Title: Touching Eternity
Author: Dreamshaper
Rating: R
Category: MSR, S, A
Disclaimer: They're mine,but you can borrow them...after all, I let CC make a show right? (Ok, they're his and this is unauthorized use--but I didn't do no irreparable harm!) Archive:Wherever, whenever--drop me a line though if we haven't talked archiving before.

Summary: Scully is either haunted or insane...and forced to make a confession.

Notes: This is for the Stalker Child, who convinced me that web pages were easy, Justin who showed me how hard they really were, and Erica because she's been my slave while I hobble about on crutches...thanks all! Also...the title comes from the book "The Screwtape Letters" By C.S. Lewis...there's this line, "After all, the Present is the point where Time touches Eternity." Beautiful, nearly unrelated to the story, yet somehow also the inspiration for it...

Move forever forward, Dana Katherine. Do not leave your heart in the past, do not languish for things you have lost. Move forward Starbuck, and fight.

My father said that to me...last week. In a dream.

I think I have gone insane. The stress has gotten to me, finally, after six years of abductions, deaths, injuries and illnesses...

And what has driven me over the edge is the one thing that for a long time kept me sane...

My partner.

Mulder is on a spree right now, obnoxious, annoying, irritating--sometimes deliberately hateful. And all because of one thing--the fact that I was right. Right about Diana.

The proof is incontrovertible now, and her lies are ever closer to full exposure. Of course, Mulder has not admitted that his former lover is in any way responsible for the death of Cassandra and Jeffrey Spender, or any of the other men and woman who died as a result of that whole fiasco a month ago.

I have been dreaming since then. Dreaming of the dead...Emily, my sister, my father. Jack Willis, a hundred former strangers truned intimate companion by the cold gleam of an autopsy table...

I have dreamed of myself, and I have seen myself dead. There is just enough Irish in me and just enough skeptic to keep my emotions in a whirl, and keep my mind off the important things...

Like mending my fences with Mulder.

I do not want to be at odds with him. I want to be able to look into his eyes and see his heart as I have seen it before. I want to be able to look into his eyes and see the soul of the man who fought Death for me, and who fought me to keep me going...

He fights me now, but there is nothing positive in it, there is no hope of something better in it. There is only pain and anger. There is only ice...

I have been cold for a long time--the warmth of Mulder's presence kept me going many times, though I admit it only this once.

There is no warmth anywhere anymore...

Were I not a doctor, if I did not *know* better, I would fear that I will freeze to death.

I do fear that I will freeze, and my dreams of my own froze body lying motionless on the tundra do not help.

My couch has become a refuge of sorts. I used to wonder how Mulder could sleep on a couch for more than an hour or so, wondered till I found out that he *didn't* sleep more than an hour or so. And now I have taken up his ways. I lay in the dark, tv on and flickering, sound muted, and I stare at the ceiling and I think of my life.

Sometimes, I think of my Death.

Tonight I think of Mulder as I lay back, watching the shadows shift into ever more complex patterns on the pale ceiling.

I think of Love.

With all the bickering and anger, I still can not forget that I love. For all the ice, passion still lurks. And for all the frozen silences, I have a thousand words of sorrow, words that will never be heard by the one who could figure me out.

By the one who might have been able to love me...

Maybe I should buy a puppy.

My father teamed up with my sister tonight in my dreams.

Puppies, Dana? Melissa laughed in that wise, naive way of hers.

Self-pity, Starbuck? My father had his cold logic--*my* cold logic--to use for whatever purpose this was, and I was silent in the face of it. <>

Did your family not teach you that love rules anger, Dane?

That from Melissa, even a dream/angel Melissa nearly made me laugh. Her anger was well-known...was she not pretty much a teenage runaway?

Was she not my admired rebel?

I have not slept since then.

I have stared at the ceiling and I have thought.

I have always admired rebels. Melissa and Charlie were rebels in their ways. Bill was too much my father's son and I too much my father's daughter to rebel, but I admired the trait in my other siblings. And I tried to be a rebel too...could never carry it off though.

Dad--he always knew what I was up to. Always.

I tried to hang out with rebels in high school, in college--there aren't too many rebels in med school or the Academy, but there were enough to keep my interests...

I thought I had outgrown my attraction to that type of personality though, by the time Jack and I were involved. I had thought I had matured and no longer needed the excitement and freedom rebels provide...I was even determined to keep one in line.


Yes, even this comes back to Mulder, in the way most of my life now comes back to Mulder.

