Title: Trapped in Dreamland
Summary: What if Morris and Mulder had to live as one another for the rest of their lives? (Also, in my universe, Mulder and Scully remember the events of Dreamland I and II.)
Mulder's eyes glistened in the glow of headlights as he listened to Scully tell him that the event was irreversible.
He took a deep breath. "What about him? I mean, me?"
Scully looked disgustedly toward the car where Morris Fletcher sat admiring his "Mulder" face in the rearview mirror.
"He's Kersh's new "golden boy." Scully scowled. "He confesses to Kersh more than I do to my priest."
Morris watched the pair through the windshield. A smile curled his lips. *These two are a little close for just partners.* He snickered. *Too bad the whole date thing with Dana didn't work out, he thought*
He watched as they unconsciously moved closer to one another as they spoke and how Mulder leaned into Scully as he listened to her. Morris felt a pang of jealousy in his chest. *I can't believe I actually miss Joanne*
Morris shook his head thinking of all the times he had fantasized about escaping his miserable home life. His nagging wife. His whiny, spoiled kids. He sighed. *And I am actually beginning to miss them. I am a glutton for punishment*
He refocused on the couple in front of the car. They stood simply gazing at one another. *O.k., that's enough, he thought* He honked the horn, startling the two.
"Take a picture; it lasts longer," he shouted out the window. Mulder and Scully frowned at him.
Morris rolled his eyes. They were obviously exchanging goodbyes as Scully began to move back to the car. Morris' eyebrow went up as Mulder called to her and held out his hand. Mulder dropped something into Scully's hand and then stood back watching her leave. Scully stood for a moment, staring with a certain amount of melancholy at her palm. She turned and walked back to the car.
Morris looked at her hand as she climbed into the passenger seat. She took a sunflower seed thoughtfully and placed it into her mouth as Mulder watched them depart.
"Sunflower seeds? Hey, can I have some?" Morris tried to make conversation.
Scully gave him a look that killed. "No." She turned away from him, leaving no room for further discussion.
"Homewrecker!" Joanne shouted at Scully as she dragged her husband's belongings into the yard.
Mulder and Scully moved further from the scene as Scully delivered the bad news.
"Mulder, there's nothing we can do. I've tried everything. Looked for every avenue. I've had the guys on the case, and they've been working so hard that Byers collapsed because he forgot to eat!" Scully was distraught. That scared Mulder more than anything because his Scully never lost her cool if she could help it.
"Is Byers o.k.?" he asked to take the focus off the main problem for the moment.
Scully looked up at him with despairing eyes, confused. The question threw her off her train of thought. "Oh, yes, he's fine. We pushed some soup and some fluids down him and he's fine."
The two stood in silence for a moment. Mulder noticed that Morris had made his way up to his front door and was talking to Joanne. He hoped that Joanne would listen to Morris if he tried to tell her what had happened. She certainly hadn't listened to him.
"What now," Scully whispered, almost to herself. "I'm out of the Bureau and without you, Mulder, the X-Files will be shut down. What happens now?"
Mulder could hear the unasked question in her voice. *What happens to us?*
He continued to watch the drama unfolding at the front door without responding. Joanne had calmed down considerably and was listening to Morris with a look of utter disbelief and wonder on her face. She looked ready to cry.
"Mulder?" Scully was watching him. "What are you thinking?"
He looked down at her with a wry smile. "I think our 'friend', Morris, is getting through to his wife." He gestured to the house where the two were now standing close together and talking earnestly. He watched Joanne reach up and wipe a tear from Mulder's face. *I mean Morris' face, he corrected himself mentally* It was so bizarre to see himself from a distance.
Mulder reached down, took Scully's hand, and strode toward the house.
The four adults sat nervously around the kitchen table. Mulder clutched a glass of iced tea and Scully's hand. Scully simply looked at she and Mulder's fingers in their death grip. Morris kept staring unfocused at his beer and Joanne sipped her coffee.
The phone rang and Joanne got up to answer it. A minute or so later she returned. "The kids got to your mother's house just fine. Chris was excited that she finally got to drive on the freeway," she spoke to Mulder, blushed and turned to Morris. "I can't get used to this, Morris. You LOOK like someone else entirely, but you're my Morris," she bent and cupped his face in her hands and stared into his eyes sadly.
Scully had to look away. It looked as though this Joanne woman was caressing Mulder's face. She felt Mulder's hand grip hers tightly. Scully looked up to find the face of Morris Fletcher gazing at her worriedly. *This must be doubly hard for him, she thought* She squeezed his hand and tried to smile.
Mulder took a deep breath. "O.k., we've got to stop this. We can sit here and feel sorry for ourselves or we can decide what the hell we do from this point. Anybody got any ideas?"
