Title: The Stars Are Not Wanted Now
Warning: Character death. Post “This Is Not Happening.”
Summary: Nothing now can ever come to any good.
Mulder lying beside her on a grassy hillside. Tracing constellations in the sky. Scorpio, Ursa Minor, Cassiopeia. Too bad it’s the wrong time of the year for the aurora borealis. Look, Scully, a falling star!
Mulder beside her in a car. Any car. One of hundreds. Singing along to the radio. Badly. And she is laughing because he is singing so badly and she loves it anyway.
Mulder beside her in her bed. His hand on her hip. Fingertips soft, palm smoothing. The sheets smelling of his aftershave, her soap. Warm, warm, warm, she thinks and stretches towards him, wanting warmth and soft smoothing fingers.
Mulder beside her on the couch. Beer bottle in hand. Tossing popcorn into the air, trying to catch it in his mouth, missing. Laughing. Looking at her with love in his eyes. Happy Mulder and happy Scully, slightly buzzed and laughing, soon to toddle into his bedroom, to make slow and indulgent love.
Mulder loving her. She holds onto that. Mulder loving her so strong. Stronger than death, he’d whispered to her, I love you stronger than death, and she shuddered beneath him, believing.
She wonders if he has been made a liar now.
Her mother has brought Jim to the funeral. Jim is nearly seventy, with a full head of silver hair and an aura of command. Retired Air Force. A drawer full of medals that he lets the children play with. He buried his wife years ago. He has teenaged grandchildren. He is, everyone says, a pillar.
Scully supposes she should like Jim and be glad for her mother, that she’s found somebody to love again. She supposes Charlie and Bill have the right idea, welcoming Jim into their family and getting to know his. Her own love, her lover, her beloved, is in a box in his favorite suit but her mother has a boyfriend.
It occurs to her that grief is making her selfish.
It occurs to her she has every right to be selfish. She’s alone, dammit. She’s pregnant, dammit. She’s lost her best friend, dammit, and nothing is ever going to be the same again.
Mulder whispering to her. I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine. My love is like a red, red rose. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate. She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies. I would give all of Minos’s kingdom with love thrown in, for her.
Mulder, she thinks, you promised me, you promised you’d never leave me, you promised we’d be a family, you promised me a miracle.
How can I have the miracle if I don’t have you?
Skinner is also what people would call a pillar. He stands beside her. Holds her hand. Gives her fresh tissues when the one she’s holding is too damp to be of any use. Says little.
She likes that part best. She can sense his grief but he is doing his best to contain it. He will grieve alone because that is who he is.
Normally that would be who she is too, but between the pregnancy hormones and the sheer insanity of this situation, she holds nothing back.
She had always thought, if Mulder died, that she would be too numb to cry. She was wrong.
Mulder teasing her. Drawing his toes up her leg. Smiling but saying nothing. Knowing what his touch can do. Letting it work its mojo on her until she concedes and whispers to him, You are one sexy bastard, as she crawls up his body.
Mulder kissing her. Kissing and kissing and kissing her. Holding her face between his hands and kissing her. Bending down, his hands in his pockets, kissing her. Tilting his face up and looking at her with expectation, waiting for her to kiss him, being kissed by her.
Kissing Mulder. She loves—loved—will always love—kissing Mulder.
Amo, amabam, amabo. Amo te, Mulder. Amabo te semper, Mulder.
Frohike cries openly. Quietly. Unashamedly. Langly looks numb—or hung over. Byers just looks numb.
People from work come. They try to give their condolences. He’ll be missed. He always was so . . . interesting. He used to make me laugh.
There are strangers who know him by reputation. Academic rivals. Agents who worked with them in the field. She thinks at first they have come to see if it’s true, that he’s really dead this time. Soon she realizes, from their awkward hugs and clumsy words, that there is something else at work here.
Respect. For Mulder. For her.
Doggett comes, and stands for a moment beside the coffin of a man he barely knew. The night before he said to Scully, I got into his head, a little. I’ve been trying to see things the way he saw them, the way you see them. It makes the world a strange, but beautiful, place.
She thinks Mulder would be pleased at this. That his life has awakened another’s sense of wonder.
At his wake the night before, they watched the Dead Parrot sketch. It was in his will. His friends looked guilty after they laughed—shouldn’t we be mourning? Can this be the right thing to do now?—but Scully felt only a tender pang. It was so Mulder. I’m dead. I want you to laugh.
