Title: Casualties of War
Author: Linda Howell
Disclaimer: They're not mine. See CC, Fox, etc. They own `em. I make no
money doing this-as you probably know. No harm is intended. I take care
of stuff I borrow.
Spoilers: Up to "The End"
Classification: SA, lotsa A
Feedback: welcome as always at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author's notes: This is the sequel to my story "Checks and Mates." I
don't think you have to read that story to understand this one. Just
know Mulder left to defeat his enemies. My thanks go out to all those
who sent me feedback on that one-this was written because y'all seemed
to want to know what happened next. I hope you enjoy it-I loved writing
it! Again, thank you.
Summary: Scully must deal with the aftermath of Mulder's actions. Told
from Scully's POV.
Casualties of War
By L. Howell
Often, when unwelcome visions
haunt my sleep and the cool morning
air embraces me with ease, I stand out on this balcony, solitary in my
grief. My eyes close and I can feel them drift off into the not-so-distant
past where I recreate his face from a fading memory. I am so afraid that
I'll lose that last token of him: the ability to see his smile in the sun.
Three years ago, on a night
not unlike this last one, I went to
him seeking solace and understanding. I knew he could give me those things
I would not allow myself: peace and comfort, hope and courage. Perhaps it
was just a need to be near him, to feel fragile in a friend's arms, or
maybe it was a recognition of his importance to me, but whatever it was, I
was drawn to his presence. I took from him selfishly, I know that now. In
my desperation, I neglected the obvious signs of his discontent-they
screamed at me from the center of his soul, from the multi-hued color of
his eyes. Yet I turned away. I shut down the link between us and greedily
bathed in the abundance of my ignorant bliss. I stole a series of little
moments, and now they're not so small when compared to the enormity of my
That night stands alone in
my mind like a highlighted passage in a
well worn book. I see each moment play upon the next, and no matter how
many times I dream, I cannot change the inevitability of his departure.
For days, weeks, months, and yes, even years afterwards, I searched for
him. Clues and empty promises guided me to places I never knew existed
and places I wished I'd never seen. In the waning hours of countless
nights, I cried myself to sleep-my hands clutched in prayer, begging for
his return or my oblivion.
Then, earlier tonight, I
got the call. A strange voice invited me
to dance another tango and I couldn't resist. By then, my hope flickered
weakly in the breeze. It was still burning, but not as bright as it once
did. I drove to the dark rendevous expecting nothing more than what I had
before: hope. But out of the shadows I saw a familiar face. My enemy, my
friend. His black hair shone ominously underneath the lights of a
neighborhood building and only the breath of a name hissed pass my lips.
I was stunned, but my shock
intensified when I noticed the limp
body he carried in his arms. Moments slowed to sensation as I ran to him.
The doctor in me calmed the woman who ached to scream at the injustice of
it all. I paid little heed to Krycek. In reality, I wanted to draw my gun
and shoot the bastard, but I reigned in that impulse...temporarily.
"Put him down." I ordered
the stiff figure. I refused to look
directly at him. What was the point? Krycek was a dead man.
Medical experience kicked
in and as I checked his vitals, I noted
the numerous contusions that painted his skin. I felt for the thready
pulse, and breathed a sigh of relief. He was alive. Knowing that treatment
was an immediate necessity, I reached into my coat and pulled out the cell
phone. Just when the operator picked up, that bastard grabbed the phone
out of my hand and threw it away from us. I stood up, stared into his
eyes, and silently pleaded with him to give me a reason to kill him.
Even now, in the silence
of my balcony, I can hear the dull,
metallic voice of the operator asking if anyone was there.
His voice punctured the tension.
"They'll find him if we take him
to the hospital. And when they find him, they'll finish what they've
"You mean what *you* started,
don't you?" My words bit into the
cold night air. I let the bile rise up in my veins, and it flooded my
thoughts. Three years of anger spilled out of me and headed for him. "How
dare you stand here in front of me and act concerned for this man! You're
the genesis for so many of his pains that it sickens me to think about
what role you've played in this game. Why Krycek?"
