Clair de Lune
Keywords: Casefile. M/S friendship. Plenty of angst for all!
Spoilers: None to speak of; just the smallest smidgen of an allusion to FTF.
Archive: Please do. Just keep this link to my site at www.foxsongfiles.net
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Disclaimer: The X-Files and the characters thereof are the property of Ten Thirteen and Fox. No copyright infringement is intended. CC, baby - Like what you see? Have your people call my people. We'll do lunch.
Roll Credits: It wouldn't have happened without these people! My buddy and official beta Char Chaffin. De facto beta MaybeAmanda. My "fan club," Alison and Jen, who prodded, whined, nagged, and cajoled as needed. The Two Jackies - J.G. and J.R. - whose initial push turned it from a vague idea into a real story. 'His Angel' provided the true story of White Rock Lake. And last, but certainly not least, my MulderClone, #21,108, who provided... um... inspiration.
To complete your multimedia experience, click here to hear Claude Debussy's 'Clair de Lune.'
Summary: The story of Mulder's ex-wife, and of how Scully finds out about her... and what she does once she knows.
It was one of the first nights that felt like summer, one of those first long evenings when the air felt warm against the skin even after the sun had melted, sweet and orange, behind the horizon. The waning moon rose low in the east; above it hung the starry sky, spread overhead like dark velvet scattered with gems. The moonlight trailed across the still water of the lake, and only the frogs and crickets were awake to attend it.
It was very late. No one saw the headlights splitting the darkness as the car came slowly into the parking lot; no one heard the tires crunching against the gravel as it pulled up to the low wooden railing to park. No one saw the tall, dark-haired woman stepping from the car, dressed only in a nightgown and a robe. Her bare feet made only a little sound upon the gravel, and she walked across it steadily, seeming not to notice its roughness. She moved slowly, purposefully toward the lake.
She came down the little path toward the shore; her feet began to sink into the moist soil. She was very near the water's edge. She paused, tilting her head as if listening to something...
Yes, there it was - there it was again, stronger now, out upon the water. She had heard it, ever so faintly, again tonight at home; she'd awakened thinking she had dreamt it, but it was still there after she awoke. She had risen from her bed and stolen into the living room, following the music; she had opened the front door, come outside onto the porch, and - finding her car keys in her hand, although she couldn't remember picking them up - she had gotten into her car and driven, finding that the music seemed clearer as she approached the park. Now, here on the lake, she seemed to have found it.
It was Debussy. It was one of her favorites, one she had always played. Her husband had told her it reminded him of her, and she had played it for him often; she had played it herself at their wedding. Now he had been gone almost ten years, and she didn't even know where he was; they had not kept in touch after the divorce. But that had not spoiled the music for her. It had been hers before he came, and was still hers now.
She sighed, and smiled secretively, and stepped forward again. She put one foot, and then the other, into the shallow water. There was a little splash with each step as she waded out farther. When the water came to her thighs she reached up and unpinned her hair from the loose bun at the nape of her neck, and it trailed like dark silk down to her waist. Her nightgown swirled around her legs below the water; as she went deeper, her hair floated along behind her, ink-dark on the moonlit lake. She was humming the music by the time the water reached her chin. With a few more steps she vanished below the surface.
The last trailing strands of her dark hair went down into the water, and the moonlight spilled undisturbed once more across the surface of the lake.
On Monday morning Scully stepped out of the elevator at the last stop, the basement, and walked down the hall toward the office. Although it was only eight-thirty, her steps were rapid; Mulder had so much on the menu today that they'd agreed to start early, and now she was already half an hour late - that accident on the Beltway, and the traffic jam...
The saving grace, she thought, was that Mulder was running late too: when she had called the office at five to eight, the machine had picked up, and she had left a brief message saying she'd be in as soon as she could. At least she wouldn't have to take too much of his teasing for her tardiness if he was truant himself.
When she reached the office door she found to her surprise that it was locked. Her brow knit in puzzlement as she opened her handbag for her keys.
The door swung open; she scanned the room with a glance. The light on the answering machine was flashing. There was -
"Oh, no," she said aloud. "Not again."
She picked up the piece of paper on her desk.
"Scully," it read, "Had to run out of town. Something personal came up. Sorry to take off like this - Left the notes for the Robertson case out for you. As soon as I know more about when I'll be back I'll call. See you - Mulder."
Scully frowned. "Personal?" she muttered. "Who knew he *had* a personal life?" Sighing, she sat down.
She was just itching to call his cell phone, but she restrained herself. He had, after all, left a note - a very un-Mulder-like thing in itself... Her eyes narrowed and she snatched up the piece of paper again and inspected it carefully. Yes - that was his handwriting.
Scully shook her head. She was being as paranoid as him. She stood up and, taking the coffee pot, headed out the door and down the hall to get water.
Three hours later the telephone rang, and Scully lifted the receiver to her ear.
"Scully," she said distractedly, still reading the papers in her hands.
"Hi, Scully. It's me."
"Mulder!" she said, forgetting her paperwork. "Are you alright? Where are you?"
"I'm in Dallas. I'm fine," he answered. Hearing her chuckle in response, he asked, "What's so funny?"
"You, Mulder. You're getting to be so responsible. I can't recall ever getting a note *and* a phone call before when I've been ditched."
"Aw, Scully, it's not a ditch. I couldn't help it.Would you rather I woke you up at three in the morning to tell you?"
"It wouldn't have been the first time," she said dryly.
He sighed. "Okay, okay- you're right."
Scully picked up the pile of papers again. "So what's going on? And when will you be back?"
"It's just... I don't know when I'll be back. I hope it'll only take a couple of days."
