Amanda Wilde (MaybeAmanda)
April 9/01

Rating: PG? Maybe? Not S for squeaky, for a change.

Category: V, A, MSR - Three Words alternative beginning. And ending. Quit laughing.

Spoilers: Assumes knowledge through Three Words (8ABX18) but nothing past that episode.  Minor reference to Hollywood A.D

More disclaimed than disclaiming: Chris Carter owns M&S; Fox owns The XFiles; I own this story. No infringement intended.

Archive: Sure. Thanks!

Thanks to: Euphrosyne, for beta and pestering; Amy, for sanity checks, coffee, Sam, and squidge; Weyo, for giving all the cattle brucellosis; PD for knowing where the friggin' single quotes should go; Ebonbird, just cuz; Connie and Peggy for the test-drive; IWTB list for the challenge, which I mostly ignored, and hello? David? Yum.

For: The pashminas, and their groomer. I'm inspired, already. ;-)

Summary: I'm Atlas, he thought.

They released him on a Thursday, making him promise he'd come back in a week, stand on a treadmill, and run, and jump, and flex, on cue.

He agreed with a nod and his most sincere expression, knowing a week would mean wires and read-outs and belts and straps, contacts taped to his body, blood samples, urine, and spit on this slide, Mr. Mulder, please.

'Never,' he thought, 'never again,' and smiled at the doctor. "I'll be there," he promised, and didn't look away.

Scully stood beside him, round and smiling. Beautiful this way, ripe and rich, soft and full, but unrecognizable, with her angles all blunted, her edges rounded, routed, sand-blasted, and smooth. He'd always liked her hard parts, her dangerous components: her bony elbows, piercing eyes, quick mind, sharp tongue.

She offered a hand, urging him to stand, to rise and walk. Be the miracle, Mulder. Spread that good word.

"Let's go home," she said, but some feral thing was living in her eyes, some deep thing, and hungry, that would swallow him whole, spit him out whole, all new and improved.

Remade. Reborn. Renewed. Recycled.

Mulder II - The Sequel. And everyone knew the sequels were never as good.

He sat in the wheelchair, grateful and exhausted, wondered where home was, now.


He was silent in the car, but not for lack of questions to ask, or things to say.

Scully held his hand, loosely at first, but tighter and tighter as they got closer and closer to wherever Skinner was taking them. Every time he glanced her way, she smiled, bit her lip, welled up, smiled harder.

So he leaned away, looked away, watched the cherry trees rush by him as he rushed by them.

"Sakura," he whispered against the window, clouding a circle no bigger than a dime.

"What?" she asked, her voice tighter than her grip.

"Sakura," he repeated. "Cherry blossoms. It must be spring somewhere."

She squeezed. "It's spring here."

He nodded without a word. The trees kept rushing by.


"I thought you would have sold it," was all he could think, all he could say, when Skinner's car came to a halt halfway down Hegel Place.

"I was busy," Scully answered, offended, maybe hurt.

"The condo market was depressed," she added, offering an arm to grasp, a shoulder to lean on, an anchor, and a crutch. He took them all.

"I was waiting for the right moment," she said, leaning him against the wall, slipping the key into the lock, frowning.

"I don't know what I was thinking, really," she murmured. The door swung open. She reached out to him, led him inside.

There were no velvet ropes strung from wall to wall, no votives burning, no incense or icons. It was just his apartment, but the curtains were drawn.

He couldn't kiss her, but he wanted to. "Whatever you were thinking, I'm glad you thought it."


Skinner left Mulder's mostly-empty bag at the door and shuffled awkwardly from foot to foot. He shook his head when Scully offered tea and a chair, followed her with his eyes from living room to kitchen, then turned back to Mulder with a guilty start, like he was surprised this apparition had had the nerve to appear.

If looks could kill, Mulder knew, he'd be back in the ground.

"Is there anything you need?" Skinner asked a point on the wall somewhere over Mulder's left shoulder.

The list was too long, so he just said 'no,' sank into his couch, mumbled his thanks, and willed Skinner to leave.

Scully rattled pots in the kitchen, pans and china, mugs and spoons, asked if he wanted a blanket, a pillow, a handful of pills?

What did he want?

He wanted some sense of himself back, and maybe one or two wasted years.

Maybe one or two wasted decades.

And her.

"Maybe some Tylenol?"

That would do for now. It would have to.


He sat with his mug at one end of the couch, she sat with hers at the other. 'Just like old times,' he thought, stirring down the sugar. Just like the old times he didn't want to relive.

He wanted to point to the side of her face, the hollow of her throat, the base of her spine, the soft sole of her foot, the back of her knee, to this couch, that chair, his desk, the wall by the door, his bathtub, and bed, the counter by the sink, the front seat of his car, the gully between her breasts, and whisper, 'I kissed you right there. Do you remember?'

But he cleared his throat and asked his tea softly, "So, what did you do while I was dead?"

She stared at him, wide-eyed, wide eyes wet. "What did I do?" She took his hand in hers, and laid it on her belly. The flesh was harder than he would have expected, and dangerous, too.

"What did I do? Mulder, I mourned."


His bedroom was right where he'd left it, but the sheets were clean.

Scully leaned as far forward as she could, but it wasn't very far. He willed himself up, and their lips met halfway.

"Eat, drink, dance, and make love, Mulder, right?" She smiled, pushed him back down into the pillows, and smiled again.

"That was the theory." Her body had changed, all new and improved, but he still fit, they still fit. He held her hips steady and she rocked into him again. "I've revised it, some."

"You and me - oh, oh god - we can't get anything right."

His hands slipped from her lush hips to cradle her half-globe belly.

'I'm Atlas,' he thought, 'holding up the heavens.'

Her back arched and she growled his name.

'Atlas,' he surged up into her, 'and I am holding back the sky.'


Thanks for reading!

Thanks Jenna! 

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