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Date sent: Wed, 16 Jul 1997 08:56:18 -0400 (EDT) From: "Your future is happening to you right NOW." <dmp45207@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu> Subject: Gold (1/1) PG Dawn M. Pares

The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard. --Katha-Upanishad

Gold

by Dawn M. Pares dmp45207@pegasus.cc.ucf.edu PG, no violence, VA, MSR, but safe for Friendshippers

SUMMARY: Scully's growing tumor causes blindness and Angst-O-Rama. 4th season spoilers.

Disclaimer: Credit where credit is due. *Gold* is a poem by Donald Hall. Chris Carter and all those Fox cats own these characters. Please don't sue me. Scully's blindness suggested by something mentioned in "Cross Currents", a fine work of fanfic by Ann Something? Sorry I forgot your name, darlin'. Oh, and I'm not a doctor, this is pure speculation, I have no idea if this could/would happen medically.

 

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The room is hazy-- or her eyes are. She blinks several times, but her vision does not clear. Her lips are sticking together... is that blood? No. Tasteless. Merely the dryness, she realizes. Then a coolness, pooling in her lower jaw. Water.

"Thought you might be thirsty." His voice is rusty. Mulder. A blurry presence; she can no longer even make out his profile, and she feels a stab of panic.

"I can't see you," she complains. When had she perfected that peculiarly petulant tone?

"I'm here. You remember what I look like don't you?" Beneath his banter, there is the bedrock sincerity of the question. She does, doesn't she?

"Yes. Big nose." He snorts tenderly for her; she can almost hear him smile. "But I want to look at it anyway."

"Yeah," he sighs.

She hasn't really forgotten, but Agent Dana Scully is still surprised every time she realizes that her vision is failing. More than the nose bleeds, more than the threat of death, it is the literally impending darkness that makes her want to wail. She wants to see-- her mother's face, Mulder's. Even her own, drawn as it is by illness.

Mulder's hand closes on her wrist and he lifts her hand... her open palm meets the roughness of his cheek.

"You need to shave, Mulder."

"I will," he promises.

"Have you been here all night?" He doesn't answer, and she sighs. She curls her fingers against his skin. "Did you sleep at all?"

"Enough. Your Mom will be here at ten to swap out."

"Is it early?"

"Uh... it's five or so now."

Scully shifts in her bed, tries to sit up. She can feel Mulder's hand hover by her shoulder, should she slip. She doesn't need to see it to know it's there; it's Mulder, and it's what he does. Suddenly, she is glad that she can't see him. There will be grief in his eyes, and creases around his mouth. He will still be beautiful, but it is easier not to be able to see him. For the moment.

Much of her time lately, in the last week or so, when her sight began to dim noticeably, has been spent reconstructing the faces of people she has loved... Her father's, her sister's... Mulder's. Mulder's frowning chin, beneath his provocative mouth. His clumsy nose. The certain set of his jaw, or how when, his eyelids at half-mast, he exuded a sort of brooding sensuality. Every time he spoke to her, it invoked a new memory... angles, light and shadow, the dappled greenleaf color of his eyes...

Her hand grazed across his mouth to his opposite cheek and she felt how very still he was-- that he was keeping his face immobile so that she would be unable to read his expression.

"Smile for me, Mulder," she commands, and she feels the answering flex of skin and muscle under her probing fingertips. Running her fingers over the mole low on his cheek, she murmurs, "You really should get that looked at." Her hand follows his nod.

"Yes, doctor."

"Tell me what my Mother looks like," she says softly. "I remember," she assures him, "I just want to compare notes."

"She's pretty. Like you. Well, you're gorgeous, but not like your mom. She doesn't look like you. I mean, you don't look like her. You must have your father's face."

She nods, and he continues.

"She has dark hair-- and don't tell her I told you this, but I think she dyes it." Scully smiles, her teeth gleam in the murky half-light. Mulder is reminded that a hospital's darkness is never truly complete, and he goes on. "It's very natural looking, though. Curly. It's getting long... last time I saw her it was about chin length, like yours. Blue eyes... not as blue as yours. She has fair skin, nice eyebrows. I really like her eyebrows. They're delicate, but no-nonsense at the same time. Maybe you *do* look like her," he laughs, surprising himself.

"You don't look like your mother, either."

"No. Samantha-- Samantha did. Those blue eyes."

Leaving his face, Scully finds his shoulder, and follows the length of it down his arm to take his hand.

"I hate this," she confides.

"So do I." His voice is clogged. "I miss you. Being up and around, I mean."

She laughs, lightly. "I miss me, too... Mulder? Tell me a story." Distract me from myself.

"I... I can't think of any. Give me a minute."

"It doesn't have to be long."

"Nothing's coming to mind," he pauses. "Except..."

"Except?"

"A poem. I read it in college, my freshman year. The teacher was telling us that--" She hears him swallow with difficulty. "Donald Hall, the guy who wrote it, had been a friend of his, and had recently... died. The poem was about his wife. About Hall's wife, not the teacher's. She'd, uh, she'd... died too, of... cancer. Jesus, what am I saying?" Scully pictures him running one hand through his hair and feels him try to tug away from her.

"Can you remember it?" Calm. Soothing. A doctor's voice comforts.

"What?"

"The poem. Do you know it?"

"Yes."

"Tell it to me." Clasping his hand, she feels him tremble. At length, he begins to speak.

"Pale gold of the walls, gold of the centers of daisies..." Mulder's voice is a low monotone, a lulling chant, curiously expressionless, but heavy in her ears: it reverberates in his chest, and in hers. "Yellow roses pressing from a clear bowl. All day we lay..." He falters, an extra beat. "On the huge bed, my hand..." He clears his throat. "My hand stroking the deep gold of your thighs and back."

Scully laces her fingers loosely with his and she settles back, closes her eyes against the dry, dark air.

"We slept and woke, entering the room together, lay down in it breathing quickly, then slowly again, caressing and dozing, your hand sleepily touching my hair now..." He lets out a long shaky breath, and she tightens her grip again. Giving her an answering squeeze, she hears his lips smack gently. Mulder disengages his hand from hers and strokes her cheek, fingers curling by her ear.

"We made in those days tiny identical rooms inside our bodies, which the men who uncover our graves will find in a thousand years, shining and whole."

She knows he is shaking with unshed tears, trying to swallow them.

"That's beautiful," she says, noting that it is surprisingly easy to speak past the grief in her own throat, "Thank you." She reaches out for him, feels the line of his jaw... She strokes his clenched eyelids. "It's alright, Mulder." And she feels tears seep from under his lashes, hears his harsh sob. Mulder is crying for a man and a woman now dead, she thinks. He is crying for me, and himself, and for something we never had. Will never have, she realizes. How can I miss something I have never had?

"Come here." She closes on his shoulder, pulling him toward her. Scully feels the bed sink, hears the mattress springs squeak. His dank breath against her cheek, his arms around her, the reassuring beat of his broken heart.

In his lap, her cheek against the buttons of his shirt she can smell his skin: slightly sour with sleepless tension, faint trace of aftershave, a tang of sweat. I love you, she thinks. His fingers wind in her red hair and she can't see him, but she knows that he's kissing it. I love you, too.