Storm Front

By Jeannine Ackerson



Rating: G.

Disclaimer: The X-Files, M&S and the gang all belong to CC - even if I'm having more fun with them than he is. <bg>

Spoiler Warning: For 4th season (Post "Memento Mori", but pre "Gethsemene".)

Relationship: Scully angst and a minor dash of UST/MSR.

Summary: While on assignment, Scully and Mulder have to wait out a storm.

Hi all! I was on family business this weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and walked out into the most amazing thunderstorm. I thought, how would Scully have reacted? So this is my take on her in a similar situation. Now, to the story...

As I stand here in the driving rain, listening to the thunder and watching the lighting streak across the sky, I hazily remember that this isn't how I was supposed to be spending the afternoon.

We were supposed to fly into Ft. Lauderdale airport by noon. It was just my luck that the flight was delayed in D.C. due to engine problems. So we had sat, side by side in the terminal at Dulles waiting to see when we were going to be able to board, let alone take off.

The flight was an hour late, throwing off our entire schedule. It was a rush of getting our baggage, picking up the rental car and then hurrying to the hotel to get squared away so we could meet the AIC in the field office at 2 p.m.

It wasn't until we got here, this cute but somewhat tacky motel that we found out that the AIC wasn't going to be able to meet with us until 4. So that gave me and Mulder some time to kill. More time than I know what to do with. Time I could have been spending better somewhere else.

I'd started out by working on my laptop, starting the report of cynical proportions, as usual, so I could begin plugging in the information as we got it. Mulder was next door, doing God knew what. If you asked me, I'd say that he was attempting to settle down his hair and get the creases out of his suits.

Which I would rather he not do. He looks better a little messy. It's part of that Mulder charm that I like so much.

Anyway, I was working up until the first quiet roll of thunder penetrated the fog of my brain. And nowadays there's enough on my mind that it seems to take a bolt from the blue to wake me up.

Like my cancer did.

The cancer has dwindled my focus to a few simple things: the truth, the cure, and Mulder. Not necessarily in that order.

I guess that feeling of helplessness is what drove me to turn off my laptop and head for the door to my motel room. Without a second thought, I opened the door to the blasting heat and humidity of summer in Florida. The warmth radiated up from the ground, making the air muggy and thick.

Then I felt the first strike of lightning.

Not into me, mind you. If that had happened, I'd be sitting in a hospital bed or in the morgue instead of standing here, on the edge of the parking lot looking up into the fury of a thunderstorm, the likes of which I haven't seen in more years than I can recall.

The fact that I'm out here, watching the show unfold reminds me of my childhood. When there were an infinite amount of days before me to appreciate sunsets and sunrises, walks on the beach and hikes up mountains. A time when the storm was just a storm, not a reflection of the inner turmoil of my soul.

There are dark clouds on the horizon, and for a moment, I wonder if I'm really outside, and not visualizing my own situation. Since the diagnosis, there has been the looming threat of death in the future.

A shadow that has been stalking me, despite my best efforts to rid myself of its bleak existence.

I guess you could say I'm holding out for that miracle of Mulder's. That magic cure or breakthrough medical procedure that will give me my future back.

A sudden clap of thunder, loud enough to wipe out the sound of the cars on the street chastises me for my presumption.

It's our future.

I know that I'm not alone in my fear. Haven't been since I found out about this. The truth be told, Mulder is probably more scared than I am. I have wandered from my faith, but I still have a belief in the God of my religion. Mulder believes in me.

Of course, his question now has to be - how do you reconcile yourself to a deity that is dying?

Again the storm calls to me, and the thoughts of my future are blotted out by the vision of rolling clouds the color of ash and the luminous flashes of bright white that signal the jagged lighting bolts within the storm.

It isn't until I see the first actual strike of lightning as it descends from the sky to strike the ground somewhere away from me that I realize the destructive nature of such beauty. But then, isn't that the way of everything? Beauty can be deadly. Seemingly harmless things can kill.

I've sort of figured that out the hard way.

The wind has now joined the party, and it whips at the short hair around my head. At the motion, my mind latches onto the memory of what it used to look like. I know that it isn't as beautiful as it used to be. The cancer has been sapping my strength, and with it my vitality. I expect that eventually it will look like I never had stunning red hair. It will be replaced with these dull, strawberry blonde tresses that would impress no one, least of all myself or Mulder.

I wonder what he must think, watching me fall apart, piece by piece before his eyes? Wasting away and becoming weaker. I know it upsets me. What must it do to him?

I don't have an answer, and I doubt that he would have an answer to give me even if I requested he give me one. I guess it would probably be like trying to explain the workings of the human heart when it comes to falling in love with someone. I can't explain it, and I don't think he can either.

But I know we know what it feels like.

With another peal of thunder, my eyes focus in on the magnificent spectacle before me. I feel like the wrath of God is being laid out for me to watch. The thunder his voice, the lightning his touch and the wind his breath. It is a startling and humbling thing to experience.

I've had to think about my mortality and my faith since the cancer. And I've come to the conclusion that I still want to believe that I will be in a better place when I die. I know Mulder doesn't want to hear it, but it's the truth.

