TITLE: Arden Hope
AUTHOR: ArtemisX5
CATEGORY: SR, MSR, H, some A. I should just reprint the alphabet here.
RATING: R for language and sexual content.
TIMESPAN/SPOILER WARNING. Eh, Trust No 1 and everything before.
DISCLAIMER: If you think I'm Chris Carter you got problems.
DISTRIBUTION: I'd be so flattered I might cry. Just please let me know so I can take pictures to put up on the refrigerator.

SUMMARY: Scully: not as innocent as advertised.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: Hmm, well, since we now all know that CC is the world's biggest Shipper, I don't feel I have to warn anyone about the content. This story hopefully reflects a mood swing experienced by character and author simoultaneously. By the way, I am still a beta-free writer. Volunteers?

This was quite possibly the stupidest thing she had ever done.

Had she known how it would end she would have kept her pants on and probably invested in a chastity belt. Something in kevlar, perhaps.

She hadn't kept her pants on, however, and now life was the exact opposite of how she had imagined it when she had formulated this collossoly stupid plan.

Snapshot of Scully's imaginary Falls-at-Arcardia- without-the-garbage-monster family:

Proud-yet motherly-Scully balances dazzling career at FBI with raising child skillfully and tenderly. Adorable, well-behaved and colic-free William balances dazzling intellect (inherited from the unique meeting of his parents gametes) with a childish sense of wonder to the delight of family, friends and strangers alike. Loving and emphatically present Mulder balances newly fulfilling career as daddy with the overwhelming desire to worship the source of his new-found happiness-i.e. Better Homes and Gardens-like family- his intrepid partner of nine years.

Christ, when had she started to think of herself as Scully? More importantly, when had she reverted to the intellect of a fourteen year-old girl?

Snapshot of Scully's bitch-slap-in-the-face reality:

Exhausted and paranoid Scully balances a collapsing career at the FBI with protecting her son from a wide variety of wackos who would kill him or make him their God (to the equal detriment of mommy's happiness, mind you). Spooky and often cranky William balances dazzling displays of telekinesis (please God, let that be from Mulder's side of the family) with building a stronger attachment to his grandmother than his aforementioned distraught mother. Loving yet conspicuously absent Mulder, accepting role as father, pseudo-husband and center of intergalactic conspiracy, abandons indomnible partner of nine years under unsubstantiated guise of protection.

This really was a bad plan. Perhaps God was still pursuing His interest in smiting sinners.

She should have known better. If her mother knew the truth, she would say the same thing.

After the incident on New Year's Eve (was that Super Soldier blind or just mean?) she had formulated this Hindenburg of plans. It involved an uncompromising attack on Mulder's already-dubious virtue whenever her fertility monitor-stealthily purchased with cash (old-style twenties destined for the incinerator, mind you) from an Osco Drug in Ohio-indicated the stars were aligned and her echoing ovaries were trying to perform the only job she had ever asked them to do, goddamnit! It was the luck of the Irish perhaps that said fertility monitor spewed forth glad tidings only when she and Mulder were in some God-forsaken, one-horse town (or L.A....is there really a distinction when it comes down to it?).

Not that she hadn't taken her fair share of pleasure out of Operation Ovary Storm...perhaps more than her fair share if she really thought about it. The estrogen-producing combination of reaching her sexual peak during the world's longest nookie dry spell and being in close proximity to a man who emitted pheremones with Scully-seeking navigation on board, not to mention the many moments of spine-tingling sexual tension over the years had made for a thoroughly enjoyable war. Sometimes she couldn't remember how to talk when it was over.

For his part, Mulder did not ask any questions and did not try to ask more of her than she was willing to give. He suspected it was reluctance, fear, or just plain bull-headedness that made his partner offer soul-shattering sex only sporadically. Actually, she spent her self-imposed sex embargoes when the fertility gods were not accepting offerings considering the pros and cons of wasting a possible chance at motherhood for an orgasm.

Three months brought nothing. Not even a hysterical pregnancy. She would have taken an hysterical pregnancy just for the practice. Dana Scully, M.D., wearing her white coat and stethescope, stood inside her mind lecturing about the odds of getting pregnant for even a healthy individual and reminding her that she was unlikely to get pregnant in three months of trying even if she was getting good information from a drug-store fertility monitor. Scully skipped the rest of that semester's lectures in favor of a seminar in ardent hope.

