Ocean Can Know of a Body
between the devil and the deep blue sea
R, The X-Files, gen UST. Post-Gethsemane AU. The phone doesn't
This is the most dignified and tasteful occasion that Fox Mulder has ever
turned up on time for. Scratch that, Scully thinks: he’s early. It’s a quiet
place, with ice and snow showing beneath the frozen ground like the ribs of some
sleeping animal, and she’s following in the wake of the mourners. This world is
alien to her, this silence and the words underneath it are in a language she
doesn’t know. There are no people here, only mourners.
She stands out in the grey, listening to the voices, and looks out across the
grass and the headstones and the curving grey horizon. Earth is thrown on the
body, dust from dust and in death he shall return to the dust of the land of
Israel. It’s all hypocrisy. There is no place in the next world for those who
choose their time to pass. She did her reading before she came, but funerals are
for those left behind.
A moving presence comes to a standstill behind her, a warmth in the chill.
“Dana,” – and her mother’s hand is on her shoulder – “are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” she murmurs, without turning around. For the moment, she is, but an
arm slips around her regardless and she doesn’t resist. Her mother is shivering
a little with the cold. She knew when Dana didn’t tell her; she stepped into the
hospital room, stood by the doorway with shadows on her face, and she said, “Fox,”
– and she knew.
Together, they stand in silence. A head turns among the mourners, peers out
towards them, and Scully recognises Assistant Director Skinner in his black
coat. He’s looking at her, not smiling; he hasn’t tried to talk to her since the
inquiry, barring the barren formalities. There are others she knows among the
few standing gathered, and a woman she recognises but does not know. Scully
peers at her curiously, takes in her pallor, her mouth shaping each Hebrew word,
her downcast eyes before the grave of the second of her children she’s outlived,
and for a second, forgets to blame her.
A dry rattle signals the last of the scattering. It’s nearly over, and Scully
tramps over the earth from the promised land, feeling like a shadow, a
silhouette with no life in her cold bones. People are leaving, are already gone.
Her mother is waiting for her, and someone else’s, too. Teena Mulder turns to
look as she draws nearer. They are the last two people left.
Scully puts a stone by the graveside, and says, tonelessly, “May God comfort you
among the other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” Funerals are for those left
behind, she thinks again; her faith was all her own and something he never
believed. And now it gives comfort to those left behind, so she’ll play along
with her hands clenched and fingers crossed.
These are the last things she gives him – a rock and a piece of rote learning,
signifying nothing. It’s time to leave.
Her mom says goodbye with a quiet kiss on the cheek and a promise to call her
soon. Bill’s waiting in the car to take her home. How was it, he asks, she says
it was a beautiful service, and that’s all they say to each other on the drive.
As she’s getting out of the car, murmuring her thanks for the ride, he looks at
her and asks: “Dana, when are you checking yourself back in?”
For a minute she doesn’t understand. It takes time to come back – the hospital
room, the smell of antiseptic and floor polish, the strained smiles of her
family behind the glass. “Not today,” she says slowly. “Not ever.”
He frowns. “What do you mean?”
“There’s nothing left that they can do for me.” She knows it’s true as she says
it. They let her out for the funeral with minimal fuss, because she’d found
strength inside herself and it showed in her face, in her reflection’s eyes.
It’s still there, a latent flame, and it’ll keep on burning. The next funeral
she’ll attend will be her own.
“Nothing left they can do? There’s always hope.” He can’t reach out for her
because he’s restricted in the driver’s seat, but the hard set of his jaw speaks
volumes. “If you don’t go back – you’re taking a terrible risk.”
“It’s a foregone conclusion.” Her voice is even. “And it’s my risk to take.”
“You’ve risked your life enough for him.”
She inhales sharply, and he seems to know as he says it that he’s gone too far;
the regret shows in his face, but also the obstinacy. Scully considers,
lovingly, the idea of telling him to go fuck himself.
She says: “What do you know about Jewish funerary rites?”
The conclusions reached by the panel inquiry into the death of Special Agent Fox
Mulder are a complete secret, which means, of course, that everyone knows. The
stares follow her as her heels tap down the corridors. They’re turning to look
at her, with the subtlety and discretion they’re trained for, but regardless,
they’re looking at the dying partner of the dead spook in the basement. She
solicits attention in jeans and a sweater, all soft wool and curving neckline.
Her badge is clipped to ripped denim. She’s furious and very, very tired.
