What a Difference a Year Makes 5/5 (R)

What a Difference



"That's right, Scully.  Breathe, it's almost over."  She concentrated on the feel of his hands massaging her tight abdomen.  She could feel it ebbing and opened her eyes into the concerned face of Fox Mulder.


"That was a strong one, Scully."


She nodded, letting her breathing come back to normal.  "How long?"


"We're under ten minutes.  Don't you think we should go on?"


She smiled then and finally nodded.  "An epidural is beginning to have some appeal."


He smiled then, "Good."  He'd wanted to go for some time.  He helped her to her feet and walked her to the door.  He grabbed up the suitcase beside the door, not releasing his hold on her.  She was grateful, that last one had been strong enough to unnerve her a little and his touch was comforting.


He seated her in the car and reached across to buckle her in himself.  He watched her smile of gratitude fade and he knelt beside the door, his hands on her again.  Her belly was rock hard.


"Stay on top of it Baby.  Breathe, that's it."


This one was lasting longer than the others.  She opened her eyes needing to see him as well as hear him.  The dashboard in front of her shimmered and seemed almost transparent for a moment.


"Scully?"  She had tensed up at the last moment.


Her hand met his and things were solid again.


"I think we need to go."  He didn't want to appear nervous, but he was.


She nodded and he rose to his feet.  It hadn't been anywhere near ten minutes.  He hurried around the car and started the engine.  As soon as he pulled out into traffic he had his hand on her again.  Her hand rested on top of his, but her eyes were closed, trusting him to handle everything else.


To her dismay, and she had to admit, fear, she could feel another one building.  They couldn’t even be out of sight of her building.


"Umm, Mu . . . " Her grip on his hand tightened.  She thought she heard him speak, but he sounded far away.   She forced her eyes open and tensed immediately, the car seemed to be fading, becoming transparent like before, but she wasn't able to blink it away.  Could pain cause this?


She turned her head; Mulder was really all she wanted to look at anyway.  To her horror, he was shimmering and going out of focus.  The level of pain ratcheted up several notches as she tensed.  It was as though she could see through him to somewhere else.


She wasn't doing the breathing, she couldn't get her breath.  It was like her body was in a vise.  What was happening?  She tried to bend forward, wrapping herself around the pain but she seemed to be immobilized by more than just the seatbelt.


She moaned, trying to say his name but he wasn't real anymore, like the car, she could see through him into something, somewhere.


*She can see me!*


The thought appeared in her head and she realized she was seeing a room, she wasn't in the car and Mulder . . . Where was Mulder!  The pain had receded slightly, though she knew not for long.  While she tried to get her breath under control, it would be worse if she hyperventilated; she forced herself to look around.


She wasn't in the car, she was in some sort of birthing chair, but she was strapped in.  Her hands were free to a point but her upper arms were pinned.


The being that she had heard in her mind moved into her view again and she focused on him.  "What's going on?  Where's Mulder?"


He drew back away from her as though startled that she had spoken.  His eyes widened impossibly large and continued to grow.  She must be hallucinating and another contraction was beginning to grip her.  No!  Whatever this was, she couldn't be here.  She couldn't have her baby like this!  Where was Mulder!


She flinched as she felt something cool touch her arm.  She looked down to the sight of long gray fingers pressing into her forearm.  She tried to move away from the touch, but the contraction had grown beyond what she could endure and she cried out in pain and fear.


The first man no longer looked like a man at all.  His large black eyes showed no emotion at all though for some reason she thought he was frightened of her.  None of that mattered as she felt the baby move down within her and she felt the urge to push.


"No!  Let me out of here!"  She struggled and her arms came free, released from whatever had held them.  Scully wrapped them around her swollen middle.  "Let me go!  Where's Mulder!  What's happening?"


Then she was bent double as the next contraction forced her to push.  She fought it but her body was in charge now.


There were other beings around her now.  She sensed even more that she couldn't see.   She couldn't stop the birth, any more than she could stop the rotation of the planet and she shrieked in pain and fury.


They crowded around and with the next contraction she felt the child being born.  The head was out and she gasped for breath before the next onslaught.  As she felt the shoulders leave her body she screamed his name.