Instead of controlling him and his rebellions, I fostered them, I nurtured them, and it was *exciting*.

You know what they say--it's all fun and games till someone pokes an eye out.

I have had my eye poked out, I think...

I love him. Now, right now when I am lonely and vulnerable, I admit that I love him...but I have to drive him away. I have to keep him distant. I let him close and I get hurt, that's the way it works. It's a pattern, a mindset. I regret it's formation, but I can not break it.

I am not strong enough. I can't take a chance on him, not now. And he won't take a chance on me, not ever. So we are angry instead, so we hurt each other...I think that's what it all comes down to. I believe, I have to believe, that this is the cause. If I were to honestly believe that this is just the final maifestation of true feeling, I would be lost. Six years, hard lonely, *terrifying* years, all amounting to nothing more than brushes--hell, meetings--with Death, and a few hard, cold words? It can not amount to that...

I won't let it amount to that.

After all, as Missy said--love rules anger...

I climb off my couch and head for the shower. Cleansing is a ritual I enjoy very greatly, have come to enjoy more and more with each sin, real and imagined, that I have witnessed, and that I have accumulated. I waste no moment of my ritual now, not when I need it to calm me, not now when I need the reassurance of the ritual...

After all, if all goes well my life will not be the same after tonight, and the process might become a lifeline--best to enjoy simple cleansing, in case it becomes a chore or a duty later. When I fall into a deep depression...

Not to assume, of course, that a declaration on my part would invite disaster. It might invite something entirely seperate, joy or hope, perhaps. At least a lessening of bitterness...

Right now, that would be a cause for joy.

Dressed and headed for Mulder's apartment, and I find the drive interminable. Fraught with concern, I turn over images in my mind, of him home and alone but unwilling to see me, of him home and not alone, of him not home...

Those images are best left under the rock they crawled from. I am not a woman given to vulnerability and uncertainty, and the emotions don't sit well with me.

Maybe that's why Melissa is suddenly sitting beside me on the passenger seat. Maybe the complication of unknown emotions has cracked me...

"Dana, don't be silly."

My sister's voice in my ears...I longed for her silly advice and her theories so much when my life was most difficult, when I thought myself dying, when I *was* dying. It seems odd that I would get them when all that was at stake was only a single relationship with a man most would not call sane...

Then again, maybe it's not so odd after all. Maybe it's just a natural extension of too much time locked in the loony bin. Maybe I am more like Mulder than I thought I was.

Maybe most would not call me sane now either.

"Dane, you're sane enough."

I looked at her from the corner of my eye as I handled the car and the night roads...her hair glinted under the light of street lamps, her chest rose and fell with gentle even breath, and her eyes that looked at me were bright with laughter--and with concern.

"Really, Missy?" I whispered as I turned my eyes fully ahead again. "Am I really sane Missy, or am I so far over the edge that sanity is as much an illusion as you are?"

I *felt* her nod, and the gentle laughter she gifted me with brought a smile to my own face, quite unbidden.

"You're right, Dana Katherine," she murmered as she settled more fully into the seat. "You've gone quite insane. Stark raving mad, in fact. But isn't it something of a better state than that grief you constantly hide?"

Maybe she was right. This new delusional state is infinitely preferabvle to that state of anger I tend to ive in. It is infinitely superior, in fact.

After all, instead of mourning my sister, I am having a conversation with her.

"I just wanted to tell you that this is the right thing to do, Dana. You are on the right track, difficult as it is to believe that. Like Ahab would say--you're sailing straight."

With that she was gone.

Reassurance from either a fantasy or a ghost...how very comforting.

Mulder's lights are on, the ones in the bathroom and kitchen are in any case. But in the five minutes I have sat here like a stalker and watched his windows, there has been no movement.

No clue as to how this night wil go...

I look at the dashboard clock--2:30. In the morning. On a Friday night...

Mulder will be home. Alone.

Who besides me and the Gunmen would have him?

Other than the aliens, of course...

I climb from my car, take the stairs instead of using the elevator--which is a rickety device at worst and hideously loud at best. Tap on his door, the number for once firmly in place and the doorframe undamaged...I savor the sights for a moment--usually when I need to come by here in the middle of the night, Mulder is ill or injured, the door has been rather unsubtly cracked open and his belongings rifled, his door number is bugged...

In contrast this is normal.

It is a sad state of affairs when normal becomes frightening.

I knock, and I wait.

And wait.