Skinner makes everything easy for her. She realises, almost belatedly, that he’s
a rare thing, a decent man, and she’s grateful for that as he carefully doesn’t
look at the empty chair on her left side. She answers his questions with quick,
comprehensive efficiency. They dance through words and euphemism, they talk
about the X-Files Division without irony, without a word about its fifty percent
death rate, and then they talk about time out and time alone, and indefinite,
She won’t be here for very much longer. With her badge now clutched in one hand,
she pads down to the basement and spends a long half-minute staring at the name
plate, and a longer time carefully unscrewing it from the door. “Fuck you,” she
murmurs to it, and lays it down on the desk. She turns around, taking in this
whole room with its dim, clean daylight, and with a sigh that shakes through her
body, she reaches for the poster on the wall. Her roving fingers reach for the
tack and prise it off, make it into a neat ball which she sticks to the wood of
the desk, and the poster rolls up in her arms.
She walks out of the room thinking she won’t look back, but she does. And she
thinks she’ll hear the water-cooler whispers as she leaves the building, and
that they’ll hurt, but she hears nothing, her footsteps tapping in her own
moving pool of silence, and she sees the wide-eyed glances, the lips frozen as
dozens of strangers dare not speak, and out in the slight warmth of the sun,
that hurts more.
She throws the poster on to the front passenger seat and reaches for her keys.
Her watch flashes into her vision, and she notes the time with a certain
dispassion: it’s eleven o’clock in the morning. The day’s barely begun, and a
fresh breeze is stirring, whipping at her hair, threatening drizzle. It makes
her feel like starting something. She gets in and fires up the engine. Bill
would object to her driving, say she was taking unnecessary risks. She doesn’t
care. She reaches over to push the poster flat, to make sure it doesn’t get
On the other side of town, at the offices of The Lone Gunman (sometime
Magic Bullet) the Lone Gunmen are silent behind their booby-trapped door.
She’s got no time for games, so she bangs on it twice and yells, “Open up! FBI!”
It seems to do the trick. With some electronic crackling and the clanks of bolts
being drawn back, the door opens and she steps inside.
Frohike appears from the shadows and closes the door behind her. At once her
eyes begin adjusting to the dimness, the low-level green flickering that
characterises all her memories of this place. It’s a mess of discarded glassware
and empty boxes that probably once held take-out food. She can’t see Byers
anywhere, but she catches a movement in a corner, the half-distracted toss of
thick hair over Langly’s shoulders.
“Agent Scully?” Frohike says again. “Can we help you?”
She starts to make small talk, utter pleasantries, but something fails between
her brain and her mouth and what comes out is, “I brought you something.”
Without waiting for his reply, she unrolls the poster onto the table. It’s
frayed at the corners, and the bright colours look faded in the absence of
natural light. Frohike looks down at it without saying anything for a long, long
moment. “I thought,” she starts, “I thought he would have...”
“Thank you,” Frohike tells her, gently. “We’ll take good care of it.”
There is muffled agreement from the other side of the room. Scully walks across
and sees Langly has been crying; his eyes are bright, bloodshot and red, and he
is typing one-handed whilst shredding a tissue fretfully between left thumb and
index finger. He looks up as she approaches, glaring as though daring her to
make something of it. She wouldn’t. She envies him the easy simplicity of the
response, the tears and the empty bottles on the floor.
“Agent Scully?” Byers appears in the loft, his footsteps as soft as his voice.
“We, uh, we didn’t want to bother you at the funeral, but uh, I’m so sorry.
Thank you for coming, and for, uh, the gift.”
She doesn’t remind him that it wasn’t hers to give, or that she’s the one who
should be offering condolences to him. All at once, she wants very much to sit
down. She casts her eyes around fruitlessly – Langly is perched the wrong way
round on the only chair she can see, Frohike is on the edge of the table – and
her knees are growing weak when Byers quickly takes her arm, leads her to a
stool. She relaxes gratefully, says nothing, and Byers smiles wryly down at her.
“You’re not doing so good, are you,” he says at length.
She finds herself smiling back, partly at the understatement, partly because
she’s pretty sure Byers has never unintentionally misplaced an adverb in his
life. “No,” she says, because it is the truth and people have died for that.
“No, I’m not.”
“Agent Scully,” says Frohike quickly, “if you want anything doing, errands
running, free cable” – a quick glance at Langly, who seems unable to look at her
– “you only need to say. We’ll be here.”