She jerked awake, terrified and disoriented.  It took a moment to recognize her new bedroom, her new apartment.  She fell back against the pillow and let the tears flow.  The dream, she was having it nearly every time now.  The others had faded some, but this one only grew stronger.


Scully didn't bother to look at the clock.  It didn't matter anyway, she wouldn't sleep again tonight.  She pulled the covers tighter around her and curled into a fetal position to wait for daylight.




He was searching for her as his eyes flew open.  He was sitting up in the bed, his breath ragged as he wiped his hands across his eyes.  He couldn't remember a dream, but it must have been a bad one.  No, not a dream, he had heard Scully scream for him.


That was ridiculous, she wasn't here.  She wanted nothing to do with him.  God, the pull of her was strong.


He glanced over at the clock, 2:17 a.m.  He fell back against the pillow, staring into the darkness.  He didn’t remember a dream.  He shook his head; he was cursed with this memory.  As much as he wanted not to, he remembered his dreams.  He had heard Scully scream for him.


That settled it.  He rose from the bed and pulled his jeans on over his boxers.  He grabbed one of his gray t-shirts and some socks, then looked around for his shoes.  Once dressed, he jerked his jacket up and headed out.


Mulder knew where her apartment was.  He'd never been inside, but he knew the layout and which windows were hers.  He parked in the nearest space.  Her lights were on, but he saw no movement.  Come to think of it, her lights were on every time he'd come by, no matter how early or late.  Strange, he knew Scully had never slept with the lights on.  He hadn't needed them either when she was living with him.


He had no good excuse to knock on her door, though he tried to think of one.  Instead, he reclined the seat slightly and relaxed, letting his eyes close.  If she needed him, if she really screamed, he'd be there.




The knuckles against his window roused him and he opened bleary eyes to see the cop standing there.  Shit, he hadn't meant to fall asleep.  One would think all of those stakeouts over the years would give him enough practice.


The cop leaned down.  "Please step out of the car, sir."  Mulder started to reach for his ID.  The cop's flashlight aimed for his eyes.  "And keep your hands in sight."


Mulder sighed and opened the door, carefully keeping his hands away from his body.  "I’m armed, officer."


The policeman tensed slightly and put his hand on his own weapon.


Mulder opened his jacket wider to reveal his Sig.  "I’m with the Bureau."


"Right."  The cop removed the Sig from his holster and tucked it into his waistband at this back.  "Let's see some ID."


Mulder nodded and wearily pulled his badge from his pocket.  The cop took it and held it in the light.  "This is your name?"


Mulder sighed, "Yes."


"You want to explain to me why you're sleeping in your car here."  It wasn't a question.


"A friend of mine lives in this building.  I've been worried about her, so -  "


"So instead of knocking on her door, you watch her windows and fall asleep.  Forgive me if that sounds like stalking."


"I'm not stalking her.  She's been ill and I didn't want to disturb her."


"Right."  The cop nodded, clearly not believing a word.  "Well, we're going to disturb her now.  If she can identify you, and doesn't want me to haul you off, I'll let you go.  But you won't be sleeping out here."


"Listen, I'll just -  "


The cop shook his head, "You're not leaving until I know who you are and where I can find you."


Mulder scrubbed his face with his hand.  Great.  He followed the cop into the building and pointed to her apartment.  "Her name is Dana Scully.  She also works at the Bureau."


"She married?"




The cop's eyebrow rose at that response, but he held his tongue.  He knocked firmly on her door.  Very quickly they heard her response.  "Who is it?"


"Officer Spencer.  I'm holding my ID up, can you see it?"


"Yes.  Just a minute."


Shortly the door opened, "Is there a problem?"  Then she spotted Mulder.


He saw her for the first time in weeks and couldn't hide his dismay.  There were deep dark circles under her eyes and she had to be less than 100 pounds.


Officer Spencer obviously felt the same way.  "Ma'am, are you all right?  Is there someone I could call for you?"


"I'm fine.  What's going on?"


"Uh, I found this gentleman asleep in his car outside of your apartment.  He said you could identify and vouch for him."


Her eyebrow rose as she looked over at him.  Finally she sighed, "Yes, this is Special Agent Fox Mulder.  It's okay."


The officer stepped closer and lowered his voice.  "Listen, the truth, is this some sort of domestic problem?  I can haul him away if you -  "


"No.  Really, it's okay."


