Title: Intermission
Author: Exley 61
Written: November 2001
Category: Angst
Distribution: You want it, just let me know where
I can visit it.
Spoilers: Up to season finale of season 6
Disclaimers: As always, I don't own them, but I treat
them nicely.

Summary: Scully has just found out she is pregnant and alone So she's gone to the one person who won't let her hide from even herself.

Author's Note: This is the first story I've completed in almost a year and a half. After some gentle prodding from a few inquisitive readers, I've come back to stay a spell. Thank you, in particular, to Clarissa.


It hurts to watch her. To talk to her and notice her gaze slid away and peer at something you can't begin to see. Memories overcome her more than she knows, more than I would dare to point out I wish I could say I understand, that I've been there... but I can't Not that I wouldn't... No, it's just... in order for me to say those words to her, she'd first have to tell me where it is she's been.

You see, I know my sister... and because I do, I am just as sure that she knows me. Meaning: She knows she can't hide behind too wide eyes and an easy smile I think she came here to be discovered, to be pushed into answers that others were unable to pry free. That is, if they even knew they were there to be found.

"Dana, are you going to the mall with Miranda?" I ask coming down the stairs and into the living room. I carry my son, Jordan, hiked over my shoulder He growls against my back as I hold him fireman-style while walking into the room. His mother wanted him downstairs ten minutes ago and unfortunately for him, Play Station was going to get a breather His fingers grip my waist, grabbing at the love handles that dared to sneak up on me "Jordan, quit it or the birdman will be comin' to rest on you," I threaten, leaning over to let him slide off of me When he stands before me, his eyes are twinkling, daring.

"Don't look to Aunt Dana for help," I admonish, shaking my head when I catch him glance her way. "You're in my territory now!"

Without further ado, I grab him, craddling him against my body as my fingers dance over his stomach and neck, making sure not to miss his most sensitive fronts, the arm pits "You can squirm all you want, but nothing escapes the Birdman, CAW!!" I tease. His giggles and gasping fill the air.

"Charlie! Please, Dana is watching TV," Miranda admonishes as she comes back into the house. The dogs, Maggie and Mindy, lop past her and into the kitchen to their awaiting dinner bowls, their nails scratching against the linoleum. "It's fine, Miranda, I'm not really watching," Dana replies from behind us Finally I release Jordan, or rather he slides down my legs into one big heap of kid.

"Jordan, your sneaks are in the den. Go get them. We have to be back here by no later than 5:45. That gives us forty-five minutes to eat before your soccer practice. Now, let's go, mi hijo."

"But Mom I don't wanna go today?"

"Don't 'But Mom' me, you're the one that wanted to be on this team, Si? So you are, which means you're going to practice."

"But Aunt Dana's here."

"And she'll be here when you get back, stop arguing with your mother. Go get your shoes, now," I order, stepping in with that pointed stare and Ahab's trademark tone I hear him stomp off to the den, muttering complaints with every foot fall. I smile. I'd realized soccer wasn't for me about the same age. Like father like son, I guess.

"Charlie, did you give Roger Martins the money for the vacation bible school?" Miranda asks, walking into the kitchen. Her hand holds the swinging door open for me to follow.

I cast a glance over my shoulder at Dana for a moment, gesturing to Miranda that I can't possibly leave Dana alone. She just narrows her eyes and smiles, shaking her head.

Busted.

"I thought that wasn't due till next Thursday," I offer, ready to meet my wife's counter offer as I follow her into the kitchen. I watch her check on the pot 'something' cooking in the stove.

"No, amore, next Thursday our part of Aunt Pilar's birthday money has to be given over to my sister for her fiftieth, remember?" I sidle up behind her and kiss her neck as she washes her hands in the sink.

"Oh yeah," I murmur, waiting to see the goose bumps rise along her olive skin, which they do. "How could I have forgotten?"

Miranda shivers as I lift her black hair out of the way, giving me access to kiss the side of her neck. I reclaim my favorite spot... that ittle apex of her jaw and throat. "Will you forgive me."

