There still was the vial that he'd snatched from the clinic safely tucked away in his freezer. And the radiation used to loot her body had produced the cancer she now was dying of.
But more important than just that, he'd found out what it was like to be truly afraid. Because there had been too many times in the last month when he had considered losing her. There had been her run in with Betts, then Jerse in Philadelphia, and now she was waging war against an even more deadly enemy - her cancer.
And it was a war he had to make sure she won.
Things had been going ok since he'd gotten her out of the hospital in Allentown. She'd come back to work with her old enthusiasm and they'd even taken on a case or two. But then they'd gotten assigned that Billings case . . . and they'd both ended up in the doghouse thanks to it.
He hated the fact that his actions seemed to get Scully into trouble. It was standard operating procedure nowadays. Except that this time she'd gone along with him of her own accord. From the very start.
She'd challenged the medical examiner on the case's listed cause of death. Then she'd gone after the forensic specialists' evidence gathering procedure. All in all, she'd followed him down the primrose path of adversarial investigating.
God knew he'd been a bear on this last case. The stupidity of the Billings staff had taxed his patience to the limit, and when it ran out, there had been hell to pay. Part of the problem was that his reputation had gotten there long before their plane had landed. So he'd had to endure the "Spooky" Mulder jokes whispered just at the edge of his hearing. If they'd stopped at just that, it would have been fine. He was used to them, but one of the agents had gone too far.
The man had called Scully "The Ice Queen" to his face, and it took all his self-control, and her hand on his arm to keep him from decking the guy. He knew he was lucky that Scully had stopped him from pounding his fist into the agent's face like he'd been tempted to. As it was, the fact that he had considered it, plus the verbal insults he'd levied on the Billings Bureau staff's heads had gotten his ass in a sling back home.
So when Skinner summoned them both into his office, he'd expected the suspension that he ended up with. He hadn't even fought it. But when Scully demanded that she be given the same suspension, he almost argued against it. She had willingly stepped in and taken more than her fair share of the blame, and now was sitting out her own three day suspension.
God, she's done this for me so many times, he thought to himself as he leaned back against the cushions of his leather couch.
If pressed, he'd have to say that no one knew Scully like he did. After four years together, how could he not. He knew what her favorite food and movie were, had been accepted into her family... hell, he even knew what she wore to bed.
Then there was the way her mind worked. He knew exactly what pissed her off or enrage her; what would make her heart melt or feel the deep compassion he knew she was capable of. It was hard to imagine what his life would be without her. He didn't even want to consider it.
Noting that the screen had gone fuzzy, he reached over to the remote and shut the video and set off with a jab of his finger. With the light from the television gone, the room plunged into darkness. He had to wonder if she was feeling this way: reflective, angry, frustrated, tired, moved. And if so, did she find that hiding from the light of day made it easier to see inside herself like he did?
He'd ended up walking to the park bench that the two of them had frequented when the X-Files had been closed. Those had been dark days, only overshadowed by her disappearance. And the cancer.
The crisp air felt good, and he let himself lean into the hard wood of the bench. As his eyes watched the lit Jefferson Memorial, he felt the weight of the world descend on him again. With defeat born of despair and anger, he let his head drop, the dark brown mane falling over his forehead. His faith was just about gone. The darkness planning on leaving with it when day came. Mulder was so consumed with his inner thoughts he never heard her approach.
She had decided that a walk would be good for her, and had ended up at the bench she and Mulder had shared on those rare occasions. When her eyes fell on the disheveled man crumpled in a siting position, she knew instantly that it was him. It was no coincidence that they both were here. They had been drawn together. Just like they had been four years ago. Carefully she padded across the grass until she was standing in front of him. Crouching down, she tentatively reached for him.
It wasn't until her hand cupped his cheek and lifted his face that he found his faith again. That faith he'd placed in her and in the crystal blue of her eyes.
It was his belief in the impossible and the strength to keep looking. Everything he could ever want or ever be was there. And for right now, they were both alive and she was there to make him all he could be.
She said nothing, but did smile. She had thought often that this was where the paths of their lives were bound for. Years before she would have argued that there would never be a good time for this, but as she found her time becoming more limited, there couldn't be a better time than now. Somehow in the chaos of their lives, this single moment had been synchronized to lead them both here, and perhaps both of them to the same conclusions.
It took him a few minutes before he could form any words at all, let alone the ones he wanted to say.
"Scully," he breathed quietly, mirroring her movements as he extended a hand to caress her cheek.
"What Mulder?" she replied, her tone low and questioning.
"You know that it's only you, right?"
"I'm not sure . . ." she began, starting to wonder if her imagination was making a fool of her, "what you mean."
"I only trust you," he offered in answer, knowing it was less than what he meant.
"Of course I know that And I trust you too. With my life," she remarked, the double meaning of her words chilling them both.
"I know. . . but I mean more than that. You're the only one who understands me Scully. Knows me. You somehow always know what I need and you do whatever you have to for you to give it to me."