The cop gave Mulder the once over again and sighed.  "Well, I'll get out of your way.  If you need anything, ma'am . . . "


"Thank you, for checking."  She managed to smile at the officer and shut the door behind him, then turned to face Mulder.  "What are you doing here?"


He swallowed, not sure what to say.  She didn't want him here, she'd made that plain enough.  She's looked friendlier for the cop.


"I was worried about you."


"At 3:30 in the morning, you decided you were worried about me."


"Actually it was a little over an hour ago."  He tried to lighten the mood, but she just looked at him for a moment.  Then something seemed to pass through her eyes and she looked away.  He wanted to move to her, but he was here on sufferance.


"Look Scully, I was asleep and, and I heard you scream my name."


She seemed to pale slightly but he wasn't sure.  "It . . .it was a dream -  "


"Scully, I remember my dreams.  All of them.  I wasn't dreaming."


She looked away, then turned from him. His heart sank.  "Scully, I'm sorry.  I just, I needed to check.  I needed to know you were okay."  She said nothing, not even looking at him.  "Well, I . . . I'm sorry I disturbed you.  I'll get out of here, let you go back to bed."


Her head came up then and he saw the fleeting panic in her eyes.


"Listen, Scully, it's really late and I'm exhausted.  Would, would you let me crash here on your couch?  I'm only gonna get a couple of hours as it is."


"I'm not sure that's a good idea.”


"Scully, I won't bother you.  I'm not . . . I just want to sleep on your couch."


She stood there, clearly undecided.


"Please Scully."


"Fine.  I'll get you a blanket."


"Thanks."  He watched her leave, then turned to look at the couch.  It was a new one, not at all like the one in her old apartment.  It was long enough for him to stretch out, even a little big for the room.  Had she had him in mind when she . . . no, that was too much to hope.


She returned to him with a pillow and blanket.  "Thanks."


Scully shrugged.


"You, uh, you look like you could use some sleep too."


"Mulder - "


He held up his hand, "I'm not . . . just sit here with me.  Come on Scully, how many times have your fallen asleep sitting beside me on stakeout or in a car."


"I have a bed in the next room, Mulder."


"I know, but just for the few hours until dawn . . . Please, I'll sleep better knowing where you are."  He could see she was torn, but if she thought it was for his sake . . .


"Fine, but I need some sleep.  I have an autopsy at nine thirty."


He nodded and made himself comfortable in the corner of the sofa.  She sat beside him stiffly.  "Come on, Scully.  Just relax."  He pulled her against him gently and after a moment she relented.  He didn’t dare move, he was almost afraid to breathe.  Her head eased against his chest and he was startled to realize that she had already dropped off to sleep.  He would have thought that impossible if he hadn’t seen her.  He’d never seen her look so exhausted.  Maybe she could get in four or five hours anyway.




The sound of a voice roused him the next morning.  It took him a couple of seconds to realize it was Scully’s couch he slept on and Scully herself he slept under.  Then he realized the voice he heard was coming from her answering machine.


“ -  problems with the next of kin.  The autopsy has been canceled at this time.  As soon as we can reschedule, we’ll see if you’re available.  Thank you and we’ll be in touch.”


Mulder smiled to himself, now she could get some more sleep and so could he.  He settled her more comfortably and drifted back to sleep.


It was some time later when he woke again, and then because she was waking.  She squirmed, fighting morning, then as he watched, her eyes flew open and she looked up at him.  Her eyes widened and she struggled out of his arms.


“You were just going to nap.  A couple of hours.  I’ve missed my autopsy.”  She glanced at the clock.


“No.  Scully, they called to let you know it was canceled.  You don’t have to believe me, they left a message.”  He gestured toward the blinking light.  “I thought we could both use a little more rest.”


Instead of relaxing, she turned on her heel and disappeared into the bathroom.  Great, she was furious with him.  Did she not realize how much rest, damn necessary rest, she’d gotten?


When she emerged she wouldn’t even look at him, retreating to her bedroom.  He took over the bath, then went to the kitchen and started the coffee.


“I want you to leave.”


He hadn’t heard her enter the kitchen.


“Scully, nothing happened.”


“And it’s never going to.  I never should have let you in last night.”


“That cop would’ve hauled me away -  “  He started to smile.


