The X-iles

Un Reve Pour Deux

Sweeney Todd Review
NonEssential and NonExistent's NonsEnse
Push's Pad
Xtreme Unction's Labor of Love
Sacred Heart's Ambry
Satchie's "On the Safe Side"
Site Correspondence
Aye, There's the Rum


By Xtreme Unction



RATING: R for language and adult themes

DISCLAIMER: These characters belong to Chris Carter, FOX and/or 1013.  This work was for love, not for profit.  It is intended as an homage, not an infringement.

NOTES:  This was written for the Mulder's Refuge May 2003 Monster Challenge.  Use the word "monster" they said.  What does that word mean to you?

It was a recurrent dream.

In the darkest corner of the laboratory, hidden within a labyrinth of medical offices, behind a blue door, lays a man on the floor.  Barely visible under the blinking red light from the closed circuit security cameras, the black of his leather jacket gleams as he rocks back and forth.  He is curled into fetal position, clutching something to his chest.  The man's eyes are squeezed closed, but his lips are moving - continuously reciting a silent refrain. 

From above, the image he portrays is quite beautiful.  Strewn about him on the hard concrete, like the corona of a celestial body, are the accoutrements of his stealthy invasion into this sanctuary:  the earplug still crackling with the panicked queries of his cohorts, the microphone wire torn hastily from his turtleneck shirt, the proximity scanner override devices, the EM pulse disruptor, and the counterfeit keycards that got him past the locked doors.  They all lay in a glistening pool of spilled amniotic fluid, with shards of broken glass sparkling among them like diamonds. 

'Sometimes failure is a blessing,' they say. 

Several times the man tried to gain access to this facility, but was unable to penetrate the multiple strata of electronic security.  Yet after each defeat, his resolve only grew stronger. 

'Be careful what you ask for,' they also say.  'You just may get it.' 

He wished he could get his hands on whoever 'they' were and crush their larynxes so that 'they' could never 'say' anything again.  Even more than that, he wished he could tear from limb to limb the people who committed this incredible crime against love and humanity. 

At this point, the man's features become recognizable in the dream.  Tears stream down Mulder's face, both in reality and in the nightmare, where he holds the remains of his daughter close to his chest.

 * * * * *

 Scully awoke with a start.  Through the connecting door of their motel rooms she could hear Mulder cry out at the exact same moment.  Another bad dream, she realized.  His nightmares were increasing in severity and frequency lately. 

She never asks what his dreams are about anymore - good or bad.  In truth, she already knows, though her skeptical mind refuses to accept that knowledge.  After seven years of partnership and platonic friendship, they have reached a level of emotional intimacy that most people could never fathom achieving.  Indeed, they share something so incredible that, in the months since they first discovered it, they have yet to utter one word about it.  Not even to each other. 

They share each other's dreams. 

It is more than a detached awareness of each other's visions while asleep.  Scully's observations lead her to believe they actually experience dreams together.  Of course, she also believes it's completely ridiculous.  And yet, the scientist in her knows better than to rule it out as an impossibility.  There is so much unknown about the subconscious mind.  How can one really rule anything out? 

True to her FBI roots, Scully was marshaling all the evidence to prove or disprove this . . . unique phenomena.

Firstly, she is certain Mulder suffers through her nightmares.  He calls to wake her up in the middle of the worst ones, filled with dark nights and white lights, grinning madmen and scalpel-wielding scientists, redheaded children and dust.  The last time she awoke from such a dream, terrified and disoriented, the sound of his soothing voice moved her to tears.  "It's alright, Scully.  It was just a dream.  I'm here."  And again, "I'm here."   

When the realization hit her, she began to cry, overwhelmed with the gravity of their bond.  Tears filled her eyes now, threatening to pour over at the mere recollection. 

And he thought she was crying because of the nightmare.