“Thanks, guys,” she says, with real warmth. “I appreciate it. But I think I’m
gonna be out of town for a few days. I’ll check in when I come back.”
They don’t ask questions, and for that reason, she’ll always be grateful.
Standing in the doorway, she looks back to see Langly’s hacker’s fingers
smoothing the edges of the poster; she notes the care, the precision, and she’s
grateful for that, too.
“Tell me something I don’t know about him,” she says. “Help me remember.”
They look at each other, worried, confused. And then Byers’ expression becomes
wistful, soft, and in his clear voice he tells her about Mulder in Baltimore
accidentally being mistaken for someone’s psycho stalker boyfriend, getting
arrested for his trouble, and she smiles in the right places, and offers up her
thanks. An additional memory, freely given, a gift. It’s time to leave.
That night she calls her mom, tells her where she’s going and what she’s doing,
and not to worry.
“Be careful, Starbuck,” she replies, and Dana refuses to break.
US Route 50 by night, and the night is to the day as the silence to the quiet.
She’s forgetting the rhythm of ordinary life, the cycle of morning, noon, of
breakfast and lunch, of going to work and making a difference, of the sleep of
the just. She exists outside of time now; her body will not let her miss a
moment of the turning of the world, and she drives on through the dark.
The leaves are falling, the branches making stark shapes in the glare of her
headlights, and the farmland is scrubby and bleak. There’s a sign she remembers
seeing years ago, a terminus sign that signals the end of the world and three
thousand miles to Sacramento. She thinks maybe she’ll steal it. She’s got her
foot on the gas, because she worries that she has no time left to find the
She’s discharged herself against medical advice, but no one could stop her and
now the drugs are draining through her system, coming to nothing. She is unarmed
but angry, holding off each crab claw one by one. It helps to know the
physiology of it, the methodical mechanism of her own destruction. She knows the
strategy, and the outcome, and all that’s left is to fight her battle.
She’s done it before, for lower stakes. She remembers: first do no harm.
She swore to that, and swore to carry her gun and forget it, and remembered
again as she removed the bullets she’d inserted, but it doesn’t matter, she only
sees dead bodies these days.
Something else she remembers, given on the mountain: thou shalt not kill.
And there was no footnote, nothing to say except in pursuit of law
enforcement, and there is no grey shading in the word of the prophets. She
goes to mass without a holster on her hip, but she pulls a trigger with a cross
around her neck.
And another thing, from longer ago, from her childhood and that of the world:
your blood which belongs to your souls I will demand; from the hand of every
beast will I demand it, from the hand of every man who is his brother will I
demand the life of man.
“You asshole,” she murmurs to the stars and the sky.
The night is clear, twinkling points sprinkled in a great visible dome above her
head, marking out the crystal spheres of the ancients. The scientist in her
finds it appealing: a universe of perfect determinism, where wheels and cogs and
silent dropped weights drive the shining lights in God’s machine. An almighty
God, all-loving, all seeing, who will bring it all right in the end. Everything
happens for the best.
Deus ex machina, she thinks, and her eyes slip back to focus on the deserted
highway. There are few other cars out now, in the in-between time too late for
owls and too early for skylarks. The constellations are marking the passing of
the night, turning along the tree-tops in a steady whirl around north. Orion
chases fox hounds through the winter sky, and she notes Betelgeuse, a mark of
blood on his right shoulder, and his dog star at his feet. A lone hunter, and
she understands that.
She’s travelling light. There is a pile of clothes in the backseat, comfortable
things she’s worn soft next to her skin, scattered CDs she always wanted to
listen to on the road. She thought about bringing a book, but she’d never finish
it. There’s an old joke she remembers from pre-med, the one about the doctor who
won’t tell his patients how long they have to live, but recommends they don’t
start War And Peace.
She’s had her war, and now she’s searching for peace.
“I had to identify your body, you bastard,” she says softly, puts a hand
to her neck where she isn’t wearing a cross. There is a clear image inside her
head: the slumped form on the floor in his apartment, the traces of blood, the
cool, clean white covering, the faded light of dawn that suffused through
everything. Tonight she’s out here, in the cold and the dark of the mourning
sky, but she’s there too, a frozen player in that endless moment; among the
other mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, she’s sitting shivah.
A few miles from the water, she ends up in a bar. It’s just somewhere, nowhere,
a place to be between Washington DC and the deep blue sea. From her perch on a
high barstool, her eyes sweep across the place, the small varnished tables, the
creaking jukebox. There are strangers here, people who don’t know her story. She
likes the thought.
