TITLE: Heart’s Desire
EMAIL: sunrise83@comcast.net
ARCHIVE: MTA, Xemplary, Gossamer -- others are fine, just let
me know
SPOILERS: Redux II, various through season four
RATING: PG-13 for some minor language
KEYWORDS: Mulder/Scully Friendship, Post-ep for Redux II
SUMMARY: Mulder tells Scully about the smoking man’s "deal,"
including the meeting with his sister.
DISCLAIMER: The usual. They aren’t mine, they belong to Chris
Carter and 1013 Productions. If they were mine, this blank spot
would have been filled on the show.
AUTHOR’S NOTES: I’ll admit it, Redux II gets to me every time
I see it. The scene between Mulder and the supposed Samantha in
the diner is heartbreaking, and I always wanted to see him tell
Scully about it. Since Chris Carter wouldn’t do it, here’s my take
on things.
FEEDBACK: Is treasured! I love hearing your thoughts.

Heart's Desire
By Dawn

Trinity Hospital
9:00 p.m.

The heavy hand descending on his left shoulder brought Mulder
back to consciousness with all the finesse of a bucket of ice water.
He bolted upright, a sound somewhere between a gasp and a moan
escaping his lips and his hand fumbling for his weapon.

"Easy, Mulder, it's just me."

Skinner's deep voice held an undercurrent Mulder would have
recognized as worry if his brain had not been fogged with
exhaustion. Mulder used the palms of both hands to dry wash his
face, hearing the rasp of stubble meeting flesh. He was suddenly
aware of his disheveled appearance -- jacket discarded, tie knot
loosened, and the sleeves of his shirt rolled above the elbow.
Skinner, on the other hand, still looked as immaculately put
together as he had that morning.

*I must look like hell.*

Mulder made a half-hearted attempt to tuck in his shirt, but the
thought held no real conviction and he was too tired to really care.
He felt his body trying to rebel as he dragged himself wearily to
his feet and blinked owlishly at his boss. His eyes felt gritty with
fatigue and gummy with old tears. Skinner studied him, brow
contracted in a frown, then looked ready to speak again. Mulder
raced to head him off, certain he could not hold up under an
articulation of concern.

"Did you talk to her?"

*Brilliant, Mulder, how do you come up with these great
conversation starters? No, Skinner went in and just LOOKED at

Skinner's tight expression underwent a miraculous transformation,
softening so that for a moment Mulder barely recognized the man
before him as his hard-nosed boss.

"We managed to work out a few...difficulties that had arisen
recently," he said dryly. "She's looking pretty tired, but she asked
me to send you in if you were still here."

Something flickered across Mulder's face, so quick and elusive that
Skinner wondered if he'd imagined it. Not fear, and not shame,
though it contained elements of both. And a wariness, which
remained even now.

"What's wrong?"

Mulder shrugged, his features taking on the blank, emotionless cast
with which Skinner was all too familiar. It was the look his agent
got whenever something hit a little too hard, cut a little too deeply.
Skinner could almost hear the clang as a door slammed shut, the
click of a deadbolt sliding firmly into place.

"Nothing. Are Scully's mom and brother still in there?"

The question was innocuous -- so why did Skinner feel as if his
answer were crucial?

"No. They left about fifteen minutes ago, Mrs. Scully was dead on
her feet."

Something inside Mulder uncoiled, though the physical signs were
barely perceptible -- shoulders curving slightly, breathing slowing,
brow smoothing. Skinner pondered why his words would have had
such an affect, then recalled his own visit with Scully and her
family. While Mrs. Scully had been warm and gracious, engaging
him in easy conversation, Bill remained noticeably aloof. Though
the man had said nothing aloud, Skinner had felt a distinct sense of
disapproval emanating from the man when Scully had asked about
the aftermath of the fiasco at the bureau. Perhaps Bill had not been
so reticent about expressing his displeasure to Mulder.

Mulder moved slowly toward the open doorway to Scully's room
and abruptly Skinner was struck by the man’s gaunt appearance.
The suit hung on his slim frame, indicating too many skipped
meals and too much stress.

"I don't want to see your face tomorrow, Mulder. We'll sort things
out on Monday," he said gruffly, using the growl to hide his

Mulder paused and half turned as if to argue, then nodded and
disappeared into Scully's room. Skinner sighed heavily and started
back down the hallway toward the elevators. No sense worrying
about Mulder, he was in good hands now.

