Title: Eyes and Ears
Author: Clarice890
Written: February 2001
Disclaimer: Characters the property of 1013.
Rating: PG-13 (language)
Feedback: Please.
Classification: Post-ep Medusa, SA, implied MSR
Spoilers: Medusa, season 8

Summary: Scully regrets her actions in Boston.

This was the most uncomfortable - and thoroughly miserable - case I can remember. If a ship had been sinking, I would have been huddling cravenly on a lifeboat, not trying to save the other passengers. I have become one of the bystanders, one of the delicate, useless ones. One who requires protection, who can no longer take risks. In short, I am no longer fit to do my job.

I didn't want to face this -I've been fighting it for some time, telling myself that despite hospitalizations, I could go on. I NEED to go on; I've got to find Mulder. I can't afford to sit on a shelf, a decorative object, and depend on others to do what matters most to me. Only to me. No one wants him back as I do; no one could try harder to retrieve him.

But I'm getting to the point where I am hazardous material. This time, I was a grave danger to Doggett. I don't entirely trust him; I haven't really warmed to him. But I've got to admit he's shown me nothing but loyalty. Besides, even if he happened to be a genuine asshole, he's still the person I'm (I hope) temporarily partnered with. It's the code. We watch each other's back. Not through the wonders of technology, either. I should have been damned well down there along with everyone else. I know it. He knew it, but for some reason he couldn't bring himself to say so. He showed a lot of class. I showed a lot of cowardice.

I knew as we walked in there, even with CDC clearance, I couldn't expose the baby to a possible contagion. Hell, I shouldn't even be doing autopsies at this point. I should be sitting in a lab at Quantico, examining only certain substances. I KNOW this. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Until now.

I felt like shit, watching Doggett and the others slap on the kevlar. Sure, I talked a good game - that I could be more effective analyzing the situation from up top. Sure, right. And in a way, I was. Without being in the control room, I wouldn't have gotten the analysis from Boston University that told us that calcium was the damaging agent. The bodies of the three desiccated corpses would have disappeared without ever being seen by the CDC. And there WAS a doctor on the scene, at least for a while.

But, to be out of the action like that. To suspect your partner is down and you can't move to help. It's fucking miserable. No doubt about it.

I've always prided myself on doing what the guys do - only better, in many instances. With my size, a lot of overcompensation is required. I've never shrunk from contact with danger. It's my job. Until now. Now, I am torn. The FBI agent vs. the mother-to-be. And not just of any baby, although I have no doubt that every single one is precious. But this is my miracle baby, the one I shouldn't - couldn't - would never - have. The ONLY one I may ever have. If worse comes to worse, the only remnant of Mulder's existence that'll ever be left on this earth. I've got to keep it safe - it means everything to me.

And there's the rub. The baby comes first. Not the job. Not Doggett's safety. Not anyone's safety except that minuscule bundle inside of me that is just starting to show. Which means that I am no longer competent to be a field agent. If I can't do what the job requires, I am out of commission. I am a danger to all around me, including all those who went down into the tunnels without me.

Doggett obviously didn't understand when he heard I was staying above ground. "This is your thing," he said, his eyes showing confusion. He's gotten used to my being assertive, gutsy. He couldn't understand my NOT wanting to be in on the case. "You've got all the experience," he protested.

Yes, I do. And that's why I stayed out and spun my little tale, a tale that had me writhing with guilt every moment I wasn't thinking about the case. I could hardly meet his eyes as I told him, "What I need from you down there are eyes and ears."

He looked confused, still. Baffled. Justifiably. Hell, we all know I'd rather transport my own eyes and ears down there. The whole case was pure misery, standing there watching from afar, unable to act, constantly asking questions. It brought back the first encounter with Modell, when I had to watch events unfold through Mulder's eyes. There, though, I was able to get onto the scene, help us bring things to a conclusion. Then, I could walk into danger, do my job, keep a dreadful killer from harming others. Work with Mulder. Together, our joined strength defeated Modell's powers.

This time, I was alone, except for that pest, that, that, that...bureaucrat. Fuck him, incompetent idiot. Alone with a moron, one engaged in a cover-up. He thought he was playing a role in Jaws or something? Christ. Me, a moron, and lots and lots of screens. And an isolated voice through the headset, not the one I longed to hear, expected, after so many years, to hear.

Doggett wasn't the only one confused. All those other people wondered what the hell I, their big, important imported monster expert, was doing upstairs at the helm instead of being down in the tunnel examining the evidence. Shit. I heard what they were saying through my earphones. They wanted to come back. Be safe. Like me. Doggett kept them going.

