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TITLE: Circles Round the Sun

AUTHOR: Tabula Rasa

RATING: Harmless

FEEDBACK: I really, really like it.


DISTRIBUTION: Sure.  Fine.  Please.


SPOILERS: Vienen (Look, ma! Not 6 months later!)

DISCLAIMER: Mulder and Scully belong to their Sprog, and Doggett and Skinner belong to each other.  Except they're not really in this, so it doesn't matter.  My pretend lawyer has just informed me that since I mention their names, I have to leave them in the disclaimer.  The point is, no one belongs to me.

SUMMARY: Turns out Mulder *is* handling it well.



"Ever on

Another thousand circles round the sun.

A new life has begun.

The two of us are one,

And we live to keep the promise.

We'll go on."


 Mulder was bored, but that was all.  He supposed it could be true that it hadn't really sunk in yet.  Maybe part of him did still believe he was going back to work, that Skinner would call and say he'd talked to Kersh, and had convinced him to change his mind.  Most of Mulder, though, hoped that would never happen.


 Mulder tried to keep his temper as everyone around him fussed and looked sympathetic and watched him carefully for signs that weren't there and wouldn't be there.


 He and Scully were wary around each other, neither behaving the way the other expected.  He knew that she was expecting him to rage, to stomp around and yell and break things, and then to sink into depression.  But Mulder didn't do that, and didn't believe he ever would.  He wasn't angry, wasn't depressed.  He was just...there.  Where he wanted to be, more or less.


 For his part, Mulder expected Scully to get fed up and kick him out, but she didn't.  She always seemed happy to see him, and worried if he wasn't there.


 In the beginning, she had coaxed him over to her place, then coaxed him to stay until it got late enough she could coax him to sleep over.  He wanted to tell her that there was never a point in his life when Scully would have to talk Fox Mulder into sleeping with her, but he didn't, because he was afraid she would figure out he really was fine, and kick him out.


 Now he tried to be home when she got home, so she wouldn't worry.  He'd greet her at the door with a kiss (and maybe a grope, depending on how tired she looked), make her laugh, and after the inevitable trip to the bathroom, arrange her on the couch with pillows.  He would get tea or milk or whatever she wanted.  He would have made her dinner, but after the Great Spaghetti Sauce Fiasco of 2000, he was banned from her kitchen.  Which wasn't fair, really, since it had happened in his own kitchen, but Scully seemed to feel that an easily-distracted cook was an easily-distracted cook no matter where he was cooking.  He admitted this was probably true, especially with the NBA playoffs on now.


 So he tried to have dinner ordered for the time she got home (and maybe a little before, so as to avoid the pizza delivery man.  Just to be safe).


 Scully was reluctant to talk about work, and even when he asked outright, she would never talk about Doggett or the X-Files.  She would mention an interesting anomaly in an autopsy, or relate how Skinner was wearing such a bad tie today she mentioned she thought Mulder had one just like it, and it had disappeared by lunch.  She would look at him with that new sly look, and he would pout, and she would giggle.  Mulder could never hold back a smile to her giggle; it was still such a novelty.


 Then she would distract him somehow, and they would watch tv or movies, and sometimes they necked on the couch.  Mulder suspected that if she hadn't been so pregnant, she would have distracted him with sex.  He had tried and failed to think of a downside to this, so the only thing he cursed Kersh for was his timing.


 When they went to bed, he would again help with pillow arrangement (it was a long and baffling process, but he was starting to get the hang of it).


 During the day he floated around, from Scully's apartment to his and back again.  Sometimes he went to see the Gunmen, but he was a bit wary of their new assistant, and tried to time his visits to times Jimmy Bond wasn't around.


 They had offered him a job right away, but Frohike had been quick to point out Scully probably wouldn't like it.  Mulder had had to concur.



 Today he decided to catch up on his reading.  Not six month's worth but rather eight years, if not a lifetime.  He drove down to Barnes and Noble but couldn't find a parking space, so he ended up in Dupont Circle.  It was even more of a miracle that he found a space there, but there it was, waiting for him.  Or maybe he stole it from that woman honking angrily from her black Mercedes, but he wasn't paying much attention.


 He wandered into a bookstore just off the Circle.  It looked like a real bookstore--books crammed into shelves up to the ceiling, or piled on tables placed any which way, making walking difficult.  Nearby customers gave him recommendations, and he dropped $100 in no time.



 He went back to his apartment but found he could not sit still long enough to successfully turn a page.  He tapped on the aquarium wall to harass his fish, then bounced the basketball for awhile.


 The long-suffering people below, he reflected, must have thought they were finally free when he died.  How terribly unfair of him to come back and disrupt their lives again.


 Maybe he should move.


 He caught the ball and tried to spin it on his finger.  Scully didn't seem to object to having him around all the time.  But he had no idea how to broach the topic.  As much as he liked the idea of waking up with her everyday, it still seemed odd to contemplate actually having the same address.  Maybe it would be easier once the baby was born.


 He was bored in his apartment, so he returned to Scully's.



 "Scully" he said quietly as they lay in bed, him on his back and her on her side, one hand clutching his t-shirt as it rested on his chest.  "Do you remember that night in Oregon, when you were sick?"


 "Mm-hmm" she said carefully.


 "I meant it" he reminded her.  "I would have left the X-Files anyway, but it felt disloyal.  After we'd fought so long and hard and lost so much.  But it doesn't bother me to let go, Scully."


 She was quiet for a long moment, then her soft hand turned his face toward her, and she brushed her mouth across his.


 He wrapped an arm around her to hold her close.  He pressed a kiss against her forehead, then closed his eyes and went to sleep.



We have come to the end in peace


Extra brownies for anyone who can guess what bookstore it is in Dupont. <g>    And yes, this is an obvious ploy for feedback, what's it to you?

"Promise" song lyrics by Don Dorsey, whose soul is apparently owned by Disney.  But that's not so bad.  It's better then having your soul owned by, say, Fox.