Questionable Logic I

By Jeannine Ackerson

 

Nov 24, 1996

Rating: PG for the use of swear words.

Spoiler warning: One fourth season reference to "Unruhe".

Disclaimer: The X-Files as well as the characters portrayed therein are property of C. Carter, Fox Broadcasting, 1013 Prod., and most importantly: they don't belong to me. (I'm not making any $$ here, so FOX: I don't have anything for you to sue me for.)

Relationship: VRA. Mulder ANGST!, plus lots of UST. Anti- relationshippers should avoid this. I won't be held responsible if you read it. :-)

Summary: Mulder contemplates Scully's association with the X-Files, and with him.

Hi All! Here we are, my "Q" instalment for my Alphabet "files". :-) I thought I'd let Mulder vent to some of his built-up frustrations regarding his partner. I left the end open to interpretation. But just figure that when Mulder sets his mind on something, he always follows through. <g> Now, on to the story . . .

It was late. I hadn't looked at my watch for a long time. Being in the basement, there wasn't exactly a window I could stare out to see how dark it was, but I knew it was late evening. Maybe eleven or so.

Inside the office, I'd turned off all the lights, except for the small desk lamp. The dark was comforting, enshrouding. The perfect atmosphere for my mood. Reminiscent. Contemplative.

Scully had left hours ago. She'd gotten up and headed for the door, probably more than half an hour past quitting time. As she did I watched her. Stared at her form with an intensity that I would have sworn she could have physically felt. She'd turned and asked me if I was leaving soon and I told her I'd follow her out in a minute. She gave me that look, the one that told me that she didn't believe me, but she didn't press me. Somehow she knew better than to question me about it. Then she'd just left.

That was when I started thinking. Or brooding as some might call it. About how my life has turned out. About the X-Files. About Scully.

Thinking about her was easy. She was the one person in my life that understood me. Even if she didn't always agree with me, she could understand me. She's my best friend. I don't think I'll ever be able to express in words to her exactly what she means to me. I just don't think I have the words.

<You do, but you won't say them, will you? You won't tell her how you feel. You'll just keep making excuses, won't you?>

When that little voice inside me chimed in, I knew I was in trouble. It seemed to know me better than I did. Better than I'd liked. Because it knew the things about me that I couldn't admit to, even to myself.

What excuses?

<Oh, like letting the unwritten rule about partners keep you from telling her. Or how she would turn you down and get a transfer. Or how they would take her away from you again. Or how you think you couldn't stand to lose her if you were *together*. You're just afraid of her, aren't you? Of loving her.>

No, I'm not! I'm not afraid of loving her. I've been in love with her for a long time now.

"Oh God, . . . "

I felt my head drop to my now waiting hands, the enormity of what I'd just admitted aloud to myself hitting me hard. Acknowledging exactly what that vague feeling in my heart and soul was hit me with the force of slammed in the gut with a steel pipe.

<A little uncomfortable actually admitting it in words, even if it's just to yourself, huh?>

"That Goddamned stupid unwritten rule!"

In a burst of pure anger, I'd leapt from the chair, picked up my coffee cup and hurled it towards the far wall.

The smashing sound reverberated through the small, darkened office. Cold, dark liquid dripped down the wall, tracking muddy brown streaks along the off-white paint. The shattered remains of the cup littered the floor, the large shards of glazed glass scattered about. Thankfully there was no one else around to hear the crashing sound it had made before it settled in a jumbled mess on the floor.

Shit. How the hell am I going to explain *that* to her?

Alright, let's prioritize a little here. I broke a mug. OK. At least it wasn't something more valuable. . . Like my heart. Not yet that is.

<Who says it'll break?>

I can't have what I want as long as she's assigned down here. I feel that knife twist in my chest with her every look, every gesture, every breath. I might as well have a broken heart because living like this is going to kill me. Slowly. It's pure torture, and she doesn't even know it.

<Really? You're sure that she doesn't know? That she isn't doing this to you on purpose, dragging your heart along behind her.>

No! Scully wouldn't. She doesn't have it in her. She's not like Phoebe. I mean . . .

<Fine then. She'd could do it accidentally though. If she just said that she didn't care for you as more than a friend, that would be enough to do the trick, don't you think? It would rip your heart and soul to shreds in a second, wouldn't it?>

But she doesn't have a clue that I feel more than that for her. So that will never happen. She can't know. I . . . can't tell her.

