Title: You Come and Go Again
Author: ML
Written: June 2000
Spoilers: Requiem, definitely; also One Breath, Closure. Nothing else overt.
Rating: PG 13 (mild sexual innuendo)
Classification: V, A
Keywords: MSR implied
Disclaimer: none of the characters described herein belong to me, unhappily. They are the sole property of Chris Carter, the Fox Network, and the actors who portray them so well.

Summary: Scully is thinking about someone.

She has taken to bringing an extra pillow to bed with her, something to hold onto in the night. It wasn't the same, of course--a very poor substitute for Mulder. But in the short time they'd been together, she'd grown used to putting her arms around him when she woke up in the night. Even if he spooned up behind her, she had his arms to cling to, warm and comforting.

She kept one of his tee shirts under her pillow so she could keep his scent in her nostrils as long as possible. But nothing could take the place of his warm breath on her neck, the gentle sensation of his chest rising and falling against her back as he slept. And nothing could take the place of his mouth on hers, the feel of his lips everywhere, the weight of his body.

These were the thoughts and sensations she lived and re-lived every night. She hugged the pillow fiercely to her and thought of their shared life growing within her.

She'd never asked him about the time she was missing. How did he get through it? Her mother told her he'd never given up the idea that she would return. Even when she was returned in a coma, he fought for her. She could do no less for him.

Skinner took the earliest opportunity to talk to her officially. She was summoned to his office the morning she returned to work.

"Agent Scully, in light of recent events I think there are some decisions to be made." As was his custom when speaking in his office, AD Skinner was somewhat oblique and over-formal. She supposed it came from the awareness that any conversation here could be monitored. Even with Cancer Man dead--presumably, anyway--Krycheck and Covarrubias were still active, and worse yet, were loose cannons. Who could tell what agenda either of them would serve now?

In any case, she was ready for this opening gambit. "With all due respect, Sir, I don't yet want to make any changes. While it's true that Agent Mulder is missing, he could still return at any time."

"That may be, but I think we need to consider the possibility that it might be some time, if ever--"

"I can't afford to think that way, Sir." She stiffened her spine even more as she spoke. She could not doubt. She added, almost as an afterthought, "I came back."

Skinner's eyes clouded at the memory. She couldn't remember him ever being so emotional. His demeanor at her bedside when he had to tell her he had lost Mulder shook her to the core.

"I want you to think of the future, Agent Scully," he was saying pointedly. "There will come a time when changes will need to be made, whether or not Agent Mulder has returned...yet."

She was glad he added the "yet." She would *make* him believe. "I want to go on as usual for now, Sir. I'll think about the future and what needs to be done."

If you think you'd be more comfortable in another assignment, I can arrange that," he offered. "In the future. Perhaps in a field office, in an ASAC position?"

The implication was that the position would be somewhere out of DC. Away from prying eyes, once she began to show...but also away from the X Files and any chance she had of finding Mulder. She raised her chin. "I've got nothing to hide." She said it slowly and distinctly. "Not now, and not in the future."

"Agent Scully, I need to remind you that I have to consider not only what's best for you, but what's best for the Bureau."

"Moving me to Salt Lake City won't stop the rumors," she pointed out. "It might even make them worse.

"Remember, Sir, there have been rumors ever since I joined the X Files. Even before. People will believe what they want to believe. And what they say, or think, has nothing to do with us. It can't touch us." She rose and leaned forward over his desk. "But if you can't support me and my decision, it *does* affect us. It has always affected us."

Later, back in the basement office, she found herself staring at Mulder's poster again. "Mulder, why did you have to go?" she whispered. The strength she displayed in Skinner's office was ebbing away again, leaving her feeling exhausted and very vulnerable.

He must have felt free to go. Once he'd discovered what happened to Samantha, he'd been more settled than he'd ever been. He'd felt free to take those tentative steps toward her which eventually led to the deepening of their relationship. But it also freed him in other ways. It didn't keep him from leaving her behind to pursue his own ends. What was this but another repeat in the pattern, the biggest ditch of all? Or did he think by leaving, he would set her free to lead a different life?

What if he had known about the baby? Would that have changed anything? She doubted it. Though he wouldn't have allowed her to take risks, he would still feel free to risk himself.

She'd always found a way to follow him in the past. But this time, she had no idea where he was, or even where to start looking. And if she did know, would she follow him? She had another life to protect now besides his and hers. And *if* oh, don't think it, don't think it. Mulder never came back, their baby would be all she had of him.

She tried to imagine what it must have been like to pass through the force field, to go to the other side. She still had no real memory of what happened during her abduction. She was sure, however, that he went willingly. And she knew just as certainly that he would find a way back.

He has the strength of her beliefs.


Author's notes: I borrowed the title from a Bree Sharp song. I bought her CD for a laugh but discovered I liked a lot of the songs. One in particular, "Walk Away," contains lyrics which make me think of Mulder and Scully. Here's a bit of them:

Big guns are pointed at me, big guns are pointed at you Everybody's waiting to see what we're gonna do You spin around and disappear under the floor where I stand I'm left with, I'm left with a bag in my hand

I'm left to counting the days While my life drifts away

You come and go again like the tide While on the shoreline I stand washed of my pride And the truth I keep pushing aside Is that it's time to walk away

Night closes in, but I hear the water rush in To his song I'm a slave I start to sink where I stand, I become part of the sand He covers me like the sea, like a wave...

There's more, but you get the idea. I was writing another story but I had to do this one because of the song. I wouldn't call it songfic, but the influence is there...


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