Welcome To The Harem

Dawn by jc sun
Summary: Deslea's rec: "This is one of those vignettes that seems to encapsulate a whole world into a few paragraphs. A glimpse into Mulder and Diana's daily trials in the FBI, and the ties that kept them together and apart."

Title: Dawn
Author: J. C. Sun


Rating: G
Category: VAO
Summary: Mulder, Fowley, a long time ago


A little present for aliali, but who the hell am I kidding? I loved writing this. Thanks for giving me theexcuse to do it, babe, and further thanks for not excommunicating me on the spot.

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Middle of the night. A little later--occasional car moving by in still streets, but the movement of beeches in full leaf louder, perhaps distant noise of interstate coming through the hum of the aquarium. Yes, a little earlier, a little closer towards the farthest edge of dawn, whine of alarm clock reads 4: 21, and the slam of front door. Weary thud of shoes hitting hardwood floor, clatter of keys onto Formica, refrigerator opening, whumpfing shut in disgust at empty shelves, then clunk of briefcase being opened, lid smacking into the coffee table glass.

Click of table top light coming on, rustle of rummaging through drawer for pens, profane cursing when he finds only a dried out ball point, but quietly:

He knows you're asleep, after all, and Fox Mulder is the gentleman's soul of courtesy when it comes to chivalry.

At least until you disagree with him.

Partners, year and a half, ninety-seven cases, four efficiency plaques, and then Patterson getting him into BSU so the two of you getting into an apartment, and fourteen fish, six houseplants, three birthdays, two Happy New Years and one Joyeux Noel later, he still calls you Fowley. Still freezes up if you call him Fox, although you only did it once, in the heat of an argument, and now you'll remember the way his entire body hung up over that one word and turned away from you, all jerky and stiff with formality.

So, you say , "All hail the conquering hero." to his turned backache light of the table lamp is blinding after three hours in the blue half-light of the bedroom, and it takes a blink or two to pick out his face. You move over to him, glance at the stacks of 8x10s paper-clipped stacks with blue marker circling half-visible curves of dismembered white flesh.

You don't quite flinch, but you do lean against his back with a sigh. You can handle terrorist bombings and embezzlement and drug smuggling, but you still haven't got a grip on the fact that your stomach still lurches alarmingly whenever he shows you his work. The fact that he pleads migraines from all the numbers you deal with isn't much consolation when he discusses scooping somebody's eye out with a plastic spoon at dinner, then wonders why you don't want any of his handmade pudding. "A serial?"

"The NC state ones." He flips through the binder to show you a shot of an Interstate sign, then points to a blue marker "Roadside dumps, strangulation, some really interesting vivisection and genital mutilation, but the really interesting thing is that the victims come from all different parts of society. Prostitutes, Good Samaritans, business executives traveling alone."

"Ah." You've read about them in the newspapers, big deal over how everybody was at risk nowadays. Sigh as you glance at a listing of confirmed fatalities. "Thought you said you weren't taking any more serials until the X-Files got reopened." Idly, Mulder turns to a photo that shows one of the victims in the morgue, and you fight a small surge of nausea over just what a person looks like when you flip them inside out in real life, then attach the body parts in all the wrong places with catgut.

He sighs, and you can feel his shoulder moving through the shirt underneath your hand, and then when he turns his head to face you, you see that he's got the beginnings of a fine black eye on the edge of erupting into full Technicolor glory. He catches you staring and answers, with just a little bit of laughter in his voice. "We had a little altercation. He refused to open the X-Files after I accepted. I screamed at him, he screamed at me, I punched him, he--"

He shrugs again, makes this tired little grin that makes him wince when the muscles pull across the blackening eye.

And there's the crux of your whole quarrel with him. It's stupid, this mad- bull charging of his--was it ever going to get him somewhere? Even if he managed to get to the truth, to the heart of the mystery, would he be in the position to influence it? Would he be able to stop the abductions, stop the experimentation, or would he just keep on running into steel walls? Stupid, stupid waste--they had the money, they had the resources, they had the truth, and they could snatch out of your hands just as you got a hold on it.

Honey caught more flies than vinegar, the old adage went, and for once, traditional wisdom was true. There was a time and a place to dig in and refuse to budge, but, you had to pick those times, those places, and Mulder. . . Mulder had made it into this personal crusade, a jihad for his lost sister, into an emotional ride and that could only end in misery. Misery and failure, the truth was possible, but only through hard logic and compromise

But you don't say anything--not tonight, not now, not right now or not when he's still doing this last serial. After all, you can just imagine the scene between him and Patterson, late at night, deserted BSU. Lights turned off all around, Mulder backed into the corner, literally, back against the farthest wall of his office, afraid of Patterson, but chin still up, defiant. No more serials until you get them to re-open the X-Files. Come on, you bastard. You know you can do it. Just say the word, and then--

Patterson shoving the file underneath Mulder, pulling that 'you can save them, Mulder, you could save them, you could have saved them' routine on him again. Again. Undoubtedly giving Mulder the names and ages, occupations and birthdays of the murdered, describing the one teenage victim's life in exquisite detail then lingering across her strangulation, until he finally got some weakening out of Mulder, and then homing in on the old, old hurt and digging in until Mulder broke underneath the guilt, punched him, then took the file in a fit of remorse, in a fit of guilt, cradled the glossies to him, weeping in front of Patters, who gave a tight little smile of mastery and--

You bite your lip. You sigh, you run your hands through Mulder's hair, wince when you scrape your knuckle against five-o-clock shadow, then trace the edge of the ripening bruise and lay a little kiss on the forehead, right where the plates join together, and he would shift in small appreciation, except he's wrapped his arms around him, and from the tense line of his shoulders, the way his chin is pressed to his chest and the way his mouth is screwed up in pain, you realize that he's desperately trying to not cry in front of *you*.

.end

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