“Maybe then you’d have gotten the message.”


His smile faded and his face became carefully impassive.  “Yeah, I guess I would have.  I’ll clear out.  Thank you for the sleep.”  He turned away from her and didn’t see the tears that suddenly filled her eyes.  He let himself out of the apartment without looking back.


He returned to his car with a heavy tread.  Had she called out for him last night?  It was feeling less likely in the light of day and she didn’t want him around, at least when she was awake.  He had to accept it.  He shouldn’t have given in to his impulse last night, but he’d been so sure . . . why had he thought time apart would . . . he shook his head and started the engine. He didn’t see her watching him from the window.




He threw himself into his work and for the next couple of days was at the office nearly around the clock.  If he wasn’t at home, if he wasn’t where they had spent so much time together, maybe he could start to forget.  No, he didn’t forget, but maybe he could move on.  He’d done it before, maybe not for someone that meant what she did, but he was used to being alone.  Those few weeks, months they had lived together, and the time they’d worked together prior to her abduction, were an aberration in his life.  He should have known.  He should have known it wasn’t . . . wasn’t what he’d imagined when she continually refused his proposals.


It was his fault, her abduction, her torture, her . . . her inability to ever have a child.  Just one more layer for him to live under.  It didn’t matter.  If she had what she wanted, what she needed - his absence, then . . . then she had it.  His lack of a life was a minor point, it wasn’t like he was used to having one.




She watched him leave her apartment with something like terror, unable to leave the window until he was out of sight.  She turned shakily to her phone machine and listened to the message.  He hadn’t lied to her, but then he never had.  Scully sank onto the couch and realized how rested she had felt when she had woken up in his arms that morning.  It was the first rest she could remember since leaving his apartment.


Why had he come?  He hadn’t ‘heard’ her scream.  That was ridiculous, but something kept bringing him back to her.  How could she stop him?  How could she get him to move on?  Did he not understand there was no possible future for him with her?  Her immortality was gone, taken from her.  Maybe she would have chosen not to have children, but that would have been her decision.  The choice had been taken.  He needed to find someone else.


Enough, she rose from the couch and began getting ready for her day.  Once at Quantico, she almost immediately ran into her new supervisor.  "Dr. Scully," he smiled at her, "I was going to apologize for canceling your autopsy at the last minute, but you obviously got some rest, so I'm not going to."


"Excuse me?"


"Well, I have to admit you've been looking rather tired lately.  I was actually thinking of offering to write you a script for some Seconal, but -  "


"Uh, actually, Dr. Petersen, I would appreciate that.  I have been having a little trouble sleeping lately."


"Of course, we all have it occasionally.  What do you think, five capsules?"


"Yes, I think that would be more than enough to get over this.  Thank you for your concern."


"Not at all.  I'm very impressed with your work.  I don't need you getting sick."  He scribbled out the prescription and handed it to her.  Before he could speak again, he was hailed from the other end of the hall and excused himself with a smile, shaking his head.


Scully looked at the small piece of paper, then folded it carefully and went to her office.  In her desk she found the exact pen that Dr. Petersen had used and, with her door locked, carefully changed the prescription to 25 pills.  She marveled that her hand didn't even shake.  She couldn't say she'd planned this, but when the opportunity landed in her lap . . .




He sat in Skinner's office listening to the other agent drone on.  Mostly he was trying to figure out why he was being punished.  Surely he had nothing to add to this gathering.  Of course, he felt that way about everything right now. 


It had been nearly a week since he'd made a fool of himself for the last time with Scully.  Heard her call for him in the night - yeah, sure.


Why was he dwelling on that today?  Probably because of the sparkling conversation going on around him.  He did better when he kept busy. He'd even made plans with the guys for tomorrow, just to have stimulation.  Laundry and house cleaning didn't get it.  When he was alone, thoughts of her were always with him, so don't be alone or quiet or still.  Besides it hurt too much anyway.  He'd even gone to happy hour once this week - a mistake, true, but it had gotten him through a few more hours of his life.  Experts said eventually one would recover.  That didn't explain him still searching for his sister after 20+ years.  Oh this line of thought was helpful . . .


