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TITLE: Fall: East on M St.
AUTHOR: Tabula Rasa
DISTRIBUTION: You name it, you got it
CATEGORY: V, more or less
KEYWORDS: S POV, M/S something
SPOILERS: No, thanks.
DISCLAIMER: They're mine now. No, they're not. But I like them anyway.

SUMMARY: No, she said. Mulder, it's Saturday.

TIMELINE: About Season 3.

NOTES: (12 Feb, 2004) I had one New Year's Resolution: Post the Damn Things Already. Here is Damn Thing #1.


It rained, which means the leaves don't crunch under her feet as she would like, picking her way across the uneven sidewalks of Georgetown. Her trench coat is on, but not closed. Her hands in the pockets control its flap.

This is nice, she thought. This is normal. It is Saturday morning, and there is no where else she would rather be than coming back from a pastry run at La Madeline. No where.

Guilt crept up and filled her stomach, which was expecting a croissant instead.

It was almost ten am on a Saturday morning and Mulder was in the office, working. She knew because he called her. Come in, Scully, I think I'm on to something, Scully. You've got to see this, Scully.

No, she said. Mulder, it's Saturday.

Dammit. She forgot to get coffee. She doesn't want to make any at home-- she's running vinegar through to clean it out, she can't.

She turns around to walk back down the gentle hill.

She gets coffee and decides to take a walk. She heads East on M St.

Mulder had woken her up this morning, again. But this time it was too late to get back to sleep. Did I wake you, Scully? Not that her affirmative stopped him. On and on and on he went, until she said with iron feeling: No, Mulder. It's Saturday. I'm not coming in to work.

Just because he didn't sleep doesn't mean other people didn't. Couldn't he think of anything better to do than work?

No, of course not.

Without much thinking, she walks across the overpass, dodging strollers. She's lost M street and is on Pennsylvania.

Mulder did other things, she was sure of it. He did sportsy, guy things sometimes. He swam. He played basketball. He was even good at those things. Surely someone else was out playing basketball today. And you didn't need anyone else for swimming.

But he was behind his desk, at work. That was her partner. Hadn't she once said he was obsessed with his work? She hadn't known the half of it.

Damn him anyway.

She walks around the circle, to the south.

Yes, to hell with him! Dragging her down into his life, where only two things existed: work, and obstacles to work. And the latter were always a surprise to him when they came up. He didn't think about them 99% of the time. Oh, no. That was her job.

It was her duty to clear out all the obstacles-- Skinner, the Bureau, other agents, local law enforcement-- so he could do his voodoo Spooky Mulder crap. And if there were any obstacles-- why the hell hadn't she cleared them up? What was wrong with her? She wasn't doing her duty. Her work.

She wanders through buildings and garages, past students running for breakfast in their pajamas. The coffee cup makes it into a blue garbage can, and she takes out the bag with the croissant and begins to tear at it.

Unless, of course, they were dealing with the Big Bad Guys. Then she had to be kept out of it. It was too dangerous. And, of course, it was Work. Mulder's work.

And hers too, if only he'd believe it.

She is glowering as she moves past large white-gray buildings, now dark and empty, grumbling to herself about irony.

He only tried to involve her when she didn't want to be involved. Like on Saturday mornings, for instance.

She could picture him, all alone in his dark office, just the desk light on, bent over something. Piles of sunflowers seeds and just the husks. With his glasses on. The computer humming next to him, busy and soft, the only noise. Except for the cracking of the damn seeds, of course. And rustles as he turned the pages.

He looked alone down there in the dark.

That black guilt ate at her stomach again.

She eats a large piece of the croissant.

He didn't need to be down there. She wanted to pull him out. Pull a drowning man of the water. Drowning in what, down there, exactly?

Loneliness. Guilt. Despair? Something dark.

The same things she would drown in, if she wasn't careful.

Two people can drown together in loneliness. She thinks they may be out to prove this.

Her croissant is gone. She crumples the bag and tucks it back in her pocket. A cold wind rushes past her and rattles the brown-red-gold leaves above her red hair.

DC, on the left, looks ridiculous-- all that edifice, all that glass and cement and marble, for five days a week, 8 hours a day. It looks too strange to see it so empty and silent.

But she's seen it before. It is always like this, on the weekends. And she's been downtown on the weekends before. There are always some lights shining, snatches of muddy white halogens through government-issue venetian blinds.

Mulder didn't even have that. No pedestrian could see his light in the basement. No acknowledgement from the outside world.

Who else knew he was working today? The Gunmen might know, but she doubted it. He might have told them, but it seemed early in the morning for them.

She might be the only one in the world who knew where he was.

That made her sad, and it made her cold. It didn't make black guilt crawl around her gut, however. It made her heart ache. It made her finger her cellphone. Would he be happy to hear from her, or annoyed at the distraction? Maybe she could take him to lunch, later. Probably not, although maybe she could bring him lunch.

Feelings toward Agent Mulder were not to be analyzed.

She feels lonely and cold by herself, walking on the edge of the Mall.

Most of the tourists had come and gone, but the hardy ones that remained were clustered on the Mall, shuttling back and forth between museums. She got glimpses of them slipping across muddy grass, the smarter or more experienced slipping in the back entrances.

Constitution Avenue is ridiculously empty, filled more with leaves than cars. Clouds of white smoke billow out of gratings in the sidewalk. A distant rumble then a clattering rush as a metro train goes away under her feet.

Oh Mulder. She wanted to save him, but she would have to sacrifice herself to do it. And, probably, he didn't want to be saved. He wouldn't recognize it as saving. She would become an Obstacle.

Scully ties her coat closed. Her steps quicken; this area is intimately familiar to her. Across from the Natural History Museum. The Robert F. Kennedy Greco-Mesopotamian-Art Nouveau DOJ. She focuses on the pavement blurring by. Her shoes today are not the clacking kind, so she goes on in silence. This is for the best, because she couldn't have made it all this way in her normal shoes.

Well, she is here, right at the Employee entrance. She might as well go in.

The guards looked at her knowingly--off to join Spooky in the basement.

Damn straight.

It gets warmer the further down she goes. She undoes her coat. Heels not clacking, she walks down the dark, crowded, musty-smelling hallway, like she has a thousand days before, and will for a thousand days yet.

There is a thin light under the door. Knock, or go in?

Scully put her hand on the doorknob, turned it, and pushed.

"Hey Mulder."


NOTES: I know it's the wrong season, but I always forget in the fall. I've had this mostly written for years-- I think I started it in 2000. Last spring (2003), I took Scully's walk (croissant and all) for authenticity. There's another story about DC, this one in spring, hanging around somewhere on a zip disk. I really rather miss DC. Anyway: Tabula Rasa, slowest poster in the world. Hope you enjoyed my little love story(-ies). Would love to hear what you think.