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Summary: In the alien-controlled post-Project future, the bond between Scully and Mulder evolves into a strange and bittersweet romance.

Rating: PG-13 for language and sexual situation. I'm too new at this to figure out a category. Umm...vignette? story? There is a small bit of angst. MSR of a kind. Character death of a kind. All this and humor too.

Disclaimers: The X-Files, all characters therein, etc. belong to Chris Carter, Fox network, blah blah blah.

Spoiler: Contains references to several seasons, including 4th.

Other notes: Ok, I did the humor piece, I'm mulling over an X-Files plot, in the meantime I wake up at three o' clock this morning with this story in my head. Hope it still makes sense.

ALL THE MULDERS

By Alloway (steiner@acadiacom.net) Comments welcome.

In another age, another place, it would have been a hell of an opening line.

"Three aliens, a Mulder, and a Cancerman walk into a bar…"

In these post-Project days, of course, it's just straightforward narrative.

Two of the aliens stay near the entrance, keeping the Mulder with them, although his eyes follow my every move. The other alien and the Cancerman come up to me. "Agent Scully," the Cancerman says in greeting. I have not been Agent Scully for over fifty years now, but that is what they always call me.

I nod and turn my attention to the gray; even after all this time, they amuse me. A Cancerman once told me that they have a name for these islands where we live, we few humans who refused the change: it is something long and denotes extreme sacredness. We ourselves went through a few variations on Preserves, Reserves, and Zoos before settling on the Farm. The Human Farm.

This gray knows that, and has dressed appropriately. They want so desperately to be our priests; if the holy humans are a farm, than they shall be our farmers. This one is dressed in Oshkosh B'Gosh overalls, a shirt with grinning blue elephants, and a twig in its mouth. They must have a hard time finding human clothes to fit; we never expected our conquerors to be so...small.

The gray starts to speak before hesitating and turning to the Cancerman. It's read the reports. The last time one of them dared to touch me, dared to speak to me, I left so little of it I doubt they could even scrape up a DNA sample for re-cloning.

My, my, how I've changed. Edgier. More cynical. I've lost Mulder, so I must become him.

The gray finishes speaking in that happy little burble--I stare at those great eyes, and wonder how anyone could have found them charming--and Cancerman translates. It's the usual. Did the supplies arrive? Do we need anything? Does anyone need de-aging?

Funny rules the aliens have. I've got to set every broken bone, heal every scrape, but they'll swoop in to cure cancer. And the aging thing. I still look like the Agent Scully of the X-Files.

Hey, Tooms, I've done you one better. And I don't need to suck livers either! Ha ha.

The final question: Will I come with them? The answer is still no. "You already have my DNA," I tell the Cancerman. "You've already done your experiments. You can clone me any time you want."

The gray burbles in protest--it has learned the sound of the human *no*--and the Cancerman again speaks for it. "That was before," he says. "You are different now. You are--untranslatable…" Some more holy words, I'll bet. "The measurements did not show this. The predictions did not include this."

"A man once taught me that not everything of value can be measured," I say evenly.

"You had an extraordinary teacher," the Cancerman acknowledges, speaking for himself this time. He palms me something: a small packet of tissues in case I want to cry later. Genuine Kleenex. It is no small irony that in these final times it is the Cancermen who provide such gestures of mercy.

Has he had a change of heart? Regrets? Or…the thought chills me…have they made nice Cancermen for me? I think he would have hated that.

Their duties are finished now, so they turn to leave. "The Mulder will stay with you," the Cancerman says. "Three days." On the third day, Jesus rose…and so will the Mulder, albeit via Air Alien. We have plenty of time till then.

****************************************

I lead the Mulder to my house. This Mulder is new, barely functional. He lets me call him Fox; most of them don't. He puts his fingertips to the small of my back, walking beside me; for a moment he is my familiar old shadow. A shadow that had the most disconcerting tendency to fall to the ground with bullet wounds, or to disappear altogether for weeks at a time, but nevertheless a shadow that I claimed as my own.