Secondly, she is quite certain that Mulder also experiences her "other" dreams.  She notices his inability to look her in the eye the morning after she has had a sexually charged premenstrual dream.  It's rather amusing, actually.  Scully smiles at the memory despite herself.  One time she had a strange dream about kissing A.D. Skinner's secretary, Kimberly.  Mulder's face was inexplicable when he saw the two of them discussing a report the next day.  Scully was so tempted to lean in and whisper something in Kimberly's ear, just to see how Mulder would react.  It was entirely unnecessary, of course.  The movie in his mind was already recording in high-definition digital photography.

The most amusing part of all, from Scully's perspective, lies in the fact that Mulder has no idea this extraordinary subconscious communication is a two-way street.  She has never let on that she experiences his dreams, too. 

Some days, the level of frustration in his dreams becomes so unbearable that Scully is tempted to call and wake him up - just so he can take a cold shower.  But of course, she cannot.  That would give her away.  So instead, she counts sheep and tries to think pure thoughts, repressing the intense arousal flooding through her body whenever he has one of his increasingly frequent sexual dreams about her.  On more than one occasion, she has actually woken up in the middle of a powerful orgasm - sensing, feeling, and knowing that, at that precise moment, he was dreaming of transcending every sanctified boundary that sundered their souls.

But not all of his dreams were so pleasant. 

When she asked him to donate genetic material for artificial insemination months ago, it felt completely right.  The effort was a failure, but it changed the quality of their relationship in ways more significant than any success could have.  Unfortunately, it also caused him so much unspoken angst that she often wished she could take it all back.  The nightmares about children never meant to be born, the endless tears he could only allow himself to shed in an unconscious state, and the grief always lurking behind his shadowed eyes - they haunted him relentlessly. 

Scully rose from bed and made her way across the motel room in her pajamas and bare feet.  This nightmare of his felt worse than any other to which she had ever been privy.  She needed to wake him up and reassure him that none of it was real.  If he asks her how she knows, she will tell him the truth. 

The door between them has always remained closed for privacy, yet unlocked - in more ways than one.  All he ever had to do was knock.   

 * * * * *

 Mulder was carefully making his way across a darkened hallway in his dream.   He was synchronizing his movements with the pulses of electromagnetic energy emanating from the device in his hand.  So far, it seemed to be working.  None of the motion sensors had gone off.  Dressed in black jeans, a black turtleneck and a black leather jacket, he looked and felt like he was ready to handle anything.  In a moment of paradoxical lucidity, he actually said to himself within the dream, "Perhaps this is a good nightmare, for once.  Funky poaching.  Just like old times." 

He was wrong.

Moments later, he stepped through the blue door and found himself back in the dark laboratory, seized with fear, barely able to catch his breath. 

Despite all their efforts - the artificial insemination process, the fertility treatments, the plethora of assisted reproductive technologies - he and Scully were met with nothing but disappointment in their attempts to have a child.  As such, the shock of finding this nearly full-term fetus, floating in an artificial amniotic sac surrounded by glass, rendered him speechless. 

There were hundreds of these almost-children here, all suspended peacefully in cherubic slumber within glass jars on metal shelves.  He was inexplicably drawn to one.  The thin label on the side of this particular glass jar stated: Method V-ICSI: MULDER, Fox (S); SCULLY, Dana (O).  Had they accomplished this miracle through some variant of intracytoplasmic sperm injection?  Who were 'they'?  His mind raced through the possibilities and implications. 

Adjacent to each glass fetal incubator was a computer screen.  He touched the nearest screen once.  It lit up and displayed a chart documenting the development of the fetus.  He and Scully were having a daughter.  Wishing he could understand more of what he was reading, he scrolled down the chart and committed it all to memory for subsequent analysis.  In the reflected luminescence of the computer screen, his eyes were alight with hope.  

