Past Pain I

By Jeannine Ackerson

 

Mar 22, 1997

 

Hey there! Just a quick note to announce that *this* is my 50th story ever posted since I started fanfic in September of 1996. As you can all tell, I'm doing my best to live up to my "The Writing Machine" nickname. <g> J.

 

3/22/97 - Author's Note: It's my birthday! So I'm now 27 and staring directly at 30! ::sigh::

 

Rating: PG.

Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, Fox Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., etc. No copyright infringement is intended.

Relationship: MSR and angst. If you are still unconvinced that they love each other, even after all the visual and audible evidence, please don't read any further. (You'll only be distressed.)

Summary: Mulder's past seems to have caught up with him, and it threatens to destroy the happiness he's found.

Hi all! This is another "inspired" story. Something that hit me when I wasn't looking. (I hate it when that happens.) I was thinking how Mulder's self-destructive nature is a lot like mine, and wondered if it would tear him away from Scully if they were already in a relationship? This one hits close to home folks, so here goes nothing . . .

 

He'd been staring at the wood grain of the door for an hour now.

His focus hadn't wandered for a moment. Not since she'd left to run an errand and promised to be back soon. And he knew that any minute she was going to come back and find him standing stock still in middle of the room. In exactly the same place where she'd left him an hour ago.

Yet, even knowing how concerned she would be to find him still standing there, he couldn't stop staring at the door. He had started when his mind had wandered onto a subject that he didn't want to deal with. Unfortunately his mind wasn't listening, and memories seemed destined to assault him. The past seemed to have chosen today to rear its ugly head. All his old friends had come out in full force to say hi. His self-doubt. His guilt. His pain. His failings.

Basically all the factors that had haunted Fox Mulder his whole life.

Except that today it was worse than it had ever been. The doubts that had plagued him since age 12, since Phoebe Green, since . . . forever had taken hold of him once Scully had gone out to run her errand.

And they refused to let go.

Not like this was a rare occurrence. Not like he didn't doubt things. God knew he doubted . . . But there were things he did believe in without question. Things that no one else wanted to believe in. Like the existence of little gray men and government conspiracies. He'd seen the concrete evidence of those things more times than he could count, so why shouldn't he believe in them?

But the things he doubted were things he couldn't see. Had never found any proof of in himself and in his surroundings. He doubted the things most people never doubted in their lives. His worth. His importance. His ability to love and be loved.

He doubted himself.

Trained in psychology like he was, he knew it was irrational . . . that everyone had doubts and lacked self-esteem at times. But his were more than just occasional falters. More than loosing his faith in himself every once in a while. The demons were constant, and they were more intense than anyone would ever believe.

And today they were roaring like a chorus of lions.

When he'd lost Samantha, and there were times that he truly let himself believe that *he* had lost her, his self-worth had been effectively destroyed. His father had seen to that. The guilt that his father had heaped upon him for the loss of his sister had been unfair, but *Fox* had borne it. He'd struggled against the feelings of worthlessness and recrimination to succeed in school. Not like his father ever really cared, but he tried to please him nonetheless, even though he knew it was a losing battle.

So he'd tried to escape the pain in his schoolwork. But his intelligence made him a target for ridicule and self-reproach. His photographic memory and sharp mind and wit made him an outcast in some circles. His athletic ability, while acceptable still fell short and made him feel wanting.

So when he finally achieved his scholarship at Oxford, he'd thought to escape the pain of home and family and the brand of outcast by traveling overseas.

Unfortunately he learned again that he was only trading one pain for another. In the form of Phoebe Green. He'd fallen hard for the leggy, brunette Brit. Had willingly become a pawn in the game of her personal life. And he'd succeeded in getting his heart trampled upon and his self-confidence with women mangled. It wasn't long after that disastrous affair ended and he finished school that the Bureau came into his life.

And again, he thought he'd found a new place. Somewhere the pain would fade and the past could be exorcised. A way to repair the damage done to him and pay some sort of bizarre penance for the imagined wrongs he'd committed.

But again he'd thought wrong.

The Academy had found his special ability. To dive into the mind of the deranged and twisted. They'd used that to their own benefit, not caring what damage it did to his psyche or his reputation. So "Spooky" Mulder was born. And the legend only grew when he found the X-Files.

It wasn't long before the tales of the "truth" seeking "Spooky" Mulder, and the collection of cases to his credit began to tarnish his image. His maverick ideas and unconventional tactics helped turn his personnel file into one short on advancement and long on reprimands.

For a long time, he'd conceded that this was where he belonged. Suffering while he searched for his sister. Alone because he was destined to be. Ridiculed because no one understood him. He'd been content to stay in the basement and chase after UFO's while his life slipped away from him.

Because he believed that he didn't deserve any better.

Then Dana had walked in and turned everything upside down. She wouldn't back off. She wouldn't take no for an answer. She fought and argued and cared and loved. And he didn't know how to handle her.

