TITLE: A Flash of Hope
SUMMARY: A fanfic that answers the question of how Mulder could have reacted so calmly in the series finale. Told in three different POV's.
SPOILERS: The Truth
RATING: E for everyone (lol)
AUTHOR'S NOTE: There was a discussion on the Haven that involved the idea from the show "Flash Forward" about people getting a glimpse of the future and how it would shape their present. So here's my contribution :)
WARNING: There is no beta for this because it's simply an exercise to keep my brain working creatively, lol. I put it on LJ as soon as I complete it.
May 23, 2002
He opened his eyes and panicked when he saw nothing but sheer darkness around him. Where was he now? Was he awake? Mulder blinked again to check, but the black image before him didn't change or give his brain any signal that qualified the reason for his sudden blindness. A split-second of sanity allowed him to process the texture of cement upon which he laid, the discomfort of his prone position reminding him of the cell where he had, for the moment, been mercifully left. The cell that possessed no windows and was barred by a steel door that blocked even the most infinitesimal ray of light.
"Shit," he cursed and pushed himself up to lean against the rough, cinder block wall. All that time away from Scully and William to search for answers...answers that were too horrific for him to share with anyone. Even Scully.
A harsh laugh escaped his lips as the irony of the situation washed over him anew: the truth he had searched for all these years, the truth -- so important that you walked away from the two most important things in his life, he thought resentfully -- that would die with him.
An impossibly loud clicking sound broke the silence and Mulder's body immediately went rigid in preparation for what it knew was coming.
A military guard -- the same one from the last interrogation, he noticed -- took two quick strides towards him and stuck his face so close to Mulder's that he was able to smell the stale tobacco and coffee on the behemoth's breathe.
"What are you thinking?" the guard shouted, just as before.
Mulder arrogantly turned his head toward the painfully bright light streaming in the doorway and could make out the silhouette of a second guard standing there just before stars exploded behind his eyes as his head was rammed into the wall behind him.
"Answer me now!"
He tried to focus through the intense pain radiating from the area around his skull. "I...I'm wondering why you haven't killed me yet."
Another blow, this time to his abdomen. Mulder doubled over, trying desperately to breathe so he could speak. That damned nightstick again; he had forgotten how much that hurt.
"What are you thinking?"
"I'm wondering if it's worth it."
The steel toe of the guard's boot met the soft area of his torso, just beneath his ribs and Mulder bit down on his tongue to keep from crying out in pain.
"No sleeping!" The guard ordered, marched to the door, and slammed it behind him.
Mulder curled in on himself, gasping for air. His head pounded behind his eyes, his lungs screamed for oxygen. Despite the protest from his abdominal muscles he tried to stretch out to draw more air, but the pain was too much for his nervous system and he was rewarded with blissful unconsciousness.
As I open my eyes, the agony of simply awakening makes it feel as though my entire skull is pulsating, so I quickly close them. I reach my hands up to massage my temples, but the movement is torture on my midsection. Where I am and how I came to be lying face down on the concrete in a puddle of my own drool is no longer hard for me to recall.
I hear the sounds of boots scuffling from somewhere outside the doorway. Drawing slow, shallow breaths through my nose w/minimal pain (not to mention the fact that I do not want to be found in this position), I decide I need to sit up. I mentally prepare myself for the darkness I will find and crack my eyelids just a touch so I can see my attacker in case he's early.
But something's different. There's a light! It's insane at how something like this renews my hope. The brainwashing must finally be taking effect.
Wait. What is that noise? I hear muffled voices...coming from the light. The light that seems to be growing wider.
What the fuck is happening here?
That voice sends chills down my spine. That's *my* voice -- except for the the fact that I sound about thirty years younger.
"That's weird....He was standing right next to me."
Scully. Scully, Scully, Scully. The sound is so sweet that I am moving without thought towards it, towards the light. And, as I move, it moves. It's white fingers reaching towards mine until it nips the end of them...
And I am swallowed by it.
"There he is! Still next to the car."
I watch in awe as the woman, whose voice I must have just heard, walks hurriedly toward me with an achingly familiar look of concern etched on her forehead. "Mulder?"
Who are you? I want to ask. This can't be Scully. Not *my* Scully.
"Are you okay? You look like you've seen a ghost," she says with a crooked smile that disappears when I don't answer. "Mulder, you haven't *seen* a ghost, have you?"