At this point, Mulder was
groaning in pain. I turned towards him.
His body bucked in an arrhythmic pattern; it seemed as if it was straining
against imaginary restraints. Krycek leaned down to him, placing a
comforting hand on his shoulder. I cringed at the gesture. Who was he to
touch anything? Mulder's unintelligible murmurs slowly started to filter
through my mind.
"Scully? Scully? Where are
you?" The agony contained in those five
words broke my heart. How many times did he ask that question? How many
times has silence answered him? Krycek remained mute. Somewhere from the
depths of my soul, familiarity returned, and I whispered, "Shh. Mulder,
But he didn't hear me. He
didn't see me. His battered torso
stretched in labored breaths, and he wasted precious air with the sound of
my name. My arms circled his waist, pulling him onto my lap like a beloved
child. I laid my cheek against his head, and god help me, but I swear I
could smell death in his hair.
For a few moments, Krycek
didn't exist, but he changed that wish
when he told me, "I promised him I'd give his body to you."
"What happened?" I asked through gritted teeth.
"War, Agent Scully. That's
what happened. There's thousands of
other Mulders out there who've suffered the same end. Whether it be fate
or circumstance, your partner chose to fight, and it seems his side lost."
"And what," I wondered, "side are you on, Krycek?"
He shrugged his shoulders and said, "The one that wins."
Without thought, my hand
reached behind me. I levered my gun at
his face. My fingers twitched at the trigger, but the moaning man in my
arms kept me from pulling it. "I owe you for keeping your promise to
Mulder, but if you're not at least a mile away from me in the next five
minutes, I will kill you. Go before I change my mind."
His hands, which he had raised
when I aimed the gun at him, fell
back to his sides. His cold eyes moved from me to Mulder several times
before he began to walk away. Thinking he was gone, I scooped the phone up
and punched in the number. The sound of a human voice on the other end
surprised me. Then it hit me. I dialed Mulder's old number. All at once,
the night crashed around me. He was dying. Even if I called the ambulance,
they wouldn't get there in time to do little more than watch him die. Like
I was being forced to do. His body was feverous, his injuries too numerous
to account for, and his mind was somewhere else-a place where my name
meant something good and pure.
I rested my tear stained
face against his one more time. That long
ago night revisited me, bringing with it hazy memories of his cheek
against mine, his lips on my skin. Out of the shadows, Krycek's voice
called for me. I listened to him with a small degree of surprise. I didn't
think he'd stay.
"You know, Scully, every
war has its casualties. It's the nature
of the beast. But be prepared----it's now your move and your enemies play
for keeps. This [he pointed at Mulder] is proof of that." And he was gone,
I hope never to return. I saw the irony of it all then. Judas was in the
dark putting the finishing touches on his modern day pieta. How poetic of
Time passed quickly after
Krycek's disappearance. I remember so
many times when I've had to drag his large frame to a bed-whether it was
mine, his, or an anonymous hotel bed that smelled of bleach and sweat.
Tonight as no different. I think a part of me hopes that he knows I was
there at the end. God I pray it so.
......Mulder died a few hours
ago. The sun was just beginning to
rise as he breathed his last `Scully.' I was lying down beside him with my
arms around his waist-a replica of our last night together when we were
both alive, in body and mind. That's why I'm out here on this
balcony--this make-believe precipice. I want to dance away from death, if
just for a moment.
I take little comfort from
being able to say goodbye. I would
trade his return for his life-I mean that. I would rather go on pretending
he'd come back some day. Hope, it seems, dies when confronted with fact.
Someone should call his mother.
Someone should call Skinner.
Someone, not me. Today is reserved for Scully, and her alone. Not Dana or
Agent Scully or anyone else living in my world weary soul. Just Scully.
Scully without Mulder. The
question remains: Who is she without
Krycek was right. Every war
does have its casualties.
Author's notes: Good? Bad? Horrible? Continue or cease?