Joanne spoke up first. "Well, I want my Morris back, living here in our home for starters." She reached over and gripped his hand. She swallowed the lump in her throat as she looked over at him, but only got a more determined look on her face.
"There'll have to be a divorce," Mulder said quietly. "You'll have to divorce 'Morris Fletcher' and marry 'Fox Mulder'." Mulder flinched.
Morris blanched but nodded at Joanne's shocked expression. "He's right. He's who I am now, Jo." He put his other hand over their clasped ones. "I think I could really be happy at the F.B.I., Jo. I'm on my way. I'm already scoring points with the up-and-ups."
Mulder twitched again.
Joanne listened tearfully as Morris rambled on. "We'll have to move to Washington, of course, but we'll find a nice place, not that apartment-" He cut himself off and glanced at Mulder. "Sorry."
"Before you do anything, I want my stuff," Mulder interrupted.
Morris nodded. "You can stay in the house until it sells. After all, YOU are ME and I own it."
Mulder nodded and looked over at Scully. She was taking it all in with her eyes shut and a very calm expression on her face as though trying to come to terms with the reality of the situation.
He turned to Morris again, "I want my files and things from the basement too. I take it you won't be continuing heading the X-Files Division?"
Morris shook his head. "I've already requested a transfer. I have other plans for my future."
"You mean MY future," Mulder muttered under his breath. Scully's eyes opened and glistened with unshed tears as she looked at him.
He took a breath. "I want to stay at Area 51. At least I can continue my work there. I might actually be able to find some answers. I'll want to go over your job in detail with you. I'll need to know all of the things that you would normally know, to be made privy to classified information, etcetera."
Morris was nodding, not looking at anyone.
Mulder took another deep breath. "So, I guess I'm moving to Nevada. Know any good single housing?" He glanced up at Morris.
"I can help you look. You should be familiar with the area, anyway, if you're going to be me." Morris said quietly, still nodding.
Joanne gasped suddenly. "The kids! What are we going to tell the kids?!"
She and Morris looked at one another in shock.
Surprisingly, it was Scully who broke the silence. "Couldn't you just let them believe that you divorced and remarried? From what I understand, Morris and you and your children don't exactly have a good relationship. Maybe if the new "stepfather" were more receptive, more of a father..." She trailed off, trying to keep her voice as neutral as possible.
Joanne went off like a lit firecracker. "Make them believe that their father doesn't care?! Let HIM - " She gestured disgustedly at Mulder," run off with their father's face and leave Chris and Terry to believe that Morris just walked away and that I replaced him with a younger man?! What kind of damage would that do to the kids?!" She was fuming. Morris laid a hand on her arm and she sat down, still breathing heavily, trying to calm down.
Scully stared at the table. "All I meant is that this may be a chance for your husband to start from scratch in a relationship with your son and daughter."
"And I would visit, if you want," Mulder interrupted quietly. The other three stared at him, confused.
"If you don't want them to think that their father deserted them, I could have 'visitation rights," Mulder continued, "I could, you know, take them out on some weekends, do things with them..." He stopped speaking and looked up at the eyes upon him. "If you want."
Mulder knew what it meant to have a negligent father.
Morris sighed. "She's right, Joanne. I haven't exactly been much of a father up to this point. I'm not even around most of the time."
Joanne's jaw was clenched. "I need time to think about this."
Mulder and Scully stepped off the curb and strode to the car. It was late and all parties had agreed to call it a night. Mulder and Scully were heading for a local motel. Morris was staying at the house. Morris had been carrying blankets and a pillow to the couch downstairs as the two left.
At Scully's look, Morris shrugged with Mulder's shoulders and looked at her sadly through Mulder's hazel eyes. "Joanne's just not ready for us to be in the same bed yet," he explained. Scully shivered at the familiar timbre of his voice. Choking back tears, she hurried out to the car without saying a word.
Mulder sighed, bringing back Scully from her reverie. "I'm going bald and I have a pot belly," he said bitterly. "Damn." He was brushing his fingers through Morris's hair and looking in the rearview mirror. "He's, what? 5 or 6 - maybe even 10 - years older than me?" Mulder started to dig in his pockets for "Morris's" wallet and driver's license. He stopped and decided he just didn't want to know right now.
"Does that mean I've lost that time?" He sat back and stopped looking in the mirror. He stared out the window, depressed.
Scully started to reach out to him. She hesitated, swallowed, and then leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. Mulder jumped and stared at her. The two didn't speak for a moment and then Mulder started the car.
The two didn't speak on the trip to the motel.
Mulder and Scully got adjoining rooms as always and fell back into a routine established through years of traveling together. Supper was eaten in silence at a small greasy spoon and the two headed to their separate rooms. Very little was said between the two of them about the current situation.
