Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
e-mail: jfc@freeshell.org
Feedback: Please, to the above address!
Archive: By permission only, please
Rating: R for language and implications of adult activities
Category: SAR/MSR
Spoilers: "Triangle", "Never Again"
Timeframe: Sometime in the middle of Season 6. This is a sequel and (I hope) the finale to the series I began over a year ago with "Sanctuary", which was continued in "Better Left Unsaid" by Leah Roman, "Safe Words" by Mik, and "Consequences" by Erynn.
Summary: Pieces of shattered lives are picked up, and possibly put back together.

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, 1013 Productions, and the whole X-Files gang, not to me. This story is just for the entertainment of my online friends and myself, not for any profit.

DEDICATION: This is for Erynn, because she took the monstrosity that this series had become and set it back on track again. Thank you for reminding me what *I* thought was important in my story!

COPYRIGHT: (C) October 17, 2000, Janet F. Caires-Lesgold, jfc@freeshell.org

Please don't redistribute or alter this story in any way without the express permission of the author. Thank you very much.



I got up again at 4 a.m. to pee. Damned Denny's coffee! It wasn't like I was getting any sleep, anyway. Walter's ceiling kept morphing into a face--Scully's face, to be precise. Scully's heartbroken, tear-stained face, to be even more precise.

What kind of horrible prick could I be to turn away from the one person I loved more than life itself to take up with a casual fling, with my *boss*, of all people? If I'd only had the balls to follow through with my drugged admission of devotion to her, I could have spent the last several weekends tucked away with her in her sweetly fragrant bed instead of in this macho bachelor pad whose overlay of Brut could never quite disguise the standard guy aroma of socks.

At least I didn't wake him when I got out of bed. I tiptoed downstairs and sat on his sofa (yes, I'd put my underwear back on first) to think for awhile. So Walter thinks he loves me... That is absolutely the *last* thing I wanted to happen in all of this. Wait. Strike that. The *very* last thing I wanted to happen was for Scully to get hurt by my indiscretions. Too late now...

I know her: the only time she gets laid these days is to get back at *me*. I know for a fact that she doesn't love John Byers. She couldn't. He's a nice guy--sure. But the only reason she fucked him tonight was because she wanted *me*. Oh, God, what have I done?

Could Walter tell that I was just going through the motions up there when we got in? My heart just wasn't in it, though my dick was more than willing to participate, I noticed. Traitor... Face it: this whole sordid affair was never about my heart in the first place. It was just something in his eyes--a little threat, a lot of power, some stray passion--that got me hard when he looked at me just *so*. When he looked into my eyes like that, we both knew that I wouldn't be able to sit still until he'd made me come. Well, tonight was the last time...

Damn! My cellphone. Hope he didn't hear *that*! "Mulder."

"Mulder?" Scully, thank God.

"Yeah, Scully. Are you okay?"

She didn't say anything for a moment, then her voice was strange, slurred. "I need your help, Mulder. I want to sleep..."

"I know, Scully. I haven't been able to sleep, either. Do you want me to come over?"

"I took some pills..."

Oh my God. That word shot straight into my brain and erased every other thought away. "For God's sake, Scully, don't go to sleep! Can you stay awake until I get there? I'll be there as soon as I can. Do you want me to stay on the line?" The phone went dead in my hand.

Thanking whatever fates made me get undressed before I'd gone upstairs in the first place, I grabbed for my clothes and shoes. She *couldn't* be trying to kill herself. I could not allow that to happen.

Blinking back frightened tears, I steered my car across town in the wee hours of the morning, grateful that traffic was nonexistent and the lights were in my favor. I could only assume that she was alone, that Byers had left already, or she wouldn't have called me. Punching her numbers as I drove, I tried to call her back, but she must have turned off her phone. Swearing at full volume as you drive like a maniac across D.C. does wonders for waking a person up, let me tell you...

I parked on her street after my own life had passed before my eyes at least twice, and let myself in with the key she'd given me. Slamming her door shut, I raced back to her bedroom to find her in that huge bed, looking like a tiny doll with sleeping eyes tucked under the covers. My fingers flew to the pulse point in her neck, which still throbbed healthily.

At my touch, she blinked and opened her eyes. Thank God. "Mulder?" she nearly moaned.

"Talk to me, Scully!" I shouted, sitting on the bed beside her and lifting her shoulders from the pillow. "What kind of pills did you take? How long ago? How many?"

"Wha...?" she murmured, still mostly out of it.

Dragging her to sit upright, I peppered her with questions. "Where's the bottle? I need to know whether I should induce vomiting. Have you got any coffee?"

A distinctly angry frown crossed her face. "Mulder, what are you doing?" she finally asked me, clear as a bell.

I held her firmly by both shoulders and looked hard into her eyes. "I don't want you to die, Scully. I love you."

She immediately started to chuckle. "Oh, that's great... I'm not going to die, Mulder. I just want a little sleep." Her eyes began to flutter closed again.

"No, honey, not now," I insisted, hoisting her to her feet. "C'mon, Scully. Walk with me a little."

Once her feet had hit the floor, her knees locked in place and she refused to budge. "Mulder, knock it off."

"But, Scully..." I started to protest.

Shrugging off my grip, she barked, "Just wait a fucking minute and *listen*, okay?"

Stopping short, I stood stupidly before her, expecting her to collapse at any moment. "What is it, Scully? What's the matter?"