The fluorescent light above Scully's bed still burned but her eyes
were closed. Mulder moved quietly across the room and sank into
the chair closest to the bed, unable to tear his eyes from her face.
So pale, so thin, with dark, bruised shadows beneath the lashes that
lay so sweetly against her cheeks. Hard to believe this woman was
the same eager, fresh-faced rookie who had burst into his life and
turned it upside down four years ago. Bill Scully was right -- his
damn quest had reduced her to this. A quest now as empty and
hollow as the pit of his stomach.

Mulder's eyes burned and he clenched his jaw. *Not here, and not
now. Scully needs me to be there for her.*

Scully made a small noise in the back of her throat that sounded
like a kitten and her eyes drifted open. She turned her head and
regarded Mulder solemnly, her blue eyes weary but clear.

"Hey, you," she said softly, finally breaking into a smile.

"You need your rest, Scully. I should go and let you get some
sleep." His mouth said the words even as his brain registered the
fact that his own apartment was probably still a crime scene.

"What about you?" Scully asked as if she could read his thoughts.
She stretched her right hand toward him and he leaned forward to
enfold it in his own. "Have you gotten any sleep at all, Mulder?
You look like hell."

"Said the pot," Mulder reminded her, lips curving. "I crashed at the
Gunmen's place the night before last. My apartment is still sealed

"What about last night?"

To her surprise he looked away uncomfortably, though his thumb
never ceased its gentle stroking of her hand.


"I was here last night," he confessed quietly. "You were asleep and
I didn't want to wake you. I guess I dozed off, because the next
thing I knew the sun was coming up."

Scully considered this while scrutinizing his face. Then, as if just
spoken, she recalled his words that morning.

*I was lost last night. But as I stood here I thought I'd found my

The memory was like sunlight pouring into a dark room when the
shade is raised, illuminating everything in one great flood of light.
Now, she could see all the nuances of his emotional state that his
physical condition had masked. This was so much more than the
repercussions of his nearly obsessive drive to find a cure for her
cancer. Whatever had occurred in her partner's life over the past
forty-eight hours had changed him profoundly.

"Why did you come by last night, Mulder?" she asked, her tone the
gentlest of caresses. "Why did you need to see me?"

He hesitated only briefly before smiling. "Just checking up on you,
Scully. Making sure you were still *fine.*"

Scully raised an eyebrow at that and began to retort when she
recognized the good-natured dig for what it was -- a smokescreen.
"You told me you were lost," she pressed, refusing to give any
ground. "What did you mean? What exactly was this deal that the
smoking man offered you?"

Her hand had suddenly become a source of great fascination for
him. Finally he lifted his eyes to her own. "It doesn't matter,
Scully. All that matters is that I didn't take it."

But it did matter. Despite Mulder's dismissal Scully could read the
pain lurking behind it -- etched into every line and plane in his
face, communicated in the subtle body language she'd learned to
interpret so well. Mulder was grieving, and it was a grief deeper
and blacker than any she'd seen before. That knowledge was both
simple and profound when it concerned a man who had
experienced more than his share of heartbreak.

"You said you almost accepted," she said, turning her wrist so that
now his hand was cradled in hers, her fingers stroking his palm.
"Tell me, Mulder."

So much conflict within him, it was nearly tangible. He wanted to
tell her, but didn't want to burden her. He craved her comfort yet
feared the inevitable loss of his precious control. Scully saw all this
but kept silent, knowing that the slightest misstep would only
result in the fortification of walls now crumbling.

He laughed, a soulless chuckle devoid of life as well as humor that
never touched his eyes -- eyes that had gone nearly black in the
dim lighting. "He offered me everything, Scully. My heart's desire,
if I would only quit the FBI and go work for him. The truth about
extraterrestrial life. The cure for your cancer. My sister..."

Scully gasped involuntarily, the sound wrenched from her toes.
"*Samantha?* Mulder, he offered you *Samantha?* How? What
did he say? Did..."

Mulder broke the link between their eyes and stared at the wall
behind her bed, his face empty and blank. "He told me to meet him
at a diner and he brought her to me. She looked just like...like the

Scully struggled to a more upright position, her mind reeling with
images of a woman on a bridge, plunging over the guardrail into
icy waters. "Are you certain it was really her, that it wasn't another

An odd sense of deja vu swept over her and she felt divided, past
and present colliding.

*Are you sure that it's your sister?*

*Why would you even question me on that?*

Mulder shrugged, still staring vacantly over her left shoulder. "She
seemed to be. If she was a fake, she was a hell of an actress."