“Who’re you looking for?” the bartender asks, following her gaze. He’s young,
and nice-looking, with green eyes that shine under the electric light. “Mr.
Right?” He grins. “Or Mr. Right Now?”
“Actually, neither.” She gives him a smile in return. “I had him already,” she
says dreamily, one finger tracing the rim of the glass, making it sing. “Mr.
Right Until He Blew His Own Fucking Brains Out.”
His expression freezes. “Jesus, I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault. Another one of these?”
She hands over her glass and he mixes the drink, trying not to look at her.
She’s made him uncomfortable, but she’s losing her grip on social niceties and
now she doesn’t know what to say. He turns away, reaching for a siphon. The
bubbles of Indian tonic water make a miniature geyser in the glass, and to her
that’s beautiful. There is beauty in all things, and she can’t think why she
never knew that before.
“I guess you’ve earned this.” He sets the drink down on the bar. “Enjoy.”
She takes a sip, savouring the bitterness of quinine. It’s supposed to be
healing. “Thank you. And I’m, uh,” – she’s grabbing onto the last shreds of her
old life – “I’m sorry I said that. I didn’t mean to.”
“You mean it wasn’t true?” He looks half-wary, half-interested.
“No, it’s true. I just... I shouldn’t have...”
“Hey, it’s okay. It’s okay.” He waves away the rest of the sad and tattered
apology, and reaches upwards, fixing a tilting spigot of Jack Daniel’s. When
he’s not looking at her, he asks, “Why’d he do it? I mean... if you want to talk
She stares into the glass and thinks about that. “He believed in something that
turned out not to be true.”
He turns around. “Kinda crisis of faith, something like that?”
“Something like that.” She takes another sip. She shouldn’t be drinking, not
with the last of the drugs in her veins and the tissue-paper fragility of her
flesh. But she shouldn’t be driving, either, at least not away from home,
wherever that is now, and she shouldn’t be making a journey with a covered body
inside her head, and she shouldn’t be thinking about faith and death and life
and the gentle path into the good night, nor the violent one either, and above
all, she’s too young to be ready to die.
The bartender catches her eye. He’s probably a nice guy who wouldn’t take
advantage of a woman drunk, nor one grieving, but she can tell he was thinking
about it. Before she said what she said, he was thinking about it.
She’s thinking about it, too. One night, one last night, somewhere under dirty
sheets warmed by body heat. There are no marks on her skin, nothing to tell the
whole of the story, just a mark on the back of her hand where she tore out the
cannula, the dirt under her fingernails from the graveside.
“Can I get you anything else?”
She doesn’t know his name, but she knows what she would scream at the moment of
truth. She says, “No, thank you.”
He disappears for a while, grabbing glasses from tables. She stays where she is,
finding her way to the bottom of the glass to where her reflection lurks,
distorted in the last half-inch of liquid. Even seen through cold Russian vodka,
her hair flashes red like fire.
With a sharp, decisive clunk, she sets down the empty tumbler and gets
carefully, precisely to her feet. She hasn’t been drunk in a while, and there’s
no flesh on her bones to absorb the hit, but she can walk to the door like a
naval officer’s daughter, swaying against the tide.
“Hey, miss.” It’s the bartender again, and he’s reaching for her elbow with
concern writ large. “You sure you’ll be okay out there? You’ve had a few and you
don’t look too good.”
“I can take care of myself.” She means it just as much as ever.
“Are you sure? They all say that, and uh, well.” He mimes someone slamming their
head against a sidewalk. At least, that’s what she thinks he means; it’s getting
harder to concentrate. “Is there someone I can call to take you home?”
She isn’t exactly sure this is the right thing to do, but hell, it’s probably
the last time she’ll ever get to do it. Reaching in her pocket, she withdraws
the badge, opens it and flashes it in his face, the light gleaming off metal and
“Wow. Okay.” He smiles ruefully. “Take care of yourself, then.”
She nods. “I will,” she says, and walks out feeling like one half of a waltz, a
dance that becomes one person spinning helplessly into the dark.
With the morning comes the ocean. Scully watches the waves come in, grey water
beneath a grey sky, and feels the sand crumble and give beneath her feet.