<Not can't. Won't.>

I dropped down into the dark leather chair, feeling uncomfortable at the turn my "conversation" with myself was taking. In trying to divert my eyes from the coffee still running in rivers down the wall, my eyes fell on a more discomforting sight.

Her desk.

It was immaculate as always. Controlled. Organized. Simplistic. Like her. I was tempted to let my mind wander into that warm, enveloping subject, but I wasn't done arguing with my subconscious mind yet.

God! Why the hell did they have to send *her*? I was happy down here all by myself. I didn't need a babysitter. Or a partner. Or a best friend. Or a . . .

<A what Mulder? An angel? A totally beautiful woman who you can't stand to be away from? What? The real reason you're real upset that they sent her is because you've fallen for her, and that because they assigned her to the X-Files she's off limits.>

I hate that thought, that's she's untouchable. Of all the women I've ever wanted, Dana Scully is the one that I want the most. And I can't have her because I work with her. Because of a rule.

<Oh come on! You've never followed the rules before. Why should you follow this one?>

I had to think about that one for a long time. I was the rebel, the maverick: 'Spooky' Mulder, never following the rules, making them up as I went along. So why had I chosen this one rule, one that wasn't even written to follow. Had I been using that rule as an excuse?

No, I thought. I've shown her how much she means to me. I've crossed that line, broken that rule. I even did it without anyone even realizing I'd done it. Even Scully. No *partner* would have done the things I'd done for her. Like after her abduction . . . the determined search, the watch at the hospital. I've done everything I know to show her what she means to me.

<Yeah right. So you've gone to her rescue, broken the rules for her. *Big Deal*. The times that would have *really* shown her how you feel have all happened when she's not around. Like now. You've made sure that she's never privy to those moments, haven't you? So there's no chance for her to figure it out.>

That's not true. Just the way I touch her . . . I'm surprised she hasn't ever called me on it. The hand against her back, against her cheek, my hand on hers, my leaning into her space. Hell, the things I've said to her . . . those things alone should have made her realize it.

<What? The fact that you like throwing back and forth innuendoes with her, yet your chivalrous nature otherwise should tell her you're interested in her? Not *once* have you ever done anything that she could positively construe as a "move".>

How should I act with her? I don't even know if she'd want to be with me. *No* woman would. I'm too messed up for a relationship. Obsessed with finding Sam, finding the truth. Scared by Phoebe and my parents treatment of me. An outcast in my own profession. "Spooky" Mulder. *She* wouldn't want me.

<How the hell do you know that? She's put herself on the line for you when no one else would. What about the looks she gives you, the smiles. What about what she's said . . . "I wouldn't put myself on the line for anyone but you." And then what the hell did you do when she called you Fox? You laughed at her, and emotionally ran from it like a scared child.>

So I screwed up, so sue me! We can't be together anyway. Even *if* she felt the same way I do, they would never let us be together. Either they'd transfer her out of the X-Files, or they'd take her away again . . we could never . . .

<You realize you're doing their work for them, right? They want you apart, fighting, separated. They don't just fear Spooky Mulder, they fear Mulder *and* Scully. The two of you. Together. Professionally *and* personally. Because you're so much more together than separately, you idiot!>

But we are together. We work side by side, and have for four years. And I've done everything in my power to keep her here, even if I knew I might be able to pursue a more in-depth relationship with her if we were professionally apart. So the personal side is there, just not like . . .

<Like what Mulder? Come on, you can say it. It's just you and me here. And I already know.>

Like . . . I want it to be. How I dream about it. How in my darkest, wildest fantasies the woman in my apartment, in my arms, in my bed, in every aspect of my life is Dana Scully. But I can't have that. So I have to settle for being her friend and her partner. It's the best I can make of the situation. It's not great, but that's the only way I can keep her and my sanity at the same time.

<You have most questionable logic.>

Huh?