Besides she hadn't called for him.  It was just his yearning to see her and he was more vulnerable to it when alone or asleep.  God, he could feel the tug of her now.  That admission caused the feeling to grow and he fidgeted in the chair.  Skinner glanced over at him, but said nothing.


He moved in the chair again, this time actually looking behind him.  Pay attention, idiot. Or you'll be attending these forever.  But the feeling didn't go away.  It was strong - his need to see her.  What had triggered it so sharply?  He wasn't going, she'd made it clear as crystal she didn't want him there.  Crystal.  She had a small crystal vase that reflected the light.  She'd kept it on the bedside table when she lived with him, often using it as a paperweight.  He could see it now with a small note under it.  He moved uneasily and Skinner shot him another look.


Without warning, the urge, the need to see her flooded him and without realizing it, he was on his feet.  The urgency overriding his good intentions to stay away.


"Agent Mulder?"


"I'm sorry, there's somewhere I have to be."


"Excuse me?"  Skinner stared at him. The look in Mulder's eyes brought him to his feet.  "Could we step outside?"


Mulder nodded, following him.  Anything that got him closer to his car.


"Are you ill?"


"No, no I just, I have to leave."


"What is it?"


"I can't explain.  I just - call me Spooky and just let me go.  I'll . . . I'll call you."


Skinner looked at the younger man.  He was already inching toward the outer door of the suite.  He was going to bolt at any second and Skinner could see that no threat was going to stop him.  He nodded and opened his mouth to remind him to check in, but Mulder was already out of the door and sprinting for the stairs.  What the hell?




The feeling of panic didn't diminish when he made his escape.  If anything, it intensified and he broke several laws making his way to Scully's apartment - his FBI parking tag in plain view.


He 'parked' in two spaces in front of her building, grateful everyone was at work.  Her car was neatly parked in its normal slot.  Why wasn't she at work?  He took the stairs three at a time, having already decided not to mess with the manager.  He was going in and if he had to kick down the door, so be it.


Instead he nearly fell into the apartment when he tried the knob and found the place unlocked.  "Scully?"  He shut the door behind him and had his gun out - the panic was trying desperately to overwhelm him now.  He headed straight to her bedroom and there she lay, in her silk pajamas on top of the carefully made bed.  Her hands were folded over her abdomen and his steps faltered.  She looked so 'peaceful', like his grandmother at her funeral.


Oh god.


He was beside her then, feeling for a pulse - yes! And he saw her breasts move as she took a shallow breath.  Then his eye was caught by the small piece of crystal, holding down a note, just as he'd seen in Skinner's office.  Beside it was a prescription bottle and several capsules.  A prescription . . . He had the bottle in hand and – what . . . Secobarbital, Seconal.  "Scully, no!"  He had her face in his hands, tapping her cheeks.  "Scully, can you hear me?"


"Mmph no."


His knees nearly gave way.  No he didn't have time.  He hauled her off of the bed, forcing her to walk as he talked, babbling to her the whole time.  He walked her into her bath and pushed her down to her knees in front of the toilet, then shoved his fingers down her throat to force her to vomit.


"Come on Scully!  Wake up!"  He scanned the mess, several capsules completely undissolved and several partials.  Her stomach had apparently been empty except for the pills.  How many had she taken?  And what were they?


He wet a cloth and dabbed at her face.  She was totally groggy.  What the hell was that medicine his mother always kept on hand to make them throw up if they swallowed something bad? Ipecac?  Yeah.  She was a doctor, she must have some.  He jerked open her medicine cabinet and spotted the small amber bottle.  Yes!


He pulled it out and broke the seal.  "Scully, drink this."


She tried to pull away, but he was in no mood to be gentle and forced her to drink it.  When she was finished being sick the second time, he cleaned her up again.  Then he pulled her to her feet to walk her around.  She was still too out of it for him.  He glanced at her shower, then made his decision.  He pulled off his clothes as she tried to steady herself against the sink.


He stripped her as well and turned on the water in her shower.  He moved her into it without waiting for it to warm up.  She struggled feebly against him, but she was no match for his strength.  At least she was waking up.  "Mulder, please."


When she spoke, he finally turned off the water.  He stepped out and lifted her out after him.  He draped a towel around her and then wrapped a towel around his own waist.