"We're friends Mulder, Partners. I would expect you to do nothing less for me. And I know that you have done as much or more for me in the past. It cuts both ways . . . you know me better than myself at times."
He sighed long and tiredly. Reaching down, he caught her shoulders and half-drug, half eased her to sit beside him. As she moved with him, their eyes never broke from the other's. The ease of the motion was simple, elegant. Like they had done it before. And in a fashion they had. They had spent the last four years learning the other's movements, other's rhythms. They had been melded into a perfect, harmonious machine. A team. In all possible ways. Except one or two that they'd not dared to go.
"No, that's not what I mean either. I mean, it's only you Dana, no one else. You're the only person that's invaded my life, my heart and soul like this. It's like nothing else I've ever felt. It's like . . ."
"Pieces of a puzzle," she offered simply, but with a softness to her tone that he'd never heard.
"Round peg in a round hole," he supplied in return, a smile tugging at his mouth at the images they were creating.
"The right key in the right lock," she continued, her own mouth turning up at the corners.
Mulder started to add another comment, but realized it wasn't necessary. They knew what they were talking about; the mesh that made them one. Totally and perfectly in sync with one another. Even if their methods were at opposite ends of the spectrum, it just made them all the more perfect together.
There was a gap of silence, and their breathing filled the space. There were still so many words left to be said, to be admitted. He was sure that she knew how he felt, and he was certain of her feelings too. But he needed her to say the words. To make his fantasy, his beliefs become reality.
"Dana, I know you, well stopped looking a year or so after you started the X-Files, and I think I understand why. But I need to hear it from you," he began tentatively.
"Do you want me to say that I just decided to immerse myself into the work, or do you want the truth?" she said, her voice almost a whisper.
"I've always, *always* wanted the truth. Now is no exception."
"You want me to tell you that I didn't need to look anymore because I'd already found what I needed? That he's been with me all this time?" she asked, and his head nodded fractionally. "Then I'll say it. I stopped looking because after I found you, there wasn't any more need for it."
The smile that crossed and grew on his face was sweet. Sweeter than any other smile she'd ever seen him give her. For it was one of acceptance. He'd finally heard the words he'd longed to hear come from her lips for years.
"I'm sorry I didn't always do the same Dana. I didn't do it because I didn't want to be with you. I needed you so badly, but since I couldn't go there, I distracted myself with pale imitations. It's not an excuse. It's the truth. How else could I have survived working with but never being with the woman I loved all these years?"
Her eyes misted over, and she couldn't fight the tear that escaped and tracked down her cheek. He'd said it, after all this time. He'd admitted to her in words what she had been certain had lay in his heart. And the immensity of the moment humbled her.
"We could have given up, given in to this. I could have said that I loved you when I first felt it. You could have told me sooner than this," she replied quietly. Her head dropped and it took Mulder reaching over and lifting it up before she could meet his eyes again. "We could have done this years ago, when . . . when we could have had a future."
Her words cut through him like a hot knife. They had waited until it was almost too late. But he still had hope. There was still a chance that they could find a cure. That this could be just the beginning of something eternal. Not the end.
"But we do have a future. I have faith in us. Besides Scully, you can't die. Where would I be without you?" his shuttery voice sending chills down her back.
"Back in the basement not arguing with anyone," she commented with a little humor. His smile returned as he felt the dark cloud that had begun to settle on them dissipate. At least for the moment.
"Alone, of course. They'd never be able to send me another perfect partner."
"One who disagrees with almost everything you say."
"Ah, but that's what makes it perfect. We're in perfect harmony, remember?" he reminded her subtly, then stood up, drawing her up with him.
Again they were surrounded in silence, punctuated only by their labored breathing. Slowly, as if pulled into one another, their lips met. There was a moment of uncertainty, but it faded into passion and desire and love as they melded together. He clutched her tightly to him, and her hands held him close.
Finally as their breath began to run out, they eased back from one another. Taking the other's hand, they turned and set off for the paved walkway. The moonlight had suddenly broken through the clouds that had obscured it all evening, and the partners and lovers found themselves bathed in the glow.
Scully glanced up at the sight of the shinning moon and Mulder's twinkling eyes. A potent combination in her book. Now all she needed to do was figure out who's apartment they were ending up at.
"Did you want to come back to my place Dana? I even cleaned," he said before she had a chance to form similar words in her head.
"Yes," she replied, tightening her grip on his hand.
Mulder looked down at the stunning woman at his side. Her auburn hair shined brilliantly in the moonlight, and her face looked like it was fine porcelain. Of all the times he'd seen her, she'd never looked as lovely as she did tonight. Of course, he'd never seen her in love before. And she was in love with *him.*
So they walked on, hand in hand. In perfect harmony. And as they walked along, he suddenly thought of something.
"Dana, how is that we both ended up here?"
She didn't have an answer for him, so she just smiled.
It was an X-File. They'd been in synchrony. As usual.
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