Still, when John Cleese began to screech, “If you hadn’t nailed him to the perch he’d be pushing up the daisies!” she had to make a quick run to the bathroom. Her morning sickness is touch and go, coming at all hours—more, she thought wryly, like day-and-night sickness.
That’s all. Morning sickness. Not “throwing up because I can’t bear the thought of Mulder in the ground.”
Mulder peering at her through his thumb and forefinger. I’m crushing your head, Scully. Ka-cheh, ka-cheh, ka-cheh.
Mulder throwing pencils at the ceiling. Look, I think I can get an entire box into that one tile.
Mulder rubbing her back in the bathtub. Reaching around to cup her breasts in his hands. Singing low into her ear. I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts, here they are all standing in a row . . .
Mulder tickling her until she shrieked with laughter. Mulder blowing raspberries onto her stomach. Mulder yipping and rolling away when she gives him a wet willie. Mulder, gracious in defeat at the end of a pillow fight.
Mulder reciting the entire Spanish Inquisition sketch. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise! Surprise and these nifty red outfits!
Mulder agreeing to father her child, a light in his eyes no joke could bring.
Byers gives the eulogy. He speaks at length about Mulder’s accomplishments, his successes, his goodness. The criminals he brought to justice, the innocents he saved.
Byers’s voice breaks as he says, Mulder did not die because of his quest for truth. He died because his quest took him places and exposed him to things no one should experience. We always thought he was superhuman, but it turns out . . .
He has to stop. Wipe his eyes. Says in a quivering voice, Turns out he was only a man.
After the funeral there will be a gathering at her mother’s house. When her father died, ladies of the parish brought food, more food than her mother could eat in a week, comfort food. Meatloaf. Casseroles topped with crushed potato chips. Home-canned peaches. Apple pies. Loaves of fresh wheat bread and little pots of homemade jam.
Wherever there is death, Scully thinks, casseroles are sure to follow.
She wears black and a string of pearls and everyone treats her like the widow. The widow with a posthumous child. No one asks but she can feel their eyes on her, on her little rounded belly.
Of course the child is Mulder’s. Would she be crying so hard if it weren’t?
Mulder, eager but trying not to show it, happy, hopeful. If it’s a girl let’s name her Rose—or what do you think of Amanda? Megan is a pretty name. Oh, Scully, what if it’s a boy?
Mulder guiltily stashing away a parenting magazine. Mulder lingering past a maternity shop.
Mulder holding her on her bed. Kissing her tears. It’ll work out. We’ll find a way. I promise. I’ll make it happen for you, Scully.
I want to give you everything.
Mulder making love to her. Slowly, gently. Giving her comfort with his body because words are inadequate and futile. She clings to him, tries not to weep at the beauty of it, that he should love her so much.
Mulder, loving her more than anyone she’s ever known. Loving her more than anyone she’s ever heard of. Loving her more, she often thinks, than she deserves. Giving her more than she is capable of returning, but oh, she tried, she tried.
Everyone is expectant. It is her turn. The partner. The best friend. The widow without a ring.
I can’t do this, she thinks, but somehow she is on her feet. Somehow she is in front of all of them. Somehow she is looking into their faces.
Friends, acquaintances, strangers. All of them waiting for her to define Mulder, wrap up his life in a few pretty words and try to give it all some meaning.
She could tell them that he taught her to hit a baseball because it was something he thought she should know. She could tell them he sang off key no matter what key it was, but always with gusto. She could tell them he took a childlike delight in watching the night sky, even if all he saw was a shooting star.
She doesn’t think she’ll ever look at the night sky the same way again.
She opens her book and reads, her voice thin and steady.
“. . .He was my North, my South, my East, my West, my working week, my Sunday rest, my noon, my midnight, my talk, my song. I thought that love would last forever.”
There is a pause. Long enough for people to shift and murmur. Is she all right? Skinner watches her, his eyes sharp. Doggett starts to stand, poised to rush to her side.
She whispers, “I was wrong.”
—”I’m crushing your head” guy from The Kids in the Hall
—The Dead Parrot sketch and the Spanish Inquisition from Monty Python’s Flying Circus
—”I’ve Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts” from Merv Griffen
—Song of Solomon, Anonymous
—”My luv’s like a red, red rose”, Robert Burns
—Sonnet 18, Shakespeare
—”She walks in beauty”, Lord Byron
—”Sleep, darling”, Sappho
And, of course, “Funeral Blues”, W.H. Auden
Quick Latin lesson:
Amo, I love. Amabam, I loved. Amabo, I will love.