Amanda Wilde (MaybeAmanda)
Feb 17/01

Rating: S for Squeaky.

Category: VA -- Per Manum missing scene/vignette type thing.
Lots of angst. Equally shipper and noromo unfriendly.

Spoilers: Assumes knowledge through Per Manum (8ABX13 ) but nothing past that episode

Disclaim THIS: Chris Carter owns M&S; Fox owns The XFiles; I own this story. No infringement intended.

Archive: Sure. Thanks!

Thanks to: Amy for virtual coffee, moral support, beta, a title, and side-trips to the ranch; Weyo, for - well, if she reads this (ha!) she'll see it. Yeah, yeah, 3.9 - bite me, bitte shoen; Connie and Anna for spoiling me rotten.

For: Euphrosyne, Ebonbird, Foxsong, and the rest of the Olympic Freestyle Beta Squad, spoiler-virgins all. You guys have my undying admiration. Of course, I've got the happy smirk.

Walnut: I'm sure you understand why...

Summary: Just tell her.

Park your car in front of the big duplex down the street, same as always. Pull the key out of the ignition and set the parking brake. Reach for the door handle; think better of it.

Grip the steering wheel instead; squeeze until your knuckles turn white. Take a deep breath. Take two. Take a couple more. See what works for you; you've got all night.

In, out. Slow and steady wins the race.

In, out.

Try to imagine what in the hell you are going to say.

Feel no surprise at all when your mind decides to go blank.

In, out.

Tell yourself it's just like any other day, any other visit.

It's just Scully; you're just going to see Scully.

See if that helps.

When you feel steady - well, less unsteady, which is something - climb out of the car. Check the locks. Glance at the tires. Then slam the door - it doesn't help, but damn! it sure feels good.

Walk down the block to her building. Not too quickly, because you don't want to look anxious.

Because you aren't anxious. Not really.

Climb the outside steps - one two three four five six seven - sidestep a bundle of newspapers awaiting Saturday morning delivery, and slip your key into the lock.

Remember a time when you thought this key was a charm, a portent, a Very Good Sign. A beginning, maybe; the first chapter of a story waiting for its breathtaking middle and thrilling conclusion.

Maybe this is both.

Jiggle the key, twist hard to the right, and pull sharply. Brute force - that's the only way this thing will work.

Maybe it's just a key, after all. Maybe that's all it ever was.

Yank the key roughly from the lock; shove the thought roughly from your mind. You couldn't have been that wrong.

Things just. . .things just changed.

Wonder what it would take to get your mind to go happily blank, again.

Cross the foyer, push the call button. These elevators are so slow, so old, and getting older by the second. You know you could just take the stairs and get there a lot faster, a hell of a lot faster. But fast, for once, isn't the issue.

Check your semi-warped reflection in the elevator's semi-warped polished steel door. Squint self-consciously. When you're still out of focus, narrow your eyes a little more. No, there's no doubt; your hair DOES look stupid.

Has it looked this way all day? This afternoon, when the two of you were talking at the office -- no, honestly, when she was talking and you were gawking at her in wide-eyed-working-on-slack-jawed disbelief -- was your hair sticking up all porcupine-stupid like this?

Was there some possibility that she might have walked in prepared to give her well-considered, carefully-worded, sanitized-for-your-protection sales pitch, taken one good look at your stupid, stupid hair, and asked herself 'What in the hell was I thinking?' Did she almost decide to talk about the weather, instead?

Would it have been better if she had?

Run your fingers through your hair one way. Now, the other. No improvement. Brush it forward, slightly. Try back. Oh, great, now you're - what's the word? Primping? Preening?

What is this, a date?

Push the button again and wonder if there's an opposite of 'date'.

Anti-date. Non-date. UnDate. Etad. If there isn't one, there really should be. If there is one, well, this is it.


Realize, as the door slides open and your stupid-haired doppelganger disappears into the wall, that you've been scowling most of the day.

Push the button for her floor and admit that's only half true; when you weren't scowling, you were thinking about names and trust funds and impossibly small baseball jerseys and grinning like an idiot.

Like an idiot with stupid hair and what amounts to a hopeless crush.

Crush. Oh, the irony isn't lost on you.

Shove your hands in your pockets. Rattle your keys. Watch the numbers light up one by one. Rattle your keys again. Yeah, that'll help.

Christ, why did you drive all the way over here if you don't know what you're going to tell her?

Tell her. . .tell her. . .tell her that you are flattered. That's a good place to start. You 'are' flattered. Truly, absolutely, totally, completely, revoltingly, pathetically, self-loathingly flattered. Really.

Tell her it's not the sort of thing you get asked to do every day. Any day, actually. This is a first. Today is some kind of red- letter, circle-it-on-the-calendar, Hallmark- ought-to-make-a-card-for-this day.

Tell her no one's ever wanted your child before. No one's ever WANTED to be pregnant courtesy of yours truly. Tell her this is as close to someone wanting you - really wanting you - as you're probably ever going to get.

Tell her you appreciate how hard it must have been for her, how hard it must be for her, to open herself to you like this. Tell her you know what it feels like to paint concentric circles on your chest, hand someone you care for a b-i-i-i-i-g box of bullets, and ask them to take aim.

Then tell her what she already knows; that you couldn't intentionally hurt her if you tried.

That's why she asked you, of course. You're a sure thing, a done deal. Signed, sealed, delivered - you're hers.



Stab the button again.

Tell her you're glad she has finally found a use for some part of you. You had always secretly hoped it might be your heart, but, in a pinch, you'd have settled very happily for her wanting your body.

As it turns out, all she wants is a thimbleful of haploid cells, but that's something, right? The way things are going, you'll be dead in a year anyway, so you should be grateful, right?

You are grateful, right?

In, out.

Brush down your lapels and sleeves when the elevator finally reaches her floor. Straighten your tie. Wonder if your hair still looks stupid.

Tell her you know how much she wants this. Tell her how much you want this, too, but. . .

But, I'm sorry, Scully. Not like this. Never like this.

Tell her no.

Tell her thank you, but no. Tell her you can, and frequently do, break your own heart; tell her you don't need her help for that.

You're incidental to her plans, anyway. She'll get over it, or find someone else, or make a withdrawal from the Nobel Bank. She'll get the baby she wants, the new life she craves, and you can spend whatever time you have left watching her grow some other man's child.

Gee, doesn't that sound like fun?

Tell her you just can't because you're. . .

Jesus, just tell her.

Walk as quietly as you can down the hallway that's never seemed this long before. When you finally reach your destination, raise your fist to knock.

Pause; think about running away.

Think about how happy she'd be if you just said 'yes'. Think of the shy smile and the happy tears, the way she sniffs and wipes her nose with the back of her hand when she is literally so happy she could cry. Does cry.

Think of how little she's really asking, and how much it could mean, how good it could be, for both of you.

Think that maybe, just maybe, for a minute or so, she'll love you almost as much as you love her.

It could happen.

Run your hand through your hair again.

Maybe it already has. Maybe she does. Maybe that's why you're standing here with your stupid hair and jangled nerves and fist in the air and...

Deep breath in. Deep breath out.

Knock. Listen to her footsteps come across the hardwood toward you.

Tell yourself it's just like any other day, any other visit.

It's just Scully; you're just going to see Scully.

See if that helps.

Thanks for reading!

Geez, relax. This is obviously set pre-'all things.'
And we all know what happened in 'all things.'
 At least, I do.


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