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TITLE: Prelude
AUTHOR: Kelly Keil
ARCHIVE: Anywhere, just keep my info attached.
FEEDBACK: Is cherished and answered.
SPOILERS: S2, specifically Ascension and One Breath, and some S8 up through DeadAlive.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own them. You know who does.
SUMMARY: "I should have never met him in that deserted parking lot; I should have gotten into my car and driven away when I had the chance." Prequel to Undertow.
NOTE: This little snippet takes place prior to the events of Undertow, which can be found here:
ACKNOWLEGEMENTS: Thank you ever so much to my lovely and talented betas: JET and Spica. You made it better, even if there was no fixing the title.

By Kelly Keil

It's a story that's been told a thousand times before. Only the faces are different, only the scenery changes. This time the faces were mine and Mulder's, the scenery a parking lot deserted save our two cars. But that's just window dressing. Only the story matters.

I wanted him but he wanted someone else. Who she wanted was immaterial. She was gone. Off to Never-Never Land with the other Lost Boys and Girls, learning how to fly. Maybe if we clapped our hands loudly enough, she'd come back. He would have clapped his hands for her, clapped his hands until they bled. He believed in anything that was convenient.

(i do believe in spooks i do believe in spooks i do believe i do believe)

I never believed in that bullshit, not even as a kid. But that's not important, so never mind me. I'm just the man behind the curtain.

"Alex," he said to me, his voice full of all the rage and disdain and despair and hope of any embattled hero, "tell me where she is."

I didn't bother to ask how he found me -- it didn't matter. Perhaps he followed the yellow brick road or took a hit of pixie dust or just kept knocking heads together until someone talked. One answer is as good as another. The story continues on despite its characters. Perhaps in spite of them.

"Mulder," I said wanting him gone before I did something I'd regret later, "go home."

Mulder advanced toward me, his armor shining damn near to blinding me, his righteousness a shield, his gun held in a hand that shook only the smallest bit. "Fuck that. Tell me. Tell me or I'll kill you right now."

I could see that he meant every word and part of me welcomed that. It wasn't the ending that I wanted, but it was an ending just the same. But the story churned onward, trampling my uncertainty and forcing words out of my mouth. "She's dead." A lie, but it might as well have been the truth. I braced myself for the impact of the bullet, thinking of endings, both good and bad.

His hand faltered and dropped. With two words I'd defeated him, and I stood amazed and almost regretful, like Dorothy, horrified to have killed her nemesis with a bucket of water.

"No," he said, his hand dropping further until the gun was pointing to the cracked pavement at his feet. "No. I won't believe it." But I could see his eyes, and his eyes did believe, they did believe in spooks and they did believe in a world with no Dana Scully.

It annoyed me to see him give up so easily. He should have been able to sense she was still alive. He shouldn't have been so quick to give up hope. What kind of knight-errant was he?

I saw my answer in the slump of his shoulders and the weariness of his face. He had been running so long that he needed an excuse to stop, and any excuse would do. His body didn't care that his mind was breaking -- it just wanted to rest.

I gave him the best advice I could, the only words of comfort I had, and it was less than he deserved but more than what I could easily afford. "Let her go," I told him. "She's beyond your reach."

I'd tried to make him stronger, I'd told Them where he was weak and They'd eliminated that weakness. I thought that he was lucky, if only he would see it. With her gone, he could concentrate on what he really needed to see. There's nothing like anguish to act like a magnifying glass, narrowing your focus down to what's important, then enlarging it, making everything else blurry. She was a distraction. She had to go.

I wanted to tell him that in time he would see that. I wanted him to realize that she wasn't the sun rising in the east, or the moon controlling the tides. She was just a woman, she wasn't anyone important, she wasn't...

(she wasn't me)

...she wasn't the answer he was looking for.

"I...I don't believe you," he repeated, but with less and less confidence.