And turn to leave, shoulders slumped and head lowered--someone must have taken him after all. Perhaps aliens, perhaps clones, perhaps nameless faceless men in black...

Perhaps Pheobe, Diana, Bambi, Detective White or some other lover...

I walk away.

Of course, this is the time he choses to finally open that undisturbed door, the time he choses to speak my name in those soft, quiet tones of concern he can affect.

"Scully?" He calls my name as if nothing is wrong, as if there is no anger between us, and I savor the sound.


I whirl. He would use my given name at this time when I am most vulnerable to it...

His eyes in the halflit hall are as intense as they were the last time something fateful happened here, and as filled with weariness as well--Mulder has been soul searching.

I haven't, I want to tell that haunted face. I haven't been soul searching...

The souls found me.

Of course, he wouldn't understand so I remain silent, reading his face and waiting. Afraid.

He holds out his hand...and I move to take it.

There is something about disaster and this hallway, I think, and am grateful when he ushers me into the relative safety of his apartment with a warm hand and a gentle touch.

I bask in that warmth--it's been a long time since my internal chill was alleviated...

Confession does not come easy to me, not even after a childhood of practice. Especially when I am not confessing so much a sin as a multitude of truths.

So I sit, head down and eyes on my hands, in the chair at his desk. Puzzling over where to begin, when before I was nearly certain.

He is seated on that ratty sofa, clad in a t-shirt and flannel pants, and his warm smell is all around me. He has forgiven me my anger, I think...there is nothing cold here, not right now.

Nothing but me of course...Ice Queen.

So I raise my eyes, and find his waiting, gentle curiousity--unusual for his curiousity is generally rabid and all consuming--and they are quiet...

I am struck suddenly by his eyes...this is the way they should always be, I think. Gentle and warm and quiet...weary but seemingly content, curious and concerned, but healthy...

What a contrast to the Mulder of the shell-shocked eyes and careworn face.

Those eyes prompt my confession, finally.

"Mulder..." I whisper, voice not quite steady and mouth trembling, "Mulder, I love you."

For a moment time freezes. The Present and the Past converge to form a neverending moment in Time, and I do not think life will exist as we know it again...

Because Mulder opens his arms to me with a smile. And I go into them with a laugh and a thousand tears.

We made love, quiet and tender and sweet, in that big bed of his--with the brand new mattress. And the mirrored ceiling.

I will never forget that we laughed.

Laughter is a rarity for us, each moment is so serious and each day so tension frought...but in love and in bed we laughed...

I lay with my lip between my teeth and my eyes on the ceiling as his warm mouth explored, and I watched.

Shoulders shaking even as my breath hitched, I watched the play of muscles in that long back, traced lightly the exit wound from my own bullet, watched the skin shiver beneath my fingers as he answered me with a rolling chuckle that closed my eyes.

I laughed aloud as I did some exploring of my own, as I felt his muscles bunch and tense beneath me, as his stomach quaked beneath my tongue. He made wise cracks to keep his attention focused on something other than my mouth, and I laughed with the sheer joy of discovery.

When we slid into each other, when the love that had kept us sane was finally consummated...we laughed into each others eyes and he told me again that he loved me...

Then we slept...he radiating warmth and comfort, I dreaming again of my family, of myself...

Only now I wasn't frozen in my dreams, I wasn't dead. I was wrapped in his arms, warm and alive. I was beside him, I was with him, I was a part of him. We were one. My father sat before me again, in my living room, eyes as cold as they could be, and he smiled to warm them.

<> His eyes drifted, and Missy entered my dream, holding my daughter...

Sure you did, Dad. Her eyes and his met for a moment before she and Emily turned to me, so alike in features, so different in nature...


Affection. Warmth...I smiled, and I laughed, and I hugged that somber child who had had no time to know me in life, who I would love more fully later, and I kissed my sister's cheek...I flew into the arms of my father, and I laughed.

I awoke, and I found Mulder watching me with that look in his eyes, the look of earlier, and I couldn't stop laughing...not even when he whispered again of love, not even when I replied...

My ice had melted, my anger had melted, incipient rebellion had faded...what reason was there not to laugh? What fault was there in a temporarily light heart?

None. Even I could not fault the logic of a heart opened and spilling out joy in the form of laughter...

So I didn't try to, and I laughed.


Whooboy--guys, I am on a creative roll! Had block since "All the Nuts", got over it with a vengence the other night with "Waiting"...haven't been able to stop writing since! And some of it's actually *good*!!!

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