Carefully, she removes her socks and shoes, setting them in a neat pair on the
ground. Her toes wriggle in the chill, curling with the spray. She remembers
being a child on the beach, playing in the endless Pacific summer, and it makes
a strange superimposition, a discordant jangle over the sound of the rising
swells. This is the wrong end of her life, this is the wrong ocean.
This is where he comes from. Mulder was born from sea and storm, on a suburban
island in the midst of elemental forces, the last landfall for the thousands of
miles stretching out towards the old world. There is no summer here now, no
mercy. Just the sea, and the lives it takes away.
Soon, there will be nothing left of them both. Dispassionately, she thinks about
that; how there were two human beings, both on Earth for more than three
decades, accumulating a lifetime’s worth of keepsakes and lovers, and they come
to nothing but the space where they used to be, insubstantial as the last of the
land at high tide. A will is too short to be the litany of a life, and who sorts
through the basket of a man who killed himself before laundry day?
Sitting down flat, she reaches out to clean the wet sand from between her toes,
gets it behind her fingernails instead.
She gave away a few things – the things the Gunmen wanted, the poster and the
other evidence of belief – and threw away others, the plastic spoons, the orange
juice squeezed under the Reagan administration. She picked up a few things:
photographs, reading glasses, pencils sharpened to a point no one else could
possibly use, scuffed boots with blood hardened into the treads. All those
things that could only be kept, or lost, or forgotten.
The photographs – stiff, formal and Bureau-sanctioned, some of them, but also
faded visions of her and Melissa in Japan, the two children on the Vineyard, the
unguarded laughter of team-building under office furniture – are the only things
Scully knows will last, each one an unspoken devotion, that I loved you so
much that when you were happy, I dropped everything to catch it. Everything
else gets washed, thrown and given away. Her mother will find them, afterwards,
among her things. First she’ll wonder at the reading glasses and the basketball,
and then she’ll find sheets, t-shirts, scented with sweat, aftershave, perfume,
and she won’t wonder: she’ll know.
“What is this, Mulder?” she asks the sky. “The ultimate ditch?”
That would make sense; only this time he doesn’t skulk off when she’s not
looking and come back with the manic gleam, “Scully, you have to see this,”
whilst dripping blood he hasn’t even noticed, so she can sit him down and clean
him up and track his pupils for concussion.
(A concussion, notes Scully the pathologist, is a traumatic brain injury,
usually caused by rapid accelerating or decelerating forces. Off that
definition, one potential cause is a bullet through the roof of the mouth.)
His eyes were open when she came to identify him; wide open and clear and
curious, as though the intellectual challenge of the netherworld wasn’t like
he’d expected. This is the sort of thought to drive her crazy.
Something buzzes, and her first thought is that she has gone crazy, to be
swatting at flies against a winter sky. After a second she reaches for her cell
phone stashed in her coat pocket, and flips it open. “Hello?”
The answering voice is almost unfamiliar. “Agent Scully, this is Ringo Langly.”
“Uh... hi.” She doesn’t ask how he got this number, because she probably doesn’t
want to know.
“I – we – just wanted to see how you were. You know, that you’re doing all
right. That you don’t need anything. We’re here, if you do.”
“I’m fine,” she says. “I’m okay. But thank you.”
“Right. Uh, good. Glad to hear it.”
She nods, although he can’t see her, and wonders; she’s never heard him less
eloquent. “Can I help you with something else?” she asks, as the silence
“What? Um, no. No, no. I’ll leave you alone now. Bye.”
She hears the receiver clunk down on the other end, and she flips closed her own
phone with a slight sense of wonderment. It’s an odd little conversation,
another mystery. She’s supposed to be done solving mysteries, but she reaches
into both coat pockets and runs careful fingers around the lining. In the left
one, she finds a small, circular object the size of her thumbnail.
She looks at it for a while, held in the palm of her hand like a dull matte
jewel. It’s a beautiful piece of workmanship – beauty in all things, she thinks
again – and she wonders when it was placed on her, on whose orders. Skinner’s,
perhaps. His allies, his superiors from the smoke-filled rooms. She walks
deliberately to the edge of the water and gets ready to throw.
Then she thinks about Langly, the worry in his voice, the flashing blip blip
of the tracker on the edge of the north Atlantic. She puts it back in her pocket
and heads inland.
She lies still after dark, on top of the covers, fully dressed but with bare
feet. The sound of the sea is audible through the window of the room; she didn’t
mind where she stayed as long as she could hear the waves, steady as a heartbeat
on the shore. This room is comfortable enough, but only somewhere to lay her
head, as is everywhere in these last days.