Scully frowned at the monotone quality of his voice. The ice
beneath her feet had grown dangerously thin, and she could feel it
cracking. Feel him cracking. Though her initial impulse was to
regard this supposed Samantha with skepticism, Mulder's face told
a different story.

"What was she doing with *him*, Mulder? Did she explain that?"

No change in expression, but the hand she clasped trembled and
his breathing sped up. "She told me he raised her. She calls him her

Scully's mouth dropped open, then snapped shut when her
fumbling brain could come up with no adequate response. She
knew that Mulder had questioned his own paternity, causing a rift
between himself and his mother that had yet to be breached. If
those doubts had extended to Samantha, he'd never vocalized them.

"Oh, Mulder," she whispered, sliding her hand up his arm and over
to cup his cheek.

He blinked, sucking the corner of his lip into his mouth as the
trembling spread throughout his body and his breath hitched. He
tried to speak but only shook his head as tears flooded his eyes.
Scully's thumb caressed his cheek as she waited.

"She doesn't remember much -- doesn't want to. She believes him,
believes the lies he's told her. She wouldn't let me take her to see
Mom and she wouldn't tell me where she lives." Mulder's voice
broke, taking Scully's heart with it. The tears evaded all efforts to
deny them and coursed freely down his cheeks and his trembling
became shudders.

"I'm sure it was a shock for her," Scully said, her own voice thick
with emotion. "She may just need time..."

"I'd like to believe that, Scully. But the fact remains that she's
willing to trust anything that black-lunged bastard tells her,"
Mulder choked. "She practically ran from me to *him.* Do you
know how that made me feel? To have her reject *me* and then
watch *him* reach over and brush the tears from her cheek?"

The blank detachment was gone from Mulder's face, though he still
struggled desperately to regain it. Without even pausing to
consider her action, Scully tugged on his hand until she'd managed
to coax him from the chair to sit on the bed. As she had when his
mother lay near death in a hospital bed, she slipped one small hand
around the back of his neck and drew his head down onto her

"It's okay, let it go," she murmured as the shudders turned to sobs.
"Let it go, Mulder, I'm here."

She couldn't have said how long they remained like that, Mulder's
ragged breaths and her own soothing patter of reassurances the
only sounds in the stillness. Eventually they wound up stretched
out side by side on the narrow hospital bed, his head on her right
shoulder, their hands linked and lying across his chest.

"I'm so sorry, Mulder," Scully finally said, the words ruffling his
hair beneath her chin. "Sorrier than I can say."

"For twenty-five years I've pictured what it would be like to find
my sister," Mulder mumbled, the words slurred with fatigue. "I
never pictured it this way, though. Not even close. I've been a fool,
Scully. Nothing is what I thought it would be. Remember that old
saying? 'Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.'"

Scully leaned her cheek against the silky top of his head. "You've
waited twenty-five years, Mulder. If that's really your sister, you
can afford to wait a little bit longer."

"And if it's not?"

The question was so soft she might have imagined it.

"Then we keep looking. And we don't stop until we know the

Mulder smiled at the conviction in her voice, squeezing her hand.
"That's one heart's desire the cigarette smoking man couldn't cheat
me out of, Scully. Whether he intended to or not he's given you
back to me -- twice. For that I'm almost grateful to the son of a

"Let's not get carried away," Scully replied dryly, pleased to feel
the curve of his smile against her neck.

"Gotta go and let you...sleep," Mulder said, punctuating the
statement with a yawn.

"You can't drive in this condition, you're exhausted," Scully
pointed out, catching his infectious yawn and repeating it. "Call
Frohike to pick you up."

"Mmm 'kay. That's a good idea. In a minute."

But he didn't move and his breathing became slow and even.
Though she was tired herself, Scully continued to turn his words
over in her mind like shiny coins, inspecting them from all angles.
The corners of her mouth turned up slightly. Mulder's heart's desire
-- Samantha, aliens, and herself. She'd have ranked herself third on
that list until the terrible night on the bridge. Was the chip in her
neck responsible for her remission? It didn't really matter. Mulder
had pushed himself beyond the point of exhaustion, nearly
sacrificing everything for the mere possibility of that cure. And
whether by faith, medicine, or a microchip, she would now live to
hunt aliens and government conspiracies another day. With

Ironically enough, that had become her heart's desire.

Scully reached carefully up to turn off the light, plunging the room
into darkness. Mulder didn't stir, his warmth and weight a
comforting presence in the sterile surroundings. With a small sigh
of contentment, Scully closed her eyes and joined him in slumber.

The End.