She had wanted to call him Fox. She wanted him to trust her. She wanted to treat him better than he treated himself.

It was only then that he realized what true, unconditional love was. What he should have gotten from his parents. From Phoebe. And it had walked into his basement lair in the disguise of a petite, redheaded FBI agent.

There really wasn't much choice but to give up and give in. So after years of fighting the attraction; fighting to keep the partnership strictly professional, he'd finally given in. In the second he admitted to her that he loved her, his whole world had felt like it was going to fall apart. The words meant so much, and saying them so long after . . . after realizing their power was like handing away his control. Handing away his life. Setting himself up for his next big emotional disaster.

He'd been lucky. Scully had picked him up and pulled her into her heart and soul less than a heartbeat later. Months later, he still felt astonished at her willingness to jump feet first over the cliff of their relationship. To take the risks he had been so frightened of.

Yet even now, his doubts still remained. Nagging, persistent doubts.

About reality. About belief. About self-esteem. No matter how many times she said she loved him, there was a part of him that just couldn't believe it. He believed her, or at least he believed that she believed what she was saying. But he knew there was another shoe somewhere and he was waiting for it to drop. It always did.

And today the pain and recrimination had taken a firm grip on his belief system. What if Scully was only going through the motions? What if he was? The contentment and completion their relationship brought him were like nothing he'd ever known. He'd never believed love could be like this. So he doubted. He doubted if it was real.

There were times when things were so peaceful that he could forget everything. Samantha, work, his family, the truth . . . and it scared him. If he wasn't driven, wasn't the dark hero, what was he then? Pain and suffering were all he knew. He didn't know how to be in love.

Even with his eyes on the door he missed seeing it open and the shadow fall across the floor. His eyes didn't see, his ears couldn't hear. His mind was so inwardly focused that he almost jumped when Scully came and touched his shoulder.

Knowing that she could read him instantly, he averted his eyes. He wasn't ready to inflict his weaknesses on her. Yet as she reached up and turned his face to her, he realized he should've known better than to try and hide from her. One look in his eyes and she was wearing her sad little smile that he hated because it always seemed to come out because of him.

Just like the pain that she felt seemed to always be because of him. The loss of her sister. The missing three months of her life. The near misses and narrow escapes where she had almost left him permanently. All of those things continued to cut into his heart like a knife.

But she was still with him anyway. She forgave him when he couldn't forgive himself. She comforted him when he needed comfort. She loved him when he didn't even like himself.

And he still couldn't believe it.

"I love you Mulder," she said suddenly, caressing his cheek with her hand. The words and her infinitely tender gesture bringing tears to his eyes.

"I don't deserve you Scully," he whispered under his breath.

Looking in her eyes, he saw how those simple words affected her. The sadness was back, but with it was a darker feeling. Almost angry in its intensity.

"Don't you *ever* say that again Mulder," she said tightly, barely veiling the anger. "You deserve so much more than I could ever give you."

He tried to shake his head, to deny her words. Except he couldn't. She held his head in place, refusing to let him break her gaze.

"Yes, you do deserve more than I can give you. I can love you, and trust you and believe in you, but there's so much more that I can't do. I can't bring back Samantha. I can't give you back the time you and your father wasted hurting each other. I can't totally erase the pain Phoebe or the Bureau put you through. I can't even give you back the three months when I was gone," she explained carefully, her words filled with emotion that threatened to drag her down with them.

"Scully," Mulder began, but she brought up a finger and pressed it against his lips, silencing him.

"No Mulder. I don't want to hear anymore about how I don't understand or how I'm crazy to be here with you. I'd be crazy *not* to be here," she replied, and continued only after seeing his questioning glare. "I love you. Faults and flaws and doubts and all. I'm not leaving you. And if you push me away because you can't believe me, can't believe you're worth loving, then you're just creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. You've earned every happiness you can get Mulder. Don't throw what you have gained away."

Slow, steady tears rolled from his eyes and he made no attempt to stop them. There wasn't any way he could do that anyhow. The fact that Dana Scully had just looked straight into his soul, seen what was there and loved him regardless humbled and frightened him.

He knew he'd never be able to pay her back for her gift of faith. Not in a year. Not in a *million* years.

"I love you too Scully," he replied, his voice thick with tears.

And he meant it with everything he had in him. With a suddenness that shocked him, he felt lighter. The weight of not believing her had fallen away at the realization that she *did* love him. She understood him. That they truly were where they were supposed to be. And that maybe he really did deserve what they had together.

With the realization, he knew that the feelings he had went past the pain. Past the fear. Past the guilt. In a wash of emotion, they all fell beneath the power and strength of love and truth.

Finally the demons had been vanquished. With a simple word, a simple gesture, a simple belief they had banished them to where they belonged.

To the past.

-End-

GO TO PART 2

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"Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for the money."

-- French playwright Moliere

"Yes, but not necessarily in that order." J.

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