She says, “I’ve been waiting for you.”
The man closes the door quietly behind him and lights a cigarette. It flares
briefly and becomes a glowing tip, absolutely still. With her left hand, she
reaches over to flick on the bedside light. Her right hand has dipped into the
holster already, cocked and aimed the weapon with all the ease of breathing.
The bulb is dim, making long, jagged shadows for him to linger in. He looks
first at her, then at the gleaming barrel. It doesn’t faze him, but she knew it
wouldn’t. He meets her eyes and slowly, slowly lifts his hands where she can see
them, the cigarette held delicately between two fingers.
“Don’t move,” she says quickly. He doesn’t, but leans languidly against the
door, blowing smoke.
“I wouldn’t.” He nods at the gun. “Is this really necessary, Agent Scully?”
She considers. “Yes, it is, because I’m going to kill you.”
He smiles. “I don’t think so. That wouldn’t be in the best interests of either
of us, I think you’ll find.”
“What does it matter to me?” she asks, sitting back on her pillows. Her mind is
clear, sharp as the itch of the trigger on her finger. “I’m dying, anyway. What
does it matter, what I choose to do now?”
“Ah, yes.” He smiles again, a calculated expression half-hidden by the layers of
shade. “I believe the general medical opinion was that your prognosis was
“The general medical opinion,” she repeats, and she says it neutrally, without
asking the question.
“But then, doctors aren’t omniscient, you know.” He matches her tone in its
neutrality. They are both used to the game. “There are always experts in a field
if you know where to look.”
She’s interested despite herself, and she lets it tinge her voice. “What are you
trying to say?”
“Let’s not beat about the bush any longer, shall we?” He’s not smiling any more,
and he’s not looking at the gun, lingering like a hanging sentence in the
shadowy space between them. “I can help you, Agent Scully. I can offer you...
“You have a cure?” It’s almost rhetorical; she’s thinking about the silent days,
the peace and fear of knowing there are so few of them left.
“Yes. We have a cure. It comes, naturally, with a price, but you can trust that
it exists, and that it is wholly effective.”
“The price?” she whispers, her voice dropping.
He gives her a long, appraising look, takes a drag from the cigarette before
continuing. “You know the price. You would be a valuable asset to have, Agent
“What would I need to do?” she asks, tentatively.
“Trust.” He’s looking into her eyes.
And just like that she’s had enough. The shortness of breath, of life, is taking
away her patience. She’s laughing as she thinks it. “I’m sorry, I’m doing this
“I was supposed to be distraught.” She clicks the fingers of her free hand.
“It’s like a script, like predestination. My world as I knew is at an end. I
lost my sister, my chance of a family, my career, my partner, and soon, my life.
And here you come, an angel with nicotine-stained fingers, and you give me hope.
And this is where I fall to my knees and grab the chance.”
“That’s the thing about angels.” His cigarette tip flares orange. “You only ever
get one. Don’t underestimate what I’m offering you.”
“You’re offering me life.” Her tone is perfectly even. “You’re giving me what
you took from Mulder.”
“I was shocked to hear the news,” he says, all pity. “Please do accept my
condolences. But to think his death was not by his own hand is to engage in
She says, “Prove it.” It’s her life story in two words.
“Are you suggesting that I was responsible for the death of my–”
He stops, but the slip was deliberate and she knows it. She’s getting tired.
“No,” she says finally. “No, I believe Mulder killed himself. I know that he
did. He was fighting everything off for too long.” She sees it as she speaks,
the last time she saw him, the room where there was a body on the floor and
another in the water and she was tired of death and he was tired of lies.
“But you don’t have to die,” he says simply.
She smiles. “No, I don’t.”
He steps out into the light, his feet creaking on the wooden boards. “As I said
before, you would be a significantly valuable asset. What is your answer, Agent
Scully?” When she doesn’t speak, a brief suggestion of amusement crosses his
face. “Will you accept the benediction of this angel?”
She thinks about that, the message of love and hope, the miracle of the
annunciation, and gives him a small smile. “Too much original sin.”
She pulls the trigger. Her ears stop ringing as she sinks back on the pillows,
listening to the sound of the ocean. Made in the image of God, she falls asleep,
dreaming of Mulder and the sea, somewhat lower than the angels, and she drops
the flaming sword to join him, barefoot and laughing on the shore.