As he reached the second page of the electronic chart, however, he saw a string of phrases that gave him pause: alpha-fetoprotein test results inconclusive, gross anatomical abnormalities, diminished potential for viability.  His brow began to wrinkle with concern.  Finally, at the bottom of the second page, he spotted the one-word ultimate castigation:


He knew that the term was used without malice.  It meant a 'grossly malformed and nonviable fetus' in medical parlance, yet the word went like a knife through his heart. 

The medical term was worse than the epithet.  How dare they call his child a monster?  How dare they call the fruit of the joining of his and Scully's genetic material such a cruel, hopeless name?  It implied more than just a freakish disfigurement; it implied a death sentence handed down from God and nature. 

Impulsively, he grabbed the glass container off the shelf and held it close to his heart.  Head bowed, he whispered fervently to his child, "You are not a monster.  You will live." 

He looked around the room, wondering what to do next.  Leaning in to whisper again, he told his daughter with utter conviction, "Don't you let anyone's judgments sway you.  You may be a product of both love and conspiracy, but love takes precedence.  Love always takes precedence."

The seconds were flying by.  Mulder knew he had to formulate a plan.  He could not just leave their daughter there, for what if he never found her again?  But nor could he risk disconnecting all the wires running from her glass incubator to the nearby computer.  She may not survive without them.  Panic began to set in.  There seemed to be no good solution.

Just as he was saying to her, "Don't give up hope.  You have a family that loves you, waiting for you," he noticed the large black letters stamped onto the lid of the glass. 

'Specimen nonviable.  Terminated: 6/2 0212 hrs.' 

In shock, he dropped the container, causing it to shatter into a million pieces.  The light from the computer screen immediately died, plunging the area back into darkness.  He dropped to his knees in horror, landing on large pieces of glass that cut through his jeans and ripped into his flesh.  In the dark, crawling over slippery fluids and broken glass, unmindful of the deep lacerations he was sustaining, Mulder searched desperately until he found the tiny body of what should have been his firstborn child.   

Gently lifting her into his blood-soaked hands, he cradled his daughter to his chest.  She felt cold and lifeless.  His heart breaking, he could do nothing but lie down in the midst of the wreckage and weep.

 * * * * *

 Scully found him on the floor next to his bed, curled into fetal position, crying and clutching something feverishly to his chest.  In the dim light of his motel room, she could see his eyes were squeezed closed, but his lips were moving - continuously reciting a silent refrain. 

She shook him gently awake.  He stirred, eyes opening, yet he was clearly still caught up in the dream.  She carefully pried apart his hands to see what he was holding inside.  They were empty.  She rubbed her thumbs into his palms - trying to soothe the void.  Echoing his words to her, she murmured, "It's alright, Mulder.  It was just a dream.  I'm here."  And again, "I'm here."

She managed to get him into the bed.   Clad only in boxers, he laid his head down on a pillow and promptly fell back into a deep slumber.  Scully covered him with the bed sheet and tucked him in as best she could.  He looked so young and helpless right now.  He shifted back into fetal position, and was rocking slowly in his sleep.  Oddly, he was whispering that same refrain he had been repeating silently all night.  She leaned in, straining to hear what he was saying, but it was inaudible. 

"Oh, Mulder," she murmured as she gently stroked his hair. 

It occurred to her that all she had to do was close her eyes in order to understand every word within his dream. Climbing quietly into bed behind him, she placed her arms around his waist, rested her cheek against his shoulder, and allowed her eyes to drift shut. 

Now she could hear his words in perfect clarity. 

"You are not a monster . . . love and conspiracy, but love takes precedence."  

He turned to face her after a moment - whether in the dream or in reality, she could not be sure - and took her hands in his.  He placed them on his chest, then carefully wrapped his arms around her.  Scully's breath caught in her throat as she silently inferred the significance of this action.  The unappeasable void he held in the palms of his hands - now filled.  Her own hands moved around his waist to hold him as his leg slid up hers, cradling her body protectively. 

"Scully . . . " he whispered softly, reverently. 

Time stilled as he finally kissed her with a gentleness that manifested a truth undeniable:

Love always takes precedence.