by Livia Balaban
Rated G = V, A, DAL
It *was* her hair. She remembered that clearly enough. Her long, coarse, dark hair, dipping into the water. This one piece of a moment was nearly as they had written. She remembered it.
But he hadn't allowed her to do as she'd wished.
<Let me, let me do this for you. Let me offer this devotion.>
He'd reached down, and with his small, strong hands, lifted her chin so her eyes could meet his, and it was then that she'd understood.
<You are not my servant. You and I serve the same master.>
Why hadn't she remembered it this way before?
She remembered his eyes - how could she not have recognized them? Then, they were darker, larger, more thickly lidded and surrounded by lines of wear and sun-dryness. But even then they were hooded, shaded with pain and the acceptance of love and loss.
Suddenly she saw herself as *he* had seen her: Uncharacteristically slender, dark caramel skin, long, thick, kinky hair. Eyes the shape and color of fire-toasted almonds.
She'd burned in the fire of him then.
<But can you not see who you are? What you are? I only wish to serve you as you deserve.>
It was a gesture she'd desired to offer, that was all. A single, small devotion to the man she'd worshipped.
<Do not serve me. Stand beside me. Be my strength.>
Over time she'd tempered his anger, eased his suffering, yet staunchly refused to see herself as an integral part of his life, his legacy. The signs had led her to him, yet all she'd seen - the signs she'd permitted herself to see - proved to her that she was and always would be a slave.
<I cannot do this without you. Please don't leave me. Give me your strength.>
She choked on the renewed memory of the horror and pain of his loss. She'd been powerless to stop it, not because she'd feared for her own life had she taken any action to save him, but because he'd refused to permit her intervention.
<I must do this, but I need you here. Please stay with me. I can do this if you are here.>
She'd known then he hadn't been made for this world. He was too pure, too honest, filled with light and a burning love too intense for humankind.
All she'd ever wanted was to offer her devotion. Not subservience, just a simple act of gentle, tender caring. A gesture of love.
And she'd finally done it. When his fleeing life could be counted in moments rather than years.
She'd dipped her hair into the water, and with suffering tears tracing paths down her dusty face, she'd washed his bloodied, broken feet.
The agony of days reached into her, clutching her throat, refusing her breath, and with a jolt, she awoke.
* * * * *
The world stood still on its axis when Dana Scully arose, the images from her dream still clear. She felt the sudden inertia in her bones, and when the vision from her dream developed further rather than departing, she understood what she needed to do.
She rose and left for the hospital.
At the doorway to Mulder's room, she stopped dead in her tracks, stunned and shocked by a familiar sensation. After years - lifetimes - of blindness, she could see again. It was a feeling as known to her as her own name.
She laughed, and smiled softly to herself. It was the ultimate inside joke.
She entered his room.
"It's blasphemy," she told him.
"Do you believe?"
A sigh. A pause. "Yes."
"They got it all wrong. I guess I shouldn't be surprised."
"Well, John *did* take a lot of drugs." Her brief smile faded. "I don't know what to do with this."
His eyes met hers, and she was again stunned by the familiar expression of grief and loss.
His voice was soft, as gentle and sure as it had been *then*. "I think we're just supposed to keep doing what we do." Warmth and love enriched his expression. "Together. As always."
"It feels like blasphemy. I have no way to prove it's true."
"Try being in *my* place," he sighed resignedly.
Her expression fell, and tears came unbidden to her eyes with the searing memory of his anguish. "I won't let them take you. I won't allow it."
"Maybe that's why I'm here. That artifact had its intended effect on me. And *only* me. It was made for me." She cringed at the thought of his life so completely planned out, beyond their control. "Or I was made for it." He shook his head solemnly. "Maybe that's why I'm here."
She muttered quietly familiar words, tinged this time with the agony of personal remembrance. <Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi...>
Her expression became fierce, and she clutched his hand. "I do not believe in human sacrifice. And I will not relinquish you to those who would destroy you. I'd sooner kill you myself. I won't let it happen again."
"Again," he muttered softly.
She lowered her face to his hand, and place a single, simple kiss there. "I won't let them take you."
"Say my name, Scully. 'I won't let them take you, *Mulder*.'"
She shook her head. "I don't know what to call you."
"Mulder. We're the same people we were yesterday. Professional colleagues, personal saviors, joined at the soul. The way we have been for forty-three lifetimes. Battle after battle, we've stood side by side and fought. Together."
"But if I know you to be someone else..."
"I'm still me - irrational and impulsive, and steadfastly devoted to you. Say my name."
"I can't. I won't. I don't know who we are anymore. What are we supposed to do?"
"I don't know. There wasn't a burning bush or anything."
"That was Moses, Mulder."
"Thank you." He smiled at her utterance of his name. "We'll figure out the rest as we go."
"History has a predictably awful way of repeating itself," she reminded him, shuddering.
"Then we'll be prepared." He reached out his hand to stroke her delicate cheek. "And I'll make sure they get you right this time."
Her memories overflowed, her mind filled with the questions from each life she contained. At the root of it was the simple matter of doing what needed to be done, and of being true to herself.
She would be Scully again, soon enough. But for now...
"Say my name, just once. I want to hear you say it, in *this* voice."
He smiled sadly, closed his eyes, and reached out to her.
She fell softly into his embrace, and breathed in his familiar scent.
He opened his eyes, and pressing his lips to her ear, uttered with certainty and love a single word.