When her new gynecologist asked if she and her husband had considered using fertility drugs or IVF she wanted to laugh. Actually, Doctor, he doesn't even know that I'm trying to get pregnant. Oh, and we're not married. Oh, and I don't have any ova because some aliens took them all. Is there a pill I can take for that? Instead she smiled just a little and asked for some pamphlets.

Bless me father, for I have sinned. I am considering taking fertility drugs without my lover's knowledge.

She sat at home for a week staring at the pastel- colored brochure. She looked in her old PDR to find out about the side effects of taking fertility drugs. Were they bad enough that Mulder would notice? She was officially losing it.

In a moment of weakness she scheduled an appointment to be evaluated for invitro fertilization. Nothing will take the romance out of making a baby like the phrase "the donated sperm." Like her body was some charity organization. Like Mulder was a benevolent philanthropist looking for some less-fortunate soul who needed his sperm. Ugh.

Her gynecologist had since deduced that she was not married. In fact she recoiled to the other end of the sad-woman-in-her-thirties-wants-baby spectrum and asked if she had anyone in mind for the donation. Somehow she managed to smile nervously and mumble something about finding the way to ask him.

The understatement of the year.

After attacking Mulder with everything she had learned in the field of sex, she would have thought that asking him to provide another sample of something he had been giving freely for months would be easy. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Bless me father for I have sinned, I have been lying for months and now I am going to be caught...

She decided the only way to tell him was to set a mental time to do and drink copious amounts of water in the hour before that time so the urge to pee would force her to get it overwith. A liter-and-a-half later she was ready.

The look on his face when she asked him made her feel so guilty. He knew. He had suspected what she had been doing all along and now he had confirmation. She wanted to vomit.

Bless me father...

Waiting. Every clack of her heels on the resonant floor of the Hoover Building cried out "Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" What a fucking moron she had been. How she had thought the most paranoid man in the universe would not question her motives for jumping his bones after nearly seven years of restraint was beyond her. And how stupid to prove him right!

He wore his hangdog expression all week. She drank Pepto Bismal out of her coffee cup.

When he said yes she had to cry. He wasn't only giving her a chance at motherhood, he was forgiving her for using him for months. So she did the only thing she could think of to prove that she really did love him and not just his testicles. She fucked him silly.

IVF failed. The Consortium was probably rolling around in their suits on the floor of their offices when they found that out. Another victory for the conspiracy. Motherfuckers. He told her not to give up on a miracle.

Then she went with CGB Spender on the wild-goose chase through the fourth and fifth circles of hell and tore a rift between them so big she could see China through it. And China looked pretty fucking good compared to Mulder's face when the Gunmen said the word "blank." She held her face still while they worked a little longer, chewing the inside of her cheek raw. They left and he stared at her and her lower lip quivered and she blinked over and over but the tears won and she cried in front of him for being so fucking stupid. He didn't forgive her then and he didn't forgive her the next day.

...for I have sinned...

Her penance came in the form of abandonment. Staking out a strip club all alone in a room so filthy she felt like retching just thinking about it was more a test of hell than purgatory but by the end of Mulder's outing to suburbia he was teasing her over the phone and she knew that her parole hearing had ended in her favor, if you will forgive the mixed metaphor.

...this is my first confession since...since...um, since...oh shit, I can't remember.

They were on good enough terms when he proposed the trip to England that she felt safe refusing. She had made him growl like a tiger the previous morning (look ma, no hands!) and he knew it wasn't about him- for once. His absence was like an amputation once it was done and she felt a persistant itch and a nagging sense of guilt the whole time she was in Daniel's room. But her soul was screaming for peace and she would ignore it no longer. The failed IVF was salt in her soul's many wounds and the possibility of repair was just too tempting.

He had told her not to give up on a miracle and she hadn't thought that she had given up until she was brought to her knees in a Buddhist temple and nearly drowned with that miracle.

On the other hand that stupid ass miracle was what landed her in this single-mom gig. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Why the fuck had she let him go back to Oregon? Why the fuck had she let him leave her and William behind?

Snapshot of Scully's ardent hope:

Emotionally and physically exhausted Mulder, weary but wise from his self-imposed exhile, closes the door to Scully's apartment behind him and locks the rest of the world out. Weeping, but smiling Scully rushes to wrap him in her arms and never let go for the rest of her life. William, happily gurgling from his walker shakes his chubby fists at his beloved father and makes the magazines on the coffee table spin around with his mind.

Can't have everything.


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