"Sez who?" I think it was the lieutenant who asked that.

"Says the boss," said loyal Doggett, much more loyal than I deserved at that point, I safely in front of my monitor while sending him down there to gather an unhealthy green glow. Shit. I couldn't risk that. I know I couldn't. I MUST get myself out of the field. And it'll break my heart. And my hopes.

I heard that guy, trying to undermine Doggett's confidence and get their asses outta there. "Wonder why she sent you down here instead of coming herself," he said. You and me both, friend. I feel like SUCH a chickenshit.

Sometimes there IS something to be said for being a rather unimaginative "company man," someone who takes orders well, unlike a certain other man I know - and love. "It's the right call," said the loyal soldier Doggett. I will give him this - his name is appropriate, and he is dogged. Like Mulder was, in a totally different way. A rather refreshing willingness to obey and not probe too much, really - not bad traits to have at this particular time. Not too healthy for him, though. If he obeys me often enough, he may wind up dead.

It really isn't fair for him not to know that I'd sacrifice him, if necessary, for the baby's survival. It isn't fair for him to be out in the field with someone who won't put her life on the line to protect him. It's assumed; it's the terms under which we work. He's being gypped. And I was such a fucking hypocrite this whole case. I know best. Yeah, right. I'll give the orders. Uh-hum. Sure. I'll stay up here and do the analysis. Yep. What bullshit. We are only fortunate that he and the others survived in spite of me. I was totally inadequate as an FBI agent and I am heartily ashamed.

Okay, okay, I'm overdoing the guilt thing. I WAS needed above, and we would never have gotten all the CDC connections and the chemical analyses. Had I been with the others, we might all have died down there, thus stopping the trains from running unless they could haul our corpses away really, really quick. Without my presence up there, we would have been toast. No one would have known to send in rescue teams, get the proper analysis, or have figured out that sweat was the agent that caused the substance to burn. Without me up there, all would most likely have died, and the cover-up -and MASS deaths"- have continued. I must try to be rational about this.

Trouble is, I don't feel at all rational. I just feel all the inadequacies. That I could not go to see the evidence for myself. That I was not there when my partner was under attack. I was not there to watch his back. That I was always acting from second-hand information. That Doggett's eyes and ears were not really good enough.

"Have you been in the tunnel?" asked the doctor from BU.

"No, I have not," I had to answer, feeling like sinking through the floor.

I am not cut out to be out of the field. It's become my life, the excitement, the challenge, the adrenaline rush, the righteous glow that comes from taking the risk and coming out on top.

As the case came to a head, Doggett discovered the kid down there. I wished with all my might to be on the spot, to see, to hear, to observe, to detect, to reason, to do my job. I had to depend on a fucking tv screen.

The lack of power was so frustrating. "Get outta there," I ordered Doggett, who suddenly developed a mind of his own and turned into Mr. Wizard. I was powerless, in the dark, literally. He could have died down there and I couldn't even have gone to the scene. I could only have waited for his body and draped myself thoroughly before going near. I have lost the skills I need to do my job, or at least the capacity to perform. I am finished.

I was so depressed, ironically, when I was giving Doggett the good news at the hospital. He WAS okay. He could leave.

I was NOT okay. I was a mess and it was all I could do to keep from blurting it out.

I was also exhausted. The trip to Boston, a day spent on my swollen feet, running back and forth, thinking and reasoning constantly, engaged in argument, filled with fears, anxieties, and frustration. Guilt and embarrassment. It was all too much and I felt half dead. And very, very inadequate.

So little to show. A bunch of bodies, an unknown pathogen, bad guys who will be found guilty of nothing. Shit.

"They've got you to thank," I told Doggett, filled with guilt for my abandoning him to danger. "Not just for saving their lives."

Doggett was feeling unaccountably generous. He had been throughout the case, despite his obvious lack of understanding of what had come over me. He stared at me thoughtfully. He was trying, I think, to figure out what had caused my aberrant behavior. By this time, he knows that ordinarily I'm not a coward or someone who hangs back.

He tried to console me. "No, you figured it out. I was just your eyes and ears."

It wasn't true, but I now realize something that IS true. In all conscience, I can't jeopardize the life of this apparently decent man- -not once again. This time was too much. I never thought I'd be guilty of dereliction of duty. I was. It's got to stop.

Time to go home. To DC. And face the music. And the fact that these eyes and these ears will have to leave the field, the place where they long to be. The baby requires it. As does my rather belated sense of honor. An era has ended. Now the X-Files will have neither Mulder nor me. It's over.



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