"They'll give you back her body." I wasn't at all certain of that -- for all I knew she would be put in a mass grave in the desert somewhere, or perhaps left in an institution, forever medicated into incapacitation. If I could, though, I'd see Mulder got her body. He needed to see how her story ended. I owed him that, if nothing else. "Go home, Mulder. There's nothing you can do to change anything."

"No," he said, advancing on me yet again. I saw he wasn't defeated after all. Good always triumphs over bad. How could I have forgotten? The gun had disappeared somewhere and his hands were balled into fists. I turned to the side as the first blow fell, and it caught me on the cheek, causing pain but not knocking me down.

(mulder what big hands you have all the better to hit you with my dear)

I spat blood onto the ground then brought my fist up as I raised my body, letting the punch gain momentum. Mulder was surprised by my fist striking his jaw, and he staggered. The pain in my hand was familiar and it didn't bother me. It felt good. It felt good to hit something. Anything was better than standing there and letting the story take me with it.

Mulder punished me for not being her. I punished him for making me want him. The blows fell on me and on him, quickly at first, then slowing as we tired and hurt set in.

Explosion of pain by my ear. "You let them take her."

Blood spurting down Mulder's face. "I *told* them to take her, mother fucker."

A crunch felt in my ribs. "Why, for fuck's sake, why?"

My fist hit his mouth and his teeth serrated my skin. He spat out a tooth. I didn't answer him.

Hands grabbed my shirt and lifted me, pounding me against my car. The alarm screamed into the night but no one came. No one ever does. "Tell me why, you fucker." My head hit the car in time with the shrieks of the alarm. It felt like the world was falling apart.

Mulder let go of me and I slumped against the car for support. "Turn off the alarm," he snarled.

How very civilized, I thought, but was all too glad to comply, grateful for the intermission. I stuck my key in the lock and then Mulder was up behind me, pressing his body into my back. I felt his erection pushing at me and went still. How very uncivilized, I thought, and wanted to laugh. This was something I hadn't expected, hadn't foreseen.

I stiffened and straightened up. "Turn it off," Mulder growled into my ear, his breath hot and coming in short pants.

I twisted the key in the lock and the alarm stopped mid-squawk. The silence that followed was as heavy as the humid air that pressed in on us. Mulder's shadow, cast by the nearly full moon, covered mine on the car roof and swallowed it whole.

"Tell me why you had them take her," he repeated, his voice only a soft rasp this time, nearly a caress, but I knew there was poison in that apple. Still his erection pushed against my back and I wondered if the sweetness of the fruit would make up for the pain it concealed.

I couldn't say the truth, that I was jealous, that all the things I told myself about Scully making him weak were lies, just lies, to cover my thwarted desire. She did make him weak, but that was beside the point. I wanted him and couldn't have him. When the little mermaid was given a dagger by her sisters to kill her beloved, she shouldn't have killed herself, gaining only the promise of one day earning a soul. She should have killed the woman sleeping beside her ungrateful prince. That's what I would have done, that's how I had re-written the story in my head when I was a kid. It's no wonder I turned out the way I have.

"It doesn't matter," I finally said. "What's done is done. Nothing can bring her back. Nothing."

Mulder sagged against me, as if finally conceding defeat, but his erection was still there, pressing into me as the weight of his body pressed me against my car. None of it felt real, and I was afraid to move for fear of breaking the odd spell.

"You owe me," he said at last, sounding tired, but below that there was something else. Something like resignation and anticipation mingled together. The hero conquers his enemy any way he can.

The words held me in place, weaving their magic around me. I owed him, and I saw clearly that I did. It was a debt that stretched out before me, terrible and wonderful at the same time. I shivered a little, my body shifting against his, thinking of a debt that could never be paid, a spell that could never be broken.

I didn't know what to say, so I didn't say anything, just looked at the shadow that was our shadow on the roof of my car.

He stepped back a little and I turned. There was a look on his face that was half desperation and half madness. His eyes glittered with it. "You can't bring her back," he said, and it was nearly a question. He took a step backward towards his own car.

"No," I said in a hoarse whisper, wondering where this was going, hoping and knowing that everything I hoped for was impossible.