"Eww Gross!"

I shake my head,letting it rest against Miranda's shoulder before she slides around me.

"You find your shoes? Good. Let's go.. we are outta here, pronto." Jordan continues to make gagging sounds as he follows Miranda out of the kitchen and into the living room where Dana is sitting on the couch.

I cuff him on top of his head, ruffling his hair and point my finger at him. "You know, one day you'll understand."

Jordan just rolls his eyes before going over to Dana to lay across her lap in one quick jump.

The sound of her breath wooshing out of her as Jordan plays dead is tinges with the ring of laughter. I can't help but smile and meet Dana's gaze, shaking my finger at her. I think she's told him one of my stall tactics that I used to do with Mom.

"Let's goOOoo," Miranda says, grabbing her keys out of the hallway dish. She walks over to me and I give her a quick peck on the lips wriggling my eyes and promising much more later.

"You gotta deal," she whispers, giving me a smile. Did I neglect to mention that my wife is one hot lady? I knew I was glad for having been stationed in Puerto Rico once upon a military career.

"I can't move," Jordan drones, sprawling out in all his eight-year-old glory, " I'm a dead bug... see?"

"Well you're gonna get squashed if you don't get your fanny movin' this very minute, comprende? Now let's get going. Ships leaving."

Jordan sighs before sitting up on Dana's lap. He turns to look at her. "You're not going with us to the stupid mall?"

"Maybe next time," she offers gripping his chin and placing a kiss on his forehead I wait for him to wipe it off but he doesn't. Instead he hops off of her and follows after Miranda who has just brought the mini van to life out in the drive way.

"See ya later, sport," I call out from the door before shutting out the receding view of my family The door closes with a snick and suddenly I feel the weight shift in the room. Dana exhales, coloring the air in tones that don't resemble soft sighs of contentment.

Again, It hurts me to watch her, but watch her I do because she lets me and has always let me. I walk back into the living room, sitting down in the overstuffed chair beside the couch.

"Lesbians and their secret male lovers, next on Springer," is heard from the TV. I reach over to the coffee table and snag the remote, shutting off Jerry. "You're not going to tell me you're a Lesbian are you?" I ask, trying to break her mood if only for a moment. "Because, I can put that back on if you want?"

Dana rolls her eyes before staring down at her lap again. I settle back into my chair and wait, taking up my best therapist pose which Dana notices.

"You're not going to psycho-analyze me, Charleston, I'm not one of your patients," she attacks right out of the gate.

I lean forward and place my hand on her knee. "You don't have to tell me that, Dana. You are far more disturbed than my regular caseload."

"Very funny."

But somehow it's really not. I drop the teasing I notice that she's thinner than I last saw her, which was Jordan's remission celebration only four months ago.

He'd contracted Acute Lymphetic Leukemia at five years old We'd celebrated the end of his treatment when everyone could get together. Dana had come with Mom She seemed the happiest I'd seen her in a long while, or rather 'heard' in a long while as phone calls where more frequent than visits. "Talk to me, Dana... you know you can talk to your Charleston Chew," I whisper, cocking my head. She meets my questing gaze and grins, but I can see her eyes submerged beneath a flood of emotions.

"I ... I don't know where to begin," she murmurs, looking away and wiping at her face. She gives a wry laugh and tosses her head "I mean, I do know where to begin... but I am not quite sure that I can start."

I stand up and grab her hand. "Come on, let's go play."

She is so up-ended by this response that she lets me easily drag her through the Victorian, cutting through the den and library to the back yard Something tells me that this is the right thing to do.

"Oh Charlie," she gasps, amazed, walking down the last few steps of the deck. In the center of the yard is our humongous oak tree. Existing between its large and gnarled branches is a replica of a tree house we'd built on base in San Diego It had been my favorite place as a child, and Dana's . . and I wanted my son to have the chance to make it his favorite, too.

I tug her hand and smile. "Well, let's go."

