Title: Forecast of Rain
Author: alanna
Disclaimer: The characters herein belong to Fox Broadcasting and 1013 Productions. The situations into which I have placed them are of my own creation.
Category: VRA Rating: PG-13 for mild adult situations
Spoilers: Mid-"Requiem"

Summary: She remembers his words: "There's so much more than this."

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Lines appear in polished metal under glass. Faint wrinkles along the sides of her mouth and forehead. A scar from an old blemish. Her upper lip looks red, as if stained by long- ago nosebleeds. She examines her face in the mirror. She looks old now.

She conducts a thorough autopsy of the cabinet under the sink to find mousse and a dusty hair dryer, hidden since Mulder decided to cut off most of his hair. No perfume is necessary; she can still smell Mulder on her pulse points.

Shoulders squared and yesterday's suit smoothed over a clean blouse from her overnight bag, she leaves the bathroom and walks into the empty living room.

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legs together and apart his hand on her hip, tracing bones underneath. her hand on his hair, soft as a cat's belly, a slow kiss placed where neck meets shoulder.

night shadows like high tide on the bed --we can't get there in time to do anything tonight --no, you're right stay here with me now leave tomorrow

woke up alone in a low tide of cool sheets.

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She has things to do, people to see, places to go. A bowl of warm milk and a few corn flakes in the sink -- the remains of his hasty breakfast. She rinses it out, then puts it back in the stainless steel sink; the dishwasher can wait. She smiles, thinking of something Mulder once said to her: "The human heart likes a little disorder in its symmetry."

Rummaging through his cabinets, she finds plenty for his breakfast, but nothing she wants to eat. Breakfast will have to be courtesy of a drive-through.

She is eating more these days, has been since he fed her strawberries and chocolate in bed one night in April. The added flesh is beginning to show in her belly, thighs, cheeks. She doesn't mind much, knows that she needs to gain weight. Mulder has pressed his fingers into the new softness. "I likemy women with curves, Scully. More of you to love." She'd rolled her eyes at the cliché, but secretly liked it.

The low rumble of an airplane filters into the apartment. She imagines this is the plane carrying Mulder and Skinner to Oregon, but knows it is not. She draws a glass of water and takes a deep breath, then walks over to the telephone in the living room. From memory, she dials an Arlington phone number.

Three minutes later, she has an appointment with her oncologist.

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--do you think it's back? the cancer intrudes in an oregon hotel room, as it does everywhere else --i've been dizzy. no nosebleeds something sighs in the small space between their bodies: 'not yet.' his large hand cups her left breast and the other hand traces her forehead --i worry

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As she replaces the cordless phone in its cradle, it rings in her hand. She waits for another ring, just to be sure, then pushes the "talk" button and identifies herself.

"Yes, may I speak with Mr. Mulder?"

Scully tells the caller that he is not there.

The female voice continues, "Could I leave a message for him?" When Scully assents, the woman says, "Please tell him that the Boston Police Department received his resume yesterday, and we'd like to schedule an interview soon, at a mutually convenient time."

She manages to keep her voice steady. "I will do that. Thank you." She clicks the phone off.

Looking down at the desk, she begins to see everything there. The Sharper Image catalogue, the bills stacked atop the keyboard so he won't forget them, the small stuffed armadillo with one ear bent back that she bought him at the Dallas airport.

The stack of envelopes and resumes, one in the out tray of the fax/printer.

The Bulletin of the American Academy of Forensic Psychology, opened to the job listings page.

She remembers his words: "There's so much more than this."

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lying on her sofa, early dawn through the window up all night, making love and talking --could you leave this life, scully? his body warm under hers breath drawn slowly through her lungs --what do you mean? --leave all this. walk away and take something of ourselves with us. sky a little bluer as she thinks --i don't know, mulder. perhaps.

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"'Let us make an honourable retreat; though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.' -- As You Like It, by Shakespeare."

The quote is written on a scrap of paper, words formed in black ink by his neat scrawl. Above it is written "Scully," though she doesn't know if this is meant to be addressed to her. She sinks into the desk chair, paper fluttering in her hand.

Is this what you meant by walking away from it all, Mulder? she asks the paper, as if it holds his answer. She can't decide now whether to be infuriated by his doing this without asking her, or curious why he's applying for new jobs. So she simply stares at the paper.

Is walking away honorable or a weakness?

Her cell phone rings this time, and before she can give her name, the voice on the other end says, "Scully?"

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thin gold on golden skin --so you'll be with me, scully --i'm already with you, here her hand on his heart surprised by her sentimentality

--stay here with me now leave tomorrow

stay with me tomorrow and the week after that

--will you follow me, even if i go away? --of course, mulder of course

but he never asked her that

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"Yes, it's me, Mulder," she says into the mouthpiece.

His voice is strong, even from two thousand miles away. "We just got here. We can't go out to the site until late afternoon, so we're going to scope out the area and interview some locals."

"Mmm," she murmurs.

Mulder hesitates for a moment. "Did I wake you up, Scully? You sound tired."

"No, you didn't. I'm at your apartment, but I did oversleep." She sits up straighter in the chair and puts the scrap of paper on the desk. She remembers her newfound honesty with him and says, "I was lightheaded and a little nauseated this morning, but I think I'm fine now."

His concern is telegraphed over the line. "Did you make the appointment with your oncologist?"

"Yes, it's at four o'clock tomorrow."

"We should be back by then. I'll go with you," he says. She feels a sudden chill, and bright light flashes over her closed eyelids.

When she opens her eyes, the Shakespeare quote stares back at her. "Mulder, did you....?" She has to stop. She can't ask him this over the phone. It can wait until tomorrow.

"Did I what?"

"Never mind. We'll talk tomorrow." She swivels the chair so she cannot see the paper anymore.

"I'll hold you to that promise, Scully." She hears his smile over long-distance. "Oh, Skinner's motioning for me to come out to the car, so I'll talk to you later, okay?" His voice drops to a furtive whisper. "I love you."

She is alone in his apartment, but she too whispers, "I love you too."

She disconnects the call and puts the cell phone in her pocket. Gathering her purse and briefcase, she takes another glance around his apartment, then walks to the door. As she opens it, she feels warmth on her upper lip. Her finger brushes against the skin and comes away red.

Nosebleeds sometimes occur after plane travel, she tells herself.

She bends down and picks up the morning paper, careful not to get dizzy, and unfolds it with one hand while the other pinches the bridge of her nose. Mulder's umbrella leans against the door jamb. He will need it in Oregon; his forgetfulness worries her.

She glances at the weather update at the bottom of the front page. The forecast is for rain. She picks up the umbrella and closes the door.

The oncologist will want to run an MRI.

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their first night together flesh new and so very old --what would you do if I was gone, scully? her eyes close her lungs breathe in his chest against her cheek --you'll never go, mulder

never go

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End

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