<Ok, you want me to spell it out for you? Fine. You need her in your life, but you're afraid of getting hurt. So you've chosen to keep her at arms length by having her as just your partner. But you forgot something, didn't you? It already *hurts*, doesn't it? Every time she puts up her walls to match yours. Every time something happens to her. Every time you have to stand over her body when it's in pain. It hurts *every* time.>

I shuddered. Hard. Then my arms wrapped themselves across my chest. The memories came flooding back. Every single one of them. Duane Berry, Donnie Pfaster, Jack Willis, Eugene Tooms, Gerry Schnauz, Robert Patrick Modell, the list went on forever. And the pain it generated in my soul was incredible.

It was true. There really wasn't any way that I could feel more for her than I already do. It would kill me at this very minute if they took her from me, and she wasn't even everything she could be to me.

<How could it hurt worse if she knew how you feel? Tell her the *truth*. You remember the truth, don't you? It's that thing you keep espousing as the most important thing in the world. "I want the truth", remember? Yeah, maybe you should start practicing what you've been preaching.>

I . . .

<You've faced down mutants, cannibal towns, government hit squads, fluid sucking bugs and paranormal psychotic killers. The least you can do is face your partner and tell her you love her. She's not anywhere near as dangerous as they were.>

Except you forget she shot me, I half-heartedly joked, trying to cover my feelings with humor. Just like I always did. But I couldn't not face the truth anymore.

No, she's more dangerous than anything I've ever dealt with. Because she holds my heart, my life and my destiny in the palm of her hand. I could find the truth, I could find Samantha, and expose every last conspiracy about UFO's known to the planet, but if she wasn't with me . . . it would be worthless.

<Then you know what you need to do then, don't you?>

How? How can I go up to her and tell her this? What, do I just come out and say, "Hey Dana, you're my best friend and I'm in love with you."?

<Why not? She can handle it. She's strong. The only person who can't handle it is you.>

It's true. She is strong. Hell, she's stronger than I am. If she was in love with me, wouldn't she have told me by now? Wouldn't she have said something if she felt that way about me?

<No, she wouldn't, because she hasn't seen anything in you to take that leap of faith. You've seen how much she cares for you, and you know how you feel. So just stop whining and go over there and tell her!>

I don't want to lose her. If she says no, then that's it, no second chances, the door's closed forever. Maybe, if I wait a little longer she will . . .

<What? Be in love with you in a week, a month, a year? Why are you even thinking that when you already know she loves you?>

You don't know that! I don't know that. If I did, I wouldn't still be here. I'd be over there. Kneeling at her feet, holding her hands in mine, looking into her eyes. I'd be asking her if she loved me, if she wanted me, if she'd be by my side for eternity. But I don't know. So I not going to endanger our working relationship for my selfish desire to have something more with her.

<Are you going to wait until she meets someone else? Announces her engagement? Is standing at the back of the church? What will it take before you *have* to tell her. Do you have to be sitting at her deathbed, or be on your own before you tell her?!?>

I didn't like those thoughts. Of the things I could imagine, Scully with someone else just wasn't something I could comprehend. It sent sparks of jealousy through me that quickly leapt into flames. Her, the woman I loved with someone else. . . No I wouldn't let that happen. I'd tell her before that happened. But the other. . . the fire I'd just felt now turned to an icy fist around my heart. In our line of work, it could happen at any moment. No, I couldn't wait until then to tell her.

That image, that acknowledgment sealed it for me. No more hedging, no more hiding. I *was* going to tell her. Come what may, I *had* to tell her the truth.

Ok, so I have to tell her, I finally agreed with my conscience. When though? Wait until tomorrow morning and tell her when she walks into the office? Take her to lunch, to dinner and tell her there? Take her away for the weekend? The voice was silent, and I knew why.

Are you suggesting I go race over there like a madman at . . .? I looked at my watch. It read 11:55 p.m. Almost midnight? I knew that was what it was suggesting. Because that was what *I* wanted to do.

<You can tell her tomorrow.>

I shook my head, not believing what I was suggesting. Tomorrow . . . I could literally say that tomorrow never actually comes, and I could let myself off the hook. I was giving myself that last out. But for once I wasn't willing to take it.

Picking up my jacket, I threw it on, then added my coat. Clicking off the desk light, I headed for the door.

Tomorrow, I thought with growing determination, the icy grip on my chest had been replaced with a spreading warmth. Warmth created by love. I could wait until tomorrow. I smiled at that idea as my hand reached for the doorknob.

After all, tomorrow *was* only five minutes away.

-End-

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