I don't give her a chance to refuse, pushing her ahead of me to the ladder resting against the trunk. With only a slight pause, she shrugs her shoulders before gripping the ladder and climbing her way up and inside. I follow close behind her. It's warm, but not too warm. I can see through one of the windows. Dark clouds are crawling toward us. They'll arrive just in time to cancel soccer practice Jordan will be so pleased his prayers were answered.

"Charlie, this is incredible. It's almost exactly like our old one," she gasps, running her gaze over the two large windows, shelves and rocking chair... and she's right.

"Look above the shelves, next to the window," I tell her, pointing to the spot.

Dana crawls over the braided throw rug to get a better view. She gasps, a hand coming to rest over her lips "This is..."

"Incredible, right?" I finish for her In a ten by eight lamenated glossy is a collage of Dana, Me, Billy and Melissa from our old tree house. Mixed in with the photos of us are pictures of Dad and Mom, particularly that time when Dad had become our prisoner on the Spanish Armada and we it's Pirates Mom had let us use her eye liner... or we swiped it, I can't recall. We had done ourselves up in our meanest faces, stealing the booty:

Dad's barbeque fork. We ransomed it back to him at the price of fifty cents for each of us. It was a big victory. Mom made us pose for a zillion pictures after the great battle while Dad barbequed our dinner. "Where did you get these?" she asked, her voice incredulous.

"Mom gave them to me when I was going through one of our photo albums. I'd used the pictures with a dash of memories to design this tree house.

She shook her head before leaning back to sit on a pile of pillows propped against the opposite wall. It was the farthest she could actually get from me within the seven by six foot area.

"I feel like I've stepped back in time," she whispers, looking over at me before her eyes turn downcast again "But... but we haven't done that, Charlie, we haven't."

"That's true enough, Dana bear," I answer softly, careful not to frighten her quiet. You don't push with Dana, not if you want to let her really speak, explain Time was what she always needed, and so that's what I give her now.

New tears trickle down her cheeks but she ignores them, so I do, too "Charlie... so much... so much has happened that I don't know where to begin. And I hate this..."

She bangs her fist against a pillow. "I hate this crying, this confusion... this anger!"

"Talk to me."

"He's gone," she whispers, biting her lip and giving a slight shake to her head. She doesn't have to explain who she means. There's only been one person who drives her to the limits of her endurance, and that's where she is Dana had always pocketed away her hurt, closing the bruised compartments within herself using an usually impenetrable sealer She always tried to make sure that whatever pain she was going through was not to interfere with whatever she wanted. So if the binding started to crack and emotions leaked out, she'd be sure to shore them up again with the sheer force of her will Ahab had that influence on her, on all of us, really It took my boy getting sick to make me realize I had to demolish those barriers and reprioritize my world. I had to change I had to give myself to my family, the pain and joy and everything else in between or I'd lose them all in one way or another I could see Dana had come to her precipice of change now, too. "I'm pregnant, Charlie," she throws at me. I catch the information square in the chest. onfusion crowds over me but I hold my tongue as she provides answers to questions I've barely had time to form.

"I don't know how it's happened. Infertile. That's what I was told, but I guess I never really put it to the test till recently."

Recently, that was noteworthy.

"But he left you?" I ask, and maybe anger tinges my tone a little. I can't help it, she's my big sister.

"No, Mulder didn't leave me. He's gone. There's a difference," she replies.

A difference, okay... seems the same in my book but I hold that thought to myself... by the skin of my teeth, that is.

"I can't explain it any further... not in a way that you would understand or accept."

I feel my skin flush with anger Dana sits crumpled before me, shattered in pieces that I can't even begin to help glue back together again and it's then that I realize that it isn't all of a sudden, that it's been slowly happening. She's been chipped and cracking for a long time. Her edges just now finally sharp enough to cut into my attention. I crawl over to her and crush her to my chest Her silent tears become wails that bleed my heart I place my hand over her head, running my fingers through her hair as I whisper words of comfort against her. I can feel her hands gripping my arms, squeezing them with the force of her pain.