The tissues come in handy now. Old home week at the Human Farm always does this to me.

Once home, I go to my closet, unlock the chest, and pull out the things I treasure most. Requisition 17 falls to the floor; it was a sure sign of our progress, that Requistion 1 was for meds and farm supplies, and 17 for something so...personal.

The Mulderclothes.

I need to wash them, because I don't. After a Mulder, I mean. Sometimes when I start to hurt too much I bury myself in them. Amazing that cloning can preserve that spicy man-scent that tells my nose "Mulder."

Egad, that former FBI pathologist Dr. Dana Scully should fall to this. Yessirree Bob, nuthin' beats the smell of fresh alien undies in the mornin'.

I drop the thought and the accent and go to wash the clothes. The Speedos, I think, but it doesn't matter because this young Fox is positively rolling in hormones.

When the Mulders first started coming to me I was self-conscious. Worried the grays were watching, even though a lot of times the Mulder and I just talked, or swam, or watched old movies. But age gives one a different perspective on things. I'm gonna get some? Sure, fine, let them watch. Whatever.

I have never dove (dived?) deep enough into my psyche to determine why the really good screaming sex, the I'm-about-to-pass-out kind, only happens with the more violent-prone Mulders. This one is a combination of Eager Teenager and Six-Week-Old-Puppy: all wagging tail and bouncing. He keeps a big goofy grin on his face the whole time. I try to suppress the giggles, but it's pointless.

The Fox hears and grins; he has pleased me, and that makes him happy.

My Fox--THE Fox--never once grinned like that. Although he too pleased me in his own way.

****************************************

In the morning the Mulder instincts kick in: he pulls out the running shoes and shorts and goes jogging. This pretty much establishes the pattern for the next three days.

When the Mulder comes back from his third jog, a ship is waiting; the Mulder's face reminds me of a dog who's just found out he's going to the vet instead of the park. Sorry, boy.

"Agent Scully," a Cancerman greets me. This one has been modified to suck on candy instead of cigarettes--I guess they were running out of Morleys.

The Cancerman is conversational. "You realize they're making less Mulders these days," he says. I'd noticed. "The qualities they want to duplicate…the intuition, the brilliance…they're just not getting it." I nod. Some of the Mulders, I knew, just curled up in a corner and cried. Some were destructive…of themselves, of others.

"But no matter what they do," the Cancerman continues, "The Mulders always end up here. They beg, they plot, they fight, they steal…"

I cut him off. "All the Mulders come to me. I know." A song fragment, hideous, runs through my head: *All the Mulders, I will send to you…All the Mulders, Scully, I'll be true.*

Holy woman or not, I have a hunch that this is truly why they want to clone me.

Mulder needs a partner.

****************************************

The Mulder has gone away as Mulders always do. But now I have a secret.

We have talked, the Mulders and I, of so many things. Great sports games, childhoods, X-Files we wished we'd gotten a chance to do. Futures that never were but were still worth remembering. Never have we talked of the one question that matters.

Why did he go with them?

To be with Samantha? Because he feared being alone? Or being with me?

Because, finally, the truth really *was* out there?

Two Mulders ago, in between the usual nonsense, he whispered, "I have a message for you."

This last Mulderbaby was entrusted with only one word, harshly breathed.

"Scully…"

Such layers of flavor in such a simple word. Affection; concern; caring. Amazement that he could feel such things, and gratitude that he does. No way that my poor little Fox-boy could speak with such maturity: no, he was parroting…something. Someone. Dare I hope for the original?

So now I have a secret. I will wait for Mulder's message. Until it is complete, well, the waves are warm, the air is clear, and I always have the remnants of humanity to tend to.

One day, though, I will say yes to the aliens--and boy, will they be sorry.

I will be a swarm of Scullys.

A red tide of fierce little travellers, scouring the globe for the Fox that got away.

I will find him. *We* will find him.

And I will have a message for him.

THE END?


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