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TITLE: Median Dreams
AUTHOR: Snark
E-MAIL: snark_911@yahoo.com
DATE COMPLETED: November 16, 1999
SUMMARY: Only between two extremes can the truth be found.
SPOILERS: Immediate continuation of Amor Fati. And I mean immediate, my friends--a direct continuation of the scene on the beach.
CLASSIFICATION: Vignette, MSR.
RATING: PG
DISTRIBUTION: OK to forward to ATXC newsgroup, to Gossamer and to Xemplary. Please ask permission before archiving anywhere else. If you already have one of my stories, permission is granted, but still let me know you are grabbing this one as well.
DISCLAIMER: FOX and CC and 1013 and not mine, yadda yadda.
AUTHOR'S NOTES: Complete notes at the end.
FEEDBACK: Mail comments to snark_911@yahoo.com.
HOMEPAGE: http://members.tripod.com/~koosn/index.html

The sand poured through his fingers, each grain dropping gently onto those which had fallen before. It was amazing how the simple motion mesmerized him, reaching out to capture his thoughts and hold them at bay. He knew if the world were to collapse around him right now, he would barely even perceive it.

Right now, only the sand mattered. So many textures, so much power within such simplicity. Too dry, it became a coarse irritant, insinuating itself everywhere as it refused to be swept away. Too wet, it became a relentless abrasive, grinding away every surface with a calm nonchalance.

But somewhere in the middle, somewhere between the windswept grains and the liquid slurry, it became something powerful. Beneath skilled hands, it became more than its elements, more than bits of rock and water.

It became the solid representation of liquid thought. As the mind flowed from one image to another, one vision to the next, the hands molded those images into reality. A castle envisioned became a castle built, its sand fortresses rising to the sky unbroken.

A movement at his side interrupted his thoughts. The boy had moved closer to him, sitting cross-legged and staring out over the water.

Mulder watched the boy as the boy watched the ocean. Unlike other boys of six or seven, he didn't fidget--he didn't twitch at his clothing or glance nervously around him. His gaze remained steady, his hands resting on his knees as the light wind whispered through his hair.

"What do you see out there?" Mulder said after a minute. The boy seemed almost in a trance, and yet he answered nearly immediately, without hesitation.

"What is it that *you* see?" the boy asked in reply. Such a calm voice for one so young, Mulder thought. Yet the signs of youth were clearly there. A slight lisp, a slight slurring of the consonants to the vowels, the tone lilting in a register higher than would be found in years to come.

"I see the ocean," Mulder answered as he glanced over the surface of the water. "A few seagulls, some rocks, a lot of water." He felt he was supposed to give a different answer, but it eluded him.

"I see life itself," the boy said simply. "The past, the present, the future--it is all right there. From here, you can see anything that you wish to see." The boy turned his head to face Mulder. As he locked his gaze with the boy's, he felt a slight shock run through him.

His own eyes stared back at him. Younger and more innocent, certainly, but still his own. What the hell is happening to me, he wondered incredulously.

"Wh- what... what do you mean? I don't understand. Help me understand," Mulder managed, his voice barely audible.

"You must learn to look with more than your eyes. Close them and look again."

"I can't do that, how will I-?"

"Your mind has already seen the world before it. It does not need your eyes... it needs only your vision."

"But-"

"Close your eyes and look again."

Mulder slowly closed his eyes, unsure if the motion were truly being made of his own volition or by the power of the boy in front of him. At first he saw nothing but blackness. Soon, though, an image began to form--as if from a fog, the ocean view coalesced in his mind.

He watched as the water lapped slowly at the beach, beating a gentle rhythm across the beach for as far as his eye could see. Each wave rolled quietly onto the shore, tendrils of water sliding over the sand as though alive. As he searched further out, though, the ocean became more uncertain. Details easily distinguished at the water's edge became more jumbled, finally fading to a uniform gray at the horizon.

"The water's edge is the past," he heard the boy say. Mulder was unclear whether the voice originated from outside or from within in his own mind. "It has already been written. You can look on it any time you choose, in perfect detail. But why would you wish to? It is, in essence, a dead thing, unchangeable and frozen.

"The horizon is the future, forever waiting to be created. But the future is always ahead of us, elusive and intangible. Why seek a thing which cannot be found?

"It is between the extremes, where the waves begin to meld into one--it is there that life can exist. Only there, where the influence of the past meets the freedom of the future, can a person meet his destiny...

"Only in the middle can love be found."

Mulder snapped open his eyes. But this time, instead of a young boy and the ocean before him, he found only the monotone paint of the hallway outside his apartment. As he struggled to get his bearings, he heard the signature click of Scully's heels as she retreated from his door.

He felt his breath catch in his throat as he realized that only a few heartbeats had passed. Life exists only in the middle, he remembered--the past is written and the future is beyond our reach. Only the present is worth living.

And moments ago in this very doorway, he knew the memory of the past had met the promise of the future and become something so much more.

"Hey Scully?" he called out, his voice breaking as he stepped out into the hall.

"Yeah, Mulder," she said quietly. As she turned to face him, he saw that she was crying freely. The tears flowed steadily across her cheeks as her eyes locked with his... and saw the same.

Moments passed, each unable to look away from the other, mesmerized by the intensity and promise of the moment. At some point, each began moving towards the other...

They met somewhere in the middle.
THE END


AUTHOR'S NOTES: This was my first ever attempt at a direct post-ep fanfic. Usually, I find that I don't have the time, the desire, or the idea to write post-eps, so I've never ventured into this arena. With Amor Fati, I found that I had all three. Or rather, I had the desire and the idea, and therefore *made* the time, LOL.

I hope I got it right...

~Snark

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