"What do you think is happening here, Mulder?" Her eyebrow took its customary route upwards.

"You said you wanted to sleep, tha-that you had taken some pills. Why do you want to kill yourself, Scully?"

She sat down hard on the bed and started laughing like an idiot. Through her chortles, she began to explain. "No, Mulder. You always hear what you want to hear. I had really called you to say that I wanted to talk to you, that I couldn't sleep without hearing your voice, but I guess the drugs started to kick in before I could get my thoughts together. I was trying to talk fast before I fell asleep. I guess the stress of the evening had started to catch up with me."

"How many pills did you take?" I asked, starting to feel relieved, embarrassed, and angry at myself all at once.

"Just two, like it says on the bottle. I mean, I'd only had a sip or two of that icky Japanese beer, but I hadn't eaten anything since lunch, so maybe two were too many." She looked up at me, her eyes clear and bright and *alive*, though obviously very tired. As she reached for my hands, I grasped hers back solidly and let her pull me down next to her. Her fit of laughter had petered out, not leaving so much as a smile behind.

"Are you okay?" I checked again, knowing that the answer now would be different than it had been just a moment before.

"I'm..." The initial sound of the "f" in "fine" never made it past her lips and teeth, but just hung there for three heartbeats. "No," she replied at last, her face suddenly drooping out of my view.

Holding onto both of her hands with one of my own, I chucked her tenderly under the chin to make her look back up at me. "Tell me about it. I want to know."

Almost as a whisper, she answered, "I can't." The brightness in her eyes was quickly revealed to be rapidly pooling tears.

Firmly but lovingly, I admonished her, "You wanted to talk to me before. I'm here now, so *talk*. Is it about what happened with Byers?"

She gave me a tiny nod, which pushed at least one tear over the dike of her eyelids. "He must hate me now. I just demanded that he make love to me and then walked away. He came over after you left..." A sob caught in her throat, muffling the rest of her words.

I carefully enfolded her in my arms and held her as she cried. "What did he say?" I asked when I thought she could speak again.

"He kept saying I'd used him," she muttered into my chest. "He's right. I didn't care anything about him. All I wanted was for it to stop hurting."

"For *what* to stop hurting, Scully?"

Looking up at me with an expression of desperation, she answered, "The realization that I'd lost you."

"But you haven't lost me, Scully. I'm right here."

Shoving against my arms, she tried to push herself away from me, but I wouldn't let her. "You know what I mean. You're my friend, but you're *his* lover. I've lost you to *him*..."

"By 'him', you mean Skinner, don't you?" She nodded resolutely, but I went on. "If I wanted to be with him, I'd be with him, wouldn't I? I'm with *you*. I want to be with you."

At last, she successfully broke free of my grasp and stood just out of reach. "You were with him when I came up and found you in his office. You went away with him after you came over here later. You were probably with him when I called you, weren't you?"

Her words stung because they were true. "Yes, I was, and for that I am truly sorry. That was the last time. I'm never going to see him again. I don't love him. I love *you*."

She kept protesting. "You just say that, but you don't really mean it. You don't want to make love with me. You want a man like Skinner."

I could tell how much she was hurting by her insistence at trying to hurt me back. As honestly as I could, I looked her in the eye. "I was attracted to him--that's true. But he's not what I really want. I wish you could believe me: what I really want is *you*."

"No, you don't," she wailed, crumpling to the floor where she stood. "Nobody could want me. I gave myself to Byers, and now he hates me. I can't give you anything that would do you any good. Go away, and go back to Skinner. He loves you." She sat curled in on herself like a desolate child, weeping audibly.

Trying very hard not to start crying myself, I thought of things to say that would give her any comfort. "Scully? Honey? What is this really about? Why did you give yourself to Byers, anyway? Weren't you just making him a substitute for someone else?"

Even while she kept crying, she nodded slightly in reply.

"Who, Scully? Who did you really want tonight?" She had said the words when I'd been here earlier, but I wanted to her think about them this time and decide if she really meant them.

"You," she choked out. "I wanted you, and I couldn't have you." She looked me in the eye then, removing the need to ask her my next question. "I *still* want you, Mulder. I love you."

There. She'd said it. I chose my next words straight out of my heart. "I know, Scully. I know you love me, and that you want me. But you're wrong about one thing, even though you don't know it."

"What's that?" she asked, curiosity suppressing her grief.

"You *can* have me. I'm yours. I don't want anyone else but you." Shutting my mouth, I let my words sink in, then held out my arms to her again.

Hesitating shyly, she sat up straighter from her spot on the floor. "You mean it?"

"Absolutely, baby. I've never wanted anyone but you. I love you, Scully."

At last she stood up on her knees and scrambled over to my waiting arms, lunging up and wrapping herself around me. "I'm sorry, Mulder," she whimpered into my shoulder, "I'm sorry I doubted you."

I kissed the temple closest to my mouth in lieu of her lips, but I figured I'd get to them soon enough. "I'm sorry, too, Scully. I'm sorry I gave you any reason to doubt me. But I think right now we ought to get some sleep. We can talk in the morning."

"Okay," she agreed, stretching a little and succumbing to a yawn at last. "Can we make love in the morning, too?" she asked, a shy grin beginning to creep across her face.

"Oh, definitely," I promised, smiling broadly at my beloved. "I'd like that. How about you?"

"Oh, definitely," she echoed, crawling into bed to wait for me to undress and join her. It was nice to know that the world could change completely for the better in just one evening...



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