Yet standing here, my hands braced on either side of the gateway of brick wall surrounding the property, I find myself praying that its a lie. That Mulder can indeed pull one of his infamous 'rabbits' out of his hat.

I want to live to see another one of these storms.

While that thought runs over me, I feel a drop of warm water hit my face.

It's begun to rain.

And I welcome it.

With an inner laugh, I realize that this is crazy. I'm deliberately standing in a thunderstorm, letting myself get drenched as the rain begins to fall harder. Any one who knows 'Dana Scully' would swear on a stack of bibles that I would never be so impulsive or emotionally moved by the sight of a thunderstorm that I would walk out into it. Standing with my hands braced against the brick wall, I tip my head up to stare into the storm, the drops of rain splashing on my face, skin and clothes.

And I don't care one bit.

The sky continues its raging, letting loose the tumulus weather that's built up. Weather patterns and pressure systems have created this visual release of air and water. Its amazing, actually. Even knowing the elemental and physical reasons, I know that this force of nature, rolling through this city, is here for reason.

To show me what the truth is.

Not just to get revenge or watch alien outings. It's all about priorities. You have a job that will leave you nothing but a pension plan. You have a lonely life that will leave you no legacy of family...

I've begun to see that the people in my life are where my priorities should be. No matter if I do live to see another two months or two years, I need to let people see what they mean to me.

Starting with Mulder.

The rain is splattering on the pavement in large, wet drops much faster now. I can feel them as they furiously dot my clothes, soaking through the fabric and reaching my skin. It's like teardrops touching my soul.

With an abandon I can't explain, I look up into the storm again, watching the strikes of brilliant lightning, listening to the near continuous thunder rock around me and let myself become thoroughly drenched in the now pouring rain.

I feel like a part of the storm. And nothing else matters besides the fact that I'm alive and feeling. Right now. The here and now is all that matters. It took a lot of things to wake me up to that, but I realize it now. I can only hope I can live it from here on out.

The storm is finally beginning to calm, and I can't help but feel sad in it's passing. I was so in tune with the weather as it beat upon me, howled in frustration, took its toll.

Now with its dissipating, I have to return myself to the reality of the Bureau and the case we're on and everything else that goes along with it.

Slowly I come back to myself and turn back towards the motel. My eyes instantly catch sight of someone watching me. I stop dead in my tracks, my clothes sticking to me from the water and the humidity, my hair dripping around my face.

Mulder has been watching me.

With a deep breath, I compose myself and come to meet him under the protection of the second story balcony. And for one of the few times that I've known him, I don't know what to say.

"That was a pretty awesome storm," he says, leaning into my position, giving me the wry grin that I've known and loved for so long.

"Yes. It's been a while since I've been in one that gorgeous," I explain, hoping that he might understand my fascination with the beauty and rawness of the storm.

"I was watching you out there, staring up into the sky. You looked like you were ready to join it," he says suddenly, surprising me. His eyes catch mine as he continues. "It was as if you wanted it to take you with it."

He has a point, I have to admit. If it could have taken me somewhere, erased the pain and problems I have, I would be sorely tempted to just go where the wind blew me.

But I have a higher responsibility. To myself and to Mulder.

And I'd never give that up for anything.

"What can I say Mulder," I begin with an open expression on my face, my hand taking his and gripping it tightly. His eyes refocus on mine and he holds my hand in a vice-like grip, as if he's afraid of my answer. "I could be tempted, but I always have you to bring me back to myself."

He grins at that, and then I hear the sound of my heart pounding in my chest. Or at least I think its' mine. At the moment, I wouldn't be surprised if it was Mulder's. Or our heartbeats combined. For in this one moment, I feel my connection to him like I've never felt it before.

His tug at me and my growing smile tells me that he's feeling the same. I go gratefully, willingly into his embrace, looking forward to the feel of his chest pressed against my face, his chin on my head.

But the experience, the communion is interrupted by the buzzing of his cel phone in his pocket. Reluctantly he lets me go as he fumbles for his phone.

I step back, looking back at the clouds in the distance. They are still angry, dark. But they aren't over me anymore. Wrapped up in the sight and my own thoughts as I am, I miss Mulder's conversation. It's not until his hand lands on my shoulder that I'm startled back to his presence.

"We have to go. The Bureau chief for the area wants us in ASAP," Mulder says, watching my eyes for the walls that he is so familiar with to make their re-appearance. But they don't come. There's no reason for them anymore. He's seen my naked soul here today. He watched me staring up into the skies and being soaked by the elements. How much more open can I get to him?

Not much.

So I give him a smile that tells him everything that I will say to him in words after this is over. How I need him, love and trust him, how I am afraid but hopeful. I show him with my actions that I'm ready to face the storm when it comes again. That I want him by my side to meet it when it comes, to wait it out and watch it pass.

He takes my hand in his, leading us back to our rooms. Somehow, with that gesture I know that he'll be there with me, for me when the next storm front comes.

And I wouldn't have it any other way.


Well, many thanks for reading. I hope that you enjoyed. J.

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