Disclaimer: I don't own ANY of the characters in this story. The ALL belong to Twentieth Century Fox, 1013 Productions, and Chris Carter. I just let them out to play.
Rated: PG, maybe PG-13 just cause it sounds better. :)
Classification: Angst/MSR?
Spoilers: none
Summary: Mulder contemplates death after a painful meeting

by conspiracy

Mulder sat, silent, on his dark leather couch, staring blankly at the old movie playing on his television screen, the name of which he couldn't recall. The black and white images danced across his face, revealing the tears that streamed down his cheeks to the rest of the empty apartment.

Suddenly annoyed by the false sense of normality the TV seemed to provide, he quickly reached for the remote control and turned off the machine. As he withdrew his hand from the remote, which lay on the coffee table in front of him, his thumb brushed against something cold. Feeling further in the dark, he identified the object and gripped it firmly. As he picked it up, he turned on a lamp and surveyed the gun more closely, pulling out the clip, seeing that the weapon was fully loaded, and shoving it back in. Staring at the object in his hand more closely, his tears dried up, the expression of grief and pain on his face changing to one of solemn acceptance. He had made his decision. Having unplugged his home phone earlier, he now reached for his cellular, turned it back on, and speed dialed the number of the one person he trusted and cared for more than any other, knowing that she wouldn't be home.


Dana Scully sat in one of the two chairs seated in front of Assistant Director Walter Skinner's desk, waiting for him to finish his telephone conversation. Glancing at the empty chair beside her,she grew extremely worried. Where the hell was Mulder? Of course he had been late to meetings before, but after all that had happened... She didn't want to think about what he might be doing right now, what he might be contemplating. She was determined to focus on her meeting with Skinner. She could find Mulder as soon as she was done here.

Skinner finished his phone conversation and turned his attention towards her. "Now, Agent Scully, would you please inform me as to Agent Mulder's whereabouts and why he felt it unnecessary to show up for this meeting?"
"I'm sorry to say that I don't know the answer to either of those questions, sir. I've tried his cellular and his home phone with no luck. I can't think of any explanation as to his absence other than that he may simply have forgotten."
"Forgotten? I'm sorry, Agent Scully, but that hardly sounds like Mulder."
"Under normal circumstances, I would have to agree, sir, but this past week has been very... stressful for Agent Mulder."
"In what way?"
"That's what this meeting is about, isn't it?"
He paused, considering her question. "Uh, yes, you say you've found something?"
"Yes, sir."
"What exactly?"
She took a deep breath, not knowing what words to use. "The truth."
"Everything. Mulder's sister, my abduction, aliens..."
"And what is this 'truth?'" Skinner was anxious.
"The cigarette-smoking man approached Mulder a week ago and said that he wished to meet with Mulder and myself. This meeting took place last night."
"What was this meeting about?"

Scully thought for a moment. Where to begin? "He claimed that... that none of it has been true. That everything Mulder and I have witnessed over the past 6 years has been orchestrated in order for us to help convince the public of whatever it was They wanted the public to believe at any given time. That every time Mulder has doubted his beliefs or I mine has been planned. That we have been nothing but puppets all along."
"Did he offer any evidence of this?"
"No hard evidence, no. But the details he gave, you couldn't just make all that up."
"Continue, Agent Scully."
"He claimed that Samantha Mulder had not been abducted, but rather that her body had been found three months later near a river, approximately 50 miles from her home, the victim of a child molester. Her father was never told of this because his colleagues felt he needed to be put on a tighter leash. Shortly after her disappearance, he began to suspect the involvement of his co-workers in a brief fit of paranoia, and no one denied it. He brought these fears home with him, and soon his wife believed the same thing. When Mulder joined the FBI, They saw opportunity. They had been looking for someone to open the X files, and Bill Mulder's son seemed the perfect candidate. So they had a hypnotist feed him some abduction story.

"But he still needed a partner. Someone who could lend credence to his work. A skeptic with a background in science. They asked me to debunk Agent Mulder's work as a sort of reverse psychology. I had demonstrated integrity at the Academy and They knew that I would be more inclined to help him than hurt him. This aspect of their plan worked even better than they had hoped. I quickly fell into the scheme and began working with Mulder. From that point on, Agent Mulder and I were used to fulfill Their agenda, the full scope of which we still have no grasp on. He offered no actual answers as to the possible existence of extra-terrestrials, he only said that all of the conclusions we have come to, all our personal beliefs and doubts, have simply been tools used to sway public opinion." She swallowed. The words had been well-rehearsed, she had thought about their meaning long and hard, but still the full scope and impact of them was lost on her. It was hard for her to believe, to accept, that everything she had worked and fought for these past 6 years, everything she had struggled with and believed in, had been a lie.