Noting the way he'd sidestepped her first question, Scully didn't pose it again. "Do you want me to start looking into the Teraco case too, if I get to it?"
"That would be great," Mulder answered, and she was sure she heard relief in his voice. "Listen, as soon as I get a better idea of how long I'll have to be here, I'll let you know."
"I've got plenty to keep me busy." On an impulse she added, "... and Mulder... You know you can call me if you need anything."
There was a moment's pause before he spoke, and his tone was subdued. "Thanks, Scully. I don't think there's anything you can do with this. But thanks."
And he hung up the phone.
"Sorority girls, God love 'em. Eeeasy pickins."
Fox snorted. "They're babies, Chuck. What are they - twenty-one? Twenty-two, at the most?" He handed Chuck a beer and reached back into the tub of ice to take another for himself. "I should have learned from the last party I let you drag me to. You and I have very, very different taste in women." Reaching for the bottle opener, he muttered, "I feel ridiculous. I say 'FBI' and they look at me like I'm James Bond or something."
Chuck grinned and shook his head. "You're going at it all wrong. That's the point. When I say 'FBI' I want 'em to think I'm James Bond. It's not very far from 'James Bond' to 'Let's go back to my place'."
Fox glanced around the crowded room as he opened his beer. "But don't you want to talk to them, Chuck? At least make the pretense of having a conversation?"
"Jesus, Mulder." Chuck rolled his eyes. "I don't wanna profile 'em. I wanna get laid."
That was when Fox saw her, standing across the room with a group of other girls, talking animatedly, laughing. She was tall, almost as tall as him, and she carried herself proudly. She had high cheekbones, a full, beautiful mouth; her hair was very dark, and she wore it loose, cascading over her shoulders, falling almost to her waist.
She turned as if she had felt his gaze upon her. Their eyes met. He smiled a little, and she regarded him steadily; a slow smile spread across her features. Then she turned back to her friends.
"Who is that?" Fox asked, and Chuck followed his gaze.
"Huh!... Claire Turner." Chuck shook his head. "I'm surprised they could drag her out. She's no party girl."
"You'll have to excuse me, Chuck," Fox said with a smile. "I feel the need to make her acquaintance."
Chuck groaned. "I can't believe it. You've just picked the one girl at this party who will definitely not go home with you."
"Don't worry, Chuck," Fox laughed, turning away, "remember? I don't wanna get laid -- I wanna profile 'em."
She didn't turn to watch him making his way through the crowd to her, but Fox felt sure she was aware of his approach. Sure enough, she turned to him just as he came up.
"I'm Fox," he said simply, holding out his hand.
She held his gaze for a moment, smiling that slow smile, before extending her hand and laying it in his.
"You're aptly named," she said, her eyes sparkling as her smile reached them. "I'm Claire."
Fox's smile broadened to a grin.
On Wednesday afternoon at one o'clock, just as she was pulling into the parking lot at the Hoover building, Scully's cell phone rang. She found it without looking and her fingers sought the switch out of habit. She lifted it to her ear. "Scully."
"Agent Scully," Skinner's curt voice came over the line, "where are you?"
"Just coming back from lunch, sir. I'm in the parking lot right now." She found a space and pulled the car into it.
"Good. I'd like to see you in my office as soon as possible."
"Right away, sir," she said, stepping out of the car. "I'll only be a few minutes."
"Thank you," Skinner said shortly, and hung up.
Scully decided to go straight to Skinner's office, and punched the 'up' button on the elevator panel. As the door opened and she stepped inside, she remembered the tone of the few sentences of their conversation; he had sounded irritated, and she wondered if it was due to a new case he had for her, or if...
The elevator doors opened at Skinner's floor and she went out; she walked down the hall and pushed the office door open. The secretary glanced up at her and said without preamble, "Go on in."
Scully knocked at the door and opened it. Skinner was alone. He looked up at her and said, "Come in," and returned his attention to the page of handwritten notes he had been reading.
Scully was familiar with the drill. She closed the door behind her. She went to one of the chairs in front of Skinner's desk and sat down and waited. He did not look up at her for a moment; when he did, his expression was severe.
"Agent Scully, are you aware of Agent Mulder's whereabouts?" he asked.
"Yes, sir," she replied levelly, although a little concern had risen up in her at the question.
Skinner looked back down at the paper on his desk. Frowning, he picked it up; then he laid it back down and smoothed it flat against the blotter with his hand. He met her eyes again.
"I received a call an hour ago from a Detective Lavery from the Dallas police department." He paused, perhaps expectantly, but Scully was silent.
"It seems that Agent Mulder has... insinuated himself into an investigation there - one which Detective Lavery felt that he had already resolved."
Scully met his hard stare coolly. "It was my understanding, sir, that Agent Mulder felt he had an X-File in this case, and that he was following the proper procedures to obtain authorization to investigate it further."
"I object less to Agent Mulder's investigation than to his apparent lack of diplomatic skills. As you can imagine, relations between the city of Dallas and our field office there are still somewhat strained." Skinner pressed the paper flat against the desk once again. "And, as I'm sure you can also imagine, it's particularly awkward to have Agent Mulder being the one making waves."
Scully nodded her assent, but did not speak.
"I want you to get to Dallas as soon as possible, Agent, and rein him in," Skinner finished. Scully heard the unpleasant edge in his voice. "The less toes stepped on in this case, the better."
"I'll try, sir," Scully said; Skinner looked up sharply at that, but she carefully maintained her unreadable expression. "I can leave later this afternoon."
Skinner seemed to consider her for a long moment, and then said, "Thank you. I'll expect to hear from you when you've arrived."
Scully, knowing she had been dismissed, stood up and walked toward the door.
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