by Foxsong


Songfic -- Vignette -- Rated G.

Spoilers: Post-'The Red and the Black.'

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Disclaimers: The characters of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are the property of Ten Thirteen and Fox, and are AWOL -- Angst-ing Without Official Leave. This fic was inspired by the song 'Crumbs' from Jonatha Brooke's fine album "10 Wings." Visit her site at . No copyright infringement is intended on either count.

Summary: Scully-POV during the 6th-season tiff-arc.

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"Mulder," she said again. "Mulder?"

She could tell by the way he was pushing crumbs around the table that he wasn't listening to her.

She watched as his long fingers slowly drew the edge of the folded paper napkin along the smooth surface. He swept the breadcrumbs into a tiny heap, pushed it back and forth a few times, studying it. "I've come as far as I'm able." When he looked up his eyes were the color of stone and moss, a wall, impenetrable. "And I'm okay. I've told you that. I don't know why you keep coming back to it. It's over, Scully. Let it go."

They'd already had this conversation too many times, in too many places, with dozens of too-minor variations, since the night and the bridge and the fire. She didn't know, herself, why she kept coming back to it. It always ended in the same silent impasse.

"But you've... changed," she countered, trying a new approach. "You've -- you've given up, Mulder." She dropped her eyes, studying the black olive her fork was chasing across a leaf of lettuce on her plate.

The irony of the thing: that he should reinvent himself now, now that she had finally come to understand what he was. She knew the weight now of his dreams, knew the passion that ran like some kind of liquid fire just below the surface. There had been moments she had almost been afraid to touch him, as if, had she trailed her fingers along his skin, she might have struck the spark that would have engulfed them both. Now he had turned cool and analytical. She didn't really know him at all. Maybe he would never let her know him.

His fork paused momentarily over his plate. The small upward quirk of the corner of his mouth might have been a smile, but it never came near the hooded eyes. "But I'm okay," he repeated. "Maybe it was about time for that."

"Mulder, I've seen... " I've seen the thing you tried so long to make me see. You were right. You were right all along, and now you...

She was helpless to say what she had seen.

How long, how patiently, had he led her through the desert? How many miracles had he shown her? She had closed her eyes to them, to him. She had tested both his patience and his faith. Now she came stumbling back to tell him the stone had been rolled away, only to find he wouldn't believe until he had put his finger into the wound.

The waitress paused by the table and poured more water into her glass. She reached for it and lifted it to her lips, the ice cubes clinking gently, swirling, the water bubbling around in a silvery spiral. She saw her face reflected, she saw the lights again; for a moment she was back there, the lights and the silent hovering presence, and Cassandra rising, arms outstretched, Christ ascending, and on the bridge she stood with the rest of the disciples, staring, uncomprehending even as they watched the truth unfolding before their eyes, and then running in terror as it all burned down in the dark.

She shook her head and came back to the table. Things jogged her that way now. She could feel the planet breathing around her. The world was a different place than she had been taught. She understood now that it was unexplainable; it hid a deeper secret than her science could ever have told her, a mystery that she'd finally caught a glimpse of from the corner of her eye. And now Mulder told her he believed that all the answers must be found in her science. She tried. For him, she still tried. She felt herself clinging to the process the way a drowning man clings to a piece of flotsam even after he knows it's too late. She felt the splinters of the water-soaked wood under her fingernails. Mulder's voice was the only thing that kept her from letting go.

He had spent years coaxing her toward the edge of the precipice, whispering in her ear, telling her to believe, to throw herself down, that she would be borne up on unseen hands, that he would be beside her. Now she had stepped out into the air and found that she was alone. She wasn't sure yet whether this was the flight or the fall.

She looked up at his face and saw the pity in his eyes; she felt vertigo and the tug of gravity. It would have been easier if he had mocked her. A sudden, consuming anger rose up within her.

"All the things you've ever tried to tell me somehow don't apply to you," she said sharply. "You're the one evading hope." She stabbed with barely contained savagery at her salad. "You're the one sidestepping every inkling that the good guy, the one who tries -- the one who tries again -- wins."

She looked up to find him watching her. Something flared for a moment in the smoke of his eyes, and was just as quickly gone.

"I have told you," he said slowly, with an almost exaggerated patience, "that I am okay. It is over, Scully." He returned his attention to his meal.

She watched him for a long moment.

"You say you're okay," she sighed at last, and dropped her gaze. "But you live your life like it's over."

Mulder looked away toward the window, and did not answer.



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Jonatha Brooke


I can tell by the way you're pushing crumbs around the table
You're not listening to me
And you say that you have come as far as you are able
But you're not far from the tree 

And you say you're okay
But you live your life like it's over
And you say you're okay
But you live your life like it's over

In your dreams all your passion is like liquid fire
You trail your fingers, find the spark
And you see your face reflected in the silver spirals
But then it burns down in the dark

And you say you're okay
But you live your life like it's over
And you say you're okay
But you live your life like it's over

And all the things you ever tried to tell me
Somehow don't apply to you
You're the one evading hope, sidestepping every inkling
That the good guy, the early bird, the one who tries, the one who tries again

And you say you're okay
But you live your life like it's over
And you say you're okay
But you live your life like it's over



From the LP 10 Wings. Visit Jonatha's website at .