"Possibly" I say, but only the "p" sound is audible, and the concerned look is back.
"What's with him?" asks the boy who has my voice. My jaw goes slack as I watch him saunter towards me, dribbling the basketball with ease whilst switching from one hand to the other. He is tall, if I am guessing his age correctly, and skinny; with a nose and smart-ass expression that I would know anywhere. "C'mon, you promised me a rematch when you guys got back from the store. You scared I might actually win this time?"
"Course not." The words leave my mouth, but they are not mine. I didn't think to say them. And it's my hand that steals the ball in midair, taunting this boy -- William, a voice in my head screams out -- who is grinning like...like he has been waiting to see me for a very long time; but I didn't tell the hand to move.
The sound of a throat clearing catches my attention and I turn to stare at the small woman beside me; the woman who cannot be Scully. Her hair is so long that she is able to keep it in a loose knot at the base of her skull. Her skin is free of heavy makeup, the freckles prominent on her nose and cheeks, and she looks...well, she looks amazing. But she also looks older.
"Alright, guys, help bring in the groceries and then you can play until the sun goes down for all I care." She says this with a smile and William takes off towards the back of the red Explorer sitting in the drive. "Mulder? What is going on with you?"
God, I want to touch her so badly it hurts. But I'm also terrified. Is this real? "What do you mean?"
"You have been acting weird ever since we got home. Are you feeling alright?" She lays the back of her hand against my forehead, drawing it slowly down from temple to cheeks to jawline.
My eyes shut to keep from bursting into tears at the sensation. "I feel wonderful, Scully."
Her hand falls away and grips my wrist. I bring my arm up gently, her hand still attached, and place a kiss across her knuckles.
"Quit stalling, Dad!" William calls out as he hurries by, both arms filled with bags.
The intensity of the moment broken, my eye catches a glimpse of the face of the digital watch I didn't realize I was wearing.
And my heart nearly stops when I see the date.
April 22, 2012. Two days after William's eleventh birthday. Eight months before the end of the world.
I look at Scully again, then at William's retreating backside. Then at Scully. Then at William. Then at the watch. Only now beneath the date, something has happened to the time because there is nothing but zeroes there, like on a stopwatch.
The once clear noises around me are suddenly muffled, as though I am underwater, and getting softer. I look at Scully again but she is walking away from me and fading into blurriness. "Scully, no!"
The light is coming back, but this time it is blinding everything from sight.
"William! WILLIAM, DON'T WALK AWAY! Don't leave me, Scully! SCULL-EE!"
And the light is gone.
In this new darkness, the shuffling of boots on cement echoes in my ears. And the harsh clicking of a padlock opening is like a slap in the face after the two minutes of heaven I just experienced.
What the hell just happened?
Two Days Later
"Did you hear what I said, Mulder?"
The man sitting across from me lets out a deep sigh, but other than that shows no sign of anger, confusion, or shock: the signs I expected to see when I told him the news about William.
"Yes. Yes, I heard you. Will" -- his voice cracks and he clears his throat-- "William is gone."
"You have no idea how hard the decision was for her," I begin, though defending her honor seems somewhat unnecessary now. "But she wanted him to have a better life than what she felt she could provide alone."
"She did the right thing."
What the hell is going on here? I mean, I know I agree with him but...but he just found out his child was given up for adoption. A normal person doesn't just accept that!
Prodding him on, trying to draw out the emotion now so that it won't simmer when I'm gone, I say, "Scully will probably be upset that I broke the news first...but I just didn't want your initial reaction to be in front of her. I wanted to give you some time to gather your thoughts."
"I know this can't be easy for you, either."
Mulder swivels his head around to face me for the first time since I began my story. "No. But I have a feeling there will be a happy ending."
What? WHAT? He's sitting in a military prison on fucking death-row, he hasn't seen his wife-or-whatever-you-want-to-call-her or his son since the boy was two days old, he finds out that son is no longer in his mother's custody, and he's okay with that because of a sudden burst of optimism?
I open my mouth to speak, but what I want to say I have no idea. Relief washes over me when the guard opens the door to tell me my time with the prisoner is up. I reach out a hand and Mulder shakes it firmly. Not even a tremor from the guy as we part.
With one foot out the door, I glance back at Mulder to see him shaking his head from side-to-side, a grin tattooed on his face.
My heart breaks for Scully as I realize the man has officially lost it this time.