I don't know how long we sit there, but it's long enough for her to regain her composure and that threat of rain to become a reality It pitter-patters against the leaves in pregnant droplets Pregnant I squeeze her against my chest even harder Dana sighs heavily as I continue to stroke her hair.

"Why is it that I always feel the safest with you, Charlie?"

I rub her shoulder and kiss her foreheard. I know why I am not blind to the fact that I'm a virtual cardboard cut out of our father, but maybe it's a little bit more than that as well. "I don't know, Dana bear."

She sits back and looks up into my eyes, searching them for at least one answer to the whirlwind of questions and doubts fracturing her life. She seems to find it before shuddering out her next words "I'm afraid, Charlie."

She says the one thing I have never heard her admit**

and perhaps that unnerves more than it should. This is my big sis, the little terror of a girl who would dangle a spider between her fingers and threaten to toss it on me. She was the teenage girl who would sneak a pack of Melissa's smokes and think no one had caught her puffing away behind the garage.. But, most of all, she was the woman who would dare to defy our father's wishes by joining the FBI Which leaves me pondering this one question? Who was this woman now? My leg starts getting pins and needles and I try to supertitiously shake it back to life, but Dana feels the movement and leans away from me I bite the inside of my cheek as the tingling sting of circulation returns.

She cracks a weak smile at my obvious discomfort, forever more being a bit of the bratty sibling we all have left in us.

"Laugh it up," I grimace, twisting my ankle in a circle, and pulling my thigh to my chest. She snorts and I break free of my concentrated efforts of avoiding gange green to look at her A low rumble of thunder sounds off in the distance, mixing with the constant rain fall. Yet, all of that plays background music to the sound of her laughter and the sight of the first true smile that has laid claim to her face since she'd arrived at my doorstep late last night.

Maybe I know who this woman is after all.

"I needed this, Charlie," she whispers, looking around the tree house before staring at her jean- clad legs. She looks up, meeting my gaze as she clasps my hand, squeezing. ." . . to be here, with you I needed to be allowed to remember where I came from, who I am... not the woman that people and circumstances have tried to shape me to be." I give her hand a little squeeze in return. All the things I want to say, all the things I want to rail against on her behalf, all the things I've been struggling on how to say or if I even should, evaporate. It all comes back to one thing for us Scullys Family. I don't know how I let myself so quickly forget Even in our weakest moment, there is strength to be found in that one constant.

I can't help recalling another rainy day over three years ago. Having escaped outside an emergency waiting room and feeling broken, lost and alone when I wasn't, I'd felt her hand grip my shoulder and another my arm She leaned against my hitching back, the rain beginning to soak us both That was where I first began to shed the man I'd always played at being to become the father/husband, brother/son I always wished I could be. I let out a staggered sigh, shaking my head in understanding. I move to sit beside my sister, our backs against the wall while I hold her hand and let her just be her**

letting another Scully take their leave of the stage, because really... that's what she needs, that's what she wants. I understand now and I "have" been there before So, I give her what she's come to me for, even if that's only for a small intermission. It's enough.

"Thank you, Charlie."

I smile, blinking a few tears from my eyes "Anytime, Dana bear."

She snuggles against me and I wrap an arm around her. We sit there just listening to the rain fall and watching the lightening cross the sky for a while. The sound of the mini van returning and Miranda carouling Jordan into the house is the only interruptions I smile before whispering in her ear. "You know, I've always been partial to the name, Charleston."

She snorts, shaking her head against my shoulder. "I thought that 'torture' ended with you. I mean, you spared Jordan."

I laugh shaking my head, busted for a second time today. "Well, things change."

Maybe that's an understatement at this time So many things that I can't even begin to know, things that she won't let me know, have brought her to where she is right now I accept that Yes, things may definitely change, but the one constant I pray she knows is that I will always be there for her. "Not all things change," she whispers, meeting my gaze with an emotion-laden smile. I return it.

I guess... I guess my prayer is answered.

~fini~

 

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