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Women On A Bench by Shahara Zade
Summary: A strange and unfortunate coincidence? References to Krycek/Marita and Mulder/Scully, Season 9.

Title: Women On A Bench
Author: Sharhara Zade (shaharazade@hotmail.com)
Spoilers & Warnings: Through s/9, refs to character death
Keywords: Shipperdom, Skamperdom, babies
Summary: A strange and unfortunate coincidence?
Notes: Thanks to Josie and Kelly for beta. Written for "The Light
at the End of the Tunnel" Lyric Wheel. Lyrics from "What a
Wonderful World" listed at end.

He seemed to like the National Mall. He burbled and smiled as
she pushed him in his stroller, oblivious to the significance of
the place. Scully liked the Mall too, both for sentimental reasons
and, more importantly, its openness. There weren't many places
for dangers to hide on the green lawns. She could almost feel
safe here.

Scully wouldn't have noticed the woman on the bench if she
hadn't heard a baby crying. Will, inevitably sensitive to
distress, began wailing in sympathy and so she stopped. It took
her a moment to remember the woman's face. She had never
had a name to put with it; it was just another source of secrets.
Then fear boiled up with recollection, and she would have drawn
her weapon, but one didn't point guns at babies, no matter who
their mothers were.

She quickly lifted Will into her arms and took a step backward,
cursing the loose, comfortable shoes she had slipped on that
morning - too hard to run in. "What do you want?" She asked.

The woman's wide eyes registered shock and fear. Her arms
tightened around her little girl. "Nothing!" She let out a breath and
seemed to regain a fragment of composure.
"I want to be left alone."

"Then why you're following me?" Scully snapped. "Look, I am so
*sick* of you people- "

"This meeting is a.a strange.and unfortunate coincidence,
Agent Scully, nothing more, I can assure you."

Scully scanned the area for observers and for snipers, her
heartbeat frantic in her chest. After a moment, she detected
nothing and relaxed slightly. "There have been so many *strange
and unfortunate* coincidences recently in my life, that's a
difficult for me to accept. Why are you here?"

"This is one of the few places you can be out among people, see
friends shaking hands, lovers embracing, tourists gawking. You
can almost feel normal here, for a while and it's so.open.
There's nowhere for anyone to hide easily." The breeze picked
up and blew a strand of gold hair across her face. She didn't
bother to brush it back.

Scully thought that she had never seen anyone look more alone,
except when she looked in the mirror. She spoke softly, "You are
target then? Is your daughter also - "

"No. No, but she is Immune. Her father and I were both exposed
and survived it." Her chin tilted upwards. She swallowed and
cleared her throat and the gesture was familiar enough that it
unsettled Scully.

She wondered which and how many of Mulder's unconscious
mannerisms she had acquired over the years without even
noticing. She thought she should have been angrier. Anything
and anyone associated with the damned conspiracy should
have inspired horror and contempt, if not outright hatred. She
sought the old clarity of righteous fury in herself, something to
hurl in the face of this woman and her secrets. She found none.

"I - we should go." The woman said. "You are watched so
closely. You know that, don't you? Always watched." She stood,
but Scully reached out and caught the black sleeve of her

"Wait. You can tell me why Krycek did what he did, what it means.
These people threatening us. You know about it, don't you?"

"Please let me go." The woman tried to pull away, but when
Scully held on, she went still.

"Tell me!"

"Agent Scully," she said. "Don't draw attention to us. You
believe me and it wouldn't matter if you did. They will catch up
Mr. Mulder, sooner or later, and your son, and they will be
killed.you and me, too. We can't stop it, and the terrible
irony is,
it isn't even true!"

"What isn't?"

"This notion that if we could communicate with the Colonists,
that we would welcome them, embrace them. That they are *us*,
a million or so generations in the future. It was all a lie, a rumor
started by one of the old men, bluffing to muddy the waters.
That's all it ever was, but alien doesn't equal omniscient.
can be just as stupid and gullible as we - "

"And Krycek believed this lie?" Scully asked. She had thought
that she couldn't be surprised anymore, but she was frozen with
it, immobile, one arm around her son, who continued to scream,
and the other griping the woman's wrist with adrenaline

"He was so desperate, so ready to grasp at *any* sense of hope,
no matter how absurd or farfetched! He died for nothing, died
because he couldn't see reason anymore." Tears streamed
down the woman's cheeks, soaking the dark hair of the child
she clutched to her chest.