Mulder took another step back and I followed. "There's something I can do," I rasped out, my mouth dry as bleached bones. I cleared my throat and took another step forward.

He backed up another step but it didn't seem like retreat, more like entreaty. "What can you do?" he asked, the words a challenge but his voice hollow.

"I can do this," I said, and dropped to my knees before him. Years later I would say nearly the same thing to Scully, when their positions were reversed with Mulder missing and Scully taking her anger out on me. And there I would be, letting her use me as I would let Mulder use me, starting this night. But all that was yet to come.

This is a story that has been told a thousand times before and will be told a thousand more. Only the faces and places change. The story is always the same. The story is of love desired and love thwarted, needs that are satisfied and left wanting, hope found and despair confirmed. Without the story, we are nothing, just puppets left forgotten in a box under some child's bed.

I knelt before him and it all was familiar, I could feel it all had happened before, even though I had never touched him like this previously and had never thought I ever would. When I took him in my mouth, I already knew the taste, musty and salty and sweet. This was right, I knew it was, from the tips of the fingers that gripped his hips to my toes, curled in my shoes as I unconsciously clenched every muscle in my body. I heard his moan, a soft sound that fell through the heavy night air, and felt his hands settle tentatively on my shoulders before moving with casual deliberation to grip my hair.

I wanted him so much that it was an ache I felt tearing through me, one not easily soothed. It would take a lifetime of touching him to ease the raw need that had flared up, fed and encouraged into full fury by this simple gesture of my tongue sliding along his flesh.

I should have never knelt before him like he was something I could worship. I should have never met him in that deserted parking lot; I should have gotten into my car and driven away when I had the chance. But the story demanded that my place was there, my mouth on his body, my place at his feet. Who was I to fight fate? And I was so young then. Not innocent, not by then, but young, and still willing to believe, if not in fairy tales, then at least in heroes.

As he came in my mouth, I looked up at him. The moon shone brightly on his face, which was turned up toward the sky. She's not there, I thought as I swallowed his come. She's in a boxcar somewhere, locked away more securely than any princess in a tower of briars, and sleeping just as soundly.

As I stood, my knees cracked like gunshots. Mulder pulled me towards him. "I probably should have killed you," he said. Then he kissed me, his tongue filling my mouth, and it is this memory I would dredge up later when I jacked off alone in my apartment. My own erection throbbed against Mulder and I knew there would be no relief for me that night except by my own hand. "But you owed me," he said. He pulled away from me and emptiness panged through me.

(if i only had a heart if i only had a brain if i only had the nerve)


"Go away. I want to be alone." There was a look in his eyes that shut my mouth on any argument I might have had. No matter. I'd gotten what I'd wanted, or as near to it as to make no difference. When thinking of wish fulfillment, it's greedy to split hairs. It was useless to think that I wanted more. Might as well wish for magic beans or for straw to turn into gold.

I opened my car door and got inside. I was about to close the door when Mulder said something else. "I could kill you, even now, but you still owe me." My heart pounded. I felt something shift, as if I could sense the future:

When, weeks later, he stumbled into my apartment reeking of whiskey and fear and sour guilt, crying that he couldn't sleep, that all he wanted was sleep, I let him do what he wanted to me because I still owed him.

When, months later, I was told to take Scully's nearly dead body and dispose of it, I made sure she got to a hospital, even knowing the price I would eventually pay for it, because I still owed him.

When, years later, I nearly found happiness with the woman he loved, with the only person he has ever loved, I destroyed my chance with her in order to bring him back to life because I still owed him.

But all of this was yet to come, and there is still more of the story to tell. I can let you in on one secret, however. We don't all live happily ever after. It's something I've always known.

Dorothy never got back to Kansas. Alice went mad in Wonderland. Sleeping beauty never woke up. The little mermaid never got a soul. Stories lie. I know this. I know.

This is a story that's been told a thousand times before. It will be told a thousand more. Only the faces change. Only the scenery moves. None of us really matter.


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