Scully jerked and sat up in bed. *What IS that?* A man's voice screamed and she heard a thump against the wall. The voice continued hoarsely yelling and slamming something, or someone, against the wall.
She reached for the phone to call 911 and for her gun to go check it out when she remembered. Mulder. Only it wasn't his voice screaming her name. It never would be again.
She could now barely recognize her name among the incoherent screaming and yelling coming from the next room. She threw back the covers and ran for the adjoining door.
"Samantha!!!!!!" Mulder screamed. His sister's abduction, a nightmare he had mostly under control for over 2 years now was replaying vividly in his mind. Only this time he was able to see what they did to her after taking her from their home.
"Noooooo!!!!God, no!!!!!" He wept and ran-stumbled forward in his nightmare, trying to stop the silouetted figures. In reality, his body slammed into the desk and fell against the television.
The figures began flaying Samantha's skin off in long strips until she was unrecognizable. She screamed the whole time and writhed upon the table, in agony. She shreiked his name, "Fox!!!!"
They began replacing the removed skin with long grey strips of their own until she became one of them. She stopped screaming and sat up on the table, a detached look on her new, scarred, grey face.
Her brother wept and grabbed for her. Mulder knocked over a lamp in the motel room and stepped on the shattered pieces, cutting his feet. "Samantha!!! Scully, help me! Help me!!"
His sister blinked at him with huge, black eyes.
Scully flung open the door and stepped forward, gun drawn.
"Mulder! Mulder, wake up! Its me, Scully!" she screamed as she took in the scene before her.
Mulder turned wildly in her direction and she almost ran for the connecting door.
Mulder looked at her through Morris's eyes, wild with fear. He stood in the middle of the chaos amidst bloody footprints and broken furniture in a t-shirt and sweats. "Scully?" He rasped, pausing in his madness.
Scully caught his weight completely as he sagged and began sobbing.
An hour later, Mulder sat brooding as Scully cleaned up the mess, dumping pieces of a lamp and the dresser mirror into the small trashcan.
Mulder was propped against pillows at the headboard of the bed, his feet doctored and bandaged. He stared into space, scratched arms folded across his chest.
Scully finished her task and sat beside him on the edge of the bed.
"Mulder? You o.k.?" She reached out and touched his arm lightly.
He turned forlorn eyes on her. "Sorry. I guess I'll have to pay for the lamp and the mirror.." His voice faded off and then regained strength. "I don't know how you can stand it."
"What?" She frowned. *What was he talking about? The nightmares? He's had them for years, she thought, although not anywhere near this bad...*
Mulder turned unexpectedly and pulled Scully into his lap. "Mulder!" she exclaimed, surprised.
He took her face in his hands and pulled it within inches of his own. "This. How can you stand this? Its me, but it's not me. I can barely stand it myself and I don't really think it has sunk in yet. "
He turned her face so that the two of them could see their reflections in the jagged shards of what was left of the broken dresser mirror. "Look at that stranger holding you. That makes me want to-"
"But its you, Mulder." Scully recovered from her shock to interrupt Mulder. She could see him slipping away deeper and deeper into depression. "We'll get used to this." She stroked his cheek soothingly with her hand. Mulder's eyes closed.
"Samantha?" Scully said quietly.
"What?" Mulder opened his eyes and looked at her.
"The nightmare. It was about Samantha's abduction?"
He nodded. "But this time there was more." He shuddered.
She waited silently knowing if he wanted to go on, he would.
"The dream started out the same," Mulder said, closing his eyes again, "but this time after she drifted out the window it kept going."
"She was strapped to a table, screaming. She was begging for me to save her," he cleared his throat.
"They were...they were taking her skin off of her body a piece at a time." He paused to take a breath.
Scully shivered and Mulder tightened his hold around her.
"They replaced it with grey skin and she...she.." He took another deep breath.
"Mulder, you don't have to-" Scully began, but Mulder shook his head.
"She became one of them. Grey-skinned; huge, black, empty eyes..." He shook his head. "That was it. You woke me up."
Scully waited until he opened his eyes and looked at her. "Mulder, you know as well as I do - especially with your training - what brought this on. YOU feel like you are wearing someone else's skin. YOU feel like someone stole your skin..." Mulder was nodding.
He blew his breath out explosively and seemed to shake himself out of his dark mood. "Yeah, I know where it came from, but that doesn't make it any easier. Hasn't been that bad in awhile." He looked at Scully again and attempted a smile. "Thanks."
She raised an eyebrow.
"For being there. For staying. For waking me up," he said with gallows humor.
"Anytime, partner." she smiled back.
A shrill, terror-filled scream woke her with a gasp. What was THAT? She sat up in bed and realized she was covered in a sheen of sweat. She reached up a shaky hand and wiped the sweat from her upper lip. Her throat felt hoarse. Her breathing came in gulps.