"Did he give any explanation as to why he would be telling you this now? He must have had a reason."
"He said that They no longer needed us, and..." She took a deep breath. "And that he wasted to see Mulder's reaction before he died. That he wanted to see if Mulder really could handle the truth." This was followed by a short pause, neither one of them sure how to continue.
"I trust you've written a report on this?"
"Yes sir." She withdrew a file from her brief case, handing it to Skinner. He quickly thumbed through it before speaking again.
"Then I suggest you find Agent Mulder. In light of what you've just told me, there's no telling what could be going through his head right now."
"Yes sir." She stood and began to head for the door.
"Oh, and Agent Scully?"
"Yes sir?"
"Take care of yourself, too."
"Yes sir." With that she left the office and headed as quickly as possible for the parking garage.


Though he wasn't answering his phone, Scully still felt that Mulder's apartment was her safest bet at finding him. She had known him to unplug it when he absolutely needed privacy, and this was definitely one of those times. Entering his apartment building, a wave of fear hit her. What if I'm too late? What if I go up there and find him with a bullet in his head? She couldn't let herself think that way. She couldn't give up hope when she was already so close. She got on the elevator and pressed the number of his floor, trying her best to come up with some way of making the damn thing go any faster. Reaching its destination, the elevator stopped and the doors opened.

She ran down the hallway, removing her key from her pocket as she approached his door. As she pushed it open, she spotted him sitting alone in the dark, gun to his head, fingering the trigger. Oh God no! "Mulder, stop!" He immediately dropped the gun down to his side, shifting on the couch to face her.

"Scully, what are you doing here?" His voice held both shock and terror, though she couldn't understand why it should have the latter.

"I..." She was still taking in what she had just seen. Mulder had a gun to his head. Oh my god, he was gonna kill himself. He was gonna let me come up here and find him like that. How could he do this to me? She caught herself. Where had that come from? She had no right to be angry. "I wanted to make sure you were okay." Again she glanced at the gun he still held by his side. "It's a good thing I did."

He was silent, not knowing what to say, how to defend himself. Or what exactly he needed to defend himself against. "Scully, I..." They stared at each other for a long while, both on the verge of tears, though Mulder was doing a better job of concealing it.

"What are you doing, Mulder?"
"What do you mean?"
"I thought we were a team. Now you're just gonna give up? You're just gonna leave me here with nothing?"
"You're angry with me." He sounded surprised.
"Of course I'm angry with you. Why the hell wouldn't I be?" She closed the apartment door, realizing that their conversation could be overheard, and slowly walked towards him, kneeling beside where he sat on the couch, resting her hands on his lap. She continued in a more tender voice. "I'm still here, Mulder. You were just gonna leave me? Just like that?"

"You're better off without me, Scully. You heard what he said, it was all a lie. A lie that I helped perpetuate. I might as well have been working with them, Scully. I... How am I supposed to live with that?"

"Mulder, this is just a test. He's just testing you. You heard him, he wanted to see if you could handle it. If you kill yourself, then They really have won. It wasn't all a lie. Your quest... Our quest, the merits of it were true. The common goal we shared, the belief in the truth, they can't take that away from us."

He was cynical. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions, Scully."

"Damnit, Mulder!" She now let the tears come freely. She couldn't just let him through away everything based on one meeting with some son of a bitch whose name they didn't even know! "I'm here, Mulder! I'm here and I'm not leaving. I'm not a lie, Mulder." Now he began to cry. He sank to the floor beside her as she wrapped her arms around him and he returned the gesture. They sat there like that, crying in each other's arms, until they were both drained of all energy and fell asleep, each still entangled in the other's embrace.


Scully entered her apartment the next morning, weary from the night's struggles. She and Mulder had spent the entire night in each other's arms, crying first, then sleeping. Though emotionally draining, it was refreshing to allow herself to cry, and to comfort Mulder's tears with her own. It was truly amazing how good it felt to let down all barriers and be completely vulnerable for once. Passing by the answering machine, she pressed the button and silently waited for the electronic voice.

"You have one message." Next came a familiar voice. She was surprised to hear it so soon after leaving his apartment.

"Hey Scully, it's me." His voice sounded somber, almost sad. "By the time you hear this, I'll most likely be dead." Oh God. He must have left this last night while she was meeting with Skinner. The voice continued. "Whether you are aware of this, or are hearing it now for the first time, I have no way of knowing. Whatever the case, please just listen to what I have to say. Scully, I can no longer go on knowing that I have been an advocate for these men who I believed for so long that I was fighting against. Knowing that I have helped feed these lies to the very public I thought I was protecting. Now, as I contemplate death, I can think of only one reason that I have to stay of this world." A pause. "Scully, you are the one and only person that I have trusted and cared for these past 6 years. At the beginning of this journey, our journey, my only care, the only driving force behind my every action, was finding my sister. Now I know that even that was a lie. But over these years that we've worked together, my focus has changed. You, Scully, are the only person I've cared for. You are my humanity. Now as I end this journey, I assure you that I can think of no other alternative than death, for if there was such an alternative, I would take it. I only ask one thing of you, Scully: never forget this journey that we have taken together, however misguided it may have been, and know, as I hope you already do, that whatever distance may separate us, I do, and always will love you." -beep-


Authors Notes: Notice that I did NOT say that this IS what happened, simply what CSM told them. Why would Mulder believe him with no hard evidence? Well, Kritchgeau had no hard evidence.

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