"I'll get your robe."  He left her then, taking his clothes with him, and she looked at herself in the mirror.  She picked up another towel and blotted her hair from dripping into her eyes, then picked up her toothbrush with a shaking hand, moving by rote.


He pulled on his slacks, then opened her closet and pulled out her robe. Finally he picked up the prescription bottle again.  There were three pills in it and two on the bedside table.  He spotted one on the floor.  He'd need to find them all eventually.  The note was there, but he didn't touch it.


Six pills out of twenty-five.  His hand was shaking so badly that he recapped the bottle to keep from spilling the six pills he had found.  He fisted his hand around the bottle and returned to her.  She dropped the toothbrush into the cup on the side of the sink and hung her head.  He switched the robe for the towel and turned her to walk to the kitchen.


"I'm going to make you some coffee."


"No, Mul . . . don’t."


"You drink it or I call 911."


"I don't need 911."


"Fine, then I'll call your mother."


"No!"  That roused her.


"Don't you think she'd rather be told her baby girl committed suicide by someone she knows rather than a stranger?"


"I didn't commit - "


"Right, attempted suicide.  I'll be sure and make that point."


"Mulder, please."


He turned his back on her then, and started the coffee.  She couldn't watch him, and closed her eyes.  She didn't open them again until he placed the coffee on the table beside her.  Before she could lift it to her lips, he lost it.


"What the hell were you thinking!"


"I . . . I wasn't . . . it was stupid."


"You're fucking right about that!  This would have killed your mother, destroyed Charles, what - "


"I wasn't thinking about them!"  She shot back at him.


"So what were you thinking about!"  He shouted back.


"You!  You won't move on.  You're not seeing anyone, you need to - "


"Hold it, I'm not seeing anyone?  What the . . . you tried to kill yourself to get rid of me?"  He stared at her.


"You won't move past me.  I . . . I thought if I was gone you would . . ."


He stared at her, his mouth open.  Then he closed his eyes, and shaking his head, sank to the floor at her feet.  "you were taking Seconal so that I would . . . "  He let his head fall into his hands.


"How do you know what I took?"


He looked up then, "Because I have a matching bottle at my place."


"Mulder, no!"


"What, it's okay for you to do it, but not me?"


"Is that, is that why you . . . why you have it?"


He sighed, at least she was awake and talking.  "I got them when you were . . . gone."  Her eyes were wide, "I didn't . . . obviously I didn't go through with it.  I . . . I couldn't, not when there was a chance you would come back to me."


Scully looked away then, "Is that why, why you . . . why you won't move on?  You think you owe me?"


"I don't 'move on' because I don't want to move on.  I won't move on because I still have hope you'll come to your senses and come back to me.  I don't move on because without you I'm not whole!"  His voice rose with each sentence.  He tried to calm himself a little, "Scully, when we worked together and then when we worked together without their knowledge - Scully, that was the first time I can remember that I felt . . . real, whole.  And I wake up every morning hoping that this is the day that you, that you . . . " He just stared up at her. 


Tears spilled from her eyes then.  "But you deserve so much more."


He looked at her, puzzled.  "There isn't any more.  There couldn't be.  I only want you."


She looked deeply into his eyes then and allowed herself to see what he'd been trying to show her.  A sob escaped her then and she slid from the chair into his arms.  He buried his face into her throat.


"Scully, if you're going to go through with this, you need to tell me, because I have to go out and buy adjoining plots.  There's no way I could make it, even to your funeral - not if there’s no chance of getting you back."


She hiccupped a sob and burrowed into his chest.


"Scully, I know you're suffering, but you have to let me back in.  You have to let me help you."


"You'll never have children."


"Hey, I happen to believe that fewer Mulders on the planet is a good thing.  And it does give you an exclusive - think about it."


She gave a shaky chuckle.


"Seriously Scully, I don't know what's going to happen.  I can't see the future, but that year we worked together changed my life.  The year you were, were gone changed both of ours.  I just know that whatever happens next year or the year after that, will be better if I have you with me.  Please, Scully, let's see what the next years bring, together."


He meant it and she could hear that.  God, what a stupid mistake she'd almost made.  But he'd heard her cry for him even then.  There was a connection, and she might as well face it.  He had a point, the time they’d spent together was . . . she couldn’t say their future was necessarily together, but there should be a future.  A year with him . . . what kind of difference could a year make? 


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