"Scully?" came the soft inquiry from the dark beside her.
"Mulder?" her breathing began to slow as a cool washcloth touched her forehead.
"I'm here, Scully. I went to get a washcloth before I woke you up. I ran back in here when I heard you scream," Again the cool cloth gently stroked her face, this time along her cheeks, "Must have been some nightmare..." His voice trailed off as he lifted the back of her hair and wiped the sweat from the back of her neck.
She listened to the sound of his voice. Unmistakably Mulder. She reached out and stopped his hand with her own. "Mulder?"
"Turn on the light."
"O.k. Cover your eyes, I'm turning it on."
She covered her eyes loosely with one hand when the overhead light came on. As her eyes became accustomed to the glare, she slowly took her hand from her face.
Mulder squinted at her in the light from his perch on the edge of the bed. His hair stuck up boyishly in all directions and his expressive hazel eyes searched her's inquiringly. He wore only sweatpants. In his hand was a damp washcloth from her bathroom. "You o.k.? Wanna talk about it?"
A smile was slowly creeping across Scully's face as she took in his face. His hair, his beautiful eyes, even that wonderful, wonderful nose.
"Scully? Hey, you're starting to scare me," he frowned at her.
She was staring at his long, lean chest and her gaze was wandering lower when she realized how this must look and blushed, pulling her eyes back to his.
"I'm fine, Mulder-" she started to say, but he looked at her suspiciously and she interrupted herself, "No, really, I am. In fact, " Scully felt her chest fill with joy, "I'm great."
To Mulder's shock she laughed and tackled him around the neck, pulling him off balance into a tight embrace. She laughed again as Mulder lay with his torso across hers, his face buried in her shoulder.
"O.k., now you ARE scaring me," he muttered into her hair, but she could feel him grinning against her neck.
She let him go and blushed again as he sat up. "What the HELL was that dream about, anyway?" He looked at her with wide, but happy, eyes.
"Mulder, why are you here?" Scully deflected the question.
"Don't you remember?" he asked. She shook her head. "Well, I did wake you up, so that's understandable." He looked at her for a moment.
"My apartment?" he prompted. She shook her head again, confused. "My building lost electricity. No electricity equals no air conditioning. No air conditioning equals hot, humid, and miserable. I asked if I could crash on your couch. NOW do you remember?"
She shook her head yet again. "I'm sorry, Mulder, I don't. I was having a very intense dream, maybe that has something to do with it..." she trailed off, thinking.
"You want to tell me what it was about?" Mulder asked again. If there was one thing he understood, it was nightmares.
Scully sighed. "I dreamt we never got you and Morris switched back, Mulder. We had to continue our lives just the way things were. No more X-Files. I was out of the bureau, you had to move to Nevada..." Her voice faded away again. "It was a mess," she looked up at him with sad, blue eyes, "WE were a mess."
Mulder reached out and took her hand in his. " I have them sometimes too, Scully. It's only been a week, just give it some time." She nodded and shrugged, feeling the old walls rising in her defense.
"I'm fine, Mulder."
He gave a long, loud, exasperated sigh, but resignedly wiped off her face again with the washcloth.
"Well, if you're going to live, I guess we'd better get some more sleep."
"What time is it, anyway?" She craned her neck, trying to see the alarm clock.
"3:30 am," Mulder told her, "You've got time to get a little more sleep." He pushed her shoulders back gently and started to tuck her in.
"Are you still hot? You want the covers?" he asked her.
"I'm not hot. I'm o.k. now, I'll take the covers." She pulled them to her chin as Mulder tucked them around her.
He smiled and leaned over her. "Don't let the bedbugs bite," he gently joked and kissed her forehead, standing to leave.
Scully felt a wave of panic as Mulder moved to the bedroom door and flicked off the light. A very faint light trickled in from the living room where he had been sleeping on the couch in front of her muted television.
His silouette paused in the doorway. "Yeah?"
A moment of silence. "Scully, are you coming on to me?"
"MULDER," she warned.
He strode back to her bedside. She could barely see the amused, but worried look on his face. "O.k., O.k.. I'll stay until you fall asleep, alright?" He plopped down in a chair and stretched out with his ankles crossed.
Scully flung back her comforter and looked at him. *I need you.* She said with her eyes and hoped he could hear what she couldn't say aloud.
He hesitated a moment, but one look at her face and he slowly got up and crawled into bed. He pulled her to his chest, putting his arm around her and tucked the comforter around them both.
He heard her sigh with contentment and felt her nuzzle into his embrace.
"Sleep tight, Scully," he said softly and kissed the top of her head.
"I will now, Mulder," she muttered as she drifted into a peaceful sleep.