Scully's own vision blurred and her throat closed tight. She slid
her hand down the woman's wrist, easing them both back onto
the bench. Her head swam. "The last night I saw him.he
helped me down the stairs. He.he could have done it then. No
one else was around, it would have been so easy.and he
didn't. He was very.very gentle."

"I didn't say he *wanted* to do it," The woman beside her took a
deep breath. "He just believed that he had to. I tried to tell him,
tried to make him understand he didn't have to hurt you or
anyone else. I swear, I told him over and over, but he wouldn't
hear me."

"I wish I could say I was sor - "

"No, don't. We should go," the woman said. But she didn't try
get up.

The two of them sat, watching the faces of people going by, the
shapes of the clouds, and their children, who had fallen quiet,
seemingly fascinated by one another. After a while, the woman
said, "I never told him about the child."

"Why not? It might have changed his course of action."

"Maybe. We just never had the right moment. There was never
time enough."

Scully nodded, relating and forgetting to be disturbed by the
nature of the relation.

"What should I tell her about her father? That he was a killer? A
crazed zealot? That I never knew him? Sometimes, I think that is
the truest thing I could say."

"It's supposed to get better, with time. That's what people
telling me," Scully said.

"Yes, it gets better," the woman agreed. "It gets better, and then
it's like it never got better at all. It's so *easy* to
pretend he's still
out there in the shadows."

Scully entwined her fingers with the other woman's and
squeezed for a moment, then disengaged. She didn't want to
accept the sense of shared loss flowing over her, twisted as it
was. "I know."

"You do, don't you? Maybe you are the only one who ever could."
The woman beside her bowed her head.

"There was a time when I might have agreed with you," Scully
said. "But now.now I'm not so sure. I think Cassandra Spender
would have understood perfectly. Maybe Teena Mulder too. Any
woman who lived during wartime might. We think of ourselves in
such an isolated way, but you if asked women in Sarajevo, and
Kigali, and Jerusalem and Jakarta.I think you would find many
who could understand."

"Perhaps," said the woman sadly, wiping her nose. "We've been
caught on opposite sides of an invisible river. In other
circumstances, we might have watched our children grow
together. Watched them learn more than we ever could, achieve
things we never dreamed."

Something sparked in Scully, flared hot and bright, and she
thought of the night she said goodbye to Penny Northern. She
turned to the woman who sat beside her. "We haven't yet been
formally introduced, not really. I don't even know
your.um.well.my name is Dana Scully."

"Last time I glanced at it, my passport indicated that I was Marita
Covarrubias." She half smiled. "I might still be, somewhere, I

Scully leaned toward her. "Are we enemies, Marita Covarrubias?
You and I?"

A small diamond shape appeared at the bridge of Marita's nose
as her eyes narrowed. Seeing it made Scully think again of the
way some couples seemed to trade parts of themselves.

"No," said Marita. "No, I can't afford enemies. My daughter
afford enemies."

Scully nodded, closing her eyes, resigned. "Of course, as you
said, it doesn't matter. We will all be murdered eventually
because of a foolish rumor. A time bomb invented by a faction
that no longer exists. I will be killed, protecting Mulder and Will,
and you will be killed - "

"Out of guilt by association," finished Marita. "I'm sorry.
I.I didn't
mean to be morbid."

The miserable choking feeling began to subside in Scully's
throat. "You think you're ready. Ready, finally, to let them have
their way, and you know, nobody would blame you. You've
imagined you could let them make it quick and easy, that you
would be grateful if it was just painless. And then," Scully's
shook, "then you look at your child, and you just can't let go."

"No. No, I can't."

"So you find yourself running again, missing him, that other
piece of you.and hoping it can work out somehow, because
you realize you can't stand to give up after all. Well, Marita, I
give up either, not yet."

"What will you do?"

"What I've always done, try to expose the truth, this truth in
particular now. I don't quite know how I will convince our
would-be assissins, but I have to try. Will you - "

"Help you? Yes. Any way that I can. I should have come to you
before, Agent Scully."

Scully shook her head. "Before now, I wouldn't have been able to
hear you."


What A Wonderful World Sung By Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.
The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They're really saying I love you.
I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.